AnneCarlini.com Home
 
  Giveaways!
  Insider Gossip
  Monthly Hot Picks
  Book Reviews
  CD Reviews
  Concert Reviews
  DVD Reviews
  Game Reviews
  Movie Reviews
  The Home of WAXEN WARES Candles!
  Check Out Anne Carlini Productions Now!!
  NEW! Crystal Gayle
  NEW! Chez Kane
  MTU Hypnosis
  NEW! Ellen Foley
  NEW! Doogie White
  Turning Red (Director: Domee Shi)
  Licorice Pizza (Alana Haim/Paul Thomas Anderson)
  The Lost Daughter (Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal)
  Elise Krentzel (Author, Under My Skin)
  Sony Legacy Record Store Day [June 2022]
  Nicolas Cage [The Unbearable Weight ...]
  COMMENTS FROM EXCLUSIVE MAGAZINE READERS!
  Michigan Siding Company for ALL Your Outdoor Needs


©2022 annecarlini.com
Ghost Canyon

The Batman (4K Ultra HD+Blu-ray+Digital)
(Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray+Digital / PG-13 / 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: More than a year of stalking the streets as the Batman (Robert Pattinson), striking fear into the hearts of criminals, has led Bruce Wayne deep into the shadows of Gotham City.

With only a few trusted allies — Alfred (Andy Serkis), Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) — amongst the city’s corrupt network of officials and high-profile figures, the lone vigilante has established himself as the sole embodiment of vengeance amongst his fellow citizens.

When a killer targets Gotham’s elite with a series of sadistic machinations, a trail of cryptic clues sends the World’s Greatest Detective on an investigation into the underworld, where he encounters such characters as Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), Oz, aka The Penguin (Colin Farrell), Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), and Edward Nashton/aka The Riddler (Paul Dano).

As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator’s plans becomes clear, Batman must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit, and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued Gotham City.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the quite wondrous, and always uproarious to watch The Batman in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this May 24th, 2022.

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

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

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as one of the most heart pounding scenes entitled Chasing The Penguin In The Batmobile.

There’s a hilariously anticlimactic moment at the beginning of The Batman’s big Batmobile set-piece as Bruce fires up an early version of the car, revs it toward the Penguin and his goons, and then stalls it. This gives the Penguin and his henchmen enough time to escape, but Batman takes chase.

This captivating car chase sequence sees Batman pursuing the Penguin the wrong way down a highway, zipping in and out of speeding vehicles and charging through the fiery wreckage of an exploded gas tanker.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material - notably the fine detail to the faces of all those involved in the scene entitled The Opening Train Station Brawl.

Any Batman fans who feared that Edward Cullen couldn’t convincingly play the Caped Crusader were silenced when they saw the first trailer and watched Pattinson’s Batman mercilessly beat a thug to a pulp and aggressively quip, “I’m vengeance.”

This sequence doesn’t disappoint in the final movie. The Batman ably takes on this entire street gang, but he takes as many punches as he doles out in the early days of his crimefighting career.

As for the audio, well we have a veritable smorgasbord of choice here: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English: Dolby Digital 5.1 (320 kbps), French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps).

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

As for the movie itself, well, this film delivers a much darker and more sinister Batman, quite unlike the many versions that have gone before. The representation of Gotham as well, is steeped in corruption and decay.

The story opens with the death of the city’s mayor, and from there introduces the principal characters that are part of the Batman legacy that are known all too well by fans. In tone, I think this film was more like the Gotham TV series than any of the prior movies, even if that show had more to do with the young Bruce Wayne growing into the masked crime fighter.

The villains both in Gotham and in this story personified the evil and malice that gripped Batman’s hometown, with an added element of corruption in the background of Bruce Wayne’s father that put him under the thumb of crime boss Carmine Falcone (John Turturro).

All of the performances here were exceptional. Robert Pattinson’s take on Batman was more effective than his portrayal of Bruce Wayne, who looked like he was part of the grunge scene. I didn’t much care for the Batman outfit, it looked unusually heavy and clunky; ergo, one’s first inkling that Batman was arriving was heralded by the thumping footsteps one might associate with Jurassic Park.

Also, Pattinson’s voice as Batman, as well as those of Lieutenant Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and The Riddler (Paul Dano) sounded like they were coming through a synthesizer. It made for dramatic effect, although not quite realistic.

Indeed, this film version of The Riddler is not like anything you’ve seen before or would have expected. His off-screen portrayals hinted at a demented masked vigilante, which made the actual appearance of the character that much more compelling when it revealed an almost baby faced Dano in the role of a psychotic madman.

Quite honestly, it wasn’t until the credits rolled that I became aware that Colin Farrell had the role of Oz, hidden underneath all the prosthetics and make-up. Yes, he was referred to as The Penguin, but it wasn’t overdone, and his full name (Oswald Cobblepot) was never mentioned. Rounding out the principals was Zoe Kravitz as the slinky Catwoman, Selina Kyle. She had some major kick butt action in the film and rose to the occasion to save Batman’s near the end of the story. Speaking of which, even with his seemingly armor plated outfit, Batman appeared unusually vulnerable to attacks by his foes in the picture. It marked him as more human than the average super-hero with unusual powers.

I will say this, your attention needs to be focused due to the nuances that are revealed in the telling of Bruce Wayne’s parents’ story and how he might have been misled growing up. His father’s relationship with Falcone and fellow mob boss Salvatore Moroni bear on Gotham’s reputation.

Maybe it was inadvertent, but there might have been a subliminal tribute to the Gotham series here with the character of Falcone associate Kenzie (Peter McDonald) for the role of James Gordon in that series was portrayed by Ben McKenzie.

Lastly, over the past few years, DC has disappointed a lot of people, and it is also true that it has become difficult to see DC go up to the same position as Marvel and compete with them. However, recently, films such as Joker and The Suicide Squad, masterpieces that utilize DC’s unique personality and creator’s vision have appeared, and The Batman seems to have no problem standing alongside.

Therein, I hope that Matt Reeves will be able to complete a trilogy that utilizes his vision safely without following the path of SnyderVerse.

DIGITAL, 4K, BLU-RAY & DVD ELEMENTS:
“The Batman” Premium Digital Ownership contains the following special features:
• Vengeance In The Making
• Vengeance Meets Justice
• The Batman: Genesis
• Becoming Catwoman
• Looking for Vengeance
• Anatomy of The Car Chase
• Anatomy of The Wingsuit
• A Transformation: The Penguin
• The Batmobile
• Deleted Scenes with Director’s Commentary

“The Batman” 4K UHD combo pack and Blu-ray contain the following special features:
• Vengeance In The Making
• Vengeance Meets Justice
• The Batman: Genesis
• Becoming Catwoman
• Looking for Vengeance
• Anatomy of The Car Chase
• Anatomy of The Wingsuit
• A Transformation: The Penguin
• The Batmobile
• Unpacking The Icons
• Deleted Scenes with Director’s Commentary

“The Batman” DVD contains the following special feature:
• Unpacking The Icons

Unmask the truth behind Gotham City’s vigilante detective and his alter ego, reclusive billionaire Bruce Wayne, when “The Batman” arrives for Premium Digital Ownership at home on April 18th.

The film is directed by Matt Reeves from a screenplay by Reeves and Peter Craig, based on characters created by DC, and stars Robert Pattinson (“Tenet,” “The Lighthouse”). The film will also be available to stream on HBO Max on April 18th and will be available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD beginning on May 24th.

The film also stars Zoë Kravitz (TV’s “Big Little Lies,” “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”), Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy,” “12 Years a Slave”), Jeffrey Wright (“No Time to Die,” TV’s “Westworld”), John Turturro (the “Transformers” films, “The Plot Against America”); Peter Sarsgaard (“The Magnificent Seven,” “Interrogation”), Jayme Lawson (“Farewell Amor”), Andy Serkis (the “Planet of the Apes” films, “Black Panther”) and Colin Farrell (“The Gentlemen,” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”). The film was produced by Dylan Clark and Reeves, with Michael E. Uslan, Walter Hamada, Chantal Nong Vo and Simon Emanuel executive producing.

• On April 18th, “The Batman” will be available for early Premium Digital Ownership at home for $29.99 and for 48-hour rental via PVOD for $24.99 SRP on participating digital platforms where you purchase movies.

• On April 18th, “The Batman” will be available to stream on HBO Max.

• On May 24th, “The Batman” will be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD. “The Batman” will also continue to be available to own in high definition and standard definition from participating digital retailers.

“The Batman” can be enjoyed at home with Filmmaker Mode TM. Developed by studios, TV manufacturers and some of Hollywood’s leading directors, Filmmaker Mode disables all post processing (e.g. motion smoothing), preserves the correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates, and enables your TV to display the film precisely as it was intended by the filmmaker.

Filmmaker Mode is available on televisions from select manufacturers. “The Batman” will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

www.WarnerBros.com

The Batman @ Facebook





Umma [Blu-ray+Digital]
(Sandra Oh, Fivel Stewart, Dermot Mulroney, Odeya Rush, MeeWha Lee, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / PG-13 / 2022 / Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: Umma, which is the Korean word for “mother,” follows Amanda (Sandra Oh) and her daughter (Fivel Stewart) living a quiet life on an American farm. When the remains of her estranged mother arrive from Korea, Amanda becomes haunted by the fear of turning into her.

Blu-ray Verdict: Sometimes all you need a simple, straight-forward story and that’s basically Umma in a nutshell. Sandra Oh (Killing Eve, The Chair) stars as Amanda, a woman who lives a secluded but happy life with her daughter Chris (Fivel Stewart: Atypical, T@gged).

On the surface all seems well except for the fact that Amanda has an intense fear of electricity (electrophobia) caused by childhood trauma inflicted on her by her Umma (Korean word for mother). When her mother’s ashes and cherished personal items are delivered to her by her uncle, Amanda’s nightmares become reality.

There are a lot of shows and movies that makes fun of the fear some women have of becoming their mothers and while my Mom and I’m sure yours as well, are basically superheroes and goddesses, there are those that sadly are not. Umma written and directed by Iris K. Shim utilizes horror to explore these toxic relationships and how trauma left untreated tends to be passed on to the ones we love.

Umma may not be what most would consider a hardcore horror movie, in fact you could argue it’s more of a thriller with horrific elements but Sandra Oh’s performance, as well as her natural and believable maternal chemistry with Fivel Stewart goes a long way in keeping you invested in these characters.

MeeWha Alana Lee as Umma doesn’t have a lot of screen time in the normal sense as she’s more malevolent entity than anything else, but she’s also a very strong presence here being genuinely creepy and terrifying when need be.

The special effects aren’t spectacular but they get the job done but the film works best when Umma’s presence is subtle. There’s an early scene of her sitting in a room that gave me chills, as well as a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it one that took me back to The Exorcist, which says a lot.

So while I think marketing Umma as a straight up horror does more harm to this movie than good as most genre fans are probably hoping for more, I found it enjoyable and felt like it delivered a well thought out and uncomplicated narrative; the kind you don’t need to dissect but at the same time it is trying to explore and maybe even exorcise a very specific kind of pain some viewers can personally relate to. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment @ Facebook





The Fabulous Baker Boys [Collector’s Edition]
(Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer, Beau Bridges, Jennifer Tilly, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1989) 2022 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski), Michelle Pfeiffer (What Lies Beneath) and Beau Bridges (The Descendants) enchant in this “lovely and fragile” (New York Magazine) tale about sibling musicians and the sultry singer who leads them to success.

Jack and Frank Baker are stuck in a rut. Playing the same tired tunes night after night; the brothers are in desperate need of change. So when they meet a sultry songbird named Susie Diamond, their future starts to sparkle.

But when life in the limelight brings old rivalries to the surface as Jack and Susie’s relationship heats up, the Baker boys soon find their act - and their lives - growing more entertaining than either of them may be able to handle!

Blu-ray Verdict: For an adult love story for an older generation with one of the best jazz soundtracks ever set to a movie, The Fabulous Baker Boys remains a smooth delight, topped by the inspirational casting of Michelle Pfeiffer.

Its laid back sophistication is peppered with brotherly rivalry, catty one-liners from Pfeiffer and a smattering of humor, that all just takes the edge off it all taking itself too seriously. I always wondered why Beau Bridges was so called, especially when contrasted here against his real-life (as well as in the story) brother.

Beau is plain, balding (running joke about using a revolutionary new hair tonic, in a spray can) and married, while a smooth and fresh-skinned - with Fabulous hair! Jeff, we see waking up with his latest sexual encounter at the film’s start and is dashing throughout.

There’s a wonderful predictability in the story that whilst obvious is essential as the piano-playing brothers, who’ve had the same act for the last 15 years, get the sack from their cozy cocktail lounge slot. Get a girl singer, to add glamour and class is what they decide and so the essential misfits and talent less line up to audition. Of course, Pfeiffer stumbles in late, swears, but, as only in the movies sways them and gets the job.

This is, of course the most sublime part of the movie; Pfeiffer, in tight shapely dress, draped over a shiny grand piano, Jeoff and Beau tinkling the ivories and the excellent Dave Grusin score ever achingly evocative and playful. But, of course, the frictions start to seep in and of course, the magic can’t last.

As I said, the tried and trusted music/fame/film formula works well but is never obvious and we are left with an ending as open as the beginning, which is refreshing - and for the better. Any lesser film would have a sugary pigeon-holed finale that would raise the happy level but which would dissipate immediately after.

Though there is some swearing, this film doesn’t need, or resort to adult material and in this day and age, this is like a breath of fresh air. Actually, the whole experience could be summed up as such, yes, a breath of beautiful, fresh air. Enjoy! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the main feature in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio
English LPCM Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
English SDH Subtitles
Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Steve Kloves, hosted by Twilight Time’s Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman
Audio Commentary with Director of Photography Michael Ballhaus
Isolated Music & Effects Track
The Fabulous Baker Boys: 1989 Behind the Scenes featurette (SD, 6:54)
Jeff Bridges & Beau Bridges: 1989 Behind the Scenes featurette (SD, 3:15)
Michelle Pfeiffer: 1989 Behind the Scenes featurette (SD, 3:36)
Deleted Scenes (SD, 21:16)
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:47)
2 TV Spots (SD)
2-Sided Artwork

www.MVDvisual.com





A.K. Tolstoy’s A Taste of Blood [Blu-ray + CD]
(Axel Jodorowsky, Blanca Guerra, Guy Stockwell, et al / Blu-ray + CD / NR / (2020) 2022 / Cleopatra Entertainment - MVD Visual)

Overview: Based on Aleksey Tolstoy’s 1839 short story The Family Of The Vourdalak, A TASTE OF BLOOD tells the story of a man - who after going off to kill a vampire - returns home at the magic hour, between night and day.

