16th July 2007
details about 2 Entertain's
Hyperdrive - Series One & Two DVD set, which is due on sale on
August the 13th.
The set features all twelve episodes,
including the six episodes of series two, which is currently airing on
Each episode is accompanied by a commentary
track. Season one has three by director John Henderson, writers Kevin
Cecil and Andy Riley and producer Alex Walsh-Taylor; two by stars Miranda
Hart (Teal), Petra Massey (Sandstrom) and Stephen Evans (Vine); and one by
both groups, without Miranda Hart.
Three of the series two commentaries are by
stars Nick Frost (Commander Henderson), Kevin Eldon (York) and Miranda
Hart. The other three are by producer Alex Walsh-Taylor and writers Kevin
Cecil and Andy Riley.
The bonus disc contains nearly two hours of
bonus material: Hyperdrivel! - The Story of Hyperdrive (33m);
Creating The World of... Hyperdrive (18m); deleted scenes (with
optional commentary, 17m); Miranda's Tour of the Set For The Lucky DVD
Buying Public (10m); Video Diary (18m) and Behind The Scenes
With Nick Frost (19m).
Subtitles for alien dialogue in the first
episode are burnt-in (not player-generated).
Menu screens from the set can be seen
Home Entertainment (who don't seem to be able to make up their mind
whether 'Lionsgate' is one word or two) will release the clever science
Lost Room on DVD on August the 27th.
The series, which originally aired on the
Sci Fi Channel, is about a mysterious New Mexico hotel room which contains
a number of objects imbued with paranormal powers. The protagonist is a
detective who discovers one of these objects: a key that will open any
door. This results in the disappearance of his daughter, and the beginning
of a quest to find her. The series stars Six Feet Under's Peter
Krause, ER's Juliana Margulies and Kevin Pollack. I caught this
series earlier this year, and found the first three-quarters quite
compelling. It all unravels a bit towards the end, but the premise is
intriguing, and it could have spawned a promising TV series.
Lionsgate's set will feature the series in
anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and optional
The set will include a bonus featurette,
Inside The Lost Room (which runs for about eighteen minutes on the US
The RRP is an extortionate £27.99 - about
three times what you can pick the Region 1 edition up for.
Friday I attended a screening of Harry Potter and the Order of the
Phoenix, the fifth film based on the series of books created by J.K.
I've not read the books, and I'm only a
casual fan of the movies, so I don't really feel qualified to pass comment
to anyone more deeply invested in the Potter mythology. I merely note that
the events in the film don't seem to advance the saga a great deal, and
that I increasingly get the impression that to understand the film you
need to have read the book.
Harry Potter and the Order of the
Phoenix sees the introduction of an important character, Professor
Dolores Umbridge, an officious busy-body appointed by the Minister of
Magic to bring Hogwarts into line. It's a lovely role for Imelda Staunton
Other new characters include the lovely
Luna Lovegood, a ditzy young student (apparently one of the most coveted
roles in the series) and Helena Bonham Carter, as Bellatrix Lestrange, a
Miss Haversham-type imprisoned in Azkaban. I must confess that I didn't
really understand what her role in the proceedings was. Like so many of
the characters, she's only in a couple of scenes. Other cursory cameos
include appearances by Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson (whose character,
I'm told, is somewhat pivotal in the book's version of the plot).
There's much to enjoy in the film,
including Harry's hearing at the Ministry, and the well-paced growing
sense of frustration as Umbridge gradually takes over control of the
school. Thankfully, there's no Quidditch match in Order of the Phoenix.
Perhaps that will be a disappointment to fans of the books - frankly, I'm
bored with it, sorry! The effects run from the wonderful to the woeful
(there's a giant character, related to Hagrid, which is very poorly
As usual the IMAX presentation is a treat:
the huge screen offering plenty of space for the film's often-impressive
sets and landscapes. It's a much darker film than the others in the
series, reflecting the increasingly ominous tone of the narrative. There
is nothing in the film as gloriously bucolic as the scenes set around
Hagrid's pumpkin patch in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban,
my favourite film in the series so far.
The theatre's 12,000 watt sound system
handles everything beautifully, including the unimpressive score (by
Nicholas Hooper, who worked with director David Yates on BBC drama series
State of Play). The series started off with a wonderfully-rich
thematic score by John Williams, arguably the best composer working today.
