Saturday 22 January 2011

DVD Reviews

The Other Guys
Starring: Will Ferrll, Eva Mendes, Mark Wahlberg
Director: Adam McKay
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Available from Monday 24th January - £17.99 (DVD) & £22.99 (Blu-ray)
Review by Brad Harmer

Misfit NYPD detectives Gamble and Hoitz (Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg) are sentenced to life behind the desk. They hate each other and the monotony of their meaningless jobs, as they're forced to live in the shadow of the two biggest and most badass cops on the force (Mace Windu and The Rock). But when those guys go down for the count, opportunity knocks for Gamble and Hoitz. Stumbling onto what could be one of the biggest crimes in years, can The Other Guys step up their game to solve the case without killing each other and destroying NYC in the process?

I was worried for the first twenty or so minutes of The Other Guys. It seemed slow, stilted and a generally a bit of a lame duck. I don’t know what happened after that, but it was like a light was switched on and I was creasing up.

The Other Guys has a great cast – that you know already – and the characters they’re playing are also great. They are all likable, in one way or another, and the quick fire dialogue (particularly between Gamble and Hoitz) is the main reason for most of the laughs. Ferrell and Wahlberg make a surprisingly good comedy team, and they real bounce off each other well in this. Eva Mendes and Michael Keaton are similarly hilarious in theire supporting roles.

The pace of the main story is really good, and it’s constantly on the move – calling to mind odd-couple cop comedies like the Lethal Weapon movies, 48 Hours and (to a lesser extent) Freebie and the Bean. If you want a few explosions thrown in with your gut laughs, then this is a winner.

But can we stop using Steve Coogan as the Big Bad Evil Dude, please? Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief already proved that that doesn’t work.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Some scuffling, gunfire and explosions.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: A fair amount.
Summary: A solid-action comedy with excellent performances and great dialogue. A little slow to start, but well worth checking out. 8/10
Circle of Pain
Starring: Roger Huerta, Frank Mir, Kimbo Slice
Director: Daniel Zirilli
Chelsea Films

Available from Monday 24th January - £12.99 (DVD)
Review by Blake Harmer

When director Daniel Zirilli came to making Circle of Pain, he must have come across a tough decision when it came to casting the main star, Dalton Hunt. Should he get an actor and train them to use mixed martial arts that can normally be seen in cage fighting, or should he just hire someone who can already do the fighting and hope that he can act? Sadly, he chose the second option when he cast Tony Schiena for the role, and the performance of the World Karate Champion just isn’t up to scratch, and this isn’t the only flaw with this film.

Ignoring the problem of the DVD cover which shows a bit part actor in the film taking the centre of the box art, the film is dogged with a basic and predictable script lifted from countless fighting movies (Seen Rocky? Now imagine a dumbed down version of it and you are practically there). The acting in general is pretty shoddy, with characters never truly feeling like they gel with each other. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that the sets and the camera work are pretty good I would have suspected this to be a budget film with acting this good.

It’s not all bad though, the fighting itself is pretty solid, although unspectacular, and there are a few unintentionally funny bits such as a very poor sex scene and poor dialogue. But when something bad about the film turns into a good point, then you have to start worrying about it.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Lots of punching, kicking and wrestling holds as can be expected from UFC style cage fighting, not a lot of blood is showed though.
Sex/Nudity: Plenty of boobs and a few sex scenes including a laughable scene where the two bad guys seem to have sex without removing their clothes (clever huh?).
Swearing: There is plenty of swearing, although this is wrestling quality of bad language rather than the really strong stuff.
Summary: A pretty sub par entry into the fighting genre that never does anything new or spectacular to compare with great films such as Raging Bull or Rocky. Not truly abysmal, but definitely nothing here to recommend to fans of cage fighting. Or film in general. 4/10
Smokey and the Bandit
Starring: Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Burt Reynolds
Director: Hal Needham
Universal Pictures UK

Available from Monday 24th January - £17.99 (Blu-ray)
Review by Brad Harmer

Burt Reynolds is the Bandit, a king-of-the-road trucker hero who accepts the ultimate challenge: pick up a truckload of Coors beer in Texarkana - the closest place it can be legally sold - and haul it cross-country to Atlanta in 48 hours. The reward? $80,000! The result? A non-stop series of car chases and crashes!

The remastering job here – especially considering the age of the film – has been a really good one. The picture looks sharp, and there’s nothing quite so awe inspiring as the sight of Burt’s ‘stash in 1080p.

The film itself is a fun one, consisting mostly of footage of nifty stunt driving, making it possibly the most redneck film ever made. The cast a over the top, colourful, cartoonish characters, and this seems fitting: Smokey and the Bandit is little more than a live action Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote movie. The slapstick scenes are generally very well timed and get a good laugh, even out of a comedy snob like me.

The farce starts to wear thin by the hour mark, and the plot limps home, but it’s a fun ride whilst it last. It’s unlikely you’ll want to update from DVD for this, but if you’ve been itching to get a copy, go for this one.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Some grappling and traffic collisions.
Sex/Nudity: Some references.
Swearing: Relatively coarse for the time.
Summary: The picture looks great in this reissue, but too much padding, and not enough excitement or laughter in the last half hour let this down. Stick with The Cannonball Run, instead. 6/10
A Bay of Blood
Starring: Claudine Auger, Claudio Camaso, Luigi Pistilli
Director: Mario Bava
Arrow Video

Available Now - £17.99 (Double DVD) & £22.99 (Blu-ray)
Review by Brad Harmer

Countess Federica, the elderly owner of a coveted piece of bayside property, is brutally slain by her husband--who is himself killed by a mysterious third person at the murder scene! Who is the killer?

