Monday 29 June 2015

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2015)

Hot on the heels of the final episode being broadcast on network television, here comes the DVD & Blu-ray release of the BBC’s adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s mammoth historical fantasy novel.
It’s the year 1806 and we’re in an England of an alternate timeline where magic is acknowledged to have existed but is now no longer used. A group of Yorkshire theoretical magicians (which sounds like a cue for a Monty Python sketch) learn to their surprise that a practising magician called Gilbert Norrell (Eddie Marsan) exists, with a library full of books and a set of magic skills ready to prove his abilities to them. Norrell travels to London to re-establish magic as a practical art and himself as its authority in the country. 

        After summoning a fairy called The Gentleman (Marc Warren) to assist in the resurrection of a cabinet minister’s deceased fiancee, Norrell fails to realise he has awoken the world of fairy to the world of men once more. Meanwhile there are prophecies in England of the return of the Raven King, while abroad Britain is having a bit of trouble fighting the Napoleonic wars and some magical input would be extremely helpful. Step forward Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel), the only other individual in the country capable of matching (and possibly excelling) Mr Norrell’s own skills, and it's not long before a rivalry develops between the two.

A hugely ambitious undertaking for anyone to adapt (New Line Cinema’s own version is still in development hell) it’s a delight to report that our very own BBC have done a fantastic job in bringing Susanna Clarke’s 1000-plus page gothic literary pastiche to the screen. The BBC has a long, if intermittent, history of adapting classic fantasy, including LORD OF THE RINGS for radio and John Masefield’s BOX OF DELIGHTS for children's television in the 1980s. In the past, however, such productions were often hampered by budgetary restraints (the title creatures of 1981’s DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS adaptation came in for some ridiculing at the time). 

JONATHAN STRANGE, however looks nothing less than sumptuous. Every now and then the CGI is a little obvious, but no more so than in other similarly gothic-themed fare such as PENNY DREADFUL. As one would expect from a BBC production, the acting is excellent across the board, with splendid turns from Bertie Carvel and the always-reliable Eddie Marsan, as well as a host of character actors, some of whom will be familiar to fans of British comedy of the 1970s onwards, including Brian Pettifer (GET SOME IN!), Paul DENNIS PENNIS Kaye, Vincent Franklin (THE OFFICE) and John Sessions (WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY).

Where JONATHAN STRANGE really scores points, however, is in its general mise-en-scene, which cannot help but evoke to those of us of a certain upbringing the glorious period British horror films of the early 1970s. One episode will have Amicus fans playing spot the FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE references, the two magicians working together at the climax is evocative of Peter Newbrook’s THE ASPHYX, and any number of gloomy carriage rides and grim forbidding locations are reminiscent of the very best of Tigon and Hammer. Vincent Franklin as Drawlight even seems to be channelling Aubrey Morris.

Blu-ray was made to showcase gothic splendour such as this, and RLJ’s transfer looks as excellent as one might expect. The two disc set also includes over twenty minutes of behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes, a few bloopers and some picture galleries. Vast, complex, and an utter delight to watch for the entirety of its seven hour-long episodes, the BBC’s JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL may well be the television drama event of the year, and if you haven’t already read the book you’ll want to by the time you’ve finished watching this. 

RLJ Entertainment are releasing the BBC version of Susanna Clarke's JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL on Region B Blu-ray and Region 2 DVD on 29th June 2015

Thursday 25 June 2015

Hazard (2015)

Now here’s a surprise - a retitled, micro-budget, direct-to-DVD horror film that’s actually rather better than almost all of the films of that nature that get sent to House of Mortal Cinema for review. That’s not to say the quotes on the front of the box are exactly true - HAZARD is nowhere near ‘the perfect horror film’ - but it’s not bad if you’re in the mood for some claustrophobic slasher horror and are willing to forgive the film’s shortcomings.

Originally titled HAZMAT, the film kicks off with the crew of the Scary Antics television series pulling off another ‘hilarious’ practical joke, before setting up for their latest project. A group of teenagers want to scare their friend Jacob by taking him on a prank-filled tour of a local deserted chemical factory. Jacob’s father died there, he’s convinced the place is haunted, and his friends describe him as a withdrawn, antisocial type who could use a good scare in the place his dad died to get him out of his shell. 

