A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases.
By Damon Smith.
New to rent on DVD/Blu-ray.
In Time (Cert 12, 104 mins, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £24.99).
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Vincent Kartheiser, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Wilde, Johnny Galecki, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer.
In the future, people are engineered to age until they reach 25 years old, then a timer, embedded in their arm, begins to tick down second by second to their demise. You can earn, steal or inherit more time to extend your life expectancy, creating a huge divide between the haves and have-nots. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) lives in the ghetto with his mother (Olivia Wilde), making ends meet by working at a factory with his best friend Borel (Johnny Galecki). During a night out, Will has a chance encounter with suicidal rich man Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer), who donates 100 years of his time to Will's body clock. Granted access to the most exclusive parts of the city, Will learns the truth about how Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) and the men in power manipulate the populace. Will vows to bring down the corrupt system forging an unlikely alliance with Philippe's rebellious daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried). In Time is a neat concept, stylishly executed, with some well-orchestrated action sequences to paper over cracks in writer-director Andrew Niccol's logic. Timberlake is an appealing hero, defiantly proclaiming, "No one should be immortal if even one person has to die", between taking off his shirt and kindling smouldering screen chemistry with Seyfried, whose role is underwritten. Vincent Kartheiser is a two-dimensional villain but Cillian Murphy brings depth to his part as the time cop, who will not allow Will to upset the status quo.
Rating: *** The Three Musketeers (Cert 12, 105 mins, Entertainment One UK, Family/Action/Comedy/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99) Starring: Logan Lerman, Ray Stevenson, Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans, Milla Jovovich, Christoph Waltz, Mads Mikkelsen, Orlando Bloom, Freddie Fox, Juno Temple, James Corden.
D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) seeks his fortune in the court of young and inexperienced King Louis (Freddie Fox) and his bride Queen Anne (Juno Temple). En route, D'Artagnan crosses paths with Porthos (Ray Stevenson), Athos (Matthew Macfadyen) and Aramis (Luke Evans), and earns the Musketeers' respect by challenging Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen), the head of the guards, to a duel. With the help of M'Lady (Milla Jovovich), D'Artagnan and the Musketeers learn of a plot masterminded by Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) to impugn the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). With time running out before King Louis declares war against the British, the Musketeers and their new recruit declare, "All for one, one for all" and they hatch a plan to foil Richelieu. The Three Musketeers is a jolly romp, plying comedy, action and romance with a healthy dose of skullduggery and heaving bosoms. The cast looks fierce, duelling with blades in slow-motion, and the body count is impressively high, albeit without a drop of spilt blood to ensure the family-friendly 12 classification. Lerman's hero in training is adept with his sword but woefully outclassed when it comes to wooing maidens. "In the battle of wits, you, sir, are unarmed," giggles one maiden. Stevenson, Macfadyen and Evans stride manfully through each confrontation, while Jovovich proves that anything the boys can do, she can do better, sliding beneath booby-traps or somersaulting over razor-sharp wires. James Corden is earthy comic relief as the Musketeers' long-suffering manservant Planchet. The 3D version, available only on Blu-ray, fails to wow so save your pennies.
Rating: *** Paranormal Activity 3 (Cert 15, 80 mins, Paramount Home Entertainment, Horror/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray & DVD Combi-pack £27.99) Starring: Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Lauren Bittner, Christopher Nicholas Smith, Dustin Ingram, Katie Featherston, Sprague Grayden.
On September 3, 1988, a little girl called Katie (Chloe Csengery) celebrates her birthday while her younger sister Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) keeps to herself, talking to her imaginary friend Toby. Celebrations are captured by videographer Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith), the new boyfriend of the girls' mother, Julie (Lauren Bittner). He becomes intrigued by strange sounds in the home and sets up two cameras, inadvertently capturing strange phenomena that threaten to tear the family apart. Paranormal Activity 3 is an assured opening chapter in the horror mythology, sowing the seeds of terror in childhood that reap such bitter fruit for the two sisters in later years. The third film starts gently and apart from a couple of cheap surprises, the knot of tension in our stomachs doesn't begin to tighten until the halfway point. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who made the acclaimed documentary Catfish about the perils of social networking, deliver several effective jolts. They follow the template of earlier instalments, from doors that open or slam shut without warning to bedclothes that ripple under the control of invisible forces. The directors' most novel conceit is perching the camera atop a rotating electric fan, allowing the field of vision to turn slowly through 90 degrees, thereby giving us a panoramic view of the family's living room and kitchen. More than once, we glimpse impending doom on the edge of the screen just as the fan begins its rotation, and for the next 15 seconds our imaginations whir feverishly into overdrive as we contemplate what horrors are unfolding just off screen.
Rating: *** We Need To Talk About Kevin (Cert 15, 108 mins, Artificial Eye, Drama, also available to buy DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £19.99) Starring: Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller, John C Reilly, Siobhan Fallon, Ashley Gerasimovich, Jasper Newell.
From birth, Eva Khatchadourian (Tilda Swinton) clashes with her son Kevin (Ezra Miller), including a confrontation that results in a visit to the hospital. Kevin slyly wins the affections of his naive and trusting father, Franklin (John C Reilly), thereby driving a wedge between the parents. The arrival of baby sister Celia (Ashley Gerasimovich) introduces a new target for Kevin's sick and twisted games, including a shocking episode with the family's guinea pig and a close call with drain cleaner that Eva is convinced was no accident at all. Tensions escalate culminating in shocking news of a massacre at the local high school and Eva fears the worst. Adapted from the harrowing novel by Lionel Shriver, We Need To Talk About Kevin is an extraordinary, haunting and poetic vision, which brilliantly dissects the relationship between parent and child caught in a violent tug of war between nature and nurture. Swinton is mesmerising, anguish etched across her face as Eva endures abuse in the street from the parents of dead children, who blame her for Kevin's demonic actions. Miller is unnerving, coolly biting his nails and then lining up the gnarled crescents on a table as he confesses that he no longer recalls why he took a bow and arrow to his classmates. "I used to think I knew... now I'm not so sure," he laments. Director Lynne Ramsay withholds the horror of the massacre until the closing frames and delivers a final hammer blow that explains why Eva walks through the film like an empty shell.