This week’s top DVD picks from Keanu Reeves’ hotch-potch sci-fi movie Replicas to the fascinating, funny and often poignant Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story

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This week's top DVD picks from Keanu Reeves' hotch-potch sci-fi movie Replicas to the fascinating, funny and often poignant Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story



KEANU Reeves playing a brilliant neurosurgeon isn’t nearly the most ridiculous thing about this hotch-potch sci-fi Frankenstein of much fun.
Being Frank The Chris Sievey Story delivers a must-watch documentary about musician, artist and oddball visionary Chris Sievey and his comic creation Frank Sidebottom. Read on for this week’s DVDs.
DVD OF THE WEEK: REPLICAS
(12)103mins, out now
There are movies as stupid as this in cinemas every week and most aren’t nearly so much fun
KEANU REEVES playing a brilliant neurosurgeon isn’t nearly the most ridiculous thing about this hotch-potch sci-fi Frankenstein. Aptly for a movie about cloning, this hasn’t got an original bone in its body. But it robs from a graveyard of genre classics (and Robocop 2, oddly) to fashion a shambling, ungodly creation that happens to be lots of fun. Though much is familiar, it’s never predictable. One moment you have it nailed as a hi-tech Pet Sematery. Then it veers into something completely different.
Replicas wouldn’t work at all without Reeves. Even playing a paunchy, unshaven lab-rat — described by his own boss as a “colossal and repeated failure” — he radiates lazy charisma like a semi-sentient special effect. His double-act with Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) as cohort Ed, the malleable Igor to his Victor Frankenstein, generates a few laughs as the craziness ramps up. “We are going straight to hell,” Middleditch concedes before ploughing headlong into yet another ethically iffy atrocity. (Incidentally, the pair are called Will and Ed, as if this is what time-travelling stoners Bill and Ted are now up to. Shame Alex Winter isn’t on hand for the Middleditch role.)
Official trailer for Replicas starring Keanu Reeves
Aside from one jarring bit of stop-motion work straight out of Robocop 2, this doesn’t look cheap. Much of the fun comes from playing spot-the-reference — with everything from Minority Report and I, Robot to Weird Science.
Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness) has nothing to do as Reeves’ wife, permitted only to communicate via bracingly direct gobbets of exposition. “I just worry you’re losing sight of right and wrong,” is one of the gems she tosses out over the breakfast table. It’s surprising her and Ed don’t get on better, give their shared fondness for stating the bleedin’ obvious.
Still, there are movies as stupid as this in cinemas every week and most aren’t nearly so much fun. This isn’t quite John Wick… but it’s not Johnny Mnemonic either.
★★★☆☆
BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY
(15), 100mins, out now
A sometimes sad but strangely life-affirming story of artistic ambition that could not be contained by any outsized paper mache head
FASCINATING, funny and often poignant documentary about musician, artist and oddball visionary Chris Sievey, who lived and ultimately died in the shadow of his comic creation Frank Sidebottom.
It falls to the family Sievey left behind – plus talking heads such as Mark Radcliffe, Ross Noble and Johnny Vegas – to relate how the “tragic romantic” singer-songwriter got subsumed by his all-conquering telly alter ego.
Cursed with too much creativity for his own good (inventing “travel snooker” on a journey between gigs, for instance), Sievey nevertheless charted an all-too familiar decline into drink, drugs and money trouble. By the end he was playing to half-empty pubs but still “pushing some mystery envelope”, as the poet John Cooper Clarke astutely puts it here.
A sometimes sad but strangely life-affirming story of artistic ambition that could not be contained by any outsized paper mache head.
Being Frank, the story of Chris Sievey official trailer
★★★★☆
303 SQUADRON
(15) 99mins, out April 29
A timely reminder of what is possible when nations stand together — but not the rip-roaring, full-blooded tribute the pilots’ gallantry deserves
WORTHY but workmanlike take on the heroic Polish pilots who faced prejudice and the cynicism of RAF higher-ups as well as the Luftwaffe as the Battle of Britain raged.
It’s as subtle as tracer fire — an establishing shot of the Eiffel Tower is immediately followed by a caption telling us we’re in Paris, just in case viewers thought it was Blackpool — and the abrupt intercutting with historical footage feels awkward, even comedic.
But the multinational cast are game and if the CGI dogfights never quite hit the heights, sun-drenched early scenes are evocative and easy on the eye. A timely reminder of what is possible when nations stand together — but not the rip-roaring, full-blooded tribute the pilots’ gallantry deserves.
★★☆☆☆
LICENCE TO THRILL Inside new Bond girl’s glam life with exotic hols & one very sexy film FRED-DIE ANOTHER DAY Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek confirmed as villain in 25th Bond movie pussy galore James Bond will be turned into a ‘feminist icon’ thanks to feisty Bond girls AVENGE IS SWEET Marvel heroes still standing ahead of Avengers: Endgame’s epic finale POKEMON GO! Ryan Reynolds looks dapper on the red carpet at Detective Pikachu premiere ROCKET FUEL Taron Egerton took naked sex scene with Richard Madden ‘as far as it could go’
BEYOND THE SKY
(15) 82mins, out now
At 82 minutes, you would be better off watching any two randomly selected episodes of The X-Files
INTENSELY forgettable alien-abduction snoozer that works better as a cruel send-up of paranormal conspiracy culture.
A sceptical filmmaker (and dead ringer for Danny Cipriani) travels to New Mexico to debunk the fabled saucer crash and distribute snark to delusional flakes. Instead, he finds… well, it’d be a shame to ruin the surprise. But if you’ve ever wondered what a Millennium Falcon made of gaffer tape and glow-sticks would look like, this is the film for you. Likewise if you prefer your glimpses of cosmic wonder undercut with weirdly misjudged subplots about domestic violence.
There are marginally more laughs than scares — a couple of the former, none of the latter — though these encounters with hilarity are of the accidental kind. At 82 minutes, you would be better off watching any two randomly selected episodes of The X-Files. Even from the lamentable later series.
★★☆☆☆

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