The latest DVDs and Blu-rays are given the once-over by our writers. Read first before reaching for your credit card.
A horror movie with minimal gore, no nudity or action, consisting mostly of dialogue for the first half and only four characters. It doesn’t really sound like a typical horror movie, and it isn’t. The Devil's Business is actually more like watching a stage play unfold for the first twenty minutes, before becoming a ‘normal’ horror film and this is why it shines - you get a chance to get to know the main characters before everything kicks off.
Alex (played here by first time writer/director Ryan O’Nan) is dumped by his girlfriend, given the heave-ho by his band-mates and fired from his boring job as a real-estate agent, so he decides to form a duo with devoted fan Jim (Michael Weston). The pair set off on a sort of cross-country tour of the good ole US of A but then their terrible tour manager Cassidy (Arielle Kebbel) disappears at the worst time that Alex and Jim could have possibly have imagined.
Director Marcel Carné is revered by cineastes primarily on the strength of Les Enfants du Paradis, a long, leisurely and utterly magical drama set amid the bustling theatrical demimonde of Paris in the 1820s. It makes regular appearances on lists of the top ten best movies ever; rightly so, because watching it is the closest thing cinema has to offer to the satisfaction of losing yourself in a great novel. But Carne's 1938 film Le Quai des Brumes was also very highly regarded in its day. It's now available on Blu-ray. If it's even a tenth as good as Les Enfants, then it'll be really something, won't it?
There is something inherently easy about British romantic comedies. Maybe it’s the lure of seeing a posh man mumbling incoherently, or the thrill of hearing a curse word in the Queen’s English. Maybe it’s the fact we can understand the cultural references, unlike many of Hollywood’s offspring (to this day, I still don’t fully understand why everyone must drink out of red paper cups).
Franz Kafka’s crucial novel on the nightmarish power and impenetrability of the law realises the early twentieth century as a paranoid dystopia, rife with oppression and manipulation. Recreating these deep shadows with his customary panache, Orson Welles takes a fitting leap from the oppressive gloom of Touch of Evil and Citizen Kane to forge a stylised reality in an undeniably expressionist fashion. Forming the text into an artistic feast, the evident authorial stamp imprinted upon The Trial saw it becoming Welles’ favourite film. Visually, it might just well be.