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Eastern Bandits (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Eastern Bandits” was an enjoyable popcorn action film with a tremendous amount of action, guns and explosion.  But due to its busy plot and frantic pacing, “Eastern Bandits” is an average film at best.

Images courtesy of © 2012 Panorama Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Eastern Bandits

FILM RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 107 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Well Go USA

RATED: Not Rated

Release Date: May 27, 2014

Directed by Shu-peng Yang

Written by Lao Huang, Shu-peng Yang, Xiaboei Zhang

Produced by Bin Huang

Executive Producer: Xu Xiaoming

Music by Kalli Peng

Cinematography by Yu Cao

Edited by Fang Lei, Eric Myerson, Shu-peng Yang

Production Design by Eddie Wong, Rui Qing Xian

Costume Design by Dan Yang

Starring:

Xiaoming Huang as Fang

Yi Zhang as Gao

Xinyi Zhang as Jen

Jingyang Ni as Lady Dagger

Tino Bao as Chalatan

Qunshu Gao as Captain

Shan Jiang as Captain’s Wife

Waise Lee as Captain Zhao

Jing Liang as Madame Seven

Zhiming Ma as JAguar

Lei Sun as San Pao

Lie Wang as Kuei

Yue Zhang as Lassie

AN INACCURATE MEMOIR is the heroic story of rebels with a fortune to gain, and everything to lose. Leader Fang Youwang, with his compatriots Kuei, San Pao, and Lady Dagger – lead a posse of roving bandits that are fearless, enterprising, and loyal to the death. Their baby-faced masks make them terrifying; their underground lair untraceable. And now, they’re plotting a double-scam – a heroic rescue and a kidnapping mission – that will make them legends…if anyone gets out alive.

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Shu-peng Yang is a writer and filmmaker best known for his film “The Robbers” and “Feng huo” and his latest film “Eastern Bandits” combines action, drama and comedy but also a fascinating and also stylish take on bandits/rebels determined to assassinate the brother of the emperor of Japan.

Starring Xiaoming Huang, Yi Zhang, Xingi Zhang, Jingyang Ni, Tina Bao, Zhiming Ma, Lei Sun, Lie Wang and Yue Zhang, “Eastern Bandits” (also known as “An Inaccurate Memoir”) is currently available on Blu-ray from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Led by Fang (portrayed by Xiaoming Huang), a charismatic leader who makes the women swoon, while his group of ragtag fighters will do what they can for their motherland which has been taken over by the Japanese.

As the Japanese are bringing a large Buddha statue for a commemoration of event of the statue and new post, Fang Youwang and his group which include Kuei, San Pao, Lady Dagger, Lassie and more, who must stage a heroic rescue and the ultimate kidnapping.

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VIDEO:

“Eastern Bandits” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio).  The film does look magnificent for the majority of the film, there are some scenes that received deliberate color changes, excessive grain and for the most part, more earthy colors.  But a large part of the film is shot outdoors and colors are vibrant and close-ups of characters show great detail.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Eastern Bandits” is presented in Mandarin DTS-HD MA 5.1.  Due to the enormous amount of action and explosions, one can expect scenes with great use of lossless audio from the surround channels but also via LFE.  For the most part, a very active lossless soundtrack!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Eastern Bandits” comes with a theatrical trailer.

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With many Chinese films showcasing a storyline of the Japanese enemy and Chinese fighting back for their motherland or to nullify Japan’s forces, the approach to this is often grim and emotional.

Filmmaker Shu-peng goes a different route by giving us a film that tries its best to retain a stylish quality, a more modern feel to the film but also charismatic characters that are thrust into a group and work together against the Japanese.

Lead actor Xiaoming Huang who is best known for roles in “Badges of Fury”, “The Last Tycoon”, “The Guillotines”, looks to charismatic to be taken seriously as a leader.  With his hair cleanly shaved, he looks too good to be in the role that he is playing and the others often look too good to pass off as dangerous bandits.

While action enthusiasts will no doubt enjoy “Eastern Bandits”, its sheer amount of action and the different types of happenings that take place throughout the film is a bit excessive.  Pacing is a bit scattered and I felt that the story could have developed its cast members a bit more, as you are left with questions throughout the film that not always get solved.  Also, you often get confused because there are many actors involved.

And the film may seem as it is a western but there is really nothing western about this film, nor should one expect to see Chinese cowboys because of the Blu-ray cover.  It’s a film that takes place during Japan’s occupation of China and despite many people dressing to the actual era, costume design added quite a number of modern touches to the clothing of the characters that it seemed unusual to see these bandits look too clean cut and fashionable.

But what I did enjoy “Eastern Bandits” was its action and style.  There is no doubt that the film had a good supporting budget as it featured many extras, many explosions and artillery and also tanks!

Also, another plus is the Blu-ray as the picture quality is detailed and colorful, while the lossless audio has its immersive moments and great use of surround channels and LFE.  Unfortunately, there are no special features included but the theatrical trailer.

Overall, “Eastern Bandits” was an enjoyable popcorn action film with a tremendous amount of action, guns and explosion.  But due to its busy plot and frantic pacing, “Eastern Bandits” is an average film at best.

 

The Lunchbox (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

thelunchbox

“The Lunchbox” is an entertaining, warm and captivating epistolary romance film!  A film about how two strangers ease their sadness and loneliness by sending letters to one other through a lunchbox.  Featuring strong performances by Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, filmmaker Ritesh Batra’s feature film debut, “The Lunchbox” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Lunchbox

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 111 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:40:1 aspect ratio, Hindi 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital,  Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics

RATED: PG (For Thematic Material and Smoking)

Release Date: July 1, 2014

Written and Directed by Ritesh Batra

Produced by Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Arun Rangachari

Co-Producer: Shahnaab Alam, Marc Baschet, Benny Drechsel, Nina Lath Gupta, Nittin Keni, Cedomir Kolar, Vivek Rangachari, Karsten Stoter, Danis Tanovic

Executive Produced: Ritesh Batra, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Irrfan Khan, Vikramjit Roy

Music by Max Richter

Cinematography by Michael Simmonds

Edited by John F. Lyons

Casting by Seher Latif

Production Design by Shruti Gupte

Set Decoration by Akshi Kapoor

Costume Design by Niharika Khan

Starring:

Irrfan Khan as Saajan Fernandes

Nimrat Kaur as Ila

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Shaikh

Lillete Dubey as Ila’s Mother

Nakul Vaid as Rajeev

Bharati Achrekar as Auntie

A mistaken delivery in Mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox delivery system connects Ila, a neglected housewife, to Saajan (Irrfan Khan), a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Through a series of exchanged notes that they pass back and forth through the lunches, Saajan and Ila find comfort in their unexpected friendship. Gradually, their notes become little confessions about their loneliness, memories, regrets, fears, and even small joys. They each discover a new sense of self and find an anchor to hold on to in the big city of Mumbai that so often crushes hopes and dreams. Still strangers physically, Ila and Saajan become lost in their virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities.

Ritesh Batra was one of 2013′s success stories.

Best known for his short films, his 2013 feature romantic film “Dabba” (The Lunchbox) would receive positive reviews from film critics and audiences around the world.

Starring Irrfan Khan (“Life of Pi”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “The Amazing Spider-Man”), Nimrat Kaur (“One Night with the King”) and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (“Talaash”, “Kahaani”, “Gangs of Wasseypur”), “The Lunchbox” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

“The Lunchbox” focuses on two unhappy characters.

Saajan Fernandes (portrayed by Irrfan Khan) is an accountant close to retiring and must help the younger Shaikh (portrayed by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) of how to do his job.  A widowed man who is often seen as anti-social and grumpy, he is also lonely.

Lia (portrayed by Nimrat Kaur) is a married woman with a child.  With the help of her auntie (featuring the voice of Bharati Achrekar), she is trying to make dishes in hopes to win her husband’s affections and feels he is having an affair.

One day, as Lia prepares a dish for her husband, the lunchbox delivery man (Dabbawalas) accidentally delivers the lunchbox to Saajan Fernandes.  When Fernandes tastes the food, he notices how delicious it is.

As for Lia, hoping to hear comments about her cooking and most of all, seeing an improvement in the relationship with her husband, he doesn’t respond at all and is critical about her cooking of cauliflower which she was not responsible for.

Realizing that her food is going to another man, she writes a note to whoever may be eating her food and continues to make food for the lunchbox that is delivered to Fernandes and he responds and it ultimately leads to these two unhappy people to write each other about how they truly feel about their current life.

But what happens when their communication by mail grows to be more than strangers writing each other but a dependent on each other for support during their tough time in their lives?

