Scene from Murnau's Faust

Home Entertainment

Gemma Arterton and Fabrice Luchini in Gemma Bovery

8 February 2016-02-08

Out This Week Gemma Bovery (Soda, cert 15) Gemma Arterton plays the English belle getting French baker Fabrice Luchini in a tizz in this adaptation of the Posy Simmonds graphic novel which first appeared in The Guardian as a weekly cartoon strip. And very cartoon-strippy it is too, Arterton all tippy-toes sex appeal as a modern-day version of Flaubert’s hot-gusseted Madame Bovary, Luchini pulling a series of faces that Benny Hill would be proud of as the “no fool like an old fool” looking on haplessly as the new arrival in the French idyll forsakes lovely, broke husband Jason Flemyng and sets her hat at local rotter Niels Schneider. If it all feels … Read more
Chloe Pirrie in Shell

8 July 2013-07-08

Out in the UK This Week Shell (Verve, cert 15, Blu-ray-DVD) This is a hell of a feature debut for director Scott Graham, whose eye for poetic desolation is the key feature of his drama about a lonely girl working at a struggling petrol station in the Scottish Highlands. Graham’s camera dotes on Chloe Pirrie, who has one of those faces that can flash from knowingly beautiful one second to fairly ordinary the next, depending on how much wattage its owner is generating. Shell is a simple, succinct drama with the tension of a thriller – is our heroine going to do something stupid with one of the rare regulars whose tanks she … Read more
Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowsk in Stoker

24 June 2013-06-24

Out in the UK This Week Stoker (Fox, cert 18, Blu-ray/DVD) Park Chan-Wook – of Oldboy fame – makes his English language debut with a visually, sonically, thematically accomplished film that seems to be trying to get as many varieties of gothic horror assembled in one place as possible. Mia Wasikowska delivers another of inscrutably cool Alice-like performance as a young girl whose lovely daddy has just died mysteriously. And before Daddy’s body is even cold he’s been replaced in the affections of her blowsy mother (Nicole Kidman, looking just a touch Wildensteinian these days) by her uncle (enter, eyes rolling, tongue lolling, Matthew Goode). Park references Night of the Hunter, Shadow of … Read more
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit

8 April 2013-04-08

Out in the UK this week The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner, cert 12, Blu-ray/DVD) Having eventually run out of patience with the Lord of the Rings (with the books you could at least skip the endless battle descriptions), I wasn’t expecting to enjoy The Hobbit. I was wrong. Director Peter Jackson has absorbed the humanising touches of the Harry Potter series, the rambunctious sense of fun of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (at its best, I hasten to add. POTC could also be a hell of a drag) and made The Hobbit an immersive piece of storytelling with a lot of energy. Surrender to its flow – enjoy Ian McKellen’s Gandalf, … Read more
Ashley Benson, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine in Spring Breakers

15 August 2013-08-15

Out in the UK This Week The Gatekeepers (Metrodome, cert 15, DVD) What sort of people would you expect the former heads of Israel’s counter terrorism agency, Shin Bet, to be? This documentary takes prejudices (mine, anyway) and turns them on their head. Sure, collectively they look like they’re auditioning to be the next Bond villain – when they talk about killing, they smile, they chuckle – but they’re a lot more pragmatic than you’d expect. And their opinions on the illegal settlements, the religious zealots who drive policy in so many areas, and the occupied territories are just not what you’d expect. That director Dror Moreh got any of the surviving former heads, … Read more
Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Belle

20 October 2014-10-20

Out in the UK This Week Two Days, One Night (Artificial Eye, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD) A French factory hand (magnificent Marion Cotillard) has a weekend to persuade her colleagues to do without their cash bonuses and keep her on instead. As much a portrait of a woman battling depression and low self-esteem as a condemnation of modern employment norms – what kind of scumbag boss dodges a bullet by making his employees take those sort of decisions? – it has a high concept, a big name in the lead, clear heroes and villains and an “if you try hard enough you can win” throughline. In other words it’s the Dardenne brothers’ most Hollywood film … Read more
Margot Robbie and Leonardo DiCaprio in the Wolf of Wall Street

