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Minority Report - Single Disc Edition | DVD | (06/10/2003)
from £3.69 | Saving you £14.30 (79.50%) | RRP
Full of morally flawed characters, and shot in grainy desaturated colours, Steven Spielberg's Minority Report is futuristic film noir with a far-fetched B-movie plot that's so feverishly presented the audience never gets a chance to ponder its many improbabilities. Based on a short story by Philip K Dick, the film is set in the Orwellian near-future of 2054, where a trio of genetically modified "pre-cogs" warn of murders before they happen. In an SF twist on the classic Hitchcockian wrong-man scenario, Detective John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is the zealous precrime cop who is himself revealed as a future killer. Plot twists and red herrings drive the action forward, and complications abound, not least Anderton's crippling emotional state, his drug habit, his avuncular-yet-sinister boss (Max Von Sydow) and the ambitious FBI agent Witwer (Colin Farrell) snapping at his heels. Though the film toys with the notion of free will in a deterministic universe, this is not so much a movie of grand ideas as forward-looking ones. Its depiction of a near-future filled with personalised advertising and intrusive security devices that relentlessly violate the right of anonymity is disturbingly believable. Ultimately, though, it's a chase movie and the innovative set-piece sequences reveal Spielberg's flair for staging action. As with A.I. before it, there's a nagging feeling that the all-too-neat resolution is a Spielbergian touch too far: the movie could satisfactorily have ended several minutes earlier. Although this is superior SF from one of Hollywood's greatest craftsmen, it would have been more in the spirit of Philip K Dick to leave a few tantalisingly untidy plot threads dangling. --Mark Walker
Red Riding Hood | DVD | (22/08/2011)
from £4.49 | Saving you £15.50 (77.50%) | RRP
This is not your grandmother's Red Riding Hood. There's a basket of goodies (not exactly the edible kind), a sweet grandma, a winsome young lass in a beautiful red hood, and a Big Bad Wolf. But there the similarity ends. This Red Riding Hood is shot through the lens of the Twilight films--for wide appeal to the tween and teen audiences, and definitely not a bedtime story for the little ones. Helmed by Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, Red Riding Hood bears a lot of the moody trademarks of the vampire series. Valerie (Amanda Seyfried), the plucky girl in the stunning cape, lives in a tiny medieval village whose geography is not specified--it's just very mountainous and remote. Valerie's heart belongs to her childhood friend Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), but as Red Riding Hood opens, she learns she has been betrothed to Henry (Max Irons). As if that love triangle weren't enough, it seems a dangerous wolf--or is it werewolf?--has been terrorizing the town for years, and its killing sprees have intensified. When the townsfolk kill a wolf, they think they have finally freed their town from tyranny, and throw a giant bacchanal--like Burning Man in the snow. But then Father Solomon (Gary Oldman, in wickedly good form) appears on the scene to tell the villagers they've killed only a gray wolf--not, in fact, the werewolf he knows is the true villain. So the romantic pulls of Valerie, Peter, and Henry play out with a backdrop of true chills and mystery. The atmosphere created by Hardwicke, along with production designer Thomas E. Sanders and cinematographer Mandy Walker, is perfect for a goose-bumpy horror story with teen hearts caught in the balance. The set design of the village, especially, is rich with detail--even the trees in the surrounding forest seem to have branches made of threatening spikes. Seyfried is willful, passionate, and perfect as Valerie, and easily anchors a film that could have spun out. Other standouts include Virginia Madsen, Valerie's mother who has a dark secret in her own past, and Julie Christie as Valerie's rather peculiar grandmother. All Twilight fans, and those who love a good tale of star-crossed (or perhaps full-moon-crossed) lovers will enjoy Red Riding Hood. Just don't go walking in those big bad woods alone. --A.T. Hurley
The Chorus | DVD | (11/07/2005)
from £5.39 | Saving you £14.60 (73.00%) | RRP
By getting nominated for Academy Awards in both the Foreign Language Film and Best Song categories, Les Choristes (The Chorus) made a rare (for a European film) double impression at the 2004 Oscars. This sentimental tale follows the arrival of a new teacher at a remote boys school in 1949 France (the war is a largely unspoken but ghostly presence). With disciplinary problems rampant, and the policies of the old-fashioned headmaster not helping, Monsieur Mathieu decides to introduce choral singing as a way to bridge the gap with his students. You don't need a crystal ball to figure out where this will go, although the movie uses its atmospheric location and lush vocal arrangements well. Bald, dumpy Gerard Jugnot provides a refreshingly offbeat hero: he's sort of a younger Philippe Noiret. Director Christophe Barratier works in the winsome-cute mode that makes a certain kind of French movie into an overly sweet bon bon, although at least this bon bon sings. --Robert Horton, Amazon.com
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus | Blu Ray | (29/03/2010)
from £7.87 | Saving you £17.12 (68.50%) | RRP
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus tells the story of the titular Doctor and his travelling 'Imaginarium' where audience members get the chance to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. Doctor parnassus long ago made a bet with the devil trading his immortality for youth on the grounds that when his first born reached its 16th year he or she would become the property of the devil. Dr Parnassus' daughter Valentina is now approaching her 16th birthday and he is desperate to protect her from the imminant handover. The devil arrives but as a betting man makes another wager. Now in order to win Valentina the victor must be the first to seduce five souls. Joined by many wild and eccentric characters in his journey Dr Parnassus promises his daughter's hand in marriage to the man that helps him win. This new Terry Gilliam flick will be notable for being the last film Heath Ledger worked on his role in the film being unfinished before his untimely death. As the story is centered on a 1 000 year old magician with a magic mirror that serves as a portal the film was saved by Johnny Depp Jude Law and Colin Farrell all playing versions of the same character portrayed by Ledger changing as they pass through the mirror.
