Blu-Ray & DVD Round-Up: BRITANNIA; BATTLE OF THE SEXES; KILLING GUNTHER & More

This time around: Britannia attempts to be the new Game Of Thrones, Emma Stone and Steve Carrell take part in the Battle Of The Sexes, Richard Gere will leave you Breathless, Wishmaster offers up three wishes and Arnold Schwarzenegger is Killing Gunther.

Blu-ray Review: BRITANNIA

I’m amazed that Britannia doesn’t come with an introduction from all involved pleading for you to help it become the next Game Of Thrones. You can smell the desperation in every scene, but sadly it doesn’t quite have the magic which made the George R.R Martin adaptation a television behemoth.

It’s AD 43 and David Morrissey’s Aulus Plautius arrives to finally help the Roman’s conquer Britain. He goes in strong but doesn’t bargain on the savagery of the Celts and the Druids. These warring factions have their own probelms but his aim to divide and conquer is much too simplistic for such a complicated land.

It has good talent in front of, and behind the camera (it’s produced by Sam Mendes) but Britannia doesn’t quite gel together in the way it should. The accents and dialogue are much too contemporary and it tries to be a little too clever with some of the (repetitive) visuals.

It’s a solid show which has its moments but it doesn’t quite achieve the heights to which aspires.

Blu-ray Review: BATTLE OF THE SEXES

Dircetors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris put on a good show, but Battle Of The Sexes isn’t quite the grand-slam that they’d intended. This true-life sports flick is well acted (kudos to Emma Stone and Steve Carell for their turns as Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs) and the ‘70s patina adds a certain amount of character – but this lacks the power to make it great.

The issue is Simon Beaufoy’s script, which isn’t quite sure if it wants to be about Billie Jean King’s closeted homosexuality or a female empowerment underdog story. It doesn’t manage to be both and that means you’re not quite sure what film you’re watching.

Blu-ray Review: BREATHLESS

Richard Gere is at the peak of his powers in Jim McBride’s Breathless. This 1983 remake of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 Nouvelle Vague classic, À bout de souffle sees Gere play a criminal who goes on the run with Valérie Kaprisky’s student. McBride directs this update with flair and panache, getting the most out his sexy stars. Pop culture infuses nearly every scene of this on-the-run thriller, which plays around with Godard’s source material.

Breathless kicked-off a great run throughout the ’80s for McBride (he followed it up with The Big Easy and Great Balls Of Fire) and it was the last film in a successful hot streak for Gere, who spent a few years in the wilderness before coming back big time in 1990 with Internal Affairs and Pretty Woman.

Special Features

Second Sight offers up a a pair of little gems in this blu-ray release. You get a new interview with Valérie Kaprisky and Breathless fan Mark Kermode.

 

Blu-ray Review: WISHMASTER

Movies In Focus wouldn’t have liked Robert Kurtzman’s Wishmaster when it was first released back in 1997. However, the Wes Craven produced horror has enough old school charm and interesting moments (and cameos) to make it worth seeking out.

Andrew Divoff is The Djinn, a mischievous trickster unleashed after thousands of years entombed in an opal. He attempts to bring about his own type of armageddon in present day LA (well, 1997) as Tammy Lauren attempts to foil him. Horror icons Robert Englund, Tony Todd, Ted Raimi and Kane Hodder are also along for the ride.

Special Features

The Vestron blu-ray release has done this cult horror flick justice. Documentaries, commentaries from Kurtzman, Divoff and Lauren. Excellent.

VOD: KILLING GUNTHER 

Arnold Schwarzenegger top-lines Killing Gunther, mocumentary from writer-director-star Taran Killam. Killam plays a hit-man who wants to become the best in the business by taking down Schwarzenegger’s Gunther. He puts together a rag-tag team of fellow assassins to track down and kill the mysterious contract killer who also ran-off with his old girlfriend (Cobie Smulders)

Killam infuses this action-comedy with enough energy to keep you entertained throughout the copious amounts of silliness. Schwarzenegger is off-screen until the last act, but when he appears he delivers a huge shot of charisma. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Schwarzenegger just keeps getting better and better.

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