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'The Mule: 4K Ultra HD'
(Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Dianne Wiestt, et al / 2-Disc + Digital / R / 2019 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Clint Eastwood stars as a 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran turns drug mule for a Mexican cartel.

Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the brilliant, quite stunning 'The Mule’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this April 2nd, 2019.

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

So, what we have is 'The Mule' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10 Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the various woods scenes where Clint and the drug runners have their face-to-face moments. It just all comes more vividly to life now, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where Eastwood is sat alone in his truck, counting money, making considerations to what he's fallen into at his old age) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1. With Subtitles in English SDH, French, Spanish.

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

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, when 90-year-old Earl Stone loses everything he loves, can he use ill-gotten gains to win it back before the DEA, or the cartel, takes him down?

Written by Nick Schenk and directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, 'The Mule' was inspired by a New York Times article "The Sinaloa Cartel's 90-Year Old Drug Mule" by Sam Dolnick.

Indeed, 'The Mule' uses true events to frame a much more compelling story. Bucking the current trend of emotionally monochrome dramas, this film is a rich tapestry of triumph and tragedy, humor and sadness, and guilt and forgiveness.

Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood) is a successful horticulturalist in Peoria, Illinois but neglectful of his family. He finds himself estranged from his wife Mary (Dianne Wiest) and daughter Iris (Alison Eastwood), but is still admired by his granddaughter Ginny (Taissa Farmiga).

Mary and he divorce, and after failing to embrace the digital age, Stone's business falls on hard times. He takes a mysterious offer to deliver a package from Mexico to Chicago. With his newfound income, he rebuilds the local VFW after a fire and helps pay for his granddaughter's cosmetology tuition.

Meanwhile, he frustrates his cartel handler, Julio (Ignacio Serricchio) with his unpredictable behavior.

Things get complicated when DEA agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper) and his partner Trevino (Michael Peña) flip a cartel employee and he tips them off about a successful drug mule known as "Tata", or grandfather.

The unassuming elderly white man with a clean record was able to slip under law enforcement's radar. At 90 years of age and with the DEA on his tail, Earl Stone is running out of time to reverse his fortunes and reconcile with his family.

'The Mule' is loosely based on the life of Leo Sharp, a WW2 veteran and Detroit-based horticulturalist and daylily farmer who began working as a drug mule for the Sinaloa cartel after his business fell on hard times.

His life of crime made him a millionaire. Sharp was finally caught in 2011 at the age of 87, pled guilty to drug conspiracy, and served one year in prison before being let out due to his declining health. He died in December 2016.

Most of the events depicting Earl Stone's family life were not based on his historic counterpart. Sharp had a wife and three children, and was still married when he died.

The filmmakers changed the years in which the events took place, and changed Sharp's home state from Michigan to Illinois. These changes, particularly when it comes to the main character's personal life, substantially improved the story and added much-needed depth, drama, and substance.

The filmmakers didn't set out to tell Leo Sharp's story; they used it as a springboard to tell their own.

In truth, it's difficult not to compare 'The Mule' with Clint Eastwood's 2008 film 'Gran Torino'. We don't see many elderly protagonists on screen anymore, and Eastwood seems to have carved a new niche for himself late in his career.

Like the character of Walt Kowalski, Leo Sharp is an emotionally reserved and politically-incorrect elderly white man having a difficult time adjusting to the modern world. Both are Korean War veterans, and both experience the loss of a spouse.

While Kowalski sacrifices himself to remove a threat to his community, Sharp embraces a life of crime to improve his financial situation and help others in need.

Sharp is no hero, but he learns the importance of placing family before his own ambition, finds forgiveness, and rekindles his relationship with his family. The Mule's message is deeply personal, and therefore is the more emotionally impactful of the two films.

In closing and with what might be his last film, 88-year-old Clint Eastwood cements his place as one of the greatest actors and directors of our time here in 'The Mule.'

As for the Special Features included, the stand out is definitely the short-but-sweet behind-the-scenes featurette 'Making of The Mule: Nobody Runs Forever.'

All-too short, but highly enjoyable, it includes comments from actor/director Clint Eastwood, producer Kristina Rivera, screenwriter Nick Schenk, actors Ingacio Serricchio ("Julio"), Andy Garcia ("Laton"), Alison Eastwood ("Iris"), and Bradley Cooper ("Agent Colin Bates"), as well as producer Tim Moore and other members of the cast and crew.

Although it doesn't have time to go into great detail, it briefly touches upon 'Gran Torino', adapting the original story, growing day lilies, building a stash house and researching drug cartels, shooting on the road, wardrobes and costume design, stories from the set, and more.

I just wish it had been around 40 minutes longer though, in truth! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Making of The Mule: Nobody Runs Forever (10:59, 1080p) - Join actor/producer/director Clint Eastwood and the all-star cast and crew of The Mule as Eastwood makes his bold return to the big screen.

Toby Keith - "Don't Let the Old Man In" Music Video (2:54, 1080p / Dolby Digital 2.0)

'The Mule' Trailer

'The Mule: 4K Ultra HD' Amazon Purchase Link

www.WarnerBros.com





'Glass: 4K Ultra HD'
(James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Samuel L. Jackson, et al / 2-Disc + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Universal Studios)

Overview: M. Night Shyamalan brings together two of his standout original films — 'Unbreakable' and 'Split' — in this explosive comic book thriller.

Elijah Price, also known as Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), finds David Dunn (Bruce Willis) pursuing Kevin Wendell Crumb's superhuman figure, The Beast (James McAvoy), in a series of escalating encounters.

Price, armed with secrets critical to both men, emerges as a shadowy orchestrator.

Blu-ray Verdict: Universal Studios Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the brilliant, quite stunning 'Glass' in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this April 16th, 2019.

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

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

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color.

Like the various inner building battles between two lead characters. Their surroundings seem to burst with the charge to blend seamlessly with the fury being exuded by the characters in question. It just all comes more vividly to life now, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where each of our three leads are being talked to within the walls of the psych unit) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

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

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

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, well, and in my humble opinion, 'Glass' is truly a cinematic jewel which closes the delicate and complex analysis begun by the two previous films.

Far more than being a gripping psychological horror, 'Split' will best remembered for its shocking final moments, which revealed it to be a standalone sequel to its writer-director M. Night Shyamalan's 2000 superhero drama 'Unbreakable'.

Those moments had therefore also set the stage for his latest film, named after the remaining member of the triumvirate yet to have a movie in his reference. At the risk of stating the obvious, these are: Bruce Willis' David Dunn, the so-called 'unbreakable' human who discovered that he possessed superhuman strength and invulnerability; James McAvoy's Kevin Wendell Crumb, a serial kidnapper with dissociative identity disorder and a couple dozen 'split' personalities, including a murderous one known as 'The Beast'; and last but not least Samuel L. Jackson's Elijah Price, a devotee of comics literature whose struggle with his rare genetic disorder of osteogenesis imperfecta (i.e. his bones break easily, like 'glass') has made him convinced that his place in life is to be the very antithesis of superheroes.

Through the engineering of psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), they find themselves imprisoned at the same institute for the criminally insane. According to Dr. Staple, she has three days to cure what she terms their 'delusions of grandeur', failing which they will be trialed and probably put away for life.

Much of the movie therefore takes place within the confines of the hospital where our three leads are locked away, with a good first hour at least spent watching Dr. Staple's therapy sessions with them. Though the routine isn't as fresh as before, there's no denying that watching McAvoy shift abruptly from one persona to another continues to be fascinating, especially how they respond to Dr. Staple's therapy.

In comparison, Willis' David remains largely subdued, as if both skeptical and hopeful that Dr. Staple will put things right with Kevin; on the other hand, Jackson's Elijah appears to have regressed into a catatonic state, showing little expression beyond twitching his facial muscles.

But there is good reason why the movie is titled after Jackson's character, so you really should not be surprised when Elijah snaps out of his stupor to put the finishing touches on his nefarious plan. Oh yes, like he revealed at the end of 'Unbreakable', Elijah is a master manipulator with his own designs for the world.

Whereas his string of terrorist acts were intended in 'Unbreakable' at proving the existence of those who were indestructible, Elijah now wants the world to see that superheroes and arch-villains do exist, and sets out to free both David and Kevin so they can duke it out in public.

If you know Shyamalan, you'll know better than to expect that things are as simple or straightforward than they first seem, so rest assured that we haven't at all spoiled the movie for you; in fact, we'll even let you know that there are at least two or three major twists in the second half of the movie alone, leading up to a shocking conclusion that all but sets the stage for an exciting new chapter.

Lest you recoil at the very notion of Shyamalan's so-called 'twist ending', we'd say this - before he turned his own technique into a laughable gimmick, it did actually stand for something, and this one here is as good as that in 'Signs' or even 'The Sixth Sense'.

At his best, Shyamalan has proven himself to be a master storyteller, and 'Glass' finds him at his world-building best.

Like 'Unbreakable', 'Glass' finds him deconstructing superhero mythology through Elijah's obsession with comic book lore; yet beyond drawing parallels between the characters and classic superhero archetypes, his most intriguing conceit here is that of pain as a form of cleansing that opens the door for those who are "broken" to acquire superhuman powers.

Sure, the dialogue may tend towards the pedantic at times, but Shyamalan's singular vision and view of the superhero construct is unmistakably bold and fascinating to behold.

It is also brought to fruition by a trio of excellent actors that highlight their characters' contrasting nature with alacrity. Call it showboating if you want, but it is no small feat making a showstopper of each one of 23 different personalities - including a nurturing older woman named Patricia, a lisping eternal 9-year-old boy named Hedwig, a pair of Irish twins and even a pompous professor of Japanese cinema - and that is what McAvoy does.

Whereas Kevin is violent and unstable, David is strong and skeptical, and Willis continues to underplay the role as he did in 'Unbreakable'. And then of course there is Jackson, who is deliciously sinister as the delicate but deadly Elijah, a more fully formed villain than most of those in the Marvel or DC movies so far.

Much as we were wowed by 'Glass', we'd be naïve not to recognize that there'll be those who think it pretentiously meta. Lovers or haters aside, Shyamalan has always been a divisive filmmaker, and this is no different.

In part, we were half fearing a bomb like 'After Earth' or 'The Happening' after the deluge of negative critic reviews, so we were pleasantly surprised by how brilliantly clever and original it turned out to be.

We'd also caution you not to expect a typical superhero movie complete with a grand action-packed climax - not only are there enough Marvel and DC movies for that, 'Glass' was always intended to be more of a psychological thriller.

Yet it is precisely this cerebral quality that sets it apart as a truly original piece from an auteur, and we're thrilled to see where Shyamalan takes his universe of world-savers and evil-doers to next.

As for the Special Features included, the stand out couple for me are 'A Conversation with James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan' and 'David Dunn vs. The Beast.'

In the former, James McAvoy reveals where some of his 23 personalities in 'Glass' came from, inclusive of the one he based solely on his memory of Saoirse Ronan! Watching this engrossing featurette, it's actually funny when both Night and James come to a pause at the end of explaining a few characters, and then come together a heartbeat later with “Leave no personality left behind"!

In the latter, well, it's such a powerful scene you can only begin to wonder what would have happened if they hadn't been interrupted! And, the featurette leaves us with the question answered as to why David doesn't react or get hurt by giving us this: Since The Beast targets only those who haven't been hurt and thus are impure in his eyes, David Dunn would be his ultimate arch nemesis; being that David, literally, cannot be hurt.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Alternate Opening & Deleted Scenes with Introduction by M. Night Shyamalan
A Conversation with James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan
Bringing the Team Back Together
David Dunn vs. The Beast
Glass Decoded
Breaking Glass: The Stunts
Connecting the Glass Universe
M. Night Shyamalan: Behind the Lens
The Sound of Glass (Featurette)
Enhancing the Spectacle (Featurette)
Raven Hill Memorial (Featurette)
Night Vision (Featurette)

'Glass: 4K Ultra HD' Official Trailer

'Glass: 4K Ultra HD' Amazon Purchase Link

www.USHE.com





'Welcome To Marwen' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Merritt Wever, Janelle Monae, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Universal Studios)

Overview: Academy Award winner Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Castaway) brings 'Welcome to Marwen', a bold, wondrous and timely film that is a miraculous true story of one broken man's fight as he discovers how artistic imagination can restore the human spirit.

When a devastating attack leaves Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) shattered and without his memory, no one expected recovery.

But by putting together pieces from his old and new life, Mark meticulously creates a wondrous fantasy world, where he draws strength to triumph in the real one.

His astonishing art installation becomes a testament to the powerful women who support him on his journey.

Blu-ray Verdict: Releasing this April 9th, 2019, 'Welcome To Marwen' tells the story based around Mark Hogancamp and the fictional town of Marwen.some elements that it could've improved on.

This movie presents a compelling story about a man who has lost nearly everything in his life and uses model homes and dolls to create a story as a coping mechanism.

I found this to be a very intriguing idea for a story, because it presents the audience with a way to look into Mark's past and his trauma. For the most part I think they handled it pretty well. Indeed, the incredible visual are easily the film's strongest element. Leslie Mann continues her string of solid performances, her glee and charm certainly improves the watch when she finally gets time to shine. Janelle Monae is astonishing limited, it is hard not to think if she had a larger role the film would've hugely improved.

Gwenodline Christie is unfortunately tragically miscast. It is perplexing trying to conclude why it was necessary to hire a British actress as a Russian! Christie does her best to pull of the role, but it's painfully obvious this usual brilliant actress was miscast.

Finally, and thankfully, the CGI for the dolls was a dazzling sight to behold. I know it's nothing new considering what has gone before - especially within all the Toy Story's - but here I really enjoyed the way Zemeckis presented the actual "world" of Marwen.

Not a perfect film in my eyes, the pacing is blocky and ranges painfully, which is the typical feel for any "real life" scene we encounter, of course. The script, overall, and not knowing the real story behind the film, left me shaking my head at times.

At times extremely poor in its treatment and scope, it was evident the dialog aimed to be child friendly; which damaged the end product, in my humble opinion.

As for the Special Features included, the stand out for me are the two featurettes 'Marwen's Citizens' and 'Living Dolls.' The former is a name-dropping insight into all the characters on display in Marwen, whereas the latter is a quite brilliant motion-capture look into how these dolls were "brought to life". This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Deleted Scenes
Marwen's Citizens
A Visionary Director
Building Marwen
Living Dolls

'Welcome To Marwen' Official Trailer

'Welcome To Marwen' [Blu-ray Combo Pack] Amazon Purchase Link

www.USHE.com





'Enimga' [Blu-ray]
(Martin Sheen, Sam Neill, Derek Jacobi, Frank Finlay, Michael Lonsdale, et al / Blu-ray / PG / (1982) 2019 / S'More Entertainment - MVD Visual)

Overview: A C.I.A. Agent tries to infiltrate Soviet intelligence to stop a murderous diabolical plot.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Enigma' is an under-the-radar Cold War drama of the 1980s, basically unknown to modern audiences.

A youthful Martin Sheen is tasked with entering East Germany and stealing secrets from the Russians, but Sam Neill is hot on his tail and has other ideas.

This is less a thriller in the Bourne style and more a slow, deliberately paced spy drama like 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'. The moments of it I enjoyed were chiefly those featuring cast members Sheen, Neill, and an against-type Derek Jacobi as the antagonist.

The likes of Michael Lonsdale, Warren Clarke, and Frank Finlay are also welcome by their presence. Where the film falls down is in the very slow pace, which saps life from the picture, and the presence of the obligatory romantic sub-plot which couldn't be less interesting.

In closing, the whole "espionage" factor is unimpressive for the most part and primarily consists of Sheen faffing about in various ridiculous disguises whilst trying to blend into the background, quickly becoming not only boring but laughable!

The plot has potential but is completely murdered by the rest of the confusing production elements. That said, the good thing is that you get to see Mrs. Fossey naked! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
Photo Gallery

www.MVDvisual.com





'Keoma: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Franco Nero, William Berger, Olga Karlatos, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1976) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: A half-breed ex-Union gunfighter attempts to protect his plague-ridden hometown from being overridden by his racist half-brothers and a Confederate tyrant.

Blu-ray Verdict: Castellari's 'Keoma' was part of the late 1970's second wave of spaghetti westerns. It is typically considered one of the better entries in the genre, some even rate it as a classic alongside Leone's masterpieces.

However, while it has clearly been attempted to make the film look stylish and sophisticated, and at a casual glance it does look pretty well made, a more in depth look shows that it falls quite a long way off the mark.

Basically, it's clear that what Castellari has is a bunch of director's tricks up his sleeve - slow motion, unconventional camera angles, subtle merges into flashbacks and so on - all of them thieved from the work of other filmmakers.

That in itself is no bad thing - after all Tarantino has made a career out of doing the same - but the difference is that Castellari clearly has no idea how and when to use these techniques.

He simply throws them in at every opportunity, so that they actually stick out rather than enhance the film. The most obvious example is the Sam Peckinpah style slow motion deaths after someone is shot.

In Peckinpah's films it was used skillfully to highlight the brutality of certain killings here and there throughout the movie. In 'Keoma' it is used more or less every time someone is shot - about forty or fifty altogether - totally losing any impact it might have had.

Add to this that 'Keoma' is a completely boring spaghetti western character - basically just a hippy with a colt - and not one of Franco Nero's better performances.

Ergo, the dialogue is terrible. The plot is text book spaghetti western back-for-revenge. This movie doesn't really have a lot going for it in truth, sorry!

And then there is the music. Famous itself among spaghetti western fans for being almost unlistenably bad it also seems to sum up the feeling of the entire film. Quite a nice melody, but either sung in a piercing shriek by the female vocalist or an unnerving growl by the male vocalist.

In short, 'Keoma' is a perfect example of style over substance - it's all dazzling flair in an attempt to cover up a pretty poor film. Viewers should stick to the real classic spaghettis like Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci's work. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

New 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio
Original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by spaghetti western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke
The Ballad of Keoma, a new interview with the legendary star Franco Nero
Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, a new interview with director Enzo G. Castellari
Writing Keoma, a new interview with actor and writer Luigi Montefiori AKA George Eastman
Parallel Actions, a new interview with editor Gianfranco Amicucci
The Flying Thug, a new interview with actor Massimo Vanni
Play as an Actor, a new interview with actor Volfango Soldati
Keoma and the Twilight of the Spaghetti Western, a newly filmed video appreciation by the academic Austin Fisher
An Introduction to Keoma by Alex Cox, an archival featurette with the acclaimed director
Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
Gallery of original promotional images from the Mike Siegel Archive
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Simon Abrams and Howard Hughes

www.ArrowFilms.com





'The Dick Cavett Show - Inside The Minds Of ...'
(Dick Cavett, et al / 2-DVD / NR / 2019 / S'More Entertainment)

Overview: Since 1968, Dick Cavett has been host of his own talk show, in a variety of formats and on a number of television and radio formats.

These releases were taken from episodes that aired between 1968 through 1996 and feature some of the wittiest, edgy comics of the era, including Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx and Dick Gregory.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the official know, 'The Dick Cavett Show' was an 90 minute mixture of talk and variety that ran for six astounding years on late-night prime time television on the ABC-TV network from the first telecast on May 26,1969 to the final episode of the series on August 16,1975.

This was at the time one of the most versatile performers who eventually gave us some of the biggest entertainment acts in the history of rock,and went toe to toe with the King of Late Night-Johnny Carson and eventually at the time Merv Griffin for the battle of late night supremacy.

However, Dick Cavett was one of the few television personalities ever to star or host major programs in daytime, prime-time, late night, all in quick succession.

And it wasn't about his failure to attract a large audience with any of them, because his late night talk show brought in some of the largest ratings ever for ABC at the time.

Well praised and received by the critics, his late night show was generally acknowledged to be witty, intelligent, and interesting compared to what was scheduled around them.

'The Dick Cavett Show: Inside The Minds Of....' is a wondrous 2-Disc DVD set with just over two hours of lush flashback material. Entitled Volume 3, the episodes come from the revered aforementioned PBS series.

First up is Eddie Murphy, primarily talking about Huckleberry Finn in Memphis, but also we get the now infamous moment that Cavett draws out the word "N****r" (in reference to a "big flap" in America at the time where Americans wanted the great American book removed from shelves for the use of the word within the character N****r Jim).

Comedy on the spot here as Murphy is a true comedian and riffs along with the what could have been awkward TV moment. In real life Eddie Murphy and Dick Cavett were good friends and they would do bits of improvisation with one another to get the audience's reaction.

However, his chat with Richard Pryor ... well, awkward doesn't even begin to cover this! Cavett really dug himself a huge hole here asking if white writers could write for him, a black man.

He really made Cavett look like a fool here. Decades before anyone was talking about the concept of white privilege on TV, Pryor was able to address it calmly and coolly without even getting defensive. He just let Cavett dig his own grave. Brilliant from start to finish this episode.

As for Redd Foxx, well, personally I love Redd. He was so Vaudeville great that crushes the rest, for sure. Finally, Dick Gregory is as funny, and as broad as you would have ever wished for here.

A man with an amazing perception as a sensitive and articulate every-man he also had an amazing power as a writer. Combined with the fact he was a hero of literature and of the black experience in America, he sure gave an eloquent voice to all he spoke about (and man, was he downright funny!) This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.smoreent.com





'Archer Danger Island: The Complete Season Nine'
(Animation / DVD / NR / 2019 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: Archer: Danger Island is an animated, half-hour comedy that centers on the semi-functioning alcoholic seaplane pilot, Sterling Archer, a lush on the lush South Pacific island of Mitimotu in 1939.

DVD Verdict: I have to say that I and some of my dearest friends have followed Archer since day one and have loved it thereafter.

It's not perfect, it's not always spot on, but it works - and that, for us, in enough to ensure a great nights viewing each and every time.

That all said, this ninth curve ball season has raised some eyebrows re: it was not the favorite of myself or my friends, sadly.

Trust me though, the show is still very thoughtful, extremely well-written, and just as funny as always, but it's pace seems to changed.

Indeed, the dialog moves at a breakneck pace now which means the viewer will definitely need repeated views to catch all the aspects of the contained humor therein.

For those catching up, while the rest of the world is concerned about the impending Second World War, Archer is only concerned with who's buying his next drink.

Along with his trusty co-pilot Pam, Sterling must navigate quicksand, cannibals, super-intelligent monkeys, poison darts, pirates, and did we mention quicksand?

Welcome to the mysterious and deadly world contained within all 8 season nine episodes of 'Archer: Danger Island'!

For me, personally, I loved this whole unfamiliar setting with some character reboots thrown in for good measure! This time it's somewhere in French Polynesia just before WWII (where Cyril is a Nazi, but for some reason the more obvious candidate Krieger is ... a macaw!)

As aforementioned, the change of setting works for me, and so too the pace as the last few seasons haven't delivered the crackling wit of earlier seasons.

That all said, and this time set on a remote Pacific island packed with angry lizards, German soldiers, ineffective French police, and an evil entrepreneur, Archer's new setting provides for some of the best animated art this series has yet to provide.

But, and playing Devil's Advocate here, I suspect that’s going to be the final straw for a fair chunk of Archer’s remaining viewers; the last absurd change to a once-winning formula that Reed has been tweaking relentlessly for far longer than he ever stuck to the old “spy parody” logline the show was originally sold with.

In closing, the redefinitions this season are some of the best we’ve seen from Archer as it has continued to evolve. While each of the characters from the show is still brought to screen, their alternate versions are exciting, to say the least.

Hey, if you didn't like Archer as a PI in the 1950's, try him out as a pre-war PTSD pilot. FYI: Pam and The Parrott get lots of the good lines! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Inside Look: Making Archer
Crackers' Costumed Playings

www.FoxConnect.com





'Hellboy: 2 Full-Length Features 4K Ultra HD'
(Doug Jones, Ron Perlman, et al / 2-Disc + Digital / NR / 2019 / Starz - Lionsgate Films)

Overview: The Starz animated films 'Hellboy: Sword of Storms' (2006) and 'Hellboy: Blood and Iron' (2007) have just released a wondrous double feature 4K Blu-ray this past April 2nd, 2019.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: LGF is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the always fun, and always colorful 'Hellboy: 2 Full-Length Features’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format.

For my money, this 'Hellboy: 2 Full-Length Features: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Hellboy: 2 Full-Length Features' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 and Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1.

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the various inner earth scenes with Hellboy facing off against en masse of demons. It just all comes more vividly to life now, glowingly red, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where Hellboy - in either incarnation between the films - is fighting the good battle face-to-face with his Hell-dwelling patrons) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

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

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

Phew! OK, so, as for the two animated movies themselves, well, first up is 'Sword Of Storms' (2006), where a professor of folklore opens a forbidden scroll and becomes possessed by the ancient Japanese demons of Thunder and Lightning; who seek to return and dominate our world.

The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense sends Hellboy and a team of agents to investigate, but when Hellboy picks up a samurai sword, he literally disappears into a weird wonderland of Japanese legends, ghosts and monsters.

Meanwhile, BPRD agents Kate Corrigan and Russell Thorne are on the trail of the possessed professor to bring Hellboy back.

The voice acting is excellent here, in my humble opinion. Ron Perlman has now become the de facto voice of Hellboy, and if this ever becomes an animated series, his presence will be crucial for its success.

