From the inimitable Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend) comes this classic comedy that mixes romance with hard-boiled wit in a story about stiff-necked Iowa congresswoman Phoebe Frost (Jean Arthur Shane) mired in jaded post-war Berlin. As she investigates the morale of American troops, Phoebe is cynically wooed by fellow Iowan Captain John Pringle (John Lund), who is trying to cover up his affair with Nazi-tainted chanteuse Erika von SchlÃ¼tow (Marlene Dietrich Witness for the Prosecution, The Blue Angel). Filled with sharp dialogue and satiric jabs, A Foreign Affair is one of Wilder's most beloved comedies, and The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the film in its UK debut on Blu-ray. Special Features: 1080p presentation on Blu-ray Uncompressed LPCM 2.0 audio Audio commentary by film historian Joseph McBride New video piece on the film by critic Kat Ellinger Archival interview with Billy Wilder Theatrical trailer A collector's booklet featuring new writing by film historian Alexandra Heller-Nicholas; a new essay by critic Richard Combs; and more!
MGM's bold idea to remake George Cukor's Oscar-winning upper-class romantic farce, The Philadelphia Story, into a star-studded technicolor musical with Cole Porter tunes somehow works splendidly and remains an underrated gem. Even the plot and character names--and some bits of dialogue--all remain the same as the original. Crooning Bing Crosby replaces Cary Grant as the wealthy ex-husband trying to win back his soon-to-be-remarried ex-wife, spoiled ice queen Tracy Lord (Grace Kelly, stunning and aloof in her last film role, originated in the earlier comedy by Katherine Hepburn). Unlike Grant, however, Crosby has jazz great Louis Armstrong, playing himself, in his corner for quixotic persuasion. Frank Sinatra (cocky in James Stewart's former role) and Celeste Holm add support as the nosy reporters covering, and subsequently complicating, the upcoming wedding. Sure, High Society lacks the original's witty satire, sarcasm and character complexity; but it's assuredly paced and wonderfully acted, and contains enough romantic chemistry to keep the plot engaging. And then there's the music. Unlike the grandiose production numbers of many 40s and 50s musicals, High Society's musical sequences are considerably low-key and intimate, focusing on Porter's lyrical content and the style in which it's delivered by the charismatic performers. Armstrong kicks the film off in telling style: he sings the title track, a calypso tune outlining the plot like a Greek chorus--not as an elaborately choreographed song-and-dance number, but instead stuffed claustrophobically in the back of a limousine with his jazz band. Other musical standouts include Sinatra and Crosby playfully tossing barbs during "Well, Did You Evah?"; Crosby and Armstrong teaming up for an energetic clash of styles in "Now You Has Jazz"; the two soaring, archetypal ballads by the leads--Crosby's "I Love You, Samantha" and Sinatra's superior "You're Sensational"; and, finally, the satirical Sinatra/Holm duet, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?", the closest High Society ever comes to social or class-commentary. --Dave McCoy, Amazon.com
Con Air is proof that the slick, absurdly overblown action formula of Hollywood mega-producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun, Days of Thunder, The Rock, Crimson Tide) lives on, even after Simpson's druggy death. (Read Charles Fleming's exposé, High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess, for more about that). Nicolas Cage, sporting a disconcerting mane of hair, is a wrongly convicted prisoner on a transport plane with a bunch of infamously psychopathic criminals, including head creep Cyrus the Virus (John Malkovich), black militant Diamond Dog (Ving Rhames), and serial killer Garland Greene (Steve Buscemi, making the most of his pallid, rodent-like qualities). Naturally, the convicts take over the plane; meanwhile, on the ground, a US marshal (John Cusack)and a DEA agent (Colm Meaney), try to figure out what to do. As is the postmodern way, the movie displays a self-consciously ironic awareness that its story and characters are really just excuses for a high-tech cinematic thrill ride. Best idea: the filmmakers persuaded the owners of the legendary Sands Hotel in Las Vegas to let them help out with the structure's demolition by crashing their plane into it.--Jim Emerson
Raw, violent and shocking, Scum is a compelling story set in a contemporary Borstal.
