Little Big Soldier DVD/Blu-ray

“Little Big Soldier” stars the indomitable Jackie Chan as a lowly soldier fighting for the honour of the Chinese territory of Liang. Set in ancient times, China is in a state of turmoil as rival provinces wage endless war against each other. This is not a war film, however, but rather an endearing, action-packed adventure featuring bold characters, stunning settings and Chan’s familiar but effortless brand of slapstick humour.

Chan’s unnamed character comes to on a dormant battlefield littered with the dead bodies of fallen soldiers. As he tries to get his bearings, he spies a wounded general stirring, and – having made sure the enemy combatant is not about to die – resolves to ferry him home to claim a sizeable bounty. They have a lot of dangerous land to cover, and this is only the beginning of the duo’s daring escapade. The core of the story centres on the evolving relationship between Chan’s peasant and the rival Wei general (Leehom Wang). Initially full of inbred hate for each other, shared adversity gradually brings them closer together and engenders a modicum of mutual respect.

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Temptation on DVD

Set in contemporary London, “Temptation” tells the story of Isabel (Caroline Haines), the tragic victim of rape and attempted murder at the hands of a minicab driver. At death’s door, she is saved by coven of female vampires. Isabel wakes the next morning with amnesia, an inability to eat normal food and strangely accelerated healing powers. As her shocking memories creep back, the realisation dawns that she is now a vampire.

The police make headway on and tie together multiple murders and missing persons cases that include the cabbie, and their attention turns to Isabel. She must piece together the whole puzzle before they do, but more importantly decide whether she is going to surrender to the dark desires of the demon that is taking her over inside. If she relents, her soul will be lost. The only alternative is death, and the clock is ticking. This is a low budget British horror movie which is being marketed on the back of crude images of scantily-clad lesbian vampires. The vampires’ main haunt is a striptease club called ‘Temptation’, and the DVD cover features a sexy vamp with blood dripping onto her bosom.

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True Legend DVD & Blu-ray

As soon as the name of the director of this new martial arts movie is mentioned, you immediately know what to expect: Yuen Woo Ping. His name (primarily as action choreographer) is synonymous with some of the best-known kung fu movies of the last decade including “The Matrix” trilogy, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Kill Bill Vols. 1 & 2” and “Kung Fu Hustle”. And those are just the films familiar to Western audiences.

On “True Legend” Woo Ping returns to the director’s chair after a 14 year hiatus, and yet again stamps his authority on ‘his’ genre with some of the most innovative and thrilling fight sequences ever. Credit for this is also due in no small part to star Vincent Zhao, an actor renowned in China for parts in numerous martial arts TV series such as Once Upon a Time in China. He plays Su Can, Master of Wu Shu and Drunken Fist styles.

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Dougal and The Blue Cat DVD

There has never been anything like The Magic Roundabout.  Its success as the bridge between children’s television and the BBC Six O’clock News was never quite matched by any of the other five minute formats which would frequently fill in for it.  The subversion within the series even boiled down to how the English soundtrack was crafted.  Narrator and re-interpreter Eric Thompson wouldn’t even reference the original French version, making up stories that fitted Serge Danot’s original visuals.

And so, the same technique was applied to the 1972 cinematic version of the 1970 original “Pollux et le chat bleu”. Playing out at the cinema rather than on telly, the technicolour of the production is positively psychedelic and of its time. The narrative is creepy, sometimes positively disturbing.  The references that would play well to adults were carried over, and the canvas for the movie is adjusted to justify the big screen treatment.

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Not Like Others on DVD

With vampires enjoying continuing popularity on television and in books, we are being presented with variations upon a theme, some of which seek to treat vampires in a more sympathetic manner.  These include the idea of realism as applied to the concept of a blood-sucking night-dweller.  “Let the Right One In” painted a picture of the vampire as more a victim of its state than as a predator.  “Not Like Others” compares itself to the earlier film, but fails to match either its atmosphere or tone.

The realism in NLO is really no more than the absence of either a fantasy or horror element.  Are the sisters actually vampires?  Apart from the Swedish title, “Vampyrer” (translated as NLO) there are no mentions of the 'V' word, nor is there ever indication that the girls are anything other than seriously disturbed individuals with a penchant for drinking blood.  

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