DVD round-up: Source Code, Poirot, Louis Theroux

The week's TV and film releases reviewed

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FILM

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DVD OF THE WEEK
Source Code (Cert: 12)
4 stars

In a nutshell: Jake Gyllenhaal has just eight minutes to find a bomber

Advanced technology allows a US Air Force pilot (Jake Gyllenhaal) to be implanted in the fading memories of a dying man to investigate a terrorist bombing, in this speculative slice of suspense from Moon director Duncan Jones. Blending elements of Deja Vu, Murder on the Orient Express and even Groundhog Day, the story’s fascinating premise draws us in, while the whodunnit aspects keep us hooked. Kudos also goes to Gyllenhaal, adeptly balancing vulnerability with muscle-bound action, amid solid supporting work from fellow passenger Michelle Monaghan and his sinister military handlers, Jeffrey Wright and Vera Farmiga. Trevor Johnston

Formats: DVD and Double Play (Blu-ray/DVD)
Extras: Commentary from film-makers and cast, interviews, trivia track and a look at the science behind the story

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec (Cert: 12)
3 stars
In a nutshell: Whimsical tale of an intrepid French female

There’s certainly a hint of Hollywood blockbuster about Luc Besson’s adaptation of Jacques Tardi’s French comic strip about a female adventurer. But a strong injection of Gallic eccentricity ensures plenty of deviation from the usual formula. The action begins in Paris, 1912, with a pterodactyl hatching from its egg in a museum and going on to menace the city. Louise Bourgoin’s heroine blends Indiana Jones’s guile with a certain head-girl hauteur, and though much of the knockabout comedy and verbal wit is lost in translation, the sheer whimsy, enchanting locations and deliciously ornate design add to the appeal. Trevor Johnston

Formats: DVD and Blu-ray
Extras: Production featurettes and interviews with Besson and Bourgoin

Mars Needs Moms (Cert: PG)
2 stars
In a nutshell: Unspectacular sci-fi comedy from the House of Mouse

Mars may need moms, but does Earth need this movie? Because, by Disney’s high standards, this animated sci-fi comedy is distinctly charmless. Disciplinarian moms are being whipped away to Mars to “control” Martian mites. Toss into the motion-captured mix Earth kid Milo (Seth Green) who wants his mom (Joan Cusack) back, a couple of cute robo-bots, and an “astronut” buddy who’s creepy, but not in a good way, and you have an OK piece of kids’ entertainment, but not one that is likely to be added to the pantheon of Disney classics. Dave Aldridge

Formats: DVD
Extras: Two very short production featurettes

TV

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Complete (Cert: 15)
4 stars
In a nutshell: David Suchet exercises those little grey cells

David Suchet has been playing the fastidious Belgian detective since 1989 and this new box set brings together all his cases, including The Clocks, which has yet to be seen on ITV1. The series roughly divides into two eras: the early years that saw Poirot teaming up with the cloddish Captain Hastings and Inspector Japp and the later period that finds him acting as a lone wolf in more lavish, cinematic adventures. Both have their merits, although for me the more recent Murder on the Orient Express and Five Little Pigs show the drama at its best. David Brown

Formats: DVD
Extras: David Suchet on the Orient Express documentary, a behind-the-scenes look at Murder on the Orient Express

Louis Theroux: the Odd, the Bad and the Godly (Cert: 15)
4 stars
In a nutshell: more extreme encounters for the journalist

Louis’s five most recent documentaries find him accompanying the Lagos police as they keep the peace, meeting parents in America whose kids use psychoactive medication, revisiting the Westboro Baptist Church and spending time with ultra Zionists on the West Bank. But it’s the trip to Miami’s Mega-Jail that elicits the biggest gasps: in this two-part look at pre-trial incarceration, the journalist immerses himself in the gladiatorial culture where cage-like dwellings can house up to 24 men and inmates adhere to a vicious code of conduct. David Brown

Other highlights:

Gossip Girl (season 4): more high-society drama

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Angry Boys: Chris Lilley’s character-based comedy