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2001: A Space Odyssey | DVD | (17/04/2019)
from £5.49 | Saving you £8.50 (60.80%) | RRP
Confirming that art and commerce can co-exist, 2001: A Space Odyssey was the biggest box-office hit of 1968, remains the greatest science fiction film yet made and is among the most revolutionary, challenging and debated work of the 20th century. It begins within a pre-historic age. A black monolith uplifts the intelligence of a group of apes on the African plains. The most famous edit in cinema introduces the 21st century, and after a second monolith is found on the moon a mission is launched to Jupiter. On the spacecraft are Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Poole (Gary Lockwood), along with the most famous computer in fiction, HAL. Their adventure will be, as per the original title, a "journey beyond the stars". Written by science fiction visionary Arthur C Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, 2001 elevated the SF film to entirely new levels, being rigorously constructed with a story on the most epic of scales. Four years in the making and filmed in 70 mm, the attention to detail is staggering and four decades later barely any aspect of the film looks dated, the visual richness and elegant pacing creating the sense of actually being in space more convincingly than any other film. A sequel, 2010: Odyssey Two (1984) followed, while Solaris (1972), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), The Abyss (1989) and A.I. (2001) are all indebted to this absolute classic which towers monolithically over them all. On the DVD: There is nothing but the original trailer which, given the status of the film and the existence of an excellent making-of documentary shown on Channel 4 in 2001, is particularly disappointing. Shortly before he died Kubrick supervised the restoration of the film and the production of new 70 mm prints for theatrical release in 2001. Fortunately the DVD has been taken from this material and transferred at the 70 mm ratio of 2.21-1. There is some slight cropping noticeable, but both anamorphically enhanced image and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (the film was originally released with a six-channel magnetic sound) are excellent, making this transfer infinitely preferable to previous video incarnations. --Gary S Dalkin
Calamity Jane | DVD | (17/04/2019)
from £4.99 | Saving you £8.60 (61.50%) | RRP
This 1953 musical is very much a vehicle for Doris Day, in the title role, as a wild cowgal who can out-shoot and out-sing any boy on the range. When an actress arrives in Deadwood and uses her feminine charms on Jane's secret love, Wild Bill Hickock (Howard Keel), Jane tries to mend her tomboy ways. Not exactly up to the feminist code of honour, this is still energetic and Day is very perky. Of course, one could almost detect a homosexual undercurrent with the cross-dressing Jane, but this was Hollywood in the 1950s, so we best not. Calamity Jane won an Oscar for Best Song--"Secret Love", by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster. --Rochelle O'Gorman
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace | DVD | (20/09/2004)
from £6.95 | Saving you £11.50 (57.50%) | RRP
George Lucas transports audiences back to the future with Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace, the first instalment of a prequel trilogy in which the director imagines the foundation for the entire six-part saga. Reflecting the symbolic and mythological bases of at least five story arcs, The Phantom Menace wields a newly emerged, youthful vibrancy courtesy of Lucas' invigorating return to the director's chair and his healthy respect for the emotional sources of fantasy. Despite receiving a storm of adverse criticism (notably for Jar Jar Binks) Lucas continually fascinates with his ability to place his characters--some new, some old, some CGI--in the same dramatic situations posed in the original trilogy: whether it be the juxtaposition of primitives with technologically advanced societies or the timeless battle between good and evil, the very familiarity of these recurring scenarios and rhythms galvanises the viewer. Of course, the state-of-the-art visual effects contribute mightily to the final impact. Much has been written about the kinetic Pod Race sequence (compared favourably with the chariot race in Ben Hur) and the War and Peace-style military battles, but even these events are upstaged by the new planetary vistas: consider the Romanesque grandeur of Naboo, the underwater city of Otoh Gunga illuminated by Art Nouveau lamps, the decadent brio of Tatooine, or the dizzying skyscrapers of the city planet Coruscant (imagine Blade Runner in daylight). Despite the beauty of his iridescent images, Lucas exercises discipline, cutting fast within frames filled with rich detail and activity. As a result, The Phantom Menace lends itself to repeated viewings. On the DVD: This spectacular two-disc DVD set was certainly worth the wait. Simply put, this is the most comprehensive packaging of supplementary materials so far assembled for DVD. Most importantly, Lucas film offers an anamorphic, 2.35:1 film transfer and a highly active Dolby 5.1 audio mix. Disc 1 includes an insightful commentary with Lucas--his first for DVD--and other key personnel, making for a great tour. The bulk of extra treasures can be found on Disc 2, including seven deleted scenes completed just for this set that possess the same quality as the film; in fact, some moments (the "Air Bus Taxi" and "Pod Race Grid" sequences) are so good that Lucas reincorporated them into the film proper. Viewers can also enjoy no less than 12 Web documentaries, five informative featurettes, the popular John Williams music video "Duel of the Fates" and numerous galleries of stills, trailers and television spots. Better yet, Lucas premieres "The Beginning," a 66-minute documentary edited from hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes footage. This is not your standard-issue studio documentary, instead "The Beginning" is an Oscar-worthy, cinema verityé-style exploration of the creative process behind every aspect of the film's production. One of the most memorable moments involves a late-day visit to the set by Steven Spielberg: watching Lucas and Spielberg behave like kids in a candy store is one more reminder why the Star Wars saga remains enduringly popular. --Kevin Mulhall