19 May 2014-05-19

Out in the UK This Week The Wolf of Wall Street (Universal, cert 18, Blu-ray/DVD) Scorsese’s best film since Casino also continues his trend towards flabby films. Twenty minutes can, and let’s hope eventually will, be trimmed from a film with a Goodfellas arc – we start with a voiceover of Leo Di Caprio saying, in effect, that for as long as he could rememeber he’d always wanted to be a richfella. And off we go into a roaring rush of the true story of Jordan Belfort, who became a licensed Wall Street broker on the day the market crashed in 1987, then started at the bottom all over again, selling penny stocks to … Read more
Marine Vacth in Jeune et Jolie

24 March 2014-03-24

Out in the UK this week Jeune et Jolie (Lionsgate, cert 18, Blu-ray/DVD) Being hot is like a weapon. That’s what director/writer François Ozon’s drama about a French schoolgirl’s double life as a hooker seems to be saying. Ozon casts beautiful Marine Vacth as Isabelle, his teenage temptress, in a story that sees Isabelle offering her young bedflesh for cash to older gents, some of whom are nice, while others are only too keen to abuse their power. Meanwhile, at home, the girl’s beauty goes unremarked upon, until exactly what she’s been doing with it becomes apparent to mum, stepdad and their various friends, who react as if someone shouted “fire”. Ozon pits … Read more
Mark Stanley as a soldier in a minefield in Kajaki

8 June 2015-06-08

Out This Week Kajaki (Spirit, cert 15) To find a really good, really British war film (so, no, not Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down or Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, both of which are over-rated) you have to go back a very very long way. Or watch Kajaki, which is out right now. It’s a simple, brutal and unflinching portrait of the gruesomeness of war, the camaraderie of the fighters and the raw bravery in the face of sheer terror which extreme situations reveal. Told with the straightahead simplicity and bleach-bright looks that bring to mind Ice Cold in Alex, it follows a detail of British soldiers from 3 Para as they venture … Read more
Hayato Ichihara and Lily Frankie in Yakuza Apocalypse

2 May 2016-05-02

Out This Week A War (StudioCanal, cert 15) The Danes do Afghanistan in a bloody, tense drama that takes a left turn about halfway through. That’s after we’ve been given a long immersive bath in war at its foggiest, leadership at its most difficult, focusing on Pilou Asbaek’s company commander Claus Pedersen as he takes his men out on patrol after a particularly bloody IED incident has left one of them with no legs below the knee, and his men having shown little enthusiasm for the “rebuilding the country” speech Pedersen has just given. After this, it’s a fairly familiar, though undeniably suspenseful journey through the dust, the evasive looks of the locals and the first-meets-third-world … Read more
Emma Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter and Jason Sudeikis in We're the Millers

16 December 2013-12-16

Out in the UK this week We’re the Millers (Warner, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD) Having turned up in small roles in good films (say, Friends with Money), in big roles in bad films (The Bounty Hunter), Jennifer Aniston finally makes a film in which she is a star and it is good and funny. She plays the poledancer pretending to be married to smalltime weed seller Jason Sudeikis, so they can smuggle a shitload of marijuana over from Mexico into the US, posing as an average family riding around in an RV. Along for the ride (and a cut of the cash) are street hustler Emma Roberts and dweeb Will Poulter. It’s basically your … Read more
expendables2 hd2

10 December 2012-12-10

Out in the UK this week The Expendables 2 (Lionsgate, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD) Jason Statham helps action OAPs Sly, Arnie, Dolph, Bruce, Jean-Claude and even, god love him, Chuck Norris into their combat gear in a second tranche of lobotomised ass-kicking so ridiculous the franchise might run for ever. The Expendables 2 – at Amazon Ping Pong (Britdoc, cert PG, DVD) Play veteran table tennis and stay limber, sharp and connected to the world – the message of this riveting documentary that works because it focuses on the game and its very elderly players (one a feisty 100), rather than self-empowerment blah. Ping Pong – at Amazon Life Just Is (Independent, cert 15, … Read more

Popular Posts