DVD Review - October 20

Droitwich Advertiser: DVD Review - October 20 DVD Review - October 20

A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases.

By Damon Smith


New to rent on DVD/Blu-Ray

Wrath Of The Titans (Cert 12, 99 mins, Warner Home Video, Action/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/2 Film Collection DVD Box Set £22.99/3D Blu-ray £24.99/2 Film Collection 3D Blu-ray Box Set £29.99)

Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Danny Huston, Edgar Ramirez, Rosamund Pike, Toby Kebbell, Bill Nighy, John Bell, Sinead Cusack.

Demi-god Perseus (Sam Worthington) returns to his fishing village with 10-year-old son Helius (John Bell), hoping to put his monster-slaying days behind him. Alas, war looms because the humans have neglected the gods, weakening brothers Zeus (Liam Neeson), Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston). Consequently, the imprisoned Titans, led by the gods' banished father Kronos, are gaining in strength and will soon escape the cavernous dungeon prison of Tartarus. Zeus is betrayed by Hades and his godly son Ares (Edgar Ramirez), so Perseus races to the rescue, hacking and slashing a menagerie of terrifying beasts with the help of feisty Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and Poseidon's wise-cracking demi-god offspring, Agenor (Toby Kebbell). Wrath Of The Titans is certainly an improvement on the 2010 remake of the cult swords and sandals adventure Clash Of The Titans, but the bar was set spectacularly low. Alas, Jonathan Liebesman's special effects-driven sequel doesn't learn from previous mistakes, once again putting spectacle ahead of emotion in every frame. Action sequences such as Perseus's skirmish with a Chimera are still too frenetic, shot on handheld cameras in perpetual disorienting motion. Battle sequences are reduced to a dizzying blur likely to strain eyes, especially in the 3D version available exclusively on Blu-ray. Worthington flexes his muscles convincingly and Kebbell offers welcome comic relief but there's no emotional depth to characters and the heartbreak of closing scenes fails to wring a single tear. A two-disc set comprising Clash Of The Titans and the sequel is also available.

Rating: **


Dark Shadows (Cert 12, 113 mins, Warner Home Video, Comedy/Horror/Romance/Action, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Bella Heathcote, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloe Grace Moretz, Gulliver McGrath, Jackie Earle Haley, Helena Bonham Carter.

In the mid-18th century, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) spurns the advances of servant Angelique (Eva Green), who is a witch, and falls in love instead with Josette DuPres (Bella Heathcote). In revenge, Angelique kills Josette then transforms the object of her dangerous obsession into a hideous vampire and buries him alive. Almost 200 years later, construction workers unearth Barnabas's cast-iron coffin and the fanged fiend is unleashed in swinging 1972 Maine. While Barnabas acclimatises to the groovy customs of the era, he seeks sanctuary at his ancestral home, Collinwood Manor, with the latest branch of the family tree headed by Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer). Other members of the kooky clan include Elizabeth's sassy teenage daughter Carolyn (Chloe Grace Moretz), wastrel brother Roger (Jonny Lee Miller) and his 10-year-old son David (Gulliver McGrath). Dark Shadows is a misfiring fish-out-of-water comedy based on a cult TV series awash with vampires, ghosts and witches. While the supernatural subject matter and gothic gloom sound perfect for quixotic director Tim Burton, the script by Seth Grahame-Smith is an unholy mess, stumbling between comedy, action, horror and romance, without a clue how to navigate the shifts in tone. Depp sinks his pearly whites into his role and Green vamps it up to the hilt but many of the supporting cast are superfluous, not least Miller who serves no dramatic purpose. The director's imaginative style is strangely muted - even Danny Elfman's usually infectious score is off-key, continually giving way to a soundtrack of toe-tapping favourites from Donovan, Elton John and Moody Blues. When The Carpenters trill Top Of The World, we know with a heavy heart that we're closer to rock bottom.

Rating: **


Top Cat: The Movie (Cert U, 90 mins, Entertainment One UK, Family/Animation/Comedy, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £19.99)

Featuring the voices of: Jason Harris, Chris Edgerly, Matthew Piazzi, Bill Lobley, Ben Diskin, Melissa Disney, Eduardo Garza.

