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Wild at Heart [DVD]
£7.07
Wild at Heart [DVD]
Germany released, PAL/Region 2.4 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), French ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), German ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), Arabic ( Subtitles ), Danish ( Subtitles ), Dutch ( Subtitles ), English ( Subtitles ), Finnish ( Subtitles ), French ( Subtitles ), German ( Subtitles ), Greek ( Subtitles ), Hebrew ( Subtitles ), Italian ( Subtitles ), Norwegian ( Subtitles ), Portuguese ( Subtitles ), Russian ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), Swedish ( Subtitles ), Turkish ( Subtitles ), ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Anamorphic Widescreen, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern play a pair of lovers on the run in David Lynch's surrealist road movie Wild at Heart. Cage's Sailor Ripley is a violent ex-convict with an Elvis Presley fixation who falls in love with Dern's Lula Pace Fortune, the daughter of a rich, but mentally unstable, Southern belle named Marietta (Diane Ladd, Dern's real-life mother). Just after Sailor is released from prison, where he was jailed for brutally killing one of Marietta's thugs, he and Lula take off on a wild cross-country trip, pursued by his parole officer, her mother, criminals, bounty hunters, and detectives. Along the way, Sailor and Lula have a lot of sex, share their pasts, share their respective obsessions for Elvis and The Wizard of Oz, and meet a lot of bizarre characters, including a seedy ex-marine (Willem Dafoe) who persuades Sailor to participate in a bank robbery. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Cannes Film Festival, Fantasporto Awards, Golden Globes, Oscar Academy Awards, ...Wild at Heart ( 1990 ) ( David Lynch's Wild at Heart )
Amazon UK
Zabriskie Point [DVD]
£7.69
Zabriskie Point [DVD]
As a postcard from a bygone era, Michelangelo Antonioni's sole American movie is amazing to look at. This was the Italian director's first film since his English-language breakthrough Blowup (1966), which had been a masterpiece that captivated general and art-house audiences alike. Expectations understandably ran high, and as a visual experience Zabriskie Point delivered. Here was this foreigner's eye, among the most distinctive in world cinema, looking at city and desert, streets and backroads, office towers, mini-marts, police cars, airfields, and nonstop signage--the textures of U.S. life transliterated into something alien and askew. Revisited decades later, that's the aspect of Zabriskie Point that comes fascinatingly to the fore.
Amazon UK
Scarface [DVD] [1983]
£2.98
Scarface [DVD] [1983]
This sprawling epic of bloodshed and excess, Brian De Palma's update of the classic 1932 crime drama by Howard Hawks, sparked controversy over its outrageous violence when released in 1983. Scarface is a wretched, fascinating car wreck of a movie, starring Al Pacino as a Cuban refugee who rises to the top of Miami's cocaine-driven underworld, only to fall hard into his own deadly trap of addiction and inevitable assassination. Scripted by Oliver Stone and running nearly three hours, it's the kind of film that can simultaneously disgust and amaze you (critic Pauline Kael wrote "this may be the only action picture that turns into an allegory of impotence"), with vivid supporting roles for Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Robert Loggia. --Jeff Shannon
Amazon UK
Yellow Submarine [DVD] [1968]
£14.99
Yellow Submarine [DVD] [1968]
This restored, animated valentine to the Beatles offers viewers the rare chance to see a work that's been substantially improved by its technical facelift, not just super-sized with extra footage. Recognising that its song-studded soundtrack alone makes Yellow Submarine a video annuity, United Artists has lavished a frame-by-frame refurbishment of the original feature, while replacing its original monaural audio tracks with a meticulously reconstructed stereo mix that actually refines legendary original album versions. What emerges is a vivid time capsule of the late 1960s and a minor milestone in animation. The music represents the quartet's zenith--Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The story line, cobbled together by producer Al Brodax and a committee of writers, is a broad, feather-light allegory set in idyllic Pepperland, where the gentle citizens are threatened by the nasty, music-hating Blue Meanies and their surreal arsenal of henchmen, with the Beatles enlisted to thwart the bad guys. Visually, designer Heinz Edelmann mixes the biomorphic squiggles, day-glo palette and Beardsley-esque portraits of Peter Max with rotoscoped still photographs and film; Edelmann's animated collages also nod to Andy Warhol and Magritte in properly psychedelic fashion, which works wonderfully with such terrific songs. High-orthodox Beatlemaniacs can still grouse that the animated Fab Four are (literally) flat archetypes, but that's missing the sheer bloom of the music or the giddy, campy fun of the visuals. Making sense of the story is second to submerging blissfully in the sights and sounds of this video treat. --Sam Sutherland
