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_title] => Walk with Me
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                                            [0] => Documentary, Drama
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                                            [0] => Benedict Cumberbatch, Thich Nhat Hanh
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Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, WALK WITH ME is a cinematic journey into the world of mindfulness and the Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh. Filmed over three years and with unprecedented access, this visceral film is a meditation on a community who have given up all their possessions for a monastic life in rural France.

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Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, WALK WITH ME is a cinematic journey into the world of mindfulness and the Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh. Filmed over three years and with unprecedented access, this visceral film is a meditation on a community who have given up all their possessions for a monastic life in rural France.

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Absolutely Not For Children! Experience the film-noir anime tour de force uncut in HD! Dangerous things come in small packages! She may be cute. She may be young. She may seem innocent and naïve but don t be fooled. She s a cold-blooded killer and if you re on the wrong side of the law, you may be her next target. After the brutal murder of her parents, the young Sawa is orphaned and taken in by two detectives. Not content to watch the corrupt justice system let dangerous criminals go free on a daily basis, the detectives train Sawa to be their petit instrument of justice. After all, who would suspect such an unassuming, cute college student of being a cold-blooded vigilante? A-Kite has been restored to its original running time and remastered from the original film and video elements in HD. Whether you re a long-time fan or a first-time viewer, this blu ray edition is the best way experience A-Kite.

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Absolutely Not For Children! Experience the film-noir anime tour de force uncut in HD! Dangerous things come in small packages! She may be cute. She may be young. She may seem innocent and naïve but don t be fooled. She s a cold-blooded killer and if you re on the wrong side of the law, you may be her next target. After the brutal murder of her parents, the young Sawa is orphaned and taken in by two detectives. Not content to watch the corrupt justice system let dangerous criminals go free on a daily basis, the detectives train Sawa to be their petit instrument of justice. After all, who would suspect such an unassuming, cute college student of being a cold-blooded vigilante? A-Kite has been restored to its original running time and remastered from the original film and video elements in HD. Whether you re a long-time fan or a first-time viewer, this blu ray edition is the best way experience A-Kite.

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Star soprano Sonya Yoncheva sings the towering role of Bellini's Norma a priestess torn between love and duty in a timeless tale of love and betrayal, set in a fanatically religious and war-torn modern society. The spectacular production by Àlex Olle for The Royal Opera also stars Joseph Calleja as Norma's former lover Pollione, leader of the forces occupying her country, Brindley Sherratt as her domineering father Oroveso, and Sonia Ganassi as Adalgisa, her greatest friend and unwitting rival in love. Royal Opera Music Director Antonio Pappano leads this superb cast, the Royal Opera Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in one of the greatest works of the bel canto repertory.

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Almost five decades ago, the toll of a bell and rolling thunder marked the conception of an ear splittingly monolithic riff. In that moment, Black Sabbath and the sound of Heavy Metal were forged. The band embarked on what Ozzy describes as the most incredible adventure you could think of, a journey that would go on to define a genre.

The End is a celebration of Black Sabbath's final hometown concert at Birmingham's Genting Arena on February 4th, 2017. This unforgettable farewell show from one of the biggest bands in the world will be released by Eagle Vision on November 17th, 2017.

With a hit packed set list including Iron Man, Paranoid, War Pigs, and many more, the high production values, visual effects, and pyrotechnics wowed fans, as the band delivered the most emotionally charged show in their history.

All visual formats feature special bonus material of the band playing a selection of their favorite songs not played on tour. These intimate live sessions at Angelic Studios were recorded in the days after their final live performance.

The End captures a once-in-a-career performance, an essential snapshot of musical history, and a fitting farewell to true innovators and original heavy metal icons, Black Sabbath.

The limited deluxe collector's edition contains: The End on DVD and Blu-ray; The End on double CD; The Angelic Sessions on CD (all housed in gatefold card sleeves); a 32-page perfect bound book on heavyweight stock; a metal Winged Demon pin badge; a replica The End tour laminate and 3 Plectrums (all housed in a DVD-height two piece rigid mirror board box).

Featuring Ozzy Osbourne (vocals); Tony Iommi (guitar) and Geezer Butler (bass), with Tommy Clufetos (drums) and Adam Wakeman (keyboards / guitar).

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Respected filmmaker John Scheinfeld's acclaimed feature documentary film, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, is available on BluRay with exclusive bonus features. Set against the social, political & cultural landscape of the time, Chasing Trane brings saxophone great John Coltrane to life, as a man & an artist. The film is the definitive look at the boundary-shattering musician & composer whose influence continues to resonate around the world.

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In Wembley or Bust, we see Jeff and his remarkable musical ensemble filling Wembley Stadium with one of the greatest rock & roll spectacles of all time, complete with bells, whistles and spaceships in front of a 60,000 capacity crowd. As Jeff says himself 'It's the best time I ever had in music... It is beyond anything I could have imagined'. More popular than ever, Jeff Lynne's ELO have always been known for their epic live shows and with a distinct style that seamlessly and innovatively blends rock, pop and classical music. 

The Wembley or Bust audio and film includes performances of many of the most beloved songs of our lifetime, from vintage ELO classics like "Mr. Blue Sky," "Livin' Thing" and "Evil Woman" to "Do Ya" from his days with The Move, "Handle With Care" which he recorded with the Traveling Wilburys, right through "When I Was A Boy" from his latest ELO masterpiece, Alone In The Universe. 

Jeff Lynne is widely regarded as one of the greatest record producers in music history. In addition to his storied career in ELO, Lynne was a co-founder and member of The Travelling Wilburys together with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Tom Petty as well as a producer and collaborator with some of the biggest names in music including The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, and most recently, Bryan Adams.

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Monteverdi s seminal first opera L Orfeo, tells the dramatic story from Ovid s Metamorphoses of the descent of Orfeo (Georg Nigl) into the underworld to recover his beloved wife Euridice (Roberta Invernizzi), seen here in a production for La Scala, based on a painting by Titian and directed by Robert Wilson. David Alden s visually sumptuous production of L incoronazione di Poppea, with its suggestions of a giant game of chess, puts the opera's potent blend of sex and politics in a context that sets ancient against modern just as the action juxtaposes scurrilous comedy and stark drama. Both are filmed in High Definition and recorded in true surround sound.

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With Chicago being a hometown to Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam forged a relationship with the city, the Chicago Cubs & Wrigley Field that is unparalleled in the world of sports and music. Let's Play Two shuffles through Pearl Jam's ever-growing catalog spanning the band's 25-year career. Through the eyes of Danny Clinch and the voice of Pearl Jam, the film showcases the special relationship.

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The era-defining and highest-selling soundtrack album in history receives a Super Deluxe release to commemorate its 40th anniversary. The boxset edition features the original soundtrack on 2LP, which spawned four No. 1 singles for the Bee Gees and won the GRAMMY Award for Album Of The Year. It also includes an expanded 2CD version featuring 4 new mixes by GRAMMY Award winner Serban, 40th anniversary Director’s Cut on Blu-Ray, 23 page book, 5 art prints, movie poster and turntable mat.

[review_movie] =>

In some ways, it's hard to believe Saturday Night Fever is 40 years old. I wasn't old enough to see this R-rated movie back when it played in theaters, but I certainly grew up with it on cable and even remember the disco craze that the film helped enhance to the point that it seemed every club in the late 70s was having a disco contest on Saturday nights. But it's been a while since I actually sat down and watched the movie from beginning to end. Does it still hold up? Well, yes...and no.

John Travolta was already very much a household name in 1977, having had a successful run on the TV series, Welcome Back, Kotter. But Saturday Night Fever marked his first leading role in a motion picture, and he pretty much knocks it out of the park. I'm guessing most of you have long forgotten that Travolta was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role here – and it's not undeserving.

The biggest problem though, and one of the reasons the movie hasn't aged as well as one might hope, is the supporting cast around Travolta – none of whom are particularly good actors, aside from some of the adults in Tony Manero's world who have limited screen time. It's perhaps no surprise that none of his co-stars went on to particularly huge careers, although most of them have remained active – perhaps in no small part due to their participation in this film.

Another issue looking back on Saturday Night Fever is that while it certainly is a reflection of how many people acted and spoke in the late 1970s (particularly in the Brooklyn area where the movie takes place), the character of Tony Manero – who became a cultural icon when the film was released – will seem very much like an antihero to modern audiences. It's up to the viewer to decide if Tony is borderline racist (he certainly has no problem using derogatory language toward Hispanics), but there's no doubt he's a misogynist – making sexist and offensive remarks to the women in his life throughout the film and – gasp! – even assaulting one sexually not long before the movie's conclusion. Were audiences and critics okay with this back in 1977? Again, I'm too young to remember the reaction, but I don't recall a big fuss back then about kids my age looking up to the character as a role model. Of course, Tony does have his softer moments in the movie and seems to make a decision about bettering himself as the film comes to an end...although I'm not sure that makes up for what comes before. (For the record, I like the character a whole lot better as portrayed in the 1983 Sylvester Stallone-directed sequel, Staying Alive, despite the fact that movie has almost been universally panned by critics and fans alike.)

Ah, but the dancing! Make no doubt about it, watching Travolta move to the tunes of The Bee Gees (and a few other acts) is the real reason to watch and enjoy Saturday Night Fever. If you haven't viewed the film in a while, you may be surprised at how little disco by Travolta is actually in the movie. His best moments don't even come at the conclusion, either. While his last dance in the film is a rather slow and uninspiring coupling with co-star Karen Lynn Gorney, it's his solo dance at the mid-way point of the movie (to The Bee Gees' "You Should Be Dancing") that really lights up the screen. I've heard a rumor over the years that director John Badham was originally going to shoot Travolta dancing from the waist up and try to use a body double for the rest of the dancing, but John insisted on learning all the moves himself, knowing that audiences would want to see him doing the moves. That's was probably the difference between this title being forgotten in the annals of film history and turning into the international blockbuster it became.

This 40th Anniversary release of the movie features both a new Director's Cut of the movie and the original theatrical cut. The new Director's Cut isn't significantly different from the original, but adds a few moments back into the film – including a really nice moment where Tony looks out at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and traces his fingers across its outline, dreaming of a better life for himself. That moment is so powerful, it's hard to believe Badham cut it from the original, and it's nice to see it put back into a cut of the film.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Saturday Night Fever dances its way back onto Blu-ray with a 50GB disc housed inside an eco-friendly Elite keepcase with a slipcover that matches the case's artwork. A sole insert advertises the popular Bee Gees album on one side and other classic titles available from Paramount on the other side. There are no front-loaded trailers on the Blu-ray, whose main menu matches that of the prior Blu-ray release of the movie: A shimmering disco ball on the right of the screen with images of the movie on it and a montage of footage on the left of the screen, with menu selections horizontally across the bottom.

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

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Saturday Night Fever was originally shot on 35mm film and appears here in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 using an MPEG-4 AVC codec. Both the Director's Cut and the original theatrical cut of the movie on this release are taken from a new 4K master created using an original negative.

The new transfer looks very nice – retaining the appearance of film while still providing plenty of detail, particularly during daylight sequences and those that take place in the paint shop where Tony works. Other scenes are a little more "flat" looking, particularly those that take place in one of the nightclubs, where the red push and frequent smoke tend to make things a little hazier.

The controversy here, as is often the case with new transfers, is if this is actually better that the old release. If you look at the screenshots provided here, you'll notice the new transfer is noticeably softer than the prior one. Yes, the old release had some edge enhancement, but may have provided more detail overall. Another issue is the framing, as this new transfer is framed a little "tighter" than the previous one, with a little less (but not much) visual information on the top and bottom of the image. Which is correct? Well, it's actually probably the new version, as the prior release had a non-theatrical 1.78:1 aspect ratio as opposed to the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio provided here, although one could still question whether they framed it correctly when creating the 1.85:1 image. Hey, at least the color timing isn't too drastic between the versions (the new Director's cut is a little more subdued/darker as you can see from the third screenshot comparison below, but the overall color palette remains pretty much the same), which is more than I can say for many new Blu-ray transfers these days.

I didn't notice any problems with artifacting, banding, or aliasing, and while black levels aren't quite inky deep, they're solid enough to avoid any delineation issues or cause noticeable noise in the background of shots. Grain is still evident in the print, but pushed enough into the background that it's never a distraction.

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The only track available on the Director's Cut on this Blu-ray is an English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track, which reportedly has been updated from the 5.1 TrueHD track used on the prior Blu-ray release. The updated track also is available on the original cut, as are 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks in French and Portuguese, as well as a Spanish mono track.

Although the audio has been tweaked a bit from the prior Blu-ray release, there's not really a huge difference. The rears are use almost exclusively to enhance the musical numbers, and not for much else. I really didn't notice other ambient noises, and there's no feeling of immersion whatsover. The track is very much front-heavy, and aside from some obvious ADR usage where voices sound a little more hollow, dialogue is crisp and understandable throughout. It's a shame this 40th Anniversary release couldn't have gone back and remastered the original Dolby stereo mix of the track for a 2.0 presentation here, but the lossless 5.1 audio provided isn't so overbearing or tinkered with to the point that it makes it feel out of date with the movie itself. So it's a satisfying, if unremarkable, track.

Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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Commentary by Director John Badham – This audio commentary track dates back to the 25th Anniversary release of the movie on DVD (in 2002), but is still quite informative and fun if you've never heard it before. It's only available to listen to while watching the theatrical cut of the film.

70s Discopedia – Remember those "Pop-Up Video" factoids that were popular on VH1 in the late 1990s? This is the same concept, with factoids about the movie popping up as you view the film. They all appear on the bottom left corner of the screen, inside a mini-disco floor design. This extra is available for both cuts of the movie. This extra, as well as all the others listed below, has been ported over from the prior Blu-ray release of the film back in 2009.

Catching the Fever (HD 52:39) – This five-part retrospective on the movie is broken up into parts, which can be viewed together or individually. They consist of: "A 30 Year Legacy" (15:25); "Making Soundtrack History" (12:40); "Platforms & Polyester" (10:37); "Deejays and Discos" (10:19); and "Spotlight on Travolta" (3:36).

Back to Bay Rridge (HD 9:01) – Actor Joseph Cali (who plays "Joey" in the movie) revisits the Brooklyn neighborhood where the movie was shot.

Dance Like Travolta with John Cassese (HD 9:50) – The "Dance Doctor" teaches us all the moves of the big dance that Travolta and co-star Karen Lynn Gorney perform in the movie's big dance contest. You need a partner to try this out, so naturally, I just had to watch.

Fever Challenge! (HD 4:00) – This is another dance skill featurette, asking viewers to match movements with the lights of the dance floor shown on screen. I failed miserably.

Deleted Scene – Tony & Stephanie in the Car (HD 1:32) – A single deleted scene from the movie in which Tony is once again frustrated that Stephanie won't take their friendship further. (Note: This release nixes two other deleted scenes that were on the 2009 Blu-ray release. Why? Because they've been put back into the Director's Cut of the film.)

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Other than the new Director's Cut of the movie, there are no exclusive bonus materials on this release.

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I'm not sure Saturday Night Fever holds up in terms of story appeal, but boy does it make up for it in terms of music and dancing. Travolta is still mesmerizing to watch in arguably his most famous role. Because there are no new bonus materials here (other than the new transfer and Director's Cut) those that own the prior Blu-ray may want to wait for the price to drop a few bucks before picking this up; however, this release is still Recommended.

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Fraternal twin grifters Marty and Carol reunite in their mother's California home after suffering personal and professional failures. Set in the late '50s, the amoral and incestuous siblings set their sights on a new mark. Cinematography by Tom Priestley Jr. (The Thomas Crown Affair).

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Three of Shakespeare s most famous tragedies are presented here as a 3-DVD set. Rising star Paapa Essiedu gives a stunning performance in Simon Godwin s riveting contemporary take on Hamlet; Antony Sher leads the way as the proud but fatally flawed monarch in RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran s acclaimed King Lear; completing the collection is Iqbal Khan's astonishing and ground-breaking production of Othello, featuring Hugh Quarshie in the title role and Lucian Msamati as Iago.

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Star soprano Sonya Yoncheva sings the towering role of Bellini's Norma a priestess torn between love and duty in a timeless tale of love and betrayal, set in a fanatically religious and war-torn modern society. The spectacular production by Àlex Olle for The Royal Opera also stars Joseph Calleja as Norma's former lover Pollione, leader of the forces occupying her country, Brindley Sherratt as her domineering father Oroveso, and Sonia Ganassi as Adalgisa, her greatest friend and unwitting rival in love. Royal Opera Music Director Antonio Pappano leads this superb cast, the Royal Opera Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in one of the greatest works of the bel canto repertory.

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Almost five decades ago, the toll of a bell and rolling thunder marked the conception of an ear splittingly monolithic riff. In that moment, Black Sabbath and the sound of Heavy Metal were forged. The band embarked on what Ozzy describes as the most incredible adventure you could think of, a journey that would go on to define a genre.

The End is a celebration of Black Sabbath's final hometown concert at Birmingham's Genting Arena on February 4th, 2017. This unforgettable farewell show from one of the biggest bands in the world will be released by Eagle Vision on November 17th, 2017.

With a hit packed set list including Iron Man, Paranoid, War Pigs, and many more, the high production values, visual effects, and pyrotechnics wowed fans, as the band delivered the most emotionally charged show in their history.

All visual formats feature special bonus material of the band playing a selection of their favorite songs not played on tour. These intimate live sessions at Angelic Studios were recorded in the days after their final live performance.

The End captures a once-in-a-career performance, an essential snapshot of musical history, and a fitting farewell to true innovators and original heavy metal icons, Black Sabbath.

The limited deluxe collector's edition contains: The End on DVD and Blu-ray; The End on double CD; The Angelic Sessions on CD (all housed in gatefold card sleeves); a 32-page perfect bound book on heavyweight stock; a metal Winged Demon pin badge; a replica The End tour laminate and 3 Plectrums (all housed in a DVD-height two piece rigid mirror board box).

Featuring Ozzy Osbourne (vocals); Tony Iommi (guitar) and Geezer Butler (bass), with Tommy Clufetos (drums) and Adam Wakeman (keyboards / guitar).

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Respected filmmaker John Scheinfeld's acclaimed feature documentary film, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, is available on BluRay with exclusive bonus features. Set against the social, political & cultural landscape of the time, Chasing Trane brings saxophone great John Coltrane to life, as a man & an artist. The film is the definitive look at the boundary-shattering musician & composer whose influence continues to resonate around the world.

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In Wembley or Bust, we see Jeff and his remarkable musical ensemble filling Wembley Stadium with one of the greatest rock & roll spectacles of all time, complete with bells, whistles and spaceships in front of a 60,000 capacity crowd. As Jeff says himself 'It's the best time I ever had in music... It is beyond anything I could have imagined'. More popular than ever, Jeff Lynne's ELO have always been known for their epic live shows and with a distinct style that seamlessly and innovatively blends rock, pop and classical music. 

The Wembley or Bust audio and film includes performances of many of the most beloved songs of our lifetime, from vintage ELO classics like "Mr. Blue Sky," "Livin' Thing" and "Evil Woman" to "Do Ya" from his days with The Move, "Handle With Care" which he recorded with the Traveling Wilburys, right through "When I Was A Boy" from his latest ELO masterpiece, Alone In The Universe. 

Jeff Lynne is widely regarded as one of the greatest record producers in music history. In addition to his storied career in ELO, Lynne was a co-founder and member of The Travelling Wilburys together with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Tom Petty as well as a producer and collaborator with some of the biggest names in music including The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, and most recently, Bryan Adams.

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Monteverdi s seminal first opera L Orfeo, tells the dramatic story from Ovid s Metamorphoses of the descent of Orfeo (Georg Nigl) into the underworld to recover his beloved wife Euridice (Roberta Invernizzi), seen here in a production for La Scala, based on a painting by Titian and directed by Robert Wilson. David Alden s visually sumptuous production of L incoronazione di Poppea, with its suggestions of a giant game of chess, puts the opera's potent blend of sex and politics in a context that sets ancient against modern just as the action juxtaposes scurrilous comedy and stark drama. Both are filmed in High Definition and recorded in true surround sound.

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With Chicago being a hometown to Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam forged a relationship with the city, the Chicago Cubs & Wrigley Field that is unparalleled in the world of sports and music. Let's Play Two shuffles through Pearl Jam's ever-growing catalog spanning the band's 25-year career. Through the eyes of Danny Clinch and the voice of Pearl Jam, the film showcases the special relationship.

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The era-defining and highest-selling soundtrack album in history receives a Super Deluxe release to commemorate its 40th anniversary. The boxset edition features the original soundtrack on 2LP, which spawned four No. 1 singles for the Bee Gees and won the GRAMMY Award for Album Of The Year. It also includes an expanded 2CD version featuring 4 new mixes by GRAMMY Award winner Serban, 40th anniversary Director’s Cut on Blu-Ray, 23 page book, 5 art prints, movie poster and turntable mat.

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In some ways, it's hard to believe Saturday Night Fever is 40 years old. I wasn't old enough to see this R-rated movie back when it played in theaters, but I certainly grew up with it on cable and even remember the disco craze that the film helped enhance to the point that it seemed every club in the late 70s was having a disco contest on Saturday nights. But it's been a while since I actually sat down and watched the movie from beginning to end. Does it still hold up? Well, yes...and no.

John Travolta was already very much a household name in 1977, having had a successful run on the TV series, Welcome Back, Kotter. But Saturday Night Fever marked his first leading role in a motion picture, and he pretty much knocks it out of the park. I'm guessing most of you have long forgotten that Travolta was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role here – and it's not undeserving.

The biggest problem though, and one of the reasons the movie hasn't aged as well as one might hope, is the supporting cast around Travolta – none of whom are particularly good actors, aside from some of the adults in Tony Manero's world who have limited screen time. It's perhaps no surprise that none of his co-stars went on to particularly huge careers, although most of them have remained active – perhaps in no small part due to their participation in this film.

Another issue looking back on Saturday Night Fever is that while it certainly is a reflection of how many people acted and spoke in the late 1970s (particularly in the Brooklyn area where the movie takes place), the character of Tony Manero – who became a cultural icon when the film was released – will seem very much like an antihero to modern audiences. It's up to the viewer to decide if Tony is borderline racist (he certainly has no problem using derogatory language toward Hispanics), but there's no doubt he's a misogynist – making sexist and offensive remarks to the women in his life throughout the film and – gasp! – even assaulting one sexually not long before the movie's conclusion. Were audiences and critics okay with this back in 1977? Again, I'm too young to remember the reaction, but I don't recall a big fuss back then about kids my age looking up to the character as a role model. Of course, Tony does have his softer moments in the movie and seems to make a decision about bettering himself as the film comes to an end...although I'm not sure that makes up for what comes before. (For the record, I like the character a whole lot better as portrayed in the 1983 Sylvester Stallone-directed sequel, Staying Alive, despite the fact that movie has almost been universally panned by critics and fans alike.)

Ah, but the dancing! Make no doubt about it, watching Travolta move to the tunes of The Bee Gees (and a few other acts) is the real reason to watch and enjoy Saturday Night Fever. If you haven't viewed the film in a while, you may be surprised at how little disco by Travolta is actually in the movie. His best moments don't even come at the conclusion, either. While his last dance in the film is a rather slow and uninspiring coupling with co-star Karen Lynn Gorney, it's his solo dance at the mid-way point of the movie (to The Bee Gees' "You Should Be Dancing") that really lights up the screen. I've heard a rumor over the years that director John Badham was originally going to shoot Travolta dancing from the waist up and try to use a body double for the rest of the dancing, but John insisted on learning all the moves himself, knowing that audiences would want to see him doing the moves. That's was probably the difference between this title being forgotten in the annals of film history and turning into the international blockbuster it became.

This 40th Anniversary release of the movie features both a new Director's Cut of the movie and the original theatrical cut. The new Director's Cut isn't significantly different from the original, but adds a few moments back into the film – including a really nice moment where Tony looks out at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and traces his fingers across its outline, dreaming of a better life for himself. That moment is so powerful, it's hard to believe Badham cut it from the original, and it's nice to see it put back into a cut of the film.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Saturday Night Fever dances its way back onto Blu-ray with a 50GB disc housed inside an eco-friendly Elite keepcase with a slipcover that matches the case's artwork. A sole insert advertises the popular Bee Gees album on one side and other classic titles available from Paramount on the other side. There are no front-loaded trailers on the Blu-ray, whose main menu matches that of the prior Blu-ray release of the movie: A shimmering disco ball on the right of the screen with images of the movie on it and a montage of footage on the left of the screen, with menu selections horizontally across the bottom.

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

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Saturday Night Fever was originally shot on 35mm film and appears here in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 using an MPEG-4 AVC codec. Both the Director's Cut and the original theatrical cut of the movie on this release are taken from a new 4K master created using an original negative.

The new transfer looks very nice – retaining the appearance of film while still providing plenty of detail, particularly during daylight sequences and those that take place in the paint shop where Tony works. Other scenes are a little more "flat" looking, particularly those that take place in one of the nightclubs, where the red push and frequent smoke tend to make things a little hazier.

The controversy here, as is often the case with new transfers, is if this is actually better that the old release. If you look at the screenshots provided here, you'll notice the new transfer is noticeably softer than the prior one. Yes, the old release had some edge enhancement, but may have provided more detail overall. Another issue is the framing, as this new transfer is framed a little "tighter" than the previous one, with a little less (but not much) visual information on the top and bottom of the image. Which is correct? Well, it's actually probably the new version, as the prior release had a non-theatrical 1.78:1 aspect ratio as opposed to the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio provided here, although one could still question whether they framed it correctly when creating the 1.85:1 image. Hey, at least the color timing isn't too drastic between the versions (the new Director's cut is a little more subdued/darker as you can see from the third screenshot comparison below, but the overall color palette remains pretty much the same), which is more than I can say for many new Blu-ray transfers these days.

I didn't notice any problems with artifacting, banding, or aliasing, and while black levels aren't quite inky deep, they're solid enough to avoid any delineation issues or cause noticeable noise in the background of shots. Grain is still evident in the print, but pushed enough into the background that it's never a distraction.

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The only track available on the Director's Cut on this Blu-ray is an English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track, which reportedly has been updated from the 5.1 TrueHD track used on the prior Blu-ray release. The updated track also is available on the original cut, as are 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks in French and Portuguese, as well as a Spanish mono track.

Although the audio has been tweaked a bit from the prior Blu-ray release, there's not really a huge difference. The rears are use almost exclusively to enhance the musical numbers, and not for much else. I really didn't notice other ambient noises, and there's no feeling of immersion whatsover. The track is very much front-heavy, and aside from some obvious ADR usage where voices sound a little more hollow, dialogue is crisp and understandable throughout. It's a shame this 40th Anniversary release couldn't have gone back and remastered the original Dolby stereo mix of the track for a 2.0 presentation here, but the lossless 5.1 audio provided isn't so overbearing or tinkered with to the point that it makes it feel out of date with the movie itself. So it's a satisfying, if unremarkable, track.

Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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Commentary by Director John Badham – This audio commentary track dates back to the 25th Anniversary release of the movie on DVD (in 2002), but is still quite informative and fun if you've never heard it before. It's only available to listen to while watching the theatrical cut of the film.

70s Discopedia – Remember those "Pop-Up Video" factoids that were popular on VH1 in the late 1990s? This is the same concept, with factoids about the movie popping up as you view the film. They all appear on the bottom left corner of the screen, inside a mini-disco floor design. This extra is available for both cuts of the movie. This extra, as well as all the others listed below, has been ported over from the prior Blu-ray release of the film back in 2009.

Catching the Fever (HD 52:39) – This five-part retrospective on the movie is broken up into parts, which can be viewed together or individually. They consist of: "A 30 Year Legacy" (15:25); "Making Soundtrack History" (12:40); "Platforms & Polyester" (10:37); "Deejays and Discos" (10:19); and "Spotlight on Travolta" (3:36).

Back to Bay Rridge (HD 9:01) – Actor Joseph Cali (who plays "Joey" in the movie) revisits the Brooklyn neighborhood where the movie was shot.

Dance Like Travolta with John Cassese (HD 9:50) – The "Dance Doctor" teaches us all the moves of the big dance that Travolta and co-star Karen Lynn Gorney perform in the movie's big dance contest. You need a partner to try this out, so naturally, I just had to watch.

Fever Challenge! (HD 4:00) – This is another dance skill featurette, asking viewers to match movements with the lights of the dance floor shown on screen. I failed miserably.

Deleted Scene – Tony & Stephanie in the Car (HD 1:32) – A single deleted scene from the movie in which Tony is once again frustrated that Stephanie won't take their friendship further. (Note: This release nixes two other deleted scenes that were on the 2009 Blu-ray release. Why? Because they've been put back into the Director's Cut of the film.)

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Other than the new Director's Cut of the movie, there are no exclusive bonus materials on this release.

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I'm not sure Saturday Night Fever holds up in terms of story appeal, but boy does it make up for it in terms of music and dancing. Travolta is still mesmerizing to watch in arguably his most famous role. Because there are no new bonus materials here (other than the new transfer and Director's Cut) those that own the prior Blu-ray may want to wait for the price to drop a few bucks before picking this up; however, this release is still Recommended.

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Fraternal twin grifters Marty and Carol reunite in their mother's California home after suffering personal and professional failures. Set in the late '50s, the amoral and incestuous siblings set their sights on a new mark. Cinematography by Tom Priestley Jr. (The Thomas Crown Affair).

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Three of Shakespeare s most famous tragedies are presented here as a 3-DVD set. Rising star Paapa Essiedu gives a stunning performance in Simon Godwin s riveting contemporary take on Hamlet; Antony Sher leads the way as the proud but fatally flawed monarch in RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran s acclaimed King Lear; completing the collection is Iqbal Khan's astonishing and ground-breaking production of Othello, featuring Hugh Quarshie in the title role and Lucian Msamati as Iago.

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Seeking isolation, thrills, and altitude, Eric LeMarque (Josh Hartnett) finds himself stranded for eight days in the frozen wilderness. He endures hypothermia, starvation, wolves, frostbite, dehydration, withdrawals and hallucination. In this beautiful and deadly environment, Eric fights a more difficult battle within himself as he is forced to face the selfish and destructive choices that left him stranded in the frozen tundra. As the walls close in, Eric must relinquish the drugs he relied on and conquer the ghosts in his past while fighting to stay alive. As his mother launches a desperate rescue effort he must make one final heroic climb towards rescue before time runs out and he succumbs...

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Prohibition—a lawless era where bootleggers prosper and mobsters prowl. In this murky world, blood is shed without regard or regret and for Angelo Lagusa, it’s all he knows. After the Vanetti Mafia murders his family, Angelo is left alone, the burn of revenge just a flickering light until he receives a letter that holds the key to vengeance in the form of a hit list. But there’s a catch—he’ll have to get close to the Vanetti family by befriending the don’s son, Nero. Working side-by-side with the future don, Angelo becomes Avilio Bruno, a loyal hired gun with a talent for pickpocketing and quick planning.

As the days dwindle away, Avilio and Nero grow closer and the kill list gets shorter. But between two families at odds and every target on Nero’s head, the two find themselves in a world of trouble. When it comes down to it, will Avilio—no, Angelo—pull the trigger on a man who considers him family?

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Prohibition—a lawless era where bootleggers prosper and mobsters prowl. In this murky world, blood is shed without regard or regret and for Angelo Lagusa, it’s all he knows. After the Vanetti Mafia murders his family, Angelo is left alone, the burn of revenge just a flickering light until he receives a letter that holds the key to vengeance in the form of a hit list. But there’s a catch—he’ll have to get close to the Vanetti family by befriending the don’s son, Nero. Working side-by-side with the future don, Angelo becomes Avilio Bruno, a loyal hired gun with a talent for pickpocketing and quick planning.

As the days dwindle away, Avilio and Nero grow closer and the kill list gets shorter. But between two families at odds and every target on Nero’s head, the two find themselves in a world of trouble. When it comes down to it, will Avilio—no, Angelo—pull the trigger on a man who considers him family?

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In Amityville: The Awakening, Belle (Bella Thorne) and her family move into a new house, but when strange phenomena begin to occur in the house, Belle begins to suspect her mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) isn't telling her everything. She soon realizes they just moved into the infamous Amityville house.

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In Aquarius, acclaimed Brazilian writer-director Kleber Mendonc a Filho (Neighboring Sounds) continues to examine the alienating effects of urban over-development in Recife, a Brazilian oceanfront city. Clara (So nia Braga, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands), a vibrant former music critic, avid swimmer, grandmother, cancer survivor, willing lover and widow with flowing tresses, is the only remaining apartment owner in a gracious older building targeted for demolition by ruthless luxury high-rise developers. As the builders tactics to remove Clara, become increasingly hostile, Clara proves to be a force to be reckoned with. 

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Oscar winner Charlize Theron explodes into summer in Atomic Blonde, a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies. A blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality and dazzling style, Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, upcoming Deadpool 2). Also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones, the film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel series“The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston & illustrator Sam Hart.

[review_editors_notes] =>

Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of the standard, day-and-date Blu-ray release, also written by M. Enois Duarte. Specifically, this review features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, Audio and Final Thoughts sections while both reviews share The Movie Itself and Special Features.

For a full in-depth review of the 4K Ultra HD HERE.

[review_movie] =>

It's inevitable that Atomic Blonde will be compared to John Wick in the eyes of action fans everywhere, and the comparisons are objectively and undoubtedly justified. And this is in spite the fact that the source material for this espionage thriller about a deadly government assassin beat our favorite neo-noir hitman by at least a couple years. Then, there is also the fact both films share the same director, David Leitch. Only, he's given an uncredited role in the first John Wick while Atomic Blonde marks his solo feature-length directorial debut. So, again, the comparisons are warranted. The problem is those comparisons, unfortunately, can and probably do sound more like accusations and an unreasonable judgment of the film's quality. In this case, action fans, and moviegoers, in general, will be missing out on one of the best genre flicks of the year, adding to a growing list of features from around the world that mark 2017 as a great year for movies as a whole. Despite feeling familiar, Leitch's film transcends the similarities to deliver a white-knuckle thrill-ride that's just as visually stunning and memorable as it is riveting and exhilarating.

Situated in the angst-ridden streets of a drastically-changing 1989 Germany on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the story immediately opens with a chase and murder scene that essentially sets the tone and pace. At the heart of it is a MacGuffin involving a wristwatch and the secret list of active spies that has MI6 scrambling to recover it. The scene is aggressive and animated with a kinetic energy that feels sadly missing from many contemporary actioners but carried through for the rest of the movie's 115-minute runtime. Of course, a large portion of the film's potently dynamic stamina comes from the totally bitchin' soundtrack of 80s tunes. And the constant shift of those killer tracks from diegetic to non-diegetic sounds driving much of the hard-hitting action is one of the several aspects of the production's awesomeness. Sure, I may have some bias in this regard, but seeing the brutally realistic fight choreography and car chases perfectly matched to the rhythm of popular hits like New Order's "Blue Monday" and Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran" ignites those sequences to a level that'll leave the audience mesmerized while also tapping their feet.

To locate and retrieve the list, MI6 heads (Toby Jones and James Faulkner) dispatch their top-level operative Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) into the dangerous USSR-occupied den. And it's immediately apparent Ms. Theron is game for the role of an agent who's just as suave with her words and chic looks as she with her lethal fists. There's no denying the South African-born actress went through some rigorous training to make her fights against bigger, more brutish men as savagely authentic and graphic as possible. And Leitch, along with editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir, allow Theron plenty of space on the screen to demonstrate the amount of time and work she put into it, such as the apartment sequence when she goes toe-to-toe with five cops. Or better yet, during a street demonstration as Lorraine tries to escort a defector codenamed Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), our badass heroine battles six or seven Stasi officers through several floors of an abandoned apartment complex. The near ten-minute long take — thanks to some creative editing — is a gripping, heart-racing feat of stunt choreography, a highlight of the production sure to leave viewers as exhaustive and weary as Lorraine, who simply wants an ice-cold bath and a drink of vodka.

Complicating matters for Lorraine is the wackily eccentric David Percival (James McAvoy), another British agent who's been in Berlin a wee-bit too long. McAvoy is excellent as an arrogant but debonair charmer with an agenda of his own, mucking up what should have been a simple operation into a cat-and-mouse game littered with double-crosses, wire-taps and murder. Sofia Boutella joins the cast as green-behind-the-ears French agent Delphine Lasalle, who ends up a lonely pawn in a larger game where we're never sure if Lorraine's personal interest is revenge for the death of the agent in the opening or something far bigger. And for some reason, John Goodman is also seen roaming about as a mysterious CIA agent. But while we try to solve the mystery and guess the ending, Leitch and cinematographer Jonathan Sela (John WickTransformers: The Last Knight) hypnotize with one of the most visually spellbinding action flicks ever, showering almost every scene with a flamboyant array of neon colors. Meanwhile, more obscure 80s tunes like Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Cities in Dust" and Marilyn Manson's rendition of Ministry's "Stigmata" turn quieter sequences into haunting portraits, adding to Atomic Blonde's list of sundry reasons to watch it.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Universal Studios Home Entertainment brings Atomic Blonde to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with an UltraViolet Digital Copy code. The Region Free, BD50 disc sits comfortably opposite a DVD-9 disc inside a blue, eco-vortex case with a glossy, embossed slipcover. After several skippable trailers, the disc switches to a menu screen with a static image of the cover art and music playing in the background.

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The deadly bodacious assassin sneaks into Blu-ray with a righteous and totally demo-worthy 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that ignites the screen with brilliantly vibrant neon colors.

Perfectly capturing the style and atmosphere of the 1980s, many sequences are bathed in the chic, cool glow of electrifying blues and warm, radical purples. While other primaries remain accurately-rendered throughout, much of the palette is focused on vivid, richly-saturated secondary hues. Walking through the streets of Berlin, however, the scenery is near monochromatic and dour, a deliberate creative choice of the filmmakers to reflect the cold political climate of the period. Pitch-perfect contrast delivers crisp, dazzling whites in the snow, Lorraine's outfits and various vehicles while still maintaining a gloomy, dismal feeling in daylight exteriors and allowing outstanding visibility in the distance. Black levels are gorgeous, providing the 2.40:1 image with inky rich, stygian shadows and excellent gradational details in the darkest portions of the frame.

The overall presentation is consistently razor-sharp, exposing the grimy cracks in the buildings, the filthy trash littering the streets and every nook and cranny of Percival's stuffy, poorly-lit apartment. While practically counting the individual bricks of the street or buildings, viewers can also distinctly make out each hair in Percival's fur coat or the well-defined threading in the radical clothing worn by the rest of the cast. Facial complexions not only appear healthy and appropriate to the climate, but they also reveal the tiniest blemish and imperfection in the male cast while our female heroines pretty much look flawless throughout. The only exception when battered and bruised Lorraine walks away from a brutally gnarly fight.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 79882 [review_audio] =>

The espionage thriller also erupts onto the scene with a totally tubular and choice DTS:X soundtrack featuring a bitchin' selection of radical tunes that'll turn the home theater into a kickin' house party!

As one would suspect, the winners here are the 80s songs and Tyler Bates's score blaring into all the speakers and the overheads when in non-diegetic mode. When switching back to a diegetic element, the music smoothly refocuses across the screen without missing a beat. The noise of the nightclub echoing all around, creating an immersive hemispheric quality, and the streets of Berlin are continuously busy with hustle and bustle of city life. The ceiling channels are silent for the most part when music is not playing, but occasionally, some random effect will bleed over the listening area, such as alarm sirens or the crowd marching through the streets. Most of the atmospherics are retained to the surrounds, but from time to time, they also move discretely overhead.

Much of the action is maintained across the front soundstage, which feels broad and expansive with lots of off-screen activity providing a great sense of space and presence from beginning to end. The mid-range exhibits superb distinction and clarity even during the loudest sequences, delivering every punch, crack, snap and crunch of metal on metal with awesome clarity and detail. Every whispered conversation and emotional line is well-prioritized and lucid in the center while also once in a while fluidly between all three channels to further add to design outstanding sense of space. A powerful and sometimes authoritative low-end sends a full-bodied rumble across the room, giving those aforementioned punches some weight, the explosions an exciting oomph and every gunshot a sharp thump.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 79883 [review_supplements] =>

Audio Commentary: Director David Leitch is joined by editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir for an enlightening conversation on the technical aspects of the production while also sharing a few anecdotes from the set and making comparisons to the original source material as well as their work on John Wick.

Anatomy of a Fight Scene (HD, 8 min): Done in picture-in-picture style, an in-depth look at the brutal fight sequence done as long take with commentary and lots of BTS footage revealing the choreography.

Blondes Have More Gun (HD, 7 min): Focused on Charlize Theron and the immense training she endured for the role while also commenting on the direction and various challenges encountered.

Welcome to Berlin (HD, 5 min): Discussion on the plot's setting, shooting locations and production design.

Spymaster (HD, 4 min): Praise for Leitch and his visual aspirations for the movie.

Story in Motion (HD): Pair of animated storyboards with optional director commentary.

