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DVDDVD & Blu-ray Reviews: May 23, 2011
22/05/2011 | Nikki Baughan

Our reviews of the best home entertainment releases for the week of May 23, 2011 Read Barney's Version Review


DVDBarney's Version (DVD)
22/05/2011 | Nikki Baughan

Memories are made of this... At the heart of Barney’s Version is a powerful performance from Paul Giamatti, as an ageing curmudgeon looking back over his past. He blunders his way through two marriages—to a tortured artist (Rachelle Lefevre) and a Jewish socialite (Minnie Dr [ ... ]


More DVD Reviews

The Good, The Bad, The Weird (DVD)

DVD

East meets West...

Absolutely breathtaking from its opening train robbery to its jaw-dropping climactic desert chase sequence – unlike any you’ll have ever seen before – The Good, The Bad, The Weird isn’t simply one of the greatest films to come out of South Korea. It’s one of the greatest action adventure movies ever mad, period.

Set in late-1930s Manchuria, a desert wasteland between China and Russia, Ji-woon Kim’s film is a pitch-perfect homage to Sergio Leone’s classic Spaghetti Western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with a uniquely Eastern twist. In this lawless land live three strangers - ‘The Good’, bounty hunter Park Do-won (Woo-sung Jung); ‘The Bad’, gang leader Park Chang-yi (Byung-hun Lee) and ‘The Weird’, low-level criminal Yoon Tae-go (Kang-ho Song) – whose lives are about to collide over an ancient treasure map. As the three go up against each other in a battle for the map, they are also pursued by various bandits and the might of the Japanese army…

The Good, The Bad, The Weird is frantic from start to finish, a colourful whirlwind of comic book action, ultra-violence and comedy that never lets up. All of the traditions of the genre are here; wide open spaces, gun battles and train robberies, but well and truly infused with an Asian influence (roving gangs, samurai fights) that spices up proceedings.

There’s also a brief smattering of social commentary, the film briefly referencing the difficult relationship between Japan and Korea, and the final chase highlights the Manchurian melting pot of old-school traditional clans and the new technologies of the Japanese army all fighting for supremacy. But the focus is firmly on the whip-cracking action, of which there is a great deal; a constant flurry of stand-offs, chases and flashbacks that are a constant barrage on the senses. It’s certainly not a film you can relax into, it demands you remain on the edge of your seat throughout.

But, with its lack of CGI and truly magnificent stunt work, it’s all good old-fashioned fun.
It’s certainly not the first Eastern Western – Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) and He Ping’s Sun Valley (1996) have previously melded the genres – but, thanks to the supreme and enthusiastic efforts of the film’s impeccable leading trio and Ji-woon Kim’s masterful direction, The Good, The Bad, The Weird should certainly be the one that finds the widest audience. 5 stars

Extra Features
The Alternative Ending is proof that Ji-woon Kim made the right decision in excising it for the finished film, and there's also a great making of and interviews with the director and his cast. There are featurettes on 'Analogue' (cinematography, lighting, actiona sequences and sound) and 'Space' (production design, costumes and set drection) plus a handful of deleted scenes. 4 stars

DVD Reviews Archive

The Walking Dead (DVD)
The Shield: Season 7 (DVD)
Barney's Version (DVD)
Valkyrie (DVD)
Seven Pounds (DVD)
Che: Parts One and Two (DVD)
DVD & Blu-ray Reviews: May 23, 2011
DVD & Blu-ray Reviews: May 16, 2011
Frost/Nixon (DVD)
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Rachel Getting Married (DVD)
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Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (DVD)
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (DVD)
Hush (DVD)
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Surviving Summer (DVD)
DVD & Blu-ray Reviews: May 9, 2011
Bride Wars (DVD)
Transporter 3 (DVD)
The Big I Am (DVD)
The International (DVD)
Passengers (DVD)
Zombie Virus on Mulberry Street (DVD)
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (DVD)
Bedtime Stories (DVD)
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Night at the Museum 2 (DVD)
Quantum of Solace (DVD)
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Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S Thompson (DVD)
Blessed (DVD)
The Good, The Bad, The Weird (DVD)
Cherrybomb (DVD)
Daybreakers (2009)
Sherlock Holmes (DVD)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Dorian Gray (DVD)
Infestation (DVD)
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Starsuckers (DVD)
Micmacs (DVD)
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Sin Nombre (DVD)
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The Descent: Part 2 (DVD)
All Tomorrow's Parties (DVD)
The Wrestler (DVD)
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The Taking of Pelham 123 (DVD)
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Paul Blart: Mall Cop (DVD)
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Edge of Darkness (DVD)
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The Wolfman (DVD & Blu-ray)
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The Boys Are Back (DVD)
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Avatar (DVD & Blu-ray)
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Summer Scars (DVD)
In the Electric Mist (DVD)
The Men Who Stare At Goats (DVD)
The Last Station (DVD)
Halloween II (DVD)
Bunny and the Bull (DVD)
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An Education (DVD)
Adam (DVD)
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (DVD)
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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews: April 4, 2011
Somewhere (DVD)

Highlights

Airborne

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British actress Kimberly Jaraj shares her diary from the set of upcoming airplane thriller Airborne...

READ MORE: Airborne


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

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Director Rob Marshall, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and stars Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane and Geoffrey Rush talk Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides...

READ MORE: PotC4


Shadow

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As his visceral horror Shadow comes to DVD, we sit down for an exclusive chat with Italian director Federico Zampaglione

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Movie Highlight

The Woman in Black

Having relaunched in 2010 with the promise of delivering solid horror films for a modern audience, the output from the rebooted Hammer Films has been something of a mixed bag. While its inaugural release, remake Let Me In, was received with great fanfare, subsequent films The Resident and Wake Wood have been less successful. So with its first big release, The Woman in Black, Hammer has much to prove – and has piled on the pressure by choosing to adapt a story that’s not only a bestselling novel but also a long running West End play.

An additional challenge is that tale is so effective because of its simplicity; there are no big set pieces for a filmmaker to hide behind. So it’s reassuring to see that, while some elements of Susan Hill’s story have been tweaked to give it more of a cinematic scope, the narrative runs fairly true. At its heart is young lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) who, still reeling from the death of his wife in childbirth four years previously, is sent to a remote village in order to organise the paperwork at the isolated Eel Marsh House. On his arrival he finds the locals most unwelcoming, believing that anyone disturbing the peace at the house brings tragedy to the village. Although initially sceptical, Kipps soon discovers that the mansion holds horrifying secrets, and that one of its former occupants is determined to exact terrifying revenge…

READ FULL REVIEW:  The Woman in Black

DVD Highlight

The Walking Dead

The living dead have been a mainstay of horror cinema for decades. Now they maraud onto the small screen in Frank Darabont’s adaptation of the graphic novel by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard.

Brit favourite Andrew Lincoln (This LifeTeachers) adopts a convincing drawl to take on the role of sheriff Rick Grimes, who wakes from a coma to find the local residents have become flesh-eating ghouls. While the initial set-up is reminiscent of 28 Days Later, these zombies are not Danny Boyle’s fast moving monsters, but the lumbering breed of tradition. That doesn’t dilute their impact; as Rick teams up with other survivors, the zombies are relentless in their pursuit and the tension builds to unbearable levels.

READ FULL REVIEW: The Walking Dead

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