Shanghai Noon | DVD | (11/06/2001)
from £3.89 | Saving you £12.10 (75.70%) | RRP
Story? What story? All a film like Shanghai Noon needs is the amazing stunt set pieces featuring kung fu superstar Jackie Chan and the ramblings of Owen Wilson (and to be sure, that's all it gets). It's a buddy comedy about Roy O'Bannon (Wilson), a minor, borderline incompetent desperado, and Chon Wang (Chan--Roy thinks he hears (and scoffs at) the name "John Wayne"--a member of the Chinese Imperial Guard searching for a kidnapped princess (Lucy Liu). They become reluctant partners in the Old West (Roy, who considers Chon his sidekick, is hurt to discover that the bounty on Wang's head is more than his own), brawling, drinking, bathing and bonding and in general having mildly amusing adventures together, while eluding a posse and other random enemies. There's not a lot of focus to the plot or much motivation for characters to turn up where and when they do--just what was achieved by the much-discussed trek to Carson City, anyway?--but Chan's inventively staged battle sequences (particularly an early one in which he uses flexible, resilient trees to best some Crow Indians) are predictable highlights. You'll wish there were more to some of them, but as with his many other films, you'll want them on video to watch in slow-motion to see how he pulls them off. And in a potentially star-making role, Wilson's loquacious, hyper-self-conscious meanderings--he's funny even when his lines aren't--make him seem less like a character than a very amusing deconstruction of one. Chan and Wilson are entertaining together, even though they're both off in their own little worlds. Think of it as Butch Cassidy and the Shanghai Kid, and you won't be too far off. --David Kronke, Amazon.com
Shall We Dance? | DVD | (20/06/2005)
from £6.05 | Saving you £11.94 (66.40%) | RRP
Something got lost in translation from 1996's critically acclaimed Japanese comedy, but the American remake of Shall We Dance? is not without charms of its own. In being transplanted from Tokyo to Chicago, the original version's subtle humor is shaken out of its cultural context, but this is an otherwise faithful adaptation in which a weary lawyer (Richard Gere) battles his mid-life crisis with ballroom dancing lessons, while his wife (Susan Sarandon) hires a private detective to see if he's cheating. Those expecting a Jennifer Lopez showcase will be disappointed; her role as the melancholy dance instructor keeps the beautifully lovelorn J-Lo on the sidelines, while a cast of standard-issue supporting characters (especially Stanley Tucci's clandestine faux-Latin dance lover) provide a generous dose of Hollywood-ized comic relief. All of this gives Shall We Dance? a polished sheen of mainstream entertainment that many viewers---and especially ballroom dancers--will find delightfully irresistible. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Chocolat | DVD | (26/11/2001)
from £2.64 | Saving you £12.64 (70.30%) | RRP
Chocolat is an enchanting, moving and heart-warming tale of love and temptation, a big-budget movie with its roots in European art house cinema. Magical and almost fairytale-like in theme, it's the story of the mysterious Vianne and her arrival in a quiet, old-fashioned French town at the end of the 1950s. Gradually her attitude to life and the delicacies that she prepares in her chocolate shop have a marked effect on the local people, bound as they are by the twin forces of religion and politics. Juliette Binoche is perfect in the role of the sensuous, captivating Vianne--a masterstroke of casting matched by the performance of Judi Dench as the splendidly grumpy but ultimately inspiring matriarch Armande. Very much an ensemble piece, the whole cast are indeed excellent, with Johnny Depp (making a fair fist of an Irish accent) superb as the drifter Roux, the one man capable of unlocking Vianne's own desires. From its majestic opening swoop to the final, joyous scene, Lasse Hallström's film, based on the bestselling novel, is nothing short of a masterpiece. On the DVD: As befits such a film, the DVD is an elegant, well thought out package. The movie itself is a visual feast, a combination of a beautiful setting, rich, opulent colours and textures and a mystical atmosphere. There's a range of documentary features examining the style of the film and its background, as well as an audio commentary and some excellent scenes deleted from the final cut. More in-depth notes are to be found in the accompanying booklet and the whole thing adds up to one of the most satisfying DVD releases in a long time. In one of the accompanying documentaries, Depp wonders if it is possible to create art through cinema. It may be a difficult task, but Chocolat is proof that it can be done.--Phil Udell
