Insider Gossip
  Monthly Hot Picks
  Book Reviews
  CD Reviews
  Concert Reviews
  DVD Reviews
  Game Reviews
  Movie Reviews
  Moobs "The Canary" Dingus
  NEW! Michael Caine ('My Generation')
  NEW! John Malkovich ('The Wilde Wedding')
  NEW! Anya Taylor-Joy ('Thoroughbreds')
  '70s - Eric Burdon (The Animals / WAR) (2014)
  '70s - Gary U.S. Bonds (2013)
  '70s - Donna Summer (2003)
  '70s - STYX (2013)
  '70s - KC & The Sunshine Band (2013)
  '70s - Thin Lizzy (2011)
  '70s - Steve Hackett (2011)
  '70s - Terry Bozzio [Drum Legend!]
  '70s - Dionne Warwick (2014)
  '70s - Ray Thomas (The Moody Blues) (2015)
  '70s - Sweet (2015)
  '70s - David Essex (2015)
  '80s - The Original Bucks Fizz (2013)
  '80s - Naked Eyes (2006)
  '80s - Rick Springfield (2006)
  '80s - Billy Squier (2006)
  '80s - Midge Ure / Ultravox (2013)
  '80s - The Outfield (2006)
  '80s - Survivor (2006)
  '80s - Edward Tudor-Pole (2013)
  '80s - Heaven 17 (2013)
  '80s - Matchbox (2013)
  '80s - Nik Kershaw (2013)
  '80s - Visage / Steve Strange (2013)
  '80s - ABC (2007)
  '80s - Tommy Tutone (2006)
  '80s - Berlin (2005)
  '80s - The Motels (2006)
  '80s - Bow Wow Wow (2006)
  '80s - The NEW Cars (2006)
  '80s - Thomas Dolby (2007)
  '80s - Deborah Gibson (2007)
  '80s - Scorpions (2007)
  '80s - The Bangles (2007)
  '80s - Nils Lofgren (2009)
  '80s - Tears For Fears (2008)
  '80s - Nik Kershaw (2006)
  '80s - Cutting Crew (2009)
  '80s - ABC (2008)
  '80s - Wang Chung (2009)
  '80s - Fàshiön [Music]
  '80s - Air Supply (2009)
  '80s - Lita Ford (2009)
  '80s - Jonathan Butler (2013)
  '80s - Nik Kershaw (2010)
  '80s - Paul Young (2010)
  '80s - Hazell Dean (2010)
  '80s - Toyah (2010)
  '80s - OMD (2010)
  '80s - Will Powers (2010)
  '80s - Scorpions (2010)
  '80s - Chas & Dave (2010)
  '80s - Sinitta (2010)
  '80s - Musical Youth (2010)
  '80s - The Barron Knights (2010)
  '80s - Level 42 (2010)
  '80s - Brother Beyond (2010)
  '80s - Junior Giscombe (2010)
  '80s - Imagination (2010)
  '80s - Owen Paul McGee (2010)
  '80s - Alannah Myles (2010)
  '80s - Paul Hardcastle (2010)
  '80s - The Original Buck Fizz (2010)
  '80s - Steve Blacknell ('80's VJ /MTV Host)
  '80s - The English Beat (2010)
  '80s - Boy Meets Girl (2010)
  '80s - Jon Lord (Whitesnake) (2012)
  '80s - Modern Romance (2010)
  '80s - Doctor & The Medics (2010)
  '80s - Ex-Simple Minds (2010)
  '80s - Mai Tai (2010)
  '80s - Dexys / Kevin Rowland (2014)
  '80s - Terence Trent D'Arby (2009)
  '80s - Yazz (2010)
  '80s - Jona Lewie (2010)
  '80s - Hugh Cornwell & Clem Burke
  '80s - Blondie (2010)
  '80s - The Belle Stars (2010)
  '80s - DEVO (2013)
  '80s - Big Country (2011)
  '80s - T'Pau (2010)
  '80s - Mr. Mister (2010)
  '80s - Kajagoogoo (2011)
  '80s - Jon Anderson (2011)
  '80s - Katrina & The Waves (2011)
  '80s - Status Quo (Andy Bown, 2011)
  '80s - Status Quo (John 'Rhino' Edwards, 2011)
  '80s - Nazareth (2011)
  '80s - Men Without Hats (2011)
  '80s - John Foxx (2011)
  '80s - ZZ Top (2013)
  '80s - Information Society (2014)
  '80s - Nine Below Zero (2015)
  '80s - Tygers of Pan Tang (2015)
  '80s - Holly Johnson (2015)
  '80s - 10,000 Maniacs (2015)
  '80s - Right Said Fred (2015)
  '80s - The Selecter (2015)
  '80s - ZZ Top (2015)
  '90s - Julia Fordham (2002)
  '90s - Department S (2013)
  '90s - Ozzy Osbourne / Black Sabbath (2012)
  '90s - Steve Lukather / Toto (2011)
  '90s - Steel Pulse (2013)
  '90s - Europe (2010)
  '90s - Judas Priest (2010)
  '90s - Marillion (2013)
  '90s - Richard Marx (2011)
  '90s - Hall & Oates (2011)
  '90s - Urge Overkill (2011)
  '90s - Doro Pesch (2011)
  '90s - Queensryche (2011)
  '90s - Hugh Cornwell /The Stranglers (2013)
  '90s - Tracy Bonham (2014)
  '90s - Thunder (2015)


'PBS Kids: Ocean Adventures'
(DVD / G / 2018 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Dive into exciting adventures with some of your favorite PBS KIDS characters! Learn how coral reefs are formed, get to know a giant prehistoric sea turtle, attend a show called The Dancing Duck Bonanza, and more in 10 tales featuring underwater fun!

DVD Verdict: Running at an incredible 190 minutes, I have to say that this new DVD from PBS Kids is one of the best for value for money.

Chock full of a variety of fun episodes featuring well-known characters found within the PBS Kids world, go-to fav's like both Daniel Tiger and Caillou are here, as well as new ones such as Splash & Bubbles and Reading Rainbow.

'PBS Kids: Ocean Adventures' is what we call in the business a twofer for it not only keeps the kids engrossed and entertained with all its colors and go-go activities, but also provides fun and relatable topics, book ideas and great ocean knowledge.

Any child under the age of 10 will love these fun episodes and stories, and watching mine watch them, I have to admit that they were really interested in the scuba diving one after having watched Caillou and Daniel Tiger! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'American Masters: Tyrus'
(Tyrus Wong / DVD / NR / 2018 / PBS)

Overview:Tyrus is an award-winning documentary film about the inspiring life, art, and enduring impact of Chinese-American artist and Disney Legend, Tyrus Wong.

DVD Verdict: Tyrus Wong (October 25, 1910 – December 30, 2016) was a Chinese-born American artist. He was a painter, muralist, lithographer, designer and kite maker. As a film production illustrator, Wong worked for Disney and Warner Brothers, including as the lead artist on Disney's 1942 film Bambi.

'American Masters: Tyrus' tells the unlikely story of pioneering Guangzhou-born, American artist Tyrus Wong, who overcame a life of poverty and racism to become a celebrated painter (who once exhibited with Picasso and Matisse), Hollywood sketch artist, and "Disney Legend" for his groundbreaking work on the classic animated film Bambi.

Previously unseen art and interviews with Wong, movie clips and archival footage illustrate how his unique style - melding Chinese calligraphic and landscape influences with contemporary Western art - is found in everything from Disney animation and live-action Hollywood studio films (Rebel Without a Cause, The Wild Bunch, April in Paris) to Hallmark Christmas cards, hand-painted California dinnerware, Depression-era WPA paintings, kites, and fine art.

We soon discover that the very first solo exhibition of Wong's artwork, “Mid-Century Mandarin: The Clay Canvasses of Tyrus Wong,” curated by Bill Stern, was organized by the Museum of California Design. It focused on his paintings on dinnerware for Winfield China of Pasadena, California, in the 1940s and 50s, and was presented at CAFAM in Los Angeles, July 14 through October 31, 2004.

Furthermore, in 2007, Wong was one of three illustrators featured in The Art of the Motion Picture Illustrator: William B. Major, Harold Michelson and Tyrus Wong, an exhibit in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences's Grand Lobby Gallery in Beverly Hills.

In closing, and what I love best about this new documentary, is that it finally corrects a historical wrong by spotlighting this seminal, but heretofore under-credited figure who passed away in 2016 at the age of 106. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Outer Space Adventures'
(DVD / G / 2018 / PBS Kids)

Overview: 3, 2, 1… BLAST OFF into outer space with some of your favorite PBS KIDS characters! From building a rocket ship in order to visit the moon, to helping an astronaut rescue his cat named Houston, out of this world adventures await in this fun-filled DVD!

DVD Verdict: Running at a super dooper 140 minutes, this makes this brand new DVD from PBS Kids yet another massive winner - for both you and your kids, of course.

Featuring a lovely selection of 10 episodes from eight different shows, with characters that you know and love, 'Outer Space Adventures' not only actually discuses and informs about outer space concepts like the moon, stars and space, in general, but due to all its vivid colors, entertains those young minds at the very same time.

All episodes are told in a simple manner for children ages 2-8 and being that all your fav characters are here too, well, this DVD will definitely keep your wee ones occupied. Characters such as the singing, dancing styles of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Peg + Cat, to the usually-science filled ones like Dinosaur Train and Ready, Jet Go! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

(2018 / Paglin Films)

Overview: In 2009, police discovered the bodies of eleven women decomposing in and around the home of known sex offender. With unprecedented access to the surviving victims, Unseen looks into how this killing spree went unnoticed for so long.

DVD Verdict: As you can well imagine from reading just the intro to this new documentary, the main questions still being asked are the very same ones that after all this time are still being stonewalled.

After a two-year period during which numerous women were reported missing in Cleveland’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood, a reported rape leads police to a grisly discovery: a serial killer, operating virtually in plain sight.

So, the first main questions is: Why had police failed to investigate the missing-persons cases? Also, next up would be: Why did neighbors turn a blind eye to the killer’s activities?

Told through the wrenching testimony of survivors, 'Unseen' is as riveting a true crime thriller/documentary that I have seen in the past decade. Posing all sorts of credible questions, even proposing a few alternate avenues of exploration to be explored (given all the police dead ends), 'Unseen' challenges (from nearly the off) the notion that nobody knew something about these tragic murders.

Informing us of the on going struggle to get the semblance of any decent answers to these questions and so, so many more, the documentary also poses disturbing questions about marginalized lives and criminal justice.

Directed and produced by the uber talented Laura Paglin and with wondrous cinematography from Kahlil Pedizisai, 'Unseen' is a movie you need to see. But if having read all this you still think it's not for you, then take one more look at your neighbors ... just in case you're proven wrong one day! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Official Website

'Finding Your Roots: Season 4'
(Carmelo Anthony, Téa Leoni, Ana Navarro, Bernie Sanders, Questlove, Christopher Walken / 3-Disc DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: The series moves from Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas, uniting us all through emotional moments that enrich and enlighten - encouraging us to look at our world through a wider, more inclusive lens. This season viewers will discover the surprising ancestral stories of 28 fascinating guests, including Carmelo Anthony, Téa Leoni, Ana Navarro, Bernie Sanders, Questlove, and Christopher Walken.

DVD Verdict: 'Finding Your Roots' continues the excellent PBS series with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as host with research provided by professional genealogists as Prof Gates explores major personalities' genealogies with them.

What this series demonstrates is that by visiting one's ancestral roots' locations, one can come to appreciate their ancestors even more than just using computers to do research. And, it helps all of us recognize that we are not isolated but all one very large family that share many common ancestors, no matter what our heritage.

As we quickly learn, genetic genealogy has helped tremendously within this viewpoint and so I would not have known about it without Dr. Gates, Jr. or this incredible show. African has been a real disappointment, but has the largest libraries of DNA, and has an incredible service and supportive website and resources. The stories of these people, some of which I fully admit I had never heard of before, are so moving that you find yourself searching out their movie/TV history on IMDB.

This fourth season advances this journey with a special focus on the experiences of individual families across time, looking at how our ancestors have preserved and redefined cherished traditions as they've crossed the globe.

Indeed, the series (also written by Gates, Jr.) moves fluidly from Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas, uniting us all through emotional moments that enrich and enlighten - encouraging us to look at our world through a wider, more inclusive lens.

In these ten episodes viewers will discover the surprising ancestral stories of 28 fascinating guests, including Carmelo Anthony, Ava DuVernay, Téa Leoni, Ana Navarro, Bernie Sanders, Questlove, and Christopher Walken. Taken together, their stories illuminate the vast kaleidoscope of culture, race, and experience that make up our nation and world. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'We're Going On A Bear Hunt'
(Olivia Colman, Mark Williams, Pam Ferris / DVD / G / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: Based on the bestselling children's book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' follows siblings Stan, Katie, Rosie, Max, the baby, and Rufus the dog, who decide one day to go on an adventure through whirling snowstorms, oozing mud, and dark forests in search of bears!

DVD Verdict: in truth, and thankful, as just from the front cover art I really wanted to like/love this release, the animation here on 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' is both artful and fluid.

The story line is a sweet little adventure that treads delicately with the loss of a grandparent. (possibly so delicately that littler kids won't catch it, but in an emotionally healthy way for older kids) and much like like 'The Snowman' (also from PBS), the ending is not traditionally "happy," but more thoughtful. Everyone goes back to their normal life having grown and learned something.

For our tender-hearted little one, the ending is an opportunity to make up stories about how Rosie and the bear get to see each other later; maybe in yet another adventure. There are always lots of honey sandwiches involved and so, of course, come the end, my wee one wanted just that for tea!

In conclusion, this short, sweet video interpretation of the classic story charmed my 2 year old from start to finish and so I know it will your wee ones also. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Queen Elizabeth's Secret Agents'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: Here in 'Queen Elizabeth's Secret Agents' we discover the secret state that helped keep Queen Elizabeth I in power for over 40 years.

DVD Verdict: During a time when Britain was divided, unstable, and violent, the world's first secret service was born. Run by William and Robert Cecil, this father-and-son team had the duty of protecting the Queen and the Country. Join leading historians as they examine the biggest events of Elizabeth's reign.

This is a fascinating documentary, albeit too short in my own humble opinion, of the special guard, shall we call them, that protected and served Queen Elizabeth I whilst she was in power.

Leading historians study the period from different key players' points of view. They dissect the minds and motivations of key players, to uncover an intricate, covert spy network, revealing how Elizabethan England really was.

Indeed, 'Queen Elizabeth's Secret Agents' takes us through the biggest events of Elizabeth's reign, the entrapment and execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, the capture and escape of catholic fugitive John Gerard and the most infamous terrorist conspiracy in British history, the Gunpowder Plot. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'American Experience: The Gilded Age'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: 'The Gilded Age' presents a compelling and complex story of one of the most convulsive and transformative eras in American history.

DVD Verdict: In the closing decades of the nineteenth century, the U.S. population doubled in the span of a single generation, national wealth expanded, and two classes rose simultaneously, separated by a gulf of experience and circumstance that was unprecedented in American life.

During what has become known as the Gilded Age, the population of the United States doubled in the span of a single generation. The nation became the world's leading producer of food, coal, oil, and steel, attracted vast amounts of foreign investment, and pushed into markets in Europe and the Far East.

As for that term for this period, it came into use in the 1920s and 1930s and was derived from writer Mark Twain's 1873 novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, which satirized an era of serious social problems masked by a thin gold gilding.

The early half of the Gilded Age roughly coincided with the middle portion of the Victorian era in Britain and the Belle Époque in France. Its beginning in the years after the American Civil War overlaps the Reconstruction Era (which ended in 1877). It was followed in the 1890s by the Progressive Era.

Moving on, and as national wealth expanded, two classes rose simultaneously, separated by a gulf of experience and circumstance that was unprecedented in American life. These disparities sparked passionate and violent debate over questions still being asked in our own times: How is wealth best distributed, and by what process? Does government exist to protect private property or provide balm to the inevitable casualties of a churning industrial system? Should the government concern itself chiefly with economic growth or economic justice?

The battles over these questions were fought in Congress, the courts, the polling place, the workplace and the streets. The outcome of these disputes was both uncertain and momentous, and marked by a passionate vitriol and level of violence that would shock the conscience of many Americans today.

'The Gilded Age' presents a compelling and complex story of one of the most convulsive and transformative eras in American history. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'American Experience: The Bombing of Wall Street'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: On Sept. 16, 1920, a cart packed with dynamite exploded in front of Morgan Bank, leaving 38 dead and hundreds more seriously injured in the nation's financial center. 'The Bombing of Wall Street' tells the story of an early act of terror that remains unsolved today and sparked a bitter national debate about how far the government should go to protect the nation from acts of political violence.

DVD Verdict: The act of terror that, just as the bells of Trinity Church tolled and hundreds of Wall Street as workers headed out for their noontime break, caused an almighty explosion outside the headquarters of J.P. Morgan and Company - the world's most powerful banking institution, still haunt those who were associated with it that day.

Indeed, the blast turned the nation's financial center into a war zone and left 38 dead and hundreds more seriously injured. As financial institutions around the country went on high alert, many wondered if this was the strike against American capitalism that radical agitators had so long discussed.

The bombing was never solved, although investigators and historians believe the Wall Street bombing was carried out by Galleanists (Italian anarchists), a group responsible for a series of bombings the previous year. The attack was related to postwar social unrest, labor struggles, and anti-capitalist agitation in the United States.

This American Experience documentary examines one of the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history, an event that helped launch the career of a young J. Edgar Hoover and sparked a bitter national debate about how far the government should go to protect the nation from acts of political violence. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'NOVA: Extreme Animal Weapons'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: From lobster claws and dog teeth to bee stings and snake fangs, every creature depends on a weapon.

Showcasing astonishing wildlife cinematography, 'Extreme Animal Weapons' investigates the riddle of outsize weaponry, uncovers a bold new theory about what triggers an animal arms race, and explores the secrets that underlies nature's battleground.

