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Ghost Canyon

Giallo Essentials: Black Edition
(Jenny Tamburi, Silvano Tranquilli, Renzo Montagnani, Bedy Moratti, Rosanna Schiaffino, et al / 3-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Giallo Essentials: Black Edition (Smile Before Death, The Weapon, The Hour, The Motive & The Killer Reserved Nine Seats) is a 3-Disc Limited Edition Blu-ray set that brings together all three of these oft-overlooked gialli and which are all now restored in 2K from their original camera negatives [includes brand-new, Arrow-exclusive restorations of all three films alongside a range of in-depth bonus features].

Verdict: In Silvio Amadio’s Smile Before Death (1972), familicide with a sprinkling of Oedipal love is the order of the day when teenager Nancy returns home to discover the apparent suicide of her mother, and quickly comes to suspect that her stepfather and his mistress are to blame.

Smile Before Death is nice little giallo. With only three characters that have any real screen-time and only two or three different sets, it’s what I’d definitely call little. Nancy’s mother’s murder may not be overly complicated, but it’s still a real treat to watch Nancy get to the bottom of things as Marco and Gianna turn on each other.

It’s a hoot watching Nancy play them like a fiddle. They fall for it hook, line, and sinker. It’s some terrific writing given how little the movie is. Director Silvio Amadio (better known for his giallo, Amuck) does a remarkable job of keeping the interest high even though we already know where most of the film is headed.

Amadio also does a fantastic job of springing not just one, but two twists near the film’s finale, of which I’m please to say that both worked perfectly, as far as I’m concerned.

Next, horny priests and self-flagellating nuns abound in Francesco Mazzei’s The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive, (1972) as police commissioner Franco Boito investigates the brutal murder of a young clergyman, only to enter into an affair with the dead man’s lover.

The film now only examines a murder, but the idea that a Catholic priest - Don Giorgio - is having an affair with two different women - Orchidea (Bedy Moratti - Women in Cell Block 7) and Giulia Pisani (Eva Czemerys - The Killer Reserved Nine Seats) - and tries to break things off with both of them before he’s killed.

Since Inspector Boito (Renzo Montagnani) has already fallen for Orchidea - whose husband has just committed suicide - what’s the hope for a fair inspection of who the killer could be?

The only person who may know is a young orphan who lives in the church named Ferruccio, who once watched while Don Giorgio self-flagellated, and who now is kept drugged and quiet. There’s also the matter of a skeleton-filled catacomb under the church in addition to nuns taking baths fully clothed and whipping one another fully nude!

Finally comes Giuseppe Bennati’s The Killer Reserved Nine Seats (1974), an assortment of wealthy degenerates – including Italian cult mainstays Andrea Scotti and Howard Ross – answer the summons of an eccentric nobleman and assemble in the theatre attached to his ancestral home, only to find themselves trapped in the decaying building while a savage killer picks them off Agatha Christie-style!

This is a surprisingly entertaining Italian giallo that resembles a lot of later American slasher movies more than it does the earlier or contemporary Italian thrillers. As in slasher films like Stage Fright (both versions), Popcorn, and Clown at Midnight this film is basically about nine people who attend a showing at a mysteriously deserted theater and find themselves trapped inside and picked off one-by-one by a mysterious masked killer; who may be motivated by revenge.

Really though the plot here is pretty inconsequential. This movie is much closer to the stylish gialli than amateurish slasher movies in quality, and instead of having a cast of adolescent American nitwits, the cast is made up of sumptuous European beauties who spend much of the movie in various states of undress - oh yeah, and the male lead from South Pacific! These are all Full Screen (1:33.1) Presentations adapted for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

New 2K restorations from the original camera negatives of Smile Before Death and The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive
2K restoration from the original camera negative of The Killer Reserved Nine Seats
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of each film
Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks on Smile Before Death and The Killer Reserved Nine Seats
Original lossless mono Italian soundtrack on The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive
English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtracks
Rigid box packaging with original artwork in a windowed Giallo Essentials Collection slipcover
Reversible sleeves for each film featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais, Peter Strain and Haunt Love

DISC 1: SMILE BEFORE DEATH
New commentary by authors and critics Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson
Original Italian and English front and end titles
Smile of the Hyena, new video interview with Stefano Amadio, film journalist and son of director Silvio Amadio
Never-before-seen extended nude scenes, not used in the final film
Image gallery

DISC 2: THE WEAPON, THE HOUR, THE MOTIVE
New commentary by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
A Man in Giallo, new video interview with actor Salvatore Puntillo
Front and end titles for the lost English-language dub
Image gallery

DISC 3: THE KILLER RESERVED NINE SEATS
New commentary by author and critic Kat Ellinger
Hanging with Howard, video interview with actor Howard Ross
Writing with Biagio, video interview with screenwriter Biagio Proietti
Italian theatrical trailer (in Italian and English)
Image gallery

www.MVDvisual.com





God Told Me To: 4K Ultra HD [2-Disc]
(Richard Lynch, Tony Lo Bianco, Sandy Dennis, Sylvia Sidney, Deborah Raffin, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / R / (1976) 2022 / Blue Underground - MVD Visual)

Overview: A rooftop sniper guns down 14 pedestrians on the streets of New York City. A mild-mannered dad takes a shotgun and blows away his wife and children. A cop goes on a sudden shooting spree at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. And each of these unlikely killers makes the same dying confession: God told me to.

Now a repressed Catholic NYPD detective (Tony Lo Bianco of THE HONEYMOON KILLERS and THE FRENCH CONNECTION) must uncover a netherworld of deranged faith, alien insemination and his own unholy connection to a homicidal messiah with a perverse plan for the soul of mankind.

4K UHD Blu-ray Verdict: From Larry Cohen, who brought us It’s Alive and what my friend describes as the best blaxploitation movie ever, Black Caesar, comes God Told Me To, one of the strangest and most compelling horror/sci-fi movies I know of!

The movie begins with a beautiful and creepy credits sequence showing these things floating through liquid. It reminded me a bit of the beautiful but equally inexplicable credits sequence from eXistenZ. Then we quickly move on to an average day in ’70s Manhattan, where a sniper suddenly begins taking out random people on the sidewalk.

This is indeed a well thought out scene, which gains a lot of resonance from recent events, creating a very creepy and surreal scene that one (who lives in Manhattan) could very easily imagine happening. Anyway, Peter, our hero, climbs up the water tower where the sniper is, receiving extensive ass coverage on the way, and tries to talk him down. The guy tells him that God told him to kill the people, then tosses himself to the ground. And we’re off!

Peter is played by Tony Lo Bianco, the hot protagonist from one of my favorite movies of all time, The Honeymoon Killers. And, as he was supposed to be smokin’ hot in that movie, in this movie he is also treated as somewhat of a sex object, which is no problem for me!

Anyway, soon the plot points start getting piled on. Peter is super religious, it’s apparently like an addiction with him. He’s dating this woman who inexplicably wears these ludicrous glasses at all times (even in bed), and has a wife who is, shall we say, a bit dour. The police station where he works is littered with hot daddies. There are more inexplicable murders, and the killers all say God told me to before dying.

One of these sequences takes place during the St. Patrick’s Day parade, where we get extensive coverage of the hot cops (back when cops had mustaches and weren’t all burgeoning metrosexuals). One of the cops freaks out and begins shooting. The thing is, this cop is played by ANDY KAUFMAN. You barely notice it, but it’s just one of the interesting factoids about this movie.

Another is that we learn from the trivia section that what we’re watching is actual footage from an actual parade, shot on the sly by Cohen, who told the police that he was shooting a documentary. That means that all the hot cops are actual hot cops. Ahh, better days!

As it all goes on it starts getting stranger and stranger, but I’m going to stop now, because if you’re going to watch the movie (which you should), it’s good to be surprised by where this all leads to.

Written, produced, and directed by Larry Cohen (IT’S ALIVE), this critically acclaimed cult classic remains one of the most disturbing and thought-provoking horror films of our time. Deborah Raffin (DEATH WISH 3), Sandy Dennis (WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?), Sylvia Sidney (BEETLEJUICE), Mike Kellin (SLEEPAWAY CAMP), Richard Lynch (BAD DREAMS), and Andy Kaufman (TAXI) co-star in GOD TOLD ME TO, now presented in a new 4K restoration from the original uncensored negative, with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio, packed with revealing extras! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Disc 1
Ultra HD Blu-ray (2160p) and HD Blu-ray (1080p) Widescreen 1.85:1 feature presentations
Audio: Dolby Atmos (English); 5.1 DTS-HD (English); 1.0 DTS-HD (English); French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles: English SDH, Francais, Espanol
Audio Commentary #1 with Writer/Producer/Director Larry Cohen
NEW! Audio Commentary #2 with Film Historians Steve Mitchell and Troy Howarth
Theatrical Trailers
TV Spots

Disc 2:
Audio Commentary #1 with Writer/Producer/Director Larry Cohen
NEW! Audio Commentary #2 with Film Historians Steve Mitchell and Troy Howarth
Heaven & Hell On Earth – Interview with Star Tony Lo Bianco
Bloody Good Times – Interview with Special Effects Artist Steve Neill
God Told Me To Bone – New Beverly Q&A with Larry Cohen
Lincoln Center Q&A with Larry Cohen
Theatrical Trailers
TV Spots
Poster & Still Gallery

www.MVDvisual.com





Desperate Hours: Special Edition
(Mickey Rourke, Anthony Hopkins, Mimi Rogers, Lindsay Crouse, Kelly Lynch, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1990) 2022 / MVD Visual)

Overview: From Academy Award®-winning director Michael Cimino comes this taut psychological thriller about a family held hostage in their own home.

Starring Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), Oscar® winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs), Mimi Rogers (Someone Who Watch Over Me) and Kelly Lynch (Road House), this nail-biting action film grabs you by the throat and leaves you gasping in terror. Prepare yourself. The Desperate Hours have begun.

In dire need of a hideout, escaped convict Michael Bosworth (Rourke) uses his charming smile to gain entry into the posh home of Nora and Tim Cornell (Rogers and Hopkins) and their two children. While waiting for his beautiful lawyer-turned-accomplice (Lynch) to arrive, Bosworth’s smile soon explodes into homicidal rage when the Cornell’s desperately try to fight back.

Holding the family at gunpoint and ruthlessly pitting husband against wife, Bosworth’s fury escalates into a shocking night of terror and cold-blooded murder. Finally, the family is forced to take a stand that will either destroy them ... or unite them as never before.

Blu-ray Verdict: Desperate Hours is a 1990 remake of William Wyler’s psycho drama of the same name from 1955 featuring Humphrey Bogart and Fredric March as original cast. This is the story of a blood-thirsty gang raiding an upper class suburb house on their run from the police after a series of ambitious big projects like Heaven’s Gate, Year of the Dragon and The Sicilian in the eighties.

In this remake, it is Mickey Rourke’s turn to play Bogart’s leading role, and he turned Bogart’s coolness into a portrait of a psychopathic gentleman gangster whose violent dominance is about to erupt like a volcano every second. His counterpart is lawyer Anthony Hopkins, an upper-class citizen and head of a broken family. Both men are fighting against each other in every possible way, starting with psycho duels and witty conversations to hard fights and pure wars of nerves.

Most of the plot takes place in Hopkins’ house, and as soon as the story is settled out of this apparent suburb paradise hell breaks out, starting from Rourke’s violent escape from a courthouse prison in the beginning of the film to the final showdown when the police arrives.

Cimino’s direction works well with his whole ensemble often placed in the living room like actors on a static theater stage, and the camera views the psychological warfare often from a very distant ankle like in a documentary. The great cast of all actors featuring Mimi Rodgers, Kelly Lynch, Elias Koteas and David Morse and the minimal and seducing sound track score by David Mansfield add much tension to this well-dome remake of a great fifties crime drama. 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
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround, French Stereo
English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, French Subtitles
Behind the Scenes Featurette (HD, 6:00)
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:00)
Photo Gallery
Collectible Mini-Poster
Reversible Artwork
Limited Edition Slipcover

www.MVDvisual.com





Martial Club: Special Edition
(Te-Lo Mai, Kara Wai, Chia-Hui Liu, Lung-Wei Wang, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1981) 2022 / 88 Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: A gloriously typical entry from Shaw Brothers, Martial Club starring Kara Wei (THE BRAVE ARCHER 2 and MAD MONKEY KUNG FU) and Gordon Liu (THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN) and directed by Lau Kar-Leung (LEGENDARY WEAPONS OF CHINA), affords us a fast-paced, cleverly choreographed piece of martial arts fun combining many elements that lovers of this kind of cinema will be more than appreciative of.

Rival fight schools, an old master and beautifully designed set pieces tumble together in a colorfully kinaesthetic unceasing parade of flying fists and action set pieces.

Blu-ray Verdict: Once again director Liu Chia-Liang manages to pull it out of the bag with this Shaw Brothers mini-epic focused around the different styles of Chinese martial arts, particularly the gulf between northern and southern styles.

By 1981 you might expect Shaw films to start becoming a little derivative and repetitive but by contrast MARTIAL CLUB is one of the freshest-feeling films I’ve watched from the studio.

This inventive story is unlike anything else I’ve seen from the studio. The plot is nothing special, about three rival kung fu schools and their attempts to get one up on each other. However, MARTIAL CLUB is in reality a thematic film exploring subjects such as honor, rivalry, and chivalry and as such it becomes a mature and enthralling piece of film-making.

In fact, it’s the total opposite of the kind of bloody and visceral entertainment that Chang Cheh was putting out during the era, instead feeling graceful and even profound in places.

Elsewhere, there’s very little to dislike about any of the film’s ingredients. With Chia-Liang directing and doing the fight choreography, the action is admittedly spectacular and never repeats itself. There are the usual one-on-one and one-on-many duels and bouts and one great riotous moment in a theater that reminded me of similar greatness in the likes of JASON BOURNE; Chia-Liang certainly know how to direct chaotic action well. Inevitably the best stuff is saved for the climax with the alley fight perhaps being one of the greatest Shaw Brothers action scenes ever.

The cast is also exemplary. Gordon Liu does his erstwhile hero bit very well, convincing as the headstrong youth. Kara Hui impresses yet again as his rival and it’s hard to take your eyes off her whenever she’s on screen. Hsiao Hou is excellent in support and the likes of Ku Feng round out the cast nicely.

However, by far the best actor in the whole thing is Wang Lung Wei in an excellent turn as a true martial arts expert. Lung Wei is so often cast as a stock villain and his honorable turn here sees him playing a good guy for once and he’s absolutely brilliant in it; his character dominates the story and he gives the performance of his life. He really makes you wish he could have played more than stock villain types all the time! 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 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
1.0 DTS-HD MA Mono Cantonese Audio with Newly Translated English Subtitles
1.0 DTS-HD MA Mono English Audio (Synced Best possible From Instructors of Death Print)
Commentary with Asian cinema expert Frank Djeng and Actor / Martial Artist Michael Worth
Supplemental Audio commentary with Asian cinema expert Frank Djeng
Instructors of Death - Grindhouse Presentation
Kung Fu and Dancing - An Interview with Actor Robert Mak
Born to Be Bad - An Interview with Actor Johnny Wang
Disciples of Shaolin - An Interview with Stuntmen Hung Sun-Nam and Tony Tam
The Right-Hand Man - An Interview with Producer Lawrence Wong
‘Instructors of Death’ Trailer
Hong Kong Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original Hong Kong poster artwork

www.MVDvisual.com





Miami Blues: Special Edition
(Alec Baldwin, Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nora Dunn, Paul Gleason, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1990) 2022 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Junior Frenger (Alec Baldwin, The Departed, “30 Rock”) is trouble and Sgt. Hoke Moseley (Fred Ward, Tremors, Short Cuts) knows it. Junior, smooth-talking, good-looking ex-con tiptoes on the borderline of psychotic behavior in this thriller-with-a-comic-edge. Moseley is the detective hot on his trail after Junior kills a Hare Krishna, robs a pickpocket, then steals Moseley’s badge, his gun … and even his false teeth!

