DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD Releases: Monday 15th June 2009

DVD Picks 15-06-09


The Class (Artificial Eye): The surprise winner of this year’s Palme
at the Cannes Film Festival was this deceptively simple tale of a French teacher (François Bégaudeau) at a state school in Paris. The actual French title is ‘Entre Les Murs’ – which translates as ‘Between the walls’ – which is apt as the film never (apart from one shot at the beginning) strays outside the confines of the school.

Adapted from the 2006 novel of the same name by Bégaudeau, which in turn was based on his own real life experiences teaching in a Paris school, it is a rich and deeply satisfying film. Not only did it scrupulously avoid the cliches that can plaue films set inside schools, but also managed to offer a plausible snapshot of modern French society by focusing tightly on a class of pupils and their teachers.

Although it is shot in the widescreen aspect ratio of 2:35, the camera hangs tight on each character and never really gives us a look at the French city landscape. This might sound claustrophobic, but makes the lessons and world inside of the school (the staff room, the corridors, the playground) all come alive in an unexpectedly thrilling way.

Performances – especially from Bégaudeau and a very special cast of non-professional teenagers – were outstanding but the film also had a tremendous sense of humanity to it without ever slipping into cheap sentiment. An example of a rare film that touches the heart whilst engaging the brain, The Class is a gem that I would urge you to see.

Extras on the 2 disc DVD include:

  • Anamorphic Widescreen
  • DD5.1 Surround
  • Interview with Director Laurent Cantet
  • Extra Scenes with Commentary by Laurent Cantet and François Bégaudeau
  • Rehearsals with the Students
  • Student Self Portraits
  • Making of Documentary
  • Theatrical Trailer

Bolt (Disney): The first film from the rejuvenated Walt Disney Animation Studios headed by Pixar supremo John Lasseter tells the story of a dog named Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) who doesn’t realise that the TV show he stars in isn’t actually real. Also featuring the voices of Miley Cyrus, Malcolm McDowell, Susie Essman and Mark Walton, it was directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard. The effect of Lasseter overseeing this film has had a marked on effect on the animation and writing, which contains similar levels of wit and emotion apparent in the best Pixar movies.

On the single disc DVD the extras include:

  • Bonus Short: Super Rhino – Rhino, the hyperactive hamster, gets a chance to headline his very own adventure

The 2-Disc DVD is as above, plus the following additional extras:

  • “I Thought I Lost You” Music Video featuring the movie’s stars, Miley Cyrus and John Travolta.
  • In Session with John Travolta and Miley Cyrus – A behind-the-scenes look at recording Bolt’s signature song “I Thought I Lost You.”
  • A New Breed of Directors: A Filmmakers’ Journey – First-time directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard take fans along as they traverse the road from concept to completion.
  • Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt – Viewers join the voice cast in session: John Travolta (Bolt), Miley Cyrus (Penny), Susie
    Essman (Mittens), James Lipton (Director) and Mark Walton (Rhino).
  • Creating The World of Bolt – Bolt’s painterly backgrounds have wowed audiences across the globe. The filmmakers explain how they fashioned the unique look of this CG movie.
  • Deleted Scenes with optional introductions by directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard.

The Blu-ray Disc includes all of the extras found on the DVD editions plus the following exclusives:

  • Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission – In order to defeat the Green-Eyed Man, Bolt has to find his way through three challenging levels in an exciting interactive game. Viewers can join in collecting clues, conquering ninjas and unleashing the power of the Super Bark!
  • Bolt Art Gallery – Animation enthusiasts can check out the film’s early creative concepts in the Bolt Art Gallery, which contains the building blocks of a big screen blockbuster, from storyboards to character mock-ups. Gallery sections include Visual Development, Character Development, Storyboard Art and Color Script Images.

* Listen to our interview with John Lasseter about Bolt *

Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Universal): A documentary about little-known Canadian metal band Anvil, whose 1982 album ‘Metal on Metal’ influenced a generation of heavy metal bands including Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, all of whom went on to sell millions of records. But Anvil’s career took a different path: straight to obscurity. The film tracks the band as they take an ill-advised European tour and release their 13th album in a last ditch attempt to hit the big time.

