Posts Tagged ‘dvd’

Walking around my city centre I realised I’d got old, that wasn’t the worst thing though I was out of touch. Not out of touch with the trends or what was going on but out of touch with people, I didn’t recognise my home town. I’d noticed sooner, but sort of shrugged it off and refused to believe it.
It really hit me when I sat down to watch the latest Die Hard, A Good Day to Die Hard… Looking around the cinema at all the empty seats at a premier I realised that me and longtime carer (Mrs. Esmonde) were the only ones there. A premier night?! So I got to the city centre, fancying a drink to fathom it  thinking I may have to queue to get a drink – but then it hit’s me again – bang dead, like a ghost town. Where was everyone?
It not just piracy killing the high street, it’s digital generally. I’m as guilty as the next- I used to buy a magazine to check out what was hot online, now print is becoming as scarce as bookstores. The scope is narrowing and your limited to how you’ll discover the next thing because the net is starting to bottle neck.
 The fun had been lost, times change but there was always people about. But these days there’s not even the bodies. The irony – I was making my books and films available for download even setting the trends, but you know regardless of the over use term financial climate, it’s the media that has changed people, the digital age.
You don’t need a digital copy to come with your DVD or Blu -Ray with UltraViolet. Not even a physical copy of any sort. Online gaming, film streaming. That’s the thing, if you don’t have the physical what do you own, what have you got -nothing…
If the severs stop working or your broadband stops you’ve nothing and nothing to show for it. No album, no tape. No fancy sleeve art, not sausage, just a void… Yeah this nothing new to many of you, it not just films, socialising and may other aspects may become a thing of the past.
The fun, the anticipation, the excitement – all gone. Granted the old days weren’t any better but they seemed one hell of a lot more busier and fun.

“There is very little involvement with the characters themselves…a generally good cast in cardboard roles.” – Variety

 
“An overblown B-movie…technically impressive but awfully portentous and as difficult to sit through as a Black Mass sung in Latin.” – Los Angeles Herald Examiner
 
“An empty bag of tricks whose production values and expensive trickers cannot disguise imaginative poverty.” – Time Out
 
“There’s not enough writing for proper characterisation, not enough plot development for the mind as well as the senses to bite on” – The Guardian
 
These are not Prometheus reviews but those for Alien (1979) also directed by Ridley Scott. I’m a huge fan of Alien and a fan of Prometheus, both have their flaws. Like it or not Ridley returned to the universe and the vision he created. If he had made it prequel like The Thing (2011) that lead right up to the events of the first film, it no doubt would have been dubbed a rehash and/or met criticism as did The Thing. Certain effects aside, I thought The Thing was a worthy prequel and complemented the original it was like watching the Titanic, you were watching ghosts. While it had surprises it was made by deconstruction of the original Thing and its events which as a fan I warmed to.
 
 
Prometheus is set in the same universe, the same world as the Aliens series but as it also stands alone. Prometheus is under discussion, dissection and criticism arguably more so than Alien ever was on its release possibly due to hype, anticipation and interest. But ‘Space truckers’ investigating an Alien ship, Kane examining an egg, the search for Jones while a dangerous little critter on the loose. It’s all science fiction, fiction the key word and entertaining imaginary tale to. Alien was also mocked for characterisation and lack of plot development and is now hailed as a classic.
 
Prometheus is what it is. It’s no use comparing the two. Both films could have opened with the lines “you know what, let’s not go down to that moon it could be dangerous.” They both have debatable flaws without which there wouldn’t be a story.
 
Prometheus raises questions but this adds to a tantalisingly unknown direction for Prometheus. It raised a lot of the debate and has a marmite effect. I’ve put together a Q and A to make the film palatable for some, dot some i’s and cross some t’s so to speak. Be warned there are spoilers.
 
When is Prometheus and Alien set?
Prometheus – Undisclosed date (opening) 2089 and 2093, Alien takes place in 2122.
 
Does this take place on LV-426, the planet from Alien and Aliens?
No, this is set on the moon LV-223.
 
Where in Prometheus did they say that this was LV-223?
The holographic pictogram shows a planetary system containing LV-223.
 
Was the ship from this film the one found in Alien?
No this ship is docked, again it is set on a different planet. The ship in Prometheus only crashes when it collides with the Prometheus, 30 years before the events in Alien. The ship in Alien landed on LV-223 and had been there enough time for the jockey to fossilize (thousands of years).
 
Is the Space Jockey from Alien in this?
No, the fossilized Jockey is not, but an ancient Space Jockey/ Engineer does (in the opening), in addition a living Jockey (awoken by the Prometheus crew) and 2000 year old fossilized remains.
 
