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DVDs (15)

LEONARD COHEN: I'M YOUR MAN (Roadshow). Leonard Cohen is neither departed nor gone, but lately some tributes have had the quality of obituaries. The concert film I'm Your Man is pure reverence: Cohen's songs are interpreted by a new, devoted generation of singers, but despite the songwriter's glum reputation, what comes across is the sheer pleasure each singer takes in the song (the best? Antony's mesmerising "If It Be Your Will", Rufus Wainwright's ripe "Everybody Knows", Beth Orton's hymn-like "Sisters of Mercy", Nick Cave's cabaret-ish "I'm Your Man"). Between songs, director Lian Lunson extracts gnomic utterances from the great writer, who seems half elsewhere these days; more monk than ladies' man. But it's a shame that she also felt obliged to invite Bono, now the go-to-guy for embarrassing and pretentious pronouncements in docos like this one (see also: the Joe Strummer film). - PHILIP MATTHEWS

NOTES ON A SCANDAL (Roadshow). Eleanor Rigby's loneliness ain't nothing compared to Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) and Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) in Notes on a Scandal. Dench's bitchy obsessive, fresh from hilariously rubbishing the headmaster's report order, develops an obsession with Blanchett's new boho art teacher. Sheba also transgresses, repeatedly sleeping with a 15-year-old student. The lissome Blanchett, as director Richard Eyre puts it in his compelling commentary, is "marvellously instinctive". Eyre also elicits a scandalously good performance from Dench. Patrick Marber crafts juicy, bone-crunching dialogue from Zoe Heller's novel. Sheba's hubby (Bill Nighy) and his slashingly pithy moments merit note. Covett, red in tooth and claw, relishes lines more caustic than sulphuric acid. Philip Glass's dynamic score enhances the volatile film's razor grip. Explosively wound and wrought, Notes on a Scandal is as exposed as wintry Central Plateau power pylons. - ALEXANDER BISLEY

THE NAMESAKE (Roadshow). From its Mark Rothko paintings meets Bengali calligraphy credits, The Namesake is stylish and engaging. After the clunky adaptation of Vanity Fair, Mira Nair bounces back with an intimate and powerful film about the Indian American experience based on Jhumpa Lahiri's novel. Gogol Ganguli is named after the totemic Russian literary figure, and as Gogol, Kal Penn delivers an outstanding performance. In the extras, he speaks eloquently, and it's hard not to share his passion. The Indian-born Nair is a thoroughly sensual film-maker, from Pearl Jam air guitar to the Taj Mahal, complemented by cinematographer Frederick Elmes. Bringing to mind Neil Jordan's In America, The Namesake is a paean to both the US and India, and how they contagiously influence each other. At once "inspired by grief" (as Nair puts it in her brainy director's commentary) and uplifting. - ALEXANDER BISLEY