Top Cat (voiced by Jason Harris) and his buddies Benny (Chris Edgerly), Choo Choo (Harris), Fancy Fancy (Matthew Piazzi), Spook (Ben Diskin) and Brain (Harris) enjoy the run of Manhattan's alleys despite the best efforts of Officer Dibble (Bill Lobley) to thwart their scams. Their latest ruse involves getting close to the visiting Maharaja of Pikachu, who is well known for giving away rubies as tips. The felines' antics are quickly curtailed by new chief of police, Lou Strickland (Harris again), who installs CCTV cameras on every corner and mans the streets with automaton cops. Consequently, TC and the gang have to adapt their cons, while the main cat pursues a date with Strickland's sexy secretary, Trixie (Melissa Disney). Top Cat: The Movie is a risible Spanish-language animated feature, based on the cult Hanna-Barbera series, which has been dubbed into English for release on these shores. Alberto Mar's film couldn't be more lifeless or soulless, relying on our enduring love for the characters to blind us to gaping inadequacies on the small screen. "What more does an alley cat need than good food and good friends?" chirps TC at one point. A good script and good direction might be an idea because Mar is ill-equipped to juxtapose action, comedy and romance or to entertain viewers of any age. Characters remain largely faithful to the Hanna-Barbera designs but vocal performances are weak. Alas, this is anything but the cat's whiskers.

Rating: *


Also released

Apartment 143 (Cert 15, 77 mins, Momentum Pictures Home Entertainment, Horror/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £12.99 - see below)

Blood Alley (Cert 15, 87 mins, Studio Canal, Action/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below)

Inbred (Cert 18, 94 mins, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Horror/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below)

LOL (Cert 12, 92 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, Drama/Romance, also available to buy DVD £17.99 - see below)

Saints And Soldiers: Airborne Creed (Cert 12, 93 mins, Metrodome Distribution, War/Action/Drama, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below)

Some Guy Who Kills People (Cert 15, 93 mins, Koch Media GmbH, Comedy/Horror, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below)

Think Like A Man (Cert 12, 117 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Comedy/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99 - see below)


New to buy on DVD/Blu-Ray

Think Like A Man (Cert 12, 117 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, DVD £19.99, Comedy/Romance)

The battle of the sexes rages on in Tim Story's ensemble romantic comedy inspired by Steve Harvey's best-selling self help book, Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. Good friends Dominic (Michael Ealy), Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara), Michael (Terrence J) and Zeke (Romany Malco) play basketball together throughout the week, where banter on and off the court reveals problems in each man's relationship. Dominic is struggling to meet the demands of successful businesswoman Lauren (Taraji P Henson), who wants a man with potential, while Jeremy's aversion to commitment is grating on his girlfriend Kristen (Gabrielle Union). Michael is trying to cut apron strings to his domineering mother so he can woo single parent Candace (Regina Hall), while womaniser Zeke discovers that he cannot charm Mya (Meagan Good) between the sheets on a first date and he will have to work harder if he is to earn her trust. The four buddies attempt to resolve their difficulties but the path to true love is littered with obstacles.


American Horror Story - Season 1 (Cert 15, 520 mins, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, DVD £34.99/Blu-ray £39.99, Horror/Drama)

All 12 episodes of the Emmy award-winning drama set in a haunted house. Psychiatrist Dr Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott) has an affair with one of his students, Hayden (Kate Mara), and his wife Vivien (Connie Britton) gives birth to a stillborn baby. With their marriage in crisis, the Harmons decide to start afresh by moving from Boston to Los Angeles with their teenage daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga). Unaware that their new home is haunted, the Harmons settle in looking forward to a brighter future. Then Hayden re-appears, determined to reignite her affair with Ben, while Vivien is drawn to Ben's patient, Tate Langdon (Evan Peters), who lives next door with his mother, Constance (Jessica Lange). Spirits, which reside in the house, play out a deadly and murderous game with the Harmons, driving the family to the brink of destruction.


LOL (Cert 12, 92 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, DVD £17.99, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

A mother and daughter struggle to communicate effectively in this comedy drama directed by Lisa Azuelos. High school student Lola (Miley Cyrus) breaks up with her boyfriend Chad (George Finn) and pours out her heart in her diary. She also finds comfort with best friend Kyle (Douglas Booth), ignoring the obvious sexual chemistry between them. Lola's best friend, Emily (Ashley Hinshaw), also has relationship woes. She is madly in lust with her mathematics teacher Mr Ross (Austin Nichols) and would gladly break the law for some one-on-one tuition with the hunky tutor. Meanwhile, Lola's mother, Anne (Demi Moore), is struggling with divorce from her husband (Thomas Jane). A handsome cop called James (Jay Hernandez) might provide a glimmer of hope but Anne is concerned by her alienation from Lola and resolves to get to know her daughter better... by reading the plucky teenager's most intimate and secret thoughts.


