Category Archives: New on DVD and Blu Ray

DVD review – John Wick

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alfie Allen, Michael Nyqvist
Director: Chad Stahelski
Certificate: 15 (strong violence throughout)
Running Time: 101 mins
Release Date: out now on DVD and Blu-ray

When, oh when, will movie bad guys learn that killing dogs never leads to good things? Dog ownership is pretty much Hollywood’s universal signal for telling you who the good guys are, and those who look to cause them harm are almost without exception villains, scoundrels or robots from the future encased in human flesh to whom nothing good will come

So when Russian gangster Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen) extinguishes an adorable pooch in the opening minutes of John Wick, his fate is pretty much sealed. We know that he will get his comeuppance before the end of the film, and it’s implicitly understood that he will deserve every bit of it. No fate is too grisly for him, with the possible exception of the fate Allen suffered in Game of Thrones, that went a bit far. And it just so happens that the owner of said dog is John Wick (Keanu Reeves) – a legendary retired assassin, and one of the most reliable deliverers of comeuppances that cinema has ever seen

So begins 100 minutes of almost relentless violence. Henchmen in their dozens are shot, stabbed or otherwise broken as Wick blazes a bloody trail across the New York nighttime. It sounds like every other one-man-army action film you could possibly name, but it felt different somehow, and it took me about 20 minutes to put my finger on exactly why. After growing dispiritingly used to the fast-cutting, camera-shaking directorial styles of Olivier Megaton et al, John Wick was the first film in ages where I could actually see what was going on. Director Chad Stahelski takes the delightfully old school approach of pointing a camera at things that are happening and keeping it pointed there while said things continue to happen, meaning that you actually see things like punches connecting – a genuinely rare sight in an era of sanitised, 12A-friendly action

It’s a style that makes Wick more reminiscent of Hong Kong than Hollywood, and an infinitely easier watch than the likes of the headache-inducing Taken 3. It’s amazing that something so basic makes such a huge, positive difference, but it also exposes some of the film’s bigger flaws. Because we can see exactly what’s going on, we can see exactly how terrible every character’s aim is – Wick goes from deadeyed marksman to drywall-bothering scattershot as the plot demands it – and there seem to be a number of occasions where Wick sneaks up on a clueless bad guy by basically crouching directly in front of them. The standard of the action choreography never quite matches up to the quality of the camerawork, and occasionally the chasm is so wide that the whole enterprise looks a bit silly

John Wick is, therefore, best enjoyed if you go into it accepting it for what it is – a bit silly. The entire cast spends the whole movie putting on very serious expressions, and what humour there is is born of mild absurdity rather than the one-liners you’d expect of what is essentially Commando for the 21st century. It’s a film that’s great to watch, but you’ll almost certainly shrug, shake your head and forget all about it the moment it’s over

Our Verdict: 6/10

New on DVD and Blu-ray – 10th August 2015

Apologies for the late arrival of this regular Sunday piece. Fantastic Four temporarily made me lose the will to write

Pick of the Week

Timbuktu (12)

Why it’s our pick of the week: An acclaimed drama and future pub quiz answer, Timbuktu is the first ever film from Mauritania to be nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The tale of Jihadi oppression absolutely cleaned up at France’s prestigious Cesar Awards

And, well, it was always going to be Pick of the Week when you see what it’s up against…

