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Side By Side Reel Keanu Reeves, John Malkovich, Danny Boyle, George Lucas, James Cameron, David Fincher, David Lynch, Robert Rodriguez, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, The Wachowskis, Christopher Nolan

Side by Side: documentary explaining the different ways in which digital and film reel images make their way from the director’s lens and on to cinema screens. It’s a film made specifically for film nerds, about the technical aspects of the end-to-end process of film-making – yet it’s all very high-level, with simplistic explanations that only really cover the basics – parts remind you of school educational videos. Still, it’s a great excuse to sit down with the cream of Hollywood directors, editors, DPs & various industry names, and hear their professional opinions on it: cast list below. It’s also packed with some of the greatest shots from over 100 years of Cinema – starting with ‘Man with a Movie Camera’ through to Avatar. As an interviewer, Keanu is quite good (although we only ever see short sections) but he gets surprisingly blunt and animated with big Hollywood figures: he also pulls off every look imaginable from genuine tramp, through to rockstar and everything in between. The most interesting part was seeing how the digital switch moves the emphasis away from the DP (director of photography) and towards editors and colour timers. Side by Side is a good look at the Analogue Vs Digital debate; however, it’s a fight that’s been raging on for well over 15 years now, and one that digital has all but won – as the new shooting and projecting standards. Because of this, it doesn’t really shed much more light on the subject. Lucas and Cameron championing digital Vs Nolan and Pfister who are unsympathetically anti-digital – anyone interested in cinema will already know this. Still, it’s worth watching, if only to see your favourite directors with the gloves off, hammering into the format they don’t like.

Score: 5/10

Robert Rodriguez and Salma Hayek discussing Once Upon a Time...

Robert Rodriguez and Salma Hayek discussing Once Upon a Time…

Interviews include: Keanu Reeves, George Lucas, Steven Soderbergh, James Cameron, David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, Martin Scorsese, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Christopher Nolan, Walter Pfister, David FincherLars von TrierJohn Malkovich, Danny Boyle, Joel Schumacher,   FULL CAST HERE

Speed Racer: (Blu Ray) Follows the Racer family of car-enthusiasts as their son Speed takes on the biggest companies in the world. Off the bat this is blatantly aimed at kids but off the bat I didn’t really care much because this looks absolutely outstanding. The Wachowski‘s mash together so many elements for the visuals: the Jetsons space age, Metropolis, 1920s, Al Capone, Neo Tokyo, extreme sports, The Gumball Rally, Wipeout & Rollcage games, and the list just keeps going… pretty much all green-screen. The editing adds another layer on top, with some awesomely bamboozling wipes and cuts. The comic roots shine through as the overall visuals sit somewhere between classic manga and souped-up CGI. With all of this behind it, the visuals are almost too good as it ends up being a sustained assault on your eyes over the 2hr 10min runtime – especially during every race / ‘Car-Fu’ battle. Looks aside, the story & characters are terribly textbook and the absurd Kid & Monkey combo kept trying their hardest to make me hate the film, it started to work by the end. There’s some genuinely funny nubs of humour throughout like the R-R logo and Paul Frank ‘human’ shirt on the monkey. There’s also a nice James Bond assassination-attempt homage and couple of criminally underused actors – like Moritz Bleibtreu. The BD Picture’s is among the best I’ve seen so far – with everything from the huge city-scapes down to the roads rendered so sharply it feels like 3D in parts – the sound quality is less impressive but the mix still flies out all the speakers during the action scenes. Overall, despite the plain story and shallow characters I was absolutely mesmerised by the spectacular visuals. One of a kind.

Score: 5.5/10