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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.

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.

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").

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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