New Rental List

We have updated our DVD rental list – available as a fully searchable PDF at the top of this page under DVD rental/Sales Catalogue, or in hard copy in the shop.

Please note that many of the titles that appear on the new release top sheet will not have been released yet, as we are, naturally, ahead of the times…

Please check the blog for up-to-date release information.



Michael Haneke at Cannes (and Beyond)

Michael Haneke receiving the Palme d’Or on Sunday

Michael Haneke’s latest film, Amour, has won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes film festival. The film centres around an elderly couple whose relationship is severely tested when the wife suffers a series of strokes and stars Jean-Louis Trintignant (The Conformist, Three Colours Red)  and Emmanuelle Riva (Leon Morin, Petre, Three Colours Blue) and Isabelle Hupert (Piano Teacher, Home).

Haneke discusses Amour with The New York Times:


It is the second time that the Austrian director has won the Palme d’Or, having previously collected the prize for The White Ribbon (2009) which portrayed the mysterious goings-on – seeming to centre around ritual punishment –  in  a small village in northern Germany in the years immediately preceding World War I.

The White Ribbon (2009)

Guardian interview with Haneke at the release of White Ribbon:

Der Spiegel interview – “Every film rapes the viewer.”:


Other Haneke films that should not be missed:

The Piano Teacher (2001) – Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes

Isabelle Hupert gives perhaps her greatest and bravest performance as Erika, a brilliant pianist and teacher who lives with her controlling mother. She begins an affair with one of her pupils to whom she reveals her sadomasochistic fantasies…. Disturbing, shocking and utterly brilliant.

Trailer: (in French only)

Hidden (2005) – winner of Best Director and the FIPRESCI prizes at Cannes

Juliette Binoche (Les Amants du Pont Neuf), and Daniel Auteuill (The Closet)  play a couple whose family life begins to unravel when surveillance videos in which they and their son appear begin to be left on their doorstep… Considered by many to be the first great film of the 21st Century.


Code Unknown (2000) – nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2000

A chance event and the life-altering repercussions on the strangers whose lives momentarily intersect at that time – primarily centering on the stories of immigrants in Paris. Poignant, shocking and beautiful. Starring Juliette Binoche.


Funny Games (Austrian) (1997)


Funny Games U.S. (2007)

A film so good, he made it twice… A wealthy family get some unexpected and psychotic visitors. Starring Naomi Watts (Mullholland Drive), Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs) and Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire).


***Available to Buy in Store:***

Bill Nighy Gives Us A Few Words On His Favourite Films…

Thank you, Bill, for being such a sweetheart and for being so damn cool.

When Bill Nighy came by the shop the other evening he was quite keen to help us with our blog, so he took pen and paper away with him to jot down a few thoughts about his favourite films over a curry. When he stopped by with it an hour or so later, here’s what it read (please note, this was unsolicited – we try to keep hassling our customers to a minimum – i.e. to the bare minimum, like sarcastic remarks about ‘taste’ etc – “Are you really going to rent that?”, that sort of thing..):

“‘Punch-Drunk Love’ crashed in at No.1 a while ago as one of my favourite films. A wonderful film with lethal performances from Adam Sandler + Emily Watson.

‘Lost in Translation’ I think, like ‘Punch-Drunk Love’ is one of the greatest films made in my life-time with marvellous performances from Bill Murray and Scarlet Johanssen. It’s a cliché, but Miss Johanssen is touched by genius.

I also consider Video City to be a great movie store and my runaway favourite. This is not P.R.”


Punch-Drunk Love (2002) – directed by Paul Thomas Anderson –  winner of Best Director at Cannes 2002.

If you’re not a fan of Adam Sandler, do not be put off. This fantastic little film is unlike any Adam Sandler film you wish you hadn’t seen. Also, co-starring the ever-great Philip Seymour Hoffman.


Lost in Translation (2003) directed by Sofia Coppola – won best Screenplay at 2004 Academy Awards.


And the man himself:


Birthday Bell: Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee: 90 today

A couple of quick recommendations from the crypt of classics:

Wicker Man (1973) – “The Citizen Kane of horror films” – Cinefantastique.


Three Musketeers (1974) – Lee plays Rochefort in this – the best of many adaptations of the classic novel.




