A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases.
By Damon Smith.
New to rent on DVD/Blu-ray.
Dream House (Cert 15, 88 mins, Warner Home Video, Thriller/Romance, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £19.99).
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Claire Geare, Taylor Geare, Naomi Watts, Rachel G Fox, Elias Koteas.
Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) is a successful publisher in Manhattan who abandons the city to spend more time with his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and daughters Dee Dee (Claire Geare) and Trish (Taylor Geare) in the suburbs. While reconnecting with his family, Will learns that their home was once a murder scene, where a mother and her brood were slain at the hands of a wrathful husband. Ann Paterson (Naomi Watts) and her teenage daughter Chloe (Rachel G Fox), who live across the street, clearly know something about the horrific case but are reluctant to speak to Will. Then a mysterious stranger called Boyce (Elias Koteas) begins to spy on the Atentons, compelling Will and Libby to piece together the clues. Dream House is, alas, more of a nightmare for everyone involved. Jim Sheridan's suspense film creaks with familiarity, applying the same plot mechanics as Shutter Island and John Carpenter's The Ward, with similarly lacklustre results. The inexpressiveness of leading man Craig does the film few favours. His stricken hero is neither endearing nor sympathetic and we couldn't care a jot if he unravels the mystery of the previous owners of his New England townhouse, who perished in grisly circumstances. Weisz and Watts are poorly served, unable to find any emotional depth in their two-dimensional heroines and Koteas's role is laughably obvious. The histrionics of the fiery finale don't make a great deal of sense but since Craig is as wooden as the homestead that conceals so many dark secrets, at least there's the tantalising possibility of his crusading father going up in flames.
Rating: ** Romantics Anonymous (Les Emotifs Anonymes) (Cert 12, 79 mins, Revolver Entertainment, Comedy/Romance, also available to buy DVD £15.99) Starring: Isabelle Carre, Benoit Poelvoorde, Lorella Cravotta, Lise Lametrie, Swann Arlaud, Pierre Niney, Stephan Wojtowicz.
Jean-Rene (Benoit Poelvoorde) is the socially awkward boss of an ailing chocolate factory who exudes an air of confidence in front of his staff but is timid as a mouse with the opposite sex. Indeed, he is in counselling to boost his self-belief, sharing woes with his understanding therapist (Stephan Wojtowicz). Angelique (Isabelle Carre) secures a position as a saleswoman for the factory, mistakenly believing that she had been applying for a job as a chocolate maker. Unable to shatter her new boss's hopes, she tries to flog the factory's wares but it quickly becomes clear from talking to clients that her new workplace is heading for financial ruin. Unbeknown to Jean-Rene, Angelique happens to be a talented, hermetic chocolate maker responsible for the dreamiest soft centres and pralines in the whole of Paris. Under her secretive pseudonym, she throws the business a lifeline by creating a daring new line of confectionery, which ignites Jean-Rene's dormant desires. Meanwhile, his long-suffering employees - Magda (Lorella Cravotta), Suzanne (Lise Lametrie), Antoine (Swann Arlaud) and Ludo (Pierre Niney) - see through Angelique's well-intentioned deception. Romantics Anonymous is a moreish, offbeat comedy about two social misfits brought together by the sensual delights of chocolate. Scenes of Angelique at work with luscious fillings and ganache inspire deep cravings so it's perfect timing to release the DVD at Easter. Director Jean-Pierre Ameris combines comedy and romance with a gentle touch and he elicits strong performances from Poelvoorde and Carre, who are sweetly matched.
Rating: **** Also released Acts Of Godfrey (Cert 15, 82 mins, Guerilla Films, Comedy/Drama, also available to buy DVD £14.99 - see below) Kidnapped (Cert 18, 82 mins, Icon Home Entertainment, Thriller/Horror, also available to buy DVD £12.99 - see below) The Ledge (Cert 15, 97 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Thriller/Romance, also available to buy DVD £12.99/Blu-ray £17.99 - see below) Mercenaries (Cert 15, 93 mins, Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, Action/Drama, also available to buy DVD £12.99 - see below) Possession (Cert 15, 85 mins, Momentum Pictures Home Entertainment, Horror/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £12.99 - see below) Recoil (Cert 15, 90 mins, Entertainment One UK, Action/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £12.99/Blu-ray £14.99 - see below) New to buy on DVD/Blu-ray Titanic (Cert 12, 184 mins, ITV Studios Home Entertainment, DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99, Drama/Romance/Action) Downton Abbey scribe Julian Fellowes plays out more clashes across the social divide in ITV1's lavish four-part period drama set aboard the supposedly unsinkable liner on its maiden voyage in April 1912. With Captain Smith (David Calder) at the helm, the majestic vessel heads out to sea. In first class, architect Thomas Andrews (Stephen Campbell Moore) proudly discusses his designs while tensions flare between the Earl of Manton (Linus Roache), his wife (Geraldine Somerville) and good friend John Batley (Toby Jones). Pretty stewardess Annie Desmond (Jenna-Louise Coleman) catches the eye of guests and crew alike as the ship continues on its fateful course, heading straight for an iceberg that will result in the deaths of more than 1,500 people on the manifest.
Benidorm - The Complete Series Five (Cert 15, 324 mins, 2entertain, DVD £19.99/All Inclusive DVD Box Set £45.99, Comedy) Slap on the sun tan lotion as ITV1's award-winning comedy returns to DVD with six more episodes of hilarious mishaps for the staff and guests of the all-inclusive Solana resort. Joyce Temple-Savage (Sherrie Hewson), the new manager of the resort, is determined to win a four-star rating for her hotel and she whips the employees into shape, assigning dim-witted Liam (Adam Gillen) as the resident handyman while Les (Tim Healy) continues to work behind the bar. The Garveys returns en masse but Gavin (Hugh Sachs) and Noreen (Elsie Kelly) suffer a nightmare start to their holiday when their luggage goes missing. An 11-disc box set comprising all five series plus the one-off specials is also available.
Mercenaries (Cert 15, 93 mins, Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, DVD £12.99, Action/Drama) Paris Leonti writes and directs this action-oriented thriller about a team of elite soldiers, who are sent behind enemy lines to rescue kidnapped allies. Civil unrest in the Balkans leads to a military coup and the assassination of the Serbian prime minister. A former army commander spearheads the dissent, which includes taking hostage the US ambassador and his aide. Former British SAS operative Andy Marlow (Robert Fucilla) is asked to lead a covert rescue mission, taking charge of a group of mercenaries who must locate the ambassador and deliver him safely to the US government. However, allied forces are stationed far from the enemy stronghold so Andy and his men must traverse perilous terrain with the ambassador and his aide to avoid recapture.
Big Love - The Complete Fourth Season (Cert 15, 450 mins, Warner Home Video/HBO, DVD £39.99, Drama/Romance) Mormon polygamist Bill Hendrickson (Bill Paxton), his three wives Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), Nicolette (Chloe Sevigny) and Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin) and various offspring face more trials and tribulations in the fourth series of the acclaimed HBO drama. After Sarah's shocking announcement, Bill campaigns vociferously for a seat on the Utah State Senate, naively believing that he can keep secret his unconventional and complicated lifestyle. However, the truth must out and tribal leaderships are strained, forcing each of the wives to test their resolve in the face of a potential scandal. The three-disc box set includes all nine episodes.