Could it be the real estate developer or the entomologist neighbor who wants to preserve the natural insect life thriving around the bay? Perhaps the Countess's illegitimate son, in a bid to claim a name for himself, is responsible? Whoever it is, brace yourself, because no one's a suspect for very long in Mario Bava's black comedy of human greed - which boasts thirteen of the most shocking murders ever filmed!

High fives to Arrow Video. Their re-issues of classic 70s horror movies never disappoint. Once again they’re back, with the often glossed over Bava movie A Bay of Blood. True to their reputation thus far, the package is excellent, and the picture looks razor sharp.

The movie is stylishly shot and the characters – whilst conforming to the characters of the slasher movie cliché – are far from flat and lifeless. They feel real, which isn’t something you can day about all that many slasher movies. The gore work is realistic, rather than splatterpunk, and it helps the movie stand out in the crowd.

The main mystery is relatively interesting, but not really all that memorable. If you’re into Giallo or gore movies, then A Bay of Blood is a nice little one to have on your shelf that is all too often omitted. If you’re not a collector though, you can probably take a pass.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Frequent and bloody murders. Stabbing, slashing, machete smashed face, spearing, decapitation, garrotting, scissor death.
Sex/Nudity: Full sex and full cuntal. Not the same scene, though.
Swearing: Some, but pretty mild.
Summary: Not one of the essential movies but, as always, Arrow have really done the movie proud. Pick it up if you’re a collector of the genre. 8/10
WWE: The John Cena Experience
Starring: Kurt Angle, John Cena, The Miz
Clear Vision

Available from Monday 24th January - £29.99 (3 DVD Set)
Review by Omer Ibrahim

Love him or hate him, John Cena is one of the biggest things to happen to modern professional wrestling. To a lot of people, he's an unstoppable superhero, capable of winning under any odds, and a true role-model. To a lot of other people, he's a sloppy worker, an over-pushed brown-noser and a cheesy talentless nobody. With The John Cena Experience, WWE tries to put us all into the first category...and nearly does it.

The first of this three disc set follows Cena around for the best part of a year, and shows his various exploits away from the ring. He's a pretty busy man as his activities include everything from acting in movies/TV shows and marshalling American Football parades to pre-signing three-thousand autographs for Wrestlemania and visiting many, many children on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as visiting US soldiers in Afghanistan.

The first thing I noticed when watching this is that John Cena is really, really likeable. He is naturally charismatic and genuinely cares about the causes that he champions. He speaks clearly, and is incredibly eloquent. You get the feeling that his speech is aimed at the younger WWE-exclusive audience, but without ever becoming patronising to an adult, general-wrestling-interest viewer. I can’t stress enough just how ridiculously nice he seems. It’s a real shame that they don’t let this shine through to his WWE interviews, and instead have him shout cheesy, over the top lines about “Hustle, Loyalty and Respect“, like an 80s cartoon character..

Discs two and three are made up of fifteen John Cena matches. Just like his usual in-ring performances, they’re all a bit hit and miss, but there has been a definite, and suprising, improvement in his talents through time. He still can't punch convincingly though.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Of the wrestling kind.
Sex/Nudity: Nope.
Swearing: One “ass”.
Summary: Needless to say, every member of the “Cenation” is going to buy this. And well they should, it’s a real insight into the man for fans and non-fans alike. 8/10


The secret of Kang is revealed in a new episode of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on Sunday, January 23 at 10:00 a.m., ET/PT on Disney XD. With no hope in sight, the Avengers make one last desperate gamble—and the fate of the world depends on their success.


It's got a dose of Team America, bit of Braveheart, Nazis invading London and a whole host of laughs. With creative puppetry, a brilliant British cast (including Ewan McGregor and Stephan Merchant) and a sense of unashamedly British humour that draws on everything from Viz to 'Allo 'Allo - Jackboots On Whitehall is an entertaining and rebellious film for all to enjoy - or as we like to call it: Team America meets Inglorious Basterds!

The action begins as the Nazis - led by the campest Hitler on record (Alan Cummings) - plan an invasion of England. As Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall) plots an evacuation to Scot Land... somewhere in England's green and pleasant countryside, farmworker Chris (Obi-wan Kenobi) is trying to win the heart of Daisy (Rosamund Pike) while rueing the fact that he can't fight for his country because his "hands are too big". When the Germans hit town, it falls to Chris and his countryside cohorts to come to the rescue and the raggle-taggle band head to Hadrian's Wall to seek help from the "bloodthirsty" Scots.

Thanks to our friends at Sony Picture Home Entertainment, we've got three copies of Jackboots on Whitehall on DVD to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Saturday 29th January, making sure to put "Jackboots on Whitehall" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy each!

Don't forget to put "Jackboots on Whitehall" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Jackboots on Whitehall is available on DVD from Monday 24th January, priced £15.99.

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