Winner of every award in the world, including the Nobel Peace Prize, The Artists tells the (silent) story of a silent movie star whose popularity wanes after the introduction of sound. The film runs a little slow, a little long and isn’t as punchy as it could be, but there’s enough smart comedy and romance to make it worth watching. Plus it’s worth seeing what the fuss is all about – after all, you don’t want to be the only one on the planet who hasn’t seen it – unless that alone is enough reason for you to want to avoid it, in which case, good for you. Starring Jean Dujardin (OSS 117), Berenice Bejo (Knight’s Tale) and John Goodman (Big Lebowski). Directed by Michael Hazanavicius (OSS117). Cert. PG



More hospital drama/romance/comedy from Seattle Grace. Cert 15.

Obnoxious Trailer:


Sequel to Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. Looks intense. Big lizards and bald men. Is that a giant pile of eggs they’re clambering over? Who knows what might happen. Anything. Clearly, I have no idea… Cert. PG



The Olsen sister makes her debut in this moody psychological thriller about a young woman whose past threatens to overpower her present reality. Cert. 15



Documentary about the famous boxing brothers. Cert. E German and Russian with English subs.



Second season of the successful US HBO series set in post-hurricane Katrina New Orleans. Great music, great cast, great spirit. Starring Steve Zahn (Reality Bites), Melissa Leo (Frozen River), Clarke Peters (The Wire) and Wendell Pierce (The Wire). Cert. 15



An Argentine thriller, starring Ricardo Darin (Secret in Their Eyes, XXY). When an ambulance-chasing lawyer meets and falls for a young, idealistic doctor their unlikely romance is threatened to be overshadowed by his dodgy past. Directed by Pablo Trapero (Familia Rodante, Born and Bred). Spanish with English subs. Cert. 15



A great, muted, observational thriller by director Markus Schleinzer (protege of Michael Haneke). A boring office worker with an otherwise dull life, is keeping a young boy locked up in his house. Austrian with English subs. Cert 18



Family film, made by SkyMovies, about the origins of Peter Pan (the DVD cover looks a lot more friendly). Starring Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill), Bob Hoskins (Mermaids), Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Anna Friel (Brookside) and the disembodied voice of Kiera Knightly (just the way we like it). Directed by Nick Willing (Photographing Fairies). Cert. PG



Documentary about a fundamentalist Christian organisation, perversely called Love In Action, whose aim is to turn gay people straight. Gay teens get shipped off to stay – just like at a Nazi summer camp – and be brainwashed into believing that their sexuality is an illness of which they can be cured. One more thing that makes me glad to be a heathen… Cert. E



Actor-writer-director, Lena Dunham, acts, writes and directs this comedy about 22 year-old Aura who returns home after graduating from University. A film about that period in your life where you just don’t know who you are or what you’re doing (oh, how it lingers)… Cert. 15



A group of teenage friends discover they have mysterious powers that allows then to move objects with their minds, but also to destroy them. From harmless pranks things quickly take a darker turn, leading to an explosive ending. Cert. 15



Drama about first love. British student (girl) falls for American classmate (boy). A forced separation threatens to pull their fragile world apart. Cert.12


Sweet Summer Things… (Pt.2)

Summer suggestions… Actually Sweet. Actually Summery.

Anita Ekberg does as we should do in La Dolce Vita (1960)

Escape the hum. Throw yourself in a body of water. Swimming pools may be best, involving less chance of arrest.

Clip of the scene in la Fontana di Trevi:

Hi-jack a boat and water ski down the Seine. Les Amants du Pont Neuf (1991)

When their water-skis come off, throw yourself after the one you love.

Clip of the water-ski scene:

Share your idle days. My Summer of Love (2004)


Sweet Summer Things…(Pt.1)



Finally dispelling rumours that it had been extinguished long ago, the sun beats down once again, coaxing beads of sweat to stand out upon even the coolest of brows, leaving damp, patchy designs on our shirts where once they were plain. The waiting ache is over (perhaps). Summer has come at last (perhaps). Ice creams melt again and seem actually a reasonable option rather than a totally hopeless fad. People smile at one another and you find yourself becoming the sort of person that actually says to someone: Nice weather we’re having – you’ve become genteel; you’ve turned into your friend’s dad.

However, if for some reason you are allergic to Vitamin D, are pale and peachy, or just vampiric, then perhaps skipping in the swelter is not for you. Perhaps, unlike the masses (fools, all) you prefer to bask indoors – bask in the shade of your room. Some may mock you and attempt by cunning means to lure you out into the withering heat. Offers of outings to the beach (annoying sand, sea sounds and bap-pinching gulls); offers of boating on the lake (danger: drowning, holes, debris, friends with oars); offers of barbecues in the garden (animals sizzling – not unlike yourself – flying ants, children) – you do well to side-step these. Instead, you lounge in the dungeon of your curtained room, peering out occasionally to find – curse it – the sun. How long will it be before your numbers multiply? Before Brits everywhere will be grumbling about the blasted heat, recoiling from the light and scurrying back to the cool of their rooms?