Junior’s running around the streets of Miami posing as a cop, assaulting people and making arrests. And even though he promises his live-in lover (an ex-prostitute played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight) that he’ll stay out of crime, he continues playing cops and robbers on both sides of the law.

Quirky and unpredictable, Miami Blues has been hailed by critics and the public alike as a dark, comic cops-and-robbers thriller unlike any other.

Blu-ray Verdict: Simply put, Miami Blues is an arresting, oddball and darkly comedic crime fiction from the mind of the late Charles Willeford, written for the screen and directed by George Armitage and co-produced by Jonathan Demme.

Some people may find it a little too unpleasant for their tastes, but others will delight in its unpredictability. It’s got enough interesting faces in its supporting cast to help it make an enjoyable cult-favorite type of film.

Alec Baldwin plays psychopathic hoodlum Junior Frenger, who arrives in Miami intending to start over, or in his case simply move on to a new assortment of victims (he begins by messing up a Hare Krishna in an airport!)

He hooks up with Susie Waggoner, a sweet, simple minded hooker played by the endearing Jennifer Jason Leigh. A tough homicide detective, Hoke Moseley (Fred Ward, good as always) follows his trail, but gets victimized himself when Junior gets the drop on him, and steals Hokes’ gun, badge, and false teeth. Junior then has the time of his life pretending to be a cop, while entering into a domestic situation with Susie.

Miami Blues does get fairly violent sometimes, but if this sort of thing doesn’t bother you, you can have a good time with this story and these players. It’s got a hip soundtrack including a score by Gary Chang (this reviewer loves the use of Norman Greenbaums’ Spirit in the Sky).

Among the supporting actors are Nora Dunn of Saturday Night Live & Three Kings, Demme regular Charles Napier (The Blues Brothers, The Silence of the Lambs), Obba Babatunde, and Jose Perez; cameos range from Martine Beswicke (Prehistoric Women) to Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club) to Shirley Stoler (The Honeymoon Killers). Highly recommended to fans of cult cinema. 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
LPCM Master Audio 2.0 Stereo, Spanish Mono, French Stereo
English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, French Subtitles
Interviews with Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Jason Leigh (HD, 26:01)
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:11)
3 TV Spots (SD)
Original Orion Home Video ‘Miami Blues’ Trailer (SD, 1:57)
Photo Gallery
Collectible Mini-Poster
Reversible Artwork

www.MVDvisual.com





The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz
(Ernesto Alonso, Miroslava Stern, Rita Macedo, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1955) 2022 / VCI Entertainment)

Overview: Possibly Luis Bunuel’s most underrated film, The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz is executed in traditional Bunuel fashion, where macabre meets comedy. The story begins when an overindulged young boy of privilege is shown a music box, which is a family air loom, alleged to cause the death of an enemy when played.

The boy decides to test it out, setting his sights on his nanny, who’d recently offended him, wishing for her death. When moments later, a stray bullet from a revolutionary’s gun sails though the window killing her, the twisted boy is convinced this was no accident and finds that he likes his newfound power.

Taking on the mind of a serial killer, he carries this mindset into adulthood, plotting, planning, fantasizing, and wishing, with women as his victims. The irony of it all is, his efforts to carry out these crimes are always thwarted by outside forces, be it twist of fate or providence, making him a serial killer in mind only.

Blu-ray Verdict: Handsome and well-heeled Archibaldo has been convinced from boyhood that he possesses a music box that has the power to kill. He embarks upon a career as a serial murderer in which his intended victims are ravishing looking females but Fate continually thwarts his lethal intentions and his murders never get past the fantasy stage.

The most notorious scene in the film and one of which only this director is capable, is where Archibaldo consigns to the flames of a kiln a wax model of one of his potential victims who has slipped through his grasp.

This macabre episode has acquired a tragically ironic overtone as the woman who has modeled for the dummy is played by Miroslava Stern who was cremated shortly after filming was completed, having taken her own life.

Working within the budgetary limitations of Mexican cinema, director Luis Bunuel has fashioned a stylish, sophisticated and technically polished piece that contains some delicious performances and bizarre Bunuelian moments that linger long in the memory.

Although condemned by circumstances to being innocent of murder Archibaldo still feels the need to confess to the police. He is politely dismissed by a detective with the words: Thinking about murdering someone does not constitute a crime. This will strike a chord with most of us I am sure!

As an interesting footnote, the movie was shot in the middle of a big economic crisis for the Mexican cinema. Production was about to be shot down a few times and the famous scene with the mannequin being cremated was filmed only once because they couldn’t afford another mannequin! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the special features of:

The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz
A Video Essay by Dr. Witt, Film Historian
Restored and Remastered in 4K by the Mexican Cinematheque from the original 35mm negatives

www.vcientertainment.com





Flying Guillotine 2: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
(Feng Ku, Hung Wei, Chung Wang, Locke Hua Liu, et al / NR / (1978) 2022 / 88 Films)

Overview: The follow up to Master of the Flying Guillotine, cited as one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite movies, FLYING GUILLOTINE 2 (aka Palace Carnage) continues in the same vein as the original with its visceral mix of martial arts expertise and weapons-grade violence.

To fight against the evil emperor’s reign of terror outlaw rebel Ma Teng joins a group of female freedom fighters, however, she soon finds herself embroiled not just in a battle with enemy forces but also in with group leader’s torn family loyalties.

Brutal, fast and furious FLYING GUILLOTINE 2 is an even more off-kilter Shaw Brothers entry than usual, containing familiar tropes as well as unique elements, it is arguably the best of the Flying Guillotine sequels, rolling along at an impressively enjoyable pace.

Blu-ray Verdict: There are four movies with Flying Guillotine as part of its title. This one closely follows the plot of the first Flying Guillotines (1975) where the main character Ma Teng was played by Chen Kuan Tai. Chen did a masterful job of portraying this character, and in this sequel, Lung Ti plays the part with equal authority. Beautiful Taiwanese actor Szu Shih plays the female lead in this movie.

The plot picks up where the original Flying Guillotines left off. Ma Teng and his family has now established their life in the country, but they can never let their guards down because the emperor’s assassins are after them. Emperor Yung Cheng is still the tyrant he was in the first movie, and demands that a modifications be made to the flying guillotine to counter Ma Teng’s iron umbrella defense.

Now a two stage flying guillotine is invented as a result. Na Lan (Szu Shih) is hired by the emperor to train a squad of women assassins to wield the flying guillotine, but she is righteous at heart, and sides with Ma Teng. A plot is hatched to assassinate the emperor, and together they go to the palace.

In my opinion, this and the first Flying Guillotines are the two with first class quality which makes them classics amongst the kung-fu movies from Shaw Brothers. The other two, The Fatal Flying Guillotines, and Master of the Flying Guillotine is of lower quality production, and are not in the same league as these.

Beautiful kung-fu action along with good story, good acting and great cinematography makes this one of the best movie to come out of Shaw Brothers. This is a really exciting movie and all the right talents have gathered to create one of the masterpieces of kung-fu movies.

In a weird footnote, the actor Fu Keng is in both the first and second movie. His character was decapitated in the first movie and the second movie he’s plays the emperor! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the special features of:

High Definition (1080p) Presentation in 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
2.0 DTS-HD MA English Soundtrack
2.0 DTS-HD MA Mandarin Soundtrack with newly translated English Subtitles
Audio commentary with Asian cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
Hong Kong Trailer
Reversible Sleeve

www.88films.co.uk





Battle of The Worlds: Special Edition [BR]
(Claude Rains, Bill Carter, Umberto Orsini, Maya Brent, Jaqueline Derval, Renzo Palmer, et al / NR / (1961) 2022 / The Film Detective)

Overview: A runaway asteroid dubbed The Outsider mysteriously begins orbiting the Earth and threatens it with lethal flying saucers.

A runaway asteroid dubbed The Outsider mysteriously begins orbiting the Earth and threatens it with lethal flying saucers.

Directed by Amtonio Margheriti and starring Claude Rains, Bill Carter, Umberto Orsini, Maya Brent, Jaqueline Derval, Renzo Palmer it was filmed in Italy at the height of Italy’s sci-fi craze. Cinematography by Marcello Masciocchi.

Best watched late at night!

Blu-ray Verdict: In all honesty, to judge this film on its special effects techniques is just a silly waste of time, considering it is from 1961 and its special effects are not very different from what was coming out of Japan or the UK at the time.

The SPFX weren’t even much further away from what Hollywood was doing in 1961 too. I was a little bit concerned with director Antonio Margheriti (Anthony Dawson in the credits) and his choice to go with a strange orange hue over all the effects, but it didn’t make much of a difference.

The titular hero in the film and token Hollywood star-hire is Claude Rains, who plays a cranky and sometimes rude scientist, who predicts possible world devastation by an astronomical space object called the Visitor. Rains’ performance is an over-acting dream, to the point that he sounded a little senile! (He was 72 at the time).

The other acting is pretty bad, but you need to remember that this is an Italian produced film and Rains was going off the reactions of a cast that was speaking Italian or a form of broken English in order to deliver his lines back.

I am pretty sure I heard some of the same voice-over actors that are in Speed Racer or some of the old Godzilla movies. There are some moments of comedy that help things along the way and I particularly enjoyed all the cigarette lighter/matches jokes!

It is true this film still suffers from its low budget dilemmas although Anthony Dawson is still considered a legendary and cult favorite director from a long distant past in Italian film-history. Indeed, his stylish signature, warm approach to his directing and editing is very evident in this film.

The problem is the dialogue, acting and script that tries its utmost throughout to tear at the very foundation of the film, but luckily for us fans of this genre, it doesn’t wholly succeed.

For in just one of the scenes I could choose right now, where a character is descending deep into the bowels of the runaway planet, it actually does look like bowels! Glowing red and filled with plastic tubing, this was a major triumph of low-budget ingenuity from the Godfather of Spaghetti sci-fi thanks to his resourcefulness as a special effects wizard, working miracles out of a few toilet rolls and a vacuum hose!

Oh, and amidst the relentlessly talky script and the pointless romantic interludes, there’s a strange, almost quasi-revolutionary thread against the military industrial complex, but that’s the crazy Italians for you! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the special features of:

Presented from a 4K scan from an original 35mm archival print
All new original featurette production, A Cinematic Outsider: The Fantastical Worlds of Antonio Margheriti, from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures
Full length commentary track by author/film historian, Justin Humphreys
Original Essay by author, Don Stradley: Margheriti’s World
Special insert with a surprise for Film Detective fans!

www.TheFilmDetective.com





Green Lantern: Beware My Power: 4K UHD
(Aldis Hodge, Jimmi Simpson, Ike Amadi, Brian Bloom, Jamie Gray Hyder, et al / 4K Blu-ray+Digital / PG-13 / 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: In this thrilling new DC Universe Movie, Earth’s latest Green Lantern will rise!

When a Power Ring is bestowed upon former Marine John Stewart, it leads him on a life-changing mission. With Justice League member Green Arrow and Thanagarian Hawkgirl by his side, Stewart is thrown into a complicated galactic war with shocking origins and catastrophic consequences.

It’s a trial by fire for the inexperienced Lantern as he battles deadly enemies like Sinestro – but a much darker secret will be the true test of this Green Lantern’s strength!

4K Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly-anticipated Green Lantern: Beware My Power in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this July 26th, 2022.

For my money, this Green Lantern: Beware My Power [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 Green Lantern: Beware My Power presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 and Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1.

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 along with the Audio of English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Subtitles in English SDH.

Laying out the synopsis, recently discharged Marine sniper John Stewart is at a crossroads in his life, one which is only complicated by receiving an extraterrestrial ring which grants him the powers of the Green Lantern of Earth.

Unfortunately, the ring doesn’t come with instructions – but it does come with baggage, like a horde of interplanetary killers bent on eliminating every Green Lantern in the universe.

Now, with the aid of the light-hearted Green Arrow, Adam Strange and Hawkgirl, this reluctant soldier must journey into the heart of a galactic Rann/Thanagar war and somehow succeed where all other Green Lanterns have failed.

To my mind, director Jeff Wamester could have easily made this new saga into a rather gripping, emotional, and exhilarating origin story of Jon Stewart as the Green Lantern, but instead, he presents us with a something completely different.

That’s not to say that he has created a boring, shallow, one-dimensional movie, no, not in the slightest, but as gorgeously animated and expertly vocalized as it truly is, it would have been nice to get an origin movie based on the iconic character; in my humble opinion.

Anyway, moving swiftly along and the movie free flows nicely, and even when Hawkgirl shows up it doesn’t flinch (if you know about Hawkgirl, you will understand that sentence; if you don’t, well, check her out and don’t bother getting back to me!).

OK, sure, along the way we get some questionable subplots thrown in for some reason and the story line falters a little due to them, making the initially simplistic story into something far more complex than it needed to be, but it gets back on the tracks soon thereafter.

Complete with genuine moments where the movie actually soars and becomes exciting (such as the third act), these moments are what makes the action sequences as good as they could ever have hoped to be.

In conclusion, Aldis Hodge is simply wonderful, absolutely perfect as the voice of the titular superhero, as is Jimmi Simpson as the wise-cracking Green Arrow. Brian Bloom gives a menacing performance as Adam Strange, and Jamie Gray Hyder perfectly embodies the character of Hawkgirl (no matter if you like her or not!).

Special Features:
NEW! John Stewart: The Power and the Glory - Whether in brightest day or blackest night, John Stewart remains one of greatest and most beloved heroes of the DC Universe – and of the many universes that he has protected in his groundbreaking 50-year career as a Green Lantern.

His courage, strength, conviction, and compassion have been his source of his abundant power, as well as the reason for his immense fanbase. This documentary examines his adventures on the printed page, the animated screen, popular culture and beyond, featuring all-new interviews with the creators, writers, artists, and performers who helped shape John’s legendary stories, including Aldis Hodge, the voice of John Stewart in Green Lantern: Beware My Power.

PLUS! 2 Bonus Cartoons

Optional English, German, Spanish, and French subtitles for the main feature.

Green Lantern: Beware My Power | Trailer | Warner Bros. Entertainment

www.WBshop.com

www.WarnerBros.com

www.dccomics.com





A Fugitive From The Past (Blu-ray)
(Rentarō Mikuni, Sachiko Hidari, Kōji Mitsui, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1965) 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Considered the magnum opus of the five decades-long career of Tomu Uchida (Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji, The Mad Fox), the epic crime drama A Fugitive from the Past was voted third in the prestigious Kinema Junpo magazine’s 1999 poll of the Top Japanese Films of the 20th Century.

In 1947, a freak typhoon sends a passenger ferry running between Hokkaido and mainland Japan plunging to the ocean depths, with hundreds of lives lost. During the chaos, three men are witnessed fleeing a burning pawnshop in the Hokkaido port town of Iwanai.

The police suspect theft and arson, and when Detective Yumisaka (Junzaburo Ban) discovers the burned remains of a boat and the corpses of two men, he sets about tracking the shadowy third figure.

Meanwhile, the mysterious Takichi Inukai (Rentaro Mikuni) takes shelter with a prostitute, Yae (Sachiko Hidari), a brief encounter that will come to define both of their lives. A decade later, long after the trail has gone cold, Yumisaka is called back by his successor Detective Ajimura (Ken Takakura) as two new dead bodies are found.

