Friday, February 29, 2008

30 Days of Night Blu-ray Review

30 Days of Night is well worth a look on Blu-ray disc.

I, for the most part, enjoyed 30 Days of Night when I saw it in theatres back in October. I'm a huge survival-horror fan and with vampires thrown into the mix it was hard for me not to be attracted to the film. However, the movie is far from perfect. The setup isn't that strong and a lot of the dialogue is too loaded to be taken seriously. I was entertained by 30 Days of Night but was disappointed it wasn't able to introduce anything new to the now-stagnant vampire genre. Regardless, I like the flick and made sure to pick it up on Blu-ray on Tuesday. Keep reading for a full review of what's on the disc.

PICTURE: 30 Days of Night has a very distinct visual style that looks amazing on Blu-ray disc. The transfer is nearly perfect and really shows off the film's desaturated imagery along with the vibrant red splashes of blood. The picture's detail is simply amazing as you can see every bump on someone's face or count every stitch in their uniform. If you thought the gore looked gruesome before wait until you see it in full detail on Blu-ray disc.

However, the picture does have a few problems. There is a slight halo effect due to edge enhancement in some scenes causing a thin white outline visible around some characters. It doesn't plague the entire film but is noticeable in some of the wide angle shots. There is also quite a bit of grain during some of the darker scenes but that isn't necessarily the fault of the transfer. Don't let these minor complaints fool you, 30 Days of Night looks breathtaking on Blu-ray and is one of the best looking HD transfers I've seen.

AUDIO: The audio quality of the disc is simply astounding. The audio is delivered in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Sound which chills you to the bone. The dynamic range of the film's audio is expansive and as clear as can be. The movie's score sounds amazing here and really sets the mood and never dips too high or too low as to overwhelm the experience. A poor audio performance would ruin this movie before the opening titles were shown but 30 Days of Night sounds amazing.

DVD EXTRAS: 30 Days of Night has a few bonus features on the disc but I would have liked to see more. There's an awkward commentary track featuring Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, and producer Rob Tapert but it isn't that great and doesn't warrant a listen. I would have loved to hear director David Slade's thoughts on his film but we're unable to with this disc. The Blu-ray also features eight HD behind-the-scenes featurettes which provide a decent peek into the production of the film. They are pretty interesting and well worth a look but not as effective as they could have been.

One bonus feature on the disc that is pretty cool is a graphic novel-to-film slideshow comparison. Here you can flip through images from the film and see the original Ben Templesmith art that inspired it. It's interesting to see where the film copied Templesmith's layout exactly and where they changed things up.

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you're a fan of survival horror or just a casual vampire fan 30 Days of Night is a must watch on Blu-ray disc. The Blu-ray transfer is almost perfect and really showcases what the HD format can do.

Click HERE to buy 30 Days of Night over at Amazon.


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Thursday, February 28, 2008

First Full-Length Iron Man Trailer

After releasing a few teasers earlier this year Paramount has finally released a full-length trailer for their upcoming May release.

The first full-length trailer for Iron Man, which was shown off at WonderCon last weekend, aired tonight on ABC during LOST. Check it out below or visit IGN if you wish to watch in high-resolution.

The trailer features quite a bit of old footage but also showcases some previously unseen content that is quite a treat. The more footage of Robert Downey Jr I see from Iron Man the more I can picture him as Tony Stark. I was on board with the actor portraying Stark from the beginning but I'm more and more impressed with every new bit of footage. This Marvel release is really looking promising and I can't wait to check out the final film.

Iron Man hits theatres on May 2nd. MediaZEALOT will keep you up to date on the film leading up to its release.


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TOP 10: Talent Under 25

MediaZEALOT counts down the top ten performers under the age of 25.

It's Thursday so once again MediaZEALOT has another Top 10 list ready to go. This week we're counting down the top 10 working actors today under the age of 25. It's an interesting look at young stars in Hollywood and may speculate who'll be running the show in a decade or two. Sit back and enjoy.

10. Evan Rachel Wood - Age 20

Evan Rachel Wood started with TV at the age of seven but moved on to feature before the age of 10. The actress has started to make a name for herself in independent film and has a knack for choosing roles that are far from traditional. The actress has some great films on the horizon with Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, a currently untitled Woody Allen project, and Charles Sturridge's Brontë. She's a raw talent that puts her character before her image and has the potential to go a long way in the future.