DVD Verdict: Directed and produced by Peter Fison, and narrated by Eric Meyers, 'NOVA: Extreme Animal Weapons' is one of the most incredible, enthralling hour's that I've spent watching a documentary in years.

The documentary, with incredible close up photography and cinematography, showcases the fact that most every creature on Earth depends on a weapon of some sort to survive. Ergo, 'Extreme Animal Weapons' brings forth imagery of animals with oversized weaponry, whilst at the same time uncovering a bold new theory about what triggers an animal battle in the very first place. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Nature: Arctic Wolf Pack'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: At the very northern edge of North America is Ellesmere Island, where the unforgiving Arctic winds tear through the tundra, dipping temperatures to 40 below zero. Discover the White Wolf, one of the most hardened predators on the planet in the Ellesmere's unforgiving ice and snow.

DVD Verdict: 'Nature: Arctic Wolf Pack' is another Top 10 documentary of this year from PBS, in my book. Here they take you out into the middle of nowhere, knee deep within the Arctic with frost and subzero temperatures eight months out of the year abounding.

And for our pleasure, our viewing requirements, those men and women that brave those temps manage to capture so many great cinematic scenes of wolf families with so much drama that you wonder if the wolves themselves were in on it from the very start!

'NOVA: Arctic Wolf Pack' is an absolutely divine look into the lives of these creatures and also comes complete with some delightful, and perfect musical backing. Also, it should be noted that the narration by Campbell Scott was brilliant and fits in perfectly to what we view.

In closing, Director Oliver Goetzl has given us a splendid look into these wolves and how when they are traveling farther and farther away from their den each day, that it puts these hunters and their children at risk in this fight for survival. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'VA: The Human Cost of War'
(DVD / PG-13 / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: 'VA: The Human Cost of War' takes a broad look at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - examining the organization's history, leadership, structure, funding and relationship to veterans.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, the Veterans Administration is the second largest government agency and one of the most mismanaged. Over 57,000 veterans must wait three months or longer just to get a doctor’s appointment.

When they finally see a doctor, most often the doctor prescribes pills, pills and more pills. In 2014, 800,000 veterans' applications went unprocessed. 10,000 applications were lost. Over 307,000 veterans died waiting for help.

This is very, very wrong! In 1996, Congress authorized outpatient clinics, but the demand outstripped the supply. In 1975, there were two million veterans over the age of 65. In 2016, there were 10 million vets! Our healthcare system for our veterans must be improved. This DVD reveals the shameful situation the VA is in today.

Young adults should question and investigate the material presented in this DVD, especially those considering joining the armed forces. It is shameful how the government treats its returning soldiers who have given their all and returned home half the person they were when they left.

This is educational and a socially conscience piece. It is an eye-opener for the general public, many of whom may not a clue of how dismal the situation is for our vets. They have no idea how ill equipped the VA is to handle medical or mental health issues on a timely basis. Since 2013, we have had almost 20 vet suicides a day, because of the lack of appropriate health care.

As a nation, we should be questioning our Congressmen and women as well as local officials in regards to VA services. It's not just the physical affects of war that are killing our vets, but the mental and emotion illness as well. Suicide rates are very high among soldiers returning from war and who have not gotten any help from doctors to adjust to living with themselves after their wartime experiences.

There aren't enough doctors to care for these soldiers once they leave the service. The Federal Government dropped the ball on taking care of returning soldiers and every one is paying the price. We have to do better and this wonderful documentary backs my words up quite like no other on the subject that I've seen in the past 20 years. Thank you, PBS. Thank you. (RL) This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'American Experience: Into the Amazon'
(DVD / PG-13 / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: 'Into the Amazon' tells the remarkable story of the journey taken by President Theodore Roosevelt and legendary Brazilian explorer Candido Rondon into the heart of the South American rainforest to chart an unexplored tributary of the Amazon.

DVD Verdict: Two of the most celebrated men from their respective nations, Roosevelt and Rondon set out up the Amazon with twenty other adventurers in 1914.

Over eight eventful weeks in one of the most remote places on earth, the ill-equipped expedition navigated deadly rapids in crude dugout canoes.

Hunger and exhaustion were compounded by the rainforest's unforgiving topography, which forced the men to carry heavy canoes long distances. What was anticipated to be a relatively tranquil journey turned out to be a brutal test of courage and character.

Before it was all over, one member of the expedition had drowned and another had committed murder. Roosevelt would badly injure his leg and beg to be left behind to die.

More than a dramatic adventure story, 'American Experience: Into the Amazon' shines a light on two of the western hemisphere's most formidable men, and the culture and politics of their two nations.

Personally, I really enjoyed hearing the perspectives from the various different narrators as they commented on aspects of this journey. I thought they did an admirable job of telling the story in the limited time that film allows.

However, I would strongly suggest to anyone who is interested in learning more about this story, or just jungle exploration in general, to read the book that this film is based on - RIVER OF DOUBT. as it's a really fantastic book; equal parts adventure story and jungle manual. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Smithsonian: Black Wings'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: For early aviators, conquering the forces of gravity was a daunting challenge. But black aviators had an additional challenge - to conquer the forces of racism. Meet the men and women of color who took to the skies throughout the 20th century and helped prove that skin color didn't determine skill level. From biplanes to commercial jets, meet the path-breaking pilots who opened the skies for all.

DVD Verdict: Produced and written by Dan Wolf, 'Black Wings' primarily details The Tuskegee Airmen, the popular name of a group of African-American military pilots (fighter and bomber) who fought in World War II.

They formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. The name also applies to the navigators, bombardiers, mechanics, instructors, crew chiefs, nurses, cooks and other support personnel.

Indeed, all black military pilots who trained in the United States trained at Moton Field, the Tuskegee Army Air Field, and were educated at Tuskegee University, located near Tuskegee, Alabama. The group included five Haitians from the Haitian Air Force, and one pilot from Trinidad.

Although the 477th Bombardment Group trained with North American B-25 Mitchell bombers, they never served in combat. The 99th Pursuit Squadron (later, 99th Fighter Squadron) was the first black flying squadron, and the first to deploy overseas (to North Africa in April 1943, and later to Sicily and Italy).

The 332nd Fighter Group, which originally included the 100th, 301st, and 302nd Fighter Squadrons, was the first black flying group. It deployed to Italy in early 1944. In June 1944, the 332nd Fighter Group began flying heavy bomber escort missions, and in July 1944, with the addition of the 99th Fighter Squadron, it had four fighter squadrons.

In conclusion, and as this truly fascinating documentary from PBS via the Smithsonian reveals, The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces.

During World War II, black Americans in many U.S. states were still subject to the Jim Crow laws [N 1] and the American military was racially segregated, as was much of the federal government. The Tuskegee Airmen were subjected to discrimination, both within and outside the army, but as detailed above, they held their heads up high, nonetheless. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Nature: The Cheetah Children'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: The forested hills of Zimbabwe may not seem like typical cheetah habitat, but it's here that cinematographer Kim Wolhuter forges an amazing relationship with a wild cheetah family.

DVD Verdict: For two years, Wolhuter shadows a mom and her cubs to reveal what it takes to turn cubs into predators. Along the way, he discovers the heartbreak and triumph every cheetah mother must face as she raises the next generation.

In incredible color and even more incredible close up, 'The Cheetah Children' follows a mother and her five cubs for about a year and a half. We watch them grow and along the way we also see tragedy strike.

And yet at all times, the mother protects her young ones and also teaches them about life out in the wild, how to hunt, kill, and survive on their own, come the day she passes. With some amazing photography, you kinda get the feeling halfway through that the mother has accepted him being around and isn't wary of him as a danger.

Along the way you can also learn a slew of Cheetah facts, such as the Cheetah is the world's fastest land animal. They can run 70 mph (or 110 kph), which is as fast as cars drive on the highway and that the Cheetah can reach its top speed in just 3 seconds! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Nova: Bird Brain'
(DVD / G / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: Join NOVA to witness the brainpower of birds. Long mocked as empty-headed, our feathered friends hide surprisingly acute intelligence. But how smart are they? Watch as scientists test avian aptitude and challenge our basic notions of intelligence.

DVD Verdict: Call somebody a "bird brain" and you're not delivering them a compliment. But as NOVA shows in this highly entertaining special, birds turn out to have advanced thinking skills that we usually assume are unique to humans.

Watch astonishing tests of avian aptitude: parrots that can plan for the future, jackdaws that can "read" human faces, and crows that can solve multi-step puzzles with tools like pebbles, sticks, and hooks. Could these just be clever tricks, based on instinct or subtle cues from their human handlers?

To rule out any doubts, NOVA puts feathered Einsteins through their paces and reveals skills that even three-or four-year-old children have a hard time mastering - such as empathizing with each other or putting off one reward now to get a bigger one later.

From this revolution in thinking about our feathered friends, the conclusion seems irresistible that bird brains see the world in ways that aren't so different from our own. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'American Experience: The Secret of Tuxedo Park'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: In the fall of 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered his country's most valuable military secret - a revolutionary radar component - to a Wall Street tycoon, Alfred Lee Loomis. Using his connections, his money, and his brilliant scientific mind, Loomis and his team of scientists developed radar technology that played a more decisive role than any other weapon in World War II.

DVD Verdict: In the fall of 1940, as German bombers flew over London and with America not yet at war, a small team of British scientists on orders from Winston Churchill carried out a daring transatlantic mission.

The British unveiled their most valuable military secret in a clandestine meeting with American nuclear physicists at the Tuxedo Park mansion of a mysterious Wall Street tycoon, Alfred Lee Loomis.

Powerful, handsome, and enormously wealthy, Loomis had for years led a double life, spending his days brokering huge deals and his weekends working with the world's leading scientists in his deluxe private laboratory that was hidden in a massive stone castle.

In this dramatic account of a hitherto unexplored but crucial story of the war, Jennet Conant traces one of the world's most extraordinary careers and scientific enterprises.

With unprecedented access to Loomis' papers, as well as to people intimately involved in his life and work 'The Secret of Tuxedo Park' pierces through Loomis' obsessive secrecy to shed light on an integral part of the Allied victory in World War II.

In closing, 'The Secret of Tuxedo Park' tells a long-overlooked story of an individual who helped alter the course of history in World War II. It is fascinating, engrossing, and history personified. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Cruel and Unusual'
(Corey Johnson, Robert King, Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, et al / 2018 / Film Rise)

Overview: 'Cruel and Unusual' is the story of three men who have spent longer in solitary confinement than any other prisoners in the US because of the murder of a prison guard in 1972 at Angola, the Louisiana state penitentiary.

DVD Verdict: Simply put, Robert King, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox were convicted by bribed and blind eye witnesses and with no physical evidence.

Targeted as members of the Black Panther party the film follows their struggle against the miscarriage of justice and their cruel and unusual treatment.

Their story culminated in 2016 with the release of Albert Woodfox after 43 years in solitary confinement.

This is their story.

Known as the Angola Three, Robert King, Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace who were put in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary (also known as Angola Prison); the latter two after being convicted in April 1972 of the killing of a prison corrections officer.

As the documentary pans out, we further learn that each was kept in solitary for more than 25 years; two of the men served more than 40 years each in solitary, the "longest period of solitary confinement in American prison history."

Robert King spent 29 years in solitary confinement before his conviction of a prison murder in 1973 was overturned and he was released. Wallace was released on October 1, 2013, after more than 41 years in prison. Woodfox's unconditional release was decided on June 10, 2015, after 43 years of solitary confinement.

On November 20, 2014, Woodfox had his conviction overturned by the US Court of Appeals, and in April 2015, his lawyer applied for an unconditional writ for his release. Woodfox was released on February 19, 2016, after the prosecution agreed to drop its push for a retrial and accept his plea of no contest to lesser charges of burglary and manslaughter.

Before this new documentary from director Vadim Jean, the prisoners had been the subject of two documentary films and much international attention.

In July 2013, Amnesty International called for the release of 71-year-old Herman Wallace, who had advanced liver cancer. He was released October 1, 2013. The state re-indicted him on October 3, 2013, but he died on October 4, 2013, before he could be re-arrested.

In truth, this new documentary does come across more like a TV new report, but the sheer overwhelming enormity of this injustice shines through all that like a beacon of hope.

As someone recently put it, "It's a stark depiction of the way racism functions in concert with the criminal justice system — the ultimate tragedy of American society." Amen, Brother. Amen. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'American Masters: This is Bob Hope'
(DVD / G / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: During his eight-decade career, Bob Hope was the only performer to achieve top-rated success in every form of mass entertainment: Vaudeville, Broadway, movies, radio, television, popular song and personal appearances. American Masters explores the entertainer's life with unprecedented access to his personal archives and clips from his classic films.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Sir Leslie Townes "Bob" Hope, KBE, KC*SG, KSS (aka Bob Hope - May 29, 1903 to July 27, 2003) was an American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete and author.

With a career that spanned nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in more than 70 short and feature films, with 54 feature films with Hope as star, including a series of seven "Road" musical comedy movies with Bing Crosby as Hope's top-billed partner.

In addition to hosting the Academy Awards show nineteen times, more than any other host, he appeared in many stage productions and television roles, and was the author of 14 books. The song "Thanks for the Memory" is widely regarded as his signature tune.

This truly stunning and at times revealing American Masters documentary explores the entertainer's life with unprecedented access to his personal archives and clips from his classic films (The Road pictures, My Favorite Blonde), radio and TV shows.

We hear excerpts of Hope's writings voiced by Billy Crystal plus interviews with Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Margaret Cho, Linda Hope, Kermit the Frog, Leonard Maltin, Conan O'Brien, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Connie Stevens and writers including Sherwood Schwartz and biographer Richard Zoglin. So, if you thought you knew who Bob Hope was, ladies and gentlemen, think again! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'NOVA: Killer Hurricanes'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: 'Killer Hurricanes' pursues the riddle of an 18th century Caribbean superstorm that killed 20,000, the highest known death toll of any single weather event. To reconstruct its epic scale and investigate what made it so devastating, NOVA joins historians and storm sleuths as they track down clues in eyewitness chronicles, old ruins, and computer simulations.

DVD Verdict: Directed and Produced by Oliver Twinch and Paul Williams, Narrated by Craig Sechler, 'Nova: Killer Hurricanes' is one of the most dynamically shot documentaries that I think I've ever seen!

Focusing on The Great Hurricane of 1780 - which took nine days to blast its way across the Caribbean, killing at least 20,000 = the highest known death toll of any single weather event in history - it asks the question: What made this superstorm so deadly?

To reconstruct its epic scale and investigate what made it so devastating, NOVA joins historians and storm sleuths as they track down clues in eyewitness chronicles, old ruins, and computer simulations.

Their evidence points to a truly terrifying, 300-mile-wide storm - with wind speeds probably exceeding 230 miles an hour and 25-feet storm surges that demolished everything in their path.

But just how unusual was the Great Hurricane? Diving into sinkholes off Barbados and squirming into caves in the Yucatan, NOVA's experts recover traces of tempests stretching back over more than 1,000 years.

'NATURE: Nature's Miniature Miracles'
(DVD / G / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: What happens if you're the little guy in a big bad world? This film tells the epic survival stories of the world's smallest animals.

DVD Verdict: To make a living, these tiny heroes have evolved extraordinary skills and achieved mind-boggling feats. From nature's greatest artist to the tiny creatures that provide us with so much of the air we breathe, PBS via 'Nature: Nature's Miniature Marvels' discovers what it takes to be a miniature miracle.

Narrated by Allan Peck, we've all heard the saying that 'Great things come in small packages', and animals are no exception to the rule.

From a tiny sengi, the "cheetah" of the shrew world, to a hummingbird who travels thousands of miles north each year, from a small shark that walks on land, to an army of baby turtles instinctively racing to the safety of the open ocean.

This documentary travels across the world, through vast savannahs to rocky plateaus, and down to the depths of the seas, to shine a light on these tiny survivors of the animal kingdom. It is a great big world out there, but for these animals, size does not matter. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'NOVA: Killer Floods'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: All over the world, scientists are discovering traces of ancient floods on a scale that dwarfs even the most severe flood disasters of recent times. In 'Killer Floods', NOVA discovers gigantic scars in the landscape that testify to North America's greatest ever megaflood, which tore across the western states with 60 times the flow of today's Amazon.

DVD Verdict: All over the world, scientists are discovering traces of ancient floods on a scale that dwarfs even the most severe flood disasters of recent times. What triggered these cataclysmic floods and could they strike again?

Over a vast expanse of Washington State called the Channeled Scablands, the level prairie gives way to bizarre, gargantuan rock formations: house-sized boulders seemingly dropped from the sky; a cliff carved by a waterfall twice the height of Niagara; and potholes resembling ones scoured out by rivers today, but ten times bigger.

Like forensic detectives at a crime scene, geologists study these strange features and reconstruct catastrophic Ice Age floods more powerful than all the world's top ten rivers combined.

NOVA follows their efforts to uncover the geologic fingerprints of other colossal megafloods in Iceland and -improbably - on the seabed of the English Channel, where hundreds of thousands of years ago, another deluge smashed through a land bridge connecting Britain and France and turned Britain into an island for the first time.

These great disasters ripped through terrain and transformed continents in a matter of hours - and similar forces reawakened by climate change are posing an active threat to mountain communities throughout the world today. Director: Oliver Twinch, Elliot KewNarrator: Craig SechlerProducer: Oliver Twinch, Olive King. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'FRONTLINE: Putin's Revenge'
(DVD / PG-13 / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: 'Putin's Revenge' is a riveting investigation of how the U.S. struggled to confront Vladimir Putin over Russian involvement in the 2016 election, how revenge may have motivated Putin to target American democracy, and the U.S. responses under Presidents Obama and Trump.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the complete know, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a Russian politician serving as President of the Russian Federation since 7 May 2012, previously holding the position from 2000 until 2008.

He was Prime Minister of the Russian Federation from 1999 until 2000, and again from 2008 until 2012. During his second term as Prime Minister, he was the chairman of the ruling United Russia party.

