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Crime & Thrillers
Heat | DVD | (01/11/1999)
from £3.99 | Saving you £12.50 (65.80%) | RRP
Having developed his skill as a master of contemporary crime drama, writer-director Michael Mann displayed every aspect of that mastery in Heat, an intelligent, character-driven thriller from 1995, which also marked the first onscreen pairing of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. The two great actors had played father and son in the separate time periods of The Godfather, Part II, but this was the first film in which the pair appeared together, and although their only scene together is brief, it's the riveting fulcrum of this high-tech cops-and-robbers scenario. De Niro plays a master thief with highly skilled partners (Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore) whose latest heist draws the attention of Pacino, playing a seasoned Los Angeles detective whose investigation reveals that cop and criminal lead similar lives. Both are so devoted to their professions that their personal lives are a disaster. Pacino's with a wife (Diane Venora) who cheats to avoid the reality of their desolate marriage; De Niro pays the price for a life with no outside connections; and Kilmer's wife (Ashley Judd) has all but given up hope that her husband will quit his criminal career. These are men obsessed, and as De Niro and Pacino know, they'll both do whatever's necessary to bring the other down. Mann's brilliant screenplay explores these personal obsessions and sacrifices with absorbing insight, and the tension mounts with some of the most riveting action sequences ever filmed--most notably a daylight siege that turns downtown Los Angeles into a virtual war zone of automatic gunfire. At nearly three hours, Heat qualifies as a kind of intimate epic, certain to leave some viewers impatiently waiting for more action, but it's all part of Mann's compelling strategy. Heat is a true rarity: a crime thriller with equal measures of intense excitement and dramatic depth, giving De Niro and Pacino a prime showcase for their finely matched talents. --Jeff Shannon
Chasing Mavericks | DVD | (04/11/2013)
from £5.49 | Saving you £14.50 (72.50%) | RRP
Gerard Butler stars in this surfing drama. Santa Cruz teenager Jay Moriarty (Jonny Weston) discovers that the Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves on Earth, exists only a few miles from his home. Instantly gripped by the dream of surfing the wave, he begs local surfing legend Frosty Hesson (Butler) to help him achieve his goal. But with tide patterns dictating that the Mavericks is due to reappear in just 12 weeks, has Jay got what it takes to conquer this epic wave?
Essex Boys | DVD | (02/07/2001)
from £4.49 | Saving you £8.50 (65.40%) | RRP
Essex Boys constructs a fictional story around the infamous Range Rover murders in Rettenden, Essex, in which three local drug dealers were found blasted to death by shotguns. Driving for ex-con Jason Locke (Sean Bean) was just another job for Billy Reynolds (Charlie Creed-Miles). But fresh out of a five-year stretch, Locke is looking to make up for lost time and begins a turf war. He stalks his manor with a menacing leer and a bottle of acid to throw in the face of anyone who gets in his way, and is given to Locke and his drug-dealing gang rely on brute strength to enforce their will, but when they decide to expand their game they underestimate the wiles of Billy's boss, countrified crime gent John Dyke. Southend's sunset strip of neon-fronted clubs and arcades, but fails to lift the plot of his film out of the Brit-gangster ghetto. That said, Winsor laudably plays it straight, avoiding the style over substance affectations of the genre, while coaxing believable performances out of his cast. --Chris CampionOn the DVD: the anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer is good with little obvious grain and an above average level of detail. But it is the soundtrack that's really the star of this DVD. The intensity of the film and the relentless action from the outset (where you are thrust into the middle of a crowded nightclub) is really upped by the brilliant Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix, resulting in the viewer feeling every gunshot. It's a good job that the soundtrack is so spectacular, since there are no special features except the usual suspects, the original theatrical trailer and scene access. --Kristen BowditchEssex Boys constructs a fictional story around the infamous Range Rover murders in Rettenden, Essex, in which three local drug dealers were found blasted to death by shotguns. Driving for ex-con Jason Locke (Sean Bean) was just another job for Billy Reynolds (Charlie Creed-Miles). But fresh out of a five-year stretch, Locke is looking to make up for lost time and begins a turf war. He stalks his manor with a menacing leer and a bottle of acid to throw in the face of anyone who gets in his way, and is given to humiliating publicly his long-suffering wife Lisa (Alex Kingston). Locke and his drug-dealing gang rely on brute strength to enforce their will, but when they decide to expand their game they underestimate the wiles of Billy's boss, countrified crime gent John Dyke. Director Terry Winsor makes good use of locations, especially Southend's sunset strip of neon-fronted clubs and arcades, but fails to lift the plot of his film out of the Brit-gangster ghetto. That said, Winsor laudably plays it straight, avoiding the style over substance affectations of the genre, while coaxing believable performances out of his cast. --Chris Campion
