By Stephen Bain
When one thinks of romantic dramas, the works of Philip K. Dick do not normally come into mind. However this rather unique mix provides the basis of the story. Part political thriller, part science fiction and part love story.
For the first forty minutes we see our star Matt Damon running for political office and experiencing a sudden down-turn in popularity due to the revelation of an incident during his college days. During this time he bumps into Emily Blunt in a men’s room and the two have an instant attraction to one-another, however a group of shady men in hats seem determined to break these two apart.
Damon and Blunt prove to be an exceedingly likeable couple and succeed in holding the film together, and the concept also provides a decent amount of intrigue without relying heavily on guns and explosions (in fact I cannot recall a single gun being fired).
However it’s difficult to shake the somewhat contrived nature of the plot. The romance at times feels rushed and could have developed over a longer period of the film. Additionally the philosophical speeches about free will and the right to choose come off as hammy rather than compelling. This is partially due to the presence of Terrance Stamp, who can pull the “mysterious” man off so well that it almost comes off as a caricature.
Nonetheless, Bureau offers a refreshingly different take on a somewhat established genre.
By Leo Owen
Director: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Writer: Allan Loeb, Jeffery Eugenides
DVD and Blu-ray release date: January 17 2011
Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment UK Ltd
Number of discs: 1
DVD/Blu-ray running Time: 98/101 mins
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Juliette Lewis, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson, Thomas Robinson
As likable and talented at playing the girl-next-door as she is, Jennifer Aniston’s latest release, The Switch, manages to combine an interesting concept and fabulous supporting cast to create nothing more than a time-passing feel-good haze.
Kassie’s a go-getter, living each day to the motto “Life is in session”. Unfortunately without a partner she is unable to create the life she wants. Deciding to select a sperm donor, she is impregnated and moves to Minnesota to raise her child, leaving her best friend, Wally, behind. Barely staying in touch, through Christmas cards and e-mails Wally learns Kassie is returning after seven years, two failed relationships and one stock market collapse. With a “great” ABC offer and a school for Sebastian, Kassie sets up her new life and reacquaints herself with old friends.
The rest of the story is predictable – sure as viewers we are party to Wally drunkenly switching the donor’s sperm for his own but the union of Wally and Kassie is clearly marked from the outset. After thirteen years and a tumultuous friendship, Kassie’s admittance “we have energy” or Wally’s observation: “her eyes are screaming save me” come as no surprise and are frankly relieving.
Wally acts as narrator delivering a neat ending through that age old device, the circular script: “Look at us running around – I guess that’s why they call us the human race…” Small idiosyncrasies like his observation that one of Kassie’s suitors has a tan line on his wedding finger, make him an interesting character but the film’s real saviour is Sebastian – The Switch’s script writers clearly put all their energy into him.
A hypochondriac kid who likes new empty picture frames and their accompanying pictures, Sebastian is his father’s son and it’s pretty difficult for the scriptwriters to make it any more obvious. He makes noises when he eats, wants to hold a “Kill Shelter” Birthday party for animals soon to be put down and is a serious talker for a six year old: “Nature’s in crisis and there’s only one mammal to blame.”
Other small touches like the “I’m getting pregnant party” and story of the “seed man” also deserve a mention, despite the directors’ disappointing failure to harness the mighty talents of a bizarrely cast Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum. The Switch attempts to pep up that age old story of best friends who should be lovers with a modern day twist that unfortunately isn’t roundedly explored.
- The Switch Conceived: Making Of Featurette
- Deleted Scenes with Introductions Featurette
By Leo Owen
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright, Michael Bacall, Bryan Lee O’Malley
DVD and Blu-ray release date: December 27 2010
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Number of discs: Available on double disc DVD/Blu-ray, solo Blu-ray
Price: From £9.99-£16.99
Running Time: 112 mins
Starring: Michael Cera, Jason Schwartzman, Alison Pill, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kenricks, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aubrey Plaza
Previous Edgar Wright projects give a good indication of what to expect from comic book adaptation Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and fans won’t be disappointed – our jobless bumbling 23 year-old hero rarely gets a haircut, doesn’t drink, plays computer games, is guitarist in Sex Bob Bomb and lives in a “secret lair” opposite the house he grew up in.