More surprisingly, considering her usually rather flat and whiny voice, Selma Blair delivers a finely nuanced performance. The best of all however, is Doug Jones. Seemingly perennially cursed by his background as a mime, the man has been seen in several great films in recent years but never heard.

He has a pleasant, deepish voice, which entirely suits Abe Sapien. David Hyde Pierce acquitted himself well in Hellboy but will not be missed in the sequel. Hopefully Mr Jones' fine performance here will encourage studio execs to leave him be as the voice of the Silver Surfer.

The character designs are deliberately different from Mignola's and in my opinion, that is a smart decision. Hellboy himself remains relatively faithful to the original concept, but shown in a more stylised form, reminiscent of Bruce Timm's drawings.

For the most part, this works, apart from an occasional slip where Hellboy's face takes on an exaggerated facial expression, lapsing into caricature.

Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman and a few of the supporting characters are more radically redesigned and remind of the current pseudo-manga style of 'The Batman' or 'Jackie Chan Adventures'.

Personally, I am not a great fan of this particular approach, but I acknowledge it is popular and in context, effective. Mike Mignola's original drawing style is not completely ignored and is most clearly evoked in the design of Hellboy's various skeletal and monstrous opponents.

There are also some attempts to emulate the comic's use of shadows (most notably in the "Heads" sequence).

There are however, some problems. The animation itself is very hit and miss, and apart from the already mentioned weird facial expressions, there are occasional strange and unnatural movements from the characters.

Some scenes feature noticeably poorer animation quality than the overall film. They appear jerky and cheap and look as though they were completed in a rush.

The plot itself is not overly engaging. Although a story about cursed ancient lovers shows promise, it is severely underdeveloped, in favor of some nonsense about Thunder Gods and Dragons.

The majority of the actual film shows Hellboy wandering around Wonderland (or something), fighting assorted monsters.

Some of these action sequences are great fun but it all gets repetitive so that the overall effect is episodic and only occasionally compelling.

In the second animated movie, 'Blood & Iron' (2007), Hellboy and his team face off against a new supernatural threat while Professor Bruttenholm must investigate the possible reemergence of a vampire he had slain decades prior.

Simply put, 'Hellboy: Blood & Iron' is about vampires coming back after many, many years in wait, and also about ghosts and memory and all those things left behind.

If it were about these things more-so in-depth (or rather the kind of attention that Guillermo del Toro would pay to the subject matter if he directed), it would be really great material.

Trouble is, the Hellboy animated movies, with this the second installment, are limited by means of budget, time, and even to an extent the scripting.

There's a lack of the dry, sly and just outright clever humor from the Hellboy live-action movies, with only one or two quips from ol' Red (Ron Perelman, always good even in dull one-liners), and some characterizations and dialog that are as routine as whatever one might find in a straight-to-home viewing release.

That said, and with these flaws being noted, 'Blood & Iron' is extremely enjoyable for what it can afford in its 75 minute running time; which is giving some lifeblood to a comic-book that needs it desperately.

The plot works mostly upon the strengths of the animators, and luckily they are many. What might seem ordinary and traditional- even a little lacking in fluidity (again, budget)- gives way to extraordinary moments going past the expected for "kids" stuff.

There's some very dark material particularly in this installment, as we see an iron goddess, a vampire curse, a couple of blasted witches, snakes, and those creepy ghosts (which, thanks to some del Toro presence, reminds one of the Gothic folklore of Mexico).

It's all very impressive when it works best, and there's even some interesting designs for these villains and creatures of the night. As for the Special Features included, on 'Sword Of Storms' we get a quite brilliant 'A New Breed: Creating the New Hellboy' (1080p; 5:21) which offers a few interesting behind-the-scenes creation facts.

Such as the revelation that some kind of pre-arrangement in the deal meant that the character designs in this animated version had to differ from Mike Mignola's original conceptions!

On 'Blood & Iron' is 'Reversal of Fortune: Professor Broom's Story' (1080p; 20:24) which offers some brief introductory comments before venturing off on what is in essence a "third" animated episode; one which gives a bit of backstory for this character. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Sword Of Storms:
A New Breed: Creating the New Hellboy (1080p; 5:21)
Conquering Hellboy: The Actors Role (1080p; 6:28)
A View from the Top: The "Heads" Sequence (1080p; 5:26)
'Sword Of Storms' Audio Commentary featuring Hellboy Creator Mike Mignola, Supervising Producer and Director Tad Stones, and Director Phil Weinstein

Blood & Iron:
Reversal of Fortune: Professor Broom's Story (1080p; 20:24)
Tales from the Tomb: A Look Inside Blood & Iron (1080p; 12:59)
Iron Shoes With Introduction by Mike Mignola (1080p; 3:42)
'Blood & Iron' Audio Commentary featuring Mike Mignola, Tad Stones and Vic Cook.

'Hellboy: 2 Full-Length Features 4K Ultra HD' Amazon Purchase Link

www.LGF.com





'Margaret - The Rebel Princess'
(DVD / G / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Princess Margaret's life and loves reflected the social and sexual revolution that transformed the Western world during the 20th century.

DVD Verdict: With sumptuous archival materials and revealing interviews, 'Margaret - The Rebel Princess' follows Margaret's life as she redefined our image of the modern princess, showing how her character combined the rebellious force of modernity with a respect for tradition.

This intimate two-part documentary profiles Princess Margaret, whose life and loves reflected the social and sexual revolution that transformed the Western world during the twentieth century.

Watching along engrossed to this new PBS documentary, we learn that Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, CI, GCVO, GCStJ (Margaret Rose; 21 August 1930 – 9 February 2002) was the younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and the only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II.

Margaret spent much of her childhood with her parents and sister. Her life changed dramatically in 1936, when her paternal uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated to marry a divorcée, Wallis Simpson.

Margaret's father became king, and her sister became heir presumptive, with Margaret second in line to the throne. During the Second World War, the two sisters stayed at Windsor Castle, despite suggestions to evacuate them to Canada.

During the war years, Margaret was considered too young to perform any official duties and instead continued her education.

After the war, Margaret fell in love with Group Captain Peter Townsend. In 1952, Margaret's father died, her sister became queen, and Townsend divorced his first wife.

Early the following year, he proposed to Margaret. Many in the government believed he would be an unsuitable husband for the Queen's 22-year-old sister, and the Church of England refused to countenance marriage to a divorced man.

Margaret eventually abandoned her plans with him, and in 1960 she married the photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was created Earl of Snowdon by the Queen. The couple had two children: David and Sarah.

Margaret was often viewed as a controversial member of the British royal family. Her divorce in 1978 earned her negative publicity, and she was romantically associated with several men.

Her health gradually deteriorated in the final two decades of her life. A heavy smoker for most of her adult life, Margaret had a lung operation in 1985, a bout of pneumonia in 1993, and at least three strokes between 1998 and 2001. She died at King Edward VII's Hospital on 9 February 2002.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Mrs. Wilson'
(Ruth Wilson, Keeley Hawes, Iain Glen, Fiona Shaw, Anupam Kher, et al / DVD / NC-17 / 2019 / Masterpiece PBS)

Overview: A grieving widow discovers that her seemingly ideal husband lived many secret lives.

DVD Verdict: Ruth Wilson does an incredible job here portraying her own grandmother.

The love, betrayal, loyalty, sadness and hope that Alison Wilson felt was clearly evident throughout.

A story so bizarre and shocking it had to be true. The acting was nuanced showing the conflicted emotions, just how would someone react to discovering they had been the third victim of a serial bigamist.

The script was tight and well structured and tried desperately to arrive at a moral standpoint.

The problem, per say, with this drama lies with its ultimate truths, there were three women who had been lied to for decades, there were no less that six illegitimate children who were inadequately provided for, and three tawdry affairs undertaken without a care for the devastation this would leave when the truth came out.

That said, it is, without a shadow of a doubt, a wondrous story of intrigue, love, deceit and ultimately continuation of life despite it all.

I loved every minute and the fabulous ending demonstrated that good can come from lies - with all the family meeting, of course.

He may have been a serial bigamist but without him, and come the end like it (him) or not, none of these people would exist today. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Nature: Attenborough & The Sea Dragon'
(David Attenborough / DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: On the Jurassic Coast of England, a remarkable 200-million-year-old fossil is discovered - the bones of an Ichthyosaur, a giant sea dragon.

David Attenborough joins the hunt to bring this ancient creature's story to life.

DVD Verdict: Sir David Attenborough hosts this detective story, from the challenging on-site extraction of the fossils to the 3D reconstruction of the creature.

He looks at evidence from animals across the world to try and piece together how this super predator lived and died.

Using state-of-the-art scanning and CGI, the team reconstructs the skeleton, creates the most detailed animation of an Ichthyosaur, and unravels an age-old murder mystery!

As always, watching a show with Sir David Attenborough is one of the most INCREDIBLE learning experiences!

In this wondrous "sea dragon" tale we learn that the Ichthyosaurs (Greek for "fish lizard") are large extinct marine reptiles.

Indeed Ichthyosaurs belong to the order known as Ichthyosauria or Ichthyopterygia ('fish flippers' – a designation introduced by Sir Richard Owen in 1840, although the term is now used more for the parent clade of the Ichthyosauria).

Ichthyosaurs thrived during much of the Mesozoic era; based on fossil evidence, they first appeared around 250 million years ago (Ma) and at least one species survived until about 90 million years ago, into the Late Cretaceous.

During the early Triassic period, ichthyosaurs evolved from a group of unidentified land reptiles that returned to the sea, in a development similar to how the mammalian land-dwelling ancestors of modern-day dolphins and whales returned to the sea millions of years later; which they gradually came to resemble in a case of convergent evolution.

Ichthyosaurs were particularly abundant in the later Triassic and early Jurassic periods, until they were replaced as the top aquatic predators by another marine reptilian group, the Plesiosauria, in the later Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

In the Late Cretaceous, ichthyosaurs were hard hit by the Cenomanian-Turonian anoxic event. Their last lineage became extinct for unknown reasons.

Here in this 53 minute gem 'Nature: Attenborough & The Sea Dragon' we witness the discovery of a new ichthyosaur fossil, complete with fossilized skin, but strangely missing a head

The program is breathtaking, remarkably fresh and with Attenborough at the wheel never dull. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'American Experience: Sealab'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: In 1969 off the California coast, a US Navy crane carefully lowered a massive tubular structure into the waters.

It was designed for an elite group of divers to spend days or even months at a stretch living and working on the ocean floor.

'American Experience: Sealab' tells the little-known story of the daring program that tested the limits of human endurance and revolutionized undersea exploration.

DVD Verdict: On a February day in 1969, off the shore of northern California, a US Navy crane carefully lowered 300 tons of metal into the Pacific Ocean.

The massive tubular structure was an audacious feat of engineering - a pressurized underwater habitat, complete with science labs and living quarters for an elite group of divers who hoped to spend days or even months at a stretch living and working on the ocean floor.

The Sealab I project, as it was known, was the brainchild of a country doctor turned naval pioneer who dreamed of pushing the limits of ocean exploration the same way NASA was pushing the limits of space exploration.

As Americans were becoming entranced with the effort to land a man on the moon, these divers, including one of NASA's most famous astronauts, were breaking depth barrier records underwater.

Watching this really quite fascinating hour long PBS program we quickly learn that not everything was about Sealab I itself.

Before the Sealab I habitat could be emplaced, a number of rifle grenades had to be found and removed from the bottom around Argus Island!

The grenades had been fired up into the air with the object of targeting their explosions when they returned to the water.

With enough impacts the position of Argus Island could be determined to within a few feet.

Unfortunately, many grenades did not detonate upon impact with the sea surface, and divers had to locate and remove them. This was a job for divers from the Navy SOFAR Station (Columbia University Geophysical Field Station), and both U.S. Navy and Air Force civilians and enlisted SCUBA divers.

A platform that had been built to lower the Remote Underwater Manipulator (RUM) from a garage on Argus Island to the sea floor was also removed. Sealab I was then placed on the nearly flat bottom on a layer of algal balls and some corals.

Sealab I was commanded by Captain George F. Bond, also called "Papa Topside", who was key in developing theories about saturation diving.

The project proved that saturation diving in the open ocean was viable for extended periods. The experiment also offered information about habitat placement, habitat umbilicals, humidity, and helium speech descrambling.

Sealab I is on display at the Museum of Man in the Sea, in Panama City Beach, Florida, near where it was initially tested offshore before being deployed.

It is on outdoor display. Its metal hull is largely intact, though the paint faded to a brick red over the years. However, the habitat's exterior was restored as part of its 50th year anniversary, and now sports its original colors. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'NOVA: Einstein's Quantum Riddle'
(DVD / G / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: In an effort to disprove quantum mechanics Albert Einstein proposes one of it's strangest features; quantum entanglement.

DVD Verdict: Einstein called it "spooky action at a distance," but today quantum entanglement is poised to revolutionize technology.

Physicists have become gradually convinced that quantum entanglement is real, but a few doubts remain.

Here within 'Einstein's Quantum Riddle,' NOVA follows a ground-breaking experiment in the Canary Islands to use quasars at opposite ends of the universe to once and for all settle remaining questions.

We learn that over the past century, scientists have made huge strides in understanding the mind-bending rules that govern the microworld of atoms and subatomic particles.

But these rules, called quantum mechanics, contain one particularly bizarre, unexplained phenomenon: quantum entanglement.

Imagine two subatomic particles that mirror changes in each other instantaneously over any distance - apparently without communicating.

So yes, few things in science get crazier than quantum mechanics, with related theories sometimes sounding more like paranormal activity than physics. So when such theories gain experimental proof it's a big day for physicists!

As aforementioned, quantum entanglement is a curious phenomenon that occurs when two particles remain connected, even over large distances, in such a way that actions performed on one particle have an effect on the other.

For instance, one particle might be spun in a clockwise direction. The result on the second particle would be an equal anti-clockwise spin.

Three different research papers claim to have closed loopholes in 50-year-old experiments that demonstrate quantum entanglement, proving its existence more definitively than ever before.

"Things get really interesting when two electrons become entangled," says Ronald Hanson from the University of Delft. "They are perfectly correlated, when you observe one, the other one will always be opposite. That effect is instantaneous, even if the other electron is in a rocket at the other end of the galaxy."

Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen described this in a 1935 paper, concluding that either single-particle quantum entanglement was impossible, or that the quantum-mechanical definition of physical reality still needed some work.

Without giving their conclusions away, it's also said within this program that "You can't prove quantum mechanics, but hidden local action is incompatible with our experiment," and that "Our results agree with what quantum mechanics predicts about the spooky actions shared by entangled particles."

The rest, as they say, is out there for you now to explore (via this DVD first though, of course!) This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'NOVA: Kîlauea - Hawaii on Fire'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Hawaii's Kîlauea volcano erupted in 2018, sending rivers of lava through communities and into the sea.

Join scientists and local residents as they investigate this frightening spike in volcanic activity that turned an island paradise into an inferno.

DVD Verdict: In May 2018 the Kîlauea volcano erupted, obliterating neighborhoods with devastating force and uprooting thousands of local residents.

It is Hawai′i's most destructive volcanic eruption in generations. How can one of the most beautiful places on Earth suddenly transform into a roaring inferno, sputtering molten lava and bombs of volcanic rock the size of refrigerators?

On the ground in the early days of the eruption, NOVA joins scientists and residents alike on a breathtaking journey to investigate Kîlauea's recent spike in activity.

“One of the first things emergency responders wanted to know was where the lava was coming out, where are all the fissures,” says J. Carver Struve, NASA emergency management co-lead at NASA Headquarters in Washington who coordinated the organization and distribution of data and satellite imagery from seven NASA centers.

In total, seven instruments onboard five NASA, JAXA, and other partner satellites provided key information on eruption patterns and atmospheric impacts of the Kilauea eruption.

These included detection of active fissures, fires, ash and sulfur dioxide plumes, deformation of the ground caused by magma movement, and the height and composition of volcanic plumes.

Even astronauts onboard the International Space Station were able to view the eruption, sending digital camera images to the USGS and response community.

The European Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency also contributed data to the effort.

In addition to providing data to support recovery and resilience planning, NASA has a long-standing research effort to understand volcanic processes before, during and after eruptions, insights that can also serve as a window into understanding volcanoes on other planets.

The current Kîlauea eruption was an opportunity to evaluate the performance of instruments to estimate lava flow rates and volume, crucial parameters in volcanic models.

This new PBS program showcases the length and extremes that these men and women went to and what their findings provided that could save us from another similar, or even worse volcanic eruption. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'The Dictator's Playbook' [2-DVD]
(2-Disc DVD / PG-13 / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: From Mussolini to Saddam Hussein, dictators have shaped the world we live in. How did they seize and wield power? What forces rose up against them or resisted them in secret? How did they finally come to the bitter end?

This series answers those questions in six immersive hours, each a revealing portrait of brutality and power.

DVD Verdict: 'The Dictator's Playbook', a new six-part series out now as an expansive 2-Disc DVD set from PBS, examines the historical, sociological and psychological foundations of 20th century dictatorships, and provides fresh insight into six brutal men who impacted world history: Kim Il Sung, Saddam Hussein, Benito Mussolini, Manuel Noriega, Francisco Franco and Idi Amin.

“These dictators were all unique in time and place,” says Michael Rosenfeld, vice president for National Programming at Twin Cities Public Television. “But they engaged in tactics that transcended borders and decades, sometimes even learning from one another."

"Each hour in the series is a detailed biography, but we highlight the methods these men used to establish their dictatorships, from purges to propaganda to targeted violence. And we explore the impact on the people who lived under these regimes, who often paid a terrible price.”

Through historical context and analysis, the series explores how these dictators functioned, how they influenced each other, and why they succeeded or failed.

As different as these men were from each other, they followed a series of essential steps, from seizing power to eliminating enemies — an unwritten “dictator’s playbook,” if you will.

"This series takes a deep, historical look at six men whose lives and careers have greatly impacted the 20th century, with far-reaching consequences that are still resonant in conflicts and movements across the globe today,” said Pamela Aguilar, senior director, Programming & Development at PBS. “It is a thoughtful examination of how these rulers gained and kept power, and ultimately, what led to their success or failure.”

While focusing specifically on the individual dictators and their countries, each one-hour episode asks a series of questions that allows viewers to understand the politics and psychology of dictatorships, including: What drove their thirst for domination and control?

Also, How did they seize and wield power? What forces rose up against them or resisted them in secret? How were they seen and accepted by other countries? And How did they finally come to the bitter end? This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Journey - Live in Japan 2017' [BR + 2CD]
(Journey / Blu-ray + 2CD / NR / 2019 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: Journey return to Japan for a very special concert filmed at Budokan. This concert film captures the iconic rock band recreating their legendary albums Escape and Frontiers, in an explosive rare performance.

Blu-ray Verdict: On February 7th, 2017, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Journey proved their status as one of rock's best live bands when they brought their landmark albums Escape (just in time for its 35th anniversary) and Frontiers to the legendary Budokan stage in Japan.

Eagle Rock Entertainment will now release this concert when 'Journey - Live In Japan 2017: Escape + Frontiers' is released on both DVD+2CD and Blu-ray+2CD set this March 29th, 2019.

For those not in the complete know, Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch.

The band has gone through several phases; its strongest commercial success occurred between 1978 and 1987 when Steve Perry was lead vocalist.

During that period, the band released a series of hit songs, including "Don't Stop Believin'" (1981), which in 2009 became the top-selling track in iTunes history among songs not released in the 21st century.

Its parent studio album, Escape, the band's eighth and most successful, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and yielded another of their most popular singles, "Open Arms".

Its 1983 follow-up album, Frontiers, was almost as successful in the United States, reaching No. 2 and spawning several successful singles; it broadened the band's appeal in the United Kingdom, where it reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart.

Journey enjoyed a successful reunion in the mid-1990s and later regrouped with a series of lead singers.

Now, whether you like him as a performer or a vocal artist or not, the latest lead singer - Arnel Pineda - has been around for a few years now.

Hired by the band themselves from a deep YouTube search, Filipino singer Pineda (formerly of the cover band The Zoo) has been doing his best Steve Perry impression now since 2008's Revelation.

Personally, my favorite was my friend Steve Augeri - formerly of Tyketto and Tall Stories - who not only personified the appearance of Perry in both looks and vocals perfectly, but was one of the nicest people you would ever hope to meet.

That aside, here on 'Journey - Live in Japan 2017' we witness a very triumphant evening of music from the still-massive AOR band. Bringing forth songs from 1981's Escape and 1983's Frontiers it's known to us now that these albums cemented the San Francisco band's music in the cultural zeitgeist.

Opening with, track-for-track, "Don't Stop Believin' (Intro)" from the Escape album, before launching (after some hearty audience applause) into the full version of that song, they seamlessly move through the album thereafter.

I mean, let's be honest here, Pineda sounds like a perfect fit for the classic rock titans and has done for the past 11 years. His live performances here are just great.

I mean, his singing voice is not only as good as Steve Perry's ever was, but he really brings the energy to a live performance.

1. Don't Stop Believin' (Intro) 2. Don't Stop Believin' 3. Stone In Love 4. Who's Crying Now 5. Keep On Runnin' 6. Still They Ride 7. Escape 8. Lay It Down 9. Dead Or Alive 10. Neal Schon Guitar Solo 11. Mother, Father 12. Jonathan Cain Piano Solo 13. Open Arms

Once Escape has played through we get to the second disc which is the entire, track-for-track live performance of Frontiers. Kicking things off with the immense hit "Separate Ways (Intro)" and then the actual full-length track, they then launch into "Send Her My Love," "Chain Reaction" and "After The Fall."

Again, Pineda does a good job channeling Perry and watching this incredible two hour live show, the band seems to be enjoying themselves tremendously.

All are in fine form musically and overall (with regard the camera work) it's never jaunty or shaky or flash-cut annoying.

At the end of the second album ("Frontiers" and "Rubicon"), Journey returns to the stage to perform two blistering extended encores in both "La Raza Del Sol" (the B-side of "Still They Ride", previously unreleased up until a few years ago) and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'".

1. Separate Ways (Intro) 2. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) 3. Send Her My Love 4. Chain Reaction 5. After The Fall 6. Faithfully 7. Edge Of The Blade 8. Steve Smith Drum Solo 9. Back Talk 10. Frontiers 11. Rubicon 12. La Raza del Sol 13. Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'.

In short, and in closing, 'Journey - Live in Japan 2017,' presented with a minimal stage set, without big extravagant light shows or monitors, lets the music do the talking.

The spectacular musicianship of Neal Schon (founder / guitarist), Jonathan Cain (keyboardist), Ross Valory (bassist), Steve Smith (drummer), and Arnel Pineda (lead vocals) shines on all their famed hits and album tracks alike.

www.JourneyMusic.com

www.eagle-rock.com





'NATURE: Wild Way of The Vikings'
(Ewan McGregor / DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Experience the natural world through the eyes of the Vikings, when nature meets history in a journey showcasing the wildlife of the North Atlantic.

DVD Verdict: Combining blue-chip natural history filmmaking and dramatic recreations, PBS's Nature series travels from Norway to Newfoundland, just as the seafaring warriors did in 1,000 A.D., to get a glimpse of the Vikings' world in the Americas hundreds of years before Columbus.

During this wondrous, in depth and highly enlightening 53 minute documentary narrated by Ewan McGregor, we follow along and experience the deep history and cultural respect the Vikings had with the land and sea: from the killer whales of the North Sea to the puffins and otters of the Scottish coast to the volcanic mounts of Iceland and the frozen tundra of Greenland.

Vikings were Norse seafarers, mainly speaking the Old Norse language, who during the late 8th to late 11th centuries, raided and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of Europe, and explored westwards to Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland.

The term is also commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to the inhabitants of Norse home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age.

This period of Nordic military, mercantile and demographic expansion constitutes an important element in the early medieval history of Scandinavia, Estonia, the British Isles, France, Kievan Rus' and Sicily.

Facilitated by advanced sailing and navigational skills, and characterized by the longship, Viking activities at times also extended into the Mediterranean littoral, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Following extended phases of (primarily sea- or river-borne) exploration, expansion and settlement, Viking (Norse) communities and governments were established in diverse areas of north-western Europe, Belarus, Ukraine and European Russia, the North Atlantic islands and as far as the north-eastern coast of North America.

This period of expansion witnessed the wider dissemination of Norse culture, while simultaneously introducing strong foreign cultural influences into Scandinavia itself, with profound developmental implications in both directions.

Ergo, during 'NATURE: Wild Way of the Vikings' we go back to the age where Vikings ruled the northern seas; when their only compass was the birds in the sky and the whales pushing through the icy waters. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Boss: The Black Experience in Business'
(Stanley Nelson / DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: From award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson comes a film that educates, informs, and examines more than 150 years of African American men and women who, from the country's earliest days, have embodied qualities of innovation, risk-taking, and determination to forge a path to a better life - which is at the heart of the American entrepreneurial spirit.

DVD Verdict: The history of business and entrepreneurship lies at the heart of the American story, but often absent are the names and experiences of African Americans who, from the country's earliest days, have striven to make the country a better, and equal place for all.

'Boss: The Black Experience in Business', by Peabody and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, seeks to illuminate, educate, and inform, by examining more than 150 years of African American men and women - from those bound by bondage, to moguls at the top of multi-million dollar empires.

