Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ultraviolet Blu-Ray Review

Ultraviolet received horrible reviews when it was released, but I chose to ignore them and buy it on blu-ray anyways because I thought it must have some good qualities. For the most part, I was wrong.

The main problem with Ultraviolet is the story and the way it is told. The plot just felt underdeveloped and it was very difficult to follow. The DVD version also had the unrated version of the film, but the blu-ray did not. If the blu-ray costs more and is using more advanced technology, why is it that only the DVD gets the unrated version??? I have heard that the unrated version is slightly better, but I have no desire to waste anymore time watching this movie a second time. The acting is also terrible by every actor involved, and it is full of cheesy dialogue.

As for the action is the movie, I was expecting a lot more. The majority of the movie is a bunch of fight scenes, but because of the PG-13 rating they are no where near as good as they could have been. If there were blood in the fight scenes, and the camera didn't move away right before every kill, Ultraviolet would have been a lot more watchable. Also, just about every fight scene is the same. Violet enters a room, she is rushed by dozens of identical enemies, she kills all of the enemies effortlessly, and repeat for 87 minutes.

The picture quality on the blu-ray is decent, but inconsistent. All of the colors pop, and the digital environments look good. However, every now and then there would be a shot that looked blurry, and almost out of focus. This is probably because of the digital enhancement, but it does stand out and I found it annoying. In a lot of parts it looks like a videogame, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on your tastes, but I didn't care for it. For a title that was released very early in the blu-ray format, it has a good enough transfer, but I wouldn't call it reference-material.

The sound is excellent. Ultraviolet will give your hometheater a workout with its constant gun shots and clashing swords. It has a PCM 5.1 (uncompressed) track that is impressive for when this movie was released, and it still sounds great today.
There are only a few special features, but I didn't watch any of them since I did not care for the movie. There is a making-of feature, a commentary track by Milla Jovovich, and a couple trailers.

Overall, Ultraviolet is a terrible movie, but it is a good blu-ray disc in terms of picture and audio quality. I wouldn't even recommend renting it as I found it to be a complete waste of time. If you must rent it though, you should probably check out the DVD version first since it has the unrated version, which the blu-ray does not.
Movie: 3/10
Picture Quality: 7/10
Audio Quality: 8/10
Special Features: 3/10
Overal: 4/10

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Inglourious Basterds Review

On Labor Day I went to go see Inglourious Basterds. What a great movie! I would have to say that it is probably the best movie I saw in the theater all summer. Tarantino has always been one of my favorite directors, so I had very high expectations going into the movie.
First of all, all of the characters are brilliant. The first one that comes to mind is Brad Pitt. Whenever he opened his mouth and said something in his southern accent I was laughing. There is a scene late in the movie where he has to pretend to be an Italian (or I-Talian as he would say) that made me laugh harder than I have laughed at the movies all year. My only complaint is that he wasn't in the movie enough!
The pacing of Inglourious Basterds is slower than any other Tarantino film I have seen. There is a scene in a bar where the characters are just talking for what seemed like over 20 minutes. This would be a problem if the dialogue wasn't so well-written. Also, the majority of the dialogue in the film is in French or German with English subtitles, which I found to be a nice touch since the story is set in Europe. I find it annoying when movies set in other countries with different languages still have characters that speak perfect English.
As with just about any Tarantino film, there is a fair amount of over-the-top, gory violence. There are a couple times where the camera zooms in and shows Nazis being scalped or having Swastikas slowly cut into their heads. The violence is not over-done in the movie though, it feels like it belongs.
Inglourious Basterds is my favorite movie of the summer so far, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It is also certainly one of the best films Tarantino has done so far (although Reservoir Dogs is still my favorite) with a good balance of comedy, action, and drama.
Bottom Line: 9/10

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Weekend Purchases

Here's a picture of what I bought on Saturday. First I got the Gladiator blu-ray. I haven't watched it yet, but it is supposed to have poor picture quality. It comes with a really nice slip-cover and a second disc full of bonus features.I'll post my thoughts after I watch it.
Next I got Disney's Earth. I heard this movie used all of the same footage in the BBC series Planet Earth. I never saw the BBC series, so it was all new to me. I thought it was an okay movie. I didn't love it, but it is worth a watch for the amazing footage. However, the picture and sound quality on the blu-ray are reference quality. Also included is the dvd of the film, but no digital copy. I don't think I will be posting a full review for it since there isn't much more to say about it.
The last thing I bought is the PSP game Crush. I got it used at Disc Replay for only $3.99 (There was no way I was passing up that price!). This game got very good reviews when it came out, and I was always curious about it. I have only played it for about an hour, but it's and incredible game. It's basically a puzzle game played by changing the world from 2D and 3D to get around obstacles, and it also has a pretty good story told between levels. This is probably one of the most original games I have played on the PSP so far and I give it my highest recommendation, especially since it can be found in most places for under $10.

Gamer Review

I just got back from seeing Gamer, staring Gerard Butler. I have been waiting for this to come out ever since I saw the awesome trailer, so I had pretty high expectations.
The basic plot is that there is this new game called Slayer. The only thing is that instead of virtual avatars, users control real human beings (inmates on death-row). Once someone wins 30 straight rounds, they will be set free. When the movie starts, Kabel (Butler) has already won 27 rounds and is the only person to ever go this far. I can't go into much more detail without spoiling anything.
The first thing that comes to mind about this movie is the action, and there's lots of it! By the end of the movie, I think the body count was over 200. It was also directed by the same people as the Crank movies, so if you have seen Crank or Crank High Voltage you should have an idea of what to expect. The camera in this movie is very similar to that of Crank also; it never stays on one scene for more than 3 to 5 seconds.
I really liked the visuals of this movie. It reminded me a lot of a Zach Snyder movie. The world is depicted in very dull, gray colors that really contribute to a great atmosphere. However, the virtual world of Society (the other "game" that users play with real people) is filled with vibrant colors. This is a movie that should look greath when it is released on blu-ray.
The storyline isn't perfect, it's just an excuse for all the action and explosions. If you like action movies, this shouldn't bother you, but if you are expecting anything more than lots of death and explosions, this is not the movie for you. The acting is solid from almost everyone involved. If Gamer did not star Gerard Butler, I don't think that it would have worked nearly as well.
As a side note, one cool thing I noticed is that when the kid who was controlling Gerard Butler was in police custody, he was wearing a Crank shirt. It was a brief scene, so you had to have been paying attention to pick up on it.
There's not much else to say about this movie. You will either love it or hate it, and that depends on how much you like action movies.
Bottom Line: 7/10