DVD and Blu-ray film reviews: From The Boxtrolls to Jimi: All is by My Side

The Boxtrolls (above) is technically impressive but difficult to love

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The Independent Culture

The Boxtrolls (PG) Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi DVD/Blu-ray (96mins)

Animation studio Laika specialises in creepy animations about outsiders who defy the “mob mentality”. In this case it’s Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright), who has been brought up by a community of jolly Boxtrolls living under the streets of Cheesebridge, a malign place run by a cheese-fixated bore (Jared Harris) and terrorised by Boxtroll-hating pest controller Mr Snatcher (Ben Kingsley, channelling Chitty’s Child Catcher). The Boxtrolls  is technically impressive, and in places rather gruesome (my five-year-old daughter was petrified), but difficult to love.

***

Jimi: All is by My Side (15) John Ridley DVD/Blu-ray (118mins)

John Ridley’s downbeat, low-key Jimi Hendrix biopic made little inroads in cinemas, but it’s an absorbing experience, with two excellent performances from Outkast’s André Benjamin as the guitar maestro and Imogen Poots as his champion Linda Keith, Keith Richards’s girlfriend at the time. All Is by My Side was denied the rights to include  any songs written by Hendrix, but it nimbly skirts around the issue in depicting the rise of the Seattle musician in London, under the guidance of Chas Chandler of the Animals. An undemonstrative, underappreciated drama.

****

Dinosaur 13 (E) Todd Douglas Miller DVD/Blu-ray (94mins)

“It was the most exciting, most wonderful excavation we have ever done,” maintains Neal L Larson, in his Indiana Jones-style Stetson, about unearthing a complete T-Rex (which they named Sue) in South Dakota in 1990. It was a giddy discovery for Larson’s palaeontologists, who chipped away at the beast for two years to restore it before “all hell broke loose”. The FBI came in to seize Sue, claiming it was taken from federal land. Legal wranglings and imprisonment ensued. An affecting, rather shocking documentary.

***

The Equalizer (15) Antoine Fuqua DVD/Blu-ray (132mins)

The first 20 or so minutes of this violent tosh is quite restrained, with Denzel Washington’s humble DIY store worker, Robert, handing out dietary advice to a budding security guard and spiritual claptrap to a prostitute, Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), in a 24-hour diner. But then Russian gangsters beat up Teri and steely-eyed Robert, who is clearly a former CIA agent, takes out a legion of hoodlums. Washington is far too good for this corny actioner.

**

The Last Seduction (18) John Dahl Blu-ray (105mins)

“Bending the rules, playing with people’s brains.” Bridget (Linda Fiorentino) explains her “hobby” to her gormless boyfriend, Mike (Peter Berg). Bridget steals $700,000 from her drug-dealing husband (a manic Bill Pullman) and flees to a small-town in Buffalo, where the ice maiden (“Anybody checked you for a heartbeat recently?,” asks her lawyer) enlists the overly sensitive Mike for sex and more. Fiorentino is fiendishly good as the arch schemer in John Dahl’s harsh, droll film noir from 1994.

****

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