Extras include:

  • Audio Commentary with Sacha Gervasi, Rebecca Yeldham and Andrew Dickler
  • Audio Commentary with Sacha Gervasi, Robb Reiner and Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow
  • Deleted Scenes (x5) (17mins)
  • This Feels Good (interview with band) (13mins 37secs)
  • Where are they now? (interview with the original band members) (3mins 9secs)
  • Interview with Lars Ulrich (30mins 3secs)
  • Sacha Gervasi Rocks with Anvil (4mins 15secs)

There is also a Limited Edition On Tour CD+DVD Edition (£24.99 RRP) that packages together the DVD with the “This Is Thirteen” CD. The track list for the CD follows:

  1. This Is Thirteen
  2. Bombs Away
  3. Burning Bridges
  4. Ready To Fight
  5. Flying Blind
  6. Room #9
  7. Axe To Grind
  8. Feed The Greed
  9. Big Business
  10. Should’ A Would’ A Could’ A
  11. Worry
  12. Game Over
  13. American Refugee



Aria – Special Edition (Second Sight)
Chandni Chowk to China (Warner)
He’s Just Not That Into You (EIV)
Kingdom Series 2 (Acorn Media)
Max Manus – Man of Wa r(Revolver)
Ouran High School Host Club: Series 1 Part 2 (Manga)
Red Dwarf: Back to Earth (2 Entertain)
South Pacific (2 Entertain)
The Good, The Bad, The Weird (Icon)
The Italian Job – 40th Anniversary Special Edition (Paramount)
The Two Ronnies: Series 5 (2 Entertain)
Wainwright Walks Coast to Coast (Acorn Media)
Woodstock 3 Days of Peace & Music Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Warner)

> Browse more DVD Releases at Amazon UK and Play
> Check the latest DVD prices at DVD Price Check
> Take a look at the current UK cinema releases (W/C Friday 12th June)


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 6th February 2009

UK Cinema Releases 06-02-09


The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (Warner Bros): This high profile big budget adaptation an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story stars Brad Pitt as the title character, a man who is born as an old man and ages backwards throughout his life. Directed by David Fincher, from a script written by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, it also stars Cate BlanchettTaraji P. HensonJulia OrmondTilda Swinton and Jason Flemyng. Told in flashback, it is an epic tale of one man’s life during the 20th century, from in 1918 to 2005.

On first viewing I admired it more as a technical exercise and was puzzled as to why a director like Fincher was attracted to this material. Why did they alter the original story so much? What were the contemporary references all about? And wasn’t it a bit too similar to Forrest Gump? (also scripted by Roth). However, on second viewing I found it to be a much richer experience – it is essentially a fable about love and loss and gains its power from the central concept of living life backwards.

Far from being a gimmick, it actually becomes a profound way of dramatising the ageing process. Forget the Oscar fuelled hype and snarky critical hate surrounding this film and approach it with an open mind. The makeup, visual effects, cinematography, score and performances make it an unusual and affecting big budget rarity.

Because studios don’t like making expensive dramas like this, Paramount have split costs with Warner Bros, with the latter being the UK distributor. The Oscar nominations and star power of Pitt and Blanchett should give it a top 2 finish at least, even though the length (166 mins) will curb its earnings. [Cert 12A / Nationwide]

Doubt (Walt Disney): In 2005, John Patrick Shanley wrote the hit play Doubt: A Parable, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. Now Shanley has directed a film version called Doubt which stars Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius, the stern principal of a Catholic school in the Bronx during the 1960s, who comes into conflict with a reforming priest named Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

A strong supporting cast includes Amy Adams and Viola Davis and although at times it is a little too stagey, the strength of the original play shines through and gives the impressive cast a chance to flex their considerable acting muscles. Although some audiences will be left frustrated by the climax, it is worth remembering that it contains the very crux of the play and is also what gives it a rich and lasting power. Disney and Miramax will be hoping that upscale audiences will check this out, but it faces tough competition from Benjamin Button and other awards season fare. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Bolt (Walt Disney): The first film from the rejuvenated Walt Disney Animation Studios headed by Pixar supremo John Lasseter tells the story of a dog named Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) who doesn’t realise that the TV show he stars in isn’t actually real. Also featuring the voices of Miley CyrusMalcolm McDowellSusie Essman and Mark Walton, it was directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard.

