Historical Blu-ray Release Dates

This page lists all available information for new and upcoming releases in the Blu-ray format.
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                            [review_slug] => starwarsthelastjedi2
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                            [review_title] => Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook)
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                            [manufacturer_name] => Disney/Buena Vista
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                                            [0] => The Director and the Jedi – Go deep behind the scenes with writer-director Rian Johnson on an intimate and personal journey through the production of the movie—and experience what it’s like to helm a global franchise and cultural phenomenon.
                                            [1] => Balance of the Force - Explore the mythology of the Force and why Rian Johnson chose to interpret its role in such a unique way.
                                            [2] => Scene Breakdowns (Lighting the Spark, Snoke and Mirrors, and Showdown on Crait).
                                            [3] => Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) – Writer-director Rian Johnson presents two exclusive sequences from the movie featuring Andy Serkis’ riveting, raw on-set performance before his digital makeover into Snoke.
                                            [4] => Deleted Scenes – With an introduction and optional commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.
                                            [5] => Audio Commentary – View the movie with in-depth feature audio commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.
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                                    [preview_plot_synopsis] => 

Luke Skywalker's peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he encounters Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force. Her desire to learn the ways of the Jedi forces Luke to make a decision that changes their lives forever. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and General Hux lead the First Order in an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy of the galaxy.

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Luke Skywalker's peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he encounters Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force. Her desire to learn the ways of the Jedi forces Luke to make a decision that changes their lives forever. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and General Hux lead the First Order in an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy of the galaxy.

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You're more likely to go to prison in the USA than any other country in the world, so in the unfortunate case it happens to you, this is the SURVIVORS GUIDE TO PRISON. Following the stories of two innocent men who spent decades behind bars for murders they did not commit. Gripping testimony from inmates, guards, staff, cops, analysts, lawyers and reformers, SURVIVORS GUIDE exposes the failed “punishment model” and examines the dramatic programs proven to work.

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Occupying a creepy cinematic netherworld somewhere between Eurocrime and erotica, Carlo Lizzani s Teenage Prostitution Racket (Storie di Vita e Malavita) is an unapologetically sordid film that explores the troubled sexuality of a series of young women coming of age in 1970s Milan. Beginning on the outskirts
of town, where a peasant woman pimps her thirteen-year-old companion to passing truck drivers, Lizzani s film worms its way into the metropolis, where
the oldest profession, in its varied forms, is dramatized in a series of interlocking narratives. A working-class girl is lured into prostitution by a boyfriend; a rich girl uses sex to rebel against her wealthy parents; a photographer s model discovers sex is an unspoken requirement of her job; an ex-convent girl becomes a nymphomaniac after being seduced at school; an independent hooker relies on a vicious dog to defend her against a gang of mobsters. As sensational as
the episodes may be, Lizzani doesn t reduce the characters to mere sex objects. Instead, he endows each woman with enough depth that even the most voyeuristic viewer can t help but become invested in her struggles to survive, and share her resentment toward the shady characters who try to control her.

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Tenjho Tenge Complete Collection contains episodes 1-24 plus 2 OVA episodes. Souichiro and Bob want to rule their new school, but just as they begin cracking heads, their plan is shot to hell. First there's the Natsume sisters and their Juuken Club. If the older sister, Maya, isn't kicking their ass, then the younger sister, Aya, is trying to force feed Souichiro and make him her husband! Then there's the Student Executive Council that sends executioners to "educate" anyone who questions the council's authority! Their education is just beginning!

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Lauren (Thora Birch, American Beauty) becomes the voice of a generation when, after one too many bad boyfriends, she launches a blog promoting “The PIG Theory.” The PIG Theory insists you can enjoy all that romance has to offer, but only for six months. At this "Point of Infidelity and Guilt," you must break up before your mate becomes unfaithful. Lauren is a beacon of light for her followers, but Lauren's sister, Gena (Claire Coffee, “Grimm”), is concerned. She introduces Lauren to the perfect man: Calvin (Chris Klein, American Pie) and they hit it off so an idea strikes: A competition! Calvin will pick five friends who have been in a relationship for longer than six months, and Lauren will pick the enchantress to be their downfall. If three out of five cheat, Calvin must walk away. But if three out of five resist temptation, Lauren must shut down her blog and open her heart to Calvin.  Their friends will be the challengers who determine their destiny!

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Screen legends Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray star as newlyweds whose love is put to the test on their wedding day in the classic comedy The Egg and I. Just after she has said I do, Betty (Colbert) learns that her new husband, Bob (MacMurray), has left his white-collar job with plans to raise chickens on a rustic farm located miles away from civilization. Betty tries to make the best of her situation in their ramshackle house but never-ending repairs, a malevolent wood-burning stove, rain, ornery livestock and a seductive neighbor (Louise Allbritton) do not make it easy! There is never a dull moment in this heart-warming comedy that also introduced the beloved characters of Ma and Pa Kettle (Marjorie Main and Percy Killbride).

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Comedy legends Burt Reynolds and Chevy Chase star in a hilarious and heartwarming journey following one man's achievement over a lifetime.

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In The Life of Budori Gusuko, his life was wonderful, living in the forest with his father, mother and younger sister. Then, the weather changed, the villagers he knew moved away, and tragedy stole his sister and parents from him. Forced to wander until he found another place to live, he again settled into a peaceful existence… until the weather changed, and it was all taken from him once again. Now, as he's grown older, Budori has found a job with people who study volcanoes, and when the weather starts to change again, Budori must make the biggest decision of his life. From the classic story by Kenji Miyazawa (Night On the Galactic Railroad) comes an all-new animated masterpiece: The Life of Budori Gusuko! Special Features: Japanese Promos

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Superstars Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra headline the witty thriller The List of Adrian Messenger directed by Academy Award® winner John Huston. A retired officer (Academy Award® winner George C. Scott) must uncover the identity of a mass murderer who is killing off the potential heirs to a family fortune. The only clues are the names on the list of murdered heir Adrian Messenger. The tension builds as the final evil unfolds during a suspense-filled fox hunt. Let the chase begin!

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"The Mystery of Britannic" - a historical docudrama that reveals a unique scenery on the terrible fate of the sister ship of the famous Titanic, whose final destiny was to be lost while at sea. The project presents the on-screen combination of re-enacted historical events intertwined with the scientific underwater documentary. The narration of the re-enacted story is being done by Nelly - who has departed her affluent family to serve as a newly recruited volunteer nurse on the hospital ship. Nelly shares her heart-piercing story of a courageous voyage aboard of the legendary Britannic - an ill-fated ocean liner, converted into the military hospital ship, bound for a shattering demise. One of the most famous shipwreck researchers, Richard Kohler, whose expertise and knowledge of the Britannic history developed into the life-long passion, helps the viewer to clearly apprehend the documentary materials. High-tech, deep-ocean submersibles and underwater research equipment allowed to capture the unique footage of a sleeping giant on the depths exceeding 100 meters. The combined efforts of researchers, scientists and SFX team made it possible to life-like witness the last minutes of the gigantic hospital ship. Together with the characters of the movie, the viewer will go through the actions of noble sacrifice, the story of love, the horrors of war, re-live the unspeakable tragedy happened a century ago and behold the long-gone wreck of the hospital ship in all her silent glory.

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Newly Re-Mastered in HD! There Is Nothing Wrong With Your Television Set... Do Not Attempt To Adjust The Picture... We Are Controlling Transmission... The entire first season 32 Episodes You hold in your hands an artifact from a time now vanished forever; a compendium of portals into worlds unknown. A seven-disc set that controls over 27 hours of transmission from the 1963-1964 series, this vessel has sought you out for one specific purpose: to expand your mind to The Outer Limits! Guest stars include Ed Asner, Macdonald Carey, Dabney Coleman, Robert Culp, Bruce Dern, Robert Duvall, Mimsy Farmer, Don Gordon, Harry Guardino, Gloria Grahame, Signe Hasso, Miriam Hopkins, Richard Jaeckel, Sally Kellerman, Shirley Knight, Martin Landau, George Macready, John Marley, David McCallum, Ralph Meeker, Gary Merrill, Vera Miles, Leonard Nimoy, Simon Oakland, Warren Oates, Carroll O Connor, Donald Pleasence, Cliff Robertson, Ruth Roman, Barbara Rush, Martin Sheen, Henry Silva and many more. 'The best program of its type ever to run on network TV!' - Stephen King

[review_introduction] =>

The first season of the classic science fiction anthology series The Outer Limits makes its grand debut onto Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber. With the rising popularity of science fiction anthology shows like Black Mirror, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, and a rumored reboot of The Twilight Zone, this Blu-ray set is the perfect opportunity to go back and watch some of the very best in sci-fi television writing and execution. Kino Lorber brings all 32 episodes of the first season to Blu-ray with beautiful video transfers and cracking good audio mixes. To top things off, there are 24 fantastic audio commentary tracks for various episodes along with a beautiful 40-page booklet. If you're a fan of the show or are in need of some of the very best television committed to Blu-ray, it doesn't get better than The Outer Limits Season One. Highly Recommended.

[review_movie] =>

"There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are in control."

There's something unique and grand about a great anthology television series. With a loose connection to a host or central theme, the rampage of ideas and the real estate to explore various themes virtually guarantees that each episode will bring something exciting to the screen. Provided, of course, that the talent pool driving the production is deep enough. Because there isn't an interconnected plot that requires the writer's room to stick to continuity or over stretch a ridiculous plot past the point of breaking, a singularly unique episode can emerge. 

When The Outer Limits first premiered in 1963, it wasn't exactly groundbreaking in its format. The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Terror had already been on the air for a number of years. Each of these shows were anthology series that traversed the genre spectrum from horror and science fiction to drama and comedy effortlessly showcasing terrific new talent in front of and behind the camera. When the first episode of The Outer Limits "The Galaxy Being" aired in September of 1963, it was a terrific piece of science fiction television tossed into a crowded field of science fiction television.

The Outer Limits Season 1

Who can really say why this amazing show only lasted two seasons. Any number of factors from the other previously mentioned similar anthology shows to the public's need for lighter fare during an intense period of geopolitical upheaval could have lead to this show's downfall. It certainly had nothing to do with quality as right out of the gate, The Outer Limits was producing intoxicating, thought-provoking science fiction. Each episode knew how to pace itself with a slow simmer of an idea and let the story roll to a boil that often ended with a gut punch of a final moment. This show isn't easily bingable as you're required to spend an incredible amount of energy simply paying attention to the details. So much can be missed so easily that you dare not watch this show with any nearby distractions. After each episode rolls to a close, you're tempted to sit back and let another episode startup, but deep down you know you need a break. You need to savor the moment. 

For my self, my love of The Outer Limits is intertwined with my love for The Twilight Zone. Growing up with these shows airing on small mom and pop stations meant that I got to enjoy them side-by-side along with reruns of the original series of Star Trek. So many episodes that I thought belonged to The Twilight Zone actually were episodes from The Outer Limits and vice versa. For example the second episode "The Hundred Days of the Dragon" which plays as a more literal plotting of The Manchurian Candidate about a Chinese agent with a flexible face supplanting a popular presidential candidate. That episode I was dead certain for years was, in fact, a Twilight Zone story and not something from The Outer Limits. It was years later in college that I discovered the truth and began separating the two shows and got to fall in love with both series all over again. 

The Outer Limits Season 1

It's probably because of the fact that I grew up thinking that The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone were the same things that I don't have a strong-hearted love for one over the other. I've witnessed some pretty intense debates about the validity of one show over the other, I had two dearly loved television studies and writing professors who shared an office space that would routinely egg the other on about one show or the other being better. For my money, both are great and worth every cent you invest in expanding your collection. As for their later run reboot shows, the updated 90s version of The Outer Limits that ran on Showtime offered up some decent episodes but nothing that I would call anything close to as memorable or groundbreaking as what appeared in the original series. It's also a show that is nearly impossible to pick a favorite episode. There are certainly standouts, "O.B.I.T," "The Hundred Days of the Dragon," and "Don't Open Till Doomsday," are highlights in my book - but they're all so good! Trying to pin down one as better than the other is a tough task. 

Digging back into The Outer Limits Season One was honestly like going back to college all over again when my various professors would pull episodes from the series as examples of tight editing or scripting. I spent so much time of my early 20s digging through this show that the refresher was a great way to burn several hours of a day. It's impressive that the first season was a 32 episode run and still maintained quality and interest. As we're in the middle of a Television Renaissance as Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and various cable outlets push traditional network television to rethink and expand their programming options, it's important to note how groundbreaking the late 50s and early 60s were for their contributions. The Outer Limits Season One offers up 1,632 minutes of incredible entertainment for you to discover - or rediscover if you haven't plugged through the series in some time. After parsing through some of my favorite episodes again, I can't wait for Kino Lorber to release Season 2 on Blu-ray. I truly wish there had been a complete series offering from the get-go, but as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, the wait for more episodes of The Outer Limits will be worth it. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

The Outer Limits makes its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Kino Lorber in a seven-disc Blu-ray set. Pressed onto seven Region A-locked BD-50 discs, the discs are housed in a foldout case with slipcover and a 40-page booklet containing a terrific essay by author David J. Schow along with plot descriptions for each episode. The discs load to their respective static-image main menu with traditional navigation options. 

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Fans of The Outer Limits should be exceedingly happy with what Kino Lorber has brought to the table with this first season. I haven't been able to ascertain when the scans were done for these 1.33:1 1080p transfers, but I figure they have to be fairly recent as these episodes look as close to flawless as humanly possible for a show produced nearly 55 years ago. Each episode was shot on black and white 35mm and look to have been cared for fairly well over the years. Film grain is intact ensuring that each frame gives a terrific sense of depth and dimension well beyond what televisions of the original broadcast era were capable of replicating. It really shows that this was not a cheap production as even the smallest production details come through with terrific clarity.

The Outer Limits Season 1

The grayscale is spot on allowing for a gradience from bright natural white to pitch black with plenty of shadow shades in between. Overall each print for each episode is in great shape, there are a few bits of scratches or speckling here and there, but hardly anything noticeable or to get worked up over. The worst damage or scratches really only appears during the various episode's optical visual effects. The first episode "The Galaxy Being" is a prime example of the titular alien life form was superimposed into the film in post-production. These elements can look a little rough around the edges, but far from the worst thing out there. That said, everything else about the image transfers provided for this show is excellent. It had been a few years since I last saw The Outer Limits and I was very impressed with the results. 

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Each episode of The Outer Limits arrives with a solid English DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix. The original broadcast tracks were in mono and these sound as if the same mono track is simply being punched through the right/left stereo channels without undergoing any kind of remixing giving an authentic experience to the original broadcasts. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout. Scoring is on point and never out of place. Sound effects keep the mix lively, but haven't been tinkered. Together the elements come together perfectly for each individual episode allowing that sense of mystery and tension build through the audio as well as the visual aspects. Throughout I never detected any age-related issues or hiccups. All around great stuff. 

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Kino Lorber brings The Outer Limits Season One to Blu-ray with a solid collection of Audio Commentaries. Unfortunately, there aren't any documentaries or retrospectives, but the 40-page booklet and the commentaries prove out giving fans a great amount of insight into the show as well as the individual episodes. 

Audio Commentaries: 

"The Galaxy Man" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"The Hundred Days of the Dragon" Audio Commentary features film historian Dr. Reba Wissner.

"The Architects of Fear" Audio Commentary features film historian Gary Gerani.

"The Sixth Finger" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"The Man Who Was Never Born" Audio Commentary features film historian Gary Gerani.

"O.B.I.T." Audio Commentary features film historian Craig Beam.

"Corpus Earthling" Audio Commentary features film historian Craig Beam.

"Nightmare" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"The Zantini Misfits" Audio Commentary 1 features film historian Tim Lucas.

"The Zantini Misfits" Audio Commentary 2 features film historian Gary Gerani and Steve Mitchell.

"The Mice: Audio Commentary features film historian Dr. Reba Wissner.

"Controlled Experiment" Audio Commentary features film historian Dr. Reba Wissner.

"Don't Open Till Doomsday" Audio Commentary features film historian Dr. Reba Wissner.

"ZZZZZ" Audio Commentary features film historian Tim Lucas.

"The Invisibles" Audio Commentary features film historian Tim Lucas.

"The Bellero Shield" Audio Commentary features film historian Tim Lucas.

"Specimen Unknown" Audio Commentary features film historian Craig Beam.

"The Mutant" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"The Guests" Audio Commentary features film historians Craig Beam and David J Schow.

"Fun and Games" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"The Special One" Audio Commentary features film historians Gary Gerani and Michael Hyatt.

"A Feasibility Study" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"Production and Decay of Strange Particles" features film historian Tim Lucas.

"The Forms of Things Unknown" features film historian Tim Lucas.

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The Outer Limits Season One is classic television. Plain and simple. 32 episodes and 1632 minutes of some of the best science fiction committed to celluloid is at your fingertips with this terrific Blu-ray box set. While there may be some who think The Twilight Zone was a better show, I can't make that judgment call so easily. There are so many interesting and provocative stories in both series that it's impossible to say one is inherently better than the other - they're both great and should occupy equal shelf space in your collection. Kino Lorber has done a great job bringing The Outer Limits Season One to Blu-ray. With a stellar A/V presentation and dozens of audio commentaries, there is a lot to see and enjoy with this set. Fans will absolutely want to pick this one up and newcomers shouldn't hesitate a blind buy, I'm pretty sure anyone who has never seen the show will have a great time. I can't wait for Season Two to arrive now! Highly Recommended. 

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The Perfect Man stars Hilary Duff, Heather Locklear and Chris Noth in a hilarious yet heartwarming comedy about mothers, daughters and the outrageous lengths people will go to for love. Holly Hamilton (Duff) is on a mission to find her single mom (Locklear) a perfect man….Even if she has to make that man up! Without other options, she creates an imaginary secret admirer based on a charming restaurateur (Noth). Unfortunately, this scheme keeps Holly on her toes more than it actually sweeps her mother off her feet. One crazy mishap after another leads the two of them to discover that sometimes what you're looking for is already right in front of you.

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The Sandlot still holds up after twenty-five years. This coming-of-age movie about a group of friends who try to get a lost baseball signed by Babe Ruth from a killer dog still highlights a ton of memories about growing up in the best possible ways. When it comes to the disc itself, however, this 25th Anniversary edition brings nothing new in the form of video or audio options, and there are zero new extras as well. That being said, there is now a Digital Copy that comes with the movie, along with new artwork, a mini poster, a booklet with an essay and images of the film, and a collectible Topps trading card pack of the characters. It's difficult to justify a double dip if you already own the previous release, but if you want the Digital Copy, the collectible trading cards, or just plain don't have this in your collection yet, this version comes Highly Recommended!

In addition, I had the pleasure to sit down with the director David Mickey Evans and actor Patrick Renna (Hamilton Porter) for an interview to discuss The Sandlot. Enjoy. 

[review_movie] =>

It's hard to believe that it's been twenty-five years since I went to the local theater with my little-league team to see The Sandlot, which was a movie about our lives at the time. It was so long ago that stadium seating in theaters wasn't the norm yet. Being part of a group of friends who lived in the same neighborhood, went to school together, and played baseball a few times a week, was life for me and a lot of us growing up. I'm just so happy that a movie was made about it that we all connected to. It's not just a movie for kids, but adults as well, because it brings out our inner kid every time we watch it, which makes The Sandlot a timeless cinematic experience, even more than two decades later.

Filmmaker David Mickey Evans perfectly tells the story of a group of kids who all play baseball one summer and get themselves into the biggest "pickle" of their lives at the time. It's one full of nostalgic moments, coming-of-age scenes, and a lot of fun and baseball. Evans actually wrote the film Radio Flyer and was slated to direct it, but the movie went to Richard Donner instead. Still, Evans' film was inspired by his own life, which is quite tragic when you think about what Radio Flyer is about.

In The Sandlot, I think Evans put a lot of himself into the movie, which is about the new kid who moves to town with his newly married mom and isn't quite accepted immediately. Through some tall tales and baseball, he makes friends with the other kids, and they all discover life's most precious moments, such as the first kiss, overnights in the treehouse, and loyalty to friends.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Sandlot, the story follows a young kid named Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) who moves to a new neighborhood and doesn't have an ounce of sports ability in him. He's what we'd call the indoor kid. Not making friends easily, another kid in the neighborhood named Benny (Mike Vitar) takes him under his wing and teaches him baseball. After Smalls makes friends with the other boys, he takes his step-father's baseball from the living room mantle and brings it to play with the others during a hot summer day. Smalls ends up hitting a home-run, but the ball goes into a mean neighbor's yard with a killer dog. Turns out, that ball was signed by Babe Ruth, and Smalls and his new friends try and devise elaborate plans to get it back.

Throughout this entire debacle, the boys still manage to have fun on the Fourth of July and even partake in their first drug experience at a local carnival. The movie is so genuine and funny that you can't help but relate to each kid in some form or fashion. With an excellent soundtrack and great performances, it's no wonder that The Sandlot is still one of the best movies of all time.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

The 25th Anniversary of The Sandlot comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc of the film and an insert for a Digital Copy. There is also a collectible Topps trading card pack of the characters in the film, a mini folded poster, and a booklet with an essay and images included. The box features new artwork as well. The items are housed in an eco-friendly, hard blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.

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This 25th Anniversary of The Sandlot comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This is in fact the same transfer from the 20th Anniversary edition, which is still quite good. From previous VHS and DVD releases of the movie, this Blu-ray is leaps and bounds better, visually speaking. Colors are strikingly bold and rich with the early 1960s color scheme showcasing their bright primary colors in costumes. The green grass is luscious and the brown dirt looks fantastic. The many pastel colors of the houses in the neighborhood and the deep primaries are beautiful in each scene.

Detail is sharp and vivid as well with facial features showing up nicely, including freckles, beads of sweat, and individual hairs. Even the fine stitching and textures in the baseballs can be easily seen here. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are natural too. There is a certain scene where Babe Ruth appears in a dream, which can be heavy on grain, but it's a stylistic choice. There are no major instances with any banding or video noise, allowing this video presentation to earn great marks.

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This disc also comes with the same audio presentation as the previous release, which is a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that sounds great. The sound effects are robust with good directionality in each scene. Sounds of bats hitting baseballs, sliding in the dirt, and erector set clanks are all impressive. The bigger scenes, such as the pool scene or when the kids are at the local carnival, and even the night game with fireworks, provide the best overall surround experience from the rear speakers.

Other ambient noises of kids talking and yelling, along with "the beast" growling all sound fluid and smooth. The fantastic soundtrack always adds to the entertainment and nostalgic mood of the 1960s as well. The dialogue is always clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills.

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There are no new extras here unfortunately, but instead the same supplements from the previous release are ported over.

Featurette (SD, 5 Mins.) - A vintage promo reel for the film that is mostly just clips from the movie with some small interviews from the cast and crew. Nothing much to see here.

Trailers (HD, 6 Mins.) - A mix of TV spots and trailers are included here.

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This 25th anniversary edition of The Sandlot is more or less the exact same disc as the one that came out five years prior for its 20th anniversary. While the film, video, and audio presentations are still very good, there are no new extras to be had here. The only thing that is new this time around is the artwork along with a couple of inserts that come with the disc, including a mini poster, a booklet with an essay and images, and a Topps collectible card pack consisting of characters from the film. There is also a Digital Copy of the movie included too. If you already own the last release, it's hard to justify purchasing this again, unless you want the Digital Copy, since there isn't really anything new otherwise. But, if you still don't have the movie in your collection, this edition comes Highly Recommended!

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Terrorists take over a plutonium bomb and threaten to detonate it in a Saudi Arabian oil field. A special anti-terrorist unit is sent in to stop them. Original soundtrack by Tangerine Dream (Micheal Mann's Thief).

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With THE THOUSAND FACES OF DUNJIA, legendary director Yuen Wo Ping and writer/producer Tsui Hark breathe new life into the wuxia genre, weaving together fantasy, humor, and breathtaking martial arts action. Dao, a naïve young constable, discovers a secret society with supernatural abilities that has protected mankind for centuries. As he s drawn into a power struggle within their ranks, they learn that an ancient creature with the power to destroy the world is rising - and it will take all of their powers combined to stop it.

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Doris Day and James Garner star in The Thrill of It All!, a breezy comedy about what happens when your 15 minutes of fame finally arrives and turns your life upside down. Dr. Gerald Boyer (Garner) and his lovely wife Beverly (Day) are living the American dream. After Beverly is suddenly selected as the national advertising spokeswoman for Happy Soap, their suburban bliss turns to media-driven frenzy. As Beverly s career begins to skyrocket, her neglected husband is increasingly put out by the fact that when his family does get to see her, it s on TV! Directed by Norman Jewison, The Thrill of it All! is a brilliantly polished comedy jewel highlighted by a screenplay from comedy legend Carl Reiner.

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Starring Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney, The Wedding Date is a hilarious romantic comedy about the surprising road to finding true love. Kat Ellis (Messing) is determined to attend her younger sister's wedding with a date. Rather than face the ridicule of her family and in order to show up her ex-fiancé, she resorts to the Yellow Pages to find a last-minute escort, Nick (Mulroney). His dashing good looks and quick-witted charm may win over her family but will they win over Kat? Filled with unexpected twists and endless laughs, The Wedding Date is the one date that you'll want to keep!

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In Tomorrow's Joe: The Movie, Joe Yabuki is a troubled youth, whose only solution to problems is throwing punches at them. What he lacks in manners and discipline, he makes up for with his self-taught fighting skills. One day, while wandering the slums of Doya, Joe gets into a fight with the local gang. Although greatly outnumbered, he effortlessly defeats them, drawing the attention of Danpei Tange—a former boxing coach turned alcoholic. Seeing his potential, he offers to train Joe into Japan's greatest boxer. At first, Joe dismisses Danpei as a hopeless drunk; but after the trainer saves his life, he agrees to live with him and learn the art of boxing. Unfortunately, Joe's personality makes him an unruly student, and he often falls back to his old ways. To survive the harsh world of his new career, Joe needs to trust his mentor and master the techniques taught to him. However, the road to becoming a professional boxer is rife with struggles that will test his mettle to the end.

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Based on the best-selling Toriko franchise. In a world where the most delicious ingredients come from dangerous lands and deadly beasts, only the strongest and bravest can be true gourmands. Toriko is a Gourmet Hunter, a mighty warrior with Gourmet Cells. These can be implanted into humans, and those who successfully integrate them see rapid enhancement of their particular traits, allowing them to gain superhuman abilities. Together with his chef partner Komatsu, he seeks out the world's most delicious foods! Their latest mission is to investigate a mysterious biotope said to house a special recipe left there by the world's most legendary hunter, Acacia. But a mysterious and deadly hunter named Girim interrupts, declaring that he will find Acacia's legacy and keep it for himself! When his power proves too overwhelming even for Toriko, allies and enemies alike must work together, to stop Girim before it's too late! The action-packed movie based on the best-selling Toriko franchise bring more of the thrills, humor, and friendship that the series is known for, along with stunning animation and battle sequences on a cinema scale. Grab a knife, a fork, and your Blu-ray player and dig in with Toriko: The Movie!

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Before directing the legendary PENITENTIARY trilogy, Jamaa Fanaka helmed these two offbeat genre films, which helped catapult him to recognition as one of the most important black filmmakers working in 70s independent cinema.

In Fanaka's debut feature, WELCOME HOME BROTHER CHARLES, a young black man is sent to prison, after being brutalized by a corrupt racist cop. Upon release, he takes deadly revenge against the cops, lawyers, and thugs who got him busted, using a most unusual weapon... As much a parody of exploitation films as it is a proud piece of genre cinema, BROTHER CHARLES combines horror and blaxploitation tropes with stirring social subtext resulting in a drive-in movie unlike any other.

Fanaka's second feature, EMMA MAE, tells the story of a naive young woman who moves from the Deep South to Watts. Initially finding herself at odds with her surroundings, Emma eventually gains acceptance from a local drug addict and dealer. But when he's arrested and jailed, she plans a daring bank robbery to bail him out... Featuring a cast of mostly non-professionals and shot entirely on location in Watts, this uniquely subversive action film is an insider's view of black, working-class LA neighborhoods.

Vinegar Syndrome brings these two landmark films to Blu-ray, newly restored from their original camera negatives.

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With this film, the audacious Ken Russell vaulted onto the international stage, drawing on the psychosexual radicalism of D. H. Lawrence’s classic novel to shatter taboos in his own time. Set in an English mining community on the crest of modernity, Women in Love traces the shifting currents of desire that link the emancipated Brangwen sisters (Jennie Linden and an Oscar-winning Glenda Jackson) to a freethinking dreamer (Alan Bates) and a hard-willed industrialist (Oliver Reed)—as well as the men’s own erotically charged friendship. Coupling earthy sensuality with kaleidoscopically stylized images, Russell pursues this quartet to the heights of agony and ecstasy, crafting a breathtaking drama of human sexuality at its most liberating, dominating, and destructive extremes.

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In the future, human civilization has been destroyed. Paradox travels back in time to prevent the destruction of his timeline from occurring by eliminating the source of that destruction: Duel Monsters and its creator, Maximillion Pegasus.

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Luke Skywalker's peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he encounters Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force. Her desire to learn the ways of the Jedi forces Luke to make a decision that changes their lives forever. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and General Hux lead the First Order in an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy of the galaxy.

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Luke Skywalker's peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he encounters Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force. Her desire to learn the ways of the Jedi forces Luke to make a decision that changes their lives forever. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and General Hux lead the First Order in an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy of the galaxy.

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You're more likely to go to prison in the USA than any other country in the world, so in the unfortunate case it happens to you, this is the SURVIVORS GUIDE TO PRISON. Following the stories of two innocent men who spent decades behind bars for murders they did not commit. Gripping testimony from inmates, guards, staff, cops, analysts, lawyers and reformers, SURVIVORS GUIDE exposes the failed “punishment model” and examines the dramatic programs proven to work.

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Occupying a creepy cinematic netherworld somewhere between Eurocrime and erotica, Carlo Lizzani s Teenage Prostitution Racket (Storie di Vita e Malavita) is an unapologetically sordid film that explores the troubled sexuality of a series of young women coming of age in 1970s Milan. Beginning on the outskirts
of town, where a peasant woman pimps her thirteen-year-old companion to passing truck drivers, Lizzani s film worms its way into the metropolis, where
the oldest profession, in its varied forms, is dramatized in a series of interlocking narratives. A working-class girl is lured into prostitution by a boyfriend; a rich girl uses sex to rebel against her wealthy parents; a photographer s model discovers sex is an unspoken requirement of her job; an ex-convent girl becomes a nymphomaniac after being seduced at school; an independent hooker relies on a vicious dog to defend her against a gang of mobsters. As sensational as
the episodes may be, Lizzani doesn t reduce the characters to mere sex objects. Instead, he endows each woman with enough depth that even the most voyeuristic viewer can t help but become invested in her struggles to survive, and share her resentment toward the shady characters who try to control her.

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Tenjho Tenge Complete Collection contains episodes 1-24 plus 2 OVA episodes. Souichiro and Bob want to rule their new school, but just as they begin cracking heads, their plan is shot to hell. First there's the Natsume sisters and their Juuken Club. If the older sister, Maya, isn't kicking their ass, then the younger sister, Aya, is trying to force feed Souichiro and make him her husband! Then there's the Student Executive Council that sends executioners to "educate" anyone who questions the council's authority! Their education is just beginning!

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Lauren (Thora Birch, American Beauty) becomes the voice of a generation when, after one too many bad boyfriends, she launches a blog promoting “The PIG Theory.” The PIG Theory insists you can enjoy all that romance has to offer, but only for six months. At this "Point of Infidelity and Guilt," you must break up before your mate becomes unfaithful. Lauren is a beacon of light for her followers, but Lauren's sister, Gena (Claire Coffee, “Grimm”), is concerned. She introduces Lauren to the perfect man: Calvin (Chris Klein, American Pie) and they hit it off so an idea strikes: A competition! Calvin will pick five friends who have been in a relationship for longer than six months, and Lauren will pick the enchantress to be their downfall. If three out of five cheat, Calvin must walk away. But if three out of five resist temptation, Lauren must shut down her blog and open her heart to Calvin.  Their friends will be the challengers who determine their destiny!

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Screen legends Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray star as newlyweds whose love is put to the test on their wedding day in the classic comedy The Egg and I. Just after she has said I do, Betty (Colbert) learns that her new husband, Bob (MacMurray), has left his white-collar job with plans to raise chickens on a rustic farm located miles away from civilization. Betty tries to make the best of her situation in their ramshackle house but never-ending repairs, a malevolent wood-burning stove, rain, ornery livestock and a seductive neighbor (Louise Allbritton) do not make it easy! There is never a dull moment in this heart-warming comedy that also introduced the beloved characters of Ma and Pa Kettle (Marjorie Main and Percy Killbride).

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Comedy legends Burt Reynolds and Chevy Chase star in a hilarious and heartwarming journey following one man's achievement over a lifetime.

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In The Life of Budori Gusuko, his life was wonderful, living in the forest with his father, mother and younger sister. Then, the weather changed, the villagers he knew moved away, and tragedy stole his sister and parents from him. Forced to wander until he found another place to live, he again settled into a peaceful existence… until the weather changed, and it was all taken from him once again. Now, as he's grown older, Budori has found a job with people who study volcanoes, and when the weather starts to change again, Budori must make the biggest decision of his life. From the classic story by Kenji Miyazawa (Night On the Galactic Railroad) comes an all-new animated masterpiece: The Life of Budori Gusuko! Special Features: Japanese Promos

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Superstars Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra headline the witty thriller The List of Adrian Messenger directed by Academy Award® winner John Huston. A retired officer (Academy Award® winner George C. Scott) must uncover the identity of a mass murderer who is killing off the potential heirs to a family fortune. The only clues are the names on the list of murdered heir Adrian Messenger. The tension builds as the final evil unfolds during a suspense-filled fox hunt. Let the chase begin!

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"The Mystery of Britannic" - a historical docudrama that reveals a unique scenery on the terrible fate of the sister ship of the famous Titanic, whose final destiny was to be lost while at sea. The project presents the on-screen combination of re-enacted historical events intertwined with the scientific underwater documentary. The narration of the re-enacted story is being done by Nelly - who has departed her affluent family to serve as a newly recruited volunteer nurse on the hospital ship. Nelly shares her heart-piercing story of a courageous voyage aboard of the legendary Britannic - an ill-fated ocean liner, converted into the military hospital ship, bound for a shattering demise. One of the most famous shipwreck researchers, Richard Kohler, whose expertise and knowledge of the Britannic history developed into the life-long passion, helps the viewer to clearly apprehend the documentary materials. High-tech, deep-ocean submersibles and underwater research equipment allowed to capture the unique footage of a sleeping giant on the depths exceeding 100 meters. The combined efforts of researchers, scientists and SFX team made it possible to life-like witness the last minutes of the gigantic hospital ship. Together with the characters of the movie, the viewer will go through the actions of noble sacrifice, the story of love, the horrors of war, re-live the unspeakable tragedy happened a century ago and behold the long-gone wreck of the hospital ship in all her silent glory.

