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Little Monsters (Vestron Video Collector's Series)
(Fred Savage, Howie Mandel, Daniel Stern, et al / Blu-ray / PG / (1989) 2020 / LGF)

Overview: New to the Vestron Collector’s Series, 'Little Monsters' is the story of Brian (Fred Savage), a sixth-grader who’s recently moved to a new town and made friends with Maurice (Howie Mandel) — the monster who lives under Brian's bed!

Maurice introduces Brian to the world of monsters, where junk food rules, adults aren’t allowed, and the fun and games never end. But when Brian's brother is kidnapped, it’s time for Brian to get serious and fight the monsters on their turf in this zany cult favorite.

Blu-ray Verdict: Simply put, 'Little Monsters' is a funny and moving family comedy that reminds me of my childhood days when I first saw the movie. I thought then, and having rewatched it now on this incredible new Blu-ray special edition, that the cast was perfect, the script was hilarious, and the special and make-up effects were outstanding.

Brian Stevenson (Fred Savage) has just moved into a new house with his parents and little brother Eric (Ben Savage). He has no friends and is not doing well with grades. That is until he discovers that a monster named Maurice (Howie Mandell) has invaded his room!

He starts out scared of Maurice, but quickly becomes best friends with him. Maurice takes Brian to a world of Monsters under his bed and shows him the time of his life.

Brian finds out though that the world is ruled by an evil monster (Frank Whaley) who terrorizes people and has not been seen lately. So, and together, Brian and Maurice embark on an adventure of a lifetime to put this monster away.

Fred Savage (The Wonder Years), Howie Mandell (Bobby's World), Ben Savage (Boy Meets World), Rick Ducommun (Blank Check, Scary Movie), Frank Whaley (Pulp Fiction, Field of Dreams), Devin Ratray (Home Alone 1 & 2), and Daniel Stern (The Wonder Years) all star here and wow, what a delightful flashback to the movies of the late '80s, that's for sure!

Directed by Richard Greenberg, Savage, who was riding high in films right around here - soon to be stepping side though for the '90s to welcome in the late '80s heart throb duo of Corey Feldman and Corey Haim - is genuinely excellently innocent, and all puffy-cheeked here.

And although his maniacal behavior does occasionally become exhausting, Mandel's performance is certainly energetic, and you can't help but love him when he drinks a bully's apple juice, only to refill it with p*ss!! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• *NEW* Audio Commentary with Jarret Gahan, Editor-in-Chief of CultofMonster.com
• *NEW* Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composer David Newman
• *NEW* “Call Him Maurice” – An Interview with Actor Howie Mandel
• *NEW* “Beneath the Bed” – An Interview with Producer Andrew Licht
• *NEW* “Monsters Big & Small” – An Interview with Special Makeup Effects Creator Robert Short
• *NEW* Vintage Interviews with Actors Fred Savage, Ben Savage, Special Makeup Effects Creator Robert Short, and Director Richard Alan Greenberg
• Behind-the-Scenes Footage
• “Making Maurice” – Vintage Footage of Howie Mandel’s Makeup Transformation
• Vintage EPK & VHS Promo
• Theatrical Trailer
• Still Gallery

With 6 new special features, including an all new interview with Howie Mandel, the 'Little Monsters' Blu-ray will be available September 15th, 2020 for the suggested retail price of $17.99.

Original Trailer

www.LGF.com





Shivers (Vestron Video Collector's Series)
(Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1975) 2020 / LGF)

Overview: A cult favorite, 'Shivers' is acclaimed filmmaker David Cronenberg’s feature-length debut and new to the Vestron Collector’s Series.

When the residents of a luxury apartment complex outside Montreal are infiltrated by parasites and transformed into violent, sex-crazed maniacs, it’s up to Dr. Roger St. Luc to contain the outbreak from spreading to the city at large in a film that “scares and shocks us because it’s so cleverly made” (Roger Ebert).

Blu-ray Verdict: With a story line premise that a virulent strain of ugly and lethal parasites turn the residents of a swanky deluxe apartment complex into depraved sex-crazed fiends, a directed by filmmaker David Cronenberg, well, you know you're in for a right royal visual treat from the off!

Doctor Roger St. Luc (the hopelessly bland Paul Hampton) and his amiable colleague Rollo Linsky (a wonderfully engaging portrayal by Joe Silver) try to figure out what's going on before it's too late.

Writer/director David Cronenberg concocts an unsparingly bleak meditation on the horrors of mankind being reduced to sheer psychotic libido impulses (check out the scene with a homely fat middle-aged woman jumping a younger man while exclaiming "I'm hungry for love!") and does a sound job of creating and maintaining a cold, icky tone which becomes more increasingly creepy and unnerving as the grim narrative progresses towards a wild pull-out-all-the-stops climax which plays like a perverted version of 'Night of the Living Dead.'

The acting is rather hit or miss: Hampton barely registers as the insipid would-be hero, the ever-alluring Lynn Lowry contributes a memorably sexy turn as the enticing Nurse Forsythe, Barbara Steele projects her usual sense of class and commanding presence as poised lesbian Betts, Allan Kolman does well as the infected Nicholas Tudor, and pretty Susan Petrie likewise impresses as Tudor's sweet, distraught wife Janine.

Moreover, this picture comes through with several effectively nasty moments: the jolting opening with a deranged old scientist murdering his teenage mistress, cutting opening her abdomen, and pouring acid in her stomach prior to slitting his own throat; Betts being violated by a parasite while taking a bath, a parasite attacking Linsky by attaching itself to his face, and a brief, yet startling shot of two little kids on leashes walking on all fours and barking like dogs.

Robert Saad's plain cinematography presents a credible evocation of everyday pedestrian reality while the spare, chilling score does the shuddery trick. Joe Blasco's hideously ghastly and gruesome make-up f/x deliver the disgusting goods.

Plus there's a wickedly twisted sense of blithely morbid black humor at work throughout. Not peak Cronenberg, but still worthwhile and engrossing all the same! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• *NEW* Audio Commentary with Writer-Director David Cronenberg and Co-Producer Don Carmody
• *NEW* “Mind Over Matter” – An Interview with Writer-Director David Cronenberg
• *NEW* “Good Night Nurse” – An Interview with Actress Lynn Lowry
• *NEW* “Outside and Within” – An Interview with Special Make-Up Effects Creator Joe Blasco
• *NEW* “Celebrating Cinépix” – An Interview with Greg Dunning
• Archival 1998 David Cronenberg Interview
• Still Gallery with Optional Archival Audio Interview with Executive Producer John Dunning
• Theatrical Trailers
• TV Spot
• Radio Spots

With five new special features including an all-new audio commentary with David Cronenberg, 'Shivers' will be available September 15th, 2020 on Blu-ray for the suggested retail price of $17.99.

Original Trailer

www.LGF.com





'First Cow' [Blu-ray Combo Pack]
(Alia Shawkat, John Magaro, Dylan Smith, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / (2019) 2020 / LGF)

Overview: Two travelers, on the run from a band of vengeful hunters in the 1820s Northwest, dream of striking it rich — but their tenuous plan to make their fortune on the frontier comes to rely on the secret use of a wealthy businessman’s prized dairy cow.

With their scheme landing somewhere between honest ingenuity and pure grift, renowned filmmaker Kelly Reichardt finds a graceful and deeply moving origin story of America in their unlikely friendship and fragile life at the margins.

Blu-ray Verdict: Based on the 2004 novel "The Half-Life" by Jonathan Raymond ("Night Moves") and adapted by Raymond and Reichardt, 'First Cow' is set on the Oregon frontier sometime in 1820's.

Shot in a boxy 4:3 ratio, similar to the Westerns of the 1950s, the cinematography by Christopher Blauvelt ('Meek's Cutoff') and a haunting score by William Tyler reveals the pristine beauty of the Oregon wilderness as well as the primitive conditions in which most trappers and explorers lived.

At the beginning of the film, a quote from poet William Blake, "The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship" sets the tone as the opening shot introduces us to a barge slowly making its way down the Columbia River, which is where the story takes place.

Telling it like it is, 'First Cow' is a quite stunning tale about friendship and the necessary things we do to make hay.

The central performances are excellent and slow narration with pleasant country music means you really get that 'The Straight Story' and 'Lone Star' underlay, background vibe.

Furthermore, the film's visual style is impressive, but it's story and pacing is what really impressed me here (although its, at times, watching-paint-dry affect, might not be for everyone, of course!)

In truth, the cinematography is yet another aspect I found to be truly excellent. The framing is on point and impressive and it adds a lot to the film's style.

Oh, and the production design and costumes are also really good here too as it honestly looks and "feels" like these characters have just stepped out of the 1820s.

I personally haven't seen any of director Kelly Reichardt's previous works, but after watching this I am more than interested to complete her filmography.

Sure, there are things about the overall tone of the film that bothered me somewhat, but the story, characters, and especially the way the film is shot held my attention throughout.

It's hard to recommend this movie to those who are casual viewers and are simply looking to be entertained though, because I can almost guarantee that you won't be - unless you're a film buff and know what to expect.

While our society is often permeated by the sense that our joy is wearing out and that we are in danger of losing our connection to other human beings, Reichardt's sensitive and haunting film renews our understanding of the deep and abiding companionship we can still share with each other - in moments of beauty and tragedy, in an age that feels closer to the end than the beginning.

Overall, it's a very, very well-made film that fully deserves all the attention it has been lauded, and a much wider audience from here on in, down the years. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

• "A Place in This World" Featurette

Including a bonus featurette, 'First Cow' will be available September 8th, 2020 on Blu-ray (plus DVD & Digital) for the suggested retail price of $24.99.

Original Trailer

www.LGF.com





'The Secret: Dare To Dream'
(Katie Holmes, Josh Lucas, Jerry O'Connell, et al / DVD / PG / 2020 / LGF)

Overview: Based on the groundbreaking best-selling book by Rhonda Byrne, 'The Secret: Dare to Dream' follows Miranda (Katie Holmes), a young widow trying to make ends meet while raising her three children and dating her boyfriend (Jerry O’Connell).

A devastating storm brings an enormous challenge and a mysterious man, Bray (Josh Lucas), into Miranda’s life. Bray reignites the family’s spirit but, unbeknownst to Miranda, also holds an important secret — one that will change everything.

With its timeless messages of hope, compassion, and gratitude, 'The Secret: Dare to Dream' is an inspiring and heartwarming film that shows how positive thoughts can transform our lives.

DVD Verdict: 'The Secret: Dare to Dream' is a new romantic drama directed and written in part by Andy Tennant, the director of 'Fool's Gold' and 'Hitch'.

The film is about the young widow Miranda Wells (Katie Holmes), who tries to make ends meet and take care of her three children. A devastating storm causes damage to her home, which only makes life more bleak.

When she runs into mysterious man Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas), her life seems to be changing in a positive way. Bray offers her a helping hand in a positive way with all Miranda's problems.

Bray tries to convey his positive energy to Miranda and her children, but as Miranda starts to spend more time with Bray, she learns that he is also hiding something from her.

Sure there are times within this delightful film where they have trouble telling the message that life is going to, or will get better if you go through it in a positive way, but not everything in life can ever be perfect, can it now.

There is a truth deep down inside of you that has been waiting for you to discover it, and that truth is this: you deserve all good things life has to offer, is one of those messages that comes through, and more than once.

For we, as humans, are very lucky because we have life. Most times, without knowing it, a rather beautiful life at that, so the message that we must try harder to see this beautiful world and its beautiful people around us (let alone in these dark times, spend more time with our family and friends), is most definitely a message we can all get behind.

Indeed, we must not let others down in any way, purposely, of course, because one way or another they are playing their very own best versions of themselves. Thus, it is us who can help them rise, which, whilst being yet another message derived from this film, is also a most poignant one to let register.

Katie Holmes does yet another great acting job as a woman going through a rough patch, but without doing anything remarkable with this role, due to the confines of her character.

Whereas Josh Lucas does come across well though, as someone who tries to live life in a positive way and lends others a helping hand when they need it.

Overall, 'The Secret: Dare To Dream' is a lovely romantic story and gives the audience a view of helping others sometimes in reward brings happiness in return. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

The Secret on Set

On September 29th, 2020, 'The Secret: Dare to Dream' will be available on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD for the suggested retail price of $39.99 and $29.95, respectively.

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'The Shadow Of Violence'
(Cosmo Jarvis, Barry Keoghan, Liam Carney, et al / DVD / R / 2020 / LGF)

Overview: In the dark underbelly of rural Ireland, former boxer Douglas Arm Armstrong, played by Cosmo Jarvis from Hunter Killer, has become a feared enforcer for the drug dealing Devers family.

When his ruthless employers order him to kill for the first time, his loyalties are tested in this powerful thriller co-starring Barry Keoghan ('Dunkirk') and Ned Dennehy ('Peaky Blinders').

DVD Verdict: Originally titled 'Calm Horses,' there's nothing here that we haven't seen before, BUT seldom have we seen it done this well!

It's an Irish gangster movie of sorts but it doesn't follow the rules of other gangster films or movies dealing with criminals or family feuds.

Everything about it is different from its location on Ireland's West coast to its characters. Indeed, this is more a character study than a history of violence, which for the U.S. it got renamed 'The Shadow of Violence,' one assumes.

Its central character is 'Arm', a dim-witted former boxer now acting as an enforcer for the Devers' family. He's a bit like Steinbeck's Lennie but with a mean streak and he's played, quite magnificently, by Cosmo Jarvis.

The original title, 'Calm with Horses' actually refers to his love for the animals and their calming influence on him and it also refers to how horses are used therapeutically to calm down his autistic young son.

However, things go badly wrong for Arm when one of the Devers' clan, (a terrific Barry Keoghan), orders him to kill the man who abused one of the girls in the family.

Working from a wonderfully intelligent script by Joe Murtagh, in turn adapted from a Colin Barrett short story, first-time feature director Nick Rowland never puts a foot wrong; drawing superlative performances from his largely unknown cast and dragging us into the film's central premise like he's been doing this sort of thing for years.

As I said, the material isn't new and Rowland isn't afraid to show off his influences, (mostly British gangster pictures, and we're not talking Guy Ritchie here, as well as the best of American independent cinema), but he brings to his material a freshness and a brilliance I can only marvel at.

Without doubt, this is one of the best films of the year and now that it is out on DVD from Lionsgate, I would rush out and purchase it now, if I were you! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Shadow of Violence' will be available September 1st, 2020 on DVD for the suggested retail price of $19.98.

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'The Deeper You Dig: Special Edition'
(John Adams, Toby Poser, Zelda Adams, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / (2019) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: Bogus tarot card reader Ivy (Toby Poser) and her teenage daughter Echo (Zelda Adams) are an unconventional but loving mother/daughter team.

But when reclusive Kurt (John Adams) moves in down the road, a tragic accident results in Echo’s murder, causing three lives to collide in mysterious and wicked ways.

Blu-ray Verdict: In this film, and one whose entire production was a family affair, having been written, directed, and produced by John Adams, his wife Toby Poser, and their daughter, Zelda; who all, in turn, star, shoot, and compose the films score, we get brought forth a dark, unsettling meditation on grief, survival and the brittle barrier that separates the living from the dead.

Ivy Allen (Toby Poser) is a medium who has lost her sight, but still practices the Tarot business. Her goth fourteen-year-old daughter Echo (Zelda Adams) likes to sled in upstate New York.

Kurt Miller (John Adams), their new neighbor, is restoring a house. He's the kind of guy that eats out all the time, drinks, drives a truck, and doesn't slow down when he sees deer crossing the road.

Sadly, he runs into Echo, but immediately has issues burying the body in frozen ground. Much like a Poe tale, he is haunted and starts to crawl within himself, whilst at the same time knowing full well he has to deal with the real world and all the questions that are now coming his way.

Ivy senses that her daughter is dead and her suspicions fall instinctively on Kurt. With the fires of anger and revenge both now flowing equally within her, she knows, sooner or later, and no matter what everybody else can, in this case, cannot prove, one way or another, Kurt will pay for what he has done.

Beautifully shot in a wondrous, and apt minimalistic fashion, and one very reminiscent, to me, of 'The Shining,' the eerie snowy setting combines majestically with the overall sense of quiet, stoic loneliness.

Inclusive of what can only be described as "nightmarish phantasmal" scenes that depict the dark and unknown side of the afterlife (or the cosmos, if interpreting as a Lovecraft devotee), we unerringly watch in as the antagonist is slowly driven mad; and, trust me, at times, well, it is not pleasant viewing and can be upsetting to behold.

However, this all combined is how one can "see" the whole picture come together and, thankfully not liberally scattered jump scares throughout, the plot unfolds nicely; although there are some traditional scares to lovingly behold, of course.

In conclusion, 'The Deeper You Dig' an admittedly slow-burning, psychological piece, but it comes complete with a gory, violent, and highly satisfying climax and twist at the end! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Exclusive 2-Disc set containing 'The Deeper You Dig' (2019) and 'The Hatred' (2018).

DISC ONE – 'The Deeper You Dig'
High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
Original lossless PCM 2.0 stereo soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary by writers/directors/stars Toby Poser and John Adams
At Home with the Adams Family, an exclusive, in-depth interview with the trio of filmmakers responsible for The Deeper You Dig
It’s in the Blood: The Family in the Horror Genre, an exclusive visual essay by critic Anton Bitel exploring the theme of family in The Deeper You Dig and the Adams Family’s broader filmography
Special effects breakdown with commentary by Trey Lindsay
FrightFest TV interview with the Adams Family
Hellbender Music Videos
Theatrical Trailer
Image Gallery

DISC TWO – 'The Hatred'
High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
Original lossless PCM 2.0 stereo soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Kid Kalifornia music videos

+ Reversible sleeve featuring two exclusive choices of artwork
Limited edition illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Neil Mitchell

Official Purchase Link

Official HD Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Mall Rats: Special Edition'
(Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Jason Lee, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / (1995) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: Simultaneously dumped by their girlfriends, comic book obsessive Brodie (Jason Lee) and best friend TS (Jeremy London) plan to ease the pain of their losses by taking take a trip to the local mall.

Amongst shoppers, they discover the mall is being used as the venue for a dating show, in which TS’s girlfriend Brandi is the star.

Hatching a plan to win back their significant others, Brodie and TS enlist the help of professional delinquents Jay and Silent Bob to hijack the gameshow in a bid to win back Brandi.

Blu-ray Verdict: Featuring a cast including Joey Lauren Adams, Ben Affleck, who would go on to be recurring collaborators in Smith’s movies, 'Mallrats' celebrates its 25th Anniversary in this limited edition set boasting a brand new restoration and hours of bonus content.

In my humble opinion, 'Mallrats,' Kevin Smith's second and most maligned film until 'Jersey Girl,' isn't really that much of a stretch from 'Clerks.'

Mostly it just feels like a movie that got taken away from its creator by the studio system trying to make it more marketable - every filmmaker has at least one such experience.

Still, Smith's comedic brilliance shines through in the writing. Characters are still aimless losers with nothing better to do than hang out and have epic conversations about meaningless nonsense.

One of my favorite such discussions revolves around whether the cookie bakery is regarded as part of the food court, and another pontificates on Superman's romantic life.

As with 'Clerks,' the protagonists are experiencing miniature crises with their girlfriends, the resolution of which leads to the obvious but not heavy-handed moral Smith always interjects in his films.

My only real complaint is the artificially "feel-good" ending, which feels too trite and sensational for what had, for the previous seventy minutes or so, been such a down-to-earth, slice-of-life comedy.

It's like a bad Adam Sandler movie, the kind that always seems to end with cheering crowds and joyfully tearful make-up smooches. The bad guy gets his comeuppance, the lovable characters go on to fame and fortune, and everything is wrapped up in a neat little package.

One of the things I love about 'Clerks' was that the ending, while resolving the conflict, ends without tying all the loose ends together.

While Smith generically employs happy endings, they usually don't feel quite as predictable and saccharine. I've never heard him speak out on the subject, but I get the feeling the new ending was probably tacked on as the result of poor test screenings, or changed at the script stage because of the asinine notes studios like to give to more inexperienced indie directors.

That all said, the cast is great. Jason Lee, of course, steals every scene he's in, even though he's supposed to be the "sidekick" here.