9. Scarlett Jonansson - Age 23

Scarlett Johansson has been part of the motion picture scene since the age of 10 but has really made a name for herself since her role in 2003's Lost in Translation. While many criticize the Johansson's talent she no doubtably has a knack for choosing great roles and has managed to become somewhat of a modern sex symbol. The New York-born actress will continue to remain in the limelight as long as she continues to choose excellent films to work on such as Frank Miller's upcoming The Spirit adaptation.

8. Jonah Hill - Age 24

Jonah Hill gained some attention for his minor role in Judd Apatow's The 40 Year Old Virgin but didn't make a big splash until his involvement in Knocked up and Superbad a year later. The California-born actor is an improv wizard and steals the show in practically every scene he's in. Jonah Hill will continue to be a player in the comedy scene for years to come.

7. Daniel Radcliffe - Age 18

Everybody knew Daniel Radcliffe was going to be huge as soon as he signed on to the first Harry Potter film. The young actor loves to perform and has a great future ahead of him. It'll be interesting to see if the Brit can make a name for himself outside of the Potter franchise but he seems confident in doing so. We'll see what happens to Daniel Radcliffe. He could be a top talent in Hollywood in the years to come or he may just fade off after Harry Potter's story ends.

6. Emily Blunt - Age 25

Emily Blunt sneaks onto this list as the oldest member of its cast. While technically not under the age of 25 she just had a birthday a few days ago so we'll let it slide. The London-born actress took off after the 2006 release of The Devil Wears Prada and has quickly become one of Hollywood's most talented young actresses. The Golden Globe-winning Blunt will be pushed even further into the spotlight in 2009 with the female lead in Joe Johnston's The Wolf Man remake. Keep your eyes on Emily Blunt as she's on pace to do some great things.

5. Michael Cera - Age 19

Another talented improv comedian on our list is Canadian-born Michael Cera. Cera has been a TV star since the age of 10 but didn't come into his own until 2003's Arrested Development. The comedian was pushed even further into the spotlight this past summer with a starring role in the Judd Apatow-produced Superbad and this winter in the Oscar-winning Juno. Cera has a bright future with Harold Ramis' The Year One currently filming and the Arrested Development movie just announced.

4. Emile Hirsch - Age 22

Emile Hirsch broke onto the movie scene in 2002 after a very spotty five-year TV career. The California-born actor is a double threat able to conquer both comedic roles and also those that demand a more dramatic approach. He recently starred in the Sean Penn directed Into the Wild and has a lead role in the upcoming Wachowski Speed Racer film due out this summer. Emile Hirsch has accomplished all this the while sneaking under the radar. He is not yet a family name and hasn't yet starred in any box office hits but I get the feeling he's got a talent that will push him and set him apart from the other actors in his generation.

3. Ellen Page - Age 21

Oscar-nominee Ellen Page has been thrust into public eye recently after the well-received independent film Juno. The Canadian actress is a threat all across the board as she's proven herself in a spectrum of genres and films. Whether it's the action packed X-Men 3, the twisted Hard Candy, or the reckless Trailer Park Boys Ellen Page has shown she can play the part. Unfortunately the 21 year old star won't hit the silver screen again until 2009 in the upcoming Drew Barrymore directed Whip It! as well as Sam Raimi's horror flick Drag Me to Hell. Page no doubtably has a plethora of scripts at her disposal after her Oscar nom and it'll be interesting to see where she'll go in the next two or three years.

2. Keira Knightley - Age 22

Keira Knightley is another Oscar nominated young actress on this week's top 10 list. The 22 year old Brit become an overnight sensation after her starring role in 2o02's Bend it Like Beckham. Since then Knightley has established herself in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise as well as in critically acclaimed period pieces Pride & Prejudice and Atonement. She continues to grow as an actress by choosing untraditional roles but has managed to stay in the spotlight by stringing together quite a few box-office hits.

1. Shia LaBeouf - Age 21

Number one on our list is the always entertaining Shia LaBeouf. Shia's stock has been one the rise since his role in TV's Even Stevens and he has proven he can be a box-office pull at the young age of 21. LaBeouf is always a treat to watch and has a very strong sense of timing and a great comedic touch. He's shown the ability to create great chemistry with anyone he works with and has all the potential in the world right now. He's also done well with making great connections in the industry as he's currently best buds with Steven Spielberg and his cast of cronies. With a major role in the fourth Indiana Jones film due out this summer as well as Michael Bay's Transformers sequel well on its way it'll be hard to avoid this young leading male.

