Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 10th May 2010

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DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

Doctor Zhivago (Warner Home Video): David Lean‘s epic adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s novel explores the impact of the Russian Revolution on several characters: poet and physician Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif); his wife Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin), his mistress and true love Lara (Julie Christie), the scheming politician Komarovsky (Rod Steiger); Zhivago’s half-brother Yevgraf (Alec Guinness) and the mysterious Strelnikoff (Tom Courteney).

A sweeping romance told in flashback, it was nominated for 10 Oscars and won 5, though much to Lean’s chagrin it lost Best Picture to The Sound of Music. Full of stunning imagery and sequences, including a frozen dacha, the cavalry charge in Moscow and a battle seen through a pair of spectacles, it is tailor made for the Blu-ray format. Warner Bros appear to have done an amazing job on the transfer and  extras include everything from the previous 2-disc DVD edition, plus a new 40-minute documentary, with the discs coming in a large 50-page digi-book including photos, essays and bios. [Blu-ray / DVD]

Where the Wild Things Are (Warner Home Video): Maurice Sendak’s much loved 1963 children’s book has been expanded to a feature length film about a young boy (Max Records) who ventures to a magical land where he is anointed king by a group of strange creatures. Charming and beautifully filmed, it marks a change of pace for director Spike Jonze, who deserves credit – along with co-screenwriter Dave Eggers – for preserving the spirit and tone of the book.

The casting is excellent. Records is not a typical child actor and has a pleasingly raw charm. The voices of the wild things are superb with James Gandolfini an inspired choice as Carol (the wild thing Max becomes closest to) as it brilliantly plays off his Sopranos persona, highlighting his joy, vulnerability and anger. Chris Cooper, Lauren Ambrose and Paul Dano also chip in with excellent vocal performances, making their characters as varied and complex as they should be. The Australian locations are also beautifully captured by cinematographer Lance Acord. The transfer is good (although a little dark in places) and the extras are solid, featuring an array of amusing videos from the set. [Blu-ray / DVD]

A Scanner Darkly (Warner Home Video): The best adaptation of a Philip K Dick novel since Blade Runner is this 2006 film set in a not-too-distant future where America has lost its “war” on drugs, and an undercover cop (Keanu Reeves) is one of many people hooked on Substance D, which causes its users to develop split personalities, which causes majors problem in trying to track down a notorious drug dealer and figuring out who he really is.

Directed by Richard Linklater, it was filmed in live-action, and then animated using the same process used in his previous film, “Waking Life”, which perfectly suits the paranoid themes of the book which include the perils of drug abuse the surveillance society. Beacuse this was transfered directly from a digital source, it looks pristine with with terrific detail and depth. The extras are the same as the DVD release, including two insightful featurettes “One Summer in Austin: Filming A Scanner Darkly” (26 mins) and and “The Weight of the Line: Animation Tales” (20 mins), both of which include a lot of video diary footage. The audio commentary from Linklater, Phillip K. Dick’s daughter Isa Dick-Hackett and producer Tommy Pallotta is also very insightful with regard to Dick’s life and work. [Blu-ray / Normal]

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ALSO OUT

44 Inch Chest (Momentum Pictures) [Blu-ray /DVD]
Adoration (Drakes Avenue Pictures) [DVD]
Battlestar Galactica: Seasons 1-5 (Universal/Playback) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan (Universal/Playback) [Blu-ray / Box Set]
Caligula: Uncut Edition (Arrow Films) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Charlie Chaplin: The Great Dictator (Park Circus) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Charlie Chaplin: The Kid (Park Circus) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Delgo (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [DVD]
Departures (Arrow Films) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Dorothy (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Eric Rohmer: The Essential Eric Rohmer (Artificial Eye) [DVD]
George Carlin: Collection – Volume 2 (Anchor Bay Entertainment UK)
It’s Complicated (Universal Pictures) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Nowhere Boy (Icon Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Paul Blart – Mall Cop (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / DVD]
The Day of the Jackal (UCA) [DVD]
Toy Story/Toy Story 2 (Walt Disney) [Blu-ray / DVD]

> The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
> UK cinema releases for Friday 7th April including A Mightmare on Elm Street, Hot Tub Time Machine and Four Lions

Categories
blu-ray Competitions

Competition: Where the Wild Things Are on Blu-ray

We have 3 copies of Where the Wild Things Are to give away on Blu-ray, courtesy of Warner Home Entertainment.

This adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s much loved 1963 children’s book has been expanded to a feature length film and is about a young boy (Max Records) who ventures to a magical land where he is anointed king by a group of strange creatures.

Director Spike Jonze has crafted an ambitious and moving treatment of the book and the result is a magical film – one of my favourites of last year in fact.

The casting is excellent: Records is not a typical child actor, with a raw quality that fits just right whilst the voice cast is every bit as good.

