AnneCarlini.com Home
 
  Giveaways!
  Insider Gossip
  Monthly Hot Picks
  Book Reviews
  CD Reviews
  Concert Reviews
  DVD Reviews
  Game Reviews
  Movie Reviews
  Jeffrey Reddick (Director - Dont Look Back)
  Amanda Seyfried (Mank)
  Eddie Izzard (Six Minutes to Midnight)
  The Home of WAXEN WARES Candles!
  Angelina Jolie (Those Who Wish Me Dead)
  Bob Odenkirk (Nobody)
  Check Out Anne Carlini Productions Now!!
  NEW! Crystal Gayle
  NEW! Chez Kane
  Anthony Hopkins (The Father)
  NEW! China Crisis
  COMMENTS FROM EXCLUSIVE MAGAZINE READERS!
  Michigan Siding Company for ALL Your Outdoor Needs


©2021 annecarlini.com
Willow

Nobody [4K Ultra HD]
(Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen, et al / 4K Blu-ray+Digital / R / 2021 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: Sometimes the man you do not notice is the most dangerous of all. Emmy winner Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul, The Post, Nebraska) stars as Hutch Mansell, an underestimated and overlooked dad and husband, taking lifes indignities on the chin and never pushing back.

A nobody.

When two thieves break into his suburban home one night, Hutch declines to defend himself or his family, hoping to prevent serious violence.

His teenage son, Blake (Gage Munroe, The Shack), is disappointed in him and his wife, Becca (Connie Nielsen, Wonder Woman), seems to pull only further away.

The aftermath of the incident strikes a match to Hutchs long-simmering rage, triggering dormant instincts and propelling him on a brutal path that will surface dark secrets and lethal skills.

In a barrage of fists, gunfire and squealing tires, Hutch must save his family from a dangerous adversary (famed Russian actor Aleksey Serebryakov, Amazons McMafia) - and ensure that he will never be underestimated as a nobody again.

Blu-ray Verdict: Universal Studios Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the euphorically mesmerizing, and gloriously colorful Nobody in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this June 22nd, 2021.

For my money, this Nobody: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital combo packs 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 Nobody presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10, 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 crisper 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 the truly magnificent I Burned It scene, where Odenkirk is recalling how the home invasion, and all that followed, has awoken something long dormant inside him.

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 within the House Invasion scene, where Odenkirk and company are reactively terrified about what is going on in front of them.

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

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

OK, well, as for the actual movie, What if Bob Odenkirk starred in a John Wick-style, R-rated action movie with a darkly comedic tinge to it?

Well, that is basically Nobody summed up in a nutshell and fans of Odenkirk who know what they are getting themselves into will not be disappointed.

The films plot centers around Odenkirks character getting revenge on perpetrators responsible for a home invasion. I will not get into any more details, but suffice it to say it gets increasingly gonzo and outlandish as it goes on!

Having always been a fan of Odenkirk as an actor, he is great here. His character is presented as an ordinary everyman, but he has a clear charisma while with his family and also manages to come off as a real badass during the action scenes.

It is not a role that requires much emotional range, but he always gives it his all in character, as is to be expected from him - and luckily, the films (completely) over-the-top action scenes are extremely well-choreographed and creative.

They are pretty vicious too, including a hard-hitting, almost hard to watch action set piece on a public bus. You can tell the stunt and fight training that went into them is terrific.

As far as the films aesthetics go, the cinematography and editing are both really strong. The film always looks sleek visually, and the action scenes and montages are able to use quick cuts in very clever ways.

There are some solid uses of dark comedy to give the films tone a bit of bite and a sense of distinctness compared to some of the other vigilante-style modern action movies.

I also loved the films rock-filled soundtrack and please know the music is effectively and creatively used at all the right moments throughout the movie - including action choreography sometimes being properly set to them.

That all said, the main flaw of Nobody is that its plot is rather formulaic. Even though the execution of the film (action scenes, style, lead actor) is pretty good, the concept certainly screams been there, done that.

There is also a plot trope that ends up getting thrown into the narrative a bit late that also comes across as rather dull. That said, the films other elements are strong enough to definitely make it recommendable to genre-film aficionados.

It is not going to be for everyone, but action fans will have a blast, and if you think it is for you, you are most probably correct!

Taking a peak at a one of the few Special Features included on this 4K Ultra HD release, as for me personally, it is the mother of all of the, it is Breaking Down The Action, where (in this case) Bob Odenkirk and Daniel Bernhardt (co-fight coordinator) Break Down the Bus Fight Scene.

Man, these two for ten minutes give us - along with slowed down footage of said fight scene - one heck of an insight into how the scene was planned, and planned, and panned, and yet Odenkirk still managed to crack his head against the inner side partition wall of the bus after one particular smack down!

He further explains that it was something that he had wanted to happen from the very start of the mapping out of the bus fight scene, as no real tough guys - like Jason Bourne or Jason Statham - would ever hit their head in such a clumsy manner in a fight, which then showcased his character as a complete fighting novice!

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

DELETED SCENES HUTCH HITS HARD – Discover how Bob Odenkirk trained to bring his character Hutch Mansell to life
BREAKING DOWN THE ACTION (Bus Fight, Home Invasion, Car Chase and Tool & Die Sequences) – A behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the films explosive set pieces
JUST A NOBODY – A look at the personal beginning of the story for Bob Odenkirk and the unique style and sensibility that director Ilya Naishuller brought to the film
FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH ACTOR/PRODUCER BOB ODENKIRK AND DIRECTOR ILYA NAISHULLER
FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR ILYA NAISHULLER

From the writer of legendary action film John Wick, comes NOBODY, the story of an ordinary, family man (Bob Odenkirk, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) who will stop at nothing to defend what is his. NOBODY is available to own for the first time on Digital June 8th, 2021 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on June 22nd, 2021 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Nobody will feature Dolby VisionTM HDR, which dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range, and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame.

It will also feature HDR10+TM, HDR technology that optimizes brightness levels and contrast for each scene, making bright areas brighter and dark areas darker to deliver a lifelike viewing experience.

Official Red Band Trailer

Nobody Official Website

Nobody @ Facebook





42nd Street [Blu-ray]
(Bonnie Langford, Tom Lister, Clare Halse, Philip Bertioli, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2019) 2021 / Liberator Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: 42nd Street is the Broadway song and dance musical extravaganza, and in the shows largest ever staging entertainment does not get bigger than this!

Peggy Sawyer is from small-town America and just a face in the chorus line of Pretty Lady, the new show from legendary director Julian Marsh.

But when the shows leading lady, Dorothy Brock is injured, Peggys dreams of stardom just may come true.

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, once you get past all the British actors doing American 1930s accents and settle into the familiar story, this is a solid and enjoyable production.

Oh, and also have to get past this version of Dorothy Brock (Langford) being at least a decade too old for the part!

That said, as expected, given her background, Langford sings great as Dorothy, but seems likes she is doing an impression of Andrea Martin, for some strange reason!

Her Brock is too old and too nasty, which makes her gracious exit a bit hard to believe. Faring better is Tom Lister as the frantic Julian as he is also the only cast member who actually warmly over acts; which matches his singing voice rather perfectly.

Peggy Sawyer is portrayed by a semi-frumpy Clare Halse (it may be just the hideous wig) who never quite captures that star quality the show is all about, but she does her best, for sure.

She tap dances better than she sings, which is a great trait to have, especially in a show such as this one, but she seems too short (it was said by others viewing this BR also, so there you have it!).

But Philip Bertioli is a joyous Billy who brings a much needed pizazz to his character and his dancing is bloody excellent. Also noteworthy is Jasna Ivir as Maggie the producer as she brings a big Tessie OShea energy to the show.

The music of Harry Warren and Al Dubin is timeless and it is a joy to hear and the dancing numbers are very well done. And although some of the cuts to close-ups are quite jarring, overall, this version of the wondrously renowned 42nd Street is a pure unadulterated joy to behold.

