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'Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So'
(Jun Cao, Mei Ying Wang, Ming Yang Jiang, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / NR / 2017 / HBO Originals)

Overview: Due to a conspiracy, the wealthy So Chan loses everything but is saved by the Beggars' Sect. He learns the long lost martial art - Drunken Fist, to defeat the person who framed him.

Blu-ray Verdict: Knowing going into this film that it was executive produced by the renowned Hong Kong director, Corey Yeun ('The Transporter') and directed by Guo Jian-Yong (who choreographed 'Cradle 2 the Grave', 'Red Cliff', and 'Transporter 1-3'), I had high hopes for it.

Sadly, 'Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So' doesn't live up to everything that those two men would normally, visually adhere to, but it still manages to tell a stale, and throw in solid amounts of mighty fine action.

'Master of the Drunken Fist' tells the story of So Chan, a merchant’s son who was in line to become the Emperor’s top Martial Arts Warrior. However, after being dragged into a conspiracy between two political powers, he loses his family and almost his life.

Saved by the Beggar Gang and with some help from their chief, his daughter, and not to mention some Chinese liquor, So Chan is able to find inner peace as Beggar So and sets out on the path for vengeance.

So, for the director of others in this ilk Corey Yeun (and those he surrounded himself with who were familiar with the genre), you could have expected a home run here. But, as mentioned above, not so much, sadly. Not that it is mediocre or terrible or another like that, far from it. Sure it's a B-Movie, but it's of that quality that keeps you wanting to watch it right through to the very end, trust me.

The multiple fight choreography is very decent, and the actors sure know what they are doing when it comes to landing blows and performing their always-impressive high kicks and spin kicks, etc. The overall main cast acting, their dialogue and everything else about the movie, save for the cinematography, which was lovely, made me want to shake my head on more than one occasion though. Which I did.

All that aside, the one main issue I had with this transfer is that the English subtitles are well off the spoken words from all the actors, which is rather disturbing. It kinda makes you bounce from what is being said on screen, in Chinese, to the subtitles, and then realize that the character has stopped talking and yet the subtitles still flow! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Own 'Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So' on Blu-ray+Digital HD on August 8th, 2017

Official HBO Store

'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying'
(Hao Ran Sun, Yang Liao, Ming Yang Jiang, Zhi Hui Chen, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / NR / 2017 / HBO Originals)

Overview: 'Master of the Shadowless Kick' tells the story of Wong Kei-Ying. A quiet and honest physician, he must learn the legendary martial art “Shadowless Kick” in order to take down the treacherous new governor of Canton and put a stop to the opium trade in his city.

Blu-ray Verdict: Knowing going into this film that it was executive produced by the renowned Hong Kong director, Corey Yeun ('The Transporter') and directed by Guo Jian-Yong (who choreographed 'Cradle 2 the Grave' and 'Transporter 1-3'), I had high hopes for it.

Sadly, 'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying' doesn't live up to everything that those two men would normally, visually adhere to, but it still manages to tell a stale, and throw in solid amounts of mighty fine action.

'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying' tells the story of Wei Kei-Ying, a man who lives alone, lives quietly and doesn't harm nor disturb anyone or anything around him.

An open and very honest physician, he soon comes into contact with the baddy of the piece, the treacherous new governor of Canton. He doesn't like the way this man or his regime operates and so when pushed, Wong Kei-Ying chooses to learn the legendary martial art “Shadowless Kick”. Now with the mission to take down this vile man and his organization, he aims to put a stop to the opium trade in his city, once and for all.

So, for the director of others in this ilk Corey Yeun (and those he surrounded himself with who were familiar with the genre), you could have expected a home run here. But, as mentioned above, not so much, sadly. Not that it is mediocre or terrible or another like that, far from it. Sure it's a B-Movie, but it's of that quality that keeps you wanting to watch it right through to the very end, trust me.

The multiple fight choreography is very decent, and the actors sure know what they are doing when it comes to landing blows and performing their always-impressive high kicks and spin kicks, etc. The overall main cast acting, their dialogue and everything else about the movie, save for the cinematography, which was lovely, made me want to shake my head on more than one occasion though. Which I did.

All that aside, the one main issue I had with this transfer is that the English subtitles are well off the spoken words from all the actors, which is rather disturbing. It kinda makes you bounce from what is being said on screen, in Chinese, to the subtitles, and then realize that the character has stopped talking and yet the subtitles still flow! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Own 'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying' on Blu-ray+Digital HD on August 8th, 2017

Official HBO Store

'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain'
(Ashlyn Selich, Anais Fairweather, Grey Griffin, Teala Dunn, Tara Strong, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: The mind games are only beginning when Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl have no recollection of a series of wrongdoings that they were responsible for.

DVD Verdict: This whole 'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls' series is one of the greatest inventions for kids that's come out in the past decade, in my humble opinion!

A fantastic series for girls to start their love of Superheros early, both my girls love this series and so we were very, very stoked to be able to review this new adventure for Exclusive Magazine.

As with the others in this wonderful (and I simply cannot stress that enough) SuperHero Girls series, they not only tell a fun, relateable story, but go out of their way to teach girls that they too can do almost anything they want.

True Girl Power at its finest, I also appreciate that the SuperHero Girls are not scantily clad in their comic book or previous appearance costumes! I know this series is for kids, but they have actual clothes on that are practical. Sure they have their costumes for recognizable battles and such, but they are just, well, regular also.

OK, let's get down to some actual reviewing of this latest adventures, shall we. 'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain' is a direct-to-video animated movie from Warner Bros. and features animated incarnations of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Bumblebee and Katana.

This latest adventure, complete with brain-twisting action comes together because suddenly Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl have no recollection of a series of wrongdoings that they were responsible for.

So, who can the girls turn to when even Bumblebee, Katana and other members of Super Hero High are also up to no good? They then have to use way more than their super powers to untangle the mental mix-up and find out who, or what is behind these mind-bending misdoings! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Own 'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain' on DVD on August 8th, 2017

Official Trailer

'Shakes the Clown' [Blu-ray]
(Bobcat Goldthwait, Julie Brown, Kathy Griffin, Paul Dooley, Adam Sandler, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1991) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Dueling gangs of clowns are pitted against each other in this outrageously funny comedy written by, directed by, and starring Bobcat Goldthwait. Julie Brown co-stars as the hard-working waitress who stands by her clown. Bobcat stars as Shakes, an amiable, alcoholic bozo from Palukaville, USA. But after one particularly wild night, Shakes wakes to find he's been framed for murder.

Blu-ray Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment and now on Blu-ray for the very first time, 'Shakes the Clown' follows the exploits of a good-hearted, booze-soaked clown who is trying to make his way in Palookaville; a town populated by denizens of that certain ditch in the entertainment world inhabited by clowns and mimes.

He tries to kick the booze but his demons are hard to face. He gets involved in seedy intrigue with the tough, jaded rodeo clowns, picks on the mimes, and tries to avoid the indignity of doing balloon animals, all while keeping the bottle at bay lest he wake up puking into his fright wig.

Bobcat is always happy to degrade himself on screen, and he does it brilliantly here. Shakes is a total mess. A disgusting mess. A shameful mess. Bobcat sells the drunkenness and depravity, whether he's being peed on (oh never mind, you'll soon see for yourselves!) or stumbling around in a drunken stupor.

Yet he still manages to remain likable and not lose his status as the film's protagonist. My favorite part has to do with the intense hatred the clowns harbor for mimes,(I mean, really, who needs 'em!). The fight scene in the park, with the shout "Learn to Talk", is priceless. The obvious discomfort when Shakes must pose as a mime to avoid arrest is also a blast!

In closing, Bobcat's script sparkles as four-letter poetry. Tremendous cast. Very few movies have had such a stellar line up of comedic actors: the only other ones I can think of are 'It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World' and 'The Aristocrats', which now I think about it, is actually more of a documentary than scripted film. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:
New Audio Commentary with Bobcat Goldthwait, Julie Brown, and Tom Kenny.

'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five'
(Jane's Addiction / Blu-ray+DVD+CD / NR / 2017 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Jane's Addiction performs their 2X Platinum Alt-Rock album Ritual de lo habitual in it's entirety, along with the bands biggest hits. Recorded live at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, during the bands 2015/2016 Silver Spoon Anniversary Tour.

Blu-ray Verdict: OK, taking it from the top, and for those not in the know (and shame on you if you are), Jane's Addiction is an American rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 1985.

Even today, unlike most bands of their era status and pedigree, the band still consists of Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Stephen Perkins (drums) and Chris Chaney (bass) - yes, I left Dave Navarro out, as that's the way he likes it to be, sorry!

This truly legendary band, Jane's Addiction have now brought out a stunning Deluxe Edition Combo Pack of live material captured from the moment they hit the stage at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, during the bands 2015/2016 Silver Spoon Anniversary Tour.

Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the bands groundbreaking album Ritual de lo habitual (1990), Jane's Addiction performed their 2X Platinum Alt-Rock masterpiece album in it's entirety, along with adding into the live mix some of their biggest hits, of course.

1) "Stop"
2) "No Ones Leaving"
3) "Aint No Right"
4) "Obvious"
5) "Been Caught Stealing"
6) "Three Days"
7) "Then She Did"
8) "Of Course"
9) "Classic Girl"
10) "Mountain Song"
11) "Just Because"
12) "Ted, Just Admit It..."
13) "Jane Says"

Inclusive of a 20 page booklet with grand color photos, plus the aforementioned Blu-Ray, DVD & CD versions of this incredible, simply divine live show, 'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five' was not only a beautiful milestone for both 'Ritual De Lo Habitual' and Lollapalooza, but given the bands penchant for drugs and such, a wonderful achievement to be able to play it at this show (hence the tongue in cheek title).

Lead singer and band leader supreme Perry Farrell is at his vocal and stage presence finest here throughout the entire show, trust me. As for the entire live performance of 'Ritual De Lo Habitual,' well, for my money, it was a good follow up to a classic release, 1911's Nothing's Shocking. As has been documented before, nothing really jumps out at you like "Mountain Song" or "Jane Says", which they cover in the four additional tracks after having played the album, butt he album did have some great highlights.

Of course, "Been Caught Stealing" was a huge hit on College and Alternative Rock stations at the time, and here is, perhaps, my favorite live moment. The way Farrell tears his way through the lyrics, orchestrates each and every vocal chord to wrap itself precisely around the words; so that they mean something more to the audience and their fans, is beyond a joke both brilliant and beautiful.

Everyone knows Jane's Addiction are an epic band and this live release is so chock full of their energy that I don't know anybody who could ever watch or listen to this package and say anything other than, "Wow. Well done, guys!" This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five' [Blu-ray+DVD+CD] is available for purchase on August 4th, 2017.

'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five' [Blu-ray+DVD+CD] Purchase Link

'The Love of a Woman: Special Edition'
(Micheline Presle, Massimo Girotti, Gaby Morlay, et al / Blu ray+DVD / NR / (1953) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Marie Prieur, a young doctor, decides to settle down on Ushant, a remote island belonging to Brittany. Little by little she manages to be accepted by the population. One day she meets André Lorenzi, a handsome engineer, and it is love at first sight. Life is wonderful for a while, but André wants to marry her only if she remains at home.

Blu-ray Verdict: In what was to be Director Jean Grémillon's last full-length feature film, and that includes the hideously overlooked gem "Pattes Blanches" (1947), 'The Love of a Woman' (aka "L'Amour d'une Femme") is as beautiful a film as I think I've ever cinematically seen before.

Okay, sure, there have been a few in my lifetime, but this was 1953 and Grémillon's cinematographer was working some visual magic here, that's for damn sure. As for the film itself, it is beautiful, but extremely sad. Without giving too much away, it features two funerals and all the depressing looks-instead-of-words scenes that, even in real life, play out from all that.

It also, of course, has it's scattered, but actor invested love scenes, which, and with the exception of the questionable one which takes place when the school teacher is dying, are all done with impeccable taste.

'The Love of a Woman' is, if you haven't guessed it by now, one of those delicious Sunday afternoon movies where the two lovers in question - Micheline Presle as 'Dr. Marie Prieur' and Massimo Girotti as 'André Lorenzi' - talk, but they do not communicate. I hope that makes sense. If you're in a long term relationship or marriage, I think it will.

Anyway, André is an engineer whose ideology is that a woman's job is to man the house, look after all that resides there, both inside and out. So when they get married, Dr. Marie quickly finds out being a Doctor, going out and about, has turned into becoming a housewife.

There's much more to explore here, but I'll leave it all for you to find out on this divine new Blu-ray+DVD release from Arrow Films UK and MVD Visual here in the US. This is a Widescreen presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition presentations of the feature, from materials supplied by Gaumont
Original French mono audio (uncompressed LPCM on the Blu-ray)
Optional English subtitles
In Search of Jean Gremillon, a feature-length documentary on the filmmaker from 1969, containing interviews with director Rene Clair, archivist Henri Langlois, actors Micheline Presle and Pierre Brasseur, and others
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Ginette Vincendeau

'The Love of a Woman: Special Edition' [Blu-ray + DVD] is available for purchase on July 25th, 2017.

'The Love of a Woman: Special Edition' [Blu-ray + DVD] Purchase Link

'Ronin: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Sean Bean, Stellan Skarsgard, et al / Blu ray / R / (1998) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: From director John Frankenheimer (Reindeer Games, The Manchurian Candidate) comes 'Ronin', a pulse-pounding, action-packed crime thriller featuring an all-star cast headlined by Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver, Heat) and Jean Reno (Léon: The Professional).

Blu-ray Verdict: For my money, 'Ronin' (1998) is a very well paced, atmospheric thriller. Basically a travelogue through a fantasy France of grimy bars and cobblestoned streets, where shifty-eyed hard cases in dark clothing concoct devious plots over cigarettes and espresso, race around rain-swept night streets in high-powered sedans, and exchange automatic weapons fire with minimal police interference, it never lets go of your inner need to find out how it all will end!

The slender plot concerns a mysterious band of international hired guns brought together by a mysterious mastermind to steal a mysterious package from a collection of mysterious gangsters; as in all such stories, gun play and double-crosses ensue as the bodies of various shady characters (and a few unfortunate members of the public) pile up.

All too routine, and more than a tad silly, but the film is mostly saved from self-parody by the excellent cast (standouts include Robert de Niro, Natascha McElhone and the always-wonderful Jean Reno), beautiful, fluid location camerawork, and superb stunt sequences, all under the veteran direction of John Frankenheimer.

Like spiritual cousins 'Bullitt' and 'The French Connection', 'Ronin' features gritty, realistic settings, handsome actors exuding an air of rumpled coolness, attention to procedural detail and the insertion of a cracking good car chase whenever the action threatens to flag.

Of the latter, special mention should be made of the spectacular centerpiece chase, in which the streets of Paris end up littered with wreckage as competing parties in a BMW and Peugeot chase each other down sidewalks, through tunnels and finally, the wrong way down a traffic-choked highway.

In the end, it's all just another Hollywood entertainment, but afficiando's of the crime thriller will find it a fun ride. This is a Widescreen presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release, supervised and approved by director of photography Robert Fraisse
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p)
Original English 5.1 audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary by director John Frankenheimer
Brand new video interview with director of photography Robert Fraisse
Paul Joyce documentary on Robert De Niro
Ronin: Filming in the Fast Lane, an archival behind-the-scenes featurette Through the Lens, an archival interview with Robert Fraisse
The Driving of Ronin, an archival featurette on the film s legendary car stunts
Natascha McElhone: An Actor s Process, an archival interview with the actress
Composing the Ronin Score, an archival interview with composer Elia Cmiral
In the Ronin Cutting Room, an archival interview with editor Tony Gibbs
Venice Film Festival interviews with Robert De Niro, Jean Reno and Natascha McElhone
Alternate ending
Theatrical trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet illustrated by Chris Malbon, featuring new writing on the film by critic Travis Crawford

'Ronin: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is available for purchase on August 29th, 2017.

'Ronin: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

'The David Lynch Foundation:Charity Begins Within'
(Various / DVD / G / 2017 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: In 2009, The David Lynch Foundation staged the Change Begins Within benefit concert at New York's legendary Radio City Music Hall. The show helped raise funds to teach at-risk children to meditate to change their lives from within.

DVD Verdict: Hosted by David Lynch and Laura Dern, 'The David Lynch Foundation: Charity Begins Within' was a star-studded sold-out evening that featured unique performances from a cast of stars, including: Sheryl Crow, Donovan, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Ben Harper, Angelo Badalamenti, Betty LaVette, Jim James and, amongst others, comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

The culmination of the evening saw sets from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr before they joined forces for a grand finale. This once-in-a-lifetime event is now available to own via Eagle Vision.

1) 'Trouble So Hard' / 'Natural Blues' - Moby, Betty LaVette & The TM Choir
2) 'Rise' - Eddie Vedder
3) 'Under Pressure' - Eddie Vedder & Ben Harper
4) 'My Sweet Lord' - Sheryl Crow & Ben Harper
5) Jerry Seinfeld
6) 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' - Donovan, Jim James & Ben Harper
7) 'Isle Of Islay' - Donovan & Paul Horn
8) 'It Don't Come Easy' - Ringo Starr, Ben Harper & Eddie Vedder
9) 'Boys' - Ringo Starr, Ben Harper & Eddie Vedder
10) 'Yellow Submarine' - Ringo Starr, Ben Harper, Eddie Vedder & Sheryl Crow
11) 'Drive My Car' - Paul McCartney
12) 'Jet' - Paul McCartney
13) 'Got To Get You Into My Life' - Paul McCartney
14) 'Let It Be' - Paul McCartney
15) 'Here Today' - Paul McCartney
16) 'Band on The Run' - Paul McCartney
17) 'With A Little Help From My Friends' - Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr
18) 'Cosmically Conscious' - Sheryl Crow, Donovan, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Ben Harper, Paul Horn, Angelo Badalamenti, Betty LaVette, Jim James, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr & The TM Choir
19) 'I Saw Her Standing There' - Sheryl Crow, Donovan, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Ben Harper, Paul Horn, Angelo Badalamenti, Betty LaVette, Jim James, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr & The TM Choir

From start to finish this live show is amazing. Simply amazing to behold. Colorful, especially the blazingly rose red tunic that McCartney sports for the lovely one-on-one with Lynch in the bonus feature, and very beautiful, with regard Sheryl Crow, her hair, her look, her clothing, this 2009 version of Charity Begins Within was a love fest for me.

I mean, just sitting there watching 'Cosmically Conscious' - which I know has en masse of stars attached to it - with Sheryl Crow taking lead, allowing the great purple-shirted Donovan to bring up the harmonies, was about as good as it musically, and visually gets in life. McCartney on 'Drive Me Car' is as wonderful as it sounds, although it has to be said that a now jacket-less McCartney alongside his Beatle mate Ringo Starr for 'With A Little Help From My Friends' did showcase the latter's crusty throaty vocal performance a wee bit too much.

The David Lynch Foundation has continued to organize Change Begins Within concerts and events since the 2009 show. Past participants include Katy Perry, Sting, Hugh Jackman, Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding, Ellen DeGeneres and more.

Filmmaker David Lynch launched his foundation in 2005 with the aim of promoting efforts to eradicate trauma and stress among at-risk populations through Transcendental Meditation. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs comes with the special Bonus Feature of:

David Lynch talks to Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eddie Vedder and Ben Harper.

'Inconceivable' [Blu-ray+Digital HD]
(Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon, Faye Dunaway, Nicky Whelan, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / R / 2017 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: A family befriends a struggling single mother and invites her into their home to be their nanny, and – eventually – their surrogate mother. But soon, strange behavior begins to surface and they realize that things are not what they seem.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Inconceivable' opens up with a dark haired Katie (Nicky Whelan) stabbing a man who is attempted to choke her. Is she the victim or the crime or was it all planned?

Later, and now blonde, Katie meets Brian (Nicolas Cage) and Angela (Gina Gershon) who are both successful doctors. The film tries to then fill in some story line blanks (that they couldn't be bothered to film) by giving us some cheesy flashbacks chock full of information (and red herrings, as it turns out) so that you can quickly decide for yourself where the plot is headed.

And so, as you might well expect from just that, the mystery aspect for the audience is nil come that point, sorry. In truth, there was no real decent character development at all throughout, especially for the couple - and quite why Nicolas Cage is even in this should-have-been-a-Lifetime-TV-film is beyond me!

