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6 Degrees Entertainment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cimino’s direction works well with his whole ensemble often placed in the living room like actors on a static theater stage, and the camera views the psychological warfare often from a very distant ankle like in a documentary. The great cast of all actors featuring Mimi Rodgers, Kelly Lynch, Elias Koteas and David Morse and the minimal and seducing sound track score by David Mansfield add much tension to this well-dome remake of a great fifties crime drama. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the main feature in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround, French Stereo
English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, French Subtitles
Behind the Scenes Featurette (HD, 6:00)
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:00)
Photo Gallery
Collectible Mini-Poster
Reversible Artwork
Limited Edition Slipcover

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, by far the best actor in the whole thing is Wang Lung Wei in an excellent turn as a true martial arts expert. Lung Wei is so often cast as a stock villain and his honorable turn here sees him playing a good guy for once and he’s absolutely brilliant in it; his character dominates the story and he gives the performance of his life. He really makes you wish he could have played more than stock villain types all the time! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

HD Transfer from the Original Negative in 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
1.0 DTS-HD MA Mono Cantonese Audio with Newly Translated English Subtitles
1.0 DTS-HD MA Mono English Audio (Synced Best possible From Instructors of Death Print)
Commentary with Asian cinema expert Frank Djeng and Actor / Martial Artist Michael Worth
Supplemental Audio commentary with Asian cinema expert Frank Djeng
Instructors of Death - Grindhouse Presentation
Kung Fu and Dancing - An Interview with Actor Robert Mak
Born to Be Bad - An Interview with Actor Johnny Wang
Disciples of Shaolin - An Interview with Stuntmen Hung Sun-Nam and Tony Tam
The Right-Hand Man - An Interview with Producer Lawrence Wong
‘Instructors of Death’ Trailer
Hong Kong Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original Hong Kong poster artwork

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among the supporting actors are Nora Dunn of Saturday Night Live & Three Kings, Demme regular Charles Napier (The Blues Brothers, The Silence of the Lambs), Obba Babatunde, and Jose Perez; cameos range from Martine Beswicke (Prehistoric Women) to Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club) to Shirley Stoler (The Honeymoon Killers). Highly recommended to fans of cult cinema. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the main feature in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio
LPCM Master Audio 2.0 Stereo, Spanish Mono, French Stereo
English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, French Subtitles
Interviews with Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Jason Leigh (HD, 26:01)
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:11)
3 TV Spots (SD)
Original Orion Home Video ‘Miami Blues’ Trailer (SD, 1:57)
Photo Gallery
Collectible Mini-Poster
Reversible Artwork

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.vcientertainment.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.88films.co.uk





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

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

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

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

Best watched late at night!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.TheFilmDetective.com





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

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

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

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

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

For my money, this Green Lantern: Beware My Power [4K Ultra HD + Digital] combo pack sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

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

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color along with the Audio of English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Subtitles in English SDH.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLUS! 2 Bonus Cartoons

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

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

www.WBshop.com

www.WarnerBros.com

www.dccomics.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In closing, A Fugitive from the Past is definitely worth a watch for anyone interested in the Japanese New Wave, but don’t expect to get much out of it unless you are an expert on Buddhism. The point of the movie seems out of the reach, but it’s a satisfying mystery film overall. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the restored 183 minute-long cut of the film
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles
Introduction by writer and curator Jasper Sharp
Scene-specific commentaries from leading Japanese film scholars Aaron Gerow, Irene González-López, Erik Homenick, Earl Jackson, Daisuke Miyao and Alexander Zahlten
Original theatrical trailer
Image gallery
Tomu Uchida filmography
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Trailer

www.synergetic.film





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.TheFilmDetective.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official “Jurassic World Dominion” Website

www.UPHE.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also, and upon re-hearing their whole Blame Canada campaign, I have subsequently found it highly reminiscent of the South Park movie’s motto! Perhaps their creators watched this movie, along with some editors who needed movie titles and suddenly an idea was reborn! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1:85.1 aspect ratio
Audio: English 2.0 Stereo
Optional French and Spanish Subtitles
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:31)
Reversible Artwork

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MY OWN DRUM (Remix) Lyric Video
Behind The Animation

www.SPHE.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This movie starts off with a bang, featuring a witch devouring a baby, and then doesn’t really slow down all that much from there. You can see hints of everything from Suspiria (both versions) and The Beyond to Carrie, Single White Female and Drag Me to Hell in these stories. And the fact that the villain from the first story has an impact on the second excites me for how this (possible) series of films can grow from here! [BAM] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
Original lossless stereo audio and optional 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary by director, cinematographer and editor Pierre Tsigaridis
Brand new audio commentary by producer Maxime Rancon
Behind the Movie, a two-part behind-the-scenes featurette
Interview with  actor and associate producer Dina Silva
The Boogeywoman, an interview with actor Marina Parodi
The Original Score, an interview with composer Gioacchino Marincola
The Piano Score, director Pierre Tsigaridis talks about the inspiration behind the piano score for Two Witches
Test footage
Grimmfest 2021 Q&A with Pierre Tsigaridis and Maxime Rancon
Trailer gallery
Image gallery accompanied by the film’s original score
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady

www.MVDvisual.com





The Bat (Special Edition)
(Vincent Price, Agnes Moorehead, Gavin Gordon, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1959) 2022 / The Film Detective)

Overview: Cinedigm announced today that The Film Detective, the classic film restoration and streaming company, will release the late 1950s horror classic, The Bat (1959), on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD, October 25th, 2022.

The predator has steel claws and rips his victims to shreds! But who is he? Vincent Price (House of Wax, The Last Man on Earth) thrills in this horror classic about a down¬trodden country estate that becomes the site of a horrific murder.

Agnes Moorehead (Bewitched, Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte) co-stars in this picture in one of her many commanding, on-screen performances. Other co-stars include Gavin Gordon (Murder by Invitation) and Darla Hood of the Our Gang comedies in her final film role.

Prolific writer/director Crane Wilbur (He Walked by Night, Crime Wave) helms this feature, alongside an impressive gallery of weirdos who are guaranteed to give you the creeps. Which of them is the mysterious killer known as The Bat? You’ll find out soon enough, but beware … the scream you hear may be your own!

Blu-ray Verdict: A faithful filming of Mary Roberts Rinehart-Avery Hopwood play, in truth, this film is truly an exercise in bizarre behavior. I love watching it, not because it’s a marvelous whodunit, but because it’s such a strange period piece, and because the characters are living in a world gone mad, yet they maintain their composure and impeccable manners.

A mystery writer rents a mansion in an undisclosed location. Her household staff members have fled because they fear rabid bats. She goes to the local bank with her female companion and engages in shameless exposition with the bank manager. We learn that a million dollars has been embezzled from the bank.

Cut to a cabin in the woods, where the bank president is bragging about the embezzlement to his male companion, the town doctor. Things get ugly between them; the doctor kills the bank president and hurls him into an extremely convenient forest fire.

Back to the writer and her female friend. It’s a stormy, spooky night. They’re sitting around yakking about The Bat, a misogynist serial killer who has been frightening the region. As the writer goes to lock the front door, she is menaced by a hand encased in a clawed glove. Highly controlled panic ensues.

The women call the police and lock themselves in a bedroom. The Bat lets himself in and traipses around the house. He releases what looks like a mechanical bat into the women’s bedroom.

What follows is very odd. Night after night, The Bat goes roaming around the house, and nobody seems to be able to stop him. Meanwhile, life goes on pretty much as usual for the mystery writer and her friend. They have a dinner party where a man gets killed and stuffed into a closet by The Bat. They have a slumber party, and one of their friends gets killed by The Bat!

Why don’t they move out of the house? Obviously it’s not a safe environment. I mean, it contains a homicidal maniac, after all!

That important question summarizes why I love this movie. It’s full of existential ambiguity, and it’s beautifully shot. It also features Agnes Moorhead and Vincent Price, so you cannot go wrong there, my friends.

In closing, The Bat is a quite enjoyable mystery with a cast of memorable characters, some good suspense and light and shadows atmosphere. It reminds me of those radio mystery shows, but of course that fun is transported competently on screen.

A bit of a slow start but it increasingly gets better with the Bat loitering around the house, terrorizing and even bumping off a few victims. What you get, as aforementioned, is a lighthearted treat with great performances by both Agnes Moorehead and Vincent Price. The Bat is a highly anticipated release from The Film Detective label. Presented at 1.85:1, this pristine print is beautifully restored from original 35mm archival elements and includes the host of bonus features that label fans have come to expect.

Notably, the release includes nine archival radio re-broadcasts featuring the iconic Price in everything from the popular radio drama Suspense to a comedic performance for CBS Radio Workshop in Speaking of Cinderella. Presented in partnership with Retro Entertainment.

BONUS FEATURES: Full-color booklet with essay, “The Case of The Forgotten Author,” by professor and film scholar Jason A. Ney; full-length commentary track by Jason A. Ney; all-new, original production, The Case for Crane Wilbur, by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures; nine archival radio episodes featuring Vincent Price.

Official Purchase Link

www.TheFilmDetective.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

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

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly-anticipated Elvis in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 13th, 2022.

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

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

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the legendary Hayride Performance. From his moments backstage, lonely, alone, a dusty barn encapsulating him and his thoughts, until the moment he takes the stage, slightly numb, slightly off kilter to what to expect (from himself and the audience), the scene from barn to stage is colorfully nuanced to perfection here in 4K UHD.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material; notably the en masse of Elvis doing live shows as he got more famous, more known, more confident. For the more famous he became, the more adored he was, the sets became more colorful, more detailed, more poppy, shall we say.

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

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

As for the movie itself, well, this 2 hour 39 minute biographical film begins to follow the life of Elvis Presley as a young white boy who grew up in a poor black neighborhood, which exposed him to sultry blues and rousing gospel music.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Elvis” will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

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

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

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

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the always-beloved The Lost Boys in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 20th, 2022.

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

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

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the one lovingly referred to as Grandpa To The Rescue has always been my personal favorite! And not because it’s a last-second save by one of the kookiest characters in the movie, but because GRANDPA ALREADY KNEW about the vampires and had been taking precautions against them for years!

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

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material. And front and center of most all of that are the Frog brothers, for they are one of the several aspects of this movie that a lot of people remember and are most fond of since they’re goofy as hell but they end up giving the movie a bit of the personality that is needed to shine!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4K UHD Disc
1. Commentary by Joel Schumacher

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

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

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

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

Ultra HD* showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.

The Lost Boys will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $24.99 ERP and includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Digital download of the film. Fans can also own The Lost Boys in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on September 20th, 2022.

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

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

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

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly-anticipated DC League of Super-Pets in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this October 4th, 2022.

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

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

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the Krypto Is Mad At Superman! scene, where he is fully expecting to spend the night in with his human (to watch the British Bake Off season finale), only to discover he has a date!

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material; notably the End-Credits Scene where Krypto and Superman are playing fetch, and Black Adam and his own dog drop in for a chat, shall we say!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Trailer

Amazon Purchase Link

www.4DigitalMedia.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain (1932) - Official HD Promo

www.VCIentertainment.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.mvdshop.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.arrowvideo.com

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, and regardless, The Chocolate War is a very thoughtful, well acted, compelling piece of work, and that is a cinematic rarity. Barely seen at the time of release and sometimes hard to find back in the days of video stores, The Chocolate War is out now on stunning Blu-ray via MVD Visual, and is well worth watching (and also well worth reading). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.85:1 aspect ratio
Audio: English 5.1 Surround , English LPCM Mono, Spanish Mono
Optional English, French and Spanish Subtitles
Feature Commentary By Director Keith Gordon
Interview – Director Keith Gordon Discusses ‘The Chocolate War’
Original Theatrical Trailer
Collectible Mini-Poster

www.MVDvisual.com





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

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

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

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly-anticipated Batman: The Long Halloween [Deluxe Edition] in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 20th, 2022.

For my money, Batman: The Long Halloween [Deluxe Edition] [4K Ultra HD + Digital] combo pack sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is Batman: The Long Halloween [Deluxe Edition] presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, and Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1.

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the Batman vs. Joker fight scene ... whilst the Joker is flying an old prop plane loaded with canisters of poisonous gas!

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

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material; notably the scene in Part Two where Poison Ivy (and her cohorts) makes her thick lime green, gaseous (and ultimately explosive) entrance on the streets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the DC Vault: 4 Bonus Cartoons

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.DCcomics.com

www.WarnerBros.com





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

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

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

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

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the always-beloved Poltergeist PG-horror (!) in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 20th, 2022.

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

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

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as, well, let us call it the anti-Groot moment! On the first of many awful nights at the Freeling residence, little Star Wars super-fan and comic book aficionado Robbie (Oliver Robins) is woken up when a possessed tree busts its arm-like branch through his window. He’s helpless as the evil tree grows fingers and snatches him right out of his bed and pulls him straight out of his own bedroom. The darkness, lit only by the moonlight is now fine tuned and is crisper than ever!

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material. Such as whilst Robbie is trying to avoid being turned into fertilizer, his little sister Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) struggles against an even scarier supernatural force: her closet!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ultra HD* showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.

   Poltergeist will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $24.99 ERP and includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Digital download of the film. Fans can also own Poltergeist in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on September 20th, 2022.

www.wbd.com





The Last Romantic Lover: Special Edition
(Dayle Haddon, Gérard Ismaël, Fernando Rey, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1978) 2022 / Cult Epics - MVD Visual)

Overview: The editor-in-chief of a New York women’s magazine is organizing the Last Romantic Lover contest to find out if men still have a sense of romance.

Blu-ray Verdict: Firstly, I am proud to announce that Cult Epics has an exciting new release schedule with several music-related films, slated for the summer. First up was Naked Over the Fence (1973) featuring Sylvia Kristel, which hit Blu-ray mid-August and came complete with a bonus CD of the soundtrack by cult composer Ruud Bos.

Just Jaeckin’s The Last Romantic Lover (1978) is next here on October 25th, and it was he who discovered Sylvia Kristel for the role of Emmanuelle after Naked Over the Fence. The Last Romantic Lover is his personal favorite of the films he directed, and stars Dayle Haddon (Madame Claude) and has a music score by Pierre Bachelet (Emmanuelle).

Following that on November 22nd, with rights courtesy of the Estate of Gainsbourg, Cult Epics will release the soundtrack of Madame Claude by Serge Gainsbourg featuring Jane Birkin on vocals and will reissue the Blu-ray in an edition of 1000 copies with a bonus CD of the long-out-of-print score.

But, I digress, and so getting back on track, The Last Romantic Lover is a rather sweet romance about a liberated woman and a lion tamer. What? Yes. She runs a contest for a magazine to find the last romantic lover, but the magazine criteria is slightly different than the sweet man who she meets!

He is a lion tamer at a poor circus who is entered into the contest by the other members of the circus to get money to help the circus buy a new lion. He is sweet and lives a simple, if not exotic life with the circus. Ergo, he believes it is romantic to just sleep with a woman, not just to have sex with her.

A happy ending makes this a cult favorite, for sure, but in between there is oh-so much more to admire. The main character, Pierre (Gérard Ismaël) is just so lovely throughout, truly, that he almost seems (at times) too good to be true, especially for the love interest, Elisabeth (Dayle Haddon).

The funniest parts are when the weekend gets started and they are at his circus hanging out for he has a lot of carny friends that care for him and that part works very well. As for the well-intentioned sex stuff, well, that didn’t always land and steered more toward being silly and rather overboard; as most French films of this ilk tend to be and do, of course.

Again, the ending is very touching, well thought out and put together and even though throughout the whole movie you are rooting for Pierre (and rightly so), there is so much else going on that it soon becomes a wonderful cinematic spectacle, in and unto itself! If you like older foreign films, this is a must see!

www.CultEpics.com

www.MVDvisual.com





Panther: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
(Marcus Chong, Courtney B. Vance, Kadeem Hardison, Bokeem Woodbine, Joe Don Baker, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1995) 2022 / MVD Visual)

Overview: A time of tension. Of rioting in the streets. A time of change. In Oakland, California, 1968, The Black Panthers led by Huey Newton (Marcus Chong, The Matrix) and Bobby Seale (Courtney B. Vance, The Preacher’s Wife) have armed themselves and are ready to fight for freedom.

To the people, they’re heroes, but to the FBI they’re Public Enemy Number One. Now the Feds will do everything they can - on the right or wrong side of the law - to bring them down.

Written by legendary filmmaker and author Melvin Van Peebles (Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song), based on his own novel, and directed by Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City, Posse), Panther features an all-star cast including Kadeem Hardison (Drive), Bokeem Woodbine (Queen & Slim), Joe Don Baker (GoldenEye), Angela Bassett (Black Panther), Chris Tucker (Rush Hour), Chris Rock (The Longest Yard), James Le Gros (Guncrazy), M. Emmet Walsh (Blood Simple), Robert Culp (I Spy), James Russo (Django Unchained), Bobby Brown (Ghostbusters II) and Tyrin Turner (Menace II Society).

