Get in the Film4 FrightFest mood with this slashing good deal on classic horror

Zavvi Offer

With Film4 FrightFest heading into the dark heart of London from tomorrow and over the coming Bank Holiday weekend, the folks at Zavvi have slashed the prices off some the best Blu-ray and DVD horror titles, including classics like The Exorcist, The Shining and A Nightmare on Elm Street, new chillers The Conjuring, and TV favourites like The Following, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries.

Head over the Zavvi now to get the 10% deal now. Click on the link for details: http://www.zavvi.com/offers/warner/horror.list

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Blu-ray review – Brace yourself for scorching action, gripping suspense

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Brace yourself for scorching action and gripping suspense when Marvel Comics’ strapping 1940s super-soldier gets defrosted in the present day for his second solo effort – Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Opening at full pelt with a furious hostage-rescue mission at sea, then turning light-hearted as Chris Evans’ Captain America ticks off a checklist of the pop culture milestones he missed while in the deep freeze, the movie shifts into top gear when Evans’ hero joins forces with Scarlett Johansson’s sassy, snarky Black Widow and Anthony Mackie’s doughty Falcon to thwart a mysterious assailant known as the Winter Soldier.

With no one they can trust, things turn distinctly paranoid, with Robert Redford’s presence as a slick politician adding to the sense that we’re in the world of 1970s conspiracy thrillers.

The movie eventually reverts to conventional comic-book movie type, and the later fight scenes go on too long, but a steady supply of snappy one-liners and witty sight gags will keep viewers on board.

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Certificate 12. Runtime 130 mins. Directors Anthony Russo, Joe Russo.

Released on DVD, Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray and digital download by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

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The Love Punch | Film review – Brosnan & Thompson’s bickering exes strive to pull off a diamond heist

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Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson play a pair of bickering middle-aged exes who turn to jewel robbery after a crooked French financier loots their pension funds in jaunty caper comedy The Love Punch – and their breezy good-humoured charm goes a long way to compensate for dodgy plotting and some truly feeble gags. Roping former neighbours Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie into their scheme, the duo head for the Cote d’Azur, planning to gate-crash the fraudster’s opulent wedding and make off with the £10million diamond he has lavished on his bride to be. During the ensuing heist, the jokes are as creaky as the would-be robbers’ ageing bodies, but Thompson’s air of wry disdain and Brosnan’s frisky playfulness are enormously winning – and the sight of the quartet ridiculously togged out in scuba suits to sneak into the villain’s domain is a hoot.

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Certificate 12. Runtime 90 mins. Director Joel Hopkins.

Released on DVD & Blu-ray by Entertainment One.

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Hector and the Search for Happiness | Film review – Pegg’s smug hero sets off on a globetrotting pursuit

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His spirit sapped by a routine life, Simon Pegg’s mopy psychiatrist sets off on a globetrotting pursuit to find the secret of what makes people happy in this strenuously whimsical adaptation of François Lelord’s bestselling self-help book, Hector and the Search for Happiness. The quest takes him to China, Tibet, Africa and Los Angeles, jotting down blindingly obvious insights in his notebook along the way from encounters with, among others, wealthy businessman Stellan Skarsgard, high-class Shanghai call girl Zhao Ming and drug lord Jean Reno, while loyal girlfriend Rosamund Pike waits patiently at home. None of this is particularly funny or touching and the wisdom Pegg’s smug hero accumulates is blatantly shallow.

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Certificate 15. Runtime 120 mins. Director Peter Chelsom.

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The Expendables 3 | Film review – Stallone brings in new recruits for another round of old-school mayhem

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A fresh bunch of recruits joins Sylvester Stallone and his band of superannuated action heroes for another round of outlandish violence and self-mocking quips in The Expendables 3.

The newcomers cover a broad range – token woman (mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey), token Hispanic (Antonio Banderas), token African-American (Wesley Snipes), and even a token Twilight star (Kellan Lutz).

The old-school mayhem remains the same, of course, with our heroes opening accounts by merrily mowing down hundreds of vaguely Eastern European soldiers, who must count themselves unlucky to belong to the wrong demographic group.