The little-known story of African American entrepreneurship from post enslavement and reconstruction to the present, where skill, industriousness, ingenuity and sheer courage in the face of overwhelming odds provide one the backbones of this nation’s economic and social growth; and this two hour documentary also, of course.

'Boss: The Black Experience in Business' is extremely important for those people who are interested in the phenomenon of black business, getting into business, maintaining and growing a successful business and forging a path into the future with your business.

Indeed, it enables a person to listen and experience the voices of the ancestors in an entertaining way who came before us; there are many tips and wisdom to be gleaned.

In my humble opinion, and as a white man, I urge you not to miss this interesting and truly insightful exploration of African American business from PBS (who else). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'American Masters: Joseph Pulitzer'
(Adam Driver / DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: 'American Masters: Joseph Pulitzer' is a groundbreaking exploration of a newspaper magnate whose work is largely unknown to wide audiences; though ironically, the prize he endowed in his will has become recognizable around the world.

DVD Verdict: Pulitzer's personal story is a riveting variation on the American Dream narrative and one that American Masters has brought lovingly to life here within PBS's new documentary 'Joseph Pulitzer - Voice of the People'.

Joseph John Pulitzer (April 10, 1847 – October 29, 1911) was a newspaper publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York World. In the 1890s the fierce competition between his World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal caused both to develop the techniques of yellow journalism, which won over readers with sensationalism, sex, crime and graphic horrors.

The wide appeal reached a million copies a day and opened the way to mass-circulation newspapers that depended on advertising revenue (rather than cover price or political party subsidies) and appealed to readers with multiple forms of news, gossip, entertainment and advertising.

Today, his name is best known for the Pulitzer Prizes, which were established in 1917 as a result of his endowment to Columbia University.

The prizes are given annually to recognize and reward excellence in American journalism, photography, literature, history, poetry, music and drama. Pulitzer founded the Columbia School of Journalism by his philanthropic bequest; it opened in 1912.

Learning more and more as the 90 minute documentary continues onward, we discover that this immigrant - who was famous in his own time for the outsized financial success of his newspapers and his outspoken, cantankerous editorial voice - from the start of his career as a journalist, Pulitzer championed what he regarded as the sacred role of the free press in a democracy.

And we, in the Land of the Free are very much grateful to him for that, are we not.

Narrated by Adam Driver, the documentary tells the story of Pulitzer’s life and accomplishments through a combination of archival footage, reenactments and interviews with authors, journalists and scholars.

Liev Schreiber is the voice of Pulitzer. Tim Blake Nelson is the voice of Roosevelt and Rachel Brosnahan is the voice of investigative journalist Nellie Bly. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Lynden Steele, Asst. Photo Editor, St. Louis Post - Dispatch - Ferguson And Pulitzer Prizes
Nicholson Baker at Duke Archive Warehouse - David Redden Describes the building of Pulitzer's home by Sanford White
Interview with Dren Rudavsky

www.PBS.org





'Khrustalyov, My Car! Special Edition'
(Yuriy Tsurilo, Nina Ruslanova, Mikhail Dementyev, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1998) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview:Named after the apocryphal exclamation of Soviet security chief Lavrentiy Beria as he rushed to Stalin's deathbed, this blackly funny, deliriously immersive satire distils the anticipation and anxiety in the Moscow air, as the Soviet despot lay dying.

A one-of-a-kind collision of nightmare and realism, director Aleksei German's film is presented here in a new restoration with a wealth of illuminating extras.

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, and even having seen it three (3) times now over the past four days, it's hard to truly explain this film.

It's cinematography was beautiful, but even as a Russian I found the plot/story/events almost impossible to understand!

That, however, did not make me enjoy the movie any less. Granted I would have loved to have understood what I watched, but I honestly think that is what the director wanted.

For as someone said to me whilst watching it alongside me, "To have you be lost and confused. Why? To make the film better I guess."

As a whole, we cinephiles watch things we don't understand for pleasure sometimes. Or rather we understand what we are seeing, but can't put together why it's happening or how it fits into the story.

Luckily, as my Russian is now rusty and this film had a lot of dialogue and people talking over each other, this brand new Special Edition comes complete with newly translated English subtitles.

Ok, sure, it still didn't really help, given the speed of talk, the talk overs and the fact that every happened as a kind of a mess of a group scene most times, but it did fill in some blanks come the end.

German's genius masterpiece is of course 'My Friend Ivan Lapshin', made in 1984. A movie so perfect and genius that it hurts. Both films are similar, they have the same voice narrating - even German's son who became a director would keep using this somber narrator's voice.

So, together with the genius cinematography, although not as perfect as 'My Friend Ivan Lapshin' in my humble opinion, but somewhat similar and even more busy, 'Khrustalyov, My Car!' is a breathtakingly free and creative black and white cinematic ride.

The work that went into this film is staggering. It's a film filled with action. A true piece of art I'd say, even though almost impossible to understand (with or without subtitles, trust me).

We are given no context, no historical data, no explanations about who the characters are except a couple of words on their work. This movie proves ultimately that you can like a movie without understanding it!

In closing, I truly can't really think of any other film I've ever seen that stumped and mystified me so fully yet so clearly had some structure and apparatus to it! Buy this splendid newly-released Blu-ray today and find out just what I mean for yourselves. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

New 2K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed 2.0 stereo Russian audio soundtrack
Newly translated English subtitles
Audio commentary by producer Daniel Bird
Between Realism and Nightmare, a new video essay on Khrustalyov, My Car! and the films of Aleksei German by historian and film critic Eugénie Zvonkine
Diagnosis Murder: Jonathan Brent on The Doctors' Plot, the academic talks about Stalin's anti-Semitic campaign which provides the backdrop for Khrustalyov, My Car!
Aleksei German, the veteran film historian and critic Ron Holloway interviews the Russian director
German... At Last, an interview with Aleksei German by producer Guy Séligmann
Re-release trailer
Double-sided fold-out poster
Limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing by Gianna D'Emilio, an archival essay by Joël Chaperon and original reviews

www.ArrowFilms.com





'Minutes to Midnight - The Cold War Chronicles'
(Glenn Ford, Edward R. Murrow, Lowell Thomas, John Wayne, et al / DVD / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Filmed over a two-year period, the 60 minute documentary deals with the early years of the "Cold War" and one of the U.S. Air Force formations that stood on the ramparts of the free world in time of great peril.

DVD Verdict: Watching this rather incredible flashback at a time in our history a lot of todays generation (and before) have long since forgotten about (or even truly never knew about; perhaps, sadly, never even cared to know about), 'Minutes to Midnight - The Cold War Chronicles' proves to me, yet again, that history is as incredible as anything today could ever bring forth.

As we watch along, we learn that President Kennedy's flexible-response nuclear war-fighting doctrine of the early 1960s lacked the technology to match its vision of many options adapted to meet the varieties of Cold War crises.

Advances in geodesy and cartography and the integrated circuit developed in the early 1960s for missile and satellite guidance systems, significantly improved missile accuracy.

Decreased CEP (circular error probable¯the radius of a circle in which at least 50 percent of the targeted missiles would hit) meant that warheads could be smaller.

New warheads could be sized to detonate at kiloton or megaton ranges independently. Because they were smaller and lighter, more warheads could be mounted to each ICBM and SLBM.

In the early 1970s the DOD developed MIRVs (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles), allowing three or more warheads on each ICBM and SLBM. The Air Force's arsenal did not rise above 1,054 ICBMs; many now carried three MIRVs (Minuteman III) as opposed to earlier models that carried a single Minuteman I or II warhead. Strategic launchers remained static, but warheads multiplied.

The documentary obviously goes deeper into these early years of the Cold War, but just know that all areas that you know of, and hope are covered are indeed taken into account here.

The DVD also includes 15 government propaganda films from the 1950s featuring narration and appearances from Glenn Ford, Edward R. Murrow, Lowell Thomas and John Wayne.

Government Propaganda Films:
A Day Called X - Narrated by Glenn Ford - (1957) 27 Minutes, Not Rated
Duck and Cover Documentary - (1951) B&W 9 Minutes, Not Rated
The Challenge of Ideas - Narrated by John Wayne, Edward R. Murrow, Lowell Thomas - (1961) B&W 30 Minutes, Not Rated
Atomic Alert Documentary - (1954) B&W 11 Minutes, Not Rated
Red Chinese Battle Plan Documentary - (1964) B&W 25 Minutes, Not Rated
Target: You! Documentary - (1953) B&W 9 Minutes, Not Rated
Warning Red Documentary - (1956) B&W 13 Minutes, Not Rated
Our Cities Must Fight Documentary - (1951) B&W 9 Minutes, Not Rated
Bombproof Documentary - (1956) B&W 14 Minutes, Not Rated
About Fallout Documentary - (1963) Color 24 Minutes, Not Rated
Town of the Times Documentary - (1963) Color 25 Minutes, Not Rated
Let's Face It Documentary - (1954) B&W 13 Minutes, Not Rated
What You Should Know About Biological Warfare Documentary - (1952) B&W 15 Minutes, Not Rated
You Can Beat the A-Bomb Documentary - (1950) B&W 19 Minutes, Not Rated
The House in the Middle Documentary - (1954) Color 12 Minutes, Not Rated

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

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Cold War Thrillers' [2-Disc DVD]
(Glenn Ford, Edward R. Murrow, Lowell Thomas, John Wayne, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: 'Cold War Thrillers' includes six films about the period and is out now from Mill Creek Entertainment.

DVD Verdict: 'Man On A String' (1960, NR). Starring Ernest Borgnine, Kerwin Mathews, Alexander Scourby; Directed by Andre De Toth (House of Wax).

A US secret agent is sent to Berlin to pretend to be a spy for the USSR.

Based on the real life story of Boris Morros who was a musician instead of a film producer, 'Man on a String' comes at the tale end of the Cold War espionage thrillers where there was absolutely no doubt as to who the good guys and bad guys were on the screen.

I can understand the reason for renaming the lead character that Ernest Borgnine plays Boris Mitrov and changing his occupation even, for dramatic purposes to give the character more scope.

But for the life of me was anyone fooled when the agency he worked for was renamed the Central Bureau of Intelligence?!

'The Deadly Affair' (1966, NR). Starring James Mason, Maximillian Schell, Simone Signoret; Directed by Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon) with score by Quincy Jones.

A British agent sets out to uncover the hidden facts behind a British government employee's suicide. The movie is suspenseful, the action is good for its time, and the acting is excellent.

Some may find it too slow for today's tastes, but action, spectacle and a really fast pace don't help a movie if there's not an interesting plot and story, with well developed characters. If you watch the movie with that proviso, you should enjoy it.

'Otley' (1968, PG). Starring Tom Courtenay, Romy Schneider; Directed by Dick Clement.

Gerald Otley, wannabe antiques dealer, is kicked out of his flat for failing to pay rent, sleeps at a friend's home for the night, wakes up two days later in an airport field, and finds himself entangled in international espionage.

For my money, 'Otley' is a defining film of its time, showing swinging '60s London and presenting Tom Courtenay in one of his defining but less-known roles; as someone who wants to be a spy but wonders what he's got into when he gets his wish.

Otley is an inept spy, and was probably an even more inept drifter. Full of color with a great score, and many fruity cameos, this film should be better known as it is a lot of fun. Emblazoned with a great central performance and the chance to get really engrossed in the period, this film is my personal pick of the sextet here.

'A Dandy in Aspic' (1968, R). Starring Mia Farrow, Laurence Harvey, Tom Courtenay; Directed by Anthony Mann (El Cid) and with a score by Quincy Jones.

During the Cold War, the British and Soviet intelligence services attempt to out-fox one another using the homesick double-agent Krasnevin as pawn in the complex spy-game.

This is the last film directed by Anthony Mann, whose 'Raw Deal' (1948) was the perfect noir film, and who was a man of immense talent. But he died while shooting this, and Larry Harvey finished the job. This resulted in an imbalance and a lack of conception and tone.

Mia Farrow is excellent as the ditsy, naive "bird" who takes a fancy to LH's counterpoint character. But the real kudos go to Peter Cook, the mod devil-may-care chap who supplies to LH all the pertinent spy goings-on with a mordant, off-color humorous style.

'Hammerhead' - (1968, R). Starring Peter Vaughan, Vince Edwards, Diana Dors; Directed by David Miller (Lonely Are the Brave).

An American agent has tracked down the stronghold of an evil criminal mastermind, determined to take over the world.

American agent Charles Hood needs to stop international criminal Hammerhead from stealing a secret report on nuclear defense. This British production has cheeky asides and a bouncy score from David Whitaker - as well as a curious obsession with erotic art - but is so mild it barely makes an impression; sorry!

'The Executioner' (1970, PG). Starring George Peppard, Joan Collins, Oscar Homolka, Judy Geeson; Directed by Sam Wanamaker (Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger).

A British intelligence agent must track down a fellow spy suspected of being a double agent.

'The Executioner' is, sadly, a dour little spy thriller which acts as a corrective to the James Bond school of spy movies and benefits from an excellent performance by George Peppard as an exhausted, stressed out Ango-US agent searching for a mole in British Intelligence.

The atmosphere of post-swinging London is interesting from a modern standpoint, as is the unusual flashback plot structure. These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'The Big C - The Complete Series' [6-Disc DVD]
(Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, Gabriel Basso, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Laura Linney stars in her Golden Globe®-winning role as Cathy Jamison, a 42-year-old schoolteacher who has always played by the rules.

That is, until she receives a life-changing diagnosis. But instead of giving up, Cathy decides to live it up!

Nothing and no one is safe, including her self-absorbed family, her cantankerous neighbor, and her smart-ass students!

DVD Verdict: Take some very talented actors, add in some seasoned producers, and complete it with excellent writers. Then tell them to write a show with the central background theme of Cancer.

'The Big C' is the result. It is a refreshing look at the dark comedy genre that pulls at your heart strings, which is obviously what the producers intended.

'The Big C' is also not your standard sitcom formula. It doesn't run for four seasons letting the viewers wonder whether or not the girl and the guy will finally get together.

No the writers immediately jump in per going past the doctor/patient relationship, a black/white affair, a teenager's first sexual encounter and how the husband/wife relationship is effected by it all … and that's just the tip of the iceberg!

The writers gladly passed such things to try new scenarios and see what works, then move onto something else the next week.

While this can be confusing to the viewer, it works as long as the base personalities stay intact for the viewers to relate to; which they do, for the most part.

Even then the writers experiment with the radical lifestyle change of Sean. What will happen next?

Ergo, the comedy is at times sharp and precise often with moments that remind me of a Neil Simon play. The solutions that Cathy comes up with per the problems she faces is often witty and unexpected.

I could see thousands of parents watching the show and rooting for Cathy when she locked Adam in the bathroom to clean up the toilet! 'The Big C' also has death lurking in the background so do not be surprised per where the writing goes as the episodes / years progress.

Many years ago it was a big taboo to kill a main character in a series. Today it is done quite often. I suspect it is done to keep a show fresh and interesting, to recharge a show when the ratings are slipping. To redirect the plot in new directions as writers go and new ones arrive with fresh ideas.

So, as aforementioned, expect the unexpected especially with this writing team!

As you can tell from my musings, 'The Big C' had amazing possibilities and walked tall for four wondrous seasons. Whilst, and at the very same time, it also walked through a minefield where the audience could turn away per a big mistake in the writing at any given juncture.

In closing, 'The Big C' turned out to be one wild and crazy ride which played the heart strings with every episode and kept the viewer wondering what would happen next.

So, in case you have not seen this great show yet and were thinking in investing in this brand new 6-Disc DVD box-set (out now via Mill Creek Entertainment), well, given everything that I've outlined above, you have to now ask yourself: Will the writers be able to keep up their franticly paced tone? Furthermore, Will they find a stable plot synopsis to allow for one season to blend perfectly into the next? Buy this box-set today and find out for yourselves, my friend! These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MillCreekEnt.com





'Master Of Dark Shadows'
(Dan Curtis, Ian McShane, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / MPI Home Media)

Overview: Before Buffy, Twilight, Stephen King and Anne Rice, there was the Gothic World of Dan Curtis In 1966, a phenomenon was launched when Dark Shadows debuted on ABC-TV as a daily Gothic suspense series.

This highly anticipated new film is a comprehensive celebration of the legendary Gothic daytime series and its visionary creator, Dan Curtis.

Blu-ray Verdict: The incredible feature-length documentary reveals the fascinating history, far-reaching impact and lasting appeal of the beloved TV show Dark Shadows with a compelling blend of rare footage and behind-the-scenes stories; whilst also exploring the dramatic talents of creator-producer-director Dan Curtis.

Known as the “King of TV Horror,” the Emmy-winning filmmaker followed Dark Shadows with other iconic genre favorites including The Night Stalker, Trilogy of Terror and Burnt Offerings before earning accolades for the epic miniseries The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

Narrated by Ian McShane (Deadwood), and that deep, alluring British vocal tone of his, 'Master of Dark Shadows: The Gothic World of Dan Curtis' is as brilliant, as magnificent and as revealing as you could ever hope it to be.

The feature documentary, which was shot in New York, LA and London, reveals to us from the off that everything about the Gothic beauty Dark Shadows came from a dream that Curtis had one night.

There was this girl on a train and she was being hired to become a Governess to work in this big house and she steps out onto this empty platform in the mist as the train pulls away. And she's standing there all alone … and then he woke up!

So, knowing that he had something to work with, Curtis called around the studios and friends he had as producers and such and told them he wanted to do a daytime soap opera.

Eventually it got picked up, but as everyone associated with it says on this great documentary, it was all taken in a mundane fashion, nobody really paid attention to it and it actually got bad ratings!

So, just as the network had give the show just four more weeks to live (due to the aforementioned dire ratings), Curtis suggested, and with nothing to lose, adding a vampire to the daytime mix!

Something that hadn't been done ever before, and with the character being created as a reluctant vampire; someone who just didn't want to do what he had to do, as soon as it hit the air the rating started to shoot up almost overnight.

Coming on at 4pm in the afternoon, just in time for the kids to be home from school and flop down in front of the TV set for viewing, "It wasn't your mom's Gothic romance, it was YOUR Gothic romance", as Whoopi Goldberg puts it.

Including interviews with key actors and filmmakers involved in the undyingly popular story of vampire Barnabas Collins and all the eerie goings-on at the gloomy Maine mansion Collinwood, watching a lot of the funny black and white outtakes from the set is a goldmine of wonderment for fans such as myself.

The documentary, which was directed by David Gregory (Lost Soul, Godfathers of Mondo), also features Oscar-winning writer-producer Alan Ball (True Blood), screenwriter William F. Nolan (Trilogy of Terror), author Herman Wouk (The Winds Of War), veteran actors Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost), Barbara Steele (Black Sunday) and Ben Cross (Chariots of Fire), Dark Shadows stars Jonathan Frid, David Selby, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, John Karlen, Nancy Barrett, Jerry Lacy, Roger Davis, Marie Wallace, Chris Pennock and James Storm, plus other colleagues and family members. This is a Widescreen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Dark Shadows Studio Visit
Before Dark Shadows: The House
Vintage TV Spots
Poe & Shakespeare in The Shadows
Barnabas at the White House
The Dick Cavett Show: Jonathan Frid
Light & Shadows: David Selby
Promos & More!

Official Trailer

www.MPIhomevideo.com





'Dragged Across Concrete' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / R / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Once two overzealous cops get suspended from the force, they must delve into the criminal underworld to get their proper compensation.

Blu-ray Verdict: Look, I know Steven Zahler's films are not to everyone's taste, but I personally enjoy his directing style. Overall, 'Dragged Across Concrete' is a really solid slow burn exploitation film that has a nice mix of good acting and interesting story telling; but sure, yeah, lacked a certain depth considering the subject matter.

The plot of 'Dragged Across Concrete' starts out simple enough. Two slightly jaded rough around the edges cop are suspended for police brutality.

From there they plan to make a living for their family by robbing what they believed to be a drug deal. Of course not is all as it seems and the film descends into the exploitive aforementioned slow burn thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

The film takes a simple premise and makes a truly fascinating film out of it, that's for sure. It's a tight slow burn that played with expectations as it built suspense.

Finally when the action starts the movie pushes the viewers to the edge with its bleak and dark content. Nothing was quite as it seemed and I was honestly thrown off a number of times with the plots progressions.

If you expect a conventual heist thriller, you will be disappointed, but the film never promised to be conventional, now did it (I mean, read the synopsis!)

For this is a dark and, at times, brutal film. It certainly earns the title of an exploitation film as it explored ideas like police brutality, digital age media, racism, and social, class.

This is not a feelgood action thriller, but a methodical and tension packed film that will play with your emotions and break your heart.

It was bleak and at times ugly, but that seemed to be the point. It is, simply put, a stark and nihilistic look at the extremes humans will go to for financial gain.

Directing wise Steven Zahler's distinct voice definitely came through. His movies are exploitation films that are designed to push boundaries. They are the kind of films that Hollywood really doesn't make any more, maybe for good reason.

Zahler certainly has no problem trying to offend and specifically play with political correctness.

Still I respect his choices from a technical point. Every scene and bit of dialogue seemed to add to the overall narrative and despite the two-and-a-half-hour length of the movie I can't say I was bored at any time.

Plus when the action finally starts, man is it brutal and soul crushing. All of the gunfights are right up there in your face and sure to get your blood pumping. Zahler definitely has an eye for violence, trust me!

I have to talk about the acting as well, of course. Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn are perfect in this film. They really delivered the dialogue well and seem to have genuine chemistry.

Their buddy cop routine actual added some much-needed levity to the film. I won't get into the politics of Mel Gibson, but the man is a great actor.

He perfectly played the role of a seasoned and borderline racist cop out to provide for his family. Vince Vaughn also. I often forget that he knows how to act because of his past comedic career choices.

In closing, 'Dragged Across Concrete' is sure to leave an impact on the viewer, and rightly so. It is a well made and directed morality tale on the darker side of humanity.

It's exploitive themes and content will not make everyone happy, but it's hard to argue with a suspense driven thriller that delivered. I expected a bit more depth, as noted, but the film delivers on most all action / thriller fronts - and isn't that, come the end of the day, all we could ever ask for from this genre?

'Dragged Across Concrete' arrives on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital), DVD and Digital April 30th, 2019 from Lionsgate. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

“Elements of a Crime” - 3 Part Featurette
“Moral Conflict: Creating Cinema that Challenges” Featurette

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Man On A Ledge: 4K Ultra HD'
(Jamie Bell, Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: As a police psychologist works to talk down an ex-con who is threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel rooftop, the biggest diamond heist ever committed is in motion.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this April with the release of this quite stunning, and highly underrated 'Man On The Ledge' in the new 4K home video format on April 9th, 2019.

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

So, what we have is 'Man On The Ledge' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10+, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the delicious hues and nuances of the outdoor scenes involving the foot chases.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where the two parties at odds are talking to one another; the tension of the moments on both sides clearly evident on all faces) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1.

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

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. Many thrillers with intertwining plot lines tend to get confused in themselves let alone causing confusion amongst viewers but this was not one of them.

The cat and mouse game played by Worthington's character Nick Cassidy was superbly crafted by director Asger Leth. The premise was interestingly reminiscent of Joel Schumacher's 'Phonebooth,' but contained a storyline more unique and intriguing incorporating curious conspiracies and unexpected twists all of which were tied together well.

There are instances where some events come across slightly abrupt or are abridged without much explanation behind it, but that does little to detract from the key events.

The heist which the movie promoted mightn't have been intricate or having the brilliance of an 'Ocean's Eleven' or 'Inside Man', but it served as but one chunk of the plot line which made it much better.

Well supported by the actual man on a ledge scenes and the flashbacks to lead engross viewers to the more important motives and reasoning which, unlike many heists, wasn't simply a desire for big bucks.

Indeed, it was Ed Harris who fit his profile best as the depraved real estate mogul. Albeit sidelined from the thick of the action where the man on the ledge was for the majority of the story, he bagged the performance of the film.

Sure, guys jumping off 21 story buildings unscathed and breaking into a highly secure vault with the likes of fire extinguishers and wire cutters isn't what you expect to see on the 6 O'clock news, but that's why we watch movies!

In closing, this was never meant to be an accurate depiction of human life but fictionalized cinema so if you leave your cynicism to the side and allow yourself to be entertained and thrilled, you will be.

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on the two special features included. One, 'The Ledge Featurette' (HD; 15:17) is actually a rather good, enticing and revealing look at how the film was put together.

Watching one particular scene showcases just how much engineering expertise is put into such films. As in the hotel room scene where a camera track slides back and forth together with a monster crane that floats ominously above. Man, it delivers the final shot perfectly, but wow, did it take some mechanical expertise!

However, the second special feature, 'Trailer with Commentary by Elizabeth Banks' (HD; 2:32) is quite like nothing I've ever seen before! I mean, come on now, an audio commentary for just the trailer?! Seriously? Banks wasn't available for the entire film?

As for the actual commentary that Banks gives, well, sorry, but do we really need Banks telling us how manly Worthington is and other "riveting facts" such as that?! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

The Ledge Featurette
Trailer with Commentary by Elizabeth Banks

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Project Blue Book: Season 1' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Aidan Gillen, Michael Malarkey, Laura Mennell, Michael Harney, Ksenia Solo, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / NR / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: A tough US Air Force officer and a skeptical scientist investigate UFO and alien conspiracies as Cold War paranoia spreads.

