Catching The Eye

Thursday, March 20 2014
Catching The Eye

As the excellent Home Viewing column in The Observer, penned by Guy Lodge who is proving himself to be a worthy replacement for Mark Kermode as a DVD reviewer and, thankfully, one of the few who actually bothers looking at extras, noted, it was a good week for female protagonists.

And as our weekly round up of coverage for home entertainment releases shows, the films they starred in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Blue Is The Warmest Colour respectively, were the weekend’s best reviewed releases.

They both earned the column inches; one boosted by its big office, the other by the brouhaha surrounding its release, although there was little to separate them in terms of the amount of coverage; you could argue that the former, with its tabloid support, just shaded it, but it’s great to see a three-hour subtitled film get the kind of coverage Blue Is The Warmest colour dud.

Elsewhere, two other wildly differing TV titles, the creepy Inside No 9 and the nostalgic and fluffy Call The Midwife dominated the box set reviews.

We normally start with Friday’s Metro, which as well as featuring a near daily selection throughout the week normally has a good half page on Friday, but sadly this week the regular slot was missing. Elsewhere its regular My Top Five Films feature did appear, this time given over to actor George Mackay, picking his selection (Gladiator, The Godfather, No Country For Old Man, This Is England and True Romance) while promoting the release of Soda’s For Those In Peril.

On to the Evening Standard, which did, thankfully, have its reviews section present and correct, with the “touching and unusual drama” Parkland (Koch) leading the way, moving on to the “great exercise in thriller minimalism” The Counsellor (FOX), Blue Is The Warmest Colour (Artificial Eye), eOne’s Escape Plan (“two decades too late… though it has its tiny pleasures”), Empire State (Lionsgate) and the anniversary edition of Studiocanal’s Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure (“midwife to our current era of excellent dudish awesomeness”).

The Sun gave the lion’s share of space to Ender’s Game (eOne), although its DVD Of The Week was Soda’s For Those In Peril (“it’s worth diving in to this cruel sea”) with further notices for Drinking Buddies and Paranoia.

DVD Of The Week in the Daily Mirror’s The Ticket supplement was Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games Catching Fire (“exciting and even slicker than the first film”), scoring even better was Blue Is The Warmest Colour (“a must see”). Also reviewed were The Missing Picture (New Wave Films) and, with a mere one star, Escape Plan (“very much an old-fashioned thriller and a mightily bland one at that”).

The regular Your Next Box Set feature was given over to Vikings (Fox), of which, it concluded: “If you need a bit of swordplay and scandal when Thrones take a breather, you know where to turn.”

Saturday and the usual mentions across the tabloid telly supplements for current releases, taking in The Hunger Games – Catching Fire in the Daily Express’ Saturday magazine, the same title was DVD Of The Week in The Sun’s Television magazine (“a futuristic thriller that hits the bull’s eye”), alongside Call The Midwife Series 5, its Box Set Of The Week. And that latter programme was there again in the Daily Mail’s Weekend. The Daily Mirror’s We Love TV had a competition for Death In Paradise (BBC Worldwide).

On to the quality press, and nothing in the Daily Telegraph’s Review section, although in the similarly named counterpart in The Times there was a review for Blue Is The Warmest Colour (“startlingly uninhibited sex scenes, so mind who you’re watching this with”), moving on to 1: Life On The Limit (Studiocanal) and Escape Plan.

Blue Is The Warmest Colour kicked off The Independent’s Radar section (“forget all the hype and hogwash about the explicit sex scenes, this richly detailed drama is an intensely moving, authentic exploration of modern love”), moving on to The Hunger Games; Catching Fire (“a potent adaptation”), BBC Worldwide’s Inside No 9 (“beautifully scripted comedy… twisted, inventive Tales Of The Unexpected-like tales”), Escape Plan and the anniversary Steelbook edition of the “charmingly daft comedy” Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

The Guardian’s Guide reviewed Drinking Buddies (SPHE) and its context within the mumblecore movement, while there were mentions for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Blue Is The Warmest Colour and The Counsellor. Its regular Planner section featured Asa Butterfield talking about his TV viewing habits while plugging the release of Ender’s Game (eOne). There was also a review of Netflix’s From Dusk Till Dawn in its Catch Up section.

The weekend edition of the Financial Times gave four stars to all four of the titles it covered – Blue Is The Warmest Colour (“beautiful and exhausting in equal measure”), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (“high-class hokum grounded by Lawrence’s committed and earnest performance”), Drinking Buddies (“skilfully subverts all the usual rom-com conventions”) and Artificial Eye’s “social realist Cinderella tale” Mouchette.

The Sunday Mirror featured The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Over in the Sunday People there was a review and competition for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, with further reviews for Empire State, Blue Is The Warmest Colour and The Counsellor. Its TV page had a competition for Call The Midwife.

The Event magazine in the Mail On Sunday had mentions for The Misfits (Fox) and Inside No 9 on the Staying In page, while its DVD reviews page gave Escape Plan its best review of the week (“a mindless delight”), putting it beyond Empire State (Lionsgate). Meanwhile under a separate Box Sets Of The Week header, there were five stars for An Age Of Kings (Illuminations), The Client List (SPHE) and Banacek (Fabulous).
The Independent On Sunday reviewed Blue Is The Warmest Colour (“epic, richly detailed drama”), The Hunger Games Catching Fire and Inside No 9, with a competition for Metro Manila, while it’s the Watch List column looked at jailbreak movies to tie in with the release of Escape Plan.

The Sunday Telegraph’s Seven magazine also covered Blue Is The Warmest Colour (“such is the controversy, it is easy to forget just what a moving tribute to young love this is”), before looking at the “absurd thriller” Escape Plan and Journal De France (Soda).

In The Observer, its Home Viewing column started off in praise of female protagonists, in first Blue Is The Warmest Colour, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Starlet (Soda), moving on to “entertaining curio” Jayne Mansfield’s Car (Anchor Bay), The Counsellor, Escape Plan (“enjoyably muddle-headed”), I Am Soldier (Lionsgate) and, on the BFI Player, Nymphomaniac and Stranger By The Lake. Philip French’s Classic DVD was Under Milk Wood.

Tags: ,