Pirates Flies The Flag

Wednesday, September 12 2012
Pirates Flies The Flag

Some weeks while compiling our weekly round-up of home entertainment coverage in national newspapers and beyond, one title will dominate the proceedings, other times there will be no clear winner, with reviews spread across a wealth of different titles. And some weeks, there are two clear winners that it’s near-impossible to separate, as a brace of titles turn up everywhere, with the same regularity.

That was the case this week, as The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists and the first series of Homeland – two wildly differing titles – slugged it out for the honour of most-reviewed release of the week, each of them winning numerous glowing reviews and column inches. Interesting to note too that it was the benefits of home viewing that helped them score so well: The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists was ideally suited to DVD and Blu-ray, many reviewers noted, because you could watch and rewatch to catch up with all the gags, while Homeland’s release enabled viewers to catch up with the series they may have missed first time around.

The Metro on a Thursday is always the first destination for our weekly round up of reviews; as ever this edition (Thursday September 6) featured the previous week’s best-reviewed title, The Hunger Games as its DVD of the week. Giving it four stars out of five, the review brushed off the Twilight comparisons, noting the titl4es it was derived from (Battle Royale, Lord Of The Flies, The Running Man), concluding that it “conjures up its very owjn universe: utterly absorbing and unnervingly believable”. Also reviewed were Beats Rhymes Ands Life (Soda Pictures), which is a “touching tribute to one of rap’s most innovative and influential groups”, Albert Nobbs (eOne), Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (Lionsgate) and EV’s Piranha DD (“lacks the novelty value of the more good-humoured original”). Its Lost Treasure was Harvey (Universal), although it’s not quite the Forgotten Classic of the section’s subtitle, as it noted, “the wonderful performances ensure classic status”. Its Five Films were chosen by Goodbye First Love director Mia Hansen-Love, who chose her five favourites (Le Jeune Werther, The Pelican, Adalen 31, Bill Douglas Trilogy and Café Lumiere) while plugging the Artificial Eye release. Its Five Questions were asked of Lenny Kravitz, supporting the release of The Hunger Games.

Friday and the Evening Standard kicked off, as it often does, with a slightly leftfield choice, plumping for Breathing (Verve), which it called “unusual, powerful and wonderful”, then veering from the mainstream, such as American Pie: Reunion (“relentlessly amusing”), back to the arthouse, Artificial Eye’s Turin Horse (“a brilliant portrait”) and Nostalgia For The Light (New Wave), which it called a “tender, beautifully shot documentary” and ending with a classic slice of cinema, SPHE’s Lawrence Of Arabia, saying the Blu-ray “really is a visual feast”

Tabloids now and The Sun had the brace of Lionsgate titles that were last week’s biggies – The Hunger Games (“satire and savagery collide”) and Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (“this whimsical tale is a long way from a prize catch”) – while its best reviewed title of the week was HBO’s second season of Boardwalk Empire (“the Empire is building and building”).

The Daily Mirror’s The Ticket supplement featured plenty of coverage, including ads (a whopping six quarter pages’ worth for The Big Bang Theory from Warner), a competition (pushing Fox’s Blu-ray release of Titanic) and an interview (with one of the technical team from Jaws) before you even got to its regular reviews. These included, leading the way, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (SPHE), which at four stars was its release of the week, American Pie Reunion, damned by faint praise (has “a few moments of genuine downright hilarity”), Disney’s Blu-ray bow for 101 Dalmatians (“the film remains a treat as good as anything by Pixar or DreamWorks”), Titanic (“enough extras to sink another liner”) as well as an interview with James Cameron.

The Daily Star featured a competition for Momentum’s latest Jason Statham starrer, Safe, offering prizes as giveaways, complete with a decent review for the film (“you’ll be gripped”). Other reviews included The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (“splendidly silly gags and clever characters”), Harvey (“this classic comedy proves what a great actor James Stewart was”) and The Sweeney (Network).

Moving through to the mid-market tabloids, the Daily Express reviewed Cloclo (Studiocanal), Harvey and The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists. The Daily Mail gave a glowing review to eOne’s Albert Nobbs (“a grown-up movie, full of detail and tedxture, with great tenderness for the flawed and damaged characters”).

The Independent’s i newspaper effectively previewed its full Saturday DVD coverage by featuring three titles that would turn up in its Radar magazine the following day with more completge reviews, taking in The Sweeney, Safe and Homeland Season 1.

The Guardian’s regular Your Next Box Set selection featured Will And Grace (eOne).