His family has doubts about whether he’s still human or whether he’s been bitten by the undead. His teenage daughter is determined to defend him, but their doubts and fears grow as the darkness of the night approaches.

Will his family find out in time, or will their sentiment make them easy prey for the novice nightwalker?

Blu-ray Verdict: Santiago Fernández Calvete’s horror film A TASTE OF BLOOD, based on Aleksey Tolstoy’s 1839 short story, opens on a relatively slow burn, but if you can please hang around before deciding it is too slow, you will be rewarded, you have my word.

Around the midway point it when the film finds its mojo, but what stuck out to me the whole way through (when on screen, of course), was that this Argentinian film chose to dub the young characters into English, whilst keeping the older characters subtitled, and speaking in their native tongue.

For that alone is a rather jarring mix of verbal and visual cinematography, but it never fully removed my attention to the screen. The reason being that come the end A TASTE OF BLOOD proved itself to be well made, tense and thoroughly entertaining night in viewing choice.

As for the full storyline, Natalia (Alfonsina Carrocio) lives with her controlling father Aguirre (Germán Palacios), her older brother Manuel (Lautaro Bettoni) and his wife Eva (Naiara Awada), and their young daughter. Aguirre forbids Natalia to see anyone, have any friends, and leave the family’s rural property.

When she sneaks off one night to meet her potential boyfriend Alexis (Tomás Carullo Luzzio), she accepts a ride home from a man claiming to be a relative. Naturally, this does not turn out well, and she and Alexis flee to her home.

Aguirre goes out looking for the stranger, rifle in tow, and tells the others not to let him in the house unless he returns home in the sunlight because of the vurdalak curse — a vurdalak feeds on the blood of family members, turning them into vurdalaks, as well — no matter what he says.

He returns before sunrise, and the family members and Alexis find themselves at odds as to whether Aguirre has returned as a human or an undead monster, and what to do about the situation.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of a Theatrical Trailer, Image Slideshow, an Original Spanish Language Audio Track, and a Bonus Audio CD of the music from the film:

Rosetta Stone - “Valiant Try”
Christian Death - “Haloes”
Big Electric Cat - “Orchid Dreaming”
Children On Stun - “Cats or Devil’s Eyes”
Corpus Delicti - “Noxious (Demos Game)”
Leather Strip - “Evil Speaks”
Electric Hellfire Club - “Baptized in Blood”
Razed In Black - “The Endless”
Witch Of The Vale - “Trust The Pain”
Jyrki 69 - “Blood Lust”
Blood Handsome - “Give”
Crying Vessel - “Breaking The Spell”
Synaesthesia - “Ambience”
Vile A Sin - “Taste The Blood”
The Sweet Kill - “Closer”

Official Trailer

www.Cleopatra-Entertainment.com





The Initiation of Sarah (Special Edition)
(Kay Lenz, Shelley Winters, Tony Bill, Robert Hays, Morgan Fairchild, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1978) 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Satanic secrets and telekinetic terror combine in this classic made-for-TV horror movie directed by Hammer Films alumnus Robert Day (She), from a story co-written by Tom Holland (Fright Night), featuring cinematography by Ric Waite (48 Hrs).

Shy misfit Sarah Goodwin (Kay Lenz, House), has a secret gift: the ability to control ― and destroy ― with her mind. When Sarah goes off to college with her more outgoing and popular sister, Patty (Morgan Brittany, Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat), their plans to join the most prestigious sorority on campus are scuttled by snobby president, Jennifer Lawrence (Morgan Fairchild, Phantom of the Mall).

Separated from her sister, Sarah is taken in by a rival, less popular sorority, whose mysterious house mother, Mrs. Hunter (Shelley Winters, The Night of the Hunter), is harboring a secret of her own: a scheme to harness Sarah’s terrifying power for revenge. Betrayed by Patty, humiliated by Jennifer, it can only be a matter of time before Sorority Hell Week erupts in flame!

Making its Blu-Ray debut with an all-new restoration by Arrow Films from the original camera negative, The Initiation of Sarah has never looked better and comes packed with all new bonus materials.

Blu-ray Verdict: The film opens with Sarah (Kay Lenz, House) who joins her stepsister Patty (Morgan Brittany, who was in Death Car on the Freeway and was Katherine Wentworth on Dallas, who was Bobby’s killer before the shower scene retcon) going to the beach. A young man forces himself on Patty and Sarah saves her with telekinesis.

The movie tries to set things up with Sarah as some ugly duckling, but in every other movie I’ve seen Kay Lenz in, she is portrayed as being attractive. That’s the only hollow note in this movie.

The girls go off to college, where they both plan on joining Alpha Nu Sigma. Their mother is even the head of the alumni committee, so it’s a big deal for her to get her biological daughter, Patty, in. For some reason, Patty is welcomed with open arms while Sarah is directed to joining Phi Epsilon Delta.

All of the PED girls are rude and ill-tempered other than Mouse (Tisa Farrow, Zombi 2, Anthropophagus), a shy girl who everyone else is mean to. Mouse just wants to play her violin because otherwise she gets nuts!

Jennifer (80’s sex symbol Morgan Fairchild), the head of ANS, forbids her sisterhood from fraternizing with the PED girls, which tears the sisters apart. Meanwhile, Sarah starts to fall for Paul (Tony Bill, Are You in the House Alone?) while staying wary of den mother Mrs. Hunter (Shelley Winters in an unhinged performance).

Even after she uses her powers to shove Jennifer into a fountain, Sarah doesn’t want to give in to her powers. But once the ANS girls retaliate and throw food and mud at her, she gives in to Mrs. Hunter’s call to hatred and gives in to an initiation ceremony.

That ceremony? It involves blowing off the evil girl’s dresses, permanently ruining Jennifer’s face and killing Mouse, but Sarah decides at the last second to kill both herself and Mrs. Hunter to stop the sacrifice.

As the film ends, Patty joins PED and becomes friends with Mouse and they both mourn the loss of Sarah.

These are the kind of movies that made me glad that I went to art school and a downtown college instead of a real university. That said, I would not be eligible for a sorority, so I guess the point is moot

This movie also has appearances by Michael Talbott (Freddy from Carrie), Robert Hayes (Airplane!), Deborah Ryan (Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park), Talia Balsam (The Supernaturals) and Kathryn Grant (The Night the World Exploded).

In closing, this was also a very popular hit when it first played on TV and was replayed again and again and was even remade in 2006. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
Original lossless mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary by TV Movie expert Amanda Reyes
Welcome to Hell Week: A Pledge’s Guide to the Initiation of Sarah, a brand new appreciation by film critic Stacie Ponder and Queer Horror programmer Anthony Hudson, co-hosts of the Gaylords of Darkness podcast, celebrating the film through a queer feminist lens
Cracks in the Sisterhood: Second Wave Feminism and The Initiation of Sarah, a brand new visual essay by film critic and historian Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
The Intimations of Sarah, a brand new interview with film critic Samantha McLaren looking at witchcraft, empowerment, TV movies, and telekinetic shy girls post Carrie
The Initiation of Tom, a brand new interview with Tom Holland on this his first film writing credit
Image gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Luke Insect

www.MVDvisual.com





Edge of Sanity (Special Edition)
(Kay Lenz, Shelley Winters, Tony Bill, Robert Hays, Morgan Fairchild, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1978) 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Anthony Perkins builds upon his legendary status as cinema’s seminal psycho in Edge of Sanity, a delirious conflation of Robert Louis Stephenson’s classic horror novella ‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ and Jack the Ripper’s real-life reign of terror over Victorian London.

When his experiments into a powerful new anesthetic go hideously awry, respected physician Dr Jekyll (Perkins) takes off into the night, casting aside the shackles of upper-class propriety as he disappears into the shadowy decadent demimonde of Whitechapel in pursuit of sensual pleasures under the guise of ‘Mr Hyde’.

As his wife Elisabeth (Glynis Barber) passes her time in charitable work, rehabilitating the district’s fallen women, Hyde is drawn into an escalating cycle of lust and murder that seems to know no bounds.

Produced by exploitation maestro Harry Alan Towers (The Face of Fu Manchu, Count Dracula) and directed with a hallucinogenic intensity by Gérard Kikoïne (Lady Libertine, Buried Alive), Edge of Sanity plunges the viewer into a labyrinth of depravity from which there is no escape.

Blu-ray Verdict: Anthony Perkins plays Dr. Jekyll who after a lab incident caused by his guinea monkey turns him into the sinister Mr. Hyde. Soon the bodies start popping up all over London.

The story is well known, but we get a little twist here. The twist being that Mr. Hyde is actually Jack the Ripper. I really liked the fusing of these two stories. It gave the film another dimension to it. Edge of Sanity is a surprisingly sleazy film too, thank goodness. J.P. Félix is one of the two writers credited with the screenplay and is also (apparently) actually one of smut peddler Jess Franco’s many pseudonyms!

It’s hardly surprising then that we get regular doses of nudity and some not overly gratuitous violence. We even get the odd humor on occasion. Just watch as the rabid Mr. Hyde has bent a prostitute over the table inspecting her butt and we see her bored face. He’s just another weird customer with a fetish. The script is pretty good, but without knowing exactly what, I still felt that a certain something to put it over the top was missing.

Anthony Perkins shines as the star of the show. He balances nicely between the two personalities. Perkins has a very charming side, as we’ve seen in Psycho, which can change in an second. In this film his psychotic features are enhanced with make-up, giving him more of a wax figure look. It looks supremely creepy.

In several instances he reminded me of the zombified Stephen from Dawn of the Dead (1978). The story is really a sad one. Dr. Jekyll is only a man traumatized during childhood years and his decent into madness starts off as an unfortunate accident. Jekyll is more a victim of circumstance than anything. He accidentally inhales the smoke from the broken glasses unaware of what the mix will do to him.

Unfortunately for the good doctor the effects have fatal consequences. Jekyll’s smoking device looks like a crack pipe. This film came in 1989, which was at a time when crack was at its height in the US. Edge of Sanity appears to be a cautionary tale covered in layers of filth. We see Perkins trying to resist it, but his demons get the better of him. His spiral downwards is very well depicted.

We see the raving madman and a cold and calculating monster that is Mr. Hyde gradually taking over Jekyll. This is perfectly realized in a party scene, where the topic of freedom is brought up. Jekyll wonders what anyone really knows about freedom. I thought I was free? retorts one of the posh ladies. The doctor starts talking about freedom to do whatever we feel like. You see something you like and you take it.

The other guests are a tad upset by this, but Jekyll rages calmly on. You all act as if our manners, our morality, were handed to us by God. With skeptical eyes she replies: But they are. Perkins continues: No madam, they’re not. We made them up by mutual agreement. But what if I don’t agree?"

He goes from the dinner table leaving the others in shock. There is a distinct flavor of Nietzsche’s philosophy here, which is the rejection of morality as an absolute truth. I doubt Nietzsche would have approved Mr. Hyde’s thoughts of doing whatever one feels like, but accepting that life is essentially meaningless is key.

The other dinner guests’ refusal to accept this makes them passive nihilists. The active nihilist on the other hand sees opportunity to build something instead of hiding in fear behind religion. Jekyll/Hyde is somewhere in between. He rejects God and morality, but instead of building he tears the world apart. And, fortunately for him, in a society as judgmental as this, who would expect that any well educated person could possibly be behind such atrocious crimes?

The technical aspects of Edge of Sanity are simply outstanding! The camera-work is impeccable with lots of crooked angels, intruding close-ups of Mr. Hyde and smooth dolly shots. The lighting and use of colors are strong and vivid adding additional delirium. There are gorgeous set-pieces to feast our eyes on. You really couldn’t ask for more. In a lot of ways this has an adult Tim Burton feel to it.

In conclusion, Edge of Sanity is a nice and creepy horror film. For some reason, despite all its accomplishments I still felt slightly detached to it all. That however, shouldn’t deter anyone looking for a sleazy horror with originality, a menacing Perkins and production values far beyond your normal fright flick. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative by Arrow Films
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed stereo audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Brand new audio commentary by writer David Flint and author and filmmaker Sean Hogan
Over the Edge, a brand new interview with Stephen Thrower, author of Nightmare USA
Jack, Jekyll and Other Screen Psychos, a brand new interview with Dr Clare Smith, author of Jack the Ripper in Film and Culture
French Love, a career-spanning interview with director Gérard Kikoïne
Staying Sane, Gérard Kikoïne discusses Edge of Sanity
Original Theatrical trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

www.MVDvisual.com





True Romance (2-Disc Deluxe Limited Edition)
(Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / R / (1993) 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: In 1993, action movie supremo Tony Scott teamed up with a hot new screenwriter named Quentin Tarantino to bring True Romance to the screen, one of the most beloved and widely-quoted films of the decade.

Elvis-worshipping comic book store employee Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) is minding his own business at a Sonny Chiba triple bill when Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) walks into his life – and from then on, the two are inseparable.

Within 24 hours, they’re married and on the run after Clarence is forced to kill Alabama’s possessive, psychopathic pimp. Driving a Cadillac across the country from Detroit to Hollywood, the newlyweds plan to sell off a suitcase full of stolen drugs to fund a new life for themselves ... but little do they suspect that the cops and the Mafia are closing in on them.

Will they escape and make their dream of a happy ending come true?

Breathtaking action set pieces and unforgettably snappy dialogue combine with a murderers’ row of sensational performances from a stunning ensemble cast in Scott and Tarantino’s blood-soaked, bullet-riddled valentine, finally restored in dazzling 4K with hours of brilliant bonus features.