VIDEO:

“The Lunchbox” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).  The film looks magnificent on Blu-ray.  Earthy colors, close-ups show great detail and for the most part, no signs of excessive banding or artifact issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Lunchbox” is presented in Hindi DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Audio descriptive track in English 5.1 Dolby Digital.  The film is primarily dialogue driven as dialogue is crystal clear through the front channels.  There are use of the surround channels for more ambiance (especially inside the train).  But as a romantic film, the soundtrack is appropriate.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Lunchbox” comes with commentary by writer/director Ritesh Batra.

EXTRAS:

“The Lunchbox” comes both with a Blu-ray and DVD copy of the film.

The concept of accidental messages have been topics in film and television for years.

From “Il Mare/The Lake House” which dealt with mail communication from a man in the past to a woman of the future, to the Japanese TV series “With Love” about a woman who accidentally receives a composition from a music composer and begins an e-mail dialogue or “The Shop Around the Corner” and “You Got Mail” which dealt with two people counting on each other for support but hopefully finding love.

“The Lunchbox” was rather fascinating that while the film could have been another romantic epistolary film, because of the Indian culture, the storyline for “The Lunchbox” is rather different from the films just mentioned.

Similar to these other films, how communication soothes their soul and makes them reflect on their current lives, there is always that time when both agree to meet each other.  Will any romance happen between the older Fernandes and the younger Lia?

One must watch and find out but most importantly, the warmness of the film, its characters and character direction was well-done.

There is no doubt that Ritesh Batra hit a homerun with his feature film debut and thanks to the magnificent acting of Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, one can only hope that the hype that “The Lunchbox” has received worldwide that she churns out another captivating film.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is magnificent.  Close-up details are well-done, colors are natural and earthy.  I didn’t notice any artifacts or edge enhancement issues during my viewing of the film.  As for the lossless soundtrack, as one can expect from a romance film, the dialogue is primarily front-channel driven.  While surround channels showcase the ambiance of the character’s surroundings, especially on a train.  You get a single special feature which is a commentary with writer/director Ritesh Batra.

Overall, “The Lunchbox” is an entertaining, warm and captivating epistolary romance film!

A film about how two strangers ease their sadness and loneliness by sending letters to one other through a lunchbox.  Featuring strong performances by Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, filmmaker Ritesh Batra’s feature film debut, “The Lunchbox” is highly recommended!

 

The Chef, The Actor and the Scoundrel (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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“The Chef, the Actor and the Scoundrel” is a rather interesting film with different types of films in one. It’s important for people to know that the crazy comedy that kicks off the first half of the film is now how the second half will be. So, if you are turned off by the craziness, stick with it as the film will completely change by the second half. It’s a different type of film, no doubt. But “The Chef, the Actor and the Scoundrel” tries to incorporate action, comedy, drama all in one. If you are in the mood for a different type of Chinese action film, then definitely give this film a chance.

Images courtesy of © 2013 Beijing No. 5 Movement Culture Media Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Chef, The Actor and the Scoundrel

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 108 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Mandarin and Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Well Go USA

RATED: Not Rated

Release Date: June 24, 2014

Directed by Hu Guan

Written by Run Nian Dong, Hu Guan

Produced by Aimin Jiao

Action Producer: Edward Chi-yun Yi

Music by Peng Dou

Cinematography by Jie Du

Edited by Jing Lei Kong

Production Design by Chao Hui Wang, Hai Zhhao

Costume Design by Ting Ting Liang

Starring:

Ye Liu as Chuz zi (Chef)

Hanyu Zhang as Xi Zi (Actor)

Bo Huang as  Pi zi (Scoundrel)

Jing Liang as Feng po zi (Crazy Wife)

Chie Tanaka as Yanagida

Minowa Yasufumi as Igarashi

World War II: a cholera epidemic ravages the streets of Beijing. A crack team of Chinese intelligence agents kidnap a Japanese general and biochemist who may hold the antidote. When trickery and torture fail, the covert squad smuggles their victims into a restaurant and launches the oddest of interrogations – staging a Chinese Opera and posing as fellow guests, designed to entice, confuse, and ultimately trick their captives into revealing the truth before time runs out.

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From filmmaker Hu Guan (“Design of Death”, “Cow”, “Eyes of a Beauty”) comes his latest film “The Chef, The Actor and the Scoundrel”.

Starring Ye Liu (“Police Story 2013″, “Redemption”, “City of Life and Death”), Hanyu Zhang (“Assembly”, “Back to 1942″), Bo Huang (“Cow”, “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons”, “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen”), Jing Liang (“Dream Girl”, “Son of the Stars”) and Chie Tanaka (“Cape No. 7″, “Initial D – Drift Racer”, “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale”).

The film is now available on Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA.

“The Chef, The Actor and the Scoundrel” is set during World War II.

A cholera epidemic has hit China and intelligence agents have heard that the Japanese have found an antidote for it.

So, a group of Chinese intelligence agents must use their skills and pull off a ruse as a chef (portrayed by Ye Liu), an actor (portrayed by Hanyu Zhang), a scoundrel (portrayed by Bo Huang) and a crazy wife (portrayed by Jing Liang) and try to use their techniques in order to get information from a Japanese general and biochemist that they just kidnapped.

But with the Japanese military wanting the release of their two soldiers and are planning to ambush the four, can the agents survive the ordeal and save their countrymen?

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VIDEO:

“The Chef, The Actor and the Scoundrel” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). The picture quality for this film is absolutely amazing as closeups are highly detailed, colors are vibrant and action choreography is fluid and looks great.  The main problem is that certain special effects look very video-game like and almost cartoony but I believe it was intentional to match the film’s craziness.  But for the most part, picture quality is great!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Chef, The Actor and the Scoundrel” is presented in Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 2.0.  During the more action-driven scenes in the second half, the film moves from being dialogue-driven to a film that becomes much more immersive with the weaponry, artillery, glass shattering, drums beating, etc.  There is good use of surround channel and LFE usage towards the second half of the film and overall, lossless audio was very good.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Chef, The Actor and the Scoundrel” comes with making of featurettes with interviews with each character, a blooper reel and theatrical trailer.

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I have to admit that when I first started watching “The Chef, The Actor and the Scoundrel”, memories of over-the-top Chinese New Year comedy films started to come to mind.

The first half of the film is no doubt silly and was straight-up Chinese comedy that you wonder what the actual point of this film considering it is 108-minutes long and it was set during World War II and involving a Chinese vs. Japanese storyline which have become frequently made more and more in the past five years.

But once you reach the second half of the film and realize that the comedy portion of being over-the-top was actually a ruse as the three are actual Chinese Intelligence agents are doing all they can to thwart the kidnapped Japanese general and biochemist in hopes he will reveal the antidote for the cholera epidemic sweeping China.

Films about the cholera outbreak in China have been featured in films before and back in 2006, the British film “The Painted Veil” starring Naomi Watts, Edward Norton and Liev Schreiber was set in China during the outbreak.  And while most have taken the dramatic approach to something so tragic, “The Chef, The Actor and the Scoundrel” is rather fascinating as the film is about a group of agents who strategically plan their way in getting the antidote in order to stop the cholera.

While the setting is World War II and the antagonists are the Japanese (and three Chinese buffoons which probably shouldn’t have been added to the film as they serve no purpose but showcase troglodyte figures), you are introduced to several characters portrayed by Ye Liu, Hanyu Zhang and Bo Huang as the chef, the actor and the scoundrel.  But make no mistake that there is a fourth person who is just as important as the three and not featured on the cover and that is actress Jing Liang who plays the crazy wife.

As the goal is to seem as outlandish and crazy as they can be as these four characters, their hopes of getting the antidote from the kidnapped Japanese general and biochemist proves challenging.  As the first half seems like general buffoonery and over-the-top comedy which I’m used to seeing in Chinese New Year films.  But by the second half, the film becomes more serious, dramatic, action-packed and features over-the-topic graphics that make it seem like it wants to be a serious film with over-the-top video game style graphics.

The diversion of trying to show the strategy by the agents was rather fascinating.  The action is no doubt over-the-top and fun to watch but the problem with “The Chef, the Actor and the Scoundrel” is that by trying to avoid banality, it also loses coherence by trying to incorporate different genres into one film.

Those wanting consistency will look at the film as being mindless, those who want something different will feel the film as unique and non-banal.

I felt I was in the middle, seeing the problems but seeing the creativity of the film.  Enjoying it but also feeling it was straying off path several times.  The film had characters that did not have to be in the film, the film included scenes that I felt was not needed but at the same time, I felt the plot was rather fascinating.