High School Musical | DVD | (04/12/2006)
from £5.09 | Saving you £7.84 (56.00%) | RRP
Troy (Zac Efron) the popular captain of the basketball team and Gabriella (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) the brainy and beautiful member of the academic club break all the rules of East High society when they secretly audition for the leads in the school's musical. As they reach for the stars and follow their dreams everyone learns about acceptance teamwork and being yourself. And it's all set to fun tunes and very cool dance moves.
Easter Parade | DVD | (17/04/2019)
from £4.97 | Saving you £8.60 (61.50%) | RRP
If you can't join 'em beat 'em! When his long-time dance partner abandons him for the Ziegfeld Follies Don Hewes decides to show who's who what's what by choosing any girl out of a chorus line and transforming her into a star. So he makes his choice and takes his chances. Of course since Fred Astaire portrays Don and Judy Garland plays the chorine we know we're in for an entertainment sure thing.
Bugsy Malone | DVD | (17/02/2003)
from £7.99 | Saving you £-2.99 (-33.30%) | RRP
Writer-director Alan Parker's feature debut Bugsy Malone is a pastiche of American movies, a musical gangster comedy set in 1929, featuring prohibition, showgirls and gang warfare, with references to everything from Some Like It Hot to The Godfather. Uniquely, though, all the parts are played by children, including an excellent if underused Jodie Foster as platinum-blonde singer Tallulah, Scott Baio in the title role and a nine-year-old Dexter Fletcher wielding a baseball bat. Cream-firing "spluge guns" side-step any real violence and the movie climaxes cheerfully with the biggest custard pie fight this side of Casino Royale (1967). Unfortunately for a musical, Paul Williams' score--part honky-tonk jazz homage, part 1970s Elton John-style pop--lets the side down with a lack of memorable tunes. Nevertheless, Parker's direction is spot on and the look of the film is superb, a fantasy movie-movie existing in the same parallel reality as The Cotton Club and Chicago. A rare British love letter to classic American cinema, Bugsy Malone remains a true original; in Parker's words "the work of a madman" and one of the strangest yet most stylish children's films ever made. On the DVD: Bugsy Malone's picture is presented non-anamorphically at 1.66:1, with rich colours and plenty of detail. The print is excellent. The audio is stereo only and while full and clear seems to leave a hole in the middle of the soundstage. Extras include an informative commentary by Parker, eight pages of trivia notes by Parker and a very informative 12-page booklet, also by the director. There are three trailers, nine character profiles, two scored galleries, and more imaginatively, a multi-angle option to compare Parker's sketches, their comic-strip realisation by Graham Thomson and the finished opening sequence. Quality over quantity make this a strong collection of extras, though recollections from the stars would have added so much more. --Gary S. Dalkin
Annie Get Your Gun | DVD | (22/04/2002)
from £5.00 | Saving you £8.60 (61.50%) | RRP
Irving Berlin's classic stage musical Annie Get Your Gun finally reached the big screen in 1950, four years after it had taken Broadway by storm. The irresistible combination of the story of ground-breaking sharpshooter Annie Oakley, fantastic songs like the rousing anthem "There's No Business Like Show Business" and the setting of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, made most people feel it was worth the wait. More than half a century on, the book creaks audibly and the treatment of the "Indians" who make up the bulk of the troupe is inevitably embarrassing. But in glorious Technicolor, this in-your-face spectacular defies you not to get sucked in. Quite simply, the show is a winner. Ethel Merman's performance on Broadway became an immediate show business legend, but she was largely ignored by Hollywood. Here, Betty Hutton's whirlwind Annie is, on its own terms, an explosive and hugely entertaining turn, matched by Howard Keel in his first starring part as Frank Butler. But Judy Garland was the first choice for the role and had already filmed several numbers before MGM fired her for her erratic behaviour. It seems almost cruel to include a couple of her songs as extras; even a 40-watt Garland makes the otherwise incandescent Hutton look merely adequate. They certainly add a frisson to this celebration of all-American entertainment at its boldest and brassiest. On the DVD: Annie Get Your Gun is presented in standard 4:3 format (the original aspect ratio was a similar 1.37:1) and the picture quality is so sharp it blows you out of your seat. Likewise the stereo soundtrack, brilliant for songs which include "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly", "Anything You Can Do" and the sublime "They Say it's Wonderful". Apart from the Garland numbers, the extras include a Hutton outtake and an introduction to the show from a recent Broadway Annie, Susan Lucci. Overall, though, the show's the thing. --Piers Ford