Well, now that we all agree on the perils of nature, how are we to spend this summer of ours? Behind closed doors in the comfort of The Things We Know – our sofa, our fridge stocked with cold drinks, a cocktail shaker sitting cheekily on the side, our TV and – yes – our precious, precious DVD player.

Some sweet summer things are best enjoyed indoors. A few suggestions:

La Piscine (1969)

Because you know if you actually dragged yourself to a real swimming pool, all you’d do is watch all the fit, healthy and beautiful people swim whilst you just do the lengths in your mind…

starring Alain Delon and Romy Schneider, Jacques Deray’s classic thriller, about a love triangle that heads for disaster, is set in sun-drenched St. Moritz. Think how lucky you are not to be lying beneath a giant palm where, at any moment, your unfortunate life may be ended by a falling coconut. It happens all the time. You’re definitely better off indoors…


Last Summer Of La Boyita (2009)

Childhood romance develops over the course of  a summer holiday between Jorgelina and Mario. Poignant and beautifully shot, the film is reminiscent of XXY and Tomboy for its open depiction of inter-sexuality.


Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid (1973)

Because nothing says summer like being hunted down by a sheriff who used to be your best friend, hiding out in a Mexican hacienda and shoot-outs over the dusty sierra. Come on, we’ve all had summers like that. Let’s remember together… Directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Kris Kristofferson, James Coburn and with a fantastic soundtrack by Bob Dylan, who also features in the film.


Summer Things (2002)

The British poster for this film is much more summery:

A very dysfunctional family in Paris go to Le Touquet for summer, as do their extremely wealthy neighbours. One set is living it up, the other is roughing it in a campsite – the two families collide with amusing results.


“Try Acting, Dear Boy…” – Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier. Happy Birthday.

When Dustin Hoffman, of the method acting school, stayed up for three nights so that he would look the part of his Marathon Man character who was meant to look as though he had stayed up for three nights, his bemused co-star, Laurence Olivier of the old school method of acting, gave him this snippet of advice: “Try acting, dear boy – it’s so much easier.”

Well. There are those who believed Sir Laurence was the finest actor of his day. And perhaps he was. And there are those who think he acted like he had a stick up his arse. And perhaps he did. Either way, happy would-be 105th birthday!

Besides the obvious Shakespeare plays (Hamlet, Henry IV, Richard III etc), here are some gems to check out the master in action:

Wuthering Heights (1939)

Olivier plays the tortured Heathcliff in this satisfying adaptation – well worth watching, if only to compare it to the sadly less-than-satisfying version undertaken by Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank, Red Road) which starts so well only to lose all of its passion and tension when the two would-be love birds reach adulthood.


Rebecca (1940) – Won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1941

One of Hitchcock’s finest films, based on the famous novel by Daphne Du Maurier. Olivier plays the widower whose new wife (Fontaine) cannot escape the grip that her dead predecessor has over the household. As in all good Hitchcock’s, suspicion and paranoia lurk in every corner, behind every door and at the top of every staircase…


The Prince and the Showgirl (1957)

When Laurence Olivier cast Marilyn Monroe in his first effort at directing a non-Shakespearean script, he had no idea what he was in for. By most accounts, the shoot was a troubled one – the two stars clashed over acting style and methodology. However, the result is a pleasing comedy – and one of Monroe’s finest. The film My Week With Marilyn (2011), starring Michelle Williams in the title role, centers around the making of this film.


Sleuth (1972)

A husband obsessed with games and problem solving, invites his wife’s lover to meet him, setting up a battle of wits that leads into dangerous – potentially deadly – ground.



New Additions (Old Films We Should Have Had Before, But Didn’t):

Farewell My Lovely (1975)

Not to be confused with the 1944 version whose original title was actually Murder My Sweet – this version stars the ever unimpressed, but always impressive, Robert Mitchum as Chandler’s noir hero, Philip Marlowe.


Urbanized (2011)

Third in Gary Hustwit’s documentary series on design, following Helvetica (2007) and Objectified (2009).


Chasing Amy (1997)

From director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma). Romantic comedy about a couple of comic book artists, one of whom believes he’s found the perfect girl, only to find out that she’s gay. Starring Ben Affleck (Dogma) and Jason Lee (My Name is Earl).


posted by Dixie Turner

Funday Fantasy Favourite: The Secret of Nimh

Secret of Nimh (1982)

Mice and Magic. What more could you want? Featuring the voices of Derek Jacobi and John Carradine and based on the book ‘Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh’. Mother and widow, Mrs Frisby the field mouse, must save her children and her home from the harvest, the rats and the cat. But when her youngest falls ill, she has to seek out the mysterious rat, Nicodemus, and beg for his help. A film about courage, secrets and ploughs.