Blu-ray Verdict: The title sequence for True Romance magically conveys us to the bleak cold desolate vortex of the Rust Belt 1990’s Detroit, but also back a million plus years to the time when fantastic tales were spun by ancient man around the first campfire.

Only in the here and now, the fire is scrap wood fed and in an oil drum in a vacant lot surrounded by hobos, outcasts, and scavengers and the fantastic tale is offered with rising sparks and smoke up to the eternal night. A Neo Noir tale.

Very few of the classic noirs used the female voice over, one that readily comes to mind is Claire Trevor’s in Raw Deal. This neo noir story is triggered in one long flashback by a voice over narration by ex-call girl femme fatale Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette). Arquette here is downright outstanding, if ever there was a character that captured that effervescent spirit of Marilyn Monroe’s various characters (and updates that quality to the ’90s and makes it her own) in a film it’s Arquette’s Alabama in True Romance.

She is a blond, buxom, bombshell, a firecracker the shot from the front sequence where she jiggles down the courthouse steps rivals Marilyn’s classic shot from behind wiggles from Some Like It Hot and Niagara. You just sense that if this were still the big studio days and she was under contract she would have been typecast into many of these kind of parts in quick succession at the peak of that phase of her beauty, Arquette might have become iconic but would the price have been tragedy as it was for Marilyn?

As it is her performance is just a one off. The studio days are long gone and the atmosphere is catch-as-catch-can and Arquette did not get another similar Neo Noir role until her double parts as Alice & Rene in Lost Highway. I guess time will be the judge if contract stars of the Studios or those of the new corporate deal system will be best remembered in the long run. Arquette here ranges from sweet and coy, to desperate and deadly, her transformation into Athena with her Amazonian like war scream is chilling.

The tale unfolds as quasi comic book/martial arts/Elvis geek Clarence gets shot out of the saddle by a B-girl at a local tavern. Later at a late-night triple bill Sonny Chiba show, Alabama, in a contrived maneuver spills her popcorn over the seat on Clarence. She expresses her dismay in an instantly lovable cutesy/ditzy manor and is soon climbing over the seat and settling in beside him. They soon connect and later over pie and coffee in a diner begin to fall for each other.

Clarence takes her back to his pad above the comic book store where they make love. Later Alabama confesses that she is a call girl and was paid and sent by Clarence’s boss as his birthday present. Clarence is not mad at all says it’s the best present he ever had and that it was not just the physical part but he never had so much fun with a girl ever before in his life. They pledge their love for each other and get married. The whole sequence is wonderfully written and rings so true that you suspect it is somewhat biographical.

Clarence, (Christian Slater) in probably his best role, watch his dialogs with Alabama and his father. He is cooler than cool as he follows his personal rockabilly Espírito Elvis in the way he deals with situations and travels life’s highways. Elvis tells him to confront Alabama’s pimp Drexl and it’s this meeting that sends the tale spiraling into Noirsville.

The rest of the cast is superb, Michael Rapaport as Dick Ritchie a struggling numb nuts want to be actor who lives with stoner Floyd (Brad Pitt) who has a plastic honey bear bong. Bronson Pinchot is the weasel Hollywood yes man Elliot Blitzer to producer Lee Donowitz (Saul Rubinek).

Dennis Hopper is Clifford Worley, Clarence’s security guard father who sings Country Western songs while making his rounds and lives in a trailer park wedged between the river and the railroad tracks. Mafioso Don Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken ) is a capo for Blue Lou Boyle. Virgil (James Gandolfini ) is a reflective hit-man.

Gary Oldman is delightfully over the top as courier and pimp Drexl Spivey. Chris Penn as Detective Nicky Dimes and Tom Sizemore as Detective Cody Nicholson are Gung ho LA cops. Samuel L. Jackson is Big Don a spastic druggie with some memorable lines, and Val Kilmer is Mentor (Elvis).

Ably directed by Tony Scott with beautiful cinematography by Jeffrey L. Kimball it also has a rather great soundtrack by Hans Zimmer which stitches all the segments nicely together.

In closing, True Romance is one of those films that prove that every once in a while Noir has a pulse. A fun flick with abundant eye candy which you can now rewatch via this lush 4K Blu-ray Steelbook Limited Edition. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the 4K DUAL FORMAT DELUXE STEELBOOK EDITION CONTENTS of:

New 4K restorations of both the Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut from the original camera negatives by Arrow Films
4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) and High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation of both cuts
Limited Edition SteelBook housed in Deluxe rigid packaging, both with newly commissioned artwork by Sam Gilbey
60-page perfect-bound collectors’ booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kim Morgan and Nicholas Clement, a 2008 Maxim oral history featuring interviews with cast and crew, and Edgar Wright’s 2012 eulogy for Tony Scott
Double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sam Gilbey
Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
Coming Home In A Body Bag poster newly illustrated by Matthew Griffin
Hollywood postcard illustrated by Raffi Antounian, originally commissioned for True Romance Fest
“Clarence/Alabama” tattoo design sticker
Original uncompressed stereo audio and DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Audio commentary by director Tony Scott
Audio commentary by writer Quentin Tarantino
Audio commentary by stars Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette
Audio commentary by critic Tim Lucas
Select scene commentaries by stars Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt and Michael Rapaport
Brand new select scene commentary by stars Bronson Pinchot and Saul Rubinek
New interview with costume designer Susan Becker
New interview with co-editor Michael Tronick
New interview with co-composers Mark Mancina and John Van Tongeren
New interview with Larry Taylor, author of Tony Scott: A Filmmaker on Fire
Deleted scenes with optional commentary by Tony Scott
Alternate ending with optional commentaries by Tony Scott and Quentin Tarantino
Electronic press kit featurettes, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Tony Scott, Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper and Gary Oldman
Trailers and TV spots
Image galleries

www.MVDvisual.com





Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem ...
(Kimberly Brooks, Greg Cipes, Keith Ferguson, Will Friedle, Grey Griffin, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / NR / 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: With the help of an ancient Kryptonian power, Lex Luthor unites the world’s Super-Villains to capture all of Earth’s Super Heroes, until … only the DC Super Hero Girls are left to stop the Legion of Doom.

Our heroes must cross dimensions to rescue their fellow Super Heroes from the Phantom Zone, but a fortuitous wrong turn leads them to Titans Tower – where they find much-needed allies in the Teen Titans.

The young Super Heroes discover their combined strength – and usual comic relief – are essential to save the day in this blockbuster event!

Blu-ray Verdict: With Teen Titans Go! renewed for Season Eight with the series set to reach a massively impressive 400th episode milestone, we are now graced with the colorfully magnificent Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse.

What do you get when you combine the DC Super Hero Girls, the Legion of Doom and Teen Titans Go! with a dash of an ancient Kryptonian goddess? A recipe for pandemonium!

With the help of an amulet from Krypton, Lex Luthor unites a group of Super-Villains to capture all of Earth’s Super Heroes, leaving only the DC Super Hero Girls to stop the Legion of Doom.

The girls must cross dimensions to rescue their fellow heroes from the Phantom Zone, but a mix-up leads them to the wrong universe.

Which means from the very off we get sucked into the chaos as this who’s who of the DC Universe battles together to save the world in an epic multiverse event!

OK, so, I think we all know by now that the main characters of Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls have crossed over before in the former series, but now these two corners of DC media have collided in this very memorable movie.

Fans young and old will be able to pick up Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem In The Multiverse starting next week, all comforted ahead of time safe in the knowledge that all these characters get into their usual brand of shenanigans, over and over, this time revolving around their new entertainment system.

Personally, what I liked was that wee Bumblebee helps keep the team together in a big scene towards the end. I won’t give anything away, but let’s just say it felt awesome to watch because it’s kind of unexpected from such a tiny little character (although she has a huge heart, of course).

I mean, she loves her friends, cares really deeply for them, so it’s not surprising, but it’s great because you see her build her courage up throughout the movie and she finally gets to a point where she just has to say it. She wants her friends to be together. She wants to be a team.

As for my favorite funny snippet within the ultimate Legion of Doom storyline, well, all those familiar with the popular and milestone-hitting Teen Titans Go! know that these versions of Robin, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy and Cyborg love to watch TV, but every TV needs to be set up the proper way.

Luckily the quintet of superheroes have that problem solved, having found an entertainment system for Titans Tower … and by found, I mean they fished it out of the trash!

But, given where it came from, sooner rather than later one of the system’s stands breaks, leaving the whole setup askew. Fortunately, the young heroes find just the fix with some kind of pink gem sitting in the middle of the room!

Using that as a wedge, the entertainment system is back to being straightened … sort of. But wait, what is that pink gem exactly, and why do the Titans have it? Clearly they don’t know about why it’s in their superhero hangout, as its only purpose in their mind is to fix this TV situation!

Again, no spoilers here for those who want to go into Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem In The Multiverse as unknowing as possible, but here’s a hint: the gem is connected to the DC Super Hero Girls, who’ve been on TV since 2019!

Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse – Special Features [Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD]:
From the DC Vault:
- Teen Titans Go!: Season 2: Operation Tin Man
- Teen Titans Go!: Season 4: Titan Saving Time
- DC Super Hero Girls: Season 2: #SmallVictories

WarnerMedia Kids & Family announced today exciting news surrounding the hit Teen Titans Go! franchise. To kickstart a super-powered summer, the Teen Titans and DC Super Hero Girls will reunite during Memorial Day weekend to combat Lex Luthor and his unified gang of DC Super-Villains in Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse.

The all-new, feature-length animated TV movie event from Warner Bros. Animation promises action, adventure, plenty of hilarious moments and will be available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $24.98 SRP; Canada $29.98 SRP), DVD (USA $19.98 SRP; Canada $24.98 SRP) and Digital starting May 24, 2022.

Fans can also catch the movie event on Cartoon Network premiering Saturday, May 28 and then on HBO Max beginning June 28.

The cast of Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse features a Who’s Who of the voice acting community, including Kimberly Brooks (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe) as Bumblebee, Greg Cipes (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Beast Boy, Keith Ferguson (Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) as Batman, Will Friedle (Batman Beyond, Kim Possible) as Lex Luthor & Aquaman, Grey Griffin (Scooby-Doo franchise) as Wonder Woman, Young Diana, & Giganta and Phil LaMarr (Samurai Jack) as The Flash, Hawkman, Green Lantern/John Stewart.

We also get Scott Menville (Stretch Armstrong & the Flex Fighters) as Robin, Max Mittleman (ThunderCats Roar) as Superman, Jessica McKenna (Star Trek: Lower Decks) as Aqualad, Khary Payton (The Walking Dead) as Cyborg, Alexander Polinsky (Blaze and the Monster Machines, Charles in Charge) as Control Freak, Missi Pyle (Galaxy Quest, Gone Girl) as Cythonna & Speaker of Nations, Tara Strong (Loki, Ben 10, Unikitty!) as Raven & Harley Quinn, Nicole Sullivan (Family Guy, Black-ish) as Supergirl, Cree Summer (Rugrats, Better Things) as Catwoman & Hippolyta, Fred Tatasciore (Family Guy) as Jor El & Solomon Grundy, Myrna Velasco (Star Wars: Resistance) as Green Lantern Jessica Cruz, Kari Wahlgren (Rick and Morty) as Star Sapphire & Zatanna, and Hynden Walch (Groundhog Day) as Starfire.

Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse is directed by Matt Peters (Injustice, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War) and Katie Rice (Animaniacs) from a script by Jase Ricci (Tangled: The Series). Producers are Jeff Curtis and James Ricci. Supervising Producer is James Tucker (The Death and Return of Superman). Executive Producer is Sam Register.

Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse [Official Trailer] | Warner Bros. Entertainment

www.WBshop.com

www.WarnerBros.com

www.dccomics.com





The Beatles And India [Blu-ray]
(The Beatles, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Rare archival footage, recordings and photographs, eye-witness accounts and expert comments along with location shoots across India, bring alive the fascinating journey of George, John, Paul and Ringo from their high octane celebrity lives in the West to a remote Himalayan ashram in search of spiritual bliss that inspires an unprecedented burst of creative songwriting.

It is the first serious exploration of how India shaped the development of the greatest ever rock band and their own pioneering role bridging two vastly different cultures.

Blu-ray Verdict: Director Ajoy Bose was a teenage rebel in Calcutta in love with the Beatles when they came to India. His long mop and the psychedelic flowers painted on his shirt imitating the Fab Four led to fierce fights with his bureaucrat father.

In an interesting quirk of fate half a century later as an established journalist and author, Bose was writing a book, Across the Universe to mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles historic trip to Rishikesh for the world’s largest publishing house Penguin Random House.

Inspired by Ajoy Bose’s book, British Indian music entrepreneur Reynold D’Silva has now taken the amazing saga of The Beatles and India further by producing Bose’s directorial debut.

Bose and cultural researcher, co-director, Pete Compton, have created an audio-visual presentation that stands apart from the many documentaries on the band, delving deep into the most crucial period of their evolution from the world’s most famous pop stars into multi-faceted pioneering musical artists.

So as much as this documentary deals with the Beatles social and musical impact within India, as the country started to open up in the 60’s at the same time it explains and discusses the Beatles interest in Indian music, and their experience at a spiritual retreat run by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Therefore it is mostly anecdotal stories told by people that were there with a few historical Beatles interviews sliced in, alongside a bit of historical footage from the actual location.

Some of the stories are told by people within the now dilapidated ruins of the retreat, which does add a level of sentiment to it, however despite briefly mentioning George Harrison’s genuine love for India after being introduced to it by his friend Ravi Shankar, it never really shares in detail the Beatles view on India in their own words.

Some definite highlights include, and being interviewed for the very first time, ace test pilot Rustom Captain. He flew the helicopter on the legendary flight over the Ganges seated between Maharishi and John Lennon where the latter was convinced the Holy Man would, Slip me the answer.

For the very first time the story is revealed, Rishikesh - the hotbed of espionage as the CIA is accused in the Indian Parliament of infiltrating the Maharishi’s inner circle while the Beatles are there, provoking the KGB to rush its top spy in Delhi to the ashram.

An eye-witness account from the host of the historic dinner party that brought George Harrison and Ravi Shankar together, forging a relationship that would last over four decades.

