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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Action > Terrorism > Murder > Kidnapping > Aliens > Horror > Science Fiction > Psychosis > Mental > Airborne (Image DVD)/The Cottage (E1 DVD)/Enemy Mine (1985/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Excision (Unrated/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)/Prometheus (Ridley Scott Alien prequel/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/Th

Airborne (Image DVD)/The Cottage (E1 DVD)/Enemy Mine (1985/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Excision (Unrated/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)/Prometheus (Ridley Scott Alien prequel/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Raven (Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/247º[Degrees]F (Anchor Bay Blu-ray/all 2012)


Picture: C/C/B/B-/B & C+/B & C/B-     Sound: C+/C/B/B-/B+ & B-/B & C/C+     Extras: D/C-/C+/D/C/C-/C-     Films: C/C-/C+/C+/C-/C-/C-



PLEASE NOTE:  The Enemy Mine Blu-ray is limited to 3,000 copies and is available exclusively at the Screen Archives website which can be reached at the link at the end of this review.



And now for more Science Fiction and Horror in time for Halloween 2012…




We start with the silly Dominic Burns’ Airborne in which Mark Hamill must watch over air traffic control as an airplane they are watching gets into trouble when a murderer is loose on board, but something worse and mysterious seems to actually be happening.  Is it a terrorist takeover, something supernatural or worse?


This is fluff, though the cast is amusing and veteran Julian Glover (For Your Eyes Only) turns up among the passengers who are a mix of British and American actors throughout.  The visual effects are silly and the script goes not where fast, but this is at least semi-competent at best, but it was dull overall.  There are no extras.



Chris Jaymes’ The Cottage is a thriller where people keep kidnapping and turning on each other as the film tells us happy family life is a lie.  It might even be cynical if it had a smarter script, but there is a vague suggestion of the supernatural that may or may not materialize and this is more of a run on bore than expected.  I liked the cast, including David Arquette among the unknowns, but this was quickly forgotten and has a dumb ending to boot.  A trailer is the only extra.



Wolfgang Peterson’s Enemy Mine (1985) was never one of my favorite films and it never seemed to know if it was for a young audience, family audience or if we were expected to believe it was for a wide audience.  However, we have Dennis Quaid as a spaceman who is not happy with invading aliens and when one of them (Louis Gossett Jr. in a ton of latex) shows up in trouble on an unstable planet, they eventually have to help each other against any prejudice.


From there, this becomes a harrowingly melodramatic and overly-involved tale about family, prejudice and relationships that plays like a B-movie that I can only take so seriously.  Still, it has a following and that is why it is a limited edition Blu-ray from Twilight Time via the Fox catalog.  Brion James (Blade Runner) shows up as a villain and the extensive latex is interesting enough to make one appreciate the efforts in making this film, even when some visual effects (never that good to begin with) have not aged very well.


Extras include an illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and another fine essay by Julie Kirgo, plus the disc adds the Original Theatrical Trailer and Isolated Music Score of the well-liked music by Maurice Jarre.



Richard Bates Jr.’s Excision (unrated in this edition) is supposed to be about the problems of a young lady (AnnaLynne McCord) having more than puberty and personal sexual issues, but visions of blood, mutilation, death, decay, surgery, carnage, murder and violent delusions that put this in the category of the genres here.  The director wants to combine elements of Polanski’s Repulsion, Tarsem’s The Cell and various Stanley Kubrick films into this tale of mental illness and violent sickness, but it is a very mixed work despite its ambitions.


For one thing, the director and script (by the director) misses the boat in deeply dealing with a female point of view, so all we get is the psychosis, psychotic visions and blood without enough character development despite good acting by McCord.  Malcolm McDowell, Ray Wise and Traci Lords also turn up in the supporting cast, but even that cannot save this from being an amalgamation of too much of what we’ve seen before.  You can see it for yourself, but expect more blood than most releases of late.  There are no extras.



Prometheus is the latest by Ridley Scott, who said this was not a prequel to his 1979 classic Alien, yet it in some ways still tires to be, but no one could settle exactly on what it is or was, which turns out to be the problem for the entire production and it turns out to be one of the biggest disappointments of the year and then some.  Perhaps 33 years was too long to come near the original classic.  After all, it has two great sequels, a third tolerable one and those two “Versus Predator” spin-off films, not to mention the hundreds of imitators since.


We start in the later 2000s when young woman scientist (Noomi Rapace) finds a clue that could answer some big truth about man and the universe, so fascinating in fact that the giant Weyland mega-corporation applies it to a big space mission which includes her and a crew prepared to find out what is really going on.  This includes Michael Fassbinder as an android (he was inspired in part by diver Greg Louganis he said) running the ship and waking up the crew slowly for the mission.


From there, this plays like any imitator of the 1979 film, then goes off into a dozen directions that have nothing to do with anything important, we get hardly any character development, Charlize Theron also turns up in a cold performance and Idris Elba is among the wasted supporting cast.


