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'The Mule: 4K Ultra HD'
(Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Dianne Wiestt, et al / 2-Disc + Digital / R / 2019 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Clint Eastwood stars as a 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran turns drug mule for a Mexican cartel.

Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the brilliant, quite stunning 'The Mule’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this April 2nd, 2019.

For my money, this 'The Mule: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'The Mule' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10 Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the various woods scenes where Clint and the drug runners have their face-to-face moments. It just all comes more vividly to life now, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where Eastwood is sat alone in his truck, counting money, making considerations to what he's fallen into at his old age) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1. With Subtitles in English SDH, French, Spanish.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, when 90-year-old Earl Stone loses everything he loves, can he use ill-gotten gains to win it back before the DEA, or the cartel, takes him down?

Written by Nick Schenk and directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, 'The Mule' was inspired by a New York Times article "The Sinaloa Cartel's 90-Year Old Drug Mule" by Sam Dolnick.

Indeed, 'The Mule' uses true events to frame a much more compelling story. Bucking the current trend of emotionally monochrome dramas, this film is a rich tapestry of triumph and tragedy, humor and sadness, and guilt and forgiveness.

Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood) is a successful horticulturalist in Peoria, Illinois but neglectful of his family. He finds himself estranged from his wife Mary (Dianne Wiest) and daughter Iris (Alison Eastwood), but is still admired by his granddaughter Ginny (Taissa Farmiga).

Mary and he divorce, and after failing to embrace the digital age, Stone's business falls on hard times. He takes a mysterious offer to deliver a package from Mexico to Chicago. With his newfound income, he rebuilds the local VFW after a fire and helps pay for his granddaughter's cosmetology tuition.

Meanwhile, he frustrates his cartel handler, Julio (Ignacio Serricchio) with his unpredictable behavior.

Things get complicated when DEA agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper) and his partner Trevino (Michael Peña) flip a cartel employee and he tips them off about a successful drug mule known as "Tata", or grandfather.

The unassuming elderly white man with a clean record was able to slip under law enforcement's radar. At 90 years of age and with the DEA on his tail, Earl Stone is running out of time to reverse his fortunes and reconcile with his family.

'The Mule' is loosely based on the life of Leo Sharp, a WW2 veteran and Detroit-based horticulturalist and daylily farmer who began working as a drug mule for the Sinaloa cartel after his business fell on hard times.

His life of crime made him a millionaire. Sharp was finally caught in 2011 at the age of 87, pled guilty to drug conspiracy, and served one year in prison before being let out due to his declining health. He died in December 2016.

Most of the events depicting Earl Stone's family life were not based on his historic counterpart. Sharp had a wife and three children, and was still married when he died.

The filmmakers changed the years in which the events took place, and changed Sharp's home state from Michigan to Illinois. These changes, particularly when it comes to the main character's personal life, substantially improved the story and added much-needed depth, drama, and substance.

The filmmakers didn't set out to tell Leo Sharp's story; they used it as a springboard to tell their own.

In truth, it's difficult not to compare 'The Mule' with Clint Eastwood's 2008 film 'Gran Torino'. We don't see many elderly protagonists on screen anymore, and Eastwood seems to have carved a new niche for himself late in his career.

Like the character of Walt Kowalski, Leo Sharp is an emotionally reserved and politically-incorrect elderly white man having a difficult time adjusting to the modern world. Both are Korean War veterans, and both experience the loss of a spouse.

While Kowalski sacrifices himself to remove a threat to his community, Sharp embraces a life of crime to improve his financial situation and help others in need.

Sharp is no hero, but he learns the importance of placing family before his own ambition, finds forgiveness, and rekindles his relationship with his family. The Mule's message is deeply personal, and therefore is the more emotionally impactful of the two films.

In closing and with what might be his last film, 88-year-old Clint Eastwood cements his place as one of the greatest actors and directors of our time here in 'The Mule.'

As for the Special Features included, the stand out is definitely the short-but-sweet behind-the-scenes featurette 'Making of The Mule: Nobody Runs Forever.'

All-too short, but highly enjoyable, it includes comments from actor/director Clint Eastwood, producer Kristina Rivera, screenwriter Nick Schenk, actors Ingacio Serricchio ("Julio"), Andy Garcia ("Laton"), Alison Eastwood ("Iris"), and Bradley Cooper ("Agent Colin Bates"), as well as producer Tim Moore and other members of the cast and crew.

Although it doesn't have time to go into great detail, it briefly touches upon 'Gran Torino', adapting the original story, growing day lilies, building a stash house and researching drug cartels, shooting on the road, wardrobes and costume design, stories from the set, and more.

I just wish it had been around 40 minutes longer though, in truth! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Making of The Mule: Nobody Runs Forever (10:59, 1080p) - Join actor/producer/director Clint Eastwood and the all-star cast and crew of The Mule as Eastwood makes his bold return to the big screen.

Toby Keith - "Don't Let the Old Man In" Music Video (2:54, 1080p / Dolby Digital 2.0)

'The Mule' Trailer

'The Mule: 4K Ultra HD' Amazon Purchase Link

www.WarnerBros.com





'Glass: 4K Ultra HD'
(James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Samuel L. Jackson, et al / 2-Disc + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Universal Studios)

Overview: M. Night Shyamalan brings together two of his standout original films — 'Unbreakable' and 'Split' — in this explosive comic book thriller.

Elijah Price, also known as Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), finds David Dunn (Bruce Willis) pursuing Kevin Wendell Crumb's superhuman figure, The Beast (James McAvoy), in a series of escalating encounters.

Price, armed with secrets critical to both men, emerges as a shadowy orchestrator.

Blu-ray Verdict: Universal Studios Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the brilliant, quite stunning 'Glass' in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this April 16th, 2019.

For my money, this 'Glass: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Glass' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10 Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color.

Like the various inner building battles between two lead characters. Their surroundings seem to burst with the charge to blend seamlessly with the fury being exuded by the characters in question. It just all comes more vividly to life now, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where each of our three leads are being talked to within the walls of the psych unit) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 and French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, well, and in my humble opinion, 'Glass' is truly a cinematic jewel which closes the delicate and complex analysis begun by the two previous films.

Far more than being a gripping psychological horror, 'Split' will best remembered for its shocking final moments, which revealed it to be a standalone sequel to its writer-director M. Night Shyamalan's 2000 superhero drama 'Unbreakable'.

Those moments had therefore also set the stage for his latest film, named after the remaining member of the triumvirate yet to have a movie in his reference. At the risk of stating the obvious, these are: Bruce Willis' David Dunn, the so-called 'unbreakable' human who discovered that he possessed superhuman strength and invulnerability; James McAvoy's Kevin Wendell Crumb, a serial kidnapper with dissociative identity disorder and a couple dozen 'split' personalities, including a murderous one known as 'The Beast'; and last but not least Samuel L. Jackson's Elijah Price, a devotee of comics literature whose struggle with his rare genetic disorder of osteogenesis imperfecta (i.e. his bones break easily, like 'glass') has made him convinced that his place in life is to be the very antithesis of superheroes.

Through the engineering of psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), they find themselves imprisoned at the same institute for the criminally insane. According to Dr. Staple, she has three days to cure what she terms their 'delusions of grandeur', failing which they will be trialed and probably put away for life.

Much of the movie therefore takes place within the confines of the hospital where our three leads are locked away, with a good first hour at least spent watching Dr. Staple's therapy sessions with them. Though the routine isn't as fresh as before, there's no denying that watching McAvoy shift abruptly from one persona to another continues to be fascinating, especially how they respond to Dr. Staple's therapy.

In comparison, Willis' David remains largely subdued, as if both skeptical and hopeful that Dr. Staple will put things right with Kevin; on the other hand, Jackson's Elijah appears to have regressed into a catatonic state, showing little expression beyond twitching his facial muscles.

But there is good reason why the movie is titled after Jackson's character, so you really should not be surprised when Elijah snaps out of his stupor to put the finishing touches on his nefarious plan. Oh yes, like he revealed at the end of 'Unbreakable', Elijah is a master manipulator with his own designs for the world.

Whereas his string of terrorist acts were intended in 'Unbreakable' at proving the existence of those who were indestructible, Elijah now wants the world to see that superheroes and arch-villains do exist, and sets out to free both David and Kevin so they can duke it out in public.

If you know Shyamalan, you'll know better than to expect that things are as simple or straightforward than they first seem, so rest assured that we haven't at all spoiled the movie for you; in fact, we'll even let you know that there are at least two or three major twists in the second half of the movie alone, leading up to a shocking conclusion that all but sets the stage for an exciting new chapter.

Lest you recoil at the very notion of Shyamalan's so-called 'twist ending', we'd say this - before he turned his own technique into a laughable gimmick, it did actually stand for something, and this one here is as good as that in 'Signs' or even 'The Sixth Sense'.

At his best, Shyamalan has proven himself to be a master storyteller, and 'Glass' finds him at his world-building best.

Like 'Unbreakable', 'Glass' finds him deconstructing superhero mythology through Elijah's obsession with comic book lore; yet beyond drawing parallels between the characters and classic superhero archetypes, his most intriguing conceit here is that of pain as a form of cleansing that opens the door for those who are "broken" to acquire superhuman powers.

Sure, the dialogue may tend towards the pedantic at times, but Shyamalan's singular vision and view of the superhero construct is unmistakably bold and fascinating to behold.

It is also brought to fruition by a trio of excellent actors that highlight their characters' contrasting nature with alacrity. Call it showboating if you want, but it is no small feat making a showstopper of each one of 23 different personalities - including a nurturing older woman named Patricia, a lisping eternal 9-year-old boy named Hedwig, a pair of Irish twins and even a pompous professor of Japanese cinema - and that is what McAvoy does.

Whereas Kevin is violent and unstable, David is strong and skeptical, and Willis continues to underplay the role as he did in 'Unbreakable'. And then of course there is Jackson, who is deliciously sinister as the delicate but deadly Elijah, a more fully formed villain than most of those in the Marvel or DC movies so far.

Much as we were wowed by 'Glass', we'd be naïve not to recognize that there'll be those who think it pretentiously meta. Lovers or haters aside, Shyamalan has always been a divisive filmmaker, and this is no different.

In part, we were half fearing a bomb like 'After Earth' or 'The Happening' after the deluge of negative critic reviews, so we were pleasantly surprised by how brilliantly clever and original it turned out to be.

We'd also caution you not to expect a typical superhero movie complete with a grand action-packed climax - not only are there enough Marvel and DC movies for that, 'Glass' was always intended to be more of a psychological thriller.

Yet it is precisely this cerebral quality that sets it apart as a truly original piece from an auteur, and we're thrilled to see where Shyamalan takes his universe of world-savers and evil-doers to next.

As for the Special Features included, the stand out couple for me are 'A Conversation with James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan' and 'David Dunn vs. The Beast.'

In the former, James McAvoy reveals where some of his 23 personalities in 'Glass' came from, inclusive of the one he based solely on his memory of Saoirse Ronan! Watching this engrossing featurette, it's actually funny when both Night and James come to a pause at the end of explaining a few characters, and then come together a heartbeat later with “Leave no personality left behind"!

In the latter, well, it's such a powerful scene you can only begin to wonder what would have happened if they hadn't been interrupted! And, the featurette leaves us with the question answered as to why David doesn't react or get hurt by giving us this: Since The Beast targets only those who haven't been hurt and thus are impure in his eyes, David Dunn would be his ultimate arch nemesis; being that David, literally, cannot be hurt.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Alternate Opening & Deleted Scenes with Introduction by M. Night Shyamalan
A Conversation with James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan
Bringing the Team Back Together
David Dunn vs. The Beast
Glass Decoded
Breaking Glass: The Stunts
Connecting the Glass Universe
M. Night Shyamalan: Behind the Lens
The Sound of Glass (Featurette)
Enhancing the Spectacle (Featurette)
Raven Hill Memorial (Featurette)
Night Vision (Featurette)

'Glass: 4K Ultra HD' Official Trailer

'Glass: 4K Ultra HD' Amazon Purchase Link

www.USHE.com





'Welcome To Marwen' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Merritt Wever, Janelle Monae, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Universal Studios)

Overview: Academy Award winner Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Castaway) brings 'Welcome to Marwen', a bold, wondrous and timely film that is a miraculous true story of one broken man's fight as he discovers how artistic imagination can restore the human spirit.

When a devastating attack leaves Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) shattered and without his memory, no one expected recovery.

But by putting together pieces from his old and new life, Mark meticulously creates a wondrous fantasy world, where he draws strength to triumph in the real one.

His astonishing art installation becomes a testament to the powerful women who support him on his journey.

Blu-ray Verdict: Releasing this April 9th, 2019, 'Welcome To Marwen' tells the story based around Mark Hogancamp and the fictional town of Marwen.some elements that it could've improved on.

This movie presents a compelling story about a man who has lost nearly everything in his life and uses model homes and dolls to create a story as a coping mechanism.

I found this to be a very intriguing idea for a story, because it presents the audience with a way to look into Mark's past and his trauma. For the most part I think they handled it pretty well. Indeed, the incredible visual are easily the film's strongest element. Leslie Mann continues her string of solid performances, her glee and charm certainly improves the watch when she finally gets time to shine. Janelle Monae is astonishing limited, it is hard not to think if she had a larger role the film would've hugely improved.

Gwenodline Christie is unfortunately tragically miscast. It is perplexing trying to conclude why it was necessary to hire a British actress as a Russian! Christie does her best to pull of the role, but it's painfully obvious this usual brilliant actress was miscast.

Finally, and thankfully, the CGI for the dolls was a dazzling sight to behold. I know it's nothing new considering what has gone before - especially within all the Toy Story's - but here I really enjoyed the way Zemeckis presented the actual "world" of Marwen.

Not a perfect film in my eyes, the pacing is blocky and ranges painfully, which is the typical feel for any "real life" scene we encounter, of course. The script, overall, and not knowing the real story behind the film, left me shaking my head at times.

At times extremely poor in its treatment and scope, it was evident the dialog aimed to be child friendly; which damaged the end product, in my humble opinion.

As for the Special Features included, the stand out for me are the two featurettes 'Marwen's Citizens' and 'Living Dolls.' The former is a name-dropping insight into all the characters on display in Marwen, whereas the latter is a quite brilliant motion-capture look into how these dolls were "brought to life". This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Deleted Scenes
Marwen's Citizens
A Visionary Director
Building Marwen
Living Dolls

'Welcome To Marwen' Official Trailer

'Welcome To Marwen' [Blu-ray Combo Pack] Amazon Purchase Link

www.USHE.com





'Enimga' [Blu-ray]
(Martin Sheen, Sam Neill, Derek Jacobi, Frank Finlay, Michael Lonsdale, et al / Blu-ray / PG / (1982) 2019 / S'More Entertainment - MVD Visual)

Overview: A C.I.A. Agent tries to infiltrate Soviet intelligence to stop a murderous diabolical plot.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Enigma' is an under-the-radar Cold War drama of the 1980s, basically unknown to modern audiences.

A youthful Martin Sheen is tasked with entering East Germany and stealing secrets from the Russians, but Sam Neill is hot on his tail and has other ideas.

This is less a thriller in the Bourne style and more a slow, deliberately paced spy drama like 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'. The moments of it I enjoyed were chiefly those featuring cast members Sheen, Neill, and an against-type Derek Jacobi as the antagonist.

The likes of Michael Lonsdale, Warren Clarke, and Frank Finlay are also welcome by their presence. Where the film falls down is in the very slow pace, which saps life from the picture, and the presence of the obligatory romantic sub-plot which couldn't be less interesting.

In closing, the whole "espionage" factor is unimpressive for the most part and primarily consists of Sheen faffing about in various ridiculous disguises whilst trying to blend into the background, quickly becoming not only boring but laughable!

The plot has potential but is completely murdered by the rest of the confusing production elements. That said, the good thing is that you get to see Mrs. Fossey naked! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
Photo Gallery

www.MVDvisual.com





'Keoma: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Franco Nero, William Berger, Olga Karlatos, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1976) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: A half-breed ex-Union gunfighter attempts to protect his plague-ridden hometown from being overridden by his racist half-brothers and a Confederate tyrant.

Blu-ray Verdict: Castellari's 'Keoma' was part of the late 1970's second wave of spaghetti westerns. It is typically considered one of the better entries in the genre, some even rate it as a classic alongside Leone's masterpieces.

However, while it has clearly been attempted to make the film look stylish and sophisticated, and at a casual glance it does look pretty well made, a more in depth look shows that it falls quite a long way off the mark.

Basically, it's clear that what Castellari has is a bunch of director's tricks up his sleeve - slow motion, unconventional camera angles, subtle merges into flashbacks and so on - all of them thieved from the work of other filmmakers.

That in itself is no bad thing - after all Tarantino has made a career out of doing the same - but the difference is that Castellari clearly has no idea how and when to use these techniques.

He simply throws them in at every opportunity, so that they actually stick out rather than enhance the film. The most obvious example is the Sam Peckinpah style slow motion deaths after someone is shot.

In Peckinpah's films it was used skillfully to highlight the brutality of certain killings here and there throughout the movie. In 'Keoma' it is used more or less every time someone is shot - about forty or fifty altogether - totally losing any impact it might have had.

Add to this that 'Keoma' is a completely boring spaghetti western character - basically just a hippy with a colt - and not one of Franco Nero's better performances.

Ergo, the dialogue is terrible. The plot is text book spaghetti western back-for-revenge. This movie doesn't really have a lot going for it in truth, sorry!

And then there is the music. Famous itself among spaghetti western fans for being almost unlistenably bad it also seems to sum up the feeling of the entire film. Quite a nice melody, but either sung in a piercing shriek by the female vocalist or an unnerving growl by the male vocalist.

In short, 'Keoma' is a perfect example of style over substance - it's all dazzling flair in an attempt to cover up a pretty poor film. Viewers should stick to the real classic spaghettis like Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci's work. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

New 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio
Original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by spaghetti western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke
The Ballad of Keoma, a new interview with the legendary star Franco Nero
Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, a new interview with director Enzo G. Castellari
Writing Keoma, a new interview with actor and writer Luigi Montefiori AKA George Eastman
Parallel Actions, a new interview with editor Gianfranco Amicucci
The Flying Thug, a new interview with actor Massimo Vanni
Play as an Actor, a new interview with actor Volfango Soldati
Keoma and the Twilight of the Spaghetti Western, a newly filmed video appreciation by the academic Austin Fisher
An Introduction to Keoma by Alex Cox, an archival featurette with the acclaimed director
Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
Gallery of original promotional images from the Mike Siegel Archive
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Simon Abrams and Howard Hughes

www.ArrowFilms.com





'The Dick Cavett Show - Inside The Minds Of ...'
(Dick Cavett, et al / 2-DVD / NR / 2019 / S'More Entertainment)

Overview: Since 1968, Dick Cavett has been host of his own talk show, in a variety of formats and on a number of television and radio formats.

These releases were taken from episodes that aired between 1968 through 1996 and feature some of the wittiest, edgy comics of the era, including Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx and Dick Gregory.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the official know, 'The Dick Cavett Show' was an 90 minute mixture of talk and variety that ran for six astounding years on late-night prime time television on the ABC-TV network from the first telecast on May 26,1969 to the final episode of the series on August 16,1975.

This was at the time one of the most versatile performers who eventually gave us some of the biggest entertainment acts in the history of rock,and went toe to toe with the King of Late Night-Johnny Carson and eventually at the time Merv Griffin for the battle of late night supremacy.

However, Dick Cavett was one of the few television personalities ever to star or host major programs in daytime, prime-time, late night, all in quick succession.

And it wasn't about his failure to attract a large audience with any of them, because his late night talk show brought in some of the largest ratings ever for ABC at the time.

Well praised and received by the critics, his late night show was generally acknowledged to be witty, intelligent, and interesting compared to what was scheduled around them.

'The Dick Cavett Show: Inside The Minds Of....' is a wondrous 2-Disc DVD set with just over two hours of lush flashback material. Entitled Volume 3, the episodes come from the revered aforementioned PBS series.

First up is Eddie Murphy, primarily talking about Huckleberry Finn in Memphis, but also we get the now infamous moment that Cavett draws out the word "N****r" (in reference to a "big flap" in America at the time where Americans wanted the great American book removed from shelves for the use of the word within the character N****r Jim).

Comedy on the spot here as Murphy is a true comedian and riffs along with the what could have been awkward TV moment. In real life Eddie Murphy and Dick Cavett were good friends and they would do bits of improvisation with one another to get the audience's reaction.

However, his chat with Richard Pryor ... well, awkward doesn't even begin to cover this! Cavett really dug himself a huge hole here asking if white writers could write for him, a black man.

He really made Cavett look like a fool here. Decades before anyone was talking about the concept of white privilege on TV, Pryor was able to address it calmly and coolly without even getting defensive. He just let Cavett dig his own grave. Brilliant from start to finish this episode.

As for Redd Foxx, well, personally I love Redd. He was so Vaudeville great that crushes the rest, for sure. Finally, Dick Gregory is as funny, and as broad as you would have ever wished for here.

A man with an amazing perception as a sensitive and articulate every-man he also had an amazing power as a writer. Combined with the fact he was a hero of literature and of the black experience in America, he sure gave an eloquent voice to all he spoke about (and man, was he downright funny!) This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.smoreent.com





'Archer Danger Island: The Complete Season Nine'
(Animation / DVD / NR / 2019 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: Archer: Danger Island is an animated, half-hour comedy that centers on the semi-functioning alcoholic seaplane pilot, Sterling Archer, a lush on the lush South Pacific island of Mitimotu in 1939.

DVD Verdict: I have to say that I and some of my dearest friends have followed Archer since day one and have loved it thereafter.

It's not perfect, it's not always spot on, but it works - and that, for us, in enough to ensure a great nights viewing each and every time.

That all said, this ninth curve ball season has raised some eyebrows re: it was not the favorite of myself or my friends, sadly.

Trust me though, the show is still very thoughtful, extremely well-written, and just as funny as always, but it's pace seems to changed.

Indeed, the dialog moves at a breakneck pace now which means the viewer will definitely need repeated views to catch all the aspects of the contained humor therein.

For those catching up, while the rest of the world is concerned about the impending Second World War, Archer is only concerned with who's buying his next drink.

Along with his trusty co-pilot Pam, Sterling must navigate quicksand, cannibals, super-intelligent monkeys, poison darts, pirates, and did we mention quicksand?

Welcome to the mysterious and deadly world contained within all 8 season nine episodes of 'Archer: Danger Island'!

For me, personally, I loved this whole unfamiliar setting with some character reboots thrown in for good measure! This time it's somewhere in French Polynesia just before WWII (where Cyril is a Nazi, but for some reason the more obvious candidate Krieger is ... a macaw!)

As aforementioned, the change of setting works for me, and so too the pace as the last few seasons haven't delivered the crackling wit of earlier seasons.

That all said, and this time set on a remote Pacific island packed with angry lizards, German soldiers, ineffective French police, and an evil entrepreneur, Archer's new setting provides for some of the best animated art this series has yet to provide.

But, and playing Devil's Advocate here, I suspect that’s going to be the final straw for a fair chunk of Archer’s remaining viewers; the last absurd change to a once-winning formula that Reed has been tweaking relentlessly for far longer than he ever stuck to the old “spy parody” logline the show was originally sold with.

In closing, the redefinitions this season are some of the best we’ve seen from Archer as it has continued to evolve. While each of the characters from the show is still brought to screen, their alternate versions are exciting, to say the least.

Hey, if you didn't like Archer as a PI in the 1950's, try him out as a pre-war PTSD pilot. FYI: Pam and The Parrott get lots of the good lines! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Inside Look: Making Archer
Crackers' Costumed Playings

www.FoxConnect.com





'Hellboy: 2 Full-Length Features 4K Ultra HD'
(Doug Jones, Ron Perlman, et al / 2-Disc + Digital / NR / 2019 / Starz - Lionsgate Films)

Overview: The Starz animated films 'Hellboy: Sword of Storms' (2006) and 'Hellboy: Blood and Iron' (2007) have just released a wondrous double feature 4K Blu-ray this past April 2nd, 2019.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: LGF is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the always fun, and always colorful 'Hellboy: 2 Full-Length Features’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format.

For my money, this 'Hellboy: 2 Full-Length Features: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Hellboy: 2 Full-Length Features' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 and Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the various inner earth scenes with Hellboy facing off against en masse of demons. It just all comes more vividly to life now, glowingly red, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where Hellboy - in either incarnation between the films - is fighting the good battle face-to-face with his Hell-dwelling patrons) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos and English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit).

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the two animated movies themselves, well, first up is 'Sword Of Storms' (2006), where a professor of folklore opens a forbidden scroll and becomes possessed by the ancient Japanese demons of Thunder and Lightning; who seek to return and dominate our world.

The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense sends Hellboy and a team of agents to investigate, but when Hellboy picks up a samurai sword, he literally disappears into a weird wonderland of Japanese legends, ghosts and monsters.

Meanwhile, BPRD agents Kate Corrigan and Russell Thorne are on the trail of the possessed professor to bring Hellboy back.

The voice acting is excellent here, in my humble opinion. Ron Perlman has now become the de facto voice of Hellboy, and if this ever becomes an animated series, his presence will be crucial for its success.

More surprisingly, considering her usually rather flat and whiny voice, Selma Blair delivers a finely nuanced performance. The best of all however, is Doug Jones. Seemingly perennially cursed by his background as a mime, the man has been seen in several great films in recent years but never heard.

He has a pleasant, deepish voice, which entirely suits Abe Sapien. David Hyde Pierce acquitted himself well in Hellboy but will not be missed in the sequel. Hopefully Mr Jones' fine performance here will encourage studio execs to leave him be as the voice of the Silver Surfer.

The character designs are deliberately different from Mignola's and in my opinion, that is a smart decision. Hellboy himself remains relatively faithful to the original concept, but shown in a more stylised form, reminiscent of Bruce Timm's drawings.

For the most part, this works, apart from an occasional slip where Hellboy's face takes on an exaggerated facial expression, lapsing into caricature.

Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman and a few of the supporting characters are more radically redesigned and remind of the current pseudo-manga style of 'The Batman' or 'Jackie Chan Adventures'.

Personally, I am not a great fan of this particular approach, but I acknowledge it is popular and in context, effective. Mike Mignola's original drawing style is not completely ignored and is most clearly evoked in the design of Hellboy's various skeletal and monstrous opponents.

There are also some attempts to emulate the comic's use of shadows (most notably in the "Heads" sequence).

There are however, some problems. The animation itself is very hit and miss, and apart from the already mentioned weird facial expressions, there are occasional strange and unnatural movements from the characters.

Some scenes feature noticeably poorer animation quality than the overall film. They appear jerky and cheap and look as though they were completed in a rush.

The plot itself is not overly engaging. Although a story about cursed ancient lovers shows promise, it is severely underdeveloped, in favor of some nonsense about Thunder Gods and Dragons.

The majority of the actual film shows Hellboy wandering around Wonderland (or something), fighting assorted monsters.

Some of these action sequences are great fun but it all gets repetitive so that the overall effect is episodic and only occasionally compelling.

In the second animated movie, 'Blood & Iron' (2007), Hellboy and his team face off against a new supernatural threat while Professor Bruttenholm must investigate the possible reemergence of a vampire he had slain decades prior.

Simply put, 'Hellboy: Blood & Iron' is about vampires coming back after many, many years in wait, and also about ghosts and memory and all those things left behind.

If it were about these things more-so in-depth (or rather the kind of attention that Guillermo del Toro would pay to the subject matter if he directed), it would be really great material.

Trouble is, the Hellboy animated movies, with this the second installment, are limited by means of budget, time, and even to an extent the scripting.

There's a lack of the dry, sly and just outright clever humor from the Hellboy live-action movies, with only one or two quips from ol' Red (Ron Perelman, always good even in dull one-liners), and some characterizations and dialog that are as routine as whatever one might find in a straight-to-home viewing release.

That said, and with these flaws being noted, 'Blood & Iron' is extremely enjoyable for what it can afford in its 75 minute running time; which is giving some lifeblood to a comic-book that needs it desperately.

The plot works mostly upon the strengths of the animators, and luckily they are many. What might seem ordinary and traditional- even a little lacking in fluidity (again, budget)- gives way to extraordinary moments going past the expected for "kids" stuff.

There's some very dark material particularly in this installment, as we see an iron goddess, a vampire curse, a couple of blasted witches, snakes, and those creepy ghosts (which, thanks to some del Toro presence, reminds one of the Gothic folklore of Mexico).

It's all very impressive when it works best, and there's even some interesting designs for these villains and creatures of the night. As for the Special Features included, on 'Sword Of Storms' we get a quite brilliant 'A New Breed: Creating the New Hellboy' (1080p; 5:21) which offers a few interesting behind-the-scenes creation facts.

Such as the revelation that some kind of pre-arrangement in the deal meant that the character designs in this animated version had to differ from Mike Mignola's original conceptions!

On 'Blood & Iron' is 'Reversal of Fortune: Professor Broom's Story' (1080p; 20:24) which offers some brief introductory comments before venturing off on what is in essence a "third" animated episode; one which gives a bit of backstory for this character. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Sword Of Storms:
A New Breed: Creating the New Hellboy (1080p; 5:21)
Conquering Hellboy: The Actors Role (1080p; 6:28)
A View from the Top: The "Heads" Sequence (1080p; 5:26)
'Sword Of Storms' Audio Commentary featuring Hellboy Creator Mike Mignola, Supervising Producer and Director Tad Stones, and Director Phil Weinstein

Blood & Iron:
Reversal of Fortune: Professor Broom's Story (1080p; 20:24)
Tales from the Tomb: A Look Inside Blood & Iron (1080p; 12:59)
Iron Shoes With Introduction by Mike Mignola (1080p; 3:42)
'Blood & Iron' Audio Commentary featuring Mike Mignola, Tad Stones and Vic Cook.

'Hellboy: 2 Full-Length Features 4K Ultra HD' Amazon Purchase Link

www.LGF.com





'Margaret - The Rebel Princess'
(DVD / G / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Princess Margaret's life and loves reflected the social and sexual revolution that transformed the Western world during the 20th century.

DVD Verdict: With sumptuous archival materials and revealing interviews, 'Margaret - The Rebel Princess' follows Margaret's life as she redefined our image of the modern princess, showing how her character combined the rebellious force of modernity with a respect for tradition.

This intimate two-part documentary profiles Princess Margaret, whose life and loves reflected the social and sexual revolution that transformed the Western world during the twentieth century.

Watching along engrossed to this new PBS documentary, we learn that Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, CI, GCVO, GCStJ (Margaret Rose; 21 August 1930 – 9 February 2002) was the younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and the only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II.

Margaret spent much of her childhood with her parents and sister. Her life changed dramatically in 1936, when her paternal uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated to marry a divorcée, Wallis Simpson.

Margaret's father became king, and her sister became heir presumptive, with Margaret second in line to the throne. During the Second World War, the two sisters stayed at Windsor Castle, despite suggestions to evacuate them to Canada.

During the war years, Margaret was considered too young to perform any official duties and instead continued her education.

After the war, Margaret fell in love with Group Captain Peter Townsend. In 1952, Margaret's father died, her sister became queen, and Townsend divorced his first wife.

Early the following year, he proposed to Margaret. Many in the government believed he would be an unsuitable husband for the Queen's 22-year-old sister, and the Church of England refused to countenance marriage to a divorced man.

Margaret eventually abandoned her plans with him, and in 1960 she married the photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was created Earl of Snowdon by the Queen. The couple had two children: David and Sarah.

Margaret was often viewed as a controversial member of the British royal family. Her divorce in 1978 earned her negative publicity, and she was romantically associated with several men.

Her health gradually deteriorated in the final two decades of her life. A heavy smoker for most of her adult life, Margaret had a lung operation in 1985, a bout of pneumonia in 1993, and at least three strokes between 1998 and 2001. She died at King Edward VII's Hospital on 9 February 2002.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Mrs. Wilson'
(Ruth Wilson, Keeley Hawes, Iain Glen, Fiona Shaw, Anupam Kher, et al / DVD / NC-17 / 2019 / Masterpiece PBS)

Overview: A grieving widow discovers that her seemingly ideal husband lived many secret lives.

DVD Verdict: Ruth Wilson does an incredible job here portraying her own grandmother.

The love, betrayal, loyalty, sadness and hope that Alison Wilson felt was clearly evident throughout.

A story so bizarre and shocking it had to be true. The acting was nuanced showing the conflicted emotions, just how would someone react to discovering they had been the third victim of a serial bigamist.

The script was tight and well structured and tried desperately to arrive at a moral standpoint.

The problem, per say, with this drama lies with its ultimate truths, there were three women who had been lied to for decades, there were no less that six illegitimate children who were inadequately provided for, and three tawdry affairs undertaken without a care for the devastation this would leave when the truth came out.

That said, it is, without a shadow of a doubt, a wondrous story of intrigue, love, deceit and ultimately continuation of life despite it all.

I loved every minute and the fabulous ending demonstrated that good can come from lies - with all the family meeting, of course.

He may have been a serial bigamist but without him, and come the end like it (him) or not, none of these people would exist today. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Nature: Attenborough & The Sea Dragon'
(David Attenborough / DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: On the Jurassic Coast of England, a remarkable 200-million-year-old fossil is discovered - the bones of an Ichthyosaur, a giant sea dragon.

David Attenborough joins the hunt to bring this ancient creature's story to life.

DVD Verdict: Sir David Attenborough hosts this detective story, from the challenging on-site extraction of the fossils to the 3D reconstruction of the creature.

He looks at evidence from animals across the world to try and piece together how this super predator lived and died.

Using state-of-the-art scanning and CGI, the team reconstructs the skeleton, creates the most detailed animation of an Ichthyosaur, and unravels an age-old murder mystery!

As always, watching a show with Sir David Attenborough is one of the most INCREDIBLE learning experiences!

In this wondrous "sea dragon" tale we learn that the Ichthyosaurs (Greek for "fish lizard") are large extinct marine reptiles.

Indeed Ichthyosaurs belong to the order known as Ichthyosauria or Ichthyopterygia ('fish flippers' – a designation introduced by Sir Richard Owen in 1840, although the term is now used more for the parent clade of the Ichthyosauria).

Ichthyosaurs thrived during much of the Mesozoic era; based on fossil evidence, they first appeared around 250 million years ago (Ma) and at least one species survived until about 90 million years ago, into the Late Cretaceous.

During the early Triassic period, ichthyosaurs evolved from a group of unidentified land reptiles that returned to the sea, in a development similar to how the mammalian land-dwelling ancestors of modern-day dolphins and whales returned to the sea millions of years later; which they gradually came to resemble in a case of convergent evolution.

Ichthyosaurs were particularly abundant in the later Triassic and early Jurassic periods, until they were replaced as the top aquatic predators by another marine reptilian group, the Plesiosauria, in the later Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

In the Late Cretaceous, ichthyosaurs were hard hit by the Cenomanian-Turonian anoxic event. Their last lineage became extinct for unknown reasons.

Here in this 53 minute gem 'Nature: Attenborough & The Sea Dragon' we witness the discovery of a new ichthyosaur fossil, complete with fossilized skin, but strangely missing a head

The program is breathtaking, remarkably fresh and with Attenborough at the wheel never dull. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'American Experience: Sealab'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: In 1969 off the California coast, a US Navy crane carefully lowered a massive tubular structure into the waters.

It was designed for an elite group of divers to spend days or even months at a stretch living and working on the ocean floor.

'American Experience: Sealab' tells the little-known story of the daring program that tested the limits of human endurance and revolutionized undersea exploration.

DVD Verdict: On a February day in 1969, off the shore of northern California, a US Navy crane carefully lowered 300 tons of metal into the Pacific Ocean.

The massive tubular structure was an audacious feat of engineering - a pressurized underwater habitat, complete with science labs and living quarters for an elite group of divers who hoped to spend days or even months at a stretch living and working on the ocean floor.

The Sealab I project, as it was known, was the brainchild of a country doctor turned naval pioneer who dreamed of pushing the limits of ocean exploration the same way NASA was pushing the limits of space exploration.

As Americans were becoming entranced with the effort to land a man on the moon, these divers, including one of NASA's most famous astronauts, were breaking depth barrier records underwater.

Watching this really quite fascinating hour long PBS program we quickly learn that not everything was about Sealab I itself.

Before the Sealab I habitat could be emplaced, a number of rifle grenades had to be found and removed from the bottom around Argus Island!

The grenades had been fired up into the air with the object of targeting their explosions when they returned to the water.

With enough impacts the position of Argus Island could be determined to within a few feet.

Unfortunately, many grenades did not detonate upon impact with the sea surface, and divers had to locate and remove them. This was a job for divers from the Navy SOFAR Station (Columbia University Geophysical Field Station), and both U.S. Navy and Air Force civilians and enlisted SCUBA divers.

A platform that had been built to lower the Remote Underwater Manipulator (RUM) from a garage on Argus Island to the sea floor was also removed. Sealab I was then placed on the nearly flat bottom on a layer of algal balls and some corals.

Sealab I was commanded by Captain George F. Bond, also called "Papa Topside", who was key in developing theories about saturation diving.

The project proved that saturation diving in the open ocean was viable for extended periods. The experiment also offered information about habitat placement, habitat umbilicals, humidity, and helium speech descrambling.

Sealab I is on display at the Museum of Man in the Sea, in Panama City Beach, Florida, near where it was initially tested offshore before being deployed.

It is on outdoor display. Its metal hull is largely intact, though the paint faded to a brick red over the years. However, the habitat's exterior was restored as part of its 50th year anniversary, and now sports its original colors. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'NOVA: Einstein's Quantum Riddle'
(DVD / G / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: In an effort to disprove quantum mechanics Albert Einstein proposes one of it's strangest features; quantum entanglement.

DVD Verdict: Einstein called it "spooky action at a distance," but today quantum entanglement is poised to revolutionize technology.

Physicists have become gradually convinced that quantum entanglement is real, but a few doubts remain.

Here within 'Einstein's Quantum Riddle,' NOVA follows a ground-breaking experiment in the Canary Islands to use quasars at opposite ends of the universe to once and for all settle remaining questions.

We learn that over the past century, scientists have made huge strides in understanding the mind-bending rules that govern the microworld of atoms and subatomic particles.

But these rules, called quantum mechanics, contain one particularly bizarre, unexplained phenomenon: quantum entanglement.

Imagine two subatomic particles that mirror changes in each other instantaneously over any distance - apparently without communicating.

So yes, few things in science get crazier than quantum mechanics, with related theories sometimes sounding more like paranormal activity than physics. So when such theories gain experimental proof it's a big day for physicists!

As aforementioned, quantum entanglement is a curious phenomenon that occurs when two particles remain connected, even over large distances, in such a way that actions performed on one particle have an effect on the other.

For instance, one particle might be spun in a clockwise direction. The result on the second particle would be an equal anti-clockwise spin.

Three different research papers claim to have closed loopholes in 50-year-old experiments that demonstrate quantum entanglement, proving its existence more definitively than ever before.

"Things get really interesting when two electrons become entangled," says Ronald Hanson from the University of Delft. "They are perfectly correlated, when you observe one, the other one will always be opposite. That effect is instantaneous, even if the other electron is in a rocket at the other end of the galaxy."

Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen described this in a 1935 paper, concluding that either single-particle quantum entanglement was impossible, or that the quantum-mechanical definition of physical reality still needed some work.

Without giving their conclusions away, it's also said within this program that "You can't prove quantum mechanics, but hidden local action is incompatible with our experiment," and that "Our results agree with what quantum mechanics predicts about the spooky actions shared by entangled particles."

The rest, as they say, is out there for you now to explore (via this DVD first though, of course!) This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'NOVA: Kîlauea - Hawaii on Fire'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Hawaii's Kîlauea volcano erupted in 2018, sending rivers of lava through communities and into the sea.

Join scientists and local residents as they investigate this frightening spike in volcanic activity that turned an island paradise into an inferno.

DVD Verdict: In May 2018 the Kîlauea volcano erupted, obliterating neighborhoods with devastating force and uprooting thousands of local residents.

It is Hawai′i's most destructive volcanic eruption in generations. How can one of the most beautiful places on Earth suddenly transform into a roaring inferno, sputtering molten lava and bombs of volcanic rock the size of refrigerators?

On the ground in the early days of the eruption, NOVA joins scientists and residents alike on a breathtaking journey to investigate Kîlauea's recent spike in activity.

“One of the first things emergency responders wanted to know was where the lava was coming out, where are all the fissures,” says J. Carver Struve, NASA emergency management co-lead at NASA Headquarters in Washington who coordinated the organization and distribution of data and satellite imagery from seven NASA centers.

In total, seven instruments onboard five NASA, JAXA, and other partner satellites provided key information on eruption patterns and atmospheric impacts of the Kilauea eruption.

These included detection of active fissures, fires, ash and sulfur dioxide plumes, deformation of the ground caused by magma movement, and the height and composition of volcanic plumes.

Even astronauts onboard the International Space Station were able to view the eruption, sending digital camera images to the USGS and response community.

The European Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency also contributed data to the effort.

In addition to providing data to support recovery and resilience planning, NASA has a long-standing research effort to understand volcanic processes before, during and after eruptions, insights that can also serve as a window into understanding volcanoes on other planets.

The current Kîlauea eruption was an opportunity to evaluate the performance of instruments to estimate lava flow rates and volume, crucial parameters in volcanic models.

This new PBS program showcases the length and extremes that these men and women went to and what their findings provided that could save us from another similar, or even worse volcanic eruption. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'The Dictator's Playbook' [2-DVD]
(2-Disc DVD / PG-13 / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: From Mussolini to Saddam Hussein, dictators have shaped the world we live in. How did they seize and wield power? What forces rose up against them or resisted them in secret? How did they finally come to the bitter end?

This series answers those questions in six immersive hours, each a revealing portrait of brutality and power.

DVD Verdict: 'The Dictator's Playbook', a new six-part series out now as an expansive 2-Disc DVD set from PBS, examines the historical, sociological and psychological foundations of 20th century dictatorships, and provides fresh insight into six brutal men who impacted world history: Kim Il Sung, Saddam Hussein, Benito Mussolini, Manuel Noriega, Francisco Franco and Idi Amin.

“These dictators were all unique in time and place,” says Michael Rosenfeld, vice president for National Programming at Twin Cities Public Television. “But they engaged in tactics that transcended borders and decades, sometimes even learning from one another."

"Each hour in the series is a detailed biography, but we highlight the methods these men used to establish their dictatorships, from purges to propaganda to targeted violence. And we explore the impact on the people who lived under these regimes, who often paid a terrible price.”

Through historical context and analysis, the series explores how these dictators functioned, how they influenced each other, and why they succeeded or failed.

As different as these men were from each other, they followed a series of essential steps, from seizing power to eliminating enemies — an unwritten “dictator’s playbook,” if you will.

"This series takes a deep, historical look at six men whose lives and careers have greatly impacted the 20th century, with far-reaching consequences that are still resonant in conflicts and movements across the globe today,” said Pamela Aguilar, senior director, Programming & Development at PBS. “It is a thoughtful examination of how these rulers gained and kept power, and ultimately, what led to their success or failure.”

While focusing specifically on the individual dictators and their countries, each one-hour episode asks a series of questions that allows viewers to understand the politics and psychology of dictatorships, including: What drove their thirst for domination and control?

Also, How did they seize and wield power? What forces rose up against them or resisted them in secret? How were they seen and accepted by other countries? And How did they finally come to the bitter end? This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Journey - Live in Japan 2017' [BR + 2CD]
(Journey / Blu-ray + 2CD / NR / 2019 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: Journey return to Japan for a very special concert filmed at Budokan. This concert film captures the iconic rock band recreating their legendary albums Escape and Frontiers, in an explosive rare performance.

Blu-ray Verdict: On February 7th, 2017, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Journey proved their status as one of rock's best live bands when they brought their landmark albums Escape (just in time for its 35th anniversary) and Frontiers to the legendary Budokan stage in Japan.

Eagle Rock Entertainment will now release this concert when 'Journey - Live In Japan 2017: Escape + Frontiers' is released on both DVD+2CD and Blu-ray+2CD set this March 29th, 2019.

For those not in the complete know, Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch.

The band has gone through several phases; its strongest commercial success occurred between 1978 and 1987 when Steve Perry was lead vocalist.

During that period, the band released a series of hit songs, including "Don't Stop Believin'" (1981), which in 2009 became the top-selling track in iTunes history among songs not released in the 21st century.

Its parent studio album, Escape, the band's eighth and most successful, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and yielded another of their most popular singles, "Open Arms".

Its 1983 follow-up album, Frontiers, was almost as successful in the United States, reaching No. 2 and spawning several successful singles; it broadened the band's appeal in the United Kingdom, where it reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart.

Journey enjoyed a successful reunion in the mid-1990s and later regrouped with a series of lead singers.

Now, whether you like him as a performer or a vocal artist or not, the latest lead singer - Arnel Pineda - has been around for a few years now.

Hired by the band themselves from a deep YouTube search, Filipino singer Pineda (formerly of the cover band The Zoo) has been doing his best Steve Perry impression now since 2008's Revelation.

Personally, my favorite was my friend Steve Augeri - formerly of Tyketto and Tall Stories - who not only personified the appearance of Perry in both looks and vocals perfectly, but was one of the nicest people you would ever hope to meet.

That aside, here on 'Journey - Live in Japan 2017' we witness a very triumphant evening of music from the still-massive AOR band. Bringing forth songs from 1981's Escape and 1983's Frontiers it's known to us now that these albums cemented the San Francisco band's music in the cultural zeitgeist.

Opening with, track-for-track, "Don't Stop Believin' (Intro)" from the Escape album, before launching (after some hearty audience applause) into the full version of that song, they seamlessly move through the album thereafter.

I mean, let's be honest here, Pineda sounds like a perfect fit for the classic rock titans and has done for the past 11 years. His live performances here are just great.

I mean, his singing voice is not only as good as Steve Perry's ever was, but he really brings the energy to a live performance.

1. Don't Stop Believin' (Intro) 2. Don't Stop Believin' 3. Stone In Love 4. Who's Crying Now 5. Keep On Runnin' 6. Still They Ride 7. Escape 8. Lay It Down 9. Dead Or Alive 10. Neal Schon Guitar Solo 11. Mother, Father 12. Jonathan Cain Piano Solo 13. Open Arms

Once Escape has played through we get to the second disc which is the entire, track-for-track live performance of Frontiers. Kicking things off with the immense hit "Separate Ways (Intro)" and then the actual full-length track, they then launch into "Send Her My Love," "Chain Reaction" and "After The Fall."

Again, Pineda does a good job channeling Perry and watching this incredible two hour live show, the band seems to be enjoying themselves tremendously.

All are in fine form musically and overall (with regard the camera work) it's never jaunty or shaky or flash-cut annoying.

At the end of the second album ("Frontiers" and "Rubicon"), Journey returns to the stage to perform two blistering extended encores in both "La Raza Del Sol" (the B-side of "Still They Ride", previously unreleased up until a few years ago) and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'".

1. Separate Ways (Intro) 2. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) 3. Send Her My Love 4. Chain Reaction 5. After The Fall 6. Faithfully 7. Edge Of The Blade 8. Steve Smith Drum Solo 9. Back Talk 10. Frontiers 11. Rubicon 12. La Raza del Sol 13. Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'.

In short, and in closing, 'Journey - Live in Japan 2017,' presented with a minimal stage set, without big extravagant light shows or monitors, lets the music do the talking.

The spectacular musicianship of Neal Schon (founder / guitarist), Jonathan Cain (keyboardist), Ross Valory (bassist), Steve Smith (drummer), and Arnel Pineda (lead vocals) shines on all their famed hits and album tracks alike.

www.JourneyMusic.com

www.eagle-rock.com





'NATURE: Wild Way of The Vikings'
(Ewan McGregor / DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Experience the natural world through the eyes of the Vikings, when nature meets history in a journey showcasing the wildlife of the North Atlantic.

DVD Verdict: Combining blue-chip natural history filmmaking and dramatic recreations, PBS's Nature series travels from Norway to Newfoundland, just as the seafaring warriors did in 1,000 A.D., to get a glimpse of the Vikings' world in the Americas hundreds of years before Columbus.

During this wondrous, in depth and highly enlightening 53 minute documentary narrated by Ewan McGregor, we follow along and experience the deep history and cultural respect the Vikings had with the land and sea: from the killer whales of the North Sea to the puffins and otters of the Scottish coast to the volcanic mounts of Iceland and the frozen tundra of Greenland.

Vikings were Norse seafarers, mainly speaking the Old Norse language, who during the late 8th to late 11th centuries, raided and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of Europe, and explored westwards to Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland.

The term is also commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to the inhabitants of Norse home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age.

This period of Nordic military, mercantile and demographic expansion constitutes an important element in the early medieval history of Scandinavia, Estonia, the British Isles, France, Kievan Rus' and Sicily.

Facilitated by advanced sailing and navigational skills, and characterized by the longship, Viking activities at times also extended into the Mediterranean littoral, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Following extended phases of (primarily sea- or river-borne) exploration, expansion and settlement, Viking (Norse) communities and governments were established in diverse areas of north-western Europe, Belarus, Ukraine and European Russia, the North Atlantic islands and as far as the north-eastern coast of North America.

This period of expansion witnessed the wider dissemination of Norse culture, while simultaneously introducing strong foreign cultural influences into Scandinavia itself, with profound developmental implications in both directions.

Ergo, during 'NATURE: Wild Way of the Vikings' we go back to the age where Vikings ruled the northern seas; when their only compass was the birds in the sky and the whales pushing through the icy waters. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Boss: The Black Experience in Business'
(Stanley Nelson / DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: From award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson comes a film that educates, informs, and examines more than 150 years of African American men and women who, from the country's earliest days, have embodied qualities of innovation, risk-taking, and determination to forge a path to a better life - which is at the heart of the American entrepreneurial spirit.

DVD Verdict: The history of business and entrepreneurship lies at the heart of the American story, but often absent are the names and experiences of African Americans who, from the country's earliest days, have striven to make the country a better, and equal place for all.

'Boss: The Black Experience in Business', by Peabody and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, seeks to illuminate, educate, and inform, by examining more than 150 years of African American men and women - from those bound by bondage, to moguls at the top of multi-million dollar empires.

The little-known story of African American entrepreneurship from post enslavement and reconstruction to the present, where skill, industriousness, ingenuity and sheer courage in the face of overwhelming odds provide one the backbones of this nation’s economic and social growth; and this two hour documentary also, of course.

'Boss: The Black Experience in Business' is extremely important for those people who are interested in the phenomenon of black business, getting into business, maintaining and growing a successful business and forging a path into the future with your business.

Indeed, it enables a person to listen and experience the voices of the ancestors in an entertaining way who came before us; there are many tips and wisdom to be gleaned.

In my humble opinion, and as a white man, I urge you not to miss this interesting and truly insightful exploration of African American business from PBS (who else). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'American Masters: Joseph Pulitzer'
(Adam Driver / DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: 'American Masters: Joseph Pulitzer' is a groundbreaking exploration of a newspaper magnate whose work is largely unknown to wide audiences; though ironically, the prize he endowed in his will has become recognizable around the world.

DVD Verdict: Pulitzer's personal story is a riveting variation on the American Dream narrative and one that American Masters has brought lovingly to life here within PBS's new documentary 'Joseph Pulitzer - Voice of the People'.

Joseph John Pulitzer (April 10, 1847 – October 29, 1911) was a newspaper publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York World. In the 1890s the fierce competition between his World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal caused both to develop the techniques of yellow journalism, which won over readers with sensationalism, sex, crime and graphic horrors.

The wide appeal reached a million copies a day and opened the way to mass-circulation newspapers that depended on advertising revenue (rather than cover price or political party subsidies) and appealed to readers with multiple forms of news, gossip, entertainment and advertising.

Today, his name is best known for the Pulitzer Prizes, which were established in 1917 as a result of his endowment to Columbia University.

The prizes are given annually to recognize and reward excellence in American journalism, photography, literature, history, poetry, music and drama. Pulitzer founded the Columbia School of Journalism by his philanthropic bequest; it opened in 1912.

Learning more and more as the 90 minute documentary continues onward, we discover that this immigrant - who was famous in his own time for the outsized financial success of his newspapers and his outspoken, cantankerous editorial voice - from the start of his career as a journalist, Pulitzer championed what he regarded as the sacred role of the free press in a democracy.

And we, in the Land of the Free are very much grateful to him for that, are we not.

Narrated by Adam Driver, the documentary tells the story of Pulitzer’s life and accomplishments through a combination of archival footage, reenactments and interviews with authors, journalists and scholars.

Liev Schreiber is the voice of Pulitzer. Tim Blake Nelson is the voice of Roosevelt and Rachel Brosnahan is the voice of investigative journalist Nellie Bly. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Lynden Steele, Asst. Photo Editor, St. Louis Post - Dispatch - Ferguson And Pulitzer Prizes
Nicholson Baker at Duke Archive Warehouse - David Redden Describes the building of Pulitzer's home by Sanford White
Interview with Dren Rudavsky

www.PBS.org





'Khrustalyov, My Car! Special Edition'
(Yuriy Tsurilo, Nina Ruslanova, Mikhail Dementyev, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1998) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview:Named after the apocryphal exclamation of Soviet security chief Lavrentiy Beria as he rushed to Stalin's deathbed, this blackly funny, deliriously immersive satire distils the anticipation and anxiety in the Moscow air, as the Soviet despot lay dying.

A one-of-a-kind collision of nightmare and realism, director Aleksei German's film is presented here in a new restoration with a wealth of illuminating extras.

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, and even having seen it three (3) times now over the past four days, it's hard to truly explain this film.

It's cinematography was beautiful, but even as a Russian I found the plot/story/events almost impossible to understand!

That, however, did not make me enjoy the movie any less. Granted I would have loved to have understood what I watched, but I honestly think that is what the director wanted.

For as someone said to me whilst watching it alongside me, "To have you be lost and confused. Why? To make the film better I guess."

As a whole, we cinephiles watch things we don't understand for pleasure sometimes. Or rather we understand what we are seeing, but can't put together why it's happening or how it fits into the story.

Luckily, as my Russian is now rusty and this film had a lot of dialogue and people talking over each other, this brand new Special Edition comes complete with newly translated English subtitles.

Ok, sure, it still didn't really help, given the speed of talk, the talk overs and the fact that every happened as a kind of a mess of a group scene most times, but it did fill in some blanks come the end.

German's genius masterpiece is of course 'My Friend Ivan Lapshin', made in 1984. A movie so perfect and genius that it hurts. Both films are similar, they have the same voice narrating - even German's son who became a director would keep using this somber narrator's voice.

So, together with the genius cinematography, although not as perfect as 'My Friend Ivan Lapshin' in my humble opinion, but somewhat similar and even more busy, 'Khrustalyov, My Car!' is a breathtakingly free and creative black and white cinematic ride.

The work that went into this film is staggering. It's a film filled with action. A true piece of art I'd say, even though almost impossible to understand (with or without subtitles, trust me).

We are given no context, no historical data, no explanations about who the characters are except a couple of words on their work. This movie proves ultimately that you can like a movie without understanding it!

In closing, I truly can't really think of any other film I've ever seen that stumped and mystified me so fully yet so clearly had some structure and apparatus to it! Buy this splendid newly-released Blu-ray today and find out just what I mean for yourselves. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

New 2K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed 2.0 stereo Russian audio soundtrack
Newly translated English subtitles
Audio commentary by producer Daniel Bird
Between Realism and Nightmare, a new video essay on Khrustalyov, My Car! and the films of Aleksei German by historian and film critic Eugénie Zvonkine
Diagnosis Murder: Jonathan Brent on The Doctors' Plot, the academic talks about Stalin's anti-Semitic campaign which provides the backdrop for Khrustalyov, My Car!
Aleksei German, the veteran film historian and critic Ron Holloway interviews the Russian director
German... At Last, an interview with Aleksei German by producer Guy Séligmann
Re-release trailer
Double-sided fold-out poster
Limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing by Gianna D'Emilio, an archival essay by Joël Chaperon and original reviews

www.ArrowFilms.com





'Minutes to Midnight - The Cold War Chronicles'
(Glenn Ford, Edward R. Murrow, Lowell Thomas, John Wayne, et al / DVD / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Filmed over a two-year period, the 60 minute documentary deals with the early years of the "Cold War" and one of the U.S. Air Force formations that stood on the ramparts of the free world in time of great peril.

DVD Verdict: Watching this rather incredible flashback at a time in our history a lot of todays generation (and before) have long since forgotten about (or even truly never knew about; perhaps, sadly, never even cared to know about), 'Minutes to Midnight - The Cold War Chronicles' proves to me, yet again, that history is as incredible as anything today could ever bring forth.

As we watch along, we learn that President Kennedy's flexible-response nuclear war-fighting doctrine of the early 1960s lacked the technology to match its vision of many options adapted to meet the varieties of Cold War crises.

Advances in geodesy and cartography and the integrated circuit developed in the early 1960s for missile and satellite guidance systems, significantly improved missile accuracy.

Decreased CEP (circular error probable¯the radius of a circle in which at least 50 percent of the targeted missiles would hit) meant that warheads could be smaller.

New warheads could be sized to detonate at kiloton or megaton ranges independently. Because they were smaller and lighter, more warheads could be mounted to each ICBM and SLBM.

In the early 1970s the DOD developed MIRVs (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles), allowing three or more warheads on each ICBM and SLBM. The Air Force's arsenal did not rise above 1,054 ICBMs; many now carried three MIRVs (Minuteman III) as opposed to earlier models that carried a single Minuteman I or II warhead. Strategic launchers remained static, but warheads multiplied.

The documentary obviously goes deeper into these early years of the Cold War, but just know that all areas that you know of, and hope are covered are indeed taken into account here.

The DVD also includes 15 government propaganda films from the 1950s featuring narration and appearances from Glenn Ford, Edward R. Murrow, Lowell Thomas and John Wayne.

Government Propaganda Films:
A Day Called X - Narrated by Glenn Ford - (1957) 27 Minutes, Not Rated
Duck and Cover Documentary - (1951) B&W 9 Minutes, Not Rated
The Challenge of Ideas - Narrated by John Wayne, Edward R. Murrow, Lowell Thomas - (1961) B&W 30 Minutes, Not Rated
Atomic Alert Documentary - (1954) B&W 11 Minutes, Not Rated
Red Chinese Battle Plan Documentary - (1964) B&W 25 Minutes, Not Rated
Target: You! Documentary - (1953) B&W 9 Minutes, Not Rated
Warning Red Documentary - (1956) B&W 13 Minutes, Not Rated
Our Cities Must Fight Documentary - (1951) B&W 9 Minutes, Not Rated
Bombproof Documentary - (1956) B&W 14 Minutes, Not Rated
About Fallout Documentary - (1963) Color 24 Minutes, Not Rated
Town of the Times Documentary - (1963) Color 25 Minutes, Not Rated
Let's Face It Documentary - (1954) B&W 13 Minutes, Not Rated
What You Should Know About Biological Warfare Documentary - (1952) B&W 15 Minutes, Not Rated
You Can Beat the A-Bomb Documentary - (1950) B&W 19 Minutes, Not Rated
The House in the Middle Documentary - (1954) Color 12 Minutes, Not Rated

This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Cold War Thrillers' [2-Disc DVD]
(Glenn Ford, Edward R. Murrow, Lowell Thomas, John Wayne, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: 'Cold War Thrillers' includes six films about the period and is out now from Mill Creek Entertainment.

DVD Verdict: 'Man On A String' (1960, NR). Starring Ernest Borgnine, Kerwin Mathews, Alexander Scourby; Directed by Andre De Toth (House of Wax).

A US secret agent is sent to Berlin to pretend to be a spy for the USSR.

Based on the real life story of Boris Morros who was a musician instead of a film producer, 'Man on a String' comes at the tale end of the Cold War espionage thrillers where there was absolutely no doubt as to who the good guys and bad guys were on the screen.

I can understand the reason for renaming the lead character that Ernest Borgnine plays Boris Mitrov and changing his occupation even, for dramatic purposes to give the character more scope.

But for the life of me was anyone fooled when the agency he worked for was renamed the Central Bureau of Intelligence?!

'The Deadly Affair' (1966, NR). Starring James Mason, Maximillian Schell, Simone Signoret; Directed by Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon) with score by Quincy Jones.

A British agent sets out to uncover the hidden facts behind a British government employee's suicide. The movie is suspenseful, the action is good for its time, and the acting is excellent.

Some may find it too slow for today's tastes, but action, spectacle and a really fast pace don't help a movie if there's not an interesting plot and story, with well developed characters. If you watch the movie with that proviso, you should enjoy it.

'Otley' (1968, PG). Starring Tom Courtenay, Romy Schneider; Directed by Dick Clement.

Gerald Otley, wannabe antiques dealer, is kicked out of his flat for failing to pay rent, sleeps at a friend's home for the night, wakes up two days later in an airport field, and finds himself entangled in international espionage.

For my money, 'Otley' is a defining film of its time, showing swinging '60s London and presenting Tom Courtenay in one of his defining but less-known roles; as someone who wants to be a spy but wonders what he's got into when he gets his wish.

Otley is an inept spy, and was probably an even more inept drifter. Full of color with a great score, and many fruity cameos, this film should be better known as it is a lot of fun. Emblazoned with a great central performance and the chance to get really engrossed in the period, this film is my personal pick of the sextet here.

'A Dandy in Aspic' (1968, R). Starring Mia Farrow, Laurence Harvey, Tom Courtenay; Directed by Anthony Mann (El Cid) and with a score by Quincy Jones.

During the Cold War, the British and Soviet intelligence services attempt to out-fox one another using the homesick double-agent Krasnevin as pawn in the complex spy-game.

This is the last film directed by Anthony Mann, whose 'Raw Deal' (1948) was the perfect noir film, and who was a man of immense talent. But he died while shooting this, and Larry Harvey finished the job. This resulted in an imbalance and a lack of conception and tone.

Mia Farrow is excellent as the ditsy, naive "bird" who takes a fancy to LH's counterpoint character. But the real kudos go to Peter Cook, the mod devil-may-care chap who supplies to LH all the pertinent spy goings-on with a mordant, off-color humorous style.

'Hammerhead' - (1968, R). Starring Peter Vaughan, Vince Edwards, Diana Dors; Directed by David Miller (Lonely Are the Brave).

An American agent has tracked down the stronghold of an evil criminal mastermind, determined to take over the world.

American agent Charles Hood needs to stop international criminal Hammerhead from stealing a secret report on nuclear defense. This British production has cheeky asides and a bouncy score from David Whitaker - as well as a curious obsession with erotic art - but is so mild it barely makes an impression; sorry!

'The Executioner' (1970, PG). Starring George Peppard, Joan Collins, Oscar Homolka, Judy Geeson; Directed by Sam Wanamaker (Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger).

A British intelligence agent must track down a fellow spy suspected of being a double agent.

'The Executioner' is, sadly, a dour little spy thriller which acts as a corrective to the James Bond school of spy movies and benefits from an excellent performance by George Peppard as an exhausted, stressed out Ango-US agent searching for a mole in British Intelligence.

