Recent posts

BluCaps: Spectre

Saturday 11 August, 2018

BluCaps: L’amant double

Friday 10 August, 2018

Movie Matters rides again

Tuesday 31 July, 2018

Arrow October announcements

Friday 27 July, 2018

Back from the dead

Wednesday 25 July, 2018

BluCaps: Star Wars - The Last Jedi

Wednesday 4 July, 2018

BluCaps: Rogue One

Tuesday 3 July, 2018


BluCaps: Spectre

  • Label: MGM
  • Disc Locality: USA
  • Region: A
  • Codec: AVC
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Source Format: 35mm (4-perf anamorphic Panavision)/4K DI

Bond returns to 35mm, making SKYFALL the only movie in the series to be shot digitally (for now — I can’t see Danny Boyle shooting Bond 25 on celluloid). This is a rich-looking film, albeit one that goes for a more subtle effect — cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema (TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY) eschews Roger Deakins’ approach on its predecessor in favour of a more muted colour palette that at times looks almost murky, though thankfully considerable less so than the theatrical screening I saw back in 2015, where during the climactic sequence it was actually difficult to see what was going on. All in all, and extremely solid presentation.

As for the film itself, I continue to think it gets a somewhat unfair rap. It wastes the combined talents of Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux and Monica Bellucci, and it attaches a dramatic weight to certain elements (the reveal of Waltz’s character’s true identity, the unconvincing romance between Bond and Seydoux’s Dr Madeleine Swann) that it hasn’t earned, but it’s still an entertaining, inventive adventure that manages to sustain my interest despite its bloated running time, and (for now, at any rate) Daniel Craig remains the only Bond actor apart from Timothy Dalton (and George Lazenby, of course) not to have a single genuinely poor entry under his belt.


BluCaps: L'amant double

  • Label: France Télévisions Distribution
  • Disc Locality: France
  • Region: B
  • Codec: AVC
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Source Format: ARRIRAW (resolution unknown)

My debut novel now has a revised title, as well as a cover and a confirmed release date!

On the advice of my publisher, I chose to retitle it IN THE SILENCE, which they felt would be more marketable and sales-friendly than its previous title, KELVINGROVE PARK. Its release date has been confirmed as Monday September 10th, and the fabulous cover art was unveiled this morning. NetGalley members can request a copy now, with Amazon pre-order links to follow before long.

And here’s the official blurb…

Anna Scavolini hasn’t set foot in Glasgow for ten years. And for very good reasons…

Anna, a criminology lecturer, returns to Glasgow from Rome during the coldest winter in memory. While out with her best friend from school, Anna has a chance encounter with a former flame, Andrew Foley. Tragedy strikes later that night when Anna discovers Andrew stabbed and dying on a blanket of snow.

Soon Anna finds herself at the centre of the investigation as the star witness for the police, and embarks on investigating the case herself. But Anna doesn’t realise the danger she is in and soon finds herself in trouble.

When another body shows up, who has links to the first victim, it appears that the motive may lie buried in the past.

As Anna gets closer to the truth, the killer starts closing in.

But can she solve the gruesome mystery before the killer strikes again?


…at least in terms of the site, iTunes feed and episodes all having been restored. This is not an announcement to the tune that Movie Matters will be relaunching with immediate effect (though we still hope to be back with new content someday), but in terms of our existing content, we’re now back to where we were before our host unexpectedly went belly-up, nuking the entire site and all its content in the process.

Check it out!


These are the two October releases I’m in charge of overseeing…

Schlock

Schlock

A love stranger than King Kong!

From writer/director John Landis, the mind behind The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London, comes a love story that transcends the boundaries of nature and good taste - the one and only Schlock!

Carnage! Terror! Banana skins! The mighty prehistoric ape Schlockthropus has emerged from hiding to embark on a full-scale rampage across a quiet Southern Californian suburb. The police are baffled. The army is powerless. The body count is rising. But when Schlockthropus encounters a kindly blind woman (Eliza Garrett, National Lampoon’s Animal House) who sees beyond his grotesque visage, the homicidal simian is presented with a chance at redemption…

Shot over twelve days on a micro-budget, Schlock launched the careers of both Landis and legendary effects makeup artist Rick Baker (Videodrome). An uproarious pastiche of monster movies, packed to the gills with irreverent humour and biting satire, Schlock serves as the outrageous missing link between the creature features of yesteryear and its creators’ subsequent varied and celebrated careers.

Special Edition Contents:

  • 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary by writer/director John Landis and makeup artist Rick Baker
  • New video interview with author and critic Kim Newman
  • Birth of a Schlock, a 2017 video interview with John Landis
  • Archival video interview with cinematographer Bob Collins
  • 1972, 1979 and 1982 US theatrical trailers
  • US radio spots
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Joe Bob Briggs


Torso

Torso

A talented and versatile journeyman, director Sergio Martino (The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key) has lent his talents to multiple genres across his long and varied career, but it is undoubtedly his giallo thrillers from the early 70s for which he is best known. Among the most highly acclaimed of these, 1973’s Torso revels in the genre’s time-honored traditions while simultaneously laying the groundwork for the modern slasher movie.

