Blu-ray

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Anton van Beek  |  Sep 20, 2010  |  0 comments

The Pacific is a companion piece to the earlier Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks produced Band of Brothers. As its name indicates, this ten-part miniseries shifts its gaze from Europe to the war in the Pacific, and this time the narrative(s) follows three marines and their various experiences rather than a single company of soldiers. 

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 08, 2009  |  0 comments

Optimum Home Entertainment has had something of a spotty history with the quality of its Blu-ray releases. That said, the company definitely appears to have found its footing with its recent Studio Canal Collection of classic films, and nowhere is that more evident that with this lavish high-definition treatment of Alain Resnais' mind-bending 1961 French New Wave outing Last Year at Marienbad (L'Annee derniere a Marienbad).

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 21, 2009  |  0 comments

Quite simply, Raimi's return to the genre that spawned his career is a much needed breath-of-fresh-air for the increasingly self-referential, po-faced and torture-obsessed American horror genre. It's not the most original film - the story about a young woman with only days to live after being cursed treads much of the same ground as MR James' Casting the Runes (and the excellent 1957 adaptation Night of the Demon) - but that really doesn't matter a jot, as writer-director Sam Raimi delivers a fast-paced and playful chiller that's entirely focused on making its audience jump. In other words; exactly the kind of silly ghoulish treat Hollywood seemed to have given up on.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 04, 2009  |  0 comments

Before Jason Voorhees donned a hockey mask (or even the burlap sack he wore for one film) and started his epic killing spree there was another murderer killing promiscuous teens at Camp Crystal Lake. While the villain is different, the modus operandi is exactly the same - watch horny teenagers get it on with each other and then butcher them with an inventive array of weapons. As you can probably guess, it's not the most elaborate plot ever devised, but director Sean S. Cunningham's 1980 classic is still a tremendous model of economy, ditching anything like characterisation in favour of cutting straight to the good stuff (Tom Savini's wonderful makeup effects and the odd bit of partial nudity).

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 04, 2009  |  0 comments

Having started out with hit-and-miss remakes of William Castle flicks like House on Haunted Hill and Thir13en Ghosts, genre specialists Dark Castle Entertainment finally ventured into the uncharted world of original horror stories with this tale of a spooky ship haunting the Bering Sea. I say original, but while it's not actually a remake, this tepid scare film blows all of the good will it's bravura opening sequence generates by then proceeding to run a gauntlet of second-hand plot points and gore gags that any true genre fan will have tired of decades ago.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 04, 2009  |  0 comments

Even if he'd never made another good film (don't worry, he made plenty) I'd always have time for director Joe Dante thanks to this classic 1984 horror-comedy.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 29, 2009  |  0 comments

With the remake currently stinking up multiplexes on both sides of the Atlantic, it's no surprise that Warner Home Video has seen fit to bring the original Fame to Blu-ray this week.

Mark Craven  |  May 20, 2009  |  0 comments

Sometimes we want a movie to fill the gap between repeat viewings of The Dark Knight and Quantum of Solace. Something that doesn’t require turning the surround system up to 11 and banishing the wife and kids to the garden shed. If you feel the same way, then Bride Wars might just fit the bill.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 29, 2009  |  0 comments

Picking up where Sharpe's Challenge left off, this 2008 outing finds Sharpe and his colleague Harper on the way back to Madras. Coming to the aid of an East India Company baggage train the soldiers soon find themselves caught up in a very familiar plot involving nasty soldiers and opium smuggling.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 27, 2009  |  0 comments

Taking elements from three of Bernard Cornwell novels (Sharpe's Tiger, Sharpe's Triumph and Sharpe's Fortress) this 2006 production finds Sean Bean's legendary British soldier undertaking 'one last mission' for the Duke of Wellington. The story takes him to India, where he must put pay to the treacherous Major William Dodd (Toby Stephens) and rescue the lovely Celia Burroughs (Lucy Brown) from the the leader of a local revolt. It's all fairly brisk paced stuff - especially as this disc only features the shorter 106min cut, not the original two-part 138min version - with Bean scowling and swashing his buckles at every opportunity. Fans of Primeval stunner Lucy Brown are also in for a real treat - head to 20mins 19secs for an unhindered look at here *ahem* two biggest assets, and visit 35mins 35secs for a slightly less clear, but still skin-tastic, bath scene.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 10, 2009  |  0 comments

Ever since I caught the first episode of Batman: The Animated Series on ITV back in the early '90s I've been a huge fan of producer Bruce Timm. His animated incarnation of the Dark Knight quickly became my favourite screen version, capturing the essence of the character and his comics perfectly. Over the years Timm and his team have continued to wow me with the likes of Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League and DTV movies like the spell-binding adaptation of Darwyn Cooke's The New Frontier.

Anton van Beek  |  Mar 23, 2009  |  0 comments

When British cinema’s enfant terrible Ken Russell claims that a filmmaker’s work ‘went right over my head and seemed a little terrifying, but I’m all for it’, it’s understandable that you might be worried about what you’re getting yourself in for. Suffice to say, GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen is unlike any Blu-ray release this writer has seen before. But that’s one of the reasons I treasure the BFI so highly, it’s ability to constantly surprise and challenge viewers with releases that would simply be unlikely to find a release anywhere else.

Anton van Beek  |  Mar 12, 2009  |  0 comments

Based on the first of Stephenie Meyer's popular series of novels, Twilight was the surprise success story at the box office late last year. Produced for less than $40million, the film took more than four times that at US cinemas alone. Having never heard of the franchise before, I was even more surprised to discover that this wasn't just a US phenomenon, but that the books shared a similarly rabid fanbase here in the UK. So, when the Blu-ray review copy of Twilight arrived in the HCC office, I was intrigued enough to volunteer to review it. Frankly, I wish I hadn't bothered...

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