The atmosphere of post-swinging London is interesting from a modern standpoint, as is the unusual flashback plot structure. These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'The Big C - The Complete Series' [6-Disc DVD]
(Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, Gabriel Basso, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Laura Linney stars in her Golden Globe®-winning role as Cathy Jamison, a 42-year-old schoolteacher who has always played by the rules.

That is, until she receives a life-changing diagnosis. But instead of giving up, Cathy decides to live it up!

Nothing and no one is safe, including her self-absorbed family, her cantankerous neighbor, and her smart-ass students!

DVD Verdict: Take some very talented actors, add in some seasoned producers, and complete it with excellent writers. Then tell them to write a show with the central background theme of Cancer.

'The Big C' is the result. It is a refreshing look at the dark comedy genre that pulls at your heart strings, which is obviously what the producers intended.

'The Big C' is also not your standard sitcom formula. It doesn't run for four seasons letting the viewers wonder whether or not the girl and the guy will finally get together.

No the writers immediately jump in per going past the doctor/patient relationship, a black/white affair, a teenager's first sexual encounter and how the husband/wife relationship is effected by it all … and that's just the tip of the iceberg!

The writers gladly passed such things to try new scenarios and see what works, then move onto something else the next week.

While this can be confusing to the viewer, it works as long as the base personalities stay intact for the viewers to relate to; which they do, for the most part.

Even then the writers experiment with the radical lifestyle change of Sean. What will happen next?

Ergo, the comedy is at times sharp and precise often with moments that remind me of a Neil Simon play. The solutions that Cathy comes up with per the problems she faces is often witty and unexpected.

I could see thousands of parents watching the show and rooting for Cathy when she locked Adam in the bathroom to clean up the toilet! 'The Big C' also has death lurking in the background so do not be surprised per where the writing goes as the episodes / years progress.

Many years ago it was a big taboo to kill a main character in a series. Today it is done quite often. I suspect it is done to keep a show fresh and interesting, to recharge a show when the ratings are slipping. To redirect the plot in new directions as writers go and new ones arrive with fresh ideas.

So, as aforementioned, expect the unexpected especially with this writing team!

As you can tell from my musings, 'The Big C' had amazing possibilities and walked tall for four wondrous seasons. Whilst, and at the very same time, it also walked through a minefield where the audience could turn away per a big mistake in the writing at any given juncture.

In closing, 'The Big C' turned out to be one wild and crazy ride which played the heart strings with every episode and kept the viewer wondering what would happen next.

So, in case you have not seen this great show yet and were thinking in investing in this brand new 6-Disc DVD box-set (out now via Mill Creek Entertainment), well, given everything that I've outlined above, you have to now ask yourself: Will the writers be able to keep up their franticly paced tone? Furthermore, Will they find a stable plot synopsis to allow for one season to blend perfectly into the next? Buy this box-set today and find out for yourselves, my friend! These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Master Of Dark Shadows'
(Dan Curtis, Ian McShane, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / MPI Home Media)

Overview: Before Buffy, Twilight, Stephen King and Anne Rice, there was the Gothic World of Dan Curtis In 1966, a phenomenon was launched when Dark Shadows debuted on ABC-TV as a daily Gothic suspense series.

This highly anticipated new film is a comprehensive celebration of the legendary Gothic daytime series and its visionary creator, Dan Curtis.

Blu-ray Verdict: The incredible feature-length documentary reveals the fascinating history, far-reaching impact and lasting appeal of the beloved TV show Dark Shadows with a compelling blend of rare footage and behind-the-scenes stories; whilst also exploring the dramatic talents of creator-producer-director Dan Curtis.

Known as the “King of TV Horror,” the Emmy-winning filmmaker followed Dark Shadows with other iconic genre favorites including The Night Stalker, Trilogy of Terror and Burnt Offerings before earning accolades for the epic miniseries The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

Narrated by Ian McShane (Deadwood), and that deep, alluring British vocal tone of his, 'Master of Dark Shadows: The Gothic World of Dan Curtis' is as brilliant, as magnificent and as revealing as you could ever hope it to be.

The feature documentary, which was shot in New York, LA and London, reveals to us from the off that everything about the Gothic beauty Dark Shadows came from a dream that Curtis had one night.

There was this girl on a train and she was being hired to become a Governess to work in this big house and she steps out onto this empty platform in the mist as the train pulls away. And she's standing there all alone … and then he woke up!

So, knowing that he had something to work with, Curtis called around the studios and friends he had as producers and such and told them he wanted to do a daytime soap opera.

Eventually it got picked up, but as everyone associated with it says on this great documentary, it was all taken in a mundane fashion, nobody really paid attention to it and it actually got bad ratings!

So, just as the network had give the show just four more weeks to live (due to the aforementioned dire ratings), Curtis suggested, and with nothing to lose, adding a vampire to the daytime mix!

Something that hadn't been done ever before, and with the character being created as a reluctant vampire; someone who just didn't want to do what he had to do, as soon as it hit the air the rating started to shoot up almost overnight.

Coming on at 4pm in the afternoon, just in time for the kids to be home from school and flop down in front of the TV set for viewing, "It wasn't your mom's Gothic romance, it was YOUR Gothic romance", as Whoopi Goldberg puts it.

Including interviews with key actors and filmmakers involved in the undyingly popular story of vampire Barnabas Collins and all the eerie goings-on at the gloomy Maine mansion Collinwood, watching a lot of the funny black and white outtakes from the set is a goldmine of wonderment for fans such as myself.

The documentary, which was directed by David Gregory (Lost Soul, Godfathers of Mondo), also features Oscar-winning writer-producer Alan Ball (True Blood), screenwriter William F. Nolan (Trilogy of Terror), author Herman Wouk (The Winds Of War), veteran actors Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost), Barbara Steele (Black Sunday) and Ben Cross (Chariots of Fire), Dark Shadows stars Jonathan Frid, David Selby, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, John Karlen, Nancy Barrett, Jerry Lacy, Roger Davis, Marie Wallace, Chris Pennock and James Storm, plus other colleagues and family members. This is a Widescreen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Dark Shadows Studio Visit
Before Dark Shadows: The House
Vintage TV Spots
Poe & Shakespeare in The Shadows
Barnabas at the White House
The Dick Cavett Show: Jonathan Frid
Light & Shadows: David Selby
Promos & More!

Official Trailer

www.MPIhomevideo.com





'Dragged Across Concrete' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / R / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Once two overzealous cops get suspended from the force, they must delve into the criminal underworld to get their proper compensation.

Blu-ray Verdict: Look, I know Steven Zahler's films are not to everyone's taste, but I personally enjoy his directing style. Overall, 'Dragged Across Concrete' is a really solid slow burn exploitation film that has a nice mix of good acting and interesting story telling; but sure, yeah, lacked a certain depth considering the subject matter.

The plot of 'Dragged Across Concrete' starts out simple enough. Two slightly jaded rough around the edges cop are suspended for police brutality.

From there they plan to make a living for their family by robbing what they believed to be a drug deal. Of course not is all as it seems and the film descends into the exploitive aforementioned slow burn thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

The film takes a simple premise and makes a truly fascinating film out of it, that's for sure. It's a tight slow burn that played with expectations as it built suspense.

Finally when the action starts the movie pushes the viewers to the edge with its bleak and dark content. Nothing was quite as it seemed and I was honestly thrown off a number of times with the plots progressions.

If you expect a conventual heist thriller, you will be disappointed, but the film never promised to be conventional, now did it (I mean, read the synopsis!)

For this is a dark and, at times, brutal film. It certainly earns the title of an exploitation film as it explored ideas like police brutality, digital age media, racism, and social, class.

This is not a feelgood action thriller, but a methodical and tension packed film that will play with your emotions and break your heart.

It was bleak and at times ugly, but that seemed to be the point. It is, simply put, a stark and nihilistic look at the extremes humans will go to for financial gain.

Directing wise Steven Zahler's distinct voice definitely came through. His movies are exploitation films that are designed to push boundaries. They are the kind of films that Hollywood really doesn't make any more, maybe for good reason.

Zahler certainly has no problem trying to offend and specifically play with political correctness.

Still I respect his choices from a technical point. Every scene and bit of dialogue seemed to add to the overall narrative and despite the two-and-a-half-hour length of the movie I can't say I was bored at any time.

Plus when the action finally starts, man is it brutal and soul crushing. All of the gunfights are right up there in your face and sure to get your blood pumping. Zahler definitely has an eye for violence, trust me!

I have to talk about the acting as well, of course. Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn are perfect in this film. They really delivered the dialogue well and seem to have genuine chemistry.

Their buddy cop routine actual added some much-needed levity to the film. I won't get into the politics of Mel Gibson, but the man is a great actor.

He perfectly played the role of a seasoned and borderline racist cop out to provide for his family. Vince Vaughn also. I often forget that he knows how to act because of his past comedic career choices.

In closing, 'Dragged Across Concrete' is sure to leave an impact on the viewer, and rightly so. It is a well made and directed morality tale on the darker side of humanity.

It's exploitive themes and content will not make everyone happy, but it's hard to argue with a suspense driven thriller that delivered. I expected a bit more depth, as noted, but the film delivers on most all action / thriller fronts - and isn't that, come the end of the day, all we could ever ask for from this genre?

'Dragged Across Concrete' arrives on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital), DVD and Digital April 30th, 2019 from Lionsgate. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

“Elements of a Crime” - 3 Part Featurette
“Moral Conflict: Creating Cinema that Challenges” Featurette

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Man On A Ledge: 4K Ultra HD'
(Jamie Bell, Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: As a police psychologist works to talk down an ex-con who is threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel rooftop, the biggest diamond heist ever committed is in motion.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this April with the release of this quite stunning, and highly underrated 'Man On The Ledge' in the new 4K home video format on April 9th, 2019.

For my money, this 'Man On The Ledge: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Man On The Ledge' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10+, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the delicious hues and nuances of the outdoor scenes involving the foot chases.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where the two parties at odds are talking to one another; the tension of the moments on both sides clearly evident on all faces) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. Many thrillers with intertwining plot lines tend to get confused in themselves let alone causing confusion amongst viewers but this was not one of them.

The cat and mouse game played by Worthington's character Nick Cassidy was superbly crafted by director Asger Leth. The premise was interestingly reminiscent of Joel Schumacher's 'Phonebooth,' but contained a storyline more unique and intriguing incorporating curious conspiracies and unexpected twists all of which were tied together well.

There are instances where some events come across slightly abrupt or are abridged without much explanation behind it, but that does little to detract from the key events.

The heist which the movie promoted mightn't have been intricate or having the brilliance of an 'Ocean's Eleven' or 'Inside Man', but it served as but one chunk of the plot line which made it much better.

Well supported by the actual man on a ledge scenes and the flashbacks to lead engross viewers to the more important motives and reasoning which, unlike many heists, wasn't simply a desire for big bucks.

Indeed, it was Ed Harris who fit his profile best as the depraved real estate mogul. Albeit sidelined from the thick of the action where the man on the ledge was for the majority of the story, he bagged the performance of the film.

Sure, guys jumping off 21 story buildings unscathed and breaking into a highly secure vault with the likes of fire extinguishers and wire cutters isn't what you expect to see on the 6 O'clock news, but that's why we watch movies!

In closing, this was never meant to be an accurate depiction of human life but fictionalized cinema so if you leave your cynicism to the side and allow yourself to be entertained and thrilled, you will be.

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on the two special features included. One, 'The Ledge Featurette' (HD; 15:17) is actually a rather good, enticing and revealing look at how the film was put together.

Watching one particular scene showcases just how much engineering expertise is put into such films. As in the hotel room scene where a camera track slides back and forth together with a monster crane that floats ominously above. Man, it delivers the final shot perfectly, but wow, did it take some mechanical expertise!

However, the second special feature, 'Trailer with Commentary by Elizabeth Banks' (HD; 2:32) is quite like nothing I've ever seen before! I mean, come on now, an audio commentary for just the trailer?! Seriously? Banks wasn't available for the entire film?

As for the actual commentary that Banks gives, well, sorry, but do we really need Banks telling us how manly Worthington is and other "riveting facts" such as that?! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

The Ledge Featurette
Trailer with Commentary by Elizabeth Banks

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Project Blue Book: Season 1' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Aidan Gillen, Michael Malarkey, Laura Mennell, Michael Harney, Ksenia Solo, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / NR / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: A tough US Air Force officer and a skeptical scientist investigate UFO and alien conspiracies as Cold War paranoia spreads.

Blu-ray Verdict: Ok, let's get this straight from the start: 'Project Blue Book' is a TV show, but NOT a documentary. This is a "based on" series and they make it very clear at the beginning of each episode.

Of course this show needs to have some sort of imagination and fiction to create the development of the narrative, but one thing at a time, I guess.

Each episode is filmed with detail and the episodes are independent but the overall plot that develops is magnificent and every side plot does have a meaning.

That said, the side plot with Mimi and Susie could have been cut down as some parts were just not necessary, in my humble opinion.

'Project Blue Book' is for everyone that has an interest in UFOs or just mystery in small or high capacity. In truth, the creators did a remarkable job at creating suspension and mystery regarding something as supernatural as the subject matter to hand.

They did a great job in making it realistic and believable, using things like air force cover-ups and the Russians as a plot point which I'm sure they did in real life.

I got hooked on the first episode which was thanks to everyone that worked on the episode from cast to the crew and as there are all 10 first season episodes here, you'll fall in love with this show just as I did, I'm pretty sure of that.

Indeed, that very first engrossing episode opens with two fighter pilots cruising through a routine evening in the sky when one is accosted by a blurry, quickly moving green light.

The pilot makes chase, even opening fire on the unidentified flying object, before his aircraft is sucked upward into a beam of light and then sent spinning out of control to Earth.

Captured in foggy blue and green lighting - akin to the front cover art - with great sound mixing and admirable energy, what follows are (OK, I'll say it) very 'X-Files'-esque, sure, but they all have their own tone too.

The ensemble cast of real people and fictional characters enhance the show greatly as we follow Dr. Allen Hynek through several cases. Played brilliantly by Aidan Gillen he is a stand out here, for sure.

Of course others play their collective parts for the ensemble, such as Michael Malarkey, Neal McDonough, Robert John Burke and Laura Mennell. They all in their own ways, keep the mystery going.

However, in my humble opion, the BEST recurring role was Michael Imperioli for he just shines in every character he portrays.

In closing, and much like the aforementioned 'X-Files,' 'Project Blue Book' asks us to invest in Dr. Hynek’s doomed quest without giving us good reason to invest in the man himself, but that's OK; for the most part.

Moreover, what fun is a fact-based story about aliens if it’s well-trodden territory told in less thrilling fashion, I hear you ask. And my answer to that it simple: If there was a show that was a 50/50 split between 'The X-Files' and 'The Americans' would you watch it?

Sure you would and if you have turned toward 'Project Blue Book' in any visual way you just did! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.00:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Hailed as one of “the 10 most anticipated new shows of 2019” (Dana Feldman, Forbes), the 'Project Blue Book: Season 1' Blu-ray and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $29.99 and $24.98, respectively.

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Replicas' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Emily Alyn Lind, John Ortiz, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: In this suspenseful sci-fi thriller, Keanu Reeves stars as William Foster, a neuroscientist on the verge of transferring human consciousness into a computer when his beloved wife (Alice Eve) and children are tragically killed in a car crash.

Desperate to resurrect his family, William recruits a fellow scientist (Thomas Middleditch) to help secretly clone their bodies and create replicas. When William learns that he can only replicate three of the four family members, he makes a decision with fateful consequences.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Replicas' is a decent science fiction thriller that has some interesting concept and ideas but ultimately falls short from having a terrible script, illogical twists, and (for the most part) dull performances.

Without trying to give away many spoilers, William (Keanu Reeves) works for a biomedical research in trying to transfer a mind of a dead person into an android. After an failed attempt.

William's wife Mona (Alice Eve), his son Matt (Emjay Anthony), Sophie (Emily Alyn Lind), and Zoe (Aria Leabu) are involved an accident and so William becomes a "mad scientist" that will do whatever it takes to save them all.

In truth, the film could have been so much more. It has an interesting concept at play such as cloning a human being and transferring their minds into the new body.

I mean, the science in the movie talks about "Booting sequences" and "M-Phases", like it's the '90. None of the technology even tries to sound or look believable!

That said, it also contains some very thought provoking ideas of deleting memories. William becomes this "mad scientist" that wants to go beyond the laws of nature to save his family and so he steals the lab equipment and has it set in his basement.

Even his coworker/ friend Ed (Thomas Middleditch) becomes worried of William's obsession in his research.

Sadly, the film does have some faults along with some rather questionable CGI effects (that just look horrible, sorry). Especially in the scene with the android coming to life as it just looks like a bad Claymation!

Also, the script has some laughable dialogue that seems out of place or unbelievable at times. The first hour of the movie is dull, to be frank, as all we get to see is the "mad scientist" do what he thinks is experimentally best.

Overall and playing Devil's Advocate, on the contrary to the belief that robots will be enemies of the human beings, the movie brought a new perspective about turning technology into some kind of an emotional bond between humans and robots.

Therefore, the movie reflected the idea that the synthetic future does not have to be completely separated from the emotional, on the contrary it can be adapted to humane emotions and morals.

Moreover, it approached the technology in a realistic way in terms of combining good and evil between robots and humans and reflecting them with flaws and fragility.

Overall, 'Replicas' is a fair film. It has some entertaining science fiction moments with the concepts delved into after the first hour and the script kept ticking along.

The latter third of the film does include some thriller elements, but most are less than edge of the seat stuff. It does, however, keep the pace going and come the final moments, well, you might well have your own thoughts on what happens and how it happens (I hope you do). This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary with Director Jeffrey Nachmanoff and Executive Producer James Dodson
Imprint Complete: The Making of Replicas
Deleted Scenes

The 'Replicas' Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'American Masters: Charley Pride - I'm Just Me'
(Charley Pride / DVD / NC-17 / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Explore the history of the American South and its music through the life of country star Charley Pride.

Raised in the brutally segregated Mississippi Delta, Pride's buttery voice, talent, and steely resolve led him to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, and as we all get to learn from the off here on this quite riveting and highly informative new PBS documentary, Charley Pride (born March 18, 1934) is an American country music singer, musician, guitarist, recording artist, performer, business owner, and former baseball player.

His greatest musical success came in the early to mid-1970s, when he became the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis Presley.

Indeed, during the peak years of his recording career (1966–87), he garnered 52 top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 40 of which made it to number one.

Pride is one of the few African Americans to have enjoyed considerable success in the country music industry and one of only three (along with DeFord Bailey and Darius Rucker) to have been inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

In 2010, Pride became a special investor and minority owner of the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball club.

'American Masters: Charley Pride - I'm Just Me" explores the complicated history of the American South and its music through the life of country star Charley Pride.

A Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award® winner, his journey here in this lush, expansive new documentary (running at a solid 80 minutes) shows the ways that artistic expression can triumph over prejudice and injustice.

A must see for all his fans and for fans of Pride's genre of music, that's for sure. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

2018 Country Music Association Awards: Meet The Band
Kiss An Angel Good Morning: The Making of Charley Pride's Hits
The Sound, The Time, The Place: The Legacy of Pride's Voice
The Negro League Baseball Museum

www.PBS.org





'Nature: Living Volcanoes'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Around the world, up to 30 volcanoes erupt every day.

Here in 'Nature: Living Volcanoes' (out now via PBS) we meet the people and wildlife that live alongside these volcanoes from Kilauea to Mount Etna, and discover how volcanoes cause destruction; but also create and nurture life.

DVD Verdict: From the off it's important to know that this documentary is an expedition of scientists and adventurers to one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes alive today, located in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.

Ergo, it's not just an in depth look into (no pun intended) an endless array of volcanoes and how they came to be. That said, the camera work done here when they literally do peer into a living volcano is rather spectacular, it has to be said.

Our planet is bursting at the seams. Around the world, as aforementioned, up to 30 volcanoes erupt every day - and hundreds more could explode at any moment.

This expansive 53 minute new documentary from PBS goes deep into the territories where these living organisms inhabit and we get to meet the people and wildlife that live in constant fear of an eruption.

At the "burning heart" of this documentary is a daring expedition of scientists and adventurers to one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes alive today, located in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.

Watching along we also learn that volcanoes are the portal to the earth’s fiery magma heart; one might imagine that life above ground would avoid living nearby. But a surprising number of animals survive and thrive alongside them.

Furthermore, all life on Earth owes itself to their existence. Volcanos create the land we live on, emit gas that forms the air we breathe, spew minerals from the center of the Earth and make homes for spectacular natural history – they are the source of life.

So, purchase this wonderful and eye-opening new PBS DVD today and take a terrifying descent into the Marum Crater with biologist Jeffrey Marlow; who risks a boiling lava lake to collect and analyze rock samples for signs of life.

His discoveries could lead to a better understanding of the origins of life and a picture of what life might look like outside of Earth.

So, whether or not they do or don't just know that 'Nature: Living Volcanoes' is, without a shadow of a doubt, the hottest DVD to buy right now (sorry, I just had to!) This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Homo Spatius' (PBS)
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Can Homo sapiens evolve into Homo spatius? For over 50 years now, we have been testing our human nature in our effort to conquer outer space.

Combining human adventure and the exploration of the human body, 'Homo Spatius' offers unique insights into the physical and psychological effects of space travel on the Astronauts and measures the impact on medical sciences.

DVD Verdict: Accelerated aging, muscular atrophy, slowed-down brain functions, euphoric hallucinatory spells - as soon as we leave our usual environment towards extra-terrestrial horizons, we face conditions which our bodies are unfit for.

However, the pull of exploration is stronger and space medicine is at work to prepare astronauts for travelling to new worlds - in a near or more distant future.

Which makes this truly fascinating, and wonderfully thought provoking new documentary from PBS (who else?) 'Home Spatius' as riveting a watch as quite anything I've had the pleasure to sit down and behold for a few years now (and trust me, PBS brings out wondrous documentaries one after the other!).

Directed by Jean-Christophe Ribot and Narrated by James O'Hagan, over an hour 'Homo Spatius' lays bare the facts known vs. the facts unknown. The biggest, of course, being: What happens to your body in space?

Well, NASA’s Human Research Program has been unfolding answers for over a decade now with that regard, we learn (I would have thought longer, but what do I know!).

Space is a dangerous, unfriendly place. Isolated from family and friends, exposed to radiation that could increase your lifetime risk for cancer, a diet high in freeze-dried food, required daily exercise to keep your muscles and bones from deteriorating, a carefully scripted high-tempo work schedule, and confinement with three co-workers picked to travel with you by your boss.

OK, sure, that's a specutalive run of thought there, but come on now, what exactly happens to your body in space, and what are the risks? Are risks the same for six months on the space station versus three years on a Mars mission?

No. There are several risks NASA is researching for a Mars mission. The risks are grouped into five categories related to the stresses they place on the space traveler: Gravity fields, isolation/confinement, hostile/closed environments, space radiation, and distance from Earth.

So, that's the discussion held throughout this interesting water cooler documentary from PBS and, once watched, one that will have you looking up as you walk outside now much more than you ever used to, believe me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Yakuza Law: Special Edition'
(Bunta Sugawara, Minoru Oki, Teruo Yoshida, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1969) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: In this deep dive into the world of the Yakuza, meet the violent men who rule the Japanese underworld and the cruel punishments inflicted on those who transgress them.

Ergo 'Yakuza Law' is a story of yakuza lynching during the Edo, Taisho, and Showa periods.

Blu-ray Verdict: Director Teruo Ishii ('Blind Woman's Curse', 'Horrors of Malformed Men') and the true Godfather of "J-sploitation", presents 'Yakuza Law' (aka 'Yakuza's Law: Lynching') a grueling anthology of torture, spanning three district periods of Japanese history and bringing to the screen some of the most brutal methods of torment ever devised!

Reminiscent of 'Casino' and 'Zatoichi' in its nature and necessarily violent as it depicts the renowned Yakuza law of an old-school variety, this film is a solid watch for those interested in old and new Yakuza films.

In the violent world of the Yakuza, if you break the rules then you must pay the price. Since this usually involves the removal of a body part with a sharp knife or sword, or even a hideous death, members of these bloodthirsty Japanese crime families had better think twice before screwing over their pals.

Spanning several centuries, starting in feudal japan and ending in the present day (ie. the late 1960s), 'Yakuza Law' consists of three stories all dealing with betrayal and punishment within the Yakuza system. These tales are rather mundane in nature but are lifted by some wonderfully gruesome acts of brutality.

In the first two segments, fingers are removed, eyeballs and tongues are cut out, and sword slashes result in fountains of blood. In the last segment, the modern day Yakuza get creative, dragging victims along by helicopter, encasing them in cement, and crushing them in car compactors.

I consider the jazz-scored groovy last section to be the best of the stories, since it also has a rather sleazy feel to it, with sexy babes also involved in the nasty goings on.

On the whole, I certainly wouldn't class this movie as essential viewing, per say, but it should be of interest to fans of Japanese cinema, crime films, and, of course, gory exploitation flicks. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-rayTM (1080p) presentation
Original lossless mono Japanese soundtrack
Optional English subtitles
New audio commentary by author and critic Jasper Sharp
Erotic-Grotesque and Genre Hopping: Teruo Ishii Speaks, a rare vintage interview with the elusive director on his varied career, newly edited for this release
Image gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Tom Mes

www.ArrowFilms.com





'The Grand Duel: Special Edition'
(Lee Van Cleef, Alberto Dentice, Jess Hahn, Horst Frank, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1972) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: Genre stalwart Lee Van Cleef (The Big Combo, Day of Anger) stars as a gnarled ex-sheriff called Clayton who comes to the aid of young Philipp Wermeer (Alberto Dentice), a fugitive framed for the murder of a powerful figure called The Patriarch.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'The Grand Duel' is an awesome spaghetti western featuring the one, the only Lee Van Cleef - who never ever looked cooler in his life than in this flick.

Also featuring the greatest theme song ever composed for a film (and that's something, given that Quentin Tarantino probably agrees with me as he also selected the song for the soundtrack of 'Kill Bill', Van Cleef plays former Sheriff Clayton.

Portraying the type of gunslinger whose eyes are never really closed when he lies asleep with his hat over his face he spots the hideout of every potential enemy without even lifting his head.

Riding along with a traveling stagecoach, Clayton is on the trail of a young fugitive outlaw named Philippe Vermeer (Alberto Dentice). Not for the $1.000 reward on his head, like all the other bounty hunters they encounter along the way, but to keep an eye on him as he's heading towards Saxon City to settle a personal vendetta.

Saxon City is kept under the thumbs of the three rich and utterly corrupted Saxon brothers David, Eli and Adam (too bad none of them is named John…) and they falsely accused Philippe of killing their father at Jefferson train station.

Although Philippe is innocent of that crime and wisely stays away from Saxon City, he nevertheless insists on returning to find and get even with the murderer of his own father.

Of course, Sheriff Clayton just happens to be the only person who can help him with that.

'The Grand Duel' has everything you could possible seek in a western: outrageous shootouts, invincible heroes and psychopathic villains (especially Adam, the youngest Saxon, is oddly menacing), compelling sub plots, jaw-dropping moments of intensity, magnificent decors and breathtaking exterior locations and – as said already – an impeccable soundtrack.

The opening scenes are especially memorable as Dentice's character shows moves that would later become standard part in action movies. The performances across the board are quite hearty, especially from the likes of Jess Hahn, as Bighorse the stage driver, and Antonio Casale as nefarious bounty hunter Hole.

Klaus Grunbergs' effeminate performance as Adam Saxon, a young man clearly not that happy at the thought of marriage to a woman, is amusing also. Oh, the final showdown of the title is over fairly quickly, sure, but that doesn't make it any less effective, believe me.

Director Giancarlo Santi might not be the most prominent name in the field of classic Italian westerns, but he obviously paid close attention to the films of the masters (like Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci and Sergio Sollima).

Admittedly I'm being a bit too generous and biased here, but it's a brilliantly entertaining example of a sadly extinct cinematic genre. This is a Full Screen 35mm camera negative film (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

New 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative
High Definition Blu-rayTM (1080p) presentation
Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio
Original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Prince
An Unconventional Western, a newly filmed interview with director Giancarlo Santi
The Last of the Great Westerns, a newly filmed interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
Cowboy by Chance, an interview with the actor Alberto Dentice AKA Peter O'Brien
Out of the Box, a newly filmed interview with producer Ettore Rosboch
The Day of the Big Showdown, a newly filmed interview with assistant director Harald Buggenig
Saxon City Showdown, a newly filmed video appreciation by the academic Austin Fisher
Two Different Duels, a comparison between the original cut and the longer German cut of 'The Grand Duel'
Game Over, an obscure sci-fi short film from 1984 directed by Bernard Villiot and starring 'The Grand Duel's Marc Mazza
Marc Mazza: Who was the Rider on the Rain?, a video essay about the elusive actor Marc Mazza by tough-guy film expert Mike Malloy
Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
Extensive image gallery featuring stills, posters, lobby cards and home video sleeves, drawn from the Mike Siegel Archive and other collections
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kevin Grant and original reviews

www.ArrowFilms.com





'Joe Louis Walker - Viva Las Vegas Live'
(Joe Louis Walker / DVD + CD / NR / 2019 / MVD Visual - Cleopatra Entertainment)

Overview: Grammy Award nominee and Blues Hall of Fame guitarist and singer/songwriter Joe Louis Walker and his band storm thru 10 smoking tracks live in concert at the Boulder Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

DVD Verdict: Taking it from the top, and for those not in the know, Joe Louis Walker is an American musician, best known as an electric blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer.

His knowledge of blues history is revealed by his use of older material and playing styles and he once had NPR Music describe him as "Powerful, soul-stirring, fierce and gritty ... a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues".

Walker's career has spanned nearly six decades - and 24 studio albums - since first picking up the guitar at his childhood home in San Francisco at the young age of eight.

Joining the local musicians' union in his early teens enabled young Joe to perform publicly with the likes of John Lee Hooker, Buddy Miles, Thelonious Monk, Willie Dixon, Nick Lowe, John Mayall, Muddy Waters and even Jimi Hendrix.

By the late 1980s and into the 1990s, Walker had already collaborated with and performed with multi-Grammy Award winning artists such as B.B. King (on King's Blues Summit album) and James Cotton (on Cotton's Deep In The Blues album) as well as enjoying the rare honor to perform at the Presidential Inauguration of President George H. Bush.

In 2013, Walker was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, later being nominated in four categories for a Blues Music Award.

Showcasing all that knowledge and love for the Blues (and a heck of a lot more), out May 10th, 2019 via MVD Visual / Cleopatra Entertainment is the explosive sweatin' blues of Viva Las Vegas Live from the legendary singer/songwriter Joe Louis Walker and his band of merry men.

1. 'I'm Not Messing Around'
2. 'Young Girls Blues'
3. 'Sugar Mama'
4. 'Do You Love Me'
5. 'In The Morning'
6. 'Soldier For Jesus'
7. 'You Don't Love Me Girl'
8. 'Black & Blue'
9. 'Too Drunk To Drive Drunk'
10. 'Like It This Way'

From the very first track, the electric blues of 'I'm Not Messin' Around' on through to the down south rub of 'Sugar Mama' and the foot-stompin' brilliance of both 'Black & Blue' and 'Like It This Way,' the album is a quite majestic visual and audio experience.

The Hall of Fame guitarist, most often bathed under a lush purple spotlight or a mix of green and blue, is in fine form here as he lovingly brings forth his well-crafted lyrics ("You may be cute, you might be pretty. Your daddy might own about half of this city. You got a nice car, a fancy place. But you've got that crazy look all over your face") track after track.

Recorded and filmed live in concert at the Boulder Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, this stunningly captured live performance is one of the finest lie shows I've seen of this genre in the past few years.

Joe Louis Walker - Lead Vocal & Guitar
Bruce Bears - Piano, Organ & Vocals
Lenny Bradford - Bass & Vocals
Dorian Randolph - Drums & Vocals

Viva Las Vegas Live will be available on global digital platforms along with the home entertainment version that will be packaged in a gorgeous, four-panel, 2 Disc Digipack containing a DVD and audio CD of the concert.

Official Purchase Link

It will also be released as an incredible stand-alone, limited-edition colored 12" Vinyl LP version of the concert - again through the Cleopatra Blues Label imprint.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of an exclusive interview with Joe Louis Walker filmed backstage at the Boulder Station concert venue PLUS a rare behind the scenes Slideshow!

www.JoeLouisWalker.com

Joe Louis Walker @ Facebook

www.CleopatraRecords.com





'Utopia - Live At The Chicago Theater'
(Todd Rundgren's Utopia / Blu-ray+DVD+2CD / NR / 2019 / MVD Visual - Cleopatra Entertainment)

Overview: After a thirty-year-plus hiatus, Todd Rundgren's Utopia graced the Chicago Theater stage, with the hopes of promising fans an extraordinary, other-worldly concert experience.

And trust me when I say that they succeeded in doing just that beyond all their wildest imaginations!

Blu-ray Verdict: For those not in the know, the original '70s-formed band established a stellar reputation for stretching the prog rock/pop envelope and infusing their mostly original material with verve and state-of-the-art technique.

Rundgren, known for his sophisticated and often-unorthodox music, flamboyant stage outfits, and his later experiments with interactive entertainment, has himself performed a diverse range of styles as a solo artist and as a member of the band Utopia.

Indeed, he also produced innovative music videos, pioneered forms of multimedia, and was an early adopter and promoter of various computer technologies.

So all that means that everyone going to this incredible show and all those purchasing this newly released sensory monster of a 4-disc release knew/knows exactly what to expect from the musical experience!

1st Set:
1. 'Utopia Theme'
2. 'The Ikon'
3. 'Another Life'
4. 'Do Ya'
5. 'Freedom Fighters'
6. 'The Wheel'
7. 'Back on the Street'
8. 'Something's Coming'
9. 'Monument'
10. 'Overture Communion with the Sun'
11. 'Last of the New Wave Riders'

2nd Set:
12. 'Road To Utopia'
13. 'Play This Game'
14. 'Swing to the Right'
15. 'Trapped'
16. 'Set Me Free'
17. 'Love In Action'
18. 'Hammer In My Heart'
19. 'Princess of the Universe'
20. 'I Will Wait'
21. 'Rock Love'
22. 'Love is the Answer'
23. 'One World'
24. 'Just One Victory'

'Live at the Chicago Theatre' captures the Windy City stop of a tour that brought a rather broad assortment of twenty-four songs to the packed house that night.

For the 2018 tour he rounded up founding drummer Willie Wilcox and longtime bassist/vocalist Kasim Sulton, but when original keyboardist Ralph Schuckett had to back out, auditions were held and Israeli keyboardist/vocalist Gil Assayas was chosen to fill in.

With each track showcasing the diverse nature of Rundgren’s creative musical genius throughout the years, each and every one of Utopia’s ten studio albums are represented here; save for the Beatles nod Deface The Music.

The Prog era is well represented here amongst the songs on the first set, with everything being kicked off in some fine style with the concert opening ''Utopia Theme.'

Filmed and recorded from their live show on May 22nd, 2018, whether it be 'The Ikon,' 'The Wheel,' 'Monument,' or even the rockier side of the band within the second act such as 'Trapped,' 'Hammer In My Heart' and both 'Rock Love' and 'Love Is The Answer,' this is truly a sumptuous feast for the eyes and ears.

Each track is played with a passion that most bands today just don't have and the light show throughout combined with the band apparel is both dazzling and vibrant.

I mean, Rundgren's red/yellow outfit for the first half of the show is the coolest of his career, it has to be said. All of their playing, their vocals, their interaction timing is spot on perfect and there’s even a few covers thrown in.

The stand out one here for me, being a HUGE Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) fan is their rock out cover of The Move’s 'Do Ya.' Now, I say The Move as they actually cover Lynne and Roy Wood's version; which was recorded the year before Lynne left the band and before he took it back for ELO, reworked it and then made it a massive hit, of course.

Oh, and I have to give a MASSIVE special mention to Gil Assayas who inherited the keyboard duties here for the live show on very short notice. Well played, Sir. Well played.

'Live at the Chicago Theatre' is available now in this INCREDIBLE Blu-Ray+DVD+2CD set via MVD Visual/Cleopatra Entertainment and better still, old school vinyl fans can now also get a brilliant double-LP green vinyl edition housed in a rather lovely gatefold jacket too! This release reviewed above is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs with an Audio: 5.1 Surround.

Official Trailer

www.mvdshop.com





'The Witch: 4K Ultra HD'
(Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic, and possession.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this April with the release of this quite stunning, and highly underrated 'The Witch' in the new 4K home video format on April 23rd, 2019.

For my money, this 'The Witch: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'The Witch' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10, Aspect ratio: 1.66:1, and Original aspect ratio: 1.66:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the terrifying outdoor night time scenes where only a flickering candle flame can reveal as much as it does ... until it doesn't!

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where the family starts to get torn apart, and Witchcraft and curses are bandied about between one another; the tension of the moments - especially those involving the Goat - are clearly evident on all faces) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Subtitles in both English SDH and Spanish.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. Well, for my money, 'The Witch' is a loving and accurate recreation of Puritan New England in the 1600's with everything from the language to the sets being authentic to the period.

That in and of itself makes it fascinating to watch. Having lived in Virginia, where the Jamestown Settlement and the 1600's sometimes can seem like they happened the day before yesterday, I especially enjoyed the film.

The location, in Ontario, reminded me of rural Virginia in winter, which made me quite homesick. So the film might have affected me more than some others that have since viewed this movie, of course.

'The Witch' is a fascinating glimpse into Christianity as practiced by 17th century Puritans. Satan and Evil are almost tangible presences in the woods and wilderness of the New World, while God is a distant, cold, and demanding being who must be constantly begged for forgiveness and mercy; since all human thoughts, words, and deeds seem to be gravely sinful and offensive to his eyes.

A family of seven (parents, four children, and an infant) are exiled from their plantation community for not adhering to the accepted interpretation of scripture. They build a farm at a distance from the plantation near a frightening wood.

The farm is failing (the family won't have food to last the winter). Meanwhile, the infant has been snatched from the oldest daughter while in her care at the edge of the wood.

From this point on the family either descends into madness or is destroyed by Satan in the form of a witch who lives nearby in the woods.

How the family's disintegration is interpreted will depend on which century's point of view you choose to use.

In closing, 'The Witch' is a brilliantly shot (natural lighting and using a different aspect ratio to get the sense of isolation), well acted and fascinatingly told tale. It is a simple story that leaves a big impact, of that have no fear.

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on the Special Features and for me the stand out is 'Salem Panel Q&A with Cast and Crew.' Running at a delightful near half hour, it features Robert Eggers, Anya Taylor-Joy, Brunonia Barry and Richard Trask.

The 'Audio Commentary with Director Robert Eggers' is ok, but with a movie that plays out as slow, as darkly, as quietly as 'The Witch' does, Eggers' commentary does much the same.

It's actually like he's trying so very hard not to raise his own voice so as to distract you from the force of what's on screen, that he forgets to even speak some times!

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary with Director Robert Eggers
The Witch: A Primal Folktale (1080p; 8:28)
Salem Panel Q&A with Cast and Crew (1080p; 27:59)
Design Gallery (1080p)

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Moses The Lawgiver'
(Burt Lancaster, Anthony Quayle, Ingrid Thulin, Irene Papa, et al / 2-DVD / PG / (1974) 2019 / S'More Entertainment)

Overview: 'Moses The Lawgiver' is a "biopic" of Moses, who found the Ten Commandments and parted the Red Sea.

DVD Verdict: Moses, a man of wisdom and strength raised his staff and crushed an empire. This is his story.

The story of the Exodus (or flight) of the Hebrews from Egypt to escape persecution is told in a perspective which highlights Moses' efforts to persuade first the stubborn Pharoah Merneptah, who was his adopted cousin, to release to release the Hebrew slaves he was using to build his empire.

For those wondering, this Lancaster epic is a transitional movie between the big budgeted blockbusters of the '50s and '60s and the small decent honest TV Biblical stories of the '90s.

In truth, the mini-series is not very inspired nor very appealing, but its main merit is the cast. Lancaster performs in a conventional Hollywoodian way the disconcerting and enigmatic Old Testament prophet.

Another epic from the same transitional period is 'Massada' which boasts O'Toole's high voltage, decadent, picturesque role. That said, 'Moses The Lawgiver' looks and feels more like the '60s epics so it definitey has that going for it.

One quality is the feel of the tepid tiring crossing of the desert, the tough experience of dwelling for decades in the wilderness. This was obviously enhanced by the fact that the earthy approach to the film was actually shot in Israel's Negrev Desert and Morocco.

The probably ugly experience of the desert's crossing after the initial exultation of the glorious escape, is well captured and rendered also, in my humble (and always unknowing) opinion.

In this respect, it's a resolute departure from the previous epics and their habits for it's not triumphal in what it depicts; it shares the feel of its subject matter.

That all said, and playing Devil's Advocate here, Burt Lancaster as Moses is not a commanding presence nor does he speak in arcane dialog as Charlton Heston did.

He leads by persuasion and example and he has more than one reason to think those Hebrews are a 'stiff necked people'. The character of Aaron given short shrift by DeMille is more fully developed and played here by Anthony Quayle, of that be sure.

In closing, The Red Sea sequence is, as always, the highlight of the mini-series and to my mind, no film can fail in making that a great spectacle. Indeed, here is even included Miriam's celebrations afterward, which adds to the films many delights. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.smoreent.com





'Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert 1970'
(Woody Guthrie, et al / DVD / NR / (1970) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: The 'Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert 1970' at the Hollywood Bowl celebrates the work of America's legendary folk singer and songwriter.

DVD Verdict: This rare and historic tribute concert has never been seen before and features Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Country Joe McDonald, Odetta, Richie Havens, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and others in their prime.

This concert, which also features narration by actors Peter Fonda and Will Geer is produced by 4-Time Emmy Award Winner Jim Brown and is a pure historical musical delight from start to finish.

This star-studded event was a fundraiser for the California Chapter of The Committee to Combat Huntington's Disease (now known as the Hereditary Disease Foundation), as Woody sadly died of Huntington's disease in 1967.

Eighteen thousand people attended this west coast fundraiser - which took place on September 12th, 1970, at the Hollywood Bowl - and aside from the aforementioned slew of stars on stage, the house band included members of Swampwater and Ry Cooder.

1. 'This Train Is Bound For Glory' - Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe Mcdonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin' Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band
2. 'Oklahoma Hills' - Arlo Guthrie
3. 'Pretty Boy Floyd' - Country Joe McDonald 4. 'So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh' - Joan Baez; Pete Seeger
5. 'Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad' - Country Joe McDonald, Arlo Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Pete Seeger
6. 'I Ain't Got No Home' - Pete Seeger; Arlo Guthrie
7. 'Do Re Mi' - Arlo Guthrie
8. 'Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee)' - Joan Baez
9. 'Ramblin' Round' - Odetta
10. 'Roll On Columbia' -Pete Seeger; Earl Robinson
11. 'Nine Hundred Miles' - Richie Havens
12. 'Woman At Home' - Country Joe McDonald
13. 'The Sinking of The Reuben James' - Pete Seeger
14. 'I've Got To Know' - Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe McDonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin' Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band
15. 'This Land Is Your Land' - Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe McDonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin' Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band
16. 'This Train Is Bound For Glory' - Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe McDonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin' Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band
Arlo and Ramblin' Jack reflect on the Rehearsal and Concert (Bonus Feature)
17. '1913 Massacre' - Ramblin' Jack Elliott (Bonus Feature)
18. 'John Hardy' - Odetta (Bonus Feature)
19. 'Pastures Of Plenty' - Joan Baez (Bonus Feature)

The Bonus Features include 3 never-before-seen songs performed by Joan Baez, Odetta and Ramblin' Jack Elliott, as well as concert rehearsal footage and audio interviews with Arlo Guthrie and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MVDvisual.com





'Banjos, Bluegrass, And Squirrel Barkers'
(Kenny Wertz, Bernie Leadon, Mason Williams, Herb Pedersen, Sean Watkins, et al / DVD / NR / (2016) 2019 / Backyard Green Films)

Overview: In the early 1960's the "folk music revival" had a strong impact on bluegrass music across the country including San Diego, California, where a group of young men from different backgrounds gathered to make this traditional music.

DVD Verdict: When you mention bluegrass music most people think of the mountains of Appalachia, not palm trees and beaches!

San Diego is home of The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, which included Chris Hillman (The Byrds), Bernie Leadon (The Eagles), Kenny Wertz (The Flying Burrito Bros., Country Gazette) and Larry Murray (Hearts & Flowers, The Johnny Cash Show), Grammy winning artist Nickel Creek (Chris Thile, Sean & Sara Watkins), plus Deering Banjos, the largest banjo company in North America.

This film, aptly entitled 'Banjos, Bluegrass, And Squirrel Barkers' tells the rich history of the great musicians who helped form the alliance and bonds for future generations of bluegrass.

Directed and written by Rick Bowman, this film is one of the most interesting, one of the most in depth and one of the most fearless exposes on the genre related here that I have seen in the past couple of decades, that's for darn tootin' sure!

'Banjos, Bluegrass & Squirrel Barkers' specifically focuses on the San Diego bluegrass scene, from its inception in the 1960s on to the present day.

Bowman takes a look at a number of prominent artists who got their start there, including Chris Hillman, Alison Brown, Ron Block, and Stuart Duncan, plus the granddaddies of the San Diego set, The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers.

In fact, as it turns out, that was the group that helped propel the careers of Hillman, along with Bernie Leadon of The Eagles and Kenny Wirtz of Country Gazette.

Oh, and if you want further proof of just how good this hour long documentary truly is, the film (which has a soundtrack by James Reams & The Barnstormers via Mountain Redbird Music) has already won three documentary awards (Gold Movie Awards, Mindfield Film Festival Los Angeles, Bi-Monthly Festival Gold Award)!

www.BackyardGreenFilms.com





'Mission Of Honor'
(Iwan Rheon, Milo Gibson, Stefanie Martini, Marcin Dorocinski, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / Cinedigm)

Overview: Mission of Honor is the story of Squadron 303, a group of heroic pilots who fought in the skies over England in the Battle of Britain during WWII.

These brave men were not just fighting to keep Great Britain free from the Nazis, but also to keep alive the memories of their own countries, which had been caught in the cross fire as Germany tore across Eastern Europe.

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, the true story of the Polish fighter pilots who helped the Royal Air Force (RAF) win the Battle of Britain in WWII is certainly fascinating and deserves telling.

However, the budget constraints are a hindrance to this production, and though the story gets told, it's missing the visual flair we've come to expect.

It's the first screenplay from co-writers Robert Ryan and Alastair Galbraith, and together with director David Blair, they all seem to understand the historical importance of the story and those involved.

The film begins in 1940 German occupied France, and this is where we first see Zumbach (played by Iwan Rheon), on his way to meet up with his fellow Polish pilots in England.

Poland had only been a free standing country for about 20 years at this time, and these men were committed to salvaging their country - even if this meant fighting with the RAF against Germany.

Initially the arrogance of British commanders borders on racism, as it's assumed the Polish fighters don't compare to the elite Royal Air Force pilots.

Once stationed in Northolt under Kentowski (Milo Gibson, Mel's son), Squadron 303 begins to take shape flying Hurricanes, disproving most of the preconceptions of British brass and pilots; although their success does cause some jealousy in the ranks over the prowess of the Polish pilots.

The less than stellar CGI used for the dogfights is a bit distracting, especially since there is only minimal character development. Polish fighter ace Witold Urbanowicz (played by Dorcin Morocinski) is idolized, but we learn very little about the man outside of flashbacks of his family in war torn Poland.

There is a budding romance with Zumbach and Phyllis Lambert (Stephanie Martini), but quite a few assumptions must be made to take us to their final sequence.

The character of Ms. Lambert is the standout female role here, and though she's given a few quality scenes, it's her shock of blonde hair that seems to stand out most.

The film concludes in 1946 London with the victory parade for King George VI. Despite Polish pilots helping immensely in the RAF victory in the Battle of Britain, no Polish pilots marched with the Allied forces.

As a bitter Zumbach states, "We wouldn't want to offend f**king Stalin." Squadron 303 was the highest scoring squadron of RAF during the war, and it's unforgivable how the British viewed Polish casualties as mere numbers; despite the dead being friends and countrymen to the Polish pilots.

This is overall a respectful approach to a key historical story, and one in which all Polish people should take pride. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Q&A with Director David Blair
On Set with Iwan Rheon, Milo Gibson, Rosie Gray, Stefanie Martini and Emily Wyatt

www.cinedigm.com





'Frontline: Right To Fail'
(Tom Jennings / DVD / NR / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: FRONTLINE and ProPublica go inside New York's supported housing program in a special investigation called 'Right to Fail' - exploring human struggles and the complex debate behind giving people with severe mental illness the right to live independently and succeed on one's own terms with the right support, but also the right to fail.

DVD Verdict: In 2014, a federal judge ruled that New York State had violated the civil rights of people with severe mental illness by allowing them to languish in adult homes - group housing that had been plagued by allegations of abuse and neglect.

The landmark ruling gave a class of about 4,000 adult home residents the chance to move into their own subsidized and supported apartments, have the freedom to cook in their own kitchens, administer their own medication and budget their own expenses with help from private case management agencies.

Prosecutors quickly filed lawsuits against en masse of developers, including the mainstay of the ruling the Durst Organization and Glenwood Management, in what had become a long-running dispute over whether buildings erected under New York City’s accessibility law meets federal requirements.

The lawsuit claimed that Related’s TriBeCa Green building, at 325 North End Avenue, completed in 2005, and One Carnegie Hill, on East 96th Street, finished in 2006, are inaccessible to disabled tenants because kitchens, closets and bathrooms are not big enough for someone in a wheelchair to maneuver within, mailboxes are mounted too high, and room identification signs lack raised-letter Braille for persons with visual impairments.

"We will not allow developers and architects who deprive people with disabilities of accessible housing to evade the consequences of their failure to comply with clear, longstanding federal civil rights laws,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in one of the earliest statements made on the ruling.

This brand new and highly fascinating hour long documentary showcases both sides of the argument, with the New York developers insisting that they have complied for the past 25 years with a city law requiring them to ensure that all apartments they build are accessible to disabled people.

The local law, developers and city officials say many things in counter, but that, and essentially everything done meets the requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act.

The ruling was front-page news, but until 2019, there's been little known about how the plan to move people from institutions to independence has actually worked out.

Sure the federal law was toughened three years after the city law passed, but still developers, city officials and federal authorities have not agreed on whether the city requirements meet the standards of the current federal act.

“We’ve got a disagreement,” said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York. “We never resolved, what is the difference between the local law and the Fair Housing Act?”

Ergo, 'Frontline: Right To Fail' takes you from the start to what is currently the faltering end here and asks you, come said fend, to make your own minds up about who did what correctly (or not) and if there truly is more work to be done to comply. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Frontline: Predator on the Reservation'
(Raney Aronson-Rath / DVD / R / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: * Content Warning: Tonight's Program contains mature content which may not be suitable for all audiences *

In 'Predator on the Reservation', FRONTLINE and The Wall Street Journal collaborate for the first time to investigate the decades-long failure to stop Dr. Stanley Weber, a government pediatrician, who moved from reservation to reservation despite warnings about his behavior.

DVD Verdict: Drawing on interviews with hospital administrators and staff, tribal police officers, victims and their families, interrogation recordings and top Indian Health Service (IHS) officials, 'Frontline: Predator on the Reservation' explores how Weber was able to see patients for years despite warnings to IHS officials and hospital staff on the Blackfeet reservation and the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

As we progress through this hard hitting, hard to swallow at time new hour long PBS documentary, we quickly learn that the federal government's Indian Health Service failed to protect Native American boys from Stanley Patrick Weber's sexual abuse; despite numerous reports, questions and bystander observations throughout.

The film not only uncovers Weber's story, but it reveals that doctors and other people on both reservations who worked with Weber were concerned about his behavior with young boys for years and accounts of other problematic doctors within the agency.

The trial of Weber begins back in 2017 when he first arrived for a court hearing in Rapid City, SD. What we see unfold is sickening to hear, but worse yet is how he got away with it for so long.

Not to give anything away, but you should know going in (for your own peace of mind, if nothing else) that as of February 2019, federal prosecutors have charged Weber with the abuse of four boys on Pine Ridge and two on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana.

A U.S. District judge sentenced Weber on January 17th to more than 18 years in prison on his convictions of molesting Native American boys. Furthermore, that very same U.S. District Judge Brian Morris also fined 70-year-old Stanley Patrick Weber $200,000 when he handed down the sentence.

In truth, no one really knows how many victims of Weber's abuse are still out there, or how many other people in the IHS could have stopped it, but this new documentary goes a long way to opening everyone's eyes - in case there should ever be a next time. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Reconstruction: America After the Civil War'
(Henry Louis Gates, Jr. / 2-DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents the definitive history of the transformative years following the American Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself amidst profound loss, massive destruction, and revolutionary social change.

DVD Verdict: Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents a vital, new four-hour documentary series - 'Reconstruction: America After the Civil War' and, for my money, running at over four hours in length, it is easily one of the most fascinating, and in depth looks at a period of our time that seems to always get glossed over, so to speak.

As the title suggests, the series explores the transformative years following the American Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of both profound destruction and revolutionary social change.

Initially, African Americans enjoyed what W. E. B. Du Bois called a "brief moment in the sun", when they could build businesses, become educated, exercise their right to vote, and run for public office.

The Constitution was even amended to grant them citizenship, and protect their freedoms. But many former Confederates were staunchly resistant to this new social order, and they unleashed a backlash in the form of rampant violence and a state-by-state rollback of voting rights.

This series tells the real story of Reconstruction, one of America's most overlooked, misunderstood, and misrepresented periods of history.

Although there is obviously way too much to cover here in this review, one of the stand out recounting is that of The Union victory in the Civil War in 1865.

Sure it may well have given some 4 million slaves their freedom, but the process of rebuilding the South during the Reconstruction period (1865-1877) introduced a new set of significant challenges.

Under the administration of President Andrew Johnson in 1865 and 1866, new southern state legislatures passed restrictive “black codes” to control the labor and behavior of former slaves and other African Americans.

Outrage in the North over these codes eroded support for the approach known as Presidential Reconstruction and led to the triumph of the more radical wing of the Republican Party.

During Radical Reconstruction, which began in 1867, newly enfranchised blacks gained a voice in government for the first time in American history, winning election to southern state legislatures and even to the U.S. Congress.

In less than a decade, however, reactionary forces–including the Ku Klux Klan–would reverse the changes wrought by Radical Reconstruction in a violent backlash that restored white supremacy in the South.

Also, did you know that during Reconstruction, the Republican Party in the South represented a coalition of blacks (who made up the overwhelming majority of Republican voters in the region) along with "carpetbaggers" and "scalawags," as white Republicans from the North and South, respectively, were known?

Well, 'Reconstruction: America After the Civil War' honors the struggle of the African Americans who fought their way out of slavery and challenged the nation to live up to the founding ideals of democracy, freedom, and equality. This is, without a shadow of a doube MUST SEE TV! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'The Shield - The Complete Series'
(Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins, Michael Jace, et al / 18-DVD / R / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Controversial, compelling and critically acclaimed, 'The Shield' reinvented the police genre and gave us one of the greatest antiheroes in television history.

Vic Mackey, a corrupt cop, runs his elite Strike Team under his own set of rules, bringing conflict to the streets of Los Angeles and within his precinct.

'The Shield - The Complete Series' which includes all 7 seasons, all 88 episodes of the groundbreaking, Emmy®-winning series is (back) out now via Mill Creek Entertainment in a spectacular 18-Disc DVD Box-Set featuring over 70 hours of Bonus Features!

DVD Verdict: While the brilliance of this show can be missed easily, for those who pay close attention, the reward is beyond comparison.

This show aired on FX @ 2002 and though it is officially considered a cop show, it focuses more on the drama of the people behind the badge and the consequences of their actions.

'The Shield' follows Detective Vic Mackey and his "strike team" that handles gang violence in the middle of Los Angeles' Farmington district.

Rather than create a strict system in which one man bends the rules like the show '24', 'The Shield' demonstrates a community in which the rules are shattered and "dirty cop" is a household phrase.

Perhaps one of the best qualities of this show is the way it is shot. Instead of setting out a shot with the camera in mind, the crew allows the actors to act and graphs out the camera later.

This allows for a much more natural feel and in turn throws the viewer right into the middle of this reality. Though some people might find this new style distracting if you release your hold on the status quo of TV shows, you'll see this just increases the power behind every single line.

However, I cannot argue against the fact that the story lines are hard to follow. They are. Even in season 7, many events are referenced that occurred as early as the first season.

Many elements would be lost for anyone just trying to tune in willy nilly throughout. This is not to say that it wouldn't be enjoyable; there are new plot developments that occur in every episode, but certainly some of the story points would seem irrelevant.

For this reason, this show should be viewed as an 88-part movie. This sounds ridiculous, but it's always very true. Due to this length of time and amount of events that have occurred with the same characters, the dynamic character arcs are unrivaled in their true-to-life tragedy, simplicity, and unpredictability; yet maintaining a sense of believability in every decision each character makes.

Indeed 'The Shield' challenges standard conceptions of the protagonist and antagonist. It will make you question your own morals. It will make you feel both good and bad about yourself and humanity, but you will appreciate the insightful way everything is presented.

No show more so than when 'The Shield' gives the audience such a deep look at the consequences of police actions. Vic Mackey's brutal and debatedly unethical tactics weigh on him not only as blackmail, but as guilt on his conscience.

In Season 2's Dead Soldiers, Mackey beats and burns a suspect only to find that the blood that's congealed on his shirt and head isn't so easy to wash off.

A fight between Shane and Tavon leaves Tavon hospitalized and teetering on the brink of mental paralyzation, but Shane only wants to make it disappear, so used to covering up the truth in order to protect loved ones.

In contrast, Claudette never fails to keep herself and others honest. Dutch nearly crosses the line himself, following some off-hand advice from Vic Mackey.

In fact, two seconds after Dutch plants evidence in a suspect's home, he screeches his car to a halt and rushes back into the building to retrieve the "evidence" before patrol officers do.

In its 5th, 'The Shield's plot is even more so embedded within the fabric of the very first season and yet at the very same time there are fresh, new and exciting aspects each week.

I mean, the formula is simple; Vic and his special unit are the center of an intensely gripping, season long plot while supporting cast members, like Detectives Wagenbach and Wyms and Officers Lowe and Sopher, have sub-plots of their own that could last for a few weeks or a full season.

However, both the Strike Team and the other officers of the Farmington Police Department, referred to as "The Barn," are involved in other new twists and sub-plots each week.

The final and most important aspect of this show is its acting. Michael Chiklis' performance is staggeringly gut wrenching, and the supporting cast (including CCH Pounder and Benito Martinez) brings the whole reality of the team to new proportions.

If you are interested in any television show and can stomach some of the most gritty and graphic visuals on TV, do yourself a favor and buy this brilliant 18-Disc DVD Box-Set of 'The Shield' (newly released from Mill Creek Entertainment) today!

As for some of the Bonus Features, well, 'Beyond the Badge Retrospective' is incisive, but short at just over a minute long, whereas THE '2018 Cast Reunion with Creator Shawn Ryan' is a lot of fun - and very colorful!

With the cast playing pinball, fake-wrestling on couches and hugging each other - even complimenting each other on their shoes - this featurette is a diamond in the rough (given all its quick-move camera shakes - which I've never liked) for all fans of the show.

The Writers Panel from the ATX Festival featuring Shawn Ryan, Kurt Sutter, Glen Mazzara, Scott Rosenbaum and Charles Eglee is another fascinating listen in on how they brought not only the characters to the screen, but the actors that were hired to portray them and successfully meld them together as one.

Also featuring over 10 hours alone of Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes, not to mention some Deleted Scenes and a brimming-with-set-facts Cast & Crew Commentary on Select Episodes, this newly-released 'The Shield - The Complete Series' out now from Mill Creek Entertainment is, without a shadow of a doubt, the ultimate one thus far. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
Cast & Crew Commentary on Select Episodes
Deleted Scenes
ATX Television Festival: The Shield Writers Room
Beyond the Badge Retrospective
2018 Cast Reunion with Creator Shawn Ryan

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'The Adventures of Robin Hood - Complete Series'
(Richard Greene, Arichie Duncan, Alexander Gauge, et al / 11-DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Richard Greene stars as the valiant swashbuckler Robin Hood who, with his band of Merry Men living in the shelter of Sherwood Forest, embarks on a quest to steal from the rich and give to the poor.

Robin, Little John and the rest of the Merry Men fight their foes all while hoping for the return of their beloved King Richard to rule once again!

'The Adventures of Robin Hood - The Complete Series' features all four season, and all 143 episodes of this lavishly produced television series, just released via Mill Creek Entertainment as a wonderful 11-Disc DVD + Digital Box-Set.

DVD Verdict: For the record, 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' was not a children's program, not even a young people's program, to be quite honest.

Consider its credits, if you doubt my assessment. Its directors included Daniel Birt, Robert Day, Don Chaffey, Terry Bishop, Terence Fisher, Arthur Crabtree, Peter Maxwell, Ralph Smart and Bernard Knowles, many known for TV and feature film work.

The writing corps included some blacklisted Hollywood film writers as well as highly-competent British scenarists including in their numbers Milton Schlesinger, Ring Lardner Jr., Ralph Smart, John Dyson, John Cousins, Arthur Behr, Raymond Bowers, Eric Heath, Anne Rodney, Leslie Poynter, Paul Symonds, Sidney Wells, Ian Lartain, Ian McLellan Hunter and C.D. Phillips.

The story sets up an historically false, but dramatically useful opposition - the Saxons of England championing the cause of the imprisoned honest King Richard Coeur de Lion, set against his usurping, nefarious brother Prince John; who is in league with their Norman overlords and crooked sheriffs (out only to steal land and wealth and ready to enslave the populace for a brass farthing).

The very fine continuing cast included handsome and able leading man Richard Greene, lovely Bernadette O'Farrell and later very good actress Patricia Driscoll as Maid Marian Fitzwalter; the splendid Shakespearean actor Alexander Gauge playing the definitive Friar Tuck, with Archie Duncan as Little John.

Paul Eddington was Will Scarlet, Alan Wheatley was a marvelously subtle and villainous Sheriff of Nottingham, Victor Woolf was Derwent and Simone Lovell was the brave and helpful Maid Joan.

Several fine actors played Prince John, including Donald Pleasance, Ian Hunter Robin's friend Sir Richard and Jill Esmond Queen Eleanor.

Regular guests included Paul Eddington (in fact, doing double duty through the series), Willoughby Gray, John Dearth, Arthur Skinner, Charles Stapley plus guest stars of the caliber of Edward Mulhare, and Leo McKern.

Hannah Weinstein was executive producer, with the participation of Sidney Cole as line producer, Thelma Connell a associate and Richard Greene.

Edwin Astley, Albert Elms and Sidney Keith Russell provided the music and Carl Sigman wrote the popular title song.

The cinematography for the show, which ranged from good to extremely wonderful was done by Gerald Gibbs, Ken Hodges and Michael Reed at various times. The comedy was frequently very successful, the dialogue above average and the motivations of the characters extraordinarily clear; and frequently memorable.

