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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Murder > Detective > Serial Killer > Action > Martial Arts > Korea > Slasher > Horror > Fantasy > A > Confession Of Murder (2012/Well Go USA Blu-ray)/Death Do Us Part (2012/Anchor Bay DVD)/Escape From Tomorrow (2013/Cinedigm Blu-ray)/Locker 13 (2013/Arc DVD)/Ripper Street: Season Two (2013/BBC Blu-ray

Confession Of Murder (2012/Well Go USA Blu-ray)/Death Do Us Part (2012/Anchor Bay DVD)/Escape From Tomorrow (2013/Cinedigm Blu-ray)/Locker 13 (2013/Arc DVD)/Ripper Street: Season Two (2013/BBC Blu-ray set)/Sleep, My Love (1948/Olive Blu-ray)/Snake & Mongoo$e (2013/Anchor Bay/Starz Blu-ray)

Picture: B/C/C+/C/B-/B-/B- Sound: B/C+/B-/C+/B-/C+/B- Extras: C/C-/C-/C-/C/D/C Main Programs: C/C-/D/C/C+/C+/B-

These action thrillers usually sound better than they turned out to be...

Jung Byung-Gil's Confession Of Murder (2012) is set in Korea with initially a good idea in which a serial killer torments a police detective starting with a shocking encounter, but just when this might take off as a real solid thriller, a dumb premise. The killer has been writing a book he plans to make money off of and we are supposed to believe a statute of limitations means if he is free long enough, he'll get away with all the murders. Even based on that logic, this still cannot stop itself from eventually becoming silly.

The actors, marital arts fights, chases and stunt sequences are therefore what the film needs to coast on and as well done as all that can be, it is just too much a comedown from what the initial set-up was and cannot or make up for such a gigantic gap of disappointment. Those interested in it for its bells and whistles and as a genre piece will likely want to see it once, but it falls through quickly.

A trailer, Behind The Scenes clip and a few interview clips are the extras.

Nicholas Humphries' Death Do Us Part (2012) has a married couple unwisely talked into going to a remote cabin where all hell eventually breaks loose (guess they skipped all the bad torture porn films in such locales in recent years) and we suffer as much as any of them. The cast if unknowns is not bad, actually, but the script has the characters as flat non-thinkers who never think much out and 15 minutes after they arrive, the limited plotting collapses and never recovers.

A Behind The Scenes featurette is the only extra.

Randy Moore's Escape From Tomorrow (2013) is the big, goofy, idiotic dud on this list playing like a strange would-be sci-fi tale that wants to be a tale of a Disney gone wrong by portraying one of its theme parks as a place where people are brainwashed and sometimes killed. Shot secretly without the actual Disney company knowing it, the makers are smug enough to think they are making some big statement bashing the company (did a Disney rival secretly fund this one?) but being so shallow and silly about it, this becomes one big nothing quickly.

Of course, there have been great films about a dark side to Disney's amusement parks (among others with animatronic people, characters and the like) like Westworld (1973) and the original Stepford Wives (1974), but this wreck couldn't begin to even come close. Even the failed Beyond Westworld TV series seems like Twin Peaks as compared to this hideous, cynical, dirty trick of a release.

The alleged plot is a man takes his family to one of the Mouse House's parks and everything eventually goes wrong. One of the extras tries to spin this as an artistic mediation on the changes from the old version of the park to one now that is somehow lesser, but that was a full-of-it take and angle too. This is one of the worst releases of the year, the last few years and that it is a Best buy exclusive makes it seem as smart as the pay-per-view DIVX DVD dud that killed it rival, Circuit City. Avoid this one at all costs!!!

A trailer, two audio commentary tracks, Poster Gallery and Making Of featurette are the extras.

Five directors are credited to Locker 13 (2013) which sports a solid cast including Rick Schroder, Jon Gries, Tatyana Ali, Curtis Armstrong and Jon Polito, crosscutting between stories about a boxer (Schroder) aging (he hardly looks old) trying to have one more money-making victory, a hitman with client problems, a guy desperate to join a secret society and the owner and user of the title object with his own secrets to hide.

The problems include that this wants to be a never-say-anthology anthology film, lacks focus and coordination and wastes more than a few opportunities throughout. Part of it is a shame since they have a tone that works as a hook throughout, but we never get a real payoff.

A trailer is the only extra.