Blu-ray Verdict: Making its home video debut outside of Japan, this adaptation of Tsutomu Minakami’s 1700-page novel is a landmark in master director Uchida’s oeuvre. Its gritty monochrome photography has the immediacy of newsreel as Uchida uses the landscapes of postwar Japan to explore the massive social upheaval and unspoken legacies of the war, and create an unsettling karmic allegory of a man’s struggle to escape his past sins.

OK, telling it like it is, from the start, and covering all the bases so that we’re all on the same page, A Fugitive from the Past (alt. Hunger Straits or Straits of Hunger) is a 1965 allegorical police procedural mystery drama based on Tsutomu Minakami’s novel, directed by Tomu Uchida, who’s sometimes seen as a Japanese New Wave figure but that’s really impossible to determine because the movement never officially existed. This movie is usually hailed as his magnum opus.

AFftP begins with a recap of a 1940s maritime disaster and proceeds to follow three robbers for a bit. After the opening, the date and location constantly shift forward as the film starts to focus on a wide array of characters, one by one. It’s unofficially divided into three acts, the first of which is a mystery tale ft. the robber, the prostitute and the detective, the second act, which follows the prostitute’s life story from there on, and the third, where the cops slowly start to break the robber’s mask down.

The movie is not only a subtly satirical overview on the Japanese post- war society, but is also laced with Buddhist messages. It’s very hard to understand the intent of the makers without some context, but the story apparently follows the protagonist’s karma, which certainly makes for an unique character study. Some scenes are seen through negative film - I suppose that those are intended to be particularly important but I don’t know why. The other two interesting visual approaches are the usage of a grey filter during the detective’s crime reconstruction scenes that take place in his head, and the overwhelming usage of blowing fans which are somehow positioned in almost every frame from the third act.

AFftP is sometimes compared to Kurosawa’s High and Low, both being crime procedural films. One thing Uchida does better is providing interesting characters; the cast in his film is MUCH more interesting than in Kurosawa’s film. Rentaro Mikuni, the most underrated Japanese actor ever, gives a fascinating lead performance; his character is unpredictable and mysterious as he should be.

Sachiko Hidari (wife of New Wave director Susumu Hani) is very lovely as the somewhat childish prostitute and the second act, which centers around her, is definitely the best. Special mention to Jonzaburo Ban and Ken Takakura as the two cops which shine in the third act.

One thing that Kurosawa does better is presenting the actual investigation aspect. In HaL, the audience is just as clueless as the characters and therefore the investigation is more interesting to follow. In AFftP, Uchida shows us many scenes revolving around the robber before the cops start investigating. The third act sometimes gets really tedious because the cops take forever to realize that which the audience knows and some of their remarks are really stupid.

Like in the scene where two corpses with strangle marks are found in the water, with a rock tied to them, and some jackass suggests that maybe it was a double suicide. All that, combined with the unnecessary long runtime (3 hours, without an intermission), make the movie weaker than it should’ve been. Uchida takes his time telling the plot and the pace is constantly slow, but I’m not sure whether or not this tactic really works because it renders most of the film forgettable, even though it keeps the viewer interested while it’s going on.

In closing, A Fugitive from the Past is definitely worth a watch for anyone interested in the Japanese New Wave, but don’t expect to get much out of it unless you are an expert on Buddhism. The point of the movie seems out of the reach, but it’s a satisfying mystery film overall. 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 restored 183 minute-long cut of the film
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles
Introduction by writer and curator Jasper Sharp
Scene-specific commentaries from leading Japanese film scholars Aaron Gerow, Irene González-López, Erik Homenick, Earl Jackson, Daisuke Miyao and Alexander Zahlten
Original theatrical trailer
Image gallery
Tomu Uchida filmography
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

www.MVDvisual.com





Running Out of Time [2-Disc Collection]
(Yoyo Mung, Waise Lee, Ruby Wong, Kelly Lin, Ching Wan Lau, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Acclaimed director Johnnie To (The Heroic Trio, The Mission) is on top form with slam bang action-thriller Running Out of Time and its equally electrifying sequel.

Expert hostage negotiator Ho Sheung-sang (Lau Ching-wan, Black Mask, Mad Detective) is drawn into a psychological game of cat-and-mouse when a criminal mastermind with weeks to live (Andy Lau, Infernal Affairs, House of Flying Daggers) decides to take on the entire Hong Kong Police Force.

There’s more to his plan than meets the eye, but can Inspector Ho figure it out and catch him in time? He’s got 72 hours to try.

Blu-ray Verdict: A huge box office hit, Running Out of Time swept the 19th Hong Kong Film Awards and spawned a popular sequel in Running Out of Time 2, in which Lau Ching-wan returns as Inspector Ho - this time in pursuit of a sophisticated art thief with a taste for drama and theatrical flair.

In Running Out of Time (1999), Dying Wah has nothing to be afraid of anymore when he realizes that he has only 4 weeks to live, and he’s determined to get revenge for his father. Later, when Wah successfully gets away in a robbery, detective San makes up his mind and chases after Wah and arrests him. But, we can only have one winner in a game, who’s gonna win?

For me, this film is a refreshing change of pace from the mindless Hong Kong triad movies I have grown so tired of. There are no spectacular gun fights. No car chases. And practically minimal action to speak of. The audience is kept in suspense for the most part, though certain aspects of the so-called ploy by Andy Lau are quite obvious.

The film has been hailed as a departure from the genre of violent triad films, and as an intelligent crime film. To an extent, it is. But, to some extent, it still fails the believability test sometimes. One can hardly picture any triad member to be dumb enough to not see through the female disguise of Andy Lau in a second.

Nut, I digress. Oh, and it also seemed to have fallen for the if someone was seriously ill, the said someone will be coughing up copious amounts of blood regularly thing Chinese films seem to go for all the time. The subtle relationship between the two lead characters is a refreshing change.

All in all though, an enjoyable film, even though the concept is not new (more now, then back then, of course), but there are quite a few well placed surprises too!

In Running Out of Time 2 (2001), Ho Sheung Sang finds himself wrapped up in another cat-and-mouse game, this time against a tricky magician.

Once again, the sequel is a nice change of pace for a Hong Kong movie, to have a police movie that didn’t include over-the-top action sequences or shoot-out scenes.

Ergo, Running Out of Time 2 is cleverly put together with great acting and good dialogue. Plus the story line was compelling and always managed to keep me interested in seeing what was lurking around the next corner.

The plot in the sequel is about a thief who has stolen some valuable items from an insurance company and is demanding a rather high ransom for the return of these items. The thief (played by Ekin Cheng) seems to always be one step ahead of the police department.

The clever detective Ho Sheung Sang (played by Ching Wan Lau) is put on the case and has more than his hands full trying to catch up with the brilliant and slippery thief.

Simply put, Running Out of Time 2 is a cat-and-mouse story, that is clever and well thought through. Great entertainment and loads of good scenes throughout the movie.

So, if like me, you enjoy Asian cinema and Hong Kong cinema in particular, then you owe it to yourself to sit down and watch Running Out of Time 1 and 2, for they are police movies unlike most others of the same genre or ilk, trust me! These are both Widescreen Presentations (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
High Definition Blu-Ray (1080p) presentations of both films, scanned and restored in 2K
Original lossless Cantonese and Mandarin 5.1 audio options, plus lossless English mono (Running Out of Time) and lossless English 5.1 (Running Out of Time 2)
Optional English subtitles, newly revised for this release
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Lucas Peverill

DISC 1 - RUNNING OUT OF TIME
Brand new audio commentary by Hong Kong film expert Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival)
Audio commentary by writers Laurent Cortiaud and Julien Carbon, moderated by Hong Kong film expert Stefan Hammond
Archival interview with screenwriters Julien Carbon and Laurent Courtiaud
Archival interview with director Johnnie To
Archival interview with star Lau Ching-wan
Archival interview with composer Raymond Wong
The Directors’ Overview of Carbon and Courtiaud, an archive featurette
Theatrical trailer
Image gallery

DISC 2 - RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2
Brand new audio commentary by Hong Kong film expert Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival)
The Making of Running Out of Time 2, an archive featurette
Hong Kong Stories, a 52-minute documentary from 2003 by director Yves Montmayeur (Johnnie Got His Gun!) about Hong Kong cinema mythology via Julien Carbon and Laurent Courtiaud’s experience as screenwriters in the HK film industry, working for Wong Kar-wai, Tsui Hark, Daniel Lee and of course Johnnie To
Theatrical trailer
Image gallery

www.MVDvisual.com





Checkered Ninja
(Anders Matthesen, Emma Sehested Høeg, Facundo Reyes, et al / DVD / NR / 2022 / Synergetic Distribution)

Overview: A possessed Ninja doll teams up with a teenage boy to avenge the murder of a poor child factory worker.

DVD Verdict: For me, and I am sure a whole lot of others, animation is an art and a media, and people who want to limit it to a very young public are both wasting and strangling it to death!

Ergo, Checkered Ninja puts the right filters on in the right places, although opening on a sweat shop where children get beaten and even killed could be construed as being way too OTT!

Much like it is OK to make fun of a superficial girl, but it is not to embellish or disguise the murder of a sick and exhausted, exploited child. Sure, some people might prefer dumbed down movies like The Secret Life of Pets, where they can abandon their kid in front of the TV, but surely they are simply movies that will be quickly watched and immediately forgotten (because they simply have no soul and no true message).

Unlike them, Checkered Ninja is an educational and highly intelligent movie that should be studied in certain classes in schools (maybe even colleges), and that parents who want their child to think in front of the TV and form their own opinions, should make good use of.

All it shows and that is not as easily digestible as Tom and Jerry’s gratuitous, but extreme violence (for example) would provide a good occasion to talk and research. But I am pretty sure some people think a kid is too already too dumb to process any hard reality.

These people are the reason why kids in rich countries are less and less prepared for anything and explode with panic at the first problem. But, I digress, sorry.

I highly recommend this movie to any parent who has goals when it comes to good parenting as front runner Anders Matthesen has abilities like few other comedians in the world. His diverse cast of eccentric characters that function as caricatures on the stereotypical personalities we encounter are both obnoxious, hilarious and likable at the same time.

With his infallible and characteristic voicing talent he makes flawless use of danish slang and culture to poke goodhearted fun at the current generation of youths, parents, teachers and even musicians.

And in spite of crude humor and an especially brutal scene early on (as noted above), the movie, as a whole, ends up being heartwarming, and when the credits roll you realize that you have been fully attentive and entertained for the duration of the film. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Official Trailer

www.synergetic.film





The Tarzan Vault Collection [2-Disc]
(Elmo Lincoln, Herman Brix, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / The Film Detective)

Overview: Edgar Rice Burroughs’ hero has thrilled movie audiences since the days of the silent screen. Tarzan of the Apes (1918), with the brawny Elmo Lincoln in the title role, introduced the character to movie audiences and told the traditional tale of how the orphaned heir to the Greystoke fortune became lord of the jungle.

Lincoln was so impressive that he returned in Adventures of Tarzan (1921), this time to rescue his beloved Jane from the clutches of the evil Queen La.

By 1935, the public was still fascinated by the nobleman who had been raised by apes, now played by Herman Brix (AKA Bruce Bennet) in The New Adventures of Tarzan.

Brix, a star shot-putter at the 1928 Olympics, needed all of his muscle to portray Tarzan in this tale of missing jewels, and explosives powerful enough to destroy the world. Here is your chance to sit back and enjoy a Tarzan trilogy guaranteed to leave you spellbound!

Blu-ray Verdict: Reared by a childless ape, the orphaned heir of the Greystoke’s becomes one of the apes. Then Dr Porter organizes a rescue expedition, and his beautiful daughter Jane catches his attention. Has Tarzan of the Apes found the perfect mate?

Tarzan of the Apes (1918): As noted, Edgar Rice Burrough’s 1912 novel about hereditary and how an abandoned baby adapts to the wild African environment was first brought to the screen in January 1918’s Tarzan of the Apes. Pegged as the most faithful film of the novelist’s debut book, Tarzan, played by actor Elmo Lincoln, is the first of a great many Tarzan’s to come upon the silver screen.

The film follows Burrough’s events described in the first half of his book, introducing the characters and events leading up to a young infant’s upbringing by the apes in the African jungle. The boy, played by Gordon Griffith, one the earliest child actors in silent movies, is raised by his adoptive ape mother, before Lincoln takes over as the adult Tarzan.

Jane, his future partner, comes upon the scene as part of an expedition investigating the disappearance of Lord and Lady Greystoke, who births the boy before she and her husband die. The film reveals the love relationship of Tarzan and Jane in the deepest of terms.

A simply wondrous film for its time, some perceptive viewers will notice the large amount of Spanish Moss growing on the trees in the film Tarzan of the Apes. The moss, rarely found in Africa but abundant in Louisiana, serves as a lush backdrop where filming took place near Morgan City.

When Jane is abducted by Arab slave traders, Tarzan comes to her rescue, only to see her kidnapped again by Queen La of Opar. To save Jane, Tarzan must battle both the queen’s minions and William Clayton, who seeks Tarzan’s family title.

Adventures of Tarzan (1921): For all intense and purposes, this sequel has been AWOL for many years now, but thanks for The Film Detective it is back, and lovingly restored to all its former glory.

Mostly regarded as a long-lost classic, Elmo Lincoln’s performance as Tarzan may not be as theatrical as his debut was, but he is on top for throughout, nonetheless.

That said, this time his is most definitely hampered by a really weird, mind-boggling costume (which had been somewhat retouched for the poster so that it didn’t look half as ridiculous!).

The other players all play their parts well, the camera work spot on, especially for the now-infamous Tarzan vs. The Lion fight! Interestingly enough, that very scene where Tarzan fights and kills the lion was a real one! The lion became annoyed at having its tail pulled and attacked Lincoln, who was forced to fight for his life and managed to kill the animal after stabbing it several times. The scene was left in the film!

You just cannot make this stuff up! Anyway, moving on admittedly still colorized by a nature of-its-day green-tinted hue, this long-lost masterpiece is still a massive joy to watch.

Tarzan goes to Guatemala to find his lost friend, D’Arnot. On the way he helps Major Matling search Mayan ruins for hidden jewels and an idol containing the formula for a powerful explosive.

The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935): In this third, and final film (which was also serialized), the original plot line bring us a more intelligent Tarzan; showcasing a man who is clearly an intelligent aristocrat of the books and who actually now lives at a manor in England (but returns to the jungles when needed).

He speaks in complete sentences and interacts with other characters on an intellectual level. His chimp sidekick is even named from the books, Nkima. Not short on action, this film/serial has suspense and drama to satisfy the both the serialist and Tarzan fans rather nicely.

Here we can clearly see that Brix is in perfect shape for the role and we get to see enough flexed muscles and six-pack abs to prove it! For my money, of all the early Tarzan’s, Brix has one of the most perfect and realistic builds.

And, of course, his yell is quite interesting. I can’t describe it other than as a man who stubbed his toe, and is trying to stifle an obscenity! Anyway, as with the other two in this box-set, this one is most certainly worth watching and is also chock full of exotic scenery (having shot on location in Guatemala). These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

All-new commentary tracks by award-winning journalist/historian, Ed Hulse
Law of the Jungle: The Cinematic Adventures of Herman Brix, featuring an interview with actor and athlete, Herman Brix.
Drawn to the Jungle: The Early History of Tarzan in Comics, featuring an all-new interview with author/filmmaker, Donald F. Glut
Swinging into Action: The Early Adventures of Tarzan on Film, featuring exclusive interviews with author/film historian C. Courtney Joyner, producer/film historian Bruce Scivally and literary historian, Richard Heft
Full-color booklet with new essays by authors Jennifer Churchill and Don Stradley.

www.TheFilmDetective.com





Jurassic World Dominion [Extended Edition]
(Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / PG-13 / 2022 / Universal Studios Home Pictures)

Overview: Two worlds collide as the epic saga that began with Jurassic Park comes to a grand conclusion in JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION. Directed by Colin Trevorrow and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, the director of the first two Jurassic Parkfilms, JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION takes place four years after Isla Nublar’s destruction when dinosaurs roam the Earth again.