There are some nice visuals of castles and yes you'll need to suspend disbelief as you watch some of the shots of the ramparts move as the outlaws' break in and out of assorted castles. Nonetheless, still withstand the test of time and a 1950's per episode budget.

Because the show was about important matters to realists, the scenes deal with essentials and this makes them more consistently interesting and rich than is usual in a television show.

This is a much-loved television series, for many reasons and I was privileged to wait each week for its episodes when I was growing up. I have seen many since that time and again now having binge watched this entire beautiful box-set and trust me when I say that they are still enjoyable; as fiction and as good-spirited fun for discriminating viewers, of course! This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Becoming Evil: Serial Killers'
(2-DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: True crime. Americans have become fascinated with the media genre in which actual crimes of real people are explored in depth.

A genre which exploded at the beginning of the 21st century. A genre that focuses on murder. The more hideous and bizarre, the better with the biggest sub category of true crime being the story of the serial killer.

DVD Verdict: At the heart of these stories, told within a stunning, highly intriguing and very eye-opening 7-part investigative documentary series, lay perplexing questions.

Who are they? Why do they kill? Prior to the true crime explosion, psychologists and criminal investigators thought they had the serial killer figured out. But it turns out the answers are much more complex and troubling.

Hence, 'Becoming Evil: Serial Killers' is a shocking, new investigative documentary series that profiles some of history's most notorious mass murderers.

Ep. 1 - Mind of the Serial Killer
Ep. 2 - Victims and the Media
Ep. 3 - America's Most Notorious Serial Killers: The First Wave
Ep. 4 - The Second Wave: America's Most Notorious Serial Killers
Ep. 5 - Lady Serial Killers
Ep. 6 - International Serial Killers
Ep. 7 - 21st Century Serial Killers

Within the confines of this 7-part documentary series we find interviews with experts and in-depth portraits of some of America's most infamous killers, including John Wayne Gacy, David Berkowitz, Richard Ramirez, James DeAngelo, Aileen Wuornos, Jeffrey Dahmer, Andrew Cunanan, Ted Bundy and many others.

During the engrossing six and a half hours we learn that the sensationalized images of serial killers presented in the news and entertainment media suggest that they either have a debilitating mental illness such as psychosis or they are brilliant; but demented geniuses like Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in the iconic film The Silence of the Lambs.

Neither of these two stereotypes is quite accurate. Instead, serial killers are much more likely to exhibit antisocial personality disorders such as sociopathy or more likely psychopathy, which are not considered to be mental illnesses by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Ergo, an examination of psychopathy and sociopathy, and a discussion of the powerful connection between antisocial personality disorders, particularly psychopathy, and serial homicide is presented here also.

We also learn that very few serial killers suffer from any mental illness to such a debilitating extent that they are considered to be insane by the criminal justice system.

Indeed, to be classified as legally insane, an individual must be unable to comprehend that an action is against the law at the exact moment the action is undertaken.

In other words, a serial killer must be unaware that murder is legally wrong while committing the act of murder in order to be legally insane.

This legal categorization of insanity is so stringent and narrow that very few serial killers are actually included in it.

Watching 'Becoming Evil: Serial Killers' we also note that psychopathic serial killers such as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and Dennis Rader (BTK) are entirely aware of the illegality of murder while they are in the process of killing their victims.

Their understanding of right and wrong does nothing to impede their crimes, however, because psychopaths such as Bundy, Gacy and Rader have an overwhelming desire and compulsion to kill that causes them to ignore the criminal law with impunity.

Much more is revealed in these fascinating episodes and so if you have even the slightest bent toward knowing what goes on inside the mind of someone who could perpetrate such crimes, this is the ultimate documentary for you. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Black Hawk Down - The Untold Story'
(Randell Larsen, et al / DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: In October 1993, two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu, Somalia. With the special forces pinned down at the crash sites, the 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division (2-14) engaged in a ferocious fight to reach the soldiers and bring them home.

The infamous event is now shared in riveting detail by the troops and commanders who showed extraordinary courage, skill, and discipline in the heaviest combat since the Vietnam War.

DVD Verdict: From the off here I think it is critically important to recognize every military member who participated in this incredible rescue in Somalia.

Ergo, this brand new documentary highlights the role of 10th Mountain Division which, and due in part to a big screen movie that went for the glitz and glamor of the tale as opposed to the real "truth" of the situation, until now had not been given much attention.

For more than a quarter century, the story of the Battle of Mogadishu, popularized by both the book and film versions of 'Black Hawk Down,' has focused on the Army Rangers and Delta Force team members caught in the worst urban combat the U.S. military had seen since the Vietnam War.

Hence this new documentary tells the story of the 10th Mountain Division soldiers who rescued those Rangers and Delta operators.

'Black Hawk Down: The Untold Story,' is a two hour documentary made by retired Air Force Col. Randall Larsen, who also served in the Army during his 32-year military career.

Larsen’s production company previously produced the documentary “Operation Whitecoat,” the story of 2,300 conscientious objectors who volunteered for biological experiments at Fort Detrick, Maryland from 1954 to 1973.

Larsen met now-retired Brig. Gen. Bill David, who commanded 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division during its deployment as a quick reaction force in the Battle of Mogadishu years ago while both were doing advanced academic degrees.

But it wasn’t until last year, as the 25th anniversary of the Oct. 3, 1993 battle approached that Larsen, himself a Vietnam War combat veteran, realized the role that 10th Mountain played in that intense fight.

“As I started peeling the onion and looking into this thing I thought, ‘Oh my God this is an incredible story and I didn’t know it',” Larsen explains during the documentary. “I’d read the book when it came out. I’d seen the movie. I’d sat in bars with Bill and kind of heard it a little bit.”

So, despite promising his wife he’d retired from filmmaking after the previous documentary, Larsen kicked production into high gear and completed an early version of the film in time for the anniversary last year at Fort Drum, New York, home of the 10th Mountain Division.

In closing, it was when Larsen had a veteran of Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion come up to him after a screening that he knew what he had done was not only going to change lives, but refocus the truth. "“You know, all these years I’ve been telling my son what I did, and he says, ‘Dad, that wasn’t in the movie,’” Larsen said the veteran told him. “My son will finally believe me now.” This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Extended Interviews
General Mark A. Milley's Lessons Learned
Remembering PVT Martin & SGT Houston
Music Video: J.T. Cooper, "Jet Lag and Nightmares"

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'A Hero's Welcome'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: 'A Hero's Welcome' is a three hour documentary trilogy honoring the extraordinary sacrifices of America's greatest heroes.

DVD Verdict: First up is 'Never Surrender,' a story of sacrifice, survival, heroism, and reconciliation.

Lt. Edwin P. Ramsey led an offensive in the Philippine jungle that made history as the last mounted horse cavalry charge in U.S. military history. Refusing to surrender, he joined the Filipino resistance and commanded 40,000 guerilla warriors.

Narrated by Josh Brolin, it is one of the most engaging and revealing true stories of Lt. Col. Edwin P. Ramsey that I've ever had the pleasure to watch.

Recounting the story of the man who in 1942 led the last cavalry charge in U.S. army history, and commanded more than 40,000 guerrilla troops against the Japanese, Brolin's vocal tone beings a warmth to the madness, the mayhem that allows the deed of this one man to truly shine through.

'Return to Tarawa' depicts a WWII veteran, Leon Cooper, as he returns to the Tarawa battle site after learning that many of his countrymen, who died in the battle, still lie where they fell sixty-six years later.

Narrated by Ed Harris, the true story of this World War II veteran returning to the site of a battle in which he took part sixty five years earlier is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking.

For Cooper learns many disturbing things about that site especially the fact that the remains of several hundred Americans still lie neglected and forgotten on that island.

Also, there is live ammunition scattered everywhere on the densely populated island. Finally, huge piles of garbage lie on Red Beach, hallowed ground, where hundreds of Americans were killed and wounded by Japanese gunfire.

Finally we get 'Until They Are Home' which focuses on the search for the remains of U.S. Marines who were killed in the legendary South Pacific World War II Battle of Tarawa; where over 6,000 men were killed in 72 hours.

Narrated by Kelsey Grammer (I mean, come on now, who doesn't love his smooth, chocolatey vocal tone?) and co-directed by Matthew Hausle, and Steven Barber, produced by Matthew Hausle and Tamara Henry and executive produced by Tim Shelton, 'Until They Are Home' brings to light the extraordinary dedication of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team members, largely unsung heroes who, until now, have been unrecognized while working in the shadows.

These young men and women returned in 2010 to the site of one of the most horrific battles of World War II in order to bring home fallen military heroes.

Their efforts on the island of Tarawa have provided some closure after 69 years, recovering the remains of a few U.S. servicemen and flying those remains back to American soil.

JPAC has more than a dozen teams that travel the globe on recovery missions, and 'Until They Are Home' is the story of one of those missions. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Ghosts Of Mars: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Jason Statham, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2001) 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: In 2176, a Martian police unit is sent to pick up a highly dangerous criminal at a remote mining post. Upon arrival, the cops find that the post has become a charnel house.

Blu-ray Verdict: John Carpenter's 'Ghosts Of Mars' is probably his most poorly received wide release picture and whilst I won't deny the film has some flaws and is a little cheesy, it still remains a viewing highlight from my early '00s.

In truth, it is just not nearly as bad as most folks would have you believe. The plot is similar to John Carpenter's gritty classic 'Assault On Precinct 13', but in a futuristic sci-fi setting.

In this futuristic society, it is matriarchal. Which means women run the show and are the dominant sex in the future. The easy on the eye, and hugly talented Natasha Henstridge is the lead in this film and runs the show accordingly.

She is a police lieutenant assigned to scoop up criminal James "Desolation" Williams played by Ice Cube. You see, the mining operations on Mars unleashed angry Martian spirits who take over the bodies of their human hosts and won't stop until they eradicate all human invaders on their planet.

Again, similar to 'Assault On Precinct 13', the cops and criminals form an alliance to repel the marauding horde and to survive. Jason Statham gives a good early gritty, teeth clenched performance whilst also hitting on Henstridge's character Melanie the whole movie!

Pam Grier, Robert Carradine and Peter Jason give brief, yet highly memorable appearances as well. Henstridge did a real good job as the lead in this film, especially on such short notice with little time to train and prepare (so the story now has it all these years later). OK, sure, some of the set designs were really horrendous and cheap looking and I felt the possessed humans turned ancient-tribal-warrior Martians were a little over the top in their mannerisms, but John Carpenter did a lot of his traditional synth score behind it and it kind of distracts you just enough to allow it all to unfold!

Personally, I think it's safe to say that if you are a Carpenter fan you should enjoy 'Ghosts Of Mars' as there are elements of most of his work to be found here.

Again, it's all a wee bit over the top and campy, but it still all (mostly) works as a entertaining action packed film.

As for the Bonus Features, the one that really stands out for me is the fantastic 17 minute long beauty, 'Video Diary: Red Desert Nights.' Filmed on a handheld early '00's camera, it is a very interesting behind the scenes look of how scenes came together (all under the red desert nights natural lighting).

As it has been titled it's basically a diary capturing the process of filming the movie and so we get lots of running, screaming, acting, hard, pensive looks and, of course, explosions!

No narration or special interviews just a raw behind the scenes look at a film being filmed. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Audio Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Natasha Henstridge
Video Diary: Red Desert Nights
Featurette: "Scoring Ghosts Of Mars"
Special Effects (SFX) Deconstructions

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Crank: 4K Ultra HD + Digital'
(Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Carlos Sanz, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / (2006) 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Professional assassin Chev Chelios (Statham) learns his rival has injected him with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this May with the release of this quite stunning, and highly underrated 'Crank' in the new 4K home video format on May 21st, 2019.

For my money, this 'Crank: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Crank' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10 Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the delicious hues and nuances of all the frantic outdoor running, screaming scenes involving the many foot chases.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where Statham is running "at" the camera, his face boiling red, his adrenaline pumped to the max) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. Well, as noted above, Chev Chelios (Statham) has just been poisoned with a strange drug that lowers his adrenaline and will eventually kill him!

Unless he keeps his adrenaline up, and being a super tough hit-man, he is not one to go out quietly nor get revenge on those that poisoned him.

Jason Statham fits the role of the intense, crazy, ultra-cool, badass Chev Chelios so perfectly that it's just amazing.

Maybe he is being type cast from his role in 'The Transporter,' but when you have a movie as exciting and awesome as this, even he wouldn't care.

Packing a terrific high octane direction that never lets up the tension nor the action this is possibly the best pure action film of 2006. From the get-go, it's all about the action.

Forget logic. Forget realism. Just hold on for an intense and amazingly entertaining movie.

It all works, because from the very first scene sets up the craziness of the rest of the film up perfectly. On a rough comparison you could say that this is 'The Transporter' meets 'Snatch' but that hardly does the film justice.

It is not just a blending of two previous movies, it is a adrenaline packed ride that is often only found on B-movies these days some of which are good some of which are not, but they are just action films.

And this is just an action film. Pure. Simple. And terrifically badass. It also features what may be one of cinema's most hilarious sex scenes!

And so to sum up, if you're questioning the realism or fundamentals of 'Crank' at any time, without letting them wash over you with a smirk, you are not the target demographic!

Switch off that brain and let this unique, high octane, barnstormer of a film, roll with the awesome punches it so clearly wants to throw at you!

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on the two all-new featurettes now included. The first is a rather brilliant, and obviously fun 'Crank @ Comic-Con' Featurette where the filmmakers talk up the film to an as-yet knowing audience of soon-to-be fans!

The other is the more factual run-of-the-mill 'More Stories from Crank' Featurette where the filmmakers once again discuss the ins and outs of making the film, whilst at the same time reveal how certain scenes were actually filmed (which was rather cool, to be honest).

Written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, and available for the very first time in this absolutely stunning format, the 'Crank: 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack' releases May 21st, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $22.99.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.31:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

“Shooting Crank” Featurette
“The Stunts of Crank” Featurette
“Pushing Crank” Featurette
NEW “Crank @ Comic-Con” Featurette
NEW “More Stories from Crank” Featurette

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Power: The Complete Fifth Season'
(Aidan Gillen, Michael Malarkey, Laura Mennell, Michael Harney, Ksenia Solo, et al / 3-Disc DVD / R / 2019 / Lionsgate)

Overview: In Season 5 James "Ghost" St. Patrick is in a dangerous alliance with his former brother-in-arms Tommy Egan and mortal enemy Kanan.

"Ghost" is blind to new enemies and must remain vigilant toward those wanting to take him down.

DVD Verdict: OK, telling it like it is, and 'Power' is by no means a terrible series. However, there are just too many things that bug me about it and it starts to rub in like a blister as the series goes on.

The concept is in no way original, but the lives of drug kingpins and gang members fascinate people and there seems to always be a demand for more, so I guess nothing wrong to satisfy some of that demand.

The story is what I have most of the issues with. The biggest drug distributor in New York living a fashionable life, surrounded by a few select guys?

I find it hard to believe that role isn't held by some kind of big mafia family (probably several when it comes to NY).

Even though the writers try to depict the main character and his partner as bad-ass and not afraid to do what has to be done when required, any group would have kicked their asses long before they arrived at their current position.

The women in this series must be some of the most annoying characters ever, sorry! Angela is a story in herself. Utterly annoying with her constant head-leaning and dreamy eyes. In-between the eternally romantic teenager parts, she's a bulldog attorney that doesn't stop until she gets what she wants.

Still, despite many possibilities she can't connect the dots in the following sequence: "Her lover has become a nightclub owner after having become rich from laundromats (!), ran together with his close associate and best friend from childhood who also happens to be suspected as the biggest drug kingpin of NY".

Jeez, no alarm bells ringing anywhere? But of course, women are obviously so blinded by love that they close their eyes for any shortcoming of their men, right? Wrong ... well, unless it's for a TV show, of course.

The other women in the series are just as annoying, but maybe not as unbelievable as Angela. That said, Ghost's wife Tasha also leaves me cold.

Tasha is written about as well as the standard As The World Turns heroine and, to be brutally honest, other actresses have done clingy, devious heroines better than Naturi Naughton's portrayal.

I would have preferred if they actually had more independent sub-plots (shopping and gossiping don't count) instead of constantly being a pain in the ass of their respective men.

Playing Devil's Advocate, all too often, the usual suspects at the studios crank out characters straight from central casting. Luckily, there is little of that here.

Omari Hardwick and Joe Sikora work well as Ghost and Tommy and the rest of the cast (outside of Naughton) is very good. The writing has been solid, and there is some caustic humor here, which I welcome.

In the opening episode, 'Everyone Is Implicated,' James "Ghost" St. Patrick forms a dangerous alliance with his brother-in-arms, Tommy, and mortal enemy Kanan. Angela is implicated in murder and turns to an unlikely ally. Tasha enlists LaKeisha to protect Tariq.

As we progress through the 10 episodes, the St. Patrick family grieves Raina while the AUSA's office discusses taking down "Ghost" and ending Angela's career. Councilman Tate exploits Raina's death. Dre maintains order within his organization.

As the heat begins to turn up, and after his spiritual awakening with Rev. Macedon, Ghost confesses his sins to Angela. Angela preps Tasha for Federal questioning and Ghost must break his business deal with Tommy when Truth is audited by the IRS.

As we head to the finale, when the RICO case comes crashing down, Angela breaks ranks to form her own A-team. LaKeisha takes a stand of her own while Ghost, Tommy, Tasha, and Angela race against the clock to prove their innocence...but to what end?

In closing, I will say that 'Power' is a MUST-WATCH show for anyone who loves gritty and gangster style shows with a ton of gray to wade through and discern.

In fact, furthermore, my hat goes off to Courtney Kemp Agboh and especially "50 Cent" (AKA Curtis Jackson) for creating and producing this TV masterpiece. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Described as “the show we wait all year to watch” by Lea Palmieri (Decider), the 'Power: The Complete Fifth Season' Blu-ray and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.95 and $34.98, respectively.

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Masterpiece: Les Misérables'
(Dominic West, David Oyelowo, Lily Collins, Adeel Akhtar, Josh O'Connor, Ellie Bamber, Erin Kellyman, Joseph Quinn, Enzo Cilenti, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / R / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Against the backdrop of France at a time of civil unrest, this is the story of Jean Valjean, a former convict unable to escape his past life.

His future is threatened by his nemesis, the chilling prison guard Javert, who is determined to bring him to justice.

As revolution ignites on the streets of Paris, Jean Valjean begins an epic journey towards self-acceptance, redemption and love.

Blu-ray Verdict: Having just binge watched the entire new 'Les Misérables' mini-series I can honestly say that this new adaptation looks great and is very pleasing to the eye.

Sure some points of detail/style I really struggle with, such as how physically clean and healthy Fantine and her friends/colleagues (and their clothes) are during the romance with Felix and his friends.

I mean, they were fairly poor seamstresses and the way their scenes are shot in soft light and such is way too romanticized for my liking.

Also, give us more of the context: show us Fantine finding out she's pregnant as an unmarried woman, giving birth to Cosette, being subject to prejudice and discrimination before leaving Cosette with Madame Thénardier.

I mean, this wouldn't take long to do, but would add a great deal, in my humble opinion.

Also, whilst Dominic West is a great actor and performs well, the casting of him as Jean Valjean is problematic. It's absolutely crucial to the plot and the character that Jean Valjean is more than a man in terms of strength and capable of feats that are almost super-human.

Whilst West has been to the gym, he looks like that: a man that has been to the gym. He doesn't look like someone imbued with the incredible strength that Jean Valjean needs.

Personally, I don't believe it in him. He's no more physically imposing than those that surround him and this is difficult for me to get over.

Also, the cleanliness/hygiene of some sections of the film make it feel a little dated to me and too "BBC". It needs to be darker, dirtier, more realistic.

Like lose the romanticism and give us some realism, please BBC for (again, to my mind) that's how to make an adaptation of 'Les Mis' great instead of good.

Well, in for a penny and the accents and lack of French language (the odd 'Monsieur' and such feels weird) are, however, obstacles to the authenticity of the series and, for me, get in the way of the story and the context (as an aside and again for me, the race or ethnicity of the actors certainly does not get in the way).

Whilst I can understand the BBC not wanting to produce a French language show that is shown in English speaking territories with subtitles, some half decent French accents would make it feel much more real to me.

'Les Mis' is about, in, and of France, after all.

However, and playing Devil's Advocate, the story displays the power of love, kindness, and forgiveness. The power of God to change a man and the heartbreaking reality of the coldness, darkness and cruelty in the world.

Superb acting, it has to be said, by nearly everyone on screen - Adeal Akhtar and Olivia Colman are detestable scoundrels that got so deep under my skin that I wasn't sure I was watching actors! - and so emotionally gripping that it does still get, eventually, to the heart of the story. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Les Misérables: An Introduction
The Battle of Waterloo
The Look of Les Misérables
Behind The Barricade

www.PBS.org





'Finding Your Roots - Season 5'
(Laura Linney, Marisa Tomei, Michael K. Williams, George R.R. Martin, et al / 3-Disc DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. weaves together genealogical detective work with cutting-edge DNA analysis to trace the ancestry of a diverse array of trailblazing public figures.

The result is a captivating cross-section of history, illustrating that diversity is both America's strength and its constant.

DVD Verdict: 'Finding Your Roots' continues the excellent PBS series with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as host with research provided by professional genealogists as Prof Gates explores major personalities' genealogies with them.

What this series demonstrates is that by visiting one's ancestral roots' locations, one can come to appreciate their ancestors even more than just using computers to do research. And, it helps all of us recognize that we are not isolated but all one very large family that share many common ancestors, no matter what our heritage.

As we quickly learn, genetic genealogy has helped tremendously within this viewpoint and so I would not have known about it without Dr. Gates, Jr. or this incredible show. African Ancestry.com has been a real disappointment, but Ancestry.com has the largest libraries of DNA, and has an incredible service and supportive website and resources.

The stories of these people here in Season 5 include a host of celebrated guests including actors Laura Linney, Marisa Tomei, and Michael K. Williams; authors George R.R. Martin and Sheryl Sandberg; journalists Christiane Amanpour and Joe Madison; athlete and television personality Michael Strahan; artists Marina Abramovi and Alejandro G. Iñárritu; politicians Tulsi Gabbard, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan; and comedians Seth Meyers, Andy Samberg, and Sarah Silverman.

Listening and watching along to most all of these you'll instantly find yourself engrossed in their stories, some of which I fully admit I had never heard of before. They are just so moving that you will find yourself searching out their movie/TV history on IMDB!

This highly revealing fifth season advances this journey with a special focus on the experiences of individual families across time, looking at how our ancestors have preserved and redefined cherished traditions as they've crossed the globe.

Indeed, the series (also written by Gates, Jr.) moves fluidly from Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas, uniting us all through emotional moments that enrich and enlighten - encouraging us to look at our world through a wider, more inclusive lens.

Over the course of 10 one-hour episodes, we see that each guest's family tree is filled with compelling characters - slaves and kings, artists and entrepreneurs, abandoned children and missing parents, revolutionaries, visionaries, and a wealth of ordinary individuals who lived remarkable lives. Fascinating. Truly fascinating. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'The Best of World's Greatest'
(2-Disc DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: This new, epic series goes on a timeless journey around the planet, revealing the world's greatest cities, natural wonders, animal encounters, journeys and adventures, monuments, and islands.

DVD Verdict: The world is full of inspiring places just waiting to be discovered and explored.

'The Best of World's Greatest' from PBS is a wondrous, invigorating, and beautifully shot and documented new series that photographically flies around the planet, revealing the world's greatest cities, natural wonders, and more over 2 discs and 300 minutes.

With the featured episodes such as Ancient Cities, Extreme Animals, Volcanoes, Lost Cities, Treks and Coral islands, there is something glorious for everyone here to be viewed, of that have no doubt.

A few that stood out to me within the Ancient Cities episode were the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus and, of course, Babylon; for it was the heart of the ancient Mesopotamian civilization as long as 20,000 years ago.

Volcanoes of the world brings us such wonders as the Cumbre Vieja Volcano – La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, the Krakatoa Volcano – Krakatoa, Indonesia, and Mount Pelée – Martinique, Lesser Antilles, Caribbean.

Whereas the Extreme Animals of the world focuses on the Box Jellyfish, Cookiecutter sharks, and the Rhinoceros Beetle, amongst others, of course.

Each episode is chock full of bright and colorful knowledge, both spoken and visually detailed and so it's easy to give this bright new PBS series a massive two thumbs up! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Unforgotten - The Complete Third Season'
(Nicola Walker, Sanjeev Bhaskar, James Fleet, Alex Jennings, Kevin McNally, Neil Morrissey, Peter Egan, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NC-17 / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (The Indian Doctor) lead a powerful ensemble cast in this highly-acclaimed, thrilling third season of the UK-set crime drama.

DVD Verdict: DCI Cassie Stuart and her partner, DI Sunil "Sunny" Khan re-open cold murder cases from decades past, throwing lives into turmoil as they seek justice for their unforgotten victims.

In the six-episode first season, when the body of a young man is discovered in a derelict building, DCI Cassie Stuart is called in to investigate with her partner, DI Sunil Khan.

In the six-episode second season, the detectives have been tasked with the investigation into the identity of skeletal remains which had been sealed in a suitcase many years earlier, and that were recently dredged from the River Lea in North East London.

Here in the gripping six-episode third season, when human remains are found by a highway, Cassie and Sunny are called to the scene. Dogged work leads the team to Hayley Reid, a 16-year-old girl who went missing on the eve of the millennium.

The police's failure to find out what happened to Hayley wrecked her family's life. Cassie is determined to correct the mistakes made by the original investigating team, no matter the personal cost.

A close-knit group of old school friends hold the key to what happened. Doctor Tim Finch, television presenter James Hollis, failing salesman Pete Carr, and artist Chris Lowe.

As the four suspects find themselves under the spotlight, their tight bond is put to the test. They all have secrets in their past - events that have pulled their lives apart.

None of them are quite who they first seem to be, but is one of them capable of murder?

As always, the performance of the lead actor, Nicola Walker, is outstanding, as is the performance of her primary supporting actor, Sanjeev Bhaskar.

A brilliantly written, acted and directed series as aforementioned, Walker is such a wonderfully subtle and real actress that you could watch her, and believe her in anything she put her mind to on TV.

As always, the series is a who's who of top British theatre and television talent and all six of the episodes are gripping and, at times, quite literally exhaustingly stressful to watch … but in a really good way, of course!

Indeed, much like the first two seasons, this third outing of 'Unforgotten' is a decidedly intelligent, intriguing, and gripping murder mystery and drama, and I, for one, found it to be extremely engaging and entertaining.

Both seasons feature superb plot and character development, as well as great acting performances, and it definitely merits a binge watching evening, of that you have my word. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

What is Unforgotten?
Opening Scene
The Role of Social Media
Locations
The Suspects

www.PBS.org





'NOVA: Rise of the Rockets'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Rockets are becoming cheaper and more powerful than before thanks to new technologies.

As companies make space more accessible and NASA returns to crewed spaceflight, a new era of space exploration seems to be on the horizon.

But will this seeming rocket Renaissance become just more than hype?

NOVA explores the latest rocket technologies and the growing role private citizens may have in space.

DVD Verdict: We may be witnessing the dawn of a bold new era of human activity in space for science and exploration - but also for profit.

An explosion of private companies is sparking the development of new technologies and lowering costs to bring space closer than ever.

On Feb. 6th, 2019, SpaceX made history when it launched its Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida. It now reigns as the biggest and most powerful rocket in the world.

Elon Musk, the messianic CEO of the billion-dollar space startup, plans to build an even bigger rocket that he promises will eventually take people to Mars.

Well, maybe.

The Falcon Heavy is a 230-foot-tall engineering marvel, with the ability to ferry loads of up to 141,000 pounds into low-earth orbit. Only the Saturn V, the rocket that helped carry Neil Armstrong and company to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s, was bigger and badder, but has long since been retired.

Both rockets, however, rely on liquid fuel as propellants.

A one-way trip to Mars using conventional chemical rockets could take up to nine months. It’s a long time for a human crew to spend in a spaceship exposed to radiation and other hazards.

That’s one reason why NASA and other space agencies, as well as universities and private industry, are pursuing different types of rocket technologies.

This, and other many fascinating facts are brought to light here on the enthralling 'NOVA: Rose of the Rockets' out May 7th, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'NOVA: Decoding the Great Pyramid'
(DVD / G / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: How did the Egyptians engineer the Great Pyramid of Giza so precisely, and who were the thousands of laborers who raised the stones?

New archaeological evidence - including a logbook of a labor team leader -provides new insights into these age-old questions.

NOVA delves into these construction secrets to trace how mobilizing labor and resources on such a massive scale transformed ancient Egypt.

DVD Verdict: The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering present-day El Giza, Egypt.

It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.

Based on a mark in an interior chamber naming the work gang and a reference to the fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, some Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was thus built as a tomb over a 10- to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC.

Initially at 146.5 meters (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years until Lincoln Cathedral was finished in 1311 AD.

Originally, the Great Pyramid was covered by limestone casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure.

Some of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base. There have been varying scientific and alternative theories about the Great Pyramid's construction techniques.

Most accepted construction hypotheses are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place.

There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished.

The so-called Queen's Chamber and King's Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure.

The main part of the Giza complex is a set of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honor of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller "satellite" pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles.

The 6 million-ton Great Pyramid of Giza is the last surviving wonder of the ancient world. How did the Egyptians engineer the mighty pharaoh Khufu's tomb so precisely, with none of today's surveying and power tools?

And who were the thousands of laborers who raised the stones? Were they slaves or volunteers, and how were they housed, fed, and organized?

Decoding the Great Pyramid presents the latest evidence from groundbreaking archaeological research that has transformed our understanding of the ancient world's most ambitious engineering project, revealing a "lost city" and intimate details of the lives of the laborers and officials who toiled on the vast construction.

What we learn is that the pyramid was constructed out of stone blocks, each weighing at least 2 tons.

There are theories suggesting that multiple men together maneuvered each block over a ramp that encircled the structure as it rose, or that they moved each stone up long ramps that got higher and longer as the pyramid got taller, or even that scaffolding was used.

Many eschew each of these theories for different reasons, including the idea that wood that could have been used for scaffolding or ramps would have been at a premium, and using mud brick for those purposes would not have held under the enormous weight of each massive block.

And, of course, there are the ideas that aliens built the pyramids!

However the pyramid was constructed, it is a marvelous feat, and should be awed and respected, especially because it is standing today with relatively minor damage.

That said, and together with the recently found logbook of a labor team leader that delivered limestone blocks to build the Great Pyramid, this, and other many fascinating facts are brought to light here on the enthralling 'NOVA: Decoding the Great Pyramid' out April 30th, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: The Roman emperor Nero is considered one of history's greatest criminals - a cruel, insane, and brutal ruler.

His name has become synonymous with evil, and he stands accused of killing his step-brother, his wife, and his mother, as well as burning Rome to the ground.

'Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files' investigates Nero's reign with the help of criminal psychologist Thomas Müller.

DVD Verdict: Accused of killing his step-brother, his wife, and his mother, as well as burning Rome to the ground, are these stories really true?

Furthermore, can they be proven?

Recent research, modern interpretations of historical sources, and new discoveries cast a different light on the accusations levelled at the Roman emperor.

Using "cold case" methodology, 'Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files' investigates Nero's reign with the help of criminal psychologist Thomas Müller, and what is revealed will either have you agreeing wholeheartedly or shaking your head in historical disgust, trust me!

Based on accounts written during and after his reign, Nero (A.D. 37 to 68) has long been considered a power-mad despot whose leadership was defined by terrible acts of violence, such as poisoning a teenage rival, arranging his mother's assassination, setting a fire that destroyed much of Rome, executing Christians and even murdering his own wife.

Some of those incidents probably did happen. However, a recent examination of historic records suggests that Nero was likely innocent of some of these heinous crimes, especially according to this new PBS documentary and the thoughts and more of the aforementioned criminal psychologist Thomas Müller.

That said, and together with more "information" brought to light to further examine this "old case," this, and other many fascinating facts are all to be found here on the enthralling 'Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files' out May 14th, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur's Lost Kingdom'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: In 'Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur's Lost Kingdom', Professor Alice Roberts uses archaeological discoveries to piece together a turning point in Britain's history.

The key to her quest is the excavation of a stone palace in Cornwall - long believed to be the birthplace of the King Arthur legend.

Was Arthur in fact ruler of a prosperous trading village, and the defender of the native Britons against the Anglo-Saxons?

DVD Verdict: In the fifth century, the future of Britain hung in the balance.

After four centuries of Roman occupation and leadership, the Romans up and left, leaving the nation vulnerable to an invading Anglo-Saxon horde - or at least that's what the fragmentary historical texts record.

The truth is no one really knows what happened, and this pivotal moment in history has been shrouded in mystery - until now.

In 'Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur's Lost Kingdom', Professor Alice Roberts of University of Birmingham uncovers new archeological evidence to rewrite our understanding of the Dark Ages and to explain the Arthurian Legend.

Artifacts from Turkey, North Africa and France show the prosperity of the area. An Anglo-Saxon broach made by 5th century British techniques suggest a blending of cultures.

Professor Robert decodes these discoveries and pieces together a very different story of this turning point in Britain’s history.

Inclusive of more information and finds and discussions, these and other many fascinating facts are all to be found here on the enthralling 'Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur's Lost Kingdom' out June 4th, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Ever since their brutal murders one hundred years ago, the world has been fascinated by Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, the Empress Alexandra.

Through the couple's private and personally revealing letters, this two-part docu-drama, presented by historian Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb, explores Nicholas and Alexandra's complex love story and the couple's role in the lead up to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

DVD Verdict: Nicholas II was born on May 6, 1868 (from the Julian calendar, which was used in Russia until 1918) in Pushkin, Russia.

He inherited the throne when his father, Alexander III, died in 1894. Although he believed in autocracy, he was eventually forced to create an elected legislature. Nicholas II’s handling of Bloody Sunday and World War I incensed his subjects and led to his abdication.

Bolsheviks executed him and his family on the night of July 16-17, 1918, in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Indeed, Nicholas II was the last tsar of Russia under Romanov rule and it was his poor handling of Bloody Sunday and Russia’s role in World War I that actually led to his abdication and execution.

Nicholas II was the first Russian sovereign to show personal interest in Asia, visiting in 1891, while still tsesarevich, India, China, and Japan; later he nominally supervised the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

His attempt to maintain and strengthen Russian influence in Korea, where Japan also had a foothold, was partly responsible for the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05).

Russia’s defeat not only frustrated Nicholas’s grandiose dreams of making Russia a great Eurasian power, with China, Tibet, and Persia under its control, but also presented him with serious problems at home, where discontent grew into the revolutionary movement of 1905.

Nicholas II considered all who opposed him, regardless of their views, as malicious conspirators. Disregarding the advice of his future prime minister Sergey Yulyevich Witte, he refused to make concessions to the constitutionalists until events forced him to yield more than might have been necessary had he been more flexible.

On March 3, 1905, he reluctantly agreed to create a national representative assembly, or Duma, with consultative powers, and by the manifesto of October 30 he promised a constitutional regime under which no law was to take effect without the Duma’s consent, as well as a democratic franchise and civil liberties.

Nicholas II, however, cared little for keeping promises extracted from him under duress. He strove to regain his former powers and ensured that in the new Fundamental Laws (May 1906) he was still designated an autocrat.

He furthermore patronized an extremist right-wing organization, the Union of the Russian People, which sanctioned terrorist methods and disseminated anti-Semitic propaganda.

Witte, whom he blamed for the October Manifesto, was soon dismissed, and the first two Dumas were prematurely dissolved as “insubordinate.”

Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin, who replaced Witte and carried out the coup of June 16, 1907, dissolving the second Duma, was loyal to the dynasty and a capable statesman. But the emperor distrusted him and allowed his position to be undermined by intrigue.

Stolypin was one of those who dared to speak out about Rasputin’s influence and thereby incurred the displeasure of the empress.

In such cases Nicholas II generally hesitated but ultimately yielded to Alexandra’s pressure.

To prevent exposure of the scandalous hold Rasputin had on the imperial family, Nicholas interfered arbitrarily in matters properly within the competence of the Holy Synod, backing reactionary elements against those concerned about the Orthodox church’s prestige.

When riots broke out in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) on March 8, 1917, Nicholas instructed the city commandant to take firm measures and sent troops to restore order. It was too late.

The government resigned, and the Duma, supported by the army, called on the emperor to abdicate. At Pskov on March 15, with fatalistic composure, Nicholas II renounced the throne—not, as he had originally intended, in favor of his son, Alexis, but in favor of his brother Michael, who refused the crown.

Nicholas II was detained at Tsarskoye Selo by Prince Lvov’s provisional government. It was planned that he and his family would be sent to England, but instead, mainly because of the opposition of the Petrograd Soviet, the revolutionary Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council, they were removed to Tobolsk in Western Siberia.

This step sealed their doom. In April 1918 they were taken to Yekaterinburg in the Urals.

When anti-Bolshevik “White” Russian forces approached the area, the local authorities were ordered to prevent a rescue. In the early hours of July 17, 1918, the prisoners were all slaughtered in the cellar of the house where they had been confined.

Although there is some uncertainty over whether the family was killed on July 16 or 17, most sources indicate that the executions took place on July 17.

The bodies were burned, cast into an abandoned mine shaft, and then hastily buried elsewhere.

A team of Russian scientists located the remains in 1976 but kept the discovery secret until after the collapse of the Soviet Union. By 1994 genetic analyses had positively identified the remains as those of Nicholas, Alexandra, three of their daughters (Anastasia, Tatiana, and Olga), and four servants.

The remains were given a state funeral on July 17, 1998, and reburied in St. Petersburg in the crypt of the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. The remains of Alexis and of another daughter (Maria) were not found until 2007, and the following year DNA testing confirmed their identity.

Through the couple's politically damning, sexually intimate and personally revealing letters, this two-part docu-drama, presented by historian Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb, we get to hear of thousands of love letters that reveal the intimate details of their affection, sex life, delusions, and above all the road to revolution.

Inclusive of more information and finds and discussions, these and other many fascinating facts are all to be found here on the enthralling 'Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters' out May 21st, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Henry IX: The Lost King'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Paul Murton of Grand Tours of Scotland takes us on a journey to investigate the mysterious disappearance from history of a forgotten Scottish prince - Henry Fredrick Stuart, the best King Britain never had.

DVD Verdict: Not many of us know his name but Henry started the British Museum and the Royal Collection and was the first royal prince to back a permanent settlement on American soil in the early 17th century.

In this immersive documentary, Paul brings this forgotten figure from the shadows of history into the light of the modern world. It's a detective story which reveals the tragedy of Henry's lost potential.

Paul starts his quest in Stirling Castle where Henry was born in 1594 to James VI of Scotland (soon to become James the First of Great Britain) and Anne of Denmark.

In the Queen's Bedchamber, Paul meets the historian Sarah Fraser to start to trace out Henry's life. As he came into adulthood, the British Empire was taking its first steps into North America. Under Henry's patronage, a colony bearing the name Henricus was founded in Virginia - 14 years before the Mayflower and The Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymouth.

Paul visits the town and learns how the lost prince's legacy changed history.

As we discover, he was ahead of his time and had an influence that stretched across the world and he would have changed British life forever.

Instead, Henry Frederick Stuart barely merits a footnote in history. He’s the forgotten Scot whose death at just 18 would subsequently lead to war, persecution and suffering.

“The simple fact is that few people have even heard of him and I think he deserves to be brought into public view,” says Paul. “He was an extraordinary character. I didn’t even know that James VI of Scotland and 1st of England even had an elder son who didn’t become king. Or that if he had, our futures would have been very different.”

Henry was highly educated and started the British Museum and the Royal Collection. And his influence was felt far from these shores.

He was instrumental in the establishment of a British colony in Virginia – called Henricus – a full 14 years before the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymouth on the Mayflower.

But had he lived, his impact would have been infinitely greater.

How has the story of this renaissance man, who changed the course of Britain's history, been largely lost until now? Whatever happened to the best King they never had?

Inclusive of more information and finds and discussions, these and other many fascinating facts are all to be found here on the enthralling 'Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters' out May 7th, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Won't You Be Our ...
(DVD / G / 2019 / PBS KIDS)

Overview: Four-year-old Daniel Tiger invites young viewers directly into his world, giving them a kid's eye view of his life and making them feel like one of his neighbors.

DVD Verdict: For those of you that are not aware, 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood' is an animated continuation to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, where all the original characters are now grown up with their own preschool-aged children.

Personally, I loved Mr. Rogers Neighborhood as a kid, and although this is a very different, more modern show, I am pleased to see the good moral underlining and joy that this show brings to him while still keeping true to the same themes.

I love the little songs that have more meaning than rhyme and the lessons in the show along with the story lines.

Contained in this brand new DVD 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Won't You Be Our Neighbor?' are five (5) grr-ific tales: The Daniel Tiger Movie: Won't You Be My Neighbor?, Jodi's First Day at School, A New Friend at School, Daniel Plays at Jodi's House, and A New Friend at the Playground.

Daniel is so excited to learn that a new family is moving into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and decides that he wants to get to know them - sooner rather than later.

So watch along as the Tiger Family and the entire Neighborhood welcomes the new arrivals and helps them adjust to their unfamiliar surroundings.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood to join Daniel Tiger and friends as they have a whole lot of fun and learn life's little lessons. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBSkids.org





'Splash and Bubbles: The Kelp Forest'
(DVD / G / 2019 / PBS KIDS)

Overview: Catch the current and embark on an underwater adventure with Splash and Bubbles!

DVD Verdict: For those not yet in the know, a yellow fusilier fish named Splash and his friend Bubbles, a Mandarin dragonet, explore life under the sea with their pals in "Splash and Bubbles," the newest series from PBS Kids.

Co-produced by The Jim Henson Co., the animated series is designed to teach children aged 4-7 about marine life and the ocean and help them build social-emotional skills.

The series features the voices of John Tartaglia (who also created the series), Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Raymond Carr and Aymee Garcia.

In their brand new adventure, 'Splash and Bubbles: The Kelp Forest,' we explore The Kelp Forest with Splash and Bubbles in six exciting ocean adventures!

Cleaner of the Kelp
The Kelp Needs Help
Mrs. Tidy
Seal Sitters
Tyke and Seek
Kelp Forest Keepers

The kids will love this show as we watch as Splash, Bubbles, and Dunk meet Tidy the Garibaldi fish, the self-appointed Kelp Forest Ranger.

Tidy has been taking the kids' shells as they play in the forest because he likes to keep everything clean!

When some Asterina starfish are in the Kelp Forest where they don't belong, Splash, Ripple, and Tidy must get rid of them before the starfish eat all of the kelp.

The forest fun continues when Splash and Bubbles try to seal-sit a young, curious, and fearless seal pup named Tyke, who they can't find during a big game of hide-and-seek!

This charming series inspires respect for marine life and the ocean's diversity by pairing the characters' comical adventures with more traditional educational segments.

Splash and Bubbles entices youngsters much the same way Finding Nemo's vibrant scenery and endearing characters did, bringing a certain intimacy to the vast expanse of the ocean through its friendly characters.

Reeftown is a bustling community of all different kinds of marine life, but when Splash and Bubbles explore beyond its boundaries, they discover even more diversity and fascination.

Chock full of wondrous close-up views of the wonders of marine life will amaze preschoolers and inspire curiosity about more wonders of the underwater world. Well done, 'Splash And Bubbles.' This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBSkids.org





'Bridges Live: Madison Square Garden' (DVD/CD)

The world’s most unmistakable voice returns with a spectacular live concert (as seen on PBS this spring); Josh Groban Bridges Live: Madison Square Garden DVD/CD (out April 19th, 2019, via Reprise Records).

Recorded live from the final US stop of his 2018 Bridges Tour at the famed Madison Square Garden, the multi-platinum award-winning singer is joined by Tony-Award winning, multi-platinum recording artist Idina Menzel along with a special appearance by Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles.

DVD:
1. 'Bigger Than Us'
2. 'You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)'
3. 'Won't Look Back'
4. 'Granted'
5. 'Pure Imagination' (from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory")
6. 'Oceano'
7. 'Marrakech'
8. 'She's Always a Woman'
9. 'Lullaby' (with Idina Menzel)
10. 'Falling Slowly' (with Idina Menzel)
11. 'Bring Him Home' (from "Les Misérables")
12. 'Musica Para Caminar'
13. 'Música del Corazón'
14. 'River'
15. 'Alla Luce del Sole'
16. '99 Years' (with Jennifer Nettles)
17. 'You Raise Me Up'
18. 'To Where You Are'
19. 'Bridge over Troubled Water'

CD:
1. 'Bigger Than Us'
2. 'Won't Look Back'
3. 'Granted'
4. 'The Wandering Kind (Prelude)'
5. 'She's Always a Woman'
6. 'Lullaby' (with Idina Menzel)
7. 'Falling Slowly' (with Idina Menzel)
8. 'Música del Corazón'
9. 'River'
10. '99 Years' (with Jennifer Nettles)
11. 'Bridge over Troubled Water'
12. 'She Moved Through the Fair' (Live from Dublin)

The first disc is the DVD and has a longer track listing and deservedly so as the visual sight of Josh singing, nay performing is a delightful and heartwarming sight.

Backed by a 5-member band, 20-member choir and 15-piece orchestra, and bathed under a blood red and purple hue, Josh kicks off the set with the emphatic, anthemic 'Bigger Than Us' (from his latest studio album Bridges) and backs that up with a song that expresses God's love for humanity beautifully, 2008's 'You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up).'

Next up, after a brief chit-chat with members of the front row we get another new track 'Won’t Look Back, a hymn for the couples that have gone through the whole course of being married and yet still stick together. Wearing his glasses, now bathed in a beautiful, soothing blue and green light, the ballad 'Granted' is then backed by both the stirring Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley ballad 'Pure Imagination' (from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") and then one of the highlights of a show packed with them, the strong, adamant 'Oceano.'

Throughout this incredible live performance, Josh performs an electrifying mix of beloved classics, new songs, and special covers, including the standard one of my own personal favorites here, Billy Joel’s 'She’s Always A Woman,' and 'Bring Him Home' from "Les Misérables").

Introducing Idina Menzel - and boy, what a BIG introduction and chat with/about her he provides the audience - they then launch into not one, but two captivating duets. The first is the angelic 'Lullaby' and that's backed by the emotionally-charged 'Falling Slowly' (from the movie "Once").

Josh then showcases three more turns off his multi-lingual expertise as he impressively delves into 'Musica Para Caminar,' 'Música del Corazón' and the soaringly uplifting 'Alla Luce del Sole,' with the beautiful 'River' (a heartfelt track that can aim to help so many people, bringing hope and light to their darkness) in-between.

Whilst bathed under a lime green spot laid upon a black background, Josh is then joined on stage by Sugarland songstress Jennifer Nettles for a remarkable duet of '99 Years' before he closes his set with both 'To Where You Are' and then a simply stunning rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s 'Bridge Over Troubled Water.

The DVD/CD includes the aforementioned 'Won’t Look Back' and 'Lullaby' (not included in the PBS Special) as well as the never-released before bonus track 'She Moved Through the Fair.'

Amazon DVD/CD Purchase Link

www.JoshGroban.com

Josh Groban @ Facebook





'24 Hour Party People: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Steve Coogan, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Tony Wilson, Paddy Considine, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2002) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: In 1976, Tony Wilson sets up Factory Records and brings Manchester's music to the world.

This true story of the raucous anti-establishment explosion that revolutionized the music industry is miraculous one of the smartest, liveliest, most engaging and involving works you're likely to see this year (Premiere).

'24 Hour Party People: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out June 25th, 2019 via MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: It would be unfair to dismiss '24 Hour Party People' as a biographical look at Tony Wilson for it's so much more.

It's a celebration of music, of a lifestyle, of a bygone era. It also plays like a Greek tragedy, albeit substantially more fun, but there is no shortage of darkness and tragedy in the film.

The shifts in tone are particularly remarkable, as the film veers from its usual dry, sardonic tone into real pathos and examination of the dark side of almost any phenomenal success.

That said, I'm not completely nuts. I'm not going to claim that '24 Hour Party People' is a visual masterpiece, or a film which achieves more with its characters than most other accepted masterpieces of cinema when it comes to depth!

I'm not going to argue that it feels as complete an artistic achievement as one of the better films by a cinematic master. Wait, what am I talking about? Well, that's exactly what I'm going to argue.

For me, '24 Hour Party People' is as perfect as a film can get, not because it achieves the visual perfection of one of Kubrick's finer films, not because it marks a turning point in cinema history, but because it sets out to be exactly what it ends up being - a hilarious, darkly satirical and yet affectionate look at one of the biggest scenes in music history; some of the best bands, and the man behind it all, Tony Wilson.

A minor player in his own life story this is one of the most purely enjoyable films ever made.

It all unfolds with a sort of inspired madness. The very first scene shows the charismatic, arrogant, and somewhat self-important Tony Wilson hang-gliding for a television report, then turning to the camera after that's over with and saying "You're going to see a lot more of that sort of thing in the film. I don't want to say too much, don't want to spoil it. I'll just say one word: 'Icarus'. If you get it, great. If you don't, that's fine too. But you should probably read more."

It's not only a terrific line, indicative of the sort of dry wit much of the dialogue achieves, but also telling of what the film is going to be like. J.R. Jones of the Chicago Reader was one of the less infatuated major critics with the film, and labeled Coogan's Wilson a pedantic narrator; describing his story as having little narrative momentum of its own.

I like to think that's sort of the point and Wilson himself makes a point to mention in the film that it's not a film about him.

The highlight of the film, arguably even more than Frank Cottrell Boyce's screenplay, is Steve Coogan as Tony Wilson. As everyone reading this probably knows, Coogan based his famed Alan Partridge character on Tony Wilson's career as a television reporter, so he's really playing a variation on Alan Partridge here.

What's amazing about Coogan's performance is that he manages to draw even this Partridge fan into Tony Wilson's world so much that I didn't care about any similarity.

It's still a stunning comic performance, and excellent during the darker, more serious scenes in the film as well. I'd go as far as saying that it's one of the best male performances of the decade.

The rest of the cast is too large to go through one by one, but everyone is excellent here, some going for a sort of slightly altered impersonation of the real-life person they're playing, some creating their own version. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary with Steve Coogan and Producer Andrew Easton
Audio Commentary with Tony Wilson
"Manchester: The Movie" Featurette (SD 11:04)

www.MVDvisual.com





'Beer League: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Artie Lange, Ralph Macchio, Anthony De Sando, Cara Buono, Tina Fey, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2006) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: An unemployed slacker inspires his softball teammates to improve their game so they won't get kicked out of the local league.

'Beer League: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out May 14th, 2019 via MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: Artie Lange is an acquired taste. That is, if you know who he is! Not a marquee name, though definitely a recognizable face, Lange, like Adam Sandler, is the kind of comedian you either love or hate: loud, profane, and politically incorrect.

Lange is basically John Belushi reincarnated (it helps that Lange looks enough like Belushi that he could play him in a bio pic). I've been a huge fan of Artie Lange's since the beginning of his career so the critique that follows should be considered pretty biased.

In 'Beer League', Lange plays Artie (what a surprise), a 35-year-old alcohol-loving slacker/loser without a job who still lives with his mother (Laurie Metcalf).

His life consists of little else besides attending bars, eating, and playing softball with his buddies. After getting in a fight with the championship team, it is decided by the local police that only one of the teams will be able to remain in the league at the end of the season.

What follows is a series of scenes involving non-stop cursing, alcohol consumption, and some softball playing in between.

It goes without saying that 'Beer League' doesn't have the strongest plot in the world, which helps get as much nudity, crude jokes, and general tastelessness as one could want from the genre.

A good 85% of the jokes succeed. However, there are times when the lack of story really does hurt the film. While never coming across as a one-joke, "Saturday Night Live" (or in Lange's case, "MAD TV") sketch kind of movie, Lange and co-writer/director Frank Sebastiano occasionally seem to find themselves in a trap as to what exactly to do with the picture to move it along plot wise.

There's a sub-plot involving Artie's love-interest Linda (the very cute Cara Buono, giving the best performance of anyone in the cast) that gives the raunch-fest an unexpected heart, though despite their chemistry, her character and their relationship is never developed strongly enough for me to give it a higher rating.

That said, the romance angle works a lot better here than it did in recent R-rated comedies like WEDDING CRASHERS and 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, where it seemed to take the focus away from the main proceedings and in VIRGIN's case, felt extraordinarily fake.

In closing, and to sum things up here after my journalistic ramble, 'Beer League' is better than both the aforementioned comedies and certainly has more laughs than both combined, but if you aren't a fan of Lange chances are you'll find yourself disagreeing. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Beer Googles Short
Beer League: Behind The Scenes Featurette
Live from CineVegas Featurette
Artie Lange Behind The Scenes of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Best Damn Sports Show
In the Studio with Artie Lang: Jokes and Ringtones
Raw Interviews
Photo Gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Mortuary: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Dan Byrd, Denise Crosby, Courtney Peldon, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2005) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: A family moves to a small town in California where they plan on starting a new life while running a long-abandoned funeral home.

The locals fear the place, which is suspected to be on haunted ground.

'Mortuary: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out May 14th, 2019 via MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: [** SPOILERS AHEAD **] Leslie Doyle, (Denise Crosby) moves her family, Jaime (Stephanie Patton) and Jonathan (Dan Byrd) to a new mortuary and are given a tour by Eliot, (Greg Travis) who owns the establishment.

After settling in, Jonathan doesn't want anything to do with the mortuary business and goes to work in a nearby diner, where he overhears a local legend about the previous owner of the mortuary from Liz, (Alexandra Adi) and her boyfriend Grady, (Rocky Marquette).

The three bond and form a friendship, and love hanging out in the mortuary. While over one day, the dead rise from the basement mortuary and the outside graveyard. Jonathan and his friends have to survive the onslaught of the living dead and get out of the house alive.

The Good News: I thought this was a great and original way of getting to a zombie movie. Rather than the usual radiation leak or voodoo curse, we get an entirely new motive to get them around, and it was pretty original.

I'll admit to never thinking of it, and with the shortage of originality today in the genre, this was sorely needed. Even the method to get rid of the zombies was pretty clever, and the reasoning behind it sounded valid for once.

That could actually happen in real life, and it gave a small touch of realism to it that was also needed in the film. It didn't rely on the over-used bullet-to-the-head that is so common for zombie movies.

The zombies themselves, when they are on-screen, are pretty gruesome looking, and several have the customary rotting and decayed look to them. I was even surprised to find a bit of humor in here as well. I laughed at it a couple times, so it earns points for that as well.

The Bad News: The film is really slow, and it takes forever for something to happen. The first twenty minutes features no real action at all, and even the zombies don't appear until well into the movie.

The beginning is just maddeningly slow, and those wanting an all-out zombie film are gonna be really disappointed with this one as it's hardly got any of the tradition zombie film parts. The Final Verdict: Over-coming a slow beginning is key to enjoying this one. Let it play out, it gets far better. There is a bit more to this some may think, so give it a shot.

Zombie fans should be more patient than others, though, as it's pretty long into the film before they come out into the film. Regardless, proceed with caution. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary from Director Tobe Hooper
Inside the Graveyard Featurette
Behind the Scenes Featurette with Director Tobe Hooper
Original Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Big White: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, Giovanni Ribisi, Woody Harrelson, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2005) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: After finding a frozen corpse in a dumpster, Alaskan travel agent Paul (Robin Williams) decides to use it to claim his long-lost brother's life insurance policy.

However, the body is also sought by two dangerous hitmen.

'The Big White: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out May 14th, 2019 via MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: In 'The Big White', a failing Alaskan travel agency owner (Robin Williams playing his Jack Dundee character from 'The Best of Times') schemes to collect on his missing brother's life insurance policy by claiming that a dead body he finds in a dumpster is that of his brother.

Things become complicated when two bumbling (possibly gay) hoods (Tim Blake Nelson and W. Earl Brown) kidnap his wife (Holly Hunter) because they need the body to prove that they have carried out a contract killing.

Hunter's character may or may not have Tourette's Syndrome, a psychological condition which may or may not have comic potential in a feature film. But we will have to wait for a better script and a better to director to find out because the results are inconclusive here.

The main side story involves an obsessive insurance investigator (Giovanni Ribisi) and his air-headed telephone psychic girlfriend (Alison Lohman).

Their scenes together provide the film's best moments and the only times when it manages to duplicate 'Fargo's almost poetic humor. Ribisi is solid in all his scenes and you wish Lohman's part was bigger.

And yes, the 'Fargo' rip-off comparisons are valid, but that does not mean that there is much about 'The Big White' with which 'Fargo' fans will connect.

The similarities are pretty much confined to setting (Alaska instead of Minnesota), production design (white), and basic plot elements (two bumbling hoods, financially desperate businessman, kidnapped and bound wife), and a side story featuring an odd domestic couple (an insurance investigator instead of a female sheriff)!

That said, the 'Fargo' disconnects are more subtle. Instead of a crime thriller with black comedy elements, 'The Big White' is a black comedy with crime thriller elements.

Which would not be a problem except that 'Fargo's' occasional ironic comical moments have several times more amusement value than 'The Big White's' frenzied efforts to inject some humor.

In closing, if you like small off-kilter films (with big name actors having fun with their performances) you would be far better served by 'Dummy' (2002) and 'The Big Empty' (2003).

For, and in my humble and yet highly personal opinion, 'The Big White' tries for the feel of these two films but falls short. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

The Big White Behind the Scenes Featurette
Photo Gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Boogie Boy: Special Collector's Edition'
(Mark Dacascos, Emily Lloyd, Michael Pena, Tracy Lords, Linnea Quigley, et al / Blu-ray+DVD / R / (1998) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: After being released from prison, Jesse Page (Mark Dacascos (John Wick 3: Parabellum, Double Dragon) backs his old friend Larry (Jaimz Woolvett, Unforgiven) up on a drug deal gone sour.

With the drug dealers hot on his trail, Jesse has three days to reach Detroit where a new, clean, legitimate life awaits him.

Along the way, his ties to his junkie criminal past are put to the test... What is true friendship made of? How far should loyalty go?

These are questions Jesse must answer on the road to his new life in this gritty action-thriller from writer / director Craig Hamann (My Best Friend's Birthday, Showdown in Manila).

'Boogie Boy: Special Collector's Edition' [Blu-ray+DVD] is out May 14th, 2019 via MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: [** SPOILERS AHEAD **] Jesse is starting a new leaf. Fresh from prison and a lifestyle of drugs and crime, Jesse is drifting and searching for any meaning of existence for the straight and narrow life, anything to cling to even if it is meager in order to put his past behind him.

Unfortunately for him, the bonds of loyalty, friendship and morals just won't let him. This driving force is the basic premise that ties the lives of several people during a decisive 24-hour period in Craig Hamann's excellent and well-executed character study.

PLOT: Within a few months of his release, Jesse (Mark Dacascos) travels to L.A. to hook up a visit with his old cellmate and friend Larry (Jaimz Woolvett).

Larry, simply, doesn't really have his life together, but his addiction tells him otherwise. It doesn't take long before Jesse realizes the potential of being in a bad situation as he meets the rest of Larry's crew and makes it clear to his friend that this is only a visit and will be on his way.

Larry takes advantage of their friendship that night by setting up a drug deal with some young yuppie kids and having Jesse, while on a natural high from getting an offer to play drums in a band (Joan Jett as JERK), to back him and his pals up during the tradeoff.

The deal goes bad and Jesse ends up killing the yuppies in self-defense when he discovers the whole deal is a setup. Everyone is soon on the run, as the yuppies happen to have older brothers who run a real underground organization.

From here on out Jesse and Larry take to the road where they run into some extremely eccentric characters and the truth behind their own lives and motivations.

While the framework of this story works well to lead to a violent, tense and well-executed solution, the real core of the story is with the dramatic elements of the characters.

Writer and Director Craig Hamann successfully manages to pull off intricate and interesting characters within a very bleak and dirty foray of drug use rather than resorting to one dimensional cardboard characters.

Acting wise, the real winner here is Mark Dacascos, who manages to prove that he has more behind his expressive eyes than just a violent action hero machine ala Van Damme or Steven Seagal.

Dacascos is a truly talented actor that is usually wasted within the horrible straight to video action genre. A role such as this is truly a showcase of his talents.

Everyone else does an excellent job as well with standouts by Jaimz Woolvett as Larry, Traci Lords as a drug addicted Scream Queen, Joan Jett doing what she does best screaming into the mike with an attitude and a star turning performance by Frederic Forrest (Chef from Apocalypse Now) as a very strange loner with his own secrets to hide.

In fact the performances and written characters played by Forrest and his "wife" Emily Lloyd (turning in a very sexy yet bizarre act) have enough depth to carry off their own whole feature.

For all you homophobes, yes, there is a homosexual subtext to the film between Jesse and Larry, but it is only implied not shown and if you find that offensive then most likely you would be happier watching a brain-dead action film.

In fact, the subtext, while daring, is an excellent voice behind the two characters as one desperately tries to hold onto the past while the other seeks for some sort of normal existence.

There is an honesty here within the characters that will leave you thinking well after the movie ends.

Overall, within the frames of the violence, action, road film attitude, eccentric characters, drug use and other aspects of the film, is a witty and realistic study of human nature.

It counts. It is dramatic. Powerful from start to finish. A MUST watch! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new director approved 4K High Definition transfer from the original camera negative with the film presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio on Blu-ray (1080p) and standard definition DVD
Original 2.0 Stereo Audio
Optional English and Spanish Subtitles
"The Making of Boogie Boy" (HD, 92 mins) (A brand new feature length retrospective of the film featuring interviews with stars Mark Dacascos, John Hawkes, James Lew, producer Braddon Mendelson and writer / director Craig Hamann)
Photo Gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
Collectible Mini-Poster

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Big Clock: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, Charles Laughton, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1948) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: After murdering someone, a magazine tycoon tries to frame an unknown, innocent man of the murder instead, while the innocent man tries to solve the murder himself.

'The Big Clock: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out May 14th, 2019 via Arrow Films UK / MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: The story begins via flashback. As it unfolds, Ray Milland's character (editor-in-chief of a crime magazine) inadvertently gets tied into a murder of a woman he met … who just happened to be the girlfriend of the magazine's owner (Charles Laughton) - a real sleaze bag and, quite possibly, the real killer!

All the cards are stacked against Milland, however, and his desperate task is to clear himself and implicate the real murdered (whom he thinks is Laughton's assistant). What happens in between all this is clever and different, with a host of odd characters.

Milland, whom I've come to respect more lately as I've seen some films of his of which I was not previously aware, is excellent here. So is Charles Laughton, although this is another role of Laughton's where we love despising him.

And incidentally, Laughton's mustache here may be one of the worst in any film in cinematic history! The other main character is Maureen O'Sullivan as Milland's wife, though this is quite a step down from her as she plays a supporting, rather than a starring role.

You'll recognize quite a few other characters, though none are truly that memorable, despite each being key to the plot. Oh, and the ending is a total surprise although it happens just a tad too quickly to savor.

By way, near the beginning of the film you should pay attention to the elevator operator in a tiny uncredited part. She is Noel Neill - the same lady who would play Lois Lane in the 1950s 'Superman' show.

