A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases.
By Damon Smith
New to rent on DVD/Blu-ray
The Wedding Video (Cert 15, 90 mins, Entertainment In Video, Comedy/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)
Starring: Rufus Hound, Robert Webb, Lucy Punch, Harriet Walter, Miriam Margolyes.
Shambolic oaf Raif (Rufus Hound) decides to make a video of his estranged brother's forthcoming nuptials as a present to the bride and groom. So the laconic best man turns up with camera in hand at the door of his brother Tim (Robert Webb), determined to immortalise every aspect of the preparations. The first surprise comes when Raif learns that Tim is engaged to Saskia (Lucy Punch), a booze-swigging wild child who was the scourge of their school days. Saskia has been polished into a refined lady by her well-to-do mother, Alex (Harriet Walter), a doyenne of the Cheshire social set. As Raif spends more time with the soon-to-wed couple, he glimpses tiny cracks in the romance. The Wedding Video is an uproarious comedy of appalling manners glimpsed through the lens of the best man's omnipresent camera. Nigel Cole's film amuses and charms in equal measure, relying on the excellent comic timing of the ensemble cast. Despite assurances to the groom that there will be "no swearing and no nudity", Hound dances naked on a river bank, cusses like a trooper and gets very friendly with an expensive throw rug. He's an appealing narrator, who responds to one girl's compliment that he is a good listener by confiding, "Compassion is nature's way of helping ugly men find a partner." Webb and Punch are well matched as the happy couple and Walter purses her lips with gusto as her matriarch heaps extravagance upon garish finishing touches. Scriptwriter Tim Firth, who penned Calendar Girls, spares the characters few blushes as excitement and expectation turns to anguish and despair.
Take This Waltz (Cert 15, 111 mins, Studio Canal, Drama/Romance, also available to buy DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £22.99)
Starring: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman.
Love is unpredictable, volatile and can vanish into the ether without reason. Freelance writer Margot (Michelle Williams) meets Daniel (Luke Kirby) on assignment and they enjoy a mild flirtation, which turns to acute embarrassment when Margot discovers Daniel is a neighbour back home in suburban Toronto. Marital malaise with chef husband Lou (Seth Rogen), who is hopelessly absorbed in creating recipes for a chicken cookbook, sparks potential adultery, played out as a series of erotically charged encounters. Meanwhile, Margot's sister-in-law, Geraldine (Sarah Silverman), wrestles with the demons of alcoholism, increasing the tension between husband and wife. Take This Waltz is an intelligent and moving portrait of a marriage in crisis, told from the perspective of a wife faced with the temptation of an extra-marital affair. Writer-director Sarah Polley builds tension gradually as Margot ricochets between her loveable oaf spouse and alluring admirer, anchored by another mesmerising performance from Williams, who bares everything for her art. In a rare dramatic role, Rogen doesn't quite have the necessary acting chops but there's a lovely on-screen rapport with his leading lady. Kirby gels with Williams too and he sparks a memorable seduction scene in which Margot and Daniel verbally ravish each other without making physical contact. Polley relies largely on dialogue to expose her characters' emotions but occasionally she dazzles with directorial brio, such as a memorable scene on a waltzer to the thumping disco beat of The Buggles' infectious Video Killed The Radio Star.
The Imposter (Cert 15, 111 mins, Revolver Entertainment, Documentary/Drama, also available to buy DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £22.99 - see below)
Jackpot (Cert 15, 82 mins, Metrodome Distribution, Thriller/Action/Comedy, also available to buy DVD £15.99 - see below)
The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane (Cert 15, 139 mins, Eagle Rock Entertainment, Documentary/Musical, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99 - see below)
When The Lights Went Out (Cert 15, 84 mins, Revolver Entertainment, Horror/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £17.99 - see below)
New to buy on DVD/Blu-ray
Call The Midwife - Christmas Special (Cert PG, 74 mins, BBC DVD, DVD £12.99, Drama)
Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart, Jenny Agutter and Pam Ferris star in a festive edition of the popular BBC One drama, which was broadcast on Christmas Day. The midwives of Nonnatus House in Poplar are preparing for Yuletide but everything is thrown into disarray when an abandoned baby is discovered on the steps of the convent. The community comes together to trace the infant's mother. Meanwhile, Chummy (Hart) masterminds the children's nativity play and nurse Jenny Lee (Raine) attempts to unravel the mystery of a vagrant local woman.
