Doctor Who: Kamelion Box Set (Dr Who)
One of TV's more interesting tough-girl action shows, Dark Angel is a distinctive blend of the personal, the adventurous and the politically aware. Cocreators James Cameron (yes, that James Cameron) and Charles Eglee present a complex scenario of biological super-science and social collapse in which their gene-manipulated heroine and hacker/journalist hero can genuinely make a difference. In this first series they also provide an adversary who is a lot more than just a conventional villain. Jessica Alba is impressive as Max, bred and trained as a super-soldier but reclaiming her individual humanity; Michael Weatherly is scruffily attractive as Eyes Only, who sits semi-paralysed in his eyrie above Seattle uncovering crime, corruption and other skulduggeries and sending the woman whom he hopelessly loves out on deadly errands. Jon Savage has real authority as Lydeker, a man who has stretched his conscience to breaking point, but is not personally corrupt. Some of the best episodes here--"Prodigy" for example--are ones in which Lydeker and Max are forced into temporary alliance. Early on the relationship between Max and the other workers at Jam Pony--the courier firm that provides her with a cover identity--is a little forced, but later on the two parts of Max's life are more successfully integrated: "Shorties in Love", for example, is a genuinely touching tale about Diamond, the doomed criminal ex-lover of Max's lesbian roommate. Dark Angel was never a perfect show, but at its occasional best it manages to be simultaneously funny and dramatic. On the DVD: Dark Angel, Series 1's Region 2 DVD is ungenerous with special features, providing only short interviews with James Cameron and Charles Eglee and with the stars, and giving us a preview of the Dark Angel computer game. The episodes are presented in widescreen and have excellent Dolby Digital sound which gives vivid presence to both the dialogue and the hard-driving contemporary rock score that is part of the show's style. --Roz Kaveney
The second and last series of Dark Angel, the inventive James Cameron show about mutants during a future Depression, has some real strengths, as well as having one or two bad ideas that partly explain its much-regretted cancellation. Among the strengths are Alex, the thoroughly unreliable mutant charmer whose flirtations with heroine Max complicate her doomed love for Logan, the crippled newshound whom she cannot now even touch--she has been infected with a deadly virus tailored specifically to kill him. The distrust this sows between the doomed couple does not always avoid soap opera clichés, but often produces fine performances, especially from Jessica Alba as Max. On the down side, John Savage's memorably ambiguous villain Lydeker from Series 1 (who is alternately the mutants' nemesis and their protector), disappears to be replaced by the melodramatically sinister Agent White. White appears to be just a shoot-to-kill operative of the state but turns out to be another sort of superhuman, a product of an occultist breeding programme going back to the dawn of history. After White's first ruthless killing, Max's reluctance to use deadly force is tested to near implausible limits. The show ends with a rousing and moving finale, "Freak Nation", in which a theme often neglected in this final year--Max's relationship with her fellow couriers at Jam Pony--reaches a powerful climax. On the DVD: Dark Angel's Series 2 release is ungenerous with special features, giving us an interesting but short documentary in which James Cameron, producer Charles Eglee and various designers describe how they created this rundown future Seattle with a mixture of location shots, set dressing and CGI, as well as a preview of the Dark Angel game. --Roz Kaveney
A mailman adopts a dog that, unbeknown to him, is an FBI drug-sniffing dog who has escaped from the witness relocatio programme. Mayhem ensues when a hit man is sent to destroy the dog.
Justice just hit the streets. JCVD plays an Iraq combat veteran hired to protect a former world heavyweight boxing champion from a murderous rap mogul. Assuming control of his specially formed team 'The Hard Corps' complications arise when he falls for the boxer's delectable sister....
A classic head-to-head showdown ignites in Assault On Precinct 13, an all-new update of the 1976 action thriller of the same name.
A young woman in New Orleans finds herself caught in the middle of strange Hoodoo practitioners.
Based on Peter Barnes' hit play this caustic hilarious and irreverent black comedy has rightly become a cult classic. The House of Gurney has a family problem - namely the 14th Earl of Gurney (Peter O' Toole) who thinks he is Jesus Christ and when restored to `normalcy' turns into Jack the Ripper. Unfortunately the young earl is also the sole heir to the family fortune so his relatives go to great lengths to trick him into siring a new heir. Then they can institutionalise him and
Marking the final adventure of Peter Davison's Doctor, The Caves of Androzani saw the BBC pull out all stops to give him an unforgettable farewell. Deep within the titular caves the disfigured, masked antihero Sharez Jek (Christopher Gable) and his regiment of androids are locked in conflict with an army unit and a group of smugglers. At stake is control of the life-extending Spectrox, with plenty of subplots involving espionage, betrayal and revenge as well as big-business corruption, political assassination and silly looking reptilian monsters. When the Doctor and Peri (Nicola Bryant) enter this labyrinth they immediately become victims of deadly Spectrox poisoning. The first episode has one of the best cliffhangers ever: our heroes are executed by a firing squad armed with submachine guns. Freely borrowing from The Phantom of the Opera and Dune (David Lynch's film adaptation was made the same year) Robert Holmes' script shares concerns with his more satirical Doctor Who story, "The Sun Makers". This time everything is concentrated on delivering a breathlessly paced action thriller, the relentless death and destruction unfolding more like a PG-rated Sam Peckinpah film than BBC family drama, making Davison's heroic pacifism all the more effective. On the DVD: The disc is packed with features, from an eight-minute look at the creation of Sharez Jek narrated by Christopher Gable, to seven minutes of raw camera footage from Peter Davison's Doctor's transformation into Colin Baker's timelord. There are three BBC TV news reports on Davison's decision to leave the programme, and a BBC trailer for the first episode. In addition to a photo gallery, the entire first episode is included twice, as originally transmitted, and in a version with improved special effects. There are subtitles offering behind-the-scenes information and two additional audio options. The isolated musical score by Roger Limb may only interest the most hardcore fans, but the three-way commentary track with Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant and director Graeme Harper provides plenty of nostalgic reminiscences. Limited by the fact that the programme was shot on (professional) video, the DVD has picture quality no better than a good VHS tape, while the audio is clear, undistorted mono.--Gary S Dalkin
A celebration of Britain's most famous and enduring television programme Coronation Street features 80 landmark episodes 8 from each year of the decade from the 1970s in a 10-disc box set. With 8 outstanding episodes from each year this box set represents the very best of 'Coronation Street' in the decade that established it as a staple part of British TV culture. With many episodes unseen since their original broadcast the release is an opportunity to revisit old friends and
It Came from Beneath the Sea appeared two years after Ray Harryhausen unleashed The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms upon New York City. This time the master special-effects creator turned loose a giant (albeit six-armed) octopus on San Francisco, and the result is another enjoyable atom-age adventure that should please fans of vintage science fiction. Kenneth Tobey, who battled The Thing (From Another World) in 1951, stars as a Navy captain pursuing a monstrous octopoid (sextapoid?) after it attacks his atomic sub. After it wreaks havoc with shipping lanes, he tracks the creature to San Francisco for a final showdown. Scripting by George Worthing Yates (Them) and Hal Smith and direction by Robert Gordon are perfunctory at best, which gives the always-reliable Tobey and costar Faith Domergue little to do, but this is Harryhausen's show, and his monster, though the budget was restrained, is still impressive. Younger audiences weaned on digital FX may find this creaky, but nostalgic viewers will enjoy its simple thrills. --Paul Gaita
The Bone Collector: He takes his victims' lives and leaves behind mysterious pieces of a bizarre puzzle. And the only person who may be able to make sense of the serial killer's deranged plan is Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) a one-time top homicide investigator. After a tragic accident changes his life forever Rhyme can only watch as other cops bungle the case...until he teams up with a young rookie Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) who bravely becomes his eyes and ears and searches out the clues that help them solve the case. But as the killer senses the cops closing in Rhyme realizes that he and his partner are on the trail of a vicious sadistic murderer who will stop at nothing on his deadly mission. At any moment Rhyme and Amelia could become his next targets - and their first case could become their last. (Dir. Phillip Noyce 1999) The Skeleton Key: It can open any door. From the writer of The Ring (Ehren Kruger) and the director of K-PAX (Iain Softley) comes the supernatural thriller The Skeleton Key. Set largely in the dark atmospheric backwoods just outside of New Orleans The Skeleton Key stars Kate Hudson as Caroline a live-in nurse hired to care for an elderly woman's (Rowlands) ailing husband (Hurt) in their home... a foreboding and decrepit mansion in the Louisiana delta. Intrigued by the enigmatic couple their mysterious secretive ways and their rambling old house Caroline begins to explore the mansion. Armed with a skeleton key that unlocks every door in the house she discovers a hidden attic room that holds a deadly and terrifying secret. (Dir. Iain Softley 2005) Panic Room: It was supposed to be the safest room in the house. Meg Altman is at a crossroads. Suffering through a painful divorce from her husband pharmaceuticals millionaire Stephen Altman Meg moves from their suburban home in Greenwich New York and buys an Upper West Side Manhattan townhouse for herself and her eleven-year-old daughter Sarah. She intends to go back to school raise her child and start a new life. But the panic she feels at starting over pales in comparison to her fear and desperation when intruders break into her new home. (Dir. David Fincher 2002)
