DVD of the Week: True Grit
In a nutshell: Sure-fire western update from the Coens
The Coen brothers revisit the western that earned John Wayne a best actor Oscar, the plot of which sees a 14-year-old girl track down her father’s murderer with the help of a boozy one-eyed lawman. Jeff Bridges is a revelation as Rooster Cogburn, comfortably filling the boots of the Duke and then some; Matt Damon also impresses as the pompous but resolute Texas Ranger La Boeuf; and Hailee Steinfeld as spirited Mattie Ross occasionally outshines her experienced co-stars. The ending is an abrupt one, but the glorious final shoot-out between Cogburn and the bad guys (a standout scene in the 1969 film) remains wonderfully intact.
Formats: DVD and Triple Play DVD/Blu-ray/Digital
Extras: DVD includes several production featurettes, with more on the Blu-ray, including a look at the writer of the original novel, Charles Portis.
In a nutshell: Offbeat larks with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and a stoner ET
Having lampooned zombie flicks in Shaun of the Dead and cop movies in Hot Fuzz, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost tackle science fiction in this amusing romp. They play a pair of comic-book nerds who take a road trip to the Nevada desert in order to see America’s most famous UFO sites. There they encounter Paul, a little green hitch-hiker – spookily animated in CGI and voiced by Seth Rogen – who’s trying to get to his spaceship. Although Superbad’s Greg Mottola doesn’t have the firm directorial grip of the pair’s usual collaborator, Edgar Wright, for the most part this is a far-out, funny ride. Stella Papamichael
Formats: DVD, Triple Play DVD/Blu-ray/Digital and Limited Edition Blu-ray Steel Book
Extras: DVD includes an extended version of the film, audio commentary from Mottola, Pegg and Frost, bloopers and a making-of documentary. Additional featurettes on the Blu-ray edition.
In a nutshell: Meditative multi-stranded thriller with Matt Damon on winning form as a psychic
In Clint Eastwood’s leisurely paced but uneven meditation on mortality, TV journalist Cécile de France survives a tsunami in Indonesia and writes about her afterlife visions, medium Matt Damon struggles with his psychic gifts and an English boy is grief-stricken when his twin brother dies tragically. The lives of these lost souls eventually intersect in a tale that veers between being oddly affecting and clumsily mawkish. It’s not Eastwood at his best, but both Damon and de France really make their performances count, while the tsunami opening sequence remains frighteningly spectacular. Alan Jones
Formats: Double Play DVD/Blu-ray and Triple Play DVD/Blu-ray/Digital
Extras: Triple Play includes 90-minute documentary The Eastwood Factor and various production featurettes.
Age of Heroes – Sean Bean stars in a drama based on 007 creator Ian Fleming’s wartime exploits
Armadillo – Eye-opening documentary about a platoon of Danish soldiers in Afghanistan
Inside Job – The global financial crisis is explained in a film narrated by Matt Damon
Sanctum – Impressive survival adventure produced by James Cameron
In a nutshell: Psychological thrills and unresolved family issues for John Simm and Jim Broadbent
Danny Brocklehurst’s superb three-parter, which was recently stripped across a bank holiday weekend, is now available to buy. The plot finds disgraced London writer Tom Ronstadt (John Simm) returning home to reconnect with his father, Sam (Jim Broadbent), who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s. What follows is a gripping story of prodigal redemption and journalistic integrity as Tom tries to get to the bottom of a mystery from his childhood that drove the pair apart. Able support comes from Olivia Colman as Sam’s put-upon sister Nancy and the always-reliable Shaun Dooley as a disillusioned childhood friend. David Brown
Extras: Director commentary, behind-the-scenes documentary, Alzheimer’s Society short film
In a nutshell: James Purefoy ponders a legal dilemma while Charlie Creed-Miles exudes menace in Anthony Horowitz’s ITV1 drama
A po-faced five-part ITV1 legal thriller from Foyle’s War writer Anthony Horowitz that ponders the issue of what a defence barrister can do when they discover that the person they’ve helped prove innocent is, in fact, guilty. James Purefoy (surely the possessor of one of the acting profession’s most sonorous voices) stars as troubled criminal lawyer William Travers, but the whole production is stolen by Charlie Creed-Miles as a morally bankrupt police detective. The corrupt, thuggish, wife-beating DI Mark Wenborn is a repugnant but hypnotic presence who holds our interest right up to the final episode. David Brown
Extras: Anthony Horowitz biography, cast filmographies and picture gallery
Psychoville (series 2) – more weirdness, suspense and laughs in the BBC2 comedy thriller