As the Grandmother, there's none better than the still-looking-gorgeous Faye Dunaway. I mean, considering her age, she still knocks this acting lark outta the park! Oh, and there was this totally weird kitchen scene near the end, that (and not to give it away here) when combined with a murder scenario, one assumes there should/would have been more than enough visual elements to warrant a subsequent police investigation. But, whether there was, as we never get to see, or not, the ending could have been worked on a wee bit more, in my humble opinion.

Finally, one last 'Inconceivable' tidbit you might want to have a chuckle about to yourselves as you watch this movie play out, but it's been made common knowledge that Lindsay Lohan was going to star in and co-produce it! Turns out the studio (LGF) decided not to hire her. A blessing in disguise, for all concerned, one imagines. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs comes with the Special Features of:

Director's Commentary
“Behind the Scenes of Inconceivable” Featurette
Deleted Scene
Cast/Crew Interviews
Trailer Gallery

'Dean' [DVD]
(Demetri Martin, Kevin Kline, Gillian Jacobs, Rory Scovel, Ginger Gonzaga, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2017 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Demetri Martin and Academy Award® winner Kevin Kline star in this hilarious and heartfelt tale about a father and son coming to terms with love, loss, and everything in between.

DVD Verdict: Demetri Martin has been my favorite comedian for many years, therefore when I learned that we had this DVD in house for review, I begged my Director & Editor in Chief to be the one to sit down with 'Dean' for the night.

Luckily, he complied and so from the man who directed and starred in this film to the home comfort screening of 'Dean' that I was kindly afforded, and not knowing too much about the movie than what had been established online (I don't like spoilers before I watch anything) I locked myself in for the night to enjoy the insanely creative Demetri Martin's comedy film.

To me, the best part of 'Dean' is its usage of Martin's trademark doodles, which accompany the film's scenes in split screens. They feel fresh and were the saving grace when the film started out with a clichéd father and son by a grave that made me worried. The biggest letdown is the film's continual return to cliché, especially in the final act which plays out as a heavy-handed drama with little comedy.

The best thing about Demetri Martin's comedy is that his jokes are presented, the audience gets them, then he moves onto the next joke. In this film there is a lot of unnecessary lingering done. Sadly, a lot of times I felt, personally, they were lost in that very same translation.

The morals are beaten into our heads in four concluding scenes of nothing but exposition re: dialogue. Even when the dialogue is more in line with his comedic styling he allows characters too much time to react to the jokes, therefore explaining them. If Demetri Martin tackled each scene as he did his jokes, it could've been a wholly unique film, but his insistence to make a straightforward narrative greatly hurts the film.

One scene really perfectly exemplifies where the film succeeds and fails. It's a party scene and Dean doesn't know anyone there. He spots a pretty girl across the room, cue slow motion and music. This instantly got me groaning. Then he takes it further, Dean leans onto a counter in the slow motion and knocks a bunch of clutter everywhere.

I groan a little more having seen this joke even taken here before. But then something brilliant happens. He continues the slow motion for just too long. He picks up the clutter, not even looking at the girl anymore, all in slow motion, then he leaves the room. I laugh out loud. It's a perfectly executed defiance of expectations.

But then he ruins it, falling back into cliché. I was really hoping in his embarrassment Dean would never talk to this girl, but instantly in the next scene she approaches him and a love story begins.

From cliché, to defying clichés, but ultimately settling back into cliché. You can almost feel Demetri's reluctance to take risks and that's a damn shame, because if he did it could've been this generation's 'Annie Hall'. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs comes with the Special Features of:

This Is a Movie: Making Dean
Drawing on Film: Stories About Dean
Dean: Q&A with Demetri Martin and Rory Scovel

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' [4K Ultra HD]
(Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD / PG-13 / 2017 / BVHE)

Overview: Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios' 'Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2: 4K Ultra HD Cinematic Universe Edition' continues the team's adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage. Old foes become new allies and characters from the classic comics come to their aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.

Blu-ray Verdict: Before we begin the review, let's start by acknowledging the INCREDIBLE, brighter, deeper, more lifelike color that these 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays bring forth, each and every time. For they are, well, INCREDIBLE and truly allow you to see things that the generic Blu-ray vision simply cannot. I mean, the color alone on this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc - which comes as a two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 BD-66) - is just so crisp, so clear, so crystal.

For those that wish to be in the Audio know, let's break down some of the geeky stats, shall we. 4K UHD Blu-ray = English Dolby Atmos, English/Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital. 4K UHD Digital = English Dolby Atmos (platform dependent), English 5.1, English 2.0. Blu-ray = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks. DVD = English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks,English 2.0 Descriptive Audio.

This is a Codec: HEVC / H.265, with a Resolution: 4K (2160p), and an overall Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1. The Audio is English: Dolby Atmos + English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 + Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 + French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, and the Subtitles are: English SDH, French, and Spanish.

Finally, and leaving the best for last, this 4K Ultra HD movie experience means that we have a 4X sharper picture image than regular HD, HDR (High Dynamic Range) means we get brilliant brights and deepest darks within the film, and with Immersive Audio, we get that multi-dimensional sound experience throughout.

OK, on to the actual film review and, well, let's face it, who doesn't like or even simply root for the "heroes" portrayed within the celluloid wonderment of these incredible 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' movies?

Indeed, both 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' movies have brought us tremendously funny, highly entertaining films. The movie opens with a lighthearted battle scene in which the Guardians are fighting an alien monster, while Groot (baby sized and with a personality to match in this movie), is playing and dancing to music. Rocket manages to alienate their employers, causing much havoc.

The team later is forced to split into two groups as they deal with Peter's new found father, a broken ship, and troubles with the Ravagers. In the midst of this two of the more interesting supporting characters, Yondu and Nebula, become involved, both of which have considerably more depth added to their characters.

The special effects are generally well done, as is the acting, with Chris Pratt (Star Lord/Peter Quill) having some compelling scenes with a lot of screen time, but others including Zoe Saldana (Gamora), and Bradley Cooper (Rocket) also having some nice moments.

The violence is amped up a bit, with a quite one battle having a very high body count (all bloodless to keep it PG-13). There were some genuinely funny lines and scenes, but some of the humor was forced, and dived down occasionally onto a level that was more middle school level , with "bathroom" humor that I did not personally enjoy.

Given some of the content, I was surprised how touching the movie was at times as it explored (superficially of course) ideas of family and of acceptance of others, including a new view into the relationship between Gamora and Nebula.

Partly because of this, as well as some great action scenes and the occasional good humor, I did end up enjoying the move quite a bit, though nowhere near as much as the first Guardians movie. If you liked the first movie, chances are you have already seen this one, and if not you will likely enjoy it when you do.

Chock full with some delightful featurettes, some of my own personal favorites were, in order for me, Guardians Inferno Music Video where the brilliant cheesemeister himself David Hasselhoff (and special guests) got together to sing (and perform) in a FANTASTIC '70s disco-era video for 'Inferno'. The Hoff strikes self parody gold again alongside what looks to be (as they are all dressed for the era) the entire Guardians cast!

The other remarkably entertaining, and very revealing Special Feature is The Making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. A four-part, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, done in the style of classic-rock album liner notes, we get to see that when baby Groot was obviously not there on set (as he is a digital element) he actually was there for the actors to play off against!

Director James Gunn insisted that a 10" high toy version of baby Groot was in every scene that an acor had to talk or make eye contact with him in. Such as when Batista or Pratt (both well over six feet tall), had to interact with baby Groot. So, instead of nothing, Gunn had this toy baby Groot in place, which was tied to the end of a stick, so that it could even move!

Another behind-the-scenes joy to behold is how they filmed Rocket jumping from tree to tree. So, with en masse of soldiers and what-not firing at him repeatedly from the ground, they had eight trees rigged with bullet hits and with the camera on a wire high above, it could also dip and come under Rocket; giving both sides to the tale, so to speak (no pun intended!)

In conclusion, watching it all open up before my very eyes on this 4K Ultra HD it truly is amazing viewing. And together with all these special features included here (although the regular Blu-ray should be pretty nice to watch these on also, I would imagine), this is one NOT to be missed. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, and comes with the Special Features of:

The Making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - A four-part, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, done in the style of classic-rock album liner notes
Visionary Intro - Director James Gunn provides context on how he continues and expands the story lines of these beloved characters in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Guardians Inferno Music Video - Join David Hasselhoff and special guests for a galactic retro dance party
Gag Reel - Laugh out loud at all the hilarious off-script shenanigans and bloopers that took place on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, featuring all your favorite Guardians.
Four Deleted Scenes - Check out four specific scenes that had to be cut from the film, including two extended scenes and two deleted scenes
Audio Commentary - Check out a special narration of the film by director James Gunn, who guides fans through an inside look at the making of the movie

All the features listed above plus four extra exclusives:
Three Scene Breakdowns (Digital Exclusives) - We'll reveal the anatomy of a few key scenes from the film. Discover the process in bringing these scenes to life. It starts with a doodle and the rest is film history. Audiences will be given the option to view 5-6 layers of specific scenes in the film. Scenes include 'Eclector Escape', 'Gamora and Nebula', and 'Rocket and Ravagers'
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! (Digital Exclusive) - Get an exclusive sneak peek inside the most anticipated ride at Disneyland, Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! We'll dig into the concepts and inspiration, and talk about what it took to bring the most epic ride at Disneyland to life.

Official Marvel Studios Facebook Page

In loving memory of everyone’s favorite Ravager, come celebrate the Blu-ray™ release of 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' with Yondu himself – Michael Rooker!

On Tuesday, August 22nd from 9:00am-12:00pm, fans around Los Angeles will be able to come pay tribute to the beloved Ravager, Yondu, with a morning of prizes and activities at Shorty’s Barber Shop in West Hollywood!

That's right, Michael Rooker (‘Yondu’ in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) will be on location to commemorate his character and interact with fans!

The first 50 fans will receive a $50 gift certificate to Shorty’s Barber Shop to come back and Get the Yondu look!

Additional giveaways will include Blu-ray Combo Packs and Digital Copies of Marvel Studios’ 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2', posters signed by Michael Rooker and other Guardians themed items

Themed photo opportunity: Get the Yondu look by getting your hair styled into a faux hawk and hair sprayed red!

For those of you hardcore enough to go FULL YONDU*, there will be room for ten lucky Ravagers to get a full hair dye and shave. Those that pledge their loyalty to the captain will not only meet Rooker himself, but will head out with various Guardians loot!

But wait! There’s more, y’all! Two lucky fans will also walk out of Shorty’s with an awesome custom-made Yondu umbrella to keep that new ‘do safe from the LA sun!

* If you volunteer to be one of the 10 fans to get the Full Yondu you will need to be over 18 years of age, be available to get your hair dyed on Monday, August 21st, and shaved or styled from 9:00AM-12:00PM on Tuesday, August 22nd.

To schedule for the Full Yondu, please e-mail your name and mobile number to:

All colors and cuts will take place at Shorty’s Barber Shop:

Shorty’s Barber Shop
755 N Fairfax Ave
West Hollywood, CA

MARVEL STUDIOS’ “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2” Now Available Digitally and Blu-ray on Aug. 22nd, 2017.

Mickey And The Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines
(Bret Iwan, Russi Taylor, Daniel Ross, Tress MacNeille, Bill Farmer, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / Walt Disney Studios)

DVD Overview: Join your favorite characters - and their high-speed transforming Roadsters - as they compete in thrilling races stretching from Hot Dog Hills to Hawaii - and all the way to London, England!

DVD Verdict: I know that we all know who Mickey Mouse is, and we all know who is group of friends are too, but for those lil' 'uns new to the character, well, here is yet another terrific Disney Junior animated show for your kids.

It actually airs on the wonderful Disney Junior channel and can count among its fellow TV shows of the same ilk both Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins.

'Mickey and the Roadster Racers' is, in and unto itself, an American computer-animated children's television series produced by Disney Television Animation. It is indeed the successor to the aforementioned Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the series debuted on Disney Junior in the United States on January 15th, 2017.

Indeed, here in 'Mickey And The Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines' we experience quite a lot of rather high-octane thrills as Mickey and the gang power up their amazing, transforming cars for races through the town. But it's not just their local town that gets spotlighted here, no, for the gang go globetrotting on a huge scale also by traveling and racing themselves all the way ol' jolly old England!

In this completely fab new edition of the show, we get to meet the world's greatest spy, zoom through the skies in a revved up hot-air balloon race, and even return the Queen's stolen Royal Ruby! I kid you not, Mickey and his pals not only compete in a whirlwind little competition, but gear up to help save the Queen's precious jewels!

1. Agent Double-O-Goof
2. It’s Wiki Wiki Time
3. Ye Olde Royal Heist
4. Abra-ka-Goof!
5. Guru Goofy
6. Going Upppppppppp!

Bonus Episode:
7. Goof Luck Charm

Cast: Bret Iwan as Mickey Mouse; Russi Taylor as Minnie Mouse; Bill Farmer as Goofy/Pluto; Daniel Ross as Donald Duck; and Tress MacNeille as Daisy Duck.

Chock full of funny and highly entertaining moments for the pre-teens, it will 100% keep your kids occupied before dinner or on a sunny week day or even a wet Sunday afternoon.

Bring home the adventures on Disney DVD August 15th, 2017! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs which also comes with a FREE Roadster Racers Flag inside!!

DVD Purchase Link

'Mickey and the Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines' - Exclusive Clip #1

'Mickey and the Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines' - Exclusive Clip #2

'The Big Knife (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray]
(Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Rod Steiger, Shelley Winters, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1955) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Charles Castle, one of Hollywood's biggest stars, looks like he has it all. But his marriage is falling apart and his wife is threatening to leave him if he renews his contract. Studio boss Stanley Shriner Hoff isn't taking the news too well, and he'll do anything he can to get his man to sign on the dotted line - even if means exposing some of his dark secrets.

Blu-ray Verdict: Just to give you a little back story about this uneven movie, even before 'The Big Knife' went into production, it was hard to get either backers or cast willing to be associated with it.

Director Robert Aldrich eventually took on a supporting actor to play a lead role. But Jack Palance (even at just 36 years-old at the time) is no second-fiddle player. For his looks and demeanor he was usually cast in tough baddie roles, but here he gets to show his considerable dramatic range.

He continually mixes his emotions with exceptional skill – an example being when he snaps angrily at Everett Sloane, showing a hint of vulnerability beneath the surface that is both believable and faintly poignant. This is one of his most impressive performances and he is more than able to carry the picture.

The rest of the cast, while similarly not the most glamorous of choices, are a real box of gems nonetheless. Opposite Palance we have Ida Lupino, not an outstanding actress, but always one who radiated great intelligence and dignity. This is by far the best I have I have ever seen from her, and her character's relationship with Palance's is truly touching. Also at his very best is Wendell Corey, a man who tended to play blandly obnoxious types, as he does here, but capable of demonstrating real humanity and depth when it was required.

Rod Steiger's performance is, at first glance, a little too surreal and theatrical for a straight drama, but as the picture wears on it seems somehow appropriate for the one absolutely despicable villain to be some kind of bizarre caricature. In any case, he is good fun to watch.

The question is begged, if 'The Big Knife' was such a bugbear to the Hollywood establishment, and has such an iconic cast, why has it not been championed by latter-day hipster film geeks? The answer is simple: 'The Big Knife' simply isn't that good, sorry.

Robert Aldrich was a skilled director of dynamic action flicks, and it's clear he now truly wanted to raise his game and make serious dramatic pictures. But good as his intentions are he's out of his depth. He simply doesn't understand the kind of manipulation needed to make a stage play work on the screen, without it seeming like an endless string of talking, and for all his movement of the camera the narrative still remains dull and static.

The production is also scuppered by two seemingly minor factors. First, the set decoration is far too cluttered, and while Aldrich makes some good use of bringing props into view at opportune moments, there is simply too much business there and it upstages the actors.

Secondly there is that score by Frank DeVol, which clearly thinks it is modern and innovative, but is frankly annoying, especially since the poor mixing makes it sound as if DeVol's drumming is actually supposed to be taking place on the set, and you expect a guy with a snare to suddenly walk into the frame.

When you see how badly it is done here, you can appreciate why the Academy gives awards for such "boring" categories as Art Direction and Sound. The ironic thing is, had a major studio dared to pick up 'The Big Knife' and got a better production team to work on it, they could probably have done a fairly decent job. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand-new 2K restoration from original film elements produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p)
Original English mono audio uncompressed LPCM
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Commentary by film critics Glenn Kenny and Nick Pinkerton, recorded exclusively for this release
Bass on Titles Saul Bass, responsible for The Big Knife s credit sequence, discusses some of his classic work in this self-directed documentary from 1972
Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Nathalie Morris

'The Big Knife (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on August 29th, 2017.

'The Big Knife (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

The Poseidon Adventure - The Complete Mini-Series
(Adam Baldwin, Rutger Hauer, Steve Guttenberg, Bryan Brown, Peter Weller, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2005) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: As the luxury liner Poseidon slices through the waters of an ocean storm, the greatest danger is already on board - a terrorist with an explosive message for the world. Detonated on New Year's Eve, the blast capsizes the ship leaving a motley crew - the madman among them - struggling for survival in this upside-down life-and-death drama.

Blu-ray Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment and now on Blu-ray for the very first time, 'The Poseidon Adventure - The Complete Mini-Series' continues the blockbuster phenomenon and turns it into a precedent-setting new miniseries that raises the stakes and the fear factor tri-fold.

Well, okay, and playing Devil's Advocate here, as being a journalist I cannot sit on the fence. Rather, I'd like to give you both views. So, firstly, yes, the story spread over a mini-series and given some new star movie acting juice does indeed ramp up the excitement of watching another movie/miniseries entitled Poseidon.

But, and that all said, pace is a huge problem with this new (2005) miniseries. 'The Poseidon Adventure' is also incredibly dull when you get down to its nuts and bolts, which is a great shame. I truly wanted it to shine a little, given proven actors such as Baldwin, Hauer, Guttenberg Brown and the brilliant (usually) Peter Weller, but with over an hour of sluggish pacing and little else it falls flat on way too many occasions.

Again, it does try to liven things up towards the end, but in the process tries (noticeably) too hard and in in trying too much convulses the ending badly into a ship-shaking mess. And unnecessarily so also, it has to be said.

As for the actual story line of 'The Poseidon Adventure', well, the plot is very hackneyed and at first it seems as though it never leaves the deck! Seriously, they must have invested a ton of money into building that deck, because everyone came to it! Then later on it feels kinda bloated (no pun intended for those that went overboard and didn't make it back), and whatever suspense they managed to illicit they allowed to drain away.

All foreboding long gone, even by its midpoint, the one massive plot line that didn't make any sense, didn't play out well, and seemed a really big hindrance to the mini-series (and yet it was its focal point, funnily enough) was the terrorist one! It simply added nothing to the story, but without it, well, perhaps the Poseidon wouldn't have had such a bad day after all! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Blackbeard - The Complete Mini-Series'
(Angus Macfadyen, Mark Umbers, Jessica Chastain, Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2006) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: In the Golden Age of Piracy, at the dawn of the 18th century, Blackbeard stood out among the lawless rogues as the most fearsome and notorious seafarer of them all. He killed for the reputation, and his reputation has become legend. Now, for the first time, comes the true story of pirate Edward Teach, the man who terrorized the seas.

Blu-ray Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment and now on Blu-ray for the very first time, 'Blackbeard - The Complete Mini-Series' from 2006 is now ready for you to set sail in - at your peril!

'Blackbeard' is a two-part TV Mini-Series released in 2006 based on the exploits of the infamous pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. The two parts clock in at 2 hours and 50 minutes.

Although 'Blackbeard' obviously features real-life people and other items (like the ship Queen Anne's Revenge and Blackbeard's relationship with the governor), the story is essentially fictional. Those knowledgeable about the life of Blackbeard should know this up front, otherwise it will ruin their experience.

Still, even though this is a fictional story, the film IS realistic in it's presentation of the basic Caribbean pirate lifestyle. Not to mention, it successfully captures the spirit of Blackbeard.

One thing that turns me off to pirate flicks like 'Pirates of the Caribbean' (all of them!) and 'Cutthroat Island' is that they feature such a goofy, unbelievable vibe that the viewer can't take the stories serious for even a moment (and, don't get me wrong, those types of films have their place).

Well, you don't have to worry about that with 'Blackbeard' because, again, this is a believable portrayal of the pirate lifestyle. The film certainly helps the viewer catch a glimpse of what it must have been like to be a pirate back in that era (1700s).

