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DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD Releases: Monday 27th July 2009

DVD Picks 27-07-09

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DVD PICKS

Il Divo (Artificial Eye): A stunning biopic that explores the extraordinary career of former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti.

Spanning the period since the seventh election of Andreotti (brilliantly played by Toni Servillo) as Prime Minister of Italy in 1992, until the trial in which he was accused of collusion with the Mafia.

It was a firm favourite on the festival circuit in the past year and was nominated for the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, where it won the Prix du Jury.

Although at times the action moves so fast that you need a PhD in modern Italian politics, it is brilliantly shot and edited, features a colossal central performance by Servillo and is directed with real panache by Paolo Sorrentino.

Easily one of the best films to be released in the UK this year, it fully deserved all the critical acclaim showered on it.

Extras include:

  • Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Stereo and 5.1
  • English subtitles
  • The making of Il Divo (31mins)
  • Additional interviews with director Paolo Sorrentino (29mins)
  • Special effects featurette (7mins)
  • Deleted Scenes (12mins)
  • Trailer

Listen to our interview with Paolo Sorrentino about the film *

** Win a copy of Il Divo on DVD here *

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Watchmen (Paramount): The long awaited adaptation of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons finally reached cinema screens back in March after 20 years of development hell and legal wranglings and now gets the DVD and Blu-ray treatment.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it explores what happens to a group of superheroes in an alternative 1985 – a place where Richard Nixon is a 5-term president and the world stands on the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

The plot begins with the vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) investigating the murder of a former hero called the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and he uncovers a wider conspiracy involving his now retired colleagues.

The good news is that director Zack Snyder has been given unprecedented freedom with the notoriously ‘unfilmable’ book after the success of 300.

Visually it is a real treat with some stunning production design and SFX along with some fine performances by Jackie Earle Haley and Billy Crudup.

It runs to 2 hours and 40 minutes, has a sombre tone, keeps much of the heavy flashback material and – even for an 18/R-rated film – contains quite brutal scenes of violence, rape and even full frontal nudity.

Although there is a longer director’s cut still awaiting a UK release on DVD, Paramount have included a decent chunk of extras on the 2-disc DVD and Blu-ray versions.

Here is how the extras break down on the three different discs.

The Single-Disc DVD has 16mins of extras (£19.99 RRP):

  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English DD5.1 Surround
  • English Audio Description
  • English, English HOH, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles (Film & Extras)
  • Mechanics: Technologies of Fantastic World (16:10mins)

The Two-Disc DVD has 110mins of extras (£24.99 RRP) which have the above extras, plus a second disc with the following content:

  • Subtitles: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Turkish, Spanish
  • The Phenomenon: The Comic That Changed Comics (27:38mins)
  • Real Superheroes, Real Vigilantes (25:15mins)
  • Video Journals (Webisodes):
  • Minutemen (3:27mins)
  • Sets & Sensibility (3:48mins)
  • Dressing for Success (2:59mins)
  • The Ship Has Eyes (4:12mins)
  • Dave Gibbons (3:16mins)
  • Burn Baby Burn (2:10mins)
  • Shoot To Thrill (3:09mins)
  • Blue Monday (2:55mins)
  • Attention To Detail (2:49mins)
  • Girls Kick Ass (2:59mins)
  • Rorschach’s Mask (3:39mins)
  • Viral Video: 10 Years Of Dr. Manhattan (1970: NBS Special News Report) (3:05mins)
  • Music Video – My Chemical Romance, Desolation Row (3:09mins)

The Blu-ray Disc is a 3-Disc set with all of the extras from the 2-Disc DVD plus a digital copy of the film.

Audio is 5.1 Dolby TrueHD (£29.99 RRP). It also includes 3 additional viral videos:

  • The Keene Act & You (1977: US Public Service Announcement)
  • Who Watches The Watchmen? (1983: Celebrity News Feature)
  • World In Focus (1985: British Late Night Discussion Programme)

All three releases feature the the 163-minute theatrical cut only (155mins on DVD after PAL speed-up).