He's a talented actor, and it's too bad that, with the possible exception of 'The Incredibles' and 'My Name is Earl' (I've only seen a few episodes), he's never been utilized quite as effectively as he is in a Kevin Smith movie.

Jason Mewes, mercifully, retains the role of Jay in spite of the studio's wishes, and is as always a foul-mouthed fireball of energy.

Joey Lauren Adams is suitably adorable, even in her role as a cheating ex-Shannen Doherty is wonderfully spirited and appropriately irritable without coming across as shrewish or horrible.

Jeremy London performs his "straight man" role admirably, though since his job is to react to the lunacy around him more than participate in it, the audience never sympathizes with him the way we should (perhaps a bit of underwriting on Smith's part).

The beautiful Claire Forlani is cute enough, but her performance feels sort of flat for some reason.

In closing, 'Mallrats,' while it definitely suffers from a sophomore slump, is still a great entry in the Jersey Chronicles, and has more than enough redemptive qualities to put it in a league far above 90% of most studio comedies. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

-Brand new restoration by Arrow Films of both the Theatrical and Extended cuts of the film, approved by director Kevin Smith and cinematographer David Klein.
-Newly assembled TV cut of the film featuring hilarious overdubbing to cover up profanity
-High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentations
-Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Philip Kemp
-Fold out poster featuring replica blueprints for ‘Operation Drive-by’ and ‘Operation Dark Knight’

DISC ONE – Theatrical and Extended Cuts
-Original DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
-Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
-Audio commentary with director Kevin Smith, producer Scott Mosier, archivist Vincent Pereira, and actors Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, and Jason Mewes
-Brand new introduction to the film by Kevin Smith
-My Mallrat Memories – and all-new interview with Kevin Smith
-A newly filmed tribute to producer Jim Jacks by Kevin Smith
-Brand new interview with actor Jason Mewes
-Brand new interview with Cinematographer David Klein
-Hollywood of the North: A newly produced animated making-of documentary featuring Minnesota crew members who worked on the film
-Deleted Scenes – Kevin Smith and Vincent Pereira discuss deleted scenes and sequences originally cut from the film
-Outtakes and behind the scenes footage
-Cast interviews from the original set
-Erection of an Epic: The making of Mallrats – archival retrospective with cat and crew looking at the making and release of the film
-Q&A with Kevin Smith – archival Q&A filmed for the 10th anniversary
-Build Me Up Buttercup music video
-Stills galleries
-Theatrical Trailer

DISC TWO – TV Cut
Newly assembled TV cut of the film featuring hilarious overdubbing to cover up profanity
-Original stereo audio
-Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
-Brand new introduction to the TV cut by director Kevin Smith
-Stills gallery of the comic books featured in the film’s opening sequence
-‘Easter Eggs’

Amazon Purchase Link

Original Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Warning From Space: Special Edition'
(Keizô Kawasaki, Toyomi Karita, Bin Yagisawa, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1956) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: UFOs are seen around Tokyo, but because they look like giant starfish the aliens cannot approach us without creating panic!

Hence one of them sacrifices itself and takes the form of a popular female singer. It/she warns mankind that a meteor will crash on Earth.

While the approaching meteor causes hotter and hotter weather, mankind runs and builds a last-chance, anti-meteor weapon!

Blu-ray Verdict: Telling it like it is, 'Warning From Space' is a rather cheesy and laughable science fiction effort from Japan, in which Earth is attacked by aliens which look like giant starfish (the cheap costumes have to be seen to be believed!).

In order to cut down on budget, one of the aliens disguises itself as a female singer and it turns out that the aliens aren't bad at all, but rather wishing to help mankind by warning them of an impending meteor strike.

The action is made up of the usual disaster set-pieces achieved with miniature effects and guys in suits arguing in official rooms in a bid to make things right.

That all said, where once only a dubbed version with poor picture quality was available, now we got a quite wondrous High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation, with original uncompressed Japanese mono audio and even an optional newly translated English subtitles included, toboot!

If you weren't aware, 'Warning From Space' was made by Japan's Daiei studio which later gave us the 'Gamera' series of movies and it also seems to borrow ideas that were contained in the 1950s sci-fi classics, 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' and 'When Worlds Collide,' which is no bad thing (given how good those two movies were, of course).

So, in conclusion, if you want to watch actors trying to entertain you with dialogue cut out of a crackerjack box for characters, cut out of a refrigerator box in a plot cut out of the ads in a comic book, settle in and watch this delightfully goofy sci-fi flick, 'Warning From Space.'

Oh, and if the plot confuses you, I suggest buying a ton of old sci-fi pulp magazines from 1930-1960 and reading them, 'cause by the time you're through, you'll understand the plot like the back of your hand! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
– Original uncompressed Japanese mono audio
– Optional newly translated English subtitles
– Brand new commentary by Stuart Galbraith IV, author of Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo!
– First-ever HD transfer of the American release version of the film, including a newly restored English dub track
– Theatrical Trailers
– Image galleries
– Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin

Amazon Purchase Link

Original Japanese Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Secret Garden' [Blu-ray Combo Pack]
(Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Dixie Egerickx, Edan Hayhurst, Amir Wilson, et al / Blu-ray / PG / 2020 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: 'The Secret Garden,' starring Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Dixie Egerickx, is a new take on the beloved classic novel of the same name written by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Set in England during a new time period in 1947, the film follows a young orphan girl who, after being sent to live with her uncle, discovers a magical garden on the grounds of his estate.

Blu-ray Verdict: So we're all on the same page, 'The Secret Garden' is a remake of the 1993 movie of the same name. This remake is directed by Marc Munden, who is better known as the director of TV series such as National Treasure and The Crimson Petal and the White.

In the film, the parents of 10-year-old Mary Lennox (Dixie Engerickx) die. This is why she is brought to her uncle Archibald Cravan (Colin Firth).

Her uncle lives in a large country house with his sick son Colin (Edan Hayhurst). Mary is a curious girl and she decides to fully investigate her uncle's large mansion.

She finds a mysterious door that gives her access to a secret garden. In this garden Mary discovers that special things are possible here.

She tries to get her nephew to go to the garden in the hope that he can heal here. Colin is just too negative to come with her. Mary must now find a way to convince Colin of the wonders that are possible in the secret garden.

This film, like the 1993 film of the same name and many other films of the same name, is also based on the book by writer Frances Hodgson Burnett.

For example, the story of the film may seem somewhat familiar to older viewers, but this new version is so much more fun for young children of this generation.

Parents familiar with an older version of this film could watch this film with their children and then compare the two different films.

The film does have beautiful scenes that take place in the secret garden, because it is filled with beautiful images and some animals.

Older viewers can see that most of these images are filmed with CGI and in front of a green screen, but younger viewers can enjoy these beautiful images and continue to fantasize about them.

Because of the script, characters of Dixie Egerickx such as a newly turned orphan and the sick Edan Hayhurst come across as somewhat negative for much of the film.

Although both have good reason to be negative, as a viewer it is difficult to empathize with them and it is difficult to like them.

It would have been better to introduce the characters to the viewers in a more positive way, as the characters only become positive themselves when they are in the secret garden.

That all said, the film is carried by Amir Wilson who plays the helper's son in the household and "lead" actors such as Colin Firth and Julie Walters, have nothing but minor roles in the film, to be quite honest.

In conclusion and even though it may not be remembered as affectionately as its previous adaptation, I'd say that this film still has just enough in it for most audiences to enjoy.

Nevertheless, the 1993 film is still the better one and I definitely prefer it for the various reasons stated above.

Watching both of these films has actually made me interested in reading the original novel to see how it compares to all these onscreen treatments and I am certain the story is better in print form. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Extras of:

Characters
Concept to Reality
Page to Screen
Official Trailer

'The Secret Garden' [Blu-ray Combo Pack] is out October 6th, 2020 via Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Official Trailer

Official Website

Official Facebook Page

Official Twitter Page





'American Pie Presents: Girls' Rules'
(Madison Pettis, Lizze Broadway, Natasha Behnam, Piper Curda, Darren Barnet, et al / DVD / R / 2020 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: It's Senior year! Annie, Kayla, Michelle, and Stephanie decide to finally harness their girl power and band together to get what they want.

The boys won't know what hit them when these sassy sweethearts are calling the shots. Wild parties, sexy adventures and a Stifler bring the heat in this hot new slice of American Pie!

DVD Verdict: In truth, my thoughts are this: If they were going to make another 'American Pie' movie, why wouldn't you make it (such as this fifth one) with the original cast (or as many as you could rope together, of course).

I’m sure they’d all be open to doing to, as (sadly) none of them do that much other stuff anyway, so quite why they weren't roped in is beyond me.

For actors such as Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Sean William Scott, possibly Eugene Levy, specifically, would have chewed Universal's hands off for the option, me thinks, which means we get a new instalment that features a batch of all new, young and pretty faces (that we have no prior attachment too, of course).

Anyhoo, we do luckily get some rather talented and deserving character actors here in 'Girls' Rules,' with this latest straight-to-video instalment in the long-running sex comedy series playing out much as you would expect.

Featuring Madison Pettis, Piper Curda, Natasha Behnam, and Lizze Broadway as four high school seniors who decide to finally harness their girl power to get what they want, one look at the front cover art and you know exactly what is going to happen, what edible item will got spotlighted midway through, and how it will end (always messily, but never painfully). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'American Pie Presents: Girls' Rules' [DVD] is out October 6th, 2020 via Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Official Trailer

Official Website

Official Facebook Page

Official Twitter Page





'Babyteeth' [Blu-ray]
(Ben Mendelsohn, Essie Davis, Eliza Scanlen, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2019) 2020 / IFC Films)

Overview: When seriously ill teenager Milla falls madly in love with smalltime drug dealer Moses, it’s her parents’ worst nightmare.

But as Milla’s first brush with love brings her a new lust for life, things get messy and traditional morals go out the window. Milla soon shows everyone in her orbit – her parents, Moses, a sensitive music teacher, a budding child violinist, and a disarmingly honest, pregnant neighbor – how to live like you have nothing to lose.

What might have been a disaster for the Finlay family instead leads to letting go and finding grace in the glorious chaos of life.

'Babyteeth' joyously explores how good it is not to be dead yet and how far we will go for love.

Blu-ray Verdict: Though it's far from the easiest watch, 'Babyteeth' is a truly gorgeous film, and one that offers a beautiful outlook on life while taking on challenging and sobering real-world drama.

Brought to life in effortless style by director Shannon Murphy and featuring an ensemble of fantastic performances, it's a mesmerizing watch with a touching and heartbreaking core.

There's so much to love about 'Babyteeth,' but one of the things that makes it so gripping throughout is the way in which it evolves over the course of its runtime.

After all, we've seen countless coming-of-age movies before, and if this were to just follow the same path, there wouldn't be quite as much to write home about.

'Babyteeth' indeed starts off as a sweet and moving portrait of teen rebellion, first love and self-discovery, as we follow Eliza Scanlen as a teenage girl who, under the pressure of a serious illness, begins to break out of her childlike shell and see the world through new eyes.

Scanlen's performance is wonderful right from the start, as she has the perfect blend of wide-eyed innocence and innate fire and curiosity to make her character's development both convincing and gripping to watch.

That means, as a coming-of-age drama, 'Babyteeth' really impresses in its early stages, and grabs your attention for the rest of the film.

Following on from its opening act, 'Babyteeth' begins to evolve into a more challenging drama, tackling difficult issues such as suffering with cancer and drug addiction.

The themes of self-discovery and coming-of-age still remain, but the focus is widened in the second act from Scanlen's character to herself and her family and friends.

With that, the film opens up really nicely as it offers an affecting yet still heartfelt perspective on the struggles of her parents, as well as Moses, the troubled young man who she falls for.

Toby Wallace's wonderful performance as Moses is integral to the story, and his likeability in spite of a questionable lifestyle allow you to sympathize with him and eventually come to understand why he is the way he is, and what he's really like.

Meanwhile, Essie Davis and Ben Mendelsohn are equally impressive as Scanlen's parents, and with understated yet convincing and emotionally charged performances, are able to develop their characters and their struggles into important and fascinating parts of the story, without overshadowing the central focus.

That range of drama and focus means 'Babyteeth' is so much more than your average coming-of-age drama, and it gives the film such striking gravitas throughout, as it shows time and time again that it's not afraid to take on challenging issues with a unique and eye-opening outlook.

Yet while the film certainly hits hard with that dramatic gravitas, it also manages to avoid telling its story without an overwhelming sense of melancholy. It does that through the use of a wonderfully honest and down-to-earth sense of humor, but more importantly through a powerfully positive perspective on life.

Shining a light on the brighter moments in a difficult situation, 'Babyteeth' consistently offers drama to warm your soul just as it captivates with often weighty storytelling.

That does mean the swings between the joyful highs and the devastating lows are particularly intense, making the film somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster, but it really allows you to appreciate this story in both a positive and sobering light.

Another part of what make 'Babyteeth' so gorgeous is its use of music and visuals. With mesmerizing (yes, I used that word again, but it truly is) direction from Shannon Murphy throughout, this film delights thanks to a beautiful score and intimate, often even psychedelic cinematography, lending it a powerful sense of cool and elegance that only pulls you deeper into its enthralling trance.

In conclusion, from start to finish, 'Babyteeth' is a truly wonderful film that both hits hard and makes you smile. Its only trouble is a slightly rushed opening act, with too few details left up to interpretation that leaves you chasing the story for the first twenty minutes, but apart from that, there's little to criticize about this film.

Utterly gorgeous, emotionally resonant and unique in so many ways, 'Babyteeth' is one of the best coming-of-age dramas ever made. It's not an easy watch, but neither is it an overwhelmingly tough watch.

Telling a difficult story complete with gripping dramatic range, this film impresses so much thanks to an ensemble of incredible performances, gorgeous directing, effortless style, heartfelt humor and a distinctive outlook on life. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Babyteeth' [Blu-ray] is out September 22nd, 2020 via MPI Home Media.

www.mpihomevideo.com

'Babyteeth' Trailer





'To Your Last Death' [Blu-ray]
(Morena Baccarin, William Shatner, Ray Wise, Bill Moseley, Dani Lennon, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2019) 2020 / Quiver Films)

Overview: After emerging as the sole survivor in a deadly revenge game set up by her father to punish his children, Miriam receives an offer from a supernatural entity to go back in time and try again.

Now, Miriam must survive both her father's blood lust and the Gamemaster's ever-changing rules to save her siblings as she relives the worst night of her life.

Features the voice cast of Morena Baccarin, Ray Wise, Dani Lennon, Bill Moseley and William Shatner.

Blu-ray Verdict: Whilst not knowing quite what to expect from the off, as doing too much homework can sometimes ruin the entire viewing experience, I have to say that I genuinely found this film to be a very intriguing, and highly enjoyable hour and a half of viewing material.

Chock full of well crafted detail, whether it be the forefront or background scenery, the character expressions and mannerisms themselves, or even the, at times, sumptuously delivered one-liners from Morena Baccarin's 'Gamemaster' role, it is obvious that a lot of care, attention and devoted love for the art was put into making and producing 'To Your Last Death.'

Opening with a voice-over monologue from the one, the only William Shatner as 'The Overseer,' he introduces us to 'Miriam DeKalb' (Dani Lennon) as she escapes a building by smashing her way through a door window with a fire axe!

Miriam is, of course, immediately taken to a hospital where a 'Detective Lang' (Tom Lommel) questions her about the incident. Miriam informs him of something rather unbelievable (and heinously gruesome) that had just taken place, causing her to run, but he does not believe her in the slightest.

All alone, feeling unstable, and with nobody believing her story, she is visited by 'The Gamemaster' (Morena Baccarin). Wherein The Gamemaster gives her the option to go back (in time) and this time, knowing what she knows now, have another crack at it; this time with some external rules in play.

Confused, and more than a little wary, Miriam agrees when she is shown proof that her current predicament is actually way worse than she had first realized!

With the animation, to my mind, that moreover of an artsy comic book styling, complete with sharp edge work, and defined facial features - that truly highlight all the full on blood and gore scenes to a tee - it also embraces early colorful Japanese animation too.

With a defined, and equally spread balance of dark humor combined with the aforementioned blood, gore and overall sense of pulsating, yet at times, confused dread, I just cannot see how fans of animated gore, or even fans of "real filmed" movie gore cannot come together on loving this film to bits!

Shatner as 'The Overseer,' which when he speaks gives you the feeling, if you shut your eyes for a few seconds, that you are listening to an audio book, is in cruise control here, but still remains at his usual Shatner best, and aside from the brilliant aforementioned Baccarin as 'The Gamemaster,' it's Ray Wise as the demonically angered, and always ready to implode 'Cyrus DeKalb' that steals the show here!

In closing, and alongside some rather strikingly stellar animation, the script flourishes along with its imbued characters, and complete with a few plot twists (and some red herrings, so beware), it all comes together with an honest, well-developed and satisfying depth of enjoyment.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and as for the extras, they include a Director's Commentary with director Jason Axinn, and a Zoom panel with Axinn, star Dani Lennon and others, an Interview with star William Shatner, Interviews and behind the scenes with stars Morena Baccarin, Ray Wise, Bill Moseley, Dani Lennon and Florence Hartigan, a Behind The Scenes reel, Comic Con Panels, an Animation Demo with lead animator Mohammad Ali Sharifpour, Unused Artwork and Animation, Crowdfunding highlights, Featurettes on the development of the film, and more!

Official Trailer

Official Purchase Link

www.quiverdistribution.com





'Valley Girl' [Blu-ray]
(Jessica Rothe, Josh Whitehouse, Jessie Ennis, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / NR / 2020 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Set to a new wave '80s soundtrack, whilst now being a musical adaptation of the 1983 film, a pair of young lovers from different backgrounds defy their parents and friends to stay together.

Blu-ray Verdict: Knowing the original very well, I got to watch this musical version last night, not knowing quite what to expect - as too much homework can, most times, lead to a spoiled viewing experience, in my humble opinion), and I have to say that I found this update rather pleasing on both the eyes and the ears!

Although the trailer doesn't tell the whole story, simply put, this version is an '80s boy meets '80s girl plot, with era-appropriate music, choreography, oh-so bright colors, lots and lots of wondrous '80s clothing and enough cheesy lines to make you feel right at home!

The entire cast was excellent in their roles, the choreography to both the music and even the driving scenes combined with their hairstyles and dance moves was spot on to the era too.

OK, sure, being a musical they did take 20 minutes (or more) to actually get to the point, or to ask a question, or to look into something, but when a movie like this is so chock full of color and musical explosions well, you've mostly forgiven them come the end!

Much like a movie of the Disney ilk, if you are a fan of classics such as 'Grease,' 'Mamma Mia,' or even the latter day 'High School Musical' series, you are going to LOVE this film.

But, and saving the best for last, the premise of the story is actually being told as a memory of Alicia Silverstone, who plays the mother of a current teenager, and who herself was knee deep in these sorts of movies herself back in the '80s!

Also sneaking in some some lovingly inserted, and very welcome cameos from the original cast of the 1983 film, sure, the original was a movie full of tired clichés, but here in 2020's musical version, all that tiredness has even exorcised and we have one doozy of a good time to settle in with her, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The film will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on October 6th, 2020. The Blu-ray features a Blu-ray disc with the film in hi-definition and a Digital version of the movie.

Official Trailer

Official 'Valley Girl' Facebook Page

Official Purchase Link

www.warnerbros.com





'300' (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital)
(Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital / R / (2006) 2020 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: The epic graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City) assaults the screen with the blood, thunder and awe of its ferocious visual style faithfully recreated in an intense blend of live-action and CGI animation.

Retelling the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, it depicts the titanic clash in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his massive Persian army.

Experience history at sword point and moviemaking with a cutting edge.

Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the simply brilliant '300’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this October 6th, 2020.

For my money, this '300: 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 '300' 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: 2.39:1 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; such as the BEST scene in the movie, for my money, when Leonidas and Xerxes are talking at cliff's edge, "The 300 at his back...ready to die for him without a moment's pause...every one of them...ready to die...his helmet is stifling...his shield is heavy...your spear...you there...Ephialtes...may you live forever....Leonidas, your spear...Stelios!...slaughter them!...his helmet was stifling...it narrowed his vision, and he must see far...his shield was heavy...it threw him off balance...and his target is far away...the old ones say we Spartans are descended from Hercules himself...bold Leonidas gives testament to our bloodline...his roar is long and loud."