In regards to the historical inaccuracies of the story, how much do we really know about Blackbeard and the many adventures he experienced in his life? Did he have a scribe with him at all times detailing every detail of his life and adventures?

Of course not. The story in 'Blackbeard' features events that very well COULD have happened to him and other pirates of the era. In light of all this, I hope you settle in one rainy Sunday afternoon and enjoy it as much as we did. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Mary Higgins Clark - Original TV Mysteries Vol. 3
(Nicollette Sheridan, Page Fletcher, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: MARY HIGGINS CLARK is one of the most critically acclaimed mystery writers of our time. 'The Queen of Suspense' has sold over 100 million copies of her novels in the U.S. alone. Known for her intriguing, clever and suspenseful writing style, now you can enjoy 3 more of her best-selling works adapted to feature films here in Volume 3.

DVD Verdict: We begin with "Haven't We Met Before" (PG-13, 2002, starring Nicollette Sheridan). Law student Emily Winton survives an assault perpetrated by a man who believes she wronged him in a previous life.

She assists the investigating detective, who suspects that her attacker has already committed murder as a result of his psychosis.

For my money, "Haven't We Met Before?" is one of the better Higgins Clark stories and could have been developed in a richer way. The story, in general, should have been riveting. It wasn't. It did, however, keep me interested due to the plot. And as usual, I sort of figured it out. Why? Because there's something about the way these stories are set up where there's a subtle giveaway. I can't figure out what it is, I don't know if it's the way the scenes are directed or what, but I always know.

Next up is "Try To Remember" (PG-13, 2004, starring Gabrielle Anwar). A supposedly wrapped up murder case comes back to haunt a small town 15 years later when all the witnesses who testified start dying.

Mary Higgins Clark always has a heroine, one very obvious suspect (male), one or two men who might be suspects, and then one or two men who would never be suspected. It wasn't hard to figure this one out.

The cast is very attractive - besides Anwar, there is Max Martini, Diego Wallraff, and David Richmond-Peck, all looking good. Garry Chalk, a familiar face, plays a detective on the force in this much better-than-average thriller.

Lastly, we have "A Crime Of Passion" (PG-13, 2003, starring Cynthia Gibb). When Frederica Dumay (Cynthia Gibb) inherits her father's winery, she has no idea of the sort of intrigue that awaits her at her dad's fabulous estate.

If there's one thing I detest, it's people in movies doing stupid things so that the scriptwriters can put them in danger. Case in point: Freddie gets a line on Arabella's partner and decides to confront him by going alone to a cabin in the woods at night. I doubt even an armed policewoman would do that.

Later, when she's broken her ankle, is in bed and woozy from being given drugs, she decides to get up, take her crutches, and try to get down the stairs. Ridiculous, sorry, but it is. That said, "A Crime Of Passion" does possess some genuinely taut psychological moments - just not enough. Newly released by Mill Creek Entertainment, these 3 TV movies are all Widescreen Presentations (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'PJ Masks: Time To Be A Hero'
(Jacob Ewaniuk, Addison Holley, Kyle Harrison Breitkopf, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / eOne - 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

Overview: Join Catboy, Owlette and Gekko on their brand new adventures. Such as Gekko's desire not to take the blame for stealing Cameron's mini-car which allows Luna Girl to almost destroy HQ! Or when Owlette tries to get back at Night Ninja by destroying his masterpiece statue, but learns that two wrongs don't make a right.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, PJ Masks is a British/French animated children's television series produced by Entertainment One, Frog Box, and TeamTO. The series is based on the Les Pyjamasques book series by Romuald Racioppo and debuted on Disney Junior in the United States on September 18th, 2015.

PJ Masks revolves around three 6-year-olds, Connor, Amaya, and Greg, who lead relatively normal lives by day, where they are neighbors, classmates, and friends. However, at night, they become Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko, and fight crime as the superhero team PJ Masks. Together, they go on adventures, defeat villains, solve mysteries, and learn valuable lessons.

Here in 'PJ Masks: Time To Be A Hero' our intrepid trio - Catboy, Owlette and Gekko - learn a few lessons about telling the truth, no stealing, and never, ever trying to make two bad deeds add up to a supposedly good one!

Available August 8th, 2017, this latest PJ Masks DVD features six exciting episodes from the top-rated TV series airing on Disney Junior. In addition, the new release includes the PJ Masks “Feeling Great” singalong music video as well as exclusive activity sheets so those little heroes can have even more “super” fun at home.

Oh, you want more? Well, specially marked packages will also include an exclusive PJ Masks sticker set! Each episode is just over ten minutes long each, with an audio track in English Dolby Digital 2.0.

My 4-year-old twins love PJ Masks. They spend a great majority of their time pretending to be Cat Boy and Owlette. We don't have cable, and therefore do not have the Disney Channel, but my lovely Director and Editor in Chief here at Exclusive Magazine allowed me (and my kids) to review this new DVD for you here today.

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

“PJ Masks Are Feeling Great” - Music Video
PJ Masks Printable Activity Sheets

Eagles of Death Metal Live at The Olympia in Paris
(Eagles of Death Metal / DVD / NR / 2017 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: In 2009, The David Lynch Foundation staged the Change Begins Within benefit concert at New York's legendary Radio City Music Hall. The show helped raise funds to teach at-risk children to meditate to change their lives from within.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, the Eagles of Death Metal is an American rock band from Palm Desert, California, formed in 1998. Founded by Jesse Hughes (vocals, guitar) and Josh Homme (drums), the band also includes a wide range of other musicians that perform both on the band's studio albums and at live shows.

Hughes and Homme are the only permanent members of the band, with Homme rarely performing at live shows due to commitments to his other bands. The band's current touring line-up includes Hughes alongside Dave Catching (guitar), Eden Galindo (guitar), Jennie Vee (bass) and Jorma Vik (drums).

Oh, and despite their name, Eagles of Death Metal are not a death metal band, and the name is intended to be humorous!

During Eagles of Death Metal's now infamous November 13th, 2015 concert at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, gunmen entered the venue and opened fire on the crowd, leaving 89 dead. On February 16th, 2016, the band returned to Paris to complete their show as part of The Nos Amis Tour¸ performing at the Olympia Hall.

This I Love You All The Time: Live at The Olympia in Paris DVD (also released as a glorious 2CD set) encapsulates the pure emotion and intensity of that extraordinary Olympia concert and is dedicated to all those who lost their lives at the Bataclan.

Before the show, Eagles of Death Metal co-founder and lead singer Jesse Hughes said: "The people of Paris have always been incredible to us, and our feeling of love towards this beautiful city and its people has been reinforced a million times over this past month. Hearing the stories of the survivors, the injured and those who have lost loved ones has been overwhelming. Not returning to finish our set was never an option."

The line-up for this historic show features Jesse Hughes (vocals, guitar); Joshua Homme (drums); Dave Catching (guitar); Matt McJunkins (bass); Julian Dorio (drums) Eden Galindo (guitar) and Tuesday Cross (keyboards).

1) Intro: Il Est 5 Heures, Paris S'Éveille
2) "I Only Want You"
3) "Don't Speak (I Came To Make A Bang!)"
4) "So Easy"
5) "Complexity"
6) "Whorehoppin' (Shit, Goddamn)"
7) "I Love You All The Time"
8) "Cherry Cola"
9) "The Reverend"
10) "Got A Woman"
11) "I Got A Feelin (Just Nineteen)"
12) "Stuck In The Metal"
13) "Miss Alissa"
14) "I Like To Move In The Night"
15) "Secret Plans"
16) "Wannabe In L.A."
17) "Bag O' Miracles"
18) "Save A Prayer"
19) "I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News)"
20) "Speaking In Tongues"

Whether or not you are a fan of this band, or you know them from this horrific event that took the world by storm news-wise that very same night, you must appreciate the lengths they went to to make sure that the show must still go on. For not only did they dare to return to the scene of the (literal) crime, they began the show over and ever, by the length of the 20 song set-list, extended it whilst there for all their fans.

Their collective return to the French capital just three months after the tragedy proved to be a resounding success, for both the city and their fans alike as this show is as good, as powerful, as heartfelt as anything I have witnessed live (with my own eyes or via a DVD) within the past decade (or more).

Obvious highlights of the show, for me at the very least, although I'm sure for all those gathered that night also, include songs such as “Complexity,” Don’t Speak (I Came To Make a Bang),” “Cherry Cola,” and an out-of-the-blue delicious Duran Duran cover of “Save a Prayer."! Wow, the way they handle this song is brilliant and together with a rock guitar back beat, it may not swerve too far from the original, but it does make for one of the stand out moments here.

Lastly, it should be made known that for the three (3) live video tracks included as bonus features all feature Josh Homme. He actually co-founded the band with front man Jesse Hughes, but rarely performs with them. So the fact he is playing drums on these tracks is a triple bonus for all their fans, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and as well as the full Olympia concert, the bonus material includes three live video tracks from the band's October 2015 performance at L.A.'s Teragram Ballroom: "Anything Cept The Truth", "Bad Dream Mama" and "Shasta Beast".

'The Slayer: Special Edition' [DVD+Blu-ray]
(Sarah Kendall, Frederick Flynn, Carol Kottenbrook, et al / DVD+Blu ray / R / (1982) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Two young couples set off to a secluded island for what promises to be a restful retreat. But the peace is short-lived: as a storm batters the island, troubled artist Kay begins to sense that a malevolent presence is here with them, stalking them at every turn. Is she losing her mind, or are her childhood nightmares of a demonic assailant coming to terrifying life?

Blu-ray Verdict: 'The Slayer' follows a troubled avant-garde artist with psychic proclivities who travels to a remote island with her husband, brother, and sister-in-law in order to regroup. Immediately bothered by the atmosphere of the island, she insists something is amiss among the forests and derelict buildings— but the three dismiss her. Unfortunately, they're wrong.

An early entry in '80s horror that somehow got sidelined by history, 'The Slayer' is shockingly good given its lack of notoriety. The set-up is straightforward, and the low character number means there isn't much in the way of the expected body count, but in its brisk eighty minutes, the film manages to achieve a dreadful atmosphere and also boasts some shockingly realistic and disturbing murder scenes.

J.S. Cardone, directed and co-wrote the film—it's his first picture, and he has gone on to work mainly in genre films over the years, giving us the marginalized 2001 vampire flick 'The Forsaken' and 2006's 'Wicked Little Things.' Compared to those films, 'The Slayer' is rather minimalism in its cinematic body, I'll give you that, but there is a unique sense of foreboding in this film that is something that slasher flicks particularly don't always seem to achieve.

The island locale is woodsy and populated with derelict buildings from when it was a resort years prior—an idyllic setting for a horror film. The film in some ways reminded me of a non-wintry 'Ghostkeeper,' another debased '80s horror picture.

The score is quite elegant and ominous, and there are also high-caliber special effects throughout, which are on show during each death sequence, as well as during the monstrous reveal at the finale. Some have argued that the conclusion to 'The Slayer' is a cop out. I don't know if I necessarily feel that way. It is rather abruptly thrown at the audience, but it also has narrative significance, linked to threads that are presented earlier on in the film. If anything, it's a somewhat bold move.

Overall, I was quite surprised by how well-crafted this film was. It's not groundbreaking in any stretch of the imagination, but it's a sturdy exercise in dread that happens to be well-shot and eerie. Serious fans of stalk-and- slash movies may find it a bit slow, but it's worth holding out for the impressively jarring murder scenes and the wild card of a conclusion. This is a Widescreen presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Uncompressed Mono Audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new interviews with cast and crew
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector s booklet featuring new liner notes by writer Lee Gambin

'The Slayer: Special Edition' [DVD+Blu-ray] is available for purchase on August 29th, 2017.

'The Slayer: Special Edition' [DVD+Blu-ray] Purchase Link


'Jumanji - The Complete Animated Series'
(Alan Parrish, Judy Shepherd, Peter Shepherd, Trader Slick, Van Pelt, et al / DVD / G / (1996-1999) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Based on the blockbuster feature film, this exciting animated series continues the amazing saga of two children, Judy and Peter Shepherd, who discover a mysterious and magical board game called Jumanji.

DVD Verdict: I think we have to start at the beginning here and acknowledge that the Robin Williams movie from 1995 was terrific and that even an animated side step such as this was great marketing at the time.

The movie itself had a likable cast, solid acting, great action, terrific special effects (for the time), and some wonderful music from James Horner. Sure the the first few minutes were a tad bit slower and some of the scenes were a little dark, but it sold well, went over well, and Williams was a star on the up.

So, when I saw this TV show adaptation of the movie as a kid, I was just as impressed, it has to be said. Although it wasn't what one would call a classic by any stretch of the imagination, especially given that the third season had some weaker, yet very interesting episodes, when it came to the final episode series wrap (where, of course, now spoiler alert needed, Alan finally gets out of the jungle) it proved to still be an overall winner in my book.

Seeing as how this was made by Klasky-Csupo, the company who made The Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys, I think they did a great job with this show. The story lines for this show are very creative, especially in the first two seasons and they had a charm to them just like the movie.

The pathos from the Jumanji game gave some an atmospheric tone to the environment and it's presented so lively. The characters designs, although weird, are at least tolerable. The voice acting is also pretty good too. Debi Derryberry did great as Judy and Ashley Johnson did great as Peter, as did Bill Fagerbakke as Alan Parish. Tim Curry also did brilliantly, it should be said, as Trader Slick, but overall the other voice actors gave their all too.

I mean, come on now, even the damn theme song was engaging! Again, and overall not a classic, but all 40 episodes of these three seasons here in 'Jumanji - The Complete Animated Series' proved to come together to bring us a fun, colorful and definitely well worth watching show for all the fans of the movie. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'FRONTLINE: Bannon's War'
(DVD / PG-13 / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Trump advisor Stephen Bannon's war with radical Islam, Washington, and White House rivals. The story of Bannon's fight to deliver on Trump s promises, with a confrontational style based on his personal crusade to dramatically transform America.

DVD Verdict: From Michael Kirk and the team behind The Choice 2016 and Divided States of America comes the inside story of Trump adviser Stephen Bannon's war - with radical Islam, Washington and White House rivals.

For those not in the know, Steve Bannon is an American media executive, formerly a film producer, who is currently serving as the White House Chief Strategist in the Trump administration.

Drawing on nearly 30 in-depth interviews with political insiders, Bannon's former associates at Breitbart News, authors and journalists, the film tells the inside story of Bannon's fight to deliver on Trump's promises, with a confrontational style based on his personal crusade to dramatically transform America.

From one of the most acclaimed investigative teams in broadcast journalism, the documentary claims to investigate who Bannon is, what shaped his worldview and his influence and footing within the Trump administration.

However, in truth, nothing in this Frontline version of Bannon’s biography affords a glimpse of humanity or warmth in the man, and perhaps that is for the best. Instead Bannon’s War shows its subject as the polarizing, intelligent and power-driven figure that he is. Good or bad, that's what I got out of it, but perhaps you'll read into it something different. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'NOVA: Poisoned Water'
(DVD / PG / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: In this special report, NOVA investigates the water disaster in Flint and unravels a disturbing truth about the vulnerabilities of water systems across the country. Discover the delicate intricacies of water chemistry, the biology of lead poisoning, and the engineering challenge of replacing this ravaged infrastructure.

DVD Verdict: Water. Turn on the faucet and it's always there. Without it we perish. But how safe is our tap water? In this special report, NOVA investigates what happened in Flint, Michigan when local officials changed the city's water source to save money, but overlooked a critical treatment process.

As the water pipes corroded, lead leached into the system, exposing the community--including thousands of children - to dangerous levels of poison. NOVA uncovers the science behind this manmade disaster - from the intricacies of water chemistry, to the biology of lead poisoning, to the misuse of science itself.

NOVA follows ordinary citizens and independent scientists who exposed the danger lurking in Flint's water and confronted those who turned a blind eye. Still, there's a disturbing truth that reaches far beyond Flint--Water systems across the country are vulnerable to a similar fate. How can we protect ourselves from poisoned water?

In my mind, having watched it twice now, this is a must see documentary. It is very educational and informative, but I cannot understand why in the world the producers would allow the footage of such a corrupt individual like the ex-Mayor of Flint Dayne Walling (who got kicked out of the office in his re-election bid) the opportunity to act as a victim! When, in fact, the residents of Flint are obviously the real victims of this story.

All Walling did when in power was to delay resolving the issue for years that harmed so many residents and will cost over a billion dollar just to repair the piping. That said, 'NOVA: Poisoned Water' is fascinating viewing (as a documentary) and yet heartbreaking for all those poor residents of the small MI city. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'America's Test Kitchen - Season 17'
(4-Disc DVD / PG / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Join hosts Bridget Lancaster, Julia Collin Davison, and the cast of America's Test Kitchen Season 17 to reveal the test kitchen's secrets to foolproof cooking at home.

DVD Verdict: My goodness! 'America's Test Kitchen - Season Seventeen' (I know, right!) is a four-DVD set packed with twelve hours of delicious episodes of the most-watched cooking show on public television.

Each of the recipes presented has been fine-tuned and tweaked to virtual perfection by dozens of expert test cooks. In addition to the recipes themselves, episodes offer taste tests of supermarket goods, ratings of assorted kitchen equipment and tools from blenders to personal teapots, and solid grocery shopping advice.

Indeed, watching this for the very first time, it's obvious that cooks of all skill and experience levels, from family meal providers to professional restaurateurs, are sure to appreciate the value, research, and practical wisdom found within 'America's Test Kitchen - Season Seventeen' (or any of the other seasons, of course!)

Disc 1:
Cast Iron Staples
Two Modern Stews
Back to Basics
New England Classics
Flavorful Italian Favorites
Seafood Supper
The Ultimate Sticky Buns

Disc 2:
Hearty One Pot Meals
Outsmarting Thanksgiving
Korean Feast
Big Easy Favorites
Pantry Pastas
Refreshing Desserts

Disc 3:
Baked Alaska Showstopper
Italian Chicken
Autumn Desserts
Chinese Takeout, Revised
Elegant Fall Dinner
Canning Classics
Steak and Veggies

Disc 4:
Mediterranean Grill
A Spanish Affair
Fast Food Makeovers
Summer Dinner Party
Summer Pork Supper
Comfort Classics

As you can guess by now, 'America's Test Kitchen' is always guaranteed to satisfy! My inner geek loves all the research that goes into developing the perfect recipe and so I will most definitely add this to my now-growing collection of cooking-on-DVD sets. Oh, and it also includes printable versions of all the recipes shown! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Fortitude - The Complete Second Season'
(Dennis Quaid, Parminder Nagra, Sofie Grabol, Michelle Fairley, Richard Dormer, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NC-17 / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: After last year, the remote arctic town of Fortitude will never be the same again. The islanders have overcome the parasite threat, but swaths of residents are still leaving, and the mainland is trying to suffocate the town by cutting off its funding and supplies. But after another horrendous death, the police must now solve a barbaric crime island, trying now to stop as many from leaving as possible - in case the killer is amongst them!

DVD Verdict: Well, as the tagline for the first season correctly proclaimed, "It's not just the cold that kills!" that is also so very true here in this highly compelling second season.

A town like Fortitude, located in the middle of nowhere, needs to thrive on something, and when one of its main sources of income shows sign of possible loss, the town now relies on another source of income; and this income that could be their hope for the future, comes under threat.

Once again, there are many interesting characters introduced quickly, perhaps too quickly, but enough to let you know you have no idea who is guilty of what, yet. However, the plot gives enough away to throw possible red herrings, and come the end of the last episode it still leaves you wanting more. [The sign of a great show, don't you agree!]

'Fortitude' is not your typical drama. It moves slowly, like the ice locked landscape in which it is set. It's not a series for the impatient. You have to be willing to invest time in this series and accept long periods where partial knowledge and confusion are the norm. If you can do this then you may "warm" to 'Fortitude'.

OK, and without giving away anything plot wise, save for the fact there is a rather horrible, and bloody death that needs investigating, that theme of blood and gore does resonate throughout this season a wee bit more than it seemingly did the first.

The "shock impact" moments, like the killing and distorting of sympathetic characters, is not always a plot pusher, but moreover an attack to your senses. To wake you up to what is coming next, given the slowness of the plot. For my money, the first season was brilliantly plotted and original and had something more to offer than just graphic violence. This second season is, at times, a bloody and incoherent mess, sure, but with Dennis Quaid now at its helm, it manages to steer itself true North come the end.

