“The Zero Theorem” is a fascinating sci-fi film that takes a look at the decay of society. Complex but yet entertaining, “The Zero Theorem” is a wonderful film for Gilliam fans but also cinema fans wanting something unique. Recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2013 Asia and Europe Productions S.A. 2015 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Zero Theorem
YEAR OF FILM: 2013
DURATION: 111 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Closed Captions
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: R (For Language and Some Sexuality/Nudity)
RELEASE DATE: January 20, 2015
Directed by Terry Gilliam
Screenplay by Pat Rushin
Executive Producer: Ana Aizenberg, Diego Guebel, Mario Pergolini
Produced by Lita Stantic
Co-Producer: Jose Maria Morales
Line Producer: Marta Parga
Cinematography by Hugo Colace
Edited by Santiago Ricci
Casting by Florencia Blanco, Martin Mainoli, Luciana Rico, Natalia Smirnoff
Production & Art Direction by Graciela Oderingo
Set Decoration by Cristina Nigro
Costume Design by Carlo Poggioli
Christoph Waltz as Qohen Leth
David Thewlis as Joby
Melanie Thierry as Bainsley
Matt Damon as Management
Lucas Hedges as Bob
Tilda Swinton as Dr. Shrink-Rom
Qohen Leth (2-time Academy Award© winner Christoph Waltz) is a computer genius plagued with existential angst. Eccentric and reclusive, he lives in a burnt-out church, toiling on a top-secret project personally assigned by Management (Matt Damon) to discover the meaning of life. If there is one. Witness a vision of the techno-philosophical future from Terry Gilliam, the visionary director of BRAZIL, 12 MONKEYS, and FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, also starring Tilda Swinton, David Thewlis, and Melanie Thierry.
From Terry Gilliam (“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, “Time Bandits”, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, “Brazil”, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”) comes a sci-film titled “The Zero Theorem”.
The film stars Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”, “Carnage”, “Water for Elephants”), Melanie Thierry (“Babylon A.D.”, “The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch”, “The Princess of Montpensier”), Lucas Hedges (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “Labor Day”, “Kill the Messenger”), David Thewlis (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, “Kingdom of Heaven”, “Seven Years in Tibet”), Matt Damon (“The Bourne Identity” films”, “Good Will Hunting”, “The Departed”) and Tilda Swinton (“Adaptation.”, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”).
Some have called the film the final part of the “Brazil” trilogy (with the second film being “12 Monkeys”). And now “The Zero Theorem” will be released on Blu-ray in January 2015.
“The Zero Theorem” revolves around a programmer named Qohen Leth (portrayed by Christoph Waltz). His job is to crunch entities for a company known as Mancom.
But life for Qohen is not simple. He suffers from existential angst and with so much of his life worrying about the value of life and the existence of life, it has led him staying inside his lab and often waiting for a phone call which he hopes will bring him the answers that he has been seeking.
As Qohen has received psychiatric evaluations, doctors see him as normal and healthy. But management thinks he is insane.
One day at a corporate party at Mancom, he nearly chokes on an olive and is rescued by a bubbly and beautiful woman named Bainsley (portrayed by Melanie Thierry).
As Qohen tries to work at home, he is introduced to a massive supercomputer known as “The Neural Net Mancive” which contains all entities crunched by workers. And Qohen’s job is to solve “The Zero Theorem”, a mysterious mathematical formula.
As he sees an AI therapist named Dr. Shrink-ROM (portrayed by Tilda Swinton), she starts to notice that he may suffer from various conditions. Meanwhile, Qohen starts to have nightmares of a black hole.
Frustrated with his work, Qohen smashes his computer with a hammer but all of a sudden, he is greeted by Bainsley but also the manager’s son, Bob (portrayed by Lucas Hedges).
And Qohen begins to interact with both of them.
“The Zero Theorem” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:75:1 aspect ratio). It’s important to note that the film was shot with a lower budget considering it’s a sci-fi film. Shot on film, the film features vibrant colors. The film features amazing detail during closeups.
I did not see any major banding or artifact issues during my viewing of the film.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for audio, “The Zero Theorem” is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The film is primarily driven by the film’s environments and thus the ambiance can be heard through the surround channels. Dialogue and George Fenton’s musical score are crystal clear and while not a immersive soundtrack, the soundtrack does sound very good!
“The Zero Theorem” comes with the following special features:
- Behind the Scenes – (18:29) Terry Gilliam and the cast talk about working on the film and working with each other.
- The Visual Effects - (6:39) A featurette about the visual effects of “The Zero Theorem”.
- The Zero Theorem: Costumes – (28:39) A featurette about the costumes on “The Zero Theorem” and working with Carlo Poggioli.
- The Zero Theorem: The Sets – (18:10) A featurette about the set and interviews Terry Gilliam, the executive producer and production designer David Warren about shooting in Bucharest.
- Trailer – (29:19) The Screen Guild Theater radio athnology series broadcasted on March 15, 1943 featuring Claudette Colbert, Randolph Scott and Rudy Vallee.
“The Zero Theorem” comes with a slipcover.
For those familiar with Terry Gilliam’s oeuvre, he has managed to create a new world but also taking on various themes.
In the case of “The Zero Theorem”, the film revolves around a man who becomes unattached to society due to the increasing involvement of technology and how it permeates society, through ads and everywhere else.
For its primary character, Qohen represents a man who wants to know the meaning of life when everyone is literally dehumanized and connected to technology. He’s lost, frustrated and literally disenchanted with society and he suffers from the ultimately feeling that he is alone.
Of course, because he is “different”, he is seen as a problem.