* Listen to our interview with Dave Gibbons about Watchmen *

ALSO OUT

A Short Stay in Switzerland (Delta Leisure)
Alone in the Dark II (High Fliers)
Blue Dragon Volumes 3 & 4 (Manga)
Bottle Shock (Paramount)
Coffin Joe DVD Box Set (Anchor Bay)
Columbo The Tenth Season – Volume 2 (Universal Playback)
Comrades (BFI)
Diminished Capacity (Paramount)
Embodiment of Evil (Anchor Bay)
Gilmore Girls Season 4 (Warner)
Knock Knock (DNC)
Lab Rats (2Entertain)
On Thin Ice (2Entertain)
Passengers (Lionsgate)
Personal Affairs (2Entertain)
Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II (Revolver Entertainment)
Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods (Fox/MGM)
The Admiral (Metrodome)
The Omid Djalili Show – Series 2 (2Entertain)
Wonder Woman (2009) (Warner Bros)

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> Browse more DVD Releases at Amazon UK and Play
> Check the latest DVD prices at DVD Price Check
> Take a look at the current UK cinema releases (W/C Friday 24th July)

Categories
DVD & Blu-ray Interviews Podcast

Interview: Dave Gibbons on Watchmen

Dave Gibbons on Watchmen

Dave Gibbons is the illustrator of Watchmen, the landmark graphic novel written by Alan Moore, which was adapted for the big screen earlier this year by director Zack Snyder.

Set in an alternate-history 1985, the story follows a group of former vigilante superheroes as tensions heighten between the USA and Soviet Union, while an investigation of an apparent conspiracy against them uncovers something sinister.

Although Moore declined to be involved with the film, Dave was consulted on various aspects, visiting the set and seeing a rough cut.

He also produced the behind-the-scenes book ‘Watching the Watchmen‘ to tie in with the release back in March.

Now with the release of the film on DVD and Blu-ray he will be appearing this weekend at Comic-Con in San Diego, where there will be a screening of the ‘director’s cut’ (which won’t be available on DVD for a while), before flying back to London in order to curate a 3-D graffiti art installation on the Southbank next Tuesday (28th).

I spoke with him on the phone recently about the upcoming launch of the DVD, the legacy of the original 12-part graphic novel, the long journey to get it made into a film and the whole business with the squid.

Listen to the interview here:

[audio:http://filmdetail.receptionmedia.com/Dave_Gibbons_on_Watchmen.mp3]

You can also download this interview as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here.

Watchmen is out on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 27th July from Paramount

> Download this interview as an MP3 file
> Find out more about Dave and his work at Wikipedia
> Buy Watchmen on Blu-ray or DVD at Amazon UK
> Check out more details of the 3-D art installation in London on Tuesday 28th July

Categories
Amusing

Watchmen Discussion Topics

[Link via Buzzfeed]

Categories
Amusing

Cartoon review of Watchmen

A cartoon review of Watchmen by Kyle Cummings that is pretty dead on.

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 6th March 2009

Watchmen and The Young Victoria

NATIONAL RELEASES

Watchmen (Paramount): The long awaited adaptation of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons finally reaches cinema screens after 20 years of development hell and legal wranglings.

If you are unfamiliar with the story it explores what happens to a group of superheroes in an alternative 1985 – a place where Richard Nixon is a 5-term president and the world stands on the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

The plot begins with the vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) investigating the murder of a former hero called the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and he uncovers a wider conspiracy involving his now retired colleagues. 

The good news is that director Zack Snyder has been given unprecedented freedom with the notoriously unfilmable book after the success of 300. 

Visually it is a real treat with some stunning production design and SFX along with some fine performances by Jackie Earle Haley and Billy Crudup.

Warner Bros are releasing it in the US, with Paramount distributing it here in the UK. Both studios can expect a huge opening weekend, but the big question is how it will do after then.

My gut feeling is that fans of the original comic and young males are going to eat this up but it may struggle with female audiences.

It runs to 2 hours and 40 minutes, has a sombre tone, keeps much of the heavy flashback material and – even for an 18/R-rated film – contains quite brutal scenes of violence, rape and even full frontal nudity.

This may limit its word of mouth appeal but with 300 and The Dark Knight doing so well in recent times maybe the current climate is ripe for the dystopian fantasies of Watchmen. [Nationwide / Cert 18]

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The Young Victoria (Momentum): In what is probably the clearest example of counter-programming since Notting Hill took on The Phantom Menace ten years ago, this period piece about the early years of Queen Victoria should appeal to audiences not up for comic book material.

Although on the surface it might seem like just another costume drama about rich people in large houses, it benefits enormously from having some real energy and talent involved.  

In the lead role of Victoria Emily Blunt brings a real sense of passion and feistiness to a character many still think of as a dour widow, whilst as Rupert Friend does an equally impressive job as Prince Albert.

There are also fine supporting performances from Paul Bettany (as Prime Minister Lord Melbourne) and Miranda Richardson as Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent.

