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hell-oh-kitteh (scotland)

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The Phantom of the Opera (3 - Disc Dual Format Edition) [DVD]
The Phantom of the Opera (3 - Disc Dual Format Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lon Chaney
Price: 15.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Restoration of the 1929 version PLUS the original 1925 cut., 4 Feb 2014
Along with having 2 versions of the film on Blu-ray and DVD, we also get the excellent documentary Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces on a bonus DVD. This is just a terrific set, for a historically important film.

Most know the classic story of the disfigured Phantom, dwelling in dungeons beneath the Paris Opera House, and his obsession for a woman, unfortunately, betrothed to another. Eventually seducing and kidnapping the poor girl, right under the nose of her beau, it's surely only a matter of time before he is tracked down and made to pay. The poor wretch just wants to be touched. To love and to be loved. This Night at the Opera will never be forgotten.

Originally made in 1925 but re-issued, for the newly born, sound era in early 1930, Rupert Julian's, The Phantom of the Opera is a classic of early horror cinema. Featuring a barn-storming performance from Lon Chaney as Erik, the Phantom, I'd put this up with Nosferatu and Das Cabinet der Dr Caligari, every day of the week.

This BFI edition gives us a Photplay Productions 'special restoration' of the re-issue version of the film, (running 91 mins) with a fabulous, contemporary, orchestral score by Carl Davis. Somewhat controversially now, the film was fully tinted, for the re-issue, using an amber, a vivid blue, a fiery red and a beautiful magenta except when in the Phantom's lair, when it reverts to simple black and white. Not usually a fan of 'colourised' films, I found the tinting used to great effect here. There is also a sequence at a masquerade which is presented in 'technicolor' and it literally made my jaw drop seeing it in HD for the first time. Sure, it looks dated but it's nearly 90 years old!! And the reds' in the scene pop fantastically. The next scene on the rooftop, outside, is at night so a blue tint is used, yet the Phantom's cloak is bright, shiny red. It truly is a thing to behold in a piece of celluloid this old. Fantastic. There is very little damage or specks of dust, there is no image flickering, no warps. The intertitles are clean and easy to follow. Detail is improved drastically, the tints look vibrant, the image is clear and steady and it really is fabulous to see this film look so good.

Carl Davis' score is presented either in a lossless 2.0 stereo track or a dts-hd master audio 5.1 track and both are great. Usually I just prefer the stereo track with my old films but this score in 5.1 is a bit of a treat.

Extras include the full, original 1925 cut of the film with a new piano accompaniment, which is in pretty bad shape but its inclusion is welcome if only to see the films original shape. Also we have the only existing 12 minutes of the 'sound' re-issue which is from a pivotal moment in the film and is interesting for curiosity's sake only, really. I would also say the same about the mysterious 'man with a lantern' sequence, which is another extra. Running very briefly it is what it says, e.g. A man, standing with a lantern. Strange. It is thought to have been recorded for non-English speaking territories. We also get a trailer each for the 1925 and 1929 releases of the film, which are fun but nothing substantial. There is a PDF file on Channel 4 silent restorations programme, an illustrated and informative booklet and, best of all, on a bonus DVD, we have the Lon Chaney documentary. Running 86 minutes, this is an exhaustive look at the man behind the masks. From his childhood, through the breadth of his career, past his lost film and to his untimely death, it is a fitting tribute to 'the man of a thousand faces'. Personally, I would have liked a commentary on such an iconic movie (and I know of 2 which exist) but we can't have everything.

All in, this is a fantastic release from BFI and does a classic horror film true justice.


Back to the Future Trilogy [Blu-ray]
Back to the Future Trilogy [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Michael J. Fox
Price: 9.00

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Blu-ray Set, 30 Dec 2013
This is simply a no brainer in my opinion. The three Back to the Future films in stunning 1080p Hi Definition and a fortnights worth of extra material for under a tenner!!! Go on, twist my arm, man.

