A letter from Christopher Nolan, included in The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition box set:

It’s been ten years since I walked out of Alan Horn’s office holding the keys to one of Warner Bros.’ most prized assets. I never stopped to wonder why they’d entrusted something so important to someone so inexperienced — if I had, I’d have been paralyzed with self-doubt. In retrospect, it can only have been my absolute confidence that a return to the old school ’70s blockbusters that I grew up with would be the key to bringing Batman back. I thought my references were original, but it now seems obvious that ten years ago every studio had been hoping that every tentpole they made would take the audience back to the great early days of Spielberg, Lucas and Bond (outsize Bond). Few movies had pushed that particular button, and I believed that changes to the craft of filmmaking were to blame. I put together a team of the best technicians in the world to test my theory, and we tested it more and more with each new installment, shameless pillaging the stunt and special effects techniques of movies we’d loved in the hope of combing them into something fresh for the audience.

In the early days, we never dared whisper the word “trilogy,” but I think we all knew that if we worked as hard as we could, for something that we truly believed in, the opportunity to build a grand, three-act narrative would be there. The studio was patient in a way that studios rarely are — three years between the first two installments, then a further four until our conclusion. The Batman thrives on continual reinterpretation, but I hope that the work of these three movies is ambitious and cohesive enough to stand the test of time as a distinct and notable interpretation of the great icon. The story you have here is a story close to the hearts of myself and my collaborators — we tried hard to do justice to the shadowy figure at the dark heart of The Dark Knight Trilogy. Hopefully, we succeeded.

Signed, *Christopher Nolan*

The Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron Blu-Ray is here!

AND… it’s pretty good! But it would’ve been nice if more care had been put into it. BUT!! At least a traditionally animated Dreamworks movie is on blu-ray!

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The blu-ray cover isn’t actually as horrendous as I thought it would be in real life. I’m not a fan of the original cover in the first place, but it’s fine. It would be cool if they had used maybe one of the theatrical poster designs, but that’s the fan in me talking. Also if you were wondering, the DVD here is the original release from 2002. The blu-ray has that “Dreamworks frame” around it, seen in later DVD releases for Spirit and other Dreamworks (traditionally?) animated films.

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Back cover comparison… 

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Inside… admittedly, I’m not a big fan of the “blue disk/gray disk” thing that’s been going on with physical movie releases these days, but whatever.

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First menu, it’s actually really cool that you can watch the movie in all these languages. It has German, English, Latin and European Spanish, French, Benelux French, Dutch, and Flemish. Interesting. Also, dat grass tool. 

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The menu is kinda nice, but there’s literally no sound. Which is rather disappointing, honestly. Also more grass tool. :U

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Also pardon the lack of clarity with these screen shots, but it’s the best I can do because I don’t have a means to get good screenshots of the blu-ray, and I don’t want to cheat by making screenshots of the digital HD release of Spirit. 

The quality is really good though. It almost works to its disadvantage because the inconsistent production value of the film sticks out like a sore thumb. I was easily able to spot backgrounds painted in traditional mediums done by Nathan Fowkes and others that looked like they were half-haphazardly painted in Photoshop or Painter. And the CGI blending? Also sticks out like a sore thumb. Some scenes you can see the CG landscape dissolve into the background. But that’s probably just me.

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Hey, this looks pretty familiar… 

No, I didn’t pop in my 2002 DVD, this is the DVD that came with the pack, and it is literally the 2002 DVD. Down to the opening Dreamworks menu and everything. Haha.

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And this is the reason I wanted a blu-ray really badly…

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Yeah. Yikes. The DVD was never anything to look at quality-wise, but I remember upgrading to the DVD from my beloved VHS copy back in the day and being very impressed with the DVD’s picture quality. Now I’m very impressed again. :U

Also keep in mind that this is the scene in full:

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Blu-Ray

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DVD

But it’s still noticeable, especially if you have a large TV.

SO! If you’re a fan of Dreamworks by-gone days of their traditionally animated movies, horses, or the movie itself, this one is a definite pick up. Especially since you can get it on the cheap. It’s $9.99 at Best Buy, and $14.99 on Amazon. If you live near a Fry’s, apparently they’re selling it for FOUR BUCKS.

Even on an Art Student, ramen noodle diet you can afford this movie. Also, if you buy Spirit on blu-ray, chances are that will tell the distributors that people are interested in the traditionally animated Dreamworks Films and Prince of Egypt, Road to El Dorado, and Sinbad could follow suit by having blu-ray releases as well. And who doesn’t want that? :V 

6

Stop Making Sense (1984) - dir. Jonathan Demme

Often hailed as the “greatest concert film of all time”, Jonathan Demme and David Byrne’s Stop Making Sense is a must-see for three groups of people.

First and foremost - fan-service. If you already like the Talking Heads, even if only a little bit, this is for you.

Second - 80s enthusiasts - this includes audiophiles and cinephiles alike.

And lastly, Demme’s balance of camerawork that is both intimate and removed, subjective and objective, alluring and repulsive. Byrne is clearly a musical genius, and Demme would late go on to prove himself as a narrative filmmaker, so the final group of people would be aspiring filmmakers.

If you like the Talking Heads, the 80s, and film - then this is a non-negotiable must-see.

8.2

2

Stu review: Cannibal Holocaust Blu ray.
Director: Ruggero Deodato
Released by: Shameless screen entertainment.

Stu kicks off Horror film month with the notorious Cannibal Holocaust -now on Blu ray with the new directors cut. Do you have the stomach for it - or indeed, the silverware? 