Do the Alien or Face Hugger seen in Alien and Aliens appear?
No, but a variation which shares similarities do.
 
Is Meredith Vickers an android?
While her demeanour may suggest otherwise Vickers is not an android. She is no more android than Janek, Chance and Ravel could be. It has been stated by the creators she is not. It as ambiguous as Blade Runner’s Deckard . Even though Scott stated Deckard was a replicant, fan folk still debate the matter.
 
Why do Janek, Chance and Ravel crash the ship?
Janek tells Elizabeth Shaw that he will do anything to stop the Engineers. The pilots have nothing to lose from the time they left Earth, effectively on borrowed time. This is hinted when Meredith Vickers asks David if anyone died during the hyper sleep, substantiating that the crew knew they may not even reach LV-223 alive. Given Shaw’s convincing reasoning with Janek and their services background sacrifice for the greater good of mankind was not beyond possibility.
 
How old was Peter Weyland?
103, born in 1990 according to the viral videos.
 
How do Fifield and Milburn get lost?
Fifield being panicked, intoxicated and because “it all looks the same” he/they get lost because of the static electrical storm that Janek references is interfering with the equipment.
 
Why did the Engineers decide to destroy humans?
According to Sir Ridley Scott: “If you look at it as an ‘our children are misbehaving down there’ scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armour and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, Lets send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it. Guess what? They crucified him.”
 
Why does Milburn occupy himself with the Alien?
Milburn is a botanist, he’s just getting stuck in herpetologist Steve Irwin style.
 
How does David know there are more ships?
Other structures, the same as where the Space Jockey/ Engineer’s ship is concealed can been seen as they land in the Prometheus on LV-223.
 
What Did David Say to the Engineer?

 Scott removed translation (it works better dramatically). Apparently the line that David speaks to the Engineer is from a longer sequence that didn’t make the final edit. Dr. Anil Biltoo (who appears onscreen as the holographic linguistics teacher) of London’s SOAS Language Centre and taught Fassbender (David) how to speak in Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language. Says: ‘This man is here because he does not want to die. He believes you can give him more life’

David did as directed by Weyland. Engineer is infuriated.

Is that first planet in the prologue Earth?
Ridley Scott says: No, it doesn’t have to be. That could be anywhere. That could be a planet anywhere. All he’s doing is acting as a gardener in space. And the plant life, in fact, is the disintegration of himself.

Was David’s basketball toss a nod to Alien Resurrection?
Writer Lindelof says: Nothing is an accident in Prometheus. Every single decision that is made by Ridley Scott is made for a very specific reason and purpose.

What are the different effects of the Black Goo/Bio-Former?

  • Engineer + Goo + Water = Human life
  • Goo + Human = Human Mutant
  • Goo (ingested) + Intercourse = Giant squid/face hugger-like Trilobite
  • Trilobite + Engineer = Alien form (similar to that in the Alien Series)
  • Goo + Animal(worm)/Insect = Animal/Insect Mutant

Is Peter Weyland related to Charles Weyland and Bishop II, is there a link with Bishop?

  • Peter Weyland (Prometheus)is the founder and CEO of Weyland Corporation and is not related to Bishop II.
  • Bishop (Aliens/ Alien 3) is an android built by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.
  • Bishop II (Alien 3) is the man who designed the Bishop Android.
  • Charles Weyland (AvP) is not linked in any way to Peter. The Alien Versus Predator film series is considered a spin-off and not canon to the Alien or Predator franchises.

Note: Although a debate among fans whether Bishop II is a real person or an Android filmmakers confirm he was indeed human. However, in some of the expanded Alien universe “Bishop II” is referred to as Michael Weyland, so if that’s the case he could be a great-nephew of Peter Weyland’s. (Peter Weyland mentions he didn’t have any sons, so unless he had daughters who kept his name, Michael Weyland would likely not be a direct descendant)

 
If you have any questions give me a shout and I’ll try to track down the answers. in the mean time my thoughs on Prometheus…
 
Prometheus (2012) Review
 
The near future 2089 Earths historical artifact’s and ancient paintings prompt an expedition into space to find our makers but puts the crew of the Prometheus in grave danger when they land on LV-223 in 2093.
 
Veteran director Ridley Scott gives Prometheus its own unique look and rightly so as the action, suspense takes place on LV-223 not LV- 426 as in Alien(s). Without getting bogged down with Alien (2122A.D) comparisons, this is a science expedition not a mining vessel.
 
This change in location allows Prometheus to sit as a stand alone film.Questioning our origins in a reasonable intelligent way the story written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof is intriguing and makes this film stand above your average sci-fi. That said, Prometheus does raise more questions than it answers yet it’s ambiguity is what makes this film special and allows set-ups for future instalments.
 
