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Penny Glen’s Rants
2012: True Doom and Gloom?
Or an Excellent Incoming Year for Film and Technology?
OK, we gave you the warning last week, and you’re still reading - excellent!  So here is the next part of Penny’s current rant but be warned- there’s more to come next week!
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Alrighty, so now I’ve got that out of the way like sucking poison out of a snake bite – I feel much better and ready to tell you what is going to be great about this year. First though, here’s a little bit of news on the entertainment front that I find particularly interesting...


- Warner Brothers have indeed started pulling their Harry Potter stock from the shelves. To be honest, I didn’t think they would go through with it – but apparently they’re content to annoy the whole of the UK by trying to be like Disney. However, I know that some stores like Tescos, HMV and Blockbusters have made a deal with the devil and negotiated to keep their remaining stock in store to sell as they see fit. This means though, that when they run out – this is it. No more Harry Potter unless you are very, very patient.

- Pure/Real 3D films at the moment are not available to rent. It’s a vicious cycle according to my colleagues – there must be demand for companies to buy the very expensive 3D films to rent, but there are no 3D films to rent to create the demand for more. This is slowly changing however as some films are being released for rental in 2D and 3D. The ones that are will be Blu-Ray copies that can carry more information, and will most likely have an indication of what they play on the back.
At the moment they are films that were shot in 2D, but have had the 3D layering over the top. Quickly, there are a few types of 3D – the one that can be played on any television with those silly little red and blue glasses. 3D compatible Blu-Rays that are designed for 3D televisions and normally have been doctored in post production to create a 3D effect. Lastly, we have pure (or Real) 3D – the films that have used 3D camera technology to shoot in 3D and can be manipulated to 2D images when released onto Blu-Ray for people that don’t have 3D televisions. At the moment to rent there are only 3D compatible films – that are pretty much a special feature for those who want to watch it in that format. The quality is still top notch though and it is only the technique that differs. I won’t go into the difference, but those of you out there who have seen Avatar know that Cameron created his camera in order to capture detailed 3D images. These are primarily used to enhance the environment and definitely are not the gimmick of sharp objects flying into your faces. To put it simply, it’s the classier 3D, depending on your director.

Ask your rental store which 3D compatible films exist –  but I can help by giving you a short list here:
* Drive Angry
* Shark Night
* Spy Kids 4
* Piranha 3D
* Conan the Barbarian (2011)
* TT: Closer to the Edge
....and more.

Tintin will be the first film to have a Real 3D edition sitting on the Blockbuster rental shelves this year. If the UK film loving public get with the program, there will be many more released if Tintin has any success.

- The Americans have arrived and finally are sharing their ‘Netflix’ technology with us! It is the magical world of streaming ladies and gentlemen and unfortunately it IS the future. Basically, it eliminates the need for discs and just allows you to download the information from the Netflix server. This means that if you want to watch a film, you don’t have to go to Blockbuster, you don’t have to join Lovefilm and wait for discs for both companies. You can open your laptop, or telly, or games console, or tablet or next generation phone and watch films directly from the site. Give it a try. The only thing I’ve heard of that can limit the awesomeness of this idea is the size of the download server. Basically, if they crash – you crash. The download time is very long for some films or in some situations, so some people just get bored of waiting, cancel the download and run off to their nearest rental store. It’s whatever you find easiest guys – but with the good always comes the bad.

- The most exciting thing I’ve heard about for this year is what Sir Ridley Scott is working on at the Alien prequel, or at least a prequel set in the Alien universe. I can’t think of anyone better to helm this project and thanks to the trailer of Prometheus (, I am so very excited my friends. If anyone were to do this, I would have wanted someone with passion and drive to bring something extra special to the screen and Sir Ridley is the man. Everything he does shows his love for film and everything he’s done has impressed me in one way or the other. I hope post production is going well on Prometheus, so hopefully it will make its release date of August this year. Not sure about the Blade Runner sequel/prequel though - I don’t think anyone could do a better job than Rutger Hauer.

- I love the beginning of each year, and this is mainly due to the many award presentations that showcase talent at its finest in the world of film. The three heavyweight shows being the Golden Globes (already done a couple of weeks ago), the BAFTA’s (recently presented) and the Academy Awards/Oscars (29th February). So far I have agreed with the nominations and the winners, but there is one injustice that I must voice. Michael Fassbender in Shame was not acknowledged by the Academy as best actor – so I am automatically angry. After George Clooney stole his award at the Globes, I certainly hope he receives more acknowledgements than this!  More about the award shows when they’ve all finished! I am glad however that The Artist is doing well, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing it.
In the meantime, here are all the nominations (curtsey of my personal Bible – Empire Magazine)

2012 is shaping up to be quite a good year so far, don’t you think? For those of you who received a Blu-ray player for Christmas – congrats! I’ll include my personal top five Blu-ray films to test out your new toy with:

 The Terminator.  This was my first Blu-ray and I LOVE it. Everything has been enhanced and it truly does show off the high definition with pride.
 Die Hard. See all that blood, sweat and tears on Bruce Willis’s face? Well on Blu-ray you can see and hear a whole lot more. Not sure whether this is a good thing, but you’ll just have to see it for yourself.
 Avatar. This film is what high definition was created for. We just had to wait quite a few years before it was ready for us. And until 2016 until the next one is finished. Drat.
 Tron Legacy. Unfortunately, the original cannot be made prettier with all the high tech gizmos in the world. The visuals are dated and no amount of high definition can take away from those neon, saggy and unflattering jumpsuits. The sequel however is visually beautiful and is definitely one of the films I love recommending in High Def.
 Jurassic Park. Classic. End of.

Trust me guys, I know I’ve picked action and Science fiction in the list above, but it is the special effects that really showcase Blu-ray. A bog standard romantic comedy is still very pretty in the visuals, but chances are you won’t notice that much anyway to be honest. Blu-ray won’t replace DVD yet guys, so don’t panic and rush out to replace your entire collection. Start with the ones you love and branch out from there.

Try out your own classics and make your own favourite Blu-ray list. Watching films just became brilliant, and I hope that 2012 will continue to improve our viewing and spark out imaginations to the limit.

Continued next week

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