Amazon UK
Pulp Fiction [DVD]
£4.74
Pulp Fiction [DVD]
With Pulp Fiction writer-director Quentin Tarantino stunned the filmmaking world, exploding into prominence as a cinematic heavyweight contender after initial success with 1992's Reservoir Dogs. But Pulp Fiction was more than just the follow-up to an impressive first feature, or the winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival, or a script stuffed with the sort of juicy bubblegum dialogue actors just love to chew, or the vehicle that re-established John Travolta on the A-list, or the relatively low-budget ($8 million) independent showcase for an ultra-hip mixture of established marquee names and rising stars from the indie scene (among them Samuel L Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Julia Sweeney, Kathy Griffin and Phil Lamar). It was more, even, than an unprecedented $100-million-plus hit for indie distributor Miramax. Pulp Fiction was a sensation. It packs so much energy and invention into telling its non-chronologically interwoven short stories (all about temptation, corruption and redemption among modern criminals, large and small) it leaves viewers both exhilarated and exhausted--hearts racing and knuckles white from the ride. (Oh, and the infectious, surf-guitar-based soundtrack is tastier than a Royale with Cheese.) --Jim Emerson
Amazon UK
Total Recall - Triple Play (DVD + Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [1990]
£10.69
Total Recall - Triple Play (DVD + Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [1990]
Total Recall, director Paul Verhoeven's mega-budget sci-fi action blockbuster from 1990, began its production life as a very different movie. An adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale", it was originally conceived of with Richard Dreyfuss starring as a Walter-Mitty-like character who experiences a variety of artificially induced fantasies. But with Arnold Schwarzenegger on board, the final version took a rather different direction. The Austrian Oak plays a normal working man who discovers his entire reality has been invented to conceal a scheme for planetary domination on Mars. Oscar-winning special effects and violent action propel the twisting plot, in which Arnold manipulates his manipulators in a world of dazzling high technology. Verhoeven (Robocop, Starship Troopers) indulges his usual penchant for gratuitous bloodshed, but the movie has enough cleverness to rise above its excesses. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com On the DVD: Not many extras, but excellent picture and sound. The reds of Mars are a terrific way of testing your television's colour definition in this digital transfer. Combine that with testing your speakers in the opening scene to Jerry Goldsmith's pounding score boosted to Dolby 5.1, and what an ideal home cinema demo disc this is! Two trailers show the way a film should and shouldn't be advertised, since the teaser gives nothing away but the main advert tells you everything. A seven-minute behind the scenes featurette with cast interviews and on-set action rounds out the extras package. --Paul Tonks
Amazon UK
Dog Day Afternoon - Special Edition [1975] [DVD]
£22.00
Dog Day Afternoon - Special Edition [1975] [DVD]
A gripping true crime yarn, a juicy slice of overheated New York atmosphere and a splendid showcase for its young actors, Dog Day Afternoon is a minor classic of the 1970s. The opening montage of New York street life (set to Elton John's lazy "Amoreena") establishes the oppressive mood of a scorching afternoon in the city with such immediacy that you can almost smell the garbage baking in the sun and the water from the hydrants evaporating from the sizzling pavement. Al Pacino plays Sonny, who, along with his rather slow-witted accomplice Sal (John Cazale, familiar as Pacino's Godfather brother Fredo), holds hostages after a botched a bank robbery. Sonny finds himself transformed into a rebel celebrity when his standoff with police (including lead negotiator Charles Durning) is covered live on local television. The movie doesn't appear to be about anything in particular, but it really conveys the feel of wild and unpredictable events unfolding before your eyes, and the whole picture is so convincing and involving that you're glued to the screen. An Oscar winner for original screenplay, Dog Day Afternoon was also nominated for best picture, actor, supporting actor (Chris Sarandon, as a surprise figure from Sonny's past), editing, and director (Sidney Lumet of Serpico, Prince of the City, The Verdict and Running on Empty). --Jim Emerson
Amazon UK
The Man Who Fell to Earth [DVD]
£4.38
The Man Who Fell to Earth [DVD]
