Tag Archives: special effects

Beasts of the Southern Wild: The journey you’ve never taken

Pick up your copy of the award contending Beasts of the Southern Wild on December 18, 2012. Courtesy of eOne Media

Pick up your copy of the award contending Beasts of the Southern Wild on December 18, 2012. Courtesy of eOne Media

Independent films depend purely on the strength of their story, lacking access to flashy special effects and bloated budgets to hide imperfections. Instead, everything is stripped bare revealing the heart of the tale. Sure to be an Academy Award contender, Beasts of the Southern Wild is, at its core, an exemplary demonstration of the rawness that is the independent film.

In this semi-fantastical story, we follow six-year old Hushpuppy and her hot-headed father as they face the harsh realities of life in a bayou cut off from the rest of society.

It takes a while to really sink into this film. The characters are difficult to connect with and their thick Louisiana accents can be troublesome to comprehend at times. However, as the film progresses and you witness the predicaments of the people, you slowly begin to latch on to them – Especially little Hushpuppy, played beautifully by Quvenzhané Wallis.

(Quvenzhané Wallis)Wallis’ performance is astonishingly natural for a first time actor of five years old. Her innocence and strength keep you interested in the film, even if the story appears to drift at times.

Writers Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, who also directed the film, deliver a psychological look into the daily life of the neglected and underprivileged people of the world.

(Quvenzhané Wallis), (Benh Zeitlin)For the DVD home release, the original film is given good video transfer, even if there is an excessive amount of film grain. The audio, however, is top notch. Subtle details are everywhere to be found and the use of bass at the appropriate moments really adds weight to certain scenes. The special features are solid and include an in-depth, 18 minute Behind the Scenes featurette, Deleted Scenes with director commentary, some of the audition footage for the father and daughter leads, and the short that led to this movie, Glory At Sea.

(Quvenzhzé Wallis), (Dwight Henry)Bottom Line: This movie has Oscar nominations written all over it and the DVD release is one any movie fan will want to check out.

Movie Grade A-
Blu Ray Grade B+

Runtime: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Titanic: DVD Review

Titanic miniseries is in stores on April 23rd. Courtesy of eOne Media

In 1997, James Cameron delivered the story of Titanic centred around a love story which turned into a worldwide phenomenon grossing $1.87 billion. Just the thought of making a miniseries about the tragic event must have been daunting, but director Jon Jones and writer Julian Fellows proved up to the task.

Rather than simply following one story, this miniseries follows a variety of people on the ship’s brief endeavour across the Atlantic Ocean. From a builder, to the maids and crew, all the way up to the upper-class, Titanic gives us perspective on the lives aboard the majestic ship.

Each of the four 40-minute installments gives insight into different stories, changing the focus with each episode. This works in some ways, but fails in others. The story seems to accelerate through the events in the first episode leaving you puzzled as to what will take place in the remaining episodes. This confusion momentarily takes you out of the drama; that is until the second episode begins and you realize what the rhythm and structure of the series is supposed to be.

The acting from the vast cast is top-notch, as are the stories and dialogue. Stand out performances among them are Peter McDonald, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Toby Jones, and Jenna-Louise Coleman.

Regardless of this folly, the production value is pretty high for this miniseries and it is transferred very nicely to DVD. The visuals and audio are of higher quality than your average television show – Almost reaching cinematic levels.

Special features have been handed out in spades on this DVD release. They include, Making-of Featurettes, Titanic: Behind-the-Production, The Curse of the Titanic Sisters Documentary, Photo Gallery, Time lapse Set Build, Character Profiles, and a Trailer.

Bottom Line: This is a must see for those interested in something beyond the Jack and Rose love story. You’ll be taken back and thrown into the lives of the tragically lost as well as the sorrowful survivors.

Runtime: 187 minutes plus bonus materials
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1