Park Open For Business

Monday, October 24 2011
Park Open For Business

Universal has been enjoying something of a purple patch in terms of coverage in the past few weeks, a trend that has continued over the past seven days, as our weekly round-up of reviews from national newspapers and magazines shows.

Where recently it was Senna hogging the limelight, this week it was dominated by the all-singing, all-roaring Blu-ray edition of the Jurassic Park Trilogy that led the way, ably supported by an impressive amount of coverage for the far less well-known The Conspirator. Also picking up a weight amount of reviews for its cutting book was Fox’s Rio.

Last week we pointed out that the Green Lantern, the latest superhero film from the DC empire, had garnered plenty of coverage, but little by way of praise. Well, this week started off no better for the Warner release. The Metro, the giveaway newspaper for morning rush-hour commuters, gave the film another poor review, offering it a mere two stars, although it did get the DVD Of The Week accolade. Setup (Lionsgate) fared even worse, picking up just one star (“straight to DVD folly”) and offering up the point that “decent actors should really stop making movies with 50 Cent”. Other titles on the page included  First Grader (Soda Pictures) and Retreat (SPHE). The best reviewed title of the week was its Cult Vulture selection (Oddball Choices For Sofa Loafers), which was Cave Of Forgotten Dreams (Revolver), which is, it said, “a blissful and humbling experience that reminds you what it is to be human”.

The Green Lantern fared no better on Friday, as it was also mauled in the Evening Standard. There were a brace of reviews for Metrodome, taking in the independent’s Viva Riva (“prepare for very bad men, very hot women and wild, uninhibited entertainment”) and Stake Land (“admirably taut and spiced with gory slaughter”), alongside others for Retreat, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams (Revolver), The Messenger (Universal), Last Night (Studiocanal) and, under a separate heading for Box Sets, Ideal (2 entertain).

More rubbishing of Green Lantern in The Sun, alongside another slating for Setup (“dumb as a rock”) and more complimentary words about Last Night.

A full page of coverage in the Daily Star, much of it going to a competition and review for Retreat. There were glowing notices for the Blu-ray for Straw Dogs (“”still shocks”), and the Blu-ray bow for the Jurassic Park trilogy (“thrilling trio”) and, in its first of the week, Rio (Fox).

Some interesting items in the Daily Mirror. Its news pages contained a feature on the phenomenon that is Peppa Pig, talking about DVD sales and mentioning eOne’s role in the brand’s huge success; one of its columnists, Polly Hudson, talked about her attempts at Tracy Anderson’s fitness DVD, in addition to its regular full page of reviews in its regular entertainment supplement, The Ticket. These took in Rio, with an interview with voice talent Jesse Eisenberg next to the review; Straw Dogs (“copious extras”); a one star review for Universal’s Honey 2 (“club-footed”); the wonderfully-titled Little Malcolm And His Struggle Against The Eunuchs (BFI); The Conspirator (Universal) and the Jurassic Park trilogy (“a box set dripping with extras”).

In the mid-market tabloids, the Daily Express took in a brace from Universal, The Conspirator and The Messenger, with Rio sandwiched between them. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, featured the Blu-ray debut for Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (Lionsgate/Miramax) and the anniversary edition of West Side Story (Fox).

Moving further upmarket, the Independent had Rio, Holy Rollers (Crabtree) and Little Malcolm And His Struggle Against The Eunuchs.

Saturday now, and we’ll swiftly run through the supplements and the likes that feature DVD and Blu-ray mentions, and The Sun’s Fabulous supplement looked a “the best fossil friends” around to tie in with Jurassic Park’s release, under the headline of “Come Dino With Me”. The Daily Mirror’s We Love Telly took in Sons Of Anarchy Season 3 (Fox) on its competition page. And the Daily Mail’s Weekend had Planet Dinosaur (2 entertain).

Over in the Daily Telegraph’s Review section, the titles reviewed were Rio and Holy Rollers.

The Times’ Review section was fulsome in its praise for a trio of titles, giving five star reviews to two, The Office (2 entertain) and Studiocanal’s Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer (“stunning, disturbing and groundbreaking”, and four stars to another, Straw Dogs.

There was an excellent half page feature in The Guardian’s Guide DVD and Blu-ray reviews section covering the BFI’s excellent Flipside label, timed to coincide with new releases Little Malcolm… and  Voice Over, as well as the release of dual format editions of all the titles, adding that the inclusion of both DVD and Blu-ray meant “now there really is no excuse not to check out this rather wonderful imprint” (a fact we heartily agree with). It also mentioned familiar faces Jurassic Park and Holy Rollers, as well as newer ones The Taqwacores (Network) and Tree Of Life (Fox).

And with predictable and inexorable logic, we move on to Sunday. Swiftly moving through the tabloids, there was just one title mentioned in The People, Rio; two in the Sunday Mirror, Rio and Jurassic Park (“looks cracking”) and a full three in the Daily Star Sunday Rio, Jurassic Park (“a stunning high definition debut”) and Mother’s Day (Studiocanal).

It was good to see some film DVD reviews returning to the Mail On Sunday’s Review section, albeit offering something of a catch-up of some of the past few months’ more notable or interesting releases – Hanna (Universal), Little White Lies (Lionsgate), Trust (also Lionsgate) and Killing Bono (Paramount). Its Live supplement featured The Conspirator, Planet Dinosaur and Trollied (Fremantle) in its This Week’s Entertainment Releases chart.

The weekend edition of the Financial Times went from the sublime to the ridiculous, from The Tree (Artificial Eye) to Rio, taking in Everything Must Go (G2) and Angels Of Evil (also Artificial Eye).

The Tree was also in the Sunday Telegraph’s Seven magazine, below The Conspirator (“as a director, Robert Redford hasn’t made a film this compelling for ages”) and Studiocanal’s Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence.

We’ll end our look at the newspapers with The Observer and its Mark Kermode, on fine form as ever. He capped off a decent batch of notices for The Conspirator and showed his knack for highlighting films that “come and go almost unnoticed at cinemas” as he described it, moving on to the “stripped down B-movie aesthetic” that makes Retreat “ideal (not to say superior) straight to DVD fare”. He also reviewed Mother’s Day, Screwed (Lionsgate) and George Harrison: Living In The Material World (also Lionsgate). Other mentions in the same paper’s review section for The Iron Horse (Eureka/Masters Of Cinema) and The Soviet Influence: From Turksib To Night Mail (BFI), pairing them in Philip French’s Classic DVD column, while Brendan Gleeson chose Deliverance as The Film That Changed My Life, with the regular feature plugging Studiocanal’s DVD of The Guard.

A couple of magazines we always seek out to have a look at their coverage are the Radio Times (The Conspirator, Mother’s Day and Rio mentioned in its home entertainment section, Ghostwatch from 101 Films was its TV DVD of the week) and Time Out. The latter had music doc 1991 The Year Punk Broke (Universal Music), Straw Dogs (“truly despicable. undeniably brilliant work” albeit with extras that were a “disappointing grab bag”) and Holy Rollers, with Jurassic Park, Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer and Lost In Translation (Momentum) and Ice Age 3 in its Blu-ray Revivals column.