Blu-ray Verdict: Ok, let's get this straight from the start: 'Project Blue Book' is a TV show, but NOT a documentary. This is a "based on" series and they make it very clear at the beginning of each episode.

Of course this show needs to have some sort of imagination and fiction to create the development of the narrative, but one thing at a time, I guess.

Each episode is filmed with detail and the episodes are independent but the overall plot that develops is magnificent and every side plot does have a meaning.

That said, the side plot with Mimi and Susie could have been cut down as some parts were just not necessary, in my humble opinion.

'Project Blue Book' is for everyone that has an interest in UFOs or just mystery in small or high capacity. In truth, the creators did a remarkable job at creating suspension and mystery regarding something as supernatural as the subject matter to hand.

They did a great job in making it realistic and believable, using things like air force cover-ups and the Russians as a plot point which I'm sure they did in real life.

I got hooked on the first episode which was thanks to everyone that worked on the episode from cast to the crew and as there are all 10 first season episodes here, you'll fall in love with this show just as I did, I'm pretty sure of that.

Indeed, that very first engrossing episode opens with two fighter pilots cruising through a routine evening in the sky when one is accosted by a blurry, quickly moving green light.

The pilot makes chase, even opening fire on the unidentified flying object, before his aircraft is sucked upward into a beam of light and then sent spinning out of control to Earth.

Captured in foggy blue and green lighting - akin to the front cover art - with great sound mixing and admirable energy, what follows are (OK, I'll say it) very 'X-Files'-esque, sure, but they all have their own tone too.

The ensemble cast of real people and fictional characters enhance the show greatly as we follow Dr. Allen Hynek through several cases. Played brilliantly by Aidan Gillen he is a stand out here, for sure.

Of course others play their collective parts for the ensemble, such as Michael Malarkey, Neal McDonough, Robert John Burke and Laura Mennell. They all in their own ways, keep the mystery going.

However, in my humble opion, the BEST recurring role was Michael Imperioli for he just shines in every character he portrays.

In closing, and much like the aforementioned 'X-Files,' 'Project Blue Book' asks us to invest in Dr. Hynek’s doomed quest without giving us good reason to invest in the man himself, but that's OK; for the most part.

Moreover, what fun is a fact-based story about aliens if it’s well-trodden territory told in less thrilling fashion, I hear you ask. And my answer to that it simple: If there was a show that was a 50/50 split between 'The X-Files' and 'The Americans' would you watch it?

Sure you would and if you have turned toward 'Project Blue Book' in any visual way you just did! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.00:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Hailed as one of “the 10 most anticipated new shows of 2019” (Dana Feldman, Forbes), the 'Project Blue Book: Season 1' Blu-ray and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $29.99 and $24.98, respectively.

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Replicas' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Emily Alyn Lind, John Ortiz, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: In this suspenseful sci-fi thriller, Keanu Reeves stars as William Foster, a neuroscientist on the verge of transferring human consciousness into a computer when his beloved wife (Alice Eve) and children are tragically killed in a car crash.

Desperate to resurrect his family, William recruits a fellow scientist (Thomas Middleditch) to help secretly clone their bodies and create replicas. When William learns that he can only replicate three of the four family members, he makes a decision with fateful consequences.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Replicas' is a decent science fiction thriller that has some interesting concept and ideas but ultimately falls short from having a terrible script, illogical twists, and (for the most part) dull performances.

Without trying to give away many spoilers, William (Keanu Reeves) works for a biomedical research in trying to transfer a mind of a dead person into an android. After an failed attempt.

William's wife Mona (Alice Eve), his son Matt (Emjay Anthony), Sophie (Emily Alyn Lind), and Zoe (Aria Leabu) are involved an accident and so William becomes a "mad scientist" that will do whatever it takes to save them all.

In truth, the film could have been so much more. It has an interesting concept at play such as cloning a human being and transferring their minds into the new body.

I mean, the science in the movie talks about "Booting sequences" and "M-Phases", like it's the '90. None of the technology even tries to sound or look believable!

That said, it also contains some very thought provoking ideas of deleting memories. William becomes this "mad scientist" that wants to go beyond the laws of nature to save his family and so he steals the lab equipment and has it set in his basement.

Even his coworker/ friend Ed (Thomas Middleditch) becomes worried of William's obsession in his research.

Sadly, the film does have some faults along with some rather questionable CGI effects (that just look horrible, sorry). Especially in the scene with the android coming to life as it just looks like a bad Claymation!

Also, the script has some laughable dialogue that seems out of place or unbelievable at times. The first hour of the movie is dull, to be frank, as all we get to see is the "mad scientist" do what he thinks is experimentally best.

Overall and playing Devil's Advocate, on the contrary to the belief that robots will be enemies of the human beings, the movie brought a new perspective about turning technology into some kind of an emotional bond between humans and robots.

Therefore, the movie reflected the idea that the synthetic future does not have to be completely separated from the emotional, on the contrary it can be adapted to humane emotions and morals.

Moreover, it approached the technology in a realistic way in terms of combining good and evil between robots and humans and reflecting them with flaws and fragility.

Overall, 'Replicas' is a fair film. It has some entertaining science fiction moments with the concepts delved into after the first hour and the script kept ticking along.

The latter third of the film does include some thriller elements, but most are less than edge of the seat stuff. It does, however, keep the pace going and come the final moments, well, you might well have your own thoughts on what happens and how it happens (I hope you do). This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary with Director Jeffrey Nachmanoff and Executive Producer James Dodson
Imprint Complete: The Making of Replicas
Deleted Scenes

The 'Replicas' Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'American Masters: Charley Pride - I'm Just Me'
(Charley Pride / DVD / NC-17 / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Explore the history of the American South and its music through the life of country star Charley Pride.

Raised in the brutally segregated Mississippi Delta, Pride's buttery voice, talent, and steely resolve led him to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, and as we all get to learn from the off here on this quite riveting and highly informative new PBS documentary, Charley Pride (born March 18, 1934) is an American country music singer, musician, guitarist, recording artist, performer, business owner, and former baseball player.

His greatest musical success came in the early to mid-1970s, when he became the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis Presley.

Indeed, during the peak years of his recording career (1966–87), he garnered 52 top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 40 of which made it to number one.

Pride is one of the few African Americans to have enjoyed considerable success in the country music industry and one of only three (along with DeFord Bailey and Darius Rucker) to have been inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

In 2010, Pride became a special investor and minority owner of the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball club.

'American Masters: Charley Pride - I'm Just Me" explores the complicated history of the American South and its music through the life of country star Charley Pride.

A Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award® winner, his journey here in this lush, expansive new documentary (running at a solid 80 minutes) shows the ways that artistic expression can triumph over prejudice and injustice.

A must see for all his fans and for fans of Pride's genre of music, that's for sure. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

2018 Country Music Association Awards: Meet The Band
Kiss An Angel Good Morning: The Making of Charley Pride's Hits
The Sound, The Time, The Place: The Legacy of Pride's Voice
The Negro League Baseball Museum

www.PBS.org





'Nature: Living Volcanoes'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Around the world, up to 30 volcanoes erupt every day.

Here in 'Nature: Living Volcanoes' (out now via PBS) we meet the people and wildlife that live alongside these volcanoes from Kilauea to Mount Etna, and discover how volcanoes cause destruction; but also create and nurture life.

DVD Verdict: From the off it's important to know that this documentary is an expedition of scientists and adventurers to one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes alive today, located in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.

Ergo, it's not just an in depth look into (no pun intended) an endless array of volcanoes and how they came to be. That said, the camera work done here when they literally do peer into a living volcano is rather spectacular, it has to be said.

Our planet is bursting at the seams. Around the world, as aforementioned, up to 30 volcanoes erupt every day - and hundreds more could explode at any moment.

This expansive 53 minute new documentary from PBS goes deep into the territories where these living organisms inhabit and we get to meet the people and wildlife that live in constant fear of an eruption.

At the "burning heart" of this documentary is a daring expedition of scientists and adventurers to one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes alive today, located in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.

Watching along we also learn that volcanoes are the portal to the earth’s fiery magma heart; one might imagine that life above ground would avoid living nearby. But a surprising number of animals survive and thrive alongside them.

Furthermore, all life on Earth owes itself to their existence. Volcanos create the land we live on, emit gas that forms the air we breathe, spew minerals from the center of the Earth and make homes for spectacular natural history – they are the source of life.

So, purchase this wonderful and eye-opening new PBS DVD today and take a terrifying descent into the Marum Crater with biologist Jeffrey Marlow; who risks a boiling lava lake to collect and analyze rock samples for signs of life.

His discoveries could lead to a better understanding of the origins of life and a picture of what life might look like outside of Earth.

So, whether or not they do or don't just know that 'Nature: Living Volcanoes' is, without a shadow of a doubt, the hottest DVD to buy right now (sorry, I just had to!) This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Homo Spatius' (PBS)
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Can Homo sapiens evolve into Homo spatius? For over 50 years now, we have been testing our human nature in our effort to conquer outer space.

Combining human adventure and the exploration of the human body, 'Homo Spatius' offers unique insights into the physical and psychological effects of space travel on the Astronauts and measures the impact on medical sciences.

DVD Verdict: Accelerated aging, muscular atrophy, slowed-down brain functions, euphoric hallucinatory spells - as soon as we leave our usual environment towards extra-terrestrial horizons, we face conditions which our bodies are unfit for.

However, the pull of exploration is stronger and space medicine is at work to prepare astronauts for travelling to new worlds - in a near or more distant future.

Which makes this truly fascinating, and wonderfully thought provoking new documentary from PBS (who else?) 'Home Spatius' as riveting a watch as quite anything I've had the pleasure to sit down and behold for a few years now (and trust me, PBS brings out wondrous documentaries one after the other!).

Directed by Jean-Christophe Ribot and Narrated by James O'Hagan, over an hour 'Homo Spatius' lays bare the facts known vs. the facts unknown. The biggest, of course, being: What happens to your body in space?

Well, NASA’s Human Research Program has been unfolding answers for over a decade now with that regard, we learn (I would have thought longer, but what do I know!).

Space is a dangerous, unfriendly place. Isolated from family and friends, exposed to radiation that could increase your lifetime risk for cancer, a diet high in freeze-dried food, required daily exercise to keep your muscles and bones from deteriorating, a carefully scripted high-tempo work schedule, and confinement with three co-workers picked to travel with you by your boss.

OK, sure, that's a specutalive run of thought there, but come on now, what exactly happens to your body in space, and what are the risks? Are risks the same for six months on the space station versus three years on a Mars mission?

No. There are several risks NASA is researching for a Mars mission. The risks are grouped into five categories related to the stresses they place on the space traveler: Gravity fields, isolation/confinement, hostile/closed environments, space radiation, and distance from Earth.

So, that's the discussion held throughout this interesting water cooler documentary from PBS and, once watched, one that will have you looking up as you walk outside now much more than you ever used to, believe me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Yakuza Law: Special Edition'
(Bunta Sugawara, Minoru Oki, Teruo Yoshida, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1969) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: In this deep dive into the world of the Yakuza, meet the violent men who rule the Japanese underworld and the cruel punishments inflicted on those who transgress them.

Ergo 'Yakuza Law' is a story of yakuza lynching during the Edo, Taisho, and Showa periods.

Blu-ray Verdict: Director Teruo Ishii ('Blind Woman's Curse', 'Horrors of Malformed Men') and the true Godfather of "J-sploitation", presents 'Yakuza Law' (aka 'Yakuza's Law: Lynching') a grueling anthology of torture, spanning three district periods of Japanese history and bringing to the screen some of the most brutal methods of torment ever devised!

Reminiscent of 'Casino' and 'Zatoichi' in its nature and necessarily violent as it depicts the renowned Yakuza law of an old-school variety, this film is a solid watch for those interested in old and new Yakuza films.

In the violent world of the Yakuza, if you break the rules then you must pay the price. Since this usually involves the removal of a body part with a sharp knife or sword, or even a hideous death, members of these bloodthirsty Japanese crime families had better think twice before screwing over their pals.

Spanning several centuries, starting in feudal japan and ending in the present day (ie. the late 1960s), 'Yakuza Law' consists of three stories all dealing with betrayal and punishment within the Yakuza system. These tales are rather mundane in nature but are lifted by some wonderfully gruesome acts of brutality.

In the first two segments, fingers are removed, eyeballs and tongues are cut out, and sword slashes result in fountains of blood. In the last segment, the modern day Yakuza get creative, dragging victims along by helicopter, encasing them in cement, and crushing them in car compactors.

I consider the jazz-scored groovy last section to be the best of the stories, since it also has a rather sleazy feel to it, with sexy babes also involved in the nasty goings on.

On the whole, I certainly wouldn't class this movie as essential viewing, per say, but it should be of interest to fans of Japanese cinema, crime films, and, of course, gory exploitation flicks. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-rayTM (1080p) presentation
Original lossless mono Japanese soundtrack
Optional English subtitles
New audio commentary by author and critic Jasper Sharp
Erotic-Grotesque and Genre Hopping: Teruo Ishii Speaks, a rare vintage interview with the elusive director on his varied career, newly edited for this release
Image gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Tom Mes

www.ArrowFilms.com





'The Grand Duel: Special Edition'
(Lee Van Cleef, Alberto Dentice, Jess Hahn, Horst Frank, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1972) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: Genre stalwart Lee Van Cleef (The Big Combo, Day of Anger) stars as a gnarled ex-sheriff called Clayton who comes to the aid of young Philipp Wermeer (Alberto Dentice), a fugitive framed for the murder of a powerful figure called The Patriarch.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'The Grand Duel' is an awesome spaghetti western featuring the one, the only Lee Van Cleef - who never ever looked cooler in his life than in this flick.

Also featuring the greatest theme song ever composed for a film (and that's something, given that Quentin Tarantino probably agrees with me as he also selected the song for the soundtrack of 'Kill Bill', Van Cleef plays former Sheriff Clayton.

Portraying the type of gunslinger whose eyes are never really closed when he lies asleep with his hat over his face he spots the hideout of every potential enemy without even lifting his head.

Riding along with a traveling stagecoach, Clayton is on the trail of a young fugitive outlaw named Philippe Vermeer (Alberto Dentice). Not for the $1.000 reward on his head, like all the other bounty hunters they encounter along the way, but to keep an eye on him as he's heading towards Saxon City to settle a personal vendetta.

Saxon City is kept under the thumbs of the three rich and utterly corrupted Saxon brothers David, Eli and Adam (too bad none of them is named John…) and they falsely accused Philippe of killing their father at Jefferson train station.

Although Philippe is innocent of that crime and wisely stays away from Saxon City, he nevertheless insists on returning to find and get even with the murderer of his own father.

Of course, Sheriff Clayton just happens to be the only person who can help him with that.

'The Grand Duel' has everything you could possible seek in a western: outrageous shootouts, invincible heroes and psychopathic villains (especially Adam, the youngest Saxon, is oddly menacing), compelling sub plots, jaw-dropping moments of intensity, magnificent decors and breathtaking exterior locations and – as said already – an impeccable soundtrack.

The opening scenes are especially memorable as Dentice's character shows moves that would later become standard part in action movies. The performances across the board are quite hearty, especially from the likes of Jess Hahn, as Bighorse the stage driver, and Antonio Casale as nefarious bounty hunter Hole.

Klaus Grunbergs' effeminate performance as Adam Saxon, a young man clearly not that happy at the thought of marriage to a woman, is amusing also. Oh, the final showdown of the title is over fairly quickly, sure, but that doesn't make it any less effective, believe me.

Director Giancarlo Santi might not be the most prominent name in the field of classic Italian westerns, but he obviously paid close attention to the films of the masters (like Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci and Sergio Sollima).

Admittedly I'm being a bit too generous and biased here, but it's a brilliantly entertaining example of a sadly extinct cinematic genre. This is a Full Screen 35mm camera negative film (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

New 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative
High Definition Blu-rayTM (1080p) presentation
Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio
Original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Prince
An Unconventional Western, a newly filmed interview with director Giancarlo Santi
The Last of the Great Westerns, a newly filmed interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
Cowboy by Chance, an interview with the actor Alberto Dentice AKA Peter O'Brien
Out of the Box, a newly filmed interview with producer Ettore Rosboch
The Day of the Big Showdown, a newly filmed interview with assistant director Harald Buggenig
Saxon City Showdown, a newly filmed video appreciation by the academic Austin Fisher
Two Different Duels, a comparison between the original cut and the longer German cut of 'The Grand Duel'
Game Over, an obscure sci-fi short film from 1984 directed by Bernard Villiot and starring 'The Grand Duel's Marc Mazza
Marc Mazza: Who was the Rider on the Rain?, a video essay about the elusive actor Marc Mazza by tough-guy film expert Mike Malloy
Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
Extensive image gallery featuring stills, posters, lobby cards and home video sleeves, drawn from the Mike Siegel Archive and other collections
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kevin Grant and original reviews

www.ArrowFilms.com





'Joe Louis Walker - Viva Las Vegas Live'
(Joe Louis Walker / DVD + CD / NR / 2019 / MVD Visual - Cleopatra Entertainment)

Overview: Grammy Award nominee and Blues Hall of Fame guitarist and singer/songwriter Joe Louis Walker and his band storm thru 10 smoking tracks live in concert at the Boulder Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

DVD Verdict: Taking it from the top, and for those not in the know, Joe Louis Walker is an American musician, best known as an electric blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer.

His knowledge of blues history is revealed by his use of older material and playing styles and he once had NPR Music describe him as "Powerful, soul-stirring, fierce and gritty ... a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues".

Walker's career has spanned nearly six decades - and 24 studio albums - since first picking up the guitar at his childhood home in San Francisco at the young age of eight.

Joining the local musicians' union in his early teens enabled young Joe to perform publicly with the likes of John Lee Hooker, Buddy Miles, Thelonious Monk, Willie Dixon, Nick Lowe, John Mayall, Muddy Waters and even Jimi Hendrix.

By the late 1980s and into the 1990s, Walker had already collaborated with and performed with multi-Grammy Award winning artists such as B.B. King (on King's Blues Summit album) and James Cotton (on Cotton's Deep In The Blues album) as well as enjoying the rare honor to perform at the Presidential Inauguration of President George H. Bush.

In 2013, Walker was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, later being nominated in four categories for a Blues Music Award.

Showcasing all that knowledge and love for the Blues (and a heck of a lot more), out May 10th, 2019 via MVD Visual / Cleopatra Entertainment is the explosive sweatin' blues of Viva Las Vegas Live from the legendary singer/songwriter Joe Louis Walker and his band of merry men.

1. 'I'm Not Messing Around'
2. 'Young Girls Blues'
3. 'Sugar Mama'
4. 'Do You Love Me'
5. 'In The Morning'
6. 'Soldier For Jesus'
7. 'You Don't Love Me Girl'
8. 'Black & Blue'
9. 'Too Drunk To Drive Drunk'
10. 'Like It This Way'

From the very first track, the electric blues of 'I'm Not Messin' Around' on through to the down south rub of 'Sugar Mama' and the foot-stompin' brilliance of both 'Black & Blue' and 'Like It This Way,' the album is a quite majestic visual and audio experience.

The Hall of Fame guitarist, most often bathed under a lush purple spotlight or a mix of green and blue, is in fine form here as he lovingly brings forth his well-crafted lyrics ("You may be cute, you might be pretty. Your daddy might own about half of this city. You got a nice car, a fancy place. But you've got that crazy look all over your face") track after track.

Recorded and filmed live in concert at the Boulder Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, this stunningly captured live performance is one of the finest lie shows I've seen of this genre in the past few years.

Joe Louis Walker - Lead Vocal & Guitar
Bruce Bears - Piano, Organ & Vocals
Lenny Bradford - Bass & Vocals
Dorian Randolph - Drums & Vocals

Viva Las Vegas Live will be available on global digital platforms along with the home entertainment version that will be packaged in a gorgeous, four-panel, 2 Disc Digipack containing a DVD and audio CD of the concert.

Official Purchase Link

It will also be released as an incredible stand-alone, limited-edition colored 12" Vinyl LP version of the concert - again through the Cleopatra Blues Label imprint.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of an exclusive interview with Joe Louis Walker filmed backstage at the Boulder Station concert venue PLUS a rare behind the scenes Slideshow!

www.JoeLouisWalker.com

Joe Louis Walker @ Facebook

www.CleopatraRecords.com





'Utopia - Live At The Chicago Theater'
(Todd Rundgren's Utopia / Blu-ray+DVD+2CD / NR / 2019 / MVD Visual - Cleopatra Entertainment)

Overview: After a thirty-year-plus hiatus, Todd Rundgren's Utopia graced the Chicago Theater stage, with the hopes of promising fans an extraordinary, other-worldly concert experience.

And trust me when I say that they succeeded in doing just that beyond all their wildest imaginations!

Blu-ray Verdict: For those not in the know, the original '70s-formed band established a stellar reputation for stretching the prog rock/pop envelope and infusing their mostly original material with verve and state-of-the-art technique.

Rundgren, known for his sophisticated and often-unorthodox music, flamboyant stage outfits, and his later experiments with interactive entertainment, has himself performed a diverse range of styles as a solo artist and as a member of the band Utopia.

Indeed, he also produced innovative music videos, pioneered forms of multimedia, and was an early adopter and promoter of various computer technologies.

So all that means that everyone going to this incredible show and all those purchasing this newly released sensory monster of a 4-disc release knew/knows exactly what to expect from the musical experience!

1st Set:
1. 'Utopia Theme'
2. 'The Ikon'
3. 'Another Life'
4. 'Do Ya'
5. 'Freedom Fighters'
6. 'The Wheel'
7. 'Back on the Street'
8. 'Something's Coming'
9. 'Monument'
10. 'Overture Communion with the Sun'
11. 'Last of the New Wave Riders'

2nd Set:
12. 'Road To Utopia'
13. 'Play This Game'
14. 'Swing to the Right'
15. 'Trapped'
16. 'Set Me Free'
17. 'Love In Action'
18. 'Hammer In My Heart'
19. 'Princess of the Universe'
20. 'I Will Wait'
21. 'Rock Love'
22. 'Love is the Answer'
23. 'One World'
24. 'Just One Victory'

'Live at the Chicago Theatre' captures the Windy City stop of a tour that brought a rather broad assortment of twenty-four songs to the packed house that night.

For the 2018 tour he rounded up founding drummer Willie Wilcox and longtime bassist/vocalist Kasim Sulton, but when original keyboardist Ralph Schuckett had to back out, auditions were held and Israeli keyboardist/vocalist Gil Assayas was chosen to fill in.

With each track showcasing the diverse nature of Rundgren’s creative musical genius throughout the years, each and every one of Utopia’s ten studio albums are represented here; save for the Beatles nod Deface The Music.

The Prog era is well represented here amongst the songs on the first set, with everything being kicked off in some fine style with the concert opening ''Utopia Theme.'

Filmed and recorded from their live show on May 22nd, 2018, whether it be 'The Ikon,' 'The Wheel,' 'Monument,' or even the rockier side of the band within the second act such as 'Trapped,' 'Hammer In My Heart' and both 'Rock Love' and 'Love Is The Answer,' this is truly a sumptuous feast for the eyes and ears.

Each track is played with a passion that most bands today just don't have and the light show throughout combined with the band apparel is both dazzling and vibrant.

I mean, Rundgren's red/yellow outfit for the first half of the show is the coolest of his career, it has to be said. All of their playing, their vocals, their interaction timing is spot on perfect and there’s even a few covers thrown in.

The stand out one here for me, being a HUGE Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) fan is their rock out cover of The Move’s 'Do Ya.' Now, I say The Move as they actually cover Lynne and Roy Wood's version; which was recorded the year before Lynne left the band and before he took it back for ELO, reworked it and then made it a massive hit, of course.

Oh, and I have to give a MASSIVE special mention to Gil Assayas who inherited the keyboard duties here for the live show on very short notice. Well played, Sir. Well played.

'Live at the Chicago Theatre' is available now in this INCREDIBLE Blu-Ray+DVD+2CD set via MVD Visual/Cleopatra Entertainment and better still, old school vinyl fans can now also get a brilliant double-LP green vinyl edition housed in a rather lovely gatefold jacket too! This release reviewed above is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs with an Audio: 5.1 Surround.

Official Trailer

www.mvdshop.com





'The Witch: 4K Ultra HD'
(Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic, and possession.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this April with the release of this quite stunning, and highly underrated 'The Witch' in the new 4K home video format on April 23rd, 2019.

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

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

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the terrifying outdoor night time scenes where only a flickering candle flame can reveal as much as it does ... until it doesn't!

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where the family starts to get torn apart, and Witchcraft and curses are bandied about between one another; the tension of the moments - especially those involving the Goat - are clearly evident on all faces) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Subtitles in both English SDH and Spanish.

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

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. Well, for my money, 'The Witch' is a loving and accurate recreation of Puritan New England in the 1600's with everything from the language to the sets being authentic to the period.

That in and of itself makes it fascinating to watch. Having lived in Virginia, where the Jamestown Settlement and the 1600's sometimes can seem like they happened the day before yesterday, I especially enjoyed the film.

