Wednesday Apr 23
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 [ ... ]


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Harper's Island (DVD)

DVD

Killer show

Playing out like a Hollywood horror movie across 13 bite-sized episodes, TV sensation Harper's Island is like Gossip Girl meets Halloween. Populated by a cast of uber-gorgeous 20-somethings, some clever plotting and genuine suspense means that, unlike so many Stateside series, this becomes more than just a guilty pleasure.

Set on a stunning and secluded island off the coast of Seattle, a group of old friends and family get together for a week of festivities to celebrate the wedding of former boat boy Henry (Christopher Gorman) and rich debutant Trish (Katie Cassidy). For Henry's best friend Abby (Elaine Cassidy), however, the trip holds more fear than fun as it means coming back to the place where her mother was brutally murdered by the local serial killer years before. Despite the fact that the murderer was caught and killed by Abby's sheriff father, the memories still haunt her; and, as members of the wedding party begin to meet some seriously gruesome ends, Abby begins to realise that something evil still lurks on Harper's Island...

It's easy to get pulled under the spell of this shclocky TV whodunnit, as it has just the right mix of sex and death to hold the attention. There's plenty of bare flesh and partying to tempt fans of shows like Beverly Hills 90210, wrapped up in a solid storyline which oozes with enough blood and guts (even for network television) to keep gore-hounds interested. As the mystery builds over each episode, with the body count racking up steadily along the way, audiences can enjoy being kept in the dark while knowing that everything will be wrapped up nicely at the end of the series – there's no Lost-like multi-season teasing at work here. All in all it's an extremely well-executed slice of horror television that deserves a place in your viewing schedule. 4 stars

Extra Features
Best of the bunch are the 90 minutes of Harper's Island Globe Webisodes – originally created for the show's website they are genuinely atmospheric and act as great companion pieces to the show. There's also a great set of making of featurettes, plus commentaries on select episodes, promos and deleted scenes which include some moments too strong for broadcast. 4 stars


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ROLL CREDITS...
Stars
Christopher Gorman, Katie Cassidy
Director Various
Distributor Paramount Home Entertainment
Format DVD
Released February 8

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Highlights

Airborne

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

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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...

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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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