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DVDs, Books, Broadcast TV and Merchandise all come under the gaze of our expert reviewers.

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Blu-Ray (225)

The latest winner in the format wars, we look at both television and movies that are hitting the shelves in this pristine new technology.

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Books (11)

Essential reading materials reviewed so that you can assemble the library most suited to your interests.

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Broadcast (2)

The latest transmissions on terrestrial and digital television channels across the panet, and what we think of them.

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Cult Movies on DVD (291)

All the best in Cult Movies released onto DVD

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Events (21)

Places to go and people to see, and here we find out whether it was worth it or not!

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Handbags Before Dawn (8)

Contentious opinions on all matters television - from schedulers to the programmes themselves, the continuity errors to the highs and lows of what actually makes it to the screen.

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Interviews (10)

Interviews with stars and programme makers from various CULT TV universes.

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Merchandise (8)

Collectables of all shapes and sizes reviewed and rated

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Star Profiles (153)

Background information and career history of cult celebrities from in front of and behind the camera.

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TV DVDs (280)

The latest titles from TV series and TV specials range to hit the shelves and online stores

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Sunday, 07 June 2015

Complete Speed - out now on DVD and Blu-rayIn the wake of the recent Top Gear fiasco, Guy Martin's name was near the top of many people's lists for replacement presenters. Having seen the eight daring feats documented in this new release, it would be difficult to disagree. Already a legend in the field of motorbike racing, Guy's love of engineering is combined with an unquenchable thirst for fresh, thrill-seeking challenges, and a desire to push his body and mind to their limits.

This box set includes both series as shown on Channel 4. Each of the eight episodes task Guy with breaking a speed or distance record on land, water or in the air. Surrounded by small teams of British pioneers in the fields of science, engineering and human endurance, Guy must construct innovative vehicles and undergo intense physical training to give him the best possible chance of success, whilst minimising the risk to life and limb.

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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Naked Truth - out nowHave you ever wondered what the role of a costume designer entails? Or indeed how it differs from other clothing-specific titles and job descriptions within the TV and movies business? Jean-Pierre Dorléac, well-known to attendees of the Cult TV Festival, tackles the demarcation at the same time as pulling back the curtain on this aspect of Hollywood, in his book “The Naked Truth”. Covering the years from 1973 to 1985, the choice of timeframe is very deliberate. This was the era when the classic glamour creators of Tinseltown were almost totally side-lined, replaced by pushy wannabes with no background or knowledge in their craft. All brought about by bean counters who put the bottom line ahead of quality.

This is the story of what Jean-Pierre needed to do to make ends meet, while establishing his name so as to be thought of when relevant projects neared production. As many a media person will tell you, networking is essential. It really is a case that what you know is not nearly as important as who you know. Connections beget contracts. So whether it was work for the theatre, television, film, couture, burlesque, ballet, or stars who wanted to make an impact when they were seen out-and-about, Jean-Pierre was civil to everyone, as he sorted the wheat from the chaff.

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Monday, 25 May 2015

Falcon Rising - available now on DVD and Video On DemandEx-marine John 'Falcon' Chapman (Michael Jai White - "Spawn", Arrow) suffers from chronic PTSD and is suicidal. He takes a call from an old friend in Rio de Janeiro, learning of a terrible attack on his sister. Chapman flies to Brazil and immediately starts making waves, despite being told to keep his nose out. Bad things are going down in the favelas including drug dealing, prostitution and murder, but nobody is willing to come forwards with evidence.

Aided by Detectives Santo (Jimmy Navarro - Crossbones) and Bororo (stuntman Lateef Crowder - "The Hunger Games"), plus the more diplomatically-minded Da' Silva (Millie Ruperto - "Reclaim") and US Ambassador (Neal McDonough - "Captain America: The First Avenger", Desperate Housewives), Chapman discovers that the fearsome Japanese Yakuza are involved, and they have some powerful people in their pockets.

