Monday 1 April 2013

The Good, the Bad and the Blu-rays

After a ridiculously long absence from the interwebs, here is the return of my weekly guide to the DVDs and Blu-rays you should be spending your money on, as well as the ones you definitely shouldn't.

Fresh from numerous awards triumphs, Silver Linings Playbook makes its debut on DVD and Blu-ray. Jennifer Lawrence got a much deserved Oscar for her role as a troubled widow who befriends the recently institutionalised Bradley Cooper; although it might not be as impressive a performance as her role in Winter's Bone. A film worth watching purely for the performances of the two leads (as well as solid support from Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro, whose Oscar nominations make this the first film since Reds in 1981 to get four acting nominations), it's a well realised dysfunctional love story; sort of like an awards baiting version of Buffalo 66. I'm not too keen on the overly polished cover though (the poster image was one of the most memorable of last year), and I can't see why they're even bothering to write the word Playbook any more if they're going to write it so small.

Charting the legacy of what is perhaps Kubrick's most infamous film, Room 237 digs into the many conspiracy theories surrounding the filming of The Shining. There already exists an in-depth study about the making of The Shining in the form of Vivian (daughter of Stanley) Kubrick's short documentary, helpfully called Making The Shining; but Room 237 is a nostalgic look back at a film that has only grown in stature over time, with some fanatical portions of the audience putting a lot of thought into what some of its riddles actually mean.

Basically Saw meets I'm A Celebrity's Bushtucker trials, this Australian horror might be called 6 Plots, but it could be more accurately called "1 Plot, and We've Borrowed That From Buried". To be fair, as straight to DVD horrors go it doesn't look too bad; in fact, you could say that it looks mightily impressive considering it comes from a director who's last credit was for Melbourne Property TV. I jest, of course. If you're looking for an easy horror to watch on a Friday night, you could probably do a lot worse than this. But you shouldn't try and do that, it would be silly.

Anchored by the seal of approval from Quentin Tarantino (RZA worked with Tarantino on Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Django Unchained), The Man with the Iron Fists arrives on Blu-ray after a lacklustre performance in cinemas. It should hardly matter, as this is the sort of film that should be best enjoyed at home, with friends, pizza and alcohol. Proving that the Wu-Tang Klan's fascination with martial arts movies wasn't just for show, this Kung Fu fantasy sees RZA, Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe arm themselves for an almighty battle that should appeal to fans of Kill Bill Vol. 1's Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves sequence. Kudos for a great tagline too.

Proving that whatever Hollywood can do, they can do a lower budget facsimile of that is no way better, the boys at The Asylum have knocked out this cheerful Mockbuster of Bryan Singer's latest action spectacular, only instead of giant people pitted against the main character (who luck would have it, is called Jack), we get big CGI created monsters. Surely rather than the crappy looking CGI monsters it would have been easier to just have people standing in the foreground with Jack off in a field somewhere to create the illusion of giants, like they used to do in the good old days? But then, why be creative when you can get computers to do the bulk of the work for you?

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