/film/film-details/saw/reviews/ | Film @ The Digital Fix Admin Video Games en-GB https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film Sat, 05 Jun 2021 09:05:24 +0000 hourly 4 Network N https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film/wp-content/themes/thedigitalfix/screenshot.png /film/film-details/saw/reviews/ | Film @ The Digital Fix Admin https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film 32 32 Book review: Last Days in Cleaver Square by Patrick McGrath https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film/book-review-last-days-in-cleaver-square-by-patrick-mcgrath/ Video Games Mon, 24 May 2021 18:00:00 +0000 nmegahey https://www.thedigitalfix.com/review/book-review-last-days-in-cleaver-square-by-patrick-mcgrath/ Last Days in Cleaver Square – Patrick McGrath

If you've read any of Patrick McGrath's work before you'll be aware and expect his book to deal with madness, but madness takes many forms. While in books with evocative titles like Asylum, Trauma and Dr. Haggard's Disease is often related to acts of madness in fictional doctors and damaged artists in Gothic asylums, McGrath's writing has extended its range to take in wider dysfunction in American society, as well as the trauma inflicted by historical events, from 9/11 in Ghost Town to the American Revolution years of Martha Peake. What greater collective social madness can there be then than a country involved in a civil war?

Last Days in Cleaver Square has quite a few of McGrath's familiar elements, not least of which is a narrator who appears to be gradually losing his mind, which can only be a good thing for fans of his deliciously delirious fiction, and it is indeed again an artist who is afflicted with the onset of madness here. Francis McNulty is an aging poet who in his youthful idealism to destroy fascism joined the International Brigade in the i930s to fight the Falangists during the Spanish Civil War. Now in his dilapidated London home, his ability to write good poetry waning, he is visited by the ghostly apparition of Generalísimo Franco.

In 1975 however the monster is not yet dead, but he is 84 and very ill with a number of serious health conditions. So why the appearance of the "blackened, viscous, diminished, formless excrescence" of a not yet dead Spanish dictator? Evidently it must be connected to the horrific experiences of Francis during those troubled war years when he was in Madrid, but there are hints that the old Georgian house in Cleaver Square could be haunted by other ghosts in Francis's past. The vividness and realness of the nighttime visitations could also be related to his artistic temperament, and in a Patrick McGrath book, you can imagine that it must be so. The question is where is this all going to lead?

Well, one thing for sure is that you can't entirely trust the first-person narrator in a Patrick McGrath book, particularly one who is suffering from what appears to be mental illness or the onset of dementia. All we have to go on is what Francis tells us, and we aren't quite sure how everyone is reacting to his visions, other than his own perception of it, which is nonetheless a fascinating perspective. Gradually, reluctantly, on the insistence of a journalist, Francis reveals some of his experiences in Spain, his struggles as an artist, and – again not untypical for a McGrath novel – issues of a difficult family background with Oedipal issues and sexual hang-ups. Combine dark secrets, unspoken atrocities and an expanding sense of guilt with old age and a fear of being left behind by the world, and we're heading for trouble.

McGrath handles this Freudian psychodrama in his customary way, with elegant prose of beautiful clarity and precision which only makes occasional observations of family secrets and inclinations of sexual desire made in passing seem all the more eccentric and portentous. This all seems like it is heading for familiar McGrath territory of mental breakdown heading into Gothic horror, but the author finds an unexpected element of humour in all the darkness and – since we all know that Franco does indeed die in 1975 – even a resolution and sense of closure that few of his other tormented protagonists enjoy. The idea that even the worst horrors eventually come to an end is a most welcome sentiment at the present time, even if it's also clear that the scars left behind can take a very long time to heal.

