Monthly Archives: July 2013

Underbelly Squizzy

Underbelly returns to our TV sets next week with Underbelly Squizzy. This is the sixth season of the incredibly popular Underbelly series. It’s regarded as Australia’s best drama show for good reason. Whilst there are some overlaps with characters in some seasons, each are stand alone seasons providing a glimse into Australia’s Underbelly of crime. The acting in each season is just amazing, it’s Australia’s best work which is why the Underbelly DVD continues to be the most popular male gift year on year.

Underbelly Squizzy is set between 1915 and 1927 in Melbourne and follows the life and career of Squizzy Taylor. He was the most feared criminal in Melbourne during the time. This series has a little bit of inevitability to it as we saw how Squizzy dies in Underbelly Razor (an earlier Underbelly season) but I guess seeing he was a gangster in the first quarter of last century, we weren’t expecting him to be alive sipping lattes in Chapel Street were we?

As is a bit of a signature to the more recent Underbelly seasons, this cast, whilst excellent are a bunch of no-names. There are a few familiar faces scattered throughout the show like comedians Peter Moon and Greg Fleet but it’s clearly Jared Daperis who plays Squizzy that is the star of the show. Is he as good as some of the other leads, probably not. In this writer’s opinion, it would be near impossible to beat the performance of Matthew Newton in Underbelly Tale Of Two Cities, but Australian acting on the budget Aussie TV on DVD has, the acting and production is excellent.

Underbelly Squizzy is definately worth the time investment of 8 episodes either on channel 9 or on the Underbelly Squizzy DVD or Underbelly Squizzy Blu Ray. Let’s face it, it’s water cooler talk material and you don’t want to be the one saying Squizzy who…

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Disney Movies

Disney DVDs are still the most popular family DVDs. Why? Let’s start at the beginning.

Walt Disney famously said, ‘It all started with a mouse’. He was of course referring to Mickey Mouse. And it’s a fair point, without his creation of Mickey Mouse, we may not be watching Disney movies today or going to Disney theme parks such as Disneyland. Mickey started on our screens in 1929 in an animated short ‘Plane Crazy’ and well, all these years later he remains just as popular today. This innocent little mouse with his girlfriend of over 80 years Minnie Mouse is still very much loved by all. When is Mickey going to make an honest mouse out of Minnie? Who knows, but seriously, what is he waiting for?

Whilst it all started with a Mouse (even though he created Oswald The Rabbit before Mickey which Walt lost the rights to Universal) it was really Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs that really set Disney up and gave it financial strength. Prior to Snow White, Disney was not financially viable and it was close to going under. But Walt and brother Roy risked everything on the worlds first animated feature film. You can imagine how he was mocked by Hollywood. Really, an animated feature film, surely that couldn’t work? Umm, well it’s a huge understatement to say it was a blockbuster and the financial basis Disney based everything on for several years.

Even today, when you hear Snow White, Toy Story, Lion King or Brave what do you think of most? Most of us would say Disney which is really interesting. Because when you mention other non-Disney movies we don’t automatically think 20th Century Fox or Universal studios, we think that was a good movie, or a bad movie or I remember when I saw that movie… So why is Disney so unique and so successfully branded over other movie studios? Is it because it was the studio of our childhood no matter what age we are? The over 35s and now thinking of Sunday nights watching Wonderful World Of Disney? Is it because of the Disney Parks continued popularity generation after generation? What kid doesn’t want to go to Disneyland? Or is it that we trust Disney so much that we know it’s safe to plonk the kid in front of a Disney DVD and know it’s going to be appropriate viewing? It’s probably the latter but when we watch a Disney DVD with our kids, we enjoy it from another level. Do you think the Disney Cars movie would be so popular if only kids were watching it?

Disney knows when they’re on a winner. Cars, is one of their most popular movies of the last generation which was followed up by the (in my opinion) superior Cars 2 (is it just me or are their parallels to Disney’s Herbie but that’s another discussion for another day) and with the new Disney Planes DVD coming out soon it continues that tradition. Yes, you can loosely say it’s gone full circle from Mickey Mouse’s Plane Crazy to the new Disney Planes movie. If any other movie studio tried this they’d be ridiculed as a shameless cash grab. However Disney celebrates it by marketing it as Cars with wings. And you know what, we’ll all go and see Planes and buy it on DVD when it’s released. But it’s easy to over complicate it. When really, I think we see it quite plainly (pardon the pun). Yes, we’ll all go see Planes and the next Disney movie and the next Disney movie after that. Yes, because it’s a Disney DVD, yes because we trust Disney, yes because it’ll be marketed extremely well. But we’ll see it and watch it over and over again because it’s beautifully shot, has a simply wholesome message and is entertaining to the kids and the entire family. In this writer’s opinion, that’s why Disney DVDs remain so incredibly popular and practically owns the entire genre.

Disney DVDs only come out of the Disney vault for a limited time so most of us know when a Disney movie is out of the vault, that it’s only out for a limited time before returning to the vault for a long time (usually around 7 years). So when a Disney DVD is out, such as the re-release of The Little Mermaid DVD we all grab them quick before they disappear, which is incredibly smart marketing by Disney.

Regardless of what we think about Disney, whether you say it’s too sugary sweet and not true to life, there’s no doubt the Disney DVD will continue to dominate our personal collections for at least another generation to come and to be honest, from this writer’s perspective, that’s a good thing. We could all do with a little Disney added into our lives, if only for a couple of hours over a Disney DVD.

mickey