13th Feb2016

Regression (DVD)

by timbaros

A detective investigates the case of a young woman who accuses her father of a crime, a crime where there might be more going on, in the psychological drama ‘Regression.’

Ethan Hawke stars as Detective Bruce Kenner and Emma Watson plays Angela Gray. Gray makes a confession to Reverend Beaumont (Lothaire Bluteau) that her father has abused her. Kenner is brought in to investigate, and once he does it takes him into a world that involves Satanic Ritual Abuse. ‘Regression’ was actually inspired by a wave of events that occurred in the U.S. during the 1980’s; events that involved the occult that destroyed families, caused chaos, and panic, and led to several people being imprisoned.

Set in a small community in the Midwest in the 1990’s, Kenner discovers that Angela’s father (David Dencik) is an alcoholic, that her mother died when she was very young, and that her alcoholic grandmother, whose also an alcoholic and very eccentric, is somehow linked to a local satanic cult. It’s up to Kenner to investigate Angela’s accusations while piecing together her troubled family background and at the same time dealing with his own nightmares and demons.

‘Regression’ literally mean going back, and that’s what Kenner attempts to do with Angela’s past. ‘Regression’ is structured like a crime story where there is no proof of the crime that was committed, unfortunately it also has a plot that doesn’t make much sense and some scenes that are laughable when not intended to be, and a couple characters who don’t fit into the story. The cast is a strong one; Hawke coming off the highly successful ‘Boyhood’ while Watson is one of the hottest young actresses around, but between them they can’t save this film.

Director and writer Alejandro Amenabar, who gave us the bone-chilling 2001 film ‘The Others’ with Nicole Kidman, doesn’t quite make us believe the events being told in this movie, and has a long way to go before he can top ‘The Others.’

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13th Feb2016

Life (DVD)

by timbaros

HZF_uexF8QrZYnDZcSa-WdNUBu8pYTVlXM5HAij5in4,VniSXrFWzOgU9j_7VfteG73hh4ITPq7KEpC0V1WykJI,qER7NTxGLmoqLqUSs4RE-Xo_xYRjRiw08xfVDNmQOJwThere’s a famous photograph of James Dean in Times Square taken by Dennis Stock. It is now a movie called ‘Life.’

The photo, taken in 1955, shows James Dean, cigarette in his mouth, head tilted towards the ground, the billboards of Times Square in the background, dark clouds overhead, made the cover of Life Magazine. It also made Stock’s career.

So ‘Life’ the movie is all about that photograph, and the events leading up to, and after, that photograph was taken. It’s also a buddy movie: one man on the cusp of celebrity, another man trying to capture him while struggling make it as a photographer and to also spend time with his young son, with an un-cooperative ex-wife. Stock (Robert Pattison) is tasked with an assignment: to do a photo essay on an unknown actor. So he’s introduced to James Dean (Dane DeHaan) at a party, where he’s also introduced to a young Natalie Wood (Lauren Gallagher). Dean in on the cusp of fame – his first film – East of Eden – was yet to be released. So Dean agrees to have Stock follow him around to get some shots. The first are rejected by his editor – who wants to see hazy shots of an unknown actor boozing it up in a club with Eartha Kitt (Kelly McCreary). Stock thinks about taking another job, this one in Japan, but he decides to stay in New York and gets back together again with Dean, and on the spur of the moment that famous Times Square photograph is taken. Not to end there, ‘Life’ takes us with Dean and Stock to Dean’s hometown in Indiana. There is where Dean feels most at home, and comfortable; with family, aunt and uncle and Grandma and nephew (his mother died when he was nine and his father sent him to Indiana to live with them). More famous photographs are taken there; Dean with his nephew, Dean on the farm, Dean in the kitchen; these photos would become part of the Life Magazine photo essay. And that’s the movie.

As you can second guess, there’s not much of a story to build on. ‘Life’ is not only about the photographs, it’s also about the relationship between these two men and especially the trust Stock builds with Dean. But ‘Life’ is boring, with stale dialogue, and with acting that is quite lifeless. Pattison is fine as Stock, but DeHaan, even though he has hair that looks identical to Dean’s, just doesn’t bring the right energy and sparkle that we can presume Dean had. Ben Kingsley, however, is excellent as Jack Warner – the man who guided Dean’s career. And while the period details (clothes, cars, hairstyles) are fine, it’s the story that is not a very exciting one and is not enough to warrant a 110-minute film. Director Anton Corbijn just doesn’t bring any ‘Life’ to this movie.

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06th Feb2016

Everest (DVD)

by timbaros

EverestIn 1996, dozens of people tried to get to the top of Mount Everest. Some succeeded, and some died trying. The gripping and realistic ‘Everest’ recounts, in dramatic fashion, this event.

There were quite a few expeditions on Mount Everest in May 1996, and they all had one goal, to get themselves, and their clients (who paid $65,000 eacg), to the top of Mount Everest, and it was up to the expedition leaders to make this happen. Rob Hall was the leader for Adventure Consultants, and he happened to have Jon Krakauer on his team (journalist Krakauer, who was on an assignment for Outside magazine, would go on to write ‘Into Thin Air’ – a book about the disastrous events that took place on the mountain during this climb ). Hall was also responsible for 7 other clients. The Mountain Madness expedition was led by Scott Fischer, who also had 8 clients, including Sandy Hill Pittman, a very wealthy New York Socialite who was, at the time, the wife of Robert Pittman, the founder of MTV. In addition to the clients, several sherpas (local people who are hired by the expedition companies to carry supplies and food up the mountain, and to fix the ropes and ladders to make it easier and quicker for the clients to get up – practically getting everything in place for the climb) were part of the teams as well. Of course most of Hall’s and Fischer’s clients were not professional mountain climbers, they climbed mountains as more of a hobby, and expected to reach the top of Mount Everest because of the huge amount of money they paid. One of Hall’s clients was a postman (Doug Hansen). Another was a doctor from Texas (Beck Weathers). Also on Hall’s team was Yasuko Namba, a Japanese woman who had climbed six of the Seven Summits. And Hall and Fischer knew that it was good for their businesses to have their clients actually make it to the top. So along with these two expeditions groups, other groups of people trying to climb the mountain at the same time were from South Africa, France, Tibet, and 13 members of a Taiwanese team.


But the weather gods were not smiling on Hall and Fischer and their clients during this climb. And this is the story that ‘Everest’ the film successfully and gloomily brings to life. We are introduced to the teams six weeks prior to the start of their expedition. Hall (played by Jason Clarke) is from New Zealand who leaves his pregnant wife (Keira Knightley) behind to go to work. Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the adventurer with a laid back attitude. Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) says goodbye to his wife (Robin Wright) in Texas to try to accomplish the almost impossible task of getting to the top of Mount Everest. Doug Hansen (John Hawkes) meets up with the gang in Nepal, as does Sandy Hill Pittman (Vanessa Kirby), which is the starting point for all expeditions. It is in Nepal where the teams get to know each other and bond, but it’s when they get to base camp that the adventure, and danger, begins. Base Camp is already at such a high altitude (17,600 feet), that climbers need to be acclimatized so their bodies can get used to the high altitude. It’s also where the operations for the expeditions take place, led by Helen Wilton (Emily Watson). ‘Everest’ takes us with them on the journey of these teams climbing the mountain. But first they need to navigate the Khumbu ice fall, soaring ice towers and crevasses so deep that there really is no bottom. Camp I and Camp II are where the teams stop to rest, perhaps spending a few days here. But it’s the Lhotse Face that is one of the most challenging bits on the mountain. It’s a 3,600 foot wall of ice that they have to climb to reach Camp III, an altitude where most climbers need to use bottled oxygen just to breath. But it’s above 26,000 feet, right below Camp IV, which is called “The Death Zone” because it’s where humans cannot survive for long. If climbers have survived as high up as Camp IV, then it’s full throttle ahead to reach the summit, usually at midnight so that the teams can reach it before noon, that if they survive the heavy gusts of wind, and the Hillary Step, a 40-foot tower of ice and rock on an exposed part of the mountain that becomes a human traffic jam for people getting to the top, as well as coming back down. But it’s the climb back down that is hardest. The climbers are exhausted, some suffering from high altitude conditions, but it’s the lucky ones who can make it down on their own, and it’s these people who have to decide whether to save the almost dead or leave them behind to save their own lives. As recounted in ‘Everest’, Hall and Fischer’s teams encountered a major storm on their way down, but it was not the only mistake that took place on that climb. Besides too many people on the mountain, Hall took Hansen up to top way past the agreed time. And the search for them cost another climber his life. Fischer was not in the best of shape as he was climbing to the top, and had a much harder time going down. And a storm overtook the climbers, which turned out to be unexpected and deathly. And it’s reenacted in ‘Everest’ to extreme detail; high winds, blowing snow, climbers struggling just to survive, dead bodies littered here and there, and almost blacked-outconditions. ‘Everest’ also recounts Weather’s struggle for survival, Hall’s loyalty to his client, and the operations team realizing that there is nothing they can do for the people trapped on the mountain.

‘Everest’ successfully, and grippingly, tells the story of the people who survived the mountain that fateful year. And while there have been a few books and one television movie made about this event, ‘Everest’ is based on the book by Weathers ( Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest (2000)), recollections from some of the survivors, as well as satellite phone conversations between the climbers, their families, and base camp. And the actors who portray the real life characters are superb. Josh Brolin has his best role in years as Weathers, a man who amazingly was left for dead on the mountain but somehow survived. Jason Clarke as Rob Hall is excellent – he’s determined to get his clients to the top and at the same time determined to get back home to see the birth of his first baby. Emily Watson as Wilton, the base camp operations coordinator, is concerned, and then doomed, after she realizes that a few lives have been lost on the mountain. And John Hawkes as postman Hansen gives us a portrait of a man who wants to be there but is not experienced in any way to climb the mountain. Luckily Knightley’s role is not on the mountain (can you actually see her playing someone who is climbing Mount Everest?), she plays Hall’s wife back at home, and there’s nothing she can do to help him. Gyllenhaal’s role as Fischer is relegated to a few scenes, mostly up on the mountain – he’s far from being the star of the movie. Director Baltasar Kormakur (2 Guns, Contraband), working from a script by William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy, takes us with the teams on their journey, and it looks all too realistic. While there are lots of characters to keep track of (the all important Sherpas are virtually ignored), especially when they are all wrapped up – it’s a bit hard to tell who is how, ‘Everest’ brings to the big screen the real life 1996 Mount Everest disaster. Eight people eventually died during this expedition. ‘Everest’ was shot at a high elevation on the trek to Everest in Nepal, in the Italian Alps and at Cinecitta Studios in Rome, and Pinewood Studios in the UK. It can be experienced in IMAX 3D as well as standard 3D and 2D. ‘Everest’ is a true epic adventure that will take your breathe away.

‘Everest’ is now available to buy on DVD.

Everest [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright
Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over

Like new condition. Comes with original artwork. Shipped direct from the UK. All discs 100% QA checked for read errors before dispatch. DVD case may show some signs of previous use. Disc may have some minor light surface scratches which will not affect pl
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23rd Jan2016

Naz & Maalik (DVD)

by timbaros

OnSubwayBedford-Stuyvesant is a tough neighborhood to grow up and live in, it’s even tougher if you’re young, black, Muslim and gay.

