DVD & Blu-Ray reviews: Nebraska, Fargo, Powder Room, Oldboy, Moshi Monsters

 

Nebraska (15) Alexander Payne DVD/Blu-ray (115mins)

Truly great Hollywood actors are usually granted a “one last hurrah” film and this affecting comedy feels like Bruce Dern’s. He plays Woody, an ornery septuagenarian who receives junk mail from a marketing company informing him he’s won a million dollars. Cue a road trip to Nebraska with his glum son (Will Forte, above, with Dern) to recoup his non-existent winnings. When the pair stop off in Woody’s hometown we begin to realise why the old man is so embittered. Nebraska is a return to form for Alexander Payne after the soapy The Descendants. The film-maker is back doing what he does best, ie road trips involving dysfunctional men (also see Sideways and About Schmidt). A hangdog Dern is excellent, with June Squibb, as his stoical wife, equally impressive.

****

Fargo (18) Joel Coen Blu-ray (94mins)

“There’s more to life than a little money you know,” laments Marge (an Oscar-winning Frances McDormand), a seven-months pregnant cop surveying the bloody chaos at the end of the Coens’ 1996 masterpiece. William H Macy’s debt-ridden car salesman figures he can recoup his losses by hiring two scumbags (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to abduct his wife. The flawed scheme quickly unravels. Fargo, which is as funny as it is brutal, has two towering performances from McDormand and Macy. And for anyone who accuses the Coen brothers of making heartless movies, well, Marge and her husband, Norm, are all heart.

*****

Powder Room (15) MK Delaney DVD/Blu-ray (86mins)

There’s a handful of actors who improve whatever they’re in, however rubbish it is, by their presence. Sheridan Smith is one of them and she single-handedly rescues this flimsy drama about a night out at a crummy Croydon club, most of which takes places in the women’s lav. She plays a depressed twenty-something who tries and fails to impress her snooty pal (Kate Nash) while alienating her down-to-earth best friend (Jaime Winstone). It’s pretty simplistic and more suitable as a telly drama, but Smith keeps you watching.

**

Oldboy (18) Spike Lee DVD/Blu-ray (104mins)

Park Chan Wook’s revenge thriller Oldboy, from 2003, was a deranged, bottom-kicking, octopus-nibbling delight. Spike Lee’s totally unnecessary remake is a limp, sullen affair by comparison. Josh Brolin’s antihero has been inexplicably banged up in a room for 20 years and is perfectly livid when he breaks free. Lee does a decent job of replicating the notorious dust-up in the hallway, but other than that this is a waste of everyone’s time.

**

Moshi Monsters (U) Giles Healy, Jocelyn Stevenson DVD/Blu-ray (81mins)

A charmless, garish and migraine-inducing animation, based on the equally irritating virtual pet monster game.

*

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