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  • Batman Begins (2 discs) [2005] Batman Begins (2 discs) | DVD | (21/10/2005) from £4.95  |  Saving you £11.74 (69.10%)  |  RRP £16.99

    In the wake of his parents' murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful.

  • Les Miserables -- Two Disc Collector's Edition Les Miserables -- Two Disc Collector's Edition | DVD | (14/11/2005) from £5.49  |  Saving you £14.50 (72.50%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Boublil and Schonberg's legendary musical! 'Les Miserables' is widely recognised as the world's most popular musical; now enjoy the full magnificence of the score played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on DVD at the spectacular 10th Anniversary Gala Concert performed live at the Royal Albert Hall. This Collectors Edition DVD also includes a bonus disc of the making of 'Les Miserables' a fascinating insight into how the masterpiece was born and became a global phenomenon!

  • Once Upon a Time in the West -- Special Collector's Edition (2 discs) [1969] Once Upon a Time in the West -- Special Collector's Edition (2 discs) | DVD | (06/10/2003) from £5.49  |  Saving you £14.50 (72.50%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Sergio Leone had to be persuaded to return to the Western for Once Upon a Time in the West after the success of his "Dollars" trilogy. The result is a masterpiece that expands the vision of the earlier movies in every way. It could as easily have been called The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Blonde as Charles Bronson steps into the No-Name role as the harmonica-playing vengeance seeker, Henry Fonda trashes his Wyatt Earp image as a dead-faced, blue-eyed killer who has sold out to the rapacious railroad; Jason Robards provides humanitarian footnotes as a life-loving but doomed bandit and the astonishingly beautiful Claudia Cardinale shows that all these grown-up little boys are less fit to make a country than one determined widow-mother-whore-angel-everywoman. The opening sequence--Woody Strode, Al Mulock and Jack Elam waiting for a train and bothered by a fly and dripping water--is masterful bravura, homing in on tiny details for a fascinating but eventless length of time before Bronson arrives for the lightning-fast shoot-out. With striking widescreen compositions and epic running time, this picture truly wins points for length and width. On the DVD: Once Upon a Time in the West on disc is the transfer fans have been waiting for: the longest available version of the film in shimmering widescreen (enhanced for 16:9 TVs) which lends full impact to Leone's long shots of Monument Valley scenery or bustling crowds of activity, but also highlights his ultra-close images as Bronson's beady eyes or Cardinale's luscious pout fill the entire screen. A commentary track is mostly by expert Sir Christopher Frayling, with input from other academics, participants and enthusiasts--it's good on the detail, and Alex Cox winningly points out that one scene bizarrely can't be reconciled with what happens before or after it. Disc 2 has four featurettes which, taken together, add up to a feature-length documentary on the film, and though overlapping the commentary slightly offer a wealth of further good stuff, plus the elegant Cardinale's undiminished smile. Also included is the trailer, notes on the cast, menu screens with generous selections from Ennio Morricone's score, stills gallery, comparison shots from the film and contemporary snapshots of the locations. --Kim Newman

  • Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire [2005] Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire | DVD | (20/03/2006) from £4.99  |  Saving you £21.00 (80.80%)  |  RRP £25.99

    Director Mike Newell takes plenty of time to explore character development, but the story still moves along at a breathless pace, with memorably intense moments involving fire-spewing dragons, dark magical rites, and near-drownings at the hands of slimy mer-people, all of which may prove too much for the youngest of viewers.

  • War Of The Worlds [2005] War Of The Worlds | DVD | (14/11/2005) from £3.19  |  Saving you £21.80 (87.20%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Steven Spielberg?s War of the Worlds, staring international superstar Tom Cruise. A contemporary retelling of H.G. Wells? seminal classic, the sci-fi adventure thriller reveals the extraordinary battle for the future of humankind through the eyes of one American family fighting to survive it.

  • King Kong [2005] King Kong | DVD | (10/04/2006) from £4.00  |  Saving you £20.00 (80.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Movies don't come any bigger than Peter Jackson's King Kong, a three-hour remake of the 1933 classic that marries breathtaking visual prowess with a surprising emotional depth.

