Drive offers powerhouse performances from rising stars Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan in a story adapted from James Sallis’ novel of the same name, telling the story of a Hollywood stuntman who doubles as a get away driver on armed heists.
Although he is a loner by nature, the driver falls for his neighbour Irene, a young mother who is dragged into the underworld following the return of her ex-convict husband.
After a planned job spins out of control, the only way our hero can keep himself, Irene and her son alive is to do what he does best – Drive!
Filled with suspense and not for the faint hearted – there are some scenes of extreme violence – it is a rare film treat well worth parking the car and staying at home for.
Drive is available to buy
on Blu-Ray, DVD and iTunes.
On a more light hearted note, the new movie from director Niall MacCormick tells the tale of an aspiring young writer Emelia Conan Doyle (Jessica Brown-Findlay) who becomes the cleaner in the guest house of the dysfunctional family of bookish student Beth Fischer (the excellent Felicity Jones).
When the two girls become friends, Emelia begins an affair with Beth’s father Jonathan (Sebastian Koch), a writer struggling from writer’s block as he attempts to follow the success of his first novel penned 20 years earlier.
Filmed entirely on the Isle of Man and with stand out performances from its two young female leads, who are ably supported by the likes of Julia Ormond and Sebastian Koch, this is a coming of age story that is layered and original in enough places to make it a worthwhile watch.
There’s also a touching support role from veteran Peter Vaughan as Emelia’s grandfather.
Albatross is available to buy on DVD and iTunes now.
LANA DEL REY - BORN TO DIE
Following the huge success of her brilliant first single, Video Games, Lana Del Rey’s album Born to Die, see the 25-year-old American top the charts, despite very mixed reviews from the music press.
In part this might be attributed to the fact that she hasn’t sprung from nonentity to superstar, battling penury along the way but is the daughter – real name Lizzy Grant – of a wealthy father who also happens to be financially supportive.
Born To Die is an interesting debut but the other tracks can in no way compare to the superlative Video Games and one wonders, despite her immediate success, whether this girl is a one-trick pony. Certainly from the other songs on show this could be a genuine concern.
That’s not to say it’s a terrible album but if Lana seeks to tread the same path as the likes of Florence and the Machine and Adele, she is going to have to do much better.
Born to Die is available now on CD and to download from iTunes.
SOUL CALIBUR V
Although fighting games are not traditionally associated with women, the latest title from Namco is a sure fire hit whatever your gender.
With a limited story mode that really acts as an introduction to new characters, the real fun to be had here is in the multiplayer or online modes.
Being the fifth in the series, there was a risk that the game might be a little stale but there’s enough freshness around the familiar foundations of the core title to keep both fans and newcomers involved.
Available on both Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, Soul Calibur V has enough of a personality to keep you coming back for more in what is a traditionally meager time of year when it comes to quality console releases.
All the old favourites make a return, although some have aged a little and Assassins Creed fans will be pleased to discover that Ezio Auditore da Firenze is a controllable character in the game.
Soul Calibur V is available now on Playstation
3 and Xbox 360.
Chillingo have long shown they are developers of some of the finest apps on the iPhone and iPad.
One of their latest titles that we came across was a Woody Woodpecker themed game as they team up with Universal for this sideways scrolling racer that entertains thanks to a colourful layout, decent level design and an excellent control mechanism.
You have the option to control Woody or a selection of additional characters from the vintage series of cartoons as you race through a series of tracks, all the while avoiding pitfalls and hurdles.
With around 30 races in all, its an easy title to get into and is especially of interest to younger audiences.
If there is a criticism it’s that things finish too quickly and there may not be as much repeat value as you might expect. Still there’s room for Chillingo to add additional levels so it may yet allow the fun to spread through future downloads.
Woody Woodpecker is available now from the Apple App Store.
George R Vaughan