DVD & Blu-ray reviews: Inside Llewyn Davis, Stranger by the Lake, August: Osage County, I, Frankenstein, Hinterland

 

Inside Llewyn Davis (15) Joel and Ethan Coen DVD/Blu-ray (105mins)

The Coen brothers are masters at the very un-American (and very non-Oscar-attracting) topic of failure, and this could be the finest, funniest stab at the theme yet (above). Oscar Isaac excels as Llewyn Davis, a prickly, struggling folk artist in Greenwich Village in 1961, whose songs are good but not quite current enough. More crucially, this unapologetic individual has made his pal’s girlfriend, Jean (Carey Mulligan), pregnant and lost the Gorfeins’ cat. There’s so much pleasure to be found here: every shot resembles a classic vinyl cover, and the folk numbers nimbly mix heartache and humour.

*****

Stranger by the Lake (18) Alain Guiraudie DVD/Blu-ray (100mins)

“It’s typical, the guys I like are always taken,” bemoans Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) to lonely, plump Henri (Patrick d’Assumçao) on a beach where gay men go to cruise. The wiry hunk does get lucky, only to witness a murder by drowning a little later. Does he tell the police? Nope, the rather dense Franck gets involved with the suspect, moustachioed Michel (Christophe Paou). Everyone warns him Michel is a creep, but Franck ignores them in this tense, explicit, slightly maddening and bold erotic thriller, all set at the beach.

****

August: Osage County (15) John Wells DVD/Blu-ray (121mins)

“Thank God we can’t tell the future, we’d never get out of bed,” maintains Julia Roberts, the best thing about this overwrought family drama set in rural Oklahoma. She plays one of three daughters to Meryl Streep’s unhinged matriarch, whose alcoholic husband (Sam Shepard) has taken his own life. The centrepiece of a stagey (adapted from Tracy Letts’s award-winning play) film is a wake from hell, where Streep insults everyone. It’s the best and most excruciating scene  – you’re willing Roberts’s Barbara to lunge at her mother.

***

I, Frankenstein (12) Stuart Beattie DVD/Blu-ray (92mins)

Frankenstein’s back and he’s, like, a totally ripped demon hunter in this wretched, CGI-riddled fantasy, based on Kevin Grevioux’s graphic novel. Aaron Eckhart and his mighty chin plays the spruced-up monster (now called Adam), Miranda Otto wafts around as the “High Queen of the Gargoyles” (which she utters, admirably, with a straight face) and Bill Nighy phones it in as a demon.

*

Hinterland: Series 1 (15) various directors DVD/Blu-ray (383mins)

“It might be just another wild bath night in Aberystwyth, but I doubt it,” quips DCI Tom Mathias (Richard Harrington) at a grisly murder scene. Thankfully, there is some black humour with the bleakness in this compelling “Welsh noir” series, clearly influenced by Wallander. Mathias has been transferred from the London Met to a close-knit community where the elderly are bludgeoned and young men are dumped in quarry lakes. Harrington  is suitably intense in an atmospheric four-parter.

****

Arts and Entertainment
Reach for the sky: there are around 250 new buildings of 20-plus storeys planned for London alone, some 80 per cent of them residential
architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
television
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
filmReview: The ingenious film will intrigue, puzzle and trouble audiences by turns
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Gravelle on trial for Danny Latimer's murder as Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

Review: Broadchurch episode 7

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Barry Norman has predicted a Best Actor win for Michael Keaton at this Sunday's awards

oscars
Arts and Entertainment
The right stuff: 'Ukip: the First 100 Days'

Review: UKIP: The First 100 Days TV
Arts and Entertainment
Anastasia Steele with Christian Grey in his offices in Fifty Shades of Grey

film
Arts and Entertainment
Class act: Julia McKenzie and Keeley Hawes in 'The Casual Vacancy'

JK Rowling's story is a far better drama than it is a book

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Channel 4's Indian Summers

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The BBC's version of 'The Crimson Petal and the White'

Books

Arts and Entertainment
We will remember them: 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' at the Tower of London

Art Police investigate abuse sent to Paul Cummins over Tower of London installation

Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman was named worst actress for her performance as Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco
film
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game; the film’s producer, Harvey Weinstein, said the UK government ought to honour its subject
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower