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  • Calamity Jane [1953] Calamity Jane | DVD | (26/05/2003) from £4.75  |  Saving you £9.24 (66.00%)  |  RRP £13.99

    This 1953 musical is very much a vehicle for Doris Day, in the title role, as a wild cowgal who can out-shoot and out-sing any boy on the range. When an actress arrives in Deadwood and uses her feminine charms on Jane's secret love, Wild Bill Hickock (Howard Keel), Jane tries to mend her tomboy ways. Not exactly up to the feminist code of honour, this is still energetic and Day is very perky. Of course, one could almost detect a homosexual undercurrent with the cross-dressing Jane, but this was Hollywood in the 1950s, so we best not. Calamity Jane won an Oscar for Best Song--"Secret Love", by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster. --Rochelle O'Gorman

  • High School Musical [2006] High School Musical | DVD | (04/12/2006) from £3.89  |  Saving you £10.10 (72.20%)  |  RRP £13.99

    Troy (Zac Efron) the popular captain of the basketball team and Gabriella (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) the brainy and beautiful member of the academic club break all the rules of East High society when they secretly audition for the leads in the school's musical. As they reach for the stars and follow their dreams everyone learns about acceptance teamwork and being yourself. And it's all set to fun tunes and very cool dance moves.

  • Easter Parade [1948] Easter Parade | DVD | (16/05/2005) from £5.29  |  Saving you £8.70 (62.20%)  |  RRP £13.99

    If you can't join 'em beat 'em! When his long-time dance partner abandons him for the Ziegfeld Follies Don Hewes decides to show who's who what's what by choosing any girl out of a chorus line and transforming her into a star. So he makes his choice and takes his chances. Of course since Fred Astaire portrays Don and Judy Garland plays the chorine we know we're in for an entertainment sure thing.

  • The Lizzie McGuire Movie [2003] The Lizzie McGuire Movie | DVD | (02/02/2004) from £5.99  |  Saving you £-2.00 (-11.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    The Lizzie McGuire Movie spins around the axis of Disney Channel starlet Hilary Duff, whose glossy good looks and rather mature figure are balanced by a sweetly bashful persona and an endearing klutziness. On a school trip to Rome, Lizzie is discovered to be the virtual twin of an Italian pop star named Isabella--and her dreamy former partner wants Lizzie to take Isabella's place at an award show to avoid a lawsuit. Only Lizzie's loyal best friend Gordo (Adam Lamberg) suspects that Paolo may not be all that he seems. The Lizzie McGuire Movie is competent fluff, with the most fun to be had coming from Lizzie's pesky little brother (Jake Thomas) and his Machiavellian friend Melina (Carly Schroeder), who plot to humiliate Lizzie for fun and personal gain. It also features Alex Borstein as Lizzie's tyrannical principal and chaperone. --Bret Fetzer

  • An American In Paris [1951] An American In Paris | DVD | (02/06/2003) from £4.81  |  Saving you £9.18 (65.60%)  |  RRP £13.99

    The plot of An American in Paris is mostly an excuse for director Vincente Minnelli to pool his own extraordinary talent with those of choreographer-dancer-actor Gene Kelly and the artists behind the screenplay, art direction, cinematography, and score, creating a rapturous musical not quite like anything else in cinema. An American GI (Kelly) stays in Paris after the war to become an artist, and has to choose between the patronage of a rich American woman (Nina Foch) and a French gamine (Leslie Caron) engaged to an older man. The final section of the film comprises a 17-minute dance sequence that took a month to film and is breathtaking. Gershwin songs specially arranged for the film include "'S Wonderful", "I Got Rhythm", and "Love is Here to Stay". --Tom Keogh

  • The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night [1964] The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night | DVD | (30/09/2002) from £4.15  |  Saving you £13.84 (76.90%)  |  RRP £17.99

    A Hard Day's Night may have been the Beatles' first big-screen experience but, as they had become the biggest band in the world by the time of its production, the Moptops were able to ensure it was a bit different from the band-movie norm. "We'd made it clear that we weren't interested in being stuck in one of those nobody-understands-our-music plots," John Lennon would later recall, "The kind of thing where we'd just pop up a couple of times between the action, all smiles and clean shirts, to sing our latest record." Instead the quartet recruited a young director named Richard Lester--who had previously worked with the Fab Four's beloved Goons--to make a movie that followed them as they enjoyed and endured the phenomenon that was Beatlemania. "The film wrote itself right in front of our eyes," says Lester. "We just took the dirty bits and cut them out." The result is a frenetic hour and a half inside the Beatles' personal space as they engage in all manner of surreal hijinks--more often than not involving Paul's "grandfather" (played by Steptoe and Son's Wilfrid Brambell) while dodging the ever-present horde of screaming fans. Although the result now seems a little dated, there remains an almost heartbreakingly good-natured aura around the foursome's naïve performances, while few could argue about the quality of a soundtrack that includes "Can't Buy Me Love", "And I Love Her" and "A Hard Day's Night" itself, to name but a few. Whether the film would have been quite so successful if Lester had followed McCartney's suggestion and called it "Oh, What a Lovely Wart!" will, sadly, never be known. --Clark Collis

  • Chicken Run [2000] Chicken Run | DVD | (04/12/2000) from £3.99  |  Saving you £9.00 (69.30%)  |  RRP £12.99

    As warming as a nice cup of tea on a cloudy day, Chicken Run is that charming singularity, a commercially successful British family movie that has near-universal appeal without compromising its inherent British pluckiness (that will be the first and last poultry-pun in this review). It invites us into the Plasticine-world of Tweedy's farm, a far-from-free-range egg factory ruled with an axe of iron by greedy Mrs.Tweedy. One intrepid chicken, Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha) sets her sights on breaking out the whole flock, a cast of beautifully individuated chicken characters including ditsy Babs (voiced by Jane Horrocks), matronly Bunty (Imelda Staunton) and practical-minded Mac (Lynn Ferguson). Each effort is thwarted, and Ginger repeatedly reaps a spell in the coal bunker for her troubles, prompting the first of many allusions to The Great Escape, one of several World War II films name-checked throughout. (Grown-ups will have a ball playing Spot-the-Allusion Game here.) When an American rooster named Rocky (Mel Gibson) literally drops in from the air, the hens are set all a-flutter with excitement thinking he'll help teach them to fly away at last. But Rocky is not all he seems. Although the action sags just a fraction around the 40-minute mark, it's the set pieces that really lift this into the realm of cartoon genius: the montage of inept flying attempts, Rocky and Ginger's narrow escape from Mrs Tweedy's new pie machine (an horrific contraption of chomping steel and industrial menace) and the magnificent, soaring climax. Despite the fact British animators (such as the directors, Nick Park and Peter Lord, themselves) regularly scoop Oscars for their short films, our record in full-feature length cartoons has been scrappy at best. There have been a few highlights--Animal Farm (1955), The Yellow Submarine (1968), Watership Down (1978)--and, er, that's about it really, unless you count The Magic Roundabout: Dougal and the Blue Cat. ChickenRun, made by the Aardman production house who produced the delightful Wallace and Gromit shorts among many other treats, has proved that Britain can compete with the most calculated, merchandised and screen-tested Disney production and win. --Leslie Felperin

  • You Again [DVD] [2010] You Again | DVD | (28/03/2011) from £3.99  |  Saving you £6.00 (60.10%)  |  RRP £9.99

    When a young woman realizes her brother is about to marry the girl who bullied her in high school she sets out to expose the fiance's true colors.

  • Bugsy Malone [Blu-ray] [1976] Bugsy Malone | Blu Ray | (23/06/2008) from £6.19  |  Saving you £13.80 (69.00%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Written and directed by Alan Parker Bugsy Malone is a gangster musical set in New York a world of would-be hoodlums showgirls and dreamers. A world where you never see an adult - kids play the entire film including Scott Biao as Bugsy and Jodie Foster as Tallulah. Bugsy Malone. is totally unique: quite simply there has never ever been a movie like it!