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Based on a novel by Walter Tevis, The Man Who Fell to Earth achieved cult film status for David Bowie's performance as Thomas Jerome Newton, aka 'Mr. Sussex,' and the imagery of director Nicholas Roeg, a former cinematographer. In this deeply allegorical science-fiction drama, Newton is an alien from a planet that is dying for lack of water, and he has been sent to earth to find a way to ship some of the earth's plentiful supply to his home planet. He arrives with a human-looking disguise, his knowledge of unusual technologies, his despair, and little else. Using his knowledge, he takes out patents on 'his' inventions, aided by patent lawyer Oliver Farnsworth (Buck Henry). He skillfully parlays the money from these inventions and becomes a financial/industrial tycoon. These inventions, and others like them, along with his political and financial power, should make possible the transfer of water to his planet. But instead of pressing forward with plans to save his home planet, he becomes enamored of Earth's low-down ways and of his strange, passive relationship with his elevator-operator girlfriend, Mary Lou (Candy Clark). Meanwhile, his phenomenal rise from anonymity to power, and his eccentric behavior, spark the government's interest. Chemistry professor Nathan Bryce (Rip Torn) also comes calling, fascinated by the alien's history. As gin and despair slowly cripple him, he becomes consumed by memories of life on his doomed planet. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Berlin International Film Festival, ...The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
Amazon UK
Bonnie And Clyde [1967] [DVD]
£3.19
Bonnie And Clyde [1967] [DVD]
One of the landmark films of the 1960s, Bonnie and Clyde changed the course of American cinema. Setting a milestone for screen violence that paved the way for Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, this exercise in mythologized biography should not be labelled as a bloodbath; as critic Pauline Kael wrote in her rave review, "it's the absence of sadism that throws the audience off balance". The film is more of a poetic ode to the Great Depression, starring the dream team of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the titular antiheroes, who barrel across the South and Midwest robbing banks with Clyde's brother Buck (Gene Hackman), Buck's frantic wife Blanche (Estelle Parsons) and their faithful accomplice C W Moss (the inimitable Michael J. Pollard). Bonnie and Clyde is an unforgettable classic that has lost none of its power since the 1967 release. --Jeff Shannon
Amazon UK
The Usual Suspects [DVD] [1995]
£4.28
The Usual Suspects [DVD] [1995]
Bryan Singer's film noir The Usual Suspects casts a mesmerising spell, with the plot luring the viewer into ever-deeper and darker places. According to director, Singer, the premise for the film evolved from a magazine article. What does the phrase "usual suspects" actually mean, who are they and what happens when you probe their identity? Here, they are five expert criminals and a crippled con man in a line-up. The story, told via flashbacks, interrogation scenes and explosive sequences of a heist gone wrong, is a labyrinth of sub-plots and red herrings. Kevin Spacey won a best supporting actor Oscar for his intriguing, blank-eyed turn as the crippled "Verbal" Kint. But Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollak, Stephen Baldwin and Benicio del Toro are equally fascinating as the mismatched misfits, creating hinterlands for their characters in a single gesture. Chazz Palminteri as the special agent is our main ally in solving the puzzle, but it's really a case of the blind leading the blind. Pete Postlethwaite's bizarre accent, as the sinister legal agent Kobayashi, adds its own layer of mystery to a film that earns cult status entirely on its own merits. On the DVD: this is a dazzling two-disc set which will both please Usual Suspects aficionados and entice the uninitiated. The film itself is presented in widescreen format. The Dolby Digital surround sound quality throbs with tension so that you sense the dialogue and John Ottman's excellent, suspenseful music with your nerve endings rather than just experiencing them aurally. The original cinematic experience comes forcefully into your living room. Numerous extras include a fascinating director/screenwriter commentary (if you haven't seen the film yet, make sure this is turned off or it will wreck the suspense) and endless featurettes, each adding a layer of understanding to the film through observations from the actors, director and writer. A package that sucks you in, blows you out in pieces and still has you coming back for more, this is what special edition DVDs are all about. --Piers Ford
Amazon UK
Taxi Driver [DVD] [1976] [1999]
£3.48
Taxi Driver [DVD] [1976] [1999]
