District 9, Ponyo, Young Victoria
DISTRICT 9:When this movie didn’t move forward, Peter Jackson gave first-time feature director, Neill Blomkamp the nod to adapt his 2005 short film Alive in Joburg and District 9 was born.
An alien spaceship lands in Johannesburg. Cue a multinational, private military corporation to keep the peace and build the slums. This could have been a very solid, hot-looking sci-fi action flick. Instead, Blomkamp and Jackson made a thought-provoking, emotional, powerful allegory about apartheid; that is also a seriously hot looking well-above-average sci-fi action flick. The realism of the alien creatures is a powerful driver behind the film’s emotional success.
It is so rare for big budget monster movies to bring this type of originality and intelligence to the screen that this is a must-have for summer; especially as it is filled to the brim with special features. The 2-disc DVD edition offers a three-part documentary: the Alien Agenda — a filmmaker’s log as well as a director’s commentary. The Blu-ray adds an interactive satellite and schematics map of District 9, and a host of featurettes about the special effects and everything that went into creating this gritty world.
PONYO: Ponyo is a sweet and magical fairy tale inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson story, the Little Mermaid. It tells the story of a wilful and passionate goldfish named Ponyo who falls in love with a five-year-old human boy, Sōsuke, and longs to become a human girl.
Ponyo is a sweet and magical fairy tale inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson story, the Little Mermaid. It tells the story of a wilful and passionate goldfish named Ponyo who falls in love with a five-year-old human boy, Sōsuke, and longs to become a human girl.
The special features on both the DVD and Blu-ray releases promises satisfaction to the animation geeks in the form of a lovely featurette entitled “The Five Geniuses Who Created Ponyo” and a stack of creator interviews, Japanese TV spots and original trailers.
YOUNG VICTORIA:Queen Victoria was a remarkable woman, ruling the roost for more than 60 years. Today we remember her as the rather dour, fierce-looking guardian of high morality but before she became that, she was just a teenager.
Emily Blunt is absolutely the best thing about this movie. She adds life and spark to the young Victoria who took to the throne at the age of 18.
it is a truly original telling of this particular monarch’s story. So original, in fact, that more than a few ‘historical facts’ have been embellished for dramatic effect. You would have to have a heart of stone, however, to begrudge this lovely film a few flights of fancy. It is very beautiful to look at and refreshingly, the performances are strong.
Look out for the 2-disc version to get your hands on the special features. Amongst all the usual fare you will find a fabulous behind-the-scenes look at the costumes and locations, which are simply divine.