Dec 032008

Format: DVD

IMDB entry: here

A rambling incoherant documentary that is so impenetrable that it will take you some time to realise the subject is beastiality (although if you have just pulled the DVD off the shelf in the video store you probably know). Most of the time skating around the subject in question is wasted time; there is no point in being subtle about this subject. Those who are going to be offended by the subject are going to be offended however subtle you are.

So why waste the time on being subtle ? The extra time could have been better spent interviewing more participants, or more experts on the subject. The long, lingering, landscape shots were very pretty but also pretty pointless.

Thumbs down.

Note that I am deliberately not judging anything other than the film itself; I’m not condeming the film because of the subject matter at all.

Nov 292008

Format: DVD

IMDB entry: here

(although they insist on calling it “The Last Hangman” (which is completely wrong of course))

This is the story of one of the last hangmen in Britain and his journey through learning his trade to becoming the top man in his profession. And his increasing doubt about the morality of his work. It is an oddly fascinating story, with Albert’s home life being so mundane that you wouldn’t have been able to pick him out in the street.

A film that anyone in favour of the death sentence should watch.

When we think of reasons why the death sentence is wrong we normally concentrate on those who are executed. But perhaps we should also look at the executioner and the dehumanising effect of perhaps decades of executions with hundreds of official killings

Not only should we question whether the state should descend to the level of murderers in carrying out executions, but whether the state has the right to ask another human being to kill. Because in the end there is always a killer carrying out the execution.

Aug 262007

Format: DVD

IMDB Entry: here

An entertaining man-chase through the jungle of pre Columbus central America. The hero of the story is taken from his village by slavers to a Mayan city where he only just misses being sacrificed, escapes and is pursued through the jungle by the men who captured him. An added twist is that his wife and child are hiding from the slavers in a hole in the ground and can’t escape from it without his help.

It is a pretty good film, but I was a little disappointed it was not better … given the claims for it. I think because it is a rare example of a film covering pre-Columbus America which did not compromise by insisting on making the audio language Mayan. Everyone then was under the impression that this was the film on Mayan civilisation, and the reality is somewhat less so. We only see a quick snap-shot of Mayan civilisation … perhaps 10-20 minutes of the length of the film.

The film however is pretty good but doesn’t quite come up to an epic portrayal of Mayan civilisation. I guess we will have to wait for that.

Jul 242007

Format: DVD

IMDB entry: here

A “foreign language” film with subtitles with an absolutely fascinating story set in WWII where a Dutch jew infiltrates the regional German headquarters for the resistance. An incredible number of plot twists and turns, together with a fascinating insight into how life was like for someone on the run in occupied Europe during the war. And even in the aftermath.

A film well worth checking out and don’t let the subtitles scare you off!

May 312007

Sony have recently upgraded the firmware available for PlayStation 3s; one of the features is for “upscaling” DVDs to HD resolution. Not exactly the same thing as blue ray, but definitely worth having especially given my situation. However Sony will only upscale DVDs over an HDMI connection to the TV; if you are limited to a component connection for some reason, you are out of luck.

Now this is not solely Sony’s fault as there is an agreement in place to not release equipment to upscale over any kind of TV connection that does not support anti-piracy measures such as HDCP(?). That rules out component cables.

So what is the reason for this ? To prevent piracy, but who is going to pirate “upscaled” DVDs which will offer quality less than blue ray disks and won’t play on DVD players ? Seems a little unlikely to me, or at least it is unlikely to be a serious commercial threat.

The media companies are yet again inconveniencing the legitimate consumer in the name of preventing piracy despite the evidence that pirates can get around the restrictions anyway.

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