Best of the Rest

Get Hard (15) A strong contender for worst film of the year, in a year which saw the release of a Paul Blart: Mall Cop sequel. Read our full review here
The Water Diviner (15) Russell Crowe directs Russell Crowe playing Russell Crowe, in this tale of an Australian farmer who travels to the battlefields of Gallipoli to retrieve the bodies of his dead sons
Dear White People (15) Satire about four black students at an overwhelmingly white Ivy League college, for which the word ‘inoffensive’ is both an accurate description and something of a failing
Robot Overlords (15) B-movie from the Snakes on a Plane school of movie titling. Starring Sir Ben Kingsley, unbelievably enough
Run All Night (15) The latest entry in the burgeoning “Liam Neeson punching things” genre. Can’t possibly be as bad as Taken 3
3 Nights in the Desert (15) Coming-of-age drama – specifically, the age of 30 – starring three friends who spend, you guessed it, three nights in the desert
A Second Chance (15) Danish drama with Game of Thrones‘ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a father confronted with some difficult choices
Age of the Dead (18) Shockingly bad cannibal virus horro
Big Driver (15) Stephen King adaptation about an author (Mario Bello) who seeks revenge after a brutal attack
Cottage Country (15) Canadian comedy which opens with a man accidentally committing an axe murder, and just gets funnier from there
Dark Horse (15) Film4-backed darling of the festival circuit, telling the story of a Maori ex-gang member who finds a way to give back to his community
Everly (18) Violent Selma Hayek-based thriller which only hit cinemas last month, but secured a quick DVD debut thanks to a limited and financially underwhelming cinema release – it took just £160 at UK box offices
Glassland (15) Gritty, Dublin-based human trafficking drama with Toni Collette and rumoured future Pennywise Will Poulter
It’s All So Quiet (12) Dutch drama film which has left me with a shit-awful Bjork song stuck in my head. Unforgivable
Les Combattants (15) French comedy-drama – known by the marvellous title of Love at First Fight in the USA – which tells the story of a man who falls for a doomsday prepper
She’s Funny That Way (15) Screwball comedy about the intertwined lives of the cast of a Broadway play – all of Birdman‘s smugness with none of the visual flair
Sinister House (18) Low budget horror of the week! Three sisters hide out in a house haunted by their dead parents, at which point predictable horror shenanigans ensue
Snow in Paradise (18) British drama dealing with tough subjects like drug addiction, gang violence and a conversion to Islam. And snow, presumably. Though that may just be referring to the drugs
Station to Station (12) Bold experiment which takes the ‘portmanteau film’ genre to its logical conclusion, stringing together 60-plus one-minute films into a single coherent whole. Well, a single whole anyway
The Burning (15) Gael Garcia Bernal stars as a Rambo-esque folk hero who metes out jungle-based justice against some evil mercenaries. Specifically, a Rambo III-esque hero
The Night Crew (15) Thriller featuring the incredibly promising cast of Danny Trejo, Luke Goss and Jason Mewes. It’s what it’s promising that’s the problem

New on DVD and Blu-ray – 3rd August 2015

Pick of the Week

White God (15)

Why it’s our pick of the week: Sometimes, things like plot and dialogue aren’t the most important things in a film. Sometimes, you’ve just got to watch something that involved closing off parts of Budapest, setting a cast of hundreds of dogs free, and filming the results. Hungary’s official submission for the 2015 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar did exactly that, and the results are truly something to behold

Best of the Rest

Good Kill (15) If you saw American Sniper and found it to be a somewhat one-sided take on the War on Terror, watching Good Kill immediately afterwards might be a good way of restoring some form of political balance. Ethan Hawke stars as a former fighter pilot restricted to piloting unmanned drones from an air conditioned shed in Nevada, when he’d much rather be flying planes on the other side of the world, far away from family problems. Read our full review here
Insurgent (12A) The second film of the Divergent series suffers badly from Second Film of the Series Syndrome, doing enough to advance the overall plot towards a finale without ever really delivering anything satisfying of it’s own. Kate Winslet’s cartoon villainy and Shailene Woodley’s all-round woodenness don’t really help matters. Read our full review here
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (U) The world’s most famous sponge goes live action for the first time to bring down a nefarious pirate (Antonio Banderas) who has stolen a secret krabby patty recipe. Featuring all the trademark randomness you would expect
Seventh Son (12A) One of the biggest flops of the year so far, a film that some suspected would do for Julianne Moore’s Oscar hopes what Jupiter Ascending did for Eddie Redmayne’s. Which, in a way, I suppose it did. Fantasy nonsense also starring Jeff Bridges
Woman in Gold (12A) Drama based on a true story, with Helen Mirren as an ageing Jewish refugee attempting to reclaim an artwork that was stolen by the Nazis many years earlier
A Haunting at Cypress Creek (18) Low budget horror of the week!, known as Lake Fear in other territories. Starring the magnificently-named Shanon Snedden
American Heist (15) Heist movie filmed predominantly in Canada. I’m not even joking. Stars Hayden Christiensen, and echoes the template of every one-last-big-score story ever made
Conjuring the Dead (15) A woman experiences visions of nightmarish evil when she arrives in a small Welsh village. Should have read the reviews on TripAdvisor first, really
Cub (15) Odd Belgian-made horror about a boy scout who encounters a monster
Echoes (15) You know what, I’m just going to write “low budget horror” as the description for everything from now on. These lists would still be at least 50% accurate
Teen Beach 2 (U) Disney’s latest attempt to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle popularity of High School Musical. It’s not looking good
The Carrier (18) John Cusack stars in the title role, as a man who must carry a bag without opening it. Making things slightly more difficult than it sounds are hordes of criminals who want whatever it is that’s in the bag. Also starring a few of the remaining shreds of Robert De Niro’s artistic credibility

