The Beyond on Blu-ray & DVD

Infamous video nasty revisited as cult horror classic? We have heard it before, but in Lucio Fulci’s “The Beyond”, it might just be true. One thing is for certain, though: this movie features very vivid, gory visuals. They might not always be entirely realistic by today’s standards but they still require a pretty strong stomach. If that warning has not put you off (or actually appeals to you), step this way for a very messy treat!

Liza (Catriona MacColl – “Hawk the Slayer”, “City of the Living Dead”) buys a tatty old hotel in Louisiana. She intends to do it up and make it a going concern, but unfortunately the premises are built on top of one of the seven gateways to Hell, and an awakening army of zombies has other ideas. With the aid of Dr McCabe (David Warbeck – “The Black Cat”, UFO), Liza must battle against the overwhelming forces of darkness.

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Ip Man 2: Blu-ray & DVD

Donnie Yen explodes back onto our screens as Ip Man, aka Bruce Lee’s real-life martial arts master and chief Wing Chun exponent. Following events from the first movie (reviewed here), Master Ip and his impoverished family move to post-WW2 Hong Kong. He struggles to establish interest in his new kung fu school until a cheeky would-be student (Huang Xiao Ming) challenges Ip to a fight. Naturally, Ip wins and soon the lad, his friends and then their friends sign up.

Success brings Ip’s business to the attention of rival clubs and their masters, particularly the underhand and much feared Master Hong (Samo Hung – Martial Law, “Dragons Forever”), who oversees all of the region’s schools and acts as liaison to the Imperialist ruling class. Their schools’ rivalry grows ever more heated and violent, but an even greater threat stands before them in the shape of the bigoted, occupying Westerners.

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Due Date on Blu-ray & DVD

Road movies as a rule tend to follow pretty much the same premise – a couple of people (sometimes more) are planning on travelling from one side of the USA to the other, but are forced by a series of unfortunate events to share a vehicle and make the journey together. Of course, they are all from different walks of life and they initially hate each other. Then, as the journey progresses, and a further series of unfortunate events unforlds, they find they have new found respect for each other, and by the time their journey is over and they have reached their destination, they are Best Friends Forever. Simples.

“Due Date” follows this premise to the letter, and it is, in our humble opinion, way out of its depth! The usually always-watchable Robert Downey Jr plays the rich, arrogant architect Peter Highman, and finds himself having to share a car with bearded weirdo, and aspiring actor, Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifiniakis).

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ITC Retro Action Vol 1 Blu-ray

In the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, Lord Lew Grade of Elstree had one goal in mind for his ITC filmed-TV series empire – crack America at every opportunity.  To do this meant investing in the best production values money could afford – originally on 35mm monochrome stock, and sooner than colour TV was available in the UK he switched to 35mm colour film. What that little history lesson means is that the shows of that era are now able to be given an amazing spit-and-polish, and be upgraded to Blu-ray with amazing results.

And so we have “Retro Action 1” from Network – five of the best series from the ITC vaults given their 21st Century makeover. And, in fact, one of these, Strange Report, was filmed on 16mm stock, a change made when Grade realised that only American syndicated markets, with smaller budgets, would play the game and buy his product. The excellent news is that this show has also benefited from its Blu-ray transformation, and although you’ll no doubt be tired of me saying this, looks like it was filmed yesterday, not some 40 years ago!

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Black on Blu-ray and DVD

“Black” is a plucky French action movie from first-time director Pierre Laffargue. If you imagine a bizarre blend of the guns, gangs and swaggering humour from “Lock Stock”, crossed with a dash of freaky tribal voodoo, you will have a vague grasp of what this film is about. It starts as a straight heist story set in Paris but veers wildly onto the rough (and into Senegal) towards the end. MC Jean Gab’1 (“District 13” I and II) is Black, a seasoned bank robber with a bit of a lucky streak.

As the movie opens, he and his crew are taking down a security van. The job goes horribly wrong when armed police turn up, and Black is the only survivor. Suffering from guilt-ridden nightmares, our anti-hero’s prospects improve when his cousin calls from Dakar with news of the job to end all jobs - 3KG of uncut diamonds! As security at the African bank concerned is notoriously poor, and the job offers a way to escape the heat of the bungled van heist, Black departs from Paris immediately. 

Read more: Black on Blu-ray and DVD

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