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Liverpool: City of Stars - Feature

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool

Compiled by Jack Foley

LIVERPOOL is gloriously counter-cultural.

A once booming port that saw the world pass through its docks, Liverpool was fashioned by the working classes. The romanticism of Liverpool formed a community stronger than any other, a community that would produce some of the world’s biggest stars.

In the face of privatisation, Thatcherism and Hillsborough, Liverpool stood strong. The industrious residents of the city refused to be shaken by tragedy; they wanted to be defined by so much more. Kicking and screaming against everything it was told not to do, Liverpool lashed out with beautiful, soulful creativity. Liverpool is a city bursting with culture; a city of stars.

The release of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, on digital download and Blu-ray and DVD now, perfectly demonstrates the juxtaposition between stardom and the working classes in Liverpool through the unlikely love story of real-life 1950s Hollywood starlet, Gloria Grahame (played by Annette Bening) and Liverpool lad and budding actor, Peter Turner (Jamie Bell).

To celebrate the film’s home entertainment release, we take a look at the illustrious stars that transformed Liverpool from a city famous for its industry into a cultural powerhouse.

The Beatles

Who else? A band so inextricably linked with the city, ‘Beatles’ may as well be a synonym for ‘Liverpool’. They are its biggest export. It is perhaps, a little cliché to even talk about the two in the same sentence, let alone mention that the Cavern Club is one of Liverpool’s top destinations, but it is an unavoidable fact that they are one and the same.

What doesn’t get talked about as much is the fact The Beatles had their roots in Skiffle; a working class genre of music that started because people couldn’t afford instruments. They were all from humble beginnings, conquered the world and influenced the world of music forever.

The McCartney dynasty continues to rage on and with it, Liverpool’s pride of its favourite export. Also, special mention to Ringo. No-one ever mentions Ringo.

Steven Gerrard

Even if you’re an Everton supporter, you have to admit he’s iconic. The last bastion of loyalty in football, Gerrard made the painful wait for another league title more bearable with once in a lifetime moments in Istanbul and Cardiff.

He didn’t do it for England, but he did it for Liverpool and became legendary for the city’s biggest club. He continues to give back to the community that made him who he is through training the Liverpool FC youth teams, and is as passionate about where he comes from as the city is proud of him.

Cilla Black

A national treasure. Cilla first found success as a singer in the 1960s alongside The Beatles and Jerry and the Pacemakers, but she is remembered for much, much more. Her broadcasting career saw her rise to become one of the nation’s favourite personalities, with shows like Blind Date and Surprise, Surprise becoming seminal weekend classics that families enjoyed all over the country. The outpouring of pure love when she passed away showed how much she was adored by Liverpool and the British public.

Stephen Graham

Stephen Graham is one of Liverpool’s unsung stars. His charisma has graced both Hollywood and the UK, having starred in blockbusters Snatch and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, to name but two films on his incredibly impressive CV. Instantly recognisable, Graham is emblematic of Liverpool’s thriving performing arts scene that blossomed from the working classes.

His unforgettable appearance as Peter Turner’s brother in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is a fascinating portrayal of family life in a city that was trying to deal with stardom, even though political policy had it on its knees.

John Bishop

Liverpool’s ultimate funny man, John Bishop is one of the UK’s most successful comedians. There’s something about the humour that comes from the North-West that can’t be matched; an acerbic brilliance so relatable people can’t help but fall in love with the person telling the jokes. John Bishop’s cutting observations and down-to-earth demeanour can be attributed to the people of Liverpool’s ability to see things in unique ways and to have the uncanny ability to laugh at self-deprecation. Bishop is a one of a kind comedian who was not only born, but made in Liverpool.