The 1933 film starred Bebe Daniels, Warner Baxter, Ruby Keeler, and Dick Powell and is a classic, of course, and the original 1980 Broadway production starred Tammy Grimes, Jerry Orbach, Wanda Richert, Lee Roy Reams, and Carole Cook and instantly became the bench mark for those that followed. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MVDshop.com

www.liberatorfilmservices.com





Mr. Jealousy: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
(Eric Stoltz, Annabella Sciorra, Chris Eigeman, Peter Bogdanovich, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1997) 2021 / Moonstone Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Lester Grimm (Eric Stoltz, Pulp Fiction) is haunted by jealous thoughts of his girlfriend Ramona (Annabella Sciorra, Cop Land) and her past lovers.

Encountering one of Ramonas exes - the dashing author Dashiell Frank (Chris Eigeman, Maid in Manhattan) - Lester gets an idea: join Dashs group therapy sessions under an assumed name and secretly discover Ramon s private past.

But Lesters plan only raises more questions. Will he ever let go of the past? Does Ramona really love him? And why is his best friend suddenly speaking in a British accent?

From acclaimed two-time Academy Award-nominee writer and director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and The Whale, Marriage Story), comes this refreshing comic look at life, love and jealousy.

Blu-ray Verdict: It seems that wit and charm are the two things that make a good romantic comedy. Mr. Jealousy possesses these two things but does not always use them to its advantage.

The movie is Lester Grimm, played by Eric Stoltz, who has had a jealousy problem ever since he started dating. This becomes a much bigger issue when he falls in love with Ramona, a girl who has been with an abundance of other men before Lester.

One of these other men is author Dashiell Frank. Concerned that that Ramona may still have feelings for Dashiell, Lester starts going to group therapy sessions with him to find out the secrets he feels are being kept from him.

This creates an amusing amount of clever situations that are all humorously brought about by Lesters own jealousy.

This is one of those films that is not very consistent in its quality, but if you stick with it, everything will be worth it in the end.

The movie starts off fairly shallow and clich. We meet our protagonist, Lester, and learn about his past dating experiences. We learn things that are not surprising and are to be expected from this kind of film.

Lester is not a hunk, but he is not a loser either. He is just a typical guy who has gone through pretty typical things. After a brief history of his character we meet the supporting cast, including Lesters girlfriend Ramona.

Things develop in a typical manner and the film tries a little too hard to be a quirky comedy. There are specific cuts and quirky editing techniques all placed throughout for comedic effect, but not to much avail. It is amusing, but nothing special.

The film really starts to get good when the plot thickens and the growing situation comedy aspect starts to bloom into something very entertaining.

It starts with the group therapy sessions, which become the backbone of the stories progression, and the way these situations unfold are very entertaining.

I think somewhere along the line Noah Baumbach, writer and director, realized that the comedy of this film comes from the clever wit the stories progression bares, rather than a bunch of sporadically placed and forced jokes.

Towards the middle of the film I stopped over thinking the whole plot and actually then became engaged with it! The film also realized that the quirky style it had tried so desperately to make work in the beginning had not really gone anywhere, so it abandoned that and things greatly improved.

And luckily the ending of the film does not disappoint. That said, it does not wow you either and it most certainly is not terribly unexpected either.

It is not the typical idealized romantic comedy ending. It is more realistic and bittersweet. When you break it down you can find some areas for improvement and I am not saying the ending is perfect.

But it fits and it is not disappointing. It is basically what you would expect. It meets the same tone that most of the film has had, wrapping up the story nicely and making Mr. Jealousy a worthwhile watch.

In closing, I did not expect much from this film, and I after I started watching it I really felt like this was going to be an hour and forty minutes I would never get back!

But as things move along the film gets much better. It is not laugh out loud funny, but it is amusing and it is clever. Mr. Jealousy is never close to being Oscar material, but it is not a bad movie at all.

Indeed, it is a film that enjoys itself, with likable characters and very entertaining situations and at some point I am sure I will watch it through again - with friends. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Revisiting Mr. Jealousy (HD, 40:48) Brand new feature including new interviews with cast members Brian Kerwin, Peter Bogdanovich, producer Joel Castelberg along with vintage interviews with writer and director Noah Baumbach

Original Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:30)
High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio
Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Optional English Subtitles

www.MVDshop.com

www.moonstonefilms.com





The Last Time I Committed Suicide [Blu-ray]
(Keanu Reeves, Thomas Jane, Adrien Brody, Claire Forlani, Gretchen Mol, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1997) 2021 / MVD Visual)

Overview: In the idyllic post-war 1950s, young men across the country were aspiring to achieve the American dream of marriage, family and stability. But others longed for something different.

Meet Neal Cassady (Thomas Jane, The Mist). He has got a poets soul, a dreamers heart and a choice to make. Caught between the allure of a drifters life on the road and the security of a traditional home, Neal must decide which future he most desires.

From writer and director Stephen Kay (Yellowstone, Get Carter) and also starring Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Claire Forlani (Mallrats), Adrien Brody (The Pianist), Marg Helgenberger (Species), Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect), Lucinda Jenney (Rain Man) and Gretchen Mol (3:10 to Yuma), The Last Time I Committed Suicide is the unforgettable story of love, friendship and discovering how to stay a beat ahead of the crowd.

Blu-ray Verdict: One of the most surprising things in The Last Time I Committed Suicide is the whole part about Neal Cassadys thoughts about living the ideal American life (a nuclear family and a house surrounded by a white picket fence).

Cassady was one of the major people in the Beat generation, which rejected the Leave It to Beaver image of life. If, in fact, Cassady thought about having this kind of life, then it goes to show his own conflicts, even beyond the main plot in this movie.

But I digress. I think that the movie did a good job looking at Neal Cassady (Thomas Jane). He and Jack Kerouac remain two of the most important figures of the 20th century.

Also starring Keanu Reeves, Marg Helgenberger and Gretchen Mol, and, well, just take a look at that one scene of her alone! Phew! And if you honestly cannot recall it, or never saw it, you will instantly know which scene it is when it comes on screen, trust me!

Thus, and taking everything noted above with a pinch of salt, this film is a perfect evocation of Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and the times that they lived in. It is the way they and other members of the Beat Generation lived.

Furthermore, the script by Stephen Kay is based on a letter that Neal Cassady wrote to Allen Ginsberg about an adventure he had with a girl called Cherry Mary.

Again, Jane gives an outstanding performance as Neal, and Gretchen Mol is a scene-stealer as Cherry Mary. And, if it needs revealing again, the cast is rounded out with strong supporting turns by Claire Forlani, Keanu Reeves (surprise, surprise!), and Adrien Brody.

The direction, soundtrack, costumes, and cinematography all conspire to put you back in time and we get to see, clearly, that Stephen Kay is an assured director with just the right touch. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio
Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Original Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDshop.com





Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory: 4K Ultra HD
(Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear, Julie Dawn Cole, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray+Digital / PG / (1971) 2021 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Directed by Mel Stuart and starring Gene Wilder as the legendary Candy Man Willy Wonka, this splendiferous movie brings to the screen the endlessly appetizing delights of Roald Dahl’s cherished book.

Coated with flavorful tunes and production designs that are a visual treat for the eyes, this effervescent musical never fails to enchant young and old.

On a whirlwind tour of Willys incredible, edible realm of chocolate waterfalls, elfish Oompa-Loompas and industrial-sized confections, a boy named Charlie (Peter Ostrum) will discover the sweetest secret of all: a generous, loving heart.

And viewers will rediscover all the timeless magic as it was meant to be seen.

Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the oh-so colorful, and gloriously kinda-sorta edible (!) Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this June 29th, 2021.

For my money, this Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital combo packs 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 Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory 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: 1.85:1, and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what 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 the truly breathtaking, and musical Pure Imagination scene, where the camera pans around inside the factory floor, where all the grass, candy canes and toadstools are situated!

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 the three people (two adults, one child ... and half a clock!) in the brilliant You Lose! Good Day Sir! scene!

As for the audio, well we have the choices here of: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital Mono, and Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono.

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.

OK, well, as for the actual movie, well, as people tend to forget, Willy Wonka is not a nice man from the onset. Yet, somehow, you cannot help but like him. Hey, at least as he is played by Gene Wilder in, the semi-psychedelic, and psychotronic 1971 version of Roald Dahls classic childrens novel.