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Edition) [2004] The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Edition) | DVD | (10/12/2004) from £6.09  |  Saving you £29.90 (83.10%)  |  RRP £35.99

    The greatest trilogy in film history, presented in the most ambitious sets in DVD history, comes to a grand conclusion with the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Not only is the third and final installment of Peter Jackson's adaptation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien the longest of the three, but a full 50 minutes of new material pushes the running time to a whopping 4 hours and 10 minutes. The new scenes are welcome, and the bonus features maintain the high bar set by the first two films, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. What's New? One of the scenes cut from the theatrical release but included here, the resolution of the Saruman storyline, generated a lot of publicity when the movie opened, as actor Christopher Lee complained in the press about losing his only appearance. It's an excellent scene, one Jackson calls "pure Tolkien," and provides better context for Pippin to find the wizard's palantir in the water, but it's not critical to the film. In fact, "valuable but not critical" might sum up the ROTK extended edition. It's evident that Jackson made the right cuts for the theatrical run, but the extra material provides depth and ties up a number of loose ends, and for those sorry to see the trilogy end (and who isn't?) it's a welcome chance to spend another hour in Middle-earth. Some choice moments are Gandalf's (Ian McKellen) confrontation with the Witch King (we find out what happened to the wizard's staff), the chilling Mouth of Sauron at the gates of Mordor, and Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) being mistaken for Orc soldiers. We get to see more of Éowyn (Miranda Otto), both with Aragorn and on the battlefield, even fighting the hideously deformed Orc lieutenant, Gothmog. We also see her in one of the most anticipated new scenes, the Houses of Healing after the battle of the Pelennor Fields. It doesn't present Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) as a savior as the book did, but it shows the initial meeting between Éowyn and Faramir (David Wenham), a relationship that received only a meaningful glance in the theatrical cut. If you want to completely immerse yourself in Peter Jackson's marvelous and massive achievement, only the extended edition will do. And for those who complained, no, there are no new endings, not even the scouring of the Shire, which many fans were hoping to see. Nor is there a scene of Denethor (John Noble) with the palantir, which would have better explained both his foresight and his madness. As Jackson notes, when cuts are made, the secondary characters are the first to go, so there is a new scene of Aragorn finding the palantir in Denethor's robes. Another big difference is Aragorn's confrontation with the King of the Dead. In the theatrical version, we didn't know whether the King had accepted Aragorn's offer when the pirate ships pulled into the harbor; here Jackson assumes that viewers have already experienced that tension, and instead has the army of the dead join the battle in an earlier scene (an extended cameo for Jackson). One can debate which is more effective, but that's why the film is available in both versions. If you feel like watching the relatively shorter version you saw in the theaters, you can. If you want to completely immerse yourself in Peter Jackson's marvelous and massive achievement, only the extended edition will do. How Are the Bonus Features? To complete the experience, The Return of the King provides the same sprawling set of features as the previous extended editions: four commentary tracks, sharp picture and thrilling sound, and two discs of excellent documentary material far superior to the recycled material in the theatrical edition. Those who have listened to the seven hours of commentary for the first two extended editions may wonder if they need to hear more, but there was no commentary for the earlier ROTK DVD, so it's still entertaining to hear him break down the film (he says the beacon scene is one of his favorites), discuss differences from the book, point out cameos, and poke fun at himself and the extended-edition concept ("So this is the complete full strangulation, never seen before, here exclusively on DVD!"). The documentaries (some lasting 30 minutes or longer) are of their usual outstanding quality, and there's a riveting storyboard/animatic sequence of the climactic scene, which includes a one-on-one battle between Aragorn and Sauron. One DVD Set to Rule Them All Peter Jackson's trilogy has set the standard for fantasy films by adapting the Holy Grail of fantasy stories with a combination of fidelity to the original source and his own vision, supplemented by outstanding writing, near-perfect casting, glorious special effects, and evocative New Zealand locales. The extended editions without exception have set the standard for the DVD medium by providing a richer film experience that pulls the three films together and further embraces Tolkien's world, a reference-quality home theater experience, and generous, intelligent, and engrossing bonus features. --David Horiuchi

