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Friday, 17 May 2013

Blu-ray Talk

Below is a list of 5 recently watched Blu- rays. I tend to watch the most random, silliest and quite exceptional movies at the most strangest of times. I review each one and tell you whether or not they are worth having in your collection.

A Nightmare on Elm St (2010)
Genre: Horror (Remake)
Director: Samuel Bayer
Starring: Jackie Earle Ray & Rooney Mara 
Running: 95 Mins

Let's not snowball what is already an argument that I, and most are willing to take to the edge of the earth - horror remakes. I am not a fan of most remakes due to the laziness factor from the production. One of these is A Nightmare on Elm St, starring Jackie Earle Ray. I would like start by saying that Jackie Earle Ray did quite a good job at reinventing a character that we had all pronounced dead due to the impossible return of Robert Englund.

The identical plot and the lack of fear-factor is a huge let down, but the deaths, while some might argue the lack of "nightmares" involved, the scenes of violence are a good watch as blu-ray quality and overall entertainment goes. I genuinely like this remake, but I love the original. And while I am one of those guys who tends to compare classic with modern, I honestly tried to blank that mind-frame through-out the course of this revamp. There is a cast of rookies to say the least, and scenes of stupidity that come up short as far as imagination goes. This remake supports two acceptable elements; the chilling presence of Jackie Earle Ray is one. Sure, he failed to live up to the standard of Robert Englund, but he was always up against it, wasn't he? The other one is the modern concept it runs with, selling a story of believable events in Freddy Kruger being an actual pedophile.

It is far from the memorable creation of the original, but out of the majority of bad horror remakes, this one, depending on your mood, is tolerable.

Verdict: Skip! Buy the original on blu-ray instead!

Rocky 4 (1985)
Genre: Drama
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire & Dolph Lundgren
Running: 90 Mins

"Hearts on fire, strong desire" is fair to say the best thing about Rocky's Russian triumph is the soundtrack - but I had a totally different perspective as a kid. Since I purchased the saga on Blu-ray I have been strongly procrastinating on watching both Rocky 4 and 5. Some will say to do such a thing on the fifth movie is totally normal, but it was only after I watched this one that I had come to a conclusion; while part five will continue to take the slack, it won't do without mentioning the fact that part 4 started it all.

Rocky Balboa is fresh off his bout with Mr.T, I mean Clubber Lang. Celebrating birthdays, singing to Adrian in bed and putting up with his annoying kid is just a few of Rocky's tasks in his now retired life. When Apollo steps in the ring to fight a terminator, things go bad, really bad. In fact, Apollo dies! So in 80's action blow-away fashion, Rocky seeks revenge, by sport! This was my Favorited as a kid. The first was too dramatic, too life like. The second was just the same as the first, and the third really up the antics, introducing Hulk Hogan and Mr.T. How could life at the movies get any better? Death was entertaining to me, so Rocky's revenge was, and I mean was, electrifying. While I still get some enjoyment from Rocky 4, it is the worst chapter in Rocky's life following Rocky 6 (Rocky Balboa 2006). My opinion of course. Rocky 4 is beyond stupid, so far beyond reality I struggled watching the blu-ray edition. From the scene with Paulie's robot, to the pro-American "us against them" persona of Apollo, it down right pissed me off. Let's face it, no man, and I mean no man could of withstood Drago's shots, hence while as stupid as it was to kill off Apollo, how on earth is Balboa any stronger? Part 4 is Kyle Reese versus the terminator, man against machine!

A great climax to this movie would have been the death of Rocky Balboa. In doing so, we wouldn't have to look at discs 5 and 6 in the saga box-set.

Rocky 4 still holds a level of entertainment but the ridiculous scenes of sheer annoyance and the comic book scrap in Russia makes you wonder how you ever withstood it as a child.

Verdict: Meh, the saga is a must own blu-ray package...just don't pay money for this on its own!

Band of Brothers (2001)
Genre: Historic Drama (TV Series)
Starring: Donnie Wahlberg, Neal McDonough & Damien Lewis.
Running: 700 Mins

Ten chronological chapters follows the lives of certain individuals involved with Easy Company; an airborne division unit put through extraordinary events from D-day in WWII, where they landed in the territorial beach of Utah, blasting through enemy lines resulting in dramatic circumstances. With very few ups and so many downs, you follow Major Richard Lewis and his Band of brothers. Fictionalized over 11 episodes in Spielberg's mini-series, Band of Brothers supports the prolific reputation of being one of the greatest dramatic series to ever hit a television screen. Fans of the war genre will really appreciate the realistic take, replicating a concept we once saw in Saving Private Ryan. Working behind the lens this time around, Tom Hanks creates a heartfelt show with a variety of cast members supporting their own stylistic practice, some in which have gone on to build on their Hollywood career.

While I adore movies such as Platoon and Apocalypse now, I sometimes struggle to engage in movies supporting that war torn element. Apart from most TV series, Band of Brothers, in my opinion, is not a show you will find yourself immediately swapping the disc over. Its dark and gritty mood is one that needs to be viewed on a certain day, one that matches your own mood, because in truth  there are very few happy endings. However Band of Brothers is watchable for two aspects; the visuals, and the huge cast - you never know who will appear on the front line.

Aired on HBO in 2001, I had no intention of watching it. Having watched it on Blu-ray, I am really glad I did so.

Verdict: Own this on blu-ray!

The Big Lebowski (1998)
Genre: Comedy
Director: Joel Cohen
Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore & Steve Buscemi
Running: 117 Mins

The dude Lebowski is on a mission to recover something not so valuable, but as far as we are concerned it really tied the room together. Mistaken for a millionaire by the name Lebowski, the dude's ambition to recover his rug turns into a hilarious adventure that uncovers corruptness, hilarious twists and outlandish characters. Lebowski is giving the chance to recover his rug  but must first involve himself heavily in corruptible madness including a hostage drop off that goes hilariously wrong. The dude seeks help from his bowling companions Donny and Walter, which only adds to the genius entitlement this clever comedy deserves.

Jeff Bridges at his best with some claiming it to be his finest role yet. What makes this movie so damn popular? Well it being at the hands of the Cohen brothers for one, and the creation of the big Lebowski has  went on to develop a cult minority of movie fans that have helped praise and recommend this dark comedy since its release. I for one, was recommend this film so I went out and bought it on blu-ray and what do you know, I loved it because I relish true comedy when I see it and this movie is down right hilarious.

Verdict: Own this on blu-ray!

Ironman (2008)
Genre: Action/Adventure
Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow & Jeff Bridges
Running: 126 Mins

Ironman was, in a way the first to bench mark Marvel's avenger franchise that has went on to create debuts for both Captain America and Thor. Sure, we saw Sam Rami's Hulk in 2003, but realistically, and rightly so, the Hulk's appearance in the Avengers is down to The Incredible Hulk (2008), a version in which I have always preferred. Released the same year as Edward Norton's anger problems was Robert Downey Jr. as himself  I mean Tony Stark aka Ironman. Captured in the back ass of nowhere, wealthy business man and high-tech ace Tony Stark is forced to build a metal Ned Kelly style armor suit in order to blast his way to freedom. Following a reality check, Tony sees a golden opportunity to recreate the suit back home, with more style and firepower - Ironman; a protector of the people and a high advanced weapon for the US.

I remember its screen debut, while the blu-ray is just as fantastic if not better, visually. While the sequel might not be much to brag about, we are still fortunate enough to be able to class this as one of the best superhero movies out there.

Verdict: See it on Blu-ray!

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