Thursday, February 26, 2009

Drat these computers they're so naughty.....

Well I came home from work last night after battling an awesome virus on a colleagues computer....(of course I lost the battle and just reformatted), anyhow, got home and alas my server has decided it doesn't like booting an OS anymore....hurrah....all kinds if hilarity ensued at least until I gave in and went to bed...*sigh*

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Well where to start....those of you who watch Bollywood movies will know that Slumdog Millionaire isn't anything new, in fact it steals countless plot points and scenarios from many a great movies Bollywood or otherwise. That is not to say that it is not a stirring, exciting, action packed or dramatic tale...Jamal's story of his rise from Slumdog to Millionaire (with thanks to the show who wants to be a millionaire) will keep you enthralled and entertained for the most part. This is thanks mainly to believability of the actors who play his younger counterparts during his flashback relating of his tale. Danny Boyle has a rare talent of getting excellent performances from young stars, you need look no further than Millions for another fine tale of rags to riches. The film is hot off a major sweep at the Academy Awards and will no doubt see a major revival in its veirwership and will most likely do wonders to gain wider appeal of Bollywood style movies. After all it is the biggest film industry in the world.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Land of the Rising Sun

Thought today I would share a few Japanese Limited Edition DVD's. In Japan, they treat DVD very different to the western ways...the first release is usually a limited edition and comes with all manner of goodies or special features on a bonus second disc...then after the first batch are sold a standard version is released. Generally you will never see a re-release of the first batch so it makes them very difficult to track down if you miss them.

Here are a few First Press editions I have collected along the way...

Tomb Raider 1 & 2 (First Press includes full bit rate DTS sound and a second disc of features)

The Cell (First press includes full bit rate DTS and a second disc of extras)

Ronin (Ultimate Edition 2 discs and DTS sound in special packaging)

I am a bit conflicted as to wether or not I will hold onto these editions...I am slowly moving over to Blu-ray and both Tomb Raider and Ronin have been released, but void of any of the extra features present on these is a tough call (especially with the bastardisation of DVD pricing the way it is...)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dead Like Me: Life After Death (2009)

Before I start this review, let me just mention the rarity of this event. Very few shows get a second chance at life...Family Guy, Futurama and Firefly (in the form of Serenity) are the first that come to mind...(Strange that they are all F shows from FOX....) Family Guy is probably the most successful revival of the bunch, I was a big fan of all 3, I liked Serenity and the Futurama movies aren't all bad, but they just were not the same as the shows that they hailed from originally.... Something just didn't feel right.

Dead Like Me aired on Showtime, but it was created by MGM. Showtime did not renew a third season despite MGM wanting to continue producing the show. So now 5 years later we get the aptly named Life After Death. There are many things about this direct to DVD movie I didn't like, I did not like the rushed effort they went to explaining the departure or Rube, I did not like the fact that Der Waffle House was burnt down, the Lass residence is MIA and George appears to have been exhumed and reburied in a much less picturesque cemetary. (all due to a change in shooting location) Daisy has had an actress change when really her character should have just been bumped off and the plot at least for the first half is very reminiscent of the first season pilot. There is no real progression of characters (with the possible exception of Regie), the reapers are still making the same mistakes, George is still a lost little puppy....even Happy Time hasn't changed....The whole thing just seems a little is great to see the cast back, but there are soo many things they could have done. The story is not all bad, but it just doesn't feel like a real Dead Like Me episode.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The facts were these...

What the hell is up with Pushing Daisies....I mean I know the series has been canceled, but we are still waiting on 2 episodes to air!! *sigh* well, I might just have to re-watch the new Dead Like Me movie again to tide me over...expect a review of that some time this week...I shall try and put a few more pics of the collection and maybe another track or two up as well. ...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Quarantine (2008)

As with all American horror remakes, I would strongly urge seeking out the original film first. REC is superior in almost every way. The U.S film does have a few nice scare moments, but is also predictable, cliched and maintains the sickeningly distracting hand held camerawork that means for almost 1/4 of the film you have no idea whats going on anyway. The acting is a little dry (mostly screaming and hysterics), the writing worse and the whole film is given away in the trailer. By now I would have thought the whole "Blair Witch" style was out, and yet movies like this and Cloverfield continue to appear...If you have 90 minutes to kill and want a few scares it will probably suffice, if you want the real deal go and rent REC.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Meet my friend Annie May

Keeping with the anime theme, I thought today I would share a few of the series I have chosen to collect....

Noir - Australia

As previously noted on the blog, Noir started my whole fascination with anime. The idea of the 2 female assassins trying to uncover the past had me from the first 10 minutes of the pilot episode.
The Australian release was nothing fancy...although it does have a gimmicky easter egg hunt. The booklet for each DVD has a hidden message (you need special glasses that weren't provided until the 7th volume) in order to read them. Once you have deciphered the code, follow the instructions and you will be presented with a series of easter eggs. I also bought the 3 soundtrack CD's and a neat set of playing cards featuring art work from the series...

