blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 15th March 2010



A Serious Man (Universal): The Coen Brothers returned from the Oscar success of No Country For Old Men, with this exquisitely crafted black comedy exploring the pointless nature of suffering. Beginning with a seemingly incongruous prologue set in an Eastern European shtetl, it moves on to explore the hellish suburban existence of a Jewish maths professor named Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) in Minnesota, during 1967.

With a hectoring wife (Sari Lennick) who wants a divorce, her annoying widower lover (Fred Melamed), a leeching brother (Richard Kind), a pothead son (Aaron Wolff ) into Jefferson Airplane, dithering academic colleagues, an awkward Korean student and a succession of perpetually useless rabbis, he appears to living in a modern day version of The Book of Job. One of the best films of the year, it might just be the Coen Brothers’ finest film to date. [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]

The White Ribbon (Artificial Eye): Director Michael Haneke won the Palme d’Or at Cannes back in May with this expertly crafted drama about the strange and disturbing things that start to happen in a German village on the eve of World War I. The action revolves around the dominant characters in the stern Protestant community: the Baron (Ulrich Tukur), the pastor (Burghart Klaussner) – who wields a significant influence on the local children – and the doctor (Rainer Bock).

As you might expect of a Haneke film the technical aspects are superb, especially Christoph Kanter’s production design and Christian Berger‘s stark black and white photography. The deliberate lack of a musical score helps add to the sense foreboding as viewers get a chilling glimpse of the generation that would grow up to embrace Nazism. [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]

Johnny Mad Dog (Momentum): A riveting and brutal examination of child soldiers in Africa from director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire ranks amongst the best war films in recent memory. Although nominally set in an unnamed African country, it was shot in Liberia – still recovering from a long civil war – and makes use of former child soldiers and documentary-style techniques to create a hellish recreation of a contemporary issue.

Based on the 2002 novel Johnny Chien Méchant by the US-based Congolese author Emmanuel Dongala, it is a remarkable achievement even if many audiences might not make it through the gut wrenching opening sequence. [Buy it on DVD]

Elizabeth (Universal): This 1998 historical drama explored the early reign of Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett) and how she became one of the most iconic rulers in British history. Torn between her duty to political allies – Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) and Cecil (Richard Attenborough – and her love for childhood sweetheart Dudley (Joseph Fiennes), she also has to see off Catholic conspirators such as the Duke of Norfolk (Christopher Eccleston) and a Vatican spy (Daniel Craig). Capably directed by Shekhar Kapur, it plays fast and loose with historical details, but remains an absorbing look at one of the most fascinating periods in British history. The production design and costumes are convincing and all look terrific on Blu-ray. Nominated for several Oscars, it helped launch Blanchett as a star and also look out for small roles featuring Eric Cantona and a 12-year-old Lily Allen. [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]

Zombieland (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): One of the sleeper hits of last summer was this horror comedy about a group of survivors (Woody HarrelsonJesse EisenbergEmma Stone, and Abigail Breslin) trying to stay alive after a zombie apocalypse hits the USA.

A road trip film of sorts, it bears quite a few similarities to Shaun of the Dead in its jokey, referential humour. That said it is an entertaining ride and a welcome antidote to the scores of gory, horror remakes which have sprouted up in the last decade. Strangely, it also bears some similarities to Adventureland, which also starred Jesse Eisenberg, as well as featuring a theme park. [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]



Clash of the Titans (Warner Bros) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Universal) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
Ninja (Lionsgate UK) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
Pink Floyd: Momentary Lapses (Classic Rock Productions) [Buy it on DVD]
Survival of the Dead (Optimum) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
The Beatles: A Magical History Tour (Classic Rock Productions) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
The Crimson Wing (Walt Disney) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
The Fourth Kind (EV) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
Cold Souls (Universal) [Buy it on DVD]
Goal! III – Taking On the World (In 2 Pictures) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
Seven Ages of Britain (2 Entertain) [Buy it on DVD]

The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
UK cinema releases for Friday 12th March including Green Zone and Shutter Island


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 9th October 2009

UK Cinema Releases 09-10-09



Up (Disney): The 10th film from Pixar is the tale of an old man named Carl (Ed Asner) who decides to go off on an adventure by using balloons to fly his house down to the South American jungle. Along the way he discovers a young stowaway Wilderness Explorer (Jordan Nagai), a collection of talking dogs and a mysterious explorer (Christopher Plummer) living in the jungle.

As you might expect from Pixar, the animation and storytelling are first rate, although the first half of the film is a touch more satisfying than the second, due in part to a dazzling sequence early on which is amongst the best they have ever done. Director Pete Docter deserves a lot of praise for cleverly mixing deep emotions with breezy action and it bears some similarities in tone to his previous feature-length film, Monsters, Inc.

This is the first all new Pixar film to have the 3D treatment (seemingly standard for major studio animation these days) and on the big screen I saw it on it looked crisp and clean, making clever use of the spaces in certain scenes. One of the more pleasing aspects of the film is the attention paid to character, especially Carl, which has long been a hallmark of Pixar’s best work but for some reason resonates very strongly with this film.

Disney will be expecting a half-term box office bonanza from family audiences along the lines of £20 million but I can’t help feeling they missed out on a higher potential gross by not releasing it in the summer given the lack of a major football tournament and a general dearth of decent films, let alone family themed ones. Never the less, the number 1 slot is assured. [Cert U / Nationwide]

Zombieland: (Sony Pictures): Think Adventureland meets Shaun of the Dead and you’ll get some idea of this fast-paced and highly enjoyable zombie comedy. It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin as survivors of a zombie apocalypse who have to team up in order to survive.

