Dazed and Confused


Viewed – 25 January 2015  Blu-ray

Dazed BluThis for a long time has been my go-to movie to just chill out and relax with.  Something about this 70’s set high school comedy-drama just feels very comfortable.  I’ll put this on occasionally because hell, I enjoy being in the company of these characters probably more than any movie I can think of.

Set on the last day of school this follows the (mis)adventures of various school kids as they go to parties, hang out, drive around, cause a bit of mischief, contemplate their futures and learn a little bit about themselves along the way.  You could say the main character is a freshman called Mitch (Wiley Wiggens) who is one of several targets for drop out thug O’Bannion (a before he was famous Ben Affleck) who likes to spank these kids with a softball bat as some sort of ‘initiation’.  Mitch gets into various encounters and we follow his story but at the same time we have quarterback ‘Pink’ who’s trying to figure out if he’s going to stay on in the college football team, and along the way we meet several other fascinating and interesting personalities like super-sleazy but super-cool Matthew McConaughey and a stoner hippy chick Mila Jovavich.

Dazed

I think there is a character in this movie for anyone to relate to, someone was one of these characters when they were at school – were you the cool guy the girls all looked at, or the geeky kid that just wanted to fit in, or someone in-between?  That’s the magic of this and add Richard Linklater’s assured, very authentic and (clearly in love with the subject matter) direction, mixed with a soundtrack to die for (Ozzy, Deep Purple, Cooper…they’re all here) … and I think this is one of the best high school movies ever made – if not THE best high school movie ever made.

Dazed MitchThe Blu-ray that I imported from the U.S. may not be the bells-and-whistles Criterion release (I reviewed the Criterion DVD release HERE).  Yet this Universal edition boasts a picture full of fine detail even if the colours lack a little vibrancy (but seem to suit the 70’s look and feel).  However the big showpiece here is the soundtrack with clear dialogue, decent use of surrounds and most importantly the iconic music given major, thumping treatment to really show off your speakers (has Alice Cooper’s School’s Out ever sounded better?).  Extras are rather limp however with no commentary and little more than deleted scenes and a music feature that you can bring up with Universal’s U-Play mode.  Very disappointing for a movie that that for me, is a stone cold classic.

Verdict:

(the movie)  5 /5

(the Blu-ray)  3.5 /5

The Three Musketeers


Viewed – 31 May 2012  Blu-ray

The question that immediately springs to mind here is, do we really need another telling of the age-old Musketeers story?  Brought to the screen countless times with varying success, this is familiar and well trodden ground, and one may wonder just what a new adaptation can bring that we haven’t seen before.  Easy answer – lots and lots and lots of CGI.

Directed by the often underrated Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Event Horizon) this starts well with a welcome swashbuckling introduction to Porthos (Ray Stevensen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), who are double crossed by Aramis’ love interest Milady (Paul W.S. Anderon regular Mila Jovovich) resulting in the three heroes falling from grace.  Yet when a plot is uncovered to bring about war, the Musketeers team up with an ambitious but reckless young man called D’Artagnon (Logan Lerman).

Now you may have noticed the lack of star names amongst the cast there, and you wouldn’t be wrong.  Thankfully we have Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterdz) on hand to offer villainous duties as the cunning Cardinal Richelieu and a very camp Orlando Bloom as the Duke Of Buckingham, preventing the whole thing from descending into Z-List territory.  Sadly though, the feel here is more Monty Python than true blockbuster cinema, and despite some stylish cinematography, great set-design and well shot action – I failed to engage with the often plot-hole laden story or personality-free characters.  The less said about the cameo by Brit comedienne James Cordon and the talentless actress (is pouting a talent?) playing D’Artagnon’s love interest … the better.

As it stands, this was still fun and had some pretty cool sequences (who can’t enjoy two flying boats battling it out??) but lacked anything beyond its garish visual-overload to make me recommend it.  The forgettable Take That end-credits song says it all.  One for fans of the Musketeers only.

Verdict:  2 /5