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October 20, 2005
PSP UMD Movie Reviews Lot #1

BE COOL
Release Date Distributor Director OFLC Rating Run Time
1/9/2005Sony PicturesF. Gary GrayMMedium
The MovieVideo QualityAudio QualityExtrasOverall
CAAFB

The Story: When Chili Palmer (Travolta) decides to try his hand in the music industry, he romances the sultry widow (Thurman) of a recently whacked music executive, poaches a hot young singer (Christina Milian) from a rival label and discovers that the music industry is packing a whole lot more then a tune!
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Travolta is back as Chili Palmer.
Movie Impressions: Be Cool is a nice way to kick off the PSP's movie catalogue. The movie was actually released on Sony's new machine a couple of weeks before the DVD release. While I was a fan of the original movie, and it's true that this movie has almost an identical plotline, it's very entertaining. Getting re-acquainted with Chili Palmer was something I was quite keen to do and the game was a good way to waste a couple of hours away. With a cast including John Travolta, Vince Vaughn, Uma Thurman, Cedric the Entertainer, Christina Milian, James Woods and The Rock there is certainly plenty of talent here. In fact, one of the highlights of this movie is The Rock, who play's a gay muscle man who's looking at getting into the movie industry. Hilarious.
The Transfer: Video clarity is surprisingly clear in Be Cool, although there aren't many over the top action sequences to really push the system. The movie has also been re-formatted to fill the entire PSP screen ratio of 1.78:1 (the original movie was 1.85:1 so you're not missing much at all). In terms of Audio the disc includes English, French and German while subtitles are restricted to these three languages with Dutch thrown in for good measure. The music shines with so much music and it sounds great through the PSP's speakers, or hooked up to dedicated speakers.
The Extras: Not much to speak of except for trailers for XXX, The Punisher and Anacondas: The Hunt For the Blood Orchid. No extras from the DVD release have made it to this UMD version.
Overall: A good movie with great presentation on PSP UMD. Its great to see Sony Pictures supporting the format with such enthusiasm. Our only concern though is that the PSP version lacks all the extras of the DVD, but comes in at a higher pricepoint. Can someone explain this to me? Still, this is a great movie to watch while travelling.

S.W.A.T.
Release Date Distributor Director OFLC Rating Run Time
1/9/2005Sony PicturesClark JohnsonM117 mins
The MovieVideo QualityAudio QualityExtrasOverall
BAAFB

The Story: Two wisecracking, battle-hardened veterans (Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell) team up with a pair of street-smart rookies (Michelle Rodriguez and LL Cool J) to form the most freewheeling - but effective - S.W.A.T. team ever. Their first assignment: transport an international drug kingpin into federal custody - after he's offered $100 million to anyone who will free him!
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One kick-ass movie!
Movie Impressions: This is an action movie, but one with an interesting enough plot to keep you entertained from start to end with some pretty spectacular action sequences and effects. The opening bank assault, and a couple of other places in the movie, use a shakey cam to give the impression of actually being there which adds to the atmosphere. Colin Farrell and Sam L. Jackson both perform up to their typically high standards and this is a movie that I'll have no problems replaying several more times.
The Transfer: In terms of video and audio quality I have to say that this really is a showcase title for the system. Video clarity is surprisingly clear and despite being re-formatted to fill the entire PSP screen ratio of 1.78:1 rather then the 2.35:1 in which the movie was originally displayed. In terms of audio this movie has always been great to test sound systems and indeed hooking the movie up to both my Logitech 2.1 computer speakers, and my home theatre provided very impressive listening results with superb bass. The PSP's internal speakers however, even with the movie volume on the highest level, as well as the main system volume is still hard to hear unless you're in a pretty quiet area. This is certainly an area that should be improved in future. English Italian and Spanish Audio Tracks are available on the disc as well as subtitles in English, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Portugese and Swedish.
The Extras: Not much to speak of except for trailers for Beauty Shop and Hitch.
Overall: A good movie which sets the benchmark for transfers to PSP. Even the deliberate shakey-cam moments have transferred well. Sadly none of the extras from the DVD version have made the transition - surely one or two of the commentaries could have been included even if heavily compressed or another of the audio tracks is removed.

ANACONDAS: THE HUNT FOR THE BLOOD ORCHID
Release Date Distributor Director OFLC Rating Run Time
1/9/2005Sony PicturesDwight H. Little M97 mins
The MovieVideo QualityAudio QualityExtrasOverall
CCAFC

The Story: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, to give the movie its full name, is the sequel to the critically panned but commercially viable 1997 movie Anaconda which starred Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube. In this sequel a team of researchers is hunting for the cradle of life, the Blood Orchid, which is deep in the jungles of Borneo. Unfortunately things go amiss (as they tend to do) and, well, there's plenty of anacondas looking for a feed.
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It's B-grade, but still fun.
Movie Impressions: This is a pretty average movie, make no mistake about it, but at the same time it can be entertaining. Sadly the storyline is utterly predictable from the beginning and while there's the odd twist and turn it can't really save this movie from mediocraty. Some of the action sequences are entertaining enough, adn there are some bits of humour littered throughouy however the movie is hindered by the amount of dark scenes and difficulty in seeing what's happening in places on the PSP's screen.
The Transfer: In terms of video and audio quality I have to say that this really is another solid title for the system. The level of detail is very polished even in the many low light situations in the jungle, although trying to see many of them on the PSP's screen can be quite difficult in any sort of light. On the very few occasions of bright explosions or action the screen lights up and looks spectacular. Given that the movie has a short run time of approximately 94 minutes it's evident that compression levels are pretty low resulting in a sharp image throughout. Audio options on this disc are impressive with English, French, German, Italian and Spanish all available while there are plenty of subtitles including English, French, German, Dutch, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portugese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovene, Swedish, and Turkish. Impressive, if you have any need for them.
The Extras: Once again trailers are the only extra on this disc. Actually that should be trailer as there's only one for Hellboy.
Overall: So this movie has B-grade written all over it, but despite that it is pretty fun at times. Some of the set pieces play well and fans of the genre will enjoy this movie. The $24.95 recommended price is attractive and given that there are very few extras on the DVD either you're not missing much by purchasing this movie on PSP.

Review(s) By: Dave Warner

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