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 the very first battle scene, where Leonidas, the king of Sparta, motivates his warriors to defend the Hot Gates), which is now interestingly different, and more "alive" with this incredible 1080p Blu-ray rendering.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital 5.1, 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, for me, the 480 BC Battle of Thermopylae is the stuff of military legend when, in popular lore, a mere 300 Spartans commanded by King Leonidas held off a Persian force led by Xerxes the Great that Herodotus claimed as 2.6 million.

In truth, the Spartans were backed by a mixed force of almost 7,000, while there are enormous variations in modern estimates of the multi-ethnic Persian army, but somewhere between 100,000-200,000 seems realistic. Whatever the actual figures, the odds against the Spartans were terrible, death was inevitable, and their honor secure.

The story was first told on film in 1962 when director Rudolph Maté went to Greece and shot a worthy, but conventional and surprisingly leaden, version entitled 'The 300 Spartans', starring American Richard Egan as King Leonidas and the British David Farrar as Xerxes.

'300' takes the same basic narrative and presents it in an utterly different style in a blood-fest when 'The Wild Bunch' meets 'Kill Bill' and the visuals are like nothing else, except save for perhaps 'Sin City'.

This time the director is Zack Snyder, known for his music videos, and the location is a studio set in Montreal with green backgrounds later filled by superb computer-generated graphics and the whole storybook style is based on the graphic novel by co-producer Frank Miller.

Both versions use the legendary exchange: "When we attack today, our arrows will blot out the sun!" "Good; then we will fight in the shade." But only '300' has such fun, throwaway lines as: "Spartans! Enjoy your breakfast, for tonight we dine in Hell!"

Ever since its first public showing at the Berlin Film Festival, most critics have mauled '300' and it presents an easy target for those wanting something more cerebral: there is virtually no plot or characterization, the script is sparse and bland, much of the acting is exaggerated and over-loud, when it is not homo-erotic it is oddly camp, and the whole thing is stereotypical when it is not outright xenophobic and politically incorrect.

And yet, as entertainment, it has much to offer: the sepia-tinged visuals are absolutely stunning and the fight sequences viscerally exciting. I was fortunate enough to see it in IMAX back in the day and I regularly felt blood-splattered and exhausted and quite ready to leap into the action.

Back in the day (2006), there are no big names in the cast list which actually helped the sense of history, but did not raise the thespian talent quotient, of course.

Gerard Butler (now the big star we know and love) plays King Leonidas with a Scottish accent, while the Brazilian Rodrigo Santoro is a version of Xerxes bedazzled with ethnic metalwork.

Most of the warriors are literally larger than life: the actors playing the Spartans reveal most of their bodies with digitally-enhanced muscles, while on Xerxes' side characters include a huge hunchback, a giant emissary and a claw-armed executioner as well the metal-masked Immortals.

This is before we get on to an enormous raging rhino and bedecked elephants. Truly this is a battle with a circus-like cast. The love interest comes from the feisty wife of Leonidas, Queen Gorgo, portrayed by the alluring British actress Lena Headey. There is even a scene in a rippling corn field borrowed from 'Gladiator.

At the end of the day, what makes the movie are the thrilling fight sequences with encounters in which the film is slowed down and then speeded up to give a video-game quality that is unlike anything you have previously seen on the big (or now in this case, small) screen.

When a sword slashes, or a spear lunges, or an arrow whistles, you really feel and hear it. At times, it is as if a picture by Hieronymus Bosch had come to life!

Ultra HD showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.

'300' will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $24.99 (expected retail price) and features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc of '300'.

Fans can also own '300' in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on October 6th, 2020. The Blu-ray disc of 300 will include more than 3 hours of previously released special features, including commentary from Zack Snyder.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of '300' will also feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

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

• Commentary with director/co-writer Zack Snyder, co-writer Kurt Johnstad and director of photography Larry Fong
• The 300: Fact or Fiction
• Who Were the Partans? The Warriors of '300'
• Preparing for Battle: The Original Test Footage
• The Frank Miller Tapes
• Making of '300'
• Making '300' in Images
• Webisode: Production Design
• Webisode: Wardrobe
• Webisode: Stunt Work
• Webisode: Lena Headey
• Webisode: Adapting the Graphic Novel
• Webisode: Gerard Butler
• Webisode: Rodrigo Santoro
• Webisode: Training the Actors
• Webisode: Culture of the Sparta City/State
• Webisode: A Glimpse from the Set: Making '300'
• Webisode: Scene Studies from '300'
• Webisode: Fantastic Characters of '300'
• Deleted Scenes with introduction by Zack Snyder

Official Trailer

'300: 4K Ultra HD' Blu-ray Amazon Purchase Link

www.WarnerBros.com





'Batman: Death in the Family'
(Bruce Greenwood, Vincent Martella, John DiMaggio, Zehra Fazal, Nick Carson, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / NR / 2020 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Trained as Batman’s protégé, Jason Todd brings a relentless sense of justice as Robin, who sets his sights on bringing down the Joker.

But can Batman save Robin from a fate worse than death? Tragedy, revenge and redemption await in this groundbreaking DC film! Who will live? Who will die? Who will watch over Gotham?

Blu-ray Verdict: OK, before we dive into this quite brilliant 'Batman: Death in the Family' film, it should be known that this is the third animated film in which Bruce Greenwood has voiced Batman (following 'Batman: Under the Red Hood' (2010) and 'Batman: Gotham by Gaslight' (2018). Although, and additionally, Greenwood voices Batman in the animated TV series 'Young Justice,' although Jensen Ackles, who originally voiced Jason Todd in 'Batman: Under the Red Hood' does not return due to scheduling conflicts with the final (delayed) season of Supernatural.

In the original comics, DC had two separate 900 numbers where readers can determine whether Jason Todd should live or die. Ergo, this new film is similar to the original poll in how the viewer can determine Jason's fate as it is also the very first DC animated interactive film.

In this new version, the animated film is an interactive storytelling presentation with numerous “branches,” allowing the viewer multiple options from which to choose and alter the path of the core characters (Batman, Robin, Joker, Red Hood and more).

As the second person to assume the role of Batman's sidekick, Jason Todd had a completely different personality than the original Robin.

Rash and prone to ignore Batman's instructions, Jason was always quick to act without regard to consequences. In this fatal instance, Robin ignores his mentor's warnings when he attempts to take on the Joker by himself and pays the ultimate price.

Driven by anger with Superman by his side, Batman seeks his vengeance as he looks to end the Joker's threat forever.

Originally conceived as an "acrobatic" replacement to Dick Grayson, he wasn’t actually very popular from the off! Fans just didn't care that Batman had a "side kick," and moreover, didn't want Batman to even have one!

At the time back then, the Batman comic books were going through a wee decline and Detective Comics was losing readers and was even (and again) on a list of books to be cancelled!

But, in stepped Frank Miller, who created a different end for Batman, that sprang from a very definite beginning. The DC universe went through a crisis and Jason’s origin was altered.

So now he was just some low life street punk who had tried to boost the wheels from the Batmobile, but the man in black had seen something in the lad and raised him to be the next Robin.

At the beginning of 'Batman: Death in the Family,' we find Robin has been grounded for disobeying Batman. Then, and in what con only be described as a "well-timed coincidence" (the kind that only exists in comics, of course), Jason gets some family information that leads him on an African safari hunt for his mom!

But, of course, the Joker is also Africa bound with a number of schemes to get rich so he can get back to being top dog in Gotham!

So, if you're playing along at home, we now have Bruce Wayne and Batman in Africa at the same time, along with Robin and the Joker! Oh, and all three of their mothers happen to be in Africa too ... along with a nuclear bomb (courtesy of the Joker, of course!)

But, and even with that all said, the premise us handled well enough, kept above water nicely, all the way to the third chapter, when the unthinkable happens.

It is at this point that you need to remember that it was the readership of the time, thanks to a 900 number, that decided Robin's fate!

Of course, we move gentle past that particular point and continue to witness some of the strongest Batman storylines to date, in my humble opinion.

And, finally, and not to give anything away, but there is an obvious point to make in the last chapter, when Batman says “Who killed Jason”, for you have to consider, well, Has he just given away his secret identity?!

It’s inevitable that the ending has to have a Did he? or Didn’t he? survive element, which would help set Batman on a more destructive path until the idea of Robin would get another run out, and so therein, it does get kinda left open ended, so to speak.

'Batman: Death in the Family arrives on Blu-ray™ and Digital on October 13th, 2020.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, 'Batman: Death in the Family' serves as the anchor for an anthology of 2019-2020 animated shorts - including "Sgt. Rock," "Adam Strange," "Death" and "The Phantom Stranger."

FYI: The interactive component is only available on the Blu-ray. The Digital version of 'Batman: Death in the Family' offers four fully-played out linear versions of the short.

'Batman: Death in the Family' - "Don't Go After Joker Alone" Clip

'Batman: Death in the Family' - "Opening Title Sequence" Clip

www.dccomics.com

www.warnerbros.com





'RWBY - Volume 7' [Blu-ray]
(Lindsay Jones, Kara Eberle, Arryn Zech, Barbara Dunkelman, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2020 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang have fought hard alongside their friends to bring the Relic of Knowledge to Atlas, the northernmost Kingdom in Remnant.

However, the futuristic urban-sprawl may hide just as much danger as the Grimm-infested tundra that surrounds it.

Enemies and allies will collide as our heroes fight to stop Salem's forces, but banding together is dangerous when you don't know who you can trust.

Blu-ray Verdict: Well, after a rather long hiatus, Warner Bros. finally brought us Volume 7 of 'RWBY,' which not only was devoured this end in one evening, but itself tries to cram so much into so little episodes - all whilst expanding its lore in terms of characters, story, and big reveals - that you'll need paperwork to follow along!

That said, all the characters we know and love now have complex motivations, all be they (for the most part) well intentioned, but they make some rather imperfect decisions along the way, that's for sure (just like life, to be fair).

With the show's recurring theme of how trust and love can bring people together, these 13 new episodes most definitely showcase an entire season of uncertainty here; and one that sees the main heroes challenged by self-doubt.

Such as when they visit the Kingdom of Atlas, they overly state (within the script) a lot of What should we do? Who should we trust? Are we doing the right thing? et al.

Which is fine, but throughout the other six volumes, I don't personally recall them being so overly wary of such decision making and subsequent consequences.

Anyhoo, moving on and here in Volume 7 there are people they thought they could trust, but maybe they shouldn’t along with people they didn’t think they could trust, but, yep, you guessed it, totally can!

And whilst that’s clearly the case in a number of ways with how the plot progresses, latterly it begins to contradict itself through a series of small lies that were, at first, well-intentioned, but later begin to escalate; culminating in some rather devastating consequences.

We get introduced to new characters and even get to witness the unexpected return of old ones. Personally, it was rather nice to see people such as Robyn Hill (voiced by Cristina Vee), who shows that there are indeed people in Mantle who actively want to help their own people; whilst the Ace-Ops (who are equally entertaining, yet at the same time blindly obedient), only see each other as teammates instead of friends.

Qrow (now voiced by Jason Liebrecht) also has his share of wonderful moments, such as building his budding friendship with the Ace-Ops leader Clover, which the fandom blindly perceived as something romantic due to how their opposite luck powers "complimenting" each other!

Oh, and Penny’s grandiose return helped bring some lighthearted moments back to the group, even if she had her own share of drama later in the story with the way her superiors treat her as just a robot.

So, all in all, 'RWBY - Volume 7' feels very heroic in moments, very triumphant at others, whilst at the same time seemingly hopeless (but that gets worked on, as aforementioned.

Sure, ok, the end result isn’t a perfect world within Weiss’s homeland, but it is a world that still has a fighting chance to reclaim its soul (and hopefully, with the recently announced Volume 8 currently in production, we could potentially see how all the struggles, hardships, and sacrifices for that soul play out next time).

FYI: Created by the late Monty Oum (Red vs. Blue), 'RWBY' is one of Rooster Teeth’s most beloved, viewed and shared series. As the first western-produced anime series to be distributed in Japan, 'RWBY' episodes have averaged more than 7 million views, and the franchise has accumulated over 271 million views since its inception.

To date, the series has sold nearly 670k units sold on DVD and Blu-ray, and registered consumer products sales in excess of $20 million. 'RWBY' has a fervent fanbase in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.

Rooster Teeth’s epic anime-inspired series following the journeys of four unified huntresses-in-training arrives for its spectacular seventh season when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment presents 'RWBY - Volume 7' on Digital ($14.99 SRP USA & Canada) and Blu-ray ($19.98 SRP USA, $24.98 SRP Canada) starting October 13th, 2020.

www.dccomics.com

www.warnerbros.com





'Cold Light Of Day' [Limited Edition] [Blu-ray]
(Bob Flag, Martin Byrne-Quinn, Geoffrey Greenhill, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1998) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: February, 1983. Detectives are called to a residential address in the London suburbs following reports that the drains have been clogged by human remains.

One of the property's residents, Dennis Nilsen a mild-mannered and unassuming civil servant is brought in for questioning, leading to the discovery of one of the most shocking and disturbing cases of serial murder ever to rock Britain.

Offering a grim and gritty retelling of the story of Des Nilsen, often dubbed the British Jeffery Dahmer , 1989's 'Cold Light of Day' stars Bob Flag (the face of Big Brother in Michael Radford's 1984) as Nilsen-cipher Jorden March, delivering one of the most chilling and credible portrayals of a serial killer ever committed to screen.

Blu-ray Verdict: Following smartly on the heals of the new British three-part television drama miniseries, also based on the 1983 arrest of Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen, and which premiered on the 14th September, 2020, this 1989 version also has just the right amount of "ick" associated with it for the killer.

To bring you up to date, between 1978 and 1983, Dennis Nilsen - an outwardly unremarkable former soldier and police officer turned civil servant - killed at least fifteen men and boys (most of them students or homeless) in gruesome circumstances, allegedly retaining the corpses for sex acts before disposing of the butchered remains by hiding them in cupboards, under the floorboards, or simply by flushing them down the toilet.

This grimy, clammy, little-seen independent film is a lightly fictionalized account of Nilsen's hideous deeds, with a standout performance from Bob Flag as the milquetoast murderer, here renamed Jorden March.

Fhiona Louise's film, clearly made on a shoestring budget, steers clear of exploitation tactics, choosing instead to cast its characters adrift in a singularly bleak, uncaring and desolate world of tatty pubs, squalid bed-sits, greasy cafés and grubby bathrooms.

The police interrogation of March is inter-cut with flashbacks that reveal not just his crimes (a living room disembowelment and the discovery of what's blocking the drains will send a shiver down the spines of even the hardiest souls) but also provide a window of understanding into what has tipped the apparently kindly loner over the edge.

Louise's direction is unobtrusive and detached, allowing the lengthy exchanges between the characters to play out in several lengthy takes, but it's this cold, flat, cinema-verité style that affords the proceedings much of their chilling power, conveying the sense that such horrors really could be unfolding in the street, or even the house, just around the corner.

In conclusion, 'Cold Light Of Day' is an easy film to admire - it won several awards - but it's not an easy film to watch, let alone enjoy! As a fitting footnote, a caption card dedicates the preceding horrors to "those too sensitive for this world" - which, in his own perverse and twisted way, Nilsen surely was. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from the original 16mm camera negative approved by director Fhiona-Louise
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary with writer/director Fhiona-Louise
Brand new audio commentary with film historians/writers Dean Brandum and Andrew Nette
Newly-filmed interview with actor Martin Byrne-Quinn
Newly-filmed interview with actor Steve Munroe
Original 'Cold Light of Day' promo film made to raise financing for the feature
Re-Release Trailer
Two short films starring Cold Light of Day director Fhiona-Louise and photographed by Star Wars DP David Tattershall, newly restored in HD: 'Metropolis Apocalypse' (1988, 11 mins) and 'Sleepwalker' (1993, 2 mins)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
Limited Edition Die-cut O-card
Limited Edition collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jo Botting and a look at how the press reported Dennis Nilsen's real-life crimes by Jeff Billington
Limited Edition of 2000 units

Amazon Purchase Link

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Last Starfighter' (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
(Lance Guest, Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Preston, Dan O'Herlihy, Wil Wheaton, et al / Blu-ray / PG / (1984) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: Video game expert Alex Rogan finds himself transported to another planet after conquering 'The Last Starfighter' video game only to find out it was just a test.

He was recruited to join the team of best starfighters to defend their world from the attack.

Blu-ray Verdict: For those unware, 'The Last Starfighter' is directed by Nick Castle and written by Jonathan R. Betuel. It stars Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Catherine Mary Stewart, Dan O'Herlihy and Norman Snow. Music is by Craig Safan and features wondrous cinematography by King Baggot.

The story sees Guest as Alex Rogan, an everyday teenage boy who upon breaking the high-score record on a trailer park arcade game, suddenly finds himself recruited by an alien defense unit to fight an evil army out in space.

The advancements of computers and all their devilish electronic off shoots have rendered many of the pioneering effects films of yesteryear as rudimentary antiques. Where once films like 'Tron' and 'The Last Starfighter' blazed the trail that many would follow over the years, now they seem, if you believe the multitude of new era reviews for them, to hold only nostalgia value to video game players who were still at school in the early 1980's.

That's something of a disservice, for although they do indeed rely in the main on effects work and razz dazzle '80s credibility, the stories are enjoyably fantastical and not without thought and merit.

That said, 'The Last Starfighter' is one of the better ones because it manages to be both an exciting and sweet picture, one that is completely disarming.

Certainly it marries Spielberg homespun values with George Lucas operatics, but in the form of its teen protagonist it also dots the fantasy canvas with angsty worth. So much so that now when one revisits the film with older eyes, we can appreciate more fully that young Alex is in a rut, the crossroads of his life, a life he's struggling to make sense of.

Also more appreciation can now be made of the relationship Alex has with Grig (O'Herlihy), his flight navigator up in the galaxy, someone whom he calls a Gung-Ho iguana! This relationship is nicely drawn, here is where Alex finds not only his friend, but also his father figure, something he doesn't have the privilege of down on Earth.

Whilst up there fighting an intergalactic battle, Alex on Earth has been replaced by a Replicant Beta Model to ensure he is not missed. Here is where much of the film's fun is gleaned from.

Interesting to note that originally this arc in the film wasn't to be that huge, but test screenings encouraged director Castle into a rethink.

And the film is the better for it as the Beta tries to keep the flame going with the girlfriend (Stewart adorable girl next door type) and ensure he's not found out by any Ko-Dan spies!

Here Guest earns his corn, it's a very good duel performance from the youngster and it's a shame his career never really took off post the film's release.

However, none of this means the film is full of depth, it still remains a very simple story full of fantastical incredulity. But the underlying message of improving oneself, not settling for second best, is rich and puts some potency in the narrative.

Still, it's safe to say that most tuning into 'The Last Starfighter' want whizz bang space adventure frolics, which thankfully we do get.

The effects are, of course, variable, though not as cheap looking in High Definition as one expected, while the action is nicely constructed by Castle and his team.

The villains, led by a Po-faced Norman Snow make their mark, while Robert Preston, a legend to Western and film noir fans in the '40s and 50's, gives a wonderfully sweet and affecting turn as Centauri, the game inventor who whisks Alex away to the planet Rylos for his life changing challenge.

In closing, and more than just a film for nostalgists and gamer types, 'The Last Starfighter' is pretty solid entertainment from its core to the outer layers and still such a flashback gem to behold today! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative
High Definition Blu- ray (1080p) presentation
Uncompressed 2.0 stereo, 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 4.1 audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary with star Lance Guest and his son Jackson Guest
Brand new audio commentary with Mike White of The Projection Booth podcast
Archival audio commentary with director Nick Castle and production designer Ron Cobb
Maggie's Memories: Revisiting 'The Last Starfighter' - A new interview with actress Catherine Mary Stewart
Into the Starscape: Composing 'The Last Starfighter' - A new interview with composer Craig Safan
Incredible Odds: Writing 'The Last Starfighter' - A new interview with screenwriter Jonathan Betuel
Interstellar Hit-Beast: Creating the Special Effects - A new interview with special effects supervisor Kevin Pike
Excalibur Test: Inside Digital Productions - A new interview with sci-fi author Greg Bear on Digital Productions, the company responsible for the CGI in 'The Last Starfighter'
Greetings Starfighter! Inside the Arcade Game, an interview with arcade game collector Estil Vance on reconstructing the Starfighter game
Heroes of the Screen archival featurette
Crossing the Frontier: Making 'The Last Starfighter' archival 4-part documentary
Image Galleries
Theatrical and Teaser Trailers
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Ferguson
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY Limited Edition O-Card; Limited Edition Reversible Poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork; Collector's booklet featuring new writing by Amanda Reyes and sci-fi author Greg Bear's never-before-published Omni magazine article on Digital Productions (the company responsible for the CGI in 'The Last Starfighter').

