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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Thunderbirds Are Go and Thunderbirds 6 - out now on UK Blu-rayWith a new reboot on ITV, it wouldn’t be long before the Blu-ray versions of the big screen movies from the 1960s of Thunderbirds would finally make their way to the UK. We’re talking about “Thunderbirds are Go” (1966) and “Thunderbird 6” (1968). Mostly forgotten, even at the time, due to very lacklustre box office returns, they are far more than being double-length TV episodes, filmed entirely in an extreme cinematic aspect ratio, with no carriage over of footage from the small screen adventures. And you had the chance to win one of three copies of both releases which we had up for grabs in our prize competition.

Gerry Anderson often told the story that Lew Grade confided in him that he couldn’t make his mind up whether the first of the movies would out-perform James Bond at the Box Office or not. The problem was that even the sales line that this was your chance to see International Rescue in glorious colour, something not afforded the monochrome television audiences of the time, did not make the case for the cinema audience to buy their tickets. Perhaps they were too dumb to realise these were all-new adventures, with everything illustrated on a much bigger canvas?

Sunday, 14 June 2015

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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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