As for the Blu-ray release, the picture quality of “The Chef, the Actor and the Scoundrel” was amazing.  Skin pores showcase a lot of detail, colors are absolutely vibrant.  While certain special effects look cartoony in some aspects, overall picture quality was great.  Lossless audio featured immersive audio during the more action intense sequences and you also get a making of and blooper reel.

Overall, “The Chef, the Actor and the Scoundrel” is a rather interesting film with different types of films in one.  It’s important for people to know that the crazy comedy that kicks off the first half of the film is now how the second half will be.  So, if you are turned off by the craziness, stick with it as the film will completely change by the second half.

It’s a different type of film, no doubt.  But “The Chef, the Actor and the Scoundrel” tries to incorporate action, comedy, drama all in one.  If you are in the mood for a different type of Chinese action film, then definitely give this film a chance.

 

 

Omar (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

omar

Hany Abu-Assad’s “Omar” is an action-packed thriller that captures life, danger, risk and one man’s determination thanks to love.  Featuring a brilliant performance by Adam Bakri and gorgeous cinematography by Ehab Assal, this award winning film is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Adopt Films. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Omar

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 98 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:35:1 Aspect Ratio, Arabic Dolby Digital 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Adopt Films

RATED: Not Rated

Release Date: June 10, 2014

Written and Directed by Hany Abu-Assad

Produced by Hany Abu-Assad, David Gerson, Waleed Zuaiter

Executive Producer: Waleed Al-Ghafari, Zahi Khouri, Suhail A. Skihtian, Abbas F. Eddy Zuaiter, Ahmad F. Zuaiter, Farouq A. Zuaiter

Cinematography by Ehab Assal

Edited by Martin Brinkler, Eyas Salman

Casting by Juna Suleiman

Production Design by Yoel Herzberg, Nael Kanj

Costume Design by Hamada Atallah

Starring:

Adam Bakri as Omar

Leem Lubany as Nadia

Samer Bisharat as Amjad

Iyad Hoorani as Tarek

Waleed Zuaiter as Agent Rami

Omar is a tense, gripping thriller about betrayal, suspected and real, in the Occupied Territories. Omar (Adam Bakri) is a Palestinian baker who routinely climbs over the separation wall to meet up with his girl Nadja (Leem Lubany). By night, he’s ready to risk his life to strike at the Israeli military with his childhood friends Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat). Arrested after the killing of an Israeli soldier and tricked into an admission of guilt by association, he agrees to work as an informant. So begins a dangerous game-is he playing his Israeli handler (Waleed F. Zuaiter), or will he really betray his cause? And who can he trust on either side? Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now) has made a dynamic, action-packed drama about the insoluble moral dilemmas and tough choices facing those on the frontlines of a conflict that shows no sign of letting up.

 

From filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad (“The Courier”, “Paradise Now”, “Rana’s Wedding”) comes his Cannes Film Festival award winning film, “Omar”.

Starring Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Samer Bisharat and Iyad Hoorani, the film was selected as a Palestinian entry for “Best Foreign Language Film” at the 86th Academy Awards and would be screened at the United Nations in New York in May 2014.

Shot with a budget of $2 million and written in four days, “Omar” has captivated film critics worldwide  and now “Omar” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Adopt Films.

The film revolves around a young adult named Omar (portrayed by Adam Bakri), who works during the day as a baker and often climbing a wall in harm’s way from Israel to Palestine.

And as Omar is always there to meetup with his friends Tarek (portrayed by Iyad Hoorani) and Amjad (portrayed by Samer Bisharat) to discuss their disgust of being held back by the Israelis and working with a group to fight against them.

But as Omar is dedicated in the fight, his motivation of climbing the wall is to be with Tarek’s sister Nadia (portrayed by Leem Lubany), as the two are secretly seeing each other behind the back of Tarek and have kept their closeness as a secret, especially as Amjad is also in love with Nadia.

One day, Omar and his friends plan to shoot down Israeli soldiers and Amjad shoots one of them down and the three escape.

But as the three go to a restaurant and Omar is trying to get himself ready to tell Tarek that he loves his sister and wants to marry her, Israeli authorities show up and as the three try to escape, Omar is caught and tortured because he is not willing to give up the name of who was responsible for shooting down an Israeli soldier.

As Omar is imprisoned, once Omar is able to go outside from his cell, he meets an older man who tries to tell him not to confess and that the Israeli’s would use his comments against him.  And Omar tells the man that he won’t confess.

Omar is taken to meet with an Agent Rami (portrayed by Waleed Zuaiter), Omar realizes that the agent is actually the old man and that he has been setup in acknowledging his guilt.  And in order to prevent himself from serving many years in prison, desperately wanting to see Nadia, Tarek and Agent Raimi make a deal that he would try to lead them to Tarek.

But as Omar is given the chance of freedom, will he choose to help his friends from the Israeli authorities?  Or will he work against his good friends in order to secure a future with Nadia?

VIDEO:

“Omar” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality is fantastic as skin tones are natural, close-ups are well-detailed, locations are well-shot and colors are vibrant.  I didn’t notice any major banding or artifacts during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Omar” is presented in Arabic with English subtitles and Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0.  I was amazed that the soundtrack did not have a 5.1 lossless track but there are moments of action, from bullets flying in air, bomb blasts that sound good but you wished that the audio had a more immersive soundtrack.  But lossless audio  is crystal clear.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Omar” comes with no special features.

“Omar” is a magnificent film that literally thrills you with its action, plot featuring various twists and turns but also its unpredictability.

Right off the bat, as we watch Omar climbing the dividing wall between Israel and Palestine, you just feel that something bad is going to happen in this film and the earlier scene with Omar climbing a steep wall as soldiers fire at him, it gives you the sense of danger but how heartbreaking it is to know that people are separated and that this tension between countries has been ongoing for decades and centuries with no sign of either side willing to fix it.

“Omar” makes you feel that this younger man has a lot to live for but as soon as he is caught and forced to make decisions of helping his friends or helping the enemy in order for him to keep out of prison or worse, being kept away from the girl he has loved, Omar seems that he is ready to make the sacrifices in order to be with Nadia.

And without spoiling the film, you can’t help but see the various plot twists of whether or not he will save his friends or work against them for the sake of his future.

Actor Adam Bakri did a phenomenal job as Omar.  You literally see Bakri put into various emotional states to play the character.  From strong and carefree to being a loving guy who wants to provide for Nadia and then we see him as this broken and tortured individual who wants to be free for Nadia.

But of course, filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad is never a director who gives you something simplistic.  His films have their fair share of surprises but his latest film “Omar” really delves down to the disparity of the human soul.  Where one’s drive to live is because of the one person he truly loves.  But instead of going a banal route, one can expect to see the conundrum develop overtime and wondering how Omar will respond to the situation and where his loyalties lie.

As for the Blu-ray, while picture quality is very good, audio is primarily Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 and there are no special features.  So, I was disappointed that more was not added to this Blu-ray release but considering this was a low-budget film which received critical acclaim, I’ll give “Omar” the benefit of the doubt because I enjoyed this film immensely.

Overall, Hany Abu-Assad’s “Omar” is an action-packed thriller that captures life, danger, risk and one man’s determination thanks to love.  Featuring a brilliant performance by Adam Bakri and gorgeous cinematography by Ehab Assal, this award winning film is highly recommended!

Tim’s Vermeer (a J!-eNT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Tim’s Vermeer is a fascinating and entertaining film in which one brilliant man uses his skills to replicate Johannes Vermeer’s amazing skill with light and to show that possibly, Vermeer may have been using technology to help him achieve such realism.  A wonderful documentary from Penn and Teller!

Images courtesy of © 2013 High Delft Pictures LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Tim’s Vermeer

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 111 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:78:1 aspect ratio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics

RATED: PG-13 (Some Strong Language)

Release Date: June 10, 2014

Directed by Teller

Produced by Pen Jillette, Farley Ziegler

Executive Producer: Glenn S. Alai, Peter Adam Golden, Tim Jenison, Teller

Music by Conrad Pope

Cinematography by Shane F. Kelly

Edited by Patrick Sheffield

Starring:

Colin Blakemore

David Hockney

Tim Jenison

Penn Jillette

Martin Mull

Philip Steadman

Teller

Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did Dutch master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography? Spanning a decade, Jenison’s adventure takes him to Holland, on a pilgrimage to the North coast of Yorkshire to meet artist David Hockney, and eventually even to Buckingham Palace. The epic research project Jenison embarks on is as extraordinary as what he discovers.

Tim Jenison may not be a well-known name but for those who are familiar with 3D software, especially “Lightwave 3D”, Jenison’s company NewTek, Inc. is well-known for its products .