Her voice was a dead giveaway and later you will see Harry Morgan in a small role as a combination masseur and 'fixer'.

One last thing, as it should have a big part to play is that the film dispenses with this metaphor, at least in such an obvious way.

Instead, it gives us a great big clock in the skyscraper's lobby (although there's no such thing in the book.) Beyond that, no one bothers to explain the title, sorry (but that means it's left to YOU to figure it out, I guess!) This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a new HD (1080) Presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements
Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin
Turning Back the Clock, a newly filmed analysis of the film by the critic and chief executive of Film London, Adrian Wootton
A Difficult Actor, a newly filmed appreciation of Charles Laughton and his performance in 'The Big Clock' by the actor, writer, and theatre director Simon Callow
Rare hour-long 1948 radio dramatization of The Big Clock by the Lux Radio Theatre, starring staring Ray Milland
Original Theatrical Trailer
Gallery of original stills and promotional materials
Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Christina Newland

www.MVDvisual.com





'Bachman: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Randy Bachman, Neil Young, Fred Turner, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Alex Lifeson, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / MVD Visual - Film Rise)

Overview: 'Bachman' is a contemporary feature length documentary film that follows Bachman Turner Overdrive's Randy Bachman - the award-winning musician - creating his next number one hit.

And he's someone that knows about hits re: American Woman, No Time, You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet, and Takin' Care Of Business, to name but a few!

This engaging documentary looks to his past for inspiration from rarely seen footage, pictures and documents that have been stored at the National Archives in Ottawa for decades.

'Bachman: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out May 10th, 2019 via MVD Visual / Film Rise.

Blu-ray Verdict: A documentary film chronicling the life of Randy Bachman, best known as a founding member of The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive, was always going to peak my interest - and rightly so.

The Canadian musician best known as lead guitarist, songwriter and a founding member of the 1960s and 1970s rock bands The Guess Who and Bachman–Turner Overdrive he was also a member of Brave Belt, Union and Ironhorse; and, of course, has recorded numerous solo albums over the decades.

'Bachman', written and directed by John Barnard (The Sheepdogs Have At It, Menorca), lovingly chronicles Bachman’s life from his childhood in Winnipeg, Canada to his touring career today at the age of 75.

This wondrous, engaging and totally value-packed (for all fans of music) features priceless interviews with Neil Young, Alex Lifeson (Rush), Peter Frampton and Fred Turner, among others.

The 78-minute documentary - which feels much longer as you lovingly allow it to flow over you with its wealth upon wealth of musical history - shows viewers Bachman's love of the guitar and how his passion began at an early age.

How he admired the work of local singer-songwriter Chad Allan and eventually joined his band. That band later became the Guess Who.

Bachman also bucked the common rock star lifestyle of booze, drugs and sex and converted to Mormonism for the woman he loved.

For the first time ever, Bachman reveals how his lifestyle choices led to tension in both bands and the ultimate breakups of the Guess Who and BTO.

'Bachman' also delves into his most recent work, an album featuring the songs of George Harrison. We also get to watch along as he visits his sanctuary: a warehouse filled with hundreds of customized guitars.

Bachman's face lights up as he pulls one rare guitar after another — his passion and love for them are impossible to overlook.

It's quite clear from watching this new documentary that here today, the 75-year-old shows no signs of slowing down and continues to create music and tour the world as a solo artist on his own terms - and for the love of his audiences worldwide.

The additional footage showcases: Neil Young on Winnipeg, Randy's Crazy Horse, Building a Reprise 'Here Comes the Sun', On Chords, Songwriting 'When No One Knows'. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Additional Footage
Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com

www.FilmRise.com





'FRONTLINE: The Trial of Ratko Mladiæ'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: 'The Trial of Ratko Mladiæ' provides haunting insights into a war criminal's motives, and the genocide he commanded his troops to carry out - as well as an intimate look at the victims left behind, who remain haunted by what their families endured.

It tells an epic story of justice, accountability and a country trying to escape its bloody past.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, although this captivating, haunting new two hour documentary does go to great lengths to fill even the most casual viewer in from the off, Ratko Mladiæ is a Bosnian Serb convicted war criminal and former warlord who led the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) as a general during the Yugoslav Wars.

He was later found guilty of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

On May 31st 2011, Mladiæ was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the ICTY.

His trial formally began in The Hague on 16 May 2012 and was concluded on November 22nd 2017 finding him guilty and sentencing him to life in prison.

A long-time member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, Mladiæ (who also went by the nickname "The Butcher of Bosnia") began his career in the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) in 1965.

As we watch along we learn that soon came to prominence in the Yugoslav Wars, initially as a high-ranking officer of the Yugoslav People's Army and subsequently as the Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska in the Bosnian War of 1992–95. The Serbian and United States' governments offered €5 million for information leading to Mladiæ's capture and arrest. Mladiæ nevertheless managed to remain at large for nearly sixteen years, initially sheltered by Serbian and Bosnian Serb security forces and later by family.

May 26th 2011, he was arrested in Lazarevo, Serbia. His capture was considered to be one of the pre-conditions for Serbia being awarded candidate status for European Union membership.

On November 22nd 2017, he was sentenced to life in prison by the ICTY after being found guilty of 10 charges, one of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and four of violations of the laws or customs of war.

He was subsequently cleared of one count of genocide. As the top military officer with command responsibility, Mladiæ was deemed by the ICTY to be responsible for both the siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre.

In 'The Trial of Ratko Mladiæ,' FRONTLINE goes inside the historic five-year trial, with unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to the prosecution and defense teams, as well as to witnesses from both sides who came to give evidence. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Korea: The Never-Ending War'
(DVD / NC-17 / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: 'Korea: The Never-Ending War' sheds new light on the global upheaval that led to the Korean War in 1950, a moment when the Cold War turned hot, and how today that war's brutal legacy has forced the world into a deadly nuclear showdown.

It is war that has raged for generations. The consequences of the war's stalemate contribute to a dangerous stand-off between North and South Korea, the United States and China.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, although this captivating, haunting new two hour documentary does go to great lengths to fill even the most casual viewer in from the off, the Korean War has long since been called “the Forgotten War” in the United States.

Where coverage of the 1950s conflict was censored and its memory decades later is often overshadowed by World War II and the Vietnam War.

But the three-year conflict in Korea, which pitted communist and capitalist forces against each other, set the stage for decades of tension among North Korea, South Korea and the United States.

It also helped set the tone for Soviet-American rivalry during the Cold War, profoundly shaping the world we live in today, historians said.

We watch and learn here on this in depth new PBS documentary as tensions between North Korea and the United States continue to mount amid missile tests and taunts, leading to the Korean War and the impacts that linger more than 60 years after its end.

Written and produced by John Maggio and narrated by Korean-American actor John Cho, 'Korea: The Never-Ending War' sheds new light on the global upheaval that led to the Korean War in 1950, a moment when the Cold War turned hot, and how today that war's brutal legacy has forced the world into a deadly nuclear showdown.

The war pitted South Korea and the United States, fighting under the auspices of the United Nations, against North Korea and China. Other nations contributed troops, too, but American forces did most of the fighting.

The Soviet Union supported North Korea at the beginning of the war, giving it arms, tanks and strategic advice. But China soon emerged as its most important ally, sending soldiers to fight in Korea as a way to keep the conflict away from its border.

The war devastated Korea. Historians said that between three million and four million people were killed, although firm figures have never been produced, particularly by the North Korean government. As many as 70 percent of the dead may have been civilians.

Destruction was particularly acute in the North, which was subjected to years of American bombing, including with napalm. Roughly 25 percent of its prewar population was killed and many of the survivors lived underground by the war’s end.

'Korea: The Never-Ending War' documents how the conflict has continued post-1953; the events that triggered North Korea's nuclear program; and South Korea's economic expansion.

The consequences of the war's stalemate contribute to a dangerous stand-off between North and South Korea, the United States and China. The 'end' of this conflict is still an open question. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Cold Pursuit: 4K Ultra HD'
(Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Tom Bateman, Emmy Rossum, Micheál Richardson, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / 2019 / Summit Entertainment- Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Based on the 2014 Norwegian film 'In Order of Disappearance,' Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate Films' 'Cold Pursuit' is the story of a grieving snowplow driver who seeks out revenge against the drug dealers who killed his son.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this May with the release of this quite stunning, and brilliantly off-center black comedy thriller 'Cold Pursuit' on new 4K home video format on May 14th, 2019.

For my money, this 'Cold Pursuit: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Cold Pursuit' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the delicious hues and nuances of all the frantic "white out" outdoor running and chase scenes involving the many action sequences.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where Neeson is running after his "prey" and his face (as it is cold, after all) is puffed and red) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. Well, snow plower Nelson Cox (Neeson) has just been awarded citizen of the year while enjoying his happy life, happy wife, and happy son.

But then his son is found dead of a heroin overdose. Despite Nelson's pleas that his son wasn't a drug user, the police find no evidence of foul play and rule it a suicide.

Still, Nelson feels that something fishy is going on and discovers from a friend that his son was the target of a mafia hit. Once he figures out who it was, be becomes a vigilante and kills off several people to get to the leader.

Mafia head "Viking" (Tom Bateman) becomes angry (and this is a hotheaded villain) and mistakes the killer coming from another Native-American mafia within the same town. They eventually instigate conflict and a mafia war, while Nelson continues to axe off more people.

It eventually leads him to a point where he kidnaps Viking's son in order to draw him out...and the gang...and the other gang...and the local police as a war of confused sides come together just to figure out whose angry at who.

I'll say right away that while this has the plot of a standard thriller that seems tailor made for Liam Neeson; that because it is and is proud of it. In fact, this is more of a parody of those Liam Neeson movies that come out around this time.

'Cold Pursuit' takes a lot of those elements, like the tough leading man with a combat background, an eccentric villain, a family member he's avenging, and even the use of a transport machine as a plot device (in this case, a snowplow), and put it into a movie that made me laugh at the dark elements that are typically easier to write in dramas.

What helps 'Cold Pursuit' are a couple of things, like its overall tone, which seems like a mix of Coen brothers cinematography and Tarantino-style editing and storytelling. This brings up a lot of side characters that are usually sidelined in a lot of Liam Neeson movies.

The main villain is delightfully over-the-top as an angry, yelling hothead, the Native Americans play off as wise while seemingly insane, and even some of the mafia goons get their little personality quirks that make them more then just throw away bad guys. There isn't much to Liam Neeson himself, who is basically the straight man to all the chaos.

I think that Liam Neeson would have to know at this point that his characters have gone through the same scenario so many times, that playing it up as a parody would only make sense from this point.

'Cold Pursuit' is an example of how that can take up that idea and make a parody without it becoming too silly. This is a dark comedy and because of that, I can see this as being an acquired taste.

Some may want an action with a more engaging story and some may want a comedy with more jokes. I say this is a happy marriage that isn't great, but rather simply remains a fun ride.

So, in summary,other then those wanting a more unconventional comedy I found 'Cold Pursuit' and Liam Neeson as a fun, vibrant and darkly comedic duo that make this movie exactly what it sets out to be.

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on a couple of the special features that are included.

The first I'll talk about is the Interview with Actor Liam Neeson, which as much as it only "reveals" what we already know about his character and the film in general, he does - in that low-caliber, gravel tone of his - honestly speak as if he LOVES his amateur killer character and what he gets up to re: eradicating the local criminality, as he puts it.

Neeson's own profound words about all of us having the "primitive need for avenging a wrong" within us all is a wee bit tough to hear now, given what he revealed on morning TV a couple of months back, but as an admirer of the original film that this is based on, Neeson also reveals his love for that one along with how happy he was they got the same director to direct 'Cold Pursuit.'

The other one I'll talk about is a further revealing gem entitled Welcome to Kehoe: Behind the Scenes on Cold Pursuit” where we get to see wonderful (especially if you loved the film like myself) How'd they do that? snippets of filming.

Much like when a truck was meant to have "run over him," but here we see it was only gently backed up over him before driving off as if it had driven over him!

Match that up with some snow and ice fight scenes, where nothing is quite what it seems cinematography wise, and yes, this is a first rate special feature, for sure.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Deleted Scenes
Interview with Actor Liam Neeson
Interview with Director Hans Petter Moland
“Welcome to Kehoe: Behind the Scenes on Cold Pursuit” Featurette

The 'Cold Pursuit: 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack' (+ Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD) will be released May 14th, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $42.99, $39.99, and $29.95, respectively.

Official Trailer

Official Website

www.LGF.com





'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'
(Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: As Hiccup fulfills his dream of creating a peaceful dragon utopia, Toothless’ discovery of an untamed, elusive mate draws the Night Fury away.

When danger mounts at home and Hiccup’s reign as village chief is tested, both dragon and rider must make impossible decisions to save their kind.

'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital] is out May 21st, 2019 via Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Blu-ray Verdict: Get your horned helmets on everybody for the wondrous 'How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World' Blu-ray is finally upon us!

After the critical success of the original and the sequel, can 'The Hidden World' live up to the five year hype? There is only one way to find out and I'm here to aid your quest, my friends.

The Hidden World is set a year after Drago Bloodfist's attempted plot to destroy the Dragon race and enslave the Viking Nation of Berk.

From the ashes of this conflict, Berk has become a major utopia for both humanity and dragons, all thanks to the first dragon rider and visionary Hiccup, who struggles to live up to his late-fathers expectations as the Chieftain of Berk.

But after discovering a secret conspiracy by infamous dragon hunter called Grimmel in his endless quest to hunt his dragon Toothless, the last Night Fury, Hiccup and his family set out to find the legendary Hidden World of Dragons in his hope that mankind and dragons can continue to co-exist in peace.

'How to Train your Dragon 3' (or 'The Hidden World,' as it was subsequently subtitled) brings us to the ultimate finale. Where the stakes are raised even higher for both the people of Berk and their dragon allies.

The animation, for a start, is a big new step for the franchise and DreamWorks films in many years. And like its predecessor the aging of characters continues to be very realistic even up to the final scene.

The combination of human and dragon action is better than ever and the environments and settings are spectacular to gaze upon.

The voice acting and dialogue is well orchestrated and written in with the story that flows and continues to get better from each act at a time.

The story, in general, is the best I've seen in this series so far, and truly shows a large amount of tension as to how far Hiccup and Berk would go to make Man and Beast co-exist as equals.

The story also brings back the long lost vibe that such films as 'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi' had once before.

The drama and situations are written in well and bring in much needed character developments to the leads such as Hiccup and Toothless and to newer characters.

And how they end the story is brilliant and a very definitive way to close the trilogy on a high note by having the dragons returning from whence they came in order for both Berk and dragons to be safe from future Danger.

The characters continue to grow better such as Hiccup as he finally goes from village nobody, to dragon trainer, to warrior and finally as the Chief that his father wishes him to be in perfect transition.

And his chemistry with Toothless is much more personified and his aiding of him to get close to the female night fury is ingenious.

Astrid shows much more stronger development from her many other appearances and continues to be the biggest female Viking Badass in battle while showing many powerful, romantic moments with Hiccup and his daughter in-law relationship towards Hiccup's mother throughout.

The villain may not have much of a soul-shattering human motivation like Drago did as to why he wants to kill the dragons.

Grimmel is actually as much more Intelligent and far more dangerous and resourceful antagonist than the latter. And with the acting of F. Murray Abraham, you have a very sinister foe you wouldn't want to cross.

The side characters of Gobber, Snotlout, Fishlegs, Ruffnut and Tuffnut continue to provide more and inventive comic relief. Enough to bring in many moments of laughter even when things get much more serious.

Oh, and if you were expecting me to include some dislikes here, well, sorry, for this entire movie is as flawless as a polished sports car!

The incredible thing about this movie is that 'How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World' proves for the first time in many years that ending a franchise on a definitive high note IS and CAN still be made possible.

Other animated film series', such as 'Shrek', 'Despicable Me' and 'Cars' have all tried to end their trilogies in a good way but never seem to push their boundaries enough to bring audiences something new that they could love.

But never say never as 'The Hidden World' has everything that a finale could ever want with enough story, drama, danger, humor, romance, likable characters and heart stopping twists that brings this beloved series the perfect closure it deserves!

As for a closer look at a few of the lovely Bonus Features, in The Dragon Sheep Chronicles, protecting sheep from the dragons of Berk is no easy task but Hiccup has a plan!

In A Deck of Dragons, we observe four new dragons as Fishlegs unveils his original deck of dragon trading cards and in Astrid’s Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds, well hold on tight as Astrid sums up the whole dragon trilogy in a legendary 60 seconds!

Welcome to New Berk features Hiccup as your guide and who gives us a firsthand look at the updated Viking village of New Berk. And in How I Learned from Dragons the diverse cast of characters reveal why they think the dragon trilogy is so special.

Finally there is a rather wonderful FREE game entitled 'Train Your Own Dragon' inside the packaging which includes an exclusive Virtual Pet!

So, what we have is 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, and French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Two Shorts: Bilby and Bird Karma
Deleted Scenes (with Intros by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois)
• How to Voice Your Viking
• Creating an Epic Dragon Tale
• How I Learned from Dragons
The Dragon Sheep Chronicles
Welcome to New Berk
A Deck of Dragons
• Growing Up with Dragons
• The Evolving Character Design of Dragons
• Drawing Dragons
• Epic Villain
Astrid's Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds
Feature Commentary (by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois, Producer Bradford Lewis and Head of Character Animation Simon Otto)
Feature Commentary - The Evolving Character Design of Dragons
Alternate Opening with Intro by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois
Brave Wilderness Presents: Nature + Dragons = Awesome

Official Trailer

Official Website

Official Facebook Page

www.UPHE.com





'Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders'
(Leo Ramsey, Devin McGregor Ketko, Timothy Lee-Priest, Jason Lasater, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + CD / NR / 2019 / Cleopatra Entertainment - MVD Visual)

Overview: 'Room 37: The Mysterious Death of Johnny Thunders' is a supernatural horror-thriller written and directed by the Cordero Brothers – Vicente Cordero and Fernando Cordero Caballero.

The film features Leo Ramsey, Devin McGregor Ketko, Timothy Lee-Priest, and Jason Lasater, and includes the infamous Johnny Thunders song “Born to Lose,” along with a vocal appearance by legendary New York Dolls member Sylvain Sylvain.

Produced by Shanti Whitney, the film was executive produced by Brian Perera, Yvonne Perera, and co-produced by Tim Yasui.

Blu-ray Verdict: As we eagerly watch and learn, Johnny Thunders arrives to New Orleans to begin a new chapter of his life by following a new musical sound, and staying clean from drugs in order to see his kids again.

But, after he settles into the St. Peter's Guest House Hotel, things go awry. His room is robbed (which contained the last of his money) and his only methadone supply was stolen from him too.

Johnny's journey to recovery quickly turns dark when he takes desperate measures to get better, all which propel Johnny deeper into chaos that ultimately leads to his unexplained mysterious final hours.

With his battered TV yellow Les Paul guitar, Johnny Thunders – once a wide-eyed John Anthony Genzale Junior from Queens, New York – rose from spotty Stones fan to scuzzy hellion with the New York Dolls.

Strutting about on the filthy streets of Manhattan and stages around the world like it was no one’s business, Johnny was a sight – and sound – to behold.

Even dolled up in pseudo-drag, sporting a shiny pair of hooker heels, he looked like he could instil fear and terror into the likes of his hero Keef.

The lanky Italian kid seemed as if he’d come from another planet; “somethin’ else”, as Eddie Cochran would have said, had he been around to hear his shot-to-hell guitar cutting through the speakers like a rusty blade.

Both as a New York Doll and a solo artist with his outfit the Heartbreakers, Johnny simply oozed rock and roll from every sordid pore.

That, however, wasn’t the only thing coursing through his veins; like the drug-addled heroes who’d stolen his heart as a baseball-loving boy, Thunders had a serious smack problem.

Or, rather, smack had a serious problem with him – so much so, that it often overshadowed everything else in his life, including his musical legacy.

While heroin certainly deteriorated his health, it wasn’t what sounded the death knell for him in 1991 at only 38.

Thunders, in fact, had turned to methadone to get off the horse; but, as fate would have it, he was also battling Leukemia.

And so, as this enthralling new Cleoptra Entertainment / MVD Visual rockumentray 'Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunder' unveils, one April’s day, the musician was found dead in a seedy New Orleans hotel just as he’d so often felt in his troubled, yet brilliant life: alone.

Played by Leo Ramsey ('For The People'), Johnny Thunders' journey is played out to what we assume perfection here. Albeit we don't honestly know what actually happened in those final days and hours and minutes, or why he did what he did, Ramsey's portrayal of Thunders alone is as, at the very least, humanizing and solid.

Inspired by true life events surrounding the mysterious death of former NY Doll guitarist Johnny Thunders, 'Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders' is a fascinating, if not gothically dark and horror-edged look into his life for all fans of Punk Rock, The New York Dolls and, of course, the man, the myth, the band, the legends, Johnny Thunder & The Heartbreakers.

In a deluxe package that also includes a DVD of the film along with a magnificent CD soundtrack featuring original film score and music from The Heartbreakers, Johnny Thunders, New York Dolls, Sylvain Sylain and Walter Lure, this is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Amazon Purchase Link

www.Cleopatra-Records.com

www.MVDshop.com





'Lords of Chaos: Uncensored Director's Cut'
(Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, et al / Blu-ray + DVD / NR / 2019 / Cleopatra Entertainment - MVD Visual)

Overview: A teenager's quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the early 1990s results in a very violent outcome.

Blu-ray Verdict: Oslo, 1987. 17-year-old Euronymous is determined to escape his traditional upbringing and becomes fixated on creating 'true Norwegian black metal' with his band Mayhem.

He mounts shocking publicity stunts to put the band's name on the map, but the lines between show and reality start to blur.

Arson, violence and a vicious murder shock the nation that is under siege by these Lords of Chaos.

For my money, 'Lords of Chaos' is not only a solid piece of film, but an engaging, darkly comical but at times tense drama film based on actual true events that took place within the uprising of Norwegian metal music in the late 80's and early 90's; revolving around bands Mayhem and Burzem.

Having said that, the rest is really best to allow to unfold before your very eyes for it will leave an impression on you, one way or another, that's for damn sure!

The script and pace work is great and there's never a dull moment - despite a few sequences that deal with a more earthly subject matter - such as suicide, murder and religious retaliations.

The acting range of the leads in both Rory Culkin and Emory Cohen are both together on screen and as one in their own pockets of Gothness, stirring and provoking.

The tenseness of the third act is a massively wondrous pay off, whether you know the full extent of said ending (in real life) or not, whilst director Jonas Åkerlund helms from his past experiences with metal bands flawlessly.

Chock full of surprisingly more darkly toned humor and brutal moments of violent crimes than I would have expected, and whilst being based on the biographical book of the same name, 'Lords of Chaos' was a delightful surprise to me and an unexpected two thumbs up at the very same time (from all who viewed it with me last night).

Overall, and playing Devil's Advocate, sure, it's far from a perfect movie, but for what it tries to relay, for what it attempts to signify within both the musical community and those that "live" within it, well, it's sense of sadness entwinned with bouts of entertaining, yet brutal and emotional experiences makes this one highly worthy cinematic venture. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Limited Edition Bonus Features of:

11 Director's Teasers
Trailer

Official Purchase Link

www.UnrestrictedView.com

www.MVDshop.com





'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' [4K]
(Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: As Hiccup fulfills his dream of creating a peaceful dragon utopia, Toothless’ discovery of an untamed, elusive mate draws the Night Fury away.

When danger mounts at home and Hiccup’s reign as village chief is tested, both dragon and rider must make impossible decisions to save their kind.

'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' [4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + DVD + Digital] is out May 21st, 2019 via Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Get your horned helmets on everybody for the wondrous 'How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World' 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is finally upon us!

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this May with the release of this quite stunning, and brilliantly lavish 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' on new 4K home video format on May 21st, 2019.

For my money, this 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the delicious hues and nuances of fire breathing scenes combined with the joyous taking flight scenes high in the skies.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where the heroines of the piece are front and center, their animated faces truly living and breathing on screen) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 and Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. After the critical success of the original and the sequel, can 'The Hidden World' live up to the five year hype? There is only one way to find out and I'm here to aid your quest, my friends.

The Hidden World is set a year after Drago Bloodfist's attempted plot to destroy the Dragon race and enslave the Viking Nation of Berk.

From the ashes of this conflict, Berk has become a major utopia for both humanity and dragons, all thanks to the first dragon rider and visionary Hiccup, who struggles to live up to his late-fathers expectations as the Chieftain of Berk.

But after discovering a secret conspiracy by infamous dragon hunter called Grimmel in his endless quest to hunt his dragon Toothless, the last Night Fury, Hiccup and his family set out to find the legendary Hidden World of Dragons in his hope that mankind and dragons can continue to co-exist in peace.

'How to Train your Dragon 3' (or 'The Hidden World,' as it was subsequently subtitled) brings us to the ultimate finale. Where the stakes are raised even higher for both the people of Berk and their dragon allies.

The animation, for a start, is a big new step for the franchise and DreamWorks films in many years. And like its predecessor the aging of characters continues to be very realistic even up to the final scene.

The combination of human and dragon action is better than ever and the environments and settings are spectacular to gaze upon.

The voice acting and dialogue is well orchestrated and written in with the story that flows and continues to get better from each act at a time.

The story, in general, is the best I've seen in this series so far, and truly shows a large amount of tension as to how far Hiccup and Berk would go to make Man and Beast co-exist as equals.

The story also brings back the long lost vibe that such films as 'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi' had once before.

The drama and situations are written in well and bring in much needed character developments to the leads such as Hiccup and Toothless and to newer characters.

And how they end the story is brilliant and a very definitive way to close the trilogy on a high note by having the dragons returning from whence they came in order for both Berk and dragons to be safe from future Danger.

The characters continue to grow better such as Hiccup as he finally goes from village nobody, to dragon trainer, to warrior and finally as the Chief that his father wishes him to be in perfect transition.

And his chemistry with Toothless is much more personified and his aiding of him to get close to the female night fury is ingenious.

Astrid shows much more stronger development from her many other appearances and continues to be the biggest female Viking Badass in battle while showing many powerful, romantic moments with Hiccup and his daughter in-law relationship towards Hiccup's mother throughout.

The villain may not have much of a soul-shattering human motivation like Drago did as to why he wants to kill the dragons.

Grimmel is actually as much more Intelligent and far more dangerous and resourceful antagonist than the latter. And with the acting of F. Murray Abraham, you have a very sinister foe you wouldn't want to cross.

The side characters of Gobber, Snotlout, Fishlegs, Ruffnut and Tuffnut continue to provide more and inventive comic relief. Enough to bring in many moments of laughter even when things get much more serious.

Oh, and if you were expecting me to include some dislikes here, well, sorry, for this entire movie is as flawless as a polished sports car!

The incredible thing about this movie is that 'How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World' proves for the first time in many years that ending a franchise on a definitive high note IS and CAN still be made possible.

Other animated film series', such as 'Shrek', 'Despicable Me' and 'Cars' have all tried to end their trilogies in a good way but never seem to push their boundaries enough to bring audiences something new that they could love.

But never say never as 'The Hidden World' has everything that a finale could ever want with enough story, drama, danger, humor, romance, likable characters and heart stopping twists that brings this beloved series the perfect closure it deserves!

As for a closer look at a few of the lovely Bonus Features, in The Dragon Sheep Chronicles, protecting sheep from the dragons of Berk is no easy task but Hiccup has a plan!

In A Deck of Dragons, we observe four new dragons as Fishlegs unveils his original deck of dragon trading cards and in Astrid’s Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds, well hold on tight as Astrid sums up the whole dragon trilogy in a legendary 60 seconds!

Welcome to New Berk features Hiccup as your guide and who gives us a firsthand look at the updated Viking village of New Berk. And in How I Learned from Dragons the diverse cast of characters reveal why they think the dragon trilogy is so special.

Finally there is a rather wonderful FREE game entitled 'Train Your Own Dragon' inside the packaging which includes an exclusive Virtual Pet! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Alternate Opening with Intro by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois
Two Shorts: Bilby and Bird Karma
Deleted Scenes (with Intros by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois)
• How to Voice Your Viking
• Creating an Epic Dragon Tale
• How I Learned from Dragons
The Dragon Sheep Chronicles
Welcome to New Berk
A Deck of Dragons
• Growing Up with Dragons
• The Evolving Character Design of Dragons
• Drawing Dragons
• Epic Villain
Astrid's Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds
Feature Commentary (by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois, Producer Bradford Lewis and Head of Character Animation Simon Otto)
Feature Commentary - The Evolving Character Design of Dragons
Brave Wilderness Presents: Nature + Dragons = Awesome

The 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' (+ Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD) will be released May 21st, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $42.99, $39.99, and $29.95, respectively.

Official Trailer

Official Website

Official Facebook Page

www.UPHE.com





'Trading Paint' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(John Travolta, Michael Madsen, Toby Sebastian, Shania Twain, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / R / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: Veteran race car driver Sam Munroe and his son, a fellow driver from a small town overcome family and professional conflicts, balancing competition, ego, resentment and a racing nemesis to come out stronger on the other side.

Blu-ray Verdict: In my humble opinion, after watching 'Trading Paint' (which is still a daft title) it was nice to see Travolta back on my small screen.

Especially as this time he's back in a more human role dealing with, give or take, a more down to earth and real life situation, shall we say.

Rooted firming in Americana folklore of storytelling, and chock full of wondrous leadership skills and learning moments, 'Trading Paint' is about as close as one can get to the real world racing championships on local circuits that anyone could get without it being a documentary, me thinks.

Travolta plays an emotional role as a father who works hard, struggles to have a relationship, a bond even with his son, Cam (Toby Sebastian). Of course, as in any movie the plot has to include a rivalry with the village idiot (Madsen) who tries to divide the family by pitting the son against the father.

But that's ok for as much as it's expected the way it's played out between the father and son characters allows for true American family values to seep through at all times.

Basically, as we should all know, family should never be disloyal to family. So if Linsky (Madsen) can't have that, why not cause an accident? But instead of breaking the spirit of father and son, they unite, of course.

There's lot of scenes where stock cars are barreling down the speedway, threatening to either smash into one another or dangerously flip completely, and add those to some deserved nods of acting from our leads and we've got ourselves one heck of a movie here folks!

Oh, and as for the role here of Shania Twain (a woman in her 50's and yet who looked no more than 30 here!) as Becca is such a bonus treat for both her fans and the entire overall cinematic experience, trust me.

Filmed in Hueytown and Bessemer Alabama, Hueytown, Alabama is the hometown of Nascar's, Alabama Gang and that is only good for the film as everything was there for the cast and crew to submerge within. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The 'Trading Paint' Blu-ray and DVD will be available May 21st, 2019 via Lionsgate Films for the suggested retail price of $22.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'Trading Paint' Trailer





'A Vigilante' [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital]
(Olivia Wilde, Morgan Spector, Kyle Catlett, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / R / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: Give her a call, and she’ll give you justice. After escaping her violent husband, Sadie (Olivia Wilde) makes it her life’s mission to help free others in danger.

Now, after months of rigorous training in survival skills, boxing, and lethal martial arts, Sadie is back with a vengeance in this fight-packed action-thriller.

Blu-ray Verdict: Australian moviemaker Daggar-Nickson and actress and producer Olivia Wilde have decided to endow their film with a hardness and violence rarely seen in the movies; making their lack of production resources a quality, giving the film an almost documentary tone.

The film is extremely dry, without any concession and full of scenes difficult to watch, given the crudity with which the camera reports the facts of the script.

This more than naturalistic option is clear in the process of deglamorization of the protagonist Sadie. Olivia Wilde is easy one of the most beautiful actresses of the current cinema.

His work on TV series such as House (the unforgettable Doctor Thirteen) or Vinyl or in films like 'Love The Coopers' or 'Cowboys And Aliens' always brought one of the most beautiful faces on the screens.

Here she is completely brutalized and stripped of all charm, living (very well) the main character, a woman suffered physically and morally for the very serious abuses she endured.

Their routine is to live in cheap motels or almost empty homes, physically training to resist abuse (and attack abusers) or in the painful sessions of the abused women's support group.

There are numerous scenes that look like a punch in the stomach. All very well made and raw filmed, almost in a cruel way. But fully embedded in the unsorted narrative that the movie chose.

A "gun-movie", "a female Frank Castle", "the solitary avenger", "a desperate fighter against crime" or "frighteningly real monsters" are expressions that come immediately to mind just 20 minutes in and as much as they are all highly laudatory texts, the movie is much more than that within its underbelly.

Ergo, 'The Vigilante,' although a film about a figure usually rejected (mainly by movie critics en mass) to take justice in his (or her) own hands, it surpasses this barrier by the easy understanding that the victims of domestic abuses conquer in the present times.

More than a wonderful film, 'The Vigilante' is an important movie to see in todays day and age. A unique film with an interesting plot and great acting watch it and thank me later! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Feature of:

“Catharsis: Creating A Vigilante” Featurette

The 'A Vigilante' Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD out May 28th, 2019 via Lionsgate Films will include a never-before-seen making-of featurette, and will be available for the suggested retail price of $22.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'The Vigilante' Trailer





'Isn't It Romantic' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam DeVine, Priyanka Chopra, Betty Gilpin, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: New York City architect Natalie (Rebel Wilson) works hard to get noticed at her job but is more likely to be asked to deliver coffee and bagels than to design the city’s next skyscraper.

And if things weren’t bad enough, Natalie, a lifelong cynic when it comes to love, has an encounter with a mugger that renders her unconscious, waking to discover that her life has suddenly become her worst nightmare — a romantic comedy — and she is the leading lady!

Blu-ray Verdict: As cinema's most formulaic and over-played genre, I'm always happy to see a film taking a little pop at the romantic comedy; simply because there's so much to poke fun at!

'Isn't It Romantic' takes this premise to the max early on with a full-on parody of all things rom-com that makes for a rather cute and enjoyable opening.

However, while it's a perfectly pleasant movie throughout, it unfortunately loses steam and confidence in its satirical attitude, ultimately and rather disappointingly devolving into what is unmistakably a generic romantic comedy.

But let's start on the bright side with the film's early critiques and little jabs at all the ridiculous tropes of the romantic comedy.

As a genre that everyone knows well, this film doesn't hold back when going into extreme detail about various formulaic aspects of the rom-com, whether it be the pointless rivalry between female friends or the ever-present final dash to stop the wedding.

In that there's a lot to laugh at and enjoy when it comes to making fun of the rom-com formula and 'Isn't It Romantic' is a film that stays bold and confident in its delivery of that satire well throughout the first act; all the while impressing with nice humor, a pleasant lead performance from Rebel Wilson, and a sweet and enjoyable atmosphere all round.

A lot of that continues on right the way through to the end and while 'Isn't It Romantic' remains a really rather nice watch throughout, as aforementioned, it proves hugely disappointing in its rather abrupt end of all the rom-com satire as the second act gets underway.

With a major change of circumstance that sees Rebel Wilson trapped inside a romantic comedy the film eventually just gives up on all its gags and little jabs at the genre, and instead goes into automatic as it develops the story and the various on-screen romances towards a disappointingly predictable conclusion.

In comparison to something like 'They Came Together', which also pokes fun at romantic comedies, 'Isn't It Romantic' isn't consistently farcical or stupid enough to be a properly good satire of the genre.

Its finale attempts to subvert your expectations with an individualistic message, but it's delivered far too seriously and earnestly to fit in with that comical vibe.

Ultimately, and to my mind, that's what really undoes this film as a whole. That said, it's perfectly pleasant and thanks to its thoroughly enjoyable opening act, it's certainly better than most romantic comedies.

However, the fact remains that it just doesn't carry through with its funniest ideas instead devolving into exactly what it's meant to poking fun at.

With a disappointingly generic, simplistic and annoyingly earnest latter two acts, it makes for an underwhelming finish to what could have been a thoroughly hilarious watch.

In closing though, and playing Devil's Advocate, Rebel Wilson and the rest of the cast are well placed and very funny at times and the movie itself does have a great message to impart.

And for someone who rolls their eyes at most rom-com's you can be sure that 'Isn't It Romantic' will make you laugh and chuckle to yourself and, at worst, just smile throughout - and isn't that just so refreshing for a movie to do that for you these days. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

I Wanna Dance!
Deleted Scenes

Own 'Isn’t It Romantic' on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on May 21st, or own it early on Digital on April 30th!

www.wbshop.com

Official 'Isn't It Romantic' Trailer





'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out'
(The Police / Blu-ray / NR / (2006) 2019 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: 'Everyone Stares' is a first-person account of The Police's ascent from obscurity to worldwide fame as well as an astute and sometimes hilarious commentary on the pop culture of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Blu-ray Verdict: I've always been a sucker for all these "first-person accounts" of musicians within bands back from the day so having been sent this wondrous Blu-ray for review - from one of my favorite bands growing up - well, bring it on!

'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out' is a quite brilliant 99 minute cinematic venture where Stewart Copeland (for those not in the know, the drummer) brings a fresh, first-person perspective to all-things (in this filmed timeframe, of course) about his enormously successful band The Police.

Fans of the band know of the legendary battles the three band members endured throughout their career together, but this film shows just how magnificent, how easy-breezy and great it was before their success consumed them.

Shot in grainy 8mm film, the organic visuals complete the essence of this rock and roll time capsule, which features rare concert footage and behind-the-scenes glimpses of their rise to fame.

As a fan, let alone a casual bystander, watching this film in its early stages is like discovering unearthed music from your favorite artist for just watching Sting (in Texas in 1978 in their car) with his huge head phones on and yet attune to everything going on around him is one of the most blissful things I've cinematically witnessed in ages.

Watching it all unfold through the eye(s) of Copeland you feel as if you're absorbing the atmosphere as it progresses. Like when Copeland admits that being a three piece was helpful to them whilst touring America as they each got more room in the car!

In truth though, the film does move at a rather rapid pace as early on the band travel on yet another highway in search of the one to break them big in America and after asking for directions to a Best Western (hotel), seemingly in a blink of an eye (albeit a few years later), they are knee deep in fame and frolicking on the French Riviera!

But that's jumping to the end of this story way too soon for we get cute visual treats early on as they stop off at a record store in Phoenix, Arizona to sign copies of their new record.

Not the biggest turn out they would have, but chock full of young girls panting at the mere sight of these three young British boys and me thinks that's all they could have asked for!

Indeed, and in what could have so easily been a demonstrative Rise and Fall account of how creative differences tore apart a legendary band early on, 'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out' is actually a heartwarming scrapbook of fond memories; reminding all of us of how good it once was for them back then.

Oh, and when Sting states that he blames all his problems on the man holding the camera, well, you just know there's a hint of truth in there somewhere!

Culled from over 50 hours of Super 8 movies he shot during the acclaimed trio's heyday, Copeland also narrates at his own mid-tempo, Lou Reed-esque pace - which, monotone as it clearly is still seems to work just fine here.

Now available for the first time on Blu-ray, 'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out' is, without a shadow of a doubt, a shining video example of days gone by where the footage (thankfully) is left to speak for itself.

www.Eagle-Rock.com

Official 'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out' Trailer





'Kinky'
(Vivica A. Fox, Robert Ri'Chard, Gary Dourdan, Dawn Richard, Darrin Dewitt Henson, et al / DVD / R / 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Dr. Joyce Reynolds (Dawn Richard from the smash pop group DANITY KANE), a successful yet shy Atlanta surgeon, enjoys a secluded and single lifestyle.

After being set up on a date with billionaire Darrin Bernard (Robert Ri'chard, Coach Carter), Joyce immediately begins a whirlwind romance with the wealthy businessman and entrepreneur.

It isn't long before Joyce begins to explore her own sexual fantasies as Darren discovers Joyce's proclivities start to push the boundaries of pain and pleasure.

DVD Verdict: OK, well, as I have just sat through this 93 minutes along with my partner we can report back that, for the most part, 'Kinky' is one big hot mess of a film!

I mean, for a film entitled 'Kinky' - let alone the cover art - I truly thought this would be some form of 'Fifty Shades' endeavor. But, sadly, it was nothing of the kind and worse yet where the obvious storyline tried to go it just didn't have the nerve.

I mean, as soon as something begins to happen sexually between the two leads it cuts to the end of whatever they were supposed to be doing. Yes, I know this happens a lot in your average run of the mill films, but here on this straight-to-DVD affair, well, I expected a little more.

So, in a film entitled 'Kinky' there really is no so-called show and tell at all, but then when you watch all the way through in hope of a decent pay off and you get … well, I won't give it away, but man, what a massive let down.

In closing, again, I feel like this movie was going for the aforementioned 'Fifty Shades' vibe, but with the promise of a decent twist, but it missed all the important points that keep viewers tuned in. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MVDvisual.com





'Cielo'
(DVD / NR / (2017) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: 'Cielo' is a cinematic reverie on the crazy beauty of the night sky, as experienced in the Atacama Desert, Chile, one of the best places on our planet to explore and contemplate its splendor.

DVD Verdict: Alison McAlpine's film drifts between science and spirituality, the arid land, desert shores and lush galaxies, expanding the limits of our imaginations.

From planet hunters and strophysicists in the Atacama's astronomical observatories to the desert dwellers who work the land and sea, all share their evocative visions of the stars and planets, their mythic stories and existential queries with remarkable openness and a contagious sense of wonder.

Beautifully shot, wonderfully strange, 'Cielo' is a preciously portrayed collection of perspectives held by those who appreciate the beauty and wonder of the sky like no city-dweller can.

The quiet moments here within the 70 minutes were the best moments. Leaving me to ponder all there is to fear and all there is to cherish from the infinite unknowns of the universe.

It is inspiring, relaxing and breathtaking. The combination of characters and the images of the sky leaves you wanting to explore Chile and the Atacama desert.

Indeed, my favorite conversation of all the ones shown was between the two algae collectors in Los Pozos, Huasco. Just listening to them converse, to speculate, to dream was one of the most heartwarming conversations that I've had the pleasure to "eavesdrop in on" for many a year.

A love poem for the night sky, 'Cielo' transports us to a space, quiet and calm, within which we are invited to ponder the infinite and unknown. This is a Standard Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MVDvisual.com





'Constructing Albert'
(Albert Adrià, Ferran Adrià, José Andrés, et al / DVD / NR / (2017) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: In the world of haute cuisine, the name Ferran Adrià is synonymous with creativity. Now, younger brother Albert strives to establish his own culinary reputation.

DVD Verdict: The much-honored Spanish restaurant el Bulli, which closed in 2011, was once considered the best in the world, but this intriguing foodie documentary reveals a rival - a sibling rival, that is.

While el Bulli's head chef Ferran Adriá was proclaimed a genius, it seems that behind the scenes simmering wasn't confined to stockpots.

Over a four-year period, filmmakers Collado and Loomis follow the story of Ferran's former partner and co-chef, younger brother Albert, as he steps out of the long shadow of el Bulli's legacy and stakes his own claim to fame on an ambitious string of five restaurants in Barcelona's theater district; each featuring a different wildly innovative cuisine.

At the heart of this growing empire is Tickets, a restaurant in which nothing is impossible, elevating the humble tapas to haute-cuisine. Next door 41° shines with a special light.

Conceived as a mini el Bulli seating just sixteen fortunate dinners, it explores the heights of culinary creativity. Albert's fertile vision does not stop there: Pakta, japaneseperuvian fusion with the Adrià stamp; Bodega1900, a homage to Catalan vermouth culture; Hoja Santa, an immersion into the depths of traditional Mexican cuisine; and Enigma, his most ambitious project, and the one he hopes to turn into one of the best restaurants in the world.

Each very different from the other, and yet al bearing his personal signature, 'Constructing Albert' shows how all his incredible, delicious meals are built from the ground up whilst also exploring the economic anxieties of creating these very same businesses.

This is Albert's proclamation of self-assurance, his attempt to escape the shadow of the now legendary el Bulli and enter the Pantheon of great chefs.

This is Albert constructing himself. This is a Standard Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Running Man: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Laurence Harvey, Lee Remick, Alan Bates, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1963) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: Rex Black (Laurence Harvey, 'Walk On The Wild Side') has successfully faked his death in a plane crash and escaped to sunny Málaga under a new identity, waiting for his wife Stella (Lee Remick, 'Anatomy Of A Murder') to arrive with £50,000 of life insurance money.

It's the start of a blissful, trouble-free new life for the couple until Stephen (Alan Bates, Gosford Park), the insurance agent in charge of investigating Rex's death, suddenly arrives in town.

Is he just holidaying in Spain, as he claims, or is he on assignment to foil Rex's scheme?

Blu-ray Verdict: Over a decade after redefining the thriller with 'The Third Man', director Carol Reed returned to the genre with 'The Running Man'.

Reuniting with that film's cinematographer Robert Krasker (BAFTA-nominated for his work here), Reed goes in the opposite direction visually, framing the twisty plot in sun-kissed widescreen color.

Sailing to the film after experiencing his own mutiny on Mutiny on the Bounty, director Carol Reed (who got $200,000 for leaving the Bounty) steps out of the Film Noir shadows with cinematographer Robert Krasker for an elegant sunset thriller.

Filmed on location, Reed and Krasker give the Black's holiday a dusty/sand appearance, which slowly grates into the movie an atmosphere of sinister mind-games behind the warm holiday snaps brightness.

Touring the side streets and towns with the trio, Reed stylishly use the cramped streets and the locals going about their daily lives to frame Rex and Maddux narrowly looking over each others shoulders.

Giving a Noir mood via opening with an extended flashback, John Mortimer (who wrote 'Buddy Lake is Missing') gives this Shelley Smith adaptation an extremely strong Patricia Highsmith flavor (minus her homoerotic overtones!)

Slithering round each other like vipers, Mortimer centers this running man on the deep mistrust between Rex and Maddux, where the smiles of the pretty boys barely hides their desire to stamp the other out, and always keeping their guard up.

Whilst the ending has an ill-fitting light atmosphere, Mortimer builds up the cracks in the Black's marriage from Rex's rogue charms, and sharply changes Stella's perspective of "holiday guest" Maddux.

Catching the eye of every man when sunbathing on her holiday, Lee Remick gives a great performance as Stella. Partners in crime with Rex, Remick makes Stella standout as the only woman in the trio with a subtle softening, from being on edge at the mere sight of Maddux, to showing warmth to both of them.

Entering as the outsider, Alan Bates relishes in making every glance or twitch of Maddux suggest that he might be about to stop the Black's in their tracks.

Playing games to keep everyone off his tracks, Laurence Harvey gives a fantastic performance as Rex, thanks to Harvey making Rex's poor attempts to hold a fake Aussie accent separate the charismatic cad, with the murky, calculating running man.

In closing, the music used throughout the film is perfect, the scenery stunning, and the acting by this fine cast is great too; though the only truly strong role belonged to Lee Remick (although Laurence Harvey was rather good too), in my humble opinion. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

2K restoration of the film by Sony Pictures
High Definition (1080p) Blu-Ray presentation
Original uncompressed mono audio
Isolated music and effects track
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary by Peter William Evans, author of British Film-Makers: Carol Reed
On The Trail Of The Running Man, all-new featurette with crew members such as script supervisor Angela Allen and assistant director Kits Browning
Lee Remick at the National Film Theatre, an audio-only recording of the actor's appearance at the NFT in 1970
Image Gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original artwork
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw

www.ArrowFilms.com





'Trapped Alive: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Cameron Mitchell, Alex Kubik, Sullivan Hester, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1988) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: One wintry night, pals Robin and Monica are making their way to a Christmas party when they are carjacked by a gang of crooks recently escaped from the local penitentiary.

With the two young women taken as hostages, things take an even darker turn when their vehicle plummets down an abandoned mine shaft, trapping them underground with the dangerous crooks - and a mutant cannibal.

Blu-ray Verdict: Genre regular Cameron Mitchell ('The Toolbox Murders', 'From a Whisper to a Scream') stars in this thrilling tale of escaped hoodlums and underground-dwelling cannibals from director Leszek Burzynski and 'Hellraiser' producer Christopher Webster.

Filmed in 1988 under the title of 'Forever Mine' but not released until 1993, 'Trapped Alive' was the first film to come out of Wisconsin's now-defunct Windsor Lake Studios; which would go on to produce a number of films under the Fangoria Films label in the early-90s (including 1992's Bruce Campbell-starring, and highly-underrated 'Mindwarp').

So, three convicts escape from a maximum security prison on Christmas Eve and decide to hijack a vehicle on a snowbound backwoods road, subsequently holding the two women hostage.

In trying to avoid a roadblock they go off road and crash through a rotting cover over an old mine shaft. The survivors now find themselves trapped in a maze of old tunnels, but soon realize they might not be alone.

Meanwhile a local deputy sheriff is on their trail, of course … just very slowly and not so wisely, given the circumstances re: there's three (3) escaped convicts, my friend!

Anyway, for my money this is an odd film to try and lob into a certain genre although ever since it came out it's been slotted neatly into that of Horror, of course.

But, again, in my humble opinion, it tries to balance a whole range of genres which I kinda dig yet still felt somewhat disappointed come the end.

There's something there, but I don't think it fully taps into it and the lack of a budget adds to it. Basically, it's schlock material, but it doesn't entirely act like it. Well, not exuberantly so with the exception of one character sub-plot.

The story starts off straightforward enough with quite a long-winded setup where the acting and script both combine to brings us a rather ham-fisted bid to execute the plot.

For the first hour you got deal with a lot of it with plenty of predictable character arcs and restless friction between unwanted company in the caves to move the story forward.

But when the underground cannibal hermit (a wrinkly old man with scraggy white hair and a beard) makes himself known to the group it sort of picks up the pace somewhat.

Like, the dark is no longer playing tricks and what develops is downright nonsensical and unhinged, especially the events surrounding the mysterious woman that lives nearby and the cartoonish nature of her inclusion!

There are a couple eerie and unpleasant jolts with decent looking make-up effects, but to my mind just not enough when push came to shove.

One thing though that had me bug-eyed, and probably the most effective horror moments throughout, are the scenes where a mechanical claw (much like those found inside plush toy arcade machines) would come down and clamp down on his meals!

Quite a pro too, as it only took him one go each time!

Oh, and as for star power, veteran actor Cameron Mitchell (who was on Broadway in the original cast of Death Of A Salesman) sleeps through his tiny part. Indeed, that's basically all he does for a good part of his role here! This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary with director Leszek Burzynski
Brand new audio commentary with special effects artist Hank Carlson and horror writer Josh Hadley
Brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues
There's EVIL Underground... - brand new making-of documentary featuring interviews with director Leszek Burzynski, cinematographer Nancy Schreiber, production manager Alexandra Reed and actors Alex Kubik and Sullivan Hester
Upper Michigan Tonight - 1988 television documentary on Windsor Lake Studios, featuring footage from behind the scenes of Trapped Alive and contemporary interviews with director Leszek Burzynski, producer Christopher Webster and production designer Brian Savegar
Leszek Burzynski: The Early Years - the 'Trapped Alive' director discusses his early forays into genre movie-making
Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing by Zach Carlson

www.ArrowFilms.com





'Double Face: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Klaus Kinski, Christiane Krüger, Günther Stoll, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1969) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: When wealthy businessman John Alexander's (the legendary Klaus Kinski, giving an atypically restrained performance) unfaithful wife Helen (Margaret Lee, 'Circus of Fear') dies in a car crash, it initially looks like a freak accident.

However, the plot thickens when evidence arises suggesting that the car was tampered with prior to the crash.

And John's entire perception of reality is thrown into doubt when he discovers a recently-shot pornographic movie which appears to feature Helen suggesting that she is in fact alive and playing an elaborate mind game on him.

Blu-ray Verdict: In the post-war years, the proliferation of transnational European co-productions gave rise to a cross-pollination of genres, with the same films sold in different markets as belonging to different movements.

Among these, Riccardo Freda's ('I vampiri', 'The Horrible Dr. Hichock') 'Double Face' was marketed in West Germany as an Edgar Wallace krimi, while in Italy it was sold as a giallo in the tradition of Mario Bava's 'Blood and Black Lace', combining elements from both genres for a unique and unforgettable viewing experience.

All that said, it has to also be said that Riccardo Freda wasn't the greatest Italian director to ever live and, as such, his films don't tend to rank among the best of the genres he's worked in.

'Double Face' is not one of the best Giallo's ever made, though it's a hell of a lot better than Freda's later 'The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire', and it's a pretty decent genre entry in its own right.

As is the case with most Giallo films the central focus of the plot is on murder, but rather than following a string of murders as many of these films do this time the focus is on just one murder and the investigation into said crime.

The plot centers on John Alexander, a successful business man whose wife just happens to be a lesbian. She is, unfortunately, killed in a car crash towards the start of the film and John then encounters Christine; a sexy and uninhibited blonde seductress who seems to have a keen interest in him.

One thing leads to another, and John ends up seeing a blue movie starring Christine and, apparently, his wife! The mystery then builds as John comes to believe that his wife is still alive.

The stand out star of the film is definitely Klaus Kinski. It's quite odd seeing him in this role as I'm so used to seeing him play the bad/insane antagonist, whereas here he finds himself in the hapless victim role.

Kinski keeps it together well and while this performance isn't as great as the ones where he gets to go over the top it has to be said that he gives a solid performance in the lead role.

He is joined by fellow German Christiane Krüger, who takes up the role of sexy leading lady well and the central cast is rounded off by Margaret Lee, who appeared in a handful of Giallo's, including 'Slaughter Hotel' and 'The Killers Are Our Guests'.

The film is never overly exciting and sometimes it seems too content to just wallow in the plot, but there are some interesting scenes to help fill out the running time.

The film is set in London, although it wasn't shot on location and that fact clearly shows and the final ten minutes are the best of the film as the plot finally reveals itself and, well, sure, mostly makes sense.

Overall, and as aforementioned, I cant say that 'Double Face' is one of the best Giallo's ever made, but it's good enough and certainly worth seeing again now it's been remastered and issued for the first time ever as a Blu-ray edition by Arrow Films. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration of the full-length Italian version of the film from the original 35mm camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio
Original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by author and critic Tim Lucas
New video interview with composer Nora Orlandi
The Many Faces of Nora Orlandi, a new appreciation of the varied career of the film's composer by musician and soundtrack collector Lovely Jon
The Terrifying Dr. Freda, a new video essay on Riccardo Freda's gialli by author and critic Amy Simmons
Extensive image gallery from the collection of Christian Ostermeier, including the original German pressbook and lobby cards, and the complete Italian cineromanzo adaptation
Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell

www.ArrowFilms.com





'The Andromeda Strain: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olsen, Kate Reid, et al / Blu-ray / G / (1971) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: A government satellite crashes outside a small town in New Mexico and within minutes, every inhabitant of the town is dead, except for a crying baby and an elderly derelict.

The satellite and the two survivors are sent to Wildfire, a top-secret underground laboratory equipped with a nuclear self-destruct mechanism to prevent the spread of infection in case of an outbreak.

Realizing that the satellite brought back a lethal organism from another world, a team of government scientists race against the clock to understand the extraterrestrial virus codenamed Andromeda before it can wipe out all life on the planet.

Blu-ray Verdict: Before he created Westworld and Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton first blurred the line between science fiction and science fact with his breakout success 'The Andromeda Strain'.

Two years after the novel's publication, Robert Wise ('The Haunting') directed the film adaptation, a nail-biting blend of clinically-realized docudrama and astonishing sci-fi visuals that ushered in a new subgenre: the killer virus biological thriller.

Aided by innovative visual effects by Douglas Trumbull ('2001: A Space Odyssey', 'Silent Running') and an unforgettable avant-garde electronic music score by Gil Melle ('The Sentinel'), Wise's suspense classic still haunts to this day, and is presented here in a stunning, exclusive new restoration from the original negative.

A satellite from the SCOOP project has crashed into the desert town of Piedmont, the SCOOP project basically entails that the satellite scoops outer space for any alien micro-organisms.

After the crash all the residents of Piedmont are killed with the exception of a baby and an old gentleman booze hound.

Mankind is on the verge of being destroyed by a leaked alien virus, so a crack team of scientists are gathered in the hope of containing and understanding the virus before the world gets devoid of human life!

For my money, 'The Andromeda Strain' is a wonderful lesson in tension building as we follow the scientists through a carefully structured sci-fi plot that will eventually become a race against time thriller.

Indeed,what makes the film stand out against other genre pieces is the astute and believable approach to the subject matter, we are (in the main) in the presence of proper scientists.

There's no superhero tricks forthcoming from these people, these are sensible honest intelligent folk using their combined knowledge to hopefully save the planet?

A masterstroke from the makers is that they used largely unknown actors for the film, this gives the story an added grounded believable factor, thus a very useful way of drawing the audience into the drama unfolding. However, it's not without a niggle for after the excellence of the films first two thirds, it's disappointing to find that the final act reverts to type; which somehow seems misplaced given what the viewer has just been through.

Don't get me wrong, it's a fine sequence of events that fuels the dramatic slant, but it comes off as just a bit too glossy in light of the preceding structure.

Still, 'The Andromeda Strain' is an intelligent, smart, mature, and knowing film that is standing the test of time for being a great piece of science fiction cinema (and even better viewing now that it's out on Blu-ray via Arrow Films). This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

New restoration by Arrow Films from a 4K scan of the original camera negative
High Definition (1080p) Blu-Ray presentation
Original uncompressed mono audio, newly remastered for this release
Audio commentary by critic Bryan Reesman
A New Strain of Science Fiction, a newly-filmed appreciation by critic Kim Newman
The Andromeda Strain: Making The Film, an archive featurette from 2001 directed by Laurent Bouzereau and featuring interviews with director Robert Wise and screenwriter Nelson Gidding
A Portrait of Michael Crichton, an archive featurette from 2001 directed by Laurent Bouzereau and featuring an interview with author Michael Crichton
Cinescript Gallery, highlights from the annotated and illustrated shooting script by Nelson Gidding
Theatrical Trailer, TV spots and radio spots
Image Gallery
BD-ROM: PDF of the 192-page "cinescript" with diagrams and production designs
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Corey Brickley
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Peter Tonguette and archive publicity materials

www.ArrowFilms.com





'Double Impact: Special Collector's Edition'
(Jean-Claude Van Damme, Geoffrey Lewis, Bolo Yeung, Alonna Shaw, Corinna Everson, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1991) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: Van Damme leaps into the dual roles of Chad and Alex Wagner, twin brothers who were separated after their parents' brutal murder.

Years later, the two couldn't be more different: Chad is a slick Beverly Hills fitness instructor, while Alex is a rough and tumble smuggler on the gritty streets of Hong Kong. But when fate throws them together again, Chad and Alex discover that there's one thing they have in common: they're both fighting machines!

Determined to enact revenge on their parents' killers, the martial-arts experts kick, chop and shoot all the way to an electrifying final showdown aboard a gargantuan freighter in Hong Kong harbor.

Written and Directed by Sheldon Lettich (Lionheart, Bloodsport, Max) and Co-Produced by Michael Douglas (Wall Street, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), this is the first time ever that it's been made available as a Special Edition Blu-ray with tons of bonus features!

Blu-ray Verdict: What could be better than Jean-Claude Van Damme ('Lionheart') in an explosively entertaining action extravaganza?

Two of him, of course!

So now there's twice the excitement, twice the mayhem and twice the fun in this turbo-charged adventure that pushes the thrills into overdrive!

As mere babies, twins Alex and Chad are separated when their parent's are brutally murdered by Triads who had no further use for the twin's parents.

One child is rescued by their nanny, the other by the family's bodyguard Frank Avery. Alex grows up rough in the orphanage where his nanny leaves him and becomes a criminal in the underworld, while Chad becomes a ladies man and karate teacher under the guidance of Frank.

After several decades, Frank finds Alex and reunites the two brothers in time to battle the same triads who are still in business.

The plot to this film opens with such violence in front of children that it alters the paths their lives were going to take. Surely this film shows the effects that young children witnessing violence can have - in this case, the children are so badly affected that they both grow up to become Jean-Claude Van Damme!

Aside from this terrible event they come together decades later just as those that murdered their parents are doing a big deal.

Of course, the whole plot is silly and the whole idea behind the plot is to present two Van Damme's as some sort of major selling point - and I suppose for some it is.

Ignoring a silly and rather irritating plot the film does have plenty of trademark action from it's star and it is just about enjoyable on that level; even if there are plenty of better action films available to watch on a Saturday night in with beer!

Attempts to inject drama into the film with sibling conflict and love interests are wasted and just further bog down an already limp script.

Of course, part of the blame for the lack of dramatic involvement must lie with Van Damme whose delivery is as reliable as ever - and this is not a compliment!

His characters are given very different hairstyle because we can't rely on Van Damme's performance to be able to tell them apart! However, I will be fair to him and say that he has moves and delivers two very enjoyable scenes towards the end (one in shadows, the other with a drum).

Shaw makes for an annoying love interest - in the time honored manner all she does is scream and Lewis is a well known face, but cannot lift this to be anything more than it is.

Oh, but wait a minute for Van Damme's performance is dwarfed by a laughably bad turn from Alan Scarfe as the main villain - so hammy it should have been between bread!

A great pace throughout the film, great popcorn movie to watch at home and study the high 360 degree kicks in the final fight to the face of Bolo Yeung.

Oh, and Bolo Yeung is always a great villain in any film and it's great to see six time Miss Olympia Cory Everson as a villain here, too!

Overall though, 'Double Impact' is not that bad of a film, but did you really expect it to be something Oscar worthy to begin with?

As for a couple of the Special Features included - of which there are a massive amount, so all you JVD will be very happy - the ones that stood out to me were the two 'The Making of Double Impact' episodes.

Totaling nearly two hours of an in depth storytelling about the making of the film, it features interviews with star and co-writer himself Jean-Claude Van Damme, director and co-writer Sheldon Lettich, producer Ashok Amritraj, co-star Cory Everson-Donia, co-star and fight coordinator Peter Malota and "Chad" and "Alex" photo doubles Jeff Rector & Jerry Rector.

I mean, come on now, this alone is well worth the price of admission as when JVD speaks, well, you listen! His memories of the shot are seemingly still spot on and honed in and the way he explains the aches and pains of the fight scenes you would think he had just filmed them!

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.85:1 aspect ratio
English Surround DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
English, Spanish, French Subtitles
The Making of Double Impact: Part 1 (HD, 53 mins) + The Making of Double Impact: Part 2 (59 mins) [A two part feature length retrospective documentary about the making of the film featuring interviews with star and co-writer Jean-Claude Van Damme, director and co-writer Sheldon Lettich, producer Ashok Amritraj, co-star Cory Everson-Donia, co-star and fight coordinator Peter Malota and "Chad" and "Alex" photo doubles Jeff Rector & Jerry Rector]
Double Impact: Deleted / Extended Scenes (SD, 54 mins)
Double Impact: Anatomy of a Scene (with Director Sheldon Lettich) (HD, 8 mins)
Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
Collectible Mini-Poster

Official Trailer

www.ArrowFilms.com





'Double Team' [Retro VHS '90s Style Blu-Ray]
(Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman, Mickey Rourke, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1997) 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman team up as a world-class counter-terrorist and his flamboyant but deadly weapons dealer in this explosive action/adventure thriller.