Everybody knows the brilliance of the films. Personally, I think the first two slightly better than the third which, while still a good film, lowers the bar just a little. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd are both fantastic in all three movies. The effects, while state of the art at the time, are slightly more see through on Blu-ray but I think this all adds to the charm of the movie. Written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, (Who also gave us Roger Rabbit, Romancing the Stone and Forrest Gump, among many others) the trilogy is perfect family entertainment.

The picture quality is superb. I saw these at the cinema all those years ago and I'm sure they never looked this good!!! I was young then, though so I could be wrong. Regardless, these transfers represent the best home video presentation we've ever had of this trilogy. There is softness and some very natural (and nice looking) film grain but these are 80s' movies and this is how movies tended to be shot in that hallowed decade of film. As I said the effects are ever more see through in Hi Def but this does not bother me in the slightest. The colours look spot on, detail is much improved and really, its just a revelation how good they look.

Sound is also excellent with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix which tends to be front heavy but it's a lossless track and it's nicely balanced and well defined so no complaints from me.

So, if the actual quality of the movies isn't enough reason to buy then there are literally hours and hours of extra stuff to wallow in. All three films have excellent commentaries with the producers and also strange but still welcome USC film school commentaries with the same producers, where they are interviewed after a screening of the film for an audience of, presumably, students. These are all extremely worthwhile, however the USC chat tracks don't always last the entirety of the films.
Tales From the Future is the fascinating making of documentary which clocks in at a healthy 2 hours plus covering everything you could want to know about the trilogy. From inception to legacy, all bases are covered and it's a real treat.
There's deleted scenes with commentaries, which vary in quality but are still interesting, vintage making off featurettes, tons of archival behind the scenes material, a U control feature which displays a host of pop up trivia and factoids about the films while you watch, a nice 10 minute Q&A with Michael J. Fox and still more. A veritable trove of Back to the Future lore is at your fingertips!

So yes, a complete no brainer. Whichever way you look at it. Back to the Future will go on and on as it has for almost 30 years already. A cinematic masterpiece.


Criterion Collection: Brazil [Blu-ray] [1985] [US Import]
Criterion Collection: Brazil [Blu-ray] [1985] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Ian Holm

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Blu Ray is THE ONLY way, 5 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If, like me, you're a big fan of Terry Gilliams' Brazil then do yourself a favour and avoid the UK Blu ray editions of this magnificent film and pick up the US Criterion version. It is, head and shoulders, the best edition out there at this time.

I like to think of Brazil as Terry Gilliams' take on George Orwells' 1984. Certainly more humorous than the magnificently bleak 1984 it is a definite study of the insanity of bureaucracy and totalitarian states. Boasting incredible production design, beautiful sets, a great cast including De Niro and Ian Holm and a quite wonderful score from Michael Kamen, Brazil is a modern(ish) classic.

While the transfers of the movie are apparently, almost, if not entirely identical (and the film does look as good as I've seen it) it's the extras on offer on the Criterion release that win the day.

First up a brilliant, as always, commentary from Gilliam, a half hour documentary entitled What Is Brazil?, The Production Notebook, which is a collection of discussions, visual essays and unfilmed storyboards and the 'Love Conquers All' version which was edited for syndicated TV and is interesting but clearly a watered down version. BUT.....best of all we have The Battle For Brazil documentary which is just a fascinating look at the troubles the film had in getting a release. Thankfully Brazil was released. And for me, it's Gilliams' masterpiece. Thank you Criterion for such an exhaustive package covering a brilliant film which is still influencing directors today.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2014 11:58 AM GMT


Who Framed Roger Rabbit [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Who Framed Roger Rabbit [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Bob Hoskins
Price: 5.75

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Blu ray For a Great Movie, 9 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
25 years ago Roger Rabbit dazzled with it's groundbreaking mash up of live action and animation and while, by todays standards, the technology can look a little dated it's still a great film for all ages. Though, I must note, having viewed the movie again today for the first time since I was a nipper I was struck by just how far it goes in the violence stakes. Obviously, being a Disney movie, Im not talking gore here but there are a couple of scenes where I thought, 'Wow, I doubt you'd get away with that today'. Of course this never occurred to my 12 year old self when I saw the film. I loved it. And I still do. However it maybe worth considering for very young uns.