Hooper has a tiny fraction of Williams' talent, and the film deserved
much, much better.
The icing on the cake is the exclusive IMAX
presentation of the climactic battle in the Department of Mysteries (at
the Ministry of Magic) in 3D. This sequence takes place in a vast, spooky
storage space, with shelving seemingly as high, wide and deep as the eye
can see. This, of course, provides a wonderful backdrop for a 3D
confrontation of duelling wizards. Although the sequence was not shot in
3D (as with Supermam Returns, the 3D scenes were converted
from 2D), it works very well. The cutting of the sequence makes no
concession to the 3D presentation, sadly, so there are many shots that
don't linger long enough for the eye to fully adjust to the 3D effect.
Lengthier shots, especially those taken with a locked-off camera, are
sometimes extraordinarily vivid. The IMAX 3D sequence runs about twenty
minutes, and is certainly worth making the extra effort to see.
Harry Potter and the Order of the
Phoenix opens at the BFI IMAX on August the 3rd. Full details from
The circular BFI IMAX cinema at Waterloo
will be decked out with a full Simpsons Movie wraparound later this
month, coinciding with a week of screenings at the theatre, from the 27th
of July to August the 2nd.
The film is being shown in 35mm format, as
part of the IMAX's After Dark programme. July's schedule is...
Sat 12 - Thurs 19 July at 8.30pm
USA 2007 With Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr
Dir: David Fincher, cert 15, 158 mins
Fri 20 - Thurs 26 July at 8.45pm
USA 2007 With George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle
Dir: Steven Soderbergh, cert PG, 91 mins
The Simpsons Movie
Fri 27 July - Thurs 2 August at 7.15pm and 9.15pm
USA 2007 With the voices of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy
Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer and Minnie Driver
Dir: David Silverman, cert PG, 87 mins
Audiobooks has made an announcement about Dirk Maggs' highly-anticipated
Radio 4 adaptation of Douglas Adams' wonderful detective novel Dirk
Gently's Holistic Detetctive Agency. Here's the statement in full...
Harry Enfield will star as Douglas Adams’s
much loved detective, the enigmatic Dirk Gently, in the BBC Radio 4
broadcast of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency in October.
The entire series will be available as a three-disc CD set (RRP £15.99)
and to download (£10.80), published by BBC Audiobooks, on 8th November.
This commercial release will also contain nearly an hour’s worth of
exclusive, extra material not included in the broadcast.
Featuring a star-studded cast, Dirk
Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency will be produced by the same
award-winning team that made the conclusion to The Hitchhiker’s Guide
To The Galaxy. Harry Enfield is joined by Lord of the Rings
actor Billy Boyd, Fawlty Towers’ Andrew Sachs, The Golden
Compass’s Jim Carter and Peep Show’s Olivia Colman.
Dirk Gently has an unshakeable belief in
the interconnectedness of all things but his Holistic Detective Agency’s
only success seems to be tracking down missing cats for old ladies. Then
Dirk stumbles upon an old friend behaving bizarrely, and he is drawn into
a four-billion year old mystery that must be solved if the human race is
to avoid immediate extinction.
This first series of six thirty-minute
episodes is adapted from the book of the same name and directed by Dirk
Maggs, himself chosen by Douglas Adams to conclude the Hitchhikers saga.
The cast includes Billy Boyd as Dirk’s client Richard Macduff; Olivia
Colman as Dirk’s secretary Janice Pearce; Jim Carter is Dirk’s nemesis DS
Gilks; Andrew Sachs as Professor Reg Chronotis; Felicity Montagu (I’m
Alan Partridge) as Susan Way, with Robert Duncan (Drop the Dead
Donkey) as her brother Gordon; Toby Longworth (Star Wars) as
the Electric Monk; and Michael Fenton Stevens (Nighty Night) as
Michael Wenton Weakes. Guest appearances are made by Andrew Secombe (Star
Wars); Jon Glover (Harry Enfield and Chums); Jeffrey Holland (Hi-De-Hi);
Wayne Forester (Captain Scarlet) and Tamsin Heatley (Broken
Considered by many Adams fans to be as
funny as, if darker than, Hitchhikers, the Dirk Gently novels reflect
Douglas’ unique and funny take on matters as wide-ranging as
consciousness, conservation, man’s place in the cosmos and crime. The
first series features everything from quantum physics to missing cats, via
Coleridge, Bach and an Electric Monk.