The choice of James Gandolfini to voice Carol (the wild thing Max becomes closest to) was inspired – brilliantly playing off his Sopranos persona, it highlights his joy, vulnerability and anger.

Chris Cooper, Lauren Ambrose and Paul Dano also chip in with excellent vocal performances, making their characters as varied and complex as they should be.

The Australian locations, beautifully captured by cinematographer Lance Acord, also add a visual richness to the film which wouldn’t have been the same if done on green screen soundstages.

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Some adults may complain that Jonze has made a children’s film that slants towards to older audiences, but this is exactly what makes the film special.

Instead of sugar coating the story and patronising the viewer, he has (along with co-screenwriter Dave Eggers) treated the source material and cinema audience with the respect they deserve.

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Where the Wild Things Are on Blu-ray just answer the following question:

Which film starring Catherine Keener did Spike Jonze direct in 1999?

The closing date is Monday 31st May and winners will be notified by email.

Where the Wild Things Are is released on DVD & Blu-ray on Monday 10th May

> Where the Wild Things Are at the IMDb
> Find out more about the book at Wikipedia

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 11th December 2009

UK Cinema Releases 11-12-09

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NATIONAL RELEASES

Where The Wild Things Are (Warner Bros.): Maurice Sendak’s 1963 children’s book has found its way to the screen and the result is an adaptation of rare depth and feeling. Director Spike Jonze has crafted an interesting take on the material which sees a young boy (Max Records) venture to a magical land where he is anointed king by a group of strange creatures (voiced by James Gandolfini, Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper and Paul Dano).

Given the love for the book Warner Bros will be expecting some decent box office action before Avatar hits cinemas a week from now. Read my full thoughts on the film here. [Nationwide / PG]

Carriers (Paramount): Horror about four friends fleeing a viral pandemic who discover they are more dangerous than the virus.

Despite starring Chris Pine (recently seen as Kirk in the Star Trek reboot) the fumes emanating from this aren’t good given that its been on the shelf for two years. [Nationwide / 15]

The Stepfather (Sony Pictures): A remake of the 1987 film about a man (Penn Badgley) who returns home from military school to find his mother Susan (Sela Ward), happily in love with a man known as David Harris (Dylan Walsh) who isn’t what he seems.

Given the brutal reviews and lack of buzz the omens don’t look good for this one. [Nationwide  / 15]

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LIMITED RELEASE

The Red Shoes (Park Circus): A re-release for the classic Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger film about a young ballerina (Moira Shearer) who joins an established ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called The Red Shoes, itself based on the fairy tale, “The Red Shoes” by Hans Christian Andersen. The music by Brian Easdale and cinematography by Jack Cardiff are both sublime. [Selected Key Cities]

Unmade Beds (Soda Pictures): Director Alexis Dos Santos’ second feature is a lyrical tale of two solitary expats (Fernando Tielve and Deborah Francois) crossing paths in the cosmopolitan art-rock milieu of a sprawling East London squat. [Selected Cinemas / [15]

> Get local cinema show times for your area via Google Movies
> UK cinema releases for December 2009
> UK DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Inglourious Basterds, Mid-August Lunch and The Hangover (W/C Monday 7th December 2009)

Categories
Behind The Scenes Interesting

Maurice Sendak and Spike Jonze discuss Where The Wild Things Are

Author Maurice Sendak and director Spike Jonze discuss the upcoming adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are which opens in UK cinemas on Friday 11th December.

Categories
Box Office News

Where the Wild Things Are set to top US box office

Where the Wild Things Are / Warner Bros 2009

The long awaited film version of Maurice Sendak’s much loved children’s book Where the Wild Things Are is set to top the US box office this weekend.

Directed by Spike Jonze and scripted by Dave Eggers, it had a long and reportedly fractious journey to the screen at Warner Bros.

But there will be smiles and relief all around at Burbank this weekend as it seems likely to be a hit even though it was a costly and drawn out production, with the budget rumoured to be around $100 million.

On Friday it opened wide on 3,735 screens and Deadline is reporting a likely $33M weekend, whilst The Wrap thinks it could top $40 million.

I’m guessing that, like the book, it is going to be a perennial children’s favourite for years to come.

I’d also wager that it is going to be the surprise film at this year’s London film festival, but that’s only speculation of course.

Categories
Images

Newsweek go ‘Where the Wilds Things Are’

Newsweek WTWTA gallery

Newsweek have a nice behind the scenes photo gallery for the upcoming film version of Where the Wild Things Are.

Categories
Interesting

Where the Wild Things Are Featurette

A featurette for Where The Wild Things Are, the live-action adaptation of Maurice Sendak‘s classic children’s book, directed by Spike Jonze.

Categories
Trailers

Trailer: Where The Wild Things Are

This is the trailer for Where The Wild Things Are, the film adaptation of the Maurice Sendak children’s book directed by Spike Jonze.

It opens in the US on October 16th but the UK release date is TBC.

> IMDb entry
> Find out more about the book at Wikipedia