May 2007

 
 

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DVDs I bought or received in the month of May

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (R0 USA, HD DVD)
  • The Fountain (R0 USA, HD DVD)
  • HDScape: Antarctica Dreaming (R0 USA, HD DVD)
  • HDScape: Visions of the Sea (R0 USA, HD DVD)
  • Pan’s Labyrinth: Platinum Edition (R1 USA, DVD)
  • The Ultimate Matrix Collection (R0 USA, HD DVD)

So, HDScape. Exciting, huh?

 
Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 11:59 PM
Categories: Cinema | DVD | HD DVD
 

So it looks better, this high definition thing?

HD DVD

A few routine high definition updates for you, just to make you aware of what’s going on in the land of 1080p. I’ve pre-ordered the upcoming HD DVD of The Bourne Identity, due out on July 24th. As per DVD Times, the standard definition DVD being released at the same time will feature an extended cut, and, while the HD DVD will apparently replicate the bonus content from this release, it’s unclear whether or not it will also feature this longer cut. I’d hazard a guess that it will, although whether this is something to be celebrated or decried depends on whether or not director Doug Liman was involved. Simply put, I’m aware, after the likes of the Gladiator fiasco, many of these extended cuts are merely the result of studio executives demanding that a few minutes be added to the running time in order to justify selling a new copy of the same film.

HD DVD

Universal has also announced a bunch of titles, including the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, for August 28th, while Sony will be releasing Arlington Road on Blu-ray on August 7th (sans commentary, a move that High-Def Digest rather generously refers to as “streamlin[ing]”). Both of these titles are shoe-ins for me - Arlington Road is a cracking if far-fetched thriller, and the Dawn of the Dead remake, while a pale shadow of the original, has a number of things going for it, in particularly the ever-impressive Sarah Polley and an appropriate dose of black humour. It should also be good HD demo material, if that makes any difference… as will Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, making its debut on Blu-ray on the same day as Arlington Road. I won’t, however, be picking up this particular title - the BD could look like a million bucks and I still wouldn’t have any desire to subject myself to that tedious dry-heave of a movie again.

David Fincher’s Zodiac, meanwhile, is coming to both formats on September 18th, a couple of months after their standard definition counterpart’s street date of July 24th. Lyris, who saw it at the cinema last week, came back raving about it, and I’m certainly game for anything from David Fincher. Speaking of which, I haven’t seen Fight Club yet. How about it, Fox? That’s if you eventually get off your asses and release anything in HD.

 
Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 10:18 PM | Comments: 4 (view)
Categories: Animation | Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD | HD DVD
 

“Ya rotten kids, ya should be locked in cages!”

DVD

After many years of shoddy treatment at the hands of its distributor, Problem Child, one of my favourite bad movies ever, has finally been released properly!

This film, and its sequel, the imaginatively named Problem Child 2, have, for some time, only been available on DVD in 4x3 full frame format. Obviously, these aren’t the most prestigious titles Universal has ever released, and you won’t see them being added to the studio’s HD DVD line-up any time soon (then again, considering some of the junk they’ve released in high definition, you’d think they might be well at home there), but no movie, not even Voodoo Academy, deserved to be butchered in such a way. Thankfully, Universal’s European distribution wing have come to the rescue, releasing the two original “classics”, and an apparently embarrassing made-for-TV sequel, on April 3rd, in a 3-disc box set, named, like its two-film US counterpart, the Problem Child Tantrum Pack. Recognising the important place that these films hold in the history of cinema, the BBFC have also agreed to waive the cuts they originally demanded to Problem Child 2 (the film was unlucky enough to be released at the height of the board’s nunchuk obsession).

DVD

Naturally, I’ve ordered myself a copy, from Play. I also took the opportunity to order a copy of Black Book (Zwartboek in its native Dutch), a film I originally intended to go to see at the cinema (yeah, yeah, how many times have I said that and not gone through with it?). It’s a Paul Verhoeven film, so chances are it’s laughably bad, shamelessly tasteless, or both, but it got some pretty good write-ups at the time of its theatrical release, so I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt. Oh yeah, and hope to get my reviews of both The Fountain (boo, hiss) and Pan’s Labyrinth (which I still haven’t got round to watching) before the end of the weekend.