Alcatraz - The Complete First Season (Cert 15, 546 mins, Warner Home Video, DVD £29.99/Blu-ray £39.99, Thriller/Drama)

JJ Abrams (Lost) is executive producer of this drama cased around the infamous prison. In March 1963, the prisoners and guards of Alcatraz vanished without trace and the US government closed the facility, hiding the truth from the public. In 2011, former inmate Jack Sylvane (Jeffrey Pierce) re-appears out of the ether, looking exactly as he did back in 1963, and he continues to commit heinous crimes. FBI Agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill), Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) and Dr Diego Soto (Jorge Garcia) join forces to recapture a man who shouldn't exist. As the team edges closer to its prey, other prisoners of Alcatraz reappear and run amok. The three-disc set includes all 13 episodes.


Made In Chelsea - Series 3 (Cert 15, 470 mins, 4DVD, DVD £19.99/Series 1-3 DVD Box Set £29.99, Drama/Documentary)

Another 10 incident-packed episodes of the E4 reality series, which chronicles the trials and tribulations of privileged twenty-somethings from the wealthy London borough. This series, Hugo's relationship with Natalie leaves Spencer feeling disenfranchised and Millie makes her mark at Glamour Magazine. Meanwhile, Jamie moves in with Spencer but their friendship is tested by shared affections for Kimberley. An eight-disc box set comprising all three series is also available.


Some Guy Who Kills People (Cert 15, 93 mins, Koch Media GmbH, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Comedy/Horror)

Ken Boyd (Kevin Corrigan) emerges from a psychiatric ward after he was sectioned for depression and suicidal tendencies. Thanks to his good friend Irv (Leo Fitzpatrick), Ken lands a menial job flipping burgers. Soon after, the people who were responsible for his incarceration at the psychiatric ward begin to perish in grisly fashions. Sheriff Walt Fuller (Barry Bostwick), who is dating Ken's domineering mother, Ruth (Karen Allen), points the finger of suspicion firmly at Ken and resolves to put his prime suspect behind bars. However, Ken claims he is innocent of the heinous crimes. As the body count steadily rises, the evidence also mounts and Ken must clear his name while forging links with a daughter (Ariel Gade) he never knew about.


Apartment 143 (Cert 15, 77 mins, Momentum Pictures Home Entertainment, DVD £12.99, Horror/Thriller)

A family endures a torrid time in a new apartment in Carles Torrens's spooky horror. Alan White (Kai Lennox) has recently lost his wife and he struggles to come to terms with his grief, compounded by the behaviour of his daughter, Caitlin (Gia Mantegna), who blames Alan for her mother's death. Her brother Benny (Damian Roman) is more understanding and he dutifully moves into a new apartment with the rest of the family to heal deep emotional wounds. A series of strange occurrences suggests the flat might be haunted so Alan invites a team of parapsychologists into his new home to get to the bottom of the goings-on. The scientists set up state-of-the-art camera equipment to capture any paranormal activity and their findings make chilling viewing.


Chuck - The Complete Fifth And Final Season (Cert 15, 533 mins, Warner Home Video, DVD £39.99/Complete DVD Box Set £69.99, Comedy/Action)

Five-disc set comprising the final 13 episodes of the fast-paced action comedy, which follows the exploits of electronics store worker Chuck (Zachary Levi), who leads a double life as a CIA secret agent. This series, Chuck and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) set up freelance spy organisation Carmichael Industries, and secure the services of National Security Agency operative Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez). The team's first assignment goes awry but Chuck and Sarah are a formidable pairing. Even they are stretched to the limit by former CIA agent Nicholas Quinn (Angus Macfadyen), who captures Chuck and sets a deadly trap for his friends. A 25-disc box set comprising all five series is also available.


Blood Alley (Cert 15, 87 mins, Studio Canal, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Action/Thriller)

Steven Seagal reprises his role as renegade cop Elijah Kane in two episodes of the fast-paced US TV series True Justice, which are repackaged as a single feature-length investigation for British viewers. In this instalment, the CIA approaches Kane to help them break up a human trafficking ring. Flanked by his trusted team - Johnny Garcia (Jesse Hutch), Mark Simms (Lochlyn Munro) and rookie Sarah Montgomery (Sarah Lind) - Kane follows a trail of evidence and he eventually discovers that the criminals are not trading in human lives - they are trafficking vital organs for vast sums of money.


