Margaret Gets A New Lease Of Life
It’s often said that DVD offers the opportunity to give a new lease of life to a film and offer it up for reassessment, and that’s the case with a clutch of titles featured heavily in our round-up of home entertainment coverage in national press and magazines this week.
A trio of titles arrived with weighty baggage. Margaret (Fox) had been held up in editing and, later, litigation for years since it had wrapped, while John Carter and This Means War had been all but crucified in their initial theatrical releases.
So their arrival on DVD and Blu-ray gave reviewers a chance to reassess them and all were featured across broadsheet and tabloid reviews. Margaret was, most concluded, a laudable mess, while John Carter performed better than you might have expected, with many reviewers concluding that it wasn’t as bad as you’d have thought. Others suggested that, no, it really was as bad. This Means War won a few fans, but couldn’t clear its name nearly as much.
First port of call, as ever, four our week in reviews is Thursday and the Metro newspaper’s Home Cinema spread of reviews. And is so often the case its lead review was one of the previous week’s best reviewed titles, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox). It did just as well here, being described as the biggest box office story of the year, with its verdict adding: “Let the British summer do its worst – this burst of Indian sunshine will warm you.” Below this was another of the previous week’s biggies, Young Adult (Paramount) and, like many of the previous week’s notices, this one praised Charlize Theron’s “bitch-perfect performance”. A Dangerous Method (Lionsgate) and Sebastian Bergman: The Cursed One Parts 1 (Arrow) both received decent reviews, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (eOne) received its customary trouncing, while Friday Night Lights (Universal Playback) got a five star review, and the plaudit of being “one of the best teen shows ever produced”. In its regular feature slots, Five Questions were asked of Charlize Theron tying in with Young Adult, while The Innkeepers director Ti West plugged his release by choosing Five Films (the films that “traumatized him as a child” are The Shining, Pet Sematary, The Exorcist,Candyman and A Nightmare On Elm Street) and the Lost Treasure (Forgotten Classics Dug Up) was Conspirators Of Pleasure (New Wave).
Friday now, and we move on to the Evening Standard, which offered up an eclectic trio of titles, taking in “a great American novel of a film”, Margaret (Fox), Lionsgate’s Hell (“tense, intelligent and strong reminiscent of The Road”) and the Blu-ray debut of “one of Studio Ghibli’s most imaginative animations”, Howl’s Moving Castle (Studiocanal).
The Daily Star gave one of the best reviews of the weekend to This Means War (Fox), with a full 10 out of 10 to this “bright and breezy blend of romcom, thriller and bromance” as well as running a competition giving away a Blu-ray player and copies of the film. Also reviewed were the new Blu-ray set of The Twilight Saga (eOne), another maximum scorer, as well as Captain American – The First Avenger (Paramount) and Warlords Of Atlantis (Studiocanal)
A trio of decent if unspectacular reviews appeared in The Sun, ranging from Young Adult (“This bittersweet comedy might have been more palatable with a few spoonfuls of sugar”), to A Dangerous Method (“Despite the saucy splashings of S&M, this is too clean and clinical to whip up the passions”) and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (“Slight and predictable, but still a Bolly good show”).
DVD Of The Week in the Daily Mirror’s The Ticket supplement was This Mean War, although it wasn’t too well reviewed (“a generally terrible action-comedy,” it said). Nor were some of the other titles – John Carter (Disney) and Cleanskin (Warner) were, respectively, “not boring but confused” and “an absolute mess of a movie”. Also reviewed wee Project X (Warner) and Margaret (Fox). As well as the reviews, there was a further interview with This Means War star Chris Pine.
Moving on to the mid-market tabloids and there was just one review in the Daily Mail, with Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, catering perfectly to its readers, getting the DVD Of The Week slot. Also interviewed was Nigel Havers, in a full page feature promoting Chariots Of Fire, plugging both its theatrical re-release and Blu-ray bow for the Fox title.
The Daily Express covered Margaret, John Carter (Disney) and The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (ITV Studios Home Entertainment), the latter title seemingly some way ahead of its official Blu-ray bow.
