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'IT Chapter Two' (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital)
(Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, et al / 2-Disc + Digital / R / 2019 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Because every 27 years evil revisits the town of Derry, Maine, 'IT Chapter Two' brings the characters back together as adults, nearly three decades after the events of the first film.

Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the stellar follow-up to 2018's 'IT Chapter One,' the brilliant 'IT Chapter Two’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this December 10th, 2019.

For my money, this 'IT Chapter Two: 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 'IT Chapter Two' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10+ and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the magnificent, and cinematic widescreen shots of their town, especially when they are mobile, with all the changing leaves and their colors blending magnificently into the skyline. It just all comes more vividly to life, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably the scenes where James McAvoy is in the fun house, and the camera focuses directly on his pained, every changing expressions; and when Bill Hader is comically wisecracking with nervousness abounding, his eyes belittling the supposedly calm persona) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

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

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

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, luckily for all us fans, Director Andy Muschietti has retained all the ingredients that made 'IT Chapter One' an absolute delight to watch.

That said, and in total truth, if you're immature, have zero patience, haven't read the book, or have a very short attention span, you'll not only dislike this film, you'll probably hate it!

Starring Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Isaiah Mustafa, and Bill Skarsgård, 'IT Chapter Two' is a solid follow-up to the original that continues the streak of excellent adaptations of King's work.

Twenty-seven years after the events of 'Chapter One,' the Loser's Club have all grown up and left the town of Derry, Maine, with the sole exception of Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), who chose to remain as the town librarian.

One night, Mike realizes to his horror that IT has returned and has resumed feeding on scared children. Before IT can claim more victims, Mike calls up his childhood friends one by one to reunite them and fulfill the vow they took when they were younger to destroy IT permanently.

Much like its predecessor, 'IT Chapter Two' relies on scaring the audience through building up a creepy atmosphere of uncertainty and inner torment within the main characters, rather than with typical jump scares.

In spite of that, this film was considerably more drama heavy with less horror elements, likely due to the previous film featuring children a great deal more and the protagonists now being mature adults.

The grown-up Loser's Club cast in this film each do a fantastic job mirroring their child counterparts. All of them bring their own uniqueness to their characters, with Bill Hader standing out the most as the grown up Richie; who injects some much needed comic relief into some of the film's more dramatic moments.

However, once again, it is Bill Skarsgård as IT, in particularly his clown form Pennywise, who is truly terrifying as a supernatural force to be reckoned with.

Indeed, the film itself is a little bigger than the last movie. It's longer and a lot more happens with the plot and we get nice back stories of the origins of IT and how they are supposed to stop it. Some past bullies also come back to haunt the Losers Club, but I'm not too sure that needed to happen.

Despite the 170 minute runtime, the film is never boring and is brilliantly paced and edited thanks to the creative direction of Andy Muschietti.

There is also one suspenseful scene with Bill going into a haunted walk through house ride at a fair. Trying to save a kid with mirror maze hallway. Which is thrilling.

The climax of the movie is epic. There fight against Pennywise is insane. Characters are separated and faced with their own fears. The ending is satisfying with a conclusion to the characters and the story itself.

I mean, this really does feels like the conclusion to what could be considered the ultimate Stephen King adaptation, complete with all of the usual tropes and even some surprising references to his other work.

With that said, 'IT Chapter Two' is certainly worth watching, provided 'Chapter One' has already been viewed first, of course.

As for the Special Features included, the stand out for me is the just-under 4 minutes Pennywise Lives Again! (Behind-The-Scenes) where Director Andy Muschietti reintroduces us to the return of Pennywise.

Plus there's insight from Jessica Chastain and others from the cast explaining that their characters collective "super power" was that what they believed they could do, what they could accomplish as children, as adults they needed that very same force free flowing through them to fight Pennywise.

Another good one is the actual Commentary with Director Andy Muschietti who not only calmly guides us through the movie scene by scenes, but includes nice easter egg tidbits for those playing along at home (and also, for the record, makes us aware of easter eggs we might have missed from Chapter One!).

So, with an entire Bonus Disc with the IT Documentary included, this brand new 'IT Chapter Two' (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital) is, by far, one of the best to have come out of Warner Bros. for a long time. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Documentary: The Summers of IT: Chapter One, You’ll Float Too
Documentary: The Summers of IT: Chapter Two, IT Ends
Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes:
This Meeting of the Losers Club Has Officially Begun
Pennywise Lives Again!
Finding the Deadlights
Commentary with Director Andy Muschietti

Official 'IT Chapter Two' Trailer

'IT Chapter Two: 4K Ultra HD' Amazon Purchase Link

www.WarnerBros.com





'Hustlers' [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital]
(Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / R / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: Inspired by a true story, 'Hustlers' follows Destiny (Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians), a young stripper struggling to make ends meet.

That is, until she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), the club's savvy top earner, who shows her the way toward making big bucks.

But when the 2008 economic collapse hits their Wall Street clientele hard, Destiny and Ramona concoct a plan with their fellow strippers to turn the tables on these greedy power players.

Blu-ray Verdict: As we are reminded right from the off, 'Hustlers' is "Inspired By a True Story". As the movie opens, it is 2007 and an Asian-American girl named Dorothy is getting ready for work at a strip club.

Then a Latina woman named Ramona makes her grand entrance and does a spectacular pole dance as Fiona Apple's 'Criminal' blasts from the speakers.

Duly impressed, Dorothy reaches out to Ramona for some dancing tips, and the two hit it off. We then move to 2014 where we see Dorothy being interviewed by a journalist (Julia Stiles).

At this point we are still only about ten minutes into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience (you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out).

This the latest movie from writer-director Lorene Scafaria, whose Seeking a Friend For the End of the World some years ago was one of my favorite movies of that year.

Here she takes a New York magazine article and turns it into a wild, wild movie. Beware: not much is left to the imagination. The grand entrance of Jennifer Lopez in that opening scene's pole dance is nothing short of stunning!

In fact, the same can be said about Lopez's overall performance, which should be Oscar nomination-worthy, and certainly is a career-best performance.

I mean, Lopez turned 50 this year and still only looks about 35! She takes control of the movie and in every scene demands your attention (of which you are more than happy to give it to her, of course).

Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, and Lili Reinhardt round out the primary performers. Oh and check out Cardi B and Lizzo as part of the "strip gang"!

When a movie's principal set is a strip club, you can expect a lot of fist-pumping music, and the movie more than delivers on that level. In addition to the aforementioned Fiona Apple track, there are songs from Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Fat Joe, Queen She, 50 Cent, and many more.

This all said, 'Hustlers' is a film that predominantly centers around the economic collapse of 2008 and the lives it upturned in trickle-down effect. It critiques capitalism brilliantly, as it arguably captures one of the most obvious ways we assign inherent value to individuals; through sex work.

In closing, 'Hustlers' reminds us that we're all the same players in this violent game we call the American dream and that some of us are simply better, smarter, more ruthless players at that game than others; those who learn to work the system. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Trailers
Feature Commentary with Director Lorene Scafaria

Official 'Hustlers' Trailer

'Hustlers' Blu-ray Combo Pack Amazon Purchase Link

Official 'Hustlers' Website

Official 'Hustlers' Instagram Page





'Hustlers: 4K Ultra HD' [+ Blu-ray + Digital Code]
(Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, et al / 4K Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: Inspired by a true story, 'Hustlers' follows Destiny (Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians), a young stripper struggling to make ends meet.

That is, until she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), the club's savvy top earner, who shows her the way toward making big bucks.

But when the 2008 economic collapse hits their Wall Street clientele hard, Destiny and Ramona concoct a plan with their fellow strippers to turn the tables on these greedy power players.

Blu-ray Verdict: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the wildly entertaining Jennifer Lopez-led 'Hustlers’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this December 10th, 2019.

For my money, this 'Hustlers: 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 'Hustlers' 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; like the pulsating strip club dances performed by all the ladies, but especially the close up shots of J-Lo! It just all comes more vividly to life, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably the scenes, again, sorry, where the strip club dances are in full pole effect and the lights are flashing around the ladies and their concentrated expressions, even allowing their tiny "costumes" to sparkle and amazingly quiver enough to seemingly become alive) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

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

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

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, as we are reminded right from the off, 'Hustlers' is "Inspired By a True Story". As the movie opens, it is 2007 and an Asian-American girl named Dorothy is getting ready for work at a strip club.

Then a Latina woman named Ramona makes her grand entrance and does a spectacular pole dance as Fiona Apple's 'Criminal' blasts from the speakers.

Duly impressed, Dorothy reaches out to Ramona for some dancing tips, and the two hit it off. We then move to 2014 where we see Dorothy being interviewed by a journalist (Julia Stiles).

At this point we are still only about ten minutes into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience (you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out).

This the latest movie from writer-director Lorene Scafaria, whose Seeking a Friend For the End of the World some years ago was one of my favorite movies of that year.

Here she takes a New York magazine article and turns it into a wild, wild movie. Beware: not much is left to the imagination. The grand entrance of Jennifer Lopez in that opening scene's pole dance is nothing short of stunning!

In fact, the same can be said about Lopez's overall performance, which should be Oscar nomination-worthy, and certainly is a career-best performance.

I mean, Lopez turned 50 this year and still only looks about 35! She takes control of the movie and in every scene demands your attention (of which you are more than happy to give it to her, of course).

Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, and Lili Reinhardt round out the primary performers. Oh and check out Cardi B and Lizzo as part of the "strip gang"!

When a movie's principal set is a strip club, you can expect a lot of fist-pumping music, and the movie more than delivers on that level. In addition to the aforementioned Fiona Apple track, there are songs from Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Fat Joe, Queen She, 50 Cent, and many more.

This all said, 'Hustlers' is a film that predominantly centers around the economic collapse of 2008 and the lives it upturned in trickle-down effect.

It critiques capitalism brilliantly, as it arguably captures one of the most obvious ways we assign inherent value to individuals; through sex work.

Furthermore, 'Hustlers' focuses on a raw look at women living a life that is both hard and reflective of the struggle that every woman faces, including the responsibility of caring for one another and their children.

This amazing and compelling experience of a slice of life is powerful and sensitive portrayal of the connections and the travails of the lives of what seems to amount to be essentially single women living in a high-stakes life in an effort to survive.

The only weaknesses that stand out are the absence of a more descriptive understanding of Wu's interaction with her boyfriend and their evolving relationship and Lopez's apparent willingness to retain a connection with one of her more questionable "hustlers".

In closing, 'Hustlers' reminds us that we're all the same players in this violent game we call the American dream and that some of us are simply better, smarter, more ruthless players at that game than others; those who learn to work the system.

As for the short-in-demand Special Features included, the only real one (aside from two trailers) is a Feature Commentary with Director Lorene Scafaria.

Here she explains why she took the project on whilst scenes play out slowly, which is a nice touch. Like she admits she took the directing gig on because she thought it wasn't a world that we had ever seen before, at least from the dancers perspectives.

Not heavy on any real behind-the-scenes facts or easter eggs and such, Lorene is more about how the movie came to be. Such like how the "value system" (for both men and women) is broken and that a movie like this showcases that perfectly.

She admits she went to a lot of strip clubs and spoke to a lot of strippers (and even former strippers) to make this film as authentic as possible. How they also sat down and talked specifically about the 2008 financial crisis and how it impacted everyone; not only the strippers and those at Wall Street, but what a $20 bill then suddenly meant to the ladies.

Lorene goes on to say in spacious soundbites, especially the moment where Janet Jackson's 'Control' is heard, that Janet was actually written into the script for that moment as a "voice over," and how control is actually the theme for the entire movie. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Trailers
Feature Commentary with Director Lorene Scafaria

Official 'Hustlers' Trailer

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

Official 'Hustlers' Website

Official 'Hustlers' Instagram Page





'The Goldfinch' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Ansel Elgort, Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Ashleigh Cummings, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2019 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Theodore “Theo” Decker (Ansel Elgort) was 13 years old when his mother was killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The tragedy changes the course of his life, sending him on a stirring odyssey of grief and guilt, reinvention and redemption, and even love.

Through it all, he holds on to one tangible piece of hope from that terrible day … a painting of a tiny bird chained to its perch. The Goldfinch.

Blu-ray Verdict: Taking it from the top, and 13 year-old Theo (Oakes Fegley) is visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his mother when a bomb explodes leaving Theo dazed in the rubble and his mother dead.

An encounter with an injured stranger causes Theo to take a painting and flee the museum. Theo proceeds to hide the artwork as the family of one of his schoolmates takes him in.

The painting is "The Goldfinch" by Rembrandt's pupil Carel Fabritius. In the first of many parallels separated by time, we learn Fabritius was killed (and most of his work destroyed) in an explosion.

In fact, it's these parallels and near-mirror-images are what make the story so unique and interesting - and so difficult to fit into a film.

When Theo's long-lost drunken shyster father (Luke Wilson) shows up with his equally smarmy girlfriend Xandra (Sarah Paulson), they head to the recession-riddled suburbs of Las Vegas.

It's here where Theo meets Boris (Finn Wolfhard, from Stranger Things), a Ukranian emigrant living with his dad (yet another parallel). The two boys become friends, partaking in drugs, alcohol, and shoplifting.

Another tragedy puts Theo on the run. He finds himself back in New York, where he takes up with Hobie (Jeffrey Wright), the partner of the stranger from the museum.

All of this is told from the perspective of young adult Theodore Decker, played by Ansel Elgort. We see him bunkered in a hotel room contemplating suicide.

The story we watch shows how his life unfolded and landed him in this particular situation. And it's here where we find the core of the story.

Circumstances in life guide our actions, and in doing so, reveal our true character. Theo carries incredible guilt over his mother, and his actions with Hobie, regardless of the reasons for doing so, lead him to a life that is not so dissimilar to that of adult Boris (Aneurin Barnard, 'Dunkirk') when their paths cross again.

Other supporting work is provided by Ashleigh Cummings as Pippa, the object of Theo's desire, Willa Fitzgerald (played young Claire in 'House of Cards') as Kitsey Barbour, Theo's fiancé, as well as Denis O'Hare ('AHS'), Peter Jacobson, and Luke Kleintank.

As a special treat, Oscar winner Nicole Kidman plays Mrs. Barbour in what feels like two different performances. When Theo is young, she is the cold, standoffish surrogate mother who takes him in; however when older Theo returns, her own personal tragedies have turned her into a warm bundle of emotions in need of pleasantry.

It's quite sterling work from an accomplished actress.

The segments of the film that resonate deepest are those featuring Oakes Fegley as young Theo. Fegley was so good in the criminally underseen 'Wonderstruck' (2017), and here he conveys so much emotion despite maintaining a stoic demeanor.

It's rare to see such a layered performance from a young actor. Of course the film is helped immensely by the unequaled work of cinematographer Roger Deakins (he finally won his first Oscar last year in his 14th nomination).

Trevor Gureckis provides the music to fit the various moods and the two time periods.

All of these elements work to give the film the look of an Oscar contending project; however, we never seem to connect with the older Theo, which leaves a hollow feeling to a story that should be anything but.

Instead we are left to play "spot the parallels"! A fun game, sure, but not engaging like we would hope. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Featurette: The Goldfinch Unbound
Featurette: The Real Goldfinch
Deleted Scenes (with over 16 minutes of deleted scenes with commentary from Director John Crowley)

Official 'The Goldfinch' Trailer

'The Goldfinch' Blu-ray + Digital Amazon Purchase Link

Official 'The Goldfinch' Movie Facebook Page

www.WarnerBros.com





'Semper Fi' [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital]
(Leighton Meester, Jai Courtney, Nat Wolff, Arturo Castro, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / R / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: A police officer who serves in the Marine Corps Reserves is faced with an ethical dilemma when it comes to helping his brother in prison.

Blu-ray Verdict: Interestingly enough, and just before I was due to watch and review this movie, I was informed that when the project was announced (long title: Semper Fi: Edge Of Dawn'), Sam Claflin was cast in the lead role. He later dropped out due to scheduling conflicts and was replaced by Jai Courtney.

Having now watched it, all I can see in this lead role is Courtney, which proves how seamless of an actor he truly is.

Having been mysteriously panned by a lot of my fellow "journalists," I actually found 'Semper Fi' to be a rather sincere, and at times beautiful film about the strength between a brotherhood of friends and the lengths these characters take to help one of their own in need.

Regardless of the risks and dangers they put their own lives in, watching it all unfold, sitting on the edge of your seat as each character mulls over the pro's and con's of a decision they are about to make, part of you instantly becomes invested in them; always wanting things to turn out right for everyone concerned.

You just can't help but feel emotionally connected to the characters and the troubles they face together. For me that's the sign of an incredible, well balanced and terrifically enthralling movie, of which 'Semper Fi' most assuredly is.

I mean, the film is worth a watch alone just to remind us of our very own brotherhood within our own circle of friends and family. Maybe it might even make us reflect on how lucky we are to have a similar bond (whatever that may be) in our own lives.

As for the inner workings of the actual film, well, Leighton Meester is always good; Finn Wittock shines; and Jai Courtney plays the hard marine brother to absolute perfection.

In closing, the film delivers fast pace action followed by solid drama plots. The actors are convincing throughout, the built upon scenarios are clever and involved, and the directing is top notch. What more could you ask for from a movie of this genre and obvious low end budget? I loved this movie and HIGHLY recommend it. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Deleted Scenes
Featurette: Loyalty and Brotherhood: Making Semper Fi
Featurette: A Battle of Honor: Where Devotion Lies
Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Henry-Alex Rubin

Take home 'Semper Fi' and immerse yourself in its action-packed world with two making-of featurettes and an audio commentary with writer-director Henry-Alex Rubin.

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

Official 'Semper Fi' Trailer

'Semper Fi' Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Amazon Purchase Link

Official 'Semper Fi' Website

www.LGF.com





'The Limits of Control: Special Edition'
(Tilda Swinton, Paz de la Huerta, Isaach De Bankolé, Bill Murray, John Hurt, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2009) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: An enigmatic loner arrives in Spain, instructed to make contact with a series of strangers in different locations throughout the country, each of whom provides a cryptic clue which propels him further towards his mysterious goal.

But who is the Lone Man? Why is he here? And how does the recurring figure of an alluring femme fatale fit into the puzzle?

Blu-ray Verdict: 'The Limits of Control' is a film about spies, interchanging notes in matchbooks, and coded phrases and short monologues about art, music, and film, usually in a café on bright afternoons in Spain.

Isaach De Bankolé plays an all but silent nameless protagonist, who wears a series of matching one color suits; blue, brown, and silver, does tai-chi regularly, and always orders two espressos in separate cups.

He goes to art galleries, and may see a painting of a violin, and then a man will sit down next to him at a café, nervously with a violin, and tell him every instrument contains every song it has ever written.

The two exchange matching match books, of separate colors with "Les Boxer" written in French, and then Bankolé is off again. This mechanism repeats for roughly two hours, as phrases and images repeat and proceed each other through each brief encounter.

There is no exposition, we never learn, who he is, what he is thinking, what the messages or conversations mean, or why he is doing what he does.

I use the word "spy" loosely, because the scope of Bankolé's mission is never revealed, and involves diamonds, assassinations, an ancient guitar, mysterious men in black stuffing people into vans, and Bankolé's refusal to use cellular phones.

It's a postmodern espionage film where the characters don't seek out truth, but communicate in deception and deal in relativity.

Simply put, this film could easily have been classified as a modern day 'Blow-Up,' another existential minimalist thriller, steeped in the fashions, and trends of it's day, only with a sense of humor.

Antonini see's his hipster photographer as morally bankrupt, his spiritual emptiness matching the sparse nature of the film, while Jarmusch's Bankolé is calm absorbing the scenery, practicing tai-chi (as all sound drains from the film, putting the viewer in an even calmer stillness inside him than the one we see in the film).

He doesn't have sex on the job, even when the nude Paz De La Huerta makes repeat visits to his apartment(they platonically sleep together; her nude, he in trademark suit) though his job seems to consist of only waiting, talking, trading, and his not concerned neither with taking a side or seeking revenge.

The opposite of Antonini's tortured artist, is Jarmusch's nonchalant mute hero, "Reality is arbitrary" he tells Bill Murray, known as The American.

The conversations are not random, though we cant know what they multiple meanings they may have for Bankolé, they orbit themes of perception and subjectivity.

Some of the first words of instruction he receives are "Everything is subjective", "The universe has no edges and no center", "Use your skills and your imagination", and the ominous "He who thinks he is bigger than the rest must go to the cemetery for there he will learn what life really is dirt."

These words are translated by a third party because as everyone whom he meets asks him upon first meeting, he doesn't speak Spanish.

With exposition erased, we are shown the first of several layers of perceptual limitations. We can't know what Bankolé's character knows beyond the surface level of meaningless gestures and dialog, but we also can't escape the paranoid shadow that everything no matter how minute has a meaning.

There is a black helicopter that precedes and follows Bankolé throughout the film, but its effect is equally a stifled suspense as it is traditional Jarmuschian deadpan.

When Bankolé sits with Tilda Swinton, in platinum white wig and cowboy hat, she tells him she "... likes it in old movies when people just sit quietly without talking", a double jibe, both at Bankolé's character's stoic calm, and the films own absurd preoccupations with the small details of life.

Later he sees a poster of what looks like a gaillo film with a women dressed just like Swinton. Did she dress to match the poster, or was the poster a sign meant only for him?

In closing, 'The Limits Of Control' is a free-form minimalist poem against the shadow of a paranoid espionage thriller.

It most definitely has a 'Rear Window'-like ratio of concept to action, but at least in Hitchcock's masterpiece you could say Dude, call the police or quit peeping! Movie over!

Likewise you could make an empty statement that this was 'Coffee and Cigarettes,' but longer and without the cigarettes. But that would just be to not see the forest through the trees. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-rayTM (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
An American in Europe, a new video interview with Geoff Andrew, author of Stranger Than Paradise: Maverick Film-Makers in Recent American Cinema
The Rituals of Control, a new video essay on the film by author and critic Amy Simmons
Behind Jim Jarmusch, an archival documentary on the making of the film
Untitled Landscapes, an archival featurette showcasing the film's locations
Theatrical trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring two choices of artwork

'The Limits Of Control' Original Movie Trailer

www.MVDshop.com





'Melody Makers: The Bible of Rock n' Roll'
(Ian Anderson, Eric Burdon, Dan McCafferty, et al / DVD / NR / (2016) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Melody Maker Magazine's Chief Contributing Photographer(1965-1975), Barrie Wentzell tells the story of the rise and fall of the magazine, which marked the end to a style of rock n' roll journalism that no longer exists today.

DVD Verdict: Fully entitled 'Melody Makers: Should've Been There,' I have to admit right from the off that I actually WAS there when this wonderous, over-sized music newspaper bible was in its glorious heyday in the UK!

Having grown up in the UK at that time, and already purchasing vinyl records, my go to every Thursday upon their release was, and in this order: NME, Sounds and Melody Maker.

That said, I always, and rather religiously purchased the three of them together, and for the most part, aside from Sounds having more color photos inside, both NME and Melody Maker showcased the same music news.

All that personal stuff aside, the nitty gritty of this expansive, and as a fan, extremely heartwarming documentary is that 'Melody Makers: Should’ve Been There' is a visual showcase about the good old days of the storied British music weekly.

An industry publication that became an essential guide to the explosion of acts and styles in the '60s and '70s, we get to see how – per the title – it was awesome and thrilling and fun to work there.

One of its many dedicated photogs was in-house photographer Barrie Wentzell, whose lustrous black-and-white shots gave the magazine its identity and cutting-edge charge, and who serves as the primary focus of Leslie Ann Coles' documentary.

Furthermore, much of 'Melody Makers' screen time just lets Wentzell – who now lives and works in Toronto – roll out one story after another about this encounter or that experience as he ran around photographing legends like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Ian Anderson at this pub or that gig.

The stories are fun, and the photos are great and it really showcases brilliantly that Wentzell truly does have an incredible eye; for his hundreds and hundreds of used images were routinely prinmted, week after week, after week.

In conclusion, this welcomed 90 minutes of behind-the-scenes reveals about one of the biggest UK music newspaper bibles of its day is a joy to behold from start to finish.

It's a very cheerful and enlightening jog down memory lane which unveils the history of the British music weekly along with providing some choice tidbits of sound bites from those that were there too. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Theatrical Trailer
Image Slideshow

'Melody Makers: The Bible of Rock n' Roll' Trailer

www.MVDshop.com





'Come On Feel The Noize'
(Ozzy Osbourne, Jimmy Page, Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper, James Hetfield, et al / DVD / NR / (2017) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Featuring exclusive, long-lost live material from rock's most iconic bands and artists, as well as all-new original interviews with the living legends themselves, this documentary is your access-all-areas backstage pass to Heavy Metal and Hard Rock history!

DVD Verdict: Fully entitled as 'Come On Feel The Noize: The Story Of How Rock Became Metal,' this hour and a half documentary is an eye-opening look into the world of Heavy Metal and how artists and fans alike quickly became "possessed with Heavy Metal"!

Directed by Jörg Sonntag and written by Thore Vollert, this German-made documentary isn't all encompassing of the genre, let's get that straight from the off, but it does give a newcomer to the fold a heads up, that's for sure!

Featuring sound bites from rockers such as James Hetfield, Dee Snider, Michael Monroe, Doro Persch, and, for some reason, a LOT of screen time and chat with James Michael (the lead singer of Sixx A.M.), at times it actually comes across like a PBS special!

That said, it does cover a lot of Heavy Metal ground throughout history and brings forth a lot of live performance clips; some of which they claim haven't been seen before!

In closing, this documentary isn't all that bad and has a nice run time, but if you want a more in-depth dive into this genre, check out the brilliant go-to 'Metal: A Headbanger's Journey' (2005) by Banger Films. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Theatrical Trailer
Image Slideshow

'Come On Feel The Noize: The Story Of How Rock Became Metal' Trailer

www.MVDshop.com





'Charlie's Angels - The Complete Collection'
(Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack, Tanya Roberts, David Doyle, et al / 20-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Once upon a time ... there were three girls who went to work for Charles Townsend, a mysterious man they never got to see, at his Beverly Hills detective agency.

And they became the sexiest private eyes to ever grace TV!

Enjoy every episode of high-kicking action, glamour, guns, bikinis, and hair here in the just-released 'Charlie's Angels - The Complete Collection,' where each is packed with dangerous intrigue in the Angels' world of money, mystery, and murder.

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, I grow up watching the show when it first aired in 1976. I was in the first grade and I LOVED it. I couldn't get enough of it at the time and I had a huge crush on Farrah Fawcett-Majors (maybe because she was a blonde and rather bubbly). Plus the action that took place back in the '70s was always just so wonderfully OTT!

When she left I was terribly upset, but got used to Cheryl Ladd as her replacement. Too bad Kate Jackson didn't take a liking to her, because I thought they had got along off screen (due to Kate knowing Cheryl before Farrah and Jaclyn Smith when they worked on the TV movie 'Satan's School for Girls' (1973).

Here in 'Charlie's Angels,' I love the adventures and the action that centered around them, but I really was not a fan of Sabrina Duncan (or Kate Jackson, sorry), because I always felt she was the less flattering of the trio and therefore the show seemingly strayed and revolved around Sabrina than Jill, Kelly or Kris.

This was way more noticeable after Kate was fired because the show then revolved around Kris, which I myself felt Cheryl was the better actress. Any who, no matter who was in what episode on my screen at any given time, I still loved each and every episode and I also loved watching them in reruns too.

The episodes in the first season were always the best for me, like when they had to go on a cruise to investigate and each of them had a bomb to throw overboard! I mean, when the camera focused in on them at their time of desperation inevitably their hair was NEVER blowing wildly in the wind!

Nope, it never moved a square inch, no matter how much wind, or open sea breezes were coming at them full force! I also liked the comedy Farrah provided for the viewers and the way she delivered her lines.

The second season was good too, but a carbon copy of the first, of course (which, for a dedicated fab, was no big deal). My favorite episode here is 'The Sandcastle Murders,' but it too had its farcical moments ie: when Bosley (David Doyle) shot at the bad guy (Dave Rossiter) and then fell into the ocean, meaning Sabrina had to dive off the pier (fully clothed) to save him and fish him out!

That aside, the third season was grand too and it unveiled a new stance for Kate in that she began to noticeably wear more make-up for some strange reason! Yet more fun and games to be had in this season also, with the best episode in my book being 'Pom Pom Angels.'

Three cheerleaders mysteriously disappear after receiving religious notes from religious fanatics. The Angels go undercover as cheerleaders to find the missing girls who are at a cult where they serve "The Good One" … and end up with their hair cut!

Entering into the fourth season and now Shelley Hack was on board as one of the new Angels (Tiffany Welles). My favorite episode here is, by far, 'Avenging Angel' which was a great showcase for Jaclyn to show her acting skills.

In it, Frank Desmond is released from prison and proceeds to revenge himself on his jailer, Kelly Garrett, by injecting her with heroin. This leads the men he stole the drugs from to think Desmond and Kelly are partners in crime.

Another great one is 'Caged Angel' in which Cheryl is locked up to investigate a case. But even I have to admit that during this fourth season the quality of plots and acting by the new Angel (Tiffany) had noticeably begun to slide.

As it turned out, it was her one and only season as an Angel, but in truth she wasn't all that bad.

The fifth and final season - where I was now a fifth grader - the main thing I can instantly recall is hearing that "Charlie has a new Angel". By then I couldn't keep up with all the changes and I personally thought it was ridiculous that a model left her career behind to now work as a private detective (not to mention any of the other recruits who looked like models than cops!).

But, as it turned out, everything played out just fine. Now with the trio being Kelly, Kris and Julie (Tanya Roberts), my favorite episodes were 'Attack Angels' and the hilarious 'Stuntwomen Angels.'

In the former, when the Angels investigate a couple of suspicious deaths at Western Techtronics, Julie falls under the trance of a hypnotist who specializes in using brainwashed young women as killers.

In the latter, a man dressed as an archer is causing accidents at Mammoth studios. The Angels go undercover as stunt women (after taking a crash course at Big Teddy's stunt school).

But the main target seems to be the stunt coordinator working on 'Lady West' and 'Marian and her Merry Maidens', the latter being a remake of an Errol Flynn classic.

Oh, and I rather enjoyed 'Angels of the Deep' where they had Patti Patti D'Arbanville as a guest. Wow, she had some zest for life, that's for sure in her brilliant acting skills!

But there's more folks, as also included on this magnificent 20-Disc Blu-ray collection of all the original 'Charlie's Angels' TV show episodes (110), is the 8-episode run of the 2011 TV reboot of the same name!

Starring Annie Ilonzeh, Minka Kelly, and Rachael Taylor, the plot was that a cat burglar, a car thief, and a dirty cop get a chance to turn their lives around; fighting crime and working for the mysterious Charlie Townsend.

Sadly though, there's a reason it only lasted 8 episodes, as you can well imagine! This is yet another case of what happens when they take a beautifully scripted series and put in people who are models; but not actors!

Sure they look pretty, but they can't act to save their lives and it shows! Zero emotion and zero attention to the skilled craft of acting. Which brings me to a question: Why do these producers seem to think that you can replace class with youth?!

It's a mistake they keep making over and over again. Other than that though, the show itself wasn't that bad with its set ups and such, but all we see them do over and over (and over) is (and in skirts and high heels, of course) climb walls, chase bad guys, get in shoot-outs and other manner of shouldn't-you-be-in-trainers scenes!

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

'Charlie's Angels - The Complete Collection' [20-Blu-ray] is out November 19, 2019, via Mill Creek Entertainment.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'The Hudson River School: Part 2'
(John Wilmerding, Dr. John Driscoll, Kevin Avery, Louis Salerno, Anthony Speiser, Elizabeth Jacks, et al / DVD / G / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: In 19th century, artist Thomas Cole and engraver Asher Durand established an artistic movement that became The Hudson River School.

The next generation expanded their palette with a technique that was immersed in light. This artistic innovation was later hailed as, "The Luminist Movement."

This film tells the story of these artists who became the greatest landscape painters in the world!

DVD Verdict: Simply put, the Hudson River School was America's first fraternity of landscape painters started by Thomas Cole and Asher Durand.

In Part 1, the Hudson River School: Artistic Pioneers focused on the story of these men and their message, its founder Thomas Cole, and other influential celebrants of this movement.

These artistic pioneers and like-minded devotees came to reverently be known as The Hudson River School.

In the vicinity of New York's Hudson River Valley, the Adirondack Mountains, Catskill Mountains, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, a group of American painters led by British born artist Thomas Cole forged an artistic vision of the American wilderness.

Here in Part 2, they focus on the second generation of Hudson River School artists: Sanford Gifford, John Kensett, Fitz Henry Lane, and others, who would challenge traditionalism, and expand their palettes with a sophisticated technique that was reflective, atmospheric and immersed in light.

Much like Part 1, this follow up is a beautifully textured historical account of the Hudson River School painters and the unique and powerful artistic movement they created.

