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Willow

'The Fate of the Furious' [4K Ultra HD+Blu-ray]
(Vin Diesel, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD / NR / 2017 / Universal Pictures)

Overview: Now that Dom (Diesel) and Letty (Rodriguez) are married and Brian and Mia have retired from the game—and the rest of the crew has been exonerated—the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman (Oscar winner, Charlize Theron) seduces Dom into the world of crime he can't seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before.

Blu-ray Verdict: Before we begin the review, let's start by acknowledging the INCREDIBLE, brighter, deeper, more lifelike color that these 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays bring forth, each and every time. For they are, well, INCREDIBLE and truly allow you to see things that the generic Blu-ray vision simply cannot. I mean, the color alone on this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc - which comes as a two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 BD-66) - is just so crisp, so clear, so crystal.

For those that wish to be in the know, let's break down some of the geeky stats, shall we. This is a Codec: HEVC / H.265, with a Resolution: 4K (2160p), and an overall Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1. The Audio is English: Dolby Atmos + English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 + Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 + French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, and the Subtitles are: English SDH, French, and Spanish.

Finally, and leaving the best for last, this 4K Ultra HD movie experience means that we have a 4X sharper picture image than regular HD, HDR (High Dynamic Range) means we get brilliant brights and deepest darks within the film, and with Immersive Audio, we get that multi-dimensional sound experience throughout.

OK, on to the actual film review and, well, let's face it, who doesn't like or even simply root for the "heroes" portrayed within the celluloid wonderment of these incredible 'Fast and the Furious' movies?

Indeed, the whole 'Fast and the Furious' franchise has always made its way with being fun entertaining films. Cool cars, crazy insane action sequences that usually breaks the laws of physics, and lastly, the story always focuses on the theme of family. That is usually the case with the most of these movies, and the code that Dominic Toretto lives by.

Old enemies become good and good go bad, so it seems when Dominic (Vin Diesel) betrays his team and family during an extract mission in Berlin. Stealing an emp device, and reporting to cyber terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron). Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and the rest of the team that we all know from the previous films have to track down Ciphers next move and stop Dom. Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and the new addition (Scott Eastwood) will need Hobb and his team and the help from their former enemy Deckard (Jason Statham).

I feel like the fast movies are getting better as it goes on from every movie and amazing to see how it went from a street racing movie to a heist film to a spy action. Also one that should not be taken seriously. It's a blockbuster action movie that you should leave brains and logic out before seeing the movie.

Seeing these characters as a team go on glide trotting missions to stop cypher terrorism using sporty cars and tactical fast tanks. Does these missions even require them to use cars? Probably not, sure there is other ways they could have handled it. But than it wouldn't be a fast movie, would it. The action sequences are big, loud, and insane. From the opening sequence, in Cuba, seeing Dom race with a burning car was fun. Until he meets Cipher that persuaded him to betray his team. Without giving away details, on Doms motivation to do such a thing against his family, it's best to see for yourself.

The film also takes place in New York and has one insane scene when Cipher hacks into computerized cars for her own control and leading a wave of cars to invade a convoy. Last, the chase sequence with the cars being chased by a submarine was fun in a overlong battle that takes place in Russia. The cast was still great and it was fun to see Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham taunt each other when working on a team. Helen Mirren has a brief appearance and is well worth it. Scott Eastwood was also a fun addition as a rookie to Mr. Nobody. Charlize Theron as the villain was a perfect choice. But sadly, she does not have much to do besides her menacing threats and being in a command room throughout the whole movie.

The film does have its twist and turns in the direction, when characters family limit is tested. But in the end, the central theme will always be about family coming together.

In closing, 'The Fate of the Furious' is awesome and does best for what it is trying to do which is entertain with crazy action sequences. Great cast. Fun to see these characters work together. Has its cheesy dialogue humor. And I hope to see more. I'm sure you will too once you add this incredible 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray to your collection.

Chock full with some delightful featurettes, some of my own personal favorites were The Cuban Spirit, where we get to see the F&F gane travel to Cuba for the opening scene of the movie. "One of the best things about making these Fast and Furious movies," explains star Michelle Rodriguez, "is being able to take our fans around the world with us". She explains, and then showcases, how they brought a taste of the Cuban culture to their audience.

In Car Stunts, director F. Gary Gray explains how he did his homework before even picking up a camera to shoot some of the most incredible stunt scenes in the series yet. He further explains what he deemed to be missing from the series since the first one were more car races. So here we follow Dom's car race to try and win back his cousin's car - and all the excitement that goes with that.

It showcases how a lot of motorbike stunts are orchestrated now throughout along with a quite brilliant, and well timed, letting go of a motorbike in front of Dom's car to try and put him off winning the race - and yes, it was a real motorbike and yes it really hit that car Dom was (supposed) to be driving!

In Car Culture, Vin Diesel (Dom) explains how Dodge really stepped up to the plate with their cars and trucks throughout the series, but here on F8 he felt they achieved a whole new level. The horsepower, the craftsmanship, the workmanship in general was just unbelievable to both the actors and the film crew.

The one car they all talk about is the Ice Charger, blasting through the snow, and which Diesel himself calls "pretty spectacular". Delivering everything you've been accustomed to seeing on a Fast & Furious film, the all-wheel drive road car built from scratch was an amazing clip to behold too. It was a one-of-a-kind vehicle and filmed in Iceland, well, put the two together and you've got yourself one of the most dangerous, and yet scenic chapters of the entire franchise.

In conclusion, watching it all open up before my very eyes on this 4K Ultra HD it truly is amazing viewing. And together with all these special features included here (although the regular Blu-ray should be pretty nice to watch these on also, I would imagine), this is one NOT to be missed. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, includes the EXTENDED DIRECTOR'S CUT of the film ONLY on Digital, and comes with the Special Features of:

The Cuban Spirit (Featurette)
In The Family (Featurette)
Car Culture (Featurette)
All About The Stunts (Featurette)
Extended Fight Scenes (Featurette)
Feature Commentary with Director F. Gary Gray
Digital Copy of 'The Fate of the Furious'
Features High Dynamic Range (HDR) for Brighter, Deeper, More Lifelike Color

'The Fate of the Furious' - Official Trailer

Official Website

Official Facebook Page





'FRONTLINE: American Patriot'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: In 'FRONTLINE: American Patriot' we see how one family's fight against the government invigorated armed militias and "Patriot" groups thereafter. We get inside the Bundy family's standoffs over land in the West, and see who the groups aligned with them that grew to levels not seen in decades.

DVD Verdict: 'FRONTLINE: American Patriot - Inside The Armed Uprising Against The Federal Government' is a paralyzing hour long documentary that showcases the various Militia's and their various fights against the Federal Government.

Indeed, more than that, PBS's FRONTLINE goes deep inside the battle between the Bundy ranching family in the West and the federal government, examining how a simmering fight over land in Nevada and Oregon became deadly; invigorated a wider armed militia movement, and continues to challenge law enforcement.

Drawing on deep access to key people on all sides of the battle, 'FRONTLINE: American Patriot', and for those not in the know, the aforementioned 2014 Bundy standoff was an armed confrontation between supporters of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and law enforcement. It had followed a 20-year legal dispute in which the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had obtained court orders directing Bundy to pay over $1 million in withheld grazing fees for Bundy's use of federally owned land adjacent to Bundy's ranch in southeastern Nevada.

In truth, the ongoing dispute started in 1993, when, in protest against changes in grazing rules, Bundy declined to renew his permit for cattle grazing on BLM-administered lands near Bunkerville, Nevada. According to the BLM, Bundy continued to graze his cattle on public lands without a permit.

In 1998, Bundy was prohibited by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada from grazing his cattle on an area of land later called the Bunkerville Allotment. In July 2013, the BLM complaint was supplemented when federal judge Lloyd D. George ordered that Bundy refrain from trespassing on federally administered land in the Gold Butte area of Clark County.

'FRONTLINE: American Patriot' examines the battle between the Bundy family - including Ammon and Ryan's Nevada cattle rancher father, Clive; and who turned out to be the focal narrative spine throughout - and the government, as well as the larger so-called "patriot" movement, and its anti-government beliefs.

It is enthralling from start to finish and if you don't know the story, well, come the end of this documentary you'll want to find out more, trust me. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and features the Theatrical Release alongside The Broadcast Version.

www.PBS.org





'The Zodiac Killer: Special Edition' [Blu-ray+DVD]
(Hal Reed, Bob Jones, Bertha Dahl, et al / Blu ray+DVD / R / (1971) 2017 / AGFA - MVD Visual)

Overview: The San Francisco area is beset by a series of seemingly random murders without motive or pattern. The police are taunted by phone calls and letters. Could the maniac be the violent, truck driver, or the seemingly mild-mannered mailman, or even a cop?

Blu-ray Verdict: This low, oh-so-low budget thriller attempts to seriously cast a light on the reality of serial killers in our society, purporting to be "based on the facts".

Indeed, it soon came in the wake of the real life Zodiac murders that plagued San Francisco in the late 1960s. While obviously it's not nearly as polished or as well known as, say, 'Dirty Harry', it is a genuinely interesting curio.

For my money, reviewer or simply an interested party, I actually thought that the acting wasn't that bad. In fact, it's better than one might ordinarily find in such B level fare.

Anyway, and at first we follow the day to day activities of two guys: harried mailman Jerry (Hal Reed, 'The Doberman Gang') and volatile truck driver Grover (Bob Jones). Jerry comes across as a nice enough, polite enough man to others, while Bob likes to impress women by creating a false identity of a successful businessman.

While the characters are somewhat entertaining to watch, they're just not as intriguing as the murder spree that will soon begin in earnest. While the killer will be taunting the authorities and the media with calls and letters, two frustrated detectives, Sgt. Pittman (Ray Lynch) and Officer Heller (Tom Pittman) will try to work the case.

The raw, gritty approach is a plus, although 'The Zodiac Killer' might not be trashy or exploitative enough for some viewer tastes. Location shooting is decent. There's sufficient violence and a little bit of gore. At times screenwriters Ray Cantrell and Manny Cardoza along with director Tom Hanson even manage to create some humor with the material.

We see our ego-driven, confident maniac (who's identified sooner in the movie than one might expect) actually kill one woman with her own trunk hood, another with her own spare tire.

While there's nothing really special here, 'The Zodiac Killer' (1971) does make for some mildly amusing entertainment (especially if its a rainy Sunday afternoon). For seekers of obscure curiosities, sure, but intriguing enough to compel a passerby to watch to the very end, definitely.

[FYI: San Francisco Chronicle columnist Paul Avery - best known for his in depth coverage of the Zodiac Killer - supplied a foreword for the film, played an active role in the production, and is listed as a consultant in the credits]. This is a Widescreen presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

New 4K scan from the only surviving 16mm blow-up elements
Audio Commentary with director Tom Hanson and producer Manny Nedwick
On-camera interview with director Tom Hanson and producer Manny Nedwick
Liner notes and director Tom Hanson interview by Chris Poggiali of TEMPLE OF SCHLOCK
Tabloid-horror trailers from the AGFA archive!
Reversible artwork
Bonus Movie: ANOTHER SON OF SAM (1977) from a new 2K scan!

'The Zodiac Killer' (2-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] is available for purchase on July 25th, 2017.

'The Zodiac Killer' (2-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] Purchase Link

www.mvdb2b.com





'Re-Animator' (2-Disc Limited Edition) [Blu-ray]
(Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, et al / 2-Disc Blu ray / R / (1985) 2017 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus.

Blu-ray Verdict: With a reported budget of just $900,000, director Stuart Gordon (From Beyond), and with a run time of just 86 minutes, 'Re-Animator' featured Jeffery Combs as Herbert West, a young physician who works up a full head of steam with his views on cheating death.

Indeed, his headstrong opinions lead to clashes with his new med school teacher Dr. Hill, forcing him to continue his experiments in his basement. At first, Dr. West's housemate Dan, is shocked by the experiments, but his curiosity compels him to join forces with West and eventually the two put their heads together to conduct further experiments.

Dan also enlists his girlfriend Megan in their strange activities and although she is repulsed by them, she agrees to help because she is head over heels in love with him. The re-animations begin to spiral out of control and Dan comes to realize that he's in over his head. Soon the erstwhile corpses develop minds of their own, leading to a head-on clash between re-animated and re-animators.

As for the dark humor embedded within the film throughout, well, ... SPOILER ALERT!! ... West chopping off Dr. Hill's head with a metal shovel and then immediately being annoyed when it won't sit up in the metal dish is just morbid humor gold! Also, when Hill's head wakes up after being injected and hisses "Wessssssst, you bassssstard" as his body lumbers behind him, that to is comedy gold!

Then we get to see Hill walking around carrying his own head with him, feeding himself pouches of blood, sneaking into the morgue in his ridiculous disguise! Oh man, come on now ... genius comedy at its finest, given the year, of course.

'Re-Animator' had a big head start (sorry, pun most definitely intended there!) over other horror films of the '80s and still retains its shock value today. The gore and demented sense of humor on display did not endear the movie with the theater chain's head offices and consequently it was poorly distributed in its day.

But, and rightly so, 'Re-Animator' has become a cult hit since, moving the film to the head of its class in the annals of outré horror. We can file this one under the heading: Terrific. This is a Widescreen presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with en masse of Special Features:

4K restorations of the Unrated and Integral versions of the film
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original Stereo 2.0 and 5.1 Audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Digipak packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Justin Erickson
Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by writer Michael Gingold
Re-Animator the original 1991 comic book adaptation, reprinted in its entirety

DISC 1: UNRATED VERSION
Unrated version [86 mins]
Audio commentary with director Stuart Gordon
Audio commentary with producer Brian Yuzna, actors Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott, and Robert Sampson
Re-Animator Resurrectus documentary on the making of the film, featuring extensive interviews with cast and crew
Interview with director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna
Interview with writer Dennis Paoli
Interview with composer Richard Band
Music Discussion with composer Richard Band
Interview with former Fangoria editor Tony Timpone
Barbara Crampton In Conversation the Re-Animator star sits down with journalist Alan Jones for this career-spanning discussion
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Trailer & TV Spots

DISC 2: INTEGRAL VERSION LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE
Integral version [105 mins]
A Guide to Lovecraftian Cinema brand new featurette looking at the many various cinematic incarnations of writer H.P. Lovecraft's work and More!