India’s most pre-eminent photographer Raghu Rai reveals how he was smuggled inside the ashram to capture the very first image of the Beatles there, a photograph that went across the world.

Extensive footage of the Maharishi ashram as it is today skillfully blends with images of the same locations while the Beatles were there over half-a-century ago to create a stunning walk through time.

Featuring a widespread range of interviews with people who met the group on their trips to India, most with their stories unheard, the range from journalists to musicians to teenage girls, with each having a unique tale to tell.

Filmed across India at all the sites of the Beatles visits, Mumbai, New Delhi, Rishikesh and Dehradun it also fetaures an array of unseen photographs, footage and interviews uncovered in India during research on the project including unseen 35MM footage from a film shot at the ashram but never released; and an interview with George Harrison recorded with All India Radio in 1966 and unheard since then. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The Beatles And India (2022) Official Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





Around The World (Restored & Expanded) [DVD/CD]
(The Police, et al / DVD + CD / NR / (1982) 2022 / Mercury Studios)

Overview: On May 20th, 2022, Mercury Studios presents The Police: Around The World (Restored & Expanded) on DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, and DVD+LP (pressed on silver vinyl).

Originally available on VHS and laserdisc, the film is being presented on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time, with restored picture and remastered audio, as well as complete performances of four bonus songs featured in the documentary.

Additionally, The Police: Around The World (Restored & Expanded) includes never-before-released live audio on CD and LP. Boasting songs from their first two albums recorded in Japan, Hong Kong, and England, it showcases The Police playing with a frenzy and passion that would soon make them the biggest band in the world.

DVD Verdict: Embarking on their first ever world tour, The Police journeyed through six continents in 1979 and 1980. Capturing behind–the-scenes footage and candid personal moments as the band explores new terrain, The Police: Around The World (Restored & Expanded) displays the beginning of their meteoric rise to worldwide fame.

A poignant snapshot of this pivotal moment in their career, The Police: Around The World (Restored & Expanded) blends footage of the band performing live with intimate footage of Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland exploring Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, India, Egypt, Greece, France, South America, and the US. The band was filmed on and off stage as they visited local monuments, tasted foreign cuisines, and organically grew a global fanbase.

At the same time, the British band were enjoying their first chart success in the UK with “Roxanne” and “Message In A Bottle”. They were young, hungry, and ready to break big.

As Andy Summers enthuses in the liner notes, “Like Napoleon, we wanted the world. Out of the messy and fervent atmosphere in London at that time we conceived the idea to go all around the world and film the whole adventure. As far as we knew no rock band, at least, had ever done that. We had just about enough popularity to get booked around the globe. Plans were made.”

And the rest is history … beautifully captured in The Police: Around The World (Restored & Expanded).

As for a deeper dive into this quite brilliant new 2-disc release, the first thing that strikes you out of the gate is that The Police were very good at documenting themselves. I mean, this video is proof of that as being filmed over a 11-month period, it quite literally documents the entire Regatta De Blanc tour each stop along the way and then picks up on the Zenyatta Mondatta Tour.

It all starts on February 15th, 1980 at the Sun Plaza Hall in Tokyo, then goes to Australia, Cairo and Bombay (two very unusual places for a pop group to tour, then or now). Then it picks up in August of 1980 in Spain (where they seem a bit under the influence) and then we get lots of footage from the same show in France; and as already seen in Urgh! A Music War.

That said, this particular show has an extremely angry Sting cursing and baiting a member of the audience for throwing mud and stones at him and which subsequently prompts Sting to give the audience the finger!

All this takes place during the song "De, Do, Do, Do, De, Da, Da, Da" which creates kind of an unusual, surreal contrast to the song, if truth be told.

Also, Sting yelling for a roadie to pull this guy out of the audience over the piped-in background vocals of the bridge just adds another layer of surrealism to the mix, trust me! Regardless, all this undoubtedly pumped up Sting and they roll right into a rip-roaring version Truth Hits Everybody.

The film ends with a January 1981 show at The Variety Arts Theatre in LA where the audience had to be blonde (wig/spray/dye/natural) to attend the show! Preceded by silly-would-be interviews of the band with the then-just-departed from Squeeze Jools Holland, it is a right royal sight to behold, believe me!

The video is interspersed with the band making a video for Next To You with a bunch of sheep and videos for Voices Inside My Head, Canary In A Coalmine and When The World Is Running Down (all unissued from their Every Breath You Take: The Videos collections for some reason).

Now Restored and Expanded, whether or not you are a Police fan, or you are just a casual passerby of great pop rock music, do yourself a favor and pick it up today (in one of its various newly-released formats) for it is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best released footage visions of the Police in their prime that there has ever been.

DVD & Blu-ray track listing:
Features performances of:
Next To You
Walking On The Moon
Born In The 50’s
So Lonely
Man In A Suitcase
Can’t Stand Losing You
Bring On The Night
Canary In A Coalmine
Voices Inside My Head
When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around
Shadows In The Rain
Don’t Stand So Close To Me
Truth Hits Everybody
Roxanne
Bonus Features (Complete live performances of):
Walking On The Moon (Live from Kyoto)
Next To You (Live from Kyoto)
Message In A Bottle (Live from Hong Kong)
Born In The 50’s (Live from Hong Kong)

CD Tracks:
Walking On The Moon - Live from Kyoto
Next To You – Live from Kyoto
Deathwish - Live from Kyoto
So Lonely - Live from Kyoto
Can’t Stand Losing You - Live from Kyoto
Truth Hits Everybody - Live from Kyoto
Visions Of The Night – Live from Hammersmith
Roxanne – Live from Hammersmith
Intro
Born In The 50’s – Live from Hong Kong
Message In A Bottle – Live from Hong Kong
Bring On The Night – Live from Hong Kong

LP Tracks:
Side A:
Walking On The Moon - Live from Kyoto
Deathwish - Live from Kyoto
So Lonely - Live from Kyoto
Can’t Stand Losing You - Live from Kyoto

Side B:
Truth Hits Everybody - Live from Kyoto
Roxanne – Live from Hammersmith
Born In The 50’s – Live from Hong Kong
Message In A Bottle – Live from Hong Kong
Bring On The Night – Live from Hong Kong

www.ThePolice.com

www.MercuryStudios.co





Hero: Special Edition
(Jessica Hester Hsuan, Wah Yuen, Yuen Biao, Takeshi Kaneshiro, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1997) 2022 / 88 Films – MVD Visual)

Overview: From director and writer Corey Yuen (Righting Wrongs, Red Cliff, The Transporter) comes this high-octane tale of criminal gangs, betrayal and greed.

When brothers Ma Wing-jing (Taksehi Kaneshiro) and Ma Tai-cheung (Yuen Wah) flee their impoverished homeland to seek their fortune in Shanghai, they at first find more grinding penury when they are forced to work as lowly coolies, however Wing-jing soon becomes embroiled in the seedy world of big city triads and his once insignificant life becomes an arrogant lust for power.

This fabulous remake of Cheh Chang’s classic The Boxer from Shantung (1972) from the legendary Shaw Brothers studios is given a ’90s makeover chock full with stunts, fights and awe inspiring action sequences. A must for collectors of martial arts cinema.

Blu-ray Verdict: As noted, ostensibly a remake of the ’70s Shaw Brothers flick BOXER FROM SHANTUNG, HERO doesn’t really follow that film too closely, instead going off in its own direction. Thankfully it is a lot better because of that.

The film is nothing new, yet another variant on the old and tired YOJIMBO plot line, but it succeeds through the sheer talent involved in the production. Not only are superb actors involved in front of the camera, but sure hand director Corey Yuen – whose martial arts scenes always bring excitement – keeps things moving along at a fine pace and with plenty of excellent action scenes to keep the momentum going.

The film is set during the same type of period as Jackie Chan’s MIRACLES although things are kept relatively low key, because the budget doesn’t seem so big on this one.

The lead is taken by the young, occasionally charming Takeshi Kaneshiro in one of his biggest early roles and he does an okay job with it. However, Kaneshiro is overshadowed by genre veteran Yuen Biao who is definitely the real star of the show in this one.

Biao takes the role of a mob boss by the name of Tam See; despite his high status as a gangster, he’s an honorable man who quickly strikes up a friendship with our youthful hero. Biao is excellent in this film and it’s a wonder he isn’t more used in recent Hong Kong flicks. Once again he creates an immensely likable persona while at the same time excelling in the fight scenes.

As for the battles, they’re plentiful and always fun, although sometimes the speedy camera work gets a little headache-inducing. An early fight for a watch atop a galloping horse really pushes the laws of gravity to their extremes and it’s amazing to see how the cameramen manage to film all the different angles so well.

Things then quieten down before becoming really violent in the last half hour. A staged assassination attempt on Kaneshiro is one of the most painful things I’ve witnessed in Chinese cinema (especially the horse; poor horse) and recalls the ending of BOXER OF SHANTUNG as our hero is impaled, blinded, and burnt.

However the film goes on for another twenty minutes, offering a nice twist ending and a massive gun battle at the movie’s climax which is top-notch stuff. The image of a machine gun-toting Yuen Biao rising from a coffin has to be one of the most iconic cinematic images of all time.

Finally, things move to a yard full of bamboo-scaffolding for a three-way battle which is so gorily over-the-top, you’ll think you’re watching a horror film instead. Eyes are gouged out, bodies repeatedly impaled and blood sprays all over the place in this splatter battle which really has to be seen to be believed; as a horror fan I loved it and it certainly succeeds in being dramatic!

Mega-villain Yuen Tak – whose appearance seems to be styled on Jet Li in ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA 3 – doesn’t really get a look in in the martial arts scenes until this last battle but he’s really phenomenal and it’s the best action of the film. To add to the entertainment value, Yuen Wah is also on hand, and anybody who’s seen DRAGONS FOREVER and EASTERN CONDORS will remember this little mustachioed guy as a real ass-kicker!

Unfortunately he’s relegated to a comedic role here and doesn’t get to do any actual fighting, but it’s great to see him nonetheless, especially in the sympathetic part he has. And so, in closing, with lots of twists and turns and innovation and style, HERO is a highly enjoyable film that certainly blows the Jet Li-starrer of the same name right out of the water. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

HD Transfer from the Original Negative in 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
2.0 DTS-HD MA Mono Cantonese with Newly Translated English Subtitles
2.0 DTS-HD MA Mono English Dub
Audio Commentary by Kung Fu Experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
Alternate Shots From the Taiwanese Version
English Trailer
Hong Kong Trailer
Gloss O-Ring slipcase with brand-new artwork from R.P. Kung Fu Bob O’Brien
Booklet Notes - Do We Need Another Hero? Examining Hero (1997), Cory Yuen’s 1990s Remake of Classic The Boxer of Shantung (1973) by Andrew Graves
Double-sided foldout Poster

www.MVDvisual.com





Nick Cave - 20,000 Days On Earth [Blu-ray]
(Nick Cave, Susie Bick, Warren Ellis, et al /Blu-ray / NR / (2014) 2022 / MVD Visual)

Overview: 20,000 Days On Earth is an inventive, lyrical ode to creativity and an intimate examination of the artistic process of musician and cultural icon Nick Cave.

In their debut feature directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard fuse drama and documentary, weaving a staged day in Cave’s life with never-before-seen verité observation of his creative cycle.

Blu-ray Verdict: The film opens up with a montage of dozens of screens, displaying things from history, which segues into clips of Nick Cave (similar to how Michael Jackson started his last concert tour), and has Cave waking up in his bed next to his wife, narrating that he is an alien and has been on Earth for 19,999 days.

He then goes to the window and opens the curtain to reveal a bright never ending light, which is similar to the cover of Push The Sky Away. And it only gets better from there for instead of having talking head interviews with Cave, his band mates, and friends and family, we take a journey with cave as he drives his luxury car and is visited by hallucinations, friendly encounters, poems, and even a fictional therapist played by Darian Leader who has Cave talk about his childhood and career.

In my humble opinion, this film has a raw feel about it and overall is an honest look at the creative process from the perspective of Nick Cave.

Furthermore, it opens up a line of thoughts (as an aspiring musician) that transformed, inspired, questioned and transcended my way of writing. The pace of the movie was far from slow, (though obviously nor was it anywhere, at any point, fast paced), but it almost reflected Cave’s musical writing style: a kind of creeping epic crescendo, if you will.

That said, the film did fail to completely grip my friend (so he tells me), who I’d rate highly in terms of his cinematic knowledge (working in the industry), despite the fact that he hasn’t really been exposed to much of Cave’s work, and yet he never once moved throughout its viewing tonight.

The cinematography was beautiful, with extremely unique transitions that somehow flowed scene to scene and the soundtrack was obviously excellent, with some stirring performances.

Thus here in 20,000 Days On Earth, Nick Cave is simultaneously eccentric, enigmatic, yet very down to earth and heartfelt. I might just have also caught his heartbeat along the cinematic journey and I hope you do to. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MVDvisual.com





Vampire’s Kiss (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
(Nicolas Cage, Maria Conchita Alonso, Jennifer Beals, Elizabeth Ashley, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1988) 2022 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Living in the big city is enough to drive anyone bats, and the pressure of it proves too much for Peter Loew (Nicolas Cage, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Con Air), at the peak of his career, yet in the depths of despair, his life is in turmoil until he meets Rachel (Jennifer Beals, Flashdance), the woman of his dreams.

During their first night together, Rachel takes more than his heart – she takes his blood too – and from that moment on, Peter Loew believes he is a vampire. What is it about Rachel that makes him feel this way? Is she really a blood-lusting creature of the night? Or just a product of his fevered imagination?

Because if it turns out he is really a vampire – then there’s more than just his life at stake!

Blu-ray Verdict: In the giant-stoic skyscrapers of NY city lives Peter (Nicholas Cage), a successful yuppie, but behind his expensive clothes and expansive apartment he hides a loveless life.

He is a regular at clubs and the dating game and on one of his outings he meets Rachel (Jennifer Beals). While making love, she bites him on the neck. The next morning Peter starts feeling ill. Believing himself to be turning into a vampire, he starts to wear sunglasses, sleeps under his couch, and buys plastic teeth. But is he or isn’t he a vampire?