Whether you are new to the work of these artists or a long time fan, these type of shows will provide an insight into the principal figures and truly demonstrate the depth of their genius.

An excellent, if not wholly eye-opening work by creator Vin Tabone, here Bruce Chandler's narration gushes many praises and enthusiasm and is, thankfully, never tedious or overbearing as he does so.

Sure at times the camerawork pans across canvases at a swifter pace than regular gallery showings would, but there are also magnificent slower showcasing too, of course.

As noted, this new artistic innovation would later be hailed as “The Luminist Movement," and we get a sense of that throughout this quite wondrous hour-long documentary.

In closing, 'The Hudson River School: Part 2 - Cultivating A Tradition' is a highly informative and beautifully done work of visual art and features some rather excellent biographies of the principal artists of the Hudson River School. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Making Mistakes'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Mister Rogers taught generations of children how to accept and respect others, and how to feel valued and encouraged.

In 'Mister Rogers and Making Mistakes', watch memorable episodes where Mister Rogers helps children understand that everyone makes mistakes from time to time.

World-famous pianist Andre Watts performs for Mister Rogers, and together they talk about learning from mistakes!

DVD Verdict: Just to bring you up to date a wee bit, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was an American half-hour educational children's television series that was created and hosted by Fred Rogers.

The series originated in 1963 as Mister Rogers on CBC Television, and was later re-branded in 1966 as Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on the regional Eastern Educational Network (EEN, a forerunner of today's American Public Television).

The national U.S. debut occurred on February 19, 1968, and it aired on NET and its successor, PBS, until August 31, 2001. The series is aimed primarily at preschool ages 2 to 5, but has been stated by PBS as "appropriate for all ages".

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was produced by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania public broadcaster WQED and Rogers' non-profit production company Family Communications, Inc., previously known as Small World Enterprises prior to 1971; the company was renamed The Fred Rogers Company after Rogers' death.

In May 1997, the series surpassed Captain Kangaroo as the longest-running children's television series, a record the series held until July 2002, when Sesame Street beat Mister Rogers' record.

Here on this brand new 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Mister Rogers and Making Mistakes', we watch as Mister Rogers helps children learn the importance of actually making mistakes, but more so, how to learn from them.

And episode from the show's seventeenth season, we quickly find that Mister Rogers has forgotten about a meeting and has to find a way to deal with it.

Upon his arrival, Mister Rogers says that "there was a strange smell in here a little while ago" so he freshens the air by using the atomizer he brought with him.

Mister Rogers THEN receives a phone call from Mrs. McFeely who tells him that he needs to be at a meeting in just a few minutes.

Unfortunately, Mister Rogers mistakenly thought that meeting was the next day. Chuck Aber, who is making speedy deliveries, spends time with television viewers while Mister Rogers goes to his meeting.

Interestingly enough, as the actor/character rarely left the set, the time Mister Rogers leaves for the meeting and returns is approximately 3 minutes and 25 seconds. This is the first time Mr. Rogers is absent as he leaves to go to a meeting and so Chuck Aber takes over the episode until Rogers later returns.

Mr. Aber has a conversation with Mr. Skunk about why Mister Rogers had to leave. He also spends some time demonstrating sign language and sings Many Ways to Say I Love You.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Mr. Skunk is visiting and feels embarrassed when he accidentally sprays his scent on Audrey Duck before her poetry reading.

Lady Aberlin uses an atomizer to freshen the air around the Neighborhood before she and Daniel Tiger sings a song about his thoughts of being a mistake.

Of course, this leads Daniel is having his own thoughts of uncertainty because he doesn't look or act like any other tiger he knows! But Lady Aberlin assures him he's fine just as he is.

In what is a highly informative, for any age, in truth, episode, there's even a video of how people make erasers (made in association with Eberhard-Faber, Inc.). This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBSkids.org





'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood' [Combo Pack]
(Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / R / 2019 / Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: Quentin Tarantino’s 'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood' visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore.

The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

Blu-ray Verdict: Hollywood, 1969: Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) had a lead role in a hit TV western in the 1950s and early 1960s. Since leaving that show, he is having a hard time finding decent work. Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is Rick's friend and former stunt double.

He also acts as Rick's chauffeur as Rick has had DUI charges. The fictional element of the time period is mixed with true events: Rick's next-door neighbors are actress Sharon Tate and her husband, director Roman Polanski.

Director/writer Quentin Tarantino has done a superb job in recreating the atmosphere of 1969. Those of us who were alive at that time, no matter how young, are left awestruck with sudden memory recall of people, places, and things that seemed completely erased from memory.

The level of detail is praiseworthy enough yet there is also a recall of atmosphere that recreates the era sometimes even better than watching films from that time period.

DiCaprio, always dependable, gives another standout performance easily conveying the insecurities of a "has-been" desperately trying to make a comeback. As DiCaprio is constantly in demand without ever experiencing a lower status, this is true acting.

Much like Tarantino's 'Inglorious Basterds,' this current film mixes fiction with historical events with very surprising results. This adds to the thrilling suspense in the final sequence to those of us aware of history and are led to more than a few shocks and not just the extreme violence (this is a Tarantino film after all).

Fair warning: If you don't love movies for their own sake, you may be tempted to disregard this movie. Anyone who thinks there is some sort of defect or error or problem with identify or politics or historical emphasis has no idea what's going on here.

The sheer orchestration of this construct is a sight to behold that rewards you for paying attention and gives you plenty to pay attention to. Light, sound, action, performances, all delivered in a fine concert.

In truth, Tarantino does not disappoint with the direction or production, but something's missing. The great big denouement feels unusually abrupt and civilized.

There are plenty of punches thrown, but none of the protagonists ever seem to be in any real danger. I'm not one for gritty gore, but I expected them to go on more of a life-changing journey.

The other acting is excellent also from others other than the lead men, showcasing the brilliant talents of Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Kurt Russell as an aging Stuntman, and the always entertaining Al Pacino as an ambitious Agent, to name but three.

In closing, there are some magnificent sequences in this film, some rather hilarious moments, a really good buddy-movie set up along the way, some great actors with some wonderful tight dialog throughout that doesn't ramble, but gets to the point. I appreciated all this and I'm sure you guys will too. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY AND DIGITAL BONUS MATERIALS:
• Over Twenty Minutes of Additional Scenes
• Five exclusive behind the scenes pieces including:
o Quentin Tarantino’s Love Letter to Hollywood
o Bob Richardson – For the Love of Film
o Shop Talk – The Cars of 1969
o Restoring Hollywood – The Production Design of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
o The Fashion of 1969

DVD BONUS MATERIALS:
• Over Twenty Minutes of Additional Scenes

Cut a rug with Rick Dalton in this clip from an extended scene!

Official 'Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood' @ Twitter

Official 'Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood' @ Instagram

Official 'Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood' @ Facebook

www.SPHE.com





'Voice of the Eagle: Robbie Basho'
(Pete Townshend, Country Joe McDonald, William Ackerman, Glenn Jones, Henry Kaiser, et al / Blu-ray + 2DVD / NR / (2015) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: 'Voice of the Eagle: The Enigma of Robbie Basho' is a feature-length documentary on the extraordinary life and visionary music of the American guitarist, singer and mystic Robbie Bashop.

Blu-ray Verdict: Before his bizarre death at the hands of a chiropractor, Robbie Basho was sure that his compositions would not outlast him.

Orphaned during infancy, diagnosed with synesthesia (a union of the senses that caused him to interpret sound as color) and claiming to be the reincarnation of a 17th century poet, the Baltimore-born, Berkeley-based guitarist and singer's musical output was equally as outlandish as his persona.

In his brief and troubled life he laid the foundations for radical changes to the musical landscape of America during the 1960s and '70s but reaped little more than a sparse (if fervent) following during his lifetime.

'Voice of the Eagle: The Enigma of Robbie Basho' is a journey into the heart of an artist's lifelong struggle: designed to illuminate and satiate existing fans while serving as a perfect starting point for the uninitiated.

Featuring interviews with Basho's former students, contemporaries and few close friends (including Pete Townshend, William Ackerman, Henry Kaiser and Country Joe McDonald), the documentary integrates new information and anecdotes on Basho with previously uncovered archive material and photography of the landscapes and natural phenomena that informed his work.

Watching intently along, for I knew nothing of this man beforehand and wanted to learn everything I could from this highly entertaining 87 minute long now documentary rather than the interweb, the amazing thing that immediately stands out (from the many people interviewed) was that Robbie “never became that famous” during his lifetime.

Like Vincent Van Gogh, he was recognized while he lived, but by the discerning ones. Many speak of him here as "way ahead of his time,” with one of his former colleague's adding that "Sometimes you have to die first”!

A deeper look into the life of Basho reveals he had been an orphan (one of his musical pieces is titled 'Orphan’s Lament') and had been adopted as a young boy by Dr. Donald Robinson and his wife; who lived in the U.S. city of Baltimore, Maryland.

Basho was drawn to music at an early age, his stepsister says in the film, and was always good at it. While attending the University of Maryland in the early ‘60s, still going by the name Robbie Robinson, he began his musical career doing Kingston Trio covers at cafes.

Soon, however, he dove into deeper waters.

'Voice of the Eagle: Robbie Basho' continually showcases the fact that no matter what you thought of him and his opinions and such, Basho was utterly unique.

Indeed, labels such as “new age classical” or “visionary world music” only hint at the depth and breadth of his compositions.

Basho entered the stream of world musical, cultural and spiritual traditions, and in a career spanning two decades, created some 15 albums that embrace Hindu, Japanese, Persian and American Indian styles and values, as well as others. Among his many kinds of instrumentals were pieces in the style of the Indian raga.

Robbie’s rich and resonant voice adds visionary lyrics to many of his songs as well and that is what bleeds through here more than anything.

Unfortunately, as aforementioned, his life ended in a freak accident during a chiropractic treatment in 1986, when he was only 46 years old.

In closing, 'Voice of the Eagle: Robbie Basho' shows us a gifted man, perhaps even beyond his innate talent and passion, with a strong sense of musical interpretation.

I mean, what more would you expect from a man who could “hear colors”? This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Extended & Deleted Interviews
Trailer
24-Page Booklet

www.RobbieBashoFilm.com

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Cotton Club Encore: 35th Anniversary'
(Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / NR / (1984) 2019 / LGF)

Overview: In this lavish, 1930s-era drama, Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club becomes a hotbed of passion and violence as the lives and loves of entertainers and gangsters collide.

Now, Francis Ford Coppola’s extraordinary film is brought to vivid new life in 'The Cotton Club Encore.'

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, albeit to my mind, of course, 'The Cotton Club' is a dazzling, complex film that attempts so much it would be almost impossible for nearly any director to pull it off.

But Francis Ford Coppola is not any director, so 'The Cotton Club' is not just any movie. Rather, it succeeds at practically all levels and is certainly a film worth coming back to again and again.

Set in Harlem in the late 1920s, we are introduced to a group of Jazz Age-products, people who see themselves exactly as they are but all hope to go somewhere better.

Two story lines occupy the plot; we get a good-looking young musician Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere) who gets involved in the mob after falling for one of the gangster's girlfriends (Diane Lane); and we get the story of a very talented black dancer (Gregory Hines) trying to prove his love to a half-black and half-white chorus girl who seems to struggle with her place in this more or less racist society.

Almost every night, everyone gathers at The Cotton Club, one of the most famous clubs in the city and the blacks entertain while the whites drink and watch. But Coppola gives us a view from all angles so it doesn't feel as if we are missing anything important.

One of the biggest achievements of this film is its staging of the dance sequences, which are to say the least quite exquisite. Filled with colorful costumes and some mind-boggling tap numbers, at times you may forget that this is also a gangster picture.

Indeed, some scenes feel just like Coppola's 'The Godfather' with its quick bursts of violence but also in its tone of sad, elegiac setting. People come and go and some regret the things they do, but the music lives on.

The acting is also very strong as Gere and Lane are quite wonderful in their first of three films together. Both were very good-looking and they do bring out the best in each other.

Two supporting actors that really do steal the show are Bob Hoskins and Fred Gwynne as a mob boss and his head bodyguard. They share a tenacity and ferociousness in their dealings, but also have one really terrific scene involving Gwynne coming to see Hoskins after being kidnapped. A young Nicolas Cage also shows here he had incredible potential.

This Broadway version of the gangster film so familiar in Hollywood refreshes both genres as we see the similarities between the two. Indeed, many of the participators in the entertainment were also involved in the mob and Coppola shows how the two lives intertwine and bring a lot of trouble to everyone.

This may seem as a strange mixing of genres and story lines for some people, but it is well worth the two hours. It is funny, sad, violent, poetic but also enormously entertaining and isn't that what the movies are all about? Coppola seems to think so.

In support of 'The Cotton Club Encore: 35th Anniversary Edition' arriving to Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD & Digital), DVD and Digital 4K Ultra HD™ today (December 10th, 2019) from Lionsgate, we have the "Stormy Weather" extended scene clip to share:

Official 'Stormy Weather' Extended Clip

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• Introduction to The Cotton Club Encore by Francis Ford Coppola
• The Cotton Club Encore Q&A

'The Cotton Club Encore: 35th Anniversary Edition' will be available on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD & Digital), DVD, Digital 4K Ultra HD™, and Digital SD/HD for the suggested retail price of $19.99, $14.98, $12.99, and $9.99 respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'The Cotton Club Encore' Trailer





'Acceleration' [Blu-ray]
(Sean Patrick Flanery, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Liddell, Natalia Burn, Quinton Rampage Jackson, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2019 / Cinedigm)

Overview: Vladik Zorich, a villainous crime lord, is double-crossed by his most trusted operative Rhona.

Vladik's propensity for power, control, and violence drives him to kidnap Rhona's son forcing her to participate in a twisted plan to elimination of Vladik's enemies.

To keep her on a short leash, Vladik sets out the 'rules' to his 'game' and overseas Rhona's every move as she navigates the darkened streets of Los Angeles.

Blu-ray Verdict: So, with a story line such as Vladik (Dolph Lundgren) kidnapping the son of Rhona (Natalie Burn) and coercing her into performing various tasks driving around L.A. all night, you know from the off that this B-movie is going to be a low budget work of quick one-liner's and speeding cars (none of wish will show Burn or Lundgren behind the wheel!)

And you would be totally correct on all those points, but with no real back story either (until the very end), 'Acceleration' may well not live up to its name for any car scenes, sure, but the "tic-tok" appeal to the plot does, for sure.

Produced by Burn and executive produced by Paul Hertzberg and Eric Brenner, 'Acceleration' is a VERY colorful and flashy, uber stylized and extraordinarily pacey movie that whizzes by your eyes, but for my money doesn't give us the pounding heart effect that a franchise such as Fast & Furious gives us each time.

That said, and given that this is a low budget film, it does manage to hold our attention and is just perfect for fans of the genre. Also, it's a great film if you are a fan of Burn herself, as wearing tight black leather pants the whole time and high kicking and fist punching her way through the scenes is enough to send any man to an early grave!

Although she wears a wee bit too much heavy black eye liner for my liking (making her look like a drag version of Criss Angel), Burn is the star here, make no mistake about it! While watching her interact with Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Liddell and Danny Trejo is fun, it's obvious that she is the Alpha, even if they themselves have zero idea!

Complete with an unpredictable twist at the end, 'Acceleration' is definitely worth seeing, if only for watching Burn kick ass in order to get what she wants at every turn!

Overlooking the cheesy flying through the air firing two guns simultaneously at targets and hitting them perfectly stunt and trying to erase from your memory the Liddell and Lundgren fight that looks more like two old men grappling over a wayward comment at the Thanksgiving table, and 'Acceleration' is as good as it gets in the genre for this budget. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Cinedigm releases 'Acceleration' in select theatres, on-demand and digital on November 8th, 2019 and on Blu-ray and DVD in December 2019.

www.cinedigm.com

Official 'Acceleration' Trailer





'Abominable: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital'
(Chloe Bennet, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Albert Tsai, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, et al / 4K Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / PG / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: When mischievous friends Yi (Chloe Bennet), Jin, and Peng discover a young yeti on their roof, they name him Everest and embark on a thrilling adventure to reunite the magical creature with his family.

On the journey of their lifetimes, Everest helps Yi, Jin, and Peng unlock an inner bravery they didn't know they had.

And as they travel across China to return the magical creature to his home, Everest will help them discover where they truly belong, too.

Blu-ray Verdict: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the brilliantly thoughtful, and wonderfully colorful 'Abominable’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this December 17th, 2019.