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, Panther’s depictions of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and the opposing white establishment are perhaps a bit simplistic; nevertheless it made the movie no less thrilling to watch.

Mario Van Peebles uses television footage from the civil rights struggles in the 1960s to demonstrate why the Black Panther Party came into existence. The scenes of police brutality and the Party standing up to the police were shot well and enable the viewer to grasp the fear as well as frustration of the times.

Whether or not the film portrays an accurate account of history and the reasoning behind the creation of the Party is debatable. Of course, no film is completely historically accurate, and most producers, writers and directors have their own agenda when making a film.

However, all that being said, it is not difficult to believe that the white establishment behaved either exactly or near to the way it is depicted in the film.

Indeed, we need only read our history books, newspapers and watch footage (some of which was shown in the film) of the white establishment’s appalling actions during that period and indeed for centuries before that to determine that the depictions of overt racism and inhumane treatment dished out by the police and others in the film were not far fetched.

One other fact to consider is that the Panthers were considered an enemy to the established order and therefore the propaganda surrounding the history of the Party depicts them as worse than they actually were.

The film, I believe, breaks those negative images down. It goes beyond the headlines of the time and depicts the problems facing black Americans then and indeed to some extent now.

Indeed the most impressive aspect of the film is how it portrayed the need for the Black Panther Movement. One finds it difficult to advocate violence; however when one’s life is on the line and those who are meant to protect are the perpetrators, then the right to defend oneself is the right of every person. The most powerful message this film sends is that the Panther Party was the result of a need not simply a desire.

The film may not be completely historically accurate, however, it does present a different view of the Panther Party and its objectives, one that is long overdue. This film is a must see! [M.S.]

www.MVDvisual.com





Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind [4K Ultra HD]
(Manny Jacinto, David Wenham, Ron Yuan, Keith Silverstein, Courtenay Taylor, et al / 4K Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: The vicious, power-mad Kano is determined to take over Earthrealm, one soul at a time. Assisted by a trio of cold Black Dragon mercenaries, he embarks on a brutal assault from town to defenseless town. The choice is simple: Kneel or be annihilated.

Kenshi, a rebel warrior, calls on Kuai Liang, the only one powerful enough to challenge the malevolent Kano. But Kuai Liang has given up the ways of the warrior, and Kenshi is too undisciplined to defeat Kano himself.

If Kuai Liang cannot break through the glacier of doubt that holds him back, Earthrealm will fall. The stakes are immeasurable, and the potential konsequences have never been more dire!

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly-anticipated Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this October 11th, 2022.

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

So, what we have is Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 and Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1.

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the whole What Shall I Do With You? scene/moment. Blinded by his enemy, Kano, Kenshi asks to be killed, rather than live like this, and thusly is grabbed by the throat and thrown, alive, down a deep, deep well!

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material. Such as the Where ya headed? scene, where goons beat up an old man, but at the same time perfectly showcases the fact that the former Sub-Zero (aka the old man), if he had really wanted to, he could have still been able to kick all their asses; but he chose to remain silent, so as to not begin a loop of violence.

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

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

As for the movie itself, well, in my humble opinion, Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind is a movie that only die-hard Mortal Kombat fans are going to fall over themselves to have to watch.

Chock full of gregarious amounts of violence and, thankfully, as I personally love a nice tie-in, a generous amount of callbacks to the two recent animated films that came before it, this new story brings us more of a background on, and, as it turns out, a foretelling of a warrior who isn’t as known, as glamors, persay, as those fighters that have gone before him: Kenshi (Manny Jacinto, The Good Place).

OK, sure, it’s a direct sequel to 2021’s Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms, but where that one let the viewer/fan down in a few action-unpacked ways, this one makes up for it ten-fold. Crammed tight with pockets of excited energy, it’s actually more akin to Scorpion’s Revenge than Realms, in my humble opinion.

Set several years after the gory conclusion of Battle of the Realms, The vicious, power-mad Kano is determined to take over Earthrealm, one soul at a time. Assisted by a trio of cold Black Dragon mercenaries, he embarks on a brutal assault from town to defenseless town. The choice is simple: Kneel or be annihilated.

Kenshi, a rebel warrior, calls on Kuai Liang, the only one powerful enough to challenge the malevolent Kano. But Kuai Liang has given up the ways of the warrior, and Kenshi is too undisciplined to defeat Kano himself.

Now, the big change of direction here is that whereas Realms was, more or less, a straight forward battle royale between some profound Mortal Kombat big boys, Snow Blind is most definitely, oh and without a shadow of a doubt, a sandy, yellowy Mad Max-styled, post-apocalyptic jaunt; thus giving all its fans yet another alternate video game universe to admire.

But even with Ron Yuan, who previously voiced Scorpion in Mortal Kombat 11, replacing Bayardo De Murguia as the voice of Kuai Liang, and large patches of animated brilliance, let alone some rather tasty cinematic creativity, trying to construct a whole new dimension to the franchise in a sandy arena, and predominantly using only a handful of Mortal Kombat’s lesser-known personalities, well, of course overall enjoy ability will always be hampered.

So whilst centering the plot, for the most part, around Kenshi is a smart move for this new movie, he himself a compelling watch as we follow along on his path from a scrappy brawler to a warrior hardened by adversity, Snow Blind still spends too much time away from him.

So what we get is an impassioned Kenshi, who we grow to not only adore for his principles and strength (both physically and mentally), but along with it is a mired plot that involves left of center acts such as Kano’s downfall, countless brawls between lesser characters (like Ferra/Torr, Drahmin, and Erron Black as well as The Black Dragon’s sub-units), and yet, and hear me clearly here, still the movie manages to keep its head above water and walk tall come the end. [FYI: Erron Black, Ferra/Torr and Tremor have their designs based on their Mortal Kombat X standard costume].

Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind Special Features
Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital

Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind Audio Commentary (Audio Only) – Join producer/director Rick Morales and screenwriter Jeremy Adams for a feature-length audio commentary revealing the creative choices used to bring the all-new animated feature to the screen

Kenshi: From the Video Game to Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind (Featurette) – An in-depth exploration of fan favorite Kenshi Takahashi from his video game origins to his first sword-wielding animated appearance

Adapting Evil: Building the Black Dragon Clan (Featurette) – From King Kano to the evil ensemble of Mortal Kombat’s deep cut characters, the filmmakers reveal the approach to bringing the sinister Black Dragon Clan to life

Deleted Animatics – Get a behind-the-scenes look at a few intriguing scenes that were included in the initial assembly of the film, but didn’t quite make it to the final cut

The film arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack on October 11th, 2022.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind will be available on Blu-ray (US $29.98 SRP; Canada $39.99 SRP) and 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (USA $39.99 SRP; Canada $44.98 SRP) and Digital.

The Blu-ray features a Blu-ray disc with the film in hi-definition and a digital version of the movie. The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc featuring the film in hi-definition, and a digital version of the movie.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind | Official Trailer | Warner Bros. Entertainment

www.DCcomics.com

www.WarnerBros.com





8-Bit Christmas [DVD]
(Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Zahn, Winslow Fegley, June Diane Raphael, David Cross, et al / DVD / PG / 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: A humorous and heartfelt look back at the adventures of childhood starring Neil Patrick Harris (A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Matrix Resurrections, The Smurfs films).

Set in suburban Chicago in the late 1980s, the story centers on ten‐year‐old Jake Doyle’s herculean quest to get the latest and greatest video game system for Christmas.

DVD Verdict: Admittedly, as it’s getting one step closer to that special time of year every day, and even though we are only still in early October, watching a film like 8-Bit Christmas now might seem like outright sacrilege to some people but for me, well, it got me wishing and hoping for the snow to come-a-falling!

Having now watched it twice (yes, you heard me right, twice in three days), I can honestly attest that the movie is genuinely heartfelt and was highly entertaining from start to finish.

Whilst his daughter campaigns for her own phone for Christmas, Jake Doyle (Neil Patrick Harris) recounts the story of how he got his prized Christmas present back in the 80’s, his Nintendo Entertainment System.

As a child, Jake (Winslow Fegley) was one of a number of kids that flocked to the house of the only boy in town that had one. Deciding that he must get his own, Jake embarks on a number of schemes to try and secure one, in time for the big day.

Happily, for a film with a large cast of child actors, I didn’t find any of their performances particularly off putting. Especially not the lead, Winslow Fegley, who keeps his put-upon character on the right side of whiny, to keep the audience on side. The principle adult performers, June Diane Raphael, Steve Zahn and Neil Patrick Harris are all good too and there’s also a cameo from the always-funny David Cross.

The story line itself is nothing overly special and doesn’t take too many straying liberties within its overall message, which to me was a good thing, because, essentially, it is a group of shorter stories, each revolving around a particular scheme to get access to a Nintendo that are thwarted as we head towards a typically (for the season) heart-warming finale.

There are also some funny, and indeed curiously creative fantasy elements at play here, but be warned (although I use that word extremely lightly), for the odd moment of mild, shall we say, gross out comedy, which includes one instance where I instantly thought might be unforgivable should it play out, but fortunately the film then backs swiftly away from it (you’ll know the scene when you see it), so it never thankfully meanders from being a very family friendly experience.

That all said, and with me being the old cynic I have always been, the fact that you hear the words Nintendo and Cabbage Patch dolls more than Merry Christmas just makes me wonder what the real purpose of the movie was!

Anyhoo, narrated to silky perfection by Neil Patrick Harris (as well as starring in, of course), Steve Zahn and June Diane Raphael are also really great here, their chemistry is awesome and they feel just like the mother and Old Man Parker from A Christmas Story, for they stole the scenes and were just hilarious!

The ending was surprisingly sad and incredibly endearing and it teaches you that some of the best things in life aren’t things, they’re friendships and memories, among other things. Oh, and another great thing about this movie is that you don’t have to be a child of the 80’s to enjoy it, since it perfectly captures the essence of that time in a modern movie.

Special Features:
1. 8-Bit Miracles Making-of Featurette
2. Character Series
1. Adult Jake Doyle
2. Young Jake Doyle
3. Mikey Trotter
4. Hodges Twins
5. Evan Olsen
6. Jeff Farmer

Official Trailer

www.WarnerBros.com





Shawscope: Volume Two (Limited Edition) [10-Disc]
(Gordon Liu, Jet Li, Hsiao Hou, Kara Hui, Ti Lung, et al / 10-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: Picking up where Volume One left off, this sophomore collection of Hong Kong cinema classics draws together many of the best films from the final years of the Shaw Brothers studio, proving that while the end was nigh, these merchants of martial arts mayhem weren’t going to go out without a fight!

Armed with stunning special features and ravishing new restorations, this box-set is even bigger and bolder than the last one.

Blu-ray Verdict: This sophomore collection by Arrow Video presents fourteen jewels from the Shaw crown, all released within the 1970s and 1980s, beginning with kung fu master Lau Kar-leung’s instant classic The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978), in which his adoptive brother Gordon Liu achieved overnight stardom as the young man who unexpectedly finds spiritual enlightenment on the path to vengeance.

In my humble opinion, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin sets itself apart from other kung-fu movies of its era with better choreography and a bigger focus on training.

Many times when a young would-be martial artist has to train in order to defeat his foe he goes through a brief training, learns a deadly technique, then is off to avenge his master/friend/brother/etc. The training aspect of the movie tends to be abbreviated. In this gem of a movie the training phase took considerable time and I loved it.

Yes, we do want to see the protagonist eventually take down the big boss but it has to have some credibility and some weight. How truly satisfying is that victory if he only trained for a little bit and then is able to be victorious?

Even if the training wasn’t short in movie time (meaning they condensed a year down to 15 minutes) it still feels less fulfilling. But, when that young man has trained for months or years on end and we get to see his growth and development through several stages, then that brings about a very satisfying win.

And that’s what we had here: much arduous training to make the protagonist into a ready opponent for the top bad guy.

Lau and Liu then followed the original with two comically inventive sequels, the first being Return to the 36th Chamber (1980), where when thugs prey upon innocent factory workers, a small-time scammer trains for revenge by studying the moves of Shaolin temple monks.

The workers of a dye factory have their pay cut by 20% when the factory owner brings in some Manchu thugs to try and increase production. Desperate to reclaim their full wages, the workers hire an actor to impersonate a priest and kung-fu expert from the temple of Shaolin.

Once again, director Lau Kar-leung excels in this action-comedy. When a lot of people think Shaw Brothers kung fu, I think they envision Chang Cheh, which may be a wee bit narrow-minded of them, sure, Lau is every bit as great, and in some ways maybe even better, because although much of this looks like a Shaw action film, the comedy is excellent; clearly drawing on old-school American slapstick!

Then comes the other sequel, Disciples of the 36th Chamber (1985), where Gordon Liu Chia-hui reprises his famous Monk San Te role as he tries to support and protect Shaolin her Fang Shih-yu who purposely attacks corrupt Ching officials.

Also known as Disciples of the Master Killer or Master Killer III, this is completes the trilogy of movies nicely and was, of course, written, directed and choreographed Lau Kar-leung.

Hsiao Ho (Mad Monkey Kung Fu, Legendary Weapons of China) takes on the role of another legendary hero of the martial arts, Fong Sai-Yuk. He’s a troublemaker and keeps running into trouble with the Manchu warlords. To save his family’s honor, his mother asks San Te (Gordon Liu) to allow her son to study in the 36th chamber, the place where non-monks may train. However, Sai-Yuk’s pride and lack of respect make quite a headache for the monks.

Sai-Yuk keeps going into town at night, which is forbidden and becomes friends with the Manchu. They are using him to get the secrets of the Shaolin, so that they may destroy the temple. The film closes with Sai-Yuk poisoned and all of the monks trapped inside the Manchu fortress for what they believed was a wedding.

The battle that closes the film is absolutely astounding, with every art show in the film paying off in a final battle that is as much about the Shaolin’s refusal to hurt anyone and help one another as it is combat. Nearly every cast member is involved in a gigantic battle that simply must be experienced!

Already established as a genius at blending dazzling action with physical comedy, Lau himself plays the lead role in the hilarious Mad Monkey Kung Fu (1979), where a disgraced former Kung Fu expert makes a living as a merchant with the help of a hot headed friend. When the men are harassed by gangsters, the merchant decided to teach his friend monkey boxing so they can defend their business.

Next up is Lo Mar’s underrated Five Superfighters (1979), where three young martial arts students and their teacher are beaten up badly by a wandering man who proclaims himself a corrector of bad kung-fu. Determined to avenge their teacher and regain their honor, the three students all go their separate ways to find kung-fu masters who will take them as students.

OK, sure, Five Superfighters is a serviceable kung fu flick from the Shaw Brothers stable, albeit very much one of their lesser-budgeted productions, but nonetheless a film which proves to be reasonably enjoyable. The bare bones story line is about a crazy, black-garbed kung fu fighter who travels around the land, correcting the kung fu of people he meets; which typically means he beats them up.

A handful of fighters take exception to the stranger’s antics and decide to train for six months using the usual novel methods. Inevitably they then team up for the lively climax. Truth be told, this is very much a Shaw version of Jackie Chan’s brilliant Drunken Master; especially given that there is actually a drunken master and a beggar in the film! There are no big stars here, but there’s a wealth of action which is certainly acceptable, if not quite top tier.

Next, we once again meet Chang Cheh’s basher boy band the Venom Mob in no less than four of their best-loved team-ups, the first being Invincible Shaolin (1978), where critically acclaimed director Chang Cheh has The Five Venoms turn Shaolin fighters as they challenge the authority of the evil Chings in Invincible Shaolin.

Three kung fu experts (Feng Lu, Chiang Sheng, and Sun Chien) from the North Shaolin temple are summoned to train the Qing army, but must first prove themselves in a friendly fight against the current South Shaolin trainers. North wipe the floor with their cocksure opponents.

Later that day, in a move designed to pit North vs South and destroy Shaolin once and for all, devious Qing General Pu (Wang Lung-wei) kills the shamed South Shaolin trainers, pinning the blame on the new arrivals from the North.

On hearing of his students’ deaths, the South Shaolin master sends three more of his men to exact revenge, but this time around, two of them are accidentally killed by the Northerners, the third injured fighter returning to his temple to relay the bad news.

Realizing that none of his students are good enough to beat the North Shaolin, the South Shaolin teacher picks three more men (played by Lo Mang, Kuo Chui and Pai Wei), each to train under a different kung fu master. Six months later, the trio leave to face the North Shaolin, even though both North and South now suspect that they are being manipulated.

With the Five Venoms on top form, kung fu fans can rightfully expect some astonishing old school martial arts action in Chang Cheh’s Invincible Shaolin, including an entertaining training sequence that shows off the impressive skills of Lo Mang, Kuo Chui and Pai Wei (Lo Mang does one finger press-ups with a large polystyrene rock placed on his back!!!) and a wonderfully bloody final battle that makes use of lots of red paint as North and South battle it out before joining forces to kick some well-deserving Qing butt!