Here Do We Go Now? (Cert 12, 97 mins, Revolver Entertainment, DVD £15.99, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

The women of an isolated Lebanese village cleverly plot to unite warring Christian and Muslim factions in Nadine Labaki's uplifting comedy. Following more bloodshed and enmity, mayor's wife Yvonne (Yvonne Maalouf) and the other women hatch a series of hare-brained schemes to bring about peace between the men. They sabotage TVs to ensure news coverage cannot inflame tensions and recruit a troupe of sexy Ukrainian showgirls to distract the men from their feud. Doting mother Takla (Claude Baz Moussawbaa) conceals the death of her beloved son Nassim (Kevin Abboud) to avoid reprisals, while devout Christian Amale (Labaki) fans the flames of romance with Muslim Rabih (Julien Farhat).


Blue Bloods - The Second Season (Cert 15, 902 mins, Paramount Home Entertainment, DVD £39.99, Drama)

Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) and his Irish-American family of cops come under intense scrutiny in the second series of the acclaimed drama filmed on location in New York City. Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) faces internal affairs after he accidentally shoots an undercover cop, while youngest child Jamie (Will Estes) continues to work deep undercover to infiltrate the mob. Erin (Bridget Moynahan) is devastated when one of her informants is murdered and she joins forces with Danny to bring the culprit to justice. The six-disc box set includes all 22 episodes.


Saints And Soldiers: Airborne Creed (Cert 12, 93 mins, Metrodome Distribution, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, War/Action/Drama)

In this prequel to Ryan Little's 2003 war film Saints And Sinners, three soldiers risk their lives to help members of the French resistance repel an enemy attack. Rossi (Corbin Allred), Jones (David Nibley) and Curtis (Jason Wade) are members of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat team (PRCT), who jump behind enemy lines on August 15, 1944, to support the Allied troops marching to Berlin. They land in enemy territory in the south of France, separated from the rest of the unit, and head carefully to the rendez-vous point. En route, the men encounter French resistance fighter Emilie (Virginie Fourtina Anderson), whose comrades are being held hostage by the Germans. Rossi, Jones and Curtis join forces to liberate the prisoners, despite the terrible risks. Meanwhile, German officer Captain Erich Neumann (Lincoln Hoppe) begins to question his actions during the conflict.


Victorious - The Complete First Season (Cert PG, 225 mins, Paramount Home Entertainment, DVD £19.99, Comedy/Musical/Drama)

Aspiring singer Tori Vega (Victoria Justice) chases fame and fortune at the prestigious Hollywood Arts High School in 19 episodes of the teen-oriented Nickelodeon comedy, under the aegis of teachers including Mr Sikowitz (Eric Lange). Fellow students Cat Valentine (Ariana Grande), Robbie Shapiro (Matt Bennett) and Andre Harris (Leon Thomas III) help Tori to settle in and inspire her to chase her dreams.


Inbred (Cert 18, 94 mins, Anchor Bay Entertainment, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Horror/Thriller)

The Yorkshire countryside is smothered in blood in this gory horror, written and directed by Alex Chandon. Community service workers Kate (Jo Hartley) and Jeff (James Doherty) take four young offenders - Dwight (Chris Waller), Sam (Nadine Rose Mulkerrin), Tim (James Burrows) and Zeb (Terry Haywood) - to the remote village of Mortlake to restore a dilapidated manor as part of their rehabilitation. A bad accident inflames tensions between the southern interlopers and the locals, led by Gris (Neil Leiper), the psychotic son of local pub owner Jim (Seamus O'Neill). Gris and his buddies decide that Kate, Jeff and their wards deserve to die in the most gruesome ways possible, and the battle lines are drawn between the two camps.