Amazon Purchase Link

Original Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Grant'
(Justin Salinger, Francis Chouler, Gabriel Harry Meltz, et al / DVD / TV-14 / 2020 / LGF)

Overview: Executive produced by Academy Award® winner Leonardo DiCaprio, 'Grant' tells the remarkable and quintessentially American story of a humble man who overcomes incredible obstacles to rise to the highest ranks of power and save the nation not once, but twice.

This complete three-part miniseries seamlessly blends expert commentary, dramatic reenactments, and beautifully enhanced archival imagery to reveal the true legacy of the unlikely hero who led the nation during its greatest tests: the Civil War and Reconstruction.

DVD Verdict: Just released, 'Grant' is a three-part mini-series based on historian Ron Chernow's 2017 book of the same name. Without commercials, which is a very important point to highlight, this is a 4-hour film that's part dramatic reenactment featuring Justin Salinger in the lead role and part documentary with a diverse cast of erudite and interesting commentators.

Ulysses S. Grant has been described as "an inspired commander, an adequate president, a dull companion and a roaring drunk." Personally, I take issue with that last description. Grant might've had an issue with alcohol, but that doesn't make him a "roaring drunk."

I know real life drunkards and they waste their lives sitting around looking for their next drink, accomplishing very little. Drunks don't lead the biggest military force on Earth and win battle-after-battle, as well as the great war itself.

Nor are they able to lead a country the size of the USA for eight years and have a successful marriage & family that overcome great challenges over and over.

Moving on and this might actually be my favorite Civil War movie of all time. As good, or better, than the best you can cite, such like 'Ride with the Devil' (1999), 'Glory' (1989), 'Cold Mountain' (2003), 'The Horse Soldiers' (1959) and 'Gods and Generals' (2002).

Furthermore, to my mind, 'Grant' is the best cinematic source to understand the bigger picture of The Civil War, especially as far as the Union's strategy to victory.

For instance, what was the purpose of the Battle of Shiloh? If it was a Union victory, why did reporters lambaste Grant as an incompetent drunk and why was he demoted?

After crossing the Mississippi, why did Grant go east to fight two battles and capture Jackson, Mississippi, BEFORE going to Vicksburg?

And what was the strategic value of the Battle of the Wilderness? Petersburg and Cold Harbor?

The reenactments are totally realistic with utterly savage battle scenes. This is what it was like, folks. War is hell. Thankfully, the film doesn't end with Lee's surrender at Appomattax, but goes on to address Grant's final 22 years of life as President during Reconstruction, his wide travels, tragedies and finishing his memoir, three days before passing away.

For the record, I myself just read Grant's memoirs, so I was so glad this production arrived here on DVD at this (nearly) very same time.

Through reading Grant's memoirs, I realized many new things about the Civil War. I was amazed at his memories of everything and all the battles fought.

His memoirs and this documentary really brought home what a terrible war this was. Again, this show 'Grant' was done very well and I loved Justin Salinger's portrayal of the man himself, Grant (FYI: The History Channel also aired a program called 'Lee and Grant,' which is also excellent and well worth your time if you also loved this new release). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Official 'Grant' Trailer

www.LGF.com





Ronnie Wood: Somebody Up There Likes Me [Blu-ray]
(Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2020 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: This intimate portrait by Oscar-nominated director Mike Figgis is the first in-depth film biography of the artist, Ronnie Wood (72), and traces his many lives and careers.

A man still at the cutting edge in his seventies, the film tells the story from his humble beginnings in north London, where his older brothers shaped the musical powerhouse he would become, to the unique career that has not only spanned over 50 years (so far), but also traversed some of the most influential musicians the world has ever known.

Blu-ray Verdict: "I was in the hands of destiny all my life and being in the right place at the right time". Words spoken by the man himself, his voice aged and cracked, low and gruff, but nonetheless as sincere, and as openly honest about his success as any human could ever be in his profession.

As for his wild life heyday's, when asked it they had gotten him into a lot of trouble, he quickly replies, "No, it got me into a lot of pleasure!"

A big, wide grin on his face, along with a chuckle, he adds, "I wouldn't change anything ... except I'd do it with my eyes open a bit me," he knowingly, and casually smiles, once more.

It's statements such as those, and his genuinely expressed love for life, whilst seeing all he has been (negatively) through as a stepping stone to a better place, that makes this 'Somebody Up There Likes Me' documentary (a title inspired by his surgery for lung cancer in 2017, and which is actually washed over very quickly here) one of the most engaging, and revealing I have had the pleasure to watch in the past decade.

Simply put, Ronnie Wood is a genuine, 24-carat rock star guitarist. He has paid his dues, played hard, lived fast (in every sense) and somehow survived to tell the tale.

And tell it he does, in Figgis's revealing, biographical documentary, which charts Wood's stellar and storied career. From his childhood and entry into the 1960s music scene, through to his time with the Jeff Beck Group, achieving fame with The Faces alongside band-mate Rod Stewart and finally becoming an indispensable and permanent member of The Rolling Stones, Figgis captures it all.perfect rock and roll treat. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1080p AVC) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Live from the Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne: 'Wee Wee Hours' (with Imelda May), 'Johnny B. Goode,' and 'Blue Feeling.'
In The Studio
Half Man, Half Horse

'Ronnie Wood: Somebody Up There Likes Me ' [Blu-ray] is out October 9th, 2020 via Eagle Vision.

www.ronniewoodmovie.com

www.eagle-rock.com

'Ronnie Wood: Somebody Up There Likes Me' Trailer





'Fatima'
(Joaquim de Almeida, Goran Visnjic, Stephanie Gil, Alejandra Howard, Jorge Lamelas, et al / DVD / NR / 2020 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: Experience the astonishing story of three children whose shared spiritual visions heralded a miracle and has inspired millions in Picturehouse’s 'Fatima,' the uplifting and historical drama based on the captivating story of one of the Catholic Church’s most fabled places of pilgrimage.

DVD: On May 13th, 1917, three children, 10-year-old Lúcia (Stephanie Gil, "Terminator: Dark Fate") and her younger cousins Francisco (Jorge Lamelas) and Jacinta (Alejandra Howard, "Cleo" TV series) were tending their family's flock of sheep at the Cova da Iria, the family pastureland in the Portuguese village of Aljustrel on the outskirts of Fátima, when they had a striking vision of a Lady (Joana Ribiero, "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote") dressed in white near a small oak tree.

Claiming that she came from heaven, she asks the children to return to the same place on the thirteenth day of each month for the next five months, promising that a miracle would be performed that will convince the people of the village of her appearance and receive her message of peace. She also gives the children personal messages that could only be revealed later.

Written by Barbara Nicolosi, Valerio D'Annunzio and Marco Pontecorvo and taken from Lúcia's memoirs, 'Fatima,' directed by Pontecorvo ("Partly Cloudy with Sunny Spells"), son of director Gillo Pontecorvo ("The Battle of Algiers"), peeks beyond the boundaries of the known in his retelling of the fact-based 1917 sighting of the Lady identified as the Virgin Mary, first brought to the screen in 1952 in "The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima."

The present story is told from the point of view of the three young children, especially that of Lúcia who bears the main task of convincing the community of the authenticity of her visions.

The film is book-ended by a fictional conversation held at the Carmelite convent in Coimbra, Portugal in 1989 between a now elderly Sister Lúcia (Sônia Braga, "Bacurau") and Professor Nichols (Harvey Keitel, "The Irishman"), a skeptical Professor of Religion.

Though the flashbacks attempt to put the visions in a modern day context, the experience of the children unfolds in real time and they deliver performances that are real and beautifully realized, especially that of Gil whose beatific smile is enough to convince us of her divine revelation. According to Pontecorvo, "Lúcia, for me, is someone that can see beyond and can get in touch with another level in a way that not all of us have the possibility of doing."

Unlike many Hollywood films in which spiritual events are artificially enhanced by CGI effects and heavenly sounding music to create a "spiritual feeling," Pontecorvo's depiction of the Lady is of a real woman who walks barefoot on the mud, not a fuzzy image floating in the air.

Filmed entirely in Portugal by cinematographer Vincenzo Carpineta ("Let's Talk"), 'Fatima' creates a striking sense of place and time. It is the time of World War I and a weary world prays for peace.

The villagers gather daily in the town square to listen as mayor Artur Santos (Goran Visnjic, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") reads the names of local soldiers who have been declared dead or missing. Lúcia's family hopefully await news from the front about Lúcia's brother Manuel (Elmano Sancho, "The Black Book").

People struggling with the loss of a loved one receive little comfort, however, from a hardline anti-clerical government.

As Lúcia struggles to overcome the disbelief of her mother, Maria Rosa (Lúcia Moniz, "Hero on the Front") and her father Antonio (Marco D'Almeida, "Night Train to Lisbon"), she must also deal with the outright hostility of the mayor, the local pastor Father Ferreira (Joaquim de Almeida, "The Hitman's Bodyguard"), and the bishop (João D'Ávila, "The Easy Way").

During one of Mary's visits at Fátima, the children experience a vision of Hell with all its accompanying charms such as an ocean of fire, devils, and shrieking souls, but the Lady tells them that her visit was a way of saving the tormented souls in Hell.

Despite the children's belief in what they had seen, they are pressured by her parents, the church, and the secular officials to recant and admit their story was just a made-up game.

On October 13th, however, a perceived miracle took place before an estimated 50,000 people who testified that the midday sun suddenly appeared like a silver disk, then began "to rotate, dance, and whirl like a pinwheel."

Wobbling across the sky, it plunged towards the earth as people screamed and looked for a place to hide and then sighed in relief and amazement as the sun re-ascended towards its rightful position in the sky.

Today, the basilica of Our Lady of Fatima stands near the Cova da Iria as the Lady requested and draws thousands of visitors each year. In 2017 Pope Francis canonized Francisco and Jacinta, both of whom died in the flu epidemic of 1918, while Lúcia's canonization is still pending.

'Fatima' is a lovely film that, unlike previous versions of the story, explores the inner life of the characters and portrays the Marian visits without being preachy.

What the visions represent is beyond the scope of this review, yet, as Anne Baring says in her book, "The Dream of the Cosmos," "the passionate longing of the human heart has always been to press beyond the boundaries of the known, to break through the limitations of our understanding, to extend the horizon of awareness."

Marian apparitions as well as other visions of the "Divine Feminine," according to a Newsweek magazine article in 1997 article, have numbered at least four hundred in the twentieth century alone and have been reported from antiquity down into modern times at times appearing as Isis, Kali, Durga, and Ishtar as well as the Virgin Mary.

Ergo, 'Fatima' challenges our normal consensus view of reality and strives to evoke in us a renewed sense of mystery regardless of our religious or secular beliefs. Allowing us to see the world through a broader lens, it points us towards a new connection with the cosmos. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Andrea Bocelli: The Making Of "Gratia Plena"
The vision of Director Marco Pontecorvo
Meet the Seers of Fatima
Meet the cast of Fatima
The Making of a Miracle
Behind the lens of Fatima
Set Design and the Art of Cristina Onori
Costume Design and the Art of Daniela Ciancio

www.UPHE.com

Official Trailer

'Fatima' Website

'Fatima' @ Facebook

'Fatima' @ Instagram

'Fatima' @ Twitter





'Ashfall' [Blu-ray]
(Byung-hun Lee, Jung-woo Ha, Hye-jin Jeon, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2020 / MPI Home Video)

Overview: Following a volcanic eruption along the China-North Korea border that leaves the entire Korean peninsula in shambles, seismologists warn that an even greater eruption is forth coming-one that could devastate the entire region.

Blu-ray Verdict: With the impending fate of entire Korean peninsula resting in their hands, enlisting the help of renowned Korean-American scientist Bong-rae (Don LEE), the government scrambles to find a way to stop the impending explosion.

Bong-rae’s plan calls for the use of nuclear warheads, which are currently held in North Korean territory and their precise location known only by imprisoned defector Jun-pyong (LEE Byung Hun).

After a freak accident leaves explosive disposal expert In-chang (HA Jung Woo) in charge of the team tasked with extracting Jun-pyong and locating the warheads, the two very different soldiers must work together to race against the clock and save all of Korea before it’s too late.

My goodness, wow! In truth, this action packed disaster movie is go-go gadget from the very off, opening with the one big explosion and culminating in another much-like it right at the very end.

The CGI and overall effects here are really well executed and are as good as anything Hollywood could have done, in my humble opinion.

Add to that some full on battle sequences, choreographed fight scenes and overall manically scripted mayhem sequences, and 'Ashfall' (originally titled 'Baekdusan') is easily one of the most exciting movies of 2020.

Along the way you also get to side with certain characters, feel for them when things happen around them, and in some cases, cheer when certain things happen to them!

The storyline is rather complex at times, overly for some strange reason, but spliced with black humor and some just brilliantly timed comedic retorts, the overly political subplot (involving nukes and the usual suspects) is soon nullified.

So, if you like your action films on the relentless energy side, and understand that each of the characters has to get into some form of hot water at least once along the way, and with a ticking time bomb just waiting patiently for the worst possible moment to go off, well my friends, 'Ashfall' is most definitely the movie for you! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Ashfall' [Blu-ray] is out now via MPI Home Video.

Official 'Ashfall' Trailer

www.mpihomevideo.com





'Sci-Fi 4-Pack: The Galaxy One Collection'
(Adam West, Gretchen Corbett, Joe Penny, Jordan Michaels, Yanti Somer, Gordon De Vol, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2020 / MVD Visual)

Overview: This is great value for all Sci-Fi fans as you get 4 movies for the price of 1! Featuring: TIME WARP (1981), LIFE POD (1981), STAR ODYSSEY (1979), and THE KILLING AT OUTPOST ZETA (1980).

DVD Verdict: In 'Time Warp', an astronaut comes home to his family, only now he's invisible and it's now one year in the future!

Starring Adam West, Gretchen Corbett and Kirk Alyn, it's notably a weird little flick, full of cheesy, cardboard effects and a meandering storyline involving an astronaut who, due to an anomaly in space, is transported back to Earth via a "time warp" (which means that nobody can see him because he's living a year in the future!)

Unbelievably, this was written by one Anne Spielberg, yup, that's right, big sister to Steven, and, of course, as much as it truly is cheesy, there is something still rather fascinating about the whole plotline.

In 'Lifepod', an interstellar pleasure cruise turns into a nightmare when a computer takes control and issues an emergency evacuation order.

The lives of the passengers are suspended in an overcrowded life pod as a classic battle of good versus evil takes place on the luxury ship.

Starring Joe Penny, Jordan Michaels, and Kristine De Bell, in truth, if you've ever heard of Alfred Hitchcock´s 'Lifeboat' (1944), this is the same story only in space!

It all begins with a sabotage on big passenger spaceship. It blows up and there are only like 10 survivors who luckily (?) got on the aforementioned lifepod.

And there more trouble begins. They are not able to contact the "Starfleet" so they have no one to rescue them. But the most terrifying thing is that they find out that the person who sabotaged the passenger ship is someone of them on the lifepod.

But who is it? For me, 'Lifepod' was very thrilling and is definitely guaranteed to keep you watching until the very "revealing" end!

In 'Star Odyssey', Earth is attacked by an intergalactic villain and his army of robotic androids. Starring Yanti Somer and Gianni Garko, for my money this movie is simply great!

Complete with hokey dialog, corny special effects and cardboard sets, along with some of the dingiest background music (and theme song) you're likely to ever hear, add to all that the "cartoon-sounding" sound effects, and you've got a worse-than-most-all-films-of-its-ilk movie ... that'll completely satisfy any B-movie fan!

Lastly we get 'Outpost Zeta', which is a strategically important, desolate planet at the edge of the Milky Way. Several spaceships sent to Zeta have disappeared without a trace, so a group of soldiers and scientists are to find out what happened.

What they find are the bodies of the earlier crews and a bunch of aliens who appear as volcanic rock monsters. Starring Gordon De Vol, Jacqueline Ray and Jackson Bostwick, this is one of those "SOS because monsters are attacking us" low budget sci-fi flicks, but still works great even today!

"Starfleet" sends a rescue team to the barren planet Zeta after two exploratory teams go missing. This mission is of the utmost importance as they were hoping to begin colonization on this Earth-like rock within two months.

Once the team of six (four men and two women) get there, they discover everyone dead due to some weird rock monsters! Co-directors Robert Emenegger and Allan Sandler certainly seemed ambitious, but only had enough money to create some cheap space suits (motorcycle helmets) and maybe three sets!

The monsters are most likely Papier-mâché and thus, are never given a too much close up screen time, but the surface world stuff (shot in some desert) is actually pretty well done. These are all Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MVDvisual.com





'Edgar Allan Poe: Heart-quaking Double Feature'
(Lawrence Payne, William Bates, Karin Field, Fawn Silver, et al / DVD / NR / 2020 / MVD Visual)

Overview: This is a rather special, and rare treat for all Edgar Allan Poe fans, a Double Feature containing two (2) versions of one of his most macabre stories, 'The Tell-Tale Heart'!

DVD Verdict: In 'The Tell-Tale Heart', when Edgar sees his girlfriend Betty getting up close and personal with his best friend Carl, he murders Carl in a jealous rage and hides the corpse under the floor of his piano room. Comes the night, and Edgar begins to hear strange sounds coming from under the floor!

The movie starts out with a prologue involving a cocaine-sniffing Poe (also played by suitably austere lead, Lawrence Payne) having the story come to him in a nightmare.

The anti-hero of the main narrative itself, then, is also called Edgar and he lives in the Rue Morgue. An introvert, he falls for sensuous neighbor Adrienne Corri, however, when he introduces her to his best friend, they start an affair behind his back.

Of course, once he discovers this his jealousy turns homicidal. The plot (as reworked by Brian Clemens of The Avengers fame) has therefore been fleshed out, but also rendered somewhat ordinary, for my money.

That said, the stylized approach successfully evokes the authors psychological landscape – most memorably, the "pulsating" carpet above the floorboards where the body is hidden sequence.

In 'Legend of Horror', based on the very same EAP story, two men escape from prison and one starts a murder spree! Mixing Argentinian and US footage, I was expecting something in the Jerry Warren vein.

However, the Argentinian scenes are dubbed and presented whole, and the US scenes are far more than just framing devices. In fact, I'd say the majority of the film is US-shot.

The Argentinian footage is, of course, taken from an adaptation of Poe's 'Tell-Tale Heart,' which is then used as a dream sequence and a haunted memory of an old man serving time in a prison in the US footage.

The US footage is very low budget using only a few actors and a few small sets, and some limited location work, but it is effective in creating a mysterious atmosphere.

As for the film itself, I personally liked the performances from the two actors and thought it was entertaining in its own way. The wrap-around story is also mildly interesting and especially since there are some stop-motion death scenes.

These scenes look quite fake, but at the same time they pretty much come out of nowhere and thus they are effective for what they are. These are both Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MVDvisual.com





'Navajo: Special Edition'
(Francis Kee Teller, Hall Bartlett, John Mitchell, William Draper, et al / DVD / NR / (1951) 2020 / MVD Visual)

Overview: A Navajo boy stoically endures hardship, hunger and the death of his family. He is taken away to attend a white man boarding school and escapes, but is pursued to ancient Navajo caves.

'Navajo' was quite magnificently filmed at majestic Canyon de Chelly and deservedly nominated for two Academy Awards®.

DVD Verdict: In this most unusual tale of an Indian boy that rejects the white man's schooling on a Navajo reservation, and together with the fact that most all the actors are real Navajos, it's no wonder that Cinematogropher Virgil Miller won accolades for his work on this one.

In the title role, a seven-year-old Navajo boy, Francis Kee Teller, received a Golden Globe special award even though he had never seen a movie until viewing his own performance.