Taxi Driver is the definitive cinematic portrait of loneliness and alienation manifested as violence. It is as if director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader had tapped into precisely the same source of psychological inspiration ("I just knew I had to make this film", Scorsese would later say), combined with a perfectly timed post-Watergate expression of personal, political and societal anxiety. Robert De Niro, as the tortured, ex-Marine cab driver Travis Bickle, made movie history with his chilling performance as one of the most memorably intense and vividly realised characters ever committed to film. Bickle is a self-appointed vigilante who views his urban beat as an intolerable cesspool of blighted humanity. He plays guardian angel for a young prostitute (Jodie Foster), but not without violently devastating consequences. This masterpiece, which is not for all tastes, is sure to horrify some viewers, but few could deny the film's lasting power and importance. --Jeff Shannon
Amazon UK
Chinatown (Special Collector's Edition) [1974] [DVD]
£8.99
Chinatown (Special Collector's Edition) [1974] [DVD]
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), French ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), German ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Italian ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Spanish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Danish ( Subtitles ), Dutch ( Subtitles ), English ( Subtitles ), Finnish ( Subtitles ), French ( Subtitles ), German ( Subtitles ), Italian ( Subtitles ), Norwegian ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), Swedish ( Subtitles ), ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Anamorphic Widescreen, Collectors Edition, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: A landmark movie in the film noir tradition, Roman Polanski's Chinatown stands as a true screen classic. Jack Nicholson is private eye Jake Gittes, living off the murky moral climate of sunbaked, pre-war Southern California. Hired by a beautiful socialite (Faye Dunaway) to investigate her husband's extra-marital affair, Gittes is swept into a maelstrom of double dealings and deadly deceits, uncovering a web of personal and political scandals that come crashing together for one, unforgettable night in ... Chinatown. Co-starring film legend John Huston and featuring an Academy Award-winning script by Robert Towne, Chinatown captures a lost era in a masterfully woven movie that remains a timeless gem. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Edgar Allan Poe Awards, Golden Globes, Oscar Academy Awards, ...Chinatown ( China town )
Amazon UK
Who Are You, Polly Magoo? / In and Out of Fashion ( Qui
£35.69
Who Are You, Polly Magoo? / In and Out of Fashion ( Qui
France released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: French ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: 2-DVD Set, Black & White, Box Set, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Who Are You, Polly Magoo? Satire. Polly Maggoo is a fashion model in Paris, 20, on the runway at the big shows where magazine editor Miss Maxwell is the reigning opinion maker. The ridiculous passes for sublime. Polly becomes the subject of a vapid TV news documentary, 'Qui
Amazon UK
Blow Up [DVD] [1966]
£4.23
Blow Up [DVD] [1966]
It may not stand up as an art-house film (the opening and closing shots of a mime playing tennis belong in the Pretentious Metaphor Hall of Fame), but this head scratcher is an absorbing travelogue of swinging London circa 1967, courtesy of auteur tourist Michelangelo Antonioni. Blow Up is also a meticulous, paranoid murder mystery that has left its fingerprints on dozens of later films, from Coppola's The Conversation to the recent cult item The Usual Suspects. The efforts of a fashion photographer (David Hemmings) to analyse a photo snapped off-the-cuff in a public park, which may have recorded a crime in progress, resonated at the time with conspiracy theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination. From here it looks like an anticipation of up-to-the-minute anxieties about the filtering of perception through metastasising media. The movie marked the film debut of Vanessa Redgrave, and in the justly celebrated purple-paper scene, expat chanteuse-to-be Jane Birkin. --David Chute
Amazon UK
Blue Velvet [DVD]
£5.09
Blue Velvet [DVD]