Paul O’Grady

Dark humour, drag and humility, Paul O’Grady is the full package. Though Paul was made famous by his performances as Lily Savage, he is best known for his radio and talk shows. It’s not often that someone can be famous twice for two completely different personalities, but Paul O’Grady made it seem easy. Lily could roast anyone in seconds with witty one-liners, whereas Paul is a trusted confidante; a benevolent relative in whose company you can feel completely relaxed. Symptomatic of the values that Liverpool is famous for, Paul O’Grady’s experiences growing up have etched him into the hearts of millions of Britons.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is available on digital download and Blu-ray and DVD now.

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool - Preview

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool

Preview by Jack Foley

THE critically-acclaimed Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is available on digital platforms and Blu-ray/DVD now.

Featuring BAFTA nominated performances from Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, Jane Eyre, The Adventures of Tintin) and Annette Bening (American Beauty, 20th Century Women, The Kids Are All Right) the critically acclaimed drama will also be available on Blu-ray and DVD from March 19, 2018, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK.

Based on Peter Turner’s memoir and set in the late 1970s, the film follows the playful but passionate relationship between Turner (Bell) and the eccentric Academy Award®-winning actress Gloria Grahame (Bening), who fall for each other after meeting in Liverpool where the legendary femme fatale is performing in a play.

What starts as a vibrant affair between the two quickly grows into a deeper relationship, with Turner being the one person Gloria allows herself to turn to for comfort and strength. However their passion and lust for life is tested to the limits by events beyond their control.

Directed by Paul McGuigan (Sherlock, Lucky Number Slevin) Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool also stars British treasures, Dame Julie Walters (Brooklyn, Paddington), and Vanessa Redgrave (Atonement, Foxcatcher), with Kenneth Cranham (Maleficent, Layer Cake), Stephen Graham (This is England, Taboo), Frances Barber (Medici, Mr. Holmes), and Leanne Best (Line of Duty, Undercover) rounding out a stellar home-grown cast.

Gliding seamlessly between sun soaked LA and gritty, working class 1970s Liverpool, this beautifully shot romantic drama will be sure to touch everyone’s hearts.

Win Badlands on Blu-ray


Preview by Jack Foley

To celebrate the release of Badlands – available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD Dual Format from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on March 19, 2018 – we are giving away a copy!

In 1959, Kit (Martin Sheen), who has killed several people, and his new girlfriend, Holly (Sissy Spacek), who watched him do it, are adrift in a double fantasy of crime and punishment across South Dakota and Montana. They’re playing make-believe, but the bullets and bloodshed are very real.

The first of writer/director Terrence Malick’s three landmark films (1978’s Days of Heaven and 1998’s The Thin Red Line are the others) was inspired by a real-life 1958 Midwestern killing spree.

Malick imaginatively transforms the story into a provocative study of people alienated from everyday life – but fascinating to us. Beautifully shot and memorable acted, Badlands is a spellbinding journey.

Order today

Win Badlands on Blu-ray

To celebrate the release of Badlands on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD Dual Format from March 19, 2018, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win a copy on Blu-ray. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs Badlands?

Simply send the answer to Badlands competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Win Asif Kapadia's Ali & Nino on DVD

Ali & Nino

Preview by Jack Foley

DIRECTED by Academy Award® winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna), Ali and Nino tells the epic, heartfelt love story of two star-crossed lovers.

Set in 1914 at the brink of war, Ali (Adam Bakri, Omar) is an educated young Muslim noble living in Baku, the bustling capital of Azerbaijan. Nino (Exodus: Gods and Kings) is a Christian girl whose regal family hails from Georgia.

Facing all odds against them, Ali proposes marriage to Nino despite familial objections, religious divides and the war, all of which threaten to keep them apart.

As revolution brews and Azerbaijan seeks independence from Russia, Ali and Nino find themselves caught in a world of dramatic change where their love for each other is the only eternal spark.

Based on a 1937 novel, Kapadia captures the beautiful, sweeping Azerbaijani landscape, telling an enduring love story for the ages.

The film also stars Mandy Patinkin and Connie Nielsen.

