The Week In Video Part XLXI

Wednesday, August 6 2014
The Week In Video Part XLXI

We’ve been away for a few weeks, so here’s a bumper selection of our recent viewing with a distinct eye on its home entertainment potential…

We’ve been a bit slack in viewing Signature titles on here, stranger still seeing as they regularly send them to us, so now’s as good a time as any to correct this with a look at some of the label’s recent outings. Deception is rather sedate thriller (and we mean this as a compliment), that boasts Geoffrey Rush in the lead role as a rather crooked art lover who uses his position as an expert at an auction house to boost his own collection, before getting embroiled with a mysterious female client. It’s got a distinctly European feel to it – again we mean this in a good way. In keeping with Signature’s modus operandi, it’s dressed up in a rather commercial and strongly worked sleeve, which gives it a boost. More for an upmarket audience craving a meatier offering, it’s eminently watchable nonetheless.

McCanik, also just released by Signature, is a dark, moody cop saga, the kind that would normally find one of the Afflecks or Wahlbergs in it. This, instead, boasts character actor David Morse, an instantly recognisable face from, well, just about everything you’ve seen in the past decade or two, as a cop with something to hide. He’s given a real opportunity to show his acting chops, which he does with some aplomb. It’s also notable in that it marks the final role of troubled Glee star Cory Monteith’s final role before his tragic death. Morse and the grim subject matter will pull in an older crowd, Monteith will only widen its appeal.

Our last from the label is A Certain Justice, which boasts Vinnie Jones and Dolph Lundgren among its cast, the latter sport in a rather fetching ponytail and facial hair combo. The two are writ large on the sleeve, although it’s more of vehicle for Cung Le than the other two, who are two of an array of baddies taking on the martial arts star in this action biffer. It’s at times a little confused, but it never forgets exactly what it is and rattles along at a fair old rate. As soon as the plot gets a bit weighty, some goons turn up for a punch up with Le. Eminently sellable.

Similarly titled, albeit completely different, is Injustice, from High Fliers, a title rebadged from its original name, Puncture. Whatever it’s called, there’s no denying the pulling power of its star Chris Evans, now even further buoyed by his third appearance as Captain America. This should ride off the back of that release, which is, itself, due out on August 18, giving it extra shelf life. it’s a legal drama with an edge, always a genre with selling power too.

Also from High Fliers is Cursed, part found footage and part more traditional film; it’s a horror film that should be recognisable to most in terms of content. It has the odd shock and while offering nothing too original has a decent enough twist and should fill a gap for the waiting for the next Paranormal Activity outing.

Horror sequel fare comes in the form of Wolf Creek 2, due up from eOne (it’s slated for September release). It’s a sequel to one of the more inventive genre titles of the past few years, the Aussie psycho pic that confounded all expectations. This follows similar form, although it opens it out a bit more, taking proceedings away from one location and into the wide open roads. While not quite as good as the original, it still has plenty going for it and still matches its predecessor in being able to play with existing genre conventions. What’s more important is the first has been a consistent seller and this has every chance of performing well. eOne will give it a good boost too.

Also from eOne – Vampire Academy has just been released and falls rather neatly into that Twilight and Hunger Games area. Luke the former, it’s based on a recognisable book series, which gives it a strong commercial edge. Should work well with a younger teen audience.

And finishing our eOne viewing was Gagarin, a Russian outing looking at the first man in space from a Soviet perspective. It’s a watchable affair, given a post-Gravity del with its sleeve. It’s already been released and should have a decent run at it.

New label Altitude is beginning to make its mark, with A Promise among its first batch of releases. The title shows its willingness to investigate different routes to market – it was released at cinemas on Friday August 1 and swiftly followed by a physical and vod bow through other channels. It comes with a strong pedigree, boasting a cast that includes the likes of Richard Madden, from Game Of Thrones, Rebecca Hall and Alan Rickman and is directed by Patrice Leconte, of Hairdresser’s Husband and Monsieur Hire, in his first English language outing. It’s a decidedly European affair, also rather upmarket too. It has a good potential for long-standing sales.

Moving to a wildly different genre and, as regular readers will know, there’s nothing we love more than a bit of medieval action, not quite swords,and sandals, we prefer a Northern European approach, where you can’t wear sandals because there’s too much mud or snow. Ironclad 2 is the latest entrant into this category and it will slake fans’ thirst for sword-based shenanigans even if it’s not a prime example of the genre. It’s a genre that solidly refuses to die and one where, if you get the sleeve right, you can still shift a fair few copies. The fact it’s a sequel should bear no consequence as to its potential, as it works as a standalone outing fine.

We’ll end with a brace of titles from Studiocanal and firstly, it’s already well out there and has sold through exceedingly well, but props to Studiocanal for its exemplary work on the wonderful Under The Skin. A near-faultless campaign and a marvellous package, from its black Blu-ray case through to the wonderful artwork that followed the film through on its life-cycle from theatrical to home entertainment release, this has been a deserved success for a film that is truly a homegrown success. Oh, and the film’s a belter too.

It’s followed that with The Double, another remarkable title from a similarly made in Britain title, albeit with an equally international cast. Like Under The Skin, it’s not always an easy sell, but Studiocanal has really proven its worth this year at both coping admirably with mainstream fare, as well as elevating more leftfield product on to a higher realm. This falls into the latter category, but should follow the company’s impressive 2014 successes adding to its impressive track record for the year.

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