‘Naz & Maalik’ (Kerwin Johnson Jr. and Curtiss Cook Jr.) are two closeted Muslim teenagers who happen to be in love with each other. Their relationship remains a secret, not just to their families they are very close to, but also because of their religion’s condemnation of homosexuality. But ‘Naz & Maalik’ shows us how both young men go about their daily routine on a Friday afternoon, it’s an afternoon that sees their relationship get tested over a series of events that take place on that day. They sell lottery tickets and saints cards on the streets to passersby to make a bit extra spending money, and then they go to their local mosque for afternoon prayers, where the preacher says a special welcome to any police or FBI who might be in attendance.

A man on the street tries to sell them a gun that interests Maalik who tries to get the guy to bring the price down. They decide to just walk away and not buy the gun. But unbeknownst to them the gun seller was an FBI agent (Bradley Brian Custer) who, along with his partner Sarah Mickell (Annie Grier), start following the young men around. But It’s Mickell who takes more of an interest, she corners them separately and questions them on where they were the night before, and while Maalik tells her that he was with Naz, it’s Naz who lies and tells her he was at another friends house as to not give Mickell an idea that him and Maalik are in a relationship. But the young men just want to be left alone, and to complete their day’s mission of getting a chicken to kill for Maalik’s mom’s birthday.

Inspired by true events, ‘Naz & Maalik’ poignantly tells what it’s like to be an outsider within your own community, a community that has been under constant surveillance since 9/11. And at it’s center is a well-acted film by it’s two lead stars. Writer and Director Jay Dockendorf interviewed Muslims, including closeted gays, to get a realistic point of view. It’s an impressive first feature from Dockendorf.
VOD / DVD release on January 26 via Wolfe Video. See below to buy.

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23rd Jan2016

Legend (DVD)

by timbaros

91H3V80JltL._SL1500_Tom Hardy is excellent as both the Kray Brothers in the mediocre film ‘Legend’.

‘Legend’ is mediocre because in the way the story is told. It is narrated by Frances Shea, the dead wife of Reginald ‘Reggie’ Kray. She committed suicide at the age of 24, too young to die but it’s a plot device that doesn’t quite work as she’s telling the story from beyond the grave.

Tom Hardy does indeed play both Kray Brothers. He’s Reggie, confident, goodlooking, extreme extrovert, who always gets the girl. He’s also Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Kray, the not-so-goodlooking, introvert, schizophrenic brother, who was also gay. It’s Reggie who seems to hold all the cards and makes most of the most decisions for the brothers, and Hardy goes all out in playing both of these characters. When tough, he’s Reggie, when a bit soft, he’s Ronnie, and when he’s playing either one he’s excellent.

‘Legend’ is based on the book ‘The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins’ by John Pearson. The brothers sure did rise, ruling over East London during the 1960’s, ordering killings during the day and then going over to mum’s house for dinner the same evening. They also ran clubs and protection rackets.

‘Legend’ is a slick retelling of the brothers story. Written by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential and Mystic River), the film primarily focuses on Reggie Kray’s relationship with Shea (played a bit overdramatically by Emily Browning), yet downplays any real relationship that Ronnie was involved in. Sure, he had male hangers-on who were presumably with him for his money and power (definitely not for his looks), but it’s all about Reggie and Shea. Their relationship was true love, and while Shea was very young when she started dating Reggie, at age 16, and then they got married when she was 22, and as played by Browning, not everything was right with her mind. Hardy is excellent as both brothers (Hardy has yet to give a bad performance, just this past year he was in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and ‘Child 44’ and last year was his best performance to date, as the only character in the film ‘Locke,’ – it’s a must see). But it’s also a bit distracting watching him play both roles, especially when in scenes together. I kept on looking for irregularities, yet it was a bit obvious that doubles were used, especially in the fight scenes. Anyway, the brothers were imprisoned in 1969 for their long laundry list of murders, which is when their reign of terror ended. Legend was supposed to have been released on October 2 but the film studio felt that that weekend was ‘bulked up’ with too many guy pics; 20th Century Fox’s ‘The Martian’ and Sony’s Imax-fueled ‘The Walk’. So ‘Legend is now available on DVD.

Legend [DVD] [2015] (DVD)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning
Rating: Suitable for 18 years and over

Brian Helgeland writes and directs this crime thriller starring Tom Hardy in the dual role of infamous gangster twins Ronald and Reginald Kray. The film chronicles the Kray twins' career during the 1950s and '60s as they tighten their tyrannical rule over London. With Ronnie's mental stability in question Reggie attempts to keep him under control while embarking on a romance with the beautiful Frances Shea (Emily Browning). Meanwhile, Detective Superintendent Leonard 'Nipper' Read (Christopher Eccleston) tries to bring the Krays down. The cast also includes David Thewlis, Colin Morgan, Taron Egerton and Tara Fitzgerald.
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20th Jan2016

Last Shift (DVD)

by timbaros

Last Shift_Image1It’s the last shift, and pretty much the end of the road, for rookie Police Officer Jessica Loren in the new DVD release ‘Last Shift.’

Loren (played by Juliana Harkavy from television’s The Walking Dead) has been assigned the last shift at a police station that is being shut down – and it’s the graveyard shift. When she arrives at ten p.m., she’s met by officer Ryan Price (Matt Doman) who tells her to expect a very quiet night – the only interruption he says that she should expect is by a company picking up needles and bio hazard waste products stored in one of the back rooms. And for some strange reason he tells her not to go back there at all. Once Officer Price leaves, all hell break loose. Loren starts receiving phone calls from a distressed young woman who says she’s being held hostage, but all calls were supposed to be automatically directed to the new police station. Loren then has to deal with a homeless man who has somehow broken into the station and who relieves himself in the lobby. Once Loren locks him up, she starts hearing strange noises, and seeing things that are not normal: blood, dead bodies, lights going on and off, visions of young women crying for help, and dead bodies hanging by ropes from the ceiling. But it’s up to Loren to decide that if what she’s seeing is real or just in her head. A phone call from her dead police officer father really messes with her mind. And Loren doesn’t know about the events that took place at that police station years ago – deaths that were extremely gruesome and so unimaginable – perhaps this is why the station is haunted? Or is it? Officer Loren is certainly not alone.