Facing the cataclysmic consequences of a planet once again dominated by prehistoric predators, two generations of Jurassic heroes unite as doctors Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Ian Malcolm(Jeff Goldblum) and Alan Grant (Sam Neill) return to join Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) for an incredible adventure that will determine the destiny of humans and dinosaurs once and for all.

Blu-ray Verdict: OK, first of all, this last of the trilogy film lovingly reunites the cast of the original film with the younger stars of the preceding two films. Letting us, the movie-goers, find out what’s happened to them.

Ellie Sattler is now an ex-wife with an empty nest (both kids in college). Dr. Alan Grant is still a bachelor; having chosen to bury himself (no pun intended) in his old line of work rather than try to find someone who can hold a candle to Ellie as a love interest. And Ian Malcolm has seemingly become a corporate stooge for BioSyn; InGen’s one-time competitor. But, now the dominant power in genetic engineering.

As for Owen and Claire, they’ve spent the four years since the destruction of Isla Nublar as the guardians of Maisie Lockwood. It’s what you might call an informal adoption as evidenced by the fact she still uses her original surname. Rather than going by the hyphenating of Deering and Grady!

Of course, the true stars of the picture are the dino-clones and all the other CGI creatures. New ones introduced in this sequel are the feathered Pyroraptor; the long-clawed Therizinisaurus; and the sailfin-backed Dimetrodons. But, the creatures with the biggest Ewwww! factor are undeniably those genetically engineered locusts. From their size, I’d have to guess that they were spliced with DNA from one of those five foot-long prehistoric dragonflies!

OK, sure, it is not be the best of the franchise, but it is what it intends to be: a good follow-up and conclusion to the origin story and this new trilogy. The film has a lot of excellent action sequences, especially the one involving a bike and the overall pacing is also good; even though the tempo infrequently drops a bit.

So yeah, and despite the flaws in the screenplay, the film is salvaged by the breathtaking second half. Among the actors, Bryce Dallas Howard gets the best character arc and newcomer DeWanda Wise turns in a commendable performance.

But, oh my, it was great fun to watch the OG cast come together one last time, for the dynamics between the trio of Alan, Ellie, and Ian can beat any newcomer; after all, they are the heart of the franchise and it was worth just having them to hand to help close this chapter on dinosaurs forever!

How the various subplots converge to bring the central characters together though is something you’ll have to see for yourselves. But, trust me, it will be worth sitting through the nearly three hour running time; especially the seamlessly edited-together montage just before the ending credits!

BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAYTM& DIGITAL:
EXTENDED VERSION – An extended cut of the film with 14 minutes of additional footage featuring more dinosaurs, action, iconic character moments and an alternate opening
BATTLE AT BIG ROCK – Directed by Colin Trevorrow,the short film takes place one year after the events of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM in Big Rock National Park.
A NEW BREED OF VFX – VFX supervisor David Vickery and the magicians at ILM discuss the incredible visual effects work featured in JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION
DINOSAURS AMONG US: INSIDE JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION
TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME - Cast and filmmakers discuss the evolution of the franchise and the special union of characters from JURASSIC PARK and JURASSIC WORLD.
UNDERGROUND DINO MARKET - Join filmmakers for a tour of the amazing dino market set and discover how they brought it to life.
MAYHEM IN MALTA - A behind-the-scenes look at the Atrociraptor rooftop chase and Owen’s harrowing motorcycle ride through the narrow streets and alleyways of Malta.
SCARY REAL SPIT TAKE: THE RETURN OF THE DILOPHOSAURUS - Live-action dinosaurs supervisor John Nolan and his team reveal how they created the impressive Dilophosaurus animatronic.
INSIDE THE DIMETRODON - Learn how the filmmaking team operated the terrifying Dimetrodon animatronic and hear from Laura Dern and Sam Neill on what it was like working with it.
CREATING A PLAGUE-Laura Dern and Bryce Dallas Howard discuss the enormous locusts featured in JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION and the creature effects team reveals how they were created and deployed.
PASSING THE BATA..N - Discover the craftsmanship behind the realistic-looking Beta animatronic and hear from Chris Pratt and Isabella Sermon on why they enjoyed working with it.
GIGA-BITE - Go behind the scenes with the cast of JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION as they are introduced to the biggest star of the film, the Giganotosaurus, for the very first time.
FINAL NIGHT - Witness the emotional final night of filming with the cast and crew of JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION.

Bring home JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION boasting 14 minutes of never-before-seen footage, an alternate opening, more dinosaurs and more action on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, and Blu-ray™on August 16th, 2022 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Having generated over $950 million in global ticket sales, the summer’s colossal adventure from Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures topped the box-office charts in 72 markets around the world release weekend and broke franchise records in 16, earning an “A-” CinemaScore.

In addition to the Extended cut, this exclusive special edition includes captivating behind-the-scenes content chronicling the making of the movie from beginning to end, the original short film Battle at Big Rock, and much more,for the perfect movie night at home.

“Jurassic World Dominion” | Trailer | Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Official “Jurassic World Dominion” Website

www.UPHE.com





Canadian Bacon [MVD Marquee Collection]
(John Candy, Rhea Perlman, Alan Alda, Bill Nunn, Kevin Pollak, et al / Blu-ray / PG / (1995) 2022 / MVD Marquee Collection)

Overview: Faced with sagging approval ratings and disgruntled arms manufacturers, the U.S. President (Alda) decides to cook up a new Cold War with Canada! And after a flood of media propaganda, Americans waste no time in patriotically burning their ice skates and swearing off maple syrup.

But when bumbling U.S. Sheriff Boomer (Candy) and his hair-trigger deputy Honey (Perlman) decide to take matters into their own hands and lead a preemptive strike, they soon find themselves embroiled in a hilarious international incident that’s too close for comfort, eh!

Blu-ray Verdict: Canadian Bacon is an eccentric comedy, involving the names like John Candy, Alan Alda, Rhea Perlman and with cameos by James Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd and has always been one of my own personal favorites from back in the day.

Sadly also being the very last movie that the late, great John Candy would film, simply put, Canadian Bacon stars John Candy as Sheriff Bud Boomer of Niagara Falls, New York. The town has recently undergone a recession due to factory closings (a common theme in Michael Moore movies, see Roger and Me).

However, the plants that are closing in this town are military plants being shut down by the President due to the end of the Cold War. The President is ridiculously unpopular, and he blames it on the the fact that every other President had the Russians to blame for all the nation’s problems. Desperate for an enemy, he finally settles on the Mom and Pop operation up north, Canada.

This whole set-up provides for plenty of satire, and belittling humor directed at Canada is both obvious and funny. A militant intelligence advisor to the President truly thinks the Canadian’s are evil, citing an unfathomable purpose to the Canadian National tower, and all the ways that the Canadians have invented to make the Americans’ lives miserable, including the metric system, Celsius, and, of course, Neil Young.

Moore is clever in this way because he makes the obvious humor (or, for you Canadians, humor) all directed at Canada, which Joe American is bound to understand and find funny. But there is also a lot of satire directed at the United States which is a little more subtle, yet still thoroughly enjoyable.

Particularly funny are the propaganda television ads set up by the president which portray the true evil of Canadians as well. They cite funny and sometimes actually believable or at least fear-provoking things about Canada.

A grave TV news broadcaster urges Americans to think of your children pledging allegiance to the maple leaf ... winter, 11 months a year ... Anne Murray, all day, every day, and so on!

Oh, and for the record, there isn’t much to this movie, in terms of story. The story simply serves as a mechanism to allow Moore to poke fun at both America and Canada.

Also, and upon re-hearing their whole Blame Canada campaign, I have subsequently found it highly reminiscent of the South Park movie’s motto! Perhaps their creators watched this movie, along with some editors who needed movie titles and suddenly an idea was reborn! 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: English 2.0 Stereo
Optional French and Spanish Subtitles
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:31)
Reversible Artwork

www.MVDvisual.com





Vivo [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ynairaly Simo, Zoe Saldaña, Juan de Marcos, Brian Tyree Henry, Gloria Estefan, Michael Rooker, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / PG / 2022 / Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: From the studio that brought you Oscar® winner Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse (2018, Best Animated Feature Film) and the critically acclaimed The Mitchells vs. The Machines — comes Vivo, an animated musical adventure featuring all-new songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Vivo, a one-of-a kind kinkajou, spends his days playing music with his beloved owner Andrés. But when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Vivo to deliver a message that Andrés never could: A love letter to his old partner, the famous Marta Sandoval, in the form of a song.

Yet in order to get to Marta, who lives a world apart, Vivo will need the help of Gabi – an energetic tween who bounces to the beat of her own offbeat drum – to fulfill his owner’s wishes.

Blu-ray Verdict: In Vivo, the animated musical adventure from Sony Pictures Animation and Netflix, a music-loving kinkajou called Vivo (Lin-Manuel Miranda) sets out to deliver a song written by his friend Andrés (Juan de Marcos González) to his long-lost love Marta (Gloria Estefan). Along the way, Vivo befriends an energetic young girl called Gabi (Ynairaly Simo) who helps him in his quest.

The title Vivo - which also happens to be the name of the cute kinkajou hero - tells you everything you need to know about this film’s intention. In Spanish, vivo means alive, and this is what this movie is all about. It is a celebration of life.

Vivo’s sense of life is expressed most powerfully through its use of music and dance. Together, these bring boundless energy and a powerful sensuality. Fueled by a cascade of original songs written by Miranda, this is not merely a musical - this is a film that is in every possible way about music.

Riding on this glorious wave of music, and creating a thread that runs through Vivo from beginning to end, is the tender love story of Andrés and Marta. This story of two people who have grown old, yet who have stayed in love despite their separation, is timeless in its simplicity and, like everything else in Vivo, is at its most meaningful when expressed through music and dance.

Take the uplifting Mambo Cabana, which Andrés sings as he tries to convince Vivo to let go of his fear and accompany him to Miami. When Andrés starts singing and moving to the rhythm of the mambo, he demonstrates the importance of dance and sensuality in Latin American culture, regardless of age.

When you dance, you are ageless. When you fall in love, you are ageless. This idea is expressed beautifully in the song’s repeating refrain, It’s not too late, and supported visually when Andrés’ collection of musical instruments starts glowing with a life of its own.

Through the universal language of music, Vivo celebrates the whole of Latin American culture. But the music does not stop there. The rhythms of the mambo and salsa sprang from the Caribbean, from the hearts of the Black slaves who brought their music to the Americas, however, they are also heard in Florida in the United States, where the precocious Gabi dances to her own hip-hop beat - a style of music rooted just as deeply in the Black experience.

Just as Vivo’s journey transforms him from fearful kinkajou to brave hero, the music travels with him and is itself transformed, from Cuban mambo to streetwise hip-hop. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s integration of these musical styles, which sound so different yet are so closely related, is masterful. Their relationship is expressed most clearly in the scenes where Vivo and Gabi make music together - a true collaboration of cultures.

Gabi herself is filled with youthful energy, which forms a charming counterpoint to the film’s underlying theme of love between elders. She even changes the visual language of the film, notably during her spectacular solo number My Own Drum.

Just like Katie, the protagonist of Sony Pictures Animation’s previous animated feature The Mitchells vs. The Machines, Gabi gives the filmmakers license to fill the screen with vibrant imagery carefully designed to appeal to a younger audience.

At the same time, Vivo recalls the earliest days of animation. The performances of the animated characters are driven directly by the music, just as they were in Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies or Max Fleischer’s musically-inspired short films.

The terrifying python Lutador owes an undeniable debt to Kaa from The Jungle Book, and the amorous spoonbills Dancarino and Valentina would not look out of place in a Disney feature from the 1940s.

So, Vivo is a story of music and of life. It is a story about old age and youth, and about the things that connect them. Most of all, it is a story of love. The love that endures between Andrés and Marta, and especially the deep bond that exists between Vivo and Andrés. It is Vivo’s love for Andreas that allows the kinkajou to overcome his fear and fulfill his mission.

Their relationship is like that of father and son, or master and student, and the most beautiful songs in the film are those that speak of their profound love for each other. This love, of course, is expressed through music, as encapsulated by the unsung song that Vivo finally delivers to Marta, during the film’s heartfelt climax in Miami.

In the film’s rousing finale - during which the whole cast sings the aptly titled Grande Finale - the familiar mambo rhythm returns in all its glory. Everyone dances, and what can we do as an audience except dance along, too?

As a Latin American myself, I know I did. What choice did I have? I was taught to participate by dancing - it is an integral part of every Latin American person’s cultural identity. Through dance, everyone becomes the protagonist. It is fundamental. In the end, we are all part of the dance. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

MY OWN DRUM (Remix) Lyric Video
Behind The Animation

www.SPHE.com





The Count Yorga Collection [2-Disc]
(Robert Quarry, Donna Anderson, Roger Perry, Yvonne Wilder, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: By the end of the 1960s the boom in Old World gothic horror had begun to wane in the face of present day terrors like the Vietnam war. In response, American filmmakers brought horror out of the past and into the present, and the classic movie monsters packed their bags and headed for the New World.

Count Yorga, Vampire was among the first to successfully transpose the classic vampire, cloak and all, to a modern day setting as the Count – played unforgettably by Robert Quarry – arrives in the United States and settles in a Southern California mansion with his mysterious “brides”.

A drive-in favorite from the moment it was released, a sequel soon followed. The Return of Count Yorga ups the ante and sees the sardonic Count on the streets of San Francisco, his sights set on an orphanage as a potential source of sustenance.

Blu-ray Verdict: Director Bob Kelljan (Scream Blacula Scream) delivers a one-two punch of classic cult cinema mixing chills, thrills, style, and suspense with a knowing wit that revels in the genre trappings!

Presented in all new restorations by Arrow Films from new scans of the original camera negative, The Count Yorga Collection is a full blooded feast to die for!

We open on Count Yorga, Vampire (1970), the story of a set of Sixties couples, Michael and Donna and Paul and Erica who become involved with the intense Count Yorga at a Los Angeles séance; the Count having latterly been involved with Donna’s just-dead mother.

After taking the Count home, Paul and Erica are waylaid, and next day a listless Erica is diagnosed by their doctor as having lost a lot of blood. When she is later found feasting on the family cat the doctor becomes convinced vampirism is at work, and that its focus is Count Yorga and his large isolated house.

Count Yorga was something of a departure for vampire films in the seventies due to the fact that its star isn’t a bloodthirsty maniac, but rather a dapper and respectable rich bachelor, who happens to be a vampire.

Really, the film is an update of the classic Dracula story, only with more of a seventies horror swing to it. Most of the clichés of the vampire sub-genre are here, and it’s only really the setting that has been changed.

Seeing Dracula in seventies Los Angeles makes for a rather different atmosphere surrounding the tale, but it’s definitely a welcome one and one that has influenced many films since the release of this one.

The film is very talky at the start, which can be a little bit annoying as the pace is very slow, although what Yorga is actually saying is interesting, and it really isn’t long before the film starts properly.

The story is classic vampire stuff, where we follow Count Yorga as he involves himself with various other members of high-class society. The story starts properly once he has bitten one of the young women, who is later found with massive blood loss ... and feasting on the family cat!

Robert Quarry stars as the enigmatic count, and does an excellent job of it. This is the role that made him and the fact that he hasn’t had another role in this kind of volume since shows that fact quite clearly. His voice and his mannerisms aptly reflect the character he is portraying, and it’s really easy to believe that this man is a vampire!