Seven years after he earned his first screen credit as the writer of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, former Rolling Stone writer Cameron Crowe made his directorial debut with this acclaimed romantic comedy starring John Cusack and Ione Skye as unlikely lovers on the cusp of adulthood. The casting is perfect and Crowe's rookie direction is appropriately unobtrusive, no doubt influenced by his actor-loving, Oscar-winning mentor, James L. Brooks. But the real strength of Crowe's work is his exceptional writing, his timely grasp of contemporary rhythms and language (he's frequently called "the voice of a generation"), and the rich humour and depth of his fully developed characters. In Say Anything, Cusack and Skye play recent high-school graduates enjoying one final summer before leaping into a lifetime of adult responsibilities. Lloyd (Cusack) is an aspiring kickboxer with no definite plans; Diane (Skye) is a valedictorian with plans to further her education in Europe. Together they find unlikely bliss, but there's also turbulence when Diane's father (John Mahoney)--who only wants what's best for his daughter--is charged with fraud and tax evasion. Favouring strong performances over obtrusive visual style, Crowe focuses on his unique characters and the ambitions and fears that define them; the movie's a treasure trove of quiet, often humorous revelations of personality. Lili Taylor and Eric Stoltz score high marks for memorable supporting roles, and Cusack's own sister Joan is perfect in scenes with her on- and offscreen brother. A rare romantic comedy that's as funny as it is dramatically honest, Say Anything marked the arrival of a gifted writer-director who followed up with the underrated Singles before scoring his first box-office smash with Jerry Maguire. --Jeff Shannon
Four Australian soldiers serving in Vietnam become increasingly disillusioned with the desperate predicament in which they find themselves. They are in the middle of a war that clearly isn't theirs.
Released in late 1999, The Bone Collector was originally promoted as a thriller in the tradition of The Silence of the Lambs and Seven, suggesting that it would earn a place among those earlier, better films. Nice try, but no cigar. The Bone Collector settles instead for mere competence and the modest rewards of a well-handled formula. With a terrific cast at his service, director Phillip Noyce (Dead Calm, Patriot Games) turns the pulpy indulgence of Jeffery Deaver's novel into a slick potboiler that is grisly fun only if you don't pick it apart. Noyce expertly builds palpable tension around a series of gruesome murders that lead us into the darkest nooks of New York City. Now a bedridden quadriplegic prone to life-threatening seizures and suicidal depression, forensics detective Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) gets a new lease on life with a sharp young beat cop (Angelina Jolie) who's a wizard at analyzing crime scenes. She does field work while he deciphers clues from his high-tech Manhattan loft, and as they narrow the search their lives are increasingly endangered. As this formulaic plot grows mouldy, Noyce resorts to narrative shortcuts, using perfunctory scenes to manipulate the viewer and taking morbid pleasure in his revelation of the murder scenes. And yet it all works, to a point, and the cast (including Queen Latifah and Luiz Guzmán) is much better than the material. If you're looking for a few good thrills, The Bone Collector is a pretty safe bet. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
In the throes of a midlife crisis a man buys a new Jaguar and it immediately becomes his new love. What he doesn't know is that his wife is as attracted to the Jaguar salesman as he is to the car.
Beautiful aloof Newport heiress Tracy Lord (Kelly) is about to marry bland businessman George Kittredge (John Lund) but matters become complicated when her ex-husband C K Dexter-Haven (Crosby) moves to her neighbourhood determined to win back her hand. Things go from bad to worse for Tracy when journalist Mike Connor (Sinatra) arrives to cover the wedding for Spy Magazine. When Tracy is forced to choose between her suitors will she realise that ""safe"" doesn't always mean the best b
Legendary Native American Chief Crazy Horse is betrayed by his rival who tells the white men there's gold in the tribe's sacred burial ground As a new gold rush begins, and old treaties are ignored, the Sioux tribe's war with the fork-tongued white man begins again with new ferocity. Crazy Horse (Victor Mature) leads his braves into battle time and again in the treacherous build up to the historic Battle of the Little Big Horn (otherwise known as Custer's Last Stand). Told entirely from the Native American perspective, this is the enthralling story of a truly great, visionary warrior and a principled leader much misunderstood by history.
