Latest DVD reviews plus a giveaway

GIVEAWAY

Roadshow Entertainment and the Newcastle Herald are giving away five DVD copies of The Queen's Palaces, an appropriate prize as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee is nearly here. This BBC production is a celebration of three great royal palaces - Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse - and their history. To enter send the keyword PALACE along with your name, address and daytime contact number, via SMS to 0427 842 179 or email livefreebies@theherald.com.au.

WINNERS

The winners of the True Blood: Season Four DVDs are: P. Teggins, of Stanford Merthyr; D. Tyrrell, of Valentine; S. Connelly, of Wallsend; A. Briggs, of Adamstown Heights; J. Bagust, of Bateau Bay.

REVIEWS

THE MUPPETS (G) Disney DVD, 99 Minutes

WALTER, a man born as a Muppet, lives with his non-Muppet brother Gary in Smalltown.

They love watching repeats of

Naturally, the whole Muppet gang must reunite to save the studio.

Unlike their other film adventures, this Muppet movie takes the gang back to their television show roots, as they host a telethon to raise the cash to save the studio.

Of course the film includes all the beloved characters – Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy Bear, Animal, Beaker, Gonzo, Statler and Waldorf, the Swedish Chef and many, many more.

For the purists, Kermit’s and Fozzie’s voices will never be exactly right again since the death of Jim Henson and Frank Oz, but the newer voice actors come reasonably close.

Bret McKenzie, of Flight of the Conchords, wrote several cute and witty songs for the show, earning an Academy Award.

As with all Muppet offerings, the comedy is clean, but there’s plenty to raise a wry smile for the grown-ups too.

Jason Segel, a big Muppet fan who co-wrote the script, stars along with Amy Adams and Chris Cooper as the human leads, but watch for cameos from Hollywood big names.

For parents who grew up with the Muppets, this is a fun new story to share the joy of the Muppets with their kids.

Rating: ***

– Louise Fraser

YOUNG ADULT (MA) Paramount Home Media, 94 minutes

YOUNG Adult, is a dark, messy tale of what happens when a teen-movie narrative is well and truly over.

Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is in her late 30s, and lives in a state of chaos.

She is writing, uncredited, a series of teen novels. The series has just been cancelled, and she’s way past her deadline with the final instalment. She is recently divorced, but this has no obvious part to play in the story.

As she flounders with her assignment, a piece of news jolts her into action and sends her back to her home town of Mercury, Minnesota, to restore things to the way she thinks they should be, back when she was prom queen and one of the more popular kids: specifically, to the reclamation of her high-school sweetheart, one-time football star Buddy (Patrick Wilson).

As Mavis, Theron gives a terrific, dark and funny portrayal of self-centredness, misapprehension and flailing insecurity.

Mavis is halfway monstrous and full-on delusional, but to many of the people who once knew her, she’s a success story. Others might remember her, less than fondly, as a ‘‘psycho prom queen’’.

But no one seems to understand what she is up to, apart from Matt (Patton Oswalt), a former classmate who was at the opposite end of the popularity scale in high school.

The scenes between Mavis and Matt are the comic and emotional centre of the film. A Mavis meltdown towards the end introduces a plot element that feels overdetermined and the scene lacks some of the pleasing ambiguity the rest of the movie displays.

Yet, to the last, Young Adult never quite takes the direction you might expect. Characters respond in surprising ways to Mavis’s return and actions.

And what makes Young Adult a surprise and a relief is the writer’s willingness to make the central character so spectacularly unsympathetic, infuriatingly watchable, and oddly poignant.

Rating: ****

– Philippa Hawker

TOM AND JERRY; FUR FLYING ADVENTURES, VOLUME 1 (G) Warner Bros, 90 minutes

FOURTEEN episodes almost guaranteed to bring a splutter of laughter to a child’s face. Non-stop action, colourful characters, silly scenarios. Grandma and grandpa might enjoy this as much as the kids.

Rating: ***

– Jim Kellar

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