Blu-ray

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Anton van Beek  |  Aug 23, 2015  |  0 comments

Following the box office success of both Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Maleficent (2014), Disney recently embarked on producing live-action remakes of some of its most beloved animated classics. While the idea of one day having to endure Tim Burton's Dumbo (yes, really) fills us with an unspeakable dread, the series has got off to a surprisingly strong start with this live-action retelling of Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Anton van Beek  |  Jan 25, 2012  |  0 comments

Joseph L Mankiewicz’s 1963 historical epic cost a spectacular $44million to make (the equivalent of around $300million today) and in the process almost brought studio 20th Century Fox to its knees. Unfortunately, the film’s tortuous production is a more entertaining tale than the one Cleopatra itself serves up. Okay, it’s not a bad film, just a rather average one – which isn’t really what you want from such a ridiculously costly endeavour.

Anton van Beek  |  Aug 04, 2013  |  0 comments

Six stories. Three directors. One unfilmable novel. Cloud Atlas should be an absolute mess. Only, it's not. Instead, Cloud Atlas is an ambitious $100million mix of blockbuster spectacle and art house ambition – the likes of which we'll probably never see again.

Anton van Beek  |  Jan 28, 2013  |  0 comments

More laboured and parochial than either funny or scary, Cockneys vs Zombies is less a film than a collection of punchlines desperately searching for a narrative to hang on to. While this Blu-ray release's AVC 2.40:1 1080p imagery is sharp, it can't do anything to compensate for the film's rather drab colour palette. Slightly more worthwhile is the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, which has plenty of fun with all of the gunshots – although even this feels rather limited in scope at times. Seven short behind-the-scenes featurettes, an instructional video and trailer make up the lacklustre extras.

Anton van Beek  |  Mar 26, 2018  |  0 comments

When the boyfriend of unemployed writer Gloria (Anne Hathaway) finally gets tired of her feckless lifestyle and kicks her out of his Manhattan pad, she finds herself with nowhere left to go apart from back to her small hometown. There she reconnects with childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and starts working in the bar that he owns, which only serves to exacerbate her drinking problem.

Anton van Beek  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  0 comments

Conan the Barbarian may not be particularly faithful to Robert E Howard’s original pulp writing, but this 1982 flick is a rollicking piece of fantasy filmmaking that almost single-handedly made Arnold Schwarzenegger a Hollywood superstar and heralded a renaissance in the swords n sorcery genre. Written by Oliver Stone and directed by John Milius, it’s a suitably bleak and macho piece of filmmaking where men are muscular, women are barely dressed and camels exist only to be punched in the face. In other words, it’s bloody brilliant.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 12, 2011  |  0 comments

As much as I enjoy Arnie’s 1982 take on Conan, I’d be hard pushed to describe it as anything like a faithful screen adaptation of Robert E Howard’s pulp icon. Which is why I was quite excited by the idea of somebody trying to reboot the franchise.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 23, 2012  |  0 comments

A simple business trip to Hong Kong results in a global pandemic that threatens to wipe out a vast proportion of the human race in Steven Soderbergh’s medical thriller. But despite it’s all-star cast (including Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Laurence Fishburne), Contagion couldn’t be further removed from the likes of Outbreak.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 20, 2012  |  0 comments

Released into cinemas back in 2009, Coraline is the latest stop-motion animated feature from director Henry Selick, the man behind A Nightmare Before Christmas. This time around he turned to a novel by noted fantasy author Neil Gaiman for his source material, and the result is a dark, disturbing and marvellously grotesque modern fairytale. Bored and neglected by her workaholic parents, Coraline stumbles into an alternate world where the button-eyed 'Other Mother' and 'Other Father' give her the love and attention she always craved. But as you might expect, it all comes at a terrible price...

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 10, 2012  |  0 comments

Like Richard III and Romeo + Juliet before it, Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut gives one of Shakespeare’s plays a modern spin. A tale of warmongering and politics  infused with imagery dragged straight from contemporary war zones, it makes for an arresting piece of cinema – even if it isn’t the most approachable of the Bard’s works.

Anton van Beek  |  Jan 25, 2013  |  0 comments

Equal parts hypnotic, claustrophobic and didactic, Cronenberg's latest film sees the 69-year old filmmaker at his most experimental. While unlikely to find favour with fans hoping for a return to his g(l)ory days as a purveyor of body horror, it's still an oddly irresistible piece of cinema, and the Blu-ray it arrives on is equally impressive. Admittedly, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix isn't given too much to work with in terms of dynamics, but the AVC 1.85:1 1080p encode revels in the original digital photography. Best of all though is the fascinating 110-minute Making of… doc.

Anton van Beek  |  Jan 23, 2012  |  0 comments

Given the level of vitriol aimed at this blockbuster genre mash-up, you’d be forgiven for expecting it to be an absolute stinker. Unsurprisingly, it isn’t.

Anton van Beek  |  Jul 11, 2016  |  0 comments

This steamy 1984 thriller stars Kathleen Turner as Joanna Crane, a fashion designer who moonlights as a prostitute called China Blue. But Joanna's double-life is soon complicated by the arrival of two new men in her life. The first is Bobby (John Laughlin), an unhappily married electronics expert hired to spy on Joanna, who ends up falling in love with her instead. Much more troubling is the obsessive 'Reverend' Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins), whose idea of 'saving' Joanna/China isn't likely to win him the Samaritan of the Year award...

Anton van Beek  |  Feb 03, 2013  |  0 comments

Even a decade-and-a-half after its original release, Vincenzo Natali's ruthlessly efficient sci-fi shocker remains a textbook example of how to make the most of a miniscule budget. This hi-def outing's AVC 1.78:1 1080p encode isn't what you'd call glossy, but it captures the grainy nature of the source material. The audio, however, has been upgraded, resulting in an atmospheric DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundscape that belies the film's micro budget. Sadly, there are no new extras on this 15th anniversary release, just a brief interview with actress Nicole deBoer, storyboards and a commentary taken from the film's old DVD incarnation.

Anton van Beek  |  Mar 04, 2018  |  0 comments

Following four years of incarceration in an asylum for the criminally insane, wheelchair-bound Nica (Fiona Dourif) has finally accepted that she murdered her family (see 2014's Curse of Chucky) and that Chucky was nothing more than a symbol of her psychosis. But when her doctor brings in an old Good Guy doll to aid with her therapy, it isn't long before the killing starts again.

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