Showing posts from February, 2010

Leatherheads – movie review

George Clooney is a man identified with the cool, especially after Ocean 11, and he has successfully ventured into directing, and this is his third outing. He has picked a show about the pro football when leather instead of plastic was used to make the headgear, and he has made a movie which is delicate, yet funny and has plenty of demo worthy scenes to offer.

It’s a sports movie, a romance and a comedy, and he pulls it off with good contribution when he is in front of the camera, with good efforts by the lead actress Renee and of course the newbie Krasinski, the “Bullet”, and plenty of good enthusiasm by the supporting cast. There is the old sporting against the odds theme, plus a three way romance, and the additional pot boiler of some hidden skeletons in the closet to add spice to the show.

The result is a movie which is nostalgic, yet refreshing and the quality of the Blu Ray transfer is highly impressive, especially in the video section where, the clarity and lack of any defects …

Knowing – movie review

Premonition is a popular theme, which excites and can be the recipe for a decent yarn. Nicolas Cage is no stranger to this, having done “Next”, in which he has the power of foresight. This movie is pretty much like a revised version of that, with a better plot and tighter editing, almost as though someone had taken the plot of Next and shaken out all the bad parts and replaced it with a slight better story arc and acting he made the mistake of retaining Nic. You could have replaced him with a better actor and still get as much out of the show.

So a little note buried in the 50s holds the secrets to major disasters for the next 50 years. You get some suspense here, and there seems to be a predilection for end of the world type shows in the recent box office, and what you get here, is a thriller about how our world unravels.

This movie is noteworthy more for the demo scenes, such as the plane crash, where the whole HT system gets a great workout. 3.5/5 for action, 2.5/5 for the plot.


2012 – movie review

Roland Emmerich is the master of disaster. He has wiped out LA, parts of NYC and many other places in his previous movies, which boast bigger and badder scenes of destruction. Mayhem is his middle name and each year, he comes up with something else to wipe out or threaten the survival of the human race.

2012 is his latest offering, which combines his trademark ingredients of a collection of A-grade stars plus another bunch of B+ stars (cheaper to hire?) and what tickled me most – a local talent in the form of Chin Han, who actually makes it to the credits and the IMDB website for this show! Kudos to the journeyman who has rubbed shoulders with the megastars in Batman and now this.

The premise is not unfamiliar to us, Earth is about to be destroyed, of course having used up Godzilla, Aliens, and the weather, he reaches deeper into his rather shallow thinking box to combine apocalyptic events with a event twist, whilst throwing in stories of old, including the Great Flood and the Ark.…

Best coffee in Sydney - Vella Nero

I used to regard Campos as the best coffee in Sydney (, and I still have a couple of bags of the good stuff in my home, but a recent jaunt Down Under has allowed me to try a new place.

Its Vella Nero, downtown, at Shop 3 / 259 Clarence Street in the CBD. I have to thank Danny for this, but it was a fortuitous event, as we just slipped into the shop near closing time and the staff were still ever so warm, allowing us to savor our java and ask questions whilst they waited for us to finish.

I have a latte, and the taste was sublime, with just enough milk flavor that did not overpower the scent and taste of coffee.

The place was warm, but it was obviously meant for the hordes which throng the place at lunch hour, and by 4pm when it closed, it was a quiet little place, which suited me fine.

Come down, gaze at the rows of pots, the slim narrow configuration of the shop, or simply steal peeks at the lovely ladies who ser…

Transporter 3 - review

The transporter series will never win an Oscar. Yet the potent mix of fast action, mixed with plenty of explosions, and beautiful women plus the dry humor of the eminently likeable Jason Statham as a retired ex military sort with an ability to kick butts is a tempting proposition.The success of number 1 made it a commercial necessity to make the sequel, but this failed rather badly at the box office so it was brave of the production team to attempt number 3.The usual elements which made the first 2 shine are there, and it keeps through to a simple plot which makes the movie tick and allow the action scenes and the Cory Yuen choreographed fight scenes to speak for themselves.A razor thin plot about getting a hot chick from point A to point B whilst having a proximity fused bomb on his wrist is the how the story unfolds.There is plenty of action, and Jason makes a good choice as an action hero laced with his dry humour which on the odd occasion, makes the wry smile plastered on a tacitu…



You could call this a Nemo meets Little Mermaid in Japanese and it would be fine. You could also call it a very simple love story that transcends age as the protagonists are 5 year olds (or at least one and a little goldfish). But the director Miyazaki who did works like “Spirited Away” has done well again to create a relatively simple and straight forward story that audiences from all age groups can enjoy, and then go back and watch it again for more nuances and detail, despite the simple story, which consists of a goldfish child of the sea wizard and the sea goddess who falls in love with a little boy and the story of how they get separated and re-united.

