New to DVD Blu-ray and VOD this week: Paddington, The Gambler, Inherent Vice
Cuddle up with Paddington, puff and pass on Inherent Vice, make a bet on The Gambler and watch Alec Baldwin kick butt in Topsiders: @Home entertainment for the week of April 28
By Katherine Monk
Three and a half stars out of five. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Waters and the voice of Ben Whishaw. Directed by Paul King. Running time: 95 minutes.
Teddy bears are so much more than stuffies. They are personal mascots, true blue friends and a magical savings bank for childhood memories. Pick up your old bear and you’ll be swimming knee-deep in nostalgia, so if you happened to cuddle a bear in a duffle coat and a red hat back in the day, Paddington will prompt a welcome regression as it offers up the origin story of the little bear who lives in London. Taking us back to deepest, darkest Peru, we learn Paddington comes from a rare line of bears that can talk and befriend humans. Tragedy forces Paddington out of the family tree, and in a bid to ...
Brett Morgen on Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
Interview: The outspoken director spent eight years sifting through a 'cold empty storage unit hidden from the world' to find relics of Cobain that 'were still breathing'
By Katherine Monk
PARK CITY, UTAH -- A homemade cassette featuring a cover of a Beatles love song, the story of how he lost his virginity, and countless hours of home video created with Courtney Love: For 20 years, these relics salvaged from the wreckage of Kurt Cobain’s life remained unseen, and unheard, until now.
Compiled and delicately edited into a vibrantly creative portrait of the late artist by filmmaker Brett Morgen, these once-hidden fragments of a shattered soul make Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck more than just another documentary about another dead rock star.
Sifting through the contents with the careful hand and brush of a paleontologist uncovering an unknown bone, Morgen’s film shows us a different version of the now-mythical figure who's been condensed into a souvenir of grunge, plaid and ...
@Home releases for April 21
Maps to the Stars navigates Tinseltown with Cronenberg's broken compass, Jennifer Aniston has her Cake, Marion Cotillard faces unemployment while Paul McCartney carries the weight of the week's DVD, Blu-Ray and VOD releases.
By Katherine Monk
Maps to the Stars (2014)
Three and a half stars out of five. Starring: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Sarah Gadon, Robert Pattinson, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams. Directed by: David Cronenberg. Running time: 111 minutes.
Julianne Moore may have won the best actress Oscar for her performance as a woman suffering from Alzheimers in Still Alice, but she deserves a rodeo buckle for her turn as Havana Segrand, the grown daughter of Hollywood royalty and central figure in David Cronenberg’s latest freak show. Havana has been riding the bull of showbiz since she was just a kid, but now that she’s getting older, she’s getting thrown – which only makes her want to hang on tighter. It’s a desperate move, but ...
@Home releases for April 14
The Babadook raises goosebumps, Big Eyes surprises and Escobar blows eye candy but Woman In Black 2 proves dimmest DVD/VOD release of the week.
The Babadook (2014)
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Tim Purcell. Directed by: Jennifer Kent. Running time: 93 minutes.
Four stars out of five
One of the sharper arrows in the new quiver of shiver directors, Jennifer Kent makes an impressive debut with this perfectly phrased piece of psychological horror that pits a mother and son against a supernatural force. It begins with young Samuel (Noah Wiseman) suffering from night terrors. The kid is convinced there’s a monster under his bed, but every time his exhausted mother takes a peek under the mattress in the hopes of comforting him, she sees nothing. Yet, Samuel’s visions only grow worse, leaving poor Amelia (Essie Davis) emotionally frayed and completely sleep-deprived. Kent forces us to feel her exhaustion in every queasy close-up and every ...
Da Vinci’s Demons takes a classical approach to MacGyver
DA VINCI’S DEMONS: SEASON TWO (Starz/BBC TV Series, 2014)
Starring: Tom Riley, Laura Haddock, Elliot Cowan, Gregg Chillin, Eros Vlahos
Creator: David S. Goyer
Three Stars out of Five
Combining elements of The Young Indiana Jones, the Da Vinci Code and MacGyver, this series created by David S. Goyer has so many great ideas to work with, it has a hard time focusing on a single one. Not that it really matters all that much, because half the fun of watching this period series is testing your own knowledge of Leonoardo’s achievements. From flying machines to advances in medicine, Da Vinci was more than the famed painter of the Mona Lisa and this series delights in showcasing the genius’s creative legacy. Best of all, it does so using standard TV tropes. In other words, we end up watching Da Vinci (Tom Riley) face one dilemma after another as the warring Pazzi and Medici families jockey for power and status behind the back of the Catholic Church. Fortunately, he’s a ...
On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter
Sequel to the classic 1971 documentary takes another lap around oval of motorbike love
ON ANY SUNDAY: THE NEXT CHAPTER: (2014, documentary)
Directed by Dana Brown. Featuring Bo Derek, Travis Pastrana, Jimmy N. Roberts, Ashley Fiolek, Dani Pedrosa, Art Haynie.
Three stars out of five
Picking up where his father Bruce left off in On Any Sunday, the original 1971 doc featuring Steve McQueen on motorbikes, filmmaker Dana Brown takes us around the world to meet a whole new generation of bike enthusiasts spinning their wheels – happily. From the dirt tracks of the American heartland to the rugged terrain of the Great White North, Brown brings us close enough to the action to smell the tailpipes. He also tries to develop the characters, and use the central passion as the uniting theme. It doesn’t always work because everyone feels a little stiff in front of the camera. They also have a habit of saying the same thing, because how many ways can you express the wind-blown feeling ...
Olive Kitteridge: HBO miniseries showcases McDormand’s killer sardonic skills
OLIVE KITTERIDGE (2014, HBO Miniseries) Starring: Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Bill Murray. Directed by: Lisa Cholodenko.
Three and a half stars out of five
Watching Frances McDormand’s face is a bit like reading a great Victorian novel. She may be giving us a straightforward chunk of dialogue, but beneath the surface, an entirely different narrative is taking place. Beneath every wrinkle lies a wealth of understated passions, existential awareness and razor-sharp wit that brings emotional currency to every role, including her turn as Olive Kitteridge, the central character in Elizabeth Strout’s 2008 novel. Reunited with her Laurel Canyon director Lisa Cholodenko, McDormand takes this story of a smart, but calloused schoolteacher to the very edge of melodrama without losing her balance, which is probably the miniseries’ biggest victory because its very structure screams soap opera. With Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray sharing the frames, we get a little breathing ...
I Wake Up Screaming: An eggs and break-your-legs film noir feast
I Wake Up Screaming (1941 FOX)
Starring: Betty Grable, Victor Mature, Carole Landis, Laird Cregar
Directed by: H. Bruce Humberstone
Four stars out of five
Whether it’s the spontaneous eruptions of Over the Rainbow steaming through the score, the bizarre screen presence of Laird Cregar as a creepy cop with perfect elocution, or the architectural angles of Victor Mature’s eyebrows, there’s more than one reason why this seminal piece of film noir is nothing short of a wacky masterpiece. Shot just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and riddled with allusions to mounting political tensions, this adaptation of Steve Fisher’s novel ‘Hot Spot’ still feels contemporary thanks to its thematic obsession with celebrity. Carole Landis plays Vicky, a diner waitress who becomes the Eliza Doolittle of a sports promoter played by Mature. At first, her success is welcomed as part of a game, but when she announces she’s bailing on New York for a movie career in Los Angeles, ...