Friday Apr 18
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

Big River Man (DVD)

DVD

Making a splash


On the face of it, John Maringouin's film following Slovenian endurance swimmer Martin Strel's attempt to swim the Amazon River is a straightforward documentary, combining interviews with Strel and his team along with footage of him training and his past triumphs. Yet as the film progresses you realise that this is part doc, part art installation and part experimenta, with dreamlike sequences and mesmeric narration weaving through the footage; some of it seemingly staged. As you get to know the hulking figure at the centre of the film, you begin to understand why Maringouin has taken this approach.

For Strel is no ordinary athlete; in his mid-50s and extremely overweight, his training regime is as much about imbibing huge quantities of alcohol and red meat as it is about hitting the water. But that hasn't stopped him from swimming the entire length of the Mississippi and the Yangtze; indeed, his unique approach to his fitness seems to work for him. That is, we see, until Strel begin to actually swim the Amazon. Soon fatigue and high blood pressure begin to threaten not just physical health, but also his mental state.

Strel s a colourful character to say the least, and Maringouin has done well to capture and celebrate the joyful oddities of his subject. In doing so, however, he has perhaps muddied the waters; as neither fully fledged documentary nor a piece of fiction, it is often a jumble of facts and ideas, so it becomes hard to get a grip on Strel as a man and those who surround him. But a Strel descends into paranoia and hysteria, perhaps that's precisely the point. As a piece of entertainment, and as a tribute to the achievements of this extraordinary individual, it's a riot.

4 stars

ROLL CREDITS...
Features Martin Strel, Borut Strel
Director John Maringouin
Distributor Revolver
Format DVD
Released January 18

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)
Frost/Nixon (DVD)
DVD & Blu-ray Reviews: May 23, 2011
DVD & Blu-ray Reviews: May 16, 2011
Lesbian Vampire Killers (DVD)
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Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (DVD)
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Transporter 3 (DVD)
Bride Wars (DVD)
DVD & Blu-ray Reviews: May 9, 2011
Passengers (DVD)
Zombie Virus on Mulberry Street (DVD)
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (DVD)
Bedtime Stories (DVD)
The Reader (DVD)
Angels and Demons (DVD)
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Big River Man (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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