Watching The Expendables 2 and JCVD on Blu-ray

19 02 2013

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I liked The Expendables for being a raw, straight-up action flick, and its sequel The Expendables 2 is even better. Now we have more screen time from Arnold and Bruce, and the franchise even develops a sense of humour towards itself.

The thing people always talk about is the unbelievable Chuck Norris cameo, but I was more interested in Jean-Claude Van Damme’s role as the villain  Unlike the scheming mastermind played by Eric Roberts in the first movie, this installment has an antagonist who can actually physically go up against Stallone & company. Van Damme is without question the stand-out of the movie for me, and almost makes me pity him for the fact that he’s not in better movies.

Which brings me to the next movie I watched…

Apparently, Van Damme only has 3 films that are “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes – Kung-Fu Panda 2, The Expendables 2, and JCVD. In JCVD, Van Damme (acting as himself) is caught in a hostage situation and has to deal with the criminals, one of which being a fan of his. Even though the film might get draggy at parts, it is definitely a unique and interesting one to watch for any fan of Van Damme (which in that case, you probably already have) or any movie lover out there.

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Watching The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Extended Edition Blu-ray

18 01 2013

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The Lord of the Rings might very well be the film franchise of this generation. Either that, or Harry Potter.

What I have here is the LOTR Extended Edition Blu-ray which is probably the most comprehensive collection of LOTR goodness you will ever find anywhere. The trilogy itself is split into 6 Blu-rays (2 Blu-rays for each film) and you also get 9 DVDs of special features, so that’s 15 discs full of content. I haven’t even touched the special features and I’m not sure if I will ever have the time to.

LOTR is magnificent, full of grandeur yet intricately emotional. You definitely have to watch the first film Fellowship of the Ring to really understand the epic story. If you missed that first film, then you won’t even care about all these people (and elves, dwarves, etc.) running around frantically. But once you get caught up in the world of Middle Earth and its lore, then you will most certainly stay till the end. And it is a LONG way to the end.

It’s a pity that the video quality of Fellowship of the Ring isn’t as good as the other two films, Two Towers and Return of the King. Return of the King looks the best with unbelievably stunning photography which makes the picture pop out at you. This is no doubt one of the best Blu-rays I’ve ever seen. The booming soundtrack is awesome and will just blast apart everything in your house and even your neighbour’s.

Until the Super Ultimate Hobbit Extended Trilogy arrives on Ultra-Blu-ray, this is the set that all LOTR lovers and Blu-ray collectors need to check out.





Watching Bourne Legacy & Lockout on Blu-ray

31 12 2012

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The Bourne Legacy didn’t make a big impression in its theatrical run and sort of got lost in the whole Superhero mania of 2012. Jeremy Renner punches and shoots his way through lots of people, and Rachel Weisz is there to accompany him. Edward Norton appears and might be the most interesting aspect of this sub-par thriller. My biggest problem with The Bourne Legacy is that it’s way too long (over TWO HOURS!!) The plot wants itself to feel epic and sophisticated, but in the end it was just too complicated and uninteresting for me to care. However, the film still managed to hold my attention to the end with some brilliantly edited action sequences and lots of motocycle revving.

Lockout has the most outrageous car chase I’ve ever seen in a movie. It happens at the beginning of the film and didn’t even last for long, but it was the definitely the best thing in this affectionate sci-fi flick. Guy Pearce is convincing as an action star, probably one of the more grittier ones out there currently. He delivers his cheesy lines with much gusto, and I find it a pity that he isn’t a household name by now. If you think you will be seeing the next Blade Runner, then sorry to disappoint. But if you want to see a genre movie from the Luc Beeson factory, then you’ll probably enjoy Lockout like I did.





