Last Tango in Halifax and other DVD new releases

Last Tango in Halifax and other DVD new releases

LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX (BBC) is likely to appeal more to women than men. Two elderly widowers (Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi), former childhood sweethearts, decide to marry. Their respective daughters are a headmistress (Sarah Lancashire) and a pig farmer (Nicola Walker). The headmistress is in love with a female member of her staff who wants a baby. The farmer (who had an abortion when she was 15 and also murdered her abusive husband) has a teenage son, still at school, who fathers a daughter. Anne Reid is particularly splendid (the best reason for watching the series) and Tom Gardner as the headmistress’s weak and adulterous husband is a subtly comic heel. The second series has been so popular that there is shortly to be a third. Hopefully, it will be as overwrought.

MUSEUM HOURS (Soda). Museum guard (Bobby Somner) and Canadian visitor (Margaret O’Hara) enjoy the riches of the Kunhistorisches Art Museum and in particular the Breughels. There is a helpful commentary by an art expert (Ela Piplits) which will make you want to go on the internet and look at his paintings again, which is always a good idea. The couple wander round Vienna, exploring the city, which is filmed as if it were a series of paintings in the museum. Jem Cohen’s film is aimed at intellectual audiences (and particularly art lovers, of course) who are prepared to look and listen. Some people will, undoubtedly, be bored stiff.

COMPUTER CHESS (Eureka). A famous chess tournament in the 1980’s: a computer versus humans. I thought that this spoof documentary, shot in black and white, was going to do for artificial intelligence what the hilarious Best in Show had done for dog competitions. But no, the deliberately unappealing competitors are as weird and dull as the bland hotel in which the convention is taking place. Andrew Bujalski’s film is strictly for computer geeks and chess nerds.

To learn more about Robert Tanitch and his reviews, click here to go to his website