Vladimir Putin was born in Leningrad in the Soviet Union. He studied law at the Saint Petersburg State University, graduating in 1975. Putin was a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring in 1991 to enter politics in Saint Petersburg.

He moved to Moscow in 1996 and joined President Boris Yeltsin's administration, rising quickly through the ranks and becoming Acting President on 31 December 1999, when Yeltsin resigned.

Putin won the subsequent 2000 presidential election by a 53% to 30% margin, thus avoiding a runoff with his Communist Party of the Russian Federation opponent, Gennady Zyuganov. He was reelected President in 2004 with 72% of the vote.

With in-depth reporting from Moscow and Washington, DC, FRONTLINE tells the story of how Vladimir Putin came to see the United States as an enemy - and why he decided to target an American election.

Against the backdrop of investigations by the FBI and Congress into the role Russia played in the 2016 U.S. election, this epic documentary draws on more than 60 interviews with diplomats, intelligence officials, political leaders, journalists, and primary sources to trace how Putin went from low-ranking KGB agent to long-serving president of a newly assertive Russia with the ability to wage cyber-war in the U.S. and across the globe.

Personally, throughout the last year during and following the campaign I often wondered why Putin wanted Trump in the White House. After watching this, the picture becomes more clear on Putin’s motives for tipping the 2016 election.

An analogy came to mind: Putin is like cat playing with a dead mouse (Trump). In essence, what it comes down to is that Trump leans toward dictatorship, but he isn’t smart enough to know or care to keep up with Putin and his sneaky ways.

Anyway, I think that whatever political party your affiliated with, we should all be concerned about how (if at all, of course, our election was tampered with - and if these two had more than just a finger inside the workings of it! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Smithsonian: The Real Mad Men of Advertising'
(DVD / NR / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: 'Mad Men' gave audiences an all-access glimpse into the world of advertising in America during the tumultuous decade of the 1960s. Who were these people, and what were the campaigns that created this consumer culture.

DVD Verdict: Follow the evolution of advertising from the 1950s through the 1980s, via interviews with the industry's top ad executives, and through classic ads and commercials here on the fascinating 'Smithsonian: The Real Mad Men of Advertising'.

For those not in the know, the TV show 'Mad Men' was an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner and produced by Lionsgate Television. The series premiered on July 19, 2007, on the cable network AMC. After seven seasons and 92 episodes, 'Mad Men's final episode aired on May 17, 2015.

As with the TV show, here within the just less than an hour of documentary we get clips of ad men doing their selling thing, all the way back to the black and white TV era of the early '50s.

Not much changes through the years, sales are just sales, after all, but the hand gestures sure do get more bigger, wider, more embracing, shall we say. Aside from that, some of these interviews with the industry's top ad executives do manage to still shine a light on what can be much like watching false prophets and snake charmers coming through town via your TV sets! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Christopher Kimball's Milk Street - Season 1'
(3-Disc DVD / NR / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: The test cooks of 'Christopher Kimball's Milk Street' search the world over for techniques that can add a little kick, and convenience, to everyday American cooking. Each episode gives viewers the chance to see the process at work as they test, edit, and translate what they learn into the home-cooking environment. Where in the world will inspiration strike next?

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Christopher Kimball (born June 5, 1951) is an American chef, editor, publisher, and radio/TV personality. Milk Street, the multimedia, instructional food preparation organization created by Kimball comprises a magazine called Christopher Kimball's Milk Street, a cooking school, Milk Street Radio, a website for video podcasts; as well as Milk Stret Live! broadcasting live events.

Indeed, in September 2017, Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Television began using $6 million from investors!

As noted above, the test cooks of 'Christopher Kimball's Milk Street' search the world over for techniques that can add a little kick, and convenience, to everyday American cooking.

Each episode gives viewers the chance to see the process at work as they test, edit, and translate what they learn into the home-cooking environment. It may be a new flavor combination, like the tahini and cocoa powder used to elevate simple brownies.

It may be reviving an old classic, like their caramel-sauced oranges recipe that borrows from the Brits by way of Italy and brings a bit of the Swinging Sixties to the 21st-century dinner table. Where in the world will inspiration strike next? Join them on their culinary quest to transform the way America cooks and eats.

Milk Street Television offers viewers great variety in terms of how to learn. Their Cooking Lessons are filmed in front of a live audience at Milk Street with host Christopher Kimball and a Milk Street cook.

Milk Street Shorts are short, quick recipes that can usually be made in just minutes. Milk Street Basics offer viewers tips and techniques that apply to a wide range of recipes. The Milk Street Kitchen Cabinet introduces our audience to tools and cookware and also provides new ways to use them.

Milk Street Pantry recipes offer simple instructions for making sauces, dips, and the like. Finally, Milk Street Travels gives viewers a glimpse into the wide world of food with segments filmed on location, from London to Thailand.


Personally, my fav there (3) segments are:

Thai Fried Rice
Chaing Mai Chicken (Kai Yang)
Thai-Style Coleslaw with Mint and Cilantro
Pickled Chilies

Shrimp in Chipotle Sauce (Camarones Enchipotlados)
Central Mexican Guacamole
Chili-Pineapple Margarita
Cilantro-Jalapeño Adobo Sauce

Japanese Fried Chicken
Japanese Potato Salad
Sweet-and-Spicy Ginger Green Beans

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

'The Very Best of Victor Borge, Volumes 1 + 2'
(3-Disc DVDs / NR / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: The legendary Victor Borge entertained the world with his clever and unique blend of comedy and music. These two new collections include many side-splitting specials from the archives, including comedy bits like Count Fall-Off-Of Play Something on the Piano, and The Mozart Opera, classical performances of Clair de Lune and selections from Carmen, and much more. A must-have for any Victor Borge fan!

Verdict: For those not in the know, Børge Rosenbaum (3 January 1909 – 23 December 2000), known professionally as Victor Borge, was a Danish and American comedian, conductor, and pianist who achieved great popularity in radio and television in the United States and Europe.

Indeed, his unique blend of music and comedy earned him the nicknames "The Clown Prince of Denmark," "The Unmelancholy Dane," and "The Great Dane."

On Volume 1 we get seven side-splitting specials from the archives, inclusive of aforementioned comedy bits like Count Fall-Off-Of Play Something on the Piano, and The Mozart Opera, classical performances of Clair de Lune and selections from Carmen, and much more!

Victor Borge: 100 Years of Music & Laughter!
Victor Borge: Comedy in Music!
Victor Borge: Then & Now
Victor Borge: Then & Now II
Victor Borge: Then & Now III
Victor Borge: An Eightieth Birthday Celebration
Victor Borge: The Great Dane of Comedy

On Volume 2, the legend of radio, television, and live performance brings us a wondrous collection that includes 8 uproarious specials from the archives; including routines like Phonetic Punctuation, The History of the Piano, It's Now or Never with Sergio Franchi, and many others. Also includes an audio CD with music and comedy performances!

Victor Borge: The Early Years
A Tribute to Victor Borge
The Best of Victor Borge
The Legendary Victor Borge
Victor Borge's Funniest Moments
Victor Borge: The Lost Episodes I
Victor Borge: The Lost Episodes II
Victor Borge: Timeless Comedy
The Two Sides of Victor Borge (Audio CD)

This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Secrets Of The Dead: America's Untold Story'
(2-Disc DVD / PG-13 / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: The first permanent European settlement in the United States was founded two generations before the Pilgrims arrived in 1565. 'America's Untold Story' uncovers the story of America's past that never made it into textbooks.

DVD Verdict: Narrated by Jimmy Smits, produced by Robbie Gordon, Josh Wallace, Jenny Mottier, Jaime Greco, and Stephanie Carte, 'Secrets Of The Dead: America's Untold Story' brings us this wondrous, and yet very, very true tale.

Before Jamestown… before Plymouth… the first permanent European settlement in the United States was founded two generations before the Pilgrims arrived - in 1565 - not by English Protestants, but by a melting pot of Spanish, Africans, Italians, Germans, Irish and converted Jews, who integrated almost immediately with the indigenous tribes.

Indeed, in 1534, Jacques Cartier planted a cross in the Gaspé Peninsula of what's now known as Quebec, Canada and claimed the land in the name of King Francis I. It was the first province of New France. However, initial French attempts at settling the region met with failure.

A small group of French troops occupied Parris Island, South Carolina in 1562 to build Charlesfort, but left after a year. Another early French attempt at settlement in North America was Fort Caroline, established in what is now Jacksonville, Florida, in 1564. Intended as a haven for Huguenots, Caroline was founded under the leadership of René Goulaine de Laudonnière and Jean Ribault.

However, as we discover here, It was sacked by the Spanish led by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés which then established the settlement of St. Augustine on September 20, 1565. 'America's Untold Story' uncovers the story of America's past that never made it into textbooks. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'NOVA: The Day the Dinosaurs Died'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: Investigate how an asteroid vanquished the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Join scientists as they drill into the impact crater and, for the first time, reconstruct the hell on earth that unfolded in the minutes, hours and months after the impact.

DVD Verdict: 6 million years ago a seven-mile-wide asteroid collided with Earth, triggering a chain of events suspected of ending the dinosaurs' reign. But experts have long debated exactly what happened when the asteroid struck and how the giant beasts met their end.

Now, scientists have uncovered compelling new clues about the catastrophe - from New Jersey to the wilds of Patagonia, and an international expedition of scientists has drilled into the impact crater off the coast of Mexico, recovering crucial direct evidence of the searing energy and giant tsunami unleashed by the asteroid.

In this rather wonderful new PBS documentary, we first get introduced to Alice, a paleontologist who alongside her partner, Ben, a biologist, walk us through the (supposed) day the dinosaurs died.

They both have different takes on how it ll went down, of course, like Ben, who talks whilst extracting rock samples from the Chicxulub crater in the Gulf of Mexico. Alice, however, takes us with her as she visits a magnificent fossil site in New Jersey.

'NOVA: The Day the Dinosaurs Died' sure does paint a very real picture of the whole scenario, showing us all, the avid viewer, new evidence that supports the theory of the dinosaurs’ deaths and what happened to the rest of the world thereafter.

Join NOVA as scientists piece together a chillingly precise unfolding of the Earth's biggest cataclysm, moment by moment. And discover how our early mammalian ancestors managed to survive and repopulate the Earth. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Peg + Cat: The Big Dog Problem'
(DVD / G / 2018 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Peg and Cat need to solve REALLY BIG dog problems! Peg and Cat are asked to mail some important letters for Peg's mom, but their path to the mailbox is blocked by a big scary dog! So, just what will they do next?

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Peg + Cat is an American/Canadian animated children's television series based on the children's book "The Chicken Problem", which was published in 2012.

The series is created by Billy Aronson and Jennifer Oxley and produced by The Fred Rogers Company and 9 Story Media Group. It debuted on most PBS stations on October 7, 2013, as part of the revamped PBS Kids brand.

The show is targeted to children 3 to 5 years old. The goal is to "inspire preschoolers’ natural curiosity about math and help them develop new skills and strategies for solving problems creatively in their daily lives." In keeping with the math theme, the animation is presented as if it were drawn on graph paper.

As for this brand new episode, well, after the duo learns the dog isn't so scary after all, they become friends, and the three of them have fun playing together - that is, until Cat suddenly becomes quiet and sad! Can Peg figure out what's wrong with Cat?

Can Peg figure out what's wrong with Cat? The fun continues when Big Dog is too large to play Little Red on Peg's stage, and other animals get into the act instead!

There are also four (4) other great episodes in which Peg and Cat work together using math and problem solving skills. These are great episodes for young children to learn from and are easy for young minds to relate to. Highly recommended for all ages. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Dolores' [Blu-ray]
(Blu-ray / NR / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century.

Blu-ray Verdict: For those not in the know, history tells us Cesar Chavez transformed the U.S. labor movement by leading the first farm workers' union. But missing from this story is his equally influential co-founder, Dolores Huerta, who tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century.

Like so many powerful female advocates, Dolores and her sweeping reforms were - and still are - largely overlooked. Even as she empowered a generation of immigrants to stand up for their rights, her own relentless work ethic was constantly under attack.

False accusations from foes and friends alike, of child neglect and immoral behavior from a woman who married three times and raised 11 children, didn't dampen her passion or deter her from her personal mission. She remains as steadfast in her fight as ever at the age of 87.

As we are shown visually, Dolores Huerta was born on April 10, 1930 in the mining town of Dawson, New Mexico. She was the second child and only daughter of Juan Fernández and Alicia Chávez. Fernández was born in Dawson to a Mexican immigrant family, and worked as a coal miner.

Later, he joined the migrant labor force, and harvested beets in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. When Huerta was young, she would hear her father tell stories about union organizing. After her parents divorced when she was three years old, she seldom saw her father. He stayed in New Mexico, and served in the state legislature in 1938.

Chávez raised Huerta and her two brothers in the central California farm worker community of Stockton, California. Huerta's mother was known for her kindness and compassion towards others and was active in community affairs, numerous civic organizations, and the church.

She encouraged the cultural diversity that was a natural part of Huerta's upbringing in Stockton. Alicia Chávez was a businesswoman who owned a restaurant and a 70-room hotel, where she welcomed low-wage workers and farm worker families at affordable prices and sometimes gave them free housing.

Huerta was inspired by her mother to advocate for farm workers later on in her life. In an interview Huerta stated that "The dominant person in my life is my mother. She was a very intelligent woman and a very gentle woman".

This prompted Huerta to think about civil rights. Her mother's generous actions during Dolores' childhood provided the foundation for her own non-violent, strong spiritual stance. In the same interview she said, "When we talk about spiritual forces, I think that Hispanic women are more familiar with spiritual forces. We know what fasting is, and that it is part of the culture. We know what relationships are, and we know what sacrifice is".

Huerta's community activism began as a student at Stockton High School. Huerta was active in numerous school clubs, and was a majorette and a dedicated member of the Girl Scouts until the age of 18.

In school she remembered a teacher accusing her of stealing another student's work and giving her an unfair grade, an act she considers to be rooted in racial bias. Having lived life being marginalized as an Hispanic, she grew up knowing that society needed to be changed.

Huerta attended college at the University of the Pacific's Stockton College (later to become San Joaquin Delta Community College), where she earned a provisional teaching credential. After teaching grammar school, Huerta left her job and began her lifelong crusade to correct economic injustice.

With the rest, as they say history, Peter Bratt's provocative and energizing documentary challenges the aforementioned incomplete, one-sided intro history and reveals the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one's life to the fight for justice. Interweaving archival footage with interviews from Dolores and her contemporaries, the film sets the record straight on one of the most effective and undervalued civil and labor rights leaders in modern U.S. history. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Tell Them We Are Rising'
(DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: Black colleges and universities are a haven for Black intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries and have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field. 'Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities' examines the impact these institutions have had on American history, culture, and national identity.

DVD Verdict: A haven for Black intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries - and path of promise toward the American dream - Black colleges and universities have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field. They have been unapologetically Black for more than 150 years. For the first time ever, their story is told.

As is made clear to us throughout, Alumni of black colleges and universities are a considerable part of the black middle class, with large numbers of the nation’s black doctors, teachers, and engineers having attended an HBCU.

The schools have served as incubators for black activism, playing prominent roles in the racial justice struggles of the past and present.

Even as roughly 300,000 students attended HBCUs in 2015, the share of black students attending HBCUs has fallen from 17 percent in 1980 to 9 percent in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center, affecting tuition rates, loan affordability, and endowments from alumni or other benefactors.

HBCUs rely heavily on federal funding, and some have sought to maintain open communication with the Trump administration over the objections of some students and alumni. But many schools weigh the conflict of working with a presidential administration that’s paid little more than lip service to these institutions while also acting at odds with racial justice advocates and communities of color in general.

Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson,'Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities' preserves history in this in-depth documentary and doesn't, for once, smear the facts and turn them into a hot topic of fake news. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Miffy's Adventures Big and Small: Great Outdoors
(DVD / G / 2018 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Meet the sweet and smart little bunny named Miffy! In these eleven fun-filled outdoor adventures, Poppy Pig takes Miffy and Grunty on a nature hunt, Miffy camps in Poppy's backyard tent, and lots more!

DVD Verdict: Just to bring you up to date a wee bit, Miffy is a small female rabbit in a series of picture books drawn and written by Dutch artist Dick Bruna. The original Dutch name, "Nijntje", is a shortening of the diminutive konijntje, "little rabbit".

The first Miffy book was produced in 1955, and almost 30 others have followed. In total they have sold over 85 million copies, and led to two separate television series as well as items such as clothes and toys featuring the character. A feature-length film, Miffy the Movie, was released on 30 January 2013.

Three television series based on the character have been produced: Dick Bruna's Miffy Storybook Classics, which ran from January 1, 1992 until December 31, 1992, Miffy and Friends, which ran from April 7, 2003 until August 10, 2007 on Noggin in the United States, and Miffy's Adventures Big and Small, which premiered 2 October 2015 on Nick Jr. in the United States.

Here in 'The Great Outdoors,' Miffy is always eager to learn and try new things, and she inspires her best friends, Melanie and Grunty, to do the same.

In these eleven fun-filled outdoor adventures, Poppy Pig takes Miffy and Grunty on a nature hunt, Miffy camps in Poppy's backyard tent, Miffy and Melanie explore a farm while on a school trip, and lots more! Join Miffy and her friends as they go on adventures of all different sizes to learn about the world right around them! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Dinosaur Train: Big Pond Adventures'
(DVD / G / 2018 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Dive into eight action-packed adventures at the Big Pond with the Pteranodon family!

DVD Verdict: Just to bring you up to date a wee bit, Dinosaur Train is an American/Canadian/Singaporean children's animated series created by Craig Bartlett, who also created Hey Arnold!

The series features a curious young Tyrannosaurus rex named Buddy who, together with his adopted Pteranodon family, takes the Dinosaur Train to explore his time period, and have adventures with all kinds of dinosaurs.

It is produced by The Jim Henson Company in association with Media Development Authority, Sparky Animation, FableVision, and Snee-Oosh, Inc.

