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John Payne

John Payne

Sunday, 07 May 2017 23:00

Born Free on dual Blu-ray and DVD

Born Free - out now on dual format Blu-ray and DVDBased on a true story and book by Joy Adamson, “Born Free” is the story of a married couple who raise an orphaned lion cub to adulthood and then attempt to prepare the tamed animal for release into the Kenyan wilderness. Virginia McKenna (“A Town Like Alice”) and Bill Travers (“Ring of Bright Water”) star as Joy and George Adamson, and the film won a couple of Oscars thanks to John Barry’s fantastic score and closing credits song sung by Matt Monro.

Treading a careful line between realism and sentimentality, the movie sucks you in with countless shots of cute and majestic animals that interact with the Adamsons like they are domestic cats or dogs. Anyone with a household pet will delight in seeing Elsa the lion cub play, destroy furniture, steal food and bond with her keepers. It is a relationship that cannot last because an adult lion cannot be controlled, and therein lies the film’s central theme.

Monday, 24 April 2017 23:00

Drunken Master - Dual Blu-ray/DVD

Drunken Master - out now on dual format Blu-ray and DVDJackie Chan stars in this 1978 hit about a young, pretentious kung fu student who is taught the art of drunken boxing as a punishment for shaming his father. Freddie Wong (Chan – “The Karate Kid” remake, the “Police Story” saga) tries to impress his mates by getting into fights and tricking a girl into kissing him. When his father hears the news he sends Freddie to sensei So Hi, a master feared for his infamously harsh training regime.

So Hi (Siu Tin Yuen – “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow”) is an alcoholic whose deceptive combat skills depend on his inebriation. Never separated from his flask of booze, So Hi teaches Freddie the fighting styles of ‘The Eight Drunken Immortals’. He also puts the upstart through many gruelling physical trials to boost his strength, endurance and balance. Meanwhile, a deadly assassin is prowling nearby and our duo eventually stray onto his radar.

Sunday, 23 April 2017 23:00

Hard Times - Dual-Blu-ray/DVD

Hard Times - out now on dual format Blu-ray and DVDSet in early 1930s New Orleans, “Hard Times” stars Charles Bronson (“The Great Escape”, “The Dirty Dozen”) as Chaney, a mysterious, uncomplicated drifter who turns to illegal bare-knuckle boxing to earn some cash. The loner falls in with an unscrupulous manager called Speed (James Coburn – “Our Man Flint”, “Cross of Iron”) who, thanks to his serious vice issues, always finds himself in debt to some very unpleasant loan sharks.

Mr Speed wants to use Chaney to take on a rival’s unbeaten fighter but first he must scrape together enough money to qualify, by setting his sights a little lower. Tagging along is drunkard medic Poe (Strother Martin – “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “Cool Hand Luke”). The movie marked the directorial debut of Walter Hill (also co-writer), renowned for “The Warriors”, “48 Hrs” and “Southern Comfort” amongst other hits.

Sunday, 09 April 2017 23:00

The Blue Lagoon Blu-ray/DVD

The Blue Lagoon - out now on dual format Blu-ray and DVDBased on the 1908 novel by Henry De Vere Stacpoole, “The Blue Lagoon” follows cousins Richard (Christopher Atkins – Dallas, “The Pirate Movie”) and Emmeline (Brooke Shields – “The Midnight Meat Train”, The Middle) as they learn to fend for themselves and experience a sexual awakening after being marooned on a tropical island. The movie’s director is Randal Kleiser of “Grease” and “Flight of the Navigator” fame.

Initially the pre-pubescent youngsters have the knowledge and company of Paddy, the ship’s cook (Leo McKern – Rumpole of the Bailey, The Prisoner) to support them, but the lure of a barrel of rum puts paid to that. Thereafter the kids must care for themselves, and hope that eventually someone will come looking for them. As their vessel went down in flames they do not know if anyone else survived, and they could be considered lost forever.

Monday, 20 March 2017 00:00

The Chamber on Blu-ray and DVD

The Chamber - out now on Blu-ray and DVDA small US special ops team commandeer a research submersible, searching for an unspecified object in hostile North Korean waters. The experienced pilot of the sub, Mats (Johannes Kuhnke – “Force Majeure”), reluctantly joins the covert mission and is kept in the dark. Mats expresses grave warnings about the aging sub’s capabilities and fears that without proper planning, the military team’s agenda could lead to disaster.

Red, the leader of the three-person spec ops team (Charlotte Salt – The Musketeers, Casualty) seems level headed but her colleague Parks (James McArdle – “’71”, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) is twitchy and aggressive. The third member is Denholm (Elliot Levey – Da Vinci’s Demons, Man Down), a man with some piloting skills of his own. The writer/director is Ben Parker, shooting his debut feature.

