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John Payne

John Payne

Sunday, 02 August 2015 23:00

Shopping on Blu-ray and DVD

Shopping - out now on Blu-ray and DVD“Shopping” was Paul W S Anderson's first feature, and whilst it feels more or less rooted in the real world, the film is stylised enough to feel like the director was dipping his toe into science fiction before going all-out in the likes of "Event Horizon", "Resident Evil" and "AVP: Alien vs Predator". The excellent cast includes Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Sean Pertwee, Jonathan Pryce, Sean Bean, Jason Isaacs, Daniel Newman and Eamonn Walker.

Law ("Sherlock Holmes", "A I - Artificial Intelligence") plays Billy, a car thief and ram-raider just released from prison. After hooking back up with girlfriend Jo (Frost - "Bram Stoker's Dracula", "Love, Honour and Obey") they resume their criminal activities, stealing a BMW and meeting up with the old gang. Unfortunately for Billy, during his absence rival thief Tommy (Pertwee) has taken over much of his turf. Now he is back, an escalating, lawless battle breaks out.

Sunday, 02 August 2015 23:00

Good Kill on Blu-ray and DVD

Good Kill - out now on Blu-ray and DVDDrone warfare and drone usage in general is a very hot topic, and in "Good Kill", director Andrew Niccol ("Gattaca", "Lord of War") tries to present an even-handed tale of one pilot's experiences from behind the joystick. Ethan Hawke ("Sinister", "Training Day") stars as Major Thomas Egan, a veteran F-16 pilot now stationed in a claustrophobic tin box in the Nevada desert, remotely launching air-to-ground missiles in response to orders from on-high.

Tommy seems to be handling his new role well and he has the luxury of returning home to his stunning wife (January Jones - Mad Men, "X-Men: First Class") and two young kids after each shift. His boss (Bruce Greenwood - "Star Trek", "I, Robot") is supportive and understands the challenges involved, but then the CIA take over command and the rules of engagement become a whole lot more questionable.

Sunday, 26 July 2015 23:00

Kneale's Quatermass on Blu-ray

Quatermass with John Mills - out now on Blu-rayProfessor Bernard Quatermass is the creation of legendary British screenwriter Nigel Kneale. The much-cherished character's impressive longevity spans from his first TV outing in 1953's “The Quatermass Xperiment” to 2005's live remake of the same, and extends to other media including the cinema, radio and stage. Network's new release stars John Mills and was originally produced in 1979 but feels much more modern thanks partly to a stunning HD re-master.

This incarnation of Quatermass is more senior and frail, and yet he faces perhaps his most perilous challenge. Society is in the advanced stages of disintegration, with vast swathes of the urban and country landscape abandoned by the authorities and left to warring gangs and roaming cults. Quatermass ventures into this bleak landscape in search of his missing granddaughter, and unwittingly becomes caught up in a mission to save the human race from extinction.

Sunday, 26 July 2015 23:00

Stalag 17 on Blu-ray

Stalag 17 - out now on Blu-ray“Stalag 17” is a comedy-drama about American airmen held captive in Germany. Directed by Billy Wilder ("Some Like It Hot", "Sunset Boulevard"), the film stars William Holden ("The Bridge on the River Kwai") as an unpopular wheeler-dealer suspected by the other POWs of passing secrets to the Germans. Whilst many are going stir crazy and wilfully disrupt their captors wherever possible, Sgt. Sefton (Holden) leads a life of relative luxury and minimal resistance.

Holden won an Oscar for his performance, but the movie is really an ensemble piece with numerous bold characters on both sides of the prison fence. Robert Strauss ("The Seven Year Itch") is the aptly-named Animal, Sig Ruman ("A Night at the Opera") plays a very jovial German guard, Peter Graves (Jim Phelps in the classic series of Mission: Impossible) is Price, the Americans' 'security', and Don Taylor ("Escape from the Planet of the Apes") is a well-to-do lieutenant responsible for the bombing of a munitions train that the Germans are intently investigating.

Sunday, 05 July 2015 23:00

Hawk the Slayer on Blu-ray

Hawk The Slayer - out now on Blu-rayHailed as a cult classic, "Hawk the Slayer" is a sword-and-sorcery tale of brotherly conflict, dark magic and medieval-style battles. Relative newcomer John Terry (Lost, "Full Metal Jacket") stars as Hawk, a wiry young innocent whose father and wife are butchered by his jealous brother Voltan (Jack Palance - "Shane", "City Slickers"). Swearing to avenge their deaths, Hawk builds a small but loyal band of fighters to take on his brother's army.