Here in the just-released 'Dinosaur Train: Big Pond Adventures,' we follow along as Buddy and Tiny work together to catch fish, and as Buddy and Don discover fossilized tracks!

Buddy and his family also help singer Crystal organize a HUGE benefit concert to make everyone aware that the Big Pond is being recklessly overfished and share what everyone can do to help. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

“BIG POND ADVENTURES” will be available on DVD February 13, 2018 and has a run time of approximately 90 minutes. Episodes of Dinosaur Train are also available for digital download.

'Garfield: Nine Lives'
(DVD / G / 2018 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Garfield hosts a look at his nine lives, from Cave Cat all the way through Space Cat.

DVD Verdict: Just to bring you up to date a wee bit, Garfield is a fictional cat and the protagonist of the comic strip Garfield, created by Jim Davis.

The comic strip centers on Garfield, portrayed as a lazy, fat, and cynical orange cat. He is noted for his love of lasagna, coffee and sleeping, and his hatred of Mondays, fellow cat Nermal (sometimes), raisins and exercise.

Here in 'Nine Lives', as mentioned, Garfield hosts a look at his nine lives, from Cave Cat all the way through Space Cat. At the end of his nine tales, Garfield points out to God that the circumstances of his last life were stacked unfairly against him and Odie. God agrees and gives Garfield back not just one life, but nine more!

Also included is 'Garfield: Garfield in the Rough' - when Jon announces that he, Garfield, and Odie are going on vacation! Garfield gets excited, but that enthusiasm quickly wanes when he discovers Jon planned a camping trip - what a choice!

Life in the wild gets dangerous when an escaped panther enters their campground. Will the rangers be able to capture the panther before it finds the trio? This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: It's a Beautiful Day
(4-Disc DVD / NR / 2018 / PBS Kids)

Overview: It's always a beautiful day in Mister Rogers' neighborhood! This set celebrates the 50th anniversary of the beloved Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

DVD Verdict: Just to bring you up to date a wee bit, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was an American half-hour educational children's television series that was created and hosted by Fred Rogers.

The series originated in 1963 as Mister Rogers on CBC Television, and was later re-branded in 1966 as Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on the regional Eastern Educational Network (EEN, a forerunner of today's American Public Television).

The national U.S. debut occurred on February 19, 1968, and it aired on NET and its successor, PBS, until August 31, 2001. The series is aimed primarily at preschool ages 2 to 5, but has been stated by PBS as "appropriate for all ages".

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was produced by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania public broadcaster WQED and Rogers' non-profit production company Family Communications, Inc., previously known as Small World Enterprises prior to 1971; the company was renamed The Fred Rogers Company after Rogers' death.

In May 1997, the series surpassed Captain Kangaroo as the longest-running children's television series, a record the series held until July 2002, when Sesame Street beat Mister Rogers' record.

Here on this brand new 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: It's a Beautiful Day Collection', which also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the beloved series, we watch as Mister Rogers helps children learn the importance of being kind to others, appreciating what makes everyone unique, and much more.

"Helping Children Know What to Expect at School" - "Creating With Friends Is Different Than Playing Alone" - "Play Is the Work of Childhood" - "Respecting All Living Creatures" - "Opera Day" - "Ups and Downs of Friendship" - "Learning About Rules and Limits" - "Appreciating the People Who Came Before" - "Food and Love Go Hand in Hand" - "Music as a Way to Express Feelings" - "Families Come in Different Shapes and Sizes" - "Celebrating Big and Little Things" - "Lots of Different Things For Play and Pretending" - "Each Person Is Unique — Yet We All Have Much in Common" - "Being Kind to Ourselves and Others" - "Nobody Knows What You're Thinking Unless You Tell Them" - "Games Can Be Fun, but Not If You're Left Out" - "Recycling and Other Ways to Care For Our Planet" - "Learning to Take Care of Yourself" - "Trying On Different Roles" - "We All Have Art Inside of Us" - "Understanding Concepts of Up and Down" "The Strength of Love — Even Through Angry Times" - "Appreciating Our Uniqueness" - "Some Things Change . . . Some Things Stay the Same" - "Needing Help and Giving Help" - "Feeling Good About Who We Are" - "Encouraging Generosity and Gratitude" - "Strengths and Limitations, Abilities and Disabilities" - "Wondering and Asking Questions" - "Enjoying Books and Recognizing Symbols", and "Valuing All Kinds of Art".

All contained with these simply divine 30 episodes of the classic series from 1979 to 2001, spread over 15 hours of happiness, it also comes complete with a bonus episode - the series premiere, in original black-and-white! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Family I Had'
(NR / 2018 / Film Rise)

Overview: In 'The Family I Had', a mother recalls how her brilliant teenage son came to shatter their idyllic family through one horribly violent and shocking act. Now, left to pick up the pieces, the survivors test the boundaries of their newly defined reality in this moving true crime exploration of the nature and limits of familial love.

DVD Verdict: It has to be said that 'The Family I Had' (by Katie Green & Carlye Rubin) is one of the most sorrowfully haunting real life tales that I've ever undertaken to review.

This haunting and thought-provoking documentary provides insight into an impossible situation where a family subsequently finds itself after a tragic murder of one underage sibling by another

Again, this is a very difficult story to watch and know that it actually happened, and some people will find it very hard to have empathy for the people in the story. But my guess is the director and writer actually tried their hardest to approach the screenplay this from a place of empathy for everyone, regardless of what they subsequently did.

Indeed, the documentary, in my opinion, is actually made all the more interesting because it does not fall into the trap of trying to provide a false Hollywood closure; especially here where there just simply cannot be one.

In closing, I believe that this film will start many a conversation about juvenile justice, about mental health, about storytelling, about trauma, and about how trauma is passed down through generations. 'The Family I Had' is highly recommended, if not for all that. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

(Josephine Decker, Zefrey Throwell, et al / 2018 / Film Rise)

Overview: 'Flames,' which won Best Feature Documentary at the New Hampshire Film Festival recently, is the story of a real romance filmed over five years.

DVD Verdict: Josephine and Zefrey simmer in the white hot apocalypse of first love until the throw of a dart finds them on a spontaneous trip to the Maldives and cracks open the question - is their love true or just a performance?

Directed and written by actors Josephine Decker and Zefrey Throwell, 'Flames' is, at its core, a semi-linear collection of unsimulated sex, emotionally pornographic dramatizations. Not sounding like your cup o' tea and yet still weirdly interested, well, read on.

Sure 'Flames' is (sorry) combustible viewing material, but at its heart is a love story for the ages. The two lead actors are as good as the words they themselves put down on the scripts and act it all out with abandonment and detachment - much like, one assumes, they have spent much their lives together within.

A ritualistic cleansing of sorts, 'Flames' tells a story that if you can sit through the couples' literal up's and down's, is well worth understanding and taking on board for life. Attempting positions resembling an act at Cirque du Soleil combined with a page out of the Kama Sutra, and chock full of sex talk through the ages, put 'Flames' on your must see list today! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

‘Gotta Serve Somebody: Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan'
(Bob Dylan, Arlethia Lindsey, Sounds Of Blackness, Shirley Caesar, Dottie Peoples, et al / DVD / NR / 2018 / MVD Visual)

Overview: ‘Gotta Serve Somebody - The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan’ is all about redemption. That's apparent enough in the music, where the struggle between sin and salvation is inherent in the tunes that are interpreted here by a host of superb gospel artists. But in a larger sense, the very existence of this DVD (and the Grammy-nominated CD that preceded it in 2003) can be viewed as redemption for Dylan himself, who weathered another controversy and emerged, if not triumphant, then certainly vindicated.

Verdict: When he plugged in an electric guitar in 1965, he was labeled Judas by the folkie faithful; ironically, when he turned to Jesus some 15 years later, proclaiming himself born again and releasing “Slow Train Coming” and “Saved“, the outcry was even louder!

But once again Dylan has the last laugh, as now, a quarter of a century after the fact, it's clear that the material on those recordings was his strongest not only since 1975's Blood on the Tracks, but perhaps since his '60s heyday.

The quality of the songs lies in what Jerry Wexler, co-producer of the two Dylan albums, describes as the immaculate funk of the music, and especially in the heartfelt simplicity (especially by Dylan standards) and emotional directness of the lyrics; clearly, that's what attracted great gospel singers like Shirley Caesar (singing “Gotta Serve Somebody“, the most recognized song on the two Dylan albums), Dottie Peoples (a powerful version of the beautiful “I Believe in You“), the Mighty Clouds of Joy (a rockin', sanctified “Saved“), the Fairfield Four (the stirring, a cappella “Are You Ready“), and the angel-voiced Aaron Neville (“Saving Grace“) to this project.

Fifty years on and I continue to be astonished by Bob Dylans range and influence as we also get Dylan himself, performing “When He Returns” at a 1980 concert, along with an animated rendering of his original “Gotta Serve Somebody.”

In addition to the inspiring performances in the studio, there are a number of interviews with the performers, as well as interviews with those who recorded and/or performed with Dylan back in 1979-1980: drummer Jim Keltner, guitarist Fred Tackett, keyboardist Spooner Oldham, producer Jerry Wexler, and singers Regina McCrary, Terry and Mona Lisa Young, amongst others.

Much of the footage was either shot in recording studios, churches, along with a bit of commentary from musicians and others who worked with Dylan over the years. Don't expect a lot of Dylan concert footage, because there is only a bit of scratchy late 70's film footage in the beginning of the video.

However, the real and absolute beauty of this video is in the gospel versions of Dylan's songs that you see performed and being recorded by some amazing gospel artists whose passion for their faith and musical talent really reaches out and grabs you.

Watch it, take in some beautiful gospel music performed by tremendously talented people of faith, and hopefully you'll similar experience spirit-filled moments joy that I did while watching. Hallelujah, y'all. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:,

Animated Video to -Bob Dylan's original GRAMMY® -winning, “Gotta Serve Somebody.”

(Bob Dylan, Arlethia Lindsey, Sounds Of Blackness, Shirley Caesar, Dottie Peoples, et al / DVD / NR / 2018 / MVD Visual)

Overview: ‘Gotta Serve Somebody - The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan’ is all about redemption. That's apparent enough in the music, where the struggle between sin and salvation is inherent in the tunes that are interpreted here by a host of superb gospel artists. But in a larger sense, the very existence of this DVD (and the Grammy-nominated CD that preceded it in 2003) can be viewed as redemption for Dylan himself, who weathered another controversy and emerged, if not triumphant, then certainly vindicated.

Verdict: When he plugged in an electric guitar in 1965, he was labeled Judas by the folkie faithful; ironically, when he turned to Jesus some 15 years later, proclaiming himself born again and releasing “Slow Train Coming” and “Saved“, the outcry was even louder!

But once again Dylan has the last laugh, as now, a quarter of a century after the fact, it's clear that the material on those recordings was his strongest not only since 1975's Blood on the Tracks, but perhaps since his '60s heyday.

The quality of the songs lies in what Jerry Wexler, co-producer of the two Dylan albums, describes as the immaculate funk of the music, and especially in the heartfelt simplicity (especially by Dylan standards) and emotional directness of the lyrics; clearly, that's what attracted great gospel singers like Shirley Caesar (singing “Gotta Serve Somebody“, the most recognized song on the two Dylan albums), Dottie Peoples (a powerful version of the beautiful “I Believe in You“), the Mighty Clouds of Joy (a rockin', sanctified “Saved“), the Fairfield Four (the stirring, a cappella “Are You Ready“), and the angel-voiced Aaron Neville (“Saving Grace“) to this project.

Fifty years on and I continue to be astonished by Bob Dylans range and influence as we also get Dylan himself, performing “When He Returns” at a 1980 concert, along with an animated rendering of his original “Gotta Serve Somebody.”

In addition to the inspiring performances in the studio, there are a number of interviews with the performers, as well as interviews with those who recorded and/or performed with Dylan back in 1979-1980: drummer Jim Keltner, guitarist Fred Tackett, keyboardist Spooner Oldham, producer Jerry Wexler, and singers Regina McCrary, Terry and Mona Lisa Young, amongst others.

Much of the footage was either shot in recording studios, churches, along with a bit of commentary from musicians and others who worked with Dylan over the years. Don't expect a lot of Dylan concert footage, because there is only a bit of scratchy late 70's film footage in the beginning of the video.

However, the real and absolute beauty of this video is in the gospel versions of Dylan's songs that you see performed and being recorded by some amazing gospel artists whose passion for their faith and musical talent really reaches out and grabs you.

Watch it, take in some beautiful gospel music performed by tremendously talented people of faith, and hopefully you'll similar experience spirit-filled moments joy that I did while watching. Hallelujah, y'all. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:,

Animated Video to -Bob Dylan's original GRAMMY® -winning, “Gotta Serve Somebody.”

DVD Purchase Link

‘A Fanatic Heart: Bob Geldof on W.B. Yeats’
(Bob Dylan, Arlethia Lindsey, Sounds Of Blackness, Shirley Caesar, Dottie Peoples, et al / DVD / NR / 2018 / MVD Visual)

Ocerview: Through performances of some of Yeats' most iconic poems by leading Irish and British cultural figures, Geldof reveals how Yeats and others built the scaffolding of a new independent Ireland decades before the Rising.

But how Yeats' vision for a modern, pluralist, inclusive Ireland was pushed aside by the narrow-minded Catholic elite of the new Free State: the ''Banana Republic'' that Geldof in turn rebelled against half a century later, is also brought forth here, of course.

Verdict: ‘A Fanatic Heart’ is a captivating tale of mythology, nation-building, insurgency and disillusion - and how one man dreamed an entire country out of the ravages of famine and into a new dawn.

With performances of Yeats' poems by Sting, Noel Gallagher, Edna O'Brien, Bono, Van Morrison, Olivia O'Leary, Liam Neeson, Stephen Fry, Dominic West, Richard E. Grant, Bill Nighy, Anne Enright, Colin Farrell, Ardal O'Hanlon, Shane MacGowan, and more, ’A Fanatic Heart’ is one the finest examples of how to construct a documentary, that you will ever witness.

Chock full of 73 poetry readings and 23 discussion pieces, for those not in the know, W.B. Yeats was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, he helped to found the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served as an Irish Senator for two terms.

Indeed, Yeats was also a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others. It’s very obvious that Geldof obviously had a great enthusiasm for this subject matter, as well as an enduring resentment of what has happened to Ireland since 1922.

The country might have achieved independence, but at what cost? Sometimes Geldof's script seemed a little florid in tone, with his talent for words running away with him somewhat, but this shortcoming is offset by his willingness to find out more about his subject.

Including a CD featuring readings from the award winning documentary, there’s also a new song set around the poem, 'A Terrible Beauty is Born,' which features a vocal by Bono (which Geldof coordinated for the DVD extras). This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

2DVD+CD Purchase Link

'The Sunshine Makers'
(Nick Sand, Tim Scullly, et al / DVD / NR / (2015) 2018 / MVD Visual)

Overview: A real-life "Breaking Bad" for the psychedelic set, 'The Sunshine Makers' reveals the entertaining, untold story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, the unlikely duo at the heart of 1960s American drug counterculture.

United in a utopian mission to save the planet through the consciousness-raising power of LSD, these underground chemists manufactured a massive amount of acid, including the gold standard for quality LSD, Orange Sunshine, all while staying one step ahead of the feds.

DVD Verdict: Well, before the actual review, I think it's probably best that you know more about both Nick Sand and Tim Scully, as it will make you appreciate this whole story so, so much more, trust me!

Nicholas Sand (born Nicholas Francis Hiskey) was a cult figure known in the psychedelic community for his work as a clandestine chemist from 1966-1996 for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.

Sand was part of the League for Spiritual Discovery at the Millbrook estate in New York, has been credited as the "first underground chemist on record to have synthesized DMT" and is known for manufacturing large amounts of LSD.

Robert "Tim" Scully is best known in the psychedelic underground for his work in the production of LSD from 1966 to 1969, for which he was indicted in 1973 and convicted in 1974. His best known product, dubbed "Orange Sunshine", was considered the standard for quality LSD in 1969.

Scully was a shy science prodigy from Berkeley, California who immersed himself in the freewheeling Haight-Ashbury scene and used his technical prowess to create the purest form of the psychedelic drug yet invented.

The two men were eventually introduced and started an underground laboratory with the financial backing of a rich young heir named Billy Hitchcock, who was also a patron of Timothy Leary. Scully wanted to give their product away — a utopian plan that Sand promptly dismissed.

One of the best line to come out of this documentary is: "We were LSD evangelists," one of the pair's cohorts says. "I think we did a better job than Jesus."

However, and in time, they inevitably attracted the attention of the authorities. The two men were arrested, with Hitchcock cutting a deal and testifying against them. They had the bad luck to have their case tried before a judge whose nickname was "Hangin' Sam," who declared in court that he wished he had access to the death penalty.

Sentenced to 20 and 15 years in prison respectively, Scully and Sand amazingly found themselves cellmates at Washington's McNeil Island Penitentiary. Sand's girlfriend smuggled drugs to him, and at one point he dosed the food supply, rendering the entire prison population high! Trust me, this film is well worth your time, whether or not you're into drugs in any way, shape or form!

This DVD feature surround sound, English subtitles for the deaf and hearing-impaired along with the official 'The Sunshine Makers' trailer. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno: Special Ed.'
(Romy Schneider, Serge Reggiani, Costa-Gavras, et al / Blu ray / NR / (1964) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: The film depicts the extreme jealousy of a hotelier, Marcel (Serge Reggiani, then 42 years old), towards his wife, Odette (Romy Schneider, then 26 years old).

Blu ray Verdict: Set in a beautiful lake side resort in the Auvergne region of France, L'Enfer ('Inferno') was to be a sun scorched elucidation on the dark depths of jealousy starring Romy Schneider as the harassed wife of a controlling hotel manager (Serge Reggiani).

However, despite huge expectations, major studio backing and an unlimited budget, after three weeks the production collapsed under the weight of arguments, technical complications and illness.

