The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventures of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a production of New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.
The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug opens nationwide across the UK on 13th December 2013.
Hammer, Icon Film Distribution and Lionsgate are proud to present a major event in British film history.
Terence Fisher’s 1958 classic DRACULA, fully restored in High Definition and available on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time. The release will contain two versions of the feature (seamlessly branched on the Blu-ray):
The 2007 BFI restoration plus the 2012 Hammer restoration, which adds additional footage that has been unavailable for decades.
The additional footage comprises two of the scenes that were originally censored by the BBFC in 1958 that have now been restored to the film from the “Japanese reels”:
• Dracula’s seduction of Mina
• Dracula’s sunlight disintegration
These will be the most complete versions ever released and taken together fully deserving of the description DEFINITIVE.
‘Censoring Dracula’ 10 min clip from the new Blu-ray/DVD
video added 22 Feb 2013
DRACULA has been unavailable on any UK home entertainment format for many years. This release will be at the correct aspect ratio of 1.66:1 which has never been available for home viewing.
Available 18th March in the UK on 3-disc Double Play, the pack comprises 1 x Blu-ray and 2 x DVD, the release also includes brand new featurettes, a new commentary track, multiple bonus extras and a stills show (see below for full list of extras).
DRACULA is the first in the series of Hammer films inspired by the Bram Stoker novel Dracula. It was directed by Terence Fisher, and stars Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, Carol Marsh, Melissa Stribling and Christopher Lee.
Dr. Van Helsing, investigating the death of his friend Jonathan Harker, concludes that Harker was the victim of a vampire. When Harker’s fiancée, Lucy, becomes affected by the terrifying force and hypnotic power of Count Dracula, Van Helsing releases her tortured soul by driving a stake through her heart. But Dracula seeks revenge, targeting Lucy’s beautiful sister-in-law, Mina. Van Helsing, now aided by Mina’s husband Arthur, swears to exorcise this evil forever by confronting the vile and depraved Count himself.
DRACULA Technical Information:
• Region: B/2
• Barcode: 5060223769196
• Catalogue number: LGB95006
• Double Play: 1 x BD & 2 x DVD
• Languages: English
Four Brand-New Featurettes:
• “Dracula Reborn”. New 30 min. featurette about the film’s creation and history, featuring, among others: Jimmy Sangster, Kim Newman, Mark Gatiss, Jonathan Rigby and Janina Faye (Tania in the film).
• “Resurrecting Dracula”. New 20 min. featurette about the film’s restoration, from the BFI’s 2007 restoration through to the integration of “lost” footage, featuring interviews with key staff at the BFI, Molinare and Deluxe142. Also covers the February 2012 world premiere of Hammer’s interim restored version including “vox pop” interviews with fans after the event.
• “The Demon Lover: Christopher Frayling on Dracula”. New 30 min. featurette.• “Censoring Dracula”. New 10 min. featurette on the original cuts to the film ordered by the British Board of Film Censors.
• New commentary by Hammer historian Marcus Hearn and author & critic Jonathan Rigby.
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), arriving on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. All disc versions feature UltraViolet. The 3D Blu-ray and Blu-ray include over 130 minutes of bonus content. The first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which is nominated for three Academy Awards*, is an epic adventure that immerses audiences once again in the fantastical world of Middle-earth. The 8th April home entertainment release will be followed by an Extended Edition later this year.
Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” in “The Hobbit” Trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as Old Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.