A sex maniac is prowling the streets of Perugia, targeting the picturesque university town’s female students. Alarmed at the plummeting life expectancy of the student body, Jane (Suzy Kendall, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage) and her three friends elope to a secluded country villa - only to discover that, far from having left the terror behind, they’ve brought it with them!

Also known as Carnal Violence, Torso was released in Italy towards the end of the giallo boom before enjoying a second life on the American grindhouse circuit. Co-starring Tina Aumont (Salon Kitty) and Luc Merenda (The Violent Professionals), the film finds its director at the top of his game, delivering copious levels of violence, sleaze and one of the tensest cat-and-mouse games ever committed to celluloid!

Special Edition Contents:

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of both versions of the film: the 94-minute Italian and 90-minute English cuts
  • Original lossless Italian and English mono soundtracks*
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by Kat Ellinger, author of All the Colours of Sergio Martino
  • New video interview with co-writer/director Sergio Martino
  • New video interview with actor Luc Merenda
  • New video interview with co-writer Ernesto Gastaldi
  • New video interview with filmmaker Federica Martino, daughter of Sergio Martino
  • New video interview with Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film
  • 2017 Abertoir International Horror Festival Q&A with Sergio Martino
  • Italian and English theatrical trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Adrian Smith and Howard Hughes

* The English audio track on the original, longer cut has some portions of English audio missing. English audio for these sections was either never recorded or has been lost. As such, these sequences are presented with Italian audio, subtitled in English.


So we’re back, and not a moment too soon. A little explanation as to what happened…

On Monday afternoon, I clicked the link to Land of Whimsy only to get an error message telling me the site could not be found. No problem, I thought. Outages, while a rare occurrence, aren’t completely unheard of. So I waited patiently, refreshing every now and then over the next couple of hours, but no dice. Then I discovered that my two other sites — the Movie Matters Podcast and my author site, were also MIA. The common denominator: all of them were hosted by my provider of choice for the last decade, LDHosting.

A quick Google search turned up this discussion, and my heart sank. Unbeknownst to me, other users had been having problems with the normally reliable LDHosting for several months, with sites remaining offline and communication from the host non-existent. It seemed the writing had been on the wall for some time, but, ignorance being bliss, I’d carried on regardless, happily beavering away at my various sites and failing to create regular backups.

And then, in a puff of smoke, the whole lot disappeared without a trace.

Artist's rendition of what happened

Artist’s rendition of what happened

Once the feelings of blind panic subsided, I set about rebuilding my sites. Mercifully, my domain names are all registered with a third party, meaning they hadn’t disappeared into the ether along with all my data. The author website, a very basic affair, was a doddle to reupload to a new host, but Land of Whimsy and Movie Matters were another matter entirely. Both use the Movable Type content management system, meaning that simply uploading a bunch of HTML files to a new location wasn’t going to cut it: I needed to restore the extensive databases for both sites that controlled the layouts, blog entries and various custom doohickeys (such as paginated archives) in order to get either site functioning again.

Fortunately, while I hadn’t been nearly as rigorous in keeping backups as I should have been (lesson well and truly learned), I did have backups for both sites — one dating back to May 2018 for Land of Whimsy, one from October 2017 for Movie Matters. I’ve now completed the restoration of Land of Whimsy, in its new home at 1&1 and have recreated, as best as possible, the half-dozen or so entries that hadn’t been backed up. Actually getting things up and running proved to be considerably trickier than I’d been hoping, thanks to older versions of Movable Type not being compatible with modern versions of Perl, and archives created from older versions of Movable Type not being compatible with modern versions. The site is, however, now up and running once again, in more or less the same state as it was before The Bad Thing, following a nerve-wracking twenty-four hours during which it seemed as if nothing I tried worked, and much of which I spent telling myself I was going to have to just write off nearly a decade’s worth of material, including a whole lot of accumulated knowledge not available anywhere else. And I’m now running the most up to date version of Movable Type, having always resisted upgrading for fear that everything would go pear-shaped. Nothing like a crisis to force you to bite the bullet!

Hopefully everything is now working as it should be, though I haven’t had time to poke into every single nook and cranny of the site, so it’s entirely possible that there are things I’ve overlooked (missing images being the most likely problem). If you spot anything that looks amiss, let me know.

Movie Matters, meanwhile, will have to wait till another day…


BluCaps: Opera (’84 Entertainment)

  • Label: ’84 Entertainment
  • Disc Locality: Germany
  • Region: B
  • Codec: AVC
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Source Format: 35mm (Super35)

BluCaps: Star Wars - The Last Jedi

  • Label: LucasFilm
  • Disc Locality: UK
  • Region: ABC
  • Codec: AVC
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Source Format: 35mm (4-perf anamorphic Panavision)/4K DI

Rogue One

  • Label: LucasFilm
  • Disc Locality: UK
  • Region: ABC
  • Codec: AVC
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Source Format: ARRIRAW 6.5K (Ultra Panavision 70)/4K DI

BluCaps: Star Wars - The Force Awakens

  • Label: LucasFilm
  • Disc Locality: UK
  • Region: ABC
  • Codec: AVC
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Source Format: 35mm (4-perf anamorphic Panavision)/4K DI