For my money, this 'Abominable: 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 'Abominable' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10+ Aspect ratio: 1.85:1, and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the vividly sparkling water scenes and boat rides and the high in the sky purple cloud dips and swirls! It just all comes more vividly to life, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably the scenes where the characters are interacting with the "creature" and although they are admittedly "flat faces," somehow they still manage to show depth and changing color surfaces when moving) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, and Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.

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, in truth, Dreamworks has been rather hit or miss when it comes to releasing great animated films over the years.

Whether it's 'Shrek' or 'Kung Fu Panda', there some truly great movies out there, but I once 'How to Train Your Dragon' hit theatres, and each of its consecutively great sequels, I found myself wondering if the studio had peaked with that trilogy.

Well, 'Abominable' (from the creators of the aforementioned 'How to Train Your Dragon' series) is their latest release from them, and after seeing it on 4K Ultra HD, I can happily report that this is surprisingly one of the very best animated films that they have released; ever!

Everyone knows that the creature known as the Yeti has been known to be a myth, but in 'Abominable', a young girl (Yi) finds that one actually exists.

Having been experimented on in laboratories until escaping and finding its way onto this girl's roof, she befriends him and makes it her mission, along with two other friends, to return him to his home on mount Everest.

This particular story has been told hundreds of times, but unlike many movies that choose to copy and paste formulas, 'Abominable' is one that truly cares about the characters and the adventure they go on, which had me falling in love with it as it progressed.

Having written the story for 'Monster's Inc.', worked in the animation department at Pixar on 'Toy Story' and 'Toy Story 2', eventually directing her first animated feature in 'Open Season', and now officially writing and directing 'Abominable', completely bringing her full vision to life, Jill Culton is one with a storied career; albeit not massive.

After her outing here, I must admit that I will be following her work for years to come because I believe her vision and how it was showcased, was honestly fantastic.

On top of that, Dreamworks has been on a roll with incredible animation, and this movie is nothing shy of fitting that description.

It should go without saying nowadays that most films released by large studios will probably hire the best of the best to create the most beautiful animation, but I just have to commend them here as well.

The smooth motions of characters and the detail put into the wide landscape shots are all superb, and these elements are only elevated by a very enjoyable cast of characters, on an adventure that eventually had me in tears.

If for nothing else, you'll probably enjoy looking at this movie, but it has much more than that to offer.

In the end, 'Abominable' does admittedly suffer from feeling familiar at first glance, but this movie embraces that and creates a journey that feels fresh.

The themes throughout this film are meant for all ages, which is why I believe this movie will be a hit with families across the world when it comes out on home video.

As for the plethora of Special Features included, I'll do my best to go over a few of the one's that caught my eye.

First up would be a pair of Original Dreamworks Shorts in both 'Marooned' and 'Show & Tell.' 'Marooned' tells the story of a cantankerous and selfish robot named C-0R13. Stranded on an abandoned lunar outpost, C-0R13 longs to return to Earth.

With a partially built ship and his last power source, this determined robot will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

'Show & Tell' reveals that back home in the Himalayan Mountains, Everest puts on a magical show-and-tell for his fellow yetis after he receives a special care package from Yin, Jing and Peng.

In the highly impressive Animating Abominable,' from production design to storyboarding and animating, the creative team behind 'Abominable' takes us through the design and animation of the film.

In Meet The Cast we get introduced to the cast of 'Abominable' and the characters they play. We also learn first-hand from the actors what their personal inspiration was for the role and how they went about performing the voicework.

Another rather fun one is Your Yeti Care Guide, where Chloe, Albert and Tenzing provide tips and tricks to caring for your newly adopted “Yeti”. In this case YETI stands for pet - dog, kitten and bird!

One last one to check out is the brilliant from start to finish An Abominable Tour with Chloe Bennet, where, and like her father before her, Yi dreams of travelling across China to see the many beautiful, natural and culturally significant locations featured in 'Abominable'.

So, Chloe Bennet, the voice of Yi, takes viewers on their own magical journey and boy, is it breathtaking to say the least! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

• DREAMWORKS SHORT – MAROONED (Original Short)
• SHOW AND TELL (Original Short)
• DELETED SCENES: with Intros by Writer/Director Jill Culton and Co-Director Todd Wilderman
o Play All
o Spa Day
o Villains at the Map
o Magic Montage
o Yak Attack
• MAKING A MYTH (MOVIE) - Featurette
• ANIMATING ABOMINABLE - Featurette
• MEET THE CAST - Featurette
o Play All o Chloe Bennet as Yi o Tenzing Norgay Trainor as Jin o Albert Tsai as Peng o Tsai Chin as Nai Nai o Joe Izzo as Everest • YOUR YETI CARE GUIDE - Featurette
• COURAGE TO DREAM - Featurette
• AN ABOMINABLE TOUR WITH CHLOE BENNET - Featurette
• EVEREST’S TALK BOX - Featurette
• COOKING WITH NAI NAI - Featurette
• HOW TO ABOMINABLE - How-To-Draw Featurette
o How to Draw
o Play All
o Intro
o Everest
o Yi
o Jin
o Peng
o Nai Nai
o How to Make a Chinese Lantern
• YOU CAN SPEAK YETI-ESE - Featurette
• NAI NAI SAYS - Featurette
• FEATURE COMMENTARY - Writer/Director Jill Culton, Co-Director Todd Wilderman, Producer Suzanne Buirgy, Producer Peilin Chou, Production Designer Max Boas, Visual Effects Supervisor Mark Edwards, and Head of Character Animation John Hill

Official 'Abominable' Trailer

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

Official 'Abominable' Website!

Official 'Abominable' Facebook Page!

Official 'Abominable' Instagram Page!





'Dry Blood' [Blu-ray]
(Clint Carney, Jaymie Valentine, Kelton Jones, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / Epic Pictures Dread Central)

Overview: In a rural mountain town, an unstable drug addict must unravel a surreal murder mystery as he’s terrorized by malevolent ghosts, a deranged sheriff, and the frightening hallucinations from his withdrawal.

Blu-ray Verdict: Epic Pictures’ Dread Central Presents has just released the genius of System Syn’s Clint Carney and his horror-thriller creation, 'Dry Blood.'

Under his moniker, Clint has composed all original music for the film (a lot of it a combination of death metal and black metal) and can even be seen playing a starring role here (as Brian Barnes), but what stands out more to me is just how damn great all the cinematography is throughout the entire film!

Directed by Kelton Jones, who himself also plays the cop, and with a lead actor Carney (who also wrote the screenplay), 'Dry Blood' is an absolutely terrifyingly well shot and pieced together psychological horror film.

Once the build up has subsided, things start to turn dark for Barnes, a man just trying to get on with his life, and stave away from his addictions.

And whether it be the inner turmoil in his head, or the ghastly visions he "runs into," or simply the bitch in the kitchen opening his drawers and brandishing a massive knife, every single shot is peppered with enough reality that it makes you turn away in shock!

That's just how damn good this film is!

Add to that two people who also want into his world whilst he is there at a remote cabin tucked up within an even remoter mountain area, a woman named Anna (Jaymie Valentine) and the aforementioned Jones as a local cop hell bent on harassing him, and suddenly we have more to become invested in.

With the ability to bring us some brilliant death scenes and all-out-shocks (around a lot of dark corners), their use of special effects may well have been limited (due to budget constraints), but what they used, and how they used them was, to my mind, just perfect.

A shout out must also go to their make-up department as whoever created these ghastly figures was on fine form for this shoot. I mean, the horror elements where they were front and center were done so vividly, so gory and gnarly in places you just couldn't help but be, well, repulsed (and yet a little bit enthralled!)

With a tag line such as 'What Dies In The Cabin, Stays In The Cabin,' you sure think you know what you're in for, and for how it will end, but trust me when I say you don't know the half of what to expect!

Clint Carney, who, as mentioned, wrote, starred, and composed the score, says, "It’s been a long and exciting journey to go from writing the script almost four years ago, to now releasing 'Dry Blood' to the world."

"We are beyond excited to work with Dread Presents. They already have number of great films in their catalog and we couldn’t be happier to be a part of their roster, and to be welcomed into the Dread family."

“Clint and I set out to make our favorite horror movie," remarks Kelton Jones, the film's director. "We wanted to make a film that was true to the genre and lived up to the potential of what a great horror film could be. We knew this would be an ambitious task."

"We hold such a great love for the genre and the masters of cinema who had shaped our childhoods. We felt the best way to honor them was to pour our hearts and souls into making 'Dry Blood'."

"We knew our toughest audience would be ourselves and we strived to make a film that we were truly proud of. I feel very grateful to have been able to be a part of such an amazing project, made with love, by people I love."

"I am beyond thrilled to be releasing this film with Dread Presents. We set out to make our favorite film; my hope is that it becomes your favorite film as well.”

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

Audio Commentary with Writer and Director
Remember Not To Kill: The Making of Dry Blood
Collectible Reverse Cover Art
Trailers

'Dry Blood' from Epic Pictures Releasing is now available nationwide to stream and on DVD and Blu Ray.

Amazon Blu-ray Purchase Link

Official 'Dry Blood' Trailer





'Overcomer' [Blu-ray Combo Pack]
(Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, Aryn Wright-Thompson, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG / 2019 / Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison (Alex Kendrick) after he loses his basketball team and is challenged by the school's principal, Olivia (Priscilla Shirer), to coach a new sport he doesn't know or like.

As John questions his own worth, he dares to help the least likely runner take on the biggest race of the year.

Filled with a powerful mix of faith, humor and heart, this inspirational story will have you on the edge of your seat.

Blu-ray Verdict: Well, I have to admit right from the off that if you are not connected to any Faith or religion, the message here is most likely going to be lost on you (the message being one of Christianity, which is always nice to get a refresher course in, of course).

'Overcomer' starts off with a high school basketball coach named John Harrison, whose team has high hopes for a championship the following season, but is decimated when their small town's major manufacturing plant shuts down.

John reluctantly agrees to coach cross-country, a sport he knows little about and does not enjoy. The other focal point of the movie is Hannah Scott, the sole student running cross country for the high school, who runs carrying an inhaler to deal with asthma issues, and also engages in compulsive small thefts.

As the movie progresses, John meets a man dying in the hospital who has a surprising link to others in town, and who ends up becoming part of transforming both John and Hannah's lives.

The movie is the sixth one produced by the Kendrick's, but the first of theirs I have seen in many years. The production values have improved greatly and while not up to those of a high budget Hollywood movie, it was amazingly well done given that the budget for the movie was a relatively small five million or so.

Early on some of the acting, particularly one scene between John and his wife Amy (who also teaches in the same school) was a bit distracting, being not quite as well done as I am used to seeing on the big screen.

However, the acting either got better as time went on, or more likely the story gripped me enough that I stopped dwelling on such minor flaws.

Some people who watched it before me actually "complained" that the movie seems to portray the message that drawing near to or praying to God as the answer to every problem.

Knowing that, I was prepared for a movie that was overly simplistic, perhaps portraying faith in Jesus as something that automatically leads to an easy and perfect life, something the Bible itself does not claim, and that real life does not demonstrate.

But instead of the overly simplistic approach I had feared, I found that even after a character had a life changing encounter with God she still struggled, had to work very hard toward her goals, and experienced both joys and sorrows, which is a more realistic take on life.

Yes, there are several scenes that involve Prayer, and people are affected by their beliefs in a loving and forgiving God in a way that motivates them to love and forgive others, but this was done in a way that for the most part was believable.

In closing, and as aforementioned, not everyone will like this movie, but as a father, as well as someone who has watched others, as well as myself, struggle with the consequences of past poor life choices, I found this movie very moving.

I do not often cry during movies, but the last thirty minutes of this one had my eyes moist with tears, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

BLU-RAY AND DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE BONUS MATERIALS:
• The Heart of Overcomer: See how the heart of Overcomer is grounded in personal growth, faith and identity.
• Creating the Opening Drone Shot: See how the stunning opening drone shot of the film was realized with a lot of ingenuity and a well-organized crew.
• Working with the Kendricks: Watch how Alex, Stephen and Shannon Kendrick found their path to filmmaking through authenticity and faith.
• Looks Behind-the-Scenes of: Editing, Composing, Coloring and Sound Design
• “Enough” (Lyric Video) Featuring Koryn Hawthorne
• Don’t Mess with the Editors: Check out what the editors of Overcomer created on the side for a little fun.

BONUS FEATURES AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY, DVD AND DIGITAL:
• Feature Audio Commentary with Director Alex Kendrick and Producer Stephen Kendrick
• Bloopers & Outtakes
• 10 Minutes of Additional Scenes with an introduction from the Kendrick Brothers.
• The Making of Overcomer: Learn about how the crew worked together with faith and prayer to create this incredible film.
• The Theme of Identity: In this piece the cast and crew discuss what the theme of identity means to them.
• The Power of Forgiveness: Describes why forgiveness is such an important theme of this film.
• “Overcomer” (Lip Sync Music Video) Featuring Mandisa
Overcomer in 60 Seconds: a quick fun film recap.
Overcomer Resources Video: Learn more about accompanying resources to help you grow in faith.

Award-winning director Alex Kendrick (WAR ROOM, COURAGEOUS) delivers an inspirational, edge-of-your-seat experience in the family-friendly sports drama 'Overcomer' debuting on digital November 26th and coming to Blu-ray™ and DVD December 17th, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, AFFIRM Films and Provident Films.

Amazon 'Overcomer' Blu-ray Combo Pack Purchase Link

Official 'Overcomer' Facebook Page!

Official 'Overcomer' Twitter Page!

Official 'Overcomer' Instagram Page!







'The Kill Team' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Nat Wolff, Alexander Skarsgård, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: Based on a true story, 'The Kill Team' follows Andrew Briggman (Nat Wolff), a young soldier in the US invasion of Afghanistan who witnesses other recruits killing innocent civilians under the direction of a sadistic leader, Sergeant Deeks (Alexander Skarsgård).

Andrew considers reporting them to higher-ups, but the heavily armed, increasingly violent platoon becomes suspicious that someone in their ranks has turned on them — and Andrew begins to fear that he’ll be the next target.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'The Kill Team' is a standard-issue anti-war movie whose hero is faced with becoming a whistle blower and putting an end to the murderous activities of his squad in Afghanistan; or becoming part of the killing team.

As directed by Dan Krauss, who previously treated the same material to a documentary feature, we can identify with the kid put in a tough situation, but the real-life plot twist after the film's climax robs him of choice, making this just another slice-of-life reality downer.

However, there are many important issues raised along the way, especially how the military is designed to dehumanize young recruits in order to get them to carry out dangerous missions, as well as numerous side issues like bullying, indoctrination and even the strong effects of violent videogames on an impressionable youngster's psyche.

But the crisis of conscience at the center of the story is presented more like a rat in a trap than a potential profile in courage. Worse yet, the key scene involving the killing of an innocent old Afghani civilian is staged so poorly that I couldn't follow clearly exactly what happened; only to witness the hero becoming implicated in the evil around him.

Alexander Skarsgård is fine as the nominal villain of a ruthless squad sergeant, while Nat Wolff as the hero remains stoic throughout. It's a role reminiscent of many that Tom Courtenay delivered brilliantly in the '60s and '70s, ranging from 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner' to 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich' (his tortured expressions conveying his situational pain as perhaps no other actor could).

But even though we can vicariously, from the safety of our sofa seating far from war, identify with Wolff's Andrew Briggman, by film's end this is just another piece of escapism, in which the viewer can turn off the small screen, exhale, and thank God that they themselves never find themselves in Briggman's predicament. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• "The Reality of Courage: Making The Kill Team" Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Dan Krauss

A thrilling film, based on a true story, comes home when 'The Kill Team' arrives on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital) and DVD December 24TH, 2019 from Lionsgate.

www.LGF.com

Official 'The Kill Team' Trailer





'The Curse of Oak Island: The First Six Seasons'
(Rick & Marty Lagina, et al / 23-Disc DVD / TV-PG / 2019 / History Channel)

Overview: It was an article in a 1965 Reader’s Digest about a possible buried treasure on a small Canadian island that fueled the youthful imaginations of two Michigan-born brothers.

Fifty years later, Rick Lagina and his brother Marty were able to purchase most of the island and they now, along with their partners, find themselves at the center of one of the greatest mysteries of all time.

HISTORY®’s long-running hit show, 'The Curse of Oak Island' chronicles every clue, every discovery, and every legend.

DVD Verdict: For those not really in the know, 'The Curse of Oak Island' follows brothers Marty and Rick Lagina, originally from Kingsford, Michigan, through their efforts to find the speculated treasure or historical artifacts believed to be on Oak Island.