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Monday, 18 May 2015

The Andromeda Strain mini-series on DVDBased on the 1969 best-selling novel by Michael Crichton (he of “Jurassic Park” fame), a mysterious virus is brought to Earth by a returning US military satellite. This problem with Project Scoop is the cue for Wildfire, an elite team of scientists, to convene in a secure complex to attempt to stop the ever-mutating life form, before it ends life on Earth. And YOU had the chance to win one of three copies we had up for grabs in our prize competition.

This version of “The Andromeda Strain” was nominated for six Primetime Emmys – Best Miniseries, and within that description’s categories, cinematography, picture editing, sound editing, makeup, and sound mixing. Where the 1971 movie didn’t define what exactly the ‘Andromeda’ virus was, in this adaption we have a suitably 21st Century investigation, with wormholes and alien races being considered before a solution a lot closer to home is discovered.

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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Paper Moon - out now on dual-format Blu-ray and DVDRyan O'Neal and daughter Tatum star in this Oscar-winning movie set in Depression-era America, from director Peter Bogdanovich ("The Last Picture Show", "What's Up Doc?"). Moses Pray (Ryan - "Barry Lyndon") turns up late to the funeral of an ex-girlfriend and is persuaded to take her nine-year old daughter Addie (Tatum - "The Bad News Bears"), with the intention of dropping her off at her only surviving relatives in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Although he will not admit it, Moses might well be Addie's father. A drifter and bible-selling con-artist, he exploits the girl to pull at his victims' heart-strings. She in turn quickly gets in on the act, saving his skin and helping rake in the cash. Along the way they pick up carnival broad Trixie Delight (Madeline Kahn - "Blazing Saddles") and her hard-working servant girl Imogene (P J  Johnson - "Texasville"), with dramatic repercussions.

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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Fierce Creatures - out now on Blu-ray and DVDBig business and small furry creatures rub shoulders in this comedy written by John Cleese and Iain Johnstone. Gorillas, Tarantulas and Lemurs vie for attention whilst the human performers contort their way through a storyline that would not look out of place in the present day corporate takeover, tax dodging, financially unstable world.

Cleese plays Rollo Lee a former Hong Kong police officer who has been given the job of director at a failing zoo. His boss, media mogal Rod McCain (Kevin Kline) wants to attain a 20% profit by introducing a 'Fierce Creatures Policy' whereby only the dangerous animals are shown at the zoo. Any cute, cuddly, non aggressive beasts are to be disposed of. This, obviously proves unpopular with the zoo keepers including  Bugsy (Michael Palin) who goes to great lengths to show Rollo that his spiders and insects are just as fierce as a lion or a tiger. Concerned that Rollo is not up for the job McCain sends Willa Weston (Jamie Lee Curtis) to replace him. She arrives with McCains son Vince (also played by Kline) in tow.

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Monday, 04 May 2015

Moondial - Back on DVD at last, so you no longer have to pay a princely sum for itTeenage girl Minty goes to stay with her Aunt Mary during the school holidays, and shortly afterwards her mum is seriously injured in a car crash. Feeling miserable and a little cut off, Minty (Siri Neal - Sharpe's Battle) explores her surroundings, becoming fascinated with Belton House, a large stately home with a well-tended garden. In the grounds stands a mystical sundial that allows Minty to travel back in time to the 1800s. On her first time-trip she bumps into Tom (Tony Sands - "The Krays"), a perky, young footman at the house. Minty discovers that Tom is sick with tuberculosis and gravely mistreated by the adult servants. She also learns about Sarah, a facially-disfigured girl who is bullied by the other children and considered a 'devil child' by the adults. Minty must work quickly to save Tom and Sarah, though there are evil forces pitted her.

And now, this serial is back on DVD thanks to Second Sight - having long been out-of-print since its original DVD release by Revelation back in 2000. The original copies have been fetching huge sums on the internet, showing there's definitely a market for it!

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Sunday, 03 May 2015

Half Light - back on DVDDemi Moore stars in this romantic, supernatural thriller about a best-selling novelist who escapes to a remote Scottish cottage after the tragic death of her young son. Rachel Carlson (Moore - "Ghost", "A Few Good Men") leaves her troubled relationship with her husband behind to concentrate on her latest book, unexpectedly becoming close friends with a local lighthouse keeper (Hans Matheson - "Sherlock Holmes", "300: Rise of an Empire").

