The latest DVDs and Blu-rays are given the once-over by our writers. Read first before reaching for your credit card.
TEACHER: Okay, quiet down class, quiet down. Now, I’ve been going through your homework assignment to make the bleakest film you can possibly deliver. Kaye, come up here, we’ll start with yours.
TONY KAYE: Yes, sir.
TEACHER: Right, Kaye. Now, we know you’ve shown promise before. That project you did in Year 9, what was it called, American History X? Very impressive, yes. The thing is Kaye, I think that early success has gone to your head. To be blunt, I think you’re coasting. Tell me truthfully, boy, did you spend a good deal of time on this project or did you rush it all the night before the deadline?
TONY KAYE: Honestly sir. I put my heart and soul into it. Scout’s honour.
Set in London in 1962 with the threat of nuclear war looming over the world, Ginger & Rosa looks at the life of the 16 year old Ginger (Elle Fanning) and the emotional cold wars and bombs going off in her family life. Ginger and Rosa (Alice Englert, daughter of New Zealand director Jane Campion) are virtual twins with their teenage mothers Natalie (Christina Hendricks) and Anoushka (Jodhi May) giving birth to them side by side in a war ravaged London. Ginger has been raised in the Beatnik home. Her father Roland (Alessandro Nivola) is committed to his anarchist free thinking philosophy which neatly allows him self-permission to shirk the responsibilities of family life with his talented painter wife. Idolising her father and not understanding the stability her mother has provided for her, Ginger has a nearsighted concern of youth for the outside world without the appreciation for the details of adult life.
Peter Morgan, writer of many excellent films including Frost/Nixon, The Damned United, and probably most famously, The Queen, has a lot to say in his screenplay for 360, touching on the interconnectedness of our lives, on destiny, on how sometimes seemingly small decisions can have an unknowingly large impact on people we may never even meet. Trouble is, on this occasion he doesn’t say it particularly well.
A follow-up to Crime is Our Business (2008) and based loosely, very loosely, on one of Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence stories, Partners in Crime reunites us with Prudence and Belisaire Beresford (Catherine Frot and Andre Dussollier), a retired couple with a rather mysterious background in the military. At the start, Belisaire is having a high old time plugging his best-selling memoires and basking in the resultant celebrity. But for Prudence – who possesses a near-photographic memory and startling acrobatic prowess – life as as senior citizen is much less fulfilling. Until, that is, she's invited to run a detective agency in Geneva. Time to play gumshoe on the mean streets of Switzerland!
It's now over half a century since Alain Resnais burst on the international art house scene with Last Year in Marienbad – a dazzling maze of a movie that is either one of the most beautiful and iconic ever made, or one of the most pretentious and annoying, depending on your point of view. Whatever else you may think of it, his latest offering, You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet, shows that, in the intervening years, the nonagenarian director has lost none of his appetite for playing games with the viewer.