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Newly Re-Mastered in HD! There Is Nothing Wrong With Your Television Set... Do Not Attempt To Adjust The Picture... We Are Controlling Transmission... The entire first season 32 Episodes You hold in your hands an artifact from a time now vanished forever; a compendium of portals into worlds unknown. A seven-disc set that controls over 27 hours of transmission from the 1963-1964 series, this vessel has sought you out for one specific purpose: to expand your mind to The Outer Limits! Guest stars include Ed Asner, Macdonald Carey, Dabney Coleman, Robert Culp, Bruce Dern, Robert Duvall, Mimsy Farmer, Don Gordon, Harry Guardino, Gloria Grahame, Signe Hasso, Miriam Hopkins, Richard Jaeckel, Sally Kellerman, Shirley Knight, Martin Landau, George Macready, John Marley, David McCallum, Ralph Meeker, Gary Merrill, Vera Miles, Leonard Nimoy, Simon Oakland, Warren Oates, Carroll O Connor, Donald Pleasence, Cliff Robertson, Ruth Roman, Barbara Rush, Martin Sheen, Henry Silva and many more. 'The best program of its type ever to run on network TV!' - Stephen King

[review_introduction] =>

The first season of the classic science fiction anthology series The Outer Limits makes its grand debut onto Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber. With the rising popularity of science fiction anthology shows like Black Mirror, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, and a rumored reboot of The Twilight Zone, this Blu-ray set is the perfect opportunity to go back and watch some of the very best in sci-fi television writing and execution. Kino Lorber brings all 32 episodes of the first season to Blu-ray with beautiful video transfers and cracking good audio mixes. To top things off, there are 24 fantastic audio commentary tracks for various episodes along with a beautiful 40-page booklet. If you're a fan of the show or are in need of some of the very best television committed to Blu-ray, it doesn't get better than The Outer Limits Season One. Highly Recommended.

[review_movie] =>

"There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are in control."

There's something unique and grand about a great anthology television series. With a loose connection to a host or central theme, the rampage of ideas and the real estate to explore various themes virtually guarantees that each episode will bring something exciting to the screen. Provided, of course, that the talent pool driving the production is deep enough. Because there isn't an interconnected plot that requires the writer's room to stick to continuity or over stretch a ridiculous plot past the point of breaking, a singularly unique episode can emerge. 

When The Outer Limits first premiered in 1963, it wasn't exactly groundbreaking in its format. The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Terror had already been on the air for a number of years. Each of these shows were anthology series that traversed the genre spectrum from horror and science fiction to drama and comedy effortlessly showcasing terrific new talent in front of and behind the camera. When the first episode of The Outer Limits "The Galaxy Being" aired in September of 1963, it was a terrific piece of science fiction television tossed into a crowded field of science fiction television.

The Outer Limits Season 1

Who can really say why this amazing show only lasted two seasons. Any number of factors from the other previously mentioned similar anthology shows to the public's need for lighter fare during an intense period of geopolitical upheaval could have lead to this show's downfall. It certainly had nothing to do with quality as right out of the gate, The Outer Limits was producing intoxicating, thought-provoking science fiction. Each episode knew how to pace itself with a slow simmer of an idea and let the story roll to a boil that often ended with a gut punch of a final moment. This show isn't easily bingable as you're required to spend an incredible amount of energy simply paying attention to the details. So much can be missed so easily that you dare not watch this show with any nearby distractions. After each episode rolls to a close, you're tempted to sit back and let another episode startup, but deep down you know you need a break. You need to savor the moment. 

For my self, my love of The Outer Limits is intertwined with my love for The Twilight Zone. Growing up with these shows airing on small mom and pop stations meant that I got to enjoy them side-by-side along with reruns of the original series of Star Trek. So many episodes that I thought belonged to The Twilight Zone actually were episodes from The Outer Limits and vice versa. For example the second episode "The Hundred Days of the Dragon" which plays as a more literal plotting of The Manchurian Candidate about a Chinese agent with a flexible face supplanting a popular presidential candidate. That episode I was dead certain for years was, in fact, a Twilight Zone story and not something from The Outer Limits. It was years later in college that I discovered the truth and began separating the two shows and got to fall in love with both series all over again. 

The Outer Limits Season 1

It's probably because of the fact that I grew up thinking that The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone were the same things that I don't have a strong-hearted love for one over the other. I've witnessed some pretty intense debates about the validity of one show over the other, I had two dearly loved television studies and writing professors who shared an office space that would routinely egg the other on about one show or the other being better. For my money, both are great and worth every cent you invest in expanding your collection. As for their later run reboot shows, the updated 90s version of The Outer Limits that ran on Showtime offered up some decent episodes but nothing that I would call anything close to as memorable or groundbreaking as what appeared in the original series. It's also a show that is nearly impossible to pick a favorite episode. There are certainly standouts, "O.B.I.T," "The Hundred Days of the Dragon," and "Don't Open Till Doomsday," are highlights in my book - but they're all so good! Trying to pin down one as better than the other is a tough task. 

Digging back into The Outer Limits Season One was honestly like going back to college all over again when my various professors would pull episodes from the series as examples of tight editing or scripting. I spent so much time of my early 20s digging through this show that the refresher was a great way to burn several hours of a day. It's impressive that the first season was a 32 episode run and still maintained quality and interest. As we're in the middle of a Television Renaissance as Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and various cable outlets push traditional network television to rethink and expand their programming options, it's important to note how groundbreaking the late 50s and early 60s were for their contributions. The Outer Limits Season One offers up 1,632 minutes of incredible entertainment for you to discover - or rediscover if you haven't plugged through the series in some time. After parsing through some of my favorite episodes again, I can't wait for Kino Lorber to release Season 2 on Blu-ray. I truly wish there had been a complete series offering from the get-go, but as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, the wait for more episodes of The Outer Limits will be worth it. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

The Outer Limits makes its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Kino Lorber in a seven-disc Blu-ray set. Pressed onto seven Region A-locked BD-50 discs, the discs are housed in a foldout case with slipcover and a 40-page booklet containing a terrific essay by author David J. Schow along with plot descriptions for each episode. The discs load to their respective static-image main menu with traditional navigation options. 

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Fans of The Outer Limits should be exceedingly happy with what Kino Lorber has brought to the table with this first season. I haven't been able to ascertain when the scans were done for these 1.33:1 1080p transfers, but I figure they have to be fairly recent as these episodes look as close to flawless as humanly possible for a show produced nearly 55 years ago. Each episode was shot on black and white 35mm and look to have been cared for fairly well over the years. Film grain is intact ensuring that each frame gives a terrific sense of depth and dimension well beyond what televisions of the original broadcast era were capable of replicating. It really shows that this was not a cheap production as even the smallest production details come through with terrific clarity.

The Outer Limits Season 1

The grayscale is spot on allowing for a gradience from bright natural white to pitch black with plenty of shadow shades in between. Overall each print for each episode is in great shape, there are a few bits of scratches or speckling here and there, but hardly anything noticeable or to get worked up over. The worst damage or scratches really only appears during the various episode's optical visual effects. The first episode "The Galaxy Being" is a prime example of the titular alien life form was superimposed into the film in post-production. These elements can look a little rough around the edges, but far from the worst thing out there. That said, everything else about the image transfers provided for this show is excellent. It had been a few years since I last saw The Outer Limits and I was very impressed with the results. 

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Each episode of The Outer Limits arrives with a solid English DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix. The original broadcast tracks were in mono and these sound as if the same mono track is simply being punched through the right/left stereo channels without undergoing any kind of remixing giving an authentic experience to the original broadcasts. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout. Scoring is on point and never out of place. Sound effects keep the mix lively, but haven't been tinkered. Together the elements come together perfectly for each individual episode allowing that sense of mystery and tension build through the audio as well as the visual aspects. Throughout I never detected any age-related issues or hiccups. All around great stuff. 

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Kino Lorber brings The Outer Limits Season One to Blu-ray with a solid collection of Audio Commentaries. Unfortunately, there aren't any documentaries or retrospectives, but the 40-page booklet and the commentaries prove out giving fans a great amount of insight into the show as well as the individual episodes. 

Audio Commentaries: 

"The Galaxy Man" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"The Hundred Days of the Dragon" Audio Commentary features film historian Dr. Reba Wissner.

"The Architects of Fear" Audio Commentary features film historian Gary Gerani.

"The Sixth Finger" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"The Man Who Was Never Born" Audio Commentary features film historian Gary Gerani.

"O.B.I.T." Audio Commentary features film historian Craig Beam.

"Corpus Earthling" Audio Commentary features film historian Craig Beam.

"Nightmare" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"The Zantini Misfits" Audio Commentary 1 features film historian Tim Lucas.

"The Zantini Misfits" Audio Commentary 2 features film historian Gary Gerani and Steve Mitchell.

"The Mice: Audio Commentary features film historian Dr. Reba Wissner.

"Controlled Experiment" Audio Commentary features film historian Dr. Reba Wissner.

"Don't Open Till Doomsday" Audio Commentary features film historian Dr. Reba Wissner.

"ZZZZZ" Audio Commentary features film historian Tim Lucas.

"The Invisibles" Audio Commentary features film historian Tim Lucas.

"The Bellero Shield" Audio Commentary features film historian Tim Lucas.

"Specimen Unknown" Audio Commentary features film historian Craig Beam.

"The Mutant" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"The Guests" Audio Commentary features film historians Craig Beam and David J Schow.

"Fun and Games" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"The Special One" Audio Commentary features film historians Gary Gerani and Michael Hyatt.

"A Feasibility Study" Audio Commentary features film historian David J Schow.

"Production and Decay of Strange Particles" features film historian Tim Lucas.

"The Forms of Things Unknown" features film historian Tim Lucas.

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The Outer Limits Season One is classic television. Plain and simple. 32 episodes and 1632 minutes of some of the best science fiction committed to celluloid is at your fingertips with this terrific Blu-ray box set. While there may be some who think The Twilight Zone was a better show, I can't make that judgment call so easily. There are so many interesting and provocative stories in both series that it's impossible to say one is inherently better than the other - they're both great and should occupy equal shelf space in your collection. Kino Lorber has done a great job bringing The Outer Limits Season One to Blu-ray. With a stellar A/V presentation and dozens of audio commentaries, there is a lot to see and enjoy with this set. Fans will absolutely want to pick this one up and newcomers shouldn't hesitate a blind buy, I'm pretty sure anyone who has never seen the show will have a great time. I can't wait for Season Two to arrive now! Highly Recommended. 

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The Perfect Man stars Hilary Duff, Heather Locklear and Chris Noth in a hilarious yet heartwarming comedy about mothers, daughters and the outrageous lengths people will go to for love. Holly Hamilton (Duff) is on a mission to find her single mom (Locklear) a perfect man….Even if she has to make that man up! Without other options, she creates an imaginary secret admirer based on a charming restaurateur (Noth). Unfortunately, this scheme keeps Holly on her toes more than it actually sweeps her mother off her feet. One crazy mishap after another leads the two of them to discover that sometimes what you're looking for is already right in front of you.

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The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who’s Walking is an animated zombie apocalypse special from Robot Chicken’s Seth Green and Matthew Senreich and their Stoopid Buddy Stoodios partners, John Harvatine IV and Eric Towner, along with The Walking Dead (TWD) creator/executive producer Robert Kirkman and showrunner/executive producer Scott M. Gimple. The half-hour special will feature original talent from TWD lending voices to their characters including Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Steve Yeun, Sara Wayne Callies, and more. Chris Hardwick and Breckin Meyer will also be among the cast.

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The Sandlot still holds up after twenty-five years. This coming-of-age movie about a group of friends who try to get a lost baseball signed by Babe Ruth from a killer dog still highlights a ton of memories about growing up in the best possible ways. When it comes to the disc itself, however, this 25th Anniversary edition brings nothing new in the form of video or audio options, and there are zero new extras as well. That being said, there is now a Digital Copy that comes with the movie, along with new artwork, a mini poster, a booklet with an essay and images of the film, and a collectible Topps trading card pack of the characters. It's difficult to justify a double dip if you already own the previous release, but if you want the Digital Copy, the collectible trading cards, or just plain don't have this in your collection yet, this version comes Highly Recommended!

In addition, I had the pleasure to sit down with the director David Mickey Evans and actor Patrick Renna (Hamilton Porter) for an interview to discuss The Sandlot. Enjoy. 

[review_movie] =>

It's hard to believe that it's been twenty-five years since I went to the local theater with my little-league team to see The Sandlot, which was a movie about our lives at the time. It was so long ago that stadium seating in theaters wasn't the norm yet. Being part of a group of friends who lived in the same neighborhood, went to school together, and played baseball a few times a week, was life for me and a lot of us growing up. I'm just so happy that a movie was made about it that we all connected to. It's not just a movie for kids, but adults as well, because it brings out our inner kid every time we watch it, which makes The Sandlot a timeless cinematic experience, even more than two decades later.

Filmmaker David Mickey Evans perfectly tells the story of a group of kids who all play baseball one summer and get themselves into the biggest "pickle" of their lives at the time. It's one full of nostalgic moments, coming-of-age scenes, and a lot of fun and baseball. Evans actually wrote the film Radio Flyer and was slated to direct it, but the movie went to Richard Donner instead. Still, Evans' film was inspired by his own life, which is quite tragic when you think about what Radio Flyer is about.

In The Sandlot, I think Evans put a lot of himself into the movie, which is about the new kid who moves to town with his newly married mom and isn't quite accepted immediately. Through some tall tales and baseball, he makes friends with the other kids, and they all discover life's most precious moments, such as the first kiss, overnights in the treehouse, and loyalty to friends.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Sandlot, the story follows a young kid named Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) who moves to a new neighborhood and doesn't have an ounce of sports ability in him. He's what we'd call the indoor kid. Not making friends easily, another kid in the neighborhood named Benny (Mike Vitar) takes him under his wing and teaches him baseball. After Smalls makes friends with the other boys, he takes his step-father's baseball from the living room mantle and brings it to play with the others during a hot summer day. Smalls ends up hitting a home-run, but the ball goes into a mean neighbor's yard with a killer dog. Turns out, that ball was signed by Babe Ruth, and Smalls and his new friends try and devise elaborate plans to get it back.

Throughout this entire debacle, the boys still manage to have fun on the Fourth of July and even partake in their first drug experience at a local carnival. The movie is so genuine and funny that you can't help but relate to each kid in some form or fashion. With an excellent soundtrack and great performances, it's no wonder that The Sandlot is still one of the best movies of all time.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

The 25th Anniversary of The Sandlot comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc of the film and an insert for a Digital Copy. There is also a collectible Topps trading card pack of the characters in the film, a mini folded poster, and a booklet with an essay and images included. The box features new artwork as well. The items are housed in an eco-friendly, hard blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.

[review_video_picture_id] => 82348 [review_video] =>

This 25th Anniversary of The Sandlot comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This is in fact the same transfer from the 20th Anniversary edition, which is still quite good. From previous VHS and DVD releases of the movie, this Blu-ray is leaps and bounds better, visually speaking. Colors are strikingly bold and rich with the early 1960s color scheme showcasing their bright primary colors in costumes. The green grass is luscious and the brown dirt looks fantastic. The many pastel colors of the houses in the neighborhood and the deep primaries are beautiful in each scene.

Detail is sharp and vivid as well with facial features showing up nicely, including freckles, beads of sweat, and individual hairs. Even the fine stitching and textures in the baseballs can be easily seen here. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are natural too. There is a certain scene where Babe Ruth appears in a dream, which can be heavy on grain, but it's a stylistic choice. There are no major instances with any banding or video noise, allowing this video presentation to earn great marks.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 82349 [review_audio] =>

This disc also comes with the same audio presentation as the previous release, which is a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that sounds great. The sound effects are robust with good directionality in each scene. Sounds of bats hitting baseballs, sliding in the dirt, and erector set clanks are all impressive. The bigger scenes, such as the pool scene or when the kids are at the local carnival, and even the night game with fireworks, provide the best overall surround experience from the rear speakers.

Other ambient noises of kids talking and yelling, along with "the beast" growling all sound fluid and smooth. The fantastic soundtrack always adds to the entertainment and nostalgic mood of the 1960s as well. The dialogue is always clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills.

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There are no new extras here unfortunately, but instead the same supplements from the previous release are ported over.

Featurette (SD, 5 Mins.) - A vintage promo reel for the film that is mostly just clips from the movie with some small interviews from the cast and crew. Nothing much to see here.

Trailers (HD, 6 Mins.) - A mix of TV spots and trailers are included here.

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This 25th anniversary edition of The Sandlot is more or less the exact same disc as the one that came out five years prior for its 20th anniversary. While the film, video, and audio presentations are still very good, there are no new extras to be had here. The only thing that is new this time around is the artwork along with a couple of inserts that come with the disc, including a mini poster, a booklet with an essay and images, and a Topps collectible card pack consisting of characters from the film. There is also a Digital Copy of the movie included too. If you already own the last release, it's hard to justify purchasing this again, unless you want the Digital Copy, since there isn't really anything new otherwise. But, if you still don't have the movie in your collection, this edition comes Highly Recommended!

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Joshua Jackson and Paul Walker star in the suspense thriller, The Skulls. Deep within the hallowed walls of Ivy League's most prominent campus, there exists a secret society where power and influence are bred. Only a few are chosen to join the group where Presidents are groomed, wealthy bloodlines bond and devious plots are hatched. For Luke McNamara (Jackson), an invitation to join the prestigious secret college organization, The Skulls, is a dream come true. However, when a fellow pledge (Walker) gets caught up in murder, Luke finds himself alone amidst the sinister and well-connected brotherhood and now he must summon the strength to stand up against immeasurable odds.

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Terrorists take over a plutonium bomb and threaten to detonate it in a Saudi Arabian oil field. A special anti-terrorist unit is sent in to stop them. Original soundtrack by Tangerine Dream (Micheal Mann's Thief).

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With THE THOUSAND FACES OF DUNJIA, legendary director Yuen Wo Ping and writer/producer Tsui Hark breathe new life into the wuxia genre, weaving together fantasy, humor, and breathtaking martial arts action. Dao, a naïve young constable, discovers a secret society with supernatural abilities that has protected mankind for centuries. As he s drawn into a power struggle within their ranks, they learn that an ancient creature with the power to destroy the world is rising - and it will take all of their powers combined to stop it.

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Doris Day and James Garner star in The Thrill of It All!, a breezy comedy about what happens when your 15 minutes of fame finally arrives and turns your life upside down. Dr. Gerald Boyer (Garner) and his lovely wife Beverly (Day) are living the American dream. After Beverly is suddenly selected as the national advertising spokeswoman for Happy Soap, their suburban bliss turns to media-driven frenzy. As Beverly s career begins to skyrocket, her neglected husband is increasingly put out by the fact that when his family does get to see her, it s on TV! Directed by Norman Jewison, The Thrill of it All! is a brilliantly polished comedy jewel highlighted by a screenplay from comedy legend Carl Reiner.

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Starring Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney, The Wedding Date is a hilarious romantic comedy about the surprising road to finding true love. Kat Ellis (Messing) is determined to attend her younger sister's wedding with a date. Rather than face the ridicule of her family and in order to show up her ex-fiancé, she resorts to the Yellow Pages to find a last-minute escort, Nick (Mulroney). His dashing good looks and quick-witted charm may win over her family but will they win over Kat? Filled with unexpected twists and endless laughs, The Wedding Date is the one date that you'll want to keep!

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In Tomorrow's Joe: The Movie, Joe Yabuki is a troubled youth, whose only solution to problems is throwing punches at them. What he lacks in manners and discipline, he makes up for with his self-taught fighting skills. One day, while wandering the slums of Doya, Joe gets into a fight with the local gang. Although greatly outnumbered, he effortlessly defeats them, drawing the attention of Danpei Tange—a former boxing coach turned alcoholic. Seeing his potential, he offers to train Joe into Japan's greatest boxer. At first, Joe dismisses Danpei as a hopeless drunk; but after the trainer saves his life, he agrees to live with him and learn the art of boxing. Unfortunately, Joe's personality makes him an unruly student, and he often falls back to his old ways. To survive the harsh world of his new career, Joe needs to trust his mentor and master the techniques taught to him. However, the road to becoming a professional boxer is rife with struggles that will test his mettle to the end.

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Based on the best-selling Toriko franchise. In a world where the most delicious ingredients come from dangerous lands and deadly beasts, only the strongest and bravest can be true gourmands. Toriko is a Gourmet Hunter, a mighty warrior with Gourmet Cells. These can be implanted into humans, and those who successfully integrate them see rapid enhancement of their particular traits, allowing them to gain superhuman abilities. Together with his chef partner Komatsu, he seeks out the world's most delicious foods! Their latest mission is to investigate a mysterious biotope said to house a special recipe left there by the world's most legendary hunter, Acacia. But a mysterious and deadly hunter named Girim interrupts, declaring that he will find Acacia's legacy and keep it for himself! When his power proves too overwhelming even for Toriko, allies and enemies alike must work together, to stop Girim before it's too late! The action-packed movie based on the best-selling Toriko franchise bring more of the thrills, humor, and friendship that the series is known for, along with stunning animation and battle sequences on a cinema scale. Grab a knife, a fork, and your Blu-ray player and dig in with Toriko: The Movie!

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Before directing the legendary PENITENTIARY trilogy, Jamaa Fanaka helmed these two offbeat genre films, which helped catapult him to recognition as one of the most important black filmmakers working in 70s independent cinema.

In Fanaka's debut feature, WELCOME HOME BROTHER CHARLES, a young black man is sent to prison, after being brutalized by a corrupt racist cop. Upon release, he takes deadly revenge against the cops, lawyers, and thugs who got him busted, using a most unusual weapon... As much a parody of exploitation films as it is a proud piece of genre cinema, BROTHER CHARLES combines horror and blaxploitation tropes with stirring social subtext resulting in a drive-in movie unlike any other.

Fanaka's second feature, EMMA MAE, tells the story of a naive young woman who moves from the Deep South to Watts. Initially finding herself at odds with her surroundings, Emma eventually gains acceptance from a local drug addict and dealer. But when he's arrested and jailed, she plans a daring bank robbery to bail him out... Featuring a cast of mostly non-professionals and shot entirely on location in Watts, this uniquely subversive action film is an insider's view of black, working-class LA neighborhoods.

Vinegar Syndrome brings these two landmark films to Blu-ray, newly restored from their original camera negatives.

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With this film, the audacious Ken Russell vaulted onto the international stage, drawing on the psychosexual radicalism of D. H. Lawrence’s classic novel to shatter taboos in his own time. Set in an English mining community on the crest of modernity, Women in Love traces the shifting currents of desire that link the emancipated Brangwen sisters (Jennie Linden and an Oscar-winning Glenda Jackson) to a freethinking dreamer (Alan Bates) and a hard-willed industrialist (Oliver Reed)—as well as the men’s own erotically charged friendship. Coupling earthy sensuality with kaleidoscopically stylized images, Russell pursues this quartet to the heights of agony and ecstasy, crafting a breathtaking drama of human sexuality at its most liberating, dominating, and destructive extremes.

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In the future, human civilization has been destroyed. Paradox travels back in time to prevent the destruction of his timeline from occurring by eliminating the source of that destruction: Duel Monsters and its creator, Maximillion Pegasus.

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Led Zeppelin continue their reissue campaign with a new edition of their celebrated live album How The West Was Won, originally released in 2003, featuring newly remastered audio, which was done under the supervision of Jimmy Page. HOW THE WEST WAS WON highlights the best performances from Led Zeppelin’s legendary concerts at the Los Angeles Forum and Long Beach Arena on June 25 and 27, 1972. First ever Blu-ray Audio edition (containing hi-res 5.1 surround sound).

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The Moody Blues classic 1967 album Days Of Future Passed is regarded as one of the foundation stones of the progressive rock genre. In 2017, the band headed out on the album's 50th Anniversary Tour including the wonderful show captured at the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts in Toronto accompanied by a full orchestra. The concert begins with the band by themselves performing a selection of classic Moody Blues tracks before they are joined by the orchestra to perform Days Of Future Passed in its entirety plus a couple of fantastic encore tracks. This is without doubt the definitive live version of this much loved album and will be treasured by fans of The Moody Blues for years to come.

Line-up
The Moody Blues: Justin Hayward (guitar, vocals); John Lodge (bass, vocals); Graeme Edge (drums, percussion)
With: Norda Mullen (flute, guitar, percussion, vocals); Julie Ragins (keyboards, percussion, guitar, saxophone, vocals); Alan Hewitt (keyboards, vocals); Billy Ashbaugh (drums, percussion)
And: Elliot Davis (musical director, conductor and co-arranger)

Blu-ray Track Listing
Part One The Moody Blues In Concert
1. I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)
2. The Voice
3. Steppin' In A Slide Zone
4. Say It With Love 
5. Nervous
6. Your Wildest Dreams
7. Isn't Life Strange 
8. I Know You're Out There Somewhere 
9. The Story In Your Eyes
Part Two Days Of Future Passed Live
10. The Day Begins
11. Morning Glory
12. Dawn (Prelude) 
13. Dawn Is A Feeling
14. The Morning (Prelude)
15. Another Morning
16. Lunch Break (Prelude)
17. Peak Hour
18. Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)
19. Evening (Time To Get Away)
20. The Sun Set (Prelude)
21. The Sun Set
22. Twilight (Prelude)
23. Twilight Time
24. Late Lament
25. Nights In White Satin
26. The Night (Finale)
Encore
27. Question
28. Ride My See-Saw

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) ) [reviews_hot] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [review_id] => 55920 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => lagunsliveinmilan [review_release_date] => 1521788400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => L.A. Guns: Made in Milan [picture_created] => 1516756206 [picture_name] => L.A_._Guns_Live_In_Milan_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review_.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Frontier Records [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/01/23/120/L.A_._Guns_Live_In_Milan_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review_.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55920/lagunsliveinmilan.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 60 [list_price] => 19.98 [asin] => B078XX3SJL [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Concert ) [review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [1] => Array ( [review_id] => 56777 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => ledzeppelinhowthewestwaswon50thanniversary [review_release_date] => 1521788400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Led Zeppelin: How the West Was Won - 50th Anniversary [picture_created] => 1521174781 [picture_name] => Led_Zeppelin_How_the_West_Was_Won.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Warner Music [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/15/120/Led_Zeppelin_How_the_West_Was_Won.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/56777/ledzeppelinhowthewestwaswon50thanniversary.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2003 [run_time] => 150 [list_price] => 24.98 [asin] => B0796DDBZ1 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Music, Concert ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Led Zepplin ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Led Zeppelin continue their reissue campaign with a new edition of their celebrated live album How The West Was Won, originally released in 2003, featuring newly remastered audio, which was done under the supervision of Jimmy Page. HOW THE WEST WAS WON highlights the best performances from Led Zeppelin’s legendary concerts at the Los Angeles Forum and Long Beach Arena on June 25 and 27, 1972. First ever Blu-ray Audio edition (containing hi-res 5.1 surround sound).

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [2] => Array ( [review_id] => 56255 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => made-in-milan [review_release_date] => 1521788400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Made in Milan [picture_created] => [picture_name] => [manufacturer_name] => Red Distribution [picture_source] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/pop-on-amazon.png [picture_source_195] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_235] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_300] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_660] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_alternate] => Box coming soon [picture_title] => Box coming soon [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/56255/made-in-milan.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2018 [list_price] => 20.98 [asin] => B079FNPV3G [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [3] => Array ( [review_id] => 56031 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => themoodybluesdaysoffuturepassed [review_release_date] => 1521788400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => The Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed [picture_created] => 1516983547 [picture_name] => The_Moody_Blues-_Days_of_Future_Passed_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Eagle Rock Entertainment [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/01/26/120/The_Moody_Blues-_Days_of_Future_Passed_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/56031/themoodybluesdaysoffuturepassed.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 135 [list_price] => 19.98 [asin] => B0794MC5HZ [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Concert ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => The Moody Blues ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => David Barnard ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

The Moody Blues classic 1967 album Days Of Future Passed is regarded as one of the foundation stones of the progressive rock genre. In 2017, the band headed out on the album's 50th Anniversary Tour including the wonderful show captured at the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts in Toronto accompanied by a full orchestra. The concert begins with the band by themselves performing a selection of classic Moody Blues tracks before they are joined by the orchestra to perform Days Of Future Passed in its entirety plus a couple of fantastic encore tracks. This is without doubt the definitive live version of this much loved album and will be treasured by fans of The Moody Blues for years to come.

Line-up
The Moody Blues: Justin Hayward (guitar, vocals); John Lodge (bass, vocals); Graeme Edge (drums, percussion)
With: Norda Mullen (flute, guitar, percussion, vocals); Julie Ragins (keyboards, percussion, guitar, saxophone, vocals); Alan Hewitt (keyboards, vocals); Billy Ashbaugh (drums, percussion)
And: Elliot Davis (musical director, conductor and co-arranger)

Blu-ray Track Listing
Part One The Moody Blues In Concert
1. I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)
2. The Voice
3. Steppin' In A Slide Zone
4. Say It With Love 
5. Nervous
6. Your Wildest Dreams
7. Isn't Life Strange 
8. I Know You're Out There Somewhere 
9. The Story In Your Eyes
Part Two Days Of Future Passed Live
10. The Day Begins
11. Morning Glory
12. Dawn (Prelude) 
13. Dawn Is A Feeling
14. The Morning (Prelude)
15. Another Morning
16. Lunch Break (Prelude)
17. Peak Hour
18. Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)
19. Evening (Time To Get Away)
20. The Sun Set (Prelude)
21. The Sun Set
22. Twilight (Prelude)
23. Twilight Time
24. Late Lament
25. Nights In White Satin
26. The Night (Finale)
Encore
27. Question
28. Ride My See-Saw

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) ) ) [March 20, 2018] => Array ( [reviews] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [review_id] => 55662 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => alteredhours [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Altered Hours [picture_created] => [picture_name] => [manufacturer_name] => Gravitas Ventures [picture_source] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/pop-on-amazon.png [picture_source_195] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_235] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_300] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_660] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_alternate] => Box coming soon [picture_title] => Box coming soon [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55662/alteredhours.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2018 [run_time] => 101 [list_price] => 19.99 [asin] => B078Y2T7KY [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Ryan Munzert ) [review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [1] => Array ( [review_id] => 55661 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => asfarastheeyecansee [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => As Far as the Eye Can See [picture_created] => [picture_name] => [manufacturer_name] => Gravitas Ventures [picture_source] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/pop-on-amazon.png [picture_source_195] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_235] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_300] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_660] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_alternate] => Box coming soon [picture_title] => Box coming soon [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55661/asfarastheeyecansee.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2018 [run_time] => 88 [list_price] => 19.99 [asin] => B078XX7DWK [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Jason London ) [review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [2] => Array ( [review_id] => 54645 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => baal [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Baal [picture_created] => 1513628984 [picture_name] => baal.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Criterion [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/12/18/120/baal.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/54645/baal.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1970 [run_time] => 84 [list_price] => 39.95 [asin] => B07895ZWVW [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.37:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => German LPCM Mono ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Interviews from 1973 and 2015 with Schlöndorff [1] => New conversation between actor Ethan Hawke and playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman about the play and adaptation [2] => New interview with actor and filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta [3] => New interview with film historian Eric Rentschler [4] => PLUS: An essay by critic Dennis Lim ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Sigi Graue, Margarethe von Trotta ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Volker Schlöndorff ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Volker Schlöndorff transported Bertolt Brecht’s 1918 debut play to contemporary West Germany for this vicious experiment in adaptation, seldom seen for nearly half a century. Oozing with brutish charisma, Rainer Werner Fassbinder embodies the eponymous anarchist poet, who feels himself cast out from bourgeois society and sets off on a schnapps-soaked rampage. Hewing faithfully to Brecht’s text, Schlöndorff juxtaposes the theatricality of the prose with bare-bones, handheld 16 mm camera work, which gives immediacy to this savage story of rebellion. Featuring a supporting cast of Fassbinder’s troupe of theater actors as well as Margarethe von Trotta, Baal demonstrates the uncompromising nature of Schlöndorff’s vision and forged a path for New German Cinema.

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Jade, 20 years old, hangs with a vampy schadenfreude and is met with startling intimacy and a tragic discovery in which she’ll have to do the only thing she’s been afraid of: grow up.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [4] => Array ( [review_id] => 54940 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => chaoschildcompleteseries [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Chaos Child: The Complete Series [picture_created] => 1520444919 [picture_name] => Chaos_Child.jpg [manufacturer_name] => FUNimation Entertainment [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/07/120/Chaos_Child.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/54940/chaoschildcompleteseries.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 300 [list_price] => 64.98 [asin] => B0788WXTQG [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Anime ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

A new psycho-suspense story unfolds from the creators of Steins;Gate and Chaos;HEAd.

Six years after surviving a deadly earthquake, Takuru Miyashiro leads his high school newspaper club in a murder investigation. A string of bizarre deaths is forming a hauntingly familiar pattern, much like an incident that plagued the city years ago. Before long, he and his friends land squarely in the killer’s crosshairs. But given the nature of the victims’ deaths, is the person they’re tracking a total psycho or a psychic? Innocent lives are taken one by one as Takuru and his crew uncover horrific secrets about the world and themselves.

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Chihaya's determination to become a master karuta player hasn't changed, but as a new semester begins, the team's focus switches to recruiting new members for the club in order to keep their meeting space. Unfortunately, while a number of students initially express interest, few are willing to put forth the effort it takes to play on the level of the existing members. Enter Sumire Hanano, who split with her boyfriend on the first day of school. Now seeking a replacement, she thinks that Taichi might just fill the role nicely… even if it means jumping into a pool with a shark like Chihaya! Now all the cards are on the table… or, in this case, the floor… and the games are really about to start in CHIHAYAFURU season 2!

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Chihaya's determination to become a master karuta player hasn't changed, but as a new semester begins, the team's focus switches to recruiting new members for the club in order to keep their meeting space. Unfortunately, while a number of students initially express interest, few are willing to put forth the effort it takes to play on the level of the existing members. Enter Sumire Hanano, who split with her boyfriend on the first day of school. Now seeking a replacement, she thinks that Taichi might just fill the role nicely… even if it means jumping into a pool with a shark like Chihaya! Now all the cards are on the table… or, in this case, the floor… and the games are really about to start in CHIHAYAFURU season 2!