So, I love the film and, again, watching it now I much more fully appreciate the film noir-ishness which makes it an even better experience from my adult viewpoint. Indeed it reminds me very much of 'Chinatown' by Roman Polanski. A noir masterpiece.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit has been given a 21st century makeover in this new 25th anniversary Blu ray and its a little beauty.
The image stands up very well to scrutiny in HD and any lingering niggles are purely down to the source material and visual effects techniques. And remember we're talking live action mixed with animation on film here from 1988. Regardless, this is a nice looking Blu and seeing 'through' some of the animation techniques thanks to HD is surely all part of the charm.
The sound too is more than adequate to my ears.

As for extras, well, again this is a nice little package with some very worthwhile extra material. We get a very busy audio commentary track which is a great listen. 3 Roger Rabbit short cartoons, a slightly annoying but thankfully brief making of presented by Charles Fleischer, who voiced the Rabbit and is unfortunately the reason this featurette grates on my brain as his presenting style is ever so saccharine sweet and cheesy. More worthy is the 'Behind the Ears' making of documentary as it does what it says on the tin and goes behind the scenes with many of those involved. And does it for an entertaining 37 minutes. Toontown Confidential is a trivia track to play along with the movie or even better, listening to the commentary. There's a deleted scene, a brief before and after comparison segment and a couple of other bits n bobs making this a most worthwhile addition to peoples collections.

Just dont expect supreme Hi Definition picture.


Monty Python's Meaning of Life - 30th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] [1983]
Monty Python's Meaning of Life - 30th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] [1983]
Dvd ~ Michael Palin
Price: 8.28

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stupendously Silly Blu ray Treat, 6 Oct 2013
The fourth Monty Python feature length offering is probably a clip lower in quality than Life of Brian or The Holy Grail but it's still a great way to spend 90 minutes and leagues ahead of ANYTHING out there today! Less story driven than its forebears and so, more sketch-centric with some musical numbers, The Meaning of Life takes a few misteps along it silly way but the good far outweighs the bad and Im glad we have it. Especially now! On Blu ray!

Picture quality is very pleasing for a film from 1983. I'm not expecting HD perfection and indeed, there is the odd fleck and speck still present in the image. However I've never seen it looking just so good as it does here and short of a complete remaster this is likely as good as we'll ever see the film.

The real boon, for me, in this release is the extras though. Headlined with a Python 'reunion' of sorts. Eric Idle is beamed from LA but the 4 remaining Pythons are all in London and it's a lovely hour long feature. We also have a commentary with Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam who are as entertaining as ever, some deleted scenes, a vintage interview and various featurettes which extend the replay value of the disc.

All in all a very respectable release for a silly, entertaining slice of Python and at a cheap price!


Surgical Steel - Includes Bonus Track
Surgical Steel - Includes Bonus Track
Price: 15.37

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back : The Gods of Grind, 16 Sep 2013
An uparalleled success is my opinion of this 'comeback' album from Carcass. Metal album of the year - No doubt about it!! With barely a second of audio wasted this record crunches, blasts, riffs and catches in your brain immediately and oh so sickly.