Heavily influenced by the likes of JRR Tolkien and endeavouring to ride the sci-fi/fantasy wave crested by "Star Wars", this ITC-produced movie may not boast the budget of some of its 1980s' counterparts such as "Krull", "Ladyhawke" and "The Beastmaster", but it has plenty of action, a fantastic villain and a crafty sense of fun that keeps it bubbling along despite the on-screen death and destruction.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 23:00

Parks and Recreation Season 7 DVD

Parks and Recreation - finale season 7 out on DVDParks and Recreation's seventh and final season arrives on DVD, and fans have the bittersweet experience of seeing their favourite characters engage in daft and heart-warming antics one last time. Over the course of these 13 episodes we get to see how Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler - "Inside Out") and her old local government co-workers have blossomed, and where their lives will take them in the future.

The season opens in the year 2017 and as usual, not everything is going to plan. Mysteriously, Leslie and Ron (Nick Offerman - "22 Jump Street") are on opposite sides of a bitter battle for a large patch of land in Pawnee, Indiana. Leslie wants to turn it into a new national park, whilst Ron is batting for a large technology company called Gryzzl that wants to build on it. Can Leslie turn things around and save her belovèd home town?

Monday, 22 June 2015 23:00

The Syndicate - out now on DVD

The Syndicate - out now on DVDMurder, sabotage and suspicion are rife in this British thriller about a fractious band of uranium prospectors seeking riches in the east African bush. William Sylvester ("2001: A Space Odyssey") stars as a mining expert in an excellent ensemble cast that also features June Ritchie ("A Kind of Loving"), Robert Urquhart ("The Curse of Frankenstein"), German actor Christian Doermer and John Bennett (a classic Doctor Who guest star, having played Li H'sen Chang in “The Talons of Weng-Chiang” and General Finch in “The Invasion of the Dinosaurs”).

A two-vehicle convoy travels through an unforgiving and vast African landscape; several days pass before they locate a site where their Geiger counter twitches into life. Having set up camp, the prospectors instruct their Swahili workers to start digging, but it is not long before a series of setbacks and deadly accidents occurs, creating an atmosphere of distrust and fear. Who is undermining their operation and why?

Monday, 22 June 2015 23:00

Mr Denning Drives North on DVD

Mr Denning Drives North - out now on DVDJohn Mills ("Great Expectations", "Gandhi") stars in this riveting British thriller in the Hitchcock vein. Tom Denning (Mills) is a successful aircraft designer whose life takes a rather dramatic turn when he accidentally kills his daughter Liz's disreputable suitor during an argument. Panicking and not wanting to sully his daughter's name, Denning makes it look like the deceased has left the country, and then dumps the body in a ditch to resemble a hit and run incident.

By placing a distinctive ring on one of the corpse's fingers, Denning assumes nobody will match the jewellery with the missing person. Despite his cunning plan, Denning is soon consumed by guilt, apprehension and plagued by terrible nightmares. After weeks with no news he is unable to sit tight any longer, divulging everything to his caring wife Kay (Phyllis Calvert - "The Man in Grey"). He returns to the ditch to find that the body has gone.

Sunday, 14 June 2015 23:00

The Flying Deuces Blu-ray/DVD

The Flying Deuces - out now on Blu-ray and DVD"The Flying Deuces" is the first Laurel and Hardy feature to have been released on Blu-ray in the UK, representing a high-definition treat for fans of the inimitable comedy duo. The story sees the wayward friends enrolling into the French Foreign Legion as a way to forget their woes, earn some dough and go on an adventure, little bargaining for the back-breaking work and tough disciplinary rules that await them in sun-drenched Morocco.

The film contains all the traits expected of a classic Laurel and Hardy tale, and some rather unusual ones besides. There is plenty of the slapstick antics Stan and Ollie are so famous for, along with adorable naivety, love interest and more peril than even this pair are accustomed to! The director is A Edward Sutherland ("Beyond Tomorrow"), also an actor who played one of the Keystone Kops.

Sunday, 07 June 2015 23:00

Complete Speed with Guy Martin

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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