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John Payne

John Payne

Tuesday, 13 August 2019 08:40

The Incident - Dual Blu-ray and DVD

Martin Sheen and Tony Musante make their feature film debuts in this hard-hitting, urban thriller from 1967. Sheen (“Apocalypse Now”, “Badlands”) and Musante (“The Last Run”, Oz) play a couple of street thugs who terrorise the passengers on a New York subway train in the middle of the night. Drunk and unruly, the pair block the exits and work their way around the coach, mentally and physically poking and prodding their fellow travellers to try to provoke a reaction.

The cast also includes Beau Bridges (“The Fabulous Baker Boys”) as an injured army Private, Brock Peters (“To Kill a Mockingbird”, Admiral Cartwright in the 4th and 6th “Star Trek” movies and DS9’s Joseph Sisko) as an angry, anti-white rights activist, Ruby Dee (“American Gangster”, “Do the Right Thing”) as his quiet wife, Jack Gilford (the “Cocoon” movies) as one half of an older couple and Robert Fields (“The Stepford Wives”, “The Blob”) as an awkward gay man seeking friendship.

Friday, 19 July 2019 11:36

Alita: Battle Angel - 4K, Blu-ray, DVD

First announced in 2003 and a labour of love for James Cameron before he handed over directorial reins to Robert Rodriquez, “Alita” is a wondrous movie about a cyborg rescued from a scrap heap who goes on a quest to find out who she is, and who she used to be. Floating above the Earth is Zalem, the only sky city to survive a devastating war with Mars. Only the privileged live there, whilst those down on the planet’s surface face a daily struggle to survive.

In this dystopia, Alita (Rosa Salazar – “Bird Box”, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials”) is rebuilt by altruistic Dr Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz – “Spectre”, “Django Unchained”). She befriends a friendly lad called Hugo (Keean Johnson – Nashville, Euphoria) and soon realises that although she is suffering from amnesia, she has very special fighting and acrobatic skills that will come in handy in such a competitive and dangerous environment.

Thursday, 18 July 2019 14:36

Coming Home on Blu-ray

Triple Oscar winner “Coming Home” is an emotional drama about the impact of the Vietnam War on U.S. soldiers mentally and/or physically injured in battle, and their families back home. Jane Fonda, John Voight and Bruce Dern headline the cast. Sally (Fonda – “Klute”, “Barbarella”) says goodbye to her slightly starchy husband, Captain Bob Hyde (Dern – “Silent Running”, “Nebraska”) as he heads off to join the conflict.

Forced to move off the military base, Sally befriends the girlfriend of another soldier, and takes a job in a local hospital caring for wounded troops. She hits it off with Luke (Voight – “Midnight Cowboy”, “Deliverance”), a furious and immensely frustrated spinal injury victim who she went to college with and helps him find a new purpose in life. As the reacquainted friends grow closer, the distance between Sally and her absent husband increases.

Friday, 21 June 2019 09:11

The Running Man: Blu-ray and DVD

Based on a book written pseudonymously by Stephen King, “The Running Man” stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Ben Richards, a police helicopter pilot who is framed and forced to take part in an ultra-violent gameshow after refusing to slaughter innocent protesters. Released in 1987 and set in a 2019 where the USA has become a totalitarian police state, the film depicts a nightmarish world of censorship, poverty and corruption.

Richards and two Lycra-sporting buddies are thrust into the game as ‘runners’, unarmed, on foot and with the odds stacked massively against them. Hunting them are ‘stalkers’, celebrity killers who go by monikers like Fireball, Dynamo and Buzzsaw, each armed with deadly weapons and some aided by vehicles. They are cheered on by the studio audience and impoverished gamblers huddled outside the studio, eager for carnage.

Sunday, 16 June 2019 09:45

Vanishing Point - Blu-ray/DVD

The Californian police carefully construct a roadblock out of numerous cop cars; into the centre trundle a couple of heavy plant loaders, buckets placed in a V shape with barely a sliver of light gleaming from the gap between them. In the distance, a throaty 1970 Dodge Challenger speeds into view pursued by additional police cars. So begins “Vanishing Point” before the narrative jumps a couple of days earlier to enlighten us.

Kowalski (Barry Newman – Petrocelli, “Daylight”) is an illicit car delivery specialist with a background in professional racing who thrives on tight deadlines. His journey stretches three states from Denver, Colorado to San Francisco, with a 15 hour deadline. To begin with he only attracts a couple of weedy police motorbikes, but as the blacktop flies by, the authorities and media sharpen their focus, the former on stopping him, the latter broadcasting the incident.