The international ensemble cast also includes James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Adam Brown, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Manu Bennett and Conan Stevens.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was released on December 13, 2012, with the second film, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” releasing December 13, 2013, and the third film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” slated for July 18, 2014
BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” 3D Blu-ray and Blu-ray contain the following special features:
Full Suite of Peter Jackson’s Production Videos. Enter Middle-earth of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as Academy Award-winning Director Peter Jackson takes you behind the scenes, on location and amidst the star-studded cast in a series of video journals that puts you in the forefront of latest in filmmaking with more than two hours of additional content. Highlights of the journals include:
It is Sunday evening at 6pm, and for most of the afternoon I have been sitting uncomfortably in the Odeon Leicester Square in London watching a screening of Peter Jackson’s new LOTR movie, The Hobbit. Uncomfortably not just because the film is long (too long by far), and not just because the Odeon’s seats are ruthless on your nether regions (some padding towards the rear of the seat would be nice, guys!), but because as I watched this ‘epic’ I knew I would have to write the following words:
The Hobbit is a pretty bad film
Phew, there, I’ve said it. So, let’s start with Mr Jackson’s much vaunted 48fps HFR 3D technological breakthrough. Oh dear lordy, for all that is good in the world, let this technology die right now! I am a real fan of 3D movies, thinking they often have a certain additional depth to them that helps make the movie-going experience more immersive. But guys, what the heck went wrong with The Hobbit? Are you telling me that someone has sat down, watched the film on a big screen and signed off on it?! If they have then they deserve the sack, because this film looks bad, very bad. Now, let me discuss the 48fps issue. There have been accusations from early part-screenings that this process made the film look like an HD TV series, pristine and shiny. Jackson et al claimed this was because the film hadn’t been graded, coloured, and generally ‘film-ified’ yet. “Don’t worry” they said, “it’ll look epic and grand on final release”. Well my friends, we have been duped. It looks like the shiniest of shiny things ever. Pristine is a good word for it, but STERILE is a far better one. There is rarely a scene with any ‘filmic’ feeling to it, everything is just so goddamn clean and crisp and perfect. It really DOES look like a top end HD TV production. There are a few saving graces, such as the battle scenes and the Gollum cave sequence where things get better, mostly due to interesting lighting and darkness. But overall it is all way too clean to feel like a LOTR movie. Is this the end of the world, or the very start of a new one? Who can tell. It doesn’t destroy the movie but it does lack warmth and flavour and the heightened sense of reality forces you away from the film rather than bringing you closer to it.
But that’s not the real bugbear I have with 48fps, oh no. There was a much greater, more aggravating issue. Now, it may have been a technical fault with the Odeon’s brand spanking new equipment. Possibly they don’t have it ‘run-in’ quite correctly. But throughout the screening we were subjected to sudden and terrible speed-ups, where a person would be moving across screen and suddenly speed up for a second or two. Or when they were talking. Or during a battle scene. Or…well, so often I lost count. It was as if the film were buffering and catching up with itself. A symptom of 48fps technology and all-digital prints & projectors? I know not, but it really did destroy the film for me, it was like adding a Benny Hill sketch into an epic Western. Utter technical failure. End of story.
So what then of the Jackson claim that 48fps would enhance the Real3D experience and make the movie more immersive? Well, it might have if not for all of the above and the fact that it seems WETA allowed the work experiencers to do the CGI and blending. The Hobbit never once achieved what the previous LOTR films managed 90% of the time, and that was to blend the CG with the real and make it all seem as one. In scene after eye-sapping scene the CGI backgrounds and creatures looked like badly layered early 2000’s computer game characters. In fast moving scenes actors appeared completely disconnected from their surroundings. Feet floated above and away from CGI landscapes, and as for poorly matted and layered…don’t get me started. Who cleared this film for theatrical release? Technologically the 3D (except in close-ups and real landscape shots), looked cartoonish and low resolution. The blending of real and CGI was cringe-worthy, and the sense that you were watching a 10-15 year old computer game cut-scene built throughout the movie. If you HAVE to see this movie, see it in 2D, because the 3D print is truly lamentable.
So that is the technology considered, but what about the story, the plot, the purpose of the movie? Well, it’s not terrible. I honestly can’t say it is epic, or thrilling or life-changing. The sense of scope and proportion wanders between small and personal to grand and majestic. But it does so with stops and starts, stumbles and staggers. Rarely does The Hobbit flow from scene to scene. It is as though everything we loved about Peter Jackson’s vision and style in LOTR has been erased by The Lovely Bones and replaced by whip-pans, juddery camera moves and just-a-fraction-too-early editing style. Add in some often-wooden, occasionally forest-like acting (sorry Sir Christopher and Sir Ian!) and a dearth of believable side-characters and you are left with a movie that is an hour too long, and a soul too missing. Not to say there aren’t some good performances…Martin Freeman owns the role of Bilbo and is immediately loveable and relatable. King Thorin and a few of the dwarves are likeable and well-rounded. But Gandalf feels lacking in purpose or reason, Sir Ian offering a muted and not altogether weighty performance. Hugo Weaving appeared to have phoned his Elrond in from another film-set (while doing his best to sound like David Bowie in Labyrinth), and Sir Christopher Lee’s CGI’d in Saruman was so lacking in spirit it was a geek-tragedy. But in all this there was one shining light…the brilliant Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown was pitch-perfect, mysterious and loopy yet courageous and outrageous. A true Tolkien character brought to life with flair and charm. If only the rest of the film could have been populated by such well-crafted and well-acted characters.
