After the release of one of the highest-grossing British films in recent years last week with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, we’ve got an entirely different selection lining the shelves this week with John Carter, one of the year’s biggest blockbusters, now available for your home entertainment.

And beside it, a critically acclaimed new US series, Falling Skies, produced by none other than Steven Spielberg, which aired in the States last summer.

Not only that, but we have an excellent Blu-ray Steelbook re-release of Batman Begins / The Dark Knight, so needless to say, it’s a good week to be a Batman fan and/or steelbook collector.

My picks of the week:

Andrew Stanton’s John Carter     &     Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret.

Falling Skies – Season 1.

And for good measure, the Blu-ray re-releases of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins / The Dark Knight     &     Kevin Smith’s Mallrats     &     Ben Stiller’s Zoolander.

(There’s so much being released today, I had a little trouble picking.)

 

John Carter

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

Though Disney’s John Carter notoriously took a dive at the box office this year, with Disney estimating that it would take a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars, I maintain that there’s no way this film isn’t worth watching.

Like most people, I missed it at the box office, but not because I didn’t want to watch it. Andrew Stanton (WALL-E) is an Oscar-winning director with Finding Nemo, WALL-E, and A Bug’s Life to his name, and with Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Mark Strong, and more leading the cast, I refuse to believe its box office taking is a reflection of how good it is.

“Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic tale of interplanetary adventure arrives on the big screen in this sweeping sci-fi spectacle marking the live-action debut of Oscar-winning director Andrew Stanton (FINDING NEMO, WALL-E). Civil War veteran John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) was still haunted by the violence he witnessed on the battlefield when he inexplicably awoke on the distant planet of Barsoom (Mars). Upon learning that the inhabitants of Barsoom are bracing for a major conflict and that war appears inevitable, John finds out that love is a rare commodity on the Red Planet, and summons the courage to be the hero the Martians have been hoping for. Meanwhile, John falls under the spell of the enchanting Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), who struggles to suppress her compassion in a society known for its warlike ways.”

We caught an exclusive featurette ahead of the film’s release on DVD/Blu-ray today.

 

Margaret

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DVD and Blu-ray

Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret has been a long time coming, originally scheduled for release back in 2007. With Fox Searchlight and the director having difficulties agreeing about the final cut, which the studio didn’t want to be more than two and a half hours but which the director pushing for a cut closer to three hours, the film finally found a limited release in the US last year, followed by a one-screen-in-one-cinema release in the UK earlier this year.

Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Kieran Culkin, Olivia Thirlby, Rosemarie DeWitt, Matthew Broderick, Allison Janney, and Jean Reno round up what has to be one of the best casts of any film ever.

“MARGARET centers on a 17-year-old New York City high school student who feels certain that she inadvertently played a role in a traffic accident that has claimed a woman’s life.  In her attempts to set things right, she meets with opposition at every step.”

 

Project X

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DVD and Blu-ray Triple Play (inc. DVD and Ultraviolet Digital Copy)

One of the most successful low-budget films of the year, the teenage party movie Project X took Superbad in a different direction, and did it to the tune of $100m. off a $12m. budget, and with very few recognisable actors in its cast. Pretty impressive. When you have a mix of flamethrowers, a dog on a bouncy castle, and an endless number of drunk teenagers partying, you know you’ve got a hit.

“Project X follows three seemingly anonymous high school seniors-Thomas, Costa and J.B.-as they attempt to finally make a name for themselves. Their idea is innocent enough: let’s throw a party that no one will forget, and have a camera there, to document history in the making… but nothing could prepare them for this party. Word spreads quickly as dreams are ruined, records are blemished and legends are born. Project X is a warning to parents and police everywhere.”

 

Cleanskin

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DVD and Blu-ray Triple Play (inc. DVD and Ultraviolet Digital Copy)

Starring Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) as the lead in this British film, Cleanskin was released in the UK earlier this year to solid reviews. eOne picked up the rights to a number of international territories, but it seems only to have been released here and in Ireland – so now you can enjoy it before the rest of the world at your leisure.

“Writer/director Hadi Hajaig’s CLEANSKIN is a terrorist thriller starring Sean Bean as a secret service agent, Ewan, deep undercover in London’s criminal underworld. Charlotte Rampling co-stars as one his operators, who tasks him with a mission to eliminate a suicide bomber (Ash) and his terrorist cell. While Ewan is trying to stop a potential distaster, Ash wrestles with his conscience and reflects on his past and journey into terrorism.”

 

This Means War

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DVD and Blu-ray

With the leading trio of Tom Hardy, Chris Pine, and Reese Witherspoon, McG’s This Means War was released back in March to mostly great reviews – some critics weren’t too keen, but audiences really enjoyed it, and everyone agreed that there was a lot of fun to be had.

It doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not, wanting to keep you entertained for a hundred minutes with a healthy dose of action-comedy – and what’s wrong with that?

We also got an exclusive look at the film’s alternate ending last week.

“STAR TREK’S Chris Pine and Tom Hardy (BRONSON) portray the world’s deadliest CIA operatives, as well as inseparable partners and best friends. After returning to their desks from a mission that went awry in Hong Kong, Tuck (Tom Hardy) signs himself up to a dating agency that paired him with Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon). Meanwhile FDR Foster (Chris Pine) runs into Lauren in a video store, not knowing she’s Tucks date, he persuades her to go on a date with him. FDR and Tuck soon discover that they’re seeing the same Lauren and decide not to tell her that they know each other. Having once helped bring down entire enemy nations, they are now breaking the rules and employing their incomparable skills with an endless array of high-tech gadgetry against their greatest nemesis ever – each other. McG directs from a script by Timothy Dowling.”

 

Jack and Jill

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DVD and Blu-ray (inc. Ultraviolet)

Starring Adam Sandler as both of the titular characters, Jack and Jill took $150m. at the box office late last year, but with it came a record-breaking 10 wins (from 12 nominations) at the Razzies, in all 10 categories – impressive work.

I think everyone’s waiting for Sandler to return to the kind of comedy we all love and know he’s brilliant at, so here’s to hoping that it’s coming. But it’s probably not to be found in Jack and Jill.

“Jack Sadelstein (Adam Sandler) is on top of his game, and has every reason to be thankful: he has a beautiful wife (Katie Holmes), great kids, a gorgeous house in L.A., and a successful job as an advertising executive. Even still, Jack always dreads the coming of Thanksgiving because for him, the holiday only means one thing: a visit from his needy, annoying, passive-aggressive, neurotic, identical twin sister, Jill (also played by Sandler).”

 

Television

Falling Skies – Season 1

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DVD

This is a programme I’ve really been waiting for. Noah Wyle (E.R.) stars in the Steven Spielberg-produced programme playing on TNT over in the US.

The second season is already underway across the Atlantic, making now the perfect time to get addicted to the first season. I would have loved a Blu-ray release as well, but the DVD will certainly do very nicely.

“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.”

 

Hit & Miss

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DVD and Blu-ray

Starring Chloë Sevigny (American Psycho) in the lead as a transsexual contract killer, Paul Abbott’s British series has aired in the UK on Sky Atlantic over the past month, and marks Sky Atlantic’s first original drama commission.

The premise sounds immense, and this is definitely something you’ll want to pick up if, like me, you aren’t a Sky Atlantic subscriber (but very much wish you were). Here’s to hoping that they’ll commission a second season.

“Chloe Sevigny stars as an Irish contract killer with a secret in the six-part drama HIT AND MISS. Mia (Sevigny) lives an isolated existence after having escaped a troubled past. This isolation makes her a perfect hit-woman; ruthlessly efficient at her job with no dependents or drains on her conscience. This all changes, however, when Mia receives news that she once fathered a child, and that her boy and his siblings now live parent-less on the moors near Manchester. So begins a new life, one combining the mercilessness of contract killing with a new burgeoning maternal instinct.”

 

South Park – Season 15

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DVD

One of the best-loved adult cartoons of all time, the fifteenth season of South Park is released on DVD today, and you just know that all fourteen episodes of it are going to be pure gold.

The clip above really says it all. And if you’re reading this before midnight tonight (2nd July), then you can click here to enter our competition to win the DVD.

“All fourteen episodes from South Park’s landmark 15th season are loaded into this exclusive three-disc set. Join Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Cartman as they bro down on Broadway, become one with the HumancentiPad, and take on the evil email-hacking WikiLeaks. Serve that with a side of royal pudding and some never-before-seen deleted scenes, and you’ve got a collection that will leave your wormhole tingling. AWKWAAARRDD!”

 

Blu-ray Re-releases

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With The Dark Knight Rises on the horizon, just eighteen short days away from release, Warner Bros. have re-released the first two films in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Batman Begins / The Dark Knight, in an awesome Blu-ray Triple Play Double Pack Steelbook collection (inc. Ultraviolet Digital Copies).

Yes, the versions of the films are the same, but that doesn’t change the fact that this new packaging looks absolutely beautiful. I’ve had mine pre-ordered for a little while now, and am going to treat myself to a marathon in the run-up to The Dark Knight Rises this month.

Also released this week is Kevin Smith’s Mallrats, one of my favourite films of all time; Ben Stiller’s Zoolander, starring Stiller, Owen Wilson, Christine Taylor, and Will Ferrell; Robert Zemeckis’ Oscar-nominated Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks in the lead; Harold Becker’s Sea of Love, starring Al Pacino; and Louis Leterrier’s Unleashed, written by Luc Besson and starring Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, and Bob Hoskins.