Archive | Blu-ray/DVD reviews RSS for this section

The best Blu-Ray box sets under £40 this Christmas

With Christmas and January sales on the horizon, it’s a great time to be a film buff.  It has never been more affordable to pick up some terrific box sets that will provide hours of cinematic joy for movie lovers of all ages.  Whilst DVD remains a popular choice, the drop in price of Blu-ray players (which can still play that old DVD collection, whilst up-scaling the picture) means that the lure of high definition picture and sound quality should prove irresistible to anyone who loves watching films in the comfort of home.  For either the Blu-ray enthusiast or new-comer, there are heaps of brilliant box sets that offer great value with gorgeous transfers of favourite films both old and new, and plenty of bonus features that enhance the overall experience.Box sets

As part of a collaborative piece with‘s “Most Wanted”, here’s a look at some of the best box sets currently available, broken down by price range.  They’d all make fantastic gifts for loved ones or just some great last minute additions to your own wish list. Read More…

The Dark Knight Rises at home, but collapses upon revistation

The Dark Knight Rises is out on DVD, BD & digital 3 December

The Dark Knight Rises was easily one of, if not the most, anticipated films of 2012.  Now, just in time for Christmas, Christopher Nolan’s Bat-finale comes home on Blu-ray, DVD and digital.  As a popcorn blockbuster, seen on the biggest of screens, The Dark Knight Rises delivered ambitious spectacle from the kinds of larger-than-life characters fans hoped for.   The question now is, how well does that translate to the home formats and, most importantly, does The Dark Knight Rises hold up to repeated viewings?

The best of Nolan’s films become more rewarding on repeated viewings.  Memento is a film that demands the viewer return to it and the plot and structure hold up well to close scrutiny.  The always gripping Inception, with its confounding internal logic, proves to be surprisingly solid given how mind bending the journey Nolan takes his audience on is. As for his efforts in the DC universe, Batman Begins has begun to take shape as the best of the trilogy, with the character study of Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne remaining as riveting as ever, even when compared to the antics of Heath Ledger’s viciously clever Joker.  Sadly, after several viewings of The Dark Knight Rises, the cracks and flaws masked by the excitement and unawareness of the initial watch, become more obvious and more troubling.
Read More…

Margin Call delivers economic disaster in the comfort of home

In the years to come, there will likely be many films which tie themselves into 2008’s economic collapse.  For now, with recovery still inching along and dominoes continuing to fall, it’s reasonable to believe that audiences aren’t too eager to revisit capitalisms’ darkest days.  So it was without much fanfare that JC Chandor’s debut feature, Margin Call, slipped into UK cinemas in early 2012.  The home release now gives those who missed it the first time around a chance to catch Margin Call’s terrific cast at work in this Oscar nominated stock market thriller.

An unnamed global financial institution based in Manhattan is filled with some big name stars as a landscape changing financial crisis begins to unfold.  Any film that can send Stanley Tucci packing within the first fifteen minutes had better have some serious talent waiting in the wings and Margin Call doesn’t disappoint.  With Kevin Spacey comfortably stepping into another besuited head honcho role and Paul Bettany liaising between the low level grunts and the major players, there’s no shortage of alpha males brimming with (over) confidence.  That’s even before Jeremy Irons steps in to assume control of a situation that threatens to bring the entire company crashing to the ground.  With Simon Baker’s shark-like executive and Demi Moore straining to be heard in a sea of testosterone-fuelled arrogance, Chandor has assembled an impressive ensemble cast that clashes effortlessly, yet without any one member overplaying their hand.  The end result may be a given, but Margin Call presents a compelling, balanced peek into the choices investment bankers have to make and their motivations for doing so.  The general public may not be clamouring for a fair depiction of the 21st century’s most vilified profession, but that’s part of Margin Call‘s point.
Read More…

The Hunger Games scores a bullseye with DVD/BD release

Despite the success of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, there was no guarantee the silver screen adaptation would be a success.  With a modest blockbuster budget of less than $80 million and a raw, visceral approach director Gary Ross created an almost indie incarnation of the series opener, The Hunger Games.  Drawing initial comparisons to the Twilight saga, once audiences actually got to see Ross’ vision of the young adult best-seller, The Hunger Games not only stepped out from behind Edward and Bella’s shadow, but went on to become a massive phenomenon in its own right.  On 3 September, the surprise hit of 2012 is released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download in the UK.

Much of The Hunger Games cinematic success comes down to truly exceptional casting.  With Jennifer Lawrence, the trilogy’s heroine Katniss Everdeen comes to captivating life.  The talented young starlet, nominated for a best actress Oscar for Winter’s Bone, brings her A-game to the role.  The film demands as much from Lawrence physically as it does emotionally, with Katniss fighting for her life in an arena that pits children against one another as the world watches on television.  It’s a challenge that she meets with aplomb.  Lawrence’s performance alone proves enough to win even the most sceptical viewer over.  It helps that the character is a fantastic creation to begin with.  Multi-layered and evolving through-out, Katniss is heroically brave, but sympathetically flawed; an ideal combination, allowing for her character to be both relatable and admirable.  Lawrence shows, from her first scene to her last, that she is the perfect woman for the job; making the character of Katniss truly hers.  She’s joined by a wide array of supporting talent: Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz and Elizabeth Banks all make significant impressions whenever they grace the screen.
Read More…

Marley brings the legend’s legacy home

Marley is available on DVD & Blu-ray 20 August

2012 has already been a year full of excellent documentaries and one of its finest, Kevin Macdonald’s Marley, sees its home entertainment release (on Blu-ray and DVD) on Monday 20 August.  The reggae and cultural icon gets the definitive treatment here, as nearly two and a half hours are dedicated to delving into his life and influence.  Marley isn’t the first documentary to focus on the life and times of Robert Nesta Marley, but it should be the last, as it would be nigh on impossible to top Macdonald’s thorough coverage of the superstar.

As Marley covers Bob’s life and career, so too does it provide a lesson on the evolution of reggae, which Marley played a pivotal part in.  His years with the Wailers are fully explored with the aid of valuable and rare input from the sole surviving member of the original trio, Bunny Wailer.  Marley’s rise in prominence within the music industry would be interesting enough, even without the political impact he would go on to make, but Macdonald covers all angles.  Marley illustrates the power his music had to bring people together and Bob’s unwavering commitment to his spiritual beliefs that helped form his message.
Read More…