Battle: Los Angeles | Blu Ray | (11/07/2011)
from £3.19 | Saving you £21.80 (87.20%) | RRP
Witness the end of civilization unfold as hostile alien invaders attack the planet. As people everywhere watch the world’s great cities fall, Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind in a battle no one expected. Now it's up to a Marine staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) and his platoon to draw a line in the sand as they take on an enemy unlike any they’ve ever encountered in this epic sci-fi action film.
Adam | DVD | (15/02/2010)
from £3.95 | Saving you £13.20 (66.00%) | RRP
Adam is not a typical romantic comedy. The death of his father leaves Adam (Hugh Dancy, Confessions of a Shopaholic) living alone in the apartment they shared. When a friendly young woman named Beth (Rose Byrne, Damages) moves into the building, Adam doesn't know how to express his attraction--he has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism that prevents common human empathy. So he invites her into his apartment to experience his homemade planetarium and takes her to the park in the middle of the night to look at raccoons. Despite herself, Beth is intrigued. At first she's baffled by Adam, but when she learns the source of his awkwardness, she starts to appreciate Adam's honesty and lack of guile--particularly as family secrets start to emerge when her father (Peter Gallagher, The O.C.) is indicted for financial misdoings. Just as the nature of Asperger's Syndrome lifts Adam from the ranks of conventional romance, the committed and thoughtful performances by Dancy and Byrne keep Adam from being a disease-of-the-week movie or yet another ""mental handicap"" flick. The movie treats the problems of such a romance honestly, but also sees a kind of hope in the way these two grapple with their difficulties. Also featuring Amy Irving (Bossa Nova, Carrie). --Bret Fetzer, Amazon.com
Nacho Libre | DVD | (04/12/2006)
from £2.50 | Saving you £14.79 (74.00%) | RRP
Nacho (Jack Black) is a young man who was raised in a Mexican monastery in Oaxaca and now works there as the cook and takes it upon himself to rescue the holy place from financial ruin by joining a local Lucha Libre tournament and becoming one of the 'Luchadores'. Naturally Nacho isn't acting out of purely altruistic measures as he wishes to help Sister Encarnacion (Ana de la Reguera) a beautiful Mexican nun who has recently arrived at the monastery as well as the gaggle of young orphans who live there.
Klitschko | DVD | (28/05/2012)
from £5.26 | Saving you £14.61 (73.10%) | RRP
Klitschko tells the captivating story of the boxing world's most famous brothers: Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.From the socialist drill of their childhood in the Ukraine, and their first successes as amateurs, to their move to Germany and subsequent rise as international stars on the verge of holding the championship titles of all five boxing federations. Along the way they experience defeats and setbacks, low points and triumphant comebacks as well as conflicts with each other. Exciting conversations with companions and opponents, including the very first with the Klitschkos' parents, give insight into their personal lives, plus never-before-seen footage of the draining preparations for a fight, and the spectacular boxing matches which draw audiences in more then 100 countries around the globe.International Emmy Award winning Director Sebastian Dehnhardt composes an intimate and fascinating portrait of two exceptional athletes who are, before all else, brothers.
Signs | Blu Ray | (12/05/2008)
from £5.99 | Saving you £18.00 (75.00%) | RRP
From M. Night Shyamalan the gifted writer/director of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable comes Signs. The story of the Hess family in Bucks County Pennsylvania who wake up one morning to find a 500 foot crop circle in their backyard. Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) and his family are told extra-terrestrials are responsible for the sign in their field. They watch with growing dread at the news of crop circles being found all over the world. Signs is the emotional story of one family on one farm as they encounter the terrifying last moments of life as the world is being invaded. Get ready for a close encounter of the scared kind...
Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End | DVD | (19/11/2007)
from £2.74 | Saving you £17.39 (75.60%) | RRP
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is a rollicking voyage in the same spirit of the two earlier Pirates films, yet far darker in spots (and nearly three hours to boot). The action, largely revolving around a pirate alliance against the ruthless East India Trading Company, doesn't disappoint, though the violence is probably too harsh for young children. Through it all, the plucky cast (Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush) are buffeted by battle, maelstroms, betrayal, treachery, a ferocious Caribbean weather goddess, and that gnarly voyage back from the world's end--but with their wit intact. As always, Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow tosses off great lines; he chastises "a woman scorned, like which hell hath no fury than!" He insults an opponent with a string of epithets, ending in "yeasty codpiece." In the previous The Curse of the Black Pearl, Sparrow was killed--sent to Davy Jones' Locker. In the opening scenes, the viewer sees that death has not been kind to Sparrow--but that's not to say he hasn't found endless ways to amuse himself, cavorting with dozens of hallucinated versions of himself on the deck of the Black Pearl. But Sparrow is needed in this world, so a daring rescue brings him back. Keith Richards' much ballyhooed appearance as Jack's dad is little more than a cameo, though he does play a wistful guitar. But the action, as always, is more than satisfying, held together by Depp, who, outsmarting the far-better-armed British yet again, causes a bewigged commander to muse: "Do you think he plans it all out, or just makes it up as he goes along?" As far as fans are concerned, it matters not. --A.T. Hurley
Valentine's Day | DVD | (12/07/2010)
from £5.24 | Saving you £14.75 (73.80%) | RRP
A love story. More or less. Valentine's Day follows the intertwining storylines of a group of Los Angelinos as they find their way through romance over the course of one Valentine's Day. Directed by veteran film maker Garry Marshall the film features a star studded ensemble cast.
Playing for Keeps | DVD | (20/05/2013)
from £3.89 | Saving you £14.10 (78.40%) | RRP
Gerard Butler (P.S. I Love You) stars as George Dryer, a retired football star who wants to rebuild a relationship with his ex-wife, Stacie (Jessical Biel: Hitchcock), and his son, Lewis (Noah Lomax). In an attempt to win his family back, he starts coaching his son's football team, but while football is a hands-free sport, the lusty mothers of the other kids can't seem to keep their hands off the coach. Directed by Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds) and starring Uma Thurman (My Super Ex-Girlfriend), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Rock of Ages), Dennis Quaid (What to Expect When You're Expecting), and Judy Greer (The Descendants), Playing for Keeps is a heartwarmingly funny rom com with plenty of spice. Special Features: Deleted Scenes The Playbook: Making Playing for Keeps Creating an All-Star Team: The Cast of Playing for Keeps
The Perfect Storm | DVD | (27/11/2000)
from £5.49 | Saving you £8.50 (60.80%) | RRP
Setting out for the one last catch that will make up for a lacklustre fishing season, Captain Billy Tyne (George Clooney) pushes his boat the Andrea Gail out to the waters of the Flemish Cap off Nova Scotia for what will be a huge swordfish haul. While his crew is gathering fish, three storm fronts (including a hurricane) collide to create a "perfect storm" of colossal force, and Billy's path back to Gloucester, Massachusetts, takes them right smack into the middle of it. Wolfgang Petersen's adaptation of Sebastian Junger's seafaring best-seller is a faithful if by-the-numbers true-story account of a monster storm that rocked New England in 1991, specifically Tyne's commercial fishing boat and its crew. Junger's tale fashioned a compelling if staid narrative out of seemingly disparate events, but this film adaptation tends to flatten out the story into a conventional if absorbing story of man vs nature, as the crew fights for survival against the awesome waves the storm kicks up. The central part of the film, which cuts between the Andrea Gail's fight to stay afloat and the attempts of the coast guard to rescue a yacht in peril, is suspenseful action of the first degree, aided by some awesome computer-generated waves.Still, it's a long way to that action, with an extended first act that consists mainly of stoic men, crying women and a fair amount of "don't go out into the sea" dialogue--in other words, a compelling story has been shoehorned into standard summer movie fare. It's too bad, as Peterson assembled an excellent cast--including Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, John C. Reilly and William Fichtner among them--but seems to opt for only a surface exploration of these characters, though Clooney seems to have a touch of Captain Ahab in him. You may still be won over by the movie, but for a more in-depth portrait, go to Junger's book for the missing details. --Mark Englehart
Superman Returns - Single Disc | DVD | (04/12/2006)
from £1.96 | Saving you £17.03 (89.70%) | RRP
It'd be remiss to call Superman Returns a flawless film. After all, the running time could use fifteen minutes taking off, there's not enough Kevin Spacey and there are occasional moments when the pacing feels a little off. But it is a superb return to form for the classic superhero, with the modern day blockbuster ingredients of some meat to go with the action firmly in place. Further instalments, Mr Singer, will be more than welcome.