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Often overlooked, Hou Hsiao-hsien's Daughter of the Nile (Ni luo he nu er), a fascinating attempt to portray the anomie felt by Taiwanese youth of the mid-1980s (based in part on incidents in the life of screenwriter Chu T'ien-wen), came between the period pieces that established the director on his home ground and around the world. Even Hou himself has been hard on the film and its main actress, pop star Yang Lin, in the role of a teenager trying to make a living, care for her volatile older brother (Jack Kao), find love, and define herself all at once. Nevertheless, Daughter of the Nile is a rich experience from a formidable filmmaker. 

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Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) stars Marilyn Monroe in an early dramatic role, eerily playing a demented baby sitter drawn to a man (Richard Widmark) she ultimately becomes convinced is her dead lover. Anne Bancroft is also on hand, making her screen début as Widmark’s chanteuse girlfriend, hoping against hope that he’ll prove himself worthy. Shot, handsomely, by the great Lucien Ballard (The Wild Bunch).

Read our review of this disc in the site blog.

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When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to over-population, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.

[review_introduction] =>

Alexander Payne's Downsizing proves that a clever and witty social satire can only go so far if it doesn't have anything to say. What could have been a silly and fun social satire about the current state of the world and economic discrepancy, the film loses itself on an overly long journey of self-discovery for star Matt Damon and has little of anything to say. While the project is ambitious and the cast is wonderful, the satire didn't wear its dentures. While the film may not be as great as it potentially could have been, Paramount brings Downsizing to Blu-ray in fine order. The picture quality brings a lot of pop and presence to the intricate world design and the audio matches the needs of the film perfectly. Bonus features are a bit on the slim side but there's some good stuff to be seen. If you're curious, the film itself is at the very least Worth A Look

[review_movie] =>

"$83! Are you crazy? Why that's practically our food budget for two whole months!"

It's a tough day when you really, really want to like a movie but just don't. Alexander Payne is usually an on the ball solid filmmaker who can churn out heartfelt human drama with a delightfully dark humor punch. Downsizing starring Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig, and a host of other cameo appearances stretches itself with its comedic near-future science fiction shenanigans. It starts out strong but forgets to bring the bite to the humor and loses its sense of direction as the film slowly rolls to the finish. 

The world is about to change in a big way. Well, a small way actually. Esteemed Norwegian scientist Dr. Asbjornsen has discovered the way to solve the world's looming overpopulation and environmental catastrophes. By shrinking people down to about five inches, man's impact on the environment will be greatly reduced - not to mention the economic benefits that arise for those who undergo the procedure. For Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig), living a smaller life could lead to big things. As they struggle to make ends meet and climb the economic ladder, the chance to have their income scale upwards of 1000% by shrinking down in physical size all the while helping the planet is too good an opportunity to pass up. Almost. When Audrey backs out of the procedure leaving Paul standing a hair below five inches tall, Paul will have to navigate his situation and discover his place in this new tiny-big world.

Downsizing

In all due credit to the cast, director Alexander Payne and his co-writer Jim Taylor, the first 40 minutes of Downsizing is terrific. It sets up an absurd near-future science fiction neo-dystopian premise, introduces the cast and establishes their motivations. We get to know Matt Damon's Paul who is just trying to do the right thing at all times by everyone but often sacrifices his own needs in the care of others. The film tools along as a silly but relatable satire of modern economic times and how people are getting rich off of selling the idea of the "good life" through timeshare properties and other first world problems. Once that 45-minute mark hits and Matt Damon moves into his very own gigantic personal mini-mansion, the pace of the film just grinds to a halt. Where that first 45 minute was a breeze, the final hour and a half is a real slog.

Part of the problem with the film is that it frequently jumps ship on its ideas. Just when you think the film is going to delve deeper into an intriguing topic or idea, it jumps onto something else without really saying anything beyond mere talking points. When Paul goes from being an occupational therapist in the big world to a Lands' End telephone operator, I was hoping they'd dig into wealth discrepancies now that small people have taken jobs from big people, or something like that, but nothing really comes of it. 

Downsizing

When Paul meets up with Christoph Waltz's black market smuggler Dusan Mirkovic and his partner Konrad played by Udo Kier, I thought that was going to go somewhere how even in a new smaller world there is still a criminal element, but that gets dropped. Then Paul meets the Vietnamese revolutionary-turned-cleaning lady Ngoc Lan Tran played by Hong Chau, I thought for sure the film would have something to say about the value of helping others and understanding how the people that clean our houses or care for our lawns live - but even that plotline gets dropped. It all becomes frustrating as the film just doesn't know how to settle down and live in the world that it's created. 

Throughout it all, I couldn't help and wonder at what Downsizing could have been if it had been directed by Terry Gilliam twenty-five years ago. Or, if it had been overseen by someone like Charlie Kaufman. Downsizing feels like a movie better suited for those filmmakers and their natural idiosyncratic storytelling natures. I feel like Kaufman would have found the bite while Gilliam would have nailed the visual absurdity of the premise. I still have a great love for Alexander Payne and his humanist touches he brings to relatable characters, but here, the material stays just out of reach. I suppose it's one I would say is worth watching, but at the same time, I can't shake the very real sense that this was a missed opportunity. For this review, I effectively watched the film twice and I just kept hoping it would get better the second time I watched it, thinking I might have missed something. Unfortunately, I didn't miss anything. It's a well-shot, well-acted film with a clever story that doesn't have any teeth to the satire and loses any weight it was attempting to carry. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Downsizing arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Paramount Pictures in a two-disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital set. Pressed onto a a Region A BD-50 disc and housed in a standard two-disc case with identical slipcover artwork, the disc loads to trailers for other Paramount releases before arriving at an animated main menu with traditional navigation options. 

[review_video_picture_id] => 82132 [review_video] =>

Downsizing makes for a pleasing 1080p 2.39:1 presentation that's big on details and bold on colors. As the film explores the artifice of wealth and the "good life" there is a lot to see and soak in with every frame. Some of the image is limited due to the obvious green screen trickery that tends to render backgrounds as blurry indistinguishable nothings when looking at the HO scale people and their surroundings in relation to normal-sized folk, but that's a cooked in issue. When it gets to exploring the small world, everything is on display and finer details of facial features and clothing come through with terrific clarity. Colors are bright and vibrant, primaries get plenty of daylight to shine. The green grass of Leisureland, the blue of Paul's numerous work-friendly T-shirts, the bright yellow Full-Size rose - all come through with a rich colorful presence. Black levels and contrast are spot-on. Whites are particularly grand as everything in the small world is overly bright making it look all the more fake and artificial like a bunch of people living in state-of-the-art dollhouses. Blacks are well balanced giving the image a nice sense of depth. Again it's where obvious green screens were used where the image has a tendency to flatten, but that's not a fault of the transfer. 

[review_audio_picture_id] => 82136 [review_audio] =>

Downsizing boasts an effective and lively DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout, even when big people are talking to little people and their teeny tiny voices become a little higher pitched and harder to hear. This is an area where you can tip your hat to the mix because you never have to adjust the volume to compensate. Sound effects aren't of the dramatic action-heavy sort, but they're enough to help build a sense of a world and active enough to keep the surrounds moving. The best sequences are the ones that feature the most amount of people in a single location. The Leisureland presentation, the sales floor, and then at the big party sequence where Paul is on drugs and starts really feeling the music punches the activity and the pulses give a nice LFE presence. For much of the film, things keep to the Front/Center channels letting the sides handle atmospherics while the score by Rolfe Kent layers in nicely to keep the sense of mood in play. All around a clean clear mix with terrific levels. 

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 82134 [review_supplements] =>

Considering all of the creative world-building efforts and some of the many visual jokes of the film, I was kinda let down by this rather anemic assortment of EPK-friendly bonus features. Some of the material is worthwhile, but much of it is merely the talking head, stock question and answer nonsense. 

Working With Alexander (HD 12:22) This is a love piece about how the cast and crew enjoy working with Payne.

A Visual Journey (HD 14:02) This is perhaps the meatiest bonus feature as it's a quick but good look at the film's impressive production design.

The Cast (HD 11:30) This is another puff piece but focuses on the impressive cast and what they bring to the show. 

A Matter of Perspective (HD 9:06) Like the production design segment, this is a very quick but good look at the film's visual effects.

That Smile (HD 6:27) "Who doesn't love Matt Damon?" Basically, that's what this feature is all about.

A Global Concern (HD 6:39) I swiftly pandering look at the environmental issues the film attempts to raise.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 82141 [review_bottom_line] => 3 [review_final_thoughts] =>

If you're like me and saw the trailer to Downsizing you were probably excited to see a pseudo-science fiction dark comedy from Alexander Payne. Unfortunately, the final film simply doesn't measure up to its high concept. There are a lot of great big ideas throughout the film that are interesting, thought-provoking and would serve as the perfect bedrock for any dark satire. Unfortunately, there are too many ideas to fully explore in an already overlong film. It has its charms, and I did enjoy chunks of the film, but it never cooks into a satisfying finished cinematic meal. Paramount Pictures brings Downsizing to Blu-ray in fine order with a strong A/V presentation and a few slim bonus features. If you're curious, it's certainly worth watching but keep your expectations in check before entering. Worth A Look

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Fighting for the chance to confront God is hard enough, but high school student and genius mechanic Tazuna has it tougher than most. When he happens to hold hands with a girl in a lab, the two form the contract of Hand Shakers—couples who must fight in otherworldly battles to have a wish granted by God. There’s just one catch: Tazuna’s partner, Koyori, will die if she lets go of his hand. With every challenge they face in the alternate dimension known as the Ziggurat, the two grow stronger. Little do they know that a secret from Koyori’s past might just be their undoing.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [12] => Array ( [review_id] => 52142 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => highwaydragnet [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Highway Dragnet [picture_created] => 1520445759 [picture_name] => Highway_Dragnet.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Kino Lorber [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/07/120/Highway_Dragnet.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/52142/highwaydragnet.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1954 [run_time] => 70 [list_price] => 24.95 [asin] => B0791T7ZHG [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action, Classic ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Richard Conte, Joan Bennett, Wanda Hendrix, Reed Hadley, Mary Beth Hughes, Iris Adrian ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Nathan Juran ) [review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [13] => Array ( [review_id] => 54626 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => ichikiller2 [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Ichi the Killer: Definitive Remastered Edition [picture_created] => 1516459076 [picture_name] => Ichi.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Well Go USA [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/01/20/120/Ichi.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/54626/ichikiller2.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2001 [run_time] => 129 [list_price] => 29.98 [asin] => B0788WXTJX [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.78.1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Audio Commentary with Director Takashi Miike & Manga Artist/Writer Hideo Yamamoto [1] => Still Gallery [2] => Original Trailer ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Crime [1] => Drama ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Shinya Tsukamoto [1] => Nao Omori [2] => Tadanobu Asano ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Takashi Miike ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Takashi Miike's cult film has endured as one of the most influential pieces of genre filmmaking of the last two decades, and now it returns in a stunning all-new 4k restoration approved by Miike himself. This visceral, bloody, and often hilarious film follows Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano), a notoriously sadistic yakuza enforcer whose search for his boss' killer brings him into the orbit of a demented costumed assassin known as Ichi (Nao Ohmori).

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TBA

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TBA

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When you ask people to list the best directors working today, you might see Christopher Nolan's name, or David Fincher's. Some of the more sentimental might choose Spielberg, or for those who like their cinema left of center, the Coen Brothers. You might hear old standbys like Scorsese or Malick, but I'm guessing you'll rarely hear the name Takashi Miike. If you ask me, however, Miike is close to if not the top director working today. First off, the man is a workhorse, making an average of six films a year. Woody Allen, at one film a year, is considered prolific. Granted, not every Miike film is stellar (or even good), but for someone who works almost non-stop, he has an exceptional hit to miss ratio. Secondly, his ability to meld style and content is virtually unmatched by anyone working today. Most directors cultivate a certain style. Miike changes styles at the drop of a hat, adapting to the needs of the story.

Take 'Ichi The Killer'. Based on Hideo Yamamoto's manga, 'Ichi The Killer' stars Nao Omori as the title character, a semi-simpleton who has been brainwashed by the mysterious Jijii ('Tetsuo: The Iron Man' director Shinya Tsukamoto). Jijii manipulates Ichi to kill a yakuza crime boss, Anjo. Anjo's sadomasochistic underling, Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano in a bravura performance), is certain that foul play was involved, and Jijii uses these suspicions to try and start a gang war. Of course, very little goes as planned, and the whole thing devolves into a chaotic, sexually charged bloodbath, with Kakihara on one end and Ichi on the other.

'Ichi The Killer' is difficult to summarize in a paragraph. It's a complex and often obtuse film. The plot is intricate and Miike doesn't take great pains to spell it out for you. However, most viewers won't even notice the plot the first time around, because the film is littered with some of the most graphic ultraviolence this side of 'A Clockwork Orange'. Note that I don't say gratuitous ultraviolence, as these sequences, including Kakihara slicing off the tip of his own tongue, a man ripping someone's arm off with his bare hands, a woman being brutally beaten and raped, and many others, are central to the film's theme of sadomasochism.

Kakihara, with trademark slits in his cheeks, is a sadomasochist, capable of doling out unbelievable pain to others, but unable to find someone to really hurt him to the depths that he desires. On more than one occasion characters note that the reason Kakihara cares so much about Anjo's disappearance was because Anjo was the only one who could hurt him to any satisfying degree. Kakihara's quest to find his former boss transforms as he sees the evidence of Ichi's brutal handiwork, and by the end Kakihara only wishes to face Ichi to experience the unparalleled pain that Ichi alone can provide.

Ichi is even more fascinating. A frustrated sadist, he normally appears meek and easily abashed. The film opens with him hiding on a balcony, spying on a pimp beating on one of his whores. Ichi masturbates into the bushes before being scared off (the film's title arises from his discarded spunk). Later, Ichi screws up the courage to confront the pimp and kills him, reassuring the prostitute that she doesn't have to worry, because now Ichi will be the one to beat her up. So while the ultraviolence is shocking, it's there to illustrate the themes.

It's also worth nothing that 'Ichi' is based on a manga, and is not grounded in a heavily realistic world. Characterizations and effects are meant to be exaggerated, as is the film's style. And oh, what style there is. Miike, the most anarchic filmmaker since Luis Bunuel, leaves no stylistic stone unturned. Take the opening, a frenetic montage of sped-up and slow motion shots, all set to the hypnotic score by Japan's greatest musical maniacs, The Boredoms. It sets the tone for the whole film, which utilizes all sorts of tricks, from fish-eye lens to switching stocks (and video), and much more besides.

It's not just that the style is cool unto itself, but Miike uses it to enhance the themes explored throughout the film. Sadomasochism is just one element. The film explores the line between truth and illusion, between what is perceived and what is real (and whether the difference matters), the role of violence and sex in modern Japanese society, and even more. The film is an onion whose layers can only be peeled back with repeated viewings. It's too dizzying and the rabbit hole goes too deep to take it all the first (or second, or even third) time through. It's a masterpiece of modern filmmaking that deserves far more than its reputation for being shocking.

[review_video_picture_id] => 33615 [review_video] =>

I originally saw 'Ichi The Killer' on film at a festival screening. I promise you, it looked nothing like Tokyo Shock's 1.78:1 AVC transfer, which only achieves rates up to 15 Mbps, and sometimes as low as 11. You'll immediately notice the washed out colors and poor black levels that make the film look like it was all shot on video or the cheapest possible stock. I wouldn't blame you if you confused this for a DVD release, as the incessant noise (not film grain) and lack of detail would fool just about anyone.

The contrast doesn't fair any better, with elements getting lost in many of the darker scenes. This is a film that has many scenes at night and in poorly lit rooms or nightclubs, so this happens often. In some scenes, even the character's faces begin to blend in with the background. Despite these issues, color reproduction appeared correct (although the aforementioned problems with contrast and the overall washed out look diminish the vividness of the image), and I noticed no obvious macroblocking or posterization.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 33616 [review_audio] =>

'Ichi The Killer' sports two Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks (the box incorrectly lists the 2.0 tracks as TrueHD, but those are in standard Dolby Digital), one in English and the other in the native Japanese. However, I would contend that there's nothing 5.1 about either track, as the rears are never used and the bass is practically non-existent. The only difference I could discern between the lossless and lossy tracks was some small amount of channel separation that gave the 5.1 slightly more depth.

All four tracks feature muffled dialogue and poor delineation of audio effects, and in a film like this, the audio effects are half the fun. While I didn't notice distortion, in terms of dynamic range there's nothing dynamic about this mix. The Boredoms' brilliant and gorgeous score doesn't get its due. Much like the image, which appears flat and uninspired, the audio does no justice to the great sound mix I heard when I saw the film in 35mm.

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Tokyo Shock's release of 'Ichi The Killer' duplicates the supplements that have been found on previous DVD releases, but adds nothing new specifically for high def.

  • Commentary: The commentary with director Takashi Miike and original creator Hideo Yamamoto is ported over from the first US release in 2003. It's entirely in Japanese and presented with English subtitles. The track finds Miike in a jovial mode, cracking jokes with Yamamoto and declaring that kids should see the film in secret. It's a good mix of production details and personal recollections.
  • "Memories of 'Ichi'" (SD, 49 min): An almost hour length collection of behind the scenes and on-set footage interspersed with interviews with the cast and crew. The documentary has a fly on the wall feel, capturing important moments throughout the finished film as they were blocked, rehearsed, and shot. It gives a fascinating look into Miike's methods and the creation of such an outlandish film.
  • Interviews (SD, 41 min): We get a combined forty one minutes of interviews with Dai Miyazaki (producer), Tadanobu Asano (Kakihara), Nao Omori (Ichi), Sabu (Suzuki), and Shinya Tsukamoto (Jijii). With the exception of Miyazaki's segment, the interviews are intercut with behind the scenes footage of the actors at work. Miyazaki speaks the longest, and is the most informative. The actors get much less time but are no less ebullient about Miike and the film.
  • "Sabu and Tsukamoto" (SD, 22 min): Actors Sabu and Shinya Tsukamoto in a joint interview with a Japanese journalist. The questions feel lightweight, and consequently the interview, while longer than any other individual interview on the disc, feels more inconsequential.
  • "Eli on 'Ichi'" (SD, 7 min): 'Cabin Fever' and 'Hostel' director Eli Roth discusses his love for 'Ichi The Killer'. His love of Miike isn't surprising; he even gives Miike a cameo in the first 'Hostel' film. For some reason the audio has an outrageous echo, as if Roth were being recorded in a cathedral. Short but fun.
  • "The Cult of 'Ichi'" (SD, 10 min): Interview segments with a host of horror filmmakers and aficionados, including Lucky McKee, Scott Spiegel, Mike Mendez, Debbie Rochon and others. It's less of an examination of 'Ichi' and more simply about the reactions it evoked in the participants. Mainly fluff, although it's hard to beat Scott Speigel claim that the film makes 'Hellraiser' look like 'Bambi.'
  • Gallery (SD, 2 min): Two minutes of production stills set to autoplay with no sound.
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2 min): The film's theatrical trailer, in even worse shape than the print used for the feature's transfer.
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No easter eggs reported for 'Ichi The Killer' yet. Found an egg? Please use our tips form to let us know, and we'll credit you with the find.

[review_bonus_content_picture_id] => 0 [review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives for 'Ichi The Killer'.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 33617 [review_final_thoughts] =>

'Ichi The Killer' is a masterpiece of modern Japanese cinema, but this Blu-ray does it absolutely no favors. The washed out and noisy transfer is barely distinguishable from DVD, and to say the audio is in 5.1 is a joke. That being said, the film has to be seen to be believed, and the disc does have a set of informative extras, most especially the director's commentary and the almost hour-long on set documentary.

Rent it first, and then decide if you love the movie enough to make a purchase, as there doesn't seem to be a new edition on the horizon.

[review_movie_stars] => 5 [review_video_stars] => 2 [review_audio_stars] => 2 [review_supplements_stars] => 3 [review_bonus_content_stars] => 0 [review_final_thoughts_stars] => 3 [review_gear] => default [review_forum_id] => 127754 ) ) [14] => Array ( [review_id] => 57446 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => images [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Images [picture_created] => 1520446489 [picture_name] => Images.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Arrow Academy [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/07/120/Images.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/57446/images.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1972 [asin] => B07894ZL3K [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Fantasy, Horror, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Susannah York, Rene Auberjonois, Marcel Bozzuffi, Hugh Millais, Cathryn Harrison, Barbara Baxley ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Robert Altman ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

A pregnant children’s author suspects her husband of having an affair. While holidaying in Ireland, her mental state becomes increasingly unstable resulting in paranoia, hallucinations and visions of a doppelgänger.

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"It's not what you light... it's what you don't light."- John Alton

No other individual defines the foreboding film style known as noir more than John Alton, the Academy Award-winning cinematographer (An American in Paris) who established his reputation as one of the movie industry's finest by plying his unique talents in the arena of B-movies.

It was his work at Eagle Lion Films in the late 1940s, particularly his collaborations with director Anthony Mann which showcased Alton's unsurpassed mastery of low-key lighting and bold use of shadows and darkness, that made Hollywood take notice. Though his film work is later represented by such iconic noirs as Border Incident and The Big Combo, the three features in this collection present the incomparable John Alton at the peak of his art.

T-MEN (1947, 92 min.)

"Superb visual quality that does justice to John Alton's striking black & white cinematography..." - Leonard Maltin

The initial pairing of Anthony Mann and John Alton resulted in this classic noir actioner, with a pair of dedicated Treasury agents (Dennis O'Keefe, Alfred Ryder) assigned to infiltrate a Los Angeles counterfeit ring. Spotlighting a first-rate supporting cast that includes noir icons Charles McGraw and Wallace Ford, T-Men transcends its low budget pedigree by utilizing highly stylized camera angles along with Alton's trademark light and shadows to accentuate its gritty urban realism.

RAW DEAL (1948, 79 min.)

"Another beautifully produced Blu-ray from ClassicFlix." - Robert Harris, Home Theater Forum

Fresh off the success of T-Men, Mann and Alton upped the noir ante with this tragic tale of a convict (Dennis O'Keefe) whose prison "crash out" turns complicated when a romantic triangle develops involving the two women (Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt) along for the ride. Featuring character veterans Raymond Burr, John Ireland, Regis Toomey, and Whit Bissell, Raw Deal skillfully places a fatalistic love affair against the backdrop of a fog-shrouded nightmare that offers little chance of escape.

HE WALKED BY NIGHT (1948, 79 min.)

"Film noir aficionados will love this top-notch rendering that brings this movie to life like never before." - David Krauss, High-Def Digest

Alfred Werker directs this groundbreaking police procedural that focuses on the manhunt for a cop killer (Richard Basehart) by a pair of doggedly determined detectives (Scott Brady, James Cardwell). Alton's cinematography is positively stunning, and He Walked by Night also features a key contribution from actor Jack Webb (as a lab technician), who used his experience on the film to create the seminal television crime drama Dragnet. Anthony Mann, believed to be responsible for directing the films most of the iconic scenes, is uncredited. Co-written by John C. Higgins and Crane Wilbur.

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When four high-school kids discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of--Jumanji--they are immediately drawn into the game’s jungle setting, literally becoming the avatars they chose: gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge loses (in his words) "the top two feet of his body" and becomes an Einstein (Kevin Hart); popular girl Bethany becomes a middle-aged male professor (Jack Black); and wallflower Martha becomes a badass warrior (Karen Gillan). What they discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji--you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, and change the way they think about themselves--or they’ll be stuck in the game forever ...

[review_introduction] =>

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle upgrades the classic children's book to the video game age and surprises audiences with a hilariously fun and weighty adventure that's astonishingly better than its predecessor. Equipped with a reference-quality audio and video presentation but surprisingly light on supplements, the overall Blu-ray package is Recommended for the perfect family movie night. 

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is evidence of me not only growing old but that times have drastically changed in a direction I never would have predicted. I'm not talking about young moviegoers who grew up watching the original movie suddenly realizing the Robin Williams fantasy favorite is turning 23 later this year. I'm referring to the movie's title alluding to Guns 'N Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" and the actual song later used during the end credits, which was also used for the promotional trailers. Thirty years ago, the hard-rock band was considered risqué and indicative of a troubled, sinful youth, and featuring their song in a family-friendly adventure flick would have been quite controversial. But here we are with a movie that also features penis jokes and a verbal gag about one character's first experience with an erection. Perhaps even more surprising is that the adventure production about modern adolescence is a total blast, one of the most fun movies of 2017 and bordering on genius, becoming the rare sequel that's better than the original.

Part of the plot's brilliance is the characters themselves. They are four uniquely different teenagers with four distinctly contrasting personalities and personal dilemmas they are tasked with overcoming, which is in line with both the book and its 1995 adaptation's theme. Our central protagonist is Spencer (Alex Wolff), the archetypal nerd with allergies and phobias to nearly everything — too afraid to live life and take risks, basically. The most dangerous thing he's ever done is help his childhood friend "Fridge" (Ser'Darius Blain), the stereotypical football jock who's more brawn than brains, plagiarize an essay, which lands both boys in detention where Spencer discovers a vintage video game console. (The board game is apparently smart enough to adapt to the times and needs of the younger generation.) At detention, they meet Martha (Morgan Turner), who earlier refused to participate in P.E. class and insulted the teacher, and Bethany (Madison Iseman), the arrogant, self-centered popular girl who can't live without her phone, even during a quiz.

For a more in-depth take on the movie, you can read our review of the 4K UHD with Dolby Vision HERE.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Warner Home Video brings Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to Blu-ray on Region Free, BD50 disc inside a blue, eco-elite keepcase with a code for an UltraViolet Digital Copy and a glossy cardboard slipcover. After several skippable trailers, viewers are taken to an animated screen with menu options along the bottom, music and full-motion clips.

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The ragtag group of uncertain teens move up to the next level of confidence thanks to a stunning, reference-quality 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode. Shot on digital cameras capable of 3.4K resolution, the freshly-minted transfer reveals razor-sharp definition in the surrounding jungle foliage, exposing the rough, cracking bark of the trees and the tiny veins of the leaves. From the individual whiskers on both Jack Black and Kevin Hart's faces to the distinct threading of the canvas-like costumes, fine lines are continuously distinct, even during fast-paced action sequences. Viewers can make out the pockmarks along the walls of the buildings in the Bazaar, and the wooden transportation shed shows its weathered age with every grain and splinter plainly visible. Facial complexions appear healthy and accurate with outstanding lifelike textures, exposing the tiniest wrinkle and negligible blemish.

Presented in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, the video also comes with a spot-on, comfortably bright contrast, bringing the many exterior jungle shots to demo-worthy life while crisp, pitch-perfect whites make the fluffy clouds in the sky radiate with realism. On the other end of the grayscale, black levels are rich and true with deep, penetrating shadows that maintain excellent detailing in the few murkiest moments and provide the image with an outstanding three-dimensional quality. Best of all, the screen is awash in lots of gorgeous, sumptuous colors, from the lively greens from the beautiful Hawaiian landscapes and the celestial blues of the sky to opulent reds in some of the clothing. Softer secondary hues are equally impressive, making the fiery orange glow of the torches saturate the entire frame while explosions retain extraordinary detailing within the brightest sections. With natural flesh tones that are appropriate to the climate, the presentation is simply a beauty to watch from beginning to end.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 82217 [review_audio] =>

The fantasy sequel pulls out another impressive trick out its knapsack, stepping up to the audio challenge with a freaking fantastic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that brings the jungle to home theaters.

Right from the start, the suburbs of Brantford fill the room with the subtle noises of the neighborhood, generating a great sense of space. Things only improve even more dramatically once the kids are thrust into the wilderness, bursting with the cries and shrieking chatter of the wildlife. Birds and bugs fly from one corner of the room to the other and across the screen, or the sound of leaves rustling in the wind surround the listening area. Creating an awesomely immersive 360° soundfield, the room is kept busy with the propeller noise of the helicopter, the cracking sounds of thunder, bugs buzzing in every direction and the busy commotion of the Bazaar. Action sequences are layered with debris raining down on all sides, and Henry Jackman's enthusiastic score bleeds into all the channels.

Much of the attention and action is sustained on screen with lots of background activity evenly spread across three front channels. With convincing off-screen movement throughout, the soundstage feels spacious and expansive, generating a continuously engaging wall of sound. The lossless mix also comes with distinct clarity and superb definition in the mid-range, exhibiting excellent detailing and separation during the loudest, ear-piercing segments so that every action sequence remains perfectly audible. Most impressive and shocking is a powerful, varied and terrifically robust low-end that shakes, rattles and rumbles with awesome magnitude and intensity. The helicopter and rhino stampede scene is a particularly memorable moment for demoing. Dialogue is crystal-clear and precise in the center, delivering excellent inflection and emotive intonation in the voices, even in the whispered, more intimate conversations.

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All the same supplements are shared with the day-and-date 4K home video release, which can be read in more detail in our review of the 4K UHD with Dolby Vision HERE.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 82219 [review_bottom_line] => 2 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle picks up twenty years after the first movie and transports our four would-be heroes into a video game version of the original board game. The family action-adventure film pulls off an astonishing feat by being the rare sequel that's better than its predecessor and delivers an intelligent, thoughtful plot that's a total blast. The Blu-ray arrives with a stunningly gorgeous picture quality, an outstanding, demo-worthy audio presentation but somewhat disappointingly light on bonus material. Nevertheless, the overall package makes for a great purchase sure to entertain the entire family. 

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Scientists poison the water supply of a small town, turning the residents into homicidal maniacs who kill each other and anybody who passes through.

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Based on a shocking novel by James Hadley Chase (The Night of the Generals)--the film's mixture of sex, violence and low morals made it one of the most controversial films of the late 1940s. The story tells of a pampered heiress (Linden Travers, The Lady Vanishes) who is abducted on her wedding night by a gang of small time hoods, in what starts out as a jewel robbery and turns into a kidnapping/murder when one of them kills the groom. Despite her terrifying ordeal, Miss Blandish finds herself falling in love with the gang leader, Slim Grisson (Jack La Rue, A Farewell to Arms). They plan to run off together, but the rest of the gang can't see parting with a potential million dollar ransom, or leaving a witness alive--even if it means killing Slim to get to her. The book was ferociously condemned, but was allegedly the most popular book amongst serving British troops during WWII. The 1971 Robert Aldrich film The Grissom Gang was based on the same Chase novel.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [19] => Array ( [review_id] => 56171 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => offerings [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Offerings [picture_created] => 1517514294 [picture_name] => Offerings_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Code Red [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/02/01/120/Offerings_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/56171/offerings.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1989 [run_time] => 85 [list_price] => 24.95 [asin] => B079B8TNBP [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray [1] => New 4K Scan ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Horror ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Loretta Leigh Bowman, Elizabeth Greene, G. Michael Smith, Jerry Brewer, Tobe Sexton ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Christopher Reynolds ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

John Rudley (G. Michael Smith) is angry. When he was young, the local kids pushed him to the brink. Ten years in a sanitarium is a long time. Now he's free... free to release those savage frustrations... free to avenge himself against those responsible for his injuries... and in case anyone thought her was long gone... he can't wait to have them all wrapped up.

Special Features:
-Brand New 4K Master

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We'll also discuss the Bellas' competition: EverMoist, Saddle Up, DJ Young Sparrow and DJ Dragon Nutz. [1] => Don't Mess with Rebel – Rebel Wilson trained with stunts coordinator, Jennifer Badger, to prefect her many stunts that we see throughout the film. In this featurette, we'll catch a glimpse of Rebel's training and discuss the most bad-ass stunt of all – Rebel taking down four grown men in order to save the Bellas. [2] => The Headliner: DJ Khaled – We check in with cast and filmmakers to hear their reactions on the music producer/personality being brought on, how he fits into the story and the love he has for the Bellas. [3] => The Final Note: John and Gail – Everyone's favorite Talk-a-pella podcasters are back, combining their resources to produce an exclusive d'aca'mentary following the beloved classic Bellas. We discuss their far-fetched endeavor with the cast and filmmakers to better understand our favorite aca-duo. [4] => Just Because He's a Bad Guy – The cast and filmmakers were overjoyed to learn that legendary actor, John Lithgow was joining the Pitch Perfect family, and he did not disappoint! In this piece, we'll witness how Rebel and John are two peas in a pod, making their on-screen chemistry as father and daughter truly sincere. [5] => "Freedom! '90 x Cups" Official Music Video ) [exclusive_hd_contents] => Array ( [0] => Deleted Scene [1] => Gag Reel [2] => New Musical Performances [3] => A Cappella Action – In this piece, we break down the scene starting with Fergus betraying Fat Amy and kidnapping the Bellas, through the performance and wrapping up with Rebel Wilson as she performs the stunt of falling through the ceiling. [4] => The Women of Pitch Perfect 3 – With Elizabeth Banks, Trish Sie, and an all-female cast, the Pitch Perfect franchise is breaking down stereotypes and industry norms left and right. In this piece, we learn why that's so important throughout the development and production of Pitch Perfect 3. [5] => The Final Performance – In this heart-warming piece, fans will witness the genuine love and sisterhood between the Bellas both on and off camera as they get a behind-the-scenes look at the emotional wrap of the film and production. [6] => Hollywood of the South – Hollywood may be the "Entertainment Capital of the World" but Atlanta is a close second - morphing into a metropolis for film productions and the cast and crews couldn't be happier. We hear from them about the hospitality, versatility and southern welcome they experienced during their stay. [7] => Extended Musical Performances ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Comedy, Music ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Anna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, Elizabeth Banks, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Trish Sie ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Now graduated from college, realizing it takes more than a cappella to get by, all the Bellas return in the final chapter in the beloved series. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there are no job prospects for making music with only your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for a European USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.

