Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Women On The 6th Floor (2010)


Jean-Louis Joubert is an affluent stockbroker who owns a luxurious building in Paris that is seemingly only inhabited by his ex-country girl wife, their 2 obnoxious children (who are mostly away at boarding school) and a number of Spanish maids who live up on the 6th floor.  Jean-Louis leads a very scheduled and some may say boring life that is thrown into a slight disarray when his maid of 25 years decides she has had enough and leaves his employ. This leaves space for Maria, the newly arrived niece of one of the upstairs lodgers to fill the position. Maria is a breath of fresh air for Jean-Louis and it is through her that he will discover a whole new world that has been under (or in this case above) his nose the whole time.

The Women On The 6th Floor is a light comedy that had the potential to be more of a commentary on the 1960's exploited immigrant work force that was the result of the oppressive Franco regime of the time, yet it glosses over these issues with veritable ease, opting instead to be a simplistic representation of the dynamic character, rolled up in a crowd pleasing way.  Whilst it is entertaining enough whilst you are watching it, a little after thought will leave you dry.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Melancholia (2011)

From the offset Melancholia is going to immediately divide audiences. It is purposefully slow, often bereft of dialog and does very little by way of establishing a plot or storyline. It is a film about depression, paranoia and the end of the world and whilst it looks stunning it plays a little overly melodramatic.

 Justine and Michael are deeply in love, it is their wedding day and they should be happier than ever. They are on their way to their reception which will be a memorable event if for all the wrong reasons. Those present at the reception include Justine's sister Claire, their estranged parents Gaby and Dexter. Claire's husband John, who is the owner of the massive estate that the event is being held at, Jack, who is Justine's boss and who is attending predominately in order to get an advertising tagline from her and the wedding planner, who all but shuns Justine once things take a turn for the worst. It becomes abundantly clear over the course of the evening that this is a broken family, full of resentment, possibly some insanity and in Justine's case depression. This is possibly the first depiction on film of every bride's worst nightmare when it comes to the reception.

The second half of the film focuses its attention to Claire, now caring for Justine who has become crippled by her depression, both physically and emotionally. Claire is suffering from paranoia, this is a result of the discovery of a new planet that has been hiding behind the sun and that is now in a probable collision course with the Earth.

What the film lacks in exposition it certainly makes up for in style and performance.  All of the cast are impressive, with Kirsten Dunst throwing the full weight of her own personal bout with depression into her character, but it is the visual aspects of the film that steal the show.  Von Trier uses some amazing cinematography and some superb use of CGI to enhance his backdrops, however all if this still isn't enough to save the film from being a slow, sometimes dull and often overly melodramatic piece.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Come Early...

And with Christmas bearing down upon us with steadfast ease, more gifts to myself to help with silly season sleaze.

 Das Boot  -2 Disc Collector's Set (JBHIFI Exclusive)

 Fight Club - Digibook Blu-ray & DVD Set (JBHIFI Exclusive)

Sucker Punch - Steelbook Triple Play (JBHIFI Exclusive)

I am up on Film Central again this week so expect reviews of Melancholia and Mission Impossible 4 before next Tuesday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Blu's & Ghibli

In the run up to Christmas a number of retailers here have some pretty good sales going on!  So to help relieve them of stock I picked up a few bits and pieces....

Resident Evil: Afterlife JBHIFI Exclusive Steelbook

Watchmen JBHIFI Exclusive Director's Cut 2 Disc Edition

 Winnie the Pooh Big W Exclusive

Match Point and Moon

 Last House on the Left (US)

 Also from CD Japan the last of my Ghibli films has finally arrived.... Tales of Earthsea. I had only seen it once, and so sat down to rewatch it, and I am afraid it still doesn't really do anything for me. The picture and audio quality is mightly impressive, but I just don't find the story or characters as compelling as other Ghibli films. I am still glad to have it in the collection, but I doubt it will get much action.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Next Wave of Ghibli Blu's

Well I received the first two blu-ray's from the next installment from Studio Ghibli (The third is still en-route).  I present Howl's Moving Castle and Ponyo!  I watched Howl last night and I must say this is a fantastic disc, the picture quality is leaps and bounds ahead of the DVD I had. The 6.1 soundtrack is magnificent to behold and truly places you right in the midst of the story and action as it unfolds.  I must admit upon my first viewing of Howl I wasn't all that impressed, but as I re-watch it, I am coming to like it more and more (Hopefully the same will occur for Tales From Earth Sea, which I also didn't care greatly for on my initial viewing)

I haven't had a chance to watch Ponyo yet, but I did have a quick look at the disc and I must admit I am a bit disappointed that it is simply a re-hash of the original release. Whilst it is nice that the cover now matches the rest of the releases, it is a shame the disc contents are set out completely different and not in keeping with the theme from the others.  I guess maybe it was a little too much to ask, but I was hoping Studio Ghibli may have obliged us.  Oh well, it is still a great film and an excellent addition to the collection!