The location, in Ontario, reminded me of rural Virginia in winter, which made me quite homesick. So the film might have affected me more than some others that have since viewed this movie, of course.

'The Witch' is a fascinating glimpse into Christianity as practiced by 17th century Puritans. Satan and Evil are almost tangible presences in the woods and wilderness of the New World, while God is a distant, cold, and demanding being who must be constantly begged for forgiveness and mercy; since all human thoughts, words, and deeds seem to be gravely sinful and offensive to his eyes.

A family of seven (parents, four children, and an infant) are exiled from their plantation community for not adhering to the accepted interpretation of scripture. They build a farm at a distance from the plantation near a frightening wood.

The farm is failing (the family won't have food to last the winter). Meanwhile, the infant has been snatched from the oldest daughter while in her care at the edge of the wood.

From this point on the family either descends into madness or is destroyed by Satan in the form of a witch who lives nearby in the woods.

How the family's disintegration is interpreted will depend on which century's point of view you choose to use.

In closing, 'The Witch' is a brilliantly shot (natural lighting and using a different aspect ratio to get the sense of isolation), well acted and fascinatingly told tale. It is a simple story that leaves a big impact, of that have no fear.

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on the Special Features and for me the stand out is 'Salem Panel Q&A with Cast and Crew.' Running at a delightful near half hour, it features Robert Eggers, Anya Taylor-Joy, Brunonia Barry and Richard Trask.

The 'Audio Commentary with Director Robert Eggers' is ok, but with a movie that plays out as slow, as darkly, as quietly as 'The Witch' does, Eggers' commentary does much the same.

It's actually like he's trying so very hard not to raise his own voice so as to distract you from the force of what's on screen, that he forgets to even speak some times!

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary with Director Robert Eggers
The Witch: A Primal Folktale (1080p; 8:28)
Salem Panel Q&A with Cast and Crew (1080p; 27:59)
Design Gallery (1080p)

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Moses The Lawgiver'
(Burt Lancaster, Anthony Quayle, Ingrid Thulin, Irene Papa, et al / 2-DVD / PG / (1974) 2019 / S'More Entertainment)

Overview: 'Moses The Lawgiver' is a "biopic" of Moses, who found the Ten Commandments and parted the Red Sea.

DVD Verdict: Moses, a man of wisdom and strength raised his staff and crushed an empire. This is his story.

The story of the Exodus (or flight) of the Hebrews from Egypt to escape persecution is told in a perspective which highlights Moses' efforts to persuade first the stubborn Pharoah Merneptah, who was his adopted cousin, to release to release the Hebrew slaves he was using to build his empire.

For those wondering, this Lancaster epic is a transitional movie between the big budgeted blockbusters of the '50s and '60s and the small decent honest TV Biblical stories of the '90s.

In truth, the mini-series is not very inspired nor very appealing, but its main merit is the cast. Lancaster performs in a conventional Hollywoodian way the disconcerting and enigmatic Old Testament prophet.

Another epic from the same transitional period is 'Massada' which boasts O'Toole's high voltage, decadent, picturesque role. That said, 'Moses The Lawgiver' looks and feels more like the '60s epics so it definitey has that going for it.

One quality is the feel of the tepid tiring crossing of the desert, the tough experience of dwelling for decades in the wilderness. This was obviously enhanced by the fact that the earthy approach to the film was actually shot in Israel's Negrev Desert and Morocco.

The probably ugly experience of the desert's crossing after the initial exultation of the glorious escape, is well captured and rendered also, in my humble (and always unknowing) opinion.

In this respect, it's a resolute departure from the previous epics and their habits for it's not triumphal in what it depicts; it shares the feel of its subject matter.

That all said, and playing Devil's Advocate here, Burt Lancaster as Moses is not a commanding presence nor does he speak in arcane dialog as Charlton Heston did.

He leads by persuasion and example and he has more than one reason to think those Hebrews are a 'stiff necked people'. The character of Aaron given short shrift by DeMille is more fully developed and played here by Anthony Quayle, of that be sure.

In closing, The Red Sea sequence is, as always, the highlight of the mini-series and to my mind, no film can fail in making that a great spectacle. Indeed, here is even included Miriam's celebrations afterward, which adds to the films many delights. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.smoreent.com





'Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert 1970'
(Woody Guthrie, et al / DVD / NR / (1970) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: The 'Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert 1970' at the Hollywood Bowl celebrates the work of America's legendary folk singer and songwriter.

DVD Verdict: This rare and historic tribute concert has never been seen before and features Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Country Joe McDonald, Odetta, Richie Havens, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and others in their prime.

This concert, which also features narration by actors Peter Fonda and Will Geer is produced by 4-Time Emmy Award Winner Jim Brown and is a pure historical musical delight from start to finish.

This star-studded event was a fundraiser for the California Chapter of The Committee to Combat Huntington's Disease (now known as the Hereditary Disease Foundation), as Woody sadly died of Huntington's disease in 1967.

Eighteen thousand people attended this west coast fundraiser - which took place on September 12th, 1970, at the Hollywood Bowl - and aside from the aforementioned slew of stars on stage, the house band included members of Swampwater and Ry Cooder.

1. 'This Train Is Bound For Glory' - Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe Mcdonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin' Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band
2. 'Oklahoma Hills' - Arlo Guthrie
3. 'Pretty Boy Floyd' - Country Joe McDonald 4. 'So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh' - Joan Baez; Pete Seeger
5. 'Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad' - Country Joe McDonald, Arlo Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Pete Seeger
6. 'I Ain't Got No Home' - Pete Seeger; Arlo Guthrie
7. 'Do Re Mi' - Arlo Guthrie
8. 'Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee)' - Joan Baez
9. 'Ramblin' Round' - Odetta
10. 'Roll On Columbia' -Pete Seeger; Earl Robinson
11. 'Nine Hundred Miles' - Richie Havens
12. 'Woman At Home' - Country Joe McDonald
13. 'The Sinking of The Reuben James' - Pete Seeger
14. 'I've Got To Know' - Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe McDonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin' Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band
15. 'This Land Is Your Land' - Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe McDonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin' Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band
16. 'This Train Is Bound For Glory' - Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe McDonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin' Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band
Arlo and Ramblin' Jack reflect on the Rehearsal and Concert (Bonus Feature)
17. '1913 Massacre' - Ramblin' Jack Elliott (Bonus Feature)
18. 'John Hardy' - Odetta (Bonus Feature)
19. 'Pastures Of Plenty' - Joan Baez (Bonus Feature)

The Bonus Features include 3 never-before-seen songs performed by Joan Baez, Odetta and Ramblin' Jack Elliott, as well as concert rehearsal footage and audio interviews with Arlo Guthrie and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MVDvisual.com





'Banjos, Bluegrass, And Squirrel Barkers'
(Kenny Wertz, Bernie Leadon, Mason Williams, Herb Pedersen, Sean Watkins, et al / DVD / NR / (2016) 2019 / Backyard Green Films)

Overview: In the early 1960's the "folk music revival" had a strong impact on bluegrass music across the country including San Diego, California, where a group of young men from different backgrounds gathered to make this traditional music.

DVD Verdict: When you mention bluegrass music most people think of the mountains of Appalachia, not palm trees and beaches!

San Diego is home of The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, which included Chris Hillman (The Byrds), Bernie Leadon (The Eagles), Kenny Wertz (The Flying Burrito Bros., Country Gazette) and Larry Murray (Hearts & Flowers, The Johnny Cash Show), Grammy winning artist Nickel Creek (Chris Thile, Sean & Sara Watkins), plus Deering Banjos, the largest banjo company in North America.

This film, aptly entitled 'Banjos, Bluegrass, And Squirrel Barkers' tells the rich history of the great musicians who helped form the alliance and bonds for future generations of bluegrass.

Directed and written by Rick Bowman, this film is one of the most interesting, one of the most in depth and one of the most fearless exposes on the genre related here that I have seen in the past couple of decades, that's for darn tootin' sure!

'Banjos, Bluegrass & Squirrel Barkers' specifically focuses on the San Diego bluegrass scene, from its inception in the 1960s on to the present day.

Bowman takes a look at a number of prominent artists who got their start there, including Chris Hillman, Alison Brown, Ron Block, and Stuart Duncan, plus the granddaddies of the San Diego set, The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers.

In fact, as it turns out, that was the group that helped propel the careers of Hillman, along with Bernie Leadon of The Eagles and Kenny Wirtz of Country Gazette.

Oh, and if you want further proof of just how good this hour long documentary truly is, the film (which has a soundtrack by James Reams & The Barnstormers via Mountain Redbird Music) has already won three documentary awards (Gold Movie Awards, Mindfield Film Festival Los Angeles, Bi-Monthly Festival Gold Award)!

www.BackyardGreenFilms.com





'Mission Of Honor'
(Iwan Rheon, Milo Gibson, Stefanie Martini, Marcin Dorocinski, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / Cinedigm)

Overview: Mission of Honor is the story of Squadron 303, a group of heroic pilots who fought in the skies over England in the Battle of Britain during WWII.

These brave men were not just fighting to keep Great Britain free from the Nazis, but also to keep alive the memories of their own countries, which had been caught in the cross fire as Germany tore across Eastern Europe.

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, the true story of the Polish fighter pilots who helped the Royal Air Force (RAF) win the Battle of Britain in WWII is certainly fascinating and deserves telling.

However, the budget constraints are a hindrance to this production, and though the story gets told, it's missing the visual flair we've come to expect.

It's the first screenplay from co-writers Robert Ryan and Alastair Galbraith, and together with director David Blair, they all seem to understand the historical importance of the story and those involved.

The film begins in 1940 German occupied France, and this is where we first see Zumbach (played by Iwan Rheon), on his way to meet up with his fellow Polish pilots in England.

Poland had only been a free standing country for about 20 years at this time, and these men were committed to salvaging their country - even if this meant fighting with the RAF against Germany.

Initially the arrogance of British commanders borders on racism, as it's assumed the Polish fighters don't compare to the elite Royal Air Force pilots.

Once stationed in Northolt under Kentowski (Milo Gibson, Mel's son), Squadron 303 begins to take shape flying Hurricanes, disproving most of the preconceptions of British brass and pilots; although their success does cause some jealousy in the ranks over the prowess of the Polish pilots.

The less than stellar CGI used for the dogfights is a bit distracting, especially since there is only minimal character development. Polish fighter ace Witold Urbanowicz (played by Dorcin Morocinski) is idolized, but we learn very little about the man outside of flashbacks of his family in war torn Poland.

There is a budding romance with Zumbach and Phyllis Lambert (Stephanie Martini), but quite a few assumptions must be made to take us to their final sequence.

The character of Ms. Lambert is the standout female role here, and though she's given a few quality scenes, it's her shock of blonde hair that seems to stand out most.

The film concludes in 1946 London with the victory parade for King George VI. Despite Polish pilots helping immensely in the RAF victory in the Battle of Britain, no Polish pilots marched with the Allied forces.

As a bitter Zumbach states, "We wouldn't want to offend f**king Stalin." Squadron 303 was the highest scoring squadron of RAF during the war, and it's unforgivable how the British viewed Polish casualties as mere numbers; despite the dead being friends and countrymen to the Polish pilots.

This is overall a respectful approach to a key historical story, and one in which all Polish people should take pride. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Q&A with Director David Blair
On Set with Iwan Rheon, Milo Gibson, Rosie Gray, Stefanie Martini and Emily Wyatt

www.cinedigm.com





'Frontline: Right To Fail'
(Tom Jennings / DVD / NR / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: FRONTLINE and ProPublica go inside New York's supported housing program in a special investigation called 'Right to Fail' - exploring human struggles and the complex debate behind giving people with severe mental illness the right to live independently and succeed on one's own terms with the right support, but also the right to fail.

DVD Verdict: In 2014, a federal judge ruled that New York State had violated the civil rights of people with severe mental illness by allowing them to languish in adult homes - group housing that had been plagued by allegations of abuse and neglect.

The landmark ruling gave a class of about 4,000 adult home residents the chance to move into their own subsidized and supported apartments, have the freedom to cook in their own kitchens, administer their own medication and budget their own expenses with help from private case management agencies.

Prosecutors quickly filed lawsuits against en masse of developers, including the mainstay of the ruling the Durst Organization and Glenwood Management, in what had become a long-running dispute over whether buildings erected under New York City’s accessibility law meets federal requirements.

The lawsuit claimed that Related’s TriBeCa Green building, at 325 North End Avenue, completed in 2005, and One Carnegie Hill, on East 96th Street, finished in 2006, are inaccessible to disabled tenants because kitchens, closets and bathrooms are not big enough for someone in a wheelchair to maneuver within, mailboxes are mounted too high, and room identification signs lack raised-letter Braille for persons with visual impairments.

"We will not allow developers and architects who deprive people with disabilities of accessible housing to evade the consequences of their failure to comply with clear, longstanding federal civil rights laws,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in one of the earliest statements made on the ruling.

This brand new and highly fascinating hour long documentary showcases both sides of the argument, with the New York developers insisting that they have complied for the past 25 years with a city law requiring them to ensure that all apartments they build are accessible to disabled people.

The local law, developers and city officials say many things in counter, but that, and essentially everything done meets the requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act.

The ruling was front-page news, but until 2019, there's been little known about how the plan to move people from institutions to independence has actually worked out.

Sure the federal law was toughened three years after the city law passed, but still developers, city officials and federal authorities have not agreed on whether the city requirements meet the standards of the current federal act.

“We’ve got a disagreement,” said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York. “We never resolved, what is the difference between the local law and the Fair Housing Act?”

Ergo, 'Frontline: Right To Fail' takes you from the start to what is currently the faltering end here and asks you, come said fend, to make your own minds up about who did what correctly (or not) and if there truly is more work to be done to comply. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Frontline: Predator on the Reservation'
(Raney Aronson-Rath / DVD / R / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: * Content Warning: Tonight's Program contains mature content which may not be suitable for all audiences *

In 'Predator on the Reservation', FRONTLINE and The Wall Street Journal collaborate for the first time to investigate the decades-long failure to stop Dr. Stanley Weber, a government pediatrician, who moved from reservation to reservation despite warnings about his behavior.

DVD Verdict: Drawing on interviews with hospital administrators and staff, tribal police officers, victims and their families, interrogation recordings and top Indian Health Service (IHS) officials, 'Frontline: Predator on the Reservation' explores how Weber was able to see patients for years despite warnings to IHS officials and hospital staff on the Blackfeet reservation and the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

As we progress through this hard hitting, hard to swallow at time new hour long PBS documentary, we quickly learn that the federal government's Indian Health Service failed to protect Native American boys from Stanley Patrick Weber's sexual abuse; despite numerous reports, questions and bystander observations throughout.

The film not only uncovers Weber's story, but it reveals that doctors and other people on both reservations who worked with Weber were concerned about his behavior with young boys for years and accounts of other problematic doctors within the agency.

The trial of Weber begins back in 2017 when he first arrived for a court hearing in Rapid City, SD. What we see unfold is sickening to hear, but worse yet is how he got away with it for so long.

Not to give anything away, but you should know going in (for your own peace of mind, if nothing else) that as of February 2019, federal prosecutors have charged Weber with the abuse of four boys on Pine Ridge and two on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana.

A U.S. District judge sentenced Weber on January 17th to more than 18 years in prison on his convictions of molesting Native American boys. Furthermore, that very same U.S. District Judge Brian Morris also fined 70-year-old Stanley Patrick Weber $200,000 when he handed down the sentence.

In truth, no one really knows how many victims of Weber's abuse are still out there, or how many other people in the IHS could have stopped it, but this new documentary goes a long way to opening everyone's eyes - in case there should ever be a next time. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Reconstruction: America After the Civil War'
(Henry Louis Gates, Jr. / 2-DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents the definitive history of the transformative years following the American Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself amidst profound loss, massive destruction, and revolutionary social change.

DVD Verdict: Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents a vital, new four-hour documentary series - 'Reconstruction: America After the Civil War' and, for my money, running at over four hours in length, it is easily one of the most fascinating, and in depth looks at a period of our time that seems to always get glossed over, so to speak.

As the title suggests, the series explores the transformative years following the American Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of both profound destruction and revolutionary social change.

Initially, African Americans enjoyed what W. E. B. Du Bois called a "brief moment in the sun", when they could build businesses, become educated, exercise their right to vote, and run for public office.

The Constitution was even amended to grant them citizenship, and protect their freedoms. But many former Confederates were staunchly resistant to this new social order, and they unleashed a backlash in the form of rampant violence and a state-by-state rollback of voting rights.

This series tells the real story of Reconstruction, one of America's most overlooked, misunderstood, and misrepresented periods of history.

Although there is obviously way too much to cover here in this review, one of the stand out recounting is that of The Union victory in the Civil War in 1865.

Sure it may well have given some 4 million slaves their freedom, but the process of rebuilding the South during the Reconstruction period (1865-1877) introduced a new set of significant challenges.

Under the administration of President Andrew Johnson in 1865 and 1866, new southern state legislatures passed restrictive “black codes” to control the labor and behavior of former slaves and other African Americans.

Outrage in the North over these codes eroded support for the approach known as Presidential Reconstruction and led to the triumph of the more radical wing of the Republican Party.

During Radical Reconstruction, which began in 1867, newly enfranchised blacks gained a voice in government for the first time in American history, winning election to southern state legislatures and even to the U.S. Congress.

In less than a decade, however, reactionary forces–including the Ku Klux Klan–would reverse the changes wrought by Radical Reconstruction in a violent backlash that restored white supremacy in the South.

Also, did you know that during Reconstruction, the Republican Party in the South represented a coalition of blacks (who made up the overwhelming majority of Republican voters in the region) along with "carpetbaggers" and "scalawags," as white Republicans from the North and South, respectively, were known?

Well, 'Reconstruction: America After the Civil War' honors the struggle of the African Americans who fought their way out of slavery and challenged the nation to live up to the founding ideals of democracy, freedom, and equality. This is, without a shadow of a doube MUST SEE TV! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Crank: 4K Ultra HD + Digital'
(Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Carlos Sanz, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / (2006) 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Professional assassin Chev Chelios (Statham) learns his rival has injected him with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this May with the release of this quite stunning, and highly underrated 'Crank' in the new 4K home video format on May 21st, 2019.

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

So, what we have is 'Crank' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10 Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the delicious hues and nuances of all the frantic outdoor running, screaming scenes involving the many foot chases.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where Statham is running "at" the camera, his face boiling red, his adrenaline pumped to the max) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1.

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

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. Well, as noted above, Chev Chelios (Statham) has just been poisoned with a strange drug that lowers his adrenaline and will eventually kill him!

Unless he keeps his adrenaline up, and being a super tough hit-man, he is not one to go out quietly nor get revenge on those that poisoned him.

Jason Statham fits the role of the intense, crazy, ultra-cool, badass Chev Chelios so perfectly that it's just amazing.

Maybe he is being type cast from his role in 'The Transporter,' but when you have a movie as exciting and awesome as this, even he wouldn't care.

Packing a terrific high octane direction that never lets up the tension nor the action this is possibly the best pure action film of 2006. From the get-go, it's all about the action.

Forget logic. Forget realism. Just hold on for an intense and amazingly entertaining movie.

It all works, because from the very first scene sets up the craziness of the rest of the film up perfectly. On a rough comparison you could say that this is 'The Transporter' meets 'Snatch' but that hardly does the film justice.

It is not just a blending of two previous movies, it is a adrenaline packed ride that is often only found on B-movies these days some of which are good some of which are not, but they are just action films.

And this is just an action film. Pure. Simple. And terrifically badass. It also features what may be one of cinema's most hilarious sex scenes!

And so to sum up, if you're questioning the realism or fundamentals of 'Crank' at any time, without letting them wash over you with a smirk, you are not the target demographic!

Switch off that brain and let this unique, high octane, barnstormer of a film, roll with the awesome punches it so clearly wants to throw at you!

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on the two all-new featurettes now included. The first is a rather brilliant, and obviously fun 'Crank @ Comic-Con' Featurette where the filmmakers talk up the film to an as-yet knowing audience of soon-to-be fans!

The other is the more factual run-of-the-mill 'More Stories from Crank' Featurette where the filmmakers once again discuss the ins and outs of making the film, whilst at the same time reveal how certain scenes were actually filmed (which was rather cool, to be honest).

Written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, and available for the very first time in this absolutely stunning format, the 'Crank: 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack' releases May 21st, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $22.99.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.31:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

“Shooting Crank” Featurette
“The Stunts of Crank” Featurette
“Pushing Crank” Featurette
NEW “Crank @ Comic-Con” Featurette
NEW “More Stories from Crank” Featurette

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Power: The Complete Fifth Season'
(Aidan Gillen, Michael Malarkey, Laura Mennell, Michael Harney, Ksenia Solo, et al / 3-Disc DVD / R / 2019 / Lionsgate)

Overview: In Season 5 James "Ghost" St. Patrick is in a dangerous alliance with his former brother-in-arms Tommy Egan and mortal enemy Kanan.

"Ghost" is blind to new enemies and must remain vigilant toward those wanting to take him down.

DVD Verdict: OK, telling it like it is, and 'Power' is by no means a terrible series. However, there are just too many things that bug me about it and it starts to rub in like a blister as the series goes on.

The concept is in no way original, but the lives of drug kingpins and gang members fascinate people and there seems to always be a demand for more, so I guess nothing wrong to satisfy some of that demand.

The story is what I have most of the issues with. The biggest drug distributor in New York living a fashionable life, surrounded by a few select guys?

I find it hard to believe that role isn't held by some kind of big mafia family (probably several when it comes to NY).

Even though the writers try to depict the main character and his partner as bad-ass and not afraid to do what has to be done when required, any group would have kicked their asses long before they arrived at their current position.

The women in this series must be some of the most annoying characters ever, sorry! Angela is a story in herself. Utterly annoying with her constant head-leaning and dreamy eyes. In-between the eternally romantic teenager parts, she's a bulldog attorney that doesn't stop until she gets what she wants.

Still, despite many possibilities she can't connect the dots in the following sequence: "Her lover has become a nightclub owner after having become rich from laundromats (!), ran together with his close associate and best friend from childhood who also happens to be suspected as the biggest drug kingpin of NY".

Jeez, no alarm bells ringing anywhere? But of course, women are obviously so blinded by love that they close their eyes for any shortcoming of their men, right? Wrong ... well, unless it's for a TV show, of course.

The other women in the series are just as annoying, but maybe not as unbelievable as Angela. That said, Ghost's wife Tasha also leaves me cold.

Tasha is written about as well as the standard As The World Turns heroine and, to be brutally honest, other actresses have done clingy, devious heroines better than Naturi Naughton's portrayal.

I would have preferred if they actually had more independent sub-plots (shopping and gossiping don't count) instead of constantly being a pain in the ass of their respective men.

Playing Devil's Advocate, all too often, the usual suspects at the studios crank out characters straight from central casting. Luckily, there is little of that here.

Omari Hardwick and Joe Sikora work well as Ghost and Tommy and the rest of the cast (outside of Naughton) is very good. The writing has been solid, and there is some caustic humor here, which I welcome.

In the opening episode, 'Everyone Is Implicated,' James "Ghost" St. Patrick forms a dangerous alliance with his brother-in-arms, Tommy, and mortal enemy Kanan. Angela is implicated in murder and turns to an unlikely ally. Tasha enlists LaKeisha to protect Tariq.

As we progress through the 10 episodes, the St. Patrick family grieves Raina while the AUSA's office discusses taking down "Ghost" and ending Angela's career. Councilman Tate exploits Raina's death. Dre maintains order within his organization.

As the heat begins to turn up, and after his spiritual awakening with Rev. Macedon, Ghost confesses his sins to Angela. Angela preps Tasha for Federal questioning and Ghost must break his business deal with Tommy when Truth is audited by the IRS.

As we head to the finale, when the RICO case comes crashing down, Angela breaks ranks to form her own A-team. LaKeisha takes a stand of her own while Ghost, Tommy, Tasha, and Angela race against the clock to prove their innocence...but to what end?

In closing, I will say that 'Power' is a MUST-WATCH show for anyone who loves gritty and gangster style shows with a ton of gray to wade through and discern.

In fact, furthermore, my hat goes off to Courtney Kemp Agboh and especially "50 Cent" (AKA Curtis Jackson) for creating and producing this TV masterpiece. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Described as “the show we wait all year to watch” by Lea Palmieri (Decider), the 'Power: The Complete Fifth Season' Blu-ray and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.95 and $34.98, respectively.

Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Masterpiece: Les Misérables'
(Dominic West, David Oyelowo, Lily Collins, Adeel Akhtar, Josh O'Connor, Ellie Bamber, Erin Kellyman, Joseph Quinn, Enzo Cilenti, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / R / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Against the backdrop of France at a time of civil unrest, this is the story of Jean Valjean, a former convict unable to escape his past life.

His future is threatened by his nemesis, the chilling prison guard Javert, who is determined to bring him to justice.

As revolution ignites on the streets of Paris, Jean Valjean begins an epic journey towards self-acceptance, redemption and love.

Blu-ray Verdict: Having just binge watched the entire new 'Les Misérables' mini-series I can honestly say that this new adaptation looks great and is very pleasing to the eye.

Sure some points of detail/style I really struggle with, such as how physically clean and healthy Fantine and her friends/colleagues (and their clothes) are during the romance with Felix and his friends.

I mean, they were fairly poor seamstresses and the way their scenes are shot in soft light and such is way too romanticized for my liking.

Also, give us more of the context: show us Fantine finding out she's pregnant as an unmarried woman, giving birth to Cosette, being subject to prejudice and discrimination before leaving Cosette with Madame Thénardier.

I mean, this wouldn't take long to do, but would add a great deal, in my humble opinion.

Also, whilst Dominic West is a great actor and performs well, the casting of him as Jean Valjean is problematic. It's absolutely crucial to the plot and the character that Jean Valjean is more than a man in terms of strength and capable of feats that are almost super-human.

Whilst West has been to the gym, he looks like that: a man that has been to the gym. He doesn't look like someone imbued with the incredible strength that Jean Valjean needs.

Personally, I don't believe it in him. He's no more physically imposing than those that surround him and this is difficult for me to get over.

Also, the cleanliness/hygiene of some sections of the film make it feel a little dated to me and too "BBC". It needs to be darker, dirtier, more realistic.

Like lose the romanticism and give us some realism, please BBC for (again, to my mind) that's how to make an adaptation of 'Les Mis' great instead of good.

Well, in for a penny and the accents and lack of French language (the odd 'Monsieur' and such feels weird) are, however, obstacles to the authenticity of the series and, for me, get in the way of the story and the context (as an aside and again for me, the race or ethnicity of the actors certainly does not get in the way).

Whilst I can understand the BBC not wanting to produce a French language show that is shown in English speaking territories with subtitles, some half decent French accents would make it feel much more real to me.

'Les Mis' is about, in, and of France, after all.

However, and playing Devil's Advocate, the story displays the power of love, kindness, and forgiveness. The power of God to change a man and the heartbreaking reality of the coldness, darkness and cruelty in the world.

Superb acting, it has to be said, by nearly everyone on screen - Adeal Akhtar and Olivia Colman are detestable scoundrels that got so deep under my skin that I wasn't sure I was watching actors! - and so emotionally gripping that it does still get, eventually, to the heart of the story. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Les Misérables: An Introduction
The Battle of Waterloo
The Look of Les Misérables
Behind The Barricade

www.PBS.org





'Finding Your Roots - Season 5'
(Laura Linney, Marisa Tomei, Michael K. Williams, George R.R. Martin, et al / 3-Disc DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. weaves together genealogical detective work with cutting-edge DNA analysis to trace the ancestry of a diverse array of trailblazing public figures.

The result is a captivating cross-section of history, illustrating that diversity is both America's strength and its constant.

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 Ancestry.com has been a real disappointment, but Ancestry.com has the largest libraries of DNA, and has an incredible service and supportive website and resources.

The stories of these people here in Season 5 include a host of celebrated guests including actors Laura Linney, Marisa Tomei, and Michael K. Williams; authors George R.R. Martin and Sheryl Sandberg; journalists Christiane Amanpour and Joe Madison; athlete and television personality Michael Strahan; artists Marina Abramovi and Alejandro G. Iñárritu; politicians Tulsi Gabbard, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan; and comedians Seth Meyers, Andy Samberg, and Sarah Silverman.

Listening and watching along to most all of these you'll instantly find yourself engrossed in their stories, some of which I fully admit I had never heard of before. They are just so moving that you will find yourself searching out their movie/TV history on IMDB!

This highly revealing fifth 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.

Over the course of 10 one-hour episodes, we see that each guest's family tree is filled with compelling characters - slaves and kings, artists and entrepreneurs, abandoned children and missing parents, revolutionaries, visionaries, and a wealth of ordinary individuals who lived remarkable lives. Fascinating. Truly fascinating. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'The Best of World's Greatest'
(2-Disc DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: This new, epic series goes on a timeless journey around the planet, revealing the world's greatest cities, natural wonders, animal encounters, journeys and adventures, monuments, and islands.

DVD Verdict: The world is full of inspiring places just waiting to be discovered and explored.

'The Best of World's Greatest' from PBS is a wondrous, invigorating, and beautifully shot and documented new series that photographically flies around the planet, revealing the world's greatest cities, natural wonders, and more over 2 discs and 300 minutes.

With the featured episodes such as Ancient Cities, Extreme Animals, Volcanoes, Lost Cities, Treks and Coral islands, there is something glorious for everyone here to be viewed, of that have no doubt.

A few that stood out to me within the Ancient Cities episode were the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus and, of course, Babylon; for it was the heart of the ancient Mesopotamian civilization as long as 20,000 years ago.

Volcanoes of the world brings us such wonders as the Cumbre Vieja Volcano – La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, the Krakatoa Volcano – Krakatoa, Indonesia, and Mount Pelée – Martinique, Lesser Antilles, Caribbean.

Whereas the Extreme Animals of the world focuses on the Box Jellyfish, Cookiecutter sharks, and the Rhinoceros Beetle, amongst others, of course.

Each episode is chock full of bright and colorful knowledge, both spoken and visually detailed and so it's easy to give this bright new PBS series a massive two thumbs up! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Unforgotten - The Complete Third Season'
(Nicola Walker, Sanjeev Bhaskar, James Fleet, Alex Jennings, Kevin McNally, Neil Morrissey, Peter Egan, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NC-17 / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (The Indian Doctor) lead a powerful ensemble cast in this highly-acclaimed, thrilling third season of the UK-set crime drama.

DVD Verdict: DCI Cassie Stuart and her partner, DI Sunil "Sunny" Khan re-open cold murder cases from decades past, throwing lives into turmoil as they seek justice for their unforgotten victims.

In the six-episode first season, when the body of a young man is discovered in a derelict building, DCI Cassie Stuart is called in to investigate with her partner, DI Sunil Khan.

In the six-episode second season, the detectives have been tasked with the investigation into the identity of skeletal remains which had been sealed in a suitcase many years earlier, and that were recently dredged from the River Lea in North East London.

Here in the gripping six-episode third season, when human remains are found by a highway, Cassie and Sunny are called to the scene. Dogged work leads the team to Hayley Reid, a 16-year-old girl who went missing on the eve of the millennium.

The police's failure to find out what happened to Hayley wrecked her family's life. Cassie is determined to correct the mistakes made by the original investigating team, no matter the personal cost.

A close-knit group of old school friends hold the key to what happened. Doctor Tim Finch, television presenter James Hollis, failing salesman Pete Carr, and artist Chris Lowe.

As the four suspects find themselves under the spotlight, their tight bond is put to the test. They all have secrets in their past - events that have pulled their lives apart.

None of them are quite who they first seem to be, but is one of them capable of murder?

As always, the performance of the lead actor, Nicola Walker, is outstanding, as is the performance of her primary supporting actor, Sanjeev Bhaskar.

A brilliantly written, acted and directed series as aforementioned, Walker is such a wonderfully subtle and real actress that you could watch her, and believe her in anything she put her mind to on TV.

As always, the series is a who's who of top British theatre and television talent and all six of the episodes are gripping and, at times, quite literally exhaustingly stressful to watch … but in a really good way, of course!

Indeed, much like the first two seasons, this third outing of 'Unforgotten' is a decidedly intelligent, intriguing, and gripping murder mystery and drama, and I, for one, found it to be extremely engaging and entertaining.

Both seasons feature superb plot and character development, as well as great acting performances, and it definitely merits a binge watching evening, of that you have my word. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

What is Unforgotten?
Opening Scene
The Role of Social Media
Locations
The Suspects

www.PBS.org





'NOVA: Rise of the Rockets'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Rockets are becoming cheaper and more powerful than before thanks to new technologies.

As companies make space more accessible and NASA returns to crewed spaceflight, a new era of space exploration seems to be on the horizon.

But will this seeming rocket Renaissance become just more than hype?

NOVA explores the latest rocket technologies and the growing role private citizens may have in space.

DVD Verdict: We may be witnessing the dawn of a bold new era of human activity in space for science and exploration - but also for profit.

An explosion of private companies is sparking the development of new technologies and lowering costs to bring space closer than ever.

On Feb. 6th, 2019, SpaceX made history when it launched its Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida. It now reigns as the biggest and most powerful rocket in the world.

Elon Musk, the messianic CEO of the billion-dollar space startup, plans to build an even bigger rocket that he promises will eventually take people to Mars.

Well, maybe.

The Falcon Heavy is a 230-foot-tall engineering marvel, with the ability to ferry loads of up to 141,000 pounds into low-earth orbit. Only the Saturn V, the rocket that helped carry Neil Armstrong and company to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s, was bigger and badder, but has long since been retired.

Both rockets, however, rely on liquid fuel as propellants.

A one-way trip to Mars using conventional chemical rockets could take up to nine months. It’s a long time for a human crew to spend in a spaceship exposed to radiation and other hazards.

That’s one reason why NASA and other space agencies, as well as universities and private industry, are pursuing different types of rocket technologies.

This, and other many fascinating facts are brought to light here on the enthralling 'NOVA: Rose of the Rockets' out May 7th, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'NOVA: Decoding the Great Pyramid'
(DVD / G / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: How did the Egyptians engineer the Great Pyramid of Giza so precisely, and who were the thousands of laborers who raised the stones?

New archaeological evidence - including a logbook of a labor team leader -provides new insights into these age-old questions.

NOVA delves into these construction secrets to trace how mobilizing labor and resources on such a massive scale transformed ancient Egypt.

DVD Verdict: The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering present-day El Giza, Egypt.

It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.

Based on a mark in an interior chamber naming the work gang and a reference to the fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, some Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was thus built as a tomb over a 10- to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC.

Initially at 146.5 meters (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years until Lincoln Cathedral was finished in 1311 AD.

Originally, the Great Pyramid was covered by limestone casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure.

Some of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base. There have been varying scientific and alternative theories about the Great Pyramid's construction techniques.

Most accepted construction hypotheses are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place.

There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished.

The so-called Queen's Chamber and King's Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure.

The main part of the Giza complex is a set of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honor of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller "satellite" pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles.

The 6 million-ton Great Pyramid of Giza is the last surviving wonder of the ancient world. How did the Egyptians engineer the mighty pharaoh Khufu's tomb so precisely, with none of today's surveying and power tools?

And who were the thousands of laborers who raised the stones? Were they slaves or volunteers, and how were they housed, fed, and organized?

Decoding the Great Pyramid presents the latest evidence from groundbreaking archaeological research that has transformed our understanding of the ancient world's most ambitious engineering project, revealing a "lost city" and intimate details of the lives of the laborers and officials who toiled on the vast construction.

What we learn is that the pyramid was constructed out of stone blocks, each weighing at least 2 tons.

There are theories suggesting that multiple men together maneuvered each block over a ramp that encircled the structure as it rose, or that they moved each stone up long ramps that got higher and longer as the pyramid got taller, or even that scaffolding was used.

Many eschew each of these theories for different reasons, including the idea that wood that could have been used for scaffolding or ramps would have been at a premium, and using mud brick for those purposes would not have held under the enormous weight of each massive block.

And, of course, there are the ideas that aliens built the pyramids!

However the pyramid was constructed, it is a marvelous feat, and should be awed and respected, especially because it is standing today with relatively minor damage.

That said, and together with the recently found logbook of a labor team leader that delivered limestone blocks to build the Great Pyramid, this, and other many fascinating facts are brought to light here on the enthralling 'NOVA: Decoding the Great Pyramid' out April 30th, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: The Roman emperor Nero is considered one of history's greatest criminals - a cruel, insane, and brutal ruler.

His name has become synonymous with evil, and he stands accused of killing his step-brother, his wife, and his mother, as well as burning Rome to the ground.

'Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files' investigates Nero's reign with the help of criminal psychologist Thomas Müller.

DVD Verdict: Accused of killing his step-brother, his wife, and his mother, as well as burning Rome to the ground, are these stories really true?

Furthermore, can they be proven?

Recent research, modern interpretations of historical sources, and new discoveries cast a different light on the accusations levelled at the Roman emperor.

Using "cold case" methodology, 'Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files' investigates Nero's reign with the help of criminal psychologist Thomas Müller, and what is revealed will either have you agreeing wholeheartedly or shaking your head in historical disgust, trust me!

Based on accounts written during and after his reign, Nero (A.D. 37 to 68) has long been considered a power-mad despot whose leadership was defined by terrible acts of violence, such as poisoning a teenage rival, arranging his mother's assassination, setting a fire that destroyed much of Rome, executing Christians and even murdering his own wife.

Some of those incidents probably did happen. However, a recent examination of historic records suggests that Nero was likely innocent of some of these heinous crimes, especially according to this new PBS documentary and the thoughts and more of the aforementioned criminal psychologist Thomas Müller.

That said, and together with more "information" brought to light to further examine this "old case," this, and other many fascinating facts are all to be found here on the enthralling 'Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files' out May 14th, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur's Lost Kingdom'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: In 'Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur's Lost Kingdom', Professor Alice Roberts uses archaeological discoveries to piece together a turning point in Britain's history.

The key to her quest is the excavation of a stone palace in Cornwall - long believed to be the birthplace of the King Arthur legend.

Was Arthur in fact ruler of a prosperous trading village, and the defender of the native Britons against the Anglo-Saxons?

DVD Verdict: In the fifth century, the future of Britain hung in the balance.

After four centuries of Roman occupation and leadership, the Romans up and left, leaving the nation vulnerable to an invading Anglo-Saxon horde - or at least that's what the fragmentary historical texts record.

The truth is no one really knows what happened, and this pivotal moment in history has been shrouded in mystery - until now.

In 'Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur's Lost Kingdom', Professor Alice Roberts of University of Birmingham uncovers new archeological evidence to rewrite our understanding of the Dark Ages and to explain the Arthurian Legend.

Artifacts from Turkey, North Africa and France show the prosperity of the area. An Anglo-Saxon broach made by 5th century British techniques suggest a blending of cultures.

Professor Robert decodes these discoveries and pieces together a very different story of this turning point in Britain’s history.

Inclusive of more information and finds and discussions, these and other many fascinating facts are all to be found here on the enthralling 'Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur's Lost Kingdom' out June 4th, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Ever since their brutal murders one hundred years ago, the world has been fascinated by Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, the Empress Alexandra.

Through the couple's private and personally revealing letters, this two-part docu-drama, presented by historian Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb, explores Nicholas and Alexandra's complex love story and the couple's role in the lead up to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

DVD Verdict: Nicholas II was born on May 6, 1868 (from the Julian calendar, which was used in Russia until 1918) in Pushkin, Russia.

He inherited the throne when his father, Alexander III, died in 1894. Although he believed in autocracy, he was eventually forced to create an elected legislature. Nicholas II’s handling of Bloody Sunday and World War I incensed his subjects and led to his abdication.

Bolsheviks executed him and his family on the night of July 16-17, 1918, in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Indeed, Nicholas II was the last tsar of Russia under Romanov rule and it was his poor handling of Bloody Sunday and Russia’s role in World War I that actually led to his abdication and execution.

Nicholas II was the first Russian sovereign to show personal interest in Asia, visiting in 1891, while still tsesarevich, India, China, and Japan; later he nominally supervised the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

His attempt to maintain and strengthen Russian influence in Korea, where Japan also had a foothold, was partly responsible for the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05).

Russia’s defeat not only frustrated Nicholas’s grandiose dreams of making Russia a great Eurasian power, with China, Tibet, and Persia under its control, but also presented him with serious problems at home, where discontent grew into the revolutionary movement of 1905.

Nicholas II considered all who opposed him, regardless of their views, as malicious conspirators. Disregarding the advice of his future prime minister Sergey Yulyevich Witte, he refused to make concessions to the constitutionalists until events forced him to yield more than might have been necessary had he been more flexible.

On March 3, 1905, he reluctantly agreed to create a national representative assembly, or Duma, with consultative powers, and by the manifesto of October 30 he promised a constitutional regime under which no law was to take effect without the Duma’s consent, as well as a democratic franchise and civil liberties.

Nicholas II, however, cared little for keeping promises extracted from him under duress. He strove to regain his former powers and ensured that in the new Fundamental Laws (May 1906) he was still designated an autocrat.

He furthermore patronized an extremist right-wing organization, the Union of the Russian People, which sanctioned terrorist methods and disseminated anti-Semitic propaganda.

Witte, whom he blamed for the October Manifesto, was soon dismissed, and the first two Dumas were prematurely dissolved as “insubordinate.”

Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin, who replaced Witte and carried out the coup of June 16, 1907, dissolving the second Duma, was loyal to the dynasty and a capable statesman. But the emperor distrusted him and allowed his position to be undermined by intrigue.

Stolypin was one of those who dared to speak out about Rasputin’s influence and thereby incurred the displeasure of the empress.

In such cases Nicholas II generally hesitated but ultimately yielded to Alexandra’s pressure.

To prevent exposure of the scandalous hold Rasputin had on the imperial family, Nicholas interfered arbitrarily in matters properly within the competence of the Holy Synod, backing reactionary elements against those concerned about the Orthodox church’s prestige.

When riots broke out in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) on March 8, 1917, Nicholas instructed the city commandant to take firm measures and sent troops to restore order. It was too late.

The government resigned, and the Duma, supported by the army, called on the emperor to abdicate. At Pskov on March 15, with fatalistic composure, Nicholas II renounced the throne—not, as he had originally intended, in favor of his son, Alexis, but in favor of his brother Michael, who refused the crown.

Nicholas II was detained at Tsarskoye Selo by Prince Lvov’s provisional government. It was planned that he and his family would be sent to England, but instead, mainly because of the opposition of the Petrograd Soviet, the revolutionary Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council, they were removed to Tobolsk in Western Siberia.

This step sealed their doom. In April 1918 they were taken to Yekaterinburg in the Urals.

When anti-Bolshevik “White” Russian forces approached the area, the local authorities were ordered to prevent a rescue. In the early hours of July 17, 1918, the prisoners were all slaughtered in the cellar of the house where they had been confined.

Although there is some uncertainty over whether the family was killed on July 16 or 17, most sources indicate that the executions took place on July 17.

The bodies were burned, cast into an abandoned mine shaft, and then hastily buried elsewhere.

A team of Russian scientists located the remains in 1976 but kept the discovery secret until after the collapse of the Soviet Union. By 1994 genetic analyses had positively identified the remains as those of Nicholas, Alexandra, three of their daughters (Anastasia, Tatiana, and Olga), and four servants.

The remains were given a state funeral on July 17, 1998, and reburied in St. Petersburg in the crypt of the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. The remains of Alexis and of another daughter (Maria) were not found until 2007, and the following year DNA testing confirmed their identity.

Through the couple's politically damning, sexually intimate and personally revealing letters, this two-part docu-drama, presented by historian Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb, we get to hear of thousands of love letters that reveal the intimate details of their affection, sex life, delusions, and above all the road to revolution.

Inclusive of more information and finds and discussions, these and other many fascinating facts are all to be found here on the enthralling 'Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters' out May 21st, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Henry IX: The Lost King'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: Paul Murton of Grand Tours of Scotland takes us on a journey to investigate the mysterious disappearance from history of a forgotten Scottish prince - Henry Fredrick Stuart, the best King Britain never had.

DVD Verdict: Not many of us know his name but Henry started the British Museum and the Royal Collection and was the first royal prince to back a permanent settlement on American soil in the early 17th century.

In this immersive documentary, Paul brings this forgotten figure from the shadows of history into the light of the modern world. It's a detective story which reveals the tragedy of Henry's lost potential.

Paul starts his quest in Stirling Castle where Henry was born in 1594 to James VI of Scotland (soon to become James the First of Great Britain) and Anne of Denmark.

In the Queen's Bedchamber, Paul meets the historian Sarah Fraser to start to trace out Henry's life. As he came into adulthood, the British Empire was taking its first steps into North America. Under Henry's patronage, a colony bearing the name Henricus was founded in Virginia - 14 years before the Mayflower and The Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymouth.

Paul visits the town and learns how the lost prince's legacy changed history.

As we discover, he was ahead of his time and had an influence that stretched across the world and he would have changed British life forever.

Instead, Henry Frederick Stuart barely merits a footnote in history. He’s the forgotten Scot whose death at just 18 would subsequently lead to war, persecution and suffering.

“The simple fact is that few people have even heard of him and I think he deserves to be brought into public view,” says Paul. “He was an extraordinary character. I didn’t even know that James VI of Scotland and 1st of England even had an elder son who didn’t become king. Or that if he had, our futures would have been very different.”

Henry was highly educated and started the British Museum and the Royal Collection. And his influence was felt far from these shores.

He was instrumental in the establishment of a British colony in Virginia – called Henricus – a full 14 years before the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymouth on the Mayflower.

But had he lived, his impact would have been infinitely greater.

How has the story of this renaissance man, who changed the course of Britain's history, been largely lost until now? Whatever happened to the best King they never had?

Inclusive of more information and finds and discussions, these and other many fascinating facts are all to be found here on the enthralling 'Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters' out May 7th, 2019 via PBS. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Won't You Be Our ...
(DVD / G / 2019 / PBS KIDS)

Overview: Four-year-old Daniel Tiger invites young viewers directly into his world, giving them a kid's eye view of his life and making them feel like one of his neighbors.

DVD Verdict: For those of you that are not aware, 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood' is an animated continuation to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, where all the original characters are now grown up with their own preschool-aged children.

Personally, I loved Mr. Rogers Neighborhood as a kid, and although this is a very different, more modern show, I am pleased to see the good moral underlining and joy that this show brings to him while still keeping true to the same themes.

I love the little songs that have more meaning than rhyme and the lessons in the show along with the story lines.

Contained in this brand new DVD 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Won't You Be Our Neighbor?' are five (5) grr-ific tales: The Daniel Tiger Movie: Won't You Be My Neighbor?, Jodi's First Day at School, A New Friend at School, Daniel Plays at Jodi's House, and A New Friend at the Playground.

Daniel is so excited to learn that a new family is moving into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and decides that he wants to get to know them - sooner rather than later.

So watch along as the Tiger Family and the entire Neighborhood welcomes the new arrivals and helps them adjust to their unfamiliar surroundings.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood to join Daniel Tiger and friends as they have a whole lot of fun and learn life's little lessons. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBSkids.org





'Splash and Bubbles: The Kelp Forest'
(DVD / G / 2019 / PBS KIDS)

Overview: Catch the current and embark on an underwater adventure with Splash and Bubbles!

DVD Verdict: For those not yet in the know, a yellow fusilier fish named Splash and his friend Bubbles, a Mandarin dragonet, explore life under the sea with their pals in "Splash and Bubbles," the newest series from PBS Kids.

Co-produced by The Jim Henson Co., the animated series is designed to teach children aged 4-7 about marine life and the ocean and help them build social-emotional skills.

The series features the voices of John Tartaglia (who also created the series), Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Raymond Carr and Aymee Garcia.

In their brand new adventure, 'Splash and Bubbles: The Kelp Forest,' we explore The Kelp Forest with Splash and Bubbles in six exciting ocean adventures!

Cleaner of the Kelp
The Kelp Needs Help
Mrs. Tidy
Seal Sitters
Tyke and Seek
Kelp Forest Keepers

The kids will love this show as we watch as Splash, Bubbles, and Dunk meet Tidy the Garibaldi fish, the self-appointed Kelp Forest Ranger.

Tidy has been taking the kids' shells as they play in the forest because he likes to keep everything clean!

When some Asterina starfish are in the Kelp Forest where they don't belong, Splash, Ripple, and Tidy must get rid of them before the starfish eat all of the kelp.

The forest fun continues when Splash and Bubbles try to seal-sit a young, curious, and fearless seal pup named Tyke, who they can't find during a big game of hide-and-seek!

This charming series inspires respect for marine life and the ocean's diversity by pairing the characters' comical adventures with more traditional educational segments.

Splash and Bubbles entices youngsters much the same way Finding Nemo's vibrant scenery and endearing characters did, bringing a certain intimacy to the vast expanse of the ocean through its friendly characters.

Reeftown is a bustling community of all different kinds of marine life, but when Splash and Bubbles explore beyond its boundaries, they discover even more diversity and fascination.

Chock full of wondrous close-up views of the wonders of marine life will amaze preschoolers and inspire curiosity about more wonders of the underwater world. Well done, 'Splash And Bubbles.' This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBSkids.org





'Bridges Live: Madison Square Garden' (DVD/CD)

The world’s most unmistakable voice returns with a spectacular live concert (as seen on PBS this spring); Josh Groban Bridges Live: Madison Square Garden DVD/CD (out April 19th, 2019, via Reprise Records).

Recorded live from the final US stop of his 2018 Bridges Tour at the famed Madison Square Garden, the multi-platinum award-winning singer is joined by Tony-Award winning, multi-platinum recording artist Idina Menzel along with a special appearance by Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles.

DVD:
1. 'Bigger Than Us'
2. 'You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)'
3. 'Won't Look Back'
4. 'Granted'
5. 'Pure Imagination' (from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory")
6. 'Oceano'
7. 'Marrakech'
8. 'She's Always a Woman'
9. 'Lullaby' (with Idina Menzel)
10. 'Falling Slowly' (with Idina Menzel)
11. 'Bring Him Home' (from "Les Misérables")
12. 'Musica Para Caminar'
13. 'Música del Corazón'
14. 'River'
15. 'Alla Luce del Sole'
16. '99 Years' (with Jennifer Nettles)
17. 'You Raise Me Up'
18. 'To Where You Are'
19. 'Bridge over Troubled Water'

CD:
1. 'Bigger Than Us'
2. 'Won't Look Back'
3. 'Granted'
4. 'The Wandering Kind (Prelude)'
5. 'She's Always a Woman'
6. 'Lullaby' (with Idina Menzel)
7. 'Falling Slowly' (with Idina Menzel)
8. 'Música del Corazón'
9. 'River'
10. '99 Years' (with Jennifer Nettles)
11. 'Bridge over Troubled Water'
12. 'She Moved Through the Fair' (Live from Dublin)

The first disc is the DVD and has a longer track listing and deservedly so as the visual sight of Josh singing, nay performing is a delightful and heartwarming sight.

