Jackboots on Whitehall DVD

There have been many spoof movies over the years which have used wartime as a backdrop. Spielberg’s “1941”, Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker’s “Top Secret”, Peter Richardson’s “Churchill – The Hollywood Years”. That trio all had a unique approach to their storytelling, and were brave enough in their execution to only partially succeed – rest assured that these were films you either loved or hated, never somewhere in between.

And so, joining this merry band of genre-busters is “Jackboots on Whitehall”, a film that is populated by a collection of progenies from the illegitimate liaisons of Action Men and Barbie dolls. Featuring the voice talents of Ewan McGregor, Alan Cumming, Timothy Spall, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West, Richard E Grant, Alexander Armstrong, Sanjeev Bhaskhar, and many more, this is WWII revisited from the angle of “Toy Story”. You have high hopes for it, but it could have been so much more.

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Sinbad and the Minotaur DVD

This bold new take on the legend of Sinbad stars Manu Bennett of Spartacus: Blood and Sand and “30 Days of Night” fame. Sinbad and his merry band of ruffians track down the chronicles of pirate Captain Minos, an ancient parchment detailing the location of the golden head of the Colossus of Rhodes. Hot on their tails is evil sorcerer Al-Jibar (Steven Grives – Beastmaster, “Highlander II: The Quickening”).

Sinbad steals the map from Al-Jibar and rescues a buxom princess called Tara (Holly Brisley – Home and Away, “Scooby-Doo”). Together with Sinbad’s crew they must locate Minos’ trap-ridden labyrinth on a secluded tropical island, defeat the terrifying minotaur that lurks within and outwit Al-Jibar and his malevolent henchmen. The rewards are great, but the risks are greater. To give you an idea of the tone and production values of this movie, imagine a feature-length episode of Xena: Warrior Princess or Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, with a marginally higher budget and slightly bloodier action that a ‘12’ certificate affords.

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Missing on DVD

A young film director and an aspiring, sexy actress called Hyun-ah get peckish on a road trip, and stop off for some tasty chicken soup at a guest house. Unfortunately for them, their host is demented, and consequently the director ends up garrotted and gets a spade through his head, and the lady is drugged with chloroform and put through a number of demeaning, misogynistic rituals that probably will not end well for her.

Hyun-ah (Jeon Se-Hong) realises that her time left on this Earth will be short unless she can escape, but – caged like a dog - that seems impossible. Meanwhile, her sister Hyun-jung (Choo Ja-Hyun) senses something is amiss and starts pestering the disinterested local police and sniffing about for clues on her own. Unhinged kidnapper Pan-gon (Moon Sung-Keun) is considered harmless and his unspeakable acts continue under their noses.

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Tajomaru: Avenging Blade

Set 500 years ago in Japan’s late Muromachi period, “Tajomaru” is a familiar tale of greed, betrayal, love and honour. Society is in decline and the forces of law and order are struggling to cope. Two young brothers in a high ranking family graciously save the skin of similarly-aged thief. Little do they realise that this act of kindness will have a profound and deadly influence on their lives a decade or so later.

The elder brother, Nobutsuna, is in line to become the Shogun’s deputy, a position of real power. The younger brother, Naomitsu is content with his lot, especially as he is in love with Ako, the local Great Councillor’s daughter. Roll forwards ten years, and the Shogun puts a massive spanner in the works; he will only permit one of the brothers to become his deputy if they marry Ako and inherit her father’s wealth and status.

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Crying with Laughter - DVD

"A bad trip down memory lane" reads the tagline for this new British movie, and it is spot-on. Joey Frisk’s life is already in tatters. Joey (Stephen McCole – Single Father, High Times) is a stand-up comedian with a serious drug problem. He owes his estranged partner and landlord money and his act is becoming more and more strained. Then a face from the past enters the scene, and everything is turned upside down.

Frank Archer (Malcolm Shields – “Death Defying Acts”, Rebus) is a long-forgotten friend from the military boarding school they attended 25 years ago. Frank appears to want to reconnect with Joey, but the comedian is abrasive and dismissive. That does not stop Frank repeatedly asking Joey to attend a school reunion. When Joey finally agrees, he has little idea what he has let himself in for. The winner of BAFTA Scotland’s Best Film of 2009 award, writer/director Justin Molotnikov’s Edinburgh-set drama is based loosely on terrible, real events from Malcolm Shield’s life, and it absolutely pulls no punches.

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