Ted Striker: ""Surely you can't be serious?"" Dr. Rumack: ""I am serious... and don't call me Shirley."" Voted ""one of the ten funniest movies ever made"" by the American Film Institute Airplane! is a masterpiece of off-the-wall comedy. Featuring Robert Hays as an ex-fighter pilot forced to take over the controls of an airliner when the flight crew succumbs to food poisoning; Julie Hagerty as his girlfriend/ stewardess/ co-pilot; and a cast of all-stars inclu
Mozart's Clemenza di Tito ("The Clemency of Titus") makes for riveting viewing in this Glyndebourne performance directed by Nicholas Hytner and conducted by Andrew Davis staged in the composer's bicentenary in 1991. Mozart's last opera, Clemenza was for some time considered below par by his own exalted standards. He composed it in a rush, the recitatives are by a pupil and it had to be on an appropriate theme to please the new Hapsburg monarch, for whose enthronement it was designed. There's little character development and the musical style harks back to operatic conventions Mozart had done so much to overthrow. Watching this production one would scarcely credit that such reservations once held sway. Hytner and his team have put a contemporary angle on a story set in Rome AD 78 in which sets, props and the stage itself are constructed to different dimensions offering alternate perspectives on a static tale. A slanting pillar and a sloping corridor allude to the unhinged mind of the scheming Vitellia, the central character, who puts her confidant Sesto on an emotional roller coaster ride as she ensnares him to plot the downfall of Titus. The principals use their eyes to communicate to one another as well as the audience and in the imaginatively staged entrances and exits of the ensembles one senses Hytner's choreographic instincts coming to the fore. The superb cast sing magnificently and look stunning. Philip Langridge is an eloquent Titus, Diana Monatgue a sincere Sesto and Ashley Putnam brings a touch of Alexis Colby to her portrayal of Vitellia. The London Philharmonic are all fired up under conductor Andrew Davis' fervent direction. The performance (the "Overture" accompanied by a visual montage of artefacts of Ancient Rome) is played on modern instruments yet articulated and reproduced with the clarity and definition associated with period ones. On the DVD: La Clemenza di Tito has no special features save for the obligatory subtitles. The picture quality is outstanding with the imaginative and colourful production design caught, like the music, with exceptional fidelity. The high drama at the conclusion of Act 1 justifies running on without a break into Act 2. This is a must for all lovers of opera. --Adrian Edwards
In 1815 monk Tomas Alcala unwittingly unleashes two female succubi Munkar and Nakir upon an unsuspecting 21st century. He is chosen by God to travel through the centuries and stop the demons' rampage...
A collection of films from controversial Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski. The Pianist (2002): Roman Polanski's remarkable Oscar and Palme D'Or winning film 'The Pianist' tells the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody). Managing to survive in the Krakow ghetto while the vast majority of the Jewish population have been transported to concentration camps Szpilman leads a lonely dangerous existence sheltering in abandoned houses... Directed by a film artist who
It can open any door. From the writer of The Ring (Ehren Kruger) and the director of K-PAX (Iain Softley) comes the supernatural thriller The Skeleton Key. Set largely in the dark atmospheric backwoods just outside of New Orleans The Skeleton Key stars Kate Hudson as Caroline a live-in nurse hired to care for an elderly woman's (Rowlands) ailing husband (Hurt) in their home... a foreboding and decrepit mansion in the Louisiana delta. Intrigued by the enigmatic couple their mysterious secretive ways and their rambling old house Caroline begins to explore the mansion. Armed with a skeleton key that unlocks every door in the house she discovers a hidden attic room that holds a deadly and terrifying secret...
A classic head-to-head showdown ignites in Assault On Precinct 13, an all-new update of the 1976 action thriller of the same name.
Assault On Precinct 13 (2005): To survive the night cops and criminals alike will have to unite and fight. A classic head-to-head showdown ignites in Assault on Precinct 13 an all-new update of the 1976 John Carpenter classic. With only a few hours left in the calendar year Precinct 13 one of Detroit's oldest precinct houses is closing. Amid heavy snowfall and unsafe road conditions only a few lawmen remain on duty for New Year's Eve. They are headed by Sergeant Jake Roenick (Ethan Hawke) a good cop wrestling with bad memories of a fatal undercover op from the previous spring. Roenick and Precinct 13 have both seen better days. Early on December 31st deep in the city formidable crime lord Marion Bishop (Laurence Fishburne) is cornered by an undercover cop. Their ensuing struggle leaves the cop dead - and Bishop captured by the Organized Crime and Racketeering squad that Marcus Duvall (Gabriel Byrne) runs. Bishop is handcuffed and herded onto a prison bus with several criminals: junkie Beck (John Leguizamo) hustler Smiley (Jeffrey Ja Rule Atkins) and gang member Anna (Aisha Hinds). But the battering snowstorm stops the bus well short of its high-security destination and strands it at the remote Precinct 13 - where as night falls the prisoners are temporarily incarcerated. This influx of prisoners irks Roenick almost as much as visiting police psychologist Alex Sabian (Maria Bello) does. But Precinct 13's provocative secretary Iris Ferry (Drea de Matteo) and salty veteran cop Jasper Old School O'Shea (Brian Dennehy) won't let the increasing workload deter them from celebrating... . ..until two masked gunmen break in and attack the guards from the bus.The gunmen are just barely beaten back and everyone inside Precinct 13 realizes that more will come - to extract crime lord Bishop but also armed and ready to shoot anyone and everyone else. The cops looking to the reluctant Roenick for leadership and the cons looking to the steely Bishop for an angle must join forces to live. Fortifying themselves with minimal weaponry and maximum courage they will not go gently into the bad night. As they fight to the death the thin lines between good and bad bleed together. Desperate Measures (1998): San Franciscan Police Officer Frank Connor has to go to desperate measures to find a suitable bone marrow donor for his critically ill son. The perfect match is a homicidal sociopath serving a life sentence who escapes from prison while being transferred to hospital. The race is on to recapture him and he has to be alive.
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