Strange events suggest that Rachel's son (Beans El-Balawi - "28 Weeks Later") is trying to communicate with her from beyond the grave, but to what end? The more Rachel learns about the history of her new locale, the more disturbed she becomes, and a local medium (Therese Bradley - "Young Adam") only adds to her sense of unease. The film is written and directed by Craig Rosenberg (Lost, "After the Sunset").

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Sunday, 03 May 2015

The Serpent and the Rainbow - out now on Blu-ray and DVDDirector Wes Craven ("Scream", "A Nightmare on Elm Street") gives us his take on the zombie genre, putting a refreshingly different spin on it. Bill Pullman plays Dr Dennis Alan, an anthropologist hired to investigate rumours of a mystical drug that can kill and then bring the dead back to life. A biochemical company is interested in exploiting the compound, so Alan flies to a politically unstable Haiti despite being troubled by a sense of creeping dread.

Alan finds allies in Dr Marielle Duchamp (Cathy Tyson - "Mona Lisa") and a voodoo priest called Lucien Celine (Paul Winfield - "The Terminator"), but there are plenty of unsavoury characters seeking to dupe him, obstruct his research or worse. Chief among these is Captain Peytraud of the Tonton Macoute, the Haitian secret police. Petraud (Zakes Mokae - "Outbreak") dabbles in dark magic to capture his enemies' souls.

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Sunday, 03 May 2015

The Blob - the original out now on Blu-ray and DVDA teenage couple spy a meteorite come crashing down to Earth. Investigating further, they encounter an old man apparently being eaten alive by an insatiable, gelatinous blob. Rushing him to a doctor, they realise that this is the start of a terrifying attack on their town. Nobody will believe them, so they take matters into their own hands. Can they discover a way to defeat the monster before it grows out of control?

Steve McQueen of "The Great Escape" and "Bullitt" fame stars in this cult horror/sci-fi movie. Steve is a young man with a sensible head on his shoulders and a point to prove. His new squeeze is Jane (Aneta Corsaut - Days of Our Lives); together they must persuade a police Lieutenant (Earl Rowe - Kojak) that the threat is very real. The film has undergone a high-definition, digital restoration to introduce a new generation of fans to "The Blob".

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Monday, 27 April 2015

The Professionals - the third production block of episodes out on Blu-rayCI5. The Professionals. Here we have the latest instalment in the overhaul of episodes, bringing a sheen and quality which cannot be ignored. Lewis Collins (abrasive Bodie), Martin Shaw (cultured Doyle), and Gordon Jackson (boss Cowley) are the stars, and this set contains 13 more of the 57 episodes. Once again, the stories are all forensically restored from the original negatives. It has been said many times before about these releases from Network, but you could put these prints on in primetime right now, and the audience would never know they were watching something from the cusp between the 1970s and 1980s.

Many armchair pundits suggest that there is some sort of subsiding variation in the quality of these episodes from earlier stories. Most viewers will probably be dumbstruck at this conclusion, as there are plenty of attempts here to play with the conventions of the format established for the show. Characterisations are put into place to make our trio of stars more human, and there are plenty of moral dilemmas for the actors to pull at in their performances.

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Monday, 27 April 2015

Evil Aliens - out on DVDDirector Jake West describes "Evil Aliens" as a 'splatstick' movie, reminiscent of the early, low budget works of Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson, where humour and horror intersected with buckets of gore. West ("The ABCs of Death", "Doghouse") opts for aliens rather than zombies or dark spirits, and sets them on the cast and crew of a cable TV show about extraterrestrial encounters, who finally and fatally witness the real deal.

Emily Booth (also of "Doghouse" but more well known as an actual TV presenter) stars as the struggling TV series' cleavage-revealing host Michelle Fox, aka Foxy. She is offered an ultimatum by her boss (Red Dwarf's Norman Lovett, in a cameo): make your next episode a smash hit or lose your job. She tracks down an alien abduction survivor with a suspect pregnancy, on an island with a mystical stone circle, and drags along some actors and Gavin Gorman, a nerdy E T expert from BURC, the British Ufo Research Committee (Jamie Honeybourne - "GamerZ") to help make the show.