The story goes that in 1964, Henri-Georges Clouzot, the acclaimed director of thriller masterpieces Les Diaboliques and Wages of Fear, began work on his most ambitious film yet. That film would, obviously turn out to be 'Inferno.'

Clouzot was never any stranger to disruption within the industry, as was clearly evident when at Continental Studios, he wrote and directed films that were very popular in France, but his second film, Le Corbeau, drew controversy over its harsh look at provincial France. After the ban was lifted, Clouzot reestablished his reputation and popularity in France during the late 1940s with successful films including Quai des Orfèvres. After the release of his comedy film Miquette et sa mère, Clouzot married Véra Gibson-Amado, who would star in his next three feature films.

Directed, written and produced by Clouzot, cinematography by Andréas Winding and Armand Thirard, 'Inferno' remained unfinished in 1964, but was subsequently presented in 2009 as a full-length semi-documentary by Serge Bromberg.

Shot partly in black-and-white, partly in colour, Clouzot selected the title as an allusion to Dante's Inferno, and the names Odette and Marcel refer to characters in Marcel Proust's novel À la recherche du temps perdu.

Despite an unlimited budget from Columbia Pictures—Clouzot worked with three crews and 150 technicians—the shooting was beset by severe problems: everyone suffered from the record heat during July in the Cantal region; the main actor Serge Reggiani claimed to be ill (Jean-Louis Trintignant was asked to replace him); the artificial lake below the Garabit viaduct, an important part of the location, was about to be emptied by the local authorities; then Clouzot suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized in Saint-Flour.

So, as aforementioned, after just three weeks, the film was abandoned. But, and importantly, before that and in prep, Clouzot cast 26-year-old Romy Schneider; who, though Austrian, was then one of France's leading film stars. French cinema was a-tremble with expectation: could L'Enfer repeat the success of his earlier, great films?

Moreover, Clouzot was known as a forbiddingly meticulous metteur en scène, storyboarding his films so intensively that actors often felt thwarted. On L'Enfer, he sought to revolutionise cinema by meticulously creating a film using the experimental sounds of Pierre Boulez's Ircam in Paris, and the then-voguish images of kinetic art to express his hero's increasingly wild fantasy life. These lurid colour sequences would be juxtaposed with black-and-white footage shot on location.

And then one day, while he was filming Romy Schneider and Dany Carel having a lesbian tryst on a boat on the lake, he had a heart attack. He was taken to hospital and was compelled to abandon the film. "It happened at the right moment," Stora has since reportedly been heard to comment. "Things weren't going well."

The film features several innovative and practical lighting techniques by Andréas Winding and Armand Thirard. Most notably in the psychedelic climax of the film, rotating lighting rigs were placed in-front of the camera and actors. The final effect created the illusion of the actors faces transitioning between emotions, and personalities. They would also slowly change their emotions intensifying the effect when synced to each rotation. This is a Widescreen (1.78:1) Presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Optional English subtitles
Lucy Mazdon on Henri-Georges Clouzot, the French cinema expert and academic talks at length about the films of Clouzot and the troubled production of Inferno
They Saw Inferno, a featurette including unseen material, providing further insight into the production of Inferno
Filmed Introduction by Serge Bromberg
Interview with Serge Bromberg
Stills gallery
Original trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Ginette Vincendeau

'Scalpel: Special Edition'
(Robert Lansing, Sandy Martin, Judith Chapman, Arlen Dean Snyder, et al / Blu ray / R / (1977) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: US television staple Robert Lansing (Star Trek, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone) stars as a deranged surgeon in this twisty-turny psychological thriller from Blood Rage director John Grissmer.

Blu ray Verdict: Robert Lansing plays a crazed, arrogant plastic surgeon whose young adult daughter has run away (after he lets her mother drown and brutally murders her boyfriend).

When his wealthy father-in-law dies and leaves his entire estate to the missing girl, he hits on the idea of using plastic surgery to re-make the face of a disfigured go-go dancer (Margaret Chapman) into the spitting image of his runaway daughter.

Complications arise, however, when he is unable to sexually resist his new "daughter", and when his real daughter suddenly returns.

This is pretty interesting movie, kind of Southern Gothic giallo thriller. By the standards of American thrillers, it's patently absurd, but this kind of perverse absurdity always worked well in the Italian-made giallo genre, so if you're a fan of those type of films, you'll probably enjoy this low-budget, Southern-fried American version.

Lansing is good as the mad plastic surgeon. (He's very good at laughing evilly). Although she was mainly a TV actress, Margaret Chapman does well in a dual role, creating two identical but very different characters (and she had to do so without the benefit of split-screen or expensive special effects).

She's also pretty appealing (kind of a red-haired version of Jessica Harper of "Phantom of Paradise" and "Suspiria" fame).

What I found most amazing about this was that it was originally rated PG back in the 1970's! Besides the quasi-incest (or actual incest?) angle, Chapman's character is first introduced as a topless go-go dancer who is getting her face smashed into a bloody mess against a wall by a burly male bouncer (a scene obviously perfectly appropriate for children in the 1970's).

In closing, this film has got to rank up there with 'Blood and Lace' as the most violent and perverse movie ever to garner a permissive PG rating. I personally wouldn't recommend showing it to your children, but it is a pretty entertaining movie.

Simply put, and photographed by celebrated cinematographer Edward Lachman, who would go on to serve as DP on the likes of Erin Brockovich and The Virgin Suicides, 'Scalpel' is an exemplary slice of Southern-fried gothic, filled finally rescued from VHS obscurity in this revelatory new Blu-ray edition from Arrow Video. This is a brand new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

•Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
•High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
•Original Uncompressed Mono Audio
•Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
•Brand new audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith
•Brand new crew interviews
•Original Theatrical Trailer
•Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil
•FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet with new writing on the film by Bill Ackerman

'Federico Fellini's Orchestra Rehearsal: Spec Ed'
(Balduin Baas, Clara Colosimo, Elizabeth Labi, et al / Blu ray / R / (1978) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: An orchestra assmbles for a rehearsal in an ancient chapel under the inquisive eyes of a TV documentary crew, but an uprising breaks out.

Blu ray Verdict: Made in 1978 for Italian television, 'Orchestra Rehearsal' is possibly Fellini s most satirical and overtly political film. In truth, this is also likely the finest make-believe documentary that I have ever seen! The setting is a rundown Medieval Roman chapel, now an oratorio where an orchestra gathers. A television crew is making a documentary about this orchestra (while the orchestra is dealing with a union dispute).

The bulk of the film's first half focuses on individual musicians, many of whom reminisce about their first encounter with the instrument they play. When the musicians talk about their instrument, they often share thoughtful and stimulating metaphors about the meaning and the function of their instrument.

There are a few times during the film where the action is interrupted by a large rumble in the building. We don't know what this is exactly until the end of the film. The film transforms from poetic, to pure comical delight, to complete chaos, to lyrical beauty when the musicians play the music.

Composer Nino Rota's contribution was an immense one. He composed all of the pieces the musicians play in the film, and I believe they the music is absolutely wonderful (my personal favorite of Rota's compositions for "Orchestra Rehearsal" being the final piece the orchestra performs). This was the last time Rota scored a Fellini film, he died the next year.

I also must comment on the top-notch cinematography, which is quintessentially Felliniesque (ex. incredible long shots of the orchestra playing, shots of musicians lined up in very particular angles, and a couple of sweeping pans).

Anybody who loves orchestral music will like this film to some degree. I happen to immensely love Fellini, Rota, AND orchestral music, so for me, this film is nothing short of absolutely marvelous entertainment! [YM] This is a brand new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original 1.0 mono sound
Optional English subtitles
Richard Dyer on Nino Rota and Orchestra Rehearsal, the film scholar talks about the great composer and his last collaboration with Fellini
Orchestrating Discord, a visual essay on the film by Fellini biographer John Baxter
Gallery featuring rare poster and press material on the film from the Felliniana collection of Don Young
Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Adrian Martin

'The Gruesome Twosome: Special Edition'
(Chris Martell, Elizabeth Davis, Rodney Bedell, Gretchen Wells, Karl Stoeber, et al / Blu ray / NR / (1967) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: A demented, elderly woman has her mentally retarded son kill and scalp various young women to use their hair for her wig shop while a persistent coed tries to link various killings on a local Florida college campus to them.

Blu ray Verdict: After dabbling in the unlikely world of children s entertainment with the likes of Jimmy, the Boy Wonder and The Magic Land of Mother Goose, in 1967 ''Godfather of Gore'' Herschell Gordon Lewis returned to genre he helped create with the delightfully depraved 'The Gruesome Twosome'!

The young women of a small-town American college have more than just split-ends to worry about! Down at the Little Wig Shop, the batty Mrs. Pringle and her socially-inept son Rodney are procuring only the finest heads of hair by scalping the local co-eds! Can they be stopped before they clear the entire campus of luxuriant-haired ladies?

Also including HG Lewis' Dracula-inspired vampire epic A Taste of Blood as a bonus feature, this one, 'The Gruesome Twosome', is well worth flipping your wig over, trust me!

In truth, 'The Gruesome Twosome' has a simple plot. Old Mrs Pringle (Elizabeth Davies) lives in a lovely little house just outside a Miami University Campus and runs a high quality wig shop from within it. Her son, Rodney (Chris Martell), who's a little simple in the head, helps her out. His speciality is procuring the real human hair that goes into making these wonderful wigs.

Unfortunately for the local students, this involves the brutal killing and scalping of every beautiful young girl who is lured into the house under the pretense of finding a room to rent. But hey, don't blame Rodney, it's not his fault - he's a child trapped in a man's body and his domineering Mother dearest (accompanied at all times by her stuffed bobcat, Napoleon) continually threatens him with the prospect of being sent to "the place where bad boys go" if he doesn't carry out her murderous desires.

Sounds from that like it could be one of a million naff exploitation movies churned out by the late 60's but this one has the distinction of being directed by the undisputed king of the genre, Herschell Gordon Lewis. As a result the film is loaded with the same kind of screwball, absurdist humour as found in his 'She Devils On Wheels' opus (shot virtually back to back with this one), mixed in with the trademarked ultraviolence of his earlier splatterfests.

Hilarious throughout, to my mind, the film opens with a camp seven minute conversation between two wig blocks painted to look like garish pink Mr Potato Heads! But the unintentional comedy resulting from the timing mix-ups is as good as the scripted stuff too, believe me!

Indeed, Lewis still manages to cram in plenty of deliberate gags from his cast of kooky, colourful characters. We have a quirky heroine, Cathy Baker (played by the delicious model/actress Gretchen Welles), who is an overzealous and fairly inept Nancy Drew type attending the local university, and who is forever trying and failing to solve mini-mysteries; such as the whereabouts of her friend's pet parrot (she believes they ate it the previous day in a pot pie!)

We have a creepy caretaker on campus who happens to be a bone smuggler (!) when he leaves work. We have extended scenes of pseudo-go-go dancing from the female students (including one where they all bop around waving legs of Kentucky Fried Chicken; as part of a product placement agreement Lewis scored with the fast food chain who, in turn, fed the entire cast and crew!)

Oh yeah, and to cap it all off, we're even treated to a bikini beach party scene and a stock car demolition derby! It should also be noted that gore fiends will delight in the extended sequences of scalpings, decapitations, disembowellings and eyeball gouging! All shot in squishy, sickening close-up and rich with Lewis' beloved "red glop", 'The Gruesome Twosome' is as stomach-wrenching today as it was in 1967. This is a brand new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Bonus Feature! 1967's A Taste of Blood
Introductions to the films by HG Lewis
Archive audio commentaries for both films by HG Lewis
Peaches Christ Flips Her Wig! San Francisco performer Peaches Christ on The Gruesome Twosome
It Came from Florida filmmaker Fred Olen Ray (Scalps, The Alien Dead) on Florida Filmmaking
HG Lewis vs. the Censors HG Lewis discusses some of the pitfalls of the blood-and-guts business including local censorship and angry moviegoers
Trailers and radio spot
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil

'Jean-Luc Godard + Jean-Pierre Gorin: Five Films'
(6-Disc Special Edition Blu ray+DVD / NR / 2018 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: After finishing his film Weekend in 1967, Jean-Luc Godard shifted gears to embark on engaging more directly with the radical political movements of the era, and thus create a new kind of film, or, as he eventually put it: new ideas distributed in a new way.

This new method in part involved collaborating with the precocious young critic and journalist, Jean-Pierre Gorin. Both as a two-person unit, and as part of the loose collective known as the Groupe Dziga Vertov (named after the early 20th-century Russian filmmaker and theoretician), Godard and Gorin would realize some political possibilities for the practice of cinema and craft new frameworks for investigating the relationships between image and sound, spectator and subject, cinema and society.

Blu ray Verdict: To bring you a little more into this directorial mix, Jean-Luc Godard is a French-Swiss film director, screenwriter and film critic. He rose to prominence as a pioneer of the 1960s French New Wave film movement.

Like his New Wave contemporaries, Godard criticized mainstream French cinema's "Tradition of Quality", which "emphasized craft over innovation, privileged established directors over new directors, and preferred the great works of the past to experimentation."

As a result of such argument, he and like-minded critics started to make their own films. Many of Godard's films challenge the conventions of traditional Hollywood in addition to French cinema.

Jean-Pierre Gorin is a French filmmaker and professor, best known for his work with Nouvelle Vague luminary Jean-Luc Godard, during what is often referred to as Godard's "radical" period.

Jean-Pierre Gorin was a student of Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault and Jacques Lacan. He was a radical leftist well before meeting Godard in 1966. Godard relied on some of his discussions with Gorin while writing the script of 1967's La Chinoise.

Included here on 'Jean-Luc Godard + Jean-Pierre Gorin: Five Films, 1968-1971' are, as can be guessed, five films, all originally shot in 16mm celluloid, that serve as examples of Godard and Gorin s revolutionary project.

First up is 'Un film comme les autres' [A Film Like Any Other] which is an analysis of the social upheaval of May 1968 made in the immediate wake of the workers and students protests. The picture consists of two parts, each with with identical image tracks, and differing narration.

Interestingly, and as history now informs us, when the film was sent to New York City's Lincoln Center for its premiere, Jean-Luc Godard included a note in the film canisters instructing the projectionist to "flip a coin" to determine in which order the film's two reels would be shown!

Then comes 'British Sounds', aka: 'See You at Mao', an examination of the daily routine at a British auto factory assembly line, set against class-conflict and The Communist Manifesto. An hour-long film shot in February 1969 for television, written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Henri Roger, and produced by Irving Teitelbaum and Kenith Trodd, funnily enough LWT (London Weekend Television) refused to screen it owing to its controversial content; but it was subsequently shown with success in cinemas. Godard credited the film as being made by 'Comrades of the Dziga-Vertov group'.

Then comes 'Vent d'est' [Wind from the East]. A loosely conceived leftist-western that moves through a series of practical and analytical passages ( an organization of shots, Godard called it) into a finale based around the process of manufacturing homemade weapons.

Filmed in 1970, 'Vent d'est' is a radical filmmaking cooperative that, at its core, and like most films from this period in Godard's career, directing credit was given to the collective and not himself or other individual filmmakers.

Of the Dziga Vertov Group films, Wind from the East became particularly notable due to Peter Wollen's influential essay about it: "Godard and Counter Cinema: Vent d'est." Indeed, Wollen contends that Wind from the East exemplifies how Brechtian principles of "epic theatre" can be applied to film as "counter cinema."

Then comes 'Lotte in Italia / Luttes en Italie' [Struggles in Italy]. Not necessarily a film about the struggles in Italy largely shot, in fact, in Godard and Anne Wiazemsky s home at the time this is a discursive reflection on a young Italian woman s shift from political theory to political practice and, at the same time, a self-questioning of its own practice and theories.

In 'Lotte in Italia', it's not the conceit of being revolutionary from a safe distance that is analyzed but the problem of it, the conundrum of how the two can be combined in one social position.

In the first part of the film we see the girl trying to formulate or conform to the political rhetoric expected from a communist as capitalist society around her provides for her.

In the second part the problem is outlined, then Godard offers solutions, thinking for example not in terms of food or clothes but the production of them, not in terms of money but labour.

Lastly we get to experience 'Vladimir et Rosa' [Vladimir and Rosa], a searing and satirical comic-reportage on the trial of the Chicago Eight, featuring Juliet Berto and Godard and Gorin themselves.

The film could be thought of as both a political satire and a court-room thriller; with the Godard and Gorin using the background of the Chicago Eight trial and the sidelines into the plight of Bobby Seale and his connection to the Black Panther Party (eventually leading to the Chicago Seven) to create a work of highly provocative agitprop.

The film dramatises certain elements leading up the arrest, including the background of the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the implication of police violence and intimidation leading to riots and angry protests.

From here, the trial is documented in a way that is somewhat reminiscent of the visual approach of Le Gai Savoir, right down to the use of minimal production design with the barren black background of theatrical artificiality and the way that the characters speak directly to the camera in a completely deconstructive approach.

These films, long out-of-circulation except in film dupes and bootleg video, here make their Blu-ray debut, providing a crucial glimpse of Godard s radicalization, and of the aesthetic dialogue between him and Gorin that, in essence, served to invent a modern militant cinema. As Godard told an English journalist of the era, film is not a gun but a light which helps you check your gun. These are all High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High-definition digital transfer
High-definition Blu-ray (1080p) and standard-definition DVD presentations
Original uncompressed monaural audio
Optional English subtitles
A conversation with JLG - Interview with Jean-Luc Godard from 2010 by Dominique Maillet and Pierre-Henri Gibert
100-page full-colour book containing English translations for the first time of writing by, and interviews with, Godard and Gorin, and more
And More!

'A Pistol for Ringo & The Return of Ringo: SE'
(Giuliano Gemma, Fernando Sancho, et al / Blu ray / NR / 2018 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: The original Ringo films introduced another iconic hero to the spaghetti western; a clean-cut sharp shooter who was markedly different to Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name.

