This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Blu-ray Software Forum Topics:
Tuesday, 01 January 2008 |
When “Jaws” became an enormous hit, surprising everyone (including director Steven Spielberg), it was widely assumed that Universal, the distributor, would hand the young director the keys to the kingdom, backing anything he wanted to make. But they didn’t. Spielberg instead made his next film for Columbia Pictures—and it, too, was a smash hit. (Universal wised up: Spielberg returned for “E.T.”)
Spielberg made this giant production under a cloud of nearly-complete secrecy (a few scripts leaked out), shooting it way off in Alabama, India and Wyoming. The title, too, was mysterious: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” What the hell did THAT mean? Gradually, though, people learned the movie was about U.F.O.s, and that the title was a term invented by U.F.O. expert J. Allan Hynek (who has a cameo in the movie).
Initially a debunker of the flying-sacuers-are-from-space faddish belief, ...
Saturday, 01 December 2007 |
"Edward Scissorhands" makes it way to the Blu-ray format. I was highly
anxious to watch this release after seeing the problems that plagued
the three previous standard DVD releases. For the most part, this
Blu-ray edition enhances and exudes all that Tim Burton meant "Edward
Scissorhands" to be.
Edward (Johnny Depp) is a character that is a cross between fairytale
creations and that shy kid in grade school. Created by an eccentric
inventor, Edward resides in a mansion high atop a dark, gloomy
mountain. The death of his creator left him unfinished, most notably
his hands are giant scissors.
Edward lives reclusively in his mansion until the day when local Avon
lady, Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest) enters the premises. Initially
frightened, Peg takes pity on Edward and brings him down from the
mountaintop to live with her and her family.
Peg's family lives in suburbia, in which Tim Burton takes a great
stylistic approach in ...
Saturday, 01 September 2007 |
“Hellboy” is one of the few movies released in high definition so far
that looks like a demonstration disc of the wonders of that format.
Director Guillermo Del Toro and his dedicated team layered their film
with crisp details, and a lot of them: snowflakes, drops of water on
skin and clothing, explosions that scatter fragments, the textures of
metal, cloth and leather, caves and tunnels whose cold, damp walls you
can virtually feel. And then there’s the color. Almost all of “Hellboy”
takes place at night, so the movie is full of deep but fully-realized
blues. Our hero, Hellboy himself, has bright red skin (and a flicking
red tail), which stands out against the blue backgrounds in intense
relief, far more so than in theatrical prints. The film is drenched in
mists, vapors, smoke and fog. The plentiful CGI is so well done it’s
hard to spot, and even the reverse ...
Saturday, 01 September 2007 |
Blu-ray high definition helps this modest but well-produced film; it
has frequent special effects, which pop into relief with all their
details realized, and it was shot on scenic but unspectacular locations
in New Zealand (although it’s set in the United States). This is not
just a good movie, it borders comfortably on being nearly a great one,
certainly one of the best so far in 2007. The kid actors are
exceptionally good, particularly Josh Hutcherson, and the story, which
begins in a kind of melancholy but light-hearted tone, takes an abrupt
turn into very deep seriousness. But the focus on our young hero
remains steady, and though there are elements of tragedy, what’s really
emphasized is the sad but altogether normal change that young Jesse
Aarons must face: death.
Katherine Paterson’s eight-year-old son David became close friends with
a neighbor girl his own age. She went on a seaside vacation with her
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 |
After watching “Eragon” only one word seems to come to mind:
derivative. Based on the best-selling novel written by then-teenager
Christopher Paolini, “Eragon” plays more like a watered down pot of
gumbo consisting of equal parts “Star Wars: Episode IV,” “The Lord of
the Rings” trilogy, a dash of “The Chronicles of Narnia” with a
sprinkle of every semi-successful fantasy/sci-Fi movie released in the
past 30 years. When I saw the trailer, I assumed at the very least I
could expect some awe-inspiring special effects. Instead, the only
“wow” factor was that no plagiarism or copyright infringement law suits
ensued. While some may be quick to point out that even George Lucas and
J.R.R. Tolkien drew from their own influences, make no mistake;
“Eragon” is not inspired. Dull and boring, it blatantly pieces together
characters, scenes and themes from the various films with no regard for
The film begins with a narrator revealing ...