Artificial Eye | 2010 | 100 min | Rated BBFC: 15 | Region free
| Jan 31, 2011
Seventeen-year-old Ree Dolly sets out to track down her father, who put their house up for his bail bond and then disappeared. If she fails, Ree and her family will be turned out into the Ozark woods. Challenging her outlaw kin's...
I first heard of this film through a review in Empire, and once the Awards Season Buzz began, it became a mission of mine to see it. Unfortunately it didn't appear in any cinemas close to me, so I had to wait and Blind-Buy it. Oh boy, the wait and purchase were definitely worth it!
As has been said before, and should be anticipated, this film is the antithesis of the big studio movie. Made on a minuscule budget, it doesn't shine like one either. I am personally glad about this. The film feels and looks very genuine, all shot on location and using mostly natural lighting.
The story and performances bring you through a dark and emotional struggle of a daughter, supporting her family (a mentally ill mother, and two small siblings, of ages 12 and 6) who has to hunt down her criminal father who has used their family home as collateral for his bail bond. The courage of the main character, Ree, who is incredibly portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, is astounding and troubling at times. She puts herself in serious danger multiple times in order to track down her father.
The relationship between herself and her siblings, friend, and most progressively, her uncle, Teardrop, are very realistic and natural. The direction is extrusive and the camera is fairly static. This allows for long shots of the characters, and makes you feel close to them. The journey Ree takes is very harrowing and inspiring, it is most definitely a film that you should at least consider renting. I didn't find it to be slow, while it isn't fast, I did find myself intrigued and drawn into the story and, personally, I was attentive and eager the whole running time.
Technically, the disc is undeniably impressive.
The image is clean, deep, colourfully balanced, sharp, detailed and utterly life like. There were two shots in which I noticed the slightest noise, and one in which the lighting created a moment of a portion of blackness to appear almost red. (Though this could be my own display, I haven't noticed this on another BD) This is very mild, and as I said only affects a few shots. Which is why I feel no hesitation in giving it a 5.0 for image quality.
The audio is incredibly atmospheric, the sound-scape felt very open and engaging. It truly places you within the film's surroundings. The sound quality is rich, clear, deep and immersive. Though pretty much faultless, the audio isn't as spectacular as some others, this is why I didn't give it a perfect 5.0
The extras are good, with a making of that's about 45 mins being the main thing, for myself.
Overall, the disc is fantastic. It's an amazing film, that looks incredible, sounds brilliant, and gives you a good amount of extra content. Buy happily with high expectations, because they will be met, if not succeeded.
I'll begin with the tech ratings first. As everyone has stated previously the discs technical output is top notch, like always.
But more importantly, the 'movie' that the disc contains is IMO the worst film of the past decade.
This is coming from a (previous) Bay fan. I damn near loved Bad Boys I & II, The Rock, The Island and the first Transformers movie. I'm also an action fan, so this means to me that those brushing off people's dislike of this as them being snobby or in to arty films only, is wrong. I wanted this to be good, never thought it would be TBH, but I hoped.
Needless to say the eternity I wasted stuck in the theatre with this thing trying to (and succeeding at) destroying my fondness for Bay flicks. 3D doesn't give me a headache usually, neither has the way Bay movies are shot, but I found the combination of the two offensive to my senses.
You're either wih me here, or you've probably gotten angry out of how stupid you think I am. Here we go: the plot is ridiculous, even for an Action-Summer-Blockbuster. The acting is irritating, and meaningless, jumping between wooden to melodramatic wailing. The dialogue is bland, or improvised attempts at humour that failed in a bigger crash than the CG obliterations elsewhere in the runnin time. The music is overaught attempts at trying to create emotion within scenes where better directors and actors could generate it naturally. The editing is bafflingly aggressive chopping shots and mashing nonsensical CG shapes around each other. THE DIRECTING WAS LIKE A CHILD THROWING ALL OF HIS TOYS INTO A BARREL WITH A CAMERA AND SHAKING IT FOR CLOSE TO THREE HOURS. (Though it felt like longer). The 'story' was contrived beyond belief, adding new attempts at characters into the barrage of stupidity. The new girlfriend nothing more than an excuse for shots of a**. Dempsey, McDormand & Malkovich all played sickeningly dull and uninspired 'characters'. With Dempsey switching from a guy who was just doin what he had to for a client to someone who thought he would just try and finish the villains job himself. There was a scene with the model who's name I can't remember and Megatron, which clearly should have been between Megatron and Starscream. There, as always, were frustratingly stereotypical robots in the background. I did notice a seemingly Scottish character threatening to bottle someone. There were so many times where even established characters didn't act right. E.g. Optimus being OK wih letting the world go to hell just to prove a point. So even in the confines of this type of movie, it just doesn't work.
