This time around: The Shape Of Water fails to make a splash, Saoirse Ronan shines in Lady Bird, Eric Clapton: A Life In 12 Bars hits the right notes, Evan Rachel Wood gets creepy in Allure, The Piano turns 25 and Jim Carrey does Scandi Noir in Dark Crimes.
Blu-ray review: The Shape Of Water
Guillermo del Toro’s multi award-winning romantic fantasy, The Shape Of Water has a little bit of the Emperor’s New Clothes about it. Yes, it’s a handsomely produced film with a lovely score from Alexandre Desplat but (deep breath) it’s nothing special. Michael Shanon is a standard man in black villain and Sally Hawkin’s mute lead is a little too cutesy to captivate.
The main thrust of del Toro’s cold war era pic is about inclusion and it’s very much on-the-nose, with Doug Jones’ fish-man being the main metaphor. Throw in how characters deal with race and sexuality and it’s very much a 21st Century look as how we should treat each other.
A selection of so-so behind-the-scenes extras didn’t flow this reviewer’s boat.
Blu-ray review: Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig became a force to be reckoned with as a writer-director and a millennial auteur with this coming of age dramedy. Saoirse Ronan excels as Lady Bird, a character based loosely on Gerwig’s own upbringing but this doesn’t feel wholly original as a narrative piece. Yes, it’s diverting and witty but it’s no masterpiece – as some would lead you to believe.
You get a commentary with Greta Gerwig and Cinematographer Sam Levy as well as a short making-of. Solid.
DVD Review: Eric Clapton: Life In 12 Bars
Lili Fini Zanuck’s Eric Clapton: Life In 12 Bars is a fascinating insight onto the life and career of Eric Clapton. Learn about his upbringing, his love of music, his love of Patti Boyd and his descent into drug and alcohol addiction. See him at his highest moments (quite literally) and his lowest (the death of his son) as you understand the complex life of one of rock’s greatest talents.
The DVD of Eric Clapton: Life In 12 Bars comes with an interesting chat between the rock legend and Jools Holland.
DVD Review: Allure
Evan Rachel Wood is a slightly unhinged cleaner who gets involved in a very strange relationship with Julie Sarah Stone. Wood shows some impressive acting chops as she strikes-up an unlikely friendship with the teenage daughter of one of her clients. Denis O’Hare has an interesting role as Wood’s estranged father in this dream-like psychological thriller. It’s a quirky flick, that’s well acted but it lacks a certain amount of focus – much like its main character.
Blu-ray review: The Piano
Jane Campion’s Oscar-winning drama is seen a a modern classic, however The Piano is not quite a masterpiece. Campion’s film has good performances and some strong moments but not an awful lot happens across its 2 hour running time. It’s a simple tale about a mute Scottish single mother (Holly Hunter) who ends up as Sam Neill’s mail-order bride in New Zealand. He doesn’t like her piano and sells it to Harvey Keitel’s gruff farmhand. Harvey gets piano lessons, Holly falls for him and Sam Neill gets cock-blocked by the musical instrument. Great score from Michael Nyman.
The Piano at 25 is an extended interview with Director Jane Campion and Producer Jan Chapman, there’s a vintage featurette and Commentary with Jane Campion. A great package.
DVD Review: Dark Crimes
Jim Carrey tries something different in this dark scandinavian murder mystery. It’s a little slow paced but it features the right amount of bleakness to make it worth while. A bearded Carrey rises to the occasion as the downtrodden Polish detective who sees similarities between an old murder case and the work of an arrogant writer. It’s no Girl With The Dragon Tattoo but it’s a solid mystery with a few good performances.