Heroes, villains and star-crossed souls
A selection of unmissable new DVD releases celebrating wild adventures and local champions shaping world events from the New Zealand Gold Rush to Regency Britain and the Vietnam War, to vital issues of environmental waste, virtual romance, mental health and sexual politics.
What will you watch next?
Essie Davis reprises her role as TV detective Phryne Fisher in this feature-length globetrotting adventure. Pearl-handled revolver at the ready, Miss Fisher arrives in 1929 Jerusalem to rescue a Bedouin girl held captive after a village massacre. On delivering the girl to her uncle at an English manor, the discovery of a strange pendant leads our heroine to priceless emeralds, wartime secrets and an ancient, cursed tomb. A supporting cast including Nathan Page, Rupert Penry-Jones, Hugo Johnstone-Burt and Miriam Margolyes keeps the intrigue and false trails alive.
“Her fans would expect nothing less, and this madcap escapade of cheerfully preposterous and absurdly colourful escapism will not disappoint.” TV Insider
Fans of Miss Phryne Fisher will enjoy our Agatha Christie collection
Mark Ruffalo plays real-life lawyer and accidental activist Rob Bilott, who took on corporate giant DuPont when a West Virginia farmer supplied evidence his animals were being poisoned by hidden run-off from a chemical plant. Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins and Bill Pullman also star in this gripping thriller, which has startling repercussions for animal welfare, permanent pollutants and the human food chain.
“True to its title, this is a murky pool of a movie, and Mark Ruffalo is the man on the bank, poking its surface with a stick.” Telegraph
Released 6 July
Marielle Helle directs the heartwarming story of a true-life friendship between American TV icon Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) and jaded journalist Tom Junod (Matthew Rhys), who drops his cynicism and learns about love and forgiveness when he’s assigned an interview with the nation’s ‘most beloved neighbor’.
“A nuanced, formally playful delight, a perfectly pitched and played ode to goodness. All hail Marielle Helle.” Empire
This thoroughly engaging late-life adventure sees 75-year-old care home resident Angus Stewart (Richard Dreyfuss), who has lied about his age and health concerns, win a lottery for a once-in-a-lifetime ticket on the world’s first commercial space flight. Second chances rarely soar higher, and Dreyfuss brings charm and pathos to every challenge in his determination not to be grounded.
“A film with a small budget, a big heart and an A-list Hollywood star blessed with enough twinkly charisma to pull off a potentially preposterous role.” Mark Kermode, Guardian
Released 6 July
The inspiring true story of Vietnam War hero William H. ‘Pits’ Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine), a US Air Force medic who went beyond the call of duty to personally save over sixty men before making the ultimate sacrifice in the war’s bloodiest battle. An all-star cast sees Christopher Plummer and Diane Ladd as proud parents Frank and Alice, who campaign for a posthumous honour for their son. William Hurt, Ed Harris, Samuel L. Jackson and Peter Fonda also work their tough-but-twinkly magic.
“Combines the heart-pounding excitement of 1917 with the deeply moving emotional honesty of Saving Private Ryan to tell a heroic but somehow overlooked story of courage under fire.” Observer
Released 13 July
Dennis Price and Stanley Holloway star in this remastered 1951 classic comedy from legendary filmmakers Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, in which impressionable waitress Dolores August (Diana Dors) wins a local beauty contest – and the chance to ride naked in the town pageant. A cautionary tale of the allure of fortune and fame, also featuring Kay Kendall and George Cole.
“Despite its lighthearted title, Lady Godiva Rides Again is a fairly potent indictment of the darker side of beauty contests.” Rotten Tomatoes
This Sky Original series is an explosive, immersive journey into the heart of the UK capital’s crime scene. The multicultural, multi-talented ensemble cast depict a city riven by turbulent power struggles as international gangs vie to fill a power vacuum when the head of London’s most prominent crime firm is assassinated. Starring Sope Dirisu, Joe Cole, Colm Meaney, Lucian Msamati and Michelle Farley, and directed by Gareth Evans, Corin Hardy and Xavier Gens.