After meeting a girl from a dream at a party, Scott embarks on the quest to re-find Ramona Flowers but is hindered by Knives Chou, his 17-year-old Chinese “fake high school” girlfriend. In order to go out with Ramona, Scott must shed Knives and battle Ramona’s seven evil exes who all have their own touch of the ridiculous: there’s seventh grade ex- Matthew Patel and his bollywood back-ups; the skate-boarding movie star, Lucas Lee, complete with a stunt double team; the evil Vegan Todd; half Ninja Roxanne; the Japanese Katayanagi twins – expert roboticists and ringleader Gideon.
Steeped in popular culture, as might be expected Wright pays homage to the world of manga, video games and comic books. When asked what instrument he plays, Young Neil instinctively replies “Tetrus”, character stat boxes are displayed, opponents are reduced to a spray of coins when defeated, there are plenty of smack down moves and best of all a depleting pee bar.
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is a neon all-out assault on the senses, with onomatopoeic words wafting across the screen, dingy venues and clubs aglow with technicolour, a Seinfeld tribute complete with studio audience laughter, a kick-arse soundtrack, including a Frank Black and The Catholics favourite and plenty of witty repartee.
The script has a similar style to Diablo Cody’s (Juno, Jennifer’s Body) writing with plenty of new blend creations, such as “hasbian”, nods to popular culture (“Nega-Scott”) and inventive fast talking: “He punched the highlights out of her hair.” Scott’s gay housemate, Wallace, masterfully played by Kieran Culkin gets most of the funny lines, alongside Scott’s nemesis, Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman pulling off his usual quirky performance): “You made me swallow my gum – it’s going to be in my digestive tract for seven years.”
Experimental and daring throughout, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World occasionally feels like it is trying too hard to be cool but cool it is, nonetheless. Roxanne’s knee fetish, the Vegan police, passwords for Gideon’s exclusive venue, montage fight scenes and the bass battle are all ingenious – the latter surely a nod to the equally surreal and colourful, Japanese oddity Electric Dragon 80,000 V.
Lead Michael Cera plays his usual geeky typecast but manages to pull off fight scenes but it’s Culkin, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Ramona) and Ellen Wong (Knives) who really steal the show, aptly realising Wright’s exquisite direction.
Certainly a film for the ADHD generation, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World plays out like multi-media pop art, paying homage to South Park’s on-going Canadian-American feud gag. Amid all the colour and clever one-liners, Scott Pilgrim is a coming of age flick, harbouring a serious message – accepting responsibility for one’s actions. After all his arse-kicking Scott realises “If you want something bad you have to fight for it” and admits “I feel like I learned something.”
- Deleted and alternative scenes with commentary from director/producer/co-writer Edgar Wright
- Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Bloopers
- Feature commentaries: Feature Commentary with director/producer/co-writer Edgar Wright, co-writer, Michael Bacall and Author Bryan Lee O’Malley; Technical Commentary with director/producer/co-writer Edgar Wright and director of photography Bill Pope; Cast commentary with Michael Cera, Jason Schwartzman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong and Brandon Routh and Cast commentary with Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Kieran Culkin and Mark Webber
- Behind the scenes photo gallery, including Edgar Wright’s photo blog
- Trivia pack
- Galleries: Production photos, art galleries and marketing concepts.
- Insider Documentaries: Making of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Music Featurette and You Too Can Be Sex Bob-Omb
- Alternate footage: A special look at alternative edits to the film.
- Pre-production: A look inside the film’s pre-production process including storyboards, pre-visualizations, animatics, motion capture tests, rehearsal footage, casting tapes, hair/make-up tests and more!
- The music of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: This feature includes four complete music videos and video remixes from legendary DJ Osymyso.
- Visual Effects: This feature takes a second look at the movie’s inventive visual effects.
- Sound Work: A mini documentary about the creation of the film’s super-powered sonic landscape.