Blu-ray Verdict: The action-packed, globe-trotting Jean-Claude Van Damme adventure 'Double Team' derives its sporty title from the unlikely combo of NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman and Van Damme in pursuit of arch foe Mickey Rourke.

In truth, 'Double Team' might have been drivel at a dribble were it not for the dazzling aplomb with which gifted Hong Kong action helmer Tsui Hark stages a number of snappy, hyperkinetic action sequences.

Van Damme stars as Jack Quinn, the best counter-terrorist in the business, who retires and settles down with his wife Kathryn (French television actress Natacha Lindinger) to raise a family.

His old bosses lure Jack back into the spy game to ice his oldest foe, Stavros (Mickey Rourke of 'Sin City'). At an ambush in Antwerp, everything goes wrong. Quinn nearly dies from an explosion and the wily Stavros eludes death.

When Quinn recovers, he finds himself trapped on an island fortress called the Penal Colony with no hope for escape. The seas around the island are a maze of laser beams.

The Colony guardian Goldsmythe (Paul Freeman), explains to Quinn that he is confined to the island for the remainder of his life in the dubious company of the deadliest spies in the world.

Not only are they too valuable to terminate, but also that are too lethal to be let loose. According to Goldsmythe, the Penal Colony serves as an espionage think tank. Equipped with the latest high-tech gadgetry, these Penal Colony lifers act as consultants in resolving international disputes.

Of course, Quinn devises a stunning escape plan based on split-second timing. Meanwhile, Stavros kidnaps his pregnant wife and sweeps her off to Rome.

Of course, Stavros has every reason to hate Jack Quinn because Stavros took Quinn's wife as hostage! After he engineers a daring daylight escape Quinn saves his wife from a ruthless death squad in the Eternal City.

Although Kathryn gives birth to a baby boy, Stavros manages to stay a step ahead of Quinn and abducts the newborn. Quinn confronts Stavros in a land mine laden Roman Coliseum and battles a ravenous Bengal tiger.

Our hero relieves heavily on the firepower provided by a weird underground CIA arms dealer named Yaz (Dennis Rodman) in both on Stavros. Yaz himself comes along to play against the bad guys in a bullet-scarred finale.

Scenarists Don ('Lifeforce') Jakoby and Paul ('The Quest') Mones pull out all stops with an audacious, slam dunk script that resembles a James Bond extravaganza, complete with several exotic settings.

Of course, the Jakoby & Mones' screenplay is thoroughly predictable, but these writers know how to tweak the formula with a fresh gag or two.

Hong Kong action helmer Hark makes the third Royal Colony refugee that Van Damme has called on to direct his movies. Earlier, Van Damme tapped John Woo to call the shots on 'Hard Target,' but John Travolta has since wooed Woo (!) to direct 'Broken Arrow' and 'Face/Off' with Nicolas Cage.

In 'Maximum Risk,' Van Damme imported the services of the skilled Ringo Lam. Unlike both 'Hard Target' and 'Maximum Risk,' 'Double Team' takes its far-fetched plot to preposterously outlandish lengths.

Hark never lets the supercharged action idle away in this stylist thriller. He enlivens the action sequences with the kind of bravura that make you want to flinch and duck.

The fight between Van Damme and as Asian henchman who grips a switchblade between his toes is invigoratingly fresh. And the computerized cyber-monks in the Vatican are a scream.

Jean-Claude Van Damme spends more time averting disaster than acting, but nobody watches a JCVD movie to see the star emote. Credit Van Damme with modeling the appropriate expression for each crisis.

That said, Mickey Rourke is the thespian to appreciate for his truly cool villain is an anthology of postures. Oh, and if Paul Freeman, who plays the Penal Colony guardian, appears familiar, you may remember him as the adversary with whom Indiana Jones tangled in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.'

Meanwhile, Dennis Rodman is not so much an actor as he is a special effect. As Yaz, Rodman pedals a flashy arsenal for Van Damme as well as gives the film some of its lighter moments.

When the initially encounter each other, Van Damme looks at Rodman and questions him about who does his hair? Siegfried or Roy? With a ring or a stud on most of his bodily appendages, an array of Yazoo Tattoos and his multicolored turf, Rodman looks as funny as he does lethal.

The scene where Rodman steals a car that he has to steer with his head sticking through the sun roof is hilarious. Director Tsui Hark deploys the scene-stealing Rodman at the right moments to offset the straight-faced heroics of Van Damme.

However, to my mind, the worst thing that you can say about 'Double Team' is the shameless product placement scene in the Coliseum. A number of Coke machine keep our heroes from getting cremated by the usual quota of apocalyptic explosions. On the other hand, the scene where scores of Coke cans complicate the heroics of Jean-Claude is good.

If you are a JCVD fan, you get to see our protagonist articulate his muscles from Brussels in a couple of well-choreographed combat sequences.

If you enjoy watching glossy, superbly lensed action movies, 'Double Team' ought to keep you entertained and occupied. The inventive script, the electrifying directing, and the stirring Gary Chang music contribute to the success of the film, that's for darn sure. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Double Team' [Retro VHS '90s Style Blu-Ray] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Excess Baggage' [Retro VHS '90s Style BR]
(Alicia Silverstone, Benicio Del Toro, Christopher Walken, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / (1997) 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Desperate for attention, Emily Hope (Silverstone) stages her own kidnapping. But before Emily can enjoy a happy reunion with her father, her car gets stolen-with Emily still inside. Quirky, cool and hilariously romantic!

Blu-ray Verdict: Released in 1997 and directed by Marco Brambilla, 'Excess Baggage' stars Alicia Silverstone as an eccentric 18 year-old in the Seattle area who fakes her own kidnapping to get her unloving father's attention.

She develops a relationship with an odd car thief (Benicio Del Toro) while her father enlists the even stranger "Uncle Ray" (Christopher Walken) to find her.

Alicia was 19 during shooting and a rising young superstar after a string of popular roles: A pubescent tease in 'The Crush' (1993), a popular Beverly Hills adolescent in 'Clueless' (1995), a wannabe Nancy Drew in 'True Crime' (1995) and a hot superheroine in 'Batman & Robin' (1997).

In fact, 'Excess Baggage' was Silverstone's first movie after a pricey production deal with Columbia and it was strongly rumored that she clashed with director Brambilla. Originally slated for release in the Fall of 1996, it was pushed back to late the next Summer.

The movie starts confident and strong and could be likened to contemporaneous quirky flicks like 'Buffalo '66' (1998). It regrettably fizzles out in the second half but, nevertheless, Alicia was in her physical prime with alluring curves.

Unfortunately, she's stuck with one basic outfit the entire film (form-fitting black pants). Much more could've and should've been done with her.

On the other side of the gender spectrum, Del Toro is notable as the mumbling eccentric while Walken is intriguing and entertaining as a former CIA assassin who basically raised Emily (Silverstone) and is concerned about his employer's aloofness.

Overall, the movie is fun and sure it's not the greatest comedy (romantic or otherwise) on the face of the planet, but it's decent fare. If you're a Sliverstone fan, you'll probably like this one and if you're a Del Toro fan, well, he's just himself - with a bad speech pattern! Oh, and Walken is his typical bad guy self too and shines throughout. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Excess Baggage' [Retro VHS '90s Style Blu-Ray] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Jury Duty' [Retro VHS '90s Style BR]
(Paulie Shore, Tia Carrere, Stanley Tucci, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / (1995) 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Pauly Shore stars in a riotous comedy of disorder in the court about a jobless freeloader who gets appointed to a sensational murder trial and will stop at nothing to keep deliberations going as long as possible. Tia Carrere, Shelly Winters and Abe Vigoda co-star.

Blu-ray Verdict: There is a scene early on in 'Jury Duty' when Pauly Shore stands on a bus and imitates a town tour guide.

It is obvious that this scene was written to showcase Pauly Shore's comedic talents, however, he makes noises and is loud and generally obnoxious and unfunny.

Ergo, 'Jury Duty' is the point where Pauly Shore officially abused his stay in movies! After this movie, he would forever be sanctioned to the lunch table in the corner with the smelly kid, Carrot Top and the Noid from the Dominoes commercials!

But not until he showed the world his versatility in 'Bio-Dome,' of course!

Simply put, even on second blush today via this new Blu-ray, 'Jury Duty' is bad. Not bad like 'In the Army Now,' but darn close! There is little originality to the script, no amusing characters and about four funny lines!

That said, I did enjoy the scene where the witnesses from restaurants give testimonies in their respective fast food uniforms. There isn't much else here. It just isn't funny, sorry.

Shore also lacks the wit his idiotic leading men contemporaries like Adam Sandler and Chris Farley showed in the '90s. These were all, more or less, bad versions of Steve Martin's wonderful 'Jerk' character.

All Shore shows in this movie is that he has the talent to bug you!

Of course, not all the blame can be put on his shoulders. He has no script to work with. Nothing. I don't know why Stanley Tucci thought this movie would be good for him and or how the studio blackmailed him into being in it, in truth!

In closing, I remembered both 'Encino Man' and 'Son In Law' were kind of funny in a stupid way, whereas 'Jury Duty' is just plain stupid in a very unfunny way!

I mean, to my mind, Shore's dog, a long-haired chihuahua, does a better job at being funny - as well as carrying the movie! Oh, and have fun with the continual spot a celebrity cameos that pop up through the movie! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Jury Duty' [Retro VHS '90s Style Blu-Ray] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Opportunity Knocks' [Retro VHS '90s Style BR]
(Dana Carvey, Robert Loggia, Julia Campbell, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / (1990) 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Dana Carvey stars in this comic romp about two con men who hide out in a house while the owner is away; one of them assumes the identity of the absent house sitter when the owner's relatives come to visit, only for further complications to set in.

Blu-ray Verdict: First of all, I want you to know that I am a HUGE Dana Carvey fan. I remember as a youngster making sure I stayed up on Saturday until 10:30pm to see Carvey on SNL.

In fact, I can't pick just one thing I like so much about him as he's simply one incredibly gifted individual.

His impressions have always been fantastic and the way he delivers his material absolutely kills me. He's one of only a handful of comics that have brought me to tears.

With that said, 'Opportunity Knocks' worked really well for him unlike his 'Master Of Disguise' (2002) mess! It allowed him to use his creativity in his character, Eddie.

Whether it's his impersonations or his physical comedy, he shines throughout the film. Is 'Opportunity Knocks' a brilliant film with Oscar winning performances? Of course not. It's just a fun movie that allows Carvey to show off his silly humor and at the same time has a nice warm story beneath the surface.

I have always enjoyed 'Opportunity Knocks' since the first time I saw it in 1990. I actually own the movie on VHS tape (!) and have watched it countless times over the years.

It definitely holds tremendous nostalgic value to me so I guess you would call it a "comfort flick" for me - as maybe it is for you guys also.

That said, if you don't care for Dana Carvey's comedy, then you probably won't really appreciate this film. However, if you're like me, and like Carvey, then you'll certainly enjoy this more now that it's out on Blu-ray via Mill Creek Entertainment.

Dana is more "Dana" in this flick than any other movie he's done, in my humble opinion, and yeah, sure, the story is nothing out of the ordinary - for if you've seen one film like this, you've probably seen them all - but following the same narrative structure from before doesn't always make for a bad movie, trust me.

You get the protagonist from the wrong side of the street assuming another identity, the parents instantly love him, the love interest of the film can't stand him at first, but soon warms to him, etc.

And despite him not knowing anything about the occupation of the person he's assuming, he pitches something that is genius, and learns some life lessons about himself along the way himself. So, quite a wholesome and fun story, if you ask me. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Deleted Scenes
Trailer

'Opportunity Knocks' [Retro VHS '90s Style Blu-Ray] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Mo' Money & High School High' [Double Feature]
(Damon Wayans, Stacey Dash, Joe Santos, Jon Lovitz, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Comedian Damon Wayans (TV's In Living Color, The Last Boy Scout) brings his rogue's gallery of outrageous characters to this action-filled comedy ('Mo' Money') about a con artist who tries to go straight, but keeps getting pulled in the wrong direction.

Jon Lovitz and Tia Carrere are dedicated educators facing some dangerously strange minds in this outrageous comedy from the creators of The Naked Gun, 'High School High.'

With wicked aim, the film skewers feel-good movies like Dangerous Minds and Stand and Deliver to create a wild new brand of urban comedy that's laced with hilarious gags and slapstick!

Blu-ray Verdict: In 'Mo' Money' (1992) Johnny Stewart (Damon Wayans) is a hustler that plans on going legit after meeting an attractive woman named Amber (Stacey Dash).

So he gets a job as a mail room clerk and ends up stealing a credit card and goes on a shopping spree with his brother Seymour (Marlon Wayans).

Of course, a roguish executive finds out and extorts Johnny to do his nefarious bidding thereafter.

The funniest scenes are, in truth, every scene involving the beauty-challenged Charlotte! Also the scenes involving the lawyer that looks like a cross between Khujo Goodie of Goodie Mob and Rodney King is a hoot also!

Damon and Marlon work well together on screen and generate the most laughs. Stacey Dash is great also as Amber, but if you like to see the Wayans Brothers before they started making rubbish like Little Man, than this movie is for you.

A naïve but dedicated educator (Jon Lovitz) decides to teach at the roughest high school in L.A. and once he arrived at this new job, he finds out the conditions at this school is tough, violent and students don't want to know anything about higher education.

This educator befriends with an beautiful teacher (Tia Carrere) and an student (Mekhi Phifer), who wants an education. But this student has troubles with his previous gang members, especially with the leader (Guillermo Diaz) - who still wants him to sell drugs on the streets.

This educator also has trouble with passionless principal (Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher) but he finds a way to teach his most unlikely students and gives them hope for education; which they never had before.

Directed by Canadian actor Hart Bochner (PCU), 'High School High' (1996) is an amusing comedy that spoofs films like Dangerous Minds, Stand and Deliver, The Deer Hunter and other memorable films.

Lovitz is extremely likable and he has some very big laughs in this silly comedy although this comic spoof is unusually realistic at other moments, it has to be said.

The film has an good message for any students for those who want an education and to have a bright future, but it is also hard to nail down the true directive sometimes. Ambitious, to be sure, but always watchable. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Mo' Money & High School High' [Double Feature] [Blu-Ray] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Mindwarp & Brainscan' [Double Feature]
(Bruce Campbell, Angus Scrimm, Marta Martin, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: In a post-holocaust world, one woman (Marta Alicia) relies on computer fantasies to entertain herself, but a glitch sends her to a far-off wasteland to deal with monsters called Crawlers.

She is saved by a young rebel (Bruce Campbell), but the pair are later captured and brought underground by the Crawlers.

There, an overlord called the Seer (Angus Scrimm) presides over the kingdom and tries to make life miserable for his captives.

When a lonely teenager (Edward Furlong) orders the latest interactive video game, the high-tech wizardry penetrates his subconscious, where his darkest impulses lead him through a deadly maze of murder, deception and desire.

Pursued by homicide detective (Frank Langella) and prodded by the trickster (T. Ryder Smith), he is torn between the worlds of good and evil, of reality and fantasy and, ultimately, life and death.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Mindwarp' (1992) is a relatively early effort by Steve Barnett (Director) and Henry Dominic (writer). Barnett is chiefly known for post-production work, which, surprisingly, is not a major feature of 'Mindwarp'.

His few directorial efforts have been limited to fairly dubious material like 'Scanner Cop II'. Dominic has done some more high-profile writing in recent years, including 'Terminator III'.

Given this team's background in sci-fi, and the timing of the film in 1992, it should not be surprising that 'Mindwarp' blends plot-heavy cyberpunk, horror, and hardcore sci-fi. What is, perhaps, surprising, is how well it does so with an obviously low budget.

Several years before the Matrix began shooting, 'Mindwarp' presented the story of Judy, a smart, precocious but sheltered young "in-worlder" who wants to experience real life; rather than simply plugging into the seemingly utopian synthetic fantasy world she can access through a serial port in the back of her neck.

She just has the feeling that there must be something more to life. Of course, she has no idea what might await in the "deadlands". Most of the film follows her adventures in captivity among subterranean cult of mutant land-fill denizens and the struggle she shares with hero Bruce Campbell; as they try to free themselves from the evil grip of the cult leader, Scrimm.

Indeed, despite the straightforward action, 'Mindwarp' is anything but a straightforward story.

With a cast featuring B-Movie legends Bruce Campbell and Angus Scrimm ('Phantasm') you might expect 'Mindwarp' to be an archetypal B film. Not only does 'Mindwarp' exceed the B film standard but it also manages to entertain on more levels than most of Bruce Campbell's films do - no mean feat.

Unlike many films in which he appears, Campbell does not dominate the screen throughout the film and does not have many opportunities to utter any of his hallmark clichés.

Instead, we have Marta Martin (AKA Marta Alicia) in her second major role. Martin plays the immature yet very headstrong Judy very well, and would subsequently land many returning roles on popular TV shows.

Their nemesis, Angus Scrimm, as of 2010, is 84 years old and still acting. He plays essentially the same role he has had countless times - a big, menacing, old, creep. Only a few other actors have speaking roles in this fairly intelligent mutant grunt fest!

In 'Brainscan' (1994), Michael Bower (Edward Furlong) is an alienated teenager who loves horror films who is still haunted by the car crash that left him with a limp and took his mother's life (oh, and is in love with a girl named Kimberly (Amy Hargreaves) for whom he records with his camcorder!)

Michael is also bothered by a business father who stays away from home for long periods. He has a horror buddy named Kyle (James Marsh) who informs him of a brand new terror game for the computer which is supposed to be a state of the art virtual experience.

He decides to give it a shot expecting it to simply disappoint like other games he has played along the line. This game is called "Brainscan" and it has four different stages with the first having the person playing actually committing a crime of brutal murder.

When Michael partakes of this the whole game becomes all to real when murders in reality begin taking place. When Michael discovers the death of a suburban man to be the one he killed in the video game, he wearily wishes to discontinue the experience altogether.

This becomes difficult when a character within the game named Trickster (T. Ryder Smith, really hamming it up) makes life unbearable telling him about messes he needs to clean up.

Each stage Michael has to play in the game becomes more difficult and it seems more deaths are a result. In truth, the film can be quite fun mainly because our hero keeps sinking further and further into quicksand with every decision to play the next game!

Frank Lagella plays Detective Hayden, a man who is our source of tension for he keeps the suspicion towards Michael and is always poking about. The film's special effects are hokey, but the idea works for me.

I mean, this poor kid decides for the ultimate experience and is thrust into a macabre world of his own doing basically because he likes escape through the horror genre - often criticized for displaying mindless violence in the way of entertainment. Watch it today, my friends. You won't regret it. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Mindwarp & Brainscan' [Double Feature] [Blu-Ray] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'The Trigger Effect & Body Count' [Double Feature]
(Kyle MacLachlan, Elizabeth Shue, Dermot Mulroney, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue stars with Kyle MacLachlan and Dermot Mulroney in 'The Trigger Effect,' an intensely gripping story of a mysterious power failure that leads to the social breakdown of a major city.

All forms of communication are wiped out-no electricity, no cash machines and no telecommunication. Now everything that society has taken for granted no longer works...and ordinary rules no longer apply.

In 'Body Count,' when an art museum heist goes terribly wrong and one of their own ends up dead, professional criminals are forced to head south with the law on their heels every step of the way.

As the chase continues, they meet a seductive con artist who wants in on the action. With so much on the line, they must now decide if anyone can really be trusted.

Blu-ray Verdict: In 'The Trigger Effect' (1996), Matthew and Annie-Kay are a typically white, middle-class family living in the suburbs in a marriage where the passion has died and been replaced with a child and responsibility.

Life is safe, life is familiar and life is secure. However a power failure starts changes and tensions within the city and their community as looting spreads and the police cannot cope.

As the fear reaches them their friend Joe encourages them to take action to either prepare for the worst or try and escape the city before the whole thing collapses.

Opening with a couple of wolves tearing at the corpse of another wolf, this film had the potential to be an interesting and engaging character piece that would force its own audience to ask questions about itself and about its idea of "society" and morality within that idea of society.

It starts reasonably well by setting up a couple of stock figures that we can sort of identify with (the white couple, the black people, the rough men, etc.) and initially does something with them before letting the average plot overtake the characters.

The narrative sees them facing obstacles and dealing with them (or not) in a way that follows a fairly ordinary thriller sort of path. This is so-so but nothing special since it never gets exciting in its own right and still suggests that we should be looking at the characters for our interest instead.

However the inability to really draw out a tapestry of people and reactions (not to mention a convincing picture of suburbia under pressure) is where the film falls down.

The actors are partly to blame even if the material wasn't there for them. MacLachlan starts out well with a typically "start no trouble" white professional but soon forgets being true to his character and just does what the script tells him.

Shue is poor from start to finish and I doubt that she would have done much more even with the material. Mulroney is OK with a basic character but perhaps that was just the fact that he is the "hothead" in the mix that made him more interesting to me when I was just looking for something to happen.

Jones doesn't do much and a cameo from Rooker only made me wish that the film had been following his character instead.

Overall this is an average film that takes an interesting premise but does nothing at all with it. The basic plot seems to forget the character piece that it suggested it would be at the start and the more it does, the less interesting it becomes.

The cast features some familiar faces but none of them can raise the material or make it about their characters and eventually they just get on with driving the plot. So-so but should have been much more interesting than it was.

In 'Body Count' (1998), following his release from prison, Pike (Ving Rhames) teams up with Crane (Forest Whitaker), an old partner in crime, along with Hobbs (David Caruso), Booker (Donnie Wahlberg, Chino (John Leguizamo) to set up an art theft from a museum.

Chino's greed during the heist causes it to go awry resulting in Crane's death and a narrow escape with the stolen items. Only Crane and Pike knew the fence to whom the stolen items were to be fenced for $15m.

The balance of the movie consists of the remaining four partners attempting to transport the items to Miami to the fence, via car, with attempts to take a bus, and a train which don't pan out due to various personality conflicts among the thieves; and results in one partner killing another who winds up in the trunk of the car.

While en route, the now-threesome picks up Natalie (Linda Fiorentino) who adds another point of conflict among the thieves. The heist itself is shown in flashbacks during the trip. There is definitely violence in the movie resulting from the conflicts among the thieves and Natalie.

I found the movie to be engrossing throughout with interest in the interaction between the thieves; edgy, violent, keeps you guessing, a good ending, and good performances by all. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Trigger Effect & Body Count' [Double Feature] [Blu-Ray] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





Stepmom & Deep End of the Ocean [Double Feature]
(Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Ed Harris, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: 'Stepmom' is the story of an unlikely friendship that develops between two remarkable women: Jackie (Sarandon), a divorced mother of two, and Isabel (Roberts), the career-minded girlfriend of Jackie's ex-husband Luke (Harris), who continually clash over the well-being of Jackie and Luke's children.

But when Jackie and Isabel begin to share maternal duties, they are forced to rise above their mutual hostility for the sake of this family.

'The Deep End Of The Ocean' tells the tale of a seemingly joyous return to a high school reunion that soon becomes every woman's worst nightmare when her son suddenly disappears.

Michelle Pfeiffer delivers a powerful performance as a wife and mother faced with rebuilding her life and family after they've been shockingly torn apart.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Stepmom' (1998) is the story of a husband and wife with two kids who have fallen out of love, and now the father is getting married to a new, younger woman.

The mother of the kids does everything she can to make her children hate this woman who is going to very soon be a permanent part of their life.

Julia Roberts indeed gives a fine performance as the fiancée of Ed Harris, the husband. She steals your heart in every scene she's in as this young woman who is trying so hard to be exactly what those children want and need.

And in the end, she's searching for acceptance and love from them as much as they are from her. And then there's Susan Sarandon, giving one of her best performances as the mother of the children who wants nothing more than to remove her children from the younger woman completely.

Sarandon's character is horrible - one of the most awful and hateful people in modern movies. She backstabs, she's overly-critical, and for a long time, she finds every chance possible to turn her children against the other woman - yet you cannot help but feel for her.

As nasty as she is, you sympathize with this woman who is having to deal with her children being in the care of a younger, inexperienced woman who is living with her ex-husband.

It's impossible not to understand her character's mourning and confusion. For the first time in her life, this woman is not the only mother in her children's life.

Don't be surprised if you cry - more than once. It's just that good, and that affecting. Truly, this film is one of the better delights of the past few years. Beautiful story, great performances, real emotions.

In 'Deep End of the Ocean' (1999), Beth Cappadora is at a reunion in a hotel when her middle child of three goes missing. At first the search is informal but it grows increasingly frantic and official as they realize that Ben has been taken by somebody.

The family never fully recovers and carry the scars for years. Nine years later the family have moved to Chicago to start a new life. When Beth has a local boy come to the block to cut the grass, she believes that he must be Ben because her looks just like him despite the age.

The police recover Ben but is it fair to take him away from the people Ben now considers his family?

The plot summary gives the impression that this is just a standard weepy that would easily screen on a weekday afternoon. However the presence of a couple of well known names in the cast list suggests that this film will give the subject a more serious approach that acts more as drama than weepy.

Partly the latter is true but not 100%, and the film is still essentially a sort of weepy that has a control of it's emotions and is actually quite stable but not to the point where it is an engaging debate.

The material should be thought provoking but it isn't really. What I thought would be the main thrust of the film was really just mentioned in the final 20 minutes and it was not only obvious that it was coming but it was quite logically dealt with without real emotion - this is not a `Sophie's Choice' situation but something quite lacking.

The start of the film is OK but it deals with the loss too easily and I never got overwhelmed with the emotions the family must feel. Towards the end the film does a good job looking at the effects the whole thing has had on the other son's character but even this lacks an emotional punch.

The cast are good on paper but they seem strangely stilted. Pfeiffer is a good actress who sadly doesn't seem to get as much good work as she gets older. Here she tries hard but can't get across what her character must be feeling inside.

Williams is an OK support for her and does OK. Jackson is quite good and his character became more interesting to me than the return of Ben itself.

Goldberg hangs around but attempts to give her a character through one line of dialogue about her sexuality and security in her job are so out of the blue that I was left wondering where it came from.

Overall this is not a weepy because it aims higher than that and doesn't wrench all the emotion out of every scene to get the audience.

However it doesn't aim high enough or reach the level where it is emotional or thought provoking, the end result being an interesting film that is a notch above the level of daytime TV weepy but not as worthy or moving as it wants to be. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Stepmom & The Deep End of the Ocean' [Double Feature] [Blu-Ray] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





Jackie Chan Adventures - The Demon Portals Saga
(Jackie Chan, James Sie, Stacie Chan, Sab Shimono, et al / 3-Disc DVD / TV-Y7 / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: 'Jackie Chan Adventures' is an American animated television series starring the adventures of a fictionalized version of action film star Jackie Chan.

DVD Verdict: Jackie Chan, an amateur archeologist, would prefer to quietly do his work for the local university, but fate has dealt him another hand.

When he finds a shield containing a talisman, he runs afoul of The Dark Hand, a criminal organization led by a man called Valmont and guided by the spirit Shendu.

Jackie and his family must cooperate with a secret law enforcement organization, Section 13, to counter the threat, and must face dangers that will demand all of Jackie's daring and skill in martial arts to overcome.

Imagine taking over the movie industry with your breathtaking stunts. What next? How about a cartoon starring, you? That's what Jackie Chan did and it works!

I mean, Jackie Chan has wowed the audience for years in movies and made them laugh at his innovative martial arts which combine comedy and martial arts, before it became a property for children's action movies.

Here in these Demon Portals Saga we are meant to believe that Jackie Chan is an archaeologist who with his Uncle collect rare artifacts until his niece Jade comes along and chaos ensues as an evil organization known as 'Dark Hand' who possess power over shadow ninjas. And so Jackie must fight the forces of evil and be a model uncle to niece Jade.

The show has some unique backgrounds, which is something I loved with the building being brightly colored, but yet those very same colors don't stay between the lines (purposely), if that makes sense.

As for the action, well as expected, it's pure OTT Jackie Chan and its amazing how the fight scenes are transferred onto a cartoon and how it all works so brilliantly.

Next is the comedy which is hilarious especially Jade who is adorable and keeps the laughs coming aplenty.

Aside from their humor, many of the episodes have a few strong key messages, such as the importance of family, friendship, being truthful and so on.

Again, many cartoons lack this element altogether, or fall on the opposite end of the spectrum and are no longer fun to watch. 'Jackie Chan Adventures' somehow gets into this middle ground and this is another thing that really sets it apart from other cartoons.

Of course, this show is not perfect. Some of the jokes got repetitive and the goofy nature of Jackie sometimes put the episode a bit off-balance. I also felt that Season 2 ("Demon Doors") was a bit of a slump for the show as it really did not give each of the demons enough facetime.

Since some of them were quite interesting, having them on-screen for five minutes before they were dragged back to their prison felt a bit lackluster.

Taken together, 'Jackie Chan Adventures' is a great show. It is not only fun to watch as a child, as I still enjoyed watching it as an adult, but now watching it on my own small screen via this new DVD release from Mill Creek Entertainment is one massive flashback thrill!

So, if you are looking for a cartoon for your child to watch this would be a great one. It is diverse, well-conceived and solves the dilemma of making cartoons educational without making them boring. As Uncle would say, "Haaaachaaaaaaaa!".

Disc 1:
Episode 1: Through the Rabbit Hole - Sept. 8, 2001
Episode 2: The Warrior Incarnate - Sept. 15, 2001
Episode 3: Snake Hunt - Sept. 22, 2001
Episode 4: Mother of All Battles - Sept. 24, 2001
Episode 5: The Stronger Evil - Sept. 29, 2001
Episode 6: The J-Team - Oct. 6, 2001
Episode 7: Jade Times Jade - Oct. 13, 2001
Episode 8: The Curse of El Chupacabra - Oct. 15, 2001
Episode 9: Rumble in the Big House - Oct. 20, 2001
Episode 10: Lost City of the Muntabs - Oct. 22, 2001
Episode 11: And He Does His Own Stunts - Oct. 27, 2001
Episode 12: Showdown in the Old West - Oct. 29, 2001
Episode 13: Queen of the Shadowkhan - Nov. 3, 2001

Disc 2:
Episode 14: Origami - Nov. 5, 2001
Episode 15: Shanghai Moon - Nov. 10, 2001
Episode 16: The Lotus Temple - Nov. 12, 2001
Episode 17: Armor of the Gods - Nov. 17, 2001
Episode 18: Agent Tag - Nov. 19, 2001
Episode 19: Tale of the Demon Tail - Nov. 24, 2001
Episode 20: The Return of the Pussycat - Dec. 1, 2001
Episode 21: Scouts Honor - Dec. 8, 2001
Episode 22: Danger in the Deep Freeze - Dec. 15, 2001
Episode 23: Into the Mouth of Evil - Jan. 19, 2002
Episode 24: The King and Jade - Jan. 26, 2002
Episode 25: The New Atlantis - Feb. 2, 2002
Episode 26: The Eighth Door - Feb. 9, 2002

Disc 3:
Episode 27: Demon World: Part 1 - Feb. 16, 2002
Episode 28: Demon World: Part 2 - Feb. 23, 2002
Episode 29: Enter the Cat - March 2, 2002
Episode 30: Pleasure Cruise - March 9, 2002
Episode 31: Tough Luck - March 16, 2002
Episode 32: The Chosen One - March 23, 2002
Episode 33: Glove Story - March 30, 2002
Episode 34: The Chan Who Knew Too Much - April 27, 2002
Episode 35: Chi of the Vampire - May 4, 2002
Episode 36: The Good, the Bad, the Blind, the Deaf and the Mute - May 18, 2002
Episode 37: Shrink Rap - August 17, 2002
Episode 38: I'll Be a Monkey's Puppet - August 24, 2002
Episode 39: The Amazing T-Girl - Sept. 7, 2002

This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Jackie Chan Adventures - The Demon Portals Saga' [3-Disc DVD] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'The Story of Aladdin - A Thousand and One Nights'
(Cornel Wilde, Evelyn Keyes, Phil Silvers, Jim Backus, Hans Conried, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: This spellbinding collection includes 8 classic retellings of the beloved Aladdin stories all based on the classic Arabian Nights folk tales!

DVD Verdict: Highlighting four of my personal favorites from this new collection from Mill Creek Entertainment, 'A Thousand and One Nights' (1945) is a definite highlight! After finding a magical lamp, Aladdin, accompanied by his wacky sidekick Abdullah (Phil Silvers), conjures up a lovely genie (Evelyn Keyes) who aids him in his quest to win the hand of the princess.

This is the sort of silly adventure film that, unfortunately, they just don't make any more. And to top it off, the film's sense of humor and fun is so pronounced that it's hard not to like the movie.

In many ways, the film is the obvious inspiration for Disney's 'Aladdin' as well as inspired by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby's "road films". An apt title for the film might have been 'Road to Arabia'!

Next up is 'The Magic Carpet' (1951) which is an Arabian Nights-type of tale that stars Agar as a deposed prince trying to free his people from the evil rule of the caliph and his vizier, played by Burr.

Agar enlists the aid of harem girl Lucille Ball and together they win back the province, while zipping around on a flying carpet.

'The Magic Carpet' is GREAT fun. A Sam Katzman Supercinecolor bargain counter costume extravaganza with Lucille Ball and John Agar. I mean, what's not to love?

It made me want to see Monogram's 'Aladdin' and 'Hiawatha' made he same year also in Super cine-color, both of which I thought were fantastic and rich in every mad hue way possible. What a calling card for Super Cinecolor!

Then comes 'Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp' (1934, Cartoon) where Aladdin is a slave who has to clean lamps. He rubs a magic lamp, and a genie appears.

Wishing himself into the palace, the lad is off to the sultan, and meets a beautiful princess. His evil master tries to steal the lamp, but Aladdin prevails.

'Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp' (aka 'Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp'), while faithfully adhering to the basic details of the story while putting its own spin, maybe slight but is beyond lovingly cutesy and adorable too.

However, 'Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp' in no way disgraces the story and has enough freshness to stop it from being stale. It avoids the over sentimental factor and is never dull.

There are amusing gags, that aren't too corny and never repetitive, it's very charming, has a lively pace and there is a genuine likeability and cuteness.

Another gem is 'Mr. Piper and the Story of Ali Baba' (1963, Cartoon) where, of course, Mr. Piper tells the story of Ali Baba.

The first sounds you hear on this cartoon are the whimsical sounds of a deep baritone singing: “Come with me, come and see, all the wonders there will be…” and from then on it it's pure bliss to behold!

When we finally get sight of our titular Mr. Piper, the words that pops into my head like a shotgun blast are “Mr. Fun”. He lip syncs along with the theme song, but when they cut to him using his own voice, it’s clear that his own voice is not actually responsible for the dulcet tones of the intro.

At any rate, Mr. Piper asks us if we’ve ever wanted to find a great big treasure, and before we can answer, we’ve been whisked out the window and into a cartoon that flashes us instantly back to a time when everything was just so much more simpler.

The other four films included are: '1001 Arabian Nights' (1959) which is an animated retelling of the classic tale. Abdul Aziz Magoo - an ancestor of Mr. Magoo - is the lamp-selling uncle of Aladdin.

Tired of his nephew's laziness, Abdul insists that Aladdin find a wife. To his uncle's surprise, Aladdin falls in love with the beautiful Princess Yasminda.

'Arabian Nights' (2000, TV Mini-Series). This lavish production brings to life some of the most timeless fables to come down through the ages. Mind-blowing adventure and extraordinary special effects set against the backdrop of mysterious Arabia make this an exhilarating trip through the grandest adventures of all time.

'Aladdin' (1990, TV Musical Adaptation). This musical version of 'Aladdin' is based on a popular stage production of the fairytale which restores the locale to it's original Chinese roots has Aladdin discovering the lamp with the help of a scheming old magician who aims to exploit it's magic for his own ends.

The lamp contains a Genie (Barry Bostwick) who bestows upon Aladdin the riches he requires in order to marry lovely Princess Mei-Ling (Susan Egan).

The last one is 'Popeye Meets Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp' (1939, Cartoon). Olive has a job at Surprise Pictures as a script girl when she dreams up a story of Popeye in the Aladdin tale.

With quite a few similarities to Disney's 'Aladdin', which would be made over 50 years later, the villain looks a bit like Jafar, the Genie is blue and a fun character, and the way Aladdin looks once disguised as a prince looks exactly like the Prince Ali sequence!

Some Popeye fans will be upset to not see Bluto or Wimpy, but at least it's great to see Popeye have a new villain for once. And finally, at just over 20 minutes, this is the longest Popeye cartoon that I know of! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Story of Aladdin - A Thousand and One Nights' [2-Disc DVD] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Life With Dog'
(Corbin Bernsen, Chelsey Crisp, Marilu Henner, et al / DVD / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: After losing his wife Alice (Marilu Henner) in a mysterious bike accident, Joe Bigler (Corbin Bernsen) is left alone without faith to help him grieve.

That and the circumstances of Alice's accident leave more questions than answers, and Joe begins a fast descent into the dark abyss of uncertainty.

But his salvation arrives when a dog wanders into his garden and won't leave despite Joe's many attempts to rid him.

DVD Verdict: Without so much as a single bark, "Dog", as Joe has named him, shares his voice; a deep love and comfort that Joe has never experienced before.

With Dog's love comes the discovery of God's love, and a faith that not only helps Joe toward the road to recovery, but also the unsolved mystery surrounding his wife's accident, and the ability to finally grieve her passing.

A most welcome and wondrous film about when faith meets doubt and the euphoric results that can come from that re: anything is possible, this film has one of the most powerful and relatable storylines that I've had the pleasure to review in a decade or more.

Corbin Bernsen (looking more like John Malkovich then JM himself these days!) gives a stirring performance as Joe, a man that is trying to make sense of his life after his wife Alice (Marilu Henner) is killed by a hit-and-run driver as she rode her bike.

We later learn there was a twist to the accident that took her life, but I won't give that away here, don't worry. Joe’s daughter, Zoe (Chelsey Crisp), is, like her mother was, a Christian, and her faith doesn’t sit well with Joe.

Indeed, this isn’t the first family tragedy that Joe and Chelsey have had to endure; Joe had lost his son some years before — after turning to God in prayer to spare his life.

Joe has never been able to understand why Zoe and Alice held to their faith when there was no making sense of the tragic events of their lives.

I won't carry on much further as the story should unfold for you personally, but there's an ultimately dramatic moment that takes place when Joe learns the exact details surrounding his wife’s death that is much like a gut punch to us all, believe me.

Written and directed by Bernsen, 'Life With Dog' is a spiritual gem that deserves a wider audience for it is a movie that contains solid acting, a suspenseful plot, and features a topic most people can relate to — pain and suffering. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Life With Dog' [DVD] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Michelin Stars: Tales From The Kitchen'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / Juno Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: At a moment in time, when humanity is obsessed with food - photographing every dish, worshipping cooks and flaunting trophy meals on social media, this documentary goes under the surface and offers an in-depth, honest and relevant view into the world and every day of Michelin chefs and restaurants.

DVD Verdict: Well, in truth, this fascinating documentary is just that, but at the same times feels peculiarly behind the times (even though it was filmed in 2017).

In 'Michelin Stars: Tales From The Kitchen,' director Rasmus Dinesen explores the peculiar culinary hierarchy of Michelin Stars. Featuring top chefs from around the world, the interviews with them are definitely the fascinating area aforementioned as they talk candidly about the renowned, and controversial rating system.

The art of being what has now become an arbitrary classification model for assigning stars and ratings in the arts, it's amazing the power these gold stars have on the eatery in question. The difference they can make. The difference between a 2 star and a 3 star being a void as wide as the Grand Canyon.

As we novices learn, the system awards one to three stars for excellence in culinary delights and it's those stars that have people travel the globe to eat at top tier Michelin restaurants.

An interesting fact we learn is that only 113 kitchens worldwide have the coveted three star distinction, but something else here is that within all those eateries there are zero female chefs!

Full of insightful, if not at times questioning chef interviews, Dinesen’s documentary also includes a fair few behind-the-scenes moments where the eateries in question are bustling in the kitchen and brimming with happy customers out front.

At a moment in time, when humanity is obsessed with food - photographing every dish, worshipping cooks and flaunting trophy meals on social media, 'Michelin Stars: Tales From The Kitchen' goes under the surface and offers an in-depth, honest and relevant view into the world and every day of Michelin chefs and restaurants.

Featuring chefs, critics, and their customers this captivating 82 minute documentary also features: Alain Ducasse, Daniel Humm, René Redzepi, Andoni Aduriz, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Victor Arquinzoniz, Guy Savoy, Paris Alain Ducasse, New York City Benoit Violier, and l'Hotel de Ville, amongst others. This is a Standard Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Michelin Stars: Tales From The Kitchen' [DVD] is out June 11th, 2019 via Juno Films / MVD Visual.

www.MVDvisual.com





'Drop Dead Diva - The Complete Series'
(Brooke Elliott, Margaret Cho, April Bowlby, Kate Levering, et al / 12-DVD / TV-PG / (2009-2014) 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: 'Drop Dead Diva' tells the story of Deb, a shallow model who dies in a sudden accident. By a twist of fate and a bolt of divine intervention, her soul resurfaces in the body of Jane, a smart, plus-sized and recently deceased attorney.

As she confronts the challenges of her adventurous new life, love and career, she must learn to reconcile her beauty queen ways with her brilliant new mind - finding surprises at every turn.

DVD Verdict: For the record, and much like Tom Hanks, Brooke Elliott has "that certain something" that very few actors have. It has to do with Likability. She exudes a very pleasant charm. She makes it easy to believe that a sweet, model-aspiring airhead has inhabited a high power attorney and has access to her rapid-firing brain cells.

I like it that the Jane Bingum character has a golden moral compass and yet is playful like a Sex in the City girl. Kudos to the creator and writers for creating a character that is like a real person.

The Jane Bingum character reveals great sensitivity and vulnerability along with areas of great strength and fortitude. This is no "one note" character like the many that usually populate series TV shows, of that be sure.

Ergo, 'Drop Dead Diva' is both high drama and wry comedy by virtue of its excellent writers. But, where would this show have been without Brooke Elliott?

Indeed, between the excellent cast that seems to mesh so well together, the clever, poignant and fast-paced fun scripts, and constantly interesting subject matter, it's obvious from the Pilot why this show steadily became known as "Classic TV".

I mean, and sorry for harping on about her, but the Jane character is just so cute and has such an excellent actress working her; so to speak. Adorably ditzy and such a great co-star/supporting actress she just seems so genuine; like anyone would want her as a friend.

OK, moving on from Brooke Elliott and it is also true that all of the acting is superb, and how they jive with each other seems completely unscripted, and real.

Indeed, every episode catches me, so I mourn when it's over - which is why I'm Blessed to have this incredible new 12-Disc DVD Box-Set here with me now for review from Mill Creek Entertainment ie: repeat binge watching!

'Drop Dead Diva' is the perfect mix of light and fun with deep and thought-provoking subject matters and moments between the characters. Running a delightful 6 seasons on Lifetime, quite why it was brought to a close is beyond me; but I'll look into it.

For me, the show filled the void left by 'Boston Legal' without being a total rip off of it. There are moments quite reminiscent of that show - minus David E. Kelly's preaching (which really went overboard as that show reached its final episodes).

Still, the characters in 'Drop Dead Diva' are much more tame, far wittier, and so enjoyable to watch; as I'm sure all you fans of the show already know, of course.

The romantic interest is also a little different, as the boyfriend (played by Jackson Hurst) just can't let go of his dead love. Although, in truth, I find it difficult to see how an intelligent lawyer such as Grayson Kent would fall for a vapid would-be model; but then that's just my "real life" take.

And yes, as much as there was definitely a nice mix of characters and the whole body image conflicts were handled impeccably, April Bowlby is loads of fun in her role, Kate Levering is a solid villain/friend, but it's a shame that Jane loses angel Fred after 3 seasons.

Ben Feldman adds an endearing touch and oddly enough, Margaret Cho is probably the least fun character in the show - despite being the most obvious comedian in the group. For my money she tries a wee bit too hard to squeeze the punch line out, even when it's obviously a tell tale one that deserved to be kept waiting at the gate!

Also, the show lost me a little when it tried its hand in song and dance. I don't know where the idea of dancing lawyers came from, but perhaps it was from the same person who chose a moment of stunt casting like the Kim Kardashian moment!

That never sat well with me, but despite the missteps, the likable cast keeps this a nice watch, that's for sure.

So, and in wrap, there's a strong legal influence, but it feels like fake lawyering which suits the show to a tee. It stops it from feeling too heavy. That being said, 'Drop Dead Diva' plays heavily on your emotions so be aware to keep some tissues to hand!

There is always a general tone of heartbreak and all the romantic relationships can be slightly draining, pulling you in two different directions at the exact same time.

Every episode is like a mini-romantic comedy drama where your emotions are put through the ringer yet you can't help but come back for more! No matter what though, and no matter if you're here for the comedy or the emotive moments, 'Drop Dead Diva' supplies both in equal measures and fast became one of the best shows on TV.

Season 1
Disc 1:
Episode 1 - Pilot
Episode 2 - The 'F' Word
Episode 3 - Do Over
Episode 4 - The Chinese Wall
Episode 5 - Lost and Found
Episode 6 - Second Chances

Disc 2:
Episode 7 - The Magic Bullet
Episode 8 - Crazy
Episode 9 - The Dress
Episode 10 - Make Me a Match
Episode 11 - What If?
Episode 12 - Dead Model Walking
Episode 13 - Grayson's Anatomy

Season 2
Disc 3:
Episode 1 - Would I Lie to You?
Episode 2 - Back from the Dead
Episode 3 - The Long Road to Napa
Episode 4 - Home Away from Home
Episode 5 - Senti-Mental State
Episode 6 - Begin Again

Disc 4:
Episode 7 - A Mother's Secret
Episode 8 - Queen of Mean
Episode 9 - Last Year's Model
Episode 10 - Will & Grayson
Episode 11 - Good Grief
Episode 12 - Bad Girls
Episode 13 - Freeze the Day

Season 3
Disc 5:
Episode 1 - Hit and Run
Episode 2 - False Alarm
Episode 3 - Dream Big
Episode 4 - The Wedding
Episode 5 - Prom
Episode 6 - Closure

Disc 6:
Episode 7 - Mother's Day
Episode 8 - He Said, She Said
Episode 9 - You Bet Your Life
Episode 10 - Toxic
Episode 11 - Ah, Men
Episode 12 - Bride-a-Palooza
Episode 13 - Change of Heart

Season 4
Disc 7:
Episode 1 - Welcome Back
Episode 2 - Home
Episode 3 - Freak Show
Episode 4 - Winning Ugly
Episode 5 - Happily Ever After
Episode 6 - Rigged

Disc 8:
Episode 7 - Crushed
Episode 8 - Road Trip
Episode 9 - Ashes to Ashes
Episode 10 - Lady Parts
Episode 11 - Family Matters
Episode 12 - Picks & Pakes
Episode 13 - Jane's Getting Married

Season 5
Disc 9:
Episode 1 - Back from the Dead
Episode 2 - The Real Jane
Episode 3 - Surrogates
Episode 4 - Cheaters
Episode 5 - Secret Lives
Episode 6 - Fool for Love

Disc 10:
Episode 7 - Missed Congeniality
Episode 8 - 50 Shades of Grayson
Episode 9 - Trust Me
Episode 10 - The Kiss
Episode 11 - One Shot
Episode 12 - Guess Who's Coming
Episode 13 - Jane's Secret Revealed

Season 6
Disc 11:
Episode 1 - Truth & Consequences
Episode 2 - Soulmates?
Episode 3 - First Date
Episode 4 - Life & Death
Episode 5 - Cheers & Jeers
Episode 6 - Desperate Housewife

Disc 12:
Episode 7 - Sister Act
Episode 8 - Identity Crisis
Episode 9 - Hope and Glory
Episode 10 - No Return
Episode 11 - Afterlife
Episode 12 - Hero
Episode 13 - It Had to Be You

These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Drop Dead Diva - The Complete Series' [12-DVD] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral'
(Tyler Perry, Patrice Lovely, Cassi Davis, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: A joyous family reunion becomes a hilarious nightmare as Madea and the crew travel to backwoods Georgia, where they find themselves unexpectedly planning a funeral that might unveil unsavory family secrets.

Blu-ray Verdict: So the Tyler Perry Madea-based films are finally coming to an end with this final chapter. For me, Madea is a hit or miss character and I find the earlier films she was involved in to be better quality.

I actually kind of do not remember the characters outside of Madea from the other films, such as Joe and the "core" family! Regardless, the film was fairly easy to follow otherwise. I'll just say if you aren't already a fan of Madea films you won't enjoy this.

The film is about a family get together to celebrate an anniversary which quickly turns into a gathering for a funeral and wake. The circumstances of the characters death revolve around infidelity.

In fact, there are a lot of family secrets of infidelity that are in danger of being aired by loose lipped family members. Of course, Madea and crew bring comedy and their regular loud shenanigans as well.

My first note was Aeriel Miranda was fine as hell. Wasn't like that on Pretty Little Liars. I'm kind of glad that the Madea character is being retired in film because the films got a little long in the tooth as years went by.

Overall. I think this was a fairly good send off for this series of films. Some scenes are overlong, especially the one in the church but other stuff works. I'd say the physical humor really worked. The gang being pulled over was also a highlight in a rather uneven film.

In truth, the comedy is rather hit or miss here. Some parts were quite funny, mostly through Madea's delivery. A lot of the family emotional moments feel forced and aren't acted as well.

As for the level of comedy, well, there's a scene which shows that a casket at a funeral cannot be closed properly due to Viagra issues! Come on everyone, laughter is the best medicine, so watch, accept and enjoy this fun flick for what it is.

But, and again, overall, it's what you get with this type of film. A mixed bag. If you enjoy the characters and their comedic delivery you won't be let down. Otherwise, I don't know if you'll like it, sorry. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
“Madea’s Tips for Attending a Funeral” Featurette
“Making A Madea Family Funeral: An Affair to Remember” Featurette
“Hellllur: Looking Back on Madea” Featurette

For me, the best of the Bonus Features is the “Making A Madea Family Funeral: An Affair to Remember” Featurette as it has Tyler Perry himself explaining the reasoning behind why he choose to make this the exit door for his character of Madea.

As he himself puts it, "Having experienced funerals all my life there's nothing funnier than what goes on at a black funeral!" As he explains, the "choice" by the family to allow Madea to MC the funeral, wearing a "Beyoncé hat" was just so bad, so, so bad, so he knew the comedy would be so, so good.

The 'Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral' Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.99 and $29.95, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral' Website

Official 'Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral' Trailer





'Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure'
(Lisa Durupt, Vincent Tong, Jonathan Holmes, Lee Tockar, Michael Dobson, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: An ancient Chinese artifact has been stolen by a villainous archaeologist named Dexter. With the help of his Lemming friends, Norm must keep his word and embark on a journey across the world to help recover the artifact for the people of China.

Blu-ray Verdict: Simply put, Norm is one big, lovable, adventurous bear! This is great fun for the whole family and it's even better the second time ... and the third and fourth!

Personally, and as a parent, I love the theme and message behind each of these films in the series that teaches kids about honesty and being environmentally friendly.

And so to the story in this latest installment of a truly delightful animated series. In 'Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure' Norm agrees to help his grandfather with his upcoming wedding.

Soon after, he meets Jin, an archeologist who is trying to keep a treasured Chinese antiquity out of the hands of a thief and bring it to Beijing in time for an important cultural event.

When JIn is injured, Norm takes on his mission. Having given his word to both Jin and his grandfather, Norm must find a way to recover the artifact, deliver it intact, and make sure his grandfather's wedding goes off as planned!

As always, the story is simple, but not dumbed down, which is vitally important for those young sponge-minds. Sure, ok it's not particularly educational, but it does introduce an earth science phenomenon and Chinese culture.

Yes, Norm (and his friendly Lemmings) are constantly in dangerous situations, but if you doubt he/they will ever escape unharmed and without a story to tell you've come to the wrong animated series, my friend.

In conclusion, 'Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure' is a fun animated family movie. It's not too overbearing, but still entertains the children and is palatable enough that adults can watch as well.

It may not be the 'Citizen Kane' of animated Polar Bear films or end up on a criterion collection, but it entertains and is enjoyable none the less. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The 'Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure' Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD and will be available ON June 11th, 2019 for the suggested retail price of $21.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure' Trailer





'Us' (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital)
(Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: A family's serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this June with the release of this quite stunning, and brilliantly off-center horror tale 'Us' on their new 4K home video format on June 18th, 2019.

For my money, this 'Us: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Us' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the delicious hues and nuances of all the daylight outdoor scenes in the woods and the early frantic beach moments.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where the family are running in terror, either away from the duplicates or toward their children) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, and English: Dolby Digital 2.0.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. Well, telling it like it is, 'Us' is a wonderfully thought out concept that has the potential to be a powerfully horrifying experience to the viewer, but it falls short of greatness due to flaws in logic that will have you screaming at your TV!

For example, there are a great deal of scenes where the main characters defy basic fight or flight reactions. Too many scenes where I found myself saying "Well, you put yourself in that position, dummy!"

The film makes our protagonists seem like 6 year-old's with no perception of danger rather than grown adults with children. It reminds me of corny 1970s slasher films where the first victims are just complete idiots who were too dumb to live in the first place!

I mean, for the most part, 'Get Out' had plausible characters with a twist that viewers could believe, but this film had unbelievably stupid characters with a plot twist that you'd have to be blind and deaf to not see coming!

I mean, and just a few of the logic holes that frustrated me are:

1) Why did Red tell Adelaide about how she went up and saw herself, when in fact Red was actually the original girl that got kidnapped? Why is Red telling Adelaide about the tethered when Adelaide switched places with her and knows about the tethered considering SHE IS ONE? We all saw Red wake up after being switched. It was purely for exposition.

2) How did every single clone just magically find their real selves? Sure, they have the same impulses, but how do they just know where all of them are? The two families were at their beach house for Christ sakes, not even their primary residences.

3) How come they seemed to be completely connected when underground and Jason's clone is very connected to Jason, but NO ONE ELSE even moved a finger when their other clones were out and about. Do they just magically choose when they want to be tethered?

4) So the clones are all just underground and coincidentally EVERY CLONE of the people at the boardwalk the night Adelaide/Red switched were in the same underground base? There have to be other many more underground bases … right?

Anyway, unlike a movie like last year's 'Halloween' remake, 'Us' is all about the terror of someone coming after you. There are numerous instances of stalking here that add up to true tension - as a horror movie should (for the opening 10-20 minutes, perhaps).

I think the problem with 'Us' is that Jordan Peele is trying way too hard to come up with something original that will set him apart and justify his growing popularity within the horror genre.

The overall result is just a weird, confusing mess that makes no sense whatsoever no matter how much you try to spin it. I mean, the lady's double who speaks in the guttural voice is supposed to be scary and disturbing, but in reality she just sounds like she has a bad sore throat and ends up being annoying!

In closing, 'Us' is, without a shadow of a doubt definitely overhyped, yes, but, and playing Devil's Advocate here, it's worth spending a few bucks on to see a concept that isn't often seen in films these days.

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on a couple of the special features that are included.

The first I'll talk about are the Scene Explorations for they feature three (3) in particular - Seven Second Massacre, It's a Trap, and I Just Want My Little Girl Back - and are truly fascinating from start to finish.

Indeed, the making of these three now iconic scenes from the film - including the Tyler house massacre, Jason’s abduction and Adelaide’s underground flashback - mean that once you get to view them you will undoubtedly feel the urge to rewatch the film to get "inside those scenes" in a whole different way, trust me.

Another stand out is Redefining a Genre: Jordan Peele's Brand of Horror which showcases that in the space of two films, Peele has set himself apart as an invaluable artistic voice.

Here we get interviews with the cast and filmmakers who go to great lengths to highlight what makes Peele so unique. Plus we get Peele himself giving his own thoughts on his horror inspirations and the relationship between horror and comedy.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray and a digital copy of Us
The Monsters Within Us
Tethered Together: Making Us Twice Featurette
Redefining a Genre: Jordan Peele's Brand of Horror
Deleted Scenes: I Am Not Even Near You - Rabbit Season - That's Badass - Driftwood - The P is Silent - I Wanna Go Home
We're All Dying
As Above, So Below: Grand Pas De Deux
Becoming Red
The Duality Of Us
Scene Explorations

The 'Us: 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack' (+ Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD) will be released June 18th, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $42.99, $39.99, and $29.95, respectively.

Official 'Us' Blu-ray/DVD Trailer

The Duality Of Us: Privilege | Bonus Clip

The Duality Of Us: Duality & Family | Bonus Clip

Official 'Us' Website

www.UPHE.com





'Us' (Blu-ray + DVD+ Digital)
(Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, et al / Blu ray + DVD + Digital / R / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: A family's serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.

Blu-ray Verdict: Well, telling it like it is, 'Us' is a wonderfully thought out concept that has the potential to be a powerfully horrifying experience to the viewer, but it falls short of greatness due to flaws in logic that will have you screaming at your TV!

For example, there are a great deal of scenes where the main characters defy basic fight or flight reactions. Too many scenes where I found myself saying "Well, you put yourself in that position, dummy!"

The film makes our protagonists seem like 6 year-old's with no perception of danger rather than grown adults with children. It reminds me of corny 1970s slasher films where the first victims are just complete idiots who were too dumb to live in the first place!

I mean, for the most part, 'Get Out' had plausible characters with a twist that viewers could believe, but this film had unbelievably stupid characters with a plot twist that you'd have to be blind and deaf to not see coming!

I mean, and just a few of the logic holes that frustrated me are:

1) Why did Red tell Adelaide about how she went up and saw herself, when in fact Red was actually the original girl that got kidnapped? Why is Red telling Adelaide about the tethered when Adelaide switched places with her and knows about the tethered considering SHE IS ONE? We all saw Red wake up after being switched. It was purely for exposition.

2) How did every single clone just magically find their real selves? Sure, they have the same impulses, but how do they just know where all of them are? The two families were at their beach house for Christ sakes, not even their primary residences.

3) How come they seemed to be completely connected when underground and Jason's clone is very connected to Jason, but NO ONE ELSE even moved a finger when their other clones were out and about. Do they just magically choose when they want to be tethered?

4) So the clones are all just underground and coincidentally EVERY CLONE of the people at the boardwalk the night Adelaide/Red switched were in the same underground base? There have to be other many more underground bases … right?

Anyway, unlike a movie like last year's 'Halloween' remake, 'Us' is all about the terror of someone coming after you. There are numerous instances of stalking here that add up to true tension - as a horror movie should (for the opening 10-20 minutes, perhaps).

I think the problem with 'Us' is that Jordan Peele is trying way too hard to come up with something original that will set him apart and justify his growing popularity within the horror genre.

The overall result is just a weird, confusing mess that makes no sense whatsoever no matter how much you try to spin it. I mean, the lady's double who speaks in the guttural voice is supposed to be scary and disturbing, but in reality she just sounds like she has a bad sore throat and ends up being annoying!

In closing, 'Us' is, without a shadow of a doubt definitely overhyped, yes, but, and playing Devil's Advocate here, it's worth spending a few bucks on to see a concept that isn't often seen in films these days.

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on a couple of the special features that are included.

The first I'll talk about are the Scene Explorations for they feature three (3) in particular - Seven Second Massacre, It's a Trap, and I Just Want My Little Girl Back - and are truly fascinating from start to finish.

Indeed, the making of these three now iconic scenes from the film - including the Tyler house massacre, Jason’s abduction and Adelaide’s underground flashback - mean that once you get to view them you will undoubtedly feel the urge to rewatch the film to get "inside those scenes" in a whole different way, trust me.

Another stand out is Redefining a Genre: Jordan Peele's Brand of Horror which showcases that in the space of two films, Peele has set himself apart as an invaluable artistic voice.

Here we get interviews with the cast and filmmakers who go to great lengths to highlight what makes Peele so unique. Plus we get Peele himself giving his own thoughts on his horror inspirations and the relationship between horror and comedy.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

The Monsters Within Us
Tethered Together: Making Us Twice Featurette
Redefining a Genre: Jordan Peeles's Brand of Horror
Deleted Scenes: I Am Not Even Near You - Rabbit Season - That's Badass - Driftwood - The P is Silent - I Wanna Go Home
We're All Dying
As Above, So Below: Grand Pas De Deux
Becoming Red
The Duality Of Us
Scene Explorations

The 'Us' Blu-ray Combo Pack, 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and DVD will be released June 18th, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.99, $42.99, and $29.95, respectively.

Official 'Us' Blu-ray/DVD Trailer

The Duality Of Us: Privilege | Bonus Clip

The Duality Of Us: Duality & Family | Bonus Clip

Official 'Us' Website

www.UPHE.com





'Silent Witness - The Complete Season Twenty'
(Emilia Fox, David Caves, Liz Carr, Richard Lintern, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: In this long-running, hit BBC crime thriller, baffled police once again turn to forensic pathologists Nikki Alexander, Jack Hodgson and Thomas Chamberlin for help to solve murder cases with harrowing evidence that speaks louder than words.

DVD Verdict: Well, for all you lovely readers following along at home, as I've mentioned before in my reviews of this wondrous, ground-breaking UK TV show, I have watched every single episode, of every single season; and have to say that each and every one was a complete and utter joy to behold locked firmly within it.

But, like most TV shows that have gone on for 22 seasons (23 now, as it just got renewed), the original cast was always the best. And as much as the group that surrounded Dr. Ryan in the first five seasons were good, and as much as the guys that surround Nikki Alexander from season 16 on are great too, the true A-Team came into play during the sixth season onwards re: Samantha Ryan (Burton), Professor Leo Dalton (William Gaminara) and Dr. Harry Cunningham (Tom Ward).

For those not further in the know, 'Silent Witness' was first broadcast in 1996, and still on air today, the series was created by Nigel McCrery, a former murder squad detective based in Nottingham. He later went on to create the hit series 'New Tricks,' with writer Roy Mitchell.

Having originally appeared in the Season 8 episode, "Nowhere Fast", Nikki (Emilia Fox) was originally assigned to the Lyell Centre to defuse the tension between Harry and Leo after Sam Ryan's departure.

However, Nikki soon became a permanent fixture within the team, and although at first she held a lower rank in pathology than her boss Leo, upon his departure - and then that of Harry thereafter - she soon got promoted.

Despite her native home being South Africa, Nikki regards the United Kingdom as her second home, as the reason for her departure from the country lies solely in the hands of her father, Victor, as explained in the previous Season 8 episode, "Double Dare".

Before his arrival at the Lyell Centre, Jack Hodgson (David Caves) was a forensic scientist for the police, working on regular murder investigations.

However, when he is called out to the scene of a man's suspicious death in Season 16's "Change", both Nikki and Leo spot his potential, and looking for a senior colleague to replace Harry, decide to offer Jack a job as the centre's forensic expert.

As it turns out, Jack is close friends with fellow colleague Clarissa Mullery (Lizz Carr), whom he invites to work with him at the Lyell Centre. She has a very cheeky side and most definitely adds some light to the darkness here sometimes.

Lastly, Dr. Thomas Chamberlain (Richard Lintern) took over as head of the Lyell Centre from Leo, who ** SPOILER ** died at the end of Season 16. He is an experienced forensic pathologist with a renowned reputation in toxicology and described as charming, charismatic and socially shrewd.