Then we get The Kid with the Golden Arm (1979) where the Five Venoms are reunited in this second biggest cult hit in the West. It’s Lo Meng’s most memorable performances whose showdown with fellow Venom Kuo Chue is artistically violent while being graphically artsy.

In truth, the story line for The Kid With The Golden Arm is about as basic as can be: the good guys are escorting a shipment of gold to a famine-stricken region and have to stop the bad guys, a collection of broad, yet colorful comic-book style bandits with self-explanatory names (ie: Bronze Head, Silver Spear, Iron Robe), from stealing it along the way.

Then again, it makes a change from all of those old school kung fu films that require an in-depth knowledge of Chinese political history in order to understand what is going on, I suppose.

Fortunately, what director Chang Cheh’s film lacks in plot development, it more than makes up for with awesome kung fu action, the film comprising of one expertly choreographed and flawlessly executed martial arts scene after another, with a wide variety of impressive weapon work, lots of breath-taking acrobatics, and a surprising amount of bright red gore (characters are regularly sliced and impaled).

Philip Kwok, as drunken Agent Hai Tao, proves particularly impressive with his amazing athleticism and impeccable timing.

Then along comes The Magnificent Ruffians (1979). Yuan Ying Fei is the descendant of the one known as Golden Sword and himself is a master of the technique as well as being boss of the town. He is so a cruel man and has killed his sparring partners with unnecessary blows, causing many martial artists to leave the town with only Guan Ah Yun remaining.

Guan is the owner of Wu Wei security bureau which Yuan wishes to buy but cannot bully Guan out as he has an eye for his sister and Guan cannot fight back because any time he tries his sister and mother stop him. Yuan is stuck until he learns of four kung fu experts who are passing through the town by eating in restaurants and then taking it in terms to take a beating due to not being able to pay!

Yuan tricks He Fei,Yang Zhui Feng, Zeng Qiao and Feng Jia Ji into being his friends and then tricks them into believing that Guan is a cruel and unhelpful man. The four go to fight Guan, but do so away from his mother and sister - but the fights produce mutual respect and friendship between sparring which leads Yuan to more deadly deception.

Magnificent Ruffians a.k.a The destroyers is an action revenge movie that works on so many levels, most all of them hitting their marks here nicely.

OK, sure, it is about as typical a Venom’s film as you can get, but trust me, there is nothing wrong with that! Indeed, it has an interesting subtext about the growth of new technology and weapons meaning that martial artists are left out of luck, but this is very much secondary to the story of Lu Feng’s greedy property owner who’ll stop at nothing to indulge in his twin passions of expansion and killing rival martial artist!

Lo Meng is a delight as the upright security bureau chief standing against him, while the others play vagabonds who get caught up in the plot. There’s plenty of action, of course, the best of it saved for the elaborate climax, and it’s never less than engaging at any point.

The fourth of these films culminates with the all-star Ten Tigers of Kwangtung (1980), co-starring Ti Lung and Fu Sheng, where the movie involves two stories concerning the original Ten Tigers and their future disciples.

Cheh Chang and the Venom Mob deliver again! Told via two stories, one is about the Ten Tigers seeking disciples to train and then exact their revenge on an evil general, whilst the second half of the film follows the disciples fighting off a group of assassins.

So the story is a standard martial arts tale of revenge, but this is a Venom Mob film, so the action is going to be far above average, and thus, as expected, Director Cheh Chang, along with Ti Lung, Fu Sheng, and Phillip Kwok deliver the goods!

++ SPOILER ALERT ++ I think the finale is worth noting that as much as the demise of the film’s villains was wildly unexpected, it also contains one of the craziest martial arts decapitations scenes ever (Riki-Oh not included!).

After all those, Lau brings us perhaps his best high-kicking comedy with My Young Auntie (1981), a playful star vehicle for his real-life muse Kara Hui. Cheng Tai-Nan (Kara Hui) is an honest and faithful servant of a dying patriarch who wants nothing more than to protect his vast wealth from his selfish, conniving nephew, Yung-Sheng.

Tai-Nan is young enough to be his granddaughter, but still agrees to marry her master so that all of his wealth will be lawfully safe with her so she can then transfer it to Ching-Chuen (Lau Kar-Leung), her new husband/master’s favorite nephew.

This angers the hateful Yung-Sheng greatly, who sends multiple thugs after Tai-Nan, but she is a highly skilled martial artist who is not easily defeated. Amazingly, things become even more complicated when Ching-Chuen’s son, Yu Tao (Hou Hsiao), arrives home from a university in Hong Kong and discovers a mysterious women in his house and attacks her, not realizing she is actually his new great aunt, Tai-Nan!

Complicating things even more is the uncomfortable sexual tension between Yu Tao and Tai-Nan. Next Yung-Sheng finally manages to steal all the paperwork, titles, and deeds to Ching-Chuen’s wealth. Left with no choice but to lead an all-out attack against Yung-Sheng at his booby-trapped mansion, Tai-Nan decides to get Ching-Chuen and his older brothers back into fighting shape.

My one so-called irk is how suddenly the comedic aspects of the film die off during the conclusion. The film transitions from outright farce to dramatic intrigue with little but a change in incidental music. But, ok, there is a certain symmetry in it, I guess.

Sure, the film begins focused on the intrigue, focused more on Lau Kar Leung’s character, and it ends that way, too, but the final scene returns to the movie’s comedic roots (all too soon, in my humble opinion), giving conclusion to both aspects of the film.

Up next we witness the Shaw Brothers fully embracing eighties excess in our strangest double feature yet: the first being Wong Jing’s breathtakingly wild shoot-‘em-up Mercenaries from Hong Kong (1982), where a gang of ex-military guys are hired by a mysterious dame who wants them to go into Cambodia and kidnap the assassin who killed her father.

This is one of those ensemble all-star productions similar to The Expendables, but to my mind done much better. Ti Lung has never been tougher as the moustachioed lead and he assembles a crack squad of classic Shaw stars to go on the mission.

Wong Yu is the magician who’ll do anything for money; the great Lo Lieh is a sniper; the extremely tough Johnny Wang Lung Wei is a boxer; Michael Chan Wai-Man is a soldier with combat experience in Vietnam; and Chan Pak-Cheung is the comic relief and ladies’ man.

The odds are stacked against the heroes, with a vengeful Yuen Wah hunting them in Hong Kong, Phillip Ko playing the target, and the ultra-imposing Lee Hoi San as a sinister character who keeps turning up to commit murder.

Don’t go in expecting dense plotting, because the emphasis of this film is very much on the action, and it delivers in spades. From Lung’s opening hit to the assembling of the team and the eventual mission, it’s exciting stuff indeed with a strong mix of hand-to-hand combat and explosive gun-dominated set-pieces.

The stakes continue to raise in the second half, and there’s an admirably dark streak well handled by writer/director Wong Jing at the outset of his career. Personally, the only contemporary Shaw film that I like better than this is the exemplary Hong Kong Godfather.

The other title in the double feature is Kuei Chih-hung’s spectacularly unhinged black magic meltdown The Boxer’s Omen (1983), where whilst in Thailand to avenge his brother, who was crippled in a fight with a corrupt Thai boxer, a man gets caught up in a web of fate, Buddhism and black magic.

Chan Hung is a Hong Kong boxer who travels to Thailand to avenge his brother, who was crippled in a fight with unscrupulous opponent Mr. Bu-bo (played by martial arts movie legend Bolo Yeung, who rarely fights fair in his films anyway!).

After agreeing to a boxing match against Bu-bo in three months time, Chan visits a Buddhist temple where he is drawn into a battle with an evil wizard who has used his dark powers to prevent the local abbot from achieving immortality.

The supernatural skirmish that ensues sees the wicked magician using some bizarre techniques to try and gain the upper hand against Chan, including summoning killer bats from the eye sockets of crocodile skulls (which also come alive), using rat blood to bring a skeletal bat back to life, cutting off a chicken’s head to perform a spell, conjuring up a flying alien head from a gloopy mess of puke, and ultimately removing his own noggin from his shoulders to launch a last-ditch attack!

It’s all for nowt for nowt though, because the wizard loses the fight when sunlight makes his head dissolve! After all of that, the film gets REALLY strange!

Last but certainly not least, Lau Kar-leung directs the last major Shaw production, Martial Arts of Shaolin (1986), filmed in mainland China with a hot new talent named Jet Li in the lead role. In ancient China, Zhi Ming trains at the legendary Northern Shaolin temple to avenge the death of his father at the hands of a nefarious magistrate.

This film is notable as the only collaboration between film director Lau Kar-leung and actor Jet Li. It is the third part of the successful Shaolin film series which began with the aforementioned Shaolin Temple and was followed by the blow-mentioned Kids From Shaolin.

Although it stars many Mainland actors from either or both predecessor films (Jet Li, Yu Chenghui, Yu Hai, Hu Jianqiang and Huang Qiuyan), Martial Arts Of Shaolin uses a Hong Kong production crew from Shaw Brothers Studio, in contrast to the other two films (which are Hong Kong-funded but are shot by a Mainland director with a Mainland crew).

The production values, especially the set, are a dramatic improvement over the old Chang Cheh films. So, for that, the film is to be commended. But is there much new to offer? For me, not so much. Also, the movie really drives home the theme music. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of using the music over and over in different ways, but they seem to have used the same melody for almost 75% of the film!

That is paired in this set with The Bare-Footed Kid (1993), a reverent remake of a Chang Cheh classic with Johnnie To (Running Out of Time) in the director’s chair and Lau back on fight choreography duties, in arguably the ultimate filmed tribute to Shaws’ everlasting cinematic legacy.

While working at a family friend’s business, a penniless orphan draws the attention of a corrupt competitor and is torn between divided loyalties.

Although the central themes of the Barefoot Kid are hardly original by kung-fu cinema standards - doomed love, coming of age and redemption - they are delicately and effectively handled to produce a result which is by turns charming, exciting and funny.

Similarly, although the structure of the action sequences is rarely ground-breaking, superb choreography, clever camera work and a standout performance from Aaron Kwok elevate them well above the ordinary.

To a veteran of Kung Fu films, The Barefoot Kid would appear rather pedestrian and certainly nothing exceptional, but for a beginner, its simple, but strong themes, crisp cinematography and whipcrack action performances make it a uniquely accessible and hugely enjoyable ride nonetheless.

LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY COLLECTION CONTENTS:
• High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentations of all fourteen films, including nine new 2K restorations by Arrow Films
• Illustrated 60-page collectors’ book featuring new writing by David Desser, Jonathan Clements, Lovely Jon and David West, plus cast and crew listings and notes on each film by Simon Abrams
• New artwork by Mike Lee-Graham, Chris Malbon, Kagan McLeod, Colin Murdoch, “Kung Fu” Bob O’Brien, Lucas Peverill, Ilan Sheady, Tony Stella, Darren Wheeling and Jolyon Yates
• Hours of never-before-seen bonus features including several cast and crew interviews from the Frédéric Ambroisine Video Archive
• Two CDs of music from the De Wolfe Music library as heard in several of the films, exclusive to this collection
DISC ONE – THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN:
• Brand new 4K restoration by Celestial Pictures and L’Immagine Ritrovata
• Newly restored uncompressed Mandarin, Cantonese and English original mono audio
• Newly translated English subtitles, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub
• Brand new feature commentary by critic Travis Crawford
• Brand new select-scene commentary by film critic and historian Tony Rayns
• Interview with star Gordon Liu, filmed in 2003
• Interview with cinematographer Arthur Wong, filmed in 2006
• Shaolin: Birthplace of a Hero and Elegant Trails, two archive featurettes with Gordon Liu produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003
• Tiger Style: The Musical Impact of Martial Arts Cinema, a newly filmed overview of Shaw Brothers’ influence on hip hop and other music genres, featuring music historian Lovely Jon
• Cinema Hong Kong: Swordfighting, the second instalment in a three-part documentary produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003 and featuring interviews with Gordon Liu, Lau Kar-leung, Cheng Pei-pei, John Woo, Sammo Hung, Kara Hui, David Chiang and others
• Alternate opening credits from the American version titled Master Killer
• Hong Kong and German theatrical trailers, plus US TV spot
• Image gallery

DISC TWO – RETURN TO THE 36TH CHAMBER / DISCIPLES OF THE 36TH CHAMBER:
• Uncompressed Cantonese, Mandarin and English original mono audio for both films
• Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs
• Interview with star Gordon Liu, filmed in 2003
• Citizen Shaw, a French TV documentary from 1980 directed by Maurice Frydland, in which Sir Run Run Shaw gives an all-access tour of the Shaw Brothers backlot (including behind-the-scenes footage from Return to the 36th Chamber), remastered in high definition
• Hero on the Scaffolding, an archive featurette produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003
• Alternate opening credits sequences for both films
• Hong Kong theatrical trailers for both films
• Image galleries for both films

DISC THREE – MAD MONKEY KUNG FU / FIVE SUPERFIGHTERS:
• Brand new 2K restorations of both films from the original negatives by Arrow Films
• Uncompressed Cantonese, Mandarin and English original mono for both films
• Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs
• Brand new commentary for Mad Monkey Kung Fu by martial arts cinema experts Frank Djeng and Michael Worth
• Newly filmed appreciation of Mad Monkey Kung Fu by film critic and historian Tony Rayns
• Interview with actor Hsiao Hou, filmed in 2004
• Shaw in the USA, a brand new featurette on how Shaw Brothers broke America featuring Grady Hendrix and Chris Poggiali, authors of These Fists Break Bricks
• Hong Kong and US theatrical trailers for Mad Monkey Kung Fu
• Hong Kong theatrical trailer and UK VHS promo for Five Superfighters
• Image galleries for both films

DISC FOUR – INVINCIBLE SHAOLIN / THE KID WITH THE GOLDEN ARM:
• Brand new 2K restorations of both films from the original negatives by Arrow Films
• Uncompressed Mandarin and English original mono audio for both films, plus Cantonese mono for Invincible Shaolin
• Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs
• Interview with action director Robert Tai, filmed in 2003
• Poison Clan Rocks The World, a brand new visual essay on the Venom Mob written and narrated by author Terrence J. Brady
• Alternate “continuity” cut of The Kid With The Golden Arm, presented via seamless branching
• Alternate and textless title sequences for The Kid with the Golden Arm
• Hong Kong theatrical trailer for Invincible Shaolin
• Hong Kong theatrical trailer (audio only) and US TV spot for The Kid with the Golden Arm
• Image galleries for both films

DISC FIVE – MAGNIFICENT RUFFIANS / TEN TIGERS OF KWANGTUNG:
• Brand new 2K restorations of both films from the original negatives by Arrow Films
• Uncompressed Mandarin and English original mono audio for both films, plus Cantonese mono for Ten Tigers of Kwangtung
• Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs
• Brand new audio commentary on Ten Tigers of Kwangtung by filmmaker Brandon Bentley
• Interview with star Chin Siu-ho, filmed in 2003
• Rivers and Lakes, a brand new video essay on Shaw Brothers’ depiction of Chinese myth and history, written and narrated by Jonathan Clements, author of A Brief History of China
• Hong Kong (audio only) and German theatrical trailers for Magnificent Ruffians
• Hong Kong trailers (Mandarin and Cantonese audio options) and US TV spot for Ten Tigers of Kwangtung
• Image galleries for both films

DISC SIX – MY YOUNG AUNTIE:
• Uncompressed Cantonese, Mandarin and English original mono audio
• Newly translated English subtitles, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub
• Brand new select-scene commentary by film critic and historian Tony Rayns
• Interview with star Kara Hui, filmed in 2003
• Cinema Hong Kong: The Beauties of the Shaw Studios, the final installment in the three-part documentary produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003
• Alternate standard-definition VHS version
• Hong Kong theatrical trailer
• Image gallery

DISC SEVEN – MERCENARIES FROM HONG KONG / THE BOXER’S OMEN:
• Brand new 2K restorations of both films from the original negatives by Arrow Films
• Uncompressed Cantonese and Mandarin original mono audio for both films plus English mono for Mercenaries from Hong Kong
• Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub
• Brand new commentary on The Boxer’s Omen by critic Travis Crawford
• Newly filmed appreciation of filmmaker Kuei Chih-hung by film critic and historian Tony Rayns
• Additional footage from Mandarin VHS version of The Boxer’s Omen
• Interview with Mercenaries from Hong Kong action director Tong Kai, filmed in 2009
• Hong Kong theatrical trailers for both films
• Image galleries for both films

DISC EIGHT – MARTIAL ARTS OF SHAOLIN / THE BARE-FOOTED KID:
• Uncompressed Cantonese, Mandarin and English original mono audio for both films
• Newly translated English subtitles, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs
• Brand new commentary on Martial Arts of Shaolin by Jonathan Clements
• Brand new commentary on The Bare-Footed Kid by Frank Djeng of the NY Asian Film Festival
• Newly filmed appreciations of both films by film critic and historian Tony Rayns
• Interview with Martial Arts of Shaolin screenwriter Sze Yeung-ping, filmed in 2004
• Alternate standard-definition version of Martial Arts of Shaolin
• Hong Kong and Japanese theatrical trailers for Martial Arts of Shaolin, plus trailers for the preceding Shaolin Temple films starring Jet Li
• Hong Kong theatrical trailer and UK VHS promo for The Bare-Footed Kid
• Image galleries for both films

DISC NINE – MUSIC FROM THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN, FIVE SUPERFIGHTERS, INVINCIBLE SHAOLIN AND THE KID WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (CD)

DISC TEN – MUSIC FROM RETURN TO THE 36TH CHAMBER, MAGNIFICENT RUFFIANS, TEN TIGERS OF KWANGTUNG, MY YOUNG AUNTIE, MERCENARIES FROM HONG KONG AND DISCIPLES OF THE 36TH CHAMBER (CD)

www.ArrowFilms.com

www.MVDshop.com





Murder In A Blue World: Special Edition [BR]
(Sue Lyon, Chris Mitchum, Jean Sorel, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1973) 2022 / Cauldron Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: In a violent, dystopian consumer-fed future, David (Chris Mitchum - Summertime Killer) blackmails nurse Ana (Sue Lyon - Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita) after witnessing her commit a murder. When Ana and Victor (Jean Sorel - Perversion Story) discover David is a known gang member with an extensive criminal past, they make a plan to turn the tables and use him for their own clandestine purposes.

