Thursday 4 October 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Blu-rays

It's a week dominated by one particular release, but there's also a highly anticipated boxset highlight and with it, the high definition debut of a number of long overdue films.

Turning out to be the most divisive film of the year, a large proportion of the marketing campaign for the Prometheus blu-ray has been based around the quest for answers, which they claim this disc delivers. I left the cinema with more questions than I had going in, but it's definitely a good looking film so have invested in a copy, with a full write-up of the home release (and it's special features) coming soon.

At least they've now given up on the pretense that Prometheus had nothing to do with Alien, as evidenced by this boxset that they've released alongside the standard edition, charting  "the evolution" of the franchise from Prometheus all the way up to Alien: Resurrection. But where's the love for the Alien Vs Predator films? Oh, yeah. They were shit, weren't they?

A remake of the 2005 film 13: Tzameti, this film has been a long time coming, seeing eventual release this week because of Sam Riley's starring role in On The Road, which is a film you wouldn't readily assume to be the victim of some studio marketing departments synergy plan. I'm yet to see this version of the film but did enjoy the original, and at least it has an intriguing cast. Here's hoping that Jason Statham and Mickey Rourke engage in some sort of hat wars.

I'll admit that I don't quite fully understand the overwhelming popularity of rapper/crooner/all round renaissance man, Ben "Plan B" Drew, but he certainly has a legion of fans out there who will lap this directorial debut up. I'm not a fan of the growing trend of council estate gangster films, finding them basically all the same, bar a couple of changes in the cast. Ill Manors' target audience will love this, but it's unlikely to attract dubious people such as myself.

Even Indiana Jones would struggle to find the answer as to why it has taken so long for these films to all arrive on blu-ray, especially after the worst of the bunch (I'm not going to waste my time typing its title) got a blu-ray release when it first arrived on home video a few years ago. Well, at least they're all here now in gloriously restored high-definition, just in time for Christmas shoppers to pick up some early presents.

It also comes in this delux package which resembles Dr. Jones' diary, contains a film cell and a reproduction of the Holy Grail, a grail rubbing, a Club Obi-Wan matchbook and a bunch of other little knick knacks to commemorate the franchise.

Back once again with the synergy, Frances Lea's Strawberry Fields sees release on the same week as Prometheus, thanks to the presence of Emun Elliott in both films (although his role in Prometheus is quite a small one). I caught Strawberry Fields at Derby's ID Fest earlier this year, and it might be a good rental choice to feed your post summertime blues.

Now one of the elder statesmen of rap, Ice-T has enlisted the help of his fellow genre-definers (including some former rivals) to get to the root of what rap music really is. Ice-T and film have had a troublesome relationship (Tank Girl, anyone? At least he was in Ricochet, I suppose), but word is that this is a highly informative documentary with honest, frank input from a whole host of stars, past and present.

Based on the musical that has been a hit on Broadway and the West End, Rock of Ages sees a number of Hollywood's finest (Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti) don dodgy wigs and slogan T-shirts to perform a sort of karaoke of '80s Rock ballads. It's Hairspray for middle aged men, basically. My only question is, why didn't they use the West End stars Shane Ward and Justin Lee Collins? Wait, I just heard it as I typed it and think I know the answer.

So close to being a fantastic pun, I don't think I'd be able to watch this corn field set film without being distracted and a little disappointed that they didn't just go for it and add an "I" to the title. As corn field horrors go, this one doesn't look quite as good as Husk, an After Dark Originals release from a couple of years ago.

It's never been the case that if you ask someone if they've seen Tetsuo, they ask "which one's that again?". If you've seen Tetsuo, you can never forget it. A blend of Japanese mecha-gods and Cronenbergian body horror, the black and white first film should hopefully look quite impressive on blu-ray, whereas the (not quite as good) sequel should offer fans an orgy of high definition techno-gore thrills.


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