Thursday, December 12, 2013

Steelbook Update!


Well here we are again with some new additions to the collection.  Above is the Kimchidvd exclusve steelbook edition of Tangled featuring a lenticular slipcover. It is very difficult to photograph, but is certainly much nicer in person!  It also came with a storybook (In English), some photocards and a sticker sheet.  A very nice set indeed.  Next up we have some Zavvi releases:


I have held off buying Starship Troopers on Blu-ray, but then I jumped when this was announced.  Haven't watched the disc yet, but it is a nice steelbook.


Oblivion was a bit of a miss for me, but I absolutely loved the score by M83 and bought this simply to get the isolated score in DTS surround sound!  Basically if you treat the film as a music video it works very well ;)


Again, The Little Mermaid is not one of my favourites, but I do really like this artwork.  I am a bit pissed though that I wasn't able to secure copies of Dumbo or Lady & The Tramp, two films I would much rather own... so this may get traded.


Byzantium was a blind buy, but I really enjoyed it and the stunning visuals look fantastic on this Blu-ray.  I am actually not a fan of the artwork they have used on the back cover, but that front cover almost makes me cry admiring its beauty :P


Double dip time, Close Encounters is missing the second disc and booklet from the original release, so really I just bought it for the steelbook. I note it has now sold out.


and last, but not least.  I did enjoy Django, but I wasn't going to own it.  I picked this up for $12 and as it came with the soundtrack I thought that was quite a good deal :)

I have more goodies on the way including the new 50th Commemorative JFK release from Warner so will be posting pics of that when it arrives, I have also ordered both versions of the Kimchidvd release of A Tale of Two Sisters so I am looking forward to those too!!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cinemagraphs Part 4


Once again I present you with my latest Cinemagraphs as captured on the Nokia Lumia 1020!  Water is still one of my favourite things to capture, so much so that I have visited countless waterfalls, lakes, streams, rivers and beaches in my quest to find things to photograph! The rest of the images can be found after the break and as usual I will warn you that the page may take some time to load depending on your connection speed! Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Airlock Kickstarter Campaign!


The makers of the awesome Aussie horror flick The Tunnel have a new project in the works and like The Tunnel, you the consumer, can help bring it about!  Airlock is a sci-fi horror series set in space!!  If you thought being underground in the tunnels of Sydney was scary, imagine what these guys could do in space!!

Pledges start at only $5 and every $1 counts!!  The best part is the that series will be FREE to watch worldwide upon completion!  Everyone wins! :D

So please consider helping to get this project made!!

You can find all the relevant details including a teaser of things to come over at their Kickstarter page!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Edition

 Well I have double dipped on The Wizard of Oz! I always regretted not purchasing the initial limited edition box that came out, settling instead on the local limited edition release, but now of course I am glad I held off as I really do like this edition. It will compliment my other version quite nicely :D

Anyhow, this set features the newly created 3D version of the film (not that I have any interest in that what-so-ever) on Blu-ray as well as a normal 2D version and extra features presented on two more Blu-ray's, a standard DVD version with extras and a double sided disc featuring the MGM documentary "When the Lion Roars". Other "extras" include a 52 page hard cover photo book, a journal, a map of Oz, a Nobel Collection pin set, a light up ruby slipper snow globe and my personal favourite (and exclusive to the Amazon version) a USB flash drive in the shape of the Wicked Witches legs! :D






Monday, October 7, 2013

Cinemagraphs Part 3 and Phone Upgrade!

Hello Hello,

Yes I am still alive.... not many updates of late I know!

Well the month of September came and went and with it I have changed mobile phones once again.  The Lumia 920 has been sold (and is currently doing a trip across Europe!) and has been replaced by its bigger brother the Lumia 1020!  Featuring 41 Megapixels of awesome!.



As usual, a new phone needs a bit of a work out and whilst the operating system and apps remain the same the upgrade to the camera also came with a change to the Cinemagraph app which now allows photos to be taken in HD (720) resolution.  Cinemagraph is still by far my favourite photo application on the Lumia phones and is constantly giving my ideas for photos I want to try and capture! So here are a few of the Cinemagraph shots I have captured on the Lumia 1020!


Please be aware that some of the files after the break are 10mb+ and as such, the page may take awhile to load on slower connections!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Things!

A few new things have been added to the ol'collection in the last few weeks!

Firstly Joss Whedon's short lived series Dollhouse has finally dropped in price on Amazon UK so I have finally picked that up after months of staring at it in my cart!


Zavvi continue to punish my wallet releasing wave after wave of gorgeous steelbooks... I have no less than 10 pre-orders for their upcoming releases, but here are a few that have arrived thus far:

Withnail & I (Another double dip for me!)

