Out on October 16 and October 23
The Fast & Furious franchise zooms back with a cars-vs-sub climax. Nick Broomfield delves into the life and tragic death of Whitney.
Yes, here’s the new DVD and Blu-Ray releases coming out in the next two weeks. Click on for our reviews of Fast & Furious 8, Colossal, Shock Treatment, Whitney: Can I Be Me, The Big Knife, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, The Day of the Jackal, Loot, Entertaining Mr Sloane, Lord of the Flies, and Going in Style.
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Fast & Furious 8
Eight films in, is blockbuster action cinema’s goofiest ride at risk of being outrun by smarter vehicles? The prologue implies as much, with Vin Diesel’s Dom almost out-raced. Until, at the last minute, he slams into reverse and wins by a whisker, wheels on fire. Likewise, Fast & Furious 8 works at its silliest, but spends too long dawdling behind competitors on a bungled plot.
Charlize Theron drips camp menace as hacker Cipher, though restricting her to spouting script-ese (“Hack ’em all!”) seems oddly wasteful. Dom’s rogue conversion channels Captain America: Civil War, weakly, while the groaning, vehicle tug-of-war looks car-thritic besides Baby Driver’s slinky moves.
Redemption arrives when director F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) embraces the ridiculous. The set-up is pure Swordfish, but the ‘zombie cars’ sequence revels in joyful absurdity. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham spar with camp-macho winks, their willy-waving banter only bettered by a scene involving Statham, a skullbusting scrap and a baby. “Where’s that smile?” Stath coos at the nipper.
Even if the cars-vs-sub climax exhausts all ways of screeching over the top, F&F8 banks a reprieve by gamely attacking its popcorn mission: to leave you grinning. Well-stocked extras gush loudly about cars, stunts, Cuba and – no, do you think? – family.
EXTRAS: Extended cut (Digital HD), Commentary, Featurettes
Director: F. Gary Gray; Starring: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson; Digital HD release: October 2, 2017; DVD, BD, 4K release: October 16, 2017
Returning to her hometown to weigh up her relationship with Tim (Dan Stevens) and generally take stock of her booze-soaked life, Gloria (Anne Hathaway) hooks up with old pal Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and discovers her inner turmoil is somehow connected to the 300ft monster that nightly appears to trample Seoul…
Nacho Vigalondo’s best since the gloriously loopy Timecrimes (2007), Colossal splices tropes of the character-driven US indie with Kaiju thrills, while beneath the screwy humour lie pointed insights into controlling/abusive men.
Director: Nacho Vigalondo; Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis; DVD, BD, Digital HD release: September 11, 2017
Failing to capitalise on The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s cult fandom, this pseudo-sequel features many of the same cast, some of the same characters and none of the original’s audacious allure. Richard O’Brien swaps horror films for reality TV as a recast Brad and Janet confront their own marital woes via a series of gameshow manipulations.
New extras sit alongside archived materials, all of which point to a film that survives purely on the goodwill of its predecessor.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Making Of, Featurettes, Cards, Poster, Booklet
Director: Jim Sharman; Starring: Jessica Harper, Cliff De Young, Richard O'Brien; BD release: September 11, 2017
Whitney: Can I Be Me
Nick Broomfield’s latest delves into the troubled life and tragic death of singing sensation Whitney Houston, from her gospel-infused childhood to her desperate drug-fuelled demise. As you’d expect from the director of 1998’s Kurt & Courtney, it’s scrupulously researched and assembled, boasting some real lump-in-the-throat archive material.
Yet with no fresh access to, say, Houston’s controversial ex-partner Bobby Brown, and Broomfield (here sharing directing duties with Rudi Dolezal) more behind the camera than ever, it misses his trademark bumbling doorstepping.
Directors: Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal; Starring: Whitney Houston, Bobbi Kristina Brown, Bobby Brown; DVD, BD, Digital HD release: September 4, 2017
The Big Knife
Robert Aldrich’s (Kiss Me Deadly) first independent production, adapted from Clifford Odets’ equally caustic play of the same name, mounts a scathing attack on the Hollywood studio system. Jack Palance plays top movie star Charles Castle, who wants out of his gilded cage, and whose marriage to Ida Lupino’s Marion is on the skids.