The Wizard Of Oz | DVD | (19/06/2006)
from £6.49 | Saving you £8.99 (47.30%) | RRP
Like the Tin Man's heart, the true test of a real classic is how much it is loved by others. The enduring charms of The Wizard of Oz have easily weathered the vicissitudes of changing fashions making the film one of the world's best-loved, most-quoted and frequently imitated movies. It's now as ubiquitous an American pop-cultural icon as McDonald's, making judging the movie purely on its own merits an almost impossible task. Judy Garland's tragic later life, for example, makes her naïve and utterly beguiling Dorothy seem all the more poignant in retrospect. But this at least is clear: much of this movie's success depends on the winning appeal of Garland's "Everygirl" figure, who creates the vital identification and empathy necessary to carry the audience with her into the land of Oz. We always care deeply about Dorothy, her quest for home and the strength of her friendship with her companions. Garland's assured dancing and singing routines with her ideally cast Broadway comedy co-stars Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley are still endlessly delightful, of course, and the songs and score (by Arlen, Harburg and Stothart) are as good as anything in the Hollywood musical canon. It is Garland's deeply felt rendition of "Over the Rainbow" that is both the film's emotional core and the reason why adults as much as children the world over still respond so strongly to this movie. So long as people long for home and the love of their friends and family, the nostalgic appeal of Oz will never fade. On the DVD: another splendid digital restoration from the MGM vaults keeps this wonderful classic as vivid and alive as it was back in 1939, if not more so. The 1.33:1 picture is clear and defined, bursting with the vibrant colours of Oz (you can even see the wires holding up the Lion's tail). Even more remarkably, because the original microphone tapes have been preserved the soundtrack has been remastered in 5.1 stereo, thereby accentuating the lush tones of the MGM orchestra and Garland's famous singing. The disc is also chock full of extras, including outtakes, audio sequences, composer Harold Arlen's backstage movies, extracts from earlier silent Oz films, clips from the Academy Awards and interviews with the stars among many other fascinating nuggets. The new 50-minute documentary hosted by Angela Lansbury, and irritatingly narrated in the present tense, is oddly the weakest part, with too little hard information and too much padding about how everyone loves the movie. The only gripe is Warners' trademark cardboard slipcase, which is awkward and easily damaged. But this is still an essential disc for the young at heart everywhere. --Mark Walker
An American In Paris | DVD | (02/06/2003)
from £4.41 | Saving you £8.50 (60.80%) | RRP
The plot of An American in Paris is mostly an excuse for director Vincente Minnelli to pool his own extraordinary talent with those of choreographer-dancer-actor Gene Kelly and the artists behind the screenplay, art direction, cinematography, and score, creating a rapturous musical not quite like anything else in cinema. An American GI (Kelly) stays in Paris after the war to become an artist, and has to choose between the patronage of a rich American woman (Nina Foch) and a French gamine (Leslie Caron) engaged to an older man. The final section of the film comprises a 17-minute dance sequence that took a month to film and is breathtaking. Gershwin songs specially arranged for the film include "'S Wonderful", "I Got Rhythm", and "Love is Here to Stay". --Tom Keogh
Aliens (Two Disc Special Edition) | DVD | (12/04/2004)
from £3.49 | Saving you £15.55 (67.60%) | RRP
James Cameron's Aliens digests all the virtues of Alien and regurgitates them bigger, louder and brasher than before. By the simple expedient of turning the singular beast of the original into a plural, Cameron transforms the franchise's focus from horror to all-out action. Sigourney Weaver's Ripley--one of the strongest roles for a female lead in mainstream cinema--is centre-stage throughout, more than able to hold her own either among the butch Marines and insectoid aliens. Although the director later revealed that there were only ever six alien costumes in any one shot, rapid-fire editing makes it seem like hundreds. Aliens is one of the most dynamic, viscerally exciting movies of the decade and, as a bug-fest, remained unsurpassed until the glorious Starship Troopers in 1997. On the DVD: The Director's Cut reinstates 17 crucial minutes of footage deleted from the theatrical release. It reveals how the colony on LV-426 encountered the aliens, and more importantly why Ripley's maternal bond with Newt is so strong, which adds an extra dimension to the film's climax. Also included is a short, fairly bland interview with James Cameron, recorded at the time of the cinema release, as well as some background explanation on how specific special effects were created. Unlike the Alien disc, there is no directorial commentary. --Mark Walker
March of the Penguins - Luc Jacquet | DVD | (08/05/2006)
from £2.49 | Saving you £15.60 (82.10%) | RRP
March of the Penguins instantly qualifies as a wildlife classic, taking its place among other extraordinary films like Microcosmos and Winged Migration.
