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Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.)

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Alien 3 - The Director's Cut (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1992]
Alien 3 - The Director's Cut (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1992]
Dvd ~ Sigourney Weaver
Offered by Direct Entertainment Supplies
Price: £2.05

4.0 out of 5 stars Don't mess with The Baldies!, 25 July 2016
Special Edition. I love it, I really do. OK! So it's basically a monster on the loose piece, but the setting at a sci-fi prison colony - complete with nutty religious shards - makes for a thrillingly atmospheric ride. A roll call of Brit thesps line up for some tension filled entertainment, while director David Fincher and cinematographer Alex Thomson provide a look that is both beautiful and scary. Industrial Punk? Steam Punk? Cyber Punk? Fincher Punk? Hey man, we gotta give it a name! And of course there's Siggy Weaver, the reassuring presence. I could live without the attempt at a transcendent finale, but in extended form this has much to light your fires. It also showed that Fincher would be a director to watch - imagine if had he been left alone to craft his own vision? His subsequent career and standing makes a mockery of the studio execs involved in the making of Alien≥. 8/10

Andersonville (1996) Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible DVD.
Andersonville (1996) Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible DVD.
Dvd ~ Jarrod Emick

4.0 out of 5 stars And what do you call this little piece of heaven?, 24 July 2016
The American Civil War, and Union soldiers are imprisoned at Andersonville, a crude stockade establishment presided over by the inept and cruel Captain Henry Wirz. It would prove to be a another dark and soul destroying chapter from the war.

Lets get it out there right away, Andersonville was not the only hell hole prison operating during the American Civil War. Information from both sides of the coin is available on line for those wishing to explore further. That said, Andersonville is a story that deserved and is needed to be told, and this John Frankenheimer directed two - parter brings it vividly into the viewers' lives.

In filmic substance terms it has all the standard POW movie cliche's. We follow a group of prisoners and a group of "convict bullies", with those in authority observing menacingly and proving desperately carefree as to the conditions of the prison and of humane traits in general.

But as formulaic as it ultimately is, there's a determination by the makers to keep the characterisations real and viable, and they achieve this in spades. Pic is also boosted by superb period detail, costuming is grade "A", while the production and art design for the prison is harrowingly effective.

Frankenheimer's tracking shots brings home the enormity of the misery, while Gary Chang's score is thankfully never bombastic. Cast are a mixed bag - to be expected in such a large ensemble piece - and you can't help but yearn for more of William H. Macy.

Yet even though 30 minutes could easily have been shaved off of the run time, Andersonville is a production that should stay with you. The coda serving to remind us that that should be the case. 7/10

Island of Lost Souls [Masters of Cinema] (Dual Format) [Blu-ray] [1932]
Island of Lost Souls [Masters of Cinema] (Dual Format) [Blu-ray] [1932]
Dvd ~ Charles Laughton
Offered by bestmediagroup
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars We are Devo!, 24 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There's an island somewhere out there in the foggy laden deep blue sea. Here resides Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton), he has a God complex and he is conducting experiments, turning animals into humans. Unsurprisingly and terrifyingly the results are not exactly a success!

Tod Browning's Freaks was released this same year, and when watching Erle C. Kenton's Island of Lost Souls, it makes for the perfect companion piece. Full of haunting imagery, aided no end by cinematographer Karl Struss' stunning photography, it's a film that stays with you long after the end credits have rolled. Berserker science marries up to human chaos to provoke and trouble in equal measure. Laughton gives top villainy, whilst Waldemar Young and and Philip Wylie adapt from the H.G. Wells novel with a cheeky glint in their eyes. The 1930s had some great horror movies, this is up with the best of them. 8/10

Alien Resurrection [1997] [DVD]
Alien Resurrection [1997] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sigourney Weaver
Price: £2.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Let sleeping dogs lie?, 24 July 2016
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the makers here basically stick safe to the formula of the series. This time it's a space station with space pirates and a cloned Ripley (Siggy Weaver of course) - yes! A cloned Ripley, only this time she's devoid of human compassion - kind of... The gore quota is significantly upped, which makes for some serious sci-fi terror, and some of the imagery crafted is outstanding (a clone lab sequence is shatteringly unforgettable). A tip top cast featuring Ron Perlman, Michael Wincott, Brad Dourif, Dan Hedaya and Winona Ryder, all give good shows, whilst the photography (Darius Khondji/Se7en) and art design (Steve Cooper, Andrew Neskoromny and John M. Dwyer) takes the breath away. Yet come the final straight it loses its way, sinking into a mire of over confidence, topped by a crown of thorns involving an albino baby alien hybrid. Shame that. 6.5/10