John Wick: Chapter 2 | Blu Ray | (12/06/2017)
from £19.99 | Saving you £0.00 (0.00%) | RRP
In this next chapter following the 2015 hit, legendary hitman John Wick [Keanu Reeves] is forced back out of retirement by a former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins' guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome where he squares off against some of the world's deadliest killers. Click Images to Enlarge
JFK | DVD | (05/11/2012)
from £4.85 | Saving you £5.14 (51.50%) | RRP
Not a John F Kennedy biopic, but a film of New Orleans' attorney Jim Garrison's investigation into the President's assassination, JFK is that rarest of things, a modern Hollywood drama which credits the audience with serious intelligence and ultimately proves itself a great film. Oliver Stone's film has the archetypal story, visual scale and substance to match; not just a gripping real-life conspiracy thriller, but a fable for the fall of the American dream (a theme further explored by the director in Nixon and Any Given Sunday). JFK doesn't reveal exactly what happened in Dallas on 22 November 1963--those who knew generally took their secrets to the grave--but marshals a vast wealth of facts and plausible theories, trusting the audience to draw its own conclusions. Following less than a year after Dances With Wolves (1990), these two epics mark the high point of Kevin Costner's career and the vast supporting cast here, including Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon, Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland, is superb. Quite simply the best American political film ever made. --Gary S Dalkin
The Departed | Blu Ray | (13/08/2007)
from £4.75 | Saving you £24.50 (81.70%) | RRP
Cops or criminals; when you're facing a loaded gun what's the difference? A big-budget Hollywood star power remake of the Hong Kong classic crime thriller Infernal Affairs. Two men operate on different sides of the law; one a mole with the Boston State Police department the other within the Irish mafia. When bloodshed breaks out on the streets each mole is despatched to discover the other's identity in a race against time... Marty finally collected the Best Director statuette at the 2007 Oscars after decades of bad luck. Not only that but the Departed also picked up awards for Best Editing Best Adapted Screenplay and Best film!
Basic Instinct 2 (2006) | DVD | (07/08/2006)
from £2.79 | Saving you £17.20 (86.00%) | RRP
Everything interesting begins in the mind. Dr. Michael Glass (Morrissey) a respected London criminal psychiatrist is brought in by Scotland Yard detective Roy Washburn (Thewlis) to perform a psychiatric profile and evaluation of novelist Catherine Tramell (Stone) following the mysterious death of a top sports star. Physically drawn to Tramell and mentally intrigued by her Glass is quickly sucked into her web of lies and seduction. The professional boundaries between Glass and Tramell are obliterated when she uncovers his basic instincts...
Blood Simple | Blu Ray | (30/10/2017)
from £10.99 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
The debut film of director Joel Coen and his brother-producer Ethan Coen, 1983's Blood Simple is grisly comic noir that marries the feverish toughness of pulp thrillers with the ghoulishness of even pulpier horror. (Imagine the novels of Jim Thompson somehow fused with the comic tabloid Weird Tales and you get the idea.) The story concerns a Texas bar owner (Dan Hedaya) who hires a seedy private detective (M Emmett Walsh) to follow his cheating wife (Frances McDormand in her first film appearance) and then kill her and her lover (John Getz). The gumshoe turns the tables on his client and suddenly a bad situation gets much, much worse, with some violent goings-on that are as elemental as they are shocking. (A scene in which a character who has been buried alive suddenly emerges from his own grave instantly becomes an archetypal nightmare.) Shot by Barry Sonnenfeld before he became an A-list director in Hollywood, Blood Simple established the hyperreal look and feel of the Coens' productions (undoubtedly inspired a bit by filmmaker Sam Raimi, whose The Evil Dead had just been coedited by Joel). Sections of the film have proved to be an endurance test for art-house movie fans, particularly an extended climax that involves one shock after another but ends with a laugh at the absurdity of criminal ambition. This is definitely one of the triumphs of the 1980s and the American independent film scene in general. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com
