THIS IS CINERAMA & WINDJAMMER FINALLY ANNOUNCED!

June 7, 2012

After nearly three years of following the progress of these illusive Cinerama titles, independent distributor, Flicker Ally have set a release date for This Is Cinerama and Windjammer: The Voyage Of The Christian Radich for the 13th September 2012. Both will be presented in the criminally underused Smilebox format, which so far has only been used once back in 2008 with How The West Was Won. But that Blu-ray also presented a 2.78:1 version (flat) as well, but this is not mentioned here.

Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a grander revival and ALL the Cinerama travelogues may be released, let alone the prospects of releasing other films with the option of Smilebox, such a s 2001: A Space Odyssey & Ben~Hur, for example, which were presented on a curved screen at time, let alone restorations of lost films such as the only other 3-Panel Cinerama films besides HTWWW, and The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm.

But after two years of speculation, it finally appears that these two titles at least will finally be released in a dual format, both DVD and Blu-ray but seemingly only in Smilebox, which is fine by me.

There will of course be a selection of features looking at the restoration and the subject matters and I hope that these two titles will make a prestigious addition to my collection. I have never seen Windjammer though, and it suspect that few people have but I have seen This Is Cinerama at Bradford back in 1993 and of course many excerpts in Smilebox as they featured in the Cinerama Adventure documentary from 2003.

Cinerama and Cinemiracle, the latter format used just once for Windjammer, were never really sustainable as widescreen formats, but this was and is still a fascinating format and does not deserve to be lost forever and thanks to all those who spent their time restoring these lost epics.


3 DECADES OF KHAAAAAN!

June 4, 2012

Today may well be the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, or 60- years on the British throne, but to others, June 4th marks a more significant anniversary. On this day, 30 years ago the best of the Star Trek movies, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan was released. Some people feel that Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home should hold that title but many like myself would hold that TWOK was the  highest water mark of the franchise.

But, coincidentally, it is also the 45th Anniversary of Khan’s first appearance on Star Trek, as it was on February 16th 1967 that the episode “Space Seed” first aired, and Ricardo Montalbán was introduced as the long running series’, most reviled villain; The Darth Vader of Star Trek as it were, even though he only appeared twice. Star Trek II was his second and last appearance but since this film brought Trek back from Robert Wise’s somewhat misjudged and misunderstood, The Motion Picture, a very 70’s sci-fi epic, and back to its roots as a character based melodrama, this film did Star Trek a priceless service.

Without its success, there may never have been The Next Generation of any of the three further spin-offs which were produced for no less than 18 years!

So, Happy 30th Birthday to Trek’s greatest movie; Live long and prosper…


G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA

May 21, 2012

2009

DIRECTOR: Steven Sommers

NOT A PART OF OUR COLLECTION

May Contain Spoilers!

Will we be adding this to our collection? MAYBE

I’m not sure that G.I. Joe was ever going to translate well into a summer blockbuster, but it didn’t stop the effects mad Steven Sommers from trying. And it seems to have worked!

The dialogue is appalling if used outside a kids saturday morning cartoon, which is or course, this titles natural home, and the acting and plotting aren’t much better either, but there’s something charming and fun about this movie. The clichés are almost dismissed at every turn as just part of the paper-thin plot, which is in itself driven by the endless and at times, mediocre effects, but the pacing was defiantly on the side of the Joe’s in this one!

It was laughable, but it was very much so and not always in a negative way. I was actually laughing at the plot, granted not with it so much, but at least it was fun. What else could they have gone for? It felt like a cartoon and it looked like one. The cast hammed it up at every turn, though it could be argued that most of them could do little else if they tried, especially our hero, Channing Tatum!

Then there were the endless flashbacks, which one looking like a World War Two dinner and dancing scene form Pearl Harbor, with the next being something out of Kill Bill!

Recommended for a Saturday night, but not recommended for anything more intellectual…

For more reviews visit my film blog, nEoFILM


AUSTRALIA

May 16, 2012

2008

DIRECTOR: Baz Luhrmann

Baz Luhrmann at his best, Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge! and without a doubt his best work, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, can be one of the most promising talents in the business. But it’s clear that the more edgy and artistic he goes, the better the results. Here, we have what appears to be an epic about the vast untamed continent of Australia. What we actually get is a bloated throw back to the heyday of the 1980’s Aussie saga mini-series.

But in that sense, it’s great. It really captures that nostalgic feel of those dramas, but is that how it was sold to us? No. But saying that, I’m not sure how it was sold to be honest. The pros are that the films was fun, enjoyable and looked great with some solid performances from the leads, Kidman, Jackman and the villainous David Wenham and the effects were ‘bladdy gad to boot!’

But not all was good. The running time was too long, though not cripplingly so, and the tone was confused. It seemed to want to be an epic but was made for the wrong era, again, looking more at home in a schedule along side Home And Away and Prisoner: Cell Block H. Was it a knowing homage to those films or simply misjudged?