The TV crew lock themselves in one of the factory’s tiny rooms with all their monitoring equipment, leaving one of their number to wander the corridors in  biohazard overalls and a gas mask, as the teens arrive with Jacob in tow. Once inside, Jacob goes bonkers, dresses up in a hazard outfit he finds there, and starts killing everyone.

Even from that brief summary it’s easy to see that HAZARD has a few problems with its logistics, but if you can see past these, it all becomes a rather pleasing variation on Michele Soavi’s STAGEFRIGHT, with a group of hapless individuals locked in a dark and scary factory and being pursued by an unstoppable lunatic. Key to HAZARD’s success is writer-director-producer Lou Simon’s ability to create numerous effective camera set-ups and evoke a sense of claustrophobia that leads to a feeling of genuine unease. I’m not saying that HAZARD is any kind of undiscovered classic - the script could have used a polish, it really needs an ending with a bit more punch, and the acting ranges from competent to not quite so, but treat it as a variant on the low-budget Italian 1980s slasher genre and it actually works quite well. 
         101 Films has released HAZARD on DVD only, but the picture quality is excellent, with no loss of resolution during the (many) dark scenes that, either by accident or design, are surprisingly well lit. There are no extras. 

101 Films released HAZARD on Region 2 DVD on 22nd June 2015

Sunday 21 June 2015

The Devil's Violinist (2015)

Less an accurate biopic, and more an enthusiastic showcase for the talents of David Garrett (its renowned violinist star) Bernard Rose’s entertaining, and occasionally sensational, period piece about the life and career of Niccolo Paganini comes to UK DVD courtesy of Metrodome.

After a couple of brief scenes showing the soon-to-be-virtuoso as a child, followed by his first attempts to gain public recognition, we jump forward to 1830. Paganini is at the height of his career and is acclaimed throughout Europe. Along the way he has been involved in a vast number of affairs and scandals, has acquired an almost pantomime villain-like manager in the form of Urbani (Jared THE QUIET ONES Harris), and is practically penniless having lost all his money at cards. 

Salvation comes in the form of England’s John Watson (Christian McKay) who wants to bring Paganini to the Royal Opera House for a series of concerts. Watson sends Paganini the money to come over. Paganini spends it. Watson sends more. Paganini spends that as well. Now almost destitute, Watson finally manages to get Paganini across to the UK, where he has to live in Watson’s furniture and servant-depleted house. There he meets Watson’s daughter Charlotte (Andrea Deck) a budding soprano who refuses to be seduced by his first.

Anyone looking for historical accuracy in THE DEVIL’S VIOLINIST is going to be disappointed. However, if you want to see Mr Garrett giving his all on the violin in a movie this is the place to be. He’s obviously not an actor, but since when did that ever stop the movies casting David Bowie, Sting, Roger Daltrey et al in starring roles? Bernard Rose very sensibly gives as little dialogue to Mr Garrett as possible and lets all the acting take place around him. Rose is no Ken Russell, but in this case that’s probably a good thing, as Garrett’s performances are wild enough, and they benefit from the relative restraint of the rest of the picture.

The cast is eminently watchable. Jared Harris resembles Robert Helpmann’s child catcher in a big hat and doesn’t quite bring the gravitas the movie would benefit from in this role. Joely Richardson does an interesting turn as a Fleet Street hack - all top hat and ginger curls with a bit of a ‘Gor Blimey’ accent, and Andrea Deck as Charlotte gives the best, and most understated, performance as the soprano who gets the chance to shine. Watch out also for Olivia D’Abo (CONAN THE DESTROYER) as a Paganini-protester, and Helmut Berger (!) as Lord Burgher.

I’ve always been a fan of writer-director Bernard Rose, who made both CANDYMAN and the earlier PAPERHOUSE. I liked DEVIL’S VIOLINIST more than IMMORTAL BELOVED, his movie about Beethoven with Gary Oldman. Here, as well as giving the music its rightful centre stage, Rose also demonstrates an eye for the gothic that will have some wishing he was making ‘proper horror films’ for the resurrected Hammer.
          Musical highlights include some of Paganini’s own compositions, as well as a wealth of material from Schubert and Rachmaninov. And there’s plenty of it, which after all is what a film like this should be all about. Metrodome’s DVD contains no extras, but if you’re looking for an entertaining period picture about Paganini and featuring some electrifying solos this hits the spot nicely. 

Metrodome are releasing Bernard Rose's THE DEVIL'S VIOLINIST on Region 2 DVD on 22nd June 2015

Thursday 18 June 2015

The Blob (1958)

Watch out! Watch out! Here comes THE BLOB! With its own jolly little theme tune as it slurps its way across the screen, various tiny sets, and at least one photograph of a building its supposed to be consuming. THE BLOB is a seminal science fiction film, oft-quoted and imitated. As to whether it’s actually any good or not

One day I hope to work with the director of SUMMER HOLIDAY

Steve McQueen and Aneta Corsault play forty year-old teenagers (Blu-ray can be rather unkind in some respects). One night they drive up to Lover’s Leap or some other traditionally-named meeting point for American teenagers. (We never had that sort of thing in the UK - romantic liaisons tended to take place in locations with names like Garrotting Lane or Lover’s Death Plunge). While there they see a meteorite fall to earth. An old man beats them to the spot, where something the size and shape of a large golf ball with a gooey centre has made a small crater. Like anyone encountering something of extra-terrestrial origin in these films, the old man pokes at it with a stick and soon the clear jelly stuff is on his hand and turning red. 


Steve and Aneta take him to the local doctor who decides he needs to amputate. He calls in his nurse who specialises in falling over and being eaten by the blob. Sure enough, by the time she arrives the old man is gone and something resembling thick strawberry jam is slurping its way around the surgery. The nurse does her thing and is absorbed and pretty soon the doctor is gone, too. In search of more God-fearing free Americans, the red menace blobs its way towards the town. Will the teenagers be able to convince the police of the peril in their midst? And how do you stop the seemingly unstoppable?

Every home should have one

The best thing about THE BLOB is undoubtedly its monster - a relentless insatiable alien that just wants to eat and eat and eat. Bullets can’t stop it (and neither can acid) and I don’t doubt it’s a major (and possibly the only) part of the film’s appeal. Otherwise THE BLOB really is a rather pedestrian effort. Despite the colour photography (which looks great on Blu-ray) there’s a bit of an Ed Wood feel to some of the film-making. Dialogue shots are often filmed against black backdrops, and there is at least one scene where all the acting is from the waist down. The dialogue itself is pretty hokey (“You mean that thing's been hot-rodding its way through space?”) and when the monster’s not on screen one’s finger itches to press the fast forward button. 

About to do her thing

As I’ve said above, however, somehow THE BLOB ended up being way more than the sum of its parts. Watch a comedy sketch about 1950s SF movies and you can bet scenes that THE BLOB did first will be referenced. Movie after movie made in its wake did the same thing. THE BLOB may be clunky and stilted, but it still somehow captures a feeling for a certain kind of science fiction monster movie perfectly. 
        Fabulous Films’ Blu-ray uses the Criterion Collection’s transfer, which looks great. Extras are limited to a trailer and some galleries. 

Fabulous Films released THE BLOB on Region B Blu-ray and Region 2 DVD on 20th April 2015

Monday 15 June 2015

Can't Come Out To Play (2014)

The Children’s Film Foundation meets the Pan Book of Horror Stories in the latest film from John McNaughton, director of HENRY - PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, MAD DOG & GLORY and others. It was shown at last year’s FrightFest under the title THE HARVEST. It’s been retitled and given some box art to make it look like every other low-rent DVD release on the shelves at the moment which is a shame, because it’s a lot better than pretty much all of them.

When her mother and father die, twelve year old Maryann (Natasha Calis) goes to live with her grandparents in New England. Out wandering one day, she comes across a house that, if this were a Lucio Fulci film, would be located next to a cemetery. Through a downstairs window she spies Andy, a boy her age who is confined to a wheelchair by a mysterious disease that means he has to be kept at home. Andy’s father Richard (Michael Shannon from THE RUNAWAYS) doesn’t mind Maryann visiting. 

Andy’s mother Katherine (Samantha Morton from COSMOPOLIS, MINORITY REPORT) on the other hand, is dead against it. She works as a surgeon at the local hospital and has been caring for Andy at home ever since he was born. This has involved the acquisition of medical equipment, and a large quantity of pharmaceuticals obtained illegally from drug rep Sandra (Meadow Williams). Maryann ignores Katherine’s warnings and continues to see Andy on the sly. One day she ends up trapped in the house, ventures downstairs, and discovers something quite unexpected in the basement.

