Wonderwall (1968) | Blu-ray review – It’s the psychedelic cult movie immortalised by Oasis

wonderwall bluray cover

SYNOPSIS
It’s December 1967 and London is really swinging. Inside his cramped Landsowne Road apartment in SW11, absent-minded professor Oscar Collins (Jack MacGowran) discovers a hole in a wall in which he can view, unseen, the wild antics of a hip photographer (Iain Quarrier) and his collection of beautiful, drugged-up models, including the alluring Penny Lane (Jane Birkin). As he strips away more bricks, mortar, and even his ceiling, to get a better view of the couple’s love-ins and hash-fuelled ‘happenings’, he discovers Penny is far from happy and is soon forced to enter his ‘wonderwall’ in order to save her life…

Wonderwall (1968)

THE LOWDOWN
Immortalised by Oasis in an eponymous track on their album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, director Joe Massot’s far-out Swinging 60s’ arthouse classic, featuring a score by George Harrison, is now out on Blu-ray in the UK following an extensive HD restoration carried out by Pinewood Studios.

The release, from Fabulous Films, includes the original theatrical version of the film as well as the director’s cut that features music from the original Wonderwall Abbey Road session never included in the original release.

READ MORE ABOUT THE FILM… HERE

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The Raid 2 | Indonesian Gangster Phrase Book

Raid2_PhraseBook_infographicHave you been left reeling by pulse-pounding martial arts movie The Raid 2? With this handy Indonesian gangster phrase book you will at least know what is being said between all the blows.

“The mayhem is mesmerising as unlikely martial-arts duo return to the fray.”

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Win a signed Blu-ray of the American high-school comedy G.B.F.

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Meet Tanner (Michael J Willett) and Brent (Paul Iacono). They are two gay best friends. Brent longs for the spotlight and believes that coming out will make him instantly popular as North Gateway High’s very first Gay Best Friend (GBF). Tanner on the other hand, would rather fly under the radar and finish high school without ever being noticed.

When things don’t go according to plan and Tanner is outed instead of Brent, the two boys go from BFFs to instant fre-nemies. Enter the three most popular girls in school queen-of-mean bombshell Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse), drama club diva Caprice (Xosha Roquemore), and sweet, Mormon good-girl ‘Shley (Andrea Bowen), who launch an all-out social war to win Tanner’s friendship.

This gloriously sharp-witted American high-school comedy – think Clueless with a hint of Glee – is out on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 14 April, and we have three copies of the Blu-ray, signed by director Darren Stein and actor Michael J Willett, courtesy of Peccadillo Pictures. To be in with a chance of winning simply answer the following question by filling in the form below.

Q: What is the name of director Darren Stein’s 1999 black comedy?

  • Jaws
  • Jawbreaker
  • Jarhead

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Competition closes 4pm Friday 2 May. Terms and Conditions apply.
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Couch Potato’s DVD Pickings: Witty, bitchy high school fun in G.B.F.

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Don’t you just love the high school movie genre? There’s something comforting about watching others going through the horrors you went through at school. While details change from generation to generation, the struggle to fit in is always there.

And this one’s no exception. It’s a world of fashions, cliques and proms, and people called Fawcett, Caprice, ‘Shley, Tanner and Brent. I’d absolutely hate to be part of such a world; but it’s great fun to watch.

So, this tells the story of Tanner (Michael J Willet) – a shy student who finds himself targeted by three of the school’s hottest and most popular girls when he’s accidentally outed as gay. Each of them wants the latest trendy must-have – a gay best friend (G.B.F.), so geeky Tanner is whisked off by this three-pronged whirlwind of style, popularity, status and beauty into a shallow world, which places a strain on his existing friendships.

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Witty and bitchy, this is totally tongue-in-cheek high school fun. But, it does a good job of poking fun at stereotypes and narrow-mindedness and it’s not without its moving moments. It’s basically Mean Girls meets Glee – without all the singing, but with all of the gay appeal. Performances are all great, especially Will & Grace’s Megan Mullally as Tanner’s best mate’s gay-loving mother, and there are some fabulously funny lines. Enjoy.

G.B.F. is released on DVD and Blu-ray by Peccadillo Pictures on 14th April.

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The Raid 2 | Film review – The mayhem is mesmerising as unlikely martial-arts duo return to the fray

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Brace yourselves for another round of stunningly ferocious combat as the unlikely duo of Welsh-born director Gareth Evans and Indonesian martial artist Iko Uwais return to the fray with a sequel to their brutally exciting 2011 action thriller The Raid.

At the end of that film, Uwais’ rookie Jakarta cop Rama emerged bloody but unbowed from an ill-fated police assault on a slum tenement packed from top to bottom with thugs and killers.