Perhaps the key to why the film works is the combination of Graham KingMartin Scorsese and Sarah, Duchess of York as producers (an unlikely trio, to say the least) allied with screenwriter Julian Fellowes (a shrewd observer of England’s social layers) and director Jean-Marc Vallée.

All of them have combined to make a much more substantial film than may have been expected which explores part of Victoria’s reign not really seen on screen before, namely the problems of her accession to the throne and her early relationship with Albert.

Momentum can expect solid box office from those audiences who don’t fancy watching Watchmen. [Nationwide / Cert PG]

* Listen to our interview with Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend here *

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

American Teen (Optimum Releasing): A documentary directed by Nanette Burstein set in Warsaw, Indiana that focuses on five graduating high school seniors as they struggle through school and life.

The five students prominently featured in the film fit typical high school archetypes, such as a popular student, a nerd, a jock, and a loner (like The Breakfast Club, which inspired the poster).

It competed in the Documentary Competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Directing Award for Documentary.  [Cineworld Wandsworth, Vue Shepherd’s Bush & Key Cities/ Cert 15]

Flame And Citron (Metrodome): A World War Two film based on the true story of two of the most active resistance fighters in the Holger Danske resistance group during World War IIBent Faurschou-Hviid (known as Flame) and Jørgen Haagen Schmith (known as Citron).

The two resistance fighters are portrayed by Thure Lindhardt and Mads Mikkelsen, and it was directed by Ole Christian Madsen.[Barbican, Cineworld Haymarket, Renoir & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Reverb (Guerilla Films): A horror written and directed by Eitan Arrusiset in a recording studio where a musician discovers a voice hidden in an old record – one that sets into motion a series of horrific events. It stars Leo Gregory and Eva Birthistle. [London & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Surveillance (Odeon Sky Filmworks): An independent thriller set in the Santa Fe desert, directed by Jennifer Lynch and starring Julia OrmondBill PullmanMichael Ironside, and French Stewart. [London & Nationwide / Cert 15]

Wendy & Lucy (Soda Pictures): A drama directed by Kelly Reichardt and adapted from Jonathan Raymond‘s short story Train Choir. It stars Michelle Williams as an alienated woman who sets her sights on moving to Alaska in hopes of a new life with her dog, Lucy. [London & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Get the latest showtimes for your local cinema via Google Movies
Check out our latest DVD picks (W/C Monday 2nd March)

Categories
Interesting Technology

The Visual Effects for Dr Manhattan in Watchmen

A short featurette explaining how the visual effects for Dr Manhattan (Billy Crudup) were achieved in Watchmen.

Categories
Cinema Thoughts

Watchmen

Watchmen poster

After years of thinking it would never reach the screen, I finally saw the film adaptation of Watchmen last week.

If you are unfamiliar with the source material, it explores what happens to a group of superheroes in an alternative 1985 in which Richard Nixon is a 5-term president and the world stands on the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

The story begins with the vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) investigating the murder of a former hero called the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and he uncovers a wider plot involving his now retired colleagues.

Director Zack Snyder explains more in this featurette:

 

One of the reasons the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons built up such a fanbase is that it deconstructs the ideas of traditional comic book superhero in dark and often fascinating ways.

But it has proved an incredibly difficult film to bring to the screen with its extended flashbacks, violence and bleak tone.

However, after 300 became a huge and unexpected hit, Warner Bros let Zack Snyder do his dream project which was a no holds barred version of Watchmen.

The good news is that Snyder has been incredibly faithful to the source material and has realised the world of the graphic novel with considerable skill and panache.

The production design and visual look of the film are wonderful to look at (the opening credit sequence is particularly fantastic) and the performances, especially Jackie Earle Haley and Billy Crudup, are good across the board. 

There is also a strange thrill that comes from watching so many ‘unfilmable’ ideas appear on screen and Hollywood conventions broken: it runs to 2 hours and 40 minutes, has a sombre tone, keeps nearly all of the flashback material and – even for an 18/R-rated film – contains quite brutal scenes of violence, rape and even full frontal nudity.

None of it is excessively sadistic, like certain modern horror films, but I have a feeling it may put audiences off.

It is going to have a huge opening, but it will be interesting to see how it does in the long run at the box office. 

I’m split on its prospects. Part of me thinks grosses will tail off after the initial fans and younger males eat it up over the next two weeks.

But if a downbeat comic book movie like The Dark Knight can do so well, then maybe Watchmen has a good shot at dominating the March box office.