Updated:


Get involved
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum
]]>
Book review: Last Days in Cleaver Square by Patrick McGrath https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film/book-review-last-days-in-cleaver-square-by-patrick-mcgrath-2/ Video Games Mon, 24 May 2021 18:00:00 +0000 nmegahey https://www.thedigitalfix.com/review/book-review-last-days-in-cleaver-square-by-patrick-mcgrath/ Last Days in Cleaver Square – Patrick McGrath

If you've read any of Patrick McGrath's work before you'll be aware and expect his book to deal with madness, but madness takes many forms. While in books with evocative titles like Asylum, Trauma and Dr. Haggard's Disease is often related to acts of madness in fictional doctors and damaged artists in Gothic asylums, McGrath's writing has extended its range to take in wider dysfunction in American society, as well as the trauma inflicted by historical events, from 9/11 in Ghost Town to the American Revolution years of Martha Peake. What greater collective social madness can there be then than a country involved in a civil war?

Last Days in Cleaver Square has quite a few of McGrath's familiar elements, not least of which is a narrator who appears to be gradually losing his mind, which can only be a good thing for fans of his deliciously delirious fiction, and it is indeed again an artist who is afflicted with the onset of madness here. Francis McNulty is an aging poet who in his youthful idealism to destroy fascism joined the International Brigade in the i930s to fight the Falangists during the Spanish Civil War. Now in his dilapidated London home, his ability to write good poetry waning, he is visited by the ghostly apparition of Generalísimo Franco.

In 1975 however the monster is not yet dead, but he is 84 and very ill with a number of serious health conditions. So why the appearance of the "blackened, viscous, diminished, formless excrescence" of a not yet dead Spanish dictator? Evidently it must be connected to the horrific experiences of Francis during those troubled war years when he was in Madrid, but there are hints that the old Georgian house in Cleaver Square could be haunted by other ghosts in Francis's past. The vividness and realness of the nighttime visitations could also be related to his artistic temperament, and in a Patrick McGrath book, you can imagine that it must be so. The question is where is this all going to lead?

Well, one thing for sure is that you can't entirely trust the first-person narrator in a Patrick McGrath book, particularly one who is suffering from what appears to be mental illness or the onset of dementia. All we have to go on is what Francis tells us, and we aren't quite sure how everyone is reacting to his visions, other than his own perception of it, which is nonetheless a fascinating perspective. Gradually, reluctantly, on the insistence of a journalist, Francis reveals some of his experiences in Spain, his struggles as an artist, and – again not untypical for a McGrath novel – issues of a difficult family background with Oedipal issues and sexual hang-ups. Combine dark secrets, unspoken atrocities and an expanding sense of guilt with old age and a fear of being left behind by the world, and we're heading for trouble.

McGrath handles this Freudian psychodrama in his customary way, with elegant prose of beautiful clarity and precision which only makes occasional observations of family secrets and inclinations of sexual desire made in passing seem all the more eccentric and portentous. This all seems like it is heading for familiar McGrath territory of mental breakdown heading into Gothic horror, but the author finds an unexpected element of humour in all the darkness and – since we all know that Franco does indeed die in 1975 – even a resolution and sense of closure that few of his other tormented protagonists enjoy. The idea that even the worst horrors eventually come to an end is a most welcome sentiment at the present time, even if it's also clear that the scars left behind can take a very long time to heal.

Updated:


Get involved
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum
]]>
Book review: Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film/book-review-hot-stew-by-fiona-mozley/ Video Games Sat, 22 May 2021 08:00:00 +0000 nmegahey https://www.thedigitalfix.com/review/book-review-hot-stew-by-fiona-mozley/ Hot Stew – Fiona Mozley

Soho in London is of course famous for its colourful character and Fiona Mozley certainly manages to show a good cross-section of that in her latest novel Hot Stew. It follows the fortunes of a very diverse selection of characters who interact only peripherally with one another, which is perhaps a fairly accurate way of describing how those of different classes, races and sexual orientation all interact in the real world. They are however all part of the complex ecosystem of life interaction as it operates in Soho. Or perhaps fails to operate as, like anywhere in London, population shifts and business ventures change quickly and often and the old ways of operating might no longer be fit for purpose.