Charlie Casanova (Cert 18, 92 mins, Studio Canal, DVD £15.99, Drama/Thriller)

Terry McMahon's incendiary drama, which has been deservedly classified as an 18 certificate, will sharply divide viewers with its unflinching depiction of a sociopath's rampage. Charlie (Emmett J Scanlan) and his wife Saoirse (Ruth McIntyre) are attending a weekend conference with two fellow couples, Kevin (Damien Hannaway) and Una (Leigh Arnold) and Donald (Tony Murphy) and Linda (Valeria Bandino). The delegates know one another well and Charlie is the self-appointed leader of the gang, effusively spouting his theories on the world, the most contentious of which is a decision to absolve himself of all responsibility by allowing a pack of playing cards to dictate his actions. When Charlie is involved in a hit and run, and the cards tell him to drive away, the rush of adrenaline propels him on to a dangerous path of suffering and betrayal, including a sexual overture to Una. As Charlie's devotion to the cards escalates out of control, other members of the sextet are caught in the crossfire, culminating in cold-blooded murder.


Electrick Children (Cert 15, 99 mins, Revolver Entertainment, DVD £15.99, Drama)

Rachel (Julia Garner) is part of a fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah, run with a firm hand by pastor Paul (Billy Zane). Cocooned from the harsh realities of the modern world, Rachel hasn't been exposed to 24-hour media or social networking, so when she discovers a cassette in the basement, she is eager to hear the recording. Her older brother Will (Liam Aiken) catches her listening to the tape and attempts to wrestle away the cassette just as their mother Gay Lynn (Cynthia Watros) walks in and misconstrues the scene as a sexual advance from the lad. Three months later, Rachel announces she is pregnant as a result of an immaculate conception from listening to the forbidden music. Paul and Gay Lynn fear the real reason is Will and they exile him from the community. Rachel flees in horror and Will tags along, determined to prove his innocence.


Woody Allen: A Documentary (Cert 15, 109 mins, Soda Pictures, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Documentary)

For more than 45 years, Woody Allen has been playing out the battle of the sexes on the big screen, laced with his distinctive, nervous wit. He has collected four Oscars for Annie Hall, Hannah And Her Sisters and Midnight In Paris and continues to churn out one feature per year. Documentary film-maker Robert B Weide offers an affectionate portrait of the man by witnessing him at work on set and interviewing the people who have worked with him behind and in front of the cameras.


Sarah Palin: You Betcha! (Cert E, 91 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, DVD £12.99, Documentary)

Former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the first woman nominated by the party for the illustrious position, gained more publicity than John McCain during the 2008 race for the White House. Documentary film-maker Nick Broomfield travels to Alaska to meet and interview the former state governor but is frustrated when his subject becomes rather elusive. So he changes tack and decides to interview friends, political colleagues, neighbours and her relatives, building up a vivid portrait of the wife and mother who made an indelible mark on the American political process.


The Thompsons (Cert 18, 77 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, DVD £19.99, Horror/Thriller)

Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores, aka The Butcher Brothers, direct this sequel to heir 2006 vampire horror The Hamiltons. Francis (Cory Knauf) and his brood go on the run and change their name, heading for the leafy refuge of England where they track down a vampire clan called the Stuarts in the town of Ludlow. The family elders (Daniel O'Meara, Selina Giles) extend a warm welcome to Francis and his clan but the newcomers soon discover that the Stuarts have macabre plans for them.


Cube (Cert 15, 87 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Horror/Thriller)

A re-issue of Vincenzo Natali's cult 1998 horror set within a cube-shaped labyrinth laden with pitfalls. Five strangers wake and discover they are trapped inside a maze of booby-trapped chambers. Police office Quentin (Maurice Dean Wint) takes the lead with expert jailbreaker Rennes (Wayne Robson) and brilliant mathematics student Leaven (Nicole De Boer) soon realises that each room is numbered, and these digits reveal if a room is safe. Kazan (Andrew Miller), who is autistic, joins the prisoners and they continue their journey through the cube, determined to outwit its diabolical designers.


DVD and Blu-Ray retail top 10

1 (-) Snow White And The Huntsman

2 (-) Shrek's Thrilling Tales

3 (1) Avengers Assemble

4 (3) The Dictator

5 (-) Bones - Season 7

6 (5) The Hunger Games

7 (-) Spartacus: Vengeance

8 (2) The Raid

9 (-) Taken

10 (-) The Pact

Chart supplied by hmv.com


DVD rental top 10

1 (4) Salmon Fishing In The Yemen

2 (-) Snow White And The Huntsman

3 (8) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

4 (-) How I Spent My Summer Vacation

5 (3) American Pie: Reunion

6 (-) Moonrise Kingdom

7 (5) Lockout

8 (2) Safe

9 (1) 21 Jump Street

10 (6) Battleship

Chart supplied by www.blockbuster.co.uk

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