Volumes 1 -7
3 OST CD's
Art Work Playing Cards

Tsukuyomi (Moon Phase) - First Press Editions - Japan
I became interested in Tsukuyomi because of director Akiyuki Shinbo, I loved his OVA Le Portrait De Petit Cossette. When I started watching this series I had very high hopes that it would be a continuation....that was at least, until the prologue finished and the opening credits started....I was laughing so hard it hurt...suffice to say Hazuki-chan won my heart (despite being the brat she is) and the series earned its place in my collection not once...but twice..

Box 1 Contents:
1 Hazuki-chan figure
2 Postcards

Volume 2 Contents:
1 Postcard Album

Box 2 Contents
1 Haijii Plush toy

Moon Phase Box Set - America
Volume 1 DVD
Postcard Album
4 Postcards

Uta~Kata - Summer Memory Box Sets - Japan
I had finished watching Kiddy Grade and was awaiting news of the next series from Keiji Gotoh, when Uta~kata was announced. I liked that is had a simple twist on the whole "Magical Girl" story line and I am still sad that it has not been licensed in any English language version to this date...

Box 1
2 DVDs
1 Continuity Book (180 pages Japanese Text)
1 Production Book (55 Pages Japanese Text)
1 Character Bed Sheet
5 Postcards
1 Mobile Mate

Box 2
2 DVDs
1 Continuity Book (170 pages Japanese Text)
1 Production Book (67 Pages Japanese Text)
1 Mini Novel ( Japanese Text)
5 Postcards
1 Mobile Mate

and a movie for good luck :)
Spirited Away - Australia
This was my second introduction to Studio Ghibli and more specifically Hayao Miyazaki, my first being Princess Mononoke, and whilst I have since become a fan of his more light hearted affairs such as My Neighbour Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service I still return to Spirited Away and respect it for the achievement in animation it provides.

Limited Edition Packaging
2 DVDs

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Make a pilgrimage for the past"

There are a few anime series that I really like. Noir is the series that actually started my fascination with Japanese animation. Thanks to it, I now spend countless hours and dollars to fuel said fascination. Without it though, I may never have found the likes of Studio Ghibli, Studio Bee Train or countless other series and movies. This post is not so much about the series or movies, but the music that accompanies it. Yuki Kaijura is an amazing talent! Her music has been some of the absolute highlights of my score collecting. I own a majority of her releases including her See-Saw work. Today I thought I would return to my posts from last month invloving rare tracks. This is a track from Noir that was performed live at the Anime Expo 2003. I did not record it and I am not actually sure where it came from, but it is a bootleg track.

If you are not familiar with Yuki's music I would strongly recommend looking her up on the tube that is you prior to listening as I don't wish to jade your opinion based on a bootleg recording.

Sorry, No Longer Available to Download

"I will not bite... much."

Boy who should have been killed at birth, meets girl who is outside of his class, they fall in love, she falls pregnant, girls daddy finds out...lots of fighting and battle speeches ensue....oh and there are lots of Vampires and Werewolves.

Why this film was not direct to DVD is questionable. It is filmed almost in complete darkness (most probably to hide the rather obvious puppetry and CGI despite a $35 Million budget) the acting is questionable the story is obvious (I wonder if Shakespeare's estate got paid?), the dialog (see the topic heading) and well the whole thing is a bit of a miss really.... wait for Free to Air TV for this one....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"You are NOT my son..."

To begin with let me just say that Changeling is a good movie. It is well crafted, superbly acted and perfectly shot. Had I not known more about the real life story on which it is based, it would almost be a 5 star movie. However the artistic license taken by the film regrettably marred it for me.

I do not think directors should be allowed to claim their movies are true stories if they do not intend to uphold the facts of their case. Regrettably I cannot tell you which specific facts are incorrect as they are major plot points, suffice to say that if you have no interest in the real story then you may enjoy the film for what it is. A work of fiction.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Asia Extreme

Well I got a bit carried away on the long weekend and thus no updates ensued....

Anyway, I thought today I would show some of my Korean Limited Editions, this has mainly come about thanks to The Uninvited, which started in theaters over in the U.S and which happens to be a remake of one of my favorite Korean horror movies... take a look at the trailer below...

So the original film is called "A Tale of Two Sisters", there have been a few releases around, but the first 1500 of the 2 disc Korean Edition came in a nice digipak with a film cell.

A Tale of Two Sisters - Korea
2 DVD's

Film Cell

I also have a soft spot for Kim-Ki Duk, who churns out almost 2 films a year... below are a my 2 favorites...

