‘Dear John’ Letters From Reviewers

Monday, August 23 2010
‘Dear John’ Letters From Reviewers

More of a spread of reviews this weekend compared to normal, with some newspapers going against the grain and making rather esoteric choices of what DVDs to review.

But one was covered pretty much everywhere – Momentum’s Dear John, which, along with Whip It, which was by our reckoning, the second best reviewed DVD over the weekend, lead the way.

Here’s our usual round-up of the weekend’s coverage…

Plenty of DVD coverage – and advertising – in the Daily Mirror on Friday. Heading up the reviews was Repo Men (Universal, not to be confused with the superior 80s flick Repo Man, incidentally) and an interview with star Forest Whitaker. Other reviews included Perrier’s Bounty (Optimum), Elvis: The Movie (Fremantle), Patrik Age 1.5 (TLA Releasing), Dear John (Momentum) and Whip It (Lionsgate).

A half page promotion earlier in the Mirror’s Ticket reviews supplement offered the lucky winner a chance to win a part in a forthcoming Synchronicity Films  and Wellington Films production. The companies have been responsible for such Britflicks as London To Brighton and the competition was placed to publicise the forthcoming DVD release of Crying With Laughter.The averts, incidentally, were a page from Blockbuster and a quarter page highlighting Warner’s Make Tonight Movie Night catalogue activity, tagged with Morrisons.

Over to the Daily Star and half of its DVD coverage was given over to Repo Men, with a competition offering goodie bags and copies of the film. Other titles covered included Perrier’s Bounty and another title from Optimum, the Blu-ray release of Flash Gordon, as well as Modern Times (Park Circus).

The Sun’s Something For The Weekend review section featured The Joneses (E1), Dennis And Gnasher – Shool Rules? Highly Overrated (2 entertain) and Whip It.

On to the quality press and the Independent on Friday led off on the first season of The Vampire Diaries (Warner), Gossip Girl Season 3 (also Warner), A Boy Called Dad (Kaleidoscope), The Passion Within (Momentum) and Going Postal (Fox).

On to Saturday’s papers and the two most DVD-friendly Saturday publications were as useful as ever.

The Times’ Playlist gave over some of its DVD and Blu-ray page to preview the upcoming Frightfest event, but that is traditionally a big DVD draw too, and its two page preview of the special edition of Avatar gave over much of its editorial to discussing other great director’s cuts. In its actual review coverage, it featured The Big Clock (Odeon), Lymelife (Network) as well as Dear John, The Scouting Book For Boys (Fox) and While The City Sleeps (Exposure).

The Guide in The Guardian covered the BFI’s releases of four films from famed directors, The Innocents, A Zed & Two Noughts, The Edge Of The World and Loving Memory as its lead, with honourable mentions for Indi Vision’s Cherrybomb, Metrodome’s Down Terrace and Lebanon, The Scouting Book For Boys, Repo Men and Dear John. Good too to see top mod writer Paolo Hewitt ruminating on Northern Soul for Soda’s release of SoulBoy.

The People, meanwhile, had a competition and coverage devoted to Dear John on its cinema and DVD page, and Warner’s Vampire Diaries, again with a competition, covered on its TV pages.

The News Of The World were hardly full of praise for Dear John, Cherrybomb (Universal) or Repo Men, begging the question, what would have their readers watch? Dogtooth from Verve, which got four stars and was highly recommended.

The Sunday Mirror gave a slightly more favourable review to Dear John, and also covered Optimum’s Blu-ray version of Flash Gordon.

The Sunday Telegraph had room for only two DVD reviews, covering Ondine (Paramount) and The Scouting Book For Boys.

In The Observer, the ever-reliable Mark Kermode covered Artificial Eye’s Women Without Men, moving on to Whip It, before giving a spot-on review of Centurion (including the great quote: “We’ve got cut throats, arm chops, decapitations, head slicings, arrows in necks, axes in necks, people being burned – a lot of gore,” from the DVD extras) and Metrodome’s Lebanon.

But while Kermode’s support for home entertainment is as admirable as ever, we were a bit disappointed to read a story in the main Observer about Mad Men being illegally downloaded or streamed ahead of BBC transmission (which has now been brought forward to counteract that). So what’s the problem? The Observer’s Henry Dearlove proceeded to explain how to do it, listing the websites where you could find the programme, along with complete URLs. For aspiring illegal downloaders or streamers, it struck us as being a fairly authoritative guide on how to do, tantamount to showing would-be terrorists how to make a bomb. And it brought our weekend to a rather sour close.