Last Shift_Image5

‘Last Shift’, billed as a supernatural horror film, is brought to us by Writer and Director Anthony DiBlasi (‘Most Likely To Die’). It’s a dark film, very dark. And the scares and frights come at us right and left, up and down, and sideways. It all builds up to a very intense and unexpected ending (though the final scene in the film is a bit silly). At 85 minutes, ‘Last Shift’ is worth clocking in for.

‘Last Shift’ is now available on DVD and VOD.

Here’s a look at the trailer:

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16th Jan2016

45 Years (DVD)

by timbaros

agatha a. nitecka-000044980008-2A 45-year relationship is in trouble after Geoff Mercer receives a letter informing him of news about his first love, which his wife Kate did not know of, in the new film 45 Years.

Tom Courtenay is Geoff, while Charlotte Rampling is Kate, both giving superb performances. They play a couple who have been together for 45 years in the lead up to their huge anniversary party, but it’s on the Monday that Geoff receives that letter letting him know that the body of Katya, his previous love before Kate, has been found in the Swiss Alps. Oh so many years ago Geoff and Katya were on a walking holiday when Katya fell into a fissure in a glacier, with her body never actually found. It’s the letter that Geoff receives that brings him back to the memories of his first love, but it does the opposite to Kate. She actually never knew much about Katya because Geoff really never spoke about her much, but the letter seems to peak her interest in their relationship, and she learn things that Geoff had never confessed to her. Kate didn’t know that they were very serious about each other because it’s something that Geoff never talk about, all those years they’ve been together. Has he been hiding from Kate the true nature of him and Katia’s love for each other? Kate then calls into question her relationship with Geoff. Is she his true love? Or was it Katia? Kate increasingly becomes preoccupied, and worried about this. There’s also something within Geoff that has changed. He has begun smoking again, and he’s been going into the attic to look at the photos of him and Katia. Kate soon discovers that Katia was pregnant with Geoff’s child, and that Geoff having told Kate that he had planned to Marry Katia. As the huge anniversary party gets nearer, and as each day progresses, Katia becomes very unsure and unconfirment of Geoff’s love for her, but will this new revelation cancel/ruin the party?

Director Andrew Haigh, best known for his 2011 film Weekend which captured the short weekend relationship between two gay men, does a similar take in 45 Years, where he captures, in a week’s time, a long-term relationship between a straight married couple, in the lush surroundings and landscape of the Norfolk countryside. It’s a different perspective from his previous work, as well as from his hit television show ‘Looking’ – about gay men in San Francisco. In ’45 Years,’ he makes us slowly progress to the big day, that of the anniversary celebrations, with uncertainty, nervousness, and sadness, not just for Kate, but for Geoff as well. It’s like their entire relationship is being suddenly called into question. And Courtenay and Rampling give excellent performances. Courtenay’s Geoff seems to have no clue how this revelation is affecting Kate, while Rampling’s Kate slowly absorbs the truth about Katia, and is having a harder and harder time accepting it. Hers is an Academy Award worthy performance, and she’s been nominated (but somehow snubbed by the BAFTA’s – it’s a crime!). Based on a short story by British Poet David Constantine called Another Country, 45 Years slowly builds itself from a film that is a very simple quiet relationship of a long-married couple into a loud obstruction where it’s questionable whether there is any point to go nay further. 45 Years stars out as peaceful and quiet, yet gets messier and destructive. It’s one of the best and most beautiful films of the year.

45 Years [DVD] [2015] (DVD)

Director: Andrew Haigh
Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James, Dolly Wells
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast/Crew Interview(s), Commentary, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) is planning a party to celebrate her 45th wedding anniversary. One week before the celebration, however, a letter arrives for her husband, Geoff (Tom Courtenay), containing news that reawakens troubling and long-hidden memories. Though Kate continues to prepare for the anniversary, she becomes increasingly concerned by Geoff s preoccupation with the letter and the ensuing revelations about his past. By the time the party comes round, there may not be a marriage left to celebrate. Anchored by sensational performances from Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, 45 Years is an intimate, moving and beautifully restrained portrait of a marriage shaken to its core by things left unspoken. Winning Best Actor and Best Actress awards at this year's Berlinale Film Festival, Andrew Haigh s (Weekend, Looking) 45 Years is British filmmaking at its very best. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Berlin International Film Festival, British Independent Film Awards, European Film Awards, Oscar Academy Awards, ...45 Years (2015) ( Forty Five Years )
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10th Jan2016

American Ultra (DVD)

by timbaros


Take a bit of a James Bond movie, another part from Cheech & Chong, and mix it up with elements of the recent film ‘Spy’ and out comes the new movie ‘American Ultra.’

