Insider Gossip
  Monthly Hot Picks
  Book Reviews
  CD Reviews
  Concert Reviews
  DVD Reviews
  Game Reviews
  Movie Reviews
  'The Battle For The Soul of King Russ-ankhamun'
  Save Ferris [2016]
  Richard Hawley [2016]
  Moobs "The Canary" Dingus [2016]
  Racey [2016]
  Living In A Box [2016]
  Driver 67 (Paul Phillips) (2016)
  Jeff Scott Soto (2016)
  NEW! Midge Ure (2017)
  NEW! Rusty Egan (2017)
  NEW! Mahershala Ali ('Moonlight')
  NEW! Brad Pitt ('War Machine')
  NEW! Richard Gere ('Norman')
  NEW! the Judds
  NEW! Billy Ocean [2017]
  Cory Hardrict ('Destined')
  Mo McRae ('Destined')

Exclusive Magazine Banner

'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.

'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 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