- Trailers & TV Spots from the theatrical release of the film
- Adult Swim™: Scott Pilgrim vs. The Animation
- Scott Pilgrim Vs The Censors: TV safe version
- Behind-the-scenes Production Blogs from the set of Scott Pilgrim vs.the World by director /producer/co-writer Edgar Wright.
- Free Bonus Movie For a Limited Time Only: Blu-ray Combo Pack consumers will have instant access to stream action hits Tremors or Pitch Black via BD-Live, Smartphone or computer
- U-Control: Universal’s exclusive signature feature allows viewers to delve into the making of the film with the click of the remote without ever leaving the movie.
- Storyboard picture-in-picture
- Digital copy of the film: Blu-ray™ consumers can download a digital version of the movie to their Mac® and or Windows® PC for a limited time only.
- BD-LIVE™: Access the BD-Live™ Centre through your Internet-connected player to watch the latest trailers and more.
By Leo Owen
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Writers: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryanti
DVD and Blu-ray release date: November 29 2010
Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
Number of discs: Available as a solo DVD or Double Play Blu-ray and DVD
Price: From £9.97-£14.97
Running Time: 104 mins
Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac, David Hewlett
Mexican visionary Director, Guillermo del Toro, Executive Produces Splice but unfortunately the film merely takes his characteristically dark subject-matter without the slick direction to create a modern day reworking of the Frankenstein story.
“Splicemaster extraodinaires”, scientist couple Clive and Elsa are combining animal DNA to create new creatures. Their first creations Ginger and Fred look like giant live stress balls and are described as “perfect – just perfect,” until they meet each other in public that is. Undergoing hormonal changes Ginger becomes male and caged with Fred, the two attack each other, showering studio audience members with their remains.
Project splice is shut down to isolate a regenerating protein inside the doomed Fred and Ginger – without this discovery the facility will be completely closed and refurbished. Ambitious scientists and keen to further medicine, Elsa and Clive decide to go against orders and splice human and animal DNA. Armed with plenty of warning signs, they continue their secret project, even after Elsa’s hand is maimed trying to manually deliver their creation, they repeatedly think it’s dead and it displays days of growth within a matter of minutes.
Developing like a foetus outside the womb, craving high sucrose food stuffs, with amphibious features, “Dren” soon appears almost human but her mind remains a mystery. Elsa grew up on a farm where her mother went crazy but somehow doesn’t see putting her own DNA into Dren was a bad idea. Chained up, locked away from the world and maimed, through creating Dren and leaving her in such conditions, Elsa has begun a dangerous psychological experiment with her family history of mental health issues.
Dren clearly possesses intelligence as with alphabet letters she complains her existence is “tedious” and craves “outside”. Her animal DNA prevents her from understanding Elsa’s motherly chastisement: “You can’t always get what you want is part of growing up too”, and also makes her threatening to those around.
With a constant soundtrack of underwater gargles, beeping and screeching heard through air vents, Splice is at times creepy and at its most effective, unsettling, as Dren forms her first spoken words “inside you” and enters a stage of sexual awareness. French actress, Delphine Chaneac, is the star of the show as Dren, convincingly combining animal movement and human suprasegmental features to create a being truly worthy of our sympathy in her child-like vulnerability.
Through Splice, Director, Vincenzo Natali, crafts a modern day cautionary tale with an exceedingly dark, depressing and bleak ending, possibly setting up for a sequel in its uncertainty and ambiguity. Elsa repeatedly asks: “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” and through Dren she gets her answer.
A Director’s Playground: Vicenzo Natali on the Set of Splice featurette
By Leo Owen
Director/ Producer: Jon Favreau
Writer: Justin Theroux
DVD and Blu-ray release date: October 25 2010
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
Number of discs: Available on solo DVD, double disc DVD and three disc combo DVD/Blu-ray
Price: From £9-£15.93
Running Time: 119/124 mins
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Clark Gregg, John Slattery, Kate Mara, Leslie Bibb, Garry Shandling, Christiane Amanpour
The super hero genre is still going strong and quite rightly with releases like Favreau’s sequel to his first surprisingly entertaining Iron Man Stan Lee comic book adaptation. Full of the same tongue-in-cheek gags and fun-filled action that kept audiences chuckling the first time around, Iron Man 2 follows a disillusioned Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) who’s publicly recognised as Iron Man and is having to fight to keep possession of his suits – the only things keeping him alive while also rather paradoxically gradually killing him.
Action packed from the outset, the film opens with Tony free-falling and then blasting off into a cheesy American flag clad expo, featuring scantily “dressed” dancers in US colours to complement his dramatic entrance. Tony is full of the same feigned arrogance seen first time around, cockily claiming: “I have successfully privatized world peace” but as his blood toxicity levels fluctuate, his behavior becomes more erratic, seen by his hedonistic late grand prix entry, his sudden promotion of Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) to CEO of the Stark family business and characteristic flippant remarks, such as “I want one”, referring to Ms Rushman (Scarlett Johansson).
While he worries about his life, in true comic book style an ex-colleague of his father’s and his nemesis, comes back from the grave through his son seeking revenge. Keen to bring down Iron Man, Mickey Rourke stars as the unrelenting ex-con scientific mastermind – a Jaw’s like villain with predominantly silver teeth.
Other new characters come in the shape of a kick-arse Johansson, complete with black lycra cat suit and swift leg work, taking out an entire corridor of guards in the time it takes Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) to floor one. With her double identity, mysterious personality and quick-witted boss (Samuel L. Jackson), she’s set to either win Tony’s heart or bring him down.
Iron Man 2’s lengthy running time passes unnoticed in action packed sequences and cheeky humour. Although Samuel L Jackson’s character is underdeveloped and explained, Downey Jr’s repeat charismatic performance, the endearing chemistry between Stark and Pepper Potts and scenes like Starks’s party and the dumb-bell fight more than make up for it.
- Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Jon Favreau -
Coulson at the Senate
Natalie Wears the Gauntlet
Element Rediscovered (extended)
- Featurettes -
Creating Stark Expo
Practical Meets Digital
Music Video: AC/DC “Shoot To Thrill”
- Digital Copy
- Feature film with optional commentary by Jon Favreau (HD)
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Data Vault (HD) — Extend your knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with high-level clearance into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s digital data vault. Interact with select scenes from the movie that include new layers of graphics and insider information. View case files, dossiers, S.H.I.E.L.D. training films, tech details and more.
- Previsualization and Animatics (HD)
- Ultimate Iron Man: The Making of Iron Man 2 (HD) – including Rebuilding the Suit, A Return to Action, Expanding the Universe and Building a Legacy.
- Featurettes (HD), including Creating Stark Expo, Practical Meets Digital, Illustrated Origin: Nick Fury, Illustrated Origin: Black Widow, Illustrated Origin: War Machine and Working with DJ AM.
- Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Jon Favreau (HD), including Alternate Opening, Coulson at the Senate, The Sub-Orbital Jet, Tony’s Workshop (extended), Natalie Wears the Gauntlet, Flying Party Girl, Mark II Security and Element Rediscovered (extended).
- Concept Art Gallery
- Theatrical Trailers (HD)
- Music Video: AC/DC “Shoot To Thrill”
By Stephen Bain
The American is a thriller which is low in action yet high in old-fashioned suspense.
George Clooney stars as Jack, an experienced assassin who, following a failed attempt on his life, hides out in the remote Italian town of Abruzzo where he is called up for one last job.
One of the film’s major assets is Clooney himself, who carries the film with grace and style. He has clearly matured as an actor and has become more than just a sex symbol. As he showed recently with Up in the Air, he is capable of playing emotionally rounded characters yet never sacrifices his onscreen charm.
Clooney is not the only positive in the film however. Italian actress Violante Placido as a warm hearted prostitute proves to be an incredibly likeable screen presence as well as immensely beautiful. Her romance with Clooney is genuinely passionate and utterly believable.