In closing, some have praised its slow pace, but being that it comes from British heritage, shouldn't have been even a second thought for those watching. For that's who British crime unfolds - slowly. Ergo, 'Fortitude' is a slow-paced, well-made, involving, absorbing, evolving set of story lines - like 'Inspector Montalbano' or 'Wallander' - that features some inspiring lingering shots of dramatic monochrome scenery. Watch this show as soon as you can as you will not be let down, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and it comes with the Special Features of:

The Story So Far
Investigate Fortitude

'Remember Me' (UK Edition )
(Mark Addy, Jodie Comer, Sheila Hancock, Michael Palin, Julia Sawalha, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (2014) 2017 / PBS)

Overview: When retiree Tom Parfitt (Michael Palin) stages a fall in his eerie Yorkshire home in order to escape into residential care, a chilling mystery unfolds, challenging police detective Rob Fairholme (Mark Addy) and care worker Hannah Ward (Jodie Comer) to risk everything they hold dear to unravel the truth.

DVD Verdict: One of the major qualities of a good ghost story lies in the ways directors manage to make the familiar seem unfamiliar. They draw viewers into the story and then deliberately frustrate their expectations, and hence encourage us to wonder about what will happen next.

This is certainly true of Ashley Pearce's production, which casts Michael Palin in the central role as pensioner Tom Parfitt. British television viewers are accustomed to seeing Palin as the genial host of a slew of travel programs; apart from his Monty Python involvement, his roles have been largely confined to comedies such as 'The Missionary' (1982).

In 'Remember Me' he has a very different role as someone dying to leave his house and move to a retirement home; but we are not exactly sure why, especially when he seems uncomfortable in his new surroundings of an antiseptic room with large windows. He strikes up a relationship with Hannah Ward (Jodie Comer), but we sense that there is more to Parfitt's character than meets the eye.

He seems emotionally affected, but director Pearce refuses to provide the necessary clues to help us resolve our confusion. Suffice to say that the story revolves around the seaside resort of Scarborough, immortalized in the folk-song "Scarborough Fair."

Stylistically speaking, 'Remember Me' creates a mundane world of an (unspecified) city in the north of England, full of gray terraced houses, damp streets and drab colors. People go about their daily lives, with their ordinary hopes and dreams: Hannah's family hope that their daughter will find a more rewarding career than just being a care home assistant.

The community is a multiracial one, trying their best to look after one another, yet ultimately perplexed as to the reasons for Parfitt's apparently eccentric behavior. Like the viewers, Roshana Salim (Mina Anwar) and her family regard him as an enigma.

The pacing of the three-part drama is kept deliberately slow, alternating memorable visual imagery (for example, water gushing down the stairs of Parfitt's home) with clever use of sonic leitmotifs (the repeated singing of "Scarborough Fair.")

brilliant 'Remember Me' we are not only introduced into an abnormal world, but we are kept guessing right until the final episode as to what the action "means." Like most ghost stories, the plot involves a close interaction between past and present; neither of them can be kept separate. Watch this fantastic ghost story and see how this genre of film can still be updated for today's audiences, with style and simplistic - and a little mystery, of course. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Last Days of Jesus'
(DVD / PG / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: 'Last Days of Jesus' explores how dramatic political events in Rome could have played a crucial role in shaping Jesus' destiny, and examines an extraordinary political alliance that altered the course of history.

DVD Verdict: For almost two thousand years, the story of Jesus' final days has been celebrated by Christians the world over.

From Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, through to his eventual crucifixion six days later, the key moments have been immortalized in countless films, pieces of music, and works of art.

But in recent years, some historians have begun to question inconsistencies in the Gospels' version of events. They believe that the Gospels could hide a very different story; one that casts the historical Jesus in an entirely new light.

Based on a new interpretation of contemporary historical events in Rome, 'Last Days of Jesus' peels back thousands of years of tradition, to explore a new political context to the events in Jerusalem.

In truth, I found this new PBS documentary to be less about Jesus' last days, but much more about his mission. It is not a religious film, for those that either worry or care of such things, but it does have that backbone to it at all times re: spirituality, of course.

'Last Days of Jesus' is filled with speculations, "maybes" and "perhapses" and we have a narrator who states that for the past couple of centuries we have tried to discover the true Jesus without success.

Another says that the “facts” narrated in the Gospels make no sense and the books are filled with contradictions. Ideas are offered such as: Jesus may have been a building contractor who was not at all poor, and lived in a nice stone house.

So, as you can tell, there is a lot here that will spark conversations, gentle arguments even, perhaps. Indeed, the documentary even suggests that Jesus’ mission was caused by a Roman general and a Jewish governor who ruled in northern Israel. The last ideas are new speculations, we know this, for they could be nothing more, but as for this documentary, as a whole, well, I thank PBS for providing me more understanding to enhance my already-strong Christian background. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Lion King - The Circle of Life Edition'
(Matthew Broderick, Niketa Calame, Jim Cummings, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane, et al / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD+Digital / G / (1994) 2011 / Walt Disney)

Overview: The wait is over. For the first time ever, experience the majesty of Disney’s epic animated masterpiece as it roars off the screen and into your living room on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D. With a spectacular digital picture, spine-tingling high definition sound and immersive bonus features—you will feel the love for this critically acclaimed and universally beloved classic like never before.

Blu ray+DVD Verdict: Just so we're all on the same page here, given that this film has been released oh-so-many-times in the past, Disney recently announced come the end of this month that one of the biggest animated films in history, 'The Lion King' will roar to its rightful place in the Walt Disney Signature Collection (on Digital August 15th and on Blu-ray™+DVD August 29th, 2017).

The coming-of-age masterpiece, filled with humor and heart, breathtaking animation and soul-stirring Academy Award®–winning music (1994: Best Original Score and Best Original Song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”), now joins the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection.

I have to say, first off, that this new Circle of Life Edition 2-Disc does indeed feature some wonderful bonus features, but we'll come to all that much later.

The movie itself, as you ALL should know by now anyway, is just wonderful. Beautiful animations and unforgettable songs combine with a wonderful story line that deserves all of its rave reviews. I saw this on TV once and never forgot it. The characters are all unique and beautifully drawn, the backgrounds are amazing. The film as a whole makes you "believe" it.

The characters' personalities, joys and struggles echo real life. Happiness, grief and humor are wonderfully portrayed and balanced at the right times. The movie has more "action violence" and more of a dark subplot than other Disney movies, so check it out before letting young children watch.

I think the theme of this movie is to remember who you are. After the mournful death of his father, Simba believes that it is his fault and represses the memory of what happened and who he is. He makes new friends, Timon and Pumbaa and begins to act much differently than he did before.

While the Pride Lands were losing all that made them beautiful, he was out in the jungle with his friends, completely disregarding his responsibilities. His father appears in the clouds and reminds Simba of who he is and what his responsibilities as the one true king are. Repeatedly, his father tells him "remember who you are."

Simba remembers what his father wanted him to remember and because of this, he sprints to the Pride Lands. One must not forget who they are and what responsibilities they have.

Although this seems like a children's movie, I recommend this movie to a viewer of any age, for it can be enjoyed by anyone - and SHOULD (still) be! In short, 'The Lion King' is a majestic movie, not without humor, that is for almost all to see.

Taking a look at some of the Special Features, well, we have a real treasure trove of them here, that's for sure! The first one I loved was Visualizing a Villain, where David Garibaldi quite literally paints to the song “Be Prepared.” Wow, simply wow, with regard his beautiful, proud finished portrait!

Another good one for me was watching The Recording Sessions where we get to see some rare footage of the actors recording their roles. Sometimes behind the scenes, recording booth style, sometimes a split screen, most times the final animation for us all to enjoy and work with, the intro from both co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff is also worth its weight in gold.

Lastly, Inside The Story Room is simply DIVINE! It showcases a true flashback set of videos that show us how these now iconic scenes came together - and evolved, right there on their cut-out and stuck up on paper boards!

These animators and more talk about sequences for certain scenes, proposed ideas, including some that never even made it (!) and we even watch as co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff pitch a sequence to Producer Don Hahn! One that subsequently became the emotional heart of 'The Lion King'. I mean, can you imagine if Hahn had been having a bad day and vetoed it altogether?! This a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Blu-ray Special Features of:

The Recording Sessions - Enter the recording booth and watch never-before-seen voice recording sessions
Inside The Story Room - Rare archival footage shows the origins of five iconic scenes
Visualizing A Villain - Performance Artist David Garabaldi creates his own unique interpretation of the iconic villain, Scar
The Lion King Song Selection - All-new sing-along version of the movie:
"Circle Of Life"
"I Just Can't Wait To Be King"
"Be Prepared"
"Hakuna Matata"
"Can You Feel The Love Tonight"

And so much MORE!

'Descendants 2'
(Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope, et al / DVD / TV-Y / 2017 / Walt Disney)

Overview: The Villain Kids are back in a high-stakes adventure that's bigger, bolder and badder than before!

DVD Verdict: When the pressure to be royally perfect becomes too much for Mal (Dove Cameron), she flees Auradon and returns to her roots on the Isle of the Lost.

Hoping to retrieve her, Evie (Sofia Carson) and the rest of the gang sneak onto the Isle.

But Mal's former archenemy Uma (China Anne McClain), daughter of Ursula, has seized power. And together with her pirate crew, Uma prepares to unleash havok on the VKs and Auradon!

So, as you can see/read, being an obvious fan of the original movie, this sequel picks up exactly where the last one leaves off. There is no introduction of characters or any kind or recap of the events though, so you might want to delve back into your DVD library and watch the first one again beforehand (never a bad thing to do in these circumstances, I've found).

Here in the sequel the teens are starting to "couple up" with Mal having second thoughts and some self-esteem issues. In this second outing (of which you can only assume three and four are already in the works), Disney takes a stab at diversity.

The famous evil parents are not in this movie and we have a baby Hook who was more inspired by Johnny Depp than Captain Hook. The music is way more hip-hop than before, which not being a fan of that music genre, kinda made me shirk away from scenes that were smothered in such sounds.

But that's just me, and again, this is just my humble opinion, but I actually didn't enjoy this second outing as much as the original. The animation was seemingly off too, not as good even as the original film, but the choreography was spot on, as always.

I thought the plot, which I won't give too much more away about, was not exactly well thought out either. They certainly could have done a better job there given the success of the original, because it just seems like this secondary production may be nothing more than a connection point, a stepping stone to the promise of a much better third chapter, so to speak.

Anyway, regardless of all that speculation and such, 'Descendants 2' was still very alluring in its characters, very colorful in its scenery, and the acting by our now-famous leads was as good, if not slightly better than the first one. They've now grown into their characters and it showed for most all of them on screen.

Also beginning July 1st, visit and enter to win a Disney Channel 5-movie collection including 'Descendants' and 'Descendants 2'! And lastly, don't forget that this new DVD also comes with a FREE Necklace with 5 Villain Icons inside! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Cast Secrets - Personal secrets are revealed by cast members Dove Cameron (Mal), Cameron Boyce (Carlos), Sofia Carson (Evie), Booboo Stewart (Jay) and China Anne McClain (Uma) during the filming of the movie.
Bloopers - The cast cracks up on set during some crazy takes.
Deleted Song and More – Includes an extended song, a deleted song and two alternate endings.
Descendants: Wicked World - A collection of all the animated shorts from season 1.

Bring home all the mischief on DVD August 15th, 2017!

Official Trailer

Cast Secrets


'The Ghoul (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray]
(Tom Meeten, Alice Lowie, Rufus Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, Dan Renton Skinner, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2016) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Chris is a homicide detective called to London to investigate a strange double murder. Both victims appear to have continued moving towards their assailant despite multiple gunshots to the face and chest. On a hunch, and with the help of an old colleague and former girlfriend Chris decides to go undercover as a patient to investigate the suspect's psychotherapist, the mysterious Alexander Morland, who has a taste for the occult!

Blu-ray Verdict: Now, for my money, 'The Ghoul' is not a horror tale. Also, being that it was filmed in 2016 and not one of the usual 50+ years old films that Arrow like to bring us fans, you should know by now that just looking at the cover art that 'The Ghoul' is obviously more suspenseful than horror.

Indeed, I might well go more into the descriptive realms of this being a very highly engaging thriller. Sure the story line is in some ways reminiscent of both 'Memento' and 'Fight Club', but trust me when I say that it follows it's own path majestically once that notion has crossed, and then exited your mind.

Not to give anything away, 'The Ghoul' is wonderfully original, something that for this genre ilk is rather hard to come by these days. Starring Tom Meeten as the lead, Chris, Alice Lowie as Kathleen, and Rufus Jones as Coulson, 'The Ghoul' tells the tale about the inner psyche of a paranoid unemployed amateur detective in London (Chris) who's trying to figure out his own life and his increasingly mysterious hallucinations.

When he begins spying on his therapist, he meets another patient, who appears to have severe delusions, and he becomes convinced the therapist is embroiled in an elaborate conspiracy against him.

So, as you may well have picked up on by now, 'The Ghoul' is not an easy watch at all times that it plays out re: dreamy, hallucinatory moments make this thriller one to have to stick with throughout. That said, you will be totally rewarded by the depth of performance from the spiraling lead, the aforementioned Tom Meeton).

Filmed in dark, bleak confines, 'The Ghoul' works on almost every level that it cinematically attempts. It does not over reach, and does not try to conjure we-should-have-known fact out of thin air (which always annoys me). Low budget, sure, but because of that it simply relies on claustrophobic interaction from the players instead - which works tremendously well.

In closing, the UK's 'The Ghoul' (with problem solving perplexities such as "Here's the head scratcher - how's it possible for two people to keep walking after they've been shot three times, one of them in the face?") has a brilliant script and some of the most intense acting that I've come across in the past decade from Meeton. This film will, without a shadow of a doubt, keep on the edge of your seat right up until the very, thought-provoking end. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed 5.1 audio
Optional English subtitles for the hard-of-hearing
Filmmakers commentary
Interviews with the cast and crew
The Baron, a 2013 short film by Gareth Tunley, starring Tom Meeten and Steve Oram (Aaaaaaaah!, Sightseers)
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring writing on the film by Adam Scovell, author of Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange

'The Ghoul (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on September 12th, 2017.

'The Ghoul (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

Official Trailer

'The Last Face'
(Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, Jean Reno, Jared Harris, Adele Exarchopoulos, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / R / 2017 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Oscar® winners Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem are international aid workers in Africa fighting for humanity during civil unrest in this moving drama from two-time Academy Award® winner Sean Penn.

DVD Verdict: 'The Last Face' is a deliberately paced film. A satisfying journey of love, justice and self-discovery amidst political/social revolutions.

It displays great feeling and thrills in equal measures throughout its stunning cinematic journey, and provokes melodrama on the lines in between.

The plot is that a couple take on strong choices surrounding humanitarianism and tough lives throughout a civil unrest. Never an easy thing to accomplish, always a hard choice to make, these two are bold and know that, at all times, they are also in a lot of danger.

This brooding film sometimes results to being a little slow in parts, allowing the scenery to change rather than the actors to propel it, but that's okay (for me, at least). Relying heavily on the long love affair, one in which our two leads compliment each other perfectly, we see as time passes it was always their destiny to help the unfortunate natives of African countries.

Chock full, as one would expect of such a film, moral issues and ethics galore, as the stubborn doctors expand accessibility to medical care across national boundaries, irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation, those that oppose their actions soon get fired up (quite literally, at times).

The cast is, quite frankly, brilliant, one and all, but the work Javier Bardem provides his character is just awesome. Every film he's ever been in showcases a man in love with his chosen art, and here he grants his character a self-righteous drive that is made even more poignant by his sheer determination and will to achieve.

There is also a highly magnetic performance by Charlize Theron as member of an aid agency directing efforts to provide medical care in acute moments of crisis. She also gives the right balance of self-righteousness which makes her performance ever the more real. She also ensures no matter what, that her character remains grounded, human throughout, her determination with her chosen destiny evident in every crag on her worn down face.

'The Last Face' contains thrilling and violent scenes, like the breathtaking battle when the military revolutionaries go into the capital Monrovia and cause both blood and fire to ensue. Packs rampage, ravage and the indiscriminate massacres carried out by the extremely violent revolutionary guerrillas are foreshadowed, but luckily for this movie, not overly focused on visually.

Watch this film tonight, with friends, and finally see what a should-be-nominated-but-won't-be "Oscar film" truly looks like! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs comes with the Special Feature of:

“Picturing The Last Face” Featurette

'Megan Leavey' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD]
(Kate Mara, Ramon Rodriguez, Tom Felton, Bradley Whitford, Will Patton, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD / PG-13 / 2017 / Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Overview: 'Megan Leavey' is based on the true life story of a young Marine Corporal (Kate Mara) whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Megan Leavey' is a biographical drama based on the true story of a Marine corporal (named Megan Leavy) and the combat dog (named Rex) that she bonded with. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, who also helmed another animal sympathizer film called 'Blackfish' (a critically acclaimed documentary about the horribly inhumane treatment of captive killer whales), the story here is tight, never wavering, and always emotional (especially the ending).

The script, written by Pamela Gray, Annie Mumolo and Tim Lovestedt, features Kate Mara in the title role, along with Ramon Rodriguez, Tom Felton, Common, Edie Falco, Bradley Whitford and Will Patton.

'Megan Leavey' has received glowingly positive reviews from the critics and rightfully so. It is a truly uplifting war drama with interesting characters, surprisingly tense action sequences, and an Oscar-worthy performance from star, Kate Mara - as well as the many dogs themselves, of course.

As for our hero, well, Megan Leavey (Mara) joined the Marines after failing at many other jobs where she had to interact with people. Due to her motivation and extreme dedication, she exceeded expectations as a Marine corporal, and due to her less than stellar people skills she also became uniquely talented at relating to combat dogs.

Especially a really hard to manage military working dog named Rex. They served two deployments together, in Iraq (2005 and 2006), and bonded quite like nothing ever witnessed before. This, of course, made them both very good at their jobs. Indeed, they were even wounded together on their second deployment, where Rex managed to save Megan's life (can you feel the tears starting to swell now - I can!

So, as you can well imagine now, 'Megan Leavey' is a real emotional roller coaster and, ultimately, a massive tear jerker. If you also happen to have a dog or two in your family, you'll find that this movie is thankfully not overly clichéd, but spot on.

In closing, anyone who watches this movie will really sympathize and relate to both Megan's character and especially to the dog Rex. Their very special and unique relationship is endlessly emotional for us, the viewer to behold, which just means that director Cowperthwaite has done her job perfectly. Very moving and very powerful. Watch it today, but have a box of tissues close by! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Never Give Up (Featurette)
Digital Copy of 'Megan Leavey'

Bring home 'Megan Leavey' on Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD Combo Pack this September 5th, 2017.

'Megan Leavey' Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD Combo Pack Purchase Link

'Megan Leavey' Official Website

Official Trailer

Official 'Megan Leavey' Facebook Page

Marvel's Jessica Jones: The Complete First Season
(Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville, David Tennant, Carrie-Anne Moss, et all / 4-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2017 / ABC Studios)

Overview: Raw, riveting and relentlessly compelling, 'Marvel's Jessica Jones: The Complete First Season' ignites a firestorm of suspense cloaked in the haze of a noir-inspired slow burn.

Blu-ray Verdict: There's certainly a lot to like about Jessica Jones - from the NOIR-ish feel to the expertly cast Krysten Ritter (who gives a performance of her career), to the very human feel female characters, to the interesting and surreal adaptation of Kilgrave, aka the Purple Man.

Not trying to give too much away, Jessica Jones is haunted by a tragedy that broke her world apart and so settles in Hell's Kitchen, New York City. There she opens up her own detective agency called Alias Investigations, with the hope of rebuilding her life and keeping the lights on in her apartment.

She discovers that the source of her trauma, a mind-controlling sociopath named Kilgrave, has resurfaced, forcing her to use her gifts as a private eye to track him down before he causes more damage to her life or to anyone else.

David Tennant (one of my favorite actors) was very scary at the beginning of this series as Kilgrave, but by the end of it the writing had fallen so flat that I just felt sorry for him - and actually hoped Jessica would put him out of his misery!

The rape subtext also gives the narrative power Incidentally one of the first old comics I ever bought was Purple Man's first appearance in issue 3 (I believe) of Daredevil. Sort of this whimsical villain who has evolved over the years into a sadistic rapist and con man; a version made famous by the comic Alias and adapted into this show. A character who never really got to live up to his potential until Brian Michael Bendis recently plucked him from obscurity.