Who has a previously cut version of CH? Anyone? That 2 disc version with ‘House by the edge of the park’ released by VIPCO? Well that was my introduction to CH all those years ago - and it was a raw clever movie - one of the much better inductees into the ‘British banned list’ -it has the power to shock, its handheld camera parts took away the safety net of conventional filming methods when the world had yet to deal with the true horror of reality tv and brought up the message that maybe we, the ‘civilised’ people, can be just as barbaric. And I felt that way about the cut version, imagine my surprise at seeing the blu ray with Deodato’s new edit.

Cannibal Holocaust is the tale of a professor (Robert Kerman) who goes in search of a missing film crew who went into the Amazon jungle to film a documentary. Halfway through, the professor discovers the missing cans of film and sees just what really happened to the crew. So its a film of two halves, the trek to find them, and the watching of the film footage of Alan Yates (Carl Gabriel Yorke) and co.

So how does that re-edit sit? Well, for all the director’s claims that he’s toned down the animal violence, there is still alot of animal violence shown, so animal lovers be warned - its not pretty and part of why this movie stayed so heavily cut/ reviled for years. Deodato himself regrets the animal scenes as no animals should suffer for just a movie (He was given a suspended sentence and fined - all of which is explained in the special features.). If you’ve only viewed a heavily cut version of the movie previously (as had I with that VIPCO version) you’ll be in for a surprise. It was resubmitted to the bbfc in May 2011 and passed with even less cuts. I felt like i’d fallen asleep on previous watching of CH, wondering why I’d missed out on so much of the movie, (before brain kicked in and I realised the version I had before was cut- i’m clever like that) which shows that CH can still shock and is as powerful and full-on an experience than it ever was, which might be the best compliment to give any horror film. Its certainly not an easy film to watch by any means. 

So the Blu ray specs - yup, its a decent transfer, i’m not going to worry about picture too much unless it really is that awful that I cant see what’s happening and the sound is still there (always a bonus) - Riz Ortoland’s score still able to switch from beautiful to haunting at a moments notice.

Then there is the extras? The features ‘long road back from hell’ and ‘film and be damned’ give us insight into the filming of CH, to which the back story to the movie’s filming is just as interesting as the movie. Introductions by Deodato to both versions (his re-edit and the original) included on the disc appear before either movie starts, but dont add a huge amount.

Would I recommend? Depends on who to. Definitely to horror fans - like it or not it had an impact not only on films (Blair witch, Cloverfield, reality tv even?) but on the UK’s video viewing laws and has a message - not many films can boast doing all three. To those who’re curious? You’ve been warned, its not for the screamish. To my vet or local MP? Probably not.

4 organs out of 5. Its still one of the films ill pull out at Halloween.

Film Review | Monsters University

The only way Monsters University ban be seen as a failure is in relations to the high-water mark set by the likes of Toy Story, Up and Wall-E, which Pixar really knocked out of the park. It’s an impossible standard all other animation houses have had to labour under for years – if Pixar is insistent on sequels, a dose of its own medicine is only fair.
by Adrian Hatwell

Buy: Monsters University (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
8

The Fifth Element (1997) - dir. Luc Besson

If you made this film a hundred times, it would almost always be terrible. Somehow, someway, Luc Besson manages to juggle the saturated future, the laughably corny plot, and the over-use of props into a science fiction film that will probably only get better over the ages. There’s nothing overwhelmingly original about the Fifth Element, but that’s the beauty of it. The film plays to the strengths of its genre, actors, and to its crew.

From a purely aesthetic level, the film should astound you. And though the writing is chockfull of cliches, you have to respect the storytelling. It’s an ambitious film that set impossibly high standards for itself, and goes about achieving them in a myriad of palate-cleansing colors, characters and special effects. Bravo Mr. Besson, for successfully creating your own universe on screen. As I watch this film, I can’t help but think that if Besson had been the man behind the Hunger Games franchise… oh man.

8.3

'Pumpkinhead' | Blu-Ray Review

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Sometimes movies are so bad they’re good. That’s Pumpkinhead in a nutshell. With a cookie-cutter script taken from the Friday the 13th handbook, this 1988 horror movie follows a group of carless young adults who accidentally hit a child, killing him instantly. When the father returns to find his son dead he immediately sulks off to the local witch to enact revenge on the kids that took the life of his son.

While the movie’s script is average at best, it’s the movie’s cinematic quality that keeps it relevant today. The ominous orange lighting throughout the film gives it a Halloween appeal, making it the perfect choice for the spook-filled month. The elaborate set pieces and the grotesque design of the creature Pumpkinhead elevate the movie in some way, making it incredibly enjoyable to watch, even though the script is lacking severely.

Read more at http://www.gotchamovies.com/news/pumpkinhead-blu-ray-review-181190#AEuhT5mjbe4tWvzZ.99

Watch on rvkmovies.tumblr.com
8

The Golden Compass (2007) - dir. Chris Weitz

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy dominated my bedside reading through adolescence. So, naturally, when I was a freshman in college and the Golden Compass came out I was pumped. Count Dooku, James Bond,  Virginia Woolf, Gandalf, and the guy at the bar from the Big Lebowski? Naturally my expectations, like the rest of the world’s, were far too high.

Is the Golden Compass one of the most disappointing adaptations I’ve ever seen? Yes. Without a doubt. Do I still own it on Blu Ray? Yes. And I’ve seen a dozen times. It’s far from a great adaptation, and I really hope years down the line someone make a better attempt - but still, Pullman’s world is a fascinating one, and even though there were just a few parts that Weitz did correctly… it’s still a place I’d like to visit time and time again.

7.5

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