Visually the film is superb. As the title suggests the leading American man is the outsider and the location is very much the star. The long-shots of Italy are spectacular and enforce the character’s sense of isolation. Additionally the use of sharp colours during the night-time scenes adds to the tension and atmosphere, particularly within one sequence when Jack is stalked by a would-be assassin along the dark secluded cobble streets. It is perhaps no surprise that director Anton Corbijn is also an accomplished photographer. He clearly revels in his artistry as well as paying homage to other Italian directors like Sergio Leone, director of the spaghetti westerns. This could be considered as pretentious; however the photography never impedes the story – in fact quite the contrary.
As I said in the opening those looking for an action packed adventure may wish to look elsewhere as the pacing is relatively slow. However The American succeeds in being a sophisticated, adult thriller which combines the best in both traditional story-telling and European auteurism.
By Leo Owen
Director: Jonathan Lynn,
Writer: Lucinda Coxon
Running time: 98 minutes
Studio: Entertainment in Video
No of discs: 1
Price: From £9.98-£13.99
Release Date: October 11 2010
Starring: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett, Martin Freeman, Eileen Atkins
The latest British comedy offering from Jonathan Lynn, the Director of The Whole Nine Yards, My Cousin Vinny and Nuns On The Run, is a remake of a 90s’ French flick and stars some of our favourite Brits to combine madcap farce with unexpected romance.
Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) is a 54 year-old professional killer, reared for the job, as a baby with a kitsch wooden gun mobile hanging above his cot and given a Beretta for his 7th Birthday, “the pistol of princes”. As an adult with a dodgy moustache he lives so safely “it’s dangerous”, choosing a solitary life where he eats banquet meals alone surrounded by vacuum packed furniture. His proud mother (Eileen Atkins) gives him an album of cuttings of all of his jobs and is concerned no-one will keep up the family business.
Queue free-spirited, thief and con-artist, Rose (Emily Blunt), Victor’s next assignment, a Wild Target. After a scam involving a ridiculous blonde wig, Rupert Everett and a Rembrandt painting backfires, Rose has several contracts out on her life. The best in his trade, Victor jeopardises his whole way of life after becoming completely enchanted by her bohemian blasé existence when tailing her.
Complete opposites, Victor and Rose form an unlikely bond based on their differences. Rose charms Victor into protecting her from the other hired assassins with her eccentricities and flattery – the fact she has one tooth too many , “What do you weigh” being her pulling line and her comparing him to “a mighty ancient oak”. Equally, Victor’s own peculiarities slowly begin to affect Rose – his acupuncture qualification and watch with a garotte cheese wire pull-out.
As their relationship blossoms, Rupert Grint (Harry Potter) makes an appearance as bumbling natural killer, Tony, looking less ginger: “I didn’t mean to hurt you – it was just good luck.” Present at the first “shoot-out”, Tony joins the duo to form a trio of bickering children and lands a six week hit-man apprenticeship, including a travel card for the Greater London area.
Baddie, Ferguson (Rupert Everett), protects himself with money, hiring others to do his dirty work – he wants to turn his assistant’s life support machine off but won’t because he’s paying him until the end of the month. Martin Freeman is an unmemorable Dixon, Victor’s nemesis and short-lived rival.
Wild Target is a zany comedy that occasionally successfully pokes fun at traditional hit-man gangster heist movies – its literal interpretation of “half now, half later” and the comic timing of the music accompanying Victor’s first appearance interspersed with the amusing addition of a vocal parrot and French language tape. Character relationships are as convincing as the gags but with its heart in the right place and a fair dollop of English charm, Wild Target raises enough laughs.
By Leo Owen
Director: Gary Winick
Writer: Jose Rivera, Tim Sullivan
DVD and Blu-ray release date: October 4 2010
Studio: E1 Entertainment
Number of discs: 1
Price: From £10.99-£14.93
Running Time: 105 mins
Starring: Vanessa Redgrave, Gael García Bernal, Amanda Seyfried, Christopher Egan
The trailers and poster virtually tell you all you need to know about this film, including its conclusion so why rent or buy it? Letters to Juliet is unlikely to attract film geeks, a male audience or more discerning film goers but that said, hardcore romcom fans won’t be disappointed.
