DVD round-up: Limitless, Submarine, Hobo with a Shotgun, New Tricks, Spiral

The week's TV and film releases reviewed

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FILM

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DVD of the Week
Limitless (Cert: 15)
4 stars
In a nutshell: A wonder drug gives no-hoper Bradley Cooper a creative boost

An illicit drug transforms struggling writer Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) from a man crippled by self-doubt to a world-beater in Neil Burger’s thriller. When an old friend slips him a dose of the untested substance, it prompts a massive rush of creativity, but its addictive downside also becomes frighteningly obvious. All looks set for a fairly standard cautionary tale on the pros and cons of narcotics, yet Burger generates maximum impact from the amiable Cooper’s highs and lows, and poses interesting questions about whether the benefits accrued from such artificial assistance are earned or unearned. Trevor Johnston

Formats: DVD and Blu-ray
Extras: Director’s commentary, production featurettes, alternative ending

Submarine (Cert: 15)
3 stars
In a nutshell: Quirky teenage romance from The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade

This sweet-natured feature debut from Richard Ayoade (Channel 4’s The IT Crowd) centres around the utterly self-obsessed yet likeable character of 15-year-old Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts). The film charts Oliver’s first love affair and the troubled marriage of his parents (Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor), whose relationship is heading down the tubes owing to the arrival of old flame Graham (Paddy Considine), a mullet-sporting new ager. Ayoade impresses with his sure, sympathetic handling of character, generating a real warmth for Oliver and his travails where a lesser director might have contented themselves with cheap laughs at the love-struck teen’s expense. Adam Smith

Formats: DVD and Blu-ray
Extras: Loads, including film-makers’ commentary, deleted and extended scenes, production featurettes, interviews, Alex Turner’s Piledriver Waltz promo and “Through the Prism” – the new-age self-help video that Paddy Considine’s character touts in the film

Hobo with a Shotgun (Cert: 18)

4 stars

In a nutshell: Rutger Hauer stars as the trigger-happy tramp 

In this gleefully inventive bloodbath, indignant tramp Rutger Hauer turns vigilante and sets about cleaning up the mean streets of Hope City from lowlife trash, sexual predators, corrupt officials and gangster slime. Jason Eisener’s film began life as a fake trailer that was included in the Canadian release of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s B-movie celebration Grindhouse but, unlike the similarly spawned Machete, this expanded release is perfectly balanced between imitation and parody. The cartoon viciousness and wild overacting only add to the winningly exuberant excess of what is a startling feature debut for the director. Alan Jones

Formats: DVD and Blu-ray
Extras: Commentary from cast and crew, deleted scenes, alternative ending and production featurette

Other highlights:

The Company Men – Ben Affleck plays a high-flying executive who’s made redundant
Super – An average joe fights back against life’s bullies by becoming a superhero
Faster – Ex-con Dwayne Johnson is hellbent on revenge

TV

New Tricks: Series 7 (Cert: 15)
3 stars
In a nutshell: It’s all right, It’s OK

Another batch of cases for the superannuated sleuths. This time out, the old boys are looking into the death of a fashion designer, an apparently accidental fire and a 30-year-old bank job – the repercussions of which threaten to finish the unit forever. As has become the norm, Gerry leches over women half his age, Brian compulsively obsesses, Jack adds sarcasm and Sandra despairs. It’s a winning formula, so the makers obviously don’t feel the need to mess with it. David Brown

Format: DVD
Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurette, out-takes

Spiral: Series 3 (Cert: 18)
3 stars
In a nutshell: Capt Laure Berthaud returns in the BBC4 favourite

More classy Eurocrime as season three of the drama about the Paris judicial system comes to DVD. The dogged Captain Laure Berthaud is out to restore her tarnished reputation as she hunts a serial killer after the body of a young woman is found on a railway track. On the legal side, Judge Roban probes a bribery scandal – and it isn’t long before the two narratives begin to overlap. For those who want to catch up on previous investigations, series one to three are available as a box set. David Brown

Format: DVD
Extras: None

Other highlights:

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Doctor Who: the Sunmakers – classic 1977 adventure with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson
Camelot (Season 1): raunchy take on the Arthurian legend
Twenty Twelve: fly-on-the-wall comedy about Olympic preparations