 
Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 9:28 PM | Comments: 8 (view)
Categories: Cinema | DVD | HD DVD | Reviews
 

No Starcraft II in 2007

Starcraft II

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but it’s good to get official clarification anyway: according to a rather interesting interview to MSNBC by Blizzard’s vice president of game design, Rob Pardo, Starcraft II, despite being considerably further along the development chain than most of the company’s past titles have been at the time of their announcement, will not be released in 2007:

Speaking of secrets, what is your timeline for release for “StarCraft II?”

It’s a secret! I can give you the old Blizzard mantra of: “It’ll ship when it’s ready,” but it’s something that historically, we’ve learned to keep release dates really close to the vest. I think all game developers are extremely optimistic, and we used to give optimistic dates and we’d disappoint our fans when we didn’t hit them. So now, I think we’ve just gotten more gun shy. The only thing I can give you [that’s] concrete is it’s not going to be this year. Some people were hoping, because of how advanced the game looks, that we’d have it out by Christmas, but that’s definitely not happening.

So, while it’s disappointing that there is no actual official release date, at least it’s preferable to the Diablo II situation, in which the game ended up continually missing its projected release windows, before finally showing up close to two years after it was originally scheduled to launch.

 
Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 9:16 PM
Categories: Games
 

Oooooh yes!

Mother of Tears

Source: Shock Till You Drop

I guess Mother of Tears is the official US title, then, rather than The Third Mother. Too bad Myriad didn’t employ better proofreaders - that spelling error is a pretty damning mistake to make!

Credit for discovering the poster goes to Misery at Dark Discussion.

 
Posted: Monday, May 28, 2007 at 5:43 PM | Comments: 3 (view)
Categories: Cinema | Dario Argento
 

Can a remake actually be a good thing?

Tomb Raider: Anniversary

Those of you who have read this site for a while probably know how I feel about remakes of films. Generally speaking, I view them with great suspicion, if not outright contempt. I’m generally of the opinion that, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and am growing more than a little tired of the constant tidal wave of remakes of superior films that Hollywood keeps spewing out. Remakes in the games industry are a considerably less common phenomenon (generally it’s tired sequels and rip-offs you have to watch out for rather than out-and-out remakes), but they do exist. Tonight, I played one such game - the upcoming Tomb Raider: Anniversary - and found myself very impressed by what I saw.

As I mentioned in my review of last year’s Tomb Raider: Legend, I’m generally not a fan of the Lara Croft franchise. I tend to find the games bland, annoying to control, and, barring the first couple of entries, poorly designed. Legend, the first game in the series created since the franchise was handed over from creators Core Design to Crystal Dynamics, was also the first Tomb Raider that I really enjoyed, and I was understandably intrigued to learn that Crystal Dynamics were working on a 2007 update for the first game in the series (considered by many to be the best). The full version is released on June 1st, but the demo became available on May 25th, and I downloaded it tonight. It’s really good, and I’m definitely considering buying the retail version when it comes out. The graphics are much improved, of course, thanks to the use of the Legend engine, but what really makes the game much better is the control system. As with Legend, you use the keyboard and mouse, and it’s amazing how much smoother and more intuitive it makes things.

In short, it’s well worth checking out, and I highly recommend downloading the short but fun demo, if you’ve got a powerful enough PC to run it, here.

