Mavericks and Heroes
Flick through our pick of recent and upcoming DVD releases, from 2020 Oscar winners and celebrated dramas to wistful comedy, political intrigue, a detective reboot and an uncanny forerunner of Reality TV.
What will you watch next?
Sam Mendes’ audacious, epic WWI movie, filmed as if one continuous take, tells the story of a single day at the front as two everyman lance-corporals race against time to deliver a message to stop the massacre of 1,600 Allied soldiers. Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay play the leads, but the ultimate star is undoubtedly Roger Deakins’ Oscar-winning cinematography.
“As exciting as a heist movie, disturbing as a sci-fi nightmare… a masterpiece.” ★★★★★ Guardian
Released 18th May
Greta Gerwig’s beautifully crafted adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s enduring classic features wonderful performances from Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson and Florence Pugh as Jo, Meg and Amy March, while astutely weaving in details of the author’s life and work. A timeless coming-of-age story with a stellar cast also including Meryl Streep, Lorna Dern, Timothée Chalamet and James Norton.
“Warm but never wishy-washy, cosy without being cutesy, this is a superb adaptation of the source and further evidence that Gerwig is the real deal.” ★★★★★ Empire
Released 25 May
Bong Joon-ho’s multiple Oscar-winning dark comedy thriller pitches the wily, street-smart Kim family against the well-to-do Parks in a savage, underhand battle for dominance that shines a beacon on the injustices and envy of present-day Seoul – and of consumer society the world over. Hilarious, disturbing and endlessly surprising.
“A gasp-inducing masterpiece.” ★★★★★ Guardian
“A miracle of a film.” ★★★★★ Empire
“Bong Joon-ho will make you feel at home, then rip the rug out from under you.” ★★★★★ Independent
Released 1 June
In Hirokazu Kore-eda’s delicious depiction of the binds and boundaries of motherhood, Catherine Deneuve delivers a faultless self-parody as ageing screen siren Fabienne Dangeville. The grande dame is shooting a tawdry sci-fi drama as she releases her memoir La Vérité (The Truth), to which her screenwriter daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) takes exception for its outlandish fictions.
“An absorbing, serio-comic flourish.” ★★★★ Guardian
Released 18 May
Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie star in Jay Roach’s uncompromising retelling of the 2016 sexual harassment scandal that brought down Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Theron pulls no punches as acerbic chief accuser Megyn Kelly, embodying the determination and resistance of the #MeToo movement.
“Bombshell is a hard and complicated story to tell, but its message is clear: no woman is free from the patriarchy, even if she doesn’t believe in it.” ★★★★ Independent
Released 18 May
In Guy Ritchie’s latest action comedy, American expat Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) is looking to give up his profitable London marijuana empire – and is inundated with scheming suitors scrambling for part of the action by fair means or foul. Among the film’s many stars, Michelle Dockery and Hugh Grant offer stand-out turns as Mickey’s tough-talking squeeze Rosalind and sleazy tabloid-serving private investigator Fletcher.
“A coarse, convoluted, comical caper that exults in the joys of genre.” Sight & Sound
Released 27 April
Directed by Charles Crichton (The Lavender Hill Mob, A Fish Called Wanda), this remastered release of the wry 1948 Dublin-set Ealing comedy stars Robert Beatty, Moira Lister and Stanley Holloway. Gulliver Shiels (Beatty) is an inveterate loafer who dreams of an escape to the paradise island of Tahiti. His idle tranquillity is disturbed by the arrival of Lister’s Jennifer, who falls for his wistful charm, and mercurial heavy-drinking prospective benefactor Alastair McNeil (Holloway).
Released 11 May
This extraordinarily prescient drama, first broadcast by the BBC in 1968, anticipated the now commonplace concept of reality TV. Written by Nigel Kneale (Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Quatermass Experiment), it stars Leonard Rossiter as television coordinator Ugo Priest, who stumbles on a new way of quieting the restless masses with a live broadcast in which a mother, father and daughter are left stranded on a remote Scottish island.
Released 20 April
BBC One’s twisty emotional drama is an incisive examination of love, trust, privilege and temptation. Dan and Emily (Martin Compston and Sophie Rundle) live in a beautiful lochside house in Glasgow and seem to have it all – but all their attempts to have a baby have come to nothing. When a chance encounter drops mysterious 18-year-old Kaya (Mirren Mack) into Emily’s life, it seems that fate has brought them together.
“This is not so much a thriller about surrogacy as it is a fierce commentary on aspiration, class and success – on who gets to have ambitions in life and who doesn’t.” Guardian
Released 25 May
ITV’s captivating he-said, she-said drama stars Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt as a dedicated teacher and singleton wary of getting back on the dating scene. When she meets charming surgeon Andrew (Ioan Gruffudd) at the school gates, she agrees to go on a series of nights out that take a sinister turn.
