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Sunday, 10 May 2015 23:00

Fierce Creatures on Blu-ray

Fierce Creatures - out now on Blu-ray and DVDBig business and small furry creatures rub shoulders in this comedy written by John Cleese and Iain Johnstone. Gorillas, Tarantulas and Lemurs vie for attention whilst the human performers contort their way through a storyline that would not look out of place in the present day corporate takeover, tax dodging, financially unstable world.

Cleese plays Rollo Lee a former Hong Kong police officer who has been given the job of director at a failing zoo. His boss, media mogal Rod McCain (Kevin Kline) wants to attain a 20% profit by introducing a 'Fierce Creatures Policy' whereby only the dangerous animals are shown at the zoo. Any cute, cuddly, non aggressive beasts are to be disposed of. This, obviously proves unpopular with the zoo keepers including  Bugsy (Michael Palin) who goes to great lengths to show Rollo that his spiders and insects are just as fierce as a lion or a tiger. Concerned that Rollo is not up for the job McCain sends Willa Weston (Jamie Lee Curtis) to replace him. She arrives with McCains son Vince (also played by Kline) in tow.

Sunday, 27 October 2013 14:18

Wonderfalls: Complete Series DVD

Wonderfalls comes to UK DVDQuirky, kookie and very surreal describes Wonderfalls perfectly. This is a series that will confuse some, bore other and bring laughter to the rest. I can easily see some people watching the first episode and just not getting it. But really you should stick with this slow burner, once it gets under your skin you will be eager to watch the next episode and follow Jaye and her friends and family going from one impossible situation to the next.

Jaye Tyler (Caroline Dhavernas – Hannibal) is a store clerk at a Niagara Falls gift shop. She drifts about with seemingly no idea where she wants her life to take her. When a wax lion begins talking to her she does not know if she is going insane or has become picked by some divine power to do their bidding. The wax lion tells Jaye to help a customer who has had her handbag stolen. Against her better judgement and to hopefully shut the lion up she does as it suggests. There follows a series of events that seem unconnected but all come together by the end of the episode to see Jayes sister Sharon (Katie Finneran) meet a women who becomes her girlfriend.

Sunday, 06 October 2013 11:50

Malcolm in the Middle Season 7

Malcolm in the Middle - Season 7 is the final in the seriesAs we enter this final season of Malcolm in the Middle, first screened in 2005, it is worth reflecting on how is all began back in 2000 when 12 year old Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) was just discovering that he was a genius. Reece (Justin Berfield) was 13 and the then youngest brother Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) was eight. Francis (Christopher Kennedy Masterson) was 16 and at military school.

The years have changed the brothers and their parents Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) and Hal (Bryan Cranston). All have grown, except perhaps Hal who is just as childlike. Malcolm is now 17 and Reece is 18 but has been held back a year and is in the same class at school as Malcolm. Dewey is just starting to get interested in girls and Francis is unemployed and looking for work.

Tuesday, 04 June 2013 00:00

Malcolm in the Middle 6

Malcolm In The Middle - Series 6 out on DVDSo we reach the sixth series of this all American show about a somewhat dysfunctional family. If you have read my reviews of the previous series you will know that Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) is the genius brother to Francis (Christopher Masterson), Reece (Justin Berfield), Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) and baby Jamie. His parents, Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) and Hal (Brian Cranston) struggle to hold the family together, somehow they just about manage to keep the family in check.

This season sees Francis unemployed, which is a shame as it means we don’t get to see the great Otto (Kenneth Mars) anymore. Reece continues to find more inventive ways to get himself into trouble. Malcolm battles with his own morals on several occasions and Dewey continues to astound with his musical brilliance.

Monday, 29 April 2013 00:00

Malcolm In The Middle 5

Malcolm in the Middle - Season 5 out on DVDSo here we are at the fifth instalment of this highly entertaining series. For the uninitiated the Malcolm of the series is the middle son in a family of five boys. Their parents Hal and Lois try, mostly in vain, to control this quintet of trouble. Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) is a genius, although his intelligence gets him in as much trouble as his brothers. He is sometimes too smart for his own good and often thinks he can outwit his mother. In the episode “Thanksgiving” he sneaks out of the house to go to a party and after drinking a little more alcohol than is sensible he returns home and promptly ruins the family dinner by giving them all a piece of his mind before throwing up and passing out.