The effect of Lasseter overseeing this film has had a marked on effect on the animation and writing, which contains similar levels of wit and emotion apparent in the best Pixar movies. Added to this, is the impressive Dolby 3-D which is less gimicky than recent films like Beowulf, instead featuring a more organic visual approach. Disney can be hopeful that family audiences will power this to the top slot despite it being a very busy weekend at the UK box office. [Cert PG / Vue West End & Nationwide]

* Listen to our interview with John Lasseter about Bolt *

He’s Just Not That Into You (Entertainment): A romantic comedy squarely aimed at female audiences based on the self-help book of the same name by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, which, in turn, was based on a line of dialogue in Sex and the City. The ensemble cast is impressive: Ben AffleckJennifer AnistonDrew BarrymoreScarlett JohanssonJustin LongJennifer ConnellyGinnifer GoodwinKevin Connolly and Bradley Cooper.

The plot revolves around the romantic misadventures of several individuals in their twenties and thirties and the common thread is that one person in each relationship is more enamored with the other person. Directed by Ken Kwapis it looks likely to ensnare gullible females but the lack of marketing buzz and mixed reviews would appear to be ominous signs for its box office potential. The recent remix of the trailer with the Christian Bale meltdown might actually be funnier than the film. [Cert 12A/ Nationwide]

Punisher War Zone (Sony Pictures): A fairly unnecessary reboot for the Marvel Comics vigilante The Punisher. British actor Ray Stevenson replaces Thomas Jane as Frank Castle and in this story wages a one-man war against a horribly disfigured mob boss known as Jigsaw (no, not the Saw villain) played by Dominic West. Lionsgate tried to ressurect this a superviolent anti-superhero franchise but it failed at the US box office and Sony (who have UK distribution) will have to look to ancillary markets to find any profit. [Cert 18 / Nationwide]

The Secret Of Moonacre (Warner Bros.): An adaptation of the novel The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, which is set in the 1840’s and follows Maria Merryweather (Dakota Blue Richards), a 13 year old orphan on her journey to the mysterious Moonacre Manor in the West Country. There she discovers that she is the last Moon Princess and she has only until the next full moon to undo the misdeeds of her ancestors and save the Moonacre estate. Although some talented actors such as Tim Curry, Ioan Gruffudd, and Natascha McElhone feature in the supporting cast, this faces a struggle to capture family audiences with Disney’s Bolt looking to be dominant film for that market this week. [Cert U / Nationwide]

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Optimum Releasing): After making the worst film of his career, Woody Allen returns with his best in years, a witty and sparkling tale of  two American women, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) who spend a summer in Barcelona and both fall for a local artist (Javier Bardem) who has an angry ex-wife (Penélope Cruz). Not only is it smarter than his recent outings but it contains some truly marvellous performances, especially from Bardem and Cruz. [Cert 12A/ West End venues / Regions from 13th Feb]



The Good, The Bad and The Weird (Icon): The story of three Korean outlaws in 1930s Manchuria and their dealings with the Japanese army and Chinese and Russian bandits. Directed by Kim Ji-woon, it stars Song Kang-hoLee Byung-hun, and Jung Woo-sung[Cert 15 / Cineworld Shaftesbury Ave & Key Cities]

Who Killed Nancy? (Soda Pictures): A limited release for a documentary exploring the death of Nancy Spungen, an ex-prostitute, sometimes stripper, heroin addict, and girlfriend of Sex Pistols’ bassist Sid Vicious. Directed by Alan G Parker. [London venues & Key Cities]