The only positive aspect of the film that I can think of is he incredible work of he digital artists and sound designers. All of them have done truly impressive work. I really hope the if another in his franchise is made that a better director (shouldn't be hard to find one) is chosen to helm it, and take it back to where the first film had suggested the quality would hover.
This, sincerely is like Batman & Robin in my eyes. It has shown the lows that a franchise can reach. Here's hoping someone will come around in a few years to show the world what this universe of characters can entertain people with. I'm not suggesting they'll ever work like Nolan's Batman's. But, I'm pretty certain that they can't get any worse than this thing.
Paramount Pictures | 2009 | 150 min | Rated PG-13 | Region free
| Oct 20, 2009
The battle for Earth continues in this action-packed blockbuster from director Michael
executive producer Steven Spielberg. When college-bound Sam Witwicky (Shia
learns the truth about the ancient...
A huge fan of the first, and most Michael Bay films, I really had high hopes for this.
Disappointed, doesn't really cover it.
Knowing that Orci and Kurtzman weren't the real writers on this sequel, I became hesitant. Kruger = Not Good. It sadly is that simple.
I have watched the first Transformers film with Bay's commentary, and there are things in it which he sits and laughs about. He keeps saying stuff like: "...that's just funny...". The moments in which he is amused, didn't really make me laugh, but the big difference between those types of moments within the first compared to this sequel, is that they were side-notes. They were flippantly thrown on screen and just as inconsequentially forgotten, so they left no resounding impact. The problem with this 'successor', (which is a word I find difficult typing in this review), is it's focus on these idiocies. Creating a stream of very useless 'characters' (more like human and CGI debris), through which the once entertaining protagonists had to maneuver.
The ways in which Pearl Harbor had problems with too large action set-pieces and melodramatic attempts at character and emotion. This film suffers from this.
Oddly enough, this film is filled with a rather topsy-turvy form that jumps from misplaced melodrama, to overly large and ultimately uninteresting action set-pieces, to purely un-funny 'characters'.
I consider myself easily pleased in terms of Michael Bay directed big-budget action. Love Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, Bad Boys II, The Island, and Transformers.
But this, I feel represents his second weakest output, bettering only Pearl Harbor. This may be only due to the immense quality of the disc.
The video quality is truly impressive. It has all of the desirable attributes: Detail, Sharpness, Clarity, Depth, A nice level of grain.
The Audio is probably the best aspect of the disc. It delivers an exceptionally robust and engaging HD track. Creating an at times assertively productive aural companion to the film's already populated technical output.
Finally the Extras/Special Features. With hours of making of's and a solid commentary, I couldn't be happier. I'm personally not a fan of deleted scenes.
To be honest I could complain about this film for a few long regurgitated paragraphs, but I would be surprised if you are reading this and haven't already read enough about the film and it's Blu-ray disc.
I did enjoy it to a very limited extent, Megan Fox is beautiful, no doubt, I have been in love with Peter Cullen's Optimus for many a year, I love a good floor shaking DTS-HD MA, I somehow still haven't seen enough making of content focusing on CGI and character animation to satisfy my greedy interests, but this two disc set, as jam packed as it is, still doesn't remedy this movie's deficiencies.
I wouldn't really hesitate to buy it if you know what you are getting in to. If you are aware of the film and it's problems, but are looking for technical nirvana, demo material, and are in the mood for hours of behind-the-scenes technical secrets of an overblown Hollywood production, why not give T: ROTF a go.