dvd releases

James Bond, super spy, ladies man and pop culture phenomenon, first appeared in a series of 14 novels written by Ian Fleming (1908-1964) and published from 1953 to 1966. Bond's first appearance in a major motion picture was in 1962 when Fleming's sixth novel, Dr. No, was adapted for the big screen. The film featured Sean Connery as James Bond and Ursula Andress as his leggy, blonde love interest.

March 6: Marilyn Monroe’s last movie was released over 50 years ago, so the timing is probably perfect to tackle such an icon in film. Her image still epitomizes the Hollywood dream, but many of us have never actually seen her act. Nonetheless, it’s quite the task to capture her ineffable ability to be sexy and sweet, savvy and susceptible all in one breathy sentence. My Week With Marilyn comes pretty close, while at the same time letting the audience into the strange world of ‘50s-style superstardom.

February 7: Loveable stoners Harold and Kumar are back, celebrating Christmas more than a month behind schedule. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas revisits what made their trip to White Castle an underground classic. The equation looks a little like this: Harold + Kumar + weed + mission = mission impossible. The film re-enters the pair’s life with Harold off the weed, on Wall Street and estranged from Kumar, who is keeping the home “fires” burning. When a parcel for Harold arrives at their old pad, Kumar decides to deliver it in person.

November 1: A Better Life tells the story of Carlos, a Mexican immigrant working in Los Angeles illegally. Carlos is trying to make a go of it to give his son the chances he never had. At fifteen, his son Luis is slipping away. Luis is skipping school, mingling with local gangs and he sees his father, a garden worker, as a cliché. When Carlos’ work truck gets stolen, father and son search to find it. The journey turns out to be as much about the truck as it is about the first connection they’ve had with each other.

October 4: Submarine is a coming-of-age comedy set in Wales during the early ‘80s, telling the story of 15-year-old Oliver Tate and his trouble with women. The first is his mother. She seems to be bored of his father and to falling for a schmarmy neighbour. The other is Jordana, the odd girl he has managed to convince into a relationship. Coming-of-age films are hard to nail. There has to be just the right amount of nostalgia to counter the obnoxious narcissism of adolescence, and while movies like Juno and Easy A are fun, teenagers are rarely that witty.

September 6: Hanna tells the story of a 16-year-old girl whose ex-CIA father has trained her to be an assassin. The pair has spent most of her life in northern Finland, isolated from the rest of the world, until he sends her big mission – to kill another agent. A cross between Run Lola Run and the Bourne movies – with a little bit of fantasy and sci-fi thrown in the mix – the film is straight up entertainment that is perfect for back-to-school brains. Saoirse Ronan’s otherworldly quality is put to good use as Hanna, especially as she finds herself a stranger in strange lands.