            Agent Broughton (2 min)

            The Chase (2 min)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 7 min): Six scenes recovered from the cutting room floor.

Russian Driver

Hidden Stash

Nice to Meet You

Not Afraid of Love

Broughton's Promise

Watch for Sale

[review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 79884 [review_bottom_line] => 2 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Immediately, in the opening minutes, Atomic Blonde sets the tone, pace and rhythm for the remainder of the film's 115-minute runtime, an aggressive and animated motion picture with a flamboyantly colorful and kinetic energy that feels sadly missing from many contemporary actioners. Starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy as questionable spies supposedly working on the same side, the action thriller is a white-knuckle cat-and-mouse game of high-stakes espionage with brutal, riveting action choreography, making the list of one of the best movies of 2017. The Blu-ray goes covert with a vibrant, reference-quality video presentation and an awesomely satisfying DTS:X soundtrack that'll turn the home theater into kickin' house party. Featuring a disappointingly small set of supplements, the overall package is nonetheless recommended for action junkies who love their badass heroines.

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Oscar winner Charlize Theron explodes into summer in Atomic Blonde, a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies. A blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality and dazzling style, Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, upcoming Deadpool 2). Also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones, the film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel series“The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston & illustrator Sam Hart.

[review_editors_notes] =>

Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of the standard, day-and-date Blu-ray release, also written by M. Enois Duarte. Specifically, this review features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, Audio and Final Thoughts sections while both reviews share The Movie Itself and Special Features.

For a full in-depth review of the 4K Ultra HD HERE.

[review_movie] =>

It's inevitable that Atomic Blonde will be compared to John Wick in the eyes of action fans everywhere, and the comparisons are objectively and undoubtedly justified. And this is in spite the fact that the source material for this espionage thriller about a deadly government assassin beat our favorite neo-noir hitman by at least a couple years. Then, there is also the fact both films share the same director, David Leitch. Only, he's given an uncredited role in the first John Wick while Atomic Blonde marks his solo feature-length directorial debut. So, again, the comparisons are warranted. The problem is those comparisons, unfortunately, can and probably do sound more like accusations and an unreasonable judgment of the film's quality. In this case, action fans, and moviegoers, in general, will be missing out on one of the best genre flicks of the year, adding to a growing list of features from around the world that mark 2017 as a great year for movies as a whole. Despite feeling familiar, Leitch's film transcends the similarities to deliver a white-knuckle thrill-ride that's just as visually stunning and memorable as it is riveting and exhilarating.

Situated in the angst-ridden streets of a drastically-changing 1989 Germany on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the story immediately opens with a chase and murder scene that essentially sets the tone and pace. At the heart of it is a MacGuffin involving a wristwatch and the secret list of active spies that has MI6 scrambling to recover it. The scene is aggressive and animated with a kinetic energy that feels sadly missing from many contemporary actioners but carried through for the rest of the movie's 115-minute runtime. Of course, a large portion of the film's potently dynamic stamina comes from the totally bitchin' soundtrack of 80s tunes. And the constant shift of those killer tracks from diegetic to non-diegetic sounds driving much of the hard-hitting action is one of the several aspects of the production's awesomeness. Sure, I may have some bias in this regard, but seeing the brutally realistic fight choreography and car chases perfectly matched to the rhythm of popular hits like New Order's "Blue Monday" and Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran" ignites those sequences to a level that'll leave the audience mesmerized while also tapping their feet.

To locate and retrieve the list, MI6 heads (Toby Jones and James Faulkner) dispatch their top-level operative Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) into the dangerous USSR-occupied den. And it's immediately apparent Ms. Theron is game for the role of an agent who's just as suave with her words and chic looks as she with her lethal fists. There's no denying the South African-born actress went through some rigorous training to make her fights against bigger, more brutish men as savagely authentic and graphic as possible. And Leitch, along with editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir, allow Theron plenty of space on the screen to demonstrate the amount of time and work she put into it, such as the apartment sequence when she goes toe-to-toe with five cops. Or better yet, during a street demonstration as Lorraine tries to escort a defector codenamed Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), our badass heroine battles six or seven Stasi officers through several floors of an abandoned apartment complex. The near ten-minute long take — thanks to some creative editing — is a gripping, heart-racing feat of stunt choreography, a highlight of the production sure to leave viewers as exhaustive and weary as Lorraine, who simply wants an ice-cold bath and a drink of vodka.

Complicating matters for Lorraine is the wackily eccentric David Percival (James McAvoy), another British agent who's been in Berlin a wee-bit too long. McAvoy is excellent as an arrogant but debonair charmer with an agenda of his own, mucking up what should have been a simple operation into a cat-and-mouse game littered with double-crosses, wire-taps and murder. Sofia Boutella joins the cast as green-behind-the-ears French agent Delphine Lasalle, who ends up a lonely pawn in a larger game where we're never sure if Lorraine's personal interest is revenge for the death of the agent in the opening or something far bigger. And for some reason, John Goodman is also seen roaming about as a mysterious CIA agent. But while we try to solve the mystery and guess the ending, Leitch and cinematographer Jonathan Sela (John WickTransformers: The Last Knight) hypnotize with one of the most visually spellbinding action flicks ever, showering almost every scene with a flamboyant array of neon colors. Meanwhile, more obscure 80s tunes like Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Cities in Dust" and Marilyn Manson's rendition of Ministry's "Stigmata" turn quieter sequences into haunting portraits, adding to Atomic Blonde's list of sundry reasons to watch it.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Universal Studios Home Entertainment brings Atomic Blonde to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with an UltraViolet Digital Copy code. The Region Free, BD50 disc sits comfortably opposite a DVD-9 disc inside a blue, eco-vortex case with a glossy, embossed slipcover. After several skippable trailers, the disc switches to a menu screen with a static image of the cover art and music playing in the background.

[review_video_picture_id] => 79881 [review_video] =>

The deadly bodacious assassin sneaks into Blu-ray with a righteous and totally demo-worthy 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that ignites the screen with brilliantly vibrant neon colors.

Perfectly capturing the style and atmosphere of the 1980s, many sequences are bathed in the chic, cool glow of electrifying blues and warm, radical purples. While other primaries remain accurately-rendered throughout, much of the palette is focused on vivid, richly-saturated secondary hues. Walking through the streets of Berlin, however, the scenery is near monochromatic and dour, a deliberate creative choice of the filmmakers to reflect the cold political climate of the period. Pitch-perfect contrast delivers crisp, dazzling whites in the snow, Lorraine's outfits and various vehicles while still maintaining a gloomy, dismal feeling in daylight exteriors and allowing outstanding visibility in the distance. Black levels are gorgeous, providing the 2.40:1 image with inky rich, stygian shadows and excellent gradational details in the darkest portions of the frame.

The overall presentation is consistently razor-sharp, exposing the grimy cracks in the buildings, the filthy trash littering the streets and every nook and cranny of Percival's stuffy, poorly-lit apartment. While practically counting the individual bricks of the street or buildings, viewers can also distinctly make out each hair in Percival's fur coat or the well-defined threading in the radical clothing worn by the rest of the cast. Facial complexions not only appear healthy and appropriate to the climate, but they also reveal the tiniest blemish and imperfection in the male cast while our female heroines pretty much look flawless throughout. The only exception when battered and bruised Lorraine walks away from a brutally gnarly fight.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 79882 [review_audio] =>

The espionage thriller also erupts onto the scene with a totally tubular and choice DTS:X soundtrack featuring a bitchin' selection of radical tunes that'll turn the home theater into a kickin' house party!

As one would suspect, the winners here are the 80s songs and Tyler Bates's score blaring into all the speakers and the overheads when in non-diegetic mode. When switching back to a diegetic element, the music smoothly refocuses across the screen without missing a beat. The noise of the nightclub echoing all around, creating an immersive hemispheric quality, and the streets of Berlin are continuously busy with hustle and bustle of city life. The ceiling channels are silent for the most part when music is not playing, but occasionally, some random effect will bleed over the listening area, such as alarm sirens or the crowd marching through the streets. Most of the atmospherics are retained to the surrounds, but from time to time, they also move discretely overhead.

Much of the action is maintained across the front soundstage, which feels broad and expansive with lots of off-screen activity providing a great sense of space and presence from beginning to end. The mid-range exhibits superb distinction and clarity even during the loudest sequences, delivering every punch, crack, snap and crunch of metal on metal with awesome clarity and detail. Every whispered conversation and emotional line is well-prioritized and lucid in the center while also once in a while fluidly between all three channels to further add to design outstanding sense of space. A powerful and sometimes authoritative low-end sends a full-bodied rumble across the room, giving those aforementioned punches some weight, the explosions an exciting oomph and every gunshot a sharp thump.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 79883 [review_supplements] =>

Audio Commentary: Director David Leitch is joined by editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir for an enlightening conversation on the technical aspects of the production while also sharing a few anecdotes from the set and making comparisons to the original source material as well as their work on John Wick.

Anatomy of a Fight Scene (HD, 8 min): Done in picture-in-picture style, an in-depth look at the brutal fight sequence done as long take with commentary and lots of BTS footage revealing the choreography.

Blondes Have More Gun (HD, 7 min): Focused on Charlize Theron and the immense training she endured for the role while also commenting on the direction and various challenges encountered.

Welcome to Berlin (HD, 5 min): Discussion on the plot's setting, shooting locations and production design.

Spymaster (HD, 4 min): Praise for Leitch and his visual aspirations for the movie.

Story in Motion (HD): Pair of animated storyboards with optional director commentary.

            Agent Broughton (2 min)

            The Chase (2 min)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 7 min): Six scenes recovered from the cutting room floor.

Russian Driver

Hidden Stash

Nice to Meet You

Not Afraid of Love

Broughton's Promise

Watch for Sale

[review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 79884 [review_bottom_line] => 2 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Immediately, in the opening minutes, Atomic Blonde sets the tone, pace and rhythm for the remainder of the film's 115-minute runtime, an aggressive and animated motion picture with a flamboyantly colorful and kinetic energy that feels sadly missing from many contemporary actioners. Starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy as questionable spies supposedly working on the same side, the action thriller is a white-knuckle cat-and-mouse game of high-stakes espionage with brutal, riveting action choreography, making the list of one of the best movies of 2017. The Blu-ray goes covert with a vibrant, reference-quality video presentation and an awesomely satisfying DTS:X soundtrack that'll turn the home theater into kickin' house party. Featuring a disappointingly small set of supplements, the overall package is nonetheless recommended for action junkies who love their badass heroines.

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Oscar winner Charlize Theron explodes into summer in Atomic Blonde, a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies. A blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality and dazzling style, Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, upcoming Deadpool 2). Also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones, the film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel series“The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston & illustrator Sam Hart.

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This twisted tale about a deranged maniac who creates a device that shrinks people to foot-high figurines is big on terror! Tired of being toyed with, the puppets launch an attack, and suddenly their captor finds he'd better stop playing — and start praying — because these miniature moppets are hellbent on revenge!

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Writer (here with Mickey Rose)-director-actor Woody Allen’s madcap Bananas (1971) is part wild political satire/part screwball romance.  Allen stars as the remarkably named Fielding Mellish, a nebbish whose yen for a political activist (Louise Lasser) involves him in a South American country’s exploding revolution, up to and including his eventual and unwitting appearance as a Castro-like dictator. 

[review_movie] =>

For those who might have forgotten just how funny Woody Allen can be, check out Bananas, a madcap romp about a hapless, lovesick nebbish who finds himself at the center of a Latin American political revolution after his girlfriend dumps him. Energetic, brash, irreverent, and undeniably silly, this breakneck farce fires a nonstop barrage of gags. Some hit, some miss, some are incisive, others are non-sequiturs, but most of what Allen and co-writer Mickey Rose throw at the wall sticks. Chaos reigns supreme, and the delightful, disjointed mayhem - often reminiscent of the Marx Brothers’ distinctive brand of lunacy - provides a welcome respite from life’s harsh realities.

It’s hard to believe Allen, who just turned 82 a few days ago, has been making movies for almost half a century. Yet before he became a serious director, comedy was his passion, and Bananas brings us back to those halcyon days when laughs mattered more to him than sober themes and personal journeys. Just like its title, Bananas is wild and crazy and utterly innocuous, and all those elements contribute to its considerable charm. There are reasons why many of Allen’s fans gravitate so strongly toward his early works - they’re less complicated, more accessible, and devoid of pretense. All Bananas seems to care about is milking the next laugh, and that narrow focus is very refreshing indeed.

Fielding Mellish (Allen) is a clumsy, bumbling, fearful, lonely, horny, and neurotic professional product tester who longs for love and hates what he does for a living. “I should be working at a job I have some kind of aptitude for,” he says, “like donating sperm to an artificial insemination lab.” One day, a cute, quirky petitioner named Nancy (Louise Lasser) knocks on his apartment door trying to drum up American support for the rebel resistance in San Marcos, a South American nation rocked by a recent military coup. Fielding doesn’t give a whit about the cause, but falls for Nancy hook, line, and sinker. The two have a brief romance, but Nancy breaks it off, calling the devastated Fielding “emotionally, sexually, and intellectually immature.”

He tries to get over her by traveling alone to San Marcos, where he becomes a pawn in the new dictator’s plan to subdue the revolutionaries and gain American support for his regime. But Fielding gets captured by the rebels instead and quickly becomes a pawn in their plot to gain American support for their efforts to overthrow the government and restore democracy. Complications abound, of course, and the easily manipulated Fielding gets in way over his head...with predictably zany consequences.

The movie’s priceless opening sequence featuring famed sportscaster Howard Cosell broadcasting a live play-by-play of the violent San Marcos military takeover sets the slapstick tone and paves the way for plenty of clever shtick. Allen combines one-liners, verbal zingers, and smart banter with broad physical comedy and some pantomime to keep us engaged and off balance, and tosses in a couple of subtle nods to classic films, duplicating the lighting of two cigarettes made famous in Now, Voyager and the shot of the baby carriage careening down the Odessa Steps in Battleship Potemkin. Energetic performances also fuel the film, which breezes along at a brisk clip and seems much shorter than its 82-minute running time.

Often summoning his inner Charlie Chaplin, Allen masterfully mixes physical humor with pangs of pathos that lend this outrageous farce essential warmth. Chaplin had his Little Tramp, and here Allen continues to develop the insecure, neurotic, hopelessly romantic persona he introduced in Take the Money and Run two years earlier. Whether he’s testing an out-of-control executive exercise desk, surreptitiously buying a pornographic magazine at a newsstand, fending off a couple of subway thugs (one of whom is played by a then unknown and uncredited Sylvester Stallone), taking over the reins of an operation from his surgeon father, or acting as both attorney and witness simultaneously during his own trial, Allen is always on the mark and oddly endearing.

Allen and Lasser were married for a few years in the late 1960s, but divorced by the time Bananas commenced production. Yet sparks still fly between them, and they make an appropriately kooky, believable couple. Though Lasser - after an appearance in one of the sketches in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (*But were afraid to ask) the following year - soon would be replaced as Allen’s leading lady by Diane Keaton, she possesses many attractive qualities that complement Allen well and would surely have bolstered his subsequent films, had their relationship continued.

For the most part, Bananas is mindless fun, but it does perceptively lampoon the tenuous political climate of underdeveloped nations, as well as the time-honored idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Parallels to Fidel Castro are hard to miss (just take a gander at the disc’s cover art), but such topical connections only pepper the story; they don’t drive it. And that just might be why Bananas stands the test of time. The film marked Allen’s first big success as a director and remains a testament to his unique comic gifts both in front of and behind the camera. It may be 46 years old, but Bananas is still a ripe - and very tasty - piece of cinematic fruit. Go ahead and give it a bite.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Bananas arrives on Blu-ray in a limited to 3,000 edition packaged in a standard case. An eight-page booklet that includes an essay by film historian Julie Kirgo and a few color scene stills (but not, as per usual, a reproduction of the film’s poster art) is tucked inside the front cover. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu without music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

[review_video_picture_id] => 80272 [review_video] =>

As bright as a bunch of ripe bananas, the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer of Bananas from Twilight Time brings this vintage 1970s comedy to brilliant life, A few specks dot the print from time to time, but the source material is otherwise spotless and flaunts a lovely grain structure that lends the image a film-like feel. Terrific clarity and contrast thrust us into the thick of the mayhem, and bold, vibrant colors pop off the screen. Yellows and oranges are especially strong, but pastel blues and pinks stand out, too. Blacks are rich, patterns remain stable, and flesh tones appear natural. Shadow delineation is good, background details are easy to discern, and any digital doctoring escapes notice. This is another stellar effort from Twilight Time that will certainly please Allen’s fans.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 80273 [review_audio] =>

The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 track supplies clear, well-modulated sound. Ambient effects like crowd noise subtly enhance the atmosphere, while more pointed sonic accents like gunfire are crisp and distinct. A wide dynamic scale handles all the highs and lows of Marvin Hamlisch’s rhythmic music score without a hint of distortion, and excellent fidelity and tonal depth help the Latin-tinged strains fill the room. All the funny dialogue is easy to comprehend, and no age-related hiss, pops, or crackles intrude. Audio plays a bigger role in Bananas than in most Allen film’s, and Twilight Time’s high-quality track splendidly showcases it.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 80274 [review_supplements] =>

Typical of Woody Allen home video releases, only a couple of extras are included on the disc.

Isolated Music Track - Marvin Hamlisch’s bouncy and infectious music score can be enjoyed without any intrusions on this isolated track.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 3 minutes) - This inventive preview intersperses clips from the movie with a staged, comic interview with Allen, during which he describes the plot, lists the cast, and offers his own personal review of the picture.

[review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 80275 [review_bottom_line] => 1 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Bananas put Woody Allen on the cinematic map, and this often riotous romp reminds us what a wonderfully gifted comedian the legendary writer-director can be. Gags galore punch up this farcical tale of a mild-mannered nerd who bumbles his way into the center of a South American revolution and becomes its unlikely hero. Though extras are slim on this Twilight Time limited edition release, excellent video and audio transfers distinguish the presentation. If you’re looking for a funny, clever, breezy bit of silliness with a splash of political satire, Bananas is your ticket. Highly recommended.

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"A guitar-picking good ol’ boy. A clean-cut all-American. A Navajo. A bookworm. A lumberjack. A slum kid. All enter Marine boot camp to be trained, hardened and ready to answer their country’s Battle Cry. Scripted by Leon M. Uris from his own novel, directed by action master Raoul Walsh and starring a who’s who of ’50s movie stars, Battle Cry is an epic ode to World War II Marine heroism and homefront sacrifice, a saga following recruits from boot camp to a New Zealand base of operations to the war they knew would someday come their way: the bloody invasion of Saipan. Enlist now alongside the fighting men and stalwart women of Battle Cry for boisterous tenderness and gung-ho excitement."

[review_movie] =>

When CinemaScope burst upon the scene amid much fanfare in 1953, Hollywood studios quickly jumped aboard the widescreen bandwagon, mounting musicals, Biblical epics, swashbucklers, travelogues, and adventure yarns in the new format. Yet it took a while to bring one of the most popular film genres into the fold. War movies would seem like a CinemaScope natural, with their expansive battle sequences, military pageantry, and eye-popping spectacle maximizing the impact of the increased aspect ratio, but it wasn't until 1955 that the first widescreen war flick hit theaters. And predictably, eager patrons lapped it up.

That film was Battle Cry, a big-budget, sprawling adaptation of Leon Uris' best-selling novel that ultimately grossed more than $8 million at the box office. That was a pretty penny in those days, and while no one would rank this by-the-numbers portrait of a tight-knit Marine Corps unit during World War II as one of the greatest war movies ever made, it remains an entertaining - if bloated - motion picture that makes excellent use of the fledgling CinemaScope process. Director Raoul Walsh gives Uris' tale the epic treatment, but for a film touting the word "battle" in its title, not much fighting transpires over the course of Battle Cry's almost two-and-a-half-hour running time. Just like the story's frustrated band of intrepid soldiers who itch to confront their Japanese foes, we keep waiting and waiting (and waiting) to see the action we've been promised. Yet the battalion doesn't get deployed until the film's final 20 minutes, resulting in a rushed climax that may be exciting and impressively shot, but only whets our appetite for more, and makes it hard to shirk the feeling we've been cheated.

Akin to (the much better) From Here to Eternity, but with a broader focus, Battle Cry follows the military and romantic exploits of a group of young, very green Marine recruits from their initial days of basic training a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor up through radio school, a stint in New Zealand, and all the way to the bloody Battle of Saipan in the Pacific. Led by the gruff, crusty Major Sam Huxley (Van Heflin), the motley outfit dubs itself "Huxley's Harlots," and is comprised of just about every social and ethnic stereotype imaginable. Yet the story, based on Uris' own experiences and narrated by the hard-nosed, blustery, but paternal Master Technical Sergeant Mac (James Whitmore), mostly revolves around a trio of all-American enlisted men - Private Andy Hookins (Aldo Ray), Private Danny Forrester (Tab Hunter), and Private Marion Hotchkiss (John Lupton) . Nancy Olson, Dorothy Malone, and Anne Francis portray their respective love interests, and all three dames carry a fair amount of emotional baggage. They also shanghai a good portion of the plot, adding too much soap to what should be a down-and-dirty, in-the-trenches combat chronicle.

Yes, Battle Cry grounds itself in the military milieu, depicting the day-to-day training, drudgery, and personal conflicts the men must endure. Much to its chagrin, the outfit continually gets passed over for active fighting and, instead, is dispatched to perform "mop-up" duties after the devastation at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. Such dull, unglamorous missions not only prevent the film from depicting large-scale battles, they also put more of an emphasis on the men's romantic entanglements, lending the story a softer focus than the title suggests. I'm not sure if it's Walsh's intention to have the audience as antsy as the soldiers to see some hardcore action, but that's what occurs, and the climactic Saipan showdown - after two hours of build-up - just isn't enough to satisfy our cravings.

The material suits the macho Walsh, who directed Cagney and Bogart in some of their best films, and he and cinematographer Sidney Hickox make fine use of the vast CinemaScope landscape. Lots of location work gives the movie an outdoorsy feel that heightens realism, and the extensive cooperation of the U.S. Marine Corps adds authenticity to the training sequences. Pacing is good, too. Despite the lengthy running time and lack of war scenes, the narrative chugs along at a brisk clip, jumping back and forth between the multiple storylines with admirable dexterity.

Heflin and Whitmore brandish plenty of square-jawed intensity, but aren't afraid to display some honest emotion when called upon, while up-and-coming heartthrob Hunter shows off some beefcake during a laughable rip-off of the famous From Here to Eternity beach scene, inexplicably shot indoors on a soundstage with a fake ocean and artificial sky. (Though Hunter and Malone, who also flaunts a fair amount of skin, make a sexy pair, they can't hold a candle to Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, whose iconic crashing-surf embrace on a real Hawaiian stretch of sand is the stuff of movie legend.) With his gravelly voice, stocky physique, and pugnacious personality, Ray was born to play a Marine, and he often carries the picture on his broad shoulders, projecting an earnest sincerity that often belies his cocky swagger.

Battle Cry typifies the kind of big, bloated entertainment Hollywood produced during the mid-1950s to combat the encroaching television threat, and it succeeds in that regard. Though it doesn't deliver all it promises from an action perspective, its engrossing story and sweeping visuals hold attention throughout. Gloss may eclipse grit, but spirited performances from an accomplished cast supply this standard, clichéd tale with enough heart and soul to sustain it. With apologies to a couple of other famous World War II flicks, Battle Cry won't take you from here to eternity or to hell and back, but it's a solid specimen in a cluttered genre.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Battle Cry arrives on Blu-ray packaged in a standard case. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu without music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

[review_video_picture_id] => 80420 [review_video] =>

I've never been a fan of the single-strip color processes that replaced three-strip Technicolor in the 1950s, but Warner Archive has done a yeoman's job restoring Battle Cry, and the resultant 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer beautifully revives this CinemaScope war film. Some of the rear projection work remains a bit faded, but for the most part, the image is vibrant and lush. Excellent clarity and contrast bring the locations to life (but also call undue attention to artificial process shots and "outdoor" soundstage sequences), while a natural grain structure preserves the feel of celluloid. Bold reds, brilliant orange flames, and verdant greens punch up the color palette, but flesh tones remain naggingly on the rosy side. Blacks are rich, whites are bright but resist blooming, and background details are easy to discern. Sharp close-ups showcase the rugged, leathery faces of the soldiers, but also highlight cool glamour of Anne Francis, Dorothy Malone, Tab Hunter, and Nancy Olson. No nicks, marks, or scratches sully the spotless source material, and any digital doctoring escapes notice. Warner Archive once again honors one of its catalogue classics, infusing an old war horse with newfound life.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 80421 [review_audio] =>

Warner provides a brand spanking new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that fully immerses us in this widescreen epic. Surround activity is far more pronounced than in most remastered classics, with ambient effects like chirping birds and crickets subtly bleeding into the rear speakers. Max Steiner's rousing music score also envelops, and a wide dynamic scale handles all of its soaring highs and weighty lows without a hint of distortion. First-rate stereo separation across the front channels, especially during the climactic battle, widens the soundscape and heightens realism, while solid bass frequencies enhance the impact of exploding bombs. All the dialogue is clear and easy to comprehend, and any age-related defects like hiss, pops, and crackles have been meticulously erased. Involving audio is essential for a long war movie, and this impressive track keeps us focused on the action for almost two-and-a-half hours.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 80422 [review_supplements] =>

The only supplement is the film's four-minute original theatrical trailer, which is presented in high definition and salutes all the key characters, especially James Whitmore's Mac, who's referred to as "sort of a mother hen and a father confessor to a bunch of guys named Joe."

[review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 80423 [review_bottom_line] => 6 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Too much personal drama and not enough military maneuvers keep Battle Cry from living up to its title, but despite the dearth of skirmishes, Raoul Walsh's big, colorful adaptation of Leon Uris' novel still maintains interest over the course of its lengthy running time. Warner Archive's Blu-ray presentation is devoid of extras, but the high-quality widescreen video transfer and remastered 5.1 lossless audio make this disc a treat for fans of the genre and the film's potent cast. For Fans Only.

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James has grown up with the goofy if quaintly kids’ show Brigsby Bear and the program has grown with him as well. But to say James’ intensely protective parents have kept their son a bit sheltered is an understatement. One dramatic night, James’ insular world is upended and upon learning the series has been canceled, he adopts the old adage that the show must go on. By becoming Brigsby Bear’s new creator instead of just a viewer in the dark, he finally accesses all the meaningful connections his life has lacked.

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BROTHERS OF THE NIGHT follows a group of young Bulgarian Roma who move to Vienna in search of adventure and freedom, but poverty drives them to sleep with older men for money. Boys by day and kings by night, they're sucked into the allure of a nocturnal lifestyle while striving to support their families and children back home. Here, though, they find comfort and togetherness in the ability to be young and reckless. An official selection at the Berlin Film Festival this wild and surreal docu-drama from director Patric Chiha (Domain) takes cues from Fassbinder, Pasolini, and Grodecki while forging a new and exciting narrative path of its own.

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Few filmmakers can boast a body of work as outstanding, as beautiful or as mesmerizing as that of Pedro Costa (COLOSSAL YOUTH, IN VANDA'S ROOM, HORSE MONEY). This, his second feature, is an intriguing and voluptuous rethink of Jacques Turner's I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE. Leão (Isaach De Bankole) falls into a coma after an accident working on a construction site in Portugal. Arrangements are made for a young nurse, Mariana (Ines de Medeiros), to accompany him back to his home on the brooding Cape Verde islands. Strangely, no one recognizes him there and as she waits for someone to take responsibility for Leão or for him to regain consciousness, Mariana gradually becomes bewitched by the mysterious community and landscape of this unnerving volcanic isle. Never before released in the U.S. and now beautifully restored, CASA DE LAVA is an extraordinary, ravishing work.

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Unable to get over the tragic loss of the love of his life and stuck with a day job of editing adult videos, Chase meets an unlikely ally, Valentine - a call girl who works under the various personas she has created for herself. Is Chase ready to uncover Valentine's dark secrets?

[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 ) ) [15] => Array ( [review_id] => 50477 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => deserthearts [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Desert Hearts [picture_created] => 1503048263 [picture_name] => desert_hearts.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Criterion [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/08/18/120/desert_hearts.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/50477/deserthearts.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1985 [run_time] => 91 [list_price] => 39.95 [asin] => B074R58HZ1 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.85:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English LPCM Mono ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Audio commentary from 2007 featuring director Donna Deitch [1] => New conversation between Deitch and actor Jane Lynch [2] => New conversation between Deitch, Elswit, and production designer Jeannine Oppewall about the film’s visual style [3] => New interviews with actors Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau [4] => Excerpt from Fiction and Other Truths: A Film About Jane Rule, a 1995 documentary about the author of Desert of the Heart, the 1964 novel on which the film is based [5] => PLUS: An essay by critic B. Ruby Rich ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Drama, Romance ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Donna Deitch ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Donna Deitch’s swooning and sensual first narrative feature, Desert Hearts,was groundbreaking upon its 1985 release: a love story about two women, made entirely independently, on a self-financed shoestring budget, by a woman. In the 1959-set film, an adaptation of a beloved novel by Jane Rule, straitlaced East Coast professor Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver) arrives in Reno to file for divorce but winds up catching the eye of someone new, the younger free spirit Cay (Patricia Charbonneau), touching off a slow seduction that unfolds against a breathtaking desert landscape. With undeniable chemistry between its two leads, an evocative jukebox soundtrack, and vivid cinematography by Robert Elswit, Desert Hearts beautifully exudes a sense of tender yearning and emotional candor.

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The great Leslie Bricusse brings us this musical adaptation of Hugh Lofting’s delightful series of children’s books, Doctor Dolittle (1967), with Rex Harrison starring as the eponymous fellow who famously has the ability to “talk to the animals.” Samantha Eggar, Anthony Newley, and Richard Attenborough co-star; Richard Fleischer (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) directs; but the real fascinators here are the animals, some real, some fantastical.

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Doctor Who is a series that details the varied adventures of the Doctor, a Time Lord hailing from the planet Gallifrey who arrives on earth by what appears to be a 1950s London police call box. In reality, this call box is actually a TARDIS; short for Time and Relative Dimension(s) in Space, the TARDIS is a vehicle that allows the Doctor to travel throughout the universe. As an added bonus, the Doctor has the ability to regenerate into a new looking body as a last resort before succumbing to death due to injuries incurred while traveling the universe. The year 1963 marked the first episode of Doctor Who in England; since then, the show has continued on to become the longest running sci-fi series in the history of television, continuing active production until its break in 1989.

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A Police Officer is killed in the line of duty every 53 hours in the United States. Giving these heroes a voice, Fallen tells their stories through the eyes of the partners, families and communities they left behind.

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Long unavailable in the U.S., this shattering, kaleidoscopic masterpiece is one of the most subversive and intoxicating films of the late 1960s: a headlong dive into a dazzling, unseen Tokyo night-world of drag bars and fabulous divas, fueled by booze, drugs, fuzz guitars, performance art and black mascara. No less than Stanley Kubrick cited the film as a direct influence on his own classic A Clockwork Orange.

An unknown club dancer at the time, transgender actor Peter (from Kurosawa's Ran) gives an astonishing Edie Sedgwick/Warhol superstar-like performance as hot young thing Eddie, hostess at Bar Genet where she's ignited a violent love-triangle with reigning drag queen Leda (Osamu Ogasawara) for the attentions of club owner Gonda (played by Kurosawa regular Yoshio Tsuchiya, from Seven Samurai, Yojimbo). One of Japan's leading experimental filmmakers, Matsumoto bends and distorts time here like Resnais in Last Year at Marienbad, freely mixing documentary interviews, Brechtian film-within-a-film asides, Oedipal premonitions of disaster, his own avant-garde shorts, and even on-screen cartoon balloons, into a dizzying whirl of image + sound. Featuring breathtaking black-and-white cinematography by Tatsuo Suzuki that rivals the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe, Funeral Parade offers a frank, openly erotic and unapologetic portrait of an underground community of drag queens. Whether laughing with drunken businessmen, eating ice cream with her girlfriends, or fighting in the streets with a local girl gang, Peter's ravishing Eddie is something to behold. "She has bad manners, all she knows is coquetry," complains her rival Leda but in fact, Eddie's bad manners are simply being too gorgeous for this world. Her stunning presence, in bell-bottom pants, black leather jacket and Brian Jones hair-do, is a direct threat to the social order, both in the Bar Genet and in the streets of Tokyo.

A key work of the Japanese New Wave and of queer cinema, Funeral Parade has been restored in 4K from the original 35mm camera negative and sound elements for this 2017 re-release.

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George Romero's name may be synonymous with the living dead subgenre, but his filmography is far richer and more varied than his reputation as "the zombie guy" would suggest. Following the breakout success of his debut feature Night of the Living Dead, the director would embark upon a series of projects which, whilst firmly rooted in the horror genre for the most part, demonstrate a master filmmaker with more than mere gut-munching on his mind.

In There's Always Vanilla, Romero's sophomore 1971 directorial effort, young drifter Chris and beautiful model Lynn embark upon a tumultuous relationship which seems doomed from the outset. 1972's Season of the Witch (originally filmed as Jack's Wife but released to theaters under the title of Hungry Wives) follows the exploits of Joan Mitchell – a housewife whose dissatisfaction with her humdrum life leads to an unhealthy interest in the occult. Lastly, 1973's The Crazies, which sees Romero returning to more "straight" horror territory, has a small rural town finding itself in the grip of an infection which send its hosts into a violent, homicidal frenzy.

Taken together, these three early works, made in the period between Romero's celebrated living dead outings Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, serve to display the broader thematic concerns and auteurist leanings of a skilled craftsman too often pigeonholed within the genre.

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Sometimes, no matter how hard they may try, a filmmaker simply can not break away from the genre that spawned their careers. When you see the name George Romero, your brain will naturally spring images from Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Creepshow or any number of other horror films Romero directed or inspired. What you don't instinctively think of is George as a director of dozens of commercials, several documentaries, and a handful of films outside the horror genre. In point of fact, George only turned to horror for his first feature effort because he had a keen mind of the marketplace and knew that would be the most marketable and profitable genre to tackle. With Arrow Video's George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn, we get a look at the middle period of George's filmmaking career when he tried to break away from zombies and establish himself as a bonafide filmmaker. 

Before the release of Dawn of the Dead, George would try to tackle a romantic dramedy with There's Always Vanilla and an Ira Levin-styled psychological thriller with Season of the Witch before returning to horror with the classic The Crazies. It's this period of time that we get to see George try and break away from Night of the Living Dead and attempt to establish himself as not just another "horror director" but someone with range and willing to take risks. Unfortunately, the results aren't exactly the best of the best outings for the man who invented the modern zombie. While Romero's statical wit is infused in each of these films, you can still feel the man finding his legs as a director and a visual storyteller where somewhat complicated material remains just out of reach. 

There's Always Vanilla (1971)

If you've ever wondered what a romantic drama/comedy directed by George Romero would look like - well, this is the closest thing to it. Romero may have directed the film, but he turned to writer Rudy Ricci who had worked as a Zombie in NOTLD and had helped with the production. It's at this point that Vanilla doesn't work. There's nothing of Romero really in it. He may be pointing the camera and shooting and his early cinéma vérité stylings are on full display, but the heart and soul are not his. Not helping matters, Ricci apparently quit the film midway production and left Romero and crew to work from an incomplete script under a very tight deadline that didn't allow for Romero much time to fill in any story gaps or fix any plot issues. While the film tries to have a meaningful message about misogyny and its effects on monogamous relationships and the lives of swingers, there's little point to it. Romero himself even said it was his worst film and he's not lying. This is a toothless social satire that lacks any bite. 2/5

There's Always Vanilla George Romero

Season of the Witch (1972)

It's difficult to pinpoint what went wrong with Season of the Witch. Financially, it was a flop because of extremely poor marketing choices by the distributor who hacked and slashed the film and tried to release it in the soft core porn market - even though there's little to no sexual interest in the film. If there's a comparison to be made to Season of the Witch, it's like Romero took the roots of Ira Leven's Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives and smashed the two ideas into a psychological thriller that doesn't quite come together. It's visually hypnotic and arresting, you're instantly sucked into this little world Romero created because it's so completely unlike anything else in his career. However, the themes surrounding a stark look at conformity against the backdrop of the women's liberation movement gets a bit muddled when you look at the sexual/horror aspects of a coven of witches looking to add to their ranks. It's a decent film overall, but you can feel Romero testing waters he's not quite comfortable exploring. 3/5

Season of the Witch

The Crazies (1973)

Of the three films contained within this Between Night and Dawn set, The Crazies is the most cohesive experience to the rest of Romero's catalog of films. It's part Night of the Living Dead and part Dawn of the Dead. While not 100% exactly a zombie film, it does contain a number of similar traits ranging from violent people who were once "normal," the incapable military presence that is unable to contain the problem, the band of survivors that must avoid contact with the infected and even each other if they hope to live. If you take away the presence of Vanilla and Witches from Romero's canon of films and strip everything down to just his horror films, The Crazies is a middle effort. Still shot on a shoestring budget and a bit campy at times, the film was also Romero's first union film and his first stab at large production filmmaking. Made in the waning days of the Viet Nam conflict, it's also easy to spot the parallels to that situation and gives the film a sharp and biting edge while also providing extra humor. It may not be as fine-tuned as Dawn, but it's every bit as visceral and showed that Romero could manage a decently budgeted film with flair. 4/5

The Crazies Arrow Video

With George's passing last July, it's hard not to feel a loss when you look at and appreciate his early films before the Hollywood machine consumed his energy in the early 90s. While his Dead films are arguably his most famous, Between Night and Dawn does a fantastic job of showcasing the filmmaker when he was still experimenting and finding his footing. Given that the quality of the films varies from one to the next, you can clearly chart his progression and confidence behind the camera. That said, there is one slight omission with this set and that is his brilliant vampire film Martin which was released just a few short months before Dawn of the Dead in 1978. As I understand it, Martin is a bit of a rights quagmire so its absence in this set is understandable but a shame none the less. Hopefully, with the upcoming Criterion release of Night of the Living Dead that will get sorted out as of his earliest films that reside between Night and Dawn, Martin is easily his best work. 

Taken as a whole, this George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn set is a pretty damn impressive collection of Romero's work. Aside from The Crazies, it includes his lesser known films restored into a condition that is at least watchable. My earliest experiences with There's Always Vanilla and Season of the Witch were sad bootleg VHS tapes that I rented from my local mom and pop shop decades ago. Now finally seeing them presented in their best possible condition, I will say that Season of the Witch is the most watchable of the two and worth revisiting. After getting through There's Always Vanilla a couple of times now, it's a rough movie, to say the least, and is merely suitable as a curiosity in Romero's career. But for those completionists out there who are hankering to own each and every Romero film on Blu-ray, Between Night and Dawn is a terrific collection of his middle career films. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Video. Each film, There's Always Vanilla, Season of the Witch, and The Crazies is given their own Region A BD-50 disc with accompanying DVD and are housed in their own respective hard clear Blu-ray cases with reversible artwork. All three cases are held in a sturdy cardboard case and comes with a terrific 58-page book containing essays, stills, and restoration information about each film. Each film opens to an animated main menu featuring traditional navigation options. 

[review_video_picture_id] => 80869 [review_video] =>

Considering the films involved, their age, and the care (or lack of) they have received over the years, the transfers for this set are a bit of a mixed bag all around. 

