Blu-ray & DVD Review Round-Up: FANTASTIC BEASTS, BABYLON BERLIN, SLAUGHTERHOUSE RULEZ & More

This time around: Wands at the ready in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald; it’s party time in Babylon Berlin, The Girl In The Spider’s Web gets tangled-up, if anyone can then the Candyman can in Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost learn Slaughterhouse Rulez and the Leprechaun Returns.

Blu-ray Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

3 out of 5 stars

The J.K Rowling’s world of wizardry continues with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Director David Yates’ sixth film within the confines of Harry Potter has a certain amount of assembly line composition about it, but you have to give it credit for being incredibly good-looking and energetic.

The large cast (including Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Johnny Depp and Jude Law) all relish the material but this is complicated going for Muggles. Rowling’s script is steeped in Harry Potter lore, twisting and turning to add layers and textures to the franchise’s rich mythology. Grindelwald is only the second film in a proposed series of five, so this instalment is only a tiny (if very detailed) portion of a much bigger pictures.

Special Features

Fans of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be thrilled by the detailed behind the scenes material on display here. The blu-ray comes with six featurettes of varying lengths (the longest being 49 minutes) and you also get nearly 15 minutes of deleted scenes. Brilliant.

DVD Review: Babylon Berlin Series One & Two 

4 out of 5 stars

Babylon Berlin is a wonderfully complex German television drama. Handsomely produced, this big budget period drama is set just before the rise of the Nazis and the fall of the Weimar Republic. The show stars Volker Bruch as Gereon Rath, a policeman navigating Berlin’s criminal underworld in a time of fabulous glitz and glamour where sex, politics and crime are intertwined. 

Budget at €40 million, Babylon Berlin gives you tremendous bang for your buck, and it again shows that television across the world has hit a new pinnacle, offering up fantastic visuals and story-telling for grown-ups in a time when the big screen seems to be reserved for kids. 

Special Features 

This DVD release includes the Making of Babylon Berlin, a trailer and a picture gallery. 

Blu-ray Review: The Girl In The Spider’s Web 

2 out of 5 stars

The Girl In The Spider’s Web is such a disappointment. A reboot/sequel to David Fincher’s 2011 somewhat under-appreciated masterwork, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo this crime thriller plays like the bastard child of a James Bond movie and a superhero revenge film. 

Claire Foy makes for a lacklustre Lisbeth Salander – she just doesn’t have the dark edge that Rooney Mara or Noomi Rapace had in the role, coming across like she’s playing dress-up rather than inhabiting the character. She’s not helped by a ridiculous plot that stretches credulity to breaking point. 

At least the film Fede Alvarez’s film looks great. 

Special Features

The film might be bad, but at least it comes with a wealth of extras. A director’s commentary, deleted scenes and behind the scenes material make for interesting viewing. More interesting than the film, actually. 

Blu-ray Review: Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh

2.5 out of 5 stars

Bill Condon’s Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh is a so-so follow-up to then classic 1992 horror. Based on Clive Barker’s short story, The Forbidden this horror sequel once again sees Tony Todd’s Candyman wreck havoc on those who dare say his name into a mirror five times.

The New Orleans setting offers-up some nice atmosphere while Kelly Rowan makes for a solid enough lead. The production design and Philip Glass’s score impresses but there’s not a lot going on in the scare department.

Special Features

This 88 Films release comes with a director’s commentary and interviews with Tony Todd and Veronica Cartwright. A solid package.

DVD Review: Slaughterhouse Rulez 

2.5 out of 5 stars

Slaughterhouse Rulez is an enjoyable enough comedy-horror-sci-fi film – although having said that, it’s not really funny or scary enough.

This posh-boarding school pastiche hits all the required marks with its pot-shots at the establishment and the grown-up members of the cast (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Michael Sheen) play bumbling and clueless stereotypes while the younger actors (Asa Butterfield, Hermione Corfield and Finn Cole) all impress.

Crispian (Kula Shaker) Mills’ film lacks focus and it’s unsure tone means that it won’t have the shelf-life of Pegg and Frost’s Shaun Of The Dead.

DVD Review: Leprechaun Returns   

3 out of 5 stars

A monumentally stupid, but actually very enjoyable comedy-horror, Leprechaun Returns gives you everything that you would ever want from an entry into the long-running Leprechaun film franchise.

This made-for-TV effort is a direct follow-up to 1993’s Warwick Davis/Jennifer Aniston starrer and while it’s hardly original, it does have its (lucky) charms. Leprechaun Returns is surprisingly violent and there are some fun practical effects to keep you entertained. It’s no classic but you could so a lot worse.