In 1971 Stanley Kubrick changed dystopian cinema forever with A Clockwork Orange. Two years later, transgressive Spanish genre director Eloy de la Iglesia unleashed this thought provoking and beautifully shot future-world that was also known as A Clockwork Terror.

Now Available For the first time on Blu-ray, Cauldron Films presents a new, eye popping 2K restoration of the Spanish producer’s cut.

Blu-ray Verdict: With the film proudly wearing its obvious inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) on its cinematic sleeve - because, not only is there a Droog-like band of violent criminals marauding at night (wielding whips at leisure), but they also assault an upper-class household that is very much decorated in the ultra-modern fashion seen in CLOCKWORK, and, as if this was not enough, a screening of that very Kubrickian adaptation of the Anthony Burgess novel is about to start on TV when their doorbell rings! - you will either love its intended viewing experience, or loath it, most likely (for there really is no in-between).

Likewise, a subplot revolves around an experimental program which is supposed to render hardened criminals into acceptable society members (but, predictably, the last scene demonstrates that the scheme has failed horribly), while peppering the soundtrack with classical music pieces (albeit being otherwise scored as if it were a Spaghetti Western).

Interestingly, whether deliberately or not, Kubrick returned the favor by utilizing music by the composer of this one (Georges Garvarentz) for his own swan-song EYES WIDE SHUT (1999).

Indeed, while the original Spanish title translates to the poetic A DROP OF BLOOD TO DIE LOVING and that the film was originally released on R2 DVD as MURDER IN A BLUE WORLD (although, for the record, the widescreen copy of the old VHS I once watched was also very nicely transferred, showcasing the striking visual look of the décor and costumes perfectly), the film was apparently known in the U.S. under the rather condescending moniker of CLOCKWORK TERROR.

Moreover, Sue Lyon – as it happens, the young star of Kubrick’s LOLITA (1962) – has the leading role here and, at one point, is even seen leafing through Vladimir Nabokov’s eponymous novel while lounging in a gay bar. The rest of the cast is made up of Christopher Mitchum (who would later appear in another foul-play-in-a-hospital movie, FACELESS {1987}) and Jean Sorel (who had already played a doctor in his most famous film, Luis Bunuel’s BELLE DE JOUR {1967}: incidentally, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE itself was Bunuel’s own favorite movie).

For being the younger son of Hollywood legend Robert Mitchum, Chris worked with some far-out directors. In fact, apart from De La Iglesia, he also made films for Alejandro Jodorowsky and Jess Franco. Lyon, while ostensibly renowned psychiatrist Sorel’s girl, moonlights as a serial-killer of males between the ages of 17 and 25 (though her reasons for running amok are attributed to the traumatic death of the girl’s parents in childhood, it is never quite clear why she targets that particular age group; one of whom she ensnares by outbidding him at an auction for the very first edition of the Flash Gordon comic-strip!) and, therefore, according to news reports, the murderer must be a homosexual!

Conversely, Mitchum is one of the four members of the aforementioned Droog-like anarchists who falls foul of his team-mates and, to earn some cash on the side, takes to blackmailing Lyon (whom he had unwittingly spied while disposing of a body: she often affects disguises herself – as a mature woman or a man – to lure her victims, who include a macho publicity guy modeling underwear on TV, linking the film, as do the entire lady-killing scenario and the overriding influence of TV, to the recently-viewed THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA {1976}).

Eventually, Mitchum’s former friends beat him up and he is hospitalized and, ironically enough, put in Lyon’s care - but, in eliminating him there, she also gives herself away – to Sorel’s obvious horror.

Blu-ray Special Features:
2K restoration of the Spanish Producer’s cut from the negative / 1080p presentation in 2.40:1 aspect ratio
English audio with optional English SDH subtitles
Spanish audio with optional English subtitles
Newly edited Archival interview with Chris Mitchum
Dubbing in a Blue World
Video essay by Film Scholar Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes
Commentary by Film Historian Kat Ellinger
Image Gallery

www.cauldron-films.com

www.MVDvisual.com





Contraband (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
(Marcel Bozzuffi, Fabio Testi, Ivana Monti, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1980) 2022 / Cauldron Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Naples, Italy: An idealistic cigarette smuggler, Luca, runs into problems when a sadistic drug dealing gangster from France decides to muscle his way into operations. As he tries to wipe out the competition, all hell breaks loose and the bodies start piling up!

Luca joins forces with rival smugglers and the local mafia to counteract the power play, which only increases the body count until the explosive gun powder and gut bursting conclusion!

Directed by Lucio Fulci (The Beyond), Contraband stars Fabio Testi (The Big Racket), Marcel Bozzuffi (The French Connection), Ivana Monti (Five Days in Milan), and Saverio Marconi (Padre Padrone).

Featuring gruesome practical special effects by Germano Natali (Deep Red) and Roberto Pace (Body Count), with music by legendary composer Fabio Frizzi, Contraband is a hard hitting mafia story filmed through the eye of an unrelenting horror master - you have been warned!

Contraband makes its worldwide Blu-ray debut via Cauldron Films, restored from a 4K scan of the negative.

Blu-ray Verdict: Imagine Fulci making a cop movie. Imagine that the budget ran out two weeks in. Imagine that real mobsters paid for the film, asking for a title change and for more violence (like Fulci was going to say no). Well, don’t imagine for all of these things are wonderfully true and make Contraband such a weird addition to your Fulci collection!

Luca Di Angelo smuggles near Naples with his brother Mickey. They have a close call with the police and suspect a rival gangster, Scherino, of turning them in. After sharing their concerns with their boss Perlante, one of Mickey’s prize horses is killed and a fake police roadblock leads to Fulci paying homage (or straight up ripping off, depending on your perspective) to the scene where Sonny dies in The Godfather.

Luca escapes death while his brother is not so lucky. Despite warnings that he should leave town, he has a speedboat funeral for his brother and vows revenge. Breaking into Scherino’s house, he almost kills the man before running into his henchmen. He gets his ass kicked, but his life is spared after the boss tells him he had no part in the death of his brother.

Adele, Luca’s wife, wants him to forget this life. But he’s in deep after discovering that a vicious French criminal named The Marsigliese is responsible. We meet this criminal during a drug deal, where he responds to a bad batch of heroin by burning a woman’s face with a blowtorch. If you haven’t realized that you are watching a Lucio Fulci movie, this would be the point in the film where you realize that fact!

The Marsigliese starts killing all of the Mafia leaders so that he can become the sole boss of Naples. Even Perlante is nearly killed, only being saved by the fact that his chief capo was having sex with his mistress and triggered a bomb under the bed.

After a meeting between Luca, Perlante and The Marsigliese, where they discuss working together, Luca warns his fellow smugglers that if the French boss has his way, there will be more drugs, more overdoses and more problems - with less money for all of them.

The police are using all of the intercine battling to round up smugglers, but Scherino saves Luca and suggests they work together. They meet at Perlante’s house, but Luca smells The Marsigliese’s cologne. That’s when gunmen bust in and shoot everyone but Luca, who escapes by crashing through a window. Scherino is mortally wounded, but not before shooting Perlante in the neck, killing him.

Again, in case you wonder who directed this film, The Marsigliese kidnaps Adele and demands Luca turn over his smuggling operation over the phone ... and then plays him the sounds of our hero’s wife being beaten and gang-raped.

Luca unites all of the retired mob bosses and old guard bosses, who are sick of hearing about the Frenchman taking over. They take out most of his men and Luca guns him down in a garbage-strewn alley in a scene packed with blood spraying everywhere.

Adele and rescued and Morrone, the leader of the old school mob guys, tells the police that he has no idea who Luca is.

Contraband was made as Fulci was starting to claim his gore crown. It’s his only crime movie, but it’s not a bad effort. And if you’re looking for his trademark tics, as you’ve read above, this film is full of them. It has way more blood and guts than any film of this type and subverts the genre it should be in, so it’s quite similar to how Fulci treated sword and sorcery with Conquest. This may not be one of his best-known films, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

Blu-ray Special Features:
4K restoration from the negative / 1080p presentation in 1.85:1 aspect ratio
English language audio
Optional English SDH subtitles
Italian language audio with English subtitles
New Interview with writer Giorgio Mariuzzo
New Interview with actress Ivana Monti
New Interview with actor Saverio Marconi
Archival Interview with actor Fabrizio Jovine
Archival Interview with actor Venantino Venantini
Archival Interview with cinematographer Sergio Salvati
Archival Interview with composer Fabio Frizzi
New audio commentary by film historians Troy Howarth, Nathaniel Thompson and Bruce Holecheck
Image Gallery
Trailers
Reversible Blu-ray wrap with alternate artwork

www.cauldron-films.com

www.MVDvisual.com





The Nun and The Devil [Blu-ray]
(Anne Heywood, Martine Brochard, Ornella Muti, Muriel Catala, Claudia Gravi, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1973) 2022 / Twilight Time - MVD Visual)

Overview: Religious orthodoxy, human desire and institutional corruption all rise to a mesmerizing boil in multi-genre Italian director Domenico Paolella’s The Nun and the Devil/Le Monache di Sant’Arcangelo (1973), a cinematic fever dream about power plays within - and brought to bear outwardly upon - a 16th-century Neapolitan nunnery.

Inspired by authentic period records and a novella by Stendhal, the film casts Anne Heywood as a senior sister scheming to become Mother Abbess, Ornella Muti as a defiant aristocrat sequestered into religious service, and policier star Luc Merenda as a righteous cleric investigating the convent’s sexual and heretical improprieties.

It stands out as one of the more noteworthy cinematic successors of Ken Russell’s notorious The Devils (1971).

Blu-ray Verdict: There are some really scandalous nunsploitation films available for those who want to indulge their fantasies or prurient interests. This is not one of them. Before you go running away, however, you should know that this film is well worth watching for the quality of the film.

It is all about the machinations that go on in and out of a convent after the Mother Superior dies. Three nuns: Mother Giulia (Anne Heywood), Mother Chiara (Martine Brochard), and Mother Livinia (Maria Cumani Quasimodo) are vying for the position of Mother Superior.

The latter two have very wealthy and influential connections on the outside. Sister Giulia uses poison to get rid of one rival, and is going to expose the other’s immorality with a man. This is easy for her as her rival is bisexual and her lesbian lover. No, we don’t get to see Heywood in the buff, but we do see Brochard!

Another player in this game is a young, virginal novitiate, that also happens to be the niece of Mother Giula. Isabella (Ornella Muti) was put in the convent to get her away from her boyfriend. Mother Giula is using her to get a nobleman on her side. What she doesn’t know is that Isabella and her boyfriend have been secretly meeting at the convent, and now they will have a chance to be together.

The sets are exquisite and the story is compelling. There is some nudity, but it is just the right amount for the story, not exploitative. Oh, and there is a torture scene, including water-boarding at an inquisition to discover the truth behind the campaign. Indeed, Cardinal d’Arezzo (Claudio Gora) screams for more torture for he is a symbol of the evil and corruption in the church at the time.

Justice is meted out for some sinners, but certainly not for all.

www.MVDvisual.com





The Tubular Bells 50th Anniversary Tour: Live
(Mike Oldfield, Circa Contemporary Circus, Samuel West, Robin Smith, Bill Nighy, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2022 / Cleopatra Entertainement - MVD Visual)

Overview: Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tubular Bells, the best-selling instrumental album of all-time, with this packed, Live Tour Double Disc release.

Experience the iconic music of Tubular Bells like never before, performed in a new cinematic style alongside live musicians and world-class performers, featuring BAFTA nominated, Samuel West, as MC.

Also featured is a fascinating 90 minute behind-the-scenes documentary, narrated by BAFTA winner, Bill Nighy.

Blu-ray Verdict: I am sure that the 50th Anniversary Live Concert Experience of Tubular Bells will be spectacular, theatrical, fantastical and thrilling. I’m so excited it is premiering in 2021, marking 50 years from when I started writing the music and will be touring the world through to 2023, the 50th anniversary of the original album release - Mike Oldfield.

DISC 1 - FULL LIVE SHOW - Filmed over three nights at the world-famous Royal Festival Hall, this contemporary masterpiece incorporates the beauty of the original music with dance and acrobatic feats by the Circa Contemporary Circus.

Including stunning performances of Moonlight Shadow, Mike Oldfield’s biggest single hit, along with Summit Day, from his Guitars album, and The Gem, a new work by Musical Director Robin Smith, the live show is, simply put, spectacular, trust me!

Now, it should be known that Oldfield himself, who famously played every instrument on the album, now plays none! For his only involvement with this wondrous live show is being listed along with the musical director Robin A. Smith as having ‘reimagined’ the music; and yet he doesn’t even appear for a curtain call either, sadly.

But what we do get is a rather polished nine-piece band with the only familiar name being that of actor Samuel West, replacing the late Vivian Stanshall as the (prerecorded) master of ceremonies. And, to my mind, where Oldfield ought to be, centerstage you now find a troupe of acrobats, but it is what it is, especially given that Covid-19 was operational, of course.

Regardless, they are truly gifted, one and all, but also a wee bit incongruous, if I dare to add, for drawing applause whenever one of them stands on top of another, they keep treading on the toes of the music!

Anyhoo, Oldfield’s masterpiece is still just that, albeit showcased here in a different running format. A long-running instrumental that, if not observed correctly, could well become (to the naked ear) just the one, oh-so long work of musical art, it still stands up to the tests of time, me thinks.

Furthermore, the opening theme retains its chiming charm, the less celebrated sections add drama, and the reimagining overall deftly reduces the hippie longueurs.

Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz’s floor work choreography, full of rolls and tumbling, is pleasing and empathizes with the flow of the music. The more acrobatic elements, the towers of bodies and tissue was antagonistic, however.

While daring and skilled, it started to feel repetitive and was also not always a smooth as one would expect. Two of the women struggled visibly in places and the nerves seemed to spread through the others.

That aside, there are lovely solos for guitar and cello, and the bells do the business. The experience is like rereading a good book, albeit with acrobatics attached! OK, sure, yes, I shut my eyes to enjoy one of my favorite pieces of music and decided not to watch the performers, however the crowd applauding at every in opportune moment quickly broke my concentration!

In closing, at just under an hour, Tubular Bells does not sustain an entire evening, so the performance opens with three other works: The Gem composed by Smith, and Oldfield’s Summit Day and his hit pop song ‘Moonlight Shadow’.

Of these, the elegiac Summit Day is by far the best offering. It’s accompanied by the visual distraction of Jens Beyrich’s constantly changing sphere, which while pleasant enough, did conjure up the impression of a sophisticated screen saver.

It did pave the way for the stunning composite time lapse images of the sun taken over the period of a year which played in the background for the second half, however.

DISC 2 - TOUR DOCUMENTARY - The feature-length documentary explores the history and legacy of Tubular Bells, and closely follows the dramatic story behind the spectacular new production.

www.cleorecs.com

www.MVDvisual.com





Audrey Rose: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
(Anthony Hopkins, Marsha Mason, John Beck, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1977) 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Master filmmaker Robert Wise began his career with horror classics The Curse of the Cat People and The Body Snatcher for producer Val Lewton. His career would go on to include westerns, thrillers, science fiction and musicals, earning him two academy awards for Best Director.

In 1963 he returned to his Lewtonian roots with the classic ghost story The Haunting. In 1977 he returned once more with the supernatural thriller Audrey Rose.

All Bill and Jane Templeton wish for is a quiet, peaceful life with their 11-year-old daughter Ivy. But their dreams turn to nightmares as Ivy is besieged first by terrifying memories of events that never occurred ... and then by a mysterious stranger who stalks her every move, and claims that Ivy was in fact his daughter in another life.

