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..093009 Some of my favorite films are headed to Blu-ray.
This week ‘Zombieland’ is opening in theaters and not only does it look like a fun, bloody, zombie flic’ with Jesse Eisenberg, Mike White and Amber Heard but it also stars Woody Harrelson. Harrelson has been in a series of offbeat projects for awhile now but this is the first time in ages
that I am really psyched to see a film that he is the lead in. The R-rated trailer for 'Zombieland' is above. Actually, I’m psyched for 2 films with Harrelson, the first is ‘Zombieland’ , the other is called ‘Defendor’. ‘Defendor’ looks to be a
comedy/ drama centering on a man who decides to become a superhero. (See the trailer for 'Defendor' to the right.) I can’t wait to see both films and I have to say, it is great to be see Harrelson heading up both of these films. ‘Zombieland’ comes out October 2nd, this Friday. ‘Defendor’ has no scheduled release date
yet. The official site for 'Defenfor' is not up yet but you can see the one for 'Zombieland' HERE. -Nate

 

..092609 Some of my favorite films are headed to Blu-ray.
. . . . . .Continuing my Blu-ray theme from the last post, I had to mention that a few of my fav’ motion pictures are going to the world of Blu-ray. In no real order, Michael Mann’s excellent film ‘Heat’ is going to arrive on the format with a new cut. Not only is ‘Heat’ one of my favorite films but writer/ producer/ director Michael Mann is one of my favorite filmmakers. I’ve been itching for ‘Heat’ go high def’ and I didn’t have to wait as long as I thought I would. For those that don't know, 'Heat' a sweeping, huge, crime drama starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro as two men on opposite sides of the law. Mann surrounds them with a strong cast and often slick action. I know some feel the film is too long but for me it is perfect. Mann combines the drama of the policemen's and criminal's personal lives with the violence and danger they have to face.
. . . . . .I’m sort of hoping that the Blu-ray will have the original version of the film along with the new one but I suspect it will just be the director’s cut. A lot of Mann’s films have multiple versions on the home video market. I have about 3 different cuts of ‘Manhunter’ (it may even be 4,) 2 of ‘Thief’ and I’ve been meaning to grab the theatrical cut of ‘Miami Vice’. Actually, I’m hoping more of Mann’s films will start to come out in high def. ‘Thief’ especially has never really had a completely satisfactory transfer. Anyway, I’m hoping the Blu-ray will have the features from the special edition DVD as well as some new ones too. In a way cool random note, the Blu-ray of
‘Heat’ comes out on my birthday, November 10th. I have to give props to Blu-ray.com for posting about the new cut of ‘Heat’. You can see their post HERE.
. . . . . .'48 Hrs.’ is also coming to Blu-ray although there no longer seems to be a firm release date and I’m beginning to wonder if it won’t get pushed back to 2010. While I don’t want to wait longer I am hoping that the delay will allow Paramount to actually put some extras on the Blu-ray. Walter Hill’s ’48 Hrs.’ is, in my opinion, something of an underrated film and really should get the full special edition treatment. I’m not holding my breath though and frankly I suspect I will just be lucky
. . . . . .if ’48 hrs.’ shows up on Blu-ray at all. You just can’t go wrong with Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, James Remar, David Patrick Kelly, Brian James, and Annette O’Toole! Great bits of action, comedy and grit make the film solid and Eddie Murphey’s humor, charisma and screen presence give ’48 Hrs.’ legs. The movie is definitely not politically correct (there are at least a few cringe inducing moments) but '48 Hrs. 'is part of what set the mold for the modern action/ comedy. Walter Hill was on fire when he made this one. How about interviews?? Commentaries??? Hell, anything? I’d even appreciate promotional featurettes from when '48 Hrs.' wist first in theaters. Sadly Paramounnt seems to have no interest. For now you can preorder the Blu-ray at Amazon and hopefully it will be released shortly.
. . . . . .Speaking of underrated, Christopher McQuarrie’s ‘Way of the Gun’ is a gritty, bloody, underrated little crime drama with a bevy of great tough-guy performances. I never understand why some films just don’t find their niche. (Actually, goes for actors too, James Caan has been a way underused actor.) To me, the film is enjoyable in the same way that Sam Peckinpah’s ‘The Getaway’, ‘Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia’ or Michael Mann’s ‘Thief’ are enjoyable. Benicio Del Toro and Ryan Phillippe are quite good as a pair of violent and ruthless thieves. Here’s hoping the movie gets a good transfer. There are solid and (sometimes menacing) performances from three I already mentioned above as well as Taye Diggs, Nicky Katt, Scott Wilson, Juliette Lewis and her father Geoffrey. If you are up for a violent film and a fan of any of the above (and especially the two leads) give it a try.
. . . . . .As for me, I just can’t wait to get the Blu-ray. Like all of the other films I'm babbling about, I'm hoping this will have new features but it doesn't seem likely. I'd love to see Del Toro do a commentary or maybe a documentary on the making of the film. Really it is more important that 'Way of the Gun' gets a decent transfer. So, if that happens I will still be happy but come on..... How about just a few new extras??? I get the feeling that in years to come 'Way of the Gun' may develop a bit of the following. I'm biased because I liked the film all along but I do think the movie
got a bad rap and never got enough notice when it came out in theaters.
. . . . . . Turning to a different filmmaker, I have enjoyed every film made by writer/ director Paul Thomas Anderson and I especially love ‘Magnolia’ and ‘Boogie Nights’ and cannot wait to see them in High Def. Sadly Magnolia will not have any new features which is a shame because it didn’t have that many to begin with. ‘Magnolia’ is a sweeping, operating drama that is waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy underrated and really is just crying out for an in depth “making of” documentary... I guess I can just hope it has a good transfer. ‘Boogie Nights’ is also headed to Blu-ray but not until into 2010 and I haven’t heard any mention of the features yet. See the post at Blu-ray.com HERE.
. . . . . .Finally, all of the previous releases I mentioned were Blu-rays coming out here in the US. However, the silent film ‘Sunrise’ is coming to Blu-ray in the UK. ‘Sunrise’ is a downright beautiful (but dark) silent film from the great F.W. Murnau and I believe it is one of the first (if not the first) silent films to be released on Blu-ray. I am just dying to get my grubby hands on this one. The best home media review site in the world; DVDBeaver, already has a comparison between the Blu-ray and the DVD. The difference is impressive and I can’t wait to get my grubby hands on it. Now, in the comparison at DVDBeaver, they do say that even though 'Sunrise' is on a UK Blu-ray, it is region free and should work on a US Blu-ray player. I have no way of verifying
that so you may want to be aware that there is a possibility it may not play right. However, if you are like me and have played foreign DVDs and Blu-rays from time to time than this is a no brainer': get this Blu-ray! Check out the great comparison and review from DVDBeaver HERE. -Nate