The animation is traditional 2 D here, no fancy Pixar CGI, yet, without the usual eye-popping colors and dimensions, you still get a good sense of movement and the imagination in the director’s mind.
Plot 4.5/5
Action : despite being an anime, with the DTS-ES equipped HK DVD, the surrounds are well used for ambience …

Terminator Salvation

With a base of Terminator fans and an almost impossible task of surpassing T2, what can this summer blockbuster movie in this yet another franchise reboot offer? The key lies in the opposite to T2 where the term “Liquid Metal” was introduced to an good effect to win a special effects Oscar, and here the key lies in the ‘human’ element, which is cleverly used to differentiate this from the previous 3 movies and other recent bit shows.

Every filmmaker in recent times has realized the reboot technique works allowing you to keep old fans happy (witness the use of “I’ll be back”) and yet allows the director to take the film into a new chapter to win new fans. But CGI and big explosions can only make a movie half decent, the additional elements of using a “who am I” theme added to flesh out the so called enemy and the effect of blurring the lines of who is your enemy makes this better than just a short action movie with lots of big bangs.

But do not get me wrong. The is a movie where you g…

Mall Cop

Kevin James is the kind of likeable chubby fellow who walks on to the screen and with each of his chubby steps begs us to like him. He milks every known cliché about the luckless fat guy who falls in love and wins the heart of the babe and defeats the bad guys. This is a feel good movie, so you would want everything to go to plan and it does.
A simple by the book plot is carried by good chemistry between the leads, plus the bad guys and the obnoxious actors genuinely ham it up to make you detest them, yet its all good fun. There is a body count and swear words, so its not totally kid friendly. Plot: 3/5
Chick Factor: one reasonably attractive actress 3/5
Action: some skate board, slides and physical humor, but this is no Die Hard 2.5/5
So where does this movie lie? It is funny, and a good enough diversion for a Saturday afternoon rental.


This is another family orientated movie, which is played to its best by Brendan Fraser, who is the master of the Indiana Jones Lite movies, as seen from his ventures into the Mummy Franchise, Journey to the Centre of the Earth etc. he has an able supporting cast and despite the PG rating, gives adequate development to the plot, the emotions and family dynamics, even though the mother/wife does little.

A plot that reminds you of Jumanji is the basis of the story but Brendan manages to carry it off. Plot 3/5

Action: there is plenty of adventure, and it is all in good fun, with little blood, so you can bring junior to this. 3/5

Chick factor: apart from a sweet young lady who plays his daughter, there is little eye candy 2/5

I would say this is worth a rent and those with kids may even consider a purchase if junior likes it. It has elements of honor, honesty and family in it.

Review of Star Trek

What makes a successful blockbuster? The current trend of series re-boots has been emulated by many, after the initial success of franchises like Superman, Batman, James Bond amongst others. This approach is also adopted by Star Trek, which also has a large following, with a fan base that spans at least 3 decades, which rivals the James Bond one in size.So how do you keep the old faithful happy and attract new fans? Well first make sure the old names are there; Spock (in which Leonard Nimoy actually plays an older Spock), Kirk, Sulu, Scotty are all here. The Enterprise looks identical, and the cockpit is similar. Then add some cute new faces who have become hot young stars that have begun attract their own fans in other productions. Throw in some kick ass action scenes with enough but not too much CGI, and mix… then sit back and wait for the billions that adoring fans will bring. And indeed, this is one spectacular show on many fronts.But we all know that some who have the same mix ha…

Up -uplifting the eyes, ears and heart

Apart from some forgettable short films in the past, today is the first time I tried a 3-D movie and what better way to get introduced to this than a movie which has so many dimensions and stimulates your eyes, is a real sonic treat for the ears and stirs your heart all in an hour and a half. Throw in a great short film called Partly Cloudy to start it, and you will leave the cinema with a smile, guaranteed…SPOILER ALERTThis movie is not your usual kiddie animation offering from Pixar, and whilst it retains the high quality productions bursting with rich colors, what makes it stand out, literally too, is the storyline. The 3 D is sharp, and the goggles offered at the Orchard Cineleisure were clean and effective in bringing out the effects. You could almost reach out and touch the characters on the screen. I was seated dead centre too, and I guess that helped. But the heart and soul of this story of love, adventure and the relationship between a grumpy old man and the boy is a journey …