The Guardian’s Film & Music section featured its regular Your Next Box Set plumped for telly tec series Shoestring (BBC Worldwide), which it said is now something of a period drama…
The Daily Telegraph’s Friday film section interviewed A Dangerous Method screenwriter Christopher Hampton in its Why I Love slot, talking about his admiration for director Sidney Lumet.
Saturday now, and moving from the tabloids upwards, the Daily Mirror’s We Love TV magazine featured a competition offering prizes of CSI Miami Season 9, while the Daily Mail’s Weekend supplement offered up Falling Skies Season 1 (Warner).
On to the arts supplements of the quality press, and the Review section of The Times reviewed, in descending order of marks, Margaret, The Woody Allen Collection (Fox), which contains “more masterpieces than misfires”), John Carter , This Means War (“gun-splattering action collides with ludicrous [b]romance and a few guilty laughs”) and Studiocanal’s Requiem For A Killer (a “deeply silly assassin yarn”).
We’ll also look at the choices in The Independent’s Radar magazine in descending order of marks, with the sixth outing of the “devilishly droll and gruesome series” of Dexter (Paramount) scoring highest, followe4d by Wanderlust (Universal), then A Dangerous Method (an “absurd drama”, John Carter (“no wonder Disney lost a packet on this”) and, worst of all, The Vow (SPHE), where even the presence of current face du jour Channing Tatum couldn’t save it from a mauling (“suffering from sleep deprivation? Watch The Vow…”).
The Guardian’s Guide led with a major review of the new issue of The Battle Of Algiers (Odeon), as well as mentions for Airport (Universal), Bauhaus Shadow Of Light/Archive (Beggars Banquet), Jack The Giant Killer (101 Films) and Lion Of The Desert (Anchor Bay).
The weekend edition of Financial Times reviewed Margaret, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the most recent Jan Svankmajer release.
Moving on to Sunday and we’ll start with the numerous mentions peppered across the tabloids. The People featured The Complete Adrian Mole (Network) and Wanderlust. The Sunday Mirror took in This Means War (“big, brash and enjoyably silly”) and Project X (“a parent’s nightmare but wonderful and amusing teen entertainment”).
There was another strong review for John Carter in the Daily Star Sunday (“Unfairly maligned… The effects are terrific, the performances solid and the action thrilling. What’s not to like?”), with Margaret picking up another good result (“Occasionally infuriating but consistently gripping drama”) and another notice for Cleanskin.
The Mail On Sunday’s Live magazine has belatedly woken up to Breaking Bad (SPHE), recommending it on its In Demand page looking at great American imports ahead of American Independence Day. Its This Week’s Entertainment Releases column previewed John Carter (“Was it really that bad? If nothing else, the effects are spectacular”), Lion Of The Desert (Anchor Bay) and The Hunter (Artificial Eye).
Moving upscale, The Independent On Sunday featured Margaret, again, and This Means War.
Margaret came under Mark Kermode’s ever-watchful eye, with a look at its ill-fated history and the comment that: “After all the hold-ups and wranglings it would be great to report that [it] is some kind of masterpiece. In fact it’s a mess – an ambitious adventurous and occasionally awe-inspiring mess, but a mess nonetheless.” He reassessed John Carter too, and after noting that some might say it’s not as bad as you think (which lots did), noting: “Don’t be fooled – it is. Worse, even; a plodding, rambling, shambling headache of an overblown fantasy film.” Also lambasted were This Means War (“considering how much I like the stars, it really is remarkable how little I like this film”) and Jack & Jill (SPHE), a film in which “jollity is in scant supply”.
In terms of weekly magazines, where we usually finish, we picked up a copy of Shortlist, complete with reviews for what it called “one of the most underrated shows in recent TV history” Bored To Death Season 2 (HBO) and John Carter (‘far better than the box office indicates”). And in another coup, The Ricky Gervais Show (HBO) made it to the front page and cover feature, thanks in no small part to an exclusive photo shoot with Gervais and sidekick Karl Pilkington.
We’ll end with the Radio Times, which covered, as its TV choice, The Complete Adrian Mole and, in its film pages, Project X, This Means War and John Carter (“you have to feel that the film’s box office failure wasn’t fully deserved”).Tags: PR, review
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