A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases.
By Damon Smith.
New to rent on DVD/Blu-ray.
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (Cert 12, 127 mins, Paramount Home Entertainment, Action/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £27.99).
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Michael Nyqvist.
Impossible Missions Force operative Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is sprung from a Russian jail by fellow agents Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg). They are ordered to break into the Kremlin to steal intelligence files that reveal the identity of a terrorist codenamed Cobalt. The mission turns sour when madman Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist) detonates a bomb inside the iconic building to cover up the theft of Russian nuclear launch codes. Disavowed by the US government, Ethan, Jane, Benji and top analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) must operate outside of official channels to apprehend Hendricks and avert nuclear Armageddon. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol careens at breakneck speed from the jail break and the demolition of the Kremlin to a breathless chase through a sand storm and a bruising skirmish in an Indian car manufacturing plant. Brad Bird's film is truly exhilarating, boasting ingenious gadgets, bone-crunching fights and death-defying acrobatics. What Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum's script lacks in plausibility - almost everything - it compensates with unabashed, all-guns-blazing fun. The fourth film keeps Cruise in the eye of the storm, allowing the gung-ho star to perform many of his own jaw-dropping stunts. The actor throws himself into the melee with boundless energy, scaling the dizzying heights of the world's tallest building in Dubai or zip-lining onto the roof of a moving vehicle on the streets of Moscow. From the moment he barks, "light the fuse," cueing Lalo Schifrin's distinctive theme music over the opening credits, our pulses race and we're strapped in tight for a giddy thrill ride.
Rating: **** The Iron Lady (Cert 12, 104 mins, Pathe Distribution Ltd, Drama/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £24.99) Starring: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, Anthony Head, Richard E Grant, Iain Glen.
From the comfort of her lodgings at Chester Square in London's swanky Belgravia, Baroness Thatcher (Meryl Streep) juggles a busy social diary with the help of assistants and her daughter Carol (Olivia Colman). She hosts dinner parties where she voices her views on the current government ("I don't like coalitions, never have") and David Cameron ("Clever man, quite a smoothie!") but is disparaging about the state of Westminster since her departure. Comforted by the ghost of her late husband, Denis (Jim Broadbent), Thatcher allows her mind to wander back to the 1984 IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton, the Falklands war and her downfall precipitated by a critical speech from Geoffrey Howe (Anthony Head) in front of appalled Cabinet ministers. The Iron Lady is dominated by Streep's Oscar-winning portrayal of Thatcher. She electrifies every frame of Phyllida Lloyd's uneven film, disappearing completely beneath the ageing make-up, tailored suits and false teeth to embody a naive interloper who blossomed into a compelling orator. Broadbent offers sterling support and Colman is equally impressive, including a heartbreaking scene in which Carol tearfully attempts to re-tether her mother's mind to reality. "You are not prime minister anymore and Dad is... Dad is dead," whispers Carol soothingly. As a full, unexpurgated history lesson, The Iron Lady is found wanting. Screenwriter Abi Morgan glosses over great swathes of Thatcher's premiership, conceiving a poignant tribute that revisits key moments in flashback, seen through the eyes of an increasingly frail eighty-something woman fighting against the rising tide of fractured memories.