Another great and mysterious character introduced is Luke Cage, aka Powerman, aka Iron Fists partner as a hero for hire. The use of him in the show is a very double edged sword. In the comics and show he is clearly more powerful than Jessica Jones, so they make him more of a background character. An occasional hook up and then future love interest for the main star. Their relationship is the main attraction. I felt their courtship (if that's what we even call it these days) to be very realistic.

Living in a big sprawling iconic American City myself, it was nice to see them deftly avoid the romantic comedy cliché. The will they won't they scenario. Sure they start having sex, it becomes something more, then it doesn't - end of story.

Nice, clean, simple. However we really never get to see him be Luke Cage, a man powerful enough to join both the Fantastic Four and Avengers. His powers are shown, but never really explored, and while this might be because it's Jessica's show, it gives his character a muted feel.

Her junkie friend Malcolm is another great addition. It is both a credit to his acting and the writers for properly showing drug addiction. Carrie Anne Moss as the gender bent Lawyer of Danny Rand also makes a huge splash. Trish "Patsy" Walker however is a tad boring. Why couldn't she have been Hellcat? Or been a former action star who played a movie character called Hellcat? Or even been in a Hellcat costume once?

The only sidestep into a less two thumbs up aspect of 'Jessica Jones' are the fight scenes, which are, quite frankly, horrible. They belong on old episodes of Lois and Clark or the Incredible Hulk. Her super strength consists of picking guys up, then throwing them, and the camera cutting to a distance that is far away (you know, for a girl to throw a guy).

Which is also sort of insulting to the comic character. She ought to be able to throw people a block, instead her powers seem more like "strength of Arnold Schwarzenegger in body of skinny girl". After watching the show I'd pick regular human strength Daredevil over her. She has no style, no grace, no semblance of training, which considering her past you'd have to assume she has some.

Action scenes, like the hallway fight, we're used in Daredevil to break up the tension and monotony of waiting on the shows lead villain, as was the court room drama. I guess I should add that, in my humble opinion, the director just takes huge shortcuts in the portrayal of the powers.

You could almost hear the words "that would be too expensive" as you watch the embarrassing scenes. Just about excusable for a low budget feature film but for a Marvel, Netflix original with so much hype and expectation, it's shameful; sorry.

That said, I think the creators want us to see Jessica Jones as a broken, but ultimately well meaning person - who just happens to have super powers! To make us see the emotional price and burden of being someone with an ability to save people, but one who is in constant conflict with herself.

Jessica Jones is not a super hero though. She doesn't put on a costume and go around the city looking for bad people, stalking crime. Sure she is a person with special powers, but she just wants to lead a normal life. I love the moments in this first season where that shines brightly than all the other mess. But you have to take the good with the band and so overall, this first season of 'Jessica Jones' is still a great, action-packed one. Not flawless, but something to build on in the second season.

1. AKA Ladies Night
2. AKA Crush Syndrome
3. AKA It's Called Whiskey
4. AKA 99 Friends
5. AKA The Sandwich Saved Me
6. AKA You're A Winner!
7. AKA Top Shelf Perverts
9. AKA Sin Bin
10. AKA 1,000 Cuts
11. AKA I’ve Got the Blues
12. AKA Take a Bloody Number
13. AKA Smile

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The complete first season of the Netflix original series 'Marvel’s Jessica Jones' is available to own on Blu-ray™ and DVD on August 22nd, 2017 with 13 exciting episodes for fans to add to their libraries.

'Marvel's Jessica Jones: The Complete First Season' Blu-ray Purchase Link

Official Facebook Page

Official Twitter Page

'Marvel's Daredevil: The Complete Second Season'
(Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Royce Johnson, et all / 4-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2017 / ABC Studios)

Overview: The razor-thin line between redemption and retribution explodes with a vengeance in 'Marvel’s Daredevil: The Complete Second Season'.

Blu-ray Verdict: As someone who had only been introduced to 'Daredevil' through the 1994 'Spider-man: The Animated Series' and the 2003 movie, I wasn't a fan of the character before watching this series.

But, that said, having binged through both seasons, I can say that this is easily on of my favorite shows of all time! 'Daredevil' doesn't overstay its welcome with a 16 episode format per season. No, sure it takes it's time to really delve deep into the ideologies of of the protagonist Matt Murdock (perfectly portrayed by Charlie Cox), but at the same time it showcases the world that he inhabits.

As well as diving into these complex, dark themes, we unearth a gritty representation of a Hell's kitchen that exists in the same world as the campy 'Avengers'. Sure this show knows when to transition between its harsh realistic tone and when to pull back for lighter comedic moments, but isn't that exactly what we've been missing lately from this universe of theirs.

Whilst the show itself is very dark in subject matter, the visuals still manage to become bright and colorful. Inspiring uses of lighting and reflections of yellows, purples and reds crashing through windows and doorways that morph and shape the sets into stylized masterpieces.

With a solid cast, each actor really selling a realistic world that involves super heroes and how that effects the everyday person, Season One of 'Daredevil' was a well thought out masterpiece that breaks Marvel's bad streak of weak villains with (and who I consider to be the best they've had), Wilson Fisk (aka "King Pin").

However, the shows Second Season, here now on Blu-ray and DVD, though featuring some incredible acting and interesting story arcs with the main three characters, Matt, Karen and Foggy (and John Bernthal's oh-so-perfect "Punisher") does in fact seem to bite off more then it can chew.

Without giving away too much, the Second Season kicks off with Wilson Fisk behind bars. Matt thinks his efforts to bring order to Hell’s Kitchen are succeeding, until chaos reignites with two new arrivals: Frank Castle (a.k.a. The Punisher), an anguished ex-soldier determined to visit bloody, irrevocable “justice” upon his adversaries, and Matt’s volatile old flame Elektra Natchios.

Meanwhile, a lethal, relentless source of ancient evil continues to amass power. Now, as both the stakes and the body count rise, Matt faces a life altering choice that forces him to confront what it truly means to be a hero.

So, yeah, for me, elements have been rushed here in the chock full to capacity Second Season, with, for me, the character of Elektra (Natchios) feeling out of place (despite a great performance from Elodie Yung. But, and again, Vincent D'Onofrio as "King Pin" is an extraordinary actor to bring into the fold. Between him and Berthnal's "Punisher" the two are perfect in their respective characters.

'Daredevil' is an incredible show, with interesting, complex characters, a dark tone with colorful visuals, amazing performance and direction with an iconic title sequence. The Second Season, however, tends to be a little bit hit and miss, but one of the aspects that should get highlighted is the relentless action.

The fight sequences in 'Daredevil' are brutal and are guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat. Buy this Blu-ray and DVD box-set today, along with Season One if you already haven't done, and find out for yourselves. You won't regret it, trust me!

1. Bang
2. Dogs to a Gunfight
3. New York's Finest
4. Penny and Dime
5. Kinbaku
6. Regrets Only
7. Semper Fidelis
8. Guilty as Sin
9. Seven Minutes in Heaven
10. The Man in the Box
11. .380
12. The Dark at the End of the Tunnel
13. A Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The complete second season of the Netflix original series 'Marvel’s Daredevil' is available to own on Blu-ray™ and DVD on August 22nd, 2017 with 13 exciting episodes for fans to add to their libraries.

'Marvel's Daredevil: The Complete Second Season' Blu-ray Purchase Link

Official Facebook Page

Official Twitter Page

'Gotham - The Complete Third Season' [Blu-ray]
(Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Morena Baccarin, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, Camren Bicondova, et al / 4-Disc Blu-ray+Digital / NR / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: The stakes are higher than ever, as Super-Villains more ambitious and depraved are introduced, and a realignment of alliances shakes up the fight for power in Gotham. Season three of Gotham peels back the curtain on the infamous criminal organization known as the Court of The Owls. With the Indian Hill escapees on the loose, Jim Gordon must take matters into his own hands, as a bounty hunter in Gotham.

Blu-ray Verdict: To bring you up to date, for those not in the know, the first season of 'Gotham' was a foreshadowing of Bruce Wayne's early years and Detective James Gordon's rise in the corrupt Gotham City Police Department.

An intense telling which succeeds for the most part from beginning to end, the second season witnessed Gordon’s moral compass wavering, as he confronted Gotham’s most notorious criminals. At the same time, he continued his quest to gain the trust of the young Bruce Wayne, who is now on a clear path towards the man he is destined to become, after discovering his father’s deepest secrets.

In this third season, and with the Indian Hill escapees on the loose, Jim Gordon must take matters into his own hands, as a bounty hunter in Gotham. Indeed, he makes it his mission to find Hugo Strange and Fish Mooney.

Meanwhile, GCPD’s Bullock and Barnes remain at the forefront of the fight against crime in the monster-ridden city. And Bruce Wayne discovers still more secrets behind his parents’ murder. As the city sinks deeper into chaos, Gotham’s Super-Villains are soon joined by the future Poison Ivy, a young woman who's harnessed the full power of her charms; the Tweed Brothers; and a talented hypnotist teetering on the edge of madness who goes by the name of the Mad Hatter.

Personally, what works for this show first and foremost is the cast, especially Robin Lord Taylor's Penguin and Cameron Monaghan's Jerome. These guys just steal the show every time their on screen. The rest of the cast does a nice job too, like the talented child actor David Mazouz, or the great British actor Sean Pertwee, but these two aforementioned are the stand alone guys, trust me.

But what I find to be 'Gotham's most impressive quality, is its ability to be innovative within the police-procedural genre, whilst also recognizing the need to provide its audience with a vast array of intriguing characters and sub-plots.

Its innovation derives from its creation of what is essentially a world in which the time period is deliberately unclear, made apparent by the '30s style clothing and the existence of mobile phones. This ambiguity gives Gotham a unique sense of surrealism, a feature that differentiates it from average cop shows like Law and Order and CSI.

I enjoy a television series that I don't have to take too seriously, in which the audience can just escape in to a fantasy world that allows the heroes to survive an onslaught of a dozen criminals and come out on top unscathed, week after week. Of course it is not real drama, but it is superb entertainment and cinematography.

So sit back and relax, and just watch the heroes and an array of villains trying to take control of Gotham - from one another!

Season 3: Episodes - 01. Better To Reign In Hell 02. Burn the Witch 03. Look Into My Eyes 04. New Day Rising 05. Anything for You 06. Follow the White Rabbit 07. The Red Queen 08. Blood Rush 09. The Executioner 10. Time Bomb 11. Beware the Green-Eyed Monster 12. Ghosts 13. Smile Like You Mean It 14. The Gentle Art of Making Enemies 15. How the Riddler Got His Name 16. These Delicate and Dark Obsessions 17. The Primal Riddle 18. Light the Wick 19. All Will Be Judged 20. Pretty Hate Machine 21. Destiny Calling / HeavyDirtySoul

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

* The Dark Within the Dark: The Court of Owls
* Madness Rising: the New Villains of Gotham
* Ben McKenzie Directorial Debut
* Gotham: 2016 Comic-Con Panel
* Deleted Scenes

Own 'Gotham - The Complete Third Season' on Blu-ray +Digital August 29th, 2017!

'Erik The Conqueror (2-Disc Special Edition)'
(Cameron Mitchell, George Ardisson, Alice Kessler, Ellen Kessler, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1961) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: In 786 AD, the invading Viking forces are repelled from the shores of England, leaving behind a young boy Erik, son of the slain Viking king.

Years later, Erik (George Ardisson, Juliet of the Spirits), raised by the English queen as her own, becomes Duke of Helford, while across the sea, his brother Eron (Cameron Mitchell, Blood and Black Lace) assumes leadership of the Viking horde.

He then sets his sights on conquering England once again, setting the two estranged brothers on a collision course that will determine the fates of their respective kingdoms.

Blu-ray Verdict: Mario Bava's first credited viking movie (after he worked as an uncredited director on 'Last Of The Vikings', made in the same year and also starring Mitchell and Ardisson), is an above average entry for the genre enlivened by stylish direction from Bava which makes it a cut above the rest.

Indeed, near enough, the plot here for 'Erik The Conqueror' is different and involving and the characters fleshed out enough to make you interested in their actions. Primarily noted as a horror director, Bava can't resist inserting a scene involving a girl chained in a dank dungeon being terrorized by a tarantula held over her face in a glass tank towards the end of the movie, a macabre treat for his loyal horror fans.

Elsewhere, he shoots imaginative scenes involving men climbing up ladders made out of freshly-shot arrows and the like which make for entertaining and surprising viewing.

Cameron Mitchell stars as Aaron, a just and noble viking warrior. George Ardisson is his younger brother Erik (after having also played Mitchell's brother in 'Last Of The Vikings', the film's real hero character, and is surprisingly good in the role.

Meanwhile Andrea Checchi makes for a convincing but underused villain and the addition of real-life twins Alice and Ellen Kessler to the cast makes for novelty value. Bits parts come from the muscular Joe Robinson ('Taur The Mighty') as a viking rival of Aaron's, and Tony Kendall - later a Euro action man appearing in all kinds of genres - amusingly showing up before he was famous, acting and looking very odd.

The photography is as good as ever, the movie is ambitiously made on a low budget and often cuts back and forth between England and Norway, and the music effective. What makes this film work, though, is the inventive plot - as involved as you're going to get with this viking sub-genre - and the characterization, which combined with the strong cast helps to make an intelligent, straightforward, and largely entertaining action-adventure yarn.

Offering up just about everything you could want from the genre without ever resorting to silliness, Bava's final viking movie was 1965's 'Knives Of The Avenger', which throws a unique spaghetti western slant on the genre. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Italian and English mono audio (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava All the Colors of the Dark
Gli imitatori, a comparison between Erik the Conqueror and its unacknowledged source, The Vikings
Original ending
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Kat Ellinger

Erik The Conqueror (2-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray+DVD] will be available for purchase on August 29th, 2017.

Erik The Conqueror (2-Disc Special Edition)' [Blu-ray+DVD] Purchase Link

'Alice Cooper - Welcome To My Nightmare'
(Alice Cooper / DVD / 15 / 2017 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: This special edition DVD feature from Alice Cooper includes the 1976 concert film "Welcome To My Nightmare" and, appearing on DVD for the first time, the 1975 TV special "Alice Cooper: The Nightmare".

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, although surely that must be a mighty small circle, Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier) is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over five decades.

With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, deadly snakes, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers alike to be "The Godfather of Shock Rock".

He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock people.

Well, not to say that it started here, but it sure kicked off his mayhem trail perfectly on this newly-released by Eagle Vision 'Alice Cooper - Welcome To My Nightmare' concert film PLUS a the inclusion now of 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare 1975 TV Special' featuring Vincent Price.

With Alice currently on tour promoting his brand new album, Paranomal (a tour that when it plays 3 dates in the UK will also feature the surviving members of his original band, bassist Dennis Dunaway, guitarist Michael Bruce and drummer Neal Smith) all his fans can now add these two celluloid gems to their front room collections.

On DVD for the first time ever, either of them, 'Alice Cooper - Welcome to My Nightmare Special Edition' DVD will be released on September 8th, 2017 (via the aforementioned Eagle Rock Entertainment) is as great as you would have imagined / remembered it to be.

1) 'The Awakening'
2) 'Welcome to My Nightmare'
3) 'Years Ago'
4) 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'
5) 'I’m Eighteen'
6) 'Some Folks'
7) 'Cold Ethyl'
8) 'Only Women Bleed'
9) 'Billion Dollar Babies'
10) 'Devil’s Food'
11) 'The Black Widow'
12) 'Steven'
13) 'Escape'
14) 'School’s Out'
15) 'Department of Youth'

The show is set in Cooper's bedroom where we have creatures dancing around only to disappear into a massive toy box, skeletons coming out during Steven, him beating a woman unconscious during 'Only Women Bleed', a giant spider's web, a big furry Cyclops and other weird moments that make up his stage show.

It is a million miles away from the modern rock concerts where songs are performed, pyrotechnics explode and those who are about to rock are saluted etc. Within these weird happenings on stage, Cooper is a good fit. Dressed in a sort of adult romper suit and in his famous black eye makeup Cooper staggers round totally bought into the action he is part of. OK at times I was laughing and unable to take it seriously but to a point I guess that was the aim.

The production of the film as well as the action dates it as it is obviously not up to modern standards. The sound is not as crisp as you would like, which didn't bother me too much but what did bug me was the fact that it had comparatively little crowd noise on the soundtrack.

Similarly the crowd are mostly missing visually and I would have liked to see more crowd shots just to get a feel for how all this stuff was going down with them – it was only in 'School's Out' where we got to see and hear them, which suggests their reactions up till that point had perhaps not been good enough to make it onto the film. Otherwise the action is filmed from several well placed but mostly static cameras – quality is a bit fuzzy, but it comes with the mid-'70s territory.

Then comes the fun TV special 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare', which first aired on ABC in the United States in 1975. Indeed, 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare' showcases every song from the legendary Welcome to My Nightmare album, which had just been released at the time.

1) 'Welcome to My Nightmare'
2) 'Devil’s Food'
3) 'Some Folks'
4) 'Only Women Bleed'
5) 'Cold Ethyl'
6) 'The Black Widow'
7) 'Years Ago'
8) 'Department of Youth'
9) 'Years Ago (Reprise)'
10) 'Steven'
11) 'The Awakening'
12) 'Ballad of Dwight Fry'
13) 'Escape'
14) 'The Awakening (Reprise)'

With Cooper taking on the role of Steven and actor/horror icon Vincent Price serving as “The Spirit of the Nightmare,” the special was a unique introduction to the album, drawing fans even further into the dark fantasy and twisted psyche of Cooper.

Back the '70s, ABC had a late night variety series called "ABC's Wide World of Entertainment." It showed after prime-time, mostly on Friday and Saturday nights, and featured a rotating roster of specials, series and concerts. It was this show that first introduced me to Alice Cooper via, of course, 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare'.

Images that, now having rewatched it here today, still stick in my mind are Alice as the fly stuck in a glittery web with glistening, black body-stocking clad beauties during the 'Black Widow' segment; the cool and chilling dance with a dead lover in 'Cold Ethyl,' and the spooky ballerina of 'Only Women Bleed.'

But best of all is Vincent Price lending his ghoulishly gleeful presence as the "Spirit of the Nightmare" from which there is no escape for Alice as "Steven". This is as corny, as cheesy and as fun-filled horror rock as there has ever been and so buy this DVD today - and show your kids just what theatre and rock music combined is all about. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) with a 4:3 Format, enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Born in China' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD]
(John Krasinski / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD+Digital / G / (2016) 2017 / Walt Disney)

Overview: Disney's 'Born In China', narrated by John Krasinski, transports audiences to some of the world’s most extreme environments of China where few people have ever ventured to witness wildly intimate and adorable moments in the lives of three animal families - a doting panda bear mother, a 2-year-old golden snub-nosed monkey, and a mother snow leopard.

Blu ray+DVD Verdict: OK, just so we're all on the same page here, 'Born in China' is a 2016 nature documentary directed by Lu Chuan ("The Missing Gun") with a screenplay by David Fowler, Brian Leith, Phil Chapman, and Lu Chuan. The music is by Barnaby Taylor with editing by Matthew Meech and production by Roy Conli ("Big Hero 6"), Brian Leith, and Phil Chapman.

Narrated here for its USA release by John Krasinski ("The Office") when it was originally aired in China it was narrated by actress Zhou Xun ("Suzhou River"). The entirety of this documentary was filmed in unpopulated areas of China, which once you view this stunning work of visual art, will make much more sense to you.

Indeed, and with that in mind, for 'Born in China' to work, various Chinese wildlife were followed for a year, their misadventures and struggles culminating in this document of a film. It was released in China August 12th, 2016, and will now see it's home video release here in the USA on August 29th, 2017 (it also had a limited theatrical run that began April 21st, 2017).

'Born in China' has raised approximately $15.2 million worldwide, runs for 1 hour, 16 minutes and is rated G.

So, now we have the hard facts out of the way (facts I thought you should know, given that they enhance the viewing spectacle of this wondrous documentary, in my humble opinion) lets talk about the documentary itself.

'Born in China' centers on various Chinese wildlife; one being a snow leopard named Dawa struggling to collect the needed food for her two cubs. With increasing competition and food supply decreasing, Dawa struggles to maintain her cubs' health.

The second is that of Tao-Tao, a golden snub-nosed monkey who is constantly plagued by his family's bias to a newborn sister. Tao-Tao joins a group of misfits, referenced as "The Lost Boys," but still finds himself lonely.

The third is a panda named Ya-Ya and her baby daughter Mei- Mei (pronounced "My-My," apparently). As Mei-Mei grows older, Ya- Ya is forced to confront her daughter's maturity and newfound independence.

