SPECIAL BLOG POST – THE 21 TIMELINES OF “BACK TO THE FUTURE”

In preparation of our Retrospective Podcasts in October this year, and in celebration of the original film’s 30th Anniversary, I present to you… The 21 Timelines of: Bet you thought there was just 1 timeline. Well you’re wrong. There are no fewer than 21 timelines in the “Back To The Future” series (although we only ever see 7 of them). But before I break it all down for you, let me explain the 3 Laws of Back To The Future’s Time Travel. Law #1: Travelling forward in time causes no adverse effects in your own timeline. If I were to travel from … More…

BLU-RAY DISC REVIEW – NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)

At last! It took years and years, but I finally own a Blu-ray copy of an Alfred Hitchcock film! And though it may not be the title many of you expected (sorry, Norman Bates fans), it’s nevertheless one of the director’s finest and most revered efforts. In fact, when screenwriter Ernest Lehman first began collaborating with the Master of Suspense, he aspired to create “the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures,” and many would agree “North By Northwest” is just that. The quintessential chase film, a blueprint for the modern action epic, and Hitchcock’s personal homage to himself, this captivating … More…

BLU-RAY DISC REVIEW – WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (1988)

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” has aged remarkably well. 27 years after it’s release, in a time when mixing live-action with CG creations is commonplace, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is still relevant. The way the live-action characters – Bob Hoskins specifically – interact with the animated characters is just as believable as modern day movies that are working with exponentially more technology than Robert Zemeckis had in 1988. It wasn’t the first time that animation and live-action were mixed, but it was the best. Zemeckis gave an interview in 2013 in which he discussed how they were able to create the … More…

BLU-RAY DISC REVIEW – ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968)

Roman Polanski made his American debut with “Rosemary’s Baby,” a slow-burn of a thriller that started a filmmaking trend throughout the 1970s with themes about the supernatural and black magic. The director was already known throughout Europe for his exquisitely manufactured work in “Repulsion” and “Knife In The Water,” but American audiences were unprepared for the auteur’s creative and highly stylistic approach for generating suspense. A straightforward plot concerning a young woman’s suspicions of her husband and neighbours is made into an unsettling and often mind-bending trip through paranoia and terror. Part of the radical filmmaking techniques growing at the … More…

BLU-RAY DISC REVIEW – SIGNS (2002)

“Signs” represents the zenith of several of my favorite genres, including alien invasion, tension-based horror (as opposed to splatter horror), lost faith renewed, and the notion that everything in life serves a purpose. The latter isn’t necessarily a genre or sub-genre, but it is a device found in many movies. Sometimes the audience will be shown a glimpse of something odd and our movie radar, built on years of watching films, tells us that that snippet of information will be crucial in the end. While “Signs” follows this convention, it’s not in-your-face obvious for the first time viewer, and despite … More…

BLU-RAY DISC REVIEW: AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)

The year is 1981, the year “An American Werewolf in London” was released, and the words “horror” and “comedy” were considered two incompatible cinematic beasts. Sure, one could always find some humour (of the blackest variety) in the classic Universal monster movies of yesteryear, but if you wanted to laugh as well as scream, it was strictly an old episode of “The Three Stooges” or vintage “Abbott & Costello” – and those were straight spoofs. It wasn’t until John Landis’ “An American Werewolf In London” that a mainstream American picture would arguably succeed at equally balancing the laughs and the … More…

BLU-RAY DISC REVIEW: COMMANDO (1985)

The moment I first took my Blu-ray copy of “Commando” for a spin, the sharp stink of testosterone and ’80s machismo filled my home theatre. I have to admit to spending many a school evening watching shoddy VHS copies of Schwarzenegger flicks like “Commando,” “Predator,” and “The Terminator“. Even then, I knew “Commando” wasn’t subject to the same rules as other films. I didn’t care about its shallow plot, its clichéd cardboard characters, or it’s laughably indulgent violence. No sir, all I cared about was having a good time watching Arnold Schwarzenegger tear through a horde of baddies. I remember … More…

BLU-RAY DISC REVIEW: SE7EN (1995)

It begins with the most unconventional of murders – an obese man forced to eat until his stomach bursts. The next crime is no less gruesome – an attorney with a pound of flesh cut from his side, pressed to do the grisly carving himself. For Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) the two crimes have a striking similarity, but nothing concrete to tie them together. But a second pass through the first victim’s house reveals the theme – the Seven Deadly Sins, gluttony being the first and greed the second. With five more sins to explore, the killer’s spree is … More…

BLU-RAY DISC REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS II (1989)

(Disc Released: 23/10/14) Given that 2014 marked the thirtieth and twenty-fifth anniversaries respectively of “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II”, Reel Chat gave me the opportunity to re-watch them.  This can be something of a perilous exercise – bringing an analytical eye to a movie that carries such personal nostalgic weight for me – but I almost always walk away with an enhanced appreciation for the film in question, be it a newfound recognition of it’s merits or a clearer grasp of it’s shortcomings. Much has been written about “Ghostbusters”; much less about “Ghostbusters II”. In the years since it’s release, the latter has … More…

BLU-RAY DISC REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

(Disc Released: 23/10/14) As part of Reel Chat’s introductory episode, it’s been a real pleasure to sit down and enjoy Ivan Reitman’s 80s sci-fi comedy classic “Ghostbusters” – in it’s 30th Anniversary re-release on Blu-ray. From the Columbia Pictures logo, accompanied by Elmer Bernstein’s eerie score, to the moment the iconic theme song is cued, a smile full of fond memories plasters itself to my face. It’s an effective opening sequence that generates interest with a farcical, light-hearted air of spookiness and mystery. Everything that follows is a grandiose spectacle of comedy and special effects, enhanced by an outstanding cast that … More…