The actual horror of the film takes something of a backseat to Yorga’s account of being a vampire; but the way that the film does this differently from other vampire movies helps it to retain it’s element of originality.

The film looks lovely throughout, and while the color scheme isn’t as robust as some of Hammer’s vampire films, the style isn’t out of place, and it helps to reflect the title character himself.

Personally, I loved the way that the film placed the vampire in with the top class of Los Angeles’ people meaning, to my mind, the film isn’t too far away from being one of Woody Allen’s films; just with a vampire in it!

Up next is the sequel, The Return of Count Yorga (1971), where Count Yorga continues to prey on the local community while living by a nearby orphanage. Oh, and he also intends to take a new wife, while feeding his bevy of female vampires!

This sequel to Count Yorga, Vampire finds Count Yorga (once again, Robert Quarry) and his five vampire brides stalking out an orphanage where there are plenty of victims, but along the way Yorga decides to try and take a wife.

When AIP released Count Yorga, Vampire they obviously had no idea that it would turn out to be such a huge hit. Obviously with the film making so much money a sequel was bound to follow and The Return of Count Yorga didn’t take long to materialize. If you’re a fan of the first film then you’ll probably also appreciate this sequel, which was made for much more money, but in many ways it’s more of a remake than anything else.

I say that because this one follows a very similar story and in fact the biggest difference is obviously in the budget, which was a lot higher here. The film manages to be quite entertaining on a number of levels even with a story that’s less than good in certain areas.

The highlight, of course, are the vampire brides who I thought looked quite excellent and especially in their slow-walking ways. The slow pacing of them was a major plus and I thought the look of the brides were terrific.

As with the original, it all starts off slowly, but the action picks up a lot more during the finale and there are actually some very good attack scenes. The supporting players are nice, but it’s Quarry who again steals the film as Count Yorga. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restorations by Arrow Films of Count Yorga, Vampire and The Return of Count Yorga from new 4K scans of the original 35mm camera negatives
High Definition Blu-Ray (1080p) presentations of both films
Original lossless mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Illustrated perfect bound collector’s book featuring new writing by film critic Kat Ellinger and horror author Stephen Laws, plus archive contributions by critic Frank Collins and filmmaker Tim Sullivan
Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Heather Vaughan
Fold-out double-sided posters for both films featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Heather Vaughan
Twelve double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards
Reproduction pressbook for Count Yorga, Vampire

DISC ONE - COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE:
Brand new audio commentary by film critic Tim Lucas
Archival audio commentary by film critics David Del Valle & C. Courtney Joyner
The Count in California, a brand new appreciation by Heather Drain and Chris O’Neill
I Remember Yorga, a brand new interview with Frank Darabont in which the award-winning filmmaker talks about his love for Count Yorga, Vampire
A Vampire in L.A., a brand new interview with actor Michael Murphy
Fangirl Radio Tribute to Robert Quarry, an archival episode featuring host Jessica Dwyer in conversation with Tim Sullivan filmmaker, Yorga fan and friend of Robert Quarry
Theatrical trailer
Radio spots
Image galleries

DISC TWO - THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA:
Brand new audio commentary by film critic Stephen R. Bissette
Archival audio commentary by David Del Valle & C. Courtney Joyner
The Count and the Counterculture, a brand new interview with film critic Maitland McDonagh
Chamber-music of Horrors, a brand new interview with David Huckvale about the scores for both films
Archival interview with film critic Kim Newman
Theatrical trailer
Radio spots
Image gallery

www.MVDvisual.com





Two Witches: Special Edition
(Rebekah Kennedy, Kristina Klebe, Tim Fox, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: With its super-saturated color palette, tenebrous art design and electrifying soundtrack, Two Witches presents two truly terrifying conjoined tales of witchery, paranoia and terror that hark back to the gory thrills of classic Euro horrors such as Suspiria, Shock  and The Beyond.

Expectant young mother Sarah is convinced she has been given the evil eye from a mysterious blank-eyed old hag while she is dining with her bullish and insensitive partner Simon.

 When the couple go to visit his new-agey friends Dustin and Melissa, dark forces are unleashed after an ill-advised attempt at consulting a Ouija board to allay her fears.

 Meanwhile, tensions grow between grad school student Rachel and her new roommate Masha after a violent incident involving a man that the strange and impulsive young woman has brought home.

Blu-ray Verdict: First-time feature director Pierre Tsigaridis, who also shot, edited and contributed to the film’s soundtrack, singles himself out as one to watch in a deft and unnerving depiction of unspeakable evil that truly delivers.

Sarah (Belle Adams) may have never intended to be a witch but comes face to face with the craft when she meets a strange woman at a restaurant. In contrast, Masha has always known that she will one day become one.

In Sarah’s story, The Boogeywoman, our heroine is pregnant and her husband coolly informs her that all her visions of witchcraft are just the hormones talking. Oh yeah? Then who is the stalker in the woods casting spells on photos of your wife? Then, as these things happen, a Ouija board gets involved and the darkness sees out.

In Masha, the titular protagonist is a woman who knows that her magical powers are there and waiting for her grandmother to die and pass them on to her. Despite her inability to find the man she feels will complete her, she soon finds the power - and the madness - to do pretty much anything she wants.

Although these stories don’t seem to be connected, they are at the end, as the film hints that these women are part of a larger universe. Director Pierre Tsigaridis told Horror Obsessive that I was really influenced by Italian cinema. Italian horror movies in the ’70s were criticized by Americans because they didn’t follow a typical structure, more visuals over story. In Europe, that was more common.

This movie starts off with a bang, featuring a witch devouring a baby, and then doesn’t really slow down all that much from there. You can see hints of everything from Suspiria (both versions) and The Beyond to Carrie, Single White Female and Drag Me to Hell in these stories. And the fact that the villain from the first story has an impact on the second excites me for how this (possible) series of films can grow from here! [BAM] 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 lossless stereo audio and optional 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary by director, cinematographer and editor Pierre Tsigaridis
Brand new audio commentary by producer Maxime Rancon
Behind the Movie, a two-part behind-the-scenes featurette
Interview with  actor and associate producer Dina Silva
The Boogeywoman, an interview with actor Marina Parodi
The Original Score, an interview with composer Gioacchino Marincola
The Piano Score, director Pierre Tsigaridis talks about the inspiration behind the piano score for Two Witches
Test footage
Grimmfest 2021 Q&A with Pierre Tsigaridis and Maxime Rancon
Trailer gallery
Image gallery accompanied by the film’s original score
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady

www.MVDvisual.com





Drive: 4K Ultra HD
(Mark Dacascos, Kadeem Hardison, Brittany Murphy, John Pyper-Ferguson, et al / 4K Blu-ray / NR / (1997) 2022 / MVD Visual)

Overview: This fast and furious action flick combines the superhero film with the cop buddy movie in a high-octane chase feature populated with explosive Shaw Brothers style martial arts set pieces in a bombastically entertaining slice of nineties fun.

When special agent Toby Wong (Dacascos) is fitted with an advanced bio device giving him super-human powers he fears that he and the new technology will be exploited for ill gain when the Chinese government takes back control of Hong Kong.

Fleeing to San Francisco he plans to sell the device to a company in Los Angeles but when he teams up with down on his luck singer Malik (Hardison) he finds himself being pursued by ruthless assassin Madison and his band of mercenaries.

Like a sort of mash-up of ROBOCOP, IRON MAN and LETHAL WEAPON with added Kung Fu along with an all-star supporting cast cast that includes Brittany Murphy (Clueless), Sanaa Lathan (Alien vs Predator), Tracey Walter (Repo Man) and Ron Yuan (Mulan), this unashamed hybrid genre piece will keep you hooked with it’s thrill a minute pace and fabulous science fiction premise.

4K Blu-ray Verdict: Drive, which I’d never even heard of before (and would have avoided like the plague in the local video shop with a cover like that), is impossible to dislike if you’ve got any appreciation of chop-socky and something resembling a sense of humor!

Naturally, it’s riddled with faults: calling the plot and characterization sketchy would be an understatement, and the whole thing takes a while to power back up to full momentum after the frenetic opening scene, but once the action gets into full swing again you’re in for hyperactive entertainment the likes of which western cinema rarely manages to pull off.

As for the cast, well, Mark Dacascos dishes out more ridiculous kicking’s than you’d think could possibly be crammed into the running time, being far better suited to this kind of raw action material than the would-be clever-clever sci-fi drivel he always seems to be getting himself caught up in (DNA, Redline etc.).

Kadeem Hardison does well in the inevitable fast-talking sidekick role, while the late Brittany Murphy’s completely mental turn as an amusingly horny motel manager / potential love interest is all too short, in my humble opinion.

In closing of course, everything in Drive is just an excuse for loads of fights in exotic locations, but if that’s all you’re after, then hey, they honestly don’t come much better than this.

Oh, and there are some mighty fine references to other movies as well - such as The Defiant Ones (1958), or Fled (1996), if you prefer. At one point Malik says Toby is The original Five Fingers of Death, and when a cop asks Toby’s name, Toby replies Sammo Hung. So genre fans have little winks and nods in their direction, if they’re paying attention to that sort of thing. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Limited Edition Slipcase with Artwork by Sam Gilbey
4K Ultra HD (2160p) presentation of the Director’s Cut in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
Audio: Dolby Atmos, 2.0 PCM, 5.1 DTS-HD MA
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Audio commentary on Director’s Cut with Director Steve Wang, Fight Choreographer Koichi Sakamoto and Stars Mark Dacascos and Kadeem Harrison
Drive: Original Cut in 2K HD with optional English Subtitles (HD, 1:39:00)
NEW! Highway to Nowhere - Jason Tobin & Drive featurette (HD, 20:00)
Drive: The Force Behind The Storm documentary (SD, 47:42)
Six Deleted Scenes (SD, 08:42)
Interview gallery with cast, director and crew including stars Mark Dacascos and Kadeem Hardison, director Steve Wang, Second Unit Director Wyatt Weed and Stunt Coordinator Koichi Sakamoto (SD, 24:30)
Original Trailer (SD, 01:38)
Reversible Artwork

www.MVDvisual.com





Elvis: 4K Ultra HD
(Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Richard Roxburgh, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: A thoroughly cinematic drama, Elvis’s (Austin Butler) story is seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).

As told by Parker, the film delves into the complex dynamic between the two spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America.

Central to that journey is one of the significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).

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 Elvis in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 13th, 2022.

For my money, this Elvis [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 Elvis 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 the legendary Hayride Performance. From his moments backstage, lonely, alone, a dusty barn encapsulating him and his thoughts, until the moment he takes the stage, slightly numb, slightly off kilter to what to expect (from himself and the audience), the scene from barn to stage is colorfully nuanced to perfection here in 4K UHD.

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 en masse of Elvis doing live shows as he got more famous, more known, more confident. For the more famous he became, the more adored he was, the sets became more colorful, more detailed, more poppy, shall we say.

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 (448 kbps), French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps) 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 2 hour 39 minute biographical film begins to follow the life of Elvis Presley as a young white boy who grew up in a poor black neighborhood, which exposed him to sultry blues and rousing gospel music.

We watch along as when he was a young man, he took these musical influences and created his own brand of country music with a touch of the blues. His unique look and electric live performance style took his screaming female fans, and later the whole country, by storm.

Family-wise, Elvis had to deal with his mother Gladys (Helen Thomson), his father Vernon (Richard Roxburgh) and his wife Priscilla (Olivia de Jonge). Career-wise, Elvis was being forced to clean up his act as the US was going through a turbulent 1960s.

During his Vegas residency at the International Hotel, he was trapped in an exhausting schedule that had him dependent on addictive drugs just to be able to perform the next day.

However, instead of going the typical biopic presentation, director and co-writer Baz Luhrmann decided to tell Elvis’s life story from the point of view of his controversial manager, Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).

This major cinematic decision was a very big risk because Parker was a very unlikable character. Every time he appeared on screen, the ever-reliable Hanks emanated an annoying, negative vibe that made watching him very uncomfortable.

Thankfully, Austin Butler was there to dominate and own the big screen with his spectacularly realistic and deeply emotional portrayal of Elvis Presley. That first trailer did not do Butler justice. Now that I have seen the whole film, I can say he more than stepped into the King’s big shoes.

During his take on If I Can Dream at the 1968 Singer TV special or Suspicious Minds on the Vegas stage, Butler convincingly transformed into Elvis before our eyes.

Indeed, Austin Butler puts it all on the line in the film with detailed meticulous research and preparation, and then immerses himself into the character, so much so that it is often hard to distinguish there is an actor performing, not Elvis despite only being somewhat similar in appearance.

Butler pulled it off doing a great job in acting performing and even singing Baby, Lets Play House in the film. Much of the rest is great lip syncing which was a good decision, in my humble opinion, but Butler performed enough to be counted as one of the greatest Elvis impersonators if one wants to take it to that level.

The buy-in is almost immediate and by the middle of the film, one is engaged in watching Elvis from a young man to 42 when he died so young.

This is the first film this year that is a clear contender during the awards season next year, including the Oscars. Aside from imminent acting nominations for Butler and Hanks, Baz Luhrmann’s scintillating direction will likely be cited as well, along with technical nods for cinematography, film editing, costume design, hair and make-up, and most especially sound.

In truth, it is a wall of meticulously-edited sounds that oh-so needs to be heard in a Dolby theater.

DIGITAL, 4K & BLU-RAY ELEMENTS:
“Elvis” Premium Digital Ownership contains the following special features:
1. Bigger Than Life: The Making of ELVIS
2. Rock ‘N Roll Royalty: The Music & Artists Behind ELVIS
3. Fit for a King; The Style of ELVIS
4. Viva Australia: Recreating Iconic Locations for ELVIS
5. “Trouble” Lyric Video

“Elvis” 4K UHD combo pack and Blu-ray contain the following special features:
1. Bigger Than Life: The Making of ELVIS
2. Rock ‘N Roll Royalty: The Music & Artists Behind ELVIS
3. Fit for a King; The Style of ELVIS
4. Viva Australia: Recreating Iconic Locations for ELVIS
5. “Trouble” Lyric Video

Experience an epic exploration of the life and music of Elvis Presley when “Elvis” arrives for Premium Digital Ownership at home on August 9th, 2022.

The film is directed by Baz Luhrmann from a screenplay by Luhrmann & Sam Bromell and Luhrmann & Craig Pearce and Jeremy Doner, based on a story by Luhrmann & Craig Pearce and Jeremy Doner, and stars Austin Butler (“The Dead Don’t Die,” “Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood”) and Tom Hanks (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Forrest Gump”). The film will also be available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD beginning on September 13th, 2022.

On August 9th, 2022, “Elvis” will be available for early Premium Digital Ownership at home for $24.99 and for 48-hour rental via PVOD for $19.99 SRP on participating digital platforms where you purchase movies.

On September 13th, 2022, “Elvis” will be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD. “Elvis” will also continue to be available to own in high definition and standard definition from participating digital retailers.

“Elvis” 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.

“Elvis” Movie @ Facebook

www.wbd.com





The Lost Boys (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital)
(Corey Feldman, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Corey Haim, Edward Herrmann, Barnard Hughes, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / R / (1987) 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: When their parents’ divorce, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam Emerson (Corey Haim) move with their mother to their grandfather’s house in a California town nicknamed, “The Murder Capital of the World.”

Soon after arriving, Michael gets involved with a hell-raising motorcycle gang of vampires with a charismatic leader (Kiefer Sutherland). When Sam becomes involved with the Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander), who confess to being undercover Vampire hunters, he realizes it’s up to them to save Michael and the rest of the town from the vampire gang.

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 always-beloved The Lost Boys in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 20th, 2022.