Well, that it's for this week's Top 10 list. What did you think? Disagree with my order or opinion? Post a comment and tell me where I went wrong. Check back next Thursday for another Top 10 list.


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Warner Bros Absorbs New Line

The most successful independent studio over the last 40 years has joined Warner Bros.

New Line Cinema, due to repeating box office failures including last year's The Golden Compass, has turned to the Warner Bros juggernaut for help. The always-independent studio which produced such trilogies as Austin Powers, Rush Hour, and The Lord of the Rings has been forced to throw in the towel and will now be a subsidiary of Time Warner. The studio will continue to release films but most likely in a more condensed fashion than before.

It's too bad that New Line is forced to make this move. They have always been ready to push their films over the line and take risks other studios wouldn't dare dream of. While they didn't have much success last year I would have liked to see them stick it out just a bit longer to try and save their 40 year history of independence. Then again, I'm sure this deal will help their cause and with any luck they'll be able to continue to produce excellent films.

What do you guys think of this acquisition by Time Warner? Post a comment and let me know.


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Official Wall-E One Sheet

Pixar has released the official movie poster for their next big animated release.

The final theatrical poster for Pixar's Wall-E has been released and will most likely start showing up wherever posters are hung in the next few weeks. Check it out below:

This is a much better poster than the boring white teaser Pixar released a few months back and really sets a good tone for the animated film. While the movie has been getting a ton of buzz leading up to it's June release I'm still not sold. Then again, I've had a really hard time buying into most of the CG-animated films released over the past few years, they just aren't my thing.

Wall-E lands in theatres on June 27th.


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New Trailer for Get Smart

Peter Segal's film adaptation of the 1960 TV show now has a second trailer.

I'm looking forward Get Smart's summer release later this year. The TV show was great and It'll be interesting to see how the film adaptation is handled. I liked everything I saw in the teaser trailer that's been out for a few months but wanted to see more footage from the movie. Thankfully Warner Bros has answered my prayers and released a second Get Smart trailer which is now online. Check it out below or visit Apple for HD.

[Javascript required to view Flash movie, please turn it on and refresh this page]

The second trailer looks pretty good and features quite a good mix of funny dialogue and slapstick humour. It would be easy to rely on cheap laughs in a film like this but it appears Segal is staying away from as many as he can, at least in the trailer. A lot of the comedy in this film will fall on the shoulders of its superb cast but I have no doubts they can pull it off. Steve Carell is a genius and while he has been playing similar roles in most films I don't see myself getting sick of him anytime soon. I'm also a huge Anne Hathaway fan and can always enjoy a great performance by Alan Arkin. The Rock and Terrence Stamp fill out the rest of the cast.

Get Smart hits theatres on June 20th. I'm really rooting for the film and hope it's successful. The public will no doubt compare this to Austin Powers but from what I've seen Get Smart will knock Mike Myers' dumbed down spy comedy out of the water.


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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Juno's Blu-ray Cover is Awesome

The Blu-ray cover for Juno's upcoming April 15th DVD release is well worth a second look.

I enjoyed Juno. I thought it was a good film and I had a good time watching it. However, I didn't buy into the hype. I think the film has been awarded a ton of recognition that it doesn't deserve but understand why it has gotten so much attention. I was therefore uncertain whether or not I'd be picking up the DVD come it April 15th shelf date. That was until I saw the Blu-ray cover.

The cover for Juno is by far the best cover currently out there for a Blu-ray disc. It's a great original piece of art that pops out at you all the while keeping with the film's forced independent feel. It's almost as good as the HD DVD cover for David Fincher's Zodiac. Many overlook the importance of a good cover when it comes to a DVD release. I'm often swayed by excellent cover art and can be completely turned off of a good film's DVD simply because of a poor presentation.

The Juno DVD also comes with a digital copy that you can upload to any computer with a valid iTunes account. The movie file can then be downloaded to your iPod or iPhone and viewed on the go. Whether or not the digital version will be in high-def has not been announced but I would assume it will be. Apple announced this feature last month and currently Fox is the only studio taking part.

Juno comes out on DVD on April 15th and will feature a single-disc and two-disc release along with Blu-ray. Click HERE to pre-order your copy at Amazon.

What are some of your favourite DVD covers? Post a comment and let me know.


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October 2009 is Where the Wild Things Are

Spike Jonze's problematic adaptation of the children's book will hit cinemas in October 2009.