Aladdin & The Jungle Book
 I must admit that the Disney steelbooks are actually a little disappointing when compared to the Canadian Viva Metal cases that Futureshop was releasing (prior to Steelbook suing Viva of course), but the Brave, Muppets and Finding Nemo cases are vastly superior to these latest releases which is such a shame....


I have also completed my Resident Evil U.S Walmart Exclusive steelbook collection (I don't really have any intention of owning the 5th film as frankly it was an abomination)

and lastly a couple of single releases...


 I really enjoyed Sound of My Voice, in fact there have been very few Brit Marling films I haven't enjoyed and I am really looking forward to the upcoming release of The East!!

Saving the best for last, my current favourite film of the year,Chan-wook Park's first English speaking film Stoker!  With exceptional performances, fantastic cinematography and an amazing soundtrack this film was the highlight of my Sydney Film Festival viewing this year!!  It has just come out today in cinema's here in Australia and I highly recommend checking it out!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Wonderful world of promotional items!

Having received a promotional gift in the mail yesterday from Starz Entrainment for the release of Spartacus Vengeance on August 28th this year... I decided to create a post for some of the other odds and ends that have been sent to me over the years in this industry.  Sadly, movie promotion has dwindled quite significantly over time so most of the juicy stuff is from a number of years back, but here are some of the things I still have starting with the Spartacus Vengeance set:









More after the break.....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Conjuring (2013)


Based on the supposedly true account of the Perron family who were terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse in Harrisville. The family enlist the help of renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Of Amityville Horror fame) to help them overcome the horrors that are happening to them.

 
 The Conjuring is about the closest thing to an 80's horror film in look and feel that I have seen since The House of the Devil back in 2009.  Whilst it does use a number of obvious horror movie baits, for the most part it is just a genuinely atmospheric and creepy ride into the paranormal.  Director James Wan uses sound very effectively at creating and setting mood, both with the lack of score in certain scenes and the use of low frequencies to create a chilling and almost constant foreboding presence. The film also looks fantastic; recreating both the look and feel of the 70's with aplomb, but where the film really shines is in the actual scares themselves.  Unlike most horror films of the past 10 years or so, The Conjuring is fairly restrained in its depiction of violence and gore and opts instead to just let the nature of the activity build the tension.  Yes it does have some horror elements (you can hardly be possessed without spewing something up), but on the whole the film is a refreshing revival of the old horror lore.


As to the true nature of the story, well I am a sceptic when it comes to these kind of things, whilst I am fairly open to the possibility of ghosts and the like, the artistic license taken by Hollywood is often more laughable to me than frightening. As an example of this - the image below is a doll known as Annabelle, she features in the film quite a bit and is based on this account, however the 'real' Annabelle is in fact a Raggedy Ann Doll (as pictured with the real Ed and Lorraine Warren below that.)

Annabelle as seen in The Conjuring
Annabelle in real life with Ed and Lorraine Warren

I actually think the Raggedy Ann Doll would have been creepier, but I guess that is just me...

Possession movies are currently the "in-thing" in Hollywood with no less then 10 of them appearing in the last 2 years alone, from your Paranormal Activities to your Possession 1 & 2, even director James Wan has another one out this year with Insidious 2!  If you like scary movies or the idea of at least being creeped out then this film will certainly fit the bill, hell, in the U.S the MPAA was sent the film with the studio expecting a PG-13 rating, what they got back was an R rating and the following statement: "'It's just so scary. There are no specific scenes or tone you could take out to get it PG-13.'" Now if that isn't an endorsement of your horror film, I don't know what is!




Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hollywood & Body Image Issues

Whilst using Facebook last night, one of my friends 'liked' the following image:


It had this comment attached: "Silly, superficial world; please tell us why phony is more beautiful & why the dude is fine 'as is' no matter what size or age? Thanks!"

I initially took at face value that the bottom image represented a promotional shot for the film that had been Photoshopped, and that the image above it was a screen capture from the film. Well for starters, the shot is a promotional shot specifically for the purposes of advertising the film, not a shot from the actual film itself.  (The scene, as it takes place in the film, has the two characters on opposite sides of each other and the image below is not mirrored.)  I then had a look at the official press release photos from Getty Images (also confirmed at Movie Stills) and the following is the official press release photo as distributed by the studio:





As you can see, it has not been altered in the same way is the image at the top.  A little digging around on-line seems to reveal The Hollywood Reporter as the first organization to use the bottom image in reference to the films screening at Cannes this year.  Whether they created it or not remains to be seen, but it does show up on a number of festival websites including a number here in Australia.