New on DVD and Blu-ray – 27th July 2015

Pick of the Week

While We’re Young (15)

Why it’s our pick of the week: It’s been a godawful year for comedy on the big screen, with the likes of Get Hard and Unfinished Business managing to compete for the title of Worst Film of the Year in a year that saw the release of a Paul Blart: Mall Cop sequel. Thank goodness, then, for While We’re Young, a smart, well-observed and actually funny comedy that allows Ben Stiller to grow middle-aged gracefully while his comedic contemporaries embarrass themselves

Best of the Rest

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (15) The tagline, “the first Iranian vampire western”, tells you everything that you need to know. It’s from Iran, it’s of the Western genre, there are vampires, and it’s the best film with all of those things by virtue of being the first. Worth a watch for the uniqueness alone
Battlefield of Lost Souls (15) American Civil War drama, starring Tom Skerritt and one of the cheaper Arquettes
Bill (PG) A bit of historical what-if-ery concerning the wilderness years of William Shakespeare. Without an “and Ted”, it all seems a bit unnecessary
Black Beauty (PG) Update of Anna Sewell’s classic that nobody asked for. Starring Luke Perry
Clouds of Sils Maria (15) Drama which gained notice earlier in the year when Kristen Stewart, her of Twilight fame, won a Cesar award for her acting performance, easily the most prestigious acting award named after a brand of dog food that there is
Dead Rising: Watchtower (15) Video game adaptation starring Desperate Housewives‘ Jesse Metcalfe, a load of zombies and some ludicrous improvised weapons. Mediocre
Eat (18) Low-budget horror of the week! Concerning a fading actress who develops a taste for eating her own flesh
Fallen Soldiers (18) Yet more zombies. This time, they’re fighting at the battle of Waterloo, which in fairness is at least a little different
Just Before I Go (18) Seann William Scott (remember him?) turns in a distinctly un-Stifflerian performance as a man who gives up on life and contemplates suicide. The directorial debut of Courtney Cox (remember her?)
Listen Up Philip (15) Jason Schwartzman stars as a self-involved and unlikeable author in a film that most critic s described as self-involved and unlikeable
Miss Meadows (15) Katie Holmes stars in the title role, as a school teacher by day and cold-blooded vigilante by night. Considerably less amazing than it sounds
Of Girls and Horses (15) German-made drama about some girls, and also some horses
Out to Kill (15) Gay murder mystery with the title of a straight-to-video Steven Seagal film
Suite Française (15) Michelle Williams falls in love with a handsome Nazi officer in World War II-era occupied France. About as sentimental as it’s possible for a film about the Nazis to be
That Sugar Film (NR) Documentary maker Damon Garneau attempts to do for the sugar industry what Morgan Spurlock did for fast food. i.e. damage his own health while not achieving much
The Redwood Massacre (18) Visitors to a historic murder site discover that there’s nothing historic about it, as an axe-wielding maniac turns up and does that thing that axe-wielding maniacs do
Unhallowed Ground (15) A group of military cadets conduct an exercise at a haunted school, with predictable consequences
Wild Card (15) Statham does Vegas. He’s a bodyguard with a gambling problem and the expected set of lethal skills. The people he’s in debt to picked the wrong person to have in debt to them. Probably, I’m literally making all of this up on the basis of the poster
Yellowbird (PG) French-made animation about a yellow bird. It looks frankly terrifying

New on DVD and Blu-ray – 20th July 2015

Pick of the Week

Mommy (15)

Why it’s our pick of the week: Recipient of a Jury Prize and a nine-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, Xavier Dolan’s uncompromising French-Canadian drama stars Anne Dorval as a mother raising her violent and aggressive son on her own. After a extremely limited cinema release earlier in the year, home and streaming formats should offer it the audience it deserves

