The Boy In The Striped PyjamasAsa Butterfield, David Thewlis, Mark Herman  
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Based on the book by John Boyne, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas didn’t really get the box office recognition it deserves on its theatrical release, struggling to find a foothold amidst a stampede of blockbusters. But this is a film that, surely, is ripe for discovery on DVD.

Directed with care and diligence by Mark Herman, whose CV includes the excellent Brassed Off! and Little Voice, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is set during the Second World War, in and around a Nazi concentration camp. It tells its tale through the eyes of two young boys. One is the son of the camp’s commandant, while the other is wearing the striped pyjamas of the title.

The two boys meet and ultimately befriend one another, and The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas tells the difficult story of their companionship. It does it extremely well, too, careful to understate proceedings and demonstrate a restraint that serves the subject matter well. It’s also quite a lean film, and one boasting excellent performances, including David Thewlis as the aforementioned commandant.

If The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas has a problem or two, they pale in comparison to its strengths. For this is a tightly directed, moving film, that does real justice to the terrific book it’s derived from. It’s not always an easy watch, but it's very memorable.—Jon Foster

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Don BoscoLeandro Castellani  
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The government wanted him out of the way, the archbishop tried to silence him, the revolution put a price on his head. But nothing could stop Don Bosco from rescuing the homeless children of Turin. Don Bosco is the true stofy of a priest whose single-handed battle to save the children of the streets inspired the formation of the Salesians, one of the largest child care networks in the world. This feature film, made for television - entertainment that both inspires and informs, is aimed at a wide ranging audience. It has been produced by RAI-UNO, Cinema Tiburtina and LDC.

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The Nativity StoryKeisha Castle-Hughes, Oscar Isaac, Catherine Hardwicke  
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NOTICE: Polish Release, cover may contain Polish text/markings. The disk DOES NOT have English audio and subtitles. A drama that focuses on the period in Mary and Joseph's life where they journeyed to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

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Rugrats: A Rugrats ChanukahElizabeth Daily, Christine Cavanaugh  
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Great video, from Nickelodeon, fast dispatch, UK SELLER

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SpartacusKirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Stanley Kubrick  
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Stanley Kubrick was only 31 years old when Kirk Douglas (star of Kubrick's classic Paths of Glory) recruited the young director to pilot this epic saga, in which the rebellious slave Spartacus (played by Douglas) leads a freedom revolt against the decadent Roman Empire. Kubrick would later disown the film because it was not a personal project—he was merely a director-for-hire—but Spartacus remains one of the best of Hollywood's grand historical epics. With an intelligent screenplay by then-blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo (from a novel by Howard Fast), its message of moral integrity and courageous conviction is still quite powerful, and the all-star cast (including Charles Laughton in full toga) is full of entertaining surprises. Fully restored in 1991 to include scenes deleted from the original 1960 release, the full-length Spartacus is a grand-scale cinematic marvel, offering some of the most awesome battles ever filmed and a central performance by Douglas that's as sensitively emotional as it is intensely heroic. Jean Simmons plays the slave woman who becomes Spartacus's wife, and Peter Ustinov steals the show with his frequently hilarious, Oscar-winning performance as a slave trader who shamelessly curries favor with his Roman superiors. The restored version also includes a formerly deleted bathhouse scene in which Laurence Olivier plays a bisexual Roman senator (with restored dialogue dubbed by Anthony Hopkins) who gets hot and bothered over a slave servant played by Tony Curtis. These and other restored scenes expand the film to just over three hours in length. Despite some forgivable lulls, this is a rousing and substantial drama that grabs and holds your attention. Breaking tradition with sophisticated themes and a downbeat (yet eminently noble) conclusion, Spartacus is a thinking person's epic, rising above mere spectacle with a story as impressive as its widescreen action and Oscar-winning sets. —Jeff Shannon

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Sister ActWhoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Colleen Halsey, Emile Ardolino  
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In Sister Act Whoopi Goldberg plays a Reno lounge singer who hides out as a nun when her villainous boyfriend (Harvey Keitel) goes gunning for her. Maggie Smith is the mother superior who has to cope with Whoopi's unorthodox behaviour, but the cute script turns the tables and shows the latter energising the stodgy convent with song and attitude. A real crowd-pleaser and a perfect vehicle for Goldberg, this is a happy experience all around. —Tom Keogh, Amazon.com

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Pauline And PauletteDora van der Groen, Ann Petersen, Lieven Debrauwer  
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Actors: Dora van der Groen, Ann Petersen, Rosemarie Bergmans, Julienne De Bruyn, Idwig Stephane
Director: Lieven Debrauwer
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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