Certainly "the oldest profession" is struggling to maintain its traditional presence in the district. One of the central characters, Precious, a young black woman who work in the sex industry there, decides to put up a fight against the rent increases that are being imposed as a way to force her and her colleagues out of the area so that it can be gentrified and more profitably exploited by property owners. That's the tactic being imposed by Agatha, a wealthy businesswoman who owns most of the properties in Soho through her father's old-style ill-gotten crime gains.

Drinking at the Aphra Behn bar nearby is Robert, a former heavy who worked for her father back in those days. He has taken to hard drinking and making visits to the ladies there, like Precious. Lorenzo is a young gay man who is Robert's sometime drinking companion. Struggling to find acting work, he is encouraged to try for a TV show by his friend Glenda. Bastian used to know Glenda when he was dating her friend Laura before he finished with her to be in a more "suitable" relationship with a girl from his own social class, Rebecca. It's clear however that this relationship is no longer working.

Also among this diverse group you'll find Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee (as they are known), two of Soho's problem drugs users who are known for doing magic tricks on the street and sleeping rough in a basement there. Debbie – real name Cheryl – has however gone missing down one of the holes that are part of the whole reconstruction going on in the area, and she's not the only woman to have disappeared in suspicious circumstances. There are other peripheral characters in this "hot stew"; a policewoman investigating the disappearance of the women, local politicians, journalists and photographers.

It does initially seem like Hot Stew is just about the colour and the variety of life in Soho; character studies of types of people who frequent the area. That in itself is fascinating enough, each of them with their own individual struggles that you are keen to explore, but Mozley does seems to show that the sum does does add up to considerably more than each of the parts. It's not just about change or modernisation, but it shows how difficult it can be for everyone to adapt, to change, to find their place in the world and cling onto it as something important, something defining.

If we don't have that then what do we have, and if we lose Soho as we know it, do we also lose something defining about London? Or perhaps change inevitable and we have to let go, which just makes the humanisation of it all the more poignant and beautiful in Mozley's Hot Stew.

Updated:


Get involved
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum
]]>
Army of the Dead Review https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film/army-of-the-dead-film-review-2/ Video Games Mon, 24 May 2021 15:53:59 +0000 Maria Lattila https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film-review/army-of-the-dead-film-review/ Zack Snyder is returning to his roots after spending years making superhero films for DC. Army of The Dead might not be a straight-up sequel to his directorial debut Dawn of the Dead, a remake of George A. Romero's zombie classic. Snyder has certainly left his mark on DC's superhero genre, but it's equally exciting to see the director return to blood and gore and Army of the Dead has plenty of both.

The film follows Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and his ragtag team of accomplices who are tasked by a wealthy casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) to retrieve his money from a vault deep inside a Vegas casino. The catch? Las Vegas is now overrun by zombies. The team are also on a deadline; the US government is about to launch a nuclear missile into Vegas in order to obliterate the zombies once and for all.

ARMY OF THE DEAD (Pictured) DAVE BAUTISTA as SCOTT WARD in ARMY OF THE DEAD. Cr. CLAY ENOS/NETFLIX © 2021

Army of the Dead won't profoundly change you or your worldview, but it does deliver on the goods. The film is a blood-splattered, high-voltage joyride of zombie action. It's great fun, but ultimately offers nothing new or exciting, aside from a zombie tiger called Valentine. Nothing in Army of the Dead feels fresh; the zombies lack a unique quality to make them stand out from the hordes (pun fully intended) of other zombie films and the action, while satisfyingly gory, never feels that interesting.

The film sets out to explore Ward's strained relationship with his daughter Kate (Ella Purnell) who tags along to save her friend who wandered into Vegas in the hopes of stealing enough money to buy herself and her children a new life outside of the quarantine zones. The theme of family has always been a central one in Snyder's work and Army of the Dead feels particularly personal to Snyder who lost his daughter Autumn to suicide. It's a shame the film never properly digs into Ward and Kate's tragic relationship but instead focuses on the team's efforts to break into the vault.

