DVD & Blu-ray reviews: Cutie and the Boxer, Prisoners, Last Passenger, Sbout Time, Girl Most Likely

 

Cutie and the Boxer (E) Zachary Heinzerling, DVD (82mins)

An enchanting portrait of living – and putting up – with an artist, in this case with the Japanese expressionist Ushio Shinohara, an impudent 80-year-old who pummels canvasses with paint-splattered boxing gloves. The star, though, is Noriko, Ushio’s stoical wife (of 40 years) and “assistant”, who has been lumped with the practicalities of paying the bills in New York. That is, until she steals the limelight. The couple’s combative relationship is full of wit (“Don’t get mugged on the way home”) and deep affection.

****

Prisoners (15) Denis Villeneuve, DVD/Blu-ray (153mins)

Denis Villeneuve’s overlong thriller is often a tough watch but it’s redeemed by deft direction and Jake Gyllenhaal’s sheer likeability. Here, he stars as a particularly dogged detective searching for two girls who were abducted in broad daylight. The father (Hugh Jackman) of one of the girls has convinced himself that Paul Dano’s loner, who has the mental age of a 10-year-old, is responsible, so to that end he chains him to a wall and tortures him until he confesses. Tense, gripping and surprisingly brutal for a mainstream US film.

****

Last Passenger (15) Omid Nooshin, DVD/Blu-ray (96mins)

Dougray Scott plays an exhausted doctor travelling home to Kent with his excitable young son after taking him to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The first half-an-hour of this admirably still movie is good at capturing the misery of late-night travel, before matters take a sinister turn: the train isn’t stopping to let anyone off and there appears to be a lunatic at the controls. A decent British thriller, which is about as rare as a red-crested tree rat, with a touch of Hitchcock about it.

***

About Time (12) Richard Curtis, DVD/Blu-ray (118mins)

Richard Curtis, who disastrously navigated The Boat That Rocked, unwisely helms this creepy, cynical romantic comedy about a young man (Domhnall Gleeson impersonating Hugh Grant) who discovers he can time travel, like his father (Bill Nighy), and uses his skill to woo a publishing assistant (Rachel McAdams, presumably cast because she was in The Time Traveller’s Wife and Midnight in Paris. She knows her time travel). About Time has nothing funny or original to say about relationships, and the time-travel element is lazy.

*

Girl Most Likely (12) Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini. DVD/Blu-ray (103mins)

Girl Most Likely received a mauling on its cinema release, but there’s something endearing about its untidiness and in Kristen Wiig it has a dexterous comic talent. The Bridesmaids star plays a failed playwright who, after being ditched by her vile boyfriend, is forced to leave New York and return to Atlantic City to live with her potty mum (Annette Bening) and her shifty boyfriend (Matt Dillon). Once home, of course, she becomes less shallow. It’s a hackneyed comedy but the cast are likeable and there’s the occasional inspired moment.

***

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