Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Enough Blu to make a monster a pair of trousers.. well isnt that Nice!

We are avid DVD fans chez nous. Friday night is DVD night, I like to pretend it comes from living miles from the nearest cinema but fear it is more likely to be laziness and having family members too tired at the end of the working week to move further than our own saggy but comfy furniture. It's a good time to slouch on the sofas and eat homemade pizza, drink fizzy drinks (only drunk for special treats in our house, oh aren't we wholesome!) and to slob it. My excuse is that we don't watch TV the rest of the week so hey ho what is one night and I can always pretend we are indulging in moden culture ( and of course I am helping all those souls on Amazon Market place shift their old DVD collecitons!

Sadly some of the fun has gone out of movie watching since our old, and it must be said very cheap, DVD player has started playing games of its own. It is fine and dandy
with brand new, sealed in the box, DVD's but try and watch anything a second time and it sulks pitifully. It freezes, bumps, stutters and grinds to a halt mid sentence and always in the interesting bits. I think it may be in league with my Skype and Windows Live as I can only get sound or vision but never the two together on those either.

Monsters Inc has got to be an all time classic for our boys, even without big sister here to recite the entire script on long car journeys the boys conversation is still punctuated with quotes from it.

If you havent seen the movie ( have you been living in an enclosed religious order or dropped in from Mars? Everyone has seen it !!) here is a link to amuse you and another one too .

Now it's coming out on Blu-ray and I think as our old copy is jumping and pixelating and generally not behaving we may well have to invest in a copy PDQ and a Blu Ray player to go with it! I am relaibly informed that
I will "notice the benefit of the Blu-ray format, known as ‘magic in high definition’. and the picture quality is far superior to that of a DVD and the capacity for interactive extras is greater " Which means basically you get more to play around with, and what is more...

"Blu-ray players are ‘backwards compatible’ which means you can watch your old DVD’s on them too – so if you do decide you’re ready to upgrade from your DVD player you won’t have stacks of unwanted DVD’s lying around!" which would be a god send as although old DVD's make excellatn bird scrers in a veggie patch we would need to go into agriculture prdcution on a vast scale to resue our odl DVD collection that way!

The question is will my Skype start working properly if I buy a Blu ray player? We can only live in hope!

A story at Bedtime

Youngest and I are reading the Borrowers omnibus by Mary Norton as our bedtime story at the moment. We love it. It is nothing I hasten to add at all like the film starring Jim Broadbent, which is why I suspect it has captured the hearts of children for so long, it is far more believable and far more realistic, it holds both the harsh terror children feel at being small in a large world and the frustration of trying to live under someone else’s rules. The land of the borrowers is a world in which one can disappear and a land where anything is believable. I remember reading it at my son’s age and wishing desperately for it to be real, for them to be real. I made small shelters for them amongst the shrubbery in the garden and built furniture from cotton reels and left them lying about in odd corners , yearning for them to be retrieved by tiny invisible hands.
Is it still I wonder every child’s hearts desire as I remember it was mine, to live part of the stories they read and are read to? For a story and its characters to come to life? Do little girls still imagine themselves to be a princess stolen at birth by gypsies or boys see themselves as great heroes on horseback, galloping across the plains chasing Indians or is that all too politically incorrect now? Oh dear I do hope not!

Eldest who has gone beyond believing in fairytales has grown into the font of all knowledge about the film industry. She can name obscure actors and recite their entire careers at the drop of a hat. It is not unlike watching a movie with a Cannes film festival judge, “Ah yes” she will say as we catch a fleeting glimpse of some dark shadow darting across camera in a crowd scene, “Look! Of course that’s so and so, he was better, I think, as the small one legged Eskimo in such and such directed by so and so , although some would argue his appearance in the now banned blah blah blah was really his greatest triumph”. She can recite entire scripts after only one hearing ( great when we are travelling with her younger brothers, car journeys go much faster with her keeping them enthralled with her one man performance of “Lilo and stitch” or” Shrek one, two and three” complete with voices and music). She does not, I hasten to add, get it from me. I am hard pressed to remember anyone’s names let alone a cast of thousands.

Anyway as ever I digress, back to the world of fantasy meeting fiction, Eldest is for ever emailing me you tube clips for promising films which she thinks I will enjoy ( and obviously should buy as she wants to see them too). They are of a wide spectrum with a heavy emphasis on family films; she has for instance decided that although she wants to see Dark Knight or whatever the batman movie is called it is highly unsuitable for our suggestible and sensitive middle son who would have nightmares for weeks. Despite his constant pleading she has instituted her own censorship programme on our DVD collection and her suggested purchase list comes with appropriate comments like “Daddy would not enjoy this far too girly but I think we might” or “too much violence for the boys perhaps we might buy it (note the royal we!) And watch when they are in bed“. Sometimes she is so sensible and grown up it puts her parents to shame.