From VideoToaster to creating DigiPaint for the old Commodore Amiga, Jenison has received the title of “Father of Desktop Video” (from the San Antonio Inventors Hall of Fame) but it’s that technical mind that has led to a new documentary film from comedians Teller and Penn Jillette.   Teller narrates the film, while Penn directs the film with the help of producer Farley Ziegler.

For Tim Jenison, he has been a man appreciative of art and having worked in the video games and video industry, he is very knowledgeable about light and lenses.  And because of that appreciation for art, especially in the work of  Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer, an artist who was able to create his lifelike photos with precision, especially when it came to lighting, Jenison had a theory.

Because mirrors were used during that period of time, what if Johannes Vermeer was able to utilize this technology in order to paint?

What makes things difficult about Johannes Vermeer is that there is not many documentation about his work, only his paintings.  Partly due because for several centuries, his work was not acknowledged until the 19th century and is now considered one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.

Not an artist, Jenison took it upon himself to design various lenses and see if he can reproduce various pieces of art by painting his father and then taking it to other people, including those who have written about Vermeer’s art and show him his theory.

But of course, in order to fully test out his theory of Vermeer, he would need to paint and try to duplicate the work of Vermeer using technology that Jenison believes was used at the time and was utilized by Vermeer.

And through several painstaking years, Jenison who is not a painter, will learn from his discoveries whether or not his theory of the painting techniques of Johannes Vermeer were true.

 

VIDEO:

“Tim’s Vermeer” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  The film was shot digitally and overall colors are very good.  Closeups of Tim’s Vermeer paintings show great detail and for the most part, I didn’t detect any problems with video quality.  No banding, artifacts, etc.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Tim’s Vermeer” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  As a documentary, this is a dialogue-driven film and dialogue is crystal clear.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Tim’s Vermeer” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary from director Pen Jillette, Teller, Tim Jenison and Farly Ziegler.
  • Toronto International Film Festival Q&A – (21:21) A post-screening Q&A at TIFF featuring Pen Jillette, Teller, Tim Jenison and Farly Ziegler.
  • Deleted Scenes – (22:45) A total of six deleted scenes.
  • Extended and Alternate Scenes – (2:18:13) Featuring over two hours of five extended and alternate scenes.
  • Theatrical Trailer – (2:05) Theatrical trailer for “Tim’s Vermeer”.

EXTRAS:

“Tim’s Vermeer” comes both with a Blu-ray and DVD copy of the film.

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There is no doubt that “Tim’s Vermeer” is a documentary that will fascinate and entertain many audiences, especially those who are familiar with Vermeer’s work.  But at the same time, may incite some controversy because the brilliant technology and business owner, Tim Jenison is pretty much showing people that Vermeer’s lighting in his paintings were done using technology.

Of course, art can be appreciated by any person and interpreted their own personal way.  If one is to use Adobe Photoshop for their artwork, does it make their work any less impressive?  Would it be considered as cheating in order to accomplish a desired look.

Some will say no, others may say yes.

And of course, Jenison’s observations and discoveries are very fascinating to the point that it makes you wonder if Jenison’s theory may hurt the work of Vermeer?  I personally think that this is not the case.

Reason being is that Vermeer created these paintings back in the 1600′s and other painters utilized some sort of creativity in order to capture settings and people in his paintings.

And before anyone can say, “it’s not possible”, both Teller and Penn Jillette  with the reproduction work created by Tim Jenison, were able to tap into observations that can only mean that lenses and mirrors may have been utilized.

The film is simple to understand and follow, especially by the film’s second half as we watch the progress of Tim Jenison and see for ourselves how he is able to paint using a lens with great efficacy.  Teller’s narration helped make the film more fun but also doing a great job in setting up each scene.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good as one can expect from a documentary shot digitally.  If anything, colors are pleasing, close-ups show great detail and the film looks very good in HD.  Lossless audio is not immersive, considering the film is dialogue-driven.  But there are many special features which include an audio commentary, film festival Q&A, deleted scenes and its extended scenes which are over two hours long.

Overall, “Tim’s Vermeer is a fascinating and entertaining film in which one brilliant man uses his skills to replicate Johannes Vermeer’s amazing skill with light and to show that possibly, Vermeer may have been using technology to help him achieve such realism.  A wonderful documentary from Penn and Teller!

Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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 “Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Sins” may not be the greatest martial arts film and far from being a great Japanese martial arts film, but for those who appreciate wild and crazy Japanese martial arts films with mindless action, awesome and creative fight choreography, will find the film to be entertaining and all-out fun! Otherwise, if you are looking for a deep storyline to go along with the martial arts action, then this film may not be for you.

Images courtesy of © 2014 The Klockworx Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 88 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:78:1, Japanese and English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Shout! Factory

RATED: Not Rated (Contains Adult Content)

Release Date: June 10, 2014

Directed by Takanori Tsujimoto

Produced by Yohei Haraguchi, Miku Kikuchi

Co-Producer: Mitsuki Koga, Kensuke Sonomura, Takanori Tsujimoto

Executive Producer: Itaru Fujimoto

Assistant Producer: Ema

Music by Hikaru Yoshida

Cinematography by Tetsuya Kudo

Edited by Kensuke Sonomura, Takanori Tsujimoto

Starring:

Mitsuki Koga as Toramaru

Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi as Gensai

Masanori Mimoto as Eiji Mimoto “Yakuza”

Kentaro Shimazu as Billy Shimabukuro “Gun Master”

Kazuki Tsujimoto as Muso “Blind Samurai”

Ema as Denko

Kensuke Sonomura as Yuan Jian “Kung Fu Master”

Masaki Suzumura as Rinryu “Nunchaku Master”

Naohiro Kawamoto as Mokunen “Bojutsu Master”

Marc Walkow as Boss “Bounty Hunter”

Yasutaka Yuuki as Yu “Bounty Hunter”

Takashi Tanimoto as Tani “Bounty Hunter”

Taiju Nemoto as Nemo “Bounty Hunter”

Takanori Tsujimoto as Yakuza Brother

Eat and Fight.

Upon returning from a pilgrimage across Japan, the warrior Toramaru arrives with tales of seven epic battles against Japan’s most legendary fighters. As Toramaru’s philosophy dictates that he ’know the enemy by eating his food, ’ each masterfully-choreographed fight is preceded by a helping of his prey’s favorite dish.

Designated successor to Master Gensai and leading proponent of the all-round martial-arts discipline, The Cosmic Way, Toramaru tells the tales of The Seven Deadly Battles as Master Gensai eagerly listens to the lavish and violent details of Toramaru’s adventures.

When it comes to martial arts films, the majority of the films are from Asia, typically China/Hong Kong, Korea and Thailand.

For Japan, the years of Japanese martial arts cinema has not been apparent in live action films but primarily in animation.

But for Takanori Tsujimoto, director of “Kill”, “Hard Revenge, Milly: Bloody Battle” and “Monster Killer” comes his latest film “Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles”, a frenetic and stylish martial arts film that behaves as it was like it was made primarily for a video game.

And now Takanori Tsujimoto’s wild and crazy martial arts film, “Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles” will be released on Blu-ray in June 2014.  Courtesy of Shout! Factory!

“Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles” revolves around a samurai warrior named Toramaru (portrayed by Mitsuki Koga) who has went through a pilgrimage across Japan, going up against many of Japan’s legendary fighters.

As Toromaru visits his Master Gensai, the leader of the martial arts known as “The Cosmic Way”, Toramaru explains how he conquered various martial arts rivals including a blind samurai; a yakuza member; an English speaking Japanese gun master; a Kung-Fu master, a Nunchaku master, a Bojutsu master and more.

But in order to prove himself to Master Gensai, he must provide his Master with a scroll which documents him defeating the martial arts rival.

But how will Master Gensai feel about Toromaru’s fighting  adventures?

VIDEO:

“Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio).  It appears that there was intentional high contrast shots, while close-ups feature amazing detail.  If anything,  the look and style of “Bushido Man” appears to change with each battle but for the most part, picture quality is fantastic.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles” is presented in Japanese LPCM 2.0 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0.  Personally, it is a preference of mine to watch martial arts films in their original language.  But with that being said, the English dub is good and because of its 5.1 lossless soundtrack, you get better dynamic range.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of Bushido Man: From the Fantasia Film Festival – (11:17) Director and a few talent visit the Fantasia Film Festival and take part in a Q&A.

If I had to describe “Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles”, for those who are familiar with fighting video games, I would bring up the what if you choose a character and it was a character discussing each battle and what you are watching are the full on chaotic battles.

