Reviews of Region 2 discs from Ultimate DVD #22

ManhunterGandhi Captain Scarlet

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MANHUNTER • Back to top Rated: 18

The Movie

More stylized and less overtly grisly than Lambs or Hannibal, Michael Mann's film of Red Dragon (and the first screen appearance of Hannibal Lecter/Lecktor) possesses an atmospheric artistry that thrills the senses. Though William Petersen is perhaps a bit too internal as FBI profiler Will Graham, the work of Brian Cox as a less theatrical Hannibal and Tom Noonan as the terrifying killer Dollarhyde are brilliant. As is Dante 4 stars - Damn Good DiscSpinotti's glossy, emotive cinematography.

The Extras

Hannibal fever continues with this German release which is a straight port-over of the Anchor Bay version (minus the poor quality director's cut). Picture and sound are razor sharp, supported by two Documentaries totalling around half an hour. The Manhunter Look has Spinotti praising Mann's precise framing and his total command over props and production design, paying particular attention to the shooting and editing of Graham's cell chat with Lecktor.

Inside Manhunter sees the cast recalling the long hours and serious on-set tone, with Noonan's contribution proving fascinating, as he explains how he stayed in character the whole time and deliberately only met Petersen on the last night, when their hellish confrontation was filmed.

2 stars - DissapointingTrailer too.

Jason Caro

Dangerous minds

Credits
Manhunter - Order this at Black StarBlackstar

Cast
William L Petersen
Brian Cox
Director
Michael Mann
Year • 1986
Duration • 115 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 24
Languages • English, German, Italian
Subtitles • English, German, Italian, Dutch, Turkish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish
UK Release •
October 1
Distributor •
Momentum

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from Ultimate DVD #22

GANDHI • Back to top Rated: PG

The Movie

An ambitious production covering the life of one tiny man who challenged the world's thinking, Gandhi was awarded nine Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Kingsley. It's certainly a superlative performance by the former RSC performer, who portrays "the spokesman for the conscience of all mankind" from early adulthood right through to old age. Along the way, Gandhi challenges apartheid, brings about the end of British rule in his home country, and defuses the bloody civil war between Hindus and Muslims, before being assassinated by a religious extremist as he prepares to tour Pakistan.

Visually, this is a masterpiece: Ronnie Taylor and Billy Williams's photography makes exceptional use of the 2.35:1 framing, magnificently presenting golden palaces, sultry sunsets, sprawling plantations and bustling cities (how much poorer this must have looked on full-frame VHS). The (quite literally) cast of thousands fill the screen (remember these were the days before CGI allowed bobbing heads to be cut and pasted in), defining a massively populated land rife with poverty. Yet, by Attenborough's own admission, this film offers merely a taste of the man and his life, resulting in some woefully underwritten supporting roles, particularly among the rank and file of the British Empire - here represented as silly toffs. The director's 'Old Boys' Club' casting doesn't help either, with old mates like John Mills, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard and dozens of others popping up with tiresome regularity, as if this were some movie star gala.

Not quite a perfect production then, but the succession of powerful scenes (pacifist crowds marching on the salt works, only to be chopped down; the violent bloodshed among Hindus and Muslims; Gandhi's refusal to eat unless fighting ends…) are hugely affecting. And there's no denying that this story of one man's dignity and personal empowerment is branded into the memory.4 stars - Damn Good Disc

The Extras

A beautifully packaged release with a separate plastic slip casing. The movie presentation is excellent, retaining the three-minute interlude that occurs 87 minutes into the picture.

Added value is disappointing, although Ben Kingsley Talks About Gandhi is worth a watch, as the actor shares his reminiscences in a recent 19-minute talk prepared especially for the disc. The Photo Montage is five minutes of stills complemented by the score, while Words of Mahatma Gandhi offers a series of the great man's finest quotes as text and lasts two minutes. Original Newsreel Footage encompasses four different Pathé News films, although the most interesting is Gandhi Goes to England, which is recreated using Kingsley within the film itself.

Filmographies focus on the director, writer and the biggest names in the cast, the Trailer is in 2.35:1 but non anamorphic, and there's weblink to the Official Gandhi Website. The Region 1 release lists Production Notes on the sleeve, but 3 stars - Worth a Watchthese are not evident on the disc itself.

David Richardson

Fighting injustice
with pacifism

This is a simultaneous R1 / R2 release. More region 1
reviews here

Credits
Gandhi - Order the R2 version at Black StarBlackstar

Cast
Ben Kingsley
Candice Bergen
Edward Fox
John Mills
Director
Richard Attenborough
Year • 1982
R1 Duration • 190 mins
R2 Duration • 183 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 28
R1 Languages • English, French, Spanish
R2 Languages • English, German, French
R1 Subtitles • English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai
R2 Subtitles • English, German, French, Icelandic, Hindi, Hebrew, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Greek, Norwegian, Arabic
R1 Release •
August 28

R2 Release •
August 27
R1 Distributor •
Columbia Pictures

R2 Distributor •
Columbia Tristar

 

Highlight

Chapter 11
- Inflicting a Lesson

A horrifying example of British atrocity, as a peaceful meeting of Indian families is massacred by the occupying forces.

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from Ultimate DVD #22

CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS • Back to top Rated: U

The Episode

Forget the Mysterons. It was always Captain Scarlet vs Thunderbirds. Thunderbirds wins hand down for breadth of vision and warmth of character, but the appeal amongst older kids of this decidedly dark show - about Martian zombies waging a war of nerves on Earth - cannot be denied. Perfectly proportioned puppets are as stiff as the upper lips required to deal with the off-world threat and the voices are magnificently humourless. The usual future hardware and explosions 4 stars - Damn Fine Discare on hand to ensure lasting popularity.

The Extras

The prints have been superbly cleaned, colour-corrected and transferred, the sound track remixed into a subtle 5.1 surround (albeit the trademark kettledrum motif now ricochets around the room). The original mono soundtrack is a welcome audio option.

The fabulous Menus somehow make the series seem slicker than it really is. Each disc has the usual extras ranging from behind-the-scenes Stills (discs 4 and 5), Merchandise and Publicity (1,3,4) to fictional details of Spectrum personnel and vehicles (1,3). Pleasingly they have included all the TV21 Audio Adventures recorded in the Sixties (1,2,3,4).

In addition, Gerry Anderson has recorded Commentaries for the first and last episodes. These are reasonably informative, border occasionally on the bizarre and are delivered with about as much expression visible on his puppets' faces.

Anderson is much better speaking to an interviewer; and there is some crossover with the hour-long Documentary (made especially for the bonus 6th disc) which features newly shot footage of Captains Scarlet and Blue explaining the premise of the series (using rather lengthy clips) while undertaking a brand new adventure. Recreating their alter egos, voice artists Francis Matthews and Ed Bishop join surviving crew members to describe a technically complex but fondly 3 stars - Worth a Watchremembered era of mini-movie making.

Mike Fillis

Do not try to
imitate him...

Credits
Captain Scarlet - Buy this at Black StarBlackstar

Cast
Francis Matthews
Ed Bishop
Donald Gray
Sylvia Anderson
Director • Various
Year • 1967
Duration • 26 mins
per episode
Screen Ratio • 1.33:1
Anamorphic • No
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1 / Dolby Mono
Chapters • 4 per episode
Language • English
Subtitles • English for Hearing Impaired
UK Release •
September 17
Distributor • Carlton

Highlight
Chapter 04 – Winged Assassins
Derek Meddings creates miniature magic with a mighty airliner, helping the Mysterons succeed this time.

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from Ultimate DVD #22

Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction

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