Anton van Beek  |  Oct 23, 2011  |  0 comments

The last few years have seen an explosion in the growth of so-called Vault publications. These prestige-format coffee-table releases typically take the form of an archive of background info and rare imagery related to a specific company or franchise, and often come accompanied by numerous reproductions of 'artefacts' that fans simply wouldn't be able to get hold of any other way. Or that's how it all started.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 20, 2011  |  0 comments

Designing a home cinema installation can be challenging enough, but having to do the work in a short time really sorts the men from the boys. St Albans-based installer FAB Audio Visual won a CEDIA Award for Best Home Cinema under £40,000 for this stunning system, designed for a client who was big on expectation, but short on time.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 20, 2011  |  0 comments

Horror films about killer insects are nothing new. Cinema is littered with the broken carapaces of insect invaders, both big and small, that had waged war against mankind. And in 1997 it was the turn of giant genetically-altered cockroaches in Guillermo del Toro's first Hollywood movie.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments

The slow drip-feed of animated TV sensation The Simpsons on DVD continues with this latest four-disc boxset, collecting together all 22 episodes from the show's 2002-2003 14th season. By this point in the show's life many were already claiming that The Simpsons was past its best, having peaked around seasons six and seven and having been on a downward spiral ever since. But despite some fairly vocal criticism, this particular season was actually one of the show's most critically lauded.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 17, 2011  |  0 comments

Forget Baz Luhrmann’s flashy contemporary update of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise got there first with this magnificent bigscreen musical. Fusing The Bard’s most popular work with superb music, inventive dance choreography and expressionist production design, the film charts the doomed romance of two star-crossed lovers belonging to rival gangs competing for turf on the streets of New York. While the two leads are pretty anaemic and the story falls flat between songs on a few occasions, it’s more than made up for by the astonishing dance routines and memorable tunes.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 16, 2011  |  0 comments

While he’s been a mainstay of DC Comic’s superhero pantheon since 1960 (in this incarnation, at least), you’d be hard-pushed to say that Green Lantern is a particularly recognisable name for most people. As such, this sci-fi blockbuster had its work cut out not only introducing its hero Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) and his supporting cast, but also establishing the concept of the inter-galactic police force he ends up working for, the Green Lantern Corps. Add to that a melodramatic back-story and two separate villains and its no wonder that the film struggles under the weight of its ambitious scope. But what’s surprising, given all of that, is how thin and uneventful the film ends up feeling. While the space stuff looks great, but most of the action takes place on Earth and looks ordinary and unexciting by comparison.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 16, 2011  |  0 comments

Having made a name for himself with horror fans with the surprisingly effective ultra-low budget shocker Zombie Virus on Mulberry Street in 2006, director Jim Mickle has stepped up his game for this even more impressive follow-up flick. Playing out a bit like The Road, albeit with monsters lurking around every corner, Stake Land follows a small group of survivors as they try to reach safety in post-apocalyptic world overrun by a vampire epidemic. 

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 08, 2011  |  0 comments

Writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan changed the face of modern horror with their low budget 2004 hit Saw. However, since that ingenious debut the filmmaking partnership has struggled to come up with a concept as fresh or inventive (remember we're talking about the original Saw here, not the franchise that followed), serving up first the derivative haunted ventriloquist dummy flick Dead Silence, and now this curious mix of subgenres. Initially playing out like a haunted house flick, Insidious then transforms into a possession movie before finally heading out into the Dreamscape-like territory of astral projection. As you might expect, it doesn't exactly hang together comfortably, but there are at least a few good scares along the way.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 03, 2011  |  0 comments

Claiming to be 'inspired by true events [that] occurred on June 5th 1992', War Games tells the story of a group of friends who head out into the wilds one weekend in order to mess around with Airsoft guns (an alternative to paintball that still allows adults to act like little kids playing war, but without the messy stains on their clothes). During the lengthy game, one of the girls from the group goes missing and a search of the local area uncovers a creepy slaughterhouse. Faster than you can yell 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre' the youngsters discover that they're being hunted by a psychopathic trio of local ex-soldiers who are playing their own war game - one where the ammo is live and the outsiders are likely to end up dead.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 01, 2011  |  0 comments

The Alien Anthology boxset is quite simply a must-have for any self-respecting home cinema buff. Not only do you get two bona fide Five Star classics – Ridley Scott’s original Alien and James Cameron’s Aliens – but it also includes David Fincher’s horribly underrated Alien3 and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s half-baked Alien Resurrection. Okay, so the latter can’t compare to the first three films in this legendary sci-fi/horror series, but taken as a whole the Alien saga remains one of the most exciting, fascinating and enduring genre franchises around and it simply has to form a part of every self-respecting home cinema fan’s collection.