Backed by a 5-member band, 20-member choir and 15-piece orchestra, and bathed under a blood red and purple hue, Josh kicks off the set with the emphatic, anthemic 'Bigger Than Us' (from his latest studio album Bridges) and backs that up with a song that expresses God's love for humanity beautifully, 2008's 'You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up).'

Next up, after a brief chit-chat with members of the front row we get another new track 'Won’t Look Back, a hymn for the couples that have gone through the whole course of being married and yet still stick together. Wearing his glasses, now bathed in a beautiful, soothing blue and green light, the ballad 'Granted' is then backed by both the stirring Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley ballad 'Pure Imagination' (from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") and then one of the highlights of a show packed with them, the strong, adamant 'Oceano.'

Throughout this incredible live performance, Josh performs an electrifying mix of beloved classics, new songs, and special covers, including the standard one of my own personal favorites here, Billy Joel’s 'She’s Always A Woman,' and 'Bring Him Home' from "Les Misérables").

Introducing Idina Menzel - and boy, what a BIG introduction and chat with/about her he provides the audience - they then launch into not one, but two captivating duets. The first is the angelic 'Lullaby' and that's backed by the emotionally-charged 'Falling Slowly' (from the movie "Once").

Josh then showcases three more turns off his multi-lingual expertise as he impressively delves into 'Musica Para Caminar,' 'Música del Corazón' and the soaringly uplifting 'Alla Luce del Sole,' with the beautiful 'River' (a heartfelt track that can aim to help so many people, bringing hope and light to their darkness) in-between.

Whilst bathed under a lime green spot laid upon a black background, Josh is then joined on stage by Sugarland songstress Jennifer Nettles for a remarkable duet of '99 Years' before he closes his set with both 'To Where You Are' and then a simply stunning rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s 'Bridge Over Troubled Water.

The DVD/CD includes the aforementioned 'Won’t Look Back' and 'Lullaby' (not included in the PBS Special) as well as the never-released before bonus track 'She Moved Through the Fair.'

Amazon DVD/CD Purchase Link

www.JoshGroban.com

Josh Groban @ Facebook





'24 Hour Party People: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Steve Coogan, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Tony Wilson, Paddy Considine, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2002) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: In 1976, Tony Wilson sets up Factory Records and brings Manchester's music to the world.

This true story of the raucous anti-establishment explosion that revolutionized the music industry is miraculous one of the smartest, liveliest, most engaging and involving works you're likely to see this year (Premiere).

'24 Hour Party People: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out June 25th, 2019 via MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: It would be unfair to dismiss '24 Hour Party People' as a biographical look at Tony Wilson for it's so much more.

It's a celebration of music, of a lifestyle, of a bygone era. It also plays like a Greek tragedy, albeit substantially more fun, but there is no shortage of darkness and tragedy in the film.

The shifts in tone are particularly remarkable, as the film veers from its usual dry, sardonic tone into real pathos and examination of the dark side of almost any phenomenal success.

That said, I'm not completely nuts. I'm not going to claim that '24 Hour Party People' is a visual masterpiece, or a film which achieves more with its characters than most other accepted masterpieces of cinema when it comes to depth!

I'm not going to argue that it feels as complete an artistic achievement as one of the better films by a cinematic master. Wait, what am I talking about? Well, that's exactly what I'm going to argue.

For me, '24 Hour Party People' is as perfect as a film can get, not because it achieves the visual perfection of one of Kubrick's finer films, not because it marks a turning point in cinema history, but because it sets out to be exactly what it ends up being - a hilarious, darkly satirical and yet affectionate look at one of the biggest scenes in music history; some of the best bands, and the man behind it all, Tony Wilson.

A minor player in his own life story this is one of the most purely enjoyable films ever made.

It all unfolds with a sort of inspired madness. The very first scene shows the charismatic, arrogant, and somewhat self-important Tony Wilson hang-gliding for a television report, then turning to the camera after that's over with and saying "You're going to see a lot more of that sort of thing in the film. I don't want to say too much, don't want to spoil it. I'll just say one word: 'Icarus'. If you get it, great. If you don't, that's fine too. But you should probably read more."

It's not only a terrific line, indicative of the sort of dry wit much of the dialogue achieves, but also telling of what the film is going to be like. J.R. Jones of the Chicago Reader was one of the less infatuated major critics with the film, and labeled Coogan's Wilson a pedantic narrator; describing his story as having little narrative momentum of its own.

I like to think that's sort of the point and Wilson himself makes a point to mention in the film that it's not a film about him.

The highlight of the film, arguably even more than Frank Cottrell Boyce's screenplay, is Steve Coogan as Tony Wilson. As everyone reading this probably knows, Coogan based his famed Alan Partridge character on Tony Wilson's career as a television reporter, so he's really playing a variation on Alan Partridge here.

What's amazing about Coogan's performance is that he manages to draw even this Partridge fan into Tony Wilson's world so much that I didn't care about any similarity.

It's still a stunning comic performance, and excellent during the darker, more serious scenes in the film as well. I'd go as far as saying that it's one of the best male performances of the decade.

The rest of the cast is too large to go through one by one, but everyone is excellent here, some going for a sort of slightly altered impersonation of the real-life person they're playing, some creating their own version. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary with Steve Coogan and Producer Andrew Easton
Audio Commentary with Tony Wilson
"Manchester: The Movie" Featurette (SD 11:04)

www.MVDvisual.com





'Beer League: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Artie Lange, Ralph Macchio, Anthony De Sando, Cara Buono, Tina Fey, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2006) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: An unemployed slacker inspires his softball teammates to improve their game so they won't get kicked out of the local league.

'Beer League: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out May 14th, 2019 via MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: Artie Lange is an acquired taste. That is, if you know who he is! Not a marquee name, though definitely a recognizable face, Lange, like Adam Sandler, is the kind of comedian you either love or hate: loud, profane, and politically incorrect.

Lange is basically John Belushi reincarnated (it helps that Lange looks enough like Belushi that he could play him in a bio pic). I've been a huge fan of Artie Lange's since the beginning of his career so the critique that follows should be considered pretty biased.

In 'Beer League', Lange plays Artie (what a surprise), a 35-year-old alcohol-loving slacker/loser without a job who still lives with his mother (Laurie Metcalf).

His life consists of little else besides attending bars, eating, and playing softball with his buddies. After getting in a fight with the championship team, it is decided by the local police that only one of the teams will be able to remain in the league at the end of the season.

What follows is a series of scenes involving non-stop cursing, alcohol consumption, and some softball playing in between.

It goes without saying that 'Beer League' doesn't have the strongest plot in the world, which helps get as much nudity, crude jokes, and general tastelessness as one could want from the genre.

A good 85% of the jokes succeed. However, there are times when the lack of story really does hurt the film. While never coming across as a one-joke, "Saturday Night Live" (or in Lange's case, "MAD TV") sketch kind of movie, Lange and co-writer/director Frank Sebastiano occasionally seem to find themselves in a trap as to what exactly to do with the picture to move it along plot wise.

There's a sub-plot involving Artie's love-interest Linda (the very cute Cara Buono, giving the best performance of anyone in the cast) that gives the raunch-fest an unexpected heart, though despite their chemistry, her character and their relationship is never developed strongly enough for me to give it a higher rating.

That said, the romance angle works a lot better here than it did in recent R-rated comedies like WEDDING CRASHERS and 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, where it seemed to take the focus away from the main proceedings and in VIRGIN's case, felt extraordinarily fake.

In closing, and to sum things up here after my journalistic ramble, 'Beer League' is better than both the aforementioned comedies and certainly has more laughs than both combined, but if you aren't a fan of Lange chances are you'll find yourself disagreeing. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Beer Googles Short
Beer League: Behind The Scenes Featurette
Live from CineVegas Featurette
Artie Lange Behind The Scenes of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Best Damn Sports Show
In the Studio with Artie Lang: Jokes and Ringtones
Raw Interviews
Photo Gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Mortuary: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Dan Byrd, Denise Crosby, Courtney Peldon, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2005) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: A family moves to a small town in California where they plan on starting a new life while running a long-abandoned funeral home.

The locals fear the place, which is suspected to be on haunted ground.

'Mortuary: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out May 14th, 2019 via MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: [** SPOILERS AHEAD **] Leslie Doyle, (Denise Crosby) moves her family, Jaime (Stephanie Patton) and Jonathan (Dan Byrd) to a new mortuary and are given a tour by Eliot, (Greg Travis) who owns the establishment.

After settling in, Jonathan doesn't want anything to do with the mortuary business and goes to work in a nearby diner, where he overhears a local legend about the previous owner of the mortuary from Liz, (Alexandra Adi) and her boyfriend Grady, (Rocky Marquette).

The three bond and form a friendship, and love hanging out in the mortuary. While over one day, the dead rise from the basement mortuary and the outside graveyard. Jonathan and his friends have to survive the onslaught of the living dead and get out of the house alive.

The Good News: I thought this was a great and original way of getting to a zombie movie. Rather than the usual radiation leak or voodoo curse, we get an entirely new motive to get them around, and it was pretty original.

I'll admit to never thinking of it, and with the shortage of originality today in the genre, this was sorely needed. Even the method to get rid of the zombies was pretty clever, and the reasoning behind it sounded valid for once.

That could actually happen in real life, and it gave a small touch of realism to it that was also needed in the film. It didn't rely on the over-used bullet-to-the-head that is so common for zombie movies.

The zombies themselves, when they are on-screen, are pretty gruesome looking, and several have the customary rotting and decayed look to them. I was even surprised to find a bit of humor in here as well. I laughed at it a couple times, so it earns points for that as well.

The Bad News: The film is really slow, and it takes forever for something to happen. The first twenty minutes features no real action at all, and even the zombies don't appear until well into the movie.

The beginning is just maddeningly slow, and those wanting an all-out zombie film are gonna be really disappointed with this one as it's hardly got any of the tradition zombie film parts. The Final Verdict: Over-coming a slow beginning is key to enjoying this one. Let it play out, it gets far better. There is a bit more to this some may think, so give it a shot.

Zombie fans should be more patient than others, though, as it's pretty long into the film before they come out into the film. Regardless, proceed with caution. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary from Director Tobe Hooper
Inside the Graveyard Featurette
Behind the Scenes Featurette with Director Tobe Hooper
Original Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Big White: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, Giovanni Ribisi, Woody Harrelson, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2005) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: After finding a frozen corpse in a dumpster, Alaskan travel agent Paul (Robin Williams) decides to use it to claim his long-lost brother's life insurance policy.

However, the body is also sought by two dangerous hitmen.

'The Big White: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out May 14th, 2019 via MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: In 'The Big White', a failing Alaskan travel agency owner (Robin Williams playing his Jack Dundee character from 'The Best of Times') schemes to collect on his missing brother's life insurance policy by claiming that a dead body he finds in a dumpster is that of his brother.

Things become complicated when two bumbling (possibly gay) hoods (Tim Blake Nelson and W. Earl Brown) kidnap his wife (Holly Hunter) because they need the body to prove that they have carried out a contract killing.

Hunter's character may or may not have Tourette's Syndrome, a psychological condition which may or may not have comic potential in a feature film. But we will have to wait for a better script and a better to director to find out because the results are inconclusive here.

The main side story involves an obsessive insurance investigator (Giovanni Ribisi) and his air-headed telephone psychic girlfriend (Alison Lohman).

Their scenes together provide the film's best moments and the only times when it manages to duplicate 'Fargo's almost poetic humor. Ribisi is solid in all his scenes and you wish Lohman's part was bigger.

And yes, the 'Fargo' rip-off comparisons are valid, but that does not mean that there is much about 'The Big White' with which 'Fargo' fans will connect.

The similarities are pretty much confined to setting (Alaska instead of Minnesota), production design (white), and basic plot elements (two bumbling hoods, financially desperate businessman, kidnapped and bound wife), and a side story featuring an odd domestic couple (an insurance investigator instead of a female sheriff)!

That said, the 'Fargo' disconnects are more subtle. Instead of a crime thriller with black comedy elements, 'The Big White' is a black comedy with crime thriller elements.

Which would not be a problem except that 'Fargo's' occasional ironic comical moments have several times more amusement value than 'The Big White's' frenzied efforts to inject some humor.

In closing, if you like small off-kilter films (with big name actors having fun with their performances) you would be far better served by 'Dummy' (2002) and 'The Big Empty' (2003).

For, and in my humble and yet highly personal opinion, 'The Big White' tries for the feel of these two films but falls short. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

The Big White Behind the Scenes Featurette
Photo Gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





'Boogie Boy: Special Collector's Edition'
(Mark Dacascos, Emily Lloyd, Michael Pena, Tracy Lords, Linnea Quigley, et al / Blu-ray+DVD / R / (1998) 2019 / MVD Visual)

Overview: After being released from prison, Jesse Page (Mark Dacascos (John Wick 3: Parabellum, Double Dragon) backs his old friend Larry (Jaimz Woolvett, Unforgiven) up on a drug deal gone sour.

With the drug dealers hot on his trail, Jesse has three days to reach Detroit where a new, clean, legitimate life awaits him.

Along the way, his ties to his junkie criminal past are put to the test... What is true friendship made of? How far should loyalty go?

These are questions Jesse must answer on the road to his new life in this gritty action-thriller from writer / director Craig Hamann (My Best Friend's Birthday, Showdown in Manila).

'Boogie Boy: Special Collector's Edition' [Blu-ray+DVD] is out May 14th, 2019 via MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: [** SPOILERS AHEAD **] Jesse is starting a new leaf. Fresh from prison and a lifestyle of drugs and crime, Jesse is drifting and searching for any meaning of existence for the straight and narrow life, anything to cling to even if it is meager in order to put his past behind him.

Unfortunately for him, the bonds of loyalty, friendship and morals just won't let him. This driving force is the basic premise that ties the lives of several people during a decisive 24-hour period in Craig Hamann's excellent and well-executed character study.

PLOT: Within a few months of his release, Jesse (Mark Dacascos) travels to L.A. to hook up a visit with his old cellmate and friend Larry (Jaimz Woolvett).

Larry, simply, doesn't really have his life together, but his addiction tells him otherwise. It doesn't take long before Jesse realizes the potential of being in a bad situation as he meets the rest of Larry's crew and makes it clear to his friend that this is only a visit and will be on his way.

Larry takes advantage of their friendship that night by setting up a drug deal with some young yuppie kids and having Jesse, while on a natural high from getting an offer to play drums in a band (Joan Jett as JERK), to back him and his pals up during the tradeoff.

The deal goes bad and Jesse ends up killing the yuppies in self-defense when he discovers the whole deal is a setup. Everyone is soon on the run, as the yuppies happen to have older brothers who run a real underground organization.

From here on out Jesse and Larry take to the road where they run into some extremely eccentric characters and the truth behind their own lives and motivations.

While the framework of this story works well to lead to a violent, tense and well-executed solution, the real core of the story is with the dramatic elements of the characters.

Writer and Director Craig Hamann successfully manages to pull off intricate and interesting characters within a very bleak and dirty foray of drug use rather than resorting to one dimensional cardboard characters.

Acting wise, the real winner here is Mark Dacascos, who manages to prove that he has more behind his expressive eyes than just a violent action hero machine ala Van Damme or Steven Seagal.

Dacascos is a truly talented actor that is usually wasted within the horrible straight to video action genre. A role such as this is truly a showcase of his talents.

Everyone else does an excellent job as well with standouts by Jaimz Woolvett as Larry, Traci Lords as a drug addicted Scream Queen, Joan Jett doing what she does best screaming into the mike with an attitude and a star turning performance by Frederic Forrest (Chef from Apocalypse Now) as a very strange loner with his own secrets to hide.

In fact the performances and written characters played by Forrest and his "wife" Emily Lloyd (turning in a very sexy yet bizarre act) have enough depth to carry off their own whole feature.

For all you homophobes, yes, there is a homosexual subtext to the film between Jesse and Larry, but it is only implied not shown and if you find that offensive then most likely you would be happier watching a brain-dead action film.

In fact, the subtext, while daring, is an excellent voice behind the two characters as one desperately tries to hold onto the past while the other seeks for some sort of normal existence.

There is an honesty here within the characters that will leave you thinking well after the movie ends.

Overall, within the frames of the violence, action, road film attitude, eccentric characters, drug use and other aspects of the film, is a witty and realistic study of human nature.

It counts. It is dramatic. Powerful from start to finish. A MUST watch! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new director approved 4K High Definition transfer from the original camera negative with the film presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio on Blu-ray (1080p) and standard definition DVD
Original 2.0 Stereo Audio
Optional English and Spanish Subtitles
"The Making of Boogie Boy" (HD, 92 mins) (A brand new feature length retrospective of the film featuring interviews with stars Mark Dacascos, John Hawkes, James Lew, producer Braddon Mendelson and writer / director Craig Hamann)
Photo Gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
Collectible Mini-Poster

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Big Clock: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, Charles Laughton, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1948) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: After murdering someone, a magazine tycoon tries to frame an unknown, innocent man of the murder instead, while the innocent man tries to solve the murder himself.

'The Big Clock: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out May 14th, 2019 via Arrow Films UK / MVD Visual.

Blu-ray Verdict: The story begins via flashback. As it unfolds, Ray Milland's character (editor-in-chief of a crime magazine) inadvertently gets tied into a murder of a woman he met … who just happened to be the girlfriend of the magazine's owner (Charles Laughton) - a real sleaze bag and, quite possibly, the real killer!

All the cards are stacked against Milland, however, and his desperate task is to clear himself and implicate the real murdered (whom he thinks is Laughton's assistant). What happens in between all this is clever and different, with a host of odd characters.

Milland, whom I've come to respect more lately as I've seen some films of his of which I was not previously aware, is excellent here. So is Charles Laughton, although this is another role of Laughton's where we love despising him.

And incidentally, Laughton's mustache here may be one of the worst in any film in cinematic history! The other main character is Maureen O'Sullivan as Milland's wife, though this is quite a step down from her as she plays a supporting, rather than a starring role.

You'll recognize quite a few other characters, though none are truly that memorable, despite each being key to the plot. Oh, and the ending is a total surprise although it happens just a tad too quickly to savor.

By way, near the beginning of the film you should pay attention to the elevator operator in a tiny uncredited part. She is Noel Neill - the same lady who would play Lois Lane in the 1950s 'Superman' show.

Her voice was a dead giveaway and later you will see Harry Morgan in a small role as a combination masseur and 'fixer'.

One last thing, as it should have a big part to play is that the film dispenses with this metaphor, at least in such an obvious way.

Instead, it gives us a great big clock in the skyscraper's lobby (although there's no such thing in the book.) Beyond that, no one bothers to explain the title, sorry (but that means it's left to YOU to figure it out, I guess!) This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a new HD (1080) Presentation and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements
Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin
Turning Back the Clock, a newly filmed analysis of the film by the critic and chief executive of Film London, Adrian Wootton
A Difficult Actor, a newly filmed appreciation of Charles Laughton and his performance in 'The Big Clock' by the actor, writer, and theatre director Simon Callow
Rare hour-long 1948 radio dramatization of The Big Clock by the Lux Radio Theatre, starring staring Ray Milland
Original Theatrical Trailer
Gallery of original stills and promotional materials
Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Christina Newland

www.MVDvisual.com





'Bachman: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Randy Bachman, Neil Young, Fred Turner, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Alex Lifeson, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / MVD Visual - Film Rise)

Overview: 'Bachman' is a contemporary feature length documentary film that follows Bachman Turner Overdrive's Randy Bachman - the award-winning musician - creating his next number one hit.

And he's someone that knows about hits re: American Woman, No Time, You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet, and Takin' Care Of Business, to name but a few!

This engaging documentary looks to his past for inspiration from rarely seen footage, pictures and documents that have been stored at the National Archives in Ottawa for decades.

'Bachman: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out May 10th, 2019 via MVD Visual / Film Rise.

Blu-ray Verdict: A documentary film chronicling the life of Randy Bachman, best known as a founding member of The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive, was always going to peak my interest - and rightly so.

The Canadian musician best known as lead guitarist, songwriter and a founding member of the 1960s and 1970s rock bands The Guess Who and Bachman–Turner Overdrive he was also a member of Brave Belt, Union and Ironhorse; and, of course, has recorded numerous solo albums over the decades.

'Bachman', written and directed by John Barnard (The Sheepdogs Have At It, Menorca), lovingly chronicles Bachman’s life from his childhood in Winnipeg, Canada to his touring career today at the age of 75.

This wondrous, engaging and totally value-packed (for all fans of music) features priceless interviews with Neil Young, Alex Lifeson (Rush), Peter Frampton and Fred Turner, among others.

The 78-minute documentary - which feels much longer as you lovingly allow it to flow over you with its wealth upon wealth of musical history - shows viewers Bachman's love of the guitar and how his passion began at an early age.

How he admired the work of local singer-songwriter Chad Allan and eventually joined his band. That band later became the Guess Who.

Bachman also bucked the common rock star lifestyle of booze, drugs and sex and converted to Mormonism for the woman he loved.

For the first time ever, Bachman reveals how his lifestyle choices led to tension in both bands and the ultimate breakups of the Guess Who and BTO.

'Bachman' also delves into his most recent work, an album featuring the songs of George Harrison. We also get to watch along as he visits his sanctuary: a warehouse filled with hundreds of customized guitars.

Bachman's face lights up as he pulls one rare guitar after another — his passion and love for them are impossible to overlook.

It's quite clear from watching this new documentary that here today, the 75-year-old shows no signs of slowing down and continues to create music and tour the world as a solo artist on his own terms - and for the love of his audiences worldwide.

The additional footage showcases: Neil Young on Winnipeg, Randy's Crazy Horse, Building a Reprise 'Here Comes the Sun', On Chords, Songwriting 'When No One Knows'. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Additional Footage
Theatrical Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com

www.FilmRise.com





'FRONTLINE: The Trial of Ratko Mladiæ'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: 'The Trial of Ratko Mladiæ' provides haunting insights into a war criminal's motives, and the genocide he commanded his troops to carry out - as well as an intimate look at the victims left behind, who remain haunted by what their families endured.

It tells an epic story of justice, accountability and a country trying to escape its bloody past.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, although this captivating, haunting new two hour documentary does go to great lengths to fill even the most casual viewer in from the off, Ratko Mladiæ is a Bosnian Serb convicted war criminal and former warlord who led the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) as a general during the Yugoslav Wars.

He was later found guilty of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

On May 31st 2011, Mladiæ was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the ICTY.

His trial formally began in The Hague on 16 May 2012 and was concluded on November 22nd 2017 finding him guilty and sentencing him to life in prison.

A long-time member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, Mladiæ (who also went by the nickname "The Butcher of Bosnia") began his career in the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) in 1965.

As we watch along we learn that soon came to prominence in the Yugoslav Wars, initially as a high-ranking officer of the Yugoslav People's Army and subsequently as the Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska in the Bosnian War of 1992–95. The Serbian and United States' governments offered €5 million for information leading to Mladiæ's capture and arrest. Mladiæ nevertheless managed to remain at large for nearly sixteen years, initially sheltered by Serbian and Bosnian Serb security forces and later by family.

May 26th 2011, he was arrested in Lazarevo, Serbia. His capture was considered to be one of the pre-conditions for Serbia being awarded candidate status for European Union membership.

On November 22nd 2017, he was sentenced to life in prison by the ICTY after being found guilty of 10 charges, one of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and four of violations of the laws or customs of war.

He was subsequently cleared of one count of genocide. As the top military officer with command responsibility, Mladiæ was deemed by the ICTY to be responsible for both the siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre.

In 'The Trial of Ratko Mladiæ,' FRONTLINE goes inside the historic five-year trial, with unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to the prosecution and defense teams, as well as to witnesses from both sides who came to give evidence. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Korea: The Never-Ending War'
(DVD / NC-17 / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: 'Korea: The Never-Ending War' sheds new light on the global upheaval that led to the Korean War in 1950, a moment when the Cold War turned hot, and how today that war's brutal legacy has forced the world into a deadly nuclear showdown.

It is war that has raged for generations. The consequences of the war's stalemate contribute to a dangerous stand-off between North and South Korea, the United States and China.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, although this captivating, haunting new two hour documentary does go to great lengths to fill even the most casual viewer in from the off, the Korean War has long since been called “the Forgotten War” in the United States.

Where coverage of the 1950s conflict was censored and its memory decades later is often overshadowed by World War II and the Vietnam War.

But the three-year conflict in Korea, which pitted communist and capitalist forces against each other, set the stage for decades of tension among North Korea, South Korea and the United States.

It also helped set the tone for Soviet-American rivalry during the Cold War, profoundly shaping the world we live in today, historians said.