(Un)Sunny Saturday or Dark, Dark Days of Thanks

It’s one of those glorious British summer days where the sky is basically covered in brilliant cloud that occasionally shifts to reveal the sun still exists, that it hadn’t been extinguished months and months ago as some of us had begun to believe and that there might still be hope of squeezing one solitary barbecue/walk along the river/day in the park out of this year – though probably not today.

As we bask in the beauty of it all, and congratulate ourselves for not living somewhere that has to contend with actual sun, the birds tweet each other #WhatHappenedToThoseBrightBrightDays? and #WhenIWasAChickAllThisUsedToBeFields etc and life is pretty good. We can look out of our windows knowing that the Queen is probably suffering indigestion from all that fois gras and jaw ache from all that talk about ‘ones subjects’ yesterday – and we can smile in thanks. We can probably spend our entire day in thankful contemplation: the summer Olympics are but a stones throw away; London transport will be better than ever and our commutes to work will be painless. Months of standing on over-crowded platforms wondering which of our fellow potential-passengers is most likely contemplating throwing themselves under the forever non-coming train, will be erased as trains will come so thick and fast people will be diving in frenzied glee, just out of joy for the opportunity… Yes, thankful. Thank you, Britain, for the weather, the Queen and affordable and effective transport.

Or we can be ungrateful and cycle. We can shun the union jack and wear shades even though it looks like the dawn of the apocalypse is just one rain drop away and we can stay indoors and make our own fun. Let’s sit down in protest. Let’s sit down and watch protest (actual protest is bad for the larynx):

October 1917 (Ten Days That Shook The World (1928) – Directed by Sergei Eisenstein

Better This World (2011)


Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)


Woodstock (1970) – because protest doesn’t have to be hateful.


Before Stonewall (1984)


Guerilla: The Taking of Patti Hearst (2004)


I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) but only on video…


posted by Dixie Turner

Proud To Have Recently Aquired/Ashamed To Not Have Already: Radio On


Radio On (1979)

Review by Rob Munday

British cinema in the 1970s was a strange place. While America rode its new wave of Scorsese, Coppola, Altman etc, in Britain a few mavericks toiled away often ending up oversees to fund their grand visions. Chris Petit stayed at home to make his debut film Radio On and it deserves to be seen alongside the best of Roeg, Boorman and Hodges.

The film opens with the cold grandeur of David Bowie’s Heroes. We move though a house. As we come to the bathroom the singing switches from English to German and we discover a dead body no longer aware of the blaring radio.

Here is the catalyst for our lead character Robert B to embark upon a very British road trip across the concrete rainbow of London’s Westway and out into the abyss of motorways and time-warp B roads.



This is the 1970’s in inky black and white. The often stunning images show a world in limbo seen through the windscreen, a land of sparse landscapes dominated by the road.

Robert B is a blank faced biscuit factory DJ (what a job!) who uses music to accompany him on this solitary journey. From Stiff Record’s lo-fi wonders Ian Dury and Wreckless Eric to the pulsating futurism of Kraftwerk, the soundtrack propels this film and expresses the emotions that this man hides so deep.



A co-production with Wim Wenders company Road Movies Filmproduktion, Radio On also features German characters but is most notable in its European approach to the story with a similar contemplative beauty to Wenders own Alice in the Cities. There are other filmic touchstones in the dreamlike drive from Solaris and the epic jukeboxes of Chungking Express but Radio On stands alone.

As Petit has said, this film is in part an ode to a Modernism ignored by British cinema. It now represents a one-off, a missed opportunity for homegrown film to embrace the director, to delve inside, and to look out on the lights of a sleeping city and see a sky full of stars.






Action-thriller starring Liam Neeson (Taken). After their plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, a group of oil-rig workers must battle the elements – and the wolves – to survive. Also starring Dermot Mulroney (Georgia Rule). Directed by Joe Carnahan (A-Team). Cert. 15



George Clooney (Syriana) contemplates the truth that an inch-high fortress made out of sand won’t keep you safe forever. Warm and witty. Directed by Alexander Payne (About Schmidt and Sideways). Cert. 15




Big cast action-blockbuster about a skilled assassin who is betrayed by one of her own. Starring Michael Fassbender (Shame), Ewan McGregor (Beginners), Antonio Banderas (Desperado), Channing Tatum (Step Up), Michael Douglas (Wall Street) and Gina Carano. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Che etc). Cert. 15




New Scandinavian thriller series – recipient of inevitable Killing comparisons. When the body of a woman is discovered on the bridge that connects Denmark to Sweden, 2 investigators – one from each country – are brought together to investigate. Cert. 15. Swedish/Danish with English subs.


