A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases.
By Damon Smith.
New to rent on DVD/Blu-Ray.
Colombiana (Cert 15, 103 mins, Entertainment In Video, Action/Thriller/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99).
Starring: Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan, Jordi Molla, Lennie James, Callum Blue, Cliff Curtis, Beto Benites, Amandla Stenberg.
In 1992 Colombia, 10-year-old Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) witnesses the deaths of her parents at the hands of druglord Don Luis (Beto Benites) and his thug henchman, Marco (Jordi Molla). The girl heads to Chicago to reunite with her gangster uncle, Emilio (Cliff Curtis), determined to avenge her parents' deaths. Fifteen years later, Cataleya (now played by Zoe Saldana) has blossomed into a sexy assassin responsible for 22 murders in four years. FBI Special Agent Ross (Lennie James) is on her trail but Cataleya will not end the killing spree until Don Luis and Marco are both six feet under. Complicating matters, the assassin is romantically involved with an artist (Michael Vartan), who wants to know more about the enigmatic woman in his life. Colombiana is a pacy revenge thriller distinguished by a far better performance from Saldana than Olivier Megaton's film deserves. The lithe actress wrings genuine tears from her tragic heroine and seems eminently capable of taking down an entire criminal underworld between applications of lip-gloss. The romance with Vartan's creative hunk is undernourished and James's crusading cop is hamstrung with some terrible dialogue but both men make the most of the scraps in the formulaic yet entertaining script. Megaton orchestrates thrilling set pieces littered with bone-crunching fistfights, explosions and daredevil acrobatics. He masterminds a bravura sequence in a police station, which sees the latex-clad avenger crawling around the building's ventilation ducts to sneak up on a criminal under armed guard. A late-night assault on a kingpin's mansion errs towards unintentional campiness thanks to a subterranean shark pool. James Bond would raise a shaken martini in approval.
Rating: *** Troll Hunter (Cert 15, 99 mins, Momentum Pictures Home Entertainment, Action/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £29.99) Starring: Glenn Erland Tosterud, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Morck, Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen.
In the west, trolls are cute gift shop trinkets with voluminous hair but in Scandinavia, these fantastical creatures are deeply embedded in folklore. Some are truly terrifying and director Andre Ovredal explores the mythology in this hugely entertaining and action-packed thriller about a student film crew who stumble upon a secret that involves the upper echelons of power in Norway. Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), video camera man Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen) and sound operator Johanna (Johanna Morck) are intrigued by the deaths of several bears. Local hunters point the finger of suspicion at Hans (Otto Jespersen), so the students stalk their prime suspect and discover that Hans is an employee of the government who risks his life to secretly deal with trolls. Unexpectedly, Hans allows the camera crew to follow him on his adventures and the youngsters stand slack-jawed as they glimpse the gargantuan creatures they thought only existed in fairy stories. In the process, the film-makers clash with Finn (Hans Morten Hansen), the director of the Troll Security Service, who doesn't want footage of the beasts filtering into the mainstream. Troll Hunter is a fast-paced romp stylised as 'found' documentary footage, replete with blurred camerawork as Kalle and his fellow students gallop through trees and undergrowth in the dead of night to escape a rampaging creature. Some of the digital effects lack polish but director Ovredal cleverly side-steps technological shortcomings by shooting one tense sequence in night vision. Like the petrified students, we hold our breath, praying the dark will keep them safe from harm.
Rating: *** Also released Against The Current (Cert 15, 94 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Drama/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99 - see below) Arrietty (Cert U, 90 mins, Studio Canal, Animation/Drama, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £24.99 - see below) The Big Picture (Cert 15, 115 mins, Artificial Eye, Drama, also available to buy DVD £15.99 - see below) Cell 211 (Cert 18, 108 mins, Studio Canal, Thriller/Drama, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below) In A Better World (Haevnen) (Cert 15, 119 mins, Axiom Films, Drama/Romance, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below) Melancholia (Cert 15, 135 mins, Artificial Eye, Drama, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below) Project Nim (Cert 12, 95 mins, Icon Home Entertainment, Documentary, also available to buy DVD £15.99 - see below)