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After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren't job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [23] => Array ( [review_id] => 56181 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => pitchperfecttrilogy [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Pitch Perfect Trilogy [picture_created] => 1517516224 [picture_name] => Pitch_Perfect_Trilogy_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Universal Studios [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/02/01/120/Pitch_Perfect_Trilogy_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/56181/pitchperfecttrilogy.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2012 [run_time] => 320 [list_price] => 49.98 [asin] => B07987C2S6 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray [1] => Three Film Collection ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Comedy ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam DeVine ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Elizabeth Banks, Jason Moore, Trish Sie ) [review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [24] => Array ( [review_id] => 54250 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => rockula [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Rockula [picture_created] => 1512664345 [picture_name] => Rockula.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Scream Factory [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/12/07/120/Rockula.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/54250/rockula.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1990 [list_price] => 27.99 [asin] => B077ZK3XDG [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => BRAND NEW MASTER ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/TBA ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.85:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English SDH ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => NEW Audio Commentary With Director Luca Bercovici, Actress Tawny Fere And Composer Hilary Bercovici [1] => NEW Interview With Director Luca Bercovici [2] => NEW Interview With Actor Dean Cameron [3] => Theatrical Trailer ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Comedy, Horror, Musical ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Dean Cameron, Toni Basil, Thomas Dolby, Bo Diddley, Kevin Hunter, Nancye Ferguson ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Luca Bercovici ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Ralph (Dean Cameron, Summer School) is just your typical, average vampire with love in his heart, music in his veins — and a curse on his head. Every 22 years, poor Ralph is doomed to lose his soulmate, Mona, at the hands of a rhinestone-peg-legged pirate brandishing a large hambone (just go with us on this). But this time around, with the help of his newly-formed band Rockula, Ralph is determined to crush the curse once and for all — and show Mona that when you're a vampire, true love is eternal … and rock 'n' roll never dies!

Directed by Luca Bercovici (Ghoulies) and featuring an eclectic cast of co-stars, including cult favorite Susan Tyrrell (Forbidden Zone) and recording stars Thomas Dolby, Toni Basil, and Bo Diddley, Rockula is an absolutely batty, bloody bizarre comedy!

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Mike Kendall (John Hawkes), a disgraced excop, is fighting a losing battle with the bottle. When he finds a woman left for dead at the side of a road, Kendall turns private eye to track down her killers, taking one last shot at redemption.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [26] => Array ( [review_id] => 51663 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => stingaree [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Stingaree [picture_created] => 1516813990 [picture_name] => Stingaree.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Kino [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/01/24/120/Stingaree.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/51663/stingaree.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1934 [list_price] => 29.95 [asin] => B07923LDD7 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ay [1] => NEW 2K RESTORATION of the film ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Audio Commentary by William Wellman Jr. [1] => Trailers ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Drama, Musical, Romance ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Irene Dunne, Richard Dix, Mary Boland, Conway Tearle, and Andy Devine. ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => William A. Wellman ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

In 1876 Australia, debonair outlaw Stingaree (Richard Dix), aided by his sidekick, Howie (Andy Devine), uses his wily charm to take what he wants and harass the ruling class. When he meets composer Julian Kent (Conway Tearle), who's on his way to see Mrs. Clarkson (Mary Boland), a promising new opera singer, Stingaree decides to take Kent's place at the performance. However, he quickly realizes the real talent belongs to Clarkson's servant, Hilda (Irene Dunne), and promises to make her a star.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [27] => Array ( [review_id] => 55648 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => stoppingtrafficthemovementtoendsextrafficking [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex-Trafficking [picture_created] => 1521174409 [picture_name] => Stopping_Traffic.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Gravitas Ventures [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/15/120/Stopping_Traffic.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55648/stoppingtrafficthemovementtoendsextrafficking.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 79 [list_price] => 16.99 [asin] => B078Y34WPY [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Documentary ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Sadhvi Siddhali Shree ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Stopping Traffic explores the pervasive reach of sex trafficking, especially of children in the U.S. and worldwide. Through commentary by victims and activists and investigations into practices in the U.S. and abroad, the film traces insidious links among child sexual exploitation, pornography, social media, and sex trafficking. It calls on the viewer to join the movement to end sex trafficking.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [28] => Array ( [review_id] => 54324 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => burbscollectorsedition [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => The 'Burbs: Collector's Edition [picture_created] => 1512928594 [picture_name] => The_Burbs.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Shout Factory [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/12/10/120/The_Burbs.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/54324/burbscollectorsedition.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1989 [run_time] => 102 [list_price] => 29.99 [asin] => B077ZCV7R8 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc [1] => Region A Locked ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.85:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English SDH ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Audio Commentary [1] => Documentary [2] => Interviews [3] => Alternate Ending [4] => Original Workprint Version [5] => Still Galleries [6] => Trailer ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Comedy, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Corey Feldman, Carrie Fisher ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Joe Dante ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Tom Hanks portrays suburbanite Ray Peterson, whose plans for a peaceful vacation are disturbed by a creepy new family on the block, in this outrageous suspense-comedy.

To the disappointment of his wife Carol, Ray decides to spend a relaxing week at home, and soon gets into trouble with his neighbors-a hefty busybody, a freaked-out ex-soldier, and a spacey teenager - as they observe the strange happenings next door at the Klopek's bizarre residence.

When the neighborhood grouch suddenly disappears, the men are convinced the ramshackle house hides some hideous clues. Armed with assault rifles, high-powered binoculars and a shovel, they decide to see for themselves exactly what is going on in the Kloped place. Set in an average neighborhood that is anything but average, THE 'BURBS blends slapstick comedy and spine-thrilling mystery with the type of witty humor that has made Tom Hanks one of today's most popular stars.  Save save

[review_introduction] =>

The archetypal cul-de-sac spirals into manic hysteria in Joe Dante's hilarious cult classic The 'Burbs, a satirical allegory on Cold War tensions and a biting cynical look at suburban life that oddly feels as relevant today as ever. Shout! Factory welcomes the dark comedy favorite to the neighborhood as collector's edition Blu-ray with an excellent remastered video, fantastic audio and a healthy collection of supplements, making the overall package a Recommended addition to any cult library. 

[review_movie] =>

Suburbia is under attack by a shadowy, seditious presence threatening the status quo in Joe Dante's hilarious cult classic The 'Burbs, and it's up to the private citizens of an idyllic middle-class neighborhood to protect it. However, the threat isn't from a foreign power immediately forcing its oppressive rule via a violent overthrow, a popular thematic device and motif that infiltrated many action flicks of the 1980s. Instead, it springs forth from the paranoia and suspicion growing within the unrestrained imagination of the bored, purposeless residents of a quiet, perfectly manicured cul-de-sac. It's a fun twist to a prevalent theme that digs to a very real, commonplace sentiment about foreignness that understandably grew from Cold War tensions, a satirical allegory that draws battle lines right at the heart of the problem itself: a misunderstanding of those perceived as different, strange and other. Of course, by film's end, the bad vibes coming from an unusually creepy family are ultimately warranted, which is only in paying service to the film's horror elements while giving audiences one final ironic gag, but the central idea remains intact.

Working from a script by Dana Olsen (Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Inspector Gadget, George of the Jungle), Dante doesn't shy away from this fact and practically goes out of his way to make the point clear as day, virtually ensuring audiences wouldn't mistake his film for anything other than what it is. After opening with the Universal Studios logo of a turning world, the globe conveniently slows on North America, and the camera quickly zooms down the center before settling on the quiet, innocent neighborhood of Anywhere, U.S.A. It's an intentionally clichéd image of suburbia that suspiciously looks a lot like the street where The Munsters once resided and vampire Jerry terrorized horrorhound Charley, which in actuality is not the same set or location but only reflects back to the homogeneous, nondescript quality of the neighborhood. Dante immediately jumps to the plot's creepy aspect with everyman Tom Hanks as Ray Peterson, an average, blue-collar Joe wanting to spend his vacation at home with family, literally crossing into the unknown on a dark, windy night when next-door neighbors make a loud ruckus.

The next morning, we wake to more suburban truisms of a rude paperboy on a bike carelessly chucking newspapers while introducing the rest of the cast, starting with the curiously keen-eyed and hormonal teen Ricky Butler (Corey Feldman), who serves as our chorus-like observer and quasi-commentator. A very funny Rick Ducommun also stars as Ray's best friend Art, whose endless meddling in other's lives, as shown during breakfast when eating Carrie Fisher's cooking without so much as a please or a thank you, is the result of the apathy and monotony in his own life. Across the street, an equally hilarious Bruce Dern plays veteran Mark Rumsfield, a gung-ho patriot always itching for some action and finds it in his neighborly war with the old, prickly Walter (Gale Gordon) and his pesky dog. One of the production's more amusing aspects is showing Ray, Art and Mark's unwarranted mistrust of the one weird, spooky house with the unwatered lawn and dilapidated air as ultimately nothing more than a little boy's game, one that apparently goes too far and in need of Fisher's mediating, basically putting Hanks in a timeout.

The wickedly clever and delightfully charming black comedy romp toys with Cold War notions in the eccentric Klopek family, an uncommonly foreign name that suspiciously sounds Eastern European. Henry Gibson, Brother Theodore, and Courtney Gains are terrific in their roles, raising our own suspicions of them while still managing to carry a macabre, eerie air about them with Gibson doing marvelous as the mad scientist type and Theodore just being all around hair-raisingly menacing. Working carefully with cinematographer Robert M. Stevens, Dante displays a talent for balancing horror with comedy, which was first seen in Gremlins and most recently in Burying the Ex, without one overwhelming the other and maintaining an engaging story to the very end. During its original 1989 theatrical run, those tensions that influenced much of the plot were already starting to wane and the film was a moderate critical and box-office success. Over the decades, however, The 'Burbs has garnered a strong following amongst those who better appreciate its satirical take on suburbanites, making it a beloved cult classic.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Shout! Factory brings Joe Dante's The 'Burbs to Blu-ray as a single-disc Collector's Edition under the distributor's Shout Select line. The Region A locked, BD50 disc is housed inside a blue, eco-elite case with brand new reversible cover art and cardboard slipcover. At startup, viewers are taken to an animated menu screen with music.

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Shout welcomes cult enthusiasts back the neighborhood with a satisfying and great-looking 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that was made from a new 2K resolution scan of the intermediate positive. The end result is frankly the best the movie has ever looked, besting both Universal's 2016 Blu-ray and Arrow's 2014 UK SteelBook. However, the movie comes with the same poorly resolved sequences and blurry moments as those previous releases, suggesting these issues are related to the condition and age of the source or inherent to the original photography. In either case, the dark comedy favorite has never looked better, showing a warmer color timing that feels more natural, and fans will be more than happy with the outcome.

Immediately apparent in daylight sequences, the presentation features excellent contrast balance, breathing new life into the neighborhood with a youthful, fantasy-like glow and crisp, brilliant whites in the clothing, houses and fluffy clouds. However, these are a couple instances suggesting that the contrast may have also been slightly boosted, just a tad, because a few hot spots tend to bloom and wash away some of the finer aspects. Thankfully, it's nothing too distracting or egregious, as black levels remain true and accurate with excellent shadow details in the darkest corners and poorly-lit interiors. As before, the colorful 80s palette benefits the most with richly-saturated primaries brimming with life and vitality while facial complexions appear healthier with slightly rosier lifelike textures. Awash with a very fine layer of natural grain that is more prominent during darker sequences, which is to be expected, the 1.85:1 image is not significantly sharper than its predecessor but still shows plenty of sharp definition in the clothing, houses and the whole neighborhood in general. 

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For all intents and purposes, the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo soundtrack sounds identical to what was heard on the previous release, and my thoughts on its quality have not changed, which I'll repeat here.

Imaging is terrifically engaging almost right from the start and continuously active, creating a spaciously wide and expansive soundstage. The lossless mix also exhibits excellent differentiation between the loudest and quietest moments, maintaining outstanding clarity in the higher frequencies while still delivering warmth and richness in the mids. Various noises and the subtle ambient sounds of the neighborhood are spread across the entire screen with convincing effectiveness and fluid, flawless panning. Vocals are distinct and precise in the center, allowing for the Klopeks's Eastern European accents to come through with believable variation. The low-end is impressively ample and responsive, providing the high-rez track with a terrific weighty presence.

Best of all, the design lends itself marvelously to the receiver's Dolby Surround or DTS: Neural:X up-mixing functionality, expanding the soundfield with several amusing atmospheric effects spreading into the rears. The score benefits most from the upgrade, filling the screen with music that bleeds into the front height channels with discrete clarity in the instrumentation and superb separation within the mid-range. 

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Audio Commentaries: Author and film critic Calum Waddell sits down with writer Dana Olsen to chat about the plot, the various themes, the performances and the overall production.

There Goes the Neighborhood (HD, 67 min): Ported over from the 2014 Arrow Video release and directed by Waddell, the making-of doc features recent cast & crew interviews sharing memories from the set.

Interviews (HD): A trio of new interviews commences with director Joe Dante (19 min) recollecting a few more details about the production and his thoughts on the movie's lasting legacy. This is followed with a series of questions asked of cinematographer John Hora (11 min) mostly sharing his thoughts on the movie. Finally, editor Marshall Harvey (10 min) is given a few minutes to also answer questions and impart some wisdom on his creative approach to editing a film.

Original Workprint (SD, 106 min): Taken from a VHS source that was borrowed from Joe Dante's personal archive, this alternate version of the movie features a few deleted and extended sequences.

Alternate Ending (SD, 7 min): The piece is a different take on Dr. Klopek trying to murder Ray in the ambulance and has him delivering a speech about the reasons for moving to the suburbs.

Still Gallery (HD): A pair of galleries showing production stills (6 min) and promotional posters (8 min).

Trailer (HD).

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Suburbia is under attack by a shadowy, seditious presence threatening the status quo in Joe Dante's hilarious cult classic The 'Burbs, a satirical allegory on Cold War tensions and a biting cynical look at suburban life. Starring Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, Bruce Dern, Rick Ducommun and Corey Feldman, the film is a fun twist to a prevalent theme that digs to a very real, commonplace sentiment about foreignness and remains just as relevant today as it was nearly thirty years ago. Fear and paranoia infect the Blu-ray neighborhood courtesy of Shout! Factory with an excellent remastered picture quality and the same great audio presentation as before. The supplements are a bit on the light side but entertainingly informative nonetheless, making the overall package recommended for cult enthusiasts and fans of anything 80s. 

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They’re big. They’re bad. They scuttle along in caverns miles beneath the Earth – until an earthquake opens paths to the surface. Now, these monsters of genus Arachnida are invading our world with deadly force! With top special effects co-designed by King Kong’s Willis O’Brien, The Black Scorpion is horror with a sting more lethal than the king-sized ants that overran Los Angeles’ sewers in the classic Them! Can humankind survive these invincible juggernauts? That fate rests on the shoulders of Hank Scott (1950s monster-movie stalwart Richard Denning) as the creatures rip a train from its track, snatch a helicopter from the sky and, in the film’s most gripping sequence, battle each other in their subterranean lair. Watch out!

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In medieval Europe, crusading knights massacre a village full of suspected devil worshipers and build a large Gothic church above the cursed remains. It is now present day, and this elaborate cathedral still stands. But when its sealed crypt is accidentally reopened, a group of people trapped inside the church become possessed by the fury of the damned. Can the blood of the innocent survive this unholy communion or will the ultimate demonic evil be unleashed upon the world?

The Church was co-written and produced by maestro Dario Argento (Suspiria) and sealed the reputation of director Michele Soavi (Stagefright, Cemetery Man) as the new master of Italian horror. Originally known as Demons 3, this visually stunning shocker features a remarkable score by Goblin and Keith Emerson. Starring Tomas Arana, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Hugh Quarshie, Barbara Cupisti, and Antonella Vitale. 

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The Divine Order is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote. When unassuming and dutiful housewife Nora (Marie Leuenberger, winner of a Best Actress award at Tribeca) is forbidden by her husband to take a part-time job, her frustration leads to her becoming the poster child of her town s suffragette movement. Her newfound celebrity brings humiliation, threats, and the potential end to her marriage, but, refusing to back down, she convinces the women in her village to go on strike...and makes a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Uplifting and crowd- pleasing, this charming, captivating film is a time-capsule that could not be more timely.

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The movie is about two siblings who live in complete isolation with their father. They are both his "sons". One day the father kills himself by hanging and his sons decide one of them needs to Go to the nearby village to get a coffin. While in the village it is unveiled that the one son is actually a female although she has no idea of that (she has no idea of sexuality and thinks she was castrated when she was very young and that is why she doesn't have testicles). It also become apparent she has been being used for sex by her brother and there are even more nefarious occurrences which have been happening on their property.

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The estimable Richard Fleischer (Fantastic Voyage, The Boston Strangler) directs Stirling Silliphant’s adaptation of Joseph Wambaugh’s compulsive bestseller, The New Centurions, focusing on a group of rookie cops who make their way from the LAPD police academy to the city’s very mean streets. George C. Scott stars as a wise but embittered veteran along with Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jane Alexander, and Rosalind Cash. 

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Spiritual rapture and institutional hypocrisy come to stark, vivid life in one of the most transcendent masterpieces of the silent era. Chronicling the trial of Joan of Arc in the days leading up to her execution, Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer depicts her torment with startling immediacy, employing an array of techniques—including expressionistic lighting, interconnected sets, and painfully intimate close-ups—to immerse viewers in her subjective experience. Anchoring Dreyer’s audacious formal experimentation is a legendary performance by Renée Falconetti, whose haunted face channels both the agony and the ecstasy of martyrdom.

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Most silent films today endure primarily for their academic value, but The Passion of Joan of Arc remains riveting and vital even without spoken dialogue. The Criterion Collection Blu-ray presents a terrific restoration from the best surviving source, backed with some enlightening bonus features. Highly Recommended.

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Widely regarded as one of the greatest silent films ever made, if not the greatest, director Carl Theodor Dreyer's La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) was very nearly lost to history. Controversial upon its release in 1928, the movie was criticized by the Catholic Church, was censored by various government bodies, and was even banned in Britain. Worse, the master negative was destroyed in a fire, forcing Dreyer to assemble a second version of the movie comprised of alternate takes and unused footage, edited as closely to the first version as possible. The negative for that was then destroyed in a second fire, and surviving release prints were subjected to heavy editing and alteration at the hands of censors and misguided restoration efforts.

For decades, the only ways to see the film were in forms its creator had denounced. Dreyer went to his grave believing that his intended version of the movie had been lost forever. Were it not for something resembling divine providence, The Passion of Joan of Arc would exist today only in fragments of its original greatness. Miraculously, in 1981, a complete print of Dreyer's first, uncensored version of the movie was discovered hidden away in, of all places, a storage closet at a mental institution in Oslo, Norway. That print then became the basis for one of the most important resurrections in cinema history.

The film itself is not a traditional bio-pic of its title subject (if there even were such things as traditional bio-pics in 1928). Presuming that viewers already know the history, it spends no time explaining who the real Jeanne d'Arc was or detailing her famed exploits leading battles to drive English invaders out of France. If you need that story told, Hollywood turned it into a sweeping epic starring Ingrid Bergman in 1948, and French pop auteur Luc Besson did a version with Milla Jovovich in 2000. Dreyer, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on the Maid of Orléans' trial for heresy and eventual execution by a tribunal of pro-English judges and clergy. Although compressed for time, much of the film is based on historical transcripts of the real trial, with little narrative embellishment. Viewers are thrust into the heroine's final days with no context for what brought her to that point – not that much is needed. The key ideas that Jeanne is being persecuted for her belief that her actions were ordained by God himself, and is being railroaded as a political scapegoat, come through clearly anyway. Because this is a silent film, dialogue (in the form of intertitles) is used sparingly. The story is told almost exclusively through images and performance.

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In recent years, the real Jeanne d'Arc's ecstatic visions have been interpreted as possible signs of mental illness rather than actual holy revelations. Besson's film played with that suggestion, but Dreyer had no such revisionist tendencies. He presents Jeanne simply and directly as a beatific figure, and the movie neither questions nor dwells on her alleged conversations with saints and angels. She believed them to be real, and nothing else matters. Her betrayal by her own king and her treatment from a kangaroo court tribunal were travesties regardless.

For the lead role, Dreyer cast Renée Falconetti (sometimes credited as Maria Falconetti), a stage actress who had only appeared in one film previously and would never do so again afterward. 35 at the time, she was much older than the historical Jeanne, who died at 19. Due to the nature of the material, she makes no attempt to play into the popular image of Jeanne as a fearsome and impulsive warrior, or a figure of unbreakable will and resolve. Instead, her Jeanne is tormented and despairing. At this point in her life, she has nothing left but her faith, which is tested at every moment. The story and its telling are utterly harrowing, but they wouldn't be nearly as effective without Falconetti's riveting portrayal. Legend has it that Dreyer (often a cold and demanding filmmaker) emotionally abused the actress on set to get the intensity he wanted, which of course must be seen as problematic from today's vantage point if true. However, other accounts deny that story, and so much time has passed now that we may never know the truth. Whatever actually drove it, Falconetti's performance has frequently been praised as one of the greatest ever committed to celluloid.

Dreyer stages the action on only a handful of sparse sets with actors wearing simple costumes, photographed primarily in a series of tight, unforgiving close-ups that magnify every tiny expression on each actor's face. The field of view is often narrowed even further by vignetting around the edges of the frame. Rather than limit his visual expressiveness, the director marries this technique to a rapid editing rhythm, swirling camerawork, and stunning montages that still startle in their innovation. This is a work made by an artist in full command of the medium as few others had been or ever would be.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

The Criterion Collection released The Passion of Joan of Arc on DVD way back in 1999, which would explain the title's very low spine number of just 62 even on the new upgrade. In the meantime, the film first appeared on the Blu-ray format over in the UK in 2012 as part of Eureka!'s Masters of Cinema line. It has taken Criterion another six years beyond that to provide its own Blu-ray edition for the American market.

The disc comes packaged in one of Criterion's clear keepcases. The included 39-page booklet contains an essay about the film by critic Mark Le Fanu, an introduction written by Carl Theodor Dreyer in 1929, and printed lyrics for the Voices of Light libretto featured on one of the soundtrack options. The disc itself has a very simple, silent menu.

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The bonus features on the Criterion disc go into some detail about how miraculous it is that The Passion of Joan of Arc still exists at all, much less that it exists in its original form, fully intact. What's more, the Oslo print remained in excellent condition and had apparently only been projected rarely.

The liner notes in Criterion's booklet are uncharacteristically skimpy with details about the video transfer, other than to mention that it's derived from a restoration performed by French studio Gaumont. My assumption is that Criterion licensed a completed video master and had little or no technical involvement in its creation. Regardless, it looks extraordinary considering the circumstances. The 1.33:1 black-and-white image may be heavily grainy and suffer faint vertical scratches in many scenes, but those issues are hardly distracting. More importantly, it also features excellent grayscale, rich contrast, and an outstanding amount of detail and texture reproduced in breathtaking clarity. The movie is largely comprised of close-up shots, and in most of them you can count every wrinkle, hair, and skin pore.

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Criterion also provides two different versions of the movie that run at different frame rates, one at the sound sync speed of 24 fps (encoded in 1080p/24 format) and another at a slower 20 fps (1080i/60Hz). Although both consist of the same footage, the frame rate difference adds 15 minutes to the run time of the latter. Both versions are legitimate. During the silent era, there was no universally standardized projection rate, and in fact the photography may have varied in speed from scene to scene due to the nature of the hand-cranked cameras. Audiences of the day were also accustomed to movies being a little faster and snappier than real life.

Watching both, the 24 fps version looks slightly sped-up (though not overly), while the 20 fps version has motion that looks more natural to a modern eye. However, the change in speed also has significant impact on the tone and pacing of the film, not to mention the choice of very different musical scores timed to each. Arguments can be made in favor of preferring either version over the other.

All intertitle cards in the 24 fps version are in French language and were recreated digitally, while those in the 20 fps version are in Danish and appear to come from the vintage print. The disc defaults to adding optional English subtitles to both.

The Passion of Joan of Arc 3

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Like most silent films, The Passion of Joan of Arc was projected with live musical accompaniment in many theaters. However, no record exists of director Dreyer either commissioning or authorizing one definitive score. Over the decades, a number of musicians have contributed scores in a variety of styles, from classical to modernist. Criterion offers three options, two for the 24 fps version of the movie and one for the 20 fps version. The movie can also be played silently at either frame rate if desired.

In my opinion, the best of the musical options is composer Richard Einhorn's 1994 Voices of Light, an operatic libretto that incorporates Medieval writings in the lyrics and the sound of the bell from the actual church where Joan had prayed. The score is sweeping and stirring, and intensifies the story's feelings of both dread and of religious ecstasy.

Also synced for 24 fps playback is a 2010 score by Will Gregory (of the electronica band Goldfrapp) and Adrian Utley (of Portishead). Theirs is very different in style and tone, heavily featuring guitars, drums and synths. It's interesting as an alternative, especially in the ways it emphasizes different parts of the story, but the modern sound is a little jarring played over the period setting.

At 20 fps, the only choice is a piano score by Mie Yanashita, composed in 2005. It's the most traditional score, and perhaps even the most akin to something that could have been heard in 1928. Some of the music is very lovely, but it misses the intensity of either other option and, combined with the slower playback speed, the tone feels a little too low-key.

The Einhorn track is encoded in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 format and sounds rich and enveloping. Both the Gregory/Utley and Yanashita scores are PCM stereo. All have excellent fidelity.

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The Blu-ray carries over the audio commentary from Criterion's 1999 DVD, but the other features are technically new (though some may have overlap with content from the DVD).

  • Audio Commentary – Synced to the 24 fps version, Danish film scholar Casper Tybjerg provides a great deal of historical context for the events in the movie, including identifying the real names of all the judges seen on screen. He compares the historical record to the artistic license of Dreyer's conception and discusses the filmmaking techniques. The commentary is educational in tone, but very interesting and informative.
  • About the Frame Rates (HD, 12 min.) – In an audio essay played over film clips, Tybjerg argues for his preference of the 20 fps playback speed and backs that opinion up with research. However, he also admits that the evidence is not conclusive.
  • About Voices of Light (HD, 11 min.) – Composer Richard Einhorn explains the diligent research he did when composing his score, which involved traveling to the real sites depicted in the movie and reading the original trial transcripts.
  • Adrian Utley and Will Gregory (HD, 15 min.) – The musicians talk about their intentions for their score, how they tried to avoid creating character themes, and how they allowed some room for improvisation. Their talk turns into a very technical discussion of musicianship.
  • Hélène Falconetti (HD, 9 min.) – Recorded in 1995 (and played as audio over still photos), the daughter of the film's star tells the story of how her mother was cast and offers some details about the production.
  • Version History (HD, 11 min.) – The many permutations the film underwent over the years are detailed. Clips from the infamous "Lo Duca version" (an alternate edit made without Carl Th. Dreyer's approval that was widely circulated before the discovery of the Oslo print) are shown.
  • Production Design Archive (HD, 4 min.) – A montage of behind-the-scenes photos, sketches, historical art and other documents.
  • Trailer (HD, 3 min.) – Fully silent with no music, this vintage preview contains some alternate takes and unique shots not found in any full version of the movie.

The Cutting Room Floor: What Didn't Make the Blu-ray?

Criterion's 1999 DVD also included different production notes, more information about Voices of Light, and an interactive essay about Joan's trial and the film's production. Some of this information may have made its way into the Blu-ray's newer features in other forms.

The Masters of Cinema Blu-ray from the UK offered an avante-garde score by Loren Connors, the complete "Lo Duca" version of the film, and a 100-page book filled with essays and photos.

The Passion of Joan of Arc 5

[review_bottom_line] => 1 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Whether or not you have any personal religious convictions, Carl Th. Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc is a cornerstone work of filmmaking art that deserves to be revisited often. Considering the movie's complicated history, the Criterion Blu-ray offers an almost unbelievably good video restoration, a choice of two different playback speeds and three different musical scores, and some very worthwhile supplements. This disc belongs in any serious film lover's collection.

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In the mode of The French Connection, The Seven-Ups (1973) is directed by the former film’s producer, Philip D’Antoni, and stars Roy Scheider as the leader of a crack squad of NYPD detectives bent on busting culprits whose offenses guarantee seven years or up in prison. The cops are nearly as out of line as the crooks, a dangerous bunch of miscreants connected to the mob. Featuring one of the most famous cinematic car chases ever, designed by the great Bill Hickman (The French Connection, Bullitt). 

[review_introduction] =>

The Seven-Ups is an average 1970s police drama with an above-average car chase sequence thrown into the mix. It marked Roy Scheider's first crack at carrying a movie on his own, and Scheider fans should enjoy his performance here. Twilight Time's Blu-ray (limited to 3,000 units) has more bonus materials than their usual releases, and the A/V quality here is impressive for a movie of this age. Recommended.

[review_movie] =>

After the success of the Oscar-winning The French Connection in 1971, 20th Century Fox was anxious to revisit the gritty crime-drama genre. This resulted not only in 1975's The French Connection II, but in the earlier – and slightly more entertaining – The Seven-Ups, which was directed by The French Connection's producer, Philip D'Antoni; based on a real-life story by one of The French Connection's technical consultants – real-life former NYPD detective Sonny Grosso; and even stars The French Connection's co-star, Roy Scheider, in his first crack at lead actor. One would think all that would add up to another hit film, but The Seven-Ups feels rather standard, although it does feature one heck of a fun car chase.

Scheider stars as New York City cop Buddy Manucci, who is part of a crack squad of fellow officers who bend the rules a bit in order to nail thugs whose conviction in court will be seven years or more. Hence, their nickname, "The Seven-Ups". But it turns out that Buddy's team isn't the only ones going after the city's bad guys. There have been a series of kidnappings of mob loan sharks, who are being shaked down for ransom money. Little does Buddy know (although he will soon find out) that the man behind the kidnappings is his top informant and good friend, Vito (Tony Lo Bianco). Buddy's interest in the kidnappings turns to anger and the quest for revenge when one of his fellow squad buddies is gunned down by Vito's two hired henchmen (played fiendishly by Richard Lynch and Bill Hickman).

The highlight of the movie, by far, is a car chase that comes around the midpoint of the film and probably takes up about 15 minutes of screen time. The sequence was designed by stuntman Bill Hickman (who conveniently plays the driver of the bad guys' car), who also choreographed the great car sequences in both The French Connection and Bullitt. This chase involves the henchmen in a Pontiac Grand Ville being chased by Scheider's character in a Pontiac Ventura Sprint. The pursuit goes through Manhattan, across the George Washington Bridge, and onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway in New Jersey...and it's great fun to watch if you're into such things. Of course, it doesn't hurt that in 1973, stuntmen were still using real cars on real roads with no CGI enhancements. The chase looks and feels "real" and it alone is enough to make this title recommended.

Where The Seven-Ups disappoints is simply in terms of a more defined/complex screenplay. The story is pretty simple here, and despite that great sequence I described above, there's not a whole lot more worth tuning in for. Because the car chase happens at the movie's midpoint, the climax – which involves both a shootout and Buddy finally confronting Vito about what he's done – can't be anything but a letdown considering what came before it. The film also suffers from a characterization problem. We learn very little about any of these characters outside the plot they are involved in. If Buddy has a home, a family, or any interests outside of being a detective, we never learn about them...in fact, I don't think the movie ever even shows where he lives.

But thanks to that impressive car chase, a pretty well-photographed film (by cinematographer Urs Furrer), and the charisma of Scheider (although not nearly as good here as he would be a couple years later in a small movie about a shark), The Seven-Ups is worth picking up. The film, plus the impressive transfer and nice selection of bonus materials on the Blu-ray, all add up to a title that comes recommended, if not as enthusiastically as I had hoped (this review was my first exposure to the movie).

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

The Seven-Ups mixes it up on Blu-ray with this Twilight Time release (provided to the distributor by 20th Century Fox) that is limited to 3,000 copies. The 50GB disc comes packaged inside a clear Elite keepcase along with a six-page booklet with an essay about the film by Julie Kirgo. There are no front-loaded trailers on the Blu-ray, whose main menu features the same artwork that graces the box cover with menu selections across the bottom of the screen.

The Blu-ray in this release is region-free.

[review_video_picture_id] => 82494 [review_video] =>

The Seven-Ups was shot on 35mm film using the Arriflex 35BL and is presented here in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. There were some early reports when this title was announced that the movie was getting a full 4K restoration for this release. However, nothing currently on the Twilight Time website (www.screenarchives.com) or anything on the box cover or the enclosed booklet says anything about it. So while I can't confirm that this is a 4K restoration (after all, the Blu-ray only plays back in 1080p), I can confirm that the image here looks wonderful.

Aside from a moment or two in the very opening credits, the print appears to be virtually free of any dirt, debris, or glitches that are common with a film of this age. While grain is evident in every shot, it's never obtrusive, even in some of The Seven-Ups darkest sequences. Details are strong, without giving the impression that they've been over-sharpened or suffer from the over-application of DNR. Skin tones are mostly consistent throughout. There is some occasional shimmering during camera pans (particularly across cityscapes), but those were the only flaws I picked up on.

In short, this is likely one of the better transfers of an older title we'll see all year from a studio. It's impressive enough that it made me wonder why 20th Century Fox (who provided the transfer to Twilight Time) didn't think enough of their movie to give it a full-blown studio release. Regardless, if you're a serious movie collector and/or a Roy Scheider fan, you'll want to pick this title up before the 3,000 copies available vanish.

[review_audio] =>

Aside from two isolated music tracks and a director's commentary (all detailed below in our Supplements section), the only audio offered here is an English 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio mono track. Since the movie was released with a mono track back in 1973, this is a fairly representative presentation of how the film sounded in theaters. Although mono, the playback is actually in 2.0, with the same audio coming out of both the right and left speakers. This is also true of the bonus tracks offered on this disc.

As mono tracks go, this one sounds great, without the hint of any glitches, muddiness, or dropouts. Yes, it does sound a little "flat" at times, but that's to be expected from a mono track of a movie that's 45 years old. So while it won't "wow" you, the audio here is more than serviceable for this release.

Subtitles are available in English SDH.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 82495 [review_supplements] =>

Audio Commentary – Richard Harland Smith of Turner Classic Movies hosts this commentary of the movie, which is loaded with historical facts and trivia about the film. While Smith is obviously using notes to give his presentation (resulting in some dialogue that seems scripted rather than natural) this is a great track that is certainly worth a listen.

Isolated Music Track of the Don Ellis Film Score – Don Ellis's score sounds more like it was designed for a thriller or horror movie than for a film such as this one, but here's your chance to hear his work sans dialogue or other ambient noises. Like the featured audio track, it's presented in 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio.

Isolated Music Track of the Unused Johnny Mandel Score – Mandel, who scored such movies as M*A*S*H and The Verdict wrote a score for this movie, but it was rejected. Here, viewers get a chance to hear what they missed, although it's unclear whether the tracks are placed in the moments of the movie where they would have been used. It's a more typical score for a cop movie than the one done by Ellis, which may be why it was turned down.

Introduction by Director-Producer Philip D'Antoni (HD 0:10) – An extremely short thank you from The Seven-Up's director.

The Seven-Ups Connection (HD 21:32) – Wondering why Philip D'Antoni gave such a short intro to the movie on the bonus feature above? It's because he doesn't think much of his movie...it's something he did, released, and promptly forgot about. Still, the director-producer gives 20-plus minutes worth of interview footage here discussing his film career.

A Tony Lo Bianco Type (HD 18:07) – The actor discusses his role in the movie and the actors he worked with.

Real to Real (HD 24:48) – Technical Adviser Randy Jurgensen (a former NYPD detective) talks about how real-live police events inspired the story of The Seven-Ups.

Cut to the Chase (HD 13:51) – A look at the big car chase sequence in the movie.

Anatomy of a Chase: Behind the Scenes of the Filming of The Seven-Ups (SD 8:18) – This is an archival featurette from 1973 that takes a look at the making of the movie, focusing primarily on the film's big car chase.

Randy Jurgensen's Scrapbook (HD 2:58) – A slideshow of behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot, narrated by Jurgensen.

Super 8 Version (HD 16:19) – Rough-looking Super 8 footage of select scenes from the movie shown in the full-frame format.

Lobby Cards, Stills, and Media Gallery (HD 2:10) – A slide show of various promotional images for the movie.

Original Theatrical Trailer (SD 2:18) – The original trailer for The Seven-Ups.

Teaser Trailer (SD 1:10) – The original teaser trailer for The Seven-Ups.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 82496 [review_bottom_line] => 2 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Although The Seven-Ups has some similarities to The French Connection (including participants behind and in front of the camera), it can't quite match the magic of that Oscar-winning movie, instead offering up a rather standard police drama whose biggest highlight is a fantastic car chase sequence. Still, a strong lead performance by Roy Scheider, an impressive transfer, and a nice selection of bonus materials make this Twilight Time release one that is Recommended.

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Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, and Kyle Chandler star in the suspenseful thriller about a young writer who finds accidental fame, then disappears without a trace.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [38] => Array ( [review_id] => 55001 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => underworldusa [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Underworld U.S.A. [picture_created] => 1520372973 [picture_name] => Underworld_USA.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Twilight Time [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/06/120/Underworld_USA.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55001/underworldusa.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1961 [run_time] => 99 [list_price] => 29.95 [alt_commerce_link] => https://www.twilighttimemovies.com/underworld-u-s-a-blu-ray/ [alt_commerce_text] => Order Here [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Crime, Drama, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Cliff Robertson, Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Samuel Fuller ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

The great American auteur Samuel Fuller gives us, in Underworld U.S.A. (1961), a terrifyingly prescient look at a nation – on the surface serene and at peace – in which organized crime and big business have somehow merged. All this is seen through the eyes of a young man (Cliff Robertson) bent on avenging the death of his father at the hands of “punks” who turn out to be ubiquitous and working on both sides of the law. Also starring (wonderfully) Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay, and Richard Rust, and memorably shot by the great Hal Mohr (Rancho Notorious, The Wild One). 

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) ) [reviews_hot] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [review_id] => 55662 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => alteredhours [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Altered Hours [picture_created] => [picture_name] => [manufacturer_name] => Gravitas Ventures [picture_source] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/pop-on-amazon.png [picture_source_195] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_235] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_300] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_660] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_alternate] => Box coming soon [picture_title] => Box coming soon [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55662/alteredhours.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2018 [run_time] => 101 [list_price] => 19.99 [asin] => B078Y2T7KY [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Ryan Munzert ) [review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [1] => Array ( [review_id] => 55661 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => asfarastheeyecansee [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => As Far as the Eye Can See [picture_created] => [picture_name] => [manufacturer_name] => Gravitas Ventures [picture_source] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/pop-on-amazon.png [picture_source_195] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_235] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_300] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_660] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_alternate] => Box coming soon [picture_title] => Box coming soon [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55661/asfarastheeyecansee.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2018 [run_time] => 88 [list_price] => 19.99 [asin] => B078XX7DWK [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Jason London ) [review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [2] => Array ( [review_id] => 54645 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => baal [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Baal [picture_created] => 1513628984 [picture_name] => baal.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Criterion [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/12/18/120/baal.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/54645/baal.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1970 [run_time] => 84 [list_price] => 39.95 [asin] => B07895ZWVW [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.37:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => German LPCM Mono ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Interviews from 1973 and 2015 with Schlöndorff [1] => New conversation between actor Ethan Hawke and playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman about the play and adaptation [2] => New interview with actor and filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta [3] => New interview with film historian Eric Rentschler [4] => PLUS: An essay by critic Dennis Lim ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Sigi Graue, Margarethe von Trotta ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Volker Schlöndorff ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Volker Schlöndorff transported Bertolt Brecht’s 1918 debut play to contemporary West Germany for this vicious experiment in adaptation, seldom seen for nearly half a century. Oozing with brutish charisma, Rainer Werner Fassbinder embodies the eponymous anarchist poet, who feels himself cast out from bourgeois society and sets off on a schnapps-soaked rampage. Hewing faithfully to Brecht’s text, Schlöndorff juxtaposes the theatricality of the prose with bare-bones, handheld 16 mm camera work, which gives immediacy to this savage story of rebellion. Featuring a supporting cast of Fassbinder’s troupe of theater actors as well as Margarethe von Trotta, Baal demonstrates the uncompromising nature of Schlöndorff’s vision and forged a path for New German Cinema.

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Jade, 20 years old, hangs with a vampy schadenfreude and is met with startling intimacy and a tragic discovery in which she’ll have to do the only thing she’s been afraid of: grow up.

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A new psycho-suspense story unfolds from the creators of Steins;Gate and Chaos;HEAd.

Six years after surviving a deadly earthquake, Takuru Miyashiro leads his high school newspaper club in a murder investigation. A string of bizarre deaths is forming a hauntingly familiar pattern, much like an incident that plagued the city years ago. Before long, he and his friends land squarely in the killer’s crosshairs. But given the nature of the victims’ deaths, is the person they’re tracking a total psycho or a psychic? Innocent lives are taken one by one as Takuru and his crew uncover horrific secrets about the world and themselves.

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Chihaya's determination to become a master karuta player hasn't changed, but as a new semester begins, the team's focus switches to recruiting new members for the club in order to keep their meeting space. Unfortunately, while a number of students initially express interest, few are willing to put forth the effort it takes to play on the level of the existing members. Enter Sumire Hanano, who split with her boyfriend on the first day of school. Now seeking a replacement, she thinks that Taichi might just fill the role nicely… even if it means jumping into a pool with a shark like Chihaya! Now all the cards are on the table… or, in this case, the floor… and the games are really about to start in CHIHAYAFURU season 2!

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Chihaya's determination to become a master karuta player hasn't changed, but as a new semester begins, the team's focus switches to recruiting new members for the club in order to keep their meeting space. Unfortunately, while a number of students initially express interest, few are willing to put forth the effort it takes to play on the level of the existing members. Enter Sumire Hanano, who split with her boyfriend on the first day of school. Now seeking a replacement, she thinks that Taichi might just fill the role nicely… even if it means jumping into a pool with a shark like Chihaya! Now all the cards are on the table… or, in this case, the floor… and the games are really about to start in CHIHAYAFURU season 2!

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Often overlooked, Hou Hsiao-hsien's Daughter of the Nile (Ni luo he nu er), a fascinating attempt to portray the anomie felt by Taiwanese youth of the mid-1980s (based in part on incidents in the life of screenwriter Chu T'ien-wen), came between the period pieces that established the director on his home ground and around the world. Even Hou himself has been hard on the film and its main actress, pop star Yang Lin, in the role of a teenager trying to make a living, care for her volatile older brother (Jack Kao), find love, and define herself all at once. Nevertheless, Daughter of the Nile is a rich experience from a formidable filmmaker. 

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Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) stars Marilyn Monroe in an early dramatic role, eerily playing a demented baby sitter drawn to a man (Richard Widmark) she ultimately becomes convinced is her dead lover. Anne Bancroft is also on hand, making her screen début as Widmark’s chanteuse girlfriend, hoping against hope that he’ll prove himself worthy. Shot, handsomely, by the great Lucien Ballard (The Wild Bunch).

Read our review of this disc in the site blog.

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When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to over-population, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.

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Alexander Payne's Downsizing proves that a clever and witty social satire can only go so far if it doesn't have anything to say. What could have been a silly and fun social satire about the current state of the world and economic discrepancy, the film loses itself on an overly long journey of self-discovery for star Matt Damon and has little of anything to say. While the project is ambitious and the cast is wonderful, the satire didn't wear its dentures. While the film may not be as great as it potentially could have been, Paramount brings Downsizing to Blu-ray in fine order. The picture quality brings a lot of pop and presence to the intricate world design and the audio matches the needs of the film perfectly. Bonus features are a bit on the slim side but there's some good stuff to be seen. If you're curious, the film itself is at the very least Worth A Look

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"$83! Are you crazy? Why that's practically our food budget for two whole months!"

It's a tough day when you really, really want to like a movie but just don't. Alexander Payne is usually an on the ball solid filmmaker who can churn out heartfelt human drama with a delightfully dark humor punch. Downsizing starring Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig, and a host of other cameo appearances stretches itself with its comedic near-future science fiction shenanigans. It starts out strong but forgets to bring the bite to the humor and loses its sense of direction as the film slowly rolls to the finish. 

The world is about to change in a big way. Well, a small way actually. Esteemed Norwegian scientist Dr. Asbjornsen has discovered the way to solve the world's looming overpopulation and environmental catastrophes. By shrinking people down to about five inches, man's impact on the environment will be greatly reduced - not to mention the economic benefits that arise for those who undergo the procedure. For Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig), living a smaller life could lead to big things. As they struggle to make ends meet and climb the economic ladder, the chance to have their income scale upwards of 1000% by shrinking down in physical size all the while helping the planet is too good an opportunity to pass up. Almost. When Audrey backs out of the procedure leaving Paul standing a hair below five inches tall, Paul will have to navigate his situation and discover his place in this new tiny-big world.

Downsizing

In all due credit to the cast, director Alexander Payne and his co-writer Jim Taylor, the first 40 minutes of Downsizing is terrific. It sets up an absurd near-future science fiction neo-dystopian premise, introduces the cast and establishes their motivations. We get to know Matt Damon's Paul who is just trying to do the right thing at all times by everyone but often sacrifices his own needs in the care of others. The film tools along as a silly but relatable satire of modern economic times and how people are getting rich off of selling the idea of the "good life" through timeshare properties and other first world problems. Once that 45-minute mark hits and Matt Damon moves into his very own gigantic personal mini-mansion, the pace of the film just grinds to a halt. Where that first 45 minute was a breeze, the final hour and a half is a real slog.

Part of the problem with the film is that it frequently jumps ship on its ideas. Just when you think the film is going to delve deeper into an intriguing topic or idea, it jumps onto something else without really saying anything beyond mere talking points. When Paul goes from being an occupational therapist in the big world to a Lands' End telephone operator, I was hoping they'd dig into wealth discrepancies now that small people have taken jobs from big people, or something like that, but nothing really comes of it. 

Downsizing

When Paul meets up with Christoph Waltz's black market smuggler Dusan Mirkovic and his partner Konrad played by Udo Kier, I thought that was going to go somewhere how even in a new smaller world there is still a criminal element, but that gets dropped. Then Paul meets the Vietnamese revolutionary-turned-cleaning lady Ngoc Lan Tran played by Hong Chau, I thought for sure the film would have something to say about the value of helping others and understanding how the people that clean our houses or care for our lawns live - but even that plotline gets dropped. It all becomes frustrating as the film just doesn't know how to settle down and live in the world that it's created. 

Throughout it all, I couldn't help and wonder at what Downsizing could have been if it had been directed by Terry Gilliam twenty-five years ago. Or, if it had been overseen by someone like Charlie Kaufman. Downsizing feels like a movie better suited for those filmmakers and their natural idiosyncratic storytelling natures. I feel like Kaufman would have found the bite while Gilliam would have nailed the visual absurdity of the premise. I still have a great love for Alexander Payne and his humanist touches he brings to relatable characters, but here, the material stays just out of reach. I suppose it's one I would say is worth watching, but at the same time, I can't shake the very real sense that this was a missed opportunity. For this review, I effectively watched the film twice and I just kept hoping it would get better the second time I watched it, thinking I might have missed something. Unfortunately, I didn't miss anything. It's a well-shot, well-acted film with a clever story that doesn't have any teeth to the satire and loses any weight it was attempting to carry. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Downsizing arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Paramount Pictures in a two-disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital set. Pressed onto a a Region A BD-50 disc and housed in a standard two-disc case with identical slipcover artwork, the disc loads to trailers for other Paramount releases before arriving at an animated main menu with traditional navigation options. 

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Downsizing makes for a pleasing 1080p 2.39:1 presentation that's big on details and bold on colors. As the film explores the artifice of wealth and the "good life" there is a lot to see and soak in with every frame. Some of the image is limited due to the obvious green screen trickery that tends to render backgrounds as blurry indistinguishable nothings when looking at the HO scale people and their surroundings in relation to normal-sized folk, but that's a cooked in issue. When it gets to exploring the small world, everything is on display and finer details of facial features and clothing come through with terrific clarity. Colors are bright and vibrant, primaries get plenty of daylight to shine. The green grass of Leisureland, the blue of Paul's numerous work-friendly T-shirts, the bright yellow Full-Size rose - all come through with a rich colorful presence. Black levels and contrast are spot-on. Whites are particularly grand as everything in the small world is overly bright making it look all the more fake and artificial like a bunch of people living in state-of-the-art dollhouses. Blacks are well balanced giving the image a nice sense of depth. Again it's where obvious green screens were used where the image has a tendency to flatten, but that's not a fault of the transfer. 

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Downsizing boasts an effective and lively DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout, even when big people are talking to little people and their teeny tiny voices become a little higher pitched and harder to hear. This is an area where you can tip your hat to the mix because you never have to adjust the volume to compensate. Sound effects aren't of the dramatic action-heavy sort, but they're enough to help build a sense of a world and active enough to keep the surrounds moving. The best sequences are the ones that feature the most amount of people in a single location. The Leisureland presentation, the sales floor, and then at the big party sequence where Paul is on drugs and starts really feeling the music punches the activity and the pulses give a nice LFE presence. For much of the film, things keep to the Front/Center channels letting the sides handle atmospherics while the score by Rolfe Kent layers in nicely to keep the sense of mood in play. All around a clean clear mix with terrific levels. 

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Considering all of the creative world-building efforts and some of the many visual jokes of the film, I was kinda let down by this rather anemic assortment of EPK-friendly bonus features. Some of the material is worthwhile, but much of it is merely the talking head, stock question and answer nonsense. 

Working With Alexander (HD 12:22) This is a love piece about how the cast and crew enjoy working with Payne.

A Visual Journey (HD 14:02) This is perhaps the meatiest bonus feature as it's a quick but good look at the film's impressive production design.

The Cast (HD 11:30) This is another puff piece but focuses on the impressive cast and what they bring to the show. 

A Matter of Perspective (HD 9:06) Like the production design segment, this is a very quick but good look at the film's visual effects.

That Smile (HD 6:27) "Who doesn't love Matt Damon?" Basically, that's what this feature is all about.

A Global Concern (HD 6:39) I swiftly pandering look at the environmental issues the film attempts to raise.

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If you're like me and saw the trailer to Downsizing you were probably excited to see a pseudo-science fiction dark comedy from Alexander Payne. Unfortunately, the final film simply doesn't measure up to its high concept. There are a lot of great big ideas throughout the film that are interesting, thought-provoking and would serve as the perfect bedrock for any dark satire. Unfortunately, there are too many ideas to fully explore in an already overlong film. It has its charms, and I did enjoy chunks of the film, but it never cooks into a satisfying finished cinematic meal. Paramount Pictures brings Downsizing to Blu-ray in fine order with a strong A/V presentation and a few slim bonus features. If you're curious, it's certainly worth watching but keep your expectations in check before entering. Worth A Look

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Fighting for the chance to confront God is hard enough, but high school student and genius mechanic Tazuna has it tougher than most. When he happens to hold hands with a girl in a lab, the two form the contract of Hand Shakers—couples who must fight in otherworldly battles to have a wish granted by God. There’s just one catch: Tazuna’s partner, Koyori, will die if she lets go of his hand. With every challenge they face in the alternate dimension known as the Ziggurat, the two grow stronger. Little do they know that a secret from Koyori’s past might just be their undoing.

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Takashi Miike's cult film has endured as one of the most influential pieces of genre filmmaking of the last two decades, and now it returns in a stunning all-new 4k restoration approved by Miike himself. This visceral, bloody, and often hilarious film follows Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano), a notoriously sadistic yakuza enforcer whose search for his boss' killer brings him into the orbit of a demented costumed assassin known as Ichi (Nao Ohmori).

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When you ask people to list the best directors working today, you might see Christopher Nolan's name, or David Fincher's. Some of the more sentimental might choose Spielberg, or for those who like their cinema left of center, the Coen Brothers. You might hear old standbys like Scorsese or Malick, but I'm guessing you'll rarely hear the name Takashi Miike. If you ask me, however, Miike is close to if not the top director working today. First off, the man is a workhorse, making an average of six films a year. Woody Allen, at one film a year, is considered prolific. Granted, not every Miike film is stellar (or even good), but for someone who works almost non-stop, he has an exceptional hit to miss ratio. Secondly, his ability to meld style and content is virtually unmatched by anyone working today. Most directors cultivate a certain style. Miike changes styles at the drop of a hat, adapting to the needs of the story.

Take 'Ichi The Killer'. Based on Hideo Yamamoto's manga, 'Ichi The Killer' stars Nao Omori as the title character, a semi-simpleton who has been brainwashed by the mysterious Jijii ('Tetsuo: The Iron Man' director Shinya Tsukamoto). Jijii manipulates Ichi to kill a yakuza crime boss, Anjo. Anjo's sadomasochistic underling, Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano in a bravura performance), is certain that foul play was involved, and Jijii uses these suspicions to try and start a gang war. Of course, very little goes as planned, and the whole thing devolves into a chaotic, sexually charged bloodbath, with Kakihara on one end and Ichi on the other.

'Ichi The Killer' is difficult to summarize in a paragraph. It's a complex and often obtuse film. The plot is intricate and Miike doesn't take great pains to spell it out for you. However, most viewers won't even notice the plot the first time around, because the film is littered with some of the most graphic ultraviolence this side of 'A Clockwork Orange'. Note that I don't say gratuitous ultraviolence, as these sequences, including Kakihara slicing off the tip of his own tongue, a man ripping someone's arm off with his bare hands, a woman being brutally beaten and raped, and many others, are central to the film's theme of sadomasochism.

Kakihara, with trademark slits in his cheeks, is a sadomasochist, capable of doling out unbelievable pain to others, but unable to find someone to really hurt him to the depths that he desires. On more than one occasion characters note that the reason Kakihara cares so much about Anjo's disappearance was because Anjo was the only one who could hurt him to any satisfying degree. Kakihara's quest to find his former boss transforms as he sees the evidence of Ichi's brutal handiwork, and by the end Kakihara only wishes to face Ichi to experience the unparalleled pain that Ichi alone can provide.

Ichi is even more fascinating. A frustrated sadist, he normally appears meek and easily abashed. The film opens with him hiding on a balcony, spying on a pimp beating on one of his whores. Ichi masturbates into the bushes before being scared off (the film's title arises from his discarded spunk). Later, Ichi screws up the courage to confront the pimp and kills him, reassuring the prostitute that she doesn't have to worry, because now Ichi will be the one to beat her up. So while the ultraviolence is shocking, it's there to illustrate the themes.

It's also worth nothing that 'Ichi' is based on a manga, and is not grounded in a heavily realistic world. Characterizations and effects are meant to be exaggerated, as is the film's style. And oh, what style there is. Miike, the most anarchic filmmaker since Luis Bunuel, leaves no stylistic stone unturned. Take the opening, a frenetic montage of sped-up and slow motion shots, all set to the hypnotic score by Japan's greatest musical maniacs, The Boredoms. It sets the tone for the whole film, which utilizes all sorts of tricks, from fish-eye lens to switching stocks (and video), and much more besides.

It's not just that the style is cool unto itself, but Miike uses it to enhance the themes explored throughout the film. Sadomasochism is just one element. The film explores the line between truth and illusion, between what is perceived and what is real (and whether the difference matters), the role of violence and sex in modern Japanese society, and even more. The film is an onion whose layers can only be peeled back with repeated viewings. It's too dizzying and the rabbit hole goes too deep to take it all the first (or second, or even third) time through. It's a masterpiece of modern filmmaking that deserves far more than its reputation for being shocking.

[review_video_picture_id] => 33615 [review_video] =>

I originally saw 'Ichi The Killer' on film at a festival screening. I promise you, it looked nothing like Tokyo Shock's 1.78:1 AVC transfer, which only achieves rates up to 15 Mbps, and sometimes as low as 11. You'll immediately notice the washed out colors and poor black levels that make the film look like it was all shot on video or the cheapest possible stock. I wouldn't blame you if you confused this for a DVD release, as the incessant noise (not film grain) and lack of detail would fool just about anyone.

The contrast doesn't fair any better, with elements getting lost in many of the darker scenes. This is a film that has many scenes at night and in poorly lit rooms or nightclubs, so this happens often. In some scenes, even the character's faces begin to blend in with the background. Despite these issues, color reproduction appeared correct (although the aforementioned problems with contrast and the overall washed out look diminish the vividness of the image), and I noticed no obvious macroblocking or posterization.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 33616 [review_audio] =>

'Ichi The Killer' sports two Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks (the box incorrectly lists the 2.0 tracks as TrueHD, but those are in standard Dolby Digital), one in English and the other in the native Japanese. However, I would contend that there's nothing 5.1 about either track, as the rears are never used and the bass is practically non-existent. The only difference I could discern between the lossless and lossy tracks was some small amount of channel separation that gave the 5.1 slightly more depth.

All four tracks feature muffled dialogue and poor delineation of audio effects, and in a film like this, the audio effects are half the fun. While I didn't notice distortion, in terms of dynamic range there's nothing dynamic about this mix. The Boredoms' brilliant and gorgeous score doesn't get its due. Much like the image, which appears flat and uninspired, the audio does no justice to the great sound mix I heard when I saw the film in 35mm.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 0 [review_supplements] =>

Tokyo Shock's release of 'Ichi The Killer' duplicates the supplements that have been found on previous DVD releases, but adds nothing new specifically for high def.

  • Commentary: The commentary with director Takashi Miike and original creator Hideo Yamamoto is ported over from the first US release in 2003. It's entirely in Japanese and presented with English subtitles. The track finds Miike in a jovial mode, cracking jokes with Yamamoto and declaring that kids should see the film in secret. It's a good mix of production details and personal recollections.
  • "Memories of 'Ichi'" (SD, 49 min): An almost hour length collection of behind the scenes and on-set footage interspersed with interviews with the cast and crew. The documentary has a fly on the wall feel, capturing important moments throughout the finished film as they were blocked, rehearsed, and shot. It gives a fascinating look into Miike's methods and the creation of such an outlandish film.
  • Interviews (SD, 41 min): We get a combined forty one minutes of interviews with Dai Miyazaki (producer), Tadanobu Asano (Kakihara), Nao Omori (Ichi), Sabu (Suzuki), and Shinya Tsukamoto (Jijii). With the exception of Miyazaki's segment, the interviews are intercut with behind the scenes footage of the actors at work. Miyazaki speaks the longest, and is the most informative. The actors get much less time but are no less ebullient about Miike and the film.
  • "Sabu and Tsukamoto" (SD, 22 min): Actors Sabu and Shinya Tsukamoto in a joint interview with a Japanese journalist. The questions feel lightweight, and consequently the interview, while longer than any other individual interview on the disc, feels more inconsequential.
  • "Eli on 'Ichi'" (SD, 7 min): 'Cabin Fever' and 'Hostel' director Eli Roth discusses his love for 'Ichi The Killer'. His love of Miike isn't surprising; he even gives Miike a cameo in the first 'Hostel' film. For some reason the audio has an outrageous echo, as if Roth were being recorded in a cathedral. Short but fun.
  • "The Cult of 'Ichi'" (SD, 10 min): Interview segments with a host of horror filmmakers and aficionados, including Lucky McKee, Scott Spiegel, Mike Mendez, Debbie Rochon and others. It's less of an examination of 'Ichi' and more simply about the reactions it evoked in the participants. Mainly fluff, although it's hard to beat Scott Speigel claim that the film makes 'Hellraiser' look like 'Bambi.'
  • Gallery (SD, 2 min): Two minutes of production stills set to autoplay with no sound.
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2 min): The film's theatrical trailer, in even worse shape than the print used for the feature's transfer.
[review_easter_eggs] =>

No easter eggs reported for 'Ichi The Killer' yet. Found an egg? Please use our tips form to let us know, and we'll credit you with the find.

[review_bonus_content_picture_id] => 0 [review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives for 'Ichi The Killer'.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 33617 [review_final_thoughts] =>

'Ichi The Killer' is a masterpiece of modern Japanese cinema, but this Blu-ray does it absolutely no favors. The washed out and noisy transfer is barely distinguishable from DVD, and to say the audio is in 5.1 is a joke. That being said, the film has to be seen to be believed, and the disc does have a set of informative extras, most especially the director's commentary and the almost hour-long on set documentary.

Rent it first, and then decide if you love the movie enough to make a purchase, as there doesn't seem to be a new edition on the horizon.

[review_movie_stars] => 5 [review_video_stars] => 2 [review_audio_stars] => 2 [review_supplements_stars] => 3 [review_bonus_content_stars] => 0 [review_final_thoughts_stars] => 3 [review_gear] => default [review_forum_id] => 127754 ) ) [9] => Array ( [review_id] => 57446 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => images [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Images [picture_created] => 1520446489 [picture_name] => Images.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Arrow Academy [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/07/120/Images.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/57446/images.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1972 [asin] => B07894ZL3K [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Fantasy, Horror, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Susannah York, Rene Auberjonois, Marcel Bozzuffi, Hugh Millais, Cathryn Harrison, Barbara Baxley ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Robert Altman ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

A pregnant children’s author suspects her husband of having an affair. While holidaying in Ireland, her mental state becomes increasingly unstable resulting in paranoia, hallucinations and visions of a doppelgänger.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [10] => Array ( [review_id] => 56256 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => johnaltonfilmnoircollection [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => John Alton Film Noir Collection [picture_created] => 1517610976 [picture_name] => John_Alton_Film_Noir_Collection_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Classicflix [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/02/02/120/John_Alton_Film_Noir_Collection_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/56256/johnaltonfilmnoircollection.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2018 [run_time] => 250 [list_price] => 39.98 [asin] => B079FLRGN4 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray [1] => 3-Film Collection ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Mystery ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt, Richard Basehart, Scott Brady ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Anthony Mann, Alfred Werker ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

"It's not what you light... it's what you don't light."- John Alton

No other individual defines the foreboding film style known as noir more than John Alton, the Academy Award-winning cinematographer (An American in Paris) who established his reputation as one of the movie industry's finest by plying his unique talents in the arena of B-movies.

It was his work at Eagle Lion Films in the late 1940s, particularly his collaborations with director Anthony Mann which showcased Alton's unsurpassed mastery of low-key lighting and bold use of shadows and darkness, that made Hollywood take notice. Though his film work is later represented by such iconic noirs as Border Incident and The Big Combo, the three features in this collection present the incomparable John Alton at the peak of his art.

T-MEN (1947, 92 min.)

"Superb visual quality that does justice to John Alton's striking black & white cinematography..." - Leonard Maltin

The initial pairing of Anthony Mann and John Alton resulted in this classic noir actioner, with a pair of dedicated Treasury agents (Dennis O'Keefe, Alfred Ryder) assigned to infiltrate a Los Angeles counterfeit ring. Spotlighting a first-rate supporting cast that includes noir icons Charles McGraw and Wallace Ford, T-Men transcends its low budget pedigree by utilizing highly stylized camera angles along with Alton's trademark light and shadows to accentuate its gritty urban realism.

RAW DEAL (1948, 79 min.)

"Another beautifully produced Blu-ray from ClassicFlix." - Robert Harris, Home Theater Forum

Fresh off the success of T-Men, Mann and Alton upped the noir ante with this tragic tale of a convict (Dennis O'Keefe) whose prison "crash out" turns complicated when a romantic triangle develops involving the two women (Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt) along for the ride. Featuring character veterans Raymond Burr, John Ireland, Regis Toomey, and Whit Bissell, Raw Deal skillfully places a fatalistic love affair against the backdrop of a fog-shrouded nightmare that offers little chance of escape.

HE WALKED BY NIGHT (1948, 79 min.)

"Film noir aficionados will love this top-notch rendering that brings this movie to life like never before." - David Krauss, High-Def Digest

Alfred Werker directs this groundbreaking police procedural that focuses on the manhunt for a cop killer (Richard Basehart) by a pair of doggedly determined detectives (Scott Brady, James Cardwell). Alton's cinematography is positively stunning, and He Walked by Night also features a key contribution from actor Jack Webb (as a lab technician), who used his experience on the film to create the seminal television crime drama Dragnet. Anthony Mann, believed to be responsible for directing the films most of the iconic scenes, is uncredited. Co-written by John C. Higgins and Crane Wilbur.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [11] => Array ( [review_id] => 54833 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => jumanjiwelcometothejungle [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle [picture_created] => 1518628152 [picture_name] => Jumanji_2.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Sony [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/02/14/120/Jumanji_2.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/54833/jumanjiwelcometothejungle.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 119 [list_price] => 34.99 [asin] => B075G3TMB7 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc [1] => Region Free ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 2.35:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 [1] => French Dolby Digital 5.1 [2] => Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 [3] => Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 [4] => Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English SDH, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Featurettes [1] => Music Video [2] => Gag Reel [3] => UltraViolet Digital Copy ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action, Adventure, Fantasy ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Rhys Darby, Nick Jonas ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Jake Kasdan ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

When four high-school kids discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of--Jumanji--they are immediately drawn into the game’s jungle setting, literally becoming the avatars they chose: gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge loses (in his words) "the top two feet of his body" and becomes an Einstein (Kevin Hart); popular girl Bethany becomes a middle-aged male professor (Jack Black); and wallflower Martha becomes a badass warrior (Karen Gillan). What they discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji--you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, and change the way they think about themselves--or they’ll be stuck in the game forever ...

[review_introduction] =>

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle upgrades the classic children's book to the video game age and surprises audiences with a hilariously fun and weighty adventure that's astonishingly better than its predecessor. Equipped with a reference-quality audio and video presentation but surprisingly light on supplements, the overall Blu-ray package is Recommended for the perfect family movie night. 

[review_movie] =>

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is evidence of me not only growing old but that times have drastically changed in a direction I never would have predicted. I'm not talking about young moviegoers who grew up watching the original movie suddenly realizing the Robin Williams fantasy favorite is turning 23 later this year. I'm referring to the movie's title alluding to Guns 'N Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" and the actual song later used during the end credits, which was also used for the promotional trailers. Thirty years ago, the hard-rock band was considered risqué and indicative of a troubled, sinful youth, and featuring their song in a family-friendly adventure flick would have been quite controversial. But here we are with a movie that also features penis jokes and a verbal gag about one character's first experience with an erection. Perhaps even more surprising is that the adventure production about modern adolescence is a total blast, one of the most fun movies of 2017 and bordering on genius, becoming the rare sequel that's better than the original.

Part of the plot's brilliance is the characters themselves. They are four uniquely different teenagers with four distinctly contrasting personalities and personal dilemmas they are tasked with overcoming, which is in line with both the book and its 1995 adaptation's theme. Our central protagonist is Spencer (Alex Wolff), the archetypal nerd with allergies and phobias to nearly everything — too afraid to live life and take risks, basically. The most dangerous thing he's ever done is help his childhood friend "Fridge" (Ser'Darius Blain), the stereotypical football jock who's more brawn than brains, plagiarize an essay, which lands both boys in detention where Spencer discovers a vintage video game console. (The board game is apparently smart enough to adapt to the times and needs of the younger generation.) At detention, they meet Martha (Morgan Turner), who earlier refused to participate in P.E. class and insulted the teacher, and Bethany (Madison Iseman), the arrogant, self-centered popular girl who can't live without her phone, even during a quiz.

For a more in-depth take on the movie, you can read our review of the 4K UHD with Dolby Vision HERE.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Warner Home Video brings Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to Blu-ray on Region Free, BD50 disc inside a blue, eco-elite keepcase with a code for an UltraViolet Digital Copy and a glossy cardboard slipcover. After several skippable trailers, viewers are taken to an animated screen with menu options along the bottom, music and full-motion clips.

[review_video_picture_id] => 82216 [review_video] =>

The ragtag group of uncertain teens move up to the next level of confidence thanks to a stunning, reference-quality 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode. Shot on digital cameras capable of 3.4K resolution, the freshly-minted transfer reveals razor-sharp definition in the surrounding jungle foliage, exposing the rough, cracking bark of the trees and the tiny veins of the leaves. From the individual whiskers on both Jack Black and Kevin Hart's faces to the distinct threading of the canvas-like costumes, fine lines are continuously distinct, even during fast-paced action sequences. Viewers can make out the pockmarks along the walls of the buildings in the Bazaar, and the wooden transportation shed shows its weathered age with every grain and splinter plainly visible. Facial complexions appear healthy and accurate with outstanding lifelike textures, exposing the tiniest wrinkle and negligible blemish.

Presented in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, the video also comes with a spot-on, comfortably bright contrast, bringing the many exterior jungle shots to demo-worthy life while crisp, pitch-perfect whites make the fluffy clouds in the sky radiate with realism. On the other end of the grayscale, black levels are rich and true with deep, penetrating shadows that maintain excellent detailing in the few murkiest moments and provide the image with an outstanding three-dimensional quality. Best of all, the screen is awash in lots of gorgeous, sumptuous colors, from the lively greens from the beautiful Hawaiian landscapes and the celestial blues of the sky to opulent reds in some of the clothing. Softer secondary hues are equally impressive, making the fiery orange glow of the torches saturate the entire frame while explosions retain extraordinary detailing within the brightest sections. With natural flesh tones that are appropriate to the climate, the presentation is simply a beauty to watch from beginning to end.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 82217 [review_audio] =>

The fantasy sequel pulls out another impressive trick out its knapsack, stepping up to the audio challenge with a freaking fantastic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that brings the jungle to home theaters.

