Reviews of Region 2 discs from Ultimate DVD #06

Star Trek: Insurrection
Dr NoEast is East

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Phasers on snooze in the ninth Trek movie

The Movie

The eighth Star Trek feature, First Contact, was always going to be a tough act to follow, but Insurrection barely tries. Produced by Stewart, directed by Frakes, this just feels like film-making dictated by the cast, as self-satisfied character scenes are given priority over narrative and adolescent jokes abound (Klingon zits indeed).

Set predominantly on the planet Ba’ku, it finds an idyllic colony of 600 people, who possess the Fountain of Youth, under threat from a dying race called the Son’a. With his own bosses implicated, Picard makes a stand – which could cost him his career…

It feels like there’s nothing much happening on the final frontier, in a small-scale story that amounts to a bunch of bullies trying to force a village to relocate. It could be a plot from Emmerdale, but some decent acting (particularly from Stewart and chief villain Abraham), magnificent location shooting and really great CGI effects really help to elevate proceedings. All the same, 3 stars - Worth A WatchStar Trek: A Bit of a Tiff might have been a better title.

The Extras

The anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer does justice to the photography, and Dolby 5.1 makes the most of those energizers, phasers and photon torpedoes. There are also two teasers, plus a short featurette in which the chummy cast spout lots of hyperbole about “The most ambitious Star Trek adventure to date” (it’s not).

Nevertheless, it’s nice to see Abraham without his mask, while make-up expert Michael Westmore chats about his work on the film (he researched by sitting in 2 stars - Disappointingon plastic surgery operations – ewwww!)

David Richardson

Star Trek Insurrection - Buy this at Black Star

Cast • Patrick Stewart
Jonathan Frakes
Brent Spiner
F Murray Abraham
Anthony Zerbe
Director • Jonathan Frakes
Duration • 103 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 24
Languages • English, German, Hungarian
Subtitles • English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Icelandic, English and German for Hearing Impaired
Release Date • June 5
Distributor • Paramount

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Chapter 19 – A Blood Feud
Admiral Doherty (Zerbe) gets a facelift…

  from Ultimate DVD #06

DR NO • Back to top Rated: PG

A Bond DVD you just can't refuse

The Movie

A British agent is murdered in Jamaica. American rockets are being sabotaged. Who will find the connection and defeat the villain? Enter British agent James Bond...

The 1962 film which started off a franchise still alive and kicking with poisoned toe-caps even today. It’s amazing how it’s all there right from the beginning: the girls, the music, the supervillain with interesting body parts, the girls, the stunts and car chases, the fights, outlandish plots... did we mention the girls? Even in his first 007 film, Connery is raw sex in a shoulder-holster, and younger readers should note that when mum says Pierce “isn’t as good as Sean”, 5 stars - Digital Dynamitelisten to her: her word is her Bond.

The Extras

It’s like Christmas has come early, setting an example few discs will live up to. Front-end menus are animated together with sound clips invoking a Bond feel.

Inside Dr No is a 42-minute, impressively-detailed full-screen documentary narrated by Patrick MacNee, including interviews with director Terence Young, people close to producer Cubby Broccolli, and a few words from Connery himself. It covers the Bond films’ origins and making of Dr No, raising some interesting facts: the risks taken by casting an unknown; how much Bond’s character was shaped by Young; and that the actress playing the secretary murdered at the beginning had provided the house in which she is killed!

Terence Young – Bond Vivant (sic) is a 17-minute item about the director who shaped all the 007 films which followed, with interviews from family and colleagues (including Desmond Llewelyn) about Young’s background. There’s a 1963 B&W item about Dr No in its full-screen, eight-minute scratchy glory, coming across as hilariously formal (discussing “Mr Connery’s choice of weapon”) as it previews the upcoming film.

Two cinematic trailers (one corny, one witty) for Dr No are provided, plus ones for Dr No double bills with Goldfinger and From Russia With Love. Period TV adverts cover the release of a Dr No/Goldfinger double-bill, while six radio adverts play against an artwork page (“he makes Mickey Spillane look like a grandmother”). The photo library shames any release utilizing just vid-caps, by presenting dozens of behind-the-scenes shots.

There’s a commentary using almost everyone still alive involved in the film (a shame Connery couldn’t pull up a chair and join in). Initial fears that too many actors will spoil the talk soon fade away: it’s been put together with breath-taking care, and by picking and choosing from all these people they avoid other titles’ 5 stars - Digital Dynamiteproblems of the commentators drying up.

Ian Atkins

Dr No - Buy this at Black Star

Cast • Sean Connery
Ursula Andress
Joseph Wiseman
Jack Lord
Lois Maxwell
Bernard Lee
Director • Terence Young
Duration • 110 mins
Screen Ratio • 1.78:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 32
Languages • English
Subtitles • English for hearing impaired
Release Date • May 22
Distributor • MGM

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Two points shine in what’s already a strong introduction to the franchise, both defining moments.

Chapter 3 – “Le Cercle” of Cards
Has Connery’s spy introducing himself with impeccable timing and the flick of a lighter: “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

Chapter 19 – Set Up, Wait and Shoot
Illustrates the spy’s cold, dangerous world when he brutally kills a now-defenceless assailant after an assassination attempt.

from Ultimate DVD #06

EAST IS EAST • Back to top Rated: 15

Curry and chips

The Movie

Last year’s home-grown cinematic smash makes an early – and very welcome – début on DVD. It’s a lovely film – peopled by beautifully drawn characters, wittily scripted and almost perfectly cast. It also has a very dark edge, something that was played down in its marketing campaign but which is actually part of its unique charm.

The story concerns a bi-racial family growing up in 1970s Salford. There’s father George (the wonderful and authoritative Puri), a Pakistani immigrant determined to see his children grow up the Muslim way. There’s English mother Ella (Bassett), who respects her husband’s wishes but understands her children’s ambivalent attitude to their Pakistani heritage. And then there are the children themselves, who to their horror find themselves facing the prospect of arranged marriages.

The depiction of 1970s Britain is painfully accurate, in all its grim brown glory, while the culture-clash subject matter is treated sensitively, but without the kid gloves which might have made the film too worthy to bear.4 stars - Damn Good Disc A must-purchase for film and DVD fans alike.

The Extras

Lots of stuff here. Along with the usual theatrical trailer – which plays up the comic and seriously represses the more tragic elements of the story – we get two almost identical TV spots. We also, for reasons it’s hard to fathom, are presented with the generic Dolby Digital trailer. Useful, one supposes, for fans of loud noise and dull computer animation.

There are interview clips with virtually all the cast and the director, writer and producer as well. Presented as soundbites, they’re a little short to be fully satisfying, but there are interesting snippets nonetheless. Behind the Scenes is an odd little item – simply unadorned and unexplained footage of studio and location filming. It succeeds rather too well in conveying the laborious and frankly quite dull process of film-making.

The deleted scenes are the most interesting, and in a welcome touch come complete with optional director’s commentary explaining why they were cut. Definitely a feature that other DVDs should emulate. And finally, of course, there’s director Damien O’Donnell’s commentary track. Although peppered with quite long silences, it’s a real pleasure to listen to – he’s a fun and enthusiastic guide to his own work, 4 stars - Damn Good Discwith a voice that’s far less grating than many.

Rebecca Levene

East is East - Buy this at Black Star

Cast • Om Puri
Linda Bassett
Director • Damien O’Donnell
Duration • 92mins
Screen Ratio • 1.85:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 17
Languages • English
Subtitles • English for hearing impaired
Release Date • May 1
Distributor • VCI


Chapter 10 – What Engagement?
The family dynamic is perfectly captured – before the secret’s revealed which will change the boys’ lives forever..


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from Ultimate DVD #06

Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction

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