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Join us for the latest on the best in extraordinary fictional television and film from the past, present and future, and analysis on its cultural impacts.

Find out about the amazing facts in fiction, and discover the truth about what's really going on in the World around us...

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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Enemy Mine - out now on Blu-rayIn the late 21st Century, mankind is at war with an alien race called the Drac. Willis Davidge (Dennis Quaid – “The Day After Tomorrow”) is a hotshot pilot who is forced to crash land on a barren planet after a thrilling dogfight. Also stranded on the surface is a Drac (Louis Gossett Jr. – “An Officer and a Gentleman”), so Davidge is driven to kill his enemy before even thinking about finding food, water and shelter in this inhospitable place.

Despite their extreme animosity towards one another, the human and Drac are soon forced to put their differences aside as two brains working together stand a better chance of survival. Their future is uncertain, what with devastating meteor storms lashing down on them, extreme seasonal variances in weather, deadly native creatures out for their blood and the possibility that they may never be rescued by either race.

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Smokey and the Bandit - out now on Blu-rayA daredevil truck driver called The Bandit accepts an $80,000 challenge to illicitly haul 400 crates of beer from Texarkana to Atlanta in 28 hours. The Bandit (Burt Reynolds – “Deliverance”) opts to run interference against the police (aka smokies) whilst his buddie Snowman (country and western singer Jerry Reed – “The Waterboy”) drives the 18-wheeler. Against them stands Sheriff Buford T Justice (Jackie Gleason – The Honeymooners).

Sally Field (“Forrest Gump”, “Mrs. Doubtfire”) co-stars as a hitch-hiking bride-to-be who jilts her partner, none other than the Sheriff’s son (Mike Henry – “Soylent Green”). Naturally this adds further fuel to the lawman’s fire. As the trio tear through the U.S. they leave a trail of devastation in their wake, and a growing tail of cop cars intent on bringing their crazy endeavour to a premature end.

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Sunday, 19 June 2016

That Cold Day in the Park - out now in a combo Blu-ray and DVD packFrances Austin is a 30-something spinster who lives on her own in a luxurious Vancouver apartment. She socialises with folks much older than her but remains lonely. One day Frances spies a mute, adolescent boy huddled against the cold and rain in the local park. She takes pity on him and invites him home to dry off, have a warm bath and a meal. The teenager accepts her generosity but his identity remains a mystery despite her best efforts to get him to open up.

The boy (Michael Burns – Wagon Train) stays the night and on through the next day. Frances (Sandy Dennis – “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) becomes increasingly infatuated with him, splashing out on a new set of clothes and giving him the run of her home, a truly bizarre state of affairs involving complete strangers. Directed by Robert Altman (“M*A*S*H”, “The Player”), this disturbing psychological thriller gets under your skin.

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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The Face of Eve out now on DVDMike Yates (Robert Walker Jr) is a pilot and adventurer on the trail of lost Inca treasure in “The Face of Eve”. He goes searching for his business partner, Sean Moore, lost while out in his plane. During the hunt, he is saved from savages by Eve, a beautiful white jungle goddess who wields a strange power over her subjects. Soon, both Yates and Eve are involved in a dangerous race deep in the wilderness to locate the hidden treasure, in this new DVD release from Network.

Christopher Lee and Herbert Lom also feature in this adventure on a budget, but the star is the captivating Celeste Yarnall – to Star Trek fans forever Yeoman Martha Landon from the episode “The Apple”, as well as guesting as Andrea Fouchet in The Man from UNCLE story “The Monks of St Thomas Affair”. She was later immortalised as the blood-thirsty temptress Diane LeFanu in the 1971 cult horror classic “The Velvet Vampire”.  This is Tarzan with curves, in an yarn which has a sub-plot which lets it rise above the standard type of production in this sub-genre.

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Thursday, 09 June 2016

Every Home Should Have One - out now on Blu-ray and DVDMarty Feldman is one of those comedy icons who has turned into the stuff of legend, as so much of his material from over the years has been junked from archives. In “Every Home Should Have One”, his first big screen performance, out for the first time on Blu-ray as well as a DVD rendering, this risqué comedy revolves around Teddy Brown, an advertising executive whose life becomes unnecessarily complicated when he's declared the man to run a campaign to ‘sex up’ one of his agency’s top products – and there’s no Tony Blair in sight!

It is 1970, and poor Teddy has several problems to contend with. His colleague’s advice to 'Think Dirty' (also an alternative title for the film, and a catchy tune laced throughout it) seems to have resonated worryingly with his young son, while the Rev Geoffrey Mellish (Dinsdale Landen) complicates matters when his ‘Clean-Up TV’ campaign gains unexpected support from Teddy’s wife. As Teddy's ineptitude is mistaken for talent, he needs an erotic angle for McLaughlin's Frozen Porridge (Highland Fresh Instant Oats). His solution is to stage a national hunt for a ‘Goldilocks’ to feature in some television commercials, which have to meet the approval of McLaughlin himself (Jack Watson).

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Sunday, 05 June 2016

The Tunnel - Sabotage - out on DVD nowAward-winning hard-hitting drama The Tunnel, from the makers of Broadchurch, returns for a second series subtitled Sabotage. Clémence Poésy and Stephen Dillane resume their starring roles in this geopolitical thriller, first broadcast on Sky Atlantic, and now making its DVD debut. The pace is ramped up from the rather Scandinavian melancholy-feel of the first series, and there are some uncomfortable moments for the ruling elite in terms of the plot twists employed herein.