Win Asif Kapadia’s Ali & Nino on DVD

To celebrate the release of Ali and Nino, available on DVD now, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who plays Ali in Ali & Nino?

Simply send the answer to Ali and Nino competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Win Brimstone on Blu-ray


BRIMSTONE is a suspenseful tale of retribution set at the end of the 19th century in the American West.

Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds) plays a mute young woman whose life changes dramatically when a vengeful and mysterious preacher (Guy Pearce, Memento) comes to town with sinister motives.

Brimstone picks up as our heroine, Liz (Fanning), a young and beautiful woman, is being hunted by a vengeful Preacher (Pearce) – a diabolical extremist and her nemesis.

But Liz is a genuine survivor; she’s no victim but instead a woman of fearsome strength who responds with astonishing bravery to claim the better life she and her daughter deserve.

Told in four chapters, Brimstone is a suspenseful tale of guilt and retribution that unfolds at the end of the 19th century in the unforgiving American West.

The film also stars Carice Van Houten (Game of Thrones, Black Book) and Kit Harington (Game of Thrones, Testament of Youth).

Brimstone is released on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday, February 19, 2018.

Find out more

To celebrate the release of Brimstone on Blu-ray and DVD from February 19, 2018, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies of the film on Blu-ray. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs Brimstone (Clue, the answer is in our preview)?

A) Paul Verhoeven
B) Martin Koolhoven
C) Jonathan Nolan

Simply send the answer to Brimstone competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Paddington 2 - DVD Review

Paddington 2

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

BY TURNS charming and hilarious, Paddington 2 is that rare sequel that actually betters the original in almost every way.

Buoyed by the runaway success of its predecessor, screenwriters Paul King (who also directs), Simon Farnaby and Jon Croker have delivered a crowd-pleasing follow-up that delivers eye-catching spectacle, knockabout fun, self-deprecating wit and a genuinely heart-warming vibe that honours the legacy of original creator Michael Bond (who died in June this year at the age of 91) in effortless fashion.

Everything about this sequel works, from its beautifully rendered CGI central character, to its imaginatively choreographed set pieces, right down to the perfectly judged guest appearances. It even clocks in at a brisk 90-odd minutes, meaning that it doesn’t outstay its welcome.

The plot finds Paddington (once again voiced by Ben Whishaw) taking on a variety of odd jobs with a view to affording the perfect gift for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday – a unique (but expensive) pop-up book of London.

But once the book is stolen by local actor Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), who views it as a way of turning his own fortunes around, Paddington is framed for the crime and sent to prison, leaving the Brown family (once again headed up by Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins) to clear his name.

Unlike King’s 2014 original (which was upset by Nicole Kidman’s needlessly sinister villain), the plotting and pacing in this incredibly welcome sequel are perfectly balanced, making for a much better overall tone.

Paddington 2

Grant’s villain, while certainly villainous, is played much more tongue in cheek, thereby allowing the actor to send himself up rotten. It’s therefore one of the film’s great joys to find Grant donning various disguises (including a nun’s outfit) and mimicking Shakespeare in his quest to unlock the book’s secret treasures, while effortlessly making something of a buffoon out of himself to boot.

But Grant isn’t the only one on scene-stealing form. Paddington’s stay in prison affords him the opportunity to make several new [albeit unlikely] friends, the most notable of which is Brendan Gleeson’s wonderfully gruff head chef Knuckles, whose sensitive side is revealed by a shared love of Marmalade. Gleeson is pitch-perfect in the role, but never more so than while enduring the various mishaps placed upon him by Paddington’s attempts to win him over.

Tom Conti also shines as a moody judge, as do the likes of Hawkins and Bonneville as the Browns. Whishaw, meanwhile, imbues his Paddington with equal parts kindness, curiosity and bravery, thereby paving the way for a couple of moments of real poignancy towards the end. It’s a brilliantly judged performance and one that can’t help but melt even the hardest of hearts (as is Paddington’s want).