Ponyo also came with a little extra in the form of a sticker album (pictured below)

Now the waiting game for the next wave starts!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Welcome.... to Jurassic Park

So I picked up the Jurassic Park trilogy Blu-ray a week or so ago, have only gotten around to watching The Lost World, but it looked fairly decent and had an awesome soundtrack.  It came in a nice Digipack too so I thought I would share a few photos:


 I also recently opened my Limited Edition DVD set, so I will share a few of those pics below too:

 As above, the set features Jurassic Park and The Lost World on DVD, (I replaced the normal special edition DVD's with the DTS Releases), the soundtrack to both films on CD and a certificate of authenticity.

Below you can see the two film frames and the pouch that holds some art cards (I didn't open these as I have enough art cards for JP as you can see from the images below that...)

Art Cards and Lobby Cards for Jurassic Park and The Lost World.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Ghibli & More....

A number of new additions to the ol' collection....

First up, the remaining Studio Ghibli film I had outstanding... My Neighbors the Yamadas. One of the few Ghibli films I had not seen.  I watched it the other night and must admit it certainly has some great moments, but on the whole I felt a little wanting...still, nice to have it in the collection, but I can't wait to add Howl and Ponyo on the 16th of November!!!

 Picked up a couple of standard Blu'ray's as well in the form of Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil, The Frighteners, Final Destination 2, Final Destination 3 and Being John Malkovich!  All bar Tucker & Dale are updates from DVD... shame to see FD3 doesn't have its interactive version that appeared on the 2 disc DVD set, but oh well.....

And last, but not least I picked up Big W's exclusive pillowcase edition of The Lion King

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Hunter (2011)

Willem Dafoe plays Martin, a secretive hunter-for-hire who has been commissioned for a quest that will take him from Paris, to the far reaches of Tasmania, where a leading bio-tech company has it on good authority that a Tasmanian tiger has been spotted recently. He is being sent to track down the animal and collect samples, dead or alive so that they may have exclusive access to it. (For what purpose is never addressed).

He arrives under the guise of zoological research, but is almost immediately mistaken for a “greenie”, a mistake that will see him run into a number of confrontations.  To make matters worse, the living quarters arranged for him are not at all what he expected, having to share a house with 2 children and a mother who is fighting a prescription drug battle over the loss of her husband some time prior.

The family are watched over by a some-what obsessive neighbor, played by Sam Neill, whose motives are unclear, and who seems to have a hidden agenda relating to Martin’s job. Nonetheless he takes Martin into the wilderness before leaving him to get on with his work.  Martin is clearly a man of method and sets about laying various elaborate traps in the hopes of capturing a Tasmanian Tiger.  As the hunt progresses it seems clear to Martin that the animal is probably extinct, that is until the youngest child hands him a picture of a Tasmanian tiger with a recognizable landmark as its backdrop.

The film is directed by Daniel Nettheim and adapted from the novel by Julia Leigh, whose directorial feature film debut Sleeping Beauty divided audiences at this years Cannes Film Festival. Both films share a number of similarities, including a lack of definition in their characters and the motives for their actions leaving both films ambiguous. However the very melodic and unsettling way in which The Hunter unfolds leads me to believe that this may in fact be intentional.

Shot in cinema-scope by Robert Humphreys., The Hunter shows off some of Tasmania’s most magnificent scenery and does great justice to our wonderful natural beauty on screen. The score is sweeping and melodic with a constant sense of unease that keeps you slightly on edge for most of the films duration. All of the cast put in impressive performances, however most are stood up by Morgana Davies whose performance here solidifies her as an actress to keep your eyes on.  Frances O'Connor and Sam Neill both fit their roles with veritable ease and of course Willem Dafoe presents most of his acting through mere expression and body language.

Whilst The Hunter is probably not going to appeal to the majority of movie goers out there, those that do seek it out will be treated to one of the years more poignant features.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ghibli Blu-ray Collection Part 2

So after my love affair with The Borrower and Whisper of the Heart Japanese Blu-rays, I went ahead and ordered Nausicaa and Laputa both of which arrived yesterday:

 Laputa: Castle In The Sky

NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind

NausicaƤ came with a little guide book which makes the packaging slightly different with the disc stored on the left hand side of the case instead of the right.... unfortunately that means the disc doesn't stay in the case as well as one might hope, but I am still glad to have started collecting these discs... even if they are costing a fortune.  November is going to be painful with the release of Tales From Earthsea, Ponyo and Howl's Moving Castle add to that the fact that My Neighbors the Yamadas is available now! I think I might hold off on that one for a little bit though... at least until I can accumulate more money!

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!!