In many ways, the film is about the decay of society and because of its complexity, some may want to watch the film multiple times and may discover something different each time while they are watching. It’s how I felt about “Brazil” and many of Terry Gilliam’s films, but it’s part of why I appreciate his films, because nothing is force fed. Nothing is simple.
The film features a wonderful performance by Christoph Waltz and you also get a few appearances not just by Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton, but also other talents who briefly appear (keep your eyes on the commercials and the doctors).
The Blu-ray features vibrant colors and looks very good in HD, while the lossless soundtrack is appropriate and not too immersive but features crystal clear dialogue and music. You also get a few special features that go into the making of “The Zero Theorem”.
Overall, Terry Gilliam films are always films that I appreciate. There are not many directors that force me to rewatch a film several times but in the case of “The Zero Theore” and other Gilliam films, I discover something new each time, but also see his message much more clearly.
“The Zero Theorem” is a fascinating sci-fi film that takes a look at the decay of society. Complex but yet entertaining, “The Zero Theorem” is a wonderful film for Gilliam fans but also cinema fans wanting something unique.
“The Monuments Men” is a fascinating film that is loosely-based on the true story of those who risked their lives to find artwork stolen by the Nazi’s and return them back to the original owners. While the film features an all-star cast, the stories of these cast members were under-developed and pacing was off. A noble film about the preservation of art during World War II but also a film with a number of historical inaccuracies.
Image courtesy of © 2014 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: The Monuments Men
DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2014
DURATION: 118 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: 2:40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English, English Audio Descriptive Track, French, French – Audio Descriptive Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: PG-13 (Some Images of War Violence and Historical Smoking)
RELEASE DATE: May 6, 2014
Directed by George Clooney
Screenplay by George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Based on the book by Robert M. Edsel, Bret Witter
Produced by George Clooney, Grant Heslove
Co-Producer: Christopher Fisser, Henning Molfenter
Executive Producer: Barbara A. Hall
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography by Phedon Papamichael
Edited by Stephen Mirrione
Casting by Jina Jay
Production Design by James D. Bissell
Set Decoration by Bernhard Henrich
Costume Design by Louise Frogley
George Clooney as Frank Stokes
Matt Damon as James Granger
Bill Murray as Richard Campbell
Cate Blanchett as Claire Simone
John Goodman as Walter Garfield
Jean Dujardin as Jean Claude Clermont
Hugh Bonneville as Donald Jeffries
Bob Balaban as Preston Savitz
Dimitri Leonidas as Sam Epstein
Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, THE MONUMENTS MEN centers around an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. In a seemingly impossible mission, the Monuments Men, as they were called, find themselves risking their lives in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1,000 years of culture.
When actor/filmmaker George Clooney was inspired by Robert M. Edsel’s non-fiction book “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History”, leave it to Clooney to go out and produce and direct his own film.
Having directed “Good Night, and Good Luck.”, “Leatherheads” and “The Ides of March”, Clooney directs and stars in “The Monuments Men”, a film based on a true story and a film that did well in the box office, earning over $154 million worldwide.
Featuring an all-star cast, the film would star George Clooney (“Ocean’s Eleven”, “Gravity”, “Up in the Air”) alongside Matt Damon (“The Bourne Identity”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “Good Will Hunting”), Bil Murray (“Groundhog Day”, “Lost in Translation”, “Ghostbusters”), Cate Blanchett (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “The Lord of the Rings” films), John Goodmen (“The Big Lebowski”, “Argo”, “Roseanne”), Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, “OSS 117″), Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”, “Notting Hill”), Bob Balaban (“Ghost World”, “Gosford Park”, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) and Dimitri Leonidas (“Tormented”, “Centurion”).
“The Monuments Men” takes place during World War II (1943) and word gets out that the Nazi’s have stolen art treasures from western civilization and fearful that more art will be destroyed in combat or looted, Frank Stokes (portrayed by George Clooney) persuades the US President that the art treasures must be rescued.
Stokes is given the permission to assemble an Army unit known as the “Monuments Men” which comprises of seven museum directors, curators and art historians who will work with allied units and search for stolen art in order to return it back to their rightful owners.
Meanwhile, in France which is occupied by the Nazis, Parisian curator Claire Simone (portrayed by Cate Blanchett), must allow Nazi officer Viktor Stahl (portrayed by Justus von Dohnanyi) to take the art for Adolf Hitler’s proposed Fuherermuseum in Linz or become the personal property of senior commanders. But behind the scenes, Claire is helping the French resistance fighters, the Maquis, to recapture the items.
When Viktor Stahl finds out what Claire Simone has been doing, he immediately has all of the gallery’s contents stolen and taken to Germany.
As James Granger (portrayed by James Granger) tries to get an reluctant Claire to tell him where the Nazis are taking the stolen artwork, Stokes and his Monuments Men which include Granger, Richard Campbell (portrayed by Bill Murray), Walter Garfield (portrayed by John Goodman), Jean Claude Clermont (portrayed by Jean Dujardin), Donald Jeffries (portrayed by Hugh Bonneville), Preston Savitz (portrayed by Bob Balaban) and Sam Epstein (portrayed by Dimitri Leonidas) to travel to dangerous areas and putting their lives at risk in order to rescue art stolen by the Nazis.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“The Monuments Men” is featured in 2:40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) and in English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital (plus audio descriptive track). It’s important to note that if you want to watch the best quality of this film, you will want to opt for the Blu-ray release which will no doubt give you better picture quality and wonderful lossless soundtrack.
As for the DVD release, the film looks very good on DVD. Definitely not having the same amount of detail or vibrancy as the Blu-ray release, “The Monuments Men” looks very good and I didn’t notice any major artifacts or banding during my viewing. The soundtrack is dialogue-driven for the majority of the film, but certain scenes featuring war battles utilize the surround channels when needed. Dialogue and musical soundtrack are both crystal clear!