Released in the wake of The Exorcist and The Omen, Audrey Rose is an intelligent, heartfelt drama that approaches it’s subject with an open mind and seriousness of intent that caught many off guard but typifies Wise’s previous genre forays.

Sensitively played by a sterling cast at the top of their game, this under seen gem deserves a place on the shelf of any fan of classic horror.

Blu-ray Verdict: Audrey Rose is a strange little tale of reincarnation. The story centers around a Janice (Marsha Mason) and Bill (John Beck) Templeton, a New York city couple who have a wonderful daughter named Ivy. Their lives are fairly normal, that is until a stranger (Anthony Hopkins) begins to stalk Ivy, claiming that within her body is the reincarnated spirit of his daughter, Audrey Rose, who burned to death in a horrible car accident.

Of course, the Templetons think this stranger, named Elliot, is a madman. But when Ivy begins having horrible nightmares, running through her room, and banging on her bedroom window with her fists, they begin to wonder if Elliot’s claims may just be true!

From the director of the horror classic, The Haunting, Robert Wise, comes this bizarre but spooky little tale of reincarnation, but the story is based on Frank DeFelitta’s novel of the same name, and the plot is nonetheless fascinating.

Reincarnation was a topic that hadn’t really been addressed at the time, but while this film is constructed all around the basic idea of reincarnation, many people have mistaken it for some sort of Exorcist rip-off, mainly because of the fact that it displays horrible events plaguing a young girl. It’s an intelligent premise and a well-written plot, but the problem with the film is that it is quite plodding and almost too slow for it’s own good.

Now, please don’t get me wrong, as I don’t have a problem with slow-going stories, but I think most people can agree that the pacing here is a little tedious at times. On the plus side, there are some genuinely frightening hysteria sequences involving the young Ivy, along with the awful car crash death in the beginning that is the basis of the film.

As far as the acting goes, it was all good - some of the hysteria scenes were obviously overacted, but aside from that it wasn’t bad. Marsha Mason conveys a very emotional, frantic mother, while John Beck isn’t given much to work with. The brilliant Anthony Hopkins plays Elliot (in one of his earlier roles, before The Silence Of The Lambs fame that he earned later in his career) quite well, which isn’t surprising because he’s always good.

And Susan Swift (who much later appeared in a Halloween sequel), plays the tormented Ivy. I’m actually surprised we didn’t see more of her as an actress, as she seems to have had the potential, in my humble opinion.

To sum things up, Audrey Rose is a very decent horror movie. The story line is excellent, but unfortunately the pacing here breaks a lot of tension. On the plus side, there are some frightening scenes and a few memorable sequences, plus the story is intelligent and original.

While it’s a decent horror movie, it’s not the kind of movie you can sit down and watch if you’re in a tired mood, because it will likely aid in your sleepiness, at times. So go into it with an open mind, but don’t expect anything in terms of The Haunting or Wise’s other films, as this one is a little more left of center, so to speak.

Special Features:
Brand new 2K restoration by Arrow Films from a new 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative
High Definition (1080p) Blu-Ray presentation
Original lossless mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary by film critic Jon Towlson
Faith and Fraud, a brand new interview with magician Adam Cardone about reincarnation and belief in Audrey Rose
Then and Now, a brand new featurette looking at the New York locations used in the film
I’ve Been Here Before, archive visual essay by Lee Gambin looking at reincarnation in cinema
Investigator: The Paranormal World of Frank De Felitta, an archive interview with the author and scriptwriter of Audrey Rose
The Role of a Mother, an archive Interview with Marsha Mason
Hypnotist: Inside the score for Audrey Rose, an archive interview with film music historian Daniel Schweiger
Theatrical trailer
Image gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Christopher Shy
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: fully illustrated collectors booklet featuring new writing by critics Kimberly Lindbergs and Johnny Mains

Audrey Rose Original Trailer (Robert Wise, 1977)

www.ArrowFilms.com

www.MVDvisual.com





Incredible But True (Special Edition ) [Blu-ray]
(Alain Chabat, Léa Drucker, Benoît Magimel, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1977) 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Quirky, deadpan humor, an absurdist eye for French social etiquette and a keen sense of the folly of existence are among the hallmarks of the oddball comedies of director Quentin Dupieux (Rubber, Deerskin), and Incredible But True is no different.

The film has been described as “a fun little trinket that unmistakably comes from Dupieux’s far-out perspective” (Jessica Kiang, Variety) and “a film with something of Charlie Kaufman or Spike Jonze” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian).

Alain (Alain Chabat, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) and Marie (Léa Drucker, War of the Worlds) are a middle-aged bourgeois couple who move to their new house in a quiet suburb. A key feature of their new abode that the estate agent points out to them is a mysterious tunnel in the basement. Little do they realise that it will turn their lives upside down!

Incredible But True is an inventive and nimble tale that perfectly showcases the singular and eccentric vision that has made Dupieux the most exciting director working in France today.

Blu-ray Verdict: This stunningly excellent, kinda short French film (74 minutes) is defined as a comedy/drama fantasy, but is, in fact, and to my mind, more a fantasy/sci-fi affair, but that’s all by the by.

Having watched it three times now, I can honestly say that the movie actually speaks volumes about the world we live in and, more specifically, about our gadget worshiping culture.

Here we are introduced to two gadgets: one is a straightforward gadget, mechanical, Japanese namely coming from the country in which gadgets are the new state religion, so it is a gadget with a kosher stamp on it, so to speak.

The other gadget is more of an unexplained device, but as far as I’m concerned, it works just like the other one, but, well, just isn’t! A little confusing, I understand, so allow me to continue.

This latter one can perform a very special trick, which we as viewers have to immediately allows ourselves to believe is believable, as the title of the film would foreshadow.

Used by one of the lead characters (I won’t be giving spoilers of any kind away here today, hence me being so coy about it all), both of these gadgets are used throughout, but much like they are for plot reasons, you cannot knock the fact that both are, in their own ways, born from voids in our lives that we seemingly need to fill!

Simply put, Incredible But True brings for the myth of eternal youth as seen by Quentin Dupieux. Original and rather funny, whilst also being heartfelt and, in places, a little sad (since eternal youth is a myth, of course), complete with wonderful actors doing wonderful character studies galore - in particular, Alain Chabat, Lea Drucker, Benoît Magimel and Anaïs Demoustier - this film is definitely one to watch out for (and watch thereafter, of course).

Special Features:
High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
Original 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround audio and optional lossless stereo audio
Optional English subtitles
Cast and director Interviews with Alain Chabat, Benoît Magimel and Quentin Dupieux
Upside Down, Inside Out, an appreciation of the films of Quentin Dupieux by critic Elena Lazic
Trailer gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring two choices of artwork
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Anton Bitel and interviews with the cast, and reversible poster featuring two choices of artwork

Short Teaser Trailer

www.ArrowFilms.com

www.MVDvisual.com





No Escape: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
(Ray Liotta, Lance Henriksen, Ernie Hudson, Stuart Wilson, Kevin Dillon, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1994) 2022 / Unearthed Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: The Year is 2022. John Robbins (Ray Liotta, Goodfellas), a former Marine Captain, has been sentenced for assassinating his commanding officer and is banished to a secret and remote prison island run by The Warden (Michael Lerner, Eight Men Out). In this prison of the future, inhabited by society’s most violent and feared criminals, Robbins is left to the mercy of the elements and his fellow man.

He finds the island divided into two camps: The Outsiders, led by the brutal and bloodthirsty Marek (Stuart Wilson, Lethal Weapon 3) and The Insiders, led by the strong-willed, benevolent Father (Lance Henriksen, Aliens) and his followers Hankins (Ernie Hudson, Ghostbusters) and Casey (Kevin Dillon, Entourage).

Robbins doesn’t care to join either - his one aim is to break free of an island from which there is no escape. To aid him, he steals a powerful and destructive weapon from The Outsiders, sparking off a major war between the two encampments.

Now bloody battle and the brutality of hand-to-hand combat will take many lives before Robbins can think of freedom again. Trapped on an island where nature can be as deadly as man, there is only one thought which keeps Robbins alive ... escape ...escape ...escape!

Blu-ray Verdict: This one was a favorite of mine back in my High-School days. I watched it countless times. In fact, I even had the movie poster on the wall of my room at one time! The last time I watched it was probably about 15 years ago. I was going through my VHS collection and trying to find something to watch I hadn’t viewed in awhile and saw this. So, I grabbed it and threw it in.

Even now, here on crystal clear Blu-ray from MVD Visual, it still holds up today and I think the story line premise is actually interesting. Kind of an adult version of Lord of The Flies, but they are there for more nefarious reasons, of course.

The cast is great. A lot of very solid actors, both ones you’d know by name and others you’d recognize by their faces, and, of course, the just-passed brilliance of Ray Liotta is front and center.

There are some fairly good action sequences, but for the most part, it’s not overly heavy on that aspect. The SPX are solid and the score fits the film very nicely too.

It is also a deceptively longer film that you might expect for the year and the genre, but that’s okay by me, especially as it goes a mile a minute in some places, much like action thrillers tend to do.

As a whole, it’s a prescient vision of a horrible future (which is actually here today in 2022!) when prisons are run by private firms for profit and recalcitrant prisoners are sent to the island of Absolom to finish each other off.

The plot, such as it is, provides lots of opportunities for gory scenes and exuberant special effects, and the landscapes look even lusher in high definition. There are some great performances, but my favorite has to be Ian McNeice as the hypochondriac and finicky Tom King, who more than makes up for the total absence of women in the film!

Then it would be Lance Henriksen, who veritably steals the show as a bizarre kind of father figure, and one not too far removed from Michael Preston’s in Mad Max 2. Ernie Hudson also provides a good friendly face among the support cast.

Special Features:
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: DIRECTING NO ESCAPE - A new interview with filmmaker Martin Campbell
WELCOME TO THE FUTURE: THE SCI-FI WORLDS OF GALE ANNE HURD - A new interview with producer Gale Anne Hurd
PENAL COLONY: WRITING NO ESCAPE - A new interview with co-writer Joel Gross
Making of No Escape
Vintage Featurette
Alternate Intro
Promotional Gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots

No Escape Trailer

www.unearthedfilms.com

www.MVDvisual.com





Quiet Days in Clichy: 4K Ultra HD [BR]
(Paul Valjean, Wayne Rodda, Ben Webster, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / (1970) 2022 / Blue Underground - MVD Visual)

Overview: Joey is a struggling writer with no money. His roommate Carl is a charming stud with a taste for young girls. Together, these two insatiable dreamers will laugh, love and screw their way through a decadent Paris paved with wanton women, wild orgies and outrageous erotic adventures.

Based upon the long-banned novel by Henry Miller and featuring a hit soundtrack by rock legend Country Joe McDonald, QUIET DAYS IN CLICHY is considered to be the most daring film adaptation ever of one of the most controversial authors in history.

4K UHD Blu-ray Verdict: In May of 1970, the United States Government seized the only English-language prints of QUIET DAYS IN CLICHY on charges of obscenity. And while it was ultimately cleared in Federal Court, the film mysteriously disappeared shortly after its release.

Now more than 50 years later, this landmark adults only classic can be seen in a brand-new restoration, scanned in 4K 16-bit from its recently discovered uncut and uncensored original fine-grain negative, with Dolby Vision HDR and DTS-HD Master Audio!

I first learned of Henry Miller when he appeared as a witness in Warren Beatty’s Reds, but his name really caught my attention in Kill Your Darlings, about Allen Ginsberg’s college years. In the movie, Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) is interested in Miller’s works, but the school bans the students from reading them.

Anyway, I’ve never read any of Miller’s works, but Jens Jørgen Thorsen’s Stille dage i Clichy (Quiet Days in Clichy, in English) is a third-degree WTF!

While I can’t compare it to Miller’s novel, I can say that this movie succeeds in being shocking, if lacking a coherent plot. Probably the only movie that I’ve seen that features any scenes taking place in Luxembourg, overall, not anything that I would truly sit down and watch with someone else (although it admittedly has some unusual songs by Country Joe and the Fish to listen to!)

OK, so what will you see if you yourselves dive headfirst into this creatively nuanced film? Well, people run around half naked on the streets of Paris, flapping their arms and panting, supposedly having a great time. Half a dozen ordinary-looking people slosh around in a tub pouring wine over one another and laughing giddily (because the director told them to act as if they were having the grandfather of all good times).

And, in the first scene alone, the bespectacled hero, a pallid imitation of Miller, picks up a girl in a café and, after sex, gives her all his money, can’t get any more credit at the restaurants, and is forced to raid his own garbage pail for leftover nuggets!

That all said, if you remove all the sex scenes, the actual humping, you get a rather well conceived portrait. It’s a collection of sequences, each sequence defined by the woman or women who were the target of that sexual encounter. Each woman exists only as a receptacle.

One involves a runaway retarded girl of fifteen who provides a specific type of sexual availability. I suppose all the events in this film actually happened, but the way she is depicted surely references Lolita, a sort of 800 pound gorilla or sexual literature. The point with Lolita was the untrusted narrator. Here, it’s more like Withnail, an untrusted life.

The other notable woman is the last one. She really is lovely, almost precisely a cross between Anita Ekberg and Nico, both of la Dolce. This woman has two children. Her husband is dead. She comes home with Miller and lays down nude with him to have sex, then balks. He pursues her, almost raping, but she escapes. It’s the perfect end, as far from erotic as one can get, I guess.

Special Features:
WORLD PREMIERE! New 4K 16-Bit Restoration from its recently discovered uncut & uncensored original fine-grain negative
UHD features 2160p Ultra HD Resolution and Dolby Vision HDR, with DTS-HD Master Audio
Remastered Blu-ray features 1080p HD Resolution, with DTS-HD Master Audio
Ultra HD Blu-ray (2160p) and HD Blu-ray (1080p) Widescreen 1.66:1 feature presentations
Audio: 1.0 DTS-HD (English)
Subtitles: English SDH, Francais, Espanol
Songs of Clichy – Interview with Country Joe McDonald
Dirty Books, Dirty Movies: Barney Rosset on Henry Miller – Interview with Henry Miller’s editor and publisher Barney Rosset
Midnight Blue Interview with Barney Rosset
NEW! Deleted Scene
NEW! Theatrical Trailer
NEW! Poster & Still Gallery
NEW! Book Cover Gallery
NEW! Court Documents

www.MVDvisual.com





Satan’s Little Helper: Special Edition
(Katheryn Winnick, Amanda Plummer, Alexander Brickel, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2004) 2022 / Synapse Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Nine-year-old Douglas Whooly (Alexander Brickel, PALINDROMES) is obsessed with the handheld video game Satan’s Little Helper, and annoyed that the attention of his big sister Jenna (Katheryn Winnick, TV’s VIKINGS and BIG SKY) is being distracted by her new boyfriend Alex (Stephen Graham).

These two concerns collide on Halloween, when Douglas witnesses a serial killer in a devil mask (Joshua Annex) posing his victims like outdoor All Hallow’s Eve displays. Not comprehending how real the carnage is, Douglas becomes this Satan’s little helper - and that’s very bad news for Alex, for Douglas and Jenna’s mom Merrill (Amanda Plummer, PULP FICTION, Netflix’s RATCHED), and ultimately for their entire town.

A different kind of Halloween horror film, SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER combines grisly killings with a mile-wide streak of savage humor. Written and directed by cult favorite Jeff Lieberman (SQUIRM, BLUE SUNSHINE, JUST BEFORE DAWN), it satirizes the way video games can seize hold of young minds, and is driven by the inability of Douglas (and others) to distinguish the Satan Man’s nasty crimes from All Hallow’s prankery!

Featuring one of Plummer’s most eccentric performances, SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER has built a cult following on video and now makes its UNCUT high-definition Blu-ray debut, carrying a bagful of supplementary treats!

Blu-ray Verdict: In this delightfully twisted black comedy/horror, cult movie director Jeff Lieberman takes a messed up little kid, Dougie, who has trouble distinguishing between reality and make-believe, exposes him to a violent computer game called Satan’s Little Helper (in which the player assists the devil in killing people), and then introduces him to a serial killer dressed as Old Nick (in a wicked grinning demon mask, rubber claws, and a black coat).

The result is a deliciously dark piece of bloody mayhem which sees the Satan-obsessed boy assisting the masked psycho on his murderous rampage, believing that the death and destruction which he is witnessing is all part of a game. It’s a wonderfully subversive premise that should definitely appeal to anyone with a distinctly warped sense of humor.

The first clue we are given that young Dougie might have trouble understanding the way the world really works is when he announces to his mother that he wants to marry his older sister (admittedly, she is super smoking hot, but even in their small island community, incest is still a no-no!)

But this is nothing compared to the child’s lack of understanding when he teams up with Satan on Halloween and gets to see his hero in action. As the horned menace stabs, hangs, and mutilates his victims, Dougie cheers encouragingly, not quite grasping that these people are dying for real.

However, when Satan eventually turns his attention to Dougie’s family, the boy suddenly realizes that helping the bad guy might not be such a great idea after all!