Francis (Christopher Kennedy Masterson) is the oldest brother. He works on a ranch for Otto (Kenneth Mars) who is somewhat incompetent and requires Francis to sort out most of the daily running of the business. Francis’ younger siblings all look up to him and sometimes find it hard to accept that he has matured, married and settled down leaving his wayward years behind him. He does, on occasion, revert to his previous self and become quite childish, particularly around Lois who never seems to approve of anything he does.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013 00:00

Dead Head out on DVD

Dead Head - out now on DVDDark alleyways, shadowy people lurking in doorways, dank and dingy basements, what more could you want in homage to the age of film noir. But this is not just film noir; this four part drama mixes the intrigue of the brooding detective films of the 40s with classic chase films and oddly “Rocky”.

Eddie Cass is your average low grade villain, petty theft and the odd job for the big boys keeps him in ready money. He is a little depressed when we meet him having had a blazing row with his wife, Dana. Eddie is offered a very simply delivery job, take a parcel from one location to another across London. The job comes with a couple of restrictions; he can only use public transport and must not open the package. When the recipient of the parcel is not at home Eddie takes a taxi to the Thames preparing to dump the parcel and keep the cash. His curiosity gets the better of him and he opens the parcel.

Monday, 18 March 2013 16:55

Malcolm In The Middle 4

Malcolm in the Middle - Series Four out on DVDHere we go again with season four of this excellent sitcom. If you are new to Malcolm in the Middle let me introduce you to the family. Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) is the genius son and brother in a fraught American family. He is frequently the instigator of plans to make life better for himself and his brothers in a continual war with their parents. Malcolm’s intelligence is also often used to get the family out of tricky situations.

Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) is the youngest and probably wisest brother. He can turn on the charm when puppy dog eyes are required or speak reason to his panicking father. Reece (Justin Berfield) is the second eldest and least understood brother; he occupies a world of his own where simple things amuse him. He is both tormentor and occasional saviour to his younger brothers.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013 00:00

Jack Taylor Collection One

Jack Taylor Collection One on DVDI commute to work courtesy of Britain’s railway network; therefore this gives me plenty of time to read novels. I like to read police procedurals which generally all have the same basic story, a gruesome murder is discovered and a police detective, generally with some ‘issues’ in his personal life is allocated the job of finding the killer.  A battle of wits ensues between killer and cop with the dogged copper emerging triumphant after a struggle either physically or mentally with the villain who generally ends up ever so slightly dead.

Jack Taylor is exactly this type of detective. We first meet Jack as he performs a high speed car chase despite his quarry being a government minister. The subsequent punch to the minister’s face is enough to have Jack thrown out of the Garda. Jack Taylor is something of a maverick, he appears to have no respect for authority, throughout this first story he is continually asked for his ‘all weather’ uniform coat to be returned, he refuses, even when visiting his former colleagues at the station he used to work at.

Monday, 11 February 2013 00:00

Malcolm In The Middle 3

Malcolm in the Middle - Series 3 on DVDMalcolm in the Middle is one of those series (of which there are seven to enjoy) that is so easy to watch that before you know it you have watched quite a few and missed the release deadline and find yourself writing a review a day late. It’s a bit like doing your homework in detention, except this is easy detention where you get to mess about because no teacher has turned up to supervise.

In this third series of the highly enjoyable peek at the lives of Malcolm and his family we are treated to Reece (Justin Berfield) going to high school, Francis (Christopher Masterson) leaving Military School and running away to Alaska, and Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) looking after the school hamster ‘Bernard’.

Monday, 31 December 2012 08:55

The Colditz Story on DVD

The Colditz Story on Blu-ray and DVD“The Colditz Story” is typical of its 1955 vintage. War films of this time were full of British pluck and heroics. Despite facing incarceration in the German Armies supposedly securest prisoner of war camp, our heroes keep a ‘stiff upper lip’ and carry on with their aim – escape. “The Colditz Story” is based on Major Pat Reid’s book of the same name, and he acts as a technical adviser for the film. There are inaccuracies between the book and the film, but only in the name of poetic licence - a lot of the action did happen more or less as portrayed.

Seeing this film now, one can only be bemused at the blatant lack of truthfulness in the portrayal of the conditions the POWs endured. Even in the accompanying special feature, a very interesting documentary about Colditz, the survivors are quick to point out just how bad the conditions were. But films of this time all seem to be a little sugar-coated. The population were probably not ready to be reminded of the harsh realities of war, but instead wanted to be roused and reminded we won.

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