MAGADHEERA blu-ray review

India Region-free blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.35:1

Telugu: LPCM 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English

IMDB

 

MOVIE: 9

VIDEO QUALITY: 10

AUDIO QUALITY: 9.5

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 8.5

EXTRAS: 0

 

The ranking of the Indian film industry goes like this:

1. Hindi-speaking Bollywood films = good

2. Tamil-speaking Kollywood films = fair

3. Telugu-speaking Tollywood films = bad

I don’t understand what’s going on with the Telugu-speaking Indian film industry – how in the hell did they pull off the creation of MAGADHEERA? I’m confused…

MAGADHEERA is a phenomenal piece of Indian entertainment. This 165-minute romantic action movie masala film is just perfect. It’s not a great film, but it is a perfect Bollywood or Tollywood or Indian Hollywood film. MAGADHEERA can practically be paired up with JODHAA AKBAR (India’s most recent Bollywood masterpiece) in which that film is a very serious historical epic filmed like a Ridley Scott film, while MAGADHEERA is a historical/contemporary action masala epic filmed like a James Cameron film (True Lies mode).

MAGADHEERA is a bit like a cross between PRINCE OF PERSIA, Darren Aronofsky’s THE FOUNTAIN and Zach Snyder’s 300. It’s a reincarnation story for 4 characters – the hero, the girl, the villain, and a dictator. They all had died 400 years ago but they come back into the present time to finish unfinished business with love, revenge, and the gods. Since this is a Bollywood film, the story is very simple and the characters are pretty 2-dimensional but we all know that’s how Bollywood films are. Furthermore, this is a long movie that moves along fast with not one piece of filler.

What’s even more amazing is that this film is perfectly filmed. Where did they find all this Indian crew to make such a professionally filmed and edited film? It’s totally shocking. This is right up there as one of the best filmed Bollywood movies. Concerning the action scenes, these have the best choreographed action scenes out of any Bollywood film yet – everything is smooth and doesn’t seem wire-worky. The action choreography in this film was done by Bollywood’s action master – Peter Hein. This is his best work to date.

MAGADHEERA is full of action scenes that also are very original. There are a few which may have been inspired by 300, but overall, this movie is not stealing or borrowing from any other movie – it’s a true original work. The fight scenes are well-filmed and the actors seem like they knew what they were doing. The action is full-blown R-rated – with blood, decapitations, body parts getting chopped off, etc. It’s just great! And the CGI special effects are excellent – probably the best I’ve seen in Bollywood.

T & A, yes there is! What I like about Tamil and Telugu films is that they don’t praise flat-chested actresses as they do in Hollywood and Hindi-speaking Bollywood. Big breasted actresses are in this film. Period. Let me give you an example. There’s a musical number in which the Megan Fox (or Carmen Elektra) of Telugu cinema runs in boob-jiggling slo-mo and also does some anime-style boob thrust which turns the dudes to stone. Let’s see Medusa do that! Great stuff.

The acting is good in this film as well – all very theatrical and Bollywoodish, but good for what it is. The main actor – Ram Charan Teja – is like the Colin Farrell of India, a totally convincing tough and likable Indian actor (almost as good as Hrithik Roshan). He is a truly good leading man in India, especially when all the other ones in Bollywood are flamboyant tools. The main actress – Kajal Agarwal – is like the Blake Lively of India. And the spear-throwing master villain is pretty scary, creepy, and tough.

I would also like to add that the musical numbers and musical score is excellent and intense as well.

This blu-ray by SRI BALAJI VIDEO is one of the best blu-rays i’ve ever seen. The video quality is excellent and has a crisp three-dimensionality to it. The Dolby Digital 5.1 Uncompressed Telugu audio is very nice and active as well. The English subtitles have some mistakes here and there, but overall generally better than most Bollywood movies released on DVD. There are no extras on the blu-ray, if you want the extras badly then you can buy the $8 DVD which only has a 40-minute non-English subtitled Making of the Film. I would also like to add that the Sri Balaji logo pops up in the bottom right corner during song scenes, but if you are used to Bollywood movies on DVD, you know the drill – it’s not a big deal, but it would be nice if that tradition stopped already.

MAGADHEERA is the first great film of India of 2010. It’s total escapism and I didn’t want it to end. The simple but creative Indian mythological story, beautiful cinematography, amazing choreographed scenes, impressive special effects, and good-looking actors make this a perfect Indian film to be showcased on Blu-ray.

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MIND GAME dvd review

Japan Region 2 NTSC dvd

Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1

DD 5.1 Japanese

Subtitles: English

IMDB

 

MOVIE: 10

VIDEO QUALITY: 10

AUDIO QUALITY: 10

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 10

EXTRAS: 5

 

MIND GAME is the most original animated film ever. I love Miyazaki and Disney films, but MIND GAME is in a world of its own. For the past thirty years, few movies have given me that good feeling that I had just experienced something special, such as with 2001, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, STAR WARS, AKIRA, THE MATRIX, BLADE RUNNER, UNDERGROUND, PULP FICTION, AMELIE, LORD OF THE RINGS, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. I don’t know what to say except – go buy the expensive MIND GAME DVD now. Eight years have past and this movie has still not been released on video outside of Japan, which is practically a crime. It’s very strange because the production company behind MIND GAME is an up-and-coming respectable animation studio – Studio 4°C. I would assume that the few movies that they have made would all be released on video in other countries. This movie must be seen. Try not to read too many reviews. It’s better to go into this blindly as I did. I couldn’t imagine not owning this DVD.

The video and audio of the DVD is reference quality. It would be great if a blu-ray was released, but this DVD is perfectly good without one. The extras are a couple non-subtitled interviews and “making ofs”.

MATINEE blu-ray review

France Region B blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 1.85:1

English: LPCM 2.0

French: LPCM 2.0 (dub)

Subtitles: French (removable)

IMDB

 

MOVIE: 9

VIDEO QUALITY: 9.5

AUDIO QUALITY: 9.5

EXTRAS: 8.5

 

Joe Dante is a very underrated director – I don’t understand why he doesn’t get more work. I always thought he was like a darker Steven Speilberg when I watched Gremlins and Innerspace. While Gremlins is probably his most watched film, I think that Matinee is his most mature film that he has made. It’s an entertaining period piece that takes place during the Cuban Missle Crisis and incorporates real news footage. Matinee pulls this off so much better than how that was done in the recent X:Men First Class. Matinee is a real touching, entertaining film with tons of great performances from the kid actors, Goodman, and Moriarity. Matinee is just another film proving what a great screen presence John Goodman is. I know it’s hard for him to actually headline movies nowadays since he’s a bit overweight (even after his diet) and older, but I really wish he continued to headline movies as he did in the 90s. He can carry a film as the main lead (Matinee, Babe) or he can steal the show as a supporting actor (The Big Lebowski).

The French Region B blu-ray of Matinee (called “Panic sur Florida Beach” in France) is practically perfect. The image is totally colorful, crisp, and sharp from beginning to end. The English 2.0 LPCM audio is one of the best active ones I’ve heard – it sounded much better than many DTD-HD 5.1 audios. The dialogue is clear, the subwoofer is totally active – just a great job with both video and audio. The French subtitles are removable with everything (movie and extras). The extras are interesting, with a 30 minunte interview with Dante, a 10 minute making of, a trailer, and some photos. The slipcase cover is one of the prettiest I’ve seen and it comes in black blu-ray case. So this is definitely one of the nicest overall blu-ray packages I’ve imported from France.

Matinee is a great, rewatchable period piece film from beginning to end and I highly recommend this blu-ray!