UK Cinema Releases for February 2009
Get the latest showtimes for your local cinema via Google Movies
Check out our latest DVD picks (W/C Monday 2nd February)


UK Cinema Releases: February 2009

UK Cinema Releases - February 2009


  • Bolt (3D) (PG) Walt Disney / Vue West End & Nationwide
  • The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (12A) Warner Bros. / Nationwide
  • Doubt (15) / Walt Disney
  • The Good, The Bad and The Weird (15) Icon / Cineworld Shaftesbury Ave., & Key Cities
  • He’s Just Not That Into You (TBC) Entertainment / Nationwide
  • Punisher War Zone (18) / Sony Pictures
  • The Secret Of Moonacre (U) / Warner Bros.
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona (12A) Optimum Releasing / West End venues (Regions from 13 Feb)
  • Who Killed Nancy? (TBC) Soda Pictures / London venues & Key Cities


  • Friday The 13th (18) / Paramount
  • Fuck (TBC) ICA Films / ICA Cinema (Key Cities from March)
  • Hotel For Dogs (U) / Paramount
  • Moscow, Belgium (15) Unanimous Pictures / London venues (tbc) & Key Cities
  • Notorious (15) 20th Century Fox
  • Pink Panther 2 (PG) / Sony Pictures
  • Three Monkeys (15) / New Wave Films


  • 20th Century Boys (15) 4Digital Asia / ICA Cinema & Key Cities
  • Anvil! The Story Of Anvil (12A) The Works / Curzon Soho & Key Cities
  • Cadillac Records (TBC) / Sony Pictures
  • Che: Part Two (15) / Optimum Releasing
  • Confessions Of A Shopaholic (TBC) / Walt Disney
  • Franklyn (15) Contender Films / E1 Films
  • Gran Torino (15) / Warner Bros.
  • Push (12A) / Icon


  • Brothers (TBC) / Lionsgate UK
  • The Class (15) / Artificial Eye
  • Dance Flick (TBC) / Paramount
  • Fermat’s Room (TBC) / Revolver Entertainment
  • Gun Crazy (PG) (R/I) bfi Distribution / BFI Southbank & Key Cities
  • Hamlet 2 (15) / Momentum Pictures
  • The International (15) / Sony Pictures
  • New In Town (12A) / Entertainment
  • The Unborn (15) Universal


Keep a look out every Friday for a breakdown of the weekly releases with more detail on each film.

If you have any questions about this month’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms

Animation Cinema Interviews Podcast

Interview: John Lasseter on Bolt


He initially worked as an animator at Disney in the late 70s before going on to join the computer animation division of Lucasfilm‘s Industrial Light and Magic.

In 1986 the department was purchased by Apple founder Steve Jobs who renamed the new company Pixar (a fake Spanish word meaning ‘to make pixels’) and gave Lasseter the freedom to direct, produce and create models for a variety of projects, many of which were television commercials.

In the late 1980s Lasseter made several award winning shorts before going on to direct the groundbreaking Toy Story in 1995, the first feature-length computer animated film.

As the chief of Pixar’s creative department, Lasseter became the key figure behind an extraordinary run of critically acclaimed, blockbuster animated films.

He directed A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999) and Cars (2006) whilst also serving as executive producer on Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003) and The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007) and WALL-E (2008).

If the success of Pixar was not enough, his career reached a new plateau in early 2006 when Disney officially acquired Pixar, and promoted Lasseter to Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Feature Animation.

The first movie he has overseen for Disney is Bolt, the tale of a small white dog who, having spent his entire life acting in a TV series, thinks that he has super powers.

Directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard, it was produced by Lasseter and I spoke to him in London recently about his career and the new film.

You can listen to the interview here:

You can also stream it here:


You can download it as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here

Bolt is out at UK cinemas on Friday 6th February

Download this interview as an MP3 file
John Lasseter at the IMDb
> Official UK site for Bolt
> Official Pixar site