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.
“The Monuments Men” comes with the following special features:
- George Clooney’s Mission – (5:11) George Clooney having dual roles as director and actor in the film.
- Marshalling the Troops – (7:55) The talent discuss working on the film and what they enjoyed about working on a World War II film.
Based on a true story. The true story of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (MFAA) and its accomplishments is inspiring and entertaining.
And the fact that George Clooney was willing to create a film about preserving art and culture is noble.
Usually, I appreciate films that take a factual storyline, which many people are not aware about and bring it to the big screen, it’s something to admire the filmmaker, writer and the producers for going forward with the project.
But as much as I wanted to enjoy “The Monuments Men” due to its all-star cast, the film seemed as if it would have done better as a TV mini-series rather than a film. There was clearly not enough time to focus on these characters and the pacing was off. Some of the stories relating to these characters were no doubt better than others, and I found myself being entertained by the Walter Garfield (Goodman) and Jean Claude Clermont (Dujardin) storyline and the James Granger (Damon) and Claire Simone (Blanchett) much more than others. And that is because there was more time developed for these characters to enjoy their storyline much more.
Also, if Clooney and Grant Heslov retained some of the historical accuracy of the film along with the typical Hollywood changes, perhaps it would have made a better film, for those who watched the film and googled, just to find out that the film is historically inaccurate.
Clooney’s character Frank Stokes is based on George Stout, who was not responsible for creating the MFAA, although he was an advocate in protecting art during the war.
Jean Dujardin’s Jean Claude Clermont was not based on anyone, there were no French officers who worked with the MFAA.
And as for Blanchett’s Claire Simone, based on Rose Valland, a wartime hero in France, in the film, she is a woman who has important information but she is also reduced to a woman who eventually tries to get closer to James Granger. While in reality, she was a woman who risked her life for intelligence work on the stolen artwork and her relationship to anyone in MFAA was strictly professional. She understood German, pretending that she didn’t know the language, so she can listen in on their conversations.
But what is true in the film is that she was reluctant to give any information to James Granger (in reality, Lt. James Rorimer) in fear that the art would be stolen yet again.
The film also focuses on Hitler issuing a decree (the Nero Decree) to destroy the artwork, but in reality, Hitler wanted the art for his museums and wanted only military, transportation, communications, industrial and food locations to be destroyed. They did destroy artwork that was degenerate (surrealism, expressionism, Cubism) but the burning of art did not go into effect, because Albert Speer, Hitler’s Minister of Armaments, ignored the order.
And there is more that people can discover online in regards to the differences of what really happened during World War II and what was depicted in the film.
With that being said, those who want to see historical accuracy will not find it in “The Monuments Men”, you will get a film about a group of men who would put their life at risk for the sake of preserving art. Once again, while noble of George Clooney for making a film adaptation possible, I do wish that the film did have more accurate representations of what took place in World War II. I do understand that a lot of films based on any war or any factual subject are not always accurate, but those who strive to find a balance in creating an entertaining film with accuracy, I feel much better and am entertained by those type of films than those who try to stretch out the truth.
Also even if I didn’t know about the historical inaccuracies of the film, the storyline and its handling of the characters didn’t go too smoothly and the film becomes more about American bravado during World War II.
As for the DVD, if you want the best picture and audio quality, the Blu-ray version of the film is the way to go. The DVD also has two short special features included.
Overall, “The Monuments Men” is a fascinating film that is loosely-based on the true story of those who risked their lives to find artwork stolen by the Nazi’s and return them back to the original owners. While the film features an all-star cast, the stories of these cast members were under-developed and pacing was off. A noble film about the preservation of art during World War II but also a film with a number of historical inaccuracies.
“Elysium” is a popcorn action film with a fascinating concept of the cultural divide between the rich and the poor. While it would have been a fascinating concept to explore a more deeper film, “Elysium” is not a deep film. It’s more action-driven with beautiful visual effects and production design. But for what it’s worth, for an action film, I was entertained. If you are looking for a heavy hitting, sci-fi action film with fantastic picture quality and lossless audio, “Elysium” is recommended
© 2013 MRC II Distribution Company L.P. All Rights Reserved.
FILM RELEASE: 2013
DURATION: 109 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:40:1, English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English/French – Audio Description Tracks, Subtitles: English, English, SDH, French, French SDH, Spanish
COMPANY: Tri Star/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: R (For Strong Bloody Violence and Language Throughout)
Release Date: December 17, 2013
Written and Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Producer: Bill Block, Neill Blomkamp, Simon Kinberg
Executive Producer: Sue Baden-Powell
Associate Producer: Victoria Burkhart
Music by Ryan Amon
Cinematography by Trent Opaloch
Edited by Julian Clarke, Lee Smith
Casting by Francine Maisler
Production Design by Philip Ivey
Art Direction by Nancy Anna Brown, Ross Dempster, Don Macaulay, Hania Robledo
Set Decoration by Peter Lando
Costume Design by April Ferry
Matt Damon as Max
Jodie Foster as Delacourt
Sharlto Copley as Kruger
Alice Braga as Frey
Diego Luna as Julio
Wagner Moura as Spider
William Fichtner as John Carlyle
Brandon Auret as Drake
Josh Blacker as Crowe
Emma Tremblay as Matilda
Jose Pablo Cantillo as Sandro
Maxwell Perry Cotton as Young Max
Faran Tahir as President Patel
Adrian Holmes as Manuel
Jared Keeso as Rico
In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) will stop at nothing to preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium – but that doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in by any means they can. Max (Matt Damon) agrees to take on a life threatening mission, one that could bring equality to these polarized worlds.
