eOne’s Smash And Grab Raid

Thursday, August 14 2014
eOne’s Smash And Grab Raid

It was a big week for eOne, with a trip of titles in the shape of Divergent, The Raid 2 and Calvary all out on the same day and its dominance of chart placings was reflected in the weight of reviews for its triumvirate.

For, as our regular round up of press coverage for DVD and Blu-ray releases shows, the threesome offered up something for everyone – Calvary for the quality press, Divergent for the younger tabloids and The Raid 2 filling in the gaps in between and everywhere else.

Calvary and The Raid 2 had equal weight in terms of coverage, trading four and five-star notices with each other in the weekend’s newspapers.

Elsewhere, the latest outing from The Muppets picked up plenty of coverage too, while Dogwoof’s doc The Unknown Known did it for the indies, as did Artificial Eye’s Under The Rainbow.

Kicking off our look at the weekend’s reviews and also starting what would be a strong weekend in terms of reviews, The Raid 2 (eOne) led the way in the Evening Standard, noting: “Gareth Evans overdoes the Godfather II spiel but when his sequel to the Indonesian-set fighting flick goes into action mode, it’s unbeatable.” Ot was swiftly followed by another of the weekend’s biggies, also from eOne, Calvary. Also reviewed were Under The Rainbow (Artificial Eye), Soulmate (Soda), Divergent and Dogwoof’s The Unknown Known.

The Sun featured some of the previous weekend’s biggies; its DVD Of The Week was Studiocanal’s The Double (“make mine a double”), with Fox’s Starred Up (“an uncomfortable watch that hits as hard as a warden’s truncheon on the skull”) faring nearly as well. There were further reviews for Half Of A Yellow Sun (Soda) and Labor Day (Paramount).

Back to The Raid 2 in the Daily Star, which was the subject of a competition and glowing review (“the stunning story is strong and gripping and it’s a rare sequel that doesn’t suck”. There were big marks aplenty, with Calvary (“sharp thriller”), Muppets Most Wanted “kids and adults alike will enjoy the cascade of loony jokes and silly scenes”) and Studiocanal’s The Ladykillers (“by far the funniest of the Ealing Comedies, a terrific, laugh-making treat”) all earning raves.

DVD Of The Week in the Daily Mirror’s The Ticket entertainment supplement was Divergent, although the two other eOne titles, The Raid (“may be the most violent film of the year. Or perhaps any year… this is certainly the best movie I’ve seen this year”) and Calvary (“Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? That it defies easy categorisation is what makes it such a pleasure”) both fared better in terms of marks, the former with a five-star rating. Also reviewed was Muppets Most Wanted.

Those marks were reversed in the Daily Express, with five stars going to Calvary (“provocative, uncompromising and deeply involving”) and four to The Raid 2 (“epic, operatic sequel”). Divergent completed the hat-trick for eOne.

Saturday and the usual suspects appeared in the tabloid TV supplements – the Daily Mail’s Weekend featured Railways Of The Great War (Fremantle), Masters Of Sex (SPHE) was the subject of a competition on the Daily Mirror’s We Love TV and in The Sun’s TV Magazine DVD Of The Week was Divergent and Railways Of The Great War was its Box Set Of The Week.

Moving on to the quality press and the Daily Telegraph’s Review seems to have entirely given up on DVD reviews all together, but the other magazines are still covering home entertainment diligently – The Times, for example, had reviews for Calvary (“a ruminative, hard-edged and near-brilliant drama”), The Unknown Known and Muppets Most Wanted.

All of the weekend’s usual suspects were in The Independent’s Radar supplement – Calvary (“unnerving black comedy”), The Raid 2 (“overlong but exquisitely choreographed martial arts flick”), Muppets Most Wanted, Divergent and, as a wild card choice, Network’s Blu-ray of Capricorn One (“wholly enjoyable… yes, it’s daft, but it never lacks tension and James Brolin is a terrific hero”). It also hosted a couple of decent features, one about Marvel Studios and mention of FrightFest too.

The Guardian’s Guide looked at The Legend Of Hercules (Lionsgate).

Sunday and in the tabloids, The Daily Star Sunday gave another five-star notice to The Raid 2 (“the plot is confusing, but the action is stunning”), sandwiched between Divergent Muppets Most Wanted.

The Sunday People featured Prisoners Of War (Arrow) on its TV pages, while there was a big competition for Muppets Most Wanted, alongside reviews for Under The Rainbow and Divergent.

There was a rare appearance for a DVD release in The Sun On Sunday’s Fabulous magazine, where Divergent featured.

The Sunday Mirror’s choice in its Staying In page was The Raid 2 (“magnificent martial arts mayhem”).

The similarly named page in the Mail On Sunday’s Event magazine featured Muppets Most Wanted, with Braquo (Arrow) as a box set choice. Its solus DVD page covered Noah (Paramount), with a five-star notice for Calvary (“movies this good don’t come along too often”), with, in a separate piece, On The Waterfront (SPHE) and Sophie’s Choice (Network).

Moving on to the quality press and the DVD reviews in the Sunday Telegraph’s Seven magazine seem to have gone the way of their companions in the Saturday paper’s Review section, although there was still coverage in The Independent On Sunday – reviews for Calvary, Muppets Most Wanted and Divergent as well as a competition for Calvary. Its regular sidebar feature looked at doppelganger films, tying in with the release of The Double.

The Observer’s regular Home Cinema column kicked off with Calvary (“Gleeson’s weary, weathered interpretation lends it gravity and consequence”) moving on to Muppets Most Wanted (“their best and brightest adventure since the 1980s, improving even on 2011’s wittily meta The Muppets”), The Raid 2 (“an impressive ordeal of sorts: 150 bone-crunching minutes of the most advanced and startlingly violent fight choreography yet put to the screen”), The Unknown Known and Under The Rainbow (Artificial Eye). Its Netflix choice was another documentary, Mission Blue.

We’ll end with the weekend edition of the Financial Times, which covered Calvary, The Unknown Known, Stared Up and Under The Rainbow.

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