Wonka is aloof, sardonic, sarcastic, mysterious, manipulative, and devious - a leprechaun with a hyperactive thyroid and an edge. But, as Wilder plays him, you sense the sweetness behind the wild gleam in his eyes.

indeed, he is really hoping that one of the five children he has invited to tour his chocolate factory will be a worthy heir to the world of his imagination.

Yes, Wonka is a cynic and a misanthrope. I mean, what else could he be after sequestering himself in his own little world for years on end? But he wants to believe that there is still some good to be found in a weary world and thus Wilder captures Dahls creation perfectly!

The rest of the cast is perfect, too, and they make the most of Dahls often witty script. Peter Ostrom, in particular, is excellent as Charlie.

Yet, this minor classic of a movie has its flaws. The production design suffers from a lack of budget. Wonkas Chocolate Room looks like an elaborate mini-golf course, with a dirty river running through it, in a brick warehouse.

The Inventing Room is meant to be a whimsical, magical laboratory, but comes off more like an especially elaborate hideout for the Joker on the old Batman TV series!

The songs range from reasonably good (Veruca Salts ode to brattiness I Want the Whole World) to saccharine (The Candy Man) to downright wretched re: the Oompa-Loompa oeuvre entire, with lousy choreography to match!

Wilders rendition of Pure Imagination, an overly sugary confection that could induce diabetic comas in the wrong hands, works thanks to the faraway look in his eyes; he makes it magical.

The make up and costumes of the Oompa-Loompas (Wonkas workers), on the other hand, are simply embarrassing, sorry; but then again, it was 1971 and I am sure there were a LOT of fun drugs hanging around the set, if you know what I mean!

Yet despite these finickity flaws, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is hugely entertaining and probably the best family film of the 1970s.

Think of it this way: Willy Wonka is to Burtons Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as the Batman TV series (from the 1960s) is to Burtons Batman. Both are different, entirely valid takes on the same source material and both are worth watching!

OK, in summary, the first part of the film is possibly the funniest. Rather than seeing a group of children searching the world for Golden tickets, we are instead presented with a variety of obsessed adults who seem willing to pay any price for the prizes.

This makes the film even more enjoyable for children; they get to see their parents acting like maniacs, the way the children themselves would.

But it is five children who find the tickets, and they are hand-picked to be the worst examples of bratty kids: the overfed glutton, the snotty gum-chewer, the smarmy couch potato, and of course the most demanding, spoiled little demon in history (in my opinion, one of the greatest performances by a child actor ever!)

But the fifth is the golden child, the hard-working, honest little boy who has never had anything. From the beginning he is taking care of his family, trying to be the man of the house now that his father is dead.

One cannot help but love Charlie, especially as he sadly walks home alone to the sounds of his mother singing him a lullaby.

Anyway, the point of the film is that honesty, innocence, and faith will eventually make dreams come true. Those dreams are brought to life through the Chocolate Factory, a spectacular series of sets and scenery, along with a delightful musical score.

Yet all through the Chocolate Factory, it is only Charlie who really seems to be enjoying himself; the others only whine and complain about all the strange and wonderful things around them!

Taking a peak at one of the Special Features, and although they have all been used and seen before, the stand out for me is obviously still Pure Imagination: The Story of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

It runs at just over 15 mins and is, near enough, the complete verbal, and at times, behind-the-scenes visual rendering of how the scenes came to be and what elements caused too much trouble along the way!

The stand out fact here is that, and as told by Producer David L. Wolper, Quaker Oats was going to bring out a new candy bar and he admitted that sounded like a great movie tie in, and so the name Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was locked in place.

It was already a book about a chocolate factory, and so they decided to make a movie of the book, but to tie in with the new and upcoming Quaker Oats chocolate bar!

So the plan was to then release the film around the same time as the Quaker Oats chocolate bar reveal, BUT Quaker Oats decided at the very last minute to call the candy bar the Wonka Bar, so they immediately changed the title of the movie to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!

So Quaker Oats put up the money to make the movie, and with the script from Roald Dahl, together with renowned writer David Seltzer, the film got retitled and rehandled so that all parties came out winning!

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

Commentary with the Wonka Kids
Pure Imagination: The Story of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
The Moviemakers
Scrumptious Sing-Along: Pure Imagination
Scrumptious Sing-Along: I Want It Now!
Scrumptious Sing-Along: Ive Got A Golden Ticket
Scrumptious Sing-Along: Oompa-Loompa-Doompa-De-Do
Theatrical Trailer

On 6/29/2021, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory 4K UHD will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers including GooglePlay, Vudu, Xbox and others, and will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory will feature Dolby VisionTM HDR, which dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range, and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame.

It will also feature HDR10+TM, HDR technology that optimizes brightness levels and contrast for each scene, making bright areas brighter and dark areas darker to deliver a lifelike viewing experience.

Official Original Trailer

On June 30th, 2021, the beloved family film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory celebrates its 50th anniversary. Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket), Paris Themmen (Mike Teevee), Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt) and Michael Bollner (Augustus Gloop) recently sat down together to reflect on 50 years of the perennial family classic.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory | 50th Anniversary | Warner Bros. Entertainment





Wrath of Man [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Josh Hartnett, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / R / 2021 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Mysterious and wild-eyed, a new security guard for a cash truck surprises his co-workers when he unleashes precision skills during a heist.

The crew is left wondering who he is and where he came from. Soon, the marksmans ultimate motive becomes clear as he takes dramatic and irrevocable steps to settle a score.

Blu-ray Verdict: I remember thinking during watching Guy Ritchies The Gentlemen that I wished he would only make this type of movie from there on out.

He is usually pretty good at whatever he does, but when he tackles the crime/action genre it is something few filmmakers can match.

Not only has he continued to make that style of movie, he has taken a step better than the brilliant film that was The Gentlemen. This time around it is a remake of a French film - and all that says to me is that I need to see that French film now. This was a brilliant ride.

The film opens with a very strange opening scene. We only get one camera view of what is going on which seems very strange at the time (all is revealed later on), but even with the little that we get to see Ritchies style shines through and we immediately know we are in for a treat.

We then meet Jason Stathams character. I have seen a lot of Statham movies over the years and I think this might just be both his best work yet, and also his most badass role. He was unreal in this film!

As for the inner plot, well, Statham does a really good job of portraying a grief stricken father who uses patience to get his revenge against the thugs who destroyed a part of his life.

Hence, the small amount of back story we are given, the gun battles and even the propelling soundtrack are all spectacularly well executed by the director, the main actors, and even the secondary characters.

I also liked Jeffery Donovan as the leader of the heist crew as he continues to get better in every film he is in (but Burn Notice was excellent from start to finish, am I right!)

If I had to play Devils Advocate here, the only thing it appeared to be missing was the characters profound intentions and history, as we never get to know about some of the characters true role in the film; hence, there are a lot of missed opportunities.

In closing, the pacing of this movie is incredible. Nearly two hours and I guarantee you wont check your watch once! So, if you need to pass two hours as quickly as humanly possible, then put on this film now! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Wrath of Man will be available on Digital June 29th, 2021 and on Blu-ray and DVD on July 13th, 2021. The Blu-ray disc features the film in hi-definition and the DVD features the film in standard definition.

Official Trailer





Mortal Kombat: 4K Blu-ray
(Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray+Digital / R / 2021 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: MMA fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan), accustomed to taking a beating for money, is unaware of his heritage or why Outworlds Sorcerer Shang Tsung (Chin Han) has sent his best warrior, Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), an otherworldly Cryomancer, to hunt him down.

Fearing for his familys safety, Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) at the direction of Jax (Mehcad Brooks), a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with.

Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark.

Here, Cole trains with experienced warriors Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), Kung Lao (Max Huang) and rogue mercenary Kano (Josh Lawson), as he prepares to stand with Earths greatest champions against the enemies from Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.

But will Cole be pushed hard enough to unlock his arcane, the immense power from within his soul, in time to save not only his family, but to stop Outworld once and for all?

Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly expansive Mortal Kombat (2021) coming to 4K Ultra HD video format this July 13th, 2021.

