A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases.
By Damon Smith.
New to rent on DVD/Blu-ray.
Johnny English Reborn (Cert PG, 101 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Comedy/Action/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/2 Movie DVD Box Set £22.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £26.99/2 Movie Blu-ray Box Set £32.99).
Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Gillian Anderson, Dominic West, Rosamund Pike, Daniel Kaluuya, Richard Schiff, Stephen Campbell Moore, Pik Sen Lim, Tim McInnerny.
Following a disastrous mission in Mozambique, Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) turns his back on MI7. Section chief Pamela Thornton (Gillian Anderson) woos him back to help thwart an assassination attempt on the Chinese premier. She pairs him with rookie agent Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya), who lives in south London with his mother and finesses his gun skills by playing on his Xbox. Following a meeting with agent Titus Fisher (Richard Schiff), Johnny learns the dastardly plot has been masterminded by a shadowy organisation called Vortex. Convinced there is a mole at the heart of British Intelligence, Johnny and Tucker join forces with fellow operative Simon Ambrose (Dominic West) and sexy behavioural psychologist Kate Sumner (Rosamund Pike) to unmask the traitor in their midst. Johnny English Reborn is a gently effervescent spy caper that amuses but rarely delights. The eponymous secret agent continues to hark back to the Connery and Moore years of James Bond. He's out-dated and a chauvinist, dismissing the most obvious suspect for a shooting simply because she's a woman (Pik Sen Lim). Action sequences unfold at pedestrian pace - literally in the case of a rooftop pursuit. Atkinson's talent for physical humour delivers a couple of belly laughs. A broken lever on a swivel chair, which causes the bungling agent to rise and fall during an important meeting, is an old chestnut but director Oliver Parker roasts it to perfection. The script lacks invention and dialogue feels flat apart from the occasional zinging one-liner. Johnny English Repackaged might be a more fitting title. A two-disc box set comprising Johnny English and the sequel is also available.
Rating: *** Abduction (Cert 12, 101 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, Thriller/Action, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £24.99) Starring: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Denzel Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina, Michael Nyqvist, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello.
High school student Nathan Harper (Taylor Lautner) thinks he has the perfect life with caring parents Kevin (Jason Isaacs) and Mara (Maria Bello). While researching a school project on missing children, Nathan discovers that he bears an uncanny resemblance to the age-modified image of a boy who went missing many years ago. Before Nathan has a chance to learn the truth from his parents, assassins slay Kevin and Mara and the teenager goes on the run with next-door neighbour Karen (Lily Collins), aided by his shrink Dr Bennett (Sigourney Weaver) and best friend Gilly (Denzel Whitaker), who makes "the best fake IDs in Pennsylvania". Then shadowy CIA agent Burton (Alfred Molina) makes contact with Nathan and warns the teenager that he is a pawn in a diabolical plot. Abduction is utter nonsense from hormone-fuelled beginning to overblown end. Lautner is naturally likeable and easy on the eye but there is nothing in the script to test his acting mettle or to suggest his character has any emotional depth. The relationship between Nathan and his parents is preposterous - social services would intervene and arrest Kevin for child abuse - and the romance with Collins's two-dimensional damsel in distress is flimsy and overly sweet. Shawn Christensen's script is littered with unintentionally hilarious interludes and some excruciating dialogue. The highlight is a toss-up between the gun-toting henchman who confides, "There's a bomb in the oven", and the chief villain (Michael Nyqvist), who snarls menacingly, "When I'm finished, you'll be responsible for the deaths of everyone on Facebook". That would be quite some killing spree.
Rating: ** Dolphin Tale (Cert U, 108 mins, Warner Home Video, Family/Drama, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £22.99/3D Blu-ray £36.99) Starring: Nathan Gamble, Harry Connick Jr, Kris Kristofferson, Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman.