The cast of the film is made up of familiar faces. Bautista is on fine form here, proving that he the charisma to lead and carry a film of this scope. Omari Hardwick and Matthias Schweighöfer share wonderful chemistry and the actors bounce off each other in a delightful manner and bring a lot of much needed humour into a film that otherwise takes itself a little too seriously at times. Tig Notaro is the standout though. Digitally replacing Chris D'Elia, Notaro's comedic timing is impeccable and while her inclusion in the film isn't completely seamless, she's charming enough for us to not care.

ARMY OF THE DEAD – TIG NOTARO as PETERS in ARMY OF THE DEAD. Cr. SCOTT GARFIELD/NETFLIX © 2021

Army of the Dead is unfortunately brought down by its lacklustre script. The action unfolds in a predictable manner and the film simply offers nothing exciting that we haven't seen before. Snyder's action is often kinetic, but the scenes never amount to a satisfying bigger picture. There are great individual scenes, such as Hardwick's Vanderohe fetching zombies to trigger multiple boobytraps, but these feel strangely removed from the main narrative.

As a whole, Army of the Dead doesn't impress as much as it should after a promising, fun start. Despite Junkie XL's ecstatic score and interesting soundtrack choices, the film remains a bland exercise in zombie violence and family affairs. The film's action scenes are fun and Army of the Dead delivers on the spectacle, but it also feels tired and dated. Army of the Dead streams on Netflix May 21st.

Updated:


Get involved
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum
]]>
Army of the Dead Review https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film/army-of-the-dead-film- Video Games Thu, 20 May 2021 11:30:00 +0000 Maria Lattila https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film-review/army-of-the-dead-film-review/ Zack Snyder is returning to his roots after spending years making superhero films for DC. Army of The Dead might not be a straight-up sequel to his directorial debut Dawn of the Dead, a remake of George A. Romero's zombie classic. Snyder has certainly left his mark on DC's superhero genre, but it's equally exciting to see the director return to blood and gore and Army of the Dead has plenty of both.

The film follows Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and his ragtag team of accomplices who are tasked by a wealthy casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) to retrieve his money from a vault deep inside a Vegas casino. The catch? Las Vegas is now overrun by zombies. The team are also on a deadline; the US government is about to launch a nuclear missile into Vegas in order to obliterate the zombies once and for all.

ARMY OF THE DEAD (Pictured) DAVE BAUTISTA as SCOTT WARD in ARMY OF THE DEAD. Cr. CLAY ENOS/NETFLIX © 2021

Army of the Dead won't profoundly change you or your worldview, but it does deliver on the goods. The film is a blood-splattered, high-voltage joyride of zombie action. It's great fun, but ultimately offers nothing new or exciting, aside from a zombie tiger called Valentine. Nothing in Army of the Dead feels fresh; the zombies lack a unique quality to make them stand out from the hordes (pun fully intended) of other zombie films and the action, while satisfyingly gory, never feels that interesting.

The film sets out to explore Ward's strained relationship with his daughter Kate (Ella Purnell) who tags along to save her friend who wandered into Vegas in the hopes of stealing enough money to buy herself and her children a new life outside of the quarantine zones. The theme of family has always been a central one in Snyder's work and Army of the Dead feels particularly personal to Snyder who lost his daughter Autumn to suicide. It's a shame the film never properly digs into Ward and Kate's tragic relationship but instead focuses on the team's efforts to break into the vault.

The cast of the film is made up of familiar faces. Bautista is on fine form here, proving that he the charisma to lead and carry a film of this scope. Omari Hardwick and Matthias Schweighöfer share wonderful chemistry and the actors bounce off each other in a delightful manner and bring a lot of much needed humour into a film that otherwise takes itself a little too seriously at times. Tig Notaro is the standout though. Digitally replacing Chris D'Elia, Notaro's comedic timing is impeccable and while her inclusion in the film isn't completely seamless, she's charming enough for us to not care.

