Monthly Archives November 2014

DVD Review: Finding Vivian Maier


vivDirected by John Maloof & Charlie Siskel

Finding Vivian Maier continues the recent trend of documentaries about inadvertently influential individuals. Similarities between this documentary and A Band Called Death,  Beware of Mr. Baker and Seaching for Sugarman are ripe but whereas some retrieved about said artists, Vivian Maier was truly a mystery even to those that knew her.

Doing research for his book director John Maloof ends up winning a box of old negatives at a local auction. After going through all the contents, he realises how amazing the pictures are and searches for information on the artist but literally finds nothing online about the photographer. Maloof then decides to build a dark room and present the pictures in their best form to be exhibited at museums, but none respond successfully. After posting online and asking for any information on Maier eventually he was able to find family members, friends and associates. The audience gets to witness his journey in coming across an unknown innovative street photographer and explore her mysterious character.



DVD Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition

hobbit2dDirected by Peter Jackson

Starring:  Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage

Box Set contains:  3D Extended Edition, Blu-ray Extended Edition, Digital Extended Edition, Special Feature Discs

It’s almost that time of year again, folks. Yep, the nights are drawing in, small skeletons and ghouls will have knocked on your door, pestering you for E numbers, and the great big festival of materialism – I mean, peace and goodwill – is just around the corner. Which can only mean one thing; we’re due another visit to Middle Earth, fast. Those of you who cannot wait until mid-December to rejoin Bilbo’s quest can satiate your thirst for dwarves, adventure and miniature burglars by investing in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition on 3D and common/garden Blu-ray. The cool kids all have 3D TVs these days, do keep up. Even if you’ve only just transferred from VHS to Digital Versatile Disc, invest in this box set anyway. £20 doesn’t buy much these days, but when it can buy you a rip-snorting film in three mediums, nine hours of special features and 25 minutes of never-before-seen footage, it does seem a bit of a no-brainer, even if you’re a Hobbit-hating Nazgûl.  In my opinion, this extended edition represents one of the best value for money box sets ever.



‘Year of the Mockbuster’: Kickstarter Interview

f1b8d3b3-1180-4d1e-83aa-59dd09312f63Franchises have never had it so good. Next year, there are 12 major franchise installments coming out in the cinema- sequels from big hitters, like old giants Star Wars and young up-and-comers Hunger Games, reboots from Mad Max and Jurassic Park (ish), and another installment in an endless set from James Bond or Fast and Furious (now with increased brevity, as simply ‘Furious 7’). Plus, the endless Marvel machine judders on with Avengers 2. 

Critical opinions are divided. Sure, some have been well-received, like the Marvel series as a whole. But others- perhaps rightly- reject what they see as a colonization of the multiplexes by loud, brash and boring blockbusters. Aside from the aesthetic problems presented by the films, another problem remains: how are you to keep track of what’s showing when?