CULTURE: Keeley Has Pick of These Hardy Boys; DVD Reviews

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Under The Greenwood Tree

Ecosse Films

Cert: PG

RRP: pounds 19.99

***

Forgive my cynicism but releasing the DVD of an ITV feature a week after it was on the small screen (Boxing Day) smells of a quick, cash in attempt.

Okay, there is the "The Making of..." extra but Thomas Hardy or Keeley Hawes' fans will probably have recorded this from TV.

Moral of this - give us some breathing space folks before trying to persuade us to part with our cash. And there endeth the sermon.

Based on Hardy's novel, it's set in the rustic 19th Century Dorset village of Mellstock (but actually shot mainly in Jersey), where the locals find their heads turned by the arrival of a new arrival, schoolteacher Fancy Day (Hawes) who becomes the centre of attention of a trio of suitors.

Day finds herself having to choose as marriage proposals arrive from the three - handsome but poor Dick Dewy (James Murray), Parson Maybold (Ben Miles) and Farmer Shinar (Steve Pemberton).

Told through four seasons of country life, it follows the attempts of the three as they try to win the heart of the handsome miss who has to decide whether to follow her heart or fulfil her sick father's longing to marry well.

It's nicely shot (expect no less from a quality production), lively and agreeable but never manages to really delve deep under the character's skins. Hardy's works always provide good scenic backgrounds but dissecting the complexities of plot and character require a bit more than a 90-minute TV feature.

Mo Ilyas Clay Pigeons

Momentum

Cert: 15

RRP pounds 5.99

***

Made in 1998 but not seen here until its straight-to-DVD release five years later, David Dobkin's directorial debut has been resurrected for the low budget shelves in the wake of his hot status with The Wedding Crashers.

Unlike that and earlier box office hit Shanghai Knights, this is a much blacker and quirkier smalltown comedy in which Joaquin Phoenix's best friend commits suicide while out hunting in order to frame him for murder because he's been having an affair with his femme fatale wife, Georgina Cates.

She in turn shoots Phoenix's new girlfriend and is herself killed by his new chum, Country & Western loving stranger in town Vince Vaughan. …