Picking up where they left off, the pair’s new outing barely allows Rama to pause for breath before sending him into another heart-stoppingly perilous venture – going undercover as a prison inmate in order to get in with a crime boss’s banged-up son (Arifin Putra).

He achieves most of his brownie points during an epic fight in the prison yard, a bludgeoning mud-soaked brawl in which he saves the underworld heir’s life. And, following his release, he insinuates his way into the heart of the family’s organisation with an immersive commitment that recalls Tony Leung’s cop mole in Hong Kong crime thriller Infernal Affairs.

The Raid 2 can’t match that film’s intricate plotting or electrifying suspense, nor is it anywhere near as claustrophobic as its own precursor, but the fight scenes are every bit as awesome.

The carnage is eye-gougingly savage – not for nothing does one of the hero’s most lethal adversaries go by the name Hammer Girl – but Evans choreographs the action so tightly and films it so fluidly that the mayhem is mesmerising.

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Certificate 18. Runtime 150 mins. Director Gareth Huw Evans.

“The Raid – Action movie mayhem from unlikely Welsh-Indonesian duo”

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The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears | Film review – This erotic Euro horror is a giddy, kaleidoscopic cinematic experience you won’t easily forget

 

The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears poster

Following the disappearance of his wife Edwige (Ursula Bedena) in their Brussels apartment, businessman Dan Kristensen (Klaus Tange) tries to uncover her whereabouts. Stepping into a mysterious labyrinth hidden within his building, he encounters its strange inhabitants whose tales of sensuality and sadism play out before him…

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THE LOWDOWN
Prepare to have a sensory overload because this beautifully constructed erotic horror-thriller is one hell of a ride, evoking the cinema of Dario Argento, Mario Bava and Roman Polanksi, and the surreal work of Guy Maddin, the Quay Brothers and David Lynch. It’s the brainchild of Belgian husband and wife directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, and follows their 2009 giallo-inspired cult short Amer.

Boasting a soundtrack that plays like a greatest hits of 1970s Italian horror, featuring the likes of Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai; covetable Mid-Century modern décor; evocative photography; stunning Victor Horta-styled Art Nouveau apartment; and some truly masterful editing, the Belgian Bavas have brewed up a bewitching, bewildering slice of Euro psycho horror that’s pure cinematic alchemy.

So light up your Gitanes, put another groovy Euro track on the turntable and prepare yourself for a giddy, kaleidoscopic experience that you won’t easily forget. And if you get lost in the labyrinthine plot (which you will), you can always try picking out the iconic furniture pieces that decorate the sumptuous surrounds.

The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is now playing in selected UK cinemas, and is available to stream at MetrodomeVOD

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The Quiet Ones (2014) | Film review – Hammer serves up a chillingly effective possession horror

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In May 1974, unorthodox Oxford professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) begins a controversial experiment with research assistants Krissi (Erin Richards) and Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne) and cameraman Brian (Sam Claflin). Based on the theory that paranormal activity is caused by human negative energy, and wanting a cure for mental illness, Coupland undertakes some questionable tests on 19-year-old Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke), who believes she is possessed by an entity called ‘Evie’ and has no memory of her childhood.

When his funding is abruptly cut (warning: never play Slade at full volume), Coupland leads his team to a sprawling abandoned house in the countryside where their radical experiments continue uninterrupted. But as Coupland pushes Jane to the edge of sanity, unexplained occurrences begin to take place, which triggers a force more terrifying than Coupland or his team could have ever have imagined…

The Quiet Ones (2014)

THE LOWDOWN
Hammer CEO Simon Oakes describes The Quiet Ones as the kind of film the studio would have been making if they were still in business in the mid-1970s. Well it certainly pays homage to the era, in which satanic/possession films like 1973’s The Legend of the Hell House and The Exorcist (both set in contemporary times) were in vogue, while the film’s themes of psychological horror and soul transference echo those in the 19th-century-set Demons of the Mind and The Asphyx, made the year before.

The Quiet Ones (2014)

Writer/director John Pogue (who also penned 2002’s Ghost Ship and two sequels in The Skulls franchise) creates a suitably chilly atmosphere in which his science versus faith horror tale unfolds, before unleashing (at my count) five good scares – the steam bath scene is geniunely creepy, and watch out for the teleplasm!