Blu ray Verdict: In truth, 'A Pistol for Ringo' is an above-average Spaghetti Western. The anti-hero (Gemma) and villain (Sancho) are both very charismatic, and each has a good sense of humor. The basic plot situation is interesting: Fleeing from a bank hold-up in which their leader was wounded, a gang of bandits takes refuge at a farm.

Although the farm is surrounded, the posse cannot attack because of the hostages. The anti-hero is highly paid to infiltrate and destroy the gang, and recover the money.

The film has some unusual twists; for example, the bandits are executing two hostages per day, even after the anti-hero joins the gang, and he makes no effort to halt the executions.

There is also an interesting contrast between the behavior of the anti-hero (Gemma) and the sheriff (Martin) who behaves like a traditional Western hero. Overall, the film still holds up today in the genre that it was created for, and there is also a very nice music score by Ennio Morricone.

Now, and as for the follow-up, 'The Return of Ringo,' well, look out folks as it is definitely not a sequel! Sure, all of the main actors return for this story, but they play completely different characters, and while Giuliano Gemma portrays another character called Ringo, this protagonist has nothing in common with the first Ringo!! It may seem unusual to those who haven't watched a lot of these movies, but that kind of thing is quite common in the spaghetti western genre.

This Ringo is not an outlaw like the one in the previous movie, yet he is much more serious and deadly, because he has been wronged on a very personal level, and is seeking justice and revenge. This gives the movie a much more sombre tone than the previous film. It's a gripping story without a single boring moment.

All of the main actors are at the top of their game in this one. Antonio Casas is especially good as the dysfunctional sheriff who pulls himself together with the help of Ringo. Giuliano Gemma is even better in this movie than in the previous film, and I can't say enough about Nieves Navarro.

Not only does she do a wonderful job portraying "Rosita," she looks even more incredible in this film than in the last one, which is a feat I would not have thought possible. She is quite possibly the most amazingly beautiful woman to ever appear in a western.

Also, Morricone's music score is also an improvement over the one he wrote for the first Ringo movie. There is more music in this film, and the tunes are more memorable. I especially like the theme song and if you're a fan of this genre of movie, I know you will too. These are both brand new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

•Brand new 2K restorations of both films from the original negative
•High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
•Original Italian and English soundtracks
•Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio
•Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
•Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
•Audio commentaries for both films by Spaghetti Western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke
•They Called Him Ringo, an archival featurette with star Giuliano Gemma
•A Western Greek Tragedy, an archival featurette with Lorella de Luca and camera operator Sergio D Offizi
•Original trailers
•Gallery of original promotional images
•Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

'Basket Case: Limited Edition'
(Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner, et al / Blu ray / R / (1982) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: A young man carrying a big basket that contains his extremely deformed Siamese-twin brother seeks vengeance on the doctors who separated them against their will.

Blu ray Verdict: The feature debut of director Frank Henenlotter (Brain Damage, Frankenhooker), 1982's 'Basket Case' is perhaps his most revered - a riotous and blood-spattered midnight movie experience, now immortalized in a lavish new 4K restoration by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

So yes, to me, 'Basket Case' is a great, low-budget shlock horror/comedy from the early 80's. It involves two brothers and their plot to get revenge.

'Basket Case' has an appealing low-budget feel to it, and Kevin Van Hentenryck is very likable as Duane. Belial, the deformed twin, is an oddly sympathetic character. Yes, the film contains some scenes that many will find sick and depraved, but it also contains some truly haunting images.

Actually, this movie is about the love between two brothers and the jealousy / anger that develops when one of them falls in love. There is a certain warmth beneath all that goo! Along the way, we are treated to many scenes of mutilation and depravity, as only Frank Henenlotter can deliver.

This movie does supply emotion, and is very touching at the end. Gus Russo supplies the soundtrack for this movie. When you see the end of 'Basket Case', Gus Russo's music blends in beautifully with the scene and makes this scene very sad.

Oh, and the setting is worth the watch as well when NYC was gritty and infested with drugs and prostitutes. However, it is an interesting idea. There were moments in this movie that were so funny (that I don't think were meant to be).

Some of the characters are over the top. There were some scenes (particularly the really bad stop-animation scenes) that made me wince in their low quality. One thing is for certain though - this is a one-of-a-kind horror experience. I would say that any horror fan should have this in their collection, if you don't already. This is a brand new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

•Brand new 4K restoration from the original 16mm negative by MoMA
•High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
•Original Uncompressed Mono Audio
•Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
•Brand new audio commentary with writer/director Frank Henenlotter and star Kevin Van Hentenryck
•Basket Case 3-1/2: An Interview with Duane Bradley - Frank Henenlotter revisits Duane Bradley decades after the events of the original Basket Case
•Seeing Double: The Basket Case Twins - a brand new interview with Florence and Maryellen Schultz, the twin nurses from Basket Case
•Brand new making-of featurette containing new interviews with producer Edgar Ievins, casting person/actress Ilze Balodis, associate producer/effects artist Ugis Nigals and Belial performer Kika Nigals
•Blood, BASKET and Beyond - a brand new interview with actress Beverly Bonner
•Belial Goes to the Drive-In - a brand new interview with film critic Joe Bob Briggs
•Outtakes Featurette
•In Search of the Hotel Broslin - archive location featurette
•Slash of the Knife (1972) - short film by Frank Henenlotter
•Belial's Dream (2017, 5 mins) - brand new Basket Case-inspired animated short by filmmaker Robert Morgan
•Behind-the-scenes of Belial's Dream
•Trailers, TV Spots and Radio Spots
•Extensive Still Galleries
•Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
•FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet with new writing on the film by Michael Gingold

'Static Shock - Season Three'
(Phil LaMarr, Jason Marsden, Kevin Michael Richardson, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2018 / Warner Archive Collection)

Overview: In the city of Dakota, a teenage boy with electricity based powers, with the help of his inventive friend, fights crime as a superhero!

Blu ray Verdict: 'Static Shock’s third season arrives dynamically double-charged as a new hero joins Static in his fight to protect Dakota, while the rookie hero demonstrates big-league-level experience.

Virgil’s journey to the hero elites begins with a Bat-bang as Static travels to Gotham City in pursuit of a Bang Baby that’s fallen in with some seductively sinister “big sisters” – the Gotham City sirens Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.

But a Batman (and Alfred) assist is waiting in the wings. Then, Richie’s knack for invention is revealed to be a Bang Baby by-product, and Richie becomes the high-tech hero Gear. But that’s just the start to a season that sees Static in Africa alongside African super hero Anansi, plus our hero battling Brainiac alongside the Justice League and tackling Toyman with Big Blue himself, Superman.

Also, this season’s end sees the inspiring African-American hero/role model shaken to the core as he travels to the recent past to revisit the night he lost his mother. And with that in mind, one of the best things about this show is how real life topics such as school shootings and gangs are easily worked into the plot without feeling fake.

The stories feel relatable. Other topics include racism, judging by appearance, the loss of a family member, and more. Virgil and Richie make the best friends duo work without coming across as cheesy or unreal, and they both deal with the problems they face maturely.

As with this 13 episode third season of the DC animated series and the two that have gone before it, what I absolutely love the most about this show is the crossover episodes they have with other DC characters like Batman, Robin, the Justice League, and even Batman Beyond.

Simply put, 'Static Shock' is good stuff and as much as I know the series only ran for one more season, I had hoped that one day he crosses over into other media forms; outside the comics or the animated series. But, he never did, of course.

In closing, 'Static Shock - Season Three' (as an animated series) has all kind of cool Meta-humans that us comic fans can't get enough of, and Phil Lamar's voice work is genius! These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.37:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of “Superman: The Animated Series: Obsession” (Bonus Episode).

'The Aftermath: Special Edition' (Blu-ray)
(Sid Haig, Lynne Margulies, Steve Barkett, Christopher Barkett, Alfie Martin, et al / Blu ray+DVD / NR / (1982) 2018 / VCI Entertainment)

Overview: A spaceship returns from deep space to find the Earth in The Aftermath of a nuclear and biological war.

Blu ray Verdict: The streets are filled with mutated survivors feeding off the weak and a Manson-like figure called Cutter, Sid Haig, The Devil's Rejects (2005), House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Jackie Brown (1997) is reigning terror down on all others.

Cutter and his gang of mercenary thugs are systematically murdering all the male survivors and enslaving women and children. Most of his targets are easy, but all that changes when Cutter confronts astronaut Newman (Steve Barkett, Empire of the Dark, Dinosaur Island, Dark Universe), and the woman Sarah (Lynn Margulies) he finds and falls in love with, and the young child Chris (Christopher Barkett, Empire of the Dark).

What follows is a cat and mouse game of violent and spectacular proportions with no less than Earth's survival in the balance.

After knowing it "inspired" DEFCON-4, I went in search for this film, since I'm addicted to PA (Post-Apocalyptic) movies. I don't care about budget and technical limitations. I'd rather focus on the feel and the honesty of the work. And in this field, 'The Aftermath' really shines. The history and characters easily overlook the obvious low budget restrictions and put to shame many higher budget counterparts.

The premise is that there are three astronauts come back to Earth after a long space mission, just to find it destroyed by nuclear war. One of them dies on the spaceship forced landing, and the other two must find their way through the new and haunting reality of a nuked world; facing radiation, mutants, marauders and the lack of hope for the future.

The dialog, acting and the action scenes are somewhat laughable, but no one can deny the fact that there's an obvious labor of love beneath each take. OTOH, inventive (altough simplistic) visual effects, a huge and loud soundtrack and the voice-over only adds to the bleak atmosphere.

There are effective sequences like the radioactive rain, the dead city landscapes and the corpses on the beach, but overall you get exactly what you paid your money for, trust me. Highly recommended, if not only for a young(er) Sid Haig, 'The Aftermath' is one of those movies that sat and watched today makes you smile and know that the world will be ok ... so long as the story never comes true, of course!

This is a Widescreen (1.78:1) Presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and this Blu-ray edition of 'The Aftermath' from VCI Entertainment was meticulously remastered in 2K high definition in 2017 from the original 35mm cut camera negative and was step frame copied one frame at a time for the ultimate in clarity and color values.

'Robert Altman's Images'
(Susannah York, Rene Auberjonois, Cathryn Harrison, et al / Blu ray / R / (1972) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: 'Robert Altman's Images' tells the tale of a schizophrenic housewife, engulfed by terrorizing apparitions, kills off both, unknowing if these demons are merely figments of her hallucinatory imagination or part of reality.

Blu ray Verdict: In my humble opinion, Robert Altman's engrossing drama 'Images' stands alone in his vast collection of directorial achievements.

Though he directed other intense dramas, this opus of unsettling psychological intrigue is about as far as one can get from his more familiar fare of offbeat comedies populated by equally offbeat characters.

In a landmark performance that garnered her a best actress award at Cannes, Susannah York portrays Catherine, a troubled soul who desperately tries to escape her innate demons and memories of past relationships.

Increasingly, reality and fantasy start to blur as Catherine develops a coping mechanism she thinks will solve her mental dilemmas. Unfortunately, there's an inherent danger in her method's madness.

Also, 'Images' was beautifully filmed in Ireland by master cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, and veteran composer John Williams provided the score. Altman protégé Rene Auberjonois effectively portrays Catherine's somewhat clueless, but good-natured husband.

In closing, many have referred to 'Images' as a portrait, even Altman himself, and I can think of no more accurate description. In many ways, it is a series of portraits; shards of a broken mirror that are haphazardly put back together.

Fot it's one of the most haunting and obscure films of the '70s, brimming with atmosphere, lush cinematography, and truly effective recreations of the schizophrenic mind. This is a brand new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

•Brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
•High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
•Original English mono audio (uncompressed LPCM) soundtracks
•Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
•Audio commentary by Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger
•Scene-select commentary by writer-director Robert Altman
•Interview with Robert Altman
•Brand new interview with actor Cathryn Harrison
•An appreciation by musician and author Stephen Thrower
•Theatrical trailer
•Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
•FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Carmen Gray and an extract from Altman on Altman

'Black Eagle - 2 Disc Special Edition'
(Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sho Kosugi, Doran Clark, Bruce French, Kane Kosugi, et al / Blu ray / R / (1988) 2018 / MVD Rewind)

Overview: One of the US Air Force's most modern tactical aircraft, an F-111 Aardvark with a new laser guidance system, crashes into the sea near Malta - a region where the Soviet forces are highly present, too. The CIA immediately sends out their best secret agent, Ken Tami, to salvage the system before it falls into enemy hands.

Blu ray Verdict: Sure, yes, 'Black Eagle' sounds like an excellent name for an excellent action film! And it is! This movie has it all - aviation, fighting, being a spy, etc.

Now those are the essential parts to an awesome action film, am I wrong. Anyhoo, this was the rage back in the day when it came out, and although this movie has lost this power today, it's still worth watching.

Jean Claude Van Damme had barely begun making a name for himself. He was less well-known than Sho Kosugi, with whom he had to share top billing. The plot is a nonsense actioner between Kosugi as a CIA op and JCVD as his KGB counterpart.

What is of interest is Van Damme's interpreation of a Red bad guy. This was not his first appearance as a Russian fighter. In NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER he was Ivan, a Russian mafia enforcer.

Here he is Andrei, a KGB operative who is battling Kosugi for a secret weapon. When Van Damme plays the heavy, he is somehow more threatening, more lethal than when he is the punching bag good guy.

One of his best moments in this or any of his other actioners occurs when he is not fighting at all. He is seen as merely talking to his wife who is genuinely concerned for his safety. Their verbal interaction marks him as distinctly human as they ponder his looming fate.

Further his aggressive fight scenes with Kosugi are first rate. ** SPOILER ALERT ** Even Van Damme's untimely demise with a ship's propeller raises some unexpected sighs of sympathy. This is a brand new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of the main feature
• Original 2.0 Stereo Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray) and Dolby Digital 5.1
•Includes 93 minute theatrical version + 104 minute uncut extended version of the film
•Sho Kosugi: Martial Arts Legend (HD, 21:26) (featuring new 2017 interviews with Sho Kosugi and Shane Kosugi and more)
•The Making of Black Eagle (HD, 35:50)(featuring new 2017 interviews with Director / Producer Eric Karson, Screenwriter Michael Gonzalez and stars Sho Kosugi, Doran Clark, Shane Kosugi and Dorota Puzio)
•Tales of Jean-Claude Van Damme (HD, 19:20) (Brand new 2017 interviews with cast and crew tell stories about working with the legendary action star)
•The Script and the Screenwriters (HD, 27:14) (new 2017 interviews featuring Michael Gonzales, Eric Karson and more)
•Deleted Scenes
•Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
•Collectible Mini Poster

'Pitch Perfect 3: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray +Digital'
(Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2018 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: Following their win at the world championship, the now separated Bellas reunite for one last singing competition at an overseas USO tour, but face a group who uses both instruments and voices.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Universal Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this March with the release of this quite stunning 'Pitch Perfect 3' in the new 4K home video format on March 20th, 2018.

The 'Pitch Perfect 3 4K Ultra HD’ Blu-ray + Digital combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward. Image crispness and clarity receive an obvious boost, and the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out extremely fine facial and clothing textures, which in comparison leaves the Blu-ray looking almost smooth and flat.

Importantly especially in a movie like this with so many young singer close ups, the skin tones enjoy heightened depth and accuracy with nuanced diversity of both natural tones and applied makeup. Indeed, it truly is masterful what they have done to this movie as it is now presented in a vivid (man is it vivid!) HVEC/H.265 encode and HDR10 / WCG grading that is framed in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

Overall, this is a strong UHD Blu-ray presentation, and aside from the 4K (ie: 4x sharper image), the HDR (High Dynamic Range) is brilliant for the lights and deepest of darks, the Immersive Audio is phenomenal for the multi-dimensional experience of the woods and so forth, and the overall quality is, well, truly a visual masterpiece here in 4K.

The audio department get a standing ovation and this is the strongest DTS:X sound mix I've heard thus far on these new formats. The DTS:X Immersive Audio/ DTS Digital Surround 5.1 Spanish and French (Canadian) is stunning here now and has to be heard on surround sound to be truly appreciated, trust me.

As for the movie itself, well, in truth, and as one might well expect, 'Pitch Perfect 3' is your typical musical for teenage girls. Not a particularly good film, but a most definitely enjoyable one filled with silly but humorous jokes, and witty dialogue.

In fact, the plot of 'Pitch Perfect 3' is so ridiculous and boring, but the comedy factor manages to make up for it. Supplying the audience with constant laughs, particularly from Fat Amy played hilariously by Rebel Wilson; who can be irritating at some points, which is truthfully where the film suffers, most scenes involving her are usually the best moments.

The lead character Beca, played wonderfully by the excellent Anna Kendrick, is also a high point in the film. Kendrick manages to carry the rest of the cast and stand above them all due to the sassy, smart, but adorably innocent character she plays. She's someone the audience can root for, and is easily likeable. However, a lot of the supporting characters aren't quite as pleasant or loveable!

Kay Cannon's script is of average quality, but entertainingly witty. Some lines of dialogue are more cringe worthy than Anakin and Padme's romance in 'Attack of the Clones' (and that's saying something!) but you can't help but forgive such embarrassing dialogue and yet love it; because that's what makes it fun!

The direction is, again, average but the pacing is surprisingly flawless. There isn't one point that feels dragged or rushed, and the flow stays very consistent throughout. With a minimal runtime of just 93 minutes, there isn't much time for slow story building and development like, say, 'Blade Runner 2049', but you couldn't expect much more from a film like this.

Like I said, the performances from the supporting cast are mediocre at best, but, once again, you wouldn't expect Oscar worthy portrayals in a teen musical like this one anyway. The cast work well with what they've got, but you can tell they have great chemistry and obviously enjoy working together.

The cinematography is unnoticeable, which would make it average, and just blends in. No IMAX mind-blowing wide shots or expert special effects, but maybe that's a good thing. There aren't any mind-numbing distractions, so you can just enjoy the bare bones simplistic structure, and there's nothing wrong with that at all.

Because it's a musical, it's going to contain music and dance. Was it good? Well I'm no singing expert, but it seemed alright to me. Some of the songs were embarrassing and plain cringe worthy, but you can't bash the effort the actors put into the routine, which displays their dedication, and just proves they want to make sure the audience have an exciting time.

