ANIMATION AARDMAN’S DARKSIDE
(2 Entertain DVD retaili
As a company renowned for the sweetly naive. homely fun of Wallace and Grornit. Morph and Creature Comforts. it's something of a Jolt to the system to discover Aardman’s adult entertainment Wing. Like the Sooty pregnancy episode or Rainbows one-off frenzy of double entendres. there are some innovations which are best left at the ideas stage.
You can just picture Nick Park, Peter Lord and David Sproxton giggling away at the corruption they may be inflicting upon impressionable souls but not all of it works beyond wicked japes. The perfectly named Fi’ex the Punt and the manically surreal plastic toys of A Town Called Panic fail to hit the right buttons but Angry Kid merges youthful sadism with pre-teen innocence splendidly and the nude adventurer Big Jeff (‘the Aussie without a cozzy') is a real grower. The extras are three
intriguing one-off shorts in which nature hits back at humankind with mixed results.
COMIC TRAVELQGIJE IT’S NICE UP NORTH
(Cadiz Music DVD retaili .0.
John Shuttleworth is a man With a miss:on. Can it posSibly be the case that the further north in the British Isles yOu go. the more pleasant people become? This is the kicking-off pOint for this charming little moVie by Graham Fellows. the man who has occupied the large specs. leather Jacket and red polo neck of Sheffield's finest pub and nursing home crooner for two toe- curling decades.
ShuttleWOrth is accompanied on the trip by Martin Parr, Fellows' fellow chronicler of life's quirky minutiae. and as the Shetland Islanders' courtesy grows With each passing hour. the classy photographer and the cheesy keyboardist get right on each others' wicks. The subtlety of Shuttleworth's humour never allows the film to rise above gentle massaging of the humerus but when so
WIN MY NAME IS EARL ON DVD
Season 1 of the funny. Cult g US TV show My Name is Earl -
is available to buy on DVD ‘ now from Twentieth Century
Fox Home Entertainment. Just for you lucky people The List has seCured five of these babies to give away. To be in with a Chance of winning one send an email marked EARL with your name. address and daytime telephone number to promotions©list.co.uk. no later than 19 October. Usual List rules apply.
min." far“. ’I’J'TTQ-(l, wants to clatter yr... o.er the heart, This 1s a .-.eicorne rinersa" Extras inr‘:u<lre an ai‘iiinate’i short an 1 some deleted sures
HOPROP COUNTESS DRACULA
(18) 93min (Network DVD retaili
HaVing sunk her fangs into the heawng flesh of Kate O'Mara and other voluptuous beauties in the 1970 Hammer hit The Vampire Lovers. Polish scream queen Ingrid Pitt was immediately cast in another softcore horror. Drafted in to replace Diana Rigg (who turned down the role). Pitt plays a character based on the 16th century Hungarian noblewoman Elizabeth Bathory. who supposedly murdered upwards of 600 Virgin girls and bathed in their blood in order to preserve her beauty Ia legend which allegedly inspired Bram Stoker).
Directed by Hammer hack Peter Sasdy (himself of Hungarian Origin), working from a messy script based on the book by the wonderfully monickered Valentine Penrose. Countess Dracu/a IS a pretty anaemic offering. Still, Pinewood Studios and its techmcrans do a sterling job of recreating medieval Europe. and it's good to see British stalwarts Nigel Green. Maurice Dehham and Peter Jeffrey as well as a y0ung Lesley-Anne Down. Extras include a few making of docs and. most interestingly. a commentary by Pitt. whose dialogue was. notoriously. dubbed. (Miles Fielderi
POLITICAL DOCUMFN IAHY
JOHN PILGER - DOCUMENTARIES THAT CHANGED THE
WORLD (E) 650mins
iNetwork DVD retaili 0.0.
It’s hard not to feel ambivalence towards anyone who insists on partisanship. John Pilger is a case in point. A genuinely crusading print and TV journalist, Pilger has been fighting for the rights of the poor, the put- upon and the ordinary man for over 40 years. This monumental work brings together a dozen films, carefully chosen by Pilger himself, covering 705 work, The Quiet Mutiny and Year Zero — The Silent Death of Cambodia, mid-period work such as Nicaragua - A Nation's Right to Survive, and the more recent Palestine is Still the Issue and Breaking the Silence - Truth and Lies in the War on Terror. But while Pilger is a hell of a lot more contextual than just about anyone in his detailing of the history behind the events he focuses upon, he’s also far from impartial. Yet when, for example, in Palestine is Still the Issue, he mentions Israel’s usurping of Palestinian land during the 1967 Six Day War, he fails to mention that Israel did so because of the Arab troops amassing on its borders. This isn’t at all to excuse Israel’s consistently belligerent attitude, but it does allow space for hard-line Zionists to counter him. Pilger’s desire to make a point sometimes means he’s not so much lax with the truth as prejudiced with the facts. In a recent interview with Anthony Hayward, included on this four disc set, Pilger talks about the need for scepticism. It’s useful to keep your own scepticism in mind when watching these films. From this position we can’t help but admire Pilger's range, his confidence, his sense of righteousness, and his willingness to take on bureaucratic bunglers, peering over the top of his trademark reading glasses as he gives his latest victim a steely stare. This is television that matters, and many of the films were made when TV itself seemed to want to make a difference. With minor reservations, this is as good as good as it gets. (Tony McKibbin)
THE MEDUSA TOUCH
(PG) 105min (Network DVD retaili 0..
This 1978 British-French made telekineSis chiller was released the same year as the Australian mind—over-matter thriller. Patrick and Brian De Palma‘s psychic shocker The Fury. Jack Gold. who directed The Naked Cii/i/ Sen/ant for teleVision three years earlier. makes a decent if not partiCularly cinematic Job of the intriguing script by John Briley (who
sul’)s<~;guently wrote Gandhi and Cry Freedom for Dickie AttenbOrough. running an Oscar for the formeri. here adapting a novel by Peter Van Greenawa‘, (no. not that onei. Unfortunately, Richard Burton o .reracts like a man in his Cups as a misanthropic writer ‘Nlili a malignant mind capable of committing mass murder by thinking abOut it. while Lee Bemick is utterly vacant as the psychiatrist who refuses to believe in the supernatural. So its left to Harry Andrews. Derek Jacobi and a host of
ALL DVDS WERE REVIEWED ON A SYSTEM SUPPLIED AND INSTALLED BY LOUD 8: CLEAR
British actors iPo/ice 5's Shaw Taylor even pops up; to flesh out the Supporting roles and bolster the weak leads. Extras include a commentary by the director. IMiles Fielder)
~19 Cc". 2036 THE LIST 41