Friday, July 19, 2002

Yay! "Spider-Man" comes to video and DVD from November 4th!

I know this because the always reliable and inordinately well-put-together (It has actual design, and everything) UK DVD site, DVD Times, has a story currently gracing it's home page which says just this very thing. Head bod and filmic oracle, Colin Polonowski, and his fearless band of frequently merry mentalists? They know the score. Which would be something along the lines of "DVD Times 1 - Other sites Nil Points..."

As for what will grace the disc version, I would rightfully expect tons of stuff, as yet unconfirmed, but little in the way of your Deleted Scenes, as the whole kit and caboodle was so richly expensive to make that just about everything shot made it into the end product. Whatever ends up on the shiny platter, you would be entirely correct in your assumptions if you were to believe that your truly bestest mate, the man like Hiroprota, is even now intending to spend the morning of the fourth of November, 2002, ruthlessly elbowing, high-kicking and using his scarily preternatural Wire-Fu skills to misanthropically chuck people out of his way, Jet Li-style, as his unquenchable desire to own Sam Raimi's excellent superheroic fest is unleashed on an unwary populace.

Afraid yet, denizens of Scarborough? You should be....Moowah-ha-ha! Moowah-ha-ha! (Evil laugh, repeat to fade..)

For more witterings about the digital versatile discs which so ensnare my simple mind, why not click on the peachy keen and resolutely unsponsored link above? It's the one titled, only slightly pretentiously, "The British DVD perspective"...

Monday, July 15, 2002

Just an update to say "Hi...", comment generally about the astonishing mini-heatwave currently visiting the UK and provide regular readers of this very site with a rare, almost unheard-of Monday Blogfest.

It must be the heat driving me mad, frankly. There can be no other explanation.

Not that I'm going to complain about the summer actually, Y'know, arriving in the UK - The present, welcome sunny spell lighting up this small corner of the planet is such a rare and beautiful thing that I feel apt to celebrate it while it lasts and not spend all of my time indoors, glued to some movie or other.

Having said that, you'll be entirely unsurprised to learn that I intend to go directly home after posting this and watch my new rental copy of "The Last Castle", director Rod Lurie's military prison-set action-drama from last Autumn, which was amongst the first of a whole crop of movies to fall slightly afoul of an upsurge in patriotism in the US, following the tragic events of September 11th.

Personally, I'm more worried by the prospect of seeing Robert Redford with his shirt off (Leave it to Brad, Bob, he can't take his top off enough).

Also out this week, in the UK, for your video rental perusal and pleasure, is the Oscar-nominated "Training Day", which finally broke Denzel Washington's inexplicable Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences duck, by giving him the Best Actor trophy this year. He's great in it as possibly the most corrupt and self-justifyingly mental cop that you'll see on screen this side of Harvey Keitel in "Bad Lieutenant".

True, there are moments in this Antoine Fuqua-helmed crime thriller which just scream "Steven Seagal movie!" at you, with the superheroics of the climax running just slightly at odds with the rather grittier events which have transpired previously, but the overall piece is just serious enough to make you think a little and entertaining enough to keep you gripped for two hours or so.

Plus there's this bit with Macy Gray.....

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Also, Miss K, you wouldn't believe which movie I've just found myself ordering on the Future Ent site. Though, I suspect that Noah and Lyns have a good idea of what it might be. Anybody fancy a game of 'Twenty Questions', via the Comment facility?

And, if Harry's reading this, you can forget those kinds of movies. I'm not about to get into 'interesting' adult features, frankly...

Is it just me or does the week of August 6th seem like a hecka-long time away?

Those previously alluded-to and justly-celebrated folks at Future Entertainment have just sent me an e-mail reminding me that my copy of the US, Region One DVD of "The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring" has been secured by hard-grafting, RSI-mocking, data-entering artisans and that I can check the progress of my order at their site.

Hint that I might get it early or tantalising, showy attempt to remind me that review copies are already going to magazines, DVD sites and that the people who work for online DVD stores are probably already enjoying their own copies of this awe-inspiring epic flick, even as I impatiently await my own opportunity to relive the many joys of Peter Jackson's great cinematic achievement?

Probably the latter.

