Saturday, August 29, 2009

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter Blu-Ray Review

I just finished watching Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter on blu-ray. If you are not a fan of Watchmen or aren't very familiar with the graphic novel, I would not recommend this to you. The Black Freighter is the comic book inside of Watchmen that parallels the events of the story. The other part of this disc is Under The Hood, which is set up like a news show about the old Watchmen heroes (the Minutemen) with the main focus being on Hollis Mason.
The Black Freighter piece is only about 20 minutes long. While I did enjoy it, it wasn't great. In my opinion the Tales of the Black Freighter works best in the graphic novel where they only give you small pieces at a time. As a stand-alone, it came off as a little pointless. I did like the voice acting from Gerard Butler though, and the animation is some of the best that I have seen recently.
Next is the Under the Hood feature, which is around 35 or 40 minutes. It features all of the actors from the Watchmen movie, and it offers some interesting background information for fans of the Watchmen Universe. It sticks closely to what is in the Under the Hood sections in the graphic novel, but it also adds the perspectives of other Minutemen. Overall, I found Under the Hood to be entertaining.
In terms of picture quality, this disc is nearly flawless. The Black Freighter looks amazing, and I wasn't able to spot any issues with the animation. Under the Hood has an intentionally grainy look because it is trying to depict a show from the 70's, so for what it is, it looks good. The sound quality is consistent throughout the disc, but nothing special.
Tales of the Black Freighter has a decent set of special features. First is "Story Within a Story: The Books of Watchmen" which explains how the two features connect to the world of Watchmen. Next is the first episode of the Watchmen Motion Comic. I loved this preview and will definitely go buy the Motion Comic because of it. Then there is a first look at the Green Lantern blu-ray, which is available now. The first look was disappointing in that it didn't actually show any clips from the movie, but it did a good job of explaining the background and origins of the Green Lantern universe. Some versions of The Black Freighter include a digital copy and a slipcover, but the newer versions do not
Overall, if you are a fan of the Watchmen Universe, you should find plenty to like about this disc. However, if you aren't familiar with Watchmen, I would recommend reading the graphic novel (or watching the Motion Comic) before you buy this disc. I am a huge Watchmen fan, and although I wasn't blown away by the disc, I am glad to have it in my collection.
Movie: 7/10
Picture Quality: 9/10
Audio Quality: 7/10
Special Features: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Sunday, August 23, 2009

District 9 Review

I just saw District 9 this morning in the theater. Prior to this weekend when a friend asked if I would go see it with him, I didn't know anything about it except that it was about aliens and Peter Jackson was involved in it. I actually wanted to see Inglorious Basterds instead, but I just went along. I understand it was somewhat low-budget, so there wasn't a very good advertising campaign.

Having no expectations for it, I was completely blown away. District 9 is definitely in my top 5 movies of 2009 so far. I would easily recommend this movie to anybody.

I won't recap what the story is about (just look it up if you don't already know) and will go straight into what I thought about the movie. First, the atmosphere in District 9 is amazing. From the first few minutes of the beginning to then end, I was completely sucked into the world of D9. It is set in Johanesburg, South Africa in the future, and there is a slum where the aliens live called District 9. All the scenes in the alien slum give the movie a kind of post-apocalyptic feel with a worn-out, trashy, dry land similar to that of Terminator Salvation or the game Fallout 3. I loved the setting and atmosphere of the movie.

Also notable about the movie is the camerawork. It has a shaky camera similar to that of Quarantine, Cloverfield, or the last two Bourne movies. I have heard complaints that this style of shooting can make some people feel sick or dizzy, but I think it adds a lot to the movie. The shaky camera is very noticable, but not overdone. Overall, it helps make you feel like you are actually in the movie.

As for the plot itself, I can't go into much detail without spoiling parts of the movie, so I will try to be very general. The first 20 minutes start off a bit slow, but it really gets much better as it goes on. I was afraid to blink during the last 30 minutes! I found the character development to be quite interesting. When the main character is introduced, I had a very hard time liking him, but as he gets "infected" and teams up with a prawn, he becomes much more likeable. As for the pacing of the movie, there is just the right amount of action. From the trailer, I didn't think there would be much action at all, but I was wrong. The action sequences aren't overkill like a certain movie directed by a certain someone named Michael Bay. I also found the special effects to be excellent. The alien ship that floats over the city look incredibely realistic, and the aliens look amazing as well. Many people were disappointed with the ending, but I found it to be a satisying conclusion to a phenomenal movie.

District 9 is a movie that I also think will benefit from multiple viewings. When it is released on blu-ray, I will without a doubt buy it on day-one. This is a movie that I am actually really curious to watch with the director commentary track, which I have only done for a few movies.

Bottom Line: 8/10

First Post

This will be my first blog, and I am hoping to post a few times a week. I'm not sure where to start............ Some of my interests are movies, sports, games, and books. I would say movie watching/collecting has become my #1 hobby. I mostly collect blu-ray movies (it's addicting as hell), so I will try to post about each new movie I add to my collection, and ones I already have. Currently, I play football, but soccer is my favorite sport and I play during the Winter and Spring. I am a die-hard fan of the Italian National team as I am from Italy! I also love videogames, but recently I haven't had much time to play any games that much, but I will post about new games I get and what I think of them. Reading is another major hobby/interest of mine, so I might post an occasional review of a book I'm reading. I can't really think of anything else to say at the moment so I think I will end this post for now.......

I think the majority of my posting will focus on movies and my reviews of them (blu-ray & movies in theaters), so subscribe if you want to hear my opinions!