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Two Disc Theatrical Edition) [2003] The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Two Disc Theatrical Edition) | DVD | (25/05/2004) from £2.89  |  Saving you £12.10 (80.70%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, triumphantly completed by the 11-Oscar-winning The Return of the King, sets out to show that Tolkien's epic work, once derided as mere adolescent escapism, is not just fodder for the best mass entertainment spectacle ever seen on the big screen, but is also replete with emotionally satisfying meditations on the human condition. What is the nature of true friendship? What constitutes real courage? Why is it important for us to care about people living beyond our borders? What does it mean to live in harmony with the environment and what are the consequences when we do not? When is war justifiable and when is it not? What things are really worth fighting for? These are the questions that resonate with a contemporary audience: to see our current social and political concerns mirrored--and here finally resolved--in Middle-earth is to recognise that Jackson's Lord of the Rings is both a parable for our times and magical cinematic escapism. As before, in this concluding part of the trilogy the spectacle never dwarfs (sic) the characters, even during Shelob the spider's pitiless assault, for example, or the unparalleled Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where the white towers of Minas Tirith come under ferocious attack from Troll-powered siege weapons and--in a sequence reminiscent of the Imperial Walkers in The Empire Strikes Back--Mammoth-like Mumakil. The people and their feelings always remain in focus, as emphasised by Jackson's sensitive small touches: Gandalf reassuring a terrified Pippin in the midst of battle that death is not to be feared; Frodo's blazing anger at Sam's apparent betrayal; Faramir's desire to win the approval of his megalomaniac father; Gollum's tragic cupidity and his final, heartbreaking glee. And at the very epicentre of the film is the pure heart of Samwise Gamgee--the real hero of the story. At over three hours, there are almost inevitably some lulls, and the film still feels as if some key scenes are missing: a problem doubtless to be rectified in the extended DVD edition. But the end, when it does finally arrive--set to Howard Shore's Wagnerian music score--brings us full circle, leaving the departing audience to wonder if they will ever find within themselves even a fraction of the courage of a hobbit. --Mark Walker

  • Pearl Harbor DVD (2 Disc Set) [2001] Pearl Harbor DVD (2 Disc Set) | DVD | (03/12/2001) from £4.29  |  Saving you £14.69 (73.50%)  |  RRP £19.99

    A big summer blockbuster, Pearl Harbor is pitched as a romantic epic, but the story is essentially a frame for an impressive depiction of the Japanese attack on that "day of infamy", deploying all the modelwork, CGI, stunts and special effects necessary to trump previous screen re-enactments in Tora! Tora! Tora! and From Here to Eternity. At heart, it's another Top Gun-style exercise in heroically sublimated homosexuality as Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Dan (Josh Hartnett), lifelong buddies, fall out over a ridiculous contrivance that allows both decently to fallin love with a nurse (Kate Beckinsale) but forget all their differences when the fighting starts--as expected, their big climax comes in each other's arms, with Kate left behind as one wounded buddy extracts a promise from the other to look after his unborn child. Historical snippets are interleaved, with Mako and Jon Voigt stiff under the prosthetics asAdmiral Yamamoto and Franklin Roosevelt, and a lot of detail is given about things like the wooden rudders on the new Japanese torpedoes, the chaos in the understaffed hospital as the heroine is forced to make lipstick triage marks on wounded men's foreheads and the terrible effects of strafing. A surprisingly bright little performance from Dan Aykroyd (a sole reminder of 1941) as an intelligence analyst is balanced by an insufferably smug one from Cuba Gooding Jr as a token black supporting hero. It's the first film of the George W Bush era: aggressive and dumb as a rock, utterly uninterested in period--no one in this WWII-era army smokes, swears or uses racial abuse (Gooding's boxing opponent sneers at him because he's a cook)--and awkwardly straddles a dignified treatment of the Japanese and America's actual spasm of hatred after the attack (one soldier refuses to be treated by a Japanese doctor, but that's it). When Pearl Harbour is bombed, we see endangered dogs, drowning men and dead women, but when Tokyo gets blasted in payback only buildings are destroyed and in long-shot. Michael Bay (Armageddon) remains a jittery director, a great second-unit man who can't deal with people or stories. It borrows from Titanic and Saving Private Ryan, but tidies the war of the latter up so it can still haul in a broad audience and therefore misses the real tragic sense of the former.--Kim NewmanOn the DVD: Considering there are two discs in the special edition of this special effects homage, the second DVD is woefully short of extras. There is a 45-minute featurette on the highs and lows of bringing Michael Bay's magnum opus to the screen which, along with the usual interviews with cast and crew, features the more compelling eyewitness testimony bringing the events of December 7, 1941 to life. The irony of the second disc focussing on the research and quest for historical accuracy is a little difficult to swallow, considering that the film is little more than a paper thin, overly romanticised muddle of history and fantasy, but for those wanting to experience the real events on that fateful day rather than the Hollywood version, this is an excellent antidote. The movie has been THX digitally mastered for superior sound and picture quality improving those big-bang special effects and is presented in anamorphic widescreen with 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Unlike the Region 1 release, there's no DTS track but the 5.1 Dolby Digital sound is more than up to the challenge of the effects laden assault, with different elements of the Japanese attack rumbling between the speakers and making you feel you're in the thick of things. -- Kristen Bowditch