The aforementioned Cinematographer Virgil Miller started out in silent pictures and became known primarily for filming travelogues. Indeed, he had a reputation for keeping cameras rolling in remote locations under adverse weather conditions.

The producers needed a cameraman with those qualities, and tracked him down at a camera shop where he repaired photographic equipment. At age 64, Miller took on the challenge of working in freezing cold, with only one camera, a tripod and four reflectors, and came away with an Academy Award® nomination, and a full spread in the prestigious American Cinematographer.

Furthermore, the working title was actually 'The Voice of the Wind,' and despite a shoestring $30,000 production budget, a threatened ban by the Indian Service, harsh weather and terrain, infighting between the co-producers, the picture went on to earn universal critical acclaim! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new 2K scan, and comes with the Special Features of:

Commentary by Francis Kee Teller
'Canyon de Chelly' Photo-essay by Deborah Lem, Diné
'The Canyon Matters' by Genny Yazzie, Diné
'Our Navajo Neighbors' 1952 documentary
1952 National Publicity Tour with Mr. Teller (age 8)
2K scan from the Academy Film Archive preservation negative

www.MVDvisual.com





'Le Choc Du Futur' [aka 'The Shock Of The Future']
(Clara Luciani, Philippe Rebbot, Alma Jodorowsky, Geoffrey Carey, Laurent Papot, et al / DVD / NR / 2020 / MVD Visual)

Overview: In the Paris of 1978, old formulas do not charm listeners anymore in a male-dominated music industry.

Until Ana (Alma Jodorowsky) uses her synthetisers to make herself heard, creating a new sound that will mark the decades to come: the music of the future.

DVD Verdict: Simply put, 'Le Choc Du Futur' (aka The Shock of the Future) is for anyone who's watched a music biopic and thought "that's not how it works!"

Directed and co-written by Marc Collin of Nouvelle Vague fame, it's perhaps the most realistic film about recording music ever made.

Alma Jodorwsky plays Ana, an aspiring synth wave sensation. She spends her day (which takes up the entire length of the film) in a friend's flat that she's sitting, along with his huge collection of synthesizers, keyboards and recording equipment.

She experiments, demos, and converses with a rotating cast of visitors. The slimy Jean-Mi (Philippe Rebbot) keeps popping by for a backing track he's commissioned, taking full advantage of continental kissing, and a singer (French musician Clara Luciani) turns up for a cancelled session.

But all Ana really cares about is her music, and hopes her upcoming party is the perfect place to impress a music executive.

This simple premise is merely an excuse for top-grade synthesizer porn. Oscillators and arpeggiators, wooden cheeks and colored jacks, the mystery of what noise will come from each figuration.

It perfectly captures the pioneering spirit of the age, with each new gadget opening new unheard worlds. Ana is a total geek for this stuff, prone to monologuing about a brave new world away from the dirty rock clubs, thousands of people dancing in fields to electronics and light shows - just imagine!

In closing, and as a head's up, a fair amount of the film is dedicated to showcasing the sounds of the era, which is most definitely a proper treat for the anoraks among us! [OR] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new 2K scan, and comes with the Special Features of:

Interview with Writer/Director Marc Collin
Image Slideshow
Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Silent Running: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1972) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: In the not-so-distant future, Earth is barren of all flora and fauna, with what remains of the planet's former ecosystems preserved aboard a fleet of greenhouses orbiting in space.

When the crews are ordered to destroy the remaining specimens, one botanist, Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern, The Burbs), rebels and flees towards Saturn in a desperate bid to preserve his own little piece of Earth that was, accompanied only by the ship's three service robots.

Featuring a captivating central performance by Dern, visual effects that rival anything in 2001 and a powerful ecological message, 'Silent Running' is a haunting and prescient sci-fi classic that resonates even more strongly today than it did at the time of its original release.

Blu-ray Verdict: When I first watched this movie in my youth, I saw it as an environmentalist message movie. But I think in the original conception of the movie Trumbull didn't even have the film as being about the environment, it was a movie about encountering aliens.

The second time I watched it I felt something very different going on and I felt a very close connection to Freeman Lowell. I've been intrigued as to receptions of this character as some have been applauding his death at the end of the movie.

I think the key phrase of the movie is a story Lowell tells about being a kid, writing a message on a piece of paper, putting it in a bottle and throwing it in the sea, wondering if anyone ever picked it up.

I think that no-one ever reads Lowell's message. I think the key thing about him is social ineptness, you can see at the beginning that his three crewmates, whilst (unfashionably outside of the narrative) not buying his environmentalist arguments, are all to some extent sympathetic of Lowell at points, though antagonistic at others, more out of frustration at his ineptness.

He isn't able to see their point of view and doesn't seem to realize that they aren't the enemy, he doesn't recognize either their sympathy or their antagonism, misreading these attitudes as either digressive or pigheadedly hostile respectively.

Lowell eventually kills these three men, who are replaced for him by three compliant robots (played by bi-lateral amputees in a nod to Tod Browning's Freaks), who are a more fitting audience for him.

I think that he kills these men and that's what he intended, but he has an empathy deficit and doesn't really know what he's doing, other than defending a cause.

Indeed, he slowly becomes haunted by what he's done, by the comrades he's abandoned. Lowell's misplaced integrity is a kind of purity that deserves some sort of respect. His misunderstandings the stuff of high tragedy.

I just wanted to point out as well that the first time I saw this movie I didn't see anything strange or unusual in Lowell's behavior at all, I just straight saw him as a hero.

As a background I have Asperger's Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulty in social interaction.

I've been learning my way out of it since my late 20s, which is why I've seen this film differently the second time round. But I can hear the silence that Lowell hears, I was always confused as a youth by the phrase, "No man is an island", which I regarded simply as inaccurate.

There's something very wonderful about that silence, but incredibly sad as well. Maybe the saddest moment in many sad moments comes during his eulogy for the three men where he says that although they weren't his friends he did like them.

This is an experience that I have shared a lot, perhaps up until only this year: unilateral friendships where I admire people that don't like me at all, just because there isn't anyway you can express the love inside you when you're socially inept, you end up accidentally upsetting people all the time.

In closing, if I had to sum up all this in a short review title, if you will, I plum for Everest Flower, because I want to think of the remotest place possible, with an amazing clean view, and just imagine a beautiful flower growing there amidst the snow; and that reminds me of Freeman Lowell, and the person I was.

As for the plot of the movie, well, sure, it can be a bit basic at some points, including long dark nights of the soul that a professional botanist suffers through whilst wondering why his plants are dying before realizing the obvious, that the sun isn't shining enough when you're way out past Saturn, but I didn't really care (and I feel you won't either once you have viewed it). This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, approved by director Douglas Trumbull and produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release
High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
Original lossless mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary by critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw
Original audio commentary by Douglas Trumbull and actor Bruce Dern
Isolated music and effects track
No Turning Back, a new interview with film music historian Jeff Bond on the film's score
First Run, a new visual essay by writer and filmmaker Jon Spira exploring the evolution of Silent Running's screenplay
The Making of Silent Running, an archival 1972 on-set documentary
Silent Running by Douglas Trumbull and Douglas Trumbull: Then and Now, two archival interviews with the film's director
A Conversation with Bruce Dern, an archival interview with the film's lead actor
Theatrical trailer
Extensive behind-the-scenes gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Arik Roper
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw and Peter Tonguette.

Amazon Purchase Link

Original Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Lake Michigan Monster: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1972) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: On the shores of Lake Michigan, the eccentric Captain Seafield (Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, who also writes and directs) enlists a colorful crew of misfits in a bid to slay the hellish sea monster that prowls the murky depths.

But as Seafield's obsession with exacting revenge on the creature that killed his father threatens to consume him, can weapons expert Sean Shaughnessy (Erick West), sonar whiz Nedge Pepsi (Beulah Peters) and former N.A.V.Y. Nautical Athletes and adVenture Yunit officer Dick Flynn (Daniel Long) hold the show together?

Shot in gloriously retro black and white on a shoestring budget, with most of the cast also performing multiple roles behind the camera, 'Lake Michigan Monster' is an inventive, irreverent and riotously entertaining ode to the classic monster movies of yesteryear: an absurdist urban legend guaranteed to appeal to the big kid in all of us.

Blu-ray Verdict: This was the film that kicked off the final day of the Nightmares Film Festival. I had heard from a couple guys who were at the festival the night before that this was a wild one from the trailers they saw!

As aforementioned, the synopsis is an eccentric ship captain and crew of specialists plot revenge against the most mysterious creature of the deep, the Lake Michigan Monster.

We start this learning about the crux of what is going on. Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, who is also the writer and director, plays a man who lives in a lighthouse with his wife and his father was killed.

He hires a weapons expert, a sonar technician and a navy man to help him hunt down and kill what took his father. These people he hires Erick West, Beulah Peters and Daniel Long.

They come up with a few different plans of attack. Things take a turn though when one of the members of the team are attacked by the creature and then an egg is found.

It is destroyed and this angers the creature even more. Ryland is keeping things from the rest of his team and there's a much deeper back-story than any of them realized, which leads to him coming face to face with this creature as well as the truth of his past.

Now I wanted to go a little bit lighter on the recap here as there's not a lot to this story and a good portion of it is really at the end which I don't want to spoil.

I should also point out that this is a comedy. Most of it isn't to be taken serious for sure. It is a revenge tale at heart as well. I almost feel like there's the underlying belief that eventually, we have to stop seeking revenge or there'll be no one left or the adage 'an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind'.

This film actually kind of has a Lovecraftian vibe to it that I can dig. There's a sea creature that is kind of similar to being like a Loch Ness monster, in that it is just living down there.

When we finally see it, it has a low budget look, but I definitely dug it. Since I've kind of moved to the effects, I should state that this is mostly done on green screen. If this film was more serious, I would have hated it.

Since this is played for laughs it works. They definitely use the comedy to hide the lower budget, so I can't harp too much. It is also shot in black and white with an old timey feel. That I actually did like.

I'll move next to the pacing of this. With a runtime of 78 minutes, it's perfect. They know what they're doing here, so they came in with a lower running time which actually kind of feels like those sci-fi films from the 1950's.<> The problem I have though is being a comedy, it really did have trouble building tension. Some of the comedy landed for me, especially a gag about how early the liquor stores in Milwaukee close, but some of it felt a bit forced. I did like the ending, even though it was a wee bit outrageous, to say the least!

As for the acting, it is most definitely over the top while still working for me. Tews is pretty funny as the lead here and I think the rest of the team he assembles is as well.

There are really some times where something is said and they just kind of look at each other. That awkwardness is actually something I really dig in films like this. I also thought that Peters was pretty cute as well, if I'm going to be honest. I really like her glasses as well.

Now with that all said, don't purchase this Blu-ray expecting a serious film or even one with the most coherent storyline. It is one to turn your brain off and have some laughs too.

Again, it is a Lovecraftian-inspired revenge tale that just gets more and more outrageous as we go. The acting is wacky at times, well, most all times, but it never outstays its welcome.

The look of the movie is good, but it's a bit too heavy on effects. The soundtrack didn't really stand out to me, but it did fit for what was needed.

Overall I'd say this is a fun film (ala the old British comedy show The Comic Strip Presents ... from the '80s) that you should check out with your friends and have drinks watching.

Oh, and for the record, and not to give anything away, but the waters surrounding coastal Lake Michigan are extremely cold during the spring months in many North American regions, such as Wisconsin. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, approved by director Douglas Trumbull and produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and PCM 2.0 stereo soundtracks
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Two cast and crew audio commentaries featuring writer/director/actor Ryland Tews and actors Daniel Long, Beulah Peters, Erick West and editor Mike Cheslik one sober, one drunk!
Critics audio commentary with Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Emma Westwood
Effects Breakdown comparison of the film's underwater sequence, including storyboards and pre-composited footage
Dear Old Captain Seafield the Captain Seafield theme song, performed by the Seafield Monster Sextet
Interview in a Cabin interview with Ryland Tews and Daniel Long at the Fantasia International Film Festival
Interview in a Bar interviews with the cast and crew at the Beloit International Film Festival
Interview by a Fire interview with Mike Cheslik on Mark Borchardt's Cinema Fireside radio show
The first season and pilot episode of L.I.P.S., Ryland Tews and Mike Cheslik's hybrid animation/live action sci-fi comedy web series
Theatrical trailer
Behind the scenes photos
Reversible sleeve featuring original artwork by Jade Watring and newly commissioned artwork by Colin Murdoch
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw.

Amazon Purchase Link

Original Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Burst City: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Michirô Endô, Shigeru Izumiya, Takanori Jinna, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1972) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: In a derelict industrial wasteland somewhere on the outskirts of Tokyo, two rival punk bands and their unruly mobs of fans gather for a Battle of the Bands-style protest against the construction of a nuclear powerplant, bringing them head to head with the yakuza industrialists behind the development of their turf.

This extraordinary celebration of Japan's punk music scene of the early 1980s thrust Sogo Ishii (now known by the name of Gakury Ishii), the underground filmmaking wunderkind behind such works as Half Human: Einstürzende Neubauten (1986), Angel Dust (1994) and Electric Dragon 80,000V (2001), to the next level and is regularly cited as an early landmark in Japanese cyberpunk cinema.

Blu-ray Verdict: Simply put, and telling it like it truly is, without the work of Sogo Ishii there would be no Takashi Miike or Shinya Tsukamoto.

That becomes quite clear in the opening minutes of 'Burst City.' The hyper-kinetic beginning of the film with its lightning fast editing and violent images together with the use of music were obvious influences on Miike's 'Dead Or Alive' and 'Blues Harp' as well as a number of other films.

And the camera-work, use of black and white photography and cyberpunk imagery were later recycled in Tsukamoto's 'Tetsuo' films as well as the brilliant 'Snake Of June.'

'Burst City' is essentially a feature length punk rock music clip. The film is set in a kind of post-apocalyptic Japan where everyone is a punk, a freak or a brutal cop.

There are non-stop riots in the streets, non-stop punk concerts, non-stop gang warfare, non-stop police brutality and non-stop car chases.

So yeah, 'Burst City' is one hell of a wild ride and it left me feeling spun out and wow, the soundtrack is made up entirely of awesome Japanese punk rock and fits the images perfectly.

In closing, 'Burst City' is powerful, frenetic, feral, rabid cinema that feels like a transmission from the gutter of the future. An '80s Japanese Sci-fi Punk Rock Musical, is how I wished I could have ended this review, but I cannot.

For as much as I wanted that to be my bottom line, I thought it might be a little misleading. Sometimes it can be fun to get together with some friends, get some pizza, and put on a low budget movie.

But when you do that, you ought to choose a movie that is easy to watch. After all, the focus is hanging out with friends. This won't work if you try it with 'Burst City.' It's just that good! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original lossless mono Japanese soundtrack
Optional English subtitles
Brand new audio commentary by Japanese film expert Tom Mes
The Punk Spirit of 82: Sogo Ishii on Burst City, an exclusive new 56-minute interview with the director
Bursting Out, an exclusive 27-minute interview with the academic and independent filmmaker Yoshiharu Tezuka on Jishu Eiga and the making of Burst City
Original Trailer
Image Gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mark Player

Amazon Purchase Link

Original Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Fahrenheit 9/11 - Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Michael Moore, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2004) 2020 / MVD Visual)

Overview: In the most provocative film of 2004, 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' Academy Award© winner Michael Moore (2002, Best Documentary, Bowling for Columbine) presents a searing examination of the role played by money and oil in the wake of the tragic events of 9/11.

Moore blends captivating and thought-provoking footage with revealing interviews, while balancing it all with his own brand of humor and satire.

Blu-ray Verdict: Without too much doubt, Michael Moore is the pre-eminent cinematic muckraker of our time. From 1989's ROGER AND ME to 2002's BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, the man from Flint, Michigan has put his money where his mouth is.

And in 2004, with 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' he truly outdid himself by leaps and bounds, provoking a firestorm of response, both pro and con, that I have not seen in quite some time (before or after).

Done with savagely ironic narration by Moore himself, this is a chilling expose about the administration of George W. Bush, from the Florida debacle to the horrors of the 9/11 attacks and the rush to the war in Iraq and beyond.

We all may have seen the mountain of footage that Moore has assembled for this film time and time again on our TV screens back all those years ago, but there's a lot more.

We see the connections between the Bush family and Osama Bin-Laden; Dick Cheney's connections with Haliburton; the complicity of the mainstream media to go along with Bush; the passage of the so-called Patriot Act, which not a single member of either body of Congress even bothered to READ, much less object to.

And even more, we see Moore and his crew try to get people in Congress to enlist their kids to go fight in a war that they force other kids from lower-income families to fight.

Of the 535 members of the House, both the Senate and the Congress, only one has anyone in their immediate family serving over there in Iraq.

Undoubtedly, there are those apologists who will slam Moore and his film as being totally unpatriotic and traitorous. But from the first few days after the 9/11 attacks to the release of this film, those same apologists in the news media - Rush Limbaugh; Ann Coulter; Sean Hannity, Chuck Scarborough, etc. - have bombarded us with their own right-wing, indeed borderline fascist, pro-war propaganda and have reduced words like "patriotism", "freedom", and "democracy" to punchlines.

Of course, neither of these people has ever served in combat. Even if he is a left-wing propagandist, Moore and his film merely serve to balance the scales; and if it means that the far-right's apple cart turns over, then so be it.

Moore is only doing what is his RIGHT to do, what our soldiers are supposedly DYING for - calling it like he sees it under the First Amendment, the same as Limbaugh and friends.

And by asking the tough questions, probing without fear, and willing to make us look at ourselves without shame and realize why we are where we are now, Moore defines what it is to be an American and a patriot - someone who is willing to fight for common people.

To me, and still, 'Fahrenheit 9/11' joins a select group of politically-oriented films that deserve to be called masterpieces because they provoke discussion, debate, and thought.

It was true with DOCTOR STRANGELOVE, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, and JFK, and it is true here. It is infuriating and provocative, and any film that manages to be those things should be seen at least once. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Featurette: 'The Release of Fahrenheit 9/11'
Montage: The People of Iraq on the Eve of Invasion
New Scene: 'Homeland Security, Miami Style'
Outside Abu Ghraib Prison
Eyewitness account from Samara, Iraq
Extended Interview: More with Abdul Henderson
Lila Lipscomb at the Washington, D.C. Premiere
Arab-American Comedians - Their acts and experiences after 9/11
Condoleezza Rice's 9/11 Commission Testimony
George W. Bush's Rose Garden press briefing after 9/11 Commission Appearance
Original Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Purchase Link

Original Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





Jack And The Beanstalk: 4K Restoration [Spe. Ed.]
(Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Buddy Bear, Dorothy Ford, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2020 / MVD Visual - VCI Video)

Overview: Available now in glorious color and in a new 4K restoration from an original 35mm archival print, these superb zanies have contemporized a universal fable.

Choosing as their adversary the most famous giant in all literature, Dink (Lou Costello) and Jack (Bud Abbott) declare their intention to rescue the princess and the hen which laid the golden egg.

They get captured and the fun really begin! Note: the film begins in sepia tone and then changes to color!

Plus, this brand new Blu-ray edition contains a bonus Abbott & Costello film - Africa Screams (1949), digitally restored in HD!

Blu-ray Verdict: Bud Abbott and Lou Costello always had a good following among children, but in their careers I think you could say that they only made one film that could be designated for kids. 'Jack and the Beanstalk' was that one film.

It was part of a two picture independent deal from Warner Brothers, the second film being 'Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd.' Indeed, these were the only two films the boys made in color.

The two of them, out of work as usual, take a job for a very precocious and obnoxious young David Stollery as a babysitter. Although it starts out with Costello wanting to read the kid, Jack and the Beanstalk as a bedtime story, the young lad winds up reading it to Costello.

Lou falls asleep and in his dreams he fantasizes he's indeed Jack the Giant Killer.

Buddy Baer who menaced the boys in 'Africa Screams' (now also included on this wondrous new 4K restoration from an original 35mm archival print Blu-ray) plays the giant and he's got a giant size Dorothy Ford as his housekeeper!

Dorothy was a big girl, 6'2", and you can imagine she had some difficulty being cast except when her height was used as a joke.

One of the only players who ever looked down at her was John Wayne in Three Godfathers at 6'4". Henry Fonda and James Stewart in On Our Merry Way also stood barely above her, but again her height was part of an ongoing gag.

