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Anton van Beek  |  Apr 26, 2014  |  0 comments

When their space shuttle is destroyed by a massive cloud of orbital debris, astronauts Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) find themselves in a race against time to find another way back down to Earth.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 25, 2014  |  0 comments

Adapted from the award-winning young-adult bestseller of the same name, this near-future thriller tells the story of an American teenager (Saoirse Ronan) trapped in the UK with relatives she hardly knows when war breaks out in Europe and the country is turned into a military state. While director Kevin Macdonald's bittersweet film doesn't pull any punches, it's also packed with strikingly beautiful images, which this Blu-ray's AVC 1.85:1 1080p transfer excels at recreating in the home. Extras are sadly limited to just a six-minute Making of… featurette and eleven deleted scenes.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 24, 2014  |  0 comments

Now this is how you bring a TV show to a satisfying end: eight episodes of superbly written and acted drama that don't waste a single second of screen time as they bring the curtain down on what has been the most consistently brilliant show of the past few years. Sony's two-disc Blu-ray set doesn't disappoint either, cooking up crisply-rendered AVC 1.78:1 1080p encodes, powerful DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtracks and a plethora of terrific extras (including a wonderful alternate ending).

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 23, 2014  |  0 comments

Not even an all-star voice cast including Antonio Banderas, Charles Dance and Saoirse Ronan can save this sub-Shrek medieval 'toon. So banal that it's only real audience will be the most undemanding kids, we doubt many buyers will actually make use of the Blu-ray's optional 3D mode, which is a shame as the stereoscopic MVC 2.40:1 1080p visuals add some much-needed dynamism to the otherwise sharp-but-bland animation. The disc also offers a rather modest DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix, an hour of interviews and four featurettes.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 22, 2014  |  0 comments

A combination of spirited humour and inventive design ensures that DreamWorks' caveman 'toon is significantly more fun than either of the duffers Pixar served up in 2013. Unsurprisingly, the CG animation works very well in 3D, with the MVC 2.40:1 1080p encode revealing plenty of depth and some good examples of negative parallax with floating embers and other airborne particles. The 2D AVC version is even better, looking slightly sharper and a touch more detailed. Both versions sport a thrilling DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix that really brings the prehistoric world to life.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 21, 2014  |  0 comments

Brian De Palma's gaudy 1974 rock musical draws on some very familiar sources (Faust, The Picture of Dorian Grey, The Phantom of the Opera), but that doesn't prevent it from being unlike anything else you've ever seen. A brilliantly funny and surprisingly sharp satire of the music business, Phantom… stars William Finley as a naive composer whose music is stolen by music impresario Swan (singer/songwriter Paul Williams). Hideously disfigured in an accident, Leach begins haunting Swan's new club, only to be drawn into a Faustian pact with his enemy...

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 20, 2014  |  0 comments

This 'all-access' look at life on the road for the pop phenomenon ends without answering the biggest question of them all – how exactly did the former controversy-magnet Morgan Spurlock go from the likes of Super Size Me to bland corporately-approved fodder such as this? But even if it fails to shed any new light on the boys themselves, the concert footage looks sensational in 3D on Blu-ray and the accompanying DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix is no slouch either. As well as two cuts of the film, the Blu-ray also includes a medley of extras for fans to devour.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 19, 2014  |  0 comments

This second instalment in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy highlights the real flaws in the filmmaker's plan to spread the plot of what is a fairly slight book across three films.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 18, 2014  |  0 comments

Raymond Chandler's most famous literary creation – private investigator Philip Marlowe – is reborn as a moral man adrift in a self-obsessed world he doesn't fit into ('70s Los Angeles) in Robert Altman's revisionist take on the genre. It's a wonderful film – one of the director's best – and this BD certainly does it proud. Arrow's AVC 2.35:1 1080p encode excels at replicating the film's desaturated visuals, while the LPCM mono track is as good as you could hope for. The disc also packs in plenty of great extras, including an isolated score, interviews and a 1996 TV documentary about Altman's career.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 17, 2014  |  0 comments

This remarkable 1924 film documents the tragic attempt to conquer Everest that resulted in the deaths of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine. While the film's treatment of the Tibetan locals makes for rather uncomfortable viewing, there's no denying that it stands as a powerful testament to the climbers and the mountain itself. The BFI's AVC 1.33:1 1080p restoration still exhibits damage and instability, but also reveals a wealth of detailing thanks to the improved clarity. A recreation of the original musical accompaniment (LPCM 2.0) is joined by a new score by Simon Fisher Turner (DTS-HD MA 5.1/LPCM 2.0).

Mark Craven  |  Apr 16, 2014  |  0 comments

Since forming in 1981, genre icons Metallica have never shied away from innovation. Yet even devoted fans probably didn't expect them to release a 3D concert movie that mixes show footage with a side-story concerning a young stagehand called Trip (Dane DeHaan), street riots and the destruction of the lighting/sound rig by mysterious forces...

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 14, 2014  |  0 comments

Based on true events, this flick tells the story of three bodybuilders – Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) and Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) – who decide that they deserve more from life than the hands they've been dealt. To this end they cook up a scheme involving kidnap and extortion, but it isn't long before things get completely out of hand…

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 12, 2014  |  0 comments

Akira Kurosawa's 1954 epic is long overdue a quality Blu-ray release in the UK. Sadly, this BFI release does little to change matters. Restored by Toho in Japan (with additional work done in the UK to remove further damage), it appears that somewhere along the way someone went a little overboard with the digital noise reduction tools – eliminating much of the native film grain and fine detail. Couple that with the relative lack of extras (a trailer and interview) and connoisseurs are far better off importing Criterion's Region A-locked US set with its more authentic transfer and copious goodies.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 08, 2014  |  0 comments

Mixing together epic action spectacle and romantic melodrama to tell a story of two World War I fighter pilots in love with the same woman, William Wellman's Wings is in many ways the silent film equivalent of Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor. The difference is that Wellman's film gives us actual characters to root for alongside the astonishing eye-candy – no wonder that it went on to scoop the first ever Academy Award for Best Picture.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 04, 2014  |  0 comments

Free from overt sentiment and weighted down by a brooding sense of loss, Jacque Demy's masterpiece feels as much informed by the kitchen sink dramas Britain was producing in the '50s and '60s as it is by Hollywood's lavish musical extravaganzas. The difference here is that this tale of love and loss is told entirely through the medium of song.