Directed by first timer Ruben Fleischer from a script by Paul Wernick and
Rhett Reese it manages to reference the zombie genre and satirise it at the same time. Part of the key here is the tone, which is wise but never too serious and the pacing which is admirably brisk. Another key plus point are the performances which are excellent with Eisenberg doing a sterling job in the lead, a character who is something of a nerdy, likeable everyman.

The irony about this film is that it comes after a wave of Shaun of the Dead rip-offs which have flooded the market over the last couple of years (memo to young British directors: stop trying to be Edgar Wright), but it does actually feel fresh and funny. This is more because of the execution rather than the ideas, but never the less it works.

Word of mouth and critical buzz from the US is very good and Sony will be hoping for a solid showing amongst the 16-34 year old demographic, with this being perfect fodder for couples on a Saturday night. Up is going to pull in the big numbers this weekend but Zombieland could do very good business given that everyone is probably still bummed out how average The Invention of Lying was. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Love Happens (E1 Entertainment): A romantic drama about a widower (Aaron Eckhart) and author of a best selling book on loss selling guru, who falls for a woman (Jennifer Aniston) who attends one of his seminars.

The bad reviews and poor buzz are likely to put off female audiences, but that still doesn’t explain why the poster is almost identical to the one for Revolutionary Road. [Cert 12A / Nationwide]

Halloween II (Entertainment): The Rob Zombie directed sequel to his own naff 2007 remake bombed in the US (where some were repulsed by the hacky directing and sadism) and is likely to do the same here.

Profits on DVD is probably where this one is going to make its real money.



Goodbye Solo (Axiom Films): An indie drama written and directed by Ramin Bahrani about a Senegalese taxi driver (Souléymane Sy Savané) who forms an unlikely connection with an older passenger (Red West).

Critical acclaim after a successfull festival circuit run could translate into decent art house business.

Katalin Varga (Artficial Eye): The feature film debut of British director Peter Strickland filmed and set entirely in the rural wilds of Romania about the journey taken by the title character and her son, Orban, after Katalin’s husband banishes them from their home following a scandalous discovery.

Will need significant critical support to make waves on the arthouse circuit but well be a slow burner on DVD, especially if Strickland’s career progresses.

Vanishing of the Bees (Dogwoof): A documentary about the disturbing decline in the UK honeybee population last winter, which is potentially serious given they pollinate a third of our food.

Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee (Warp/Verve Pictures): A low budget, experimental mockumentary about an Arctic Monkeys roadie (Paddy Considine) from director Shane Meadows.

Shot in only five days on a micro-budget of £48,000, it will have a brief run in certain cinemas followed by a quickie DVD release.

Died Young Stayed Pretty (ICA Films): A documentary that examines the underground poster culture in North America directed by Eileen Yaghoobian. [ICA Cinema]

> UK cinema releases for October 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Katyn, Beaufort and Time Bandits (W/C Monday 5th Ocotber 2009)


UK Cinema Releases: October 2009

UK Cinema Releases - October 2009


  • Army Of Crime (15) / Optimum Releasing
  • The Beaches Of Agnes (18) / Artificial Eye
  • Beyond A Reasonable Doubt / Entertainment
  • District 13: Ultimatum (15) / Momentum Pictures
  • I P Man (15) / Showbox Entertainment / ICA Cinema & Key Cities
  • The Invention Of Lying (12A) / Universal
  • Driving Aphrodite (aka My Life In Ruins) (12A) / Warner Bros.
  • Pandorum (15) / Icon
  • Toy Story In 3D (PG) / Walt Disney
  • Vinyan (18) / Revolver Entertainment


  • Zombieland (15) / Sony


  • Up (in 3D) (U) / Walt Disney
  • Creek / (Entertainment)
  • Died Young Stayed Pretty / ICA Films / ICA Cinema & selected Key Cities (from 23 Oct)
  • Goodbye Solo (15) / Axiom Films Apollo Piccadilly Circus, Curzon Renoir & Key Cities
  • Halloween II (18) / Entertainment
  • Katalin Varga (15) / Artificial Eye
  • Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee (15) / Verve Pictures
  • Love Happens (12A) / E1 Entertainment
  • The Vanishing Of The Bees / Dogwoof


  • Couples Retreat / Universal


  • The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (12A) / Lionsgate UK
  • Ong Bak: The Beginning (15) / Revolver Entertainment
  • Pontypool (TBC) / Kaleidoscope Entertainment / Key Cities
  • Thirst (18) / Metrodome
  • Triangle (15) / Icon


  • A Thousand Words / Paramount
  • Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant / Universal
  • Coffin Rock / (High Fliers Films)
  • Colin (18) / Kaleidoscope Entertainment / London & Key Cities
  • The Cove (12A) / Vertigo Films
  • Fantastic Mr Fox (PG)/ 20th Century Fox
  • Freestyle / Revolver Entertainment
  • Johnny Mad Dog (15) / Momentum Pictures
  • Made in Jamaica (15) / Network Releasing
  • The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (15) / Warner Bros./Pathe


  • 9 (12A) / Universal
  • Michael Jackson’s This is It (TBC) / Sony Pictures


  • An Education / E1 Entertainment
  • Animal House (R/I) / Universal
  • Citizen Kane (U) / bfi Distribution / BFI Southbank & Key Cities
  • Dead Man Running / Revolver Entertainment
  • Love Exposure / Third Window Films
  • Tales From The Golden Age (12A) / Trinity Filmed Ent

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.

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> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms