Damon Smith reviews the latest DVD and download releases, including Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, Deepwater Horizon and War On Everyone



Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Cert 12, 124 mins, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Fantasy/Drama/Action/Romance, available from January 23 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from February 6 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £27.99/3D Blu-ray £33.99)

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Eva Green, Samuel L Jackson, Terence Stamp, Allison Janney, Chris O'Dowd.

Following the death of his grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp), grief-stricken teenager Jacob Portman (Asa Butterfield) makes a pilgrimage with his father Franklin (Chris O'Dowd) to Cairnholm island off the coast of Wales - population 93 - where Abe claimed he spent his formative years in a home for gifted children. Amongst the rubble of the derelict home, Jacob encounters an enchanted girl called Emma Bloom (Ella Purnell), who leads the teenager through a magical time loop set to September 3, 1943, which is controlled by Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine (Eva Green), headmistress of the school. It transpires that Miss Peregrine and her young charges are being hunted by gnarly, undead creatures called Hollows, led by the menacing Mr Barron (Samuel L Jackson). Jacob promises Emma and fellow students that he will help them avoid a grim fate. Adapted from the debut novel by Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is an entertaining and briskly paced adventure with some lip-smacking macabre touches that once again demonstrate filmmaker Tim Burton's affinity for eccentrics and oddballs. Butterfield exudes an endearing awkwardness and vulnerability in the lead role and Jane Goldman's script always finds its way back to the heart-rending growing pains of the children. There's plenty of weirdness, but not quite enough wonder to complement Burton's directorial flourishes and the glorious costume and set design that allows the time-travelling narrative to ricochet between 1943 and the present day. Style doesn't trump substance, but it's a close run during some key sequences.

Rating: ***

Deepwater Horizon (Cert 12, 102 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, Action/Drama/Romance, available from January 23 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from January 30 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £29.99)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez, John Malkovich, Ethan Suplee, Dylan O'Brien, Kate Hudson.

Engineer Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) kisses his beautiful wife Felicia (Kate Hudson) goodbye before he boards a helicopter to the BP-owned and operated drilling platform Deepwater Horizon, located approximately 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Other passengers include installation manager Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell) and third mate Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez). Once they land, Jimmy becomes concerned that BP officials, including well site leader Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich), have not carried out sufficient checks to ensure the drill is operating safely. Soon after, a massive blowout tears through the 121-metre long rig and crew members including Jason Anderson (Ethan Suplee) and Caleb Holloway (Dylan O'Brien) race against time to lower lifeboats into the water before flames engulf the entire structure. Deepwater Horizon is an action-packed thriller, which recreates harrowing real-life disaster with testosterone-fuelled swagger. There is sombreness too, most notably with a heartfelt tribute over the closing credits to the 11 platform workers who lost their lives that fateful day in April 2010. During some of the big set pieces, it's hard to discern one figure from another in the smoke and flames, and frenetic camerawork could induce motion sickness, even on the small screen. The sense of dread that pervades early scenes - the calm before a digitally enhanced storm - is palpable. Scriptwriters Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand hastily sketch characters so we have emotional ties to several rig workers before the initial devastating blast. Wahlberg looks stoic in the face of certain death, flexing his muscles as a high-octane second half demonstrates director Peter Berg's brio.

Rating: ***

War On Everyone (Cert 15, 96 mins, Icon Home Entertainment, Comedy/Drama/Action, available now on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from January 23 on DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £17.99)

Starring: Michael Pena, Alexander Skarsgard, Tessa Thompson, Stephanie Sigman, Theo James, Caleb Landry Jones, Paul Reiser, Malcolm Barrett.

Officer Terry Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard) and his partner Bob Bolano (Michael Pena) protect their own interests on the streets of Albuquerque with a flash of their police badges. Lieutenant Gerry Stanton (Paul Reiser) issues his men with a final warning before they head out on surveillance and learn that Lord James Mangan (Theo James) and his sidekick Birdwell (Caleb Landry Jones) are plotting a bank robbery. Terry and Bob glean more details from informant Reggie (Malcolm Barrett) and allow the heist to take place with the intention of pocketing the ill-gotten profits themselves. However, Lord Mangan is no pushover and he threatens Terry's girlfriend Jackie (Tessa Thompson) and Bob's wife Delores (Stephanie Sigman). War On Everyone is a fast-paced caper combining jet-black humour with shocking violence in the company of two New Mexico cops, who gleefully bend the law they have been sworn to protect. The two lead actors look like they are having a blast and their giddiness is infectious. Co-star James doesn't have to break sweat as the film's sleazy antagonist and he comes off second best in the battle of the topless hunks next to Skarsgard, who spends one throwaway scene posing in his pants. London-born filmmaker John Michael McDonagh's rumbustious and politically incorrect romp is blessed with a swinging 1970s vibe and a soundtrack laden with the greatest hits of country music idol Glen Campbell. However, it's also disappointingly light on substance and a protracted sequence shot on location in Iceland seems to belong to an entirely different film.

