NEWS ARCHIVE - 16th to 22nd JULY 2007


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16th July 2007


More 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 BBC2.

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 here.

Lionsgate 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 fiction mini-series The 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 English subtitles.

The set will include a bonus featurette, Inside The Lost Room (which runs for about eighteen minutes on the US edition).

The RRP is an extortionate £27.99 - about three times what you can pick the Region 1 edition up for.


On 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. Rowling.

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 (pictured).

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 executed).

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

Ocean's Thirteen
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


BBC 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 Sword).

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 Dirk Maggs.

The series begins in October and will also have its own dedicated webpages on 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 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 character...




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...


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 Seal.

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 begun.”

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.


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 life.

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 September

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 here.


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