Described as a “tense, high octane thriller”, this time the investigative duo from opposite sides of the Channel have to first rid themselves of the demons left with them at the end of the initial series. Pragmatic, meticulous and newly-promoted Commander Elise Wasserman  (Poésy – Fleur Delacour in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” parts 1 and 2, Chloe in “In  Bruges”) and laconic DCI Karl  Roebuck (Dillane – Stannis Baratheon in Game  of  Thrones, Rupert Keel in Hunted) are reunited. They are assigned to investigate the case of a French couple abducted from the Eurotunnel, leaving behind their traumatised young daughter. As this story brews, a passenger plane carrying British and French nationals crashes into the Channel, killing everyone on board. The two strands begin to intertwine, leading to far bigger questions to address, and a genuine conspiracy to uncover.

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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The Call Up -out now on DVD and VODA select group of video gamers is lured to an imposing skyscraper by the opportunity to win £100,000 in a virtual reality competition. Donning state of the art haptic body suits and head sets, the players are enrolled in a military shooter featuring 25 floors of increasingly difficult challenges. If they get shot in the game the players can instantly be healed by a med-pack, but the pain will feel real. Playing online from your couch is one thing; this is real warfare.

Written and directed by Charles Barker, the film stars Morfydd Clark (“Love & Friendship”), Parker Sawyers (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Max Deacon (“Into the Storm”), Tom Benedict Knight (“Kick-Ass 2”), Ali Cook (“The Anomaly”), Adriana Randall (“Triple 9”) and Douggie McMeekin as the gamers, with Chris Obi (“Snow White and the Huntsman”) as a very scary drill Sergeant. The producers have been involved with movies such as “The Machine”, “Monsters: Dark Continent” and “Dracula Untold”.

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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Grace and Favour comes to UK DVDBuried in the mists of time is the spin-off from Are You Being Served? That original series began in September 1972 and concluded in April 1985 after ten seasons and (guffaw guffaw) 69 episodes! The idea for a new format, away from the constraints of the department store, was pitched immediately after the previous show had finished – the cast themselves suggesting it to writers and creators Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft. Unfortunately, it was some seven years before Grace & Favour made it to the screen, and in many respects its era had long since passed. Today, it certainly seems like an anachronism, but it would appear this was the same reaction back at its debut. Now you get to judge for yourself, as all 12 episodes appear on a UK DVD release for the very first time.

The first season of six episodes certainly seems to be very mixed-up about what it wants to be, and indeed the years it actually resides in. The set-up is your traditional ‘fish out of water’ scenario, where the newcomers from the city struggle to come to terms with an almost-primitive rural life, all based at a country hotel which they have reluctantly inherited instead of a pension fund. However, the attitudes, culture and technologies seem almost like they have been transplanted from the 1930s rather than the then-contemporary world of the early 1990s. Mrs Slocombe ends up in court for having a horse and cart run away with her; the hotel’s current staff are bumpkins who make The Beverly Hillbillies look sophisticated; and the trappings of the hotel have none of what might be expected of a late 20th Century manor house.

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Sunday, 22 May 2016

Whicker and Whickers New World come complete to DVDAlan Whicker has rightly gained the reputation of television legend on British shores. The incisive journalism took him to global locations, and saw him create an inimitable niche over 50 years of broadcasting. Having previously had three volumes from Network over the years of what many would consider his ‘greatest hits’, now the company goes back to the beginning to release a chronological collection of his entire ITV output. The first two double DVD sets are out now, from 1968 and 1969.

And there is good reason to do this relaunch. You very much get to see the development of the television character, the honing of the most incredible of narrations to the material you get to see, and also appreciate the scope of how what initially local current affairs for the ITV network from the Yorkshire Television area became something far more. The scope increases, as must have done the budgets, where the characters Whicker encounters become more outlandish, doused in cash and idiosyncratic.

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Sunday, 15 May 2016

Roobarb - and Custard - in a complete DVD collectionA creative dog, a puce shade of green, tries to put into action every mad-cap scheme. A cynical cat, who watches on mostly from the top of the fence in critical disdain. And a cast of garden wildlife, including Mole and Rookie the Rook to support or hinder the dog’s equivalent of tilting at windmills, in terms of invention and innovation. So it is that Roobarb, and its sequel series, a five minute show supposedly for kids, took on the pre-news slot in the early evenings on BBC1, and ended up having adult fans from all walks of life making time to see the short adventures. It may have been a different form of animation, magic markers taken to the extreme, but this was very much a generational-crossing concept in the same surreal category as The Magic Roundabout.

Roobarb was inspired by creator Grange Calveley’s Welsh Border Collie, who was so named after ‘watering’ the rhubarb in his garden, very soon after going to live at his home. Despite publishers liking the character and his strange adventures, no-one took Grange up on them, so he turned his thoughts to a series of short television animations instead. Persistence with the BBC eventually paid off – not a slot on Jackanory, oh no, but a request to see a pilot episode. Enter Bob Godfrey, animation director, and Australian animation director Peter Green brought Calveley’s sketches to life. And now all 69 episodes are released together on DVD by Simply Media.

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