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Elysium Debuts on 4K Ultra HD on February 9

Elysium

Sony has announced that Elysium is coming to 4K Ultra HD on February 9 with hours of behind-the-scenes bonus materials.

Directed by Neil Blomkamp, the film features Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, and William Fichtner.

In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) will stop at nothing to preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium—but that doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in by any means they can. Max (Matt Damon) agrees to take on a life-threatening mission, one that could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

BONUS MATERIAL 
4K ULTRA HD BONUS DISC:

  • Exoskeletons, Explosions and the Action Choreography of Elysium
  • The Hero, The Psychopath and the Characters of Elysium
  • The Art of the Elysium Miniatures
  • Bugatti 2154
  • Theatrical Trailers

BLU-RAY™ DISC:

  • Collaboration: Crafting the Performances in Elysium
  • Engineering Utopia: Creating a Society in the Sky
  • Extended Scene
  • Visions of 2154 – An Interactive Exploration of the Art and Design of Elysium
  • In Support of the Story: The Visual Effects of Elysium
  • The Technology of 2154
  • The Journey to Elysium
    • Envisioning Elysium
    • Capturing Elysium
    • Enhancing Elysium

Movie Review: Downsizing

downsizing-posterHere’s a tiny review: this movie sucks.

For a movie about downsizing, Downsizing‘s glacially paced and two and a half hour runtime leave you wondering, “What was that?” It’s not a comedy — never funny — and if a drama doesn’t really stir any feelings one way or the other.

You think you know what this movie is about? You have no idea. If you’ve seen the trailers, you know Matt Damon (and a host of other people) shrink themselves to go live in a fabulous planned community where, because you’re so small, your dollar stretches farther.

Yeah, that’s not what this is at all. The entire impetus for downsizing is to save humanity from overpopulation, climate change, scarce resources, etc. But, of course, it gets used in different ways across the world.

Despots and warlords use it as an alternative to ethnic cleansing to get rid of certain populations. And, of course, in America, we turn it into a way for a normal working guy (like Damon) to live an upper-middle class bourgeoisie lifestyle. Once there, he finds an underclass still working there to prop up the rich and goes about trying to help them?

This could’ve been a movie about classism, but it fails miserably at that. There are glimpses of attempts to make small people second class citizens, but they never go anywhere.

It could’ve been a movie about environmentalism, but it fails equally as miserably at that– turning its environmentalist characters into punchlines and doomsday culters. Speaking of punchlines, the film is also filled with too many “we’re small and things are big!” gags.

downsizing saltines

It’s not funny.

downsizing vodka

Here either.

DOWNSIZING

Even Christoph Waltz can’t act his way into being amused by this “giant rose” gag.

Not since mother! earlier this year has an otherwise talented filmmaker made such an incomprehensible mess. I hate every character in this movie. I hate everything about this movie. And its two and a half hour runtime feels almost doubly as long. It’s all very sad, because with more focus, this might have been something worth watching.

Don’t waste your time or money on this.

0 out of 5

Movie Review: Interstellar

interstellar-photos-pictures-stillsAfter seeing the first few trailers, I was psyched to finally see director Christopher Nolan‘s new movie Interstellar. Written by Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, the movie is a mess of a film that attempts to do too much, and does none of it well.

The world is dying, and a team must head through a mysterious wormhole to explore worlds that might hold the key the mankind’s salvation. Headed by Matthew McConaughey‘s Cooper, the team includes Amelia played by Anne Hathaway, Doyle played by Wes Bentley, and Romilly played by David Gyasi. The cast also includes Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, and more. That star power, that directorial and writing pedigree, and the subject, we should have an instant classic. Instead the film is my biggest disappointment so far of 2014.

Where to begin with the issues…. the film can’t decide what it wants to be. Is it an homage to Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant 2001? Is it a visual follow up to Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity? It attempts to be both, and throw in Contact and a little bit of Nolan’s breakout Momento too.

If the film instead focused on one or two items, it could have been brilliant, but instead it’s a muddy mess. At times we see flashes of the horror in space that was 2001. At other times we see what could have been a movng story about family and loss. But, with a twist ending that makes Contact look like a solid payoff, and visuals that fall flat compared to the directorial amazement that was Gravity, and you can see where I’m going with this.