'Re-Animator' (2-Disc Limited Edition) [Blu-ray] is available for purchase on August 8th, 2017.

'Re-Animator' (2-Disc Limited Edition) [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

www.mvdb2b.com





New Battles Without Honor & Humanity (6-Disc Box)
(Bunta Sugawara, Tomisaburô Wakayama, Yôko Koizumi, et al / Blu ray+DVD / NR / 2017 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: 'New Battles Without Honor and Humanity - The Complete Trilogy' is the 1970s Japanese crime classic series making its UK English-language home video debut. From legendary 'Battle Royale' director Kinji Fukasaku, they star Bunta Sugawara in three separate yakuza stories set in various parts of Japan.

Blu-ray Verdict: In the early 1970s, Kinji Fukasaku's five-film 'Battles Without Honor and Humanity' series was a massive hit in Japan, and kicked off a boom in realistic, modern yakuza films based on true stories.

Although Fukasaku had intended to end the series, Toei Studio convinced him to return to the director's chair for this unconnected, follow-up trilogy of films, each starring Battles leading man Bunta Sugawara and telling separate, but fictional stories about the yakuza in different locations in Japan.

First up is the title of the new box-set series, 'New Battles Without Honor & Humanity' (1974). Bunta Sugawara is Miyoshi, a low-level assassin of the Yamamori gang who is sent to jail after a bungled hit. While inside, family member Aoki (Tomisaburo Wakayama) attempts to seize power from the boss, and Miyoshi finds himself stuck between the two factions with no honorable way out.

In the second of the new trilogy, 'The Boss's Head' (1975), Sugawara is Kuroda, an itinerant gambler who steps in when a hit by drug-addicted assassin Kusunoki (Tampopo’s Tsutomu Yamazaki) goes wrong, and takes the fall on behalf of the Owada family, but when the gang fails to make good on financial promises to him, Kuroda targets the family bosses with a ruthless vengeance.

And in 'Last Days of the Boss' (1976) Sugawara plays Nozaki, a laborer who swears allegiance to a sympathetic crime boss, only to find himself elected his successor after the boss is murdered. Restrained by a gang alliance that forbids retributions against high-level members, Nozaki forms a plot to exact revenge on his rivals, but a suspicious relationship with his own sister (Chieko Matsubara from Outlaw: Gangster VIP) taints his relationship with his fellow gang members.

For my money, and to my mind, this 'New Battles Without Honor & Humanity' 3-film series has much the same content as the original series that it follows on from re: gratuitous moments of violence, hysterical comedy, sincere, and there are even hints of romance also. Sure, ok, for the most it's just downright brutal and nasty, possibly even as close to reality of that world than any of us would like to get, but fascinating and compelling all the same.

The previous films got painted in the press by the same brush that brought us 'The Godfather', but while that may have gotten the original movie made, the tone ever since, especially here in these new ones, is completely different.

There is no honor. There is no loyalty. There is only violence. Violence and more violence. Usually ex-friend on ex-friend, if truth be told here in these particular stories. Despite there being "gangs" it's really every man for himself also, as characters scatter to the four winds time after time; and yet come back for revenge like it's going out of fashion.

Indeed, American and European films of the same period often painted things as much less cut throat and that there really was familial loyalty. Here in this new trilogy, that idea is somewhat alien as people switch sides quickly, simply because it offers to save their lives. Sometimes it does, most times it doesn't. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

- High Definition digital transfers of all three films
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original uncompressed mono audio
- New optional English subtitle translation for all three films
- Beyond the Films: New Battles Without Honor and Humanity, a new video appreciation by Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane
- New Stories, New Battles and Closing Stories, two new interviews with screenwriter Koji Takada, about his work on the second and third films in the trilogy
- Original theatrical trailers for all three films
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
- Illustrated collector's book featuring new writing on the films, the yakuza genre and Fukasaku's career, by Stephen Sarrazin, Tom Mes, Hayley Scanlon, Chris D. and Marc Walkow

'New Battles Without Honor & Humanity (6-Disc Limited Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD]' is available for purchase on August 22nd, 2017.

'New Battles Without Honor & Humanity (6-Disc Limited Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD]' Purchase Link

www.mvdb2b.com





'FRONTLINE: The Fish on my Plate'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: 'FRONTLINE: The Fish on my Plate' is, at its principle core, a story of "What fish should I eat that's good for me and good for the planet?" That's the question bestselling author and lifelong fisherman Paul Greenberg (Four Fish; American Catch) sets out to answer.

DVD Verdict: As part of his quest to investigate the health of the ocean -- and his own -- Greenberg spends a year eating seafood at breakfast, lunch and dinner, eating over 700 fish meals in hopes of improving his health through a dramatic increase in his Omega-3 levels.

With people worldwide consuming more seafood than ever, Greenberg also explores questions of sustainability and overfishing, traveling to Norway, where modern fish farming was invented; Peru to witness the world's largest wild fishery; Alaska, where 200 million salmon can be caught each year; and Connecticut to visit a sustainable ocean farming pioneer who is trying to transform the fishing industry.

'FRONTLINE: The Fish on my Plate' isn't just the story of one man's journey. It's a must-watch documentary for any consumer who cares about both his or her own health, and the health of the planet. It is enthralling from start to finish and, as a whole, is a very well done documentary that not only covers the fishing industry, but more importantly the impact of fish on human body medically.

nformative and well worth the ninety minutes of your time, trust me on that. If you value your health, well, 'The Fish on my Plate' is the documentary for you. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'FRONTLINE: Poverty, Politics and Profit'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: 'FRONTLINE: Poverty, Politics and Profit' tells the story of how more working Americans are struggling to make rent than at any time since the Great Depression. FRONTLINE and NPR join forces to investigate the crisis in affordable housing and why so few are getting the help they need.

DVD Verdict: In an investigation that stretches from Dallas to Miami, to an upscale resort in Costa Rica, FRONTLINE and NPR examine two of the government's key affordable housing programs to see whether they're working as they should.

We quickly learn that housing segregation is the practice of denying African American or other minority groups equal access to housing through the process of misinformation, denial of realty and financing services, and racial steering.

Housing policy in the United States has influenced housing segregation trends throughout history. Key legislation include the National Housing Act of 1934, the GI Bill, and the Fair Housing Act. Factors such as socioeconomic status, spatial assimilation, and immigration contribute to perpetuating housing segregation.

The effects of housing segregation include relocation, unequal living standards, and poverty. However, there have been initiatives to combat housing segregation, such as the Section 8 housing program.

From exploring why even those who receive Section 8 vouchers often struggle to find housing, to examining charges that developers have stolen money meant to house low-income people, Poverty, Politics and Profit is a timely and probing exploration of a system in crisis -- and who's being left behind. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'BBC Earth: Nature's Great Race'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: 'Nature's Great Race' showcases how every year, millions of animals embark on epic journeys on an astonishing scale, crossing hostile landscapes, traveling hundreds of miles, overcoming fearsome obstacles, and facing intense dangers and voracious predators in a race to reach their destination.

DVD Verdict: In this truly fascinating BBC Earth documentary, we follow along as three iconic animals -- caribou, elephants, and zebra -- undertake three of the world's most breathtaking wildlife adventures. Journeying across hundreds of miles of Canadian arctic wilderness and African bush, they are solid together, within their clan, they are strong, butt hey are also prone to the elements.

Every decision could mean life or death, and for the first time ever, we watch along (albeit from the safety of our own homes and sofas) with the animals every step of the way. Using the latest tagging technology, the scientific team tracks individual animal journeys precisely, ensuring that camera teams on the ground can follow and film key animals, capturing all of the action, the close calls, the successes, and the failures.

'BBC Earth: Nature's Great Race' uncovers the true driving forces that compel these animals to risk everything, and why they must win these great races. It is chock full of stunning photography and is as cinematic with regard its landscapes as you would fully expect from a BBC Earth documentary. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Great Yellowstone Thaw: How Nature Survives'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Yellowstone is home to North America's most iconic wildlife, and every year these animals must survive the Thaw one of the harshest seasonal changes on Earth when temperatures can swing from minus 40 F in winter to almost 100 F in summer.

DVD Verdict: 'Great Yellowstone Thaw: How Nature Survives' is a wondrous, well documented documentary centered within and around Yellowstone that showcases animals that inhabit it, and what happens when temperatures swing from minus 40 F in winter to almost 100 F in summer.

We quickly learn how animals cope with this range, and witness the impact on individual families of wolves, grizzly bears, beavers, and great gray owls. All very up close and personal, trust me, as only BBC Earth can do.

To understand how the animals cope with this range, and to witness the effects of our changing climate, this series is following the Thaw during 2016 -- a year when the unpredictable weather broke new records.

Many animals, from wolves and bears to the family dog, growth thicker coats for winter. Some, such as walruses and whales, favor an insulating layer of blubber. Birds may migrate to warmer climes. But not all animals fend off the big chill. Some just give in and, well, freeze.

Geologist Kirk Johnson is joined by a team of scientists and wildlife cameramen to capture the wildlife dramas as they unfold over the course of the Thaw. We watch, enthralled, if you're anything like me, as they analyze the impact on individual families of wolves, grizzly bears, beavers, and great gray owls. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'BBC - Food: Delicious Science'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Dr. Michael Mosley and botanist James Wong celebrate the physics, chemistry, and biology hidden inside every bite of your next meal. Learn how the hidden chemistry of food keeps our bodies fit and healthy; take a global culinary adventure to reveal the science that makes our food taste delicious; and discover how the chemistry in our food affects our brains and creates our deepest cravings.

DVD Verdict: 'Food: Delicious Science' may well be the scientific story of your next meal, but just looking at all this, well, delicious food on offer here through this magnificent BBC documentary, you'll wonder how you ever viewed food any differently.

Dr. Michael Mosley and botanist James Wong celebrate the physics, chemistry, and biology hidden inside every bite here and boy, are they really into their trade and craft. I've followed, and been a fan of ethnobotanist (as that's his actual title) James Wong for many years now.

A television presenter and garden designer in the United Kingdom, best known for presenting the award-winning television series Grow Your Own Drugs, being a panelist on the long-running Radio 4 series Gardeners' Question Time, and reporting on the popular BBC rural affairs series Countryfile, Wong's bright, sunny demeanor has been front and center on my TV for years.

Broken down into three chapters, Food On The Brain is up first and here we discover how the chemistry in our food affects our brains and creates our deepest cravings. We learn about a whole new way of thinking about our relationship to the modern diet, and the wonderful effect it has on our minds.

The second chapter is A Matter Of Taste' where we undertake a global culinary adventure to reveal the science that makes our food taste delicious; and the powerful effect it has on our tongue and nose. As we quickly discover for ourselves, taste is far more than just being delicious - it's a matter of survival.

The last chapter of this wonderful, truly fantastic new DVD is We Are What We Eat, where we travel the world and step inside the UK's leading food laboratory to deconstruct our favorite meals, going inside the food to the molecular level. Revealing how the hidden chemistry in every mouthful of food keeps our bodies fit and healthy, it's an insight that will have you second guessing everything you eat from here on in - believe that. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'Weekend in Havana with Geoffrey Baer'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: In 'Weekend in Havana', host Geoffrey Baer travels to Havana to explore Cuba alongside the people who live there. Join him with three young and high-octane local guides: architect and restorationist Daniel de la Regata; one of Cuba's top flamenco dancers, Irene Rodriguez; and Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca as they take you on a tour of Cuba's fascinating and colorful history.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Havana is Cuba’s capital city. Spanish colonial architecture in its 16th-century Old Havana core includes the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, a fort and maritime museum.

The National Capitol Building is an iconic 1920s landmark. Also in Old Havana is the baroque Catedral de San Cristóbal and Plaza Vieja, whose buildings reflect the city’s vibrant architectural mix.

In 'Weekend in Havana', host Geoffrey Baer travels to the capital city of Havana to explore Cuba alongside the people who live there. Joining him are three loveable, hi-energy young local guides: architect and restorationist Daniel de la Regata; one of Cuba's top flamenco dancers, Irene Rodriguez; and Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca.

As for Geoffrey Baer himself, well, Baer is an American television personality, actor and producer best known for hosting the 10 That Changed America series, the Chicago By Boat architecture series, and other television programs produced by WTTW in Chicago for Illinois PBS stations.

His programs offer an enhanced understanding of the history, culture, and people of the Chicago area as well as American architecture. Well, usually, for here in Havana taking in all the sights and sounds he is like a kid in a candy store.

'Weekend in Havana' takes us on a wonderful whirlwind tour of Cuba's fascinating and colorful history quite like no other program I've seen on the beautiful, and historic city. You experience a hands-on introduction to Afro-Cuban music and dance, a primer on Havana's varied architecture and efforts being made to restore the city's ruins, and an inside look at how everyday Cubans live in this "old city trying to find its place in the modern world"

A place off-limits to Americans for decades, 'Weekend in Havana with Geoffrey Baer' is a wondrous adventure from start to finish and his three guides are as fun, as informative, as upbeat as you could ever have wished for. This DVD features subtitles in English (SDH) and is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





'American Epic' [PBS]
(2-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: 'American Epic' goes inside one of the greatest-ever untold stories: how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time.

DVD Verdict: 'American Epic: The First Time America Heard Itself' is, without a shadow of a doubt, a superb recollection of the early American electric recording scene. The amount and quality of the research needed to pull this together is remarkable, as is the production quality.

As much for the music extracts, as well as the feelings conveyed, I knew this is something I will want to reference, view and enjoy repeatedly. Directed by Bernard MacMahon, this 2-Disc DVD is as good as they come with regard this topic - a topic that, for the love of me, I don't believe I've seen outlined and brought forth quite like this ever before; weirdly.

THE BIG BANG: At the height of the Roaring Twenties, music scouts armed with cutting-edge recording technology set out across America to capture the unsung voices of everyday folk. This is the Big Bang of modern popular music-the first time America hears itself.

BLOOD & SOIL: America's poor-cotton field slaves, mine workers, sharecroppers-find freedom through music, creating gospel, protest songs, and Delta Blues.

OUT OF THE MANY, THE ONE: Exotic cultures spanning America are captured on record for the first time-inventing new instruments and new cultural identities as disparate voices harmonize in a musical melting pot.

Here on 'American Epic' Jack White (the White Stripes) and renowned producer/songwriter T Bone Burnett have produced an epic recording session using the only working 1920s recording device in existence in this tribute to the artists celebrated in the documentary.

Also starring Alabama Shakes, The Americans, Ana Gabriel, Ashley Monroe, The Avett Brothers, Beck, Bettye Lavette, Bobby Ingano, Elton John, Frank Fairfield, Jerron Paxton, Los Lobos, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Nas, Pokey LaFarge, Raphael Saadiq, Rhiannon Giddens, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Taj Mahal, Jack White, and Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard, 'American Epic' is a must see for all those who think they know the origins of music - and more. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





The Tunnel: Sabotage - The Complete Second Season
(Clémence Poésy, Stephen Dillane, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Our investigative duo -- pragmatic and meticulous Commander Elise Wassermann and laconic but brilliant DCI Karl Roebuck -- are reunited to investigate a lethal mystery that will change both Karl and Elise's lives. And see many more lost before they can unravel the dangerous and corrupted forces at play.

DVD Verdict: Wow! Totally absorbing! Yup, one of those rare moments when you think I just can't put this down. Not what I'd call a special series, but that said I watched ALL the episodes continuously with rare breaks. It all revolves round an middle-aged English detective and a younger, prettier french one!

When these two first met it was because of crimes occurring on both sides of the channel tunnel, and one right in the middle! The odd pairing along with their respective teams had to collaborate to save lives back then and here in season two, 'Sabotage' they have to come together again.

With even more twists and turns, and a red herring or three, season two quickly evolves into yet another compelling set of episodes, all culminating in yet another strange end. But hey, no spoilers here. Let's just say that if you like intrigue, carefully thought out plots with a small amounts of sex and violence strewn about, then you will love 'The Tunnel: Sabotage - Season Two'.

Here in the second season, our intrepid duo are reunited to investigate the case of a French couple abducted from the Eurotunnel, leaving behind their traumatized young daughter. But when a plane carrying British and French passengers crashes in the Channel, killing everyone on board, they have far bigger questions to answer.

The pair pick their way through clues thrown up by a vast field of debris, forging connections as they go. But sinister and complicated forces are at play and in a terrifying game of brinksmanship, Karl and Elise will have to risk everything in the pursuit of true justice.

While there are connections to the first series of 'The Tunnel', 'The Tunnel: Sabotage' does tend to be accessible to new audiences. Friendships are easy to pick up, and if themes are continuing and have an effect on the character, this are explained enough so as to keep people from being lost.

For the most part, Elise’s story keeps the audience invested in the events that are occurring. We are some of the few people who realize what lies underneath her robotic character, and see what lies behind those eyes.

In truth, it's Clémence Poésy’s performance that adds layers to a complicated character, and really makes us empathize for her. She is the one we want to succeed, no matter if she is making a mistake, or just trying to live through her strange life. That said, man does she look worse for wear on the front cover art!

In closing, all this (and what happens personally to Dillane's DCI Karl Roebuck on the home front - for that implodes big time also) continues the story of both 'The Tunnel' and Elise. And even if the investigation she is a part of can’t live up to her own personal story, it is her that will keep you invested. For that reason alone this is well worth a watch, of that you have my word. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Making of The Tunnel: Sabotage
Anatomy of a Scene
An International Production
The Evolution of Karl and Elise

www.PBS.org





'Masterpiece: Prime Suspect Tennison'
(Stefanie Martini, Sam Reid, Blake Harrison, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: 'Prime Suspect: Tennison' is the much-anticipated prequel to award-winning global hit Prime Suspect. Rewind to 1970s London to portray the early career of the formidable DCI Jane Tennison (Stefanie Martini), the role that established Dame Helen Mirren as a household name.

DVD Verdict: Yes. Yes. Yes. I know I've said this before, but ... wow! Totally absorbing! Most definitely another of those preciously rare moments when you think I just can't put this down. To my mind, a very dear and special series for all those who have followed the career/character of Tennison through the footsteps of Dame Helen Mirren.

Funnily enough, in its homeland in the UK it was known as 'Prime Suspect 1973', but I rather like this US-version of the title. As for the 6 episode plot/story line, well, 'Prime Suspect: Tennison' tells the story of 22-year-old Jane Tennison's first days in the police force, in which she endured flagrant sexism before being thrown in at the deep end with a murder inquiry.

A drug-addicted prostitute is found dead and DI Len Bradfield leads the investigation. Bradfield takes her under his wing and develops a romantic relationship with her. Meanwhile, lifelong criminal Clifford Bentley (Alun Armstrong) is in prison waiting to get released as his family plans a big heist.

In 'Tennison', Stefanie Martini looks to take over the prequel version of the iconic TV character created by Helen Mirren. The biggest question is that if she can match the legendary Mirren. The character maintains her personal flaws and superior mind. She struggles with murky ethics which leads to her later mistakes.

So, sure, yes, Martini shows flashes of acting power, but time will tell if she is up to the task. She's definitely plenty cute enough. There is good 70's settings with dirty earth tones. I'm glad they kept the smoking although it's a little toned down. The murder mystery is perfectly fine. Alun Armstrong holds the other end of the story quite well. This is a solid start although a second series is unlikely, in MHO, sorry. This a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Cars of the 70s
Dressing the 70s
Grading the 70s
Hair of the 70s
Policing in the 70s
Prime Suspect: The Legacy

www.PBS.org





'Masterpiece: My Mother and Other Strangers'
(Hattie Morahan, Owen McDonnell, Aaron Staton, Fiona Button, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: With her English accent and her London ways, Rose Coyne is the only stranger in her rural Northern Ireland town, until 4,000 Americans arrive at the nearby WWII airbase. As Rose finds herself acting as peacekeeper between the disgruntled locals and the soldiers, she is also drawn to the engaging young Captain Dreyfuss. Will Rose risk her family for this forbidden love?

DVD Verdict: The varied fortunes of the Coyne family are played out here in the quite brilliant 'My Mother and Other Starngers' as the US Army Air Corps sets up a base next to their home town.

Moybeg is home to English woman Rose (Hattie Morahan, The Bletchley Circle), her Irish husband Michael Coyne (Owen McDonnell, Dominion Creek) and their three children, Emma, Francis, and Kate.

Narrated by the grown up son, Francis, the focus is on Rose Coyne the displaced Englishwoman, A loyal wife, mother of three children who has left a glamorous and educated world behind to be in Ireland with her husband Michael who runs a pub.

Michael might run a few scams but he is a decent man and but the dullness she feels in her life hits home when she encounters the thoughtful and educated US air base liaison officer Captain Ronald Dreyfus.

At first they have casual chit chats, the Americans are seen as being brash and their presence in the village meets with resentment from the locals and it is Captain's Dreyfus's job to smooth things over. Over time both feel passion for each other which they try to keep in check as both are married.

This is a nice, albeit sugary-at-times British drama, not very original and rather predictable, but highly watchable, that's for sure. Indeed, I'm so glad to say that the fifth and final episode hints that there is more to come. Which is nice as perhaps this show can up its game a wee bit and come back stronger. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

Go behind the scenes with Hattie Morahan, Owen McDonnell, Aaron Staton, Eileen O'Higgins and Des McAleer.

www.PBS.org





'Arthur: Brothers and Sisters'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS Kids!)

Overview: Based on the bestselling children's books by Marc Brown, ARTHUR follows the adventures of eight-year-old Arthur Read. So come join the world's most famous aardvark and friends as they go back to school!

DVD Verdict: If you were not aware, 'Arthur' is a show that gives off such a great message of friendship. Even though all the characters are so lovable, they each have their own unique flaws. Like how Arthur complains about D.W all the time or like when Muffy gets her snobby attitudes. Also when Francine gets competitive, and the brain brags about his I.Q.

Then there's also how Binky can be a bully and how Fern isn't very social. Well, anyway, back to my point: They're all friends even though none of them are perfect, which is one of the main reasons why I love this show so much.

Trust me when I say that 'Arthur' is not like one of those many everything is perfect and happy all the time "kiddy shows". Now, far from it for 'Arthur' represents life's imperfections and how to deal with them.

Arthur and his friends have so much fun together because they accept each other for who they are, which I think is definitely a message kids should learn early in their lives.

'Arthur: Brothers and Sisters' brings together eight stories about the joys - and challenges - of having a brother or sister. From D.W. copying her big brother's every move, to the Tibble twins discovering one of them is two whole minutes older, this DVD features loads of sibling fun!

The eight (8) stories included here on this brand new DVD are:
D.W. the Copycat
Arthur's Baby
D.W.'s Baby
Arthur's First Sleepover
Francine Redecorates
Sue Ellen's Little Sister
Two Minutes
The Pageant Pickle

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

www.PBS.org





'Caillou: Things That Go!'
(DVD / TV-Y / 2015 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Vroom, Vroom! Explore all types of things that go with Caillou from trains and planes to boats and cars!

DVD Verdict: Since 1997, 'Caillou' has brought us the entertaining misadventures of a four year old boy - named Caillou. Each day he discovers something new and interesting with his mommy, daddy, and Rosie.

Here on the brand new 'Caillou: Things That Go!' we join Caillou on his first plane ride and as he explores, and helps steer, a big sailboat! Caillou also takes the subway with Mommy, watches a big bulldozer at a construction site, and rides the school bus for the first time!

Oh, and trust me, there's so much more to view as in addition to these stories there are other tales included for your kids' enjoyment.

The 13 episodes included here on this brand new DVD are:
Caillou Flies on a Plane
Caillou's School Bus
Caillou Learns to Drive
Caillou Goes to the Car Wash
Caillou's Test Drive
The Big Boat!
Trip on the Subway
Caillou and the Bulldozer
As Good as New
Our Rocket Ship
All Aboard!
The Lightning Ball Express
Caillou's Big Dig

As you would expect from a PBS Kids show, 'Caillou' (in general) deals with issues like fear of the dark, patience, being a good friend, being a good sibling, and other important facts of life. These traits all come to the fore here in 'Things That Go!' where our central character may well get to have a fun time with some big machinery, but using his imagination and creativity also manages to learn important life lessons too.

BUT, be warned as Caillou can come across as simply the biggest brat you've ever sat your children down in front of! Allow me to explain further. Caillou is constantly whining and disobeying. Granted, his parents do correct him eventually, but that all comes late in the day, of course.

Anyway, and aside from the vocal characterization of Caillou - whose whiny little voice is like nails on a chalkboard (personal opinion, sorry!) - 'Caillou: Things That Go!' does provide good story lines and creditable outcomes for kids. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBSkids.org





'Minnie's Happy Helpers'
(Bret Iwan, Russi Taylor, Daniel Ross, Tress MacNeille, Bill Farmer, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / Walt Disney Studios)

DVD Overview: When Minnie and Daisy aren't racing around Hot Dog Hills, they're helping their friends with fun, odd jobs as The Happy Helpers. And no task is too big or too small for them to tackle! With a quick spin in their Turn-Styler, the Happy Helpers are ready for anything that comes their way.

DVD Verdict: I know that we all know who Mickey Mouse is, and we all know who his group of friends are too, including the lovely Minnie Mouse, but for those lil' 'uns new to this Disney Jr. show, this, along with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse series is a show for the preschool set of kids that want to smile, laugh and watch it over!

It actually airs on the wonderful Disney Junior channel and can count among its fellow TV shows of the same ilk both 'Sofia the First' and 'Doc McStuffins'.

Here in 'Minnie's Happy helpers,' whether they're babysitting an egg that's about to hatch, planning the perfect luau for a client or fixing London's Big Ben just in time for tea, Minnie and Daisy are ready to go the extra mile, with a song and a smile!

With a stunning voice cast of Russi Taylor as Minnie Mouse; Tress MacNeille as Daisy Duck; Bret Iwan as Mickey Mouse; Daniel Ross as Donald Duck; April Winchell as Clarabelle Cow; Jim Cummings as Pete; and Bill Farmer as Goofy, there isn't one weak link in this wonderful seven episode adventure.

1. Egg-Xasperating!
2. Happy Hula Helpers!
3. Tea Time Trouble!
4. Happy Birthday Helpers!
5. Bed, Breakfast and Bungled!
6. Gone Fishin’!
7. Teed Off! [Bonus Episode]

The Happy Helpers make friendship fun; going around town helping their loved ones with a song and smile. From antics like babysitting an egg about to hatch to planning the perfect party, “Minnie’s Happy Helpers” is an entertaining tale fueled by friendship, fun, and going the extra mile!

Chock full of funny and highly entertaining moments for the pre-teens, it will 100% keep your kids occupied before dinner or on a sunny week day or even a wet Sunday afternoon.

Bring home the adventures on Disney DVD July 25th, 2017 and know that it also includes a FREE Exclusive Magnetic "Helper" Chart! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

"HULA FOR GRANDPA" - Video Clip

DVD Purchase Link





'Devil's Domain' [Bu-ray]
(Michael Madsen, Madi Vordane, Linda Bella, et al / Blu ray / NR / (2016) 2017 / MVD Visual)

Overview: After becoming the victim of vicious cyber bullies, Lisa makes a deal with the devil to exact revenge on her tormenters.

Blu-ray Verdict: Everything that comes to the fore here in 'Devil's Domain' sure isn't anything new, but it does stir up a lot of interesting moments of What If's, that's for sure.

Personally, I loved the whole concept of The Devil being online, in his own "domain" and add to that the woman playing Satan (yes, that's right, it's a woman here!), and you instantly know why the movie world fell in love with Linda Bella.

Lisa Pomson (Madi Vodane) is a teen girl who is bullied at school. She also has bulimia and gets secretly filmed doing her own thing and doing her other thing. The shame is unbearable as she contemplates suicide. She has two options for help: Satan (Linda Bella) and spend all eternity in hell and watch all her shaming friends perish in horrible deaths ... or her step-father, Michael Madsen, who has trouble giving up smoking; amongst other more shameful things

I guess, like most of us, Lisa chose Hell and Satan over a dirty smoker - and boy, does it all go, well, to Hell soon thereafter! In a lot of ways 'Devil's Domain' is a highly relatable story about a teen (male or female) who needs a way out of their lives; one way or another. Making a pact with The Devil isn't always a choice, sure, but in these kind of films it is - and man, come on now, does it ever end well?!

Chock full of new music from such artists as Iggy Pop, DMX, Brainticket, The Onyx and more, it's actually the latter that seem more out of place in the movie than any of the actual actors. I won't give it away, but the American hardcore hip-hop group from South Jamaica, Queens, and New York have a role to play here in the film, and it just doesn't work for me, sorry. Too OTT. Too cheesy, even for these movie standards!

Also, the music played throughout is just too much, too loud. Never shrinking into the shadows, never playing as gentle background music, it's always to the fore, loud and proud. It's ok to be that uptight, that angry, for the music fits the acting, but why so loud? This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• Slide Show
• Extended & Behind the Scenes
• And Much More!

'Devil's Domain' [Blu-ray] is available for purchase on July 11th, 2017.

'Devil's Domain' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

www.mvdb2b.com





Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy (6-Disc Box)
(Yoshio Harada, Naoko Ôtani, Kisako Makishi, Yûsaku Matsuda, Michiyo Ohkusu, Mariko Kaga, Kenji Sawada, Tomoko Mariya, Masumi Miyazaki, et al / Blu ray+DVD / NR / 2017 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: After over a decade in the wilderness following his firing from Nikkatsu for 'Branded to Kill' (1967), maverick director Seijun Suzuki returned with a vengeance with his critically-praised tryptic of cryptic supernatural dramas set during the liberal enlightenment of Japan's Taisho Era (1912-26).

Blu-ray Verdict: In the first of the trilogy of tales, 'Zigeunerweisen' (1980), this rather surreal period film follows an university professor and his eerie nomad friend as they go through loose romantic triangles and face death in the most peculiar of ways.

Suzuki's first independent production (co-produced with the Art Theatre Guild) is a mesmerizing combination of the absurdly irrational, painterly beautiful, and fiendishly historic. Setting the film during the Taisho period (a relatively small Japanese period which can effectively be compared to the Weimar or "roaring twenties" in the US), it's anarchic and sexually attuned characters reflect not only their time, but the revitalization of such things, in a much more brazen form, during the '60s.

In this way, the film shares a great deal with Yoshida's Eros Plus Massacre, a film set simultaneously (in every meaning of the word) in the '20s and '60s. Insanity plagues this film, and in some ways I believe it's about losing control of one's ability to perceive the world around them. It pursues the question What is real? and What is imagined?, and is, eventually, a Japanese ghost story about friendship and lust.

In truth, for my money, what really sets this film apart from so many of Suzuki's others, is his blatant disregard for letting the viewer know what is happening in "real life" and what is going on in someone's head. By the end of the film, much is thrown into question, and we're better off for it.

Next up is 'Kagero-za' (1981) - more widely known as 'Heat-Haze Theatre' - and which tells the story of a 1920s playwright who meets a beautiful woman ... who may be the ghost of his patron's deceased wife.

Much like it's predecessor, this ghost tale is also set in Tokyo in the early '20s. The haunting, episodic narrative follows a playwright and his growing obsession with a beautiful woman who floats in and out of his life (quite literally, at times).

The overall plot of the film is actually difficult to describe, because it is told almost without a cohesive narrative and totally non-linear and disjointed. I've never seen a film that resembles a feverish dream so closely.

Anyway, he first encounters her when she asks for his company on her way to the hospital, as she is afraid of the Chinese Lantern Plant vendor - the plant is said to contain female souls. He refuses, but his desire for the woman gradually overpowers him, so that by the time he realizes she is luring him to his demise, it is too late to stop her.

Besides the narrative's distorted uniqueness, which allows the characters to jump from one location to the next or pop up here, there and everywhere (even within the same shot), the other interesting aspects of the film are the locations. These visuals and inter-textual connections are what makes 'Kagero-za' the great movie that it truly is.

The last film of this fascinating trilogy is 'Yumeji' (1991) where a painter and poet Yumeji Takehisa (1884-1934) gets involved with a beautiful widow, becoming a rival of her dead husband's ghost and the jealous lover who murdered him.

As most that have reviewed it before over the years have also paid judgement to, 'Yumeji' is most definitely, and without a shadow of a doubt, maverick director Seijun Suzuki's most absurd, and yet deeply mysterious ghost story to date.

Taking its name from the real-life painter Yumeji Takehisa, our cinematic Yumeji (Kenji Sawada) strays from his lover when he falls for the beautiful and freshly widowed Tomoyo (Tomoko Mariya), whose husband was slain by the jealous Onimatsu (Kazuhiko Hasegawa).

Yumeji pursues Tomoyo despite the evident danger, which grows even more pronounced when Wakiya (Kazuhiko Hasegawa), Tomoyo's murdered husband, returns from the dead.

In closing, and unlike many trilogy's of its time, 'Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy' features three movies that are not even sequels to each other. They are only related in approach, style, and historical setting, but that's enough, trust me. I true gem of a film set to watch one wet Sunday afternoon, I highly recommend this new 6-Disc box-set to fans, old and new to this genre of foreign cinema. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original stereo audio (uncompressed on the Blu-ray)
Optional English subtitles
New introductions to each film by critic Tony Rayns
Making-of Featurette
Vintage interview with Seijun Suzuki
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring writing on the films by critic Jasper Sharp and more!

'Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy [6-Disc Box]' is available for purchase on August 8th, 2017.

'Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy [6-Disc Box]' Purchase Link

www.mvdb2b.com





'Shooter: Season One'
(Ryan Phillippe, Omar Epps, Shantel VanSanten, Josh Stewart, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / Universal Pictures)

Blu-ray Overview: From executive producers Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and John Hlavin, 'Shooter' is based on the best-selling Bob Lee Swagger novel by Stephen Hunter, Point of Impact. Ryan Phillippe stars as Bob Lee Swagger, a highly-decorated veteran coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president. When Swagger's former commanding officer, Isaac Johnson (Omar Epps), solicits Swagger's expertise for the clandestine operation, Swagger discovers that he has been framed and must do everything in his power to protect his family and clear his name.

DVD Verdict: In truth, the 2007 film 'Shooter' was pretty good, especially the first half. So why would 'Shooter' film star Mark Wahlberg want to make a TV series based on the very same film, I hear you ask. Well, TV series' based on films sometimes do well ('M*A*S*H', 'Nikita', et al), but more often than not they don't ('Alien Nation', 'Tarzan') - and it's a rare series that outdoes the original (maybe 'M*A*S*H', maybe 'Fargo', and maybe 'Hannibal').

Based on the first episode, I feared this one wasn't going to equal the film. Ryan Phillippe is no Mark Wahlberg, and since the film/series heavily depends on the central character, this was a BIG problem to me. The addition of the family doesn't seem to add anything to the concept, nor is the back story ("I made a mistake") relevant. The core concept is the betrayal and revenge, with the added attraction of a focus on the abilities of a sniper.

What interests me personally about snipers is their personality. The job is a unique one, requiring a combination of perceptual motor skills, advanced math, mechanical skills, and more important, the ability to disguise oneself and to wait for long periods of time. There is really no other "job" that resembles this one.

So how does one become a sniper, and what does this strange profession do to your social life, your inner life, etc. These are the types of issues I'm looking for in films or books about snipers, and while I don't expect answers to any of these questions, I like to see them reflected in the material.

Hence, here in the TV series 'Shooter' we do now get more back stories on the things that matter to the viewer - friends, family, jobs, missions, etc. The trouble is what we also get alongside all that, gelling it together, is episode after episode of a bare-bones script that gives the actors scant opportunity to express anything other than the most basic plot points.

The photography over-emphasizes the cold rationality of minds unpicking the threads of a conspiracy, and the fights look so staged, so clumsily that they're hard to follow. Or care about, in truth.

That all said, sure, playing Devil's Advocate, 'Shooter' has taken way too many liberties with Bob Lee Swagger, and that's obviously disappointed a lot of people, but throughout this first season the characters and plots do start to even out and become more realistic. More grounded. More believable. Ergo, it improves so give it a chance. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

Making of Shooter Featurette

www.UniversalPictures.com







'LEGO Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash'
(Frank Welker, Grey Griffin, Matthew Lillard, Kate Micucci, Jeff Glen Bennett, et all / Blu-ray+DVD / NR / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Mystery, Inc. heads to Blowout Beach for a real swinging beach party. But when the Ghost Pirates threaten to harsh the good vibes, it's up to the Scooby Gang to get the party back on track and save the day!

Blu-ray Verdict: My 4 year old LOVES both Lego Scooby-Doo Knight Time Terror and Haunted Hollywood, so when I told him that there was a brand new Scooby-Doo adventure for us to watch last night, well, he almost bust a gut in being a good boy all day to be sure of watching it with me!

So, with him as genuinely excited as I've ever seen him and me having had a good boy around the house all day, we settled in for this brand new adventure last night.

Well, I can happily report that 'LEGO Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash' is as good as it gets with this gang! Aside from the fact is also comes with three Bonus Cartoons (listed below) the guys at Warner Bros. have brought in modern day voice actors for each of our beloved characters.

Watching LEGO Scooby-Doo, if you're not used to the LEGO version, can be a little jarring on the eyes at first, but you get used to him and the gang pretty soon thereafter. Each one of these tales tells a new Scooby-Doo story and each of them especially this headline one, are still feeling very fresh and unique.

Complete with some up to date gags, sure, I would rather have had this as a normal animated adventure, but LEGO animation seems to be the way Hollywood is leaning currently, so I guess I'm not surprised that the home entertainment market is being constructed the same way.

As for the actually plot, well, based on Shaggy asking the Mystery, Inc. shouldn't they all go to somewhere fun, they all head to Blowout Beach for a real swinging beach party. But upon arrival, and as Daphne herself perfectly sums it up, she gets a very creepy and abandoned feeling from their chosen destination.

So when Ghost Pirates ransack a pier and threaten to do worse to all the tourists and inhabitants of the town, all because of some long lost treasure trove of gems, it's up to Scooby and the gang to get the party back on track and save the day. Funny jokes like when they introduce themselves as Mystery Incorporated and the reply comes back, "Oh, is that your band name?" may well be low brow, but hey, this show is for kids, remember that.

Me, well as you can guess, I'm a long time Scooby Doo fan ever since I was a kid, I'm happy that they're still making new movies and cartoons as I still enjoy watching them. "It's so good to see young people so undeterred by the threat of ferocious ghost pirates", says the lady who checks them into their hotel! From then on it, well, let the games begin, as they say here in this brilliant haunted mystery. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

3 Bonus Cartoons: 'Go Away Ghost Ship,' 'A Clue for Scooby-Doo,' and 'Party Like It's 1899'.

'LEGO Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash' DVD Purchase Link

Official Trailer

www.WBshop.com





'S.W.A.T.: Under Siege' [Blu-ray]
(Sam Jaeger, Adrianne Palicki, Michael White, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2017 / Sony Pictures)

Overview: When a D.E.A. and S.W.A.T. cartel take down ends in a shootout, S.W.A.T. Agent Travis Hall seizes a mysterious prisoner and takes him into custody. Before long, the S.W.A.T. compound is under siege by wave after wave of assault teams attempting to recover the prisoner known as “The Scorpion” for the tattoo blazed across his back.

Blu-ray Verdict: In my humble opinion, any action movie that can keep you from looking at your watch or a clock in the room for 80 minutes is a friend of mine - especially on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon!

'S.W.A.T.: Under Siege' is just one of those movies, of that have no doubt. Overall the film's basic plot, complete with a minor twist (to say the least) and an ending battle that, well, with regard ALL the fight scenes (to the death, most times) you know exactly who's gonna win and how, still ensures that the momentum of the movie is bountiful.

Nothing special is brought forth on the overall visuals, or the script, to be fair, but that said it manages to exceed being a B-Movie - just. In truth, a lot of the movie is annoying close ups of all the characters "getting in each others faces" not to mention an over abundance of close ups and extreme visuals of their actual S.W.A.T. gear!

The scenery and environments shown for battle are nothing to chime in about, as they either flash by or are wooden set ups for the fist fights and such. The color schemes are nice enough, but without any real blaze of colors the whole thing remains a very neutral palette.

But, and again, that's all fine given that the movie is more about the hand-to-hand battles and flash, bang wallops of the guns fire and explosions scattered throughout. Oh, and for those wanting a little depper information, well, 'S.W.A.T.: Under Siege' features a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack.

In closing, and not as good as 2003's big-named actors 'S.W.A.T.' (which itself was based off of a one time T.V. show about two Los Angeles S.W.A.T. officers Jim Street and Brian Gamble (Colin Farrell and Jeremy Renner), or 2011's 'S.W.A.T.: Firefight' (Robert Patrick), this new addition to the fold is entertaining and enjoyable for what it is: an explosive, action-packed, one-liner, 80 minute escape from reality. And who doesn't need one of those a few times a month! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Official Trailer

www.SonyPictures.com





'The Lincoln Lawyer: 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray'
(Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD / R / (2011) 2017 / LGF)

Overview: Available for the first time on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack comes a slick criminal defense attorney (Matthew McConaughey) who lands the case of a lifetime: defending a rich playboy accused of murder.

Blu-ray Verdict: Before we begin the review, let's start by acknowledging the INCREDIBLE, brighter, deeper, more lifelike color that these 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays bring forth, each and every time. For they are, well, INCREDIBLE and truly allow you to see things that the generic Blu-ray vision simply cannot. I mean, the color alone on this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc - which comes as a two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 BD-66) - is just so crisp, so clear, so crystal.

For those that wish to be in the know, let's break down some of the geeky stats, shall we. This is a Codec: HEVC / H.265, with a Resolution: 4K (2160p), and an overall Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1. The Audio is English: Dolby Atmos + English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 + Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 + English 20 Dolby Digital Audio Optimized for Late-Night Listening + Blu-ray Audio Status: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio™.

Finally, and leaving the best for last, this 4K Ultra HD movie experience means that we have a 4X sharper picture image than regular HD, HDR (High Dynamic Range) means we get brilliant brights and deepest darks within the film, and with Immersive Audio, we get that multi-dimensional sound experience throughout.

OK, on to the actual film review and Matthew McConaughey sports his routine self-assurance and charisma in a role that should fit him as well as the loud designer suits his unrealistic character fancies. Mick Haller is a social butterfly of a highly unlikely defense lawyer, flitting from one rendezvous to the next in his glossy, stylish eponymous town car out of which he operates, slipping people money with a smirk and having a cool black bodyguard while a comic book catalogue of offenders compete for his card like the ladies compete for McConaughey's number!

He's that brashly calculating litigator who knows which hands to oil and how to neatly hemorrhage a client of money.

Mick isn't supposed to always be a likable guy, nor a bad one either, indeed a much humbled one, ideally, and that's part of what gives the movie its needed sharpness. Actually, we tend more to like near-McConaughey lookalike Josh Lucas, playing the inexperienced prosecutor going after Phillippe.

The plot whirls Mick into a case that at first looks like a bonus but becomes a possibly career-ending devastation. After twisting his slyest sleight of hand, Haller is solicited to represent a particularly prestigious client in the guise of a young, well-to-do Ryan Phillippe, indicted for beating and raping a prostitute. Haller sees a superb take-home packet and maybe even that most infrequent of luxuries: a genuinely innocent defendant.

However, anyone paying attention will continuously look askance at the rich client, at the scene where Haller rides up on him while he's swatting golf balls on a course whose vast deluxe greens set alongside the azure Pacific might as well be a postcard reading "I'm rich and you're not."

In a respectable twist, the crucial mystery of the plot is answered about midway through the movie and it then becomes about some witty legal manipulation by Mick. If you've seen Primal Fear and Jagged Edge, you understand the general effect of this route through the overcrowded but virtually surefire courtroom genre.

This is a film that intermittently comes within reach of the stark, wicked, and darkly shrewd legal thriller that it wants to be, but never quite knows how to stay there. But hey, the desaturated sheen of the film and fly-on-the-wall hand-held camera-work make the bilious innards of LA fittingly tense. All of this coagulates in an adequate manner. It's not inspired, it's a long way from perfect, and the second emergence of the biker gang officially meets the criteria, I think, of a phenomenon.

The formula of ostensibly superfluous and ancillary characters comes satisfactorily into play as proceedings from the present are discovered to be linked to the past. I did feel destabilized by the movie's ultimate surprise, which is totally capricious and uninformed. The intrigues seem like half-baked shots in several directions made household by other crime pictures.

However, and I want this to be known, 'The Lincoln Lawyer' is a tense spellbinder, very workmanlike throughout, contains (for the most part) likeable characters is (for the most part) well acted, and is, as a whole, most definitely engaging. I'm sure you will add this incredible 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray to your collection of quality films soon - I did.

In conclusion, watching it all unravel (again, given that I was a fan of this film back in 2011 when it first came out) before my very eyes on this 4K Ultra HD it truly is amazing viewing. And together with the wonderful special features included here (especially the "At Home on the Road" Featurette with creator/author Michael Connelly), this is one NOT to be missed. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

· “Making the Case: Creating The Lincoln Lawyer” Featurette
· “Michael Connelly: At Home on the Road” Featurette
· “One On One with Matthew McConaughey and Michael Connelly" Featurette
· Deleted Scenes

'The Lincoln Lawyer' - Official Trailer

www.LGF.com





'Phoenix Forgotten'
(Florence Hartigan, Chelsea Lopez, Justin Matthews, Clint Jordan, Cyd Strittmatter, Ana Dela Cruz, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD / PG-13 / 2017 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: 20 years after three teenagers disappeared in the wake of mysterious lights appearing above Phoenix, Arizona, unseen footage from that night has been discovered, chronicling the final hours of their fateful expedition.

Blu-ray Verdict: Based on the "Phoenix Lights" of Phoenix, Arizona a supposed UFO sighting witnessed by thousands on Thursday March, 13th 1997, this 'Blair Witch'-esque new movie, 'Phoenix Forgotten' is back to being as good as it gets within this at-times worn genre.

As noted, back in early 1997, a group of lights appeared in the night sky, moving across Arizona (visible from the Nevada border to northwestern Mexico) and were stationary over Phoenix. Thousands of people saw the lights and many claim to have seen the outline of a V-shaped unidentified flying object which moved silently through the sky.

The U.S. Air Force explained the stationary lights as flares from one of their planes on a training flight, but no one has been able to explain away the set of lights that appeared to be part of an object that reportedly crossed most of the state.

'Phoenix Forgotten' expertly draws on the true story of three teenagers who disappeared while investigating the lights and utilizes fictional footage.

Sophie (Florence Hartigan) is looking for her older brother – and has been for 20 years. She returns to her hometown of Phoenix to make a documentary on the disappearance of her brother, Josh, and his high school friends, Ashley and Mark, who disappeared after they went into the desert to try gathering some video of the strange lights that had recently appeared over their town.

Sophie interviews her parents, Steve (Clint Jordan) and Caroline (Cyd Strittmatter), who got divorced because of the stress and their different ways of dealing with the mystery of their son's disappearance. She also talks on camera to Ashley's parents (Jeanine Jackson and Matt Beidel), a teacher (Ana Dela Cruz) from her brother's high school, a police officer who investigated her brother's disappearance, the press secretary of the former governor (who had publicly mocked the UFO speculation – at first) and a reluctant U.S. Air Force officer.

The main thing Sophie has to go on are home videos of the appearance of The Phoenix Lights (during the party for her 6th birthday) and the tape from the camcorder that was left in the back of Mark's car, which was found abandoned by the side of the road.

Josh (Luke Spencer Roberts) was the kind of kid who always had his video camera glued to the side of his face. Ashley (Chelsea Lopez) is a member of the high school's AV Club, who does news reports around the school and whom Josh would like to get to know better. Mark (Justin Matthews) is their cocky and adventurous friend whose main qualification for going on this little adventure is that he has access to an SUV.

We see footage of the three friends as they witness and discuss that unexplained light show, interview some local witnesses and prepare for their excursion into the desert. Not much happens that night and then… the tape suddenly ends. That doesn't make sense to Sophie. She isn't satisfied with all the dead ends. She's sure that… the truth is out there.

In closing, 'Phoenix Forgotten is a creative and fun found footage film. Telling this story in the form of a documentary allows for variety – the use of background footage, old news reports, new interviews and found footage, all of which are skillfully woven together by first-time feature film director Justin Barber (who also co-wrote the script, with T.S. Nowlin, writer of the 'Maze Runner' movies).

Telling this story this way also allows Barber to side-step the pitfalls of the found footage format. Using unknown actors gives a movie of this kind a sense of realism – and this cast is talented enough to make it work. Like its spiritual ancestor, 'The Blair Witch Project', this film drags at times, but has an exciting climax. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features:

Sophie's Story
Phoenix Found
Audio Commentary with Director Justin Barber and Actors Florence Hartigan, Chelsea Lopez and Justin Matthews

Official Trailer

www.FoxConnect.com





'Effects' [Special Edition Blu-ray]
(Tom Savini, Joe Pilato, John Harrison, et al / Blu ray / R / (1980) 2017 / AGFA - MVD Visual)

Overview: Some crew members of a company shooting a horror film begin to suspect that the "killings" in the movie are real, and that they are actually making a "snuff" film!

Blu-ray Verdict: For my money, and I say that loosely, given that we were sent this by MVD Visual for review purposes, there are two things about this film that keep it interesting all these decades later.

' The first is the abundance of George Romero-connected people involved: Tom Savini, John Harrison, Joseph Pilato, Pasquale Buba, Nancy Allen (but not that Nancy Allen) and others. Filming took place in 1978, around the time that 'Dawn of the Dead' was made; it seems that many involved in 'Dawn ...' were making their own film on the side.

The second interesting historical note is how this film for many years just never existed. Although it was shot in 1978 and seems to be copyrighted in 1980, virtually no one saw it in the 1980s or 1990s. Due to a distributor bankruptcy problem, the film never received a theatrical or home video release. It never aired on television, or got passed around as bootlegs either. The October 2005 Synapse Films DVD was the film's first official release anywhere in the world.

But now, and via the aforementioned MVD Visual Company, The American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) is now releasing this stunningly brilliant Blu-Ray of the film mastered from a rare 35mm print that was made before the distributor backed out, so it can be discovered by a new generation; and deservedly so

That all said, and playing Devil's Advocate here for the first hour I was looking at my watch. It was a mediocre drama where nothing was happening and where I could have sworn I had been promised more.

But something was going on beneath the surface that you may not realize until the end of the film. I sure didn't, for that last half hour is a right royal doozy, trust me!

For, once you piece together this outlandish puzzle it turns out that 'Effect's is a very nicely orchestrated, well filmed, and well scripted movie after all. Indeed, the whole piece has an experimental feel to it.

As for our man behind the camera, well, Dusty Nelson does a lot of things other filmmakers wouldn't dare try. But I also feel like he leaves a few things out which may confuse people and limit his audience. But at least he's giving us credit for being smart because there is a mighty fine lesson to be learned here.

The acting is way above par too. Joe Pilato is fantastic in the lead. He's very meek and rather innocent in perfect measures. A complete turnaround from his character in Romero's 'Day of the Dead'. Tom Savini is another recognizable face who plays a very unlikable character, quite well I might add. And finally, John Harrison (composer for 'Day of the Dead') plays the director, or the manipulator, perfectly too. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

- New 4K scan from the only surviving 35mm theatrical print!
- BEASTIE short film by Dusty Nelson!
- UBU short film by John Harrison!
- Archival commentary track with John Harrison, Dusty Nelson, and Pasquale Buba!
- AFTER EFFECTS documentary with optional commentary track!
- Liner notes by Joseph A. Ziemba of AGFA and Bleeding Skull!
- Front cover illustration by Charles Forsman!
- Reversible Cover Art!

'Effects' (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] is available for purchase on August 22nd, 2017.

'Effects' (Special Edition) [Blu-ray) Purchase Link

www.mvdb2b.com





'Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus' [Blu-ray]
(Sonny Rollins, et al / Blu ray / NR / (1986) 2017 / Mug-Shot Productions - MVD Visual)

Overview: 'Saxophone Colossus' is Robert Mugge's dazzling homage to Sonny Rollins, the greatest living jazz improviser.

Blu-ray Verdict: Taking it from the top, and for those not in the know (and shame on you if you are), Sonny Rollins is an American jazz tenor saxophonist, widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians.

In a seven-decade career, he has recorded at least sixty albums as leader and a number of his compositions, including "St. Thomas", "Oleo", "Doxy", "Pent-Up House", and "Airegin", have become jazz standards.

Indeed, and rightfully so, Rollins has been called "the greatest living improviser" on more than one occasion and by more than one highly knowledgeable person.

'Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus' [Blu-ray] is, as always from director Robert Mugge, an intelligent, thoughtful, and revealing documentary that delves into the man and his work.

Featuring as its centerpiece a stunning 1986 performance of his "Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra," this musical, and now visual work of art is something truly to behold.

Directed by the aforementioned Robert Mugge, who's known for his insightful music documentaries (on blues, on Robert Johnson, Hawaiian music, zydeco and bluegrass, et al), 'Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus' [Blu-ray] is a classic cinematic work about a classic musician that not only showcases Rollins and his musical expertise, but also allows the man to explain himself.

With a running time of a delightful 101 minutes, this legendary tenor sax player was filmed by Mugge performing at various places in New York State. Along the way we get interjections from family, friends and critics alike, all having something to say about the man, and explaining how he affected their own lives with his music.

None more so than Rollins and his wife/manager where a simply chat in Central Park becomes one of the purest highlight delights of this documentary. We also follow Rollins as he travels to Japan to perform at the world premiere of a commissioned piece. With Mugge, two cameramen and a a sound guy standing by to record history, it’s yet another genuine highlight.

Along the way we get interjections from family, friends and critics alike that all have something to say, something to add about the legend that has helped them gain a greater insight into music - and even life itself.

Which means 'Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus' [Blu-ray] is as close to being the most perfect showcase for an artists of any musical generation that I think I have ever had the pleasure to witness. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus' [Blu-ray] is available for purchase on August 4th, 2017.

'Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

www.SonyRollins.com

www.mvdb2b.com





'Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So'
(Jun Cao, Mei Ying Wang, Ming Yang Jiang, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / NR / 2017 / HBO Originals)

Overview: Due to a conspiracy, the wealthy So Chan loses everything but is saved by the Beggars' Sect. He learns the long lost martial art - Drunken Fist, to defeat the person who framed him.

Blu-ray Verdict: Knowing going into this film that it was executive produced by the renowned Hong Kong director, Corey Yeun ('The Transporter') and directed by Guo Jian-Yong (who choreographed 'Cradle 2 the Grave', 'Red Cliff', and 'Transporter 1-3'), I had high hopes for it.

Sadly, 'Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So' doesn't live up to everything that those two men would normally, visually adhere to, but it still manages to tell a stale, and throw in solid amounts of mighty fine action.

'Master of the Drunken Fist' tells the story of So Chan, a merchant’s son who was in line to become the Emperor’s top Martial Arts Warrior. However, after being dragged into a conspiracy between two political powers, he loses his family and almost his life.

Saved by the Beggar Gang and with some help from their chief, his daughter, and not to mention some Chinese liquor, So Chan is able to find inner peace as Beggar So and sets out on the path for vengeance.

So, for the director of others in this ilk Corey Yeun (and those he surrounded himself with who were familiar with the genre), you could have expected a home run here. But, as mentioned above, not so much, sadly. Not that it is mediocre or terrible or another like that, far from it. Sure it's a B-Movie, but it's of that quality that keeps you wanting to watch it right through to the very end, trust me.

The multiple fight choreography is very decent, and the actors sure know what they are doing when it comes to landing blows and performing their always-impressive high kicks and spin kicks, etc. The overall main cast acting, their dialogue and everything else about the movie, save for the cinematography, which was lovely, made me want to shake my head on more than one occasion though. Which I did.

All that aside, the one main issue I had with this transfer is that the English subtitles are well off the spoken words from all the actors, which is rather disturbing. It kinda makes you bounce from what is being said on screen, in Chinese, to the subtitles, and then realize that the character has stopped talking and yet the subtitles still flow! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Own 'Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So' on Blu-ray+Digital HD on August 8th, 2017

Official HBO Store





'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying'
(Hao Ran Sun, Yang Liao, Ming Yang Jiang, Zhi Hui Chen, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / NR / 2017 / HBO Originals)

Overview: 'Master of the Shadowless Kick' tells the story of Wong Kei-Ying. A quiet and honest physician, he must learn the legendary martial art “Shadowless Kick” in order to take down the treacherous new governor of Canton and put a stop to the opium trade in his city.

Blu-ray Verdict: Knowing going into this film that it was executive produced by the renowned Hong Kong director, Corey Yeun ('The Transporter') and directed by Guo Jian-Yong (who choreographed 'Cradle 2 the Grave' and 'Transporter 1-3'), I had high hopes for it.

Sadly, 'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying' doesn't live up to everything that those two men would normally, visually adhere to, but it still manages to tell a stale, and throw in solid amounts of mighty fine action.

'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying' tells the story of Wei Kei-Ying, a man who lives alone, lives quietly and doesn't harm nor disturb anyone or anything around him.

An open and very honest physician, he soon comes into contact with the baddy of the piece, the treacherous new governor of Canton. He doesn't like the way this man or his regime operates and so when pushed, Wong Kei-Ying chooses to learn the legendary martial art “Shadowless Kick”. Now with the mission to take down this vile man and his organization, he aims to put a stop to the opium trade in his city, once and for all.

So, for the director of others in this ilk Corey Yeun (and those he surrounded himself with who were familiar with the genre), you could have expected a home run here. But, as mentioned above, not so much, sadly. Not that it is mediocre or terrible or another like that, far from it. Sure it's a B-Movie, but it's of that quality that keeps you wanting to watch it right through to the very end, trust me.

The multiple fight choreography is very decent, and the actors sure know what they are doing when it comes to landing blows and performing their always-impressive high kicks and spin kicks, etc. The overall main cast acting, their dialogue and everything else about the movie, save for the cinematography, which was lovely, made me want to shake my head on more than one occasion though. Which I did.

All that aside, the one main issue I had with this transfer is that the English subtitles are well off the spoken words from all the actors, which is rather disturbing. It kinda makes you bounce from what is being said on screen, in Chinese, to the subtitles, and then realize that the character has stopped talking and yet the subtitles still flow! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Own 'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying' on Blu-ray+Digital HD on August 8th, 2017

Official HBO Store





'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain'
(Ashlyn Selich, Anais Fairweather, Grey Griffin, Teala Dunn, Tara Strong, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: The mind games are only beginning when Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl have no recollection of a series of wrongdoings that they were responsible for.

DVD Verdict: This whole 'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls' series is one of the greatest inventions for kids that's come out in the past decade, in my humble opinion!

A fantastic series for girls to start their love of Superheros early, both my girls love this series and so we were very, very stoked to be able to review this new adventure for Exclusive Magazine.

As with the others in this wonderful (and I simply cannot stress that enough) SuperHero Girls series, they not only tell a fun, relateable story, but go out of their way to teach girls that they too can do almost anything they want.

True Girl Power at its finest, I also appreciate that the SuperHero Girls are not scantily clad in their comic book or previous appearance costumes! I know this series is for kids, but they have actual clothes on that are practical. Sure they have their costumes for recognizable battles and such, but they are just, well, regular also.

OK, let's get down to some actual reviewing of this latest adventures, shall we. 'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain' is a direct-to-video animated movie from Warner Bros. and features animated incarnations of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Bumblebee and Katana.

This latest adventure, complete with brain-twisting action comes together because suddenly Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl have no recollection of a series of wrongdoings that they were responsible for.

So, who can the girls turn to when even Bumblebee, Katana and other members of Super Hero High are also up to no good? They then have to use way more than their super powers to untangle the mental mix-up and find out who, or what is behind these mind-bending misdoings! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Own 'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain' on DVD on August 8th, 2017

Official Trailer





'Shakes the Clown' [Blu-ray]
(Bobcat Goldthwait, Julie Brown, Kathy Griffin, Paul Dooley, Adam Sandler, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1991) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Dueling gangs of clowns are pitted against each other in this outrageously funny comedy written by, directed by, and starring Bobcat Goldthwait. Julie Brown co-stars as the hard-working waitress who stands by her clown. Bobcat stars as Shakes, an amiable, alcoholic bozo from Palukaville, USA. But after one particularly wild night, Shakes wakes to find he's been framed for murder.

Blu-ray Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment and now on Blu-ray for the very first time, 'Shakes the Clown' follows the exploits of a good-hearted, booze-soaked clown who is trying to make his way in Palookaville; a town populated by denizens of that certain ditch in the entertainment world inhabited by clowns and mimes.

He tries to kick the booze but his demons are hard to face. He gets involved in seedy intrigue with the tough, jaded rodeo clowns, picks on the mimes, and tries to avoid the indignity of doing balloon animals, all while keeping the bottle at bay lest he wake up puking into his fright wig.

Bobcat is always happy to degrade himself on screen, and he does it brilliantly here. Shakes is a total mess. A disgusting mess. A shameful mess. Bobcat sells the drunkenness and depravity, whether he's being peed on (oh never mind, you'll soon see for yourselves!) or stumbling around in a drunken stupor.

Yet he still manages to remain likable and not lose his status as the film's protagonist. My favorite part has to do with the intense hatred the clowns harbor for mimes,(I mean, really, who needs 'em!). The fight scene in the park, with the shout "Learn to Talk", is priceless. The obvious discomfort when Shakes must pose as a mime to avoid arrest is also a blast!

In closing, Bobcat's script sparkles as four-letter poetry. Tremendous cast. Very few movies have had such a stellar line up of comedic actors: the only other ones I can think of are 'It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World' and 'The Aristocrats', which now I think about it, is actually more of a documentary than scripted film. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:
New Audio Commentary with Bobcat Goldthwait, Julie Brown, and Tom Kenny.

www.millcreekent.com





'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five'
(Jane's Addiction / Blu-ray+DVD+CD / NR / 2017 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Jane's Addiction performs their 2X Platinum Alt-Rock album Ritual de lo habitual in it's entirety, along with the bands biggest hits. Recorded live at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, during the bands 2015/2016 Silver Spoon Anniversary Tour.

Blu-ray Verdict: OK, taking it from the top, and for those not in the know (and shame on you if you are), Jane's Addiction is an American rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 1985.

Even today, unlike most bands of their era status and pedigree, the band still consists of Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Stephen Perkins (drums) and Chris Chaney (bass) - yes, I left Dave Navarro out, as that's the way he likes it to be, sorry!

This truly legendary band, Jane's Addiction have now brought out a stunning Deluxe Edition Combo Pack of live material captured from the moment they hit the stage at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, during the bands 2015/2016 Silver Spoon Anniversary Tour.

Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the bands groundbreaking album Ritual de lo habitual (1990), Jane's Addiction performed their 2X Platinum Alt-Rock masterpiece album in it's entirety, along with adding into the live mix some of their biggest hits, of course.

1) "Stop"
2) "No Ones Leaving"
3) "Aint No Right"
4) "Obvious"
5) "Been Caught Stealing"
6) "Three Days"
7) "Then She Did"
8) "Of Course"
9) "Classic Girl"
10) "Mountain Song"
11) "Just Because"
12) "Ted, Just Admit It..."
13) "Jane Says"

Inclusive of a 20 page booklet with grand color photos, plus the aforementioned Blu-Ray, DVD & CD versions of this incredible, simply divine live show, 'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five' was not only a beautiful milestone for both 'Ritual De Lo Habitual' and Lollapalooza, but given the bands penchant for drugs and such, a wonderful achievement to be able to play it at this show (hence the tongue in cheek title).

Lead singer and band leader supreme Perry Farrell is at his vocal and stage presence finest here throughout the entire show, trust me. As for the entire live performance of 'Ritual De Lo Habitual,' well, for my money, it was a good follow up to a classic release, 1911's Nothing's Shocking. As has been documented before, nothing really jumps out at you like "Mountain Song" or "Jane Says", which they cover in the four additional tracks after having played the album, butt he album did have some great highlights.

Of course, "Been Caught Stealing" was a huge hit on College and Alternative Rock stations at the time, and here is, perhaps, my favorite live moment. The way Farrell tears his way through the lyrics, orchestrates each and every vocal chord to wrap itself precisely around the words; so that they mean something more to the audience and their fans, is beyond a joke both brilliant and beautiful.

Everyone knows Jane's Addiction are an epic band and this live release is so chock full of their energy that I don't know anybody who could ever watch or listen to this package and say anything other than, "Wow. Well done, guys!" This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five' [Blu-ray+DVD+CD] is available for purchase on August 4th, 2017.

'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five' [Blu-ray+DVD+CD] Purchase Link

www.JanesAddiction.com

www.MVDvisual.com





'The Love of a Woman: Special Edition'
(Micheline Presle, Massimo Girotti, Gaby Morlay, et al / Blu ray+DVD / NR / (1953) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Marie Prieur, a young doctor, decides to settle down on Ushant, a remote island belonging to Brittany. Little by little she manages to be accepted by the population. One day she meets André Lorenzi, a handsome engineer, and it is love at first sight. Life is wonderful for a while, but André wants to marry her only if she remains at home.

Blu-ray Verdict: In what was to be Director Jean Grémillon's last full-length feature film, and that includes the hideously overlooked gem "Pattes Blanches" (1947), 'The Love of a Woman' (aka "L'Amour d'une Femme") is as beautiful a film as I think I've ever cinematically seen before.

Okay, sure, there have been a few in my lifetime, but this was 1953 and Grémillon's cinematographer was working some visual magic here, that's for damn sure. As for the film itself, it is beautiful, but extremely sad. Without giving too much away, it features two funerals and all the depressing looks-instead-of-words scenes that, even in real life, play out from all that.

It also, of course, has it's scattered, but actor invested love scenes, which, and with the exception of the questionable one which takes place when the school teacher is dying, are all done with impeccable taste.

'The Love of a Woman' is, if you haven't guessed it by now, one of those delicious Sunday afternoon movies where the two lovers in question - Micheline Presle as 'Dr. Marie Prieur' and Massimo Girotti as 'André Lorenzi' - talk, but they do not communicate. I hope that makes sense. If you're in a long term relationship or marriage, I think it will.

Anyway, André is an engineer whose ideology is that a woman's job is to man the house, look after all that resides there, both inside and out. So when they get married, Dr. Marie quickly finds out being a Doctor, going out and about, has turned into becoming a housewife.

There's much more to explore here, but I'll leave it all for you to find out on this divine new Blu-ray+DVD release from Arrow Films UK and MVD Visual here in the US. This is a Widescreen presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition presentations of the feature, from materials supplied by Gaumont
Original French mono audio (uncompressed LPCM on the Blu-ray)
Optional English subtitles
In Search of Jean Gremillon, a feature-length documentary on the filmmaker from 1969, containing interviews with director Rene Clair, archivist Henri Langlois, actors Micheline Presle and Pierre Brasseur, and others
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Ginette Vincendeau

'The Love of a Woman: Special Edition' [Blu-ray + DVD] is available for purchase on July 25th, 2017.

'The Love of a Woman: Special Edition' [Blu-ray + DVD] Purchase Link

www.mvdb2b.com





'Ronin: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Sean Bean, Stellan Skarsgard, et al / Blu ray / R / (1998) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: From director John Frankenheimer (Reindeer Games, The Manchurian Candidate) comes 'Ronin', a pulse-pounding, action-packed crime thriller featuring an all-star cast headlined by Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver, Heat) and Jean Reno (Léon: The Professional).

Blu-ray Verdict: For my money, 'Ronin' (1998) is a very well paced, atmospheric thriller. Basically a travelogue through a fantasy France of grimy bars and cobblestoned streets, where shifty-eyed hard cases in dark clothing concoct devious plots over cigarettes and espresso, race around rain-swept night streets in high-powered sedans, and exchange automatic weapons fire with minimal police interference, it never lets go of your inner need to find out how it all will end!

The slender plot concerns a mysterious band of international hired guns brought together by a mysterious mastermind to steal a mysterious package from a collection of mysterious gangsters; as in all such stories, gun play and double-crosses ensue as the bodies of various shady characters (and a few unfortunate members of the public) pile up.

All too routine, and more than a tad silly, but the film is mostly saved from self-parody by the excellent cast (standouts include Robert de Niro, Natascha McElhone and the always-wonderful Jean Reno), beautiful, fluid location camerawork, and superb stunt sequences, all under the veteran direction of John Frankenheimer.

Like spiritual cousins 'Bullitt' and 'The French Connection', 'Ronin' features gritty, realistic settings, handsome actors exuding an air of rumpled coolness, attention to procedural detail and the insertion of a cracking good car chase whenever the action threatens to flag.

Of the latter, special mention should be made of the spectacular centerpiece chase, in which the streets of Paris end up littered with wreckage as competing parties in a BMW and Peugeot chase each other down sidewalks, through tunnels and finally, the wrong way down a traffic-choked highway.

In the end, it's all just another Hollywood entertainment, but afficiando's of the crime thriller will find it a fun ride. This is a Widescreen presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release, supervised and approved by director of photography Robert Fraisse
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p)
Original English 5.1 audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary by director John Frankenheimer
Brand new video interview with director of photography Robert Fraisse
Paul Joyce documentary on Robert De Niro
Ronin: Filming in the Fast Lane, an archival behind-the-scenes featurette Through the Lens, an archival interview with Robert Fraisse
The Driving of Ronin, an archival featurette on the film s legendary car stunts
Natascha McElhone: An Actor s Process, an archival interview with the actress
Composing the Ronin Score, an archival interview with composer Elia Cmiral
In the Ronin Cutting Room, an archival interview with editor Tony Gibbs
Venice Film Festival interviews with Robert De Niro, Jean Reno and Natascha McElhone
Alternate ending
Theatrical trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet illustrated by Chris Malbon, featuring new writing on the film by critic Travis Crawford

'Ronin: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is available for purchase on August 29th, 2017.

'Ronin: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

www.mvdb2b.com





'The David Lynch Foundation:Charity Begins Within'
(Various / DVD / G / 2017 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: In 2009, The David Lynch Foundation staged the Change Begins Within benefit concert at New York's legendary Radio City Music Hall. The show helped raise funds to teach at-risk children to meditate to change their lives from within.

DVD Verdict: Hosted by David Lynch and Laura Dern, 'The David Lynch Foundation: Charity Begins Within' was a star-studded sold-out evening that featured unique performances from a cast of stars, including: Sheryl Crow, Donovan, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Ben Harper, Angelo Badalamenti, Betty LaVette, Jim James and, amongst others, comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

The culmination of the evening saw sets from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr before they joined forces for a grand finale. This once-in-a-lifetime event is now available to own via Eagle Vision.

1) 'Trouble So Hard' / 'Natural Blues' - Moby, Betty LaVette & The TM Choir
2) 'Rise' - Eddie Vedder
3) 'Under Pressure' - Eddie Vedder & Ben Harper
4) 'My Sweet Lord' - Sheryl Crow & Ben Harper
5) Jerry Seinfeld
6) 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' - Donovan, Jim James & Ben Harper
7) 'Isle Of Islay' - Donovan & Paul Horn
8) 'It Don't Come Easy' - Ringo Starr, Ben Harper & Eddie Vedder
9) 'Boys' - Ringo Starr, Ben Harper & Eddie Vedder
10) 'Yellow Submarine' - Ringo Starr, Ben Harper, Eddie Vedder & Sheryl Crow
11) 'Drive My Car' - Paul McCartney
12) 'Jet' - Paul McCartney
13) 'Got To Get You Into My Life' - Paul McCartney
14) 'Let It Be' - Paul McCartney
15) 'Here Today' - Paul McCartney
16) 'Band on The Run' - Paul McCartney
17) 'With A Little Help From My Friends' - Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr
18) 'Cosmically Conscious' - Sheryl Crow, Donovan, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Ben Harper, Paul Horn, Angelo Badalamenti, Betty LaVette, Jim James, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr & The TM Choir
19) 'I Saw Her Standing There' - Sheryl Crow, Donovan, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Ben Harper, Paul Horn, Angelo Badalamenti, Betty LaVette, Jim James, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr & The TM Choir

From start to finish this live show is amazing. Simply amazing to behold. Colorful, especially the blazingly rose red tunic that McCartney sports for the lovely one-on-one with Lynch in the bonus feature, and very beautiful, with regard Sheryl Crow, her hair, her look, her clothing, this 2009 version of Charity Begins Within was a love fest for me.

I mean, just sitting there watching 'Cosmically Conscious' - which I know has en masse of stars attached to it - with Sheryl Crow taking lead, allowing the great purple-shirted Donovan to bring up the harmonies, was about as good as it musically, and visually gets in life. McCartney on 'Drive Me Car' is as wonderful as it sounds, although it has to be said that a now jacket-less McCartney alongside his Beatle mate Ringo Starr for 'With A Little Help From My Friends' did showcase the latter's crusty throaty vocal performance a wee bit too much.

The David Lynch Foundation has continued to organize Change Begins Within concerts and events since the 2009 show. Past participants include Katy Perry, Sting, Hugh Jackman, Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding, Ellen DeGeneres and more.

Filmmaker David Lynch launched his foundation in 2005 with the aim of promoting efforts to eradicate trauma and stress among at-risk populations through Transcendental Meditation. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs comes with the special Bonus Feature of:

David Lynch talks to Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eddie Vedder and Ben Harper.

www.Eagle-Rock.com





'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' [4K Ultra HD]
(Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD / PG-13 / 2017 / BVHE)

Overview: Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios' 'Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2: 4K Ultra HD Cinematic Universe Edition' continues the team's adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage. Old foes become new allies and characters from the classic comics come to their aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.

Blu-ray Verdict: Before we begin the review, let's start by acknowledging the INCREDIBLE, brighter, deeper, more lifelike color that these 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays bring forth, each and every time. For they are, well, INCREDIBLE and truly allow you to see things that the generic Blu-ray vision simply cannot. I mean, the color alone on this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc - which comes as a two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 BD-66) - is just so crisp, so clear, so crystal.

For those that wish to be in the Audio know, let's break down some of the geeky stats, shall we. 4K UHD Blu-ray = English Dolby Atmos, English/Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital. 4K UHD Digital = English Dolby Atmos (platform dependent), English 5.1, English 2.0. Blu-ray = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks. DVD = English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks,English 2.0 Descriptive Audio.

This is a Codec: HEVC / H.265, with a Resolution: 4K (2160p), and an overall Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1. The Audio is English: Dolby Atmos + English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 + Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 + French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, and the Subtitles are: English SDH, French, and Spanish.

Finally, and leaving the best for last, this 4K Ultra HD movie experience means that we have a 4X sharper picture image than regular HD, HDR (High Dynamic Range) means we get brilliant brights and deepest darks within the film, and with Immersive Audio, we get that multi-dimensional sound experience throughout.

OK, on to the actual film review and, well, let's face it, who doesn't like or even simply root for the "heroes" portrayed within the celluloid wonderment of these incredible 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' movies?

Indeed, both 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' movies have brought us tremendously funny, highly entertaining films. The movie opens with a lighthearted battle scene in which the Guardians are fighting an alien monster, while Groot (baby sized and with a personality to match in this movie), is playing and dancing to music. Rocket manages to alienate their employers, causing much havoc.

The team later is forced to split into two groups as they deal with Peter's new found father, a broken ship, and troubles with the Ravagers. In the midst of this two of the more interesting supporting characters, Yondu and Nebula, become involved, both of which have considerably more depth added to their characters.

The special effects are generally well done, as is the acting, with Chris Pratt (Star Lord/Peter Quill) having some compelling scenes with a lot of screen time, but others including Zoe Saldana (Gamora), and Bradley Cooper (Rocket) also having some nice moments.

The violence is amped up a bit, with a quite one battle having a very high body count (all bloodless to keep it PG-13). There were some genuinely funny lines and scenes, but some of the humor was forced, and dived down occasionally onto a level that was more middle school level , with "bathroom" humor that I did not personally enjoy.

Given some of the content, I was surprised how touching the movie was at times as it explored (superficially of course) ideas of family and of acceptance of others, including a new view into the relationship between Gamora and Nebula.

Partly because of this, as well as some great action scenes and the occasional good humor, I did end up enjoying the move quite a bit, though nowhere near as much as the first Guardians movie. If you liked the first movie, chances are you have already seen this one, and if not you will likely enjoy it when you do.

Chock full with some delightful featurettes, some of my own personal favorites were, in order for me, Guardians Inferno Music Video where the brilliant cheesemeister himself David Hasselhoff (and special guests) got together to sing (and perform) in a FANTASTIC '70s disco-era video for 'Inferno'. The Hoff strikes self parody gold again alongside what looks to be (as they are all dressed for the era) the entire Guardians cast!

The other remarkably entertaining, and very revealing Special Feature is The Making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. A four-part, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, done in the style of classic-rock album liner notes, we get to see that when baby Groot was obviously not there on set (as he is a digital element) he actually was there for the actors to play off against!

Director James Gunn insisted that a 10" high toy version of baby Groot was in every scene that an acor had to talk or make eye contact with him in. Such as when Batista or Pratt (both well over six feet tall), had to interact with baby Groot. So, instead of nothing, Gunn had this toy baby Groot in place, which was tied to the end of a stick, so that it could even move!

Another behind-the-scenes joy to behold is how they filmed Rocket jumping from tree to tree. So, with en masse of soldiers and what-not firing at him repeatedly from the ground, they had eight trees rigged with bullet hits and with the camera on a wire high above, it could also dip and come under Rocket; giving both sides to the tale, so to speak (no pun intended!)

In conclusion, watching it all open up before my very eyes on this 4K Ultra HD it truly is amazing viewing. And together with all these special features included here (although the regular Blu-ray should be pretty nice to watch these on also, I would imagine), this is one NOT to be missed. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, and comes with the Special Features of:

Blu-ray:
The Making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - A four-part, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, done in the style of classic-rock album liner notes
Visionary Intro - Director James Gunn provides context on how he continues and expands the story lines of these beloved characters in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Guardians Inferno Music Video - Join David Hasselhoff and special guests for a galactic retro dance party
Gag Reel - Laugh out loud at all the hilarious off-script shenanigans and bloopers that took place on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, featuring all your favorite Guardians.
Four Deleted Scenes - Check out four specific scenes that had to be cut from the film, including two extended scenes and two deleted scenes
Audio Commentary - Check out a special narration of the film by director James Gunn, who guides fans through an inside look at the making of the movie

Digital:
All the features listed above plus four extra exclusives:
Three Scene Breakdowns (Digital Exclusives) - We'll reveal the anatomy of a few key scenes from the film. Discover the process in bringing these scenes to life. It starts with a doodle and the rest is film history. Audiences will be given the option to view 5-6 layers of specific scenes in the film. Scenes include 'Eclector Escape', 'Gamora and Nebula', and 'Rocket and Ravagers'
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! (Digital Exclusive) - Get an exclusive sneak peek inside the most anticipated ride at Disneyland, Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! We'll dig into the concepts and inspiration, and talk about what it took to bring the most epic ride at Disneyland to life.

www.Marvel.com

Official Marvel Studios Facebook Page

In loving memory of everyone’s favorite Ravager, come celebrate the Blu-ray™ release of 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' with Yondu himself – Michael Rooker!

On Tuesday, August 22nd from 9:00am-12:00pm, fans around Los Angeles will be able to come pay tribute to the beloved Ravager, Yondu, with a morning of prizes and activities at Shorty’s Barber Shop in West Hollywood!

That's right, Michael Rooker (‘Yondu’ in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) will be on location to commemorate his character and interact with fans!

The first 50 fans will receive a $50 gift certificate to Shorty’s Barber Shop to come back and Get the Yondu look!

Additional giveaways will include Blu-ray Combo Packs and Digital Copies of Marvel Studios’ 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2', posters signed by Michael Rooker and other Guardians themed items

Themed photo opportunity: Get the Yondu look by getting your hair styled into a faux hawk and hair sprayed red!

For those of you hardcore enough to go FULL YONDU*, there will be room for ten lucky Ravagers to get a full hair dye and shave. Those that pledge their loyalty to the captain will not only meet Rooker himself, but will head out with various Guardians loot!

But wait! There’s more, y’all! Two lucky fans will also walk out of Shorty’s with an awesome custom-made Yondu umbrella to keep that new ‘do safe from the LA sun!

* If you volunteer to be one of the 10 fans to get the Full Yondu you will need to be over 18 years of age, be available to get your hair dyed on Monday, August 21st, and shaved or styled from 9:00AM-12:00PM on Tuesday, August 22nd.

To schedule for the Full Yondu, please e-mail your name and mobile number to: gettheyondulook@gmail.com

All colors and cuts will take place at Shorty’s Barber Shop:

Shorty’s Barber Shop
755 N Fairfax Ave
West Hollywood, CA
90046

MARVEL STUDIOS’ “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2” Now Available Digitally and Blu-ray on Aug. 22nd, 2017.





Mickey And The Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines
(Bret Iwan, Russi Taylor, Daniel Ross, Tress MacNeille, Bill Farmer, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / Walt Disney Studios)

DVD Overview: Join your favorite characters - and their high-speed transforming Roadsters - as they compete in thrilling races stretching from Hot Dog Hills to Hawaii - and all the way to London, England!

DVD Verdict: I know that we all know who Mickey Mouse is, and we all know who is group of friends are too, but for those lil' 'uns new to the character, well, here is yet another terrific Disney Junior animated show for your kids.

It actually airs on the wonderful Disney Junior channel and can count among its fellow TV shows of the same ilk both Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins.

'Mickey and the Roadster Racers' is, in and unto itself, an American computer-animated children's television series produced by Disney Television Animation. It is indeed the successor to the aforementioned Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the series debuted on Disney Junior in the United States on January 15th, 2017.

Indeed, here in 'Mickey And The Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines' we experience quite a lot of rather high-octane thrills as Mickey and the gang power up their amazing, transforming cars for races through the town. But it's not just their local town that gets spotlighted here, no, for the gang go globetrotting on a huge scale also by traveling and racing themselves all the way ol' jolly old England!

In this completely fab new edition of the show, we get to meet the world's greatest spy, zoom through the skies in a revved up hot-air balloon race, and even return the Queen's stolen Royal Ruby! I kid you not, Mickey and his pals not only compete in a whirlwind little competition, but gear up to help save the Queen's precious jewels!

Episodes:
1. Agent Double-O-Goof
2. It’s Wiki Wiki Time
3. Ye Olde Royal Heist
4. Abra-ka-Goof!
5. Guru Goofy
6. Going Upppppppppp!

Bonus Episode:
7. Goof Luck Charm

Cast: Bret Iwan as Mickey Mouse; Russi Taylor as Minnie Mouse; Bill Farmer as Goofy/Pluto; Daniel Ross as Donald Duck; and Tress MacNeille as Daisy Duck.

Chock full of funny and highly entertaining moments for the pre-teens, it will 100% keep your kids occupied before dinner or on a sunny week day or even a wet Sunday afternoon.

Bring home the adventures on Disney DVD August 15th, 2017! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs which also comes with a FREE Roadster Racers Flag inside!!

DVD Purchase Link

'Mickey and the Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines' - Exclusive Clip #1

'Mickey and the Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines' - Exclusive Clip #2





'The Big Knife (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray]
(Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Rod Steiger, Shelley Winters, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1955) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Charles Castle, one of Hollywood's biggest stars, looks like he has it all. But his marriage is falling apart and his wife is threatening to leave him if he renews his contract. Studio boss Stanley Shriner Hoff isn't taking the news too well, and he'll do anything he can to get his man to sign on the dotted line - even if means exposing some of his dark secrets.

Blu-ray Verdict: Just to give you a little back story about this uneven movie, even before 'The Big Knife' went into production, it was hard to get either backers or cast willing to be associated with it.

Director Robert Aldrich eventually took on a supporting actor to play a lead role. But Jack Palance (even at just 36 years-old at the time) is no second-fiddle player. For his looks and demeanor he was usually cast in tough baddie roles, but here he gets to show his considerable dramatic range.

He continually mixes his emotions with exceptional skill – an example being when he snaps angrily at Everett Sloane, showing a hint of vulnerability beneath the surface that is both believable and faintly poignant. This is one of his most impressive performances and he is more than able to carry the picture.

The rest of the cast, while similarly not the most glamorous of choices, are a real box of gems nonetheless. Opposite Palance we have Ida Lupino, not an outstanding actress, but always one who radiated great intelligence and dignity. This is by far the best I have I have ever seen from her, and her character's relationship with Palance's is truly touching. Also at his very best is Wendell Corey, a man who tended to play blandly obnoxious types, as he does here, but capable of demonstrating real humanity and depth when it was required.

Rod Steiger's performance is, at first glance, a little too surreal and theatrical for a straight drama, but as the picture wears on it seems somehow appropriate for the one absolutely despicable villain to be some kind of bizarre caricature. In any case, he is good fun to watch.

The question is begged, if 'The Big Knife' was such a bugbear to the Hollywood establishment, and has such an iconic cast, why has it not been championed by latter-day hipster film geeks? The answer is simple: 'The Big Knife' simply isn't that good, sorry.

Robert Aldrich was a skilled director of dynamic action flicks, and it's clear he now truly wanted to raise his game and make serious dramatic pictures. But good as his intentions are he's out of his depth. He simply doesn't understand the kind of manipulation needed to make a stage play work on the screen, without it seeming like an endless string of talking, and for all his movement of the camera the narrative still remains dull and static.

The production is also scuppered by two seemingly minor factors. First, the set decoration is far too cluttered, and while Aldrich makes some good use of bringing props into view at opportune moments, there is simply too much business there and it upstages the actors.

Secondly there is that score by Frank DeVol, which clearly thinks it is modern and innovative, but is frankly annoying, especially since the poor mixing makes it sound as if DeVol's drumming is actually supposed to be taking place on the set, and you expect a guy with a snare to suddenly walk into the frame.

When you see how badly it is done here, you can appreciate why the Academy gives awards for such "boring" categories as Art Direction and Sound. The ironic thing is, had a major studio dared to pick up 'The Big Knife' and got a better production team to work on it, they could probably have done a fairly decent job. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand-new 2K restoration from original film elements produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p)
Original English mono audio uncompressed LPCM
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Commentary by film critics Glenn Kenny and Nick Pinkerton, recorded exclusively for this release
Bass on Titles Saul Bass, responsible for The Big Knife s credit sequence, discusses some of his classic work in this self-directed documentary from 1972
Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Nathalie Morris

'The Big Knife (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on August 29th, 2017.

'The Big Knife (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

www.mvdb2b.com





Eagles of Death Metal Live at The Olympia in Paris
(Eagles of Death Metal / DVD / NR / 2017 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: In 2009, The David Lynch Foundation staged the Change Begins Within benefit concert at New York's legendary Radio City Music Hall. The show helped raise funds to teach at-risk children to meditate to change their lives from within.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, the Eagles of Death Metal is an American rock band from Palm Desert, California, formed in 1998. Founded by Jesse Hughes (vocals, guitar) and Josh Homme (drums), the band also includes a wide range of other musicians that perform both on the band's studio albums and at live shows.

Hughes and Homme are the only permanent members of the band, with Homme rarely performing at live shows due to commitments to his other bands. The band's current touring line-up includes Hughes alongside Dave Catching (guitar), Eden Galindo (guitar), Jennie Vee (bass) and Jorma Vik (drums).

Oh, and despite their name, Eagles of Death Metal are not a death metal band, and the name is intended to be humorous!

During Eagles of Death Metal's now infamous November 13th, 2015 concert at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, gunmen entered the venue and opened fire on the crowd, leaving 89 dead. On February 16th, 2016, the band returned to Paris to complete their show as part of The Nos Amis Tour¸ performing at the Olympia Hall.

This I Love You All The Time: Live at The Olympia in Paris DVD (also released as a glorious 2CD set) encapsulates the pure emotion and intensity of that extraordinary Olympia concert and is dedicated to all those who lost their lives at the Bataclan.

Before the show, Eagles of Death Metal co-founder and lead singer Jesse Hughes said: "The people of Paris have always been incredible to us, and our feeling of love towards this beautiful city and its people has been reinforced a million times over this past month. Hearing the stories of the survivors, the injured and those who have lost loved ones has been overwhelming. Not returning to finish our set was never an option."

The line-up for this historic show features Jesse Hughes (vocals, guitar); Joshua Homme (drums); Dave Catching (guitar); Matt McJunkins (bass); Julian Dorio (drums) Eden Galindo (guitar) and Tuesday Cross (keyboards).

TRACKLISTING - DVD
1) Intro: Il Est 5 Heures, Paris S'Éveille
2) "I Only Want You"
3) "Don't Speak (I Came To Make A Bang!)"
4) "So Easy"
5) "Complexity"
6) "Whorehoppin' (Shit, Goddamn)"
7) "I Love You All The Time"
8) "Cherry Cola"
9) "The Reverend"
10) "Got A Woman"
11) "I Got A Feelin (Just Nineteen)"
12) "Stuck In The Metal"
13) "Miss Alissa"
14) "I Like To Move In The Night"
15) "Secret Plans"
16) "Wannabe In L.A."
17) "Bag O' Miracles"
18) "Save A Prayer"
19) "I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News)"
20) "Speaking In Tongues"

Whether or not you are a fan of this band, or you know them from this horrific event that took the world by storm news-wise that very same night, you must appreciate the lengths they went to to make sure that the show must still go on. For not only did they dare to return to the scene of the (literal) crime, they began the show over and ever, by the length of the 20 song set-list, extended it whilst there for all their fans.

Their collective return to the French capital just three months after the tragedy proved to be a resounding success, for both the city and their fans alike as this show is as good, as powerful, as heartfelt as anything I have witnessed live (with my own eyes or via a DVD) within the past decade (or more).

Obvious highlights of the show, for me at the very least, although I'm sure for all those gathered that night also, include songs such as “Complexity,” Don’t Speak (I Came To Make a Bang),” “Cherry Cola,” and an out-of-the-blue delicious Duran Duran cover of “Save a Prayer."! Wow, the way they handle this song is brilliant and together with a rock guitar back beat, it may not swerve too far from the original, but it does make for one of the stand out moments here.

Lastly, it should be made known that for the three (3) live video tracks included as bonus features all feature Josh Homme. He actually co-founded the band with front man Jesse Hughes, but rarely performs with them. So the fact he is playing drums on these tracks is a triple bonus for all their fans, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and as well as the full Olympia concert, the bonus material includes three live video tracks from the band's October 2015 performance at L.A.'s Teragram Ballroom: "Anything Cept The Truth", "Bad Dream Mama" and "Shasta Beast".

www.EaglesOfDeathMetal.com

www.Eagle-Rock.com





'The Slayer: Special Edition' [DVD+Blu-ray]
(Sarah Kendall, Frederick Flynn, Carol Kottenbrook, et al / DVD+Blu ray / R / (1982) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Two young couples set off to a secluded island for what promises to be a restful retreat. But the peace is short-lived: as a storm batters the island, troubled artist Kay begins to sense that a malevolent presence is here with them, stalking them at every turn. Is she losing her mind, or are her childhood nightmares of a demonic assailant coming to terrifying life?

Blu-ray Verdict: 'The Slayer' follows a troubled avant-garde artist with psychic proclivities who travels to a remote island with her husband, brother, and sister-in-law in order to regroup. Immediately bothered by the atmosphere of the island, she insists something is amiss among the forests and derelict buildings— but the three dismiss her. Unfortunately, they're wrong.

An early entry in '80s horror that somehow got sidelined by history, 'The Slayer' is shockingly good given its lack of notoriety. The set-up is straightforward, and the low character number means there isn't much in the way of the expected body count, but in its brisk eighty minutes, the film manages to achieve a dreadful atmosphere and also boasts some shockingly realistic and disturbing murder scenes.

J.S. Cardone, directed and co-wrote the film—it's his first picture, and he has gone on to work mainly in genre films over the years, giving us the marginalized 2001 vampire flick 'The Forsaken' and 2006's 'Wicked Little Things.' Compared to those films, 'The Slayer' is rather minimalism in its cinematic body, I'll give you that, but there is a unique sense of foreboding in this film that is something that slasher flicks particularly don't always seem to achieve.

The island locale is woodsy and populated with derelict buildings from when it was a resort years prior—an idyllic setting for a horror film. The film in some ways reminded me of a non-wintry 'Ghostkeeper,' another debased '80s horror picture.

The score is quite elegant and ominous, and there are also high-caliber special effects throughout, which are on show during each death sequence, as well as during the monstrous reveal at the finale. Some have argued that the conclusion to 'The Slayer' is a cop out. I don't know if I necessarily feel that way. It is rather abruptly thrown at the audience, but it also has narrative significance, linked to threads that are presented earlier on in the film. If anything, it's a somewhat bold move.

Overall, I was quite surprised by how well-crafted this film was. It's not groundbreaking in any stretch of the imagination, but it's a sturdy exercise in dread that happens to be well-shot and eerie. Serious fans of stalk-and- slash movies may find it a bit slow, but it's worth holding out for the impressively jarring murder scenes and the wild card of a conclusion. This is a Widescreen presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Uncompressed Mono Audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new interviews with cast and crew
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector s booklet featuring new liner notes by writer Lee Gambin

'The Slayer: Special Edition' [DVD+Blu-ray] is available for purchase on August 29th, 2017.

'The Slayer: Special Edition' [DVD+Blu-ray] Purchase Link

www.mvdb2b.comim





'Descendants 2'
(Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope, et al / DVD / TV-Y / 2017 / Walt Disney)

Overview: The Villain Kids are back in a high-stakes adventure that's bigger, bolder and badder than before!

DVD Verdict: When the pressure to be royally perfect becomes too much for Mal (Dove Cameron), she flees Auradon and returns to her roots on the Isle of the Lost.

Hoping to retrieve her, Evie (Sofia Carson) and the rest of the gang sneak onto the Isle.

But Mal's former archenemy Uma (China Anne McClain), daughter of Ursula, has seized power. And together with her pirate crew, Uma prepares to unleash havok on the VKs and Auradon!

So, as you can see/read, being an obvious fan of the original movie, this sequel picks up exactly where the last one leaves off. There is no introduction of characters or any kind or recap of the events though, so you might want to delve back into your DVD library and watch the first one again beforehand (never a bad thing to do in these circumstances, I've found).

Here in the sequel the teens are starting to "couple up" with Mal having second thoughts and some self-esteem issues. In this second outing (of which you can only assume three and four are already in the works), Disney takes a stab at diversity.

The famous evil parents are not in this movie and we have a baby Hook who was more inspired by Johnny Depp than Captain Hook. The music is way more hip-hop than before, which not being a fan of that music genre, kinda made me shirk away from scenes that were smothered in such sounds.

But that's just me, and again, this is just my humble opinion, but I actually didn't enjoy this second outing as much as the original. The animation was seemingly off too, not as good even as the original film, but the choreography was spot on, as always.

I thought the plot, which I won't give too much more away about, was not exactly well thought out either. They certainly could have done a better job there given the success of the original, because it just seems like this secondary production may be nothing more than a connection point, a stepping stone to the promise of a much better third chapter, so to speak.

Anyway, regardless of all that speculation and such, 'Descendants 2' was still very alluring in its characters, very colorful in its scenery, and the acting by our now-famous leads was as good, if not slightly better than the first one. They've now grown into their characters and it showed for most all of them on screen.

Also beginning July 1st, visit www.DisneyMovieRewards.com and enter to win a Disney Channel 5-movie collection including 'Descendants' and 'Descendants 2'! And lastly, don't forget that this new DVD also comes with a FREE Necklace with 5 Villain Icons inside! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Cast Secrets - Personal secrets are revealed by cast members Dove Cameron (Mal), Cameron Boyce (Carlos), Sofia Carson (Evie), Booboo Stewart (Jay) and China Anne McClain (Uma) during the filming of the movie.
Bloopers - The cast cracks up on set during some crazy takes.
Deleted Song and More – Includes an extended song, a deleted song and two alternate endings.
Descendants: Wicked World - A collection of all the animated shorts from season 1.

Bring home all the mischief on DVD August 15th, 2017!

Official Trailer

Cast Secrets

Bloopers





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