Thursday, 01 November 2007 |
To cut to the heart of the matter, the “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead
Man’s Chest” Blu-ray disc is a massive technical accomplishment. The
level of clarity, detail and the impressive richness of the colors
raises the bar on high definition video releases and pushes the
boundaries of what one may have thought the format could really do. It
makes me want to go back and knock half a star off of the technical
ratings on all my previous disc reviews. Part of this originated in the
production itself. The photography is sharp, well-lit and filled with
detail, fully capturing the elaborately designed costumes, settings and
make-up, allowing the audience to fully appreciate all the physical
work put in. The visual effects by ILM have all been executed with
extremely high resolution and a level of technical virtuosity that
displays the care that went into each pixel. Characters like Davy
Jones’s crew members ...
Monday, 01 October 2007 |
“The Tailor of Panama” isn’t new to home videos, but it is new to
Blu-ray. On one hand the movie is a spy film, but on the other it’s a
subtle comedy about serious subjects. The mix of the two together is
about as low-key as an angel food cake leavened with glass shards. It
looks all light and fluffy, but it has a tendency to bite back when the
viewer least expects it.
The book was written by master thriller author John Le Carre, and he
had a hand in producing the movie as well as writing the screenplay.
John Boorman directed the film and his eye for detail turns every scene
into a lavish production. It seemed like every setting was
well-developed, as if it were a real place and not mere a fictional
office or tailor shop put together only as a conceit to the movie
Geoffrey Rush stars ...
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 |
Long before Nicolas Cage brought Johnny Blaze to life on the big
screen, the character was a staple of Marvel Comics’ horror line in the
1970s. Senior writers Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich created Johnny
Blaze’s character and backstory while renowned artist Mike Ploog
created the black leather and flaming skull look.
Comics fans immediately fell in love with the idea of a stunt cyclist
turned supernatural hero on the run from the Devil himself. When Johnny
Blaze’s head first caught on fire and he created the Hellcycle to
combat evil at night, every kid reading the comic want to be him. In
just a few short months Johnny Blaze burst from the pages of Marvel
Premiere into his own magazine.
At the time, Marvel Comics had been enjoying tremendous success with
its “Tomb of Dracula” comic as well as “Werewolf By Night” and their
version of Frankenstein. Like Jack Russell, the ...
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 |
After recharging the James Bond franchise in 1995 with “Goldeneye” (he
did the same recently with “Casino Royale”), and reviving Zorro for
modern audiences (1998’s “The Mask of Zorro”), director Martin Campbell
cranked out this slick, by-the-numbers mountain-climbing adventure
Peter Garrett (Chris O’Donnell) and his sister, Annie (Robin Tunney)
lose their father in a mountain-climbing accident. Several years later,
the incident has left Peter and Annie estranged, and Peter reluctant to
ever climb again. While stopping over at Annie’s mountainside base
camp, his attempt at reconciliation is sidelined by the arrival of
millionaire Elliot Vaughn (Bill Paxton). Vaughn is an experienced
mountain-climber who previously attempted an expedition to climb K2
that ended in failure and tragedy. Now Vaughn wants to take another
crack at K2, and this time he has tied it to a publicity stunt. While
on the expedition, Vaughn is warned of a possible oncoming storm, but
he cajoles leader Tom ...
Sunday, 01 July 2007 |
“The Sentinel” is a familiar and sturdy piece of work put together by a
good director and exemplary actors and actresses. The story of a decent
man accused of a great wrong and chased by the very
people/establishment he protected is an old tale, but one that always
seems to engage an audience. Michael Douglas plays Pete Garrison, a
Secret Service agent in the twilight of his career. Garrison took a
bullet for Ronald Reagan back in the 1980s, so he’s something of a
celebrity on the job.
The story opens with Garrison starting his day at 4:00 in the morning,
performing a series of conditioning exercises, having breakfast, and
then getting on to work at the White House. Garrison is assigned to
protect the First Lady, Sarah Ballentine (Kim Basinger). Garrison is
playing with fire, however. Sometime before the film starts, he’s
become romantically involved with Sarah. No one else knows.
Kim Basinger ...