DVD Review - January 5

DVD Review - January 5

DVD Review - January 5

First published in ShuttleXtra

A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases.

By Damon Smith


New to rent on DVD/Blu-ray

Berberian Sound Studio (Cert 15, 88 mins, Artificial Eye, Thriller, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99)

Starring: Toby Jones, Antonio Mancino, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Cosimo Fusco, Susanna Cappellaro, Suzy Kendall.

Shy sound engineer Gilderoy (Toby Jones) lives in the peace and quiet of Dorking with his mother (Suzy Kendall), where the gentle ebb and flow of village life is reflected in the rather quaint sound effects Gilderoy produces for natural history films. He is ushered to an Italian film studio where director Gianfranco Santini (Antonio Mancino) is currently shooting a grisly horror called The Equestrian Vortex under the aegis of producer Francesco Coraggio (Cosimo Fusco). Gilderoy must create the sound effects for the graphic on-screen action - most of which is unseen: tearing apart radishes to replicate hair being yanked from a woman's scalp, splattering a marrow to imitate the sickening thud of a body hitting concrete at speed, bringing hot fat to a sizzle to replicate the scorch of a red hot poker on skin. Within the claustrophobic confines of the sound studio, Gilderoy becomes immersed in his meticulous work and sickening fantasy begins to leech into reality. Recalling films such as Blow-Out and The Conversation, Berberian Sound Studio sustains a choking air of suspense thanks to Peter Strickland's assured direction and a riveting performance from Jones as a mummy's boy undone by the flickering images of rape, torture and abuse. Life imitates art with blood-curdling consequences in this creepy thriller and by the end of a surprisingly taut and lean 88 minutes, we're almost as unnerved as poor Gilderoy, clinging forlornly to the last vestiges of his sanity. The end credits roll and we can take a deep breath but Strickland's central character is trapped in purgatory forever.

Rating: ****


The Man Inside (Cert 15, 95 mins, Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, Thriller/Drama, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £17.99)

Starring: Ashley 'Bashy' Thomas, David Harewood, Peter Mullan, Michelle Ryan, Jason Maza, Ray Panthaki.

Clayton Murdoch (Ashley 'Bashy' Thomas) is haunted by nightmarish memories of his sadistic old man, Eugene (David Harewood), who languishes behind bars. The emotional scars are almost as deep as the physical ones, so to escape the gangland culture that almost claimed his soul, Clayton trains hard with gruff boxing coach Gordon Sinclair (Peter Mullan) to channel all of that pent-up rage inside the ring rather than on the streets. Unfortunately, Clayton cannot run from the past forever and when the people he cares about most are threatened, the young man meets intimidation with brutality and bruises with bloodshed to exorcise the demons of his violent childhood. Meanwhile, Clayton gravitates towards Gordon's rebellious daughter, Alexia (Michelle Ryan), a drug addict who needs all of Clayton's strength to help her kick the habit. The sins of the father are revisited upon the son in writer-director Dan Turner's gritty tale of retribution, which has moments of unintentional hilarity amid heartfelt outpouring of emotion. Thomas delivers a solid lead performance and Mullan looks suitably stern around a boxing ring, plus the fight sequences are well choreographed. However, The Man Inside fails to land a knock-out emotional blow. Turner's screenplay trades heavily in hoary cliches and characterisation is patchy, not least Harewood's fearsome patriarch, who is a snarling caricature rather than a full-blooded chilling villain.

Rating: **


Also released

Grabbers (Cert 15, 90 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Comedy/Horror, also available to buy DVD £12.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below)

New to buy on DVD/Blu-ray

The Hour - Series 2 (Cert 15, 341 mins, BBC DVD, DVD £19.99/Series 1 & 2 DVD Box Set £24.99, Drama)

Dominic West, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw reprise their roles in a second helping of the acclaimed BBC drama set in a 1950s newsroom. The fallout from the political scandal, which broke at the end of the first series, is subsiding and staff at the BBC's Lime Grove Studios assess their roles in the furore. Bel Rowley (Garai), producer of topical news programme The Hour, turns her attention instead to the criminal underworld, aided by her best friend, brilliant reporter Freddie Lyon (Whishaw). Meanwhile, dashing presenter Hector Madden (West) locks horns with the new Head of News, Randall Brown (Peter Capaldi), and seeks refuge in a glamorous Soho nightclub called El Paradis. A four-disc box set comprising both series is also available.