Rod Steiger’s the ruthless studio boss (a cross between real-life studio honchos Louis B. Mayer, MGM co-founder, and Harry Cohn, Columbia co-founder), who’ll use every dirty trick, from tears to blackmail, to hold on to him. Dated, but it still packs a snarl.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Featurette, Booklet
Director: Robert Aldrich; Starring: Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Wendell Corey; DVD, BD release: August 28, 2017
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
Tobe Hooper returns to Leatherface and his cannibalistic kin to find them living under an abandoned theme park and hunted down by a former Texas Ranger (Dennis Hopper) who’s as crazy as they are.
Perhaps realising he could never match the rancid terror and subversive bite of the original, Hooper here amplifies the midnight humour and uncorks the hitherto absent blood and sexuality. It was banned in the UK for 15 years.
EXTRAS: Commentaries, Documentary, Interview, Deleted scenes
Director: Tobe Hooper; Starring: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Jim Siedow; BD release: August 21, 2017
The Day of the Jackal
High Noon veteran Fred Zinnemann proved he could still harness clock-ticking tension with his engrossing adaptation of Frederick Forsyth’s hit novel. Edward Fox plays the Jackal, the amoral assassin hired to bump off President Charles de Gaulle in early-’60s France, as 007’s evil twin – a suave Brit killer abroad.
Zinnemann’s downbeat, docudrama approach, inspired by 1966’s The Battle of Algiers, is a masterclass in meticulous detail, intercutting the Jackal’s calm planning with the procedural panic of Michael Lonsdale’s cop, Lebel. Without it, David Fincher’s Zodiac would be unthinkable.
EXTRAS: Featurettes, Video essay
Director: Zach Braff; Starring: Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman; BD release: September 4, 2017
Loot/Entertaining Mr Sloane
In 1970, three years after his untimely death, aged 34, Joe Orton’s hit plays Loot and Entertaining Mr. Sloane got the big-screen treatment. The Silvio Narizzano-directed Loot, a farcical tale of two friends (Hywel Bennett, Roy Holder) stashing stolen cash in a coffin, feels sub-Carry On.
The Douglas Hickox-helmed Entertaining Mr. Sloane, meanwhile, is more competently staged, with Beryl Reid on form as the middle-aged landlady trying to seduce her new lodger. But from the fashions to the score, both feel dusty and dated. Extras include an intriguing Orton chat-show appearance.
EXTRAS: Featurettes, Stills
Director: Silvio Narizzano (Loot), Douglas Hickox (Entertaining Mr Sloane); Starring: Various; DVD, BD release: August 28, 2017
Lord of the Flies
Forget the 1990 version – Peter Brooks’ adaptation of William Golding’s classic novel is definitive. Shot semi-documentary style, this allegorical tale of schoolboys reverting to barbarism on a desert island has lost none of its dark power – particularly where poor, doomed Piggy (Hugh Edwards) is concerned.
This typically polished Criterion package features a restored transfer, and more extras than you can shake a spear at, including footage shot by the child thesps during production.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Deleted scenes, Featurettes, Essay
Director: Peter Brook; Starring: James Aubrey, Tom Chapin, Hugh Edwards; BD release: August 28, 2017
Going in Style
Zach Braff’s (very different) remake of the 1979 Martin Brest crime caper goes after the grey pound as surely as its trio of OAP Oscar-winners (Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin) go after a few million dollars from the bank that screwed over their pensions after a company restructure.
Yep, it’s Hell or High (Waistbands And) Water(-y Eyes), but so lacking in twinkle that it makes Last Vegas look sprightly. Still, Caine and co considering a Mini Cooper as their getaway vehicle is a nice touch…
EXTRAS: Commentary, Deleted scenes (BD)
Director: Zach Braff; Starring: Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman; DVD, BD, Digital HD release: August 14, 2017