DVD & Blu-ray reviews: From Veep - Season 3 to Roald Dahl's Esio Trot

Gary Cole and Julia-Louis Dreyfus in season 3 of Veep

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The Independent Culture

Veep: Season 3 (15) various directors DVD /Blu-ray (280 mins)

“You have more nervous tics than a shoe bomber,” Amy snipes at fellow wannabe campaign manager Dan. Veep’s quips remain toxic but Armando Iannucci’s scabrous satire on US politics also adopts a more dramatic tone as hapless VP Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, pictured) targets the presidency. Naked ambition isn’t so funny it turns out and this third series sometimes feels more West Wing than Spin City. Gary, played by Tony Hale, is still the most endearing character as Selina’s personal aide, while the others are a soulless bunch. However, Veep is thoroughly compelling TV, despite all the dissing and hissing.

****

The Breakfast Club on Blu-ray (15) John Hughes Blu-ray (93 mins)

“You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal…” Anthony Michael Hall’s earnest voiceover fades out and Judd Nelson’s badly dressed rebel leaps and slaps the goal post. “Don’t You (Forget about Me)” kicks in. It may not be recognised in the pantheon of great teen films, but 1985’s The Breakfast Club was a huge part of growing up in the garish, odd Eighties. Hughes had a real feel for how teenagers feel and talk, and the droll dialogue is still fabulously quotable. A rather theatrical drama, but also a daring one and it’s the best film release this week.

****

Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot (U) Dearbhla Walsh DVD/Blu-ray (88 mins)

Testudophobia sufferers should probably avoid Dearbhla Walsh’s tortoise-tastic confection, starring Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench as neighbours Mr Hoppy and Mrs Silver. Shy Hoppy pines for Silver’s affections and see his chance via her frustratingly slow-growing pet tortoise, Alfie. James Corden’s mannered narration irks a tad, but otherwise this Roald Dahl adaptation, co-written by Richard Curtis, oozes wit and charm.

****

Electricity (15) Bryn Higgins DVD /Blu-ray (96 mins)

Willowy Agyness Deyn plays Lily, an epileptic whose abusive mother has just died, in Bryn Higgins’s jarring British drama. Lily, a positive soul despite all her falls from epileptic episodes, has inherited some money and needs to inform her estranged brother, Mikey (Christian Cooke), about it, so she travels from Lancashire to London to search for him, naively asking for his whereabouts on the capital’s streets. Electricity is a tad too sentimental, with some flat, cliched characterisation. Lacking spark.

**

Get On Up (12) Tate Taylor DVD /Blu-ray (139 mins)

Tate Taylor’s sprightly biopic of the Godfather of Soul, who almost always refers to himself in the third person, charts James Brown’s rise from a dirt poor shack in Georgia in the 1930s to superstardom. Chadwick Boseman perfectly captures the mercurial genius and his slick moves and grooves. This is a compelling drama.

****

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