A vampire movie with a difference, this quirky and funny film - that if you dare take too seriously you will simply not get and even worse, turn off halfway through - is a pure black comedy joy to behold from start to finish.

Nicolas Cage gives yet another explosive, nay myth-making job similar to his Raising Arizona role, though here it is a beefier outing screen time wise.

In truth, here in Vampire’s Kiss his character is a complete loon and thus I would have loved for someone like David Lynch to have been the director; and yet, Robert Bierman still manages to pull it off, of course.

That all said, and in my humble opinion, the film totally belongs to Joseph Minion’s ferocious screenplay for as much as this is, at its core, a Vampire film that lacks bite, together with its very unique story line, it has ensured itself a place in cinematic history nonetheless.

In closing, this acting tour-de-force was absolutely extraordinary and so my advice is that if you do not quite like, or get, or understand this movie after the first viewing, put it on hold for awhile and let it sink in over the coming days. For if you are destined to watch it a second time, you will know ... and then it will all sink into place, you have my word! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1:85.1 aspect ratio
Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Optional English, French and Spanish Subtitles
Commentary with actor Nicolas Cage and director Robert Bierman
Photo Gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)
TV Spot (SD)
Collectible Mini-Poster
Reversible Artwork

www.mvdshop.com





Aliens, Clowns & Geeks (Special Edition)
(Bodhi Elfman, French Stewart, George Wendt, Verne Troyer, Anastasia Elfman, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2019) 2022 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Out-of-work actor Eddy Pine stumbles upon the key to the universe and is drawn into an intergalactic conflict between killer clowns and sneaky green aliens - the fate of the planet hangs on the outcome.

And thus begins a “wild, wacky comedy” (Horror Buzz) filled with hilarious twists and turns in this “fantastical sci-fi adventure!” (Bloody Disgusting).

From the mind of Richard Elfman (Forbidden Zone, Modern Vampires) comes another hilarious cult classic comedy featuring an all-star cast that includes Steve Agee (Suicide Squad), French Stewart (“3rd Rock From The Sun”), George Wendt (“Cheers”), Verne Troyer (Austin Powers), Anastasia Elfman (Bloody Bridget), Malcolm Foster Smith (“The Middle”), Rebecca Forsythe (Bronx Bull), Angeline-Rose Troy (CineDopes), Nic Novicki (Boardwalk Empire) and Martin Klebba (Pirates of the Caribbean) with a soundtrack featuring original music by Danny Elfman (Batman, Spider-Man) and Ego Plum (“SpongeBob SquarePants”)!

Blu-ray Verdict: Oh boy! Aliens, Clowns & Geeks is just what it says on the label (would you have expected, or hoped for anything less?) and is just as balls-to-the-wall, unreservedly unapologetic for its entire 87 minutes, trust me!

So, as you watch an out-of-work actor stumble upon key to the universe and is then inexplicably drawn into an intergalactic war between clowns and aliens, you just have to go with it. For if you do, and let us be honest here, you purchased (or rented, or even borrowed/stole) this new Blu-ray with, at the very least, an inkling of what was to visually come, you will be oh-so glad you gave it the allotted time.

Groucho Marx once advised if nothing else is getting a laugh, “... drop your pants.” Remarkably, these wacky, left-of-center sentence of comedic wisdom turns out to be the greatest weapon of the movie! Although, in all truth, as much as it saves the day it also manages to lower the bar, of course.

Regardless, Aliens, Clowns & Geeks comes chock full of wholly irreverent, politically incorrect and in these snowflake days, comedically either close to the bone or fully having strode over the line of common decency jokes that when you hear a character say “Life is complicated, take if from the guy with a dick in a dress,” you just know that a committee of online cancel culture vultures are circling.

In closing, and just laying it all out there, Aliens, Clowns & Geeks is as stupidly silly, as magnificently goofy, and dumbly intelligent, and as absolutely madcap script wise as you could ever hope for! Some come on it, the colorful, madness-tainted water is just fine! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Aliens, Clowns and Geeks: Behind the Scenes Interviews with the cast and crew
Interview with Writer/Director Richard Elfman
"Mambo Diabolico" Music Video
Original Theatrical Trailer

www.mvdshop.com





The Sacred Spirit (Limited Edition) [Blu-ray]
(Llum Arques, Nacho Fernández, Rocío Ibáñez, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: A missing girl. A community in shock. Jose Manuel lives a quiet life. He works in his modest tapas bar, takes care of his elderly mother and attends weekly meetings of the Ovni-Levante, a group of devoted UFO enthusiasts who gather after hours at the office of a local estate agent to exchange information about extraterrestrial messages and alien abductions.

When their leader dies unexpectedly, only Jose is left to know the cosmic secret that could alter the future of humanity. And only Jose knows what he must do. As if Ken Loach and Aki Kaurismaki remade the The X-Files, The Sacred Spirit is a provocative, humane, and unsparing vision that marks the arrival of a unique new voice in genre cinema.

Blu-ray Verdict: In one of the most interesting films that I have seen in the past decade, as aforementioned, the story relates to José Manuel, a member of the ufology association Ovni-Levante (UFO-Raise), which meets weekly to exchange information about the latest messages from the stars and abductions down here on Earth.

When their leader dies unexpectedly, José becomes humanity’s only hope, the keeper of a cosmic secret. Even more mysteriously, that knowledge ties in to the disappearance of José’s niece Vanessa from the town of Elche.

Furthermore, this movie lovingly packs in every conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard - ancient aliens, organ harvesting, secret societies - and places them alongside the very human drama of growing up weird in a dysfunctional family in a small town in the middle of nowhere.

Director and writer Chema García Ibarra has put together something quite strange here and that last image of the Sphinx - inflating as it brings the goofiness, the strange and the everyday together much like the rest of this film - is one that will stick with me for some time (and you also, trust me!).

Oh, and in the first scene where Vanessa’s twin sister Verónica gives her class a speech about what devil worshipers look for when they kidnap children, well, if that doesn’t most perfectly sum up the rest of the film - a story about how believers search for meaning and yet often miss the darkness gathering around them, especially if it doesn’t fit the mythology they’ve created for themselves- then I honestly don’t know what does! Watch this film today, as you will not be disappointed, of that you have my word, my friends. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-Ray (1080p) presentation
Exclusive second disc containing a selection of award-winning short films by director Chema Garcia Ibarra
Fully illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Shelagh Rowan-Legg, author of The Spanish Fantastic: Contemporary Filmmaking in Horror, Fantasy, and Sci-fi
Fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Oink Creative
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Oink Creative

DISC 1 - FEATURE & EXTRAS:
High Definition Blu-Ray (1080p) presentation
DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
Optional English subtitles
Beyond the Eye of Horus, a visual essay about the use of surveillance and Egyptology in The Sacred Spirit by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
Pyramid Scheme, a visual essay examining conspiracy, class and capitalism in The Sacred Spirit by Josh Nelson
Domestic Science Fiction, an interview with writer-director Chema Garcia Ibarra
Behind the Scenes, four short featurettes shot during production
Elche Vision, a series of six location reports about the making of the film, hosted by actress Lorena Iglesias in character as Esther Armengol, presenter of The Sacred Spirit’s fictional local TV show
Promotional videos in which the characters of The Sacred Spirit talk about themselves
Uncut TV Clips, background television broadcasts shot especially for the film and presented here in full
Image gallery
Theatrical trailer

DISC 2 - DOMESTIC SCI-FI: THE SHORT FILMS OF CHEMA GARCIA IBARRA (LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE):
The Attack of the Robots from Nebula-5 (2008) 7 mins, Sundance Film Festival Award Winner
Protoparticles (2013) 8 mins, Sundance Film Festival Award Winner
Mystery (2013) 12 mins, Berlin International Film Festival Award Winner
Uranes (2014) 59 mins
The Disco Shines (2016) 12 mins, Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema Award Winner
The Golden Legend (2019) 11 mins, Ann Arbor Film Festival Award Winner

www.MVDvisual.com





The Brain From Planet Arous: SE [Blu-ray]
(John Agar, Joyce Meadows, Robert Fuller, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1957) 2022 / The Film Detective - MVD Visual)

Overview: Get ready for planet Earth to be overtaken by a criminal brain from outer space! When Gor, an evil brain from planet Arous, inhabits the body of scientist Steve March, his intention is nothing less than world domination.

Lucky for Earth, another intergalactic brain, Val, offers to assist March’s wife, Sally, in stopping the madness. How does Val intend to help? By inhabiting Sally’s dog!

A great example of cut-rate sci-fi from the 1950s, this independently produced feature stars B movie favorite John Agar (The Mole People, Revenge of the Creature), and was directed by Nathan Juran, a master of the genre who helmed such classics as The Deadly Mantis, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

Blu-ray Verdict: If you watch 1950s sci-fi much, then you’re familiar with John Agar. Using a flashlight, he conquered an entire civilization in The Mole People, he saved a small Arizona town from destruction in Tarantula, but here, he really excels ... for Agar saves the entire universe!

When scientist Steve (Agar) and his assistant Dan (Robert Fuller) notice a blast of radiation from Mystery Mountain, they decide to investigate. In a nearby cave, they’re attacked by a giant floating brain with eyes, which kills Dan with a bright light and then (in a very inept special effect) hides in Agar’s body.

Back at the lab, the brain emerges from Steve, introduces himself as Gor from the Planet Arous, and tells Steve he’d better cooperate or else. Since Gor is so powerful, he can control everything Steve does, and pretty soon Steve starts getting quite lecherous with his fiancée Sally (Joyce Meadows).

This has to be some sort of cinema first re: a sex-starved floating brain! Later, Sally and her dad John (Thomas Browne Henry) are visited by yet another floating brain, this one’s named Vol and is a law-enforcement brain from Arous. Vol announces that he also needs a body to hide out in, and after thinking it over, decides to hide in Agar’s dog, George. Not silly enough yet? Just wait!

When he’s not pawing Sally or tormenting Steve, Gor blows up a passenger plane, kills the local sheriff, burns up an Army colonel, and sets off a nuclear explosion. He then assembles representatives from all the world’s countries and tells them that they must help him construct a fleet of spaceships so he can conquer Arous, then the universe! (At least Gor doesn’t think small!)

Things are looking pretty bleak, so Sally has a chat with Vol. He tells her that Gor could conceivably be killed by a direct blow to the top of his, uh, cerebrum in the area of the Fissure of Rolando. She leaves a note to Steve telling him about Gor’s weakness, so when Gor emerges again, Steve grabs a convenient ax, and beats the offending brain to death in a bravura climax!

Probably the most fascinating thing about this movie is that the cast keeps perfectly straight faces throughout the whole film. Anyway, if you’re in for vintage entertainment with the most outrageously silly sci-fi plot of all time, you should watch this!

Oh, and as we learn from quite brilliant commentary, the special eye effects for Steve March were created by having John Agar wear special black contact lenses that were very thick; although the extreme thickness of the contact made it painful for Agar to wear them, of course.

And one last thing, if any of the scenes feel familiar to you, well that might well be because brief clips from this movie were used in the opening credits on the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Full Color Booklet with original essay by Author/ Historian Tom Weaver
Full commentary track by historians Tom Weaver, David Schecter, Larry Blamire, and PLANET AROUS star, Joyce Meadows
The Man Before the Brain: Director Nathan Juran : an original Ballyhoo Motion Pictures production
The Man Behind the Brain: The World of Nathan Juran : an original Ballyhoo Motion Pictures production
The film will also be included in a full frame format, 1.33:1
Now including a special, all new, introduction by Actor Joyce Meadows!

www.thefilmdetective.com

www.mvdshop.com





Giant: 4K UHD [Blu-ray]
(Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray+Digital / NR / (1956) 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Giant, the 1956 classic film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean in his final role, will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray and Digital on June 21st, 2022 via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean star in a sweeping saga of jealousy, racism and the clash of cultures set in the vast Texas oilfields. Wealthy rancher Bick Benedict (Hudson) and dirt-poor cowboy Jett Rink (Dean) both woo Leslie Lynnton (Taylor) a beautiful young woman from Maryland who is new to Texas.

She marries Benedict, but she is shocked by the racial bigotry of the White Texans against the local people of Mexican descent. Rink discovers oil on a small plot of land, and while he uses his vast, new wealth to buy all the land surrounding the Benedict ranch, the Benedict’s disagreement over prejudice fuels conflict that runs across generations.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the magnificent Giant in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this June 21st, 2022.

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

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

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as one of the most memorable scenes, this one that takes place in the restaurant, where a color clash ensues and Rock Hudson has to step in to deal with it.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material - notably the glorious striking oil scene, which to my mind was Dean’s greatest ever scene (along with the birthday scene from East Of Eden, of course), and which he is most notably remembered for.

As for the audio, well we have a veritable smorgasbord of choice here: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English: Dolby Digital 5.1 (320 kbps), French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps).

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

As for the movie itself, well, no need to recap plot or echo consensus points. Instead I want to briefly examine three significant themes that the movie deals with. These prove especially topical now, even 65+ years after the movie’s release. Many film elements may have dated, but the themes haven’t. First, however, a brief background since I remember the movie’s initial splash with fond memories.

Okay, what does a 1950’s studio do to get people out of their TV chairs and into a cramped theater seat. First, they hire two of the biggest stars of the day (Hudson & Taylor), then the fastest rising star (Dean), and a whole troupe of colorful supporting players, plus an established director (Stevens) with a flair for epics.

Then they send them all down to the great expanse of southwestern Texas to film locations. For a screenplay, they get well-known Edna Ferber’s sprawling account of our then biggest state and adapt it for the Technicolor screen in the brightest hues. Put them together and Warner Bros. has a box office smash that drew folks, especially Dean-soaked teens, into theaters and drive-in’s everywhere.

Sure, much of the novel appeal has faded over time, while the sometimes dawdling 3-hour runtime seems excessive for today’s attention spans. At the same time, the screenplay’s cultural significance can be easily overshadowed by these showier parts. Still, the film’s loaded with visual appeal and ideas that still resonate.