The series discusses the history of the island, recent discoveries, theories, and prior attempts to investigate the site with areas of interest including the "Money Pit", "Borehole 10-x", "Smith's Cove", "Nolan's Cross", the "Hatch", and "The Swamp," amongst a slew of others!

Now and before I dissect the seasons below, please let me be clear here: I love this show! The people, the story, the mystery and all that follows with it, but there are things being done about this production and the episodes that destroys almost all the good that 'The Curse of Oak Island' has to offer; and that is a big shame.

I mean, come on now, what can be more intriguing than a possible mystery treasure buried under an intelligent construction on an island hundreds of years ago?

But when we are in 2014, as we were when the first season got under way, and we pretend that we can't analyze a hole in the ground and so stop working on it as soon as we encounter bedrock, whilst at the same time we keep moving away from rather significant clues and indications that we should inspect (as a step to uncover the full story of the mystery on Oak Island), all sanity stops existing, sorry!

For me, and I know I'm not alone here in this, but this is the clearest indicator that 'The Curse of Oak Island' is entertainment, and not an exciting piece of ground-breaking history in the making.

However, that said, the show does attempt to be both, and as such it suffers a severe identity-problem.

Then again, most anyone who has heard of the Oak Island Money Pit, becomes seduced by unraveling the mystery. These to brothers and their team are no exception, having spent millions of dollars and years of their lives in pursuit of the history.

And, of course, the treasure that may or may not be on the island is still an attraction for both the explorers and us viewers.

What I love about this show is it not just about a few guys excavating a pit for they really look at all the mysteries on the island and do their best to learn as much as possible (whilst teaching us along the way too, of course).

It's actually a lot of fun reliving this series from the very off, as the very first episode, What Lies Below has the brothers (having now purchased most of the mysterious island), determined to resurrect the 200 year-old search for treasure whilst beginning with an exploration of an abandoned shaft called 10-X.

Come the fifth and final episode of that first season (The Find) and Rick and Marty finally make one of the biggest discoveries in the 200 year-old search for treasure (but I won't give it away, no worries).

In the season two opener, after dating the item they found last summer to 1652, the brothers return to Oak Island and the strange triangle-shaped swamp to look for more clues.

A few more fun things are discovered along the way, but the tenth and last episode of this second season ends with the brothers now setting up shop alongside a father and son duo, Dan and Dave Blankenship (as well as other important members of this group).

In the season three opener, Bore Hole, Rick and Marty return to Oak Island and quickly discover that not only does borehole 10-X contain even more secrets than previously thought, but a new technology could prove that there are numerous treasure sites lying all over the island!

Come the final episode of this season, Secrets and Revelations, and MASSIVE secrets are indeed revealed leaving the brothers digging even MORE holes!

The fourth season opens with Going For Broke, which showcases Rick and Marty once again returning to Oak Island to prepare for a major excavation of the Money Pit.

The final episode of this series (the fifteenth by now), Blood Is Thicker, has the team finding out what the mysterious metal spike they encountered this season really is. Oh, and they also make new important discoveries while their drill season comes to an end as winter approaches.

Come the fifth season opener, Forever Family, peril strikes during a daring dive; Rick and Marty double down on their efforts to locate the original Money Pit with the most ambitious engineering operation in Oak Island history; and the fellowship of the dig is faced with the tragic loss of Drake.

The season ends on its eighteenth episode, Amazing Discoveries, where the moment of truth for the fellowship of the dig comes to be, as the guys are faced with the burning question as to whether they quit or continue.

In the final season (thus far), Rick's Big Bang Theory, it opens with Rick, Marty and the team returning (as always) to Oak Island to follow up on last seasons amazing discoveries, and double down on their efforts to locate the elusive Oak Island Money Pit.

Come the final episode, it's by-now 22nd, 'Lost and Founding, the team is handed a shocking new theory that may connect the Oak Island treasure to the birth of a nation!

But it's also the moment of truth for the fellowship as the guys are, once again, albeit more monetarily important, faced with the burning question: Quit or continue?

In closing, the only thing that I found annoying about the show us the "Captain Obvious" narration! I mean, he makes the same statement every time something new is found, simply with different words!

It, quite literally, sounds identical each and every time and worse than that is that he also explains what just happened, seconds after watching it ourselves! Like he is speaking to the blind, or some such audience!

Are Marie Antoinette’s jewels hidden in the triangle-shaped swamp? Or could the lost Ark of the Covenant be buried beneath Smith’s Cove? Or is something even more incredible concealed some 200 feet below the surface of the infamous Money Pit?

Now everyone who has dreamed of searching for buried treasure can take part in the quest to solve the mystery that has taken the lives of six men so far and — as the legend goes — must claim a seventh before the island will reveal its secrets! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the bonus of over 45 minutes of Special Features!

Relive every discovery from the very beginning when the smash hit HISTORY® series 'The Curse of Oak Island: The First Six Seasons' arrives on DVD December 10th, 2019 from Lionsgate.

www.history.com





'Judy' [Blu-ray Combo Pack]
(Renée Zellweger, Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: Thirty years after rising to global stardom in The Wizard of Oz, showbiz legend Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) arrives in London to perform a five-week sold-out run at The Talk of the Town.

While preparing for the shows, Garland battles with management, reminisces with friends and adoring fans, and embarks on a whirlwind romance with soon-to-be fifth husband Mickey Deans — all while bravely struggling to overcome intensifying anxiety and physical decline.

Featuring some of her best-known songs, the film celebrates the unyielding spirit and matchless talent of “the world’s greatest entertainer."

Blu-ray Verdict: I can remember watching 'The Wizard of Oz' on television once a year when I was a boy, so I have been acquainted with Judy Garland (Renee Zellweger, who did her own singing, and Darci Hall in flashbacks) for almost all my life.

I don't recall ever reading a biography about her, but I have watched at least one TV mini-series about her life. This movie, 'Judy' focuses on the last year of her life before her premature death from a drug overdose at the age of 47.

It starts by showing her reduced to accepting $150 for a live performance featuring her two younger children, Lorna (Bella Ramsey) and Joey Luft (Lewin Lloyd). I should add that Liza Minnelli, played by Gemma-Leah Devereux, was an adult by this time and appears in one scene.

They live in hotels until Garland gets so far behind in their rent that she is forced to apply for help from her second husband Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell), who is fighting for custody of Lorna and Joey.

One of the issues, which the film shows repeatedly, is Garland's alcoholism and addiction to amphetamines and barbiturates. Judy and Sid come to a temporary accord when she travels to London for a five week engagement at the cabaret-restaurant Talk of the Town while the children live with him.

Most of the film concerns her time in London with a few flashbacks to the time when she was filming 'The Wizard of Oz.' During the last year of her life, she met and married her fifth and last husband Mickey Deans (Finn Whitrock), who later wrote a book about their brief time together.

While Garland was in London, she was looked after by Rosalyn Wilder (Jessie Buckley), a long-time employee of the club, where the audience was known for throwing breadsticks at performers who displeased them.

In fact, Wilder is still alive and served as a consultant on the film, talking to Zellweger, Buckley, the film's production designer, and its costumer.

She also provided a tape recording by Deans of one of Garland's performances that the club had confiscated, but even so, I still feel as if the film took a few liberties with what actually happened.

For instance, a scene in which Wilder had to visit Garland's hotel room to help her dress for her performance never happened (from all my knowledge on the subject, so to speak).

But, and on the whole, Wilder has said that the film is a good representation of the time. On the other hand, none of Garland's children were involved with the film, although the filmmaker did read Lorna's book about her mother.

Liza posted on Facebook that she neither approved nor sanctioned the movie, but nonetheless Zellweger is truly excellent, as usual, and there is speculation that her performance will earn her a fourth Oscar nomination (she last won for 'Cold Mountain.').

Before filming began, she trained for one year with a voice coach and then for four months with the film's musical director. Oh, and she is three years older than Garland was at the time this film is set.

The make-up artist extended her nose slightly to match Garland's and she wore contact lenses to match Garland's eye color along with a variety of wigs, of course.

Two of the best performances are provided by Andy Nyman and John Dagleish as a fictional gay couple who invite Garland to their apartment for a late dinner after one of her performances.

One of the funniest scenes in the movie takes place when neither of them can figure out how to make an omelet! Overall, I would say that this is an excellent movie, although I can't vouch for its accuracy, of course.

Ultimately, 'Judy' acts as a melodramatic cautionary tale for aspiring performers and working artists by illuminating the sheer amount of no holds barred sacrifice that is needed to even have a chance at a career.

In truth, Zellweger's real life dysfunction from being failed by the Hollywood machine herself bleeds into her performance and gives it a truly lived-in authenticity that is also rather quite something to see. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• “From the Heart: The Making of Judy
Judy Image Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer

Take a peek behind the curtain of one of Hollywood's greatest entertainers, Judy Garland, played by Oscar winner Renée Zellweger.

'Judy' arrives on Digital December 10th, 2019 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus Digital), DVD and On Demand December 24th, 2019 from Lionsgate.

www.LGF.com

Official 'Becoming Judy' Behind The Scenes Clip

Official 'Celebrating Judy' Behind The Scenes Clip

Official 'Judy' Trailer

Official 'Judy' Website

Official 'Judy' Facebook Page

Official 'Judy' Instagram Page

Official 'Judy' Twitter Page





'The Berenstain Bears: Lend A Helping Hand'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / PBS Kids)

Overview: When Brother and Sister are on their way to a friends house they stop to help the frail and elderly Widder Jones.

When she recruits them to help with other chores they aren't excited to spend their Saturday cleaning out her attic.

Luckily they come to enjoy her company and discover that helping others can be rewarding.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, 'The Berenstain Bears' began as a children's literature franchise created by Stan and Jan Berenstain and continued by their son, Mike Berenstain; who assumed partial authorship in 2002, and full authorship in 2012 following Jan's death.

The books feature a family of anthropomorphic grizzly bears who generally learn a moral or safety-related lesson in the course of each story.

Indeed, since the 1962 debut of the first Berenstain Bears book, The Big Honey Hunt, the series has grown to over 300 titles, which have sold approximately 260 million copies in 23 languages.

Of course, as we know, 'The Berenstain Bears' franchise has also expanded well beyond the books, encompassing two television series and a wide variety of other products and licenses.

While enjoying decades of popularity and receiving numerous awards, the series has been applauded for portraying many tales of bravery, caring for others, and learning responsibility well beyond The Bears' young years.

Furthermore, 'The Berenstain Bears' is sensibly written to appeal to younger children (preschool and kindergarten age) and teach them values at the same time.

In this age of redundant stupidity in entertainment, parents need a show like this one to help illustrate how fair life should be, and give a firm footing to children, not overwhelm them with glitz, glam and gloss.

By keeping plots simple and allowing children to follow along at their level, this show simply teaches children how to be fair, consider other's feelings and have good sportsmanship.

These are core values which are not being taught to children at daycare dumps or underfunded public schools, in my humble opinion.

Here in 'The Berenstain Bears: Lend A Helping Hand,' when Mama concludes that there's too much "Me, me, me!" in Brother and Sister's behavior, she encourages them to help elderly Widow McGrizz deal with her full and messy attic.

While the cubs are resistant at first, they soon find that there are rewards in giving a helping hand to those less fortunate.

As always, this is yet another Berenstain Bear' story that provides a life lesson at the end. This one teaches about helping others less fortunate, which is always a lovely message to give our young ones around the winter holiday season.

Plus, enjoy five other fun adventures in Bear Country: Think of Those in Need, Hug and Make Up, Moving Day, Big Bear, Small Bear and The Birthday Boy.

These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBSkids.org





'Martin Barre - Live In NY: Special Edition'
(Martin Barre / DVD+2CD / NR / 2019 / Purple Pyramid - MVD Visual)

Overview: Martin Barre, best-known as guitarist in Jethro Tull - one of the biggest selling prog bands of all time - brings his famous guitar chops to the Big Apple in this rare concert capturing his solo band live as they rock thru the classic hits that earned him a reputation as one of the signature axemen of his era.

This Deluxe Collector's Edition contains a Concert DVD coupled with two Audio CDs of the entire concert, packaged in a gorgeous eight-panel digipak.

DVD Verdict: Containing a wondrous live performance captured in 2016 that takes the listener on a journey through highlights of both Jethro Tull's catalog - such as 'Thick As A Brick,' 'Locomotive Breath' and 'Skating Away' - plus songs from Barre's spectacular solo albums, Live In NY is a quite magnificent DVD+2CD package, that's for darn sure!

1. 'Hammer'
2. 'To Cry You A Song'
3. 'Minstrel In The Gallery'
4. 'Steal Your Heart Away'
5. 'Back To Steel'
6. 'Love Story'
7. 'Misere'
8. 'Eleanor Rigby'
9. 'Sweet Dream'
10. 'Rock Me Baby'
11. 'Thick As A Brick'
12. 'Blackest Eyes'
13. 'Skating Away (On The Thin Ice of a New Day)'
14. 'Crossroads'
15. 'Martin's Jig'
16. 'Hymn 43'
17. 'Bad Man'
18. 'A Song For Jeffrey'
19. 'Moment of Madness'
20. 'Teacher'
21. 'Fatman'
22. 'A New Day Yesterday'
23. 'Locomotive Breath'

Playing on a small stage, lit for the most part by blue and purple spots, Barre and his band bring forth one of the most rivetingly enjoyable live shows that I've seen in many a year.

The show opens with a brilliant, forthright 'Hammer' and then bleeds seamlessly into both 'To Cry You A Song' and the bass-led beauty 'Minstrel In The Gallery.'

The slow poke musical drawl of 'Steal Your Heart Away' is followed by 'Back To Steel,' the mid-tempo storytelling of 'Love Story,' the guitar lushness of 'Misere,' and then comes Barre's rendition of The Beatles' 'Eleanor Rigby.'

The guitar rock of 'Sweet Dream' is another fan favorite and is backed by the low-key blues vibe of 'Rock Me Baby,' a near-ten minute version of 'Thick As A Brick,' and the first CD rounds out with the thunderous 'Blackest Eyes.'

Now midway through the concert and the second CD opens with the melodic bounce of 'Skating Away (On The Thin Ice of a New Day),' the mandolin-led duo of 'Crossroads' and 'Martin's Jig / Hymn 43,' and then comes the warbling blues funk of 'Bad Man' and the low key brilliance of 'A Song For Jeffrey.'

The frenetic 'Moment of Madness' is another rich delight to behold and is followed by the drum-led 'Teacher,' the screamingly-energetic 'Fatman,' and then comes to a close with 'A New Day Yesterday,' and then rounds out on yet another musical high with a powerful 'Locomotive Breath.'

FYI: A superb live album from Jethro Tull guitarist, Martin Barre, sees its first ever vinyl release in a gorgeous 2LP gatefold jacket RED vinyl!

www.MartinBarre.com

Official Purchase Link

'Martin Barre - Live In NYC' Official Trailer

www.CleopatraRecords.com





Bad Company: Official Authorized 40th Anniversary
(Simon Kirke, Jason Bonham, Paul Rodgers, Zoot Money, Ian Hunter / Blu-ray / NR / 2020 / MVD Visual - FilmRise)

Overview: Supported by Bad Company's major hit tracks, this candid film celebrates rock's hottest anthems in the company of the group's remaining three members: Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs, alongside contemporaries Brian May, Zoot Money, Sam Moore, Joe Elliott, Jason Bonham and many more!

Blu-ray Verdict: This is the story of the English rock group Bad Company from their early roots, through the breakup and reuniting and as much as it only runs 84 minutes, you should know that coming complete with the "officially authorized" tagline means that what you get here on this new Blu-ray is the most incredible, revealing and heartfelt look at one of the worlds greatest ever rock bands.

If we were not aware from the off, the documentary takes us by the hand and introduces us to the band formed in Westminster, London, in 1973 by singer Paul Rodgers and guitarist Mick Ralphs (later adding drummer Simon Kirke and bassist Boz Burrell).

We learn that Peter Grant, who managed the rock band Led Zeppelin, also managed Bad Company until 1982, which was news to me, so that was rather interesting to know.

We watch as all the success had by the band throughout the 1970s pours out onto our screens. Indeed, their first three albums, Bad Company (1974), Straight Shooter (1975), and Run with the Pack (1976), reached the top five in the album charts in both the UK and US.

And many of their singles/songs, such as the self-titled 'Bad Company', 'Can't Get Enough', 'Good Lovin' Gone Bad', 'Feel Like Makin' Love', 'Ready for Love', 'Shooting Star', and 'Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy', remain staples of classic rock radio even today.