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Monday, 27 April 2015

The Paleface - out now on DVDIn this comedy Western, Calamity Jane (Jane Russell - "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes") is broken out of jail and offered a pardon in return for her help in foiling the plans of a bunch of gun runners. Their illicit activity threatens to ignite a war between the native Indians and white settlers. An traitor soon threatens Jane's mission and she is forced to adapt her plans, marrying and dragging along 'Painless' Peter Potter, a bemused dentist (Bob Hope - "Road to Rio").

Together, the couple face danger at every turn, with Peter mistakenly gaining celebrity status for Jane's sharp-shooting exploits. Thinking himself a hero, the dentist wades into deadly confrontations with both the criminal gang smuggling weapons and the Indians into whose territory they unwittingly stray. Much perilous, slapstick action ensues, with Peter trying to understand Jane's constant mood swings and strange behaviour.

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Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Offence - Out Now on Dual Format Blu-ray and DVDSean Connery leaves behind his Walther PPK and shoulders a world of mental turmoil in this brutal thriller from director Sidney Lumet ("12 Angry Men", "A Dog Day Afternoon"). Connery is Detective Sergeant Johnson, a hard-boiled cop who has been involved in decades of terrible cases and is at breaking point. When a likely paedophile is arrested, Johnson interrogates and then accidentally beats the suspect to death in a fit of rage.

Baxter, the suspect (Ian Bannen - "The Hill"), was found wandering in a drunken state hours after a serial offender's last victim was found, alive but seriously shaken.  Johnson is convinced that the man in custody is the culprit and refuses to patiently let proper procedure take its course. Consequently he finds himself on the wrong end of the law, interviewed by Detective Superintendant Cartwright (Trevor Howard - "Ghandi", "The Third Man").

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Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Ghoul - out now on Blu-rayBoris Karloff ("Frankenstein", "The Mummy") stars as Professor Henry Morlant, a famous Egyptologist who is near death but planning to become immortal thanks to a magical gem known as The Eternal Light. Before he dies, Morlant threatens to go on an undead killing spree if anyone defies his burial wishes. Needless to say, someone interferes and the professor rises from his tomb to wreak his revenge. Will they never learn?

The film apparently has the honour of being the first British feature to be labelled 'horrific', in addition to being the first British horror with sound. It was also Ralph Richardson's first movie. Richardson ("Doctor Zhivago", "Time Bandits") plays Hartley, a prying parson. Other cast members include Cedric Hardwicke ("Rope") as the devious family solicitor, and Ernest Thesiger ("The Robe") as Morlant's cantankerous Scottish servant.

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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Let's Kill Ward's Wife - out now on DVD"Let's Kill Ward's Wife" is a black comedy about bad relationships, murder and golf. Ward (Donald Faison - Scrubs, "Clueless") is in a terrible marriage. His wife Stacy (Dagmara Dominczyk - "The Count of Monte Cristo") is a total pain in the rear, trampling all over Ward, bossing him around and generally making his life a living hell. His friends cannot stand her either but he is too weak to act until an accident at a birthday party changes everything.

Tom, one of Ward's buddies (Scott Foley - Scandal, The Unit) takes advantage of the mishap to finish Stacy off, and that is only the beginning of the group's troubles. Disposing of the body could be tricky with a nosy cop (Greg Grunberg - Heroes, Masters of Sex) living opposite. The cast also includes Patrick Wilson ("The Conjuring", "Insidious"), Amy Acker (Person of Interest, Angel), James Carpinello ("The Punisher") and Marika Dominczyk (Brothers & Sisters).

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Monday, 23 March 2015

Tower of Terror - out now on Blu-ray and DVDSet during World War II, the fabulously-titled "Tower of Terror" centres on a claustrophobic lighthouse just off the German coastline. Westerrode Lighthouse is manned by Wolfe Kristan (Wilfrid Lawson - "Pygmalion"), a gruff loner with a short temper and a mad, haunted look in his eyes. Kristan lost his wife Marte at sea many years ago and is convinced it is a sign from God when he fishes another woman out of the sea.