From South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp (“District 9″, “Stargate SG-1″) comes his latest summer blockbuster sci-fi action film “Elysium”.
Starring Jodie Foster (“Silence of the Lambs”, “Panic Room”,”Contact”), Matt Damon (“Good Will Hunting”, “Bourne” films, “Saving Private Ryan”), Sharlto Copley (“District 9″, “The A-Team”, “Oldboy”), Alice Braga (“I Am Legend”, “City of God”, “Predators”), Diego Luna (“Milk”, “The Terminal”, “Y Tu Mambien”), Wagner Moura (“Elite Squad”) and William Fichtner (“The Dark Knight”, “Black Hawk Down”, “Contact”).
The film which was made with a budget of $115 million would go on to make over $286 million in the box office.
And now the Blu-ray+DVD+UltraViolet release will be coming out in Dec. 2013 courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
“Elysium” is set in 2154, a time when overpopulation and disease has devastated the Earth. The wealthy went on to create a Stanford torus-style space station known as Elysium miles above Earth, which is home to all wealthy individuals and technology. The wealthy also have homes that have bed-sized medical Med-Bays to keep them free of disease and injury.
In charge of defending Elysium from any illegal undocumented people is Defense Secretary Delacourt (portrayed by Jodie Foster).
Meanwhile, back on Earth, unlike Elysium which is the home of the rich, the residents are poor and are policed by robots and diseases run rampant.
We are introduced to the past of Max Da Costa and Frey Santiago, two who live in an orphanage on Earth and dream of going to Elysium. Max makes a promise to Frey that they will go to Elysium and to make money, we see Max involved in theft at a young age, as he tries to save money for him and Frey to go to Elysium.
Fast forward years later and Max (portrayed by Matt Damon) is a former car thief and parolee, who has been given a chance to fix his life working on the assembly line for Armadyne Corporation, the military company that supplies arms and weapons (including robot parts) to Elysium.
Living in the ruins of Los Angeles, his sarcastic with with one of the police robots lands him a broken arm. When he goes to get checked, he comes in contact with Frey Santiago (portrayed by Alice Braga), who is now a nurse in the hospital.
Excited to see her again, Max hopes to get reacquainted with her and the two decide to meetup for coffee.
While Max goes to work at Armadyne Corporation, an underground group headed by a hacker named Spider (portrayed by Wagner Moura), tries to send three caravans of illegal immigrants to Elysium to get to a Med-Bay to save their children or themselves from disease or to fix a certain medical condition that can’t be done on Earth.
As Elysium detects the three illegal caravans, Defense Secretary Delacourt calls her operative, Agent C.M. Kruger (portrayed by Sharlto Copley) to fire homing missiles towards the caravan and destroy them. Kruger manages to destroy two, while one manages to land on Elysium but the people end up being killed or captured for deportation.
Because the loss of life on the caravans, Elysium President Patel (portrayed by Faran Tahir) reprimands her and has Agent Kruger removed from service. Delacourt tries to explain her method as needed, or else the illegals coming into Elysium will cause bigger problems and that her methods are necessary.
Not thrilled by what transpired, Delacourt contacts Armadyne Corporation owner John Carlyle (portrayed by William Fichtner), who’s company is hurting financially and bargains with him that she can help his company if he does her a favor. She wants Carlyle to write a program that can override Elysium’s central computer and make her the President of Elysium. Carlyle ends up creating the program in his office on Earth and uploads it to his brain, encrypting it with a lethal denial program.
Meanwhile on Earth, while Max is working on Armadyne, a pallet is stuck preventing the door from closing. His boss tells him to fix it or else he will get fired. When Max goes in and fixes it, the door shuts on him and radiation that is meant for the weapons also get into him and he suffers from radiation poisoning which will kill him in five days. The robot doctor gives him medication to help with the pain.
With his dreams of going to Elysium now looking as it will never happen, as he goes home in bad shape, his friend Julio (portrayed by Diego Luna) feels that maybe Spider can help him.
Spider agrees to help Max go to Elysium with one condition, he must be implanted with a power exoskeleton, which will give him superhuman strength, but also an implant in his brain that can store data and help Spider see what he sees. And that he must find a way to steal data from Armadyne CEO John Carlyle.
Seeing this as his only shot of making it happen before he dies, Max receives the implant and he, Julio and a few of Spider’s men begin their plan by shooting down Carlyle’s air vehicle and when it crash lands, steal the information in his brain.
But because Delacourt was having Carlyle tracked, as she was going to meet with him at Elysium, they find out that Max and others have downed Carlyle’s vehicle and are trying to extract data from his brain, data which can incriminate her. So, Delacourt contacts her sleeper agent, M. Kruger to kill them all and that she will be sending two of his men to assist him.
Will Max be able to get to Elysium with his final few days of life?
“Elysium” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). It’s important to say that I have a great respect for filmmaker Neill Blomkamp in the fact that his approach to sci-fi filmmaking is different from other companies that have huge budgets. He tries to create sci-fi films and bring his approach by making things look realistic, futuristic but also to be financially conservative on how the money is used.
So, that means by making sure your main use of sci-fi are used in critical moments to make your film feel modern and real. So, technically “Elysium” has less high budget shots than other sci-fi-related films.
The devastation as seen in Earth looks very impressive, as does the look of Elysium and making a distinction of colors and look for both Earth and the wealthy space station. Los Angeles utilizes warmer colors, as the place looks devastated and dirty, while Elysium looks like paradise with blue skies, green trees and grass and white mansions with white interiors. But colors are vibrant when they need to be, clarity and detail is impressive as well. Skin tones look natural, closeups show on the faces of the characters show great detail.
The harmony with futuristic CG scenes and the film look fantastic. No artifacts, banding or any problems with picture quality, “Elysium” looks absolutely fantastic!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Elysium” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English/French – Audio Description Tracks. First, let me just say “WOW!”. This soundtrack is immersive! From the zip of machine gun bullets, the explosions galore and the airship landing or crashing into a building, it’s a soundtrack that audiophiles can appreciate from an action film. Great use of directional audio from the surround channels and also great LFE. Dialogue and music is crystal clear and with a winning Blu-ray release with picture quality, “Elysium” delivers with fantastic lossless audio!
Subtitles are in English, English, SDH, French, French SDH, Spanish
“Elysium” comes with the following special features:
- Visions of 2154 – (19:59) Featuring concept art from “Elysium”.
- Extended Scene: Kruger Wakes Up – (1:45) An extended scene after Kruger’s surgery.
- The Journey to Elysium - (45:49) A three part featurette featuring the concept art, production design, post-production challenges and more.
- Collaboration: Crafting the Performances of Elysium - (13:18) A featurette on the casting for the film.
- The Technology of 2154 – (10:13) A featurette on the hyper-realistic design ideas for the film.
- In Support of Story: The Visual Effects of Elysium – (10:34) Solving technological problems economically, visual effects for the film and more.
- Engineering Utopia: Creating a Society in the Sky – (11:43) Syd Mead’s contributions for the film’s design.
“Elysium” comes with a Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet digital copy code of the film. Also, a slipcover is included.
“Elysium” is an interesting concept from Neill Blomkamp. What if the wealthy wanted separation from the poor and lived in their own utopia above the Earth?
The fact is that in other countries, there is cultural divide between the wealthy and the poor. We know that disease and overpopulation is becoming problematic, but magnify these problems and what you get is a chaotic planet.
While “Elysium” for the most part an sci-fi popcorn action thriller, while I marvel at how impressive this film looks and sounds on Blu-ray, the problem with the story is that it’s formulaic and mindless action.
Matt Damon does a great job in playing a protagonist with a criminal past and only a few days to live but being given an exo-skeleton suit to give him superhuman strength as he tries to go to Elysium and make his dream come true.
While “District 9″ protagonist Sharlto Copley does play a major part as the psycho sleeper agent, Kruger. His character could have been made much more cunning and ruthless.
While Jodie Foster’s appearance as Secretary Defense Delacourt seemed too short to make any major impact on the film. And to tell you the truth, I was quite surprised to see Foster appear in this film because her character roles tend to add substance to a pretty significant story.
For “Elysium”, the storyline is not deep. It’s primarily mindless action, that deals with more of a cat and mouse game between Max and Kruger. That other characters such as Foster’s Delacourt and even Alice Braga’s Frey seeming as if their roles were not as important. The same with Diego Luna’s Julio who last only several minutes onscreen.
There are also other areas that I found amusic Max is stabbed, doesn’t have a hospital of surgeons working on him except Frey and he manages to fight with a significant injury. As if an exo-skeleton has given him healing powers as well. Of course, one should not be too picky with a popcorn action film and try to delve to far into whether one thing is or isn’t possible.
But as I did enjoy the film, especially its set design and visual effects which were magnificent, the one thing that kept gnawing on me was the lack of any cultural diversity in the station, Elysium.
Everyone that lives on Elysium happen to be Caucasian, everyone left on Earth are everything but Caucasian. Sure, we have the one Asian guy who works in the medical facility, you have President Patel and I think I saw one Black woman in the background somewhere. But it’s a pretty bold move for Neill Blomkamp to assume that only people who are white will thrive in the future.
And it’s a topic that has been debated about the film. Is “Elysium” a racist film? I didn’t think so. I just think that certain moves to incorporate a more diverse group of people living in “Elysium” would have been a smart idea.
While one can say, Neill Blomkamp is from South Africa, he doesn’t share the same perspectives of political correctness as Americans, I can understand that. But for an international space station for the wealthy, you would think that the rich from other countries may have been in that space station.
Also, it’s hard to call a film “racist” when the fact is that a lot of people of color have been cast in “Elysium”, unfortunately the majority of them are cast as among the poor.
But aside from the nitpicking, I was entertained by “Elysium” for its fascinating concept and all-out action.
The Blu-ray release of “Elysium” is what videophiles and audiophiles will consider as a reference Blu-ray release and there are a good number of special features that go into the production and post-production of the film.
Overall, “Elysium” is a popcorn action film with a fascinating concept of the cultural divide between the rich and the poor. While it would have been a fascinating concept to explore a more deeper film, “Elysium” is not a deep film. It’s more action-driven with beautiful visual effects and production design. But for what it’s worth, for an action film, I was entertained.
If you are looking for a heavy hitting, sci-fi action film with fantastic picture quality and lossless audio, “Elysium” is recommended
EMMY® AWARD NOMINEES AND OSCAR® WINNERS MICHAEL DOUGLAS AND MATT DAMON ANNOUNCED AS PRESENTERS AT THE “65TH PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS,” TO BE BROADCAST SEPT. 22 ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK
Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, both five-time Primetime Emmy® Award nominees, are the first presenters announced for the 65TH PRIMETIME EMMY® AWARDS. This marks the first time that Douglas and Damon have presented at the Emmy Awards. In total, “Behind the Candelabra,” for which both Douglas and Damon are nominated this year for the roles of Liberace and Scott Thorson respectively, received 15 nominations. The 65TH PRIMETIME EMMY® AWARDS will be broadcast live across the country 8:00-11:00 PM ET/ 5:00-8:00 PM PT from NOKIA Theater L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles, Sunday, Sept. 22 on the CBS Television Network.