For my money, this Mortal Kombat: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital combo packs 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 Mortal Kombat presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what 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 the first time we are introduced to the newly renamed Sub-Zero - and what he does thereafter to any and all challengers!

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 the characters in the infamous Goro Vs. Cole scene, where we get a meaner, scarier, but less talkative, four-armed Prince Goro facing off against Cole and company!

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

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

OK, well, as for the actual movie, well, taking it from the top (for those new to the movie), and Mortal Kombat is an action fantasy film based on the video game series of the same name.

Directed by Simon McQuoid and co-produced by James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring), it delivers what fans of the franchise have desired after so many years and is also decent martial arts film on its own.

While out with his family one night, MMA fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is attacked by a mysterious figure calling himself Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) and is soon rescued by a man named Jax (Mehcad Brooks), who tells them to seek out his associate Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee).

After Cole discovers Sonyas whereabouts, she informs him of an otherworldly tournament known as Mortal Kombat, where chosen warriors bearing a dragon shaped mark on their bodies fight to the death to defend their respective realms.

Cole happens to bear this mark, along with Sonyas captive mercenary Kano (Josh Lawson), and three of them embark on a journey to the temple belonging to Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), the guardian of Earthrealm.

Upon arrival, the trio meet with the other chosen fighters Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) and Kung Lao (Max Huang), who begin training them to defeat the reigning champions of Outworld.

Movies based on video games are usually of poor quality for the most part. Some range from being cheesy fun, like Mortal Kombat circa 1995, to downright terrible, like Mortal Kombat: Annihilation!

It is interesting how both of those films hailing from the same franchise can be so further from each other on the spectrum, but in this 2021 reboot, we now have a safe middle ground for what a video game-based movie should be like.

One of the main complaints many had about the 1995 film was how toned down it was in order to fall within the parameters of a PG-13 rating. This film, on the other hand, spares no expense when it comes to piling on the blood and gore with its fatalities - heads are sliced open, limbs are dismembered, and hearts are ripped out of bodies!

In other words, this film is considerably more faithful to its source material so long time fans should be pleased to see this. Personally, I only possess a surface level knowledge of the series, having grown up preferring Street Fighter instead, but Mortal Kombat always had my respect for the significant impact it has left on the video game industry.

And I will admit the 1995 film, while not that great, is a guilty pleasure of mine. With that said, I am relieved to finally see a Mortal Kombat film closer in style to the games they originated from, even though I cannot say I am able to appreciate it as much as others might, of course.

Of course, this would not be much of an adaptation of a fighting game series if it did not contain some solid fight scenes, and this one has them in spades.

In fact, I think there was more physical sparring than important expository dialogue, and while this prevents the film from ever being boring, it does unfortunately lead to some underdeveloped characters and glossed over plot points.

Although I did enjoy watching an all-out brawl between opposing fighters, there were times where it felt like characters were simply duking it out for the sake of duking it out, rather than as a reason to advance the story.

I would have liked to have seen more of the internalized conflict between the main heroes before they take on the dangerous enemies from Outworld, as this would have made for a better understanding for what is at stake.

Regardless, for what we got, the fighting was still very entertaining and choreographed well with minimal shaky cam.

From what I can gather, the films characters appear to have been done justice, at least visually, with Josh Lawson as Kano standing out the most. Being an actual Australian, Lawsons portrayal of this loud mouthed, vulgar mercenary was on point and responsible for a great deal of the films comic relief.

Jessica McNamee also did a nice enough job as Sonya Blade, holding her own alongside the rest of the cast. However, I was somewhat underwhelmed with Lewis Tans performance as Cole Young, the main protagonist and an entirely new character created specifically for this film.

Even though he excels in combat scenes, Tans delivery of his dialogue felt wooden and stiff, making it difficult for me to care about him whenever he was placed in danger.

On that note, he felt like a Gary Stu (the male equivalent of a Mary Sue), with everything magically working out for him in the face of adversity.

As for everyone else, they were either there to spout exposition or be name dropped as fanservice for avid followers of the series.

As far as video game film adaptations go, Mortal Kombat (2021) is definitely one of the better ones, although considering how low the bar is, this is obviously not saying a whole lot!

It offers plenty of gory fatalities and brutalities to satisfy fans while also featuring enough regular action to hold a newcomers attention.

There is already talk of a sequel if this film is a success and I welcome the idea of it as there are still many more frontiers to be explored with the franchise, as long as they do not go down the same route as MK: Annihilation.

If only the Street Fighter series could have the same amount of attention focused around it for a new and improved live-action feature. I guess we will have to wait and see!

Taking a peak at one of the Special Features and for me the stand out is the Fight Koreography featurette. Running at just over 3 minutes, it is action packed and allows us to hear the thoughts of director Simon McQuoid about all the blood and violence that he was now expected to film!

Furthermore, Kyle Gardiner (2nd Unit Director / Stunt Coordinator) explains how there was so much more visually done to the scenes to enhance the look of more blood and such, that on set things were not always actually as they seemed!

And for all Sub-Zero fans, we get to hear from the man himself, Joe Taslim, about how the drama in his moves was how he himself began to understand the actions of his character (not to mention that after almost every take, the director had to ask him to slow his moves down, as his hands and arms and legs were moving even too fast for the cameras!

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

Deleted Scenes From Game to Screen: The Making of Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat: Fan Favorite Characters
Fight Koreography
Into the Krypt: Easter Eggs of Mortal Kombat
Anatomy of a Scene

On June 11th, 2021, Mortal Kombat will be available for early Premium Digital Ownership at home for $24.99 on participating digital platforms where you purchase movies.

On July 13th, 2021, Mortal Kombat will be available on 4K, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD. Mortal Kombat will also continue to be available to own in high definition and standard definition from participating digital retailers.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Mortal Kombat will feature Dolby VisionTM HDR, which dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range, and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame.

It will also feature HDR10+TM, HDR technology that optimizes brightness levels and contrast for each scene, making bright areas brighter and dark areas darker to deliver a lifelike viewing experience.

Official Original HD Trailer





Mortuary: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
(Bill Paxton, Lynda Day George, Christopher George, Mary McDonough, David Wallace, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1983) 2021 / MVD Visual Rewind Collection)

Overview: Real-life husband and wife Lynda Day George (TVs Mission Impossible) and Christopher George (Pieces) star along with Bill Paxton (Aliens), Mary McDonough (TVs The Waltons) and David Wallace (Humongous) in this chilling tale of horror-filled nightmares that come startlingly close to reality.

Christie Parson (McDonough) has been having terrifying nightmares ever since her father, Dr. Parson, drowned in the family swimming pool. She knows his death was not an accident, but no one will believe her... until her boyfriend, Greg Stevens (Wallace), sees the hooded figures that Christie describes in her dreams, in the towns mortuary.

Gregs and Christies curiosity plummets them into a series of bizarre and terror-filled circumstances, leading them to the ghastly truth behind her fathers so-called accidental death.

Blu-ray Verdict: Mortuary (aka Embalmed) follows a young woman, Christie (Mary McDonough) whose psychologist father has recently died in an apparent accident, and whose mother has just begun dating the local mortician.

Oddly enough, one of Christies boyfriends friends has vanished from the mortuary warehouse after observing an occult ritual there. To make matters worse, it seems Christie is now being stalked by a cloaked assailant with a trocar who wants her (and everyone around her) dead.

This is a film that has been on my bucket list for years, and now having watched it (thank you, MVD Visual), I can say that it is absolutely nothing like what I expected!

Indeed, do note fooled, for Mortuary is no supernatural slasher or quasi-zombie flick (nor is it nearly as bonkers as its 1983 peer Mausoleum).

Really, it is hardly a slasher, and more a giallo thriller of sorts--it even has visual references to show for it, and a slow motion glass-shattering sequence that may have inspired a similar scene in Dario Argentos brilliant Phenomena.

While it did not match my expectations in content, it did not necessarily fall short in terms of value. Truth be told, this is actually quite a fun horror flick!

For a horror film of this era, Mortuary has surprisingly high production values, and Gary Gravers cinematography is quite lush and atmospheric.

The Southern California locales, particularly the secluded Malibu estate where the protagonist resides, are atmospheric and at times eerie despite their sunny disposition.

The film also offers some adequate scares, with a handful of jolting appearances of our cloaked villain as he torments poor Mary McDonough.

There is still a definitive Scooby Doo quality to the proceedings, and the plotting of the film feels odd at times, though it does manage to drop plenty of red herrings for the viewers to gnaw on before the inevitable (and frankly rather obvious) reveal.

Rounding out the cast with McDonough is Lynda Day George (of the outrageous Pieces, made several years prior) as her mother, and Christopher Day George as the mortician.

Bill Paxton, in of his first major roles, turns in a fantastically over-the-top performance as the morticians eccentric son.

In the end, Mortuary is an all-around good time for fans of 80s horror. It is a technically well-made film that offers plenty of atmosphere and a handful of memorable sequences.

McDonough, coming off her adolescent longtime role on the wholesome The Waltons, makes for a likable heroine here, and the finale, as silly and Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque as it is, remains in good spirits. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio
Audio: 2.0 Mono (LPCM)
Optional English Subtitles
Interview with Composer John Cacavas
Original Theatrical Trailer
Collectible Mini-Poster
* Special Features May Not Be Rated, Closed Captioned Or In High Definition

www.mvdshop.com





The Bird With The Crystal Plumage [UHD Limited Ed]
(Mario Adorf, Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salerno, Eva Renzi, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray / NR / (1970) 2021 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: In 1970, young first-time director Dario Argento (Deep Red, Suspiria) made his indelible mark on Italian cinema with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage - a film which redefined the giallo genre of murder-mystery thrillers and catapulted him to international stardom.

Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante, We Own the Night), an American writer living in Rome, inadvertently witnesses a brutal attack on a woman (Eva Renzi, Funeral in Berlin) in a modern art gallery.

Powerless to help, he grows increasingly obsessed with the incident. Convinced that something he saw that night holds the key to identifying the maniac terrorizing Rome, he launches his own investigation parallel to that of the police, heedless of the danger to both himself and his girlfriend Giulia (Suzy Kendall, Spasmo).

A staggeringly assured debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage establishes the key traits that would define Argentos filmography, including lavish visuals and a flare for wildly inventive, brutal scenes of violence.

Blu-ray Verdict: With sumptuous cinematography by Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now) and a seductive score by legendary composer Ennio Morricone (Once Upon a Time in the West), this landmark film has never looked or sounded better in this brand new 4K Ultra HD presentation from Arrow Video!

It all begins rather nonchalantly with a semi-rugged, handsome and solitary man (visiting American writer Sam Dalmas) calmly walking along a dark and empty Roman side street.

Across the way, inside what appears to be a high-end contemporary art gallery, Sam witnesses a struggle between an obscured, shadowy man and a woman dressed in white.

The mysterious black-gloved man appears to be attacking the woman with a large knife or razor. Shocked, Sam runs over to help, banging on the fiberglass partition that shields the gallery from the street, but it is all in vain.

Without warning, the galleries alarm goes off and another invulnerable partition quickly slides into place from behind, thereby trapping Sam between the two.

He has no choice but to watch helplessly as the woman is repeatedly and mercilessly stabbed by her masked, leather-clad attacker. And we have no choice but to sit and watch along with him.

Although there is great danger in store for Sam if he remains in Rome (being the only eyewitness to a still unsolved crime), he is determined to assist however he can. The only way he really can help is by forcing himself to confront the memories of what he saw that night. And we are forced to do the same.

Argento gave us almost all the clues to solve the movies mystery right up front, film title included (something the character of Sam does not even get to consider). We saw exactly the same things Sam did. Can we recall those initial images we should not have taken for granted, and with them, guess the killers identity?

Can Sam figure it out before he is next on the killers list?

Throughout Bird, Sam is haunted by what he saw, or rather, what he did not see, and only by immersing himself in the horror of the memory (and the future danger that comes with it) can he free himself from its ghost; like John Harrington in Bavas Hatchet for the Honeymoon, Sam Dalmas must go on.

One of the most auspicious directorial debuts in genre cinema history (if not in all of cinema), Dario Argentos The Bird with the Crystal Plumage took the world film markets (and critics) by complete surprise upon its initial releases throughout 70-71.

Dario Argento was an already accomplished screenwriter, having co-written Sergio Leones epic, unsurpassable masterpiece Once Upon a Time in the West, but Argentos directorial debut was neither greatly anticipated nor expected to be of much note.

Today Argento is considered to be among the most influential genre filmmakers alive, and the roots of so much that we take for granted in the world of cinematic thrills and suspense first took seed in The Bird with the Crystal Plumage.

Despite Bavas originating the giallo sub-genre with 1962s The Girl Who Knew Too Much and 1964s Blood & Black Lace, it took Argentos Bird to kick-start the craze, which ran for a further twelve blood-riddled years.

This nail-biting interim include great works by Lucio Fulci (Lizard in a Womans Skin; Dont Torture a Duckling) and Sergio Martino (Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key; Torso), but Argento himself brought the giallos glorious run to its end with his overtly self-referential 1982 film Tenebrae - in which, again like Hatchet for the Honeymoon, the protagonist and antagonist are one and the same.

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage however, keeps first-time viewers guessing in addictive frustration, and shaking in their seats until its final sadistic scenes.

Unlike Bava, the dialogue and plot matter a great deal to Argento, and few if any other giallos can match Birds inventive narrative. Aided by intelligent, imaginative and disquieting camera-work by future Oscar-winner Vittorio Storaro (who like Argento was a prior relative unknown), and a gorgeously arid percussive score by Ennio Morricone, Argentos The Bird with the Crystal Plumage was the start of an ingenious and daring career that has seen many highs, and many unfortunate lows.

Even though Bava will always be the Renaissance Man to lovers of Italian Horror, Argento should be remembered as the Mannerist, the Expressionist. He took it to the next obvious yet intelligent level, away from Bavas bold, entertaining experiments in style, contrast, perspective and otherworldly lighting, and instead into a darker, morally-contrarian realm.

One where the feelings and intentions of the artists images, and the audiences reaction to them, may not be in sync; where a world of fever-dreams and waking-nightmares is ruled by Freudian panic; and where the word primal may lose its definition, for it could be all there is.

Most amazing of all, Argentos best works were yet to come! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

New 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films
4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
Restored original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
Audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
Black Gloves and Screaming Mimis, an interview with author and critic Kat Ellinger exploring the films themes and its relationship to both the giallo and Fredric Browns novel The Screaming Mimi
The Power of Perception, a visual essay on the cinema of Dario Argento by Alexanda Heller-Nicholas, author of Devils Advocates: Suspiria and The Giallo Canvas: Art, Excess and Horror Cinema, reflecting on the recurring theme of perception and the role of art in Argentos filmography
Crystal Nightmare, an interview with writer/director Dario Argento
An Argento Icon, an interview with actor Gildo Di Marco
Evas Talking, an archival interview with actor Eva Renzi
Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
2017 Texas Frightmare trailer
Image galleries
Illustrated collectors booklet featuring writing on the film by Howard Hughes and Jack Seabrook, and a new essay by Rachael Nisbet
Fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Obviously Creative
Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards
Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring originally and newly commissioned artwork by Obviously Creative

www.MVDshop.com





Vengeance Trails: Four Classic Westerns [Blu-ray]
(Peter Carsten, Maria Martin, Pier Paolo Capponi, George Eastman, Enrico Maria Salerno, et al / 4-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2021 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: In the mid-1960s, the runaway success of Sergio Leones Dollars trilogy gave rise to an explosion of similar productions as filmmakers by the dozen sought to capitalize on this new, uniquely Italian take on the western, characterized by their deeply cynical outlook, morally compromised antiheroes and unflinching depictions savage violence.

This specially curated selection gathers together four (4) outstanding examples of the genre from the height of its popularity, all centered around a theme of revenge.

Blu-ray Verdict: In Lucio Fulcis (Zombie Flesh Eaters) Massacre Time (1966), Franco Nero (Django) and George Hilton (The Case of the Scorpions Tail) star as estranged brothers forced to band together against the powerful businessman (Nino Castelnuovo, Strip Nude for Your Killer) and his sadistic son whove seized control of their hometown.

