This week’s Blu-ray Disc movie releases include: Flatliners, The Patriot: The Extended Cut, The Untouchables: Special Collector’s Edition, and The Warriors: Ultimate Director’s Cut.
Features: Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin “to the ‘nth degree!” Bacon, and William Baldwin
I’ve never been a huge fan of director Joel Schumacher’s films, but I’m not one of those who slams the fella for either his overly slick visual style, which is so easily marketed by the studios, nor his homosexuality (casually linked and often attacked by those that don’t like his films… see comments via the web for that cinematic debacle known as Batman & Robin bunch, a director of note. Those so-called “… nipples on the Batsuit notwithstanding, the Batman/Boy Wonder partnership was always kinda gay to begin with). The guy is, and mostly always has been, an entertainer at heart… first as a costume designer, then as a screenwriter and finally as the director of a number of well-known films such as the string of 80’s “Bratpack” films that saw big ticket sales theatrically and, later, ongoing video popularity. Those films, St. Elmo’s Fire, The Lost Boys and Flatliners, all have a common interest in keeping that primary demographic the studios are always after (still, to this day!) happy: teenage boys (and the gals too). Lost Boys was probably the pinnacle of these films, and with Flatliners Schumacher seems to have gone out of his way to mimic many of the same visual and narrative tropes that made that film so successful. However, the main story for the film is not only medically implausible for the most part, but with the look and feel of a highly charged Goth music video (when it’s not ripping off important plot points and visual devices from Nicholas Roeg’s brilliant 1973 film Don’t Look Now, which starred Keifer’s father Donald Sutherland) it’s also, at times, laughably campy.
While the two rival formats duke it out for the next 5-10 years, downloadable media will take over sales and render the format war insignificant. Microsoft, while supporting HD DVD, seems more interested in pursuing non-packaged media.
What’s more, the …
The Big Lebowski (Universal)
Featuring: Jeff “The Whole Brevity Thing” Bridges, John “Prior Restraint” Goodman, John “Click, Click” Turturro, David “Achiever” Huddleston, Julianne “Zesty!” Moore and Steve “I Am The Walrus” Buscemi
Let me start this review by pouring myself a Caucasian, settling myself onto my rug—y’know the one that really ties the room together, man. Spark a jay and I’m ready to go…
HD DVD movie releases for June 26, 2007 include American Me, Army of Darkness, Being John Malkovich, The Big Lebowski, Black Snake Moan, Bulletproof, Dead Silence: Unrated, Freedom Vol. 1, Hustle & Flow, Mallrats, Meet Joe Black, Mystery Men, Unleashed, and The Watcher.
Blu-ray Disc movie releases for the week of June 26, 2007 include Samuel L. Jackson in Black Snake Moan and Terrence Howard in Hustle & Flow.
Black Snake Moan (Paramount)
Featuring: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina “Exploit Me” Ricci, Justin Timberlake and Kim Richards
This lurid title, redolent of the old miscegenation fallacies of the old American South is actually a morality tale whose title is taken from a blues song written in 1927 by Blind Lemon Jefferson. Other than that, this tale of a sex-addicted young woman named Rae (Ricci, in an shockingly immersive performance) and the religious ol’ bluesman who helps her find herself and overcome her mean demons, is a familiar yet off-beat redemption story told with originality and dramatic heft by the seasoned performers. Director Craig Brewer, of Hustle & Flow fame, continues to fuse his Southern Gothic influenced storytelling sensibilities with gritty, contemporary plotting to come up with engrossing stories that often had me rooting for folks that normally I wouldn’t give an iota of care about. Brewer has a sure hand with actors (including a very good, believe it-or-not, performance from Justin Timberlake) and his deft integration of musical elements (first the hip-hop of Hustle & Flow and now the bluesy roots music of the deep South in Black Snake Moan) proves he’s a major cinematic talent to watch… a storyteller whose sense of classic narrative rhythms and taste for the more lurid aspects of Southern life show flair without flash, and keeps you interested in his characters right to the end. (Off the cuff: this film had one of the BEST billboard advertising campaigns… ever! The kind that causes car accidents as rubberneckers try to get a handle on what they saw.)
Maybe you’ve heard that HBO is going high definition in a big way. By the second quarter of 2008, the pay TV giant expects to deliver all 26 channels of HBO and Cinemax in HD. But did you know that the technology the company is using will favor, at least initially, satellite TV systems and viewers?
Cable TV executives attending the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineering conference got this wakeup call last week when HBO chief technology officer Robert Zitter announced that the company will deliver its full HD suite using MPEG-4 signal compression technology, rather than the less efficient MPEG-2 codec used up to now for HD and also standard definition digital channels.
Born on the Fourth of July (Universal) [HD DVD]Featuring: Tom Cruise, Willem Dafoe, Frank Whaley, Kyra Sedgwick, Caroline Kava, Raymond J. Barry and Jerry Levine
Oliver Stone’s career immediately after the intense Salvador and the Oscar® winning Platoon proved …
This week’s Word from the Street for June 12, 2007 includes reviews of these new HD DVD releases: Black Christmas: Unrated, Born on the Fourth of July, Breach, Bruce Almighty, Daylight, Harsh Times, Liar Liar, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Music and Lyrics, Sneakers, and Living Landscapes: The World’s Most Beautiful Places.
This week’s Word from the Street for June 12, 2007 includes reviews of these new Blu-ray Disc releases: Blood & Chocolate, Cruel Intentions, Daddy’s Little Girls, Ghost Rider: Extended Cut, Music and Lyrics, Primeval, and Seven Years in Tibet.
Pioneer’s Project Kuro, which boasts 20,000:1 ratio in their 8th generation plasma HDTV’s, released this short promo. The short features director Spike Lee, photographer, Elliot Erwitt, and Cinematographer Dion Beebe.