Right from the start, the suburbs of Brantford fill the room with the subtle noises of the neighborhood, generating a great sense of space. Things only improve even more dramatically once the kids are thrust into the wilderness, bursting with the cries and shrieking chatter of the wildlife. Birds and bugs fly from one corner of the room to the other and across the screen, or the sound of leaves rustling in the wind surround the listening area. Creating an awesomely immersive 360° soundfield, the room is kept busy with the propeller noise of the helicopter, the cracking sounds of thunder, bugs buzzing in every direction and the busy commotion of the Bazaar. Action sequences are layered with debris raining down on all sides, and Henry Jackman's enthusiastic score bleeds into all the channels.

Much of the attention and action is sustained on screen with lots of background activity evenly spread across three front channels. With convincing off-screen movement throughout, the soundstage feels spacious and expansive, generating a continuously engaging wall of sound. The lossless mix also comes with distinct clarity and superb definition in the mid-range, exhibiting excellent detailing and separation during the loudest, ear-piercing segments so that every action sequence remains perfectly audible. Most impressive and shocking is a powerful, varied and terrifically robust low-end that shakes, rattles and rumbles with awesome magnitude and intensity. The helicopter and rhino stampede scene is a particularly memorable moment for demoing. Dialogue is crystal-clear and precise in the center, delivering excellent inflection and emotive intonation in the voices, even in the whispered, more intimate conversations.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 82218 [review_supplements] =>

All the same supplements are shared with the day-and-date 4K home video release, which can be read in more detail in our review of the 4K UHD with Dolby Vision HERE.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 82219 [review_bottom_line] => 2 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle picks up twenty years after the first movie and transports our four would-be heroes into a video game version of the original board game. The family action-adventure film pulls off an astonishing feat by being the rare sequel that's better than its predecessor and delivers an intelligent, thoughtful plot that's a total blast. The Blu-ray arrives with a stunningly gorgeous picture quality, an outstanding, demo-worthy audio presentation but somewhat disappointingly light on bonus material. Nevertheless, the overall package makes for a great purchase sure to entertain the entire family. 

[review_movie_stars] => 4.5 [review_video_stars] => 5 [review_audio_stars] => 5 [review_supplements_stars] => 1 [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => 4 [review_gear] => default ) ) [12] => Array ( [review_id] => 52652 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => nightmareatnoon [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Nightmare at Noon [picture_created] => 1508701238 [picture_name] => Nightmare_at_Noon.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Shout Factory [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/10/22/120/Nightmare_at_Noon.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/52652/nightmareatnoon.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1988 [run_time] => 96 [list_price] => 29.99 [asin] => B076BCD85N [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => BRAND NEW REMASTER struck from an interpositive ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.85:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Vintage featurette: The Making of Nightmare at Noon [1] => Original theatrical trailer [2] => Still Gallery ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action, Sci-Fi, Horror ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Wings Hauser, Bo Hopkins, George Kennedy ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Nico Mastorakis ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Scientists poison the water supply of a small town, turning the residents into homicidal maniacs who kill each other and anybody who passes through.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [13] => Array ( [review_id] => 53419 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => noorchidsformissblandish [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => No Orchids for Miss Blandish [picture_created] => 1520445887 [picture_name] => No_Orchids_for_Miss_Blandish.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Kino Lorber [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/07/120/No_Orchids_for_Miss_Blandish.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/53419/noorchidsformissblandish.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1948 [run_time] => 104 [list_price] => 29.95 [asin] => B079257SDF [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Trailers ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Thriller, Drama ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Linden Travers, Richard Nielson ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => St. John Legh Clowes ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Based on a shocking novel by James Hadley Chase (The Night of the Generals)--the film's mixture of sex, violence and low morals made it one of the most controversial films of the late 1940s. The story tells of a pampered heiress (Linden Travers, The Lady Vanishes) who is abducted on her wedding night by a gang of small time hoods, in what starts out as a jewel robbery and turns into a kidnapping/murder when one of them kills the groom. Despite her terrifying ordeal, Miss Blandish finds herself falling in love with the gang leader, Slim Grisson (Jack La Rue, A Farewell to Arms). They plan to run off together, but the rest of the gang can't see parting with a potential million dollar ransom, or leaving a witness alive--even if it means killing Slim to get to her. The book was ferociously condemned, but was allegedly the most popular book amongst serving British troops during WWII. The 1971 Robert Aldrich film The Grissom Gang was based on the same Chase novel.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [14] => Array ( [review_id] => 56171 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => offerings [review_release_date] => 1521529200 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Offerings [picture_created] => 1517514294 [picture_name] => Offerings_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Code Red [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/02/01/120/Offerings_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/56171/offerings.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1989 [run_time] => 85 [list_price] => 24.95 [asin] => B079B8TNBP [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray [1] => New 4K Scan ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Horror ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Loretta Leigh Bowman, Elizabeth Greene, G. Michael Smith, Jerry Brewer, Tobe Sexton ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Christopher Reynolds ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

John Rudley (G. Michael Smith) is angry. When he was young, the local kids pushed him to the brink. Ten years in a sanitarium is a long time. Now he's free... free to release those savage frustrations... free to avenge himself against those responsible for his injuries... and in case anyone thought her was long gone... he can't wait to have them all wrapped up.

Special Features:
-Brand New 4K Master

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We'll also discuss the Bellas' competition: EverMoist, Saddle Up, DJ Young Sparrow and DJ Dragon Nutz. [1] => Don't Mess with Rebel – Rebel Wilson trained with stunts coordinator, Jennifer Badger, to prefect her many stunts that we see throughout the film. In this featurette, we'll catch a glimpse of Rebel's training and discuss the most bad-ass stunt of all – Rebel taking down four grown men in order to save the Bellas. [2] => The Headliner: DJ Khaled – We check in with cast and filmmakers to hear their reactions on the music producer/personality being brought on, how he fits into the story and the love he has for the Bellas. [3] => The Final Note: John and Gail – Everyone's favorite Talk-a-pella podcasters are back, combining their resources to produce an exclusive d'aca'mentary following the beloved classic Bellas. We discuss their far-fetched endeavor with the cast and filmmakers to better understand our favorite aca-duo. [4] => Just Because He's a Bad Guy – The cast and filmmakers were overjoyed to learn that legendary actor, John Lithgow was joining the Pitch Perfect family, and he did not disappoint! In this piece, we'll witness how Rebel and John are two peas in a pod, making their on-screen chemistry as father and daughter truly sincere. [5] => "Freedom! '90 x Cups" Official Music Video ) [exclusive_hd_contents] => Array ( [0] => Deleted Scene [1] => Gag Reel [2] => New Musical Performances [3] => A Cappella Action – In this piece, we break down the scene starting with Fergus betraying Fat Amy and kidnapping the Bellas, through the performance and wrapping up with Rebel Wilson as she performs the stunt of falling through the ceiling. [4] => The Women of Pitch Perfect 3 – With Elizabeth Banks, Trish Sie, and an all-female cast, the Pitch Perfect franchise is breaking down stereotypes and industry norms left and right. In this piece, we learn why that's so important throughout the development and production of Pitch Perfect 3. [5] => The Final Performance – In this heart-warming piece, fans will witness the genuine love and sisterhood between the Bellas both on and off camera as they get a behind-the-scenes look at the emotional wrap of the film and production. [6] => Hollywood of the South – Hollywood may be the "Entertainment Capital of the World" but Atlanta is a close second - morphing into a metropolis for film productions and the cast and crews couldn't be happier. We hear from them about the hospitality, versatility and southern welcome they experienced during their stay. [7] => Extended Musical Performances ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Comedy, Music ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Anna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, Elizabeth Banks, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Trish Sie ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Now graduated from college, realizing it takes more than a cappella to get by, all the Bellas return in the final chapter in the beloved series. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there are no job prospects for making music with only your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for a European USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.

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After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren't job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.

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Ralph (Dean Cameron, Summer School) is just your typical, average vampire with love in his heart, music in his veins — and a curse on his head. Every 22 years, poor Ralph is doomed to lose his soulmate, Mona, at the hands of a rhinestone-peg-legged pirate brandishing a large hambone (just go with us on this). But this time around, with the help of his newly-formed band Rockula, Ralph is determined to crush the curse once and for all — and show Mona that when you're a vampire, true love is eternal … and rock 'n' roll never dies!

Directed by Luca Bercovici (Ghoulies) and featuring an eclectic cast of co-stars, including cult favorite Susan Tyrrell (Forbidden Zone) and recording stars Thomas Dolby, Toni Basil, and Bo Diddley, Rockula is an absolutely batty, bloody bizarre comedy!

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Mike Kendall (John Hawkes), a disgraced excop, is fighting a losing battle with the bottle. When he finds a woman left for dead at the side of a road, Kendall turns private eye to track down her killers, taking one last shot at redemption.

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In 1876 Australia, debonair outlaw Stingaree (Richard Dix), aided by his sidekick, Howie (Andy Devine), uses his wily charm to take what he wants and harass the ruling class. When he meets composer Julian Kent (Conway Tearle), who's on his way to see Mrs. Clarkson (Mary Boland), a promising new opera singer, Stingaree decides to take Kent's place at the performance. However, he quickly realizes the real talent belongs to Clarkson's servant, Hilda (Irene Dunne), and promises to make her a star.

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Stopping Traffic explores the pervasive reach of sex trafficking, especially of children in the U.S. and worldwide. Through commentary by victims and activists and investigations into practices in the U.S. and abroad, the film traces insidious links among child sexual exploitation, pornography, social media, and sex trafficking. It calls on the viewer to join the movement to end sex trafficking.

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Tom Hanks portrays suburbanite Ray Peterson, whose plans for a peaceful vacation are disturbed by a creepy new family on the block, in this outrageous suspense-comedy.

To the disappointment of his wife Carol, Ray decides to spend a relaxing week at home, and soon gets into trouble with his neighbors-a hefty busybody, a freaked-out ex-soldier, and a spacey teenager - as they observe the strange happenings next door at the Klopek's bizarre residence.

When the neighborhood grouch suddenly disappears, the men are convinced the ramshackle house hides some hideous clues. Armed with assault rifles, high-powered binoculars and a shovel, they decide to see for themselves exactly what is going on in the Kloped place. Set in an average neighborhood that is anything but average, THE 'BURBS blends slapstick comedy and spine-thrilling mystery with the type of witty humor that has made Tom Hanks one of today's most popular stars.  Save save

[review_introduction] =>

The archetypal cul-de-sac spirals into manic hysteria in Joe Dante's hilarious cult classic The 'Burbs, a satirical allegory on Cold War tensions and a biting cynical look at suburban life that oddly feels as relevant today as ever. Shout! Factory welcomes the dark comedy favorite to the neighborhood as collector's edition Blu-ray with an excellent remastered video, fantastic audio and a healthy collection of supplements, making the overall package a Recommended addition to any cult library. 

[review_movie] =>

Suburbia is under attack by a shadowy, seditious presence threatening the status quo in Joe Dante's hilarious cult classic The 'Burbs, and it's up to the private citizens of an idyllic middle-class neighborhood to protect it. However, the threat isn't from a foreign power immediately forcing its oppressive rule via a violent overthrow, a popular thematic device and motif that infiltrated many action flicks of the 1980s. Instead, it springs forth from the paranoia and suspicion growing within the unrestrained imagination of the bored, purposeless residents of a quiet, perfectly manicured cul-de-sac. It's a fun twist to a prevalent theme that digs to a very real, commonplace sentiment about foreignness that understandably grew from Cold War tensions, a satirical allegory that draws battle lines right at the heart of the problem itself: a misunderstanding of those perceived as different, strange and other. Of course, by film's end, the bad vibes coming from an unusually creepy family are ultimately warranted, which is only in paying service to the film's horror elements while giving audiences one final ironic gag, but the central idea remains intact.

Working from a script by Dana Olsen (Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Inspector Gadget, George of the Jungle), Dante doesn't shy away from this fact and practically goes out of his way to make the point clear as day, virtually ensuring audiences wouldn't mistake his film for anything other than what it is. After opening with the Universal Studios logo of a turning world, the globe conveniently slows on North America, and the camera quickly zooms down the center before settling on the quiet, innocent neighborhood of Anywhere, U.S.A. It's an intentionally clichéd image of suburbia that suspiciously looks a lot like the street where The Munsters once resided and vampire Jerry terrorized horrorhound Charley, which in actuality is not the same set or location but only reflects back to the homogeneous, nondescript quality of the neighborhood. Dante immediately jumps to the plot's creepy aspect with everyman Tom Hanks as Ray Peterson, an average, blue-collar Joe wanting to spend his vacation at home with family, literally crossing into the unknown on a dark, windy night when next-door neighbors make a loud ruckus.

The next morning, we wake to more suburban truisms of a rude paperboy on a bike carelessly chucking newspapers while introducing the rest of the cast, starting with the curiously keen-eyed and hormonal teen Ricky Butler (Corey Feldman), who serves as our chorus-like observer and quasi-commentator. A very funny Rick Ducommun also stars as Ray's best friend Art, whose endless meddling in other's lives, as shown during breakfast when eating Carrie Fisher's cooking without so much as a please or a thank you, is the result of the apathy and monotony in his own life. Across the street, an equally hilarious Bruce Dern plays veteran Mark Rumsfield, a gung-ho patriot always itching for some action and finds it in his neighborly war with the old, prickly Walter (Gale Gordon) and his pesky dog. One of the production's more amusing aspects is showing Ray, Art and Mark's unwarranted mistrust of the one weird, spooky house with the unwatered lawn and dilapidated air as ultimately nothing more than a little boy's game, one that apparently goes too far and in need of Fisher's mediating, basically putting Hanks in a timeout.

The wickedly clever and delightfully charming black comedy romp toys with Cold War notions in the eccentric Klopek family, an uncommonly foreign name that suspiciously sounds Eastern European. Henry Gibson, Brother Theodore, and Courtney Gains are terrific in their roles, raising our own suspicions of them while still managing to carry a macabre, eerie air about them with Gibson doing marvelous as the mad scientist type and Theodore just being all around hair-raisingly menacing. Working carefully with cinematographer Robert M. Stevens, Dante displays a talent for balancing horror with comedy, which was first seen in Gremlins and most recently in Burying the Ex, without one overwhelming the other and maintaining an engaging story to the very end. During its original 1989 theatrical run, those tensions that influenced much of the plot were already starting to wane and the film was a moderate critical and box-office success. Over the decades, however, The 'Burbs has garnered a strong following amongst those who better appreciate its satirical take on suburbanites, making it a beloved cult classic.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Shout! Factory brings Joe Dante's The 'Burbs to Blu-ray as a single-disc Collector's Edition under the distributor's Shout Select line. The Region A locked, BD50 disc is housed inside a blue, eco-elite case with brand new reversible cover art and cardboard slipcover. At startup, viewers are taken to an animated menu screen with music.

[review_video_picture_id] => 82114 [review_video] =>

Shout welcomes cult enthusiasts back the neighborhood with a satisfying and great-looking 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that was made from a new 2K resolution scan of the intermediate positive. The end result is frankly the best the movie has ever looked, besting both Universal's 2016 Blu-ray and Arrow's 2014 UK SteelBook. However, the movie comes with the same poorly resolved sequences and blurry moments as those previous releases, suggesting these issues are related to the condition and age of the source or inherent to the original photography. In either case, the dark comedy favorite has never looked better, showing a warmer color timing that feels more natural, and fans will be more than happy with the outcome.

Immediately apparent in daylight sequences, the presentation features excellent contrast balance, breathing new life into the neighborhood with a youthful, fantasy-like glow and crisp, brilliant whites in the clothing, houses and fluffy clouds. However, these are a couple instances suggesting that the contrast may have also been slightly boosted, just a tad, because a few hot spots tend to bloom and wash away some of the finer aspects. Thankfully, it's nothing too distracting or egregious, as black levels remain true and accurate with excellent shadow details in the darkest corners and poorly-lit interiors. As before, the colorful 80s palette benefits the most with richly-saturated primaries brimming with life and vitality while facial complexions appear healthier with slightly rosier lifelike textures. Awash with a very fine layer of natural grain that is more prominent during darker sequences, which is to be expected, the 1.85:1 image is not significantly sharper than its predecessor but still shows plenty of sharp definition in the clothing, houses and the whole neighborhood in general. 

[review_audio_picture_id] => 82115 [review_audio] =>

For all intents and purposes, the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo soundtrack sounds identical to what was heard on the previous release, and my thoughts on its quality have not changed, which I'll repeat here.

Imaging is terrifically engaging almost right from the start and continuously active, creating a spaciously wide and expansive soundstage. The lossless mix also exhibits excellent differentiation between the loudest and quietest moments, maintaining outstanding clarity in the higher frequencies while still delivering warmth and richness in the mids. Various noises and the subtle ambient sounds of the neighborhood are spread across the entire screen with convincing effectiveness and fluid, flawless panning. Vocals are distinct and precise in the center, allowing for the Klopeks's Eastern European accents to come through with believable variation. The low-end is impressively ample and responsive, providing the high-rez track with a terrific weighty presence.

Best of all, the design lends itself marvelously to the receiver's Dolby Surround or DTS: Neural:X up-mixing functionality, expanding the soundfield with several amusing atmospheric effects spreading into the rears. The score benefits most from the upgrade, filling the screen with music that bleeds into the front height channels with discrete clarity in the instrumentation and superb separation within the mid-range. 

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Audio Commentaries: Author and film critic Calum Waddell sits down with writer Dana Olsen to chat about the plot, the various themes, the performances and the overall production.

There Goes the Neighborhood (HD, 67 min): Ported over from the 2014 Arrow Video release and directed by Waddell, the making-of doc features recent cast & crew interviews sharing memories from the set.

Interviews (HD): A trio of new interviews commences with director Joe Dante (19 min) recollecting a few more details about the production and his thoughts on the movie's lasting legacy. This is followed with a series of questions asked of cinematographer John Hora (11 min) mostly sharing his thoughts on the movie. Finally, editor Marshall Harvey (10 min) is given a few minutes to also answer questions and impart some wisdom on his creative approach to editing a film.

Original Workprint (SD, 106 min): Taken from a VHS source that was borrowed from Joe Dante's personal archive, this alternate version of the movie features a few deleted and extended sequences.

Alternate Ending (SD, 7 min): The piece is a different take on Dr. Klopek trying to murder Ray in the ambulance and has him delivering a speech about the reasons for moving to the suburbs.

Still Gallery (HD): A pair of galleries showing production stills (6 min) and promotional posters (8 min).

Trailer (HD).

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Suburbia is under attack by a shadowy, seditious presence threatening the status quo in Joe Dante's hilarious cult classic The 'Burbs, a satirical allegory on Cold War tensions and a biting cynical look at suburban life. Starring Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, Bruce Dern, Rick Ducommun and Corey Feldman, the film is a fun twist to a prevalent theme that digs to a very real, commonplace sentiment about foreignness and remains just as relevant today as it was nearly thirty years ago. Fear and paranoia infect the Blu-ray neighborhood courtesy of Shout! Factory with an excellent remastered picture quality and the same great audio presentation as before. The supplements are a bit on the light side but entertainingly informative nonetheless, making the overall package recommended for cult enthusiasts and fans of anything 80s. 

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They’re big. They’re bad. They scuttle along in caverns miles beneath the Earth – until an earthquake opens paths to the surface. Now, these monsters of genus Arachnida are invading our world with deadly force! With top special effects co-designed by King Kong’s Willis O’Brien, The Black Scorpion is horror with a sting more lethal than the king-sized ants that overran Los Angeles’ sewers in the classic Them! Can humankind survive these invincible juggernauts? That fate rests on the shoulders of Hank Scott (1950s monster-movie stalwart Richard Denning) as the creatures rip a train from its track, snatch a helicopter from the sky and, in the film’s most gripping sequence, battle each other in their subterranean lair. Watch out!

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In medieval Europe, crusading knights massacre a village full of suspected devil worshipers and build a large Gothic church above the cursed remains. It is now present day, and this elaborate cathedral still stands. But when its sealed crypt is accidentally reopened, a group of people trapped inside the church become possessed by the fury of the damned. Can the blood of the innocent survive this unholy communion or will the ultimate demonic evil be unleashed upon the world?

The Church was co-written and produced by maestro Dario Argento (Suspiria) and sealed the reputation of director Michele Soavi (Stagefright, Cemetery Man) as the new master of Italian horror. Originally known as Demons 3, this visually stunning shocker features a remarkable score by Goblin and Keith Emerson. Starring Tomas Arana, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Hugh Quarshie, Barbara Cupisti, and Antonella Vitale. 

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The Divine Order is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote. When unassuming and dutiful housewife Nora (Marie Leuenberger, winner of a Best Actress award at Tribeca) is forbidden by her husband to take a part-time job, her frustration leads to her becoming the poster child of her town s suffragette movement. Her newfound celebrity brings humiliation, threats, and the potential end to her marriage, but, refusing to back down, she convinces the women in her village to go on strike...and makes a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Uplifting and crowd- pleasing, this charming, captivating film is a time-capsule that could not be more timely.

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The movie is about two siblings who live in complete isolation with their father. They are both his "sons". One day the father kills himself by hanging and his sons decide one of them needs to Go to the nearby village to get a coffin. While in the village it is unveiled that the one son is actually a female although she has no idea of that (she has no idea of sexuality and thinks she was castrated when she was very young and that is why she doesn't have testicles). It also become apparent she has been being used for sex by her brother and there are even more nefarious occurrences which have been happening on their property.

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The estimable Richard Fleischer (Fantastic Voyage, The Boston Strangler) directs Stirling Silliphant’s adaptation of Joseph Wambaugh’s compulsive bestseller, The New Centurions, focusing on a group of rookie cops who make their way from the LAPD police academy to the city’s very mean streets. George C. Scott stars as a wise but embittered veteran along with Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jane Alexander, and Rosalind Cash. 

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Spiritual rapture and institutional hypocrisy come to stark, vivid life in one of the most transcendent masterpieces of the silent era. Chronicling the trial of Joan of Arc in the days leading up to her execution, Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer depicts her torment with startling immediacy, employing an array of techniques—including expressionistic lighting, interconnected sets, and painfully intimate close-ups—to immerse viewers in her subjective experience. Anchoring Dreyer’s audacious formal experimentation is a legendary performance by Renée Falconetti, whose haunted face channels both the agony and the ecstasy of martyrdom.

[review_introduction] =>

Most silent films today endure primarily for their academic value, but The Passion of Joan of Arc remains riveting and vital even without spoken dialogue. The Criterion Collection Blu-ray presents a terrific restoration from the best surviving source, backed with some enlightening bonus features. Highly Recommended.

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Widely regarded as one of the greatest silent films ever made, if not the greatest, director Carl Theodor Dreyer's La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) was very nearly lost to history. Controversial upon its release in 1928, the movie was criticized by the Catholic Church, was censored by various government bodies, and was even banned in Britain. Worse, the master negative was destroyed in a fire, forcing Dreyer to assemble a second version of the movie comprised of alternate takes and unused footage, edited as closely to the first version as possible. The negative for that was then destroyed in a second fire, and surviving release prints were subjected to heavy editing and alteration at the hands of censors and misguided restoration efforts.

For decades, the only ways to see the film were in forms its creator had denounced. Dreyer went to his grave believing that his intended version of the movie had been lost forever. Were it not for something resembling divine providence, The Passion of Joan of Arc would exist today only in fragments of its original greatness. Miraculously, in 1981, a complete print of Dreyer's first, uncensored version of the movie was discovered hidden away in, of all places, a storage closet at a mental institution in Oslo, Norway. That print then became the basis for one of the most important resurrections in cinema history.

The film itself is not a traditional bio-pic of its title subject (if there even were such things as traditional bio-pics in 1928). Presuming that viewers already know the history, it spends no time explaining who the real Jeanne d'Arc was or detailing her famed exploits leading battles to drive English invaders out of France. If you need that story told, Hollywood turned it into a sweeping epic starring Ingrid Bergman in 1948, and French pop auteur Luc Besson did a version with Milla Jovovich in 2000. Dreyer, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on the Maid of Orléans' trial for heresy and eventual execution by a tribunal of pro-English judges and clergy. Although compressed for time, much of the film is based on historical transcripts of the real trial, with little narrative embellishment. Viewers are thrust into the heroine's final days with no context for what brought her to that point – not that much is needed. The key ideas that Jeanne is being persecuted for her belief that her actions were ordained by God himself, and is being railroaded as a political scapegoat, come through clearly anyway. Because this is a silent film, dialogue (in the form of intertitles) is used sparingly. The story is told almost exclusively through images and performance.

The Passion of Joan of Arc 1

In recent years, the real Jeanne d'Arc's ecstatic visions have been interpreted as possible signs of mental illness rather than actual holy revelations. Besson's film played with that suggestion, but Dreyer had no such revisionist tendencies. He presents Jeanne simply and directly as a beatific figure, and the movie neither questions nor dwells on her alleged conversations with saints and angels. She believed them to be real, and nothing else matters. Her betrayal by her own king and her treatment from a kangaroo court tribunal were travesties regardless.

For the lead role, Dreyer cast Renée Falconetti (sometimes credited as Maria Falconetti), a stage actress who had only appeared in one film previously and would never do so again afterward. 35 at the time, she was much older than the historical Jeanne, who died at 19. Due to the nature of the material, she makes no attempt to play into the popular image of Jeanne as a fearsome and impulsive warrior, or a figure of unbreakable will and resolve. Instead, her Jeanne is tormented and despairing. At this point in her life, she has nothing left but her faith, which is tested at every moment. The story and its telling are utterly harrowing, but they wouldn't be nearly as effective without Falconetti's riveting portrayal. Legend has it that Dreyer (often a cold and demanding filmmaker) emotionally abused the actress on set to get the intensity he wanted, which of course must be seen as problematic from today's vantage point if true. However, other accounts deny that story, and so much time has passed now that we may never know the truth. Whatever actually drove it, Falconetti's performance has frequently been praised as one of the greatest ever committed to celluloid.

Dreyer stages the action on only a handful of sparse sets with actors wearing simple costumes, photographed primarily in a series of tight, unforgiving close-ups that magnify every tiny expression on each actor's face. The field of view is often narrowed even further by vignetting around the edges of the frame. Rather than limit his visual expressiveness, the director marries this technique to a rapid editing rhythm, swirling camerawork, and stunning montages that still startle in their innovation. This is a work made by an artist in full command of the medium as few others had been or ever would be.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

The Criterion Collection released The Passion of Joan of Arc on DVD way back in 1999, which would explain the title's very low spine number of just 62 even on the new upgrade. In the meantime, the film first appeared on the Blu-ray format over in the UK in 2012 as part of Eureka!'s Masters of Cinema line. It has taken Criterion another six years beyond that to provide its own Blu-ray edition for the American market.

The disc comes packaged in one of Criterion's clear keepcases. The included 39-page booklet contains an essay about the film by critic Mark Le Fanu, an introduction written by Carl Theodor Dreyer in 1929, and printed lyrics for the Voices of Light libretto featured on one of the soundtrack options. The disc itself has a very simple, silent menu.

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The bonus features on the Criterion disc go into some detail about how miraculous it is that The Passion of Joan of Arc still exists at all, much less that it exists in its original form, fully intact. What's more, the Oslo print remained in excellent condition and had apparently only been projected rarely.

The liner notes in Criterion's booklet are uncharacteristically skimpy with details about the video transfer, other than to mention that it's derived from a restoration performed by French studio Gaumont. My assumption is that Criterion licensed a completed video master and had little or no technical involvement in its creation. Regardless, it looks extraordinary considering the circumstances. The 1.33:1 black-and-white image may be heavily grainy and suffer faint vertical scratches in many scenes, but those issues are hardly distracting. More importantly, it also features excellent grayscale, rich contrast, and an outstanding amount of detail and texture reproduced in breathtaking clarity. The movie is largely comprised of close-up shots, and in most of them you can count every wrinkle, hair, and skin pore.

The Passion of Joan of Arc 2

Criterion also provides two different versions of the movie that run at different frame rates, one at the sound sync speed of 24 fps (encoded in 1080p/24 format) and another at a slower 20 fps (1080i/60Hz). Although both consist of the same footage, the frame rate difference adds 15 minutes to the run time of the latter. Both versions are legitimate. During the silent era, there was no universally standardized projection rate, and in fact the photography may have varied in speed from scene to scene due to the nature of the hand-cranked cameras. Audiences of the day were also accustomed to movies being a little faster and snappier than real life.

Watching both, the 24 fps version looks slightly sped-up (though not overly), while the 20 fps version has motion that looks more natural to a modern eye. However, the change in speed also has significant impact on the tone and pacing of the film, not to mention the choice of very different musical scores timed to each. Arguments can be made in favor of preferring either version over the other.

All intertitle cards in the 24 fps version are in French language and were recreated digitally, while those in the 20 fps version are in Danish and appear to come from the vintage print. The disc defaults to adding optional English subtitles to both.

The Passion of Joan of Arc 3

[review_audio] =>

Like most silent films, The Passion of Joan of Arc was projected with live musical accompaniment in many theaters. However, no record exists of director Dreyer either commissioning or authorizing one definitive score. Over the decades, a number of musicians have contributed scores in a variety of styles, from classical to modernist. Criterion offers three options, two for the 24 fps version of the movie and one for the 20 fps version. The movie can also be played silently at either frame rate if desired.

In my opinion, the best of the musical options is composer Richard Einhorn's 1994 Voices of Light, an operatic libretto that incorporates Medieval writings in the lyrics and the sound of the bell from the actual church where Joan had prayed. The score is sweeping and stirring, and intensifies the story's feelings of both dread and of religious ecstasy.

Also synced for 24 fps playback is a 2010 score by Will Gregory (of the electronica band Goldfrapp) and Adrian Utley (of Portishead). Theirs is very different in style and tone, heavily featuring guitars, drums and synths. It's interesting as an alternative, especially in the ways it emphasizes different parts of the story, but the modern sound is a little jarring played over the period setting.

At 20 fps, the only choice is a piano score by Mie Yanashita, composed in 2005. It's the most traditional score, and perhaps even the most akin to something that could have been heard in 1928. Some of the music is very lovely, but it misses the intensity of either other option and, combined with the slower playback speed, the tone feels a little too low-key.

The Einhorn track is encoded in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 format and sounds rich and enveloping. Both the Gregory/Utley and Yanashita scores are PCM stereo. All have excellent fidelity.

The Passion of Joan of Arc 4

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The Blu-ray carries over the audio commentary from Criterion's 1999 DVD, but the other features are technically new (though some may have overlap with content from the DVD).

  • Audio Commentary – Synced to the 24 fps version, Danish film scholar Casper Tybjerg provides a great deal of historical context for the events in the movie, including identifying the real names of all the judges seen on screen. He compares the historical record to the artistic license of Dreyer's conception and discusses the filmmaking techniques. The commentary is educational in tone, but very interesting and informative.
  • About the Frame Rates (HD, 12 min.) – In an audio essay played over film clips, Tybjerg argues for his preference of the 20 fps playback speed and backs that opinion up with research. However, he also admits that the evidence is not conclusive.
  • About Voices of Light (HD, 11 min.) – Composer Richard Einhorn explains the diligent research he did when composing his score, which involved traveling to the real sites depicted in the movie and reading the original trial transcripts.
  • Adrian Utley and Will Gregory (HD, 15 min.) – The musicians talk about their intentions for their score, how they tried to avoid creating character themes, and how they allowed some room for improvisation. Their talk turns into a very technical discussion of musicianship.
  • Hélène Falconetti (HD, 9 min.) – Recorded in 1995 (and played as audio over still photos), the daughter of the film's star tells the story of how her mother was cast and offers some details about the production.
  • Version History (HD, 11 min.) – The many permutations the film underwent over the years are detailed. Clips from the infamous "Lo Duca version" (an alternate edit made without Carl Th. Dreyer's approval that was widely circulated before the discovery of the Oslo print) are shown.
  • Production Design Archive (HD, 4 min.) – A montage of behind-the-scenes photos, sketches, historical art and other documents.
  • Trailer (HD, 3 min.) – Fully silent with no music, this vintage preview contains some alternate takes and unique shots not found in any full version of the movie.

The Cutting Room Floor: What Didn't Make the Blu-ray?

Criterion's 1999 DVD also included different production notes, more information about Voices of Light, and an interactive essay about Joan's trial and the film's production. Some of this information may have made its way into the Blu-ray's newer features in other forms.

The Masters of Cinema Blu-ray from the UK offered an avante-garde score by Loren Connors, the complete "Lo Duca" version of the film, and a 100-page book filled with essays and photos.

The Passion of Joan of Arc 5

[review_bottom_line] => 1 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Whether or not you have any personal religious convictions, Carl Th. Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc is a cornerstone work of filmmaking art that deserves to be revisited often. Considering the movie's complicated history, the Criterion Blu-ray offers an almost unbelievably good video restoration, a choice of two different playback speeds and three different musical scores, and some very worthwhile supplements. This disc belongs in any serious film lover's collection.

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In the mode of The French Connection, The Seven-Ups (1973) is directed by the former film’s producer, Philip D’Antoni, and stars Roy Scheider as the leader of a crack squad of NYPD detectives bent on busting culprits whose offenses guarantee seven years or up in prison. The cops are nearly as out of line as the crooks, a dangerous bunch of miscreants connected to the mob. Featuring one of the most famous cinematic car chases ever, designed by the great Bill Hickman (The French Connection, Bullitt). 

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The Seven-Ups is an average 1970s police drama with an above-average car chase sequence thrown into the mix. It marked Roy Scheider's first crack at carrying a movie on his own, and Scheider fans should enjoy his performance here. Twilight Time's Blu-ray (limited to 3,000 units) has more bonus materials than their usual releases, and the A/V quality here is impressive for a movie of this age. Recommended.

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After the success of the Oscar-winning The French Connection in 1971, 20th Century Fox was anxious to revisit the gritty crime-drama genre. This resulted not only in 1975's The French Connection II, but in the earlier – and slightly more entertaining – The Seven-Ups, which was directed by The French Connection's producer, Philip D'Antoni; based on a real-life story by one of The French Connection's technical consultants – real-life former NYPD detective Sonny Grosso; and even stars The French Connection's co-star, Roy Scheider, in his first crack at lead actor. One would think all that would add up to another hit film, but The Seven-Ups feels rather standard, although it does feature one heck of a fun car chase.

Scheider stars as New York City cop Buddy Manucci, who is part of a crack squad of fellow officers who bend the rules a bit in order to nail thugs whose conviction in court will be seven years or more. Hence, their nickname, "The Seven-Ups". But it turns out that Buddy's team isn't the only ones going after the city's bad guys. There have been a series of kidnappings of mob loan sharks, who are being shaked down for ransom money. Little does Buddy know (although he will soon find out) that the man behind the kidnappings is his top informant and good friend, Vito (Tony Lo Bianco). Buddy's interest in the kidnappings turns to anger and the quest for revenge when one of his fellow squad buddies is gunned down by Vito's two hired henchmen (played fiendishly by Richard Lynch and Bill Hickman).

