Tuesday 16 October 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Blu-rays

It's one of those great weeks where the big releases look pretty boring and the smaller titles have a few gems to offer.

Depending on your point of view, Wrath of the Titans (and its predecessor) is either a rip-roaring, swords and sandals action adventure in glorious 3D, or a cheesy old bunch of nonsense that's not so bad if you just want to put it on in the background and not pay too much attention to it. In 3D. Personally I'd edge towards the latter, as although I instantly forgot everything about Clash... as soon as I'd left the cinema, something tells me I'll end up watching this sequel on blu-ray at some point. I wouldn't bother with the 3D version though, A. Because it's a post-converted waste of the format, and B. I don't own a 3D TV.

Based on a classic TV series that was so cult absolutely no-one outside of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp had ever seen it, Dark Shadows hits blu-ray this week to coincide with Burton's Frankenweenie arriving in cinemas. I still can't help but feel that Burton has been treading the same murky creative waters for over a decade now (although Frankenweenie does look quite charming and hopefully will be the film to rekindle his filmmaking prowess), so this re-teaming with Depp may only be appealing to Burton mega-fans or those un-educated ones who claim that "A Nightmare Before Christmas is his best movie".

When a young woman raised within the confines of a strictly religious society hears a cassette tape for the first time and inexplicably finds herself pregnant, she heads out into the wider world where she encounters a free-minded boy played by Rory Culkin. This latest release from Picturehouse Cinemas' new distribution arm heads straight into the hip indie film battleground, helped in no small part by an amazing piece of cover artwork by Sam Gilbey.

Woody Allen is a filmmaker who's had to weather his fair share of scandals across the years; one in particular standing out in my mind. This has led him to shy away from prying eyes, retreating behind the camera to focus on his directing, sticking to a strict schedule of one film per year. But Robert Weide has managed to get unprecedented access to Allen for this film, which also sees a lot of input from Allen's former collaborators. Originally a TV project that was released into cinemas in a heavily edited form, this documentary tries to look behind the little foibles and ideosyncracies that make Allen such a well known character. 

Playing equal parts Derren Brown and Michael Fassbender in Shame, Charlie Casanova stars Emmet Scanlan, better known to viewers of T4 as "the bad guy from Hollyoaks". Joking aside, word from the festival circuit is that Charlie Casanova is quite good, so its arrival on DVD should bring it to a wider audience, including those influenced by the Hollyoaks factor.

Screened at last year's Fright Fest and again at Celluloid Screams in Sheffield, Inbred comes across as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre meets Emmerdale, but from the look of the trailer it is struggling to find the right balance between tongue in cheek and over the top horror. The second film this week to star a British soap star, I challenge you to recognise the Emmerdale regular in the trailer. I bet the Yorkshire Tourism Board love this.

In the run up to Halloween there's always going to be a collection of ropey looking straight to DVD horrors filling video store shelves, but Apartment 143 (despite the utter blandness of the title) looks to be towards the top of the pile. A little bit of Paranormal Activity and a little bit of the mind-scarringly terrifying Lake Mungo, if you can't be bothered to check out the latest Paranormal Activity film when it hits cinemas this week, Apartment 143 looks to be a fair compromise for a scary night in on Halloween.

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