MICHAEL DOUGLAS – Nominee this year for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie (“Behind the Candelabra”). Previously, he was nominated in 2002 for Outstanding Guest Star in a Comedy Series (“Will & Grace”) as well as for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama (“The Streets of San Francisco”) in 1974, and Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor (“The Streets of San Francisco”) in 1975 and 1976.
MATT DAMON – Nominee this year for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie (“Behind the Candelabra”). Previously, he was nominated in 2011 for Outstanding Guest Star in a Comedy Series (“30 Rock”) as well as one of the nominated producers for Outstanding Non-Fiction Program (“Project Greenlight”) in 2002 and Outstanding Reality Program (“Project Greenlight”) in 2004 and 2005.
The 65TH PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS is executive produced by Ken Ehrlich. Host Neil Patrick Harris and Renato Basile serve as producers and Louis J. Horvitz is director. If you plan to Tweet this story, please include #Emmys and mention @PrimetimeEmmys, the official Emmys Twitter handle.
CHEAT TWEET: 1st #Emmys presenters announced! See 5x nominees Michael Douglas & Matt Damon on the @PrimetimeEmmys 9/22 on CBS! http://bit.ly/139H6t7
RATING: To Be Announced
Official CBS Website: http://www.cbs.com/shows/emmy-awards/
Official Emmys Website: www.emmys.com
MATT DAMON HIJACKS “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE” AND BRINGS THE SHOW TO PRIMETIME, TUESDAY, JANUARY 29 AT 10:00 PM ET/PT ON ABC
also a “Jimmy Kimmel Live” app is available via iTunes.
A documentary that will open your eyes. A documentary that must be seen. Charles Ferguson’s “Inside Job” is a shockingly, powerful documentary that reveals what may have caused the global financial meltdown and giving us the facts of what led to the economic crisis of 2008. Prepare to be angry, infuriated but yet entertained by this real life heist film.
© 2010 Sony Pictures Classics Inc. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Inside Job
DURATION: 109 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: 2:35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics
RATED: PG-13 (Some Drug and Sex Related Material)
RELEASE DATE: March 8, 2011
Directed by Charles Ferguson
Written by Chad Beck, Adam Bolt
Produced by Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs
Executive Producer: Jeffrey Lurie, Christina Weiss Lurie
Associate Producer: Kalyanee Mam, Anna Moot-Levin
Music by Alex Heffes
Cinematograhy by Svetlana Cvetko, Kalyanee Mam
Edited by Chad Beck, Adam Bolt
Set Decoration by Mariko Marrs
Narrated by Matt Damon
From Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson (NO END IN SIGHT), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.
In 2007, writer and director Charles H. Ferguson shocked and intrigued many people with his documentary “No End in Sight” which focused on the Bush administrations conduct during the Iraq war. Ferguson followed up by being one of the executive producers of “Between Earth and Sky” in 2009. But in 2010, Ferguson would release his most shocking and powerful documentary yet, titled “Inside Job” which chronicles the global financial meltdown and the economic crisis of 2008. The documentary would win an Academy Award for “Best Documentary Feature” in 2011.
Featuring narration by actor Matt Damon, “Inside Job” begins with showcasing the financial meltdown of Iceland and how a country that was once doing so well with no debt and was a great example of country that was financially responsible, became a country that financially collapsed with the country’s three major commercial banks suffering from a downfall when billions of dollars were borrowed and loaned to businesses and businessmen who took advantage of the loans to finance their own personal non-business endeavors and left the country close to national bankrupty.
When one was interviewed about the problems, he asks that this could not happen in the United States right?
Well, unfortunately millions of Americans have been affected by the economic downturn and in 2008, this would spiral downward as millions of Americans would foreclose their homes, lose their jobs, many would be living off food stamps while in Wall Sreet, Bear Stearns, known to be aggressive in packaging and selling mortgage-backed securites and hedge funds loaded with junks collapsed and were bought by JPMorgan Chase. Meanwhile, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, because they were owned by the government, were not required to report their finances like public corporations and both companies hid their problems which involve serious accounting fraud and overstatement of their earnings.
Lehman Brothers, one of the most prestigious companies on Wall Street filed for bankruptcy protection and put thousands of people around the world out of work, while Merrill Lynch, the powerful investment banking and brokerage firm would also fall hard and would be bought by Bank of America.
The question is how did the economy go so far down south that even today, millions of Americans are not sure about their future especially in today’s economic recession. Why did these individuals who committed severe financial fraud were never given prison time? And why hasn’t anyone been held accountable for the financial crisis?
But director Charles Ferguson would seek for the answer with his documentary “Inside Job” which features thorough research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists. The documentary traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships. Interviews include Paul Volcker (Chairman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board), George Soros (Founder and Chair of Open Society Institute/Soros Foundation), Eliot Spitzer (Former Governor of New York and New York State Attorney General), Barney Frank (Democratic Representative for Massachusetts) and many others.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Inside Job” is presented in 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen and is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital. It’s important to note that if you want the best video and audio presentation of this film, “Inside Job” is also available on Blu-ray. But for the DVD release, picture quality was very good and the soundtrack is front and center channel driven. Dialogue is clear, footage combines recent to archived older news footage but for the most part, picture quality and audio quality is good.
Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.
“Inside Job” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Charles Ferguson and producer Audrey Marrs.
