Out in the UK this week
Arthur Christmas (Sony, cert U, Blu-ray/DVD)
After some awful homegrown CGI animations – anyone remember Valiant? – the Brits have made a comic adventure about Santa Claus and family that’s witty, gutsy, insightful and entirely entertaining. A new Christmas classic, surely.
Two Years at Sea (Soda, cert E, DVD)
Hungarian miserabilist Béla Tarr is clearly a heavy influence on this artfully artless documentary following a hippie/hermit as he serenely goes about his hardscrabble life. For stressed-out, always-on screen-jockeys this could be the ideal therapy.
Big Boys Gone Bananas (Dogwoof, cert E, DVD)
Yes it’s a documentary about a documentary, but this is also a quietly important film about how the world’s biggest banana conglomerate, Dole, tried to shut down a film which alleged dubious employment practices, and how the world’s media fell into line behind them.
A Simple Life (Arrow, cert PG, Blu-ray/DVD)
Slaloming around the clichés about old age, this lovely, tender drama follows a Chinese “auntie” as she negotiates her last few months, accompanied by the child – now a movie producer – she raised.
Citizen Kane (Universal, cert U, Blu-ray)
The extras on the US import are arguably better but, sideshow aside, this new blu-ray restoration, from the original elements, of “the greatest film of all time” reminds us again of Orson Welles’s impish maverick genius.
The Lorax (Universal, cert U, Blu-ray/DVD)
The songs are stab-yourself-in-the-ears terrible but the average eight-year-old with a yearning to save the planet might well enjoy this Dr Seuss eco-fable, animated in Despicable Me style.
The Penguin King (Kaleidoscope, cert E, Blu-ray/DVD)
Mystifyingly given a theatrical release, this standard TV nature doc, set on South Georgia and narrated by Mr Attenborough, doesn’t seem to have realised the penguin thing is now over. Oh, it’s in 3D – that explains it.
100 Years of Universal (Universal, cert 18, DVD £399)
Universal Studios celebrate their centenary with a 100-movie box set, a well balanced mix of the classic (Double Indemnity, Psycho), the corny (Notting Hill, Smokey and the Bandit) and the out-there (Touch of Evil, In Bruges). Make sure someone helps you to the car with it.
Blade Runner: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Warner, cert 15, Blu-ray £39.99)
Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic – studio cut, director’s cut (which the director didn’t cut), final cut (which he did) – and the last word on Blade Runner, five blu-rays stuffed with versions, deleted material, making-ofs, commentaries, even the original 1982 workprint.
Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day (Atlantic, cert E, Blu-ray/CD £23)
Zinging sound and vision on this beautifully produced blu-ray plus two CDs of the triumphal 2007 reunion concert – 20 million applied for tickets, 18,000 got them – which saw arguably the biggest rock band ever power through the songs that created a legend.
Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day – Buy it at Amazon
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© Steve Morrissey 2012