King’s direction, meanwhile, expertly juggles the need to keep things warm and fuzzy with moments of supreme excitement and well-judged, family-friendly humour. Crucially, he never overdoes the schmaltz, or at least ensures it is nicely offset by the humour.

Of the set pieces, an early experience at a barber’s is laugh-out loud funny, as are several of the prison sequences, while a finale aboard several trains is as eye-catching in its creativity as it is heart-in-mouth in terms of the sense of peril it affords.

And yet throughout, King invests the film with lovely touches – whether transforming Paddington’s prison cell into a jungle for a momentary flight of fancy, or allowing the pages of a pop-up book to come alive to indulge another of Paddington’s wish-fulfilment fantasies.

A tremendously moving finale, meanwhile, ensures that viewers of all ages will depart the cinema basking in the warm glow that this film provides, while looking back fondly on the many giggles it delivers along the way.

Paddington 2 is an unqualified success and fully deserving of its immediate classic status.

Certificate: PG
Running time: 95mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: March 12, 2018

Win Terrifier on DVD


Preview by Jack Foley

To celebrate the release of Terrifier – available on Digital HD on March 30 and DVD on April 2, 2018 – we are giving away a copy on DVD.

A hair-raising homage to the grindhouse slashers, Terrifier is a thrilling, gory horror that introduces a new murderous icon in the form of Art the Clown.

Set to haunt nightmares for many years to come, Art is an unstoppable force who will slay anyone who gets in his way – and he doesn’t go easy on the grue.

“A thrilling, brutal, gory 80’s throwback” ★★★★ Arrow in the Head

“Dares to go where few films would even consider” ★★★★ Bloody Disgusting

“Terrifying from start to finish” ★★★★ Boxofficebuz

Order today


Terrifier is the story of the maniacal Art the Clown, who terrorizes three young women on Halloween, butchering everyone who stands in his way.

In grand Halloween tradition, we see the night he came home in all its gory glory, in a place where nobody floats and everyone dies. Art really is the clown who will haunt your nightmares.

Written and directed by Damien Leone, Terrifier stars David Howard Thornton (TV’s Nightwing: Escalation, TV’s Gotham) and Jenna Kanell (The Bye Bye Man).

Win Terrifier on DVD

To celebrate the release of Terrifier on DVD on Monday, April 2, 2018, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win a copy. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who wrote and directed Terrifier?

Simply send the answer to Terrifier competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Win Royal Rumble 2018 on Blu-ray

Royal Rumble

Preview by Jack Foley

To celebrate the Blu-ray and DVD release of Royal Rumble 2018 (available to buy from March 19, 2018) – we are giving away a Blu-ray to one lucky winner!

Welcome to WWE’s most anticipated match of the year, the 30-competitor over-the-top-rope Royal Rumble! And for the first time ever, there’s both a men’s and women’s Royal Rumble Match, with the winner of each earning a championship shot at WrestleMania.

There’s also a three-way battle of behemoths as Universal Champion Brock Lesnar faces Kane and Braun Strowman, and AJ Styles defends the WWE Championship against both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a two-on-one Handicap Match. Plus, much more!

It’s not just a night for making history – it’s a night for incredible, jaw-dropping action too!

AJ Styles battles the odds against the “Yep Movement” of KO and Sami Zayn as only AJ Styles can – with a phenomenal performance!

Meanwhile, it’s Beast vs Demon vs Monster as Lesnar, Kane, and Strowman clash for the Universal Championship – a match that is pure carnage from start to finish, with tables, chairs, and bodies broken along the way!

Meanwhile, the men’s Royal Rumble lives up to its reputation as the year’s most anticipated match-up, delivering surprises and huge showdowns. It’s dramatic, nerve-shredding stuff as the few final competitors battle for a shot at WrestleMania glory!

And the women’s Royal Rumble – the first match of its kind in WWE history – is every bit as sensational. Female superstars from different generations come together to change the course of WWE, proving that the WWE Women’s Evolution has stepped up to enter its next ground-breaking phase!

And if that’s not enough, the show ends with a shock debut from one of the most exciting female athletes in the world. The WWE women’s division will never be the same again!

Win Royal Rumble 2018 on Blu-ray

To celebrate the release of Royal Rumble 2018 on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday, March 19, 2018, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win a copy on Blu-ray. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who does AJ Styles defend his WWE Championship against in Royal Rumble 2018?

Simply send the answer to Royal Rumble 2018 competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Paddington 2 - Preview

Paddington 2

Preview by Jack Foley

STUDIOCANAL is pleased to announce that the BAFTA nominated hit ‘family film of the year’ Paddington 2 will be available on digital download from March 5, 2018 and on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD + Blu-ray from March 12, 2018.

The number one box-office smash-hit, recently passing £40m, will also be released as a Blu-Ray Steelbook and as a box-set with the first Paddington film.

The much-anticipated sequel to the worldwide hit family film finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes.

While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief…

Paddington’s biggest adventure yet sees Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson joining the all-star returning cast of Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi and Ben Whishaw as the voice of the beloved bear.

A Heyday Films and STUDIOCANAL production, Paddington’s return to our screens is helmed by BAFTA-nominated director Paul King (Paddington, Come Fly With Me, The Mighty Boosh) and written by Paul King and Simon Farnaby (Yonderland and Mindhorn).

The Paddington 2 Blu-Ray and DVD Extras include a director’s commentary, Rain on the Roof with Phoenix Buchanan (Full Screen), Paddington 2: The Challenges of Making the Film and a BAFTA Q&A with producer David Heyman, Paul King, Simon Farnaby, Hugh Grant and Pablo Grillo.

iTunes Extras include exclusive junket interviews with Cast & Crew.

Paddington 2 was nominated for three 2018 British Academy Film Awards: ‘Best British Film’, ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role’: Hugh Grant, and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’: Simon Farnaby and Paul King.

© P&Co.Ltd./SC 2018. Licenced on behalf of Studiocanal S.A.S by Copyrights Group.

Win Tango One on DVD and copies of Stephen Leather's book

Tango One

Preview by Jack Foley

STEP into the ruthless London criminal underworld and prepare yourself for action of the most brutal order when the film adaptation of Stephen Leather’s nail-biting thriller Tango One launches on Digital Download from March 5, and DVD from March 19, 2018.

Based on the award-winning and best-selling novel by top UK thriller author Stephen Leather (Murder in Mind, London’s Burning) and directed by Sacha Bennett (Get Lucky, We Still Kill the Old Way), Tango One is a fast-paced crime thriller about how far one man will go to rescue his daughter, and save his criminal empire from collapse.

When three undercover recruits are assigned an impossible mission to take down one of the world’s most wanted men, notorious drug dealer, Den Donovan (Vincent Regan, 300, Bonded by Blood), they have no idea who they are dealing with. As the undercover recruits inch closer to their target, they are each drawn in by the charismatic criminal leader – too close, perhaps, to remember the rules.

Tango One is a heart-stopping thriller where crime, corruption and power know no limits; brilliantly led by Regan, and supported by Sophie Colquhoun (TV’s Plebs, Captain America: The First Avenger), Joseph Millson (Casino Royale, TV’s Ashes to Ashes), Calum MacNab (Football Factory, The Firm) and introducing Union J star JJ Hamblett in his exciting feature film debut performance.

The DVD also features exclusive, unseen interviews with stars Vincent Regan, Sophie Colquhoun and director Sacha Bennett.

Get ready for an electrifying, home-grown thriller as Tango One releases on Digital Download on March 5 and DVD from March 19, 2018. Pre-order now

Win Tango One DVDs and books

To celebrate the release of Tango One on DVD on Monday, March 19, 2018, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies on DVD as well as a copy of the book by Stephen Leather. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs Tango One?

Simply send the answer to Tango One competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email