Monday, 13 May 2019 16:02

Cujo - Limited Edition Blu-ray

An adaptation of an early Stephen King novel, “Cujo” is about a lovable St. Bernard dog that catches rabies and turns very nasty. Donna (Dee Wallace – “ET - The Extra-Terrestrial”, “The Howling”) is having an extramarital affair whilst her relationship with Vic (Daniel Hugh Kelly – “Star Trek: Insurrection”, Hardcastle and McCormick) is stagnating. Young son Tad (Danny Pintauro – Who’s the Boss?) is the glue that is keeping them together.

When Vic goes away on a long business trip, Donna takes Tad to an out of town mechanic to get her car fixed. She arrives at the remote location only to discover that there is nobody around, and mum and son become trapped in their vehicle, terrorised by a slobbering, snarling Cujo. The thriller was directed by Lewis Teague (“The Jewel of the Nile”, “Alligator”).

Tuesday, 09 April 2019 11:56

Robin Hood: Men in Tights

Screening two years after “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, Mel Brooks takes that movie’s tongue-in-cheek approach as a base line and spoofs it to within an inch of its life. Cary Elwes (“The Princess Bride”, “Saw”) plays Robin, with Amy Yasbeck (“Mask”, “Pretty Woman”) as Maid Marian, Roger Rees (“The Prestige”, Warehouse 13) as the Sheriff of Rottingham (yes, you read that right) and Richard Lewis (Curb Your Enthusiasm, “Leaving Las Vegas”) as Prince John.

Brooks (“Blazing Saddles”, “Young Frankenstein”) takes a fast and loose approach, much in the style of “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun” series, propelling the film forwards with an avalanche of gags and slapstick humour rather than complex plot. Thankfully Elwes is utterly winning as Robin, dashing, charming and effortlessly athletic - not a million miles from his role as Westley in the aforementioned “The Princess Bride”, just not as intellectually sharp.

Monday, 08 April 2019 11:53

D.A.R.Y.L. on Blu-ray and DVD

A smartly-dressed boy called Daryl is discovered lost and alone in the middle of nowhere. Handed in to the authorities and apparently suffering from amnesia, the boy (Barret Oliver – “The Never Ending Story”, “Cocoon”) is fostered by Andy and Joyce Richardson, who soon realise that Daryl has particular gifts. How does he learn the piano and smash a baseball on his first attempt, never mind showing up his teachers at school.

Andy (Michael McKean – “This Is Spinal Tap”, Better Call Saul) and Joyce (Mary Beth Hurt – “Lady in the Water”, “The Age of Innocence”) become very attached to sweet-natured Daryl and fear that his biological parents may come knocking. When this eventually happens, their world gets turned upside down and Daryl’s very existence is put in jeopardy. Who is he and where did he come from?

Monday, 01 April 2019 11:47

The White Reindeer Blu-ray/DVD

“The White Reindeer” is a Finnish folk-horror about a frustrated woman who is bewitched by a shaman into a vampiric, shape-shifting reindeer. Pirita (Mirjami Kuosmanen) is the woman in question, left alone in snowy, bleak Lapland when her husband Aslak (Kalervo Nissilä) goes on a long herding trip. At night Pirita becomes the white reindeer, luring man after man into a valley before transforming back into her human form to drink their blood.

Fans of Hammer Horror movies from the 1960s and 1970s will be very familiar with the type of tale on offer here, but the movie feels quite fresh thanks to the shift to Finnish culture and a more documentary-style approach. This is almost a silent film thanks to there being very little dialogue, and atmospheric orchestral backing to keep things moving.

Thursday, 14 March 2019 10:56

Sink the Bismarck! on Blu-ray

It is Spring 1941 and the battle for control of the North Atlantic is raging. Hulking, ‘unsinkable’ German battleship Bismarck is tasked with taking out Allied convoys, spurring the Royal Navy into a frantic fleet redeployment. The Admiralty’s new Chief of Operations, Captain Jonathan Shepard (Kenneth More – “A Night to Remember”, “Genevieve”) is the man responsible for making some hard decisions for the greater good.

Based in the London war room, 200 feet underground, Shepard puts personal tragedy and concern for his son’s life aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal to one side. Aided by Wren Officer Anne Davis (Dana Wynter – “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, “Airport”), Shepard is forced to leave convoys desperately exposed in order to support the hunt for the Bismarck, but terrible weather conditions mean the giant vessel is alluding detection.

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