David Lynch peeks behind the picket fences of small-town America to reveal a corrupt shadow world of malevolence, sadism and madness. From the opening shots Lynch turns the Technicolor picture postcard images of middle-class homes and tree-lined lanes into a dreamy vision on the edge of nightmare. After his father collapses in a preternaturally eerie sequence, college boy Kyle MacLachlan returns home and stumbles across a severed human ear in a vacant lot. With the help of sweetly innocent high school girl (Laura Dern), he turns junior detective and uncovers a frightening yet darkly compelling world of voyeurism and sex. Drawn deeper into the brutal world of drug dealer and blackmailer Frank, played with raving mania by an obscenity-shouting Dennis Hopper in a career-reviving performance, he loses his innocence and his moral bearings when confronted with pure, unexplainable evil. Isabella Rossellini is terrifyingly desperate as Hopper's sexual slave who becomes MacLachlan's illicit lover, and Dean Stockwell purrs through his role as Hopper's oh-so-suave buddy. Lynch strips his surreally mundane sets to a ghostly austerity, which composer Angelo Badalamenti encourages with the smooth, spooky strains of a lush score. Blue Velvet is a disturbing film that delves into the darkest reaches of psycho-sexual brutality and simply isn't for everyone. But for a viewer who wants to see the cinematic world rocked off its foundations, David Lynch delivers a nightmarish masterpiece. --Sean Axmaker
Amazon UK
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas [DVD]
£3.17
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas [DVD]
The original cowriter and director of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was Alex Cox, whose earlier film Sid and Nancy suggests that Cox could have been a perfect match in filming Hunter S. Thompson's psychotropic masterpiece of "gonzo" journalism. Unfortunately Cox departed due to the usual "creative differences," and this ill-fated adaptation was thrust upon Terry Gilliam, whose formidable gifts as a visionary filmmaker were squandered on the seemingly unfilmable elements of Thompson's ether-fogged narrative. The result is a one-joke movie without the joke--an endless series of repetitive scenes involving rampant substance abuse and the hallucinogenic fallout of a road trip that's run crazily out of control. Johnny Depp plays Thompson's alter ego, "gonzo" journalist Raoul Duke, and Benicio Del Toro is his sidekick and so-called lawyer Dr. Gonzo. During the course of a trip to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, they ingest a veritable chemistry set of drugs, and Gilliam does his best to show us the hallucinatory state of their zonked-out minds. This allows for some dazzling imagery and the rampant humour of stumbling buffoons, and the mumbling performances of Depp and Del Toro wholeheartedly embrace the tripped-out, paranoid lunacy of Thompson's celebrated book. But over two hours of this insanity tends to grate on the nerves--like being the only sober guest at a party full of drunken idiots. So while Gilliam's film may achieve some modest cult status over the years, it's only because Fear and Loathing is best enjoyed by those who are just as stoned as the characters in the movie. --Jeff Shannon
Amazon UK
Velvet Goldmine [DVD]
£3.32
Velvet Goldmine [DVD]
Somewhat misleadingly described by many as a mock-biopic based on the life of David Bowie, Velvet Goldmine is so much more than that. Journalist Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) who sets out to discover whatever happened to Ziggy Stardust-like Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), the famous bisexual glam star who crashed and burned spectacularly, but in the process helped Arthur awaken his own sexuality. It's an insane homage to 1970s glam rock in the UK as only American, who knew the movement from a distance, would make; it's a tribute to film director Nicolas Roeg's best work, particularly Performance and the Bowie-vehicle The Man Who Fell to Earth; it's a sci-fi movie about an alternative reality (the film's "present" is a 1984 that never existed and frustratingly never clearly explained); it's a queer Citizen Kane with lashings of eye-glitter, a complete mess, an absolute delight and a chance to see Ewan McGregor naked in case you didn't catch him in The Pillow Book as the Iggy Pop-like Curt Wild, Slade's lover/prot
Amazon UK
Nowhere Boy
£1.96
Nowhere Boy
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Anamorphic Widescreen, Cast/Crew Interview(s), Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Featurette, Interactive Menu, Making Of, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: The true story of John Lennon's troubled childhood and difficult relationship with his family is brought to the screen in this period drama. Young John (Alex Ambrose) is a bright but sharp-tongued boy living in the coastal town of Liverpool during the 1950s with his aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) and uncle George (David Threlfall). John's father walked out on the family when he was four years old, and the boy was given to Mimi to raise, even though his mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), was still alive. While Mimi's straight-laced nature runs counter to John's more reckless personality, they clearly love one another and the household is thrown into chaos when George dies suddenly. At the funeral, teenage John (now played by Aaron Johnson) sees Julia, and learns to his surprise that she lives only a few blocks away from Mimi. John pays her a visit, and Julia gratefully welcomes him back into her life. Julia's personality is a much closer fit to John than Mimi, and she encourages his love for writing and music, teaching him to play the banjo. However, John's renewed relationship with Julia brings up a number of unanswered questions, and causes new tensions between Mimi and John. And as rock & roll becomes the hot new sound of the day, John falls in love with the bold new music and makes a friend who is interested in forming a band, Paul (Thomas Brodie Sangster). The first feature film from artist-turned-director Sam Taylor-Wood, Nowhere Boy was the closing night attraction at the 2009 BFI London Film Festival. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, British Independent Film Awards, ...Nowhere Boy (2009)
Amazon UK
La piscine [DVD]
£8.85
La piscine [DVD]
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: French ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Photo Gallery, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Jean-Paul (Alain Delon) is an out-of-work writer having an affair with Marianne (Romy Schneider), a successful journalist. As they frolic in a swimming pool in St. Tropez, she receives as call from the record executive Harry (Maurice Ronet). He arrives with his nubile young daughter (Jane Birkin). Harry and Marianne were once lovers and he makes a pass at her. Meanwhile, Jean-Paul makes a pass at Harry's daughter. After some drinking, Harry and Jean-Paul fight, resulting in Harry being pushed into the pool. Jean-Paul refuses to help the struggling man as he drowns, and the young couple tries to get their stories straight in order to avoid being charged with murder in this sometimes masochistic feature from France. ...The Swimming Pool (1969) ( La piscine ) ( The Sinners (La piscina) )
Amazon UK
The Thomas Crown Affair [DVD]
£3.98
The Thomas Crown Affair [DVD]
Millionaire businessman Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) is also a high-stakes thief; his latest caper is an elaborate heist at a Boston bank. Why does he do it? For the same reason he flies gliders, bets on golf strokes and races dune buggies: he needs the thrill to feel alive. Insurance investigator Vicky Anderson (Faye Dunaway) gets her own thrills by busting crooks, and she's got Crown in her cross hairs. Naturally, these two will get it on, because they have a lot in common: they're not people, they're walking clothes racks. (McQueen looks like he'd rather be in jeans than Crown's natty three-piece suits.) The Thomas Crown Affair is a catalogue of 60s conventions, from its clipped editing style to its photographic trickery (the inventive Haskell Wexler behind the camera) to its mod design. You can almost sense director Norman Jewison deciding to "tell his story visually," like those newfangled European films; this would explain the long passages of Michel Legrand's lounge jazz ladled over endless montages of the pretty Dunaway and McQueen at play. (The opening-credits song, "Windmills of Your Mind," won an Oscar.) It's like a "What Kind of Man Reads Playboy?" ad come to life, and much more interesting as a cultural snapshot than a piece of storytelling. --Robert Horton
Amazon UK
The Sting (Special Edition) [DVD]
£4.00
The Sting (Special Edition) [DVD]
Winner of seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay, this critical and box-office hit from 1973 provided a perfect reunion for director George Roy Hill and stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford, who previously delighted audiences with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Set in 1936, the movie's about a pair of Chicago con artists (Newman and Redford) who find themselves in a high-stakes game against the master of all cheating mobsters (Robert Shaw) when they set out to avenge the murder of a mutual friend and partner. Using a bogus bookie joint as a front for their con of all cons, the two feel the heat from the Chicago Mob on one side and encroaching police on the other. But in a plot that contains more twists than a treacherous mountain road, the ultimate scam is pulled off with consummate style and panache. It's an added bonus that Newman and Redford were box-office kings at the top of their game, and while Shaw broods intensely as the Runyonesque villain, The Sting is further blessed by a host of great supporting players including Dana Elcar, Eileen Brennan, Ray Walston, Charles Durning, and Harold Gould. Thanks to the flavorful music score by Marvin Hamlisch, this was also the movie that sparked a nationwide revival of Scott Joplin's ragtime jazz, which is featured prominently on the soundtrack. One of the most entertaining movies of the early 1970s, The Sting is a welcome throwback to Hollywood's golden age of the '30s that hasn't lost any of its popular charm. --Jeff Shannon
Amazon UK
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Single Disc Edition [DVD] [1975]
£2.28