“The sort of psychological thriller that will leave you lying awake in bed, turning over the evidence in your mind and trying to get at the truth – even though the answer remains elusive.” Radio Times
Released 4 May
ITV’s 2020 remake of the much-loved 1970s crime series sees charismatic detective Simon ‘Piet’ Van Der Valk (Marc Warren) tackle complex crimes with astute behavioural insights and inspired breakthroughs. The other constant from the original is Amsterdam’s appealing network of canals, bridges, bicycles and art galleries, while former the lone operator is now joined by a characterful and energetic back-up team.
“Sexy, inscrutable, on Tinder: a detective rebooted.”
★★★★ The Times
Released 11 May
BEST TV RELEASES EARLIER IN 2020
In this gripping Channel 4 drama, David Tennant stars as local GP Tom Kendrick, who comes under suspicion as he survives the wreckage of a grisly quadruple murder and house fire in the fictional Scottish town of Kirkdarroch. An irresistible forensic thriller from the pen of Granchester’s Daisy Coulam.
“Tennant is a master of giving apparently ordinary blokes a fleeting darkness beneath the surface. You like him, but only just.” ★★★★ Independent
Released 3 February
Idle gossip spirals out of control in this warmhearted ITV comedy drama as Dawn French’s Maggie reveals a little too much about her close-knit community in an interview for local radio. Writer Mark Brotherhood (Benidorm) pulls together a cast of characters including Maggie’s exasperated but supportive husband Peter (Mark Heap), best friend Jill (Julie Hesmondhalgh), school secretary Karen (Vicki Pepperdine), and visiting novelist Marcus (Patrick Robinson) – each of whom has a secret they’d rather not reveal.
“Terrific, scurrilous fun, carried along by its own irrepressible sense of mischief.” ★★★★ Daily Mail
Released 13 April
When recently-widowed Vivien (Francesca Annis) announces her love for the mysterious interloper Mark (Stephen Rea), her three adult children are wary. As Helen (Claudie Blakley), Jake (Russell Tovey) and Natalie (Lydia Leonard) look into Mark’s past, Sarah Williams’s zingy ITV drama examines family dynamics and modern relations as they spin towards tragedy and probable murder – all watched over by imperious neighbour Mary (Imelda Staunton).
“Envy, turmoil and resentment make for the perfect recipe in this Imelda Staunton-led drama, which takes in a widow’s new romance, a mountain of family secrets – and a dead body.” ★★★★ Guardian
Released 2 March
With series 8 of the Inspector Morse prequel still beyond the horizon, dive back into the dramatic seventh season as Endeavour (Shaun Evans) and DI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) chase down the Towpath Killer and an elusive figure behind a series of freak ‘accidents’. Tensions between the two reach breaking point as they clash over policing methods and the likely suspects.
“Still glorious.” Observer
Released 9 March
Robert Carlyle’s Prime Minister Robert Sutherland convenes the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (Cobra) – a team of leading experts, crisis contingency planners and senior politicians – to coordinate the British Government’s response to an international emergency as cosmic rays threaten the planet. Victoria Hamilton (The Crown) assists as feisty Chief of Staff Anna Marshall in Sky One and Now TV’s timely political drama about the machinery of politics in a time of crisis.
“A catastrophe drama with high stakes... Real-life politicians look like hopeless shamblers in comparison with Sutherland’s crack team.” ★★★★ Financial Times
Released 23 March
TWO FILMS TO PRE-ORDER NOW
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 ingenue in comedies and thrillers, [is] a superb villainess – all flaring nostrils, heaving cleavage and intense stares.” FilmInk
Released 15 June
Decades into a solid, affectionate marriage, the comfortable daily routine of Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson’s Joan and Tom is blown apart by the news she has breast cancer. Husband and wife co-directors Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D’Sa depict a tender story of love, survival, and the epic obstacles to be overcome on life’s journey.
“The film’s strength lies in the performances – two fine actors elevating their roles from the touchingly mundane to the suddenly momentous.” Wall Street Journal
Released 15 June
Look out for next month's hightlights which will include The Personal History of David Copperfield, Save Me Too, Emma and The Lighthouse.
If you want to be kept up to date with the latest new releases on DVD, subscribe to our newsletter. We'll send you regular updates on new film & TV releases, vintage classics, competitions and exclusive offers.
Share this post
- 0 comment
- Tags: 1950s, BBC, British Television, Classic Cinema, classic TV, drama, Drama series, DVD, film adaptation, Police drama, Review, Thriller