Once again, Andy Serkis comes to the rescue (although possibly not in his role of second-unit director). The scenes with Gollum and Bilbo under the mountain playing a game of riddles are superb. The CGI is magical, the setting exquisite, the lighting and blending spot-on. Why oh why couldn’t the rest of the film have been made with such love and care? Gollum is a whole new creature here, expressive and exciting, terrifying and unstable. You feel the threat he poses, and yet you continue to sympathise with him. His look of pain, anguish and sadness at losing his precious is heartbreaking. Congratulations to the Gollum team who produced another unsurpassed moment of movie magic.
While in no way perfect, the story is certainly interesting and stays pretty close to the book. The additions of some Dwarf/Orc history are superbly handled (with some of the better CGI work employed here). It is to the film’s credit that the backstory to the Dwarf’s quest is explained so well and so succinctly. I’m not so sure about some of the ‘fan service’ additions, such as lines repeated from the original trilogy, and knowing nods and winks. But all in all the film trots along its trail without too many stumbles. Sadly, our return to Rivendell is marred by it looking like a matte-painting taken from a late 80s kids TV show. In fact a lot of the film feels oddly akin to a Russell T Davies CBBC series…lots of running around in front of green-screen and a set of CGI backgrounds that feel like updates on the old Captain Zep early 80s technology. My over-riding thought throughout The Hobbit was that I was hankering after watching some classic Knightmare episodes, rather than wanting to keep watching the film. I might just do that, or put Labyrinth on…something with way more character, soul and sense of the epic.
I really was looking forward to The Hobbit. While the book is certainly a classic, it has never been a rip-roaring adventure tale. However, the masterpieces that were the original LOTR trilogy had me believing Peter Jackson & co would pull something special out of their knapsack. Unfortunately all they’ve done is tire my bottom out, give me a sense of loss and annoyance, and made me want to go find the person who is pushing 48fps Real3D technology and introduce them to the words ‘Over my dead body!’
With the Hobbit we return to Middle Earth, but it isn’t how we remember it. It is all shiny and computery and cut-sceney. It is full of pixels and cartoonish speed-ups. It groans with the weight of expectation and falls flat on its need for putting technology before storytelling. Please Mr Jackson, re-grade and re-colourise the film, put it in 2D and turn the volume down just a tad…cut about 40-60 mins from it and sort out the lack of scope. THEN I’ll be the first in line to buy the Blu-ray edition!
Another wave of Hammer Horror classics reach Blu Ray in time for Halloween. Newly remastered for the hih definition format The Devil Rides Out lives again!
The debonair Duc de Richleau has been trusted with the care of his deceased friend’s son, Simon Aron. The Duc discovers that the young man has been seduced into joining a Satanic cult headed by the diabolic Mocata, who is intent on making Simon one of the Devil’s disciples. Having rescued Simon from a bloodied ritual, de Richleau is pursued by Mocata, who will stop at nothing to destroy the Duc and his friends, even summoning the Angel of Death itself.
Starring Christopher Lee in one of his personal favourite roles and based on the celebrated novel by Dennis Weatley, THE DEVIL RIDES OUT is one of Hammer’s most accomplished and thrilling mystery horrors.
Starring Christopher Lee, Charles Gray and Nike Arrighi
Directed by Terence Fisher
Three band new documentaries: ‘Black Magic: The Making of The Devil Rides Out’, ‘The Power of Light: Restoring The Devil Rides Out’ and ‘Dennis Wheatley at Hammer’
World of Hammer Episode ‘Hammer’
Audio Commentary featuring Christopher Lee, Sarah Lawson & Hammer Films Historian MarcusHearn
Time for another nosedive in to the world of home 3D cinema, this time in the hands of top notch director Martin Scorsese. ?Hugo? is a sci-fi lite/steampunk-esque family movie based in a post-World War 1 Paris with a seemingly endless supply of top British thespians. From Sir Ben Kinglsey and Ray Winstone, to Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour, the great and the good of British acting talent are out in force. The film tells the story of young Hugo Cabret, an orphan who lives in the secret areas of a Parisian railway terminus. He keeps all the clocks wound and on time, and in his spare time dabbles in some petty theft to get the parts he needs to repair an automaton, the very machine his father was restoring before his death.
Sadly for Hugo he is caught stealing by an elderly toy seller (Ben Kingsley) and is forced to work to pay off his debt. But Hugo also gets to meet the old chap?s grand-daughter, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), an immediately annoying girl who has been spoiled, thinks the world is a playground and is altogether far too perky. Together they try to unravel the mystery of the automaton, and in the process learn a great deal about the old toy maker and the history of cinema.