Transcendence | DVD | (25/08/2014)
from £2.63 | Saving you £17.36 (86.80%) | RRP
As Dr. Will Caster works toward his goal of creating an omniscient, sentient machine, a radical anti-technology organization fights to prevent him from establishing a world where computers can transcend the abilities of the human brain.
Hidalgo | DVD | (30/08/2004)
from £3.35 | Saving you £11.42 (76.20%) | RRP
Director Joe Johnston has always had an entertaining sense of adventure, and with Hidalgo he proves it in spades. It's yet another underrated film for Johnston (along with such enjoyable popcorn flicks as The Rocketeer and Jurassic Park III), dismissed by many critics but a welcome treat for anyone drawn to good ol'-fashioned movie excitement. In his first role since playing Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Viggo Mortensen brings handsome appeal to his low-key portrayal of Frank T. Hopkins, a real-life long-distance horse racer who, as the movie opens, has witnessed the appalling massacre of Native Americans at Wounded Knee in 1890. Drifting into Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, he agrees to compete, with his trusty mustang, Hidalgo, in "The Ocean of Fire," a treacherous 3,000-mile horse race across the Arabian desert. Toss in a bunch of conspiring competitors, a noble sheik (Omar Sharif), his lovely daughter (Zuleikha Robinson), and enough fast-paced danger to fill 133 minutes, and you've got a rousing, humorous, and lightly spiritual adventure that's a lot of fun to watch. It hardly matters that it's almost pure fiction (the real Hopkins was known by many as "a pathological liar"). More important is the love of movies and moviemaking that Johnston so delightfully conveys. --Jeff Shannon
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Single Disc Edition) | DVD | (30/03/2009)
from £2.75 | Saving you £7.24 (72.50%) | RRP
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines starts in high gear and never slows down. The apocalyptic "Judgment Day" of T2 was never prevented, only postponed: John Connor (Nick Stahl, replacing T2's Edward Furlong), now 22 and disconnected from society, is being pursued yet again, this time by the advanced T-X, a sleek "Terminatrix" (coldly expressionless Kristanna Loken) programmed to stop Connor from becoming the saviour of humankind. Originally programmed as an assassin, a disadvantaged T-101 cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger, bidding fond farewell to his signature role) arrives from the future to join Connor and future wife Kate (Claire Danes) in thwarting the T-X's relentless pursuit. The plot presents a logical fulfilment of T2's prophecy, disposing of Connor's mother (Linda Hamilton is sorely missed) while computer-driven machines assume control, launching a nuclear nightmare that Connor must survive. With Breakdown and U-571 serving as rehearsals for this cautionary epic of mass destruction, director Jonathan Mostow wisely avoids any stylistic connection to James Cameron's classics; instead he's crafted a fun, exciting popcorn thriller, humorous and yet still effectively nihilistic, and comparable to Jurassic Park III in returning the Terminator franchise to its potent B-movie roots. --Jeff Shannon On the DVD: Terminator 3 two-disc set has only one deleted scene, but it's first-class. The "Sgt Candy Scene" is a must-see and, unfortunately, the best thing on the second disc. The rushed HBO documentary shows us far more flash than substance. Better is the Visual Effects Lab that goes more in-depth with four sequences, although you need to wade through a weak interface for each segment. Making your "own" effects isn't that much fun; you can only choose a few effects that change in two scenes. Anyone looking to get the complicated backstory of the trilogy figured out should dig into the "Sky Net Database" and an intricate timeline. Disc 1 has a 30-second intro from the Governator himself, plus two commentary tracks: director Jonathan Mostow goes into great detail on how the little things (from lighting street scenes to tricks for destroying buildings) count; the second track is pieced together from the actors recorded separately--here Mostow appears with actress Claire Danes doing her first commentary track. The anamorphic 2.40:1 widescreen picture and thunderous DTS 5.1 or Dolby Digital 5.1 sound options deliver everything you would expect. --Doug Thomas