DVD and Blue-ray film reviews: From Edge of Tomorrow to Rise of an Empire

Jake Gyllenhaal, who starred in the more gripping time-loop actioner Source Code, would have been a better choice than Cruise

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The Independent Culture

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow (12) Doug Liman DVD/Blu-ray. 113mins

A young Tom Cruise would have pulled off this daft science-fiction movie with some aplomb but the older version struggles. Jake Gyllenhaal, who starred in the more gripping time-loop actioner Source Code, would have been a better choice and is, obviously, closer to co-star (and love interest) Emily Blunt’s age. Cruise (above, with Blunt) plays cowardly war recruiter Bill Cage, who is ordered to the front to fight Mimics, fearsome invading aliens. He pegs it on his first day in the field but, Groundhog Dog-style, wakes to find himself facing the same ghastly battle again. He’s caught in a time loop but Blunt’s soldier, Rita, was once caught up in the same sort of thing and helps Cage become a great warrior. Never less than watchable hokum, adapted from a Hiroshi Sakurazaka novel.

***

The Other Woman (12) Nick Cassavetes DVD/Blu-ray. 109mins

“Put on something sexy and fix that young man’s plumbing,” is the disturbing advice of Frank (Don Johnson) to his daughter, Carly (Cameron Diaz). So, she duly dons a skimpy outfit and twirls her plunger on the way to her lover’s home, only to find that the sleazeball is married to Leslie Mann’s Kate. The mismatched women – Carly is harsh, Kate is soft – gang up to enact revenge (loosening his bowels and attacking his follicles) on cheater Mark (played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, aka Jaime Lannister). For the most part it’s a dismal comedy, only redeemed (slightly) by a deranged Mann.

**

300: Rise of an Empire (15) Noam Murro DVD/Blu-ray. 102mins

Lena Headey (aka Cersei Lannister) and an unhinged Eva Green are the only elements keeping this ripe Frank Miller adaptation, concerning Greek and Persian forces squabbling around 480BC, afloat. There’s lots of slow-motion sword clattering, pec-bearing and dicey dialogue (“His eyes had the stink of destiny about him”), but very little sense.

**

Of Horses and Men (15) Benedikt Erlingsson DVD/Blu-ray. 78mins

A remote Icelandic community spy through binoculars  on their neighbours’ horses in Benedikt Erlingsson’s  very singular examination, divided into six vignettes, of human ridiculousness and equine elegance. Memorable, sumptuously framed and admirably bonkers film-making.

***

Grace of Monaco (PG) Olivier Dahan DVD/Blu-ray. 103mins

“You look tired,” Alfred Hitchcock (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) informs Princess Grace. She does a bit, but she (Nicole Kidman) doesn’t actually look much like the Rear Window star. The plump auteur is trying to coax a bored Grace Kelly back into acting, after a five-year break, with Marnie (“The role of a lifetime”). He fails, of course. Olivier Dahan delivers a very old-fashioned and diabolically scripted regal drama here, from which no actor (Tim Roth, Frank Langella, Derek Jacobi) emerges unscathed.

*

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