Thursday, January 31, 2013

Retro DVD/Blu-Ray Update Week #5

DVD Update #3 "Controversy"
Date Posted: June 16 2008
Summary: Picked up some DVD's today. For one of the DVD's I mention I use terms that might offend some people or suggest things. I do not mean to hurt anyone or suggest anything. I may be making a bigger deal than I need to, but I just want to ensure no uproar is caused.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Live Long and May The Force Be With You: J. J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars Episode VII

I held off on delivering my thoughts on Disney's recent acquisition of Lucasfilm and their production of a new Star Wars film primarily because the news had been reported to death by the time I began posting regularly here and also due to the fact that my opinion is one of maybe three of the most prominent concerning the matter: I love the original trilogy, the prequels are guilty pleasures, I admire George Lucas and his contributions to cinema, but his time with the franchise had clearly passed and the series needed new blood. 

Frankly, and please forgive me for sounding morbid, I firmly believed that I would not see another Star Wars film until George Lucas passed away and the keys to the kingdom were handed to his next of kin, or at the very least until I had children of my own. The notion of a new Star Wars film before then seemed unlikely to me, however the idea that George Lucas, an independent filmmaker who managed to create arguably the most successful franchise to remain within the controlling rights of its creator, would ultimately sell his empire had never even crossed my mind. 

It was an exciting time to say the least and since then just about every week featured a 'news' item that revealed who WASN'T going to direct chapter of the Star Wars saga. Now after weeks of speculation, The Wrap is reporting that J. J. Abrams will officially be directing Star Wars Episode VII. It seemed like the most obvious choice considering Abrams is known for his genre work, is adored by fans worldwide, and successfully rebooted the Star Trek film series. However it was only last year when Abrams himself denied any involvement with the film and seemingly took himself out of consideration. Today though it seems he was pulling some sort of Jedi mind trick on us all. So what do I think?

Good. Solid choice. As someone who was not the least bit knowledgeable on anything Star Trek related, Abrams managed to create a film which allowed me to enter and enjoy the world of the series while evidently appeasing most long-time fans of the franchise. As for the rest of Abrams filmography? I maintain that his entry into the Mission Impossible film franchise remains the best of the series and I was on the positive side of the divisive film Super 8. The rest of his work also indicates that he is a man who takes his work seriously and can deliver on quality material. 

I am by no means a super-fan of Abrams. I like his work, but no more than most other filmmakers. That is not to say that I think he is an average quality filmmaker, I just do not have a wild enthusiasm for him that others do, which I completely understand. Perhaps it is because Abrams always seemed like the most obvious choice or perhaps because, in my estimations, there really is not one stand out director who would have been any more 'perfect' for the job than any other. Either way I am relieved that the film is in good hands and look forward to seeing where the Star Wars saga, and the franchise as a whole, is heading under new management that have thus far proven they can more than handle a beloved universe considering the success of both The Avengers and The Muppets.

The icing on the cake? Those who believe in the sudden notion that character, story, and pathos driven summer blockbusters that explore big issues and take themselves as seriously as any other film should are now the worst thing to happen to cinema in a post-Avengers world....they will all be losing their minds over the idea that the guy who 'ruined' Star Trek by not making it escapist enough is now going to helm the other great space opera film. The evil side of me will enjoy watching this.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A TV Podcast You Should Check Out

The world of internet commentary is filled with podcasts dedicated to the discussion of all things television. However none of them are hosted by TV aficionados as well rounded and knowledgeable as Fergus or Cody, long-time Youtube and internet film/television fans. Analyzing popular genre shows such as The CW's Arrow, FOX's Fringe, and the upcoming ABC pilot S.H.I.E.L.D, any one who considers themselves a TV fan owes it to themselves to check this podcast out.

Talking TV with Cody and Ferg Episode #1 "Me and My Emmy are Staying"

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Top 12 Best DVD's & Blu-Ray's In My Collection

Now that I have retired from doing DVD and Blu-Ray Collection Update videos, I decided to reflect on the movies I've gathered so far. Which are my favourites?

I take a look back at every
•Metal case
•Iron pack
•Box set
•Complete Television/TV Season
•Complete Series
•Complete Collection
•Ultimate Edition
•Collector's Edition
•Deluxe Edition
•Extended Edition
•Special Edition
•Limited Edition
•Anniversary Edition
•Statue/Figure/Mask/Briefcase Edition
•Standard Edition
to decide which are my twelve most prized possessions!

Casablanca and Ben-Hur DVD/Blu-Ray Update:

The various use of media material is protected by the Fair Use Clause of the U.S Copyright Act of 1976, which allows for the rebroadcast of copyrighted materials for the purposes of commentary, criticism, satire/parody and education.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Retro DVD/Blu-Ray Update Week 1

In order to keep this blog active, I have decided to post weekly videos from the archives of my Youtube Channel, primarily the DVD and Blu-Ray Update videos. So please enjoy and continue to look for all new material in the future!

Mini DVD Collection Part 1
Date Posted: June 6 2008
Summary: The first video I ever uploaded featuring a look at my DVD Collection before I began actively collecting films on home video format.

Mini DVD Collection Part 2
Date Posted: June 6 2008
Summary: The first video I ever uploaded featuring a look at my DVD Collection before I began actively collecting films on home video format.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2013

2012 proved to be somewhat of a disappointment to me in the realm of films considering the amount of excitement I held for the year in cinema. While I did end up liking The Avengers, Brave, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Dark Knight Rises a lot, each of these films have their fair share of problems that do not make them as exceptionally brilliant as most expected. However a new year is a upon us and instead of dwelling on the past, it is time to look towards the future!

