Brooklyn (DVD): Review

Film

Brooklyn, a story about an Irish immigrant, Eilis (played by the very talented Saoirse Ronan in the first role where she is able to use her native Irish accent), in 1950’s New York. Soon romance blossoms. Soon her past catches up to her, and she now faces a dilemma. She must choose between the two countries, Ireland and America, and between people she loves.

WIth two Oscar nominations, it is no surprise that Saoirse Ronan delivers a stellar performance in Brooklyn, following up diverse roles in other filmes such as Byzantium (Read the Byzantium review on SAMDB), The Grand Budapest Hotel and City of Ember, to name but a few. Once again, she becomes this engrossing character, evoking emotion from the viewer, and taking one on a ride through the highs and lows of the story.

Brooklyn is one of those films where you can sit back, enjoy the story, marvel at the acting and setting, and be lost in the the past as you are swept away to another world for a few hours, before returning to the modern world and it’s own trials and tribulations.

With all the gerat talent of the Brooklyn, including an engrossing story, it is clear to see why it garnered the numerous nominations it did during awards season. An enjoyable film, and well worth a look, especially for those who enjoy the drama or romance genres.

 

Disc

Brooklyn is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

VIdeo

Video is encoded at a high bitrate, with a stable and clear image. There is no colour bleed, and the colours are vibrant, given the palette of the film.

Those with the necessary hardware or software can scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen.

Audio

Sound is encoded in a 5.1 soundtrack, adding to the on-screen action, and expanding the world to further enhance the viewing experience. Sound is also encoded at a high bitrate, meaning dialogue is clear and easy to understand.

While the genre and nature of the film do not lend themselves to extensive use3 of the surround channels, they do add to the overall soundscape.

Navigation

Navigation is simple and static, but easy to follow.

Bonus

There are unfortunatly no bonus features on the disc, other than a few previews at the beginning.

No Escape (DVD): Review

Film

Jack Dwyer (Owne Wilson) has just packed up his wife and two young daughers, and moved to another country for his company. A large corporation that is seen as feathering its own corporate structure, rather than benifitting the local econemy. Not long after their arrival, there is a coup, and they are not only caught in the middle, but Jack becomes a target because of his affiliation with his company.

A far too convenient encounter with the mysterious Hammond (Pierce Brosnan) when arriving at the airport, later proves to be the family’s lifeline, as he appears when they are in the most dire of need, with advice and skills.

WIth a very simple storyline, the film is not going to require too much thought to follow a plot with not twists, but it is indeed enjoyable for the rush of the chase, and not knowing if they will escape the several very tight predicaments.

No Escape is an action film, plain and simple. It has a bit of a thrill factor, but leaves one thinking more about how they’d cope in the situation, rather than actually championing the characters. Character develpoment is shallow, but this is not uncommon with films of this genre.

The story is sure to thrill and impress fans of action movies, and is a great way to escape for a time and put oneself into another world. An action film that makes no excuses about what is is, No Escpae is a running, diving ride.

Disc

No Escape is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high bitrate, which is especially beneficial in the scattering of fast paced action scenes, or outdoor scenes with lots of smaller details. The colours are bright, with no visible artefacts on screen.

Audio

Sound is encoded in a 5.1 soundtrack, further drawing the viewer into the on-screen action, and widening the world of the characters. There are several crowd scenes, and scenes with lots of action, that benefit from the surround mix.

Navigation

Navigation i ssimple and static, but easy to use, leaving more space for a higher encoded main feature.

Bonus

There are no bonus features on the disc, except for a few previews at the beginning.

Maggie (DVD): Review

Film

Yes, Maggie is another zombie film, but no it is not our usual run and gun film, killing anything not human and trying to avoid becomig one of the horde.

Maggie Vogel, a teenage girl infected by a disease that slowely turns its victims into canabalistic zombies. Played with deep emotion, and subtle nuances by Abigail Breslin, this is a character dealing with so many emotions, on a great many levels.

Her father, Wade has just as much emotion to deal with, what with having too deciide when he might send his daughter in to the government quarentine, and how best to protect the rest of his family from what Maggie will eventually become. Action man Arnold Schwartzenegger tones down his usual character traits, and brings a dramatic touch to his acting.

The film does focus closely on the loving relationship between father and daughter, choosing to keep connections between other characters more in the background, as we follow the sad progression of Maggie’s infection, often with her taking us along as she plots selfless acts to save her family from some drastic decisions, and the impending danger of what she is to become.

While Maggie is not your average zombie film, there is a tension that steadily builds as the story progresses, between characters, as we empathise with Maggie herself, as of course waiting for one or more of the turned infected to appear and wreck havoc on the living.

The film is a please change from the usual run, hide and fight of the genre, and is sure to touch the heart of even the most hardend zombie fighting audience.

Disc

Maggie is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high bitrate, meaning there are no visible artefacts on screen. The image is crisp and stable, especially given the chosen colour grade of the film, with many subdued tones that fit in with the mood fo the story.

