The Swan’s Way
After dominating the proceedings last week, Momentum’s The King’s Speech had another outstanding week in terms of reviews and coverage, as our weekly round-up of press coverage for home entertainment shows.
Chief among Monday’s releases receiving coverage were Fox’s Black Swan and Lionsgate’s The Next Three Days both scoring well. On the television side, there was some good coverage for eOne’s The Walking Dead.
The week started off as the previous one ended, with stacks of coverage for The King’s Speech. It was the lead review in Tuesday’s Metro (the free paper’s DVD coverage returning to its usual day after the recent spate of Bank Holidays), getting only three stars which, given the accompanying text, probably deserved better. Interestingly, its reviewer noted Momentum’s release date and its ability to cash in on Royal Wedding fever. Also reviewed were Chico And Rita (Icon), Waiting For Superman (Paramount) and Archipelago (Artificial Eye), with the Cult Vulture slot (Oddball Choices For Soafer Loafers) was given over to Mean Girls 2 (Paramount).
Friday now, and it was more of the same in London’s other freesheet, The Evening Standard, which had The King’s Speech, Archipelago, Blue Valentine (Optimum), The Way Back (eOne) and, under a box set heading, Wallander (Arrow).
The King’s Speech scored big in Friday’s Sun, getting a full five-star review, with praise also being found for the home entertainment package, as reviewer David Lowe noted “a bit of thought has been put into the extras”. The same paper also reviewed The Way Back (eOne) and Waiting For Superman (Paramount).
Gulliver’s Travels took pole position in the Daily Star, with a competition offering prizes of the film and pencil sets as prizes, as well as a review. Other titles reviewed included Lionsgate’s The Next Three Days, another Lionsgate title in Alpha And Omega, and Tron: Legacy from Disney (the latter two were some time after their original DVD and Blu-ray bows. Momentum’s platform theatrical release of Red Hill scored well here too in the theatrical pages, scoring eight out of 10 and coming complete with the recommendation that it “hits the target dead centre”.
Black Swan dominated the Daily Mirror’s Ticket supplement, with a full five-star review (“near-perfect” it stated, which contradicted the perfect mark it got) and also interviewed Vincent Cassel. In fact all the releases reviewed in The Ticket scored well, with four stars going to Benda Bilili! (Trinity), Morning Glory (Paramount) and The Next Three Days, the latter accompanied with another talent interview, this one with its star Russell Crowe. Incidentally, DVD advertising included a Morrisons ad for The King’s Speech and a Sainsbury’s tagged spot for a Paramount superhero promotion.
In the mid-market tabloids, there was coverage in both the Dailies Mail and Express. The former covered The King’s Speech, while the latter featured Biutiful (Optimum), Black Swan and Isadora (Odeon Entertainment).
In the quality press, and in the Independent Blue Valentine (Optimum) scored the lead. This has been well reviewed but has split the critics, although this newspaper’s reviewer gave it maximum marks. Black Swan has similarly divided writers; The Independent was far more withering (“an unsavoury and regularly baffling, psychological horror”. Biutiful fared better, but The Next Three Days also copped a poor review (“ultimately tiresome”).
Nothing specific in The Guardian, although there was plentiful DVD advertsing and, in its Film And Music supplement, an interesting feature on sports documentaries tying in with, among other things, Revolver’s Fire In Babylon and Kaleidoscope’s From The Ashes. Its G2 section had Treme (HBO) featured in its Your Next Box Set feature, with the paper recommend that its Wire-friendly readers go out and buy the series, “the main thrust of which is deeply compelling”.
On to Saturday and we had a quick flick through the TV supplements from the two leading red top tabloids (The Sun and Mirror), which regularly feature DVD releases and there they were again this week: the former’s Buzz magazine had reviews for Black Swan, The Walking Dead (eOne) and Campus (4DVD), while the latter gave away copies of Family Guy Season Ten (Fox).
