Last week saw a great handful of international releases make their way onto our shelves, with Sion Sono’s Himizu and David and Stéphane Foenkinos’ Delicacy topping the list. And this week brings us another excellent set of international films for our enjoyment, along with a handful of classics getting the HD treatment.
We’ve also been enjoying the special Blu-ray Steelbook releases from Play.com over the past few months, in tandem with Universal’s 100th Anniversary, and now Paramount are entering the fray with two titles of their own getting a Steelbook re-packaging, for their own Centenary celebrations.
My picks of the week:
Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters.
And the Blu-ray releases of Sion Sono’s Love Exposure & the Steven Spielberg-produced Falling Skies – Season 1.
DVD and Blu-ray
Acclaimed and best-selling Norweign writer Jo Nesbø has had a very successful year, with not one but two adaptations of his novels adapted for the big screen, and getting international releases.
Headhunters was released back in April in the UK to excellent reviews, lauded as a fresh new entry into the crime/thriller genre. Award-winning director Morten Tyldum returns behind the camera for his third feature, with Game of Thrones-favourite Nikolaj Coster-Waldau heading up the cast alongside Aksel Hennie and Synnøve Macody Lund.
“A man living on both sides of the law is caught in a dangerous game in this thriller from Norwegian director Morten Tyldum. Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) makes his living as a corporate recruiter, finding talented people who work for other companies and making them lucrative offers to join the firm currently signing his paychecks. Roger’s work pays a handsome salary, but he suffers crushing insecurity when it comes to his beautiful wife Diana (Synnove Macody Lund), and he constantly showers her with expensive gifts in hopes of staying on her good side. Between Diana’s expectations and the expensive tastes of Roger’s mistress Lotte (Julie Olgaard), Roger needs cash, so he’s taken on a high-paying second job — stealing rare works of art. Roger is just good enough and smart enough to know that he’ll get caught eventually, and when he learns of a man with an authentic Rubens, he hopes to make one last score that will keep him well set for a long time. But Roger soon learns there’s a catch — the man with the painting is also someone he’s supposed to recruit for a client, and he’s clearly a few steps ahead of Roger.”
This Must Be the Place
DVD and Blu-ray
Debuting at Cannes back in 2011, Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must Be the Place was released in the UK back in April as well, and has been delayed in the US until November this year – perhaps suggesting an awards campaign could be forthcoming from The Weinstein Company.
Sean Penn’s performance as the Robert Smith-esque lead has been described as one of his most interesting and diverse to date, bringing equal doses of drama and comedy to the award-winning film. Frances McDormand, Judd Hirsch, and Harry Dean Stanton complete the cast nicely, with Penn front and centre throughout.
“50 year old, retired goth rocker Cheyenne (Sean Penn) travels from London to New York to visit his dying father, and journeys across the United States on a mission to seek revenge against the elusive, ex-Nazi war criminal who persecuted him in Auschwitz. Despondent after two of his young fans commit suicide, Cheyenne retreats to his Dublin mansion and begins living off of his royalties alongside his down-to-earth wife Jane (Frances McDormand). Later, Cheyenne receives word that his father is dying in New York City. Though they haven’t spoken in 30 years, Cheyenne boards the first available flight to bid his father farewell. Unfortunately, Cheyenne is too late. Upon reconnecting with his cousin Richard (Liron Levo), however, the morose musician learns that his father, a Holocaust survivor, had been tracking Auschwitz guard Aloise Lange (Heinz Lieven) around America for decades. Now filled with ennui yet determined not to let Lange escape unpunished, Cheyenne vows to pick up the mission where his father left off.”
DVD and Blu-ray
Amanda Seyfried is by far one of the most promising young actresses of her generation, and it’s nice to see her continuing to keep her career diverse, with Les Misérables, for example, just on the horizon.
Gone is a dramatic thriller that sees her amongst fine support, headed up by Daniel Sunjata, Wes Bentley, Jennifer Carpenter, and Sebastian Stan. The film wasn’t particularly well received by critics earlier in the year, but few dramatic thrillers tend to be loved by all, and maybe it can find its audience now in the home entertainment market.
“Beautiful Carmen Colson and her ironworker husband Wayne are placed in the Federal Witness Protection program after witnessing an “incident”. Thinking they are at last safe, they are targeted by an experienced hit man and a psychopathic young upstart killer. The ensuing struggle will test Carmen to the limit.”
DVD and Blu-ray
Horror/Thriller Elfie Hopkins marks Ryan Andrews’ debut feature behind the camera, and he’s assembled a fine cast to join him, with Jaime Winstone (Made in Dagenham), her real-life father Ray Winstone (Snow White and the Huntsman), Kimberley Nixon (Offender) and Rupert Evans (Asylum Blackout) heading up the cast.
“Set in a sleepy hunting village, a cannibal family moves in and after a number of disappearances occur, Elfie Hopkins and her geeky best friend, Dylan, find themselves in a frantic and deadly race against time in order to investigate and expose the secret that is living in their village. However, Elfie and Dylan are known throughout the community for their imaginative allegations and at first, no one believes them.”
Falling Skies – Season 1
Blu-ray (also available on DVD)
The Steven Spielberg-produced Falling Skies was released in the UK on DVD back in April, and has finally made its way to our shelves on Blu-ray today.
The critically-acclaimed programme, starring Noah Wyle in the lead, has already aired its second season in the US and been renewed for a third, and so now is the perfect time to start playing catch-up with this week’s HD re-release.
“Falling Skies chronicles the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that leaves most of the world completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, survivors band together to begin the difficult task of fighting back against the aggressive aliens. Outside of Boston, history professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) helps lead a small army named 2nd Massachusetts in the battle of their lives to preserve their families and what’s left of mankind.”
Play.com Paramount Centenary Edition Blu-ray Steelbooks
Following recent months’ releases of special Blu-ray Steelbooks in tandem with Universal’s 100th Anniversary, Play.com are now teaming up with Paramount this week to bring us Centenary Editions of two contemporary classics from the studio’s catalogue, Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan and Antoine Fuqua’s Shooter.
Last week, Third Window Films, one of the leading distributors of Asian cinema here in the UK, brought us Sion Sono’s award-winning Himizu. And this week, they bring us another award-winning instant classic from Sono, his 2008 film, Love Exposure. The film was released on DVD back in 2010, and we’re thankfully now being treated to the Blu-ray edition of the film, the transfer of which Sono himself oversaw. The new edition also features additional extras, including deleted and extended scenes, and a 30-minute Making Of interview with the writer-director, himself.
The BFI are also continuing their restoration of classic films this week, with the release of Jane Arden’s The Other Side of the Underneath; Arden and Jack Bond’s Anti-Clock; and Bond’s Separation, penned by Arden.