The Great Ziegfeld | DVD | (16/02/2004)
from £8.48 | Saving you £4.01 (28.70%) | RRP
Winner of three Academy Awards including Best Picture, 1936's The Great Ziegfeld stars William Powell in a biopic "suggested by romances and incidents in the life of America's greatest showman, Florenz Ziegfeld Jr". With admirable accuracy, the film follows Ziegfeld's career from small-time sideshow barker to creator of the famous Ziegfeld Follies, the collection of singing, dancing, and comedy vaudeville acts that launched the careers of such luminaries as Fanny Brice, Ray Bolger and Harriet Hoctor--all of whom play themselves in the film. In the title role Powell offers a believable combination of ambition and hucksterism, and his Thin Man costar Myrna Loy makes a late appearance as his second wife, but it's large-eyed Luise Rainer who has the showier role (and won an Oscar) as Ziegfeld's first big star and first wife. The musical numbers, however, don't hold up quite as well as the plot, and at some three hours the film is overlong. It's fascinating, though, to see the vintage stars performing and the eight-minute spectacle "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" is an eye-popper with an elaborate revolving set supporting a large cast singing and dancing to the Irving Berlin tune while throwing in some Puccini, Strauss, Leoncavallo and Gershwin for good measure. --David Horiuchi
Bugsy Malone | Blu Ray | (23/06/2008)
from £6.57 | Saving you £13.20 (66.00%) | RRP
Written and directed by Alan Parker Bugsy Malone is a gangster musical set in New York a world of would-be hoodlums showgirls and dreamers. A world where you never see an adult - kids play the entire film including Scott Biao as Bugsy and Jodie Foster as Tallulah. Bugsy Malone. is totally unique: quite simply there has never ever been a movie like it!
The Wizard Of Oz | DVD | (07/11/2005)
from £4.99 | Saving you £1.52 (15.20%) | RRP
""We're Not In Kansas Anymore."" We click our heels in anticipation. There's no place like home and no movie like this one. From generation to generation The Wizard Of Oz brings us together - kids grown-ups families friends. The dazzling land of Oz a dream-come--true world of enchanted forests dancing scarecrows and singing lions wraps us in its magic with one great song-filled adventure after another. Based on L. Frank Baum's treasured book series
Madagascar | Blu Ray | (17/04/2019)
from £8.19 | Saving you £16.80 (67.20%) | RRP
This series explores the extraordinary wildlife and dramatic landscapes of one of the world's largest and strangest island. Lying just off the coast of Africa Madagascar is a land of misty mountains tropical rainforests and weird spiny desert scrub. Here the wildlife has evolved in splendid isolation to become bizarre and totally unique. The great mystery of Madagascar is why it has such a unique and varied flora and fauna - a diversity of life that makes even the famed Galapagos Islands pale by comparison. What is it that makes Madagascar so different from the rest of the world? This series finds clues from Madagascar's extraordinary animals plants and landscape to discover how the island's remarkable past has produced its intriguing present like the Tsingy - a series of jagged limestone peaks that have cut off animals in isolated gorges allowing them to evolve into their own unique species. On the east side of the island rugged mountains rise dramatically from the palm fringed Indian Ocean. Travelling from the highest mountains where trees are few and it's cold enough for frost through the lush cloaking rainforests down to the tropical coast discovering the ring-tailed lemurs the jewelled geckos and the giant predatory wasps. So what is it that has made this narrow eastern strip in particular so rich in life? South of Madagascar is home to its most extraordinary landscapes - from forests of 'upside down' trees to alien 'spiny deserts'. In stark contrast to the east this is a place that's bone-dry for most of the year yet it's extraordinarily rich in wildlife. Here only the toughest and most opportunistic survive and some of the strategies to survive here are ingenious. This Blu-ray follows the long dry season of this landscape to see how life copes as it waits for the brief rains.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green | DVD | (29/07/2013)
from £2.99 | Saving you £8.00 (72.80%) | RRP