Best of the Rest

Accidental Love (15) David O. Russell follows American Hustle with a clueless romcom, starring Jessica Biel and Jake Gyllenhaal, that people generally dislike as much as I disliked American Hustle. Which takes some doing, I can tell you
Embrace of the Vampire (18) Canadian-made erotic horror, featuring Catholic schoolgirls who turn out to be vampires for some reason. Every bit as bad as it sounds
Ghost Boat (15) Low budget horror of the week! Featuring a haunted boat
Girlhouse (15) A house that provides content for an x-rated website gets infiltrated by a deranged killer
Home (U) Jim Parsons voices a purple-skinned alien Sheldon Cooper, and Rihanna his human companion. Fun for all the family, in the “young kids will be distracted by bright colours and parents will appreciate that fact” sense only
Housebound (18) A girl is placed under house arrest… haunted house arrest. I can’t believe they didn’t use that as the tag line
Shark Killer (15) On the off chance that SyFy’s programming isn’t satisfying your appetite for shark-based nonsense this week, here’s some more – an ace hunter by the name of Ace Hunter hunts down a shark that has swallowed a valuable diamond. Featuring former 24 and The Mummy star Arnold Vosloo, visibly wondering where it all went wrong
The Beat Beneath My Feet (15) A teenage boy discovers that his neighbour is a rock star who disappeared years ago after failing to pay taxes. Starring Luke Perry, who I assumed had done the same thing
The Face of an Angel (15) Cara Delevingne (face of an angel, eyebrows of a Jack Russell terrier) stars in a loose retelling of the Meredith Kercher murder trial
The Gunman (15) Sean Penn throws his name into the ring for consideration by directors who want to make an action film and see the age of the leading man as no obstacle to that. From the director of Taken, which probably tells you everything you need to know
The Human Centipede 3 – Final Sequence (18) Horrific, in every sense of the word, horror sequel whose only redeeming feature is the use of the word “final” in the title

New on DVD and Blu-ray – 13th July 2015

Pick of the Week

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (U)

Why it’s our pick of the week: It’s a good week for fans of visually-arresting animation, with Song of the Sea delighting cinema audiences and Isao Takahata’s latest opus hitting home formats after an unreasonably limited big-screen outing earlier in the year. Studi Ghibli’s longest film yet is an enchanting tale of a princess born inside a bamboo stalk

Best of the Rest

The Voices (15) Ryan Reynolds delivers a spectacular performance as the many personalities of Jerry, a mild-mannered guy who makes bathtubs by day and decapitates women by night when his pets tell him to. It’s a dark comedy which occasionally doesn’t get the balance between comedy and darkness right, but a decent watch nonetheless. Read our full review here
X+Y (12) Touching drama about an autistic teenage maths prodigy, his long-suffering mother and world-weary mentor. Lovely stuff. Read our full review here
Unfinished Business (15) “Comedy” which achieves the notable feat of being the worst film released so far in a year that also contained Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Read our full review hatchet job here
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death (15) Horror sequel not starring Daniel Radcliffe
A Pigeon Sat On a Branch Reflecting On Existence (12) Critically-acclaimed slice of Scandinavian surrealism about a pair of travelling salesmen
Electric Boogaloo – The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (18) Fascinating documentary about the b-movie factory of the title, which went from the backyard enterprise of a pair of Israeli cousins to the world’s foremost producer of rubbish starring Chuck Norris within a matter of years in the late 70s
Angels With Tethered Wings (18) Unusual, low-budget British drama involving angels, revenge and a whole bunch of male nudity. It says here
Crystal Skulls (12) Apocalyptic TV movie which somehow manages to be even worse than it’s Indian Jones-related near-namesake
Fuku-Chan of Fukufuku Flats (15) Japanese comedy whose title is almost certainly a ploy to make TV- and radio-based film shows swear a lot without realising
Kill the Messenger (15) What Jeremy Renner does when he’s not too busy being a heavily-franchised action hero – an engaging tale of a journalist who uncovers some of the CIA’s secrets and faces exactly the sort of consequences you’d expect. Based on a true story
The Amazing Wizard of Paws (U) A young boy’s faithful dog turns out to be 600 years old and magical. Probably not based on a true story
The Brighton Mob (18) Crime thriller whose IMDB page ambitiously compares itself to Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects. It’s a straight-to-video release from a first-time writer, made on a budget of £30,000
The Dead 2 – India (18) Generic zombie apocalypse chiller which had the good grace to point out it’s one and only unique selling point in the title – it’s set in India
The Four Warriors (12) Swords and sorcery epic about four warriors. Probably because the budget wouldn’t stretch to a fifth
The House With 100 Eyes (18) Low-budget horror of the week! A couple rig their house with security cameras – roughly 100 of them, at a guess – in order to record a snuff film
The Walking Deceased (15) Broad parody of every zombie movie ever made. Ironically, doesn’t have much in the way of braaaaiiiins
Tooken (15) Taken spoof which somehow manages to be even worse than Taken 3. Starring Donnie Wahlberg, who really ought to know better, and Jenny McCarthy, who in fairness probably doesn’t