 

..092209 Sony to fans of ‘The Shield’: “No Blu-ray for you!”
. . . . . .I have to give props’ to Blu-ray.com, as they are where I first heard about this. For awhile I was into the FX cop show ‘The Shield’ and while I lost track of it after a few seasons, I have been meaning to go back and watch more. This should be easier as the series is getting a new release as a complete boxed set. (which is to the left.) You might think this would be good cause to release the show on Blue-ray but apparently you would be wrong. Sony has no plans to release the show on Blu-ray. Why? According to series creator Shawn Ryan, Sony told him the 16mm film stock was not a high enough quality to put on Blu-ray. If this sounds suspicious to you, it is probably because I can’t imagine that it is true. There already have been films put on Blu-ray that are 16mmm and look better than their DVD counterparts. This isn’t the first time ‘The Shield’ has had issues with a home market release. I seem to remember that when the first four seasons were released on DVD, they were all in fullscreen only. If I’m remembering right, there was insult to injury as the deleted scenes were in widescreen. So now Sony is saying they are not putting ‘The Shield’ on Blu-ray because of poor film stock. I suspect the real reason is that they want to wait and see what the demand for the series is. This is a real shame and all the more frustrating because Sony seems to think this is an acceptable answer. Now, maybe there is something else I am not aware of, like maybe the original masters were destroyed or
something but I doubt it. I'm hoping that Sony changes their collective minds on this. Ryan is a very talented filmmaker and I’m looking forward to his next series. I hope that maybe someone will make him aware (if he doesn’t know already) that ‘The Shield’ like other 16mm projects would benefit from a Blu-ray transfer. If you are interested you can check out the much better article about this on Blu-ray.com The post is under the heading "No BD for The Shield, 16mm Film Stock Blamed" and you can see it HERE. Shawn Ryan’s twitter page is HERE his two posts about the show not coming to Blu-ray are HERE and HERE. -Nate

 

..091909 Reviews of 'Drag Me to Hell', 'Public Enemies', and 'Star Trek'.
. . . . . .Sooooooooooooo, I somehow got waaaaaaaaay behind writing these reviews. All at once you can see my review of 'Public Enemies' HERE, 'Drag Me to Hell' HERE, and 'Star Trek' HERE. -Nate

 

..091109 An overdue update with a who is ‘Harry Brown’?
. . . . . .Michael Caine has an upcoming film that I so want to be good. He plays the titled Harry Brown, an aging man with a military background that goes on a rampage after a friend of his is brutally attacked by criminals. ‘Harry Brown’ brings to mind the revenge films of the 70s or recent hit-or-miss returns to the genre such as ‘Death Sentence’. No trailer yet and the writer and director of the film have not made anything that I’ve seen but pictures like the one to left have me itching to see the movie. Caine is a great actor and perhaps one of the greatest living actors today. His filmography has its ups and downs but the man is more often than not, excellent. His work in the original ‘Get Carter’ is part of what keeps it a favorite of mine. Here’s hoping ‘Harry Brown’ is a solid film with Caine kicking serious ass and for the love of god I hope it is not as depressing as ‘Gran Torino’. The film is scheduled for a release sometime this fall. There is no official site that I am aware of yet, so I give you the IMDb page HERE. -Nate

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