Eventually a plot emerges from the carnage. Stallone’s Barney discovers that former friend turned foe Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), long presumed dead, is alive and kicking and dealing in arms. Determined to go after Stonebanks but unwilling to risk the lives of his ageing crew, Barney turns instead to a new set of mercenaries to accomplish the mission. Will his old comrades sit things out?

The film barely bothers trying to generate any suspense out of this, and the relentlessly routine action is equally predictable. Looking jowly and growly, Harrison Ford pops up to fly a helicopter. Arnold Schwarzenegger, returning as mercenary rival Cole Mauser, looks visibly uncomfortable. And Banderas provides unfunny comic relief as an absurdly chatty assassin. The only one who comes out of the film looking good is Gibson, who puts more sly menace into his villain than the part or the film deserves.

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Certificate 12A. Runtime 126 mins. Director Patrick Hughes.

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Black Limelight (1939) | DVD review – an atmospheric and engaging vintage British thriller

Black Limelight (1939)

A house in south west London stands full in the ugly glare of publicity, with a police cordon round it and angry crowds lurking outside. Inside, Mary Charrington (Joan Marion) waits in bewilderment for the next act in the tragedy. Her husband Peter (Raymond Massey) is wanted for the murder of Lily James (Coral Browne) at a seaside bungalow in Dorset, which the tabloids have dubbed the work of the ‘moon murderer’. When Peter sneaks back home after three weeks on the run, Mary takes in onto herself to unmask the real killer. But in doing so puts herself in terrible jeopardy…

Black Limelight (1939)

THE LOWDOWN
This vintage British crime thriller, which was called Footsteps in the Sand in the US, and directed by former silent movie helmer Paul Stein, certainly doesn’t attempt to hide its stage roots, being based on a 1936 play by Gordon Sherry, which scored much success on Broadway and in the West End.

This being Britain of a bygone age, manners are prim and proper, everyone speaks the Queen’s English, children are seen but not heard, and women are regarded as hysterical creatures, not to be listened to. But not our heroine Mary… With her husband on the run, Mary juggles useless Scotland Yard detectives, a nosey American reporter (Dan Tobin), and unwanted neighbours, while also turning sleuth to prove Peter’s innocence. And she does so with jolly good bravado.

The drama very much wears its heart on its sleeve: men are portrayed as fools for straying from the marital home where wives provide all the love they need. Even the Monthly Film Bulletin drew attention to this in their review about Joan Marion’s performance, which it described as ‘so convincingly restrained that a film which begins as just another murder thriller almost ends up as a social document’.

Black Limelight (1939)

Social comment aside, Black Limelight is an engaging and atmospheric affair, featuring some sprightly performances. Never one to stand for convention herself, Coral Browne was the perfect choice to play free-spirited Lily, whose tragic story gets told in flashback. Despite only having a few minutes on screen, the Australian actress’ scenes give the stage-bound proceedings a well-deserved lift, while also providing a neat counterpoint to Marion’s wholesome Mary. And as loyal maid Jemima, Elliott Mason provides some much needed light relief. Raymond Massey, however, does little more than look like a lost puppy throughout.

While the killer’s identity is rather obvious, this musty drawing room mystery will draw you in, and it’s great fun watching Marion’s Mary practically sacrificing herself to unmask the culprit courtesy of a single handkerchief. A woman’s work is never done when there’s a killer to catch…

THE UK DVD RELEASE
Part of Network Distributing’s The British Film collection, Black Limelight is presented in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical 1.33:1 aspect ratio. It also includes an image gallery and the original shooting script (in pdf). While the mono sound is scratchy at times, the print is excellent, with Claude Friese-Greene’s monochrome cinematography at its shimmering best in the bungalow scenes.

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Lauren Bacall 1924 – 2014 | The passing of a Hollywood legend

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As the world mourns the passing of Hollywood screen icon Lauren Bacall, we recall the 1944 movie that launched her career and began her legendary on and off-screen partnership with Humphrey Bogart – Howard Hawks’ hugely entertaining Caribbean thriller To Have and Have Not.