The highlight of the movie, by far, is a car chase that comes around the midpoint of the film and probably takes up about 15 minutes of screen time. The sequence was designed by stuntman Bill Hickman (who conveniently plays the driver of the bad guys' car), who also choreographed the great car sequences in both The French Connection and Bullitt. This chase involves the henchmen in a Pontiac Grand Ville being chased by Scheider's character in a Pontiac Ventura Sprint. The pursuit goes through Manhattan, across the George Washington Bridge, and onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway in New Jersey...and it's great fun to watch if you're into such things. Of course, it doesn't hurt that in 1973, stuntmen were still using real cars on real roads with no CGI enhancements. The chase looks and feels "real" and it alone is enough to make this title recommended.

Where The Seven-Ups disappoints is simply in terms of a more defined/complex screenplay. The story is pretty simple here, and despite that great sequence I described above, there's not a whole lot more worth tuning in for. Because the car chase happens at the movie's midpoint, the climax – which involves both a shootout and Buddy finally confronting Vito about what he's done – can't be anything but a letdown considering what came before it. The film also suffers from a characterization problem. We learn very little about any of these characters outside the plot they are involved in. If Buddy has a home, a family, or any interests outside of being a detective, we never learn about them...in fact, I don't think the movie ever even shows where he lives.

But thanks to that impressive car chase, a pretty well-photographed film (by cinematographer Urs Furrer), and the charisma of Scheider (although not nearly as good here as he would be a couple years later in a small movie about a shark), The Seven-Ups is worth picking up. The film, plus the impressive transfer and nice selection of bonus materials on the Blu-ray, all add up to a title that comes recommended, if not as enthusiastically as I had hoped (this review was my first exposure to the movie).

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

The Seven-Ups mixes it up on Blu-ray with this Twilight Time release (provided to the distributor by 20th Century Fox) that is limited to 3,000 copies. The 50GB disc comes packaged inside a clear Elite keepcase along with a six-page booklet with an essay about the film by Julie Kirgo. There are no front-loaded trailers on the Blu-ray, whose main menu features the same artwork that graces the box cover with menu selections across the bottom of the screen.

The Blu-ray in this release is region-free.

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The Seven-Ups was shot on 35mm film using the Arriflex 35BL and is presented here in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. There were some early reports when this title was announced that the movie was getting a full 4K restoration for this release. However, nothing currently on the Twilight Time website (www.screenarchives.com) or anything on the box cover or the enclosed booklet says anything about it. So while I can't confirm that this is a 4K restoration (after all, the Blu-ray only plays back in 1080p), I can confirm that the image here looks wonderful.

Aside from a moment or two in the very opening credits, the print appears to be virtually free of any dirt, debris, or glitches that are common with a film of this age. While grain is evident in every shot, it's never obtrusive, even in some of The Seven-Ups darkest sequences. Details are strong, without giving the impression that they've been over-sharpened or suffer from the over-application of DNR. Skin tones are mostly consistent throughout. There is some occasional shimmering during camera pans (particularly across cityscapes), but those were the only flaws I picked up on.

In short, this is likely one of the better transfers of an older title we'll see all year from a studio. It's impressive enough that it made me wonder why 20th Century Fox (who provided the transfer to Twilight Time) didn't think enough of their movie to give it a full-blown studio release. Regardless, if you're a serious movie collector and/or a Roy Scheider fan, you'll want to pick this title up before the 3,000 copies available vanish.

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Aside from two isolated music tracks and a director's commentary (all detailed below in our Supplements section), the only audio offered here is an English 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio mono track. Since the movie was released with a mono track back in 1973, this is a fairly representative presentation of how the film sounded in theaters. Although mono, the playback is actually in 2.0, with the same audio coming out of both the right and left speakers. This is also true of the bonus tracks offered on this disc.

As mono tracks go, this one sounds great, without the hint of any glitches, muddiness, or dropouts. Yes, it does sound a little "flat" at times, but that's to be expected from a mono track of a movie that's 45 years old. So while it won't "wow" you, the audio here is more than serviceable for this release.

Subtitles are available in English SDH.

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Audio Commentary – Richard Harland Smith of Turner Classic Movies hosts this commentary of the movie, which is loaded with historical facts and trivia about the film. While Smith is obviously using notes to give his presentation (resulting in some dialogue that seems scripted rather than natural) this is a great track that is certainly worth a listen.

Isolated Music Track of the Don Ellis Film Score – Don Ellis's score sounds more like it was designed for a thriller or horror movie than for a film such as this one, but here's your chance to hear his work sans dialogue or other ambient noises. Like the featured audio track, it's presented in 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio.

Isolated Music Track of the Unused Johnny Mandel Score – Mandel, who scored such movies as M*A*S*H and The Verdict wrote a score for this movie, but it was rejected. Here, viewers get a chance to hear what they missed, although it's unclear whether the tracks are placed in the moments of the movie where they would have been used. It's a more typical score for a cop movie than the one done by Ellis, which may be why it was turned down.

Introduction by Director-Producer Philip D'Antoni (HD 0:10) – An extremely short thank you from The Seven-Up's director.

The Seven-Ups Connection (HD 21:32) – Wondering why Philip D'Antoni gave such a short intro to the movie on the bonus feature above? It's because he doesn't think much of his movie...it's something he did, released, and promptly forgot about. Still, the director-producer gives 20-plus minutes worth of interview footage here discussing his film career.

A Tony Lo Bianco Type (HD 18:07) – The actor discusses his role in the movie and the actors he worked with.

Real to Real (HD 24:48) – Technical Adviser Randy Jurgensen (a former NYPD detective) talks about how real-live police events inspired the story of The Seven-Ups.

Cut to the Chase (HD 13:51) – A look at the big car chase sequence in the movie.

Anatomy of a Chase: Behind the Scenes of the Filming of The Seven-Ups (SD 8:18) – This is an archival featurette from 1973 that takes a look at the making of the movie, focusing primarily on the film's big car chase.

Randy Jurgensen's Scrapbook (HD 2:58) – A slideshow of behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot, narrated by Jurgensen.

Super 8 Version (HD 16:19) – Rough-looking Super 8 footage of select scenes from the movie shown in the full-frame format.

Lobby Cards, Stills, and Media Gallery (HD 2:10) – A slide show of various promotional images for the movie.

Original Theatrical Trailer (SD 2:18) – The original trailer for The Seven-Ups.

Teaser Trailer (SD 1:10) – The original teaser trailer for The Seven-Ups.

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Although The Seven-Ups has some similarities to The French Connection (including participants behind and in front of the camera), it can't quite match the magic of that Oscar-winning movie, instead offering up a rather standard police drama whose biggest highlight is a fantastic car chase sequence. Still, a strong lead performance by Roy Scheider, an impressive transfer, and a nice selection of bonus materials make this Twilight Time release one that is Recommended.

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Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, and Kyle Chandler star in the suspenseful thriller about a young writer who finds accidental fame, then disappears without a trace.

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The great American auteur Samuel Fuller gives us, in Underworld U.S.A. (1961), a terrifyingly prescient look at a nation – on the surface serene and at peace – in which organized crime and big business have somehow merged. All this is seen through the eyes of a young man (Cliff Robertson) bent on avenging the death of his father at the hands of “punks” who turn out to be ubiquitous and working on both sides of the law. Also starring (wonderfully) Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay, and Richard Rust, and memorably shot by the great Hal Mohr (Rancho Notorious, The Wild One). 

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The 2018 CFP National Championship Game includes the commercial-free game broadcast as well as the trophy presentation. It's a great addition to any fan's collection!

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Flicker Alley, Lobster Films, and Blackhawk Films® are proud to announce the re-release of the restored 1902 hand-colored edition of Georges Méliès A Trip to the Moon, featuring new scores from composer/DJ Jeff Mills, musical group Dorian Pimpernel, and an improvised piano track by Serge Bromberg with optional narration written by Georges Méliès.

Once believed lost, a copy of the original, hand-colored version of Georges Méliès masterwork A Trip to the Moon was miraculously found in Barcelona, Spain in 1993. Initially thought too fragile to restore, the film underwent one of the most complex and ambitious film restoration projects ever. Three experts in film restoration Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation, and Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage used the most advanced digital technologies available to assemble and painstakingly restore the film s 13,375 fragmented frames.

Follow six scholars members of the Astronomers Club as they set off on an expedition to the moon! Traveling in a bullet-shaped rocket fired into space by a giant cannon, these voyagers arrive to meet the moon s inhabitants: the Selenites. Escaping the Selenties king, the scholars fall back to Earth in their rocket and are fished out of the ocean by a sailor. Applause and a triumphant parade for the six heroes concludes the first outer-space adventure in the history of cinema.

Flicker Alley, Lobster Films, and Blackhawk Films® are thrilled to present this re-released publication of the 1902 hand-colored edition of A Trip to the Moon. This deluxe dual-format edition features two brand new scores by Jeff Mills and Dorian Pimpernel, as well as an improvised piano track by Serge Bromberg with optional narration written by Georges Méliès.

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Abe and Phil's Last Poker Game is written/directed by world renowned neurologist and first time director, Dr. Howard Weiner. When Dr. Abe Mandelbaum moves into Cliffside Manor with his deteriorating wife Molly, he forms an improbable relationship with gambler and womanizer, Phil Nicoletti. While Abe feels moving into the home is the end of the road he soon realizes that his life is finding a whole new beginning. Abe and Phil’s friendship is challenged when a mysterious nurse claims that her biological father resides in the home. Without children of their own, both Abe and Phil jump at the chance to convince Angela, and themselves, that they are her father.

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A journey of discovery into how a Canadian craftsman and an American designer, with a father and son generation gap, team up to revive the ancient art of Japanese woodblock prints (Ukiyo-e) by juxtaposing traditional art with pop culture icons: video game heroes such as Super Mario and Pokémon. Now they are making a new print inspired from a cult hit game Shadow of the Colossus.

Ukiyo-e: The traditional art form known worldwide as the “Face of Japan” has over several hundred years inspired Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso to create their masterpieces. Today, there are less than 10 remaining craftsmen in Japan.

We follow the making-of of their new print and witness the miraculous collaboration of the two contrasting artists: old-school and new-school, artisanal and digital, who need each other to create inspirational for a global audience. We also feature iconic Japanese craftsmen who work with them, including Ichibei Iwano, who is the 8th generation handmade Japanese paper grand master.

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After director Fritz Lang vaulted to prominence with such masterpieces of German cinema as Metropolis and M, he brought his art to Hollywood films, including Fury, Ministry of Fear, The Woman in the Window and more trenchant tales of innocents caught in a web of seeming guilt. His last U.S. movie is this intriguing film noir about a novelist (Dana Andrews) out to expose the injustices of capital punishment. Working with his fiancée’s (Joan Fontaine) father, a newspaper publisher (Sidney Blackmer), he frames himself for murder, intending to produce exonerating evidence at the last moment. But the publisher suddenly dies, the evidence is lost…and that’s only the first twist in a brilliantly layered plot ideally suited to Lang’s talents.

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There is light and beauty, even in the darkest of worlds. Stranded on an island in a post-apocalyptic world, teenager Dinky and her friends hatch a dangerous plan to escape in the hope of finding a better life. Meanwhile, her old friend Birdboy has shut himself off from the world, pursued by the police and haunted by demon tormentors. But unbeknownst to anyone, he contains a secret inside him that could change the world forever.

Winner of the Goya Award for Best Animated Feature (where co-director Alberto Vázquez won the Best Animated Short Film prize in the same year) and full of unforgettable characters, Birdboy: The Forgotten Children is a darkly comic, beautiful and haunting tale of coming of age in a world gone to ruin.

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After a decade of stardom in Israel, American dancer Bobbi Jene Smith decides to leave behind her prominent position at the world-famous Batsheva Dance Company, as well as the love of her life, to return to the U.S. to create her own boundary breaking art. Tracking the personal and professional challenges that await her, Elvira Lind's film lovingly and intimately documents the dilemmas and inevitable consequences of ambition. BOBBI JENE delves into what it takes for a woman to gain her own independence in the extremely competitive world of dance and to find self-fulfillment in the process.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [8] => Array ( [review_id] => 56019 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => brimstoneglory [review_release_date] => 1520924400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Brimstone & Glory [picture_created] => [picture_name] => [manufacturer_name] => Oscilloscope Pictures [picture_source] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/pop-on-amazon.png [picture_source_195] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_235] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_300] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_660] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_alternate] => Box coming soon [picture_title] => Box coming soon [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/56019/brimstoneglory.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 67 [list_price] => 39.99 [asin] => B0794Y29Y8 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Viktor Jakovleski ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Viktor Jakovleski ) [review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [9] => Array ( [review_id] => 56035 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => callmebyyourname [review_release_date] => 1520924400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Call Me by Your Name [picture_created] => 1524077907 [picture_name] => callmecover.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Sony Pictures [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/04/18/120/callmecover.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/56035/callmebyyourname.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 132 [list_price] => 30.99 [asin] => B078FHJK18 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray/Digital ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.85:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English DTS-HD MA 5.1 ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English, English SDH, Spanish, French ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Audio Commentary [1] => Featurettes [2] => Music Video ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Drama ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Timothée Chalamet, Esther Garrel ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Luca Guadagnino ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

It’s the summer of 1983 in Italy, and Elio (Chalamet), a precocious 17-year-old, spends his days in his family’s villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading and flirting with his friend Marzia. One day, Oliver (Hammer), a charming American scholar arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father, an eminent professor. Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.

[review_introduction] =>

A wistful examination of self-discovery and first love, Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name is an uncommonly affecting portrait of bittersweet romance captured through aching cinematic form. A strong video and audio presentation help to further bolster the package, along with some very worthwhile supplements. Highly Recommended.

[review_movie] =>

"Is it better to speak or to die?"

Love and pain are irrevocably linked. To truly open oneself up to passion, also means laying oneself bare to potential heartbreak. This level of genuine vulnerability and emotional risk is part of what makes our most meaningful relationships so impactful, elevating their joys while making the possibility of their sudden loss all the more devastating. Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name intimately examines this beautifully delicate dichotomy, weaving a deeply affecting coming of age story steeped in the oscillating ecstasy and fragility of first love. 

Based on André Aciman's novel of the same name, the story takes place in the 1980s and focuses on Elio (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17-year-old who lives with his parents in Italy. Needing a research assistant, Elio's father (Michael Stuhlbarg) hires an American grad student, Oliver (Armie Hammer), to help him with his work. While living with the family for the summer, Oliver develops an initially contentious friendship with Elio, but soon their connection starts to evolve in unexpected ways. As Elio explores his burgeoning sexual identity, the two men open themselves up to romance.  

When we first meet Elio and Oliver, their interactions together are mostly inconsequential, with little hint of what will eventually unfold. Gradually, however, we start to see a curiosity in Elio toward the older man which slowly forms into a genuine longing and infatuation, initially masked by prickly antagonism. Palpable tension soon starts to delicately mount beneath the surface of their scenes together, layering escalating emotional subtext under otherwise innocuous conversations and outings. It's clear that something is forming between them, but the attraction remains completely unspoken. Until it's not.

The manner in which the director and performers handle this central relationship is quite powerful, creating an effortlessly natural, lived-in quality to the characters that makes their coupling feel so intimate and honest. Hammer conveys Oliver's outward confidence with charm, but it becomes clear that this surface bravado really only hides his fear of letting anyone in too close. For his part, Chalamet is equally convincing as Elio, fully selling the character's confusion, insecurities, misplaced aggression, and surprising courage. 

That latter attribute is conveyed brilliantly in one particularly important sequence, with Guadagnino using camera movement, composition, and blocking to enhance the shifting dynamics between the two characters. As Elio begins to bravely confess his feelings to Oliver, the director captures the moment in one extended take, reinforcing the pair's figurative disconnect by physically having Elio in the foreground and Oliver in the distant background of the shot, both circling a war memorial. By the time Oliver realizes exactly what he's being told, the characters have come back together on the other side of the statue, united not just in proximity, but also understanding. 

Though they volley the upper hand a bit between themselves as they sort out their attraction, once they both surrender themselves fully to their feelings, they appear to become equals. Of course, that point is certainly open to debate. As beautifully affecting as the movie is, some controversy has understandably arisen around the age gap between the two characters. Or, not so much the actual gap per say, but rather the particular moral ambiguity of a 24-year-old engaging in a relationship with a 17-year-old. It's a highly contentious topic, one that exceeds the scope of this review, but there have been some interesting pieces written about the subject, including a very even-handed article from Slate, which more or less sums up my feelings on the matter. 

"Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." At its core, that's really all Call Me By Your Name is about, but despite how potentially trite that underlying theme might seem, the movie manages to approach this subject with a rare level of sensitivity and cinematic power. Uncommonly poignant in execution, the film uses the story of one young man's sexual and romantic awakening to illuminate a larger universal and achingly human experience, giving visual form to the ephemeral joys and sorrows of first love -- to intangible emotions best brooded upon by a warm, flickering light.     

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Sony presents Call Me By Your Name on a BD-50 Blu-ray disc housed in a standard keepcase. Instructions for a MoviesAnywhere Digital Copy are included inside. After some skippable trailers, the disc transitions to a standard menu. The packaging indicates that the release is region A, B, and C coded.

[review_video_picture_id] => 82600 [review_video] =>

The movie is provided with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Despite some minor inconsistencies, this is a pleasingly filmic image marked by potent cinematic style.

Shot on film, the source is in pristine shape with a light to moderate layer of natural grain visible throughout. With that said, grain does spike during a few darker shots and while seemingly authentic to the director's intentions, the photography can have a faintly fuzzy quality to it. Overall clarity, however, is still very strong, especially during bright outdoor scenes set throughout the idyllic Italian locations which offer a great sense of depth and fine texture in leaves and clothing. Colors are also nicely saturated, with a palette marked by rich greens and yellows. A fun sequence set at an outside dance club is particularly vibrant, bathing the screen with purple and blue lights. For the most part, contrast is nicely balanced, but some indoor and nighttime sequences can appear a little dim and flat with slightly elevated blacks that get a tad muddy in the shadows. 

There are some minor irregularities, but by and large, the transfer appears authentic to the source with an often gorgeous picture.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 82601 [review_audio] =>

The film is presented with an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, along with optional English SDH, English, French, and Spanish subtitles. Modest yet quietly immersive, the mix bolsters the film's wistful tone very well.

Speech is clean and crisp throughout with no quality or balance issues. Though subtle, the soundstage offers a delicately enveloping sense of atmosphere, spreading birds, wind, ringing bells and other background effects throughout the room, creating gentle but effective layers of texture for each location. Directionality and imaging are always natural, organically transitioning and positioning effects from speaker to speaker when called for. Surround use is restrained, but the side speakers do carry appropriate ambience. LFE is understandably muted considering the film's genre and style, but bass does perk up during a dance scene and a rainstorm. Likewise, the score's mix of classical compositions and beautifully produced original pop songs by Sufjan Stevens comes through with fantastic separation and fidelity.

Call Me By Your Name won't be giving anyone's home theater system a true workout, but the artistically measured sound design offers a surprisingly compelling sense of space and environment.      

[review_supplements] =>

Sony has included a nice selection of supplements, offering a commentary and some worthwhile interview material with the cast and crew. All of the special features are presented in 1080p with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Commentary with Timothee Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg – The actors offer a soft-spoken, relaxed track with a steady stream of insights into the production and story, touching upon everything from wardrobe choices and on-set anecdotes to details about the font used in the main titles sequence. Though not always the liveliest discussion, this is a worthwhile listen for fans of the film. 

Snapshot of Italy: The Making of Call Me By Your Name (HD, 11 min) – Here we get some cast and crew interviews discussing how the project got off the ground, along with insights into the film's themes, central relationship, music, casting, and visual style. Brief but informative, this is a solid inclusion. 

In Conversation with Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Luca Guadagnino (HD, 25 min) – This is a great Q&A session with the cast and director following a screening of the film. The participants elaborate on the characters, casting, final shot, and Stuhlbarg's much celebrated monologue.  

"Mystery of Love" by Sufjan Stevens (HD, 4 min) – A music video for the film's original song is presented with clips from the movie.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2 min) – The movie's trailer is included.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 82602 [review_bottom_line] => 1 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name is a bittersweet and deeply poignant tale of love and growth. Beautifully realized through affecting performances and a quietly striking cinematic style, the film leaves a lingering impression. From a technical standpoint, the video and audio presentations are both good. Likewise, the included commentary and featurettes offer many worthwhile insights. Highly Recommended.   

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CHILDREN OF THE CORN: RUNAWAY tells the story of young, pregnant Ruth, who escapes a murderous child cult in a small Midwestern town. She spends the next decade living anonymously in an attempt to spare her son the horrors that she experienced as a child. Ruth and her son end up in a small Oklahoma town, but something is following her. Now, she must confront this evil or lose her child.

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Winner of top prizes at the Venice and Mumbai film festivals, Chaitanya Tamhane s Court is a quietly devastating, absurdist portrait of injustice, caste prejudice, and venal politics in contemporary India. An elderly folk singer and grassroots organizer, dubbed the people s poet, is arrested on a trumped-up charge of inciting a sewage worker to commit suicide. His trial is a ridiculous and harrowing display of institutional incompetence, with endless procedural delays, coached witnesses for the prosecution, and obsessive privileging of arcane colonial law over reason and mercy. What truly distinguishes Court, however, is Tamhane s brilliant ensemble cast of professional and nonprofessional actors; his affecting mixture of comedy and tragedy; and his naturalist approach to his characters and to Indian society as a whole, rich with complexity and contradiction. New Directors/New Films

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Called "dramatic, accurate and harrowing" by the San Francisco Chronicle and nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Downfall takes you into Hitler's bunker during the brutal and harrowing last days of the Third Reich.

In the eyes of Hitler's infamous secretary Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara, The Reader), optimism crumbles into grim realization and terror as it becomes clear that Germany's defeat is inevitable. As the Russian army circles the city, the dimly lit halls of the underground refuge become an execution chamber for the Führer and his closest advisors.

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (The Experiment) and featuring an indelible performance by Bruno Ganz (Nosferatu The Vampyre) as history's most notorious despot, Downfall gives a gripping insight into the madness and desperation of a tyrant's final hours.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [13] => Array ( [review_id] => 55539 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => drinksgiving [review_release_date] => 1520924400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Drinksgiving [picture_created] => 1519936200 [picture_name] => Drinksgiving.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Gravitas Ventures [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/01/120/Drinksgiving.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55539/drinksgiving.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2016 [run_time] => 80 [list_price] => 19.99 [asin] => B078X52WS1 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Comedy ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Pamela Mitchell, Jacob A. Ware, Keylor Leigh, Juan Antonio, Kari Lee Wasoba ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Matt Olmon, Bart Elfrink ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Sarah Douglas wants to throw a party since her old friends are in town for Thanksgiving, and, okay, maybe to show off her swanky new house and prove to everyone (including her skeptical parents), that she is a grown up. With the help of her best friend, Jake, she is determined to make this Drinksgiving the best one ever. She soon finds out that growing up is not the same for everyone. The parade of guests include some folks Sarah knows, but many she doesn't, including Joe, who brings a bag full of chili fixings. Then there is Aimee, Sarah's 'frenemy', Mandy who looks stuck in the 90's, choker necklace and all, pot-dealer Kyle, and finally, Sarah's best friend, Kelsey. When Kelsey reveals that she is not only engaged, but that her new beau, Lucas is an adult film star, Sarah's idea of growing up is washed away. Now, she must contend with the motley bunch of guests, Jake's personal needs, and Kelsey's reveleations, while maintaining her 'grown up' party.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [14] => Array ( [review_id] => 55460 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => f12017officialreview [review_release_date] => 1520924400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => F1 2017 Official Review [picture_created] => [picture_name] => [manufacturer_name] => Duke Video Distribution [picture_source] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/pop-on-amazon.png [picture_source_195] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_235] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_300] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_source_660] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/images/public/[email protected] [picture_alternate] => Box coming soon [picture_title] => Box coming soon [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55460/f12017officialreview.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 240 [list_price] => 18.95 [asin] => B078X9R36L [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Sports, Documentary ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Review of the 2017 Formula 1 racing season. 

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When “Fear the Walking Dead” returns for Season 3, our families are brought together in the vibrant and violent ecotone of the U.S.-Mexico border. With international lines done away with following the world’s end, our characters must attempt to rebuild not only society, but their families as well.

[review_introduction] =>

Fear the Walking Dead is a fantastic series and a great spinoff show of The Walking Dead. I would even go as far as to say it might be a little better in some cases as we get full story arc of all characters in each episode, whereas in the main series, we might get a whole episode only devoted to one character, which causes The Walking Dead to go by at a super slow pace. In Season Three, finding a place to settle down and avoid the dead as well as the living is the main story. With new characters coming into place and someone killing people in order to find out the scientific evidence of the undead, our main heroes have a lot to deal with. The video and audio presentations are both great, but the extras are less than desired. Add to that, the horrible menu setup to even find any of the extras without having to click several things. That still being said, this is a very good series and comes Recommended!

[review_movie] =>

Since 2015, The Walking Dead spinoff show Fear the Walking Dead has grown into its own beast with its unique style, characters, and story, some of which has been more engaging and entertaining than the main show. In its third season, things are less about the zombie epidemic and more about dealing with the apocalypse and finding a place to settle. One of the better things about Fear The Walking Dead is that each episode covers almost each character in the series, by weaving the big plot points in each scene. This is not the case with The Walking Dead, where some episodes focus solely on one or two characters alone, where we are forced to wait a few weeks to see the main characters or everyone together, which drags out the storyline even longer than it needs to be.

In season three of Fear the Walking Dead, we are still close together with the Clark and Salazar families, as well as Victor Strand, as they search for a new place to live which they hope is Mexico. Of course there are some obstacles along the way, mostly dealing with people who own land in this season. You have to remember that with Fear the Walking Dead, the world and society hasn't failed just yet like in the main series. This is the start of it, so things are still working in some form or fashion, which is definitely intriguing to see the inner-workings of society fail to what we eventually see on The Walking Dead.

In addition to the main "finding a place to survive" storyline, we also have a big character who has taken up learning about the undead and what makes them tick. The Catch-22 of this storyline, is that this specific character has taken up killing living people in order to conduct his experiments, which just makes this character a murderer. We also learn what lead to some of the big climactic moments of Season Two, along with some fairly good zombie makeup and deaths. Again, what sets this spinoff series aside from the main show is its ability to tell the multi-arc storylines all in one episode and its quick pacing.

Fear the Walking Dead is smart in its storytelling and never seems to stray off the path like The Walking Dead has done in the past. There are some new in-depth characters this time around and you can get a sense of how this show and the main series will cross paths here. Whether you're a fan or not of The Walking Dead, there is enough original and entertaining story and characters here that will keep you satisfied in this undead world. If Fear the Walking Dead continues on this path, count me in.

 

 

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

Fear the Walking Dead: Season Three has four 50GB Blu-ray Discs that are housed in a hard, blue plastic case with two inserts telling us when several AMC shows will be back for more episodes. There is also an insert for a digital copy as well, all of which comes incased in a cardboard sleeve. 

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Fear the Walking Dead: Season Three comes with a 1080p HD transfer that is presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The third season looks very good, with the detail looking very sharp and vivid at all times, especially in the lower lit scenes. Closeups reveal the gory practical makeup effects, wrinkles, individual facial hairs, and blemishes extremely well, while also having a decent filmic quality to the entire image. Wider shots of landscapes and cities look equally great, giving the image some great depth. 

Colors are well balanced and vivid in each scene. The blood is deep and rich with varying shades of gorgeous red. Other costumes showcase the worn out look very well as do the many different decaying skin tones on the undead. Black levels are always deep and inky, too. There are no issues with banding, aliasing, or video noise, leaving this video presentation with great marks.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 81962 [review_audio] =>

This release comes with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix and provides all of the necessary audio bits you'd expect from this horror TV series. Sound effects are loud and boisterous with appropriate directionality in every episode. Gunshots, explosions, and vehicles all have a powerful low end that brings hefty bass. Other noises of zombie growls and people yelling all sound terrific. 

Ambient noises of people walking, and distant screams and gunshots all sound robust in the rear speakers. The score of the series always keeps up with the suspense and dramatic issues in each episode. Dialogue is always clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and shrills.

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Audio Commentaries - There are only two audio commentary tracks here, one being on the first episode of the season, while the other is on the last episode of the season. Select cast and crew offer mundane information, trivia, and technical aspects of the making of the season and each episode. Not worth your time. 

Deleted Scenes (HD, 17 Mins.) - There are nine deleted scenes in total, spanning nine different episodes.  There are some decent character scenes, but nothing worthwhile. 

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 81964 [review_bottom_line] => 2 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Fear the Walking Dead: Season Three is a great addition to the series and world of this zombie apocalypse. The new and old characters all have their time to shine on screen with some in depth development. The visual effects of the undead look incredible and the plotlines are all worth the time it takes to tell them. The video and audio presentations are both wonderful, and while the extras might add some surface information, nothing is really entertaining or of value, as it's only two rote commentary tracks and a few deleted scenes. Still, if you're a fan of the series, this comes Recommended!

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Ferdinand, a little bull, prefers sitting quietly under a cork tree just smelling the flowers versus jumping around, snorting, and butting heads with other bulls. As Ferdinand grows big and strong, his temperament remains mellow, but one day five men come to choose the "biggest, fastest, roughest bull" for the bullfights in Madrid and Ferdinand is mistakenly chosen.

[review_introduction] =>

Adapting a classic piece of children's literature is no easy task. To take Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson's The Story of Ferdinand and expand it into the feature film Ferdinand, the filmmakers make the choice to go loud and colorful and play the film to the youngest in the audience with the shortest attention span. While the film can feel trite and weightless at times, there are some genuinely heartfelt moments as we watch the titular bull voiced by John Cena struggle to lead a peaceful life amongst the flowers. 20th Century Fox Brings Ferdinand to Blu-ray with a first-rate A/V presentation and some brief but decent bonus features. The kids will love it and you might enjoy it too. Recommended.

[review_movie] =>

I do not envy the task of adapting a classic children's book. The Story of Ferdinand by Muno Leaf and Robert Lawson is a simple story about a bull who wants nothing more than to sit on a hill under a tree and sniff the flowerers. How do you make a 108-minute movie out of that? You expand the hell out of it. You create dozens of new characters, a cute kid, a dog, maybe some horses - some more loud and obnoxious than others to keep the kids entertained. Then you add a couple song and dance scenes all the while trying to expand on the original themes. With all that weight, Ferdinand may not be a complete success, but its heart is in the right place making it at the very least a worthwhile watch.

Ferdinand (John Cena) had a rough start. When he was just but a little bull, his father was killed in the ring by the greatest Matador El Primo in Spain. In his grief, he ran away and found himself living on a flower farm with a little girl named Nina (Julia Saldanha), her father Juan (Juanes) and their scruffy dog Paco (Jerrod Carmichael). After getting stung on the bottom by a bee and rampaging through town during the annual flower festival, Ferdinand finds himself sent back to the ranch of his birth where he encounters all of the other bulls he was forced to train against. With El Primo searching for one last bull for his final fight, Ferdinand will have to work with his new "trainer" the goat Lupe (Kate McKinnon) in order to hatch a plan that allows everyone to escape the ranch. 

Ferdinand

Like Alexander and the Terrible No Good Very Bad Day, one of my favorite books from when I was a kid has been made into a feature-length movie. And like Alexander, the world probably could have gone spinning about its axis without a Ferdinand movie. That isn't to say that this loud and bombastic adaptation is worthless or doesn't have anything to offer, it's just so very much like any other loud colorful animated kids film that comes out every year that its indistinguishable from everything else. If's a fine film. It's fun and has its moments but at the same time, if you grew up loving the original book, you're not going to find much of that source material in this one. 

But then, this particular 35-year-old adult male without children is not who this movie was made for. It was made for a younger sort of human being, somewhere in the age range of his 2, 5, and 8-year-old nieces. Perhaps the best strength of Ferdinand is that it requires you to be a kid and just have fun with it. Fun is the operative word here. The film tries to inject a bit of a theme about the importance of not fighting… but it doesn't land. It's an afterthought that is pushed aside by loud characters who make a cacophony of noises to get the laughs from the little ones in the room.

Ferdinand

While it's far from a work of art and I question how it got a Best Animated Feature Film Oscar Nomination, I do have to tip my hat to the great voice cast in Ferdinand. I especially have to single out John Cena and Kate McKinnon as their energy is what keeps a lot of this film going and provide the best jokes. I've got a hunch that if anyone else had been cast a lot of the innocence of Ferdinand would have been lost and the timing of Lupe's gags would have been sour notes. At the end of the day, Ferdinand is just not a movie meant for the adults in the room - but it's one they're going to have to endure because the kiddos are sure to enjoy this one. It's noncommittal and doesn't require a focused attention span to get the humor. Kids'll love the characters, the colors, the songs. It's best not to compare it to the source material as the two couldn't be further apart from one another. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Ferdinand arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox in a 2-disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD set. Pressed onto a BD-50 disc, the discs are housed in a two-disc eco-friendly case with identical slipcover artwork. The disc loads up to trailers for other Fox Animation releases before arriving at an animated main menu with traditional navigation options. The included digital copy can be redeemed through Movies Anywhere. 

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Ferdinand arrives with a bold and beautiful 1080p 2.39:1 transfer. Like most Fox Animation offerings, the style of animation doesn't exactly call for intricate textures but instead favors a more cartoonish appearance - which lends itself well enough for this sort of film. Similar to their Ice Age offerings, the animals and critters that populate the cast of characters maintain that sort of exaggerated true to life stature. Ferdinand, even in his gigantic form with slick mat hair, maintains a weighty well-rendered appearance. But image accuracy to life-like creatures isn't what this movie is about. It's about the colors and the design. On that note, this flick is a real winner. Virtually every scene is an explosion of primary colors. As this movie was originally shown theatrically in 3D, the black levels are spot on and allow for a terrific sense of three-dimensional space. The big chase sequence is a particularly fun bit that makes me wish this was released on disc in 3D. As it stands, this is a pretty great 2D presentation.

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Ferdinand smashes its way to Blu-ray with a terrific DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio mix. From the opening moments with the young bulls at the ranch ragging on each other to the somber quiet moments to the film's exhilarating chase sequence, this audio mix delivers the goods. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout. Sound effects are lively and constantly spaced around the channels ensuring some terrific surround activity. The real impressive piece for me was any kind of heavy hoof fall or any moment when the bulls smashed heads there was a thundering quality to the impact that delivered a terrific LFE presence. As an active, frenetic kids flick with fast jokes and a lot of action, this is a great audio mix.

