Sunday, 19 February 2012

DVD/Blu-ray New Releases 20.02.12

After the fortnight ordeal brought on by Valentine's Day and the Half-Term break, I'm pleased to say that normal service has been resumed. Monday sees the release of no fewer than six DVDs that are worthy of our attention. First up we have man of the moment Tom Hardy in UFC drama Warrior. Maintaining the fight theme is Hugh Jackman in robot punch ‘em up Real Steel. Anton Yelchin joins a strong cast for a remake of 80's horror comedy Fright Night and we have a few smaller releases in Mexican action/drama Miss Bala, semi-erotic thriller X: Night of Vengeance and documentary feature Girl Model.

Warrior seemingly attempted to position itself as this years Fighter, unfortunately, no one noticed. Frankly, it's nowhere near as Oscar worthy, it's basically Rocky V for the UFC generation. It stars Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton and by enlarge the performances are fine, the script's okay too but it's effectively a two hour plus cliché. Seriously, pick a sports movie cliché, guaranteed it's in here. The film has issues, it's too long for a start, but I was suitably entertained. It's sports film by numbers and you won't see anything new but you'll probably enjoy it if you're not perturbed by violence. It is quite fierce in places but it's never gratuitous, you never see anything but your imagination will run wild during the, all too sparse, fight scenes. The most notable thing about Warrior for me is that it marked the first time I've seen a Walkman in a movie since Back to the Future over 25 years ago.

Sticking with the fight theme we'll have a look at Real Steel, Hugh Jackman's fighting robots yawnathon. Steve had a more extensive look at this earlier in the week (read it by clicking here) and was suitably unimpressed. I'd have to say that I enjoyed it more than he did but then again I do tolerate mediocrity more than he does. That's what this film is, a mediocre family film about a Father reconnecting with Son through the traditional fighting robots. It's watchable but it's best not to be expecting too much from it, you can only be disappointed.

Speaking of disappointment, X: Night of Vengeance is an Australian thriller which comes hot on the heels of Animal Kingdom and Snowtown. The Aussies are knocking out some quality films of late right? So take that, add very attractive women, throw in some nudity and what do you get? The worst film of the year so far! This is truly woeful, the most inept movie I've experienced in a long, long time. It stars Viva Bianca, from Spartacus: Blood and Sand, and Hanna Mangan Lawrence as high-priced call girls. The hapless pair find themselves wrapped up in a murder as a job goes awry and the thrills begin. Except they don't. I hated all of the characters so I didn't care what happened to them. Yes, I didn't even like the sexy naked blonde, nor the sexy naked brunette. The acting was wooden, no, it was worse than that, I'm not even sure how to describe it. The script was also poor, I doubt the writer spent any time with hookers to get to grips with the lingo or to find out what life's like on the street... utter, utter gash.

On to Miss Bala then, a Mexican thriller that, whilst it's better than X: Night of Vengeance, is also a total letdown. Writer/Director Gerardo Naranjo has clearly tried to do something a little different with the look of the film, focusing on things that seem somewhat irrelevant whilst the key points happen off-screen, but for me it just didn't work. Perhaps if Spanish was my first language I'd have found it easier to follow but frankly Miss Bala was all over the place. I might be thick but I found the plot confusing, mainly because I didn't know who half of the characters were or why they were doing what they were doing. The film itself is fairly violent but, again, you don't see much of the actual violence, with the majority being left to the imagination. On the whole, it looks nice but falls down on plot and direction.

Girl Model is a disturbing documentary covering the seedy underworld of the exploitation of teenage models. We follow Nadya on her journey from Siberia to Tokyo where she's led to believe that she'll have a dream life, nothing could be further from the truth. I guarantee that you'll find it hard to believe that such things could still be happening in the world. Fright Night is about something that isn't happening in the world, well, some people at least. That's right, it's another vampire movie. This one is at least a good one, so much so, it's our DVD of the week. I know, I'm shocked too.

I don't like remakes, and I rarely like horror comedies, that's because they're usually jank. Director, Craig Gillespie, gets the balance right though and delivers both gore and gags. Apart from Yelchin, Fright Night stars Colin Farrell, Toni Collette, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and David Tennant. The latter trio are somewhat underused but Tennant still manages to steal the show though. I don't remember the original all that well but I do know that it's horribly dated so in this case I don't think a remake was inappropriate. It's not overly long either and whilst I don’t think it’s a classic, or will find cult status like The Lost Boys, it’s still entertaining enough to clinch the coveted Cold Ghetto DVD of the week.

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