July 11, 2008

A World of Fantasy at the Turn of a Page


Also available to buy pounds 19.99.

TWIN brothers Jared and Simon move to the dilapidated family pile of Spiderwick Mansion with older sister Mallory and their mother Helen and discover a book in the attic Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You.

Paying no attention to a warning on the cover, Jared opens the book and simultaneously opens a doorway to a world of fairies and sprites surrounding the old mansion.

The boy soon learns that a wicked, shape-shifting ogre called Mulgarath seeks the Field Guide and will stop at nothing to acquire it. So the children join forces with a friendly hobgoblin called Hogsqueal to ensure the book's safekeeping.

The Spiderwick Chronicles is a rollicking fairy-tale full of magic and mystery, other - worldly creatures and daring, based on the books by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.

Computer effects are woven seamlessly into the live action, including an exhilarating flight sequence on a griffin, gathering in pace for a thunderous finale that includes an exploding oven, lashings of tomato sauce and a killer pay-off line fromHogsqueal.

Extras include featurettes and Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide.*****


Also available to buy pounds 19.99.

DWAYNE 'THE ROCK' JOHNSON stars in this family comedy about the superstar quarterback of the Boston Rebels who single-handedly guides his team towards the NFL championship play-offs.

His carefully-ordered world implodes when eight-year-old Peyton Kelly turns up on his doorstep claiming to be his daughter. Peyton needs somewhere to stay and Joe takes in the rosy-cheeked tyke.

The Game Plan is an old-fashioned Disney yarn extolling the virtues of family unity. Humour is gentle and inoffensive. Director Andy Fickman slathers on the mawkish sentiment, especially in closing moments.

Bonus features include featurettes, bloopers with Marv Albert and deleted scenes. ***** STEP UP 2: THE STREETS (PG)

Also available to buy pounds 19.99/Double the Dance box-set pounds 24.99.

AFTER her latest brush with the law, talented hip-hop dancer Andie (Briana Evigan) reluctantly agrees to enroll at the prestigious Maryland School of the Arts.

She struggles to fit in, but the one ray of sunshine is a burgeoning friendship with Chase (Robert Hoffman), who loves to freestyle at local clubs.

Step Up 2: The Streets doesn't have any unique moves, drawing on Footloose, Flashdance, Dirty Dancing and their ilk to establish the various personal conflicts, then resolve them with a synchronised somersault.

Evigan and Hoffman are both easy on the eye but, curiously, their moves aren't nearly as hot as the supporting cast. A Double the Dance DVD box-set, comprising Step Up (Special Edition) and the sequel, is also available.*****


Also available to buy pounds 19.99.

REECE SHEARSMITH and Andy Serkis star in this horror comedy about bickering brothers attempting to get rich quick by kidnapping a gangster's daughter .

It seems a foolproof plan until the tables are turned on the kidnappers and they come face-to-face with a maniacal loner with a taste for human blood.

The Cottage bears none of the hallmarks of writer-director Paul Andrew Williams's glittering debut, London to Brighton.

Tension evaporates early on, pacing is sluggish and characters are screaming caricatures who grate on our nerves so badly, we're cheering when the deranged farmer starts hacking them to pieces.

DVD extras include director commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes with director commentary, out-takes, photo gallery, cast and crew biographies, Easter Egg (swear count) and theatrical trailer. *****

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