DVD Review - February 11

7:00am Saturday 11th February 2012

A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases.

By Damon Smith.

New to rent on DVD/Blu-ray.

Tyrannosaur (Cert 18, 88 mins, Studio Canal, Drama, also available to buy DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £22.99).

Starring: Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan, Paul Popplewell.

Joseph (Peter Mullan) lives alone on a rundown housing estate, permanently sodden with booze and seething with anger. Haunted by memories of the unspeakable horrors he inflicted on his wife, Joseph searches for redemption and thinks he has found it in Christian charity shop worker Hannah (Olivia Colman), who is trapped in an abusive relationship with her vicious and insanely jealous husband, James (Eddie Marsan). Beaten and bruised to a pulp, Hannah tries to cover up her spouse's temper by claiming that she is clumsy. However, Joseph recognises the signs of a man's fists and offers Hannah sanctuary in his home. Unfortunately, the battered wife cannot hide forever. Tyrannosaurs marks a sensational feature directorial debut for award-winning actor Paddy Considine, who also penned the screenplay. Cut from the same cloth as Nil By Mouth, this harrowing portrait of domestic abuse pulls no punches in its depiction of the horrors faced by Hannah behind closed doors. Scenes of violence chill the blood and Considine brilliantly encapsulates Joseph's need to control his wife through intimidation and humiliation with a sickening scene of the husband urinating on her as she sleeps. Marsan is menacing in every single frame but it's Colman, best know as a comic actress, who delivers the emotional body blows as the weary spouse who has simply had enough. Mullan bristles with rage and it's no surprise when he snaps too, taking out his frustrations on a neighbour's dangerous dog. Animal lovers should cover their eyes.

Rating: ***** Footloose (Cert 12, 113 mins, Paramount Home Entertainment, Drama/Romance/Musical, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £26.99) Starring: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, Andie MacDowell, Miles Teller, Ziah Colon, Patrick John Flueger.

Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) arrives in the God-fearing town of Bomont three months after the deaths of five high school students on their way home from a dance. As a knee-jerk reaction, local minister Reverend Moore (Dennis Quaid), whose son perished in the wreck, persuades the council to pass new laws imposing a 10pm curfew on minors and banning dancing within town limits. Ren flouts these edicts, playing loud music in his car and attracting the attention of the local cops. Determined to swing his hips, come what may, Ren vows to revive dancing in Bomont with the help of his buddy Willard (Miles Teller), the Reverend's daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough) and her gal pal Rusty (Ziah Colon). Footloose follows the narrative arc of the 1984 classic, which immortalised Kevin Bacon as a teen rebel who unites the emotionally scarred youth of his hometown with the intoxicating power of boogie. Opening to the infectious twangs and beat of the Kenny Loggins title track, director Craig Brewer's remake doesn't put a heel or toe out of place in the energetic dance sequences to funky re-workings of songs by Deniece Williams, Shalamar and Bonnie Tyler. Choreographer Jamal Sims melds line dancing with hip hop and street, always harking back affectionately to iconic moments of the earlier version. Wormald and Hough are both excellent movers and they stand out in the electrifying dance sequences including a rootin' tootin' hoedown. It's all predictable yet huge fun right down to Ariel whispering seductively, "You want to kiss me?" and Ren replying staunchly, "Some day."

Rating: *** Friends With Benefits (Cert 15, 105 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Comedy/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £22.99) Starring: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Woody Harrelson, Richard Jenkins, Jenna Elfman, Bryan Greenberg.

Corporate headhunter Jamie (Mila Kunis) woos talented website director Dylan (Justin Timberlake) to New York and secures his employment at GQ magazine. Since they both have wounded hearts, Jamie and Dylan agree that it would be perfectly acceptable to enjoy no-strings-attached sex without any possibility of them falling for each other like the sappy Hollywood romantic comedies they both loathe. "No relationship, no emotions, just sex," stipulates Jamie. While Dylan's sexually voracious gay work colleague, Tommy (Woody Harrelson), and Jamie's hippy mother, Lorna (Patricia Clarkson), foresee trouble on the horizon, the two professionals continue with their agreement, blind to the consequences of their couplings. Friends With Benefits bears obvious similarities to the Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher comedy No Strings Attached. The two films peddle the same myth that you can divorce sex and emotions, and in both cases, carnal desires kindle far deeper emotions for the bed-hopping protagonists. Timberlake and Kunis are ably supported by Harrelson in scene-stealing form and the resplendent Clarkson, who stumbles upon her daughter in flagrante and coos, "Ooh, it's like the '70s in here!" The subplot about Dylan's father (Richard Jenkins) succumbing to Alzheimer's is lightly addressed, providing a modicum of substance beneath all of the fluffy wrapping. Initially, Will Gluck's romantic comedy rages against the cheesy tropes of Hollywood romantic comedies. Then in a staggering volte-face, the film embraces every one of those same conventions to hopefully bring together its two perfectly matched protagonists. Gluck wants to have his cake and eat it but we're the ones who choke on the sugary contrivances.

Rating: ***


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