Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blu-Ray Dossier Volume 2.0: the Halloween Edition

“The Children of the Night… what (or vhat) music they make.”

Tis the season, the Halloween season that is. I thought that I would round up a few possible options for you Blu-ray pleasure with this edition of the Dossier. I’ve seen 4 movies recently and I’m about to tell you what I thought of ‘em but before I do here are the ground rules. As before (see: asdf) the movies are rated on a two round system; round one is all about the story and round two is all about the Blu-ray. That’s, that. Now open up your bag 'cause here come the goodies.

Diary of the Dead” 4 Stars / 3.5 Stars. This is George Romero’s latest foray into the genre that he practically invented, the “Zombie Movie”. This is a smaller more personal venture and it is a turn for the better. His last movie, “Land of the Dead”, really didn’t do it for me. It had some great ideas but great ideas do not a great movie make. But enough about that, we’re talking Diary. The plot follows a group of college kids whose film project becomes a documentary of the first few days of the Zombie Outbreak. It made me jump a couple of time but, admittedly, that’s not all that hard to do. If you are a Romero fan this will make it’s way into your collection.

Sleepy Hollow” 4 Stars / 3 Stars. I would like to go on record and say anything that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp make together is worth seeing, if not on the big screen then, most certainly, on Blu-ray. Burton’s Sleepy Hollow changes up the story but still makes it atmospheric with a suburban Victorian feel. Ichabod is no longer the schoolteacher / choir director, he is now a constable who has been sent to the little settlement to investigate a series of murders and thanks to a certain ghostly headless Hessian solider business is brisk. There is something about this story (Washington Irving’s original and Tim Burton’s interpretation) that strike a chord with me; it always reminds me of the fall season, of my childhood and why I never take covered bridges at night. A masterfully realized story but the jaw dropping Blu-ray factor only ranks an average.

Poltergeist” 4.5 Stars / 4 Stars. This is a great example of what a horror film could be. Even after all the years since the film’s release and a few dated special effects – this movie works. The story is by some guy named “Steven Spielberg” and the director duties go to some guy named, “Tobe Hooper”. What an amazing marriage. The character development and acting are spot on the money. This one deserves to be among the pantheon of great horror movies for it’s creepy factor alone; which is, by the way, something woefully ignored by the lion’s share of today’s filmmakers. The Blu-ray quality stands out when you see the housing development where the story unfolds. If this is not in your collection then Halloween is, most certainly, a great time to rent it and to remind yourself what a decent horror movie looks like.

Hellboy II – The Golden Army” 4 Stars / 4 Stars. This is one that is technically not a horror movie. Oh sure there are elements that are impossible to not recognize or ignore but, at it’s core, “Hellboy II” is the story of a heroes journey. Guillermo del Toro is one of my favorite filmmakers working today. There is a reason why he is the man at the helm for “The Hobbit”. His attention to detail and story are evident from the first few frames and overtly obvious when the cast is at the Troll Market. It is simply beautiful. If you missed it the first time around check it out. It is part of my collection. It may not be for young eyes due to big monsters fighting each other in Manhattan and Ireland but if you can remember that it’s only a movie you will be entertained. Here’s hoping that Hellboy III gets a green light!

And there you have it; some Blu-Ray Dossier picks for Halloween. Rent some and see for yourself; but beware… “For even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf (or volf) when (or vhen) the wolves (or volves) bane blooms and the moon is full… and bright.”

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