There's Always Vanilla

As the film that was least cared for, its 1.37:1 1080p transfer is clearly the most problematic. Scanned at 2K from an internegative, the Kodak negative duping stock used in the 1970s was unstable and allowed the cyan layer to fade rapidly taking with it shadow and color information. As a result, you have an image that is considerably rough around the edges and far and away from anything considered pristine. Originally shot on 16mm, the grain field is very heavy and the image can appear quite noisy. Detail levels are appreciable but unremarkable as they can vary from shot to shot. Colors are a bit of a hot mess as they travel all over the spectrum from being stable and good looking with decent primaries to being washed out with blown out contrast. Black levels are stable enough but image depth wavers quite a bit. Considering the last time I looked at this movie was a bootleg VHS tape, this isn't nearly as terrible as it could have been, nor is it the shining success some may have hoped for. As it stands, it's at least watchable and gives you an idea of what Romero was going for, but it's hardly definitive. This transfer is merely as good as it's likely ever to get. 2/5

Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch

In contrast to Vanilla, Season of the Witch makes for a rather beautiful 1.37:1 1080p transfer. Scanned at 4K from the original 16mm camera negatives, this image offers up plenty of fine details. Grain is present but stable allowing you to appreciate facial features, costuming, and the rather odd production design work. Colors are robust and vivid with a strong primary presence with plenty of pop. Skin tones are on the warmer side but still lifelike and healthy without appearing too pink or too pale. Black levels, are for the most part, deep and inky giving the image a notable sense of depth that really comes to life during the many dream sequences giving the odd imagery a more visceral feel. There are a couple odd moments of black crush during a few night scenes and there are moments where anything outside of midrange and closeup can get a bit soft and hazy, but nothing too terrible. The image is in fine condition with only a couple scratches and very slight speckling here and there. Like Vanilla, the last time I saw this was on a crappy bootleg VHS and this image is far and away better than what I'd hoped for. 4/5

The Crazies Arrow Video

The Crazies Blue Underground

The Crazies

Considering Blue Underground churned out a decent - but not altogether amazing - release of this film in 2010, I honestly didn't know what to expect with this new 4K scan of the 35mm negative. While I thought the Blue Underground release was a pretty decent upgrade over the DVD, this new Arrow Video 1.85:1 1080p transfer is a sharp improvement in virtually every department. Scratches and debris have been cleaned up or removed altogether with only mild occasional speckling the only damage to report. Details are also greatly improved - especially finer details in clothing and facial features. Outdoor daylight sequences offer a particular lifelike pop and presence to them. Colors are also more stable with lifelike flesh tones and more pronounced primaries. Blood enjoys wonderfully bright red splash to it. I would also point out that in many ways this transfer is darker than the Blue Underground release as it pulls back blues and stabilizes contrast levels, but not to a point that makes the image muddy, but instead works to normalize the image. The opening shot of the farmhouse at the beginning is a sign of this, but in terms of enjoying stronger color saturation, the immediate shot of the little girl getting a glass of water in the bathroom with the red walls shows how more lively and better resolved the color timing is of this release. Black levels feel more even here with a natural inky quality without the crush and flatness of the image as the previous release featured. All around this is a huge improvement to my eyes and fans fo the film should be happy to see the work and care put into this release. 4/5

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While Arrow Video has clearly done everything in their power to provide the best possible presentations, there is only so much magic that can be worked with these films. There's Always Vanilla, Season of the Witch, and The Crazies each exhibit some unfortunate audio anomalies within their LPCM mono audio tracks that are essentially baked into the mold at this point. Each displays moments with shrill blown-out dialogue exchanges, flat lifeless sound effects and mixing issues that just make things sound odd and out of place rather than creating a natural atmosphere of sounds. As such, much like the video transfers, each film is a sliding scale. 

There's Always Vanilla is the roughest of the bunch. While dialogue is intelligible, it absolutely has issues. Any dialogue exchanges in locations with high ceilings sound as if the onset dialogue was used for the final mix without any finessing or ADR dubbing to clean things up. There are stretches that are just a cacophony of noise that threatens to drown out the dialogue. 2/5

Season of the Witch

On the flip side, although still hampered by baked in issues is the track supplied for Season of the Witch. The issues plaguing Witch are scant by comparison. Dialogue is a lot cleaner and better defined. Sound effects and scoring work to provide a richer sense of atmosphere. However, this is still a very flat sounding film without much sense of imaging or dimension. There are also several dialogue moments similar to Vanilla where everything sounds like it was mixed using only raw set recordings without any ADR mixing. Hiss is present, but nothing terrible. This is a decent if unremarkable track that gets the job done. 3/5

The Crazies Arrow Video

The Crazies Blue Underground

Much like it's video transfer, The Crazies offers up a significant auditory improvement over it's previous 2010 Blue Underground release. While I never felt too harshly about the audio of that release, to say it was problematic was a bit of an understatement. The most notable improvement is the discernibility of the mix. Dialogue is much cleaner and nowhere near as soft or quiet as the previous release. Where the 2010 audio required a steady thumb on the volume, I felt like that wasn't as severe an issue this time around. During the opening dialogue bits and some extended dialogue exchanges I felt the need to pop the volume up a notch or two, but nowhere near as frequently as before. Sound effects and the score are much clearer and natural sounding. Again, this isn't a perfect mix, some of the issues of the previous release are still present, they're just not nearly as bad or glaring a problem. 3.5/5

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As with any Arrow Video release, you can count on a pretty terrific assortment of bonus features. Between all three films, there are hours of bonus features to dig through offering up plenty of Romero-centric bits as well as plenty of material about each individual film's production and release. 

There's Always Vanilla:

Audio Commentary featuring Travis Crawford.

Affair of the Heart: The Making of There's Always Vanilla (HD 29:43) Featuring interviews with John Russo, Russell and Judith Streiner, Richard Ricci, and Gary Streiner, this is a pretty terrific retrospective of the film as each of the interviewees offers up plenty of information and anecdotes about working on the film.

Digging Up The Dead: The Lost Films of George A. Romero (HD 15:56) This is a pretty solid piece featuring George talking about his past works and he offers up a rather candid and often critical eye towards his own films. 

Theatrical Trailer (HD 1:45)

Filming Locations Image Gallery (HD 11:30)

Memorabilia Image Gallery (HD 1:09)

Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch:

Audio Commentary featuring Travis Crawford.

When Romero Met del Toro (HD 55:40) Perhaps one of the meatiest and most fan-focused feature of the set, Guillermo del Toro gets to sit down and talk to George about his films and it's a truly great piece. 

Extended Version (HD/SD 1:44:20) Comprised of the restored negative elements as well as insert footage from the VHS tape master, this longer cut of the film offers a lot more material and steers the film into more manageable territory but at the same time you can see that the piece was hardly a great work that was given the slash and release treatment from a bad distributor. It's still an oddly arresting yet unmanageable film.

Alternate Opening Titles (HD 3:33, 3:26, 3:27) These are slightly different opening title sequences showcasing how the film looked under its various titles Jack's Wife, Hungry Wives, and Season of the Witch.

The Secret Life of Jack's Wife (HD 17:17) This is a pretty great interview with star Jan White as she offers up plenty of interesting tidbits about the film.

Theatrical Trailer (HD 1:47)

Hungry Wives Trailer (HD 1:31)

Filming Locations Image Gallery (HD 1:34)

Memorabilia Image Gallery (HD 2:32)

The Crazies 2017 Arrow Video

The Crazies Blue Underground

The Crazies:

Audio Commentary featuring Travis Crawford as well as Bill Ackerman.

Romero Was Here: Locating The Crazies (HD 12:24) This is a pretty fun look at the film's various shooting locations with George Romero and historian Lawrence DeVincentz. 

Crazy for Lynn Lowry (HD 15:54) Actress Lynn Lowry provides an entertaining and informative interview about the film. 

Lynn Lowry Q&A (HD 35:52) Recorded at the 2016 Abertois Film Festival in Aberystwyth U.K., it's a decent Q&A that works well alongside the actress' solo interview footage. 

Audio Interview with Lee Hessel (HD 4:32) Unfortunately this interview is very brief, but it's still pretty good and a worthwhile listen.

Behind the Scenes Footage (HD 6:26) with optional commentary from Romero and historian Lawrence DeVincentz, this is a pretty cool look at the goings-on behind the scenes shooting of the film.

Alternate Opening Titles (HD 00:35)

Theatrical Trailer (HD 2:57)

Theatrical Trailer (HD 3:04)

TV Spot (SD 1:04)

TV Spot (SD 00:33)

Filming Locations Image Gallery (HD 26:56)

Memorabilia Image Gallery (HD 6:04)

[review_bonus_content_picture_id] => 80880 [review_bonus_content] =>

The Crazies 2010 Blue Underground

No HD exclusive bonus features. 

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 80877 [review_bottom_line] => 1 [review_final_thoughts] =>

When you look at the films of George Romero, it's important to look at the films that simply didn't have "Dead" in the title. Granted, Zombies are what made the man famous and helped him leave an indelible mark on the landscape of movies, but it's also wise to take a look at everything he did. He may be better known and skilled in the realm of horror, but you can't fault the man for trying to break out of that mold. George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn is a terrific look at Romero's earliest attempts at feeing himself from horror genre filmmaking. Granted, There's Always Vanilla is pretty tough and Season of the Witch isn't a work of art, but The Crazies highlighted the man's growth as a filmmaker and his improving abilities at managing larger and larger productions. So it is to that end that this set from Arrow Video is a very recommended endeavor. However, as Vanilla and Witch are best viewed as curiosities, the main attraction here is the newly restored release of The Crazies as it offers up a marked improvement in picture and audio quality. 

All three films offer up strong bonus features packages and the included booklet also provides terrific insight into the works of George A. Romero. As a diehard fan of Night of the Living Dead and eager for its impending Criterion Collection release, Between Night and Dawn is a terrific course of appetizer films. They may not be as delicious and fulfilling as his other more famous productions, but they're important and worth watching if only for the fact that they offer a terrific insight into the world of Romero and his career. With that, as Arrow Video recently announced that There's Always Vanilla, Season of the Witch, and The Crazies will be getting single edition releases, those only interested in one or two of these films may rightly feel inclined to wait. However, if you're a Romero completionist and aim to own all of George's works, it's safe to consider Between Night and Dawn Highly Recommended. 

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The original surfer girl/beach bum movie, adapted from the novel by Frederick Kohner, Gidget (1959) stars Sandra Dee as determined little Frances Lawrence, who falls in love both with surfing and with the characters who populate the local Southern California beach hangout. Of particular interest are the young Moondoggie (James Darren) and the more mature Big Kahuna (Cliff Robertson), a Korean War vet who is the idol of every surfer on the coast for his life of apparently unfettered freedom.

[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] => 52670 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => gilbert [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Gilbert [picture_created] => 1508723827 [picture_name] => gilbert.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Gravitas Ventures [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/10/22/120/gilbert.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/52670/gilbert.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 94 [list_price] => 24.99 [asin] => B075T1W9WH [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Filmmaker Commentary with Director Neil Berkeley and Stars Dara and Gilbert Gottfried [1] => When You Walk Through A Storm [2] => Life on The Road [3] => Meeting Dick Van Dyke [4] => The Long Cruise [5] => A Very Gottfried Halloween ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Documentary, Biography, Comedy ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Gilbert Gottfried, Dave Attell, Joy Behar ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Neil Berkeley ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Legendary comedian Gilbert Gottfried has had quite the career. Rocketing to fame in the 1980's, he was thrust into public consciousness thanks to his brash personality and off-kilter comic timing. Now, foul-mouthed and unapologetic after decades of flying solo in both his work and in his personal life, Gilbert has shockingly reinvented himself...as a family man. 

Director Neil Berkeleys Gilbert; reveals an unexpected side to the iconic comedian. The film peeks behind the larger-than-life persona at a more personal story about growing up in Brooklyn and becoming a husband and father late in life. Gottfrieds ability to bring humor to even the darkest situations has, at times, gotten him into trouble. Still he soldiers on, an expert craftsman at bringing his audience to the edge (and sometimes pushing them over). Gilbert strips the comedic character away to reveal the man behind it. Berkeley allows the audience an intimate even vulnerable view of Gottfried out of character. 

[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] => 50416 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => haikyuseason1premiumedition [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Haikyu!!: The First Season (Premium Edition) [picture_created] => 1510597332 [picture_name] => Haikyu_1.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Sentai Filmworks [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/11/13/120/Haikyu_1.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/50416/haikyuseason1premiumedition.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2014 [run_time] => 625 [list_price] => 199.98 [asin] => B074GTWN5G [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray [1] => Premium Edition ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Anime ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Shoyo Hinata isn't a large guy, but he's got huge ambitions. Ever since seeing a small player score in a National Championship, he's been determined to become the next big thing in High School Volleyball. Unfortunately, the one time he was able to pull enough players together to form a team in junior high, they were completely trashed in their first and only match against a team led by up-and-coming setter Tobio Kageyama. Now, enrolled at the same high school where his idol once played, Shoyo's finally going to get his shot to join and play with a top team. There's just one problem: Tobio Kageyama's also decided to attend the same school, and he's already considered one of the best players in the game. Can a kid out of nowhere hold his own against the King of the Court? Or could the rivalry and competition actually be the best thing for both of them? Get ready for a knock-down, throw-down, ultimate show-down barrage of volleys, spikes and blocks as Shoyo leaps for the glory and Kageyama aims for the stars in HAIKYU!!

[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 ) ) [25] => Array ( [review_id] => 52692 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => hellraisersteelbook [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Hellraiser (SteelBook) [picture_created] => 1508740212 [picture_name] => hellraiser_steelbook.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Arrow Video [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/10/22/120/hellraiser_steelbook.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/52692/hellraisersteelbook.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1987 [run_time] => 93 [list_price] => 39.95 [asin] => B075DSL4B4 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.851 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English Uncompressed PCM Stereo 2.0 [1] => English Lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English SDH ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Audio commentary with writer-director Clive Barker [1] => Audio commentary with Barker and actress Ashley Laurence [2] => Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser brand new version of the definitive documentary on the making of Hellraiser, featuring interviews with key cast and crew members [3] => Being Frank: Sean Chapman on Hellraiser actor Sean Chapman talks candidly about playing the character of Frank Cotton in Barker s original [4] => Soundtrack Hell: The Story of the Abandoned Coil Score Coil member Stephen Thrower on the Hellraiser score that almost was [5] => Hellraiser: Resurrection vintage featurette including interviews with Clive Barker, actors Doug Bradley and Ashley Laurence, special make-up effects artist Bob Keen and others [6] => Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser [7] => Original EPK featuring on-set interviews with cast and crew [8] => Draft Screenplays [BD-ROM content] [9] => Trailers and TV Spots [10] => Image Gallery [11] => New artwork by Mondo artist Matt Ryan Tobin ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Horror, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Clive Barker ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Stephen King was once famously quoted as saying, ''I have seen the future of horror...his name is Clive Barker.'' That future was realized in 1987 with the release of Barker's directorial debut Hellraiser.

Based on his own novella The Hellbound Heart, Barker's Hellraiser sees Larry (Andrew Robinson) and his wife Julia (Clare Higgins) move into their new home, unaware that something evil lurks beneath the floorboards of the dilapidated house - something that wants human blood...

Introducing the world to the iconic Pinhead and his sadistic band of Cenobites, Hellraiser became an instant genre classic upon release and remains one of the most frighteningly original visions in horror.

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Based on the award-winning manga by Fumiyo Kouno, and brought to life by acclaimed filmmaker Sunao Katabuchi (Mai Mai Miracle) and producer Taro Maki In This Corner of the World tells the emotional story of Suzu, a young girl from Hiroshima, who’s just become a bride in the nearby city of Kure during World War II. Suzu’s life is thrown into chaos when her town is bombed during the war. Her perseverance and courage underpin this heart-warming and inspirational tale of the everyday challenges faced by the Japanese in the midst of a violent, war-torn country. This beautiful yet poignant tale shows that even in the face of adversity and loss, people can come together and rebuild their lives.

[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] => 49208 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => jdsrevenge [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => J.D.'s Revenge [picture_created] => 1500299057 [picture_name] => c12.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Arrow [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/07/17/120/c12.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/49208/jdsrevenge.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1976 [list_price] => 39.95 [asin] => B073M2949J [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release [1] => First pressing only: Collector's booklet containing new writing by Kim Newman, author of Nightmare Movies ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/TBA ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English PCM Mono ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English SDH ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Brand new interview with producer-director Arthur Marks [1] => Original theatrical trailer [2] => Arthur Marks trailer reel [3] => Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips [4] => And More! ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Crime, Thriller, Horror, Blaxploitation ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Glynn Turman, Louis Gossett Jr., Joan Pringle, Carl W. Crudup, Julian Christopher, Fred Pinkard ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Arthur Marks ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

It wasn't long before the Blaxploitation boom moved into the horror market, bringing the world Blacula, Blackenstein, Abby (Blaxploitation's The Exorcist) and cult favourite J.D.'s Revenge.

Law student Ike is enjoying a night on the town with his friends when his life changes dramatically. Taking part in a nightclub hypnosis act, he becomes possessed with the spirit of a violent gangster murdered in the 1940s. Believing himself to be the reincarnation of murderous J.D., Ike launches a revenge campaign against those who had done 'him' wrong all those years ago…

Directed by Arthur Marks (Bucktown, Friday Foster) and starring Glynn Turman (Cooley High) and Academy Award-winner Louis Gossett Jr (An Officer and a Gentleman), J.D.'s Revenge is a alternately tough and terrifying – a Blaxploitation gem waiting to be rediscovered!

[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] => 49794 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => kedi [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Kedi [picture_created] => 1501339515 [picture_name] => Kedi_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Oscilloscope Pictures [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/07/29/120/Kedi_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/49794/kedi.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2016 [run_time] => 80 [list_price] => 39.99 [asin] => B074486RBN [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Documentary ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Ceyda Torun ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

A profile of an ancient city and its unique people, seen through the eyes of the most mysterious and beloved animal humans have ever known, the Cat.

[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 ) ) [29] => Array ( [review_id] => 50475 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => lesamourai [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Le samouraï [picture_created] => 1512270659 [picture_name] => Le_Samourai.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Criterion [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/12/02/120/Le_Samourai.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/50475/lesamourai.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1967 [run_time] => 105 [list_price] => 39.95 [asin] => B074R646KJ [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray [1] => BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc [2] => Region A ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.85:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => French LPCM Mono ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English Subtitles ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Author Interviews [1] => Archival Cast & Crew Interviews [2] => Featurette [3] => Trailer ) [exclusive_hd_contents] => Array ( [0] => None ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Crime, Drama, Mystery ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Alain Delon, Nathalie Delon, François Périer ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Jean-Pierre Melville ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

In a career-defining performance, Alain Delon plays Jef Costello, a contract killer with samurai instincts. After carrying out a flawlessly planned hit, Jef finds himself caught between a persistent police investigator and a ruthless employer, and not even his armor of fedora and trench coat can protect him. An elegantly stylized masterpiece of cool by maverick director Jean-Pierre Melville, Le samouraï is a razor-sharp cocktail of 1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture—with a liberal dose of Japanese lone-warrior mythology.

[review_movie] =>

A man with handsome but stern features steps outdoors wearing a classic film noir trenchcoat and fedora. Rather than 1940s Los Angeles, the setting is 1967 Paris. Spying an opportunity, the man slips into a recently parked car and removes a key ring from his pocket. On it are dozens of similar keys, very likely spanning all the possible ignition locks for cars of this model. The man is obviously a professional. His actions are careful and efficient. Slowly and calmly so as not to attract attention, he tries the keys one at a time, his head up and his eyes alert to the world around him. Finding one that works, he swiftly pulls into traffic and drives to a garage where an accomplice is waiting. They say nothing to each other as the second man gets right to work changing out the license plates and handing over falsified registration papers, plus a loaded gun. Fully ten minutes of screen time go by before anyone says a word in Le samouraï, and the first lines are less an eloquent or impassioned monologue than a terse and pragmatic exchange of required information. These people mean business.

Despite its fanciful title, Le samouraï has no actual Japanese samurai in it, but the protagonist, Jef Costello (Alain Delon), is a warrior of sorts. He lives a spartan existence and obeys a strict code of conduct and honor. When he's paid to do a job, the job always gets done. He has no use for sentiment, emotion or personal relationships beyond those that facilitate his ability to complete his assignments.

To that end, his next assignment is the murder of a nightclub owner. He coldly accomplishes this as planned, but his face is seen on the way out by the club's lovely young pianist (Cathy Rosier). This complicates his getaway. Although Costello set up a strong alibi involving a mistress (Nathalie Delon, the actor's wife), and the other witnesses are unreliable, a shrewd police detective (François Périer) hones in on him among a host of other suspects and just won't let his suspicions go.

At this point, the film becomes something of a procedural, systematically revealing how the criminal (the presumptive hero of the piece) covered his tracks and how the detective (his antagonist) attempts to unravel his machinations. Both are clever men, each too smart to be outwitted by the other. I have no idea whether the details of policework in 1960s Paris are at all realistic or have been exaggerated for effect, but they make an almost surreal contrast with the expectations for a modern investigation. Witnesses sit in clear view of the suspect lineup and openly discuss amongst each other with no hope of anonymity while the men they're accusing listen and glare menacingly at them. This seems like a plainly bad idea, but it's presented in such matter-of-fact terms that the thought of questioning it hardly occurs. Ultimately, the pianist will decide Jef's fate, both in choosing whether to identify him or not, and in his response to that action.

Le samourai - Alain Delon

Like many prominent artists in the French New Wave, director Jean-Pierre Melville (Army of Shadows, Le cercle rouge) was greatly inspired by classic Hollywood movies. The film noir influence is unmistakable here. From the title, Japanese cinema was clearly on his mind as well. Both were then filtered through his own personal style and French sensibilities to create an idiosyncratic crime thriller that comments on and deconstructs the genre, stripping familiar formulas down to their barest elements and then putting the pieces back together in an unexpected order.

The film is so effective that it proved immensely influential in its own right. Echoes of it reverberate through Walter Hill's The Driver, Michael Mann's Thief and Heat, and John Frankenheimer's Ronin, among others. John Woo calls it his favorite movie and freely cops to ripping off chunks of the plot for The Killer. All of these feature hyper-competent, no-nonsense criminals whose rigidly ordered lives are disrupted by a job that goes wrong in ways they can't control.

Given fifty years of imitation, Le samouraï may not seem quite so groundbreaking when watched for the first time today. Many of its traits have become genre staples in the meantime. Nevertheless, the film's style, attitude, and thematic underpinnings remain vital and entertaining. So much distance from its original release also gives the movie a time capsule quality. Melville shot extensively on location, and watching cinema icon Alain Delon navigate the real streets of Paris feels like stepping back to one of the greatest cities in the world during an era long past.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

The Criterion Collection first released Le samouraï on DVD in 2005. Although a high-definition upgrade didn't follow for 12 years, the Blu-ray retains the label's original numbering convention as spine #306. A new DVD has also been reissued to correspond with the Blu-ray.

The movie comes packaged in one of Criterion's clear keepcases. A booklet includes essays by critic David Thomson and filmmaker John Woo, as well as an excerpt from the 1971 interview book Melville on Melville. The disc has a simple menu, but the Subtitle On/Off selection is confusing. The color highlight is not clear which option has been chosen.

[review_video] =>

I don't have the original Criterion DVD to compare, so I'm not sure whether the Blu-ray (and the 2017 DVD) have been remastered or were struck from the same master created for that 2005 disc. Although the Blu-ray packaging boasts of a "New high-definition digital restoration," Criterion's definition of "new" is unfortunately far from reliable. The liner notes in the Blu-ray booklet don't clarify this, other than to state that the transfer was scanned from the original camera negative and a 35mm interpositive. When this was done and how much comes from each source are not specified. Reading between the lines, the work appears to have been performed by a firm in Paris called VDM, from which Criterion licensed the master without direct involvement in its creation.

Image quality of the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode is generally excellent but sometimes variable. The studio trailer before the feature looks like garbage, and the movie's first scene is very dark and grainy. (Opticals printed on top of it don't help.) The 1.85:1 picture improves once the action moves into daylight. Some scenes are sharp and clear with a vibrancy that feels like stepping right into Paris in 1967. Others are grainy and suffer drab colors. Night scenes in particular are almost always heavily grainy, but so are some day scenes. I can't be certain whether this has always been the nature of the movie's photography, or if these fluctuations are the result of some film elements being in better condition than others.

The impression I have overall is that the parties responsible for the video master made a good faith effort to perform a quality transfer of the best available materials. I cannot say whether the picture might look better with another restoration effort in the future or if this is as good as it gets. Thankfully, the majority of the film looks very nice.

I noticed no distracting digital processing. Unlike Criterion's recent Blu-ray edition of Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (another European production from the same time period), the image here is free of edge halos, which makes me question that other disc even more.

Le samourai - Francois Perier

[review_audio] =>

The uncompressed PCM soundtrack is excellent. For a mono track from 1967, the film's sound mix is surprisingly robust. Car engines provide hearty bass. Music and most sound effects are delivered with very good clarity and fidelity. Scenes on city streets are atmospheric despite all coming from a single channel.

Gunshots (of which the movie only has a couple) are perhaps a bit harsh. They're loud but not necessarily realistic. That's forgivable considering the era.

This is a French movie made in France starring French actors. All dialogue is in French. Optional English subtitles have been provided.

Le samourai - Cathy Rosier

[review_supplements] =>

The original Criterion DVD for Le samouraï didn't have a huge volume of content, but what it offered was all interesting. The Blu-ray (and reissued DVD) carry over that material plus add one new item.

  • Authors on Melville (SD, 32 min.) – Interviewed in 2005, critic Rui Nogueria is an enthusiastic fan of both Melville and this movie in particular, which he calls the director's "most perfect, purest, and noblest film." He tells a story about Melville casting Delon, and explains why the director shot an alternate ending. After that, historian Ginette Vincendeau praises the filmmaker's precision and control. She breaks down some of his directing techniques and discusses the influences of American film noir and Japanese cinema on this project.
  • The Lineup (SD, 24 min.) – In an archival interview, director Melville claims that he likes working with actors and has no respect for real-life gangsters. Both of these are likely lies. In another vintage clip from years later, actor François Périer calls Melville a tyrant who treated his actors terribly. More interviews include Alain Delon, Nathalie Delon and Cathy Rosier, plus news coverage from the fire that burned down Melville's movie studio.
  • Melville-Delon: D'honneur et de nuit (SD, 23 min.) – In a short documentary about the director and star, Melville's nephew describes his uncle as a warm family man in his personal life even as he had a reputation for being cold and difficult at work. Filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum) didn't work on this particular movie, but served as Assistant Director on others for Melville. He describes the filmmaker's process of approaching his subjects from the outside in. He also claims (contradicting the older interview with the director) that Melville had great admiration for real gangsters and was good friends with a number of them.
  • Trailer (HD, 4 min.) – In poor and faded condition, the trailer is remarkably dull despite promising "a gripping story."


Le samourai - Alain Delon & Jacques Leroy

[review_bonus_content] =>

Although the Melville-Delon feature did not appear on the 2005 DVD, it can be found on the 2017 reissued DVD. Therefore, the Blu-ray as no exclusive content.

[review_bottom_line] => 1 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, Jean-Pierre Melville's influential crime classic Le samouraï remains a striking work of cinema. The Blu-ray offers very good video and audio quality, as well as some interesting bonus features. It's a very worthy addition to the Criterion Collection.

[review_movie_stars] => 4.5 [review_video_stars] => 4 [review_audio_stars] => 4 [review_supplements_stars] => 3 [review_bonus_content_stars] => 0 [review_final_thoughts_stars] => 4 [review_gear] => default ) ) [30] => Array ( [review_id] => 51238 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => mariahcareysalliwantforchristmasisyou [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You [picture_created] => 1504804436 [picture_name] => c7.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Universal [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/07/120/c7.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/51238/mariahcareysalliwantforchristmasisyou.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 91 [list_price] => 22.98 [asin] => B075F9ZH2K [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/TBA ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.78:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English SDH, French, Spanish ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => A Wish Come True: Making Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Holiday, Music, Comedy, Family ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Breanna Yde, Mariah Carey, Michelle Bonilla ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Guy Vasilovich ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

When little Mariah (Breanna Yde) sees a darling little puppy named "Princess" at the pet store, she suddenly knows exactly what she wants for Christmas. Before her Christmas wish can come true, she must prove that she can dog-sit her uncle's dog, Jack, a scraggly rascal; in fact, the worst dog in the county! Jack turns Mariah and her family's perfect holiday preparations upside down in hilarious ways. It wasn't exactly the Christmas she wished for…it was more than she ever wanted.


All I Want for Christmas Is You, featuring Mariah's music and narration, will be a family favorite for years to come.

[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 ) ) [31] => Array ( [review_id] => 50655 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => mobilesuitgundamironbloodedorphansseasonone [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans - Season One (Limited Edition) [picture_created] => 1510195214 [picture_name] => Mobile_Suit_Gundam_Iron-Blooded_Orphans_Season_1_Limited_Edition.jpg [manufacturer_name] => FUNimation Entertainment [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/11/08/120/Mobile_Suit_Gundam_Iron-Blooded_Orphans_Season_1_Limited_Edition.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/50655/mobilesuitgundamironbloodedorphansseasonone.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2015 [run_time] => 625 [list_price] => 149.98 [asin] => B074R646GH [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Anime ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Kyle McCarley, Johnny Yong Bosch, Erik Scott Kimerer ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Tatsuyuki Nagai ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

The year is P.D. 323. Three centuries after the Calamity War, a new world order is maintained by the military organization Gjallarhorn, but the seeds of a new conflict are being sown on Mars. A private security company accepts a mission to escort the revolutionary leader Kudelia Aina Bernstein to Earth, and the company's child soldiers rise up in revolt against the adults who betrayed them. Among them is Mikazuki Augus, who becomes the pilot of the Gundam Barbatos, a dreadful relic left over from the Calamity War.

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The year is P.D. 323. Three centuries after the Calamity War, a new world order is maintained by the military organization Gjallarhorn, but the seeds of a new conflict are being sown on Mars. A private security company accepts a mission to escort the revolutionary leader Kudelia Aina Bernstein to Earth, and the company's child soldiers rise up in revolt against the adults who betrayed them. Among them is Mikazuki Augus, who becomes the pilot of the Gundam Barbatos, a dreadful relic left over from the Calamity War.

[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 ) ) [33] => Array ( [review_id] => 50659 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => mobilesuitgundamironbloodedorphansseasononeparttwo [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans - Season One, Part Two [picture_created] => 1503355665 [picture_name] => Mobile_Suit_Gundam_Iron-Blooded_Orphans_-_Season_One,_Part_Two_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => FUNimation Entertainment [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/08/21/120/Mobile_Suit_Gundam_Iron-Blooded_Orphans_-_Season_One,_Part_Two_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/50659/mobilesuitgundamironbloodedorphansseasononeparttwo.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2016 [run_time] => 300 [list_price] => 64.98 [asin] => B074R64BZL [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Anime ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Kyle McCarley, Johnny Yong Bosch, Erik Scott Kimerer ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Tatsuyuki Nagai ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Orga, Mikazuki, and their fellow child soldiers have organized themselves into a mercenary group called Tekkadan. Their continuing mission is to escort Kudelia to Earth, where she hopes to negotiate independence for Mars. Thanks to their alliance with Teiwaz, a Jupiter-based crime syndicate, the Tekkadan members have overcome the space pirates, acquiring a second powerful Gundam in the process, and fought their way to the Earth Sphere. Here they will face hidden conspiracies, political intrigue, and the full extent of Gjallarhorn's cruel oppression.

[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 ) ) [34] => Array ( [review_id] => 49435 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => nightkill [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Nightkill [picture_created] => 1505327425 [picture_name] => Cover5.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Kino [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/13/120/Cover5.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/49435/nightkill.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1980 [run_time] => 97 [list_price] => 29.95 [asin] => B075DQK6KB [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.85:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English DTS-HD MA 2.0 ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Audio Commentary [1] => Interviews [2] => Trailer Gallery ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Jaclyn Smith, Robert Mitchum, Mike Connors, James Franciscus, and Fritz Weaver ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Ted Post ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

A simple love affair becomes a deadly game of cat-and-mouse... Katherine Atwell has come up with a foolproof plan: she will kill her rich husband, have her lover take his place, and no one will be any the wiser. Trouble is, she hasn't factored stetson-wearing investigator Donner into the equation, and when he gets wind that something is wrong, there's little that can put him off the trail. NEW HD MASTER.

[review_movie] =>

Sometimes you just got to stick a movie out to receive the long-awaited payoff. Patience is certainly a virtue and if you don't have enough of it you risk missing out on some grand entertainment. Case in point, 1980's Nightkill from director Ted Post and starring Jaclyn Smith, James Franciscus, Miker Connors, and Robert Mitchum. I started this film anticipating - or at least hoping for -a well-crafted thriller that passed a couple hours of my time and left me entertained. Once the film gets going, I started to feel like the film was a bit on the scale of a cheap made-for-T.V. flick, so I stopped it and went to watch something else. By the time I finished it, I wish I'd given Nightkill its due, the payoff is slow coming but it's worth the wait. 

Katherine Atwell (Jaclyn Smith) seemingly lives an ideal life. She has a rich and successful husband Wendell (Mike Connors). She's a prominent member of the Phoenix community helping to improve the lives of women in need. She enjoys a lavish lifestyle. What people don't see is a life of abuse. Wendell is a hard-drinking jerk. Their marriage is a sham, only holding on long enough for Wendell to close a big deal. While Wendell is out of town, she enjoys the company of Wendell's business partner Steve Fulton (James Franciscus). Together they silently wait for the day for the divorce papers to be signed and they can openly be together. But Steve can't wait any longer and takes matters into his own hands. When a creepy detective by the name of Donner (Robert Mitchum) appears investigating Wendell's disappearance, the best-laid plans quickly start to unravel.

While the payoff for Nightkill does eventually arrive, even I have to admit that this film carries with it a number of flaws that may make it difficult for some folks to fully enjoy it. For starters, the made-for-T.V. trappings don't help any. Granted, this film does appear to be well budgeted, there is a baked in cheapness that doesn't help things along. The way scenes are staged, acted, camera placements, the edits - they all feel like a T.V. movie of the week. This is largely due to director Ted Post. He may have had some solid theatrical outings with Hang 'Em High, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and Magnum Force, but the focus of his career was always television and it shows. With every big plot reveal you expect to see the telltale fade to black for commercial breaks. 

Nightkill

Those misgivings aside, Nightkill turns out to be a decent enough thriller to provide some diverting entertainment. A number of the plot points may borrow too heavily from classic thrillers like Diabolique for its own good, but it makes the most of things. There are several great plot points that rattle the nerves and the film's ending makes up for a number of short fallings - but not completely. It's still a flawed picture. Thankfully some great performances from Jacklyn Smith and Robert Mitchum should provide enough motivation for you to see it through to the end. If you have a love for this style of late night T.V. film, Nightkill should give you your money's worth.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Nightkill arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber and their Studio Classics label. Pressed onto a Region A BD-25 disc, the disc is housed in a standard sturdy Blu-ray case. Also included is a booklet containing cover artwork for other Studio Classics releases. The disc loads directly to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options. 

[review_video_picture_id] => 80044 [review_video] =>

Nightkill enjoys a pleasant 1.85:1 1080p transfer. This is a film that shows the clear signs of being nearly forty years old as it doesn't look like it has received much of a restoration effort - but that's not to say the film looks bad. In point of fact, it looks quite good. Film grain is apparent but stable leading to some strong detail levels. Facial features, the Atwell mansion, and the period clothing all offer up some terrific late 70s early 80s production design. Colors are stable offering up rich primaries with healthy and even flesh tones. Black levels are also on point giving the film a notable sense of depth. As good as things are, there are some notable compression artifacts throughout. Banding crops up from time to time and the film appears to endure some edge enhancement as things look just too crunchy in spots. Some slight speckling is apparent, but nothing too serious. All in all, this is a solid presentation that gets the job done. 

[review_audio_picture_id] => 80043 [review_audio] =>

Packed with a basic English DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix, Nightkill's audio more or less just goes through the motions. Dialogue is intelligible throughout without any issues. Scoring is clear and sound effects allow for a little bit of atmosphere. However, as this film's audio was originally designed and presented in mono, there is a flat lifelessness to everything. There are a number of dialogue exchanges that all sound like they were recorded in post rather than on set. Some hiss is audible, but nothing too terrible to knock the score for. The audio is serviceable, but nothing too remarkable. 

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 80042 [review_supplements] =>

While Nightkill was hardly a film worthy of a great "Special Edition" release packed with bonus features, I appreciate that Kino Lorber Studio Classics put in the effort. There may not be a whole lot here, but the content is quality stuff just the same. 

Audio Commentary Featuring film historian Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson

Jacklyn Smith Interview (HD 13:43) Smith offers up some pretty great anecdotes about the film. It's brief but better than average. 

Heart of Midnight trailer (HD 2:20)

Stone Cold Dead Trailer (SD 2:27)

Still of the Night Trailer (HD 2:06)

[review_bonus_content_picture_id] => 80040 [review_bonus_content] =>

No HD exclusive bonus features. 

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 80045 [review_bottom_line] => 3 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Nightkill may not have been the greatest thriller to come out of the 80s, but if you give it the time, it delivers some diverting entertainment perfect for a cold rainy fall night. Again, it's not perfect, but it's fun and a great turn from Robert Mitchum salvages what would have been otherwise a forgettable venture. Kino Lorber Studio Classics brings Nightkill to Blu-ray in fine order with a solid A/V presentation and a couple of decent bonus features. If you like your thrillers with a late night television feel, Nightkill should be your cup of tea. Worth a look. 

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Tao, a ninja from the Iga clan, wakes up in a cave surrounded by dead bodies, including a beautiful female ninja. Suffering from amnesia, he can’t remember how or why he’s there, or if he’s the one responsible for this massacre. His task at hand is to retrieve a document that will reveal the killer’s identity. Who is the killer? Was one of his clan a traitor? Who is the female ninja?

As Tao fights various other ninja, he begins to piece together his memories with their stories. But instead of solving the enigma, a web of betrayal unfolds.

[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 ) ) [36] => Array ( [review_id] => 52339 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => palmswings [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Palm Swings [picture_created] => 1507744489 [picture_name] => palmswings.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Vantage Media [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/10/11/120/palmswings.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/52339/palmswings.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 95 [asin] => B075RX81X2 [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Comedy, Drama, Romance ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Tia Carrere, Jason Lewis, Sugar Lyn Beard ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Sean Hoessli ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

After moving to Palm Springs, a young married couple puts their love to the test when they discover that their neighbors are swingers.

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It’s Ash Ketchum’s tenth birthday, and he’s ready to do what many 10-year-olds in the Kanto region set out to do—become a Pokémon Trainer! Things don’t go exactly the way he planned when he ends up with a Pikachu instead of a standard first Pokémon, and winning Gym Badges turns out to be much tougher than he thought. Luckily he’s got former Gym Leaders Brock and Misty at his side, along with a bevy of new Pokémon friends, including Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander.

[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] => 50891 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => preacherseasontwo [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Preacher: Season Two [picture_created] => 1505838242 [picture_name] => Cover8.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Sony [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/19/120/Cover8.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/50891/preacherseasontwo.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [list_price] => 45.99 [asin] => B074KN64VH [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] => English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 [1] => French Dolby Digital 5.1 [2] => German Dolby Digital 5.1 ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English, English SDH, French, German, Arabic, Polish, Turkish ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Gag Reel [1] => "Raising the Stakes: Action on Set" Featurette ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action, Drama, Mystery, Comedy, Fantasy ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

The second season of Preacher is a genre-bending thrill ride that follows West Texas preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), his badass ex-girlfriend Tulip (Academy Award® nominee Ruth Negga, Best Actress, Loving, 2016) and Irish vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) as they embark on a road trip to find God and are thrust into a twisted battle spanning Heaven, Hell and everywhere in between.

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Best Buy exclusive since September 12, 2017.

[list_price] => 44.98 [asin] => B075MCCMSP [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => 4-Film Blu-ray Set ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => The Making of Psycho Psycho Sound In The Master's Shadow: Hitchcock's Legacy Hitchcock / Truffaut Interview Excerpts Newsreel Footage: The Release of Psycho The Shower Scene: With and Without Music The Shower Scene: Storyboards by Saul Bass The Psycho Archives Posters and Psycho Ads Lobby Cards Behind-the-Scenes Photographs Production Photographs Theatrical Trailer Re-release Trailers My Scenes Feature Commentary with Stephen Rebello (author of "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho") [1] => Trailers ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Horror, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Hugh Gillin, Robert Alan Browne, Lee Garlington, Virginia Gregg ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Alfred Hitchcock, Richard Franklin, Anthony Perkins, Mick Garris ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Check into the motel where guests never check out in the Psycho: Complete 4-Movie Collection, featuring all four thrillers starring Anthony Perkins as the notorious Norman Bates – including the iconic original directed by the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.

Contains Psycho, Psycho II, Psycho III, Psycho IV The Beginning. Thankfully does not include the remake. 

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Tsukune’s terrible grades stick him in a school where all his classmates are monsters—-and if they figure out his human status, he’s fresh meat. Things perk up when his scent attracts the hungry lips of a gorgeous vampire named Moka. Soon Tsukune is seduced by a succubus, tormented by a frisky witch, and stalked by a snow fairy! He’s a slacker in the human world but scores an A+ with monsters.

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A romantic drama openly dealing with racism and prejudice, Sayonara (1957) stars Marlon Brando as an Air Force major who falls in love with a Japanese actress (Miiko Taka) while stationed near Kobe, Japan during the Korean War. Like his crew chief, Joe (Red Buttons) – just married to a Japanese woman (Miyoshi Umeki) – the Major suddenly finds himself having to contend with a cruel military policy and an all-but-general bias against miscegenation. Sensitively directed by Joshua Logan, and featuring a superlative Franz Waxman score and a celebrated title song by Irving Berlin. 

[review_introduction] =>

Sayonara preaches racial tolerance and cultural diversity against an authentic Japanese backdrop, and the result is a stunningly beautiful and emotionally affecting film. Twilight Time’s Blu-ray presentation of this classic romantic drama skimps on extras, but features a glorious video transfer (despite an inferior source) and excellent audio. Recommended.