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Single Disc Edition [DVD] [1975]
If a musical sci-fi satire about an alien transvestite named Frank-n-Furter, who is building the perfect man while playing sexual games with his virginal visitors, sounds like an intriguing premise for a movie, then you're in for a treat. Not only is The Rocky Horror Picture Show all this and more, but it stars the surprising cast of Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick (as the demure Janet and uptight Brad, who get lost in a storm and find themselves stranded at Frank-n-Furter's mansion), Meat Loaf (as the rebel Eddie), Charles Gray (as our criminologist and narrator) and, of course, the inimitable Tim Curry as our "sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania". Upon its release in 1975, the film was an astounding flop. But a few devotees persuaded a New York cinema to show it at midnight, and thus was born one of the ultimate cult films of all time. The songs are addictive (just try getting "The Time Warp" or "Toucha Toucha Touch Me" out of your head), the raunchiness amusing and the plot line utterly ridiculous--in other words, this film is simply tremendous good fun. The downfall, however, is that much of the amusement is found in the audience participation that is obviously missing from a video version (viewers in cinemas shout lines at the screen and use props--such as holding up newspapers and shooting water guns during the storm and throwing rice during a wedding scene). Watched alone as a straight movie, Rocky Horror loses a tremendous amount of its charm. Yet, for those who wish to perfect their lip-synching techniques for movie cinema performances or for those who want to gather a crowd around the TV at home for some good, old-fashioned, rowdy fun, this film can't be beat. --Jenny Brown
Amazon UK
A Clockwork Orange [DVD] [1971]
£3.70
A Clockwork Orange [DVD] [1971]
The controversy that surrounded Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Anthony Burgess's dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange while the film was out of circulation suggested that it was like Romper Stomper: a glamorisation of the violent, virile lifestyle of its teenage protagonist, with a hypocritical gloss of condemnation to mask delight in rape and ultra-violence. Actually, it is as fable-like and abstract as The Pilgrim's Progress, with characters deliberately played as goonish sitcom creations. The anarchic rampage of Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a bowler-hatted juvenile delinquent of the future, is all over at the end of the first act. Apprehended by equally brutal authorities, he changes from defiant thug to cringing bootlicker, volunteering for a behaviourist experiment that removes his capacity to do evil.It's all stylised: from Burgess' invented pidgin Russian (snarled unforgettably by McDowell) to 2001-style slow tracks through sculpturally perfect sets (as with many Kubrick movies, the story could be told through decor alone) and exaggerated, grotesque performances on a par with those of Dr Strangelove (especially from Patrick Magee and Aubrey Morris). Made in 1971, based on a novel from 1962, A Clockwork Orange resonates across the years. Its future is now quaint, with Magee pecking out "subversive literature" on a giant IBM typewriter and "lovely, lovely Ludwig Van" on mini-cassette tapes. However, the world of "Municipal Flat Block 18A, Linear North" is very much with us: a housing estate where classical murals are obscenely vandalised, passers-by are rare and yobs loll about with nothing better to do than hurt people. On the DVD: The extras are skimpy, with just an impressionist trailer in the style of the film used to brainwash Alex and a list of awards for which Clockwork Orange was nominated and awarded. The box promises soundtracks in English, French and Italian and subtitles in ten languages, but the disc just has two English soundtracks (mono and Dolby Surround 5.1) and two sets of English subtitles. The terrific-looking "digitally restored and remastered" print is letterboxed at 1.66:1 and on a widescreen TV plays best at 14:9. The film looks as good as it ever has, with rich stable colours (especially and appropriately the orangey-red of the credits and the blood) and a clarity that highlights previously unnoticed details such as Alex's gouged eyeball cufflinks and enables you to read the newspaper articles which flash by. The 5.1 soundtrack option is amazingly rich, benefiting the nuances of performance as much as the classical/electronic music score and the subtly unsettling sound effects. --Kim Newman
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Apocalypse Now Redux [DVD] [1979]
£4.99
Apocalypse Now Redux [DVD] [1979]