Somehow, that is how I feel about “Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles”, it’s a film that will not be remembered for its storyline, because basically there is not much there…if anything, the film relies on its chaotic, fierce battles featuring actor Mitsuki Koga and watch the awesome fight choreography as the character of Bushido Man, takes on a slew of enemies with different fighting styles.

If anything, this is a film for those who are content with all-out fighting and less of a story.  Similar to a fighting video game, there are those who could care less for the story and are more into the overall fighting.

“Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles” is that type of film where the story follows the adventures of Toramaru taking on various rivals in order to get their scroll and present it to his master.

And while this may seem boring, it never gets boring because the fighting is really intense, far-out, stylish and just a lot of fun.

For example, Toramaru takes on Eimi Mimoto of the yakuza and both engage in a dangerous duel of knives.  Another features Toramaru trying to find Denko, a woman who specializes on weapons that activate on punches and kicks.

And while the film looks like a period film, when Toramaru arrives in a city, you realize that this is a melding of modern and traditional-style filming and leaving it to the cast and fight choreographers to come up with something amazingly fierce and all-out awesome.

“Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Sins” also looks wonderful in HD.  Colors feature high contrast, close-ups feature amazing detail and both Japanese and English dub are well-done and feature crystal clear audio.

Overall, “Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Sins” may not be the greatest martial arts film and far from being a great Japanese martial arts film, but for those who appreciate wild and crazy Japanese martial arts films with mindless action, awesome and creative fight choreography, will find the film to be entertaining and all-out fun! Otherwise, if you are looking for a deep storyline to go along with the martial arts action, then this film may not be for you.

 

McCanick (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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“McCanick” may be known as a film which featured Cory Monteith’s final performance and while the film does feature a strong performance from Monteith and lead actor, David Morse, its confusing plot hurts the film and prevents it from being a good film overall.

Image are courtesy of © 2013 McCanick, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Gambit

YEAR OF FILM: 2012

DURATION: 89 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:35:1 aspect ratio, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English, English SDH

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Some Suggestive Control, Partial Nudity and a Rude Gesture)

RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2014

Directed by Josh C. Waller

Written by Daniel Noah

Produced by Ehud Bleiberg, David Morse, Josh C. Waller

Executive Producer: Nicholas Donnermeyer, Donald Kugelman, Daniel Noah

Associate Producer: Bob Lowery, Mathew Hayden

Music by Johann Johannson

Cinematography by Martin Ahlgren

Edited by Brett W. Bachman

Casting by Diane Heery, Jason Loftus

Production Design by Michael Crenshaw

Art Direction by Chester Johnson, Melody trash

Costume Design by Gina Scarnati

Starring:

David Morse as Eugene “Mack” McCanick

Cory Monteith as Simon Weeks

Mike Vogel as Floyd Intrator

Rachel Nicholas Amy Intrator

Tracie Thoms as Sister Alice

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When narcotics detective Eugene Mack McCanick (David Morse, THE GREEN MILE) discovers that Simon Weeks (Cory Monteith, “Glee”) has been released from prison, he instigates a brutal manhunt, without permission from the Chief of Police (Ciaran Hinds, THERE WILL BE BLOOD). The frenzy of paranoia and violence that follows pushes Mack and his partner to the edge of the law. The closer Mack gets to his prey, the closer he gets to a secret from his past – one that only Weeks can expose.

Director Josh C. Waller and writer Daniel Noah’s feature film “McCanick” received a lot of hype, not for the film itself but primarily for the death of actor Cory Monteith (“Glee”), who shot the film before his death from a result of “a mixed drug toxicity” consisting of heroin and alcohol.

While Monteith was no doubt a man who had a promising career, “McCanick” is a film that showcases his talent beyond television but the film lies on the shoulder of the film’s main actor David Morse (“Contact”, “The Rock”, “The Hurt Locker”, “The Green Mile”).

“McCanick” was released on Blu-ray in May 2014 and begins with veteran detective Eugene “Mack” McCanick being told that Simon Weeks (portrayed by Cory Monteith) has been released from prison.  He is warned by his boss to not pursue or be anywhere near Simon.

But for McCanick, there is something about Simon that he can’t keep away from him and thus the film is divided with flashbacks of McCanick and a younger, long-haired male prositute, Simon and the out of prison, clean as a whistle, Simon.

But what is McCanick’s reason for avoiding orders from his supervisor and putting himself in danger without any backup to pursue Simon Weeks?

 

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VIDEO:

“McCanick” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio).  Picture quality is fantastic as close-ups are detailed, showcasing skin pores and colors also look good and strong throughout the film.

AUDIO/INTERTITLES:

“McCanick” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  While the film has some action sequences, the film is primarily dialogue-driven.   Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“McCanick” comes with the following special features:

  • Behind-the-Scenes – (10:13) Interviews with filmmaker, cast and crew.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – (16:31) Featuring nine deleted/extended scenes.
  • Trailer - (1:45) Theatrical trailer for “McCanick”.

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With the hype that “McCanick” has received as being Cory Monteith’s film, there is no doubt that the actor shown tremendous promise in this feature film and gave more depth to his acting career than what he has done on the hit television show “Glee”.

But as Monteith plays an important role, this confusing and hard-to-follow film lies upon the performance of actor David Morse as the cold, bitter and troublemaking detective, McCanick.

The problem with “McCanick” is that the film tries to tell a story of the relationship of McCanick and Simon in the past and what is happening in the present.

McCanick is in pursuit of Simon, despite his superior telling him not to.  McCanick is no doubt a detective pursuing a man which many people insist is not a bad man and we start to see throughout the film that McCanick is not a great cop, he’s cold, possibly corrupt and holds a major secret that will be unveiled towards the end of the film.  Is it revenge?  Is it a vendetta?  Why is he so insistent of going after Simon?

Monteith does an exceptional job of playing a male prostitute, being taken in by McCanick but why did this young man go to prison?  What did he do wrong?  And why is McCanick so distraught when he finds out that he has been let go from prison?

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t answer many questions and the fact that you have watched this film, confused and wondering what the heck is going on… suffice to say, the confusing plot deters the film from being anything enjoyable and for the most part, being less than average.

The Blu-ray does feature fantastic picture quality and lossless audio is strong during the action sequences.  Plus, you get a few special features included.

“McCanick” may be known as a film which featured Cory Monteith’s final performance and while the film does feature a strong performance from Monteith and lead actor, David Morse, its confusing plot hurts the film and prevents it from being a good film overall.

Motto To Love RU – Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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If you enjoyed the first season, “Motto to Love RU” is much more wilder, crazier, perverted than ever.  Now featuring three crazy mini-stories per episode, “Motto to Love RU” ups the ante in perverted anime comedy TV series.  While not for everyone, if you are wanting something a bit more risque and perverted, this anime series is for you!

Image courtesy of © Kentaro Yabuki-Saki Hasemi/SHUEISHA, Toloveru Project. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Motto To Love RU – Complete Collection

DURATION: 300 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen), Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV14D

Release Date: May 27, 2014

Originally created by Kentaro Yabuki, Saki Hasemi

Directed by Atsushi Ootsuki

Series Composition by Yasutomo Yamada

Music by Takeshi Watanabe

Character Design: Yuichi Ouka

Art Director: Yoshimi Umino

Anime Production by Xebec

Featuring the following voice talent:

Akeno Watanabe as Rito Yuki

Haruka tomatsu as Lala Satalin Deviluke

Ayako Kawasumi as Saki Tenjoin

Fuyuka Oura as Ren Elsie Jewelria

Kana Hanazawa as Mikan Yuki

Ryoka Yuzuki as Lisa Momioka

Misato Fukuen as Golden Darkness

Aki Toyosaki as Peke and Momo Belia Deviluke

Sayuri Yahagi as Haruna Sairenji

Takehito Koyasu as Zastin

The insanity that began when a very naked (and very female) alien teleported into Rito Yuki’s bathtub (while he was in it) continues. And even though Princess Lala has finally started to admit her true feelings for the young man she’s inexplicably engaged to marry (as a result of what happened in said bathtub and Develuke customs), her sometimes erratic technology and the snags and snarls of intergalatic politicse and intrigue are still causing major problems.

That transporter? Yeah, it still has the nasty habit of leaving the clothes behind. Alien bounty hunters? Yep, even more of them and they’re even more devious. Add body switches, alien skunks, a bathroom that changes size and shape, the inevitable sleepover that you just know it’s going to go horribly, horribly wrong (spoiler: it does). Worst of all, there’s Valentine’s Day, and even in space you’ll be able to hear Rito scream!