Finally, there is a herd of chiru, who are there for little plot complexity and more for cinematography. Sadly, many Disney Nature films have fallen victim to this, but 'Born in China' maintains a serviceable, if not entirely balanced, scale between these two conflicting features. That is not to say the film is not without fault though.

Sadly, Krasinski, while of talent, does not do the film justice with mediocre narrating. Most of the jokes are meant to be cute, but with Krasinski's delivery, something goes wrong, leaving a decent quip that may have earned my half-hearted chortle acquainted with silence.

As a whole though, 'Born in China' is deserved of some of the detraction's above mentioned, but, and as a whole, the film is highly entertaining and somewhat educational. I would recommend it as an educational schooling tool and as something to watch as a family on a wet Sunday afternoon. This a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Blu-ray Special Features of:

Panda Suits & Bamboo Shoots – Join the team as they struggle through an almost impenetrable bamboo forest in an effort to capture footage of pandas in the wild.
Walking with Monkeys – The shivering crew bundles up to film the adorable golden snub-nosed monkeys engaged in a surprisingly human activity.
Masters of Camouflage – Go behind the scenes as the filmmakers set out on a quest never before achieved: to find and film a snow leopard family in the wild.
Wading Through Wetlands – A crew travels to far northeast China to catch the first moments of a red-crowned crane chick’s life.
“Everything Everything” - Music Video performed by American Authors
Disneynature: Get Inspired, Get Involved – Join Disneynature and the Disney Conservation as they thank our audiences and the animals who star in the films for helping to make Disneynature and its conservation efforts a success.

'Crane Chicks' Exclusive Clip

'Monkeys' Exclusive Clip

'Batman and Harley Quinn' [4K Ultra HD]
(Kevin Conroy, Melissa Rauch, Paget Brewster, Loren Lester, Kevin Michael Richardson, et al / 4K Ultra HD+Blu-ray+Digital / PG-13 / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Batman and Nightwing are forced to team with the Joker's sometimes-girlfriend Harley Quinn to stop a global threat brought about by Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man.

Blu ray+DVD Verdict: Before we begin the review, let's start by acknowledging the INCREDIBLE, brighter, deeper, more lifelike color that these 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays bring forth, each and every time. For they are, well, INCREDIBLE and truly allow you to see things that the generic Blu-ray vision simply cannot. I mean, the color alone on this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc (1 BD-50, 1 BD-66) is just so crisp, so clear, so crystal.

For those that wish to be in the know, let's break down some of the geeky stats, shall we. This is a Codec: HEVC / H.265, with a Resolution: 4K (2160p), and an overall Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1. The Audio is English: Dolby Atmos + English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 + Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 + French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, and the Subtitles are: English SDH, French, and Spanish.

Finally, and leaving the best for last, this 4K Ultra HD movie experience means that we have a 4X sharper picture image than regular HD, HDR (High Dynamic Range) means we get brilliant brights and deepest darks within the film, and with Immersive Audio, we get that multi-dimensional sound experience throughout.

OK, on to the actual film review and, well, let's face it, who doesn't love this entire, wonderfully animated Batman series? Always coming up with brand new, inventive scripts that, perhaps, could only come alive within the confines of animation, we now have some big names attached to this latest in the production line.

Paget Brewster ('Criminal Minds') voices "Poison Ivy" / "Pamela Isley" and the lovely, perky voice of Melissa Rauch ('Big Bang Theory') voices the lead character herself, "Harley Quinn" / "Harleen Quinzel" (her real name I never actually knew until now!)

Ok, and with 'Batman and Harley Quinn' officially being the 29th installment of the DC Animated Universe, as a whole, the DC animated universe is full of great content. Chock full of many characters of DC's roster making appearances, Batman and Harley, sadly however does not continue the trend.

Firstly, the film's main character is not Batman, but rather Harley Quinn. The main problem with this is the voice performance. Melissa Rauch, as aforementioned, known most notably as Bernadette from the 'Big Bang Theory', doesn't emulate the character from its previous incarnations that are so beloved.

The second critique I have is the general tone of the film. I don't mind that the film has opted to go for more of a lighthearted approach, but mixing fart jokes with innuendos isn't the finest form of comedy.

The film does have it's upsides however. Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester give great performances as usual as Batman and Nightwing respectively. The aforementioned Paget Brewster and Michael Ray Richardson give solid performances as Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man also.

Also, I genuinely like that the film includes a a classic Batman villain with a more obscure member of the DC rogues gallery. Also the throwback to the Batman The Animated Series animation was a major highlight, but also probably was a factor of me disliking the film as it poorly compares the episodes that the show provided.

I would not re-watch the film and I would also recommend that Nightwing gets his own film as in the DCAU he is literally a punch bag, who always seems to lose fights despite his fighting prowess! Come on now, we followers all can agree to this fact as it happens nearly every time he comes along for the ride, so to speak. This a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Blu-ray Special Features of:

The Harley Effect
Loren Lester: In His Own Voice
A Sneak Peak at DC Universe's Next Animated Movie: Batman:Gotham by Gaslight
2 Bonus Cartons

'Batman and Harley Quinn' [4K Ultra HD] Purchase Link

'Batman & Harley Quinn' Exclusive Clip - "Let's Dance"

'Batman and Harley Quinn,' another installment in the popular, ongoing line of DC Universe Original Movies, arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Ultra HD Combo Pack (including 4K), Blu-ray Deluxe Giftset, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on August 29th, 2017.

The film is also now available on Digital.

'The Legend Of The Holy Drinker: Special Edition'
(Rutger Hauer, Anthony Quayle, Sandrine Dumas, Dominique Pinon, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1988) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Adapted from the novella by Joseph Roth, the film tells the story of Andreas Kartack, a homeless man living under the bridges of Paris. Lent 200 francs by an anonymous stranger, he is determined to pay back his debt but circumstances and his alcoholism forever intervene.

Blu-ray Verdict: At a lengthy two hours and fifteen minutes, 'The Legend Of The Holy Drinker' is sdefinitely for fans of this genre and undoubtedly Rutger Hauer himself, that's for sure, but those interested parties that have fallen into watching this movie will all leave very happy, of that have no doubt.

The film is stunningly filmed, albeit telling a simple tale told at a pace which allows the audience time to reflect within the context of the moral challenges it presents. The cinematic, two hour plus long result is a level of engagement far superior to the gamut of empty sophistication in the movie world today, trust me.

Watching 'The Holy Drinker', one is able to explore the implications of the actions and decisions of Hauer's character without leaving the narrative - there is no pressure for post viewing reflection when the spell of the film is broken and thought is colored by a context inappropriate to the narrative.

Sure, I know that all sounds deep and meaningful, but the movie is just that also. Whether it was fully intended to still be some 20+ years later is open for discussion, but here, watching it now on a crustal clear new Blu-ray transfer, this movie is a complete experience. It is movingly profound and visually beautiful throughout.

Hauer play's a street hobo called Andreas Kartak, an alcoholic who appears to be getting on with the grim task of being addicted to alcohol and being homeless. One day, a mysterious old man gives Andreas 200 francs, on the understanding that he repay his debt to the local Church when he is able to do so.

What ensues is a deeply symbolic and religious film that is acted with haunting perfection by the whole cast, with Hauer leading by example with an enchanting depiction of the alcoholic hobo. If only Hollywood could produce cinema of this standard today. If only. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of both the English and Italian versions of the film
5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Stereo 2.0 options for the English presentation with optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Stereo 2.0 audio for the Italian presentation with optional newly translated English subtitles
Brand-new interview with actor Rutger Hauer, recorded exclusively for this release
Interview with screenwriter Tullio Kezich
Theatrical Trailer
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: New writing on the film by Helen Chambers, author of Joseph Roth in Retrospect: Co-existent Contradictions

'The Legend Of The Holy Drinker (2-Disc Special Edition)' [Blu-ray + DVD] will be available for purchase on September 26th, 2017.

'The Legend Of The Holy Drinker (2-Disc Special Edition)' [Blu-ray + DVD] Purchase Link

Don't Torture A Duckling (2-Disc Special Edition)
(Florinda Bolkan, Barbara Bouchet, Tomas Milianet, al / Blu-ray / NR / (1972) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: In the backward village of Accendura, the boy Bruno Lo Casio goes missing and the police inspector and the local commissioner and the village Captain Modesti investigate the case. When his father receives the request of a ransom, the police arrest the local Giuseppe and realize that he is innocent. Then the boys Michele and Tonino are also murdered and the police suspect of the local witch Maciara, who practices black magic, might be the killer, but they find she is also innocent. So who is it ... and why are they doing it?

Blu-ray Verdict: Originally entitled 'Non si sevizia un paperino' and running at around 90 minutes, the interestingly titled 'Don't Torture A Duckling' is a film that I knew nothing about going in, but that I'm so glad was sent to me for review.

Now, before I go on, you should know going in that because of the film's controversial story line, which criticized the Catholic Church, the movie was blacklisted and received a limited theatrical run throughout Europe and was never released in theaters in the United States!

In 2000, Anchor Bay secured the rights and released the film for the first time in the United States on DVD and now Arrow Films (UK) via MVD Visual here in the States have brought it out on Blu-ray for the first time.

The setting for 'Don't Torture A Duckling' is rather unique and, as always in this genre of movie, the scenery and location is as beautiful as ever. That's where all the action takes place. The victims are not beautiful scantily clad models, but young boys.

Despite a list of suspects the police act as clueless as the Keystone variety so it's up to a reporter and a local woman to work together and solve the crimes themselves. That aspect of the movie I rather enjoyed and all the performances by the cast were convincing, each working well with one another and their given situations.

In what starts off as a murder mystery quickly becomes violent and vicious especially the part where a local woman gets lynched by a mob of angry townspeople! Prolonged and very nasty, it's not a go-to for me, or hopefully anyone, but it does foreshadow the crux of the movie, that's for sure.

The child murders are thankfully not shown in great detail, but still shocking and unnerving off screen, nonetheless, of course. The final showdown was a real highlight and kept me on the edge of my seat too, which I sadly miss the experience of with today's movies. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
The Blood of Innocents, a new video discussion with Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film
Every (Wo)man Their Own Hell, a new video essay by critic Kat Ellinger
Interviews with co-writer/director Lucio Fulci, actor Florinda Bolkan, cinematographer Sergio D Offizi, assistant editor Bruno Micheli and assistant makeup artist Maurizio Trani
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Timothy Pittides
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet with new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw and Howard Hughes

'Don't Torture A Duckling (2-Disc Special Edition)' [Blu-ray + DVD] will be available for purchase on October 3rd, 2017.

'Don't Torture A Duckling (2-Disc Special Edition)' [Blu-ray + DVD] Purchase Link

'Cartels' [Blu-ray]
(Steven Seagal, Georges St. Pierre, Luke Goss, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / R / 2017 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Action legend Steven Seagal headlines this explosive thriller that pits US forces against an Eastern European drug cartel. When crime boss Salazar turns informant, US Marshal Jensen (Luke Goss, 'Blade II') and his team must guard their luxury-hotel safe house. But as cartel under boss Sinclair (UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre) and his hit squads descend to murder Salazar, the situation explodes.

Blu-ray Verdict: OK, to be fair, these days you either love or hate Steven Seagal's work. Back in the day he was leaner, meaner, more action hero than one-liner quip King, whereas these days he is fatter, less mean, less action-orientated and chock full of one-liner's!

That said, 'Cartels' being filmed in Bucharest, Romania does add some visual cinematic weight to the cause here as the background blends perfectly with the sort of slo-mo, standing still whilst the bad guys all come at him and flip-flop over and across his flailing kung-fu arms! Sure we've seen his new stance many times in this recent slew of straight-to-DVD releases, but Seagal still manages to pull them off with a straight face.

Interestingly, this was originally called 'Killing Salazar' and was the first of seven (7) movies released by Steven Seagal in 2016! So, with a wickedly cramped time schedule between the movies, you know his time on screen is always going to be limited - which here it most certainly is. Hey, for those shaking their heads, it's all about quality not quantity for our man Seagal!

Anyway, and again, sure, 'Cartels' is nothing more than a massive cameo role for the big man, but we still see him at his gruff finest - both vocally and fist fighting. He appears in the very beginning and at the very end doing his all-action moves, but in between he sits down and either decides to interview or interrogate Luke Goss' character.

Otherwise we get both Georges St-Pierre and Luke Goss at their action hero finest throughout. True that 'Cartels' is heavy on talk rather than action overall, but Goss (as usual) does provide us some pretty decent action scenes when he's unleashed. It's just we all wanted to see more of Seagal getting angry and into it with the baddies - or the mole, once revealed! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Mummy' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / PG-13 / 2017 / Universal Pictures)

Overview: Tom Cruise stars in this spectacular version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy. Thought safely entombed deep beneath the desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day. Her malevolence has grown over millennia and with it come terrors that defy human comprehension. From the sands of the Middle East through modern-day London, The Mummy balances wonder, thrills, and imagination.

Blu-ray Verdict: Just so we're all on the same page, this latest version of 'The Mummy' is meant to launch an entire new cinematic universe. The trouble is, and as much as it has it's good points, as a whole, sorry, but it's not very convincing as such.

For a start, Tom Cruise is entirely the wrong actor for this role. You needed someone much more self-aware of the ridiculousness of the material he was working with. Someone who could inject the right amount of humor into his lines and even his facial expressions. Someone with decent comedy chops and acting that could do the silliness justice.

Someone like, say, Brendan Fraser! Oh, but wait, they made that version of 'The Mummy' already! So it boggles the mind that this Cruise-led vehicle tried so desperately hard to ape the action-adventure style of that earlier movie.

Cruise is not Fraser. He seems incapable of doing anything but intense. Lighthearted is not his forte. But I can't blame him. It was a big role, with future outings in the contract. A good paycheck and he probably thought it might be a good film.

However, and as it is as far from being that as possible, it does (as aforementioned) have substance and moments of intense, balls to the wall action sequences. None more so that the brilliant plane crashing to earth sequence featuring our two leads. As shown in the Special Features, there was nothing fake about this and Cruise had always wanted to do it on one of his movie sets - so why not now.

Aside from that, 'The Mummy' tries to be that older incarnation badly, but without the humor, it has nothing left but a monster and a load of action set-pieces. Nor did it go the other route and try to make it a tense, scary production. There is nothing frightening in this film. It is about as formulaic and by the numbers as you will get. As a starting point for a new franchise, it is sadly well below par, in my humble opinion.

Also not helping are the deliberate plagiarism of imagery from the Fraser movie. People having the life sucked out of them, a giant face in a sandstorm. It is all rather been there, done that, to be honest. No doubt the makers of this film will call them homages, but let's be honest, if your creativity only extends to thinking about what scenes you can steal from your predecessor, then your creativity is lacking.

So, if we ignore the other (better) 'The Mummy', does it stand up as a film in its own right? Not very well, I'm afraid. So much nonsense. Mercury that flows like water and drips from stalactites; a convenient raise-Mummy-from-the-depths mechanic; underwater crusader tombs where the corpse hasn't rotted away to nothing over the centuries of immersion; air crash sites (in England) that rate no site security and don't have hordes of looky-loo's hanging around, and so much more.

All this, plus a tired looking Russell Crowe who is positioned to be this franchise's version of Nick Fury. In fact, given the nature of this movie, I suspect that Universal is going to try and make this the monster equivalent of the Marvel universe in every way possible.

Crowe heads up an organization of monster hunters that, well, you know where that's going to hear over the next few movies as well as I do, but with everything else in this film, it has been done before. In this case, in the brilliant 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', where at least that movie tried to have fun with its premise.

As the start of a franchise, I can't help but think they would have been better off sticking with 'Dracula Untold'. Not the best movie by far, but at least it tried to be different. However, this new 'The Mummy' is just a textbook example of cut-n-paste film-making and not a hearty one at that. Decent in parts, some great action sequences abounding in others, horrible, cheesy jokes and one-liners from Cruise throughout, 'The Mummy' (2017) should have been reined back and rewrapped before being allowed out into the real world. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Digital Copy of The Mummy (2017)
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Cruise & Kurtzman: A Conversation
Rooted in Reality
Life in Zero-G: Creating the Plane Crash
Meet Ahmanet
Cruise in Action
Becoming Jekyll and Hyde
Choreographed Chaos
Nick Morton: In Search of a Soul
Ahmanet Reborn Animated Graphic Novel
Feature Commentary with Director/Producer Alex Kurtzman and Cast Members Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, and Jake Johnson

'Madonna - Rebel Heart Tour' [DVD+CD]
(Madonna / DVD+CD / NR / 2017 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: Madonna's record-breaking Rebel Heart Tour comes to DVD on September 15th, 2017 featuring 24 tracks performed around the world on her 10th global trek.

DVD Verdict: Co-directed by Danny B. Tull and Nathan Rissman, this two hour spectacular is everything (and more) you'd expect from The Queen Of Pop. Also including a lovely 14-track CD with selections from the show, 'Madonna - Rebel Heart Tour' is as flowingly fun, vibrantly fantastic, epicly powerful, and as downright overall wonderful as you have ever hoped for.

That said, the one thing that always pisses me off about these types of live concert shows when put on DVD/Blu-ray is the constant need to flash between shots of the star, their dancers, the equipment, the fans, and back to the star! It's like watching through the eyes of a well-meaning ADHD child and it hurts my head, sorry!

As for the overall live footage it is heavily mixed with video clips that were running on big screens on stage at the time. Most of the time the sound does not match the picture, but we've come to accept that over the years. The thing is though that can be fixed so easily if the people who put these things together would just sync the live audio feed to those visuals, but they (weirdly) don't bother to. It's simply down to artistic editing and because the sound is not form that visuals, of course.

Anyway, moving on, as that's hardly new on live concert presentations with background visuals brought into play on a slight time delay (even live), this Rebel Heart tour was enormous and it was an amazing feat how she toured this show, quite literally around the whole world.

The sights are as important here to note as much as the sounds for the costumes that Madge gets through, let alone her entourage is beyond a joke colorful and imaginative. I couldn't think of a more inspiring set and costumes for this tour, I loved how the stage just jumped out at you with a massive heart at the end. But it's those costumes, which I felt were a nod to the genius Alexander McQueen, that stole the show.

01. Rebel Heart Tour Intro 02. Iconic 03. Bitch I'm Madonna 04. Burning Up 05. Holy Water / Vogue 06. Devil Pray 07. Messiah (Video Interlude) 08. Body Shop 09. True Blue 10. Deeper and Deeper 11. HeartBreakCity 12. Like A Virgin 13. S.E.X. (Video Interlude) 14. Living For Love 15. La Isla Bonita 16. Dress You Up / Into The Groove 17. Rebel Heart 18. Illuminati (Video Interlude) 19. Music 20. Candy Shop 21. Material Girl 22. La Vie En Rose 23. Unapologetic Bitch 24. Holiday

Bonus Features: Extras include An Excerpt from Tears of a Clown and a performance of Like A Prayer.

01. Rebel Heart Tour Intro 02. Iconic 03. Bitch I'm Madonna 04. Burning Up 05. Holy Water / Vogue 06. Devil Pray 07. Deeper and Deeper 08. HeartBreakCity 09. Living For Love 10. La Isla Bonita 11. Rebel Heart 12. Candy Shop 13. Unapologetic Bitch 14. Holiday

This incredible, career-spanning set list features hits from throughout Madonna's discography, as well as reinterpreted renditions of classic tracks, acoustic versions of "Like A Prayer," "Secret" and "Don't Tell Me" and her first ever in-concert performance of "Take a Bow."

Sure the set list leans heavily on newer material than old school favorites, but come on now, she was touring the Rebel Heart album (her thirteenth studio album) so why wouldn't it. The 57-year-old Michigan native makes her grand entrance to "Iconic" (under an incredible medieval-styled setting, and throughout never lets up until the show-ending fun fest of "Holiday."

In between we get snippets of some of her best-known singles, such as "Dress You Up” and “Lucky Star”, whereas they in whole would have been more appreciated. But the Michiganian certainly knows how to hold a crowd in her hand and it truly doesn't matter that she plays the newer Rebel Heart material over full-length versions of the old hits. Because come the end of the show, she has played over 2 hours non-stop, and, well, shit, as the song title clearly states, “Bitch I’m Madonna”!

