Out on 8 August and 15 August
Last year’s Palme d’Or winner. Dexter Fletcher’s feelgood sports hit. A franchise continues without Kirsten Stewart.
Yes, here’s the new DVD and Blu-Ray releases coming out in the next two weeks. Click on for our reviews of Dheepan, Eddie the Eagle, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Cocoon, Anomalisa, and The Ones Below.
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Audiard’s 2015 Palme d’Or winner is a well-intentioned look at immigration in Europe undercut by its blunt genre stylings. The title refers to the pseudonym of a refugee Tamil tiger, who arrives in France with strangers pretending to be his wife and daughter.
The character’s Russian-doll ironies are brilliantly acted by Jesuthasan Antonythasan, while Audiard’s jagged storytelling keeps things brisk. Yet the cartoonish estate Dheepan calls home makes La Haine look like Butlin’s, so it’s no surprise when nuance vanishes entirely in a predictably cathartic final act.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Deleted scenes, Conversation
Director: Jacques Audiard; Starring: Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby; DVD, BD release: August 8, 2016
EDDIE THE EAGLE
After the bright-eyed optimism of Sunshine on Leith, director Dexter Fletcher cleaves to jubilant soul-stirring with this feel-good romp, inspired by the life of Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards (Taron Egerton), who dreams of competing as a ski jumper at the 1988 Winter Olympics despite a lack of ability.
Like the hair, everything’s big in Fletcher’s film, from the ’80s music to the heart-on-sleeve emoting. As Eddie progresses from the 15m jump to the 90, though, it’s impossible not to get swept up in Fletcher’s exuberant mythologising of the little guy who dared to dream big
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, Featurettes
Director: Dexter Fletcher; Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Tom Costello; Digital HD release: August 1, 2016; DVD, BD release: August 8, 2016
THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR
Shorn of Kristen Stewart’s Snow White, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan’s fairytale sequel strives to plug the gap by introducing Chris Hemsworth’s long-lost love (Jessica Chastain), a Frozen-aping princess (Emily Blunt) and, er, a female dwarf (Sheridan Smith).
None of the above gives the pic a compelling reason to exist, its reliance on irrelevant backstory only delaying a climactic face-off with Charlize Theron’s evil Queen Ravenna that isn’t worth the wait.
EXTRAS: Extended edition, Deleted scenes, Featurettes, Commentary, Gag reel
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan; Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron; DVD, BD, Digital HD release: August 15, 2016
More than 30 years on, Cocoon looks an even less likely hit. Despite being one of 1985’s biggest box-office draws, and winning an Oscar for its FX, Ron Howard’s genial drama about pensioners rejuvenated by an alien life-force largely avoids the blockbuster flourishes of its era in favour of letting a cast of septuagenarian veterans loose with some delightfully laidback character comedy.
Aptly, given the title, this is Howard’s chrysalis film. Having proven his comedic chops with Splash (1984), here’s the first flowering of the remarkable versatility that would make Howard one of Hollywood’s most reliable crowd-pleasers. On paper, it’s a strange story, but the relaxed direction buzzes with carefree naturalism.
Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn and Don Ameche (whose scene-stealing nabbed Best Supporting Actor) nail the chemistry of old guys getting a new lease on life – their interplay is funny and sweet. At its best – chiefly in Cronyn’s relationship with real-life wife Jessica Tandy – the film is genuinely moving.
If the subplot in which Steve Guttenberg ferries mysterious passengers to sea lacks the same depth, it adds to an unusually structured mystery. Only the sight of a wired Ameche busting some break-dancing moves dates the film. It could be made today – although, you suspect, it’d only get green-lit if the old guys developed superpowers.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Featurettes, Booklet
Director: Ron Howard; Starring: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn; BD release: July 18, 2016
THE ONES BELOW
Writer/director David Farr wrote The Night Manager and this taut thriller is similarly glossy and (despite predictable turns) briskly entertaining. Exploring post-natal depression and paranoia, it follows an expectant London couple (Clémence Poésy and Stephen Campbell Moore) whose perfect downstairs neighbours (David Morrissey and Laura Birn) may not be all they seem.
Comparisons to Rosemary’s Baby are inevitable but Farr keeps the twists tight so a creeping sense of foreboding prevails. Nothing new but nicely done.
EXTRAS: Interviews, Featurette, Trailer, Deleted scenes
Director: David Farr; Starring: Clémence Poésy, David Morrissey, Stephen Campbell Moore; DVD release: July 7, 2016
We’re back in the infinitely weird world of Charlie Kaufman, where alienation and emotional dysfunction are standard.
This time his medium is stop-motion animation, with the help of co-director and animator Duke Johnson. Michael Stone (David Thewlis) is a celebrity expert on customer relations holding a talk in Cincinnati, but he’s so alienated that everyone he meets, male or female, speaks to him in the same voice (Tom Noonan’s). Until he meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who has her own voice – and is instantly smitten. Lavish extras include 13 featurettes.
EXTRAS: Q&A, Featurettes, Gallery, Trailer
Directors: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman; Starring: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan; DVD, BD, Digital release: July 11, 2016