Nolan at times is visually amazing. Nolan often times puts out a fantastic concept, or concepts, that don’t quite pan out in the actual story. As a director and writer Nolan to me is more hype than delivery. The film felt like an art film student given a big budget. He’s a hi-brow Zack Snyder, who also delivers fantastic visuals and stories and characters an inch deep. Nolan is Snyder for the artistic set, who enjoy debating philosophical concepts through movie visuals, and in it all miss the mark and come off as too good for a popcorn blockbuster. Think the counter jockeys of High Fidelity debating interstellar travel and the bending of time and relativity.

Interstellar will be a movie that polarizes folks. They’ll either love it, or they’ll hate it. I’m clearly in the latter.

Direction: 6 Acting: 7 Plot: 5 Overall: 6

Around the Tubes

The weekend is here and I’ll be spending it watching Doctor Who! What about you all?

Around the Tubes

Comic Legends Revealed – Mort Weisinger alluded to the alleged John F. Kennedy/Marilyn Monroe affair in a Superboy comic book story. – Interesting.

CBR – Affleck & Damon Producing Adaptation of Brubaker & Phillips’ “Sleeper” – Nice!

Variety – Warner Bros. Wins Final Element of ‘Superman’ Copyright Case – Hrm.

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Batwoman #25

Seattle Pi – Boxers & Saints

Talking Comics – Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #2

CBR – Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure #1

CBR – The Wake #5

Talking Comics – The Wake #5

Movie Review: Elysium

elysium-firstposter-full2Elysium is one my most anticipated movies of the summer. More than Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, really any of the comic movies or other “summer blockbusters.”  Set in the year 2154, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds. Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, the genius behind District 9, I expected another allegorical sci-fi tale whose special fx looked more impressive than the budget would make you think possible.

The movies boasts an impressive cast headlined by Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, the film can be summed up as a science fiction heist movie. I went into the film with a general idea as to the plot, you can figure that out from the various trailers and advertisements. The overall plot isn’t a shocker at all. It’s straightforward and the overall arc isn’t surprising at all, especially the ending. There are numerous small details though that did catch me off-guard. I had the general idea right, but not many of the specifics as to the “how.” And if you go into the film knowing what’s going to happen, there’s enough in the small details that’ll surprise you.

And it’s those small details that are amazing. The movie has a modest budget of $115 million, but looks like it should be double that, and that’s Blomkamp’s strength as his vision. The sets, the fx, the guns, the tools, the robots, it’s all amazing, beyond amazing. This is a science fiction film to the utmost level with a vision and look that challenges the best of the best. It all flows nicely and every detail just adds tot he movie enjoyment. The level of detail is amazing, down to small tattoos and marks on skin that makes the vision stand out.

The story too, while straightforward is fun and enjoyable. Though it’s predictable, Blomkamp also has the ability to do what great sci-fi does, reflect upon the real world and deliver an allegory. Elysium, and District 9, are both commentary on today’s society. In this case it’s pretty obviously about the 99% vs. 1% and how we treat those least fortunate in society and how the most powerful do or do not give back. That’s a hammer to the audience as far as message, but at no point does the story feel preachy. A thing that did catch me was that the film mostly takes place on Los Angeles, but other than some text, there’s nothing there to reinforce this is the US. Instead we actually see a South African flag on a vehicle. The film was shot in Mexico and looks like it was shot in Mexico. A minor quibble, but an important one.

Damon, Foster, the whole cast are good. It’s nothing that blows me away, but they do a real good job. There’s no Oscar worthy performances, but nothing that causes issues either. In fact, I liked the supporting cast a lot, each character with their own quirk and unique feel about them.

The biggest issue I had with the movie is Blomkamp’s direction. Here, he covers up some of the fx limitations with an overuse of shaky cam. It’s not a few scenes, the camera bounces around throughout the entire film, this isn’t one for those with motion sickness. Even at quiet moments, when characters are just standing around talking, shaky cam. Shaky cam is the bullet time of modern movies. Used too much, especially at inappropriate moments. The movie would be damn near perfect if it wasn’t used nearly as much.

Overall, Elysium is an excellent follow up to District 9. Blomkamp does slip a bit as expected moving into the studio system and given more of a budget to play with, but his vision is undeniable and commendable. Here’s to what’s next, whatever it is, it’ll have a strong vision and voice and that’s something I can get behind. Elysium is sci-fi done right in both look and message and one of the more entertaining films this summer. One that entertains and and makes you think, even just for a shallow minute.

Direction: 6 Acting: 7.5 Plot: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Zeismic