DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 12th March 2012


Jane Eyre (Universal Pictures): An exquisitely realised adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel injects new life into the much filmed text. Opening with a key flash-forward sequence, the story depicts the struggles of a young woman (Mia Wasikowska) in 19th century England as she survives a tough childhood, before eventually working at a country house owned by the moody Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender). Along the way Jane encounters an uncaring aunt (Sally Hawkins), a cruel teacher (Simon McBurney), a sympathetic parson (Jamie Bell) and an amiable housekeeper (Judi Dench). There is also the matter of her own emotions for her enigmatic new boss, who seems to be a personification the 20th century phrase “it’s complicated”. [Buy it on Blu-ray + DVD & Digital Copy] [Read our full review here]

This Is England ’88 (4DVD): The acclaimed spin-off  from the Shane Meadows film This Is England (2006), it is also a sequel to the 2010 series This Is England ’86. Also starring Thomas Turgoose as Shaun, Vicky McClure as Lol and Joe Gilgun as Woody, it picks up picks up the action in the Christmas of 1988. Lol is still struggling to cope with the events of 18 months ago and Woody is in self-imposed exile from the gang. [Buy it on Blu-ray or DVD]


Birdsong: Part 1 (Universal/Playback) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Love Never Dies (Universal Pictures) [Blu-ray / with DVD – Double Play]
Monte Carlo (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Mother and Child (Verve Pictures) [Blu-ray / Normal]
My Week With Marilyn (EV) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Special Forces (StudioCanal) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Straw Dogs (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Big Bang (Anchor Bay Entertainment UK) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Bodyguard (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Help (Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (Entertainment One) [Blu-ray / Normal]
This Is England ’86/This Is England ’88 (4DVD) [Blu-ray / Normal]

Recent DVD & Blu-ray picks
The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2011


Poster Trends: Image within Image

Poster trends are as old as the hills but this year has seen the emergence of a new motif.

Last year saw the text over face trend and in the past we have had such fashions as the red dress, back to back and the leg spread.

But amongst the the more hipper poster designs this year have seen images within images.

After designing the iconic one-sheet for The Social Network, Neil Kellerhouse has swiftly become David Fincher‘s designer of choice.

This year this poster for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo utilised Daniel Craig’s face inside Rooney Mara’s.

Ever since Sundance, Martha Marcy May Marlene has been attracting buzz and it seemed only right that not only should it follow this trend.

It seemed appropriate that another teaser poster should include a QR code for all those hipsters in Brooklyn and Shoreditch to view a trailer on their iPhones  – the film is still great though 🙂

Then if we cast our minds back to earlier in the year, there was this US one-sheet for Jane Eyre, which like the film was tasteful and stylish.

I especially like the big but thin font and colour palette on this one.

As for Michael Fassbender, he also featured in X-Men: First Class, which had a character teaser poster which utilised the image within image idea.

This time it was his younger Magneto in a silhouette of the character comic-book fans are familair with.

Did you notice any other posters that used this trend this year?

> IMP Awards
> Film on Paper

Cinema Lists

The Best Films of 2011

Although it was a year with a record number of sequels, there was much to feast on if you really looked for something different.

The year will be remembered for momentous events which overshadowed anything Hollywood could come up with: the Arab Spring, the Japanese Earthquake, Hackgate, the death of Osama Bin Laden and the continuing meltdown of the global economy.

But cinema itself underwent some seismic changes: in April the thorny issue of the theatrical window raised its head, whilst James Cameron suggested films should be projected at 48 frames per second instead of the usual 24.

But by far the biggest story was the news that Panavision, Arri and Aaton were to stop making film cameras: although the celluloid projection will effectively be over by 2013, it seems the death of 35mm capture is only a few years away.

So the medium of film, will soon no longer involve celluloid. That’s a pretty big deal.

As for the releases this year, it seemed a lot worse than it actually was.

Look beyond the unimaginative sequels and you might be surprised to find that there are interesting films across a variety of genres.

Instead of artifically squeezing the standout films into a top ten, below are the films that really impressed me in alphabetical order, followed by honourable mentions that narrowly missed the cut but are worth seeking out.


A Separation (Dir. Asghar Farhadi): This Iranian family drama explored emotional depths and layers that few Western films even began to reach this year.

Drive (Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn): Nicolas Winding Refn brought a European eye to this ultra-stylish LA noir with a killer soundtrack and performances.

George Harrison: Living in the Material World (Dir. Martin Scorsese): Scorsese’s in-depth examination of the late Beatle was a passionate and moving tribute to a kindred soul.

Hugo (Dir. Martin Scorsese): The high-priest of celluloid channelled his inner child to create a stunning digital tribute to one of the early pioneers of cinema.

Jane Eyre (Dir. Cary Fukunaga): An exquisite literary adaptation with genuine depth, feeling and two accomplished lead performers that fitted their roles like a glove.

Margin Call (Dir. J.C. Chandor): The best drama yet to come out the financial crisis is this slow-burn acting masterclass which manages to clarify the empty heart of Wall Street.

Melancholia (Dir. Lars von Trier): Despite the Cannes controversy, his stylish vision of an apocalyptic wedding was arguably his best film, filled with memorable images and music.

