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Blu-Ray Review: Tales of the Black Freighter/Under the Hood

Tales of the Black Freighter

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Directed By: Mike Smith

Starring: Gerard Butler

Plot Synopsis:

A mariner survives an attack from the dreaded pirates of the Black Freighter, but his struggle to return home to warn it has a horrific cost. (IMDB)

Review:

Kudos to Zach Snyder and Warner Brothers for releasing this psuedo-special feature to Watchmen.  The fact that tons of care was put into this release is staggaring.  Here we have 3 different features.  Tales of the Black Freighter (25 minutes), Under the Hood (30 minutes), and Story within a Story: The Books of Watchmen (25 minutes).

First up, Tales of the Black Freighter is a stunningly animated short film.  In the Watchmen graphic novel, a character is seen reading a comic book called Tales of the Black Freighter.  We also get to read along with the character at certain points.  This is an interesting concept in the comic, and will be in the extended cut of Zach Snyder’s Watchmen adaptation on Blu-ray/DVD.

Here we have it as a stand-alone and as a companion piece to Watchmen, it’s pretty amazing. Gerard Butler voices the mariner perfectly and it’s an interesting study on someone attempting to do the right thing while, in fact, bringing destruction on those they love.  This is an interesting parallel to the main theme of Watchmen, so it will be interesting to see this in the context of the extended cut.

Next up we have 2 documentaries.  Under the Hood is a fictional documentary that parallels the book of the same name in the graphic novel and film.  It gives interesting back story to the original Minutemen and is played out in interview form with the original Night Owl, Hollis Mason.  Other character interviews appear as well.  This is a well done companion to the film Watchmen as well.  We’re brought in even further to this world and it showcases Zach Snyder‘s incredible attention to detail of this world.

The final documentary is a “making of” for the two features.  It does a great job of  tying everything together and helps us understand why these projects were so important for people to immerse themselves in the world of Watchmen.

This MAY be a part of a super boxed set in the future, with Tales of the Black Freighter confirmed to be spliced into an extended cut of Watchmen on Blu-ray.  But, for now, it’s good to have these if you were a fan of the film.  At only an 90 minutes, you may not like the price.  Purchase it as cheaply as possible or rent it if you’re unsure.

Tales of the Black Freighter: Rated R for violent and grisly images.

Under the Hood: Rated PG for thematic material.

Movie Review: Watchmen

Watchmen

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Directed By: Zack Snyder

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Matthew Goode

Plot Synopsis:

A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the “Doomsday Clock” – which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union – is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed-up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes.

As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion – a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers – Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity…but who is watching the watchmen? (Trailer Addict)

Review:

With the sort of reputation and scope of Alan Moore‘s epic graphic novel, Watchmen, one can imagine the strong reaction and expectation fans have given Zack Snyder‘s film adaptation.  In fact, there was such hype that I believe there was no way Zack Snyder could deliver on everyone’s expectations with the film version of Watchmen.  Just look at the reviews.  Main criticisms included: confusing plot, strange song selection for key scenes, superhero sex and a blue penis.  Granted, this is a complex plot.  But song choice, sex and a blue penis are not what I was focused on.  Critics are a strange breed.

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Most Anticipated Movies of 2009 (part 1)

2009 is shaping up to be a pretty kick ass year for movies. Here are a few flicks I’m looking forward to! This is the first in a series of posts.

Watchmen

A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the “Doomsday Clock” – which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union – is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed-up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion – a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers – Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity…but who is watching the watchmen?

Star Trek

From director J.J. Abrams (“Mission: Impossible III,” “Lost” and “Alias”) and screenwriters Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (“TRANSFORMERS,” “MI: III”) comes a new vision of the greatest space adventure of all time, “Star Trek,” featuring a young, new crew venturing boldly where no man has gone before.

Explores the early Starfleet careers of future Enterprise officers Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Amanda Grayson (Winona Ryder), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), McCoy (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), and Chekhov (Anton Yelchin). A Romulan, Nero (Eric Bana), and a much older Spock (Leonard Nimoy) are influences, as well as Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood), the first captain of the USS Enterprise.

Terminator: Salvation

In the highly anticipated new installment of The Terminator film franchise, set in post-apocalyptic 2018, Christian Bale stars as John Connor, the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future Connor was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future, or rescued from the past. As Skynet prepares its final onslaught, Connor and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynet’s operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind.

I Love You, Man

At first I thought this movie would be lame. But…with Paul Rudd you can’t go wrong.

After getting engaged, Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) realizes he’s short on guy friends. In order to correct the issue, Peter begins to go on man-dates.