“A thrilling dose of capital punishment… a wild and wildly polished ride.” Guardian
Released 27 July
Justin Kurzel’s adaptation of Peter Carey’s Booker Prize-winning novel rewrites the mythology surrounding Ned Kelly and sheds new light on the life and times of the notorious Aussie icon. Hero to some and villain to many, Kelly (George MacKay), outraged by the wrongful arrest of his mother Ellen (Essie Davis), is encouraged by bushranger Harry Power (Russell Crowe) to recruit a wild bunch of followers to wreak a campaign of anarchy and rebellion across the country.
“Kurzel and his crew of merry, malicious pranksters blow the dust off a calcified outlaw history to bring something elemental and transgressive to the screen.” Rolling Stone
This classic 1943 melodrama from Gainsborough Pictures stars James Mason in a career-defining role as Regency-era pleasure-seeker Lord Rohan, whose put-upon wife Clarissa (Phyllis Calvert) seeks the companionship of her old schoolfriend Hesther (Margaret Lockwood), now a travelling actress. As Clarissa is bewitched by Hesther’s roguish acting partner Peter Rokeby (Stewart Granger), Hesther sets her sights on Lord Rohan – with tragic consequences.
“Lockwood, a delightful ingénue in comedies and thrillers, [is] a superb villainess – all flaring nostrils, heaving cleavage and intense stares.” FilmInk
This original 1943 trailer might be a trip down memory lane for some of our loyal readers!
Juliette Binoche is electrifying as subtly unhinged fifty-something divorcée Claire Millaud, who inhabits a lithe 24-year-old online avatar called Clara, and ensnares her ex-lover’s best friend Alex (François Civil). As passions play out in the virtual world, fiction and lies entangle with reality and mutual infatuation draws the pair into dangerous waters. Safy Nebbou directs this twisty psychodrama with irresistible nods to Vertigo, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Rashomon in its themes of isolation, infatuation, manipulation and shifting perspectives.
“A very modern drama about age-old anxieties: the fear of ageing and death; the desire for intimacy and reassurance; the allure of artifice and deceit.” Guardian
Released 6 July
Peter Bowker’s affecting drama continues to address the titanic challenges of growing up with autism in an unforgiving world. Two years on from the last action, Joe Hughes is 10 and having to process the seismic changes brought about by the divorce of parents Alison (Morven Christie) and Paul (Lee Ingelby), who now live 100 miles apart. Adding further complications to the new normal, cantankerous, all-action granddad Maurice (Christopher Ecclestone) decides it’s time to piece the family back together.
“Return(s) to burnish its credentials as one of the most welcome, nuanced, humanly messy outings to grace the BBC’s output these days.’ Observer
Released 6 July
BBC One’s sumptuous adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize-winning novel is an intricately woven, suspenseful tale of star-crossed love, murder, manipulation and revenge. At the height of the 1860s Gold Rush, Anna Wetherell (Eve Hewson) has travelled to the wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island to forge a new life. At the end of her long sea voyage, she encounters natural charmer Emery Staines (Himesh Patel), but in the New World their hopes for romance are dashed by scheming fortune-teller and brothel-keeper Lydia Wells (Eva Green).
“A soulful history packed with incident, plot and magic… Greed has rarely looked so good.” Independent
Released 20 July
In case you missed it
Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) directs this superior feelgood comedy – inspired by multiple real-life events – about a disparate band of women on a military base who form a choir to lift spirits when their partners are deployed to Afghanistan. Kristin Scott Thomas’ Kate leads the chorus, while an initially sceptical Lisa (Sharon Horgan) lends full-throated support as the group prepares for the gig of a lifetime at the Royal Albert Hall.
“Will have all but the hard-hearted on their feet, cheering and crying.” Radio Times
Released 6 July