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We Were Soldiers | DVD | (05/11/2007)
from £5.99 | Saving you £7.00 (53.90%) | RRP
In a place soon to be known as 'The Valley of Death' in a small clearing called landing zone X-Ray Lt. Colonel Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) and 400 young troops all from an elite American combat division were surrounded by 2 000 North Vietnamese soldiers. The ensuing battle was one of the most savage in U.S. history...
I'm Not There | DVD | (14/07/2008)
from £3.22 | Saving you £15.90 (79.50%) | RRP
Unapologetically audacious, I'm Not There is more post-modern puzzle than by-the-numbers biopic. A title card sets the scene: "Inspired by the music and many lives of Bob Dylan." Yet the film features no figure by that name. Instead, writer/director Todd Haynes presents six characters, each incarnating different stages in the artist's career. Perfume's Ben Whishaw, a black-clad poet, serves as a slippery sort of narrator. The action begins with the wanderings of an 11-year-old black runaway named "Woody Guthrie" (Marcus Carl Franklin)--his raucous duet with Richie Havens on "Tombstone Blues" is a highlight--and ends with a silver-haired Billy the Kid (Richard Gere) watching the Old West die before his eyes. In the interim, there's the folk singer-turned-preacher (Christian Bale), the actor (Heath Ledger), and the rock star (Cate Blanchett, who has Don't Look Back Dylan down to a science). The chronology is purposefully non-linear, and editor Jay ! Rabinowitz cuts rapidly, Jean-Luc Godard-style, between cinéma vérité black-and-white and saturated colour, Richard Lester-like slapstick and Fellini-inspired surrealism (Ed Lachman served as cinematographer). What makes the picture fun for Dylan fans--and potentially frustrating for neophytes--is that every album and movie bears an alternate title. Ledger's Robbie, for instance, stars in "Grain of Sand," actually a reference to the Pete Seeger song. As in Haynes' glam rock reverie Velvet Goldmine, the trickery involves the entire cast. While Julianne Moore plays former lover Alice, a dead ringer for Joan Baez, Michelle Williams embodies elusive scenester Coco, i.e. Edie Sedgwick. If I'm Not There is less affecting than Control, the year's other big music film, it rewards repeat viewings like few biographical features. The soundtrack mixes originals with covers, like Jim James's heartfelt "Goin' to Acapulco." --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Idlewild | DVD | (26/02/2007)
from £2.09 | Saving you £13.90 (86.90%) | RRP
Young bootlegger Rooster (Big Boi) and undertaker's son Percival (Benjamin) are best friends from childhood but adult life has become woefully complex: Rooster's wife despises his life at the nightclub Church Percival is stuck taking care of his depressed father and an ambitious gangster (Terrence Howard) kills Rooster's mentor to take over the gangster's bootlegging operation. The arrival of a high-handed cabaret singer (Paula Patton) may help Rooster save Church but when she and Percival fall in love troubles multiply!
Dracula Has Risen From The Grave | DVD | (28/06/2013)
from £N/A | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
It took a long time for Hammer's 1958 version of Dracula to turn into a franchise, and it was ten years before Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, the third film in the series, continued where Dracula--Prince of Darkness (1965) left off. The vampire count is accidentally resurrected by the blood of a priest when Monsignor Muller (the excellent Rupert Davies replacing Peter Cushing, whose Professor Van Helsing is absent) exorcises Castle Dracula. The Lord of the Undead soon has the priest under his power, and sets about claiming the Monsignor's niece Maria (Veronica Carlson) as his bride. Maria is in love with Paul (Barry Andrews), more a 60's English "angry young man" than a Victorian hero, yet only he can save the day, the film contrasting his atheism against much Catholicism. Working as a taut, Gothic thriller, the intensity is maintained to a large degree by James Barnard's excellent score and, of course, by Christopher Lee's magnetic interpretation of Count Dracula. The eroticism is stronger than in previous Hammer Draculas, the palpably electric blood-lust marking the movie as a high-point before the series' gradual decline, beginning with Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970). --Gary S. Dalkin
Flags of our Fathers (2 Disc Special Edition) | DVD | (09/07/2007)
from £2.48 | Saving you £18.50 (77.10%) | RRP
Thematically ambitious and emotionally complex, Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers is an intimate epic with much to say about war and the nature of heroism in America. Based on the non-fiction bestseller by James Bradley (with Ron Powers), and adapted by Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis (Jarhead screenwriter William Broyles Jr. wrote an earlier draft that was abandoned when Eastwood signed on to direct), this isn't so much a conventional war movie as it is a thought-provoking meditation on our collective need for heroes, even at the expense of those we deem heroic. In telling the story of the six men (five Marines, one Navy medic) who raised the American flag of victory on the battle-ravaged Japanese island of Iwo Jima on February 23rd, 1945, Eastwood takes us deep into the horror of war (in painstakingly authentic Iwo Jima battle scenes) while emphasizing how three of the surviving flag-raisers (played by Adam Beach, Ryan Phillippe, and Jesse Bradford) became reluctant celebrities - and resentful pawns in a wartime publicity campaign - after their flag-raising was immortalized by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal in the most famous photograph in military history. As the surviving flag-raisers reluctantly play their public roles as "the heroes of Iwo Jima" during an exhausting (but clearly necessary) wartime bond rally tour, Flags of Our Fathers evolves into a pointed study of battlefield valor and misplaced idolatry, incorporating subtle comment on the bogus nature of celebrity, the trauma of battle, and the true meaning of heroism in wartime. Wisely avoiding any direct parallels to contemporary history, Eastwood allows us to draw our own conclusions about the Iwo Jima flag-raisers and how their postwar histories (both noble and tragic) simultaneously illustrate the hazards of exploited celebrity and society's genuine need for admirable role models during times of national crisis. Flags of Our Fathers defies the expectations of those seeking a more straightforward war-action drama, but it's richly satisfying, impeccably crafted film that manages to be genuinely patriotic (in celebrating the camaraderie of soldiers in battle) while dramatising the ultimate futility of war. Eastwood's follow-up film, Letters from Iwo Jima, examines the Iwo Jima conflict from the Japanese perspective. --Jeff Shannon
Letters from Iwo Jima (2 Disc Special Edition) | DVD | (09/07/2007)
from £3.39 | Saving you £17.45 (72.70%) | RRP
Critically hailed as an instant classic, Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima is a masterwork of uncommon humanity and a harrowing, unforgettable indictment of the horrors of war. In an unprecedented demonstration of worldly citizenship, Eastwood (from a spare, tightly focused screenplay by first-time screenwriter Iris Yamashita) has crafted a truly Japanese film, with Japanese dialogue (with subtitles) and filmed in a contemplative Japanese style, serving as both complement and counterpoint to Eastwood's previously released companion film Flags of Our Fathers. Where the earlier film employed a complex non-linear structure and epic-scale production values to dramatise one of the bloodiest battles of World War II and its traumatic impact on American soldiers, Letters reveals the battle of Iwo Jima from the tunnel- and cave-dwelling perspective of the Japanese, hopelessly outnumbered, deprived of reinforcements, and doomed to die in inevitable defeat. While maintaining many of the traditions of the conventional war drama, Eastwood extends his sympathetic touch to humanise "the enemy," revealing the internal and external conflicts of soldiers and officers alike, forced by circumstance to sacrifice themselves or defend their honour against insurmountable odds. From the weary reluctance of a young recruit named Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya) to the dignified yet desperately anguished strategy of Japanese commander Tadamichi Kuribayashi (played by Oscar-nominated The Last Samurai costar Ken Watanabe), whose letters home inspired the film's title and present-day framing device, Letters from Iwo Jima (which conveys the bleakness of battle through a near-total absence of colour) steadfastly avoids the glorification of war while paying honorable tribute to ill-fated men who can only dream of the comforts of home. --Jeff Shannon
The Fast And The Furious | DVD | (19/04/2010)
from £3.14 | Saving you £-1.98 (-99.50%) | RRP
Frank Webster is wrongly imprisoned for murder. He breaks out of jail in order to clear his name but with the police tailing him every step of the way he ends up having to take a young woman hostage...
Trapped | DVD | (24/08/2009)
from £12.93 | Saving you £-4.94 (-61.80%) | RRP
Starring Lloyd Bridges Trapped is taut unpretentious film noir directed by Richard Fleischer. The film begins in semi-documentary style explaining the workings of the U.S. Treasury Department and then follows the chain of events set in motion when a forged 20 dollar bill is discovered in California. However it takes a dramatic turn when treasury agents in Washington D.C. recognise the source of the forged bill and travel to a penitentiary in Atlanta to interview forger Tris Stewart (Lloyd Bridges). The agents engineer a fake escape for Stewart so that he can lead them to the source of the forgeries. But Stewart has others ideas and slips his minders.
Heavy Metal in Baghdad | DVD | (13/12/2010)
from £N/A | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
Heavy Metal in Baghdad follows the Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda from the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to the present day. Playing heavy metal in a Muslim country has always been a difficult (if not impossible) proposition but after Saddam's regime was toppled there was a brief moment for the band in which real freedom seemed possible. That hope was quickly dashed as their country fell into a bloody insurgency. From 2003-2008 Iraq disintegrated around them while Acrassicauda struggled to stay together and stay alive always refusing to let their heavy metal dreams die. Their story echoes the unspoken hopes of an entire generation of young Iraqis.