September DVD reviews

Peter Guttridge


Wild Target (aka Cible Emouvante)

Director/Writer: Pierre Salvadori
Featuring: Jean Rochefort, Guillaume Depardieu, Marie Trintignant.

The lugubrious Jean Rochefort has always been able to make a lot from a little with his deadpan comic performances and here he excels as the hitman who becomes a bodyguard to protect one of his intended victims. Marie Trintignant is suitably kooky as the eccentric art forger and kleptomaniac. Depardieu (son of Gerard so the French equivalent of Jason Connery) is, as usual, a blank-faced disappointment. Rochefort, however, carries the film and transforms several mundane scenes into comic gold. Better than the British remake (see film reviews), though Bill Nighy in the same role is equally good.



From Paris With Love

Director: Pierre Morel

Featuring: John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

This film has a reasonable pedigree – written by Luc “Leon” Besson, directed by the director of the efficient if ludicrous Liam Neeson actioner “Taken” – and if you like the “Transporter” films you’ll find this a hectically efficient way of spending a couple of bangs-for-your-buck hours. Travolta is the idiosyncratic CIA agent (effectively reprising his role in “Swordfish” though he’s ditched the pony tail for the shaved head look) helping US government employee Meyers foil a terrorist plot in Paris. A lot of things blow up, a lot of cars get wrecked in screechy car chases, a swaggering Travolta wisecracks between firing rocket launchers. Leave your brain at home and you’ll have fun.



Antonio das Mortes (1969)

Director: Glauber Rocha
Featuring: Mauricio do Valle, Odete Lara, Hugo Carvane.

“Deadly Antonio” was a hit man for hire in Rocha’s 1964 “Black God, White Devil”. In the 1968 sequel the “cangaceiro killer” (cangaceiro were rural bandits) he takes centre stage, though he still remains enigmatic.
Rocha was the leading light of the Brazilian Cinema Nuovo so whilst this has a strong central idea – Antonio sides with peasants against brutal landlords – it’s avant-garde filming style does not make for a straightforward narrative. A theatre group enacts many of the scenes in a stylised way. Some characters are emblematic or allegorical. There is dance and music. The inspiration is the legend of St George and the Dragon.
The film has been compared to an epic poem and there are some epic shots of mountains and plains. Influential in its day, it now seems very much of its time. Worth watching though.










Director: Atom Egoyan
Featuring: Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried

Armenian-Canadian indie director’s remake of 2004 French film “Nathalie” has an ingenious premise: Gynaecologist Julianne Moore suspects Liam Neeson’s music professor husband of infidelity so hires prostitute Seyfried to prove or disprove her worries. That’s right up Egoyan’s street as many of his films deal with voyeurism and the first half of this film explores Moore’s erotic interest in what the prostitute and her husband have been up to.
In the second half the film turns into a bunny-boiler thriller and that doesn’t work quite so well. Egoyan has attempted mainstream thrillers before – Where The Truth Lies, starring Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon is an underrated success – but here as a gun-for-hire he seems to be going through rather trite motions.
Indie directors can regenerate mainstream movies – look at Paul Greengrass and the Bourne films – but Egoyan’s heart just doesn’t seem to be in it.


Previously reviewed now on DVD & Blu-Ray


Green Zone

Director: Paul Greengrass

Featuring:  Matt Damon


Scripted by Brian Helgeland, this account of a failed search for the non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction reminded me of “All The President’s Men” on its initial release.  Both films succeed as thrillers even though we know the outcome from the outset.  Greengrass has proved in the Bourne films that he is unrivalled at action scenes but he also proved in “United 93” he can do talk too.  The jewel among the extras here is the commentary from Damon and Greengrass both over the film and a few deleted scenes.


The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Director: Arden Oplev

Featuring:  Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace


David Fincher is directing the Hollywood version with Brit Carey Mulligan as the eponymous Girl but this film is far superior to its source material.  “The Girl Who Played With Fire” is out in US cinemas and there’s a trailer for it in the extras here, which otherwise is the usual interviews and photos job.


Shutter Island

Director:  Martin Scorsese

Featuring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams.


Horror movie set in a 1954 loony-bin on a fog-shrouded island – count me in.  Because the narrative is so tricksy this film rewards reviewing anyway so the DVD purchase is a must.  Couple of good documentaries on the Extras – but, spoiler alert, DON”T watch them until you’ve seen the film.



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