Extras: 3.75/5 When Batman and Robin get a tip that Commodore Schmidlapp is in danger aboard his yacht they launch a rescue mission. But the tip is a set-up by four of the most powerful villains ever who seek to defeat the Dynamic Duo once and for all! Armed with a dehydrator that can turn humans into dust the fearsome foursome intends to take over the world! Can the Caped Crusaders use their high-flying heroism and groovy gadgetry to declaw Catwoman? Ice the Penguin? Upstage the Joker? And stump the Riddler in time?
Extras: 3.25/5 The Sand Pebbles tells the story of a Navy mechanic sent to work on a small gunboat in China in the mid-20's. China wasn't the super power it is now and was going through a civil war. Influences from Communist Russia were coming in and the government was using every excuse it could to separate itself from the American forces in the area. McQueen doesn't play the tough guy as much in this one but instead turns in a more human portrayal of a deck plate level sailor dealing with politics he'd rather stay out of. The story has a nice arc to it and despite the long run time, never bores. Definitely one of the better war classics out there.
I really wanted to see this film during its limited theatrical run but unfortunately it wasn't playing anywhere near me that was convenient. Persepolis is one of those rare films that uses animation in an adult way, and I don't mean sex and violence. This is a political message told from a girl growing up in war torn Iran during the eighties and early nineties. It shows the back and forth of the government from the eyes of a young girl watching friends and family go to war and deal with the religious issues of that nation. The animation is very effective in conveying themes and ideas that may not have been as interesting with live action. The black and white style is also a nice touch and provides some very cool stylizations.
Oliver Stone's controversial take on society's obsession with violence and social decay makes a strong debut on Blu-ray. Warner has delivered this one as one of their coffee book editions. The film follows Mickey and Mallory Knox as they go from one end of the country to the other leaving bodies everywhere. But instead of terrorizing the country, they are creating a cult following. Stone took a different stance with this film and showcased how reality television and pop culture has taken something we all fear and turned it into a ratings game and popular culture.
I was pretty surprised when Scorsese didn't walk away with the Best Picture statue for this one. Gangs of New York is one of those amazing productions that just gets so much right. The outstanding photography, set design and attention to detail make this a modern day classic. This is also one of my favorite performances from Daniel Day-Lewis (who should have got the Oscar for this one too). The film looks at early New York and the turmoil the gangs caused as immigrants were coming in to the country in droves and the infamous 5-points area.
Studios are taking advantage of the success of the Harry Potter franchise and jumping in with both feet on any young adult adventure they can find that may or may not be the next big thing. Nickelodeon has gone a different route with Spiderwick though. For those unfamiliar with the books they are actually a collection of novellas for the most part. Instead of doing each episode individually the film encompasses the entire series in one film. Sure they glaze over some side stories and details but overall it has worked really well. The production values of this piece are exceptional, especially the effects work from ILM. The film moves at a brisk pace and the storyline doesn't tone down so much that adults won’t have a good time with it. All things considered I thought it was one of the better family adventure films of late.
I've been a huge fan of Michel Gondry's direction in both music videos and motion pictures for sometime now. The trailers for Be Kind Rewind made this film out as a bit more inventive than it turned out to be but it still showcases Gondry's knack for storytelling and imagination. After a struggling video stores inventory of VHS tapes are erased by a magnetized Jack Black, Black and Mos Def recreate famous films by request using a home video camera. The local community gets behind the duo when the Hollywood big wigs cry foul due to copyright laws. The film does a great job of capturing the spirit of films and how a great story goes beyond a production budget.
The Dirty Harry films solidified Clint Eastwood as a mainstream Hollywood tough guy and created an icon in gritty police drama. "Go Ahead, Make my Day" is a line everyone knows and I must say this Blu-ray box set did just that. It had been awhile since I'd seen any of the Dirty Harry films and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed them back in the day. The box set includes all five films in the series or you can purchase the original Dirty Harry in a coffee book edition on its own. While these films do show their age a bit in pacing and production they are still some of my favorite crime thrillers of yesteryear.
Planar is a relatively new name in the home theater market, but it is by no means a new company. The Oregon-based manufacturer has been around for over 20 years and has deep roots in the imaging industry, with a long history of flat panels and commercial displays. Last May, Planar made a big investment in the home theater industry in acquiring Runco International, one of the leaders in high-end home theater displays.
HT examines the video processing in today’s top AVRs to find out which solutions make the grade.
While many new technologies have been incorporated into A/V receivers over the last few years, perhaps the biggest change we’ve seen in these traditionally audio-based components is the inclusion of advanced video processing. Just a few years ago, video processing was reserved for high-priced standalone machines that almost required a doctorate to employ. But now we’re seeing high-quality solutions incorporated into even midline AVRs, and video processing is being used to differentiate and market these products against one another in a hotly competitive market.