ARMY OF THE DEAD – TIG NOTARO as PETERS in ARMY OF THE DEAD. Cr. SCOTT GARFIELD/NETFLIX © 2021

Army of the Dead is unfortunately brought down by its lacklustre script. The action unfolds in a predictable manner and the film simply offers nothing exciting that we haven't seen before. Snyder's action is often kinetic, but the scenes never amount to a satisfying bigger picture. There are great individual scenes, such as Hardwick's Vanderohe fetching zombies to trigger multiple boobytraps, but these feel strangely removed from the main narrative.

As a whole, Army of the Dead doesn't impress as much as it should after a promising, fun start. Despite Junkie XL's ecstatic score and interesting soundtrack choices, the film remains a bland exercise in zombie violence and family affairs. The film's action scenes are fun and Army of the Dead delivers on the spectacle, but it also feels tired and dated. Army of the Dead streams on Netflix May 21st.

Updated:


Get involved
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum
]]>
Army of the Dead Review https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film/army-of-the-dead-film-review-3/ Video Games Thu, 20 May 2021 11:30:00 +0000 Maria Lattila https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film-review/army-of-the-dead-film-review/ Zack Snyder is returning to his roots after spending years making superhero films for DC. Army of The Dead might not be a straight-up sequel to his directorial debut Dawn of the Dead, a remake of George A. Romero's zombie classic. Snyder has certainly left his mark on DC's superhero genre, but it's equally exciting to see the director return to blood and gore and Army of the Dead has plenty of both.

The film follows Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and his ragtag team of accomplices who are tasked by a wealthy casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) to retrieve his money from a vault deep inside a Vegas casino. The catch? Las Vegas is now overrun by zombies. The team are also on a deadline; the US government is about to launch a nuclear missile into Vegas in order to obliterate the zombies once and for all.

ARMY OF THE DEAD (Pictured) DAVE BAUTISTA as SCOTT WARD in ARMY OF THE DEAD. Cr. CLAY ENOS/NETFLIX © 2021

Army of the Dead won't profoundly change you or your worldview, but it does deliver on the goods. The film is a blood-splattered, high-voltage joyride of zombie action. It's great fun, but ultimately offers nothing new or exciting, aside from a zombie tiger called Valentine. Nothing in Army of the Dead feels fresh; the zombies lack a unique quality to make them stand out from the hordes (pun fully intended) of other zombie films and the action, while satisfyingly gory, never feels that interesting.

The film sets out to explore Ward's strained relationship with his daughter Kate (Ella Purnell) who tags along to save her friend who wandered into Vegas in the hopes of stealing enough money to buy herself and her children a new life outside of the quarantine zones. The theme of family has always been a central one in Snyder's work and Army of the Dead feels particularly personal to Snyder who lost his daughter Autumn to suicide. It's a shame the film never properly digs into Ward and Kate's tragic relationship but instead focuses on the team's efforts to break into the vault.

The cast of the film is made up of familiar faces. Bautista is on fine form here, proving that he the charisma to lead and carry a film of this scope. Omari Hardwick and Matthias Schweighöfer share wonderful chemistry and the actors bounce off each other in a delightful manner and bring a lot of much needed humour into a film that otherwise takes itself a little too seriously at times. Tig Notaro is the standout though. Digitally replacing Chris D'Elia, Notaro's comedic timing is impeccable and while her inclusion in the film isn't completely seamless, she's charming enough for us to not care.

ARMY OF THE DEAD – TIG NOTARO as PETERS in ARMY OF THE DEAD. Cr. SCOTT GARFIELD/NETFLIX © 2021

Army of the Dead is unfortunately brought down by its lacklustre script. The action unfolds in a predictable manner and the film simply offers nothing exciting that we haven't seen before. Snyder's action is often kinetic, but the scenes never amount to a satisfying bigger picture. There are great individual scenes, such as Hardwick's Vanderohe fetching zombies to trigger multiple boobytraps, but these feel strangely removed from the main narrative.