Beginning with the melodious intro paen to classic metal years gone by '1985' and straight into 'Thrashers Abbatoir', (what a title!) it's a very welcome return to the Death/Grind/Gore scene which Carcass helped create. Every track is absolute killer but standouts so far are 'The Master Butcher's Apron' with its stop/start blasts giving way to a heavy crunch groove, 'The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills' with its extremely catchy (and Carcassy)chorus, consisting of Jeff counting off numbers!! GENIUS!
'Unfit For Human Consumption' with some insane brain hypnotizing riffs and groovy melodies, '316L Grade Surgical Steel' with yet more addictive riffs, a great blasty section and a wicked, unexpected breakdown with Jeff growling 'Dont tell me that you want. Dont tell me that you need.' However the album highlight, for me, is the fantastic 'Mount of Execution' which starts off with lilting acoustic guitars, segues into a heavy 'here we go' part in a smart drum time signature then gives way fully to an, old-skool, Megadeth style battery of riffage before Jeff Walkers stupidly catchy vocals start growling and gurgling away in glorious technosplatter.

With the brilliance of tunes on offer I havent even mentioned the incredible playing by everyone on the album. The guitars sound amazing and Bill Steer proves just as classy and inventive as ever he was. The drumstool in Carcass was a HUGE stool to fill after Ken Owen practically wrote the bible on this kind of thumping but it has been ably filled by Daniel Erlandsson who keeps things fresh and tight on all the songs. Ken Owen also guests on some vocals on the record, which is great as he is a massive part of Carcass.

Put simply this is one must have metal album for 2013. There aint too many of em about unfortunately. Thank Carcass, for Carcass!!!!!


KURONEKO (Masters of Cinema) (BLU-RAY)
KURONEKO (Masters of Cinema) (BLU-RAY)
Dvd ~ Kaneto SHINDO
Price: 18.25

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Movie. Extremely Disappointing Bluray., 21 Jun 2013
I have been waiting for this to come to Blu-ray in the UK for a couple of years now and when I heard MOC were going to release it I was very optimistic for a great release, as per usual with MOC.

My disappointment then is quite profound to find this is the poorest Blu-ray I have ever witnessed from the great Eureka MOC series.

The only extra is the theatrical trailer, unless you count the, as ever, very informative booklet.
Now, I can just about live with a dearth of extras when a film is just this beautiful, atmospheric and creepy but what really makes my head hurt is the picture quality. IT'S JUST UNACCEPTABLE!!! Criterion have only recently released an edition of this in the USA and it's stunning! This UK release looks barely better than my old DVD copy, in fact, it may be worse! Dark, darkly darkness is what we've been presented with here and detail is practically non existent when compared to the Criterion disk. It looks like NO RESTORATION has been done at all as the film is still dirty and still flickers. I cant think what has gone wrong over in the QA department at Eureka. Maybe they couldn't source a good enough negative or didn't have the funds to do a remaster but it's far below the quality of some of their great releases.

I really would suggest skipping this, frankly terrible, Blu-ray and instead would point you in the direction of the Criterion edition, which is unfortunately region locked to America. So a region free player would be required too. However, Criterion release SO MANY great editions of great films, a region free player is a virtually a no brainer these days.

So, apologies, but 3 stars it is. Blu-rays are capable of much, much more. And so are Eureka - Masters of Cinema.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2013 8:33 AM BST


The Tall Man [DVD]
The Tall Man [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jessica Biel
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: 3.05

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmmm. Unconvinced., 19 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Tall Man [DVD] (DVD)
I am a huge fan of Pascal Laugiers previous film 'Martyrs' and have been looking forward to this for quite a while. To put it mildly though, I am completely underwhelmed by The Tall Man.

I think, for the most part, I just have a great deal of difficulty in accepting the premise of the movie. Im not American and dont live in a trailer park, where some of the pivotal scenarios play out in the film, but COULD this actually happen? I really cant buy that it could, especially in a small community like a trailer park situation.

I felt a decent build up quickly evaporated into thriller/horror cliche. With needlessly jarring and loud, meant to be jumpy scenes which rely solely on turning up the audio of a dog bark, chair scraping or door closing to 'scare' you, illogical double turns and actually predictable (if youve seen enough of these types of films) outcomes for the plot. I did guess who 'The Tall Man' would turn out to be, although the overall reasoning was not quite what I expected. And again, for me, it's just not plausible. And then the very end........where the girl sees the boy....apparently living in the EXACT SAME neighbourhood as her....oh forget it!!! Just so disappointingly pedestrian from the mind of the man who brought us 'Martyrs'

Its beautifully shot and well acted mind you but thats the least I expect from any movie these days. Here's hoping for a return to French filmmaking for Monsieur Laugier if this is what his dalliance with the American industry produces.