Shaye Cogan and James Alexander were the princess and prince of the fantasy and they sang beautifully, but couldn't act worth anything.

This was the last film of William Farnum who's career dated from the early silent screen days and even to the turn of the last century on stage. He played princess Shaye's father, The King.

Some not terribly memorable musical numbers came from 'Jack and the Beanstalk,' save the title song. I well always remember as a kid having the 78 record of Bud and Lou singing the song and reciting the story.

I was in my early single digit years, but became a lifelong fan of theirs through that and their television series. Anyway, in conclusion, 'Jack and the Beanstalk' is still a good children's picture for the very young, though I would warn parents to warn their little urchins not to imitate young master Stollery!

In the bonus feature, 'Africa Screams,' Bud and Lou are up to their necks in the jungle where peril is rife at every turn. It's standard fare for the boys this one, though some strong scenes induce the laughter that the viewers are looking for.

The plot is a sort of Tarzan Meets King Kong And King Solomon's Mines, with animals, cannibals and diamonds a go-go! The usual rules apply re: Lou is constantly under threat and offering up cowardly reactions, while Bud is calm and manages to avoid the tricky situations.

As a formula it works to an extent, but as always with Abbott and Costello movies, it's best not to watch too many in one sitting due to the repetitive nature of their material. Joining the lads for this one is Clyde Beatty, Frank Buck, Max Baer, Buddy Baer and Hillary Brooke. These are both Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

'Africa Screams' - Full-Length Abbott & Costello (1949) Comedy Feature Film!
Original Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Purchase Link

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Dog Doc: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Blu-ray / NR / 2020 / Film Rise - MVD Visual)

Overview: A pioneer of integrative medicine, veterinarian Dr. Marty Goldstein attracts four-legged patients from around the world, providing holistic treatments for animals after other vets have given up hope.

Director Cindy Meehl goes behind the scenes to capture the full drama of Dr. Marty and his colleagues' life-changing commitment to wellness and the astounding results they achieve.

Blu-ray Verdict: Simply put, Dr. Goldstein is paving the way for the future of Veterinary Medicine and in this brilliant documentary by Cindy Meehl, we are shown the advances Dr. Goldstein has made over the years with homeopathic treatments combined with traditional medicine to enhance and lengthen our beloved dogs lives.

Furthermore, EVERY pet parent needs to see this film. In the plainest and most loving language, Dr. Goldstein explains so clearly and logically why are beloved pets are not getting the best care.

Western practice over medicates, focuses on curing disease, not preventing, and doesn't advocate good nutrition. Cindy Meehl shows us Dr. Goldstein's compassion for his patients and his passion for integrated medicine over and over and over here.

We see what happens to pets when Dr. Goldstein and his team combine western medicine and traditional healing. It makes so much sense I now want to find an integrated medical vet for my dog and a doctor for me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Photo Gallery
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Trailer

www.DogDocTheFilm.com www.filmrise.com

www.MVDvisual.com





The Short History Of The Long Road:Special Edition
(Sabrina Carpenter, Maggie Siff, Steven Ogg, Rusty Schwimmer, Danny Trejo, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2020 / Film Rise - MVD Visual)

Overview: Teenager Nola (Sabrina Carpenter) grew up living out of a van with her beloved father Clint (Steven Ogg), two nomads against the world. When tragedy strikes, Nola is confronted by the reality that life as an outsider may not be her only choice.

Blu-ray Verdict: Young Nola (Sabrina Carpenter) and her dad basically travel out west and live in their old VW van. He works odd jobs to earn some cash and he teaches his daughter the ways of life.

She was named after the city (New Orleans) and they hope to get there at some point. She never knew her mother who left when Nola was a baby and she hopes to someday track her down.

When things take a big turn and Nola finds herself alone with the van she has to make a whole new plan, including befriending an auto shop owner and working for him for a time to pay for towing and van repairs.

When she finds her mom she learns the whole story, she may have been abandoned but at least she was allowed to live. Striking out alone again she finds a traveling group of van owners, this might be her logical family.

This is mostly a quiet movie but a good character study. Indeed, myself and my partner had not heard of Sabrina Carpenter before this film, but she is actually really good in the role (all 5' 1" of her), and a very accomplished singer/songwriter too!

In closing, there are so many worthless movies with no meaning being made, so much wasted talent, and so I say, to everyone who made this film, keep making films with meaning and purpose because people need it more than they are willing to admit; and a legacy which someone leaves behind that changes lives is something money will never be able to buy.

There are many things in life that can be bought, but the people who have truly lived, they know the most valuable things have no price tag, and giving a young kid hope to live another day is worth far more than any big budget film with absolutely no heart and no message to bring hope for people who might also be going through a tough time. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Photo Gallery
Blooper Reel
Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Trailer

www.filmrise.com

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Untold Story: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Danny Lee, Emily Kwan, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1993) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: 'The Untold Story' is based on the Eight Immortals Restaurant murders that took place on 4th August 1985 in Macau.

While the massacre involving a family of 10 did occur at the restaurant, the alleged cannibalism is sensationalism inferred from the incomplete discovery of the victims' corpse; only finding limbs, and that there was a lack of telltale smell of decomposition despite the summer tropical heat!

Blu-ray Verdict: In the early '80s, popular actor Danny Lee (famous for his work in action films) became director and producer of his own films, and by the end of the decade was already a major player in Hong Kong's movie industry.

This position allowed him an enormous amount of power during the '90s boom of Hong Kong cinema, and made him the discoverer of famous stars (like Stephen Chow) and producer of a wide array of interesting films by upcoming filmmakers.

Among those, Herman Yau's 'Baat sin Faan Dim Ji Yan Yuk Cha Siu Baau', or 'The Untold Story' as it is widely better known, is one of the most popular in the Western world, and one of the better known movies of the CAT III rating that was introduced by the Hong Kong government during those years.

Supposedly based on a "true crime story," 'The Untold Story' is a very powerful film that truly lives to its reputation as one of the most brutal films of Hong Kong cinema.

The plot starts with the discovery of a plastic bag containing the severed hands of a person in a lonely Macao beach. The young and unexperienced police team assigned to the case is clueless as they had never faced something so horrible, but lead by the suave officer Lee (Danny Lee), they find some clues pointing to Wong Chi Hang (Anthony Wong), the owner of the popular Eight Immortals Restaurant.

As the cops find out that Wong just bought the place to his former boss, they try to track down the previous owner, but every attempt to find him or his family prove futile.

The discovery of Wong's dark past prompts his arrest, but he still refuses to admit having committed the crime. Officer Lee decides to take severe measures, but not even he will be prepared to hear Wong's, thus far untold story.

Written by Law Kam Fai (author of another famous CAT III film, 'Dr. Lamb'), the movie develops as a police procedural movie, detailing the work of the cops to figure out the responsible of the crime; however, two extremely different elements set 'The Untold Story' apart from similar stories: the dark and extremely brutal portrayal of the psycho killer, and the odd addition of offbeat comedy thrown in to balance the grittier aspects of the movie.

While this strange mixture of genres may sound unappealing (and honestly at first sight looks unappealing too), it surprisingly works within the movie, and gives good balance to the overall darkness of the story.

Appropriately, in the end it is the horror element the one that dominates the film in a terrific brutal finale that by now is definitely a classic of '90s CAT III movies.

Famed for being one of the most shocking Asian horror movies, 'The Untold Story' is surprisingly not as gory as one would expect with that reputation; however, this is not saying that the film doesn't live to the hype, as it is definitely a shocking experience although for a very different reason.

Director Herman Yau cleverly chooses to portray the grotesque details of the crime in a relatively subtle, unseen way; but the way he executes the scenes allow for a far more powerful effect as plays with the imagination making the violence portrayed frighteningly real despite not being too graphic.

The raw and gritty style Yau uses for his film (mainly for budgetary reasons) only enhance the realism of the movie, and together with Wong's brilliant performance make a movie very hard to forget.

Definitely one of the elements that really make the difference between 'The Untold Story' and similar exploitation movies is the top notch performance of Anthony Wong as the enigmatic Wong Chi Hang.

He captures so well the traits of this unbalanced psychotic character that one can't help but believe that the man on screen is truly a demented person.

Danny Lee as the Officer in charge of the case offers the balance between the sadistic darkness of Wong and the at times silly comedy of the police team.

Lee's smooth and witty character contrasts with the clumsiness and naiveté of the young cops, portrayed effectively although somewhat average by equally young actors.

The exception is Emily Kwan, who plays Bo, the only female in the team and therefore the one who has to prove that she is as capable as the guys to do the police work.

In closing, sure, at times 'The Untold Story' is often hard to watch, but it's definitely never boring, and while crude, the portrait of sadistic violence it makes of the crime is captivating in a way that few horror movies are.

While this is definitely one of the best CAT III movies of its time, it's not without flaws, as the budgetary constrains really took its toll in the movie.

Anyways, what most viewers have criticized about 'The Untold Story' is the odd mixture of comedy in the movie, as it seems to add an unnecessary source of silliness to an otherwise brutal movie!

Personally, I think that, while not exactly subtle, the comedy do adds to the "charm" of the film, and helps to break the tension in a very dark movie. It may not seem appropriate at first sight, but it's not really a terrible flaw, as some may have pointed out to me down the years.

In the realms of the horror genre, Herman Yau's 'Baat sin Faan Dim Ji Yan Yuk Cha Siu Baau', is now a classic of Hong Kong cinema, and essential viewing for those interested in the infamous exploitation movies rated as CAT III.

It's not a movie for everyone, but if you have an interest for gritty tales of serial killers, 'The Untold Story' (especially now, as it's just been released as a Special Edition Blu-ray by MVD Visual) is a must-see! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

The Documentary, Category 3, The Untold Story of Hong Kong Exploitation Cantonese Carnage, an Interview with Rick Baker
Commentary with Herman Yau
Commentary with Anthony Wong
Commentary with Art Ettinger & Bruce Holecheck
Booklet written by Art Ettinger of Ultra Violent Magazine

Amazon Purchase Link

Original Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Delta Rae - Coming Home To Carolina' [Blu-ray]
(Delta Rae / Blu-ray+DVD+CD / NR / 2020 / Cleopatra Records - MVD Visual)

Overview: This electrifying concert film, Coming Home To Carolina was filmed with fourteen 4K Ultra Hi Def Cameras, before hometown fans in Raleigh, North Carolina, during their final shows one week before Christmas, from their highly successful 2019 sold out Take Me There Tour.

It features some of the bands biggest hits including 'Take Me There', 'Down By The River', 'Dance In The Graveyard' interspersed with scenic performance scenes at Raleigh River, Interview segments at the bands home where they recorded most of their first album of songs, ending in a bonfire jam at the Local Watering Hole!

Blu-ray Verdict: Earthy, familial alt-pop outfit Delta Rae skillfully juggle gospel-tinged country-rock, sensual blue-eyed soul, and harmony-laden Americana, resulting in an infectious, radio-ready sound.

Formed in 2009 as a four-piece around the talents of siblings Ian, Eric, and Brittany Hölljes, along with Elizabeth Hopkins, the North Carolina-based band expanded to a sextet the following year with the additions of Mike McKee and Grant Emerson.

In 2011 the group inked a deal with Sire/Warner Bros. after a particularly impressive in-office audition for Seymour Stein, who was blown away by Hopkins and the Hölljes siblings’ powerful voices. The resulting Carry the Fire, their major-label debut, arrived in 2012.

Carry the Fire reached #11 on the U.S. Heatseekers chart and 13 on the folk chart. Delta Rae released their second album, After It All, in the spring of 2015.

Following a relocation to Nashville, the band signed with Big Machine in 2017 and issued a pair of EPs — A Long and Happy Life and The Blackbird Sessions — in quick succession.

The front part of 2019 saw a spate of new singles, though in July of that year, Delta Rae announced their departure from Big Machine following a massive company buyout.

Choosing to go independent, they quickly launched a massively successful crowd-funding campaign for their next release, a two-part double album called The Light & the Dark. The first volume, The Light, appeared in March 2020.

1. 'Take Me There'
2. 'Holding On To Good'
3. 'Outlaws'
4. 'Out Of The Badlands'
5. 'Country House'
6. 'Surrounded'
7. 'Pay No Rent'
8. 'Any Better Than This'
9. 'The Wrong Ocean'
10. 'If I Loved You'
11. 'Morning Comes'
12. 'Bottom Of The River'
13. 'The Chain'
14. 'Dance In The Graveyards'

This fantastically ambient, colorful and vibrant new live concert opens with the upbeat and poppy 'Take Me There' and continues neatly onward with the foot-tappin' melodic brilliance of 'Holding On To Good,' the euphoric 'Outlaws,' the fast-paced, yet always sculptured 'Out Of The Badlands' and then both the low brow ballad 'Country House' and the eclectic, hunched-slung vibe of 'Surrounded.'

Up next is the Gospel-esque jaunt of 'Pay No Rent' which is followed by the finger-snappin', one-two pop bounce of 'Any Better Than This,' the soaring 'The Wrong Ocean' and then one of my own personal favorites, the country pop flow of 'If I Loved You.'

This quite magnificent live concert recording then rounds out with the strong-boned melodies of 'Morning Comes' (which, trust me, you should definitely watch the vid for!!), the Historical reach back about the Salem witch trials, and the oppression of women in accusation of witchcraft in the name of God, within the emphatic 'Bottom Of The River,' and then closes on a cover of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain,' leaving us with their embodiment of Dia de los Muertos (especially within their video, of course), 'Dance In The Graveyards'

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Materials inside this Special Edition packaging of Interview segments at the bands home where they recorded most of their first album of songs, and a lovely Audio CD soundtrack too!

www.DeltaRae.com

Official Blu-ray+DVD+CD Purchase Link

www.cleorecs.com





'V for Vendetta' (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital)
(Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, John Hurt, Stephen Fry, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital / R / (2005) 2020 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, 'V For Vendetta' tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked man (Hugo Weaving) known only as "V."

Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he urges his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression.

As Evey uncovers the truth about V's mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself - and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plan to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.

Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the simply brilliant 'V For Vendetta' via an expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this November 3rd, 2020.

For my money, this 'V For Vendetta: 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 'V For Vendetta' 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, 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; such as the brilliant "My Gift to You" scene, where He trusted her enough to give her the train. He knew they had no future together, but at least he had a chance to demonstrate his love to her, for the first and last time.

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 (most notably ALL the acting of Hugo Weaving in this movie, his face never revealed, yet his characteristics and head movements thoroughly impacted the movie, and his character nonetheless), which is now interestingly different, and more "alive" with this incredible 1080p Blu-ray rendering.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital 5.1, 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, this film marked the fantastic return of the Wachowski Brothers. Those who were disappointed with their last two efforts will not be disappointed here for there is no doubt that the Brothers are talented.

Here they make their comeback, but not as filmmakers, but as producers and writers. And to be honest, this film thrills you from beginning to end and you'll be blown away with all the adrenaline-induced excitement chock full within this dramatically intense thriller.

It's a finely complex storyline about "V", a reluctant freedom fighter, a rebel who fights for freedom against the government in London in another time line.

Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, a mild-mannered young woman named Evey is rescued from a life-and-death situation by this mysterious "V."

Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, "V" urges his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression.

As Evey uncovers the truth about "V"'s mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself - and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plot to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.

This is, perhaps, the first and fully realized and most successful of all the Moore adaptations. What I liked about this film was the way it balances action and drama. The script is fantastic and the directing is equally worth a mention.

The assistant director on the Matrix movies (James McTeigue) really has some talent and handles the action and drama very well.

As noted, the film is fast-paced and exciting and it is also politically charged and quite controversial at times, but that is the whole point.

It makes you think about the current situation, how well the government is handling the situation of terrorism and such. Ergo, "V" serves as an anti-hero on a quest for freedom where his actions are right, but his methods are wrong.

'V For Vendetta' focuses on the source material of the book, ala more on the characters than on the action. More on the emotions and the drama than on the violence.

Indeed, the film doesn't glorify "V" as a terrorist, but shows that under certain circumstances he was tempted to be what he is. Furthermore, the film has an intriguing atmosphere throughout, never once boring, and features an apocalyptic future that really heightens the tension with stark, dark set designing and stunning cinematography.

The action is striking and the performances in the dramatic moments are totally thrilling, which means that this film is simply terrific from start to finish.

Always hidden behind the creepy mask, Hugo Weaving as "V" really proves he is a versatile actor. His character provokes thoughtful questions in a dystopian future and every emotion of his character is brought out by Weavings subtle, nuanced performance.

Portman, on the other hand, also excels, and here with a convincing accent she is well liked as the heroine of the film. The scenes between Evey and "V" are touching with the rest of the film just as superb in its execution.

In closing, 'V For Vendetta' is a spellbinding adventure, chock full of exciting action, has some superb directing and writing to back it, and comes complete with a very thoughtful message.

Ultra HD showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.

'V For Vendetta' will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $24.99 (expected retail price) and features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc of 'V For Vendetta'.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of 'V For Vendetta' features a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

The 'V For Vendetta' Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and three new special features, a Blu-ray disc with the film in high definition and the previously released special features in high definition, and a Digital version of the movie.

Fans can also own 'V For Vendetta' in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on November 3rd, 2020.

To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

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

New Special Features on 4K UHD Disc:
V For Vendetta Unmasked
• Natalie Portman's Never-Before-Seen Audition: Explore the depth of Evey's character with Natalie Portman's
• James McTeigue & Lana Wachowski in Conversation

Previously released Special Features on Blu-ray Disc:
• Freedom! Forever!: Making V For Vendetta – The cast and crew of V For Vendetta reveal the intense filmmaking process
• Designing the Near Future – A look at the artistic process of creating the frightening future world of V
• Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot – The history behind the story of Guy Fawkes
• England Prevails: V For Vendetta and the New Wave in Comics – The origins of the original V story is illuminated
• Cat Power Montage – Cat Power song played under images of the film
• Theatrical Trailer
• Easter Egg: Hidden Bonus: Saturday Night Live Digital Short

Official 'V For Vendetta' 4K Trailer

'V For Vendetta: 4K Ultra HD' Blu-ray Amazon Purchase Link

www.WarnerBros.com





'Mutiny: 4K Restoration' [Blu-ray]
(Mark Stevens, Angela Lansbury, Patric Knowles, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1952) 2020 / VCI Entertainment - MVD Visual)

Overview: Produced from a new restoration re-mastered from the original 35mm negatives in 4K, in gorgeous Technicolor, 'Mutiny' is set during the War of 1812.

The United States, in need of gold, arranges with a French group to lend the government $10 million in bullion. To bring the gold here, and American ship must break through the British blockade.

A young captain accepts the dangerous assignment and after several narrow escapes, the ship finally reaches France. No sooner is the gold aboard the American ship, when the crew mutinies and sets the captain adrift, giving him one chance in a thousand to reach shore.

Blu-ray Verdict: Though about average overall, 'Mutiny' has some strengths, with an interesting period/adventure setting and a couple of good performances.

The story includes some good action sequences that help make up for the less interesting stretches. The shipboard atmosphere generally works well, and where once the lighting and photography were so dark that it blended together, now here on this wondrous 4K restoration, they all separate and come alive!

The set up has Mark Stevens as the captain of a ship carrying out a special mission during the War of 1812, with Patric Knowles as a disgraced captain who is now serving as second in command, Angela Lansbury as Knowles's greedy and domineering wife, and a mutinous gun crew looking for a way to turn things to their own advantage.

It's interesting in taking the historical setting as the backdrop to what becomes a largely private battle of nerves and wills. The circumstances of the war do come into play often enough to make the setting relevant, which I liked and admired.

Knowles is effective in portraying his complicated, somewhat indecisive character, Lansbury gets the kind of role that she used to perform quite believably, and Rhys Williams and Gene Evans are good as the ringleaders of the mutineers. Stevens is solid, but sometimes slightly lacking in energy, as the captain.

The finale is the best part of the movie, and it is set up nicely, leading to a three-way showdown with plenty of suspense and action, plus an interesting depiction of a primitive submarine.

It's good enough to make up for an overall lack of consistency in much of the rest of the movie. In the earlier parts, especially, the script sometimes takes too long to establish simple points, and it also has some stretches in which some weak dialogue weighs it down.

