Friday, September 30, 2011

Priest (2011)

Based on the graphic novel series of the same name Priest is a futuristic horror sci fi based in an alternate reality that combines religion and vampires (arguably a match made in heaven if you will pardon the pun).
A raging war between humans and vampires is drawing to a close, the church has appointed warrior priests with fighting skills to destroy the remaining vampires or intern them in reservations far from the chaotic cities ruled by their order. When the war is over, the church; afraid of the priest’s power, strip them of their title and they are outcast.

After many years of peace the priests are soon forgotten that is of course, until word gets out that one of the priest’s brother and family living in an outpost of the city have been attacked by vampires and his niece taken by them. After asking the permission and being denied by the church to go after them, the priest breaks his vows and goes anyway. What he discovers may well bring about the end of the human race.

Priest suffers from the same issue I had with Cowboys and Aliens, only in this instance it is the premise that sounds cooler than the outcome.... shame really.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kim Jee-woon Collection & More

I recently managed to track down a copy of the original CJ Entertainment release of The Good, The Bad, The Weird on Blu-ray and whilst it isn't my favourite Kim Jee-woon film (That title falls to A Tale of Two Sisters), it would certainly rank as my second favourite. This release comes in a nice digi-pak with a set of art cards.

This brings my Kim Jee-woon blu-ray collection to a total of 4.  I do have The Quiet Family, The Foul King and Three on DVD though, but for now here is a closer look at the Blu-ray's...

The Good The Bad The Weird (Korean First Press), A Bittersweet Life (Korean First Press), I Saw The Devil (Korean First Press) & A Tale of Two Sisters (UK Release)

 I Saw The Devil (Korean First Press)

 A Bittersweet Life: Director's Cut DVD (Korean First Press)

 A Bittersweet Life: Director's Cut Blu-ray (Korean First Press)

A Tale of Two Sisters Korean First Press DVD, UK Special Edition DVD & UK Blu-ray.

In Other release news....

I picked up the UK Optimum release of Mr. Nobody which features a nice 45 minute making of and a great transfer of the extended cut - you can find my review of the film here.  Also finally picked up The Host for a mere $6!!  Haven't had a chance to look at it yet though.

From the U.S I picked up Pushing Daisies Season 2, sadly the packaging doesn't match the previous UK release I bought, but as it hasn't been released there (and costs $76 here!!!!) I can live with that!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Goodies Galore

As most readers would know I am a sucker for all thing Studio Ghibli!  I really wanted the Japanese Blu-rays, but a number of things gave me hesitation.  The first was the price, whilst I don't mind shelling out, each disc is around $70 dollars and that doesn't include postage.  The second, is that I wanted them to be a full matching set and Ponyo had been released prior to the current releases in normal packaging that did not match the new sets, so I decided to wait.  Well it seems the waiting paid off, as a month or so ago, Ghibli announced that Ponyo would be getting a re-release to match the current cover types!!  And with that I present you the first wave of Ghibli Blu-rays I have purchased!

Whisper of the Heart 

Released in 1995, Whisper of the Heart is one of my favourite Ghibli films and introduces one of the few characters to appear in another Ghibli film (The Baron, who appears in the pseudo sequel The Cat Returns)

 Arrietty the Borrower

Still to be released to cinemas here in Australia, the next disc is Arrietty the Borrower.  I really enjoyed this film, but will have to sit down and watch it again before I can formulate my review.  There is so much stuff to take in with Studio Ghibli films, they are truly a marvel of animation.  This particular release came with a bonus in the form of Arrietty's hair clip. (as modeled below by my partner)

I was so impressed by these releases that I immediately purchased Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Laputa Castle in the Sky and pre-ordered Ponyo and Howl's Moving Castle!  These discs will take their prime place in my collection as they truly are a thing of beauty.

