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Madonna, Sticky And Sweet

  • Written by Rob Manser
  • Category: DVD

This would have to be Madonna's best tour ever, and not for the fact that I was fro and centre at Madison Square Garden either… this is truly a fans show - with so many hits and magical reworkings, you will be stunned by the brilliance of this production.

The show, from the dancers agility and pure strength in performance, to Madonna's own never stop, never give less than 100% attitude is what makes this show great.

Give an added dose of amazing staging, production, choreography and lighting and your senses are overloaded.

The only issue i have with the DVD release is that it is slightly "over produced" in the editing and overlay of effects and video packages… i would have loved to have seen this show from two or three key cameras and just let is unfold on screen, as it was spectacular enough as it is without the need for post production.

without rabbiting on for pages about individual details, just go out and buy this release - you will love it, even if your not a fan. This is how a show SHOULD be done and is now the benchmark for all other artists to follow.


  • Written by E. Solinas
  • Category: DVD

Someday, Pixar is going to do it -- they're going to create an emotionally uninspiring, lackluster animated movie. But in the meantime, they're still putting out delightful animated movies like "Up," which defies the usual kid-movie conventions by starring a crotchety old man. It's a charming, fun little adventure story with flying dogs and balloon-powered houses, but underlying it is a bittersweet little story about loss and love.

As a child, the shy Carl Fredricksen bonded with the oddball Ellie over their shared love of adventure, the explorer Charles Muntz, and Paradise Falls. They later married, move into their "clubhouse" together, and lived a long, sadly childless life together. When Ellie died, she had never fulfilled her dream of going to Paradise Falls.

Now crotchety, alone and harassed by a real estate developer, Carl (Ed Asner) is finally ordered to a retirement home. But he isn't going quietly -- instead he attaches thousands of balloons to his house and floats it away toward South America. But he accidentally takes an enthusiastic, naive Wilderness Explorer (a thinly-veiled Boy Scout) named Russell (Jordan Nagai) along for the ride. Poor kid was just trying to earn an "assisting the elderly" badge.

And the jungle trek to Paradise Falls turns out to have some surprising obstacles: a big emu-like bird that Russell names Kevin, a talking dog named Dug ("I am jumping on you, bird!"), and a mysterious old man who lives deep in the heart of the jungle. Turns out the old guy is very familiar to Carl -- and to capture Kevin, he's willing to sacrifice Carl and Russell.

Industry experts were babbling about how "Up" wouldn't be as popular as the previous Pixar movies, because the protagonist is basically a crusty old coot. Well, shows what they know. It ended up becoming one of those classic movies that somehow appeals to all ages -- while the humor and action appeal to children, adults can appreciate Carl's love for his lost wife, and his slow realization that he's clinging to the past.

In fact, the first ten minutes are some of the most heart-tugging, quietly bittersweet scenes I've seen in a long time. Without a word, they show all the ups and downs of a realistic marriage -- joys, sorrows (Ellie's inability to have children), growing old together, and finally loss.

But it's not a depressing movie by any stretch -- in fact, it's like a childhood fantasy come to life, complete with a floating house suspended on hundreds of balloons, and biplanes piloted by a talking dog army.. Plenty of great dialogue ("Do you want to play a game? It's called See Who Can Go the Longest Without Saying Anything." "Cool! My mom loves that game!") and an action-packed climax in an aged airship.

Ed Asner is absolutely perfect as ubergrouch Carl -- crotchety, grumpy, and determined to fulfill his wife's lifelong dream, but gradually realizing he's clinging to the past. Nagai is equally perfect as Carl's polar opposite: a naive, chattery Scout who is determined to reunite Kevin with her baby chicks. And the utterly adorable Dug and the other dogs deserve special notice. These creatures are utterly hilarious -- they talk ("I hid under your porch because I love you") and act the way dogs would if they talked. Three words: cone of shame.

The two-disc edition is going to have some very nice extras, but once again people with regular-def DVDs are going to get shafted because the Blu-ray edition will have a bunch of exclusive stuff. Grr. As for this one, there's a digital copy, the director's audio commentary, kinda-alternate-ending "The Many Endings of Muntz," and the documentary "Adventure Is Out There" about the research for this movie.

There are also a pair of adorable animated shorts. "Partly Cloudy" has a much-abused stork having to deliver potentially harmful baby creatures from a kind but clueless cloud. And "Dug's Special Mission" is a sort of backstory for the adorable Dug, explaining what the heck he was doing before he met up with Carl and Russell.

"Up" continues Pixar's running tally of gloriously animated, emotionally layered movies that the entire family can enjoy. With that, I have only one more thing to say... SQUIRREL!


Lake Mungo

  • Written by Lisa McMahon
  • Category: DVD

After a limited cinema release its great to find Australian filmmaker Joel Anderson’s psychological thriller on DVD. This low budget horror flick has been a global cult hit and selected for the 2010 Horrorfest4 film festival.

A few days before Christmas, sixteen-year-old Alice Palmer (Talia Zucker) drowns while swimming in the local dam. The film captures the eerie paranormal occurrences that are a fall out from her death. Alice’s family (June Palmer, David Pledger and Martin Sharpe) are subjected to a series of unsettling events that drive them to see the help of a psychic and parapsychologist only to discover the disturbing truth about Alice’s double life.

The haunting beauty of Australia’s landscape, in particular the dry Lake Mungo provides the backdrop for the family’s disturbing search for a greater understanding of Alice’s life. The family confronts not only their grief but Alice’s secrets.

Don’t dismiss the hand held camera and documentary style of this film as another Blair Witch Project. It’s an eerily crafted psychological thriller. Part ghost story and part family drama, this bold exploration of death and its aftershocks delivers the thrills and creepy anxiety demanded by horror genre fans.

The huge buzz around this low budget flick is that the makers of The Ring will do a big budget remake. If this is true, let’s hope some of the great Aussie talents reprise their haunting roles.

Distributor: Madman Films
RRP: $34.95