Sherlock Holmes is anything but elementary

2009 was a year of franchise reboots which allowed movies which have gone stale to get off to a new start. What better way to start 2010 than with a successful reboot of one of the oldest.History affords us wisdom and 20/20 insight into what makes for a successful plot and a great movie. You have a good buddy partnership to kick things off, a good old cop theme, with a suspense thriller thrown in, spice things up with a sexy yet spunk maiden, add lots of gadget or intriguing science and  finally bring it into the 21st century with a bang, or rather, lots of them. This same mix has worked well for movies as diverse as can be, from Lethal Weapon, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Austin Powers to even McGuyver. Guy Ritchie is Brit and has done some snappy movies, and he carries his signature style of fast flashbacks, tight editing peppered with good action sequences in between. Traditionalists may baulk at having Downey JR as Holmes, and the portrayal has him as more of an eccentric with flash…

Avatar review

Right, lets get this over with, and get to the ratings. I gave this 8/10 for the CGI, the sound effects and the whole 3D presentation. Truly James Cameron is the master of big blockbuster hits which have spanned stuff like Titanic, Abyss, True Lies, Terminator I & II, but I also gave the movie 4/10 for the story. So now for the details…3D is 2010’s new fangled way of seducing movie goers back to the big screen, just as franchise re-boots were the order of the day in 2009. as DVDs and Blu Ray become more pervasive, it can be almost as good to watch your favorite movie in the comforts of your home, especially if you possess a kick-ass surround system. However current technology will not come anywhere close to the kind of eye-popping effects that a jaunt to the cinema with 3D will provide. So for the good stuff first. Cameron has spared no expense to create a whole new world, the screen is filled with vibrant colors, and there are ambient surround effect…

9 is a Perfect 10

Tim Burton does not make many ordinary movies. Even when he makes a movie about an apocalyptic event, he is able to put his personal touches to it and add mystery, terror and adventure all in the same plot.Using cartoon animation instead of his previous work of stop action type animation, he is able to render rich colors and construct a world dominated by machines terrorizing the last few survivors created by a Professor. However this is not merely some recreation of Terminator Salvation and does not make you want to compare the product with James Cameron’s previous works. However the science and the surround effect is brilliant and this Blu Ray disc is a reference material disc. Sound quality and picture quality are all top notch and the DTS-MA 5.1 surrounds you with a world filled with details and the bass adds not only thump during explosions, but more importantly ambience and suspense. There is plenty of action, but little by way of the chick factor.It will take you more than one …

2010 the year of great promise

2009 to 2010 - the year in summary (on music, home theatre and hi fi)2010 the year of great promiseAfter a rather dreary 2009, where most of us spent the year cowering from the pains of the recession, 2010 can be a great year in which we look forward to a better year and also more in our pockets for our extreme hobby – HT & Hi Fi!The year 2009 began with a dearth of Blu Ray players, despite the format’s victory. We were still forced to buy profile 1 or 1.1 players (see the often flogged Sony BD 300). Many discs bricked players and prices hovered around the 7xx or more mark. Quietly Samsung brought in their 1400 then the 1500 and this was the beginning of a quiet influx of BR buyers.Even so the PS 3 proved the most dependable player for playability (even to this date), although we do see some issues with the laser dying. PS 3 did not rest on its laurels but continued to drop prices, give us bigger HD, but the loss of SACD playback and even PS 2 compatibility was sorely missed.For B…

Oppo BD 80 Blu Ray player Review (Region Free Modified Version)

Oppo has been a leader in bringing high quality technology to the masses at a price which has been surprisingly competitive. I remember the first time I introduced it to an audiophile used to paying a few thousand for his CD players and I challenged him when I suggested he buy the 980 for his DVDs. I mentioned, that the cost of the player was a mere fraction of the cost of his cable and thus if it was a wrong investment, he would not fret. He still uses the player daily for his video needs.
The key feature of the Oppo players has been giant slaying performance with a highly competitive price. However the last 2 machines, the DVD only 983 and the BD 83, although very competent machines, have pushed Oppo prices to just beyond cheap. That meant that despite their ABT chips and impressive picture quality, they were slipping out of the cheap and good range. This left room for the introduction of an Oppo Lite, which had the speed of use of the Oppo BD 83 whilst being s…