Face/Off | DVD | (11/06/2001)
from £3.49 | Saving you £12.50 (78.20%) | RRP
At his best, director John Woo turns action movies into ballets of blood and bullets grounded in character drama. Face/Off marks Woo's first American film to reach the pitched level of his best Hong Kong work (Hard-Boiled). He takes a patently absurd premise--hero and villain exchange identities by literally swapping faces in science-fiction plastic surgery--and creates a double-barrelled revenge film driven by the split psyches of its newly redefined characters. FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) must play the villain to move through the underworld while psychotic terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) becomes a perversely paternal family man, while using every tool at his disposal to destroy his nemesis. Travolta vamps Cage's tics and flamboyant excess with the grace of a dancer after his transformation from cop to criminal, while Cage plays the sullen, bottled-up agent excruciatingly trapped behind the face of the man who killed his son. His attempts to live up to the terrorist's reputation become cathartic explosions of violence that both thrill and terrify him. This is merely icing on the cake for action fans, the dramatic backbone for some of the most visceral action thrills ever. Woo fills the screen with one show-stopping set-piece after another, bringing a poetic grace to the action freakout with sweeping camerawork and sophisticated editing. This marriage of melodrama and mayhem ups the ante from cops-and-robbers clichés to a conflict of near-mythic levels. --Sean Axmaker
The Looking Glass War | DVD | (17/10/2005)
from £3.00 | Saving you £9.99 (76.90%) | RRP
In exchange for political asylum Polish defector Leiser (Jones) agrees to return behind the Iron Curtain to confirm the suspicions of the British Security Chief that East Germany is building a rocket in violation of the disarmament pact. Once in East Berlin Leiser falls in love with a beautiful young girl and the couple decide to flee the espionage experts - both East and West - to start a new life together. But they soon find themselves pawns in the brutal game where the stakes are
Butterfly On A Wheel | DVD | (28/04/2008)
from £2.89 | Saving you £10.10 (77.80%) | RRP
Neil and Abby Warner have the perfect life and a perfect marriage. With their beautiful young daughter Sophie they are living the American dream... until today. When Sophie is suddenly kidnapped they have no choice but to comply with the abductors demands. The kidnapper - Ryan (Pierce Brosnan) a cold and calculating sociopath takes over their lives with the brutal efficiency of someone who has nothing to lose. In the blink of an eye Neil and Abby's safe and secure existence is turned upside down. Over the next twenty four hours they are at the mercy of a man who wants only one thing. That they do his bidding. It soon becomes clear that Ryan's demands are all the more terrifying... because he doesn't want their money. What he wants is for Neil and Abbys life the life that they have built over 10 years to be systematically dismantled and destroyed. Piece by piece. With time running out on their little girl Neil and Abby realise their nightmare is about to take its most deadly turn: They will have to face Ryan's final horrifying challenge - would they kill an innocent man to save their own child? In the far distance a solitary light burns in the window of a lodge as the car glides to a halt - and Neil knows it is a question only he can answer - when Ryan hands him the gun...
The Place Beyond The Pines | DVD | (12/08/2013)
from £4.49 | Saving you £15.50 (77.50%) | RRP
Mysterious and mythical motorcycle racer Luke (Ryan Gosling) desperately tries to connect with a former lover Romina (Eva Mendes) who secretly gave birth to the stunt rider's son. In an attempt to provide for his new family Luke commits a series of bank robberies aided by his superior riding ability. The stakes rise as Luke is put on a collision course with an ambitious police officer Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) looking to quickly move up the ranks in a police department riddled with corruption.
The Family | DVD | (31/03/2014)
from £3.59 | Saving you £14.40 (80.00%) | RRP
A mafia boss and his family are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the Witness Protection Program after snitching on the mob to save their own skin. However despite Agent Stansfields (Tommy Lee Jones) best efforts to keep them in line Fred Blake (Robert DeNiro) his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children can't help but resort to old habits by handling all their problems the 'family' way. Chaos ensues as their former mafia cronies try to track them down and scores are settled in the unlikeliest of settings.
The Game | DVD | (09/11/2007)
from £3.05 | Saving you £12.94 (80.90%) | RRP
It's not quite as clever as it tries to be, but The Game does a tremendous job of presenting the story of a rigid control freak trapped in circumstances that are increasingly beyond his control. Michael Douglas plays a rich, divorced, and dreadful investment banker whose 48th birthday reminds him of his father's suicide at the same age. He's locked in the cage of his own misery until his rebellious younger brother (Sean Penn) presents him with a birthday invitation to play "The Game" (described as "an experiential Book of the Month Club")--a mysterious offering from a company called Consumer Recreation Services. Before he knows the game has even begun, Douglas is caught up in a series of unexplained events designed to strip him of his tenuous security and cast him into a maelstrom of chaos. How do you play a game that hasn't any rules? That's what Douglas has to figure out, and he can't always rely on his intelligence to form logic out of what's happening to him. Seemingly cast as the fall guy in a conspiracy thriller, he encounters a waitress (Deborah Unger) who may or may not be trustworthy, and nothing can be taken at face value in a world turned upside down. Douglas is great at conveying the sheer panic of his character's dilemma, and despite some lapses in credibility and an anticlimactic ending, The Game remains a thinking person's thriller that grabs and holds your attention. Thematic resonance abounds between this and Seven and Fight Club, two of the other films by The Game 's director David Fincher. -- Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Solace | Blu Ray | (18/01/2016)
from £5.09 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
The Lincoln Lawyer | DVD | (25/07/2011)
from £3.19 | Saving you £16.00 (80.00%) | RRP
A lawyer conducts business from the back of his Lincoln town car while representing a high-profile client in Beverly Hills.
The Others | DVD | (23/09/2002)
from £3.89 | Saving you £16.10 (80.50%) | RRP
A welcome throwback to the spooky traditions of Jack Clayton's The Innocents and Robert Wise's The Haunting, Alejandro Amenábar's The Others favours atmosphere, sound, and suggestion over flashy special effects. Set in 1945 on a fog-enshrouded island off the British coast, the film begins with a scream as Grace (Nicole Kidman) awakens from some unspoken horror, perhaps arising from her religiously overprotective concern for her young children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley). The children are hypersensitive to light and have lived in a musty manor with curtains and shutters perpetually drawn. With Grace's husband (Christopher Eccleston) presumably lost at war, this ominous setting perfectly accommodates a sense of dreaded expectation, escalating when three strangers arrive in response to Grace's yet-unposted request for domestic help. Led by housekeeper Mrs Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), this mysterious trio is as closely tied to the house's history as Grace's family is--as are the past occupants seen posthumously in a long-forgotten photo album. With her justly acclaimed performance, Kidman maintains an emotional intensity that fuels the film's supernatural underpinnings. And while Amenábar's pacing is deliberately slow, it befits the tone of penetrating anxiety, leading to a twist that extends the story's reach from beyond the grave. Amenábar unveiled a similarly effective twist in his Spanish thriller Open Your Eyes (remade by Cameron Crowe as Vanilla Sky), but where that film drew debate, The Others is finely crafted to provoke well-earned goose bumps and chills down the spine. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Taken 3 | DVD | (15/06/2015)
from £3.99 | Saving you £16.00 (80.00%) | RRP
Liam Neeson returns as ex-covert operative Bryan Mills whose reconciliation with his ex-wife is tragically cut short when she is brutally murdered. Consumed with rage and framed for the crime he goes on the run to evade the relentless pursuit of the CIA FBI and the police. For one last time Mills must use his &ldquo;particular set of skills &rdquo; to track down the real killers exact his unique brand of justice and protect the only thing that matters to him now &ndash; his daughter.
Flightplan | DVD | (27/03/2006)
from £3.49 | Saving you £14.50 (80.60%) | RRP
If you can forgive plot holes that you could drive the airliner of your choice through the middle of, then Flightplan is an effective, pacey Hollywood thriller, that somehow manages to hold everything together in spite of its challenging plausibility.
Absolute Power | DVD | (03/04/2000)
from £5.99 | Saving you £3.39 (24.20%) | RRP
Director Clint Eastwood's 1997 box-office hit stars himself as Luther Whitney, a highly skilled thief who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, witnessing the murder of a woman involved in a secret tryst with the US president (played by Gene Hackman). Determined to clear his name, Whitney cleverly eludes a tenacious detective (Ed Harris) while investigating a corruption of power reaching to the highest level of government. Adapted by veteran screenwriter William Goldman from David Baldacci's novel, this thriller balances expert suspense with well-drawn characters and an intelligent plot that's just a pounding heartbeat away from real White House headlines. Absolute Power features the great Judy Davis in a memorable supporting role as the White House chief of staff who desperately attempts to cover up the crime. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com