‘American Ultra’ is a spy action thriller movie masquerading as a stoner film (have a look at the film poster and you’ll see) with lots and lots of comedy. And once it’s over you think the person who wrote the film (Max Landis) must’ve been high on something when he wrote it. Mike (Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network) and Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) are, basically, potheads, living in what seems like a very empty town in West Virginia. They’ve been together for several years, with Mike never getting the courage to ask her to marry him. He’s booked a trip to take her to Hawaii to propose but he’s afraid of flying so they never actually get on the plane. But Mike’s content with his job as a cashier at the local Cash & Carry, where there never seems to be any customers. But he’s not the person you think he is. He’s actually a sleeper agent, a machine, created by the CIA, and they want him terminated – NOW. So one day in his store walks in CIA agent Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton). She’s come to town to rescue him – Mike was an experiment she created – a machine with superpowers – so she feels the need to play mother and protect her offspring. Mike has no idea who she is – but she’s able to activate him – turning on his superpowers so that he can protect himself. But CIA supervisor Adrian Yates (Topher Grace) wants him destroyed – at all costs. Even if it means killing Agent Lasseter in the process. So he sets up a command post in Mike’s town to look for him and to have him killed, bringing in tow with him soldiers who used to be mental patients. So in between all this we get explosions, lots of gunfire, and a visit to the home of Mike and Kirsten’s pot dealer (John Leguizamo) where they go to hide. It all leads up to an extremely bloody conclusion in the town’s discount superstore (a la Walmart).

As mentioned earlier, ‘American Ultra’s’ script is so far out there that one wonders where Landis (son of director John Landis) got his idea for the film. And Director Nima Nourizadeh (whose only other directing credit is 2012’s ‘Project X’ where three high school seniors host a party that spirals out of control) keeps the action flowing, which takes place over the course of one night, but he can’t help but let the silliness of the plot take over. Mike and Kirsten seem to be the most sensible people in the film, whereby the CIA agents are badly drawn as buffoon carton characters who can’t pull off their mission. ‘American Ultra’ reminds me a bit of ‘This is the End’ – Seth Rogen and James Franco’s 2013 comedy about the end of the world – where it just keeps on getting funnier and more surrealistic. ‘American Ultra,’ even though it looks slick, seems to be missing the ingredients that made ‘This is the End’ memorable. And while it’s a good ride that may make you high from just watching it, it’s also very silly to be taken as a true comedy. ‘American Ultra’ is not as good as a Bond film, but, in it’s favor, it’s not as bad as ‘Spy.’

‘American Ultra’ is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray.

American Ultra [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Walton Goggins, Topher Grace, Connie Britton
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star in this American comedy action thriller directed by Nima Nourizadeh. The film follows Mike Howell (Eisenberg), a permanently stoned young man who is content with his small-town life and spending time experimenting with recreational drugs with his girlfriend Phoebe (Stewart). However, it soon becomes apparent that Mike has been included in a top secret government operation of which he has no memory of and is actually a highly trained lethal assassin. When Mike is deemed a liability and marked for extermination by top government officials, it's time to put his training to good use...Technical Specs: Languages(s): EnglishInteractive Menu
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03rd Jan2016

Precinct Seven Five and The Cobbler (DVD)

by timbaros

PSF_2D_DVDEntertainment One has just released two new films for the holidays, one (or both) of which may appeal to you.

‘Precinct Seven Five’ tells the story of ‘the dirtiest police precinct ever.’ It was Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct, during the 1980’s, which was in one of the toughest neighborhoods in all of New York City. But it was the base for many dishonest and sleazy cops as well. And the sleaziest cop of them all was Michael Dowd – who was then called ‘the dirtiest cop ever.’ He was born and bred in New York from an Italian family and was a police officer for 10 years and 5 months. And he broke almost every police rule in the book.

Precinct Seven Five is all about Dowd and how he went from being a working class honest policeman to a criminal, both protecting and robbing drug dealers and lining his own pockets with cash and drugs. It was a time during New York City’s low periods, the 1980’s, when drugs were rife and the murder and crime rates were at an all time high. Dowd used his authority as a police officer to commit crimes and acts of corruption in violation of his sworn duty to uphold the law.

Precinct Seven Five begins after Dowd’s 1992 arrest on charges of racketeering and conspiracy to distribute narcotics. He agreed to speak on Sept. 27, 1993, at then New York City Mayor David Dinkins commission on police corruption where Dowd admitted to committing thefts, extortion, engaging in narcotics trafficking, protecting drug operations, engaging in personal drug use, pretty much breaking the law by his own estimation hundreds of times. This hard-hitting documentary has Dowd explaining his actions, alongside interviews with his police partner Ken Urell, Urell’s wife, police investigators, and a few real life criminals. Real footage of a derelict New York City and photos of crime scenes puts us right in 1980’s New York City. Director Tiller Russell successfully tells Dowd’s story from being a respectful police officer to his arrest and conviction in 1992. It’s a shocking tale of how one man got away with so much in his years as a police officer, and exposed how much crime was rife within New York City’s police precincts back then.
Precinct Seven Five is now available on DVD, Download, and On Demand

The Cobbler

Adam Sandler plays a cobbler in his latest film simply titled ’The Cobbler.’ Yes, it does sound like a silly premise, but the film actually works.

Sandler plays lonely and sad Max Simkin. He’s inherited his father’s shoe shop, hence carrying on the family business that’s been passed down generations. But Simkin doesn’t want to be there – he’s just going through the motions. Simkin shares an apartment in Brooklyn with his elderly mother and lives to work and to take care of her. His perspective changes a bit when a young woman by the name of Carmen (Melonie Diaz) comes to his shop (as well as the barber shop next door, owned by Jimmy – Steve Buscemi) asking for his signature on a petition to prevent developers from kicking long-term residents out of local buildings. Carmen is just one of many different types of people who come into Simkin’s shop. Other customers include the beautiful model who lives with her English boyfriend next door, as well as local thug Leon (Method Man). But when Simkin’s shoe stitching machine stops working while he’s fixing Leon’s very expensive shoes, he uses the machine in the basement that used to be his fathers. And when he’s done fixing Leon’s shoes, he tries them on because they’re the same size as him, and lo and behold Simkin becomes Leon! It’s a hilarious discovery, because Simkin continues to try on other people’s shoes that have been left in his shop, and he literally becomes his customers, from an obese black kid, to a transvestite.

