DVD & Blu-ray reviews: From Jude Law in Black Sea to Palme D'Or winner Winter Sleep

Jude Law plays a former submarine captain in Black Sea

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Black Sea (15) Director Kevin MacDonald DVD/Blu-ray (115 mins)

Jude Law, in intense mode, plays a Scottish submarine captain who has been laid off from his job after 11 years of loyal service. So he signs up for an unhinged plan to unearth sunken treasure in the Black Sea , and recruits a Dirty Dozen-style crew (including Ben Mendelsohn’s “psychopath” and Scoot McNairy’s banker) to help him, offering them all “an equal share” of the booty. Big error it turns out and the motley bunch soon fall out. Black Sea is a claustrophobic, clammy (and hammy) old-fashioned thriller, which turns into a baffling mutiny for the bounty – but it’s never less than watchable.

***

What We Do in The Shadows (15) Director Jemaine CLement, Taika Waititi DVD/Blu-ray (85 mins)

“We’re vampires, we don’t put down towels,” maintains dandy neck-biter Vladislav in this deliciously dark mockumentary, created by Jemaine Clement, of Flight of the Conchords fame, and Taika Waititi. Their black comedy centres on four undead Wellington flatmates squabbling about chores and falling for a non-vampire chap called Stu. While it sometimes feels like a skit stretched out far, What We Do in the Shadows has enough achingly funny scenes to compensate; the post-nightclub werewolf confrontation being a highlight: “We’re werewolves, not swear-wolves”.

***

Winter Sleep (15) Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan DVD/Blu-ray (196 mins)

Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest exploration of temperament and landscape centres on Aydin, a wealthy former actor and huge egotist who runs a mountaintop hotel in Cappadocia. Self-satisfied Aydin lords it over a largely impoverished community and spends the majority of his time writing a pompous column for the local newspaper. His much younger wife (who calls him “overbearing”) and sister despise him; everyone pretty much loathes Aydin in Ceylan’s glacially-paced, gruelling (have a peek at the running time) 2014 Palme D’Or winner, which recalls Chekhov and Bergman. Not as moving as Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, but ambitious nonetheless.

***

Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb (PG) Director Shawn Levy DVD/Blu-ray (98 mins)

The first instalment was OK, the second one better than OK but this is a museum visit too far. The whole cast – including Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and the late Robin Williams – appear weary, with only a sprightly Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot enlivening this poorly constructed family comedy. Stiller’s earnest night guard is charged with fixing an ancient gold tablet that provides his waxwork pals with life, which entails going to the British Museum. Chaos ensues. Stop now.

**

Doc of the Dead (15) Director Alexandre O Philippe DVD/Blu-ray (81 mins)

“Everytime it’s Black Friday, how can you not think of Dawn of the Dead?” maintains Howard Sherman who played the enduring zombie Bub in George A Romero’s definitive zombie movie. Alexandre O Philippe’s perky documentary, which mixes interviews (with the likes Romero, Bruce Campbell and Simon Pegg) with film clips and some playful zombie “sketches”, is an ode to “plague-driven flesh eaters”.

***

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