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Electronic Money Counting Jar
Gifts & Gadgets
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As you'll see from 90% of the reviews on other websites, this device cannot actually count money accurately, has a tendency to reset itself if a 50p is inserted, and is therefore very frustrating!
Batman And Robin
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Batman and batman returns are still rated 15, and let's not forget that batman was originally for kids...so here, along with the enjoyably daft batman forever, is a bat-film that little boys - and even, for the first time, thanks to uma thurman and alicia silverstone, little girls - can enjoy. I just watched this on blu-ray with the kids and while they ate up every scene (arnold schwarzenegger's mr freeze is an absolute scream if you're eight years old) while i was forced to eat humble pie and admit that, now that i have kids (which i didn't in 1997), i finally see what warner bros and joel schumacher were going for when they decided to lighten the tone and make a batman for younger bat-fans. Got kids? Leave your cynicism at the door, watch the dark knight again when they've gone to bed, and let them enjoy batman & robin for what it is: Sheer entertainment for pint-sized bat-fans.
It's a real shame, in this, Bullitt's 40th anniversary year - and with Steve McQueen fever at its highest for decades - that the HD release (on Blu-ray and HD-DVD) is the same sorry-looking print already available on standard-def formats. If anything, the interiors look even grainier than they do on standard-def, because the 1080p transfer picks up more grain...and although the exteriors are better (the ultra-realistic lighting style doesn't help), this is one of cinema's great car chases, and it's a shame that it hasn't been granted a decent restoration. Likewise the sound, which is still in 2.0 like all the other editions, and is badly in need of cleaning up, even if some of the hiss has been Dolby-reduced. Really, Warner, this classic police procedural - whose central character is based on San Francisco's Inspector David Toschi, played by Mark Ruffalo in David Fincher's ZODIAC - deserves more attention. What's the point of even releasing HD releases, especially when consumer takeup is a crucial part of the whole business plan, if the prints look this shoddy?
One positive note: all the extras from the 2-disc Special Edition are here, one of which is upgraded to HD.
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I really thought Independence Day's BD release was going to be one of those real showcases, like you'd expect another of Fox's flagship titles to be - Titanic, for example. Especially as Fox had backed Blu-ray exclusively over HD-DVD.
I also hoped that Fox would do what any movie fan would do: cram o everything from the best edition currently available - in this case, the Region 1 Five Star Collection 2-disc DVD in THX, which not only has the extended edition of the film (9 minutes of deleted scenes restored) AND the original theatrical cut, but has a ton of extras, including the excellent Jeff Goldblum-hosted HBO 'making of' from '96, and much more. Here, the only extras are the scene-by-scene (euphemism for 'scrappy') Emmerich/Devlin commentary, seperate FX commentary, and -- hang on to your hats -- "high definition trailers". Wow!
But what about the HD transfer of the film? That is, after all, why most of us would buy Independence Day again, right? I'd say that about 5-10% of the prnt looks worthy of BD capabilities: typically, warmer colours and exterior scenes. Interiors and special effects scenes are often grainier than one would hope for, and the seams show in quite a few of the special effects, especially in the case of explosions and fire, the technology for which has obviously improved considerably in the last decade or so. In other words, far from being the hi-def showcase I'd hoped it would be -- and the film, for all its flaws, demands to be -- Independence Day is probably one to rent, rather than buy, because there'll hopefully be a better edition further down the line.
And then we really can celebrate Independence Day...