Speaking of beauty.... I also received my copy of Hanna in the form of the UK Steelbook release... great little movie and an awesome blu-ray!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Guard (2011)

Brendan Gleeson plays Constable Gerry Boyle, he is a great cop, but is not without his vices. He drinks, cusses and says all the wrong things on the job, but deep down he is a decent guy and his heart is in the right place. He has just been assigned a new partner named Aiden McBride, who regrettably has a very bad first day on the job, from the seemingly cult murder of a local to the arrival of an FBI agent on the trail of a massive drug shipment ,things go decidedly downhill from there.

The Guard is a thriller with elements of black comedy and is a movie driven heavily by the characters and their choices; it isn’t really about the plot, more a platform for some superb performances by some very talented actors. Brendan Gleeson is the stand out, channeling a little of his character from Lake Placid with his borderline sarcasm and laid back approach to police work. Don Cheadle also puts in a great performance as the fish out of water FBI agent.

The film is beautifully shot in cinema scope with some great use of the Irish countryside; the writing is superb with particularly well written and often hilarious dialog and an amazing confidence in its characters and story.

The Guard would easily rate as one of the most entertaining films of the year, if not one of the best films in general.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shark Night 3D (2011)

From director David R. Ellis, who gave us the best and worst sequels from the Final Destination series, comes the latest 3D horror film to see a bunch of teenagers splattered across our screens. One can only assume that this film got the green light as a result of the success of Piranha 3D although the similarities are few and far between.

Shark Night certainly starts off cliched enough, with a group of seven under-grads heading to one of their friends remote island vacation homes in Louisiana. They meet a couple of hillbilly locals along the way and also have an encounter with the local law enforcement that reminds you that at least one of their party used to live out this way, but left for reasons no doubt pivotal to the forthcoming events. Anyhow lots of water sports ensue and a shark attack occurs and a lot of blame laying between the so-called friends gets thrown around before it becomes clear that the shark attack was no accident. In fact there appear to be a number of sharks and from various breeds in the lake, all with a taste for teenage flesh.

Shark Night is one of those movies that takes itself far too seriously! From its opening Jaws rip off to its ludicrous explanation of why these events are occurring and its weirdly toned down violence (Obviously to attract younger audiences with a more "acceptable" rating) the whole film makes for a fairly pointless encounter. Even the 3D is somewhat pointless. These movies are made to exploit the gimmick of 3D, so when they take themselves too seriously and don't play to that gimmick then why did they bother filming it in 3D?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Final Destination 5 (2011)

Here we have the latest installment of the dead teenager horror franchise that is Final Destination 5, this time the vision of death falls on the shoulders of Sam Lawton who saves 8 of his co-workers from a horrific bridge accident that would have taken most of them off of this mortal coil in ways only a Final Destination movie could come up with and in 3D to boot.

We of course bear witness to his vision and the horrific aftermath; followed by the FBI investigation (which somehow tries to accuse Sam of being responsible for the bridge collapse) and watch as our 8 survivors slowly realize they are being bumped off one by one in order of how they would have died on the bridge. (So nothing really new here)

It is obvious from the get go that Steven Quale and screenwriter Eric Heisserer are fans of the past Final Destination films and this film certainly looks and feels more like the first three than the appalling fourth. It has a number of the same elements from the other films, such as the character names based on horror directors and the overall premise, but it does change the rules ever so slightly with the help of the recurring coroner William Bloodworth played by Tony Todd. The change is an interesting plot twist not really explored by the other films, although the reasons for this become apparent as the film progresses.

There are a few genuine surprises from Final Destination 5 and some great moments of tension building prior to the overly elaborate obligatory death sequences, but let us be honest, it is the death sequences everyone goes to these films for anyway and the inclusion of a story, even if it is mostly rudimentary is just a formality.

Side note: I am not a fan of the 3D fad Hollywood is going through at the moment, but I have to give credit to FD5 for using 3D as a gimmick as that is exactly what it is and how it should be utilized in my book.