Last week saw the release of The Avengers here in the UK, the year’s biggest film to date, and the third-highest-grossing film of all time. Naturally, it was a pretty good week – somewhat marred, however, by the fact that the UK edition has a violent scene edited and Joss Whedon’s commentary track omitted.
Needless to say, I’ll be importing my copy from the US sometime in the future, after its release there tomorrow. (It also means I’ll have the proper title – ‘The Avengers’ – on the cover, and not just ‘Avengers Assemble’, a name which I refuse to use, because ‘The Avengers’ is just way cooler.)
This week is just as big a week all round, with Whedon returning to the home entertainment market in the form of The Cabin in the Woods, along with the equally-praised Indonesian action film, The Raid, and many more excellent films. So without further ado…
My picks of the week:
Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods, Gareth Evans’ The Raid & Larry Charles’ The Dictator.
And Bond 50 – the complete 22-film James Bond collection on Blu-ray.
The Cabin in the Woods
DVD and Blu-ray
Drew Goddard, writer of Cloverfield, made his directorial debut with The Cabin in the Woods, the critically acclaimed horror film that got everyone talking earlier this year.
Penned by Goddard and Whedon – who’ve worked together in the past on Buffy and Angel – the film has a fantastic cast headed up by Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Jesse Williams, Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, and the brilliant Amy Acker. What more could you possibly ask for?
And as if that wasn’t enough, if you’re reading this before 3rd October, you can click here to enter our competition to win the film on DVD.
“Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen.
If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favourites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes The Cabin In The Woods, a mind blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out.”
DVD and Blu-ray
Gareth Evans’ explosive Indonesian action film took critics and audiences alike by storm, with universal praise, a healthy box office haul, and now a sequel set to shoot early next year.
One of a handful of action films that has garnered the critics’ love in recent years, this is naturally a must-see for all fans of the genre.
“Deep in the heart of one of Jakarta’s most deprived slums stands an impenetrable high-rise apartment block. To most it is 30 floors of Hell to be avoided at all costs and is considered a no-go area by even the bravest and most experienced police officers.
In a desperate bid to flush these violent criminals and their leader from their haven once and for all, an elite SWAT team is tasked with infiltrating the building and raiding the apartments floor by floor, taking out anyone who stands in their way. Once inside, it soon becomes terrifyingly apparent that the real problem at hand is surviving long enough to be able to get out again.”
DVD and Blu-ray Triple Play (inc. DVD and Digital Copy)
Sacha Baron Cohen is arguably one of the best comedians of our times. Certainly a divisive one, he has a unique talent at creating some of the most controversial – and, in my opinion, utterly hilarious – characters ever to star on the big screen, and The Dictator brings yet another one to life in the form of General Aladeen.
The film is an utterly brilliant success, with some excellent cameos from Megan Fox and John C. Reilly, as well as terrific performances from Baron Cohen, leading lady Anna Faris, and supporting star Ben Kingsley. If you like what Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles have brought you in the past, you’ll love this.
“It will be your honour to view exclusive footage that you couldn’t see in cinemas untouched by filthy western censorship propaganda in The Dictator – The Extended Cut. The creators and star of Borat bring you the jaw-dropping comedy about what happens when the world’s worst dictator comes to America. Stuck in New York and stripped of his power, Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) is finally forced to live his ultimate nightmare…the American dream. Get ready to laugh till it hurts with the extended cut, featuring never-before-seen footage, that’s outrageous and shamefully funny!”
Resident Evil: Damnation
DVD and Blu-ray (both inc. UltraViolet)
The sequel is set to be given a 3D theatrical release in Japan next month, but here in the West, the straight to home entertainment release means we won’t be getting the third dimension, but will at least be seeing it first.
“United States special agent Leon S. Kennedy sneaks into a small Eastern Europe country to verify rumors that Bio Organic Weapons (B.O.W.s) are being used in war. Right after his infiltration, the US government orders him to leave immediately. Determined to uncover the truth, Leon ignores the order and enters the battlefield to end the chain of tragedies caused by the B.O.W.s.”