Following the example set by his old pals Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola has revisited a classic that no-one ever thought needed enhancement and produced Apocalypse Now Redux, a remastered and extended version of his hallucinogenic Vietnam nightmare that adds some 50 minutes of extra material. On the plus side, certain extended sequences--such as Kilgore's bombing-cum-surfing raid and the final battle of nerves between Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando--add greater depth to our appreciation of the film. On the debit side, the lengthy French plantation interlude and the squalid fate of the Playboy bunnies simply underscore what we already know about war and hell and the depressing futility of it all. It's possible that Apocalyspe Now is not really about Vietnam at all, but is in fact a despairing commentary on the dissolution of contemporary American society; it's also possible that Apocalypse Now Redux, for all its epic scale and visceral power, ultimately fails to make the film's real message any clearer than before. Either way, it remains one of the greatest (anti-)war films ever made. On the DVD: Apocalypse Now Redux is self-recommending on DVD, especially with vividly remastered Dolby 5.1 sound (the whirling helicopter blades are dizzying) and an anamorphic widescreen picture. Disappointingly the disc contains no extra features other than a trailer for the Redux version. Coppola has provided excellent commentaries for his Godfather trilogy so it's a shame not to have his comments here; and the justly famous "Heart of Darkness" documentary is conspicuous by its absence, too. --Mark Walker
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Gimme Shelter [DVD]
£2.09
Gimme Shelter [DVD]
To cite Gimme Shelter as the greatest rock documentary ever filmed is to damn it with faint praise. This 1970 release benefits from a horrifying serendipity in the timing of the shoot, which brought filmmakers Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin aboard as the Rolling Stones' tumultuous 1969 American tour neared its end. By following the band to the Altamont Speedway near San Francisco for a fatally mismanaged free concert, the Maysles and Zwerin wound up shooting what's been accurately dubbed rock's equivalent to the Zapruder film. The cameras caught the ominous undercurrents of violence palpable even before the first chords were strummed, and were still rolling when a concertgoer was stabbed to death by the Hell's Angels that served as the festival's pool cue-wielding security force. By the time Gimme Shelter reached theater screens, Altamont was a fixed symbol for the death of the 1960s' spirit of optimism. The Maysles and Zwerin used that knowledge to shape their film: their chronicle begins in the editing room as they cut footage of the Stones' Madison Square Garden performance of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and from there moves toward Altamont with a kind of dreadful grace. The songs become prophecies and laments for broken faith ("Wild Horses"), misplaced devotion ("Love in Vain"), and social collapse ("Street Fighting Man" and, of course, "Sympathy for the Devil"). Along the way, we glimpse the folly of the machinations behind the festival, the insularity of life on the concert trail, and the superstars' own shell-shocked loss of innocence. Gimme Shelter looks into an abyss, partly self-created, from which the Rolling Stones would retreat--but unlike its subject, the filmmakers don't blink. --Sam Sutherland
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Spaceballs [DVD] [1987]
£3.98
Spaceballs [DVD] [1987]
Mel Brooks's 1987 parody of the Star Wars trilogy is a jumble of jokes rather than a comic feature, and, predictably, some of those jokes work better than others. The cast, including Brooks in two roles, more or less mimics the principal characters from George Lucas's famous story line, and the director certainly gets a boost from new allies (Rick Moranis and John Candy) as well as old ones (Dick Van Patten, Dom DeLuise). Watch this and wait for the sporadic inspiration--but don't be surprised if you find yourself yearning for those years when Brooks was a more complete filmmaker (Young Frankenstein). --Tom Keogh
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Excalibur [1981] [DVD]
£1.73
Excalibur [1981] [DVD]
A lush retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Excalibur is a dark and engrossing tale. Director John Boorman (Deliverance) masterfully handles the tale of the mythical sword Excalibur, and its passing from the wizard Merlin to the future king of England. Arthur pulls the famed sword from a stone and is destined to be crowned king. As the king embarks on a passionate love affair with Guenevere, an illegitimate son, and Merlin's designs on power, threaten Arthur's reign. The film is visually stunning and unflinching in its scenes of combat and black magic. Featuring an impressive supporting cast, including early work from the likes of Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne, Excalibur is an adaptation of the legend both faithful and bold. --Robert Lane
Amazon UK