Samaria (Samaritan Girl) - Korea
Numbered Limited Edition: 04919 of 10,000
1 CD Soundtrack
1 Booklet

3-Iron (Bin-jip) - Korea

Special Packaging
2 DVDs

I also invested a little in the "Girl's High School Horror" series, whilst I could not find a limited edition for Whispering Corridors...Memento Mori and Voice both managed to get the LE treatment. I did have Wishing Stairs, but it was the least worthy of the series so I sold it...ce la vie...

Memento Mori - Korea

Special Box Packaging
5 DVDs

1 CD Soundtrack
1 Diary & Photo Book - 110 Pages

Voice - Korea
Special Packaging
2 DVDs

1 Production Notes Insert

Whilst I could add quite a few more, I think I shall save them for a horror movie post a little later down the line...

I saw Changeling over the weekend so expect a review of that some time in the next days or so....

Friday, February 6, 2009

Clint Eastwood has a gift. He is a gifted Actor, Director and Writer and to be able to have the privilege of watching his films is an honor. This is the 2nd Eastwood Film in a year (The first being The Changeling). The fact that this film is as good as it is, is testament to his hard work and dedication to his art. It is an honest look at today's society through the eyes of a retired, racist, widower who is forced into the lives of his Asian neighbors following the attempted theft of his Gran Torino and the attempts of a local gang to corrupt their youngest Son.

It is not necessarily an easy film to watch as it does contain a number of disturbing themes, but I would certainly recommend seeing this one at the movies if you get the chance, it is beautifully shot and framed in the widescreen format.

Music Gets the Best of Me

Being a movie collector isn't as easy as one might think, especially if you are spoiled for choice with multiple releases of you favorite films, I know some collector's that just buy the cheapest edition they can find and thats cool, more movies for the taking. Personally I hunt around, read reviews and try to find not only the best presentation, but the nicest edition too.

One thing that particularly draws me to certain versions is the inclusion of the soundtrack CD. Here are a few examples of such editions :)

A Very Long Engagement - France

Special "Velvet" Book Packaging

2 DVDs
1 CD Soundtrack
80 Page Book featuring Storyboard Art and Photos

The Girl With A Pearl Earring - Korea
Special Magnetic "Velvet" Packaging
2 DVDs

1 CD Soundtrack
24 Postcards

Lady in the Water - Germany

Special Book Style Packaging
1 CD Soundtrack
Amazon Exclusive Bookmark

Last Life in the Universe - Korea

Special Packaging
1 CD Soundtrack
8 Large Postcards

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Stay away from my shiny things!

I love movies, all sorts of movies. I used to buy on average around 2-3 DVD's a week. I knew right from the dawning days of DVD that it was going to be popular with collector's. I kept up-to-date with releases for my favorite movies around the world so that I could own the best version and my collection grew and grew. As I got more and more interested in foreign and independant cinema I expanded my collection to include limited editions. Now with Blu-ray I am torn, I have some very cool editions of movies on DVD that I would love on BD, but giving up the nice packaging for awful blu-ray cases isn't an option, but I can't afford the double dip....oh well, if this is all I have to worry about in life then I guess I shouldn't complain!

Anyhow, I thought over the next few days I would share some of my favorite limited Edition DVD sets :)

House of Flying Daggers - China
Deluxe Box Packaging
Number Limited Edition:
2 DVDs

1 CD Soundtrack
Making of Photo Book
Bamboo Pen

The Prestige - Thailand
Special Packaging
1 Pocket Watch
Trick Playing Cards
Misc. Novelty Item

Ghost World - Japan
Ghost World DVD
CD Single for Jaan Pehchaan Ho by Mohammed Rafi
4 Badges
2 Cloth Dolls
1 Sticker Sheet
1 Screenplay with Storyboards and artwork (Japanese text)

I shall post more over the next week or so....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Let My People Go!

I am not religious, and yet I have quite a soft spot for the film The Prince of Egypt. I especially loved the music (with the possible exception of Mariah Carey!) You can imagine how annoyed I was when one of the best cues did not make it onto any of the 3 official soundtrack CD's released....but here it is in all its glory. (Obtained from a Promotional Only CD)

Hans Zimmers composition for the Hieroglyph Nightmare

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Monkey wannabe

One of my favorite actors is Christopher Walken, even in the most pitiful role I can still find something to like about his acting. One of my favorite of his roles was Gabriel from the original Prophecy Trilogy (I say original because there have been 2 more godawful sequels made without his presence) The music for the first two films was done by David C. Williams, the third was done by Steve Boeddeker who continued using David C. Williams themes. I actually don't mind when this happens as it gives consistency to the series....imagine Return of the Jedi without the Star Wars wouldn't work. Michael Kamen did an amazing score for the first X-Men and the John Ottman fucked it up with X-Men 2...lamest score ever....but I digress. Today I am uploading the end credits "remix" of The Prophecy theme for your enjoyment.

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