Press Hugs The Hoodies

Tuesday, September 20 2011
Press Hugs The Hoodies

What a weekend to work at Studiocanal, the company formerly known as Optimum Releasing. Its Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was earning five star reviews almost across the board as it opened to a strong performance at UK cinemas. And the acres of coverage on the film pages was swiftly followed by scores of reviews for its big DVD and Blu-ray release for Attack The Block, as our weekly round-up of DVD and Blu-ray coverage shows.

Attack The Block was matched by more for the previous week’s biggies such as Pirates Of The Caribbean On Stranger Tides, Star Wars and Insidious and, this week. Momentum’s Girl… trilogy in its expanded form, Glee (which showed that the move to Sky has enabled the Fox/Sky axis to better coordinate its release) and, on the independent side, the BFI’s Complete Humphrey Jennings Volume 1.

We’ll start on Tuesday and the Metro, the free newspaper given out in London and other cities to commuters and the likes. This week it led on Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Fox), with its reviewer, Colin Kennedy taking an interesting tack: “A whole industry is praying that this much-trumpeted release will convince ordinary families to finally invest in Blu-ray…” he said. “Luckily… [the films] make an eloquent argument for high-definition home cinema. He did however add a clumsy caveat: “It won’t be enough to see off the HD download rebellion, but Star Wars could buy Blu-ray a stay of execution.” Further reviews covered Insidious (Momentum), Julia’s Eyes (Optimum) and Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Disney). Its Cult Vulture selection (Oddball Choices For Sofa Loafers) was the excellent Incendies (Trinity).

Friday and the Evening Standard, another London free newspaper, albeit for the evening crowd rather than morning commuters,  featured some of those titles again: Pirates Of The Caribbean and Incendies kicked off the column, with support coming from a batch of predominantly independent releases – How I Ended This Summer and Pina (both Artificial Eye), Third Star (Independent), My Best Enemy (Metrodome) and Insidious. Under a separate box set heading there were further column inches for Star Wars: The Complete Saga and Momentum’s The Girl… trilogy box set.

The Daily Express featured a trio of titles, ranging from Attack The Block to the BFI’s Complete Humphrey Jennings Volume 1, stopping off at London Town (Odeon) along the way.

The Daily Mail had  Pirates Of The Caribbean and gave it a withering review and a mere one star, daying that “it reeks of weariness, idleness and contempt for its audience” adding that it is “soulless and corporate”.

Moving down the ladder to the red-top tabloids, Pirates Of The Caribbean got one of its more complimentary reviews in The Sun (“a vast improvement” it said), appearing alongside Insidious and Third Star.

The Daily Star featured Attack The Block as its lead review, with a competition offering copies of the film and a Blu-ray player as prizes. It also covered Network’s release of The Persuaders on Blu-ray, Cedar Rapids (Fox) and Don’t Look Now (Studiocanal).

While it mostly earned positive comments, Attack The Block did draw some fire from the Daily Mirror in it’s the Ticket entertainment supplement (:”not funny and morally askew”), giving it just two stars. Lead review of the week was Arthur. Other titles covered included diary Of A Wimpy Kid 2 (Fox), Cedar Rapids (also Fox), Tomorrow When The War Began (SPHE) and, in a five star review, Glee: The Complete Second Season (Fox) – “What’s not to like?” it asked.

Back upmarket and The Independent covered Attack The Block, Arther and Cedar Rapids, alongside an interesting piece on sleeper hits, including lengthy contributions about Senna (Universal) and a plug for the October 10 DVD and Blu-ray release. Sample quote from Warner’s Josh Berger: “”Growing up, I’d go see films multiple times in theatres – because you weren’t going to see them anywhere else. What we’ve lost in those extra months [in cinemas], we’ve gained in our ability to discover a film in different places – DVD, download, pay-TV…” It’s worth a read, see it here.

Also worth a read is the Jason Statham interview in The Guardian’s Film And Music section here and another fascinating piece on Cannibal Holocaust (Shameless) here.

Saturday now and we’ll start with the newspapers that feature mentions of DVD releases or competitions in the pages of their weekend telly supplements. The Daily Mirror’s We Love Telly featured a competition for Glee: The Complete Second Season (Fox), and that same title cropped up again not once but twice in

The Sun’s Fabulous magazine, first heralding the arrival of the third season on DVD, and again in a competition with the magazine’s crossword. The Daily Mail’s Weekend featured Warehouse 13 (Universal Playback).

On to the broadsheets, and while the Daily Telegraph’s Review section had no, er, reviews (at least not for DVDs), its glossy magazine did have a cover story and major feature across four spreads on Lionsgate’s forthcoming Martin Scorsese-directed George Harrison documentary Living In The Material World, including a full mention of the DVD release.

The Times featured Made In Chelsea (4DVD), Atrocious (Revolver), Attack The Block and Blue Bloods (Paramount).

The Guardian’s Guide, meanwhile, took in something a bit different, with writer Phelim O’Neill looking at Network’s admirable ITC compilations Retro-Action (“a great move”) as well as mentioning Attack The Block, City Of God (Miramax), Double Impact (Second Sight) and The Complete Humphrey Jennings Volume One.

In the final leg of the weekend now, and here’s what we saw on Sunday…

The People had one title on its entertainment page, Weekender, and another, the latest Footballers’ Wives, on its television page. Both featured accompanying competitions.

The Sunday Mirror had the predictable (Pirates Of The Caribbean) and the slightly less obvious (Warner’s Nikita Season One).

The Daily Star Sunday featured Attack The Block, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid 2 and Momentum’s extended versions of The Girl Trilogy.

There was nothing reviews-wise in the Sunday Express, although there was a major interview with Pam Ayres to promote her latest release via Acorn and one with Lea Michele to support Fox’s release of the second season of Glee.

The Mail On Sunday similarly had nothing in its Review ection, although its ever-reliable Live supplement took in The Girl… trilogy, Shaolin (Cine Asia) and Ripping Yarns (Network).

The weekend edition of the Financial Times had a suitably varied selection, taking in conflict in the Middle East (Incendies) and a galaxy far, far away (Star Wars:’The Complete Saga) by way of Pina and Heartbeats (Network).

The Independent On Sunday featured Arthur and Attack The Block.

The Sunday Telegraph covered How I Ended This Summer (New Wave), Incendies (Trilogy) and Quatermass And The Pit (Studiocanal).

The Observer’s Mark Kermode took in Attack The Block (“extensive extras evidence the care, devotion and sheer practical invention that went into the project”), Arthur (“the original is currently available on DVD for a third of the price of the remake, providing 10 times the laughs”), Cedar Rapids (“drearily overblown”), another Fox title, Win Win (“surprising and uplifting”) and Diary Of A Wimpy Kid 2 (the double pack pairing the first film and its new sequel is “guaranteed to bring great big grins to the faces of kids and grown-ups alike”).

Attack The Block also featured in the Radio Times, alongside DVD of the week (Arthur) and box set of the week (Blue Bloods).

And we’ll end with London listings magazine Time Out. Its Dvd and Blu-ray review coverage was somewhat truncated this week, mainly to accommodate a major feature on it’s 100 top comedy films, which crossed over from the print magazine to it’s website. And while it may have affected the column inches given over to reviews, this kind if coverage can often help shift catalogue titles too. In terms of its reviews, The Complete Humphrey Jennings Volume 1 capped off a good week earning the Dvd Of The Week spot, while other titles covered included A Screaming Man and the ubiquitous Attack The Block. Its Blu-ray revivals column took in Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Dark Star (Fremantle) and Paramount’s anniversary edition of Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

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