Hitchcock: Master Of Suspense
(2012/De Palma/E1 Blu-ray)/Shiver
C/C+/B-/C Sound: C/C/B-/C Extras: C+/C-/C-/D Main
the cycle of the many Halloween 2013 releases, here are some of note
that don't always work, but you might just hear about because they
are all at least curios.
Hitchcock: Master Of Suspense
(1995) is an older compilation documentary about the entire career of
the massively successful filmmaker whose influence continues large to
this day. Though footage looks old and dated often, there are some
solid facts, rare stills and rare clips included that makes this
worth a look for all serious film fans. Since this release, many
documentaries and featurettes have been done on his films, but some
spots here have not been repeated enough and with the extras, this is
a solid DVD release.
are the best of all the releases here including a special alternate
promo for The Birds, A Will Rogers Promo Hitchcock made for the
charity, two sets of special film clips to go with reruns of his TV
anthology show: one set in color with color TV in mind and the other
for daytime broadcasts aimed at housewives and The
Cheney Vase episode of
to be like a 1980s independent horror film, Richard Griffin's Murder
University (2012) is a
slasher film set at a school and at first, the makers have captured
the look and feel of such films, then it slowly starts getting
sloppy, starts making mistakes and turns into just another bad HD-era
horror mess with the same old tired jokes, splatter and
predictability. Too bad, because they were on the right track, but
blew it after about the first half hour. What a shame!
include an Original Theatrical Trailer, Deleted Scenes and two (!!!)
feature length audio commentary tracks that don't say much.
could we expect more from Brian De Palma, one of the most important
thriller filmmakers in Hitchcock's wake? Passion
(2012) starts with a promising premise that gas Rachel McAdams as a
back-stabbing executive who will use her sexuality and anything else
at her dispose to get ahead, befriending a creative employee (Noomi
Rapice) until things start to go wrong and lead to murder.
remake of a French thriller that most people in the states never
heard of, the scrip[t is weak, predictable, two-dimensional and
recycles in a tired way everything we have seen De Palma do before.
The camera likes the leads and there is potential here, but it is
light years from being realized. Part of the problem is that De
Palma lost his touch four films ago after a decent showing with Snake
Eyes (1998), but his
films since have been very forgettable and disappointing. The French
conventions of the story play counter to his freer, bolder style and
wins out over him. At least you get a few good moments, but not
enough to justify the film.
interview featurette is the only extra.
we have a a run-of-the-mill abduction/serial killer flick in Julian
(2013) with a frustrated older man kidnapping young, pretty women and
having sex with them after just killing them and worse.
Unfortunately, it has more cliches than blood and guts (which is a
good bit), so it plays out very badly. Rae Dawn Chong and Casper Van
Dien show up as investigating detectives, but they are not given much
to do and by the time the 91 minutes is up, you wonder why anyone
bothered. Danielle Harris plays the main gal the killer keeps going
after under any circumstances as his next victim. Yawn...
are no extras.
1.33 X 1 image on the Hitchcock compilation is an old
NTSC compilation made up of some materials that are not in the best
of shape, looking even worse in the face of most of his films now on
Blu-ray and 18+ years old, so be tolerant, yet the
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Shiver
is so soft and over-darkened for so-called style that it looks
just as bad and almost worse!
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Murder fares better
in its attempt to approximate the look of a 1980s Horror release, but
it has more than its share of flaws, softness and other issues in
this and does not always work, especially when it gets sloppy.
leaves the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
shot on 35mm film in the Super 35mm format, looking the best of all
these entries, but still having some softness on the edges for
whatever look De Palma and
Director of Photography (and Pedro Almodovar veteran) Jose Luis
Alcaine try to have it both ways by doing what we would think of De
Palma shots, yet in a light, non-edgy way that tries not to be what
it is trying to be. This approach does not work either, but the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the film is
well-recorded, yet is towards the front speakers that I would have
liked. Pino Donaggio's score is more of the same too, unfortunately.
Why play it so safe?
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Murder
has a compression issue that makes it sound artificially louder than
it should and holds back what could have been a nice audio
presentation, but the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 in Shiver
is actually worse badly recorded, mixed and presented with a screwy
soundfield when we get one and has some issues that are not a disc
defect, so the lossy, old Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the Hitchcock
compilation (as worn sounding as it is) has no trouble matching it.