A young bottlenose dolphin called Winter is caught in the ropes of a crab trap in Florida. A boy called Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) discovers the mammal fighting for her life and calls for specialist medical services. Winter is rescued and taken to Clearwater Marine Hospital, which is run by dedicated biologist Clay Haskett (Harry Connick Jr) and his wise-speaking father, Reed (Kris Kristofferson). The injuries to Winter's tail are so severe, the decision is taken to amputate. "How's she going to live if she can't swim?" asks Sawyer forlornly. Meanwhile, Sawyer's cousin Kyle (Austin Stowell) enlists in the army and returns home after an explosion wrecks his right leg. Prosthetics expert Dr Cameron McCarthy (Morgan Freeman) attempts to help Kyle come to terms with his injuries and Sawyer wonders if the doctor could also fashion a prosthetic tail for Winter. "Trying to put a tail on a fish? Nobody in his right mind would even try it. Luckily, I'm not in my right mind," quips Dr McCarthy. Based on a remarkable true story, Dolphin Tale is an old-fashioned, heart-warming film that the entire family can enjoy, slathered with a generous helping of schmaltz. The real Winter plays herself and invariably scene-steals from the human cast, including Oscar winner Freeman, who has a roguish twinkle in his eye as the medic determined to be a part of history. The closing credits include actual video footage of Winter's incredible journey, guaranteed to have a few parents covertly wiping away tears. One version of the Blu-ray includes the film in 3D format.
Rating: *** Also released Boca (Cert 15, 93 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Thriller/Drama, also available to buy DVD £12.99/Blu-ray £17.99 - see below) Restless (Cert PG, 87 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Romance/Drama, also available to buy DVD £12.99 - see below) Reuniting The Rubins (Cert PG, 94 mins, Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, Comedy/Drama/Romance, also available to buy DVD £15.99 - see below) New to buy on DVD/Blu-ray The Gruffalo's Child (Cert U, 26 mins, Entertainment One UK, DVD £12.99/Blu-ray £15.99, Family/Animation) Based on the book written by Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, this sequel to the acclaimed BBC animation features the vocal talents of Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane and Shirley Henderson. The Gruffalo is blessed with a daughter who listens intently to her father's magical stories about the Big Bad Mouse in the deep, dark wood. Curiosity proves irresistible and one snow-laden night, the little Gruffalo embarks on a magical journey of discovery.
Doctor Who: Revisitations 3 (Cert PG, 330 mins, BBC DVD, DVD £39.99, Sci-Fi/Drama/Action) Five-disc set comprising three special editions of the Time Lord's adventures from the BBC vault, which follow William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker as they battle the forces of evil. In The Tomb Of The Cybermen, the Doctor (Patrick Troughton) and his companions Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling) are pitted against the metal monstrosities and their Controller. Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee join forces in the aptly named The Three Doctors and finally in The Robots Of Death, the time lord (Baker) and plucky companion Leela (Louise Jameson) face the threat of an army of killer automatons aboard a mining spacecraft.
Restless (Cert PG, 87 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, DVD £12.99, Romance/Drama) Gus Van Sant directs this haunting love story centred on two young people whose lives have been scarred by tragedy and terminal illness. Enoch Brae (Henry Hopper) lost his mother and father in a car accident, caused by a drunk driver veering into the path of his parents' car. He has been expelled from school and now lives with his aunt Mabel (Jane Adams), who leaves the young man to his own devices. Enoch spends his days attending the funerals of strangers and talking to the ghost of Japanese pilot Hiroshi Takahashi (Ryo Kase). At one service, Enoch meets beautiful free spirit Annabel Cotton (Mia Wasikowska) and for the first time in years, he actually feels something. As the youngsters fall head over heels in love, Annabel reveals that she has a rare form of cancer and has just three months to live, shaking Enoch's faith again.
Reuniting The Rubins (Cert PG, 94 mins, Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, DVD £15.99, Comedy/Drama/Romance) Yoav Factor writes and directs this British comedy about a dysfunctional family brought together by the meddling of a dying grandmother. Jewish lawyer Lenny Rubin (Timothy Spall) succumbs to emotional blackmail from his ailing mother (Honor Blackman) to rebuild bridges between his estranged children. However, peace and harmony are a distant dream because hard-nosed capitalist Danny (James Callis), outspoken eco-warrior Andie (Rhona Mitra) and born-again rabbi Yona (Hugh O'Conor), have nothing in common apart from the bad blood flowing through their veins.