DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD Releases: Monday 10th August 2009

DVD Picks 10-08-09


Two Lovers (Lionsgate): A romantic drama film, very loosely based on Dostoevsky‘s “White Nights” which stars Joaquin Phoenix as a troubled young man living in Brighton Beach in New York, who falls in love with two very different women (Gwyneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw).

Directed by James Gray, who has made films such as The Yards and We Own the Night, it is a pleasingly old fashioned and charming film with Phoenix excellent in the central role (easily his best since Walk The Line in 2005) and good work from Paltrow and Shaw.

The technical work (notice the lack of sets) and cinematography by Joaquin BacaAsay are all first rate and although it didn’t get the love it deserved at cinemas, it is well worth checking out on DVD.

Available on regular DVD and Blu-ray, the extra features include:

  • English DD5.1 (DVD) / English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (BD)
  • English HOH subtitles
  • Audio Commentary with Co-Writer and Director James Gray
  • Deleted Scenes


Californication – Season 2 (Paramount): The second season of this smart Showtime TV series created by Tom Kapinos, sees David Duchovny return as Hank Moody, a novelist in California struggling to cope with writer’s block and his relationships with various women as well as his ex-girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone) and daughter Becca (Madeleine Martin).

Whilst not as good as the first season, Duchovny is still very good value in the lead role and for people in the UK who didn’t catch it on Five, it is an amusing and well written series.

Extras include:

  • “Coke, Dick and the First Kick” commentary
  • “Heart, Balls & Swagger” cast interviews & commentary
  • Trivia Factoids
  • Tom Kapinos interview
  • Name That Girl
  • Marcy’s Wax Salon (easter egg)
  • “Caliwood” Bubble Map
  • Cast Bios and Filmographies
  • Stills Gallery


17 Again (EIV)
Cradle Will Fall (Momentum)
CSI: New York Season 5 Part 1 (Momentum)
Doctor Who: Black Guardian Trilogy (2 Entertain)
Friday the 13th (2009) (Paramount)
God Man Dog (Terracotta Distribution)
Gossip Girl Season 2 Part 2 (Warner)
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (Metrodome)
No. 3 (Third Window Films)
Oasis (Third Window Films)
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Sony)
Stargate Atlantis Season 5 (Fox)
Streets of Blood (Momentum)
The Fox Family (Terracotta Distribution)
The Kevin Bishop Show (2 Entertain)
The Ramen Girl (Momentum Pictures)
The Ungodly (Metrodome)


> 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 7th August)


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 27th March 2009

UK Cinema Releases 27-03-09


The Damned United (S0ny Pictures): The film adaptation of David Peace‘s bestselling novel about Brian Clough and his turbulent spell as manager of Leeds United sees Michael Sheen in the central role.

Adapted by Peter Morgan and directed Tom Hooper (best known for his TV miniseries work on Longford and John Adams) it lacks the dark, interior qualities that made the book so riveting but features some excellent performances.

Sheen does a fantastic job in the title role, bringing the same kind of charm and authenticity that featured in his previous portrayals of Tony Blair and David Frost.

There are also some excellent supporting turns from Colm Meaney as Don Revie and Jim Broadbent as Sam Longson.

It is unusual for Sony to do a British film like this but they have done an excellent job in marketing as a film as something football and non-football fans can enjoy.

Given the competition this week, it stands a chance of claiming the top spot given the good reviews and positive word of mouth.   

Knowing (E1 Films): The current number 1 film at the US box office stars Nicolas Cage as a scientist who comes across a set of numbers that appear to predict disasters.

Directed by Alex Proyas, it mixes drama, action and sci-fi and whilst plodding for the most part, does actually contain three excellent set-pieces and an ending that may surprise people with its ambition. 

E1 Films were a little reluctant to screen it for critics and actually released it early on Wednesday to bump up the opening weekend’s figures.

Given that Cage is still quite a big draw in the action genre (despite his incessant frowning in films like this) it should crack the top two and depending on how well The Damned United does, looks like the marginal favourite to claim the top spot.    

The Haunting in Connecticut (Entertainment): Another horror film hits UK cinemas and this one is about the allegedly true story (which almost certainly means its total bollocks) of the Snedeker family’s encounter with the paranormal in Southington, Connecticut.

This is one of those films with plenty of posters and billboards and virtually no real buzz.


Given that the most well-known actors in it are Virginia Madsen and Elias Koteas, Entertainment will be hoping that horror fans will be up for it and that all those billboards have had some impact. 

I’m guessing that it will have a short cinema life and will make most of its money on DVD. [Cert 15 / Vue West End & Nationwide]



UK Selected Releases 27-03-09

Two Lovers (Lionsgate):  A romantic drama film, very loosely based on Dostoevsky‘s “White Nights”  which stars Joaquin Phoenix as a troubled young man living in Brighton Beach in New York, who falls in love with two very different women (Gwyneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw).

Directed by James Gray, who has made films such as The Yards and We Own the Night, it is a pleasingly old fashioned and charming film with Phoenix excellent in the central role (easily his best since Walk The Line in 2005) and good work from Paltrow and Shaw.