Having sold 15.5 million RIAA-certified albums in the United States alone, through rare archive and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, Bad Company comes back to life before our very eyes here in this quite wondrous new Blu-ray from MVD Visual / FilmRise.

Furthermore, this first-ever authorized Bad Company documentary film exposes the truth behind the history of the band, including revelations about past management, sell-out stadium tours and the loss of bass player Boz Burrell and so much more.

With the band having "died" along the way due to one thing or another - due to both external and, as we find out here, internal issues - on December 4th, 1995 the four original members of Bad Company managed to come together for the first time in thirteen years to attend the funeral of their former manager, Peter Grant.

This would be a precursor of things to come, of course, and suddenly, slowly but surely, the Bad Company empire began to have new life breathed within it. Which led, as we all now know, to a full on reunion and their subsequent 40th Anniversary Tour.

Director Jon Brewer ('BB King: The Life of Riley') joins Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirks and Mick Ralphs on the road, and for the first time ever has chronicled this story as told by the band themselves, Bad Company.

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

www.BadCompany.com

Official Purchase Link

www.MVDvisual.com

www.FilmRise.com





'Bluebird' [Blu-ray]
(Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2020 / MVD Visual - Cleopatra Entertainment)

Overview: Discover the origins of megastars like Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift while following emerging singer-songwriters as they chase their dreams inside The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville's accidental landmark that has altered the course of music history.

It's 35 year history is revealed thru never-before-told stories from those that have worked, played, been discovered and helped preserve this unassuming strip-mall haunt that is the bedrock of American songwriting.

Blu-ray Verdict: In what has turned out to be a massive Festival fan favorite - Official Selection: SXSW (2019), Nashville Film Festival (2019), Newport Beach Film Festival (2019) and more! - 'Bluebird' (or as it might well go by on the circuit, 'The Bluebird Cafe') is, quite easily one of the most heartfelt and revealing looks behind the curtain of country music brought out for many a decade.

In what is, without question, a most beautiful filmed documentary about the famed and historic Bluebird Cafe, and having never been fortunate enough to visit myself, watching it through the eyes of the filmmakers, it immediately draws you in and begs for you to come and see it in person.

Watching it now, and with a healthy 90 minute run time, 'Bluebird' (directed and produced by Brian Loschiavo with added production from Erika Wollam Nichols), the production is simply gorgeous throughout.

A mesmerizing documentary about the Holy Grail of country music, it lovingly showcases the careers that have begun there and, of course, follows them through to who they became within the music world today.

Combining behind the scenes footage with a generous mix of established and aspiring singer/songwriters, featuring now-known stars such as Taylor Swift, Sam Hunt, Maren Morris, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Trish Yearwood, Vince Gill along with the stars of the hit TV series Nashville, we get to hear their individual stories.

Just imagining how many great songs the walls of the Bluebird have heard over the decades is amazing enough in its own right, but to watch someone like Taylor Swift go back to those roots, sit alongside an accompanying guitarist and just acoustically sing songs to her fans there in the audience - both young and slightly older - is enough to bring tears to your eyes (which it will, trust me!).

Entertaining and rightfully already critically acclaimed, 'Bluebird' is not just the most perfect documentary for country music fans, but fans of all genres of music and film fans too!

Bonus Features: Interviews, Theatrical Trailer and Image Slideshow.

Official Purchase Link

'Bluebird' Official Trailer

www.Cleopatra-Entertainment.com





'Monochrome: Black White & Blue'
(Morgan Freeman, Chuck Berry, Bill Wyman, B.B. King, Jake Bugg, et al / DVD / NR / 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Director Jon Brewer ('B.B. King: The Life of Riley') lovingly defragments the history of not only blues music but also the plight of the people in America's deep south, bringing the story of blues of life through powerful interviews, live musical performances and sweeping landscapes.

DVD Verdict: Featuring a remarkable list of renowned artists and luminaries such as Morgan Freeman, Chuck Berry, Bill Wyman, B.B. King, Jake Bugg, Carlos Santana, Ronnie Wood Eric Clapton, Robert Cray and many more, the 90 minutes that 'Monochrome: Black White & Blue' runs for is chock full of revealing, eye opening and at times unbelieve stories from some of the worlds greatest ever blues originators.

Indeed, this quite wondrous 3 part series re-sets trends of thinking about blues music and its roots for there have been, and will continue to be, documentation on Blues music long after we have gone.

However, what Brewer discovers here in his extended encounters in America's Deep South is that there was no music called 'blues' when the original creators stepped into a new feel of musical expressionism.

No, there was simply pain and oppression and plenty of it, and the music was the salve that, if only momentarily, set them free.

Starting in the early 1800's Louisiana, slave trading and transportation of slaves from Haiti and Africa, bring with them a drum beat musical style and a destiny carved out of oppression thereafter.

Ergo, music, rhythm and dance soon became ways for people to communicate and so the blues came from pain and despair. And over the years, the blues has grown to feature as a more joyous expression within genres such as Gospel and Jazz. Indeed, and as one person puts it, "Blues is to jazz as blood is to the body."

From America's deep South, to Detroit and New York this captivating and enlightening documentary 'Monochrome: Black White & Blue' traces the evolution of blues through pivotal moments in American history.

Official Purchase Link

'Monochrome: Black White & Blue' Official Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Nighthawks: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Janet Montgomery, Kevin Zegers, Chace Crawford, Michele Weaver, Lola Bessis, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / FilmRise - MVD Visual)

Overview: Wide-eyed Midwest transplant Stan (Chace Crawford) agrees to play wingman to his calculating and privileged roommate Chad (Kevin Zegers) as they embark upon an exploration of glittering New York nightlife, whose darkest secrets are held captive by an elite band of millennials known as Nighthawks.

Blu-ray Verdict: Chock full of smart writing, an (at times) engrossing style of cinematography, and rummaging through some rather heavy subject matters and human emotions, 'Nighthawks' may miss the bigger point sometimes, but overall it's definitely a film to invite friends around to watch, that's for sure.

Surprising subversive, especially with tone, style, and structure, the film is a rather fascinating thriller, whilst taking a smart look at the mindset of the millennial generation; in a different, albeit also stylized way.

Worth a watch as it expertly delivers moments of fun and fascinating conversations, some of already said that the writing is "... overly verbose, narcissistic, and incredibly distracting in the same way an overacted play might be," personally I didn't find it to be so.

In fact, to my mind, 'Nighthawks' is an intriguing and compelling film with a lot going for it. The hip ensemble cast knows their collective marks, the glitzy, haunting visuals are spot on most of the time, and the sharp, audacious script enables the actors to bring their characters to life wonderfully.

Complete with a stylized, confident direction from writer/director Grant S. Johnson, one that forces you to enter a darkly-colored otherworld, come in in, take a look around, and decide for yourself, my friends. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 and comes with the Special Features of:

Theatrical Trailer
Photo Gallery

'Nighthawks' Movie Trailer

www.FilmRise.com

www.MVDshop.com





'Black Angel: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Dan Duryea, June Vincent, Peter Lorre, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1946) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: When the beautiful singer Mavis Marlowe (Constance Dowling) is slain in her chic apartment, the men in her life become suspects.

There is Martin Blair (Dan Duryea, Scarlet Street), her alcoholic musician ex-husband, nursing a broken heart; there is the shady nightclub owner Marko (Peter Lorre, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon) who has been sneaking around her place, and there is Kirk Bennett (John Phillips), the adulterer who found his mistress's dead body and fled the scene.

When Bennett is convicted and sentenced to death, his long-suffering wife Catherine (June Vincent) joins forces with the heartbroken pianist Martin Blair to uncover the truth.

Blu-ray Verdict: Elegantly directed by Hollywood veteran Roy William Neill (best known for his 11 Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone), 'Black Angel' is an underappreciated film noir treasure, adapted from a novel by the acclaimed crime writer Cornell Woolrich (Phantom Lady).

Kirk Bennett (Phillips) is convicted of a singer's murder, but his wife Catherine (Vincent) tries to prove him innocent with the help of the victim's estranged husband, Martin Blair (Duryea).

However, we first meet him at his worst, drunk and disorderly, a man drowning his sorrows after being dumped by his gorgeous, nasty wife, who has since been murdered.

But when Duryea meets June Vincent, he shapes up and love blooms. We root for Vincent and Duryea to find the murderer so Vincent can divorce her cheating husband, marry Duryea, and live happily ever after in her cozy home in the suburbs of L.A.

How very likable and nice are Vincent and Duryea. And how nice it is that neither of these likable people, mutually attracted as they are, acted on their feelings which, kept in check by the demands of sleuthing, are simmering just beneath the surface.

For a mid 1940s film noir entry 'Black Angel' is modest in terms of visuals and a general noir vibe, but with strong casting, intelligent scripting and a genuinely interesting mystery driving the story forward, it proves to be an enjoyable who done it?

Director Neill, in spite of some gaping plot questions that surface, does a fine job of dangling carrots to keep us guessing on how this will eventually pan out.

He also ensures that the principal players are given room to breath, with Duryea repaying the director's approach with a great, and rare, sympathetic performance.

A couple of technical flourishes hint at what a better film it could have been in terms of atmosphere and darkening of the mood, such as the re-creation of the murder in a swirling expressionistic haze.

Broderick Crawford plays Captain Flood, who is really not totally concerned either way in innocence or guilt, because his squad is three months behind solving cases.

Former Goldwyn girl Dowling is a knockout and looks like someone would want to kill her throughout! It's all held together nicely by the likes of Peter Lorre, who plays a somewhat-decent club owner instead of the usual bad guy; and other somewhat-less-known character actors of the 1940's.

That all said, 'Black Angel' - complete with some deft observations on emotionally charged characters shaded in grey - still holds enough interest to entice the film noir fan, that's for sure. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new restoration from original film elements by Arrow Films
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
New audio commentary by the writer and film scholar Alan K. Rode
A Fitting End, a new video appreciation by the film historian Neil Sinyard
Original trailer
Gallery of original stills and promotional materials
Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Philip Kemp

'Black Angel' Original Movie Trailer

www.MVDshop.com





'Edge of the Axe: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Barton Faulks, Christina Marie Lane, Page Mosely, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1988) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: The rural community of Paddock County is being rocked by the crazed exploits of an axe-wielding psychopath, who stalks the night in a black trenchcoat and mask.

As the victims pile up, the authorities attempt to keep a lid on the situation, whilst computer whizz-kid Gerald and girlfriend Lillian seek to unmask the killer before the town population reaches zero.

Blu-ray Verdict: Whilst Spain's contribution to the slasher genre has not been by any means prolific, they have made a few noteworthy inclusions.

Admittedly, the lackluster 'El Cepo' was not the most memorable of titles, but Jesus Franco's 'Colegialas violadas' and Juan Piquer's 'Mil gritos tiene la noche' gained notoriety by joining the lengthy DPP list in the United Kingdom and spawning a legion of admirers.

Jose Ramon Larraz, the Catalonian born filmmaker, first sprang to public attention with the outstanding thriller 'Síntomas', which earned him a Golden Palm nomination in 1974.

Many regard his greatest cinematic project to be 'El Mirón' from 1977. The movie was impressively visual and had very little dialogue, which meant that everything was suggested with body language and eye contact and it made Héctor Alterio's award winning lead-performance much more of an outstanding achievement.

Throughout the majority of his career, Larraz has demonstrated an ability to convey a cohesive and fluid plot without depending on gratuitous shock tactics.

He continued to work steadily in cinema, travelling from his home in the United Kingdom to shoot pictures across Europe. In 1987 he directed the ambitious 'Descanse en Piezas', which was the first of two American-Spanish produced direct-to-video splatter flicks.

Piezas boasted a creative synopsis but was plagued by a collectively inept cast and struggled to find a sizeable audience.

Released in 1988, 'Edge of the Axe' (or, as it was named in Spain, 'Al filo del hacha' was Larraz's first slasher movie, although it wouldn't be his last.

He returned to the category in 1990 with Deadly Manor, which signaled his exit from horror pictures. After the uninspiring comedy 'Sevilla Connection' in 1992, Larraz has remained anonymous in cinema, briefly resurfacing to direct a TV movie at the turn of the century.

Shot on location in Mexico, 'Edge of the Axe' tells the tale of a masked maniac stalking a small Northern Californian suburb. In the opening, a woman is brutally murdered in a car wash, which is the first of many successfully conveyed set pieces.

We are later introduced to a likable cast, including Page Mosley playing a technically gifted drifter called Gerald Martin. After relocating to Paddock County, he meets with Lillian Nebbs (Christina Marie Lane), and the couple begin a romantic liaison.

Meanwhile, as the psychopathic killer continues his rampage across the county, Gerald uses his online resources to find a link between the victims. Could his girlfriend be the killer's intended target?

Whereas 'Descanse en Piezas' boasted a logically creative plot, which mixed everything from suicide and reanimation to Dead and Buried-alike hostile small-townsfolk, 'Edge of the Axe' is a typical slasher-whodunit that swims comfortably in the ocean of genre trappings.

But unlike the huge majority of category inhabitants that relied so heavily on their heritage, Larraz's opus makes excellent use of the standard format to deliver an atmospheric and impressively dark environment.

Despite a lack of gratuitous gore, the murders are impressively realistic and at times it feels almost like we are watching a snuff movie. The opening killing has become something of a favorite amongst collectors, although personally I found much more creativity in some of the later slaughters.

Larraz is an experienced director and it shows consistently throughout the runtime. In places he manages to build some credible suspense and the tense final is competently handled. Javier Elorrieta's simple but unsettling score creates a harrowing mood and Tote Trenas' cinematography is visibly crisp.

Whilst the cast of 'Descanse en piezas' were incredibly poor to the extent that they ruined the feature in places, 'Edge of the Axe' marks a significant improvement in terms of dramatics.

Semi-prolific slasher star Page Mosley (Open House, Girl's Nite Out) delivers a career best performance as a likable lead, whilst the majority of cast members are approachable in supporting roles.

Suspicion points at almost every character and Larraz wraps the plot neatly with an ambitious conclusion. Perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that Hacha is a slasher movie devoid of stereotypes.

You'll find no horny beer-swigging teenagers here. John Carpenter spoke elegantly of his decision to set 'Halloween' in a normal everyday neighborhood, in order to distance his movie from the haunted houses and dilapidated castles that have signified the genre.

By doing so, he brought terror into our front rooms and reminded us that horror can strike in any place at any time. Giving us ordinary victims in ordinary environments, Larraz incorporated Carpenter's philosophy and avoided the platitudes so commonly linked with the slasher cycle.

The killer looks creepy in Michael Myers-like blank mask and rain slicker, and the movie transcends its budget. There are numerous flaws throughout the runtime, but they never detract from the overall enjoyment, and the flick excels far more than it disappoints.

In closing, 'Edge of the Axe' may have been released too late to make an impact on the category, but reflection proves that its one of the best late entries to the cycle.

Finally after a few attempts, the Spaniards have a slasher movie to be proud of. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
English and Spanish language versions of the feature
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
Newly translated English subtitles for the Spanish soundtrack
Brand new audio commentary with actor Barton Faulks
Brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues
Newly-filmed interview with actor Barton Faulks
The Pain in Spain - a newly-filmed interview with special effects and make-up artist Colin Arthur
Image Gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing by Amanda Reyes

'Edge of the Axe' Original Movie Trailer

www.MVDshop.com





'Joker: 4K Ultra HD+ Blu-ray + Digital'
(Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, et al / 4K Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2019 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Forever alone in a crowd, Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) longs for any light to shine on him.

Trying his hand as a stand-up comic, he finds the joke always seems to be on him.

Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty and, ultimately, betrayal, Arthur makes one bad decision after another that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events.

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 majestical 'Joker’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this January 7th, 2020.

For my money, this 'Joker: 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 'Joker' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10, Aspect ratio: 1.85:1, and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the streets of Gotham coming alive behind Joaquin as he gets beaten by the thugs, or even the subway train scene where he finally loses control. It just all comes more vividly to life, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably the scenes where the camera pans on a vividly disturbing close up of Joaquin's face once he has the clown paint on; and of the madness bubbling under the surface) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Hindi: Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1, Tamil: Dolby Digital 5.1, and Telugu: 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, in truth, while the trailers for this movie have may seemed like there was potential for an action packed movie, this movie, clearly (and even before it came to theaters) was intended to be a progressive character study.

Indeed, you shouldn't go into this movie expecting intense action or the joker we know of the past. This is a movie about how Arthur Fleck becomes the Joker. Simple as.

I have seen so many bad reviews about how boring or slow the movie is, but I believe it was utter perfection.