This leads Simkin to become anybody he wants to be, in any situation. But he’s led back to wearing Leon’s shoes which leads him to becoming mixed up in Leon’s criminal activity. It’s activity that involves Simkin (as Leon) to go to the real Leon’s flat to investigate what the real Leon is up to, where he’s mistaken for Leon and then led around as Leon to handle his illegal activity. Simkin also becomes involved with Carmen and her orgazination in helping out an old man who is about to be kicked out of the apartment he’s lived in for 45 years. Thrown in Ellen Barkin as a rich criminalizing real estate socialite and Dustin Hoffman as Simkin’s father (who’s actually Simkin but then later is his real father), and you get a charming comedy drama that’s funny and cute. While the ending is a bit silly and oversentimental, it’s a magical ride. ’The Cobbler’ is written and directed by Tom McCarthy, who is now receiving rave reviews (and possible Oscar nominations) for his soon to be released film called ‘Spotlight.’

‘The Cobbler’ is available now to download and is out on DVD and On-Demand on 4th January 2016.

Precinct Seven Five [DVD] [2015] (DVD)

Director: Tiller Russell
Starring: Michael Dowd
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

Tiller Russell directs this documentary about corruption in the New York Police Department during the 1980s. The feature chronicles the corrupt practices of East Brooklyn's 75th precinct during the city's widespread crime wave at the height of a crack cocaine epidemic. Featuring interviews with the precinct's serving officers during the decade, the programme focuses on crooked cop Michael Dowd as he recounts his descent into criminality which began with a small bribe and escalated into working for Dominican drug kingpin Adam Diaz. Other contributors, including Dowd's partner Ken Eurell, explain how the officers were able to receive a cut of the crime wave without losing their jobs or being investigated by their colleagues in Internal Affairs.Technical Specs: Languages(s): EnglishInteractive Menu
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14th Dec2015

Eden (DVD)

by timbaros

EDEN Photo7If you’re a big fan of garage and dance music, then you’re gonna love ‘Eden,’ a film about one of the pioneer DJ’s of the French underground dance music scene, with a great soundtrack.

‘Eden’ is based on the true-life experiences of Director Mia Hansen-Løve’s brother (and co-writer) Sven, who was one of the pioneering DJ’s of this new wave of music in the 1990’s. It charts the story of Paul (Félix de Givry) who, with a few other friends, forms a DJ collective. ‘Eden’ follows the highs and lows of Paul’s career from 1992 to 2013, including his romances, meetings with high profile DJ’s and singers, and problems with drugs and money.

We meet Paul (and his friends) as teenagers in 1992, at a club, of course. In the background is a sampling remix of Minnie Riperton’s ‘Lovin You’ as part of the infectuous song ‘ A Huge Evergrown Pulsating Brain’ by The Orb. Paul is also smitten with Julia (Greta Gerwig), an American woman living in Paris. Paul knows that she will eventually go back to America, and when she does, he’s devastated. Fast forward to 1995 and Paul and his best friend Arnaud (Vincent Macaigne) have become a DJ duo, playing primarily garage music. It’s music that was first made popular at a gay club in New York called Paradise Garage by DJ legend Larry Levine back in the 1980’s. Paul and Arnaud christian their DJ name as Cheers and they play garage music with a Parisian twist. It’s high energy music, not quite house music; it’s style is euphoric and melancholic, and energetic. Meanwhile, Paul is also getting romantically involved with the diminutive Louise (Pauline Etienne). She’s tiny and cute and perky and is a perfect match for Paul, and she goes with him everywhere. Including, in 2001, when Cheers are invited to play at a huge venue in New York City, where he’s reunited with Julia, who is now pregnant and with another partner. But something about Paul’s meeting with Julia changes something within Louise, and she decides that she needs to lead her own life. Meanwhile, back in Paris, Cheers club looks to be very successful, but somehow Paul never seems to have any money. He borrows from friends, and also from his mother (Arsinée Khanjian), who also suspects that Paul is taking drugs. A couple years on their manager tells them that perhaps they need to change their style to keep up with the times. But will Paul and the rest of the Cheers team manage to do so, and to become at least financially successful and perhaps world reknown?

The soundtrack is the best thing about ‘Eden.’ If you are of a certain age, you will relish in hearing the tunes in this film take you back to your days in the clubs. It’s a soundtrack worth owning. 1993’s instrumental ‘Plastic Dreams’ by Jaydee, the first song played in the film, is a classic dance song. And it sets the music tone for the rest of the film. Club classics such as Frankie Knuckles’ ‘The Whistle Song,’ ‘Finally’ (Original Extended Mix) by Kings of Tomorrow, and the efferable 1991 smash hit ‘Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)’ by Crystal Waters, are music highpoints in the film. The film itself, at 131 minutes, is a bit of a stretch in telling Paul’s story. Of course, a lot of the focus is on the music, which it should be, and the entire cast are very good in their roles, all believable in living in the time in which the film takes place. The brother and sister script happens to be a bit thin, and when one of Paul’s friends commits suicide, we don’t really know why. But ‘Eden’ is all about the music. It’s a film that charts the history of garage music from the early 1990’s to 2008, and this it superbly does.

Eden [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Starring: Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

Félix de Givry stars in this French drama written by Mia Hansen-Løve and her brother Sven Hansen-Løve, on whose life the film is based. Paul (de Givry) is a troubled young man in need of a path and purpose in life. When he travels to Paris and discovers the world of underground music, he realises that he has found his true calling in life and sets about learning how to be a DJ. As he gets sucked into the seedy world that comes with life as a DJ, Paul quickly finds himself hooked on drugs, sex and hard-hitting bass. However, as Paul ages his music ages too and he struggles to keep up with the changing pace of the beats he once knew.
New From: £3.73 GBP In Stock
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09th Nov2015

Pasolini (DVD)

by timbaros

PastedGraphic-1-2PastedGraphic-1-24623673045Director Abel Ferrera brings us the few days in the life of gay Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini in his new film simply titled ‘Pasolini.’