In 2006, the series “To Love Ru” (which in Japanese “Toraburu” can be read as in English “Trouble”) is a manga series by Saki Hasemi (“Moetan”, “Pinky:st”) and Kentaro Yabuki (“Black Cat”, “Yamato Gensouki”) was created and is currently featured in Weekly Shonen Jump. In the spring of 2008, Studio I.G. subsidiary Xebec, Inc. (known for working on “Love Hina” and “Martian Successor Nadesico”) released a 26-episode anime series which was followed by video game releases for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.  The first season of the anime series was released in the US courtesy of Sentai Filmworks in 2009-2010 in two DVD volumes.

In 2010, a second season titled “Motto To Love-RU”, a twelve episode series aired in Japan.  And now in May 2014, the second season will be available on Blu-ray courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

“Motto To Love RU” is produced by Xebec but features a new creative team.   The second season is directed by Atsushi Ootsuki  (“Kanokon: The Girl Who Cried Fox”, “Wagnaria!! Season Two”) and features a screenplay by Yasutomo Yamada (“Bakegyamon”, “Boys Be…”, “Potemayo”, “Venus Versus Virus”).  Character design is by Yuichi Ouka (“Softenni”, “Over Drive”), art direction by Yoshimi Umino (“DNA2″, “Ben-To”, “.hack” series) and music by Takeshi Watanabe (“Moetan”, “Saki”, “Ichigo Mashimaro”).

The second season also is different from the first.  In the original, each episode had a full storyline but now “Motto to Love RU” features episodes with three short stories about seven minutes long.

What is “To Love RU” all about?

“To Love RU” is about a teenager named Rito Yuki. A teenage boy who has always loved his classmate Haruna Sairenji. But somehow due to unusual circumstances, by trying to save a girl named Lala (who happens to be an alien princess) and now Lala believes that Rito is in love with her and because Rito has proposed to her in Deviluke tradition (grabbing the woman’s breast and telling her that he loves her), they are now officially engaged.

Lala has made her residence at Rito’s home and expects Rito to be her husband. But Rito is in love with Sairenji, not Lala…what is a powerless, teenage boy going to do? Rito has been trying to find ways to have the marriage dissolved but finds himself getting deeper and deeper in trouble that even Lala’s father, King Deviluke expects him to marry or else Earth will be destroyed.

Now Rito finds himself caring for both Haruna and Lala but what is this young teenager going to do?

What about “Motto To Love RU”?

The second season is much different than the original series.  More adult humor, more perverted and really doesn’t get into anything serious.  If anything, the harem storyline and love triangle still exists as Sairenji and Lala both want to be closer to Rito but Rito is not so much of a major factor in this season in terms of having to save Lala.  If anything, he is more of the comic character who is typically getting involved in the wrong situation against his will and has his butt kicked by the extra terrestrials.    While the emphasis are more on the female characters as they discuss their emotions and each other’s breasts, grabbing each other’s breasts and having fun, it is more evident that this series is targeted for more the lonely otaku who love tons of fan service.  And you definitely get it with “Motto To Love Ru”.

Because there are 12 half-hour episodes (3 mini-episodes each episode, thus 26 different episodes in all), here are a few storylines that are featured in “Motto to Love RU”.

  • Yui and the discipline committee implement a demerit policy to ensure morality in school.
  • What happens when Mikan’s teacher goes to visit her home to meet her and Rito’s father (a manga creator).  Since their family has been gone for a long time, Rito must pretend to be her father.  But because he is not good at lying, Lala gives him a drink to calm him down, but instead it makes him drunk.
  • Yami wonders how it would be to wear Earth fashion, so the girls take her out on a shopping spree.
  • It’s Valentine’s Day and Yui wants to make chocolate for Rio.
  • What happens when Saki invites Rito and friends to her private beach.
  • Yami is ill and Rito tries to get her some medical help.
  • When Rito does poorly on his exam, Yami tries to help him.
  • Haruna, Sairenji and Oshizu take part in an alien process to make their breasts larger.
  • What happens when Momo accidentally transports Rito into Peke’s body.
  • What happens when Celine drinks Cola.
  • Nana and Momo get angry when she tries to sneak into Rito’s bed.
  • Which girl will Rito pick at the end?

“Motto To Love RU” features the following main characters:

Rito Yuuki - A teenager who is deeply in love with Haruna Sairenji. Not a popular guy at his high school and quite shy until he meets Lala. After saving Lala and squeezing her breasts, now he is officially engaged to her. Now Rito wants nothing but to get out of this engagement but finds himself caring for both Haruna and Lala.

Lala Satalin Deviluke - The Princess of Deviluke who ran away from home (left her planet) because she did not want to marry any of the men that her father has chosen for her to marry but when she sees Rito fighting and defending her, she falls in love with him and after he grabs her breast, by Deviluke customs, she becomes engaged to him and moves in with him. She is complete oblivious to the fact that Rito cares about Haruna. Lala tends to not know about Earth’s customs and gets herself in trouble when she takes off her clothes off. She also is an inventor but her inventions tend to not work the way she wants at times.

Haruna Sairenji – Rito’s classmate who cares about Rito but keeps her emotions to herself due to Rito’s engagement with Lala. She cares for him and knows that he cares for her.  She often wonders if Rito cares for girls like Lala and girls with bigger breasts.  Often entangled in Lala’s inventions and she and Rito and gets caught up in unusual, nude circumstances.

Yami/Golden Darkness – An assassin hired by one of Lala’s suitors to kill Rito but is now more of a person who loves to read books and study Earth culture.  She is not sure why Rito is nice to her, despite her being his enemy and wanting to hurt him.  Often punishing Rito as he thinks he is always trying to look at her panties and see her nude.

Peke – Lala’s robot who can change to a weapon or the clothes that she wears. He tends to be the voice of reason when Lala is confused.

Ryoko Mikado – The school doctor of Sainan High School who also worked for a black market extraterrestrial organization. She uses her medical skills to help the students at the school but also aliens. Likes to wear slinky clothing and sometimes no clothing at all.

Kenichi Saruyama – Rito’s best friend who is a pervert. Never can get a girlfriend but with his friendship to Rito, he’s having a ball with meeting his new female friends.  He likes a girl but doesn’t know it was Rito who was changed into a girl due to Lala’s invention.

Yui Kotegawa – An uptight student who doesn’t like things that are unacceptable behavior and thinks Rito and Lala’s behavior towards each other is unacceptable. Dislikes delinquent behavior at her school and is now in charge of writing demerits for those who are mischievous.  Unfortunately, she gets caught up in getting groped by other girls.  She also wonders if she is falling for Rito.

Risa and Mio – Risa Momioka and Mio Sawada are Haruna’s and Lala’s friends. Risa has a tendency of groping other girls.

Nana Asta Deviuke -Lala’s younger sister and twin sister of Momo (has longer hair and a visible tooth).  She somewhat likes Rito but also has a breast complex because hers is so small.  Always trying to find ways to make her breasts big.

Momo Velia Deviluke – Lala’s younger sister and twin sister of Nana.  Has shorter hair, sweeter and has bigger breasts than her sister and likes to flaunt it around Nana.  Collector of plants.

Mikan Yuuki - The younger sister of Rito. She knows he got himself in deep trouble and that he cares for both Haruna and Lala and thus, tries to help him at times.

Saki Tenjouin – The popular girl at school who dislikes Lala because she is suddenly getting all the attention at school. Her friends Rin and Aya are loyal to her and do her dirty work.  Lately, Rito has been falling on her lately and landing on her breasts.

Ren/Run Elsie Jewelria – A childhood friend of Lala who changes from male to female when he/she sneezes. As Ren, he wants to marry Lala. As Run, she is secretly in love with Rito.  Run is also a extra terrestrial pop star.

Kyouko Kirisaki – A pop star who is also a half-Earthling/Half-Alien and can generate fire.  She is the star of “Magical Kyoko”.

Oshizu Murasame – A ghost at the school building who now has a prosthetic body created by Mikado-san that she can possess and attend school with the other girls.  She also has feelings for Rito.

Celine – A carnivorous plant given to Rito by Lala for his 16th birthday.  She has the appearance of a little girl (with a big flower on her head) and Rito takes her in as part of the family.

