Maid For Coverage

Monday, November 14 2011
Maid For Coverage

It was a week when all the big comedy stars came out to play and one in which a big comedy film stood out ahead of the others, as our weekly round up of newspaper and magazine coverage of DVD and Blu-ray releases shows.

The fact that this column is a good few hundred words longer than normal shows just how much additional coverage there is for our industry at the minute. The sheer weight of reviews coupled with the fact that there are so many homegrown comedy releases with stars available for interview means that there’s more there to look at. Comics are appearing in most of the supplements, especially those Q&A regular features, answering daft questions and plugging their wares. Special mention must go to 4DVD, which picked up coverage for many of its titles, taking in Micky Flanagan, Jimmy Carr and Miranda Hart.

The best reviewed film of the week was Universal’s Bridesmaids, launched off the back of a big event last week and picking up reviews across the board (which are certain to carry on into next weekend, we’d wager). What’s also interesting to note is the way that it has won over reviews everywhere, taking in the red-top tabloids right through to the more upmarket quality press.

Also performing well was another Universal title, Beginners, while Kung Fu Panda 2 also performed well, garnering more coverage, to our minds, than Disney’s The Lion King had the week before.

 Our week in reviews used to begin on a Tuesday, but the past week has seen the Metro newspaper not only undergo a fairly wholesale redesign, but also switch some of its regular features around. So Tuesday has now effectively become a Thursday (although there was an interesting feature in the metropolitan free newspaper on the Tuesday about the future of home entertainment – see here for more). The new Thursday Home Cinema section in the newspaper has upped the content from one to almost two pages, including a couple of ads (for The Lion King and new kids’ franchise The Octonauts, in case you’re asking) and offered up some strong coverage. The lead title was Beautiful Lies (Trinity), with, at the bottom of the page, an interview with, or rather Five Questions, as it was billed, for star Audrey Tautou). Further reviews were for Film Socialism (New Wave Films), Russell Kane: Smokescreens And Castles (Universal) and The Lions King (Disney), which, particularly in the case of the latter, were surprisingly bested by two five-star reviews, for 2 entertain’s This Is Jinsy (“Many have swung on the trapeze of eccentricity in a bid to loop-the-loop like Monty Python’s Flying Circus but few have pulled it off with such beguiling oddity as Chris Bran and Justin Chubb, the pair behind This Is Jinsy,” it said) and one of last weekend’s best reviewed titles, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Icon), which, it said, was “a seasonal gem that is worth ripping open someone else’s stocking for”. It also has a new column replacing its old Cult Culture section, Lost Treasure (“Forgotten classics dig up:”), which featured the excellent Wim Wenders directed and Coppola produced Hammett (Studiocanal), saying that “with a new reissue on DVD, Hammett is still a must-see for fans of film noir”. All in all, excellent stuff from the Metro and worth supporting.

Moving on 24 hours, to Friday, and there was plenty of coverage in the Evening Standard. Its, er, standard reviews section took in Come On Eileen (High Fliers), Beautifl Lies, Film Socialisme, The Lion King, and under a separate box set heading, Downton Abbey Series 1 & 2. It was in the paper’s ES Magazine that more extraordinary coverage was given over to home entertainment releases, as it had a Comedy Issue. Many of its interviewees were discussing their DVD releases. Russell Howard promoted Right Here, Right Now (4DVD) and Alan Carr was plugging Spexy Beast (Universal). There was even a two page feature looking at the phenomenon of stand-up comedy releases, books and other spin-offs; some of it was a trifle obvious, but it was interesting nonetheless. Biggest of all was a four page feature devoted to Miranda Hart and the co-stars in her eponymous sitcom, giving prominent mentions of the DVD release from 4DVD.

Friday now, and The Sun featured Downton Abbey Series Two (Universal Playback), Family Guy Series 11 (Fox) and Peter Kay Live (Universal). This too had space given over to interviews with comedy stars, devoting a half page to Micky Flanagan aand mentioning his 4DVD release.

The Daily Star kicked off what was an impressive week for Bridesmaids, featuring a competition for the film (offering goodie bags and copies of the film) as well as a review scoring it 10 out of 10 (a “disgracefully funny, not to be missed laughter marathon”). It also featured Universal’s Laurel And Hardy Christmas Special, another review scoring maximum marks (“What better way to get into the Christmas spirit and stay there all year, than with the funniest double act in cinema history”); Kung Fu Panda 2 (DreamWorks/Paramount) and Silent Running (Eureka’s Masters Of Cinema imprint).

Bridesmaids led the charge again in the Daily Mirror’s The Ticket supplement, with another notice giving it maximum marks, concluding: “Beg, steal or borrow, but just make sure you see this masterpiece.” Kung Fu Panda 2 also made another appearance (“an awesome movie”) next to an interview with one of its voice cast, Angelina Jolie. Also scoring well were Silent Running, Beginners (Universal) and Page One: Inside The New York Times (Dogwoof). Faring less well were Larry Crowne (Studiocanal) and Deadly Blessing (Arrow Video).

On to the mid-market tabloids now, and the Daily Mail had Downton Abbey as its DVD of the week, while the Daily Express covered Bridesmaids (“the female equivalent of The Hangover proved to be a genuinely funny, surprisingly perceptive adult comedy”), Eureka’s Masters Of Cinema release for Orson Welles’ classic Touch Of Evil scored full marks, while Beginners also fared well. Note too that the Express had a further interview with Karolyn Grimes, aka Zuzu Bailey, the youngest star of It’s A Wonderful Life, talking about the seasonal classic for Universal’s latest release.