A Nightmare On Elm Street Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) is having grisly nightmares. Meanwhile her high-school friends who are having the very same dreams are being slaughtered in their sleep by the hideous fiend of their shared nightmares. When the police ignore her explanation she herself must confront the killer in his shadowy realm. From modern horror master Wes Craven (Scream Scream 2) comes a timeless shocker that remains the standard bearer for terror. Featuring Jo
High Society: Beautiful aloof Newport heiress Tracy Lord (Kelly) is about to marry bland businessman George Kittredge (John Lund) but matters become complicated when her ex-husband C K Dexter-Haven (Crosby) moves to her neighbourhood determined to win back her hand. Things go from bad to worse for Tracy when journalist Mike Connor (Sinatra) arrives to cover the wedding for Spy Magazine. When Tracy is forced to choose between her suitors will she realise that ""safe"" doesn't a
Available for the first time on DVD! Errant brain-dead millionaire twins Stew and Phil Deedle are sent by their father from the paradise of the North Shore to the woebegone wilderness of Camp Broken Spirit where their tender malleable selves will be transformed from ""surf bums"" into corporate-friendly high achievers. Heinous! They bail but a case of mistaken identity soon finds our heroes saving Old Faithful from a disgruntled Ranger's plan to re-route the geyser's flow onto his
The 1980s was the make-and-break decade for Sylvester Stallone's career, and Lock Up typifies the direction he took in his post-Rocky and Rambo days. It's a concept movie in the same mould as Rambo III just before it, and Tango & Cash just after. The hero (Frank Leone) is put in jeopardy (Gateway Prison), establishes a nemesis to defeat (in the shape of Donald Sutherland as Warden Drumgoole), makes a few friendships that can be sacrificed along the way (Tom Sizemore as Dallas) and does what he does in the name of love (Darlanne Flugel as Melissa). The revenge-twisted warden puts him through hell over a shared back-story. The torture ranges from being made to hold his breath in a delousing chamber to sanity-stretching periods in "The Hole". It's all about how far a man can be pushed. But being a Stallone vehicle, it's not all depressing. Composer Bill Conti reunites with the star to put the same sort of heroic fuel behind a prison-yard football game as he did for Rocky. A couple of feel-good songs pep up the love story and a montage of camaraderie in rebuilding a broken-down car. There's a healthy sense of realism achieved by having Sly doing all his own stunts and the use of a real-life prison. If the elements lead to a by-the-numbers conclusion (it's no Shawshank Redemption), remember this was some years before the actor wanted to get serious. On the DVD: A surprising amount of footage has been assembled in the two behind-the-scenes featurettes: we see Stallone directing his own fight scenes, and how use of New Jersey's Rahway Prison came with 2,500 real inmates to keep under control. Sound bite interviews reveal Stallone's worldly philosophies, then a trailer and gallery of 17 photos round out a decent overall package. --Paul Tonks
Episodes from John Sullivan's comedy series in which East End bookmaker Vince Pinner (Nicholas) who thinks he is Gods gift to women may just have met his match in up-market girl Penny Warender (Francis)... Contains all 14 episodes from Series One and Two.
As midnight falls, all manner of terror invades the Earth. Demons, cannibals, killers, ghosts and monsters swarm the world in these tales of the supernatural, the fantastic, and the just plain horrific. Featuring nine stories of horror.
A farm boy and his dragon must defend their home against an evil king in this fantasy epic.
Billy Wilder's A Foreign Affair was criticised when it was first released for it's humourous take on Nazi war guilt bombed-out Berlin and the post-war European black market. However Wilder has managed to create a very funny take on the bleak outlook of life in Europe after World War II. John Lund and Marlene Dietrich play a couple embarking on an affair and Jean Arthur is the American congresswoman sent to Berlin who while being initailly shocked by the levels of corruption surrounding her soon falls for Lund's charms much to Dietrich's annoyance.
Mastermind Quinn Mallory (Jerry O'Connell) returns for more fantastical adventures as he continues traveling from universe to universe in the complete third season of Sliders. Along with comrade Wade (Sabrina Lloyd) physics professor Arturo (John Rhys-Davies) and Rembrandt ""Crying Man"" Brown (Cleavant Derricks) Quinn explores new and mysterious Earths; and along the way encounters tornadoes droughts wizards warlocks and even his own younger-self! Featuring a plethora of guest
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