News Column

DVD and blue ray releases

September 7, 2013


iron man 3 4/5 in a summer of box office flops, Iron Man 3 was a genuine blockbuster, taking a record Pounds 11 million on its opening weekend in the UK.

Robert Downey Jr returns as the billionaire-inventor-superhero Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, an all-powerful figure now reduced to a nervy insomniac, prone to panic attacks.

Director and co-writer Shane Black, the man behind the Lethal Weapon movies, strips the story back to basics for a rattling romp of a movie.

Technically, it's a sequel to two films, Iron Man 2 and last summer's The Avengers, in which Iron Man and a roll call of Marvel comic book heroes united to protect Manhattan from aliens.

Stark hasn't coped so well in the aftermath and he's forced to find a way back to being a superhero when all his money and toys are stripped away.

He does at least have his former assistant-turned-CEO Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) on hand.

It's not long, though, before their domestic bliss is thwarted by a twopronged attack - the arrival of biologically-advanced super- powered humans and the mysterious figurehead of a terror group known as the Mandarin. The special effects are faultless and deserve to be seen in 3D, while Iron Man's suit, which appears like a swarm of bees and attaches itself piece by piece to Stark, adds extra interest.

But the thrills and spills are never to the detriment of the story and script, which feel sharp and fresh.

Downey Jr gives an entertainingly jittery performance as a superhero on the edge, while his jaded one-liners raise a laugh.

Fun for both fans and newbies to the comic book world, the movie may be a lengthy 129 minutes, but it doesn't feel like it.

21 & over 3/5 scott Moore and Jon Lucas, cowriters of the first chapter of The Hangover trilogy, made their directorial debut with this raucous and gleefully foul-mouthed comedy that attempts to replicate the boozy shenanigans of their earlier script.

It's spun from the reckless abandon of three high school friends on the night that the youngest member of the trio comes of age and can legally buy and consume alcohol.

To celebrate, the pals embark on an ill-fated bender that includes a close encounter with a rampaging bull, a near-death experience with a swimming pool cover and naked humiliation at the hands of some college gals.

Like The Hangover, the film bolts together set pieces into a fractured and debauched narrative.

We meet gung-ho Miller (Miles Teller) and strait-laced Casey (Skylar Astin) walking across a campus in their birthday suits, with red raw buttocks and a sock apiece to spare their blushes.

One day earlier... Miller and Casey arrive at the house of their pal Jeff Chang (Justin Chon), who is turning 21. Birthday celebrations are on hold because Jeff has an interview for medical school the next morning. After much persuading, Jeff agrees to accompany Miller and Casey. Umpteen beers and shots later, the birthday boy is paralytic and Casey is smitten with a girl called Nicole. Sparks of mutual attraction are doused, temporarily at least, so that Casey and Miller can carry their buddy home to his bed.

Unfortunately, neither lad knows Jeff's address so they embark on a madcap misadventure in search of inspiration, crossing paths with Nicole's oafish boyfriend.

21 & Over is considerably sweeter than The Hangover. The script treats the characters with affection and is peppered with belly laughs. They also embrace bad-taste toilet humour.

the returned - series one (18) 5/5 slowly spellbinding eight- part French supernatural drama set in an Alpine village dominated by a huge dam, where dead loved ones begin to reappear, unaware they were killed many years earlier.

Teenager Camille (Yara Pilartz), who was the victim of a road accident, bridegroom Simon (Pierre Perrier), who took his own life, and a little boy called Victor (Swann Nambotin), who was murdered by burglars, are among the newly returned.

Camille's mother Claire (Anne Consigny) and the other residents struggle to make sense of the miracle but any joy is short-lived because the village falls victim to other strange events and the reappearance of a serial killer called Serge (Guillaume Gouix).

gok cooks chinese (e) better known for helping the nation to dress stylishly to fit their body types, Leicester's Gok Wan shares his passion for Chinese cooking in this six-part Channel 4 series in which he demonstrates how to make quick, healthy meals that taste delicious without piling on the pounds, including eggfried rice, dragon scallops, lemon sole and beef noodle soup.

therese desqueyroux (15) adapted from the Francois Mauriac novel of the same name, this is a passionate historical drama, screened at the closing night film of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, shortly after the death of director Claude Miller.

In 1920s France, Therese (Audrey Tautou) is drawn to her neighbour, Bernard (Gilles Lellouche), and they marry, creating a vast estate in the heart of south-west France.

The tedium of rural life smothers Therese, who craves the excitement and bright lights of Paris. Alas, she cannot leave her husband, so instead she fantasises about extricating herself from the drudgery.

When Bernard accidentally poisons himself with arsenic the finger of suspicion points at Therese and she is tried for attempted murder. She must prove her innocence if she is ever to realise her dreams of living in the French capital.

the assassins (15) cao cao (Chow Yun-Fat) is a fearsome warlord, who rules shortly before the fall of the Han Dynasty.

However, he is unaware his enemies have been plotting against him for years by tutoring the children of his fallen opponents as assassins.

Two of these skilled proteges, Lingju and Mu Shun, complete their training and embark on a revenge mission to infiltrate the court of Cao Cao and annihilate the man who stole their childhoods.

Directed by Zhao Linshan.

about cherry (18) stephen Elliott makes his directorial debut with this drama set in the lurid and lucrative world of porn.

Eighteen-year-old high school student Angelina (Ashley Hinshaw) allows her boyfriend to take naked photos of her then sell them.

With the money, Angelina runs away with best friend Andrew (Dev Patel) to San Francisco where she meets wealthy lawyer Francis (James Franco), who introduces Angelina to the city's movers and shakers.

One offers to make Angelina a star under the stage name of Cherry. As she graduates from softcore to hardcore, Cherry learns which people in her life she can trust.

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