As plots go, it is a light-hearted and enjoyable enough affair. If you don?t know your cinema-history then it will come as a pleasant piece of education, and if you do you will see everything coming a mile off. That said, the main plot is rather less ably supported by a couple of sub-plots. One of these is utterly dreadful and completely superfluous, concerning the railway station?s resident policeman (or Inspector), as played by Sasha Baron Cohen. Sadly this character is astonishingly annoying to watch, his motivation is nowhere in sight and the portrayal by Cohen is one-note. You feel no threat or love for this man as he one moment chases Hugo and sends orphans to their doom, and the next he is trying to win the heart of Emily Mortimer?s flower seller. A crude attempt to make him human with a backstory similar to Hugo?s comes across as trite and last-minute. To be honest, you could take him out completely and the film would work just the same.
It is hard to say much more without giving away the historic twist in the tale, so let me talk about the look and feel of the film. Where Scorsese had failed to engage on a character level, he has scored a hat trick with the visuals and design. There is a hyper-real feeling to this Paris, all steam and gas-lamps, clockwork and darkness. It is a fantasy Paris but one you feel is just a short distance in our past. The set designs are beautiful and the use of both CGI and large-scale models work very well. The automaton himself is a work of rare wonder and all credit to the artisans who created this prop.
Sadly there is a caveat to all this?in 3D, at times, things go very wrong. Initially my impression was that this was the most brilliantly conceived use of 3D in a home setting I had yet seen (live action, not animated). The early scenes of Paris and the railway were pristine and used the additional layers of depth proficiently. However whenever a person or item loomed forwards into extreme close-up, the 3D failed, completely. You could see multiple images, ghosting and the entire image became unwatchable. As soon as the close-up ended, the 3D reverted to superb once again. At first I thought this was a failing of either the TV or the PS3, but it wouldn?t do it with other 3D BDs, and reports online suggest many other people have had similar issues. They have also had problems with the 2D version either getting stuck or skipping. All in all, I feel let down by the experience. A lacklustre, if OK, film shadowed by a sporadically failing presentation in 3D. Such a shame, and especially from a director of Scorses? experience.
My advice is that this is a decent enough family film, but try to find the stand-alone 2D BD release, don?t bother with the 3D. There are some interesting if unoriginal bonus features to enjoy, including a rare moment of funny from Sasha Baron Cohen and the crew. It isn?t the overwhelmingly fantastic filmic experience I was expecting, but it is nice to see so many great actors in one place, especially the always-superb Christopher Lee. Rent rather than buy and you won?t go far wrong.
STUDIOCANAL are undertaking a joint restoration project with HAMMER FILMS to restore and release on DVD and as blu-ray premiers, some of their most iconic horror titles.
Starting March 5th with one of Hammer’s most iconic characters, we will be releasing on double-play DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS, starring Christopher Lee and Barbara Shelley. Along with the fully restored film, there will be a comprehensive extras package produced in association with Hammer expert and author Marcus Hearn.
Further titles to be released in this restoration programme will include THE REPTILE and THE PLAGUE OF ZOMBIES, both arriving to blu-ray for the first time on May 7th, with more to follow later this year.
Dracula Prince Of Darkness Blu Ray Features
Commentary featuring Christopher Lee. Suzan Farmer, Francis Matthews and Barbara Shelley
Super 8mm behind the scenes footage
World of Hammer episode ?Hammer Stars: Christopher Lee?
Brand new documentary: ?Back To Black?
Restored original trailer
More Hammer Horror Blu Ray Titles Announced for 2012
Over the course of 2012 the project will see subsequent restored HD releases of THE REPTILE and THE PLAGUE OF ZOMBIES in May, and THE DEVIL RIDES OUT, RASPUTIN THE MAD MONK and THE MUMMY?S SHROUD later in the year in a continuation of STUDIOCANAL?s commitment to investing and restoring the best of British Cinema. All releases will include exclusive brand new extras.
Produced by Hammer Films and starring Academy Award winner Hilary Swank (The Next Karate Kid), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) and Hammer veteran Christopher Lee (Dracula in the best HAMMER movies), the film is set for release on 11th March 2011.
Every year, several million single women in America move into an apartment. They don?t know who lived in the apartment before them, they don?t know their landlords, and they don?t bother to change the locks.