Lieberman handles his rather perverse material perfectly, managing to whip up a wonderfully creepy vibe, whilst also delivering some moments of pure comic genius (and even a few subtle swipes at religion and modern society’s ability to twist young minds).

He also gets some fine performances from his cast: Alexander Brickel does very well as the confused killer’s apprentice; Joshua Annex is brilliant as Satan, and is both extremely chilling and funny without uttering a single word; and Amanda Plummer does a wonderful job as Dougie’s slightly wacky mother.

But best of all is Katheryn Winnick as Dougie’s sister Jenna for she is absolutely stunning, and spends most of the film dressed as a Renaissance slut, meaning that she displays plenty of cleavage and acres of perfectly toned midriff. Wowzers!

With it’s oodles of morbid humor, and noticeable lack of explicit gore (just one genuinely yucky scene in the whole film), Satan’s Little Helper will probably be maligned by many who fail to understand its wicked genius. Those fortunate enough to get it, however, will hopefully spread the word and get this film the attention it really deserves.

Special Features:
Audio Commentary from Director Jeff Lieberman
Vintage Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
The Devil in the Details: Making SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER
Mr. Satan’s Neighborhood: A Tour of the Filming Locations with Director Jeff Lieberman
Newly Translated English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired (English SDH)
Promotional Trailer
Region A Locked

www.synapsefilms.com

www.MVDvisual.com





The Kindred: Special Edition [BR]
(Rod Steiger, Kim Hunter, Amanda Pays, Talia Balsam, David Allen Brooks, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1987) 2022 / Synapse Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Academy Award®-winning screen legends Rod Steiger (In the Heat of the Night; Duck, You Sucker) and Kim Hunter (A Streetcar Named Desire; Planet of the Apes) star in The Kindred, a chilling tale of a genetic experiment gone wrong. Very wrong!

Kim Hunter is Dr. Amanda Hollins, a molecular scientist who calls on her son John (David Allen Brooks) to eliminate all evidence of her genetic experiments. Most specifically her Anthony Journals.

Dr. Philip Lloyd (Steiger), an acquaintance of Hollins who is familiar with her experiments, wants to continue her studies no matter the cost! John heads to his isolated childhood home with a group of friends to uncover his mother’s research and destroy it all.

There’s something else in the house, however. Something watching and waiting. Aentacled creature born from the desire to alter human evolution. It’s evil. It’s mad. It’s ready to kill!

One of the best creature features of the 1980s, utilizing all practical special effects, The Kindred also stars Amanda Pays (TV’s The Flash, Leviathan) and Talia Balsam (TV’s Mad Men, Homeland).

Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, although I’m sure we’ll all agree, The Kindred reminds me of the classic and excellent 80’s horror films The Thing and From Beyond (which is always a good thing in my book).

John Hollins’ Mother, Amanda, has been in a coma for a while. When she awakes, she remembers in a state of frenzy that Anthony - John’s brother he never knew existed - is still in the house. She requests him to go to her house immediately and destroy everything.

John, together with his wife and a team of biologists go to the house to investigate. Also along for the weekend is the mysterious Melissa, whom John met at his Mother’s funeral, and who seems to know more about Amanda’s work than he himself. And this is just the start of a series of horrific events to follow.

Meantime Dr Phillip (Rod Steiger) is conducting experiments of his own in the hospital basement. He used to work with Amanda and is eager to get his hands on Anthony. Anthony remains a mystery for most of the movie, but the horrible truth is soon to be revealed.

The film boasts excellent make-up and practical effects - rather grotesque, actually - and the effects during the climax, especially, are rather incredible. Now this is proper film making, in a time before everything was done with CGI. OK, sure, at times the creature looks a bit like the creature from Xtro, but overall, the performances are cracking!

And on that note, I can still remember how horrific I found the watermelon scene when Anthony, the mutated creature with long tentacles and sharp teeth, manages to miraculously crawl inside a watermelon!

The scene where it bursts out of the watermelon into the backseat of a car and attacks an unsuspecting woman by stuffing it’s tentacles up her nose and under her skin still grosses me out! You’ll have to see it to believe it. Very great visual effects for a little horror movie.

Furthermore, this movie gave me nightmares when I was a kid, but ok, now that I think about, the watermelon scene does come across a bit silly, but it’s still a very effective and creepy scene in the film.

And the fish lady transformation scene is permanently etched in my brain! If you can please buy this wonderful new Blu-ray edition from MVD Visual, check it out for the creepy and campy factor, for it is a film for all true 80’s horror fans, as they will not be disappointed (of that you have my word).

Special Features:
All-new 4K high-definition remaster of the unrated version of the film
New 5.1 English stereo surround remix (Original 2.0 mono theatrical mix also included)
Audio commentary with directors Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter, moderated by horror journalist Steve Barton
Inhuman Experiments – The Making of “The Kindred,” an all-new documentary (52 mins.)
A special compilation of creature effects artist Michael McCracken, Jr.’s never-before-seen on-set footage (18 mins.)
Still gallery and original storyboards
Original theatrical trailer
Original video promotional trailer
TV spots
Optional English subtitles

www.synapsefilms.com

www.MVDvisual.com





Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons
(Jack Dylan Grazer, Jack Griffo, Laura Bailey, Troy Baker, Darin De Paul, et al / 4K Blu-ray+Digital / PG-13 / 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Ahhhh, to be young…and charged with saving the world from impending doom! That’s the burden that 11-year-old Jonathan Kent and reluctant young sidekick Damian Wayne face in this all-new DC Animated Movie.

On his birthday, Jonathan Kent learns his dad is Superman and that he has latent superpowers of his own! He also meets the legendary Dark Knight and current Boy Wonder, Damian.

But when the two boys are forced to team up to protect their loved ones from a hostile alien force, will they become the Super Sons they’re destined to be?

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly-anticipated Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 20th, 2022.

For my money, Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons [4K Ultra HD + Digital] combo pack sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

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

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as when Jonathan gets to first see the veritably glowing, almost shimmering aqua blue Bat Cave!

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material; notably the scene (which I won’t give too much away about) where the young sons take on the Justice League (almost) single-handedly!

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

As for the audio, well we have the following choices: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1.

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

As for the movie itself, well, with a wonderfully inventive story line and animation that looks ultra sharp (this review version is in 4K HD, of course), Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons is an interesting direction to take for DC, for sure, and not the usual stuff we would expect to see, but wow, man, it just works on every fan-based level!

The story line is that on the doomed planet of Krypton, Jor-El (Nolan North) and Lara (Myrna Velasco) send baby Kal-El to Earth on a rocket. However, they don’t realize that a dangerous creature has latched on for the ride and although the jump to light speed loses the interloper, it still hurtles in the right direction.

A comic-styled montage follows of Clark Kent (Travis Willingham) growing into Superman, where he marries Lois Lane (Laura Bailey) and they have Jonathan, relocating to the Kent farm in Smallville thereafter.

But, a frustrated Jonathan doesn’t understand why his dad is always gone and thinks that his work is more important than his son. Clark tries to soothe his hurt boy, but has to leave once again! At that time, Superman saves the Watchtower from falling after it’s hit by some kind of space debris, but, of course, Jonathan’s lashing out reveals an extraordinary ability! Thus, Clark and Lois decide it’s time to tell their son of his true heritage.

As one might well expect, especially give his age, Jonathan is floored by the revelation and a trip to the Bat Cave for a health assessment is a fantasy come true! He idolizes Batman (Troy Baker), but makes a poor first impression on Damian Wayne, for, and rather immediately, the surly Robin doesn’t think much of Superman’s hick kid!

Soon thereafter a signal from the Watchtower alarms Batman and Superman, but there’s something strange about Green Arrow (Tom Kenny), who summons every Justice League member for a critical meeting.

Eleven-year-old Jonathan faces the same Smallville troubles as his father for he is a nerd who gets bullied and his failure on the baseball team reinforces dweeb status. However, Damian is a trained assassin who has killed more people than Jonathan will probably ever know!

The grandson of Ra’s al Ghul isn’t a team player, for Damian is hot-headed and arrogant, but a skilled fighter, nonetheless. Indeed, he springs into action when the Justice League becomes compromised for Jonathan, regardless of his dorkiness, has exhibited Kryptonian traits under duress; and now the Super Sons must take the hero mantle from their fathers.

And so what we get here is our newly-minted superhero sons who come together to save the world from a monstrous threat ... and become besties along the way!

A new angle for DC animation to come at their product, Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons brings us a crisply sharp animated universe along with what I can only lovingly describe as a more family-friendly and, with several moments of dialogue to prove it, fun footing.

Complete with a Justice League twist, these pre-teens empower a plot that not only tackles issues such as bad guys and saving the world, but also brings us the usual adolescent travails of life.

Complete with an easy breezy run time, and a plot that keeps the titular sons on course nicely throughout, the adventures of Jonathan Kent (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Damian Wayne (Jack Griffo) look to have had a rather promising start here.

Special Feature:
Rival Sons: Jonathan and Damian
Plus: From the DC Vault - 2 Bonus Cartoons

Warner Bros. Animation’s first-ever all-CG animated, feature-length film -- Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons -- arrives TODAY, October 18th, 2022 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and Digital.

Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons | Warner Bros. Entertainment [Official Trailer]

www.DCcomics.com

www.WarnerBros.com





Ski Patrol (Special Edition)
(Ray Walston, Martin Mull, George Lopez, Paul Feig, T.K. Carter, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1990) 2022 / MVD Rewind Collection)

Overview: The lease on the Snowy Peaks Lodge, a popular ski resort, is up for renewal and it’s owner Pops (Ray Walston, Fast Times at Ridgemont High) has no worries about signing a new lease. Despite his Ski Patrol, an out-of-control group of skiers led by Jerry (Roger Rose, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives) and Iceman (T.K. Carter, John Carpenter’s The Thing), the resort has an impeccable safety record.

However, a devious land developer (Martin Mull, Clue) has other plans in mind for the resort and hires the talents of a young blonde named Lance (Corby Timbrook, The Glass Shield) to undermine the Ski Patrol’s efforts to keep the slopes safe. Blu-ray Verdict: At the Snowy Peaks Ski Lodge, wise cracking slacker Jerry Cramer (Roger Rose) works Ski Patrol with a group of other misfits who are under the command of tightly wound head Murray (Leslie Jordan).

When land developer Sam Marris (Martin Mull) sets his sights on Snowy Peaks, Marris makes a deal with Ski School instructor Lance Finkmayer (Corby Timbrook) to sabotage Snowy Peaks safety requirements so the current lease holder, Pops (Ray Walston), will lose his claim and allow Marris to turn Snowy Peaks into resort town Marristown.

Ski Patrol comes to us from producer Paul Maslansky best known for his creation and curation of the Police Academy series. With grosses dipping with subsequent installments, Maslansky tried to revisit the formula and applying it to the world of skiing.

Maslansky initially intended to expand Ski Patrol, much like Police Academy, with two sequels and a spin-off TV series, but when the movie only made $8 million that never came to be - though, supposedly, there’s been some talk of a Ski Patrol sequel/reboot with the team behind Workaholics.

Anyway, for those wondering, Ski Patrol isn’t offensive or obnoxious, but it’s yet another rehash on an overplayed formula that was making the rounds in the early ’90s.

Some of the cast bring wondrous energy to their performances, with T. K. Carter, Paul Feig (yes, the very same man who would make Freaks and Geeks and less famously, the 2016 Ghostbusters), and Leslie Jordan delivering some very decent smile-worthy moments every so often, but aside from a decent long payoff joke involving Leslie Jordan’s character taking growth pills, there are quite a number of floundering gags.

Such as Jordan repeatedly tripping over a dog named Dumpster, to whom he’s also allergic, or a grating performance by Sean Sullivan as a character named Suicide, whose shtick is that he is part of a band where every member is him and two masks named Buried and Slaughter (who he voices!).

Regardless, Ski Patrol takes the Police Academy formula and goes through all the expected motions you’ve seen the latter bring to both the big and small screen (including a softly-labelled, so-called follow up entitled Moving Violations).

My own personal funny moments include the bad guy, preppie ski patrol members decked out in their intricately patterned fashion sweaters during a fireside discussion scene, as well as a climactic trashing of a giant wiener mobile on skis!

What’s also most wonderful is the bouyant enthusiasm that most all of the main cast display while on screen! Nobody behaves in a rational or realistic manner, sure, and everything is all gonzo and hyperactive, sure, but that is what adds to this 1990 classic!

Festooned with a sheen of late 1980s fashion sensibilities that make one wonder what the hell we were collectively thinking back then, Ski Academy might well have been titled Ski Academy, for it would have gotten away with it on a downhill double diamond freeride!

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

High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.85:1 aspect ratio
Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Optional English Subtitles
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible Artwork

www.MVDvisual.com





Beast: Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray Combo Pack]
(Idris Elba, Sharlto Copley, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / R / 2022 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: Idris Elba stars in this pulse-pounding thriller as Dr. Nate Daniels, a recently widowed husband who returns to South Africa on a long-planned trip to a game reserve.

What begins as a journey of healing turns into a fearsome fight for survival as Dr. Daniels and his daughters find themselves hunted by a massive, rogue lion intent on proving that the savannah has but one apex predator.

Blu-ray Verdict: The newly-released Beast is a thriller that takes place deep in the Southern African Bushveld in northeastern South Africa.

In truth, this shown mixture of a family drama combined with an intense thriller that takes notes on illegal hunting and shows the hyper-violent instinct of lions when they lose members of their pride, is HIGHLY effective and thus generates the rightly-posed atmosphere one would expect to see on the screen.

A doctor takes his two daughters on safari in hopes of reconnecting with them. There are a lot of mixed emotions involved. Her father divorced her mother and she died shortly after from cancer. There are feelings of guilt on the part of the father and resentment coupled with unhealed emotional wounds in the daughters, who feel that their father abandoned their mother, and them, at a difficult time.

Right there, in unknown wild lands, the father will have the opportunity to unknowingly, unwittingly even, make amends ... and how! For they end up in the all-too-known scenario of wrong place, wrong time when they cross paths with a lion furious at the murder of his pack!

Between the attacks of the powerful beast and the desperate fight for survival, there are few and far between moments for them to become stronger and dissipate all the turbulence between father and daughters, but they still manage to bleed those through (the actors/characters) quite perfectly.

With a solid and enveloping rhythm coupled with strong, perhaps even remarkable CGI work, with regard the majestic cat attacks, Beast gives very brief pause to the characters as they undergo the onslaught of the titular character.

This subsequently leaves the viewer with an intense inner narrative to mull over, one in which what is being shown, the extreme situation therein, can lead absolutely anyone to face up to committing even the most unthinkable act(s) in the hopes of preserving the lives of those one cares for.

Indeed, the chemistry between the father (Idris Elba) and the daughters, as well as his friendship with his old acquaintance (Sharlto Copley), is done to perfection here, for it is both heartfelt and perfectly impassioned.

I mean, if you drop a group of characters in a situation like this and just have them fight to survive, it can be exciting, but it’s the moments in between where characters develop themselves for the audience that really shine for me.

I was happy to see that happen here and more than just a couple of times. And one top of Elba delivering his usually solid performance (for even if he is in a bad film, you can usually always count on him to be devoted to the role), I also thought his daughters, played very well by both Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries, were highlights too.

Thus, and in conclusion, if you come away with the message that if we mess with nature, nature will mess with us, well done, you have seen the real message of the movie!

• DELETED SCENE – Watch an exclusive unreleased scene from Beast
• MAN VS. LION: THE FINAL BATTLE – Go inside the epic final battle between Nate and the beast himself as Director Baltasar Kormákur, star Idris Elba, and key members of the VFX team walk us through putting it all together
• CREATING THE BEAST – The vicious title character of Beast is no ordinary lion. He’s bigger, he’s meaner, and he’s got an axe to grind against humanity. Sit down with director Baltasar Kormákur as he explains what he envisioned for The Beast
• MAKING IT REAL: THE WOUNDS – Sit down with prosthetics supervisor Clinton Smith and prosthetic assistant Daleen Badenhorst as they walk us through all the gory details of creating realistic looking slices, gashes, and tears caused by a massive, predatory lion
• FILMING IN THE BEAST’S TERRITORY – Visit Limpopo South Africa where the cast and crew of BEAST travelled to capture all the vistas, planes, and mountains of Africa authentically on film
• FAMILY BOND: THE CAST OF THE BEAST – Meet the family at the heart of this story as director Baltasar Kormákur and cast members Idris Elba, Iyana Halley, and Leah Jeffries take us inside their characters’ journeys as they come together and heal in the direst of circumstances
• A LION’S PRIDE – Learn the tragic truth of lion poaching with this factual piece that takes viewers inside the fight to protect the big game of Africa.

From the director of Everest (Baltasar Kormáku), pulse-pounding BEAST follows recently widowed father Dr. Nate Samuels (Elba) who returns to South Africa with his two daughters Meredith (Iyana Halley; Wayward, “This Is Us”) and Norah (Leah Jeffries; “Rel,” Faith Under Fire) to visit an old friend, Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley; “Russian Doll,” Ted K) on a game reserve.