Furthermore, Todd Phillips' direction and script are masterstrokes. If it were a painting it would be a Turner, with bright violent skies, and dark sad landscapes.

His beautiful melting pot of inspiration features large doses of Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver, alongside the physiological battery acid from more recent pictures such as Fight Club and Black Swan.

It swirls together to birth this bitter, gritty, dark, mesmerizing masterpiece, that both requires and demands, multiple, in-depth viewings.

The first part of the movie we begin to understand Arthur as a person. All of his interactions with everyone in his life, be it good or bad. The whole point of a character study is evolution. And this is far and away one of the greatest evolutions of a character I have ever seen in a movie.

Joaquin Phoenix's performance is by far the best acting I have seen in a movie possibly in the last few decades. We see a challenged person be challenged by society and it completely breaks him down over time.

And Joaquin isn't acting, he is evolving all throughout the movie. If anyone thinks he doesn't put on an Oscar winning performance, they're out of their effing mind!

Yes, the movie is slow to start, but it has to be. We couldn't just jump into the Joker and all the chaos. We need to know where it came from to begin with.

The whole compilation of the movie is amazing. The complete Oscar deserving performance of Joaquin, the choreography, the cinematography, the score. Everything is in perfect harmony.

While there may have been a lot of controversy surrounding this movie, the team put together a perfect movie and I pity those who can't appreciate the tears and sweat and emotion that went into making it.

I have always been so one-sided in my movie preferences between Marvel and DC. I feel like Marvel is so much better overall and most movies DC puts out are trash!

But Joker is far and away my favorite comic movie. Even though it takes a completely different spin on comic movies it allows you to appreciate the evolution to appreciate this movie.

It's not an action movie, but it's really rips and tears at all the emotions in one movie while adding a wild suspenseful kick. No other comic book movie has done that before. Maybe none ever will.

The cinematography is astounding, and MUST be in contention for an Academy Award, alongside Best Lead, Best Direction and best Sound Mixing. Some of the shots could have been lifted from a Time Magazine piece on 'City Life' they're that artistically powerful.

Whole, dialogue-free sequences that say far more with silence and sounds of a city teetering on the brink of oblivion in the background than anyone could ever say.

The sound mixing to have conversations, telephones, car horns, shouting, trains prevalent in the background audio leaking into the foreground does what Nolan did in Dunkirk and pushes further the feeling of strain.

The idea that even noise is seeping in from the city and soon the barricade will break and it'll drown us all in it's filth, corruption and decadence.

In closing, and simply put, 'Joker' is a true, unabashed masterpiece. So dark, so dirty, so vindictive of a modern flawed and broken societal system, but it always reminds you: Put on a happy face.

As for the special features included here on this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition, the stand out for me has to be The Making of: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Creation of the Film, for with people such as Cinematographer Lawrence Sher, ASC telling us that as much as the film's title might sway you to believe, 'Joker; was all about the cinema and not the jokes.

Explaining that they set out from the off to tell a cinematic story that brought the origin of The Joker to the viewers via hued scenes and heavily detailed and story boarded vignettes, the comedy was always put to the side.

He goes on to actually connect movies such as Old School and The Hangover as films that showcased a lot of the same cinematic beliefs, whether you saw or noticed it yourselves at the time.

Sher, who has worked with director Todd Phillips many times, further explains that they wanted to make this movie better than anything they had ever done before and knew that they HAD to make the most uncompromised film they had made together to date.

Interestingly enough, given that most movies like this are shot at 2:35, Sher explains that both he and Phillips agreed on 1:85 from the start which was great as they then wanted to shoot the movie in 65mm film.

This would have meant that it became a movie of extremes, where in wide shots Joaquin was small cutting against extreme close ups that showed an anamorphic depth, but that they went down that path, but just couldn't afford it. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

• The Making Of: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Creation of the Film
• Joaquin Phoenix Alternate Takes
• Costume Tests
• Joker: Vision & Fury
• Becoming Joker
• Please Welcome… Joker!
• Joker: A Chronicle of Chaos

On December 17th, 2019, 'Joker' will be available to own in high definition and standard definition from select digital retailers including Amazon, FandangoNOW, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others.

On January 7th, 2020, 'Joker' will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles, along with being released on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD too.

Official 'Joker' Trailer

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

Official 'Joker' Facebook Page!

Official 'Joker' Twitter Page!





'The Lighthouse' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: From Robert Eggers, the visionary filmmaker behind the modern horror masterpiece The Witch, comes this hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

As an approaching storm threatens to sweep them from the rock and strange apparitions emerge from the fog, each man begins to suspect that the other has become dangerously unmoored.

Blu-ray Verdict: The opening sequence plays like something from 1920's era cinema. The chug-chug-chug of a boat slamming against the waves of an angry sea while birds flap and chirp alongside. We hear the wind and "feel" the severe ocean spray.

Several minutes elapse before any word is spoken. Immediately noticeable is the nearly square aspect ratio; the rarely (these days) seen 1.19:1 frame, making the black and white images appear both surreal and ominous.

All of the above makes perfect sense when we realize this is writer-director Robert Eggers' first feature film since his 2015 indie horror gem The Witch won dozens of festival awards.

Mr. Eggers obviously has his own vision for projects, and his approach borders on experimental, eschewing conventional. He co-wrote this script with his brother Max, and evidently much was drawn from the actual journals of lighthouse keepers; something that is evident in the vocabulary and the effects of solitude.

4-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe stars alongside Robert Pattison as the two men charged with a 4 week assignment of tending to a lighthouse. The film is set in 1890, and Dafoe plays Thomas Wake, the epitome of a salty old sea dog, replete with bad leg, hardcore Atlantic accent, and upside down pipe.

Pattinson is Ephraim Winslow, the assistant Wickie, who faces non-stop demands from Wake, and initially maintains a quietness as he goes about his duties; what Wake calls the 'doldrums.'

We learn little about either man's past. For Wake, other than knowing his previous assistant went mad, the clue is when he mentions "13 Christmases spent at sea" costing him a family. For Ephraim, when Wake asks, "Tell me what's a timberman want with being a Wickie?" we get some insight into Ephraim's desired future.

Eggers has delivered the anti-buddy movie. It's a bleak, slow-motion race to insanity caused by being isolated with only one other person; a person you aren't fond of.

Only this is not a director or a film content with showing two men stuck on a storm-battered rock, as they slip towards insanity. No, we viewers are forced to experience some of these same feelings - how much of what we see is actually happening?

It's mesmerizing and hypnotic, and the above-mentioned narrow screen aspect purposefully emphasizes the sense of confinement and claustrophobia.

With no color and only a couple of characters, well, ok, actually 3 if you count the mermaid (!), and, ok, well, 4 if you count the seagull (!), the film still manages to pound us with sensory overload.

We can barely process all we are seeing, despite relatively minimal 'typical' action. The black and white images are mostly just various shades of gray, and sunshine is non-existent. Cinematographer Jarin Blaschke (The Witch) embraces the dreariness by allowing the fog, lanterns, candles, wind, rain, and harsh elements to become characters unto themselves.

However, nothing is in sync with our two leads. Composer Mark Korven fills the many lapses in dialogue with sounds and tones we haven't heard before, yet they fit perfectly here. (This is also quite likely the first film to utilize farts and foghorns in harmony).

Director Eggers filmed this on Cape Forchu in Nova Scotia, and the extreme weather and less-than-welcoming terrain create quite the visuals - as do the faces of our two lead actors.

Dafoe may never have chewed scenery so delightfully as he does here, and Pattinson starts slowly before delivering his best work - including a ferocious rant that is fascinating to watch and contrast to his character's first meal with Dafoe.

Is this a horror film? A fantasy? Macabre comedy? There is simply no way to describe this other than bizarre. It's truly miserable cinema, and I loved every minute of it. This is a Pillar Box Presentation (1.19:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• “The Lighthouse: A Dark & Stormy Tale” Featurette
• Audio Commentary with Co-Writer & Director Robert Eggers
• Deleted Scenes

'The Lighthouse' will be available on Blu-ray™ plus Digital and DVD for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'The Lighthouse' Trailer





'MacGyver: Season 3'
(Lucas Till, George Eads, Tristin Mays, Justin Hires, Meredith Eaton, et al / 5-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: In this third action-packed season, MacGyver leads his crack team on one high-risk mission after another, crisscrossing the globe to keep the world safe from harm – while using little more than bubble gum, a paper clip, and his unending supply of resourcefulness.

DVD Verdict: Sometimes we can get stuck on a self righteous path guided by sentimentality. Shows like Knight Rider, Street Hawk, Airwolf, Manimal, The A-Team were great when we were kids because of our ability to suspend disbelief, but none of them have stood up to the test of time!

Dare I say it, they are actually pretty awful. Weak plots, over acting, standard fight choreography, and far too much reliance on the show's unique gimmick.

Luckily for all of us, 'MacGyver' is not one of those shows! Yes, sure, plots can be a wee bit too thin, but they are highly entertaining! The show is also chock full of impossibly beautiful people, which to be fair who doesn't like looking at, and they are all great at their day jobs; which is rather nice!

There is plenty of action, as expected, and all are helped along by modern SFX and thus the "gimmick" of the '80s Macgyver (he being Richard Dean Anderson back then) is still alive and kicking (now within Lucas Till), that's for sure!

For those not in the know, the show is a classic action packed weekly adventure based around a secret organization. The only difference is that the protagonist uses his brain and logic instead of brawn when in tight spots.

It's a refreshing take on a secret agent and his team with the cast diverse and every one having their own skill set nicely tucked away! The weekly plots are filled with adventure, humor, friendship, explosions, and heartbreak galore!

Not to mention the plot twists that rewrite the very essence of the show! Ergo, it's these intriguing plots that kept me anticipating the next episode and the adventure waiting therein.

In this third action-packed season, MacGyver leads his crack team on one high-risk mission after another, crisscrossing the globe to keep the world safe from harm – while using little more than bubble gum, a paper clip, and his unending supply of resourcefulness.

Personally, I like the cast, and the light-hearted jokes are fun to bounce off one another and the different captions they put up on screen for the various locations are inspired!

In truth, a lot of the original plots simply would not work nowadays. A lot of old school MacGyver plots could be solved by having a smartphone, or simply by googling!

Indeed, the original MacGyver was in a completely different time (literally) where simply cutting a phone line meant you had no communication whatsoever! Pagers were cutting edge technology and cell phones cost $10 a minute to use (oh, and if you can recall, they were also bigger and heavier than your typical cinder block!)

These reimagined shows are great and worth a watch with some new school MacGyver "tricks" lovingly just as unrealistic as the original; but still fun all the same, of course.

In closing, Lucas Till has the MacGyver torch passed to him and he fits the role brilliantly. I grew up loving the classic series with Richard Dean Anderson but this fresh, modern reboot has my happy approval!

It's a show the whole family can watch together, emphasizing intelligence, optimism and practical science instead of guns and gratuitous violence. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The third season of CBS’s hit reboot of the ‘80s classic comes home when 'MacGyver: Season 3' arrives on DVD January 14th, 2020 from Lionsgate.

The 'MacGyver: Season 3' DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $29.98.

www.LGF.com





'Primal' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Nicolas Cage, Famke Janssen, Kevin Durand, Michael Imperioli, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: When Frank Walsh (Nicolas Cage), a hunter and collector of rare and exotic animals, bags a priceless white jaguar for a zoo, he figures it’ll be smooth sailing to a big payday.

But the ship bearing Frank’s precious cargo has two predators caged in its hold: the cat, and a political assassin being extradited to the U.S.

After the assassin breaks free – and then frees the jaguar – Frank feverishly stalks the ship’s cramped corridors in hot pursuit of his prey, right up until the thrilling, unpredictable climax.

Blu-ray Verdict: Come on now, before you even press play you know what you're in for here re: Nicolas Cage + a B-Movie = tremendous, unadulterated fun and nonsense on the most highest of cheesiest levels!

Never failing to entertain within this genre that he is so accustomed to undertaking, setting your expectations ahead of time for this latest piece seems justified, sure, I'll give you that, but weirdly, 'Primal' does actually have some quite breathtakingly wonderful moments!

OK, sure, the film is obviously flawed and sometimes quite silly on oh so many levels once it gets going, but it's also chock full of good and light-hearted fun that sets Cage up nicely to battle the now-uncaged wild!

We begin deep in the jungle where Frank Walsh (Cage) is shown to us as being a thick-skinned, smart-mouthed, secretly-actually-a-good-guy hunter who's on a mission of getting his freshest catches (including a vicious one of a kind jaguar) shipped to the American zoo's.

In other words, characteristically, it's the type of character Cage enjoys and that we enjoy watching and routing for just as much; if not more. So, everybody gets on the ship, including an armada with a big time prisoner and so yeah, within a couple of days everything all goes to hell!

Now it's Cage vs. the uncaged, which now happens to be animals and the main villain himself! Yep, the story is pretty straight forward from that point on, but moving at a rather sprightly pace it lovingly never crosses the line into dull or boring, trust me!

Featuring some classic action sequences, some creature feature thrills and even some Cage one-liner quips that are pretty funny at times, most of the characters are, well, clichéd and most times dumb, but the quantity of easily expendable characters compensates nicely!

Kevin Durand as the villain is ok, fort he most part, but Famke Janssen as Dr. Ellen Taylor is just, well, distracting throughout re: her obvious facial plastic surgery work. Sorry, but it really is distracting on some many levels as no matter what her expression is, her face doesn't move a jot!

Regardless, 'Primal' (together with Cage's latter line "I've got a real nice cage for you" to the villain of the piece) is well above average and will satiate all the Cage fans out there just nicely. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

• The Making of Primal

A thrilling and action-packed film that Nicolas Cage fans will love, 'Primal' will be available on Blu-ray and DVD for the suggested retail price of $22.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'Primal' Trailer





'Jexi' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Adam Devine, Rose Byrne, Wanda Sykes, Alexandra Shipp, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2019 / LGF)

Overview: To Phil (Adam Devine), a hot Saturday night is binge-watching reality shows and ordering takeout. Phil needs to get a life.

What Phil gets is a new phone with an unexpected feature: Jexi (Rose Byrne), a badass A.I. life coach determined to make a man out of him.

With Jexi’s help, Phil attracts his dream job, fun friends, and a beautiful girl.

But when Phil grows less dependent on Jexi, she morphs into a tech nightmare determined to keep Phil all to herself in this star-studded comedy from the writers of The Hangover and Bad Moms.

Blu-ray Verdict: For those not in the know, 'Jexi' is about the titular Siri/Alexa-like phone program (voiced by Rose Byrne) with a mind of her own who ends up wreaking havoc with the life of an introverted phone addict played by Adam Devine.

In truth, Jexi makes this film. Her smack talking brings the biggest laughs. I also appreciated that this avoids some of the clichés you usually get with AI-run-amok films.

Jexi lets you know what she is from the get-go. There's no slow burn of her pretending to act regularly or slowly gaining sentience. However, her arc does become more predictable in the second half.

They really didn't have to hire a known actor to do this. Plenty of people could've easily spoken in a phone-like voice without vocal change. Still, I do admit that Byrne does a good job.

I also liked the usually more over-the-top Devine who does a good job with a more subdued role. (This is especially a relief because I didn't think he did a great job in his last straight man role in Isn't it Romantic.)

That all said, please understand that this movie works more on a feel-good level than a laugh-a-minute one. Jexi is in about every other scene and when she isn't there, some people may find some of the scenes; many of them involving Devine's character predictably growing as a person, too leisurely for their taste.

In closing, if you have ever owned a smart phone / device, this is a movie for you! What would you do when your phone knows better then you do (or thinks it does?)

Ergo, 'Jexi' is enjoyable viewing for anyone who has experience with smart devices and wants a laugh at the struggles of life and what joys might be experienced when you allow yourself to live. It's worth giving a chance to sometime, trust me. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• “Jexi: Making Life Better” Featurette
• “Unboxing Jexi” Featurette
• “Filming in Fog City” Featurette
• “Tech Bros” Featurette
• “Phone Fixation” Featurette

The 'Jexi' Blu-ray and DVD will include brand-new making-of featurettes, including “Jexi: Making Life Better” and “Unboxing Jexi,” and will be available for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'Jexi' Trailer





'The Turkey Bowl'
(Ryan Hansen, Kristen Hager, Alan Ritchson, et al / DVD / R / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Patrick Hodges, a former small-town high school quarterback—now a high-powered Chicago businessman engaged to a politician’s daughter—hasn’t returned to his tiny Midwestern town in years.

