DVD Review - January 14

DVD Review - January 14

DVD Review - January 14

First published in DVD Reviews

A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases By Damon Smith.

New to rent on DVD/Blu-Ray.

Colombiana (Cert 15, 103 mins, Entertainment In Video, Action/Thriller/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99).

Starring: Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan, Jordi Molla, Lennie James, Callum Blue, Cliff Curtis, Beto Benites, Amandla Stenberg.

In 1992 Colombia, 10-year-old Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) witnesses the deaths of her parents at the hands of druglord Don Luis (Beto Benites) and his thug henchman, Marco (Jordi Molla). The girl heads to Chicago to reunite with her gangster uncle, Emilio (Cliff Curtis), determined to avenge her parents' deaths. Fifteen years later, Cataleya (now played by Zoe Saldana) has blossomed into a sexy assassin responsible for 22 murders in four years. FBI Special Agent Ross (Lennie James) is on her trail but Cataleya will not end the killing spree until Don Luis and Marco are both six feet under. Complicating matters, the assassin is romantically involved with an artist (Michael Vartan), who wants to know more about the enigmatic woman in his life. Colombiana is a pacy revenge thriller distinguished by a far better performance from Saldana than Olivier Megaton's film deserves. The lithe actress wrings genuine tears from her tragic heroine and seems eminently capable of taking down an entire criminal underworld between applications of lip-gloss. The romance with Vartan's creative hunk is undernourished and James's crusading cop is hamstrung with some terrible dialogue but both men make the most of the scraps in the formulaic yet entertaining script. Megaton orchestrates thrilling set pieces littered with bone-crunching fistfights, explosions and daredevil acrobatics. He masterminds a bravura sequence in a police station, which sees the latex-clad avenger crawling around the building's ventilation ducts to sneak up on a criminal under armed guard. A late-night assault on a kingpin's mansion errs towards unintentional campiness thanks to a subterranean shark pool. James Bond would raise a shaken martini in approval.

Rating: *** Troll Hunter (Cert 15, 99 mins, Momentum Pictures Home Entertainment, Action/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £29.99) Starring: Glenn Erland Tosterud, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Morck, Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen.

In the west, trolls are cute gift shop trinkets with voluminous hair but in Scandinavia, these fantastical creatures are deeply embedded in folklore. Some are truly terrifying and director Andre Ovredal explores the mythology in this hugely entertaining and action-packed thriller about a student film crew who stumble upon a secret that involves the upper echelons of power in Norway. Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), video camera man Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen) and sound operator Johanna (Johanna Morck) are intrigued by the deaths of several bears. Local hunters point the finger of suspicion at Hans (Otto Jespersen), so the students stalk their prime suspect and discover that Hans is an employee of the government who risks his life to secretly deal with trolls. Unexpectedly, Hans allows the camera crew to follow him on his adventures and the youngsters stand slack-jawed as they glimpse the gargantuan creatures they thought only existed in fairy stories. In the process, the film-makers clash with Finn (Hans Morten Hansen), the director of the Troll Security Service, who doesn't want footage of the beasts filtering into the mainstream. Troll Hunter is a fast-paced romp stylised as 'found' documentary footage, replete with blurred camerawork as Kalle and his fellow students gallop through trees and undergrowth in the dead of night to escape a rampaging creature. Some of the digital effects lack polish but director Ovredal cleverly side-steps technological shortcomings by shooting one tense sequence in night vision. Like the petrified students, we hold our breath, praying the dark will keep them safe from harm.

Rating: *** Also released Against The Current (Cert 15, 94 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Drama/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99 - see below) Arrietty (Cert U, 90 mins, Studio Canal, Animation/Drama, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £24.99 - see below) The Big Picture (Cert 15, 115 mins, Artificial Eye, Drama, also available to buy DVD £15.99 - see below) Cell 211 (Cert 18, 108 mins, Studio Canal, Thriller/Drama, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below) In A Better World (Haevnen) (Cert 15, 119 mins, Axiom Films, Drama/Romance, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below) Melancholia (Cert 15, 135 mins, Artificial Eye, Drama, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below) Project Nim (Cert 12, 95 mins, Icon Home Entertainment, Documentary, also available to buy DVD £15.99 - see below) New to buy on DVD/Blu-Ray Endeavour (Cert 12, 89 mins, ITV Studios Home Entertainment, DVD £12.99, Drama) This one-off feature-length prequel from ITV1's long-running crime drama Inspector Morse sketches the early years of the ill-tempered detective, stepping back in time to 1965 Oxford where junior detective Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) becomes embroiled in the disappearance of a schoolgirl. Ostracised from his colleagues as the case becomes a suspected murder, Morse ploughs a lonely furrow as he makes his own enquiries, sifting the evidence to secure a conviction that will shape his entire future as an officer of the law.

Boardwalk Empire - The Complete First Season (Cert 18, 670 mins, Warner Home Video/HBO, DVD £39.99/Blu-ray £49.99, Drama/Thriller/Romance) Treasurer Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson (Steve Buscemi) rules the roost in 1920s Atlantic City, a bustling community in New Jersey, where corruption and vice walk hand-in-hand with pleasure and betrayal. Supported by his mistress Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald), Nucky sets up a highly lucrative bootlegging business during the Prohibition, bringing him into conflict with politicians and rival hoodlums, including his young and ambitious protege, Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt). As these two men use violence and intimidation to make a killing - literally - the federal government begins to take an active interest in their shady business dealings. The five-disc box set comprises all 12 episodes plus selected episode commentaries and behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Melancholia (Cert 15, 135 mins, Artificial Eye, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Drama/Romance) It's the end of the world as we know it in Lars von Trier's apocalyptic drama. Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) are preparing to tie the knot at a romantic castle wedding masterminded by her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg). However, tensions flare between Justine's divorced parents, Dexter (John Hurt) and Gaby (Charlotte Rampling), and the bride and groom also bicker about her apparent disinterest in the wedding reception. The evening ends with disappointment and shattered emotions. Many weeks later, Justine has been consumed with a depression that renders her almost incapable of getting out of bed. She stays with Claire, her husband John (Kiefer Sutherland) and their son Leo (Cameron Spurr), looking to the skies where a blue planet named Melancholia is due to fly perilously close to the Earth. As avid stargazer John looks to the heavens, he begins to sense that something is terribly wrong with the predicted trajectory of Melancholia and that Earth is on a collision course with the mysterious blue planet.

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