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hell-oh-kitteh (scotland)

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Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy [Blu-Ray]
Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy [Blu-Ray]
Dvd ~ Doug Bradley

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such Sights To Show You, 20 Oct. 2015
Arrow have produced one of THE Blu-ray packages of the year and it is, bewilderingly, already out of print!

The first three Hellraiser movies with 'all new' 2K restorations, the first two of which, are overseen by original cinematographer, Robin Vidgeon.
A collection of, cool or tat depending on your viewpoint, collectibles including, a reversible poster, 5 postcards and a 200 page book.
All packaged in a neat box. It reminds me of the excellent 'Battle Royale' DVD boxset from a few years back in it's construction and style.
All in, I have to say a very cool package and, probably, my favourite BD set this year.

On the films, I have to say, I think they descend in quality. Hellraiser, is a deserved cult classic, with a simple story, great atmosphere, ingenious production design, good performances and the introduction of a fantastic new horror icon in Pinhead.
Hellbound is a cynical cash in. A complete rush job with re-used scenes form the first film, laughable dialogue, dismal production design and a wander down the 'A Nightmare On Elm Street' path. Almost devoid of originality or enjoyment, Hellbound at least has decent turns by the usual players, returning from the first film and Shakespearean thesp, Kenneth Cranham lending some clout to it but it's hardly a pleasure to watch.
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is just lamentable in my opinion and the less said the better.

The new 2K transfers, on the whole, look really great but I am seeing heavy, uneven, jumping grain in certain sections of Hellraiser. Sure, the film SHOULD have a grainy look and 90% of the time it looks GREAT but in certain scenes in the attic, the grain goes haywire! I am unsure if this is inherent in the film stock and has been left just so, to preserve the original look of the movie, after all, the attic should be grimy and dirty but I found it ever so slightly distracting. Otherwise, the film looks great. Colours look true, detail is appreciably better than my old DVD copy (Spot the team working the engineer puppet even more!) and all the blood and gore pops like it never has before.
Hellbound: Hellraiser II has a more settled look than the first film (except when it's replaying bits of the first film) but it is noticeably softer, due to the film stock and lighting. Detail is good and colours are fine but Hellbound is, at source, a rather washed out looking film and HD only serves to highlight this, warts and all. There is one scene, when Kirsty and Tiffany enter the Escher-esque labyrinth, which looks horrendous! It is a matte painting, VFX shot but it really does look terrible in HD.
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, being the most modern of the three movies, might benefit the most from the 2K remaster with good detail and solid colours. Daytime scenes look bright and clear though exterior night time scenes could look 'blacker' but, again, that's probably down to the original film.
Overall, a very good presentation of the three films in HD.

On the audio side we have 2.0 and 5.1 lossless tracks for both Hellraiser and Hellbound, while Hellraiser III has only a 2.0 lossless track.

The extras included in this set are simply INCREDIBLE! We have SIX commentaries over the three films. Five of these are ported over from previous releases but Hellraiser III gets a new one from writer and, 'friend of Clive Barker', Peter Atkins. I love an audio commentary so this is manna from heaven for me. I've only managed to listen to the 2 on Hellraiser so far (and I already knew those) but they're both with Clive Barker and are both brilliant.
We have about 6-7 hours of documentary covering the films and Barker with, 3 and a half hours of the massive 700 minute, 'Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound' documentary, The Story of Hellraiser III, Books of Blood and Beyond (about the books of Clive Barker), a new documentary on the franchise as a whole and vintage featurettes and EPK's from the past. The 'Leviathan' documentary is simply outstanding. Similar to the Lauzirika produced doco's for Blade Runner and the Alien quadrilogy in it's breadth and scope, it uncovers ALL the info we need to know. Unfortunately, Barker himself is missing but just about every other figure involved is here.
Also included are 2 short films from Clive Barker (which I've not got round to yet) called Salome and The Forbidden
There are countless interviews right across the board on all the films.
Behind the Scenes featurettes.
Draft screenplays as CD ROM content
TV Spots
The box is literally bulging with Hellraiser content!
An exhaustive visual document on the first three movies and the franchise in general.
And despite my feelings on the quality of the follow up films, one of the best BD sets in my collection.
*****NOTE***** The films all have subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing but NONE of the extras do.
Here's hoping Arrow do another run as it's a shame for a set such as this to be so limited. But I guess that's the point in limited!

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Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 30, 2015 4:59 PM GMT

Doctor Who - 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition [Blu-ray]
Doctor Who - 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Matt Smith

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Set but.........***EDIT***24/10/2014, 6 Sept. 2014
Received my boxset this morning and on the whole, it is a magnificent looking thing! However, what I assumed would be a solid outer keep case (a la the Star Wars BD set), is in fact a rather flimsy card and plastic window, which will undoubtedly be quite easily damaged. Especially when the access to the seperate cases inside the box is through a flap on top (a la cup a soups) as opposed to the much better sliding in from the side, used in practically EVERY OTHER boxset!

Quite who makes these baffling aesthetic decisions within the marketing department of the beeb or 2entertain, and why, is a mystery.

On the content side of things, without going into the worthiness of the individual episodes, everything is pretty much as expected. The episodes look fantastic in HD and it is a proper TREAT to have 'An Adventure' and 'The Five(ish) Doctors' in glorious 1080i too! A comprehensive selection of extras too barring one glaring omission, which I'll come to.

A couple of slight niggles : The Script to Screen Table Read is actually a 15 min featurette with only brief cuts to the actual table read. This disappoints the uber geek in me as I've seen a couple of FULL table reads of different shows and they are enormous fun.
: Strange to watch the Cinema introductions for Day of the Doctor talking about switching to 3D and not have the 3D version available.
: NO COMMENTARIES! This is the biggest niggle for me. The biggest episode in the show's recent history. The most high profile run of episodes in years and a magnificent one-off show dedicated to the birth of Doctor Who and not a commentary between them. A massive missed opportunity.

Anyway, still a great release, especially if you held off from buying all the stand-alone releases since last November. Just someone please have a word with the designer of the packaging :P


I note that the BBC are now offering to replace the faulty 'Day of the Doctor' disc, which is disc 2 of the set. It has audio and video playback issues, due to a framerate error. It's a freepost address, but is only for purchases of the 50th anniversary set. You need to send the faulty disc to

BBC Worldwide Ltd
BBC DVD Support
33 Foley Street

And the turnaround for delivery of the replacement discs will be roughly 4-5 weeks. Nice job!
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 24, 2014 9:08 AM GMT

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: £16.71

8 of 10 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.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2015 3:37 AM GMT

Back to the Future Trilogy [Blu-ray] [1985] [Region Free]
Back to the Future Trilogy [Blu-ray] [1985] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Michael J. Fox
Price: £13.08

6 of 7 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.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 3, 2014 9:50 PM BST

Criterion Collection: Brazil [Blu-ray] [1985] [US Import]
Criterion Collection: Brazil [Blu-ray] [1985] [US Import]
Offered by Newtownvideo_EU
Price: £32.97

11 of 13 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 (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2017 9:55 AM GMT

Who Framed Roger Rabbit [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Who Framed Roger Rabbit [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Bob Hoskins
Price: £6.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Blu ray For a Great Movie, 9 Oct. 2013
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: £6.00

9 of 9 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
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £8.83

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back : The Gods of Grind, 16 Sept. 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

7 of 10 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 ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.74

4 of 8 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.

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