 
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2007 at 8:46 PM | Comments: 3 (view)
Categories: Games | Technology
 

Mulholland Dr. HD DVD confirmed as English-friendly

HD DVD

Delayed from its original release date of March 5th, Mulholland Dr. was finally released on HD DVD in France on May 21st. I originally cancelled my pre-order due to fears that French subtitles would be forced when English audio was selected, and opted instead to wait for the UK release from Optimum. With that release postponed indefinitely, however, I made up my mind to pick up the French release, forced subtitles or not. Luckily, AV Science Forum member tteich has picked up several of the recent Studio Canal HD DVD releases, and has provided a rundown of the language options available for each. The bad news is that French subtitles are forced when English audio is selected if it’s a copy of Three Days of the Condor you’re looking for, or the theatrical cut of Terminator 2 (the director’s cut is unaffected); additionally, Army of Shadows has no support at all for English speakers. Thankfully, however, many of this month’s releases, including Mulholland Dr., can be watched in English without subtitles (or, if applicable, in their native non-English language with English subtitles). Needless to say, I’ve placed an order at Amazon.fr.

HD DVD

I also ordered a copy of Christophe Gans’ Le Pacte des Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf), released on the same day (and due for release in the UK at some point between now and doomsday). I’ve not seen the film, but I was really impressed by Gans’ most recent film, Silent Hill, so I figure it’s worth a look. The HD DVD features the original French audio track plus optional English subtitles. I also have a two-year-old email from a reader urging me to look into the Region 1 DVD as a contender for the DVD Transfer Hall of Fame (now acquisitioned by Lyris). After so long, I feel like a bit of a heel for not checking it out, so let’s hope the HD DVD looks decent!

 
Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 10:47 PM | Comments: 12 (view)
Categories: Cinema | HD DVD
 

Blu-ray review: Casino Royale

Blu-ray
Despite the lack of decent bonus material on this release, I suspect that most people will be more than happy with the sumptuous image quality and solid audio. For Bond’s first high definition outing, Sony have certainly come up trumps, and I only hope that future releases in the series will be able to come close to matching this quality. Provided you import an uncut copy, and don’t consider in-depth extras to be an essential part of the viewing process, it’s hard to go wrong with Casino Royale on Blu-ray.

James Bond gets his first ever high definition outing with Casino Royale. I’ve reviewed the recent Finnish Blu-ray release from Sony Pictures.

 
Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 4:39 PM | Comments: 4 (view)
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | Reviews
 

The Historian

The Historian

In the 21st century, writing a novel set in the present day (or near enough to it) and featuring the character of Dracula is nothing if not a challenge. The figure has become so ingrained in popular culture that the author really only has two options: (a) pretend that the last century or so of Dracula-inspired literature, cinema and all-round pop culture never happened and, in doing so, make the characters of your novel seem incredibly out of touch, or (b) acknowledge that Bram Stoker, Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee et al did indeed happen, and run the risk of becoming incredibly self-conscious (in the Scream mould) in the process. With The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova does something rather interesting, acknowledging the existence of Stoker’s book, the Lugosi film and so on, but spending a minimum amount of time with them and instead attempting to combine Dracula with an actual historical figure, the 15th century Romanian warlord Vlad the Impaler, from whose surname, Drâculea, comes the name of the fictitious vampire.

This works for two reasons. First of all, the origin of Dracula’s name is already widely known, although the extent to which Stoker based his character on the historical figure has been greatly exaggerated. This gives Kostova’s use of Vlad the Impaler a certain degree of authenticity. Secondly, Kostova has invested considerable effort in establishing a network of fictional historical sources, events, characters and places, portrayed in a manner that makes them seem genuinely credible. (Occasionally, she oversteps the mark: sitting down to read an entire chapter which served as fictional historical paper turned out to be every bit as mind-numbingly tedious as my experiences with the real thing.) The author manages to cross-cut between at least three separate storylines spanning more than half a century without it ever becoming confusing (although I did, at times, become rather aware that I was essentially ready chapter after chapter about people reading about people reading about people). Apparently, the novel took ten years to write; based on the complexity of the narrative and the ordered manner in which it is presented, I can well believe it.

