The latest DVDs and Blu-rays are given the once-over by our writers. Read first before reaching for your credit card.
British Captain Charles Davenport (Lachlan Nieboer) and Gunner Robert Smith (post Harry Potter Robert Grint) are made prisoners of war by the three man German crew in the tiny cabin. German lieutenant Horst Schopis (Forian Lukas) takes command of the cabin along with fellow German Strunk (Stig Henrik Hoff) and the injured young Hitler enthusiast Josef (David Kross). Demanding their rights as POWs the cabin is divided along British and German lines with Schopis luckily speaking fluent English. As food supplies deplete and conditions worsen - especially for the wounded Josef - national divisions between the men begin to break down and their shared humanity and survival slowly bond bring the group together.
Growing up in the privileged upper echelons of American New York society, Elgar Enders (Beau Bridges) has finally, at the age of 29, decided to move out of his home and buy his own house. The house he buys is a brownstone in a black ghetto area of Brooklyn. At first he intends to evict his tenants and remodel the property. However, as he fulfils his role as landlord, he comes to befriend his tenants. Elgar's previous naivety - the type of social innocence money can provide – slowly becomes eroded.
Director Shinya Tsukamoto is probably best known in the West for his body-morphing cyberpunk Tetsuo trilogy, but here he enters territory that you would more readily associate with Ingmar Bergman, or, latterly, Lars von Trier. Kotoko is a disturbed single mum who sees double. That's to say, she sees two of everyone she meets. Unable to tell who is real and who is imaginary, she's constantly at a loss as she stumbles through life. What makes things worse is that some of these doppelgangers display distinctly violent tendencies.
With factory chimneys emerging through an oppressive fog, Hell is a City creates an unashamedly grim vision of existence in the metropolis. Through a post-murder man hunt, Manchester, and by extension 1960s urban life as a whole, is shown to be a corrupting influence that brings misery into the home. With the angry young men of the British New Wave casting the camera onto the kitchen sink in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning in the very same year, Val Guest’s film similarly seeks out the banal and ordinary. Yet combined with a dark streak of expressionist noir, Hell is a City remains an intriguing crime flick.
A blockbuster five years in the making, a build-up consisting of five previous blockbuster releases would come with mounting expectation. Marvel Studios made a gamble here; if this movie failed then their master plan would come crashing down. To make matters worse, they handed the reins over to a man who worked primarily in cancelled TV shows and his only prior big screen experience was directing a spin-off of one of his cancelled TV shows.
The odds were against them on this, yet Avengers Assemble defied the odds.