We watch and learn here on this in depth new PBS documentary as tensions between North Korea and the United States continue to mount amid missile tests and taunts, leading to the Korean War and the impacts that linger more than 60 years after its end.

Written and produced by John Maggio and narrated by Korean-American actor John Cho, 'Korea: The Never-Ending War' sheds new light on the global upheaval that led to the Korean War in 1950, a moment when the Cold War turned hot, and how today that war's brutal legacy has forced the world into a deadly nuclear showdown.

The war pitted South Korea and the United States, fighting under the auspices of the United Nations, against North Korea and China. Other nations contributed troops, too, but American forces did most of the fighting.

The Soviet Union supported North Korea at the beginning of the war, giving it arms, tanks and strategic advice. But China soon emerged as its most important ally, sending soldiers to fight in Korea as a way to keep the conflict away from its border.

The war devastated Korea. Historians said that between three million and four million people were killed, although firm figures have never been produced, particularly by the North Korean government. As many as 70 percent of the dead may have been civilians.

Destruction was particularly acute in the North, which was subjected to years of American bombing, including with napalm. Roughly 25 percent of its prewar population was killed and many of the survivors lived underground by the war’s end.

'Korea: The Never-Ending War' documents how the conflict has continued post-1953; the events that triggered North Korea's nuclear program; and South Korea's economic expansion.

The consequences of the war's stalemate contribute to a dangerous stand-off between North and South Korea, the United States and China. The 'end' of this conflict is still an open question. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Cold Pursuit: 4K Ultra HD'
(Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Tom Bateman, Emmy Rossum, Micheál Richardson, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / 2019 / Summit Entertainment- Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Based on the 2014 Norwegian film 'In Order of Disappearance,' Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate Films' 'Cold Pursuit' is the story of a grieving snowplow driver who seeks out revenge against the drug dealers who killed his son.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this May with the release of this quite stunning, and brilliantly off-center black comedy thriller 'Cold Pursuit' on new 4K home video format on May 14th, 2019.

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

So, what we have is 'Cold Pursuit' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the delicious hues and nuances of all the frantic "white out" outdoor running and chase scenes involving the many action sequences.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where Neeson is running after his "prey" and his face (as it is cold, after all) is puffed and red) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1.

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

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. Well, snow plower Nelson Cox (Neeson) has just been awarded citizen of the year while enjoying his happy life, happy wife, and happy son.

But then his son is found dead of a heroin overdose. Despite Nelson's pleas that his son wasn't a drug user, the police find no evidence of foul play and rule it a suicide.

Still, Nelson feels that something fishy is going on and discovers from a friend that his son was the target of a mafia hit. Once he figures out who it was, be becomes a vigilante and kills off several people to get to the leader.

Mafia head "Viking" (Tom Bateman) becomes angry (and this is a hotheaded villain) and mistakes the killer coming from another Native-American mafia within the same town. They eventually instigate conflict and a mafia war, while Nelson continues to axe off more people.

It eventually leads him to a point where he kidnaps Viking's son in order to draw him out...and the gang...and the other gang...and the local police as a war of confused sides come together just to figure out whose angry at who.

I'll say right away that while this has the plot of a standard thriller that seems tailor made for Liam Neeson; that because it is and is proud of it. In fact, this is more of a parody of those Liam Neeson movies that come out around this time.

'Cold Pursuit' takes a lot of those elements, like the tough leading man with a combat background, an eccentric villain, a family member he's avenging, and even the use of a transport machine as a plot device (in this case, a snowplow), and put it into a movie that made me laugh at the dark elements that are typically easier to write in dramas.

What helps 'Cold Pursuit' are a couple of things, like its overall tone, which seems like a mix of Coen brothers cinematography and Tarantino-style editing and storytelling. This brings up a lot of side characters that are usually sidelined in a lot of Liam Neeson movies.

The main villain is delightfully over-the-top as an angry, yelling hothead, the Native Americans play off as wise while seemingly insane, and even some of the mafia goons get their little personality quirks that make them more then just throw away bad guys. There isn't much to Liam Neeson himself, who is basically the straight man to all the chaos.

I think that Liam Neeson would have to know at this point that his characters have gone through the same scenario so many times, that playing it up as a parody would only make sense from this point.

'Cold Pursuit' is an example of how that can take up that idea and make a parody without it becoming too silly. This is a dark comedy and because of that, I can see this as being an acquired taste.

Some may want an action with a more engaging story and some may want a comedy with more jokes. I say this is a happy marriage that isn't great, but rather simply remains a fun ride.

So, in summary,other then those wanting a more unconventional comedy I found 'Cold Pursuit' and Liam Neeson as a fun, vibrant and darkly comedic duo that make this movie exactly what it sets out to be.

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on a couple of the special features that are included.

The first I'll talk about is the Interview with Actor Liam Neeson, which as much as it only "reveals" what we already know about his character and the film in general, he does - in that low-caliber, gravel tone of his - honestly speak as if he LOVES his amateur killer character and what he gets up to re: eradicating the local criminality, as he puts it.

Neeson's own profound words about all of us having the "primitive need for avenging a wrong" within us all is a wee bit tough to hear now, given what he revealed on morning TV a couple of months back, but as an admirer of the original film that this is based on, Neeson also reveals his love for that one along with how happy he was they got the same director to direct 'Cold Pursuit.'

The other one I'll talk about is a further revealing gem entitled Welcome to Kehoe: Behind the Scenes on Cold Pursuit” where we get to see wonderful (especially if you loved the film like myself) How'd they do that? snippets of filming.

Much like when a truck was meant to have "run over him," but here we see it was only gently backed up over him before driving off as if it had driven over him!

Match that up with some snow and ice fight scenes, where nothing is quite what it seems cinematography wise, and yes, this is a first rate special feature, for sure.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Deleted Scenes
Interview with Actor Liam Neeson
Interview with Director Hans Petter Moland
“Welcome to Kehoe: Behind the Scenes on Cold Pursuit” Featurette

The 'Cold Pursuit: 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack' (+ Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD) will be released May 14th, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $42.99, $39.99, and $29.95, respectively.

Official Trailer

Official Website

www.LGF.com





'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'
(Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: As Hiccup fulfills his dream of creating a peaceful dragon utopia, Toothless’ discovery of an untamed, elusive mate draws the Night Fury away.

When danger mounts at home and Hiccup’s reign as village chief is tested, both dragon and rider must make impossible decisions to save their kind.

'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital] is out May 21st, 2019 via Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Blu-ray Verdict: Get your horned helmets on everybody for the wondrous 'How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World' Blu-ray is finally upon us!

After the critical success of the original and the sequel, can 'The Hidden World' live up to the five year hype? There is only one way to find out and I'm here to aid your quest, my friends.

The Hidden World is set a year after Drago Bloodfist's attempted plot to destroy the Dragon race and enslave the Viking Nation of Berk.

From the ashes of this conflict, Berk has become a major utopia for both humanity and dragons, all thanks to the first dragon rider and visionary Hiccup, who struggles to live up to his late-fathers expectations as the Chieftain of Berk.

But after discovering a secret conspiracy by infamous dragon hunter called Grimmel in his endless quest to hunt his dragon Toothless, the last Night Fury, Hiccup and his family set out to find the legendary Hidden World of Dragons in his hope that mankind and dragons can continue to co-exist in peace.

'How to Train your Dragon 3' (or 'The Hidden World,' as it was subsequently subtitled) brings us to the ultimate finale. Where the stakes are raised even higher for both the people of Berk and their dragon allies.

The animation, for a start, is a big new step for the franchise and DreamWorks films in many years. And like its predecessor the aging of characters continues to be very realistic even up to the final scene.

The combination of human and dragon action is better than ever and the environments and settings are spectacular to gaze upon.

The voice acting and dialogue is well orchestrated and written in with the story that flows and continues to get better from each act at a time.

The story, in general, is the best I've seen in this series so far, and truly shows a large amount of tension as to how far Hiccup and Berk would go to make Man and Beast co-exist as equals.

The story also brings back the long lost vibe that such films as 'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi' had once before.

The drama and situations are written in well and bring in much needed character developments to the leads such as Hiccup and Toothless and to newer characters.

And how they end the story is brilliant and a very definitive way to close the trilogy on a high note by having the dragons returning from whence they came in order for both Berk and dragons to be safe from future Danger.

The characters continue to grow better such as Hiccup as he finally goes from village nobody, to dragon trainer, to warrior and finally as the Chief that his father wishes him to be in perfect transition.

And his chemistry with Toothless is much more personified and his aiding of him to get close to the female night fury is ingenious.

Astrid shows much more stronger development from her many other appearances and continues to be the biggest female Viking Badass in battle while showing many powerful, romantic moments with Hiccup and his daughter in-law relationship towards Hiccup's mother throughout.

The villain may not have much of a soul-shattering human motivation like Drago did as to why he wants to kill the dragons.

Grimmel is actually as much more Intelligent and far more dangerous and resourceful antagonist than the latter. And with the acting of F. Murray Abraham, you have a very sinister foe you wouldn't want to cross.

The side characters of Gobber, Snotlout, Fishlegs, Ruffnut and Tuffnut continue to provide more and inventive comic relief. Enough to bring in many moments of laughter even when things get much more serious.

Oh, and if you were expecting me to include some dislikes here, well, sorry, for this entire movie is as flawless as a polished sports car!

The incredible thing about this movie is that 'How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World' proves for the first time in many years that ending a franchise on a definitive high note IS and CAN still be made possible.

Other animated film series', such as 'Shrek', 'Despicable Me' and 'Cars' have all tried to end their trilogies in a good way but never seem to push their boundaries enough to bring audiences something new that they could love.

But never say never as 'The Hidden World' has everything that a finale could ever want with enough story, drama, danger, humor, romance, likable characters and heart stopping twists that brings this beloved series the perfect closure it deserves!

As for a closer look at a few of the lovely Bonus Features, in The Dragon Sheep Chronicles, protecting sheep from the dragons of Berk is no easy task but Hiccup has a plan!

In A Deck of Dragons, we observe four new dragons as Fishlegs unveils his original deck of dragon trading cards and in Astrid’s Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds, well hold on tight as Astrid sums up the whole dragon trilogy in a legendary 60 seconds!

Welcome to New Berk features Hiccup as your guide and who gives us a firsthand look at the updated Viking village of New Berk. And in How I Learned from Dragons the diverse cast of characters reveal why they think the dragon trilogy is so special.

Finally there is a rather wonderful FREE game entitled 'Train Your Own Dragon' inside the packaging which includes an exclusive Virtual Pet!

So, what we have is 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, and French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1.

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

Two Shorts: Bilby and Bird Karma
Deleted Scenes (with Intros by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois)
• How to Voice Your Viking
• Creating an Epic Dragon Tale
• How I Learned from Dragons
The Dragon Sheep Chronicles
Welcome to New Berk
A Deck of Dragons
• Growing Up with Dragons
• The Evolving Character Design of Dragons
• Drawing Dragons
• Epic Villain
Astrid's Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds
Feature Commentary (by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois, Producer Bradford Lewis and Head of Character Animation Simon Otto)
Feature Commentary - The Evolving Character Design of Dragons
Alternate Opening with Intro by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois
Brave Wilderness Presents: Nature + Dragons = Awesome

Official Trailer

Official Website

Official Facebook Page

www.UPHE.com





'Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders'
(Leo Ramsey, Devin McGregor Ketko, Timothy Lee-Priest, Jason Lasater, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + CD / NR / 2019 / Cleopatra Entertainment - MVD Visual)

Overview: 'Room 37: The Mysterious Death of Johnny Thunders' is a supernatural horror-thriller written and directed by the Cordero Brothers – Vicente Cordero and Fernando Cordero Caballero.

The film features Leo Ramsey, Devin McGregor Ketko, Timothy Lee-Priest, and Jason Lasater, and includes the infamous Johnny Thunders song “Born to Lose,” along with a vocal appearance by legendary New York Dolls member Sylvain Sylvain.

Produced by Shanti Whitney, the film was executive produced by Brian Perera, Yvonne Perera, and co-produced by Tim Yasui.

Blu-ray Verdict: As we eagerly watch and learn, Johnny Thunders arrives to New Orleans to begin a new chapter of his life by following a new musical sound, and staying clean from drugs in order to see his kids again.

But, after he settles into the St. Peter's Guest House Hotel, things go awry. His room is robbed (which contained the last of his money) and his only methadone supply was stolen from him too.

Johnny's journey to recovery quickly turns dark when he takes desperate measures to get better, all which propel Johnny deeper into chaos that ultimately leads to his unexplained mysterious final hours.

With his battered TV yellow Les Paul guitar, Johnny Thunders – once a wide-eyed John Anthony Genzale Junior from Queens, New York – rose from spotty Stones fan to scuzzy hellion with the New York Dolls.

Strutting about on the filthy streets of Manhattan and stages around the world like it was no one’s business, Johnny was a sight – and sound – to behold.

Even dolled up in pseudo-drag, sporting a shiny pair of hooker heels, he looked like he could instil fear and terror into the likes of his hero Keef.

The lanky Italian kid seemed as if he’d come from another planet; “somethin’ else”, as Eddie Cochran would have said, had he been around to hear his shot-to-hell guitar cutting through the speakers like a rusty blade.

Both as a New York Doll and a solo artist with his outfit the Heartbreakers, Johnny simply oozed rock and roll from every sordid pore.

That, however, wasn’t the only thing coursing through his veins; like the drug-addled heroes who’d stolen his heart as a baseball-loving boy, Thunders had a serious smack problem.

Or, rather, smack had a serious problem with him – so much so, that it often overshadowed everything else in his life, including his musical legacy.

While heroin certainly deteriorated his health, it wasn’t what sounded the death knell for him in 1991 at only 38.

Thunders, in fact, had turned to methadone to get off the horse; but, as fate would have it, he was also battling Leukemia.

And so, as this enthralling new Cleoptra Entertainment / MVD Visual rockumentray 'Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunder' unveils, one April’s day, the musician was found dead in a seedy New Orleans hotel just as he’d so often felt in his troubled, yet brilliant life: alone.

Played by Leo Ramsey ('For The People'), Johnny Thunders' journey is played out to what we assume perfection here. Albeit we don't honestly know what actually happened in those final days and hours and minutes, or why he did what he did, Ramsey's portrayal of Thunders alone is as, at the very least, humanizing and solid.

Inspired by true life events surrounding the mysterious death of former NY Doll guitarist Johnny Thunders, 'Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders' is a fascinating, if not gothically dark and horror-edged look into his life for all fans of Punk Rock, The New York Dolls and, of course, the man, the myth, the band, the legends, Johnny Thunder & The Heartbreakers.

In a deluxe package that also includes a DVD of the film along with a magnificent CD soundtrack featuring original film score and music from The Heartbreakers, Johnny Thunders, New York Dolls, Sylvain Sylain and Walter Lure, this is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Amazon Purchase Link

www.Cleopatra-Records.com

www.MVDshop.com





'Lords of Chaos: Uncensored Director's Cut'
(Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, et al / Blu-ray + DVD / NR / 2019 / Cleopatra Entertainment - MVD Visual)

Overview: A teenager's quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the early 1990s results in a very violent outcome.

Blu-ray Verdict: Oslo, 1987. 17-year-old Euronymous is determined to escape his traditional upbringing and becomes fixated on creating 'true Norwegian black metal' with his band Mayhem.

He mounts shocking publicity stunts to put the band's name on the map, but the lines between show and reality start to blur.

Arson, violence and a vicious murder shock the nation that is under siege by these Lords of Chaos.

For my money, 'Lords of Chaos' is not only a solid piece of film, but an engaging, darkly comical but at times tense drama film based on actual true events that took place within the uprising of Norwegian metal music in the late 80's and early 90's; revolving around bands Mayhem and Burzem.

Having said that, the rest is really best to allow to unfold before your very eyes for it will leave an impression on you, one way or another, that's for damn sure!

The script and pace work is great and there's never a dull moment - despite a few sequences that deal with a more earthly subject matter - such as suicide, murder and religious retaliations.

The acting range of the leads in both Rory Culkin and Emory Cohen are both together on screen and as one in their own pockets of Gothness, stirring and provoking.

The tenseness of the third act is a massively wondrous pay off, whether you know the full extent of said ending (in real life) or not, whilst director Jonas Åkerlund helms from his past experiences with metal bands flawlessly.

Chock full of surprisingly more darkly toned humor and brutal moments of violent crimes than I would have expected, and whilst being based on the biographical book of the same name, 'Lords of Chaos' was a delightful surprise to me and an unexpected two thumbs up at the very same time (from all who viewed it with me last night).

Overall, and playing Devil's Advocate, sure, it's far from a perfect movie, but for what it tries to relay, for what it attempts to signify within both the musical community and those that "live" within it, well, it's sense of sadness entwinned with bouts of entertaining, yet brutal and emotional experiences makes this one highly worthy cinematic venture. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Limited Edition Bonus Features of:

11 Director's Teasers
Trailer

Official Purchase Link

www.UnrestrictedView.com

www.MVDshop.com





'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' [4K]
(Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: As Hiccup fulfills his dream of creating a peaceful dragon utopia, Toothless’ discovery of an untamed, elusive mate draws the Night Fury away.

When danger mounts at home and Hiccup’s reign as village chief is tested, both dragon and rider must make impossible decisions to save their kind.

'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' [4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + DVD + Digital] is out May 21st, 2019 via Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Get your horned helmets on everybody for the wondrous 'How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World' 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is finally upon us!

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this May with the release of this quite stunning, and brilliantly lavish 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' on new 4K home video format on May 21st, 2019.

For my money, this 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

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

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the delicious hues and nuances of fire breathing scenes combined with the joyous taking flight scenes high in the skies.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where the heroines of the piece are front and center, their animated faces truly living and breathing on screen) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 and Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1.

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

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. After the critical success of the original and the sequel, can 'The Hidden World' live up to the five year hype? There is only one way to find out and I'm here to aid your quest, my friends.

The Hidden World is set a year after Drago Bloodfist's attempted plot to destroy the Dragon race and enslave the Viking Nation of Berk.

From the ashes of this conflict, Berk has become a major utopia for both humanity and dragons, all thanks to the first dragon rider and visionary Hiccup, who struggles to live up to his late-fathers expectations as the Chieftain of Berk.

But after discovering a secret conspiracy by infamous dragon hunter called Grimmel in his endless quest to hunt his dragon Toothless, the last Night Fury, Hiccup and his family set out to find the legendary Hidden World of Dragons in his hope that mankind and dragons can continue to co-exist in peace.

'How to Train your Dragon 3' (or 'The Hidden World,' as it was subsequently subtitled) brings us to the ultimate finale. Where the stakes are raised even higher for both the people of Berk and their dragon allies.

The animation, for a start, is a big new step for the franchise and DreamWorks films in many years. And like its predecessor the aging of characters continues to be very realistic even up to the final scene.

The combination of human and dragon action is better than ever and the environments and settings are spectacular to gaze upon.

The voice acting and dialogue is well orchestrated and written in with the story that flows and continues to get better from each act at a time.

The story, in general, is the best I've seen in this series so far, and truly shows a large amount of tension as to how far Hiccup and Berk would go to make Man and Beast co-exist as equals.

The story also brings back the long lost vibe that such films as 'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi' had once before.

The drama and situations are written in well and bring in much needed character developments to the leads such as Hiccup and Toothless and to newer characters.

And how they end the story is brilliant and a very definitive way to close the trilogy on a high note by having the dragons returning from whence they came in order for both Berk and dragons to be safe from future Danger.

The characters continue to grow better such as Hiccup as he finally goes from village nobody, to dragon trainer, to warrior and finally as the Chief that his father wishes him to be in perfect transition.

And his chemistry with Toothless is much more personified and his aiding of him to get close to the female night fury is ingenious.

Astrid shows much more stronger development from her many other appearances and continues to be the biggest female Viking Badass in battle while showing many powerful, romantic moments with Hiccup and his daughter in-law relationship towards Hiccup's mother throughout.

The villain may not have much of a soul-shattering human motivation like Drago did as to why he wants to kill the dragons.

Grimmel is actually as much more Intelligent and far more dangerous and resourceful antagonist than the latter. And with the acting of F. Murray Abraham, you have a very sinister foe you wouldn't want to cross.

The side characters of Gobber, Snotlout, Fishlegs, Ruffnut and Tuffnut continue to provide more and inventive comic relief. Enough to bring in many moments of laughter even when things get much more serious.

Oh, and if you were expecting me to include some dislikes here, well, sorry, for this entire movie is as flawless as a polished sports car!

The incredible thing about this movie is that 'How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World' proves for the first time in many years that ending a franchise on a definitive high note IS and CAN still be made possible.

Other animated film series', such as 'Shrek', 'Despicable Me' and 'Cars' have all tried to end their trilogies in a good way but never seem to push their boundaries enough to bring audiences something new that they could love.

But never say never as 'The Hidden World' has everything that a finale could ever want with enough story, drama, danger, humor, romance, likable characters and heart stopping twists that brings this beloved series the perfect closure it deserves!

As for a closer look at a few of the lovely Bonus Features, in The Dragon Sheep Chronicles, protecting sheep from the dragons of Berk is no easy task but Hiccup has a plan!

In A Deck of Dragons, we observe four new dragons as Fishlegs unveils his original deck of dragon trading cards and in Astrid’s Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds, well hold on tight as Astrid sums up the whole dragon trilogy in a legendary 60 seconds!

Welcome to New Berk features Hiccup as your guide and who gives us a firsthand look at the updated Viking village of New Berk. And in How I Learned from Dragons the diverse cast of characters reveal why they think the dragon trilogy is so special.

Finally there is a rather wonderful FREE game entitled 'Train Your Own Dragon' inside the packaging which includes an exclusive Virtual Pet! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

Alternate Opening with Intro by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois
Two Shorts: Bilby and Bird Karma
Deleted Scenes (with Intros by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois)
• How to Voice Your Viking
• Creating an Epic Dragon Tale
• How I Learned from Dragons
The Dragon Sheep Chronicles
Welcome to New Berk
A Deck of Dragons
• Growing Up with Dragons
• The Evolving Character Design of Dragons
• Drawing Dragons
• Epic Villain
Astrid's Whole Dragon Trilogy in 60 Seconds
Feature Commentary (by Writer/Director Dean DeBlois, Producer Bradford Lewis and Head of Character Animation Simon Otto)
Feature Commentary - The Evolving Character Design of Dragons
Brave Wilderness Presents: Nature + Dragons = Awesome

The 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' (+ Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD) will be released May 21st, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $42.99, $39.99, and $29.95, respectively.

Official Trailer

Official Website

Official Facebook Page

www.UPHE.com





'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out'
(The Police / Blu-ray / NR / (2006) 2019 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: 'Everyone Stares' is a first-person account of The Police's ascent from obscurity to worldwide fame as well as an astute and sometimes hilarious commentary on the pop culture of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Blu-ray Verdict: I've always been a sucker for all these "first-person accounts" of musicians within bands back from the day so having been sent this wondrous Blu-ray for review - from one of my favorite bands growing up - well, bring it on!

'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out' is a quite brilliant 99 minute cinematic venture where Stewart Copeland (for those not in the know, the drummer) brings a fresh, first-person perspective to all-things (in this filmed timeframe, of course) about his enormously successful band The Police.

Fans of the band know of the legendary battles the three band members endured throughout their career together, but this film shows just how magnificent, how easy-breezy and great it was before their success consumed them.

Shot in grainy 8mm film, the organic visuals complete the essence of this rock and roll time capsule, which features rare concert footage and behind-the-scenes glimpses of their rise to fame.

As a fan, let alone a casual bystander, watching this film in its early stages is like discovering unearthed music from your favorite artist for just watching Sting (in Texas in 1978 in their car) with his huge head phones on and yet attune to everything going on around him is one of the most blissful things I've cinematically witnessed in ages.

Watching it all unfold through the eye(s) of Copeland you feel as if you're absorbing the atmosphere as it progresses. Like when Copeland admits that being a three piece was helpful to them whilst touring America as they each got more room in the car!

In truth though, the film does move at a rather rapid pace as early on the band travel on yet another highway in search of the one to break them big in America and after asking for directions to a Best Western (hotel), seemingly in a blink of an eye (albeit a few years later), they are knee deep in fame and frolicking on the French Riviera!

But that's jumping to the end of this story way too soon for we get cute visual treats early on as they stop off at a record store in Phoenix, Arizona to sign copies of their new record.

Not the biggest turn out they would have, but chock full of young girls panting at the mere sight of these three young British boys and me thinks that's all they could have asked for!

Indeed, and in what could have so easily been a demonstrative Rise and Fall account of how creative differences tore apart a legendary band early on, 'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out' is actually a heartwarming scrapbook of fond memories; reminding all of us of how good it once was for them back then.

Oh, and when Sting states that he blames all his problems on the man holding the camera, well, you just know there's a hint of truth in there somewhere!

Culled from over 50 hours of Super 8 movies he shot during the acclaimed trio's heyday, Copeland also narrates at his own mid-tempo, Lou Reed-esque pace - which, monotone as it clearly is still seems to work just fine here.

Now available for the first time on Blu-ray, 'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out' is, without a shadow of a doubt, a shining video example of days gone by where the footage (thankfully) is left to speak for itself.

www.Eagle-Rock.com

Official 'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out' Trailer





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