Spike Jonze has had a ton of trouble with the film adaptaion of Where the Wild Things Are. The Being John Malkovich director had originally planned to release the film through Universal in 2001, it didn't work out. He then took his ideas to Warner Bros. who bought the rights to the film and pre-production soon got underway. In April of 2006 Jonze began shooting the film in Australia, a production that lasted a long nine months. The film has been in post-production since February of 2007.

It now appears Warner Bros. wants to go back and re-shoot the majority of the movie. The studio showcased the partially-completed film in front of three test audiences in Pasadena and found that it didn't work out as expected. Warner thinks the tone of Jonze's film is too dark and scary and not suited for children. The studio also has problems with actor Max Records playing the lead role in the film and stated that it's hard to connect with his character. Re-shooting the majority of the film will take months and therefore the release date has been pushed back until October 2009, a date 20 months away.

While I understand Where the Wild Things Are is a children's book and the film should be aimed at a younger audience I'd love to see Jonze's more adult-themed adaptation. The footage of the film released two weeks ago looked great and while it was clearly a work in progress it showed a great amount of potential. Maybe Jonze's original WTWTA will be pressed onto a director's cut DVD someday, you never know.

Haven't seen the clip, check it out below. Keep in mind that this is merely a proof of concept test and doesn't include the real voices or completed effects from the film.

Hopefully Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are is able to go problem-free from this point on and manages to hit theatres in October 2009.


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New Hulk, Wolverine Pics

Empire Online has revealed some new pictures from Marvel's upcoming franchise reboots.
New images from both this summer's The Incredible Hulk and next year's X-Men Origins: Wolverine have popped up over at Empire Online.

There are two images from Hulk, one showing Ed Norton losing his cool and the other of William Hurt as General Ross. Both of these pictures are fairly interesting but what I really want to see is a film still of The Hulk in action. Marvel probably won't show one until closer to the film's June release date but I can wait. Click HERE to check out the Empire Hulk pics.

The picture released from X-Men Origins: Wolverine is similar to the first official picture from the film. The image portrays Hugh Jackman's Wolverine to be more aggressive this go around. Hopefully this means we'll see a grittier Logan come next summer. Check out the picture HERE.

MediaZEALOT will continue to post updates on The Incredible Hulk and X-Men Origins: Wolverine leading up their release dates.


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Harley Quinn in TDK?

Soap Opera star's agent lists The Dark Knight as one of her current productions.

RDF Management, a talent agency based out of London, has listed the role of Harley Quinn in The Dark Knight on one of its client's pages. Click HERE to check it out. According to the agency Sarah Jayne Dunn will play the supervillainess in this summer's Batman film. Christopher Nolan has denied the character's involvement in the film up to this point but has not yet commented on today's recent discovery.

I doubt that Dunn will be showing off the red and black tights in TDK. Nolan wouldn't introduce a third villain into the mix and I doubt that it would be kept secret for this long if he had done so. I can see the British actress playing a small role as one of The Joker's accomplices in the film but not in traditional Harley Quinn form.

Then again, Sarah Jayne Dunn is a soap opera star. It's hard to believe someone from mid-afternoon TV would have a chance at coming out on top in an audition for Chris Nolan.

We'll find out soon enough whether or not Harley Quinn will be a part of The Dark Knight. MediaZEALOT will keep you posted on all things TDK up until its release in July.


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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Metal Gear Solid 4 Release Date Announced

Konami has revealed that MGS4 will have a street date of June 12th.

It appears that Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots finally has a release date. Konami has announced they plan to ship the game for a June 12th street date and that a Metal Gear PS3 bundle will come out around the same time.

This is the game the PS3 needs to gain momentum as a gaming system. The PS3 has been picking up quite a bit of steam lately with the recent success of Sony's Blu-ray format. However, many are viewing the console as a cheap Blu-ray player and not as a gaming system. Sony needs to start releasing quality games for their machine as MGS4 will be a giant step in the right direction.

Sony has plans to release a Metal Gear PS3 bundle around the same time as the game's release in June. The bundle will include an 80GB PS3, a recently announced Dual Shock 3 controller, and Metal Gear 4 along with an online start pack.

Speaking of online, Sony has revealed that gamers who pre-order Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots will be accepted into an online beta similar to what Bungie did with Halo 3 last spring. The beta plans to begin in late April and there has been no word on how long it will last.

Metal Gear 4
should be a great game and provide the push Sony needs to sell their PS3 as a gaming system. Keep checking back to MediaZEALOT as we'll provide MGS4 updates leading up to its release.


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