In the style of a murder-cop show starring someone besides a cop, the team of pathologists manage to solve all of the cases themselves, only occasionally calling on the aid of one of the actual police officers!

Can you say, CSI-esque? Regardless, this British series is very often intense and graphic during some of the autopsy scenes, but it is consistently well-written and well-acted.

But, as that is all leading us down the path into Season Six and subsequent seasons for a long time thereafter, let us concentrate on this latest inclusion in the wonderful 'Silent Witness' series, Season Twenty now out on DVD.

So, what do a people-smuggler, a photogenic young schoolteacher, a missing teenager and a father/son pair have in common? Alas, their remains are the most reliable witnesses of how they died, and—if they were murdered—who killed them.

Following grisly clues, Dr. Nikki Alexander (Fox) and her team of forensic pathologists delve into London’s illegal immigrant community, a toxic media storm, families camped on a riverbank, a shocking car accident and international kidnapping.

In a case gone horribly wrong, Jack races to Mexico, where Nikki struggles for survival. Gruesome evidence and harrowing adventures make your heart pound in five more suspenseful cases in the long-running crime drama series.

In conclusion, 'Silent Witness' is still a very well-written show and I highly recommend it when you get the chance to invest in this long-running British crime series. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.shop.bbc.com





'Silent Witness - The Complete Season Nineteen'
(Emilia Fox, David Caves, Liz Carr, Richard Lintern, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: In this long-running, hit BBC crime thriller, baffled police once again turn to forensic pathologists Nikki Alexander, Jack Hodgson and Thomas Chamberlin for help to solve murder cases with harrowing evidence that speaks louder than words.

DVD Verdict: Well, for all you lovely readers following along at home, as I've mentioned before in my reviews of this wondrous, ground-breaking UK TV show, I have watched every single episode, of every single season; and have to say that each and every one was a complete and utter joy to behold locked firmly within it.

But, like most TV shows that have gone on for 22 seasons (23 now, as it just got renewed), the original cast was always the best. And as much as the group that surrounded Dr. Ryan in the first five seasons were good, and as much as the guys that surround Nikki Alexander from season 16 on are great too, the true A-Team came into play during the sixth season onwards re: Samantha Ryan (Burton), Professor Leo Dalton (William Gaminara) and Dr. Harry Cunningham (Tom Ward).

For those not further in the know, 'Silent Witness' was first broadcast in 1996, and still on air today, the series was created by Nigel McCrery, a former murder squad detective based in Nottingham. He later went on to create the hit series 'New Tricks,' with writer Roy Mitchell.

Having originally appeared in the Season 8 episode, "Nowhere Fast", Nikki (Emilia Fox) was originally assigned to the Lyell Centre to defuse the tension between Harry and Leo after Sam Ryan's departure.

However, Nikki soon became a permanent fixture within the team, and although at first she held a lower rank in pathology than her boss Leo, upon his departure - and then that of Harry thereafter - she soon got promoted.

Despite her native home being South Africa, Nikki regards the United Kingdom as her second home, as the reason for her departure from the country lies solely in the hands of her father, Victor, as explained in the previous Season 8 episode, "Double Dare".

Before his arrival at the Lyell Centre, Jack Hodgson (David Caves) was a forensic scientist for the police, working on regular murder investigations.

However, when he is called out to the scene of a man's suspicious death in Season 16's "Change", both Nikki and Leo spot his potential, and looking for a senior colleague to replace Harry, decide to offer Jack a job as the centre's forensic expert.

As it turns out, Jack is close friends with fellow colleague Clarissa Mullery (Lizz Carr), whom he invites to work with him at the Lyell Centre. She has a very cheeky side and most definitely adds some light to the darkness here sometimes.

Lastly, Dr. Thomas Chamberlain (Richard Lintern) took over as head of the Lyell Centre from Leo, who ** SPOILER ** died at the end of Season 16. He is an experienced forensic pathologist with a renowned reputation in toxicology and described as charming, charismatic and socially shrewd.

In the style of a murder-cop show starring someone besides a cop, the team of pathologists manage to solve all of the cases themselves, only occasionally calling on the aid of one of the actual police officers!

Can you say, CSI-esque? Regardless, this British series is very often intense and graphic during some of the autopsy scenes, but it is consistently well-written and well-acted.

But, as that is all leading us down the path into Season Six and subsequent seasons for a long time thereafter, let us concentrate on this latest inclusion in the wonderful 'Silent Witness' series, Season Nineteen now out on DVD.

When a new crime scene looks like the carbon copy of a case from her past, forensic pathologist Dr. Nikki Alexander (Fox) hunts for clues to the connection before the evidence gets too hot to handle.

Following grisly clues, Dr. Alexander and her team of forensic pathologists try to pry secrets from victims' remains and catch the real killers.

Did a gunman target a family of picnickers on purpose, or shoot at random? Who would kill a gentle Muslim man known for protesting violence? How to explain the brutal death of a recently paroled murdered?

And what's behind the passionate response of a police offer after the accidental killing of a young Polish girl? Beware, for the answers take you where you may not want to go in this award-winning crime drama series.

In conclusion, 'Silent Witness' is still a very well-written show and I highly recommend it when you get the chance to invest in this long-running British crime series. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

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'The Village - Seasons One & Two'
(David Ryall, Maxine Peake, John Simm, Charlie Murphy, Emily Beecham, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: In this heart-warming coming-of-age story set in a remote Derbyshire village, you’ll share the villagers’ joys and crises as Bert Middleton takes a nostalgic look back at his youth, between 1914 and 1929.

DVD Verdict: Season 1, 1914-1919: When a bus drives into the village for the first time, the rest of the world seems suddenly closer. Bert feels frustrated at being too young to fight in the Great War.

How will the village react when women go to work in the nearby factory and conscientious objectors and shell-shocked soldiers come home?

Season 2, The 1920s: The local aristocrats plan to resume their pre-war lifestyle, but times have changed. Bert falls madly in love, while others fall out.

Criminally underrated writer/producer, Peter Moffat, showcases his prodigious versatility by following up his brilliant legal drama, Silk, with the equally compelling 'The Village'.

'The Village' chronicles the lives of the inhabitants of a small country town as they struggle to adjust to the turbulent societal upheaval brought about by the First World War.

From the gentry to the poverty stricken working class, the shocking realities behind closed doors belie the idyllic surrounds of the Derbyshire countryside.

'The Village' is far from feel-good entertainment. It's dark themes and gritty period realism creates viewing that is often emotionally harrowing, but undeniably brilliant.

It's mournful, depressing, grim and harsh but that was the reality of life then. If your harvest failed your family could die, there was no public money, or other jobs to be had if you lived in a small remote community.

Despite the explosive era in which it is set, the narrative threads of the series are predominately insular and familial, relying on interpersonal relationships to create drama.

The results are riveting, primarily thanks to the vast array of intriguing characters and superb performances by the stellar cast. Moffat is a genius at writing fascinatingly unconventional characters that are neither heroes nor villains, but ambiguously grey.

Unlike many male writers, he also consistently imbues his shows with multifaceted females roles that are equally if not more dynamic than their male counterparts.

Moffat's leading lady from Silk, Maxine Peake, is the emotional center of the series. Peake remains one of the finest actresses working today and if there is any justice 'The Village' should garner her some long overdue recognition.

In closing, 'The Village' is beautifully shot, beautifully acted, almost incessantly grim, but is still a drama that itself actually moved me to the point that it was something that I immediately wanted to see again. And I hope, think you will too once viewed with your family. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

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'The City & The City'
(David Morrissey, Christian Camargo, Ron Cook, Mandeep Dhillon, et al / DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: Inspector Tyador Borlú (David Morrissey) of the Extreme Crime Squad in the European city-state of Beszel, investigates the murder of a student from Beszel's twin-city of Ul Qoman - which occupies the same space but is perceived differently.

DVD Verdict: As we quickly discover, cases like this are run of the mill for Borlú until he discovers evidence that the victim had been visiting BesŸel’s prosperous neighboring city, Ul Qoma.

This shouldn’t be possible as citizens of each city are forbidden from seeing or interacting with each other, and borders are policed by the terrifying Breach.

As he attempts to solve the case, Borlú comes to realize he has a personal connection to the crimes and must embark on an odyssey of the mind to find the truth he has always been seeking.

In truth, I had never come across 'The City & The City' before and instantly upon watching it found this mind-bending trip into a place I wouldn't have ever imagined enjoying being one of the most interesting, intriguing, thought provoking fantasy/sci-fi detective thrillers I have had the pleasure to watch and review in the past 20 years.

It is shot in a grim way with a budget that is not quite large enough to reach its ambitions, but almost gets there by sheer will power. If you look hard enough you can see some parts of Liverpool (UK), but don't let that distract you from the overall visual effects here.

Sure, I did find the series rather confusing at times, but during its transmission I visited Berlin and this gave me another dimension to understand the series!

David Morrissey plays a hard boiled detective Tyador Borlú , an Inspector in the Beszel Extreme Crime Squad. Beszel is a dinghy city with battered tower blocks, poor, with immigrants and a government that wants to drive the foreigners out. It is a Dystopian society not too far from East Germany.

Borlú is investigating the death of a an American female found dead in Beszel. However she was studying in Ul Qoma so it was a case of what was she doing here? Ul Qoma is a little bit upmarket, with glass towers, affluence and a little bit of style and intellectual sophistication.

Yet it is also anti immigrant and deep down it is also a Dystopian society, maybe West Berlin of the 1970s.

Both cities exist in the same space, residents from both cities ignore each other and have been trained to unsee and ignore the other city. If you cross the cities illegally it is a breach and punishable unless you go through the official crossing points. A bit like Checkpoint Charlie.

As we follow Borlú's investigation with his new potty mouthed partner, we see flashbacks of his wife who disappeared some years earlier. Did she go to Ul Qoma and not return? Borlú crosses over to Ul Qoma and investigates some radicals who believe that there is a mythical third city called Orciny.

In closing, Morrissey is wonderful, he makes the series come alive and for my money and in my humble opinion, the highly under-rated (as it turns out to be) 'The City & The City' is one of the best dramas of 2018/19! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

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'Southcliffe'
(Rory Kinnear, Sean Harris, Shirley Henderson, et al / DVD / NR / (2013) 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: Following a rash of shootings in an English market town, the crimes are retold through the eyes of a journalist and the tragedies' victims.

DVD Verdict: Tony Grisoni's powerful four-part drama starring Rory Kinnear tells the story of a fictional English town devastated by a spate of shootings that take place over a single day.

For those not in the UK know, the writers here have taken the real events of Hungerford, Cumbria and Dunblane as their inspiration, showing the characters and the sparks that lead up to one man (Sean Harris, brilliantly haunting) snapping and begin his random killing spree in a small fictional town in the UK.

The tones here match the bleak morning fog of this sleepy coastal community and the camera takes it's time, not always showing you everything you want to see, a statement perhaps that the film makers here are willing to take risks and its all the better for it.

Clearly taking well grounded advice from shows such as 'The Killing' time is taken to show all sides of a person so there will be more emotional consequence for the viewer later on.

Perfectly placed to show an example of this technique is the fact that as the first episode ends with the spree just beginning we are only given a taste of what's to come at its climax.

This four-part miniseries unwinds much like that throughout and thus is a slow and patient drama that jumps from past to present and back again.

To my mind, and in my humble opinion, 'Southcliffe' is a masterpiece of pace and elliptical pauses. The acting is heart-wrenching and brilliant.

The script soars with unadorned language in which some of the most vicious and touching lines unfold in the spaces between words.

In closing, its style won't be to everyone's taste and I am sure some will find it a bit slow, but in a time of never ending crap reality TV and repetitive game shows, its about time someone showed some balls and made these sorts of gritty dramas that the UK used to be (and are starting to get back to being) so good at. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

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'Innocent'
(Lee Ingleby, Daniel Ryan, Adrian Rawlins, et al / DVD / NR / (2018) 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: David Collins fights to rebuild his shattered life, when, after spending seven years in a high-security prison, his conviction for the murder of his wife is overturned.

DVD Verdict: 'Innocent' follows David Collins (Ingleby) as he returns home after seven years imprisoned for the murder of his wife.

When the initial judgement is overturned due to a technicality, Collins is left a free man and soon finds himself facing a new investigation that unveils dark secrets of abuse, affairs and money troubles.

As a web of lies unmasks new potential suspects, fragile relationships are ripped apart at the seams, but one question remains: is David Collins truly innocent?

Directed by Richard Clark, 'Innocent' is a four-part whodunit that is half by-the-book, paint-by-numbers, nothing-you-haven't-seen-before, and half superbly and realized and expansive family drama.

As aforementioned, the show begins with David Collins (Ingleby) being acquitted for the murder of his wife, having already spent seven years in jail for the crime.

Viewers are never left in any doubt as to Collins's innocence, which does have the unfortunate side-effect of making the characters who are convinced of his guilt seem either naive or antagonistic-by-default.

Collins's quest to uncover the truth and learn why people he trusted lied during his trial is never especially gripping, with no real urgency, no major twists, and a decided sense of "Er, is that it?"

Where the show really succeeds, however, is in the depth of Matthew Arlidge and Chris Lang's depiction of the secondary characters whose lives are changed irreparably as the effects of Collins's release ripple outward; his brother Phil (Daniel Ryan), with whom he moves in; his sister-in-law Alice (Hermione Norris), whose testimony that he beat his wife was an important factor in his conviction; and her amiable husband Rob (Adrian Rawlins).

Others include DCI William Beech (Nigel Lindsay), the original lead investigator, who may (or may not) have suppressed evidence; DI Cathy Hudson (Angel Coulby), the new lead investigator, who also happens to be Beech's girlfriend; and, of course, Collins's children, Jack (Fionn O'Shea) and Rosie (Eloise Webb), who were adopted by Alice and Rob after the trial.

Lastly, we get Tom Wilson (Elliot Cowan), Collins's former best friend, whose failure to provide him an alibi led to his conviction; Melissa Wilson (Hannah Britland), Tom's wife, who suspects he knows more than he's letting on; and Louise Wilson (Christine Cole), Tom's ex-wife, who left him after she discovered his affair with Melissa.

Phew! Each of these characters are given a fair amount of dialogue, screen time, and character development as the show lets the whodunit plot fade somewhat into the background, and it's here where the narrative is at its most enjoyable.

Thus, and in closing, 'Innocent' is not going to change your life, but it's worth a look, that's for sure. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

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'PJ Masks - Birthday Cake Rescue'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / eOne - 20th Century Fox)

Overview: Join our trio of heroes: Catboy, Owlette & Gekko, on their nighttime adventures as they work together to stop the baddies, and save the day!

DVD Verdict: From the off, you should know that I am happy to say I am a fan of the super-hero cartoon and when my son and daughter (aged 2 and 4 years respectively) starting watching the PJ Masks, I was rather moved, it has to be said.

They LOVE Cat-Boy and Gekko and at the beginning once told me that I could be their Owelette (although that changed over time, as you'll read below).

PJ Masks is a really cute crime fighting trio that deals with everyday challenges of working together with others.

This show encourages teamwork and teaches sportsmanship. PJ Masks also display that children get caught up in there own interests, but when teamwork is required to fight crime they come together.

Here in 'PJ Masks: Birthday Cake Rescue' (and other adventures), we join the aforementioned Catboy and Owlette on Gekko's birthday!

He's super excited, as you can well imagine, for his lizard-themed party … until Night Ninja steals his lizard cake!

Catboy has to save the party and learn what truly makes a birthday special.

In another episode, when Romeo steals the PJ Masks' super vehicles, Catboy doesn't think heroes should ride their bikes instead. It's too bad - because super cat speed on a bike could save the day!

The other episodes included on this wondrous new DVD are: 'Owlette and the Giving Owl,' 'Catboy's Two-Wheeled Wonder,' and 'Gekko Floats.'

And there's even some Music Video Extras: Super Singing Heroes and Super Moves Dance Party.

In closing, my husband and I are really grateful for the creators of this show as it values children's innocence. We quote the show often, and my son now says his little sister is Owlette, not me!

But, that's all good as they are bonding over PJ Masks quite like no other show! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'PJ Masks: Birthday Cake Rescue' - DVD Purchase Link





'Under the Silver Lake' [Blu-ray]
(Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Summer Bishil, Jimmi Simpson, Topher Grace, et al / Blu-ray / PR / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Sam, intelligent but without purpose, finds a mysterious woman swimming in his apartment's pool one night.

The next morning, she disappears. Sam sets off across LA to find her, and along the way he uncovers a conspiracy far more bizarre.

Blu-ray Verdict: Taking it from the top, 'It Follows' was a film that I truly loved for its substance, style, score, and themes.

It was a really good work and showed that horror films could be intensely entertaining without the jump scares.

So, of course, we were all awaiting what David Robert Mitchell would do next.

I have to say that the trailer for 'Under The Silver Lake' looked good from the very off, like a neo-noir that would be stylish and memorable, but with the film's release getting pushed back further and further only to find its way onto home video as opposed to the movie theater, well, the alarm bells were ringing long before the blu-ray arrived here for review!

So, after watching it last night I'll say the film has its moments and is nice to look at as it captures that chill California feel; which I have always have found both calming and grounded.

Unfortunately, it doesn't compare to the innovation that 'It Follows' delivered, but that was always going to be a hard act to follow (no pun intended … I think!)

'Under the Silver Lake' is about a young slacker who notices that he has a beautiful neighbor. He spends a night bonding with her and then soon discovers that she has disappeared without a trace.

He finds clues that lead him to various parties and events all around town and then starts to realize that the circumstances of her disappearance are deeper than he had originally thought they were.

Starring both Andrew Garfield ('Spider-man,' 'Breathe') and Riley Keough ('Logan Lucky,' 'American Honey') you can see the presence of David Robert Mitchell throughout - which is one of the pluses here.

The film is nice and bright and uses its atmosphere and location to set its mood. As a neo noir set in modern day Los Angeles the film looks the part and has the beautiful people and sex to go with it.

However, and playing Devil's Advocate the film does suffer from being a bit too long and slow with the next passage not being as interesting as the last.

That said, and in closing, it's by no means a bad film it just doesn't capitalize on the highly anticipated precedent set by 'It Follows'.

Maybe the film needed a bit of Maika Monroe because it just felt like there was something missing from this film to make it something special.

I'm still excited to see what Mitchell comes up with next, but maybe he should go back to what he accomplished with 'It Follows' rather than a meandering noir that doesn't always work.

The frustrating thing about 'Under the Silver Lake' is that it has the look and feel to succeed here, but needed more intricate cinematography and such to become truly special (IMHO). This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

· “What Lies Under the Silver Lake” Featurette
· “Beautiful Specter” Featurette

The 'Under the Silver Lake' Blu-ray and DVD will include two making-of featurettes and will be available for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.

Official Trailer

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'Death In Paradise - Season Eight'
(Ardal O'Hanlon, Joséphine Jobert, Shyko Amos, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: The smash-hit whodunit returns! Detective Jack Mooney is starting to get to know the people and places of Saint Marie, but there’s little time for sightseeing, as there are some fiendishly clever murders to solve!

DVD Verdict: For all of you avid fans of the show following along at home, by now you know that Season Eight of the terrific 'Death In Paradise' UK TV show features some new character transitions.

First off, the always put upon, yet fully animated and down to earth Danny John-Jules (Officer Dwayne Myers) has left the show. Worse yet, after episode 6 Joséphine Jobert (DS Florence Cassell) also leaves the show!

Obviously it's down to ** SPOILER ** because she is shot in one of the preceding two-part episodes and subsequently DI Jack Mooney (Ardal O'Hanlon) is investigated by Internal Affairs.

For reasons not obvious to me, the IA officer (a DS Madeleine Dumas) comes from Paris and is played by Aude Legastelois. Not to give much more away, but it appears she will now be replacing the character of Florence Cassell in the show.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner has indulged in a wee bit of nepotism and installed his niece, Ruby, in Jack’s team. Played by Shyko Amos, Ruby is a bubbly, sometimes bumbling, but generally effective addition.

That said she does have a tendency to indulge in physical shtick which is sometimes just short of stereotypical, big-eyed broad humor. The French addition, the aforementioned DS Madeleine Dumas appears harmless enough in the small moments we are with her, but for my money it's just too early to tell how her character will be developed (if at all, of course).

The season consists of eight 60-minute episodes and are all traditional locked-room mysteries, some of which are very clever. With a few exceptions (Anna Chancellor, Monarch of the Glen’s Alastair Mackenzie, Downton Abbey’s Rob James-Collier) there are fewer big-name guest stars this season, it has to be said though.

EPISODE 1 - When a passenger is stabbed on the express bus to Honore, Jack and his team are baffled. No-one left their seat, so how on earth did they commit murder?

EPISODE 2 - DI Jack Mooney and the team enter a nest of vipers when zoo owner Xander Shepherd is poisoned by a tranquiliser dart in the middle of the zoo grounds, leaving the family-run business in turmoil.

EPISODE 3 - DI Jack Mooney and the team are mystified when Catrina McVey, the presenter of TV holiday programme Hot Shots, is found washed up on the shore near her Paradise Bay hotel.

EPISODE 4 - In the wake of his father's death, Benedict Dacre rules the roost at the Paradise Skies Coffee plantation - but all is not plain sailing.

EPISODE 5 - In this first episode of a two-part special, a shadow is cast over a small fishing community in the village of Belle Mer when their festival queen 'Mama D'Mer' Tiana, is murdered.

EPISODE 6 - In the second episode of this two-part special, the Honoré police team are left stunned by another murder which is connected to the Tiana case.

EPISODE 7 - Saint Marie mourns when radio legend Dezzie Dixon is murdered live on air, and Jack must unravel a complex mystery to find the culprit.

EPISODE 8 - When a storm hits Saint Marie the Police Station becomes a crime scene. A man is found dead, locked inside, but how did he get in there - and how did the killer escape without touching any of the locks?

In closing, the overall level of quality remains high here in Season Eight and the individual episodes are generally entertaining and diverting. The new additions, especially Ruby actually grow on you after a while and soon you are not reflecting on the good times spent with the long gone original cast.

As always, the stories are comic cozies with a bit of violence, but largely suitable for family viewing. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

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'Call the Midwife - Season Eight'
(Helen George, Miriam Margolyes, Judy Parfitt, Laura Main, Stephen McGann, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: The hugely successful drama returns with more laughter, tears and inspiring stories.

'Call the Midwife' follows the nuns and nurses as they provide the expectant mothers of Poplar with the best possible care.

Series 8 continues to explore complex medical and personal situations on the midwifery and district nursing rounds.

DVD Verdict: It is now 1964 and it’s evident how the times are changing: from the beacon of the contraceptive pill and the shadow of the 1967 Abortion Act, to the introduction of a new cancer-screening program.

The nuns and nurses continue to face a variety of challenging issues including interracial adoption, cleft palate, sickle cell and cot death. And for one of the team, romance could be on the horizon!

For my money, and I won't harp on this particular point more than this opening salvo, but the writers of 'Call the Midwife' have taken a very political, yet extremely ironical stance toward the very subject that is at the heart of the show: ushering new life into the world.

In this season - which features eight episodes - we are made to feel sympathetic and guilty about women who did not have access to "safe" abortions. While legal abortion brought "safety" to the mother, it brought about an agonizing end of life to the child, obviously.

Anyway, as I said I wouldn't harp on it, allow me to end this train of thought here by saying it seems outrageous (to me) to see the normally life-affirming character Dr. Turner express distraught over not being able to "help" a woman terminate her baby.

So the midwives are capable, it seems, of an unconscionable duality: celebrating life on the one hand while championing the right to its destruction on the other, I guess.

But, the fact that now here in this eighth season we are seeing such decisions being not only explored but made just means, for me, that there has been no episode so far that left me feeling so mouth agape and so moved in equal measure.

A masterpiece of a series that tackles many issues that still concern modern society today, and even though medicine has been pushed forward, there are still people who are impoverished, who lack education or who are battling with mental health issues or discrimination; much like they are shown in this captivating show.

'Call the Midwife' has always demonstrated these issues with great delicacy and thus is such a moving and honest mouth piece for such that it gives you food for thought each and every episode.

The acting is, of course, superb, the stories are interesting and often poignant (as noted above), and each always has an element of hope sewn lovingly within.

They all depict the resilience of the human spirit and I love how faith and love are integrated into everything, with honest, genuine portrayal of the pained wrestling which occurs during terrible circumstances of pain and grief.

In closing, and for those not in the know, this series is based on the best-selling memoirs, Call the Midwife, by Jennifer Worth, who died six months before the first episode aired.

The series depicts, in part, and has been expanded upon, her work as a district nurse and midwife in the East End of London during the 1950's and 1960's.

Obviously, story lines needed to be expanded to create a long-running series such as this, but that does not hinder the enjoyment of the program, and in fact, probably adds to it, as it allows for development of new and existing characters.

Every single cast member is believable. The acting of everyone is phenomenal and realistic. The writers have done an exceptional job with the scripts. The sets seem to be relatively accurate for the time period. Thus, you really couldn't ask for a better, more realistic series of this ilk. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Content of:

Behind The Scenes of Season Eight (Featurette)

EPISODE 1 - It's Spring time, and with extra help needed in Poplar, Mother Mildred decides to send Sister Frances and Sister Hilda to Nonnatus House, where they will live and work.

EPISODE 2 - Lucille is deeply concerned by her elderly patient, Clarice Milgrove's living conditions. She is a hoarder living alone among towering piles of rubbish, books and tins of food with a malodorous leg ulcer.

EPISODE 3 – Measles is becoming rife in the East End and Dr Turner decides to educated the mothers and hopes to start a trial on Measles vaccination. Meanwhile a grieving mother is distress with her daughters health and can not accept she is ok.

EPISODE 4 – Sister Julienne is drawn into a family rift between an estranged mother and daughter who are both pregnant. Meanwhile Nurse Crane realizes she has an admirer, and Sister Frances' shyness starts to concern Sister Julienne.

EPISODE 5 – The prospect of a new romance for Lucille brightens the mood at Nonnatus House and the husband of an expectant mother suffers with some inexplicable pains, similar to his wife's pregnancy symptoms.

EPISODE 6 – Mother Mildred returns and helps a docker family tackle end-stage pneumoconiosis. Lucille cares for an unmarried teenage mother who wants to keep her baby.

EPISODE 7 – Mother Mildred decides it's time for Sister Frances to attend her first solo birth. Trixie consoles a patient who discovers she has gonorrhea.

EPISODE 8 – Sister Hilda digs deep to give her terminally-ill patient her final wish whilst the Turners must prepare to say goodbye to May. Fred and Reggie are keeping secrets from each other.

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'Killing Eve - Season Two' [Blu-ray]
(Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: 'Killing Eve' is the story of two women, bound by a mutual obsession and one brutal act: Eve (Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy), an MI6 operative, and Villanelle (Jodie Comer, Doctor Foster), the beautiful, psychopathic assassin that she has been tasked to find.

Blu-ray Verdict: In my humble opinion, 'Killing Eve' has delivered from day one an intriguing plot, rich with performances by actors such as Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer.

Performances that take the audience into an exhilarating delight of murder and intrigue, brilliantly delivered with an incredible sense of fashion and an acute music taste, and that make you believe these last two (music and fashion) are characters in the story as well.

Not to giveaway spoilers here, season two begins 30 seconds after the final episode of the first season. Eve is reeling and Villanelle has disappeared and, of course, Eve has no idea if the woman she stabbed is alive or dead.

But, what she does know and accept is that both of them are in deep trouble! Eve still has to find Villanelle before someone else does, but unfortunately, she's not the only person looking for her here in this wondrous, pulsating second season.

Sandra Oh is awesome. Her character is complex, relatable, hilarious, emotionally driven, in way over her head and yet (relatively) competent all at the same time.

Amazingly, Jodie Comer somehow causes you to like her character even though she kills almost everyone in her path! Meanwhile the two women seem to have this unquenchable crush on each other that causes them to do increasingly crazier things (to one another, mostly, of course)!

Now and being Devil's Advocate here, the first season was thrilling, humorous, and very well-balanced. There was a good amount of time spent on Eve's private life, her professional life, the search for Villanelle, Villanelle's personal life and her professional life.

However, this second season doesn't keep that balance throughout, for me, at least. Early on I got the impression that they hadn't organized things well enough and it only got more uneven in places as the season progressed.

Still a vibrantly effective six hours of viewing on these two discs, there were numerous sub-plot lines and character features that were inconsistent. A sub-plot line would be started and then left unfinished.

Indeed, some character feature would present itself, then be pulled away, negated, then presented again. The whole thing was a chaotic mess in certain places, but me thinks the writers needed to plot-fill as they went (not knowing if they would be given a third season.

Well, the good thing is it still feels like they could pull it together in the just-confirmed season three. But, they really have their work cut out for them because having characters behaving inconsistently is not thrilling and it also takes away from the attachment viewers had to that character.

In closing, consistency is hard, sure, especially in a show like this spread over two (now soon-to-be three) seasons, but when it comes to the overview of 'Killing Eve' I can honestly say that there's nothing quite like it on TV; and hasn't been for many years before.

And again, don't be surprised if you find yourself in love with the psychopathic killer or even rooting for the MI5 agent to ask her out on a date!

For one thing is sure: although it might look superficial and solely entertaining at first sight, 'Killing Eve' beckons some interesting questions about the way we love and the people we can fall in love with. I mean, who doesn't have a crush on Villanelle?! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Picking Up From Season One
Eve's World
Villanelle's World
Script To Screen
Carolyn's World
Costume
Locations
New Characters

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'Orange Is The New Black - Season Six'
(Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Laura Prepon, Uzo Aduba, et al / 3-Disc Blu-ray + Digital / NR / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Picking up one week after the emergency response team stormed Litchfield Penitentiary, the ladies of Litch have been torn apart, literally and figuratively, as they enter a new facility in the sixth season of 'Orange Is The New Black'.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Orange is the New Black is continuing to make bold moves going into its sixth season and although there have been a couple of sleeper seasons to get through before this one, we are in for some serious prison malarkey here, my friends!

Now newbies they must navigate new rules and power dynamics, starting at the bottom, and getting hazed by inmates and tortured by guards, of course.

Friendships will be tested and new allegiances formed - some by choice and others by circumstance - as the women face a slew of charges from the riot.

Will they take plea deals and turn on each other or band together and keep their bonds intact?

Well, what I can tell you without spoiling everything is I'm both thrilled and heartbroken after the watching the finale episode of this sixth season!

It was sudden, full of suspense, and very captivating. Certain things left me really downbeat and downcast though, but I won't reveal them, as aforementioned. Uzo Aduba is fantastic. Taystee has been so underrated! I like how every character is flawed, it makes them look so damn real!

As we all know now, this sixth season begins immediately after the riot where they are they shipped off to maximum security. However, we have yet to see what the original prison is like now and we are missing quite a few characters from season six (head's up).

It is presumed they went to other prisons, but we would still like to see how they are doing, wouldn't we? It would have also been nice to see Ouija slapped in the her face at least once to get what she deserves!

Anyhoo, and moving on, at maximum security we meet some new faces. Of course, they go there to be punished more, but the problem is it is almost too real!

They are confined most of the day and not allowed to do much. They then have to deal with some horrible guards and inmates and you really begin to feel for them.

Indeed, you can feel their boredom and pain which, in all truth, makes this sixth season both frustratingly annoying and as joyous to behold as ever before!

For those not in the know, 'Orange Is The New Black' addresses several social issues in the most hilarious ways. It shows you how prison can break a person and turn them even worse that they were before getting it.

It also shows you how capitalism has affected what should be government owned properties, and turned prisoners into rather slaves.

It shows you how racism is still very much alive and how it affects the discriminated against and how it favors the rich and white over others.

It also shows how prisoners are being treated and sexually harassed just because they cannot speak of it.

It even addressed homosexuality and how it is stigmatized even by law enforcers. It shows how religion has made tribalism stronger than ever and so, so much more.

I love how it shows prisoners as people by making you relate to them in a funny way. Normally in life, one wouldn't sympathize with prisoners nor want their tax money going to better their lives, but this show shows you that they are people after all and how they were brought up contributed to who they are now.

In short, 'Orange Is The New Black' is very strong in its characterizations and you really get to know all the characters inside and out.

Furthermore, you understand their struggles and why they act the way they act. You really feel empathy and love for so many of these characters.

Indeed, the wonderful thing about this show is that there is no real main character. We jump back and forth between many complex characters and learn so much about their background and so on.

In short, this wondrous series has excellent direction, writing, cinematography, setting, soundtrack and acting and every single actress in this show delivers superlative performances. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

"Litchfield to the Max" Featurette
Gag Reel
Audio Commentary with Cast and Crew

Official Trailer

Blu-ray + Digital Purchase Link

www.LGF.com





'The Illusionist: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Paul Giamatti, Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell, Eddie Marsan, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / (2006) 2019 / MVD Marquee Collection)

Overview: In turn-of-the-century Vienna, a magician uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing.

Blu-ray Verdict: I honestly can't really remember the last time I was so amazed by the quality and development of a movie. Not just flabbergasted, but filled with awe as the story was constructed inside a most meticulously brilliant frame.

I say meticulous because the film excels in every aspect imaginable. All of the production values contribute discreetly to give the film that taste, like inhaling deep beauty all around.

Scrupulous and beautiful art direction, from the dusty lamps to the sculpted street scenarios, to the wonderful wardrobe election, are all founded on careful creation.

When the young magician Eisenheim attempts to run away with his true love, the princess Sophie, the imposing wall of class divisions rises between them, and the star-crossed lovers are separated.

Years later, Eisenheim (Edward Norton) has risen to be the most popular - and mysterious - illusionist in Vienna, and Sophie (Jessica Biel) is betrothed to Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell), a tyrant-in-training who has designs on his father's throne as Emperor.

Leopold grows increasingly uneasy about Eisenheim, whose relationship to Sophie is unknown to the Crown Prince, believing that the magician is committing fraud or claiming to possess supernatural powers.

What truly irks the prince, though, is that Eisenheim manages to upstage him at the Prince's own castle with a magical display that enchants his audience of the social elite.

And so Leopold orders Chief Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) to investigate the illusionist closely to determine his secrets.

Eisenheim performs some truly astounding tricks, including growing an orange tree before the unbelieving eyes of the audience and transporting a handkerchief from a closed box in the audience to the claws of small doves on the stage.

But after a truly unfortunate turn of events, his show becomes quite minimalist in scope: The Illusionist merely sits on the stage and conjures - yes, conjures - speaking, reacting ghosts to wow and astound the audience, while Eisenheim mopes about distractedly.

What has happened to put him in this state cannot be explained here, unfortunately. But when Eisenheim's performances go a little too far for the Crown Prince's liking, Leopold orders Uhl to arrest the magician. But this is no mere telling of unrequited love followed by the mysteries of a magician. The placid Eisenheim desperately misses his long-lost love, and when he sees her in the company of the overbearing boor Prince Leopold, he uses all of the magic at his disposal to free the beautiful Sophie from the Crown Prince.

How this is ultimately accomplished constitutes the great twist in The Illusionist.

Norton is simply - to use a pun shamefully - spellbinding as Eisenheim, a man who uses a paucity of words, every motion calculated well in advance, every emotion kept in check, doled out in spring-loaded moments of unbridled passion.

Eisenstein, in the capable hands of Norton, is a romantic, a cipher, an unknowable hero. It's a shame the movie was released during a year in which many other wonderful performances evolved on the screen, because Norton - twice nominated for Academy awards - turns in a performance that rivals those of his more-lauded roles.

Surprisingly, Biel is pretty good - and, of course, devastatingly sexy - as the aristocrat trapped in a loveless marriage who finally finds someone worth living for and with.

Of course, there's not much to be surprised about, since I haven't seen her in much, just Ulee's Gold, when she was a kid, and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake.

Still, she's hot, and it's rare that a gorgeous actress can actually show emotional range. It's a real treat, too, to watch Giamatti, who's well cast as the intrepid inspector, a role with more than a passing acquaintance with Claude Rains' Captain Renault of Casablanca, a man not above petty bribery and graft but with his own system of morals.

A lush, dark mystery, The Illusionist relies heavily on the splendid performances of its three youthful leads to weave wonderful threads of mystery, romance, and intrigue.

Now released as a sparkling new Blu-ray via MVD Marquee Collection, this is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Sourced from existing remaster of the film
Feature Audio Commentary from Writer/Director Neil Burger
The Making of the Illusionist Featurette (SD, 3:59)
Jessica Biel on the Illusionist Featurette (SD, 1:29)
Original Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:30)
Audio: 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby Surround, French 5.1 Dolby Surround
English and Spanish Subtitles

Amazon Blu-ray Purchase Link

www.MVDvisual.com





'Resurrecting the Champ: Special Edition' [BR]
(Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett, Alan Alda, Kathryn Morris, Teri Hatcher, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / (2007) 2019 / MVD Marquee Collection)

Overview: Up-and-coming sports reporter rescues a homeless man ("Champ") only to discover that he is, in fact, a boxing legend believed to have passed away.

What begins as an opportunity to resurrect Champ's story and escape the shadow of his father's success becomes a personal journey as the ambitious reporter reexamines his own life and his relationship with his family.

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, 'Resurrecting The Champ' is a solid movie that - if I might use a boxing metaphor - may not pack a punch, but nevertheless has an impact on those who view it.

It has surprises packed within it - it's not exactly what you expect it to be and it turns out to go in a direction that you weren't expecting because it seemed to be heading in completely different directions.

And in the end it turns out to be a pretty moving and powerful statement about the importance of honesty in life and how we all need to live (and die) with integrity, honest about ourselves and able to be proud of ourselves.

You get the impression (from the title and from the early direction of the movie) that this is going to be a story about a down on his luck ex- boxer and how he got there.

As the homeless ex-boxer, Samuel L. Jackson was good. He's "discovered" one night by Erik Kernan (Josh Hartnett) - a reporter covering the local boxing beat for the Denver Times who dreams of bigger things and is frustrated both by his limited role with the paper and by having to live up to the reputation of his late father - a famous sportscaster.

Kernan stumbles upon the homeless man after covering a fight, discovers that he's a former contender named Bob Summerfield (but who goes by the name of Champ) and decides that this is his path to greater things - he'll write a human interest story about this guy that will get him national attention.

You anticipate that this is going to become the story of Champ, an anticipation that seems to come true when we start to be introduced to some flashback scenes of Champ's career, but the movie finally takes a completely unanticipated twist.

After publishing the story and getting lots of attention and job offers, it's discovered that Champ isn't who he's been claiming to be. He's a fraud, and Kernan didn't investigate enough about his background, which leads to all sorts of trouble for both he and his paper.

Here's the key to the movie - it's not a boxing story and not a flashback to Champ's career and not the story of Kernan's rise to fame. It's a moral lesson about honesty.

Kernan's been lying to his 6 year old son for years about the celebrities he claims to know (John Elway, for example, who Kernan tells his son he's best friends with but doesn't really know, and who makes a cameo in the movie in a very awkward scene for Kernan and his son).

He's living a fantasy, and then gets taken in by somebody else whose whole life is a fantasy (Champ has been impersonating Summerfield for years.) Everything comes crashing down for Kernan, because everything in his life has been a lie.

The end of the movie becomes an ode to honesty. After being outed for his fraudulent story, Kernan still has to suck it up and attend career day at his son's school with all the kids knowing that his big story was a lie; he has to face the real Summerfield's son; he has to try to rebuild his relationship with his son.

Meanwhile, Champ faces a confrontation of his own near the end of the movie with a local tough guy who's taken pleasure over the years in beating him up - finally telling the guy who he really is, decking his tormentor and declaring himself (as I presume he was) the "golden gloves champ of California.)

Sadly, Champ then dies, apparently having come to peace with himself and his life and having rediscovered his own pride in the things he had accomplished.

Now released as a sparkling new Blu-ray via MVD Marquee Collection, this is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the main feature (Blu-ray only)
Feature Audio Commentary from Director Rod Lurie
Resurrecting the Champ Behind the Scenes Featurette (SD, 4:24)
Interviews with the Cast and Crew of Resurrecting the Champ (SD, 6:26)
Original Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:26)
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Surround, French 5.1 Dolby Surround
English, Spanish and French Subtitles

Amazon Blu-ray Purchase Link

www.MVDvisual.com





'FM: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Michael Brandon, Eileen Brennan, Alex Karras, Cleavon Little, Martin Mull, et al / Blu-ray / PG / (1978) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: A mutiny ensues when a radio station's management decides to increase the number of commercials, including army recruitment ads.

Rebellious DJs and other employees hijack the station and play only music before the authorities intervene.

Blu-ray Verdict: If you really believe a radio station can survive without running commercials, then you'll be rooting for the hippie-dippy crew in 'FM', an imperfectly awful yet entertaining slice of late '70s rock radio nostalgia!

The music is wonderful, the characters are over-the-top groovy, funky cuteness incarnate, and Martin Mull is overtaken with lust as he nails a gal with some interesting pigmentation issues in the control room!

It's all so much silly, military-industrial complex-bashing nonsense with Michael Brandon running a purist, anti-profit rock station in LA, fending off corporate bigwigs, Army sponsors, and a rival station that has … wait for it … yup ... SOLD OUT!

You get the feel for what's in store here from the start with Brandon racing to work on the deserted streets of Los Angeles (think about that one, folks) and Steely Dan's "FM" being left on by the night DJ.

'FM' is very fast-paced, written for dunderheads who remember the 1970's through dope-fogged glasses and as inconsequential as the pop-culture of that time period.

It's chock full of lovers of pure music, cartoon-like baddies, and cameos by Jimmy Buffett, REO Speedwagon, and a dazzling Linda Ronstadt, who belts out "Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me" at a simulcast-concert (making the speakers on your TV cry out in ecstasy).

Sure, the main story with Brandon as a "stick-to-your-guns" radio station GM was OK, but other than the scene with the dope-smokin' army pitchmen, there weren't many attempts at laughter (and yet it was definitely marketed as one, trust me!)

Alongside a low-key Eileen Brennan's smoky voiced hippy DJ and Alex Karras' woefully miscast "country rebel", there was no way I could believe these were the main jocks at the top-rated rock station in LA. Only Mull's Eric Swan (and his over-inflated, fragile ego) seemed to ring true!

The bottom line is that 'FM' is a mediocre movie with a great soundtrack and features some wonderful concert footage in the film too. But the holier-than-thou attitude displayed in this movie is very disappointing.

At one point in the film, Tom Petty (whom I love) is brought into the booth to be interviewed by the DJ while they play tracks from his latest album, Damn the Torpedoes.

Meanwhile, the station manager is trying his hardest to prevent commercials from airing on "his" radio station!

Anyway, and on a side note, the movie is full of little mistakes that lead me to believe that perhaps the screenwriters really didn't know too much about radio!

The call letters "Q-SKY", for example, would never be assigned to a radio station in the US for a couple of solid reasons. The station's purported frequency of 71.1MHz is far below the FM band in the US, which is 88.1MHz to 108.1MHz. And chuckle at the fact that someone decided that you would need to use TWO microphones for a "stereo voice" broadcast!

But, for me, and as aforementioned, best of all is the music played in the background, which includes artists like Michael MacDonald, The Doobie Brothers, and Fleetwood Mac. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements
Uncompressed stereo 2.0 PCM audio soundtrack
Mono 1.0 music and effects track
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
No Static at All, a newly filmed interview with Michael Brandon, the star of FM
Radio Chaos, a newly filmed interview with Ezra Sacks, the writer of FM
The Spirit of Radio, a newly filmed video appreciation of the era of FM radio and the FM soundtrack by the film and music critic Glenn Kenny
Extensive gallery of original stills, promotional images and soundtrack sleeves
Original trailers
Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by writer and critic Paul Corupeh

www.ArrowFilms.com





'American Horror Project: Volume 2' [BR]
(Edmund O'Brien, Michael Pataki, Kim Hunter, J.J. Barry, Laurel Barnett, et al / 3-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: Continuing its mission to unearth the very best in weird and wonderful horror obscura from the golden age of US independent genre moviemaking, Arrow Video now presents the long-awaited second volume in its 'American Horror Project' series co-curated by author Stephen Thrower (Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents).

Blu-ray Verdict: Starting off with a little-seen 1970 offering from underrated cult auteur John Hayes (Grave of the Vampire, Garden of the Dead), 'Dream No Evil' is a haunting, moving tale of a young woman’s desperate quest to be reunited with her long-lost father – only to find herself drawn into a fantasyland of homicidal madness.

Troubled young Grace MacDonald (well played by ravishing redhead Brooke Mills) works as an assistant for itinerant carnie faith healer preacher Reverend Jesse Bundy (essayed with tremendous rip-snorting gusto by Michael Pataki) and can't get over her obsession with finding her long lost father.

Grace eventually runs across her pop Timothy MacDonald (a fine, robust performance by Edmond O'Brien), but he turns out to be crazy, overprotective and dangerous. Or is Grace just imagining that her dad is still alive?

Writer/director John Hayes relates the compellingly quirky story at a leisurely pace and does an expert job of creating and maintaining a creepy, surreal, dreamlike atmosphere.

Paul Hipp's bright, lush cinematography and Jaime Mendoza-Nava's spooky, melancholy score further enhance the pervasive mood of abstract eeriness. Moreover, there's nice supporting performances by Paul Prokop as Grace's kindly, concerned fiancé Dr. Patrick Bundy, Marc Lawrence as a sinister undertaker who works as a pimp on the side, and Arthur Franz as a helpful psychiatrist.

Despite a heavy languid air and the often murky plot (a grimly sober narrator occasionally chimes in to give the oblique story some much-needed coherence), this intriguingly ambiguous picture somehow manages to cast a strangely hypnotic spell on the viewer. An interesting oddity, for sure, but one to be enjoyed late at night with friends (and beer!).

Meanwhile, 1976’s 'Dark August' stars Academy Award-winner Kim Hunter (A Streetcar Named Desire) in a story of a man pursued by a terrifying and deadly curse in the wake of a hit-and-run accident.

In this wonderfully obscure horror flick about a Mikhail Saakashvili lookalike stalked by the grandfather of girl whom he accidentally killed, one has to say from the off that there's certainly nothing significant about 'Dark August' save for the fact that it can most definitely be interpreted as a quirky '70s time capsule of a flick!

Having a discerning similarity to Robert Altman's movies - especially in one scene which has two groups of people simultaneously carrying on conversations - 'Dark Harvest's locations are beautiful and the music is perfect and delightfully moody too.

Some of the actors are okay but the script or lack of storytelling abilities from the writer and the director obscure all intentions of the production, in my humble opinion.

Lastly, 1977’s Harry Novak-produced 'The Child' is a gloriously delirious slice of horror mayhem in which a young girl raises an army of the dead against the people she holds responsible for her mother’s death.

This is one of those '70s independent horror films like 'Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things' and 'Let's Scare Jessica To Death' that are odd, crude, dated, but interesting in their dreamlike approach to the genre.

OK, sure, admittedly it's not as good as the aforementioned, but it sure has its good points.

A very beautiful young woman shows up to be nanny for a bratty young girl living in an isolated farmhouse with her crusty old father and hunky grownup brother.

We figure out pretty soon that the brat is a malevolent force around here, though just how she manages to (apparently) raise the dead in order to off anyone who ticks her off is one of many logical details you're better off not pondering. (The movie doesn't bother explaining, anyway!).

The plot is very thin, yet the film feels atmospheric and eventful enough. It's not good by any standards, but it has personality and its own oddball sense of conviction.

The most laughable and incongruous element is a musical score overwhelmed by florid piano arpeggios (I'm not the first person who thought of Liberace, surely!), though after a while you can somewhat tune it out.

To my mind, if the movie had a more effectively disturbing score ala 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' it might now be considered a minor classic - which would be overrating it, but it's certainly no piece of camp trash either (which is not to say I don't enjoy camp trash at times either!).

Most of the participants seem to have never made another movie and 'The Child' has that compelling curiosity of a one-shot genre movie made by people whose arty inclinations probably doomed their futures in commercial cinema; but which also make this sole effort more interesting than most of what it would have shared drive-in and grindhouse screens with in the mid/late '70s.

With all three films having been newly remastered from the best surviving film elements and appearing here for the first time ever on Blu-ray, alongside a wealth of supplementary material, 'American Horror Project: Volume Two' offers up yet another fascinating and blood-chilling foray into the deepest, darkest corners of stars-and-stripes terror. These are all Full Screen Presentations enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restorations from original film elements
High Definition Blu-ray presentation
Original uncompressed PCM mono audio
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Reversible sleeves for each film featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil
American Horror Project Journal Vol. II – limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the films by Stephen R. Bissette, Travis Crawford and Amanda Reyes

'Dream No Evil'
Filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower
Brand new audio commentary with Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan
Hollywood After Dark: The Early Films of John Hayes, 1959-1971 – brand new video essay by Stephen Thrower looking at Hayes' filmography leading up to Dream No Evil
Writer Chris Poggiali on the prodigious career of celebrated character actor Edmond O'Brien
Excerpts from an audio interview with actress Rue McClanahan (The Golden Girls) discussing her many cinematic collaborations with director John Hayes

'Dark August'
Filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower
Brand new audio commentary with writer-director Martin Goldman
Brand new on-camera interview with Martin Goldman
Brand new on-camera interview with producer Marianne Kanter
The Hills Are Alive: Dark August and Vermont Folk Horror – author and artist Stephen R. Bissette on Dark August and its context within the wider realm of genre filmmaking out of Vermont
Original Press Book

'The Child'
1.37:1 and 1.85:1 presentations of the feature
Filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower
Brand new audio commentary with director Robert Voskanian and producer Robert Dadashian, moderated by Stephen Thrower
Brand new on-camera interviews with Robert Voskanian and Robert Dadashian
Original Theatrical Trailer
Original Press Book

www.ArrowFilms.com





'Winter Passing: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, Amelia Warner, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2005) 2019 / MVD Marquee Collection)

Overview: Actress Reese Holden has been offered a small fortune by a book editor if she can secure for publication the love letters that her father, a reclusive novelist, wrote to her mother, who has since passed away.

Returning to Michigan, Reese finds that an ex-grad student and a would-be musician have moved in with her father, who cares more about his new friends than he does about his own health and well-being.

Blu-ray Verdict: One of the challenges 'Winter Passing' faces is getting the audience to empathize with characters enough to ride the film's emotional ups-and-downs.

Director Adam Rapp took a risk by placing so many of the events which define each character outside of the story, instead conveying these details through conversations between characters (i.e. "Who's pills are these?" or "Who is Corbit and why does he live here?").

The potential reward of this "Tell-Don't-Show" approach is that the director can add dimension to the characters by providing a greater quantity of personal history and details.

The risk, however, is that the audience won't invest enough emotionally in the characters to really care about what happens to them.

That all said, the acting within 'Winter Passing' is really rather good and I'm always glad to see Will Ferrell push beyond his slapstick beginnings; for here both he and Zooey Deschanel have very believable chemistry.

But by relying so heavily on dialogue and description, the film subverts the medium, and made it hard for me to identify with any of the four main characters.

Simply put, on the surface, this is an odd meandering tale of a daughter in search of herself. In reality, it is a moving study of the survivors of an atypical dysfunctional family, accompanied by two socially challenged hangers-on.

This film is a drama. There is no comedy. There is no joy. There is only drama, pain, and self discovery. In other words, it succeeds as a stand alone drama, without depending on any other style as a crutch.

Sadly though, it fails to fully give closure, yet satisfies in the promise of inner healing between its participants.

In closing, an earnest attempt to adopt both literary and highbrow cinematic techniques into an indie story, 'Winter Passing' reminds one of the state in which American cinema has found itself over the last decade or so. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the new Special Features of:

Behind the Scenes Featurette
Original Theatrical Trailer

'Winter Passing: Special Edition' [Blu-Ray] is out June 25th, 2019 via MVD Marquee Collection.

www.MVDvisual.com





'Maze: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Barry Ward, Martin McCann, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2017) 2019 / Lightyear Entertainment - MVD Visual)

Overview: 'Maze' is inspired by the true events of the infamous 1983 prison breakout of 38 IRA prisoners from HMP, which was to become the biggest prison escape in Europe since World War II.

Blu-ray Verdict: In what has since been described as "... an IRA/ Sinn Fein propaganda version of events in their attempt to rewrite history" 'Maze' seemingly skims over the fact that these criminals, when armed to the teeth with guns, knives and cudgels, terrorized unarmed prison staff, shot two of them, stabbed four, killing one officer and tortured at least 27 to the extent that many were permanently psychotically damaged by the trauma.

Ergo, not all you see in this just-released new Blu-ray of 'Maze' can be taken as the whole story.

For those not in the know, 'Maze' is an adaptation of the true story of the escape of IRA political prisoners from British captivity in Maze prison, Northern Ireland.

There's a thread of quiet tension about this film that's drawn ever tighter as the prisoners plans to escape intricately come together. At the same time there's a human tale on offer about the connection between people who on initial inspection appear to be on different sides of the bars.

The reality, of course, is everyone in Northern Ireland is in one way or another held prisoner by the larger conflict. This includes the warden and his family who has a friendship of sorts with the prison break mastermind Larry who is, in turn, obligated by his bonds with his fallen IRA comrades.

The acting in this film is understated but frankly quite excellent. Not for one moment was this film dull or boring and believe me, it could have been given the film takes place in the confines of the Maze prison.

That all said, it showcases the horrid depth of hate between the Loyalists and the IRA members and concentrates more on that hatred than the actual planning of the escape from the maximum security prison.

In closing, the cast were solid, the script raw and believable, and the acting on par for what one would expect from such a brutal exposure of real events. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the new Special Features of:

Director's Commentary
Bonus Film by Stephen Burke - '81'

'Maze: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out June 25th, 2019 via Lightyear Entertainment / MVD Visual.

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Old Man And The Sea'
(Anthony Quinn, Francesco Quinn, Gary Cole, Patricia Clarkson, Joe Santos, et al / DVD / NR / (1990) 2019 / S'More Entertainment - MVD Visual)

Overview: Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway, Santiago goes out on his usual fishing trip and makes a huge catch, the biggest of his life.

Then a shark attacks and tries to steal his catch. Santiago battles with the shark for days. He returns to the shore beaten, tattered and torn, and his catch consisting now of mostly bones.

DVD Verdict: In truth, not much actually happens in this movie which is why en mass of viewers over the years have sadly given a mighty thumbs down to one of Quinn's final cinematic acting moments.

An old man Santiago (Anthony Quinn) has not caught a fish in over eighty trips, goes out for one last trip and catches a huge fish.

By doing so, he discovers, perhaps for the first time, the insignificance of human beings in the overall scheme of things.

Indeed, it is a testament to Quinn's performance in the central role that our interest is sustained; his range of facial expressions is positively wondrous, especially when alone on the boat with no one but himself to talk to.

Director Jud Taylor also works hard to develop the spring-and-autumn relationship between Santiago and the boy Anderez (Paul Calderon), which prompts the old man to consider his own behavior as an old men when he believed that he was virtually impregnable.

The story has a Hemingwayesque figure in the form of Tom Pruitt (Gary Cole), a writer who cannot leave Santiago's small community until he has discovered for himself just what motivates the old man.

This role is a little superfluous, but at least shows why the author himself was interested in such an apparently insignificant story.

In closing, 'The Old Man And The Sea' is an excellent adaptation of Hemingway's novella and Quinn was just perfect for the role.

Even though it's a Made-For-TV movie the story and acting are incredibly worthwhile. A must for Hemingway lovers, of that you can be sure. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Old Man And The Sea' [DVD] is out June 25th, 2019 via S'More Entertainment / MVD Visual.

www.smorent.com

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Dick Cavett Show - Baseball's Greatest Hits'
(Dick Cavett, Whitney Ford, Bob Feller, Dizzy Dean, Denny McLain, Mickey Mantle, Leroy "Satchel" Paige, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / S'More Entertainment / MVD Visual)

Overview: Since 1968, Dick Cavett had been host of his own talk show, in a variety of formats and on a number of television and radio formats.

Here in 'The Dick Cavett Show - Baseball's Greatest Hits: Pitchers,' Cavett interviews some of the greatest major league baseball pitchers of all time!

DVD Verdict: For those not in the official know, 'The Dick Cavett Show' was an 90 minute mixture of talk and variety that ran for six astounding years on late-night prime time television on the ABC-TV network from the first telecast on May 26,1969 to the final episode of the series on August 16th, 1975.

This was at the time one of the most versatile performers who eventually gave us some of the biggest entertainment acts in the history of rock, and went toe to toe with the King of Late Night-Johnny Carson and eventually at the time Merv Griffin for the battle of late night supremacy.

However, Dick Cavett was one of the few television personalities ever to star or host major programs in daytime, prime-time, late night, all in quick succession.

And it wasn't about his failure to attract a large audience with any of them, because his late night talk show brought in some of the largest ratings ever for ABC at the time.

Well praised and received by the critics, his late night show was generally acknowledged to be witty, intelligent, and interesting compared to what was scheduled around them.

'The Dick Cavett Show - Baseball's Greatest Hits: Pitchers' is a wondrous 3-Disc set that contains six episodes where Cavett talks with legendary major league baseball pitchers from the Golden Age of baseball: Satchel Paige, Dizzy Dean, Bob Feller, Whitey Ford, Denny McLain, Vida Blue and Tommy John with special guests including Whitey Ford teammate Mickey Mantle, Paul Simon, Marcel Marceau, Salvador Dali, Robert Altman and others.

Whitey Ford is one of those first up and the interview with both him and Mickey Mantle is a doozy and even includes snippets of Cavett's chat with his first guest, Paul Simon!

They discuss, back and forth about all things baseball and even Canadian survival bomb shelter investments! They even chat about when the ball used to bounce in front of the hitter before being hit!

The show was broadcast on the day Paul McCartney released the statement that the Beatles were breaking up and, of course, Simon & Garfunkel broke up as well!

Another stand out for me is the man of many nicknames Denny McLain. The Cleveland Indian pitcher is interviewed in 1971 by Cavett and comes across very well mannered and highly informative with regard not only his own stats but those of some of this rivals too!

Introduced as the "magnificent Satchel Paige" and inclusive of a trumpet fanfare upon his arrival, Leroy "Satchel" Paige is the true highlight here for me. Featuring on the same show as Salvador Dali (March 6th, 1970), he is equal amounts of fun and information.

Talking about his youth growing up and how he was given three different birth certificates that told three different birth dates - it was always a talking point to what his real age was over the years - Paige explains how he kept his pitching arm in such great shape over the years (no rub, just hot water).

He talks about pitching double headers which would mean three games in one day and how good the teams were back in the black leagues (when breaking records were not even recorded, sadly), and even where his nickname "Satchel" originated.

Also inclusive of Bob Feller, Dizzy Dean, Vida Blue and Tommy John, this incredible 3-Disc DVD set is a must-have for any and all baseball and Dick Cavett fans. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of Player Bios and Direct Access to Pitcher Interviews!

'The Dick Cavett Show - Baseball's Greatest Hits: Pitchers' [3-DVD] is out June 25th, 2019 via S'More Entertainment / MVD Visual.

www.smorent.com

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Pretenders - With Friends' [BR+DVD+CD]
(The Pretenders, et al / 3-Disc BR+DVD+CD / NR / 2019 / Cleopatra Entertainment / MVD Visual)

Overview: Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum selling band The Pretenders featuring the Legendary Chrissy Hynde performs with special guests including Iggy Pop, Shirley Manson of Garbage, Kings of Leon and Incubus, recorded live at the Decades Rock Arena in Atlantic City, NJ.

Blu-ray Verdict: 2006, a hot August night in Atlantic City and the Decades Rock Arena was packed and a film crew was in place to capture the magic of Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders on stage with her special guests: Iggy Pop, Shirley Manson of Garbage, Kings of Leon and Incubus.

The 16-song set performed that evening featured a number of the group’s hits from the early ‘80s, including “The Wait” (The Pretenders, 1980), “Talk of the Town” and “Message of Love” (Extended Play, 1981), “Back in the Chain Gang” (Learning to Crawl, 1984), plus their aforementioned special guests team up for renditions of “Middle of the Road” and “Brass In Pocket” (Incubus), “I'm Only Happy When It Rains” (Shirley Manson), “Precious” and “Candy” (Iggy Pop), and “Drive” (Kings of Leon).

Trust me when I say that this new Blu-ray+DVD+CD 3-Disc set is truly an incredible showcasing from every angle of this magnificent Decades Rock Live! show featuring The Pretenders with Friends.

Inclusive of superb guest stars, sure, for my money it's her still-exhaustive dedication to the musical cause of Chrissie Hynde that makes this show what it is.

Opening with "The Wait" from The Pretenders' debut studio album and backing that up with the brilliant "The Losing" - from their highly underrated 2002 album Loose Screw, when Shirley Manson comes on for a couple of tracks (dressed in a super-short pair of hot pants) the vibe, let alone the temperature of the show really turns up!

Dressed simply in black jeans with a black vest and a tie (no shirt underneath, of course, as is her fashion way), Hynde together with her still-perfect voice is as engrossing to watch and tock out to today as she was when the band first got together back in 1978.

"Day After Day" - from their sophomore album Pretenders II in 1981 - is yet another underrated gem and is backed by the Kings of Leon on both "The Bucket" and a breathtaking "Up The Neck."

Hynde and the boys then mix and match musical traits with Brandon Boyd from Incubus on both "Drive" and "Message Of Love," before another cut from their debut album, "Precious" is brought forth.

But, and as fully expected, it's the arrival of the one, the only Iggy Pop on stage that truly ignites the audience - and seemingly too Hynde herself. For as much as she had been trading musical barbs nicely throughout the show with her other guests, once Iggy was alongside her, well, the levels were upped in all regards.

Wearing combat pants and a tight black tshirt, his long flowing blonde locks being whipped around at any and all given opportunity, Iggy is definitely enjoying himself out there on both "Fools Must Die" and the stand out highlight of the night, "Candy."

After another cut from their debut album "Mystery Achievement," the always-brilliant "Brass In Pocket" is loving lapped up by the audience, before the show rounds out with everyone back on stage for a mid-tempo version of "Middle Of The Road."

In conclusion, and as much as it is obvious once watched all the way through that Hynde herself doesn't know all the lyrics to the other musicians songs, and as much as her vocals cannot come close to matching the ferocity of "Only Happy When It Rains" and "Candy," Hynde is as great a performer, an entertainer now as she ever was. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the aforementioned Bonus Features of a DVD and an Audio CD of the show.

'The Pretenders - With Friends' [BR+DVD+CD] is out July 12th, 2019 via Cleopatra Entertainment / MVD Visual.

www.CleopatraRecords.com

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Rolling Stones: Bridges To Bremen' [BR+2CD]
(The Rolling Stones / DVD+2CD / NR / 2019 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: 'Bridges To Bremen' is a full-length show performed by the Stones on the fifth and final leg of the Bridges To Babylon Tour.

Filmed at the German city's Weserstadion on September 2, 1998, the band had by then completed four legs in the stadiums and arenas of North America (twice), Asia and South America before finally landing in Europe early that summer.

