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Firstly, a massive hellooooo, to all the new followers of Alt-flix, it has has been wonderful to receive your recent messages and comments. It is gratifying to know that you are enjoying the efforts of the team.

Right on to business, after all the (largely justifiable) furore over the Oscar nominations which were this year even more ridiculously safe and business orientated than ever, it was such a surprise to have such an excellent ceremony evening. The host, Chris Rock, absolutely nailed the long held feeling of many outside the Hollywood "business machine" during his routines. Just as pleasing was that, in the main, the winners were deserved winners. We were especially pleased to see Mark Rylance picking up the gong for Best Supporting Actor; Ennio Morricone winning for his superb soundtrack to The Hateful Eight; The Stutterer getting the nod in the Live Action Short category; and Amy winning Best Documentary Feature. But one thing baffles us, how was Roger Deakins overlooked for Best Cinematography - again? He should, in our opinion, be at least a double Academy Award winner by now - look at his nominated work - Fargo, O' Brother Where Art Thou, No Country For Old Men, and Skyfall should have all have seen him romp home with the award. He has 13 Oscar nominations and no awards?

Cannes is just around the corner (in May) we are already packing our beach towels and bucket and spade on the off chance they actually invite us this time. We'll let you know.

Forgive us, we are excited. The BFI has just announced a retrospective on one of our very favourite directors - Alan Clarke (Rita, Sue and Bob Too, The Firm etc). The season commencing 28th March will show Clarke's entire BBC and ITV output. In May the BFI will release box sets of Clarke's entire BBC output on DVD and Blu-ray. Head over to the BFI site for more details.

Further excitement is provided with the news that as from 18th April Criterion Collection will be making releases available in the UK. Previously UK film buffs have had to suffer super-inflated import prices and had to buy multi-region DVD / Blu-ray players to be able to watch Criterion Collection releases. But as a result of a new licensing deal, new releases will be compatible with UK region Blu-ray players. The six initial releases, it has to be said, are somewhat low-key (as good as the film is, do we really need a Criterion release of Tootsie?). Let us hope that very soon Criterion's back catalogue gets made available in multi-region. Some suggestions as to what we'd like to see released first are Kes, Bicycle Thieves, Don't Look Back, If, Marketa Lazarova, Quadrophenia, and most especially, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, oh and plus the output of the film directors they support like Mike Leigh, Terry Gilliam, Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman, Wes Anderson, Andrei Tarkovsky ........

and, perhaps, with less excitement, we welcome the return of the BFI Flipside releases. The previous Flipside releases have been markedly (wilfully even) patchy, swinging from such gems as Permissive, Deep End and Bronco Bullfrog, to the dross of Privilege and That Sinking Feeling. The new releases continue that trend with a welcome release for lost masterpiece Symptoms, alongside the so-so Beat Girl, and the entirely unremarkable Expresso Bongo.

And out Blu-ray and on demand at home is The Lady in the Van (7th March) Alan Bennett's wonderful tale with Maggie Smith as the indomitable Miss Shepherd. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is released into our homes on 18th April. Interestingly the 3D version will not be simultaneously released and will be released "later in the year", one has to assume this is down to the studio wanting to ensure the 3D works well in the home environment, rather than a cynical ploy to encourage multiple purchases. Who knows.

What else is available at alt-flix


Director Guides

Ken Loach

Directors: Our ever expanding guide to the top directors in cinema. Includes a biography, filmography, comment about the directors body of work plus individual film reviews and news updates on directors current projects, cinema and DVD releases etc.

We've just added a guide to the life and work of Stanley Kubrick. Other directors currently featured in the guide include Ken Loach, Terry Gilliam, Michael Haneke, Shane Meadows, The Coen brothers, Lindsay Anderson and Mike Leigh.


Film Guides

Haunted House of HorrorFilm Guides: An assortment of different film guides we've put together. Includes the following: Top 100 British movies; Best in World Cinema; and the best USA movies. Also some interactive movie guides like the Horror Film guide in the guise of a Haunted House, and our Christmas movie guide in the guise of an advent calendar.

Recommended DVDs

A specially recommended selection of DVDs, soundtrack CDs and books from the alt-flix store in association with