Young engaged couple, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and Victor (Gael García Bernal), go to Italy, combining pleasure with business as Victor plans to meet potential suppliers for his soon-to-open restaurant. While sightseeing in Verona, Sophie discovers “Juliet’s secretaries”, so-called because this group of sensitive souls answer love-struck letters left by locals and tourists under Juliet’s balcony.
Helping the loved-up ladies, Sophie discovers a fifty year-old letter from Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) concealed and decides to answer it. Swiftly after sending her reply, Sophie meets Claire and her pompous grandson, Charlie (Christopher Egan), who have come to track down Claire’s first love. Recognising a good story and at a loose end, Sophie tags along, helping their search.
Letters To Juliet stars two equally overbearing and frustrating male lead characters but one couldn’t care less while the other cares too much. Sophie’s fiance, Victor, is more interested in food than her, rarely paying attention to anything she says. He’s more interested in travelling “120 miles to see a mushroom” than sightseeing, something Sophie can’t understand. Eventually they agree to a “win, win” plan, splitting off so Sophie can explore and Victor can visit vineyards, olive oil factories, wine auctions and cheese makers.
Charlie is rude from the outset but is in fact a man with a heart – a lawyer who takes pro-bono cases defending the defenseless and churns out romantic drivel: “You must feel like you’re about to find your long-lost soul mate.” Looking like something from Beverly Hills 90210 and sounding like a toff with his ridiculously over-the-top British accent, Charlie actually hails from Summer Bay, having starred in Home and Away for many years. At times he acts like a petulant child and at others he spouts some of the best lines of the film, describing Claire as “Churchill in a dress” and his feelings about ending his trip: “like a school boy on Sunday”.
Letters To Juliet is nothing new, frankly downright predictable and packed with stinky cliched stilton. Winick actually manages to incorporate a hero riding in at the last moment on a white horse and satisfies viewers with the obligatory balcony scene, Charlie rather obviously hints at earlier in the film. Lines like “Love is never too late” and “I went for a ride an old man but I came back a young man”, are sure to trigger tears of happiness from sentimental hankie-hugging viewers.
The tumultuous relationship between Charlie and Sophie is supposed to be the source of all humour from their opening brisk purposeful strides set to slapstick music – in reality funnier moments stem from the name Lorenzo as Claire bewitches elderly Italian men all over Tuscany. One gentlemen recalls in horror the women he wooed the night Claire met her true love: “I curse her moustache”, while an old dude in speedos sporting a tied up Hawaiian shirt is enough to make Claire contemplate abandoning her mission.
Letters To Juliet is no masterpiece and the ease with which Sophie gets work published in the New Yorker is unrealistic and frustrating but as far as breezy light-hearted summer feel-good films go, it does the job.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- The Making of Letters to Juliet
- Commentary With The Director And Cast
- Featurette: A Courtyard in Verona
By Leo Owen
Director: Jim Field Smith
Writer: Sean Anders, John Morris
DVD and Blu-ray release date: September 27 2010
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
Number of discs: 1
Price: From £12.99-£17.93
Running time DVD and Blu-ray: 100/104 mins
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, T.J.Miller, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence, Krysten Ritter, Lindsay Sloane
Nerdy romcom films are hardly in short supply but the writers of Hot Tub Time Machine somehow manage to inject a fresh perspective into this well-worn genre with She’s Out Of My League.
Kirk snorts when he laughs and isn’t exactly buff with his gangly awkward frame. He’s worked at the local airport ever since his dad got a swimming pool rather than pay his college fees. His vile ex-girlfriend, Marnie, fits in better with his family than he does, practically living at their house with her new meat-head “entrepreneurial” boyfriend, Ron, who runs a pizza shop.
Everything changes for Kirk when he meets Molly at airport security. Molly’s a lawyer who now runs her own entertainment planning business with her best friend, Patty. But most importantly, she is stunning and a “perfect ten”. Kirk’s equation, however looks more like: “5 + 1/2 for being nice + 1/2 for being funny – 1 for his car”. Despite the numbers not adding up, recently hurt, Molly decides to give Kirk a go as a “safe guy”; For the rest of the film Kirk’s mind “boggles”.
