This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Blu-ray Software Forum Topics:
Thursday, 01 February 2007 |
Uninvolved onlookers probably found it hard to distinguish between
“Ultraviolet” and “Æon Flux;” both were action pictures with a
beautiful, tough and sleek heroine as the lead character; both were set
in oppressive futures; both were wide screen and color; both were
filled with effects; both took advantage of real buildings in the
cities where they were shot. And neither was much good, though “Æon
Flux” is somewhat better than “Ultraviolet.” But that shouldn’t be
taken as high praise.
“Æon Flux” is based on a series of short cartoons created by Peter
Chung, telecast on MTV. The cartoons are tough and wry; the movie takes
a tough stance but never really reaches that point—and it’s anything
but wry. Chung’s little cartoons were not intended to be taken very
seriously, but the movie definitely wants to be regarded as a serious
work, to the point where it’s totally avoid of humor. At least
“Ultraviolet,” which ...
Monday, 01 January 2007 |
Seven years after the original, modestly budgeted “The Terminator,”
director James Cameron and co-screenwriter William Wisher returned to
continue the story, this time with an enormous budget and cutting-edge
special effects capable of realizing their ideas.
Two robotic Terminators are sent from the future—the new T-1000 model
(Robert Patrick) to kill John Connor, the other, the familiar T-800
model (Arnold Schwarzenegger), to protect him. The new Terminator can
change its shape. On the run with the T-800, John (Edward Furlong) must
rescue his mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton, from the first film) from a
mental hospital, where she’s been put by Dr. Silverman (Earl Boen, also
from the first film). Determined to stop the Cyberdyne company before
they create the Skynet program, which will trigger the apocalypse,
Sarah seeks Dr. Miles Dyson (Joe Morton) and the Cyberdyne lab itself.
At the same time, they must avoid the implacably pursuing
chameleon-like Terminator determined to stop ...
Friday, 01 December 2006 |
On face-value, “Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow” should have
worked. It reached back into the same 1930s to 1940s Saturday morning
serial storytelling that proved so successful for the “Star Wars” and
“Indiana Jones” franchises that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg
re-invented as Hollywood blockbusters. Those movies used to be broken
down into ten- or fifteen-minute segments that were aired every week
before the main movie. That way moviegoers had more reason to come back
week after week to see the new releases.
The serials were known for their quick pacing, heroic characters, and
escapism that stopped – most of the time – just short of total
disbelief. That was the style Kerry Conran, the director and writer,
was reaching for. On many levels, Conran succeeded. However, the movie
simply didn’t find as large an audience as it needed.
Filled with over-the-top action sequences that never completely stall
out between the other ...
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |
It’s been 22 years since “The Terminator” launched James Cameron’s
directorial career in earnest. Cameron’s first effort, “Piranha II: the
Spawning” showed little of the original vision that was to come, but it
did indicate his preference for blue lighting, which was to become his
hallmark. His work as a production designer/model maker and
multi-tasking crew member on “Battle Beyond the Stars” and “Galaxy of
Terror” for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures revealed a talent for
dirty, futuristic industrial design and an ability to visualize
ambitious ideas on the cheap.
In 1984 Cameron was provided a moderate to low budget and used every
trick in the book to create “The Terminator,” which he wrote with
William Wisher, Jr. It’s a great high-concept idea (somewhat similar to
the Harlan Ellison teleplay, “Demon with a Glass Hand.” Ellison sued
for credit on this film, which appears in the end titles), paced at an
occasionally breathless clip. ...
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |
Because “Stargate” looks terrific and plunged boldly ahead into its
improbable story of instantaneous travel between galaxies, and because
it features an appealing star performance by James Spader (though Kurt
Russell is dull), it initially received better review than it was
really entitled to. Watched on video, especially in this special
edition, seven minutes longer than in theatrical release, “Stargate”
gradually wears the viewer down. It feels as though someone is stacking
increasingly heavy weights on your chest, and you can’t get up, you
can’t get relief.
Fortunately, this Blu-Ray disc, in high definition, is a real dazzler,
visually. The special effects are good but not outstanding, but they’re
also amazing to look at. The picture on your high-def set seems
immediate and real, even when moderately incredible things are going
on. (The movie is not especially spectacular, and is woefully
unimaginative.) On the unnamed planet our stalwart heroes reach, you
can practically feel the ...