This is the story of one such woman…
After separating from her adulterous husband, the beautiful and young Dr. Juliet Devereau (Swank) moves to Brooklyn, NY and settles into a new life in a stunning and spacious loft apartment that seems too good to be true. Mysterious occurrences lead her to suspect she is not alone in her home and quickly her fears become all too real. In a chilling revelation, she discovers her seemingly charming, young landlord, Max (Morgan), has developed a dangerous obsession with her. Unknown to both of them, Max suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. A terrifying game of cat and mouse ensues as Juliet is forced to fight and free herself from Max?s increasingly sinister intentions.
THE RESIDENT is a new feature from the legendary British film company, Hammer Films, only their second (after this year?s ?Let Me In?) in over 30 years. Hammer has a long and treasured history, having produced over 300 movies and television programs and it remains synonymous to this day with cult genre filmmaking featuring vampires, zombies and mummies, and covering such diverse styles as sci-fi to suspenseful thrillers.
Originally launched in 1934, Hammer delivered a hugely successful run of films in the 1950s including Gothic classics ?Dracula? and ?The Curse of Frankenstein? and Sci-fi picture ?The Quatermass Experiment?. Hammer’s reputation became branded worldwide as ‘The Hammer House of Horror’.
In the 1960s Hammer struck distribution deals with Universal, Warner Brothers, Fox and Columbia. Hammer went on to produce a huge volume of films which included such titles as ?The Plague of the Zombies? , ?The Nanny?, ?Quatermass and the Pit?, ?The Devil Rides Out? and ?One Million Years BC?.
Not in production since the 1980s, the company is now being enthusiastically reinvigorated by Exclusive Media Group, through new investment in the development and production of film, television and digital-platform content.
Instrumental in the acquisition of the Hammer brand in 2007, along with Exclusive?s COO Marc Schipper, was current President and CEO, Simon Oakes. ?Hammer had a distinct effect on me when I was growing up. The sexy, gory films, I probably wasn?t supposed to see, as well as the formidable characters such as Quatermass made powerful impressions on a young man?. I was later fascinated by Hammer?s presence in the everyday vernacular – it was so frequently referenced, yet Hammer had not produced a film in thirty five years. It struck me that Hammer is a brand which will never die – contrary to its usual subject matter!?
Hammer?s 21st century return to horror was heralded by the interactive web serial ?Beyond the Rave?, which was broadcast by MySpace in 12 territories in 2008. 2010 has seen the worldwide theatrical release of highly anticipated thriller, ?Let Me In?, a remake of the widely acclaimed Tomas Alfredson- directed Swedish film ?Lat Den Ratte Komma In,? and adapted and directed by Matt Reeves (?Cloverfield?).
Today, Hammer has an active development slate totaling more than 25 projects across diverse genres, sourced out of both Europe and the United States. Hammer expects a number of these projects to go into production during 2010/2011, including ?The Woman in Black?, based on the best-selling Susan Hill novel and set to star Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) as well as the poltergeist-themed, supernatural horror ?The Quiet Ones?.
Fan Festival is proud to present their first collectors convention and signing event at the London Film Museum in County Hall.
The weekend of the 24th and 25th April 2010 will be packed with opportunities to meet some of your favourite actors and actresses from the movie industry. Stars of the British film industry will be on hand for signings among the collector?s tables and exhibition pieces on display.
Confirmed guests so far include*;
Richard Kiel ? His first singing in Central London
James Bond himself, George Lazenby, from On Her Majesty?s Secret Service.
Ray Harryhausen, the man who invented stop motion animation in film
Honor Blackman – Pussy Galore and Doctor Who
Burt Kwouk ? Cato Fong from The Pink Panther films
Jesper Christensen ? His first ever signing event
In total we shall be having the largest gathering of Bond actors and actresses under one roof.
The museum will be featuring a collection of artefacts as part of the weekend, and guests will be able to take a high speed ride down the Thames with London Rib Voyages**
The Art of Avatar! Concept artwork from the stunning 3D world of Pandora created for the film will be on display. Pieces will be taken from the new book ?The Art of Avatar? (Abrams Books Ltd) to celebrate the release of James Cameron?s history-making motion picture AVATAR on Blu-ray & DVD on April 26.
Original pieces on display will include Little Nellie, the armoured autogyro from You Only Live Twice, and Tony Stark?s first generation Iron Man suit that he uses to escape the dessert.
On the Saturday night, Sir Christopher Lee will be receiving a lifetime achievement award from Cinema Retro Magazine in a special Q&A session, hosted by writer and publisher Lee Pfeiffer, in the Debating Chamber at the heart of the building.
Collectors will also be able to purchase memorabilia from the various stalls around the museum over the 2 days.
*Guest appearances subject to change without notice