DVD Review - December 29

DVD Review - December 29

DVD Review - December 29

First published in NewsXtra

Total Recall (Cert 12, 125 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy, John Cho.

In the late 21st century, Earth is a radioactive wasteland apart from two outposts on opposite sides of the planet: the prosperous United Federation of Britain (UFB) ruled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) and the polluted Colony, home to millions of workers and the underground resistance led by Matthias (Bill Nighy). Factory worker Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) lives in this hellhole with wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) and travels to work in the UFB with best friend Harry (Bokeem Woodbine) via a giant elevator running close to the Earth's core. Unfulfilled and frustrated, Doug visits Rekall, a shadowy company, which promises to realise clients' dreams by implanting artificial memories. In the blink of an eye, the factory worker's world implodes and he goes on the run for his life with rebel agent Melina (Jessica Biel). Total Recall is a testosterone-fuelled remake of the 1990 Paul Verhoeven action adventure inspired by Philip K Dick's short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. Set to Harry Gregson-Williams's bombastic score, Len Wiseman's film is overblown fun as long as you disengage your brain and submit to the gargantuan leaps in logic. Set pieces are orchestrated with aplomb, including a high-speed hovercar chase and a dizzying pursuit through a tower block's horizontal and vertical lift shafts. Farrell energetically flexes his muscles and adopts a permanent look of befuddlement. Beckinsale chews scenery and Biel attempts to add depth to her two-dimensional heroine. Fans of the Arnold Schwarzenegger version will be two steps ahead of the screenwriters but directorial brio and eye-popping special effects largely hold our interest.

Rating: ***

The Watch (Cert 15, 97 mins, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Comedy/Sci-Fi/Action/Romance, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £21.99)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Rosemarie DeWitt, Billy Crudup, Will Forte, Erin Moriarty, Nicholas Braun, Joe Nunez.

Evan (Ben Stiller) is the manager of a Costco wholesale store in the close-knit community of Glenview. When the store's security guard, Antonio (Joe Nunez), is murdered and local cop Sergeant Bressman (Will Forte) fails to apprehend the culprit, Evan organises his own neighbourhood watch to bring the guilty party to justice. Overly protective father Bob (Vince Vaughn), who spies on his teenage daughter (Erin Moriarty), wannabe police officer Franklin (Jonah Hill) and Brit abroad Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) join Evan's crusade, bonding over copious beers as they hunt for clues. Little do the hapless do-gooders realise that the person they are chasing is an extra-terrestrial warrior who has landed on Earth to wipe out the pernicious human race. The Watch misfires on every level, failing to generate laughs or excitement as Evan and his dysfunctional pals search for otherworldly critters in their midst. Stiller plies his usual sweetness, while Vaughn's loud-mouthed routine grates to the point that we pray his character is slaughtered by the invaders. Rosemarie DeWitt's despairing wife is at best two-dimensional and a protracted subplot involving a creepy neighbour (Billy Crudup) is hogwash, setting up a punchline involving gratuitous nudity that plunges Akiva Schaffer's film into the gutter. And there it stays. Screenwriters Jared Stern, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg throw a relationship sex comedy and a goofy buddy movie into the mix and this pot pourri of competing genres creates an almighty stink. Director Schaffer is poorly equipped to find method in the script's madness and his film implodes before the computer-generated E.T.s have phoned home to beckon the intergalactic armada.

Rating: **

Also released

The Baytown Outlaws (Cert 15, 94 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Action/Comedy, also available to buy DVD £12.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below)

Code Name: Geromino (Cert 15, 96 mins, Studio Canal, War/Thriller/Action, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below)

Offender (Cert 15, 97 mins, Revolver Entertainment, Drama, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £17.99 - see below)

St George's Day (Cert 18, 109 mins, Metrodome Distribution, Thriller, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £22.99 - see below)

UFO (Cert 15, 97 mins, Revolver Entertainment, Sci-Fi/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £17.99 - see below)

Violence Of Action (Cert 15, 102 mins, Studio Canal, Thriller/Action, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below)

NEW TO BUY ON DVD/BLU-RAY

Downton Abbey: A Journey To The Highlands (Cert 12, 105 mins, Universal/Playback, DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £22.99, Drama/Romance)

In this year's festive offering from Julian Fellowes's multi-award-winning ITV costume drama dispatches the Crawley family to Duneagle Castle in Scotland to visit the relatives, leaving behind the servants to fend for themselves. Far from home, love is in the air for Robert (Hugh Bonneville) and Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) as they enjoy the company of his cousins Hugh (Peter Egan) and Susan (Phoebe Nichols) and their daughter Lady Rose (Lily James). Back at Downton, Carson (Jim Carter) struggles to keep the staff, including Tom (Allen Leech) and new maid Edna (MyAnna Buring), motivated as minds wander to the forthcoming Thirsk Country Fair. Meanwhile, Mrs Patmore (Lesley Nicol) whips up more than one of her signature cakes when a handsome suitor catches her eye.

Misfits - Series Four (Cert 18, 372 mins, 4DVD, DVD £19.99/Series One To Four DVD Box Set £49.99/Blu-ray £24.99/Series One To Four Blu-ray Box Set £59.99, Comedy/Drama)

Troubled teenagers who have been blessed with superpowers continue to fight against fearsome adversaries in eight episodes of the Bafta award-winning E4 comedy drama created by Howard Overman. This series, Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) and Rudy (Joe Gilgun) are joined by new recruits Alex (Matt Stokoe), Finn (Nathan McMullen) and Jess (Karla Crome) to fend off the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and a murderous six-foot rabbit. In terms of personal traumas, Curtis confronts Lola's abusive ex-boyfriend, Rudy cannot stop thinking about a nun called Nadine (Gillian Saker) and Alex loses a vital appendage to a thieving transvestite. A four-disc box set comprising all the series is also available.

Peep Show - Series Eight (Cert 15, 75 mins, 4DVD, DVD £19.99/Series One To Eight DVD Box Set £79.99, Comedy/Romance)

Another six episodes of the Bafta award-winning comedy which documents the trials and tribulations of flatmates Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb) predominantly through the eyes of the characters, replete with their inner thoughts. This series, Mark discovers if Dobby (Isy Suttie) will move in with him or work rival Gerrard Matthew (Jim Howick), Jeremy searches for enlightenment on a life-coaching course and Dobby's ex-boyfriend Simon (Mathew Baynton) makes a concerted effort to win her back. An eight-disc box set comprising all of the series so far is also available.

An Idiot Abroad 3 (Cert 15, 480 mins, BBC DVD, DVD £15.99/Complete Collection DVD Box Set £29.99/Blu-ray £19.99/Complete Collection Blu-ray Box Set £34.99, Documentary/Comedy)

Karl Pilkington, intrepid sidekick on The Ricky Gervais Show, foolishly accepts the challenge to travel in the footsteps of Marco Polo in four episodes of the acclaimed Sky 1 documentary series. Unlike previous escapades, Pilkington does not travel alone this time - actor Warwick Davis joins him on the 5,000-mile trek from Venice, through Eastern Europe and India, to China, encountering myriad embarrassments and disasters along the way. A five-disc box set comprising all three series is also available.

UFO (Cert 15, 97 mins, Revolver Entertainment, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £17.99, Sci-Fi/Thriller)

British writer-director Dominic Burn helms this low-budget alien invasion thriller, which was shot on location in Derbyshire. Good friends Carrie (Bianca Bree), Michael (Sean Brosnan), Robin (Simon Phillips), Dana (Maya Grant) and Vincent (Jazz Lintott) wake one morning to discover they have no power, mobile phone signal or any means to communicate with the outside world. Confused and seemingly alone, the friends search for other survivors of the technological meltdown and are greeted by the horrifying sight of a spaceship hovering over a nearby city. As the full extent of their dilemma becomes clear, Carrie, Michael and co try not to panic as civilisation breaks down and the people that are left behind turn on one another like crazed animals. Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sean Pertwee and Julian Glover co-star.

St George's Day (Cert 18, 109 mins, Metrodome Distribution, DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £22.99, Thriller)

Actor Frank Harper makes his directorial debut with this familiar tale of dodgy geezers, co-written by Urs Buehler. Micky Mannock (Harper) and Ray Collishaw (Craig Fairbrass) have been in business for years, terrorising rivals in the criminal underworld and making a tidy profit off their ill-gotten gains. However, Ray wants to go legit so he can invest in a luxury Spanish golf resort with his wife Ellie (Angela Gots). In order to buy his partner out, Micky foolishly agrees to run a consignment of cocaine for the Russian Mafia worth £50 million and entrusts this delicate job to his right-hand man, Albert Ball (Vincent Regan). Bad weather and frayed tempers lead to police seizing the shipment and Micky must pay back the £50 million with interest in order to escape the wrath of hoodlum Vladimir Sukhov (Zlatko Buric). So Micky organises a daring diamond heist during a high-profile football match between England and Germany, which just happens to be taking place in Berlin on St George's Day. Micky ropes in former Marine William Bishop (Luke Treadaway) and underling Kootz (Ashley Walters) to ensure the gems don't go astray. Meanwhile, Detective Nixon (Jamie Foreman) and Sergeant Proctor (Sean Pertwee) are on the gang's trail, determined to put Mannock and Collishaw behind bars.

Code Name: Geromino (Cert 15, 96 mins, Studio Canal, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, War/Thriller/Action)

You wait ages for a testosterone-fuelled dramatisation of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, which ended in May 2011 with a night-time raid on a compound in Pakistan, and two arrive at the same time. Released on home formats a month before Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar-tipped Zero Dark Thirty opens in cinemas, Code Name: Geronimo explores the camaraderie between Navy SEALs Stunner (Cam Gigandet) and Cherry (Anson Mount) as they follow intelligence gathered by a ballsy CIA analyst (Kathleen Robertson) as part of the biggest manhunt in American history. Director John Stockwell allows his male cast to posture in their khakis as scriptwriter Kendall Lampkin provides basic characterisation to compel us to care for the troops during the nerve-wracking final assault.

Offender (Cert 15, 97 mins, Revolver Entertainment, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £17.99, Drama)

Ron Scalpello directs this gritty revenge thriller set against the backdrop of the riots in London last August. Tommy Nix (Joe Cole) is devoted to his girlfriend Elise (Kimberley Nixon), who is pregnant with their first child. Civil unrest on the streets of the capital has devastating consequences for Tommy when thug Jake (English Frank) and his gang take advantage of the mayhem to stage an armed robbery and Elise is killed in the crossfire. Grief turns to rage and Tommy declares war on Jake and the other men responsible for destroying his world. Determined to wreak revenge, regardless of the personal costs, Tommy exacts a terrifying form of justice, condemning himself to a lengthy spell behind bars at Britain's most notorious young offenders prison, where the other inmates and a corrupt guard (Shaun Dooley) make his incarceration a living hell.

Searching For Sugar Man (Cert E, 123 mins, Studio Canal, DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £22.99, Documentary/Musical)

In the fickle music business, raw talent seldom guarantees success or longevity. In the early 1970s, rocker Rodriguez released two critically feted albums, Cold Fact and Coming From Reality, that failed to spark the interest of the American record-buying public. With his star in rapid descent, Rodriguez continued to gig and became a footnote in music legend when he tragically committed self-immolation on stage, unaware that his records would garner a fervent fan base on the other side of the world, speaking volumes to the people of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa who were contending with segregation, discrimination and economic hardship. Malik Bendjelloul's terrific documentary follows two music fans as they rake through the ashes of their idol's past in search of the man behind the facade. Archive footage is seamlessly interwoven with interviews of the people who claimed to know the real Rodriguez, building to a glorious and unexpected final flourish that makes your heart sing.

The Baytown Outlaws (Cert 15, 94 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, DVD £12.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Action/Comedy)

A seemingly routine job to rescue a kidnapped boy from his no-good father turns into a bloodbath in Barry Battles's action comedy. Celeste (Eva Longoria) is enraged when her scheming ex-husband, Carlos (Billy Bob Thornton), abducts their beloved son, Rob (Thomas Brodie-Sangster). Unable to retrieve the boy, Celeste hires the notorious Oodie Brothers - Brick (Clayne Crawford), Lincoln (Daniel Cudmore) and McQueen (Travis Fimmel) - to track down Rob and return the lad to her loving arms. Unfortunately, the search and rescue becomes incredibly complicated and the Oodies are confronted by psychotic bikers, angry mobsters and alluring femme fatales, who are all determined to prevent the siblings from completing their assignment.

Violence Of Action (Cert 15, 102 mins, Studio Canal, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Thriller/Action)

Steven Seagal holsters his weapon as renegade cop Elijah Kane in two more episodes of the fast-paced US TV series True Justice, which are repackaged as a single feature-length investigation for British viewers. In this instalment, Kane learns that old adversary Bojan (Darren Shahlavi) is operating as a money launderer for arch-villain The Ghost. Intrigued by what the criminal mastermind is planning to buy with the dirty cash, Kane and his trusted team - Johnny Garcia (Jesse Hutch), Mark Simms (Lochlyn Munro) and Sarah Montgomery (Sarah Lind) - prepare for an assault on The Ghost's headquarters.

State Of Emergency (Cert 15, 86 mins, Signature, DVD £12.99/Blu-ray £15.99, Horror/Thriller)

Turner Clay writes and directs this bloodthirsty horror, pitting a group of human survivors against legions of the marauding undead. A chemical factory situated close to an idyllic town explodes, releasing deadly gases into the atmosphere. Nearby communities become infected and once peaceful neighbourhoods are transformed into killing zones overrun by zombies. Jim (Jay Hayden) is one of the few locals to escape the outbreak. He seeks refuge in a quarantined area, searching for a means of escape from the nightmare.

Total Recall (Cert 18, 106 mins, Studio Canal, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Sci-Fi/Thriller)

A hasty re-release of Paul Verhoeven's 1990 sci-fi action thriller on DVD and Blu-ray to coincide with the release on home formats of Len Wiseman's big-budget remake starring Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale. In this version, Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a construction worker on late 21st century Earth. He has a beautiful wife, Lori (Sharon Stone), and a job that earns decent money but Douglas is plagued by strange, fractured memories of Mars, which is being mined for the valuable mineral turbinium. Against the advice of his co-workers, Douglas visits Rekall, which allows visitors to embark on a virtual holiday using memory implants. The procedure is aborted when it transpires that Douglas's memory has been wiped before, suggesting that he has something to hide. Disorientation turns to utter disbelief when Lori reveals that she is not actually Douglas's wife but an operative assigned by the omnipotent Mars Intelligence Agency to watch over him and ensure he doesn't remember the past. Fleeing the scene, the stricken husband tries to make sense of his predicament while Richter (Michael Ironside) and his henchmen pursue Douglas with villainous intent.

And finally, here are some of the high-profile fitness and keep-fit DVDs available this Christmas, which promise to get you back in shape...

David Haye's Box & Tone (Cert E, 100 mins, Lace DVD, DVD £19.99, Special Interest)

Fresh from a creditable third place in this year's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, boxer David Haye uses his 20 years of experience inside the ring to design six workouts for all levels of personal fitness. With an accompanying soundtrack of upbeat funk and soul, you can improve muscle tone and core strength, and increase upper body strength and co-ordination.

Davina: Intense (Cert E, 95 mins, 2entertain, DVD £19.99, Special Interest)

Davina McCall may not be as prominent on our TV screens but her fitness DVDs continue to top the charts and this new workout is no different. She promotes training hard for short periods as an efficient method to shed the pounds. The three sessions on this title - Intense Cardio Box, Intense Toning and Intense Abs - combine weights and boxing moves with interval training to fight the festive flab, sculpt your body and develop ab muscles.

Gareth Thomas - The 7 Day Fitness Plan (Cert E, 78 mins, Go Entertain, DVD £12.99, Special Interest)

Rugby player Gareth Thomas, the first Welshman to win 100 caps for his country, joins professional fitness expert Nikki O'Connell to demonstrate seven 10- to 15-minute routines, one for each day of the week. Designed to improve fitness for viewers of all ages and abilities, celebrity friends Kirk Norcross, Mickey Rourke and Nicola McLean show their support in sun-baked locations including Malibu Beach and Hollywood.

Jillian Michaels DVD Box Set (Cert E, 371 mins, Acacia UK, DVD £19.99)

Best known as the fitness guru who puts contestants through their paces on weight-loss reality TV show The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels hosts three of her most popular fitness DVDs, available together in one box set. Ripped In 30 promises to get viewers in shape within 30 days, Killer Buns And Thighs offers three workouts to deliver speedy results, while Extreme Shed And Shred comprises two 45-minute workouts, which have been designed to promote rapid weight loss.

Josie Gibson's 30 Second Slim (Cert E, 60 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, DVD £19.99, Special Interest)

Josie Gibson endeared herself to the public on the 2010 series of Big Brother, emerging the eventual winner. She has subsequently shed three stone and dropped five dress sizes using high-intensity interval training, which is designed to burn fat faster by alternating bursts of activity and periods of rest. This DVD includes three 20-minute sessions designed by personal trainer James Stark, comprising a warm-up, main workout and a cool down to stretch the muscles.

Nell McAndrew: Peak Energy Recharged! (Cert E, 80 mins, Fremantle Home Entertainment, DVD £12.99, Special Interest)

Glamour model-turned-keep-fit doyenne Nell McAndrew celebrates 10 years of fitness DVDs with this revamp of her very first release. Peak Energy Recharged! delivers a full body workout in easy-to-follow steps, beginning with a warm up to prepare the body, followed by cardio interval training and exercises to enhance core strength, stretch muscles and improve balance.

Roxy's Bite Size Yoga (Cert E, 90 mins, IMC Vision, DVD £12.99, Special Interest)

Best known as Leyla Harding in the ITV1 soap Emmerdale, actress Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi is passionate about yoga and here, she shares six 15-minute exercise routines designed to relax, energise and tone the body. The DVD is packaged with a booklet to promote healthy eating, which includes recipes for coconut stir fry, super food salad and strawberry muffins.

Step Up: Miami Heat - Dance Workout (Cert E, 60 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, DVD £19.99, Special Interest)

Draw inspiration from the fourth instalment of the Step Up franchise with this dance DVD, which boasts four routines - Hip-Hop Jam, Latin Hip-Hop Fusion, Latin Groove and Hip-Hop - laden with slick moves from the film. Mimic dancers to learn the moves, then string them together to perform a full workout to high-energy songs from the movie soundtrack.

The Tracy Anderson Method: Mat Workout (Cert E, 60 mins, ITV DVD, DVD £19.99, Special Interest)

Well known as the personal trainer who helps Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Shakira to stay in shape, Tracy Anderson re-releases this popular follow-up to her Dance Cardio Workout, which is designed to help women slowly change their body shapes. The workout requires no special equipment, other than two 500ml bottles of water, one in each hand as weights for the arm exercises.

What To Expect When You're Expecting - The Workout (Cert E, 60 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, DVD £17.99, Special Interest)

Based on Heidi Murkoff's best-selling pregnancy guide, which was the inspiration for a recent romantic comedy starring Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez, this selection of six 10-minute routines helps expectant mothers to incorporate fitness into pregnancy, strengthening and stretching muscles as well as boosting cardio.

DVD AND BLU-RAY RETAIL TOP 10

1 (-) Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

2 (1) The Dark Knight Rises

3 (-) The Expendables 2

4 (-) Keith Lemon: The Film

5 (2) Ted

6 (3) The Bourne Legacy

7 (4) Brave

8 (7) Michael McIntyre: Showtime

9 (10) Mrs Brown's Boys Live Tour: Good Mourning Mrs Brown

10 (6) The Amazing Spider-Man

Chart supplied by www.hmv.com

DVD RENTAL TOP 10

1 (-) The Woman In Black

2 (-) The Three Musketeers

3 (-) Warrior

4 (-) Friends With Benefits

5 (-) Jack And Jill

6 (-) Fright Night

7 (-) Predators

8 (-) The Bourne Legacy

9 (3) Rock Of Ages

10 (-) The Lucky One

Chart supplied by www.blockbuster.co.uk

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