Watching Brave and The Dark Knight Rises on Blu-ray

11 12 2012

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Brave, widely recognised as a huge drop in quality for Pixar, arrives on Blu-ray and I did not hate it. It is in no way a bad movie, just a very underwhelming one. The story feels like a rejected idea passed on from Disney, especially since it centers around a princess. There is too much slapstick going on and not much that’s new to see in this “finding yourself” tale. But at least the movie is beautifully animated and has great music. If anything, I definitely recommend letting your kids watch Brave than Ice Age: Continental Drift.

The Dark Knight Rises signals the end of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and I wonder what DC/Warner Bros is going to do with the Batman film franchise now, or any of their superhero properties for that matter. The Zack Snyder directed Man of Steel is arriving next year, and I am remaining optimistic. There is also Justice League planned for 2015, but don’t you get too excited yet. The last time a Justice League film was announced, it never saw the light of day. All we got was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it  Superman+Batman logo in I Am Legend.





Watching Madagascar 3 & The Amazing Spider-Man on Blu-ray!

23 11 2012

“THE BEST ONE YET!” is the blurb on the cover of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. The voice of the Lion (Ben Stiller) and the Zebra (Chris Rock) are entertaining, but some of the dialogue in these Dreamworks animations can be very dry, void of any creativity or emotion. It’s as if the “talking scenes” are just there for the sake of being there. Having said that, I do laugh at most of the jokes in this colourful and spastic trilogy. In Europe’s Most Wanted, you get many frantic action sequences (including a very well animated car chase), goofy characters, and those “old” songs which somehow make the parents feel a little bit comforted.

“THE UNTOLD STORY” was the tagline of The Amazing Spider-Man (my review HERE). Turns out, we’ve already seen this story in 2002’s Spider-Man, directed by Sam Raimi. This “darker” reboot is directed by 500 Days of Summer‘s Marc Webb and stars American-British actor Andrew Garfield as the screwed-up Peter Parker/Spider-Man. The funny thing is – and I find this hard to believe – Andrew Garfield is actually OLDER than Tobey Maguire when they were Spider-Man in their respective movies. Huh! Also, Andrew Garfield looks like the guy from Psycho... Jus sayin’.





Watching Prometheus on 3D Blu-ray!

27 10 2012

I cannot watch Prometheus in 3D because I don’t have a 3D TV, but I watched in on 2D Blu-ray and it looks and sounds great in hi-def. The movie itself is only marginally good, perhaps much better enjoyed if you are a die-hard fan of director Ridley Scott (And his “boring” style). The beginning and middle of Prometheus is extremely sci-fi-ish with spaceships and space suits, but you don’t get to see the aliens until later on. The CGI of the landscapes looks beautiful and very believable but some of the aliens look quite fake, which is a pity since it destroys the mysterious and eerie tone that Ridley Scott creates so well. The final scene of this restless Alien redux is a tasty bone thrown to the fanboys, but non-fans will be left scratching their heads. So if you just love (and I really mean love) your Alien movies, Prometheus is well worth the sit-through at least once.





Blu-ray Update – The Classics and the new Classics!

16 10 2012

In my “blogging break” I managed to pick up a bunch of pretty good Blu-rays, both in terms of audio/video quality as well as film-making quality. No-questions-asked classics such as Citizen Kane, Psycho and Singin’ in the Rain I have not even watched before (can you believe it?) So what better way to enjoy these critically acclaimed films than in stunning remastered FULL HD!

I also watched the Best Picture winning The Artist for the first time on Blu-ray (which also happens to be my first SILENT film) and wow, this film really proves that story and characters are still what makes movies great. And then there are the films which certain demographics consider classics  of their own. The Hunger Games might have made you giddy with all its excessive shaky cam, but this post-apocalyptic story is no doubt unique and captivating.

Marvel’s The Avengers is the unstoppable superhero smackdown that proves superheroes are still hot everywhere they go. Oh how I love the scene where Bruce Banner turns into The Hulk at will. I also picked up the animated Batman flick The Dark Knight Returns:Part 1 on DVD, which comes with a cute little action figure. If you are interested enough, I recommend reading The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel as well!