DVD & Blu-ray reviews: Non-Stop, Downhill: A Road Movie... On Foot, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Happy Valley, Orange is the New Black

 

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The Independent Culture

Non-Stop (15) Jaume Collet-Serra DVD/Blu-ray (106mins)

Non-stop nonsense, with action hero du jour Liam Neeson back in butt-kicking mode. He’s federal air marshal Bill Marks, who is forced to deal with a passenger threatening to blow up the plane he’s on unless they’re paid $150m into their bank account. Who’s the culprit? Julianne Moore’s Jen? Michelle Dockery’s stoical air stewardess? Bill, an alcoholic former copper with a tragic personal history? Neeson, all hangdog and frowny, oddly compels in this daft and enjoyable plane thriller, which is up there with Red Eye and Con Air.

Downhill: A Road Movie... On Foot (15) James Rouse DVD/Blu-ray (95mins)

Scripted by Torben Betts, this overlooked, low-budget British comedy contains more laughs in its first 20 minutes than Adam Sandler has generated in his past five movies. Four old school pals reunite for a hike from Cumbria to North Yorkshire, led by the slightly uptight Gordon (Richard Lumsden) and filmed by his 19-year-old son. There’s a drunk/fading lothario (Ned Dennehy, excellent), a teacher (Jeremy Swift), a closet homosexual (Karl Theobald) and Gordon, a struggling cameraman. It sounds unpromising, but Downhill is understated, droll and blessed with four convincing leads.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (U) David Hand Blu-ray (81mins)

You can see the wicked queen’s point. Her chubby-cheeked step-daughter, Snow White, is quite annoying, constantly chuntering away to any small animal within listening distance and obsessively, compulsively cleaning everything. We’re now used to a more sophisticated type of animation but Walt Disney’s 1937 film, which took three years to make, still looks sensational. It packs a sinister bite, too – you never forget the snarling forest or the queen’s old hag offering White the apple – and “Heigh-Ho” is still the greatest marching-to-work song.

Happy Valley (15) various directors DVD (351mins)

Sarah Lancashire is in fine form as police sergeant Catherine Cawood in Sally Wainwright’s unremittingly harsh cop drama set in Calderdale, Yorkshire, a place seemingly riddled with drug abuse and desperate people making poor decisions. Steve Pemberton’s lowly, angry accountant recruits a trio of scumbags to abduct his boss’s daughter and everything, Fargo-like, unravels horribly. It’s a long way from Heartbeat.

Orange is the New Black: Season 1 (15) Various directors DVD/Blu-ray (700mins)

“Focus on how you’re going to maintain your eyebrows behind bars,” Piper Chapman’s best friend advises her. It’s the least of her problems as she faces a 15-month sentence for an instance of drug trafficking 10 years ago. Jenji Kohan’s exquisitely scripted comedy-drama, first screened on Netflix, is blessed with an excellent turn from Taylor Schilling as the well-heeled thirtysomething getting to grips with prison life and from Kate Mulgrew as the institution’s cunning top dog, Red.

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