 

VIDEO:

“Motto To Love RU” is presented in 1080p High Definition. For a television series, the series features a lot of colors and artistic backgrounds feature a good amount of backgrounds from school settings, shopping/city settings, Rito’s home, etc. Typically for a TV series from a smaller studio, I don’t expect to see so many backgrounds or an over utilization of artwork but XEBEC did a wonderful job in the animation and Yuichi Oka with the character designs. I don’t know how close his designs are actually to Kentaro Yabuki and Saki Hasemi’s original manga but overall, character design and art backgrounds are well done.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Lossless audio is featured in Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with English subtitles. Voice acting by the seiyuu are well done as Akeno Watanabe (Taruru of “Sgt. Frog”, Jo of “Burst Angel”, Chachamaru Kamakuri of “Negima”) does the voice of Rito. Haruka Tomatsu (Mileina of “Gundam 00″, Misao of “Asura Cryin’ 2″) does the voice of Lala and Sayuri Yahagi (Chisato of “Sola”, Hanaka of “Buso Renkin”) as Haruna. Anime is front channel driven but if you have a receiver that allows for stereo on all channels, that was my listening preference.

There is no English dub track in this Blu-ray release of “To Love RU”.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Motto To Love RU – Complete Collection” features the Clean Opening and Closing Animation themes and Sentai Filmworks trailers.

Wilder, more perverted and more fan service than the previous season, “Motto to Love RU” will definitely appeal to those wanting more risque anime with tons of fan service and adult humor!

While watching “Motto to Love RU”, I have to admit that I was in one sense happy that the series was back, since I enjoyed the first season but also a tad bit disappointed that the full stories that were featured in each episode have now been replaced by three mini-episodes.   And the episodes were definitely made to be more wilder and perverted.

In the last season, it was basically dealing with the love triangle between Rito, Lala and Sairenji and of course, Rito having to defend his honor and the people he cares about.  There was a bit more action in the first season but this time around, Rito is more of the comic-centric character that is always in the wrong place at the wrong time (mainly caught for peeking up a girls skirt or in some situation that happened beyond his control) and getting punished for it.  If anything, this season focuses more on perverted comedy and a lot of fan service.

In some ways, it is reminiscent of mangaka Rumiko Takahashi’s “Urusei Yatsura” as a character ends up engaged to an alien. But in this case, Rito is nothing like Ataru (nor is he perverted). But “To Love RU” has its fair share of crazy antics, fan service and yes… nudity. Unlike Lum, Lala doesn’t know how Rito feels inside, even though family and friends know that he’s gotten himself into a mess. Also, similar to another Rumiko Takahashi anime series (Ranma 1/2), the character of Ren/Run able to change genders is quite interesting and makes me wonder if series creator Kentaro Yabuki was paying homage to Takahashi’s works.

But this second season definitely amps up the hijinks, the craziness, fan service and the perverted humor of the series.  And for those who enjoy this type of anime, “Motto to Love RU” is for you!  Do you need to watch the original anime series to understand this second.  Yes and no.  The first does explain why the aliens are living with Rito and of course, you get their introductions.  But the second series is created as mini-episodes with hijinks and fan-service that one can understand what is going on.

It’s only the final episode where you actually get something somewhat deep as the question of which girl Rito will pick comes to play.  But needless to say, I’m sure that the hijinks of these characters will continue, in the manga series or with more seasons of anime episodes.

As for the Blu-ray release, I wished there were more special features than the clean opening and closing themes and I’m sure there are fans who wish there was an English dub included. The Japanese voice acting is still enjoyable and well-performed.

While the Blu-ray is rated TV 14 D, it’s important to note that there is nudity and a lot of sexual humor and images, so this is not an anime series you want younger people to be watching.

Overall, “Motto To Love RU” is a hilarious anime series that was fun for me as I enjoyed the first season, but also a step back as it was not full-story episodes but an episode of three short, wild and crazy stories..

If you are looking for a series with adult, perverted humor and a lot of fan service, “Motto To Love RU” is the anime series you definitely want to watch! Recommended!

Like Someone in Love – The Criterion Collection #708 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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Abbas Kiarostami was able to create a film that was artistic, natural but also a storyline that resonates strongly within you because of its captivating story and wonderful performance by Tadashi Okuno, Rin Takanashi and Ryo Kase.  “Like Someone in Love” may not be a Kiarostami masterpiece but it’s a film that is wonderfully filmed, skillfully directed and is highly recommended!

Image are courtesy of © 2014 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Like Someone in Love – The Criterion Collection #708

YEAR OF FILM: 2012

DURATION: 110 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:66:1 aspect ratio, 3.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio , Japanese with English Subtitles

COMPANY: THE CRITERION COLLECTION

RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2014

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami

Screenplay by Abbas Kiarostami

Produced by Charles Gilbert, Nathanael Karmitz, Abbas Kiarostami

Executive Producer: Kenzo Horikoshi

Assistant Producer: Mai Ushikubo

Cinematography by Katsumi Yanagijima

Starring:

Tadashi Okuno as Takashi Watanabe

Rin Takanashi as Akiko

Ryo Kase as Noriaki

Denden as Hiroshi

Reiko Mori as Nagisa

Kaneko Kubota as Akiko’s Grandmother

Abbas Kiarostami has spent his incomparable career exploring the spaces that separate illusion from reality and the simulated from the authentic. At first, his extraordinary and sly Like Someone in Love, which finds the Iranian director in Tokyo, may appear to be among his most straightforward films. Yet with this simple story of the growing bond between a young student and part-time call girl and a grandfatherly client, Kiarostami has constructed an enigmatic but crystalline investigation of affection and desire as complex as his masterful Close-up and Certified Copy in its engagement with the workings of the mercurial human heart.

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From award winning filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (“Certified Copy”, “Close-Up”, “Taste of Cherry”) comes his 2012 film “Like Someone in Love” which was produced by France’s MK2 Group and Japan’s Eurospace.

The film would star Tadashi Okuno (“A Taxing Woman”, “Zero Woman: Dangerous Game”), Rin Takanishi (“Samurai Squadron Shinkenger”, “Goth”, “Neo Ultra Q”), Ryo Kase (“Letters from Iwo Jima”, “Tokyo!”, “Hachimitsu to Clover”, “Funky Forest: The First Contact”) and Denden (“Coldfish”, “Uzumaki”).

Created for a budget at $4.8 million, “Like Someone in Love” has received positive reviews from film critics worldwide and was nominated for a 65th Cannes Film Festival.

And now, “Like Someone in Love” will be the third Abbas Kiarostami film to be featured in the Criterion Collection as it will be released via Blu-ray + DVD in May 2014.

“Like Someone in Love” begins with Akiko (portrayed by Rin Takanashi) at a restaurant and lying to her suspicious boyfriend Noriaki (portrayed by Ryo Kase) on the phone that she is hanging out with her friend Nagisa.

The truth is that Akiko is a high-end prostitute and has been told by her pimp to dump her boyfriend but is not wanting to.

One night, she is assigned to a high profile client,  an elderly writer/translator and former professor named Takashi (portrayed by Tadashi Okuno).

But when she arrives, she is shocked that he is more interested in having her as company, going so far to cook her soup from her home town.  And while Akiko wants to speed things up and get to bed with him, while going to the bedroom and laying down, she ends up falling asleep in his bed.

Takashi ends up taking care of Akiko for the night, letting her sleep over and in the morning, taking her to college for her sociology exam.  But when he drops her off, her jealous boyfriend is waiting for her and the two get into a major argument.

Watching the young man with curiosity and also a little disgust, Noriaki ends up going to Takashi and wondering what his relationship with Akiko is and a conversation between the two develops and he immediately thinks that Takashi is her grandfather.  Noriaki goes as far as discussing his jealousy but that is because he loves her and wants to marry her immediately.  He asks Takashi for permission to marry Akiko, but Takashi tells him that he isn’t ready to marry.

When Akiko returns, she is shocked to find Noriaki in Takashi’s car.  And from this moment in time, what happens afterward will change the lives of these three individuals forever.

VIDEO:

“Like Someone in Love” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:66:1 aspect ratio).  Shot digitally, the film is well-saturated and you can tell that Abbas Kiarostami and cinematographer Katsumi Yanagijima were particular with natural light and make sure the film is as natural and retaining a realness to the overall film.  I detected no compression or banding issues.  The film looks fantastic in HD!

According to the Criterion Collection, “this  film was shot with a RED One MX digital camera, and the entire production was completed in digital workflow.  The final color-corrected DPX files were output to Rec. 709 high-definition color space for Blu-ray and DVD release.  The master was approved by director Abbas Kiarostami.”

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Like Someone in Love” is presented in Japanese 3.0 DTS-HD MA with English subtitles.  Dialogue is crystal clear along with the Ella Fitzgerald music that Takashi plays in his home.