It’s excellently cast and includes international actors Guy Pearce (who is sorely underused) Idris Elba as everyday man Janek and Logan Marshall-Green to name a few. Charlize Theron is astounding as Meredith Vickers, a hard nosed corporate mission director. Notably is Michael Fassbender as David who is every bit as interesting as Bishop and Ash with added a quirky ‘fondness’ for Peter O’Tool. Main protagonist Elizabeth Shaw played by Noomi Rapace is not your typical Ripley clone and carries much of the emotion for the film.
 
The effects are first rate, with the Space Jockeys, scenery, ships and Aliens wonderfully realised and rendered. Some of the effects are practical and look organic for the most part. The location and environment feels real and makes everything more palatable. A nod should go to Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography and Pietro Scalia’s editing.Scott delivers a few standout creepy scenes some particularly gut turning, notably the arm breaking, infection and decontamination scenes- it captures some xenomorph magic.
 
Marc Streitenfeld’s music score is an effective mixed bag although is a little over used. Both writers and Scott ensure to include a few character twists and wisely incorporate some elements from the Aliens series (in keeping with that world) whether it be a vehicle, a line or setup to possibly appease die-hard fans but for the most part it feels fresh. That said, some character motivations need to be teased out by the viewer for clarification, not all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted.
 
The film took the Alien series in a direction I was not expecting. As a long-time fan of the Alien series, and with this new Prometheus course I can say I’m satisfied, it’s edge of your seat, gory-suspense – director Ridley Scott is on pretty good form.
 
Prometheus tackles themes of origin, mortality and biological warfare to name a few and although it feels a little rushed it’s a grower just like the spores themselves.
 
Promethus Continues…
 

 
A viral campaign has become part and parcel to accompany a film these days. A rule of thumb though is that its viral campaign ends when a film opens. However, this is not the case with Prometheus…
 
Ridley Scott‘s started in advertising and he’s obviously played a big part in this little spin. After the end of the credits of Prometheus it features the Weyland logo with the date 11th October 2012. Then there popped up a website called What Is 10-11-12? This featured another viral video of Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce, who was sorely underused in the film) after this short vid directed by Scott’s son a link appears to http://www.weylandindustries.com/timeline
which seems to be the first part of several chronicling the history of the Weyland company.
 

Is this date setting up an announcement at Comic Con or just a novel way to plug the DVD/Blu-ray release? Only time will tell, but with Prometheus being a financial success and rousing lots of debate amongst fans, a sequel seems somewhat inevitable.

Actual found footage that documents the horrifying experience of a family that moved into the infamous Amityville haunted house.
Opening with words in “1974” blah, blah “Defoe murdered his family”, blah,”Lutz” blah, “32 years later”, blah blah “what you’re about to see is real”. Then an aeroplane blonde graces the screen under torch light. After quick bloody death, your taken to the POV of a budding mini Steven Spielberg as he films his family.

It’s indicative of Paranormal Activity, the recent Grave Encounters and countless found footage films. With security camera’s installed it’s all be done and at one point it becomes a found footage within a found footage film.
Both female leads are effective enough, it’s not an awful film, the acting is at times naturalistic but the issue is that this style of horror has already been done and done better with more imagination. Every line is a cliché , opening doors, accidental deaths, the wife that doesn’t want to live in the house, no one believes the children, spook- less dark images, moving objects and so on.

At the midway mark as the ‘boyfriend’ vanishes and the police turn up you can help role your eyes as the acting and script take a turn for the worse. The son becomes annoying due to the unnecessary explanatory dialogue and the father goes laughable loopy as he goes head to head with the entity. There are a few moments in the closing scenes where director Geoff Meed slightly redeems the film but it’s too little too late.

The problem with The Amityville Haunting is that it perpetrates to be real and pushes the fact right to the end but nothing feels credible. The sound design is pretty effective if somewhat miss-placed missing the mark at times.
Overall, less effective than the Paranormal Activity series, clearly not much has improved since The Blair Witch Project.
Arguably mis-sold as a horror it’s a solid thriller but avoid watching the trailer as it gives the game away.

A family unknowingly moves into a home where several grisly murders were committed… And the killer may still be at loose.

The snowy setting from the city to the suburbs gives the film a crisp eerie quality. Director Jim Sheridan’s Dream House is lovely looking film. What appears to be a run of the mill mystery becomes an intriguing story and somewhat unpredictable drama.
Rachel Weisz’s odd American accent aside the cast are on top form with Daniel Craig pulling out all the stops. David Loucka’s screenplay takes an unexpected if somewhat unorthodox turn which is probably the films main strength. That said, the closing is messy as it tries wrap everything up quick and in a Scooby-Doo like fashion. It’s a shame as it spoils much of what came before.
The stellar cast make it work for the most part and while it contains elements of other psychological films it briefly treads some original ground.