[review_movie] =>

Interracial romance has been a hot Hollywood topic since the dawn of motion pictures. Yet no matter how far society evolves or how many barriers crumble, the subject continues to strike a nerve and provide a provocative dramatic premise. Recent movies like Loving and A United Kingdom use a historical perspective to make a contemporary statement, while The Big Sick and Get Out cleverly call attention to the issue by shrouding it in humor and horror. Sayonara navigated those same murky waters six decades ago when less open attitudes and more severe prejudices constrained our freedom to marry the person of our choice regardless of skin color and ethnicity. It was a bold, groundbreaking movie back in 1957, and while some elements now seem dated, it remains relevant and powerful today.

Yet despite its earnest approach and carefully crafted viewpoint, Sayonara never feels forced. Director Joshua Logan’s adaptation of James Michener’s semi-autobiographical novel adopts a lyrical tone as it takes its audience - and characters - on a voyage of discovery. Japan is the destination, and we see the country's fascinating and alluring customs, culture, and people through the naïve eyes of Major Lloyd Gruver (Marlon Brando), an ace pilot in the Korean War who's reassigned to Kobe in 1951 after Lt. General Mark Webster (Kent Smith) pulls a few strings. Lloyd is engaged to the general's daughter, Eileen (Patricia Owens), who arrives from the States to be with Lloyd despite harboring doubts about his love. Meanwhile, Lloyd's Air Force buddy Joe Kelly (Red Buttons) announces his intention to marry his Japanese girlfriend, Katsumi (Miyoshi Umeki), against the advisement of the U.S. military, which frowns upon interracial unions. The unenlightened Lloyd also views the Japanese through a prejudicial prism and tries to dissuade Joe from making what he believes to be a huge mistake.

Joe proceeds with his nuptials, and during the early days of his domestic bliss with Katsumi exposes Lloyd to an entirely different culture and life. At a theatrical performance, Lloyd becomes smitten with one of the dancers, Hana-ogi (Miko Taka), whom he soon discovers hides a deep-seeded hatred of Americans due to the atomic destruction they caused during World War II. A tentative romance develops that puts additional strain on Lloyd's relationship with both Eileen, who has struck up a friendship with a famous Kabuki actor, Nakamura (Ricardo Montalbán), and her close-minded parents. Even more conflict erupts when Joe, who's been continually mistreated by his bigoted superiors ever since his marriage, learns he will be transferred back to the States along with all the other servicemen with Japanese spouses. Yet a cruel military law prohibits the Asian wives from accompanying their husbands to America, a restriction that affects not only Joe and the now-pregnant Katsumi, but also Lloyd, who has been completely seduced and transformed by his Japanese experience and must ponder what the future may hold if he continues to pursue Hana-ogi.

Filmed entirely on location in Japan, Sayonara immerses us in the country's intoxicating setting and culture, and the leisurely pacing allows us to soak up the surroundings and become fully acclimated to a foreign land. Shots linger on the beautiful scenery and a few interludes provide tastes of such vital Japanese traditions as Kabuki theater, the all-female Takarazuka Revue, and the time-honored tea ceremony. The movie also paints a three-dimensional portrait of the Japanese people by emphasizing the ideals and credos to which they strictly adhere. Honor, duty, and family lead the list, and Paul Osborn's script incisively depicts how the enormity of those principles weigh upon them and breed their own brand of xenophobia. Bigotry is often a double-edged sword, and in order to achieve common ground, Lloyd and Hana-ogi must learn to relax their respective rigid attitudes and pre-conceived notions and embrace different perspectives.

Important social themes notwithstanding, Sayonara is first and foremost a tender love story told with warmth, humor, and sincerity. Logan, who would film Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific (adapted from another Michener tale with similar intolerance motifs) the following year, deftly balances all the elements to craft a completely authentic production...with one notable exception. Like so many other Hollywood films of the period, Sayonara employs a western male to play its major Asian character, which is more than a little ironic considering the tale so vehemently denounces discrimination. Why travel all the way to Japan to shoot the movie, cast two Japanese actresses in the leads, and then have a Mexican in artificial makeup portray a Kabuki master? (Interestingly, Brando himself played an Asian the previous year in The Teahouse of the August Moon, a film that was also shot on location in Japan.) To his credit, Montalbán files a credible, often reverent performance (a far cry from Mickey Rooney's embarrassing caricature of a Japanese landlord in Breakfast at Tiffany's), but his appearance is both distracting and unnecessary, and it taints an otherwise highly reputable motion picture.

Brando rarely played traditional romantic leads during his long and storied career, but he strikes a dashing pose here, exhibiting both strength and vulnerability, and his palpable chemistry with Taka heightens the impact of their on-screen affair. Against the wishes of Logan, Brando adopted a thick, lazy Southern drawl for the part that punctuates Lloyd’s prejudicial viewpoints, but coupled with the actor’s serial mumbling, it makes some of his line readings difficult to understand. (Brando rightfully received his fifth Best Actor Oscar nomination for Sayonara, but would lose the award to Alec Guinness for The Bridge on the River Kwai.) Taka contributes heartbreaking work as the conflicted Hana-ogi and a young, strapping James Garner in only his fourth film makes a notable impression as one of Brando’s military pals.

In all, Sayonara would nab a whopping 10 Academy Award nods, including Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Cinematography. (All four of those honors would go to The Bridge on the River Kwai.) Both Buttons and Umeki - who is probably best known for portraying the kindly, wise Mrs. Livingston in the 1960s TV series The Courtship of Eddie's Father - won supporting prizes for their symbiotic performances, and the film's art direction/set decoration and sound were also recognized. In addition, Sayonara, which ultimately grossed upwards of $10 million (a very pretty penny in those days), would stand as Brando's most successful picture until the release of The Godfather 15 years later in 1972.

Plenty of films expose the insidious nature of racial prejudice and make an impassioned plea for tolerance. Sayonara may not be as powerful as some, but transmits its message loud and clear. It's also a beautiful, often charming, and absorbing movie filled with romance and emotion. Watching it today, it shows us how far we've come, but also reminds us how far we still have to go.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Sayonara arrives on Blu-ray in a limited to 3,000 edition packaged in a standard clear case. An eight-page booklet featuring an essay by film historian Julie Kirgo, color-tinted scene stills, and a reproduction of the movie’s poster art is tucked inside the front cover. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu without music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

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Because it was filmed in a now defunct process known as Technirama (a cousin of CinemaScope that boasted higher resolution and less grain), Sayonara translates particularly well to the digital medium. And the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer from Twilight Time showcases Ellsworth Fredericks’ gorgeous, Oscar-nominated cinematography to near perfection. The crystal clear image exhibits strong detail, beautifully saturated colors, and a smooth, film-like appearance, while excellent contrast lends the picture an eye-popping vibrancy. Grain is noticeable, but it’s seamlessly integrated into the presentation and supplies essential texture, and the breathtaking Japanese scenery is wonderfully rendered. Yet it’s the lush, bold hues that consistently hijack our gaze and steal the show. Reds are especially rich and bright, but purples, yellows, lavenders, blues, and oranges, as well as the mahogany tones of wooden floorboards, are also perfectly pitched. Blacks are dense but resist crush, whites are crisp and never bloom, patterns are solid, flesh tones remain stable and natural throughout, and sharp close-ups highlight fine features well.

The transfer’s only drawback is its less-than-pristine source material. At times, flurries of white and black specks dance across the screen, creating an annoying snowstorm that detracts from the presentation’s overall brilliance. Though quite severe early in the film (some horizontal lines also mar the image), the effect then subsides, but episodes sporadically reoccur over the course of the movie’s running time. Eagle eyes always will be able to spot a few errant specks, but they’re easy to forgive during cleaner stretches of the film. Without a doubt, this transfer would earn a perfect score were it not for the print damage. And normally, the degree of damage here would bump the score down a bit further. Yet this transfer is so jaw-droppingly sublime in almost every other category, it doesn’t deserve a harsh penalty. Yes, the flaw is unfortunate, but it shouldn’t deter anyone from purchasing Sayonara. The film looks spectacular on Blu-ray.

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Sayonara won the Oscar for Best Sound, and this high-quality DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track nicely honors George Groves’ work. Superior fidelity and tonal depth maximize the impact of Franz Waxman’s lush music score, and a wide dynamic scale handles all of its peaks and valleys without a hint of distortion. Though stereo separation isn’t particularly pronounced, a few palpable episodes add welcome dimension and complexity to the audio. This is a quiet track overall, but all the subtleties come through clearly, all the dialogue - even when mumbled by Brando and spoken with thick accents by the Japanese actors - is comprehendible, and no age-related hiss, pops, or crackles intrude. This lossless mix makes Sayonara sound great, and that’s good news indeed.

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Just a couple of negligible supplements are included on the disc. It’s surprising (and disappointing) Twilight Time decided not to include an audio commentary, considering the movie’s important social themes and Oscar accolades.

Isolated Music & Effects Track - The sweeping, romantic score by Franz Waxman and all the Japanese theatrical presentations can be enjoyed without any dialogue interference on this isolated track.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 4 minutes) - The film’s original preview is introduced by actress Miko Taka, who classifies Sayonara as “an entirely different motion picture.”

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The issues concerning interracial romance explored in Sayonara may no longer be taboo, but they are certainly timeless, and director Joshua Logan’s adaptation of James Michener’s novel tackles them with sensitivity and perception. This Best Picture nominee and multi-Oscar winner preaches tolerance and cultural diversity against an authentic Japanese backdrop, and the result is a stunningly beautiful and emotionally affecting film. Twilight Time’s Blu-ray presentation skimps on extras, but features a glorious video transfer (despite an inferior source) and excellent audio. Recommended.

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She was an ordinary housewife who gave so much … and got so little.

Comedy legend Lily Tomlin stars in the effervescent 1981 comedy The Incredible Shrinking Woman. Exposed to a heady mix of household chemicals, Pat Kramer (Tomlin) contracts a strange side effect: She begins to shrink! Baffling doctors, Pat's diminishing size starts to really bring her down … until her story captures the hearts of the American people and the attention of a sinister group of scientists bent on world domination. Getting out of this predicament while still taking care of her family will be no small feat!

Also starring Charles Grodin (Midnight Run), Ned Beatty (Deliverance, Homicide: Life On The Street), and Tomlin's fellow Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In alumnus Henry Gibson, and featuring makeup master Rick Baker (King Kong, Star Wars) as Sidney the gorilla, The Incredible Shrinking Woman is a smart little comedy with big laughs.

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One of the crowning achievements of the German expressionist movement, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's The Last Laugh (Der letzte Mann) stars Emil Jannings stars as an aging doorman whose happiness crumbles when he is relieved of the duties and uniform which had for years been the foundation of his happiness and pride. Through Jannings's colossal performance, The Last Laugh becomes more than the plight of a single doorman, but a mournful dramatization of the frustration and anguish of the universal working class. Featuring a new musical score by the Berklee College of Music, as well as the original score by Giuseppe Becca, this is the definitive edition of the landmark classic, mastered from a 2K restoration by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung.

Special Features: 2K Restoration by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung | New musical score (2017) by the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra | Original 1924 score by Giuseppe Becce, orchestrated by Detlev Glanert (2003) | Audio commentary by film historian Noah Isenberg | The Last Laugh: The Making of, a 40-minute documentary | Bonus DVD featuring the unrestored export version with music by Timothy Brock, performed by the Olympia Chamber Orchestra

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There are no HD exclusives.

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A beautiful nightclub singer (Vera Ralston) identifies her husband's (Rod Cameron) corpse -- or thinks so. Cinematography by Jack Marta (Steven Spielberg's Duel, Paul Wendkos' Angel Baby). Screenplay by Richard Sarafian (Vanishing Point).

[review_movie] =>

"I'm sorry we had to meet under such circumstances."

It's a nice thing when a simple movie doesn't overplay its hand. By not trying to be better than it is or thinks of itself as something more than the sum of its parts, a film often works better and proves to be more rewarding. That isn't to say a film shouldn't try to be something grand if the time calls for it to be. But when you have a straight-shooter of a noir yarn like The Man Who Died Twice, it's nice to see that director Joe Kane let a simple pulp thriller be a simple pulp thriller. Starring Vera Ralston, Rod Cameron, and Mike Mazurki, a lean and mean thriller is upended only because its title may be a tad too descriptive for its own good.

Nightclub singer Lynn Brennon (Vera Ralston) has had a tough couple days. First her husband T.J. is killed in a mysterious car accident. Then on her way home from work she's witness to the double murders of a pair of narco agents for the police department at the hands of a shadowy figure. After suffering a nervous breakdown, it becomes apparent that Lynn knows more about her husband's illicit dealings than she's aware of when his estranged brother Bill (Rod Cameron) and a pair of drug syndicate enforcers start asking questions. When the police led by Captain Hampton (Louis Jean Heydt) and his partner Williams (Robert Anderson) start asking similar questions, Lynn suspects her husband's death wasn't an accident. With Bill in her corner as well as her friend Rak (Mike Mzaurki), Lynn must piece together the puzzle before she becomes the shadowy figure's next victim. 

I honestly wish this film had a different title. While The Man Who Died Twice is the sort of dramatic sounding bit of verbiage that would sell plenty of dime paperbacks, for a film, it's not very suitable. While I won't say who the titular "Man" is, I will admit that it doesn't take you long to figure it out. It would have been nice if the powers that be that put this film together hadn't shown their hold card so quickly. That said, even with the primary mystery figured out long before it's time, I had a hell of a lot of fun with this breezy thriller. 

The Man Who Died Twice

For a B-movie Republic picture, The Man Who Died Twice manages to pull off a lot of plot and character development in a very short amount of time At a scant 70-minutes, the film gets right down and dirty with T.J.'s explosive death and then speeds right into the assassination of a pair of narcotics officers right before the eyes of a beautiful woman. Who she is, who those people are isn't explained yet. You're merely thrown onto a roller coaster right before it dives over its first big hill and loopty-loop.

Thankfully, director Joe Kane and his writer Richard C. Sarafian take a couple moments for the audience to catch their breath and get to know the characters. By the time we get to see Lynn wake up in the hospital, we're well aware that her husband had some shady dealings with people who you don't dare double-cross. We get a couple moments to get to know Rak and why he's so protective of Lynn and at the same time we learn that Bill is nothing like his estranged brother - but maybe has a darker history than he's letting on. Even the presence of some straight-laced police officers isn't enough to make you believe that there isn't something shady going on at police headquarters as well. Who do you trust when everyone appears to have some dirt on their sleeves? While the title gives some things away, the lead up to the reveal and resolution works well enough that you don't feel cheated in the least bit. 

As I've gotten to do more and more reviews for these obscure B-movie film noirs, I've grown to appreciate and enjoy their no-frills stylings. They're proof positive that you can get a lot of entertainment mileage out of simple camera setups, a committed cast, and a script that doesn't overthink its plot while not treating the audience like complete simpletons. There's enough mystery going on that while the identity of the killer quickly becomes obvious, discovering the motive and method to the madness makes the price of admission worth it. Sure, it's no The Maltese Falcon, but it doesn't need to be to be entertaining. It may not be amazing, but The Man Who Died Twice is a solid flick that made for a great evening viewing on a cold November night. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

The Man Who Died Twice arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber and their Studio Classics Label. Pressed onto a Region-A BD-25 disc, the disc is housed in a standard sturdy Blu-ray case and comes with a booklet containing cover images of other Studio Classics Releases. The disc loads directly to a static image main menu featuring traditional navigation options. 

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For a film that may not be all that flashy or famous, The Man Who Died Twice enjoys a robust 2.35:1 1080p transfer from a new 4K Scan. For a film that's nearing 60 years, the results are particularly impressive. Facial features, costuming, and the film's production design work - in particular, the club where she sings - are all readily apparent. Faces get a lot of close-up and middle time allowing you to appreciate lines, creases, and scars. Clothing is also impressive as patterns or knitted outfits as the one seen on an older character give away terrific detailing. Film grain is apparent and nicely cinematic without being intrusive or too noisy. Black levels are spot on with some nice deep inky blacks and a strong greyscale gives the image plenty of shadow separation and appreciable depth. In all honesty, the only thing holding back my score for this transfer is a notable amount of damage in the last act. During the bulk of the film, there is only some mild speckling, but in the final moments scratches intensify and become more pronounced. Thankfully the damage is brief and doesn't impact your ability to watch the film, just holds back the score from being as close to perfect for a film of this vintage. 

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The Man Who Died Twice also enjoys a robust English DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio mix. Much of the mix is very front and center giving dialogue the edge. However, when the action picks up and we're given a chase sequence, some gunfire, or an explosion to enjoy - the mix really picks up nicely. On a funny note, there's a scene with a cat meowing in distress that came through so clearly that my two cats took it upon themselves to try and rescue to the poor creature. Each of my little fur balls took turns circling my television and watching the speakers for clues to the cat's location! The score offers up plenty of jazzy pop and presence while Vera Ralston's song numbers come through just fine. Levels are also spot on. Free of any hiss or artifacts, this is a solid audio mix that serves the needs of the film perfectly. 

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Like a number of Kino Lorber Studio Classics releases, the bonus features package assembled for The Man Who Died Twice may not be the most impressive thing, but considering the movie in question, it's still pretty good. The audio commentary featuring film historian Toby Roan is well worth listening to. 

Audio Commentary featuring film historian Toby Roan.

Shield for Murder Trailer (HD 1:45)

99 River Street Trailer (HD 2:13)

He Ran All the Way Trailer (HD 2:13)

The Spiral Staircase Trailer (SD 2:00)

Cry of the City Trailer (SD 2:33)

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No HD exclusive bonus features. 

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 80248 [review_bottom_line] => 2 [review_final_thoughts] =>

The Man Who Died Twice may not be the greatest film noir crime thriller ever produced, but it didn't try to be. At a breezy 70 minutes, the film gets in and gets out leaving you thoroughly entertained. A smart script, skilled direction, and some solid performances from its talented cast ensures that viewers get their money's worth with this simple, no-frills thriller. Kino Lorber Studio Classics has done a terrific job bringing this film to Blu-ray. The video transfer struck from a new 4K scan is in pretty fantastic shape while the audio mix suits the needs of the film nicely. A commentary track that's worth the listen rounds out the bonus features. If you like your thrillers gritty and to the point, you should have a great time with The Man Who Died Twice. It's a good one to recommend.

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Surly Squirrel (Will Arnett) and the gang are back, returning to Liberty Park after they are forced to leave their easy life at the nut store. Getting back to nature is the last thing Surly wants to do, but when a greedy mayor decides to destroy the park to build an amusement park, Surly and his ragtag critter friends must band together to save the place they call home.

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Paul Naschy (born Jacinto Molina Álvarez) was Spain's answer to Lon Chaney. He has portrayed many classic monsters – the Wolfman, Frankenstein's monster, Count Dracula, the Mummy and more. He was not only a terrific actor, but an accomplished writer, producer and director. This Blu-ray box set includes five stellar films from his long and distinguished career.

Set includes: Hunchback of the Morgue (1973); Devil's Possessed (1974); The Werewolf and the Yeti (1975); Exorcism (1975); and A Dragonfly for Each Corpse (1975).

[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 ) ) [48] => Array ( [review_id] => 51818 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => thethingyconfessionsofateenageplacenta [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => The Thingy: Confessions of a Teenage Placenta [picture_created] => 1506515299 [picture_name] => The_Thingy-_Confessions_Of_A_Teenage_Placenta_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Troma [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/27/120/The_Thingy-_Confessions_Of_A_Teenage_Placenta_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/51818/thethingyconfessionsofateenageplacenta.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2013 [run_time] => 84 [list_price] => 19.98 [asin] => B075J4G6TQ [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Comedy, Horror ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Pascal Paul Maetens, Andreas Perschewski, Karel Vingerhoetz, Celine Verbeeck, Sofie Hoflack ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Joël Rabijns, Yves Sondermeier ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

In a twisted world, Marianne gives birth to a rather unusual child. While the child is born dead, life finds its way through the afterbirth. Marianne decides to raise her placenta as a normal human being; as a young man named Luke. Behind his monstrous facade, there reveals a person of intelligence, faith and sensitivity. Luke struggles for his place in a world of drunks, junkies, whores and bodybuilders. An insane world that treats him as a freak. As this hostile society pushes him towards the edge, Luke has to choose between holding on to his gentle ideals or becoming the merciless soldier his mother always wanted him to be. 

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The sublime director Yôji Yamada’s The Yellow Handkerchief (1977), adapted from a series of 1971 columns written by American journalist Pete Hamill, tells the tale of a road trip spontaneously undertaken by a trio whose back stories are revealed through subtly nuanced flashbacks. The film was the first to receive the Best Picture award of the Japan Academy Prize.

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This classic Mexican neo-western was the first realized screenplay of Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez and legendary Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes. Under the direction of Mexican auteur Arturo Ripstein, Time to Die tells the story of a former gunman who returns to his town after serving time in prison. He plans to live a quiet life, but the sons of the man he killed have other plans.

[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 ) ) [51] => Array ( [review_id] => 51284 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => unlocked [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Unlocked [picture_created] => 1504965889 [picture_name] => Cover.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Lionsgate [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/09/120/Cover.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/51284/unlocked.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [list_price] => 21.99 [asin] => B075FMD4GT [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray/Digital Copy ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/TBA ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English SDH ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Making Unlocked - Featurette ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Toni Collette, Michael Douglas, and John Malkovich ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Michael Apted ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Noomi Rapace stars in this action-thriller as Alice Racine, one of the CIA's top interrogators, whose career is sidelined after she fails to unlock a prisoner in time to save the lives of dozens of innocent people from a terrorist attack in Paris. Now, leading a quiet life in London as a caseworker, Alice is unexpectedly called back into action when the CIA apprehends a suspect believed to have direct knowledge of another imminent attack. Turning to the few people she can trust (Michael Douglas, John Malkovich, and Toni Collette), Alice seeks out the responsible parties as she races against the clock to prevent a deadly biological attack on the citizens of London.

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Wind River is a chilling thriller that follows a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who teams up with a game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Jeremy Renner) to investigate the mysterious killing of a local girl on a remote Native American reservation.

[review_editors_notes] =>

Wind River was distributed theatrically by The Weinstein Company. When writer/director Taylor Sheridan, and his producing partners, learned of Harvey Weinstein's awful, criminal behavior towards women, Sheridan and his partners pulled control of the movie back from The Weinstein Company. As such, any future earnings from the Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD that would have been earmarked for The Weinstein Company will, instead, be donated to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

You can watch (or read) Mr. Sheridan and his team speak on the matter HERE.

You can support the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center by purchasing this film via the Amazon links on this page OR by donating directly HERE.

Thank you so much for reading.

[review_movie] =>

Murder mysteries are usually entertaining intellectual exercises that feature an intricate plot and mandatory twist ending, but they rarely have much of a heart...or soul. Wind River is different. Though it faithfully follows the genre’s conventions, it veers off the well-worn path to sensitively examine disturbing issues our xenophobic mainstream society all too often ignores. Take away the themes of racism, sexism, hypocrisy, and neglect and Wind River becomes just another over-the-top thriller. But with them, it rises above the muck and stands tall as a potent, affecting drama.

Just as he did in his scripts for Sicario and the Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water, writer-director Taylor Sheridan creates conflicted, multi-dimensional characters who add depth and meaning to his violent tales. Here, he searingly examines the forgotten Native American men and women who seem trapped on poverty-stricken reservations and torn between a loyalty to their culture and a desire to leave behind a dead-end existence often marked by drug and alcohol abuse and a dearth of opportunity that prevent them from pursuing a more prosperous and fulfilling life. Theirs is a sad story with no easy answers that is too often overlooked, but Sheridan’s passionate commitment to it oozes from almost every frame of Wind River.

The “inspired by actual events” title card that opens the film doesn’t refer to a single incident, but rather an ongoing plague of mistreatment and indifference that afflicts a large swath of the Native American population. U.S. Fish and Wildlife service agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is all too familiar with the situation, and when he discovers the frozen, bloody body of a Native American teen in the remote and snowy wilderness of the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, it brings back horrific memories of his own teenage daughter’s death under similar circumstances a few years before. Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), a young FBI agent reminiscent of Clarice Starling is dispatched to the area to investigate the crime, and with Cory and Sheriff Ben (Graham Greene), a ranking member of the reservation’s police force, as her guides, she navigates the unfamiliar terrain and learns about the foreign society into which she’s been unceremoniously thrust.

The tight-lipped, insular community views Jane with suspicion, and those she interviews are reticent to reveal much information to an outsider who represents the government that systematically represses them. Yet Jane remains undaunted and forges ahead with her probe, soon learning the young victim was sexually assaulted before her death. Initial information leads her to believe the girl’s much older boyfriend might be the culprit, but when his naked, badly beaten body also turns up in the snow, the focus shifts to a remote oil drilling site where the boyfriend worked as a security guard. And it‘s there that the mystery begins to unravel.

Sheridan, in only his second directorial outing, takes a slow-burn approach, methodically immersing us in the depressed atmosphere that consumes the Native American characters. We feel their hopelessness, resentment, bitterness, and desperate need to escape their confinement. He also insightfully depicts the cultural divide between native and white Americans and the resultant tension that undermines their relationships, as well as the bureaucratic red tape that so often impedes investigations on Native American soil. All of these elements enhance the film’s relevance and lend it an emotional resonance that overshadows its conventional climax and lingers long after the closing credits roll.

Sometimes a mystery is more interesting than its resolution, and that’s exactly the case here. The violent carnage that ultimately overtakes Wind River is shocking and powerful, but also somewhat cartoonish, straining credulity and cheapening the thoughtful drama that comes before and after it. Yes, it’s cathartic and part of it is purposeful, but it’s all a bit too much, especially for such a nuanced, message-oriented film.

Renner and Olsen may have co-starred in a couple of Avengers movies, but they leave their makeup and costumes at the door, filing sober, straightforward performances that reflect their deep respect for the material. Renner is especially affecting, projecting an admirable stoicism that belies the anguish and disillusionment buried inside him. He and Olsen share a comfortable chemistry that serves the story well, and Greene brings a penetrating calm and wry humor to the proceedings, crafting a performance that’s far more detailed than it looks.

Wind River deftly uses the murder mystery angle to call our attention to some ugly truths that have been swept under the rug for far too long. Whether the film will effect any change remains to be seen, but its largely poetic presentation hammers some key points home. This is not a film for the faint of heart - it is a thriller after all - but if you can get past the violence, you'll find an engrossing story that packs more than the usual visceral punch. Wind River carries a big stick, but the bulk of its power comes from the moments when it speaks oh so softly.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Wind River arrives on Blu-ray packaged in a standard case inside a sleeve. A leaflet containing a code to access the Digital HD Ultraviolet copy is 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, a preview for The Hero precedes the full-motion menu with music. 

[review_video_picture_id] => 79848 [review_video] =>

Films set in the dead of winter often appear drab and sterile, and Wind River is no exception, yet the excellent 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer accurately renders the bleak atmosphere. Superior clarity and contrast allow us to drink in all the details of the vast frigid landscape, and not a stitch of grain adds any warmth to the frame. The color palette remains rather wan throughout, but during the fleeting moments of brilliant sunshine some deeper hues pop up. Snow, of course, is omnipresent, but the white levels are consistently pleasing, exhibiting appropriate texture and never dissolving into an indistinct mess. Individual flakes are well defined during the blizzard sequences, and close-ups show off facial hair and stubble well. Blacks are strong, too, as are the deep blues of the police uniforms, and background elements are always easy to discern. Not a nick or errant mark dots the pristine source material, and no digital enhancements could be detected. This high-quality transfer presents a vibrant, bold picture, yet its beautiful aesthetic never minimizes the poverty and desolation depicted on screen.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 79849 [review_audio] =>

Powerful, room-shaking audio provides a striking contrast to the tranquil visuals, and the result is an immersive audio experience that ramps up the impact of the film’s drama. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track flaunts a palpable surround presence, as subtle atmospherics dance across the rear speakers and distinct stereo separation up front widens the soundscape. Thudding bass frequencies grab attention, as do eruptive, heart-stopping gunshots that sound more like cannon-fire. A wide dynamic scale handles all the booming elements without a hint of distortion, and solid fidelity and tonal depth complement the meditative music score. Though some of the dialogue is spoken quite softly and can be a bit difficult to comprehend, the bulk of exchanges are crisp, clear, and well prioritized. The visuals may seem slightly drab, but this potent audio track is anything but, and will certainly make you sit up and take notice.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 79850 [review_supplements] =>

Just a couple of extras are included on the disc. An audio commentary with director Taylor Sheridan would have been a nice addition, but no such luck.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 3 minutes) - Two excised scenes add little to the film, although one features a spirited confrontation between Olsen’s character and an ornery hotel front desk clerk.

Behind-the-Scenes Video Gallery (HD, 10 minutes) - Three separate segments focus on Renner, Olsen, and Sheridan, respectively, and feature their perspectives on the film. Renner talks about how he related to his role and the strength and vulnerability of Sheridan, while Olsen analyzes her character and expresses her dislike of cold weather. Sheridan shares his personal experience in the region, as well as his desire to depict its reality instead of a prevailing perception of it, and expresses his hope that the film will effect some positive change.

[review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives.

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Wind River is a riveting murder mystery and detective story, but some potent themes percolate beneath its surface, elevating Taylor Sheridan’s violent thriller above other movies in its class. The story of an FBI agent’s quest to bring to justice the killer of a sexually abused Native American woman who’s found dead in the frigid wilderness exposes disturbing issues that resonate far beyond this absorbing narrative. Excellent performances and stellar direction distinguish the film, as do the first-class video and audio transfers on the Lionsgate Blu-ray release. Though the climax may be overblown, it doesn’t cheapen the sober message of this well-made motion picture, which comes highly recommended.

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In recent years, NXT has emerged as an incredible box office draw for WWE with sold out live network specials from Brooklyn to Dallas to the United Kingdom! But things weren’t always this way: watch WWE’s “developmental” system churn out future Hall of Fame superstars and grow from its underwhelming infancy in Louisville through 2017!

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Writer-director Ivan I. Tverdovsky s prize-winning sophomore feature (Special Prize of the Jury at Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Best Picture at Fantastic Fest) deftly mixes the deadpan humour of Aki Kaurismäki with a poignant examination of social issues including loneliness and aging.

Natasha is a middle-aged admin employee at a zoo where her female co-workers take pleasure in making fun of her. She lives with her God-fearing mother and leads a dull existence without prospects, until one day she grows a tail. Medical examinations follow where she meets Peter, a young radiologist and her dreary life is turned upside down.

Described as Kafka meets Cronenberg (Hollywood Reporter) Tverdovsky s film is a beautifully photographed portrait of Eastern Europe that recalls the recent New Romanian Cinema and features a brave and brilliant central performance from Natalya Pavlenkova.

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Seeking isolation, thrills, and altitude, Eric LeMarque (Josh Hartnett) finds himself stranded for eight days in the frozen wilderness. He endures hypothermia, starvation, wolves, frostbite, dehydration, withdrawals and hallucination. In this beautiful and deadly environment, Eric fights a more difficult battle within himself as he is forced to face the selfish and destructive choices that left him stranded in the frozen tundra. As the walls close in, Eric must relinquish the drugs he relied on and conquer the ghosts in his past while fighting to stay alive. As his mother launches a desperate rescue effort he must make one final heroic climb towards rescue before time runs out and he succumbs...

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Prohibition—a lawless era where bootleggers prosper and mobsters prowl. In this murky world, blood is shed without regard or regret and for Angelo Lagusa, it’s all he knows. After the Vanetti Mafia murders his family, Angelo is left alone, the burn of revenge just a flickering light until he receives a letter that holds the key to vengeance in the form of a hit list. But there’s a catch—he’ll have to get close to the Vanetti family by befriending the don’s son, Nero. Working side-by-side with the future don, Angelo becomes Avilio Bruno, a loyal hired gun with a talent for pickpocketing and quick planning.

As the days dwindle away, Avilio and Nero grow closer and the kill list gets shorter. But between two families at odds and every target on Nero’s head, the two find themselves in a world of trouble. When it comes down to it, will Avilio—no, Angelo—pull the trigger on a man who considers him family?

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Prohibition—a lawless era where bootleggers prosper and mobsters prowl. In this murky world, blood is shed without regard or regret and for Angelo Lagusa, it’s all he knows. After the Vanetti Mafia murders his family, Angelo is left alone, the burn of revenge just a flickering light until he receives a letter that holds the key to vengeance in the form of a hit list. But there’s a catch—he’ll have to get close to the Vanetti family by befriending the don’s son, Nero. Working side-by-side with the future don, Angelo becomes Avilio Bruno, a loyal hired gun with a talent for pickpocketing and quick planning.

As the days dwindle away, Avilio and Nero grow closer and the kill list gets shorter. But between two families at odds and every target on Nero’s head, the two find themselves in a world of trouble. When it comes down to it, will Avilio—no, Angelo—pull the trigger on a man who considers him family?

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In Amityville: The Awakening, Belle (Bella Thorne) and her family move into a new house, but when strange phenomena begin to occur in the house, Belle begins to suspect her mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) isn't telling her everything. She soon realizes they just moved into the infamous Amityville house.

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In Aquarius, acclaimed Brazilian writer-director Kleber Mendonc a Filho (Neighboring Sounds) continues to examine the alienating effects of urban over-development in Recife, a Brazilian oceanfront city. Clara (So nia Braga, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands), a vibrant former music critic, avid swimmer, grandmother, cancer survivor, willing lover and widow with flowing tresses, is the only remaining apartment owner in a gracious older building targeted for demolition by ruthless luxury high-rise developers. As the builders tactics to remove Clara, become increasingly hostile, Clara proves to be a force to be reckoned with. 

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Oscar winner Charlize Theron explodes into summer in Atomic Blonde, a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies. A blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality and dazzling style, Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, upcoming Deadpool 2). Also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones, the film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel series“The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston & illustrator Sam Hart.

[review_editors_notes] =>

Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of the standard, day-and-date Blu-ray release, also written by M. Enois Duarte. Specifically, this review features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, Audio and Final Thoughts sections while both reviews share The Movie Itself and Special Features.

For a full in-depth review of the 4K Ultra HD HERE.

[review_movie] =>

It's inevitable that Atomic Blonde will be compared to John Wick in the eyes of action fans everywhere, and the comparisons are objectively and undoubtedly justified. And this is in spite the fact that the source material for this espionage thriller about a deadly government assassin beat our favorite neo-noir hitman by at least a couple years. Then, there is also the fact both films share the same director, David Leitch. Only, he's given an uncredited role in the first John Wick while Atomic Blonde marks his solo feature-length directorial debut. So, again, the comparisons are warranted. The problem is those comparisons, unfortunately, can and probably do sound more like accusations and an unreasonable judgment of the film's quality. In this case, action fans, and moviegoers, in general, will be missing out on one of the best genre flicks of the year, adding to a growing list of features from around the world that mark 2017 as a great year for movies as a whole. Despite feeling familiar, Leitch's film transcends the similarities to deliver a white-knuckle thrill-ride that's just as visually stunning and memorable as it is riveting and exhilarating.

Situated in the angst-ridden streets of a drastically-changing 1989 Germany on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the story immediately opens with a chase and murder scene that essentially sets the tone and pace. At the heart of it is a MacGuffin involving a wristwatch and the secret list of active spies that has MI6 scrambling to recover it. The scene is aggressive and animated with a kinetic energy that feels sadly missing from many contemporary actioners but carried through for the rest of the movie's 115-minute runtime. Of course, a large portion of the film's potently dynamic stamina comes from the totally bitchin' soundtrack of 80s tunes. And the constant shift of those killer tracks from diegetic to non-diegetic sounds driving much of the hard-hitting action is one of the several aspects of the production's awesomeness. Sure, I may have some bias in this regard, but seeing the brutally realistic fight choreography and car chases perfectly matched to the rhythm of popular hits like New Order's "Blue Monday" and Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran" ignites those sequences to a level that'll leave the audience mesmerized while also tapping their feet.

To locate and retrieve the list, MI6 heads (Toby Jones and James Faulkner) dispatch their top-level operative Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) into the dangerous USSR-occupied den. And it's immediately apparent Ms. Theron is game for the role of an agent who's just as suave with her words and chic looks as she with her lethal fists. There's no denying the South African-born actress went through some rigorous training to make her fights against bigger, more brutish men as savagely authentic and graphic as possible. And Leitch, along with editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir, allow Theron plenty of space on the screen to demonstrate the amount of time and work she put into it, such as the apartment sequence when she goes toe-to-toe with five cops. Or better yet, during a street demonstration as Lorraine tries to escort a defector codenamed Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), our badass heroine battles six or seven Stasi officers through several floors of an abandoned apartment complex. The near ten-minute long take — thanks to some creative editing — is a gripping, heart-racing feat of stunt choreography, a highlight of the production sure to leave viewers as exhaustive and weary as Lorraine, who simply wants an ice-cold bath and a drink of vodka.

Complicating matters for Lorraine is the wackily eccentric David Percival (James McAvoy), another British agent who's been in Berlin a wee-bit too long. McAvoy is excellent as an arrogant but debonair charmer with an agenda of his own, mucking up what should have been a simple operation into a cat-and-mouse game littered with double-crosses, wire-taps and murder. Sofia Boutella joins the cast as green-behind-the-ears French agent Delphine Lasalle, who ends up a lonely pawn in a larger game where we're never sure if Lorraine's personal interest is revenge for the death of the agent in the opening or something far bigger. And for some reason, John Goodman is also seen roaming about as a mysterious CIA agent. But while we try to solve the mystery and guess the ending, Leitch and cinematographer Jonathan Sela (John WickTransformers: The Last Knight) hypnotize with one of the most visually spellbinding action flicks ever, showering almost every scene with a flamboyant array of neon colors. Meanwhile, more obscure 80s tunes like Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Cities in Dust" and Marilyn Manson's rendition of Ministry's "Stigmata" turn quieter sequences into haunting portraits, adding to Atomic Blonde's list of sundry reasons to watch it.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Universal Studios Home Entertainment brings Atomic Blonde to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with an UltraViolet Digital Copy code. The Region Free, BD50 disc sits comfortably opposite a DVD-9 disc inside a blue, eco-vortex case with a glossy, embossed slipcover. After several skippable trailers, the disc switches to a menu screen with a static image of the cover art and music playing in the background.

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The deadly bodacious assassin sneaks into Blu-ray with a righteous and totally demo-worthy 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that ignites the screen with brilliantly vibrant neon colors.

Perfectly capturing the style and atmosphere of the 1980s, many sequences are bathed in the chic, cool glow of electrifying blues and warm, radical purples. While other primaries remain accurately-rendered throughout, much of the palette is focused on vivid, richly-saturated secondary hues. Walking through the streets of Berlin, however, the scenery is near monochromatic and dour, a deliberate creative choice of the filmmakers to reflect the cold political climate of the period. Pitch-perfect contrast delivers crisp, dazzling whites in the snow, Lorraine's outfits and various vehicles while still maintaining a gloomy, dismal feeling in daylight exteriors and allowing outstanding visibility in the distance. Black levels are gorgeous, providing the 2.40:1 image with inky rich, stygian shadows and excellent gradational details in the darkest portions of the frame.

The overall presentation is consistently razor-sharp, exposing the grimy cracks in the buildings, the filthy trash littering the streets and every nook and cranny of Percival's stuffy, poorly-lit apartment. While practically counting the individual bricks of the street or buildings, viewers can also distinctly make out each hair in Percival's fur coat or the well-defined threading in the radical clothing worn by the rest of the cast. Facial complexions not only appear healthy and appropriate to the climate, but they also reveal the tiniest blemish and imperfection in the male cast while our female heroines pretty much look flawless throughout. The only exception when battered and bruised Lorraine walks away from a brutally gnarly fight.

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The espionage thriller also erupts onto the scene with a totally tubular and choice DTS:X soundtrack featuring a bitchin' selection of radical tunes that'll turn the home theater into a kickin' house party!

As one would suspect, the winners here are the 80s songs and Tyler Bates's score blaring into all the speakers and the overheads when in non-diegetic mode. When switching back to a diegetic element, the music smoothly refocuses across the screen without missing a beat. The noise of the nightclub echoing all around, creating an immersive hemispheric quality, and the streets of Berlin are continuously busy with hustle and bustle of city life. The ceiling channels are silent for the most part when music is not playing, but occasionally, some random effect will bleed over the listening area, such as alarm sirens or the crowd marching through the streets. Most of the atmospherics are retained to the surrounds, but from time to time, they also move discretely overhead.

Much of the action is maintained across the front soundstage, which feels broad and expansive with lots of off-screen activity providing a great sense of space and presence from beginning to end. The mid-range exhibits superb distinction and clarity even during the loudest sequences, delivering every punch, crack, snap and crunch of metal on metal with awesome clarity and detail. Every whispered conversation and emotional line is well-prioritized and lucid in the center while also once in a while fluidly between all three channels to further add to design outstanding sense of space. A powerful and sometimes authoritative low-end sends a full-bodied rumble across the room, giving those aforementioned punches some weight, the explosions an exciting oomph and every gunshot a sharp thump.

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Audio Commentary: Director David Leitch is joined by editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir for an enlightening conversation on the technical aspects of the production while also sharing a few anecdotes from the set and making comparisons to the original source material as well as their work on John Wick.