As for the soundtrack, according to the Criterion Collection, “the 3.0 surround audio for this release was mastered at 24-bit from the original digital audio master files using Pro Tools HD.  Though only three channels of audio are present, the soundtrack was encoded as 5.1 on the disc to maintain compatibility with legacy receivers”.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Like Someone in Love – The Criterion Collection #708” comes with the following special feature:

  • Making of Like Someone in Love – (46:58) Featuring a 45 minute making of documentary.  From the making of the film, the building of actual sets to Abbas Kiarostami working with the actors, despite the language barrier and more.
  • Trailer – The theatrical trailer for “Like Someone in Love”.

EXTRAS:

“Like Someone in Love – The Criterion Collection #708″ comes with a 20 -page booklet featuring the essay “On Likeness” by Nico Baumbach (assistant professor of film studies at Columbia University).

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There is always something magical that I find in an Abbas Kiraostami film.

The films are often about communication and try to retain a natural and real atmosphere courtesy of the film’s characters.  Relationships are not always happy and often there is a conflict of emotions when it comes to a Kiarostami film and “Like Someone in Love” is a fascinating film because of its characters.

The conversations between the individuals seems quite natural, I was mesmerized.  Almost similar to a Eric Rohmer film without the complex topics of conversation (which I love about Rohmer films), with “Like Someone in Love”, you are captivated because the protagonist Akiko is not a pure woman.  She is a high-end prostitute at night, while during the day, she is a girlfriend to a jealous Noriaki and a sociology student.

Whereas, her client is Takashi, an elderly man who has done well for himself in his career as a writer, translator and former professor.  But at the same time, despite his likability, you are drawn to the fact that he is captivated by the younger Akiko.  He is not wanting sex but companionship, while Akiko is so used to men wanting her for sex, she is drawn to him in a fatherly way.

And between these two character is the fiery Noriaki, a suspicious boyfriend who punched out his co-worker for telling him that Akiko was a prostitute and featured in a flyer.  Noriaki loves Akiko and he is naive to what she does at night and automatically assumes that Takashi is her grandfather.

But what happens to these three individuals after they meet is rather interesting, especially as it leads up to its vague ending.  I felt the ending was appropriate and while the pacing was slow, it’s the performances that Kiarostami was able to get from his actors, the variety of emotions that are on display but most of all, it’s the communication, the dialogue that felt so natural, that you feel like a third party and witnessing something so natural, yet so wrong that there is a sense that nothing can come right from these three individuals.

As for a Criterion Collection Blu-ray release, you get the Blu-ray+DVD combo and while picture quality was gorgeous and lossless audio was crystal clear, while not special feature heavy, you do get a fantastic 45-minute documentary on the making of the film.

Overall, Abbas Kiarostami was able to create a film that was artistic, natural but also a storyline that resonates strongly within you because of its captivating story and wonderful performance by Tadashi Okuno, Rin Takanashi and Ryo Kase. “Like Someone in Love” may not be a Kiarostami masterpiece but it’s a film that is wonderfully filmed, skillfully directed and is highly recommended!

Gambit (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

gambit

While a modern remake of “Gambit” may have made a fascinating film, if the plot was unchanged… unfortunately this heist comedy remake was not funny and mildly entertaining.

Image are courtesy of © Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Gambit

YEAR OF FILM: 2012

DURATION: 89 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:35:1 aspect ratio, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English, English SDH

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Some Suggestive Control, Partial Nudity and a Rude Gesture)

RELEASE DATE: May 27, 2014

Directed by Michael Hoffman

Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Short Story by Sidney Carroll

Produced by Mike Lobell, Rob Paris, Adam Ripp

Executive Producer: Philip Elway, Rizal Risjad

Associate Producer: Brett Hedblom

Music by Rolfe Kent

Cinematography by Florian Ballhaus

Edited by Paul Tothill

Casting by Elaine Grainger, Lucinda Syson

Production Design by Stuart Craig

Art Direction by Neil Lamont, Hattie Storey

Set Decoration by Edward McLoughlin, Stephenie McMillan

Costume Design by Jenny Beavan

Starring:

Colin Firth as Harry Deane

Cameron Diaz as PJ Puznowski

Tom Courtenay as The Major

Alan Rickman as Lionel Shahbandar

Cloris Leachman as Grandma Merle

Stanley Tucci as Martin Zaidenweber

Harry Deane (Colin Firth) is a man with a plan. Art curator for media tycoon Lord Lionel Shabandar (Alan Rickman), Harry devises an elaborate plot to con his abusive boss, Shabandar, into purchasing a take Monet painting. With the help of beautiful rodeo queen PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz), Harry hatches a scheme to fool Shabandar into believing that Harry’s expert forgery is the real deal, pocketing a hefty sum in the process. But with the con proving harder to pull off than they had first intended, Harry and PJ find themselves in increasingly hilarious situations in order to see the job through to the end.

As there has been talk about remaking the 1966 heist film “Gambit” starring Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine, for over a decade, the possibilities were there with Joel and Ethan Coen writing the screenplay,  the question was whether or not the film would be made into a feature film.

As far back in 2008, there was talk of Colin Firth of starring in the film but nothing would materialize until 2011 when filmmaker Michael Hoffman (“A Midsummer night’s Dream”, “One Fine Day”)agreed to direct the film and eventually Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”, “A Single Man”), Tom Courtenay (“The Golden Compass”, “Billy Liar”, “Doctor Zhivago”), Alan Rickman (“Harry Potter” films, “Die Hard,”, “Galaxy Quest”), Cameron Diaz (“There’s Something About Mary”, “Being John Malkovich”, “Gangs of New York”), Stanley Tucci (“The Hunger Games”, “The Devil Wears Prada”, “Captain America”) and Cloris Leachman (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “Young Frankenstein”) would be cast for the film.

And now “Gambit” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in May 2014.

“Gambit” revolves around British art curator Harry Deane (portrayed by Colin Firth) who wants revenge on his abusive boss, Lord Shabandar (portrayed by Alan Rickman).

Lord Shabandar has ridiculed, physically assaulted and has had his way with Harry that Harry has had enough.  So, his plan is to steal his money.

Harry brings in his friend The Major (portrayed by Tom Courtenay), a man who can easily duplicate paintings and to find a lost Monet, which he can sell for millions but first selling the fake version to Lord Shabandar.  But in order to get him to purchase the painting, he needs the help of woman who is a heavy drinker and what best than to find someone in Texas.  That person happens to be PJ Puznowski (portrayed by Cameron Diaz), a rodeo queen who’s goal is to pretend she is the owner of the Claude Monet painting and get Lord Shabandar to purchase it.

And if they succeed, Harry, the Major and PJ will be wealthy.

But will they succeed?  And will any of them have second thoughts of going on with this scheme?

 

VIDEO:

“Gambit” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1).  Picture quality is fantastic as the film features a lot of outdoor scenes and showcases plenty of colors.  Skin tones are natural, closeups feature plenty of detail and overall, the film is well-saturated. I did not notice any banding or artifact issues during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO/INTERTITLES:

“Gambit” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA.  The film is primarily dialogue driven, with the surround channels used for ambiance.  For the most part, dialogue is crystal clear and understandable.

Subtitles are in English and English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Gambit” comes with no special features.

Sometimes when you see remakes from Hollywood, you think to yourself and wonder if people have lost the creativity to create original films because remaking the 1966 version of “Gambit” really made no sense.

While the Coen brothers are known for their hit films that have received critical praise worldwide, the brothers have had a few writing duds, and “Gambit” is one of them.

Not only does the film receive a new story instead of a modern remake, the changes to the original film unfortunately dumbs down what made the original film entertaining.

Changed in the story is the characters of Harry Deane and the female protagonist.  In the original, Harry was a cat burglar, in this 2012 film, he is a disgruntled employee wanting revenge.

For the female character, exotic showgirl Nicole Chang is replaced with Texas rodeo champ PJ Puznowski.  Because of this change, the whole London meets Texas girl storyline is rather uninteresting.  To have actress Cameron Diaz talk in Texas twang and have her sing “Deep in the Heart of Texas” to Japanese businessmen was a bit too much.

The original film was fascinating and entertaining as it focused on the relationship between Harry and Nicole and his life of crime.  You felt the thrill of the heist, the melodramatic twist to the plot but an ending that left you with a smile on your face.

But the story for the modern version of “Gambit” felt out-of-place.  The talent that were cast for the film outside of Firth, Diaz and Rickman, were underused, the jokes were not funny and the film’s only redeeming value is the performance by Colin Firth.

While the picture quality on Blu-ray looks gorgeous and the dialogue is crystal clear, there are no special features on this Blu-ray, so it’s a barebones release.

While a modern remake of “Gambit” may have made a fascinating film, if the plot was unchanged… unfortunately this heist comedy remake was not funny and mildly entertaining.

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