We’re tempted to declare this week a landmark one for home video releases. Quite simply, there are heaps of fantastic films available, with each of the UK’s specialist labels putting out something of note.
Disc Of The Week
Ruggles Of Red Gap – The Masters Of Cinema return with our most highly anticipated disc of the year thus far, with this dual-format release of Leo McCarey’s Ruggles Of Red Gap. Charles Laughton stars in this tale of an English butler-type gambled away by his master and making his way in the Old West. The traditional fish out of water tale is given an extra dimension of durability thanks to McCarey’s direction and Laughton’s fantastic turn.
The Island Of Lost Souls – Charles Laughton again, in an early adaptation of H.G. Wells’ ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’. Age has been kind to The Island Of Lost Souls, with the early-1930’s aesthetics adding to the chilling subject matter. It seems uncouth to declare the film a horror, but the landmark science-fiction work is certainly horrific.
The Artist – The cinema phenomena of 2012 to date, The Artist swept up both at the box office and at the awards ceremonies that fell in the spring. Unfortunately, and due to the fact that it’s Entertainment In Video behind this release, much remains to be admired. It’s poorly presented for a prestigious title, and while the AV of the film itself is fine, the rest of the package is subpar.
Chinatown – Speaking of subpar, Paramount ought to be ashamed of themselves over what they’ve done to Chinatown for it’s UK release. A few months ago we gushed over how wonderful a package the studio had produced to mark their own centenary with the US release of Chinatown on Blu-ray, with a wealth of extras backing up the main feature (several hours worth of documentaries led the way, while an audio commentary with David Fincher and Robert Towne the highlight). For whatever reason Paramount have chosen to remove ALL of the extra material for the UK disc. Insanity on a disc.
Bergman Collection – Five of the great Swedish filmmakers film are released in HD by Artificial Eye. Bit of a cheek to roll with the “master of cinema” subtitle though.
Michael – Markus Schleinzer’s directorial debut is black as midnight on a moonless night, as one might expect from a Haneke collaborator.
Flipside pair – The BFI’s Flipside imprint brings a further two titles to the fore, in the shape of Ian Merrick’s The Black Panther and Andy Milligan’s Nightbirds, the latter of which is presented by Nicolas Winding Refn.
Martha Marcy May Marlene – Sean Durkin’s tale of a woman and her attempts to leave a cult behind was well received on the festival circuit last year, following a well received debut at Sundance. John Hawkes is on typically fantastic form as the enigmatic leader of the cult, while Elizabeth Olsen is no less than a revelation as the girl on the run from her past.
Iron Sky – Shit sandwich.