As I’ve implied above, CAN’T COME OUT TO PLAY is miles better than most of the straight to DVD dross that’s available at the moment. In fact it’s a pleasure to see such a well made, well acted, low-key horror film. The plot isn’t that believable, but the skills of all involved keep you watching and there’s a satisfying payoff at the end as well.

Signature’s DVD is sadly a bare bones affair. John McNaughton was interviewed on stage at FrightFest but presumably the filmed footage wasn’t of good enough quality. The disc offers two sound mixes and scene selections and that’s all. CAN’T COME OUT TO PLAY still comes highly recommended, though, and is proof that not all low-budget modern horror has to consist of gibbering incompetents filming each other on their iPhones. 

Signature Entertainment are releasing John McNaughton's CAN'T COME OUT TO PLAY aka THE HARVEST on Region 2 DVD on 22nd June 2015

Thursday 11 June 2015

Society (1989)

Not the most obvious title for a horror film whose climax consists of some of the most bizarre, surreal and occasionally ridiculous makeup effects ever committed to celluloid, Brian Yuzna’s SOCIETY makes it to Blu-ray (and DVD) in a sensational limited edition box set from Arrow Films (the standard release will be along later).

Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock) has it all: son of a rich and influential family, pretty (if extremely annoying) girlfriend, and doing well in the posh school he attends where he is up for school president. But, as Bill confesses to psychiatrist Dr Cleveland (Ben Slack) he has a major problem: he believes his family, and many of those he knows, are conspiring against him. His presumed paranoid fantasies are not helped when David Blanchard (Tim Bartell), ex-boyfriend of his sister Jenny (Patrice Jennings) plays him a tape that suggests her forthcoming ‘coming out’ party is going to be nothing more than an orgy of incest-reaching proportions. 

Billy’s also having trouble with the ‘in-crowd’ at school, the good-looking, privileged group who regularly subject him to abuse and (shock!) don’t invite him to their parties. When Blanchard is seemingly killed in a road accident and Billy enjoys an unusual sexual liaison with the exotic Clarissa (Devin DeVasquez) it’s only the beginning of his entry into a very weird world indeed.
SOCIETY premiered at London’s Shock Around the Clock Festival in 1989. Its addition was so last-minute it wasn’t even in the programme, and there was no pre-publicity other than Alan Jones introducing it as the horror version of DEBBIE DOES DALLAS. Consequently nobody knew what to expect, certainly not from that generic-sounding title. Critics of this movie have accused the first three quarters of SOCIETY of being dull, with its reputation relying entirely on the prosthetics of the finale. Actually that’s not the case at all. Even if you know nothing about what is going to happen, Yuzna’s movie is laced with creeping oddness and paranoia, and by the time everything goes crazy, it’s actually a fitting (and literal) climax to the steady buildup.

SOCIETY got a wild and rapturous reception at Shock Around the Clock, and watching it now, twenty six years later, it still holds up extremely well. It’s like nothing else made in the 1980s, and yet it encapsulates so many of the social anxieties (and movie attitudes) of the decade, ramping them up to eleven and extrapolating them off the screen into the bounds of insanity. Screaming Mad George’s makeup effects may be derided for those who don’t get the film as being ridiculous and over the top, but to those of us who love SOCIETY, they’re still nightmarish and disturbing, the set-piece of all those mingled bodies stretching right across a normally immaculate living room both jarring and terrifying.

SOCIETY fully deserves the care Arrow Films have lavished upon it. The print looks just like an oversaturated low budget 1980s horror film should. There’s a new commentary track by Yuzna, and a wealth of interviews with Yuzna, Warlock and others. There’s also a blurry VHS recording of Yuzna being interviewed at Shock in 1989 (but no Alan Jones? Shame!), more Yuzna at a 2014 film festival, a Screaming Mad George music video (don’t watch if you’re averse to huge scuttling insect legs), plus a perfect bound mini graphic novella, new writing from Alan Jones and a lovely presentation box. 
SOCIETY remains one of the great horror films of the 1980s, and this is the edition to get. Well done Arrow.