Anatomy of a Fight Scene (HD, 8 min): Done in picture-in-picture style, an in-depth look at the brutal fight sequence done as long take with commentary and lots of BTS footage revealing the choreography.

Blondes Have More Gun (HD, 7 min): Focused on Charlize Theron and the immense training she endured for the role while also commenting on the direction and various challenges encountered.

Welcome to Berlin (HD, 5 min): Discussion on the plot's setting, shooting locations and production design.

Spymaster (HD, 4 min): Praise for Leitch and his visual aspirations for the movie.

Story in Motion (HD): Pair of animated storyboards with optional director commentary.

            Agent Broughton (2 min)

            The Chase (2 min)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 7 min): Six scenes recovered from the cutting room floor.

Russian Driver

Hidden Stash

Nice to Meet You

Not Afraid of Love

Broughton's Promise

Watch for Sale

[review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives.

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Immediately, in the opening minutes, Atomic Blonde sets the tone, pace and rhythm for the remainder of the film's 115-minute runtime, an aggressive and animated motion picture with a flamboyantly colorful and kinetic energy that feels sadly missing from many contemporary actioners. Starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy as questionable spies supposedly working on the same side, the action thriller is a white-knuckle cat-and-mouse game of high-stakes espionage with brutal, riveting action choreography, making the list of one of the best movies of 2017. The Blu-ray goes covert with a vibrant, reference-quality video presentation and an awesomely satisfying DTS:X soundtrack that'll turn the home theater into kickin' house party. Featuring a disappointingly small set of supplements, the overall package is nonetheless recommended for action junkies who love their badass heroines.

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Oscar winner Charlize Theron explodes into summer in Atomic Blonde, a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies. A blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality and dazzling style, Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, upcoming Deadpool 2). Also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones, the film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel series“The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston & illustrator Sam Hart.

[review_editors_notes] =>

Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of the standard, day-and-date Blu-ray release, also written by M. Enois Duarte. Specifically, this review features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, Audio and Final Thoughts sections while both reviews share The Movie Itself and Special Features.

For a full in-depth review of the 4K Ultra HD HERE.

[review_movie] =>

It's inevitable that Atomic Blonde will be compared to John Wick in the eyes of action fans everywhere, and the comparisons are objectively and undoubtedly justified. And this is in spite the fact that the source material for this espionage thriller about a deadly government assassin beat our favorite neo-noir hitman by at least a couple years. Then, there is also the fact both films share the same director, David Leitch. Only, he's given an uncredited role in the first John Wick while Atomic Blonde marks his solo feature-length directorial debut. So, again, the comparisons are warranted. The problem is those comparisons, unfortunately, can and probably do sound more like accusations and an unreasonable judgment of the film's quality. In this case, action fans, and moviegoers, in general, will be missing out on one of the best genre flicks of the year, adding to a growing list of features from around the world that mark 2017 as a great year for movies as a whole. Despite feeling familiar, Leitch's film transcends the similarities to deliver a white-knuckle thrill-ride that's just as visually stunning and memorable as it is riveting and exhilarating.

Situated in the angst-ridden streets of a drastically-changing 1989 Germany on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the story immediately opens with a chase and murder scene that essentially sets the tone and pace. At the heart of it is a MacGuffin involving a wristwatch and the secret list of active spies that has MI6 scrambling to recover it. The scene is aggressive and animated with a kinetic energy that feels sadly missing from many contemporary actioners but carried through for the rest of the movie's 115-minute runtime. Of course, a large portion of the film's potently dynamic stamina comes from the totally bitchin' soundtrack of 80s tunes. And the constant shift of those killer tracks from diegetic to non-diegetic sounds driving much of the hard-hitting action is one of the several aspects of the production's awesomeness. Sure, I may have some bias in this regard, but seeing the brutally realistic fight choreography and car chases perfectly matched to the rhythm of popular hits like New Order's "Blue Monday" and Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran" ignites those sequences to a level that'll leave the audience mesmerized while also tapping their feet.

To locate and retrieve the list, MI6 heads (Toby Jones and James Faulkner) dispatch their top-level operative Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) into the dangerous USSR-occupied den. And it's immediately apparent Ms. Theron is game for the role of an agent who's just as suave with her words and chic looks as she with her lethal fists. There's no denying the South African-born actress went through some rigorous training to make her fights against bigger, more brutish men as savagely authentic and graphic as possible. And Leitch, along with editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir, allow Theron plenty of space on the screen to demonstrate the amount of time and work she put into it, such as the apartment sequence when she goes toe-to-toe with five cops. Or better yet, during a street demonstration as Lorraine tries to escort a defector codenamed Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), our badass heroine battles six or seven Stasi officers through several floors of an abandoned apartment complex. The near ten-minute long take — thanks to some creative editing — is a gripping, heart-racing feat of stunt choreography, a highlight of the production sure to leave viewers as exhaustive and weary as Lorraine, who simply wants an ice-cold bath and a drink of vodka.

Complicating matters for Lorraine is the wackily eccentric David Percival (James McAvoy), another British agent who's been in Berlin a wee-bit too long. McAvoy is excellent as an arrogant but debonair charmer with an agenda of his own, mucking up what should have been a simple operation into a cat-and-mouse game littered with double-crosses, wire-taps and murder. Sofia Boutella joins the cast as green-behind-the-ears French agent Delphine Lasalle, who ends up a lonely pawn in a larger game where we're never sure if Lorraine's personal interest is revenge for the death of the agent in the opening or something far bigger. And for some reason, John Goodman is also seen roaming about as a mysterious CIA agent. But while we try to solve the mystery and guess the ending, Leitch and cinematographer Jonathan Sela (John WickTransformers: The Last Knight) hypnotize with one of the most visually spellbinding action flicks ever, showering almost every scene with a flamboyant array of neon colors. Meanwhile, more obscure 80s tunes like Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Cities in Dust" and Marilyn Manson's rendition of Ministry's "Stigmata" turn quieter sequences into haunting portraits, adding to Atomic Blonde's list of sundry reasons to watch it.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Universal Studios Home Entertainment brings Atomic Blonde to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with an UltraViolet Digital Copy code. The Region Free, BD50 disc sits comfortably opposite a DVD-9 disc inside a blue, eco-vortex case with a glossy, embossed slipcover. After several skippable trailers, the disc switches to a menu screen with a static image of the cover art and music playing in the background.

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The deadly bodacious assassin sneaks into Blu-ray with a righteous and totally demo-worthy 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that ignites the screen with brilliantly vibrant neon colors.

Perfectly capturing the style and atmosphere of the 1980s, many sequences are bathed in the chic, cool glow of electrifying blues and warm, radical purples. While other primaries remain accurately-rendered throughout, much of the palette is focused on vivid, richly-saturated secondary hues. Walking through the streets of Berlin, however, the scenery is near monochromatic and dour, a deliberate creative choice of the filmmakers to reflect the cold political climate of the period. Pitch-perfect contrast delivers crisp, dazzling whites in the snow, Lorraine's outfits and various vehicles while still maintaining a gloomy, dismal feeling in daylight exteriors and allowing outstanding visibility in the distance. Black levels are gorgeous, providing the 2.40:1 image with inky rich, stygian shadows and excellent gradational details in the darkest portions of the frame.

The overall presentation is consistently razor-sharp, exposing the grimy cracks in the buildings, the filthy trash littering the streets and every nook and cranny of Percival's stuffy, poorly-lit apartment. While practically counting the individual bricks of the street or buildings, viewers can also distinctly make out each hair in Percival's fur coat or the well-defined threading in the radical clothing worn by the rest of the cast. Facial complexions not only appear healthy and appropriate to the climate, but they also reveal the tiniest blemish and imperfection in the male cast while our female heroines pretty much look flawless throughout. The only exception when battered and bruised Lorraine walks away from a brutally gnarly fight.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 79882 [review_audio] =>

The espionage thriller also erupts onto the scene with a totally tubular and choice DTS:X soundtrack featuring a bitchin' selection of radical tunes that'll turn the home theater into a kickin' house party!

As one would suspect, the winners here are the 80s songs and Tyler Bates's score blaring into all the speakers and the overheads when in non-diegetic mode. When switching back to a diegetic element, the music smoothly refocuses across the screen without missing a beat. The noise of the nightclub echoing all around, creating an immersive hemispheric quality, and the streets of Berlin are continuously busy with hustle and bustle of city life. The ceiling channels are silent for the most part when music is not playing, but occasionally, some random effect will bleed over the listening area, such as alarm sirens or the crowd marching through the streets. Most of the atmospherics are retained to the surrounds, but from time to time, they also move discretely overhead.

Much of the action is maintained across the front soundstage, which feels broad and expansive with lots of off-screen activity providing a great sense of space and presence from beginning to end. The mid-range exhibits superb distinction and clarity even during the loudest sequences, delivering every punch, crack, snap and crunch of metal on metal with awesome clarity and detail. Every whispered conversation and emotional line is well-prioritized and lucid in the center while also once in a while fluidly between all three channels to further add to design outstanding sense of space. A powerful and sometimes authoritative low-end sends a full-bodied rumble across the room, giving those aforementioned punches some weight, the explosions an exciting oomph and every gunshot a sharp thump.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 79883 [review_supplements] =>

Audio Commentary: Director David Leitch is joined by editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir for an enlightening conversation on the technical aspects of the production while also sharing a few anecdotes from the set and making comparisons to the original source material as well as their work on John Wick.

Anatomy of a Fight Scene (HD, 8 min): Done in picture-in-picture style, an in-depth look at the brutal fight sequence done as long take with commentary and lots of BTS footage revealing the choreography.

Blondes Have More Gun (HD, 7 min): Focused on Charlize Theron and the immense training she endured for the role while also commenting on the direction and various challenges encountered.

Welcome to Berlin (HD, 5 min): Discussion on the plot's setting, shooting locations and production design.

Spymaster (HD, 4 min): Praise for Leitch and his visual aspirations for the movie.

Story in Motion (HD): Pair of animated storyboards with optional director commentary.

            Agent Broughton (2 min)

            The Chase (2 min)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 7 min): Six scenes recovered from the cutting room floor.

Russian Driver

Hidden Stash

Nice to Meet You

Not Afraid of Love

Broughton's Promise

Watch for Sale

[review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 79884 [review_bottom_line] => 2 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Immediately, in the opening minutes, Atomic Blonde sets the tone, pace and rhythm for the remainder of the film's 115-minute runtime, an aggressive and animated motion picture with a flamboyantly colorful and kinetic energy that feels sadly missing from many contemporary actioners. Starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy as questionable spies supposedly working on the same side, the action thriller is a white-knuckle cat-and-mouse game of high-stakes espionage with brutal, riveting action choreography, making the list of one of the best movies of 2017. The Blu-ray goes covert with a vibrant, reference-quality video presentation and an awesomely satisfying DTS:X soundtrack that'll turn the home theater into kickin' house party. Featuring a disappointingly small set of supplements, the overall package is nonetheless recommended for action junkies who love their badass heroines.

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Oscar winner Charlize Theron explodes into summer in Atomic Blonde, a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies. A blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality and dazzling style, Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, upcoming Deadpool 2). Also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones, the film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel series“The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston & illustrator Sam Hart.

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This twisted tale about a deranged maniac who creates a device that shrinks people to foot-high figurines is big on terror! Tired of being toyed with, the puppets launch an attack, and suddenly their captor finds he'd better stop playing — and start praying — because these miniature moppets are hellbent on revenge!

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Writer (here with Mickey Rose)-director-actor Woody Allen’s madcap Bananas (1971) is part wild political satire/part screwball romance.  Allen stars as the remarkably named Fielding Mellish, a nebbish whose yen for a political activist (Louise Lasser) involves him in a South American country’s exploding revolution, up to and including his eventual and unwitting appearance as a Castro-like dictator. 

[review_movie] =>

For those who might have forgotten just how funny Woody Allen can be, check out Bananas, a madcap romp about a hapless, lovesick nebbish who finds himself at the center of a Latin American political revolution after his girlfriend dumps him. Energetic, brash, irreverent, and undeniably silly, this breakneck farce fires a nonstop barrage of gags. Some hit, some miss, some are incisive, others are non-sequiturs, but most of what Allen and co-writer Mickey Rose throw at the wall sticks. Chaos reigns supreme, and the delightful, disjointed mayhem - often reminiscent of the Marx Brothers’ distinctive brand of lunacy - provides a welcome respite from life’s harsh realities.

It’s hard to believe Allen, who just turned 82 a few days ago, has been making movies for almost half a century. Yet before he became a serious director, comedy was his passion, and Bananas brings us back to those halcyon days when laughs mattered more to him than sober themes and personal journeys. Just like its title, Bananas is wild and crazy and utterly innocuous, and all those elements contribute to its considerable charm. There are reasons why many of Allen’s fans gravitate so strongly toward his early works - they’re less complicated, more accessible, and devoid of pretense. All Bananas seems to care about is milking the next laugh, and that narrow focus is very refreshing indeed.

Fielding Mellish (Allen) is a clumsy, bumbling, fearful, lonely, horny, and neurotic professional product tester who longs for love and hates what he does for a living. “I should be working at a job I have some kind of aptitude for,” he says, “like donating sperm to an artificial insemination lab.” One day, a cute, quirky petitioner named Nancy (Louise Lasser) knocks on his apartment door trying to drum up American support for the rebel resistance in San Marcos, a South American nation rocked by a recent military coup. Fielding doesn’t give a whit about the cause, but falls for Nancy hook, line, and sinker. The two have a brief romance, but Nancy breaks it off, calling the devastated Fielding “emotionally, sexually, and intellectually immature.”

He tries to get over her by traveling alone to San Marcos, where he becomes a pawn in the new dictator’s plan to subdue the revolutionaries and gain American support for his regime. But Fielding gets captured by the rebels instead and quickly becomes a pawn in their plot to gain American support for their efforts to overthrow the government and restore democracy. Complications abound, of course, and the easily manipulated Fielding gets in way over his head...with predictably zany consequences.

The movie’s priceless opening sequence featuring famed sportscaster Howard Cosell broadcasting a live play-by-play of the violent San Marcos military takeover sets the slapstick tone and paves the way for plenty of clever shtick. Allen combines one-liners, verbal zingers, and smart banter with broad physical comedy and some pantomime to keep us engaged and off balance, and tosses in a couple of subtle nods to classic films, duplicating the lighting of two cigarettes made famous in Now, Voyager and the shot of the baby carriage careening down the Odessa Steps in Battleship Potemkin. Energetic performances also fuel the film, which breezes along at a brisk clip and seems much shorter than its 82-minute running time.

Often summoning his inner Charlie Chaplin, Allen masterfully mixes physical humor with pangs of pathos that lend this outrageous farce essential warmth. Chaplin had his Little Tramp, and here Allen continues to develop the insecure, neurotic, hopelessly romantic persona he introduced in Take the Money and Run two years earlier. Whether he’s testing an out-of-control executive exercise desk, surreptitiously buying a pornographic magazine at a newsstand, fending off a couple of subway thugs (one of whom is played by a then unknown and uncredited Sylvester Stallone), taking over the reins of an operation from his surgeon father, or acting as both attorney and witness simultaneously during his own trial, Allen is always on the mark and oddly endearing.

Allen and Lasser were married for a few years in the late 1960s, but divorced by the time Bananas commenced production. Yet sparks still fly between them, and they make an appropriately kooky, believable couple. Though Lasser - after an appearance in one of the sketches in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (*But were afraid to ask) the following year - soon would be replaced as Allen’s leading lady by Diane Keaton, she possesses many attractive qualities that complement Allen well and would surely have bolstered his subsequent films, had their relationship continued.

For the most part, Bananas is mindless fun, but it does perceptively lampoon the tenuous political climate of underdeveloped nations, as well as the time-honored idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Parallels to Fidel Castro are hard to miss (just take a gander at the disc’s cover art), but such topical connections only pepper the story; they don’t drive it. And that just might be why Bananas stands the test of time. The film marked Allen’s first big success as a director and remains a testament to his unique comic gifts both in front of and behind the camera. It may be 46 years old, but Bananas is still a ripe - and very tasty - piece of cinematic fruit. Go ahead and give it a bite.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Bananas arrives on Blu-ray in a limited to 3,000 edition packaged in a standard case. An eight-page booklet that includes an essay by film historian Julie Kirgo and a few color scene stills (but not, as per usual, a reproduction of the film’s poster art) is tucked inside the front cover. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu without music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

[review_video_picture_id] => 80272 [review_video] =>

As bright as a bunch of ripe bananas, the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer of Bananas from Twilight Time brings this vintage 1970s comedy to brilliant life, A few specks dot the print from time to time, but the source material is otherwise spotless and flaunts a lovely grain structure that lends the image a film-like feel. Terrific clarity and contrast thrust us into the thick of the mayhem, and bold, vibrant colors pop off the screen. Yellows and oranges are especially strong, but pastel blues and pinks stand out, too. Blacks are rich, patterns remain stable, and flesh tones appear natural. Shadow delineation is good, background details are easy to discern, and any digital doctoring escapes notice. This is another stellar effort from Twilight Time that will certainly please Allen’s fans.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 80273 [review_audio] =>

The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 track supplies clear, well-modulated sound. Ambient effects like crowd noise subtly enhance the atmosphere, while more pointed sonic accents like gunfire are crisp and distinct. A wide dynamic scale handles all the highs and lows of Marvin Hamlisch’s rhythmic music score without a hint of distortion, and excellent fidelity and tonal depth help the Latin-tinged strains fill the room. All the funny dialogue is easy to comprehend, and no age-related hiss, pops, or crackles intrude. Audio plays a bigger role in Bananas than in most Allen film’s, and Twilight Time’s high-quality track splendidly showcases it.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 80274 [review_supplements] =>

Typical of Woody Allen home video releases, only a couple of extras are included on the disc.

Isolated Music Track - Marvin Hamlisch’s bouncy and infectious music score can be enjoyed without any intrusions on this isolated track.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 3 minutes) - This inventive preview intersperses clips from the movie with a staged, comic interview with Allen, during which he describes the plot, lists the cast, and offers his own personal review of the picture.

[review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 80275 [review_bottom_line] => 1 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Bananas put Woody Allen on the cinematic map, and this often riotous romp reminds us what a wonderfully gifted comedian the legendary writer-director can be. Gags galore punch up this farcical tale of a mild-mannered nerd who bumbles his way into the center of a South American revolution and becomes its unlikely hero. Though extras are slim on this Twilight Time limited edition release, excellent video and audio transfers distinguish the presentation. If you’re looking for a funny, clever, breezy bit of silliness with a splash of political satire, Bananas is your ticket. Highly recommended.

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"A guitar-picking good ol’ boy. A clean-cut all-American. A Navajo. A bookworm. A lumberjack. A slum kid. All enter Marine boot camp to be trained, hardened and ready to answer their country’s Battle Cry. Scripted by Leon M. Uris from his own novel, directed by action master Raoul Walsh and starring a who’s who of ’50s movie stars, Battle Cry is an epic ode to World War II Marine heroism and homefront sacrifice, a saga following recruits from boot camp to a New Zealand base of operations to the war they knew would someday come their way: the bloody invasion of Saipan. Enlist now alongside the fighting men and stalwart women of Battle Cry for boisterous tenderness and gung-ho excitement."

[review_movie] =>

When CinemaScope burst upon the scene amid much fanfare in 1953, Hollywood studios quickly jumped aboard the widescreen bandwagon, mounting musicals, Biblical epics, swashbucklers, travelogues, and adventure yarns in the new format. Yet it took a while to bring one of the most popular film genres into the fold. War movies would seem like a CinemaScope natural, with their expansive battle sequences, military pageantry, and eye-popping spectacle maximizing the impact of the increased aspect ratio, but it wasn't until 1955 that the first widescreen war flick hit theaters. And predictably, eager patrons lapped it up.

That film was Battle Cry, a big-budget, sprawling adaptation of Leon Uris' best-selling novel that ultimately grossed more than $8 million at the box office. That was a pretty penny in those days, and while no one would rank this by-the-numbers portrait of a tight-knit Marine Corps unit during World War II as one of the greatest war movies ever made, it remains an entertaining - if bloated - motion picture that makes excellent use of the fledgling CinemaScope process. Director Raoul Walsh gives Uris' tale the epic treatment, but for a film touting the word "battle" in its title, not much fighting transpires over the course of Battle Cry's almost two-and-a-half-hour running time. Just like the story's frustrated band of intrepid soldiers who itch to confront their Japanese foes, we keep waiting and waiting (and waiting) to see the action we've been promised. Yet the battalion doesn't get deployed until the film's final 20 minutes, resulting in a rushed climax that may be exciting and impressively shot, but only whets our appetite for more, and makes it hard to shirk the feeling we've been cheated.

Akin to (the much better) From Here to Eternity, but with a broader focus, Battle Cry follows the military and romantic exploits of a group of young, very green Marine recruits from their initial days of basic training a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor up through radio school, a stint in New Zealand, and all the way to the bloody Battle of Saipan in the Pacific. Led by the gruff, crusty Major Sam Huxley (Van Heflin), the motley outfit dubs itself "Huxley's Harlots," and is comprised of just about every social and ethnic stereotype imaginable. Yet the story, based on Uris' own experiences and narrated by the hard-nosed, blustery, but paternal Master Technical Sergeant Mac (James Whitmore), mostly revolves around a trio of all-American enlisted men - Private Andy Hookins (Aldo Ray), Private Danny Forrester (Tab Hunter), and Private Marion Hotchkiss (John Lupton) . Nancy Olson, Dorothy Malone, and Anne Francis portray their respective love interests, and all three dames carry a fair amount of emotional baggage. They also shanghai a good portion of the plot, adding too much soap to what should be a down-and-dirty, in-the-trenches combat chronicle.

Yes, Battle Cry grounds itself in the military milieu, depicting the day-to-day training, drudgery, and personal conflicts the men must endure. Much to its chagrin, the outfit continually gets passed over for active fighting and, instead, is dispatched to perform "mop-up" duties after the devastation at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. Such dull, unglamorous missions not only prevent the film from depicting large-scale battles, they also put more of an emphasis on the men's romantic entanglements, lending the story a softer focus than the title suggests. I'm not sure if it's Walsh's intention to have the audience as antsy as the soldiers to see some hardcore action, but that's what occurs, and the climactic Saipan showdown - after two hours of build-up - just isn't enough to satisfy our cravings.

The material suits the macho Walsh, who directed Cagney and Bogart in some of their best films, and he and cinematographer Sidney Hickox make fine use of the vast CinemaScope landscape. Lots of location work gives the movie an outdoorsy feel that heightens realism, and the extensive cooperation of the U.S. Marine Corps adds authenticity to the training sequences. Pacing is good, too. Despite the lengthy running time and lack of war scenes, the narrative chugs along at a brisk clip, jumping back and forth between the multiple storylines with admirable dexterity.

Heflin and Whitmore brandish plenty of square-jawed intensity, but aren't afraid to display some honest emotion when called upon, while up-and-coming heartthrob Hunter shows off some beefcake during a laughable rip-off of the famous From Here to Eternity beach scene, inexplicably shot indoors on a soundstage with a fake ocean and artificial sky. (Though Hunter and Malone, who also flaunts a fair amount of skin, make a sexy pair, they can't hold a candle to Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, whose iconic crashing-surf embrace on a real Hawaiian stretch of sand is the stuff of movie legend.) With his gravelly voice, stocky physique, and pugnacious personality, Ray was born to play a Marine, and he often carries the picture on his broad shoulders, projecting an earnest sincerity that often belies his cocky swagger.

Battle Cry typifies the kind of big, bloated entertainment Hollywood produced during the mid-1950s to combat the encroaching television threat, and it succeeds in that regard. Though it doesn't deliver all it promises from an action perspective, its engrossing story and sweeping visuals hold attention throughout. Gloss may eclipse grit, but spirited performances from an accomplished cast supply this standard, clichéd tale with enough heart and soul to sustain it. With apologies to a couple of other famous World War II flicks, Battle Cry won't take you from here to eternity or to hell and back, but it's a solid specimen in a cluttered genre.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Battle Cry arrives on Blu-ray packaged in a standard case. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu without music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

[review_video_picture_id] => 80420 [review_video] =>

I've never been a fan of the single-strip color processes that replaced three-strip Technicolor in the 1950s, but Warner Archive has done a yeoman's job restoring Battle Cry, and the resultant 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer beautifully revives this CinemaScope war film. Some of the rear projection work remains a bit faded, but for the most part, the image is vibrant and lush. Excellent clarity and contrast bring the locations to life (but also call undue attention to artificial process shots and "outdoor" soundstage sequences), while a natural grain structure preserves the feel of celluloid. Bold reds, brilliant orange flames, and verdant greens punch up the color palette, but flesh tones remain naggingly on the rosy side. Blacks are rich, whites are bright but resist blooming, and background details are easy to discern. Sharp close-ups showcase the rugged, leathery faces of the soldiers, but also highlight cool glamour of Anne Francis, Dorothy Malone, Tab Hunter, and Nancy Olson. No nicks, marks, or scratches sully the spotless source material, and any digital doctoring escapes notice. Warner Archive once again honors one of its catalogue classics, infusing an old war horse with newfound life.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 80421 [review_audio] =>

Warner provides a brand spanking new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that fully immerses us in this widescreen epic. Surround activity is far more pronounced than in most remastered classics, with ambient effects like chirping birds and crickets subtly bleeding into the rear speakers. Max Steiner's rousing music score also envelops, and a wide dynamic scale handles all of its soaring highs and weighty lows without a hint of distortion. First-rate stereo separation across the front channels, especially during the climactic battle, widens the soundscape and heightens realism, while solid bass frequencies enhance the impact of exploding bombs. All the dialogue is clear and easy to comprehend, and any age-related defects like hiss, pops, and crackles have been meticulously erased. Involving audio is essential for a long war movie, and this impressive track keeps us focused on the action for almost two-and-a-half hours.

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The only supplement is the film's four-minute original theatrical trailer, which is presented in high definition and salutes all the key characters, especially James Whitmore's Mac, who's referred to as "sort of a mother hen and a father confessor to a bunch of guys named Joe."

[review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives.

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Too much personal drama and not enough military maneuvers keep Battle Cry from living up to its title, but despite the dearth of skirmishes, Raoul Walsh's big, colorful adaptation of Leon Uris' novel still maintains interest over the course of its lengthy running time. Warner Archive's Blu-ray presentation is devoid of extras, but the high-quality widescreen video transfer and remastered 5.1 lossless audio make this disc a treat for fans of the genre and the film's potent cast. For Fans Only.

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James has grown up with the goofy if quaintly kids’ show Brigsby Bear and the program has grown with him as well. But to say James’ intensely protective parents have kept their son a bit sheltered is an understatement. One dramatic night, James’ insular world is upended and upon learning the series has been canceled, he adopts the old adage that the show must go on. By becoming Brigsby Bear’s new creator instead of just a viewer in the dark, he finally accesses all the meaningful connections his life has lacked.

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BROTHERS OF THE NIGHT follows a group of young Bulgarian Roma who move to Vienna in search of adventure and freedom, but poverty drives them to sleep with older men for money. Boys by day and kings by night, they're sucked into the allure of a nocturnal lifestyle while striving to support their families and children back home. Here, though, they find comfort and togetherness in the ability to be young and reckless. An official selection at the Berlin Film Festival this wild and surreal docu-drama from director Patric Chiha (Domain) takes cues from Fassbinder, Pasolini, and Grodecki while forging a new and exciting narrative path of its own.

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Few filmmakers can boast a body of work as outstanding, as beautiful or as mesmerizing as that of Pedro Costa (COLOSSAL YOUTH, IN VANDA'S ROOM, HORSE MONEY). This, his second feature, is an intriguing and voluptuous rethink of Jacques Turner's I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE. Leão (Isaach De Bankole) falls into a coma after an accident working on a construction site in Portugal. Arrangements are made for a young nurse, Mariana (Ines de Medeiros), to accompany him back to his home on the brooding Cape Verde islands. Strangely, no one recognizes him there and as she waits for someone to take responsibility for Leão or for him to regain consciousness, Mariana gradually becomes bewitched by the mysterious community and landscape of this unnerving volcanic isle. Never before released in the U.S. and now beautifully restored, CASA DE LAVA is an extraordinary, ravishing work.

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Unable to get over the tragic loss of the love of his life and stuck with a day job of editing adult videos, Chase meets an unlikely ally, Valentine - a call girl who works under the various personas she has created for herself. Is Chase ready to uncover Valentine's dark secrets?

[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] => 50477 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => deserthearts [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Desert Hearts [picture_created] => 1503048263 [picture_name] => desert_hearts.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Criterion [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/08/18/120/desert_hearts.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/50477/deserthearts.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1985 [run_time] => 91 [list_price] => 39.95 [asin] => B074R58HZ1 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.85:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English LPCM Mono ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Audio commentary from 2007 featuring director Donna Deitch [1] => New conversation between Deitch and actor Jane Lynch [2] => New conversation between Deitch, Elswit, and production designer Jeannine Oppewall about the film’s visual style [3] => New interviews with actors Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau [4] => Excerpt from Fiction and Other Truths: A Film About Jane Rule, a 1995 documentary about the author of Desert of the Heart, the 1964 novel on which the film is based [5] => PLUS: An essay by critic B. Ruby Rich ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Drama, Romance ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Donna Deitch ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Donna Deitch’s swooning and sensual first narrative feature, Desert Hearts,was groundbreaking upon its 1985 release: a love story about two women, made entirely independently, on a self-financed shoestring budget, by a woman. In the 1959-set film, an adaptation of a beloved novel by Jane Rule, straitlaced East Coast professor Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver) arrives in Reno to file for divorce but winds up catching the eye of someone new, the younger free spirit Cay (Patricia Charbonneau), touching off a slow seduction that unfolds against a breathtaking desert landscape. With undeniable chemistry between its two leads, an evocative jukebox soundtrack, and vivid cinematography by Robert Elswit, Desert Hearts beautifully exudes a sense of tender yearning and emotional candor.

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The great Leslie Bricusse brings us this musical adaptation of Hugh Lofting’s delightful series of children’s books, Doctor Dolittle (1967), with Rex Harrison starring as the eponymous fellow who famously has the ability to “talk to the animals.” Samantha Eggar, Anthony Newley, and Richard Attenborough co-star; Richard Fleischer (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) directs; but the real fascinators here are the animals, some real, some fantastical.

[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] => 50894 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => doctorwhothecompletetenthseries [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Doctor Who: The Complete Tenth Series [picture_created] => 1503936647 [picture_name] => c.jpg [manufacturer_name] => BBC [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/08/28/120/c.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/50894/doctorwhothecompletetenthseries.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [list_price] => 89.98 [asin] => B074JS9ZZB [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction, TV ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Doctor Who is a series that details the varied adventures of the Doctor, a Time Lord hailing from the planet Gallifrey who arrives on earth by what appears to be a 1950s London police call box. In reality, this call box is actually a TARDIS; short for Time and Relative Dimension(s) in Space, the TARDIS is a vehicle that allows the Doctor to travel throughout the universe. As an added bonus, the Doctor has the ability to regenerate into a new looking body as a last resort before succumbing to death due to injuries incurred while traveling the universe. The year 1963 marked the first episode of Doctor Who in England; since then, the show has continued on to become the longest running sci-fi series in the history of television, continuing active production until its break in 1989.

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A Police Officer is killed in the line of duty every 53 hours in the United States. Giving these heroes a voice, Fallen tells their stories through the eyes of the partners, families and communities they left behind.

[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 ) ) [15] => Array ( [review_id] => 35607 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => funeralparadeofroses [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Funeral Parade of Roses [picture_created] => 1504966496 [picture_name] => Cover1.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Cinelicious Pics [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/09/120/Cover1.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/35607/funeralparadeofroses.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1969 [list_price] => 39.99 [asin] => B0754ZCNR9 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => NEW 4K RESTORATION of the film from the original 35mm camera negative ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/TBA ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.37:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => 8 newly remastered avant-garde short films by Toshio Matsumoto (Nishijin; The Song Of Stone; Ecstasis, Metastasis; Expansion; Mona Lisa; Siki Soku Ze Ku; and Atman [1] => Audio commentary by Chris D. [2] => U.S. Theatrical Trailer [3] => Original 1969 Japanese Theatrical Trailer [4] => New essay by Hirofumi Sakamoto, Director of the Postwar Japan Moving Image Archive ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Drama ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Pîtâ, Osamu Ogasawara, and Yoshimi Jô ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Toshio Matsumoto ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Long unavailable in the U.S., this shattering, kaleidoscopic masterpiece is one of the most subversive and intoxicating films of the late 1960s: a headlong dive into a dazzling, unseen Tokyo night-world of drag bars and fabulous divas, fueled by booze, drugs, fuzz guitars, performance art and black mascara. No less than Stanley Kubrick cited the film as a direct influence on his own classic A Clockwork Orange.

An unknown club dancer at the time, transgender actor Peter (from Kurosawa's Ran) gives an astonishing Edie Sedgwick/Warhol superstar-like performance as hot young thing Eddie, hostess at Bar Genet where she's ignited a violent love-triangle with reigning drag queen Leda (Osamu Ogasawara) for the attentions of club owner Gonda (played by Kurosawa regular Yoshio Tsuchiya, from Seven Samurai, Yojimbo). One of Japan's leading experimental filmmakers, Matsumoto bends and distorts time here like Resnais in Last Year at Marienbad, freely mixing documentary interviews, Brechtian film-within-a-film asides, Oedipal premonitions of disaster, his own avant-garde shorts, and even on-screen cartoon balloons, into a dizzying whirl of image + sound. Featuring breathtaking black-and-white cinematography by Tatsuo Suzuki that rivals the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe, Funeral Parade offers a frank, openly erotic and unapologetic portrait of an underground community of drag queens. Whether laughing with drunken businessmen, eating ice cream with her girlfriends, or fighting in the streets with a local girl gang, Peter's ravishing Eddie is something to behold. "She has bad manners, all she knows is coquetry," complains her rival Leda but in fact, Eddie's bad manners are simply being too gorgeous for this world. Her stunning presence, in bell-bottom pants, black leather jacket and Brian Jones hair-do, is a direct threat to the social order, both in the Bar Genet and in the streets of Tokyo.

A key work of the Japanese New Wave and of queer cinema, Funeral Parade has been restored in 4K from the original 35mm camera negative and sound elements for this 2017 re-release.

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George Romero's name may be synonymous with the living dead subgenre, but his filmography is far richer and more varied than his reputation as "the zombie guy" would suggest. Following the breakout success of his debut feature Night of the Living Dead, the director would embark upon a series of projects which, whilst firmly rooted in the horror genre for the most part, demonstrate a master filmmaker with more than mere gut-munching on his mind.

In There's Always Vanilla, Romero's sophomore 1971 directorial effort, young drifter Chris and beautiful model Lynn embark upon a tumultuous relationship which seems doomed from the outset. 1972's Season of the Witch (originally filmed as Jack's Wife but released to theaters under the title of Hungry Wives) follows the exploits of Joan Mitchell – a housewife whose dissatisfaction with her humdrum life leads to an unhealthy interest in the occult. Lastly, 1973's The Crazies, which sees Romero returning to more "straight" horror territory, has a small rural town finding itself in the grip of an infection which send its hosts into a violent, homicidal frenzy.

Taken together, these three early works, made in the period between Romero's celebrated living dead outings Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, serve to display the broader thematic concerns and auteurist leanings of a skilled craftsman too often pigeonholed within the genre.

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Sometimes, no matter how hard they may try, a filmmaker simply can not break away from the genre that spawned their careers. When you see the name George Romero, your brain will naturally spring images from Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Creepshow or any number of other horror films Romero directed or inspired. What you don't instinctively think of is George as a director of dozens of commercials, several documentaries, and a handful of films outside the horror genre. In point of fact, George only turned to horror for his first feature effort because he had a keen mind of the marketplace and knew that would be the most marketable and profitable genre to tackle. With Arrow Video's George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn, we get a look at the middle period of George's filmmaking career when he tried to break away from zombies and establish himself as a bonafide filmmaker. 

Before the release of Dawn of the Dead, George would try to tackle a romantic dramedy with There's Always Vanilla and an Ira Levin-styled psychological thriller with Season of the Witch before returning to horror with the classic The Crazies. It's this period of time that we get to see George try and break away from Night of the Living Dead and attempt to establish himself as not just another "horror director" but someone with range and willing to take risks. Unfortunately, the results aren't exactly the best of the best outings for the man who invented the modern zombie. While Romero's statical wit is infused in each of these films, you can still feel the man finding his legs as a director and a visual storyteller where somewhat complicated material remains just out of reach. 

There's Always Vanilla (1971)

If you've ever wondered what a romantic drama/comedy directed by George Romero would look like - well, this is the closest thing to it. Romero may have directed the film, but he turned to writer Rudy Ricci who had worked as a Zombie in NOTLD and had helped with the production. It's at this point that Vanilla doesn't work. There's nothing of Romero really in it. He may be pointing the camera and shooting and his early cinéma vérité stylings are on full display, but the heart and soul are not his. Not helping matters, Ricci apparently quit the film midway production and left Romero and crew to work from an incomplete script under a very tight deadline that didn't allow for Romero much time to fill in any story gaps or fix any plot issues. While the film tries to have a meaningful message about misogyny and its effects on monogamous relationships and the lives of swingers, there's little point to it. Romero himself even said it was his worst film and he's not lying. This is a toothless social satire that lacks any bite. 2/5

There's Always Vanilla George Romero

Season of the Witch (1972)

It's difficult to pinpoint what went wrong with Season of the Witch. Financially, it was a flop because of extremely poor marketing choices by the distributor who hacked and slashed the film and tried to release it in the soft core porn market - even though there's little to no sexual interest in the film. If there's a comparison to be made to Season of the Witch, it's like Romero took the roots of Ira Leven's Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives and smashed the two ideas into a psychological thriller that doesn't quite come together. It's visually hypnotic and arresting, you're instantly sucked into this little world Romero created because it's so completely unlike anything else in his career. However, the themes surrounding a stark look at conformity against the backdrop of the women's liberation movement gets a bit muddled when you look at the sexual/horror aspects of a coven of witches looking to add to their ranks. It's a decent film overall, but you can feel Romero testing waters he's not quite comfortable exploring. 3/5

Season of the Witch

The Crazies (1973)

Of the three films contained within this Between Night and Dawn set, The Crazies is the most cohesive experience to the rest of Romero's catalog of films. It's part Night of the Living Dead and part Dawn of the Dead. While not 100% exactly a zombie film, it does contain a number of similar traits ranging from violent people who were once "normal," the incapable military presence that is unable to contain the problem, the band of survivors that must avoid contact with the infected and even each other if they hope to live. If you take away the presence of Vanilla and Witches from Romero's canon of films and strip everything down to just his horror films, The Crazies is a middle effort. Still shot on a shoestring budget and a bit campy at times, the film was also Romero's first union film and his first stab at large production filmmaking. Made in the waning days of the Viet Nam conflict, it's also easy to spot the parallels to that situation and gives the film a sharp and biting edge while also providing extra humor. It may not be as fine-tuned as Dawn, but it's every bit as visceral and showed that Romero could manage a decently budgeted film with flair. 4/5

The Crazies Arrow Video

With George's passing last July, it's hard not to feel a loss when you look at and appreciate his early films before the Hollywood machine consumed his energy in the early 90s. While his Dead films are arguably his most famous, Between Night and Dawn does a fantastic job of showcasing the filmmaker when he was still experimenting and finding his footing. Given that the quality of the films varies from one to the next, you can clearly chart his progression and confidence behind the camera. That said, there is one slight omission with this set and that is his brilliant vampire film Martin which was released just a few short months before Dawn of the Dead in 1978. As I understand it, Martin is a bit of a rights quagmire so its absence in this set is understandable but a shame none the less. Hopefully, with the upcoming Criterion release of Night of the Living Dead that will get sorted out as of his earliest films that reside between Night and Dawn, Martin is easily his best work. 

Taken as a whole, this George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn set is a pretty damn impressive collection of Romero's work. Aside from The Crazies, it includes his lesser known films restored into a condition that is at least watchable. My earliest experiences with There's Always Vanilla and Season of the Witch were sad bootleg VHS tapes that I rented from my local mom and pop shop decades ago. Now finally seeing them presented in their best possible condition, I will say that Season of the Witch is the most watchable of the two and worth revisiting. After getting through There's Always Vanilla a couple of times now, it's a rough movie, to say the least, and is merely suitable as a curiosity in Romero's career. But for those completionists out there who are hankering to own each and every Romero film on Blu-ray, Between Night and Dawn is a terrific collection of his middle career films. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Video. Each film, There's Always Vanilla, Season of the Witch, and The Crazies is given their own Region A BD-50 disc with accompanying DVD and are housed in their own respective hard clear Blu-ray cases with reversible artwork. All three cases are held in a sturdy cardboard case and comes with a terrific 58-page book containing essays, stills, and restoration information about each film. Each film opens to an animated main menu featuring traditional navigation options. 

[review_video_picture_id] => 80869 [review_video] =>

Considering the films involved, their age, and the care (or lack of) they have received over the years, the transfers for this set are a bit of a mixed bag all around. 

There's Always Vanilla

As the film that was least cared for, its 1.37:1 1080p transfer is clearly the most problematic. Scanned at 2K from an internegative, the Kodak negative duping stock used in the 1970s was unstable and allowed the cyan layer to fade rapidly taking with it shadow and color information. As a result, you have an image that is considerably rough around the edges and far and away from anything considered pristine. Originally shot on 16mm, the grain field is very heavy and the image can appear quite noisy. Detail levels are appreciable but unremarkable as they can vary from shot to shot. Colors are a bit of a hot mess as they travel all over the spectrum from being stable and good looking with decent primaries to being washed out with blown out contrast. Black levels are stable enough but image depth wavers quite a bit. Considering the last time I looked at this movie was a bootleg VHS tape, this isn't nearly as terrible as it could have been, nor is it the shining success some may have hoped for. As it stands, it's at least watchable and gives you an idea of what Romero was going for, but it's hardly definitive. This transfer is merely as good as it's likely ever to get. 2/5

Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch

In contrast to Vanilla, Season of the Witch makes for a rather beautiful 1.37:1 1080p transfer. Scanned at 4K from the original 16mm camera negatives, this image offers up plenty of fine details. Grain is present but stable allowing you to appreciate facial features, costuming, and the rather odd production design work. Colors are robust and vivid with a strong primary presence with plenty of pop. Skin tones are on the warmer side but still lifelike and healthy without appearing too pink or too pale. Black levels, are for the most part, deep and inky giving the image a notable sense of depth that really comes to life during the many dream sequences giving the odd imagery a more visceral feel. There are a couple odd moments of black crush during a few night scenes and there are moments where anything outside of midrange and closeup can get a bit soft and hazy, but nothing too terrible. The image is in fine condition with only a couple scratches and very slight speckling here and there. Like Vanilla, the last time I saw this was on a crappy bootleg VHS and this image is far and away better than what I'd hoped for. 4/5

The Crazies Arrow Video

The Crazies Blue Underground

The Crazies

Considering Blue Underground churned out a decent - but not altogether amazing - release of this film in 2010, I honestly didn't know what to expect with this new 4K scan of the 35mm negative. While I thought the Blue Underground release was a pretty decent upgrade over the DVD, this new Arrow Video 1.85:1 1080p transfer is a sharp improvement in virtually every department. Scratches and debris have been cleaned up or removed altogether with only mild occasional speckling the only damage to report. Details are also greatly improved - especially finer details in clothing and facial features. Outdoor daylight sequences offer a particular lifelike pop and presence to them. Colors are also more stable with lifelike flesh tones and more pronounced primaries. Blood enjoys wonderfully bright red splash to it. I would also point out that in many ways this transfer is darker than the Blue Underground release as it pulls back blues and stabilizes contrast levels, but not to a point that makes the image muddy, but instead works to normalize the image. The opening shot of the farmhouse at the beginning is a sign of this, but in terms of enjoying stronger color saturation, the immediate shot of the little girl getting a glass of water in the bathroom with the red walls shows how more lively and better resolved the color timing is of this release. Black levels feel more even here with a natural inky quality without the crush and flatness of the image as the previous release featured. All around this is a huge improvement to my eyes and fans fo the film should be happy to see the work and care put into this release. 4/5

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While Arrow Video has clearly done everything in their power to provide the best possible presentations, there is only so much magic that can be worked with these films. There's Always Vanilla, Season of the Witch, and The Crazies each exhibit some unfortunate audio anomalies within their LPCM mono audio tracks that are essentially baked into the mold at this point. Each displays moments with shrill blown-out dialogue exchanges, flat lifeless sound effects and mixing issues that just make things sound odd and out of place rather than creating a natural atmosphere of sounds. As such, much like the video transfers, each film is a sliding scale. 

There's Always Vanilla is the roughest of the bunch. While dialogue is intelligible, it absolutely has issues. Any dialogue exchanges in locations with high ceilings sound as if the onset dialogue was used for the final mix without any finessing or ADR dubbing to clean things up. There are stretches that are just a cacophony of noise that threatens to drown out the dialogue. 2/5

Season of the Witch

On the flip side, although still hampered by baked in issues is the track supplied for Season of the Witch. The issues plaguing Witch are scant by comparison. Dialogue is a lot cleaner and better defined. Sound effects and scoring work to provide a richer sense of atmosphere. However, this is still a very flat sounding film without much sense of imaging or dimension. There are also several dialogue moments similar to Vanilla where everything sounds like it was mixed using only raw set recordings without any ADR mixing. Hiss is present, but nothing terrible. This is a decent if unremarkable track that gets the job done. 3/5

The Crazies Arrow Video

The Crazies Blue Underground

Much like it's video transfer, The Crazies offers up a significant auditory improvement over it's previous 2010 Blue Underground release. While I never felt too harshly about the audio of that release, to say it was problematic was a bit of an understatement. The most notable improvement is the discernibility of the mix. Dialogue is much cleaner and nowhere near as soft or quiet as the previous release. Where the 2010 audio required a steady thumb on the volume, I felt like that wasn't as severe an issue this time around. During the opening dialogue bits and some extended dialogue exchanges I felt the need to pop the volume up a notch or two, but nowhere near as frequently as before. Sound effects and the score are much clearer and natural sounding. Again, this isn't a perfect mix, some of the issues of the previous release are still present, they're just not nearly as bad or glaring a problem. 3.5/5

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As with any Arrow Video release, you can count on a pretty terrific assortment of bonus features. Between all three films, there are hours of bonus features to dig through offering up plenty of Romero-centric bits as well as plenty of material about each individual film's production and release. 

There's Always Vanilla:

Audio Commentary featuring Travis Crawford.

Affair of the Heart: The Making of There's Always Vanilla (HD 29:43) Featuring interviews with John Russo, Russell and Judith Streiner, Richard Ricci, and Gary Streiner, this is a pretty terrific retrospective of the film as each of the interviewees offers up plenty of information and anecdotes about working on the film.

Digging Up The Dead: The Lost Films of George A. Romero (HD 15:56) This is a pretty solid piece featuring George talking about his past works and he offers up a rather candid and often critical eye towards his own films. 

Theatrical Trailer (HD 1:45)

Filming Locations Image Gallery (HD 11:30)

Memorabilia Image Gallery (HD 1:09)

Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch:

Audio Commentary featuring Travis Crawford.

When Romero Met del Toro (HD 55:40) Perhaps one of the meatiest and most fan-focused feature of the set, Guillermo del Toro gets to sit down and talk to George about his films and it's a truly great piece. 

Extended Version (HD/SD 1:44:20) Comprised of the restored negative elements as well as insert footage from the VHS tape master, this longer cut of the film offers a lot more material and steers the film into more manageable territory but at the same time you can see that the piece was hardly a great work that was given the slash and release treatment from a bad distributor. It's still an oddly arresting yet unmanageable film.

Alternate Opening Titles (HD 3:33, 3:26, 3:27) These are slightly different opening title sequences showcasing how the film looked under its various titles Jack's Wife, Hungry Wives, and Season of the Witch.

The Secret Life of Jack's Wife (HD 17:17) This is a pretty great interview with star Jan White as she offers up plenty of interesting tidbits about the film.

Theatrical Trailer (HD 1:47)

Hungry Wives Trailer (HD 1:31)

Filming Locations Image Gallery (HD 1:34)

Memorabilia Image Gallery (HD 2:32)

The Crazies 2017 Arrow Video

The Crazies Blue Underground

The Crazies:

Audio Commentary featuring Travis Crawford as well as Bill Ackerman.

Romero Was Here: Locating The Crazies (HD 12:24) This is a pretty fun look at the film's various shooting locations with George Romero and historian Lawrence DeVincentz. 

Crazy for Lynn Lowry (HD 15:54) Actress Lynn Lowry provides an entertaining and informative interview about the film. 

Lynn Lowry Q&A (HD 35:52) Recorded at the 2016 Abertois Film Festival in Aberystwyth U.K., it's a decent Q&A that works well alongside the actress' solo interview footage. 

Audio Interview with Lee Hessel (HD 4:32) Unfortunately this interview is very brief, but it's still pretty good and a worthwhile listen.

Behind the Scenes Footage (HD 6:26) with optional commentary from Romero and historian Lawrence DeVincentz, this is a pretty cool look at the goings-on behind the scenes shooting of the film.

Alternate Opening Titles (HD 00:35)

Theatrical Trailer (HD 2:57)

Theatrical Trailer (HD 3:04)

TV Spot (SD 1:04)

TV Spot (SD 00:33)

Filming Locations Image Gallery (HD 26:56)

Memorabilia Image Gallery (HD 6:04)

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The Crazies 2010 Blue Underground

No HD exclusive bonus features. 

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When you look at the films of George Romero, it's important to look at the films that simply didn't have "Dead" in the title. Granted, Zombies are what made the man famous and helped him leave an indelible mark on the landscape of movies, but it's also wise to take a look at everything he did. He may be better known and skilled in the realm of horror, but you can't fault the man for trying to break out of that mold. George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn is a terrific look at Romero's earliest attempts at feeing himself from horror genre filmmaking. Granted, There's Always Vanilla is pretty tough and Season of the Witch isn't a work of art, but The Crazies highlighted the man's growth as a filmmaker and his improving abilities at managing larger and larger productions. So it is to that end that this set from Arrow Video is a very recommended endeavor. However, as Vanilla and Witch are best viewed as curiosities, the main attraction here is the newly restored release of The Crazies as it offers up a marked improvement in picture and audio quality. 

All three films offer up strong bonus features packages and the included booklet also provides terrific insight into the works of George A. Romero. As a diehard fan of Night of the Living Dead and eager for its impending Criterion Collection release, Between Night and Dawn is a terrific course of appetizer films. They may not be as delicious and fulfilling as his other more famous productions, but they're important and worth watching if only for the fact that they offer a terrific insight into the world of Romero and his career. With that, as Arrow Video recently announced that There's Always Vanilla, Season of the Witch, and The Crazies will be getting single edition releases, those only interested in one or two of these films may rightly feel inclined to wait. However, if you're a Romero completionist and aim to own all of George's works, it's safe to consider Between Night and Dawn Highly Recommended. 

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The original surfer girl/beach bum movie, adapted from the novel by Frederick Kohner, Gidget (1959) stars Sandra Dee as determined little Frances Lawrence, who falls in love both with surfing and with the characters who populate the local Southern California beach hangout. Of particular interest are the young Moondoggie (James Darren) and the more mature Big Kahuna (Cliff Robertson), a Korean War vet who is the idol of every surfer on the coast for his life of apparently unfettered freedom.

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Legendary comedian Gilbert Gottfried has had quite the career. Rocketing to fame in the 1980's, he was thrust into public consciousness thanks to his brash personality and off-kilter comic timing. Now, foul-mouthed and unapologetic after decades of flying solo in both his work and in his personal life, Gilbert has shockingly reinvented himself...as a family man. 

Director Neil Berkeleys Gilbert; reveals an unexpected side to the iconic comedian. The film peeks behind the larger-than-life persona at a more personal story about growing up in Brooklyn and becoming a husband and father late in life. Gottfrieds ability to bring humor to even the darkest situations has, at times, gotten him into trouble. Still he soldiers on, an expert craftsman at bringing his audience to the edge (and sometimes pushing them over). Gilbert strips the comedic character away to reveal the man behind it. Berkeley allows the audience an intimate even vulnerable view of Gottfried out of character. 

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Shoyo Hinata isn't a large guy, but he's got huge ambitions. Ever since seeing a small player score in a National Championship, he's been determined to become the next big thing in High School Volleyball. Unfortunately, the one time he was able to pull enough players together to form a team in junior high, they were completely trashed in their first and only match against a team led by up-and-coming setter Tobio Kageyama. Now, enrolled at the same high school where his idol once played, Shoyo's finally going to get his shot to join and play with a top team. There's just one problem: Tobio Kageyama's also decided to attend the same school, and he's already considered one of the best players in the game. Can a kid out of nowhere hold his own against the King of the Court? Or could the rivalry and competition actually be the best thing for both of them? Get ready for a knock-down, throw-down, ultimate show-down barrage of volleys, spikes and blocks as Shoyo leaps for the glory and Kageyama aims for the stars in HAIKYU!!

[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 ) ) [20] => Array ( [review_id] => 52692 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => hellraisersteelbook [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Hellraiser (SteelBook) [picture_created] => 1508740212 [picture_name] => hellraiser_steelbook.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Arrow Video [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/10/22/120/hellraiser_steelbook.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/52692/hellraisersteelbook.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1987 [run_time] => 93 [list_price] => 39.95 [asin] => B075DSL4B4 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.851 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English Uncompressed PCM Stereo 2.0 [1] => English Lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English SDH ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Audio commentary with writer-director Clive Barker [1] => Audio commentary with Barker and actress Ashley Laurence [2] => Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser brand new version of the definitive documentary on the making of Hellraiser, featuring interviews with key cast and crew members [3] => Being Frank: Sean Chapman on Hellraiser actor Sean Chapman talks candidly about playing the character of Frank Cotton in Barker s original [4] => Soundtrack Hell: The Story of the Abandoned Coil Score Coil member Stephen Thrower on the Hellraiser score that almost was [5] => Hellraiser: Resurrection vintage featurette including interviews with Clive Barker, actors Doug Bradley and Ashley Laurence, special make-up effects artist Bob Keen and others [6] => Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser [7] => Original EPK featuring on-set interviews with cast and crew [8] => Draft Screenplays [BD-ROM content] [9] => Trailers and TV Spots [10] => Image Gallery [11] => New artwork by Mondo artist Matt Ryan Tobin ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Horror, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Clive Barker ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Stephen King was once famously quoted as saying, ''I have seen the future of horror...his name is Clive Barker.'' That future was realized in 1987 with the release of Barker's directorial debut Hellraiser.

Based on his own novella The Hellbound Heart, Barker's Hellraiser sees Larry (Andrew Robinson) and his wife Julia (Clare Higgins) move into their new home, unaware that something evil lurks beneath the floorboards of the dilapidated house - something that wants human blood...

Introducing the world to the iconic Pinhead and his sadistic band of Cenobites, Hellraiser became an instant genre classic upon release and remains one of the most frighteningly original visions in horror.

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Based on the award-winning manga by Fumiyo Kouno, and brought to life by acclaimed filmmaker Sunao Katabuchi (Mai Mai Miracle) and producer Taro Maki In This Corner of the World tells the emotional story of Suzu, a young girl from Hiroshima, who’s just become a bride in the nearby city of Kure during World War II. Suzu’s life is thrown into chaos when her town is bombed during the war. Her perseverance and courage underpin this heart-warming and inspirational tale of the everyday challenges faced by the Japanese in the midst of a violent, war-torn country. This beautiful yet poignant tale shows that even in the face of adversity and loss, people can come together and rebuild their lives.

[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 ) ) [22] => Array ( [review_id] => 49208 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => jdsrevenge [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => J.D.'s Revenge [picture_created] => 1500299057 [picture_name] => c12.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Arrow [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/07/17/120/c12.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/49208/jdsrevenge.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1976 [list_price] => 39.95 [asin] => B073M2949J [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release [1] => First pressing only: Collector's booklet containing new writing by Kim Newman, author of Nightmare Movies ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/TBA ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English PCM Mono ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English SDH ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Brand new interview with producer-director Arthur Marks [1] => Original theatrical trailer [2] => Arthur Marks trailer reel [3] => Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips [4] => And More! ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Crime, Thriller, Horror, Blaxploitation ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Glynn Turman, Louis Gossett Jr., Joan Pringle, Carl W. Crudup, Julian Christopher, Fred Pinkard ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Arthur Marks ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

It wasn't long before the Blaxploitation boom moved into the horror market, bringing the world Blacula, Blackenstein, Abby (Blaxploitation's The Exorcist) and cult favourite J.D.'s Revenge.

Law student Ike is enjoying a night on the town with his friends when his life changes dramatically. Taking part in a nightclub hypnosis act, he becomes possessed with the spirit of a violent gangster murdered in the 1940s. Believing himself to be the reincarnation of murderous J.D., Ike launches a revenge campaign against those who had done 'him' wrong all those years ago…

Directed by Arthur Marks (Bucktown, Friday Foster) and starring Glynn Turman (Cooley High) and Academy Award-winner Louis Gossett Jr (An Officer and a Gentleman), J.D.'s Revenge is a alternately tough and terrifying – a Blaxploitation gem waiting to be rediscovered!

[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 ( [0] => Array ( [review_id] => 49794 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => kedi [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Kedi [picture_created] => 1501339515 [picture_name] => Kedi_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Oscilloscope Pictures [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/07/29/120/Kedi_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/49794/kedi.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2016 [run_time] => 80 [list_price] => 39.99 [asin] => B074486RBN [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Documentary ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Ceyda Torun ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

A profile of an ancient city and its unique people, seen through the eyes of the most mysterious and beloved animal humans have ever known, the Cat.

[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] => 50475 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => lesamourai [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Le samouraï [picture_created] => 1512270659 [picture_name] => Le_Samourai.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Criterion [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/12/02/120/Le_Samourai.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/50475/lesamourai.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1967 [run_time] => 105 [list_price] => 39.95 [asin] => B074R646KJ [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray [1] => BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc [2] => Region A ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.85:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => French LPCM Mono ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English Subtitles ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Author Interviews [1] => Archival Cast & Crew Interviews [2] => Featurette [3] => Trailer ) [exclusive_hd_contents] => Array ( [0] => None ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Crime, Drama, Mystery ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Alain Delon, Nathalie Delon, François Périer ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Jean-Pierre Melville ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

In a career-defining performance, Alain Delon plays Jef Costello, a contract killer with samurai instincts. After carrying out a flawlessly planned hit, Jef finds himself caught between a persistent police investigator and a ruthless employer, and not even his armor of fedora and trench coat can protect him. An elegantly stylized masterpiece of cool by maverick director Jean-Pierre Melville, Le samouraï is a razor-sharp cocktail of 1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture—with a liberal dose of Japanese lone-warrior mythology.

[review_movie] =>

A man with handsome but stern features steps outdoors wearing a classic film noir trenchcoat and fedora. Rather than 1940s Los Angeles, the setting is 1967 Paris. Spying an opportunity, the man slips into a recently parked car and removes a key ring from his pocket. On it are dozens of similar keys, very likely spanning all the possible ignition locks for cars of this model. The man is obviously a professional. His actions are careful and efficient. Slowly and calmly so as not to attract attention, he tries the keys one at a time, his head up and his eyes alert to the world around him. Finding one that works, he swiftly pulls into traffic and drives to a garage where an accomplice is waiting. They say nothing to each other as the second man gets right to work changing out the license plates and handing over falsified registration papers, plus a loaded gun. Fully ten minutes of screen time go by before anyone says a word in Le samouraï, and the first lines are less an eloquent or impassioned monologue than a terse and pragmatic exchange of required information. These people mean business.

Despite its fanciful title, Le samouraï has no actual Japanese samurai in it, but the protagonist, Jef Costello (Alain Delon), is a warrior of sorts. He lives a spartan existence and obeys a strict code of conduct and honor. When he's paid to do a job, the job always gets done. He has no use for sentiment, emotion or personal relationships beyond those that facilitate his ability to complete his assignments.

To that end, his next assignment is the murder of a nightclub owner. He coldly accomplishes this as planned, but his face is seen on the way out by the club's lovely young pianist (Cathy Rosier). This complicates his getaway. Although Costello set up a strong alibi involving a mistress (Nathalie Delon, the actor's wife), and the other witnesses are unreliable, a shrewd police detective (François Périer) hones in on him among a host of other suspects and just won't let his suspicions go.

At this point, the film becomes something of a procedural, systematically revealing how the criminal (the presumptive hero of the piece) covered his tracks and how the detective (his antagonist) attempts to unravel his machinations. Both are clever men, each too smart to be outwitted by the other. I have no idea whether the details of policework in 1960s Paris are at all realistic or have been exaggerated for effect, but they make an almost surreal contrast with the expectations for a modern investigation. Witnesses sit in clear view of the suspect lineup and openly discuss amongst each other with no hope of anonymity while the men they're accusing listen and glare menacingly at them. This seems like a plainly bad idea, but it's presented in such matter-of-fact terms that the thought of questioning it hardly occurs. Ultimately, the pianist will decide Jef's fate, both in choosing whether to identify him or not, and in his response to that action.

Le samourai - Alain Delon

Like many prominent artists in the French New Wave, director Jean-Pierre Melville (Army of Shadows, Le cercle rouge) was greatly inspired by classic Hollywood movies. The film noir influence is unmistakable here. From the title, Japanese cinema was clearly on his mind as well. Both were then filtered through his own personal style and French sensibilities to create an idiosyncratic crime thriller that comments on and deconstructs the genre, stripping familiar formulas down to their barest elements and then putting the pieces back together in an unexpected order.

The film is so effective that it proved immensely influential in its own right. Echoes of it reverberate through Walter Hill's The Driver, Michael Mann's Thief and Heat, and John Frankenheimer's Ronin, among others. John Woo calls it his favorite movie and freely cops to ripping off chunks of the plot for The Killer. All of these feature hyper-competent, no-nonsense criminals whose rigidly ordered lives are disrupted by a job that goes wrong in ways they can't control.

Given fifty years of imitation, Le samouraï may not seem quite so groundbreaking when watched for the first time today. Many of its traits have become genre staples in the meantime. Nevertheless, the film's style, attitude, and thematic underpinnings remain vital and entertaining. So much distance from its original release also gives the movie a time capsule quality. Melville shot extensively on location, and watching cinema icon Alain Delon navigate the real streets of Paris feels like stepping back to one of the greatest cities in the world during an era long past.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

The Criterion Collection first released Le samouraï on DVD in 2005. Although a high-definition upgrade didn't follow for 12 years, the Blu-ray retains the label's original numbering convention as spine #306. A new DVD has also been reissued to correspond with the Blu-ray.

The movie comes packaged in one of Criterion's clear keepcases. A booklet includes essays by critic David Thomson and filmmaker John Woo, as well as an excerpt from the 1971 interview book Melville on Melville. The disc has a simple menu, but the Subtitle On/Off selection is confusing. The color highlight is not clear which option has been chosen.

[review_video] =>

I don't have the original Criterion DVD to compare, so I'm not sure whether the Blu-ray (and the 2017 DVD) have been remastered or were struck from the same master created for that 2005 disc. Although the Blu-ray packaging boasts of a "New high-definition digital restoration," Criterion's definition of "new" is unfortunately far from reliable. The liner notes in the Blu-ray booklet don't clarify this, other than to state that the transfer was scanned from the original camera negative and a 35mm interpositive. When this was done and how much comes from each source are not specified. Reading between the lines, the work appears to have been performed by a firm in Paris called VDM, from which Criterion licensed the master without direct involvement in its creation.

Image quality of the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode is generally excellent but sometimes variable. The studio trailer before the feature looks like garbage, and the movie's first scene is very dark and grainy. (Opticals printed on top of it don't help.) The 1.85:1 picture improves once the action moves into daylight. Some scenes are sharp and clear with a vibrancy that feels like stepping right into Paris in 1967. Others are grainy and suffer drab colors. Night scenes in particular are almost always heavily grainy, but so are some day scenes. I can't be certain whether this has always been the nature of the movie's photography, or if these fluctuations are the result of some film elements being in better condition than others.

The impression I have overall is that the parties responsible for the video master made a good faith effort to perform a quality transfer of the best available materials. I cannot say whether the picture might look better with another restoration effort in the future or if this is as good as it gets. Thankfully, the majority of the film looks very nice.

I noticed no distracting digital processing. Unlike Criterion's recent Blu-ray edition of Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (another European production from the same time period), the image here is free of edge halos, which makes me question that other disc even more.

Le samourai - Francois Perier

[review_audio] =>

The uncompressed PCM soundtrack is excellent. For a mono track from 1967, the film's sound mix is surprisingly robust. Car engines provide hearty bass. Music and most sound effects are delivered with very good clarity and fidelity. Scenes on city streets are atmospheric despite all coming from a single channel.

Gunshots (of which the movie only has a couple) are perhaps a bit harsh. They're loud but not necessarily realistic. That's forgivable considering the era.

This is a French movie made in France starring French actors. All dialogue is in French. Optional English subtitles have been provided.

Le samourai - Cathy Rosier

[review_supplements] =>

The original Criterion DVD for Le samouraï didn't have a huge volume of content, but what it offered was all interesting. The Blu-ray (and reissued DVD) carry over that material plus add one new item.

  • Authors on Melville (SD, 32 min.) – Interviewed in 2005, critic Rui Nogueria is an enthusiastic fan of both Melville and this movie in particular, which he calls the director's "most perfect, purest, and noblest film." He tells a story about Melville casting Delon, and explains why the director shot an alternate ending. After that, historian Ginette Vincendeau praises the filmmaker's precision and control. She breaks down some of his directing techniques and discusses the influences of American film noir and Japanese cinema on this project.
  • The Lineup (SD, 24 min.) – In an archival interview, director Melville claims that he likes working with actors and has no respect for real-life gangsters. Both of these are likely lies. In another vintage clip from years later, actor François Périer calls Melville a tyrant who treated his actors terribly. More interviews include Alain Delon, Nathalie Delon and Cathy Rosier, plus news coverage from the fire that burned down Melville's movie studio.
  • Melville-Delon: D'honneur et de nuit (SD, 23 min.) – In a short documentary about the director and star, Melville's nephew describes his uncle as a warm family man in his personal life even as he had a reputation for being cold and difficult at work. Filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum) didn't work on this particular movie, but served as Assistant Director on others for Melville. He describes the filmmaker's process of approaching his subjects from the outside in. He also claims (contradicting the older interview with the director) that Melville had great admiration for real gangsters and was good friends with a number of them.
  • Trailer (HD, 4 min.) – In poor and faded condition, the trailer is remarkably dull despite promising "a gripping story."


Le samourai - Alain Delon & Jacques Leroy

[review_bonus_content] =>

Although the Melville-Delon feature did not appear on the 2005 DVD, it can be found on the 2017 reissued DVD. Therefore, the Blu-ray as no exclusive content.

[review_bottom_line] => 1 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, Jean-Pierre Melville's influential crime classic Le samouraï remains a striking work of cinema. The Blu-ray offers very good video and audio quality, as well as some interesting bonus features. It's a very worthy addition to the Criterion Collection.

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When little Mariah (Breanna Yde) sees a darling little puppy named "Princess" at the pet store, she suddenly knows exactly what she wants for Christmas. Before her Christmas wish can come true, she must prove that she can dog-sit her uncle's dog, Jack, a scraggly rascal; in fact, the worst dog in the county! Jack turns Mariah and her family's perfect holiday preparations upside down in hilarious ways. It wasn't exactly the Christmas she wished for…it was more than she ever wanted.


All I Want for Christmas Is You, featuring Mariah's music and narration, will be a family favorite for years to come.

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The year is P.D. 323. Three centuries after the Calamity War, a new world order is maintained by the military organization Gjallarhorn, but the seeds of a new conflict are being sown on Mars. A private security company accepts a mission to escort the revolutionary leader Kudelia Aina Bernstein to Earth, and the company's child soldiers rise up in revolt against the adults who betrayed them. Among them is Mikazuki Augus, who becomes the pilot of the Gundam Barbatos, a dreadful relic left over from the Calamity War.

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The year is P.D. 323. Three centuries after the Calamity War, a new world order is maintained by the military organization Gjallarhorn, but the seeds of a new conflict are being sown on Mars. A private security company accepts a mission to escort the revolutionary leader Kudelia Aina Bernstein to Earth, and the company's child soldiers rise up in revolt against the adults who betrayed them. Among them is Mikazuki Augus, who becomes the pilot of the Gundam Barbatos, a dreadful relic left over from the Calamity War.

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Orga, Mikazuki, and their fellow child soldiers have organized themselves into a mercenary group called Tekkadan. Their continuing mission is to escort Kudelia to Earth, where she hopes to negotiate independence for Mars. Thanks to their alliance with Teiwaz, a Jupiter-based crime syndicate, the Tekkadan members have overcome the space pirates, acquiring a second powerful Gundam in the process, and fought their way to the Earth Sphere. Here they will face hidden conspiracies, political intrigue, and the full extent of Gjallarhorn's cruel oppression.

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A simple love affair becomes a deadly game of cat-and-mouse... Katherine Atwell has come up with a foolproof plan: she will kill her rich husband, have her lover take his place, and no one will be any the wiser. Trouble is, she hasn't factored stetson-wearing investigator Donner into the equation, and when he gets wind that something is wrong, there's little that can put him off the trail. NEW HD MASTER.

[review_movie] =>

Sometimes you just got to stick a movie out to receive the long-awaited payoff. Patience is certainly a virtue and if you don't have enough of it you risk missing out on some grand entertainment. Case in point, 1980's Nightkill from director Ted Post and starring Jaclyn Smith, James Franciscus, Miker Connors, and Robert Mitchum. I started this film anticipating - or at least hoping for -a well-crafted thriller that passed a couple hours of my time and left me entertained. Once the film gets going, I started to feel like the film was a bit on the scale of a cheap made-for-T.V. flick, so I stopped it and went to watch something else. By the time I finished it, I wish I'd given Nightkill its due, the payoff is slow coming but it's worth the wait. 

Katherine Atwell (Jaclyn Smith) seemingly lives an ideal life. She has a rich and successful husband Wendell (Mike Connors). She's a prominent member of the Phoenix community helping to improve the lives of women in need. She enjoys a lavish lifestyle. What people don't see is a life of abuse. Wendell is a hard-drinking jerk. Their marriage is a sham, only holding on long enough for Wendell to close a big deal. While Wendell is out of town, she enjoys the company of Wendell's business partner Steve Fulton (James Franciscus). Together they silently wait for the day for the divorce papers to be signed and they can openly be together. But Steve can't wait any longer and takes matters into his own hands. When a creepy detective by the name of Donner (Robert Mitchum) appears investigating Wendell's disappearance, the best-laid plans quickly start to unravel.

While the payoff for Nightkill does eventually arrive, even I have to admit that this film carries with it a number of flaws that may make it difficult for some folks to fully enjoy it. For starters, the made-for-T.V. trappings don't help any. Granted, this film does appear to be well budgeted, there is a baked in cheapness that doesn't help things along. The way scenes are staged, acted, camera placements, the edits - they all feel like a T.V. movie of the week. This is largely due to director Ted Post. He may have had some solid theatrical outings with Hang 'Em High, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and Magnum Force, but the focus of his career was always television and it shows. With every big plot reveal you expect to see the telltale fade to black for commercial breaks. 

Nightkill

Those misgivings aside, Nightkill turns out to be a decent enough thriller to provide some diverting entertainment. A number of the plot points may borrow too heavily from classic thrillers like Diabolique for its own good, but it makes the most of things. There are several great plot points that rattle the nerves and the film's ending makes up for a number of short fallings - but not completely. It's still a flawed picture. Thankfully some great performances from Jacklyn Smith and Robert Mitchum should provide enough motivation for you to see it through to the end. If you have a love for this style of late night T.V. film, Nightkill should give you your money's worth.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Nightkill arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber and their Studio Classics label. Pressed onto a Region A BD-25 disc, the disc is housed in a standard sturdy Blu-ray case. Also included is a booklet containing cover artwork for other Studio Classics releases. The disc loads directly to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options. 

[review_video_picture_id] => 80044 [review_video] =>

Nightkill enjoys a pleasant 1.85:1 1080p transfer. This is a film that shows the clear signs of being nearly forty years old as it doesn't look like it has received much of a restoration effort - but that's not to say the film looks bad. In point of fact, it looks quite good. Film grain is apparent but stable leading to some strong detail levels. Facial features, the Atwell mansion, and the period clothing all offer up some terrific late 70s early 80s production design. Colors are stable offering up rich primaries with healthy and even flesh tones. Black levels are also on point giving the film a notable sense of depth. As good as things are, there are some notable compression artifacts throughout. Banding crops up from time to time and the film appears to endure some edge enhancement as things look just too crunchy in spots. Some slight speckling is apparent, but nothing too serious. All in all, this is a solid presentation that gets the job done. 

[review_audio_picture_id] => 80043 [review_audio] =>

Packed with a basic English DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix, Nightkill's audio more or less just goes through the motions. Dialogue is intelligible throughout without any issues. Scoring is clear and sound effects allow for a little bit of atmosphere. However, as this film's audio was originally designed and presented in mono, there is a flat lifelessness to everything. There are a number of dialogue exchanges that all sound like they were recorded in post rather than on set. Some hiss is audible, but nothing too terrible to knock the score for. The audio is serviceable, but nothing too remarkable. 

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 80042 [review_supplements] =>

While Nightkill was hardly a film worthy of a great "Special Edition" release packed with bonus features, I appreciate that Kino Lorber Studio Classics put in the effort. There may not be a whole lot here, but the content is quality stuff just the same. 

Audio Commentary Featuring film historian Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson

Jacklyn Smith Interview (HD 13:43) Smith offers up some pretty great anecdotes about the film. It's brief but better than average. 

Heart of Midnight trailer (HD 2:20)

Stone Cold Dead Trailer (SD 2:27)

Still of the Night Trailer (HD 2:06)

[review_bonus_content_picture_id] => 80040 [review_bonus_content] =>

No HD exclusive bonus features. 

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Nightkill may not have been the greatest thriller to come out of the 80s, but if you give it the time, it delivers some diverting entertainment perfect for a cold rainy fall night. Again, it's not perfect, but it's fun and a great turn from Robert Mitchum salvages what would have been otherwise a forgettable venture. Kino Lorber Studio Classics brings Nightkill to Blu-ray in fine order with a solid A/V presentation and a couple of decent bonus features. If you like your thrillers with a late night television feel, Nightkill should be your cup of tea. Worth a look. 

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Tao, a ninja from the Iga clan, wakes up in a cave surrounded by dead bodies, including a beautiful female ninja. Suffering from amnesia, he can’t remember how or why he’s there, or if he’s the one responsible for this massacre. His task at hand is to retrieve a document that will reveal the killer’s identity. Who is the killer? Was one of his clan a traitor? Who is the female ninja?

As Tao fights various other ninja, he begins to piece together his memories with their stories. But instead of solving the enigma, a web of betrayal unfolds.

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After moving to Palm Springs, a young married couple puts their love to the test when they discover that their neighbors are swingers.

[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] => 52602 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => pokemonindigoleagueseason1championsedition [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Pokemon: Indigo League - Season 1 (Champion's Edition) [picture_created] => 1508493827 [picture_name] => pokemonindigo.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Viz Pictures [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/10/20/120/pokemonindigo.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/52602/pokemonindigoleagueseason1championsedition.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1998 [list_price] => 69.99 [asin] => B075Z6SGCJ [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Anime ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

It’s Ash Ketchum’s tenth birthday, and he’s ready to do what many 10-year-olds in the Kanto region set out to do—become a Pokémon Trainer! Things don’t go exactly the way he planned when he ends up with a Pikachu instead of a standard first Pokémon, and winning Gym Badges turns out to be much tougher than he thought. Luckily he’s got former Gym Leaders Brock and Misty at his side, along with a bevy of new Pokémon friends, including Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander.

[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] => 50891 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => preacherseasontwo [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Preacher: Season Two [picture_created] => 1505838242 [picture_name] => Cover8.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Sony [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/19/120/Cover8.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/50891/preacherseasontwo.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [list_price] => 45.99 [asin] => B074KN64VH [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] => English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 [1] => French Dolby Digital 5.1 [2] => German Dolby Digital 5.1 ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English, English SDH, French, German, Arabic, Polish, Turkish ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Gag Reel [1] => "Raising the Stakes: Action on Set" Featurette ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action, Drama, Mystery, Comedy, Fantasy ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

The second season of Preacher is a genre-bending thrill ride that follows West Texas preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), his badass ex-girlfriend Tulip (Academy Award® nominee Ruth Negga, Best Actress, Loving, 2016) and Irish vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) as they embark on a road trip to find God and are thrust into a twisted battle spanning Heaven, Hell and everywhere in between.

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Best Buy exclusive since September 12, 2017.

[list_price] => 44.98 [asin] => B075MCCMSP [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => 4-Film Blu-ray Set ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => The Making of Psycho Psycho Sound In The Master's Shadow: Hitchcock's Legacy Hitchcock / Truffaut Interview Excerpts Newsreel Footage: The Release of Psycho The Shower Scene: With and Without Music The Shower Scene: Storyboards by Saul Bass The Psycho Archives Posters and Psycho Ads Lobby Cards Behind-the-Scenes Photographs Production Photographs Theatrical Trailer Re-release Trailers My Scenes Feature Commentary with Stephen Rebello (author of "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho") [1] => Trailers ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Horror, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Hugh Gillin, Robert Alan Browne, Lee Garlington, Virginia Gregg ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Alfred Hitchcock, Richard Franklin, Anthony Perkins, Mick Garris ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Check into the motel where guests never check out in the Psycho: Complete 4-Movie Collection, featuring all four thrillers starring Anthony Perkins as the notorious Norman Bates – including the iconic original directed by the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.

Contains Psycho, Psycho II, Psycho III, Psycho IV The Beginning. Thankfully does not include the remake. 

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Tsukune’s terrible grades stick him in a school where all his classmates are monsters—-and if they figure out his human status, he’s fresh meat. Things perk up when his scent attracts the hungry lips of a gorgeous vampire named Moka. Soon Tsukune is seduced by a succubus, tormented by a frisky witch, and stalked by a snow fairy! He’s a slacker in the human world but scores an A+ with monsters.

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A romantic drama openly dealing with racism and prejudice, Sayonara (1957) stars Marlon Brando as an Air Force major who falls in love with a Japanese actress (Miiko Taka) while stationed near Kobe, Japan during the Korean War. Like his crew chief, Joe (Red Buttons) – just married to a Japanese woman (Miyoshi Umeki) – the Major suddenly finds himself having to contend with a cruel military policy and an all-but-general bias against miscegenation. Sensitively directed by Joshua Logan, and featuring a superlative Franz Waxman score and a celebrated title song by Irving Berlin. 

[review_introduction] =>

Sayonara preaches racial tolerance and cultural diversity against an authentic Japanese backdrop, and the result is a stunningly beautiful and emotionally affecting film. Twilight Time’s Blu-ray presentation of this classic romantic drama skimps on extras, but features a glorious video transfer (despite an inferior source) and excellent audio. Recommended.

[review_movie] =>

Interracial romance has been a hot Hollywood topic since the dawn of motion pictures. Yet no matter how far society evolves or how many barriers crumble, the subject continues to strike a nerve and provide a provocative dramatic premise. Recent movies like Loving and A United Kingdom use a historical perspective to make a contemporary statement, while The Big Sick and Get Out cleverly call attention to the issue by shrouding it in humor and horror. Sayonara navigated those same murky waters six decades ago when less open attitudes and more severe prejudices constrained our freedom to marry the person of our choice regardless of skin color and ethnicity. It was a bold, groundbreaking movie back in 1957, and while some elements now seem dated, it remains relevant and powerful today.

Yet despite its earnest approach and carefully crafted viewpoint, Sayonara never feels forced. Director Joshua Logan’s adaptation of James Michener’s semi-autobiographical novel adopts a lyrical tone as it takes its audience - and characters - on a voyage of discovery. Japan is the destination, and we see the country's fascinating and alluring customs, culture, and people through the naïve eyes of Major Lloyd Gruver (Marlon Brando), an ace pilot in the Korean War who's reassigned to Kobe in 1951 after Lt. General Mark Webster (Kent Smith) pulls a few strings. Lloyd is engaged to the general's daughter, Eileen (Patricia Owens), who arrives from the States to be with Lloyd despite harboring doubts about his love. Meanwhile, Lloyd's Air Force buddy Joe Kelly (Red Buttons) announces his intention to marry his Japanese girlfriend, Katsumi (Miyoshi Umeki), against the advisement of the U.S. military, which frowns upon interracial unions. The unenlightened Lloyd also views the Japanese through a prejudicial prism and tries to dissuade Joe from making what he believes to be a huge mistake.

Joe proceeds with his nuptials, and during the early days of his domestic bliss with Katsumi exposes Lloyd to an entirely different culture and life. At a theatrical performance, Lloyd becomes smitten with one of the dancers, Hana-ogi (Miko Taka), whom he soon discovers hides a deep-seeded hatred of Americans due to the atomic destruction they caused during World War II. A tentative romance develops that puts additional strain on Lloyd's relationship with both Eileen, who has struck up a friendship with a famous Kabuki actor, Nakamura (Ricardo Montalbán), and her close-minded parents. Even more conflict erupts when Joe, who's been continually mistreated by his bigoted superiors ever since his marriage, learns he will be transferred back to the States along with all the other servicemen with Japanese spouses. Yet a cruel military law prohibits the Asian wives from accompanying their husbands to America, a restriction that affects not only Joe and the now-pregnant Katsumi, but also Lloyd, who has been completely seduced and transformed by his Japanese experience and must ponder what the future may hold if he continues to pursue Hana-ogi.

Filmed entirely on location in Japan, Sayonara immerses us in the country's intoxicating setting and culture, and the leisurely pacing allows us to soak up the surroundings and become fully acclimated to a foreign land. Shots linger on the beautiful scenery and a few interludes provide tastes of such vital Japanese traditions as Kabuki theater, the all-female Takarazuka Revue, and the time-honored tea ceremony. The movie also paints a three-dimensional portrait of the Japanese people by emphasizing the ideals and credos to which they strictly adhere. Honor, duty, and family lead the list, and Paul Osborn's script incisively depicts how the enormity of those principles weigh upon them and breed their own brand of xenophobia. Bigotry is often a double-edged sword, and in order to achieve common ground, Lloyd and Hana-ogi must learn to relax their respective rigid attitudes and pre-conceived notions and embrace different perspectives.

Important social themes notwithstanding, Sayonara is first and foremost a tender love story told with warmth, humor, and sincerity. Logan, who would film Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific (adapted from another Michener tale with similar intolerance motifs) the following year, deftly balances all the elements to craft a completely authentic production...with one notable exception. Like so many other Hollywood films of the period, Sayonara employs a western male to play its major Asian character, which is more than a little ironic considering the tale so vehemently denounces discrimination. Why travel all the way to Japan to shoot the movie, cast two Japanese actresses in the leads, and then have a Mexican in artificial makeup portray a Kabuki master? (Interestingly, Brando himself played an Asian the previous year in The Teahouse of the August Moon, a film that was also shot on location in Japan.) To his credit, Montalbán files a credible, often reverent performance (a far cry from Mickey Rooney's embarrassing caricature of a Japanese landlord in Breakfast at Tiffany's), but his appearance is both distracting and unnecessary, and it taints an otherwise highly reputable motion picture.

Brando rarely played traditional romantic leads during his long and storied career, but he strikes a dashing pose here, exhibiting both strength and vulnerability, and his palpable chemistry with Taka heightens the impact of their on-screen affair. Against the wishes of Logan, Brando adopted a thick, lazy Southern drawl for the part that punctuates Lloyd’s prejudicial viewpoints, but coupled with the actor’s serial mumbling, it makes some of his line readings difficult to understand. (Brando rightfully received his fifth Best Actor Oscar nomination for Sayonara, but would lose the award to Alec Guinness for The Bridge on the River Kwai.) Taka contributes heartbreaking work as the conflicted Hana-ogi and a young, strapping James Garner in only his fourth film makes a notable impression as one of Brando’s military pals.

In all, Sayonara would nab a whopping 10 Academy Award nods, including Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Cinematography. (All four of those honors would go to The Bridge on the River Kwai.) Both Buttons and Umeki - who is probably best known for portraying the kindly, wise Mrs. Livingston in the 1960s TV series The Courtship of Eddie's Father - won supporting prizes for their symbiotic performances, and the film's art direction/set decoration and sound were also recognized. In addition, Sayonara, which ultimately grossed upwards of $10 million (a very pretty penny in those days), would stand as Brando's most successful picture until the release of The Godfather 15 years later in 1972.

Plenty of films expose the insidious nature of racial prejudice and make an impassioned plea for tolerance. Sayonara may not be as powerful as some, but transmits its message loud and clear. It's also a beautiful, often charming, and absorbing movie filled with romance and emotion. Watching it today, it shows us how far we've come, but also reminds us how far we still have to go.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Sayonara arrives on Blu-ray in a limited to 3,000 edition packaged in a standard clear case. An eight-page booklet featuring an essay by film historian Julie Kirgo, color-tinted scene stills, and a reproduction of the movie’s poster art is tucked inside the front cover. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu without music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

[review_video_picture_id] => 81283 [review_video] =>

Because it was filmed in a now defunct process known as Technirama (a cousin of CinemaScope that boasted higher resolution and less grain), Sayonara translates particularly well to the digital medium. And the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer from Twilight Time showcases Ellsworth Fredericks’ gorgeous, Oscar-nominated cinematography to near perfection. The crystal clear image exhibits strong detail, beautifully saturated colors, and a smooth, film-like appearance, while excellent contrast lends the picture an eye-popping vibrancy. Grain is noticeable, but it’s seamlessly integrated into the presentation and supplies essential texture, and the breathtaking Japanese scenery is wonderfully rendered. Yet it’s the lush, bold hues that consistently hijack our gaze and steal the show. Reds are especially rich and bright, but purples, yellows, lavenders, blues, and oranges, as well as the mahogany tones of wooden floorboards, are also perfectly pitched. Blacks are dense but resist crush, whites are crisp and never bloom, patterns are solid, flesh tones remain stable and natural throughout, and sharp close-ups highlight fine features well.

The transfer’s only drawback is its less-than-pristine source material. At times, flurries of white and black specks dance across the screen, creating an annoying snowstorm that detracts from the presentation’s overall brilliance. Though quite severe early in the film (some horizontal lines also mar the image), the effect then subsides, but episodes sporadically reoccur over the course of the movie’s running time. Eagle eyes always will be able to spot a few errant specks, but they’re easy to forgive during cleaner stretches of the film. Without a doubt, this transfer would earn a perfect score were it not for the print damage. And normally, the degree of damage here would bump the score down a bit further. Yet this transfer is so jaw-droppingly sublime in almost every other category, it doesn’t deserve a harsh penalty. Yes, the flaw is unfortunate, but it shouldn’t deter anyone from purchasing Sayonara. The film looks spectacular on Blu-ray.

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Sayonara won the Oscar for Best Sound, and this high-quality DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track nicely honors George Groves’ work. Superior fidelity and tonal depth maximize the impact of Franz Waxman’s lush music score, and a wide dynamic scale handles all of its peaks and valleys without a hint of distortion. Though stereo separation isn’t particularly pronounced, a few palpable episodes add welcome dimension and complexity to the audio. This is a quiet track overall, but all the subtleties come through clearly, all the dialogue - even when mumbled by Brando and spoken with thick accents by the Japanese actors - is comprehendible, and no age-related hiss, pops, or crackles intrude. This lossless mix makes Sayonara sound great, and that’s good news indeed.

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Just a couple of negligible supplements are included on the disc. It’s surprising (and disappointing) Twilight Time decided not to include an audio commentary, considering the movie’s important social themes and Oscar accolades.

Isolated Music & Effects Track - The sweeping, romantic score by Franz Waxman and all the Japanese theatrical presentations can be enjoyed without any dialogue interference on this isolated track.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 4 minutes) - The film’s original preview is introduced by actress Miko Taka, who classifies Sayonara as “an entirely different motion picture.”

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The issues concerning interracial romance explored in Sayonara may no longer be taboo, but they are certainly timeless, and director Joshua Logan’s adaptation of James Michener’s novel tackles them with sensitivity and perception. This Best Picture nominee and multi-Oscar winner preaches tolerance and cultural diversity against an authentic Japanese backdrop, and the result is a stunningly beautiful and emotionally affecting film. Twilight Time’s Blu-ray presentation skimps on extras, but features a glorious video transfer (despite an inferior source) and excellent audio. Recommended.

[review_movie_stars] => 4 [review_video_stars] => 4.5 [review_audio_stars] => 4 [review_supplements_stars] => 1 [review_bonus_content_stars] => N/A [review_final_thoughts_stars] => 3.5 [review_gear] => default [review_forum_id] => 150022 ) ) [14] => Array ( [review_id] => 53427 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => theicecreamtruck [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => The Ice Cream Truck [picture_created] => 1510498473 [picture_name] => The_Ice_Cream_Truck_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Uncork'd Entertainment [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/11/12/120/The_Ice_Cream_Truck_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/53427/theicecreamtruck.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 81 [list_price] => 17.99 [asin] => B0778ZZDND [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Horror ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Deanna Russo, John Redlinger, Lisa Ann Walter, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Emil Johnson ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Megan Freels Johnston ) [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 ) ) [15] => Array ( [review_id] => 48863 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => theincredibleshrinkingwoman [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => The Incredible Shrinking Woman [picture_created] => 1499438120 [picture_name] => Cover4.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Shout Factory [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/07/07/120/Cover4.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/48863/theincredibleshrinkingwoman.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1981 [list_price] => 29.99 [asin] => B073LBYQ2R [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => BRAND NEW 2017 REMASTER ) [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 A Conversation With Actress Lily Tomlin And Writer/Executive Producer Jane Wagner [1] => NEW Interview With Director Joel Schumacher [2] => NEW Interview With Cinematographer And Visual Effects Supervisor Bruce Logan [3] => NEW Audio Interview With Composer Suzanne Ciani [4] => NEW On Location: Now And Then Featurette [5] => "Edith Ann" Deleted Scene [6] => Still Gallery [7] => Theatrical Trailer ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Science Fiction ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Lily Tomlin, Charles Grodin, Ned Beatty, Henry Gibson, Elizabeth Wilson, Mark Blankfield ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Joel Schumacher ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

She was an ordinary housewife who gave so much … and got so little.

Comedy legend Lily Tomlin stars in the effervescent 1981 comedy The Incredible Shrinking Woman. Exposed to a heady mix of household chemicals, Pat Kramer (Tomlin) contracts a strange side effect: She begins to shrink! Baffling doctors, Pat's diminishing size starts to really bring her down … until her story captures the hearts of the American people and the attention of a sinister group of scientists bent on world domination. Getting out of this predicament while still taking care of her family will be no small feat!

Also starring Charles Grodin (Midnight Run), Ned Beatty (Deliverance, Homicide: Life On The Street), and Tomlin's fellow Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In alumnus Henry Gibson, and featuring makeup master Rick Baker (King Kong, Star Wars) as Sidney the gorilla, The Incredible Shrinking Woman is a smart little comedy with big laughs.

[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 ) ) [16] => Array ( [review_id] => 51653 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => thelastlaugh [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => The Last Laugh [picture_created] => 1506079363 [picture_name] => The_Last_Laugh_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Kino Lorber [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/22/120/The_Last_Laugh_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/51653/thelastlaugh.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1924 [run_time] => 77 [list_price] => 29.95 [asin] => B075P5XHQB [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.33:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => Original 1924 Score LPCM 2.0 [1] => New 2017 Score LPCM 2.0 ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Audio Commentary [1] => The Last Laugh: The Making Of [2] => Bonus DVD with unrestored export version of the film ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Classic ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller, Emilie Kurz ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => F.W. Murnau ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

One of the crowning achievements of the German expressionist movement, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's The Last Laugh (Der letzte Mann) stars Emil Jannings stars as an aging doorman whose happiness crumbles when he is relieved of the duties and uniform which had for years been the foundation of his happiness and pride. Through Jannings's colossal performance, The Last Laugh becomes more than the plight of a single doorman, but a mournful dramatization of the frustration and anguish of the universal working class. Featuring a new musical score by the Berklee College of Music, as well as the original score by Giuseppe Becca, this is the definitive edition of the landmark classic, mastered from a 2K restoration by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung.

Special Features: 2K Restoration by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung | New musical score (2017) by the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra | Original 1924 score by Giuseppe Becce, orchestrated by Detlev Glanert (2003) | Audio commentary by film historian Noah Isenberg | The Last Laugh: The Making of, a 40-minute documentary | Bonus DVD featuring the unrestored export version with music by Timothy Brock, performed by the Olympia Chamber Orchestra

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There are no HD exclusives.

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A beautiful nightclub singer (Vera Ralston) identifies her husband's (Rod Cameron) corpse -- or thinks so. Cinematography by Jack Marta (Steven Spielberg's Duel, Paul Wendkos' Angel Baby). Screenplay by Richard Sarafian (Vanishing Point).

[review_movie] =>

"I'm sorry we had to meet under such circumstances."

It's a nice thing when a simple movie doesn't overplay its hand. By not trying to be better than it is or thinks of itself as something more than the sum of its parts, a film often works better and proves to be more rewarding. That isn't to say a film shouldn't try to be something grand if the time calls for it to be. But when you have a straight-shooter of a noir yarn like The Man Who Died Twice, it's nice to see that director Joe Kane let a simple pulp thriller be a simple pulp thriller. Starring Vera Ralston, Rod Cameron, and Mike Mazurki, a lean and mean thriller is upended only because its title may be a tad too descriptive for its own good.

Nightclub singer Lynn Brennon (Vera Ralston) has had a tough couple days. First her husband T.J. is killed in a mysterious car accident. Then on her way home from work she's witness to the double murders of a pair of narco agents for the police department at the hands of a shadowy figure. After suffering a nervous breakdown, it becomes apparent that Lynn knows more about her husband's illicit dealings than she's aware of when his estranged brother Bill (Rod Cameron) and a pair of drug syndicate enforcers start asking questions. When the police led by Captain Hampton (Louis Jean Heydt) and his partner Williams (Robert Anderson) start asking similar questions, Lynn suspects her husband's death wasn't an accident. With Bill in her corner as well as her friend Rak (Mike Mzaurki), Lynn must piece together the puzzle before she becomes the shadowy figure's next victim. 

I honestly wish this film had a different title. While The Man Who Died Twice is the sort of dramatic sounding bit of verbiage that would sell plenty of dime paperbacks, for a film, it's not very suitable. While I won't say who the titular "Man" is, I will admit that it doesn't take you long to figure it out. It would have been nice if the powers that be that put this film together hadn't shown their hold card so quickly. That said, even with the primary mystery figured out long before it's time, I had a hell of a lot of fun with this breezy thriller. 

The Man Who Died Twice

For a B-movie Republic picture, The Man Who Died Twice manages to pull off a lot of plot and character development in a very short amount of time At a scant 70-minutes, the film gets right down and dirty with T.J.'s explosive death and then speeds right into the assassination of a pair of narcotics officers right before the eyes of a beautiful woman. Who she is, who those people are isn't explained yet. You're merely thrown onto a roller coaster right before it dives over its first big hill and loopty-loop.

Thankfully, director Joe Kane and his writer Richard C. Sarafian take a couple moments for the audience to catch their breath and get to know the characters. By the time we get to see Lynn wake up in the hospital, we're well aware that her husband had some shady dealings with people who you don't dare double-cross. We get a couple moments to get to know Rak and why he's so protective of Lynn and at the same time we learn that Bill is nothing like his estranged brother - but maybe has a darker history than he's letting on. Even the presence of some straight-laced police officers isn't enough to make you believe that there isn't something shady going on at police headquarters as well. Who do you trust when everyone appears to have some dirt on their sleeves? While the title gives some things away, the lead up to the reveal and resolution works well enough that you don't feel cheated in the least bit. 

As I've gotten to do more and more reviews for these obscure B-movie film noirs, I've grown to appreciate and enjoy their no-frills stylings. They're proof positive that you can get a lot of entertainment mileage out of simple camera setups, a committed cast, and a script that doesn't overthink its plot while not treating the audience like complete simpletons. There's enough mystery going on that while the identity of the killer quickly becomes obvious, discovering the motive and method to the madness makes the price of admission worth it. Sure, it's no The Maltese Falcon, but it doesn't need to be to be entertaining. It may not be amazing, but The Man Who Died Twice is a solid flick that made for a great evening viewing on a cold November night. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

The Man Who Died Twice arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber and their Studio Classics Label. Pressed onto a Region-A BD-25 disc, the disc is housed in a standard sturdy Blu-ray case and comes with a booklet containing cover images of other Studio Classics Releases. The disc loads directly to a static image main menu featuring traditional navigation options. 

[review_video_picture_id] => 80245 [review_video] =>

For a film that may not be all that flashy or famous, The Man Who Died Twice enjoys a robust 2.35:1 1080p transfer from a new 4K Scan. For a film that's nearing 60 years, the results are particularly impressive. Facial features, costuming, and the film's production design work - in particular, the club where she sings - are all readily apparent. Faces get a lot of close-up and middle time allowing you to appreciate lines, creases, and scars. Clothing is also impressive as patterns or knitted outfits as the one seen on an older character give away terrific detailing. Film grain is apparent and nicely cinematic without being intrusive or too noisy. Black levels are spot on with some nice deep inky blacks and a strong greyscale gives the image plenty of shadow separation and appreciable depth. In all honesty, the only thing holding back my score for this transfer is a notable amount of damage in the last act. During the bulk of the film, there is only some mild speckling, but in the final moments scratches intensify and become more pronounced. Thankfully the damage is brief and doesn't impact your ability to watch the film, just holds back the score from being as close to perfect for a film of this vintage. 

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The Man Who Died Twice also enjoys a robust English DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio mix. Much of the mix is very front and center giving dialogue the edge. However, when the action picks up and we're given a chase sequence, some gunfire, or an explosion to enjoy - the mix really picks up nicely. On a funny note, there's a scene with a cat meowing in distress that came through so clearly that my two cats took it upon themselves to try and rescue to the poor creature. Each of my little fur balls took turns circling my television and watching the speakers for clues to the cat's location! The score offers up plenty of jazzy pop and presence while Vera Ralston's song numbers come through just fine. Levels are also spot on. Free of any hiss or artifacts, this is a solid audio mix that serves the needs of the film perfectly. 

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Like a number of Kino Lorber Studio Classics releases, the bonus features package assembled for The Man Who Died Twice may not be the most impressive thing, but considering the movie in question, it's still pretty good. The audio commentary featuring film historian Toby Roan is well worth listening to. 

Audio Commentary featuring film historian Toby Roan.

Shield for Murder Trailer (HD 1:45)

99 River Street Trailer (HD 2:13)

He Ran All the Way Trailer (HD 2:13)

The Spiral Staircase Trailer (SD 2:00)

Cry of the City Trailer (SD 2:33)

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No HD exclusive bonus features. 

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The Man Who Died Twice may not be the greatest film noir crime thriller ever produced, but it didn't try to be. At a breezy 70 minutes, the film gets in and gets out leaving you thoroughly entertained. A smart script, skilled direction, and some solid performances from its talented cast ensures that viewers get their money's worth with this simple, no-frills thriller. Kino Lorber Studio Classics has done a terrific job bringing this film to Blu-ray. The video transfer struck from a new 4K scan is in pretty fantastic shape while the audio mix suits the needs of the film nicely. A commentary track that's worth the listen rounds out the bonus features. If you like your thrillers gritty and to the point, you should have a great time with The Man Who Died Twice. It's a good one to recommend.

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Surly Squirrel (Will Arnett) and the gang are back, returning to Liberty Park after they are forced to leave their easy life at the nut store. Getting back to nature is the last thing Surly wants to do, but when a greedy mayor decides to destroy the park to build an amusement park, Surly and his ragtag critter friends must band together to save the place they call home.

[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] => 49905 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => thepaulnaschycollection2 [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => The Paul Naschy Collection II [picture_created] => 1501595019 [picture_name] => c12.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Scream Factory [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/08/01/120/c12.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/49905/thepaulnaschycollection2.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1973 [list_price] => 79.97 [asin] => B074JRXNJF [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => 5-Disc Set [1] => Complete Uncut Version (All Five Films) ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/TBA ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 1.33:1 [1] => 1.85:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => Castalian DTS-HD Master Audio Mono [1] => English (Dub) DTS-HD Master Audio Mono ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => U.S. Theatrical Trailers [1] => Spanish Credit Sequences [2] => Alternate Clothed Sequences [3] => Deleted Scenes (Night of the Werewolf) [4] => Spanish Theatrical Trailer ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Horror, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Paul Naschy, Silvia Aguilar, Emma Cohen, Julia Saly ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Paul Naschy, León Klimovsky, Carlos Aured ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Paul Naschy (born Jacinto Molina Álvarez) was Spain's answer to Lon Chaney. He has portrayed many classic monsters – the Wolfman, Frankenstein's monster, Count Dracula, the Mummy and more. He was not only a terrific actor, but an accomplished writer, producer and director. This Blu-ray box set includes five stellar films from his long and distinguished career.

Set includes: Hunchback of the Morgue (1973); Devil's Possessed (1974); The Werewolf and the Yeti (1975); Exorcism (1975); and A Dragonfly for Each Corpse (1975).

[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 ) ) [20] => Array ( [review_id] => 51818 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => thethingyconfessionsofateenageplacenta [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => The Thingy: Confessions of a Teenage Placenta [picture_created] => 1506515299 [picture_name] => The_Thingy-_Confessions_Of_A_Teenage_Placenta_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Troma [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/27/120/The_Thingy-_Confessions_Of_A_Teenage_Placenta_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/51818/thethingyconfessionsofateenageplacenta.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2013 [run_time] => 84 [list_price] => 19.98 [asin] => B075J4G6TQ [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Comedy, Horror ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Pascal Paul Maetens, Andreas Perschewski, Karel Vingerhoetz, Celine Verbeeck, Sofie Hoflack ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Joël Rabijns, Yves Sondermeier ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

In a twisted world, Marianne gives birth to a rather unusual child. While the child is born dead, life finds its way through the afterbirth. Marianne decides to raise her placenta as a normal human being; as a young man named Luke. Behind his monstrous facade, there reveals a person of intelligence, faith and sensitivity. Luke struggles for his place in a world of drunks, junkies, whores and bodybuilders. An insane world that treats him as a freak. As this hostile society pushes him towards the edge, Luke has to choose between holding on to his gentle ideals or becoming the merciless soldier his mother always wanted him to be. 

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The sublime director Yôji Yamada’s The Yellow Handkerchief (1977), adapted from a series of 1971 columns written by American journalist Pete Hamill, tells the tale of a road trip spontaneously undertaken by a trio whose back stories are revealed through subtly nuanced flashbacks. The film was the first to receive the Best Picture award of the Japan Academy Prize.

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This classic Mexican neo-western was the first realized screenplay of Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez and legendary Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes. Under the direction of Mexican auteur Arturo Ripstein, Time to Die tells the story of a former gunman who returns to his town after serving time in prison. He plans to live a quiet life, but the sons of the man he killed have other plans.

[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] => 51284 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => unlocked [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Unlocked [picture_created] => 1504965889 [picture_name] => Cover.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Lionsgate [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/09/120/Cover.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/51284/unlocked.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [list_price] => 21.99 [asin] => B075FMD4GT [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray/Digital Copy ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/TBA ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => TBA ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English SDH ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Making Unlocked - Featurette ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Action, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Toni Collette, Michael Douglas, and John Malkovich ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Michael Apted ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Noomi Rapace stars in this action-thriller as Alice Racine, one of the CIA's top interrogators, whose career is sidelined after she fails to unlock a prisoner in time to save the lives of dozens of innocent people from a terrorist attack in Paris. Now, leading a quiet life in London as a caseworker, Alice is unexpectedly called back into action when the CIA apprehends a suspect believed to have direct knowledge of another imminent attack. Turning to the few people she can trust (Michael Douglas, John Malkovich, and Toni Collette), Alice seeks out the responsible parties as she races against the clock to prevent a deadly biological attack on the citizens of 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 ) ) [24] => Array ( [review_id] => 51840 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => windriver [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Wind River [picture_created] => 1506538401 [picture_name] => Cover1.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Lionsgate [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/27/120/Cover1.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/51840/windriver.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 107 [list_price] => 34.99 [asin] => B075F9PX8T [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray/Digital Copy [1] => BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [aspect_ratios] => Array ( [0] => 2.39:1 ) [audio_formats] => Array ( [0] => English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 ) [subtitles] => Array ( [0] => English SDH, Spanish ) [supplements] => Array ( [0] => Behind the Scenes Video Gallery [1] => Deleted Scenes ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Drama, Thriller ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Jon Bernthal, Martin Sensmeier, and Julia Jones ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Taylor Sheridan ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Wind River is a chilling thriller that follows a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who teams up with a game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Jeremy Renner) to investigate the mysterious killing of a local girl on a remote Native American reservation.

[review_editors_notes] =>

Wind River was distributed theatrically by The Weinstein Company. When writer/director Taylor Sheridan, and his producing partners, learned of Harvey Weinstein's awful, criminal behavior towards women, Sheridan and his partners pulled control of the movie back from The Weinstein Company. As such, any future earnings from the Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD that would have been earmarked for The Weinstein Company will, instead, be donated to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

You can watch (or read) Mr. Sheridan and his team speak on the matter HERE.

You can support the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center by purchasing this film via the Amazon links on this page OR by donating directly HERE.

Thank you so much for reading.

[review_movie] =>

Murder mysteries are usually entertaining intellectual exercises that feature an intricate plot and mandatory twist ending, but they rarely have much of a heart...or soul. Wind River is different. Though it faithfully follows the genre’s conventions, it veers off the well-worn path to sensitively examine disturbing issues our xenophobic mainstream society all too often ignores. Take away the themes of racism, sexism, hypocrisy, and neglect and Wind River becomes just another over-the-top thriller. But with them, it rises above the muck and stands tall as a potent, affecting drama.

Just as he did in his scripts for Sicario and the Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water, writer-director Taylor Sheridan creates conflicted, multi-dimensional characters who add depth and meaning to his violent tales. Here, he searingly examines the forgotten Native American men and women who seem trapped on poverty-stricken reservations and torn between a loyalty to their culture and a desire to leave behind a dead-end existence often marked by drug and alcohol abuse and a dearth of opportunity that prevent them from pursuing a more prosperous and fulfilling life. Theirs is a sad story with no easy answers that is too often overlooked, but Sheridan’s passionate commitment to it oozes from almost every frame of Wind River.

The “inspired by actual events” title card that opens the film doesn’t refer to a single incident, but rather an ongoing plague of mistreatment and indifference that afflicts a large swath of the Native American population. U.S. Fish and Wildlife service agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is all too familiar with the situation, and when he discovers the frozen, bloody body of a Native American teen in the remote and snowy wilderness of the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, it brings back horrific memories of his own teenage daughter’s death under similar circumstances a few years before. Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), a young FBI agent reminiscent of Clarice Starling is dispatched to the area to investigate the crime, and with Cory and Sheriff Ben (Graham Greene), a ranking member of the reservation’s police force, as her guides, she navigates the unfamiliar terrain and learns about the foreign society into which she’s been unceremoniously thrust.

The tight-lipped, insular community views Jane with suspicion, and those she interviews are reticent to reveal much information to an outsider who represents the government that systematically represses them. Yet Jane remains undaunted and forges ahead with her probe, soon learning the young victim was sexually assaulted before her death. Initial information leads her to believe the girl’s much older boyfriend might be the culprit, but when his naked, badly beaten body also turns up in the snow, the focus shifts to a remote oil drilling site where the boyfriend worked as a security guard. And it‘s there that the mystery begins to unravel.

Sheridan, in only his second directorial outing, takes a slow-burn approach, methodically immersing us in the depressed atmosphere that consumes the Native American characters. We feel their hopelessness, resentment, bitterness, and desperate need to escape their confinement. He also insightfully depicts the cultural divide between native and white Americans and the resultant tension that undermines their relationships, as well as the bureaucratic red tape that so often impedes investigations on Native American soil. All of these elements enhance the film’s relevance and lend it an emotional resonance that overshadows its conventional climax and lingers long after the closing credits roll.

Sometimes a mystery is more interesting than its resolution, and that’s exactly the case here. The violent carnage that ultimately overtakes Wind River is shocking and powerful, but also somewhat cartoonish, straining credulity and cheapening the thoughtful drama that comes before and after it. Yes, it’s cathartic and part of it is purposeful, but it’s all a bit too much, especially for such a nuanced, message-oriented film.

Renner and Olsen may have co-starred in a couple of Avengers movies, but they leave their makeup and costumes at the door, filing sober, straightforward performances that reflect their deep respect for the material. Renner is especially affecting, projecting an admirable stoicism that belies the anguish and disillusionment buried inside him. He and Olsen share a comfortable chemistry that serves the story well, and Greene brings a penetrating calm and wry humor to the proceedings, crafting a performance that’s far more detailed than it looks.

Wind River deftly uses the murder mystery angle to call our attention to some ugly truths that have been swept under the rug for far too long. Whether the film will effect any change remains to be seen, but its largely poetic presentation hammers some key points home. This is not a film for the faint of heart - it is a thriller after all - but if you can get past the violence, you'll find an engrossing story that packs more than the usual visceral punch. Wind River carries a big stick, but the bulk of its power comes from the moments when it speaks oh so softly.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Wind River arrives on Blu-ray packaged in a standard case inside a sleeve. A leaflet containing a code to access the Digital HD Ultraviolet copy is 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, a preview for The Hero precedes the full-motion menu with music. 

[review_video_picture_id] => 79848 [review_video] =>

Films set in the dead of winter often appear drab and sterile, and Wind River is no exception, yet the excellent 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer accurately renders the bleak atmosphere. Superior clarity and contrast allow us to drink in all the details of the vast frigid landscape, and not a stitch of grain adds any warmth to the frame. The color palette remains rather wan throughout, but during the fleeting moments of brilliant sunshine some deeper hues pop up. Snow, of course, is omnipresent, but the white levels are consistently pleasing, exhibiting appropriate texture and never dissolving into an indistinct mess. Individual flakes are well defined during the blizzard sequences, and close-ups show off facial hair and stubble well. Blacks are strong, too, as are the deep blues of the police uniforms, and background elements are always easy to discern. Not a nick or errant mark dots the pristine source material, and no digital enhancements could be detected. This high-quality transfer presents a vibrant, bold picture, yet its beautiful aesthetic never minimizes the poverty and desolation depicted on screen.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 79849 [review_audio] =>

Powerful, room-shaking audio provides a striking contrast to the tranquil visuals, and the result is an immersive audio experience that ramps up the impact of the film’s drama. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track flaunts a palpable surround presence, as subtle atmospherics dance across the rear speakers and distinct stereo separation up front widens the soundscape. Thudding bass frequencies grab attention, as do eruptive, heart-stopping gunshots that sound more like cannon-fire. A wide dynamic scale handles all the booming elements without a hint of distortion, and solid fidelity and tonal depth complement the meditative music score. Though some of the dialogue is spoken quite softly and can be a bit difficult to comprehend, the bulk of exchanges are crisp, clear, and well prioritized. The visuals may seem slightly drab, but this potent audio track is anything but, and will certainly make you sit up and take notice.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 79850 [review_supplements] =>

Just a couple of extras are included on the disc. An audio commentary with director Taylor Sheridan would have been a nice addition, but no such luck.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 3 minutes) - Two excised scenes add little to the film, although one features a spirited confrontation between Olsen’s character and an ornery hotel front desk clerk.

Behind-the-Scenes Video Gallery (HD, 10 minutes) - Three separate segments focus on Renner, Olsen, and Sheridan, respectively, and feature their perspectives on the film. Renner talks about how he related to his role and the strength and vulnerability of Sheridan, while Olsen analyzes her character and expresses her dislike of cold weather. Sheridan shares his personal experience in the region, as well as his desire to depict its reality instead of a prevailing perception of it, and expresses his hope that the film will effect some positive change.

[review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives.

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Wind River is a riveting murder mystery and detective story, but some potent themes percolate beneath its surface, elevating Taylor Sheridan’s violent thriller above other movies in its class. The story of an FBI agent’s quest to bring to justice the killer of a sexually abused Native American woman who’s found dead in the frigid wilderness exposes disturbing issues that resonate far beyond this absorbing narrative. Excellent performances and stellar direction distinguish the film, as do the first-class video and audio transfers on the Lionsgate Blu-ray release. Though the climax may be overblown, it doesn’t cheapen the sober message of this well-made motion picture, which comes highly recommended.

[review_movie_stars] => 4 [review_video_stars] => 4.5 [review_audio_stars] => 4.5 [review_supplements_stars] => 1 [review_bonus_content_stars] => 0 [review_final_thoughts_stars] => 3.5 [review_gear] => default ) ) [25] => Array ( [review_id] => 50597 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => wwenxtfromsecrettosensation [review_release_date] => 1510646400 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => WWE: NXT - From Secret to Sensation [picture_created] => 1510197260 [picture_name] => WWE_NXT.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Warner Bros. [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/11/08/120/WWE_NXT.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/50597/wwenxtfromsecrettosensation.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [run_time] => 360 [list_price] => 29.98 [asin] => B074VTDSKR [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Wrestling ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

In recent years, NXT has emerged as an incredible box office draw for WWE with sold out live network specials from Brooklyn to Dallas to the United Kingdom! But things weren’t always this way: watch WWE’s “developmental” system churn out future Hall of Fame superstars and grow from its underwhelming infancy in Louisville through 2017!

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Writer-director Ivan I. Tverdovsky s prize-winning sophomore feature (Special Prize of the Jury at Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Best Picture at Fantastic Fest) deftly mixes the deadpan humour of Aki Kaurismäki with a poignant examination of social issues including loneliness and aging.

Natasha is a middle-aged admin employee at a zoo where her female co-workers take pleasure in making fun of her. She lives with her God-fearing mother and leads a dull existence without prospects, until one day she grows a tail. Medical examinations follow where she meets Peter, a young radiologist and her dreary life is turned upside down.

Described as Kafka meets Cronenberg (Hollywood Reporter) Tverdovsky s film is a beautifully photographed portrait of Eastern Europe that recalls the recent New Romanian Cinema and features a brave and brilliant central performance from Natalya Pavlenkova.

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In August 2016, Jordan Smith decided to bring together his friends and family into the recording studio for an intimate listening session of the music from his new holiday album ‘Tis The Season. The event aired as a PBS concert special during the holiday season last year. Join Jordan along with David Foster and a cast of brilliant session musicians on this fantastic journey through some of his favorite carols and holiday classics.

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In August 2016, Jordan Smith decided to bring together his friends and family into the recording studio for an intimate listening session of the music from his new holiday album ‘Tis The Season. The event aired as a PBS concert special during the holiday season last year. Join Jordan along with David Foster and a cast of brilliant session musicians on this fantastic journey through some of his favorite carols and holiday classics.

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Mel Gibson commands an elite military team dispatched during WW II to locate and rescue the survivors of a shot down plane, stranded on a South Pacific island occupied by the Japanese. One of the castaways, a defecting Japanese official, holds the secret to ending the war, and must be saved at all costs. Boasting a top-notch cast including Mel Gibson (Mad Max, Braveheart), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Peaky Blinders), John Phillip Law (Barbarella) and John Waters (Breaker Morant). Attack Force Z is a fast moving, action-packed World War II adventure story in the tradition of THE GUNS OF NAVARONE. Bonus features include: Interview featurette with Producer John McCallum and actors John Waters and Chris Haywood, Theatrical Trailer, Photo Gallery

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Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he's still the best race car in the world.

[review_editors_notes] =>

Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of the day-and-date 4K UHD Blu-ray release, also written by M. Enois Duarte. Specifically, this review features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, Audio and Final Thoughts sections while both reviews share The Movie Itself and Special Features.

For a full in-depth review of the 4K Ultra HD HERE.

[review_movie] =>

After the terribly misguided decision of modifying the sequel to 2006's animated racing sports comedy with a sleeker, more stylish espionage body, the mechanics at Pixar wisely rebuilt the CG vehicle to its original classic parts for Cars 3. And as a result, this franchise's third installment is a winner, managing a decisive but astonishing victory over its predecessor. Returning to the drawing board, the plot is simplified with a better aerodynamic focus on a clearly-defined finish line, a concept redesign that brings the series back to the basics. This doesn't necessarily mean the first movie is suddenly a welcomed addition to the studio brand or that the direct follow-up is somehow magically more tolerable and in someway good. It only means this latest entry is an unexpected improvement over its predecessor, so much so that I'm willing to even suggest it's better than the first movie from eleven years. It should be obvious I'm not a fan of the series, let alone the sport the producers choose for its subject matter, but I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Almost as though borrowing parts from other sports films, the story of Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) being threatened by a younger generation of racing cars and having to face retirement is engaging and on the same maturity standing as other Pixar greats. As if pretending the sequel never happened, Cars 3 feels as though picking up some after the first where the once-pompous McQueen no longer races purely for the win, but for the love of the sport. A short montage opening even shows the camaraderie and fraternalism between athletes with McQueen even encouraging much of it while still being recognized as the world champion everyone wants to beat. An amusing running gag shows Dinoco owner Tex (Humpy Wheeler) tempting the star champ right in front of his own racer Cal Weathers (Kyle Petty). Things suddenly change for the friends when a host of rookie racers, like smug condescending Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), enter the competition. With his sleek, streamlined body that practically hugs the road, his glossy midnight black paint job and a cool lighting effect, Storm easily defeats the veterans without much of a challenge.

For fans of the sports genre, there is something vaguely familiar about this plot. As analyst Natalie Certain (Kerry Washington) points out, Jackson Storm was perfectly designed as if in a lab, training with the latest equipment and technology to further enhance his attributes. He's an unbeatable machine! Where have we heard such language before? That's right! Storm is basically Ivan Drago, the cocky and brutal nemesis of Rocky IV. And just like our favorite boxing hero, McQueen must return to his roots, heed the words of his friends and late trainer, Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), and learn to fight smarter, not faster. And although we have the obligatory training montage where McQueen tries to outrace racing technician Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), all that's missing is a beach scene with congratulatory hugs. But with that negligible complaint aside, the film zooms right along while introducing new trainer Smokey (Chris Cooper), the crew chief that made Doc into a racing legend. The story also suddenly goes left while turning right by shifting its influences from classic Rocky to something more like Creed, but that's as far as I'll drive into spoiler territory.

With such pleasant surprises thrown at the audience, Cars 3 manages to be a delight while still being somewhat predictable, which is an oxymoron. I know. Nevertheless, part of its value is the film's silliness and humor feeling reminiscent of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, except McQueen has already overcome his arrogance. Here, he's faced with the reality of growing old, of age itself making it difficult to keep up with the arrival of younger, faster racers, a common trope of many sports films. Pixar hasn't really explored the theme from this particular perspective, though Up and The Incredibles come pretty close from a different angle. In Cars 3, however, the filmmakers embrace the theme wholeheartedly and sincerely, pitting McQueen against the prospect of retirement after a near-fatal crash and at the behest of his new sponsor Sterling (Nathan Fillion), who wants to profit from McQueen's popularity as a brand name. The race to the finish line comes with emotional epiphanies and encouraging words for both younger viewers and the older folks wishing to embolden those young racers to always chase their dreams.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment brings Cars 3 to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with a code for a Digital Copy. The Region Free, BD50 disc sits comfortably on the panel opposite a DVD-9 copy with a lightly embossed, glossy slipcover. At startup, the disc commences with skippable trailers before switching to a menu screen with the standard options, music and full-motion clips. 

[review_video_picture_id] => 79786 [review_video] =>

The second sequel races to the finish line with a spectacular, reference-quality 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode, igniting the screen with a sumptuous palette that keeps the screen lively and upbeat. The vast collection of cars is a vibrant array of opulent primaries, from the cherry red of Lightning McQueen and the electrifying blue of Jackson Storm to the lush, energetic green of Chick Hicks and other racecars. Better yet, the frame is continuously awash with an enthusiastic and spirited collection of secondary pastel hues, making every minute of the film a feast for the eyes. A stunning, pitch-perfect contrast adds a crisp, glowing punch to every race, as the cars, especially when McQueen receives a new shiny coat, glisten in the sun and the lights in the stadium glitter while maintaining superb clarity. Rich, penetrating blacks provide a cinematic quality and a three-dimensional feel while tiny shadow details remain visible from beginning to end.

Presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, the CG-animated film is arguably the sharpest of the three movies, exposing the most minute and meticulous feature on the faces and bodies of each vehicle. Viewers can make out the tiniest scratch and blemish of Miss Fritter and her demolition derby friends while the reddish-brown rust stains of Mater are so shockingly lifelike and realistic that one is almost tempted to touch it. The edges of the new, slick racecars are very well-defined while the stickers and lettering of the cars, windows and billboards are legible even from a distance. The razor-sharp lines in the buildings, the aged wood racetrack and the new, fancy equipment at Rust-eze's training facility will mesmerize and delight viewers. 

[review_audio_picture_id] => 79787 [review_audio] =>

While most will come for the pretty cars, others will enjoy the thrills and excitement of hearing those same cars screech, whirr, growl and vroom across the screen thanks to an excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack. Whenever the cars take to the track — be it dirt, mud, sand or asphalt — each vehicle fluidly and effortlessly pans from one speaker to the next while the echo of engines bleed into the sides and rears. Also showing excellent directionality during calmer moments, the cheer of the crowd spreads into each speaker, the voices of the announcers reverberate throughout the room and the leaves rustling in trees can be heard in the distance.

For a majority of the runtime, however, much of the action unfolds across the screen, generating a highly engaging, sprawling soundstage. Imaging continuously feels expansive and spacious with convincing off-screen effects and atmospherics the discretely move across all three channels. Randy Newman's score also feels well balanced with superb fidelity and warmth, exhibiting outstanding clarity and distinction in the highest frequencies. The dialogue is precise and intelligible in the center, delivering every line and emotional conversation with excellent intonation. The low-end, on the other hand, is not particular impressive nor standout, but it's appropriate to the few bits of action with accurate, room-penetrating response and a couple appreciable moments that dig just below the mid-bass.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 79788 [review_supplements] =>

The following are only available on the Blu-ray disc and shared with the DVD home release.