The cast and production team feature many
old friends and colleagues of Douglas, including music composer Philip
Pope. The production team, from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential Phases is led by
Executive Producer Helen Chattwell and the Producers are Jo Wheeler and
The series begins in October and will also
have its own dedicated webpages on
www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/dirkgently featuring trailers, photographs,
production diaries, video and competitions. Programmes will also be
available on BBC Radio 4’s listen again service.
The CD (£15.99) will be available from 8th
November at all good bookshops, online from
www.bbcshop.com or by
BBC Audiobooks direct mail on 0800 136 919.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
will be available to purchase as a download from digital retailers such as
Audible, Audioville, Audio-Read, Overdrive, Mediabay, iTunes, 7 Digital,
Simply Audiobooks, Spoken Network, TuneTribe and Plays on the Net.
Here's a publicity image of Enfield in
Tartan has announced that they will be
releasing several of their titles in high definition, exclusively on the
Blu-ray format. Here's the complete press release...
FIRST BLU-RAY TITLES FROM TARTAN VIDEO IN
UNIQUE DOUBLE-DISC BOXES
As the home entertainment industry prepares
to enter a new world of technology, Tartan Video announces the release of
its first High Definition titles. Tartan has chosen three of its most
enduring and popular titles to demonstrate the full power of the Blu-ray
Disc (BD) format: Paul Verhoeven’s stunning war epic, Black Book;
the cult Asia Extreme revenge thriller, Oldboy; and a special 50th
Anniversary edition of Ingmar Bergman’s all-time classic, The Seventh
All three releases are worldwide Blu-ray
premieres, the format with broader industry support, a picture quality six
times that of current DVDs, and fully uncompressed audio all set to
increase consumers’ viewing pleasure beyond their wildest expectations.
Tartan Video’s owner and self-professed
early adopter, Hamish McAlpine, says, “To go with Blu-ray was a no-brainer
for Tartan. Not only is the format superior to HD-DVD, but also the fact
that seven out of eight studios have chosen to release their films on Blu-ray
means that this so-called ‘format war’ is over before it has really
In an exciting move, Tartan Video’s Blu-ray
releases will be uniquely packaged with the DVD edition of each film to
allow consumers who have yet to invest in Blu-ray technology the
opportunity to enjoy the films on existing players at no additional cost
as they invest for the future.
Both Oldboy and The Seventh Seal
contain original English-dubbed soundtracks. All three titles receive
their fist appearance on Blu-ray anywhere in the word!
Paul Verhoeven’s epic World War Two drama
about a young Jewish woman who joins the Dutch Resistance and gets
entangled in a deadly web of double-dealing, betrayal and romance with a
Nazi general. This is a stunning, sexy thriller from the internationally
acclaimed director of Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers, and
Total Recall, featuring Sebastian Koch (The Lives Of Others)
and a star-making debut from Carice Van Houten.
THE SEVENTH SEAL
50th anniversary re-mastered edition
One the most influential movies of all time
by one of the greatest directors of world cinema, Ingmar Bergman’s The
Seventh Seal is a timeless classic and this newly re-mastered version
is an ideal way of celebrating the film’s 50th anniversary. A battle-weary
knight (played by Max Von Sydow) returns from the Crusades to find a land
ravaged by plague. When Death appears and challenges him to a game of
chess, it becomes a fight for survival and a search for the meaning of
Release date for both films: 27 August
Park Chan-Wook’s classic genre-defining
revenge tale of a man who’s wrongly been imprisoned for fifteen years and
is then suddenly released. Given money and a mobile phone, he’s challenged
to discover who incarcerated him in the first place, but he only has five
days to uncover the truth. Even with a mysterious young girl to help him,
his tortures have just begun. Cannes-winner championed by Tarantino,
Oldboy has become a cult favourite, regularly appearing in top ten
best movie polls. Brutal but imaginative story-telling. Release date: 24
Black Book (BD/DVD) and The
Seventh Seal: 50th Anniversary Edition (BD/DVD) are released on 27
August, whilst Oldboy (BD/DVD) is released on 24 September, 2007.
All three titles retail at £29.99 each.
Last week's Zeta Minor News
can be viewed here.
Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed