Last week saw the release of one of this year’s biggest British films, The Woman in Black, and this week brings to the shelves another highly impressive box office success from our shores in the form of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Add to that some excellent HD treatment releases from Studio Ghibli, and we’re looking at a fantastic array of films newly released this week.

My picks of the week:

John Madden’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel     &     Jason Reitman’s Young Adult

And the Blu-ray release of Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle

 

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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DVD and Blu-ray     (both inc. Digital Copy)

The Oscar-nominated director, John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), one of the UK’s finest men behind the camera, returns with one of the most impressive casts of any British film this year, headed up by Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, and Dev Patel.

The $10m.-budgeted film was released here earlier this year, and has been performing remarkably well in the US these past few weeks, with its international takings topping $115m. and continuing to rise – one of the highest-grossing UK films this year.

Its success in the States suggests it could well stand a chance at an awards campaign later this year, and I’d place an outside bet on it making an appearance somewhere in the Oscars next year – time will tell.

“A small group of retirees learn that the life they want to live might not be the life they need to live after pooling their resources to spend their twilight years in India. Upon arriving at the once-opulent Marigold Hotel, however, the eager pensioners come to realise that rumours of the building’s restoration have been greatly exaggerated. But just when it starts to seem that the privileged seniors have been swindled out of their life savings, they summon the courage to sever their ties to the past, and embrace their new life with a sense of wonder and adventure. Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, and Dev Patel star in this uplifting comedy-drama from director John Madden (THE DEBT, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE).”

In case you missed it, we were given an exclusive featurette last week ahead of its release on Blu-ray and DVD today, and you can enjoy that right here.

 

Young Adult

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DVD and Blu-ray

Jason Reitman’s return to work with Diablo Cody after their Oscar-winning film, Juno, was released in the UK back in February, having had its US release last year.

Charlize Theron gives a remarkable performance quite unlike anything we’ve seen her before, and is certainly recommended viewing.

“Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), once the high school ‘It Girl’, now the self-absorbed divorced 37 year old ghost writer, receives an email with pictures of the newborn daughter of her high school boyfriend. Believing this to be a sign she and Buddy are meant to be together Mavis returns to her small Minnesota hometown to win back her high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson), forges an unexpected bond with another former schoolmate (Patton Oswalt) who was left disabled and had a particularly difficult time moving on in life. JUNO collaborators Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody re-team for this Paramount Pictures production.”

 

Wanderlust

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DVD and Blu-ray

Starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston in the leads, Wanderlust sees David Wain back behind the camera, working again with Rudd after their partnership on the fan-favourite Role Models.

Rudd and Aniston are back together once more – having worked together on Friends, and starred opposite each other way back when on The Object of My Affection – for one of the comedy highlights of the year.

“Director David Wain (Role Models) teams up with producer Judd Apatow (Get Him to the Greek) for this comedy about an overtaxed Manhattan couple who move to a liberated community that rejects the rules of contemporary society. Urban power couple George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) are already buckling under the stress of living in the city when George loses his job. Desperate, they decide to move to Atlanta and stay with George’s obnoxious brother until they can get back on their feet. Along the way, however, they find themselves venturing into Elysium, a small, free-spirited community where money has no value, clothes are strictly optional, and everyone works together to make life more meaningful. It’s the perfect place for a stressed-out couple like George and Linda to breathe deep and put their lives into perspective. But will they remain in Elysium, or will the many temptations of the modern world ultimately prove too attractive to resist?”

 

A Dangerous Method

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DVD and Blu-ray

David Cronenberg (A History of Violence, Cosmopolis) has brought two films to our shore this year in A Dangerous Method and Cosmopolis – the latter still in cinemas.

The former had an absolutely fantastic cast assembled, with Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, and Vincent Cassel leading the way, set at the start of the 20th Century.

“Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender star in director David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Christopher Hampton’s play detailing the deteriorating relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. The year is 1904. Carl Jung (Fassbender), a disciple of Sigmund Freud (Mortensen), is using Freudian techniques to treat Russian-Jewish psychiatric patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) at Burgholzli Mental Hospital. But the deeper Jung’s relationship with Spielrein grows, the further the burgeoning psychiatrist and his highly respected mentor drift apart. As Jung struggles to help his patient overcome some pressing paternal issues, disturbed patient Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel) sets out to test the boundaries of the doctor’s professional resolve.”

 

The Innkeepers

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DVD and Blu-ray

Acclaimed horror director Ti West returned to the genre once more earlier this month with The Innkeepers, given a limited release here in the UK.

Starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, and Kelly McGillis, the film is the first of West’s work that we’ll be seeing this year, with the highly-anticipated horror anthology, V/H/S, set to be released towards the end of the year.

“A pair of self-styled ghost chasers hunt for spirits in a run-down New England inn in this subtle thriller from director Ti West. The Yankee Pedlar Inn is a hotel in Torrington, CT, that’s been welcoming guests for over a hundred years. However, not many have been stopping by lately, and the owners have chosen to shut it down. In the Yankee Pedlar’s last weeks of operation, the staff have been reduced to just two people, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy). Neither one is especially interested in hotel management, but they’re both students of the supernatural: They’ve come to the Yankee Pedlar because it has a reputation for being haunted and they want to see for themselves if ghosts walk the halls before it’s too late. The two spend their time searching the empty rooms for evidence of paranormal activity, which Luke will post on his website (if he ever finishes it), but they don’t find much until an eccentric woman (Kelly McGillis) who shares their fascination with ghosts checks in. Together, they begin to discover the truth about the Yankee Pedlar’s strange legacy.”

If horror is very much your genre, you can enter our competition to win a copy of The Innkeepers on DVD. Good luck!

 

The Vow

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DVD and Blu-ray

Starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum in the leads, The Vow topped the US box office back on Valentine’s Day weekend this year, bringing to the big screen a romantic drama based on a true story seemingly made for cinema.

“Inspired by a true story, THE VOW sees Leo, (Channing Tatum, Dear John) a husband who is devastated when his new bride was involved in a car accident that sees Paige (Rachel McAdams) lose 5 years of her memory as she miraculously recovers. Suddenly, Leo finds himself married to a stranger who can’t remember anything about him. As Paige reconnects with her ex-fiance (Scott Speedman), Leo desperately tries to recreate the moments that shaped their romance. THE VOW is the tale of love that refuses to be forgotten.”

 

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

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DVD and Blu-ray 3D (inc. Blu-ray 2D and DVD)

Nicolas Cage steps back into the shoes of Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider in the sequel to 2007’s blockbuster, Ghost Rider.

David S. Goyer (Batman Begins) is behind the story and co-wrote the screenplay, with Johnny Whitworth, Ciarán Hinds, Idris Elba, and Anthony Head supporting Cage in the lead.

“Nicolas Cage (Drive Angry, Season of the Witch) returns as Johnny Blaze in one of the year’s most thrilling action-packed films.

Struggling to live with his flame-headed alter ego the Ghost Rider, Blaze is offered the chance to rid himself of his curse forever – but to do so he must defeat The Devil in a terrifying battle for survival. Co-starring Idris Elba (Thor) and featuring ground-breaking special effects, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is one hell of a ride.”

If you’re reading this before midnight tonight (25th June), you can click here to enter our competition to win a copy of the film on DVD.

 

Television

Bleach – Series 9 Part 1

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DVD

My personal favourite anime of all time – granted, it’s essentially the only one I’ve seen, but that’s irrelevant. It’s amazing.

Following last month’s release of the second volume of season 8 comes the next eleven episodes in this latest instalment. Part 2 will be released on 6th August, so you’ve not got long to wait for the second half of the series. Things are getting immense.

“Episodes 168-178

The New Captain Appears! The Balance Of Power In Soul Society Is About To Change…

Ichigo and Rukia take responsibility for looking after Rurichiyo, a girl of noble bir th who one day appears in the World of the Living. She and her two bodyguards transfer into Ichigo’s class at school, and Rukia decides to show her how to have fun. But the fun stops when Rurichiyo disappears followed by the arrival of a group of assassins who challenge Ichigo and his friends to a fight!”

 

True Love – Series 1

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DVD

This five-part BBC semi-improvised drama has arguably one of the best casts of the UK small screen this year – with David Tennant, Billie Piper, David Morrissey, Jane Horrocks, and Ashley Walters leading each episode, the series aired on BBC One last week, and is now available for your DVD collection to re-watch at your leisure.

“When it comes to love, there is never an easy “right answer” – telling the truth is complicated, and the conflict of desire and responsibility can be explosive.

These stories are life-affirming, visceral, provocative and compelling.

Did the characters do the right thing in the end?

What would you have done?”

 

Blu-ray Re-Releases

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As usual, we have a fantastic line-up of films getting the HD treatment, and this week is no different.

Disney bring us another fantastic film from their back catalogue on the new format, releasing Pinocchio on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK. Joining it is Yellow Stone, the 1948 US Western starring Gregory Peck, Anne Baxter, and Richard Widmark; Teaching Mrs. Tingle, starring Katie Holmes, Helen Mirren, and the unbeatable Jeffrey Tambor; and Billy Wilder’s classic film noir, Double Indemnity, co-written by Raymond Chandler, and starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck.

Studio Ghibli have also been bringing us their wonderful back catalogue on Blu-ray in recent years, and this week sees the release of both Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle and Hayao’s son, Gor? Miyazaki’s Tales From Earthsea. The former is one of the best known animated films of the 21st Century, certainly one of the best known non-US animated films of all time, earning an Oscar nomination back in 2006 for Best Animated Feature.