The Quiet Ones (2014)

Both Jared Harris (last seen hanging himself in TV’s Mad Men) and Olivia Cooke (currently in my must-watch US drama, Bates Motel) are excellent as the obsessed Coupland and his ‘willing’ subject, the doe-eyed Jane – who may or may not be hiding the truth about her ‘condition’. But the scenes of running about in the dark come off as a bit silly – like something out of TV’s Most Haunted. Aside from that, it’s a huge thrill to see a new Hammer film on the big screen – even if the revived studio, whose last film was the Edwardian spookfest The Woman in Black, hasn’t ‘yet’ decided to shake off the past…

LINKS
Fright Club UK Facebook Page
Hammer Horror Film’s UK Facebook Page
Fright Club UK Twitter Page
Hammer Horror Film’s UK Twitter Page
Follow on Twitter: #TheQuietOnes

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Sample the delights of Indian cuisine at taster screenings of charming romance The Lunchbox

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What a delicious notion! Artificial Eye taster screenings for delectable Indian romance The Lunchbox really are taster screenings – audiences at the previews on Thursday 10th April will be supplied with their own ‘dabba’ – or lunchbox – containing a variety of sweet and savoury snacks, plus a drink, specifically matched to the film.

It’s a glitch in the running of Mumbai’s legendarily efficient dabba delivery service that is the starting point for the film starring Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur. Lonely housewife Kaur is seeking to reach her negligent husband’s heart through his stomach. By mistake, however, her lunchbox arrives on the desk of a widower on the verge of retirement (Khan), sparking a gentle and tender friendship.

Thanks to edible experience experts Teatime Production,  ticket holders to the preview screenings of The Lunchbox will get to sample the tastes and aromas of Indian cuisine – as well as enjoy this thoroughly charming film.

The screenings are taking place in the following cinemas;

Curzon Mayfair
Curzon Richmond
Arts Picturehouse Cambridge
Duke of York’s Picturehouse Cambridge
Exeter Picturehouse
Gate Nottinghill
Greenwhich Picturehouse
Hackney Picturehouse
Picturehouse at Fact Liverpol
Cinema City Norwich
Phoenix Picturehouse Oxford
Ritzy Picturehouse
City Screen Picturehouse York

Find out more about the taster screenings at the official site.

The Lunchbox goes on release in key cities from Friday 11th April.

Certificate PG. Runtime 105 mins. Director Ritesh Batra.

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Pit Stop (1969) | Blu-ray release – Jack Hill’s cult stock car crash-o-rama spins out onto high definition

Pit Stop coverSYNOPSIS
Street punk Rick Bowman (Richard Davalos) winds up in jail after an illegal race goes wrong. Bailed out by stock car race promoter Grant Willard (Brian Donlevy), Davalos is put in a deadly new track called The Figure Eight, where he comes up against maniacal winner Hawk Sidney (Sid Haig)…

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THE LOWDOWN
Featuring a great cast of character actors including Brian Donlevy (in his final film appearance), Ellen Burstyn (in her third film, as Ellen McRae), and Spider Baby’s Sid Haig and Beverly Washburn, Pit Stop (aka The Winner) might be one of cult director Jack Hill’s lesser known films, but its arguably one of his best. Filmed on an actual Figure-8 track, Hill and his crew were able to capture gripping real-life car wreck scenes lending the film a brilliant sense of realism. Following Arrow Video’s release of Hill’s blaxploitation classic Foxy Brown and cult favourite Spider Baby, Pit Stop has been treated to an all-new restoration that hopes to bring fresh interest to the 1960s actioner.

Pit Stop 1

THE ARROW RELEASE
Arrow Video’s dual-format Blu-ray and DVD edition includes an audio commentary with JackHill, interviews with the director, Sid Haig and producer Roger Corman, and a demonstration of the extensive restoration work by James White (watch the clip here). The collector’s booklet includes essays by film critic Glenn Kenny and a history of the Seattle psych band The Daily Flash and their soundtrack to Pit Stop.

Pit Stop 3

DID YOU KNOW?
Richard ‘Dick’ Davalos (East of Eden) graces The Smiths’ 1987 album, Strangeways Here We Come.

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug | Film review – Jackson picks up the pace as Bilbo’s quest continues

MARTIN FREEMAN as the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins in THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

Peter Jackson picks up the pace with the second instalment of The Hobbit trilogy – and so does Martin Freeman’s unassuming hero Bilbo Baggins as the quest to reclaim the lost dwarf kingdom of Erebor gathers momentum.

Where the opening episode, An Unexpected Journey, sometimes felt like a dreary trip to the panto, The Desolation of Smaug is thrillingly cinematic from start to finish.

The first film dragged; this one flies as Bilbo and his dwarf companions fend off attack by giant spiders, repel marauding orcs – with aid from elves Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) – and steel themselves for a fateful encounter with terrifying dragon Smaug, voiced sinuously by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Ian McKellen’s wizard Gandalf has his own share of hair-raising encounters and the implacable Gollum (Andy Serkis) is lurking in the shadows. The visual effects are stunning throughout, but they never, ahem, dwarf the actors and the superb Freeman and McKellen, and their co-stars, continue to breathe vivid life into Tolkein and Jackson’s awesome fantasy.

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Certificate 12. Runtime 155 mins. Director Peter Jackson.

Released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 7th April by Warner Home Entertainment.

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