The lady in question is Marie (Movita from Charles Laughton's "Mutiny on the Bounty"), on the run from the German authorities having escaped from a concentration camp. Into this uncomfortable arrangement comes Tony (Michael Rennie - 1951's "The Day the Earth Stood Still"), a dashing British agent smuggling top-secret photographs. Tony impersonates the replacement lighthouse assistant as he lies low to evade the Nazis hot on his heels.

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Monday, 16 March 2015

The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs - out now on DVDIn the gap between the pilot for Open All Hours in 1973, and it finally going to series in 1976, David Jason was seen as a future star, and Producer Humphrey Barclay and London Weekend Television took it upon themselves to try and find the perfect format for him. To come was Lucky Feller (1975-6), but the first attempt was 1974’s The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs. Producer Barclay likes to take credit for discovering Jason, on Bournemouth pier entertaining at a theatre. He gave Jason his initial break with the sketch show Do Not Adjust Your Set (1967-9).

In this venture, Jason starred as espionage agent Edgar Briggs, with a theme tune whose opening bars more than suggest 007. With a character that had a hint of live-action Danger Mouse to it, Briggs transferred to the Secret Intelligence Service due to an administrative error, or ‘cock up’ as most would call it. Much to the bemusement of his staff, no wrong turn doesn’t get taken, every clue misconstrued, and with the most sublime of luck whichever route he takes Briggs always solves the mystery or crime under his scattergun gaze. There must have been a fair degree of faith in the format, as the show was commissioned, straight off the bat, for 13 episodes.

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Monday, 16 March 2015

Captain Bill comes to DVD“Captain Bill” is a fun, nautical adventure starring Leslie Fuller (“The Doctor's Secret”) as the unsophisticated commander of a ramshackle sailing barge with a small and disorderly crew. After a series of catastrophic mishaps, Bill has a run-in with a gang of gun-runners and must save the day by foiling their plans, proving his own innocence and rescuing his fiancée and son. The director is Ralph Ceder, renowned for both Laurel and Hardy, and Abbott and Costello features.

Slapstick humour is order of the day, with plenty of comedic millage made from antics onboard the barge (the Jolly Rochester), such as critical components coming loose, cack-handed attempts to fix leaks and a non-plussed dog that looks more capable than the rest of the crew combined. Bill is full of bravado but also a little too keen to get into a fist-fight, resulting in frequent, belated attempts to protect his newly-capped front tooth.

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Monday, 09 March 2015

Sirius - on DVD and Digital Download“Sirius” is a crowd-funded, feature-length documentary that explores a broad range of topics including UFOs, alien autopsies, the military-industrial complex and ground-breaking scientific research into new methods of propulsion and energy generation. It is fronted by Dr Steven Greer, founder of the Centre for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CSETI) and The Disclosure Project, and narrated by actor Thomas Jane.

Ostensibly the movie deals with the autopsy of the Atacama skeleton, a six-inch, well-preserved being discovered in the desert in 2003. In between footage of the alien-esque body being examined by experts, the documentary also gives a lot of background on Greer and his associates, their work to encourage governments to release secret files on UFOs and technology, and the methods they employ for attempting to make contact with alien civilisations.

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Monday, 23 February 2015

The Other - on dual formatb Blu-ray and DVD“The Other” is a psychological chiller about a series of horrific events that befall a family living on a New England farmstead in the 1930s. Thirteen-year-old, identical twins Niles and Holland Perry (Chris and Martin Udvarnoky) lead carefree lives whilst their mother (Star Trek: TNG's Dr Pulaski, Diana Muldaur) has withdrawn from public life, following the tragic death of her husband. Much of the brothers' care comes from their unusual grandmother Ada (Uta Hagen - "The Boys from Brazil").

