DVD and Blue-ray film reviews: From Joe to The Walking Dead

A typically intense Cage convinces in this slow-burning look at deprivation, abuse and responsibility

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Joe (15) David Gordon Green DVD/Blu-ray. 117mins

David Gordon Green’s slab of Southern gothic (above) is another headache for the Mississippi tourist board. It’s a feral drama centring on Nicolas Cage’s ex-con, Joe, who runs a tree-poisoning operation. He’s a decent boss, just about in control of his demons (“What keeps me alive is restraint”), until he takes on 15-year-old Gary (Tye Sheridan, as good here as he was in Mud), who is being beaten by his drunken father (Gary Poulter). A typically intense Cage convinces in this slow-burning look at deprivation, abuse and responsibility.

****

The Walking Dead: Season 4 (18) various directors DVD/Blu-ray. 690mins

The popular zombie saga lumbers on with Rick Grimes’s community besieged in their prison compound by the less than chatty undead and a deadly virus. It’s tricky to keep tabs on the expendable cast but your main sympathies lie, as ever, with the heroic Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his remarkably well-adjusted teenage son. Humour levels remain determinedly low here but the arrival of David Morrissey’s unhinged Governor adds some pep. This better end well.

****

Mr Peabody and Sherman (U) Rob Minkoff DVD/Blu-ray. 92mins

DreamWorks’ hyperactive animation centres on a cerebral dog, Mr Peabody (Modern Family’s Ty Burrell), who giddily time travels through the most exciting bits of human history with his adopted human son, Sherman (Max Charles). Their sweet relationship is disrupted, however, by the bigoted Ms Grunion (Allison Janney),  a child and family services agent who loathes mutts and  is hell-bent on separating the pair. This never lacks for ambition and there’s a droll Leonardo da Vinci section,  but it could have done with some Up-style restraint.

***

Omar (15) Hany Abu-Assad DVD/Blu-ray. 98mins

“All traitors fall at last,” maintains young Omar (Adam Bakri) in Hany Abu-Assad’s Oscar-nominated thriller about duplicity and betrayal in Palestine. Omar is a “freedom fighter” who assists, along with his two pals, in the assassination of an Israeli border guard. He is very quickly captured by Israeli security forces, led by wily agent Rami (Waleed Zuaiter, excellent), who torture him until he agrees to snitch on his comrades. It’s a tense, gripping watch with an engaging (he does a terrific Marlon Brando impression) and physical performance from Bakri.

****

Wolf Creek 2 (18) Greg McLean DVD/Blu-ray. 106mins

The sadistic Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) whistles “Waltzing Matilda” and makes a wildly inappropriate Babe “quip” during the slaughtering of two traffic cops to kick-off  this second slice of Aussie road horror. To its credit, it’s less sickening than the 2005 original, but its message is  the same: young, pretty travellers should swerve the Australian Outback. Please, no more Wolf Creeks.

**

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