As a whole, Army of the Dead doesn't impress as much as it should after a promising, fun start. Despite Junkie XL's ecstatic score and interesting soundtrack choices, the film remains a bland exercise in zombie violence and family affairs. The film's action scenes are fun and Army of the Dead delivers on the spectacle, but it also feels tired and dated. Army of the Dead streams on Netflix May 21st.

Updated:


Get involved
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum
]]>
Battle Royale Limited Edition Review https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film/battle-royale-limited-edition/ Video Games Tue, 18 May 2021 12:29:32 +0000 Jon Meakin https://www.thedigitalfix.com/4k-blu-ray-review/battle-royale-limited-edition/ This month sees the release of Arrow's impressive Battle Royale Limited Edition boxset, easily the best package of Kinji Fukasaku's seminal thriller since the last Arrow boxset. Cynical? Nah, but being a collector can be a tad expensive. And this new release in glistening 4K UHD with the rightfully maligned sequel as a questionable bonus is a gorgeous mongrel.

Battle Royale is a modern touchstone of Asian cinema, doing for live action what Akira achieved for Anime. It's a perfect sampler of the canny mix of sentimentality and ultra-violence that Japan and South Korea handle better than anyone. 21 years after it's release, Fukasaku's astonishing film is still brutally relevant. Between the despicable scenes of wanton carnage, where children literally murder one another, are contradictory moments of emotional warmth and humour. The narrative winks knowingly at the audience while throttling another innocent moppet; I know you, it seems to say. Even while cynical, angry politics runs through its veins, it can be oddly uplifting. The Hunger Games is a lazy, obvious comparison to make, but then it is lazy and obvious in comparison.The story follows a class of 42 students, chosen at random, drugged and dumped on a remote island, to be the latest combatants in the government's Battle Royale initiative. The aim is simple. As punishment for their lack of respect for adults, the kids are to kill one another until only one remains. Weapons are assigned like a lottery. There are no rules. They are compelled to fight by harsh restrictions that will kill them anyway if they run out of time or stay in one place. Their parents have been told, so have fun, says their sadistic teacher, memorably played by Takeshi Kitano.  

It is only Asian cinema where you find such consistently ridiculous stories delivered with such heart and confidence to render them viable. Battle Royale is a politically motivated piece, but the characters live a reality with which many of us can identify. Teenage angst and difficult relationships are represented with emotional heft delivered just as strongly as the weaponized metaphors. Tatsuya Fujiwara as Shuya, Aki Maeda as Noriko and Tarō Yamamoto as Kawada are perfectly pitched roles typical of the rest of their class, playing a straight bat regardless of the bloody nonsense surrounding them. Takeshi Kitano lifts the film several more notches in an extraordinary performance and character.

Kitano is one of cinema's finest actors, but even by his standards, the teacher (also called Kitano) is something else. Unpredictable, yet terrifyingly focused, he really gets under your skin when he's endearingly charming to the point of being needy. He seems to do so little, yet his is a role with a myriad of shifting tones, often within a single moment.

Also included on this release is the sequel, Battle Royale: Requiem, by the late Kinji Fukasaku's son, Kenta. Working from his own screenplay, rather than adapted from an original novel like the first film was, it is an angry mess that simply doesn't work. It's a brutish, leaden thing, weighed down by anti-West sentiments that derail what plot there is. Kenta's father was arguably just as political, and such moments are there to be found in Battle Royale, but Requiem loses all subtlety. The extended cut, admirably included in this comprehensive set, adds nothing of note, but if you are a fan it's inclusion here is a joy.