  • The Phantom Of The Opera The Phantom Of The Opera | DVD | (02/05/2005) from £4.99  |  Saving you £14.54 (72.70%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song). Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite. Those who consider the stage musical shallow and overblown probably won't have their minds changed by the movie, and devotees will forever rue that the movie took the better part of two decades to develop, which prevented the casting of original principals Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Still, The Phantom of the Opera is a welcome exception to the long line of ill-conceived Broadway-to-movie travesties. DVD Features The two-disc edition of The Phantom of the Opera has two major extras. "Behind the Mask: The Story of The Phantom of the Opera" is an hourlong documentary tracing the genesis of the stage show, with interviews by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Harold Prince, producer Cameron Macintosh, lyricists Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, choreographer Gillian Lynne, and others. Conspicuously absent are stars Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Both do appear in video clips, including Brightman performing with Colm Wilkinson at an early workshop, and Crawford is the subject of a casting segment. Other brief scenes from the show are represented by a 2001 production. The other major feature is the 45-minute making-of focusing on the movie, including casting and the selection of director Joel Schumacher Both are well-done productions by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group. The deleted scene is a new song written by Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, "No One Would Listen," sung by the Phantom toward the end of the movie. It's a beautiful song that, along with Madame Giry's story, makes him a more sympathetic character. But because that bit of backstory already slowed down the ending, it was probably a good move to cut the song. --David Horiuchi Important note: Initial playback of this DVD defaults to the DTS (Digital Theatre System) soundtrack, therefore customers without such equipment will not hear any sound. Please note that this is NOT a fault with the DVD. If you are not in possession of a DTS compatible sound amplifier, you need to change the film's soundtrack type from the main menu. In order to do this, please follow the instructions below: 1. Click the "set-up" option. 2. Select either Dolby Digital Surround Sound or Dolby Digital Stereo as appropriate. 3. Select "Play Movie". The film will now play with a universal audible soundtrack.

  • Baywatch - The Complete Third Series [DVD] Baywatch - The Complete Third Series | DVD | (18/10/2010) from £16.99  |  Saving you £8.00 (32.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Baywatch: Series 3 (6 Discs)

  • Casino Royale [2006] Casino Royale | DVD | (19/03/2007) from £2.50  |  Saving you £18.00 (78.30%)  |  RRP £22.99

    Bond is back! Back to the beginning of James Bond's career MI6's newest recruit (Daniel Craig the first blonde 007) is tasked with taking down a man known as ""Le Chiffre"" (Mads Mikkelsen) a money launderer for terrorists who is raising operational funds at a high-stakes poker game in the exclusive Montenegro establishment of Casino Royale... Exhilarating breathless and at times brutal this is the first Bond adventure since 1987 to be based on one of Ian Fleming's original novels. Paul Haggis (Oscar winning writer/director of Crash) adapts Casino Royale for a new generation as Daniel Craig new Aston Martin DBS in tow fills out the tuxedo of the ultra-smooth and ultra-deadly superspy.

  • Stephen Poliakoff Stephen Poliakoff | DVD | (27/02/2006) from £23.79  |  Saving you £36.20 (60.30%)  |  RRP £59.99

    This fantastic box set contains all six of Stephen Poliakoff's screenplays. The Lost Prince: 'The Lost Prince' is the story of Prince Johnnie the younger son of Queen Mary and King George V who was hidden away to spare an uncomprehending family and public from his severe epileptic fits and autism. From writer/director Stephen Poliakoff this is a moving drama set against the looming First World War featuring stunning costumes idyllic sets and the beguilling atmosphere of i