Lucio Fulcis Massacre Time is quite simply one of the Spaghetti Westerns finest hours, of that have no doubt. Fulci and scriptwriter Fernando Di Leo are of course better known for their Euro Horror outings and Italian police thrillers, but this is a fantastic film in any regards and one of the finest Westerns ever made regardless of country of origin.

Even non-fans of the genre will find it an entertaining and worthy experience that will command multiple viewings, of that you have my word.

All of the action is performed in a quick-edit upbeat manner, with judicious use of the widescreen picture format in an almost painterly manner that as with the best of the Spaghetti Westerns is more reminiscent of a big, violent cartoon than something like The Searchers or My Darling Clementine.

Not that there is something wrong with those approaches either, but the novelty aspect of the Spaghetti genre is in full play here with the offbeat locations, bizarre set designs and oddball characterizations that Italian made Westerns are so famous for!

In Maurizio Lucidis (The Sicilian Cross) My Name is Pecos (1966), Robert Woods (Johnny Colt) stars as the eponymous Mexican gunslinger, returning to Houston to settle a long-standing score against the racist gang boss (Pier Paolo Capponi, The Cat O Nine Tails) who wiped out his entire family.

What Hercules the Avenger director Maurizio Lucidis My Name Is Pecos lacks in terms of the style and scope of a Sergio Leone western, this cynical, low-budget, revenge-themed Italian horse opera makes up for it with its standard-issue, nihilistic violence.

The sweaty, unsavory villains shoot anybody without a second thought. They show no mercy for even unarmed, handicapped men. As far as that goes, the solitary hero displays a similar predilection to violence, motivated primarily out of vengeance.

The character of the undertaker emerges from the background for a change and participates in the action, not necessarily on the side of the protagonist, and this is a difference between My Name Is Pecos and run-of-the-mill European westerns.

Swarthy Robert Woods is convincing enough as the resilient, swift-drawing, crack-shot shooting protagonist forged in the Man with No Name mold.

In Massimo Dallamanos (What Have You Done to Solange?) Bandidos (1967), Enrico Maria Salerno (Savage Three) plays a former top marksman who, years after being maimed by a former protg (Venantino Venantini, City of the Living Dead), teams up with a fresh apprentice (Terry Jenkins, Paint Your Wagon) to get his revenge against the man who betrayed him.

Rugged famous gunslinger Richard Martin (an excellent performance by Enrico Maria Salerno) has both of his hands shot in a brutal hold-up on a train by ruthless former student Billy Kane (a perfectly nasty turn by Venantino Venantini).

The bitter and vindictive Martin joins forces with amiable and mysterious escaped convict Ricky Shot (a solid and engaging portrayal by Terry Jenkins) to exact revenge on Kane and his men.

Director Massimo Dallamano relates the complex and absorbing story at a steady pace, maintains an appropriately harsh and gritty tone throughout, stages the plentiful exciting shoot-outs with rip-roaring aplomb, and tops things off with a nice sense of deliciously dry dark humor.

The sound acting from the capable cast rates as a substantial asset: Salerno and Jenkins display a pleasingly natural chemistry as the appealing protagonists, Venantini makes for a suitably hateful villain, Cris Huerta is amusingly scuzzy as slimy bandito Vigonza, the lovely Maria Martin adds considerable sass and sexiness as Martins loyal lady friend Betty Starr, and ubiquitous character actor Victor Israel has a neat bit as an ill-fated train conductor.

Finally, in Antonio Margheritis (Cannibal Apocalypse) And God Said to Cain (1970), the inimitable Klaus Kinski (Double Face) stars as a man who has spent the last decade in a prison work camp for a crime he didnt commit and who, upon his release, immediately sets out to wreak vengeance on the men who framed him.

After enduring ten years of hard labor for a crime he did not commit, Gary Hamilton (Klaus Kinski) is given a a presidential pardon (preposterous, but who cares?) and is let out of prison.

After ten years of shoveling and smashing rocks in the hot sun there is only one thing on his mind, revenge. Revenge on Acombar, the man who framed him.

Gary soon finds out that this same man is now the wealthiest land baron in the territory and is also sleeping with his wife. Gary purchases a rifle and (with what seems to be a never ending supply of bullets) sets out to extract his revenge on Acombar.

But before Gary can get to him he must face 30 of Acombars bodyguards during a conveniently well timed tornado at night.

Antonio Margheriti (better known as Anthony Dawson or Anthony S. Dawson) returns to his horror roots to direct this suspenseful revenge story.

The movie has some fabulous atmosphere. The character of Gary Hamilton is treated as a supernatural by the villains. Wind picks up whenever he appears, animals make strange noises when his name is uttered and his arrival is signified by a threatening Tornando.

This all adds to the horror element of the movie (also the fact that a large portion of the film takes place at night).

Featuring a wealth of key Euro cult talent both behind and in front of the camera, Arrow Video is proud to present these four classic westerns in sparkling high definition restorations, three of them produced specially for this release, alongside a plethora of brand new bonus materials. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of all four films 2K restorations of all four films from the original 35mm camera negatives, with Massacre Time, My Name is Pecos and Bandidos newly restored by Arrow Films for this release
Restored lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtracks
Galleries for all four films
Illustrated collectors booklet featuring new writing by author and critic Howard Hughes
Fold-out double-sided poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeves featuring original artwork and a slipcover featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

DISC 1 MASSACRE TIME
Alternate US dub
New commentary by authors and critics C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke
New documentary featuring a new video interview with actor Franco Nero and an archival video interview with actor George Hilton
New video interview with film historian Fabio Melelli
Italian trailer

DISC 2 MY NAME IS PECOS
New commentary by actor Robert Woods and C. Courtney Joyner
New interview with actor George Eastman
New interview with actress Lucia Modugno
New documentary featuring a new interview with Fabio Melelli and an archival interview with cinematographer Franco Villa
Italian trailer

DISC 3 BANDIDOS
New commentary by author and critic Kat Ellinger
New interview with assistant director Luigi Perelli
New interview with actor Gino Barbacane
New interview with Fabio Melelli
Alternate end title sequence

DISC 4 AND GOD SAID TO CAIN
New commentary by author and critic Howard Hughes
New documentary featuring a new interview with Fabio Melelli and a new audio interview with actress Marcella Michelangeli
New interview with actor Antonio Cantafora

www.MVDshop.com





The House on Sorority Row: Special Edition [BR]
(Kathryn McNeil, Harley Jane Kozak, Eileen Davidson, Janis Ward, Robin Meloy, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1982) 2021 / MVD Visual)

Overview: After a seemingly innocent prank goes horribly wrong, a group of sorority sisters are stalked and murdered one by one in their sorority house while throwing a party to celebrate their graduation.

Blu-ray Verdict: A group of sorority sisters decide to play a prank on their vindictive house mother, but things go horribly wrong and the woman is killed. With a party about to begin, the girls decide to hide the body in an abandoned pool until they can decide what to do.

When their friends go missing and the womans body disappears, the girls are convinced she has come back to seek revenge. Meanwhile, the whitest party ever put on film carries on like nothing is going on.

I have always found The House on Sorority Row to be a lot of fun with some creepy moments and a few nice death scenes. As with a lot of films of this type, the best parts only happen once the final girl is running for her life - and here, she has to do it will half-drugged out of her mind!

And that finale always gives me the creeps. The first time I saw this movie, when the killer makes his presence known near the end, I about jumped out of my seat. It really worked on me. If you can get past some of the acting and a murky plot point or two, The House on Sorority Row can be a very effective, little, low-budget 80s horror movie.

In truth, over the years I am still a little shocked to see how much hate The House on Sorority Row gets. I cannot tell you how many times I read that it is cliched or unoriginal. While I agree that it does borrow from some of the slashers that came before, a lot of what you will see here has been copied endlessly since the films release.

The prank gone wrong, the college / sorority house setting, the exposition-filled flashback - they were not the standard slasher movie tropes then that they are now.

Indeed, when I first saw this in the theater in 1983, it was as fresh and innovative as any of the boatload of other slashers being pumped out!

