Robert Tanitch reviews the latest DVDs
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Universal Pictures). 10 years the same lot of actors are on holiday on the picturesque Greek island of Kalokairi and having a lovely time off screen I have no doubt. On screen there is not much to do except wave their arms about. There is no plot, just more and more songs from Abba’s back catalogue. Just like her mother did, her daughter (Lily James) sleeps around with three guys and gets pregnant. Who is the father? Nobody cares. It’s all very silly, very cheesy, very insipid, very dated romantic stuff and mamma mia lots of people are going to love it. 72-year old Cher drops in wearing a blonde wig, heavy make-up and belts out Fernando.
Isle of Dogs (20th Century Fox). Wes Anderson’s animated stop motion fantasy is about ethnic cleansing and is set in a futuristic fascist Japan when the state decides dogs are no longer man’s best friend but the enemy and deports them to Trash Island, a deserted island of garbage. The images are striking. The wicked humans speak in Japanese and have subtitle. The likeable dogs speak in English and are voiced by a cast which includes Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton and Tilda Swinton. Isle of Dogs is the best dog film since The White God.
Invention for Destruction (Second Run). Karel Zeman’s stop-start animated film, aka The Fabulous World of Jules Verne, released in 1958, was the most successful box-office Czech film ever made, its anti-war message having universal appeal. A pirate gang is creating a bomb to destroy the world. Their laboratory factory is an extinct volcano in the middle of the ocean. Verne has been popular with film directors ever since Georges Méiès and this is one of the most original and appealing. Zeman, notable for his highly imaginative special effects, creates a deliberately artificial world by using the novel’s original engravings and mixing real actors and cut-outs. Every shot is hand-crafted, a remarkable achievement and also a visual treat.
Path of Blood (Trinity Films). Jonathan Hacker’s raw and disturbing documentary uses captured Al-Qaida footage and Saudi Arabia security forces own footage to observe terrorism at work in Riyadh in 2003. In a jihadi boot camp suicide bomber recruits seek an easy ticket for the afterlife through martyrdom. Bombing, torture, assassination are all done in the name of God. The recruits are young, immature and of low in intelligence. They are indoctrinated to slaughter infidels and sacrifice themselves for the triumph of militant extremist Islam with the promise of 72 virgins in Paradise.