Blu-ray Verdict: Ever the innovators, Bridges To Babylon was a tour of firsts - the first time the band went on the road with a permanent B-stage, and also the first time where fans could vote on the band's website for a track they wanted to hear at the show ("Memory Motel," in the case of the Bremen fans.

This concert film has been meticulously restored from the original masters, and the audio remixed and remastered from the live multitrack recordings and now also includes four (4) tracks from their Soldier Field performances in Chicago as bonus features!

As expected, whether or not you are a MASSIVE Stones fan such as myself or a causal bystander, this live show is chock full of two hours worth of Jagger and the boys exerting non-stop energy (well, save for Watts, as always, of course, bless him).

The close up camera work allows you to see Jagger and how he works / contorts his mouth and face into just the perfect shape to deliver his twangin' vocals along with actually seeing the glint of enjoying every second of life within the eyes of Richards.

I mean, from the off, and as soon as Richards delivers the iconic opening riffs of '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction,' the hairs began to stand up on my arm and I was not only transported back to the 1998 tour, but my eyes were genuinely transfixed on the crystal clear live show quality that Eagle Vision has brought forth for this release.

For me, the stand out moments here include tracks such as 'Out Of Control' from their touring Bridges to Babylon album. Starting quietly it soon ignites and allows for Richards to do his thing and for Jagger to prowl the stage like some demented tiger!

Inclusive of the Bremen fans-chosen 'Memory Motel' - from their 1976 album Black and Blue - and complete with Wood's guitar "wah-wah effect", it's a long not heard cut that features vocals from both Jagger and Richards.

The former as on song as ever, the latter as off note as ever, nevertheless the song is pure Stones dynamite sung live here tonight.

One of my favorite ever Stones songs is 'Start Me Up' which they do all kinds of justice to live here and add to that a highly commendable set of key changes between verse and chorus on 'Anybody Seen My Baby?' and, well, this is as complete a Stones show live as I think I might have ever witnessed.

DVD/CD Track Listing: 1. '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' 2. 'Let's Spend The Night Together' 3. 'Flip The Switch' 4. 'Gimme Shelter' 5. 'Anybody Seen My Baby?' 6. 'Paint It Black' 7. 'Saint Of Me' 8. 'Out Of Control' 9. 'Memory Motel' 10. 'Miss You' 11. 'Thief In The Night' 12. 'Wanna Hold You' 13. 'Its Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)' 14. 'You Got Me Rocking' 15. 'Like A Rolling Stone' 16. 'Sympathy For The Devil' 17. 'Tumbling Dice' 18. 'Honky Tonk Women' 19. 'Start Me Up' 20. 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' 21. 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' 22. 'Brown Sugar' + 4 Bonus Bridges To Chicago Performances [DVD only]: 1. 'Rock And A Hard Place' 2. 'Under My Thumb' 3. 'All About You' 4. 'Let It Bleed.'

This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the aforementioned two (2) Audio CD's of the show.

'The Rolling Stones: Bridges To Bremen' [BR+2CD] is out June 28th, 2019 via Eagle Vision.

www.RollingStones.com

www.Eagle-Rock.com





'The Dark Side Of The Moon: Unearthed Classics'
(Robert Sampson, Joe Turkel, Camilla More, John Diehl, Alan Blumenfeld, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1990) 2019 / Unearthed Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: In 2022, a repair crew is sent to fix an orbital weapon but their spaceship malfunctions and ends up heading towards the dark side of the moon.

There, in a mysterious, seemingly abandoned space shuttle, a sinister force lies in wait.

Blu-ray Verdict: SPOILERS! So, let's begin with a question: What does the Bermuda Triangle, the dark side of the moon, and the Lord of Darkness have in common?

Well, if you really want to know, seek out this little obscure sci-fi gem about a ship which begins to malfunction when it gets caught in some sort of gravitational pull.

This certain section on the moon called Centrus B 40 is the location for which the Spacecore vessel seems to be heading - Spacecore is a ship with a crew whose job is to fix nuclear armed satellites.

As the crew are heading towards the Centrus B 40, they encounter an older model NASA ship which seems to be operational. The malfunctions on the Spacecore have shut down the oxygen so the air is slowly leaving while cold air begins to exceed.

This NASA ship just might be a savior for them in disguise. They discover that this ship has air that will provide them with oxygen so the airlock is necessary.

Something, however, is on that ship (Discovery 18, to be exact) and it will awaken true terror! They find a dead man on board the Discovery ship named Gotier and there's a triangular hole around his stomach.

Soon, the crew will discover what was buried within the Discovery vessel and the film really begins to grow bizarre!

Will Bledsoe portrays Giles Stewart, the officer who uncovers unpleasant truths regarding where the Discovery actually comes from, not to mention the dead NASA flight officer.

As Giles digs, the Spacecore begins to experience odd occurrences in system malfunctions and something sinister lies within Gotier's body. Eventually it will show that no one is safe from a force of evil that can only come from he who is the ultimate symbol of it.

This film has a story that might induce laughter or eye-rolling, but if you are willing to give in and understand that this is an entertainment which is highly original and is willing to combine unusual elements into a cohesive whole.

It takes several leaps in logic to provide eerie chills and the director is very good at creeping the viewer with those who appear from the dark.

What lies within Gotier and how it affects everyone on board the Spacecore, not to mention what mysteries lie within the Discovery builds as the story continues.

A good cast - and one where it just goes to prove what can be done without big stars, a huge Hollywood budget and unnecessary CGI effects - 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' may well be from 1990, but even today it's a resoundingly good, solid film … with a great and rather jaw dropping climax!

Now released as a sparkling new Blu-ray via Unearthed Films, this is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Newly Restored 4K Transfer
Commentary with Exec Producer Paul White and Stephen Biro
Interview with Allen Blumfield
Interview with FX Artist R. Christopher Biggs
Interview with Stuntman Chuck Borden
Vintage Audio Track
Trailers
Photo Gallery
Booklet

Official Blu-ray Purchase Link

www.UnearthedFilms.com

www.MVDvisual.com





'Hold Back The Dawn: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland, Paulette Goddard, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1941) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: Stopped in Mexico by U.S. Immigration, Georges Iscovescu hopes to get into the country by marrying a citizen.

Charles Boyer (Gaslight) gives an enthralling performance as Georges Iscovescu, a Romanian-born gigolo who arrives at a Mexican border town seeking entry to the US.

Faced with a waiting period of eight years, George is encouraged by his former dancing partner Anita (Pauline Goddard, Modern Times) to marry an American girl and desert her once safely across the border.

He successfully targets visiting school teacher Emmy Brown (Olivia de Havilland, Gone with the Wind), but his plan is compromised by a pursuing immigration officer, and blossoming feelings of genuine love for Emmy.

Blu-ray Verdict: It really is curious how times change. More than 60 years ago, people fleeing Europe went to Mexico to try to gain access to the United States.

Today, instead of going the legal route, they would probably hire a coyote to take them to the other side of the border! The more things change, the more they stay the same.

This film is interesting because of the screen play by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, although down the years the latter one has been the only writer associated with the film. Ergo, it is a mistake to bypass the great Billy Wilder, when we see his imprint everywhere in the movie.

The movie begins with a disheveled Charles Boyer going to the Paramount lot to talk to the director, Mitchell Leisen. Boyer's character, George Iscovescu, has met the director in the Riviera and comes to beg for a loan of $500, a tidy sum in those days. From there the story unfolds.

George quickly learns after arriving in the border town, that because being Rumanian he must wait about 8 years to enter the United States because of immigration quotas.

He quickly learns the only way to make it across the border is if he would marry an American woman, and voila!, Emmy Brown, just happens to come to spend the 4th of July holiday with her students; thus his chance to make it in a legal way.

The cast of the film is excellent. Charles Boyer, in spite of not being upfront with the naïve Emmy, doesn't make us hate him. He redeems himself at the end.

Olivia de Havilland was perfect for the immature Emmy. She falls in love with a man that is trying to use her as his ticket to the promised land. Paulette Goddard, as Anita was very good.

Funnily enough, well after the film Walter Abel was still despised as playing Inspector Hammock, the immigration officer everyone in town hates.

In conclusion, 'Hold Back The Dawn' has a clever start to the film - oh, and look out for Veronica Lake making an appearance - and has a rather lovely ending that really couldn't get any better. This is a Full Screen 35mm camera negative film (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements
Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin
Love Knows No Borders, a newly filmed video appreciation by film critic Geoff Andrew
The Guardian Lecture: Olivia de Havilland, A career-spanning onstage audio interview with Olivia de Havilland recorded at the National Film Theatre in 1971
Rare hour-long radio adaptation of Hold Back the Dawn from 1941 starring Charles Boyer, Paulette Goddard and Susan Haywood
Gallery of original stills and promotional images
Original trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by writer and critic Farran Smith Nehme

www.ArrowFilms.com





'The Loveless: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Willem Dafoe, Robert Gordon, Marin Kanter, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1981) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: Trouble ensues when a motorcycle gang stops in a small southern town while heading to the races at Daytona.

The United States, late 1950s. A time of generational conflict, of immense social change, of bold fashions and toe-tapping music.

These are just some of the elements that collide in thrilling fashion in 'The Loveless', the feature debut of both its star, Willem Dafoe (To Live and Die in LA), and its directors, Monty Montgomery (producer, David Lynch's Wild at Heart) and future Academy Award®-winner Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, Detroit).

Blu-ray Verdict: In the 1950s, a group of leather-clad bikers led by Vance are on their way to Daytona, Florida to compete in a race, but they get sidetracked into a quiet Georgia town to fix up a broken down bike.

The uptight locals see them as nothing but trouble, and surely enough problems occur. The waitress of the dinner catches Vance's eyes and another being a brash, young teen, Elena.

Wearing black leather never looked so cool! "We're going nowhere… fast" Well, this tag-line accurately describes this sublime, independent feature.

Sure, it's not for everyone's tastes, but I loved this ultra-slick, inventively moody trip through the eyes of a couple of laid-back bikers of the '50s. For some people it might be aimlessly dull, because of the mellow tempo and it consciously ticks a long at a leisurely pace with vast empty spaces.

I found it to be an evocative tale (despite being quite broad) that has a real hypnotic trance surrounding its arrestingly stylish framework that milks out the sullen atmosphere.

There's such an authentic feel about it and so many inspired and iconic imagery seeping off the screen that you can't bear to take your eyes off it.

The film was co-written and co-directed by Kathryn Bigelow and Monty Montgomery in their first major feature. The pairs' profoundly, textured direction, catches every little elegant detail (great use of the soothing neon-lighting and composition) with the guidance of Doyle Smith's crisply spacious cinematography.

Being shot on location really added to the film's natural presence and unattainable free spirit. Story-wise, there's nothing really conventional about it, but just letting the poetically distinctive situations evolve into an impulsively, harrowing conclusion.

The dialogues are rather dry and very sparse with splashes of sly remarks. While, it might not have a lot to say in its context. The stirring visual and music contributions do actually round it off nicely.

A divinely, swish rockabilly soundtrack by Robert Gordon and mostly John Lurie becomes a major part of the scene, as it does shape the swanky feel.

A huge curiosity would be that of William Dafoe's first major feature role and he rings true in a brilliant performance. His confidently, hardened turn simply has you in awe of his on screen magnetism.

There are memorable no-bar performances by Robert Gordon, Tina L'Hotsky, Lawrence Matarese, Danny Rosen and Phillip Kimbrough, who snugly fill the shoes of the tightly rapport biker gang.

Marin Kanter has attitude in her part as, Elena. J. Don Ferguson plays Elena's father, Tarver and brings to the table a character just waiting to crack. Finally, Elizabeth Gans is delightful in her role as the waitress, Augusta.

In closing, this is more than just a basic biker; exploitation movie and I sure loved it. A beautifully, worthy obscure gem that's worth a look for those who enjoy a lot finesse mixed with a touch of enigma. This is a Widescreen (1.85:1) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films, approved by co-writer/co-director Monty Montgomery and director of photography Doyle Smith High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original lossless mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
New audio commentary with co-writer/co-director Monty Montgomery, moderated by Elijah Drenner
No Man's Friend Today: Making 'The Loveless', new video interviews with actors Willem Dafoe, Marin Kanter, Robert Gordon, Phillip Kimbrough and Lawrence Matarese
U.S. 17: Shooting 'The Loveless', new video interviews with producers Grafton Nunes and A. Kitman Ho
Chrome and Hot Leather: The Look of 'The Loveless', new interviews with production designer Lilly Kilvert and director of photography Doyle Smith
Relentless, new audio interview with musician Eddy Dixon
Extensive image gallery, including on-set photographs, storyboards and original production documentation
Theatrical trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Peter Stanfield

www.ArrowFilms.com





'Doctor Who: The Animation Collection'
(David Tennant, Tom Baker, Patrick Troughton, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: Spectacular color animation and technological wizardry bring you a TARDIS-load of thrills in five brilliant animated Doctor Who releases!

DVD Verdict: So, the story goes that decades after a strike stopped production of Shada with Fourth Doctor Tom Baker, new animation has come to the rescue of all devoted Whovians and filled the gaps and solved the mystery of the prison planet!

Indeed, by following the original soundtrack of lost episode The Power of the Daleks with Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, master animators have now also recreated the Doctor's first regeneration, just in time to fight his oldest enemies!

But wait, there's more, for Dreamland and The Infinite Quest with Tenth Doctor David Tennant are your tickets to wild adventures in the American West in search of a legendary lost spaceship!

And in the remastered webcast Scream of the Shalka, the Doctor (with the wondrous voice of Richard E. Grant) saves the Earth from alien-led ecological disaster!

Delving into a couple of these, the big one here for us Whovians is the brilliant Shada. In truth, when it came out remastered and overhauled in 2017 its update from the previously available version of this great lost masterpiece was instantly heralded as rather breathtaking.

Including new model work, subtly polished effects, and a few newly filmed live action scenes, all joined together by these aforementioned pleasing digitally animated comic style sections that filled in all the missing acted bits, it also served to open up the settings far more than I'm sure the BBC would have been capable of achieving originally.

In 1974, the original tapes for Power of the Daleks were wiped from the BBC Archive. After 50 years, the BBC has animated this lost serial for a new age in 2016.

In the original, the Doctor (Patrick Troughton) has just regenerated or has been "renewed". His companions, Ben (Micheal Craze) and Polly (Anneke Wills), are unsure of this new man. Is he the old man they departed London with?

But the TARDIS lands on the planet Vulcan, and soon the Doctor and his companions are mixed up in the death of an Earth examiner, a colony from Earth and a rebellion against the colony's current government.

But, a scientist named Lesterson (Robert James) had foolishly tampered with powers he can't control. Now, the Daleks are planning on destroying the colony, and only the Doctor can stop them!

For me, realizing that all six episodes of this serial were erased from the BBC archive in the late 1960s and the 16mm prints made for foreign markets were destroyed in 1974 and yet fans at the time recorded the soundtrack directly from the television which meant they could then pair those with newly created animation in an attempt to reconstruct the missing episodes from this serial just makes me smile (phew!).

In truth, the animation is very limited and reminiscent of the "motion comics" that were not very successful about 10 years ago.

The BBC also chose to do it in black and white instead of color. I mean, given that the original was also in black and white it makes sense and adds a little homage to it, I guess.

The last one I'll dig into is the brilliant Infinite Quest from 2007. Here the Doctor and Martha Jones trek through space and time in a race against the galaxy's greatest despot, Baltazar, to follow a complex trail of clues to discover the location of the legendary lost spaceship, the Infinite; which, according to myth, can grant anybody their hearts desire.

The plot is reasonably good and allows for the location hopping and for, in theory, the creation of another nemesis for the Doctor (assuming the animation went on from this one-off).

The voice work is not that great though, but the presence of Tennant and Agyeman is a bonus, of course - but they don't manage to produce anything as good as they do in the series itself, sorry.

To my mind, Tennant is a wee bit too wacky here though. I mean, Head has a good voice for his character, but people like Liza Tarbuck, Calyton, Meo and Morgan stand out too much without giving good performances at the same time; if that makes sense.

So, what's the overall verdict? Well, from a Whovians point of view I have to say the animation is good, but not top notch. I mean, we're not talking Avatar, but then again we're not talking original Space Ghost either!

Breaking it down, at times it's more animatics than animation, and at others it veers more toward the early flat and 2D look, to be quite frank.

For the most part it's exactly what the box art showcases it to be, so you can't be too pissed at it once you have unwrapped it and put the DVD into your players, no can you.

Some on screen patterns, much like the Doctor's trousers never move no matter how much urgency he puts into escaping an ongoing Evil, his and other bystanders' limbs stiff and when they do move, they don't move naturally.

But, and again, it has to be paid mention to that all this can be garnered from the front and back cover art so please don't come banging on my door when the animation isn't "blowing your minds"!

In closing, visually they all offer locations beyond the budget of the normal series, include actors and plot points that would have been hard to pull off on screen in "real time," but the animation is, as aforementioned, low grade, flat, old school even ... and yet remarkably brilliant at the very same time! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and has a run time of 7.5 hours.

www.shop.bbc.com





'Luther - Season 5'
(Idris Elba, Wunmi Mosaku, Ruth Wilson, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: Golden Globe Award-winner Idris Elba (The Wire), returns to his monumental role as London's haunted DCI John Luther in Season Five of the thrilling police drama 'Luther.'

DVD Verdict: As a series of monstrous killings becomes more audacious, Luther and new recruit DS Catherine Halliday (Wunmi Mosaku) are confounded by a tangle of misdirection that seems to protect an unspeakable horror.

But as the case brings him closer than ever to the nature of true evil, a reluctant Luther faces the ghosts of his own past.

Striding back into the line of fire, he must choose who to protect, and who to sacrifice. Whatever his next move, it will change John Luther forever.

For my money, from the very first season to this fifth one, 'Luther' is a genuine masterclass in how a crime series should be done. From the acting to the cinematics and dialogue you are drawn straight into Idris Elba's edgy spontaneous character, whilst all the while the rest of the cast blend accordingly and seamlessly around him.

Of course, 'Luther' is all just one big fantasy from start to finish with situations and characters that are outrageously far fetched, but nonetheless, this fifth series is as on point and as controlled as any of the prior four, that's for damn sure.

This fifth season is definitely engrossing, polished stuff with each episode a self-contained one and yet still weaving seamlessly into each other for the final reckoning (and a much broader storyline, of course).

In closing, and not to give too much away, although I'm sure all you Lutheran's out there already know this, there are some What happened to? moments spread unevenly throughout not only this fifth, but the other seasons.

Such as Whatever happened to Rose? To Jenny? To Mary? To Erin? To Mark? They all just disappeared. Zoe, killed off. Alice, supposedly killed (then and now!) but do we really know that for sure? Justin, killed.

I mean, to my mind every supporting character has now gone and, at times, it can really take away from the show when all your gotten-to-know-and-like supporting favorites die (or just vanish).

I mean, I understand some characters die or leave to forward the story line, but most all of them? Oh, and after this moment of self indulgence here, watch out for the latest one to bite the dust as we head to the end of this magnificent fifth (and hopefully not final) season! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Lust For Luther
Lutherland

www.shop.bbc.com





'Luther - The Complete Series'
(Idris Elba, Wunmi Mosaku, Ruth Wilson, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: Buckle your seatbelt for the turbulent career of London's DCI John Luther, starring Idris Elba, winner of Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for his powerful performance in this grippingly smart psychological thriller, 'Luther'

DVD Verdict: As brilliant as he is impulsive, Luther wrestles with the darker side of humanity and with his own grim ghosts.

Will his arch enemy - a beautiful and equally brilliant mass murderer (Ruth Wilson, Mrs. Wilson, Jane Eyre) - win their lethal battle of wits?

Or will Luther's visceral sense of moral order finally free him from his personal and professional demons?

Personally, I've always liked Idris Elba. Maybe it's because of The Wire or maybe because his screen presence is so compelling, but when our TVs schedules are filled with so much dross to have this little gem of a series appear is so refreshing.

Luther (Idris Elba) is a Detective Inspector in a Special Crimes Unit who has just returned to work after having recently recovered from a mental breakdown due to pressures of a marriage break up and over commitment to his job.

His relationships with his ex-wife, his new colleague DS Ripley and a psychopathic but brilliant young lady are central to the development of the series.

Each episode leaves one wanting to know how the plot will develop. There are of course the crimes to be solved and Luther's unorthodox but canny methods.

I will not divulge any more but the climatic ending to episode 6 in the first season makes one want to know What now? which I've always found a wondrous bridge into a following season.

What's remarkable about 'Luther' is how series creator Neil Cross takes a rag-tag bag of clichés - brilliant but damaged rogue cop, long-suffering boss, genius killer, etc. - and makes it all seem so fresh.

Of course, having the fantastic Idris Elba helps immeasurably. He doesn't just act the part of Luther; he is Luther, fully inhabiting the role and moving like a force of nature through every scene.

This is one of those rare times where you see an actor's innate intelligence and physicality used perfectly. Watching Luther decompensate, as he does at various times over the story arc, is really something to see.

Elba is matched every step of the way by Ruth Wilson (Alice), playing a sort of female Hannibal Lector - brilliant, amoral, remorseless, scary, and, I daresay, sexy.

One of the more interesting back stories is indeed the role of Alice Morgan, a young multiple murderess (played brilliantly by Ruth Wilson) who gives Luther chilling insight into the minds of his suspects while challenging him on sexual, intellectual and moral levels, intent on drawing him further inwards to the heart of her passion.

Sure John can see this, as it both frightens and attracts him leaving the audience on a constant cliff-edge awaiting his fate. She and Elba make quite a pair, and their interplay is priceless throughout the now-five seasons.

Indeed, 'Luther' reminds me of the Jim Carrey movie 'The Number 23' and how obsession can destroy and destroy utterly taking everything and everyone with it.

The show's direction takes the viewer helter skelter into the very heart and soul of John Luther, a dedicated senior police officer in a constant struggle to retain his moral compass.

All because he dares to use questionable methods to ensure justice for victims of the most brutal crimes within a labyrinthine bureaucracy of a legal system whose very existence seems intent in ensuring the path towards a successful arrest and conviction is as difficult as possible.

Idris Elba is, again, BRILLIANT at portraying this wrought, fallible but noble detective John Luther, which reflects once again how far Elba's acting range can reach post The Wire.

The audio track is charged, insightful and electric, employing talents such as Emiliana Torrini and her gritty cut 'Gun'.

As for the inclusion of this fifth, and if this box-set it to be believed, final season, as a series of monstrous killings becomes more audacious, Luther and new recruit DS Catherine Halliday (Wunmi Mosaku) are confounded by a tangle of misdirection that seems to protect an unspeakable horror.

But as the case brings him closer than ever to the nature of true evil, a reluctant Luther faces the ghosts of his own past.

Striding back into the line of fire, he must choose who to protect, and who to sacrifice. Whatever his next move, it will change John Luther forever.

For my money, from the very first season to this fifth one, 'Luther' is a genuine masterclass in how a crime series should be done. From the acting to the cinematics and dialogue you are drawn straight into Idris Elba's edgy spontaneous character, whilst all the while the rest of the cast blend accordingly and seamlessly around him.

Of course, 'Luther' is all just one big fantasy from start to finish with situations and characters that are outrageously far fetched, but nonetheless, this fifth series is as on point and as controlled as any of the prior four, that's for damn sure.

This fifth season is definitely engrossing, polished stuff with each episode a self-contained one and yet still weaving seamlessly into each other for the final reckoning (and a much broader storyline, of course).

Oh, and not to give too much away, although I'm sure all you Lutheran's out there already know this, there are some What happened to? moments spread unevenly throughout not only this fifth, but the other seasons.

Such as Whatever happened to Rose? To Jenny? To Mary? To Erin? To Mark? They all just disappeared. Zoe, killed off. Alice, supposedly killed (then and now!) but do we really know that for sure? Justin, killed.

I mean, to my mind every supporting character has now gone and, at times, it can really take away from the show when all your gotten-to-know-and-like supporting favorites die (or just vanish).

I mean, I understand some characters die or leave to forward the story line, but most all of them? Oh, and after this moment of self indulgence here, watch out for the latest one to bite the dust as we head to the end of this magnificent fifth (and regardless of the box-set "complete series" statement, hopefully not final) season!

In closing, once you suspend belief and treat it for what it is, 'Luther' is right royal rollicking entertainment! The villains are truly frightening, Ruth Wilson is mesmerizing, the bad guy in episode four of the second season really gave me the creeps, and with great acting all round, there is nothing on TV quite like it - perhaps save for 'Line Of Duty', of course. I strongly recommend 'Luther' for everyone who appreciates quality TV drama. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Luther: The World of A True Maverick
Cast and Crew Interviews
Luther 4: Up Close To The Edge
Lust For Luther
Lutherland

www.shop.bbc.com





'Alan Jackson - Small Town Southern Man'
(Alan Jackson, et al / DVD / NR / 2019 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: 'Small Town Southern Man' is the story of country music icon Alan Jackson - a driven artist who has played an essential role in bridging the old and new worlds of country music by blending mainstream country and traditional honky-tonk, which irreversibly jolted country music into the modern era.

The program travels the entire journey of Jackson's life, from his boyhood in Newnan, GA to Nashville and his first career successes.

DVD Verdict: This quite wonderful new documentary, 'Small Town Southern Man', which premiered on AXS TV in October 2018, not only showcases the Country Music Hall of Fame member Alan Jackson, but even goes as far as revealing things about the legend that perhaps we didn't even know.

This feature-length documentary running at close to 90 minutes chronicles Jackson's life from his upbringing in Georgia in the '50s and ’60s to his Hall of Fame induction in 2017.

For those not in the know, Jackson has sold over 80 million records, with 66 titles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. Of the 66 titles, and six featured singles, 38 have reached the top five and 35 have claimed the number one spot.

Out of 15 titles to reach the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, nine have been certified multi-platinum. He is the recipient of two Grammy Awards, 16 CMA Awards, 17 ACM Awards and nominee of multiple other awards.

Jackson is also a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2001. His aforementioned induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017 was by his dear friend Loretta Lynn (and he also, although not featured here, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018).

This story of a true music icon is primarily narrated by Jackson himself and includes interviews with family members, musical colleagues and country stars, including Carrie Underwood, Alison Krauss, Lee Ann Womack and more.

Featuring heavily the single that the film is named after,'Small Town Southern Man' was a song written and recorded by Jackson and released in November 2007 as the lead single from his album Good Time.

The song reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts in March 2008, becoming Jackson's twenty-third Number One hit on that chart; as well as his first since "Remember When" in February 2004.

Positive comments free flow here on this hour and a half long DVD for the man from all musicians captured on camera, with comments ranging from "When Alan walks into a room he's a star and you can almost feel that" to Carrie Underwood's glowing "Every generation of country music looks at the generation they grew up listening to as just the best of all time and my generation does the same and it's Alan."

Even Jackson himself pays heed to his own legacy and the wave he himself rode in on, by admitting "There were not any new artists in the late '80s that were carrying on what I would call real country music … and it's been a tough business, but I've been very blessed and glad to still be there with them."

Written, produced and directed by John Albarian, the film showcases the inspirations that led Jackson to write hits such as 'Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow,' 'Chattahoochee,' 'Here in the Real World,' 'Livin’ on Love,' and 'Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).'

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.AlanJackson.com

www.Eagle-Rock.com





'Weird Science: Special Edition'
(Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock, Robert Downey Jr, Bill Paxton, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / (1985) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: Two high school nerds use a computer program to literally create the perfect woman, but she turns their lives upside down.

Because, well, if you can't get a date ... make one!

After proving himself the king of heartfelt teen flicks with 'Sixteen Candles' and 'The Breakfast Club', writer-director John Hughes infused the genre with a hefty dose of wacked-out sci-fi comedy in 'Weird Science' - a film where every teenage boy's wildest fantasies come to life!

Blu-ray Verdict: In my humble opinion, even when John Hughes makes a mediocre film such as 'Weird Science' the nature of his intent still shines through; to the point where you can't necessarily fault him for anything except not making a better one.

'Weird Science' serves as the ultimate 1980s high school nerd fantasy, one in which babes see social awkwardness as a turn-on and bullies and extortionist older brothers help themselves to large servings of humble pie.

The movie truly doesn't need to be anything more, even in spite of the shallowness of its characters and general disregard for logic.

Anthony Michael Hall (in his fourth Hughes film in three years) and Ilan Mitchell-Smith star as two losers who determine that if they can't get girls the "old-fashioned" way that they can use their computer smarts to play Frankenstein and create the ideal woman.

After some illegal hacking they pack her with a high IQ (and an appropriate breast size) then hook a doll up to a machine. One crazy storm inside their house later and suddenly there's Lisa (Kelly LeBrock), who's every bit as stunning with a type A personality as a nerd could possibly imagine or desire.

The story then goes the unexpected route. Lisa, equipped with mad street smarts and magic powers, literally takes over the driver's seat and the young Gary and Wyatt for a wild ride.

After helping them loosen up a bit, she determines they need a few tests to find the courage they need to stand up to bullies and go after the girl.

Hughes determines that Lisa needs no rhyme or reason other than causing an appropriate amount of mischief so the boys can learn a valuable thing or two.

She's the fairy godmother of this fantasy; it's one thing to stand up to your parents, for example, and tell them you're going to a party, and it's another to have a hot model do it for you (and cause your father to forget who you are).

Hughes basically sticks it to everyone who made his life crappy during his teens, though to be fair, he recognizes the nerd's shortcomings and doesn't paint them as heroes.

Hughes always played things close to the chest, filming most of his movies in the Chicago suburbs where he grew up, even naming the high school in 'Weird Science' after the main road where his actual high school was.

In this film he has absolute loony fun with his usual tropes, going as far as turning Bill Paxton, who plays Wyatt's militaristic older brother Chet, into a steaming pile of crap that looks like Jabba the Hut.

Fans of the more romantic side of Hughes, who love his candid nature toward portraying high schoolers, might find 'Weird Science' to be the wild mutt of the family with its irreverence, and high level of silliness.

Furthermore, it has been considered the "cult favorite" of the Hughes collection and that's just fine and dandy with me. It definitely caters to those who can relate to being a socially outcast teenage boy and not too many others, but by no means is it a slip-up for the man taken far too soon from us in 2009. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

New restoration by Arrow Films from a 4K scan of the original negative
High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation of the original Theatrical Version of the film (94 mins), plus seamlessly-branched exclusive Extended Version (97 mins), featuring two additional scenes newly remastered in high-definition
Original lossless stereo audio, plus 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround option (theatrical version only)
Original English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Edited-for-TV version of the film (SD only, 95 mins), plus comparison featurette highlighting the alternate dubs and takes
Option to watch additional scenes from the Extended Version separately
Newly-filmed interview with special makeup creator Craig Reardon
Newly-filmed interview with editor Chris Lebenzon
Newly-filmed interview with composer Ira Newborn
Newly-filmed interview with supporting actor John Kapelos
All-new interview with casting director Jackie Burch
It's Alive: Resurrecting Weird Science, an archive documentary featuring interviews with cast, crew and admirers, including star Anthony Michael Hall
Theatrical trailers and TV spots
Image gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tracie Ching
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors booklet featuring new writing on the film by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Amanda Reyes

www.ArrowFilms.com





'The Chill Factor: Special Edition'
(Dawn Laurrie, Aaron Kjenaas, Connie Snyder, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1993) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: For a group of young couples, a snowmobiling trip turns into a waking nightmare when one of their number is thrown from their vehicle and knocked unconscious.

Seeking refuge in a nearby abandoned summer camp, the group find themselves holed up in a cabin filled with bizarre and ominous religious artefacts.

As night falls, the discovery of a Ouija board amidst the dusty relics awakens a terrifying evil.

Barely released outside of its original VHS outing (for which it was retitled 'Demon Possessed'), cult enthusiasts Arrow Video have dug up 'The Chill Factor' from its wintry analogue grave so horror fans can rediscover this heady mixture of snow, slaughter and Satan!

Blu-ray Verdict: 'The Chill Factor' (aka 'Demon Possessed') is a fun horror story that starts out with six friends who are snowmobile racing in the remote Northwoods of Illinois.

One of them is injured in the race, and this causes the other five friends to take shelter in an abandoned camp that once housed a secret religious cult, with their severely injured friend.

One of the group finds an old Ouija Board from Haiti (as you do) and conjures up a demon that ends up possessing their injured friend, Tom. Soon the group's ranks begins to dwindle as the possessed Tom starts to brutally kill of his friends.

Granted, 'The Chill Factor' is very much inspired by movies such as 'The Evil Dead' and such ilk, but there actually are a few things that actually make this pretty darn creepy on its own.

First, the constant religious symbolism raises the goose flesh on my arms alone! Second, the location of the camp is so isolated and far from civilization that it gives the movie a sense of hopelessness, especially for the group of characters trapped there.

And thirdly, as one character finds out before her untimely demise, is that the religious order who used to occupy the camp actually committed satanic sacrifices!

Indeed the idea of a Catholic run retreat who dabbles in Satanism is even more frightening, in my opinion, than just a group of friends finding the Necronomicon and unleashing demons.

The acting is nothing to brag about, but at least the characters and their backgrounds were kinda sorta nicely fleshed out before all Hell broke loose!

Furthermore, it actually made me sympathize with them and their ordeals especially as the movie features some wickedly decent kill scenes! Such as death by barb wire (when one character "accidently" drives into it), death by a rotating ceiling fan, another character gets a rather large icicle in the eye (see newly-created front cover art), another character is "hanged" by a net, and of course, the guy who gets possessed (for he sustains a rather nasty head injury in getting there!)

The ending is chilling and action-packed, but I'll let you see that for yourself. Barely released outside of its original VHS outing (for which it was retitled 'Demon Possessed'), cult enthusiasts Arrow Video have dug up 'The Chill Factor' from its wintry analogue grave so horror fans can rediscover this heady mixture of snow, slaughter and Satan!

And trust me, it's well worth tracking down this once hard to find horror gem as it may well be classified as a low budget independent horror film, but the bloody punch it packs is well worth it's now cult status weight in gold. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed stereo audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary with special effects artist Hank Carlson and horror writer Josh Hadley
Brand new on-camera interview with makeup artist Jeffery Lyle Segal
Brand new on-camera interview with production manager Alexandra Reed
Brand new on-camera interview with stunt coordinator Gary Paul
Still Gallery
Original VHS trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Marc Schoenbach
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing by Mike White

www.ArrowFilms.com





'Forgotten Heroes: The Robert Hartsock Story'
(DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: 'Forgotten Heroes: The Robert Hartsock Story' interweaves the story of Medal of Honor recipient Robert Hartsock with an overview of dog handlers in the Vietnam War.

This inspirational and worthwhile documentary carefully explains the major issues that America faced during this generally unpopular war.

Despite a few negative elements related to the world of war, Robert Hartsock's story is a shining example of courage and resolve in the face of certain defeat.

DVD Verdict: Military working dogs and their handlers save lives on the battlefield and continue to do so today.

In Vietnam alone, 10,000 American lives are credited with having been saved by the actions of over 4,000 dogs and their handlers. Yet their service and sacrifices are not well known.

Neither is the fact that almost none of the dogs came home. Lesser still is that on February 23, 1969, US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Hartsock saved his lieutenant, his base, every dog on that base, and altered the course of the war.

In so doing, he became the first and only military working dog handler in the history of the United States to ever receive the Medal of Honor.

Yet almost no one knows this. SSgt Robert Hartsock has become a forgotten hero. It’s time to tell the story and so here within these captivating and eye opening 70 minutes of 'Forgotten Heroes: The Robert Hartsock Story' that story is indeed brought to the fore.

Archived news footage, portions of presidential speeches and film footage from the government archives are interwoven with the personal details of Robert Hartsock’s life from his childhood through his time of service in the army as a Staff Sergeant with his dog, Duke.

Key interviews include Rodger Forbes, a fellow dog handler and best friend of “Bob” as Robert was called by everyone; Larry Hughes, the 2nd Lieutenant who led the 25th Infantry Division; and, Lamar Smith, a veterinary tech who cared for the war dogs.

Several other interviews add key information to round out the movie’s overall narrative.

The movie credits include archived film from the White House Medal of Honor ceremony where President Richard Nixon presented the award to Staff Sergeant Robert Hartsock’s family. Also, there is a photo with President Richard Nixon and Dion Hartsock, the son of Robert Hartsock.

The story of 'Forgotten Heroes' is told in a heartfelt and thoughtful manner and where the opening credit montage is truly well created.

There are applicable Bible verses included throughout the documentary along with some subpar technical details that were subtly noticeable; such as ambient noise during an interview and a few rough transitions.

Also included are a couple of offensive words, scenes of war violence and references to alcohol and tobacco consumption, but it is a documentary about life spent in Hell (so we can definitely forgive them these cinematic lapses). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Wild Faith' [DVD + Digital]
(Shane Hagedorn, Lauren LaStrada, DJ Perry, Melissa Anschutz, et al / DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: A Civil War veteran tries to make peace with his losses and start a new life despite the world resisting change around him.

DVD Verdict: Life was not easy in the 1800's and there are plenty of reasons to not want to bring certain aspects of life back then to the forefront, but 'Wild Faith' is brave enough and coherent enough to both capture the world and its many flaws as well as present it in a respectful manner.

The characters depicted are brought to life in a heartfelt way, with the actors and actresses performing top-tier emotion. I thoroughly enjoyed watching all of these great things come together.

This film has certain segments that reveal an important past for one of our characters and the way that these scenes are woven through the narrative is seamless and a joy to experience.

In closing, 'Wild Faith' has superb casting throughout, especially Lauren LaStrada and I've seen many faith-based films, but this one did not preach at all. Complete with an obviously high production value this is a wondrous story of courage, forgiveness and love. Highly recommended. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Run' [DVD + Digital]
(Josiah David Warren, Taylor Murphy, Chloe Hurs, Stephen Baldwin, et al / DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: 'Run' is a dramatic thriller following Levi, a young businessman who marries the love of his life, Natalie Winters (Taylor Murphy), a passionate journalist who reports on human trafficking and fights to expose it.

On their wedding night Natalie is kidnapped to be sold into slavery by the very men she's investigating. When authorities prove to be of little help, Levi goes on the hunt for his wife, chasing clues wherever he can find them, leading him to Jeff Conners (Stephen Baldwin) a merciless crime lord.

Will Levi be able to find his wife before she is transported out of the country to be sold? Only with the help of God can Levi and Natalie find the strength and faith to fight the evil that has shattered their lives.

DVD Verdict: Going into this film not quite knowing what to expect, especially given that Stephen Baldwin was "headlining" it, it turns out that this suspense/thriller tackles human trafficking, but with an alternative Christian approach.

So, what you get here in this hour and a half is a slew of faith-based elements mixed in with the tension, drama ... and the aforementioned Stephen Baldwin running here, there and everywhere!

For the most part the narrative works well enough with a reporter exploring a local human trafficking operation being taken and her new husband has to rescue her … but runs into one obstacle after another, of course.

Truth is though there are not real surprises here as 'Run' follows the usual formula for these kind of suspense-driven movies; though the faith based moments do help it stand out from a dense crowd.

I wouldn’t call the religious threads "heavy handed", but they are not subtle at all, so you can tell this was made from a Christian perspective with zero effort made to pretend otherwise.

But 'Run' isn’t as preachy as some and it manages to keep the story on track using faith to supplement the narrative, rather than letting it push the entire experience.

In a situation like the one Natalie and Levi find themselves in, faith can be of immense comfort and that is the case here although, of course, 'Run' is a little more upfront with its intentions. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'It Hits The Fan!' [DVD + Digital]
(Jeff Fahey, Kari Wuhrer, Gigi Edgley, Rhett Giles, et al / 2-DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: All hell is breaking loose with this catastrophic quartet of disaster movies. The end of times has never been so much fun!

DVD Verdict: First up is 'Tornado Warning' (2012, originally titled 'Alien Tornado') starring: Jeff Fahey (TV's Lost), Kari Wuhrer (Anaconda), Stacey Asaro (Hot Tub Time Machine 2), and Willard Pugh (RoboCop 2). Extraterrestrials appear as destructive "electrical tornadoes" on Earth and for my money there were a lot of entertaining things in this movie; as well as a few interesting cast and crew members.

For starters, Jeff Burr is best remembered for Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and it was good seeing him back making a movie. He handles the material a lot better than most of these SyFy movies and I thought he at least kept the thing moving. Oh, and it was also great seeing Jeff Fahey on the small screen.

Then we get 'Judgement Day' (2010, originally titled 'Quantum Apocalypse') starring: Gigi Edgley (TV's Farscape), Rhett Giles (Frankenstein Reborn), Stephanie Jacobsen (Alex Cross), and Randy Mulkey (The Lincoln Lawyer). A rogue space anomaly is discovered approaching Earth, and it is up to the world's top scientists to stop it from destroying the planet.

In the city of Parish, the Major Ben Marshall lives with his autistic brother Terry, his son Leo, his daughter Samantha and his second wife Lynne.

When a comet changes its route and collides on Earth, the scientists discover that an anomaly is the cause and they bring two geniuses to join their team in the research.

They find that the anomaly is a gravitational vacuum indeed and mankind is doomed to annihilation. But Terry convinces his brother Ben to drive him to Houston to save the planet.

Sadly, 'Judgement Day' doesn't have the charm it's B-movie cast should have brought to the party and is one of SyFy's many, many, many, many meteor apocalypse films - and when you've seen one you've officially seen them all, sorry!

Next up is 'Chrome Angels' (2009, originally titled 'Cyborg Conquest') starring: Stacey Dash (Clueless), Paul Le Mat (American Graffiti), Eliza Swenson (TV's The Witches of Oz), and Frida Farrell (Apartment 407). A female biker gang finds themselves pitted against bomb-laden cyborgs in this high-octane, gun-wielding, motorcycle racing action flick.

In a film that brings back the cyborgs - unlike 'Terminator: Salvation' did around this time - the cast is lead by Stacey Dash and Paul LeMat and a pretty decent job they both do too.

Combined with a rather heart-felt role by Richard Lynch they all come together to make the most of an unusual plot that actually plays out logically come the end!

Oh, and if you squint you can make out the visages of Rhett Giles and Griff Furst (Leigh Scott buddies with big reputations within the B-movie business) in disguise as no-good bar folks!

Paul LeMat (American Graffiti) is back as a evil genius robot maker and I must admit that Leigh Scott has matured in his craft; based on this, of course.

So, and summing it all up: We get a slew of motorbikes, a lot of cheesy cyborg battles, a shed load of down-the-blouse shots from all the actresses, and (without giving too much away) maybe even a resurrection or two!

Lastly we get 'Ghouls' (2008) starring: William Atherton (Die Hard), Erin Gray (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century), Kristen Renton (TV's Sons of Anarchy), and James DeBello (Detroit Rock City).

A college student returns with her father to his home country only to discover her family holds a dark secret that involves her.

The average movie-watcher's terrible horror film usually equates to a decent watch from my perspective. And more often than not, even the ones that are truly atrocious have moderate to exceptional comedic value. I'm afraid such cannot be said for 'Ghouls'!

It's biggest and most obvious flaw is the terrible plot. We know there are ghouls who are trying to reclaim something or another, and in doing so cross the plane from the spiritual world into the physical world. Beyond that, I'm not really quite sure what was taking place, or why.

Speaking of that, I'm also a little confused as to what exactly was left to be accomplished for these ghouls as far as crossing over into the physical world, seeing as they actually feed on people's flesh, and can (somehow) be mortally wounded by gunshots and grenade blasts. Can't really get much more physical than that!

James DeBello is not a bad actor. No, he's really not. This was just not a role meant for him I guess. He was great in 'Detroit Rock City' as a goof ball stoner. He was even good in 'Cabin Fever' because even though that was a serious role, the film had its comedic elements; and his character was a huge part of that.

He was just flat here. No emotional range at all. It was pretty rough to watch actually. Except that part on the horse and carriage where he grunted a lot. That was really funny.

The ghouls themselves were actually kind of cool to look at. That's about all that can be said for the film as far as positives. It is evident they had SOME budget to work with.

The ghouls themselves weren't a total embarrassment. Effects otherwise were well above SyFy original-type standards. Other than that, this was pretty god awful boring, sorry! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Shark Bait: 6 Killer Shark Films' [DVD+Digital]
(Mackenzie Rosman, Jason London, Kristy Swanson, Cassie Steele, Allisyn Ashley Arm, et al / 2-DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: 'Shark Bait: 6 Killer Shark Films' features 6 (actually, 7!) killer creatures that are lurking in the shallows of the deep blue sea, hungry for blood and ready to attack!

DVD Verdict: First up is 'Ghost Shark' (2013) starring: Mackenzie Rosman (TV's 7th Heaven), Dave Davis (TV's The Walking Dead), Sloane Coe (Devil's Due), and Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2).

When rednecks on a fishing trip kill a great white shark, its spirit comes back for revenge, and soon turns its sights on the town of Smallport.

After being killed by a couple of fishermen, a great white shark is resurrected from the dead and comes back to haunt the small town of Smallport which has had its share of mystical occurrences over the years.

The problem is not only that the townspeople refuse to believe some teenagers when they describe it to them but also that it doesn't need much water to manifest itself in order to kill.

Now obviously any film with a plot as far-fetched as this one needs to be viewed with a heavy dose of humor or at least a 6-pack of beer!

Be that as it may, as far as overall shark movies are concerned this particular picture is not one of the better films out there as it gets more and more ridiculous the further it continues (then again, being that it's a SyFy movie, maybe that was their selling point all along!)

Then we get 'Mississippi River Sharks' (2017) starring: Jason London (Dazed and Confused), Cassie Steele (TV's Degrassi: The Next Generation), Miles Doleac (The Hollow), and Tahj Vaughans (TV's NCIS: New Orleans).

Sharks attack a fish rodeo on the Mississippi River, and it is up to a group of locals, along with a visiting actor from a successful franchise of shark movies, to stop the sharks.

There was a lot to really like in this one. One of the film's positive points is the fact that there's plenty of solid lead-up throughout here to get the main point of the film going.

With the exploits of the fishing competition carrying on with all the fine build-up here of the big attacks that provide all the lead-in to the infestation - from the first fisherman attack out on the marina and the ensuing ambush on the deputy trying to clean up the crime scene, the confrontation on the main section of the river where they produce the creature for the masses and the sequence where the creatures arrive to interrupt their plan to stop them by launching the out-of-water attack on the locals.

With these scenes all coming to point out the rather fun concept of the creatures invading the fishing competition with the disbelieving locals, there's a lot to like with the idea of this one setting up a race to warn people against the attacking creatures while they work their way down in several shorter attack scenes.

Next is 'Ozark Sharks' (2016) starring: Allisyn Ashley Arm (TV's A.P. Bio), Dave Davis (TV's The Walking Dead), Michael Papajohn (Jurassic World), and Ross Britz (God's Not Dead).

A vacation to the Ozarks turns upside-down when bull sharks somehow infiltrate Arkansas's freshwater lakes and wreak havoc on a town's big fireworks festival.

As with most other SyFy movies you shouldn't get your hopes up too high in terms of acting and special effects, because you will (most likely) just end up disappointed. And true enough 'Ozark Sharks' stays true to the blueprint that SyFy uses for these creature features!

The acting in the movie was adequate, I will give the movie that much. Well, at least adequate taking the genre into consideration. People were doing good enough jobs with their individual roles and actually seemed to be having fun with what they were doing.

However, it was somewhat of a strain to witness Allisyn Ashley Arm (playing Molly) to stride through the movie as if she was doped up on prescription medication!

'Ozark Sharks' is not genre breaking in any way, nor did it bring anything new to the genre. Well, strike that, it did bring a scene where a shark was sent skyward by fireworks and exploded in a very colorful fireworks explosion! I hadn't seen that before in my 53 years so thumbs up for that!

Then comes the brilliantly entitled 'Santa Jaws' (2018) starring: Reid Miller (Flikker), Courtney Lauren Cummings (TV's The Vampire Diaries), Jim Klock (TV's Cloak & Dagger), and Carrie Lazar (The Magnificent Seven).

A young aspiring comic book artist is gifted a mysterious pen that brings his drawing to life. Now his creation, Santa Jaws, begins to devour his family and the remaining must battle for survival against this creature.

Thankfully the director (Misty Talley) was able to keep this nonsense together pretty well instead of sending it straight off the rails, and managed to include the appropriate camp-to-family ratio that makes Christmas movies work!

The script was creative. Some of the casting was excellent (Ritchie Montgomery, Haviland Stillwell, Hawn Tran all did great character work here).

The result was a movie that is every bit as family-friendly as 'The Meg' aspired to be without losing any of the qualities that make the best of the SyFy shark movies work.

Next up is 'Swamp Shark' (2011) starring: Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Robert Davi (Die Hard), D.B. Sweeney (The Cutting Edge), and Jeff Chase (Star Trek - Into Darkness).

An animal smuggling ring accidentally releases a deadly shark into the swamplands of Atchafalaya Basin causing carnage to the residents and visitors to the upcoming Gator Fest.

The storyline in 'Swamp Shark' was pretty much as expected, a killer shark on the rampage, in a swamp nonetheless, terrorizing the people in the area and going on a feeding frenzy.

Of course it terrorizes the wrong people and they decide to hunt it down. I mean, what else are restaurant owners to do, eh?

Pretty much textbook storyline here, so don't expect any brilliant ideas or surprise plot twists. And you already know the ending of the movie right from the first minute of watching it. But hey, the movie was still entertaining!

Then we get 'Zombie Shark' (2015, originally titled 'Shark Island') starring: Cassie Steele (TV's Degrassi: The Next Generation), Jason London (Dazed and Confused), Sloan Coe (Devil's Due), and Laura Cayouette (Django Unchained).

Four friends vacationing at a resort island find themselves faced with the danger of infectious zombie sharks that transform their victims into the undead.

'Zombie Shark' is one of those types of movies that are so bad that it is actually fun to watch. And it makes you wonder just who comes up with the idea for such a movie.

As a movie shown on the SyFy Channel then you know exactly what you are getting yourself into, both entertainment-wise and effect-wise.

A group of young people travel to an exotic Island for a vacation, but they come to an island where the waters are filled with zombie sharks, and soon the infection spreads to land.

Yep, it is yet another one of those wacky movies that SyFy Channel is widely known for. And you either hate them for the questionable movies that they might be, or you love it for its glorious campy cheesiness.

Also, the effects in 'Zombie Shark' were just plain awful, especially the CGI animations. It just baffled me that a movie made in 2015 can have such inadequate, outdated and lousy CGI effects!

And, as a special "extra bite" we get 'Alligator Alley' (2013) starring: Jordan Hinson (TV's Eureka), Victor Webster (Surrogates), Thomas Francis Murphy (Free State of Jones), and Christopher Berry (12 Years a Slave).

Rival bayou families must put their mutual hatred aside when a mutated alligator begins devouring members of each clan while it rampages through the swamp.

Not only does this film have one of the greatest titles in the history of cinema, it also manages to be one of the most entertaining movies to appear on SyFy.

The story is pretty simple as a girl (Jordan Hinson) returns home to see that her family is still feuding with their neighbors and worst of all is that these neighbors have been dumping bad moonshine into the swamps, which has created large, redneck gators.

I think the best thing going for this are the horrendous CGI alligators, which are among some of the worst things you're ever going to see but thankfully they're funny, which adds to the entertainment.

The scenes of the gators attacking are so poorly done and the blood so fake looking that it's impossible to take these scenes serious, which is another good thing.

The performances are quite mixed at best but I thought Hinson was good enough in the lead. The film manages to have quite a few funny moments, which is about all you can hope for when watching something like this. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Ann Rule Presents: The Stranger Beside Me'
(Billy Campbell, Barbara Hershey, Kevin Dunn, Suki Kaiser, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / NR / (2003) 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: While working at a Seattle clinic for women in the 1970s, aspiring crime writer, Ann Rule, unwittingly becomes friends with serial killer Ted Bundy.

Blu-ray Verdict: Ann Rule (Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Barbara Hershey, Beaches) is an ex-cop working the suicide hotlines in Seattle.

To make ends meet, she indulges in another obsession - writing true-crime stories. She has a daughter, a fulfilling life, and a good friend in a man named Ted Bundy (Golden Globe® nominee Billy Campbell, Once and Again), a handsome and intelligent charmer who's just been accepted into law school in Utah. It's being called the most intriguing unsolved series of crimes since Jack the Ripper and she's been offered the chance to turn her articles into a book.

But the more she digs and uncovers, a dreadful and unavoidable truth is staring her directly in the face - her friend Ted.

The phrase "serial killer" didn't exist before Bundy. His first suspected victim was when he was a paper boy in Tacoma at the age of 14. He finally officially confessed to 30 murders in 7 states from 1974 to1978, but later said there were several others and respectable estimates range from 60-100 or more.

He was first locked up in Utah in 1975 for kidnapping and assault, which is shown in the movie. Bundy subsequently became a suspect in an increasing list of unsolved murders in several states.

Imprisoned in Colorado for homicide, he amazingly enacted two successful escapes and committed further attacks, including three more homicides in Florida, before his ultimate apprehension in 1978.

He received three death sentences in two separate trials for the Florida murders. Bundy was electrocuted in Starke, Florida, on January 24, 1989. He was 42 years-old.

What's strange about the Bundy case is that he was a highly educated, charismatic man with Hollywood good looks. Combined with his likable gift of bullshit he was able to dupe those closest to him, including Ann Rule, until the evidence against him piled up.

This explains why one Washington woman allowed him to stay with her after he was released from confinement in Utah as a prime suspect, not to mention Kelly Parker's marriage to him while he was in prison in Florida for 11 years.

One of the first murders shown in the movie, the one that occurs in the parking garage, actually took place at a state park. Yet it successfully shows how the affable killer made himself appear harmless to his victims.

Despite story changes like this, as well as obvious anachronisms, the gist of the movie account is true and the film is compelling. Campbell uncannily looks like the serial killer and does a potent portrayal.

Moreover the movie inspires you to look up the facts. It also shows how women in general, and particularly nubile ones, need to be aware when dealing with strangers or dubious people and use their innate intuition, even if the person is thoroughly charming, intelligent and seems harmless. This is the only movie based on Bundy's crimes that I've seen. People say that the 1986 TV movie 'The Deliberate Stranger' more closely adheres to the facts, but that one was released almost three years before the murderer's execution.

This one, by contrast, fittingly shows Bundy's just wages. What a sick fool and what a waste of humanity, both him and his myriad tragic victims, not to mention the dozens of naïve souls he hoodwinked into believing his pathological lies thru his amiable mojo. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'NASA: A Journey Through Space' [Blu-ray+Digital]
(John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, John F. Kennedy, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray + Digital / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: On May 25th, 1961, President John F. Kennedy made a historic speech where he pledged to send astronauts to the moon before the end of the decade.

Eight years later, on July 20th, 1969, Apollo commander Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module and made a giant leap for mankind - a step that symbolized one of the most remarkable feats in human history.

From that moment on, the exploration of our universe has achieved unimaginable feats with hundreds of missions stretching light years into the distant galaxy.

This exciting documentary series takes viewers into the past, present and future of NASA.

Blu-ray Verdict: Sadly, and from the off, what could have been, indeed should have been a wondrous and insightful series is chock full of blindingly factual mistakes and, at times, constantly mismatched video with audio (aka narration).

I mean, in a review that should be all about the actual series (which I promise I will get too in this review), didn't anybody fact check anything here? Come on now, was the Editor allowed to select any pretty image rather than go to the trouble of using footage that matched the narration?

It would take longer than it took watching the series to properly document all the errors - and, trust me here, I'm nowhere close to kidding - but a prime example of one of the worst errors is stating that Neil YOUNG was the first to walk on the Moon!

How did this get past script review? Did the narrator make the mistake? Did the sound engineer also not know it was wrong? Did no one proof the finished edit?

Other blatant errors include stating the explosion on Apollo 13 was caused by a short in fuel cell number three. It was actually caused by a short in a LOX tank and this has been well documented for a VERY long time. I mean, seriously, did they never even watch the movie 'Apollo 13'?

Oh, and they also claim hydrogen leaking from a solid rocket booster caused the loss of Challenger. It's a SOLID rocket booster and so used SOLID propellant. There was NO hydrogen!

The lack of editorial review causes EVERYTHING to be suspect in this series which is a grand shame for 'NASA: A Journey Through Space' is actually, in its parts, a rather good and solid work of cinematic showing.

Sadly though with all its mistakes it's so suspect I refuse to call it a documentary having watched it through because it appears absolutely no documents were researched! It's more like someone wrote a script from flawed memory of long-past TV reports and complete and utter B-movie mythology!

As for the promised review, well telling it like it is, regardless of the aforementioned mistakes, and within 'NASA: A Journey Through Space' we take a journey into space and embark on a historic journey through NASA's storied human spaceflight program.

As we watch along we get a glimpse of what the first American astronauts saw, the ambitious missions to the moon, and the reusable era of the Space Shuttle that eventually led to the International Space Station.

Finally, and for a look into the future, they end this with a segment on NASA's massive new rocket that may one day take astronauts to Mars.

However, and in closing, the only reason to watch this series is if you already know NASA history and want a drinking game. Take a drink every time there's an error in narration or visual. You'll probably be drunk before the first episode ends!!

Disc 1:
Parts 1-3: The History of Flying & the Space Race / Operation Lift Off / Shooting for the Moon

Disc 2:
Parts 4-7: The Apollo Missions / After a Giant Leap / The Shuttle & Living in Space / The 21st Century & Beyond.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Space Station: IMAX Enhanced - 4K UHD'
(Tom Cruise / 2-Disc Blu-ray + Digital / NR / (2002) 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Blast Off With This Breathtaking Voyage To the International Space Station now IMAX Enhanced and 4K Ultra HD presented.

Blu-ray Verdict: This film is billed as the closest most of us will ever come to being in space!

Given the IMAX 3D technology (which works near perfectly 80% of the time) you do come pretty close, I have to admit.

The cinematography is brilliant and the 40 years experience of the IMAX film production really show - expect most of the filming is done by astronauts, which make it even more amazing.

Filmed on location quite literally 'all over the world' (though identifiable parts are the Kennedy Space Center in the US, 'Star City' in the CIS and *somewhere* over West Africa), this is about an international film as you are going to get.

There are many totally unique sequences in this film: the opening one is a very good computer simulation of a space-walk mishap in which an astronaut becomes unattached from the Space Station. Later on they do this for real to test the emergency back-pack unit.

The sound is, as one would expect from IMAX, excellent. The sub-base adds amazing realism to the launch sequences and docking maneuvers - you can really feel the 'thumps.' This film exposes the contrast between the CIS & USA space programs: in the former, the equipment is chunky, reliable and functions at minus 20 C; in the later neat, tidy and delicate (the Shuttles seem to need a near perfect day to launch by comparison).

Yet the two do indeed work very well together in orbit, as do the truly international crews: USA, Canadian, Russian, Italian and Japanese all work alongside each other on the missions and the filming.

This 'one-ness' is stressed by both the editing and voice-overs given by the astronauts. It is perhaps un-surprising then that the odd environmental point is made about looking after the planet.

As a film, this is short: under an hour. This is probably long enough: you can hold your breath only so many times before passing out. The minor detractor is Tom Cruise's narration: at times it is just a little too intense and grates after a while (though this is highly personal: I ignored it and looked at the pictures).

In closing, 'Space Station: IMAX Enhanced - 4K UHD' is great publicity for NASA and goes someway to silencing the neigh-sayers of the ISS / space exploration projects.

With regard the Special Features, Adventures In Space features Interviews with Tom Cruise, Director Toni Myers and the Astronauts aboard Expedition 7, we get a wondrous Audio Visual Tour of the ISS STS-108 and an Audio Visual Tour aboard Endeavor to the ISS, along with a Director's Audio Commentary.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Director's Audio Commentary
Adventures In Space Featurette
Astronaut-Guided Tours of ISS

www.MillCreekEnt.com

www.IMAXenhanced.com





'Dead Trigger' [Blu-ray+Digital]
(Dolph Lundgren, Autumn Reeser, Romeo Miller, Isaiah Washington, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / R / (2017) 2019 / LGF)

Overview: A mysterious virus has killed billions and turned many others into bloodthirsty zombies. Unable to stop the virus, the government develops a video game, "Dead Trigger," that mirrors the terrifying events that curse the world.

Blu-ray Verdict: OK, in truth, the sole reason why I chose myself to review this Blu-ray of 'Dead Trigger' (aka 'Zombie Shooter') was because it claimed to be a big-ass zombie killing movie!

Yeah, that is sufficient to make me have an interest in watching a movie, believe me. However, reading the synopsis for the movie and the fact that Dolph Lundgren starred in it I wasn't exactly ready to grab the popcorn and settle into the sofa quite as fast as I had hoped!

But, hold on for a second for Dolph does put out the occasional entertaining action movie for sure, but come on now, starring in a zombie movie? Not so sure that it was going to be the ultimate combo, but here I was, popcorn ready. Blu-ray read. Mindset ready to be objective.

Sadly, my fears came true, because Dolph is actually not particularly suited for a zombie movie - despite having done one prior to this one already; which wasn't particularly outstanding either, sorry.

Or perhaps it was the fact that he seems very disinterested in the script and movie and was just there to cash in on a paycheck? We've all seen this breed of actor perform this paycheck ritual before so why should we be surprised in 2019 that it still happens? I mean, it definitely felt like that given his performance and demeanor throughout the scenes he was in.

The storyline and script in 'Dead Trigger' was fairly straight forward, albeit to the point where you need zero brain activity to keep up with the movie, of course.

You just switch to autopilot mode and sit back and watch the movie. The ultimate point of the movie, as revealed at the end, is that couch potatoes sitting at home playing online shooters can become elite military personnel trained to kill zombies and save the world!

So, yeah, a wee bit of a stretch of reality there, sure, but overall the movie came to an end with me satisfied - and no, not just because the popcorn was buttery and perfect!

Somewhere along the line in 'Dead Trigger' things that Dolph does and his bosses say kinda ring true for a future world over run with zombies. Although, of course, playing online shooter games gives you absolutely zero real-life skills worth of any proper job!

So, for a zombie movie that you didn't have to think too much about the zombie makeup and special effects were quietly adequate (which is top notch for a B-movie), but just don't expect anything overly gory or interesting in terms of decay and gnarly injuries.

It also had an upscale low budget feel to it and yet still managed to fair well enough with both myself and two accompanying friends who sat down for the cinematic ride with me. Indeed, yes, the effects served their purpose save for the horrible CGI-animated blood sprays (that were all just highly laughable to watch).

As for the acting in the movie, well let's just say that you shouldn't be expecting anything in terms of character development, dramatic acting, or anything even close to that. This was low budget to the core and thus serves its audience well! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The 'Dead Trigger' Blu-ray and DVD will be available July 2nd, 2019 via Lionsgate Films and for the suggested retail price of $21.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'Dead Trigger' Trailer





'High Life' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / R / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: Monte (Pattinson) and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of the solar system.

The crew — death-row inmates led by a doctor (Binoche) with sinister motives — has vanished. As the mystery of what happened unravels, father and daughter must rely on each other to survive.

Blu-ray Verdict: A science fiction thriller from Claire Denis? The uncompromising darling of French art house cinema, adored by critics and met with general puzzlement by audiences? And it's in English? And it stars the guy from 'Twilight'? You have to be making this up?!