Ferrera, who last year gave us the gripping, scandalous, controversial and excellent film ‘Welcome to New York’ (which was inspired by the case of Dominique Strauss-Khan (DSK), the former chairman of the IMF who was accused of raping a hotel maid), presents us a film where Ferrara imagines and then reconstructs the last days in the life of Pasolini.

Pasolini was an extremely controversial film director. His films combined themes of religion and sex, his own personal views on topics such as abortion, displaying in your face bacchanals that left little to the imagination. His last film – titled Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom – depicted children subjected to violence, sexual depravity, and horrific murder – making Pasolini an extremely hated, or genius, figure. In ‘Pasolini,’ Willem Dafoe doesn’t so much imitate or play Pasolini in the film, but he inhabits the actions and thoughts of him. And Ferrara, in putting this film together, spoke to Pasolini’s relatives and friends to gather the memories and thoughts of a man who would wind up being killed by a rent boy at the age of 53 in Italy.

‘Pasolini’ is not so much an actual biography of the last days of Pasolini’s life, it’s more of a combination of the actual events that took place coupled with scenes from an unmade Pasolini film, a film that he was actually working on when he died. So we have Ferrara inhabiting the shoes of Pasolini and bringing to life scenes from the film that Pasolini never made – Porno-Teo-Kolossai – coupled with the events from the last days of his life which included meetings to discuss his new film, in his home with his mom and assistant and various friends, and to finally, his pickup of a male rent boy that would result in his death. It’s a very realistic film. Ferrara uses the actual locations of the real life events and also uses Pasolini’s personal objects and clothes in the film. This, coupled with Dafoe’s performance, gives us a documentary style production that is rich in it’s storytelling. Dafoe gives a fantastic performance inhabiting Pasolini’s world, right down to the language (some of this film is in Italian, and not every part of it has subtitles), to the glasses that he wears, to the clothing, to the way he carries himself. Like Gerard Depardieu who perfectly inhabited the role of DSK, Dafoe convincingly inhabits the role here. Even down to the final scene in the film, where Pasolini has sex with the rent boy and ends up being badly beaten, and run over by his own car. It’s a brutal death for a man who didn’t deserve to die that way. His murder on a beach on the outskirts of Rome on November 2, 1972 is still an open case despite the conviction of the rentboy that he picked up that night. It would be bit more fascinating if a filmmaker can make a film about Pasolini’s life – that would be a much more well-deserved tribute.

Pasolini (DVD) (DVD)

Director: Abel Ferrara
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ninetto Davoli
Rating: Suitable for 18 years and over

Willem Dafoe stars as visionary Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini in this drama examining the last day of his life. Having just completed work on his latest film 'Salò, Or the 120 Days of Sodom' (1975), the 53-year-old director lives in Rome while preparing for his next project. But the intellectual film-maker faces opposition from many portions of Italian society including his own family who try to dissuade him from making his next picture due to its overly controversial nature. After he gives what would prove to be his last interview, Pasolini picks up a young street hustler (Damiano Tamilia) and takes him out to dinner shortly before his tragic but mysterious death.
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09th Nov2015

In The Grayscale (DVD)

by timbaros

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 11.53.56 AMTwo men, who seem perfect together, fall in love in the new Chilean gay film ‘In the Grayscale.’

We first meet Bruno (Francisco Celhay) in his grandfathers’ workshop studio where he is living. He’s an architect, and has been assigned by the city commissioners to design a new monument in Santiago. Bruno is introduced to Fer (Emilio Edwards), a history teacher who knows Santiago inside out and will help Bruno look for a unique spot for the monument. Bruno is recently separated from his wife Soledad (Daniela Ramirez) and they share custody of their young son Daniel (Matias Torres). Soledad is very depressed about the breakup of their marriage, and there are days when she can’t get out of bed, even when she’s supposed to be watching Daniel.

Bruno, a handsome quiet type, and Fer, who’s very goodlooking, perky, full of jokes, very energetic with a perfect smile and perfect hair, spend their days together riding their bikes around Santiago. And over the course of their tours of the city, Bruno slowly starts to fall for Fer. It’s a love affair that Bruno finds surprised to be in; he always had doubts about his sexuality but didn’t realize he was going to find someone like Fer. But Bruno has responsibilities with his family, plus he’s ignoring the work that he’s been given so he’s under a lot of pressure to please everyone. And word is out that he’s been seen spending time with, and kissing, another man. Can Bruno handle the pressure of his new relationship while trying to be a role model to his son?

‘In the Grayscale,’ which literally translates to being in a state of flux, or being in a range of gray without any color, is pretty much a depiction of Bruno’s life, and is an impressive debut feature from Claudio Marcone. It’s an eye opening film depicting one man questioning his sexuality pitted against another man who’s very comfortable with his. The two male leads are very good, confident in their roles, making the story very believable. But the best bit of the movie comes at the end in the form of a song called ‘Disfruto’ by Carla Morrison which rolls over the closing credits. Morrison’s voice is angelic, and the song, which translates to enjoy, is an ode to secret love, where she sings (in Spanish) ‘be with me during this time, to guard the secret, and to be careful with these moments.’ It’s a beautiful song that wraps up the love between the two men in the film.

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04th Nov2015

Drown (DVD)

by timbaros

Matt Levett as Len in DROWN (3)Three lifeguards pal around until things turn ugly one night in the new film ‘Drown.’