Last Tango In Halifax (Cert 12, 340 mins, BBC DVD, DVD £19.99, Drama/Romance)

During their heady teenage years, Alan Buttershaw (Derek Jacobi) and Celia Dawson (Anne Reid) fell madly in love and secretly dreamt that they would spend the rest of their lives together. However, fate and time had other ideas and some 60 years later they are unexpectedly reacquainted when their respective grandsons create Facebook accounts for them. The widowed seventy-somethings reunite and discover their feelings for each other are as strong as ever. However, they both have daughters - Gillian (Nicola Walker) and Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) - who have myriad issues that need attention before Alan and Celia can rekindle their romance.


Grabbers (Cert 15, 90 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, DVD £12.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Comedy/Horror)

The small Irish fishing community of Erin Island comes under attack from a school of blood-sucking aliens, which arrive on Earth on a crash-landed meteorite. In Jon Wright's uproarious comedy, garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) and her booze-sodden sidekick Ciaran O'Shea (Richard Coyle) struggle to fend off the voracious creatures and keep the local residents safe. Plummy British scientist Dr Smith (Russell Tovey) makes an amazing discovery - the predators can't tolerate alcohol - which leads to a daring plan of action: get the entire island drunk. With the help of local landlord Brian Maher (David Pearse) and his wife Una (Bronagh Gallagher), Lisa and Ciaran down shots alongside the rest of the islanders, then attempt to carry out a hare-brained plan while heavily under the influence. As a storm rages around them, the residents drink the pub dry to survive the night.


Wizards Vs Aliens - Series 1 (Cert PG, 337 mins, Fremantle Home Entertainment, DVD £24.99/Blu-ray £29.99, Children/Sci-Fi/Drama)

All 12 episodes of the children's sci-fi drama created by Russell T Davies and Phil Ford, about a teenage wizard and his best friend who must protect Earth from extra-terrestrial invaders. Sixteen-year-old Tom Clarke (Scott Haran) lives with his father (Michael Higgs) and grandmother (Annette Badland) in sleepy suburbia. To his friends, Tom is an ordinary boy who loves football. But in truth, the young man and his family are all wizards, whose lives are put in jeopardy by the arrival of the Nekross King (voice of Brian Blessed) and his underlings. Aided by best friend Benny (Percelle Ascott), Tom must risk his life to defeat the Nekross master plan and protect the people he loves.


Trollied - Complete Series 2 (Cert 15, 318 mins, Fremantle Media, DVD £24.99, Comedy/Drama)

Jane Horrocks leads the cast of the Sky1 sitcom set in a northern supermarket, where customer complaints pale next to the trials and tribulations of the staff behind closed doors. This series, Valco store manager Gavin (Jason Watkins) bids farewell to his employees and his formidable replacement, Lorraine Chain (Stephanie Beacham), makes her presence felt with the introduction of a No Nonsense economy range. Deputy manager Julie (Jane Horrocks) is under pressure to make a good impression, but that's easier said than done when staff such as butchers Andy (Mark Addy) and Kieran (Nick Blood) are determined to leave destruction in their wake.


Dark Nature (Cert 15, 76 mins, Matchbox Films, DVD £15.99, Horror/Thriller)

The great outdoors conceals great danger in Marc de Launay's bloodthirsty thriller. Jane (Vanya Eadie) and her new boyfriend, Alex (Len McCaffer), arrive at her parents' idyllic home on the coast of Scotland. They are looking forward to a rest after the long journey but Jane and Alex are disturbed to find the rest of the clan waiting outside of the remote building and no sign of the parents. Local gamekeeper McKenzie (Niall Greig Fulton) and environmentalist John (James Bryce) arrive soon after and Jane and her loved ones search for clues to the whereabouts of her parents. Then members of the group turn up dead and the finger of suspicion points resolutely at McKenzie and John.