New on DVD and Blu-ray – 6th July 2015

Pick of the Week

Still Alice (12)

Why it’s our pick of the week: Julianne Moore won an Oscar at the fifth time of asking for her portrayal of Alice Howland, a linguistics professor gradually losing herself to early onset Alzheimer’s. Director Richard Glatzer, who passed away just a couple of weeks after Moore’s triumph, captured the essence of Lisa Genova’s moving novel perfectly, and it goes without saying there are some stunning acting performances

Best of the Rest

Chappie (15) Neill Blomkamp’s latest has the seeds of two or three decent films buried in there somewhere, but when the decent films in question are Robocop and Pinocchio it’s easy to see why the whole ended up being less than satisfactory. Read our full review here
Focus (15) Will Smith and Margot Robbie star in a heist caper which would have made for an excellent spoof – the ridiculous schemes, the improbable twists, the fact that we’re supposed to sympathise with a master conman who basically just nicks stuff – if it weren’t for the fact that it appears to be taking itself completely seriously. Read our full review here
The Wedding Ringer (15) Josh Gad (Olaf from Frozen) hire a fake best man for his wedding. Hilarity ensues
A Hitman in London (18) Former kickboxing champion and low-budget action stalwart Gary Daniels play a hitman – in London, obviously – who deals with a network of savage pimps, including Michael Madsen and Mickey Rourke, in an excessively violent manner
A Horse for Summer (U) Dean Cain dons his finest D’Artagnan moustache for a heartwarming family tale about a horse
Antboy (PG) Danish superhero movie for kids which is completely unrelated to the forthcoming Ant-Man
Black Coal, Thin Ice (15) Chinese-made thriller which won awards at the Berlin Film Festival, concerning a pair of cops on the trail of a serial killer. Moody
Fighting Demons (15) Sean Bean stars as a boxer, fresh out of prison, who has to fight some demons. Metaphorical personal demons, unfortunately
Hyena (18) Film4 and BFI-backed police drama set on the mean streets of London, with Albanian gangs, dirty cops and other assorted cliches
Killersaurus (12) Leicestershire-based Creativ Films take on the might of Jurassic World with an animatronic t-rex and about £50 left over for script and actors
Mercenaries (15) The geniuses behind Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus turn their hand to a female-led Expendables ripoff, with results exactly as bad as you would expect them to be. With Kristanna Loken, Brigitte Nielsen and Vivica Fox
Return to Sender (18) After the success of Gone Girl, Rosamund Pike takes on another twisty thriller. This one didn’t trouble the awards juries, however
The Boy Next Door (18) Critically-ridiculed Fatal Attraction-alike starring Jennifer Lopez
The Cradle of Shadows (15) Low budget horror of the week! French-made chiller set in a haunted World War II bunker
The Possession of Michael King (15) A filmmaker searching for evidence of the existence of the supernatural winds up getting himself possessed. Careless
Two Men in Town (15) Forest Whitaker stars as a Muslim parolee whose old criminal associates are up to no good. A remake of the 1973 French film of the same name

New on DVD and Blu-ray – 29th June 2015

Pick of the Week

It Follows (15)

Why it’s our pick of the week: For a while now, the entire horror genre has been reliant on jump scares and gore to deliver thrills – and with the likes of Unfriended delivering staggering returns on a tiny budget, why wouldn’t they? It Follows, along with the likes of The Babadook, is at the forefront of a movement that aims to recapture the creeping, psychological dread that the classics of the genre did their best to foster before Scream‘s post-modernism and Saw‘s sadistic streak ruined everything. Made on a budget of just $2m and with no big name stars to speak of, it’s a word of mouth success that should find an even bigger audience on home formats

