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John Payne

John Payne

Monday, 17 August 2015 23:00

Soldier and Me on DVD

Soldier and Me - out now on DVDThis is a BAFTA award-winning kids' adventure serial from the 1970s. Two teenage boys witness some suspect Czech men plotting the murder of an elderly fellow countryman. They decide to spy on the men but events spiral out of control and the lads are forced to flee for their lives across the country, doggedly pursued by the criminals. Can they evade capture long enough to expose the plot?

The nine-part series stars Gerry Sundquist (from the BBC's 1981 version of Great Expectations) as the gruff but well-meaning Jim Woolcott, and Richard Willis (Doctor Who, The Feathered Serpent) as Istvan 'Soldier' Szolda, a squeaky, accident-prone Czech boy who Woolcott takes under his wing after rescuing him from school bullies. The story is based on writer David Line's own novel “Run for Your Life”, and directed by Carol Wilks (Grange Hill, The Bill).

Tuesday, 11 August 2015 23:00

Blame It On Rio on Blu-ray

Blame it on Rio - out now on Blu-ray"Blame It On Rio" is a rom-com starring Michael Caine ("The Dark Knight", "The Ipcress File"). Two fathers who are best friends go on a holiday in Rio de Janeiro. Matthew (Caine) is in a stagnant marriage; Victor (Joseph Bologna - "Big Daddy", "The Woman in Red") is in the middle of bitter divorce proceedings. Their teenage daughters Nicole and Jennifer tag along to with the intention of dating local boys and have a good time.

Jennifer (Michelle Johnson - "Death Becomes Her", "Far and Away") has had a crush on Matthew since she was a small girl; now a curvy young woman, she seduces the much older man. Nicole (Demi Moore - "Ghost", "A Few Good Men") grudgingly keeps the affair a secret, but how long can they prevent a very protective father like Victor from learning the truth? In Rio, life is lived to the full but every indiscretion comes with a price.

Wednesday, 05 August 2015 23:00

The Cat and the Canary on DVD

The Cat and the Canary - out now on DVDBob Hope ("Road to Morocco", "The Paleface") stars in this classic haunted house comedy. A decade ago, millionaire Cyrus Norman passed away and now his attorney (George Zucco - "The Pirate") has gathered six relatives to his rickety old mansion to learn which of them has hit the jackpot. Awaiting them is house keeper Miss Lu, an austere and rather sinister lady played by Gale Sondergaard ("Road to Rio"), and a hostile black cat.

The identity of the heir or heiress is quickly revealed, but then things take a turn for the worse when the party discovers that a ghoulish, demented serial killer known as 'The Cat' has escaped from an asylum and is lurking in the neighbourhood. With no way to escape the house situated in the alligator-infested bayou until morning, the fractious, frightened relatives have no choice but to sit tight and hope they survive the night.

Sunday, 02 August 2015 23:00

Mr and Mrs Murder on DVD

Mr and Mrs Murder - out now on DVDAustralian crime-comedy series Mr & Mrs Murder follows the exploits of a married couple who specialise in cleaning up gruesome crime scenes. Charlie and Nicola Buchanan do not just tidy-up, they also happen to be excellent at solving murders, with a keen eye for detail and a knack for teasing information out of people. The sassy couple are played by Shaun Micallef (Danger 5, Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation) and Kat Stewart (Supernova, Offspring).

Currently airing on Channel 5 USA, each episode sets the scene with a hastily-dispatched victim and then the duo's ToxiClean van rolls up. Charlie and Nicola sport head-to-toe protective coveralls and come armed with an assortment of industrial cleaning products. Rather ineffective Detective Peter Vinetti (Jonny Pasvolky - "Mortdecai") and Nicola's niece Jess Chalmers (Lucy Honigman - The Ex-PM) complete the regular cast.

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?

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