40 Towers

Wednesday, June 26 2013
40 Towers

After plenty of quality fare in recent weeks, DVD and Blu-ray reviewers were not left with much of a choice of films to rave about this week, as our regular round up of home entertainment coverage in national newspapers shows.

For few of the titles reviewed scored brilliantly, titles such as This Is 40 and, in particular, Movie 43 were routinely panned on their home entertainment bow, with critics lining up to knock them (all apart from the Daily Star’s wilfully perverse Alan Frank, who praised both).

We’ll start with the Metro newspaper and its excellent regular Home Cinema page. It gave equal rating to eOne’s Warm Bodies (“The most convincing attempt yet to Twilight-up zombies and make them sexy… If it gets Shakespeare groaning in his grave, it’s probably giving him the odd giggle in there too”) and the BFI’s Underground (“Impeccable digital restoration… Stylishly presented with a new Neil Brand score, a fully illustrated book of essays and five complimentary shorts”), edging ahead of Mama (Universal). Also scoring well as The Fall (Acorn). In further coverage Helen Mirren answered Five Questions in the regular slot, plugging the release of Hitchcock (Fox), while a few pages earlier, Cristian Mingiu picked My Top Five Films (he actually chose his five top endings, plumping for Catch-22, The Firemen’s Ball, Birdy, The Life Of Jesus and Mircea), at the same time as supporting his latest film, Beyond The Hills, released on DVD and Blu-ray by Artificial Eye.

The Evening Standard featured, in its revamped DVD & Blu-ray column, Stoker (Fox), the “tearjerker” Song For Marion (eOne), This Is 40 (Universal), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Paramount) and eOne’s Movie 43 (“an agenda starting at the waist and working down”), with, under a separate Box Set heading, HBO’s The Sopranos: Complete Season 1-6 (“Let’s remember [James Gandolfini] this way”)

Moving on to the tabloids, the DVD Of The Week in The Sun was Warm Bodies (“there’s heart here– but not quite enough guts”). Other titles covered were Mama (“this routine spine-chiller won’t get you whimpering for mum”), Studiocanal’s To The Wonder (“doesn’t say much, but it says it beautifully”) and Hitchcock (“thoroughly entertaining but without the depth of Hitchcock’s classic, this isn’t the last word in psychology”).

The Ticket supplement in the Daily Mirror had an eclectic selection, leading off with the Blu-ray release of The Beatles’ Help! (Universal Music), moving through This Is 40, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Song For Marion, with one of its best reviews going for Arrow Video’s excellent Blu-ray issue of Foxy Brown (“it’s a terrific although unintentionally hilarious example of black cinema with this hi-def release including interviews and a director’s commentary”).

The Daily Star featured a competition offering prizes of copies of This Is 40, with a further review giving the film (“a terrific comic treat”) a full 10 out of 10. Also reviewed were Movie 43, with the only positive notice the film has got (“a series of splendidly filthy sketches, had me laughing long, loudly and lewdly… a hugely entertaining blue comedy”), Help! And CSI: New York The Complete Eighth Season (eOne).

DVD Of The Week in the Daily Mail was the Fox and MGM anniversary release of The Great Escape (“fifty years on, this prison escape movie is still one of the most exciting action adventures ever made and looks great on Blu-ray”).

A trio of titles in the Daily Express, taking in Song For Marion, Broken City (Studiocanal) and This Is 40.

The Your Next Box Set feature in The Guardian was this week devoted to Universal Playback’s The Equalizer (“pioneering stuff”).

Saturday and the usual mentions for DVD across the television supplements in the tabloids.

The Daily Express’ Saturday magazine had This Is 40 as its Must Watch choice, while the box set of the week slot in the Daily Mail’s Weekend was The Job Lot (BBC Worldwide).

The Daily Mirror’s had a competition offering prizes of The Fall (Acorn). And over in The Sun’s TV Magazine its DVD Of The Week was This Is 40, Box Set Of The Week was Futurama Season Six (Fox).

Moving on to the tabloids and there was still no appearance of any DVD reviews in the Daily Telegraph’s Review magazine, they are still missing in action, alongside the excellent Tim Robey Recommends column, which has disappeared too.

The Independent’s Radar actually squeezed in more reviews than normal, with Help! (“the plot is flimsy but the songs are exquisite”) scoring the highest and the “humourless action stinker” Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters the lowest. In between them were This Is 40, Song For Marion, The Man Who Haunted Himself (Network), eOne’s excellent Blood (“atmospheric but flawed”) and Foxy Brown.

The Guardian’s Guide featured an excellent look at Portlandia (Mediumrare) which, it said, was “close enough to the real world to recognise, but far enough away to be hilarious”. It also covered in brief The Man Who Haunted Himself, Foxy Brown, Doctor Who: Regeneration (BBC Worldwide) and the “stylish, shapeshifting story of ghostly vengeance” Kuroneko.

The Review section of The Times took in Song For Marion, The Man Who Haunted Himself and, in one of its best reviews of the weekend, This Is 40 (“it’s funny, frank and all horribly true”).

Moving on to Sunday, where, in the Sunday Mirror, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was the DVD Pick Of The Week, and also got one of its best notices of the week, being described as “wonderfully irreverent”.

The Sun’s Fabulous magazine featured This Is 40 on its Fabulist page, directing viewers to a competition online.

The Daily Star Sunday took in Song For Marion, Hansel l& Gretel Witch Hunters and This Is 40.

The Sunday People had a competition offering prizes of The Fall on its TV page, with its DVD choices on the Films page taking in This Is 40, Song For Marion, Broken City and Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters.

The Mail On Sunday’s Event magazine feature Doctor Who: Regeneration (BBC Worldwide) as its Box Set choice and Stoker its On Demand tip on the Staying In page. Its DVD Pick Of The Week page featured This Is 40 (“Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd spend two hours bemoaning the fact that they’re middle-aged”), A Good Day To Die Hard and a brace from Network, The Man Who Haunted Himself and Perfect Friday. Its Box Sets Of The Week were the highly-rated House Of Cards (“once started on it, you won’t want to stop”) and, faring far less well, Veep (“which four-letter word Malcolm Tucker would use on this feeble mess, one dreads to think”). The Sunday Express’ S magazine featured This Is 40.

The Independent On Sunday reviewed This Is 40 and Warm Bodies.

Over in the weekend edition of the Financial Times, there were reviews for Mea Maxima Culpa (Element), Chasing Ice (Dogwoof), Wreck-It Ralph (Disney) and another excoriating one for This Is 40 (“if this is 40, what’s all the fuss?… ineffably and endlessly dull, this is Apatow’s worst yet”).

Mark Kermode kicked off his column in The Observer with the same title, praising the “harrowing documentary”, before delivering a withering verdict on This Is 40 (“The temptation to add the words ‘minutes too long’ to the title of Judd Apatow’s midlife crisis rom(non)com… is overwhelming; of its many shortcomings, length is sadly not one… worryingly, I started having nostalgic thoughts about the ‘early funny ones’ – which I never found that funny the first time round”), moving through to another dreadful review for Movie 43 (“I hesitate to use the word “abominable” for fear that they may use it in the publicity”), as well as Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (“It’s clunky, clod-hopping fare, utterly bereft of wit and inspiration, settling instead for CGI gore and anachronistic cussing. Boo.”). Faring marginally better were F*ck For Forest (Dogwoof) and Broken City (“respectable if unremarkable”).

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