So sire, it's by no means perfect, but it does have enough to fill its relatively short running time with a generally interesting story. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and now Restored to a beautiful HD 1080p 4/3 and comes with the Bonus Feature of the Warner Pathe Newsreel Popeye Cartoon "Cookin' With Gags."

The film will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on December 15th, 2020 via VCI Entertainment / MVD Visual.

Amazon Purchase Link

www.MVDvisual.com





'Riders Of Death Valley: 4K Restoration' [Blu-ray]
(Dick Foran, Leo Carrillo, Buck Jones, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1941) 2020 / VCI Entertainment - MVD Visual)

Overview: This western serial has our able heroes escaping various perils devised by the evil Wolfe Reade and his pack of outlaws, who wish to lay claim to a fabled lost mine.

Blu-ray Verdict: Universal reportedly budgeted one million dollars for 'Riders of Death Valley,' a sum unheard of in B-movie circles back then!

With money like that spent on it, it was guaranteed to have a little more of everything: a large cast, extensive location shots, lots of action, plenty of chases and shootouts, et al.

In spite of the grand scale though there are also plenty of the usual B-movie troupes, like obvious stock footage shots used, nobody can hit the broadside of a barn (on both sides of the law) and, well there's just too much overkill in trying to raise this serial above the norm, in my honest opinion.

The plot is simple: The riders of the title are a group of men protecting local miners from the bad guys. Heading up the riders are Jim Benton and his pal Tombstone (Dick Foran, Buck Jones).

Opposing them are Wolf Reade (Charles Bickford) and his "Wolf Pack" backed up by respectable town citizens Kirby and Davis (James Blaine, Monte Blue).

Benton acquires joint ownership in the Lost Aztec Mine with heroine Mary (Jeanne Kelly) and the rest of the story concerns their efforts to hold on to their property.

Dick Foran, who appears to do most of his own action scenes, makes a likeable hero in the lead. The legendary Buck Jones, who had been around westerns since 1918, was about to kickstart his career after this one in the 'Rough Rider' series, but sadly passed away in 1942.

Jones, getting along in years, is visibly doubled (by Rod Cameron, I'm told) in virtually all of his action and riding scenes, but that's ok, as we don't believe for a second most all these "cowboys" are doing all these wild stunts anyway!

Rounding out the riders are Leo Carillo, playing virtually the same character of Pancho that he would portray in the 'Cisco Kid' series, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams as "Borax", Glenn Strange as "Tex" and Noah Berry Jr. as "Smokey" - a character we hardly ever see!

Veteran Edmund Cobb plays the mine foreman who can't seem to keep the baddies locked up and on the wrong side of the law, this serial was elevated a notch by the casting of Bickford (in black hat and mustache) as the chief villain.

As far as I know, this was his only B-Western and his "Wolf Pack" includes such luminaries as Lon Chaney Jr. (wasted again, of course), Roy Barcroft and Dick Alexander.

In closing, all in all, 'Riders of Death Valley' (containing all 15 original Chapters, and now fully restored from a new 4K scan of the Studio’s 35mm fine grain, and released by VCI Entertainment and MVD Visual) is one of the better western serials of the period, although Republic Pictures probably could have done it better with less.

This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and now Restored to a beautiful HD 1080p 4/3 and comes with the Bonus Features of a Commentary on Chapters 1 & 2 by Toby Roan, writer and film historian; Original Serial Trailers; and a Photo & Poster Gallery.

The film will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on November 24th, 2020 via VCI Entertainment / MVD Visual.

Amazon Purchase Link

www.MVDvisual.com





'Bill & Ted Face the Music' (Blu-ray + Digital)
(Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Kid Cudi, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2020 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: The stakes are higher than ever for the time-traveling exploits of William ‘Bill’ S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) and Theodore ‘Ted’ Logan (Keanu Reeves).

Yet to fulfill their rock and roll destiny, the now middle-aged best friends set out on a new adventure when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it.

Along the way, they will be helped by their daughters, a new batch of historical figures, and a few music legends — to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe!

Blu-ray Verdict: If you liked the previous Bill & Ted movies, then this one continues in the same tradition. Time is up for Bill & Ted to save the world, and they must play their song that will unite the world!

Only problem is, they've been trying for the past 25 years and haven't come up with anything, and now they must play their song that evening!

That said, and with both Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter older than when they started this trilogy (aren't we all!), and with their dumb teen routine really not now befitting of two men in their fifties, to try and get around this, the writers of 'Face The Music' introduce us to the guys' twenty-four-year-old daughters Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Samara Weaving).

So this time around, while Bill & Ted are jumping through time trying to find their future selves with "the song", their daughters Billie and Thea decide to secretly help their dads out with another time machine and collect famous musicians throughout history so they will be ready to play when the time comes!

Hilarity ensues, and somehow they all end up knocking on Death's door to try and get the band back together!

Overall it's the same old funny antics of Bill & Ted, and it's great they brought back so much of the original cast, along with cameos from other famous people (the Dave Grohl part was particularly outstanding!).

Furthermore, this third movie has a plot that's more streamlined like the first film rather than the second. This is a good thing. The daughters are a fantastic addition and used to their strengths.

They aren't here to replace our leads but to give them a shot of youthfulness. And it works!

Some of the jokes however don't land as well as they should. Some of that is due to editing and directing rather than the actors or writing and the ending, although abrupt, is satisfying and actually does a very good job of bringing some reasonable answers to some obvious questions.

Such as, "How was a single SONG going to unite the whole world?"

To my mind, and given the "subject matter," this movie does not disappoint and I personally think it ends the saga on a good note, brining some finality to Bill & Ted's most excellent adventure.

Oh, and be sure to watch the clip after the credits as you'll get a good smile from it! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

The Official Bill & Ted Face the Music Panel at Comic-Con@Home
Be Excellent to Each Other: Behind the Scenes with Cast and Crew
A Most Triumphant Duo
Social Piece (Excellence)
Death's Crib

'Bill & Ted Face the Music' will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on November 10th, 2020.

The Blu-ray disc features the film and special features in hi-definition and the DVD features the film and special features in standard definition. Both versions feature a Digital version of the film.

Official 'Bill & Ted Dace the Music' Facebook Page

Amazon Purchase Link

www.WarnerBros.com





'Lucy Worsley's Royal Palace Secrets'
(DVD / G / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: Lucy Worsley explores three extraordinary royal palaces: the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Kensington Palace.

During lockdown they're closed to visitors, but Lucy has the keys. From William the Conqueror to Princess Diana, they tell the story of almost a thousand years of British monarchy.

DVD Verdict: If you're looking for the definition of quirky charm, you'll find it in historian and chief curator of England's historic royal Palaces, Lucy Worsley!

In this latest of her delightful specials, which always feel like an outing with a smart, slightly eccentric friend who does "proper" with a wink, she gives a private tour of three London landmarks: Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London and Kensington Palace.

"I'm always keen to get my hands on the dressing-up box or anything that makes history more than me just telling you stuff," Worsley says at the beginning of the how.

Hence, this getup as Anne Boleyn (above), second wife of Henry VIII, beheaded at the Tower of London. "I was trying to imagine what it must have been like for her to face her unjust death with such dignity," Worsley says of her walk in Anne's doomed footsteps across Tower Green.

At Kensington Palace, Worsley shows us the velvet dress Princess Diana wore to dance with John Travolta at the White House in 1982. She was also surprised to be allowed to see the scrapbook of Princess (later Queen) Victoria's governess. "That was a privilege," she says. "It was such a moving expression of love."

Personally, I'm a BIG fan of Lucy Worsley's documentaries, and found this one to be incredibly informative and highly entertaining. In another very well done documentary of hers, 'Lucy Worsley's 12 Days of Tudor Christmas,' Worsley is, once again, at her best, making history fun and yet bringing us the "true" facts of the historical case too! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'The Age of Nature'
(DVD / NR / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: 'The Age of Nature' brings together inspirational contributors, rare archive material and stunning imagery from around the world, to give us a deeper understanding of Nature and our place within it.

DVD Verdict: 'The Age of Nature' explores humanity's relationship with nature and wildlife, as scientists and conservationists from all over the world examine ways we can restore our planet.

Indeed, this wondrous documentary series - narrated by actor Uma Thurman - asks whether newfound awareness of nature could bring about a new chapter in the human story, which is as deep a psyche hole as they could have gone, for my money!

The state of the environment as approached by television frequently becomes a subject fraught with terror, horror, guilt, forbidding carbon footprints and intimations of imminent incineration.

But 'The Age of Nature' is not just a beautifully made series, it’s also a surprisingly joyful one. It’s about rehabilitation — how humans are correcting environmental outrages from Panama to Mozambique to Central China to Yellowstone Park — and how forgiving Mother Nature can be if we just pay her some affectionate attention.

The mixed message, of course, is that you’re tempted to push mom till you push her too far!

Indeed, this breathtaking, three-part documentary series, filmed on seven continents, presents creative ideas from around the globe for dealing with such pressing issues as climate change, animal extinction, and environmental degradation.

Each episode (Episode 1 "Awakening"; Episode 2 "Understanding"; and Episode 3 "Changing") highlights some of the latest scientific research that helps us understand the workings of the planet and explores effective strategies for restoring the environment, re-wilding landscapes and maintaining a balance between species.

The series examines the work of a diverse international scientific community as well as indigenous citizen activists committed to bringing about change in their local communities. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Frontline: Policing The Police 2020'
(DVD / PG-13 / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: Race, policing and the struggle to hold departments accountable. In the wake of George Floyd's killing, New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb examines prospects for reform, and returns to the case of one troubled department he first visited in 2016.

DVD Verdict: Against the backdrop of a pandemic that is disproportionately killing Black people, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of the police in 2020 sparked a push for racial justice and calls for change.

FRONTLINE and New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb examine the realities of race and policing in America, asking the question: Can policing be done differently — and is there the will to make the change?

The film explores the story of Newark, New Jersey, which has been undergoing an experiment in police reform for several years. In many cities across America this summer, police met both protesters and members of the media with force.

But things remained relatively calm in Newark — whose police force was ordered to reform by the Department of Justice in 2016 after a federal investigation found a pattern of civil rights abuses, the brunt of which was borne by Black and Latino residents.

Policing the Police 2020 traces how the reform effort has played out in Newark — where prior to federal intervention, approximately 75 percent of stops by officers were found to have no documented legal justification — and how President Trump's Department of Justice has largely abandoned federal efforts to compel systemic change in police departments.

“Since the 1967 riots that erupted after the beating of a black cab driver by two white police officers, the Newark Police Department has been haunted by allegations of discriminatory policing, excessive use of force, and a severe lack of accountability,” voices New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb, a historian at Columbia Journalism School who has written about issues of race and policing for The New Yorker for years.

After a three-year investigation, the DOJ found systemic civil rights abuses by the Newark police, noting that approximately 75 percent of stops by officers had no legal justification.

The DOJ also found cases where police used excessive force against residents, stole their belongings, and arrested people for criticizing or questioning their actions — and, as aforementioned, it ordered Newark to reform.

With gripping, on-the-ground access, 'Frontline: Policing The Police' gives viewers a raw and complex look at the challenge of changing how cops operate in a place like Newark: a poor city plagued by violent crime, where the victims and the perpetrators are usually black, and the police force itself is largely black and Latino.

The film is supported by Chasing the Dream, a public media initiative from The WNET Group in New York that examines poverty, justice and economic opportunity in America. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'The Trouble with Maggie Cole'
(Dawn French, Mark Heap, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Vicki Pepperdine, Patrick Robinson, et al / 2-DVD / TV-14 / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: 'The Trouble with Maggie Cole' follows the stories and fall out for Maggie Cole, played by Dawn French ('The Vicar of Dibley'), who doesn't pay attention to the cautionary adage that "those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"!

DVD Verdict: Maggie Cole is the self-appointed oracle of Thurlbury, a close-knit town. When a radio journalist interviews Maggie, she gives him far more detail and embellishment about the locals and their personal lives than he was counting on.

When the interview is played in full, all the guarded secrets, indiscretions and gossip are broadcast for the whole county to hear, changing life in Thurlbury forever.

When a radio journalist interviews Maggie Cole (Dawn French, The Vicar of Dibley) for a small piece about local life in their small coastal community, she gives him far more detail – and embellishment – about the locals and their personal lives than he was counting on.

In the days and weeks following the show’s broadcast, Maggie’s over-zealous chit-chat gets her into serious hot water, as the fallout from her very public gossip-fest disrupts the lives of her fellow residents.

Personally, I think the writing is beautiful. The dialogue flows nicely and there are some very clever details in it that many writers would ordinarily miss.

I would be interested to see other projects by this writer and how he develops, as there's such warmth and heart in the writing that can't be learned, you just have to have it, you know!

Now I have to say that the actors that are good are VERY good. Dawn French is fabulous in the title role. Mark Heap is deliciously awkward in his role as Maggie's husband.

Julie Hesmondalgh is adorable and warm as Maggie's best friend and her love interest played by Patrick Robinson is brilliantly natural. Kerry Howard does a terrific job with the west country accent, although I assume she may originally be from the region.

Laurie Kynastan is a new face to me, but nonetheless his acting ability is something very special and I imagine he's one to watch in the future.

However some of the other casting choices are nothing short of appalling! Worst of all has to be the supposed Polish father and daughter. If Tomi May isn't putting on an accent, then he's just a terrible actor and should never have been cast!

Emily Reid is even worse, neither looking nor sounding Polish and having zero acting ability or charm. As a Polish person myself, I feel very offended by these choices, as we're crying out for decent representation, but get slapped in the face with these!

I also feel the casting of Rocco Padden as Kerry Howard's son was a poor choice. The boy seems streets behind the acting level of his classmate, Jamie Talbot (who isn't even listed in the cast!), who is superb with his expressions and naturally funny delivery.

It's a real shame and maybe Rocco Padden will improve someday, but there's no point in casting a child that can't act until they've grown in their ability as it will just ruin his career before it's started!

Also, sorry, but I don't think Holly Edwin fits very well with Laurie Kynastan. They simply look wrong as a couple, which again feels like a mistake by casting. Maybe Holly Edwin has great ability, but it is rather distracting when a couple just LOOK wrong, you know!

I know these are petty and minor niggles too, but all in all, 'The Trouble with Maggie Cole' is a very enjoyable watch, that also features great wardrobe choices and scenery galore to melt into.

Ergo, and packed full of comedy, intrigue and suspense, 'The Trouble with Maggie Cole' is a warmly humorous yet distinctly cautionary tale about the perils of passing on unfounded gossip! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and includes the Bonus Video of:

Friendship & Forgiveness
The Garden Party
Do You Gave Floats in Poland?
Rumours, Gossip & Whispers

www.PBS.org





'Hacking Your Mind'
(Jacob Ward / 2-DVD / NR / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: This amazing series takes you from the farthest corners of the globe to the inside of your mind, guided by Jacob Ward, who brings discoveries and laughter to "The Today Show." Discover why it’s incredibly easy for others to “hack” into your mind and how you can defend yourself.

DVD Verdict: Simply put, this brilliant 'Hacking Your Mind' takes you inside the world of hackers ­­— from presidential campaigns and social media companies, to corporate marketers and governments — to reveal how they influence your behavior without your even being aware of it.

The series is hosted by Jacob Ward, longtime editor of “Popular Science” and NBC’s science correspondent and this show also features best-selling authors, including Michael Lewis (“Moneyball,” “The Big Short”) and Nobel Prize winners, including Daniel Kahneman (“Thinking, Fast and Slow”) and Richard Thaler, creator of behavioral economics.

'Hacking Your Mind' is a fun and fast-paced adventure filled with discoveries that are incredibly relevant to your life, to our nation and our world.

Throughout the program, discover how we evolved to make many of our decisions not based on what we “think,” but based on our feelings, intuition and habits.

This enables us to make decisions almost instantly, as though we’re operating on autopilot. Most of the time these autopilot processes serve us well, but they can also lead us to make predictable mistakes.

Ward also reveals how these common mistakes make us vulnerable to bias and misinformation. Even more important, Ward will show us how we can protect ourselves and fight back, so you can learn how to hack your own mind to make your life better, and by doing it, improve the lives of everyone around you. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





Masterpiece: Victoria - Complete Seasons 1,2&3
(Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, Laurence Fox, Kate Fleetwood / 9-DVD / NR / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: Discover all three seasons of the unmissable global hit drama starring Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria, a nineteenth-century heroine for our times.

This landmark account of the life of one of history’s greatest monarchs begins as Victoria takes her first faltering steps from capricious, hormonal teenager to respected monarch, navigating palace intrigue and constitutional crises alongside an epic romance with her cousin Prince Albert (Tom Hughes).

As Victoria’s reign continues, she must face the very modern challenge of balancing life as a mother and wife with her work as ruler of the most powerful nation on earth.

As the lavish saga unfolds against the backdrop of pivotal moments in history, the Queen and Prince Albert must meet each public challenge while confronting profound personal change.

DVD Verdict: Personally, I love historical/period dramas and from the off, the advertising for 'Victoria' was appetizing, the cast a super talented one, and Queen Victoria herself was an interesting historical figure with an interesting life.

Similarly her reign of 64 years (the longest for any ruler for over a century before topped by our present queen Elizabeth II) is a landmark one. So 'Victoria' had so much potential.

That said, and having now watched all three seasons of 'Victoria' back-to-back, sure, ok, admittedly the series is a wee bit uneven in places, with a good deal of it being in the transitional stages, so to speak, but my goodness, it's a right royal to-do, that's for darn sure!

Anyhoo, what I can say is that it keeps you watching, drawn into her world due to being so captivating with regard its overall production and costume values and, for the most part, all the primary actors too, of course.

Again, there is no doubt about it, 'Victoria' does look amazing, so much so that there are times when I myself wished I had lived back then (albit not for long, given that times young death rates!)

The radiant photography never put a foot wrong whilst the costumes are of sheer sumptuousness, the scenery is enough to take the breath away and the interiors and buildings similarly are stately and opulent, whether in England or abroad.

Oh, and for my humble money's worth, the episode partly set in France was a major standout (Ohh la-la!").

I also LOVE the music too, with the main theme/opening title music not being one to forget in the long run. It has a lot of presence while having the ability to tone down when needed.

Most all the writing intrigues also, as do some of the relationships (particularly Victoria and Melbourne that was also emotionally investable), and there are some compelling storylines which makes forever-a-dull moment, so to speak.

Another big reason for why this series resonates with me so much is the overall acting; or, at least, most of it. Jenna Coleman is both regal and vulnerable in the title role, as well as luminous, which only equals impeccable acting.

To me it didn't matter whether she was too pretty or a little too tall (if remembered correctly, Victoria was actually under 5 foot, Coleman is slightly over that).

Other particularly good performances are Paul Rhys, suitably hateable and stern without being one-dimensional or pantomimic, and especially, always-remarkable actor Rufus Sewell, who is oh-so beautifully cast here.

This eight-part drama wears its moral scheme on its sleeve by contrasting the hissable villain the Duke of Cumberland (Peter Firth), with the aforementioned pragmatic, yet goodhearted, Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell), who admires the Queen yet remains convinced that she has to transform herself from an immature girl into suitably monarchical material, and will try his utmost to achieve that transformation.

Sometimes he has to be cruel to be kind, but all in a good cause. In between these two extremes stands the Duke of Wellington (Peter Bowles), and Sir Robert Peel (Nigel Lindsay), both members of the Tory Party (and hence implacably opposed to Melbourne's politics), but interested in maintaining the business of government.

Same goes for the wonderful supporting cast. Adored the prickly and snobby Lahzen, the sarcastic Penge, David Oake's caddish yet warmhearted Ernest, sympathized with Catherine Flemming's Duchess of Kent, and found Alex Jenning's King Leopold so freaking amusing that I would so love to have an uncle like that!

Perhaps the only disappointment for me was the "downstairs" love story. I was just not invested in Francatelli and Nancy's romance, and I felt like I was forced to endure rather than relish it.

Unfortunately, as with all good things, there are exceptions. Like, personally, I didn't think much of Nigel Lindsay, who constantly came over as over-compensating, but the biggest exception was a woefully cast and very anemic Tom Hughes as Albert.

For my part, and although the script was quite brilliant throughout, I just didn't detect any chemistry between him and Coleman and never believed they were in love. It was not a love at first sight relationship purposefully by all means, but there was not much evidence of it changing or growing.

