DVDs Of The Month: March

Autumn’s awards-baiting films, and the customary Young-Adult adaptation, have now arrived on DVD. This month offers a wide range of genres and stories now available for you to delve into at home.

Steve Jobs

Sorkin and Boyle, a combination that would seem to fit steve jobs posterperfectly, and does so here in this biopic of the Apple founder.
The writing, directing and cinematography meld perfectly to create an electric energy that carries this (unsurprisingly) dialogue heavy film through three separate Steve Jobs’ product launches.
The film boasts incredible performances from the likes of Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet (as is to be expected), but also reveals unexpected players such as Seth Rogen to possess greater acting chops that perhaps we had seen before.
The resulting film is a thrilling exploration of a man so often referred to as ‘genius’, yet whose character has been little known to the public.

Is it worth a Blu-ray? The highest level of action here is a brisk walk down a backstage corridor, and with a film so heavily focused on the dialogue and characters, this is not a visual spectacle. Regardless, the film’s shift in medium from 16mm to 35mm film, and eventually to digital means that even with Blu-ray you won’t always get a crystal clear picture, as was the way the filmmakers wanted it to be.

Read the full review: ‘Steve Jobs’ Review


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

mockingjay part 2The less-than-thrilling conclusion to one of the most popular Young Adult franchises of all time will be a must have for anyone held under the franchise’s obsession.
The film’s supposedly ‘high-stakes’ matter never seems to be fully realised, leading to a notable lack of tension in what is meant to be the climax of a four film saga. Instead the film feels disjointed, with a lack of any tonal variance that makes for fairly solemn viewing. Despite its many pitfalls (frequently caused by a steadfast faithfulness to the source novel), the action that is provided, as well as some of the key actors, make this a moderately entertaining conclusion to the franchise, although it is unlikely you will want to revisit it again and again.

Is it worth a Blu-ray? Despite what may have been promised, the action here is not the visual spectacle you may expect, so a blu ray purchase may only go as far as to help you distinguish between the varying shades of grey present in the film’s colour palette. Having said that, the excitement of the action that does occur would be heightened in HD, yet the amount of action doesn’t warrant it.

Read the full review: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2’ Review

Black Mass

Johnny Depp stars, unrecognisably as always, as Whitey Bulgerblack mass poster, the infamous Irish-American mobster, one of the most notorious criminals in Boston, who commits crimes, yet also acts as an FBI informant (a relationship which he exploits for his own game).
The film is a compelling, and at times brutal, crime thriller, exploring the complex links between criminals and law enforcement agencies, and how each side acts with their own intentions at heart, despite what they might display. It also displays the complicated personal relationships between the key players, including the criminal Bulger’s relationship with his brother ‘Billy’ Bulger, a Democratic politician.
The result is an interesting and different look at a life of crime that features a brilliantly transformative performance from Depp.

Is it worth a Blu-ray? A blu ray here would help to heighten the tensions and sense of harsh reality present in the film, however, there is little to marvel at, visually, here, meaning that HD is not really needed to enjoy the film to its full extent.


Carol

Todd Haynes’ beautiful romance centering around the forbidden carol posterrelationship between a young shop saleswoman and an older married woman in the 1950s is a beauty to behold, a film so visually stunning, it absorbs you into its warm colours and lights.
The film features incredible performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, whose on screen chemistry helps to elevate this romance, increasing its feeling of authenticity to create an intimate tale that feels genuine. These aspects combine to create a beautiful and delicate story of forbidden love which was quite under appreciated during this year’s awards season.

Is it worth a Blu-ray?
 The film’s stunning cinematography would arguably benefit from the HD treatment, but, then again, part of its charm is the soft blurs that are painted across the screen. This one, more than others depends purely on personal preference.

Read the full review: ‘Carol’ Review

Bridge of Spies

Steven Spielberg’s cold war drama is nothing less than what you would Bridge of Spies posterexpect from of the most established directors working in the industry. Spielberg captures the paranoia and fear of the time perfectly, and uses it to his advantage when exploring the negotiations leading to the prisoner exchange of Rudolph Abel for Frances Gary Powers.
The film finds its leads in Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, the former one of America’s best loved actors (and two-time Oscar-winner), the other, a much less well known actor, primarily of stage, who matches, if not out-does Hanks, on his way to winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year. The two work as a perfect partnership on screen, injecting each scene with a strong sense of humanity.
This is not like the other recent spy films, but instead comes out as a brilliant slow-burning tale of espionage, made all the more compelling by the fact it is based on true events.

Is it worth a Blu-ray? As is the case with many of the other films this month, Bridge of Spies is focused heavily on conversations, meaning that higher-definition viewing will add little to the drama on screen.

Read the full review: ‘Bridge of Spies’ Review

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