So, will Bick (Hudson) and Leslie (Taylor) overcome their cultural differences and make a married go of it on his sprawling Texas cattle ranch. After all, she’s from the East and clearly of a background that lets her speak her mind. Trouble is, upper class Texas wives are expected to keep their place and hold their tongue.

So when Leslie intrudes on a husbands’ political parley and calls the men Neanderthals for excluding women, we know Bick’s got big adjustments to make. More than that, we’ve got a 50’s foreshadowing of the feminist movement that would gain real momentum in the 1960’s.

But not only is wife Leslie a prophet of feminist ideas, she’s an advocate of racial equality. In Texas, that means putting the repressed Mexican-Americans on an equal footing with whites. And that means confronting a more pointed issue than whether wives should speak up.

Here, I think, the script fudges some. Leslie is quite insistent on integrating her Latina daughter-in-law (Cardenas) into social occasions, thereby breaking the color line in an obvious way. Nor does she oppose son Jordy’s marrying a Mexican-American, unlike Bick and the traditionalists.

Clearly, Leslie’s character is designed as an agent of change, bringing more modern social values to a traditionally male and race dominated Texas culture.

Now, where I think the screenplay fudges, is by not really showing any overt opposition to Leslie’s integrationist ways from Bick’s elitist social class. Of course, blue-collar café owner Sarge (Simpson) decks Bick over the issue, thereby signaling that in the conflict between property and equality, property rights (his café) are the priority.

On the other hand, Bick’s upper class peers are portrayed as going meekly along with Leslie’s (and eventually Bick’s) integrationist efforts, regardless of what they may be thinking. There could be a number of reasons for the script’s finessing this point, but it strikes me as a retreat from an especially significant aspect of a key theme. After all, the elite have all kinds of ways of pressuring Bick besides decking him Sarge-fashion.

The last key theme is not emphasized as much as the other two, but is significantly present, nonetheless. And that is allowing the individual to decide his (or her) own course in life without having it dictated by tradition. Bick would naturally like eldest son Jordy to take over his cattle and oil empire after he passes on. Nothing unusual about that. In fact, the roots go back to that of preserving wealth and power in the middle-ages through inheritance.

But Jordy has other ideas, like being a doctor, instead. Bick’s not happy about his empire not being passed to Benedict the Third, but maybe one of his son-in-laws will be interested. Except that turns out to be a bigger problem than he thought. Anyway, each family member is portrayed as eventually following his or her desires rather than something imposed. Still, the question of life’s chosen path remains an ongoing difficulty regardless of era.

Oddly, the movie’s third main character Jett Rink appears uninvolved in any of these underlying themes. Instead, he’s driven by his unrequited love for the unobtainable Leslie. But since the actor’s the famously eccentric Dean, his movie character can’t be someone too conventional. So Rink follows his own quirky beat.

Anyway, seeing the movie again after 65+ years, and in this magnificent 4K UHD form nonetheless, was still a visual treat. What I guess grabbed me now are the themes that must have slipped by my first viewing. After all, where else at that time could such big stars as Taylor and Hudson and teen idol Dean be seen in the same feature, along with the vast Texas expanse and those opulent mansion interiors.

At the time, these visuals seemed overwhelming and still are entertaining, but then focus does have a way of altering over time, and I guess mine did.

Giant Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special feature:

Commentary by George Stevens Jr., Screen Writer Ivan Moffat and Critic Stephen Farber.

The new 4K restoration was completed sourcing both the original camera negatives and protection RGB separation master positives for the best possible image, and color corrected in high dynamic range for the latest picture display technology.

The audio was sourced primarily from a 1995 protection copy of the Original Magnetic Mono soundtrack. The picture and audio restoration was completed by Warner Bros. Post Production Creative Services: Motion Picture Imaging and Post Production Sound.

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

Giant will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc for $24.99 ERP and includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Digital download of the film. Fans can also own Giant in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on June 21st, 2022.

George Stevens, Sr. won his second Oscar® for directing the sweeping family saga set in Texas during the days of the oil boom. Based on Edna Ferber’s controversial novel, the movie’s release in 1956 was a massive box office hit and garnered 10 Academy Award® nominations.

Considered by critics as ahead of its time, Giant is admired today for the breadth of its humanity more than its epic scale with its grand themes of generational conflict, racial tolerance, and social change. It exposed the marginalization and segregation of Mexican Americans for the first time on the big screen.

At the center of the film, Elizabeth Taylor, as Leslie Benedict, portrays a strong and progressive woman who acts to stem the patterns of injustice.

In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

www.wbd.com





Aquaman: King of Atlantis [DVD]
(Cooper Andrews, Gillian Jacobs, Thomas Lennon, Dana Snyder, Andrew Morgado, et al / DVD+Digital / NR / 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Monstrous creatures, devious foes and incredible underwater adventures populate Aquaman: King of Atlantis, an action-packed mini-series now coming to Digital and DVD (USA $14.99 SRP; Canada $19.99 SRP) as a feature-length animated film on June 21, 2022 courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Blu-ray Verdict: Aquaman: King of Atlantis begins with Aquaman starting his first day on the job as king of Atlantis – and he’s got a lot of catching up to do. Luckily, he has his two royal advisors to back him up: the scholar Vulko, and Mera, the water controlling warrior princess.

Between dealing with unscrupulous surface dwellers, elder evils from beyond time and his own half-brother who wants to overthrow him, Aquaman must rise to the challenge and prove to his subjects – and to himself – that he’s the true heir to the throne, and holder of the trident!

The first miniseries produced by Warner Bros. Animation and lead Cooper Andrews’ second DC production - as he previously played Victor, Billy Batson’s foster dad, in the live-action Shazam! movie - let alone having been executive produced by the legendary director of the original Hollywood film, James Wan (and developed by Thundercats Roar veterans Victor Courtright and Marly Halpern-Graser), phew, having now watched the entire series in one long binge sitting, I can honestly say that Aquaman: King of Atlantis is as bright, as funny, and as colorful as you could have ever hoped for, trust me on that!

Now, ok, sure, I say I binge watched this in one long sitting, but as you might well already now, there are only three episodes here, but still, it was a mini-marathon and a highly enjoyable one, to boot.

A sidestepping take on DC’s King of the Seas, the series’ expanded scope and run-time benefit the show’s material here and coupled with a cast that infuses their characters with silly charm along with an animation style that excels at superhero antics, this trio of episodes from the HBO Max mini-series is a DC fan’s blessing!

Basically, for those wishing for a story line that they can grip onto from the off, Aquaman: King of Atlantis effectively picks up in a world not too dissimilar from the ending of James Wan’s Aquaman, where Aquaman (Cooper Andrews) has defeated Ocean Master (Dana Synder) and taken his rightful place atop Atlantis’ throne; along with his trusted advisor Vulko (Thomas Lennon) and battle-ready girlfriend Mera (Gillian Jacobs) by his side.

It opens with Chapter One: Dead Sea, where on his first day as king of Atlantis, Aquaman must prove he’s the right man for the job. Luckily, Vulko is ready with just the right mission: investigating a distant outpost that no one has heard from in years.

In Chapter Two: Primordeus, Aquaman’s reputation is under attack, but no one in Atlantis is taking him seriously. To win his subjects over, he sets out on a journey that leads him straight into a horror-tinged mystery unlike anything he’s ever seen.

And in the final episode, Chapter Three: Tidal Shift, alongside trusted allies Mera and Vulko, King Aquaman faces unscrupulous surface dwellers, ancient evils from beyond time, and his half-brother’s attempts to overthrow him all to prove that he’s the right man for the throne.

In closing, Aquaman: King of Atlantis is highly enthusiastic, brightly colored - and in a way that very few superhero animations are - in a way that brings us the mini-series via a truly simplified animation style (which is very reminiscent of the aforementioned Thundercats Roar veterans Victor Courtright and Marly Halpern-Graser’s earlier work).

Cooper Andrews (The Walking Dead, Shazam!) leads the cast of Aquaman: King of Atlantis as the title character, and he’s joined by Gillian Jacobs (Community, Invincible, Injustice) as Mera, Thomas Lennon (Supergirl, Reno 911!) as Vulko, Dana Snyder (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Justice League Action) as Ocean Master, Andrew Morgado (Supergirl, Archer) as Mortikov, and Kevin Michael Richardson (The Simpsons, American Dad!) as the Royal Announcer.

Flula Borg (The Suicide Squad, Pitch Perfect 2) also stars as Mantis, and Kimberly Brooks (DC Super Hero Girls, Batwheels) as Hammer. Also providing voices is Chris Jai Alex, Trevor Devall, Armen Taylor, Kaitlyn Robrock, Regi Davis, Ludi Lin, Robbie Daymond, Erica Lindbeck, Laila Berzins and Erica Ash.

Victor Courtright (ThunderCats Roar!) and Marly Halpern-Graser (Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) served as showrunners and co-executive producers. Courtright and Marly Halpern-Graser conceived the story for the mini-series/film, and Halpern-Graser, Bryan Condon (Right Now Kapow) and Laura Sreebny (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power) co-wrote the teleplay.

The mini-series was executive produced by James Wan (Aquaman), Atomic Monster’s Michael Clear (Annabelle Comes Home), Rob Hackett (Swamp Thing), and Sam Register (Teen Titans Go!). Keith Pakiz (ThunderCats Roar) served as director on all three episodes of the mini-series.

Official Trailer

www.wbd.com

www.dccomics.com





The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue [BR]
(Ray Lovelock, Christine Galbo, Arthur Kennedy, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1974) 2022 / Synapse Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: A strange twist of fate brings two young travelers, George (Ray Lovelock, The Cassandra Crossing) and Edna (Christine Galbo, The House That Screamed), to a small town where an experimental agricultural machine may be bringing the dead back to life!

As zombies infest the area and attack the living, a bullheaded detective (Academy Award® nominee Arthur Kennedy, Peyton Place) thinks the couple are Satanists responsible for the local killings. George and Edna have to fight for their lives, and prove their innocence, as they try and stop the impending zombie apocalypse!

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (aka Let Sleeping Corpses Lie and Don’t Open the Window) is a gory horror tale from Spanish director Jorge Grau and widely considered to be one of the best zombie films ever made.

Beautifully restored in 4K from the original camera negative, Synapse Films presents the film with the true original English theatrical mono mix and the real opening and closing credit sequences intact.

Blu-ray Verdict: Ray Lovelock stars as George, a hippy antiques dealer from London who encounters trouble whilst on his way to Windermere for the weekend: first, his motorbike is trashed by pretty redhead Edna (Cristina Galbó), who doesn’t know her reverse from her first gear; next, he is taken out of his way by the troublesome woman, who convinces him to accompany her to her sister’s house; and then he runs into the living dead, who have been reanimated by a piece of experimental agricultural machinery designed to kill insects!

Oh, and to make matters even worse, George is constantly harassed by a right-wing, hippy-hating police inspector who believes that the bearded biker may be a satanist involved in the murder of Edna’s brother-in-law!

Extremely atmospheric (thanks to great use of remote locales) and often pretty clever (its opening sequence takes a wry swipe at the zombie-like state of city commuters, beating Shaun of the Dead to the joke by 30 years), The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue aka it’s original, and far better title Let Sleeping Corpses Lie is a very effective example of the Euro-zombie sub-genre.

It is also a rather fascinating film: a Spanish/Italian co-production shot in England’s beautiful Lake District, featuring unusual zombies that can bring other corpses to life by anointing the eyelids with blood, and which predates George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (and its many subsequent imitators) by several years.

Unlike the non-stop gore-fests that followed in the wake of Romero’s classic, Grau’s movie takes a much more considered approach, carefully and gradually building the tension, saving most of the graphic gore (by Italian FX expert Gianetto de Rossi) for its exciting finalé.

This leisurely pace, far from being boring, not only allows the viewer to appreciate the subtleties of the script (the humor, the ecological message), but also makes the carnage all the more horrifying when it finally arrives (with a moment when a nurse is bloodily torn apart being the gory highlight of the film).

Woefully neglected for many years, it’s great to see this film finally getting some love by Synapse Films/MVD Visual here on a beautiful 4K restoration Blu-ray for all my fellow zombie fans looking for a little more than just splatter from their Euro-horror. It deserves it. Thank you. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Exclusive new 4K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative
New 5.1 English stereo surround remix made exclusively for the Synapse Films release
Restoration of the true original English language theatrical mono mix
Two audio commentaries featuring authors and film scholars Troy Howarth, Nathaniel Thompson and Bruce Holecheck
Jorge Grau - Catalonia’s Cult Film King (89 mins.) – This extensive feature-length documentary explores the life and films of director Jorge Grau
The Scene of the Crime - Giannetto De Rossi in Discussion from Manchester (16 Mins.) (BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE)
Giannetto De Rossi - Q&A at the Festival of Fantastic Films, UK (43 Mins)
Theatrical trailer, TV spots and radio spots
Newly translated removable English SDH subtitles

www.synapsefilms.com

www.mvdshop.com





Flatliners (Special Edition) [4K Ultra HD]
(Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Hope Davis, William Baldwin, Kimberly Scott, et al / 4K UHD Blu-ray / R / (1990) 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Known for his impressively eclectic filmography and for helping to launch the careers of several young Hollywood stars of the 80s and 90s, Joel Schumacher (The Lost Boys, St. Elmo’s Fire) tackles the existential question that, at one time or another, haunts us all: what awaits us after we die?

At the University Hospital School of Medicine, five ambitious students subject themselves to a daring experiment: to temporarily induce their own deaths, hoping to glimpse the afterlife before being brought back to life.

But as competition within the group intensifies and their visions of the world beyond increasingly bleed into their waking lives, they’re about to learn that the greatest threat comes not from the spirit world but from the long-suppressed secrets of their own pasts.

Stylishly photographed by Jan de Bont (Basic Instinct) and featuring a cast of Hollywood’s hottest talent – including Kiefer Sutherland (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me), Julia Roberts (Secret in their Eyes) and Kevin Bacon (Wild Things) – Flatliners is the ultimate life-and-death thrill ride.

Blu-ray Verdict: Nostalgia isn’t always the best reason to watch a movie. More often than not, the movies you loved as a kid will disappoint you as an adult. While there are exceptions to this rule, it’s hard to justify owning a DVD of Krull, regardless of how many insightful the director’s commentary may be!

But stay sharp Gen X/Y’ers, because the dozens of disappointments dominating your trip down memory lane, might stop you from stumbling across one worth revisiting.

One surprise film worth another look is Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners (now out via Arrow Films/MVD Visual as a wondrous 4K UHD), the supernatural thriller starring 80’s popcorn heavyweights Keifer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts and Billy Baldwin.

You would think that a stew comprised of this cast, the flamboyant flair of Schumacher and the über slick eye of cinematographer Jan De Bont would result in something sickeningly stodgy, but calories aside, Flatliners ain’t half bad.

Sure, even though it’s production design is admittedly, and inexplicably over-the-top and the photography is achingly over-stylized (replete with neon soaked streets spewing endless billows of steam), Flatliners still manages to be an effectively dark and compelling thriller.

If there’s an explanation why Flatliners was forgotten, it might be because 1990 saw the release of another, far superior, supernatural thriller: Jacob’s Ladder.

Had Flatliners been released a year or two after Jacob’s Ladder, it’s likely Schumacher’s flashy thriller would have been dismissed as a toned down, commercialized rip-off of Adrian Lyne’s nightmarish masterpiece. But with these films being released in the same year, Flatliners enjoyed a different fate, tripling JL’s take at the box office despite being a watered down version of a similar premise.

The passage of time hasn’t been as kind to Flatliners, it has been lost atop a dated heap of throwaway 80’s Brat Pack dreck, while JL has cemented its reputation as a timeless classic. Fates aside, JL is seamlessly terrifying and it manages to keep audiences guessing right up until the last frame, whereas Flatliners falls victim to over-simplification and Hollywood conveniences that drag down the final act into a predictably tidy denouement.

Comparisons between the two movies is unfair, and ultimately overlooks Flatliners ability to represent the 80’s at its quintessential best. Released at the end of a decade of shallow excess, Flatliners will always be dated by its hairstyles and clothing styles, but in fairness, it should also be remembered as a well executed movie at (or at least near) the top of its particular heap of dreck.

Thus, and for intents and purposes, it’s an entertaining walk down memory lane and one made all the more crisply enjoyable by this wondrous 4K UHD presentation. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the special features of:

Brand new 4K restoration from the original negative, approved by director of photography Jan de Bont
4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
Lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 surround soundtracks
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary by critics Bryan Reesman and Max Evry
The Conquest of our Generation, a brand new video interview with screenwriter Peter Filardi
Visions of Light, a brand new video interview with director of photography Jan de Bont and chief lighting technician Edward Ayer
Hereafter, a brand new video interview with first assistant director John Kretchmer
Restoration, a brand new video interview with production designer Eugenio Zanetti and art director Larry Lundy
Atonement, a brand new video interview with composer James Newton Howard and orchestrator Chris Boardman
Dressing for Character, a brand new interview with costume designer Susan Becker
Theatrical trailer
Image gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin

www.MVDvisual.com





Hell High: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
(Maureen Mooney, Christopher Stryker, Christopher Cousins, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1989) 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Teenage kicks take a decidedly dark turn in director Douglas Grossman’s Hell High – a twisted tale of delinquency pushed to its horrifying extreme, where Class of 1984 meets I Spit on Your Grave!

When high school football hero Jon-Jon (Breaking Bad’s Christopher Cousins) quits the team, he winds up falling in with a group of outcasts led by the sadistic Dickens (played to unhinged perfection by the late Christopher Stryker).

With a willing new recruit in tow, the gang’s youthful hi jinks soon spiral into a night of abject horror when they decide to play a cruel prank on the home of their teacher Miss Storm – who, unbeknownst to the youngsters, harbors a dark and tormented past. Hell High – which was released in some international territories as Raging Fury – is a singular entry in the late ’80s horror canon, melding elements of the revenge movie with the trappings of the slasher genre to delirious effect. School’s out… forever!

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, I had no expectations of what this movie would be like when it was kindly sent to us for review and I sat down, late one night to review it thereafter.

I figured that it would be about a high school class menaced by some sort of slasher villain, but I had no way to prepare for the gritty and just plain weird film that I would be confronted with!

Unlike the typical slasher, this film finds itself spending time with the victim - high-school science teacher Ms. Brook Storm (Maureen Mooney), who is barely keeping it together after some repressed childhood trauma.

It’s also about a former quarterback named Jon-Jon who grows sick of the game and his sinister teammates, so he falls in with the delinquents like Dickens, Queenie and Smiler.

Speaking of that childhood trauma, it opens the film for in a swamp, a man and a woman are making love when he decides to start beating her with a doll that belongs to a little girl.

The little girl watches and grabs some mud, waiting for the two to leave the swamp. As they do, she throws it in the man’s eyes and he crashes, sending the man and woman into poles which impale them as the little girl stares at the accident she’s caused.

Yes, of course, that is Ms. Storm and this murder has now become an urban legend as some believe a swamp monster is the real cause of these two killings.

As Jon-Jon becomes part of this new gang, they decide to ruin the football game by driving on the field in the middle of a play and stealing the game ball. It might seem like this movie has become a teen sex comedy at this point, but don’t worry. Soon, it will stop meandering and get even stranger!

The gang now puts on Halloween masks and pelts Ms. Storm’s home with swamp mud before the shenanigans turn into full-blown sexual assault on her. You’d think that Queenie, the lone girl in the gang, would be against this, but even she joins in, subverting the very slasher nature that you expect from this film.

Hey, but don’t take it from me how weird this movie is. Joe Bob Briggs himself did the intro to the DVD release of this film back in the day and he even featured it on his old Drive-In Theater show, too!

In fact, as both that and Joe Bobs’ commentary are included here on this Blu-ray release, I agree with everything he says about the film, for this is an amazingly original slasher that more people need to see! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the special features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative approved by cinematographer Steven Fierberg
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed stereo audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary with director/producer/co-writer Douglas Grossman and cinematographer Steven Fierberg
Archival audio commentary with director/producer/co-writer Douglas Grossman
Archival introduction and audio commentary with film critic Joe Bob Briggs
School’s Out! – a newly-filmed interview with director/producer/co-writer Douglas Grossman
A Beautiful Nightmare – a newly-filmed interview with cinematographer Steven Fierberg
Jon-Jon’s Journey – a newly-filmed interview with actor Christopher Cousins
The More the Better – a newly-filmed interview with actress Maureen Mooney
Music is Not Sound – a newly-filmed interview with composers Rich Macar and Christopher Hyams-Hart
Back to Schools: The Locations of Hell High – a tour of the original Hell High filming sites with author/filmmaker Michael Gingold
Archival video interviews with director/producer/co-writer Douglas Grossman and co-writer Leo Evans
Deleted Scene
Alternate Opening Titles
Trailers and TV Spots
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Ralf Krause

www.MVDvisual.com





The Righteous: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
(Henry Czerny, Mark O’Brien, Mayko Nguyen, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: A brooding occult horror with echoes of Bergman and Pasolini, The Righteous insinuates its way beneath the skin by way of an intelligent script, taut direction, and strong performances.

Writer and actor Mark O’Brien (Ready or Not) pulls no punches as he confronts grief, guilt, faith and atonement in his remarkable directorial debut.

A former priest, Frederic Mason (Henry Czerny), anguished by the tragic death of his young daughter, finds himself wrestling with his religious convictions when a mysterious young man (Mark O’Brien) appears wounded on his doorstop in need of assistance.

After he and his wife Ethel (Mimi Kuzyk) welcome him across the threshold and into their household, Frederic sees an opportunity for redemption in this mysterious and troubled lost soul, who might just be an emissary from God, or maybe the Devil.

Set amongst the bleak and forbidding landscapes of Newfoundland, crisply captured in tenebrous monochrome by cinematographer Scott McClellan, and featuring robust performances from all its cast members, The Righteous is a sombre supernatural chiller that builds to a memorable crescendo, and signals the emergence of a major new filmmaking talent.

Blu-ray Verdict: This first feature from director-actor-writer Mark O’Brien (Ready or Not) is about Frederic (Henry Czerny) a grieving man already struggling with his faith who decides to help an injured Aaron Smith (O’Brien) when the man knocks on his door and claims to be lost in the woods.

Frederic and his wife Ethel (Mimi Kuzyk) invite the man to stay, but Frederic soon begins to doubt why the man is there and the stories he tells. In fact, he could be there to test everything that Frederic - a one-time priest before he got married - knows. He’s already endured the tragic loss of his daughter. What can be next?

Filmed in striking black and white by cinematographer Scott McClellan, this movie is either a man of lapsed faith against the very human past sins made flesh or a home invasion movie. It could be both.

As Aaron starts putting his feet up on the table, reading the brochure on the dead child’s funeral expenses, asking some very personal questions and perhaps getting too close to Ethel, this film proves itself to be a long simmering and suspenseful effort that isn’t afraid to its time, nor worried about a small cast. After all, there’s just so much incredible talent on show here.

In closing, and without giving anything away, I will say that the film’s climax left me with more questions than answers. Indeed, I compare this ending to that of Donnie Darko where I think the intention was to let the audience interpret what the biblical ending means. [BSAM] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the special features of:

High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
Original 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary by writer, director and actor Mark O’Brien and editor Spencer Jones
Cast and crew interviews with writer/director/actor Mark O’Brien, producer Mark O’Neill, actors Henry Czerny, Mimi Kuzyk, and Kate Corbett, editor Spencer Jones, cinematographer Scott McClellan, and production designer Jason Clarke
Roundtable discussion with Mark O’Brien and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett and Chad Villella of Radio Silence
Stage Presentation and Q&A with Mark O’Brien and Henry Czerny from the World Premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival 2021
Grimmfest 2021 live-streamed Q&A with Mark O’Brien
Original soundtrack
Image gallery, accompanied by the film’s original score by Andrew Staniland
Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Grant Boland and Oink Creative

www.MVDvisual.com





Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet: Seasons 1 & 2
(Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Nelson, Ricky Nelson, David Nelson, et al / DVD / NR / (2022 / MPI Home Entertainment)

Overview: One of the most popular series in television history will return fully restored to entertain old fans and new viewers when THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET: SEASONS 1 AND 2 arrive on four-DVD sets from MPI Media Group on June 21st, 2022.

The two sets contain 39 episodes each, representing the complete first two seasons (78 episodes) of the long-running sitcom ranked number 6 on Vulture’s list of “The 50 Most Definitive Family TV Shows.”

The entire library of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet has been restored by MPI Media Group from the original 35mm picture and sound elements in association with the UCLA Film & Television Archive, which preserves the elements on behalf of the Nelson family.

DVD Verdict: For a record-breaking 14 seasons and 435 episodes, THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET aired on ABC-TV from 1952 through 1966, becoming one of the most cherished cultural touchstones of the 20th century.

The positive, wholesome series epitomized an idyllic American 1950s lifestyle, its gentle humor brought to the screen by the real-life Nelson family: Ozzie and wife Harriet with their sons, David and Rick, all portraying themselves in a trend-setting blend of fact-meets-fiction comedy decades before Seinfeld and other semi-reality-based shows.

The series humorously chronicled the daily lives of the Nelsons as David and Ricky grew up before millions of weekly viewers. While Ozzie Nelson had been a real-life bandleader and Harriet Nelson a singer, the series would help launch the musical career of their younger son, Ricky, who would become a teen idol with such enduring hits as “Travelin’ Man” and “Hello Mary Lou.”

For me, and I would imagine millions of others that grew up watching this wondrous show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet was for it’s time simply groundbreaking and cutting edge; which for a family oriented show that first premiered on radio in 1944 and then made the transition to television in 1952, was virtually unheard of before.

As aforementioned, this was also the show that brought Ricky Nelson into America’s living rooms and made it acceptable not only for it’s standards but kept it’s morals in check too. This was the sitcom where the husband never worked while the wife stayed home with the well-behaved kids (albeit sometimes with hilarious and unpredictable results, thus making it one of the funniest shows ever conceived for television).

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet premiered on ABC-TV on October 3rd, 1952 and ran for an astounding fourteen seasons on the air until April 23rd, 1966 and starred the entire real life Nelson family which included Ozzie Nelson his wife Harriet Nelson and sons David and Ricky Nelson.

The series produced an astounding 435 episodes with seasons 1 through 13 telecast and filmed in black and white with the 14th and final season of the series produced in color. Out of the 435 episodes that it produced a total of 409 episodes were in black and white from October 3rd, 1952 until March 17th, 1965.

The 14th and final season produced 26 episodes in color from September 18th, 1965 until April 23rd, 1966 and once culminated Ozzie and Harriet became the second longest running family sitcom in television history behind My Three Sons.

For those inquiring minds, the sponsors were The American Gas Company, Proctor and Gamble, The Eastman Kodak Company, Quaker Oats Company, The Chrysler Corporation, Heinz Ketchup, and The Colgate-Palmotive Company throughout the series entire 14 season run.

Ozzie Nelson was actually not just the creator-writer and executive producer of the series, but also the director of several episodes as well. Ozzie directed a total of 358 episodes between 1952-1966 whilst David Nelson directed 8 episodes of the series between 1963-1965.

The writers included Dick Bensfield, Bill Davenport, Ben Gershman, Perry Grant, Don Nelson, and Jay Sommers. Ozzie Nelson along with Harriet Nelson, David Nelson, and Rick Nelson appeared in all 435 episodes of the series with the supporting cast members Don De Fore, Parley Baer, Lyle Talbot, Mary Jane Croft, Connie Harper, James Stacy, Joe Flynn, Kent McCord, and Frank Cady.

The show had a low key style to it, but when the boys got married the show had seemingly outlived its appeal and so when the show went into it’s fourteenth and final season in color in the fall of 1965, ABC actually moved it to an earlier time slot (on Saturday nights) which led to it’s cancellation in the spring of 1966 (when the series was moved in favor of Batman).

One reason for this is that by 1966, the youth counter culture was changing and so was the television landscape as well, but for a series that was family friendly and which also had great appeal, the times were changing and so Ozzie and Harriet ended it’s long run on television and took it’s place in cultural history.