  • The Santa Clause 2 [2002] The Santa Clause 2 | DVD | (17/11/2003) from £3.99  |  Saving you £14.00 (77.80%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Considering how lame this sequel could have been, The Santa Clause 2 makes for a pleasant seasonal diversion. It's got the familiar smell of Disney marketeering, and more than a few parents will object to this further embellishment of the St Nick legend, but Tim Allen's amiable presence provides ample compensation. As a divorced dad who inherited the jolly man's job in The Santa Clause, Allen now faces another Yuletide challenge. According to the "Missus Clause" in his North Pole contract, he can't continue to be the real Santa until he gets married. As luck and five credited screenwriters would have it, Allen falls for the Scroogey principal (Elizabeth Mitchell) of his son's school, while a phoney, power-hungry duplicate Santa wreaks havoc on the North Pole's overworked elves. It's all as sweet as spiced eggnog, with that warmed-over feel of a mandated sequel, but the Christmas spirit does prevail with the sound of sleigh bells and Allen's rosy-cheeked "Ho, ho, ho!". --Jeff Shannon

  • The Great Ziegfeld [1936] The Great Ziegfeld | DVD | (16/02/2004) from £7.29  |  Saving you £4.01 (28.70%)  |  RRP £13.99

    Winner of three Academy Awards including Best Picture, 1936's The Great Ziegfeld stars William Powell in a biopic "suggested by romances and incidents in the life of America's greatest showman, Florenz Ziegfeld Jr". With admirable accuracy, the film follows Ziegfeld's career from small-time sideshow barker to creator of the famous Ziegfeld Follies, the collection of singing, dancing, and comedy vaudeville acts that launched the careers of such luminaries as Fanny Brice, Ray Bolger and Harriet Hoctor--all of whom play themselves in the film. In the title role Powell offers a believable combination of ambition and hucksterism, and his Thin Man costar Myrna Loy makes a late appearance as his second wife, but it's large-eyed Luise Rainer who has the showier role (and won an Oscar) as Ziegfeld's first big star and first wife. The musical numbers, however, don't hold up quite as well as the plot, and at some three hours the film is overlong. It's fascinating, though, to see the vintage stars performing and the eight-minute spectacle "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" is an eye-popper with an elaborate revolving set supporting a large cast singing and dancing to the Irving Berlin tune while throwing in some Puccini, Strauss, Leoncavallo and Gershwin for good measure. --David Horiuchi

  • Penelope [2007] Penelope | DVD | (23/06/2008) from £3.98  |  Saving you £13.80 (76.70%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Penelope is afflicted by a secret family curse that can only be broken when she is loved by one of her own kind. Hidden away in the family's majestic home she is subjected to meeting a string of blue-bloods through her parent's futile attempt to marry her off and break the curse. Each suitor is instantly enamored with Penelope (and her sizable dowry)... until the curse is revealed. When a willing mate cannot be found mischievous tabloid reporter Lemon (Peter Dinklage) hires Max (James McAvoy) to pose as a prospective suitor in hopes of snapping a photo of the mysterious 'Penelope.' Max who is really a down-on-his-luck gambler finds himself drawn to Penelope and not wanting to expose or disappoint her disappears and leaves Lemon in the lurch. Fed up by this latest betrayal and determined to live life on her own terms Penelope breaks free from her family and goes out into the world in search of adventure - curse be damned.

  • The Importance of Being Earnest [DVD] The Importance of Being Earnest | DVD | (02/05/2011) from £5.15  |  Saving you £14.84 (74.20%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest revolves around the clever scheming of two friends Algernon Moncrieff (Rupert Everett) and Jack Worthing (Colin Firth) both of whom lead double lives in order to increase their opportunities for pleasure. Jack who lives in the country comes to London as often as he can to look after his wicked invented brother Earnest while Algernon creates an invalid friend called Bunbury whose constant illnesses allow him to escape family pressures in London. The pairs' deception leads to complications in their romantic lives when they are discovered by Cecily (Reese Witherspoon) Jack's ward whom Algernon is pursuing and Gwendolyn (Frances O'Connor) Algernon's cousin whom Jack adores. Looming over everything and everyone is Gwendolyn's mother Lady Bracknell (Judi Dench) a tyrannical figure with plots of her own to hatch. The pursuit of love sex money and social position lead all the characters into a series of hilarious entanglements.