Arrow Films released Brian Yuzna's SOCIETY in the special limited edition dual Blu-ray and DVD set shown above on 9th June 2015. The standard edition will follow on 7th September 2015

Monday 8 June 2015

The Loft (2014)

Readers of a certain age will remember the erotic thriller boom of the early 1990s, when the huge financial success of Paul Verhoeven’s BASIC INSTINCT (1992) meant that exploitation movie producers who couldn’t afford gore and makeup effects for horror films could enter the low rent arena by an even cheaper route. All that was needed was a few glossy apartment sets, some topless scenes, a knife and a bit of blood, all of which would be emphasised to often ludicrous levels on the VHS box cover. You may have thought these low rent late night Channel 5 epics had gone the way of the oversexed dinosaur, but while you’re still digesting that image, here we have THE LOFT.

Latin written in blood? How can this film possibly go wrong?

British viewers are, of course, going to assume that this is a movie about an attic where saucy things take place, or where perhaps someone keeps their stash of naughty books. But oh no, THE LOFT is a low budget English language remake of a Belgian original. Come back! Where are you going? You haven’t even heard what it’s about yet.

Our leads. Well, four of them.

Five rich, successful, and intensely dislikable married men rent a posh penthouse apartment (the loft of the title) so they have somewhere cheap and convenient to take their bits on the side. This is kind of where the erotic bit comes in, although I have to say during all the soft focus groping all that was going through my mind was who does the laundry in this place? Is there a bed making rota? How do they avoid being there on the same night as someone else? Is there a rota for that? Is someone always stuck with Mondays? And what would one of them do if they walked in one day to find a naked dead girl handcuffed to the bed which happens to be soaked in blood?

Presumably we're somewhere warm
That’s how THE LOFT begins, by the way. We then learn the backstory in flashbacks, flashbacks within flashbacks, and a series of twists and turns so convoluted THE LOFT could actually have been a lot of fun if all the lead cardboard cutout characters weren’t so unremittingly hateful. I can’t remember any of their names, but the script probably just labelled them as the Violent One, the Fat Stupid One, the Brother of the Violent One, the Quiet One Who Must Have Dodgy Sexual Preferences and, of course the One Who Thought Up Getting The Loft in the First Place. He’s played by Karl Urban, who’s about the only familiar face in this.

Think carefully before you agree to be in a remake of a Belgian crime thriller
By now hopefully you know if you fancy giving THE LOFT a go. It’s a slick, glossy, utterly passionless thriller where the (minimal) erotica isn’t sexy and the characters so vapid that you don’t care about any come-uppance they might get. Signature’s DVD is bare bones, with no extras. I’ve not seen the Belgian original but I hope for the director’s sake it’s better than this. 

THE LOFT is being released on Region 2 DVD by Signature Entertainment on 15th June 2015

Thursday 4 June 2015

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1958)

Holmes and Watson meet Hammer in the only movie version of Conan-Doyle’s famous detective to be made by the studio, now released on Blu-ray by Arrow Films.
It’s hard to believe anyone doesn’t know the plot of this one, but in case you’re not familiar with the Hammer version, here we go: Peter Cushing (Sherlock) and Andre Morrell (Dr Watson) get asked by Dr Mortimer (Francis de Wolff) to come down to gloomy old Baskerville hall in the depths of the West country to make sure the estate’s latest inheritor Sir Henry (Christopher Lee) doesn’t go the way of his recently deceased relative, i.e. scared to death because of the rare heart condition he has no doubt acquired from all that posh inbreeding. The family curse involves Sir Henry’s villainous ancestor Sir Hugo, a village girl chased across the moors, and an enormous dog that did Sir Hugo in. Has the hound returned? Is it a ghost? Might there possibly be no supernatural explanation at all? If you’ve not seen it I’ll leave you to find out.

Conan-Doyle’s novel has been filmed so many times it’s close to being the most screen-adapted book ever, and Hammer’s HOUND is still one of the best. I suspect Holmes purists will cry foul, however, due to a few changes to ramp up the sex and horror elements, and a general sense that we are indeed watching the next in a series of classic horror remakes from a studio that had already demonstrated a revolutionary approach to the gothic.

It’s this approach that makes Hammer’s HOUND a classic, though. Up until 1958 Holmes and Watson were Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, initially at Fox and then moving to Universal for the shorter contemporary programmers. Cushing and Morrell do more than just fill their shoes, or offer an imitation of what has gone before. The interpretations are entirely fresh, and in particular Morrell elevates the character of Dr Watson out of the bumbling rut he’d fallen into. The two actors would appear together again in Hammer’s CASH ON DEMAND (1961), a film that makes one wonder how fascinating it might have been to see Morrell as Holmes and Cushing as Watson. 