Moneyball (Dir. Bennett Miller): The philosophy that changed a sport was rendered into an impeccably crafted human drama by director Bennett Miller with the help of Brad Pitt.

Project Nim (Dir. James Marsh): A chimpanzee raised as a human was the extraordinary and haunting subject of this documentary from James Marsh.

Rango (Dir. Gore Verbinski): The best animated film of 2011 came from ILMs first foray into the medium as they cleverly riffed on classic westerns and Hollywood movies.

Senna (Dir. Asif Kapadia): A documentary about the F1 driver composed entirely from existing footage made for riveting viewing and a truly emotional ride.

Shame (Dir. Steve McQueen): The follow up to Hunger was a powerful depiction of sexual compulsion in New York, featuring powerhouse acting and pin-sharp cinematography.

Snowtown (Dir. Justin Kerzel): Gruelling but brilliant depiction of an Australian murder case, which exposed modern horror for the empty gorefest it has become.

Take Shelter (Dir. Jeff Nichols): Wonderfully atmospheric blend of family drama and Noah’s Ark which brilliantly played on very modern anxieties of looming apocalypse.

The Artist (Dir. Michel Hazanavicius): An ingenious love letter to the silent era of Hollywood is executed with an almost effortless brilliance.

The Descendants (Dir. Alexander Payne): Pitch-perfect comedy-drama which saw Alexander Payne return to give George Clooney his best ever role.

The Guard (Dir. John Michael McDonagh): Riotously funny Irish black comedy with Brendan Gleeson given the role of his career.

The Interrupters (Dir. Steve James): The documentary of the year was this powerful depiction of urban violence and those on the frontline trying to prevent it.

The Skin I Live In (Dir. Pedro Almodovar): The Spanish maestro returned with his best in years, as he skilfully channeled Hitchcock and Cronenberg.

The Tree of Life (Dir. Terrence Malick): Moving and mindblowing examination of childhood, death and the beginnings of life on earth.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Dir Tomas Alfredson): Wonderfully crafted John le Carre adaptation which resonates all too well in the current era of economic and social crisis.

Tyrannosaur (Dir. Paddy Considine): Searingly emotional drama with two dynamite lead performances and an unexpected Spielberg reference.

We Need To Talk About Kevin (Dir. Lynne Ramsey): Audio-visual masterclass from Ramsay with a now predictably great performance from Tilda Swinton.

Win Win (Dir. Thomas McCarthy): Quietly brilliant comedy-drama with Paul Giamatti seemingly born to act in this material.


A Dangerous Method (Dir. David Cronenberg)
Anonymous (Dir. Roland Emmerich)
Another Earth (Dir. Mike Cahill)
Attack the Block (Dir. Joe Cornish)
Bobby Fischer Against The World (Dir. Liz Garbus)
Confessions (Dir. Tetsuya Nakashima)
Contagion (Dir. Steven Soderbergh)
Four Days Inside Guantanamo (Dir. Luc Cote, Patricio Henriquez)
I Saw the Devil (Dir. Kim Ji-woon)
Into the Abyss (Dir. Werner Herzog)
Life in a Day (Dir. Kevin MacDonald)
Martha Marcy May Marlene (Dir. Sean Durkin)
Midnight in Paris (Dir. Woody Allen)
Page One: Inside The New York Times (Dir. Andrew Rossi)
Super 8 (Dir. JJ Abrams)
The Adventures of Tintin (Dir. Steven Spielberg)
The Beaver (Dir. Jodie Foster)
The Deep Blue Sea (Dir. Terence Davies)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Dir. David Fincher)
The Ides of March (Dir. George Clooney)


Armadillo (Dir. Janus Metz)
Beginners (Dir. Mike Mills)
Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Dir. Werner Herzog)
Submarine (Dir. Richard Ayoade)
Cold Weather (Dir. Aaron Katz)
Tabloid (Dir. Errol Morris)

Find out more about the films of 2011 at Wikipedia
End of year lists at Metacritic
> The Best Film Music of 2011
The Best DVD and Blu-ray Releases of 2011


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 9th September 2011


Jane Eyre (Universal): The latest adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s famous novel, which depicts the struggles of a young woman (Mia Wasikowska) in 19th century England as she survives a tough childhood, before eventually working for the moody Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender). Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, it co-stars Jamie Bell and Judi Dench. [Nationwide / PG] [Read our full review here]

Friends With Benefits (Sony Pictures): A romantic comedy about two twenty-somethings, Jamie (Mila Kunis) and Dylan (Justin Timberlake), who become friends and decide to have a casual sexual relationship. Directed by Will Gluck, it co-stars Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman and Richard Jenkins. [Nationwide / 15]

Colombiana (Entertainment): A French-American action thriller about a young woman (Zo Saldana) who becomes an assassin and vigilante, hoping to avenge her parents’ death. Directed by Olivier Megaton, it co-stars Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis and Jordi Mollà. [Nationwide / 15]


Troll Hunter (Momentum Pictures): Norwegian dark fantasy film made in the form of a “found footage” mockumentary. Directed by Andre Ovredal, starring Otto Jespersen and Glenn Eriand Tosterud [Selected cinemas / 15]

Way of the Morris (Fifth Column Films): Documentary about the old English tradition of Morris dancing. Directed by Tim Plester and Rob Curry, it features Billy Bragg, Chris Leslie and the Addersbury Village Morris Men. [Selected cinemas / 12A]

Kes (Park Circus): Re-release for this classic 1969 film about a young boy (David Bradley) and his pet Kestrel. Directed by Ken Loach, it co-stars Colin Welland, Lynne Perrie, Freddie Fletcher and Brian Glover.