Ripper Street: Season Two (2013) has made it to a sophomore season due to raves and fanfare from viewers and critics like ours who covered the debut season at this link:


Yet, the expensive show is struggling and it is not for lack of ambition or effort. Why? From someone who is not as impressed, it may be more graphic than your usual police procedural (taking advantage of its past time period to some extent) but it is actually not dark enough, different enough or bold enough, which was my encounter with both seasons including mere eight episodes here. In addition, this takes place after the Ripper killings and that in itself seems a bit anticlimactic.

Still the effort, ambition and a decent cast is here and fans will likely enjoy this season to enough of an extent, though starting from the beginning is probably best in this case. It just does not do enough to really work for me and the mixed ratings on both sides of the Atlantic show I am not alone.

The bonus featurette Beneath Ripper Street is the only extra.

Douglas Sirk's Sleep, My Love (1948) is a real Film Noir from a director later known for his deceptively dreamy and dream-like melodramas, with dark undertones many missed. Here, Claudette Colbert is a wife who is not doing well or feeling well, but her husband (Don Ameche) is actually planning on leaving her, getting rid of her, getting her money and worse as he seduces a younger, demanding, sexy woman (Hazel Brooks). The film has some good moments, good actors and interesting set-ups, but with limits.

Robert Cummings is the police detective who falls for Colbert and starts trying to figure out what is going on, even when it puts him in jeopardy, but Keye Luke (who plays a newlywed man who is friends with Colbert) becomes a clone of his Number One Son role in the original Fox Charlie Chan films making this conform to certain formulaic conventions that run against the boldness of real Noirs. Raymond Burr and George Coulouris are a plus and I like the look of the film, but it is not great, yet worth a look for all serious film fans.

There are sadly no extras.

Wayne Holloway's Snake & Mongoo$e (2013) might sound like and even look a bit like Ron Howard's recent race car film Rush, but it is no cheap clone of anything as we get a fine telling of the story of the two men who became racing stars by putting drag racing on the map in a professional way that made it a big moneymaker for good. Jesse Williams is Don Prudhomme (aka Snake) and Richard Blake is Tom McEwen (aka Mongoose) who become friendly competitors as they look for ways to build their names in doing what they love the most.

A few breaks eventually come their way, especially when Mattel sponsors both of them and wants to tie them into their Hot Wheels die cast car line as a way to boost sales the way Barbie dolls were making a mint for them for young girls. It works and soon, they are breaking racing records and more, but the smart script makes this a dual biopic of the men and their lives, is on the money about how they helped build the sport and how their legacies helped make 1970s pop culture as great as it was, even after they parted ways with Mattel.

I was very surprised and impressed by what we get here, from the melding of several formats (see below), the casting, acting, pacing and respect for the actual racing history in detail that too many sloppy such productions might have skipped or lightly brushed off. Despite being mostly an HD shoot, it is amazing how much this feels like the years it takes place in. The film stands on its own very well, is an underrated little gem that more people should see and if you like car films like Rush, Grand Prix or Le Mans, you should put this on top of your list of the next feature films to see. Tim Blake Nelson and Noah Wylie also star in great roles here.

A featurette is sadly the only extra.

Of all the Blu-rays we get there, the HD-shot 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Murder is king with usually fine detail, depth and color throughout for a digital camera-originated feature film, but this is more typical of Korean cinema than most others including that of U.S. productions. Still, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Ripper (an all-HD show) and Snake (which mixes in great vintage color film with its HD shoot very well, but some analog video and a few odd shots hold it back), plus 35mm black & white shot 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Sleep (despite a sometimes problematic print with damage and dirt that can show the age of the materials used) tie for second place for playback looking decent, if not as consistently so as we would like.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Escape is the poorest of the Blu-rays with its color-gutted shooting taking color HD footage and trying to turn it into black and white, only to have kit be ultra-phony monochrome that still retains a bad grey scale that always reminds you it is a color source. It is as obnoxious as its content.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the two DVDs sadly tie for last place looking weak, too soft for their own good and sometimes hard to watch, but both would benefit from Blu-ray releases, especially Locker 13.

The sound situation is almost similar with the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Murder the sonically superior presentation with great sound design, sound recording, sound mixing and a solid soundfield throughout. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 on Snake is dialogue-based at times, has its share of added sounds for the vintage footage and some vintage mono audio, but they bring it all together nicely more than you might expect them to, tied for second place by the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Ripper and Escape, the latter of which was held back by its secret shooting.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless Mono on Sleep and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on the DVDs tie for last place for fidelity, with the former just showing the age of its recording and the latter two simply having weak soundfields if that.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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