But his old friends have lured him back for Thanksgiving to force him to finish the legendary Turkey Bowl—a football game that was snowed out 15 years ago.

Patrick must risk his future to lead his ragtag team against their bitter crosstown rivals, ultimately realizing how much he misses the simpler life and the girl that got away.

DVD Verdict: Interestingly enough, the exact same premise outline of this movie has been done before, but that doesn't stop it from still being a heartwarming, and at times heart pleasing little movie that could.

In 1999 a school football team had a chance to break a 50 year old drought and win the Turkey Bowl. But it snowed and the game never got finished. Why it didn't get rescheduled is a reality point the movie ignores for the team's to reunite in 2019 and finish what they started.

Anyway, the only thing is the star player has run off to be a big shot in Chicago and is about to be engaged to a presidential campaigners daughter.

Thus, he is tricked into returning home to play the game he has no interest in, nor wants to return home, and rekindled with his buddies, teammates and old girlfriend.

As for what follows, well, to be honest, I'm sure you have already filled in how it all ends.

That said, 'The Turkey Bowl' - which at times tries to be a bit like Animal House that also leans into and sneakily borrows from The Waterboy - may well just be yet another underdogs football movie, but the plot pacing and actors behind the central character bring it together rather nicely.

In short, 'The Turkey Bowl' combines small town, high school memories and experiences that many viewers can attest to.

Furthermore, it is situated around a holiday and sport that many of us have grown to love.

Great cast, with some pockets of wonderful comedic writing, and a soundtrack that will bring back fond memories to many, this is a timeless movie that will definitely be enjoyable to watch year after year. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• Audio Commentary with Director Greg Coolidge and Co-Writer Kirk Ward
• Deleted Scenes Plus Commentary

'The Turkey Bowl' DVD will include an audio commentary with director Greg Coolidge & co-writer Kirk Ward and additional deleted scenes with commentary, and will be available on DVD for the suggested retail price of $19.98.

'The Turkey Bowl' DVD Amazon Purchase Link

Official 'The Turkey Bowl' Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different'
(Betty Davis, Fred Mills, Greg Errico, Tamar-Kali, Militia Vox, et al / DVD / NR / (2017) 2020 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Before Beyoncé, Madonna and Prince - there was Betty Davis.

Funk Queen Betty Davis changed the landscape for female artists in America. She "was the first..." as former husband Miles Davis said. "Madonna before Madonna, Prince before Prince."

DVD Verdict: An aspiring songwriter from a small steel town, Betty Davis arrived on the '70s scene to break boundaries for women with her daring personality, iconic fashion and outrageous funk music.

She befriended Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, wrote songs for the Chambers Brothers and the Commodores, and married Miles - startlingly turning him from jazz to funk on the album she named Bitches Brew.

She then, despite being banned and boycotted, went on to become the first black woman to perform, write and manage herself. Betty was a feminist pioneer, inspiring and intimidating in a manner like no woman before. Then suddenly - she vanished.

Along the way we discover that Davis briefly dated musician Eric Clapton although she refused to collaborate with him. And in 1975, Davis' lover Robert Palmer helped her facilitate a deal with Island Records (she subsequently released her album Nasty Gal).

To say she "vanished" might actually sound too ominous as Davis remained a cult figure thereafter as a singer, due in part to her open sexual attitude, which was controversial for the time, without even having to release anything.

She had success in Europe, but in the U.S. she was barred from performing on television because of her sexually aggressive stage persona!

Furthermore, some of her shows were boycotted, and her songs were not played on the radio due to pressure by religious groups and the NAACP.

Carlos Santana recalls Betty as "indomitable – she couldn't be tamed. Musically, philosophically and physically, she was extreme and attractive," which is one of the best descriptions of a human that I've come across in a long time.

That aside, after some recording sessions in 1979, as noted, Davis stopped making music and returned to Pittsburgh, where she's lived quietly ever since.

'Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different' is a highly creative, and absorbingly crafted 53 minute documentary that, along with moments of animation, traces the path of Betty's life: How she grew from humble upbringings to become a fully self-realized black female pioneer the world failed to understand or appreciate.

After years of trying, the elusive Betty, forever the free-spirited Black Power Goddess, finally allowed the filmmakers to creatively tell her story based on their conversations. Watch. Look. Listen. Learn, my friends. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Director Interview: Phil Cox on the making of Betty - They Say I'm Different
Interview Extract with Betty Davis

www.MVDvisual.com





'Mrs. Lowry & Son'
(Vanessa Redgrave, Timothy Spall, et al / DVD / NR / 2020 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Beloved British artist L.S. Lowry (Timothy Spall) lived all his life with his over-bearing mother Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave).

Bed-ridden and bitter, Elizabeth actively tried to dissuade her bachelor son from pursuing his artistic ambitions, whilst never failing to voice her opinion at what a disappointment he was to her.

DVD Verdict: A beautifully measured, understated yet poignant film centered on the confused and fraught relationship between Lowry and his domineering, judgmental mother.

Vanessa Redgrave, despite being elderly and bedridden gives a fearsome performance as a woman despairing of her sons preoccupation with art and obsessed by her fall in social status caused by the failings of her long gone husband.

Lowry played enigmatically and hauntingly by Spall is like a ghost within the family home, a virtual prisoner of his controlling mother yet somehow still managing to stay faithful to his calling as a great and groundbreaking artist.

The film is theatrical and none the worse for it, even here on the small screen via DVD from MVD Visual. The direction is subtle and nuanced allowing the two actors to really show their abilities.

For a film that fundamentally takes place in one room it never feels labored or too claustrophobic and outside of Redgrave and Spall's stand out performances credit should also go to the beautiful musical score which somehow binds the picture together.

Some wonderful interaction between Spall and Redgrave is punctuated with some splendid trick photography as we see scenes of people and places through the artists eyes.

Again, it's a not a showy overblown film, but an introverted one that shows how poorly the artist was perceived at the time but with a glimmer of hope that better times lay ahead.

The scene where time stops and Lowry walks between workers leaving a factory is particularly memorable.

In closing, 'Mrs Lowry & Son' s the most delightfully perfect antidote to the smash, bashy, crashy big budget action films of the summer. A wonderful character driven story with two great actors who bring pathos to the story. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MVDvisual.com





Susskind Archive: Interview With Nikita Khrushchev
(David Susskind, Nikita Khrushchev, et al / DVD / NR / 2020 / MVD Visual)

Overview: October 1960. The Cold War was at it's zenith. Nikita Khrushchev visited the United Nations NY. David Susskind announces that he would appear on his show 'Open End'.

Negative reaction from both press and public followed. No Soviet leader had been interviewed by an American, much less live on TV.

DVD Verdict: As we all know now, the interview, which has not been seen in full since its original air date, went forward and the timing was impeccable.

It took place just after the infamous U-2 spy plane incident when tensions between the Soviet Union and the U.S. were at their height.

What resulted was a contentious, but open discussion comparing Soviet communism with American capitalism.

Setting the scene, in October 1960, Eisenhower was President and the election that put John F. Kennedy into the White House was less than a month away.

The Cold War was at its zenith. Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Premier was visiting the United Nations headquarters in New York City. No Soviet leader had ever been interviewed by an American, yet Khrushchev agreed to appear live on David Susskind's 'Open End'.

There was an immediate negative reaction to the announcement, even causing then F.B.I. director Hoover to ask What do our files show on Susskind? The program aired live on Sunday, October 9th on New York television station WNTA.

The two-hour conversation (through an interpreter) was very spirited and focused on two main topics: First, the virtues of Soviet styled communism versus American style capitalism, and second, would Khrushchev give his assurance that he would never initiate a nuclear war.

As Susskind reveals at the beginning of the show, none of the questions had been submitted in advance, nor the answers having been previously rehearsed. It's an honest, cold opening and one that, I must assume, still had the viewing public of the day (let alone today) questioning the complete validity behind it.

It's been said that Susskind had written more than a hundred questions for Khrushchev. While Ambassador Mikhail Menshikov indicated that Khrushchev was usually in bed by 10:45 p.m., Susskind was prepared if the premier felt the need to extend the dialogue into the early-morning hours.

Funnily enough, just before Susskind was out the door to head over to the United Nations for the program, he got some advice from his son, Andrew, then 6 years old. “Dad, whatever you do, don’t let Nikita Khrushchev declare war on your show,” he said.

Once the interview began, Susskind’s tone immediately took a confrontational tack. He became an advocate for America rather than a civilized interlocutor.

He was no match for the crafty Khrushchev, who barreled along with his standard bromides about how if people truly understood communism and socialism, they would embrace them.

At one point after a commercial break, Khrushchev is informed that one of the commercials during the break was for Radio Free Europe. The commercial depicted a communist soldier smashing a radio set with an axe.

Initially, this set Khrushchev off, but after a moment he said Well, alright, let them screen it. We are not afraid. This will only make us stronger. Let them do it.

When the program resumed, Khrushchev eventually calmed down and answered a few more questions. But with no prompting from Susskind, the premier stood up from his chair and appeared ready to leave.

Susskind stood to remove the microphone cord from around Khrushchev’s neck. As he reached for it, the feared Soviet leader gave Susskind a playful bear hug. (The embrace caused Susskind to stiffen up “like an unwilling virgin,” he later said.)

But there was also a bit of panic on Susskind’s face as he realized the interview was ending without generating any real news. He kept the discussion going, pressing the premier to categorically state he would never start a war.

As Khrushchev went on about how the Russians wanted friendship and peace with the United States, he noticed he was no longer wearing his microphone and wondered out loud if viewers were hearing his remarks.

“How tricky you Americans are,” he said. Susskind assured Khrushchev he could be heard as they continued to talk for nearly another half-hour more.

Sukhodrev, eager for the night to end, removed his microphone and nervously rubbed his fingers over the top of it. It made a scrapping sound that viewers heard at home. “I felt this could go on forever,” he recalled.

Running at a stunning 215 minutes and filmed, obviously in black and white, complete with the aforementioned English and Russian translator present, the show is followed by an extensive panel discussion that includes people such as: Dean Edward Barrett of Columbia School of Journalism, Henry Shapiro, James Wechsler, Max Lerner of New York Post, Marguerite Higins and Joe Newman of New York Herald Tribune, Eugene Lyons of Reader's Digest, Blair Fraser of McLean's Magazine & CBC, Harry Schwartz of New York Times, Frank Kanif of Hearst Newspapers and More!

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

www.MVDvisual.com





'Dark Encounter'
(Laura Fraser, Alice Lowe, Mel Raido, Vincent Regan, et al / DVD / NR / 2020 / 4Digital)

Overview: A year after the mysterious disappearance of an 8 year-old girl, her grieving family return home from her memorial service in their small town.

Later that evening, strange lights appear in the nearby forest and the family is exposed to a strange, inexplicable phenomenon that rattles them to the core.

DVD: Combining a truly atmospheric, and at times achingly orchestral backbeat to each scene along with panoramic landscape shots and acting (most times without saying a word) that is top notch, everything about 'Dark Encounter' is a blessing to behold for us fans of the genre.

Writer/Director Carl Strathie brings us a marvelous sci-fi adventure that features Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad) at its helm along with a whole host of other fine actors.

The no frills storyline revolves around a family returning home from a memorial service in their small town a year after their 8 year-old girl, Massie has gone missing.

Still deep in mourning, they are suddenly faced with strange sights and strange encounters, all seemingly punctuated and brought forth by some very strange lights in the sky.

What Strathie manages to do here is steer the premise and visuals away from a latter day 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind' and toward a fresh take on the sci-fi genre via adept, and focused storytelling from the off.

For 'Dark Encounter' is not just only about this particular day of remembrance, and the fight for survival that comes a'calling thereafter, but constructed around that aforementioned sense of style and nurtured visual effects, the film also manages to rise up out of the B-movie stockades into one that masterfully belies its monetary constraints.

Containing many surprises, jump starts and even an embedded message for those watching, it's also important you know that the horror element of 'Dark Encounter' is strictly limited to being of the human emotion side of things. So those seeking blood, guts and more blood, well, this most certainly isn't the movie for you!

Complete with a side step plot twist that you will never see coming, I was personally so mesmerized by this film that I couldn't even pause it to answer my phone (I just let it ring out!).

The special effects are really rather good for what is obviously being presented as a B-movie, but what is way more intrguing to me about it all is how your mind starts to second guess all you know, all you believe as the movie reveals itself.

I mean, just when you think it couldn't get any more intruiging, something comes along, sometimes something so dark that it has you reeling, both mentally and physically.

In closing, 'Dark Encounter' is a movie that deserves to find a wide audience and given that it pays a loving homage along the way to previous "encounter" movies, I would hope that those that enjoyed them will lovingly feast on this one also. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.4digitalentertainment.com







'Sprinter: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Dale Elliott, Shantol Jackson, Kadeem Wilson, Dennis Titus, Bryshere Y.Gray, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2018) 2020 / Film Rise - MVD Visual)

Overview: A Jamaican teen who is burdened by an unstable father and an unruly older brother hopes a meteoric rise in track-and-field can reunite him with his mother, who has lived illegally in the U.S. for over a decade.

Blu-ray Verdict: Having watched this incredible movie twice now in two days, I can honestly say that at the very heart of it is an empowering and inspirational story that echoes the very essence of what it means to be a Jamaican.

It is so much more than just a "story" for when watched with an open heart and free mind, it most assuredly stirs up a whirlwind within us that soon becomes the desire to endure and overcome anything that life may throw us.

What 'Sprinter' quickly informs us of, is that despite the many struggles that the Jamaican people face, whether it be because of socio economic status or family ties, there is this unrelenting resilience in Jamaican citizens that propels them to overcome, no matter what.

For me, the film captured that perfectly, especially by showcasing the standpoint of Akeem, a youth who is struggling to keep focused despite all the chaos around him.

We watch as Akeem goes through what he does on screen and after a fashion, and some missteps, embraces all the uplifting and inspirational well beings that he so richly deserved.

In closing, 'Sprinter' also showcases a definitive, and positive male relationship that can be had with those around them, if only trust and hope and a willing to rise above can be mustered.

We're shown that in Jamaican society it is actually hard to find a positive male influence and although Germaine, Akeem and their father indeed had their struggles in the beginning, it is beautiful, and fulfilling as a viewer to she how it all turned around for the better. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Sprinter Premiere at The Grove
Theatrical Trailer
Photo Gallery

www.FilmRise.com

www.MVDvisual.com





'Line Of Duty' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Aaron Eckhart, Dina Meyer, Ben McKenzie, Giancarlo Esposito, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2020 / LGF)

Overview: Aaron Eckhart (Olympus Has Fallen) stars as Frank Penny, a disgraced cop looking for a shot at redemption.

When the police chief’s 11-year-old daughter is abducted, Frank goes rogue to try and save her.

But to find the girl, Frank will need the help of Ava Brooks (Courtney Eaton), whose live-streaming news channel is broadcasting Frank’s every move.

While a city watches, Frank and Ava race against time in this explosive action-thriller.

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, Steven C. Miller has been pumping out thrillers for a few years now which means going in I kinda sorta already knew what his latest, the colorful 'Line Of Duty' would hold for me.

And I was right, all the way down the line (no pun intended), but also have to say that aside from 'Line Of Duty' being neither his best or worst, it most definitely is well above average.

A somewhat, at times, light and breezy watch, we get lots of action, an eventful albeit oversimplified plot, recognizable actors and even some mild comedy (consisting of overly familiar jokes) scattered throughout.

Aaron Eckhart does what he does best in these films, and although he doesn't have a big amount of screen time, the always brilliant Giancarlo Esposito does everything with it that he possibly can.

It was also, especially as a 'Gotham' fan, great to Ben McKenzie in a movie for the first time (and as a villain, nonetheless) and then there's one of my all-time fav actors, the winning Dina Meyer getting herself knee deep in the action too.

Sure the story is rather simple and sure it plays out as the usual police thriller-type of ride, but here in 'Line Of Duty' it has become infused with a lead character who brings millennial vibes and culture into the script.

In closing, the action is entertaining and the story exists only to facilitate the action and the bond that forms between the two main characters.

But, that said, and at a time when its highly profitable to help everyone hate each other, these filmmaker took a risk and I respect them for it. The movie was a breath of fresh air for me in this genre and I'm sure you'll agree once you have watched it too. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

• Audio Commentary with Director Steven C. Miller
• “Meaningful Action: Making Line of Duty” Featurette

A pulse-pounding race against time action-thriller with incredible high-end set pieces and stunts, the 'Line Of Duty' Blu-ray and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $21.99 and $19.98, respectively.

www.LGF.com

Official 'Line Of Duty' Trailer





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