The OFFICIAL COMPLETE SEASON ONE contains all 39 full, fun-filled episodes on four DVDs, starting with the premiere show and other rare adventures not seen on television in decades. Don DeFore (Hazel) appears as Ozzie’s neighbor pal Thorny along with guest stars from classic television and films, including Hal Smith (The Andy Griffith Show), Ellen Corby (The Waltons), Janet Waldo (The Jetsons), Joseph Kearns (Dennis the Menace), Frank Nelson (I Love Lucy) and other familiar faces.

The OFFICIAL COMPLETE SEASON TWO also contains 39 episodes – with more lost moments appearing for the first time since originally broadcast – on four discs and features such guest stars as Frank Cady (Petticoat Junction), John Carradine (The Munsters) and Lurene Tuttle (Psycho).

In closing, most all of us of a certain age remember this series from our childhood, with those memories still able to flood our heart and souls with genuine warmth, love and heartfelt thanks for a show filled with genuine family endeavors and sprinkled throughout with dulcet humor. This series was all about a real family, not actors, but real people with real family values (something that is sadly missing in today’s society).

And now, for the very first time, in association with the Nelson family, the entire series has been digitally restored for its 70th Anniversary with complete episodes from the original film negatives for superior picture quality. These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Official Purchase Link

www.mpihomevideo.com





Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore [4K]
(Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers.

But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly-anticipated Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this June 28th, 2022.

For my money, this Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore [4K Ultra HD + Digital] combo pack sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

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

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as one of the most memorable scenes, when Jacob gets pranked by the Slytherins!

Mr. Kowalski may be the only Muggle in history to ever step foot inside Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. According to Hermione in Goblet of Fire (the book, not the movie), any Muggle who approaches the school will see a crumbling old ruin and a danger sign. How can Jacob see it? The only explanation that makes sense is that Dumbledore lifted the enchantment for him and him alone.

He eats breakfast in the Great Hall, hangs out with the students, shows off the wand he got “for Christmas,” and happily talks about how a group of Slytherin students gave him a bag of candy. Newt bursts his bubble by informing Jacob that he’s actually eating one of the most unappealing confections known to wizarding kind: Cockroach Clusters.

Jacob’s look of disgust and fury is priceless, though based on what we know about Slytherin attitudes toward non-magical peoples, the prank could have been much worse.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material; notably the scene - which also recalls to mind the Mirror Dimension antics of Doctor Strange over in the MCU - the battle between Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Credence Barebone/Aurelius Dumbledore (Ezra Miller), which is one of the biggest action set pieces in this movie!

Played out on the streets of 1930s Berlin (the location and time period carry a lot of thematic weight here), the duel finds Albus relying on a device that Harry Potter fans know well: the Deluminator.

Most likely applying the same principles that allowed Ron to find Harry and Hermione in Deathly Hallows, the magical artifact — which Dumbledore invented himself — seems to transport the two fighters into a reflective universe that can be destroyed without harm or exposure to the surrounding Muggles.

As for the audio, well we have a veritable smorgasbord of choice here: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English: Dolby Digital 5.1 (320 kbps), French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps).

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

As for the movie itself, well, the third installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise was eagerly awaited not just for Jude Law’s first full-length portrayal of the beloved character, but since the world wanted to see whether Mads Mikkelsen would rise to the challenge, having been called up to replace Johnny Depp in the role of Gellert Grindelwald.

After having been embroiled in a barrage of scandals over allegations of marital abuse by his ex-wife and actress Amber Heard, Warner Brothers were forced to replace Depp with the accomplished Danish actor, who, thankfully, delivers a rousing performance, laced with more stoicism and emotion than the more naturally eccentric and vivacious Depp.

We join our beloved magizoologist Newt Scamander (played by Oscar-winner Eddy Redmayne) and friends as they look to stop the rampage of the evil Grindelwald across Europe and put together the original Dumbledore’s Army, immortalized by the Harry Potter film and book series.

Having put in place a blood pact with his former lover Grindelwald, Dumbledore is unable to directly act against him and instead resorts to assembling a rag-tag but intrepid bunch of wizards along with the bumbling but immensely likeable muggle Jacob Kowalksi (played by the splendid Dan Fogler).

Jude Law is exceptional in his portrayal of the world’s most powerful wizard, radiating gravitas and depth in every scene he is in and his combination sequences with Mikkelsen deliver some of the best sequences in the franchise, across its three installments so far. Newt’s constant companions - the sassy Bowtruckle and the kleptomaniac Niffler - deliver moments of delight and comedy even while the story is on a knife edge.

Redmayne, Fogler and the deliciously outlandish Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein, reminiscent of Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series) remain on point with their performances just like in previous editions. However, the rest of the supporting cast including Richard Coyle, Jessica Williams, Callum Turner and even the usually dependable Ezra Miller (Credence) fail to create any lasting impression.

The stakes definitely go up in this edition, with Grindelwald trying to manipulate the election for the Supreme Leadership position of the International Confederation of Wizards and this is reflected in the enhanced CGI and Visual Effects employed by director David Yates with the visual impact coming across in full force via 3D in theaters, trust me.

The wizarding duels are neatly choreographed and intricately shot and are definitely an enhancement over what we have been used to so far in the Harry Potter and the larger Wizarding World franchises so far and cinematographer George Richmond deserves high praise for delivering such impactful frames at every juncture.

The writing, however, waxes and wanes with many high points in terms of confrontations and battles not backed up by character development or emotional depth. The Porpentina-Newt romance which was the cornerstone of the first two installments is dealt with clumsily by the director, and we see no growth in the character arcs of any of the protagonists we have seen and fallen in love with.

Also, the twists in the story line can be seen a mile away and with the franchise expanding to five films from the original three, one can see the unresolved threads being put in place for future films.

Despite sluggish writing, Jude Law, Eddy Redmayne and Mads Mikkelsen’s immaculate performances and the top-draw CGI and production design and comforting throwbacks and references to the Harry Potter lexicon make this a cozy weekend watch.

Lovingly embedded with a viewing pleasure that lies in the visual effects and the stylish wizardry and duels, set your expectations right and you won’t be disappointed!

DIGITAL, 4K, BLU-RAY & DVD ELEMENTS:
“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” Premium Digital Ownership contains the following special features:
1. The Dumbledore Family Tree
2. Dumbledore Through the Ages
3. Magical or Muggle
4. The Magic of Hogwarts
5. Even More Fantastic Beasts
6. Newt in the Wild
7. The German Ministry of Magic
8. A Dumbledore Duel
9. The Candidates’ Dinner
10. Erkstag Jailbreak
11. Battle in Bhutan
12. The Secrets of Cursed Child
13. Deleted Scenes

“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” 4K UHD combo pack and Blu-ray contain the following special features:
1. The Dumbledore Family Tree
2. Dumbledore Through the Ages
3. Magical or Muggle
4. The Magic of Hogwarts
5. Even More Fantastic Beasts
6. Newt in the Wild
7. The German Ministry of Magic
8. A Dumbledore Duel
9. The Candidates’ Dinner
10. Erkstag Jailbreak
11. Battle in Bhutan
12. The Secrets of Cursed Child
13. Deleted Scenes

“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” DVD contains the following special feature:
1. The Magic of Hogwarts

Experience the newest adventure in the Wizarding World™ when “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” arrives for Premium Digital Ownership at home on May 30th, 2022.

The film is directed by David Yates from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling & Steve Kloves, based upon a screenplay by Rowling, and stars Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) and two-time Oscar nominee Jude Law (“Cold Mountain,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley”). The film will also be available to stream on HBO Max on May 30th and will be available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD beginning on June 28th, 2022.

The film’s ensemble cast also includes Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, William Nadylam, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Victoria Yeates, Poppy Corby-Tuech, Fiona Glascott, Katherine Waterston, Maria Fernanda Cândido, Richard Coyle, Oliver Masucci, Valerie Pachner, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, and Mads Mikkelsen.

The film was produced by David Heyman, Rowling, Steve Kloves, Lionel Wigram and Tim Lewis, with Neil Blair, Danny Cohen, Josh Berger, Courtenay Valenti and Michael Shar executive producing.

Official Trailer

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore @ Facebook

www.wbd.com





Cinderella [Blu-ray+Digital]
(Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver, Nicholas Galitzine, Billy Porter, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / PG / 2022 / Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: From Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect), Cinderella is a musically driven bold new take on the classic fairytale. Our ambitious heroine (Camila Cabello) has big dreams and with the help of her Fab Godmother, she perseveres to make them come true.

Cinderella has an all-star cast including Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver, James Corden, Nicholas Galitzine, Billy Porter and Pierce Brosnan.

Blu-ray Verdict: Opening with the town folks performing Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation, we are then introduced to Ella (pop singer Camila Cabello in her first movie), who lives in the basement of her stepmother’s (Idina Menzel) home.

Yes, Ella has two stepsisters, although neither are particularly wicked. In fact, Anastasia (Maddie Baillio) appears almost disinterested, while Drizella (Charlotte Spencer) is at times, downright hilarious (in a Leslie Mann kind of way). Even the stepmother has moments of respectability and decency with Ella.

Ella’s only friends are the three mice who also live in the basement. It’s here where she hones her talent as a dress designer and dreams of having her own business (How hard can it be?, she muses).

For her, she sees fashion design as not just her way out of the basement, but more importantly, as her road to independence. She doesn’t need a man or anyone else, and is skilled in daily affirmations. Hers is less of a dream and more of a goal, despite the challenges of her situation.

Of course, this is still a Cinderella story, and Nicholas Galitzine plays Prince Robert, an unfocused young man who lacks the drive to be king and fulfill the ultimate wish of his father, King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan).

On the other hand, Robert’s sister, Princess Gwen (Tallulah Greive) is both driven and filled with ideas on ways to improve the kingdom. Her father readily dismisses her from matters of importance (men things), while Queen Beatrice (Minnie Driver) initially tries to maintain peace in the family.

Knowing that this is a musical, and seeing Pierce Brosnan’s name in the credits, might generate nightmarish flashbacks for those who experienced his singing in MAMMA MIA! (2008). While he does tease/threaten us with singing, most of his musical bits are quite tongue-in-cheek.

Bringing a jolt of energy to the story at a time when it’s desperately needed is Billy Porter as Ella’s non-binary Fabulous Godmother, known as Fab G. Porter’s costume and overall flamboyance are a hoot to watch, and oh by the way, he’s quite a singer as well.

And yes, the three mice turn into coachmen played by James Corden, James Acaster, and Romesh Ranganathan. They do serve up some comic relief, but likely not as much as they or the filmmaker hopes. Surprisingly, the set design and costume design are fairly drab - the two exceptions being Porter and the ball.

In addition to the opening Rhythm Nation song, you’ll hear a version of Salt-N-Pepa’s What a Man, as well as other familiar tunes. The music and the shift in Ella’s approach are the contemporary touches, as the girl-power theme stresses there’s no need for a man ... even a Prince.

The twist on the Cinderella tale varies from previous versions, the most popular being Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 film with Lily James and Cate Blanchett, the 1997 film with Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, and of course, Walt Disney’s 1950 animated classic.

Ms. Cannon’s version is still a love story though for it’s just love of one’s self and career, rather than the love of another person. A tale perfectly suited to the times. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of a wondrous Gag Reel.

Sony Pictures @ YouTube





See For Me [Blu-ray]
(Skyler Davenport, Kim Coates, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Laura Vandervoort, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / IMAGE Entertainment - IFC Midnight)

Overview: A group of thieves break into the luxurious, secluded mansion Sophie is house-sitting. Sophie, a visually impaired former skier, must rely on Kelly, an army veteran living across the country, to help her fight back.

Blu-ray Verdict: When blind former skier Sophie accepts a last minute house-sitting job in a secluded mansion, she awakes in the middle of the night to find the house under invasion by a group of thieves seeking a hidden safe.

Her only means of defense: a new app called “See For Me”, which matches her with a volunteer across the country who uses Sophie’s cell phone to see on her behalf.

Stubbornly independent, Sophie is reluctant to accept help until she is connected to Kelly, an army veteran who spends her days playing first person shooter games.

As the game of cat-and-mouse with the intruders escalates, Sophie is forced to learn that if she’s going to survive the night, she’ll need to take all the help she can get.

Writers Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue have taken the basic plot of the classic Audrey Hepburn Wait Until Dark and upgraded its technology. Blind and being stalked by violent criminals? Don’t worry, there’s an app for that.

Sophie Scott (Skyler Davenport) was a promising skier until she lost her sight to a rare disease. Now she combines house sitting and larceny because nobody would suspect the poor blind girl, as they say (somewhere).

Anyway, her current assignment house/cat sitting for a very rich Debra looks to be all about stealing an expensive bottle of wine or two. In truth, it’s a nice touch making the disabled heroine something other than a perfect angel that everyone wants to love and pity.

But what See For Me does it take this plot point a little bit too far, for my liking, as our lead, blind character exhibits many traits of, well, not being all that nice herself; and at times, more so than the criminals who have just broken in.

However, it turns out that is a magnificent trait to have in these particular circumstances as it comes in rather handy as the craziness unfolds around her.

Personally, and I’ve now watched this movie twice in three days, I have to say I am rather impressed by Skyler Davenport, our blind lead actress in the film who, it turns out, is actually legally blind in real life.

For this most definitely adds to the believably of her actions as a blind person stumbling around, knocking things over, and just acting blindly lost, for Davenport is very skilled at her craft here.

Sure, home invasion stories are a staple of the horror and thriller genres and so are a well-trodden territory, but when handled well, much like See For Me, they still offer an effective avenue for tension, pressure, and terror.

In closing, See For Me may not be anything new to the genre, may not even make you love the lead character enough to care (due to everything aforementioned about her), but what it does do is deliver a tight, impactful, efficient thriller, one with enough unique hooks and unexpected turns to set it (for the most part) apart from the pack.

Complete with that hook line of a rather unique twist, the result is a quick, edgy, old-school thriller that really works on most all thriller levels. A unique offering that fully deserves all the praise that it is receiving, albeit that most of it is deservedly aimed at the super talented Skyler Davenport. [RF] This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Official Trailer

www.us.RLJentertainment.com

www.IFCfilms.com





...Archives