Sure, Prom Night, Friday the 13th, Halloween and more, they all say something about us between the late 70s and the late 80s- a loss of innocence, a loss of restraint, and the depreciation of the antiquated values that came with a homogeneous and repressed society.

In all of those cases, the gloves came off with these slashers, so what made this one unique was that it did not swamp us in sequels which repeated the message.

Culturally, this study of privilege, of deception, of sisterhood, and yes, even of vengeance stands well because it stands alone, in my humble opinion.

I will not ruin the movie for anyone, for clearly there are enough spoilers out there on the net already by now, but I wills ay that my younger sister, an anti-80s slasher horror critic, said to me after watching this tonight, that this was one creepy, scary movie! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio with LPCM 2.0 stereo sound plus a second, alternate version of the film with director approved pre-credit sequence with mono audio
Optional English Subtitles on main feature
Audio Commentary with director Mark Rosman
Audio commentary with director Mark Rosman and stars Eileen Davidson and Kathryn McNeil
Interviews with cast and crew including: Director Mark Rosman, stars Harley Jane Kozak, Eileen Davidson and Kathryn McNeil, Composer Richard Band and Producer Igo Kantor
Original Pre-Credit Sequence
Alternate ending storyboards
TV Spots
Theatrical Trailer
Reversible Artwork
Collectible Mini-Poster

www.MVDshop.com





The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films
(Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michael Dudikoff, Eli Roth, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2014) 2021 / MVD Visual)

Overview: The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films is a documentary about two Israeli-born cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who in pursuit of the American Dream turned the Hollywood power structure upside down, producing over 300 films and becoming the most powerful independent film company in the world.

Up close and personal, the film examines the complex relationship between two contradictory personalities whose combined force fueled their success and eventual collapse.

Blu-ray Verdict: This authorized documentary on Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus was, in typical Cannon Films fashion, rushed into production to be completed before a competing film was released - the decidedly UN-authorized ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS.

It not only beat that film into release it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. The French debut was fitting since Cannes was the place where the legend of Golan and Globus was made back in the 80s.

Director Hilla Medalia spends the first portion of the movie showing how the two cousins established a beachhead in their native Israel in the 60s producing movies which were commercial and critical successes.

Remarkably, the duo also got four of their films nominated for Best Foreign Language Film including one Directed by Golan himself (OPERATION THUNDERBOLT) - something that has gotten little notice over the years.

Their first English language movie, TRUNK TO CAIRO (with George Sanders!), did not fare so well. Israel proved to be too small a pond for the Go-Go Boys to fish in, so they set off for Hollywood in 1980.

Their first pictures did not make much of a splash, but they soon got some notice for hiring the likes of Charles Bronson and Chuck Norris to lead their budget action pictures.

But, it was one of their cheapest and most hastily produced low low budget pictures which boosted their finances, BREAKIN, which grossed almost $100M in adjusted dollars.

Golan was always the creative partner, while Globus was the money guy. As is said in various ways during the Doc - Golan spent money as quickly as Globus could raise it.

At Cannes they would make deals for films that were not only uncompleted, but often unwritten and even without a title. Golan famously signed Jean Luc Godard to a contract on cloth napkin.

What is noteworthy here is that what we think of as Cannon Films really lasted only five years. By the end of the 80s their lavish spending (including buying movie theater chains and EMI studios) put them on the verge of bankruptcy.

Golan was essentially forced out of his own company and founded the short-lived and only modestly successful 21st Century Corporation. Globus hooked up with Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti to not only save Cannon, but, also to purchase MGM studios.

That partnership ended in scandal, and 21st Century did not even last until the end of the 20th. Both Cousins (who were at that time no longer on speaking terms) ended up retreating to Israel.

In closing, Go-Go Boys takes a much more personal approach to telling the story of Cannon films than the chatty gossipy ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. The latter Doc is more entertaining and it gets into more of the downside of the partnership.

Still, Go-Go Boys definitely has its merits. Some of the interviewees like studio exec Tom Pollock and Director Boaz Davidson give insight into the business end and actors Michael Dudikoff and a, very colorful and enthusiastic, Jean-Claude Van Damme give us some behind the scenes details.

The cooperation of the two principles (which they denied to the competing film) gives the viewer a more personal look at the men and their careers. Director Medalia does push them on their failures and gets a few morsels from Globus, but Golan was intransigent to the end (he passed away less than three months after the Premiere).

He refused to talk about the colossal bomb with SUPERMAN IV and only discussed the slightly less embarrassment of OVER THE TOP in terms of bragging about Sylvester Stallones paycheck.

Ergo, it is a heartfelt Documentary, if not a fully frank one. [GR] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible Artwork
Collectible Mini-Poster

www.MVDshop.com





Royal Deceit [Blu-ray]
(Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale, Helen Mirren, Gabriel Byrne, Brian Cox, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1994) 2021 / MVD Visual)

Overview: A young prince (Bale), after discovering that his father has been murdered, vows to avenge the death and regain the crown.

Plotting his revenge, he cleverly bides his time waiting and watching and hoping for the precise moment to execute the deadly plan!

Get ready for edge-of-your-seat action and suspense.

Blu-ray Verdict: Personally, this movie was made for all of us who suffered through compulsory Shakespeare in school. The needless suffering of intentionally disastrous endings marked Shakespeares tragedies.

Those stories were so horribly sad on every level that they reduced life and all its ambitions to an expectation of sorrowful failure. Like, everyone dies for little or no reason! (I totally hated that crap!)

This is, apparently, a story related to Hamlet. I never knew it existed. I noticed the similarities straight away and kept anticipating needless tragedy. Needless tragedy never came.

I honestly do not know if I would have liked it if not for my knowledge of Shakespeares Hamlet and my general contempt for needless tragedy, if all truth be told.

The story followed an almost fable-like formula. It was production on the fly with a great economy of scale. That is to say the scenes had just enough to carry the story and no more.

The fight scenes and swordplay are very different from todays carefully choreographed, terribly graphic violence. During one of the fight scenes, I wondered if this scrappy, badly improvised fighting was actually more realistic than what we normally get from big productions.

All the real fights I have seen looked nothing like a movie fight due to the considerable clumsiness of the fighters, but as this movie also had witty and clever moments, I thought they fit well within the main context of a revenge plot overall.

Of course, they could have spent more money and had a larger production, but why bother? I think it would be cool if Royal Deceit could run this summer in place of Shakespeare in the Parks Hamlet!

It could make people happy for a change and, oh yeah, it features a very young and waif-like Kate Beckinsale, so it also has that going for it!

The film also reminded me of some delightful Viking tales I discovered decades ago. Tales of individual heroism, conquest, love and so on. Fables are fun and so is Royal Deceit, as it is finally something not completely nihilistic from IFC. What a relief that was!

In closing, Royal Deceit is recommended if: You think Christian Bale is hot (100% satisfaction), or you have to watch Brian Coxs filmography (78% satisfaction), or you want to see Helen Mirrens golden globes (50% satisfaction), or if you are a Hamlet completist (60% satisfaction), or finally, if you are planning a trip to Denmark (31% satisfaction). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio
Optional English Subtitles
Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Original Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDshop.com





An American In Paris: The Musical [Blu-ray]
(David Seadon-Young, Robert Fairchild, Haydn Oakley, Leanne Cope, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2018) 2021 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, inspired by the Oscar winning film, tells the impassioned story of love in the City of Light.

Jerry Mulligan is an American GI struggling as a painter in a city suddenly bursting with hope and possibility.

Following a chance encounter with a beautiful dancer named Lise, the streets of Paris become the backdrop to a romance of art, friendship, and love.

Blu-ray Verdict: It will not remain unnoticed, despite being the silent accompaniment, as it constantly changes and revolves, with a projector somehow making it seem as if the scene (water, often) is real.

It is something that ends up having an impressive result, sets up quite an atmosphere, along with the lighting. Even the abstract sets at the end are simply interesting, although later on they end up making artistic sense.

Even the efficiency with which the stage was modified was compelling to notice. People mostly wheeled them out, but they did it not in a very intrusive manner.

Lighting (or lack of it) was also in this case used to create shadows or hide some background machinations, and in the end it is as if it is an entirely different theatre.