Only a couple of years into their golden age, Hammer were also already displaying a keen awareness of their audience demographic. The upper classes are portrayed as cruel and sadistic (Sir Hugo) or easily taken in and unable to fulfil the hero role because of a weak heart (Sir Henry). James Bernard’s music crashes away as if Frankenstein and Dracula are probably living just down the road (which in a way they were) and the whole endeavour remains a valuable addition to the canon of work interpreting Conan-Doyle’s detective adventures.

Arrow’s Blu-ray transfer is a fine job, even if it doesn’t look quite as sharp, clear or clean as other Blu-ray releases of Hammer films of the period. I’m guessing there wasn’t as much money available to restore this one compared to DRACULA or THE MUMMY. We do get a wealth of excellent extras, however, including a splendid commentary from the always listenable Marcus Hearn and Jonathan Rigby, a new documentary - Release the Hound!, a featurette on Andre Morrell’s career, excerpts from the source novel read by Christopher Lee, and a 1986 documentary hosted by Lee looking at the various Holmes screen incarnations. Add in a trailer, booklet, and a reversible sleeve, and this is all quite lovely.

Arrow Films released Hammer's HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES on Region B Blu-ray on 1st June 2015 

Monday 1 June 2015

Whiplash (2015)

The mad impresario subgenre gets a smashing contribution in the form of Damien Chazelle’s directorial debut and featuring an Oscar / BAFTA / Golden Globe winning performance from J K Simmons. Oscars and BAFTAs were also picked up for editing and sound mixing, and it’s a delight to report that WHIPLASH was an entirely deserving win in all three categories.

Andrew Neimann (Miles Teller) is a first year music student at the prestigious Shaffer Conservatory in New York. His aspiration is to become a great jazz drummer, perhaps even one of the greats. One night while he is practicing he receives a visit from highly respected conductor / teacher and all-round terrifying force of nature Terence Fletcher (J K Simmons). Fletcher invites Andrew to be a part of his studio band, where students are regularly subjected to trials of humiliation as Fletcher strives for jazz excellence through a combination of high standards and outright sadism. Neimann makes the grade but turns out to be just as much the obsessive student as Fletcher is the obsessive teacher, with the pair ultimately threatening to cause each others’ downfall as the madness that so often seems to accompany genius (certainly in pictures like this) threatens to destroy them.

Prior to making WHIPLASH Damien Chazelle wrote the screenplay for GRAND PIANO, a fine Hitchockian thriller (with overtones of de Palma) which turned out to be my favourite film of last year. WHIPLASH is less thriller and more autobiography, with Chazelle having based the character of Fletcher on one of his own teachers when he was a jazz student. It’s a fascinating account of the lengths both teacher and student will go to in order to achieve excellence, depicted in an admirably brutal way. Indeed, despite the musical skill on display here WHIPLASH is unlikely to have parents encouraging their little children to take up the drums, at least not if they want them to be able to grow up leading a normal life.

Despite a fine script and all that award-winning editing, the success of a film like WHIPLASH is ultimately going to rest on the shoulders of its stars. Both leads here acquit themselves admirably. J K Simmons deserves his award, and hopefully his blood pressure is back down to normal by now after his utterly focused, frighteningly intense turn as Fletcher. Just as good, though, is Miles Teller, who played all his own drum parts and has the bigger job of having to display a considerable degree of emotional range, sometimes veering close to madness and dislikeability, while still keeping the audience on his side. It’s a more subtle performance than it first appears, and Teller provides an excellent match for Simmons.

Sony’s Blu-ray features a variety of extras, including a commentary track from Chazelle and Simmons, the original 17 minute short film on which the feature was based, a trailer, an on-stage Q&A from the Toronto Film Festival and Timekeepers, a 45 minute documentary featuring a plethora of drummers discussing their craft. The DVD has the commentary and the Q&A but the other extras are exclusive to the Blu-ray.
         WHIPLASH is an intense, absorbing, breathtaking and fascinating look at the world of high-powered jazz musicianship. You don’t have to like jazz to get it. In fact I’ll admit I’m not much of a fan and I thought it was excellent. And in some ways perhaps that’s the greatest praise of all.

Sony is releasing Damien Chazelle's WHIPLASH on Blu-ray (all regions) and Region 2 DVD on 1st June 2015