A relatively unknown cast, charming characters and engaging script, give She’s Out Of My League an 80s’ feel. Kirk’s best friends, Stainer and Devon, are both well-written and even Molly is surprisingly likeable, despite her perfection. By far the favourite is the Disney-fixated Devon – an entirely endearing hopeless romantic who is married himself and sees life as a potential fairytale: “Let’s go on a magic carpet ride” he says, referring to Kirk’s first re-meeting of Molly. His ever-cheesy character delivers the main moral of our 80s’ fairytale: “If someone really loves you then you are a 10.”
She’s Out Of My League not only hits the spot in terms of romance but the mismatched pairing of Molly and Kirk leads to a fair amount of farcical comedy – their first date is almost disastrous when Kirk wears identical jackets to the restaurant waiters, the scene where Devon really goes that extra mile for a friend, when Steiner’s band, “Adult Education”, perform and the final airport showdown where Kirk’s whole family sport revolting matching “Branson Bound!” sweaters.
She’s Out Of My League is a truly promising feel-good first feature from new Director, Jim Field Smith, and worth the time for exposure to a talented unfamiliar cast, and catchy new blend – the moodle…
- Deleted Scenes.
- Blooper Reel.
- Extended Ending.
- Devon’s Dating Show – A Hilarious “Dos and Don’ts”.
- Commentary By Director, Jim Field Smith.
By Leo Owen
Director: Mike Newell
Writer: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro
Running time: 116 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
No of discs: 1
Price: From £12.93-£16.79
Release Date: September 13 2010
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint, Tobu Kebbell
Doe-eyed Gyllenhaal once type-cast as the “sensitive type” attempts to re-brand himself through action flick Prince of Persia, based on the legendary computer game.
A brotherly power struggle underpins the plot as adopted Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) finds himself defending his honour after being accused of murdering his father with a poisoned robe. Dastan discovers his reputation isn’t the only thing that needs protecting when he meets wronged Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) and her unusual sword.
Despite Gyllenhaal’s well-documented pre-Prince body pumping, the ridiculously gruff voices of Gyllenhaal’s chivalrous brothers make him sound almost effeminate and his delivery of terrible eye-rolling gags falls flat. His on-screen relationship with growing love-interest Tamina at least has an Indiana Jones style charm about it.
As always Ben Kingsley shines as the scheming growling villain, Nizam, but it is Alfred Molina’s appearance as Sheik Amar in the Valley of the Slaves that sticks. Playing a self-described “slightly dishonourable entrepreneur”, Amar’s creation of the terrifying Valley of Slaves myth in order to create a tax-free area with black-market ostrich racing every Tuesday and Thursday is ingenious. His devotion to the ostriches, describing them as having suicidal tendencies and how he has “to watch [his favourite] night and day to make sure that she doesn’t do anything stupid” is both endearing and comical.
Full of lots of roof-top running and leaping like the original computer game and slowed-down action shots of a nimble footed beefed-up Gyllenhaal drawing swords, Prince of Persia enjoyably fulfils everything you’d expect of a high adrenaline big budget action film – cliched lines like “you know what they say about men with big swords”, melodrama (“If the glass shatters, the world dies with it”), comical farcical villain-hero scenarios (“Next time…”) and romance (“It is said some lives are linked across time connected by an ancient calling”).
DVD bonus feature: An Unseen World – Making The Prince of Persia.
1-Disc blu-ray bonus feature: The above DVD bonus plus Deleted Scenes – The Banquet: Garsiv Presents Heads.
3-Disc combo pack bonus features: All of the above DVD and Blu-ray bonus features plus CineExplore: The Sands of Time – Take control of the dagger and use it to unlock secrets behind your favourite scenes; turn back time and uncover over 40 spellbinding segments – including “Walking Up Walls,” “Filming in Morocco”, and “Ostrich Jockey Tryouts”.