Not at all. However, as intriguing as that may sound, it's a deceptive overview. Yes, it is Denis's first English-language film, and yes, it is set in space, but it's a science fiction film in name only, and has more in common with '2001: A Space Odyssey' and 'Solyaris' than with anything in the Star Trek or Star Wars franchises.

And just for the record, the guy from 'Twilight' (Pattinson) has developed one of the most eclectic recent CVs of any actor in Hollywood. The long and short of it is that Denis has NOT sold out, and 'High Life' is as multiplex-friendly as anything in her oeuvre (which is to say, not in the slightest), covering several of her more familiar themes - the darker aspects of desire; the notion of being an outcast; parenthood; the inescapability of death; the beauty of the human body; the relationship between violence and sexuality.

The presence of Robert Pattinson (who is, after all, the new Batman now!) will probably draw in a lot of unsuspecting folks, who will have no idea what to make of Denis's slowly paced existential musings, resulting in a slew of "worst film ever" online reviews, sadly.

But although it's not Denis's best (that remains either 'Beau travail' or 'Les salauds', it's a fascinatingly poetic and original film that is utterly uncategorizable - a space thriller about a mission collapsing in on itself; an ecological allegory positing that we don't have a huge amount of time left to save the planet; an analysis of the psychological ramifications of long-term incarceration; an erotic skin flick obsessed with bodily fluids; a metaphor for the perils of imperialism; a fable on the subject of paternity; a story about loneliness and grief; a littoralization of the premise that no amount of evolution, philosophy, or esotericism can ever change the fact that we're biological organisms controlled by our sexual yearnings and impulse to procreate - desire will always trump the social contract; we can place as much artificial limitation on our carnality as we want, but ultimately, desire will betray us (phew!).

In closing, and without giving anything away, 'High Life' is a fascinating film that fits right into Denis's oeuvre. Although it recalls the clinical detachment of '2001' and the psychological intensity of 'Solaris', 'High Life' is very much its own animal.

Asking questions about our inability to recognize the oncoming extinction, it offers a savage and pessimistic corrective to the idealism of films such as 'Interstellar' and 'The Martian'.

Positing that mankind is a monster driven by its desires isn't going to earn Denis legions of new fans, but for those of us who were already on board, there's much to be relished here. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Audacious, Passionate and Dangerous: Making High Life
Visualizing The Abyss: The look of High Life

The 'High Life' Blu-ray and DVD releases July 9th, 2019 and will include two making-of featurettes and will be available for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'High Life' Trailer





'Fast Color' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Strathairn, Lorraine Toussaint, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: Hunted by mysterious forces, a young woman (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) with supernatural abilities must go on the run when her powers are discovered.

With nowhere else to go, she flees back to her family and the farmhouse she abandoned long ago.

There, while being pursued by the local sheriff (David Strathairn), she begins to mend the broken relationships with her mother (Lorraine Toussaint) and daughter (Saniyya Sidney), and unearths the depths of the power within her.

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, I would have been surprised NOT to see David Strathairn in this film as this unique story fits him just perfectly.

Although Julia Hart is inexperienced as a writer and director the same can not be said for Jordan Horowitz thus I was expecting a lot more than what was visually received.

The screenplay is pretty much half-baked and needed to stay in the oven a little bit longer. I'm sorry to say that there are many moments in 'Fast Color' that were just not thought out all the way, leaving the viewer bewildered as to how and when and why things come about within the film.

As for the plot, well, the production is like a soft version of 'X-Men'. During an 8 year drought, Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is 11 months sober and has seizures which cause tremors.

The Feds are after her so she returns home, a bit unwelcome by some, and we discover that her mom and daughter also have some lovely "gifts"!

The film becomes a drama of their life with a sci-fi fantasy background soon thereafter, which was ok, but seemed to then be telling a whole other story.

The ending was a complete disappointment - again, this is a screenplay that was not put to the test before going to production - and could have been constructed and played out so much more "believably," in my humble opinion.

But, playing Devil's Advocate, as every journalist should, I still managed to enjoy the 100 minutes on screen and for the most part all the acting was rather good.

Importantly, it made me ponder about, and appreciate family relationships within my own life, which is never a bad thing. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Julia Hart and Writer-Producer Jordan Horowitz
A Mother’s Power: Making Fast Color

The 'Fast Color' Blu-ray and DVD arrives July 16th, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'Fast Color' Trailer





'Domino' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Søren Malling, Carice van Houten, Guy Pearce, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / R / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: A Copenhagen police officer, Christian (Nikolaj Coster-Wealdau), seeks justice for his partner’s murder by ISIS member Imran.

Determined to hunt Imran down, Christian and Alex (Carice van Houten), a fellow cop and his late partner’s mistress, are unwittingly caught in a deadly cat-and-mouse chase with a duplicitous CIA agent (Guy Pearce) who is using Imran as a pawn to trap other ISIS members.

Their quest for revenge becomes a race against time to save their own lives.

Blu-ray Verdict: Although the movie is quite brutal, it seems to fit into the current news cycle unfortunately.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Søren Malling and Guy Pearce give stellar performances and there are many breath taking sequences reminding us of Sir Alfred Hitchcock and, of course director Brian de Palma.

The cinematography is stunning and the pace of the movie is somewhat measured so that one does not get a heart attack watching the events unfold.

Shot in Denmark, Italy, and Spain (the European locales are more than adequate), Domino's story involves Copenhagen cop, Christian (played by Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).

Christian's partner gets killed by a member of ISIS and he seeks justice for the guy that did it. The only problem is that same guy is working as a double agent for a member of the CIA (Joe Martin played by an excellent Guy Pearce).

As usual, there is dark humor to be found throughout the picture and the cinematic color scheme is very beautiful. Funnily enough, if you don't bother to read the synopsis first and just let the cards fall into place, then you will enjoy the film even more, me thinks!

When I first heard the title I shook my head, but having watched it twice now, well, the title makes sense in so many ways. But hey, check it out for yourselves ... if you have strong nerves and can stomach all the high speed chases and collisions and gun-spinning adventures! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The 'Fast Color' Blu-ray and DVD arrives July 16th, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'Domino' Trailer





'Hellboy: 4K Ultra HD'
(David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Hellboy is back, and he's on fire!

From the pages of Mike Mignola's seminal work, this action packed story sees the legendary half-demon superhero (David Harbour, 'Stranger Things') called to the English countryside to battle a trio of rampaging giants!

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate Films (LGF) continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this July with the release of this quite stunning, and brilliantly off-center action tale 'Hellboy' on their new 4K home video format on July 23rd, 2019.

For my money, this 'Hellboy: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Hellboy' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the delicious hues and nuances of all the daylight outdoor scenes and the frantic street chases.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where Hellboy is conversing with Nimue / The Blood Queen and spurts and plumes of fire are sent raging in every which way back and forth!) now have been tinged with a glorious kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, and French: Dolby Digital 5.1.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. Well, telling it like it is, I'm a huge Del Toro and Ron Perlman fan so yes, it would have been great to see their trilogy come to fruition, but it wasn't to be.

It's a bummer, but is what it is. What we do have, now, is the opportunity to see a new trilogy happen. After watching this I truly hope it happens. Nobody can ever take away the great things that Perlman, Del Toro, and Doug Jones brought to the table, but David Harbour has brought his brilliant iteration of Hellboy in a big way.

I thought he killed it and I enjoyed this movie from start to finish, as I'm sure you all did. Oh, what's that now, I'm hearing a lot of you didn't give it a chance simply because Harbour was brought in to replace Perlman!

Well, for those of you with open minds, there was not a draggy moment throughout nor did it feel rushed. The CGI looked great, the practical effects we're beautiful and the acting from everyone was fantastic.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course (although my God, Harbor "looked" just like Perlman, for the most part!) and if some truly did not care for it, that is what it is, for sure.

I feel like many crap on reboots because they feel it disrespects the originals they love. I don't see why both can't have their own merits. It's like the endless DC vs Marvel debate. Some insist only one or the other is worthy of their time.

Again, I'm a big fan of both 'Hellboy' flicks. Seriously! This was such a fun movie. I hope the negativity does not hurt the chances for a sequel or a possible trilogy because, personally I want to see more.

I mean, The creators of 'Hellboy' proved that with great dedication and little finances you can create an eminent solution of horror and comedy. The balance between these two was admirable, the jokes thrown during a seemingly intense scene made the exact effect creators anticipated.

Hellboy himself is the key to the movie's success, as the actor (the much aforementioned David Harbour) himself described Hellboy are the perfect mix between Logan (wolverine) and Deadpool!

Actually, the full cast is good. Comics fans will be disappointed that main players Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman aren't in this at all, but I credit the creators for trying to separate this from the original films.

Hellboy's new partners in crime Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane) and Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae KIm) are pretty likable - although I admit that Alice doesn't have much of a story arc and reason to hang around other than to repay a debt to Hellboy.

Ian McShane's Professor Broom, Hellboy's tough love foster father, is a real change of pace from the scholarly figure from the comics and other films, but it's fun to see the actor chew the scenery.

The enormous amount of blood and gore, while some may consider too much, made the perfect atmosphere for the film making it one thing you'd like to watch after an exhausting day.

I feel like this is a great one for anyone who loves brutally violent battles, strangely relatable dysfunctional characters, or just 2 hours of nonstop fun.

In closing, the music kicked ass, the acting by all was wonderful, and the CGI was, for the most part, spot on seamless. Overall, a fun ride … for adults only though!

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on a couple of the special features that are included.

The first I'll talk about is "Tales of the Wild Hunt: Hellboy Reborn" which is a delightful71 minutes long three-part featurette that showcases a lot of glorious pre and post-production information for the fans along with housing some short interviews with principal cast, crew, and director Mike Mignola.

After a slew of "Deleted Scenes" (that runs around 8 minutes long), we get the other excellent bonus feature of "Previsualization" which at just over 7 minutes long offers some computer animated storyboards for some of the more broader sequences.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray and a digital copy of Hellboy
Tales of the Wild Hunt: Hellboy Reborn (HD, 1:11:28)
Deleted Scenes (HD, 7:56)
Previsualization (HD, 7:18)

The 'Hellboy: 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack' (+ Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD) will be released June 23rd, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $42.99, $39.99, and $29.95, respectively.

Official 'Hellboy' 4K Ultra HD Trailer

Official 'Hellyboy' Website

'Hellboy: The Movie' @ Facebook!

'Hellboy: The Movie' @ Twitter!

www.LGF.com





'Shazam!' [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital]
(Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Mark Strong, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out.

In Billy Batson's (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word - Shazam! - this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou).

Blu-ray Verdict: OK, let's start with saying that the acting is fantastic in this new film! Zachary Levi is incredible and very believable as a 14 year old in an adult body. He's funny, energetic, charismatic, and seems like he was totally born to play this part.

Indeed, I would compare him to Christopher Reeve's Superman. Even aside from Levi, the acting is great. I was a little worried about the child actors since they don't always work, but here they were great.

I was also a little worried about the character of Billy originally. Because in the trailers he seemed to be a very angsty kid, and then as Shazam it felt like a very different person.

However in the film it totally works. He is an angsty kid in the beginning, but he goes through a very interesting character arch that makes both characters feel real and believable.

And then we get to probably my favorite part of the film, the heart and great story about family. Billy Batson is a foster kid who just kind of wants to be left alone but he is forced to adjust to a foster family.

It's incredibly common for films to have a very negative portrayal of foster life, and this film refreshingly has a very positive take on it.

The foster parents portrayed in this film are not abusive or negligent, but genuinely want what's best for the kids. This entire part of the film was brilliantly done and filled with so much heart and I loved it.

One specific scene stands out to me at the end of the second act that I won't get into, but I thought that it too was brilliantly acted and portrayed.

My only negative with this film is the same that I have with most comic book films - the villain. However in this case it isn't bad at all, it actually begins in a very intriguing way but there is a big gap in the characters story that bothered me a little.

Mark Strong does a goon job playing the character of Dr. Sivana, and in fact the character isn't bad, but it's not one you're gonna remember.

'Shazam!' is a brilliant film that is a throwback to the old superhero days and a surprisingly self aware with some scenes coming off as a slight parody to me.

It's brilliantly acted, hilarious in oh so many ways and scenes, has a very heartwarming story, and is without a doubt one of the best films in the DCEU. Watch it today with your family and have a right royal and wondrous night's entertainment viewing that you will all be talking about for days thereafter! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

An Exclusive Motion Comic: SUPERHERO HOOKY
Alternate Opening and Ending
Deleted Scenes Gag Reel
Audition Footage
On Set with Zachary Levi
Shazam!'s Backstory

The 'Shazam!' 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray + DVD + Digital releases July 16th, 2019 via Warner Bros. and will be available for the suggested retail price of $29.96 and $24.96, respectively.

www.WarnerVideo.com

Official 'Shazam!' Trailer





'Shetland: Season Five'
(Douglas Henshall, Alison O'Donnell, Steven Robertson, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: Douglas Henshall returns as DI Jimmy Perez in the latest installment of this acclaimed long-running crime series inspired by Ann Cleeves' bestselling novels.

DVD Verdict: When a severed human hand washes up in a Shetland beach, Perez and his team face a disturbing new investigation. The victim is identified as a young Nigerian man, spotted in Lerwick a few days before, but what was he doing on the island?

As Perez edges closer to a sinister truth stretching far beyond Shetland's shores, drawing him into a desperate search for a vulnerable young woman, this compelling new single mystery told over six parts is one of the BBC's best yet.

For my money, 'Shetland' is the BEST detective show I've seen in ages (although if you want grit, try 'Luther'!). Complete with some great storylines that keep you guessing the whole way through the series and stunning scenic backgrounds, it deals with some dark topics; but at its core it's a really heartwarming show because of the empathy and respect that is shown to all of the characters.

Funnily enough, 'Shetland' still hasn't had a story take place in wintertime, and this fifth season wanders a wee bit (perhaps) too much on occasion about a story of people traffickers; and maybe a romance for Perez with a truly annoying woman!

Aside from the always-looked-DOA romance with a married woman, Tosh maybe finds a boyfriend while Sandy maybe gets suspended for being stupid! Rhona still just sits around scowling at everyone and eventually the whole trafficking story devolves into various murders (some you may have seen coming, one or two other perhaps not).

Henshall is, as always, excellent as the dogged Detective Perez plying his trade against the spectacular background of the Shetland isles. Intelligent storylines and well drawn characters put this a cut above the average detective series, as mentioned, but its his acting touch that makes it all grounded.

A quirky mix of natural beauty, economical dialogue and a script that made policing way more linked to the community it serves, 'Shetland' is one of those rare television series that transports the viewer to a remote place that he has probably never heard of - and would normally never see. It is definitely worth a look and this fifth season out now through BBC Home Entertainment is a great place to pop your head into and find out for yourself.

Episode 1: A severed hand washes up on a Shetland beach, with further body parts discovered in a holdall that has been dumped at sea. Perez and the team begin a complex murder investigation.

Episode 2: A horrifying discovery at the Hayes house changes the course of the investigation. Perez establishes the probable cause for Daniel's murder and his sister Zezi's disappearance.

Episode 3: Sandy feels the heat. Convinced that McGuire is the key to cracking the case, Perez travels to Glasgow in an attempt to track him down.

Episode 4: Sure that Zezi is being held on Shetland, Perez and the team ramp up the pressure on their remaining leads. Personally, Perez finds himself in turmoil after his kiss with Alice.

Episode 5: The discovery of Nikki’s body intensifies the search for Zezi. Perez feels that time is running out. A desperate Olivia tries to get information from Jamie Hayes.

Episode 6: With Olivia giving up hope, Perez at last closes in on Zezi’s location. But can he reach her before it’s too late? Duncan is traumatised after his discovery on the beach.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.shop.bbc.com





'D-Day 75: Last Words On The Longest Day'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: 6 June 1944. Canada, Britain and the US storm the Normandy coast to wrestle back Europe from Nazi control. The soldiers call it The Longest Day. We call it D-Day.

This unflinching documentary tells the story of the historic battle through the dramatic recollections of those caught up in the action..

DVD Verdict: In what can only be described as one of the most fascinating and yet at the same time heartbreaking 90 minutes I have ever spent in front of the small screen, this captivating series gives a 360-degree view of the invasion from a British sailor who laid underwater charges that would blow up German defenses, to Canadians, Americans, French resistance fighters and German defenders.

Moving interviews are combined with newly discovered footage and dramatic reconstructions that plunge viewers into the heat of battle. Truly it will feel, in the quiet of a darkened evening, that you and you alone are the brave solider making these plans and acting on them for your country.

On June 6, 1944, in the dark hours just after midnight, over 13,000 American paratroopers were poised to spearhead the largest military invasion in history.

Standing by anxiously waiting inside twin-engine C-47 Skytrains, the paratroopers of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions were determined to accomplish one of the most critical and risky missions ever undertaken.

One, if successful, that would forever change the history of the world. Still in his early twenties, 1st Lt. Gerald “Bud” Berry, assigned to the 91st Squadron of the 439th Troop Carrier Group was among them. "We carried the 101st Airborne E Company and D Company and they jumped from our airplanes,” Berry recounts.

Flying co-pilot to his squadron commander, Berry recalled that the mission was going smoothly up until they hit an enormous cloud bank over the coast of France which made the already near impossible flight optics of the mission even worse. "You can’t tell anywhere about where you are at night, whether you’re at the dropzone or over the dropzone,” Berry says.

As the hundreds of other aircrews entered the cloud bank that would soon surround them, some pilots started to either gain or lose altitude in hopes to quickly bypass the storm before they made it to the dropzone.

Berry, however, decided that it was best to stay on course in hopes that the skies would soon clear. Berry’s swift decision worked out, although when the clouds finally cleared there was no time to spare. They were only about two minutes away from their designated dropzone.

In the midst of hellish German anti-aircraft fire, Berry had to instantly adapt to his surroundings before signaling to the paratroopers behind him when it was time to jump. "The only thing we were concerned with was the troopers and how they were making it off,” Berry adds.

After releasing all the men in the back of his plane, Berry was headed back to England along with the rest of the pilots that made it through that unbelievable flight to await further orders.

His is just one of the magnificent stories and recollections told here in this hour and a half long series that once begun you will find very hard to turn off (or even pause). That said, once finished, you will also find it very hard to forget. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.shop.bbc.com





'American Experience: Chasing the Moon' [3-Disc]
(3-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: 'Chasing the Moon' reimagines the race to the moon for a new generation, upending much of the mythology surrounding the effort.

The series recasts the Space Age as scientific innovation, political calculation, media spectacle, visionary impulses and personal drama.

Utilizing overlooked and lost archival material, the film features a cast of characters who played key roles in these historic events.

DVD Verdict: From the ultra-cool opening sequence, (the graphics, the historic images from the '50s and '60s, to the dramatic music) you just knew that American Experience was about to present us with a dazzling, fact filled and humane adventure. And a thoroughly American adventure at that.

Looking back 50 years ago to all involved on every level these brave, brainy, brilliant Americans were our contemporaries and 'Chasing the Moon' comprehensively covers the history of spaceflight from the closing days of WWII through the Apollo program in a way you've never seen before.

In truth I have always enjoyed documentaries that just lay out the basic facts and avoid sensationalizing actual events. In the case of the 1960's space race between the Russians and Americans both countries faltered which had the most absolute deadliest of consequences.

Astronauts were sacrificed for the space race and wives and children lost their husbands and fathers.

Why I mention the nostalgic approach was LIFE magazine had an exclusive with some of the astronauts of the Apollo missions and we were invited right into the astronauts family homes as the wives and children watched on their black and white television sets the flight missions along side their fellow astronaut families and family parish priests.

What Life magazine provided to the astronauts for this exclusive was a $100 thousand dollar life insurance policy to the astronauts family in case of death in space. This is a bet you would rather LIFE magazine never had to pay out on.

Ergo, this wondrous 'Chasing the Moon' three (3) part documentary series provides exceptional historical coverage of the earliest space missions culminating on the first landing of man on the moon.

I mean, who would have ever thought this was possible even in the year 2020! Am I right?!

The recollections of the astronauts themselves, insights from NASA administrators and engineers, extensive broadcast TV clips and rare NASA footage, an appreciation of the Russian space program, and the politics that empowered these human and technological achievements.

Viewers are transported through the era in a way that allows you to feel that you are there, watching it all unfold live before your very eyes.

To highlight the depth of this series, first, the story is told by participants or those with direct knowledge. The commentary of Khrushchev's son, for example, was to me very interesting. Second, the sideline cultural coverage really works well with the song parody of Von Braun just right.

Again, I grew up during the years of the Space race and can remember first-hand how we as a nation were juggling many social problems, as well chasing the moon.

This beautiful six hour series reflects a well balanced view of how life was during those times and I felt, at times as if I'd traveled back in time along with it. A magnificent piece of work. View it for yourself and prove me wrong. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs with the Bonus Features of:

Making Chasing the Moon: Interview with Robert Stone
Making Chasing the Moon: Behind the Scenes with Film Crew

www.PBS.org





'Grantchester - The Complete Fourth Season'
(James Norton, Robson Green, Tom Brittney, Al Weaver, Tessa Peak-Jones, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: It's 1956 and Sidney Chambers is feeling adrift - until Violet Todd arrives and fires up his need for social justice.

Soon there's a new Vicar of Grantchester, idealistic Will Davenport, who finds himself drawn into Inspector Geordie Keating's world of crime.

While Will embraces the future, Geordie is left entirely baffled by it. Navigating a world without Sidney, where does he fit in?

DVD Verdict: Based on acclaimed mystery novels by James Runcie, and highly reminiscent of 'Father Brown,' 'Grantchester' is a beautiful time piece, peacefully captured with vignettes of rich objects identifying a long gone world of wonderment and scenery serene to dye your soul.

The episodes run a quick 45 minutes each and are a comfortable fit for an evenings viewing. I admit to enjoying British period pieces, such as 'Foyle's War' and the aforementioned 'Father Brown,' and so this show is a welcome addition to the genre.

The fact that, whether it's true or not, back in the 50's the Vicar's of small Parishes were all a) drunks, b) crime solving addicts, and c) one-liner wiz's, seems to make me smile!

Norton plays the vicar at a small parish with habits rather unusual for a man of the cloth: behind the beautiful face, he hides a drinking problem, taste for jazz and melancholy caused by feelings for the wrong woman (although that all changes in this fourth season).

He is helping his friend, a local cop, solve murders. But the whole thing is not very dark, the colors are bright, the little community around the vicar is warm and friendly, and the viewer feels instantly drawn to the story.

Indeed if Poirot had a handsome younger brother, it would be Norton for his charisma is rather suppressed, but equally impressive at the very same time.

With a more skilled actor these two aspects might have been meshed together to show an interesting and complex human being, but Norton doesn't have the skill to portray such a man.

Ergo, on a personal note, there is very little subtlety and nuance in his performances, so he is always reaching to simply convince.

As for this fourth season, well, change is most definitely in the air as, and finally, I am a tad bit relieved that Sidney's angst-ridden character is being dealt with - as I was finding his inability to stay committed to the Church and his vows a little tiresome, in truth.

They have squeezed as much as they could out of that story line surely, I was thinking. The time to shift him away was due and now a whole new plot thread can be explored.

As for the crux to this, what has to be called not-the-best season thus far, without justification, Sidney dumps Amanda and decides to be with another woman with the same or, actually, all cards on the table, way more troubles!

Sidestepping all that for a moment and I love the stern, but soft-hearted housekeeper, Mrs. Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones, "What the Dickens?!") and the humble vicar Leonard (Al Weaver), who struggles with timidity and homosexuality.

They make the show. Mrs. Maguire is the foil to Chambers, and Leonard's character engenders more sympathy than does the vicar Chambers.

For non-clerical period British detective series, my current top favorite is the 'Endeavor' series portraying a young constable Morse, before he became the sometimes arrogant and unlikable Inspector Morse.

Also, I quite enjoyed the George Gentry series, which is set in Manchester (or Newcastle?) in the 1960s.

Back on track though and with regard this relationship triangle that Sidney has been juggling for a while now, well, I mean, sorry, but it's not even similar to the book.

They simply made Sidney and Amanda's relationship so full of affection and sentimentality only then to bring a lackluster girl in out of the blue to try to create a true love for our central character.

For me it just doesn't fly, given the up's and down's we have all gone through in the past three seasons, but them's the breaks of only being on the outside of the writers room; as 99% of us viewers always are, of course.

The show overall is reliably well produced, the scripts true and the characters full of flaws to satisfy the most demanding 'make-them-human' viewer. This season was interesting, although rather sad at long intervals, but at all times hugely entertaining.

Thus, and not wishing to give too much away, we now get to see how the new vicar Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) reveals his true character - and if he can play fair with Geordie, of course! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs with the Bonus Feature of:

The Making of Grantchester 4

www.PBS.org





NOVA: Inside The Megafire'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: NOVA tells the stories of residents who had to flee for their lives during the 2018 California fire season.

Scientists race to understand what's behind the rise of the record-breaking megafires and investigate how forestry practices, climate change, and the physics of fire itself play a role in the dramatic increase in wildfires in recent decades.

DVD Verdict: The Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.

It is also the deadliest wildfire in the United States since the Cloquet fire in 1918 and is high on the list of the world's deadliest wildfires; it is the sixth-deadliest U.S. wildfire overall.

Indeed, and furthermore, it was one of the world's costliest natural disasters in 2018.

Named after Camp Creek Road, its place of origin, the fire started on November 8th, 2018, in Butte County, in Northern California. After exhibiting extreme fire spread, fireline intensity, and spotting behaviors through the wilderness community of Concow, an urban firestorm formed in the densely populated foothill town of Paradise.

The fire caused at least 85 civilian fatalities, with two people still missing and unaccounted for, and injured 12 civilians, two prison inmate firefighters, and three other firefighters.

It covered an area of 153,336 acres (62,053 ha) (almost 240 sq. miles), and destroyed 18,804 structures, with most of the damage occurring within the first four hours.

Total damage was $16.5 billion; one-quarter of the damage, $4 billion, was not insured. With the arrival of the first winter rainstorm of the season, the fire reached 100 percent containment after seventeen days on November 25th, 2018.

But how did it get so big so fast? And why are megafires like these becoming more common?

NOVA goes to the front lines of the deadliest fires of California's 2018 fire season to hear from the people who had to flee - and the scientists racing to understand what's behind these record-breaking infernos.

Researchers take to the forest, and even a fire lab, to understand the increasing megafire threat. They explore the physics of fire itself, documenting how firestorms move and travel, and what causes phenomena like fire tornadoes.

In the process, they decode the link between climate change, drought, and wildfire.

And they show how those environmental factors -combined with a century of fire suppression in the American West and new residential developments in the forest - may have created an unprecedented risk. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Frontline: Trump's Trade War'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: 'Frontline: Trump's Trade War' is the inside story of President Trump's gamble to confront China over trade.

Reporting from the US and China, NPR and FRONTLINE investigate what led the world's two largest economies to the brink, and the billions at stake.

DVD Verdict: The seemingly unexpected collapse of trade negotiations between the US and China in 2018 hinted that existing Sino-US tariffs may now be the new normal.

But recent data reveal that, well before talks broke down in May of that year, China-based companies had already begun bracing for the worst-case scenario.

Indeed, the latest trade numbers suggest that China has been selling Americans fewer goods like computers and auto parts — and that other countries are benefitting from taking up the slack.

What’s at stake here isn’t merely the health of China’s export-focused manufacturing sector (and the many millions of workers it employs).

For the longer the trade war wears on, the greater the risk China will lose its long-standing role as the planet’s top global manufacturing base.

And as more and more foreign investment and technology flow to other nations, China’s chances of becoming a technologically advanced, innovative economy will dim.

The backstory, however, and as we are drawn into here in this truly fascinating new documentary from PBS, is very important here.

In many cases, the trade war isn’t so much triggering a China manufacturing exodus as it is accelerating a shift in supply chains that was already well underway.

China’s working-age population began shrinking back in 2012. Wages are now nearing levels in advanced economies. And low-wage workers are getting harder to find—let alone retain.

From FRONTLINE producer Rick Young and his team and NPR correspondent Laura Sullivan, 'Trump's Trade War' takes viewers on the ground in both the U.S. and China, drawing on business and government insider accounts to offer an eye-opening look at the increasingly competitive rivalry between the two countries - a rivalry that extends well beyond just trade and tariffs. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Frontline: The Abortion Divide'
(DVD / NC-17 / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: 'Frontline: The Abortion Divide' takes you inside the fight over abortion through the stories of women struggling with unplanned pregnancies.

Drawing on a landmark FRONTLINE documentary, Abortion Clinic, from the 1983, a look at both sides of the divide in a community still embroiled in the conflict.

DVD Verdict: In 1983 - 10 years after Roe v. Wade - a landmark FRONTLINE documentary, Abortion Clinic, showed the experience of and conflict over abortion like never before on American television. Now, 36 years later, FRONTLINE returns to Pennsylvania to look at both sides of the abortion debate in The Abortion Divide.

This film offers a window into the sometimes difficult and deeply personal choices women face with unplanned pregnancy - and examines the steadfast belief of the anti-abortion community that there should be no choice at all.

From producers Mark Obenhaus and Elizabeth Leiter, 'The Abortion Divide' offers a window into the sometimes difficult and deeply personal choices women face with unplanned pregnancy – and examines the steadfast belief of the anti-abortion community that there should be no choice at all.

“I returned to Pennsylvania and found a community bitterly divided over abortion in ways I could not have imagined,” says Obenhaus, who directed Abortion Clinic for FRONTLINE 36 years ago.

“When the first film was shot, security was light and the first thing I noticed about the clinic is the bulletproof glass that separates the public areas from the clinic itself.”

“Abortion is a topic that can quickly become overwhelmed by political and legal battles,” says Leiter. “What’s often left out of the conversation are the real human experiences and the complex decisions that women face. That’s where we hope this documentary sheds light.”

With intimate access, the film follows women struggling with unplanned pregnancies, doctors and nurses who provide abortions, as well as those who counsel women against the procedure.

In both films, anti-abortion protestors serve as a constant reminder of the intensity of the conflict – and in recent years, there has been an increase in abortion clinic invasions and threats against providers.

Dr. Lisa Perreira of the Philadelphia Women’s Center tells FRONTLINE she has experienced this firsthand: “I’m not afraid of being threatened by protesters, but it is framed in reality, there are people who are violent towards abortion providers,” she says.

Most of the women at the clinic who were asked to participate in 'The Abortion Divide' declined, but those who chose to speak told FRONTLINE they wanted their stories to be heard.

Through inside accounts from providers, patients and activists, 'The Abortion Divide' documents the changes in abortion procedures and practices - and illustrates the reality that the battle over abortion in America seems to be far from over. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'American Masters: Robert Shaw'
(DVD / PG / (2016) 2019 / PBS)

Overview: 'American Masters: Robert Shaw - Man of Many Voices' traces the improbable journey of Robert Shaw's life and career, from his childhood as a preacher's son in rural California through his meteoric rise as a star of popular music during the Great Depression.

An early champion of civil rights, his chorales were among the first to break the color barrier in the American South.

DVD Verdict: In what was a stunningly revealing, heartwarming, and totally engrossing new documentary from PBS, 'Robert Shaw - Man of Many Voices' traces the journey of a small town California boy who planned to be a minister like his father, but instead became the greatest conductor of choral music the world has ever known.

Indeed, at the heart of the film is the mystery of Shaw's genius. With no formal musical training, he achieved a stunning early success in popular music and later became legendary for his interpretations of classical music's great choral masterpieces.

An early champion of civil rights, Shaw (April 30, 1916 – January 25, 1999) had a mystical belief in the power of community and could communicate his passion for music with spellbinding intensity.

As Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the latter half of the twentieth century, Robert Shaw changed the course of musical history through the many voices he set on fire with an enduring love of music.

In fact, Shaw's influence extended far beyond the work of one great orchestra and this delightful new documentary showcases that in some lush depth.

Indeed, Shaw's eventful journey is brought to life in the film by interviews with legendary musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, Sylvia McNair, Alice Parker, Marietta Simpson, and Florence Kopleff, among others.

Family members, admirers, and friends include President Jimmy Carter and Ambassador Andrew Young and they all come together to showcase the talents of a man who although noted in classical repertoire, hardly limited himself to that genre.

The 104 recording credits on his discography also include recordings of sea shanties, glee club songs, sacred music and spirituals, musical theater numbers, Irish folk tunes, and, most notably, Christmas albums that have remained bestsellers ever since their release. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Robert Shaw - Perspectives Following the ASO/ASOC European Tour (Interviewer: John Weatherford, 1988)
Robert Shaw - Perspectives on Music and the Arts (Interviewer: David Hughes, Duke, Living Stories, 1994)
Alice Parker - Interview Outtakes
Ann Howard Jones - Interview Outtakes

www.PBS.org





'Frontline: Supreme Revenge'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: From Brett Kavanaugh to Robert Bork, this film tells the essential political history of how a 30-year-old grievance transformed the Court and turned confirmations into vehemently partisan conflicts.

Offering both critical context on the state of America's judicial system and a gripping political narrative, Supreme Revenge is a must-watch look at the battle for control of America's highest court.

DVD Verdict: The bitter, partisan battle that played out during Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearings reflected deep divisions in Washington that may seem unique to America's current political and social moment.

But as this FRONTLINE investigation reveals, the intense politicization on display during the Supreme Court confirmation process - and the transformation of the Court itself - has been a shift decades in the making.

In 'Supreme Revenge', FRONTLINE's acclaimed political team draws on dozens of interviews with key current and former U.S. senators - including Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) - White House and congressional staffers, insiders from multiple presidential administrations, legal experts, authors and journalists to investigate how America reached this moment.

So, for those not in the complete know, just who is Brett Kavanaugh? Well, Kavanaugh’s credentials include having sat on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit since 2006, once clerking for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and serving in both Bush administrations.

He graduated from Yale Law School and also worked for Ken Starr’s team on the special counsel investigation that eventually led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

His confirmation appeared dependent on the results of the FBI’s supplemental background investigation which, after much scrutiny and public indifference, was not the easy road less taken that he expected, that's for sure.

The first day of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing began with Democrats calling for more time to go over thousands of pages of documents released the night before.

But the hearing proceeded and included introductions from two Republicans and one Democrat, as well as Kavanaugh’s opening remarks.

Day Two of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing also marked the start of questions from senators.

The second day was similar to the first and was consistently interrupted by protesters.

Kavanaugh’s public questioning concluded on Day Three of the hearing.

Notably, the Supreme Court nominee said he had "an open mind" on the topic of criminally investigating or indicting a sitting president, which some legal experts have pointed out could be relevant with the current administration and the ongoing probes into the 2016 election.

In the same place where Kavanaugh sat for three days, witnesses testified before the committee on the fourth day. Some of the witnesses included a Parkland shooting survivor as well as John Dean, the Watergate era White House Counsel.

The rest, as they say, is all formality now - inclusive of The New Yorker publishing an article detailing an accusation from one of Kavanaugh’s former classmates at Yale, Deborah Ramirez (Ramirez claimed that while at a college party, Kavanaugh exposed himself to her).

This in depth, and highly intriguing documentary from PBS tells the essential political history of how a 30-year-old grievance transformed the Court and turned confirmations into vehemently partisan conflicts - tracing how the failed nomination of President Ronald Reagan's Supreme Court pick Robert Bork sparked a desire for revenge from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that would ultimately help shape the court for decades to come.

Offering both critical context on the state of America's judicial system and a gripping political narrative, 'Supreme Revenge' is a must-watch look at the battle for control of America's highest court. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Rhythm of the Dance' [PBS]
(DVD / NR / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: This two-hour dance and music extravaganza is an inspiring epic, reliving the journey of the Irish Celts throughout history.

This richly costumed show marries the contemporary and the ancient, combining the traditional music with modern forms of Irish step dancing and song.

This compelling 1,000 year-old story is brought to life with a live band, singers, and a gifted ensemble of dancers.

DVD Verdict: From the creation of Rhythm of the Dance in 1998 (initially the show was set up for a 3 week tour of the United States) it has toured consistently internationally and is achieving greater critical acclaim year after year.

This wonderful show continues to evolve thanks to the constant striving for perfection by its Director/Producer, choreographer and composer to keep the show fresh and interesting so that audiences who attend performances regularly will always find some new and exciting elements within the program.

With a wonderful, gifted young cast of dancers, musicians and singers, featuring live performances from the entire troupe, this is a show that has won critical acclaim across 4 continents of the world in 50 countries to over 7 million fans.

And now after 20 years of showcasing the very best in Irish dance to the world, the show has undergone a process of renewal, reinvigorating the choreography and music to create an even more spectacular performance.

Producer Kieran Cavanagh was, from the very off, very excited about the updated format of the show, and rightly so as this excitingly vibrant, and so colorful 'Rhythm of the Dance' for sure is breathe of fresh air into Irish dance; and still firmly, and traditionally rooted within its authentic production.

Act 1: - Newgrange at Dawn; Celtic Air; The Plight of the Irish; Bodhran; Dancing at the Crossroads; Journey to Old Ireland (Song); The Gathering; Emigrants Lament (Song); and The Departing.

Act 2: - A New Dawn; Thinking of Home (Song); The Irish Overseas; Beat of the Bodhran; Conflicting Rhythms; Emigrants Medley (Song); Swing Time; Musicians Farewell; Home; Finale; and Encore.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'BBC Earth: Rivers Of Life'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: This landmark three-part series reveals the extraordinary animals, epic landscapes, and remarkable people who live alongside three iconic rivers.

Using new technology and exclusive stories, 'Rivers of Life' reveals a wider and fresh perspective on the extraordinary landscapes, surprising wildlife, and extraordinary people of the Nile, the Mississippi, and the Amazon.

DVD Verdict: Directed by Lydia Baines, Mark Flowers, and Simon Blakeney and narrated by Michael J. Hayes, 'Rivers Of Life' may well have been told before in its parts spread over many other PBS and other companies home entertainment releases, but here as one, as a whole, the Holy trilogy has come home in style, it has to be said.

Revealing a wider and fresh perspective on the extraordinary landscapes, surprising wildlife, and extraordinary people of the Nile, the Mississippi, and the Amazon, we first delve into The Nile.

The Nile River flows over 6,600 kilometers (4,100 miles) until emptying into the Mediterranean Sea. For thousands of years, the river has provided a source of irrigation to transform the dry area around it into lush agricultural land.

Today, the river continues to serve as a source of irrigation, as well as an important transportation and trade route.

The Nile River flows from south to north through eastern Africa. It begins in the rivers that flow into Lake Victoria (located in modern-day Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya), and empties into the Mediterranean Sea more than 6,600 kilometers (4,100 miles) to the north, making it one of the longest river in the world.

The Nile River was critical to the development of ancient Egypt. In addition to Egypt, the Nile runs through or along the border of 10 other African countries, namely, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.

Its three main tributaries are the White Nile, the Blue Nile, and the Atbara.

Next up is The Amazon. It nurtures the largest rainforest on earth and provides life for a mind-boggling array of flora and fauna – the Amazon River is one of South America’s most fascinating destinations to discover and, despite centuries of in-depth exploration, it’s still a mystical place that hides innumerable secrets.

In this new documentary from PBS we learn all there is to know about this incredible ecosystem which will definitely make your Amazon River visit in South America all the more rewarding.

Lastly we encounter The Mississippi. The Mississippi River is one of the world’s major river systems in size, habitat diversity and biological productivity.

It is also one of the world's most important commercial waterways and one of North America's great migration routes for both birds and fishes.

Native Americans lived along its banks and used the river for sustenance and transportation. Early European explorers used the Mississippi to explore the interior and the northern reaches of what was to become the United States.

Fur traders plied their trade on the river and soldiers of several nations garrisoned troops at strategic points, at various times, along the river when the area was still on the frontier.

White settlers from Europe and the United States (and often their slaves) arrived on steamboats dispossessing the Native Americans of their lands and converting the landscape into farms and cities.

Today, the Mississippi River powers a significant segment of the economy in the upper Midwest. Barges and their tows move approximately 175 million tons of freight each year on the upper Mississippi through a system of 29 locks and dams.

It is also a major recreational resource for boaters, canoeists, hunters, anglers, and birdwatchers and offers many outdoor opportunities.

Of course, there are many, oh so many more wondrous facts to be learned about these three Rivers, but without giving them all away here (and without having to type them all out for the next four hours solid!), trust me when I say that this new documentary is as good as it gets knowledge wise on these breathtaking Rivers. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'The Professor' [Blu-ray+Digital]
(Johnny Depp, Rosemarie DeWitt, Danny Huston, Ron Livingston, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: A college professor lives his life with reckless abandon after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Blu-ray Verdict: College professors are a group of people who I typically have a certain level of contempt for! There, I said it.

They tell students what to think rather than teaching them how to think, and they attempt to tear away any individuality which students may exhibit.

For that reason, I thought I wouldn't enjoy this movie for it was about a type of person I don't care for and the synopsis of the film made it sound like a boring story - one we've all seen more than once before.

However, to my great surprise 'The Professor' is a VERY funny, heartwarming, revealing and openly honest (and unique) film that I beg you all to see!

All the acting in this film is commendable. Johnny Depp does a brilliant job playing the melancholic, but also eccentric college professor who has stopped giving a damn about niceties.

The writing is also very well done with the comedy actually having me laugh out loud more than once (which is a miracle in this day and age for films, intentional comedies or not, trust me!).

When I first read about 'The Professor' I thought it was going to be a slow drama, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out it actually wasn't.

It seems to me that the reason critics hated this film while audiences enjoyed it is that the movie pokes fun at elitist, self-absorbed types, who many professional critics regularly praise and consider themselves amongst, of course.

Bureaucrats, feminists and those so-named corporate types are amongst the those who get mocked in this movie, which isn't often seen in cinema - especially in cinema with such popular and mainstream talent involved.

A secondary reason why so-called professional critics may have panned this film would be due to the still lingering controversy regarding the accusations made against Depp by former spouse Amber Heard.

We've seen self-appointed moral arbiters pan films for similar things time and time again and if that fact did really affect their ratings and words, well, shame on them.

Overall, ok, sure, there is a small amount to complain about here with regard actions taken, points made, motions granted and such, but there is just way more wholly praise within this delightful, and raw, and honest new film from Lionsgate Films.

In conclusion, sure, again, the story is a familiar one, but the funny writing combined with some unique and quite brilliant acting makes 'The Professor' stand out amongst other films about terminal illness. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

Death and How to Live It: Making The Professor

'The Professor' Blu-ray and DVD will include a making-of featurette and will be available for the suggested retail price of $21.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'The Professor' Trailer





'Chain of Death'
(John Patrick Amedori, Madeline Zima, Adrienne Barbeau, Dey Young, Jamie Clayton, Ray Wise, et al / DVD / NR / 2019 / Cleopatra Entertainment)

Overview: When a successful surgeon discovers he has the same neurological disorder as his invalid father, he joins an underground assisted suicide group operating under one rule: if you want to die, you first must help someone else kill themselves.

But when his turn to assist goes awry, law enforcement and The Chain close in.

DVD Verdict: In this creepy US-Spain psychological thriller 'Chain of Death' (aka 'The Chain') starring 'Twin Peak’s' wonderful character actor Ray Wise, we get a well-directed story from David Martin-Porras that sure, may well have been told before, but here shines a light more focused on the story of a man who enlists the services of an assisted suicide company, but discovers in order to take part he must kill someone first.

Dr. Mike Colleman (Amedori), a brilliant young doctor who’s married to the girl of his dreams while enjoying the big city life. The fairy-tale lifestyle comes to a screeching halt as Mike learns that his mother Emma (Barbeau) can no longer take care of his father (Wise) who suffers from a Parkinson’s Disease-like ailment and whose health is in a downward spiral.

Soon Mike learns that he too suffers from the exact same neurological illness as his father and decides to voluntarily enter a “Chain” of assisted suicides in an effort to end his own misery. There’s only one catch, as aforementioned, if you want to die, you must kill someone first!

Working from a screenplay by Andres Rosende, the Director Porras (who also co-created the film’s story) brings forth a rather suspenseful story here.

Nothing that hasn't been delved into before, it still manages to present the viewer with a lot of What would I do? moments which I found both refreshing and insightful.

Chock full of some engaging and tense moments this 100 minute movie is aided by not only a slick cinematic style of filming (from cinematographer Phil Klucsarits), but (for the most part) some solid acting performances too.

OK, sure, the lead man John Patrick Amedori isn't exactly putting it all out there for us, but movie legends both Wise and Adrienne Barbeau most certainly are - and loving it too, by the looks of things! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Image Slideshow

'Chain of Death' DVD will be released on July 30th, 2019 via Cleopatra Entertainment / MVD Visual.

www.Cleopatra-Entertainment.com

www.MVDshop.com

Official 'Chain of Death' Trailer





'Hail Mary!'
(Eddie Mekka, Chet Göle, Sheena Colette, Joomin Hwang, Claire Kennedy, et al / DVD / NR / 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: What do you do when your pro football franchise have lost thirty two games in a row?

Buy up a school of Japanese Sumo Wrestlers, with all of its gargantuan 600 plus pound Sumos and make them into linemen protecting your precious star quarterback, O'Rourke.

DVD Verdict: With a tag line that asks What does it take to turn a losing pro-football team around? and an (obvious?) answer being Sumo wrestlers protecting the champion quarterback, you know you're in for a leave-your-brain-at-the-door fun movie!

In an act of desperation, the coach (Eddie Mekka aka The Big Ragu) of The Maine Lobsters, a pro football team that has lost 32 games in a row, travels to Japan to buy a school of sumo wrestlers.

His intention? To bring the humongous wrestlers back to Portland to replace his inept offensive line. In what has to be one of the most inventive movies I have seen in years, the key wrestler is played here by Yama ('Zoolander 2'), man who not only fills the role perfectly, but has some decent acting chops on him too!

Hail Mary! is unusually produced with a combination of hilarious live action and uniquely developed brush-stroke animation with the football sequences having been filmed on green-screen and back-dropped into the Buffalo Bills Ralph Wilson Stadium - Sumo cheerleaders, fans and all!

Trust me when I say that there's never been a family football comedy like 'Hail Mary!' and I doubt there will ever be again! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Material of:

'Sushi Tushi' Comic Book Teaser and Movie Trailer

'Hail Mary!' DVD will be released on July 30th, 2019 via MVD Visual.

www.MVDshop.com





'Breakthrough' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Chrissy Metz, Topher Grace, Josh Lucas, Mike Colter, Rebecca Staab, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / PG / 2019 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: When her 14-year-old son drowns in a lake, a faithful mother prays for him to come back from the brink of death and be healed.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Breakthrough' is a very heartfelt movie that will make you cry and laugh at the same time.

Based on a true story with a strong religious theme, 'Breakthrough' is a perfect movie to enjoy with your family.

It doesn't matter what your religion is: it is very easy to connect with this story and to feel very emotional. I love the acting and all the positive messages it contains.

This is the story of a 14-year-old boy, John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) who suffers a terrible accident: when playing in a frozen lake, he drowns and is rescued by a fireman about 20 minutes later.

He miraculously survives but is in serious condition. His mom never surrenders hope and prays with fervor to keep him alive.

I like the underwater scenes: I love how they look and how they are filmed. In the movie poster we see the main character under the water, and, despite knowing he will fall, I still jumped from my seat when the ice broke.

I think it is amazing how a simple story can make such an impact on the audience.

The story is well narrated. There's a song at the beginning of the film that could have been shorter, although it is good.

It feels like a music video trapped in a film that is not a musical, but when the movie resumes, the narrative keeps you interested.

Chrissy Metz, who plays John's mother, portrays the character so well, it made me cry; you feel the connection with her suffering, and it is very powerful.

She confronts doctors, and, although John is in a medically-induced coma, she keeps her faith alive. She doesn't get along with Pastora Jason Noble (Topher Grace) because she thinks he is too cool to be spiritual, but she bonds with this man who is very supportive and caring.

John, of course, spends a good portion of the movie dormant, but he makes you pray for him because you want to see him alive.

The message of this film is never give up and always have faith. Another message is even if you don't fully like someone it doesn't mean you can't set aside your differences and work together.

In conclusion, I also think is important for young audiences to understand that accidents happen, and we need to be careful. Watch this movie with your family tonight. You won't forget it, trust me. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

A Tapestry of Miracles: Making Breakthrough
"Carry My Soul" Phil Wickham Deleted Scene
Trapped in Icy Waters
Audio Commentary by Devon Franklin and Roxann Dawson
Gallery

'Breakthrough' Blu-ray+DVD+Digital will be released on July 16th, 2019 via 20th Century Fox.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Store

'Breakthrough' @ Facebook!

www.BreakthroughMovie.com

Official 'Breakthrough' Trailer





'Shortcut to Happiness: Special Edition'
(Alec Baldwin, Dan Aykroyd, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kim Cattrall, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / (2003) 2019 / MVD Marquee Collection)

Overview: Down-and-out writer Jabez Stone (Producer and Director Alec Baldwin) sells his soul to The Devil (Jennifer Love Hewitt) in exchange for fame and fortune.

Blu-ray Verdict: This wonderful, truly delightful film was shot in 2002 but it was three years later that I saw at first at the Naples Film Festival - and it was a terrific film back then too!

Anthony Hopkins was great, as always, as the lawyer who is hired to save Baldwin from eternal damnation and va-va voom Jennifer Love Hewitt as the fire-emblazoned red-headed Devil was simply sensational.

So too Kim Cattrall as a knock-out, drop dead gorgeous PR manager and then rounding it all out perfectly is the cheesy, overacting, and yet perfectly-placed within this movie Dan Akroyd (here actually, more or less, showing off his dramatic chops).

Sadly though, of all the actors in the film, the one I had to rank the lowest was Baldwin himself! He really had no business acting or directing this film. His performance left a lot to be desired and his directing even more so.

I found out later that he walked off the set after he turned in his Director's cut and they hired a new editor who literally saved this film from dying a slow, unpublished death.

I also read in the trades where Producers Michael Gordon and David Glasser were the ones who kept trying to keep this film from sitting on a shelf for the next twenty years and finally got Bob Yari to acquire the film from the insurance company!

Regardless, please, please make a point to see this film when it comes out on Blu-ray via the wonderful folks there at MVD Visual as I think it was well worth the wait. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of the Original Theatrical Trailer.

'Shortcut to Happiness: Special Edition' Blu-ray will be released on July 16th, 2019 via MVD Marquee Collection.

www.MVDshop.com

'Shortcut to Happiness' Trailer





'Alice, Sweet Alice: Special Edition'
(Brooke Shields, Linda Miller, Mildred Clinton, Paula E. Sheppard, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1976) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: On the day of her first communion, young Karen (Brooke Shields) is savagely murdered by an unknown assailant in a yellow rain mac and creepy translucent mask.

But the nightmare is far from over - as the knife-wielding maniac strikes again and again, Karen's bereaved parents are forced to confront the possibility that Karen's wayward sister Alice might be the one behind the mask.

Blu-ray Verdict: This rather surreal horror film centers on 12-year-old Alice (Paula Sheppard) who is a strange girl who is suspected of murdering her younger and more popular sister Karen (Brooke Shields).

Her parents believe that she is innocent but as more crimes start to happen everyone seems to think that perhaps she isn't so sweet.

'Alice, Sweet Alice' has since become a huge cult film over the years and it's somewhat easy to see why. The film got a second chance of life after Brooke Shields became a star, but in all honesty she's not in too much of the movie.

I remember watching this film as a kid and really hating it because it wasn't bloody or violent enough, but revisiting it now on this brand new Blu-ray release from MVD Visual, well, after all of these years time now has me respecting it a lot more for what it actually ascends to be.

I think what works best is the fact that the entire film has a very bizarre atmosphere to it. I'm not sure if it's the religious aspect of the film, its low budget or what but there's no doubt that there is a very creepy vibe to the entire picture.

The film is also remembered for some of the death scenes in the film. None of them are overly graphic, but at the same time they are well-staged and pack a nice little punch. The twist in the story is something that I also thought worked very well, but won't reveal here, of course.

Performances are rather hit and miss but I thought Rudolph Willrich was good as Father Tom and I also liked Sheppard as the young Alice. Shields is pretty bad in some of her scenes, sorry, but I guess we shouldn't be too hard on her as it was very early in her career.

Alphonso DeNoble appears as the creepy landlord and there's no question that he steals the film because his character is just so damn creepy. Both Lillian Roth and Mildred Clinton are also good and keep the film on the rails, that's for sure.

What really kills the film is the fact that it has a made-for-TV look to it and there's no question that due to that fact that overall it looks quite cheap.

Regardless, and with the pacing a wee bit off in places, 'Alice, Sweet Alice' is still a rather unique film that is well worth watching (especially now that it's been released on a wondrous crystal clear Blu-ray from the aforementioned MVD Visual). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration of the theatrical version from the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary with Richard Harland Smith
Archival audio commentary with co-writer/director Alfred Sole and editor Edward Salier
First Communion: Alfred Sole Remembers Alice, Sweet Alice - director Alfred Sole looks back on his 1976 classic
In the Name of the Father - brand new interview with actor Niles McMaster
Sweet Memories: Dante Tomaselli on Alice, Sweet Alice - filmmaker Dante Tomaselli, cousin of Alfred Sole, discusses his longtime connection to the film
Lost Childhood: The Locations of Alice, Sweet Alice - a tour of the original Alice Sweet Alice shooting locations hosted by author Michael Gingold
Alternate Holy Terror Television Cut
Deleted Scene
Alternate Opening Titles
Trailer and TV Spot
Original Screenplay
Image Gallery
+ First Pressing Only: Collector's Booklet with Essay by Michael Blyth

'Alice, Sweet Alice' Original Movie Trailer

www.MVDshop.com







'Akio Jissôji: The Buddhist Trilogy'
(Kotobuki Hananomoto, Akiji Kobayashi, Eiji Okada, Kôji Shimizu, Hiroko Sakurai, et al / 4-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: Akio Jissôji created a rich and diverse body of work during his five decades in Japan's film and television industries.

For some, he is best-known for his science-fiction: the 1960s TV series Ultraman and 1998's box-office success Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis.

For others, it is his 1990s adaptations of horror and mystery novelist Edogawa Rampo, such as Watcher in the Attic and Murder on D Street.

And then there are his New Wave films for the Art Theatre Guild, three of which This Transient Life, Mandara and Poem, forming 'The Buddhist Trilogy' are collected here.

Blu-ray Verdict: Winner of the Golden Leopard award at the 1970 Locarno Film Festival, 'This Transient Life' (1970) is among the Art Theatre Guild s most successful and most controversial productions.

The film concerns a brother and sister from a rich family who defy the expectations placed on them: he has little interest in further education or his father's business, instead obsessing over Buddhist statues; she continually refuses a string of suitors and the prospect of marriage.

Their closeness, and isolation, gives way to an incestuous relationship which, in turn, breeds disaster.

'This Transient Life' is, on the surface, a sordid tale about the interaction between incest, immorality and Buddhism. Dig a little deeper and that's exactly what it continues to turn out to be.

The lead character is Masao, a young man who shuns the path laid down by his rich father to take over his trading business, instead we see him idolize Buddhist sculpture and spend his days laconically with prostitutes and reading books.

His sister Yuri similarly lives how she chooses having turned down two marriage proposals preferring to be close to home and the local monastery. When a playful scene between Yuri and Masao turns into a lustful embrace, the siblings' bond becomes sexual rather than familial and this sets the tone for the rest of the film.

When the monk Ogino discovers their secret, he urges Masao to leave the village and he does so to become the apprentice of a master sculpture of icons of the Buddha.

Throughout the film, Buddhism shows us that life fades quickly and existential questions of how to live ones life are asked. Should one be pure and live by the codes set by religion, or should those very teachings, of the impermanence of life and its swift passing, be a reason to create ones own morality and fear no hell and covet no afterlife?

'Mandara' (1971), Jissôji's first color feature, maintained the controversial subject matter, focusing on a cult who recruit through rape and hope to achieve true ecstasy through sexual release.

Shot, as with all of Jissôji's Art Theatre Guild works, in a radically stylized manner, the film sits somewhere between the pinku genre and the fiercely experimental approach of his Japanese New Wave contemporaries.

Upon first viewing, one is struck by the visual compositions, image juxtaposition and the sound production. Actually that's all there is to be struck by for the first few minutes as it takes a while for the story to get going.

I didn't mind as nearly every frame of this film is a masterwork of composition and camera movement. Unfortunately the verbal part of the film is problematic for several reasons. Third, the film almost requires a decent knowledge of Japanese Buddhist philosophy not just Buddhism in general. Oh, and finally, the film seems very much a product of the turbulent times it was produced and the characters seem motivated by the issues of that time in Japan.

The final entry in the trilogy, 'Poem' (1972), returns to black and white and is centered on the austere existence of a young houseboy who becomes helplessly embroiled in the schemes of two brothers.

Written by Toshirô Ishidô (screenwriter of Nagisa Ôshima's The Sun's Burial and Shôhei Imamura's Black Rain), who also penned 'This Transient Life' and 'Mandala', 'Poem' continues the trilogy's exploration of faith in a post-industrial world.

A young houseboy in Uta wakes up every night to patrol the house of a teacher with a flashlight. He leads an austere life of meditation and he focuses his devotional attention on writing inscriptions for tombstones.

In one of his tours he sees something he shouldn't have. The pervert pleasure of portraying him as a pillar of moral behaviour for the duration of the film is to see the downfall.

As the teacher and his elder brother conspire to take over the mountain property of their grandfather and turn it over to realtors for a profit, Renge spends his time shuddering helpless, on his knees.

The final image haunts with the futility of faith and the spiritual in a crass capitalist world.

In closing, and getting personal, given the subject matter of all these three films in this wondrous trilogy, from a spiritual standpoint I stand by the fact that the so-called nothingness of nirvana is not a rejection of consciousness, as has been posited, but rather a supreme consciousness, a true perception of the world as impermanent and everchanging.

Ergo, if life is like playing the piano, the enlightened doesn't stop playing it to become absorbed with the self, but, having tuned it to perfection, plays every note in harmony.

And the moral code of good and evil, the "sila" of the Buddhists, is not a restriction of laws but rather a realization that certain acts further our misery, others free us from it. Watch these films and decide for yourself come the end of the trilogy what and where your own beliefs fall. You may even surprise yourself. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of This Transient Life, Mandara and Poem
Original uncompressed LPCM mono 1.0 audio on all three films
Newly translated optional English subtitles
Introductions to all three films by David Desser, author of Eros Plus
Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave
Scene-select commentaries on all three films by Desser
Theatrical trailer for Mandara
Theatrical trailer for Poem
Limited edition packaging, fully illustrated by maarko phntm
Illustrated 80-page perfect-bound collector's book featuring new writings on the film by Anton Bitel and Tom Mes

www.MVDshop.com





'UglyDolls' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Zachary Levi, Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton, Wanda Sykes, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: An adorable animated adventure in which the free-spirited 'UglyDolls', lead by Moxie (Kelly Clarkson), journey beyond Uglyville to discover the town of Perfection.

There they confront their desire to be loved and what it means to be different, ultimately realizing that being who you truly are is what matters most.

Blu-ray Verdict: In the adorably different town of Uglyville, weird is celebrated, strange is special and beauty is embraced as more than simply meets the eye.

Millions of dolls are manufactured every year for kids to play. But what happens to those that are less than perfect?

The ones who aren't perfect enough to hit the stores because of their irregularities go to Uglyville where all the rejected dolls are sent to live.

One plucky doll named Moxy, played by Kelly Clarkson, believes that she will get chosen to be someone's doll eventually.

She convinces her friends to join her in search of the big world, but instead, they come across the Institute for Perfection where dolls go through a series of tests to be paired with the right child.

Moxy (Clarkson) and her crew are odd and not the most detailed, but their personalities are etched into the design which goes in time with the world crafted.

This world may not be the most realistic or detail oriented, but it's color, angles, and sort of Hodge podge approach lead to a mish-mash world of fun that would be beautiful as a theme park.

Ergo, ' UglyDolls' manages to add personality into each of the two worlds, mirroring the approach to life each collective bunch represents.

Regardless of which place you prefer, the movie holds the cute factor that is intended for the key audience, creating the safe, family friendly environment that parents would like their young ones to see.

To help further bring the world to life, a talented voice cast has at least been recruited with singers, comedians, and sassy actresses to assist with bringing that last bit of spark to the characters needed.

Clarkson, Jonas, and Monae are the ones who take point using their vocal talents to not only deliver the simplistic writing of the film and even more deliver the lines of the soundtrack this movie was focused on.

The variety of voice talents were marginally used well and balanced to make sure every character got some screen time. Through whatever means though, the movie has some obvious selling points.

The main one surrounds the morals about inner beauty, self-worth, and believing in yourself. Cliché? Absolutely, but an important lesson for the young generation, and their chaperones to learn in hopes of establishing new grounds for self-confidence.

That emotional gimmick, touched my heart personally, but for many of the group it may not quite penetrate the cerebral cortex like they wanted.

Instead the morals will be lost to the toe tapping tunes that this movie is going to use. Much like 'Frozen', the soundtrack is going to be more memorable than the movie, with a number of reprises used to expand the soundtrack ever so slightly.

Plenty of these songs have much emotion, but it's going to be the bubble gum pop beat that gets your kids going, bump up sales, and potentially get overplayed.

In truth, 'UglyDolls' is a simple, yet cutely endearing story, but lacks some of the fundamental moments that Disney does so well.

Most of the characters do contribute in the form of comedy, but the character development is lacking for the others, leading to merely colorful outlines that will be perfect for action figures.

Perhaps this could have been accomplished if the plot did not seem so rushed, trying to get from start to finish in the rapid time limit they set.

In doing this, the impasses for our dolls were not that impressive and easily bypassed, the threat level essentially nullified by the cute antics of our group.

The result is that the movie does not quite have the most memorable moments that will stay with us until the end of time.

That said, and overall, 'UglyDolls' is very cute and I loved the themes, world building and energy built into its design and the presentation.

Yet, the movie fails to find the balance and sense of adventure that others have held from other studios with bigger budgets.

More story planning was needed, and less focus on limited audiences would have been nice, with a little more maturity ingrained to help out.

Yet, the movie really needed to steer away from the focus on merchandising to leave an imprint and be known as one of the greats.

It is not horrible at all, far from it, but the limited audience scope is going to be the main hesitation for parents to dig deep into their pockets; which is a great shame, to be honest (FYI: Please do though, you won't regret it and your kids will love you forever!) This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

Sing-Along Edition
Sing Along Tease – A small taste of the big fun the Sing-Along Edition provides
Fun with the Cast of UglyDolls – Watch the cast of UglyDolls play fun games that showcase their unique talents
Making UglyDolls – A closer look at the music behind the film and the talented voice cast that brings these rich characters to life
Theatrical Trailers

Unconventionality rules in 'UglyDolls', the fun and quirky animated musical debuting on Digital on July 16th, 2019 and on Blu-rayTM Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on July 30th, 2019 from STXfilms and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

www.UPHE.com

Official 'UglyDolls' Trailer

Official 'UglyDolls' @ Facebook!

Official 'UglyDolls' Website!





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