Unfortunately, it would be something of a stretch to claim that I was thoroughly gripped by the book from start to finish. The amount of time it has taken me to finish it since I began it shortly after finishing Casino Royale, back in February (!!), should serve as some indication of the extent to which my interest in it dipped and peaked. Sometimes I found myself genuinely engrossed in the narrative, but on other occasions I actually considered the prospect of sitting down to read another chapter to be an unnecessary chore. The book is 700 pages of fairly tense text, and, despite being unkindly referred to by some pundits as “The Dracula Code”, based on its narrative similarities to The Da Vinci Code, it moves at a snail’s pace for the most part. A page-turner this is not, and I wonder how on earth Sony Pictures are planning to adapt the narrative for their upcoming movie adaptation.

Part of the problem is that none of the characters are all that vividly depicted. The unnamed narrator, a teenage girl who finds herself traversing 1970s Europe searching for her missing father (whose disappearance has something to do with the legend of Dracula), is pretty much a blank slate. This may be partly down to the fact that, for the most part, she is underused, serving as little more than a means of relaying the content of her father’s letters to the reader, but the various individuals whom she meets, or about whom she reads, are either similarly ill-defined or else exaggerated caricatures of stock figures. Kindly but stuffy English professors, excessively polite Turkish academics and wizened Slavic women living in huts are in abundance, and it’s hard to really care about any of them, or visualise them as real people. There are also some serious problems with the pacing as, after moving incredibly slowly for around 650 pages, the final climax (actually, make that a series of climaxes) is crammed into the remaining 50 and wrapped up in the space of a couple of chapters. Considering the complexity of the material that precedes it, the eventual encounter between Dracula and the narrator feels a bit anticlimactic.

In the end, it’s difficult to know where I stand as regards The Historian. Do I regret reading it? No, but at the same time I’m acutely aware that I would probably have been able to read at least two more engaging novels of similar length in the same space of time. With a good book, as with a good film, I tend to sit and think about what I’ve just experienced once I’ve read the final page or watched the final line of the credits scroll to the top of the screen. Last night, when I finished The Historian, I shut the book, switched off the light and promptly fell asleep.

 
Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 10:32 AM | Comments: 2 (view)
Categories: Books | Reviews
 

Normal service is resumed

Movable Type

You’ve probably noticed that, over the last few days, the amount of time it takes to post a comment on this site has lengthened substantially. For some time now, I’ve been racking my brain trying to find an explanation for this, but thankfully, the good people at Movable Type have done that to me. Their latest email newsletter included the following announcement about their spam filtering service:

Recently, an IP blacklist service known as Blitzed ceased its operations. Movable Type’s SpamLookup plugin uses this service to process incoming comments and TrackBacks to determine if they are spam or not. With Blitzed shut down, a lot of you might be experiencing delays when publishing your readers’ comments.

Though we’re sorry to see Blitzed go (and thank the team for their efforts), the good news is that a free replacement is available. The SpamHaus Project has been in operation for over 9 years and has a long track record of providing excellent protection against known spammers. In addition to their technology that they allow people to use for free, Spamhaus works with Law Enforcement and cyber-crimes teams worldwide, helping them not only to block these miscreants, but also to bring them to justice.

So there you have it. The delay was essentially caused by Movable Type attempting to reference a service that no longer existed, and as a result was simply timing out. The good news is that I’ve now updated my spam filter settings to reference the new service, so normal commenting operations can now resume.

 
Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 8:50 PM
Categories: Web
 

Suspiria in HD?

DVD

Source: Mobius Home Video Forum

One film that I’d give my eye-teeth in order to see released in high definition is Suspiria… and now, it seems that this may be a distinct possibility. Earlier this month, I reported that a new, restored version of Suspiria was to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival along with a preview of The Third Mother. Now, according to Fangoria, The Weinstein Company has established a new sub-label, Dimension Extreme, which…

…will specialize in horror and other genre fare. The first title to go out under that brand will be a restored version of Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA (which, as we told you here, also has a remake in the works); other movies coming under the Extreme banner are Greg (WOLF CREEK) McLean’s killer-crocodile pic ROGUE (pictured) and - ugh - PULSE 2.