10. The Wolverine 
While X-Men Origins: Wolverine proved to be bland and forgettable, I am going to give this follow up film the benefit of the doubt. The fact that the film switched directors offers some cause for concern, however the source material the script borrows from seems stellar and, frankly, I miss Hugh Jackman in the role!

09. Star Trek Into Darkness
I will admit that the first trailer (or teaser for a trailer? Or trailer for the teaser?....fuck this trend) did not exactly catch my interest. Nevertheless the film is a sequel to the biggest surprise of 2009 that was the first Star Trek film in the rebooted series. I liked the film a lot so this sequel is definitely on my radar and adding Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain has proven to be a tantalizing mystery.

08. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
I had absolutely no reason to be excited for or even watch The Hunger Games. However, like with most things that receive a lot of attention, my curiosity got the best of me. Boy was I surprised. The Hunger Games is far from perfect (The first half is really interesting and the second half is mostly exciting but severely under-develops the character relationships) but I did enjoy it a lot. If nothing else Jennifer Lawrence was excellent and watching her on screen again, in a film adaptation of a sequel many fans insist is superior to the original novel, should be worth while.

07. Monsters University
Pixar is worrying me a little. Toy Story 3 was brilliant and I really enjoyed the unpopular Brave, however between those two films, Cars 2, and the upcoming Monsters University, Pixar has produced three sequels and a princess film in the last four years. Where are the 'why didn't I think of that!' stories and ideas that used to come from Pixar? Well....all that aside I have come around to the idea of a prequel to Monsters Inc. Much like how the Toy Story films were released as the children who grew up with them were getting older, those who were children when Monsters Inc. was released will now be roughly college-age, as are the characters depicted in the prequel. As long as they can use this concept to reach audiences and have social commentary in the way the Toy Story series did, then we may be in for something special from Pixar. 

06. Frozen 
Arguably being the perfect age during the Disney Renaissance of the 80's and 90's, my love for Walt Disney Animated film classics only continues to grow as I get older. However, for the longest time I could not help but feel Disney was losing their touch in the 2000's following a string of film disappointments and disasters. Recently the studio seems to be heading down the right path once more as both Princess and the Frog and Tangled truly captured what I felt to be the missing magic that is found in Disney's most memorable films. Their upcoming film Frozen, based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale titled The Snow Queen, seems to following a similar route with talent behind both the scenes and the microphones. The studios previous two fairy tale films not only captured the spirit of the Disney classics but also improved in quality in my opinion, so hopefully this new installment will continue the pattern. Also, Kristen Bell fans...she plays the lead character.

05. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
I still have not seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as of this writing, however the Lord of the Rings films are among my favourites (Return of the King blew my mind away!) and I am not too concerned about the mixed reactions to the first installment of the Hobbit films. The main reason I am excited for the second installment regardless of how I will feel about the first film? Smaug. Enough said.

04. Thor: The Dark World
Thor was a huge surprise for me. Based on a generic trailer I did not expect much from the film and while the film was not perfect, it does have a lot going for it. The sets and costumes are excellent, the actors all embrace their characters and throw themselves into the roles (especially the praise worthy Tom Hiddleston), and the film was just pure fun overall. So my excitement for the film stems mostly from my love for the first film and the intriguing title made further enticing by the impressive new cast members.

03. Oz: The Great and Powerful
In spite of the fact that I hate the look of 'all CGI world' films such as Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland or the Star Wars prequels, I could not help but be impressed by what this film seems to be offering. Being a  huge fan of the original The Wizard of Oz film, starring Judy Garland, I love director Sam Raimi's decision to have portions of the film presented in full screen black-and-white and others in widescreen colour to visually match the previously mentioned musical classic. With a cast of some of my favourite actors being led by an extremely imaginative director there is no reason for me not to be excited for this film. Plus, I do not know how anyone can consider his filmography and not be excited by the fact that Sam Raimi is bringing the Wicked Witch of the West, one of cinemas greatest villains, back to the silver screen.

02. Man of Steel
I have not kept my disdain for Zack Snyder's style of filmmaking or my reservations towards Christopher Nolan (whose style is perfect for Batman but does not immediately seem suited for Superman) as the films guide a secret. Having said that...I have been relatively impressed by the trailers released thus far. The mood seems serious in terms of taking the characters, themes, and story as serious as any other film. A sigh of relief to me considering everyone seems to hate superhero films with story depth and three dimensional characters in the wake of The Avengers. Snyder's usual tropes are nowhere to be seen and Nolan seems to have understood what makes Superman the ultimate superhero. Although the line from Jonathan Kent in which he contemplates the notion of Clark letting others die to protect his secret is very much out of character. More than anything every single cast member is enough reason to be excited for film just to see what these great talents bring to such iconic characters. Time will tell, but for the moment the film seems to be aimed at giving us a new Superman story while exploring what makes the character important and bringing a mythic feel to the film. I hope this delivers because we need an excellent Superman film!

01. Iron Man 3      
Iron Man remains one of the greatest superhero films ever made by my estimation and Jon Favreau belongs in the company of Richard Donner, Sam Raimi, Bryan Singer, and Christopher Nolan as one of the great directors who truly captured the essence of the characters and world they were bringing to the silver screen. In fact, to me, Iron Man remains the best of the films to take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The films offers so much: A perfect Tony Stark in Robert Downey, Jr., sizzling chemistry between Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, great humour, and engaging stories alongside the dazzling action sequences. Some were put off by the serious tone of the first trailer for the film, but me? I loved it. Yes, I love my action and fun in superhero films (Which by the way...those who are saying Nolan takes the fun out of Batman....what the fuck are you smoking?! I have blast with those films!) but I love them even more if they give me a story that allows me to engage with the characters as well. Shane Black is a talented filmmaker and there is no reason to doubt that he will make Iron Man 3 a great one.

What films are you looking forward to this year? Sound off below!