For my money, this The Lost Boys [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 Lost Boys 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: 2.40:1 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 the one lovingly referred to as Grandpa To The Rescue has always been my personal favorite! And not because it’s a last-second save by one of the kookiest characters in the movie, but because GRANDPA ALREADY KNEW about the vampires and had been taking precautions against them for years!

There were clues about this matter such as his reluctance to head into town that often, but a lot of people no doubt took this as a sign that Grandpa was kind of an oddball and nothing more. But when he showed up to save the day near the end of the movie and then ached so nonchalantly about the matter it was a hilarious turn; and made even more so now with the darker aspects having been fine tuned and the edges made sharper.

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. And front and center of most all of that are the Frog brothers, for they are one of the several aspects of this movie that a lot of people remember and are most fond of since they’re goofy as hell but they end up giving the movie a bit of the personality that is needed to shine!

The main character of both the sequels that came along a while after the first movie was Edgar Frog, as Corey Feldman took center stage. Needless to say, however, the sequels weren’t exactly up to the same caliber as the first. The Frog brothers, vampire hunters, and comic book experts were definitely in need of a real education on vampires, but they were needed. And now this meeting has been enhanced, well, the subtle looks on Feldman’s face are made even more profound!

As for the audio, well we have a veritable smorgasbord of choice here: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps), German: Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 kbps), Italian: Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps) and Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps).

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, and setting the scene, a single mother and her two sons move in to the grandfather’s home in a West Coast town. The younger son (Corey Haim) meets two alleged vampire hunters and comic book collectors (one being Corey Feldman) while the older son (Jason Patric) becomes friends with actual vampires.

And so, and very quickly, family ties become the ties that bind or the start of a civil war!

This film really hits home for me. The creative force behind it took a genre (vampire films) and combined it with that 1980s youth mentality to produce a vampire film that will stand the test of time. Richard Donner was supposed to direct (he had previously worked with Haim/Feldman on Goonies) but handed control over to Joel Schumacher. I have no real love for Schumacher, but he did something wonderful here and I can’t help but commend him for that.

The supporting cast is also great. Kiefer Sutherland (who has gone on to great things) and Alex Winter (who went on to make Freaked and then the Bill & Ted movies), and Edward Herrmann plays Max, the mother, Dianne Wiest’s boyfriend. I have a fond memory of seeing this film for the first time at my friend Jodie’s house and having another friend comment, I bet that guy drives a Lexus (due to Herrmann being a Lexus spokesman at the time). The memory still cracks me up!

Anyhoo, and moving swiftly along, the cast and crew are great, but three things deserve some attention: music, comics and mythology. The music was great, to say the least. The use of the Doors’ People Are Strange was nice. I don’t like The Doors, personally, but that’s okay because Echo and the Bunnymen were kind enough to do a cover! Oh, and there’s even a large Jim Morrison poster in the vampire’s den (which really seems odd, but alright). The best song is what I would call the theme which has children singing Thou shall not... which is played at key moments to tug at the audience emotionally. I was moved, I won’t lie. It’s not even a good song, but it fits!

The comics were a nice touch. Whoever wrote this (and I apologize I can’t recall offhand) loved vampires and loved comic books, because they knew how to balance the two perfectly. Not only is a comic a driving medium for getting the word out on vampires, but there is just a comic book undercurrent that connects the primary protagonists. I was an avid collector in my youth, but I was certainly not as informed as Haim or Feldman on the specific nuances of old school Batman or Superman issues!

Last, the mythology is amazing. Most horror films, and vampire films in particular, can be judged by the way they represent the source material. This movie addresses mirrors, garlic, sunlight, holy water, getting invited into residences and stakes through the heart. In some areas they deviate from the classical traditions, but do so in such a respectful way that this seems all the more perfect (any deviation has a plausible explanation - it’s not just merely thrown out the window). Being traditional and new at the same time is hard, but mastered here.

In closing, ok, sure, if you see only only Haim/Feldman film see Goonies. If you see two, see this one as well. If you see three, see License to Drive or Dream a Little Dream, in my humble opinion. BUT, if you see only one 1980s vampire movie see THIS one. I can think of no other film that appeals to both children and adults alike whilst staying both serious and lighthearted, classic and modern. Besides, you’ll never see Kiefer Sutherland with hair quite like this again!

Ultra HD Blu-ray Elements:
The Lost Boys Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:

4K UHD Disc
1. Commentary by Joel Schumacher

Blu-ray Disc
1. Commentary by Joel Schumacher
2. The Lost Boys: A Retrospective [RT: 24:00]
3. Inside the Vampire’s Cave: A Director’s Vision [RT: 6:58]
4. Inside the Vampire’s Cave: Comedy vs. Horror [RT: 4:44]
5. Inside the Vampire’s Cave: Fresh Blood-A New Look at Vampires [RT: 4:23]
6. Inside the Vampire’s Cave: The Lost Boys Sequel? [RT: 2:25]
7. Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannon [RT: 14:02]
8. The Return of Sam and the Frog Brothers: Haimster & Feldog - The Story of the 2 Coreys [RT: 4:30]
9. The Return of Sam and the Frog Brothers: Multi-Angle Video Commentary by Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander [RT: 18:23]
10. The Lost Scenes [RT: 15:16]
11. Lou Gramm - Lost in the Shadows - Music Video [RT: 4:35]
12. Trailer [RT: 1:26]

The Lost Boys, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital on September 20th, 2022 it was announced today by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Directed by Schumacher, the 1987 film’s screenplay was written by Janice Fischer & James Jeremias and Jeffrey Boam from a story by Fischer & Jeremias. The film was produced by Harvey Bernhard. Richard Donner served as executive producer.

The Lost Boys cast also includes Jami Gertz, Edward Herrmann, Barnard Hughes, Dianne Wiest, Jamison Newlander and Alex Winter.

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.

The Lost Boys will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack 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 The Lost Boys in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on September 20th, 2022.

www.wbd.com





DC League of Super-Pets: 4K UHD
(Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Vanessa Bayer, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / PG / 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: In “DC League of Super-Pets,” Krypto the Super-Dog (Dwayne Johnson) and Superman (John Krasinski) are inseparable best friends, sharing the same superpowers and fighting crime in Metropolis side by side.

When Superman and the rest of the Justice League are kidnapped, Krypto must convince a rag-tag shelter pack — Ace the hound (Kevin Hart), PB the potbellied pig (Vanessa Bayer), Merton the turtle (Natasha Lyonne) and Chip the squirrel (Diego Luna) — to master their own newfound powers and help him rescue the superheroes.

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 DC League of Super-Pets in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this October 4th, 2022.

For my money, this DC League of Super-Pets [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 DC League of Super-Pets presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10 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 the Krypto Is Mad At Superman! scene, where he is fully expecting to spend the night in with his human (to watch the British Bake Off season finale), only to discover he has a date!

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 End-Credits Scene where Krypto and Superman are playing fetch, and Black Adam and his own dog drop in for a chat, shall we say!

As for the audio, well we have just a few choices here: 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.

As for the movie itself, well, in their fifth and latest collaboration, the dynamic team of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart have gone animated with their bromance in Warner Bros. DC League of Super-Pets. Following the capture of the entire Justice League, Superman’s dog Krypto (Johnson) joins forces with a group of super powered endowed shelter pets lead by Ace (Hart) on a rescue mission.

DC League of Super-Pets is a fairly cute, straight forward children’s film that’s action-packed, emotional, and overall enjoyable. While humorous the jokes are a bit of a crap shoot in terms of landing. Many honestly don’t but there are some good chuckles and even laugh-out-loud moments.

I found the pacing of the first half of the film a bit slow and the story a bit janky. A roller coaster of being drawn in then things flat-lining. However, I never completely disengaged from the film or became outright bored which is always the sign of a great film, in my humble opinion.

A large part of that no doubt is a credit to the cast. I stayed for the team of Johnson/Hart, which is once more a successful pairing, but the stand outs for me were Kate McKinnon’s Lulu and Natasha Lyonne’s Merton. These ladies steal the show for my money. Big props especially among a cast of heavy hitters the likes of John Krasinski, Keanu Reeves, Daveed Diggs, and Alfred Molina, to name a few.

The animation is good, reminds me of the old school Saturday morning cartoons. Good soundtrack too. While DC League of Super-Pets isn’t earth shattering with innovations, the film is what you expect, nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing inherently wrong with that. All told, a pleasant way to spend an hour and forty-six minutes on a hot summer day, of that you have my word.

Oh, and as nodded to above, least I forget, following the trend in films DC League of Super-Pets has two credit scenes. The first mid-credits and integral to the film. The second post-credits, possibly integral going forward. Definitely meta, fun, cross promotional, and a wink and nod to those who know.

DIGITAL, 4K, BLU-RAY & DVD ELEMENTS:
“DC League of Super-Pets” Premium Digital Ownership contains the following special features:
1. How to Draw Krypto
2. Behind the Super Voices
3. Super-Pets Animation 101
4. Find the Easter Eggs
5. The World of Super-Pets
6. Deleted Scenes

“DC League of Super-Pets” 4K UHD combo pack and Blu-ray contain the following special features:
1. How to Draw Krypto
2. Behind the Super Voices
3. Super-Pets Animation 101
4. Find the Easter Eggs
5. The World of Super-Pets
6. Deleted Scenes

“DC League of Super-Pets” DVD contains the following special feature:
1. Behind the Super Voices

Experience a funny and fun-filled, action-packed adventure featuring the DC canon’s unsung heroes, Krypto and Ace, when “DC League of Super-Pets” arrives for Premium Digital Ownership at home on August 23rd, 2022.

The film is directed by Jared Stern from a screenplay by Stern and John Whittington, based on characters from DC, and Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, starring the voice of Dwayne Johnson (“the “Jumanji” films, “Moana”). The film will also be available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD beginning on October 4th, 2022.

The film also stars the voices of Kevin Hart (the “Jumanji” and “Secret Life of Pets” films), Kate McKinnon (TV’s “Saturday Night Live,” the “Magic School Bus Rides Again” films), John Krasinski (the “Quiet Place” films, “Free Guy”), Vanessa Bayer (TV’s “Saturday Night Live,” “Office Christmas Party”), Natasha Lyonne (“Show Dogs,” “Ballmastrz 9009”), Diego Luna (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Maya and the Three”), Marc Maron (“Joker,” TV’s “GLOW”), Thomas Middleditch (“Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”), Ben Schwartz (“Sonic the Hedgehog,” TV’s “Duck Tales”) and Keanu Reeves (the “Matrix” and “John Wick” films).

The film was produced by Patricia Hicks, Johnson, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia and Stern, with John Requa, Glenn Ficarra, Nicholas Stoller, Allison Abbate, Chris Leahy, Sharon Taylor and Courtenay Valenti executive producing.

On August 23rd, 2022, “DC League of Super-Pets” will be available for early Premium Digital Ownership at home for $24.99 and for 48-hour rental via PVOD for $19.99 SRP on participating digital platforms where you purchase movies.

On October 4th, 2022, “DC League of Super-Pets” will be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD. “DC League of Super-Pets” will also continue to be available to own in high definition and standard definition from participating digital retailers.

“DC League of Super-Pets” Movie @ Facebook www.wbd.com





Deus [DVD]
(Claudia Black, David O’Hara, Phil Davis, Richard Blackwood, Lisa Eichhorn, et al / DVD / NR / 2022 / 4Digital Media)

Overview: A mysterious black sphere is discovered in the orbit of Mars. The Achilles is sent to investigate. After the bedraggled six-person crew wake from eight months hibernation, the Sphere is transmitting a single word in every Earth language ever known - Deus.

DVD Verdict: In what was a rather wondrous, albeit B-Movie-esque new film from director Steve Stone, Deus is chock full of everything that is great about these kinds of low budget Sci-Fi movies.

Eager performances, clichéd, but beloved patches of dialogues, comically-enthralled reactions, indeed the whole gamut of actors wringing the best out of the script and their performances are, and thankfully, on show here.

Embedded, of course, with the Sci-Fi world from moment number one onward, Deus - complete with three quality actors in Claudia Black (Farscape), David O’Hara (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Britain’s beloved Phil Davis (Quadrophenia) - moves briskly forward at all times, never dropping the plot ball and always ensuring that the viewer is taking the next precarious move on the journey with them.

Aligned with some seriously great lighting and visual effects, sure, ok, the film hints at the brilliant Event Horizon, but that’s what newer films do all day every day these days (just like it is also done, and perhaps more openly, within the music industry).

Inclusive of shards of novel originality and also coming complete with some rather endearing qualities throughout, I personally really enjoyed Deus, and as much as there are some obvious plot holes floating around throughout it, you kind of allow them to just drift off as you yourself get deeper into the tense mystery with the cast. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Official Trailer

Amazon Purchase Link

www.4DigitalMedia.com





Rain: 90th Anniversary Special Edition [BR]
(Joan Crawford, Walter Huston, et al / 4K Blu-ray / NR / (1932) 2022 / VCI Entertainment)

Overview: VCI Entertainment has just-released Rain, celebrating it’s 90 Anniversary in a stunning new 4K restoration, produced from the original, uncut 94-minute version.

It is a most important film in the history of the cinema, and one of the greatest films the Thirties produced. The consummate dramatic and artistic achievement of both Miss Crawford and Walter Huston will give the picture life for many decades to come.

W. Somerset Maugham’s powerful story of Sadie Thompson has perhaps the most celebrated version, vividly capturing the lives of several very different human beings, thrown together on Pago Pago during a fierce monsoon.

Brilliant performances are given by Crawford, as the cynical prostitute, and Huston, as the minister who tries to reform her. A tour de force of camera work, style and direction of a film that caused controversy when first released, Rain is one of the true classic dramas of film history.

4K Blu-ray Verdict: The original source material for this feature was a short-story by Somerset-Maugham published in April 1921 under the title Miss Thompson. Set on the island of Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, the story is, in turn, based indirectly on the author’s prolonged stay there during his December 1916 tour of the Pacific.

Delayed by a quarantine inspection, Somerset-Maugham took lodgings there with fellow passengers including a Miss Thompson and a medical missionary and his wife.

First adapted for the stage under the title Rain, featuring former Ziegfeld girl, Jeanne Eagels, it became a Broadway smash, running for over 600 performances between 1922 and 1924. The material was then brought to the silver screen under a third different title of Sadie Thompson in 1928 starring Gloria Swanson and Lionel Barryman.

Unlike its silent predecessor, this 1932 version would prove to be a commercial failure, losing $200,000 at the box office, while Crawford would dismiss her performance as one of her worst. Given that her other film of that year was the Oscar-heralded Grand Hotel, it is understandable that she would regard this box-office flop as less worthy.

However, it is far more deserving than her cutting remarks would suggest, with Crawford once declaring that, I hope they burn every print of this turkey that’s in existence.

Certainly, this feature came at a time of great personal loss for Crawford, coinciding with the dying embers of her marriage to Douglas Fairbanks Jr, whose visits to the set met with her disdain, and the abortion of their child, which Crawford claimed to have lost due to a slip whilst filming.

The MGM star in withdrawing from the rest of the cast as they filmed on Santa Catalina Island, off the Californian coast, appeared aloof, and subsequently, was subject to hate mail from her fans after the film appeared in theaters.

The film is graced, aside from a wonderful score by Alfred Newman, by one of the most noteworthy entrances in cinematic history, with Crawford’s first appearance as prostitute Sadie Thompson preceded by the forcible ejection of the quartermaster from a cabin, quickly followed by an unidentified flying object, and an array of expressions from our four witnesses outside from astonishment to appreciation to unbridled lust.

Then two native-like bejewelled hands and two fishnet-stockinged feet emerge from the cabin, before Crawford is revealed heavily made-up, bedecked in a fox fur and with cigarette insolently dangling from her lips.