Robert Mulligan ("To Kill a Mockingbird") directs, based on a best-selling novel by Thomas Tyron. The movie is tonally quite similar to "The Omen", although "The Other" keeps its cards much closer to its chest when it comes to questions of supernatural forces versus more natural ones. Holland is depicted as amoral, possibly evil, whilst Niles is the friendly and innocent sibling who struggles to resist his brother's wayward behaviour.

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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Equalizer - Blood and Wine - Out on DVDEdward Woodward is the original and best Robert McCall. The character is a retired covert intelligence officer, wanting to make amends for his sins of the past by offering his services, free of charge, as a troubleshooter, protector and investigator. Aided by a group of former associates who he knows from his undercover days, he protects the streets of New York City, offering his own form of justice to those who reply to his newspaper classifieds advert: “Odds Against You? Need Help? Call The Equalizer. 212-555-4200.”

To coincide with the DVD and Blu-ray release of the hit Sony Columbia movie “The Equalizer” starring Denzel Washington this week, Fabulous Films are putting out a feature- length made for television episode of the original series. “Blood and Wine” guest stars Telly Savalas of Kojak fame, and it’s no small wonder that one of the most well thought-of stories is there as a taster for the four seasons of The Equalizer that are already out on DVD. There should be a huge amount of interest from those who have no memory of Edward Woodward’s defining version of the character, as the Washington movie grossed nearly $200 million worldwide at the box office. And now, thanks to Fabulous Films and Cult TV, you could have had the chance to win one of three copies of “Blood and Wine” up for grabs in our prize competition.

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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Last Seduction comes to Blu-rayLinda Fiorentino steals every scene in sizzling style in this film noire thriller. Bridget Gregory (Fiorentino - "Men in Black", "Dogma") is a con artist who runs off with $700,000 of drug money, leaving husband Clay (Bill Pullman - "Independence Day", "The Equalizer") in a spot of bother with some unsavoury loan-sharks. Bridget hides up in a small town in New York State, biding her time until she can work out her next move.

One night, our anti-heroine bumps into Mike, a depressed claims-adjuster (Peter Berg - "Collateral", The Leftovers) in a bar and this spiky encounter leads to a frequent, no-strings-attached sexual relationship. Meanwhile, with his life on the line, Clay along with his P I (Bill Nunn - "Spider-Man") are intent on tracking Bridget down. John Dahl ("Rounders", "Joy Ride") directs this twisting tale of manipulation and skulduggery.

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Monday, 19 January 2015

The Flying Scot on DVDA small but experienced band of robbers plan the perfect heist, on whose proceeds they intend to retire. A special passenger train bound for London is due to carry £500,000 in cash destined for destruction, but the gang want to relieve the vehicle of its cargo prior the train reaching its destination. As it is the sort of robbery the group have successfully carried out before, they do not anticipate any need to deviate from their well-oiled plan.

This British movie from 1957 stars Lee Patterson ("Reach for the Sky") as Ronnie, an impatient and driven young crook, Kay Callard ("They Who Dare") as Jackie, the glamorous and compassionate assistant, with Alan Gifford ("Phase IV", Lloyd Munro in Crossroads) as the older, wiser third member of the team. The film was produced and directed by Compton Bennett ("King Solomon's Mines", "The Seventh Veil").

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Monday, 19 January 2015

The Intruder on DVDA former army colonel returns to his home one night to discover that the house has been broken into, and the armed burglar is still inside. Switching on the lights, he is shocked to learn that the identity of the intruder is non-other than one of his brightest soldiers from World War II. Why has the man fallen from grace, and why is he there? This is the core mystery that propels "The Intruder", part war film, part suspense thriller.

The film was directed by Guy Hamilton, who went on to direct some of the very best Bond movies including "Goldfinger", "Live and Let Die" and "The Man with the Golden Gun". It stars Jack Hawkins ("Ben Hur", "Laurence of Arabia") as Col. Merton, Michael Medwin ("The Duchess") as the criminal Ginger Edwards, along with the iconic George Cole (of Minder fame) and Dennis Price ("Kind Hearts and Coronets") as fellow tank crew members John Summers and Leonard Pirry.

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