VIDEO

I viewed this film from the perspective of whether 4K is worth the upgrade. It often is of course, but early scenes, while impressive, were not strikingly must-buy improved. From the bus ride into the mysterious compound, to the tense briefing room via a couple of flashbacks, detail and contrast are excellent, but not striking. The film really springs into life once we're outdoors and in natural light. What was always a muted film is occasionally beautiful. I never thought of it as colourful, but hitherto disregarded detail now pops. The point of 4K and HDR on a physical disc is usually demonstrated in the fine details that remain distinct even during movement. The greenery of the mountainous island, the texture of abandoned weather-worn buildings and the waves crashing on the shore are phenomenal. David Attenborough would not be out of place narrating some of cinematographer Katsumi Yanagishima's work for a BBC nature documentary.

AUDIOBoth films are presented with the original Japanese 2.0 soundtrack and the 5.1 remix. Battle Royale is not a shy film and its bombastic nature is represented by liberal use of 'Requiem, Dies Irae' as part of original music by Masamichi Amano. Surround effects are muscular and a grand stage is set for a theatre of violence. Dialogue is tight and centred though and quieter scenes, such as reflective flashback moments, are suitably sympathetic.

EXTRA FEATURES

The extra features from the previous boxset have been transferred over, plus there is a new excellent piece looking at the legacy of Battle Royale, along with both versions of the original film, two versions of the sequel and a consistent set of reflective features to match, and the original soundtrack on CD.

DISC ONE – BATTLE ROYALE: ORIGINAL THEATRICAL VERSION (4K UHD BLU-RAY)

  • Brand new audio commentary by critics Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp
  • Coming of Age: Battle Royale at 20, an exclusive new 42-minute documentary about the legacy of Battle Royale
  • Bloody Education: Kenta Fukasaku on Battle Royale, a brand new exclusive interview with the film's producer and screenwriter
  • The Making of Battle Royale: The Experience of 42 High School Students, documentary featuring footage from the shooting of the film and cast and crew discussions
  • The Slaughter of 42 High School Students, a look behind the scenes of the shoot
  • Behind the scenes footage with comments from the cast and crew
  • Filming on Set, a look at the shooting of key scenes from the film
  • Conducting Battle Royale with the Warsaw National Philharmonic, archive footage of Masamichi Amano conducting the soundtrack rehearsal

DISC TWO – BATTLE ROYALE: SPECIAL EDITION DIRECTOR'S CUT (4K UHD BLU-RAY)

  • Shooting the Special Edition, on-location featurette with footage of the cast and crew reuniting for the shoot of the Special Edition
  • Royale Rehearsals, featurette on Kinji Fukasaku directing the film's young cast
  • Masamichi Amano Conducts Battle Royale, archive featurette
  • Takeshi Kitano Interview, filmed on location with the Japanese star
  • The Correct Way to Fight in Battle Royale, instructional video explaining the rules of the game
  • The Correct Way to Make 'Battle Royale': Birthday Version, a new version of the original instructional video made to celebrate Kinji Fukasaku's birthday
  • Premiere Press Conference, preceding the film's first public screening
  • Tokyo International Film Festival Presentation, with footage from the gala screening at the Tokyo International Film Festival
  • Opening Day at the Marunouchi Toei Movie Theatre, archive footage of the Japanese opening
  • Special Effects Comparison showing how the film's violent killings were created
  • Original Trailers and TV spots
  • Kinji Fukasaku trailer reel, a collection of original trailers for Fukasaku's classic yakuza films from the 70s
  • Image Gallery

DISC THREE – BATTLE ROYALE II: REQUIEM (REGION B BLU-RAY)

  • Bloody Graduation: Kenta Fukasaku on Battle Royale II, an exclusive brand new interview with the director and screenwriter of Battle Royale II
  • Behind the Scenes of Battle Royale II, on-location featurette during the film's shoot
  • Rehearsals footage of the auditions and pre-production rehearsals
  • War and Struggle, featurette of the cast discussing their thoughts on war
  • Alternate Piano Scene
  • The Recording of the Music Score, archive footage of Masamichi Amano and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Opening Gala with The Orchestra, featuring a public introduction by the director and main cast
  • Battle Royale II Premiere, a featurette on the film's first screening at the Marunouchi Toei Movie Theatre
  • Trailers and TV spots
  • Image gallery

