DVD Round-up, 29 March 2010

Mighty Boosh fans rejoice! The director and stars of the cult comedy have finally banded together to make a movie in the shape of Bunny and the Bull (Optimum). And, while Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt may not be the leads of this particular adventure, it still has enough Booshisms to make a decent substitute until the real thing comes along.

Set in the living room of Stephen Turnbull (Ed Hogg), who hasn’t left his house for months, a series of events causes him to recall a round-Europe trip he took with his flatmate, Bunny (Simon Farnaby).

However, because of Stephen’s refusal to leave the front room, his flat becomes a recreation of his original trip, his sofa a gateway to another world and the dinner table a series of railway tracks, motorways and other locations too distant to go to physically.

As Stephen and Bunny move onwards on their journey, encountering odd characters (including Fielding and Barratt) and a love interest in the shape of Veronica Echegui, Bunny becomes more annoying and the reason for their trip less clear, the viewer wondering just who their loyalties should lie with.

Stunning visuals accompany them throughout, the backdrops getting more elaborate as they progress. With the story losing its grip at times, it’s the film’s look which is perhaps the most interesting, though a bittersweet ending does go some way to putting the rest of the piece into perspective. A frustrating watch.

A commentary, making-of documentary and other material help give some context to the film.

Controversial in its native South Korea, Breathless (Terracotta Distribution) comes to DVD in a features-packed 2 disc edition which attempts to get beneath the surface of this violent, yet rewarding, film which is written by, directed and stars Yang Ik-une.

Sang-hoon (Yang Ik-june) is a debt collector with a violent temper, one who likes to fight first and ask questions…never. Thanks to a brutal upbringing involving domestic violence, Sang-hoon’s view of the world is fuelled by the need to exact pain on anyone he feels he can, until he meets a schoolgirl with a similar story.

Though its budget may be tiny, the fact that Breathless takes place mainly on the backstreets and interiors of offices and houses means that it’s never meant to be glossy, Yang Ik-june never glorifying the violence at its centre.

With a gradual build up of tension and impressive interaction between characters, this is an absorbing and often difficult watch that rewards the persistent viewer.

Also out today is 1957’s The Man in the Sky (Optimum), an Ealing Studio film starring Jack Hawkins as pilot John Mitchell who is living a less than fulfilled suburban lifestyle with his wife (Elizabeth Sellars) and their two children.

While taking a new plane on a test flight one day, his passengers including Donald Pleasance and Lionel Jeffries in minor roles, Mitchell realises something is wrong with the engines and orders his crew to parachute to safety. Remaining on board and unable to land, Mitchell must decide the best course of action while the town below, including his wife, watches.

Directed by Ealing regular Charles Crichton and featuring a strong performance from Hawkins, this is still a sub-par Ealing film, even if it does entertain for its short run time. Mitchell’s reasons for wanting to remain on board may be admirable but there’s not enough character there to make the audience sympathetic with him, the film falling rather flat when he does return to terra firma.

Still, as a lesser-known entry to the Ealing canon this is an important release, a good chance to see the recently-deceased Jeffries in a small part.

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