The Dardennes Collection (Cert 15, 554 mins, Artificial Eye, DVD £59.99, Drama/Romance)

Directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have twice won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, putting them among the film-making elite. This six-disc DVD brings together half a dozen of their acclaimed and gritty dramas, which paint emotionally raw portraits of working-class life in modern Belgium. In chronological order, the box set includes La Promesse, Rosetta, The Son, The Child, The Silence Of Lorna and The Kid With A Bike.


Phineas And Ferb: Best Lazy Day Ever! (Cert U, 56 mins, Disney DVD, DVD £9.99, Animation/Comedy)

Two episodes of the popular animated series which chronicles the misadventures of stepbrothers Phineas (voiced by Vincent Martella) and Ferb (Thomas Brodie-Sangster). In the first offering, Phineas and Ferb enrage Candace when they are allowed to spend one day of their summer holiday doing absolutely nothing. Then in the second instalment, Phineas and Ferb hope to follow the sun around the Earth on the summer solstice, which is already the longest day of the year. Buford laughs at their daring, so the stepbrothers embark on a crazy, globe-trotting mission to Tokyo, the Himalayas and Paris to prove him wrong. The DVD includes Best Lazy Day Ever! and Summer Belongs To You!.


Bleach - Series 09 (Cert 15, 500 mins, Manga Entertainment, DVD £39.99, Animation/Thriller/Horror)

Another 22 episodes of the manga series by Tite Kubo about a boy waging war on ghosts. Bleach centres on plucky teenager Ichigo Kurosaki (voiced by Masakazu Morita), who is attacked by an evil spirit with his two sisters. Thankfully, the benevolent Shinigami, who despatches malevolent spectres to the heavens, intervenes in the nick of time and saves Ichigo and his siblings. Unfortunately, Shinigami is mortally wounded soon after and he transfers his powers to the young and inexperienced Ichigo in the hope that the resourceful and determined young man will find the courage to continue the fight against the darkness. The DVD comprises episodes 168-189.


The Beyond (Cert 18, 82 mins, Arrow Films, Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £19.99, Horror/Thriller)

Lucio Fulci directs this 1981 cult horror, which contains exceedingly gory violence. Liza Merril (Catriona MacColl) inherits a rundown Louisiana hotel. Rather than sell the property to developers, she decides to restore the building to its former glory, but the subsequent renovation work is blighted by a series of freakish murders involving zombies and killer dogs. Unsurprisingly, Lisa is alarmed by the death and destruction that seems to accompany her inheritance and with the help of her friend, Doctor John McCabe (David Warbeck), she discovers that her hotel is built on the gateway to hell.


Lynne Robinson's Inch Loss Pilates (Cert E, 60 mins, Firefly Entertainment, DVD £14.99, Special Interest)

Based on what Lynne Robinson refers to as the ABCs of pilates - alignment, breathing and centring - this DVD explains the basics of the discipline and the health benefits, plus various exercise routines designed to enhance fitness and gently tone the body.


DVD and Blu-ray retail top 10

1 (2) The Dark Knight Rises

2 (1) Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

3 (5) Ted

4 (3) The Expendables 2

5 (4) Keith Lemon: The Film

6 (-) London 2012 Olympic Games

7 (9) Mrs Brown's Boys Live Tour: Good Mourning Mrs Brown

8 (8) Michael McIntyre: Showtime

9 (7) Brave

10 (6) The Bourne Legacy

Chart supplied by www.hmv.com


DVD rental top 10

1 (-) Total Recall

2 (-) The Expendables 2

3 (-) The Dark Knight Rises

4 (8) The Bourne Legacy

5 (-) The Watch

6 (-) Ted

7 (-) Keith Lemon: The Film

8 (-) Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

9 (-) The Amazing Spider-Man

10 (-) Brave

Chart supplied by www.blockbuster.co.uk

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