DVD and Blue-ray film reviews: From Jimmy's Hall to Postman Pat: The Movie

This historical drama is blessed with exquisite cinematography from Robbie Ryan

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The Independent Culture

Jimmy's Hall (12) Ken Loach DVD/Blu-ray. 109 mins

“What is this craze for pleasure?” asks Father Sheridan (Jim Norton, excellent) in Ken Loach’s nuanced look at the repression of fun (it’s like a grimmer Footloose) in County Leitrim in 1932 (above). Jimmy Gralton (Barry Ward), a communist intellectual, returns from New York and restores a community centre to run classes (reading, boxing) for deprived locals. The Church, represented by belligerent Sheridan and his more thoughtful deputy (Andrew Scott), quash this alternative place. This historical drama is blessed with exquisite cinematography from Robbie Ryan.

***

Fading Gigolo (15) John Turturro DVD/Blu-ray. 90mins

It’s hard to get past the preposterous conceit for this Brooklyn-set comedy, which is that Woody Allen’s former bookstore owner pimps out the gigolo services of his diffident former employee (John Turturro) to characters played by Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis and Sofia Vergara. Turturro underplays the role nicely, while Allen, in stand-up mode, has clearly been allowed to ad-lib. Liev Schreiber gives this gentle caper some impetus as a neighbourhoood patrolman who pines for Paradis’s widow. However, Fading Gigolo is too slight and not nearly funny enough.

**

Postman Pat: the Movie (G) Mike Disa, DVD/Blu-ray. 88mins

Pat’s joie de vivre caves in when a head office jerk arrives at special delivery services and rescinds his bonus, thus imperiling his family holiday. So the soft-hearted postie enters a Cowell-style talent show in order to win a trip  to Italy. He’s a hit but fame goes to his head. Meanwhile, Greendale is overrun by Patbots, mechanised mailmen fixated on “speed, efficiency and ruling the world”. This peculiar big-screen version of the children’s TV series  was panned on release, but its gently acidic humour is  very Aardman-like and it’s refreshingly off-message.

***

Lilting (15) Hong Khaou DVD/Blu-ray. 91mins

“Your body smells of urine,” Junn (Cheng Pei Pei) informs her suitor Alan (Peter Bowles) in their nursing home.  The Chinese-Cambodian woman is speaking through a translator (Naomi Christie) hired by Ben Whishaw’s broken-hearted Richard, who was in love with Junn’s late son, Kai, and is trying to connect with Junn as a way of clinging on to Kai. She doesn’t know they were lovers. An affecting, low-key drama with a lovely performance from Bowles.

***

Blended (12) Frank Coraci DVD/Blu-ray 117mins

It’s easy to have a pop at Adam Sandler, so here goes. The sullen comic tries and fails to rekindle the spark he had with Drew Barrymore in 1998’s The Wedding Singer, still his best comedy. His mawkish output since has included Grown Ups and Big Daddy, but Blended could be the worst yet. He plays a single dad who slowly warms to Drew Barrymore’s single mum while in Africa. It’s like a puerile Brady Bunch, except with some casual racism thrown in.

*

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