Monthly Archives: July 2015

Two Strong Hearts Live DVD

John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John’s Two Strong Hearts Live is now available on DVD.
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Yes, they’re Australian music royalty and now their sell-out concert is now available on DVD.

We all have seen collaboration performances from different singers. And hey, we enjoy them! Tickets to watch live performances of your favorite singers certainly aren’t cheap, but it sure is all worth it if the whole performance offers a good playlist, camaraderie between the lead singers, and good backup accompaniment. There was never any doubt that John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John’s Two Strong Hearts DVD was going to be awesome.

You can name a list of artists who had collaborated with one another, but we are going to narrow the list down and bring in two names whose performances continue to bring the house down. They’re Aussie’s pride, John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John.
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Farnham and Newton-John first collaborated way back in 1998 for The Main Event Tour, along with Aussie baritone Anthony Warlow. The album that followed for The Main Event, entitled “Highlights from the Main Event” was released in December of the same year and immediately went to number one on the ARIA Albums Charts, and was awarded Highest Selling Album in the 1999 ARIA Awards. The concert tour was aired on TV and even had a video release that still to this day is one of the biggest Australian Music DVD releases of all time.

During the Opening Ceremony for the Parade of Nations in the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Farnham and Newton-John reunited for their “Dare to Dream” performance. It was a highlight for most and a life-long memory for those that were there.

And again, Farnham and Newton-John continued to make hearts swoon as they serenade the crowd together with their latest collaboration in their live album “Two Strong Hearts Live.” Their live concert was the talk of the town (oops that’s also the name of one of John Farnham’s songs), and because of their reminiscent hits, their strong friendship, and great chemistry, it was no wonder that the concert was sold out throughout Australia. Anyone who had been there can tell you that “Two Strong Hearts Live” was one of the best concerts of this year.
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The ARIA Charts love these two. The CD edition of Two Strong Hearts Live, which was released a few weeks ago, reached number 1 and still hasn’t moved, just like The Main Event way back in 1998.

What can you expect to see in this superb performance? You can expect to enjoy old hits spanning over five decades. Get to be serenaded with “Two Strong Hearts,” or be honestly in love with “I Honestly Love You.” And be mesmerized watching them perform live with “Dare to Dream.” Enjoy more hits like “Cry Me A River,” “Reasons,” Man Of The Hour,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” and so much more! It wouldn’t be a Farnham concert without You’re The Voice and they don’t disappoint.

If you haven’t seen the live performance, or even if you did, you can now order the Two Strong Hearts Live DVD, here at DVDLand. You may have regretted not getting The Main Event video when you had the chance so don’t miss out on getting the Two Strong Hearts Live DVD now.
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Mission Impossible 5

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation in theatres next week!
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When someone says “Tom Cruise,” what comes to mind? Let’s leave out his personal life and just deal with his impressive record as a Hollywood actor. For most, Tom Cruise is synonymous with “award-winning actor,” Top Gun,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles,” and of course, “Mission: Impossible.” And now he’s back in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation.

Tom Cruise’s acting career on screen started way back in 1981 with “Endless Love,” where he played in a bit part. Soon, he appeared in “Taps” in a supporting role. He became more in-demand after “All The Right Moves, “Risky Business,” and Top Gun,” and became a rising superstar. More major blockbuster hits left and right were all added to his credentials. And when you’re that good, you’ll get the recognition you deserve. He received various nominations and awards in different categories in the Academy Awards, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, Golden Globe, People’s Choice Awards, MTV Movie Awards, AFI Film Awards, Screen Actors Guild Award, and others, for many of his films, such as “Vanilla Sky,” “The Last Samurai, “Minority Report,” “Mission: Impossible II,” “Jerry Maguire,” and “Born on the Fourth of July.”

And just when you thought Tom Cruise is not going to be relevant anymore, here he comes, more relevant than ever. He returns to the big screen as IMF Agent Ethan Hunt in the fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible film franchise. “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is proudly directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who directed “The Way of the Gun” and “”Jack Reacher.”

So, what can you expect from this new Tom Cruise hit? Well, there’s more heart-stopping action and mind-blowing plot twists that will surely keep you guessing. Well, Ethan Hunt and his team are up against an international organization of crooks which is as mighty as they are. But the thing is, IMF has to stop this group. Who are behind the Syndicate? What is the Syndicate? Why should they stop the Syndicate? We know you hate spoilers, so it’s better to watch this movie. And there’s no need to wait that long because “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is set to hit Aussie cinemas this week! The MI nerds are sure to love this!

And hey, better yet, pre-order your very own Mission Impossible Rogue Nation DVD or Blu Ray now. Official release of the DVD in Australia is still under wraps but is expected this Spring or Summer, but that’s no reason why you should delay. You can pre-order now and give your future self a gift and see the DVD when it’s delivered to you on it’s DVD release date. You are sure to be one the very first to own as it arrives on your doorstep on its official release! What’s not to love with a DVD movie that you can watch all over again from the comforts of your own lounge? And you own it forever, not just rented or streamed but owned forever. Mark your calendars and watch “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” on its opening day next Thursday, and check out Mission Impossible Rogue Nation DVD in our store now.
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CGI: The Way of the Future or the Death of an Era?

CGI in Hollywood

CGI: The Way of the Future or the Death of an Era?

You may have heard of CGI, or computer generated imagery, if you’ve seen any films in the last 30 or so years. CGI became popular in films as a response to a growing audience’s demand for more impressive entertainment. While we may recognize CGI immediately in films like “Toy Story” and “Avatar”, these days, CGI is also used to add detail in movies shot in more realistic settings.

Yoda from Star WarsThe “Star Wars” Franchise and CGI

Are you a huge “Star Wars” fan? Are you somebody that adamantly and vehemently decries the newer films because the classic films are “so much better?” Perhaps you are turned off to the new films in the franchise because of characters like Jar Jar Binks?

The newer “Star Wars” movies relied heavily on CGI, in part, because the technology was available to the creators, could save the studios money, and would appeal to newer, savvier audiences who are used to seeing CGI in all their films.

In newer films, Yoda was also digitally created using CGI, but in earlier films, Yoda was actually created as a costume and puppet. Perhaps it would surprise the younger “Star Wars” fans to learn that the original three films had very few digital effects (the blaster guns which shoot flashes of light, and, of course, the lightsabers).

CGI Changed the Way Movies Were Made

Not only has CGI changed the way we create our characters onscreen, but it has changed the way we do landscapes and live action and stunts.

In films before the 1970s, CGI was not something that filmmakers had access to. As technology and computers advanced, the use of CGI in films became more present. In 1982, Steven Lisberger’s science fiction movie “Tron” unleashed a new wave of fascination with 3D and CGI amongst audiences. Lisbergers and his team created huge CGI sequences that were very much unlike what had been seen in films before.

The Jurassic Park Franchise and Its Avoidance of CGI

T-Rex on Jurassic ParkSkipping forward to 1993, “Jurassic Park” pushed the boundaries of cinematic experience further by presenting audiences with realistic-looking dinosaurs on the big screen. While this may surprise younger viewers, “Jurassic Park” actually only had five scenes that depended on CGI creatures and throughout the rest of the movie the dinosaurs were animatronics.

This is in part because it took two to six hours to render a single frame of the special effects, which meant that CGI options were very expensive. Steven Spielberg, the film’s director, had to get creative and he hired legendary special effects people to full off his films vision. The creative team included Stan Winston (creator of the exoskeleton from “The Terminator”) who was the driving force behind the build of live-action dinosaur robots for the film. Some of the dinosaurs were full dinosaur robots (including the T-rex) while most were just the upper or lower half (head and torso or legs and claws).

Compare the creation of dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park” to the recently released “Jurassic World,” which only has one scene with an animatronic animal. As Andrew Whalen of idigitaltimes.com wrote in his opening sentence on the film “The most hilarious thing about Jurassic World is how ashamed it is of its own CGI.”

Nearly 100 percent of the dinosaurs in Jurassic World are CGI, however director Colin Trevorrow wanted audiences to know that the dinosaurs replicate the limitations of robots, which as Andrew Whalen points out  “means that Jurassic World CGI dinosaur artists are just as likely to be tasked with emulating animatronics as they are to be tasked with emulating animals.” This CGI technique of replicating the jerky movements of the animatronics speaks to the current movie going audience’s feelings about CGI.

Are Audiences Sick of CGI?