Audio Commentary: Director Brian Fee is joined creative director Jay Ward and producers Kevin Reher and Andrea Warren for an enlightening discussion on the production's technical aspects, each of their involvement in the franchise, the characters, and the plot's themes.

Lou (HD, 7 min): Pixar's usual short animated film that preceded the movie in theaters.

[review_bonus_content] =>

Disc One

Cruz Ramirez: The Yellow Car That Could (HD, 8 min): A look at the design and voicing of the latest character added to the franchise.

Ready for the Race (HD, 6 min): Interview with young stock car racing driver William Byron.

Miss Fritter’s Racing School (HD, 3 min): An amusing commercial for aged cars.

Disc Two

Behind the Scenes (HD): Short five-part documentary detailing the entire production, from plot inception, various themes and character development to designing a race sequence, influences from real-life racing, creating a fictional world that feels real and the toyline related to the film.

Generations: The Story of Cars 3 (11 min).

Let's. Get. Crazy. (8 min).

Cars to Die(cast) For (5 min).

Legendary (11 min).

World's Fastest Billboard (6 min).

Miss Fritter’s Racing School (HD): A quick tour through three CG sequences.

Thomasville (1 min).

Florida International Speedway (1 min).

Rust-Eze Racing Center (1 min).

My First Car (HD): Cast & crew interviews sharing memories of owning their first cars.

A Green Car on the Red Carpet with Kerry Washington (1 min).

Old Blue (1 min).

Still in the Family (2 min).

Promos (HD): Cast & crew interviews sharing memories of owning their first cars.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 26 min): Cast & crew interviews sharing memories of owning their first cars.

Trailers (HD).

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 79789 [review_bottom_line] => 2 [review_final_thoughts] =>

After the disappointing misguided decision to modify the series for the sequel, the mechanics at Pixar wisely rebuilt the CG animated sports comedy to its original classic parts for Cars 3. As a result, the franchise's third installment manages a decisive but also astonishing victory over its predecessor, racing to the finish line with emotional epiphanies and encouraging words for audiences of all ages. The Blu-ray crashes to a screeching halt with a gorgeous, reference-quality picture quality and a fantastic DTS-HD audio presentation. Packing a wealth of supplements in the trunk, the overall package is a winner for fans of the franchise and makes for a strong rental for the curious. 

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Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he's still the best race car in the world.

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CHARGED chronicles the life-changing journey of chef and outdoorsman Eduardo Garcia after he is shocked by 2400 volts of electricity in a freak accident while hiking in the remote backcountry of Montana. Eduardo lost his hand, ribs, muscle mass, and nearly his life, but more important than what he lost is what he found. Through sheer resilience, he reclaims his life, helped by his former partner, Jennifer Jane, who nurses Eduardo back to health. He learns to embrace his past, his family, and his future. A survival and love story unlike any other, CHARGED tells Eduardo s remarkable journey from getting up off the forest floor to becoming the man he is today.

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Inspired by a real all-male cheer squad in Japan, Cheer Boys gives the world an exciting new take on the high-flying team sport!

Overshadowed by his older sister, Haruki Bando leaves judo martial arts in search of a sport where his talents can shine through. But when his friend Kazuma comes to him with an idea, no one would have guessed he would turn to cheerleading! Rocking the college campus with a killer routine, these amateurs manage to draw in a crowd and enough new members to compete in regionals. While they train day and night, complicated lifts aren’t the only things they have to balance. Between work, life, relationships, and practice, these 16 men will push each other to the limits for a team that will break through the cheerleading scene.

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Darkman and Durant return and they hate each other as much as ever. This time, Durant has plans to take over the city's drug trade using high-tech weaponry. Darkman must step in and try to stop Durant once and for all.

[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 ) ) [7] => Array ( [review_id] => 49709 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => darkmaniiidiedarkmandie [review_release_date] => 1510041600 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Darkman III: Die Darkman Die [picture_created] => 1501873686 [picture_name] => c1.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Shout! Factory [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/08/04/120/c1.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/49709/darkmaniiidiedarkmandie.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 1996 [run_time] => 87 [list_price] => 29.99 [asin] => B074JS9Q24 [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray ) [video_resolutions] => Array ( [0] => 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 ) [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 Bradford May [1] => Original Trailer ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Horror, Sci-fi, Action ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Jeff Fahey, Arnold Vosloo, Darlanne Fluegel, Nigel Bennett, Roxann Dawson ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Bradford May ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Darkman, needing money to continue his experiments on synthetic skin, steals a crate of cash from drug lord Peter Rooker, attracting the gangster's attention. Rooker is determined to find the source of Darkman's super strength, and uses his beautiful but evil doctor to lure Darkman into a trap. Thinking that the doctor will restore feeling to his tortured body, he discovers too late that they have taken a sample of his adrenaline, which they will market as a super steroid. As Darkman plans his revenge on Rooker's gang, he slowly begins to care about Rooker's neglected wife and daughter. He must now find a way to help them, and destroy Rooker before he uses the adrenaline to plunge the city into chaos.

[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] => 49981 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => darknessrising [review_release_date] => 1510041600 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => Darkness Rising [picture_created] => 1501771971 [picture_name] => c11.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Scream Factory [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/08/03/120/c11.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/49981/darknessrising.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2017 [list_price] => 22.97 [asin] => B074JP6DZK [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Horror, Thriller, Mystery ) [preview_actors] => Array ( [0] => Tara Holt, Christian Ganiere, and Bryce Johnson ) [preview_directors] => Array ( [0] => Austin Reading ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

They came in search of her past. Pray it lets them escape.

A house's horrifying secrets are resurrected in the blood-drenched nightmare, Darkness Rising. For years, Madison (Tara Holt) has been tormented by her memories of a traumatic incident: the murder of her younger sister at the hands of their own mother. Joined by her fiancé (Bryce Johnson, Willow Creek) and cousin (Katrina Law, Arrow, Spartacus: War of the Damned), Madison returns to her childhood home just before it's slated to be demolished. Seeking closure, the trio instead find themselves pursued by the same malevolent, supernatural presence that drove Madison's mother to unthinkable violence! Starring Tara Holt, Christian Ganiere, and Bryce Johnson.

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Launched in 2007 with the landmark release of Superman Doomsday, the DC Universe Original Movies are based on or inspired by storylines and/or characters from within the ever-expanding DC library. Produced by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the stories range from films based upon iconic DC Super Hero stories (Superman Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: The Killing Joke) to films inspired by themes from within DC history (Batman vs. Robin was inspired by "The Court of Owls," Superman vs. The Elite was inspired by "What's so Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?") to original stories (Justice League: Gods and Monsters, Batman and Harley Quinn).



CONTENT

SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY
JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER
BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHT
WONDER WOMAN COMMEMORATIVE EDITION
GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT
SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES
JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS
BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD
SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN
GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS
BATMAN: YEAR ONE
JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM
SUPERMAN VS. THE ELITE
THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, PART 1
THE DARK KNIGHTS RETURNS, PART 2
SUPERMAN: UNBOUND
JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX
JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR
SON OF BATMAN
BATMAN: ASSAULT ON ARKHAM
JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS
BATMAN VS. ROBIN
JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS
BATMAN: BAD BLOOD
JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. TEEN TITANS
BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK
TEEN TITANS: THE JUDAS CONTRACT
BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN
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As a child, Bill witnesses the murder of his family by four robbers. Fifteen years later, he embarks on his revenge...

[review_movie] =>

"Someone once wrote that revenge is a dish that has to be eaten cold. Hot as you are, you're libel to end up with indigestion."

You gotta love it when you discover a great Spaghetti Western. As someone who was born a fan of the sub-genre, I've seen my share of the flicks over the years. I've enjoyed countless hours plugging through the Man With No Name Trilogy and wades through the depths of some of the most incomprehensible films like The Town Called Hell which tried its damnedest to imitate the energy and vigor of its Italian cousins. Far from being an expert on Spaghetti Westerns, I haven't seen everything ever made so I get excited when I finally come across one I've wanted to see for a very long time. Giulio Petroni's 1967 revenge western Death Rides A Horse featuring the legendary Lee Van Cleef and John Phillip Law is a sterling example of the genre with exciting action, great characters, and a sly dry sense of humor. 

They call him Bill (John Phillip Law). When he was just a boy he witnessed the brutal rape and murder of his sister and mother at the hands of a gang of bandits. The only clues to the masked men's identities rest in his memories. As he waits for any sign of these men's return, he practices his shooting skills becoming a crack shot who can't miss at any range. Embittered former outlaw Ryan (Lee Van Cleef) has just spent the last decade of his life behind bars after being double-crossed by his former gang. He wants payback for his time in prison and if they can't pay in cash he'll write out the debt in blood. It would seem that Bill and Ryan have a mutual goal as Ryan's former pals were the ones responsible for killing Bill's family -- making the pair the unlikeliest of allies. 

When Death Rides A Horse opens, it hits the ground running. The opening assault on Bill's family - while not graphically depicted - is intense and horrifying. The act of barbarous brutality beautifully sets up Bills motivation and lays the ground for a string of clues to the masked men's identities: a tattoo, a scar, a silver spur, and a skull earring. It's handled so perfectly that when the film flashes forward several years and we see a grown John Phillip Law firing away at an assortment of targets with an arsenal of firearms - we know exactly how his character has spent those years of his life. That alone would have been enough to support a solid flick, but then Lee Van Cleef enters the show and helps give a simple revenge action western a little more depth and range as his character has his own set of motivations with a dark history. 

Death Rides A Horse

That isn't to say Death Rides A Horse is all business and no fun. There's a lot of fun to be had with this flick. As Bill starts to put the clues together we're treated to a hell of a montage with Law's steely eyes in closeup, the picture bleached red, and his memories flash and a burst of violence immediately follows. On top of some great shootouts and action sequences, the film has a devilish sense of humor to cut the tension. Right when you least expect it, the movie trots out a hell of a one-liner. The comedy doesn't pull away from the suspense of action-packed flow but adds a little extra dimension to the fun. At just under two hours, the movie clips along at a cool breeze and never lets up on the action. The great pacing with a fantastic Ennio Morricone score makes sure there's a lot to enjoy from start to finish.

My sad story of trying to see Death Rides A Horse starts around twenty years ago when I tried to rent this on tape. I'd read some article about spaghetti westerns and this one was highly recommended. So when I finally tracked it down at a local rental store I was excited to see they had a copy of it. I put down my $2.50 and sped home. Once I popped it into the player I quickly discovered that the tape had snapped and whoever rented it before me merely respooled it to hide the break and avoid paying a replacement fee. Needles to say I was disappointed. Without another copy available to rent, I soon forgot about this movie as I moved onto other movies on the list. Thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics for releasing it on Blu-ray, I finally got to see and appreciate this one. Sure, It may not be the best Spaghetti Western ever made, but damn is it a ton of fun. If you've never seen it, hunt down a copy for yourself. I'm willing to stake a buck or two that you'll have a great time. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Death Rides A Horse arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Pressed onto a Region A BD-50 disc, the disc is housed inside a standard sturdy Blu-ray case. Also included is a booklet containing cover photos of other Studio Classics release. The disc loads to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options. 

[review_video_picture_id] => 80188 [review_video] =>

Death Rides A Horse arrives on Blu-ray with a very strong 2.35:11080p transfer. I don't have any information about the vintage of the master, but it looks to be a bit dated. Overall the film is in great shape, an appreciable amount of film grain remains giving the image a nice textured look with strong details. Colors can appear a tad pale here and there, but otherwise, there is a good primary presence with healthy and accurate flesh tones. Contrast is stable and black levels are pretty good. Depth tends to suffer at times, some sequences do showcase an appreciable sense of depth while others can appear a bit flat - but not to a degree that is terrible or a deal breaker by any means. This is still a very strong image presentation with only mild speckling and a couple random scratches being the only notable damage. I didn't spot any banding or other compression issues so that isn't a worry. Obviously, a fresh scan would have been great, but as is, it's in pretty great shape.  

[review_audio_picture_id] => 80187 [review_audio] =>

Death Rides A Horse rides away with a strong and effective English DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio mix. Thankfully the film's 50 year age doesn't appear to have hampered things as there are few issues to complain about here. As an Italian production, all of the dialogue was recorded in post so there are a few bits with rubber-mouth but nothing out of the ordinary for a Spaghetti Western. Sound effects also have that heightened, canned quality where gunshots enjoy that particular cannon-like explosion with metallic echo. Atmospherics are also a bit flat and heavy-handed as tends to be the norm for this sort of picture. The Ennio Morricone score is in great shape and always a fun listen. There are a few great bits that were later used for Kill Bill, so if you never knew that some of the music will sound a bit familiar. There are a couple moments of hiss and a crackle or two, but nothing serious. Levels are spot on.

Also included with this release is an Italian DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix with English subtitles. This is an interesting way to watch the film if you want more of an international flavor, but it's not my preferred audio experience. Dialogue is just fine and the score and sound effects have the same sort of post-production front heavy sound as the English. That said, I feel the more authentic viewing experience of any Spaghetti Western is the English mix with the heavily dubbed voices. That feels like a signature trait of this sub-genre that goes missing when listing to the Italian mix. Give it a listen if you're curious. 

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 80186 [review_supplements] =>

Like most of the Studio Classics releases, the bonus features package supplied for this film isn't the most amazing thing ever, but it's still pretty good. The Alex Cox audio commentary is a solid listen. It's mostly anecdotal material but still pretty good.

Audio Commentary featuring filmmaker Alex Cox, if you want to learn some good history about this flick, it's a solid listen.

Theatrical Trailer (HD 1:33)

For a Few Dollars More Trailer (SD 2:29)

Return of Sabata Trailer (HD 2:08)

Barquero Trailer (HD 2:36)

Navajo Joe Trailer (HD 1:51)

Valdez is Coming Trailer (SD 2:52)

The Mercenary Trailer (SD 1:53)

[review_bonus_content_picture_id] => 80185 [review_bonus_content] =>

No HD exclusive bonus features. 

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 80190 [review_bottom_line] => 2 [review_final_thoughts] =>

Death Rides A Horse is a hell of a wild ride. It sports all of the best attributes of a classic Spaghetti Western. It's got action, humor, wrapped up in a solid revenge thriller. With a terrific cast featuring Lee Van Cleef and John Phillip Law accompanied by a terrific Morricone score, there's a lot to enjoy with this movie and genre fans should be happy to add it to their collection. Kino Lorber Studio Classics delivers a strong release of Death Rides A Horse on Blu-ray. While it may not have undergone a recent restoration effort, it does sport a strong and reliably effective A/V presentation. Bonus features may be a bit slim, but a good audio commentary is better than nothing at all. This is an easy release to recommend - especially for this holiday season, I'm sure there's someone on your shopping list who will enjoy having it!

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Kaho Nikaido has always lived a sheltered life with everything she could ever want. Ready for a change, she decides to move to Tokyo for high school. But her first day in the big city almost becomes her last when she’s nearly hit by a truck! Luckily, the very handsome Kanade Takahashi swoops in just in time to save her. And when their eyes meet, Kaho is completely smitten! Unable to get him off her mind, she works up the courage to confess her love. For an instant, it seems like a perfect love story. Until Kanade warns her about his secret that could change her feelings. But surely nothing could keep her from this gorgeous specimen of a man…right?

Well, maybe just the fact that the tall, dreamy, and very fit Kanade is…a fifth-grader?!

Floored by such a bizarre reveal, Kaho finds herself in a house filled with weird tenants and a strange mix of feelings about the surprisingly childish Kanade. With this odd turn of events, will Kaho survive her time in the big city?

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Aomori, Japan. In a land blessed by nature's bountiful beauty, bizarre things begin to take place. Makoto Kowata, 15 years old, is a professional witch. She left Yokohama with Chito, her black cat, to live in the house of her relatives in Aomori. This is where she begins to train as a witch. Even though Makoto's powers are still limited to just flying through the sky, she and her second cousins Kei and Chinatsu surely make the most out of each and every day.

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Three sorority sisters plan an initiation for their nerdy friend during a weekend getaway. Things don't go exactly as planned when they accidentally stumble upon a craft containing a trio of extraterrestrial ghastly ghouls! Armed with only their boyfriends and brains, they resolve to send these pint-sized gatecrashers back to the edge of the universe - or die trying. GHASTLIES is an exuberant homage to 80s tiny critter movies featuring a tubular electro-pop score.

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The frustrated calligrapher from Barakamon is in for a high school throwback! This playful prequel reveals Handa’s incredibly introverted teenage years that made him who he is today.

Everybody loves Sei Handa, the handsome calligrapher genius who can do no wrong. Girls adore him, guys respect him, and anyone who is anyone has at least heard his name. The only person who doesn’t know of his popularity is…Handa himself! Wallowing in his insecurities, he assumes people talk about him because they hate his guts. A childhood friend, Kawafuji, could tell him the truth, but it’s way more fun to just sit back and laugh as Handa makes the worst out of every situation.

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Based upon true events, this film noir classic is a "thrilling, absorbing story, superbly told, well-acted [and] brilliantly photographed" (The Hollywood Reporter). Starring Richard Basehart, Scott Brady and Jack Webb, this tense, exciting: (Variety) thriller was the inspiration not only for the TV series "Dragnet," but for many other subsequent "ripped from the headlines" crime dramas.

Taken from actual case files, He Walked By Night is the suspenseful, action-packed tale of a manhunt for the most cunning criminal in the history of the LAPD. With a combination of ingenuity, state of the art technology, sweat and sheer determination, the police painstakingly track down a brilliant, elusive thief and cop killer who seems to have the ability to vanish into thin air. But can they catch him before he murders again?

[review_movie] =>

Almost every American has heard of Dragnet, the classic L.A.-based TV cop show that debuted in the 1950s and ran on-and-off for decades, but probably just a precious few recall He Walked by Night, the low-budget movie that inspired the hard-boiled series. And that’s too bad, because director Alfred Werker’s taut, no-nonsense film noir is a lot more artistic, affecting, atmospheric, and memorable than any of Dragnet’s formulaic episodes. By combining terse storytelling with a couple of dazzling set pieces and a host of fine performances, He Walked by Night holds our attention from start to finish as it methodically chronicles how the LAPD hunts down an elusive and diabolically clever lone-wolf killer.

That killer is Roy Morgan (Richard Basehart), a quiet, unassuming, well-dressed man who matter-of-factly shoots an off-duty police officer at point-blank range after he’s spotted trying to break into an electronics store. The murder sparks an intense LAPD investigation led by Captain Breen (Roy Roberts), who assigns two detectives, Sgt. Marty Brennan (Scott Brady) and Sgt. Chuck Jones (James Caldwell), to work the case. As they tirelessly track down leads, the reclusive Roy hides out in his secluded Hollywood bungalow with his trusty watchdog and continues to commit a string of robberies to throw the cops off his scent. A couple of close encounters with the police ensue, but Roy, who hasn’t been the same since he returned from service in World War II, always escapes the scuffles, often disappearing into the labyrinthian network of underground storm drains that snake beneath the streets of L.A. Like a nocturnal animal, Roy only leaves his nest after the sun goes down, making it harder for Breen and his crew to nab him.

Along with Call Northside 777The Naked City, and T-MenHe Walked by Night ushered in a new era of noir by examining the rough realities of urban streets and the ruthless thugs who prowl them. Yet instead of focusing on the suspect’s criminal deeds and off-kilter personality, this police procedural presents the narrative from the law’s perspective, allowing us to get an insider’s view of the investigation. Like a job shadower, we tag along with the detectives as they pound the pavement looking for clues, confer with a forensics expert on shell casings, and process the input of various witnesses to create a composite sketch. No superfluous romance or subplots clutter the canvas; He Walked by Night is all business all the time over the course of its brisk 79 minutes.

Heightening the film’s semi-documentary aura is the narrative’s true-life roots. Right up front, a prologue states the story is based on the “most difficult homicide case” the LAPD has ever had to tackle (before Charles Manson, of course). Though Roy Morgan is not portrayed as a serial killer, he still closely resembles Erwin “Machine Gun” Walker, whose murderous rampage a couple of years before put him on death row and was most likely attributable to some kind of post-traumatic stress brought on by his combat tenure in World War II. Because PTSD was a hush-hush topic - and not even identified as a common affliction - in those days, the John C. Higgins-Crane Wilbur screenplay only vaguely alludes to Roy’s war record, planting a seed that never gets the chance to germinate. Yet the mere hint that the war could be complicit in Roy’s crimes - quite an innuendo for 1948 - adds an extra layer of intrigue to the movie. (Learning so little about Roy personally and never discovering what compels him to repeatedly commit crimes are perhaps the film’s biggest faults.)

Of course, most film noirs worth their salt are distinguished by stunning cinematography, and He Walked by Night is no exception. The great John Alton constructs a number of striking shots and sequences, the most notable of which is the thrilling climax that largely transpires in the underground sewers of Los Angeles. Beautifully employing low-level light against the cold concrete tunnels, shimmering streams, and murky puddles, Alton immerses us in a dank, creepy netherworld teeming with cinematic possibilities. Alton worked with director Anthony Mann on T-Men the previous year, and though no solid proof exists, there’s a general consensus among classic film experts that Mann directed the famous sewer scene, as well as other isolated sequences in He Walked by Night. No one seems to know why Mann was asked to participate and why or if Werker was removed from the picture, but many sources list Mann as an uncredited director on the film. The arresting visuals and artistic construction of the climax (which interestingly predates a similar and far more renowned sewer scene in Carol Reed’s The Third Man) suit Mann far more than the workmanlike Werker, making the connection seem very plausible indeed.

Basehart, in only his third motion picture, brings the cold and aloof Roy to brilliant life. With restraint and a quiet resolve, he showcases the enigmatic, duplicitous qualities that make this mysterious sociopath such a fascinating figure. Brady also makes a strong impression in only his fourth film, balancing the stereotypical square-jawed toughness of a movie cop with just enough affable charm to humanize his character. Plenty of unheralded supporting actors populate the proceedings as well, and Jack Webb, who identified the lasting appeal of He Walked by Night and parlayed it into a starring role in Dragnet a few years later, asserts himself well as a forensics expert.

He Walked by Night is another underground noir that’s been unearthed, restored, and elevated to its proper place in film history. When viewed in tandem with the recently released T-Men, this beautifully shot and constructed movie reminds us great independent films aren’t just a recent phenomenon. We just have to work harder to rescue and preserve these Golden Age gems so they can be fully appreciated by current and future generations. He Walked by Night always will be classified as a B movie, but it gets a strong A for artistry, and for this police procedural, that’s a significant badge of honor.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

He Walked by Night arrives on Blu-ray packaged in a standard case. A beautifully designed 24-page booklet featuring an essay by Max Alvarez, several black-and-white scene stills, and a couple of full-color poster reproductions is tucked inside the front cover. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is uncompressed mono. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu without music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

[review_video_picture_id] => 79813 [review_video] =>

Classicflix gives noir fans another gift with this beautifully restored 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer that showcases John Alton’s exceptional cinematography. Though clarity and contrast levels vary at times, the overall image quality remains quite high. Grain is evident, but it lends the picture a lovely film-like feel and supplies necessary texture to this gritty tale. Blacks are rich and deep, the whites of flashlights and naked bulbs are crisp, while well-defined shadow lines, especially on Venetian blinds, heighten the impact of many complex shots. Excellent grayscale variance complements fine details and sharp close-ups highlight such subtleties as sweat droplets on Basehart’s face. Best of all, the source material is remarkably clean, crush is largely absent, and any digital doctoring escapes notice. Film noir aficionados will love this top-notch rendering that brings this movie to life like never before.

[review_audio_picture_id] => 79814 [review_audio] =>

Classicflix once again produces a strong uncompressed mono track that strikingly maximizes all the nuances and bold accents that distinguish the audio of He Walked by Night. Because music is used so sparingly, the film relies on natural audio elements to convey mood and build suspense, and this track complies with clear, well-modulated sound that enhances the action without overwhelming it. Gunshots burst forth with a startling intensity that reverberates throughout the room, while screaming sirens, rumbling motorcycle engines, and the dissonant barking of a watchdog add immeasurably to the atmosphere. When the score does kick in, a wide dynamic scale handles all of its highs and lows without any distortion, and during all the long stretches of silence no hiss, crackles, pops, or surface noise disrupt the delicious quiet. Best of all, every bit of dialogue and narration is easy to comprehend. Seventy-year-old audio tracks usually exhibit some imperfections, but this one is remarkably clean and vibrant, which heightens the impact of this classic film noir.

[review_supplements_picture_id] => 79815 [review_supplements] =>

Just a couple of supplements are included on the disc, but they are all of impeccable quality.

Audio Commentary - Film noir expert Alan K. Rode and the always delightful Julie Kirgo (whose mellifluous voice usually graces Twilight Time releases) team up for this enthusiastic and insightful commentary that examines He Walked by Night from many different angles. Kirgo calls the film “one of the most effective portraits of Los Angeles of the period,” while Rode provides facts about the real-life killer who inspired the film and plenty of background information on almost every member of the cast and crew. Both analyze the characters and themes, point out locations, sprinkle in bits of interesting trivia, and share their unbridled enthusiasm for the work of cinematographer John Alton. They also point a shot that was also included in the previous year’s T-Men, explain connections to Dragnet and L.A. Confidential, and praise the movie’s realistic tone. In addition, the easygoing rapport between Rode and Kirgo boosts the appeal of this breezy track, which any classics or noir fan will both enjoy and appreciate.

Featurette: “Below the Surface: He Walked by Night(HD, 12 minutes) - Rode, Kirgo, and a few other respected industry professionals pay tribute to this notable film noir in this slick, well-produced piece. The movie’s storm-drain climax, which Rode reminds us was shot prior to the sewer sequence in The Third Man, is saluted and dissected, along with Basehart’s “minimalist” performance and the connection between He Walked by Night and Italian neorealism. We also learn about the uncredited contributions of director Anthony Mann and the background of Erwin “Machine Gun” Walker, upon whose troubled life the film was partially based. This is another worthwhile featurette from the Classicflix team, and I hope the studio continues to include similar pieces on future Blu-ray releases.

Image Gallery (HD, 2 minutes) - Twenty-four black-and-white scene stills and two color reproductions of the movie’s poster art comprise this welcome image gallery.

[review_bonus_content] =>

There are no high-def exclusives.

[review_final_thoughts_picture_id] => 79816 [review_bottom_line] => 1 [review_final_thoughts] =>

He Walked by Night may have inspired Dragnet, but Alfred Werker’s tightly woven film noir stands on its own as a well-acted, involving, and artistic production. While the just-the-facts-ma’am chronicle of a police probe into a cop killing paints an authentic portrait of an investigation, stunning imagery and excellent performances elevate the material. Classicflix scores again with another superior Blu-ray presentation, featuring beautifully restored video and audio transfers and a few worthwhile supplements. Terrific film noir Blu-rays just keep on coming down the pike, and this is another worthy addition to any serious movie fan’s ever-growing collection. Highly Recommended.

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In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound and the impact of noise on our lives. Beginning with an ode to John Cage's ground-breaking composition 4'33", In Pursuit of Silence takes us on an immersive cinematic journey around the globe-- from a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, to the streets of the loudest city on the planet, Mumbai during the wild festival season -- and instantly inspires us to experience silence and celebrate the wonders of our world.

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Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is an unstable young woman with a checkered past of obsessive behavior. She secretly moves to Los Angeles to befriend Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) — an Instagram "influencer" with a fabulous artist boyfriend, a camera-ready terrier, and an array of new products and brands to promote to her followers. After Ingrid adopts a Taylor-made identity for herself, her attempts to prove she's BFF material are underway — that is, until she meets Taylor's obnoxious brother Nicky, who threatens to tear down her façade. Ingrid Goes West is a savagely hilarious dark comedy that brilliantly satirizes the modern world of social media and proves that being #perfect isn't all it's cracked up to be.

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From John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), comes the perilous – and hilarious – tale of Ed Okin (Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park), an insomniac who discovers that his wife has been having an affair.

Unhappily married, unsatisfyingly employed and unsurprisingly depressed, aerospace engineer and insomniac Ed Okin needs to get away. But getting away proves to be no easy feat when Ed drives to the airport and a gorgeous smuggler, Diana (Michelle Pfeiffer), leaps his car, pursued by four murderous Arabs! Chased across the landscape of a "truly mythical" (Time Out) Los Angeles, Ed and Diana encounter an endless array of intriguing nocturnal characters (played by a bevy of famous directors) and a charming English hitman (David Bowie). But will they escape their relentless pursuers? The only way to find out is by diving Into The Night!

[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 ) ) [20] => Array ( [review_id] => 51766 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => wizardingworld9filmcollection [review_release_date] => 1510041600 [review_hot] => 0 [review_title] => J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World: 9-Film Collection [picture_created] => 1506428755 [picture_name] => Wizarding_World_9-Film_Collection_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Warner Bros. [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/26/120/Wizarding_World_9-Film_Collection_-_HDD_Blu-ray_Review.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/51766/wizardingworld9filmcollection.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2001 [list_price] => 80.99 [asin] => B075TTN3LZ [technical_specifications] => Array ( [0] => Blu-ray [1] => 9 Film Set ) [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Fantasy, 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 ) ) [21] => Array ( [review_id] => 51474 [review_type_id] => 1 [review_slug] => julianschnabelaprivateportrait [review_release_date] => 1510041600 [review_hot] => 1 [review_title] => Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait [picture_created] => 1505669399 [picture_name] => c1.jpg [manufacturer_name] => Cohen Media Group [picture_source_120] => https://cdn.highdefdigest.com/uploads/2017/09/17/120/c1.jpg [review_url] => https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/51474/julianschnabelaprivateportrait.html [review_metadata_prepared] => Array ( [release_year] => 2016 [list_price] => 30.99 [asin] => B0756PM8YH [preview_genres] => Array ( [0] => Documentary ) [preview_plot_synopsis] =>

Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait chronicles the personal life and public career of the celebrated artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel. Written and directed by Italy's Pappi Corsicato, the film details the Brooklyn-born Schnabel's formative years in Brownsville, Texas; the beginning of his professional career in New York City in the late Seventies; and his Eighties rise to superstar status in Manhattan's art scene as well as international acclaim as a leading figure in the Neo-Expressionism movement.

As the film details, Schnabel came to be regularly acknowledged for his extroverted, excessive approach to his work and life (frequently seen in silk pajamas, he lives and works in Montauk, Long Island, and in a 170-foot tall pink Venetian-styled palazzo in Manhattan's West Village) as he moved into filmmaking with 1995's Basquiat. He has since directed four other features, including the award-winning Before Night Falls (2000) and The Diving Bell And The Butterfly (2007). With a kaleidoscopic blend of material from Schnabel's personal archives, newly shot footage of the artist at work and play, and commentary from friends, family, actors and artists including Al Pacino, Mary Boone, Jeff Koons, Bono and Laurie Anderson—not to mention Schnabel, himself—Corisicato creates a fascinating and revealing portrait of the modern art world's most boisterous and provocative maverick.

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An unassuming couple's vacation becomes a desperate fight for survival in this ultra-raw, unhinged thrill ride. In need of a break from the pressures of city life, Sam (Harriet Dyer) and Ian (Ian Meadows) head to a remote beach for a romantic weekend camping trip. When they stumble upon an abandoned campsite, they're concerned. When they discover a lone, traumatized child nearby, they're scared. And when they encounter two sadistic sociopaths (Aaron Glenane, Aaron Pedersen), they're in for one hell of a getaway. Weaving with unexpected twists and turns, Killing Ground delivers both nerve-shredding suspense and gut-punching realism. Starring Harriet Dyer, Tiarnie Coupland, and Aaron Pedersen.

[review_introduction] =>

Killing Ground is an unflinching Australian horror film that is not for the squeamish. When a couple stumbles upon an empty tent during their camping trip things take a shocking turn for the worse. The dreadful tone, sadistic killers, and sheer intensity save this film from being yet another entry in the predictable “campers hunted by locals” subgenre. Scream Factory’s A/V presentation of this violent Australian film offers a clean and vivid transfer with a respectable DTS audio mix. Unfortunately special features are at a minimum. Recommended for horror fans. 

[review_movie] =>

“What happened out there, it stays out there.”

Australian horror has seen quite a renaissance over the past two decades. From standout features like Wolf Creek, Snowtown, and The Babadook it’s clear that the Aussies know how to handle shock and unrelenting terror. However, breaking into the horror genre is a tough racket no matter where you call home. In Killing Ground the popular horror trope of “campers hunted by locals” is employed to steer this first feature from director Damien Power. Knowing how utterly grim and bleak Aussie horror can be, will this be another copycat of an overused idea or will we see something fresh and exciting?

Ian (Ian Meadows) and Sam (Harriet Dyer) are out on a New Year’s camping trip headed to Australia’s Gungilee Falls. With their tiny sedan packed up they drive through lush forests and work on a crossword puzzle together to pass the time. Stopping at a convenience store for some celebratory champagne, Ian asks a local hunter named German (Aaron Pedersen) for directions. Arriving at the campsite the happy couple are slightly disappointed to see another tent nearby. As time passes Ian and Sam grow concerned that they haven’t seen their neighbors yet. We quickly cut to another campsite with a family of four enjoying the outdoors with teenager Em and toddler Ollie trying to make the best of it with their hippie parents. Back in town we learn more about German and his roommate Chook (Aaron Glenane) as they prey upon girls at the pub with invitations to go shooting with them. After an altercation in the bathroom over Chook’s phone, German informs him that some people are going to the falls and they might discover something they shouldn’t. Ian is collecting firewood and finds a small blue hat in the dirt. When we cut back to the family preparing for a hike we see little Ollie wearing the same hat. Chook soon arrives at the falls with his rifle. What transpires is a violent, sadistic, and horrifying experience in the Australian wilderness that leaves no one unscathed.  

This debut from director Damien Power is an excellent genre outing in that it doesn’t try to reinvent anything but doesn’t break new ground either. What makes Killing Ground work is the intense violence and grim tone established over the course of the film’s non-linear structure. There are a number of horror tropes employed to get things rolling like a lack of cell phone coverage at the camp and flat tires to name a few. However, when you’re firmly comfortable with the predictive nature of the film things take a serious turn. One scene in particular with Ollie is so raw I had to walk away for a second to calm down. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Killing Ground doesn’t hold back ever. If a toddler is fair game you better buckle up, folks. Thankfully it doesn’t feel like exploitative torture porn. I never got the sense that Power was playing with our emotions or toying with our frail sensibilities. Nothing is for shock value here. Harriet Dyer and Ian Meadows turn in strong performances as the young couple in love. Their characters are put through the ringer and what these two actors convey through them is astounding to watch. Aaron Pedersen and Aaron Glenane are perfectly cast for the roles of German and Chook. Both men are able to portray these unmotivated psychotic killers with such ease it’s downright scary.

The stakes are high in Killing Ground but ultimately it doesn’t take you anywhere. Power’s choice of a non linear structure helps build tension but I would argue the twist occurs too early in the film which results in predictive plotting. What you don’t expect is the onslaught of brutal torture and cruelty. You have an idea where this film is going but you don’t expect how it’s going to get there. There is so much meat on this skeleton of a movie that it’s worth checking out. While I didn’t love it, it's a great first step from a new voice in Australian horror.  

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Scream Factory and IFC Midnight bring Killing Ground to Blu-ray in a two-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack. The BD25 Region A Blu-ray and Region 1 DVD are housed in a standard keepcase on opposite sides of the case. The disc loads with studio logos and three trailers before landing on the static Main Menu presented with typical navigation options. 

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Damien Power’s feature debut looks great on Scream Factory’s 1080p 2.37:1 aspect ratio Blu-ray. The transfer is bright with nicely produced colors. Fine detail is present in skin and costuming. Natural light with the forest setting looks remarkably detailed and full of vivid colors. Black levels are consistent and very dark. I didn’t see any noise in the image even with dark interior scenes using minimal available light. For a low budget feature this video presentation is very impressive.  

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With a respectable DTS-HD MA mix in 5.1 and 2.0, Killing Ground won’t amaze you with its audio but it’ll get your heart pumping thanks to a driving score and a commitment to atmospherics. Surround elements are mostly supportive but elevate the feature with tense musical scoring and environmental effects. Center and front channels handle the proceedings nicely but are a bit muddled at times with dialogue sounding too hidden in the texture. I’d recommend turning on the optional subtitles given the Aussie dialect, too. 

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Killing Ground Theatrical Trailer (HD 2:13)

Trailers:

   The Survivalist (HD 2:04)

   Wakefield (HD 2:05)

   A Dark Song (HD 2:18)

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While Killing Ground doesn’t break any new ground (see what I did there?) with its depiction of campers getting hunted by locals it has enough shocking violence and interesting plot developments to keep it from being another Wolf Creek copycat. Needless to say I am anxiously waiting for Power’s next feature to push the envelope even more. Scream Factory’s A/V presentation provides a clean transfer that looks great with a respectable DTS audio mix. Unfortunately you don’t get any special features which is a real downer. Recommended for fans. 

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Thousands of Japanese students have "chunibyo", a state where they've convinced themselves that they have secret knowledge and hidden powers. Yuta Togashi knows that all too well, as he spent his middle school years living in a complete fantasy world. With work and effort, he's overcome his delusions, and he's ready to go to high school as a normal kid. Unfortunately, the girl who lives above him is deep into her own case of chuni, and she's decided that he's her soul mate! Can Yuta survive a girl who may be literally mad about him? And what happens when Yuta's FORMER "one true soul mate" returns? Maybe the best thing that could happen is for Yuta to re-embrace his own chunibyo as things get seriously wild and crazy in LOVE, CHUNIBYO & OTHER DELUSIONS! and LOVE, CHUNIBYO & OTHER DELUSIONS! -HEART THROB-

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Mankind has moved into space. Thousands of people live on giant orbiting space colonies called "Sides." However, the Earth Government, which rules the colonies, is unjust and cruel. A group of revolutionaries build five robotic weapons called Gundams and plan to send them to Earth to begin their fight for independence. Piloted by five young men, these Gundams carry the colonists' hopes and dreams of freedom with them as they descend to Earth to begin Operation Meteor! Contains episodes 1-25.

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The actions of Heero and his fellow Gundam pilots have plunged Earth and its space colonies into political upheaval. The secret society OZ, which took over the world in a stunning military coup, has now split into warring factions and the Gundam pilots are caught in the middle. Only the pacifist Sanc Kingdom, now resurrected under Relena's leadership, remains an oasis of peace in a world torn by war. But two powerful new Gundams, and OZ's legions of computer-controlled mobile dolls, are about to escalate the conflict to new heights! Contains episodes 26-49.

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Based on the urban legend, Mother Krampus is a witch that comes on the 12 days of Christmas taking children each night.

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No Man s Land gives a detailed, on-the-ground account of the 2016 standoff between protestors occupying Oregon s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and federal authorities. What began as a protest to condemn the sentencing of two ranchers quickly morphed into a catchall for those eager to register their militant antipathy toward the federal government. During the 41-day siege, director David Byars was granted remarkable access to the inner workings of the insurrection as the protestors went about the daily business of engaging in an armed occupation. NO MAN S LAND documents the occupation from inception to its dramatic demise and tells the story of those on the inside of this movement - the ideologues, the disenfranchised, and the dangerously quixotic, attempting to uncover what draws Americans to the edge of revolution.

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Scott Eastwood (The Fate of the Furious) and Freddie Thorp (To Dream) star as legendary car thieves who are caught in the act of stealing from notorious crime boss Jacomo Morier. In order to win back their freedom they're put to the ultimate test – the theft of a priceless car from Morier's sworn enemy. While putting together a crew to pull off the daring heist they're joined by two beautiful women (Ana de Armas, Blade Runner 2049 & Gaia Weiss, The Legend of Hercules) who are more dangerous than they look. The team has one week to put the plan in motion, steal the car, and make their escape or lose everything, including their lives.

[review_movie] =>

"From the writers of 2 Fast 2 Furious

I have a confession to make. I absolutely love The Fast and the Furious franchise. Its cheesy machismo acting, and over-the-top action hits this adrenalin junkie’s sweet spot. So, you would imagine that a movie like Overdrive would scratch that same itch. Until you look at the poster and see the tagline above like it's something to brag about. It's funny how such a small tagline resets expectations. But with those expectations lowered, I can't say this film goes entirely without merit.

Break out your male hair products guys, because Scott Eastwood and Freddie Thorp as "brothers" Andrew and Garrett Foster are probably the trendiest car thieves on the run you will ever meet.  And I put that in air quotes because aside from their affinity for male hair products, nothing about these two bros say brothers to me one bit. To begin with, Scott Eastwood is an all-around American guy, while Thorp has a thick English accent. But as they say in the film, "they are brothers from another mother" and I'm guessing we are supposed to take that literally. But beyond that, these two actors have absolutely zero chemistry. In fact, none of the cast has any chemistry. So, when we are introduced to Andrew’s love interest, Stephanie (Anna De Armas), to say it comes across as phony baloney, that’s an u