Those with the necessary hardware or software can upscale to a larger or higher definition screen should they wish.

Audio

Sound is presented in a 5.1 soundtrack, which adds to the feel of the film, and further draws the viewer in. While there are no hectic action sequences, it does serve to expand the on-screen world, and leave the viewer anticipating, letting the mind play it’s own games while waiting for something to happen.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and static, but easy to use, saving space on the disc for the main feature film, instead of using this for fancy menu video when space on a DVD is at such a premium.

Bonus

There are no b0nus features on the disc, save for a few previews at the beginning.

The Good Dinosaur (BluRay): Review

Film

What if the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs was a near-miss? And what if instead of having nearly all life on Earth obliterating, the dinosaurs lived on, and took on activities more akin to humans (farming, ranching, speaking)? The Good Dinosaur looks at this “what-if” in a stunning animation from Disney and Pixar.

As with all the Disney / Pixar films, The Good Dinosaur is no exception to great characters, detailed animation, great story and enough to keep any child or adult (or childish adult) entertained.

Young Arlo is on an adventure to finally earn the right to “leave his mark”. Soon after Along the way he meets Spot, a human child separated from his family.

The animation and scenery is candy to the eye, a totally engrossing soundtrack, some very cute and some extremely funny moments. But overall, a great family film, as one would expect from the high calibre of filmmakers involved in the project. This is yet another film that should certainly be part of any home collection.

While The Good Dinosaur is a very straight forward story, no big plot twists, no complicated dialogue or monologues, and nothing that would go too much over the top of the heads of little ones, it has a story for the older generation too. And this story is rather engrossing. Parents would be wise to follow the PG rating, as there are a few scenes with big mouths and many teeth. Nothing intended as scary, but know what your child is watching (including a scene where young Spot pulls the head off an insect). The Good Dinosaur is a fun family evening.

Disc

The usual high quality, packed to the T-Rex brim, disc from Disney, with a plethora of bonus material to go along with a great movie.

The Good Dinosaur is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high bitrate, with no visible artefacts on screen. The video is stable and crisp, with vibrant colours, even in fast paced scenes. The colours really bring the world to life, even in the browns of the open plains. These, however, really shine in the greens of the more dense foliage in some parts of the film.

Audio

Audio is presented in a choice of 7.1, 5.1, 2.0 and 2.0 descriptive. The 7.1 mix really brings the on-screen world alive, further drawing the viewer into scenes, and expanding the action.

The soundtrack is encoded at a high bitrate, giving clear audio, which sounds especially great on the right theatre setup.

There are also a selection of subtitle languages to choose from.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to use. The menu background shows some of the more abstract scenes of the movie, choosing rather to share these astounding animated environments, rather than any dialogue or potential spoilers from the film itself.

Features

Sanjay’s Super Team – A short film about Sanjay. Unrelated to The Good Dinosaur movie, but a sweet animation short.

True Lies About Dinosaurs – Explaining the creative licence of the main feature, in a way the little ones can understand, with some facts adding some interesting educational value. This short feature also includes some history, as scientists assume it was, as far as dinosaurs go.

Recyclosaurs – A fun look behind the scenes of the fun and games that come with working for a creative company such as Pixar, covering the competition for The Good Dinosaur where departments are challenged to create a dinosaur out of old, unwanted household items.

The Filmmakers’ Journey – The journey of the team, from their on-location research in nature and the open, detailing the interaction of animals, herding, and how this is different to the urban life most are used to. The feature takes us all the way into the viewing room, and how changes are communicated, to get the best possible scenes from all involved, and to realise the directors vision.

Every Part Of The Dinosaur – The animators share their insights and work methodology with us, showing the rough work before the many additional render passes, up to how those eventually look in the final film. The team share what it takes to bring the characters to life, and how they can create a dinosaur, without an actual extinct creature to model.

Following The T-Rex Trail – We get a closer look at the T-Rex family ranchers. The filmmakers were on location in Oregon with a family of ranchers, to experience the intricacies, and way of ranching. for themselves.

Audio Commentary – Watch the film, with commentary by the filmmakers themselves. Commentaries are something that are lacking on many discs these days, with some filmmakers hesitant to share the tricks of their trade, while others are only to eager to pass on a portion of knowledge to the next generation of up and coming in film. A welcome addition, especially for an animation.

Dino Bites – As the name says, it’s Dino’s, biting. A short compilation video of the characters and creatures from the film, biting. As simple as that.

Hide And Seek – A cute and fun promotional clip, with Spot and Arlo playing hide and seek. Not the easiest thing for a large dinosaur. This is bound to bring a few giggles from little ones, and a many adults, alike.

Trailers – Some trailers for the film, to watch before, or after you’ve enjoyed the main feature.

Info – If you wish to reread all the legal jargon that you didn’t have time to read when the disc first loaded.

Other than all these great additions, under the setup menu there is an option that will assist in setting up a home theatre system, calibrating the audio and video through the use of test tones and images, with helpful on-screen text to guide the viewer.

Last, but not least, there are some sneak peaks to other features.