Throughout the first half of the movie, Sadie is attired in a checked dress quickly acquired from a store before the costumer, Milo Anderson, realized it would be so extensively used as symbolic of Sadie’s fallen character. Consequently, with them being unable to purchase a second, another had to be laboriously designed from scratch.

Though certain reviewers criticized her as being miscast, in preparation for her role, Crawford had repeatedly hung out with prostitutes from San Diego to study their behaviors and lifestyle. For this reviewer she convinces as this steely, yet vulnerable, woman of disrepute.

This feature was ahead of its time and has since become far more critically valued. Firstly, the adapted screenplay by Maxwell Anderson allowed the dualism of the South Seas setting to come to the forefront, with both the elements and native drums ominously accompanying the main narrative thread.

Right from the outset, this duality is apparent, from the opening shots of the approaching monsoon to the marching Marines acting as a Greek chorus bemoaning, as they trudge through the rain and the mud, the recruiting Sergeant’s promises of a verdant and clean paradise where they could play to their heart’s content.

This is soon mirrored in the script as Doctor MacPhail sardonically notes of his fellow passengers, the evangelizing Mr and Mrs Davidson, their experience of the South Seas will be like a school Ma’am waking up in a harem.

With the newly arrived passengers having to be quarantined on Pago Pago due to a case of cholera, the plot is soon adequately summarized in a dialogue between said doctor and their welcoming host, local store-owner Joe Horn. The latter’s distaste for reformers is summed up his estimation that They’ll break your back to save your soul, while the easy-going doctor philosophically notes that Too bad man couldn’t develop a soul without losing the Garden of Eden.

At the expense of saving the local natives, Mr Davidson soon has as his lost soul to be rescued that of Sadie Thompson.

A second revolutionary aspect of the feature is that whereby director, Lewis Milestone, and his cinematographer, Oliver T Marsh, achieved a visual style that very much lent a naturalistic feel to this play brought to the big screen.

The camera is brought in amongst the players, such as when it accompanies the drunken quartermaster Bates in circuit around the table of disapproving missionaries as he ridicules Walter Huston’s Mr Davidson. Even more impressively the moving camera is used magnificently as almost another protagonist amongst the sparring of Thompson and Davidson.

Of these belligerent scenes, the best actually is one of the few where the camera remains fixed. When Sadie learns that the missionary has approached the governor to have her deported back to the States, she venomously and assiduously declares, I know your kind. I bet when you were a kid you caught flies and tore their wings off. I bet you stuck pins in frogs just to see them wriggle and flap while you read them a lecture.

The supporting cast are excellent, from reliable character actor, Guy Kibbee, as amenable Joe, who desperately tempts to shield Sadie from the reformers, empathizing with her past, stating, We’ve all crossed thresholds we don’t brag about.

Portraying his ally and philosophical medical practitioner is Matt Moore, one of three Irish sibling actors, making one of his most notable contributions out of his 221 movie appearances. Particularly loathsome in just her second role of note is Beulah Bondi, later to play Jimmy Stewart’s mother to some of his most enigmatic roles, as the judgemental Mrs Davidson.

As for the role of bewitched Sergeant O’Hara, the performance of William Gargan is solid without leaving a lasting impression, and it is the backstory behind how he landed the role which offers more interest. Milestone had originally cast recently released felon and former actor, Paul Kelly, but United Artists had balked at any hint of controversy this may have arisen.

Ironically, in relation to the feature’s story-line of O’Hara dueling for the soul of Sadie, Kelly had been sentenced for manslaughter of fellow actor, Ray Raymond, in a drunken brawl over allegations that the latter’s wife was in an adulterous relationship with him.

As for Walter Huston, he is magisterial as the sermonizing, self-righteous, and dictatorial Mr Davidson. Both he and Crawford give of their best in their frequent exchanges where surface attempts at reaching any hint of common understanding suddenly sink away into the depths of open conflict between the unforgiving and the unrepentant.

Over the years, much criticism has been leveled at the obscure ending of this feature. Yet, this uncertainty lends to the film’s allure. First, in terms of plot development, we have broken, worn-down Sadie, whose conversion is visually apparent in her attire of simple plain dress and pared-down makeover, now consigned to face her penal punishment back in San Francisco as repentance for her past.

Then, her apparent determination to do so, so enraptures our proselytizing preacher, he now declares her radiant. As he now faces his inner lustful demons, Milestone brilliantly has Davidson beat in tune to the sensual native drums before retreating into the shadows. Consequently, the audience are left to surmise this monster’s rape of his unsuspecting convert, in turn leads to his suicide at betraying his religious principles.

However, the storm now broken, the audience are also presented with the almost taunting jazz playing from Thompson’s previously silenced phonograph and her re-emergence as sultry Sadie. Could this signal that the abhorrent discovery that all men are Pigs!, has unleashed a darker side to her character, suggestive that the unbridled threats she had previously made to Davidson have come to homicidal fruition? It is left for us to decide.

Bonus Features:
Commentary track by Mick LaSalle Writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and noted film historian
Commentary track by Richard Barrios Writer, Historian, and Commentator
Liner notes reprinted from Views & Reviews Magazine by Jon Tuska, author and film historian
Alternate Opening Title and Credits Sequence from the 18-minute shorter 1938 Atlantic Reissue
Original Theatrical Trailer
Poster & Photo Gallery
Period appropriate Betty Boop Cartoon and Newsreel

Rain (1932) - Official HD Promo

www.VCIentertainment.com





Randy Rhoads: Reflections Of A Guitar Icon
(Randy Rhoads, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Randy Rhoads: Reflections Of A Guitar Icon (narrated by Tracii Guns, Guns N’ Roses and L.A. Guns) is an in-depth look into the life of legendary guitarist Randy Rhoads, best known for his gut-wrenching guitar solo in Crazy Train with Ozzy Osbourne.

Blu-ray Verdict: In the ’70s, Randy Rhoads’ guitar riffs reshaped rock’n’roll and raised the stakes for guitarists everywhere. As the lead guitarist for Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne, Randy made a name for himself at a very young age.

You can still hear his hair-raising guitar solos on the albums Blizzard of Oz & Diary of a Madman. Tragically, Randy died at the young age of 25 in a plane crash. Known as the James Dean of rock’n’roll, he left this world too soon, but his soul and music live on forever.

For for a fan, such as myself, of heavy metal, in general, and always a fan of the guitar lick solos that can embody a song quite like nothing that has gone before it, I found this new documentary to be a surprisingly polished event.

Overdue and deserving for such an important and somewhat overlooked artist of the hard rock era, sure it focuses mostly on his pre-Ozzy days in LA and his days struggling with Quiet Riot, but what it clearly shows was a hurricane force of talent who was lost way too soon.

Musicians like this are poster children for folks that are born to do what they are known for. Although he’s known very well in the musician and music appreciation scholarship circles, he never truly got his recognition in society’s more general appreciation for such an accomplished guitar wizard, due to his career/life being cut short.

So yes, this is a story that’s never been told this comprehensively before, the filmmakers doing a kind of miraculous thing by interweaving found audio against many rarely seen images of that time, along with thoughtful commentary by contemporaries.

It really elevates Rhoades as an artist worthy of this kind of consideration, and hearing people reminisce about what it was like to watch a young Randy Rhoads mesmerize the crowd in those LA clubs, is also a massive, gleeful highlight.

That all said, missing here is any true in-depth analysis of the actual music he made, especially the two masterful Ozzy albums, so I guess we can assume that they couldn’t secure the rights, so you never hear any of those great recordings.

But it almost doesn’t matter for Randy Rhoads: Reflections Of A Guitar Icon is eminently watchable regardless. So, if you grew up in the ’80s in awe of the music, and before our social media age where we know everything about everyone, you will love this feature.

To my mind, it really captures the humble and endearing quality of this young man before his brief moment of superstardom and heartbreaking end; which is still hard to believe. Rock forever, RR. [EHH]

Bonus Features:
Trailer
Additional Interviews with Quiet Riot/Bandmates Rudy Sarzo and Drew Forsyth
Additional Interviews from Ron Sobol, Quiet Riot’s photographer
Exclusive Music Clips from Quiet Riot
Never Before Seen Vintage Footage of Randy Rhoads and Quiet Riot

www.mvdshop.com





Gothic Fantastico: 4 Italian Tales of Terror
(Gordon Mitchell, Paul Muller, Gérard Tichy, Frances Nero, Erika Blanc, Richard Johnson, Rosanna Schiaffino, et al / 4-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: While Mario Bava remains the best-known purveyor of Italian Gothic horror, many other filmmakers tried their hand at the form throughout the 1960s.

Gothic Fantastico presents four titles from this classic period, all of which demonstrate Italy’s ability to expand genre beyond the classic literary monsters that dominated elsewhere.

Gaslighting abounds in Massimo Pupillo’s Lady Morgan’s Vengeance – a tale of romance and mystery sprinkled with sadism and the supernatural – as newlywed Sir Harold Morgan tries to destroy his bride with help from his sinister maid.

Meanwhile, the perverse influence of Poe is used to great effect in Alberto De Martino’s The Blancheville Monster – a tale of family curses and madmen in the attic, as Emilie de Blancheville returns home to her brother Roderic and finds her own family out for her blood.

Mino Guerrini’s The Third Eye features an early role for Italian cult icon Franco Nero and a plot that borrows elements from Hitchcock, layered with a whiff of necrophilia.

Finally, Damiano Damiani’s The Witch takes a more avant-garde approach, when a young historian is lured to work for an ageing woman, only to be held captive when he becomes obsessed with her beautiful daughter. Madness, obsession and messed up families are the order of the day in these four lesser-known monochrome gems from Italy’s peak Gothic period, restored in 2K from their original negatives for the first time alongside an array of in-depth extras. Verdict: We begin on Lady Morgan’s Vengeance (1965), where a young woman is killed by her treacherous husband and returns as a vengeful ghost. Starting well, the tale is set up, but admittedly it does seem to take a while to inform us of the terrible tale that will eventually unfold.

But, once it does, wow, we are truly off and running as once our fair lady of the piece has departed, her spirit remains for the main bulk of the film in the form of a ghost acting out her vengeance on her murderous husband, as and when it pleases her.

Much like, and truly akin to the beloved US TV sitcom Bewitched, this film comes with its very own puffs of smoke, comedic falling about and appearances and disappearances galore!

Oh yeah, and Barbara Nelli and Erica Blanc are stunning throughout (if a little over dressed) and there are also some decent scenes that really get developed as the movie continues onward.

Next up is The Blancheville Monster (1963), where the beautiful young daughter of a crazed count fears that she will fall victim to the family curse - to be sacrificed to fulfill an ancient family legend.

A terror movie with chills, thrills, creepy scenes and plot twists, The Blancheville Monster has an interesting script with Giovanni Grimaldi, Bruno Corbucci, Natividad Zaro all being freely inspired on Edgar Allan Poe novels; if not wholly with The fall of the House of Usher.

The plot has plenty of surprises, terror moments, and comes with a ghastly atmosphere complete with thunder and lightning, and an abundance of glorious twists and turns (not all seen coming, trust me!).

One of the first Italian horrors, this time in co-production with Spain, hence the reason why there are so many Spanish actors in it - such as Leo Anchoriz, Iran Eory, Gerard Tichy, Paco Moran, and Helga Line - while the Italian ones are the unknown Ombrella Colli (here under the pseudonym Joan Hills) and Matterasi as John Taylor.

Then we get The Third Eye (1966), where a young count who lives with his dominant and jealous mother, begins in a downward spiral into madness after his fiancée dies in an accident - or it was it not an accident?

Mainly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (the overtly dominant mother, the count likes to prepare dead animals, hints on necrophilia), this sinister thriller was also the inspiration for Aristide Massacesi’s best horror film Buio Omega (1979).

Filmed in black and white, it boosts an uncomfortable atmosphere throughout, and even though it’s not very graphic, there are some unpleasantly violent scenes (especially a stabbing towards the end of the movie).

This film is full of bizarre and brutal images, from Nero bringing a sexy dancer home only for her to wander his creepy mansion (no film from this era could exist without one!), to the very brutal stabbing of a main character (who survives to drag themselves around the house!), to the terror of Blanc’s twin sister suffering at the hands of a psycho and a bizarre rape on a beach, The Third Eye is full of crazy imagery and basically paves the way for the no holds barred films we would be subject to in the seventies!

There is also a squirm inducing sequence when the count eviscerates a dead bird to prepare it. The only thing with the movie that is annoying are the credits for almost all people involved are credited with phony English aliases!

And lastly we get The Witch (1966), where an historian goes to a castle library to translate some ancient erotic literature. While there he discovers what he believes to be supernatural forces at work.

Not perfect, but at times startling and even disturbing, this is a fine 1966 b/w film from the versatile director, Damiano Damiani, who made the very different, A Bullet For The General, the same year and later several crime films, including, How To Kill a Judge.

Apparently Bunuel at one point considered making this, based upon the book by Carlos Fuentes, and he would no doubt have made it a little more sinister and a little less hysterical.

Anyhow, here we have the lovely Rosanna Schiaffino, who would appear in the colorful and equally strange, Check to the Queen a couple of years later. Here she is the love/sex interest, although like her worrying elderly mistress, also takes a turn at the frighteningly weird when she becomes stressed.

You will have never seen anything quite like this, trust me, despite the seeming familiar theme of possession, and should definitely check it out (as you should all the classic movies in this quite wondrous new collection from MVD Visual). These are all Full Screen (1:33.1) Presentations adapted for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

New 2K restorations from the original negatives
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations
Original Italian and English front and end titles on The Blancheville Monster, The Third Eye and The Witch
Original lossless mono Italian soundtracks
Original lossless mono English soundtracks on The Blancheville Monster, The Third Eye and The Witch
Optional English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtracks
New video introductions to each film by Italian film devotee Mark Thompson Ashworth
Image galleries
Limited edition 80-page book featuring new writing by Roberto Curti, Rob Talbot, Jerome Reuter, Rod Barnett and Kimberly Lindbergs
Fold-out double-sided poster
Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Colin Murdoch

DISC 1: LADY MORGAN’S VENGEANCE:
New commentary by author / critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
New video essay by author / producer Kat Ellinger
New video interview with actress Erika Blanc
Newly edited video interview with actor Paul Muller
Newly edited audio interview with director Massimo Pupillo
The complete original cineromanzo, published in Suspense in April 1971
Trailer

DISC 2: THE BLANCHEVILLE MONSTER:
New commentary by filmmaker / film historian Paul Anthony Nelson
New video essay by writer / pop culture historian Keith Allison
New video interview with author / filmmaker Antonio Tentori
Opening credits for the US release of the film
Trailer

DISC 3: THE THIRD EYE:
New commentary by author / critic Rachael Nisbet
New video essay by author / filmmaker Lindsay Hallam
Newly edited video interview with actress Erika Blanc

DISC 4: THE WITCH:
New commentary by author / producer Kat Ellinger
New video essay by author Miranda Corcoran
New interview with author Antonio Tentori

The Blancheville Monster Original Trailer (Alberto De Martino, 1963)

www.arrowvideo.com

www.MVDvisual.com





The Chocolate War (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
(Ilan Mitchell-Smith, John Glover, Wallace Langham, Adam Baldwin, Doug Hutchison, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1988) 2022 / MVD Rewind Collection)

Overview: Based on Robert Cormier’s controversial novel - once the most widely banned book in America -this starkly beautiful (San Francisco Chronicle) allegory of abusive power is set in a Catholic boy’s school where a chocolate sale becomes a war over conformity.

Jerry (Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Weird Science) is a student who refuses to take part, undercutting ambitious school administrator Brother Leon (John Glover, Scrooged).

