Some Frank Talking

Thursday, September 18 2014
Some Frank Talking

No blockbuster single release this week to set the reviewers on fire, but a trio of independent titles – Frank, Only Lovers Left Alive and The Two Faces Of January – shared the spoils when it came to press coverage on their home entertainment release.

The three were all pretty much neck and neck in terms of column inches and reviews across the national press, as our regular round up of coverage for releases shows.

Starting on Friday and The Sun featured some of the previous weekend’s biggies – it tends to go a week behind the pace with its reviews, so this meant words on Universal’s Bad Neighbours (“sloppy but sweet-natured”) and two stars apiece for Brick Mansions (Warner), The Angriest Man In Brooklyn and Plastic (Paramount).

The Evening Standard plumped for half a dozen titles, many of which would crop up over the rest of the weekend, with Soda’s Only Lovers Left Alive (“life is short but hipsterism is eternal”) leading the way, followed by Lionsgate’s Sabotage (“fast and foul-mouthed”), eOne’s Pompeii (“the plot of James Cameron’s Titanic transported back to Pompeii five minutes before boom time… great fun”), the excellent The Two Faces Of January (Studiocanal), the “fascinating” Frank (Curzon) and Vamps (Metrodome).

In keeping with its normal style, the Daily Mirror’s The Ticket had a DVD Of The Week, but actually gave the plaudit to its lowest-rated release, giving just one star to Pompeii (“[a] pitiful excuse for an historical disaster movie”), with others – Sabotage and Only Lovers Left Alive and especially The Two Faces Of January (“smart drama… with an impressive period atmosphere that recalls some of the very best film noir”) – all performing better.

Equally contrary, albeit in a different way, is the Daily Star’s Alan Frank, who consistently manages to go against the grain in terms of marks he gives to films. This time around he not only devoted part of his column to a competition giving away copies of Pompeii, but also gave it its best mark of the weekend, a full four stars, noting it was a “ripping mixture of sword and sandal slashing and disaster movie… savour action, chariot races and eye-boggling volcano=exploding climax”. Also covered were somewhat belated reviews for a brace from SPHE, Django Unchained and Hotel Transylvania as well as a further notice for Sabotage (“Schwarzenegger blasts back into bloody bone-breaking, bullet-blazing action in this fast movie thriller”)

The Two Faces Of January led the way in the Daily Express (”elegant adaptation… sophisticated and old-school thriller”), alongside The Hypnotist (Studiocanal) and Vamps.

The regular Your Next Box Set feature in the Guardian took in Simply Media’s recently released Colin’s Sandwich, noting: “When Mel Smith died last year, his sad passing did have one small silver lining: 26 years after it aired, his underrated and oft-forgotten sitcom was finally been released on DVD.

Saturday and dotted around the tabloids were competitions and smaller reviews of some of the next week’s releases, notably the fifth outing for Modern Family (Fox) in the Daily Mail’s Weekend magazine, a competition for The Blacklist (SPHE) in the Daily Mirror’s We Love TV, in The Sun’s TV Magazine had Pompeii (“brilliantly explosive”) as its DVD Of The Week, and Modern Family Season Five (“a great mix of LOLs and tears”).

On to the broadsheets and a double helping in The Times, which had its normal reviews, taking in Frank (“this is one of the great and idiosyncratic movies about rock’n’roll “) , The Two Faces Of January (“classy”) and The Medusa Touch, while, elsewhere, in its magazine, there was an interview with Maggie Gyllenhaal, marking the release of The Honourable Woman (BBC Worldwide).

The Guardian continued its rather bizarre current reviews column, this week having a dig at Signature’s The Angriest Man In Brooklyn, with some rather dubious statements presented as facts (we know they were misrepresentations because we made the effort to actually check them). We won’t dwell on the copy, suffice to say, it was not a complimentary review. It also covered, briefly – and we mean briefly – a batch of other titles, from Bad Neighbours to For No Good Reason via Brick Mansions and Blue Ruin (“a bearded man seeks revenge”).

The Independent’s Radar magazine covered Frank, HBO’s The Sopranos: The Complete Series (“the greatest television show ever made”), The Two Faces Of January, Pompeii, Only Lovers Left Alive and Arrow Video’s The Burbs (“Hanks has never been funnier”).

Sunday and in the Sunday Mirror the ninth series of Bones (Fox) was featured on its Staying In page. The TV page of the Sunday People featured a competition giving away copies of Modern Family season five, while its film page took in Frank, Pompeii, Sabotage, The Two Faces Of January and Wolf Creek 2 (eOne).

Sunday’s edition of the Daily Star gave its highest mark to Only Lovers Left Alive, with further coverage for The Two Faces Of January, Pompeii (“Vesuvius lows and so does this ridiculous Gladiator rip-off”) and The Angriest Man In Brooklyn.

The Mail On Sunday’s Event magazine had The Hypnotist (Studiocanal) as part of its Staying In section, while its DVD age had barely a good word to say about anything, moving through The Angriest Man In Brooklyn, Frank, Vamps, The Two Faces Of January and, worst of all Sabotage (“the action kicks off in a toilet and goes downhill from there”).

The Independent On Sunday covered The Two Faces Of January, Pompeii and Frank (“a music film that improves on reflection and has a very touching ending”). Its Take Two section looked at Spike Lee’s underrated Crooklyn, while there was a competition offering a giveaway of The Sopranos box set.

The Financial Times covered The Two Faces Of January (“glamorous… classy thriller”), Only Lovers Left Alive, Frank and Paramount’s The Good Wife: Series 5 (“consistently good writing and a mastery of long arc narrative”).

We’ll end, as we often do, with The Observer and Guy Lodge’s home entertainment column, which kicked off with The Two Faces Of January (“cinematic equivalent of a satisfying poolside paperback”). Only Lovers Left Alive, A Touch Of Sin (Arrow), Frank, Pompeii, The Hypnotist (“proficient late-night viewing”), Wolf Creek 2 and, as its Netflix choice, Citizen Koch.

Tags: , ,