'Elena of Avalor: Celebrations to Remember'
(Aimee Carrero, Jenna Ortega, Keith Ferguson, Jillian Rose Reed, Jorge Diaz, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / Walt Disney Studios)

DVD Overview: Elena is back with all-new adventures coming to DVD with the release of 'Elena of Avalor: Celebrations to Remember'! Join Elena and her friends and family as they celebrate holidays that honor the past, cherish the present and look forward towards a magical future!

DVD Verdict: My 7-year old daughter saw Disney's Elena of Avalor on the TV screen at a doctor's appointment and asked me to get her some Elena videos. At first all I could find was 'Elena Of Avalor: Ready To Rule', but now my nephew (who works for Exclusive Magazine) has given me this delightful new edition to the series to review - and it's as adorable as anything that's ever gone before it, trust me.

Here in 'Elena of Avalor: Celebrations to Remember' we get to join Crown Princess Elena, along with her family and friends, as they honor the past, rejoice in the present and greet the future with music, laughter and love. Watching it all unfold throughout these wonderful four (4) episodes is a delight for me, let alone my aforementioned young 'un!

Our collective favorite of the episodes is 'A Day to Remember,' where Elena and her family are excited to celebrate their lost loved ones on Dia de los Muertos. Then, and rather out of the blue, accidentally one might even suggets, Elena discovers that her amulet gives her the power to actually see all the ghosts being celebrated! So, amongst others, she sets out to help a grandmother reconnect with her grandchildren, who are having trouble keeping the family restaurant afloat.

Whether celebrating Navidad, Dia de los Muertos or Carnaval, old and new traditions alike play a part. And even though everyone doesn't always agree on the best way to get the party started, one thing is perfectly clear: holidays aren't about what you do; they're about the special people you spend them with!

So, as seems to be a theme running through all Elena episodes, there is a deep moral embedded in each one and this one is no different: be kind to one another, trust in one another, and enjoy the company of one another, especially over the holiday period's.

1. A Day To Remember
2. Navidad
3. King Of The Carnaval
4. My Fair Naomi

Bonus Episodes:
5. Crustal In The Rough
6. Captain Turner Returns

Voice Cast: Aimee Carrero (Freeform's “Young & Hungry”) as Princess Elena; Jenna Ortega (Disney Channel's “Stuck in the Middle”) as Princess Isabel; Chris Parnell (“Sofia the First”) as Migs; Yvette Nicole Brown (“Community”) as Luna; Carlos Alazraqui (Disney Pixar's “Inside Out”) as Skylar; Emiliano Díez ( “George Lopez”) as Francisco; Julia Vera (ABC's “General Hospital”) as Luisa; Christian Lanz (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) as Chancellor Esteban; Jillian Rose Reed (“Awkward”) as Naomi; Joseph Haro (“Awkward”) as Mateo; Jorge Diaz (“The 33”) as Gabe; Keith Ferguson (Disney Pixar's “Inside Out”) as Zuzo; Joe Nunez (“Jake and the Never Land Pirates”) as Armando and Jane Fonda (“Grace and Frankie”) as Shuriki.

Chock full of funny and highly entertaining moments for the pre-teens, it will 100% keep your kids occupied before dinner or on a sunny week day or even a wet Sunday afternoon.

Bring home the adventures on Disney DVD September 12th, 2017! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs which also comes with the Bonus Episodes of "Crystal In The Rough" and "Captain Turner Returns" along with a FREE Elena Locket Necklace!!

DVD Purchase Link

'Girl In The Box'
(Addison Timlin, Zane Holtz, Zelda Williams, et al / DVD / TV-14 / 2017 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: In 1977, a girl is kidnapped and kept in a coffin-sized box. When her captors let her out, it's only to abuse her horribly. Will she ever escape?

DVD Verdict: Before I begin reviewing this, it should be made known from the off that this Lifetime movie is based on a real case that occurred in Red Bluff, a small town in Northern California roughly 3 hours from the border of Oregon. Knowing that going in you will have a greater emotional attachment to the scenes and what the central woman is going through; or in this case, actually went though, trust me.

In May 1977, 20-year-old Colleen Stan (Addison Timlin) was kidnapped by a young married couple, Cameron and Janice Hooker (Zane Holtz and Zelda Williams, respectively). For the next seven years they kept her locked in a coffin-sized box hidden beneath their bed for up to 23 hours a day.

When not imprisoned, Colleen became part of a strange new life as a live-in slave, family child-minder, and victim of Cameron's bizarre and extreme S&M fantasies.

'Girl in the Box' is, if you delve into the factual real full-length version of the written testimony of this story, one of those that's so incredibly compelling even glitches in the telling can't sap it of its interest. The biggest area in which I think writer/director Stephen Kemp crescendos is that he's able to make all three principals genuinely interesting characters rather than cardboard heroines or villains.

So Janice comes off as part-perpetrator, part-victim, whilst Cameron shows off a real personal charm even though we hate him for his actions (one could see why a woman would fall in love with him and go along willingly with at least some of his demands, and the fact that he's a nice person on the surface and a villain only underneath makes him scarier than if he'd been played as a typical Looney Tunes movie psycho), and Colleen comes off as a sympathetic victim but also an almost terminally naïve one.

Indeed, in subsequent manuscripts to be read either beforehand or after, one of the cops who worked on the case called Cameron a "pure psychopath," which for once is technically accurate — the general definition of a psychopath is someone who regards other people as simply objects he or she can use however he or she likes, without any account for their needs or feelings at all — to the point where they can kill people and not feel a shred of guilt or remorse.

Ergo, 'Girl in the Box' is a really good, stirring film, occasionally oppressive in the fantasy sequences Kemp put in to emphasize Colleen's spirituality and its role in getting her through her ordeal (she never seems to have encountered what theologians call the "theodicy" problem — i.e., why an all-knowing and all-loving God would have let that horrible thing happen to her in the first place), but mostly well directed, well written and beautifully acted. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'LEGO Nexo Knights: Season 3'
(Alessandro Juliani, Giles Panton, Ian Hanlin, Brian Drummond, Erin Mathews, et al / 2-DIsc DVD / NR / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Jestro and the Cloud of Chaos/Monstrox move across the land bringing stone to life and forcing the NEXO-Knights to fight them over possession of the Forbidden Powers which have the ability, when combined, to destroy all of Knighton.

DVD Verdict: Before I begin reviewing this, it should be made known all these LEGO Nexo Knights series are greatly written, featuring great animation, along with great character development. Truly an excellent show that is highly recommended and I think, if you are new to this animated series, you'll fall in love instantly.

Basically, we have two discs here with 10 episodes and focus on these wonderful LEGO Nexo Knights. Not knights in the traditional back in the day setting, but moreover in a more modern setting complete with war machines and such.

Sure, there is mild violence towards the bad guys, but nothing that will make your lil' 'uns put their hands over their eyes or run screaming. Personally I love all the strong female character, but the knights are something to look up to also.

Having watched from the very first season, there has been some good character development, although Lance is too annoying and too over emphasized, in my humble opinion. Sometimes, like the lava monsters, from the first season, we don't get to see things destroy things (I'm trying not to reveal spoilers about this third season!), but that said, with the small ones watching, perhaps that's for the best.

As for the plot and what to expect from season 3, well, Jestro and the Cloud of Chaos/Monstrox move across the land bringing stone to life and forcing the NEXO-Knights to fight them over possession of the Forbidden Powers which have the ability, when combined, to destroy all of Knighton.

Jestro and Monstrox and their army of stone will attempt to gather all the Forbidden Powers – and insert them in the standing stones atop MT. THUNDERSTOX – to bring the STONE COLOSSUS to life. Monstrox will then have the ultimate, indestructible body to use on his quest not to takeover Knighton…but to totally destroy it.

As Jestro and Monstrox scour the land in search of the Forbidden Powers, the NEXO-Knights are blissfully unaware of the danger at first. Peace, it seems, has again come to Knighton (thanks to their efforts.) Once they finally realize the dire threat they face, they rise to fight for their realm once more.

Episodes: 1. The Cloud 2. A Little Rusty 3. Mount Thunderstruz 4. Rotten Luck 5. Storm Over Rock Wood 6. Minor Setback 6. Knight at the Museum 8. Hot Rock Massage 9. Rock Bottom 10. In Charge

Man, these LEGO animated TV series' are just so damn realistic and trust me when I say that nothing here will upset or bother your kids. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Tenth Season'
(Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Last season, Leonard and Penny went from next-door neighbors to next-door newlyweds with a nuptial excursion to Vegas. This season, they find themselves in a repeating paradigm as they re-create their wedding – this time with family including Penny’s mother (Katey Sagal) and brother (Jack McBrayer) and Leonard’s parents (Christine Baranski & Judd Hirsch).

DVD Verdict: As always with this show, the acting, script and editing are all first-class. Not one line or scene is wasted. But the sets and the characters have unfortunately not changed and the show doesn't take risks with its plots. One thing I still find uncomfortable is its treatment of women. It's good that we now have Bernadette and Amy, both of whom are great, but often they're still portrayed as appendages of their boyfriends, Howard and Sheldon.

Yes, the woman now get their own scenes, but they're often talking about the men, not their own issues. And the portrayal of Penny remains problematic. All the guys objectify her. Yes, OK, the joke is that she is a blonde bimbo, but that's getting a bit old. I hate it when the script compares her with Amy - Amy is always seen as a lesser person because she is not as physically attractive as Penny.

What sort of example are we setting for young viewers? The gang have now been together in their little apartment complex for 10 years. Surely these guys, earning their kind of money, would have moved onward and upwards by now? Big Bang has had a great run for any sitcom, but I feel it's time for a major overhaul. And I don't mean Penny's drastic season 8 haircut "overhaul" either! Perhaps we can add some new characters ... or create a spin-off, perhaps? What's that, there is a Sheldon spin-off coming to TV this Fall season! Bravo, CBS! Bravo.

Anyway, back on point and this tenth season - which, if you remember from the eighth season onward, now has Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki all signed on for a MILLION dollars per episode (!) - there's a reason they're stacking up Emmy's these days, trust me. Particularly Jim Parsons, whose comedic timing and refusal to be a one-note cliché are stellar, but it's Penny's career which takes a different turn here.

Raj and Howard both continue to develop as characters, when don't they, and both Amy and Bernadette are also hilarious characters (as always). Oh, and speaking of Howard, holy cow, give the guy a break! He doesn't have to always be the butt of the joke.

Anyway, and without giving away the core of all 24 episodes, we kick off this wonderful, still vibrant tenth season with 'The Conjugal Conjecture' where scenes from the latter couple of season nine episodes are still being played out and discussed.

We're just getting back into this after three months away, and this episode doesn't tell us anything about what we can expect from the rest of season ten. Call me old-fashioned, but I like for a premiere to set up a few of the ongoing stories coming in the year ahead.

The ceremony itself is a very small part of the episode, with most of the running time filled again with bickering between Leonard and Sheldon's families. We also get to finally meet Penny's family, and they're about what you'd expect. Katey Sagal as Penny's mother (an 8 Simple Rules reference I'm sure you will have all gotten), was a brilliant curve ball, and Sagal plays it all out like the trooper she is.

As for the following 23 episodes, gone are the references to comics and superheroes – now it seems the comic book store is only being used as another setting for the start of a discussion about relationship problems and how being in one means abandoning all of one's interests in order to be accepted by one's partner.

No more comparing superhero powers based on scientific evidence, no more of Sheldon's fascination for Mr Spock to the point when the two blend together, no more guest appearances by cult icons. I was heartbroken to see they had even resigned and decided not to go to Comic Con… If you were one of those people who hated all those things, though perhaps the show wasn't for you to begin with, you might enjoy it now.

While Sheldon becoming more of an extrovert was something which fans would perhaps have wanted to see, it wasn't at the expense of sacrificing what made him Sheldon. Raj and Howard's codependent relationship has also lost any comedic potential, especially since it seems like Raj is genuinely suffering while Howard mocks him, while – call me picky – I don't find Stuart's depression, bankruptcy, anxiety and lack of meaning in life amusing at all.

Rather, his borderline suicidal personality brings quite a dark, sad dimension to the show and the fact that the other characters seem to mock him whenever they get the chance makes me want to watch anything else but TBBT. To me, it seems like the show is beyond saving and should end in one season the most.

But if it does want to retain its oldest viewers it should bring back what made it unique and new – the science references, the physics jokes, the popular culture references and comic book preoccupations. Show life around the campus again, the experiments they're working on (they had something going with the air force experiment, which seems to have come to nothing), make us believe they're physicists and academics again rather than middle-aged soap opera stars. Stop turning this into a second-rate 'Friends' and go back to what worked for the show!

In closing, the show obviously has its ups and downs, just like any other on television, but it manages to keep coming up with new ways to make you laugh. Also the main characters are much different than what you'd normally see. Usually in comedies you have either all perfect poster boys/girls everywhere, or the typical funny fat guy, but the skinny 'nerds' have you cheering for the unsung hero; each and every time. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Mad Props
The Ever-Expanding Universe of The Big Bang Theory
Who's the Baby Now?
Best of The Big Bang Theory - 2016 Comic-Con Panel
Gag Reel

Own it on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD September 12th, 2017!

'Modern Family - The Complete Eighth Season'
(Ed O'Neill, Julie Bowen, Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2011 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: Winner of 6 Emmy® Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series, 'Modern Family' is a refreshingly hilarious look at what it means to be a family in today’s hectic, unpredictable world.

DVD Verdict: Modern Family's first season was pretty good, I have to say. It was sort of fresh, original, funny. Better than a lot of the shows on TV, to say the least.

But the second season wasn't quite as good, to my mind and for my money, of course. It went to the well of Cam-as-stereotypical-overzealous-diva once too many, and while Ed O'Neill and Rico Rodriguez gave very good performances, some parts of the season just fell flat.

Then, as we progressed, certain story lines were beyond cliched and the show was somewhat overshadowed in my mind by better comedies of its time ('Community', 'Parks and Recreation' and 'Louie,' for example).

So, yeah, for a long time there in its in between years I decided to start watching 'Modern Family' sporadically. Those lingering doubts about quality and originality of the show still harbored, but willing to keep checking in on it from time to time.

Well, now I've just binge watched the entire season 8 and I can not get enough of it again! The story is easy to follow so you can just sit back and enjoy. Instead of binge watching it like me, you can also try having a break from work and just putting on an episode to relax to (if you work for yourself from home, of course!)

Indeed, the thing I was most surprised about after seeing it was the variety of characters. There's a conventional family with three kids. The wife Claire Dunphy is a control and organization freak but she has hers funny outbursts. Husband Phil comes off a bit childlike, always trying to be 'the cool dad', but he also brings the family together and shares valuable life lessons. The oldest daughter Haley is a popular, party girl and her younger sister Alex is very competitive, nerdy girl. Their youngest child Luke is a lot like his dad and they always do funny, odd stuff together.

Claire's father Jay Pritchett makes another family in the show. He remarried a Colombian wife Gloria and took her and her son Manny in. She is very beautiful and also younger than his daughter so people always assume she married him out of interest, but we are soon proved wrong.

Jay's second child, Claire's brother Mitchell, is gay and in a long relationship with his partner Cameron with whom he adopted a Vietnamese baby girl Lily. When the whole family gets together, there's no way escaping drama and that's the case in almost every episode. It's a great comedy source, but it can get a little too familiar from time to time, so that's why I calmed my viewing down before.

As for this wondrous, still on form eighth season, well, it all starts with the Dunphy clan wrapping up a Big Apple adventure. Then, back at home Claire struggles to keep order at Pritchett's Closets while Phil (Emmy® Nominee Ty Burrell) and Jay go into business together.

In the meantime, Gloria's hot sauce business heats up, as Cam and Mitchell deal with their maturing tween, Lily. All the while, Manny and Luke fumble through their senior year of high school. he final episode of the 22 here is a little deeper than normal re: Women's Rights and such, and as much as the show is definitely a comedy, it can lean into the more educational angles for us, the viewers, to take on board. But, that all said, this latest season of 'Modern Family' is still a great one and deserves your full, undivided attention - something that you won't regret afterwards, trust me. Three big, happy families equal one huge season of laughs! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Deleted and Alternate Scenes
Gag Reel

Own it on DVD & Digital Download September 19th, 2017!

'Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars' [Blu-ray]
(Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, DeRay Davis, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2017 / Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: "C’mon you apes, you wanna live forever?! I have only one rule. Everybody fights, no one quits. The bugs have breached Mars and the Federation’s Fleet is too far to help. It’s up to us to save the planet. On the bounce, Troopers! The only good bug is a dead bug! Oorah!"

Blu-ray Verdict: Another entry into the 'Starship Troopers' franchise, and, weirdly, it is another CGI animated movie! I can only speculate as to why they opted for a CGI animated movie and not a proper live action movie, money and availability of the actors being that presumption, sadly.

I found 'Starship Troopers: Invasion' to be entertaining and it was a definite improvement on the 'Starship Troopers: Roughneck' animated series, that's fro sure. So I was pleased to see that this brand new 'Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars' get announced earlier this year (not knowing it was a CGI animated movie, of course).

Regardless, I was very much in the same arena as 'Starship Troopers: Invasion' when it began and so after it had played out I can honestly say that I enjoyed this latest installment. The CGI was great, with lots of detail and great textures in every scene, ranging from characters and bugs to scenery and environment.

Indeed, it very much resembles the likes of the 'Resident Evil' CGI animated movies in style of visual and design. It was nice, of course, to have Casper Van Dien return to reprise his Rico character, although the visual presentation of the character in the movie didn't really look much like Van Dien, it has to be said [save for his eyes, funnily enough!].

'Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars' is a non-stop action movie with focus on the battle of humans against the bugs. Which, I might add, it has essentially every other 'Starship Trooper' addition to the franchise. So you should not expect a complex and deep story line. Instead, just lean back and enjoy the action of humans fighting big-ass bugs!

This is definitely primarily for the fans of the the 'Starship Troopers' franchise. I was adequately entertained throughout the course of the movie, despite the fact that the story line was unfathomably predictable, and yet kept me watching all the way through. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Traitor of Mars: Inside the Bugs and powered Suits
Traitor of Mars: Inside the Story and the Characters
Photo Gallery
Deleted Scenes
Expanding the Universe: 20 years and Counting
Expanding the Universe: Continuing the Universe
Expanding the Universe: Traitor of Mars

Bring home 'Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars' on Blu-ray this September 19th, 2017.

'Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars' Blu-ray Purchase Link

'Lycan' [Blu-ray]
(Dania Ramirez, Jake Lockett, Parker Croft, Vanessa Angel, Gail O'Grady, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2017 / MVD Visual)

Overview: When six college kids in a sleepy Southern town are assigned a group project to rediscover a moment in history, one of them sets in motion a horrific fate when he proposes they head into the Georgia backwoods to tackle the legend of Emily Burt, the Talbot County werewolf.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Lycan' is a Hitchcockian tale of horror set in 1986 that delves into a hundred year old fable where our students are met with very real consequences that go beyond any classroom lessons.

Well, that's the spiel for the plot and, for the most part, it plays out in much that same way - give or take a bloody curve ball or three. For my money, and given that we've all seen enough werewolf films (good and bad) to last us a lifetime in this genre, 'Lycan' isn't actually half bad.

It doesn't set out to be 'American Werewolf ...', nor even 'Silver Bullet', but instead it allows it's unknowns (save for Vanessa Angel, 'Weird Science' TV show) to build upon the werewolf myth and try to come at it all in a different, perhaps slightly 'Blair Witch' kinda way.

Not that it's lost footage or anything like that, but there is definitely a raw energy to these actors and the way the director, Bev Land handles the direction of the plot alongside some truly eerie moments of cinematography.

The set up is calm and casual as the opening fodder characters find their spot to set up their tent in the getting-darker-by-the-second woods. They sleep nearly in the buff, the girl in her skimpy, tight, barely-there underwear, and save for the cheesy claws and subsequent marks that are made by the werewolf as it tears through the side of the first tent, it's all pretty much acceptable as a horror flick of some noted potential.

Then our intrepid sextet learn about the scary, creepy story about the village and the surrounding woods and after turning to look at each other in some form of It would be nuts to even consider this nonsense eye casting, they all just decide it sounds fun! What follows are pigs heads on hooks, bloody, smelly shacks, walks through brightly-lit-in-red swamps, and, all in all, a pretty gruesome 87 minutes worth of entertainment! This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Interviews with cast including Dania Ramerez, Parker Croft, Rebekah Graf and Vanessa Angel
Interview with Director Bev Land
Interviews with Michael Mordler (Co-Writer) and Crystal Hunt (Executive Producer)
Panel discussion with Lycan movie Producers and writer
Original Theatrical Trailer

'Lycan' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on September 26th, 2017.

