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Anton van Beek  |  Jan 01, 2012  |  0 comments

The final part of the foundations for next summer’s superhero 'battle royale' The Avengers are set with the arrival of Captain America: The First Avenger. Directed by journeyman filmmaker Joe (Jurassic Park III) Johnson, the film is a surprising treat, mixing gung-ho WWII action with plenty of superhero spectacle. Chris Evans does excellent work in the lead, and Hugo Weaving proves an enjoyable foil as the diabolical Red Skull.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 22, 2014  |  0 comments

Even taking into account the success it's had to date, 2014 should go down as Marvel Studio's biggest and most exciting year. And not just because of the surprise Summer sci-fi smash Guardians of the Galaxy; several months earlier Marvel had turned everything fans thought they knew about its shared cinematic universe on its head with this edgy second solo outing for Captain America.

Anton van Beek  |  Jun 20, 2014  |  0 comments

Based on the true story of the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama container ship by Somali pirates, director Paul Greengrass' movie stars Tom Hanks as the commanding officer who was taken hostage.

Anton van Beek  |  Aug 24, 2012  |  0 comments

This Blu-ray release of Roman Polanski’s latest film left me shocked. Not by its rather stage-bound story or mannered performances (it’s actually an often funny film), but by the fact that it features an MPEG-2 hi-def encode. I thought those went out of fashion around the same time as Profile 1.1 Blu-ray players. The good news is that this doesn’t seem to impact on the imagery quality to any great degree, with the 2.40:1 visuals well-defined throughout. Less impressive is the flat DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix, which is firmly anchored to the front speakers.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 03, 2014  |  0 comments

This fourth screen take on Stephen King's first best-seller (don't tell us you forgot about 1999's The Rage: Carrie 2 and 2002's TV movie?) still finds it almost impossible to escape from the shadow of Brian De Palma's original 1976 adaptation. While the storyline has been updated to bring cyber-bullying into the mix, otherwise it's business as usual, with the exact same story beats being played out yet again.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 07, 2018  |  0 comments

Few writers have had as big an impact on the horror genre as Stephen King, and since the tail end of the 1970s US studios and television networks have fallen over themselves to translate his novels and short stories to the screen. We're now at the point where King has nearly 250 TV/movie writing credits to his name.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 26, 2012  |  0 comments

It had to happen eventually. Pixar has finally made a film that left me cold. While I didn’t find the first Cars even half as bad as I’d been led to believe, this sequel’s mix of spy action and fish-out-of-water antics seems to have been created to appeal solely to kids and sell them more merchandise along the way (“Now with missile-firing action!”). Still, I’m sure the target audience will absolutely lap it up.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 05, 2013  |  0 comments

Reuniting two stars of his earlier horror smash Re-Animator (Jeffrey Combes and Barbara Crampton), Castle Freak tells the story of an American family who inherit an Italian castle. Of course, this being a horror film, the castle comes with a nasty secret in the form of a deformed freak who has been locked up in one of its basement cells for decades. And when he gets loose, there's going to be hell to pay...

Anton van Beek  |  Aug 02, 2012  |  0 comments

It’s easy to see why the likes of Bruce Willis and Forrest Whitaker were attracted to this debut feature by writer/director Aaron Harvey. Indeed, with its intricate plotting and tricky narrative structure, Catch .44 often feels like the bastard offspring of Elmore Leonard and Quentin Tarantino. Unfortunately, there are a few too many self-referential jokes (like the one about Bruce Willis’ album... Urgh!) that spoil the fun and take the edge off the film. The BD itself boasts an attractively detailed AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode and surprisingly forceful Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. The disc also offers up an interesting chat-track from writer/director Harvey and editor Richard Byard.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 16, 2015  |  0 comments

Short Circuit crashes headlong into RoboCop in Neill (District 9) Blomkamp's latest sci-fi thriller. In a near future version of Johannesburg where state-of-the-art robots are used to police the streets, rogue police 'bot Chappie is given true artificial intelligence by his creator (Dev Patel), only to end up being raised on the streets by a group of gangsters.

Anton van Beek  |  Jul 04, 2012  |  0 comments

The reputation of Hugh Hudson's award-winning film about real life athletes Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, who competed for Great Britain in the 1924 Olympics, has come under fire over the past decade. The film has become an easy target for those who wish to condemn the kind of 'heritage cinema' that the UK film industry has struggled to escape from in recent times.

Anton van Beek  |  Jan 14, 2013  |  0 comments

Written and produced by Oren 'Paranormal Activity' Peli, this Hills Have Eyes rip-off follows a group of tourists who visit an abandoned town devastated by the Chernobyl meltdown, only to discover that they're not alone. While the film struggles to live up to its fascinating setting, this Blu-ray's AVC 1.85:1 1080p transfer and DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack at least make sure that it looks and sounds extremely atmospheric throughout. Meagre extras take the form of a deleted scene, an alternate ending, a short 'Chernobyl Conspiracy' video, a fake ad for 'Uri's Extreme Tours' and the trailer

Anton van Beek  |  Feb 06, 2016  |  0 comments

Set in a bureaucratic future where even sexual encounters require contracts to be drawn up by lawyers, business executive Sam Treadwell (David Andrews) is one of a growing number of people to opt for an android lover instead. But when his rare Cherry 2000 (Pamela Gidley) short-circuits, a distraught Sam must venture into the lawless post-apocalyptic wilderness of Zone 7 to find a new model. Aiding him on his quest is Johnson (Melanie Griffith), one of the few trackers capable of guiding Sam to the location of the old android factory and keeping him safe from the deadly gangs that live in the area.

Anton van Beek  |  Jun 14, 2012  |  0 comments

The glory days of the film noir were long gone by the time director Roman Polanski joined forces with screenwriter Robert Towne in 1973 to craft a gripping thriller about corruption, deceit and murder in ‘30s Los Angeles. The film they concocted became one of the defining movies of the genre – a remarkable thriller powered by astonishing performances and themes that still resonate today. Cinema rarely gets much better than this.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 31, 2016  |  0 comments

Forget Herbie. When it comes to autonomous automobiles they don't come any better than Christine. This demon-fuelled, blood-red 1958 Plymouth Fury is the star of John Carpenter's slick 1983 movie adaptation of the Stephen King novel about a high school nerd (Keith Gordon) whose life is turned around when he becomes her latest owner. Trouble is, Christine has a mind of her own and is a very jealous lady…