Life

DVDs / Downloads: Stronger, A Series Of Unfortunate Events, The Dangerous Book For Boys

Carlos Arredondo and Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger

STRONGER (Cert 15, 118 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, Drama/Romance, available from April 2 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from April 9 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)

Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal) splits from his on-off girlfriend Erin (Tatiana Maslany) because he is never there for her. When she unexpectedly turns up at a local bar, seeking donations for a marathon run in aid of a hospital, Jeff pledges his support.

"I'm going to be there at the finish line for you," he vows to Erin, who has heard his false promises before. Except this time, Jeff is standing behind the barriers with a home-made sign, close to the spot where two explosives detonate, killing three people and injuries hundreds.

Jeff wakes in a hospital bed surrounded by family and friends including his booze-sodden mother Patty (Miranda Richardson) and father Jeff Sr (Clancy Brown).

Adapted from Bauman's memoir, Stronger is an uplifting drama, which chronicles events before and after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Gyllenhaal delivers an Oscar-worthy performance, bristling with raw emotion, as the survivor, who became a symbol of Boston Strong – the manifestation of a city's unity.

It's a muscular and harrowing portrayal that powerfully captures Jeff's nervous return to the land of the living.

A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS – Season 2 (10 episodes, streaming and available to download from March 30 exclusively on Netflix, Family/Fantasy/Drama/Comedy)

Naughty is exceedingly nice as the dark, twisted fantasy drama based on Lemony Snicket's best-selling books returns to haunt Netflix for an extended second series of 10 wickedly entertaining episodes.

Emmy and Tony Award winner Neil Patrick Harris reprises his lip-smacking role as Machiavellian Count Olaf, who will stop at nothing to get his grubby mitts on the inheritance of the Baudelaire orphans: inventor Violet (Malina Weissman), bookworm Klaus (Louis Hynes) and dentally-gifted infant Sunny (Presley Smith).

This series, the children enrol at Prufrock Preparatory School, where they join forces with fellow orphans Duncan and Isadora Quagmire (Dylan Kingwell, Avi Lake) and spar with gym teacher Coach Genghis, who is Count Olaf in disguise.

As the Baudelaire siblings unearth clues to their parents' demise, Olaf finds a fabulously dressed ally in the children's adoptive mother, Esme Squalor (Lucy Punch).

Two scheming, money-grabbing heads are better than one.

THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS (6 episodes, streaming and available to download from March 30 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, Family/Fantasy/Drama)

Inspired by the book written by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden. The Dangerous Book For Boys is a life-affirming fantasy about a family coming to terms with the passing of the man of the house.

Quirky inventor Patrick McKenna (Chris Diamantopoulos) dies, leaving behind his wife Beth (Erinn Hayes), three sons Dash (Drew Logan Powell), Liam (Kyan Zielinski) and Wyatt (Gabriel Bateman), and Patrick's twin brother Terry (Diamantopoulos again).

While Beth devotes her time to nurturing the boys in their hour of grief, aided by her mother Tiffany (Swoosie Kurtz), youngest son Wyatt seeks solace in a handbook which his father left behind as a guide to navigating the pitfalls of childhood.

This tome, The Dangerous Book For Boys, allows little Wyatt to escape the pain and loneliness of reality into a fantasy world where he can reconnect with his father and absorb valuable life lessons.

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