Well, all I can say is that I never thought I’d see a film entitled Suspiria released under the Dimension label and actually consider it a good thing. As a pretty prestigious title, and the first in their line-up, my guess is that it will be a strong contender for release on HD DVD (The Weinstein Company is one of the few independent labels to have embraced high definition home entertainment). I’m definitely crossing my fingers that I’ll be seeing one of my favourite films in HD soon, particularly given that, if any film deserves to be appreciated in full 1080p, it’s Suspiria.

 
Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 8:10 PM
Categories: Cinema | Dario Argento | HD DVD
 

Get it right first time in future, Sony

HD DVD/Blu-ray

Source: DVD Times

The Fifth Element, Blu-ray’s poster child disgrace, is to get a re-release this July, with the current substandard release going out of print come June 13th. Little information has been provided for the new edition, but the online buzz suggests that we’ll get an AVC encode on a dual-layer BD50 disc, as well as both PCM and Dolby TrueHD audio (either 20-bit or 24-bit). If Sony had any decency, they’d offer a free replacement to anyone who bought the initial pressing, but hey, since when did the words “Sony” and “decency” go together?

I may end up picking up this new release to replace my standard definition Superbit DVD, although part of me wants to hold out for the HD DVD release that Pathé seemingly intends to release in Europe at some point in the near future.

 
Posted: Monday, May 21, 2007 at 10:12 PM | Comments: 2 (view)
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD | HD DVD | Technology
 

I’ve run out of snappy titles related to stars

Starcraft II

Blizzard has uploaded a gameplay video to the Movies section of their Starcraft II site. Running for just over 21 minutes, this is the same demonstration that was shown to audiences at the WWI event in Seoul, in addition to being posted, in parts, on IGN’s site, complete with narration by lead designer Dustin Browder. The movie is offered in two resolutions, 720x404 and 1280x768, and I highly recommend downloading the latter, as, barring some compression artefacts, it offers a very clear look at the game’s excellent graphics. Blizzard’s peer-to-peer downloading service is as sluggish as ever, but, over at Starcraft Legacy, a faster mirror has been discovered.

I know the release date is a long way off (I’d guess mid-2008 at the earliest), but I can honestly say this is the most excited I’ve been about any game since Diablo II. Not even Warcraft III got me this fanatical. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t disappoint!

PC Gamer (US) have also dedicated their latest podcast to Starcraft II - basically, it’s around an hour of a bunch of guys spazzing out over the thing, and quite infectious it is too if the game holds any interest for you.

 
Posted: Monday, May 21, 2007 at 10:06 PM
Categories: Games
 

It took you long enough

Casualty finally won a BAFTA last night, and not before it was due. By that I mean that the award should have been given to the show years ago, back when it was still good, not now that it is a shadow of its former self. The award, not surprisingly, was thanks to the astoundingly good Christmas two-parter I’ve already mentioned several times, and those two episodes genuinely deserved this recognition, but, as it was given for the series as a whole rather than the deserving episodes in isolation, it all felt a bit hollow. Worse still, now that the show effectively runs all year round (well, 48 weeks, actually, but who’s counting?), it was placed in the “continuing drama” category, which is really just a nice way of saying “soap opera”, and was contending with such, ahem, masterpieces as EastEnders and Coronation Street, which make its win a bit like a professional sprinter winning a children’s egg and spoon race. I suppose Casualty, for all intents and purposes, is a soap these days, or at least a drama with an incredibly soapy format (interestingly, though, it doesn’t meet the criteria required for it to be eligible for the British Soap Awards, according to What’s On TV), but it really grates, because the two episodes in question were proper, intelligent drama, a throwback to the glory days when you could admit to watching the show without feeling a bit ashamed.

Still, it was worth it just to see the looks of shock and fury on the faces of the soap opera crowd, followed by an off the cuff acceptance speech by a bewildered Ian Bleasdale, who clearly hadn’t been expecting to win (ever the gentleman, he dedicated to award to the real medical service, and to the show’s original producer, the late Geraint Morris, rather than going off on a rambling “and I’d like to thank him and him and her and him…”).

You can see the full list of winners at Digital Spy.