- The Making of Inside Job – (12:32) Starz Studios behind-the-scenes of “Inside Job”. Director Charles Ferguson talks about how he was warned about the crisis well before it was publicly known. Ferguson talks about the research process for the film and the amount of research that was done for this film.
- Deleted Scenes – Featuring nine deleted scenes with Charles Morris, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Eliot Spitzer, Gillian Tett, Jerome Fons, Lee Hsien Loong, Satyajit Das, Simon Johnson and Yves Smith.
- Theatrical Trailer – (2:20) The original theatrical trailer for “Inside Job”.
A documentary that will open your eyes. A documentary that must be seen. Charles Ferguson’s “Inside Job” is a shockingly, powerful documentary that reveals what may have caused the global financial meltdown and giving us the facts of what led to the economic crisis of 2008.
Unfortunately, this is one of the great crime stories in American history and we are currently living it. This is not a documentary of the past and the events that occurred back in 2008 still rears its ugly head in 2011 where millions of Americans are jobless and in financial trouble.
I have no doubt that the “Inside Job” will open everyone’s eyes of those who are watching this documentary because when you find out how this cycle of financial irresponsibility has been going on for decades and still happening today, you can’t help but wonder if we are going to be headed in the same direction as Iceland.
As the film opens up with the financial crisis in Iceland, it was quite shocking to watch and see what happened in that country which had it all and then nearly lost it all. And when the question is asked by one in Iceland about the United States of America… you can’t help but think how screwed up things have went since 2008.
Many people knew that crimes were being committed but yet, this is how Wall Street, the banks and the government acted. Deregulation led to banks getting bigger and bigger, borrowing money and lending them while gambling with depositors’ money while many borrowers were offered high-risk borrowing for the “sub-prime” market in guarantee of high returns.
Employees and upper administrative staff lived in luxury, the banks with so much money were able to buy their way into society including universities as many economists from Ivy League universities took part in support of reckless deregulation.
If anything, “Inside Job” is a film that really opened my eyes and what I saw of what took place in Wall Street especially between the government was just disgusting, infuriating but at the same time, just knowing how corruption continues unfortunately even in Obama’s administration. These people who were involved as part of the problem, continue to get hired in the government and also teach at Ivy League Schools. How can we trust them?
The cares of the American people were not the priority, it was getting rich and unfortunately, there was no accountability and where most thieves go to jail, in the case of these banks were fraud were committed, they received a government bail-out.
As for the documentary, Charles Ferguson knew how complex this documentary had to be. He needed the right people to interview and the research to let us know what is fact. This is not some one-sided documentary where you hear one side and everything about the other side is bad, bad, bad. “Inside Job” was able to achieve its efficacy because we see how things are from both sides of the coin, he dissects the financial crisis and gives us interviews of those who were involved. Not only specialists but there are major players took part in the film (not all but a good number of them did) and gave their impression of what happened. You also see the gall of some of these individuals as they have no qualms of what they have done. But it would have been nice to hear from CEO’s or even Greenspan but many declined to be take part in this documentary and be interviewed.
And to even leave a sour taste in your mouth, when you feel the Obama administration could make things right, unfortunately, the same Wall Street executives who are now working in government are still employed and still calling the shots of how America’s finance should be handled. In fact, we learn through this documentary that those who were involved in creating fraudulent reports and employed at Wall Street are now teaching America’s Ivy League schools.
But yet, director Charles Ferguson shows us in this documentary that he has the balls to call these people out and it’s what makes this documentary so great. Educating but also making sure the viewer, learns about the crime that has been committed but those who are being interviewed are not getting a pat in the hand like they did from the US government.
With his interviews, Ferguson intelligently takes them on and exposes some of them, especially the immoral ones for the part they took in America’s economic mess. Too bad that the high-profile players declined to be interviewed. It would have been great to see the major players of Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and other companies embroiled in the financial crisis of 2008 take part in this film but its understandable.
But I will say that its a shame that the academic economists from Columbia University and Harvard University evaded Ferguson’s questions. If anything, they support the documentary and I wonder how their own bosses have felt about their behavior in this film. Because now, instead of people believing them as professionals to help the system, they end up showing that they were part of the problem and in the process, instead of answering the questions, they end up disgracing themselves.
In the end, although I may not understand the complexities of the financial crisis, as your average American watching this documentary, I appreciate Ferguson for opening my eyes. I was enraged after watching this film but if anything, those who seek out the questions of why our economy is so down at this time, at least we get to learn how these problems have built and built itself up in many decades after the Great Depression. I definitely give credit to Ferguson for keeping on topic and not becoming polemic in conspiracies.
It’s important to know that this DVD has an interesting audio commentary which follows up of what happened during the interviews as well as what has happened since the documentary. From the stock shots to the interviews, both Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs give a fascinating commentary that is worth listening to after you watch the film. Especially some of the deleted scenes that are included on the DVD.
Overall, “Inside Job” is a powerful documentary that is important and worth watching and for Charles Ferguson, his work is deserving of the Oscar! Highly recommended!
PEOPLE Magazine has reported that Luciana Barroso, wife of actor Matt Damon, gave birth to a baby girl on Wednesday. Both Luciana and the baby are both healthy.
Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso have four children.
“HOLLYWOOD SALUTES MATT DAMON: AN AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE TRIBUTE” AIRS THURSDAY, MAY 27 ON THE ABC TELEVISION NETWORK
Award-winning actor Matt Damon was the recipient of the 24th American Cinematheque Award at a gala held this past March at the Beverly Hilton. The presentation and celebration will be televised in the hour-long special, “Hollywood Salutes Matt Damon: An American Cinematheque Tribute,” airing THURSDAY, MAY 27 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
The stellar list of guests who paid tribute to Damon when he received the award from longtime friend and co-star Ben Affleck are Casey Affleck, Don Cheadle, Clint Eastwood, Jennifer Garner, Jimmy Kimmel, Greg Kinnear, Sarah Silverman, Charlize Theron and Robin Williams. In addition, George Clooney and Ben Stiller paid tribute by partaking in individual pre-taped comedy sketches, while President William Jefferson Clinton appeared in and narrated a piece about Damon’s humanitarian efforts.