Skyfall (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Skyfall (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Dvd ~ Daniel Craig
Price: 14.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bond 'Skyfall' Bluray Has A Licence To Kill!!, 13 Feb 2013
Bond movie number 23 Skyfall is, in my opinion, one of the best ever! For my money it simply has everything which is good about the Bond series. Proudly British, with a delicious villain and a cracking climax in the Scottish highlands Skyfall just soars for its 2 hours plus runtime. There's even room for some of the old humour which Craigs' first two, quite dark, outings justifiably omitted.

As for the transfer to our homes in Hi Def, fear not. This Bluray is a stunner. The film was beautifully shot by Roger Deakins and his wonderful cinematography has been faithfully transfered to BD disc. Time and time again I seem to be extoling the virtues of another fantastic looking Bluray release (long may it continue) and Skyfall joins the ranks of the upper echelons of quality in my collection. The audio side too is fantastic as far as I can hear but I dont have too sophisticated a speaker set up atm so probably not the best to judge.

As for extras, well, this set is almost excellent although I do have a little grumble. I love an audio commentary me and Skyfall gives me two!! Lovley! However, I have to say Im slightly disappointed by the second yak track with the usually reliable Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and production designer Dennis Gassner which is more or less a describe whats happening on the screen track which Im not too fond of. Michael G. Wilson is usually in great form for his commentaries and sparks off Broccoli well but this may have been an off day. The other commentary with director Sam Mendes is far better and is a very interesting listen along with the movie second or third time round.

An hour long making of the film is also included and while not quite as in depth as I'd like its quite entertaining while it lasts but probably not worth much repeated viewings. A few fairly pointless bits of promo gubbins rounds up the extras on this set and while it falls a little short compared to some recent releases, for the excellent video and audio quality alone it deserves my 5 stars.

A superlative Bond movie for his 50th year! A stellar Bluray release! Enjoy.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 15, 2013 8:50 AM GMT


North By Northwest Steelbook (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [1959] [Region Free]
North By Northwest Steelbook (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [1959] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Cary Grant
Price: 9.25

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NXNW Bluray Steelbook Spectacular!, 4 Feb 2013
I really do like a steelbook and these commemorative releases from Warners are a delight. On review here we have, arguably, one of the greatest movies of all time from one of the greatest directors of all time, Alfred Hitchcock.

North by Northwest stars Carey Grant as Roger Thornhill who gets caught up in a duplicitous game of cat and mouse when he is mistakenly identified as one George Kaplan, a secret agent. Pursued across country on a train, fired upon by a deadly crop duster in a classic scene and finally an epic endgame atop Mount Rushmore Grant is ably backed up by a stellar cast including Eve Marie Saint and a deliciously wicked James Mason. With a score by Bernard Herrmann this sits easily in the top tier of the Masters films and is one to watch again and again.

The picture quality here is just stunning! With a beautifully remastered picture North by Northwest has never looked as vibrant to this reviewers eyes. Everything just looks so detailed, sharp and solid with the proper level of film grain still present its just a joy to behold. Its honestly like seeing the film for the first time!

The extras are almost as good as the film itself with a lovely commentary from the screenwriter Ernest Lehman, which Ive now listened to twice haha, a wonderful and insightful documentary on Carey Grant which is almost worth the price of admission alone, a featurette called The Masters Touch about the filmmaking style of Hitchcock, a making of North by Northwest feature and a few other bits and bobs.

Really a MUST OWN movie so if you dont have it get it. And if you can get this steelbook edition all the better because its a really lovely addition to anyones collection.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2013 11:03 AM BST


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