I cannot understand why anyone would see the need to edit this photo in the way that they have?! What possible purpose does it serve?  I would love to find out who did this, why and for whom!

Body Image is a major issue among women, especially younger women and this kind of blatant manipulation is frankly horrific to me.  If I were Julie Delpy I would be mortified and insulted beyond comprehension. Sadly, this issue is not new, and this case above reminded me of one a number of years ago involving Saffron Burrows and her film Deep Blue Sea. Here is a clip of her explaining quite candidly some of the issues she had during and after filming:

video


The clip above is taken from the brilliant series Dinner for Five hosted by Jon Faverau. I highly recommend checking it out on YouTube if you get a chance!  Below you can see the issues she raised with the poster art for Deep Blue Sea and beside that an actual image of her in costume from the film for comparison:



It is just sad and insulting.  We are breeding a culture of women who feel ashamed about their bodies and a culture of men with completely unrealistic expectations of the female form and it has to stop.  Those who perpetuate this kind of obscene manipulation should be named and shamed!


You can find more information about Body Image issues and concerns at the Australian Governments Body Image page.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Playing with Cinemagraph Part 2

Well, I am getting a little better at finding things worth taking animated pictures of, but it is certainly not as easy as you would think to get it right!  Nokia have updated the app to allow editing of existing images which is a welcome addition, however since that update the phone is a little sluggish with the actual playback of files.  I seem to have developed a habit of holding the phone slightly off centre when taking images horizontally, not sure if this is as a result of the keys to the right of the screen and my attempts to avoid pressing them, but it is getting a little old to capture a great shot only to have it on an angle! Overall I have been quite happy with the control afforded by the app and I am especially impressed by some of the night images that it captures with nothing more than default settings!



Anyhow, without further ado I have placed a few more Cinemagraphs after the jump from my recent trip to Melbourne & Sydney as taken directly from my Nokia Lumia 920. (Please note the page may take quite awhile to load!) Select Read More below to view them :)


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rant Alert: Movie Rental Industry 4 Years On



So four years ago I wrote this blog post.  For those of you who weren't aware, I work in the movie rental industry.  An industry that has supposedly been dying for the past 10 years.  I have decided on this four year anniversary to take a look at the state of affairs in the Australia rental industry.

As it stands currently, the physical rental industry is on its way to an ice age, one that will see the physical rental stores dissipate and be replaced by the ever evolving move to on-demand or streaming services.

As with any ice age though, the change is not immediate, and will see a number of years of transitional weather as the industry comes to terms with exactly what it is going to do.

In Australia DVD rental is still a popular form of entertainment, and for many, it is still the only way to get access to the latest movies to watch in the comfort of your own home. 

Why?

Well, despite the many options for streaming or on-demand movie rentals available, the majority of new technologies rely on the internet. A technology in which Australia currently ranks number 40 in the world, even Israel, Bulgaria and South Korea have internet access almost 10 times faster than our average!

Ah, but the NBN I hear you say!  Despite having commenced or completed NBN access to almost 1 million premises as of this year, Australia was one of only 3 countries to register a decline in national broadband speed averages. (A decline of 13% no less!!) 38 percent of Australians have internet access at or above 4Mb/s, whilst a paltry 4.1 per cent have speeds 10.1Mb/s or higher.  Compare that to South Korea (Number 1 on the list) with 86% coverage at speeds over 14.1Mb/s

In movie terms, it would take the average Australian over an hour to download a standard definition movie from iTunes.  Not exactly “on demand”.

The other hindrance to the take up of online services is their very nature.  Most of the popular web based rental services are subscription, meaning you must sign up to each of them individually and in some cases pay a monthly subscription fee in order to rent titles.  There is not a single service that offers movies from all studios and distributors as each movie studio generally wants to control its own content and will not license it to other vendors.  As a result, most services offer a restricted selection of new release or back catalog titles and while this may change, presently the easiest way to get access to the largest selection is still on physical DVD.

Pay TV is in a similar situation, with monthly subscriptions as well as “on demand” rentals at a fixed cost.

As with my previous post. there is still the argument for quality.  With flat panels getting bigger every day and projectors becoming more common place in homes the compression used by most online services will become more and more obvious. In the U.S services like Netflix are offering HD streaming, but it is still a paltry 10-12Mbp/s vs Blu-ray's upwards of 32Mbp/s

So as it stands, 4 years after the so-called death of physical media, DVD is still by far the winner in the home media format front.  Blu-ray a close second and streaming media still bringing up the rear!

