The latest DVDs and Blu-rays are given the once-over by our writers. Read first before reaching for your credit card.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a part of horror history; birthed in the pages of Thomas Harris' novels, and initially brought to life on-screen by Brian Cox and Michael Mann in the 1986 thriller, Manhunter, but Lecter's enormous impact on the genre was not fully felt until Anthony Hopkins filled the cannibalistic shoes in Jonathan Demme's Silence of the Lambs in 1991. When this twisted psychological horror swept the "Big 5" categories at the Oscars, the legacy of Lecter was assured.
Jeanie Finlay directs this astounding film, documenting through interviews and shaky archive footage shot by the lads themselves. Back before the UK hip hop scene had taken off with the likes of Plan B, Dizzee Rascal and Wiley, Gavin McBain and Billy Boyd met at Dundee University and instantly formed a connection, however there was no room for Scottish hip hop - it wasn't marketable. After a disastrous 2002 audition in London where they were stereotypically branded 'the rapping Proclaimers', they thought they had blown the big chance for a breakthrough into the industry. Months later, 'for a laugh', Boyd put on an American accent when trying to secure a gig claiming to be over from California to promote an EP and to his amazement, it worked. From then on, they were no longer Bill and Gav from Arbroath. They were Silibil n' Brains from LA. 'The Great Hip Hop Hoax' takes us on their unique journey through the dizzy heights of Sony record deals and appearing on MTV, to the inevitable combustion, and carries it off with style, humour and most importantly honesty, creating an intriguing watch that has you questioning how on earth they pulled it off.
The wealthy Thérèse Larroque, played by Audrey Tautou, is arranged in marriage to Bernard Desqueyroux. She's not unhappy with this and it's not just because of the stunning pine forests that come with her betrothed. Bernard may suffer from the twin French obsessions of health and hunting, but he is even tempered and uncomplicated. She hopes his steadiness will calm her fevered mind, that she will find peace.
Toss the name of Kiyoshi Kurosawa into a word association game among movie buffs, and the word that would probably come shooting back is “prolific”. Well, just check out his resume – 38 films and counting, an impressive tally in this day and age. What's even more striking, though, is that 18 of the 38 were made in a single decade, the 1990s. And it was towards the end of this period of white-hot creativity that Kurosawa was thrown a gauntlet that would cause many an auteur to wet his director's chair. The challenge was to shoot two films in just two weeks. On a minimal budget. With the same sets and cast. Two weeks? Wasn't that like a lunch break for Orson Welles?
From his humble beginnings as Monty Python’s in-house animator, Terry Gilliam cements the artistry of his auteur signature with his classic Time Bandits. And fans of the film will be happy to know that it has just been digital re-mastered and re-released. Despite the colour grading and restoration (fabulously explained in the DVD extra Restoration Before /After), the film is distinctly a product of the 1980s. However, the plot is universal and hints to fantasy films past and present –The Wizard of Oz is clearly reference with the Superior Being, while it’s difficult to see how Times Bandits couldn’t have been a major influence on The Labyrinth and the Bill and Ted films.