DVD & Blu-ray

DVD & Blu-ray Picks: Monday 28th February 2011


Another Year (Momentum): Mike Leigh’s latest film is a pitch-perfect ensemble piece revolving around the friends and family of an ageing married couple.

Nearing retirement age, Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) live in North London and seem genuinely happy as they work, tend to their allotment and play host to an array of characters who come in and out of their lives.

These include: their son Joe (Oliver Maltman), who is still close to them; Mary (Lesley Manville), a needy divorcee with relationship problems; Ken (Peter Wight), an old friend with a taste for food and alcohol; and Katie (Karina Fernandez), a therapist who forms a relationship with Joe.

Each section of the film is titled with a season and as they change, so do the characters to varying degrees as they deal with the stuff of life: love, death, humour, despair, loneliness and friendship.

It follows the familiar Leigh formula of finding drama in lives of distinctive characters in a particular setting and, like his previous films, relies heavily on the actors to make it work.

The good news is that nearly all the cast bring something distinctive to their roles, creating a rich tapestry of emotions and memorable situations.

After opening at Cannes in May, it deservedly garnered great reviews (some of the best of Leigh’s career), although the expected awards nominations didn’t really happen, which is a shame because Lesley Manville gave one of the great performances in recent memory.

Unfortunately, Momentum haven’t done a Blu-ray release for this title (presumably for cost reasons) which is a shame because DP Dick Pope shot it beautifully and captured the everyday world with a keen eye for detail.

Extra features are hard to come by, but presumably feature a trailer and short making of featurette.

> Buy Another Year on DVD at Amazon UK
> Longer review of Another Year
> More reviews of Another Year at Metacritic and MUBi

Waste Land (Entertainment One): Lucy Walker’s inspiring documentary charts the journey of Brazilian artist Vik Muniz who goes back to Brazil to literally create art out of rubbish.

Recruiting garbage pickers from Rio’s largest landfill site he makes re-creations of paintings, and provides a fascinating glimpse into his creative process and the people who join him in his project.

Director Lucy Walker manages to capture the humanity of everyone involved without ever patronising them and the film deservedly received acclaim at Sundance and was Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary.

Again, cost considerations appear to have prevented a Blu-ray release and details of extras are thin on the gound.

> Buy Waste Land on DVD from Amazon UK
> Official Site
> Reviews of Waste Land at Metacritic


Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) [Blu-ray / with DVD – Double Play]
Battle Royale (Arrow Video) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Bedevilled (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Brighton Rock (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Remastered]
Cronos (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Special Edition]
Cuckoo (Verve Pictures) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Due Date (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / + DVD and Digital Copy]
Episodes (2 Entertain) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Pan’s Labyrinth (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Special Edition]
Paranormal Activity 2 (Paramount Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Primal Kaleidoscope (Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Bicycle Thieves (Arrow Video) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Devil’s Backbone (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Special Edition]
The Promise (4DVD) [Blu-ray / Normal]

UK cinema releases for Friday 25th February 2011
The Best DVD & Blu-ray releases of 2010


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 25th February 2011


I Am Number Four (Walt Disney): A sci-fi drama aimed at the Twilight demographic about nine alien teens who come to Earth after their planet is destroyed by an enemy species.

Directed by D.J. Caruso (Disturbia, Eagle Eye) it stars Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron and Timothy Olyphant. Negative reviews in the US suggest this is a film for undiscerning teenagers. [Apollo West End, Cineworld Shaftsbury Avenue, BFI Imax Waterloo & Nationwide / 12A]

Drive Angry (Lionsgate UK): The latest action film starring Nicolas Cage sees the actor in full-on pay cheque mode (see The Wicker Man remake and Next) as he plays a character who breaks out of Hell (!) so he can stop a cult from sacrificing his infant granddaughter.

Directed by Patrick Lussier and co-starring William Fichnter and Amber Heard, this promises to shamelessly exploit every 3D trick in the book and, if successful, allow Cage buy a few more castles. [Vue West End & Nationwide / 18]

No Strings Attached (Paramount): Romantic comedy starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher as two friends who have sex one morning and make a pact to casual sex with “no strings attached”.

Directed by Ivan Reitman, this seems like more Judd Apatow influenced ‘raunchy’ comedy that only succeeds in embarrassing all concerned. Ironically, it opens in the UK on the weekend when Portamn may win an Oscar for her work in Black Swan. [Vue West End & Nationwide / 15]

The Rite (Warner Bros.): Horror film about a young priest (Colin O’Donoghue) who travels to Rome where goes to study exorcism under the guidance of an elderly Father (Anthony Hopkins).

Directed by Mikael Hafstrom and co-starring Ciaran Hinds and Alice Braga, this has got negative reviews in the US and would appear to be early year nonsense designed for the easily pleased horror fan. [Nationwide / 15]


Animal Kingdom (Optimum Releasing): Outstanding Australian crime drama about a young man who joins a Melbourne crime family headed by a sinister matriarch (Jackie Weaver) and the cop (Guy Pearce) who tries to tempt him away.

An astonishing debut feature for David Michôd, it is filled with excellent performances, especially Ben Mendelsohn as a creepily psychotic villain, and the writing, music and visuals are all first class. Optimum will be hoping the strong reviews and festival buzz over the past year will translate into respectable art-house business. [Curzon Soho & Nationwide / 15] [Read our full review here]

Waste Land (Entertainment One): Oscar-nominated documentary that follows Brazilian artist Vik Muniz as he goes back to Rio and recruits garbage pickers from a landfill site to create art out of rubbish.

Directed by Lucy Walker, it is an accessible and inspiring look at an unlikely and fascinating subject. Critical buzz and Oscar recognition could provide a boost to its art-house prospects. [Apollo West End & Key Cities / PG]

Howl (Soda Pictures): The life of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg (played by James Franco) is recounted through his Six Gallery debut and the 1957 obscenity trial related to his poem Howl.

Written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, it co-stars Jon Hamm and David Strathairn. After opening at Sundance in 2010 it has got middling reviews and may struggle to break out of its arthouse niche. [Soho, Wimbledon Curzon, Notting Hill Gate, Ritzy Brixton & Key Cities / 15]

West Is West (Icon): The long-delayed sequel to East is East (1999), is set four years after that film in 1975 as Father George Khan takes his youngest son, Sajid (now 15) to Pakistan.

Directed by Andy DeEmmony, it stars Aqib Khan, Om Puri, Linda Bassett, Ila Arun and Jimi Mistry. Lack of critical buzz and a general sense of ‘why are they making this now?’ could hamper its commercial prospects. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / 15]

> Get local cinema showtimes at Google Movies or FindAnyFilm
> UK DVD & Blu-ray releases for Monday 21st February 2011, including Raging Bull and All About Eve


Trailer: Waste Land

Lucy Walker’s inspiring documentary Waste Land explores the work of Brazilian artist Vik Muniz as he creates art with the cooperation of garbage pickers at a landfill site just outside of Rio.

The film portrays their lives and working conditions as well as Muniz’s efforts to help them to gain recognition and better living conditions.

Nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar, the soundtrack features many tracks from Moby’s latest album ‘Wait For Me’, and he has announced that he will add this album to his free film music site,, making the full track listing available for all independent film makers to use for free.

You can watch many of the films at the Mobygratis Vimeo channel by clicking here.

Walker has also given the following interviews to PBS and MCN about the film:

Waste Land is out in selected UK cinemas from Friday 26th February

> Vik Muniz at Artsy
> More on Lucy Walker and Vik Muniz at Wikipedia