If you have been gifted with a Blu-Ray player this Christmas then you might want to buy some top-notch releases to enjoy in high definition. These are some of the films that are heading to the format in January 2010.
The Taking of Pelham 123
This is a breathless thriller which is rarely seen in today’s fantasy-obsessed movie market. Remade from a classic, this sees Tony Scott behind the camera and the anti very much upped. John Travolta plays a ruthless villain who hijacks a New York subway train and Denzel Washington is the average-Joe announcer who ends up negotiating the release of the hostages. Despite its generic scripting and predictable plot, the action set pieces are executed with confidence and speed.
This is a film that is very much not for the faint-hearted. Willem De Foe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are the couple who retreat to a cabin in the woods in order to work out their differences, but things slowly descend into horror and madness. Described as sickeningly graphic and nasty by some, others saw this as the intensely personal and painfully poetic movie that it is.
The Last Action Hero
A film that revels in every action movie cliché generated in the 80s and early 90s, Arnie is in the driving seat in a completely insane world where movies are actually real and anything is possible. The set pieces look excellent in HD and the script still sparkles despite all that has come and gone since. As a parody it makes the current line up of half-baked films like ‘Disaster Movie’ look very lazy indeed.
A remake of a low budget horror movie from the 80s but with much more money and some of young Hollywood’s hottest talent. It is not clever and it is not progressive, but for some blood letting and bare flesh Sorority Row more than delivers. It also has a cool cameo from Carrie “Princess Leia” Fisher and pints of collage-age blood on show.
Considered to be a classic by many, this film is really about holding a love of cinema and the magic of the movies. Following the life of a young Italian boy in an isolated village and his relationships with those around him and the films he loves, it is a story of youth, desire and film.
From the writer/director partnership behind the two Crank movies, Gamer stars Gerard Butler in a near-future dominated by social networking and real-life gladiatorial online gaming in which convicts are controlled by teenagers as they battle for their lives. Very, very silly and rather violent, the social satire is almost lost beneath the gore, but there is a lot to like about Gamer if you are willing to turn your brain off.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Arguably the best animated film released in 2009, it is as enjoyable for adults as it is for the kids. Full of jokes, visual gags and incredible animation, it beats off the competition from Disney Pixar by having a relentlessly positive outlook on life and a playful approach to living it.
Colin Firth and Ben Barnes, who takes the lead, are in their elements in this retelling of Oscar Wilde’s classic story of vanity and debauchery. Although purists may find the treatment of the source material a little painful, this is played with its tongue firmly in its cheek and is all the better for it.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
This is the film that put British gangster flicks back on the map, made a star of Jason Statham and turned Guy Ritchie into Mr Madonna, albeit for a short time. The plot is not revolutionary, but the larger than life cockney characters and the snappy dialogue lead some to claim that Ritchie was the British Tarantino. Whilst this initial promise was never fully realised, the directorial style still influences British directors today and after Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes hits the cinemas you might want to remind yourself of the film that started it all in high definition.
Dario Argento’s classic horror is the closest that the genre ever gets to making an art movie. Totally over the top by today’s standards, the overdubbed voices are odd and the psychedelic sequences are jarring, but there are still scares to be had. And in high definition the extreme colour pallet will look better than ever.
After conquering the world with Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin, Judd Apatow turned his lens back on himself and produced an introspective look on the life of a comedian. Adam Sandler takes the lead role, playing a famous actor who is more than partly based on himself, as he attempts to reconnect with his stand-up roots and takes upcoming comic Seth Rogan with him for the ride. Not always funny, but thoughtful and interesting none the less.
Play.com have a 70% off sale this month, so grab these new blu rays and more whilst they are cheap.