Rating: ***

Sherlock - Complete Series Four (Cert 15, 255 mins, BBC DVD, available now on Amazon Video/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from January 23 on DVD £19.99/Complete Series DVD Box Set £49.99/Blu-ray £24.99/Complete Series Blu-ray Box Set £59.99, Thriller/Drama/Romance)

Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and trusty sidekick John Watson (Martin Freeman) face agonising decisions in the fourth series of BBC One's modern re-invention of Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective. In these gripping episodes - The Six Thatchers, The Lying Detective and The Final Problem - John and his wife Mary (Amanda Abbington) encounter the far from elementary problem of parenthood, the ghoulish Culverton Smith (Toby Jones) sends chills down the spine, a shocking secret from the Holmes family bloodline is revealed, and Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) and DI Lestrade (Rupert Graves) valiantly aid Sherlock's escape from the spectre of Moriarty (Andrew Scott). Ten-disc DVD and Blu-ray box sets comprising all four series and The Abominable Bride special are also available.

Frontier (6 episodes, streaming exclusively on Netflix from January 20, Action/Drama/Romance)

Action is certainly packed into this Canadian-American historical drama headlining Jason Momoa, who briefly appeared as Aquaman in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and is poised for his own blockbuster spin-off film as the watery warrior in 2018. In these six episodes set in the late 18th century, delicate relations between Native tribes and Europeans underpin the lucrative North American fur trade, which occasionally relies on close-quarter hatchet fights to resolve tense business negotiations. Ruthless outlaw Declan Harp (Momoa) turns his back on the Hudson Bay Company, which controls the trade, and resolves to bludgeon the greedy monopoly into submission. This violent power struggle unfolds from multiple perspectives and a second series of Frontier has already been commissioned before the first drop of blood has been spilt for UK viewers.

Doctor Who: The Return Of Doctor Mysterio (Cert 12, 55 mins, BBC DVD, available now on Amazon Video/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from January 23 on DVD £12.99/Blu-ray £15.99, Sci-Fi/Drama)

Relive the twists and turns of the Christmas episode of Doctor Who, which pitted the timelord against an army of brain-swapping aliens in present day New York. The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) investigate a shady multinational called Harmony Shoals and learn that extra-terrestrials have infiltrated the company and assumed control of the owner Mr Brock (Adetomiwa Edun). Aided by a plucky reporter called Lucy Fletcher (Charity Wakefield) and a mysterious masked superhero known as The Ghost (Justin Chatwin), the Doctor and Nardole vow to shut down Harmony Shoals and halt the alien invasion.

Under The Shadow (Cert 15, 84 mins, Signature Entertainment, available now on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from January 23 on DVD £14.99, Horror/Thriller)

In the final days of the Iran-Iraq War, doctor in training Shideh (Narges Rashidi) tries without success to resume her studies in Tehran as missiles rain down on the city and residents huddle in makeshift bomb shelters. Her husband Iraj (Bobby Naderi) is also a doctor, but he is called away to fight on the front line of the conflict, leaving Shideh to tend to their young daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi). During one bombardment, a missile hits the building, but does not explode. Apparent good fortune turns to misery when Shideh senses a mysterious evil has begun to seep into the apartment, threatening the safety of Dorsa. Aided by her mute landlord, Mr Ebrahimi (Ray Haratian), and some of the other residents, Shideh repels the malevolent force with all her might.

Wiener-Dog (Cert 15, 88 mins, Spirit Entertainment, available from January 23 on iTunes and other download and streaming services, also available from January 23 on DVD £15.99, Comedy/Drama)

A lovable dachshund provides the narrative link between chapters of the latest dark comedy drama by Todd Solondz, writer-director of Welcome To The Dollhouse and Happiness. A little boy called Remi (Keaton Nigel Cooke) bravely battles cancer and as a reward, his father Danny (Tracy Letts) brings home a dog as a companion, despite protestations from his wife Dina (Julie Delpy). House-training the animal takes a toll on the family and a hen-pecked Danny takes the tough decision to remove the animal, christened Wiener-Dog, from their home. The pooch ends up in the care of a veterinary nurse called Dawn (Greta Gerwig), who decides to take Wiener-Dog on a road trip to Ohio in the company of old friend Brandon (Kieran Culkin), who is visiting his brother Tommy (Connor Long) and his wife April (Bridget Brown). Next, Wiener-Dog becomes a companion to pessimistic college professor Dave Schmerz (Danny DeVito), whose efforts to secure funding for his second screenplay come to nought. Taunted by his students, who are fed up of his negativity, Dave takes revenge on the entire campus using Wiener-Dog. Finally, the dachshund enjoys the company of Nana (Ellen Burstyn), who lives with her caregiver Yvette (Marcella Lowery) in relative comfort. A visit from money-grabbing granddaughter Zoe (Zosia Mamet) has tragic repercussions for one member of the household.