The latest DVDs and Blu-rays are given the once-over by our writers. Read first before reaching for your credit card.
Transcending an industrious career in television, Barnaby Southcombe makes his feature filmmaking debut with I, Anna (2012) based on Elsa Lewin’s novel; a noirish, pseudo-psychological thriller set in a moody contemporary London and starring Charlotte Rampling, Southcombe’s off-screen mother. Collating and using as inspiration the work of his personal heroes of French cinema, chiefly the moody and minimalist crime dramas that made up a large portion of Jean-Pierre Melville’s filmography, Southcombe here has developed an atmospheric and bluntly tragic tale of loneliness and repression, yet whatever progress he makes visually is hampered by an uninspiring screenplay latched to a narrative that is too impenetrable for its own good.
Sandwiched between The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Deadly Blessing (1981) has the feeling of a transitional entry in Wes Craven's long filmography. It lacks the ferocity of the former, the mass appeal of the latter. But that isn't to say it doesn't have its virtues, and in fact it's one of the most brilliant of Craven's movies and perhaps the closest he has come to an art house picture.
David Ayer has made a living out of the cop thriller, since Training Day exploded on the scene, yet he has struggled to find material that could ever top his breakout hit. End of Watch is that movie. A superior work of tension and a more honest portrait of life in the LAPD.
People take the word "love" for granted. People love TV shows, they love pizza, they love friends and family that they only see on birthdays and Christmas. Love feels cheap. Michael Haneke's Amour portrays, in often brutal detail, that real love is not cheap. It is not easy. It is demanding, exhausting, consuming. Love is never more fully realised than through hard times. Amour paints a story of love in the hardest of times.
Other than creating controversial and borderline offensive television, Channel 4's Big Fat Gypsy Wedding series has broadcast an imbalanced and prejudiced portrait of the gypsy community for years. Although writer and director Mark O'Connor's affecting and intimate drama is displaying the same people, he avoids mockery and caricature, giving a much more human telling of these withdrawn and perhaps misrepresented people.