DVD Review

First published in AdXtra

A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases.

By Damon Smith


New to rent on DVD/Blu-ray

The Lucky One (Cert 12, 98 mins, Warner Home Video, Romance/Drama, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £22.99)

Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Jay R Ferguson, Riley Thomas Stewart, Adam LeFevre.

During a tour of duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) discovers a photograph of a beautiful woman in the rubble, which becomes his lucky mascot as he repeatedly cheats death. When the Marine returns home, he travels to North Carolina to track down the woman in the snapshot. She turns out to be Beth (Taylor Schilling), who runs a kennel with her feisty grandmother, Ellie (Blythe Danner). Before Logan can explain the reason for his visit, he agrees to help Beth with the animals and their bond deepens to the chagrin of her jealous ex-husband (Jay R Ferguson) and the delight of Beth's young son (Riley Thomas Stewart), who yearns for a tender male influence in his life. Based on the book by Nicholas Sparks, The Lucky One is a saccharine romance that doesn't stretch any of the main cast, despite the number of characters scarred by loss. Director Scott Hicks bows down at the altar of Efron. His camera stares dreamily into the actor's blue eyes and marvels at every inch of his bulked-up frame during a gratuitous and protracted sex scene. Schilling is sweet while Ferguson curries some sympathy for his spiteful ex, who has been tainted by his bullying father (Adam LeFevre), but the resolution to that particular plot thread is as predictable as it is emotionally manipulative. Screenwriter Will Fetters clearly signposts his intentions and ticks off the cliches to Mark Isham's score, which meanders like the river that provides Hicks's film with its defining moment.

Rating: ***


The Dinosaur Project (Cert 12, 79 mins, Studio Canal, Action/Adventure, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £22.99)

Starring: Matt Kane, Richard Dillane, Natasha Loring, Peter Brooke, Stephen Jennings.

The British Cryptozoological Society announces an expedition led by renowned explorer Jonathan Marchant (Richard Dillane) to investigate claims of a previously undocumented species in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Marchant's disgruntled teenage son, Luke (Matt Kane), who has just been expelled from school, is desperate to bond with his old man so he stows aboard the expedition helicopter. En route to base camp, Marchant discovers his son hiding in the cargo hold and an argument ensues, which is broken up by trusted assistant Charlie (Peter Brooke). Once the team is on the ground, strange and terrifying creatures emerge from the undergrowth and Marchant and his experts including Dr Liz Draper (Natasha Loring) quickly realise they have stumbled upon a microcosm of life dating back millions of years. Styled as found footage a la Cloverfield and Trollhunter, The Dinosaur Project is an action-packed adventure that is hamstrung as much by its modest budget as by the flimsy plot. Special effects are solid, particularly a baby dinosaur called Crypto which Luke befriends, but the shaky handheld camerawork frequently restricts our view of the prehistoric beasts and disguises the jerkiness of their movements. Director Sid Bennett's script, co-written by Jay Basu, pays the characters short shrift and the narrative hinges on manifold contrivances such as Luke bringing a backpack crammed full of the latest technological gizmos, including a night vision camera, which prove surprisingly useful for capturing the carnage of each set piece. It's mildly entertaining but no match for Jurassic Park.

Rating: **


Also released

Detention (Cert 15, 89 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Comedy/Horror, also available to buy DVD £12.99 - see below)

Interview With A Hitman (Cert 15, 95 mins, Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, Action/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £14.99/Blu-ray £17.99 - see below)

One In The Chamber (Cert 15, 87 mins, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Action/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £13.99/Blu-ray £17.99 - see below)

Outpost II: Black Sun (Cert 15, 97 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, Horror/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below)

Starship Troopers: Invasion (Cert 15, 85 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Animation/Sci-Fi/Action, also available to buy DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £22.99 - see below)

Truth Or Dare (Cert 15, 91 mins, Showbox Media, Horror/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £24.99 - see below)

Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (Cert 18, 93 mins, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Horror/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £19.99 Blu-ray £27.99 - see below)

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