Watchmen is out on Friday

> Official UK site
Find out more about the graphic novel at Wikipedia
> Read about the lawsuit that threatened to delay the film’s release

Categories
Amusing Images

Peanuts meets Watchmen

Peanuts meets Watchmen by Evan Shaner.

Peanuts vs Watchmen

Categories
Interesting

New Watchmen Clips

These are 3 new clips from upcoming Watchmen film.

Watchmen opens in the UK on March 6th

> Official site for the film
> Find out more about the original comic at Wikipedia

Categories
News

Warner Bros and Fox settle Watchmen lawsuit

WB Watchmen Fox

Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox have settled their differences over Watchmen and the film will now definitely be released on March 6th.

For those unfamiliar with the case, Fox brought a copyright lawsuit against Warner Bros last February, asserting that in a series of legal agreements in 1991 and 1994, they retained distribution rights to a film based on the Watchmen graphic novel.

On Christmas Eve, Judge Gary Feess ruled that Fox owned a distribution interest in the film and a trial was scheduled for January 20th.

Variety report the details:

Warner Bros. gets the right to open its superhero pic on March 6 as planned, and Fox’s logo will not be on the film, sources said.

Fox, on the other hand, will emerge with an upfront cash payment that sources pegged between $5 million and $10 million, covering reimbursement of $1.4 million the studio invested in development fees, and also millions of dollars in legal fees incurred during the case.

More importantly, Fox will get a gross participation in “Watchmen” that scales between 5% and 8.5%, depending on the film’s worldwide revenues. Fox also participates as a gross player in any sequels and spinoffs, sources said.

Both studios issued this joint statement:

“Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox have resolved their dispute regarding the rights to the upcoming motion picture “Watchmen” in a confidential settlement.

Warner Bros. acknowledges that Fox acted in good faith in bringing its claims, which were asserted prior to the start of principal photography.

Fox acknowledges that Warner Brothers acted in good faith in defending against those claims.

Warner Bros. and Fox, like all “Watchmen” fans, look forward with great anticipation to this film’s March 6 release in theatres.”

Nikki Finke provides more background details:

This is a case where producer Larry Gordon’s hot property changed hands again and again since the late 1980s from Fox, to Universal, to Paramount, until finally to Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures which together went forward with the $130 million film despite knowing that Fox had claims which led to the lawsuit.

The next legal step might have been an injunction against Watchmen‘s March 6th release. Initially, Warner Bros said it would fight Feess’ intention to side with Fox and appeal.

But then, according to my sources, Warner Bros boss Barry Meyer stepped up and stopped that, and his studio finally started talking settlement with Fox last week.

So now, Warner Bros can release Watchmen domestically as planned, and Paramount (which also had to sign off on the settlement) play it internationally, and Fox reap the rewards, and fans of the comic book series/graphic novel can rejoice — or find something else about the movie to bitch about…

Although some tried to paint Fox as the bad guy who didn’t care about the material, the fact of the matter was that they did have a legal claim.

The real question is: how did Warner Bros manage to greenlight a production like this without realising they would be open to a massive lawsuit?

The LA Times thinks that Larry Gordon and his legal and insurance teams could now be in a spot of bother:

The court fight over “The Watchmen” is costing Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, but the biggest bill of all could fall to the film’s producer, Larry Gordon, his lawyers and their insurers, who could be on the hook for substantially more money.

Court documents in the nearly yearlong dispute over the superhero movie’s distribution rights show that Warner Bros., which is poised to lose valuable rights to “Watchmen” after a judge’s favorable ruling for Fox, is pursuing Gordon “for all damages Warner Bros. suffers as a result of Fox’s claims.”

Although the main thing is that the film will be released, there is perhaps more on this case to be unearthed.

> Variety on the settlement
> Watchmen at the IMDb
> Find out more about the graphic novel by Alan Moore

Categories
In Production

Watchmen Feature

Assuming all the legal problems between WB and Fox get sorted Watchmen will be released on March 6th.

> Official site
> Find out more about the graphic novel at Wikipedia

Categories
In Production Trailers

Trailer: Watchmen

This is the first trailer for Watchmen, the adapatation of the Alan Moore graphic novel.

(You can also watch a bigger version over at Empire Magazine)

Directed by Zack Snyder it stars Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Matthew Goode, Stephen McHattie and Carla Gugino.

Set in 1985, the film follows a group of former vigilantes as war begins to break out between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The film will be released in March 2009.

> Official site
> Check out some photos and the official blog
> Find out more about the original graphic novel at Wikipedia