DISC FOUR – BATTLE ROYALE II: REVENGE (REGION B BLU-RAY)

  • A Tribute to Kinji Fukasaku, featuring scenes of Kinji Fukasaku on the location of Battle Royale II
  • Kinji Fukasaku's 73rd Birthday: A Speech by Kenta Fukasaku, paying public tribute to his father

DISC FIVE – BATTLE ROYALE (SOUNDTRACK CD)

CD featuring the complete score to Battle Royale by Masamichi Amano and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra

Updated:


Get involved
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum
]]>
Book review: The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry https://www.thedigitalfix.com/film/book-review-the-22-murders-of-madison-may-by-max-barry/ Video Games Thu, 06 May 2021 08:00:00 +0000 nmegahey https://www.thedigitalfix.com/review/book-review-the-22-murders-of-madison-may-by-max-barry/ The 22 Murders Of Madison May – Max Barry

I will make exceptions, but it would take something special for me to want to read any more books with titles that are variations on The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle or The Many Lives of Heloise Starchild, but we are talking about Max Barry here. Barry, in my experience (Jennifer Government, Lexicon, Providence), has always been creative within the conventions of the science fiction genre, so when he comes in with a book entitled The 22 Murders of Madison May, I don't even need to read the blurb or synopsis to know he's going to come up with an entertaining and distinctive variation on a theme that is often difficult to work with.

Those who haven't read Barry however it might take a little more convincing, so to summarise the concept (which is admittedly is a little easier than trying to describe The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle) it's about a 22 year old woman, Madison May, an estate agent, an actress or whatever she happens to be in 22 different realities in which she is going to be murdered. A young man, Clayton Hors, who has become obsessed with the idea that Maddie must be perfect, is travelling through each of those realities and killing any version of Maddie that doesn't live up to his ideal. And Maddie is surprisingly easy to track down and murder since – other than for normal personal security – she has no reason to suspect that anyone would want to kill her.

So, perhaps not too complex for a science fiction thriller and perhaps not too original either. It's a variation on the time travel genre of going back through to change the future by killing someone in the past. Plenty of movies work on this classic premise – Terminator, Looper, Twelve Monkeys – and it's one that usually has plenty of intriguing complications, paradoxes to resolve and philosophical questions. The 22 Murders of Madison May seems a little simplistic in comparison. In fact, judging by the first two gruesome killings you wonder if you really have the stomach for another twenty. Fortunately – in in some ways – Clay is already a considerable way through that figure and inevitably the story is a little more complicated than that.

For a start there are a few other people jumping dimensions trying to catch Clay, and now there's also a journalist involved. Crime stories are not Felicity Staple's usual work, but when she fills in and picks up a couple of unusual elements and an unusual figure at the scene of the murder of an estate agent, she is drawn into this strange series of cross dimensional murders. And drawn into the multi-dimensional vortex herself. She doesn't know how this has happened and is initially confused by the slight changes she sees in her boyfriend in each new dimension but there is one consistent purpose she is sure of; she needs to stop Clayton Hors killing Maddie again. And again.

You would hope with any good SF book of this type that there is also more than just this thriller murder chase adventure, that there might be some at least semi-credible rationale behind the process and that it might touch on some deeper issues relating to people and society. The concept of the ability to jump is sort of glossed over, but as Felicity takes time to speaking to a college professor, we at least are able to get to grips with the theory. It's not by chance either that Maddie is a budding actress, to varying levels of success in each dimension, as the concept inevitably questions how much control we have over the roles or direction of our lives.

Getting all that in and making it a thrilling ride is one thing but, like time travel holding it together consistently and following it through to a satisfactory conclusion is another matter that often proves to be disappointing by the time it comes to trying everything up. As far I'm concerned Max Barry has never failed on that front and he doesn't disappoint here either. The many worlds of Max Barry and The 22 Murders of Madison May are well worth taking the time to explore.

Updated:


Get involved
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum
]]>