The Independent had all the familiar faces, taking in Bridesmaids, Beginners, and Page One, as well as a couple of others in Everything Must Go (G2, which was covered widely a few weeks back) and Community Season 1 (SPHE).

The Guardian’s Your Next Box Set feature took in Modern Family (Fox), its Film & Music section had a look at Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Ros’ album cum Blu-ray and DVD release Inni, and had a great feature on MGM musicals too.

Saturday now and the usual welter of coverage, with added seasonal gifting-related coverage too. Take the Daily Mirror’s We Love Telly supplement. Normally it has one competition at the back covering DVDs – and it did this week too, taking in Dancing On Ice: The Live Tour 2011 (Universal) – but in addition to this there was major coverage on ITV Studios Home Entertainment’s Paddy And Marlon’s Big Night In soap bubble release. As well as giving the programme a four star review (“Get a copy,” it concluded), but there was also a competition giving away copies of the release. And in addition to that there was a half page competition for Billy Connolly’s You Asked For It (Universal) offering a complete home entertainment system.

The Sun’s Fabulous magazine had a hefty feature on the best wedding movies ever, tying in with the release of Bridesmaids. The Daily Mail’s Weekend had Torchwood – Miracle Day (2 entertain).

The Times and The Guardian both had coverage beyond the norm. The former featured an interview with Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens plugging Universal Playback’s release in addition to its normal review coverage (Bridesmaids, Kung Fu Panda and Secret Beyond The Door from Exposure and Micky Flanagan’s stand-up debut). The Guardian featured reviews where you’d expect to find them, in its Guide supplement, with Silent Running taking pole position, alongside Bridesmaids, Kung Fu Panda 2, Community and the slightly more obscure, but no less wonderful, Johnny Yesno Redux (released via Mute, it’s an early film from Peter Care and includes promos from collaborators Cabaret Voltaire).

The same paper’s Family section featured a full page interview with comic Tim Minchin, plugging his latest Universal release.

The Independent no longer covers DVD on a Saturday, but Jimmy Carr was interviewed on his favourite destinations for its travel section, with full details being given of his November 21 4DVD release, Being Funny.

The Daily Telegraph’s Review section took in Bridesmaids (“the year’s standout comedy”), Kung Fu Panda 2 and Beginners.

Over in the Financial Times Bridesmaids got another look in, as did Beginners, along with Film Socialisme and Community.

Moving on to Sunday now and working our way through the tabloids, the Sunday Mirror featured Bridesmaids and One From The Heart (Studiocanal), while the People bucked the trend by plumping for the anniversary reissue of Les Miserables (Universal) alongside the latest seasons of Family Guy (Fox) and Birds Of A Feather (Network).

The Daily Star Sunday returned to the weekend’s key title by giving Bridesmaids a full five stars, its review also including comments from Kristen Wiig, reviewing it alongside Kung Fu Panda 2 and stand-up releases in the shape of Billy Connolly You Asked For It and Micky Flanagan Live. Its free OK Extra magazine included a double page spread on The Only Way Is Essexercise (Universal) and a competition for Kung Fu Panda 2.

Moving to the midmarkets, there were no reviews as such in the Sunday Express, although there was an interview with one of the stars of ITV’s Emmerdale release, Sammy Winward, in its colour supplement.

The Mail On Sunday’s Live magazine had a gadget special, with Jimmy Carr on its front page and interviewed inside, again plugging his 4DVD release. Its This Week’s Entertainment Releases section had, in its top 10 taking in all forms of home entertainment, DVD and Blu-ray mentions for Toy Story 3 3D, Bridesmaids, Slash: Made In Stoke (Eagle Rock), A Christmas Princess (Revolver) and Kung Fu Panda 2.

The Sunday Telegraph’s Seven magazine covered Beginners, giving it its worst notice of the weekend, and Page One, which it was more complimentary about.

The Independent On Sunday covered the ubiquitous Bridesmaids (“the year’s funniest comedy”) and Kung Fu Panda 2.

There was loads of material in The Observer, its Review section being the focal point of its coverage. There was a major Q&A style interview with Chris O’Dowd for, you guessed it, Bridesmaids and a major piece on the Rolling Stones’ Some Girls album, tying in with the CD reissue and flagging Eagle Rock’s forthcoming DVD documentary too. Its regular film columns covered DVD-related releases, Philip French’s Classic DVD was Secret Beyond The Door, while The Film That Changed My Life was chosen by Paul Bettany, tying in with the December 5 release of Broken Lines (Axiom). Columnist and reviewer Mark Kermode kicked off with Bridesmaids, before going on to cover Larry Crowne (Studiocanal), Kung Fu Panda 2 and Beginners.

We’ll end as ever with the duo of the Radio Times and Time Out. Both, of course, covered Bridesmaids, the former calling it “better than The Hangover and putting it alongside Kung Fu Panda 2 and Larry Crowne and, later in the magazine, Torchwood (2 entertain).

Time Out went big on the wonderful Masters Of Cinema issue of Touch Of Evil, saying “no other Hollywood film achieves such an exhilarating blend of roughness and perfection, raw power and deep melancholy. There was further room for Miles Davis At Montreux DVD Collection (Eagle Rock), The Way (Icon), Film Socialisme and Page One.