Either way, these points bothered me but not to the extent that film was ruined as a result. I enjoyed it and would defiantly watch it again, but this was not Luhrmann’s finest hour, and far from his proudest. He needs to stick to his outlandish and fantastical style, which suits him best. This was just too conventional and in the end, lacked enough drama or weight that would be needed to produce a modern epic of this type.


THE HUNGER GAMES

May 15, 2012

2012

DIRECTOR: Gary Ross

NOT A PART OF OUR COLLECTION

May Contain Spoilers!

CINEMA REVIEW

Will we be adding this to our collection? YES

The trailer didn’t really appeal to me, but the reviews were good, both from professionals and the paying public alike so we gave it a go. Was it worth it? Absolutely! The Hunger Games is simply a grown up teen drama, playing around with ideas and inspiration from Greek mythology, namely Theseus And The Minotaur, as well as the Roman Games.

But, quite correctly translating both into a more modern, Orwellian styled reality TV language, perfectly tailored for the time that we live in. Based on a series of novels only four years old themselves, by Suzanne Collins who also co-wrote the screenplay, The Hunger Games is everything to the genre of teen melodrama that Twilight isn’t.

The film is also held together by solid performances from the cast, led by Jennifer Lawrence, who as Katniss Everdeen, the only child ever to volunteer for the games, who does so to save her sister, delivers and low-key but intense turn. But so do her co-stars, whether it be Josh Hutcherson as her love interest or Woody Harellson who almost steals the show at times.

The Hunger Games deals with mature subject matters, in a mature way all the way through, seeming not to shy away from the brutal and horrific topic of children murdering each other for the entertainment of the masses, without actually showing too much. But the intensity of the violence and the tone can a times be disturbing without be income distasteful. A fine line expertly walked by director Gary Ross.

But it’s not just the violent content that works here, so does the satire and political subtext, and boy is there subtext. The characters are well-rounded and their lives as well as their traumas are played out with a real sense of plausibility. And that is the key to a film like this. This is a fantasy film playing around with mythology and political satire. All of which can easily come crashing down but steering a steady ship and believing in your world goes along way to drawing in the audience to that world, which in many ways is filled with potholes, but who cares.

The tone is more than engaging enough to hold us and that is in the end in the key to the film. Certainly a MUST for Twilight fans, to see what a real female role model looks like…

For more reviews visit my film blog, nEoFILM


WIZARD OF OZ

May 14, 2012

1939

DIRECTOR: Victor Fleming 

Also Directed By (Uncredited) George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor 

May Contain Spoilers!

Wizard Of Oz, like It’s A Wonderful Life, didn’t ignite the film world on their initial releases, but these were films that found their treasured places in movie-goers hearts. Both are examples of movies where cinemas rival medium of the day, television endeared them upon their audience and now, they are recognised for the greats that they truly are.

There’s not much to say about this film that you don’t already know, except a whole load of trivia, but in the end, Wizard Of Oz is just as it says on the poster. “[A] Technicolor Triumph”, using the innovative twist of opening the movie in sepia only to use Technicolor in all its overly saturated glory in the land of Oz. This was the inspiration for the less than critically acclaimed Tron: Legacy (2010), in which the film begins in 2D only to open up in to 3D when we enter the electronic universe.

But whatever was said about the film, Legacy wasn’t criticised for looking bad and owed a lot of its inspired direction from this classic. This pre-war gem beautifully blends catchy songs, colourful and whimsical set production design and a simple fairytale structure to bring this modern morality tale to life, and in its method, crafted not only a timeless classic, but a film which bridges generations and allowing everyone in the house to enjoy the same film at the same time with little compromise.

A true and uncompromising family film and hard to beat, even 70 years on.


DIE HARD

May 14, 2012

1988

DIRECTOR: John McTiernan

May Contain Spoilers!

Based on the 1979 novel, Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, Die Hard (undoubtedly the better title) has become one of the most iconic action films in cinema history. The script was originally conceived as a sequel to Commando, but instead was tailored for Bruce Willis, at the time known a comic actor, and I suspect primarily for his role in Moonlighting, to become Die Hard.

This is a good but lost example of a decent book to film adaptation, as this sticks remarkably close to the source, with a few character changes etc, but the bulk of the story remaining faithful, so I believe. But it has to be to the book’s credit that this film works so well, as it’s the fact that it has such a strong story, working on so many levels that the action extravaganza works so well.

This is a film were a man is subjected to a barrage of injuries with any one being fatal in its own right, let alone being shot, battered and having the soles of his feet cut to ribbons by broken glass! And then there’s Alan Rickman in the role that made him a household name and served as a springboard for a career that his never failed to live up to.

Clichés were born here; A style of relentless and violent action filmmaking began right here in 1988, were a seemingly relatable everyman striped down to his vest and single-handedly took town a building full of terrorist to save the woman he loved. This film appeals to everyone, men and women alike for various reasons and as I said before, this relates to the layers of the onion, to quote Shrek. There’s a so much going on and so little left to chance with this tight direction from McTiernan and his production team.

Simply put, if you haven’t seen Die Hard, then crawl out from under that rock and witness were the revolution in action film making began…


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