 
Posted: Monday, May 21, 2007 at 5:27 PM
Categories: TV
 

Reach for the stars

Starcraft II

Some more information regarding Starcraft II has emerged at Gamespot, most of it garnered from a couple of panel discussions on both gameplay and art design. Needless to say, it all sounds absolutely terrific.

IGN has also posted a variety of gameplay videos which give a much better idea of what the game looks like in motion than the poor quality YouTube video I linked to yesterday. Unfortunately, to download the high resolution versions, you have to be a paying subscriber.

 
Posted: Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 4:22 PM | Comments: 5 (view)
Categories: Games
 

HD DVD review: HDScape: Antarctica Dreaming/Visions of the Sea

HD DVD
Of the two titles, Antarctica Dreaming is the most substantial, operating as a fully-fledged 83-minute documentary, whereas Visions of the Sea is essentially a series of undeniably visually arresting but ultimately unconnected images, which rapidly outstays its welcome if you attempt to engage with it for its full 60-minute duration. For those who find the subject matter interesting, these discs are likely to hold some appeal, but those considering buying them simply to act as demo material are advised that there are many better-looking titles on offer.

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. I’ve taken a look at two nature documentary titles in the HDScape line, Antarctica Dreaming and Visions of the Sea, presented on two HD DVD/DVD combo discs.

 
Posted: Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 3:44 PM
Categories: DVD | HD DVD | Reviews
 

Hell, it’s about time

Starcraft II

Starcraft II has been officially announced… and I, at least, am letting out an immense sigh of relief. In the run-up to the new title’s announcement at the World Wide Invitational gaming event, there was much speculation surrounding exactly what it would be, with the worst case scenario, in my mind, being a Starcraft MMORPG. Thankfully, Blizzard would appear to have decided to stick to the series’ roots, delivering a sequel that maintains the same essential gameplay mechanics, albeit updated for the new millennium.

Glancing at the screenshots on Blizzard’s official web site for the game, the overwhelming impression I’m getting is that, arguably more so than any previous Blizzard sequel, this genuinely does look like an update of the original game rather than a radical new departure. Obviously, the graphics engine is all-new, and there is a host of new units and abilities, but a lot of the old favourites appear to be in place in much the same form as before, including the familiar space platform and scorched earth tilesets, and a variety of units and buildings, including the SCVs, Marines, Command Centres, Barracks, Seige Tanks and so on. For my money, this is a Very Good Thing. Starcraft’s gameplay was arguably as perfect as a real-time strategy game could get, and to mess with the formula too much would be to incur the wrath of tens of millions of fans around the globe. The emphasis, as per Blizzard’s own marketing speak, seems to be to gear the game as much as possible towards their core audience of dedicated Starcraft fans, delivering “the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game” for multiplayer gamers, while still (thankfully) offering an offline single player experience.

There’s no release date yet, as per usual with Blizzard games, but the word of the day, according to Rob Pardo, Blizzard’s vice president of game design, at the press conference, is that the development is already well under way, with all three races, Terran, Protoss and Zerg (the fact that the same three factions that were in the original are back, with no additions, strikes me as being further proof that Blizzard don’t want to reinvent the wheel with this title), already fully playable in multiplayer. Hopefully, therefore, it’ll at least be out in time for Starcraft’s 10th anniversary in 2008. Needless to say, it’s immediately shot to the top of my “most wanted” list, eclipsing Empire Earth III, Guild Wars 2 and even Hellgate: London.

Some fun links:

Thanks to Graham for the heads-up.

 
Posted: Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 1:17 PM | Comments: 2 (view)
Categories: Games | Technology | Web
 

I know, I’ve been slacking

DVD

I’ve been slacking with my reviews, and I know it. I attribute a lot of this to the fact that I now work for 37 and a half hours a week - something which, unsurprisingly, has had an impact on the amount of free time I’ve actually had available to devote to movie-watching (when glancing at my Movie Checklist the other day, I was shocked to discover that I didn’t actually watch anything this month till the 13th) and reviewing. Basically, I suspect that I’m going to have to impose a certain degree of self-discipline, because, a lot of the time, time that I should have spent writing has simply been spent lounging around.