'Lycan' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

'A Fish Called Wanda: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1988) 2017 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Cleese plays Archie Leach, a weak-willed barrister who finds himself embroiled with a quartet of ill-matched jewel thieves two American con artists played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline, Michael Palin's animal-loving hitman and London gangster Tom Georgeson when Georgeson is arrested.

Only he and Palin know the whereabouts of the diamonds, prompting plenty of farce and in-fighting as well as some embarrassing nudity and the unfortunate demise of some innocent pooches!

Blu-ray Verdict: As we are all well aware by now, 'A Fish Called Wanda' is a true work of comic genius. And, like any good film, the screenplay is at the heart of the belly laughs. Every character is given a detailed personality quirk or two, and then it is shamefully exploited for laugh after laugh.

Note for example, John Cleese's speech to Jamie Lee Curtis about how awful it is to be British - the eternal fear of embarrassment. Moments later, he is caught buck naked in a marital tryst in some else's flat by the people to used to live in his own home.

Also, the funny-offensive envelope is pushed to the limit when K-K-K-Ken (Michael Palin), the passionate animal lover inadvertently kills three innocent dogs in his attempt to murder an old woman who would otherwise be a prosecution witness. Now that's funny!

Cleese's character, Archie Leach (Carey Grant's real name) is a likable buffoon of a lawyer, happy in his banal existence until he meets the sexy American, Wanda (Jamie Lee). I cannot even being to describe the plot beyond that point without doing it a grave disservice. It twists and dangles about in a world of double-cross and goldfish-eating for no other reason than to set up a joke.

You cannot speak of this film without mention of Kevin Kline as Otto, a role that won him a richly-deserved Oscar. Otto is the ex-CIA "weapons man" who makes it his business to read philosophy but would be more at home with Curious George. An obsessive, self-indulgent, painfully stupid, violent, deceitful, gullible egomaniac, the character of Otto is amongst the best comedic performances ever delivered.

The film's funniest scene takes place at Leach's (Cleese) house. In a scene that rivals anything that has ever hit the screen for laughs, the film and its scripts looks deep enough into itself to even give Cleese's dry-as-toast wife a laugh or two. Then, later on, this scene proves to be the set up for even more jokes.

Ergo, 'A Fish Called Wanda' is pure comedy and every scene either provides a laugh or sets one up - it graciously does not waste our time trying to be moral or turning into a formula car-chase flick. Now released as a beautiful Special Edition Blu-ray chock full of glorious special features, if you see it and don't laugh, check your pulse! We have only been given a handful of good comedies in the last decade and this is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the very, very best. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original English mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Commentary by writer and star John Cleese
Brand-new appreciation by Vic Pratt of the BFI National Archive
Brand-new interviews with composer John Du Prez, production designer Roger Murray-Leach, executive producer Steve Abbott and makeup supervisor Paul Engelen
John Cleese's Final Farewell Performance, a 1988 documentary on the making of A Fish Called Wanda featuring interviews with actors Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin, Kevin Kline and director Charles Crichton
Something Fishy, a 15th anniversary retrospective documentary featuring interviews with Cleese, Curtis, Kline and Palin, executive producer Steve Abbott and director of photography Alan Hume
Fish You Were Here, a documentary on the film's locations hosted by Robert Powell
24 deleted/alternative scenes with introductions by Cleese
A Message from John Cleese, a tongue-in-cheek introduction recorded for the film's original release
Photo Gallery
Trivia Track
Theatrical Trailer
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring writing on the film by Sophie Monks Kaufman

'A Fish Called Wanda: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on October 3rd, 2017.

'A Fish Called Wanda: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

'Children Of The Corn: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, Courtney Gains, John Franklin, R.G. Armstrong, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1984) 2017 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: A young couple on a road trip find themselves lost in the backroads of rural Nebraska, eventually winding up in the seemingly abandoned town of Gatlin. But the town is far from empty as the pair soon discover, it s inhabited by a twisted cult of murderous children thirsty for another blood sacrifice.

Blu-ray Verdict: Stephen King is often cited to be the father of modern horror, and this view isn't wholly unfounded. King's stories have had a large impact upon the horror genre, and many of them are very good stories in their own right also. However, when it comes to translating King's words onto the screen; many filmmakers have proved that they are not up to the task.

I haven't read the book, 'Children of the Corn', but I'm sure it's better than this movie. While the film isn't especially bad; it's hardly a tour de-force of horror cinema either, and like many Stephen King films; this one could have been a hell of a lot better.

Actually, and in truth, this story isn't one of King's better efforts; it follows a small town whose children murder their parents on the instructions of a mysterious preacher; a little kid calling himself Isaac.

The story picks up three years after this terrible event when a young couple drive into town for some reason. They find the village completely devoid of adults and it isn't long until they discover what's happened and seek to put an end to it!

This film has missed several opportunities, the most glaring of which is the subterranean manifestation that dwells beneath the soil in the cornfields. We get several glimpses of this creature, but we never get to see it properly; and because of this, the monster is about as threatening as a bunch of little kids. Oh wait ...!

Anyway, the film draws parallels with other evil kids films such as 'Village of the Damned' in the way it plays out, but it never really gets out of first gear. While the atmosphere of the town is foreboding and well done on the whole, the plotting isn't very exciting and there's very few moments of real tension or suspense, which ensures the film isn't as engaging as it could have been.

The cornfields and the corn that inhabits said field's makes for an unlikely horror prop, and some scenes within the fields are genuinely creepy. The kids themselves are rather well done also, with both of the main ones having good screen presence.

Anyway, if you were to pigeonhole King's films into 'good' and 'bad', this one would firmly be in the latter side. On it's own, however, it's not all that bad, and if you're a fan of King's work, you'll no doubt find something to like here. Now releases as a new, crisp Blu-ray special edition chock full of special features, 'Children of The corn' is definitely creepy enough not to watch alone on a rainy, dark night. Which alone is still, albeit here just, enough to make it a decently played out horror flick. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio options
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary with horror journalist Justin Beahm and Children of the Corn historian John Sullivan>BR> Audio commentary with director Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirby and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains
Harvesting Horror: The Making of Children of the Corn retrospective piece featuring interviews with director Fritz Kiersch and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains
...And a Child Shall Lead Them a brand new interview with actors Julie Maddalena and John Philbin
It Was the Eighties! an interview with actress Linda Hamilton
Field of Nightmares a brand new interview with writer George Goldsmith
Return to Gatlin brand new featurette revisiting the film s original Iowa shooting locations
Stephen King on a Shoestring an interview with producer Donald Borchers
Welcome to Gatlin: The Sights and Sounds of Children of the Corn an interview with production designer Craig Stearns and composer Jonathan Elias
Cut from the Cornfield an interview with actor Rich Kleinberg on the infamous lost Blue Man Scene
Disciples of the Crow 1983 short film adaptation of Stephen King's story Storyboard gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by John Sullivan and Lee Gambin

'Children Of The Corn: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on October 3rd, 2017.

'Children Of The Corn: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

'The Suspicious Death of a Minor' (2-Disc Edition)
(Claudio Cassinelli, Mel Ferrerg, Lia Tanzi, et al / Blu-ray+DVD / R / (1975) 2017 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: A young prostitute is found brutally killed and is up to detective Germi (Claudio Cassinelli) the investigation of the case, as the search progress he uncovers a girls trafficking ring with connections to powerful people.

Blu-ray Verdict: In what was originally entitled 'Too Young To Die,' this rarely seen Sergio Martino film is, for the fans that devour such works of cinematic art, a gold mine. As the title presumes, no matter which you plumb for, it starts off like a typical giallo: A man with sunglasses stalks and slashes a young woman.

But after the murder, the movie becomes a film in style of the "poliziescho", the Italian crime movie of the 1970s, as the audience follows an undercover cop searching for the killer and also for the kidnappers of a young boy (SPOILER ... but the audience doesn't know for a long time either that the cop really is one and that the murder case and the kidnapping rely on each other).

All this culminates (within the first half of the movie) in a car chase which offers enough gags to make the scene pure slapstick. Intentional? Sure, I would suggest so, but also a little disarming, given the true nature of the film unfolding.

Regardless, after that the giallo style returns as the sunglassed killer goes on a killing spree. The crime movie is back as the plot unfolds to have its motive in mob-style drug dealing. And let's not forget: The killings have also to do with professional child prostitution and abuse. A really wild mix, even more so if one considers that the film sometimes boosts cheap (if mostly funny) humor, as aforementioned.

I would also like to pay mention to the very cool soundtrack that throughout is reminiscent of the early scores by "Goblin" for Dario Argento's films. It also seems that Ernesto Gastaldi, who wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay with director Martino, was influenced by Massimo Dallamano's great 'La Polizia Chiede Aiuto' that was made one year earlier (in my humble opinion, of course).

All in all, this surely is not Martino's best film (his "pure" gialli are more enjoyable), but if one gets used to the unusual concoction of such different topics and styles, it's an entertaining and sometimes hilariously funny, fast paced and thrilling movie that even boosts some harsh, and still brutally-honest-to-listen-to today social commentary. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
New interviews with director Sergio Martino and cinematographer Giancarlo Ferrando
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by Barry Forshaw

'The Suspicious Death of a Minor: Special Edition' [Blu-ray+DVD] will be available for purchase on October 3rd, 2017.

'The Suspicious Death of a Minor: Special Edition' [Blu-ray+DVD] Purchase Link

'Flatliners: Special Edition SteelBook' [Blu-ray]
(Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, William Baldwin, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1990) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Five medical students experiment on "near death" experiences that involve past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives.

Blu-ray Verdict: I saw Joel Schumacher's 'Flatliners' during Summer vacation while visiting my father. I was dropped off at the theater and remember the movie being tense and frightening. I was curious how well it would stand up on a watch twenty seven years later.

Five students at a prestigious medical school want an answer to one simple question: "Is there life after death?" After hearing several first-hand accounts from other people, they decide to experiment on themselves. Each one crosses over from life into the beyond and return. Now the question they want answered is, "What have we brought back with us and what do they want?"

The entire cast is terrific. Julia Roberts proved she had more than just star power with her strong showcase. She was able to bring out the perfect amount of guilt from her character, and her character was very sympathetic. Keifer Sutherland is outstanding as the arrogant Nelson. It is hard to feel sympathy for him, especially with what he goes through in the end, but he's so talented, you're able to like him. Kevin Bacon was awesome. However, for my money, the most noteworthy is William Baldwin. His sleazy performance stole the show.

'Flatliners' is rated R for violence, language, adult situations, and nudity. It gets a bit brutal in some places, but nowhere near like most movies today. Without the unnecessary nudity, this very well could have been PG-13.

Boasting a great line-up of aforementioned actors who went on to do great things, 'Flatliners' captures them in all their fresh-faced glory. It's a melodramatic thrill ride that draws you back for multiple viewings.

Although some of the horrors the group members bring back from their near-death experiences seem silly, the concept as a whole is endearing. The Gothic settings, dark ambiance, and elegant lighting add more reasons for you to re-visit the film or see it for the first time.

Being released by Mill Creek Home Entertainment as a wondrous Special Edition Steelbook Blu-ray to tie in with the brand new redo of 'Flatliners' (starring Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev and even Sutherland as Dr. Barry Wolfson), this 1990 original still has a rather eerie feel to it; a psychological edge with each student facing up to a traumatic past - some of it looks a touch camp now, of course! This brand new Special Edition Collectible Steelbook Blu-ray is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and features 5.1 Surround Sound Stereo and English subtitles.

'The Lost Empire - Complete Miniseries'
(Thomas Gibson, Bai Ling, Russell Wong, Ric Young, Kabir Bedi, et al / DVD / NR / (2001) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: In an ancient manuscript written hundreds of years ago lie the answers to all of history's questions. Now, a scholar (Thomas Gibson) has come to seek the truth and save the world.

DVD Verdict: 'The Lost Empire' (aka 'The Monkey King'), a VERY strange title (either one) for a retelling of the old Chinese classic adventure 'Journey to the West', is a mixed bag of a film.

David Hwang's screenplay is in many respects a sequel to the original story, as opposed to being a modern rendition of the original story. I regard this as a mistake as I believe Mr. Hwang lost more by giving up on the original characters than he gained by having a modern setting.

Good points: The lovely Ling Bai did a good job as the Bodhisattva of Compassion (Kwan Yin). Some scenes with Monkey and the "Scholar from Above" went well (mainly the scenes when Monkey rescues his subjects on Flower Fruit Island). Some interplay between "Sandy" and the "Scholar from Above" was funny. Some of the art design for the palace of the Jade Emperor was good (but NOT the throne room, yuk!).

Bad points: Too many explosions. A really ugly and totally wrong portrait of Confucius (I could go on for some time but I'll stick with this key point: Confucius was a materialist. He had no interest in religion and spirits. He was only interested in how a good state was run. The depiction of Confucius in this movie is totally at odds with EVERYTHING that Confucius stood for.) The last half-hour of the movie was anti-climactic, over-wrought, and uninteresting.

Deeper problems: 'Journey to the West' is, at its core, at Buddhist story about the quest to attain enlightenment (along with the fun stuff about beating demons). This story ('The Lost Empire') takes place AFTER Monkey and Sandy have achieved their ultimate state. They are both "supposed" to be enlightened beings.

The problem with this is that a) they don't act like enlightened beings, and b) there isn't much drama possible when you are enlightened. You can really tell the weakness in the writing when Kwan Yin has to tell Monkey's old teacher that "Monkey HAS been blessed by the Buddha".

If you need a third party (a goddess no less) to convince other people that you have become enlightened and have been blessed by the Buddha, well, its clear to me that the story is saying one thing, but doing another.

In fact, none of the characters behaves "in character". At least not like the characters that you enjoyed when reading "Journey to the West"; sorry, but it has to be said.

Deepest problem: the story ('The Lost Empire') is trying to both be and not be 'Journey to the West' at the same time. Indeed, it's actually, actively trying to both be true to original ideas and be "modern" and up-to-date at the same time. Its trying to be a sequel that retells the original story.

In closing, 'The Lost Empire: Complete Miniseries' can be seen at some angles as a mess, but from other angles it's a rather enjoyable, turn-your-brain-off romp. It even manages some spiritual moments that rise from a lovely deep and rewarding level, so for that alone, I would suggest sit back and enjoy both these 'The Lost Empire' episodes for they are exactly what they are - good, clean, albeit all over the place fun! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Secrets and Lies - Season One'
(Juliette Lewis, Ryan Phillipe, KaDee Strickland, Natalie Martinez, Dan Fogler, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG-13 / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Ben Garner (Ryan Phillippe) is about to go from Good Samaritan to murder suspect after he discovers the body of his neighbor's son in the woods. As Detective Andrea Cornell (Juliette Lewis) digs for the truth, town secrets and lies come to the surface and no one is above suspicion.

DVD Verdict: 'Secrets and Lies' is a 10-episode mini-series about a fictional crime in North Carolina, USA. A remake of an Australian series, one that only had 6 episodes, this story follows a married man (Phillippe) with two daughters who finds the body of a young boy, the son of his neighbor (Natalie Martinez) across the street whilst out jogging one day.

And just like that he instantly becomes the main suspect for the Police, and in particular, Detective Cornell, played irresistibly by the sour-lipped Juliette Lewis. His neighbors and overall community also jump on that bandwagon, but soon pieces of the jigsaw fall into place and where the new road leads nobody wants to imagine could be true.

Of course, and much like the second season that also featured Lewis leading the investigation into a murdered woman, 'Secrets and Lies' does exactly what it says on the label: it is made to build up tension in every episode through tales told and yarns spun by all the lead characters. The spotlight of who the killer is changes constantly as more clues float to the surface and that final reveal is, well, heartbreaking.

In closing, what also makes this series great is the direction of photography and overall cinematography. The levels of hue and scenery abounding in all sorts of weather is captured as is it's another central character. Which, come the end, it most certainly is. The haunted atmosphere makes this whodunit thriller a pacey, jaunty affair and one that will have you guessing all the way to the very, very end, trust me. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Astronaut Wives Club - The Complete Series'
(JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Yvonne Strahovski, Dominique McElligott, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG / 2015 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Based on Lily Koppel's book The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story, this limited series tells the story of the women who were essential players behind big events in American history. As America's astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, the lives of their young wives were transformed from military spouses to American royalty. As their celebrity rose, and tragedy began to touch their lives, they rallied together.

DVD Verdict: I think I should start this review by stating the obvious that the target audience for this show was not anyone that already knew a lot about the U.S. space program. I mean, if you've seen HBO's "From the Earth to the Moon", the 11th episode of that series does a better job in an hour than this ABC-TV series did in 10 hours — and a more accurate one, too.

That being said, the primary actors carry this show and trust me when I say that you will care about the characters and what they go through in support of their husbands and work stuff.

As a period piece of Americana and history, too, the TV series excels. The writers could have toned down the portrayal of Louise Shepard, but otherwise, the other six leads are fantastic. The actors playing the Mercury Seven themselves are completely overshadowed, and rightfully so—this is about the women behind the astronauts.

At times nothing more than a fun rallying call for the writers to try and turn these episodic stories into a soap opera for ditzy 20th-century housewife viewers — which, if deliberate, was a terrible idea - the emphasize on the real, enlightened and liberated 21st-century audience showcased through these actors might have meant the former thought they were being talked down to had it not been for the morally grounded moments galore; luckily.

Basically, 'The Astronaut Wives Club - The Complete Series' is a gem even just two years later and as a companion piece to the HBO series, it's rather okay. But, and again, it fully relies on some fine performances from JoAnna Garcia, Yvonne Strahovski, Odette Annable, Azure Parsons and Zoe Boyle. These five amazing actors carried this series and it was a pleasure rewatching it today to review it due to them. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Night of the Living Dead - 50th Anniversary'
(Judith O'Dea, Duane Jones, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / NR / (1968) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these flesh eating monsters.

DVD Verdict: That's right, boys and ghouls, George A. Romero's cult classic returns for it's 50th Anniversary! The indie horror masterpiece changed movies and the genre forever with its gleaming gore and terrifying twists and now it's been lovingly restored in HD. So prepare for the frightening tale of five strangers struggling for survival against the walking undead, but now in uber crisp Blu-ray!

George A. Romero's 1968 cult classic 'Night of the Living Dead' could arguably be one of the most revolutionary horror films of its time. It may not have been the first zombie film ever made but it's the first one that actually made an impact on popular culture.

On the surface, 'Night of the Living Dead' seems to be a run of the mill horror movie about a group of people hiding out in a farmhouse from these flesh eating beings that have been reanimated from the dead. What's so interesting about this film is its many satirical comments on American culture during the the late 1960's - criticizing society for its racism, its involvement in the Vietnam war, and a general attitude towards women.

George A. Romero chose Duane Jones to play the African-American hero of the film, which up until then was rarely heard of, only to have him [SPOILER!] gunned down in the very end of the film just as he thinks he is finally saved and everything will return to normal.

It's supposed to remind the viewer of all the powerful black males in history that have stood up to their oppressors and revolted against the norms of society only to be assassinated by those who did not agree with their views and beliefs.

The zombies in the film are playing the same role the Vietnamese played in the Vietnam war. They seem to be everywhere and stop at nothing to take over everything in their path. The few humans that are left and trying to survive are the soldiers who were over in Vietnam during the war: they're trapped, they have little resources and have nowhere to run because the enemy they are running from are covering the entire area.

The women in this film are treated as fragile and useless in the situation they are facing. Barbra, portrayed brilliantly by Judith O'Dea begins the film terrified and running from the zombies, only to continue throughout the film helping out in no way possible.

She sits on the couch in shock and rarely responds or has any input to the story line. The only time she ever gets up and takes action is at the end - at which point she is absolutely no help, getting herself taken away (and presumably eaten). Portraying Barbra as silent and unable to help because of her mental state of shock only pointed out how America at the time (and to an extent still does) treat its women as helpless and powerless.

What is so appealing about this film is its ability to have all of these powerful, underlying themes while simultaneously coming off as a meaningless Friday night "Let's go to the drive-in!" B-horror movies of the 1960's. It has the ability to let you just sit down and enjoy it without having to think too heavily about its themes and context. It's a film that can be enjoyed and appreciated by both the brainless teenagers of America and the most analytical of film critics. This is an original Full Screen Presentation (1.37:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, and featuring a brand new 2K Transfer.