  • The Day After Tomorrow - Two Disc Edition [2004] The Day After Tomorrow - Two Disc Edition | DVD | (18/10/2004) from £3.99  |  Saving you £21.00 (84.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Supreme silliness doesn't stop The Day After Tomorrow from being lots of fun for connoisseurs of epic-scale disaster flicks. After the blockbuster profits of Independence Day and Godzilla, you can't blame director Roland Emmerich for using global warming as a politically correct excuse for destroying most of the northern hemisphere. Like most of Emmerich's films, this one emphasises special effects over such lesser priorities as well-drawn characters and plausible plotting, and his dialogue (cowritten by Jeffrey Nachmanoff) is so laughably trite that it could be entirely eliminated without harming the movie. It's the spectacle that's important here, not the lame, recycled plot about father and son (Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal) who endure an end-of-the-world scenario caused by the effects of global warming. So sit back, relax and enjoy the awesome visions of tornado-ravaged Los Angeles, blizzards in New Delhi, Japan pummelled by grapefruit-sized hailstones, and Manhattan flooded by swelling oceans and then frozen by the onset of a modern ice age. It's all wildly impressive, and Emmerich obviously doesn't care if the science is flimsy, so why should you? --Jeff Shannon

  • Spider-Man [2002] Spider-Man | DVD | (25/11/2002) from £2.93  |  Saving you £22.00 (88.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Marvel Comics fans have been waiting for this big-screen Spider-Man since the character made his print debut in 1962, which attaches impossible expectations to a film that rates as a solid success without breaking out of the spandex ghetto in the way that Batman Returns or X-Men did. Tobey Maguire is ideally cast as speccy Peter Parker, a high school swot with personal problems. The suit and effects take over when he gets bitten by a genetically engineered (i.e., no longer radioactive) spider and transforms into a web-swinging superhero who finds that these super-powers don't really help him get close to the girl next door (Kirsten Dunst) or protect his elderly guardian (Cliff Robertson) from random violence. The villain of the peace is Peter's best friend's industrialist father (Willem Dafoe) who has dosed himself on an experimental serum which makes him go all Jekyll-and-Hyde and emerge as the cackling Green Goblin, who soon gets a grudge against Spider-Man. Sam Raimi gives it all a bright, airy, kinetic feel, with wonderful aerial stuff as Spider-Man escapes from his troubles by swinging between skyscrapers, and the rethink of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's origin story is managed with a canny mix of faithfulness (JK Simmons' as the crass editor JJ Jameson is the image of the comic character) and send-up (after a big introduction, Spider-Man finally appears in a really rubbish first attempt at a spider costume). Maguire and the impossibly sweet Dunst make it work as a hesitant teen romance, but somehow the second half, which brings on the villain to give the hero someone to fight, is only exciting when it wants to be affecting too. --Kim Newman On the DVD: Spider-Man's two-disc offering is nothing out of the ordinary, but fans will find some gems here including Stan Lee's thoughts, a gallery of comic cover art and profiles on the baddies. The two commentaries (cast and crew, and Special Effects) both have long periods with pauses, but the special effects guys are full of insight. The DVD-ROM section offers some of the more exciting features, including three comics transferred onto your computer, page by page, although be aware that the "Film to Comic" comparison is not for the original but for the new comic of the film. As you would expect from a blockbuster superhero film, the sound and vision are immaculate. --Nikki Disney

  • Walk The Line [2005] Walk The Line | DVD | (29/10/2007) from £6.79  |  Saving you £18.20 (72.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    In 1955 a tough skinny guitar-slinger who called himself J.R. Cash walked into the soon-to-be-famous Sun Studios in Memphis. It was a moment that would have an indelible effect on American culture. With his driving freight-train chords steel-eyed intensity and a voice as deep and black as night Cash sang blistering songs of heartache and survival that were gutsy full of real life and unlike anything heard before. That day kicked off the electrifying early career of Johnny Cash. As he pioneered a fiercely original sound that blazed a trail for rock country punk folk and rap stars to come Cash began a rough-and-tumble journey of personal transformation. In the most volatile period of his life he evolved from a self-destructive pop star into the iconic 'Man in Black' - facing down his demons fighting for the love that would save him time and again and learning how to walk the razor-thin line between destruction and redemption.

  • Parenthood - Season 1 [DVD] Parenthood - Season 1 | DVD | (04/07/2011) from £3.09  |  Saving you £26.90 (89.70%)  |  RRP £29.99

    The show revolves around the Braverman family which has expanded to three generations featuring patriarch Zeek Braverman and matriarch Camille Braverman their oldest son Adam and his wife daughter and son their daughter Sarah and her two kids their second son Crosby his ex-girlfriend Jasmine and their young son Jabbar and finally their daughter Julia Braverman-Graham and her stay-at-home husband and young daughter.

