Reviews of movies

I like quite a few films, enough to buy copies of some of them, or just record them off TV.  Some of which aren't so well known, often because they're not mainstream types of films, or quite old ones.  My favourite genre would be science-fiction (but not science-fiction-horror), though I like some suspense and action films (like the James Bond films, and some of the Arnold Swarzenegger films), but I'm not into gore and overly violent films.  I also like some of the more thought provoking films, though they're often depressing films.  Some of my favourite films are the ones by Alfred Hitchcock in the 1950's (after he moved from England to America).

I'm not fond of over analysing films, or pulling them to bits, and I usually hate “the making of…” documentaries.  So rather than writing a critique about each film, I'm more inclined to give you a taste of the plot, and maybe interest you in seeing the film.  I'll also discuss a few technical issues regarding movies, namely aspect ratios (widescreen, etc.), sound tracks (surround, stereo, etc.), and Macrovision, on a some other pages.

One thing I don't like, though with a few exceptions, is rehashes of classic films.  I don't mind when they're remastered to remove damage, reinstate stuff that was stupidly removed, sometimes add stuff that they couldn't manage to include when initially released, or improve the picture and sound quality.  But I dislike it when they add rubbish, remove things, change scenes, music, sound effects, or redo someone else's film (e.g. the appalling copy made of Alfred Hitchcock's “Psycho”).

I've just started getting into DVDs (watching, and collecting them), and I now prefer DVDs over video tape, though I do find there's some serious annoyances (like the stupid ways some players work, it being more awkward to resume watching a film from the same place, disc layer changes in stupid places, annoying DVD navigation menus, and being forced to sit through certain DVD sequences, etc.), but they do have things in their favour against video tapes (no tape chews, scratched tapes, wearing out of tapes, low quality, and tapes that won't play well in some VCRs).

When it comes to watching movies at home (on the TV), I prefer widescreen versions of the film, because you can see the entire picture, rather than just the middle portion (as is commonly done on TV broadcasts and pre-recorded video tapes), even though I don't have a widescreen TV set.  The “anamorphic” versions are the best (also known as 16:9 enhanced), as they can be shown on normal TVs and widescreen TVs, using the best possible picture resolution applicable for the type of TV set.

And for sound tracks, I prefer at least a stereo soundtrack, rather than a mono one.  And surround sound too (most non-mono soundtracks have some form of surround sound; there's various different ways of creating them).  I prefer the simple stereo front and single rear channel approach, compared against multi-channel around the front and sides but without a rear channel, and for all the speakers to be full-range frequency response.  I don't mind a common sub-woofer (if it's a real sub-woofer), but I don't like this trend of only providing the mid- and high-range frequencies from the front and surround speakers, and using a common woofer.  A real sub-woofer generates sounds that you feel more than hear, it doesn't just make crappy thumpy noises.

You may notice comments or asterisks next to some titles.  That's my opinion on the film, with one asterisk for okay films, two for good ones, three for films that I'd highly recommend, and four for films that I'd recommend very highly.

Reviewed movies

I'm looking for these DVDs

;-) For friends who can't work out what to get me for birthdays, Christmas, or have any other reason that they're feeling generous about, here's a “wish list” of some of the DVDs that I'd like:

Note that it's DVDs that I'm looking for, not tapes; and Australia uses Region 4, PAL video standard, discs.  It can be difficult to play discs meant for other zones, if not impossible; and NTSC discs (generally) have awful picture quality (the resolution of most NTSC video signals is lower than most PAL ones, and many DVD players are quite bad at transcoding between formats).  (See the colour TV info page, for further information.)

I've already got these DVDs

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Alfred Hitchcock
Black Hawk Down
Brave New World
The Dish
Doctor Who
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From Hell
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Rear Window
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