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As with most bonus feature packages cobbled together for kids flicks these days, the one brought together for Ferdinand may have a number of things to look at, but they hardly go into any great depth, a lot of fluff stuff. They do offer a few interesting moments and insights to make this at least worth looking at. 

Ferdinand's Guide to Healthy Living with John Cena (HD 3:09) Cena gives health tips - pretty much all there is as it's so short it's padded by clips from the movie. 

A Goat's Guide to Life (HD 3:08) A quick bit about Kate McKinnon's lovable goat.

Ferdinand's Team Supreme (HD 3:45) The other characters get about 20 seconds each in this very brief overview.

Spain Through Ferdinand's Eyes (HD 1:50) A quick look at the various locations of the film.

Confessions of a Bull Loving Horse (HD 3:22) If you've seen Flula's YouTube channel, you more or less have an idea of what to expect here.

Creating the Land of Ferdinand (HD 5:49) This is actually a pretty cool but too quick look at the design work of the film.

Anatomy of a Scene: The Bull Run (HD 4:03) It's short but it's an interesting piece about bringing this scene to life.

Learn to Dance with Ferdinand (HD 7:46)

Ferdinand's Do It Yourself Flower Garden (HD 6:49) Hosted by Lisa Ely, the title says it all.

Creating a Remarka-Bull Song (HD 3:51) Nick Jonas discusses writing the song that earned him an Oscar nomination.

"Home" Music Video (HD 3:14) Said song by Nick Jonas.

Art of Ferdinand Gallery (HD 3:47)

Trailer (HD 2:26)

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If you're going into Ferdinand expecting a literal and faithful recreation of a children's book classic, you're likely to be a little disappointed. I was - at first. But then I got into the fun of the film and ended up enjoying myself quite a bit. Ferdinand is far from perfect, but for the kids in the room, it will be a diverting colorful piece of entertainment. 20th Century Fox brings Ferdinand to Blu-ray in terrific order with a beautiful A/V presentation and some entertaining extra features. The only way this set could have been made better is by including a 3D disc. As it stands in 2D, Ferdinand is a lot of harmless fun that's easy to call Recommended.

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Ferdinand, a little bull, prefers sitting quietly under a cork tree just smelling the flowers versus jumping around, snorting, and butting heads with other bulls. As Ferdinand grows big and strong, his temperament remains mellow, but one day five men come to choose the "biggest, fastest, roughest bull" for the bullfights in Madrid and Ferdinand is mistakenly chosen.

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Ferdinand, a little bull, prefers sitting quietly under a cork tree just smelling the flowers versus jumping around, snorting, and butting heads with other bulls. As Ferdinand grows big and strong, his temperament remains mellow, but one day five men come to choose the "biggest, fastest, roughest bull" for the bullfights in Madrid and Ferdinand is mistakenly chosen.

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A group of rival collectors of severely deformed freakish human beings and the FBI agents that are investigating them must battle against some of their collections which aren't as dead as they seem...

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Based on the unbelievable but true events, I, Tonya is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived, and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan. Featuring an iconic turn by Margot Robbie as the fiery Harding, a mustachioed Sebastian Stan as her impetuous ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, a tour-de-force performance from Allison Janney as her acid-tongued mother, LaVona Golden, and an original screenplay by Steven Rogers, Craig Gillespie's I, Tonya is an absurd, irreverent, and piercing portrayal of Harding’s life and career in all of its unchecked––and checkered––glory.

[review_introduction] =>

It may not have nabbed a Best Picture Oscar nod, but I, Tonya stands as one of 2017’s finest flicks. Top-notch work from Margot Robbie and Oscar-winner Allison Janney distinguish Craig Gillespie’s biting, often riveting take on the notorious life of figure skater Tonya Harding. Universal’s Blu-ray presentation honors this electrifying motion picture with strong video and audio transfers and an array of supplemental material, and comes Highly Recommended.

[review_movie] =>

“I thought being famous was gonna be fun. I was loved for a minute. Then I was hated. Then I was just a punch line.”

Oh what a circus it was. When a baton-wielding thug whacked beloved American figure skater Nancy Kerrigan on the knee after a practice session on the eve of the 1994 U.S. Championships and just weeks before the Lillehammer Olympics, the ensuing brouhaha gripped the nation, pushing more important news off the front page and spawning a scandal-obsessed culture that persists - and sadly defines our society - to this day. What began as a seemingly freak, random assault exploded into a cause célèbre when investigators revealed the ex-husband of Kerrigan’s fierce American rival, Tonya Harding, might have masterminded the attack and Tonya herself might have known about and ok'ed it beforehand. As the Olympics drew near, coverage of the coming showdown between two ice princesses - one a sympathetic victim, the other an outspoken, often pugnacious pariah - dominated the airwaves and provided more guilty pleasure than a catfight between Krystle and Alexis on Dynasty.

Those who lived through it like I did will remember you couldn't turn on the TV without seeing endless reruns of Kerrigan screaming “Why?! Why?!” right after the incident or a barrage of breathless reports by CBS anchor Connie Chung, who relentlessly stalked Tonya as she trained for Lillehammer. Scripted denials and confessions, somber court hearings, and awkward primetime interviews with the bumbling conspirators followed, all of which led up to both the infamous "loose boot" episode that tainted a tearful Tonya’s Olympic free skate, and Kerrigan’s triumphant - yet strangely shocking and disappointing - silver-medal finish at the games. At the time, the Tonya-Nancy saga was deemed the apex of American scandal (the O.J. Simpson trial was still several months down the pike), and like a pack of starving wolves, we devoured every delectable morsel, chewing Tonya up and then spitting her out when our insatiable appetite for her hide finally abated.

It was all so real and yet surreal, and director Craig Gillespie’s captivating chronicle of Tonya’s rollercoaster life masterfully walks a tightrope between the two. I, Tonya, one of the year’s finest films (and most notable Best Picture Oscar snub), explores Tonya’s topsy-turvy, wild and utterly crazy world with a keen eye and precious little sentiment. Blending biting comedy, searing drama, and often hilarious mockumentary elements, Gillespie - aided by an incisive, pitch-perfect script by Steven Rogers that also should have earned an Oscar nomination - gets under Tonya’s prickly skin to reveal a tough, blunt, driven, combative, and completely indignant survivor whose greatest crime just might have been an uncanny knack for making the wrong decisions.

Based on “irony free, wildly contradictory, totally true interviews,” I, Tonya laces this outrageous, ripped-from-the-tabloids tale with a wicked sense of the absurd. A victim of physical and emotional abuse first at the hands of her monstrous mother, LaVona (Allison Janney), a crass, foul-mouthed woman who never gave her daughter an ounce of affection, and later by her weaselly, insecure husband, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), whom she married while still a teenager to escape LaVona’s strangulating grasp, the feisty Tonya (Margot Robbie) grew up fighting and through sheer strength of will became one of America’s top amateur figure skaters. She stubbornly did everything her way, bucking the sound advice of those who knew better, and aside from her prissy on-again, off-again coach, Diane Rawlinson (Julianne Nicholson), attracted a group of monumental losers who couldn’t have destroyed her more completely if they had tried. As spike-haired, spray-tanned tabloid reporter Martin Maddox (played with over-the-top glee by Bobby Cannavale) so astutely opines about the Kerrigan attack, “We had no idea that something like this could be done by two of the biggest boobs in a story populated solely by boobs!”

Take away the stupidity and it’s the stark, classic contrast between Harding and Kerrigan that piqued our interest 25 years ago and fuels this fascinating film today. Graceful, elegant, and refined, despite her working-class Boston background, Nancy carefully crafted an ethereal presence on the ice that consistently won the hearts of fans and raves from judges, who felt she personified the squeaky-clean, Barbie doll image of a female American figure skater. Tonya, on the other hand, was an athletic jumper with a brassy, often abrasive personality who wore her redneck background like a badge of honor, muscled her way through dull routines, favored heavy metal music, made her own costumes because she couldn’t afford to buy them, and performed perfunctory choreography with a lack of flair that resulted in low artistic scores and constant derision from the skating establishment. Desperate for validation and the fame and endorsements that should have come from being the first woman ever to land a triple axel jump in competition, Tonya, it seemed, would do anything to secure her place in both the spotlight and history books. She got her wish, but not on her terms, and at what cost?

Who knows what the truth is, and the movie doesn’t try to sort out the conflicting stories. Everyone tells their side and we're left to believe whomever we choose. All the viewpoints, though, are colorful (to say the very least), and the unexpected moments when the characters break the fourth wall and directly address the audience provoke welcome laughs. In addition, more formal, contemporary mock interviews allow almost everyone a chance to reflect on their respective dysfunctional pasts, comment on the unfolding action, and contradict the observations of others. Screenwriter Rogers must be an old movie fan, because he swipes a couple of key lines from two classic films, The Lion in Winter (“What family doesn’t have its ups and downs?”) and Stella Dallas (“Let me see her face”), both of which lend LaVona a whisper of humanity that keeps her from becoming too much of a caricature.

The story moves at a breakneck pace, thanks to brilliant, Oscar-nominated editing that stitches all the various story threads, flashbacks, and interview segments into a cohesive whole, and a kick-ass soundtrack compiled largely of hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s like ‘Devil Woman,’ ‘Barracuda,’ ‘25 or 6 to 4,’ ‘Goodbye, Stranger,’ and ‘The Chain’ that perfectly complement the action. Though the intentionally choppy, often frenetic presentation keeps viewers blissfully off balance, it belies the meticulous craftsmanship that distinguishes this superior film. The skating sequences seamlessly blend Robbie's own impressive skating with that of a trained double, and Gillespie takes great care to recreate a host of indelible moments as accurately as possible.

Robbie is a revelation as Tonya, capturing her mannerisms, speech patterns, and angry me-against-the-world aura. Yes, she's way too tall for the part and not very believable as an awkward 15-year-old, but once the story advances beyond its initial stage, she grabs the reins and rides Tonya's mercurial personality for all it's worth. It would be easy to play Tonya as a raging, white-trash harpy, and though Robbie does that part of the time, she adds plenty of subtle dimension to her portrayal to reveal the real person hiding behind the cartoon. It's a bravura performance that deserved the Best Actress Oscar nomination it received. Janney, of course, took home the Best Supporting Actress prize for her no-holds-barred turn as the wonderfully bitter, crude, nasty, cynical, and oh-so-violent LaVona. It's a show-offy role and Janney recites every deliciously snide line with relish. When she's on screen, she dwarfs everyone else, yet manages to contain her larger-than-life character and keep her grounded, despite LaVona's crazy antics.

Both performances dominate the picture, but you can't leave Sebastian Stan out of the conversation. From the moment he first appears, Stan embodies the skinny, nasal-voiced Gillooly, who initially seems like a mild-mannered dweeb, but soon exhibits a disturbing dark side. His is arguably the film's most natural and believable portrayal, though Paul Walter Hauser as delusional mama's boy Shawn Eckhardt, the man who hired the hooligans who attacked Kerrigan and probably should have been confined to the county hospital mental ward, also nails his outlandish role. 

Despite its often acerbic tone, I, Tonya is not a pretty tale and doesn’t reflect all that well on its subject or audience. Just like Tonya herself, America willingly enabled and participated in her destruction, and the film not only calls us out and cites our complicity, it also doesn’t absolve us of any guilt. The ever blameless, always defiant Tonya never takes responsibility for her actions, whatever they may have been. She never apologizes for anything either, and - to her credit - doesn’t expect any mea culpas from us. (From her perspective, she’s been beaten up all her life, why shouldn’t we beat her up, too?) Like the judges who fairly or not docked her scores and the media that greedily exploited her to a fare-thee-well, we may not like Tonya anymore now than we did then, but Gillespie’s film wins her a grudging measure of respect and more than a little sympathy. Does she deserve it after all these years? Watch this terrific movie and decide.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

I, Tonya arrives on Blu-ray packaged in a standard case inside a sleeve with embossed lettering and photo. A leaflet containing the code for the Movies Anywhere digital copy along with a standard-def DVD are tucked inside the front cover. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Once the disc is inserted into the player, previews for Ingrid Goes West and Beach Rats precede the full-motion menu with music.

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If you’re hoping for a lush, pristine transfer that’s as glossy as a freshly Zamboni-ed ice rink, you’ll be disappointed in the I, Tonya transfer. Yet that doesn’t mean this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 rendering from Universal doesn’t accurately reflect the picture’s original look and feel. Director Craig Gillespie chose to shoot the movie on film instead of digitally to achieve a natural, gritty appearance that reflects Tonya’s blue-collar background, redneck attitudes, and the story’s nefarious underpinnings. A variety of cameras, film stocks, and aspect ratios were used to achieve the desired effects, and this transfer seamlessly integrates them, fashioning a free-flowing visual experience that keeps us engaged throughout. Grain levels fluctuate as a result, but they’re always consistent with the action depicted. Contrast and clarity are excellent across the board, colors are bold and vibrant (especially reds and pinks), and flesh tones remain natural and stable. Deep blacks lend the image necessary weight, while crisp whites resist blooming. Superior shadow delineation keeps crush at bay, patterns and textures are well rendered, background elements are easy to discern, depth is palpable, and razor-sharp close-ups highlight pores, hairs, creases and wrinkles, and the garish make-up Tonya often wears. Best of all, not a single nick, mark, or scratch dots the pristine source material and any digital tinkering escapes notice. This high-quality, organic transfer really immerses us in this rollicking tabloid tale and heightens its impact.

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The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is as in-your-face as the film. There’s not a lot of nuance, but all the bold accents like gunfire, punches, body slams, and skate blades slicing into the ice are marvelously crisp and distinct. Surround activity isn’t as pronounced as one might like, but some periodic bleeds to the rears and noticeable stereo separation across the front channels creates a wide, enveloping soundscape. Strong bass frequencies provide a few potent rumbles, and a wide dynamic scale handles all the highs and lows of the hard-rocking ‘70s and ‘80s hits sprinkled throughout the track. No distortion or surface noise sullies the audio, and all the great dialogue is clear and easy to comprehend. Though not as flashy as some of Tonya’s skating, this solid track still has plenty of spirit and serves this exhilarating film well.

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Most new releases these days skimp on supplements, but the I, Tonya disc includes quite a few extras, which is good news for film fans.

Audio Commentary - Director Craig Gillespie sits down for a thoughtful and interesting commentary that explores multiple facets of I, Tonya. On the technical front, Gillespie explains his decision to shoot on film instead of digitally, why he used different film stocks, aspect ratios, and cameras, how face replacement was employed during the skating sequences, and how his music choices help maintain the script’s “energy and euphoria.” He also discusses breaking the fourth wall with the characters’ direct-to-camera remarks, adding visual layers to keep the audience “off kilter,” the “tricky dance” between humor and drama, the film’s “immediate, spontaneous” feel, and the frantic shooting schedule that kept everyone on their toes. He calls Sebastian Stan “a revelation,” offers continuous and hearty praise for Robbie’s performance and skating, points out Janney’s improvisations, and notes instances where CGI is used. Gillespie even looks at Tonya Harding’s relationships and hardships, analyzes society’s perception of her and culpability in her story, and expresses both sympathy for what she went through and recognition of her humanity. This is a strong commentary that’s well worth the time investment, if you’re a fan of the movie and the events surrounding it.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 17 minutes) - Four excised scenes are included, as well as two lengthy, single-take recreations of TV journalist Diane Sawyer’s interview with Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Michael Hauser). Watching Hauser in the hot seat in those long takes show just how completely he assumed his character.

Featurette: “All Sixes: The Perfect Performances of I, Tonya(HD, 4 minutes) - Gillespie lauds his talented cast and states he was “dumbfounded” by Robbie’s “commitment and focus,” while screenwriter Steven Rogers and actors Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, and Robbie herself talk about their funny, cruel characters, the incisive script, and their freedom to improvise in this fast-paced featurette.

Featurette: “Irony Free, Totally True: The Story Behind I, Tonya(HD, 4 minutes) - This piece looks at the tabloid mentality that fueled the Tonya Harding story and how the script’s multiple perspectives spotlight all of the gray areas that permeate this lurid, often absurd tale.

Featurette: “Working with Director Craig Gillespie” (HD, 2 minutes) - Gillespie talks about what attracted him to the project, while his cast and crew praise his vision, attitude, decisiveness, and sensitivity.

Featurette: “The Visual Effects of I, Tonya(HD, 4 minutes) - A look at the special effects unit that handled the film’s visual trickery, and the techniques and processes that make I, Tonya seem so seamless and realistic. A step-by-step look at face replacement is especially fascinating.

Featurette: “VFX: Anatomy of the Triple Axel” (HD, 2 minutes) - A series of wipes show off the wizardry of the special effects during one of the skating sequences, going back and forth between Margot Robbie and her skating double during the routine in which Harding lands the near-impossible triple axel jump.

Theatrical Trailers (HD, 6 minutes) - A teaser and two trailers (one green band, one red band) complete the extras package.

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As brash, bold, unapologetic, and outrageous as Tonya Harding herself, I, Tonya chronicles the notorious figure skater’s rollercoaster life and the whole Nancy Kerrigan knee-bashing enchilada with an intoxicating mixture of comedy and pathos. Director Craig Gillespie’s biting, in-your-face mockumentary instantly thrusts us into a surreal world of conflict, abuse, intrigue, and bone-headed bumbling on such an exaggerated scale, it just has to be true. Margot Robbie and Oscar-winner Allison Janney file two of the best performances of 2017, and Universal’s Blu-ray presentation honors this electrifying motion picture with top-notch video and audio transfers and an array of supplemental material. It may not have nabbed a Best Picture Oscar nod, but I, Tonya stands as one of 2017’s finest flicks and should definitely not be missed. Highly Recommended.

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The Second Season of Into the Badlands finds Sunny and M.K. separated and scattered to the wind, each imprisoned in unlikely places. While M.K. struggles to control his powers, Sunny is determined to fight his way back into the Badlands to find his family or die trying.

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Elmer Prettywillie, the village druggist, is awakened by a woman who needs a 2-cent stamp in the middle of the night. Seeking again a state of somnolence, Prettywillie must contend with the clamorous collectors of garbage, and with those of his own castle who have caught forty winks and then some. The letter-carrying lady, in trying to post her missive, manages to summon the city's fire department to the pharmacy where, unable to find a fire, they sit and sip sodas while Prettywillie panders to their every want. When they leave, a bit of a blaze does erupt, but Prettywillie is forced to his own resources. Meanwhile, George Parker is smitten with Elmer's buxom assistant and uses the storefront to promote a bogus land deal. The Prettywillie fortune is thus inflated, enabling the purchase of a flivver, but Elmer ends up wrecking a Florida estate and finally the flivver, foiling the schemers and delighting the denizens of the town, whose jubilation Elmer takes for an acute case of distemper. He jails himself for safekeeping. Also starring Louise Brooks, Blanche Ring, William Gaxton, and Mary Foy.

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In the wake of Superman's death, Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) recruit superpowered individuals to defend humanity from an otherworldly threat called Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds). Together with their new allies -- Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and the Flash (Ezra Miller) -- they form the superhero team known as the Justice League.

[review_introduction] =>

Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon bring together iconic superheroes to form the Justice League, the fifth installment in the DC Extended Universe, but forgot to give the team a worthwhile evildoer to make their live-action debut memorable. Warner Home Video unites the team on Blu-ray with a sensational audio and video presentation but joined by a small set of supplements, making the overall package Recommended for fans.

[review_movie] =>

As I've mentioned before in the past, the strength of any good action movie — be it a fantasy adventure or a straightforward "blow 'em up" combat flick — comes down ultimately to the authenticity and determination of its villain. As witnesses to the larger-than-life spectacle erupting on the silver screen, we need to know the baddy is capable of uniquely horrific evil (key word here is unique) and lacking our shared sense of morality (but not totally absent so as to make her/him completely unrelatable). Most importantly, the bad person must be powerful enough to give our heroes a worthy challenge to overcome, something that casts a tiny shade of doubt in our heroes' ability to defeat the evildoer. And this, I would argue, is essentially the problem with Justice League, the latest installment in Warner's DC Extended Universe franchise. Five movies in, this feels like a rushed, last-minute science project satisfied with a passing grade rather accomplishing something memorable or seeking to impress the harsh criticisms of judges, which are the comic book fans.

Steppenwolf (voiced by an otherwise competent Ciarán Hinds) is about as bland and two-dimensional a villain as they come, largely motivated by the same single-minded objective as previous entries. It doesn't help the character is also the result of some of the worst motion-capture CGI we've seen in some time, looking distractingly cartoonish and arguably better suited for the DC Universe animated movies. As with General Zod and Enchantress before him, the powerful God seeks to terraform Earth so that he can reign supreme and be worshipped by the survivors. Simple and straightforward, but also somewhat boring because his motivations for the annihilation of the planet are never clearly expressed. All we know is that he and his legions of Parademons doggedly pursue the mysteries Mother Boxes, which are supposed to be the key for this worldwide destruction, but again, what exactly they are and what they do is never fully explained. Steppenwolf is simply a nondescript bad dude with generically bad intentions needing to be stopped.

For a more in-depth take on the movie, you can read our review of the 4K UHD with Dolby Vision HERE.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Warner Home Video brings Justice League to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with an UltraViolet Digital Copy. A Region Free, BD50 disc sits comfortably opposite a DVD-9 inside a blue, eco-elite keepcase with a shiny slipcover. After a couple trailers, viewers are taken to a static menu screen with generic options and music in the background. 

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Legendary heroes are brought together by the superpowers of a demo-worthy and often jaw-droppingly gorgeous 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that almost immediately ignites the screen in the opening moments. Batman's encounter with a petty criminal and a Parademon is awash in dark midnight blacks and bleakly stygian shadows that penetrate deep into the screen, providing the 1.85:1 image with an excellent three-dimensional depth while also giving the action an attractive neo-noir feel to it. With spot-on contrast that delivers ultra-clean, brilliantly crisp whites throughout, viewers can still make out the tiniest detail and feature in the darkest, gloomiest corners of the frame while the street lights radiate intensely in the distance. Added to that, primaries pop with rich vividness and energy, animating every conversation with crimson reds, sparkling blues and lively greens, while sumptuously warm secondary hues invigorate the climatic battle with distinct glowing yellows, fiery oranges and ecstatic purplish magentas that never bleed into one another.

Shot on a combination of traditional 35mm film and digital cameras, the freshly-minted transfer also displays razor-sharp definition and resolution from beginning to end. Viewers can plainly see the tiniest, minuscule feature in each outfit worn by the heroes, including Cyborg's CG metal body where the individual colored wires can be practically counted and every little moving gear or part is revealed. The smallest ornate detail in Wonder Woman's costume is exposed while each fish-like scale and elaborate piece in Aquaman's more-regal-like attire can be appreciated. Most impressive, if not also memorable, is seeing the battle scars, scratches and wounds on Batman and The Flash's costumes, even from a short distance. Facial complexions are highly-revealing with amazing lifelike textures, and buildings show every crack and imperfections. Little pebbles on the roads of the small Russian village and debris flying in every which direction are distinct, making this HD presentation one of the best of the year thus far. 

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For a more in-depth take on the audio, you can read our review of the 4K UHD with Dolby Vision HERE.

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For a more in-depth take on the bonus material, you can read our review of the 4K UHD with Dolby Vision HERE.

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Justice League finally unites DC's trio of iconic superheroes, Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman, while also introducing The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg for their live-action, feature-length debut. Although the camaraderie and humor of the team is an entertaining highlight of the production, making it at least a fun watch, the overall movie suffers from pacing issues, odd tonal shifts, and a rather dull god-like villain. The team assembles on Blu-ray with a stunning, reference-quality video and an outstanding Dolby Atmos soundtrack, but the supplements are on the light side even if they are a worthwhile watch. Nevertheless, the overall package is recommended for fans and AV enthusiasts hungry for more demo-material. 

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In the wake of Superman's death, Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) recruit superpowered individuals to defend humanity from an otherworldly threat called Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds). Together with their new allies -- Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and the Flash (Ezra Miller) -- they form the superhero team known as the Justice League.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [26] => Array ( [review_id] => 55726 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => justiceleague2 [review_release_date] => 1520924400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Justice League - 3D [picture_created] => 1516376479 [picture_name] => Justice_League_3D.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Warner Brothers [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/01/19/120/Justice_League_3D.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55726/justiceleague2.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [list_price] => 44.95 [asin] => B0788XRYRN [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/Digital Copy ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/TBA ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.85:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English Dolby Atmos ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Road to Justice - Journey alongside DC comic creators as they explore over fifty years of the Justice League, from comic books to animated adventures to their cinematic debut. [1] => Heart of Justice - Discover the heart, soul and mind of the Justice League, as the cast and filmmakers share their admiration for DC's iconic Trinity: Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. [2] => Technology of the Justice League - From Batman's arsenal to Cyborg's alien tech, interface with the Justice League database to learn their most advanced secrets. [3] => Justice League: The New Heroes - Join Ray Fisher on a personal tour to meet the newest members of the Justice League: Aquaman, the Flash and Cyborg. [4] => The Return of Superman - Bonus scenes not seen in theaters [5] => Steppenwolf the Conqueror - Join actor Ciarán Hinds and the filmmakers as they reveal the story behind mankind's ancient enemy and the Justice League's greatest challenge. [6] => Scene Studies: Revisiting the Amazons - Take a closer look at the filmmaking process behind Justice League's most visually exciting and action-packed sequences [7] => Scene Studies: Wonder Woman's Rescue -Take a closer look at the filmmaking process behind Justice League's most visually exciting and action-packed sequences [8] => Scene Studies: Heroes Park - Take a closer look at the filmmaking process behind Justice League's most visually exciting and action-packed sequences [9] => Scene Studies: The Tunnel Battle - Take a closer look at the filmmaking process behind Justice League's most visually exciting and action-packed sequences [10] => Suit Up: The Look of the League - Costume Designer Michael Wilkinson explores the innovation and artistry that goes into creating the costumes of DC's iconic heroes. ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action, Adventure, Fantasy ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Jason Momoa ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Zack Snyder ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

In the wake of Superman's death, Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) recruit superpowered individuals to defend humanity from an otherworldly threat called Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds). Together with their new allies -- Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and the Flash (Ezra Miller) -- they form the superhero team known as the Justice League.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [27] => Array ( [review_id] => 54964 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => kickboxerretaliation [review_release_date] => 1520924400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Kickboxer: Retaliation [picture_created] => 1519934084 [picture_name] => Kickboxer_Retaliation.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Well Go USA [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/01/120/Kickboxer_Retaliation.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/54964/kickboxerretaliation.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [list_price] => 29.98 [asin] => B0788XRY92 [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action ) [review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [28] => Array ( [review_id] => 55646 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => knightfallseasonone [review_release_date] => 1520924400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Knightfall: Season One [picture_created] => 1516200439 [picture_name] => Knightfall_-_Season_One.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Lionsgate [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/01/17/120/Knightfall_-_Season_One.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55646/knightfallseasonone.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [list_price] => 29.99 [asin] => B0791VQT68 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray/Digital Copy ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/TBA ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.78:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action, Adventure, Drama, Epic, History ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Tom Cullen, Padraic Delaney, Simon Merrells, Olivia Ross, Julian Ovenden, Ed Stoppard ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

From A+E Studios, in association with Executive Producer Jeremy Renner's ("American Hustle," "The Hurt Locker") The Combine, Island Pictures, and Midnight Radio comes HISTORY's scripted TV series event of the year, Knightfall: Season One.

Tom Cullen, Olivia Ross, and Jim Carter star in this "gripping and handsomely detailed dark drama" (Cleveland Plain Dealer) of brotherhood, bloodshed, and betrayal within the Knights Templar. Following their rise to power, persecution, and their life and death mission to find the Holy Grail, this action-filled hit drama series was a ratings smash. Knightfall: Season One will be available on Blu-ray for the suggested retail price of $29.99.

Knightfall: Season One follows the Knights Templar, who for 200 years were the most elite warriors of the Crusades. We meet the Templars after the fall of the city of Acre — where the Holy Grail was lost — and rejoin them years later in Paris as they embark on a mission to find the lost Cup of Christ. Knightfall: Season 1 recounts the complex, bloody relationships between the Templars, the Church, and the King of France, and the dark events leading to the Templar Order's demise.

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The 2018 CFP National Championship Game includes the commercial-free game broadcast as well as the trophy presentation. It's a great addition to any fan's collection!

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Flicker Alley, Lobster Films, and Blackhawk Films® are proud to announce the re-release of the restored 1902 hand-colored edition of Georges Méliès A Trip to the Moon, featuring new scores from composer/DJ Jeff Mills, musical group Dorian Pimpernel, and an improvised piano track by Serge Bromberg with optional narration written by Georges Méliès.

Once believed lost, a copy of the original, hand-colored version of Georges Méliès masterwork A Trip to the Moon was miraculously found in Barcelona, Spain in 1993. Initially thought too fragile to restore, the film underwent one of the most complex and ambitious film restoration projects ever. Three experts in film restoration Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation, and Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage used the most advanced digital technologies available to assemble and painstakingly restore the film s 13,375 fragmented frames.

Follow six scholars members of the Astronomers Club as they set off on an expedition to the moon! Traveling in a bullet-shaped rocket fired into space by a giant cannon, these voyagers arrive to meet the moon s inhabitants: the Selenites. Escaping the Selenties king, the scholars fall back to Earth in their rocket and are fished out of the ocean by a sailor. Applause and a triumphant parade for the six heroes concludes the first outer-space adventure in the history of cinema.

Flicker Alley, Lobster Films, and Blackhawk Films® are thrilled to present this re-released publication of the 1902 hand-colored edition of A Trip to the Moon. This deluxe dual-format edition features two brand new scores by Jeff Mills and Dorian Pimpernel, as well as an improvised piano track by Serge Bromberg with optional narration written by Georges Méliès.

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Abe and Phil's Last Poker Game is written/directed by world renowned neurologist and first time director, Dr. Howard Weiner. When Dr. Abe Mandelbaum moves into Cliffside Manor with his deteriorating wife Molly, he forms an improbable relationship with gambler and womanizer, Phil Nicoletti. While Abe feels moving into the home is the end of the road he soon realizes that his life is finding a whole new beginning. Abe and Phil’s friendship is challenged when a mysterious nurse claims that her biological father resides in the home. Without children of their own, both Abe and Phil jump at the chance to convince Angela, and themselves, that they are her father.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [3] => Array ( [review_id] => 55470 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => artofthegameukiyoeheroes [review_release_date] => 1520924400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Art of the Game: Ukiyo-e Heroes [picture_created] => 1519937144 [picture_name] => Art_of_the_Game.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Gravitas Ventures [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/01/120/Art_of_the_Game.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55470/artofthegameukiyoeheroes.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2018 [run_time] => 95 [list_price] => 16.99 [asin] => B078X67D9T [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Documentary ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

A journey of discovery into how a Canadian craftsman and an American designer, with a father and son generation gap, team up to revive the ancient art of Japanese woodblock prints (Ukiyo-e) by juxtaposing traditional art with pop culture icons: video game heroes such as Super Mario and Pokémon. Now they are making a new print inspired from a cult hit game Shadow of the Colossus.

Ukiyo-e: The traditional art form known worldwide as the “Face of Japan” has over several hundred years inspired Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso to create their masterpieces. Today, there are less than 10 remaining craftsmen in Japan.

We follow the making-of of their new print and witness the miraculous collaboration of the two contrasting artists: old-school and new-school, artisanal and digital, who need each other to create inspirational for a global audience. We also feature iconic Japanese craftsmen who work with them, including Ichibei Iwano, who is the 8th generation handmade Japanese paper grand master.

[review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) [4] => Array ( [review_id] => 55468 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => attackofthesouthernfriedzombies [review_release_date] => 1520924400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies [picture_created] => 1519936965 [picture_name] => Attack_of_the_Southern_Fried_Zombies.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Gravitas Ventures [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/03/01/120/Attack_of_the_Southern_Fried_Zombies.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/55468/attackofthesouthernfriedzombies.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2018 [run_time] => 90 [list_price] => 19.99 [asin] => B078XH1P77 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [review_movie_stars] => N/A [review_video_stars] => N/A [review_audio_stars] => N/A [review_supplements_stars] => N/A [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => N/A ) ) ) [reviews_slices] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [review_id] => 57006 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => beyondareasonabledoubt [review_release_date] => 1520924400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Beyond a Reasonable Doubt [picture_created] => 1519397059 [picture_name] => Beyond_a_Reasonable_Doubt_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Warner Archive [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2018/02/23/120/Beyond_a_Reasonable_Doubt_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/57006/beyondareasonabledoubt.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1956 [run_time] => 80 [list_price] => 21.99 [asin] => B079ZB565T [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine, Sidney Blackmer, Arthur Franz, Philip Bourneuf ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Fritz Lang ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

After director Fritz Lang vaulted to prominence with such masterpieces of German cinema as Metropolis and M, he brought his art to Hollywood films, including Fury, Ministry of Fear, The Woman in the Window and more trenchant tales of innocents caught in a web of seeming guilt. His last U.S. movie is this intriguing film noir about a novelist (Dana Andrews) out to expose the injustices of capital punishment. Working with his fiancée’s (Joan Fontaine) father, a newspaper publisher (Sidney Blackmer), he frames himself for murder, intending to produce exonerating evidence at the last moment. But the publisher suddenly dies, the evidence is lost…and that’s only the first twist in a brilliantly layered plot ideally suited to Lang’s talents.

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There is light and beauty, even in the darkest of worlds. Stranded on an island in a post-apocalyptic world, teenager Dinky and her friends hatch a dangerous plan to escape in the hope of finding a better life. Meanwhile, her old friend Birdboy has shut himself off from the world, pursued by the police and haunted by demon tormentors. But unbeknownst to anyone, he contains a secret inside him that could change the world forever.

Winner of the Goya Award for Best Animated Feature (where co-director Alberto Vázquez won the Best Animated Short Film prize in the same year) and full of unforgettable characters, Birdboy: The Forgotten Children is a darkly comic, beautiful and haunting tale of coming of age in a world gone to ruin.

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After a decade of stardom in Israel, American dancer Bobbi Jene Smith decides to leave behind her prominent position at the world-famous Batsheva Dance Company, as well as the love of her life, to return to the U.S. to create her own boundary breaking art. Tracking the personal and professional challenges that await her, Elvira Lind's film lovingly and intimately documents the dilemmas and inevitable consequences of ambition. BOBBI JENE delves into what it takes for a woman to gain her own independence in the extremely competitive world of dance and to find self-fulfillment in the process.

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