Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blu-Ray Dossier 6.0

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover this time out. That Snowpocalypse II had me watching movies on Blu-ray at an amazing rate. Speaking of rates; I rate films on a two tier, 5 Star system based on story first and jaw dropping Blu-ray quality second. This means that a really awful movie could have a really great Blu-ray score. Conversely, that same movie would score pretty low on the whole “Story” portion of my rating system and, I do not say this lightly, Story makes the world go round. All right. That’s that. Let’s get down to business…

Grindhouse – Death Proof: 4 Stars / 4 Stars. It is no great secret, I love Quinton Tarantino and this was his half of the Grindhouse double feature that he and Robert Rodriguez put together a couple of years ago. It is not for everyone. There is a lot of language and violence but Tarantino uses both as tools for his storytelling. It is not for kids or the faint of heart. It is for people who loved the old style, seventies movie house cinema. If that was your bag then Grindhouse Death Proof is for you. I love the scratches and intentional skipping that simulates the changing of the reels on the projector. Watching this is like watching a slice of history. Also, Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike is something to see. Tarantino and Rodriguez are fans and it shows.

The Hangover: 4 Stars / 4 Stars. This is a comedy and it is wrong on a lot of levels. It also happens to be flat out hilarious. The story revolves around four guys in Las Vegas during a bachelor party. They wake up and do not remember a thing. They notice that the soon to be groom is missing and have to reconstruct the previous night in order to get the betrothed to the church on time. You will laugh at this movie and, just like the guys in this movie, you may hate yourself in the morning for doing so but you will laugh. The Blu-ray of the strip at night caught my attention.

Labyrinth: 3.5 Stars / 3 Stars. I saw this with my three daughters and, since they were the target audience even after all these years since the release date, the three of them loved it. What can I say, it’s Muppets, it’s Bowie as the Goblin King and it’s a performance from a young Jennifer Connelly. There are worse ways to pass an afternoon.

Reign of Fire: 1 Star / 2 Stars. Don’t rent this. It is not worth your money or your time. It is a shame when good actors get trapped in bad projects. This is a bad project. The helicopter flight over what may or may not be the Cliffs of Dover earns it a 2 star Blu-ray factor but with a 1 Star check in the Story column… just find another picture to see.

The Hurt Locker: 5 Stars / 4.5 Stars. This is a brilliant film directed by Karen Bigelow; that follows an EOD (Explosive Ordinance Detonation) team in Iraq. “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug” – Chris Hedges. I had not seen this before my Oscar blog ( If I had the blog may have read differently. This film deserves ANY and ALL awards that it garnishes. The three lead actors are unbelievable. The characterization is flawless. Not to give too much away but some of the most powerful moments in a powerful film are when Sgt. James (Jeremy Renner) is home with his family and back in civilian life at least while on leave. Picking out a box of cereal proves more impossible than defusing a roadside IED. There is a moment when he is alone with his barely a toddler son and tells him that when you are young there is so much that you love but when you get to be his age there are only two… No. “One thing” that you may love. For Sgt. James that one thing is the adrenalin high of combat and doing his job on the EOD Team in Iraq. Do not miss this film.

The Wizard of Oz: 5 Stars / 4 Stars. Timeless. I explained to my three daughters that when I was a kid that this move only was shown on network television once a year and each and every year it was a treat; something special. This film is over 70 years old and I’m happy to report it is still something special. It is now in 1080p. What I loved best was watching my youngest daughter’s socks get blown off when it switches between black & white to beautiful Technicolor. The magic still works. It looks beautiful in Blu-ray. This just might find it’s way into our collection.

Star Wars the Clone Wars: 3.5 Stars / 4 Stars. Just when I think I’m out George Lucas keeps pulling me back in. This premise and concept are the “Star Wars” movies that Lucas may have been shooting for with the prequel trilogy (although “Episode III” had some great stuff going for it). This is computer animated Star Wars and, dare I say, some of the special effect battles are better than those found in the original trilogy (which BTW is sacred to me). This was much better than I expected and it has fostered an interest in me to seek out the “Clone Wars” series on DVD to rent. What do you know? Star Wars is still cool.

That’s all I’ve got for now, Gentle Reader. Until next time, I’ll see you online at Blockbuster!


mommanator said...

I've only seen 2 of those flicks can ya guess which 2?

Pax Romano said...

Death Proof is a brillaint film, QT nailed that 70's feel (even though the film was set in modern times), what I enjoyed was the leisurely pace of the piece (that's how movies were made in the old days, don't you know). The car crash scene, when it happens, is so over the top that it just takes your breath away! And as for the second part of the film, I love a great revenge saga!

As for The Wizard, I was telling my niece the same thing - once a year, it was almost like a holiday when Oz was being shown. I sort of feel bad that today you can watch it whenever you want - The Wizard of Oz is so special and such an astounding piece of work, it deserves to be reserved for special occasions.

Reign of Fire was dreadful, agreed.

Clone Wars...what can I tell you, it just didn't work for me. But if you liked it, that's great!

Have not seen Hangover or Hurt Locker yet.

And Labyrinth, well I saw it a gazillion years ago, going to have to watch it again.

Evil Chicken said...

Mommanator – “The Wizard of Oz” and “Labyrinth”?

Pax – You are so right about the whole crash scene in “Death Proof”. I was lulled into believing that those were the girls who were going to go after Stuntman Mike. QT got me good on that one and yes, it did take my breath away.

If you get the chance “The Hurt Locker” is an amazing piece of filmmaking.

mommanator said...

ya know now I think of it I did see Labrynth. but I also saw Oz & the Star Wars one, but you know if it has the name Star Wars I've seen it!