The Wicker Man - The Director's Cut (DVD) [1973]
The Wicker Man - The Director's Cut (DVD) [1973]
Dvd ~ Edward Woodward
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I believe in the life eternal, as promised to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ., 10 July 2016
Mainland Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) flies off to the remote Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a 12 year old girl. What he finds is a culture steeped in Paganism, presided over by Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee). Meeting static and indifference wherever he goes - and being driven to anger by the assault on his Christian beliefs - Howie is very much a man alone and most likely in grave danger?

Directed by Robin Hardy and adapted to screen by Anthony Shaffer from David Pinner's novel, Ritual, The Wicker Man is very much a cult masterpiece. The back stories to it could make a film all by itself, be it censor baiting, studio cuts, body doubles or just plain offending religious groups, it's a film that is well worth looking into via the top range home format releases.

From the moment Howie (a truly brilliant Woodward) lands at Summerisle everything seems off, there's a sinister atmosphere pervading the story. He is met by unnerving imagery wherever he goes, songs and rituals gnawing away at his senses, there's even eroticism deftly placed within the film's master plan. He doesn't know what's going on, and neither do we, this is a mystery right? There is after all a missing child to be found, right? But once Lord Summerisle (Lee also terrific) enters proceedings and ups his game, things unravel in edgy fashion, building up to the justifiably famous and harrowing finale.

Some modern horror fans may baulk at the lack of bloody carnage et al, but this is classic horror. A horror film bulging with intelligence and pulsing away with literate smarts. 9/10

Westerner [DVD] [1940] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Westerner [DVD] [1940] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Price: £8.63

4.0 out of 5 stars Law West of the Pecos., 10 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Westerner is directed by William Wyler and written by Niven Busch, Jo Swerling and Stuart N. Lake. It stars Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Fred Stone and Doris Davenport. Music is by Dimitri Tiomkin and cinematography by Gregg Toland.

Story is a fictionalised account about Judge Roy Bean (Brennan), who here rules Vingaroon Town by his own law and punishment. When suspected horse thief Cole Harden (Cooper) comes under his judicial system, they become odd friends due to Harden claiming to know personally Lily Langtree - the object of Bean's worship.

Lots of uncredited work was involved in the making of The Westerner, while Cooper famously sulked about not having the main character role, so much so his part was expanded and he performed under contract but under protest! Fact is is that it is as everyone has said before, Brennan steals the film regardless, winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in the process. Cooper needn't have worried, he's very good here, turning in a number of various strains to Harden's character, bouncing off of Brennan to the pics eternal benefit.

At the core of the plot is a good old fashioned thread involving Homesteaders versus Cattlemen, with Bean throwing his weight around and Harden forced to reevaluate his standing in the town when he falls for Jane Ellen Mathews (Davenport). The Lily Langtree (Lilian Bond) strand gives the pic an offbeat sensibility, making this a sort of dramatic comedy oater, but it works really well. Toland's photography is superb, sharp black and white sequences are given ethereal qualities, hinting at the fact this at times fun picture might be leading to a darker path?

Davenport is weak and most of the supporting players struggle to make much of an impact, but come the attention grabbing finale you know you have been fed a wholesome western of substance. Propelled by two acting legends. 7/10

The Mummy [DVD]
The Mummy [DVD]
Dvd ~ Boris Karloff
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Put it back. Bury it where you found it. You have read the curse. You dare defy it?, 10 July 2016
This review is from: The Mummy [DVD] (DVD)
The Mummy is directed by Karl Freund and written by Nina Wilcox Putnam, Richard Schayer and John L. Balderston. It stars Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron, Edward Van Sloan, and Bramwell Fletcher. Music is by James Dietrich and cinematography by Charles J. Stumar.

The first of Universal's Mummy films follows the story of Imhotep (Karloff), who after being awaken from his tomb by expedition workers, believes his lover has been reincarnated in the body of a modern woman.