Worth watching if only for Craig’s performance.

Four friends go to Vegas on a bachelor party but end up in an underground club. When one of their friends doesn’t return after the crazy night things take a turn for the worse when they go looking for him.
Opening with a homage of sorts playing against the expected as two victims are caged – Hostel Part Three is off to a good start. The American setting is refreshing but the unlikeable characters are also stereotype and much of the acting is painfully average. Director Scott Spiegel gives us creepy cab drivers, corridors, buildings and alleys. There’s booze, bums and boobs, drills, face pealing and bug torture.
Part three contains what you’d expect in a series that coined the phrase ‘torture porn’ but the effects are average. Despite a few lapses in logic, this entry is missing the grit, terror and feels like its just going through the motions. Michael D. Weiss’ screenplay attempts to expand the mythos but the characters don’t  appear authentic which dampens the fear factor. The last act is literally overblown with an awful twist.
While interesting, overall it’s cheap and pale in comparison to Eli Roth’s superior predecessors.

With the film already released in the UK last year I though I’d share my thoughts on Devil’s Playground prior to it’s American State-Side release 11th October.
The world succumbs to a viral/zombie apocalypse as group of Londoners try their best to survive and are torn to protect one person that holds the cure. (Sounds suspiciously like the plot to Dead Pulse)

Mark McQueen’s direction is more than sufficient and effective coupled with ominous lighting, realistic settings and great special effects. While the ‘zombie’ supporting cast are worthy of note and the make up well designed, the free running style infected is unnecessary and distracting.
Brit actor Craig Fairbrass (Cliff Hanger) gives a typical performance as hard-man Cole. The rest of the cast are adequate, notably MyAnna Buring, but there’s not enough meat on Bart Ruspoli’s script or character development keep them busy to show any talent. The flawless Jaime Murray is sadly wasted with a little amount of screen time and even cockney favourite Danny Dyer the diamond geezer doesn’t get enough to say.
If you must draw comparisons, it’s pale against the likes of 28 days later or Dawn of Dead (2004). But to its credit Devil has a crisp atmosphere and eerie London setting.
Overall, generic, yet, a lot more watchable and entertaining than many of the DTV zombie/virus flicks that are being churned out.

On a weekend in 2010 I was lucky enough to watch David Paul Baker’s Mission X, being a fan of camera point of view films (POV) when they are done right in cases like Rec, Cloverfield, Dairy of the Dead and low budgeter The Zombie Diaries it was a surprise treat. It’s easy to see why Usual Suspects Kevin Pollak is quoted as saying “…this film will not disappoint.”
With exciting news that Mission X is in development to be re-made I’ve put together my thoughts and comments on filmmaker Bakers indie POV movie.
But it doesn’t  end there, director writer David Paul Baker has just shot his horror  film SCREEN in the Tulsa USA. What’s it about? 70 people died in front of the screen in the 70’s, with the 40th anniversary of the deaths nothing can stop Lola Carrie from attending and watching the Screen. Head over to the official site watch the trailer, share with friends and support 2012s most innovative driven-in horror film.
MISSION X (2010)
Scottish mercenary veteran Ryan goes on a revenge mission with a group of guns for hire and a student camera-man on tow.

Arms dealers, bad language and shoot outs, are just the playing cards Mission X first lays on the table. It’s the hand that slowly dealt by director/writer David Paul Baker that makes this film stand heads and shoulders above a flurry of camera point of view (POV) films.
The editing is sharp, bringing together footage from different cameras POV, flash forwards and flash backs. There’s a minimal soundtrack music, first-rate blood effects, a great script and characters. With fitting camera work, near on perfect acting; played authentically, not just by the leads but the supporting cast too, that puts the likes of Quarantine (2008) and the interview segments of The Fourth Kind (2009) to shame.

Bond with the characters as you follow them with Ryan and camera man Grant, who’s verbal sparring on serious and every day issues are exceptional. Mission X is a joy to watch, from abandoned buildings, to night clubs and the streets of Scotland, it’s edgy, tense, harsh, hard and confrontational. Secret meetings, anonymous phone calls.
The screenplay is absorbing to the last reel. In between the shots ringing out; get to know the unit; get caught in the gun fire; it’s the closest thing to a possible suicide mission on your homeland you can see on film.
Mission X oozes tension, it’s a naturalist piece of filming that drags in and captivates the viewer from the outset, which makes it compelling viewing.
A smart cleverly crafted must see.
Order Mission X here
For more information about Mission X visit the website


MISSION X TRAILER from david baker on Vimeo.