DVD & Blu-Ray reviews: Blue is the Warmest Colour The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Inside No 9 Escape Plan Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 25th Anniversary

 

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Blue is the Warmest Colour (18) Abdellatif Kechiche DVD/Blu-ray (179mins)

Adèle Exarchopoulos is a revelation as an earthy French teenager who is sexually awakened by Emma (Léa Seydoux), a more privileged and experienced fine-arts student, in Abdellatif Kechiche’s deserved winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or. Forget all the hype and hogwash about the explicit sex scenes, this richly detailed drama  is an intensely moving, authentic exploration of modern love, providing further confirmation that Kechiche, who also made Couscous, is a bold, compassionate director.

*****

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (12) Francis Lawrence DVD/Blu-ray (146mins)

Jennifer Lawrence continues to captivate as the heroic Katniss in this surprisingly powerful and quite often horrific actioner, aimed at teens. The oppressors, led by Donald Sutherland’s odious President Snow, are livid that Katniss outwitted them in the hunger games (a contest in which teenagers from poor neighbourhoods are forced to slaughter each other in the woods for a TV audience), so they force her to do it again. Apart from the unnecessary training scenes, this is a potent adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s bestseller.

****

Inside No 9 (18) David Kerr DVD (172mins)

“It’s Shakespeare, Jim, they’re not to meant to enjoy it,” Steve Pemberton’s pompous actor booms to his understudy (Reece Shearsmith) in the fifth slice of macabre daftness themed around six different No 9 locations. It’s beautifully scripted comedy, as are all (apart from the silent episode) of these twisted, inventive, Tales of the Unexpected-like tales, which include a teacher tormented by a passive-aggressive vagabond and a famous pop singer who dies while blowing up a purple balloon for a sick child. Guest stars Gemma Arterton, Oona Chaplin, Julia Davis and Tamsin Greig all enjoy themselves.

Escape Plan (15) Mikael Hafstrom DVD/Blu-ray (115mins)

Sly Stallone’s Ray Breslin, an expert in breaking out of prisons, is tasked with escaping from a supposed federal government institution run by Jim Caviezel’s sadist and his henchman (Vinnie Jones, awful). Ray has been set up by his boss, but Arnie Schwarzenegger’s Rottmayer is also in the clink to help him out a bit. Cue lots of roughing up, lame dialogue (“Have a lovely day, asshole”) and macho bonding. Pleasures don’t get much guiltier than this nonsense.

***

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 25th Anniversary Steelbook Edition (PG) Stephen Herek Blu-ray (85mins)

It’s 25 years since the release of this charmingly daft comedy, which launched the career of Keanu Reeves. Two gormless Californian teens are flunking high school, history in particular, but an excellent dude from the future is on hand  to assist, along with Napoleon (“a short, dead dude”) and a few other famous faces (Socrates, Freud) from the past. The world could do worse than be guided by these two goofballs...

****

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