It will be interesting to see how things play out in another 4 years time!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Call (2013)



Jordan (Halle Berry) is a 911 call centre operator, she is very good at her job, gets along with her peers and is dating a local police officer.  She takes a 911 call from a young girl whose house is currently being broken in to, after telling the girl to find a room, lock herself in it and hide, the call drops out. This is when Jordan makes a grave mistake, she hits re-dial and phones the girl back, this gives the intruder the girls location and costs her her life.


Flash forward 6 months and Jordon is no longer an operator, but a teacher of want to be call centre operators.  That is of course, until a call comes through from Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin) who has just been abducted and has managed to call 911 from the boot of the car she is trapped in!  The film actually has some genuinely tense moments during this race against the clock as the police frantically try and track down the car, but alas the tension is short lived and the film takes a harsh nose dive into the pit of stupidity and absurdity.



Clearly not content with continuing the downward spiral of her own career, Halle Berry has decided to try and take a piece of Hollywood's youth with her....Oh to have been a fly on the wall when Abigail Breslin's manager called to tell her of an awesome project he thinks she should do! To her credit, director Brad Anderson has done some fairly decent work over the years with films like The Machinist, Transiberian and Session 9, not to mention his many TV works, but here we are presented with the bulk standard cliche serial killer thriller.  A movie that you will be spending far too much time yelling at the stupidity of the characters on screen than actually caring about them. And one for which Halle Berry must exude every facial expression in her repertoire in reaction to events unfolding countless miles from her location and via telephone hook up!


On the whole, the film is not awful, it is just exactly what you would expect it to be.  Speaking of which, I would normally provide a trailer for the film reviewed at the bottom of this post, however the trailer for the call takes the unusual step of presenting you with the entire plot of the film, ending and all.  So if you did have any thought of seeing the film, don't watch the trailer, however if you are a busy person with nary 94 minutes free in your life, you could always just watch the trailer and be content that is it possibly the most tense 2 and half minute film you will see in a while!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring Breakers (2012)


Spring Break in the United States is probably the closest real life equivalent to the adage Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll you could get!  Here in Australia the closest thing would be schoolies week up on the Gold Coast, either way, it is not a culture that this reviewer understands in the least.

The opening of Spring Breakers is basically a 10 minute segment lifted from the deplorable Girls Gone Wild Series before introducing us to what will be the main plot.  That is, we meet four childhood friends, Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), and Cotty (Rachel Korine), who are desperate to go to spring break and escape the mundane routine of their lives, so desperate in fact that they are willing to do just about anything to get there!  This includes three of the girls holding up an all night diner and robbing its patrons.

Once they get to Florida they partake in many of the expected Spring Break traditions before things soon take a turn for the worse and the girls wind up getting arrested and put in jail.  Soon after their court appearance one of the local drug bosses, Alien (James Franco) bails them out.

His motives are a little unclear at first, but after a quick visit to a strip club, they soon learn that Alien is one of two main players in town, his ex-best friend Big Arch (Gucci Mane) being the other.  They are soon caught in the middle of a drug war and things are quickly spiraling out of control.


I was not really sure what to make of this film whilst I was watching it, I am still not sure what to think writing this now, it is quite honestly unlike anything I have really seen before and is definitely not the sexy no brain comedy that some of the promotional material makes it out to be.  Yes, the girls spend almost the entire duration of the film in bikinis, yes there is plenty of sex and drugs, but it was more uncomfortable than it was titillating or enticing.

Artistically it looks fantastic, but then I would have expected nothing less given the cinematography is by Benoit Debie who has amazing visual presence in all of the films he has worked on.  The score is by Cliff Martinez and Skrillex, so bascially the score to Traffic being remixed into Dubstep.  The film barely takes a breath as far as the soundtrack is concerned with music basically under every scene.

The performances from the cast are great, of course much has been made of the two former Disney girls taking on these more adult roles, but they perform very well in their character shoes (They have little else to perform in...).  James Franco steals the show however, in an almost unrecognizable role as Alien, proving yet again that he is certainly one of the most versatile actors currently working in the industry!

On the whole the experience was certainly different, and whilst I wouldn't say I enjoyed myself, I was at least entertained and certainly intrigued by almost every aspect of this film!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Film Central



Well, as most people have probably noticed, the blog has been a little unattended lately.  Hopefully all of that is about the change as I will be forced to write reviews for the features I see.  I am joining the ranks of Film Central, a weekly community radio show dedicated to film.  Whilst I have been co-hosting the show for a while, I am now going full time every week for 2 hours discussing all of the latest releases in cinemas and on DVD or Blu-ray.  I will be posting my reviews to this blog as well as maintaining the Film Central Facebook page.  (Feel free to like it, but don't feel obligated ;) )

I will also work on podcasting the show, but there are a few rights issues to work out, so once that is all sorted hopefully you will be able to listen retrospectively!