As for getting a little more personal with it, well, I personally love how it shows us that out of the darkness of the world (in this case WW2), we can find the light through laughter, music, companionship, and yes, even love.

I also like this one part in the play where Milo Davenport (the blonde American woman) and Henri (the dapper French man) are willing to let go of Jerry and Lise after finding out that they do not love them.

In that moment Milo and Henri realize that when you truly, deeply, love someone, that you have to be willing to let go of them for good if you want them to be happy.

OK, sure, this is not the Gene Kelly version, but it is still a very good musical and I also love how beautiful and true everything is. All I can say is, who can ask for anything more? This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio
Optional English Subtitles
Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Original Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDshop.com





Action Double Feature: Close Range/Savage Dog
(Scott Adkins, Keith David, Matthey Mardsen, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2021 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Action Double Feature: Close Range / Savage Dog is an action-packed double feature starring Scott Atkins!

Blu-ray Verdict: Up first is Close Range (2015). After rescuing his kidnapped niece from a powerful drug cartel, Colton MacReady (Scott Adkins, Hard Target 2) begins a relentless fight to save his family.

The cartel has descended upon his secluded ranch with a thirst for revenge. In tow are a corrupt local sheriff and his crew of deputies, ensuring that help - in any known form - will not be coming any time soon.

What ensues is a non-stop assault on the ranch, a blow-by-blow survival marathon for Colton to protect his loved ones and save his life.

For the most part, the film looks like something that director Isaac Florentine would have filmed 15 years beforehand, before he achieved major cult fame.

He has virtually exploited himself here, from the pseudo-western vibe and corny dialogue to the condensed nature of the script. Running at a slim 85 minutes, Close Range sticks pretty close to its adrenaline agenda and does not bother with things like character development, focusing instead on physical tension.

It is the type of movie that drama snobs will hate, though it is also a step down from the level of storytelling that Florentine has become adept at.

For me, it is rather disappointing that the films premise boils down to a white guy almost exclusively killing evil Latinos, thus overall, I conclude that this one leaves less of an impression than almost any other picture the star and director have made together.

That all said, and playing Devils Advocate, Close Range contains solid action from beginning to end with a tight opening fight sequence, plenty of bloody gun play throughout and a climax with hard hitting hand-to-hand combat that will definitely please fans of such films.

Then we get Savage Dog (2017). Indochina, 1959. A Wild West town controlled by the criminal class: Vietnamese warlords and European war criminals. Den-Dhin-Chan Labor Camp is run by four such dangerous men.

The worst prison in the land, it is here that a European, former-champion boxer Martin Tilman (Scott Adkins) has made a name for himself fighting tournaments, on which wealthy criminals gamble in high stakes events.

When Tilman is due for release, he just wants to return home, but the corrupt forces running the jail will do everything in their power to keep him locked down.

When all that Tilman holds dear is taken away in a vicious act of violence, he is forced to confront the five men responsible and take his revenge.

For me, Savage Dog reminds me of the 80s and 90s action movies when the action scene was dominated by real tough heroes like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Norris, Seagal and Van Damme.

Unfortunately, times have changed and we do not see many of those anymore although, interestingly enough, Expendables 2 was not the first time Adkins worked with his role model Van Damme.

In truth, Adkins has already made some good action movies in the last decade and is best known as Boyka in the Undisputed franchise. Anyway, after the flawed Hard Target 2 it is nice to see he is back in shape again.

Indeed, to my mind, Savage Dog is very similar to Adkins own Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, which remains one of his better efforts to this very day.

An action movie is as good as his villain is and here we have three! All excellent actors and/or fighters like Marko Zaror (Undisputed III, Machete Kills, Redeemer).

Oh, and by the by, check out Redeemer if you never saw it as it is a truly great martial arts movie! Here we also witness Cung Lee (Dragon Eyes) have his final fight with Adkins and it is massively outstanding to behold!

Which brings us to the action: a lot of breathtaking fight scenes (think of Kickboxer, Savate, Lionheart), but the last half hour is when the real action takes place: a lot of shoot-outs, knife fights and the kills are bloody and brutal! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Close Range - Special Features:
High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround + LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)

Savage Dog - Special Features:
High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 2.20:1 aspect ratio
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround + LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English
The Art Of Making It Behind the Scenes Featurette (HD)
The Fights - Behind the Scenes Featurette (HD)
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)

www.MVDshop.com





Spiral: From the Book of Saw [4K Ultra HD]
(Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, Samuel L. Jackson, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2021 / Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

Overview: A sadistic mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in SPIRAL, the terrifying new chapter from the book of Saw.

Working in the shadow of an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the citys gruesome past.

Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killers morbid game.

4K Blu-ray Verdict: Lionsgate Films is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the euphorically mesmerizing, and gloriously devilish Spiral in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this July 20th, 2021.

For my money, this Spiral: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital combo packs 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 Spiral presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10, Aspect ratio: 2.38:1, 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 crisper 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; notably the detail levels are definitely improved throughout as what repeatedly caught my attention was the improvement in shadow definition in the many dark scenes (the opening sequence in the subway tunnel is a notable example, but a later showdown involving a female police captain played by Marisol Nichols is another).

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 - like the scene at the cacophonous carnival setting that quickly becomes claustrophobic in an underground subway tunnel, and some of the trap scenes provide good engagement of all those attributed colors - especially in the disturbing sequence involving shattered glass bottle shards spewing out of a fanlike object and into the body of a hapless victim!

As for the audio, well we have a veritable smorgasbord of choice here: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), and Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0.

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.

OK, well, as for the actual movie, well, as a huge fan of Chris Rock and a huge fan of the Saw series, when I heard that Rock was behind the revamped Spiral movie we were getting I was beyond excited.

Then a worldwide pandemic came along delaying the film by 12 months which only served to get my anticipation levels up that little bit higher. The end product is an interesting one. Its better in some ways than I hoped, and less so in others than what I hoped.

What really took me by surprise the most was how much I liked Rock as the lead. Early on we get a little stand-up routine from him (in context of the movie of course - more or less) and then here and there we get little glimpses of his terrific humor which he has obviously inserted into the script himself.

But when its time to get serious he is more than capable. He brings great intensity to the movie and combining that with his natural charisma, makes for a great centerpiece of the film.

The film takes a little bit of a step-back in terms of the brutality of some of the traps. Make no mistake, there are some brutal things to watch in this movie, however I suspect a conscious effort was made to reign things in just a little.

In previous Saw movies it felt like they were going out of their way to make as many audience members faint as possible. Here is just feels like they are trying to find a good balance between keeping the gore-enthusiasts pleased, and keeping those less inclined to enjoy that type of thing in the cinema; bums on seats, as they say.

The pacing of the film is lightning quick. Theres a little bit of set-up and character introductions early on, but once the action begins it never relents. The film is only 93 minutes admittedly, however it is over before you know it.

Theres also a new voice on the tapes this time around. At first it took me off-guard and I didnt quite know what to think of it. However by the end of the film it had grown on me a lot. It is very different to the one we had in the original series.

In truth, Ill be very interested to hear what other people thought of it as I personally can honestly see it being quite a polarizing thing.

I wont get into the conclusion of the film (always a treat in the Saw/Spiral universe), suffice to say it is quite different to how we are used to these films ending.

That said, I still think I need to go back and rewatch the final scene to fully understand certain characters motivations and what they were trying to achieve.

In closing, the door has been left wide open (no pun intended) for more sequels though so if this one is a success then prepare yourself for Spiral 2-8 in the coming years. I say bring them on! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary with Director Darren Lynn Bousman, Co-screenwriter Josh Stolberg, and Composer Charlie Clouser
Audio Commentary with Producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg
The Consequences of Your Actions: Creating Spiral
Drawing Inspiration: Illustrated Trap Breakdowns
Decoding the Marketing Spiral
Theatrical Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer

The terrifying new chapter in the book of Saw comes home when Spiral arrives on Digital July 13th, 2021 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand July 20th, 2021 from Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures.

Spiral - Official Trailer

Amazon Spiral 4K Ultra HD Purchase Link

Official Website

Official Facebook Page

Official Instagram Page

Official Twitter Page





...Archives