This months offerings have included several on a similar theme, which ,oh good and patient reader ,leads me back and links to my opening meanderings , that of stories engulfing readers and drawing them into their plots in a truly physical sense. This isn’t a new theme I know, after all look at Jimanji, (or if you are like me, don’t look at it far far too frightening) or the Never Ending story (and it really is never ending but half way through I was begging for it to finish).
The two top of her list though are far more subtle and less threatening by far than some, the first being Inkheart with Jim Broadbent again and Brendan Fraser has been voted thrilling but possibly unsuitable for those smaller family members of a nervous disposition. The unanimous favourite stars Adam Sandler ( whom we all agreed was wonderful in 50 first dates, only upstaged by a vomiting walrus ). We the selection committee, have watched all the you tube trailers and extracts, we have read the blurb, it has been approved by the family previewing and censorship board ( Eldest and I) and so tonight that is we are having the family premiere performance of , “Bedtime Stories” http://www2.disney.co.uk/DisneyDVDs/DVDs/bedtime_stories.jsp

Watch it and see what you think…and remember a good book and bring its words to life, and I think a good film can perhaps do the same for a good book?
ps I had a wonderful embedded link but it jsut won't work so I hope the one above will surfice instead..

I have seen a lot of movies in my time, I think the first one was sound of music which my brother and I and two friends snuck into to watch at the Rex Cinema in a small fading Victorian coastal resort on the Isle of Wight, we watched it one and a half times before we were discovered and turned out but it was worth every minute of crouching in the dark. At school the nuns would dig out some old black and white film for the end of term, sitting in serried ranks cross legged on the polished parquet floors in our navy blue knickers. One year I remember watching something which I think was called The Red shoes; I can remember nothing of the plot except that it involved her pride and greed to possess the ruddy footwear and that the poor 1950’s beauty in the starring role seemed to be stuck into her ballet shoes and danced herself to death. Very sobering for a small child with limited experience, and I am sure cured all of us of any desire to have red shoes or do ballet for that matter. I can not imagine what the sisters were thinking of!

Cinema trips with my Father were of a much more grown up, the cinema a very plush Gaumont with gold baroque architraves and red velvet curtains on the boxes and an entire flotilla of cherubim and seraphim cavorting about the ceiling. The nuns would not have approved I fear. I always wanted to sit in a box, still haven’t done it yet and now I suspect most cinemas are multiplexes in England so if I ever go back I have lost my chance to watch a re-run of War and Peace in regal splendour. Our local cinema here is very twee, A tiny thing and awfully friendly. Tickets are 3 Euros in the school holidays, no need to sneak in without paying at that price, and everyone knows everyone and the entire audience sits in a clump in the middle leaving the rest of the small auditorium free for tourists and “Johnny no friends”, so that it looks as if they have been dropped from a great height into their seats or swept there by the cleaners .

These days most of my cinematic experience is home based. I suspect we may have one of the largest DVD collections in Brittany and it growing ungainly, I shall have to perform some judicious pruning before we are swamped even further with each new enticing release from Pixar or Disney. If I ever give up buying movies I suspect the entire industry might fall into recession. It is a great responsibility to carry on ones shoulders.

Sad to say many of the DVD’s we have did not lived up to their trailers or our expectations. At least that makes it easier to humanely cull some of them, but it is disappointing when something you see on a trailer turns out to be such a let down. Recently we have seen several movies which promised high flying comedy of a family kind only to reveal itself, once seen in total, as excruciatingly dull bar the scenes selected for the trailers themselves. I hate that when it happens. It is like biting into a cake only to find the cream is in fact artificial not fresh and the icing not chocolate by only coloured to look that way. I wonder is there a law one might invoke to save the consumer from such travesties or is it merely buyer beware and on my own head be it?
One film that has not fallen short of expectations is the new Walt Disney animation “Bolt”. I was all set for a mildly dire evening watching yet another disappointing kids DVD, albeit in glorious Blue-Ray( no, I don’t know what it is either but there you are it tells me on the box it gives me a pristine picture and theatre quality sound) starring Disney’s newest hero and was amazed to find it was really very good indeed. All of us loved it, even our resident theatre critic. I won’t spoil the plot, oh yes it has one honestly, but here is a trailer
so you can see for yourself. It is I think one of the rare family movies we will be watching again and again. So if you are looking for a little light relief for the school holidays do seek out this one it actually delivers more than it promises which is a pleasant change!