It was far more invested in the chemistry between Coleman and Sewell, which was so poignantly and sympathetically handled.

However, if you want both sides of the story here, so to speak, much more of an issue for me was the overall handling of some of the larger storylines.

And whether the writing tended to be somewhat stilted, thankfully it never took me out of the time period (albeit having some overly melodramatic soap opera tones at times!).

People - fans or not - will always have complaints regarding the historical inaccuracies, but when it revolves around a famous and important historical figure/ruler with an interesting life that was played out before a nation, all the personal stuff was kept, well, personal!

Ergo, how do we know what happened and what was said behind closed doors, so why people make a fuss abut such things is totally beyond me, sorry.

Overall, worthy of a LOT of admiration, 'Victoria' is a drama that goes very deep into the story of this monarch who, with the permission of the current Queen, was the monarch with the longest reign in British history, so there is a lot to tell.

All the small details of what happened wouldn't be appreciated if it weren't for the amazing performance that Jenna Coleman gives us all. Again, she is simply wonderful in her role on a young Victoria and it is through her eyes that we learn along with her, through her voice that we are taught how a ruler is born.

Of course, her aforementioned great supporting cast "allow" her to shine even more in her performance and, considering their limited budget, the cinematography is wonderful, the clothing beautiful and the set designs simply breathtaking. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and includes over 100 minutes of Bonus Video including:

Cast Interviews
Tour of the Buckingham Palace Set
Creating the CGI Magic
An Icon for Women Today
Researching Victoria
The Costumes
Feodora: A New Dynamic
Lord Palmerston: The Foreign Secretary
And Much More!

www.PBS.org





'Garfield And Friends - Season 3'
(2-DVD / G / 2020 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Enjoy the complete third season of 'Garfield and Friends'! This hilarious DVD collection features classic episodes centered around the world’s most lovable feline Garfield, his owner Jon Arbuckle and his pal Odie.

DVD Verdict: Just to bring you up to date a wee bit, Garfield is a fictional cat and the protagonist of the comic strip Garfield, created by Jim Davis.

The comic strip centers on Garfield, portrayed as a lazy, fat, and cynical orange cat. He is noted for his love of lasagna, coffee and sleeping, and his hatred of Mondays, fellow cat Nermal (sometimes), raisins and exercise.

Here in 'Garfield And Friends - Season 3,' we get all 18 episodes from Season 3 of Garfield and Friends, and which also includes the episode shorts from U.S. Acres, which stars a group of barnyard animals!

So that's 430 minutes (or, over seven hours, in old money!) of incredible kids TV on two discs from PBS, where we get to watch as Garfield becomes a stowaway after Jon goes on a cruise, and as Garfield hosts a TV debate on “Why cats are better than dogs!”

In other episodes, Binky goes to the beach for a sandcastle contest; Orson declares that roosters can't fly for long periods of time; When Jon becomes a DJ, he suddenly becomes hip and forgets about his pets; Superspy Double-O Orson returns and battles the mysterious Cornfinger; and Odie's drooling ends up with Garfield in a diaper, and Roy opens a lemonade stand and offers all the lemonade you can drink, et al.

These classic episodes all centering around the world’s most lovable feline Garfield, his owner Jon Arbuckle, and his canine pal Odie will bring children, and their parents, hours of entertainment and laughter! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBSkids.org





'The Other Side of Madness: 4K Transfer' [Blu-ray]
(Brian Klinknett, Erica Bigelow, Paula Shannon, et al / Blu-ray+CD / NR / (1971) 2020 / The Film Detective)

Overview: 'The Other Side of Madness' (1971) returns nearly 50 years after its initial release!

An avant-garde retelling of the infamous Manson Murders, 'The Other Side of Madness' brings audiences closer to the events than most filmmakers have dared to go, with real life footage of Spahn Ranch and music performed by Charles Manson.

Directed by Frank Howard and produced by Wade Williams, this hypnotic film served as one of the first Helter Skelter recreations, filmed so close to the time of the events that Manson and his followers had yet to be sentenced for the vicious crimes.

Blu-ray Verdict: Known, since birth, as 'Frank Howard's Helter Skelter Murders,' the renamed 'The Other Side of Madness' (out now as a magnificent 4K Transfer From Original Camera Negative) is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most fascinating watches I have sat down to review for the longest time (having never originally seen it back in 1971, or thereafter).

Supposedly the very first picture to capitalize on the Manson Family Murders, the fact it was being filmed whilst their infamous trial was still going on makes knowing what happened thereafter even more of a visual delicacy.

Not something, in my book, having now viewed it twice, to be labelled as a "exploitation film," it doesn't feature any real blood and gore, per say, and the only sexual moments are when the hippies are doing their own thing, shall we say, given that it was the late '60s, after all.

Thus, 'The Other Side of Madness' takes its time getting to the core of the film, which is no bad thing, as I actually liked the way it steadily built on the facts and what (supposedly) made certain members do certain things and such.

Ergo, the Director, the aforementioned Frank Howard, takes his paced time in showing the life of the Manson Family, one growing, budding moment at a time. With none of them having so much as their own personal identity it was hard, as a viewer to latch onto any of them, or even care what happens to them, in truth.

Furthermore, the ones attributed to the killings are not even given names here, not even titled, nor labelled for the film, which means these "real life" killers truly come across as characters fliting back and forth across our screen, none of which hold any devoted stares or concern from us (which, I'm sure, was always the Director's intention).

The same goes for the nameless victims, but I would hazard a guess as that being more to do with Howard playing respect to the fallen, as opposed to wishing they too blend into the white noise that was their portrayed killers here.

Shot in black and white, the ambiance of that cinematographic choice is a first class visual choice and really eerily captures the mood of what must have been a most horridly dark, foreboding grey and harshly-lit night (in essence and weather) in real life for all concerned.

Lurching from shadow to shadow, Howard showcases his brilliance in both directing and cinematography angles and shots, especially those shot during the home invasion sequence. For buried within each moment, each shot, each still, these shadowy effects bring forth pockets of darkly depressing event, and highly menacing snap shots.

Featuring Brian Klinknett as the lead "killer," he delivers his lines as if he himself were truly crazy, his portrayal of a sneering and terrifying psychopath one for the ages. Indeed, when his character says "I am the Devil, coming to do the Devil's work", you genuinely believe what he is saying and had you been facing him, terrified at that time, you would have also known your time was up!

In closing, lest we forget the dynamic backbone of this film, the wondrous accompanying music that ebbs and flows throughout. Created by the brilliant, and uber-talented Sean Bonniwell, the tracks actually came from his very own band, The Music Machine and contain layers of excellently orchestrated psychedelic blues, infused proto-punk. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1:37.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

A New Documentary: 'The Other Side of Manson: An Interview with Producer Wade Williams'
Original Trailers from both Theatrical Releases
Musical CD with songs written and performed by Charles Manson!

'The Other Side of Madness' is available as part of a special-edition anniversary collector’s set with Bonus CD on Blu-ray ($29.95) and DVD ($21.95); or as a standard release, without Bonus CD, on Blu-ray ($24.99) and DVD ($19.99).

With only 1,500 Blu-ray copies and 2,000 Bonus CDs available, reserve a copy now BY CLICKING HERE!

www.TheFilmDetective.com





'The Broken Hearts Gallery' [Blu-ray]
(Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Molly Gordon, Phillipa Soo, Bernadette Peters, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / 2020 / Sony Pictures)

Overview: What if you saved a souvenir from every relationship you’ve ever been in? 'The Broken Hearts Gallery' follows the always unique Lucy, a 20-something art gallery assistant living in New York City, who also happens to be an emotional hoarder.

After she gets dumped by her latest boyfriend, Lucy is inspired to create The Broke Hearts Gallery, a pop-up space for the items love has left behind. Word of the gallery spreads, encouraging a movement and a fresh start for all the romantics out there, including Lucy herself.

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, those all-to-familiar rom-com beats are too hard to ignore in 'The Broken Hearts Gallery,' but what holds it all together is a spunky little (lead) performance from Geraldine Viswanathan (who plays Lucy, an art gallery assistant).

With a plot that's tailor-made for a romantic comedy (it has got a lot to do with Lucy's heartbreaks and the souvenirs she keeps from those broken relationships), 'The Broken Hearts Gallery' makes the city of New York look like a standout character.

Darc Montgomery plays Nick, the owner of a work-in-progress hotel, who bumps into Lucy in a rather unusual meet-cute. Their second (chance) encounter felt contrived as hell though.

When the duo decides to convert part of the hotel space into a gallery for exhibiting souvenirs from relationships that fell through, the film picks up speed, charm, and some romantic vibes.

I didn't expect many surprises in the screenplay (which occasionally descends into downright cheesiness), but what is definitely lacking is a rather distinct lack of under riding humor.

Here and there we get a chuckle or two, courtesy of the largely silent Jeff (Nathan Dales), Eva Woolf (a spirited Bernadette Peters), and Marcos (Arturo Castro), but it doesn't spoil anything, overall.

Indeed, 'The Broken Hearts Gallery; wholly rides on Geraldine's star-making role and the chemistry she shares with Dacre, whose role was undertaken just perfectly.

While the inclusion of multi-ethnic (there's Utkarsh Ambudkar playing Max Vora, presumably of Indian origin) and LGBTQ (Philippa Soo plays Nadine, a lesbian) characters is commendable, they often recede conveniently into the background for the central plot to play out.

Ergo, this film is cute, quaint, not unfamiliar, cozy and Alar Kivilo's cinematography is a plus, that's for sure. Indeed, 'The Broken Hearts Gallery,' written and directed by Natalie Krinsky, is certainly one for audiences who savor their romantic comedies with a tolerable dose of clichés and syrupy feels (much like me, of course). This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes wit h the Special Features of:

• Gag Reel
• Behind-the-Scenes Vignettes

'The Broken Hearts Gallery' [Blu-ray] is out this November 17th, 2020 via Sony Pictures.

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'He Came from the Swamp: William Grefé Collection'
(Rita Hayworth, Richard Jaeckel, Christopher George, John Darrell, Jeremy Slate, et al / 4-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: Killer sharks and human jellyfish and living mummies, oh my! Arrow Video is proud to present the first ever collection of works by William Wild Bill Grefé, the maverick filmmaker who braved the deep, dark depths of the Florida everglades to deliver some of the most outrageous exploitation fare ever to go-go dance its way across drive-in screens.

Bringing together seven of Grefé s most outlandish features, all new to Blu-ray, 'He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefé Collection' packs in a macabre menagerie of demented jellyfish men (Sting of Death), zombified witch doctors (Death Curse of Tartu), homicidal hippies (The Hooked Generation) and seductive matrons (The Naked Zoo) not to mention the ubiquitous go-go dancing college kids to create one of the most wildly entertaining box-sets of all time!

Blu-ray Verdict: First up is 'Sting of Death', and opens with a college girl, Karen, who visits her dad, a marine biologist, at his island compound in the Florida Everglades.

Her partying friends show up, dance to Neil Sedaka tunes, and taunt the doctor's creepy assistant, Egon. Soon they're victims of a wetsuit-wearing. bipedal jellyfish monster. Jealous of Karen's boyfriend, Egon kidnaps her and carries her to his secret underground lair.

The main thing I dug about this movie is the cool pad under the sea where the jellyfish man hangs out! You swim down to the bottom of the lake and you find a cave. Swim through the cave you end up in a swingin' mad scientist lab/paradise cove!

It's all so really cool. You come up through the floor of the lab and you're not underwater anymore. Surrounded by big foam rocks and special '60s science equipment in the walls, it's like a honeymoon suite or something!

Plus, the color in this movie is really nice and it makes everything seem a little extra appealing. Maybe that's why I was so impressed with this little hideout under the sea (and the entire movie, of course!).

Next up is 'Death Curse of Tartu', where four students on an archaeology assignment in the Everglades decide to throw a dance party on the burial site of an ancient Indian medicine man named Tartu. He returns from the dead, in the form of various animals, to take his revenge on those who desecrated his grave site.

'Death Curse of Tartu' was a staple of late night insomniacs in the pre-cable days of television, along with other no budget wonders such as 'They Saved Hitler's Brain,' 'Women of the Prehistoric Planet,' and 'Zontar the Thing from Venus.'

Although the plot dredges up the overworked "Mummy vowing vengeance against all those who desecrate his tomb" from the Universal WW2 days, other aspects of this feature point toward the natural horror cycle of the '70s ('Frogs' or 'Kingdom of the Spiders') and the whole teenagers in peril subgenre of horror in the '80s.

Yes, the acting is awful, there's little in the way of suspense, and the teens are required to do dumb and stupid things, but you still have to admire Miami-born writer/director William Grefé, already a veteran of four features by this time!

Then we get 'The Hooked Generation', which is about a gang of dope peddlers who sail out to meet a Cuban boat. The trouble starts when they are forced to throw their narcotics overboard and are seen by a young couple.

Much of this movie centers around images of people on drugs or doing drugs. with a wonderful "Psychedelic Orgy" in the middle of it all. The rest of the time, our villains are fleeing through the swamps, dragging a pair of uncooperative hostages along with them for no apparent reason.

The DP seems to have had some problems shooting in daylight, much of the outdoor scenes are woefully overexposed, but his studio-work is competent.

The acting and plot are simply outrageous, and may be more enjoyable to experience on drugs. Not really a classic drugsploitation film, but a good example of the genre, nonetheless.

Up next is 'The Psychedelic Priest', a film about a Priest who sheds his habit, tunes in, turns on and drops out for a road trip that will change his life and bring him sorrow. Filmed in 1971, it wasn't actually released until 2001.

This is a late-'60s time capsule of counter-cultural themes at its finest, trust me! It also shares some traits with 'Easy Rider', being a "road movie" with a graphically depicted acid trip, a cemetery seen through a distorting lens, hippie communes, drugs, and evil murderous rednecks. And there's also a familiar-sounding rock music soundtrack that works on every level too.

Then we get 'The Naked Zoo', where a seductive matron lives in Miami with her wheelchair-bound, wealthy husband. Frustrated, she beds a young author. The gravy train abruptly derails when her husband finds out, and murder ensues.

One of Rita Hayworth's final films, it's a story of double dealings, murder, and suspense. Hayworth, at 52, looks as attractive as ever. She always kept herself in great shape.

Sort of sad to see this once great star reduced to this "B" South Florida made movie, but she gives an above average performance; considering the script and budget, that's pretty darn good.

Grefé also fills his supporting cast with his group of favorites; singer/actor/record producer Steve Alaimo, and former light-heavyweight boxing champ Willie Pastrano.

Next up is 'Mako: Jaws of Death', where during the Vietnam War, US soldier Sonny Stein is saved from a pursuing enemy by a Mako shark. He begins to appreciate Makos after that. After the war, Stein finds work in the Philippine Islands as a marine salvager.

A Filipino shaman gives him a medallion that helps him develop a telepathic rapport with Makos. Once back home in Florida, Stein decides to become Makos defender.

A shady scientist who wants to research the sharks and a strip club owner who wants to use the sharks in a stripping act try to get Stein to use his powers to help them with their plans. Furious, Stein turns on the two men and things get ugly quickly for all of them.

Richard Jaeckel was always an engaging actor to watch over many decades of distinguished film service, and despite his simpleton turn here, there's still a hint of the professionalism in his thespian skills, that will endear his character and have you rooting for the shark guy.

Throughout the movie, Jaeckel's rather dim alter ego descends into paranoia and eventual insanity, culminating in a frenzied rampage led by his number one Tiger shark who he commands with a telepathic dominion.

As much a character examination as it is a B-grade action-thriller, there's enough in Jaeckel's offbeat portrayal to warrant interest, and some familiar faces in the wings (Harold Sakata, John Davis Chandler, Luke Halpin) to provide character contrast.

FYI: Grefé wrote the story for this film prior to 'Jaws' (1975), but couldn't get anyone to finance his movie until after 'Jaws' was a huge hit at the box office!

Then we get 'Whiskey Mountain', where Bill, Dan, Diana and Jamie, four motorcyclists who arrived at Whiskey Mountain for a treasure hunt, are terrorized in the woods by a gang of murderous hillbilly drug dealers.

This is a movie that has all real marijuana as props and a soundtrack by the Charlie Daniels Band, along with the exact kind of horrors you know await them Yankees when they ask too many questions and push too hard!

It's also filled with Peckinpah-esque slow motion - most effect with George is double firing shotguns - to go with a brutal scene where we only hear the assault on the girls and see still evidence as it develops on Polaroids.

Also, it's 1977 and a technically a motorcycle movie, so that means that it also has a potential downer-ending freeze frame, of course!

Lastly we get the brand new documentary 'They Came from the Swamp: The Films of William Grefé' (2016). Savage. Sadistic. Thrill hungry. When it came to independent filmmaking in the sunshine state, William Grefé was the wildest of the wild. Now, the untold story of Florida's most daring moviemaker comes to the screen.

Among the best tales woven within are how Grefé shot his early films on weekends to get around union rules; family members helping out on the movies in multiple capacities; Grefé nearly managing to get a film made with Elvis Presley; a close call with an alligator on 'Death Curse of Tartu'; Harold Sakata almost getting killed due to a harrowing mishap during the shooting of the scene in which Sakata gets strung up on a rope in 'Impulse'; a shark that was supposed to be dead, but wasn't on 'Mako: The Jaws of Death'; and the pot in the cave being the real thing in 'Whiskey Mountain'!!

Such Grefé actors and collaborators as bubblegum pop music idol Steve Alaimo, veteran character actor John Davis Chandler, writer Gary Crutcher, 'Stanley' star Chris Robinson, and make-up expert and monster man Doug Hobart relate lots of fun anecdotes on their time in the trenches with Grefé, while film historian Chris Poggliali, Frank Henenlotter, Herschell Gordon Lewis, David F. Friedman, and Fred Olen Ray all give Grefé plenty of well-deserved props.

Filled with wondrous behind-the-scenes footage and nifty film clips, this one sizes up as a spot-on loving tribute to William Grefé and his movies. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) - save for the 2016 documentary - enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Seven William Grefé films, all newly restored from the best surviving film elements: Sting of Death (1966), Death Curse of Tartu (1966), The Hooked Generation (1968), The Psychedelic Priest (1971), The Naked Zoo (1971), Mako: Jaws of Death (1976) and Whiskey Mountain (1977).
Brand new, extended version of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures definitive documentary They Came from the Swamp: The Films of William Grefé.
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations on 4 Blu-ray discs.
Original uncompressed mono audio for all films.
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Fully illustrated collector s booklet featuring an extensive, never-before-published interview with William Grefé and a new foreword by the filmmaker.
Reversible poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil.
Reversible sleeves featuring newly commissioned artwork for each of the films by The Twins of Evil.

STING OF DEATH (1966) + DEATH CURSE OF TARTU (1966)
Brand new introductions to the films by director William Grefé.
Archival audio commentaries for both films with William Grefé and filmmaker Frank Henenlotter.
Sting of Death: Beyond the Movie Monsters a-Go Go! a look into the history of rock 'n' roll monster movies with author/historian C. Courtney Joyner.
The Curious Case of Dr. Traboh: Spook Show Extraordinaire a ghoulish look into the early spook show days with monster maker Doug Hobart.
Original Trailers.
Still and Promotion Gallery.

THE HOOKED GENERATION (1968) + THE PSYCHEDELIC PRIEST (1971).
Archival audio commentaries for both films with director William Grefé and filmmaker Frank Henenlotter.
Hooked Generation behind-the-scenes footage.
Hooked Generation Original Trailer.
Still and Promotion Gallery.

THE NAKED ZOO (1971) + MAKO: JAWS OF DEATH (1976).
William Grefé s original Director s Cut of Naked Zoo.
Alternate Barry Mahon re-release cut of Naked Zoo.
Original Mako: Jaws of Death Trailer and Promo.
Still and Promotion Gallery.

WHISKEY MOUNTAIN (1977) + THEY CAME FROM THE SWAMP: EXTENDED CUT (2020).
Whiskey Mountain Original Trailer.
Still and Promotion Gallery.
They Came from the Swamp: The Films of William Grefé the definitive documentary presented for the first in High-Definition and in a brand new, extended cut.

Official Purchase Link

www.MVDvisual.com





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