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Join us for the latest on the best in extraordinary fictional television and film from the past, present and future, and analysis on its cultural impacts.

Find out about the amazing facts in fiction, and discover the truth about what's really going on in the World around us...

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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Blue Money - out now on Blu-ray and DVD“Blue Money” is a TV movie starring the irrepressible Tim Curry (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”) as Larry, an aspiring actor making ends meet as a taxi driver. When a passenger leaves behind a case stuffed with cash, Larry nicks it and flees with his girlfriend Pam (Debby Bishop – “Sid and Nancy”). On the road, the duo encounters a crazy Scottish hitchhiker (Billy Connolly – “The Last Samurai”) and some deadly gangsters who really want their money back.

Directed by Colin Bucksey (Masters of Sex, Better Call Saul), this comedy/ musical/ thriller allows Curry ample opportunity to show off his superb talents, including singing, doing impressions and pulling rubbery facial expressions. Dermot Crowley (Luther, Bleak House) co-stars as Larry’s bent mate Brogan, who – once he learns about the money – is rather hard to shake off!

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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Paths of Glory - out no on Blu-ray“Paths of Glory” is a searing critique on the futility of war, directed by Stanley Kubrick (“The Shining”, “A Clockwork Orange”) and starring Kirk Douglas (“Spartacus”, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”). Douglas plays Colonel Dax, a World War I French officer coerced into sending his troops on an impossible assault on a German fortified position, primarily to appease the media and public opinion back home.

The inevitable happens and the attack fails disastrously; countless soldiers are killed and the rest either retreat or refuse to go over the top in the first place. The top brass is incensed and orders the selection of three men to be court martialled as an example to the rest, with death by firing squad a near certainty. Dax, a lawyer by trade, demands to be their defending counsel, clinging on to the slender hope of saving them.

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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Man in the Moon on DVDKenneth More (“A Night to Remember”, “Sink the Bismarck!”) stars in this madcap British comedy about a human lab rat who is shortlisted for the first manned mission to the moon. William Blood is a man seemingly immune to all ailments, worries and fears. He is unaware of the goal of the mission, the large cash prize attached to it, or that he has a competitor who will stop at nothing to stop him succeeding.

The director is Basil Dearden (“Dead of Night”, The Persuaders!), and the cast also includes Shirley Anne Field (“Alfie”) as a jaw-dropping stripper who catches Blood’s eye, Michael Hordern (“Where Eagles Dare”) as the scientist who sees the hero’s potential, Charles Gray (Blofeld in “You Only Live Twice” and “Diamonds are Forever”) as a devious fellow astronaut and Norman Bird (“The Hill”) as Blood’s best mate.

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Sunday, 11 September 2016

Flight of the Phoenix - out now on Blu-rayA plane carrying around a dozen men is forced to crash-land in the Sahara Desert after encountering a violent sandstorm. The survivors, a mixture of British army personnel, oilmen, an engineer and a physician, must pull together or die in this harsh environment. Their food and water supplies are limited and they have no way to communicate with civilisation, so it seems that rescue by a search party is their only hope.

Directed by Robert Aldrich (“The Dirty Dozen”, “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”), this disaster movie has a very strong cast that includes James Stewart (“Read Window”) as pilot Frank Towns, Richard Attenborough (“The Great Escape”) as his co-pilot, Peter Finch (“Network”) as Captain Harris, Hardy Krüger (“A Bridge Too Far”) as an aeroplane engineer, Ernest Borgnine (“The Wild Bunch”) and Ronald Fraser (“The Wild Geese”).

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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Tingha and Tucker - the lost legendary koalas make it to DVDTingha and Tucker, even for those who were there at the time, are now on the cusp of memory. Between 1962 and 1970, ATV made this pair of koala bears heroes to a generation of pre-school kids, but mainly only for those in the Midlands. And I was one of them, even being taken by my parents to Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire to see the bears, and their matriarch, ‘Auntie’ Jean Morton, for one of their ‘Annual Meetings’.

Jean had been promoted to various onscreen roles, following being one of the inaugural station announcers for ATV Midlands from 1956, along with future Police Five host Shaw Taylor. However, it is for this one children’s series that an entire age band most remembers her, thanks to assorted merchandise and an extremely popular fan club for the koalas. And now, Network has compiled everything that remains of the series in the archives, in an incredible two-DVD set which demonstrates amiable anarchy for pre-schoolers that has, even to this day, never been so raucous.

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Sunday, 14 August 2016

Patrick McGoohan in All Night Long on Blu-rayAs we approach the 50th anniversary of The Prisoner next year, it is not surprising that there will be a rising interest in all things ‘Patrick McGoohan’. And so it is that we see a fully restored Blu-ray release of “All Night Long” from Network, which is Shakespeare’s “Othello” set against an internal backdrop of an East London jazz jamboree.  Its subject matter is as timeless as you would expect with work based on the Bard, with one little bit of vintage technology making this very much a period piece.

From 1962, and presented in a brand-new High Definition transfer from original film elements in its as-exhibited aspect ratio, McGoohan is drummer Johnny Cousin, with the actor revealing another talent not widely mentioned on his CV. It’s terrific to see him genuinely playing with gusto amongst a parade of topline jazz stars of the time. That said, in one instance when McGoohan's character is playing a drum solo, the kit is different in the medium shots and Point-Of-View shots.

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Sunday, 14 August 2016

Identicals - out now on DVD and VODAre you happy with your life? If not, would you pass up the opportunity to start anew, leaping into somebody else’s richer or more exciting existence? Dark, sci-fi thriller “Identicals” presents a window into such a possibility. Slater (Lachlan Nieboer – Torchwood, Downton Abbey) experiences a shocking home invasion where his girlfriend Nadia (Nora-Jane Noone – “The Descent”, the Jack Taylor TV movies) is abducted at gunpoint.

Still reeling from the violent attack, Slater receives an invitation to visit Brand New U, a company that specialises in identity transference. In return for essentially becoming a new person, albeit with a similar face, customers must promise to leave their past lives behind and fully embrace their new reality. The punishment for breaking this rule is potentially fatal, but Slater’s love for Nadia proves difficult to shake.

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Sunday, 07 August 2016

Kidnapped with Michael Caine out now on DVDBased on the novels of Robert Louis Stevenson, “Kidnapped” is an adventure story set in the aftermath of the 1746 Battle of Culloden. David Balfour (Lawrence Douglas – The Onedin Line) is an 18-year-old Scotsman who, seeking his inheritance, is kidnapped by his dastardly uncle Ebenezer (Donald Pleasance – “The Great Escape”) and enslaved on a ship bound for the Carolinas. After a fierce fight and resulting shipwreck, Balfour finds himself back on Scottish soil.

He is accompanied by Alan Breck (Michael Caine – “The Italian Job”), a notorious Jacobite rebel being hunted by the British Red Coats. The pair become enmeshed in the assassination of a key British ally and flee for their lives. The film also stars Jack Hawkins (“Zulu”), Trevor Howard (“Ghandi”), Gordon Jackson (Cowley in The Professionals) and Freddie Jones (“The Elephant Man”). Director Delbert Mann won an Oscar for “Marty”.

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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Police Story - Lockdown - out now on Blu-ray and DVD“Police Story: Lockdown” is the sixth film in the action-packed franchise that started way back in 1985. The inimitable Jackie Chan stars, this time as Captain Zhong Wen, an elite cop who is kidnapped when he meets up with his estranged daughter at a nightclub. The club’s owner, Wu Jiang (Ye Liu – “City of Life and Death”) has a serious grudge to settle, and the lives of a dozen or so hostages lie in the balance. Can Wen save the day?

A cross between “Die Hard”, “The Dark Knight” and “Saw”, “Lockdown” features little of the Chan trademark humour, but a surfeit of impressive stunts and fights. He may be 62 but Jackie (“Rush Hour”, “The Karate Kid”) is still going strong. This is a movie oozing in brooding, claustrophobic atmosphere and a sense of constant danger. Director Ding Sheng got the best out of his star before in “Little Big Soldier”, and does so again here.

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Sunday, 17 July 2016

Cocoon - out now on Blu-rayDirector Ron Howard (“The Da Vinci Code”) enjoyed further success after “Splash” with this gentle sci-fi tale about the peculiar side effects of some old folks’ encounter with aliens. Most of the occupants of the Sunny Shores Villas retirement home seem resigned to their sedentary existence and declining health, but not all. Several gentlemen defiantly try to see off the Reaper by breaking into a neighbouring property’s magnificent swimming pool.

One day the OAPs discover a number of large, pod-like objects in the pool, and post-swim the men feel unusually alive and bursting with vigour. The cocoons have been placed there by a group doing some marine archaeology, but who are they and what is their intention? Regardless of the answers, the men have some hard decisions to make regarding their new-found lust for life and their futures.

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