Disney brings enchantment home with The Odd Life of Timothy Green an inspiring magical story for the whole family starring Jennifer Garner. Cindy (Garner) and Jim Green are a happily married couple who can't wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy shows up on their doorstep one stormy night Cindy and Jim - and their small town of Stanleyville - learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of life's greatest gifts. From Academy Award-nominated director/writer Peter Hedges (About A Boy Best Adapted Screenplay 2002; Dan In Real Life; What's Eating Gilbert Grape) &mdash; and complete with engaging bonus features - it's a heartwarming celebration of family as only Disney can deliver. Special Features: Glen Hansard This Gift Music Video Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Peter Hedges
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes | DVD | (22/05/2006)
from £3.99 | Saving you £4.50 (34.60%) | RRP
Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and her friend Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) are a pair of showgirls Dorothy the sassy one looking for true love Lorelei the blonde hoping to marry a millionaire with her sights set on Gus Esmond a wealthy nerd stuck under his father's thumb. When Lorelei and Dorothy take a transatlantic cruise to Paris an undercover detective follows to find out if Lorelei is really a gold-digging schemer. Unfortunately the irrepressible Lorelei is a born flirt and
Madagascar | DVD | (07/03/2011)
from £6.89 | Saving you £13.10 (65.50%) | RRP
This series explores the extraordinary wildlife and dramatic landscapes of one of the world's largest and strangest island. Lying just off the coast of Africa Madagascar is a land of misty mountains tropical rainforests and weird spiny desert scrub. Here the wildlife has evolved in splendid isolation to become bizarre and totally unique. The great mystery of Madagascar is why it has such a unique and varied flora and fauna - a diversity of life that makes even the famed Galapagos Islands pale by comparison. What is it that makes Madagascar so different from the rest of the world? This series finds clues from Madagascar's extraordinary animals plants and landscape to discover how the island's remarkable past has produced its intriguing present like the Tsingy - a series of jagged limestone peaks that have cut off animals in isolated gorges allowing them to evolve into their own unique species. On the east side of the island rugged mountains rise dramatically from the palm fringed Indian Ocean. Travelling from the highest mountains where trees are few and it's cold enough for frost through the lush cloaking rainforests down to the tropical coast discovering the ring-tailed lemurs the jewelled geckos and the giant predatory wasps. So what is it that has made this narrow eastern strip in particular so rich in life? South of Madagascar is home to its most extraordinary landscapes - from forests of 'upside down' trees to alien 'spiny deserts'. In stark contrast to the east this is a place that's bone-dry for most of the year yet it's extraordinarily rich in wildlife. Here only the toughest and most opportunistic survive and some of the strategies to survive here are ingenious. This DVD follows the long dry season of this landscape to see how life copes as it waits for the brief rains.
Camp Rock | DVD | (01/12/2008)
from £2.47 | Saving you £10.90 (72.70%) | RRP
Get ready to sing and dance like never before with the electrifying Disney Channel Original Movie Camp Rock! When Mitchie scores a job as a cook at Camp Rock her life takes an unpredictable twist and she learns just how important it is to be true to yourself. Join the platinum-selling Jonas Brothers and the hottest cast of performers at the coolest summer camp anywhere!
Aliens | DVD | (15/05/2000)
from £3.39 | Saving you £16.60 (83.00%) | RRP
In this action-packed sequel to Alien Sigourney Weaver returns as Ripley the only survivor from mankind's first encounter with the monstrous Alien. Her account of the Alien and the fate of her crew are received with skepticism until the mysterious disappearance of colonists on LV-426 lead her to join a team of high-tech colonial marines sent in to investigate. Personally supervised by director James Cameron this special edition includes scenes eliminated prior to the film's 1986 release which broaden the narrative scope and enrich the emotional impact of the film.