DVD: Hotel Transylvania (Cert U, 87 mins)
DVD: Hotel Transylvania (Cert U, 87 mins) Built in the late 19th century, Hotel Transylvania is the five-star home of Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) and his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). Creatures of the night flock to the hotel every year to celebrate Mavis’s birthday. Frankenstein’s monster (Kevin James) and his wife Eunice (Fran Drescher) excitedly check in along with Griffin The Invisible Man (David Spade), Murray The Mummy (Cee Lo Green), and Wayne Werewolf (Steve Buscemi) and his wife Wanda (Molly Shannon). A wayward backpacker called Jonathan (Adam Samberg) stumbles upon the establishment and Dracula hides the new arrival in a storeroom, explaining to the human interloper that his clientele won’t kill Jonathan “as long as they think you’re a monster”. So Dracula applies some grey make-up to transform the teenage tourist into Johnny-stein, who just happens to kindle Mavis’s first ‘zing’ of true love. Hotel Transylvania gives a family-friendly, computer-animated makeover to Bram Stoker’s bloodsucking anti-hero. Set in a leafy corner of Romania, Genndy Tartakovsky’s lively romp is extremely colourful and fast-paced, and the friction between Dracula and his inquisitive daughter sparks an occasional smart one-liner (“You’re barely out of your training fangs!”) However, there’s a paucity of originality in the script and characterisation is reduced to bestowing each monster with a single quirk. Featuring the voices of: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Adam Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Cee Lo Green, Jon Lovitz. Vocal performances are solid if unremarkable and, disappointingly, director Tartakovsky doesn’t tailor any of the scenes to the 3D format, which is available exclusively on Blu-ray.
DVD: Taken 2 (Cert 15, 94 mins). Former CIA field operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is understandably protective of his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), who he rescued from Albanian kidnappers and returned safely to her mother, Lenore (Famke Janssen). He’s less than thrilled to discover Kim has a boyfriend (Luke Grimes) but promises that he won’t run any background checks. When Lenore’s current partner storms out, Bryan invites his ex-wife and daughter to join him in Turkey. Little does the former agent realise that Murad (Rade Serbedzija), the father of one of the Albanian brutes he killed in the first film, has amassed a small army to abduct and torture Bryan and his loved ones. Taken 2 is a testosterone-fuelled blast that doesn’t take itself seriously, from the protracted set-up about Kim’s inability to parallel park to her transformation into a gun-toting chip off the old block. “Try to blend in!” Bryan tells his daughter to hoots of derision as she races across Turkish rooftops, tossing grenades hither and thither without any consideration for the safety of passing tourists. Neeson growls his lines with suitable menace, physically suffering for his lowbrow art. Janssen is the token two-dimensional love interest and Grace embraces the madness in the script. Olivier Megaton’s sequel delivers more slam-bang thrills than the first instalment, embracing the preposterousness of a centrepiece car sequence which sees Kim, who has failed her driving test, perform high-speed manoeuvres through the winding streets of bustling Istanbul. A glittering career beckons as a movie stuntwoman. A two-disc box set comprising Taken and the sequel is also available.
Dvd:Untouchable (Cert 15, 112 mins Philippe (Francois Cluzet) is a wealthy aristocrat who suffers injuries in a paragliding accident. He roams his sprawling Parisian mansion in a wheelchair and requires care to accomplish everyday tasks. Uncouth ex-con Driss (Omar Sy), who has only applied for a job as a live-in career to get a signature on his benefits card, appeals greatly to Philippe and he hires the former jailbird. Driss takes up residence in an opulent guest room and quickly clashes with personal assistant Yvonne (Anne Le Ny). “I bet you won’t last two weeks,” she predicts. Against the odds, Driss forges a tender bond across the class divide, helping Philippe to teach his brattish daughter Elisa (Alba Gaia Kraghede Bellugi) some manners and to re-connect with the outside world. Loosely based on a true story, Untouchable is a crowd-pleasing comedy, which smashed box office records in France. Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache’s film boasts some uproarious interludes, including a badly behaved night at the opera, and is anchored by a stellar performance from Sy as the jailbird who encourages his stuffy employer to trade Vivaldi for Earth, Wind and Fire. For all its endearing qualities the picture trades heavily in racial stereotypes and when the laughter subsides, you’re left to contemplate whether the writer-directors are guilty of insensitivity or racism. At the very moment you expect Untouchable to deliver its wallop, the film opts for a smaller payoff. The reluctance to indulge in sentimentality, which distinguishes the film, also diminishes it.
DVD: Borgen - The Complete Second Series (Cert 15, 580 mins). Two years is a very long time in Danish politics in the second series of the acclaimed drama. Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) is serving as prime minister and must contend with manifold problems in her professional and personal lives. At home, she has split from her husband Philip (Mikael Birkkjaer) and feels pangs of jealousy that he is moving on while she is stuck in a rut. Overseas, Birgitte must make critical decisions regarding the fate of Danish soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, which could become the defining moment of her second term in charge. A six-disc box set comprising both series is also available.