To Have and Have Not

Bacall was only 18 when Hawks signed her up after his wife spotted the teenage model on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. A year later Hawks cast her as footloose American Slim in his loose adaptation of an Ernest Hemingway tale in which a cynical boat captain – played, of course, by Bogey – gets drawn into the French Resistance. “You know how to whistle, don’t you?” Bacall’s Slim famously taunts Bogart’s skipper Steve. “You just put your lips together and blow.” Bacall later admitted that her smouldering upward glances at her co-star were a happy accident, as she was so nervous on the set that she had to tuck her chin into her chest to stop it from shaking. The duo’s chemistry in the film is so smouldering that it’s hardly surprising that they married in 1945.

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Blood Ties | Film review – Clive Owen’s ex-con & Billy Crudup’s cop: brothers up in arms in 1970s Brooklyn

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Clive Owen’s hotheaded ex-con and Billy Crudup’s doggedly decent cop are brothers on opposite sides of the law whose divergent paths through life become repeatedly entangled in Blood Ties, French director Guillaume Canet’s epic crime drama set in 1974 Brooklyn. Will the fraternal ties that bind them be severed for good? The film is too sprawling and unfocused to deliver real emotional clout, but there are are some gripping stand-offs along the way, while Marion Cottilard, Mila Kunis and Zoe Saldana offer fine support as the women in the brothers’ turbulent lives.

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Certificate 15. Runtime 125 mins. Director Guillaume Canet.

Released in cinemas and on digital download from Friday 15 August.

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Win sci-fi adventure Divergent on Blu-ray

Divergent Blu-ray Competition

In a futuristic Chicago, society is divided into five factions based on personality type, created to bring everlasting piece.

Abnegation (Selfless), Amity (Peaceful), Candor (Honest), Dauntless (Brave) and Erudite (Intelligent).

On a given day each year, all sixteen year olds must take a test and choose where they belong. For Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) the choice is not an easy one. In a divided existence where everyone must conform, Tris is DIVERGENT – a danger and threat to this seemingly perfect world.

Forced to hide this deadly secret, Tris chooses Dauntless and is drawn to her enigmatic mentor, Four (Theo James), who appears to both threaten and protect her. As a dangerous conflict develops amongst the factions, Tris must rely on her strength and courage not only to survive, but to save the people she loves.

Based on the worldwide bestseller by Veronica Roth, action-adventure DIVERGENT stars Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), Theo James (The Inbetweeners), Kate Winslet (Contagion),  Zoe Kravitz (X-Men: First Class), Miles Teller (That Awkward Moment), Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard) and Maggie Q (Mission: Impossible III).

To celebrate the film’s release on Blu-ray & DVD we have three Blu-ray copies to give away, courtesy of Entertainment One. To be in with a chance of winning simply answer the following question and email movietalk@ipcmedia.com with your answer.

Q: Divergent is set in which futuristic city?

  • London
  • New York
  • Chicago
Competition closes 4pm Friday 29 August. Terms and Conditions apply.

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Divergent is released on Blu-ray & DVD by Entertainment One.

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Muppets Most Wanted | Film review – Shifty Ricky Gervais hoodwinks the Muppets into a madcap caper

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The madcap Muppets are back with their trademark blend of innocent wonder, gleeful musical spoofs and cheesy jokes for a follow-up to their 2011 big-screen return, aided by a roster of game-for-a-laugh stars in cameos and supporting roles.

In Muppets Most Wanted Ricky Gervais plays the shifty Dominic Badguy (‘pronounced ‘Bad-gee; it’s French’) who gets the plot rolling by hoodwinking the Muppet gang into going on a global tour. Sure enough, it’s all a ruse to pull off a string of heists in European capital cities and the hapless Kermit find himself banged up in a Siberian gulag, his place in the troupe replaced by a dastardly lookalike, fiendish Russian criminal mastermind Constantine. Naturally, the naively trusting Muppets fail to spot the imposture, despite Constantine’s thick accent and all-round dodgy behaviour.

Truth be told, the film’s a bit dodgy, too. The gags and songs are not as funny as last time around and the plot drags from time to time, but Tina Fey is great fun as a Broadway-loving gulag guard and the Muppets are as adorable as ever.

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Certificate U. Runtime 113 mins. Director James Bobin.

Released on Blu-ray & DVD by Walt Disney Home Entertainment and available on Digital HD & VOD.

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