There is also a stereotypical, unnecessary villain played by John Lithgow, who fits all the criteria for a cliché mastermind bad guy. There really was no reason for him to be there, and literally doesn't develop the plot in any way, and only has some relevance in the last fifteen minutes.

This is one of those movies that would be considered a guilty pleasure. You know it's not a great film, or the best of the year, nor does it try to be. However, there is so much fun to be had with 'Pitch Perfect 3', a film chock full to the brim with light-hearted humor galore.

As for a closer look at some of the Special Features, the first one I delved into was 'Gag Reel', which is, as expected, chock full of the young ladies fluffing lines and breaking down into fits of high pitched giggles! That said, the whole 20 seconds of John Lithgow "dancing" is well worth its weight in cinematic gold!

The batch of both 'New and Extended Musical Performances' garnered from the show and the cutting room floor enhance the tale of the movie, for sure, but don't do more than bring us a massive (old school) MTV moment.

However, 'The Women of Pitch Perfect 3' featurette is definitely empowering and showcases each principal member of the just perfectly. They all get their time to shine, their individual spotlight's well deserved, one and all.

Finally in this round up is 'Don't Mess with Rebel,' where for nearly five minutes we get to meet the lady herself - along with all her hidden personalities! A joy from start to finish, it's infectious watching and listening to this gal explain (in her own way) some of the film's action scenes, etc.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

•New Musical Performances (1080p): Additional music not seen in the film. Included are Fat Amy & Fergus Casino Duet (2:38) and The Bellas: "See You Smile" Lullaby (1:45).
•Extended Musical Performances (1080p): Included are Evermoist: "How A Heart Unbreaks" (3:55), Young Sparrow/DJ Dragon Nuts: "You Got It" (1:56), and Saddle Up: "Ex's and Ohs" (2:59).

•Deleted Scene (1080p, 1:01): Aubrey at Amy's Hotel Door.
•Gag Reel (1080p, 3:22).
•Competition Crescendo (1080p, 6:37): A discussion of the movie's "Riff-Off" and how the competition is different in this film as well as a closer look at the new bands that appear in the film.
•A Cappella Action (1080p, 3:15): A discussion of the "campy" Bond-inspired music piece titled "Toxic." It also explores the film's yacht set piece.
•The Women of Pitch Perfect 3 (1080p, 4:21): A look at how the series empowers women and the female talent that makes the movies happen.
•Don't Mess with Rebel (1080p, 4:27): A humorous piece that looks at the film's action scenes and Rebel Wilson's work therein.
•The Headliner: DJ Khaled (1080p, 3:01): A look at the real-world superstar's appearance in the film.
•The Final Note: John and Gail (1080p, 2:22): A short peek at the film's silly documentarian characters.
•Just Because He's a Bad Guy... (1080p, 1:54): John Lithgow's character and work in the film are explored.
•The Final Performance (1080p, 4:30): Making the movie's final musical number.
•Official Music Video (1080p, 2:36): "Freedom! '90 X Cups."
•Hollywood of the South (1080p, 2:28): Shooting in Atlanta.
•Audio Commentary: Director Trish Sie delivers a fine track that covers the film's structure and tone, technical tidbits and filmmaking anecdotes, character arcs, plot details, performances, shooting locations, music, and much more. Fans will find this an agreeable audio companion to the film.
•Audio Commentary: Producers Paul Brooks and Max Handelman offer a fine supporting commentary that's a little less fluid and engaging than the previous but one still filled with an nice array of basic insight.

'Hazlo Como Hombre'
(Mauricio Ochmann, Aislinn Derbez, et al / DVD / R / 2018 / LGF)

Overview: Mauricio Ochmann and Aislinn Derbez star in this hilarious comedy about a man whose world is turned upside down after his best friend, and future brother-in-law, announces he's gay.

DVD Verdict: Raúl, Eduardo and Santiago have led a happy and masculine life from their childhood, until, one day, Santiago confesses to them that he is gay.

And so, Raúl, the alpha male and more homophobic of the three, tries to convince his friend that this is nothing more than a simple sexual confusion.

That is until, when the situation becomes unsustainable, Eduardo and Raúl leave aside their own prejudices and decide to help Santiago to venture into his own new gay life.

Straight from the off, and before you even proceed to watch this film, you should know that both Aislinn Derbez and Mauricio Ochmann play the roles of brother and sister when, in real life, they are actually married to each other!

Trust me, it makes all the difference knowing that and seeing the performance put on by Mauricio thereafter! He does a stellar job at being the gay man here and as much as his friends may well start off as annoying and one-minded, they too meld into his way of thinking nicely.

Overall, 'Hazlo Como Hombre' (aka 'Do It Like An Hombre') had me laughing out loud at times. A dark comedy is what I would like to term it, chock full of sexual humor throughout. Some of it, being that it's inner core is about a gay man, might be too much for some, but at the end of the day, the movie is cute, funny, dark, and yet enjoyable from start to finish. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Crossbow - The Complete Series + Digital'
(Robert Forester, Harry Carey Jr., Johnny Crawford, Will Lyman, Jeremy Clyde, Nick Brimble, David Barry Gray, Hans Meyer, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / (1987) 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Everyone knows of William Tell: the marksman who shot an arrow through an apple atop his son s head. Few know the heroic circumstances surrounding the event. Now, the legendary tale of William Tell s struggle for freedom is captured in Crossbow. Robert Forester, Harry Carey Jr. and Johnny Crawford co-star in this thrilling medieval spectacle of drama and action.

DVD Verdict: Fourteenth Century Europe is the majestic backdrop as William Tell and his son Matthew are imprisoned by the tyrannical Gessler.

As governor of Austria, Gessler plans to stop the Swiss uprising against him by capturing Tell, the leader of the resistance. But there is no stopping William Tell s legendary strength and skill.

His struggle for freedom and revenge lead him to dashing battles, amazing escapes, heroic rescues and finally, a climactic confrontation with the evil Gessler.

Now out for the very first time ever in its series entirety on DVD, all 72 episodes are spread across all 3 seasons and brought forth over 6 discs! Inclusive of popular guest stars such as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Roger Daltrey, Steve Buscemi, Robert Guillaume, and more, this popular TV show is as great, as fun to watch today as it was back then.

The only trouble it had was that being produced back in 1986, it was considered just too similar to the highly successful 'Robin of Sherwood' (1984-86) TV series that had just finished its run in June of that very same year.

Thus, 'William Tell,' as it was called in the UK, was shown at primetime in Summer 1989 and just didn't get the viewing figures. Which is a shame as, in truth, it's actually a rather sumptuously filmed, and quality production that comes complete with a stunning soundtrack.

Filmed in France and Europe, the similarities with its British cousin ('RoS') were obviously just too much, but that said, the actors were perfect for the roles! Especially Will Lyman as William Tell and Jeremy Clyde as Hermann Gessler.

Again, for my money, the soundtrack - composed by Stanislas Syrewicz - is as good as they come for this era of filming, and the story lines were all as good as each other. There was always a lot of action, some great stunts, but never too much real OTT violence - which I think was very important at the time, given the fact that children and young teens were starting to watch the show. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Hammer Films Double Feature - Volume Three'
(Kerwin Mathews, Nadia Gray, Tallulah Bankhead, Stefanie Powers, Donald Houston, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: In Volume 3 of this wonderful series from Hammer Films we get 'Maniac' (An American painter has an affair with a bar owner in a French village and agrees to help her murderer husband escape from a prison for the criminally insane) and 'Die! Die! My Darling! (A young woman is terrorized by her deceased fiancé's demented mother who blames her for her son's death).

Blu-ray Verdict: In 'Maniac' (1963, B&W - Not Rated - Kerwin Mathews, Nadia Gray, Donald Houston, Liliane Brousse), American landscape painter Geoff Farrell (Kerwin Matthews), stranded in Europe, is attracted to Annette, a young French barmaid, but ends up falling for her seductive step-mother, Eve (Nadia Gray), instead.

Four years earlier, the teen-aged Annette was raped on her way home from school and her father, Georges, institutionalized for taking an acetylene torch to her assailant.

Eve soon convinces Geoff to help her husband, now a local hero, escape from the insane asylum but, once free, a frightening series of events makes it look like Georges was a homicidal maniac after all.

In the wake of 'Psycho', England's Hammer Studios made a few black and white "mini-Hitchcock" thrillers that tried to emulate the Master of Suspense.

Indeed, 'Paranoiac', 'Maniac' and 'Hysteria' all featured real or imagined madness, murder, sex, and deception - along with numerous plot twists - to keep viewers on the edge of their seats with varying degrees of success.

There's a stark, creepy, noir-like quality to 'Maniac' and the unseen rape, torture and murder in the beginning is quite disturbing. The location shooting in the isolated region of the French Camargue is a decided asset and the compelling story, written by Jimmy Sangster, includes a number of suspenseful sequences before a surprise revelation that is near impossible to see coming.

As for 'Die! Die! My Darling!' (1965, Color - Not Rated - Tallulah Bankhead, Stefanie Powers, Peter Vaughan, Donald Sutherland), the woman known for giving extravagant parties and answering door bells au natural in her youth plays an old, religious grande dame with no make-up and drab attire!

That's right, Tallulah Bankhead, in her last screen performance, shows us one more time that she was a consummate actress when given the opportunity to perform.

Every moment of hers is precious as she plays a woman that has driven her son from home by her excessive religious fanaticism and is now coping with his death.

She is visited by a woman, played by Stephanie Powers, that was engaged to her son. The dialogue and interaction between Miss Bankhead and Miss Powers is wonderful as Bankhead cuts her speech off and hams it up almost in a sedate yet effective manner.

Powers soon becomes a forced guest as Tallulah tries and "cleanse" her soul. Watching Tallulah read Biblical passages, sermonize on the evils of the flesh, and gently yet forcefully decay into a state of histrionics is delightful to watch.

My God, that woman could act! The rest of the cast is effective with Donald Sutherland in a satisfactory yet forgettable role as a dim-witted servant. Solid direction, claustrophobic settings, and good production values all add up to some good old-fashioned fun! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Hammer Films Double Feature - Volume Four'
(Gwen Watford, Patrick Allen, Felix Aylmer, Niall MacGinnis, Ann Todd, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: In Volume 4 of this wonderful series from Hammer Films we get 'Never Take Candy From a Stranger' (A serious and horrifying chiller about a small town terrorized by an elderly child molester luring young girls into his mansion with sweets, but no official will stop the perverse man because of his powerful family until it's too late).

And 'Scream of Fear' (A young wheelchair-bound woman returns to her father's estate to find he's away on business, but she keeps seeing his dead body in various places. Her stepmother and other house guests employ a plan to drive her insane and take her inheritance).

Blu-ray Verdict: In 'Never Take Candy From a Stranger' (1961, B&W Not Rated - Susan Strasberg, Ronald Lewis, Ann Todd, Christopher Lee, John Serret, Leonard Sachs ), if you think all Hammer films are vampires and werewolves and Frankenstein - think again!

Hammer made all kinds of films. No doubt the Cushing/Lee films are classics, but some of these lesser known thrillers are masterpiece low budget films.

This film is especially terrifying if you are the parent of a child under 15. A new family moves into town, the father taking up post as the new schoolmaster. Their young daughter makes friends with a local girl and all seems well. But this town hides a decades old secret.

As with many small towns there is one family that is the town patriarch. The founders. The family that has their hands in every pie in town. And this patriarchal family wields their power like a hammer.

They also have a family member with problems that they expect the town to turn a deaf ear to. Felix Aylmer, a wonderful British character actor gives a sit on the edge of your seat performance as the creepy Clarence Elderberry, Sr., without uttering one single word in the entire film.

Without being explicit, gory, or using foul language, Hammer presents a gut wrenchingly terrifying film that also serves as a timely public service announcement!

Another great one to watch on a cold, dark, stormy afternoon. This movie will stick with you and make you ever aware of your children's whereabouts.

Then comes 'Scream of Fear' (1961, B&W Not Rated - Susan Strasberg, Ronald Lewis, Ann Todd, Christopher Lee, John Serret, Leonard Sachs). Crippled Susan Strasberg goes to France to visit her father (who she hasn't seen in 9 years) and her new stepmother (Ann Todd).

When she gets there she's told her father is away on business. Suddenly, she starts seeing her father's dead body all over the house--but no one else does. Is she going mad or is her stepmother trying to drive her crazy and swindle her out of her inheritance? Handsome chauffeur Ronald Lewis tries to help her find out.

The plot is old and some of the twists have become predictable since 1961, but this is still a very good suspense film. It's well-acted, there are some very scary moments (I jumped three times) and it's imaginatively directed in eerie black and white by Seth Holt.

A scene done in a pool is downright horrifying. An early Hammer horror film that's been unfairly neglected. Also, there's an interesting scene with Lewis in a very skimpy bathing suit--surprising for its time and especially for Hammer-- they usually pushed female sexuality, not male. In truth, it benefits from being shot in black and white, the acting is very good from all the cast, and there are some scary moments; the aforementioned swimming pool being an obvious one. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Lords of Dogtown' [Blu-ray]
(Heath Ledger, Emile Hirsch, Victor Rasuk, John Robinson, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2005) 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: 'Lords of Dogtown' tells the radical true story of three teenagers from California who took skateboarding to the extreme and changed the sports world forever. Stacy Peralta (John Robinson), Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk) and Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild) are the Z-Boys, a bunch of nobodies until they join board designer Skip Engblom (Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight) to create a new style of skateboarding that becomes a worldwide phenomenon. But when their hobby becomes a business, the success shreds their friendship.

Blu-ray Verdict: The Z-Boys were a group of Venice Beach teenagers who, in the 1970's, pioneered a whole new style of skateboarding that is still popular today and which earned the boys status as instant international celebrities (at least within the tightly circumscribed world of skating).

In 2001, one of the original members of the group, Steve Peralta, wrote and directed a documentary on the boys entitled "Dogtown and Z-Boys," which featured interviews with many of the original members of the group. Then, in 2005, a "fictionalized" version of the story came along, 'Lords of Dogtown,' also written by Peralta, but this time directed by Catherine Hardwicke.

It's understandable that in her approach to the material Hardwicke would want to preserve as much as possible the roughhewn, documentary flavor of the original. Thus, virtually the entire movie has been shot on grainy film stock using a hand-held camera, which creates a sense of immediacy and spontaneity, and nicely approximates the look of the time period in which the story is set.

The best scenes involve the boys performing harrowing, death-defying stunts, as they glide through and around pedestrians and vehicles along the traffic-clogged streets of their Southern California neighborhood.

However, this impressionistic style also means that the narrative is often diffuse and unfocused, making it hard for us to distinguish one character from another and to know just who we should be concentrating on at any given moment.

The ostensible protagonist seems to be Peralta himself, although it is roughly 45 minutes into the film's running time before even that simple fact becomes apparent. However, about halfway through the film, the dramatic elements finally begin to come together, we get to know some of the boys as individuals, and the movie ends on a genuinely touching note.

In the rare moments when the camera actually manages to settle down and an individual scene is allowed to play itself out, we begin to sense that some of the boys playing the skaters may actually have some real talent as actors (we can certainly see that they are damn fine skaters), and a few of them I suspect we will be hearing from again in the not too distant future.

In a non-skating role, Heath Ledger plays a sort of mentor to the boys and the owner of the surf shop which served as the launching pad for the movement. Unfortunately, with his half-hearted attempt at mastering a slacker/stoner persona and accent, Ledger seems to be merely marking time in this film, counting down to that moment when he would stun the world with his soul-shattering performance in 'Brokeback Mountain.

Who could have foretold from his work here that he had THAT up his sleeve? In closing, and here on this brand new Blu-ray release of it via Mill Creek Entertainment, 'Lords of Dogtown' is moderately informative to those who know next to nothing about the history of skateboarding, but I imagine it is the true aficionado of the sport who will get the most enjoyment out of the movie. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Legend of the American Sniper' (Blu-ray+Digital)'
(Blu-ray+Digital / NR / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: If anyone can claim the essence of the true warrior spirit, the one who sacrifices and fights for the greater good of his comrades, and the greater good of his country, it is the American sniper. The sniper, first and foremost, is a hunter. His weapon: a rifle. His prey: another human being. None have embraced this world better than the American sniper.

Blu-ray Verdict: For my money, 'Legend of the American Sniper' is an extremely well done documentary of how snipers are trained for both the military and police departments. It gets straight up into the physical and mental capabilities and how they deal with their first kills.

That said, the mainstay of the documentary can be a wee bit overwhelming, chock full of the same things being said, just in different way and from different people, but it's all a matter of perspective.

There are primarily six ex-snipers who are interviewed here and, as mentioned, they all kinda sorta same the same stuff. However, the Army Master Sergeant provides the best perspective on what a Sniper's duties are as he details, in glorious detail, what their lives are like, their training, and what war / battle conditions they could all find themselves in.

Sure, this might be a film that is of little interest to some, but to others that want to know the type of individual that completes this training and serves their county how they should be honored will find it very interesting. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Robert Altman Presents GUN – A 6 Film Anthology'
(James Gandolfini, Martin Sheen, Daryl Hannah, Randy Quaid, Jennifer Tilly, et al / DVD+Digital / NR / (1997) 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: An all-star cast, top directors, and an intriguing premise, propel this Emmy® Award-nominated series. 'Gun' features six one-hour long riveting, comical, tragic, tawdry tales involving murder, adultery, betrayal, and other sins - all triggered and sometimes resolved by the same handgun which travels into the hands of different characters.

DVD Verdict: This highly inventive film / TV series (which works on some levels, but misses the mark on others) contains two almost totally unrelated vignettes connected by a common gun. A terrorist is apprehended in an airport, but before he is caught, he throws away a handgun that was previously used in an assassination.

After he is released, he obsessively seeks out the gun, which has by now been found and sold to Walter (James Gandolfini), a security guard who takes it home to his wife (Rosanna Arquette) to protect herself when he is on the night shift.