The technical work (notice the lack of sets) and cinematography by Joaquin Baca-Asay are all first rate and although it is getting a limited release, is well worth seeking out. [Cert 15 / Apollo Picc Circus, C’World Haymarket, Curzon Mayfair & Key Cities]

Genova (Metrodome): Another film from the festival circuit last year is the story of two American girls and their British father (Colin Firth) who move to Italy after their mother dies.

Directed by the prolific Michael Winterbottom, it also stars Catherine Keener and Hope Davis.

It was filmed in the titular city of Genoa (Genova in Italian) during the summer of 2007. [Cert 15 / Curzon Soho, Ritzy Clapham, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Barbican & Key Cities]

The Life Before Her Eyes (Paramount): A thriller directed by Vadim Perelman adapted from the Laura Kasischke novel of the same name starring Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood. [Cert 12A / Key Cities]

Traitor (Momentum Pictures): A political thriller about an FBI agent (Guy Pearce) who heads up the investigation into a dangerous international conspiracy, which seems to lead back to a former U.S. Special Operations officer, Samir Horn (Don Cheadle). [Cert 12A / Empire Leicester Square & Key Cities]

Tyson (Revolver Entertainment): A dcoumentary about boxer Mike Tyson directed by James Toback and produced by Nicholas Jarecki. [Cert 15 / Curzon Soho, Ritzy & selected Key Cities]

Aa Dekhen Zara (Eros): A Bollywood romantic sci-fi action thriller (yes, you did read that right), starring Neil Mukesh and Bipasha Basu. [C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, S’bury Ave., Odeon Greenwich, Vue O2 & Key Cities]

Afghan Star (Roast Beef Prod): A documentary exploring how contestants on Pop Idol in Afghanistan risk their lives to appear on the show. [ICA Cinema]

Martyrs (Optimum Releasing): A French mysteryhorror film written and directed by Pascal Laugier. [ICA Cinema]


See what other films came out in March 2009
Check out our latest DVD picks (W/C Monday 23rd March)

Cannes Festivals

Cannes 2008 Reactions: Two Lovers

Two Lovers is the latest film from director James Gray and it screened in competition yesterday.

It is a drama set in Brooklyn about a bachelor (Joaquin Phoenix) who is torn between two women (Gwyneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw).

Here is a summary of the critical reaction:

Todd McCarthy of Variety says it is ‘involving’ and ‘touching’:

An involving, ultimately touching romantic drama about a young man’s struggle deciding between the two women in his life, ‘Two Lovers’ reps a welcome change of pace for director James Gray from his run of crime mellers.

Well acted by Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw, this very New York tale is old-fashioned in good ways that have to do with solid storytelling, craftsmanship and emotional acuity.

Developing an audience will be another matter altogether; its central romantic dynamic would be entirely accessible to a mass audience, but pic’s smallish nature and lack of real B.O. names suggest that interest will need to be built among discerning viewers via fest exposure and critical support, leading into gradual platform release by a dedicated distrib.

Ray Bennett of The Hollywood Reporter predicts it will ‘please many’ and ‘may win awards’:

Shot, paced and scored like a 1950s kitchen-sink romance, the film spurns the school of Judd Apatow with a complete disdain for adolescent contrivance and stupid gags.

Boxoffice will depend on audiences in the “Grand Theft Auto” era deciding that the fate of three little people adds up to more than a hill of beans. Lacking a larger context such as a world war, odds are they won’t, but the film will please many and it may win awards.

Allan Hunter of Screen Daily is not too impressed, dubbing it ‘well crafted’ but ‘maudlin’:

Two Lovers is a maudlin, melancholic tug at the heartstrings that marks a welcome break from Gray’s preoccupation with crime and corruption.

It is well-crafted and ably acted but never especially moving and winds up feeling like something from the classier end of the American TV movie spectrum.

Neither eye-catching indie nor surefire blockbuster, it will struggle to find a comfortable commercial berth, leaving its future dependent on the drawing power of Gray regular Joaquin Phoenix.

Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere says it is ‘too earnest’ but ‘not half bad’:

…an attractively composed, persuasively acted but slightly too earnest and on-the-nose drama about romantic indecision.

But it’s not half bad — a little Marty-ish at times, maybe a bit too emphatic here and there, but nonetheless concise, reasonably well-ordered and, for the most part, emotionally restrained and therefore believable.

Glenn Kenny of Some Came Running was ‘frequently moved’:

Most of my U.S. colleagues here hated James Gray’s new film even more than they did last year’s booed-right-here We Own The Night, which I wasn’t too crazy about myself.

But I gotta give it up—as earnest and awkward as this loose rethink of Dostoevsky’s “White Nights” can get, it frequently moved me.

Anne Thomspson of Variety thinks it is a ‘gem’ :

Two Lovers played well not only for the black tie crowd at the Lumiere but for the U.S. buyers who haven’t been rocked by anything so far and have been looking bedraggled (by constant rain) and gloomy.

It’s specific to its New York borough locale. It features a vulnerable, touching performance by Joaquin Phoenix as an unhappy young man who is in love with a good girl beloved by his family (Shaw) and a bad girl (Paltrow) who dangles escape from his limited prospects.

It’s a gem.

The film hasn’t yet secured US distribution but that is likely to change in the next couple of days.

> Two Lovers at the official Cannes site
> James Gray at the IMDb