The movie industry is now seeing a trend where audiences are less impressed by CGI. Computer generated images are taking away from movie magic. The film industry is learning (as with films like “Mad Max: Fury Road”) that it needs to blend the real and the computer generated. The latest “Mad Max” movie was shot on location in Namibia and many of the explosions in the film, as well as the sets, were real. They used as many true sets and stuntmen as were possible, and it is intriguing to see what CGI was able to enhance.Pie-Chart

In some cases it is too late to suggest blending CGI and other film techniques. With the increase of CGI in movies, there is less demand for effects artists to do makeup and sets. Legendary special-effects artist Rick Baker is one who has been affected by CGI. Baker’s career included incredible work on films like “An American Werewolf in London”, “Men in Black”, “Star Wars”, and film clips like Michael Jacksons ground breaking video “Thriller”. Baker auctioned off many of his iconic props, ironically on the same day as the opening for “San Andreas”, which is a film that relied heavily on CGI.

In his article “Cinema Is About Humanity Not Fireballs”, New York Times editor and chief film critic Armond White wrote that “in this post ‘Avatar’ culture, Hollywood relies on digital effects to emphasize lavish other-worldly environments to give audiences what they want: escapism… Special effects used to bring us closer to realism; now they douse us in artifice.”

And there-in lies the problem faced by the film industry today; CGI has been so over-used in cinema that its use is actually having the opposite reaction from audiences than intended. People like movies because they are entertaining and an escape from everyday life. Film can take audiences to the end of what is possible and CGI is meant to be a tool that enhances that experience. Instead, what we find a disconnect between what is real and what is so obviously fake.

With the latest installment of “Star Wars” set to be released at the end of 2015, it is amusing to note that one of the film’s selling points is that there will be less focus on CGI and more focus on practical effects. This might suggest that some filmmakers are catching on and trying to recapture the essence of practical filmmaking. Perhaps this means there is still hope for the future Stan Winstons and Rick Bakers of the industry. Let’s hope so.

 

 

Abby Lee Millers ALDC Dance Moms

There’s a new Dance Moms DVD in town. The first 5 seasons are now available to order on DVD.

What’s that? Maddie Ziegler and Abby Lee Miller might not be back for Dance Moms season 6?

Well, Maddie confessed that she might not return for the sixth season of Dance Moms, and she had not stated what will make her stay in the program should there be any. Filming for Season 5 has just ended, and the season is currently on air on the Lifetime channel in the US (Lifestyle channels here is Australia), but producing Season 6 seems like a while away. If Maddie chooses to go and dance her heart out on the world stage, maybe a Broadway star, or act in films instead of being in the ALDC (Abby Lee Dance Company), someone has to be chosen to be the new It Girl. And each mother will have to do everything, by hook or by crook, to make sure that her daughter becomes Abby’s new favourite. And we all know that can be a tough ask.

And that’s not all.

Dancing momma herself, Abby Lee Miller, expressed hesitation in going ahead with season 6 after some major money issues with Lifetime. Miller was quoted as saying that Lifetime still has financial obligations to her, which they need to fulfill before talks about Season 6 will start. And if ever a sixth season will be agreed upon, she wanted changes in her contract first. Another pet peeve that Miller eventually developed was the new production crew who disregarded the original intention of the show, which is about competitive dance. Creative differences between her and the producers of the show, addition of staged conflict, and producers disrespecting her are other reasons for Miller having thoughts of quitting the show.

But who exactly knows what will happen? Will there be a Season 6? Or will everything end in Season 5? There are two things certain in the current season: dance and drama.

Shows come and go, seasons do the same. While Season 5 of Dance Moms is still on air, here are some scoops from the inside. ALDC goes to Hollywood, where the kids will face new competitions and new dance studios. Dance choreographs are getting tougher, and mummy dramas are getting more intense than ever before. Hooray for Hollywood!

You may love or hate Abby Lee Miller (or continue to hate her until the end), but watching Dance Moms is always going to be fun. Why not relive all the dances and the conflicts at the comfort of your own home? Dance Moms DVD is available in all 5 seasons at DVDLand, Australia’s finest DVD store. And don’t forget to update your Dance Moms collection by pre-ordering the new Dance Moms Season 5 DVD.
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