  • The Importance Of Being Earnest [2002] The Importance Of Being Earnest | DVD | (21/07/2003) from £8.49  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £15.99

    Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest revolves around the clever scheming of two friends Algernon Moncrieff (Rupert Everett) and Jack Worthing (Colin Firth) both of whom lead double lives in order to increase their opportunities for pleasure. Jack who lives in the country comes to London as often as he can to look after his wicked invented brother Earnest while Algernon creates an invalid friend called Bunbury whose constant illnesses allow him to escape family pressures

  • White Christmas [1954] White Christmas | DVD | (03/12/2001) from £2.99  |  Saving you £13.00 (81.30%)  |  RRP £15.99

    This semi-remake of Holiday Inn (the first movie in which Irving Berlin's perennial, Oscar-winning holiday anthem was featured) doesn't have much of a story, but what it does have is choice: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, an all-Irving Berlin song score, classy direction by Hollywood vet Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, The Adventures of Robin Hood), VistaVision (the very first feature ever shot in that widescreen format), and ultrafestive Technicolor! Crosby and Kaye are song-and-dance men who hook up, romantically and professionally, with a "sister" act (Clooney and Vera-Ellen) to put on a Big Show to benefit the struggling ski-resort lodge run by the beloved old retired general (Dean Jagger) of their WWII Army outfit. Crosby is cool, Clooney is warm, Kaye is goofy, and Vera-Ellen is leggy. Songs include: "Sisters" (Crosby and Kaye do their own drag version, too), "Snow", "We'll Follow the Old Man", "Mandy", "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" and more. Christmas would be unthinkable without White Christmas. --Jim Emerson

  • Bugsy Malone [1976] Bugsy Malone | DVD | (17/02/2003) from £9.95  |  Saving you £-2.84 (-31.60%)  |  RRP £8.99

    Writer-director Alan Parker's feature debut Bugsy Malone is a pastiche of American movies, a musical gangster comedy set in 1929, featuring prohibition, showgirls and gang warfare, with references to everything from Some Like It Hot to The Godfather. Uniquely, though, all the parts are played by children, including an excellent if underused Jodie Foster as platinum-blonde singer Tallulah, Scott Baio in the title role and a nine-year-old Dexter Fletcher wielding a baseball bat. Cream-firing "spluge guns" side-step any real violence and the movie climaxes cheerfully with the biggest custard pie fight this side of Casino Royale (1967). Unfortunately for a musical, Paul Williams' score--part honky-tonk jazz homage, part 1970s Elton John-style pop--lets the side down with a lack of memorable tunes. Nevertheless, Parker's direction is spot on and the look of the film is superb, a fantasy movie-movie existing in the same parallel reality as The Cotton Club and Chicago. A rare British love letter to classic American cinema, Bugsy Malone remains a true original; in Parker's words "the work of a madman" and one of the strangest yet most stylish children's films ever made. On the DVD: Bugsy Malone's picture is presented non-anamorphically at 1.66:1, with rich colours and plenty of detail. The print is excellent. The audio is stereo only and while full and clear seems to leave a hole in the middle of the soundstage. Extras include an informative commentary by Parker, eight pages of trivia notes by Parker and a very informative 12-page booklet, also by the director. There are three trailers, nine character profiles, two scored galleries, and more imaginatively, a multi-angle option to compare Parker's sketches, their comic-strip realisation by Graham Thomson and the finished opening sequence. Quality over quantity make this a strong collection of extras, though recollections from the stars would have added so much more. --Gary S. Dalkin

  • Annie Get Your Gun [1950] Annie Get Your Gun | DVD | (22/04/2002) from £4.69  |  Saving you £9.30 (66.50%)  |  RRP £13.99

    Irving Berlin's classic stage musical Annie Get Your Gun finally reached the big screen in 1950, four years after it had taken Broadway by storm. The irresistible combination of the story of ground-breaking sharpshooter Annie Oakley, fantastic songs like the rousing anthem "There's No Business Like Show Business" and the setting of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, made most people feel it was worth the wait. More than half a century on, the book creaks audibly and the treatment of the "Indians" who make up the bulk of the troupe is inevitably embarrassing. But in glorious Technicolor, this in-your-face spectacular defies you not to get sucked in. Quite simply, the show is a winner. Ethel Merman's performance on Broadway became an immediate show business legend, but she was largely ignored by Hollywood. Here, Betty Hutton's whirlwind Annie is, on its own terms, an explosive and hugely entertaining turn, matched by Howard Keel in his first starring part as Frank Butler. But Judy Garland was the first choice for the role and had already filmed several numbers before MGM fired her for her erratic behaviour. It seems almost cruel to include a couple of her songs as extras; even a 40-watt Garland makes the otherwise incandescent Hutton look merely adequate. They certainly add a frisson to this celebration of all-American entertainment at its boldest and brassiest. On the DVD: Annie Get Your Gun is presented in standard 4:3 format (the original aspect ratio was a similar 1.37:1) and the picture quality is so sharp it blows you out of your seat. Likewise the stereo soundtrack, brilliant for songs which include "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly", "Anything You Can Do" and the sublime "They Say it's Wonderful". Apart from the Garland numbers, the extras include a Hutton outtake and an introduction to the show from a recent Broadway Annie, Susan Lucci. Overall, though, the show's the thing. --Piers Ford

  • Camp Rock Camp Rock | DVD | (01/12/2008) from £4.39  |  Saving you £10.60 (70.70%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Get ready to sing and dance like never before with the electrifying Disney Channel Original Movie Camp Rock! When Mitchie scores a job as a cook at Camp Rock her life takes an unpredictable twist and she learns just how important it is to be true to yourself. Join the platinum-selling Jonas Brothers and the hottest cast of performers at the coolest summer camp anywhere!

  • Singin' In The Rain - Special Edition [1952] Singin' In The Rain - Special Edition | DVD | (25/11/2002) from £5.99  |  Saving you £7.02 (50.20%)  |  RRP £13.99

    Singin' in the Rain is probably the most treasured musical in the history of cinema. It is essentially a satire on the dawning age of talking pictures, but that description doesn't begin to describe its importance in the hearts of film lovers, even those who can't otherwise stand musicals. Given its origins--producer Arthur Freed wanted a framework on which to hang a selection of the hits he'd written in the early part of his career with Nacio Herb Brown, many of which had themselves featured in early talkies--it should have been a mongrel of a picture. But somehow, with its combination of endearing performances, the razor-sharp script of Adolph Green and Betty Comden, instinctive direction from Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen and those delightful songs, it is triumphantly greater than the sum of its parts. Kelly's dance sequence, conceived for the title song, is an undiluted joy and remains an iconic cinema moment. But there is so much more to savour: Donald O'Connor's knockout vaudeville, Jean Hagen's hilarious Bronx-voiced leading lady and the honest charm of underrated Debbie Reynolds, crowned by Kelly's choreography for the Broadway Melody suite. No collection is complete without this. On the DVD: Singin' in the Rain--Special Edition, vibrant in 1.33:1 fullscreen format with a crystalline mono soundtrack, is the crown jewel in the embarrassment of riches on this 50th anniversary two-disc DVD. The extras just keep coming: "Musicals, Great Musicals" (a documentary about Arthur Freed's legendary production unit at MGM), a shorter documentary about the film itself (much of which is duplicated by the audio commentary, led by Debbie Reynolds), outtakes and audio scoring sessions and extracts from films in which many of the songs originated. There's also a hidden feature in which Baz Lurhmann offers his own testimony to the film's enduring appeal, but it's a tad redundant given the primary sources on offer. --Piers Ford

  • Bringing Up Baby Bringing Up Baby | DVD | (04/06/2007) from £9.05  |  Saving you £0.94 (9.40%)  |  RRP £9.99

    A dog belonging to an eccentric heiress (Hepburn) steals a dinosaur bone from David (Grant) an absent-minded Zoology professor. David follows the heiress to her home and all hell breaks loose when he loses his pet leopard known as 'Baby'. Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn give fantastic performances in one of Hollywood's finest screwball comedies superbly directed by Howard Hawks.

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