Monday 30 November 2015

Home Comforts: The best in TV, DVD, Blu-ray and VOD (Monday, November 30 - Sunday, December 6)

10 films worth checking out this week in a variety of formats...

1. Edward Scissorhands 25th Anniversary Edition 
Johnny Depp's first - and perhaps best - collaboration with director Tim Burton is a clever fairytale twist on Frankenstein. When his creator (Vincent Price) dies, Edward (Depp) is not only left completely alone, he also lacks a pair of human hands. Despite the fact he has a veritable arsenal of insanely sharp stuff on the end of his arms, Edward is taken in by kindly Avon lady Peg (Dianne Wiest), and her daughter Kim (Winona Ryder). This special anniversary edition boasts a snazzy new 1080p version of the film.

2. Listen To Me Marlon 
(DVD, Blu-ray and VOD)
Extraordinary documentary based around hours of previously unheard audio recorded by Marlon Brando (On The WaterfrontThe Godfather) over the course of his life. Stevan Riley's film offers a unique and fascinating insight into the life of a true Hollywood great.

3. The Jungle Book 
(Sunday, 17:25, Channel 4)
Apparently this is the first time Disney's much-celebrated adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling novel has been shown on network TV in the UK, which is crazy if true. Made in 1968, it tells the story of Mowgli, a young boy raised by wolves who has no desire to return to his own kind in the 'man village'. Mowgli's pals - Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther - try to make the boy realise he's in danger from the man-hating tiger Shere Khan. The film's wonderful songs are, of course, the main reason to watch (see below).

4. Reservoir Dogs 
(Saturday, 00:00, Channel 5)
Quentin Tarantino's visceral heist-gone-wrong thriller was like a punk-rock thunderbolt when it hit cinemas for the first time in 1992 - it was cool, violent, funny, endlessly quotable, boasted a terrific soundtrack, and included one of modern cinema's most memorable and stomach churning scenes (you know the one). Reservoir Dogs has not only stood the test of time, it also provides a useful reminder that Tarantino once made films under three hours long that were disciplined and sharp rather than sprawling and baggy. Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth and Harvey Keitel star.

5. All About Them 
(Curzon Home Cinema, available now)
Slight but enjoyable love triangle dramedy starring the excellent Anaïs Demoustier (The New Girlfriend). Her character Mélodie is having an affair with both Micha (Félix Moati) and his girlfriend Charlotte (Sophie Verbeeck) in a funny farce that couldn't be more French if it tried. Also in cinemas

6. Black Swan 
(Friday, 01:05, Channel 4)
Ballerina Natalie Portman (Thor) goes to a very dark place indeed as she faces off against rival Mila Kunis (Jupiter Ascending) for the starring role in Swan Lake. Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller is a heady fever dream of lost innocence and crazed obsession. Portman and Kunis haven't had better roles before or since.  

7. The Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans 
(Thursday, 23:00, Spike)
A remake/sequel/companion piece (who knows?) to Abel Ferrara's original Bad Lieutenant film from 1992 which starred Harvey Keitel. This time, Nicolas Cage (Face/Off) is the titular lieutenant investigating the murder of five Senegalese immigrants in post-Katrina New Orleans. Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man) directs.

8. Se7en 
(Amazon Prime Video, from Thursday)
David Fincher's horror classic starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey and Gwyneth Paltrow. Pitt and Freeman are detectives on the trail of a serial killer who murders his victims using intricate methods inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins - Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Voting Tory, and Buying The New Adele Album.

9. Bedknobs And Broomsticks 
(Amazon Prime Video/Netflix, from Friday)
If you can stomach the three terrible child actors, Disney's post-Mary Poppins mix of live action and animation is great fun, especially the football match between two teams of talking animals on the isle of Naboombu. Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson star.

10. Still Alice 
(Netflix, from Friday)
Julianne Moore deservedly won an Oscar for her portrayal of a language professor fighting a losing battle against early onset Alzheimer's, but Kristen Stewart (as Moore's daughter) and Alec Baldwin (as her husband) are both excellent too. A powerful but soberly presented film that sidesteps melodrama and histrionics to cut to the very heart of what dementia sufferers - and their families - have to endure.

And one to avoid...
Taken 3
(from Friday, 16:15 and 20:00, Sky Movies Premiere)
"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have... hang on, haven't we already had this conversation, like, twice before?"

Please note: Films starting after midnight are always considered part of the previous day's schedule, e.g. Black Swan begins at 01:05 - technically Saturday morning - but is still part of Friday's listings. All times in 24-hour clock.

**Coming soon: 
My top 30 films of the year... look for it right 
here towards the end of December**


  1. That can't be right about The Jungle Book. I'm sure I saw it long after it was in cinemas and long before I had access to videos or satellite TV.

  2. I saw the trailer for it a few times on Channel 4 last Sunday and I'm sure it said 'For the first time on network TV' or something similar. Of course, I haven't seen it again to be able to double check.

  3. Yep, according to the announcer on C4 this afternoon, definitely the first time on network TV. Amazed that is the case.