Best of the Rest

Force Majeure (15) Scandinavian comedy-drama which has already been picked up for a Hollywood remake. An avalanche in the French Alps reveals hidden truths about a holidaying family – watch it now in all of it’s subtitled glory, and impress all your friends when the inevitably inferior remake hits our screens!
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG) The sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel manages to sidestep the obvious “not as good as the original” jokes invited by its title by generally being good-natured and entertaining, if slightly less edgy than the average children’s nativity play. Read our full review here
Jupiter Ascending (12A) The Wachowski’s latest earns itself a bit of credit for being an original piece of science fiction writing amidst a sea of sequels and comic book properties, but entirely fails to build on that with it’s daft plot and near-total absence of personality. Read our full review here
Cake (15) Jennifer Aniston’s portrayal of a misanthropic, pill-popping chronic pain sufferer is as good a piece of acting as anything she’s done, but the strong central performance can’t save a desperately slow-moving and unenjoyable film all on its own. Read our full review here
Appropriate Behavior (15) Directorial debut from Iranian-American Girls guest star Desiree Akhavan. The synopsis on IMDB contains the phrase “pansexual escapades”, so there’s that
Beyond the Lights (12A) The arrival of a new love interest helps a singer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) cope with the pressures of fame. Oscar-nominated in the Best Original Song category
Boys in Brazil (15) A group of boys – boys in Brazil, as you might have guessed – make a pact to come out together. The filmmakers must be crossing their fingers that everyone who currently has a rainbow profile micture on Facebook runs out and buys it
Catch Me Daddy (15) A young Indian girl and her drifter boyfriend go on the run through picturesque Yorkshire as her brother’s gang of thugs hunt them down with the intention of carrying out an honour killing. Hard Target with a social conscience, basically
Difret (12A) Like Catch Me Daddy, it’s an intense drama dealing with a controversial theme, this time abduction into marriage. Unlike Catch Me Daddy, it was filmed and produced in Ethiopia, winning a World Cinema award at the Sundance festival
Dragon Nest – Warriors’ Dawn (PG) Chinese-made animation, one of the most expensive in history with a budget estimated at $40m. As such, you can enjoy a boy-slays-dragon tale without suffering through epilepsy-inducing production values!
Killer Mermaids (15) Low budget horror of the week! You’ll never guess what it’s about
Kingdom Come (15) Another low-budget horror, this time involving a group of strangers facing their greatest fears and the things they’ve done wrong in their lives. Which, frankly, is never going to compete with KILLER MERMAIDS!
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (12A) A Japanese woman scours the Minnesota wilderness in search of the treasure buried in the movie Fargo. Meta
Poltergeist Activity (15) Straight-to-DVD horror which clearly hopes that people will confuse it for one or both of Poltergeist and Paranormal Activity
Revenge of the Green Dragons (18) Violent drama charting a pair of brothers as they rise through the ranks of New York’s Chinese underworld
Story of My Death (15) Possibly the first film I’ve ever included in this roundup to be filmed entirely in Catalan. Beyond that, I know very little about it
The Firstling (15) Generic horror notable only for the fact that it stars Andie MacDowell, whom I assumed had vanished off the face of the Earth
The Invisible Life (PG) Award-winning Portuguese drama
The Last Knights (12A) Spectacular flop starring Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman, the usual swords, honour and vengeance stuff that the title would have you expect. Also, I now have The Strokes stuck in my head
The Man Who Saved the World (15) Fascinating documentary about Stanislav Petrov, a little-known Soviet military officer whose actions prevented global nuclear war. Narrated by Kevin Costner for some reason
Tiger and Bunny: The Rising (12A) Japanese animation about – you guessed it – a crime-fighting tiger and bunny. Well, you might not have guessed the crime-fighting part

New on DVD and Blu-ray – 22nd June 2015

Pick of the Week

Blackhat (15)

Why it’s our pick of the week: Michael Mann’s first feature in six years failed to live up to expectations when it hit cinemas earlier this year, with mediocre reviews and a practically nonexistent box office return. Particular ire was directed at Chris Hemsworth’s unconvincing portrayal as the central genius computer hacker whose possible role in a cybercrime attack triggers an international diplomatic incident. But despite all that, not being Fifty Shades of Grey is enough to earn it the nod as Pick of the Week