It's undeniably slow moving, it's stagy, and away from Karloff the acting and dialogue is just about reaching average qualities. Yet there's a haunting quality to the pic, with a number of genuinely eerie sequences. The shadowed photography helps greatly for funereal atmospherics, while it's somewhat refreshing to find a film of this type not resorting to shock tactics to get your attention.

An important film in a lot of ways and well worth a look for those interested in the history of Horror Film. 7/10

The Longest Yard [DVD] [2005]
The Longest Yard [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Michael Irvin
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.72

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You're as maniacal as a box of kittens., 27 Jun. 2016
A remake of Robert Aldrich's 1974 film The Mean Machine, which starred Burt Reynolds, this version sees Peter Segal direct and Adam Sandler headlining. Also starring are Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, James Cromwell and William Fitchner.

One time gridiron superstar Paul Crewe, now disgraced, gets himself sent to a prison run by a gridiron fanatical warden. Coerced into being part of a match between the guards and the cons, Crewe has his work cut out to make a team out of misfits, runts and near idiots!

Adam Sandler has always proved divisive, and this film has proved to be no exception. Massively popular at the box office (over $100 million profit), it's a film that anyone with an aversion to Sandler should stay away from. I mean if by 2005 you haven't realised he's not for you then why would you watch this?

Coming from someone who absolutely adores the original film, I had no hesitation in watching this, I like Sandler and I don't mind remakes as I'm always intrigued to see how they pan out. This is full of prison stereotypes, close to the knuckle humour and meaty violence, but is it funny? From my perspective yes it is, very much so, with some of the dialogue sparkling and delivered with comedic grace by a fine cast. But that's me, others, as we know, don't feel the same.

The action is well put together by Segal, the convicts training sequences are great fun, while the main game that crowns the pic is exciting, dramatic and yes, great fun. The support slots contain more beef than an Aberdeen Angus stew, with the likes of Michael Irvin, Terry Crews, Steve Austin and Brian Bosworth fronting up, while David Patrick Kelly playing a weasel is never a bad thing. A lot of people loved it in 2005, I'm now one of their number. 7/10

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by passionFlix UK
Price: £4.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why would a man frame himself... for murder?, 27 Jun. 2016
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is directed by Peter Hyams and Hyams adapts the screenplay from Douglas Morrow's story/screenplay for the 1956 film of the same name. It stars Jesse Metcalfe, Amber Tamblyn, Michael Douglas, Joel David Moore and Orlando Jones. Music is by David Shire and Hyams also tackles cinematography duties.

C.J. Nicholas (Metcalfe) is a journalist aiming for high things. He is convinced that high profile lawyer Mark Hunter (Douglas) is corrupting legal issues and sets about proving it...

The 1956 film was the great Fritz Lang's last American film, more court drama than being overtly film noir, it was a film well tuned into legalities of its time. Hyams here updates to a modern era setting and it is fanciful - due to the advancements in technology - in the extreme. Of course those things can often be forgivable if the film is well put together and holds some thriller/drama weight.

The look of the film is cheap, as in a TV movie look, with the cinematography uninspiring, the young cast members hardly turn in characterisations to care for, while Douglas (who is very good) is surprisingly under used. The story is a fascinating one as per human foibles, and there's a double whammy stroll down twister street that lifts the film to a rewarding closure. But it's still a disappointment, and this even if you haven't seen Lang's far superior 56 film. 6/10

Lake Placid [2000] [DVD]
Lake Placid [2000] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bridget Fonda
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £3.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Crocodile - Big Log - Big Fun., 20 Jun. 2016
This review is from: Lake Placid [2000] [DVD] (DVD)
There's a gigantic crocodile loose in the waters of Maine. A number of local hicks and big city eccentrics converge to try and stop the beast...

Wonderful! A modern day homage to the creature feature movies of lore. It's not a spoof, it's a fun packed tongue in cheek thriller, hell it may even have some literary worth as regards ecological concerns, while the cultural clashes that thrive are written with knowing skill.

Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda and Brendan Gleeson are superbly underplaying things, but they all get usurped when at the 20 minute mark Oliver Platt flies in on his helicopter and promptly owns the film from that point on.

The script crackles with choice wit and sarcasm (the Gleeson/Platt on going feud an absolute joy), while Stan Winston provides beastly graphics that are blended with genuine suspense courtesy of director Steve Miner. Oh and Golden Girl Betty White turns in a support slot - the potty mouth!

Double it with something like Tremors, movies that know exactly what they want to homage. 8/10

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