Saturday now and the regular mentions for TV-related releases were all present and correct in a brace of TV magazines free with telly supplements in the tabloids; the Daily Mail’s Weekend supplement featuring “gripping thriller” Homeland, while the Daily Mirror’s We Love TV featured Boardwalk Empire Season 2.

Moving through to the quality press and after its recent light coverage of home entertainment, it was good to see The Times’ Saturday Review section devoting a mammoth two pages to a visit to the set of Homeland, flagging the Blu-ray and DVD release of the first series alongside Channel 4’s impending transmission of the second season. As for the reviews, there was coverage for Homeland, again (“grips you by the throat”), Nostalgia For The Light (“both poetic and profound”) and The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (“more blink and you miss ‘em visual gags and in-jokes than you can shake a cutlass at – thus perfect for DVD”).

Those pirates were back again in The Independent’s Radar supplement, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists getting a four star review (“refreshingly tangy and very funny”), moving through to Safe, The Sweeney Series 1 (“deftly edited  and scripted tales”), Homeland (“time to see what the fuss was all about”) and Disney’s “exquisitely animated” Cinderella on Blu-ray.

Homeland was there again leading the way in the Daily Telegraph’s Review section, noting that “the two terrific leads easily bear repeat viewing”. Also reviewed were Studiocanal’s That Obscure Object Of Desire, Maison Close (Arrow) and, in brief, American Pie: Reunion, Safe, The Cold Light Of Day, Safe and The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists. Its Tim Robey Recommends… column, part of its new home entertainment-friendly revamp, looked at “fairy tale gone noir” Bunny Lake Is Missing (SPHE).

The Guardian’s Guide magazine led the way with a The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists, regular home entertainment correspondent Phelim O’Neill saying: “Like all the best children’s entertainment, The Pirates! is a film that demands several viewings, and youngsters will come back to it in later years to notice things that sailed completely over their head when they first saw it.” Over in its Family section, Larry Hagman was pushing the mammoth Dallas box set (Warner), alongside Five’s new TV series.

The weekend edition of The Financial Times took in the “immaculately crafted” Homeland, Nostalgia For The Light, The Turin Horse and Goodbye First Love.

Sunday now, and the Sunday Mirror featured The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (“it’s a cracking bit of piratical entertainment and bound to be watched repeatedly by kids on Blu-ray or DVD”) and Titanic, which, it said, was, in its 3D format, “even more wonderful”. 

The People featured The Hunger Games and the Best Of Lynda La Plante from Acorn Media.

The Daily Star Sunday reviewed, surprise, surprise, the “barnstorming” Homeland and The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (“another one to treasure”) as well as Titanic (“the best conversion [to 3D] job I’ve seen”) and Safe.

The Sun’s Sunday Fabulous magazine smartly worked in releases across the editorial in its first few pages, Titanic in its Fabometer section, Claire Danes (supporting Homeland) in its This Week We Want To Be… section and, in its F Phone Q&A section, an interview with Tara Reid plugging American Pie: Reunion.

Moving upmarket, the Mail On Sunday only had two DVD and Blu-ray releases in its Live magazine (usually it’s three or four) and you’d get no prizes for guessing their identity – yup, it’s Homeland (“the ‘didn’t know Yanks could mnake TV this good’ hit of the year”) and The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists.

AAs obvious as the selection of Homeland and The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists was everywhere else, was the fact that the Sunday Telegraph’s Seven magazine would plump for something else, this week reviewing the “engrossing” In Darkness (Metrodome).

It was back to business as usual in The Independent On Sunday, with Homeland and The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists covered.

We’ll end the newspapers by looking at The Observer, where Philip French’s Classic DVD was the “fascinating portmanteau film” RoGoPaG (Eureka’s Masters Of Cinema), while Mark Kermode veered from the arthouse (the “superb” Nostalgia For The Light, The Turin Horse and Goodbye First Love) through to the more mainstream, such as American Pie: Reunion, saying the “once spunky” franchise was now “tired and flaccid”, Safe and, obviously, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists, once again referring to how it has the “kind of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them treasures that demand repeat viewing”.

A handful of magazines to finish now, and the Radio Times had The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists, American Pie: Reunion and Safe in its film pages, and Dallas (Warner) as its box set selection.

The ever-esoteric Time Out chose Innocent Sorcerers (Second Run DVD) and Where Danger Lives (Odeon Entertainment).

We also had a look through Uncut, which had Eagle Rock’s Produced By George Martin as its lead (“this is a brilliant DVD”) before moving on to Beats Rhymes And Life, Glastonbury (Mensch), The Monk (Metrodome), The Dictator (Paramount), What Happened To Kerouac (3DD) and Heavy Metal Parking Lot (Wienerworld).

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