A Young Doctor's Notebook (Cert 15, 92 mins, 2entertain, DVD £19.99, Comedy/Drama)
Based on the autobiographical short stories of Mikhail Bulgakov, this four-part comedy drama chronicles the misadventures of a young medic in the village of Muryovo on the eve of the Russian Revolution. Bulgakov (Jon Hamm) sits forlornly in his Moscow apartment and thinks back to happier days when as a medical graduate (now played by Daniel Radcliffe) he attempted to care for his deeply superstitious and poorly educated patients while battling personal demons and his own questionable competence.
The Imposter (Cert 15, 111 mins, Revolver Entertainment, DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £22.99, Documentary/Drama)
Bart Layton directs this gripping documentary about a con man who wormed his way into the lives of a vulnerable family from Texas. In 1994, 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay vanished without trace from his home, leaving his family with myriad unanswered questions. Years later, they received a telephone call from Spain, informing them that the boy had been found safe and well in a care home, clearly traumatised by his ordeal. Nicholas's sister Carey flew to Spain where she was greeted by a shy, reticent teenager with dyed blonde hair and brown eyes - a world away from the blonde, blue-eyed teenager who had been the apple of her eye. Yet Carey accepted the man as Nicholas, taking him back to Texas where the rest of the clan welcomed Nicholas with open arms, ignoring the fact that the man was in fact 23-year-old impostor Frederic Bourdin. This documentary sheds light on an incredible case and asks why the family embraced a stranger with a foreign accent like a son.
When The Lights Went Out (Cert 15, 84 mins, Revolver Entertainment, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £17.99, Horror/Thriller)
Pat Holden directs this disturbing true story of a 1970s Yorkshire family whose lives were almost shattered by a malevolent spirit. Len (Steven Waddington) and his wife Jenny (Kate Ashfield) move into a council home with their teenage daughter Sally (Tasha Connor), hoping the move will provide some stability to their fractured family. They celebrate new beginnings with best friends Brian (Craig Parkinson) and Rita (Andrea Lowe), who glimpses a figure in the upstairs bedroom, but convinces herself that she must have seen a harmless shadow. Within a few days of moving in, strange noises wake Sally from her sleep and she comes under attack from a dark force in the house. Unable to tell her parents, the teenager suffers in silence and her obvious distress arouses the suspicions of schoolteacher Mr Price (Martin Compston). As the ghost's grip tightens on the household, Len and Jenny turn in desperation to local priest Father Clifton (Gary Lewis), hoping his divine intervention might banish the evil.
Jackpot (Cert 15, 82 mins, Metrodome Distribution, DVD £15.99, Thriller/Action/Comedy)
Based on the book by Jo Nesbo, Jackpot is a serpentine and darkly humorous thriller about a lottery win gone bad, written and directed for the screen by Magnus Martens. Inspector Solor (Henrik Mestad) attends a scene of crime at a strip bar, where eight blood-spattered bodies have been discovered after a shootout. As he prowls the premises, Solor is stunned to discover one of the bodies is alive and when survivor Oscar Svendsen (Kyrre Hellum) goes on the run, the inspector is certain that he has found his killer. Having apprehended Oscar, Solor sits in stunned silence as the plant supervisor reveals how he and three work colleagues - Billy (Arthur Berning), Dan (Andreas Cappelen) and Tor (Mads Ousdal) - won more than one million krone on the football pools, and how this glorious windfall led to carnage on a grand scale across the previously sleepy Norwegian town.
The Girl (Cert 15, 87 mins, Acorn Media, DVD £17.99, Drama/Romance)
Toby Jones and Sienna Miller headline this drama based on the real-life relationship between director Alfred Hitchcock and actress Tippi Hedren, which was broadcast on Boxing Day on BBC Two. At the height of his powers in 1962, Hitchcock (Jones) is poised to make his film The Birds and he chooses unknown fashion model Hedren (Miller) as his heroine. Despite the constant presence of his scriptwriter wife, Alma Reville (Imelda Staunton), Alfred becomes obsessed with his leading lady and sets out to win her love for real, creating friction on and off the set.