Tuesday, 07 March 2017 00:00

A Town Like Alice Blu-ray/DVD

A Town Like Alice - out now on Blu-ray and DVDVirginia McKenna and Peter Finch star in this BAFTA-winning drama set in South East Asia during World War II, adapted from a novel by Nevil Shute. Jean Paget (McKenna – “Born Free”, “The Cruel Sea”) is a British secretary who is part of a group taken prisoner by the Japanese army. The men are trucked off to a prison camp whilst the women and children are ordered to march, under guard, across the region to either seek refuge or a means of getting to Singapore.

Aghast at the prospect of a 50 mile hike, the women then find they are not welcome at their destination and are told to continue walking for hundreds of miles, criss-crossing Malaya as it was then known. Exhausted, thirsty and hungry, members of the group fall ill and their future looks bleak. One glimmer of hope lies in a chance encounter with an Australian POW (Finch – “Network”, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”) who takes risks to come to their aid.

Monday, 23 January 2017 00:00

The Flower of Gloster on DVD

The Flower of Gloster comes to DVDThe mission: Guide a 72-foot narrow-boat through 220 miles of canals from Wales to London in 10 days. The crew: Three cheeky kids from the Doherty family, after daddy Doherty is injured. What (else) could possibly go wrong?! This cheerful 13-part tale from 1967 has the distinction of being the first Granada Television series to be made in colour, even though it was initially broadcast in black and white.

The Doherty family are up against a rival boat manned by the Evans clan. The stakes are high as the first party to deliver their boat get the deal, and the Evans are not playing fair. Sabotage is not the only problem facing Dick, Liz and Mike Doherty, however, as they must also contend with mechanical faults, a haunted wood, Mike’s uncanny disappearing act and a girl they crash into along the way. Think ‘Swallows and Amazons’ only on a canal.

Monday, 16 January 2017 00:00

Metropolis on dual Blu-ray and DVD

Metropolis - out now as a Limited Edition DVD and Blu-ray and soon as a Standard release“Metropolis” is an anime film indirectly and loosely based on the 1927 Fritz Lang classic movie of the same name, by way of a 1949 manga reimagining. Written by “Akira” legend Katsuhiro Otomo and directed by Rintaro (“Galaxy Express 999”), the film portrays a humble boy’s relationship with a state of the art robotic girl as they make their way through the weird, wonderful and sometimes frightening city of Metropolis.

Metropolis is built on three levels, with janitor robots and the poorest of the poor at the bottom, and the rich elites living above ground in a towering skyscraper. A terrorist/vigilante organisation called the Marduk resent the encroachment of robots in every quarter of life and plan to fight back aggressively, whilst a powerful industrialist called Duke Red is constructing a weapon of mass destruction to enforce his rule over everyone.

Monday, 09 January 2017 00:00

Fright Night dual-format Blu-ray/DVD

Fright Night - out bow on dual format Blu-ray and DVD“Fright Night” is a horror-comedy that riffs on Hitchcock’s paranoia classic, “Rear Window”. High school student Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale – "The Reaping") witnesses the arrival of his new neighbour… in a coffin! Then some prostitutes are murdered and Brewster is convinced that his strange neighbour (Chris Sarandon – “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, “The Princess Bride”) is responsible, but nobody will believe him.

To make matters worse, Jerry - the fanged freak - turns up on his doorstep, endangering both Brewster, his family and friends. Desperate to protect them, he approaches one of his idols, a washed-up TV horror star called Peter Vincent (the iconic Roddy McDowall – of the original “Planet of the Apes” and “The Poseidon Adventure”) who he prays will be able to transfer his on-screen skills into the real world.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016 00:00

Miami Vice - complete on Blu-ray

Miami Vice - The Complete Collection - out now on UK Blu-rayMiami Vice is a 1980s cop show featuring one of the most charismatic detective duos ever – James ‘Sonny’ Crocket and Ricardo Tubbs. Crockett (Don Johnson – “Django Unchained”, Nash Bridges) is an eagle-eyed Southerner with immaculately coiffured hair, linen suits and a sleek Ferrari. Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas – “Sparkle”, Lance Vance in “GTA: Vice City”) is a streetwise, medallion-wearing New Yorker driven to Miami by vengeance.

Created by Anthony Yerkovich (a writer on Hill Street Blues) and executively produced by Michael Mann (“Heat”, “Manhunter”), the show ran for five seasons and saw early guest performances from the likes of Bruce Willis, Michael Madsen, Viggo Mortensen, Laurence Fishburne and Wesley Snipes. Iconic for both cool and alarming 80s fashionwear, brilliant tunes and flashy vehicles, the show now gets a new lease of life in remastered high-def.

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