DVD and Blu-ray film reviews: From The Expendables 3 to Finding Vivian Maier

Everything feels laboured, from the bromantic quipping  to Gibson’s haunted expression

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The Independent Culture

The Expendables 3 (12) Patrick Hughes DVD/Blu-ray (126mins)

“How hard can it be to kill 10 men?” demands Mel Gibson’s villain. Sinitta would approve of Expendables, as this bunch are so macho. Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford and Gibson join Sly Stallone’s ode to Eighties action cinema (above), nodding to a time when he and Arnie Schwarzenegger (also here) ruled the cineplexes. This time, Stallone’s Barney (subtitles are required when he speaks between gunshots) and Jason Statham’s Christmas recruit some new expendables to take on Gibson’s arms trader. Everything feels laboured, from the bromantic quipping  to Gibson’s haunted expression. No more, please.

**

Hercules (12) Brett Ratner DVD/Blu-ray (98mins)

“People need a hero,” pleads Rebecca Ferguson’s princess to Hercules, and you half expect Bonnie Tyler to kick in,  in this ludicrous swords-and-sandals caper. A semi-clad Dwayne Johnson plays the bulky demigod, caught, along with six other mercenaries (including Rufus Sewell and Ian McShane, both enjoying themselves), in the middle of a Thracian dust up. A determinedly tongue-in-cheek fighting film, which often strays into parody but has a daft charm.

**

The Driver (15) Jamie Payne DVD/Blu-ray (180mins)

David Morrissey, who never puts in a shoddy performance, lends his muscular acting style to Danny Brocklehurst’s searing modern-day morality tale. He plays Vince, a depressed mini-cab driver in a failing marriage who, in desperation, turns to crime with a childhood pal (Ian Hart). He becomes a getaway driver at the bidding of  Colm Meaney’s hoodlum, but loses his appetite for it after witnessing a hit. Morrissey excels as the anguished and frustrated fortysomething in this compelling BBC drama.

****

White Reindeer (15) Zach Clark DVD/Blu-ray (82mins)

“It’s going to be a sad December, sweet pea,” Mrs Boxter informs her grieving daughter, Suzanne (Anna Margaret Hollyman). It surely is, after Suzanne’s husband, a TV meteorologist, was bludgeoned to death in her living room 24 days before Christmas. Then, at the wake, Suzanne discovers that hubby was unfaithful with a stripper (Laura Lemar-Goldsborough). Not surprisingly, the unassuming thirtysomething unravels in this dark US indie comedy, blessed by a winning performance from Hollyman.

***

Finding Vivian Maier (12) John Maloof, charlie siskel DVD/Blu-ray (84mins)

She had “a great sense of framing”, but Vivian Maier, a nanny for various well-heeled American families, wasn’t (and, it seems, never wanted to be) acknowledged for her beautifully composed street photography. This absorbing documentary charts John Maloof’s desire to give Maier’s portraits more exposure and to learn more about this unusual individual who hid more than 150,000 negatives in boxes, never to be exhibited as they deserved to be. In a fame-hungry world, Maier appears to have had zero desire for it.

****

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