DVD REVIEW: No holding back these Girls

GIRLS (Season 1), MA 15+

HBO, 277 mins

WHOA, this series is kind of like a car crash you can see coming from two blocks away.

Lena Dunham, the new darling of comedy drama, appears to have been given free rein to write, direct and act in this series about four young women "coming of age" in New York.

It strikes me as a pretty accurate reflection of American habits, and the New York lifestyle.

Beware, there's some pretty raunchy sexual acts and conversations going on.

Sex may not be the main thrust of the show but the topic is dealt with head-on and it's not pretty.

Dunham stars as Hannah Horvath who is introduced to us as a college grad without a job, financially supported by her parents.

She's got some growing up to do, and it's funny and painful to watch the process.

Her girlmates - Allison Williams as Marnie, Jemima Kirke as Jessa and Zosia Mamet as Shoshanna - all have their own issues.

But the mix is unique and quite frankly, dark comedy for my money.

For instance there's an incident where the girls decide to support Jessa's journey to an abortion clinic.

The three are waiting at the clinic, while Jessa's getting it on with a guy she met in a bar in the middle of the day while avoiding the abortion decision.

Judd Apatow had a hand in this series as executive producer.

He's certainly a pro at pushing the limits.

Rating ★★

- Jim Kellar


Warner Bros, 82mins

WILL Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis push the boundaries of good taste on the American political campaign trail in this edgy comedy.

Imagine the absurdity of American politics, then watch it get pushed to the limits by these two as they face off in a campaign for a congressional seat in North Carolina.

There are plenty of childish pranks and brutal tactics.

Director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Austin Powers) makes the most of this material, although the ending is way too sweet to swallow.

Rating ★★

- Jim Kellar


SBS, 260mins

MASTER documentary maker Ken Burns sheds light on a very specific issue in American political history.

Narrated by Peter Coyote with Patricia Clarkson, Blythe Danner, Paul Giamatti, Tom Hanks, John Lithgow and Oliver Platt, it's a truly fascinating story of where this policy came from, how it was driven and its inevitable end.

Rating ★★★


Icon, 109mins

START with a good book, add a good director and stir with a big-name star like Robert Pattinson, and you stand a good chance of making a great movie.

The cinematography is captivating in this existential drama.

Dialogue dominates, inviting you to absorb the scene of modern-day Wall Street greed and paranoia and personalities.

This will not be everybody's cup of tea.

It would have been nice to see Pattinson push further out of his comfort zone, but maybe everything fit too well to encourage him to be somebody else.

Rating ★★


The winners of The Strange Calls DVDs are are S. Deakin, New Lambton; P. Neesom, Toronto; L. Franks, Redhead; J. Allen, Brunkerville; and G. Herzog, Wallsend.

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