Post Mortem (Network Releasing): Drama set in a Chilean mortuary around the time of the 1973 coup that toppled the Allende government. Directed by Pablo Larrain, it stars Alfredo Castro and Amparo Noguera. [Selected cinemas / 15]

> Get local cinema showtimes at Google Movies or FindAnyFilm
Recent UK DVD & Blu-ray releases including Once Upon A Time in the West

Cinema Reviews Thoughts

Jane Eyre

An exquisitely realised adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel injects new life into the much filmed text.

Opening with a key flash-forward sequence, the story depicts the struggles of a young woman (Mia Wasikowska) in 19th century England as she survives a tough childhood, before eventually working at a country house owned by the moody Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender).

Along the way Jane encounters an uncaring aunt (Sally Hawkins), a cruel teacher (Simon McBurney), a sympathetic parson (Jamie Bell) and an amiable housekeeper (Judi Dench).

There is also the matter of her own emotions, which are considerably stretched by her enigmatic new boss who not only has his own feelings for her, but seems to embody the 20th century phrase “it’s complicated”.

Often British literary costume dramas can be lifeless museum pieces but BBC Films and Focus Features made the wise choice of hiring director Cary Fukunaga to adapt an elegant script by playwright Moira Buffini.

His stunning debut Sin Nombre (2009) depicted a wildly different exterior world to Bronte’s England, but the interior emotional terrains are surprisingly similar.

Part of what makes this adaptation so striking is the stylish, unfussy way in which Fukunaga shoots the characters and their environment.

Every drab, visual cliché of the British period film – be it the moors, country houses or costumes – is revamped to create a believable world which feels richly alive.

Along with cinematographer Adriano Goldman, Fukunaga uses realistic lighting – with some night scenes lit by fireplaces and candlelight – and smooth, composed framing to create a striking visual look.

The use of the Derbyshire locations is also interesting (and not just because they are standing in for Yorkshire), as they retain the darkly gothic vibe of the book but are also subtly augmented with lighting and visual effects.

This is all helped by some terrific production design by Will Hughes-Jones and period costumes by Michael O’Connor (although Fukunaga has admitted they skipped a decade because dresses in the 1830s made women look like ‘wedding cakes’).

But the beating heart of this film lies with Wasikowska and Fassbender, who both lift the film on to another emotional level with their depiction of the central, slow burning relationship.

Jane is complex and iconic female role but Wasikowska impressively conveys her quiet determination and emotional longing, whilst Fassbender demonstrates again why he is already one of the most sought after actors working today, as his Rochester feels believably human, whilst maintaining the air of mystery that surrounds him.

Together they form a deeply moving couple as two lost souls struggling to realise that in each other they have found the possibility of love and understanding.

Hollywood insiders, casting directors and cultural tastemakers are currently obsessed with these two young actors, but on the evidence of this film it is easy to see why.

The supporting cast is also excellent, especially Judi Dench who is cleverly cast against type as Mrs. Fairfax: her warm housekeeper provides a welcome contrast to her sterner roles in the Bond series or countless Miramax period movies.

Composer Dario Marianelli wisely keeps away from melodramatics, using a subtle blend of violin, piano and strings to create a rich musical foil to the emotions on screen.

Part of the enduring appeal of the novel is that depicts decent people struggling to find happiness in a cruel and inhospitable world.

Perhaps out of reverence, the previous eighteen film adaptations cautiously trod around the novel and merely prodded at its emotional centre.

Although this excises some of the religious material of the book – perhaps for time or contemporary relevance – this is the best screen version of Jane Eyre so far, as Fukunaga’s outside American eye manages to unlock the deeper themes inside of it.

> Official site
> Reviews of Jane Eyre at Metacritic
> Find out more about the original novel at Wikipedia


Trailer: Jane Eyre

The first trailer has been released for the upcoming adaptation of Charlotte Brontë‘s Jane Eyre.

Directed by Cary Fukunaga and adapted by Moira Buffini, it stars Mia Wasikowska as Jane and Michael Fassbender as Rochester and is expected to play up the more Gothic elements of the book.

Sometimes period dramas made in Britain can be by-the-numbers snoozefests, but this has some serious talent attached.

Fukunaga is coming off his brilliant debut feature Sin Nombre, Fassbender was brilliant in Hunger and Inglourious Basterds and Wasikowska recently gave a fine performance in The Kids Are Alright.

The supporting cast – Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins and Jamie Bell – also looks fairly stellar.

It gets released in the US on Friday 11th March 2011 and a UK release is TBC

> Official site
> IMDb entry