New DVDs for April include plenty of book-to-movie adaptations: With the spectacular Sci-Fi epic Ender’s Game from the cult novel by Orson Scott Card, The Patience Stone the best-selling novel by Afghan-born Atiq Rahimi, and the latest entry in The Hobbit trilogy. Also there is plenty of new TV with Masters of Sex recounting the real life story of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, and the return of Sherlock Holmes from the dead…
“Based on the popular series of books by Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game is aimed at the same young adult crowd that gobbled up franchises like Twilight and The Hunger Games, but it has plenty to satisfy older audiences too. Ender Wiggin is a pubescent genius selected for training in an elite battle school some 70 years after an apocalyptic global attack by the insectlike Formics that killed tens of millions. The Formics were defeated, but the threat of their return remains and it’s up to children like Ender to become strategic commanders who will take up the mantle of defending Earth. The martial sensibility of a child army is crisp and believable in the scenes of boot camp on space stations and distant planet outposts. Asa Butterfield (Hugo) makes Ender the scrawny, brilliant misfit who really may be a savior to end the Formic threat forever. He’s bullied and alienated, a theme that recurs throughout the story in many ways and comes full circle in the brutal, beautiful finale. His mentor and tormentor is Colonel Graff, the grizzled commander who believes Ender is “the one,” but must hide some essential truths as a measure of control. Harrison Ford makes a bang-up return to stardom as Graff with barely dimmed wattage that pays more than a little homage to Han Solo…” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)
The patience stone.
“Based on the best-selling novel by Afghan-born Atiq Rahimi (Winner of France s prestigious Prix Goncourt) and co-adapted for the screen by the legendary Jean-Claude Carrière, THE PATIENCE STONE is a bold, powerful and ultimately uplifting story of one woman s resolve to break free from silence and oppression, featuring a breath-taking performance from Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani (Asghar Farhadi s About Elly, Ridley Scott s Body of Lies). In a country torn apart by a war, in Afghanistan or elsewhere, a beautiful young woman is left alone to care for her wounded husband who has been in a coma for the past two weeks. With no improvement in his condition, food and water in short supply and a war raging around her, she begins a heartfelt monologue in the hope that he will awaken and recover. She talks about her childhood, her dreams and frustrations, her loneliness, desires and suffering… For the very first time in her life she is able to confess her deepest feelings, believing he has become her Patience Stone , a magical stone which, according to Persian mythology, will deliver her from all her pain and torment. Poetic and unflinching, THE PATIENCE STONE reveals the complex secrets of one woman s life and love in a violent world of patriarchal confinement, in a story that is both deeply personal and resoundingly universal…” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)
What Richard did.
“Richard Karlsen is a charming and talented young man – the undisputed leader of his circle of privileged South-Dublin teenagers. Straight out of school with a long summer and then university ahead of him, Richard’s world seems full of possibility. A new relationship with Lara, whom he meets at a beach party, seems to offer Richard the sort of relationship that he’s always been yearning for. But one night, during a party, Richard does something that destroys it all and shatters the lives of the people closest to him. Winner of numerous international film awards and featuring a breathtaking performance from star on the rise Jack Reynor, WHAT RICHARD DID is a quietly devastating study of a boy confronting the gap between who he thought he was and who he proves to be…” (Publishers description from catalogue)
Masters of sex. The complete first season.
“MASTERS OF SEX stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality, William Masters and Virginia Johnson. Their research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a Midwestern teaching hospital to the cover of Time magazine and multiple appearances on Johnny Carson’s couch. He is a brilliant scientist out of touch with his own feelings, and she is a single working mother ahead of her time. The series chronicles their unusual lives, romance, and unlikely pop culture trajectory…” (Publishers description from catalogue)
Stranger by the lake.
“Summertime in France. At a cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake, Franck falls for the sexy Michel – lust at first sight. Unfortunately for Franck, Michel’s jealous lover is also a regular at the cruising spot, and the two men are unable to act on the obvious spark between them. Retreating to the lake’s shores, Franck befriends an older man, Henri, who does not fit in to the “scene”. Their friendship is not based on sex, but on conversation and shared observation of their world and situation. When Franck witnesses Michel killing his lover, he is shocked, but his lust for this dangerous man overrides any sense of personal safety, and the two men begin a passionate affair. Soon the spot is frequented by a policeman who simply won’t accept that the body they discovered was caused by an accidental drowning…” (Publishers description from catalogue)
Sherlock. Complete series three.
“Two years after the devastating events of The Reichenbach Fall, Dr John Watson has got on with his life. New horizons and romance beckon in the shape of the beautiful and smart Mary Morstan. But Sherlock Holmes is about to rise from the grave. And even though it’s what his best friend wanted more than anything, for John Watson it might well be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for!’ In three brand new adventures, Sherlock and John face baffling mystery beneath the streets of London – a wedding that’s not quite what it seems and the arrival of the repellent and terrifying blackmailer Charles Augustus Magnussen. Who is the mysterious disappearing man? How can a Royal Guardsman bleed to death in a locked room? And what is the secret that threatens to blow apart everything the reunited friends hold dear? Sherlock is back, but will things ever be the same again?”…” (Publishers description from catalogue)
“Jill Soloway directs this comedy drama starring Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple and Josh Radnor. Rachel (Hahn) is a stay-at-home mum trapped in a sexless marriage. After seeking advice from therapist Lenore (Jane Lynch) she visits a strip club hoping to pick up some tips on how to spice up her sex life. When an impromptu lapdance leads to Rachel taking pity on stripper McKenna (Temple), she makes it her duty to point her life in a new direction. As Rachel disguises McKenna as her son’s new nanny, people start to wonder who this woman really is. Will this arrangement make or break Rachel’s marriage?” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)
The hobbit. The desolation of Smaug.
“The second of three epic instalments in director Peter Jackson’s blockbuster prequel to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. Set in Middle-Earth 60 years before events in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, the story follows the adventures of Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who, at the instigation of the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), suddenly finds himself co-opted into joining a company of 13 Dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) to help reclaim the lost kingdom of the Lonely Mountain from the clutches of Smaug the dragon (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch). In this film, while Gandalf heads south on his own, Bilbo, Thorin and the Dwarves enter the treacherous Mirkwood Forest on their way to the mountain. When they reach Lake-town Bilbo will have to perform the role he was assigned at the start of the quest – to find a secret door that will lead him to the lair of the dragon.” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)
“Scheming Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a bigoted and corrupt policeman, is in line for a promotion and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Enlisted to solve a brutal murder and threatened by the aspirations of his colleagues, including Ray Lennox (Jamie Bell), Bruce sets about ensuring their ruin, right under the nose of unwitting Chief Inspector Toal. As he turns his colleagues against one another by stealing their wives and exposing their secrets, Bruce starts to lose himself in a web of deceit that he can no longer control. His past is slowly catching up with him, and a missing wife, a crippling drug habit and suspicious colleagues start to take their toll on his sanity. The question is: can he keep his grip on reality long enough to disentangle himself from the filth?…” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)
“Biopic starring James Corden as ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ winner Paul Potts. The film charts Potts’ rise to fame, from his humble beginnings as a timid shop assistant to an internationally-renowned opera singer thanks to his success on the 2007 British talent show. Following a string of failed chances, dismissals from his idol Pavarotti and unforeseeable accidents, Paul’s determination and talent enabled him to battle through against the odds and achieve his lifelong dream.” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)
20 feet from stardom.
“They are the voices behind the greatest rock, pop and R&B hits of all time, but no one knows their names. Now, in this award-winning documentary, director Morgan Neville shines the spotlight on the untold stories of such legendary background (backup) singers as Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, and more. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, vintage live performances, and interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, and Bette Midler.” (Publishers description from Catalogue)