Leon secretly enlists Archie (Wallace Langham credited as Wally Ward, Ford v. Ferrari) - the sadistic mastermind of the school’s resident gang - to force Jerry into line.

But motives and results are far more complex than they first seem in this fascinating film done with style, with care and with excellence (Los Angeles Times).

Blu-ray Verdict: Dark, strange, slightly amateurish yet oddly compelling, The Chocolate War is an excellent antidote to the happy-go-lucky teen films made popular by John Hughes in the 1980’s.

Based on the popular book by Robert Cormier, the story concerns Jerry Renault (Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Weird Science), a bright but sad young man coping with his mother’s untimely death (which has also turned his father cold and distant).

Jerry is a student a prep school known as Trinity, where he clashes with a sadistic secret fraternity known as the Vigils and the oh-so-slightly-mad acting headmaster Brother Leon (played to perfection by John Glover).

At first by order of the Vigils, and then on his own, Jerry refuses to participate in the annual fund-raising chocolate sale, which not only angers Brother Leon but also causes an assortment of other problems.

Yes, this is a rather simplistic summary, but going into great detail will not only take a lot of time but will also spoil the viewing experience.

The Chocolate War is the directorial debut of actor Keith Gordon (Christine, Back to School), who also wrote the screenplay. The film is a fairly faithful adaptation of Cormier’s novel, but the ending is changed significantly.

Fans of the book argue that Gordon’s ending for the film is too tidy or happy, but in it’s own way the film ends on a rather despairing note, with no easy answers or solutions.

Obviously filmed on a shoestring budget, The Chocolate War still boasts wonderful performances by its young cast. Mitchell-Smith is quite good as Jerry Renault, as well as the previously mentioned John Glover. Wally Ward (better known these days, perhaps, as Wallace Langham of Veronica’s Closet) is very good as the Vigils’ evil assigner Archie, and Bud Cort (Harold and Maude) has a funny cameo as another teacher.

Sometimes the pacing is slow, and sometimes the director attempts to be a little too artistic in his style and, in my humble opinion, the film also suffers from a soundtrack that was dated even when the movie was made (the music comes from such new-wave dinosaurs as Yaz and Kate Bush).

But, and regardless, The Chocolate War is a very thoughtful, well acted, compelling piece of work, and that is a cinematic rarity. Barely seen at the time of release and sometimes hard to find back in the days of video stores, The Chocolate War is out now on stunning Blu-ray via MVD Visual, and is well worth watching (and also well worth reading). 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: English 5.1 Surround , English LPCM Mono, Spanish Mono
Optional English, French and Spanish Subtitles
Feature Commentary By Director Keith Gordon
Interview – Director Keith Gordon Discusses ‘The Chocolate War’
Original Theatrical Trailer
Collectible Mini-Poster

www.MVDvisual.com





Batman: The Long Halloween [Deluxe Edition]
(Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Troy Baker, Naya Rivera, Billy Burke, Frances Callier, et al / 4K Blu-ray+Digital / R / 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: No tricks, just treats for Dark Knight fans as Batman: The Long Halloween [Deluxe Edition] – the complete mystery with added mature content – comes to 4K for the first time ever.

The R-rated, feature-length animated film will be available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $34.99 SRP) for the first time ever, as well as on Blu-ray+Digital (USA $24.99 SRP), Blu-ray (only available in Canada, $29.99 SRP) and Digital starting September 20th, 2022.

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 Batman: The Long Halloween [Deluxe Edition] in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 20th, 2022.

For my money, Batman: The Long Halloween [Deluxe Edition] [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 Batman: The Long Halloween [Deluxe Edition] 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: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, and Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1.

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 the Batman vs. Joker fight scene ... whilst the Joker is flying an old prop plane loaded with canisters of poisonous gas!

OK, sure, in the bigger scheme of things it is a little bit cheesy, but Troy baker does a really great Joker impression - one that is a wee bit Hamill-ish and yet doesn’t sound like an impersonation - but the whole act works, trust me!

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 in Part Two where Poison Ivy (and her cohorts) makes her thick lime green, gaseous (and ultimately explosive) entrance on the streets.

And lest we forget the entrance and continual annoyance factor dished out by the brilliantly animated Scarecrow! For the animation skills on Scarecrow make him look amazing real now!

As for the audio, well we have but just the one choice, folks: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.

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

As for the movie itself, well, it is a dark time in Gotham City. Held hostage by the powerful Falcone crime family, the city is rife with crime and corruption. Adding to the chaos is the mysterious Holiday killer, who has been targeting the underworld and leaving a trail of terror ... and body bags.

Batman, Lieutenant Gordon and D.A. Harvey Dent race against the calendar as it advances toward the next ill-fated holiday. Based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One begins a twisted chain of events that will forever change the Dark Knight.

Setting the scene a little, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One is the sixth comic-book role for David Dastmalchian after Thomas Schiff in The Dark Knight (2008), Kurt in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dwight Pollard in Gotham (2014), Abra Kadabra in The Flash (2014) and Abner Krill/Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad (2021).

And this time with Jensen Ackles lending his voice to a Batman story for the second time - he voiced Jason Todd, also known as Red Hood, in Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010), and with Naya Rivera having recorded her dialogue as Catwoman before her untimely death in 2020 - I can confirm that having now watched it twice, Batman: The Long Halloween Part One is a quite brilliant addition to the animated Batman world.

The centerpiece of Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One revolves around the triumvirate of crimefighters - Batman/Bruce Wayne, Police Captain James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent - as they try to solve the mystery of the Holiday Killer.

Inspired by the iconic mid-1990s DC story from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One begins as a brutal murder on Halloween prompts Gotham’s young vigilante, the Batman, to form a pact with the cities only two not corrupt lawmen - Police Captain James Gordan and District Attorney Harvey Dent - in order to take down The Roman, head of the notorious and powerful Falcone Crime Family.

But when more deaths occur on Thanksgiving and Christmas, it becomes clear that instead of ordinary gang violence, they are also dealing with a serial killer - the identity of whom, with each conflicting clue, grows harder to discern.

Few cases have ever tested the wits of the Worlds Greatest Detective like the mystery behind the Holiday Killer.

Batman normally operates alone, but he finds allies on both sides of the law in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One. While Police Captain James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent act as his crime-fighting colleagues, the Dark Knight finds an unlikely partner in Catwoman.

Voiced by the late Naya Rivera (in her final acting performance), Catwoman/Selina Kyle assists, romances and even comes to the rescue of Batman as the two-part film unfolds.

And so, in my humble opinion, Part One is one of the best of the straight-to-home entertainment (animated) Batman films from Warner Bros./DC to date and writer Tim Sheridan does a fantastic job of evoking the spirit of the graphic novel while delivering something new.

What further solidifies that opinion is that the film itself looks oh-so lusciously beautiful, so major props to all the graphic artists that were involved.

The backgrounds are especially well done and give off a dark, damp, and yes, of course, suitably noir vibe and there is also something a little different, but rather cool, about the actual characters themselves.

The black outline around each gives it a bit of a comic book/motion comic feel, which I thought made the characters jump out a bit more than usual in these sort of animated movies. Anyway, watch this now for yourselves and you decide if I am right or wrong!

In Part Two, The Dark Knight must combat a unified front of classic DC Super-Villains, diffuse an escalating mob war and solve the mystery of the Holiday Killer in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two, the thrilling conclusion to the two-part entry in the popular series of DC Universe Movies.

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two continues as the Holiday Killer is still at large and, with Bruce Wayne under the spell of the venomous Poison Ivy, Batman is nowhere to be found.

Liberated by an unlikely ally, Bruce quickly uncovers the real culprit: Poison Ivy’s employer Carmine Falcone. The Roman, his ranks decimated by Holiday and his business spinning out of control, has been forced to bring on less desirable partners – Gotham City’s rogues’ gallery.

In the meantime, Harvey Dent is confronting battles on two fronts: attempting to end the mob war while also dealing with a strained marriage.

And, after an attack that leaves Harvey hideously disfigured, the District Attorney unleashes the duality of his psyche that he’s strived his entire life to suppress.

Now, as Two-Face, Dent decides to take the law into his own hands and deliver judgment to those who’ve wronged him, his family and all of Gotham.

Ultimately, the Dark Knight must put together the tragic pieces that converged to create Two-Face, the Holiday Killer, Batman and Gotham City itself.

As we all know by now, the Dark Knight finds an unlikely partner in Catwoman and so there are plenty of Catwoman/Selina Kyle assists here, that’s for sure.

And so, in my humble opinion, Part One and Part Two are two of the best of the straight-to-home entertainment (animated) Batman films from Warner Bros./DC to date and writer Tim Sheridan does a fantastic job of evoking the spirit of the graphic novel while delivering something new.

Special Feature:
Batman: The Long Halloween – Evolution of Evil (New Featurette) – The mystery surrounding the Holiday Killer shrouds Gotham in a sinister darkness forcing Batman to stop the villain’s assault on the city. This is a comprehensive look at The Long Halloween with original writer, Jeph Loeb, and filmmakers.

From the DC Vault: 4 Bonus Cartoons

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and inspired by the iconic mid-1990s DC story from Jeph Loeb and the late Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween [Deluxe Edition] begins as atrocious serial killings on holidays in Gotham City send The World’s Greatest Detective into action – confronting both organized crime and a unified front of classic DC Super-Villains – while attempting to stop the mysterious murderer.

Batman: The Long Halloween was originally released as a two-part film, and both films still stand at 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, The Boys, Batman: Under the Red Hood) leads a star-studded Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition cast as the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne alongside the late Naya Rivera (Glee) as Catwoman/Selina Kyle, Josh Duhamel (Transformers, Jupiter’s Legacy) as Harvey Dent/Two-Face, Billy Burke (Twilight, Revolution, Zoo) as Commissioner James Gordon, Katee Sackhoff (The Mandalorian, Battlestar Galactica, Batman: Year One) as Poison Ivy, Titus Welliver (Bosch, Bosch: Legacy, Deadwood) as Carmine Falcone, Julie Nathanson (Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay) as Gilda Dent, David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad, Dune, Ant-Man) as Calendar Man & The Penguin, Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Young Justice) as The Joker, Amy Landecker (Your Honor, Transparent) as Barbara Gordon & Carla Vitti, Jack Quaid (The Boys, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Oppenheimer) as Alberto, and Fred Tatasciore (American Dad!, Family Guy) as Solomon Grundy.

Then we have Alyssa Diaz (The Rookie, Ray Donovan) as Renee Montoya, and Alastair Duncan (The Batman, Batman Unlimited franchise) as Alfred. In addition, Robin Atkin Downes (The Strain, Constantine: City of Demons) voices both Scarecrow & Thomas Wayne, John DiMaggio (Futurama, Disenchantment) is the Mad Hatter, Laila Berzins (Genshin Impact) is Sofia Falcone, Jim Pirri (World of Warcraft franchise) is Sal Maroni, and Zach Callison (The Goldbergs, Steven Universe) is Young Bruce Wayne. Additional voice work was provided by Gary LeRoi Gray, Rick Wasserman, Frances Callier and Greg Chun.

Chris Palmer (Superman: Man of Tomorrow) directs Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition from a screenplay by Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen). Producers are Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) and Kimberly S. Moreau (Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Butch Lukic (Justice Society: World War II, Superman: Man of Tomorrow) is Supervising Producer. Executive Producer is Michael Uslan. Sam Register is Executive Producer.

Batman: The Long Halloween | Deluxe Edition | Warner Bros. Entertainment [Official Trailer]

www.DCcomics.com

www.WarnerBros.com





Poltergeist (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital)
(Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O’Rourke, Beatrice Straight, Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / PG / (1982) 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Suburbanites Steve (Nelson) and Diane (Williams) suddenly experience paranormal activity in their home. What starts off as minor excitement quickly turns into nasty ghostly encounters.

The disappearance of their daughter Carol Anne (O’Rourke) forces the Freeling’s to bring in parapsychologists and a professional exorcist to exorcise their home.

Directed by Tobe Hooper and featuring Oscar Nominated Visual Effects by Richard Edlund, Michael Wood and Bruce Nicholson, Poltergeist is one of the most entertaining horror films of its time.

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 always-beloved Poltergeist PG-horror (!) in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 20th, 2022.

For my money, this Poltergeist [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 Poltergeist 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 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, well, let us call it the anti-Groot moment! On the first of many awful nights at the Freeling residence, little Star Wars super-fan and comic book aficionado Robbie (Oliver Robins) is woken up when a possessed tree busts its arm-like branch through his window. He’s helpless as the evil tree grows fingers and snatches him right out of his bed and pulls him straight out of his own bedroom. The darkness, lit only by the moonlight is now fine tuned and is crisper than ever!

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. Such as whilst Robbie is trying to avoid being turned into fertilizer, his little sister Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) struggles against an even scarier supernatural force: her closet!

Out of nowhere, the door opens and a bright light emits from what seems to be an endless void, which then begins sucking the little girl out of her bed with the force of a tornado. The scares come courtesy of the excellent special-effects work, but they’re also psychologically jarring.

I mean, if kids can’t be safe at home in their beds, where can they be safe? Now crystal clear due to this 4K transfer, it is even more scary of a scene, trust me!

As for the audio, well we have a veritable smorgasbord of choice here: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps), German: Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 kbps), Italian: Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps) and Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps).

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, Poltergeist is one of the greatest horrors of all time, being written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper. Poltergeist is such an impactful horror, as it plays a huge part in pop culture. Poltergeist created so many horror cliches too, because of how great it is as a horror movie.

The plot is the classic haunting story. It’s difficult to make a memorable haunting film, as it’s been done too many times to count. After so many decades since Poltergeist was first released, it’s still not forgotten. Since Steven Spielberg helped write Poltergeist, there’s not a lot to complain about. The pacing is great, it never gets boring and the movie gets straight to the point!,p> The screenplay is incredibly clever, and because of that, Poltergeist was truly unique for its time. Poltergeist is also surprisingly funny. Comedy in horrors always feel forced in, but in Poltergeist, it’s lightly added in. I also love how the comedy isn’t introduced in through dialogue, but the objects that the ghosts haunt.

The visuals are also really great. The practical effects were realistic and smartly added in, not showing all of the effects in daylight, to help mask the practical effects. The aforementioned tree attacking the little boy is one example of adding in practical effects smartly into a movie. There was one scene where the practical effects looked really bad, and that’s the scene with the guy’s face being pulled apart. It was in 1982, so I can’t really hate on it too much.

The sound mixing and sound design was amazing too. I loved the little laughs added to the objects when they were possessed, it was funny and creepy at the same time. The whispers added in when Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) would speak to the spirits were great. The whispers were so good that many movies copied that technique to add a little more scare value.

Poltergeist is an excellent horror that masterfully blends everything great in horror movies into one film. It’s funny and creepy, the screenplay is very clever, and the practical effects were well done and smartly added in for it’s obvious early ’80s timeframe. And thus, in my humble opinion, Poltergeist is definitely in the Top 10 Horror Movies of all time.

Ultra HD Blu-ray Elements
Poltergeist Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:

1. They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists Pt. 1- Science of the Spirits [RT: 15:30]
2. They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists Pt. 2- Communing with the Dead [RT: 15:31]
3. The Making of Poltergeist [RT: 7:15]
4. Trailer [RT: 2:25]

Poltergeist, the 1982 classic horror film written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper, will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital on September 20th, 2022, it was announced today by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Directed by Spielberg and directed by Hooper, Poltergeist stars JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Zelda Rubinstein, Beatrice Straight and Heather O’Rourke.

The screenplay for Poltergeist was written by Spielberg, Michael Grais, and Mark Victor, from a story by Spielberg. The film was produced by Frank Marshall and Spielberg.

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.

   Poltergeist will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack 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 Poltergeist in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on September 20th, 2022.

www.wbd.com





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