Doctor Who: The Legacy Collection (Cert PG, 150 mins, BBC DVD, DVD £24.99, Sci-Fi/Drama/Documentary)
Tom Baker plays the Doctor in a previously unaired storyline from the 1980 season, which was disrupted by a strike at the BBC. Shada is a far-off planet which the Time Lords built as a prison for megalomaniacs who pose a threat to the universe. Skagra (Christopher Neame) hopes to seize power but needs to locate Shada to realise his diabolical scheme. Cambridge professor Chronotis (Denis Carey), who is a retired Time Lord, is one of the few people to know the location of the planet. Skagra hopes to extract this vital data from the professor but he is thwarted by the Doctor and trusty companion Romana (Lalla Ward). The three-disc set also includes the 1993 documentary More Than 30 Years In The Tardis, which goes behind the scenes of the show.
The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane (Cert 15, 139 mins, Eagle Rock Entertainment, DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Documentary/Musical)
Formed in London in 1962, The Rolling Stones have conquered the world, epitomising the rock 'n' roll lifestyle with their tabloid-baiting antics on and off the stage. Academy Award-nominated director Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays In the Picture) celebrates 50 years in the media spotlight with a documentary tribute to the band, using classic tracks from the back catalogue to convey the history of the Stones from the early years of screaming fans, through Brian Jones's death, to modern times as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood tour to hordes around the globe. Morgen's valentine to the veterans of the British music scene received its world premiere at the 2012 BFI London Film Festival and now struts on to the home formats.
Midsomer Murders - Series 15: Written In The Stars (Cert 12, 88 mins, Acorn Media, DVD £17.99, Drama/Thriller)
Death stalks the pretty countryside and DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) and his trusty assistant DS Ben Jones (Jason Hughes) must follow the clues to unmask the culprit. In this feature-length investigation, amateur astronomer Jeremy Harper (Tim Wallers) is killed in Midsomer Stanton by a falling meteorite during a total eclipse of the sun. By interviewing the suspicious residents, Barnaby and Jones uncover a web of intrigue, betrayal and sexual tension that throws new light on the case and exposes the bitter rivalries at the heart of the local stargazing community.
Back From Hell (Cert 15, 95 mins, Metrodome Distribution, DVD £15.99, Horror/Thriller)
Leonardo Araneo writes and directs this supernatural horror about a group of friends who get much more than they bargained for during their annual holiday. George (Roberto Zibetti) and his mates embark on their yearly getaway, heading for a spooky, isolated monastery managed by Father Elia (Giovanni Guidelli). On the first night, George decides to dabble with a Ouija board and unleashes an ancient evil. George's friend Alex (Marco Vannini Gandolfi) tries everything to banish the dark spirit but eventually the pals turn to Father Elia and implore the priest to perform an exorcism.
Piranhaconda (Cert 15, 88 mins, Chelsea Films, DVD £12.99, Horror/Thriller/Action)
In this made-for-TV horror, a hybrid monster terrorises the unsuspecting residents of Hawaii. Script supervisor Rose (Terri Ivens), stunt man Jack (Rib Hillis) and actress Kimmy (Shandi Finnessey) are in the tropical paradise making a B-movie when funding for the project is unexpectedly withdrawn. The film-makers abandon the shoot but fall foul of kidnappers who intend to hold the Americans hostage for a sizeable ransom. Unfortunately, a man-eating snake with the head of a voracious fish is tracking both teams and begins to pick off its tasty human prey. The only person equipped to stop the monstrosity is Professor Lovegrove (Michael Madsen).
Formula 1: 2012 Season Review (Cert E, 300 mins, Metrodome Distribution, DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99, Special Interest)
Relive the thrills and spills of last year's Formula One World Championship, which saw German driver Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull retain his title in the face of stiff competition from Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari. This two-disc set comprises highlights of each round including on-board camera laps with driver commentary, plus previously unseen footage and interviews from the drivers and crew.
Angelina Ballerina: The Ice Ballet (Cert U, 69 mins, HIT Entertainment, DVD £12.99, Children/Animation)
The eponymous mouse (voiced by Finty Williams) pursues her dream of becoming a successful ballerina in five episodes of the animated series. On this DVD, Angelina practises for a her solo in a big show at Camembert Academy but her skates go missing, AJ hopes to emulate his grandfather to perform a "Cheese Roll" and the plucky heroine discovers that success is so much sweeter when she shares it with Alice and all of their Mouseling friends.
:: Please note the DVD rental and retail charts were not available at time of transmission. The updated information will be sent as soon as possible