With the purchase of BEAST on digital or disc, fans are eligible to earn points towards digital movies via the Universal All-Access Rewards program. Members can redeem their points for digital movies, swag and more!

For registration and details please visit www.MyUniversalRewards.com.

Official Trailer

Official Website

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Official Instagram Page





Wow: Live And F**king Loud From London

(DVD / NR / 2022 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Shot at the Camden Palace in London during September of 1985 this rare footage captures Wendy O. Williams and band during an epochal point in her career of which there is very little other footage around.

DVD Verdict: Having been called the Queen of Punk Rock in the early stages of her career, by this time known as the High Priestess of Metal, Wendy had gotten a Grammy Nomination for the Gene Simmons (of KISS) produced WOW album and had just released her speed metal album Kommander of Kaos.

In top form here, Wendy’s scorching vocals are punctuated by her famous back bend screams. The show also features Motorhead (Lemmy and Wurzel) joining Wendy onstage for Jailbait, and also includes a performance of You’ll Succeed, a crowd favorite that sadly never made it to an album of the Wendy’s.

The trouble for me here is that the real thrust of Wendy’s amazing erotic performance is constantly undermined by hyperactive editing with too many close-ups of bass player Greg Smith (as great as he plays and as cool as he looks), too many of the same audience reaction shot (the first row shown over and over again), and basically no closeups of the drummer.

Which leads me to reveal to you all that at no point in this near one hour live extravaganza do we get a head to toe tight shot (sad face). And sure, her most powerful voice is mixed too far back here, and whereas I cannot say she had any form of melodious voice, but that primal scream of hers always started at her heels, snaking up past that black string bikini, and erupting through her mouth, should be the loudest instrument on stage!

That said, overall, the audio and video quality is very good and the hour features songs from both Wendy’s solo career and older Plasmatics numbers. Wendy is seemingly really wired here and totally full of hot, sweaty energy throughout!

At one point, she is having a real hard time with one of her bra straps and just goes about fixing it as only WOW can do! Oh, and, of course, watching her saw a guitar in half and seeing her smash a TV, well, come on now, that’s just f**king awesome!

Personally, I love Wendy’s music and so now seeing this rare performance of the late rocker from 1985, meant it was a real treat for me (as I hope it is for you all too).

The show, originally broadcast throughout Europe on Sky TV was directed by Plasmatics creator, Rod Swenson, and Produced by Phillip Goodhand-Taite.

www.MVDvisual.com





Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. [Blu-ray+Digital]
(Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown, Nicole Beharie, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / R / 2022 / Universal Pictures Home Studios)

Overview: Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. is a satirical comedy starring Regina Hall as Trinitie Childs - the proud first lady of a Southern Baptist megachurch, who together with her husband Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown), once served a congregation in the tens of thousands.

But after a scandal forces their church to temporarily close, Trinitie and Lee-Curtis must reopen their church and rebuild their congregation to make the biggest comeback that commodified religion has ever seen.

DVD Verdict: Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. follows Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown) and First Lady, Trinitie Childs (Regina Hall), as they attempt to rebuild the congregation of their Southern Baptist mega church after a scandal.

The movie isn’t explicit about the scandal, at first, that led to the devastation of their ministry, but the audience is led to believe it has something to do with Lee-Curtis’s sexual indiscretions.

Trinitie is a dutiful wife, who has been standing by her husband and gets into increasingly silly and humiliating situations all in support of him and the church. There is also a funny side plot about a rival church led by the Sumpters (Nichole Beharie and Conphidance). Will the Childs be able to regain their stature in the community? Praying and hi-jinks ensue.

The best part of this movie is the cast, particularly Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown. They both came to play and they have great chemistry with each other. Sterling plays Lee-Curtis with the swagger and false charisma of a pastor rocked by scandal. He has the kind of energy that you’d expect from a pastor who had 25,000 congregants, lost it all and desperately wants it back.

Regina Hall’s character supports her husband, but you can tell that she’s struggling mightily with all that he’s doing. She puts herself in such crazy situations, but she never breaks a sweat. The control and humor that Hall infuses in her character makes her endearing and hilarious. She is excellent.

On the downside, the plot itself feels thin. It is like an extended SNL sketch. It is a funny sketch, but I can’t say that it is necessary to be the length of a movie. There are a few lulls in the humor. Even though the cast is game and there are some laugh out loud moments, there really could have been more. I wanted every line to hit and they didn’t always sadly.

Nevertheless, the movie is more successful than not. Additionally, the moral of the story is kind of murky. Does Lee-Curtis learn a lesson? Does Trinitie continue to stand by her man and support the church despite what she’s been through? Welt it is complicated, and the movie doesn’t do a great job of untangling those issues, for al it’s good intentions.

Ultimately, Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. is a funny movie even though it is just an extended comedy sketch. The cast does its best with a comedy. Brown brings energy necessary to punch up the jokes while Regina Hall gives a stellar performance from beginning to end.

BLU-RAYTM, DVD & DIGITAL BONUS FEATURES:
• Alternate Opening – Watch the never-before-seen alternate opening for a different take on the beginning of Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.
• Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes – Watch unreleased scenes from the laugh-out-loud comedy.
o Showtime
o Skate Rink
o Childs in the Attic
o Trinitie in the Bath
o Highway Pedestrian Guy
o Trinitie Bringing Food
o Trinitie Praying Over Lee-Curtis in Bed
o Trinitie Sees Sidewalk Woman Again
o Anita Speaks
• Gag Reel – A highlight reel of bloopers and outtakes featuring main cast

Official Trailer

Official Website

Official Instagram

Official Twitter

Official Facebook





Casablanca: 4K UHD
(Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / PG / (1942) 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Casablanca: easy to enter, but much harder to leave, especially if you’re wanted by the Nazis. Such a man is Resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), whose only hope is Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), a cynical American who sticks his neck out for no one - especially Victor’s wife Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), the ex-lover who broke his heart.

Ilsa offers herself in exchange for Laszlo’s transport out of the country and bitter Rick must decide what counts more – personal happiness or countless lives hanging in the balance.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the always-beloved Casablanca (80th Anniversary Edition) in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this November 8th, 2022.

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

So, what we have is Casablanca presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10 Aspect ratio: 1.37:1, and Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1.

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of, well, I would say color, but here it is more like a brighter white; such as the excellent I Still Love You scene, where Bogart is being told that if he doesn’t help them, they could both die in Casablanca, and he retorts, What of it. I’m gonna die in Casablanca. It’s a good spot for it!

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the faded, murky white-graded material. Such as the now infamous Here’s Looking At You, Kid scene, where the pair pull up at a fog-laden airport. But now that fog has, for want of a better term, lifted in his density and the picture is brought to us all that more sharper due to this wondrous 4K transfer.

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

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

As for the movie itself, well, there is no term to describe this other than classic, but not the type of classic that a film like THE WIZARD OF OZ or GONE WITH THE WIND are. That is because when this film was being made, it was just another assembly line production from it’s studio (Warner).

When you see it today, the cast appears so great that you would think it was something special, but this supporting cast, great as it is, worked together often. But what this has in common with the WIZARD is a great script.

The writers of CASABLANCA came up with a script that tops all other films in classic moments of quotes that have become a part of Americana. So many quotes from this film are used in other films and media that they have become cliché almost. Even miss-quotes like Play It Again, Sam from this film have become American folk-lore.

Round up the Usual Suspects has become it’s own film later along with You & Me, Kid and the list goes on and on. Other than the Great Oz, these quotes just flow from this film to 100’s of other works since this film was made.

What makes this film really special is the unfulfilled love between Bogart and Bergman’s character that is left hanging at the end. In an era, where love always had to have a happy ending, this movie gloriously leaves us with people in love who are forced away from each other by circumstances beyond either of their control.

This theme is closer to real life than most Hollywood products of any era. Almost everybody can identify with it because haven’t we all had a love in our life who we yearned for very much, but due to circumstances beyond us, we never had a chance to fulfill? That is too me what makes this film stand above all others.

This is a film that has action, but not much of it. This film has comedy, but only enough to make the film great. It has subtle patriotic themes that carry the film along. Most importantly, this film has the heart of every viewer who ever watches it because the film, by accident, touches themes that many films aspire to reach, but never achieve.

Ironically, this all happened by the greatest of chance and rarely has any movie ever come close to what this film is. If I were a filmmaker, actor, or had a career in this industry, this would be the film I wish I had worked on. Nothing gets better than this one.

Casablanca: 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, Blu-ray disc and Digital contain the following previously released special features:
1. Commentary by Roger Ebert
2. Commentary by Rudy Behlmer
3. Introduction by Lauren Bacall

Casablanca: Blu-ray disc and Digital contain the following previously released special features:
4. Warner Night at the Movies
1. Now, Voyager trailer
2. Newsreel
3. Vaudeville Days (1942 WB short)
4. The Bird Came C.O.D. (1942 WB cartoon)
5. The Squawkin’ Hawk (1942 WB cartoon)
6. The Dover Boys at Pimento University (1942 WB cartoon)
5. Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart (1988 PBS special)
6. Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You’ve Never Heard Of
7. Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic
8. You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca (1992 TEC documentary)
9. As Time Goes By: The Children Remember
10. Deleted Scenes
11. Outtakes
12. Who Holds Tomorrow? (1955 “Casablanca” TV episode)
13. Carrotblanca (1955 WB Cartoon)
14. Scoring Stage Sessions (audio only)
15. Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater Radio Broadcast – 4/26/43 (audio only)
16. Vox Pop Radio Broadcast – 11/19/47 (audio only)
17. Trailers

The winner of three Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, Casablanca was directed by Michael Curtiz (Captain Blood, Mildred Pierce, White Christmas) from a screenplay by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch. The screenplay is based on “Everybody Comes to Rick’s”, an unproduced stage play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. The film was produced by Hal B. Wallis (The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Maltese Falcon, True Grit).

The cast also features Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson.

Casablanca was voted the screen’s greatest love story and the #3 film of all time by the American Film Institute (AFI). The classic wartime romance also took Oscars® for Michael Curtiz (Directing); Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch (Writing - Screenplay) and the studio (Outstanding Motion Picture).

In 1989, the United States Library of Congress selected the film as one of the first for preservation in the National Film Registry for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

The new Casablanca 4K Ultra High-Definition image was restored and remastered from a 2022 4K 16bit film scan of the best-surviving nitrate film elements. The 4K-scanned digital images went through an extensive digital restoration process to clean and repair the picture for an unprecedented and pristine ultra-high-resolution presentation.

The restored images were then graded in High Dynamic Range for today’s premium 4K display experience, providing the highest fidelity in image contrast and detail retention. This work was meticulously handled by Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging. The original theatrical mono audio has also been newly restored as well, providing a richer and broader frequency response than previously possible.

Ultra HD* showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.

Casablanca will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $24.99 ERP and includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Digital download of the film. Fans can also own Casablanca in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on 11/8/22.

www.wbd.com





National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: 4K UHD
(Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Miriam Flynn, William Hickey, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / PG-13 / (1989) 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: As the holidays approach, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), and children, as he tries to make sure everything is in line, including the tree and house decorations. 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly-anticipated National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this December 1st, 2022.

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

So, what we have is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (74.98 Mbps), Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10 Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the now infamous Lighting of the House scene! All Clark Griswold wants to do is have the merriest Christmas possible with his family, and after the entire Christmas dinner was a disaster, he thinks he can redeem their time together by plugging in the holiday lights around his house. He’s spent weeks putting them up, and the momentous moment has finally arrived.

Unfortunately, just as everyone gathers outside for the main event, they don’t work when Clark tries to plug them in. He keeps checking and re-checking the connection to no avail, until finally, the sagacity of Ellen saves the day allowing Clark a single moment of Christmas heroics. The house blazes to life, and causes a few grids to lose power in the process!

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material; notably the attack of the killersquirrel scene!

When an unexpected guest decides to crash Christmas, the entire family is in on the squirrel hunt. First the Griswold’s try to corner it, then the rottweilers chase it all over the house, causing mayhem and destruction everywhere they go. Tables, chairs, bookshelves, and china cabinets are all collateral damage in pursuit of the fury fiend!

Finally, one of the hounds chases it into the kitchen, with Clark in hot pursuit. When their rampage comes back towards him, he hightails it towards the front door, where an incredibly pissed of Margo from next door is waiting to give him a piece of her mind. She gets a piece of rabid squirrel instead, with a side of ravenous rottweiler!

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

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

As for the movie itself, well, The film has several references to the original National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: opening scene, with the family singing in the car, is similar to an early scene in the original Vacation; their car flying over snowbank is similar to car flying over roadblock in Arizona in Vacation; another befuddled, elderly aunt drops in, but the movie is good enough that it doesn’t become a rehash of the first film.

It takes its time getting started; the first thirty minutes are hit and miss, but after that, it gets good, and the final thirty minutes are hilarious. Aunt Bethany is introduced with some funny lines (Is your house on fire? she cheerfully asks upon seeing 25,000 Christmas lights on it), but filmmakers wisely avoided a repeat of Aunt Edna from the original, as this confused granny lives happily through the holiday.

Speaking of holiday, Holiday Road worked well in the original Vacation, was tired and formulaic in Euro Vacation, and was wisely avoided here, and replaced with a wonderful original score, of that, wow, yes they did.

The music, and the overall tone of the entire film, is sentimental without being overly sappy; Clark watching old home movies of his youth has just the right amount of sentiment, then it was ended perfectly with a well done gag.

Uncle Lewis is a delightful Grinch, with his strangled voice and deadpan delivery of lines which could have been painfully unfunny complaints, but his delivery and timing makes them work.

Oh, and the kids are great replacements, upgrades, for the two awful, nitwit kids in Euro Vacation. So yeah, this is, and without a shadow of a doubt, my favorite film in the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, and probably my favorite Christmas movie ever!

DIGITAL, 4K & BLU-RAY ELEMENTS:
Audio Commentary featuring Director Jeremiah S. Chechik, Randy Quaid, Beverly D’Angelo, Johnny Galecki, Miriam Flynn, and Producer Matty Simmons
Theatrical Trailer

The film is directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik. The screenplay is by John Hughes and based on characters by Hughes. The film is produced by Hughes and Tom Jacobsen and stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Randy Quaid.

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Blood And Diamonds: Special Edition [Blu-Ray]
(Claudio Cassinelli, Martin Balsam, Barbara Bouchet, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1977) 2022 / 88 Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: A follow up of sorts to his earlier film, the seminal Caliber 9 (1972), Blood and Diamonds (1977) blasts its way into familiar poliziotteschi territory, leaving scars, bullets and tire tracks in its bloody wake.

After being set up by the Mafia gang he is part of, Guido (Claudio Cassinelli) is sent to prison but upon he vows to take revenge on those who betrayed him. Another must for all collectors of high octane Italian crime thrillers from the 1970s.

Blu-ray Verdict: Laudio Cassanelli is a safe breaker out for one last job when some fink snitches on him. His partner Marco manages to get away, but Claudio himself is banged up for five years. Not only that, when gets out two masked gunman attack the bus he’s on and his girlfriend Olga Karlatos is shot in the back. Claudio kills the two bad guys so he’s still winning by this point, if you’re keeping score!

In a permanent bad mood for the entire film, Claudio blames everything on local gangster Rizzo (played immaculately by Martin Balsam as usual). The cops tend to agree with Claudio, but when a crooked cop passes this information on to Rizzo, he sends his right hand man Pier Paolo Capponi to put the squeeze on him.

Further compounding Claudio’s low mood and lack of sleep is Olga’s son Enzo, who hates him because he got his mother killed. I might have missed it, but I think Claudio used to go out with Enzo’s girl Barbara Bouchet, who seems to be trying to force Enzo’s hand in arranging a big score for a huge amount of diamonds.

That’s a lot of plot but it all serves to make Claudio madder and madder until he’s striking back at Rizzo, folks are getting plugged left right and center, and a few twists throw everything up in the air for a remarkable ending!

Personally, I’m a big fan of Claudio Cassanelli - he does moody very well, but to be honest, I’ve not seen him do comedy. Martin Balsam, once again, just knocks it out of the park as Rizzo. He constantly shows Claudio respect even though all Claudio does is threaten to kill him and shames him in front of his men.

This gives the ending even more clout as Rizzo and Claudio seem to share a father/son bond that Claudio can’t find with Enzo. It’s unusual to say the least, in truth.

The best bit for me was when Claudio and Pier Paolo Capponi have a violent fight to the death in Barbara Bouchet’s house, using all that kitsch seventies decor to try and kill each other. Also of note was the soundtrack, which you’ll know as that tune Bruno Mattei nicked for Zombie Creeping Flesh!

Special Features:
Brand New Remastered 4K Transfer from the Original Negative
High Definition (1080p) Presentation
Uncompressed English Audio
Uncompressed Italian Audio with Newly Translated English Subtitles
Audio commentary with Troy Howarth
Journey of love - Discovering Fernando Di Leo - Feature Length Documentary
Blood and Di Leo - A Portrait by Luc Merenda
Italian Opening, Intermission and Closing Titles
Original Trailer
Includes first Pressing Slipcase, Poster and Booklet

www.88-films.myshopify.com

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A Christmas Story: 4K UHD
(Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Ian Petrella, Scott Schwartz, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / PG-13 / (1983) 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Set in a 1940s-era Midwestern town and told from the viewpoints of a seven-year-old boy, who only wants one thing for Christmas — a Red Ryder BB gun — the episodic tale chronicles not only his schemes to convince his mother and father to buy him one, but also offers a warmly nostalgic look into 1940s middle-class American life. From the stories of, and narrated by, Jean Shepherd.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly-anticipated A Christmas Story in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 13th, 2022.

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

So, what we have is A Christmas Story presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (75.78 Mbps), Resolution: Native 4K (2160p) HDR: HDR10 and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the legendary Broken Lamp scene! That part where the mother breaks the lamp on purpose and the old man finds out is hilarious. It’s also kinda funny how the old man tries to glue the lamp back together, but watches as it collapses and is then buried outside! Their combined facial expressions are priceless, for such a small, yet highly memorable scene.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material; notably the scene where Flick sticks his tongue to the flag pole! Man, legendary! There were even police cars and fire trucks coming up to save him at one point and all because someone shouted, I triple dog dare you!

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

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

As for the movie itself, A Christmas Story is a rare film about children yet for adults. While kids will definitely enjoy this Christmas-themed saga, adults will find a deeper level of depth than they may remember from seeing the film at a younger age.

The movie strikes a sharp contrast between the exaggerated, polysyllabic narration of Ralphie, filled with nostalgia and lucid memories, and the soft, high-pitched childlike wonder of Ralphie’s spoken word. The narrator is clearly not the same character as the one portrayed on film, but a character wholly outside the story, reliving his childhood emotions and anecdotes.

Yet he is the heart of the film, the true center of gravity. This is because the movie is not about a scary Santa Clause and a BB gun - it’s about childhood memories and the feelings they evoke. To that end, A Christmas Story is flawless.

A Christmas Story tells of the epically materialistic journey of Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) as he searches for the golden, upheld idol of all red-blooded American boys: A Red Rider Air Rifle. Ralphie spins an intricate web of cunning and deceit as he plots to get his hands on it - including an essay, a trip to Santa Claus and more.

The movie also shows us a glimpse of his family - his irritable, foul-mouthed father with a good heart, his whiny brother Randy, and his sweet, all-American mother. It is not so much a continuous story as a series of vignettes, but it ultimately serves the movie’s purpose.

This is a funny film. The narration by Jean Shepherd is filled with love for this story. He absolutely captures the emotions and logic of childhood. In a subtle but amusing moment, Shepherd intones the incomparably eloquent pouring forth of thought into writing - only to have Billingsley note in his awe-filled, high-pitched voice that, I think everyone should have a Red Rider BB gun. It’s very good for Christmas. (paraphrased).

Most of the humor is similar - the natural exaggeration of a child as expressed by Shepherd’s consistent string of hyperbole.

Also, there’s a reason why it’s played constantly on cable TV throughout the Christmas season - it’s a movie everyone can relate to. There are moments of such pure truth here that few can deny their power. I’m sure that there is a scientific law left unwritten that determines that every kid must at some point fantasize about his parents feeling absolutely terrible and forever regretting some unutterable punishment they inflicted on their child - in this case, the immortal washing of a mouth out with soap.

Obviously, A Christmas Story is not a film that can be compared to Casablanca or Citizen Kane, but that aside, it simply excels at its simple goals, and comes together as an extraordinarily entertaining piece of cinema.

DIGITAL, 4K & BLU-RAY ELEMENTS:
•Commentary by Bob Clark and Peter Billingsley
•A Christmas Story – Featurette
•A History
•Deleted Scene
•Get a leg up
•The leg lamp spot
•Jean Shepherd original radio reading
•Theatrical trailer

The film is directed by Bob Clark. The screenplay is by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, and Bob Clark and is based on the novel “In God We Trust: All Other Pay Cash by Shepherd. The film is produced by Rene Dupont and Bob Clark and stars Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin and Peter Billingsley.

Additionally, A Christmas Story Christmas, from Warner Bros. Pictures and HBO Max, will debut on HBO Max on November 17. The long-awaited follow-up to the annual holiday favorite A Christmas Story, this time Ralphie is all grown up and must deal with Christmas and all that comes with it…as a dad. Peter Billingsley returns to the role that has made kids of all ages anticipate Christmas morning like no other.

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Elf: 4K UHD
(Bob Newhart, Will Ferrell, James Caan, Ray Harryhausen, Zooey Deschanel, Leon Redbone, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / PG / (2003) 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: This hilarious Christmas film tells the tale of a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts on Christmas Eve and is transported back to the North Pole and raised as an elf.

Years later Buddy learns he is not really an elf and goes on a journey to New York City to find his true identity.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly-anticipated Elf in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this November 1st, 2022.

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

So, what we have is Elf presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (75.53 Mbps), Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10 Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the I’m in a store and I’m singinnnng scene! Completely stunning Zooey Deschanel into silence when Will Ferrell defies her beliefs that you cannot have fun in an empty store, he sings his very own song (which she loves, BTW!).

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material; notably the You Sit on a Throne of Lies scene, which is one of the best, funniest and yet internally heartbreaking scenes to watch in the movie, of course.

As for the audio, well we have a veritable smorgasbord of choice here: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps) and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps).

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

As for the movie itself, well, this film has a very good cast with some big names of the time and past in entertainment. Elf is a modern Christmas fairy tale that scores well just for its comedy. Somewhere amid the crazy antics and situations there is a Christmas message or two.

But this film is something to enjoy just for the laughs. Most of the humor comes from an overgrown elf trying to adapt and learn how to live in an adult world. Along the way, he spreads some Christmas joy.

Will Ferrell is Buddy – an overgrown elf by mistake, whose doings resemble the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, and Merwin’s magic. It’s hard to imagine anyone else giving the performance Ferrell gives here. The role seems written for him.

Bob Newhart is Papa Elf. I don’t know any other comedian who could get people to laugh so much with a straight face. He applies his trademark as well in Elf. Ed Asner is Santa Claus, and James Caan is Buddy’s real father, Walter, and a whole host of younger actors do very well in their supporting roles also (including the cute-as-a-button Zooey Deschanel, of course).

In short, Elf is a fun movie that most should enjoy just for the silliness and laughter!

DIGITAL, 4K & BLU-RAY ELEMENTS:
Audio Commentaries with actor Will Ferrell and director Jon Favreau
Deleted/Alternate Scenes
9 Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
Music from ‘Elf’
‘Elf’ Karaoke
Theatrical Trailer

The film is directed by Jon Favreau and written by David Berenbaum. It is produced by Jon Berg, Todd Komarnicki , and Shauna Robertson, and stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Edward Asner and Bob Newhart.

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Nightmare at Noon: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
(Wings Hauser, Kimberly Beck, Bo Hopkins, George Kennedy, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1988) 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: From cult director Nico Mastorakis (Island of Death, Hired to Kill) comes Nightmare at Noon, a hectic mashup of eco-horror and shoot ’em up full of daring stunts and explosive action!

Something strange is afoot in a small remote town in Utah, as a series of sinister state experiments in the surrounding desert leads to the contamination of its water supply, transforming the residents into lethal brainless maniacs.

Enter vacationing lawyer Ken Griffiths (Wings Hauser, Vice Squad), his sassy wife Cheri (Kimberly Beck) and Reilly (Bo Hopkins), the mysterious hitchhiker they pick up on the road, who find themselves thrust into the midst of this madness when they stop for a drink at the local diner.

Blu-ray Verdict: A motley assortment of folks must fight for survival in a small desert town after an evil mute albino scientist (always reliable veteran villain Brion James in top quietly menacing form) contaminates the water with some kind of toxic liquid that causes anyone who drinks said water to go dangerously crazy!

Director Nico Mastorakis keeps the enjoyably daft story zipping along at a snappy pace, makes nice use of the scenic Utah landscape, stages the exciting action with rip-roaring gusto, further spices things up with a wickedly amusing sense of self-mocking humor, and blows plenty of stuff up real good!

This blithely mindless Grade B flick gets a substantial galvanizing charge from its excellent cast of familiar faces: Wings Hauser as uptight lawyer Ken Griffiths, Bo Hopkins as laid-back ex-cop Reilly, George Kennedy as the folksy Sheriff Hanks, Kimberly Beck as the foxy Cheri, and Kimberly Ross as feisty deputy Julia.

The scenes with people flipping out are absolutely hysterical. Cliff Ralke’s slick cinematography provides a pleasing polished look. The robust score by Stanley Myers and Hans Zimmer hits the rousing spot. A total blast, especially now that it is on Blu-ray as a Special Edition with a ton of cool extras!

Special Features:
Brand new restoration from the original negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed stereo audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Optional Greek subtitles
The Films of Nico Mastorakis: Nightmare at Noon, featurette on the making of the film with commentary from director Nico Mastorakis
Behind-the-scenes footage
Original onset interviews with actors Wings Hauser, Bo Hopkins, Kimberly Beck, George Kennedy and Brion James
Trailer Image gallery accompanied by the film’s score from Stanley Myers and Hans Zimmer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Johnny Mains

Nightmare at Noon Official Movie Trailer

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The Polar Express: 4K UHD
(Tom Hanks, Nona Gaye, Peter Scolari, Michael Jeter, Eddie Deezen, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital / G / (2004) 2022 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the highly-anticipated The Polar Express in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this November 1st, 2022.

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

So, what we have is The Polar Express presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (45.33 Mbps), Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10 and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as when the Hero Girl says, It’s A Magic Train.

While the main character is a little hesitant to climb aboard this strange locomotive that has just pulled up to his house, he does so anyway. The first kid he meets is a know-it-all boy who asks if he knows what kind of train it is (It’s a Baldwin 2-8-4 s3-class steam locomotive, in case you were wondering!)

Hero Boy is a little stumped for words, but luckily, a young girl (who is also never named and only known as Hero Girl) has the real answer. It’s a magic train. We’re going to the North Pole, she says with an excited smile!

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material; notably the scene where Hero Boy finds the girls ticket!

As young Hero Girl goes to bring Billy hot chocolate, she leaves her ticket behind on the seat. When Hero Boy notices, he decides to grab it and bring it to her. Unfortunately, it blows away in the wind, and on a train moving as fast as this one is, they’ll surely never see the ticket again ... or will they?!

As for the audio, well we have a veritable smorgasbord of choice here: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit), French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps), German: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps), Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps), Dutch: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps), Mandarin: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps), Mandarin: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps), Cantonese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Korean: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps), Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps), Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1, Danish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Finnish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dutch: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps), Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps), Norwegian: Dolby Digital 5.1, Romanian: Dolby Digital 2.0, and Swedish: Dolby Digital.

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

As for the movie itself, well, The Polar Express (2004) is a movie I recently watched with my daughter on Amazon Prime. The storyline follows a boy who believes in Christmas when few in his family still do. On Christmas Eve he hears a train outside and decides to get on it for a trip with other kids to the North Pole where he hopes to get a glimpse at Santa Claus before he starts his toy delivery process. Every child hopes to get picked by Santa to tell him their wishes for Christmas. This movie was directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future) and contains the voices of Tom Hanks (Forest Gump), Chris Coppola (Beowulf), Nona Gaye (Crash), Michael Jeter (The Green Mile), Leslie Zemeckis (Welcome To Barwen) and Peter Scolari (Newhart).

The animation for this movie is absolutely awesome. Tom Hanks was a great choice of voices as the conductor and every second on the train is magical. I loved the magic portrayed both inside and outside the train ride. There’s also some great messages on the challenges children face by the household and circumstances they are born into. Oh, and the Aerosmith cameo was nice and the ending was fun also!

Overall, this is a holiday classic that is a fun family watch and I would urge you all to put it on, families or not, come Christmas Eve Evening, and just take a fantastical train ride, my friends!

DIGITAL, 4K & BLU-RAY ELEMENTS:
Smokey and Steamer Song
You Look Familiar - The Polar Faces of Tom Hanks
A Genuine Ticket to Ride Documentary: Gallery of 5 Featurettes
Deleted/Alternate Scenes
True Imagination: An Author’s Adventure: Profiling Van Allsburg
“Believe” - Josh Groban Performs at the Greek Theatre
Behind the Scenes of “Believe”: Bringing a hit song to Magical Life in the Recording Studio
Flurry of Effects Gallery: 5 Motion-Capture Sessions
Meet the Snow Angels: The Moviemaker’s Christmas Memories
Theatrical Trailer

The film is directed by Robert Zemeckis from a screenplay by Zemeckis and William Broyles Jr. It is based on the classic Caldecott award-winning children’s book written by Chris Van Allsburg. The film is produced by Steve Starkey, Zemeckis, Gary Goetzman, and William Teitler, and features the voices of Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, and Eddie Deezen.

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Silent Running: 4K Ultra HD [Special Edition]
(Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin, et al / 4K UHD Blu-ray / G / (1988) 2022 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: In 1968, visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull (The Andromeda Strain, Close Encounters of the Third Kind) contributed to the ground-breaking special photographic effects of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Four years later, he stamped his own indelible mark on the science fiction genre with his mesmerizing directorial debut - Silent Running.

In the not-so-distant future, Earth is barren of all flora and fauna, with what remains of the planet’s former ecosystems preserved aboard a fleet of greenhouses orbiting in space. When the crews are ordered to destroy the remaining specimens, one botanist, Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern, The ’Burbs), rebels and flees towards Saturn in a desperate bid to preserve his own little piece of Earth that was, accompanied only by the ship’s three service robots.

Featuring a captivating central performance by Dern, visual effects that rival anything in 2001 and a powerful ecological message, Silent Running is a haunting and prescient sci-fi classic that resonates even more strongly today than it did at the time of it’s original release.

4K UHD Blu-ray Verdict: The directorial debut of visual FX wizard Douglas Trumbull, Silent Running looks great (FX legend John Dykstra also cut his teeth on this film): the film benefits from nifty photographic effects, wonderfully detailed models, and an authentic look and feel that pre-dates the lived-in realism of Alien.

But this ecological sci-fi isn’t just about the visuals: it carries a heartfelt message that, while clearly a product of the hippy generation, still rings true today, as the human race continues to mine the Earth of its resources, destroying the planet in the process.

Bruce Dern stars as Freeman Lowell, crewman on deep space craft Valley Forge, one of several ships tasked with protecting the last of Earth’s flora and fauna (the plants and wildlife on Earth having died out due to pollution and climate change).

In fact, Lowell is the only person who actually cares about what happens to the ship’s forests, and so when instructions are given to jettison the bio-domes and destroy them, he rebels, killing his fellow crew members and steering the Valley Forge into uncharted space.

With the help of three lovable droids, nicknamed Huey, Dewey, and Louie, Lowell tends to the plants and animals, but experiences further problems that threaten the existence of his precious cargo.

Even though Lowell is a murderer, one cannot blame him for taking extreme action, the man driven to kill to protect that which is most important to him, the plants signifying beauty and imagination, which has all but been lost back on Earth. In fact, anyone who appreciates the wonder of nature and wildlife will be rooting for the man as he desperately tries to save the last vestiges of the natural world against all odds.

As he does so, he strikes up a touching relationship with his mechanical helpers, his only company in the darkness of space, and when the droids become lost or damaged, it is truly heart-breaking. The finale, in which Lowell must make the ultimate sacrifice in order to guarantee that life continues (with droid Dewey as gardener), is poignant, lump-in-the-throat stuff indeed.

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

Noticeably crisp with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as, well, let us call it the Running Over Huey Scene!

The emotionally-laden way that Dern literally fawns over the smashed-into robot, taking him to the sick bay for some medical attention, so to speak, is just so very heartwarming and, for a while, heartbreaking also, of course.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material. Such as the, we shall call it, Saying Goodbye Scene, which if it doesn’t have you with a tear in your eye, you might as well be one of the damn robots!

Special Features:
Brand new 4K restoration by Arrow Films from the original camera negative
4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
Original lossless mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary by critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw
Original audio commentary by Douglas Trumbull and actor Bruce Dern Isolated music and effects track
No Turning Back – an interview with film music historian Jeff Bond on the film’s score
First Run – a visual essay by writer and filmmaker Jon Spira exploring the evolution of Silent Running’s screenplay
The Making of Silent Running – an archival 1972 on-set documentary
Silent Running by Douglas Trumbull and Douglas Trumbull: Then and Now – two archival interviews with the film’s director
A Conversation with Bruce Dern – an archival interview with the film’s lead actor
Theatrical trailer
Extensive behind-the-scenes gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Arik Roper
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Barry Forshaw and Peter Tonguette

Silent Running: 4K UHD Official Movie Trailer

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