One interesting item of note came in the Daily Telegraph’s Review section, as we spotted that the DVD Of The Week, the ubiquitous Black Swan got as many column inches as the lead film review, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, in fact it was even more prominent on the spread. Also reviewed below Darren Aronofsky’s uncategorisable Oscar winner was Morning Glory.
There was an interesting selection of titles in a home entertainment ad-friendly Guide arts supplement in The Guardian (a page for Campus and not one but two for The Next Three Days). Its lead review paired two big TV releases, Spartacus: Blood And Sand (Anchor Bay) and The Walking Dead. Its sidebar of additional Also Out titles took in Laputa – Castle In The Sky and My Neighbours The Yamadas (both Optimum), Black Swan, a selection of classic war films (Tigerland, The Thin Red Line, Platoon) from Fox and Biutiful.
Meanwhile The Times has lost its Playlist supplement, will be mourned around these parts, and instead expanding its Review section. DVD coverage now finds itself as part of a “Staying In” page, taking in games and tech-y stuff as well. The DVDs played second fiddle to gmes this week, with coverage for Black Swan, The Next Three Days, Biutiful and Archipelago (Artificial Eye). Black Swan scored a strong PR coup in the The Times magazine too, in the Style pages, with a look at its fashions and a full plug for the release.
Moving on to Sunday now, and we first scanned The People, which covered Black Swan and The Next Three Days, with Family Guy Season 10 on its TV pages opposite. All, as ever, had competitions cum reviews.
Also on the TV pages, in the Daily Star On Sunday, there was the same blend of review and competition offering copies of The Walking Dead (bundled with PS3 game Dead Rising 2), but better still was the full page that saw one of the paper’s reporters having a go as a zombie extra on the popular series, featuring a full plug for the eOne release. The Star’s DVDs Of The Week were Gulliver’s Travels, The Next Three Days and Black Swan.
The Sunday Mirror had Black Swan and The Walking Dead.
News Of The World had reviews for Gulliver’s Travels (as well as a competition), Black Swan, The Next Three Days and The Ward (Warner).
Black Swan featured heavily in the Mail On Sunday’s Live magazine, as star Mila Kunis was interviewed ahead of the DVD and Blu-ray release, which was given a full credit. DVDs and Blu-rays were mentioned in its This Week’s Entertainment Releases section, with Biutiful and Blue Valentine both warranting mentions, as did a few shorter theatrical window releases, such as Metrodome’s Age Of Heroes and Revolver’s Fire In Babylon. In the same paper’s Review section, its TV DVD reviews covered Suspicions Of Mr Whicher: The Murder At Road Hill House (2 entertain), British Royal Weddings Of The 20th Century (Strike Force) and To The Manor Born: Complete Series One (Acorn).
There was a summer movies special in the Sunday Telegraph’s Seven magazine and, admirable as many of the features were, it seemed to eat into the supplement’s traditional coverage, with no room for DVD coverage.
The Observer’s Mark Kermode (whose autobiography we are currently enjoying, incidentally) bookended his reviews page with reviews of Fox titles, one positive and one far less so. So while Black Swan “still retains its breathless qualities on subsequent viewings”, while Gulliver’s Travels “is no less disappointing on DVD”. In between, he looked at Biutiful, The Next Three Days, Benda Bilili and The Ward (Warner), and kinder to all of those than the Jack Black film. Philip French’s Classic DVD was The Black Pirate (Park Circus).
The Independent on Sunday had Black Swan and Chico And Rita on its pages.
We’ll end with Time Out, which had two pages devoted to DVD, taking in its release of the week, Chico And Rita, Blue Valentine, The Way Back (there was also an ad for the eOne release) and Biutiful. As well as the ticker tape of titles released, there were a couple of titles under the banner of Other Film Releases (Max Schmeling: Fist Of The Reich from Metrodome and The Green Hornet (SPHE) and, in the Last Night A DVD Saved My Life column, Archipelago director Joanna Hogg, about her own DVD collection. We loved her line that described her set-up at home. “It’s a Sony Bravia 42-inch with Blu-ray player but no aerial so we can’t get any channels. Who needs TV with so many DVDs to watch.”Tags: PR
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