Best of the Rest

Fifty Shades of Grey (18) E.L. James’s bafflingly successful bonkbuster is yours to own on DVD and Blu-ray, thankfully a week too late for there to be a bunch of highly disturbing “the perfect gift for Father’s Day!!” adverts
Stonehearst Asylum (15) A star-studded cast (Kate Beckinsale, Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley) fails to elevate a slice of standard haunted house fare above the mediocre
Can’t Come Out to Play (15) Known as The Harvest elsewhere in the world, it’s exactly the sort of generic horror that title suggests. Starring Samantha Morton
Charlie’s Farm (18) Low-budget horror of the week! Low-budget horror royalty Tara Reid (Sharknado) and Kane Hodder (most of the Friday the 13th sequels) visit a farm where a family were brutally murdered, with the expected horrific consequences
Dior and I (12A) Documentary exploring the inside of the famous fashion house
Nicky Deuce (PG) The Sopranos for kids. Seriously, five of the cast from the famously not-for-kids TV show – including James Gandolfini – turn up in very Soprano-ish roles as a sheltered suburbanite reinvents himself as a mobster to please his uncle. Did you enjoy Mickey Blue Eyes? No, no-one did, but here we are
Out of the Dark (15) Julia Stiles and family inherit a haunted Mexican factory, with horrific results in every sense of the word
Pound of Flesh (15) Jean-Claude Van Damme takes revenge on the people who stole his kidney. I’m assuming that “stole his kidney” is a tactful euphemism for “forced him to make Coors Light adverts”
The Devil’s Violinist (cert) Biography of 19th century violin virtuoso Nicolo Paganini. Real-life violin virtuoso David Garrett takes on the role, but the whole thing remains unconvincing

New on DVD and Blu-ray – 15th June 2015

Pick of the Week

Selma (12A)

Why it’s our pick of the week: Powerful and important chronicle of the racial tensions in Selma, Alabama as Martin Luther King campaigned for equal voting rights in the 1960s. Featuring a barnstorming lead performance from David Oyelowo. Read our full review here

Best of the Rest

Wild Tales (15) The hugely critically-acclaimed Oscar and Palme D’Or nominee finally gets the chance to achieve the audience it deserves after a limited cinema release in March. It’s a six-part compilation of darkly comic tales, and was nominated for awards in every category it was eligible for in its native Argentina
Taken 3 (12A) The third and comfortably worst outing for Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, the man whose skills pay the bills. Trading the original’s highly quotable silliness for by-the-numbers action and shockingly poor direction, it’s a disappointment from start to finish. Read our full review here
Addicted (18) Why by it on DVD when it’ll be on a repeating loop on Movies4Men within a couple of months?
Age of Kill (15) To save his daughter, a Black Ops sniper must kill six people in 24 hours. From the production company that brought you pretty much the entire film career of Danny Dyer
Concrete Blondes (15) Three blondes find a suitcase containing $3m, with predictable screwball comedy results
Digging Up the Marrow (15) A documentary crew researching movie monster makeup uncover something which indicates that monsters are real. By all accounts, doesn’t quite live up to it’s interesting premise
Gascoigne (15) A week on from it’s cinema release, the documentary about troubled football genius Paul Gascoigne hits home formats. Worth watching to see Alan Shearer talking sense for once
A Haunting at the Rectory (15) IMDB summary: “A Reverend and his wife discover their new home has a deadly secret”. I’m guessing their new homes is a rectory, and the deadly secret is that it’s haunted
Heavenly Sword (15) Animated take on the plot of the PS3 video game of the same name
Love Is Strange (15) John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star as an elderly couple who marry after 40 years together, but are then fofrced to live apart after an economic crisis and accompanying job loss
Mercy (15) The latest in a litany of thoroughly average Stephen King adaptations, starring Dylan McDermott
Project Almanac (12A) Time travel, attractive teenagers and the producing skills of Michael Bay combine to make exactly the film you’d expect those three elements to
The Green Prince (15) Documentary about Mosab Hassan Yousef, one of the founders of Palestinian spy organisation Hamas
The Loft (15) James Marsden and four of his friends share a loft apartment, away from the prying eyes of their unsuspecting spouses. They use it for parties, affairs, and MURDER!!!
The Marine 4 – Moving Target (15) Third sequel in the action franchise which has somehow gone downhill since it debuted as a John Cena star vehicle. Now starring Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin, which is definitely a nickname that he gave to himself
The Trials of Muhammad Ali (NR) Documentary about the legendary boxer’s lesser-seen fights – those that took place in the courtroom, as he sought to avoid conscription for the fight in Vietnam
Tokyo Tribe (18) Warring Japanese gangsters fight eachother using a powerful blend of martial arts and hip hop music. Has ‘instant cult classic’ written all over it