Why the US version? Well, I have geek issues with the UK distributors of "LOTR", Entertainment in Video, the company who normally release New Line Cinema's titles in the UK. Given half a chance, they'll plaster their box art with irritating quotes from reviewers, offer screaming testimony as the multiplicity of features on their discs (Whilst not telling you that there's much more stuff on the US release), release movies with Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks in a Pro-Logic or Stereo version, and do insane stuff like cropping "U-571" from a 2:35:1 Anamorphic ratio print to a 1:85:1 Anamorphic transfer, just to appease those strange people who " Don't do those black bars"(Yep, let's all have a full-screen version and lose 40% of the movie, you halfwits). And I'll never forgive them for what they did to "Dark City".. It's all hugely inexplicable behaviour and means that I opt for the US version of any movie that EiV might have in their catalogue, unless it absolutely can't be avoided...

Like I said - Geek Issues. But issues, nonetheless...

Redoubtable, inimitable Miss K.? Just some techie stuff which could be of interest to you and anybody else hankering after an almost affordable Recordable DVD player, and you'll find it in the News section of "Home Cinema Choice"

The Holy Grail of all self-respecting home cinemaniacs seems that little bit closer....

Yep, it's Sunday and I haven't so much as filed a single blogging sentance in anger - It's almost like the halcyon days of yore, when my optimistic promises of imminent updates were somehow typed with all of my fingers crossed.

Remember those days? I certainly do.

So, "Minority Report", then? It's all kinds of good, but it almost certainly isn't the film that Fox's advertising campaign would have you expecting.

Given a fast-cut, John Williams-scored trailer which arrives suggesting all kinds of jet-pack shenanigans, chrome stun-guns and magnetic cars zipping at dizzying speeds down the sides of huge skyscrapers, you would be forgiven for thinking that the much-heralded first collaboration between Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg would be an all-out, mega-budgeted actioner that would teach the likes of Michael Bay and Simon West just how to deliver an actual summer blockbuster.

That this movie isn't even remotely so obvious is a fine surprise, and surely an illustration of just how Spielberg's pre-eminent position in the industry allows him to sneak subversively-intriguing, idea-heavy SF pics past the executives who thought that they'd signed on for a generic future-shock pic that coasts on audience goodwill for two hours and doesn't dare to have a clue in it's pretty head.

In short? "Minority Report" is probably the smartest summer flick since "Dark City", and clearly has more on it's mind than shifting action figures and video game spin-offs (Though a Game Boy Advance title is already out there, with next gen console versions to follow, which makes me wonder just how the bejesus one presumes to derive a shooter, or "Deus Ex"-style roleplayer, from the paranoid, borderline schizophrenic SF universe of "Minority.." writer and visionary, Phillip K. Dick).

This is, egad, a Hollywood SF picture which dares to assume intelligence on the part of it's audience and that, Blimey o' Reilly, they may even have the patience to allow story to unfold at a measured, unhurried pace and for that story to hinge on such un-Summer filmic eccentricities as plot, character, the ethical uncertainty of policing in the new century, our individual relationship with grief, the invasive realities of new technologies, their effects upon our personal liberty, and other stuff that you probably won't get during the thrifty 82 minute running time of next month's "Men In Black 2".

Tom Cruise is obviously in the same place in his career as Spielberg is presently, and seems to be enjoying the opportunities which Scott Frank's elegant screenplay offers, playing a lauded, successful Washington DC cop in 2054, whose outwardly successful stewardship of a 'Pre-Crime' task force masks some fairly nightmarish, self-destructive inner demons, a nasty drug habit and an unresolved personal tragedy which is slowly tearing him asunder. Cruise gives a performance which the assurance that you might expect of a star of his stature, winning the audience over even when it becomes clear that his pioneering Pre Crime force - Which arrests murderers before the actual crimes transpire, thanks to the predictions of a trio of isolated, heavily medicated, latent psychic misfits - is guilty of some fairly horrendous civil rights violations which make the latter day behaviour of the LAPD look positively benevolent.

Colin Farrell also stars and delivers a turn which single-handedly justifies all the column inches spent on him in the last year or so - His work as Cruise's vehemantly religious, absolutely focussed nemesis is of a calibre which should be recognized come next year's awards season, and he's more than matched by the absolutely superb, incandescent work of Samantha Morton, who owns the screen whenever she appears. You're looking at next year's winner for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, if there is any justice whatsoever in a world which gifts "Scooby-Doo" a $54 million dollar opening weekend...

Go see this movie, folks. If you're tired of predictable summer fodder and want to see something with far on it's mind than pushing Happy Meals, you won't be disappointed with this pic, which conspires to engage both the mind and your adrenal gland. It's your best bet for a smart SF flick, this side of May 13th, 2003....

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