  • The Phantom Of The Opera - Deluxe Boxset [2004] The Phantom Of The Opera - Deluxe Boxset | DVD | (07/11/2005) from £18.99  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £24.99

    The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of a disfigured musical genius who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera House waging a reign of terror over its occupants. When he falls fatally in love with the lovely young soprano Christine the Phantom devotes himself to creating a new star for the Opera. The stage musical sensation is magically and hauntingly transformed by director Joel Schumacher into a lavish film production sweeping audiences to new heights of

  • Catch Me If You Can [2003] Catch Me If You Can | DVD | (28/07/2003) from £5.24  |  Saving you £14.75 (73.80%)  |  RRP £19.99

    A lot less momentous in subject matter than most recent Steven Spielberg films, Catch Me If You Can is the "inspired by a true story" tale of Frank Abagnale Jr (Leonardo di Caprio), a mature-looking teenager who spent the 1960s as an odd type of conman: passing himself off as an airline pilot to get free flights, holding down a job as supervisor of an ER team, and even passing a bar exam after only two weeks study, all the while dealing in forged cheques. As his illicit earnings spiral up above four million dollars, Frank is dogged by FBI agent Hanratty (Tom Hanks), a plodder who begins to have a relationship with his quarry--the boy politely telephones him every Christmas to catch up. It may have a Spielbergian running time (two hours and 20 minutes) and boast big stars usually found only in thumping epics, but its basically a breezy character piece with tactful shots of melancholy amid the high-flying, no-harm-done criminality. DiCaprio does his best screen work as the compulsive impersonator, turning his rather vague presence to his advantage as he slips into his various roles, and the typical Spielberg fathers-and-sons theme is delicately played in the kids scenes with his real (Christopher Walken) and surrogate dads. Its a pleasure to find that Spielberg can play it light without sacrificing depth. Set in the pastel 1960s, with James Bond and vintage Flash comics for context, the film has smart patter, a terrific mod-look credits animation and John Williams most finger-snappin score in decades. --Kim Newman

  • The Hulk [2003] The Hulk | DVD | (17/11/2003) from £4.05  |  Saving you £15.50 (77.50%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Amazingly, Ang Lee's Hulk makes a fair fist of pleasing everybody. The latest in a run of Marvel Comic-to-film transfers, it acknowledges the history of a character who dates back to 1962 while recreating him in contemporary terms. Though this, Hulk's origin still draws on the 1960s iconography of bomb tests and desert bases, this new take mixes gene-tampering with gamma radiation and never forgets that poor Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) has been psychologically primed by a mad father (Nick Nolte) and a disappointed girlfriend (Jennifer Connelly) to transform from repressed wimp to big green powerhouse even before the mad science kicks in. The long first act is enlivened by comic book-style split-screen effects and multiple foreshadowings--Lee keeps finding excuses to light Bana's face green--but is also absorbing personal drama from the man who gave you The Ice Storm before flexing his action muscles on Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. When Banner begins his Jekyll-and-Hyde seizures, the ILM CGI boys step in and use Bana as a template for the most fully-realised digital characterisation yet seen in the movies. Comics fans will thrill as a credibly bulky, superswift, super-green behemoth tangles with mutated killer dogs (including a very vicious poodle) in a night time forest, bursts out of confinement in an underground secret base, takes on America's military might while bouncing around a Road Runner and Coyote-like South Western desert and then invades San Francisco for some major "Hulk... smash" action. Artful and entertaining, engaging and explosive, this is among the most satisfying superhero movies. On the DVD: Hulk two-disc set doesn't quite hulk-out as well comparative Marvel movie releases for the X-Men films, Spider-Man and Daredevil. Disc 2 assembles a pile of those infotainment documentaries prepared to drum up pre-publicity but which feel a bit redundant once the movie is out, especially since there's so much repetition between the featurettes. It's all very well, and some of the technical stuff is fascinating, but this particular film could do with a more in-depth thematic approach: there's a lot about how the CGI Hulk was realised but little on the development of the story, the performances or the general tone, though Ang Lee's slightly sparse commentary makes interesting stabs in that direction. The biggest revelation in the background material is that Lee, known for his delicacy of touch, himself wore the motion capture suit and smashed up plywood tanks as a guide for the CGI animators. --Kim Newman

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