All In Good Time
DVD and Blu-ray
Directed by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls, Made in Dagenham) and written by BAFTA-nominated Ayub Khan-Din (East Is East), All In Good Time was released to solid reviews earlier this year, adapting the Olivier Award-winning play, Rafta, Rafta, by Bill Naughton.
“Centred around a close knit, larger-than-life British Asian family living in present day Bolton, ALL IN GOOD TIME stars REECE RITCHIE (The Lovely Bones) and AMARA KARAN (The Darjeeling Limited) as Atul Dutt and his young bride Vina for whom the first taste of married life is proving far from straightforward.”
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
DVD and Blu-ray
Released in the US under the title, ‘Get the Gringo’, How I Spent My Summer Vacation sees Mel Gibson return to the action/crime drama genre we know and love him for.
Click here for our review of the DVD – spoiler alert, Chris rather liked it.
“It’s been a bad day for Driver (Mel Gibson) and it’s not getting any better. He just made a big haul of millions that would give him a nice summer vacation on easy street. A good idea that went south – literally.
During a high-speed car chase with the US Border Patrol, and a bleeding body in his back seat, Driver flips his car smashing through the border wall, tumbling violently, coming to a stop … in Mexico. Apprehended by the Mexican authorities, he is sent to a hard-core prison where he enters the strange and dangerous world of “El Pueblito”, the worst prison in all of Mexico. Not an easy place for an outsider such as Driver to survive, unless it’s with the help of someone who knows the ropes – a 10 year-old kid.”
The Angels’ Share
DVD and Blu-ray
Ken Loach (Kes, Riff-Raff) returned to the big screen earlier this year with The Angels’ Share, a Scottish comedy-drama film penned by the excellent Paul Laverty (The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Route Irish).
The film earned solid reviews from critics when it was first released, and in case you missed it on the big screen in cinemas, it’s arriving now for your enjoyment in the comfort of your own home.
“From award-winning director Ken Loach and writer Paul Laverty comes a bitter sweet comedy caper which proves that sometimes all you need in life is a little spirit. Escaping a prison sentence by the skin of his teeth, the wayward and disillusioned Robbie is given one last chance to turn his life around. Together the four friends he embarks on an adventure and discovers that turning to drink might just change their lives – not cheap fortified wine, but the best malt whiskies in the world.”
Freddie Mercury – The Great Pretender
DVD and Blu-ray
It’s no secret that Queen have been one of the most iconic bands of all time, and their lead singer, Freddie Mercury, endures as an icon today, more than twenty years after his death.
This new documentary film takes a look at the lead singer and the projects he worked on beyond the band.
“Freddie Mercury was one of the most charismatic, complex and fascinating characters in British rock music. The story of Queen is a well known one but this new film focuses on Freddie Mercury and the solo projects he worked on outside of Queen. Using extensive archive footage of interviews with Freddie Mercury, concerts, video shoots and personal material, much of it previously unseen, along with new interviews with friends and colleagues, a portrait emerges of a man who was very different to his flamboyant onstage public persona. A generous, caring, thoughtful man with a self-deprecating sense of humour and a genuine passion for music. Freddie Mercury touched the lives of millions through his career both with Queen and as a solo performer and this new programme will delight and inform his legions of fans.”
The biggest of this week’s selection of films getting the HD treatment is, of course, the Bond boxset, Bond 50. The twenty-two film collection features all of the feature films leading up to (but, naturally, not including) this year’s Skyfall, all on Blu-ray, most of which for the first time ever. If you’re a fan of the franchise, this is certainly a collection you’ll want to pick up at your soonest possible convenience, giving you the best possible quality to date of the historic franchise, and plenty of brand new bonus content to boot.
Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, is also released for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK this week, alongside Toshiya Fujita’s classic 1973 and 1974 Japanese films, Lady Snowblood and Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance have also been given the HD treatment this week – and if you’re reading this before 1st October, you can click here to enter our competition to win a copy of the steelbook edition of the films.