The executive producers of the show are Paul Flattery, Barbara Smith and Michael Dempsey. Irene Crinita is the producer and Kelly Brock co-producer. Corrinne Mann is the benefit producer.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE:
Established in 1981, the American Cinematheque is a non-profit viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all of its forms. At the Egyptian Theatre, the Cinematheque presents daily film and video programming which ranges from the classics of American and international cinema to new independent films and digital work. Exhibition of rare works, special and rare prints, etc., combined with fascinating post-screening discussions with the filmmakers who created the work, are a Cinematheque tradition that keep audiences coming back for once-in-a-lifetime cinema experiences. The American Cinematheque renovated and reopened (on December 4, 1998) the historic 1922 Hollywood Egyptian Theatre which celebrates its 85th anniversary this year. This includes a state-of-the-art 616-seat theatre housed within Sid Grauman’s first grand movie palace on Hollywood Boulevard. The exotic courtyard is fully restored to its 1922 grandeur.
The Egyptian was the home of the very first Hollywood movie premiere in 1922. In early 2005 the American Cinematheque expanded its programming to the 1940 Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.
A TV parental guideline will be assigned closer to airdate.
Matt Damon’s rep has confirmed with People Magazine that the Matt and Luciana are expecting another baby. The couple have three daughters: Alexia (11), Luciana’s daughter from a previous marriage, Isabella (4) and Gia (20 months).
Ben Affleck to Present Matt Damon with the 24th American Cinematheque Award
Don Cheadle, President William Jefferson Clinton, George Clooney, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Kimmel, Greg Kinnear, Ben Stiller, Charlize Theron and Robin Williams to Pay Tribute to Matt Damon at Gala Event on March 27 at the Beverly Hilton
Tribute to Air at a Later Date Exclusively on ABC
Ben Affleck will present his longtime friend and co-star, Matt Damon, with the 24th American Cinematheque Award at the Cinematheque’s annual benefit gala on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel’s International Ballroom in Beverly Hills. The award presentation concludes an evening of in-person tributes from Damon’s colleagues, Casey Affleck, Don Cheadle, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Kimmel, Greg Kinnear, Charlize Theron and Robin Williams. In addition, George Clooney and Ben Stiller will pay tribute by partaking in individual pre-taped comedy sketches, while President William Jefferson Clinton appears in and narrates a piece surrounding Damon’s humanitarian efforts that will be played during the show. Added guests will be announced as they are confirmed.
ABC will premiere the Award Show broadcast of “Hollywood Salutes Matt Damon: An American Cinematheque Tribute” at a later date. This is the 1st year that ABC will broadcast the show. Damon was the unanimous choice of the Cinematheque Board of Directors selection committee which, since 1986, has annually honored an extraordinary artist (actor, director or writer) in the entertainment industry who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion picture.
The American Cinematheque Award is presented annually to an extraordinary artist currently making a significant contribution to the art of the Moving Picture and is a mid-career achievement honor. Proceeds from the event go towards the year round operation of the American Cinematheque’s public programming at the Egyptian and Aero Theatres in Los Angeles.
Eddie Murphy received the first American Cinematheque Award in 1986. Previous honorees are Bette Midler (1987), Robin Williams (1988), Steven Spielberg (1989), Ron Howard (1990), Martin Scorsese (1991), Sean Connery (1992), Michael Douglas (1993), Rob Reiner (1994), Mel Gibson (1995), Tom Cruise (1996), John Travolta (1997), Arnold Schwarzenegger (1998), Jodie Foster (1999), Bruce Willis (2000), Nicolas Cage (2001), Denzel Washington (2002), Nicole Kidman (2003), Steve Martin (2004), Al Pacino (2005), George Clooney (2006), Julia Roberts (2007) and Samuel L. Jackson (2008).
One thousand entertainment industry notables are expected to attend the tribute. This annual event is the American Cinematheque’s most important benefit, providing funds for the non-profit film exhibition organization’s programs throughout the year and operation of the historic landmark Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, as well as the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica on Montana Avenue.
The executive producers of the show are Paul Flattery, Barbara Smith and Michael Dempsey. Irene Crinita is the producer and Kelly Brock co-producer. Co-chairs and presenters of the event will be announced as they are confirmed. Corrinne Mann is the benefit producer.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE:
Established in 1981, the American Cinematheque is a non-profit viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all of its forms. At the Egyptian Theatre, the Cinematheque presents daily film and video programming which ranges from the classics of American and international cinema to new independent films and digital work. Exhibition of rare works, special and rare prints, etc., combined with fascinating post-screening discussions with the filmmakers who created the work, are a Cinematheque tradition that keep audiences coming back for once-in-a-lifetime cinema experiences. The American Cinematheque renovated and reopened (on December 4, 1998) the historic 1922 Hollywood Egyptian Theatre, which celebrates its 85th anniversary on October 18, 2007. This includes a state-of-the-art 616-seat theatre housed within Sid Grauman’s first grand movie palace on Hollywood Boulevard. The exotic courtyard is fully restored to its 1922 grandeur.
The Egyptian was the home of the very first Hollywood movie premiere in 1922. In early 2005 the American Cinematheque expanded its programming to the 1940 Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.
For more information: www.americancinematheque.com