‘Drown’ is a film with very ugly overtones. And it’s not even a positive portrayal of a young gay man who continues to get beaten up and up by an evil homophobic asshole. Handsome Jack Matthews plays Phil. He’s the newby lifeguard in a team that includes the unpredictable and very volatile Len (Matt Levett). They form a trio with fellow lifeguard nick-named Meat (Harry Cook), and together all three bond, in some sort of strange way.

Len has some kind of strange fascination for Phil, it’s either because Phil is gay and Len doesn’t like it or because Len is secretly attracted to Phil, though won’t admit it to himself. Len is also jealous of Meat, because of his very large penis (not shown unfortunately). But when Phil beats Len in a Lifeguard competition, it causes Len to fume with anger and more jealously because he was beaten by a homosexual. Len’s anger grows even more after Phil’s very handsome boyfriend Tom (Sam Anderson) enters the picture.

‘Drown’ is told in flashbacks beginning with their night out to celebrate Phil’s win. But it’s a night out that turns out to be both dangerous, and extremely absurd. In flashbacks taking us away from that night out, we see Len beating Phil up, but Phil denies Len ever doing so, and we’re not told why. Surely an extremely homophobic lifeguard with sadistic tendencies needs to be shown the door? And perhaps arrested? Meat is an accomplice to Len’s evil doings – he’s the bitch that Len seems to desperately want. Len even orders Meat to take off injured Phil’s clothes off on a deserted beach? Including his underwear. And most of the time the dialogue is ridiculous, especially in the moments when Len and Meat are discussing Meat’s large penis. I was just hoping Len would either put it in his mouth or take it up his arse, just to relieve some of his sexual anxiety. And while there are beautiful images of the men swimming, and sunsets, and a woman who swims and swims out to the ocean with the likelihood that she won’t be coming back used as a metaphor for Len’s personality, it all makes for a highly uncomfortable and almost unwatchable 93 minute film.

Out on DVD & On-Demand: 12 October 2015

Country: Australia
Duration: 93 mins approx. / Language: English
Cert: 18 / RRP: £15.99
Extra Features: Trailer, Behind The Scenes

Drown [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Dean Francis
Starring: Matt Levett, Jack Matthews, Harry Cook, Maya Stange
Rating: Suitable for 18 years and over

Dean Francis co-writes and directs this gay-themed Australian drama. The film follows the arrogant head lifeguard Len Smithy (Matt Levett) whose dominant reign of the beach is threatened by the arrival of his new colleague Phil (Jack Matthews), who saves a boy from drowning on his first day on the job. Tensions come to a head on a celebratory night out after Phil wins the annual Sydney life-saving competition and Len's jealousy is pushed over the edge.Based on: The play by Stephen Davis Technical Specs: Languages(s): EnglishInteractive Menu
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31st Oct2015

San Andreas (DVD)

by timbaros

images-371The eagerly-awaited film San Andreas is one of the worst scripted films in recent memory. It’s also a very frightening and almost realistic look at what could happen to California if a major earthquake takes place.

San Andreas, in case you didn’t know, is a fault line that runs roughly 801 miles through California. It’s a tectonic plate that, scientists confirm, will shift, hence causing a major earthquake in that region. The film San Andreas imagines this catastrophe, which practically ruins the state of California, first by earthquakes, and then by a massive tsunami. It’s bone-chilling yet stupid.

The film begins with a young woman driving along a cliff who is distracted by her cellphone. A rock slide takes place, causing her to drive off the cliff with the car nestling on the edge of some rocks, hanging by a thread. Swooping in is Ray Gaines (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), a Los Angeles Fire Department search and rescue helicopter pilot, who comes to the rescue with his team and saves the girl. It’s a metaphor for real events in his life; his youngest daughter drowned and he’s still feeling mega guilty about it. It was also an event that led to the breakup of his marriage to Emma (Carla Gugino), and led her into the arms of mega millionaire building developer Daniel Riddick (Ioan Gruffudd). Ray soon discovers that Emma will be moving in with Riddick, taking along their only daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario).

Meanwhile, scientist Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) and his team discover a previously undetected fault line near Nevada’s Hoover dam. They go there to inspect it, and while they are there, on top and inside the dam, a major earthquake hits. Lawrence is sparred but a member of his team is killed while trying to save a young girl. This earthquake triggers the San Andreas fault line to become active, setting off a massive earthquake up and down the coast of California. Buildings shake violently then fall down, many people die by getting crushed, while Emma is dining at a posh restaurant (with Kylie Minogue). She phones Ray for help and is preposterously saved by him and his helicopter while the building underneath her is collapsing. They then go on a mission to find their daughter, who is in San Francisco with Riddick.

San Andreas then becomes not just a disaster movie but an unintentional comedy. In one scene, Blake asks Riddick why he never had any children. He points to a brochure of his buildings and says ‘these are my children.’ Also, in what can be described as the worst line in screen history, Ray tells Emma ‘It’s been awhile since I got you to second base’ after parachuting into San Francisco’s AT&T Baseball park after enduring death and destruction and also almost losing their lives. And it gets worse. The San Francisco skyline changes from scene to scene (and not just because some buildings fall down) – San Andreas gets worse and unbelievable as the characters continue to survive.

And when you think the characters (and yourself) have had enough, a Tsunami starts to form. Emma and Ray ride into the tsunami on a boat that literally pitches up vertically, only to be sucked under a massive cargo ship – and they survive. And most stupid of all is that, they actually do find their daughter, trapped inside a building with a young British man and his younger brother (both with posh British accents) – and they seem to be the only people who have survived in San Francisco. The filmmakers have obviously applied creative license to a real-world threat, but with a horrible script and unbelievable life and death situations, San Andreas is a fault that never should’ve woken up.