News Column

DVD and blu ray releases

September 28, 2013


the last exorcism - part ii (18) 2/5 yes, you read that right. This is a sequel to a film called The Last Exorcism. And no, it's not a joke. At least, not an intentional one.

Forty years after William Friedkin gave cinema audiences the heebeejeebies with The Exorcist, Hollywood's fascination with casting out evil continues.

Ed Gass-Donnelly's offering begins directly after the climactic bloodbath of the 2010 supernatural horror, which documented the demonic possession of a sweet, naive farm girl through the eyes of a visiting film crew.

The found-footage conceit, popularised by The Blair Witch Project, has thankfully been jettisoned for this second helping of hoary hocus-pocus.

Instead, Gass-Donnelly adopts a third-person approach to the beleaguered central character's battle of wills with dark forces beyond her control, spiced up with paranormal seduction reminiscent of The Entity.

The flimsy script speaks in the same tongues as countless other horror films, bombarding the heroine with omens of doom that foreshadow the wanton blood-letting of the final act.

By then, you simply won't care. A snappy prologue transplants Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell), the sole survivor of the first film, from the Louisiana bayou to the southern gothic surroundings of New Orleans. She is discovered by strangers in a catatonic state, having borne witness to the slaughter of her father, Louis (Louis Herthum), and the film crew.

Doctors place Nell with Frank Merle (Mute Watson), who runs a refuge for disturbed and emotionally-damaged girls.

Over time, Nell bonds with her feisty roommate Gwen (Julia Garner) and secures employment as a hotel chambermaid, working alongside shy guy Chris (Spencer Treat Clark), who clearly holds a torch for her.

Nell begins to suffer disturbing visions and learns she is being watched by a secret society which promises to cleanse the evil that still courses through her veins and...

Oh, enough. It's out. On DVD. The end. Hopefully.

the iceman (15) 3/5 ladies and gentlemen, YOU are the casting director.

Ariel Vromen's taut thriller about a thug rising through the ranks of the criminal fraternity requires a sadistic mob boss.

Michael Shannon is on board to play a contract killer. You need to land someone for the part of a sadistic mob boss.

So, who you gonna call? Need we ask? Ray Liotta, natch. We wonder if he's worried about typecasting, or if he's too busy lighting his cigars with wads of cash.

The Iceman is based on the exploits of headline-grabbing killer Richard Kuklinski.

In flashback, we meet Richard in his early days as an underling for crime lord Roy DeMeo.

When Richard's particular branch of the operation is shut down, Roy employs him as a bodyguard to dole out beatings.

Richard shows an aptitude for mindless violence and becomes an invaluable cog in the underworld machine. Meanwhile, he romances and eventually weds Deborah Pellicotti (Winona Ryder), who is clueless about her husband's illegal activities and he attempts to keep his day job secret from his brother Joey (Stephen Dorff).

James Franco, Chris Evans and David Schwimmer co-star.

paris-manhattan (12) from an early age, Alice Ovitz (Alice Taglioni) adored the comedies of Woody Allen and still addresses matters of the heart to a poster of the New York-born filmmaker that hangs over her bed.

Like one of his cinematic heroines, her attempts to fall in love are disastrous and she is emotionally scarred by the loss of the jazz-playing boy of her dreams, Pierre (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), to her sister Helene (Marine Delterme) in writer-director Sophie Lellouche's witty romance.

Ten years pass without anyone touching Alice's heart and she ploughs all of her energy into working at her father's pharmacy. Then out of the blue she meets two suitors - Vincent (Yannick Soulier) and Victor (Patrick Bruel) - who seem perfect, though in very different ways.

Poor Alice faces a quandary and, thankfully for her, when the time comes to make her decision, the real Woody Allen might just be in Paris to dole out words of wisdom to ensure she picks the right man.

convoy (12) a re-release of Sam Peckinpah's cult 1978 road movie about a long-distance trucker called Rubber Duck (Kris Kristofferson), who is trying to keep corrupt sheriff Lyle Wallace (Ernest Borgnine) in his rear-view mirror.

To evade the cops, Rubber Duck gets on his CB radio and asks for assistance from his fellow truckers, who have also fallen foul of Wallace.

The assembled vehicles form a massive convoy that leaves smashed up police cars and devastation in its wake.

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