Saturday, August 22, 2015

Blu-Ray Review - Summer Lovers (1982)

The Film:

Released in 1982 (December 1982 in Australian cinemas, same month as Blade Runner, Conan the Barbarian and First Blood) Summer Lovers was director Randal Kleiser's follow up film to his 1980 smash hit the Blue Lagoon and the story sees Michael (Peter Gallagher) and Cathy (Daryl Hannah) travel to Santorini in the Greek Islands for some fun in the sun but while there they meet a French Archaeologist Lina (Valerie Quennessen) and three become friends in an unexpected way.

I like to think of this film as a sentimental favorite of mine in that while I know it has flaws (the dialogue doesn't sound that great) I just love the vibe of it and the sincerity Kleiser gives the piece plus Hannah and Gallagher have a nice chemistry between them that is very appealing to watch.

But as good as they are Quennessen is the real show stealer here (well her and the Greek Islands themselves which look gorgeous but I would probably avoid going there now) and she is wonderful here and what she does so well is with little to no dialogue (she also did this in Conan the Barbarian) she creates a real and lively presence that has you glued to the screen every time she's on, it's so so sad that she's no longer with us (she died in a motorcycle accident in 1989.)

But going back to the vibe that Kleiser creates for this film what I also really love about it is that it reminds me so much of that era of filmmaking in the early 1980s I mean this was the time of the Star Wars Trilogy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Mad Max 1 and 2, First Blood and Blade Runner which I mentioned above among many many others and it was like anything was possible filmmaking wise.

Whereas now everything is almost exclusively producer and/or studio driven, has to be PG-13 as well as sugary sweet and soft because it isn't then you don't get that magical Billion dollar gross and people get grumpy, one day it's going to come crashing down and what will follow will be a very sad time for all movie goers and film fans.

The Video:

At long last Summer Lovers is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and the film looks great with its rich levels of grain which makes it feel like a film print at times which it should do plus the scenery of the Islands looks fantastic with the blue oceans and the white Villas and the many naked bodies (try doing that today, hoo boy you'd never get away with it.)

The Audio:

Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 sound, the film sounds very clear with the songs and the dialogue scenes being evenly mixed (sometimes with 5.1 or 7.1 mixes there can be an imbalance between the dialogue and the rest of the sound which constantly requires you to adjust the volume) and as a result I didn't really have any complaints about this mix, it sounds pretty good and I'm happy that its evenly balance.

The Extras:

Twilight Time have assembled a very cool array of Bonus Features for this release and let's dig into them shall we:

Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Randal Kleiser: Kleiser talks throughout the entire film about the process of making this movie in both what he wanted to create in terms of the feel and tone of the film as well as shooting the film on the Greek Islands.

Another story he tells is why the film's release originally wasn't very big and that was due to Orion Pictures acquiring Filmways which was to make the film before release and had planned a big ad campaign for it before Orion took over Filmways plus there is a very touching story about being in contact with Valerie's son and the effect seeing the film had on him, this was a good track.

Isolated Music and Effects Track: Worth listening to primarily for the Music in the film but I could've done without the Effects work being in this track as it distracted me from the songs at times but still I'm glad I got to hear this track as the songs sound great.

The Making of Summer Lovers: This is a vintage piece from 1982 and Kleiser as well as the 3 main actors are interviewed and seeing Valerie interviewed here in particular was great (I'm sorry but she was enchanting to watch) and interestingly one of the guys that worked on this piece was her real life husband Francois Manceaux who also appears in the film very briefly.

Basil Poledouris - His Life and Music: This is a 48 minute special focused on Basil and his work (it only goes up to Starship Troopers from 1997) Poledouris sadly died in 2006 at the age of 61 and I really loved his work on the original Robocop film, The Hunt for Red October and Conan the Barbarian where he really went all out with the orchestra and the choir (The Riders of Doom is a great piece from that soundtrack and may he Rest in Peace.)

Screen Tests: 15 Minutes worth of test footage is presented here though the sound is very difficult to hear throughout but what's presented here is great as one of the young actors auditioning for Peter Gallagher's role is Mr. Patrick Swayze and he actually does a pretty good job here and his chemistry with Valerie Quennessen is really charming (the way she looks at him with her eyes says it all really.)

That said it is a little poignant to watch given that both actors are no longer with us but it is also really great to have not only this footage here of both of them but the body of work they left behind, it really makes you feel that these people are never really gone in a technical sense because we're watching them on our TV screens doing the work or being interviewed and that they are still with us in our hearts and memories as long as we remember them.

Theatrical Trailers: 2 Trailers are presented here for the film one is a standard preview for the film while the other is labeled as a Red Band preview for the film, both are okay but I miss the one used by Roadshow Home Video which used Slow Hand by the Pointer Sisters to promote the films VHS release in 1983 though to be fair it also used parts of the Red Band preview presented here so all's fair really.

(Speaking of Slow Hand and I'll wrap this review up here, Kleiser originally wanted to use that song in the film but when he heard I'm So Excited he decided to use that song instead.)


I am really impressed with this disc release of Summer Lovers, a very nice Audio/Visual Presentation and a great selection of Bonus Features both old and new.

The disc is currently available through Twilight Time themselves and is limited to 3000 copies so if you're a fan get your copy now, you won't regret it.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Film Review - Vacation (2015)

Vacation is a remake/continuation of the original film series which starred Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo as the Griswolds but this time Ed Helms and Christina Applegate take over the role as they drive their young sons to Walley World in the hope of reconnecting as a family.

Going into this film I feared the genuine worst as I have a real soft spot for the original 3 Vacation films from 1983, 1985 and 1989 (the Christmas one in particular I like to think of as my ideal Christmas film) and the previews for this new film looked really nasty and off point from what the series should be.

And you know that feeling you get when your worst fears are realised in the cinema well that happened here boys and girls as this is quite frankly my worst film of the year so far for two fundamental reasons:

- Firstly it's not funny at all and watching the film I was reminded why I have turned off American Comedy in a big way in the last 10 years or so and it's because of the endless jokes about innuendo or body parts, the nasty undertone to all of the humour (anytime, anytime the film goes for a nice and tender moment a nasty joke comes right around the corner and undoes it) as well as the constant scenes of actors standing around and improvising for 5 minutes I mean for fucks sake I have just grown tired of all of this but thankfully I wasn't sitting there like in Trainwreck wanting an editing machine to cut the damn thing down to less than 2 hours.

- And secondly there's no heart to the film, when you look back on the original 3 Vacation films written by the late John Hughes yes Clark W Griswold was a slightly eccentric Dad but he always showed a love for his wife and children that made Ellen go along for the ride even when she voiced her disagreement whereas here Rusty and Deb are just at each others throats the entire time and their marriage is only there for a few innuendo gags not to mention their snot nose spoilt little shit of a young son that needs a severe crack up the ass.

Look I hated this movie, hated hated hated hated hated this movie, Hated it and frankly not one person should go and see this and then maybe just maybe these acursed remakes will wither die like the poisonous vines they are and also its movies like this that just make me want En Sabah Nur and his 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse to just burn the whole fucking world down and hopefully build a better one, .5 out of 5.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Film Review - The Man from UNCLE (2015)

The Man from UNCLE is based off of the 1960s TV series which starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum and is directed by Guy Ritchie, this new version sees Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer take on the roles those 2 men played in the TV series and this time East and West have to team up to stop a deadly femme fatale (Elizabeth Debicki) from detonating a nuclear warhead and causing World War 3 but a mysterious mechanic (Alicia Vikander) may not make this so easy.

The Man from UNCLE is sadly not that good of a film but before I go into that I want to go into what I did like and that is first off the overall look of the film, the recreation of the 1960s looks great in terms of both the sets and the costumes and the opening of the film really sets you in the mood of the times very well.

Plus the performances by Cavill and Vikander are great, Cavill not only shows off just how much he looks like the late Christopher Reeve but also that he is a very charismatic and charming performer and Vikander really makes you think of a late 60s feminist woman with her strong performance toe to toe with both Cavill and Hammer.

But sadly the performance by Hammer is not that great buried under a pretty thick and at times cringe worthy Russian accent and also the chemistry between him and Cavill is just nowhere near as fun or engaging as the chemistry between Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law in Ritchie's 2 Sherlock Holmes movies.

But as for Debicki well it saddens me to say this, it also pains me very much to say this but hers is the weakest performance in the film and I adored her so so so much as Jordan Baker in Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby adaptation to the point where I went to myself "I will watch her in anything from this point forward" and the reason she falls flat performance wise ties into the real problem with the film and that is the lack of a strong villain to help tie together the films plot.

And this was also the case with Ritchie's 1st Sherlock Holmes film but not with his 2nd A Game of Shadows where Jared Harris as Professor Moriarty was more than equal to matching Downey on screen whereas here Debicki for all of her trying just cannot match up to Cavill and Hammer, I wonder if she and Vikander had switched parts it might have made for a better film as all Debicki does is stand around, where the costumes (which just reminded me of the costumes she wore in Gatsby) and play the full tilt diva which is a very sad shame and painful for me to say to myself when I came out of the film.

And so that was the Man from UNCLE and I can't recommend this film I'm afraid, it looks great but the weak villain undercuts it, 1.5 out of 5.

Monday, August 10, 2015

On the Air Season 2 Episode 7 - A Rogue Anniversary

Well here we are, my 1 year anniversary episode (well 13 months technically speaking) and there's no celebration but down to business talking:

- Terminator Genisys
- Ant Man
- Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

As always, right clock on "download audio" to save it to your Computer or click on the streaming option on the page.

Link is here:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Film Review - Fantastic Four (2015)

Fantastic Four is directed by Josh Trank and stars Miles Teller as Reed Richards, a young scientific genius who is admitted to the Baxter Institute where he meets Sue Storm (Kate Mara), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) as well as bringing along his best friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) but when they travel to another dimension something goes wrong and the four of them find themselves holding incredible power.

I was looking forward to this movie despite all of the articles going on about how the production of the film was a mess mainly because of the people involved here: Trank made Chronicle in 2012 which I loved, Simon Kinberg who co-wrote the script and produces the film is coming off X-Men Days of Future Past plus the 4 young actors playing the Fantastic Four are great young actors Teller in particular so could something good come of the troubled production or was it Doomed to fail?

Sadly very sadly the latter has happened here and when I began to think about the film after coming out of my session of it I thought to myself "I'm not angry but I am just very very very very disappointed" in everyone involved as this movie feels like a dead weight being projected onto a cinema screen in front of you.

First off I have to start with Trank did he have any real tangible vision here because the way the film is put together in terms of the editing its messy scenes are cut off very quickly there's no real sense of a structure to the storyline of the films or the world or the characters in any way and the climax is a mess and I wonder if Matthew Vaughn (who is also a producer on this film) was brought in at some point by 20th Century Fox to either get this film back on track or was he offered to direct it himself.

I say this because Vaughn was going to make Days of Future Past but left that film to make Kingsman the Secret Service but I can't help but wonder if he was offered this film to direct and said No in favour of Kingsman but decided to help produce the film so he could possibly help Trank behind the scenes in terms of making such a large scale film but frankly I don't think anyone comes out of this mess clean not the production crew or Fox.

And also the 4 young actors are wasted in their roles, they don't really seem to get a good handle on their characters and their dialogue scenes are just leaden and I mean concrete leaden and Toby Kebbell as Dr Doom is a joke of a villain.

And all this movie has done also is just remind me how good that very first X-Men film Bryan Singer made in 2000, that film set up a world worth watching and getting invested in, it gave you the core X-Men on a mission as a team, it had the dynamic between Xavier and Magneto and you fully understand the vision Bryan had for that film in terms of setting it in the real world (the opening scene is of a young Magneto in a concentration camp) and stripping away a lot of the silliness from the X-Men comics whereas here with this F4 film the whole thing feels empty and heavily tampered with in terms of a vision.

Look I wanted to like this movie I really did but I can't say that and it disappoints me to do so given the crop of talent involved and I now have concerns for X-Men Apocalypse next year despite everything I've seen from that film looking incredible but if you want a fun action time at the cinema go to Mission Impossible instead of Fantastic Four, 1 out of 5.

Film Review - Last Cab to Darwin (2015)

Last Cab to Darwin stars Michael Caton (Darryl Kerrigan from the Castle) as Rex a Broken Hill Cab driver who learns that he has only 3 months left to live due to Stomach Cancer and one day he hears about Euthanasia being made legal in the Northern Territory so he decides to drive his Cab all the way to Darwin for one last ride.

I didn't mind Last Cab to Darwin but again I feel that I am not the target audience for this movie but I did enjoy myself for the most part, Caton is very good here and he makes you care about Rex's story arc very easily (I must get around to revisiting the Castle one day) and I also liked seeing the outback of Australia which is very rarely shown these days in our popular culture and I also really liked Emma Hamilton as Julie, she reminded me a lot of a young Natasha Richardson.

So that was Last Cab to Darwin, a fine enough film but probably not for me when I think about it, 2 and a half out of 5.

Film Review - Trainwreck (2015)

Trainwreck is directed by Judd Apatow and stars Amy Schumer as Amy who writes for S'Nuff magazine and is handed an assignment on a sports doctor (Bill Hader) but the two soon enough find themselves falling for each other and Amy gets a little uncomfortable.

Trainwreck was not a film for me I have to say but not to say that it's a bad film it definitely has its moments in terms of some of the gags and references and songs on the soundtrack plus Hader is very effective as a romantic lead primarily because I feel that he is one of us a tall lanky geeky average looking man rather than the endless parade of handsome charismatic men that we see far too often in the movies or indeed in popular culture nowadays.

But as I said this film was not for me because a lot of it when I think about it reminds me of Pitch Perfect 2 in that the primary audience for this film are women and a lot of the jokes in the film are aimed squarely at that audience and for me I just sat there thinking "okay, what, oh god" at times but the real sin is that it is far far too long, if this had been 90 minutes of Amy doing a theatrical version of her sketch show and falling in love with Bill's character then fine and fair enough but at 2 hours I lost my patience with this film and just wanted it to end as well as an editing machine so I could recut the film to make it shorter and more on point.

And so Trainwreck is not a bad film but not one that worked for me personally but women will love it, 1.5 out of 5.