At the moment, I’m doing my best to put together a dual review for the two HDScape titles I was sent, and I’ve got to admit that it’s damn hard to review something that was essentially intended to act as a screensaver! I’ve also got The Fountain to do for DVD Times, as well as Casino Royale, which I’ve been promising for more than long enough now. The 2-disc Platinum Edition DVD of Pan’s Labyrinth also arrived for review earlier this week (Wednesday), so it will also have to be added to the “watch and review” pile. I have to say that this last title is one that I’m very interested to see: I had been planning on waiting for the HD DVD release, but the only one currently in the offering seems to be Spanish, and given that the film itself is in Spanish, I suspect that English subtitles are unlikely. If the film turns out to be decent, and becomes available in an English-friendly high definition release, I’ll definitely pick it up, but until then, fuzzy old standard definition will have to do.

Stay tuned for more ramblings (hopefully)!

 
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2007 at 11:40 PM | Comments: 2 (view)
Categories: Cinema | DVD | HD DVD
 

Like trying to drown a cat

Just over a year ago, I reported that the projected remake of Suspiria had been canned. Unfortunately, it seems that this little project is as durable as Mater Suspiriorum herself, for it has once again reared its ugly head, as per an article at Dread Central.

Variety is reporting that upstart production house First Sun has acquired the rights to remake Dario Argento’s classic 1977 headfuck Suspiria for modern audiences. First Sun is a conglomeration of director Luca Guadagnino, fashion designer (!) Silvia Venturini and a slew of producers.

Suspiria has a unique style that we want to reinvent for today’s generation,” director Guadagnino told the trade. “We intend to create a concept that will encompass cinema, videogames, fashion and music and that revives the original for those who did not experience it. The Gothic resurgence is very strong around the world at the moment … and we feel that a new version of Suspiria will fit very well.”

Christ, what is with people? I could say so many nasty things, but I frankly don’t have the energy, so I’ll just shake my head sadly and direct you to some more positive news regarding The Third Mother, straight from the pen of Alan Jones.

 
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2007 at 6:33 PM | Comments: 2 (view)
Categories: Cinema | Dario Argento
 

Everything that has a beginning has an end… thankfully, in this case

HD DVD

Four years late, I’ve finally seen The Matrix Revolutions. And what a turkey it was.

Lyris and myself were so repulsed by The Matrix Reloaded and how mind-numbingly awful it was that we didn’t even both seeing the third instalment in the trilogy when it came out in cinemas and on DVD. I always suspected that I’d end up watching it one of these days, though, and, tonight, we decided to bite the bullet and actually load it up on HD DVD. We had the presence of mind to set the microphone up and record our thoughts as we experienced the film for the first time, and we’re currently deciding whether or not our 129 minutes of mindless blethering can be salvaged into an audio commentary that people in their right mind would actually want to listen to. Certainly, it’s something of an eye-opener, as our initial surprise at getting something half-watchable rapidly degenerates into complete and utter frustration, following by unbridled hostility as the events on screen become sillier and more incomprehensible by the minute. Seriously, I think the phrase “So what’s actually happening?” must be uttered at least every ten minutes, and there is a point in the middle, during the 30-minute explosion reel - sorry, epic battle sequence - where we simply give up even trying to think of anything to say.

Seriously, this film, especially the first 45 minutes, was a definite step up from The Matrix Reloaded, but it quickly degenerated into yet more mindless drivel that was obtuse for the sake of it and didn’t make a blind bit of sense, perhaps even in the minds of its directors. Throw in some truly ham-fisted and unnecessary biblical imagery, a whole lot of pointless characters we don’t care about, and some truly awful dialogue about “choice” and “destiny”, and you have a film that, despite making up for some of the indignities inflicted upon us with the second instalment, only serves to intensify my belief that they should have stopped after the first one.

 
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 9:33 PM | Comments: 8 (view)
Categories: Cinema | HD DVD
 
 

 
 
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