Here are lots of visual computer graphic displays, the 3D design worked often in the 3D version and some of the shots are not bad, but the longer this goes on, the more of a mess it is.  There is some nonsense of remystifying religious context that has nothing to do with thrillers of any kind, this has hardly any suspense, any surprises, limited horror and is never even dark enough to create any suspense.


Even when they reach the iconic “space jockey” ship, it lights up like an Atari 2600 with goofy holograms and this eventually becomes a big joke and package deal that I still cannot believe was greenlit.  Fox wants to make big money and extend the franchise, but like Planet Of The Apes, it is more like a goofy, dumbed-down reboot than anything that the original trilogy stood for.  In addition, the music was mixed, ending stupefying and has so many holes in logic that often inept is an apt description of the illogic at work in the screenplay.  It did not do well at the box office, but with overseas, home video and the fact that it is a decent demo for 3D, it will at least break even.  However, the alleged sequel sounds like a hideous idea and all should quit while they are ahead.


Extras include Ultraviolet Copy, a mix of Deleted Scenes that might have partly helped out but not much, two feature length audio commentary tracks and The Peter Weyland File.  For more on the original films and this one, try these links:


Alien Anthology Blu-ray set



Prometheus: The Art Of The Film by Mark Salisbury hardcover book




John McTeigue’s The Raven wants to take John Cusack and put him in a Robert Downey Jr./Sherlock Holmes-type situation by treating Edgar Allen Poe’s books in a loose amalgamation and creating a serial killer movie out of them.  McTeigue helmed the influential ‘V’ For Vendetta (reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) but has yet to duplicate that success.  Though Poe’s work has usually not been put on the big screen faithfully, the script here is all over the place and after some early starts that might have picked this up, it all eventually slowly implodes and disappoints.


That’s a shame, because if the material had been taken more seriously instead of superfluously, this could have been a nice surprise.  However, it never works, a supporting cast including Brendan Gleeson cannot help it and all I had left were fond memories of The Hughes Brothers’ far superior From Hell.  Sad.


Extras include five featurettes, a feature length audio commentary track and Deleted & Extended Scenes that show this might have worked with much more work, plus Digital Copy for PC and PC compatible portable devices.  For more on Poe done well, try this link to the 1995 Christopher Lee Poe TV series that not enough people saw, though The Raven is not one of the adapted tales:





Finally we have 247ºF, which was co-directed by Levan Bakhia and Beda Jguburia, a drama and sort of thriller about some young adults who rent an isolated cabin with a sauna and (surprise?!?) get stuck in it, almost getting killed.  Despite the presence of Scout Taylor-Compton and a not-bad supporting cast of unknowns, the co-direction is a wreck, the script is a wreck and results are an idiot plot that is an unconvincing bore.  It is also yet another stuck-in-a story that gets played out early on.  The result is a very long 88 minutes and after they are in there a while, I could have cared less.


See this when you are very awake and don’t operate heavy machinery when playing it.  Extras include lame Deleted Scenes and a feature length audio commentary by Bakhia that is at least as boring.



Though Prometheus has been issued on Blu-ray 3D, our edition only has the 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 28 MBPS, 2D digital High Definition image transfer version, which was an all HD shoot and has some good shots, but nothing special overall.  3D helps this one to some extent, but I was not impressed overall and though the digital effects were overdone. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 32 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer on Raven and 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Enemy Mine are the equal to Prometheus despite the darkness on Raven and age on Enemy Mine with a surprisingly colorful, clean and clear HD master.  Still, the latter two don’t have many demo moments, while the anamorphically enhanced DVDs of Prometheus is soft and Raven much softer to the point it almost earned a lower rating.


That leaves the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on 247ºF being softer with motion blur, detail and depth issues that made it less exciting to watch.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Cottage and 2.35 X 1 on the Airborne DVDs tie with the Raven DVD as the softest presentations were, which are all dull and colorless.



The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix with D-BOX motion bass functions on Prometheus is easily the most sonically accomplished entry here, far ahead of the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on its DVD version and with a non-stop soundfield.  However, it has limited character or memorability as a soundmix and the music score by Marc Streitenfeld didn’t do much for me either.



The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Raven and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 4.0 lossless mix on Enemy Mine are the runners-up with excellent, consistent soundfields throughout.  The Raven DVD offers lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 that is some of the harshest and most shrill I have come across in a while.  Enemy Mine is also here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless Stereo, but the 4.0 likely comes from the 70mm blow-up soundtrack (though not all sources could confirm it made it to print) in a mix featured in 6-track magnetic sound.  Fans will be very surprised and happy with that one.


Excision and 247ºF offer lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixes, but both disappoint and 247ºF is especially weak throughout, sounding very weak and with location audio issues as well as mixing issues.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Airborne and Cottage DVDs are also very weak, with Airborne as bad as 247ºF and Cottage tying for worst sound on the list with the shrill Raven DVD soundtrack.


As noted above, Enemy Mine can be ordered while supplies last at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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