After various events (which I will refrain from spoiling), the gun ends up in a pawnshop. From there, it finds its way to the next vignette.

It next belongs to the president of a country club in the Deep South. When he is bitten by a rattlesnake while on the golf course and dies, the gun is lost in the tall grass. The new president (Randy Quaid) is a philanderer who is fooling around with numerous women (Jennifer Tilly, Sean Young, Sally Kellerman, et al).

His wife (Daryl Hannah) seems oblivious to all this and contents herself by cooking the favorite recipes of dead presidents. Suddenly, pieces of the gun are being received in packages addressed to all the president's lovers leading to his wife's discovery of his indiscretions.

The first story is a well-crafted drama that draws the viewer in with two storylines, one following the terrorist and the other following Walter's wife Lily. The second vignette is a short story by Robert Altman, which is an imbecilic farce.

It is not clear how these two short films were pasted together. I can only guess that the first story was not commercially viable due to its short length.

The acting in the first vignette was excellent. Gandolfini does his NYC working class shtick to perfection, strutting his corpulent Italian stuff around the set like a bloated stallion. Rosanna Arquette is equally good, playing the bored NYC housewife to the hilt and delivering a surprisingly accurate performance including an excellent New York accent.

The second vignette had a good deal of recognizable talent, but nothing even remotely intelligent for them to say or do. The dialogue and story were so bad that it is hard to understand why these veteran actors would want to be associated with the project.

Maybe Altman had some kind of damaging evidence against them. To their credit, Randy Quaid and Jennifer Tilly made the best of a bad situation and delivered a couple of comical moments amid the mindlessness. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'9 Lives Movie Collection' (Blu-ray)
(Arnold Schwarzenegger, F. Murray Abraham, Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Chuck Norris, Ron Silver, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: They Take A Lickin' But Keep On Tickin ! Nine action-packed features in adrenaline pumping high definition. 'Last Action Hero', 'Maximum Risk', 'Into the Sun', 'S.W.A.T.', 'Stealth', 'Vertical Limit', 'Blind Fury', 'Silent Rage' and 'White Line Fever'.

Blu-ray Verdict: I won't detail them all, but up first is my all-time favourite of the bunch, 'Last Action Hero' (1993) – PG-13 - Arnold Schwarzenegger, F. Murray Abraham, Austin O’Brien. The plot concerns this kid Daniel Madigan. He leads a pretty poor life and the only good thing that happens in it is that he gets to go to the movies to watch his favourite movie(s), Jack Slater with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He finds a golden ticket and travels into one such movie: Jack Slater IV. Madigan marvels at his good fortune and observes the many action movie clichés: a police officer getting blown up two days from retirement, Jack Slater evading every blast and machine-gun burst that comes his way, the bad guys never winning, the attractive daughter and not one unattractive woman to be seen.

He also witness a whole array of unrealistic characters, including an animated cat and Robert Patrick (AKA Liquid Terminator from Terminator 2), as well as the stereotypical screaming boss. Let's not forget the big explosions and loud noises that always take centerstage in action movies.

Then I also liked 'S.W.A.T.' (2003) – PG-13 - Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Jeremy Renner. Thrown into a desk job when his partner Gamble disobeys orders and shoots a hostage, Jim Street bides his time waited beside being demeaned on a daily basis.

When the commissioner brings in old school SWAT leader hondo to put together a young outfit, Street is offered to chance to retrain with the select team and is soon back on duty.

Meanwhile a man is pulled over by a black and white for a broken rear light, but is found to be a drug baron. SWAT are sent to escort the man to a secure prison but, as they take him into a holding centre he announces that whoever breaks him out of jail will get $100 million dollars.

SWAT soon have much to content with and must ensure that Montel does not escape. So if you are prepared for lots of running with guns, noise and macho posturing, then this should be enough to satisfy you here, trust me.

Another one is 'Stealth' (2005) – PG-13 - Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx. Sam Shepard, Joe Morton, Richard Roxburgh. Three pilots taking part in a secret military program are assigned to train a jet plane piloted by artificial intelligence in various air manoeuvres, but the program hits a snag when the plane develops its own warped consciousness, and it starts causing mayhem.

'Stealth' turns out to be exactly what it promises, which is a loud, dumb action movie. Unfortunately, the film isn't very entertaining. That said, I know films like 'Stealth' are supposed to be mindless fun and aren't supposed to be Oscar winners. So on that level alone this is a winner all ends up!

Then comes 'Vertical Limit' (2000) – PG-13 - Chris O’Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn. In this high-octane action film, three climbers make stupid decisions at 26,000 feet, en route to the summit of K2, the world's second highest mountain.

The climber's peril thus necessitates a rescue, which puts additional people on the mountain and at risk of dying. That's it. The story is thus fairly thin, but the filmmakers insert all kinds of natural and human obstacles, conflict, and difficulties to rev up the action and excitement.

The film's CGI creates compelling tension. We have the illusion of vertical scale, or perspective, which translates into a needed sense of vertigo. The sensation that the characters could, at any moment, fall to their deaths is the film's strength.

My own last pick would be the always great to watch 'Blind Fury' (1989) – R - Rutger Hauer, Terry O’Quinn, Brandon Call, Lisa Blount. Fun, but stupid action movie with Rutger Hauer as a blind Vietnam vet who returns to the States years later, now a master swordsman despite his disability.

He seeks out his old Army buddy Terry O'Quinn and finds himself having to protect O'Quinn's son from drug dealers. A good cast goes a long way to help out a predictable script.

Rutger Hauer is clearly enjoying himself and does a great job of juggling the serious and the humorous. Terry O'Quinn does fine as the guy not really worthy of Hauer's help.

Plus, we have 'Silent Rage' (1982) – R - Chuck Norris, Ron Silver; 'White Line Fever' (1975) – PG - Jan-Michael Vincent, Kay Lenz, Slim Pickens; 'Universal Soldier: The Return' (1999) – R - Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michael Jai White, Heidi Schanz, Bill Goldberg; and finally 'Into The Sun' (2005) – R - Steven Seagal, Matthew Davis, Takao Osawa. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'BabyFirst – ABC Galaxy of Learning'
(DVD / G / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: ABC learning and learning vocabulary have never been this much fun! BabyFirst TV brings you a ABC Galaxy, a kids vocabulary cartoon. In these children videos, the alphabet is made easy with children songs about the ABCs, created in crisp cut animation.

DVD Verdict: Join in all the learning of vocabulary and ABCs with these creative cartoons compilation for children. ABC Galaxy is all about making alphabet learning fun and engaging for preschool level children.

This quite brilliant and inventive new 'BabyFirst - ABC Galaxy of Learning' allows both Giggs and Hugg to take your Pre-K kids through the , quite literal, galaxy of learning.

Spanning at close to two hours in length, so real value for money here, the overall color and presentation of the show is top notch and very clean.

Two hours without interruptions or commercials, the viewing experience is definitely enhanced by that aspect too. Also, and importantly, the education that is garnered by the wee ones in your house whilst watching this DVD is definitely on the plus side here.

For as your children are learning letters, they’re also learning vocabulary words for the future as well. That's what makes this brand new DVD 'BabyFirst – ABC Galaxy of Learning' one for your family's household. These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'BabyFirst: Color Crew - New Adventures'
(DVD / G / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Meet the Color Crew – a lively bunch of crayons that explore all the colors of the world! Join them as they introduce basic colors in their very own special way.

DVD Verdict: This lovely DVD features back-to-back episodes of the colorful friends forging ahead on a new and different journey each time.

The colorful and musical journey is sure to make your little one smile with delight!

Spanning at close to two hours in length, so real value for money here, the overall color and presentation of the show is top notch and very clean.

As with other BabyFirst home entertainment releases, two hours without interruptions or commercials is always a plus when you have babies. Indeed, the viewing experience is definitely enhanced by that aspect here too.

Here on this new Babyfirst DVD, the Color Crew encourage all their little watchers to gain a familiarity with the names and qualities of basic colors.

So, of course, the unique crayon characters reflect diversity, but also inclusion as they join forces to embellish a series of highly inventive black-and-white scenes.

Each segment spotlights the work of one color in particular, giving ample time for viewers' retention through repetition. Even though the show favors conformity over creativity in its color assignments, the end result is visually pleasing for kids.

That's what makes this brand new DVD 'BabyFirst: Color Crew - New Adventures' one for your family's household. These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Knightfall - Season One'
(Tom Cullen, Sabrina Bartlett, Jim Carter, Pádraic Delaney, Simon Merrells, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray + Digital / NR / 2018 / LGF)

Overview: 'Knightfall: Season One' follows the Knights Templar, who for 200 years were the most elite warriors of the Crusades. We meet the Templars after the fall of the city of Acre — where the Holy Grail was lost — and rejoin them years later in Paris as they embark on a mission to find the lost Cup of Christ.

Blu-ray Verdict: Ok, yes, so let's get this off our collective chests now, shall we: This series is plagued with historical inaccuracies. Of course, the most shocking of all is the reference to the kingdom of Catalonia, which never existed!

Catalonia was a county (not a country), part of the kingdom of Aragon. In 1469 the kingdom of Aragon and the kingdom of Castile, joined through the marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, a.k.a. the Catholic Monarchs, thus becoming the kingdom of Spain, which remains to our days. Anyhoo, other narrative is manipulative also, but that said, and for my money, the show is very good and gets better and better with each episode. Indeed, the final episode is excellent and leaves a lot of intrigue open which I hope continues into a Second Season.

There are a satisfying number of unexpected twists and turns. Sure, there is some predictability at times, but it doesn't take away from the entertaining value of the show. The costumes and scenery are excellent and believable. The acting is very good and believable.

This is not Game of Thrones in terms of the number of utterly shocking twists and turns and highly intense character development. But then NOTHING out there is like Game of Thrones. I would say this is similar to Spartacus in terms of the drama, acting and action. Less violence than Spartacus.

Also, there is no nudity in this because it is the History channel. But there is a good love story, and tension throughout, and good guys who do bad things and bad guys who do good things which keeps it from being simplistic.

In wrap, and in terms of the historical accuracy - who cares? If you want historical accuracy then watch documentaries or read a pile of history books. If you want to watch dramatic period depictions with a few historical facts here and there and lots of fiction, drama and action, all in a believable period setting, then watch TV shows and movies. And this is a really good TV show! (RN) This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Handmaid's Tale - Season One'
(Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Max Minghella, et al / 3-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2018 / Vision Media)

Overview: Based on Margaret Atwood’s award-winning, best-selling novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States.

Blu-ray Verdict: Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalism in its militarized “return to traditional values.”

As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is a Handmaid in the Commander’s household, belonging to the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate the world.

In this terrifying society, Offred must navigate between Commanders, their cruel Wives, domestic Marthas, and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – with one goal: to survive and find the daughter who was taken from her.

Simply put, 'The Handmaid's Tale' is a 10-episode series not to be compared with any series I've seen before. Showcasing on Hulu, the story shows a terrifying future told by amazing actors, fabulous camera shots and brilliant cinematography.

Indeed, as a lover of the original Margaret Atwood novel - that is a chilling story of subjugation and ideology gone wrong in the face of terror - I was looking forward to watching this.

Elizabeth Moss is, as always, incredible, a force in this role. She embodies the character of Offred, and with little effort or words, you see her pain and anger. Yvonne Strahovski is also incredible, and too, you see her struggle, her anger, her defeat in every scene she is in.

However, completely stealing the show is Alexis Bledel, who is absolutely magnificent! In episode 3, after a horrific act, she has 20 seconds of pure brilliance, showing so many emotions without saying a single word. I was awestruck by the last 10 minutes of that episode, her performance was perfection.

Ann Dowd makes you feel sorry for her and hate her at the same time, and that is an incredible feat of acting. Samira Wiley also gets to have some much-like moments, but I won't give those away here.

I was hesitant about this series when it started, but once I got past the comparisons to the book and went back and watched the story for what it was, I was spellbound. This is something that cannot be missed. Every primary actress in this series deserves a nomination and a win, not just Moss. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

From Script to Screen - Go inside the premiere episode's "Salvaging", a harrowing scene where Handmaids violently participate in the execution of an alleged attacker. Interviews with series Showrunner/Executive Producer Bruce Miller, Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd and Madeline Brewer, as well as an in-depth look at the story points, character arcs and complexity of shooting this sequence with Director of episodes one through three, Reed Morano.
Hope in Gilead - Examine the reasons why "THE HANDMAID'S TALE" has captivated millions and become a cultural phenomenon. The cast and crew discuss parallels with today's political climate as well as the series' themes of hope, resilience and the fight for freedom.

'Who Killed Tupac?'
(2-Disc DVD / NR / 2018 / LGF)

Overview: In this investigative series, noted civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump sets out to find out the answer to one of the entertainment world's greatest mysteries: Who killed Tupac Shakur?

DVD Verdict: 'Who Killed Tupac?' is an incredible and highly indepth six-hour limited series, focusing on the investigation, twenty years after the death of the prolific and influential rapper and actor, Tupac Shakur.

But, be assured of one thing that that is at no point in this thrilling, and eye-opening documentary do they actual come up with a sustainable, and better yet, truthful answer.

The documentary (which has a nice running time of 252 minutes) is part of a recent surge in projects attempting to explain the reason behind Shakur’s fatal shooting at the intersection of Flamingo and Koval on Sept. 7th, 1996. Indeed, what sets 'Who Killed Tupac?' apart from the others is that civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who’s represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, claims he’s approaching the case from scratch.

The trouble is, when you begin with the assumption that Metro didn’t care about Shakur’s murder because of his race, isn’t any “investigation” already tainted?

At one point, Crump seems to cast blame on Suge Knight, the former UNLV defensive lineman who owned Shakur’s record label and was driving the car into which the fatal bullets were fired.

“When Suge Knight made that left turn to get away from the gunfire,” Crump says, “he also left the crime scene open to the heavy traffic that night, which would make it very difficult for police to gather physical evidence from the scene.”

That aside, and in a particularly poignant moment, rapper E.D.I. Mean, Shakur’s friend who was in the car behind Knight’s, meets Chris Carroll, who was the first Metro officer on the scene of the shooting.

For the first time, the two get to share their perspectives: E.D.I.’s that he and his friends were treated as suspects because of their race; Carroll’s that he kept his gun drawn because he had no idea what he’d stumbled upon.

The result is the sense of mutual understanding that they’d been seeking for more than two decades. That said, and again, don't expect anything new with regard answers for there just isn't any, sorry. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Children Of The Corn: Runaway'
(Marci Miller, Jake Ryan Scott, Mary Kathryn Bryant, Lynn Andrews, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / NR / 2018 / LGF)

Overview: 'Children of the Corn: Runaway' follows a young pregnant Ruth who escapes a murderous child cult in a small Midwestern town. She spends the next decade living anonymously in an attempt to spare her son the horrors that she experienced as a child. She lands in the small Oklahoma town, but something is following her. Now, she must confront this evil or lose her child.

Blu-ray Verdict: Ruth (Marci Miller) is a member of the killer children but when she discovers she's pregnant she burns the other children and heads off with her unborn child to give it a better life. Thirteen years later Marci and her son are trying to start over in a new town but pretty soon she begins to feel that the children are after her.

You know, I love horror films and I especially love horror series. Sure, the majority of them don't deliver as many good films as bad ones but I still get a thrill whenever a new sequel is announced to a series.

One could really argue that the entire Children Of The Corn series hasn't turned out any good films, but sadly this one here is without question the worst yet. It's really too bad that this film turned out to be so awful, but there's very little here to enjoy.

I'm really not sure what director John Gulager and writer Joel Soisson were trying to do with the picture, but it's one of the most boring films that I've seen in recent years.

The problem with the screenplay is that we're given a lead character that is downright boring and it's someone that the viewer simply doesn't care for. Another major problem with the screenplay is that there are way too many dream sequences and these just get rather tiresome after a while.

And as much as I truly honestly wanted to like it, or at least some part of it, there just wasn't anything here that I could lock onto. Hell, even the short running time seemed triple what it really was! Again, I'm not sure if the director was trying to deliver some sort of psychological movie, but it doesn't work.

In closing the one saving grace to the film was Lynn Andrews III who plays the black boss. Again, I'm not exactly sure what the screenplay was trying to do with his character, but the actor was very good here and I hope to see him in other projects. This is a Widescreen Presentation (AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

Deleted Scene - Found a Rabbit (1080p; 1:52)

'The Sandman'
(Tobin Bell, Haylie Duff, Shaun Sipos, Shae Smolik, et al / DVD / R / 2018 / LGF)

Overview: A young girl is bringing a terrible evil to life every time she falls asleep. When a string of violent deaths circle around young Madison, she realizes that the Sandman in her nightmares is commiting these crimes. With the help of her Aunt Claire (Haylie Duff), she tries to stop him before anyone else dies.

DVD Verdict: The Syfy Channel don't do horror originals very often and that's a shame because more often than not when they do they're quite good.

'The Sandman', executively produced (in what actual capacity, who knows, by the great Stan Lee) is somewhat similar to 'Before I Wake' (2016), but adds a certain horror sprinkling to it that dazzles a wee bit more, in my humble opinion.

Written and directed by Peter Sullivan, 'The Sandman' chronicles events in the Los Angeles area when an orphaned girl with psychic abilities (Shae Smolik) is granted custody by her photographer aunt (Haylie Duff), who has a sometimes live-in partner (Shaun Sipos).

Unfortunately, there's a deadly creature linked to the girl whom she calls the Sandman. Tobin Bell plays a government agent obsessed with cultivating the girl's powers while Amanda Wyss plays a psychiatrist who wants to heal her.

Starring Haylie Duff (who was far better than I ever expected), Tobin "Jigsaw" Bell and Paul Logan (though he may as well not have been cast), this horror effort once again shows that Syfy should do more horror.

With a great looking beastie, decent performances and a well delivered concept this was a lot of fun. It's ending is a tad sudden and it's not overwhelmingly original, but it's forgiven due to it's decent entertainment value. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.