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Cinema

Frank Sidebottom The Home of the Retrospective

ON DVD & BLU-RAY

Def-Con 4 (1985) dir: Paul Donovan Blu Ray (Arrow)

This low-budget apocalyptic Canadian sci-fi adventure starts out ok but then plummets down to Earth (in more ways than one) and becomes a dull Mad Max clone. It stars Lenore Zann, Maury Chaykin, Kate Lynch and Tim Choate.

Kate Lynch in Def-Con 4

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Under Fire (1983) starring Nick Nolte Blu Ray (Eureka!)

This gripping entry in the 1980s journalist-amid-political-instability cycle is marred slightly by its love triangle aspect. Nonetheless, it still works well as a depiction of the chaos and devastation of guerrilla warfare and features fine performances by Nick Nolte, Gene Hackman and Ed Harris.

Nick Nolte in Under Fire

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Bellman & True (1987) starring Bernard Hill Blu Ray (Indicator)

This forgotten heist thriller, produced by HandMade Films, offers plenty to make it worthy of rediscovery. It's exciting and occasionally humorous but doesn't lose sight of its human dimension in the relationship between a tainted father and a son who adores him despite his faults.

Bellman & True (1987)

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Cujo (1983) dir: Lewis Teague Blu Ray (Eureka!)

This solid adaptation of Stephen King's killer St. Bernard story of the same name really picks up during its tension-filled second half. It stars Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh-Kelly, Christopher Stone and Ed Lauter.

Stephen King adaptation Cujo (1983)

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Black Moon Rising (1986) starring Tommy Lee Jones Blu Ray (Arrow)

This sci-fi action-thriller is notable for being one of John Carpenter's writer-only credits. It's not bad but it's hard to escape the feeling that he should have directed it too. It also stars Linda Hamilton, Robert Vaughn, Richard Jaeckel and Bubba Smith.

Robert Vaughn in Black Moon Rising

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Wheels on Meals (1984) dir: Sammo Hung Blu Ray (Eureka!)

The so-called Three Brothers - Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Baio - team up for this kung fu action-comedy set in Barcelona. While it's not their best outing, it's still plenty of fun. Both the car chase and climactic castle fight are fabulous setpieces.

Jackie Chan and Benny Urquidez in Wheels on Meals

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Parents (1989) Blu Ray (Vestron Video/Lionsgate)

Bob Balaban's black horror comedy about cannibalism within the Suburban American Dream is a subversive, surreal gem. Randy Quaid gives the finest, creepiest performance of his career. Also starring Mary Beth Hurt, Sandy Dennis and Bryan Madorsky.

Bryan Madorsky in Parents (1989)

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Gardens of Stone (1987) Blu Ray (Indicator)

Francis Ford Coppola's little-seen look at the Vietnam War from the home front is a worthy, sombre effort which never quite delivers the emotional sucker punch that it aims for. However, there are sterling performances by James Caan, Anjelica Huston, James Earl Jones and D. B. Sweeney.

Gardens of Stone (1987)

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Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988) Blu Ray (Arrow)

This feature-length spin-off for Cassandra Peterson's vampy, campy horror hostess persona is lightweight, disposable fun, filled with innuendoes and sight gags. While the actress was nominated for a Razzie award, she carries the slender film on her shoulders well enough.

Cassandra Peterson as Elvira

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Escape from New York (1981) Blu Ray (Studiocanal)

John Carpenter's cult classic sci-fi adventure receives a beautiful 4K restoration and plenty of extra features. The great cast includes Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, Donald Pleasance and Adrienne Barbeau.

Kurt Russell in Escape from New York

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More DVDs and Blu Rays

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CINEMA

ARTICLES

Vampyres directed by José Larraz

RETRO

Erik the Conqueror directed by Mario Bava

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