Friday, November 28, 2008

Blu Christmas

I've made the decision.  This is the Christmas that I hope to jump on the Blu-Ray bandwagon.  Now, in the two years that it's been around, I've made it known just how pointless I find the whole hi-definition craze.  As far as I'm concerned, HD/Blu-Ray looks marginally better than standard definition, and that's it.  No need for me to make the upgrade unless I could go whole-hog and get a huge TV with 7.1 Surround Sound.  I've maintained the conspiracy theory that since hi-def popped onto the scene, the film and TV industries have been bringing the quality of standard definition significantly down instead of making HD significantly better.

No matter what direction the quality goes, HD and digital is the wave of the future, and I'd better get on the bandwagon sooner or later.  And with Blu-Ray finally becoming affordable (not to mention titles like Speed Racer and Wall-E finally on DVD), I figure now's the time.  If anything, it'll be a good excuse to upgrade my TV setup.

So the first question becomes: Blu-Ray player or Playstation 3?  Well, all the games that interest me on the PS3 are also available for the XBox 350, so what's the point in getting yet another gaming console?  Also, now that we're in the holiday season, players are available for as cheap as $130.  That's not bad.  Hundreds cheaper than a PS3.

Next comes the DVD selection.  Is having a Blu-Ray player enough to make me toss out my DVD collection and start all over?  Hell no.  I've spent too long building my collection to just start all over again.  And since Blu-Ray is backwards compatible, there's no need to throw standard DVDs out anyway.  Plus, as far as I'm concerned, there are really only certain movies that I'd want on Blu-Ray anyway.

Which brings me to my big issue in considering Blu-Ray.  Not every movie truly needs to be in high definition to be fully experienced.  Top of the line definition and sound clarity won't make a good line delivery sound any better.  1080i won't make an expertly lit and photographed scene play any better.  There's only so much that high-definition will do for a film.  My point is, the only films that truly benefit from Blu-Ray are action films, animation, space operas, basically anything that relies on CG (or practical) special effects.  

What would I want on Blu-Ray?  Iron Man, Wall-E, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Terminator 2, The Road Warrior, The Fifth Element... You get the idea.  The spectacles.  

What wouldn't I want on Blu-Ray?  The Departed, Talladega Nights, Superbad, Coming to America, Christmas Vacation... You get the idea.  The dramas and comedies.

Prime example: Burn After Reading.  There is nothing in that film that I feel truly warrants high definition to truly be enjoyed.  Higher definition isn't going to make Chad any funnier than he already is.  So I'll spare myself the extra $10 and pick this one up on standard DVD.

It'll be a game of pick and choose.  That is, of course, if I wake Christmas morning to a shiny new Blu-Ray player under the tree...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


So, I realize that my posting has been pretty erratic of late. As I've said many times over: school and life get in the way. Especially now, what with final projects all colliding to make me lose massive amounts of sleep. I'm sorry. I have to wonder just how many times I can say that before people start tuning me out all together.

But I won't have that. So starting December, not only am I going to impose a monthly schedule for myself, but I'm also going to start changing up what I write about, because I realize that for the past few months, all I ever talk about is movies. And it's not called "Movie Junkie Loudmouth", now is it?

Anyway... Here's the way I want my monthly schedule to look:

Sunday nights: Movie reviews from the preceding weekend. If I didn't get out to the theater, I can at least still ruminate on the weekend's selection.

Every other Wednesday night: I'll offer my thoughts on a pertinent pop culture topic. This might include the state of MPAA/ESRB ratings, current cultural touchstones, the future of the gaming/literature/film/TV/music industries, etc. I'll try to change things up so as to not talk about movies ALL the time.

Friday Nights: If I have anything to review aside from movies, this is when I'll post those.

Right there, that's a guaranteed 10 posts per month. In between, I plan on posting any interesting links or news articles I happen across on the web. That sounds fair, don't you think?

Also, I realize I have a back catalog of movies I need to be reviewing, and I think I'll probably just do a series of mini reviews, akin to what I ended up doing over the summer. Or who knows, I might surprise you and review each of them in full. At the very least, know that a full review of Quantum of Solace IS on the way. I'm still working on that one.

Please stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Open Letter to DVD Publishers


In an era where we can download movies off iTunes and Netflix with incredible ease, why on Earth do we need a physical disc that's essentially the same movie in a different format? I'll be the first to admit that I'd much rather have a physical copy of a movie rather than just downloading it out of the ether. But beyond the actual movie that I'm already paying for, why charge me more for a second copy of the same movie within the same damn packaging? If I wanted two copies of the movie, I'd just buy the movie twice. I just don't understand it. Sure, it's a legal means of ripping a digital copy to my computer or iPod, but even then, I don't need that. I've never once actually used this extra disc.

Digital is the next home movie format, as much as I hate to admit it. It's happening. That's fine. Look, I'm not against the digital copy as a feature. What I'm against is giving us a whole extra disc with nothing but the digital copy of the film. The special edition of Wall-E is marketed as a "3-disc set". Sure, there are two discs of the movie and special features. But then there's the third disc which is nothing but the digital copy. Why do I need that? Why couldn't the third disc be more features AND the digital copy? It's not like there isn't a precedent. My copies of Rambo and Live Free or Die Hard have digital copies as a special feature on disc 2, but there are other features on that disc. See? It can be done. I guess in the old days of digital copies, nobody realized that they could put the digital copy on a separate disc and charge us extra for a "special edition". It's price gouging at its most obvious.

Particularly with Wall-E, the inclusion of a third disc for the digital copy seems totally hypocritical. When your movie is all about being eco-friendly and urging us to stop being so wasteful, isn't it sort of counter-productive to then give us a third disc that we didn't need in the first place? With digital movie libraries growing every day, why couldn't Disney just pack in a user-code and let us download a digital copy directly from the Disney/PIXAR server at our convenience? Would that be so difficult? It's a waste of silicon to manufacture a third disc that will only be used once, if at all.

Speaking of which, what do you do with your digital copy disc once you've got the film on your hard drive? Presumably, you can only download the movie once (I don't know, I haven't bothered trying). Great, the disc is useless. Now what do you do with it? Personally, I say we collect all our Digital Copy discs and go skeet shooting.

Digital Copy discs. We don't need them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Greetings once again folks. School, life, other things got in the way the last week or so, and I apologize for not finishing out my Halloween month right. If it's any consolation, I did actually watch movies during those days. Once my courseload gets a bit calmer (working on a paper as we speak), I'll be back to give you all the skinny on some of the movies I've seen lately. When I return, you'll get reviews of: Sex Drive; Max Payne; RockNRolla; Zack & Miri Make a Porno.

But today, I want to tell you to get out there and vote! You've got the opportunity, especially in the battleground states, to swing this election!

No matter what you believe America needs right now, just get out there and cast your vote!