The Birthday Bell

For whom it tolls:

James Mason (1909-1984)

He of the distinctive voice (see Eddie Izzard’s impersonation of God, or, just see James Mason) and eyebrows, Yorkshireman, James Mason – born today. If you watch only one of his films (shame on you), here are two suggestions, just to be difficult:

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

Tragic love story of an ill-fated couple who are bound to each other through the ages. A stranger and his yacht enter the port of Esperanza and the beautiful Pandora, whom is loved by all but loves none, finds herself inexplicably drawn to him. Centuries before, having killed the woman he loves, the Dutchman is sentenced to eternally wander the seas until a woman is ready to die for him… Watch out for Man Ray’s influence in the film – he painted the picture of Pandora and designed some of the set. The film is also notable for the legendary Jack Cardiff’s excellent cinematography. Oh, and of course, Ava Gardner, often described as the most beautiful woman in the world…


Lolita (1962)

How did they ever make a film of Lolita? So the poster reads. Mason plays Humbert Humbert in Nabokov’s delicious tale of ‘wrong’ love between the teenage nymph, played by ’60s it girl Sue Lyon, and the middle-aged Professor Humbert. Iconic film with an exceptional cast – Shelley Winters, as Lolita’s jilted mother, gives one of the finest performances of her career.


Joseph Cotton (1905-1994)

Despite being in some of the greatest films of his day, Joseph Cotton isn’t as well-known as he should be. Perhaps he came across as too soft or gentle, too much of a ‘good guy’ for the studio execs, but he often played a supporting role: the friend; the good fellow who’s noticed something fishy going on; the jilted husband etc. But check these out:

Niagara (1952)

Brilliant thriller with seemingly innocent Marilyn Monroe as the deceiving wife. Certainly one of her finest roles. Watch out for the scene where she sings ‘Kiss’.


The Third Man (1949)

The ultimate film noir and one of the best films ever made. Ever. You haven’t seen a film until you’ve seen this one. That’s all I have to say about that. And it’s directed by Carol Reed and co-stars Orson Welles. That’s it. Based on the book by Graham Greene. Enough.


May Day Film For Thought


If a Tree Falls (2011) – Oscar Nominated for Best Documentary Feature

If we are in a state of crisis, if the world around us is cut down, burned to the ground, bought and sold as though somebody actually believes they own it, if it is pumped full of poisons until its water is toxic and the trees shed their leaves before they are split from their roots, and if the walls that supposedly protect us also keep us contained, what is there that we can say? As Daniel McGowen asks in this documentary that in part tells his story and part the story of the Earth Liberation Front, when you’re screaming from the top of your lungs and nobody hears you, what can you do?

Some believe peaceful protest is the most fitting form of action for a democracy, others believe that talk gets us nowhere. When so many backs are turned against you, and so many fingers wedged into ears, what difference will your placards and your catch-phrases make? What difference do your blockades make, your sit-ins, your demonstrations when you’re up against batons, pepper-spray and government sanctioned intervention? When the game is rigged against you?

The ELF was born out of frustration. All over America cells sprang up to take action against those they saw to be damaging the Earth. They burned lumber yards to the ground, meat-packing plants, SUV dealerships etc. They were branded terrorists. If a Tree Falls largely explores the validity and appropriateness of this term for these particular crimes. These were actions undertaken, we are told, out of care and the full realisation of the fragility, beauty and value of nature and life. So, who are the real terrorists? What does it mean to be an environmental terrorist? Does it mean those who torch the lumber yard? But what of those who turn our forests into lumber? When was the last time that a chairman for an oil company was arrested over an oil spill?

Business believes it speaks louder than anything else (money doesn’t talk, it swears – Bob Dylan). After a while of trying to get yourself heard over the deafening din of money-printing machinery, people get tired of screaming themselves hoarse. Those with the most to gain count on this. But those with the most to lose don’t always give up.

Many of those involved in the ELF have been caught and punished. Whether you agree with their methods or not, it would surely be foolish to deny the necessity of the sense of urgency which drove their cause.


ELF website:

NY Times index of articles on eco-terrorism:

Fox News on why ‘eco terrorism’ is the FBIs number 1 domestic terrorist threat:,2933,343768,00.html

Guardian article on the non-existent threat of ‘eco terrorism’: