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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Family > Crime > Legal > Politics > Korea > Boxing > WWII > Diet > Debate > Realtionships > Assault > Weal > As High As The Sky (2014/Cinema Libre DVD)/The Attorney (2013/Well Go USA DVD)/A Fighting Man (2013/Sony DVD)/Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Living Things (

As High As The Sky (2014/Cinema Libre DVD)/The Attorney (2013/Well Go USA DVD)/A Fighting Man (2013/Sony DVD)/Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Living Things (2014/Cinema Libre DVD)/Some Velvet Morning (2013/Tribeca/Cinedigm DVD)/What Richard Did (2012/Tribeca/Cinedigm DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison is a limited edition with only 3,000 Blu-ray copies being produced, is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time and can be ordered from the link below.

This is a group of dramas I hoped might work, but they all had their issues, then we also visit a classic hit...

Nikki Braendlin's As High As The Sky (2014) points to one trend here of the whole feature being so many talking heads that form is weak as is the final result. This one has two sisters (Caroline Fogarty, Bonnie McNeil) having a visit when one has her fiancee leaving her unexpectedly and the resulting long, long talk is about all the dysfunction, their history and what should either of them expect and do next. This is complicated by the visiting sister bringing her daughter, Hannah, who becomes as much a help as a distraction. Running 91 minutes, it does not accomplish as much as I would have liked it to and it did not stay with me much afterwards as the makers seem to have intended. It is because it is a very female discourse? No, because we have seen much of this before. Now, you can decide.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer and 3 Making Of featurettes: The Writer's Room, From Page To Screen and Playing With Sound.

Yang Woo-Seok's The Attorney (2013) starts out talky and funny with a man who wants to make money on anything (property, taxes) in his home of South Korea despite not graduating from school when a much more serious case comes up of a group of young men targeted by a corrupt militant, Right-wing government regime framing them for being Left-wing nuts and torturing confessions out of them when all they did was join a book club. Too bad getting to this takes half the film as the makers try to pull a Spielberg out of this and that actually made it a hit back home.

Worth seeing for the second half and I believe it was based on a true story, but not as good as it could have been by being compromised.

The Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

Boxing films are played out and started as B-movies to begin with. By the time the first Stallone Rocky showed up, the sport was not as dirty as it had been and we occasionally get classics like Raging Bull and The Fighter, but most are just formula filler. Damian Lee's A Fighting Man (2013) tries to solve the problem by having the big fight play slowly during the film while we get background on everyone involved. Dominic Purcell is the older fighter taking on a young one (Izaak Smith) to get money to help his ill mother. They both have pros helping them in their corner (James Caan and Louis Gossett, Jr. in his best work in years respectively) and we get some fine supporting work from the likes of Michael Ironside, Famke Janssen, Kim Coates, Adam Beach and Jenessa Grant. This has some good moments, but the fight the makers have against boxing formula films is tougher than any hits we see on the screen. Still, it is worth a look.

The Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

John Huston's Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957) is a revisit by the director into African Queen territory with Robert Mitchum as the tough guy (a U.S. soldier here) dealing with an oppressed woman in Deborah Kerr, playing a nun. They are stuck on the same island and suddenly become concerned they might fall victim to Japanese Imperialist killer soldiers as WWII continues to rage on in the South Pacific where they have found each other. They are good and you get some odd chemistry, but the film never really worked for me and though I got a few points pout of it I had not a long time ago, it only works so well.

Still, fans of the director and leads can be thrilled that Fox and Twilight Time have issued this one as a Limited Edition Blu-ray with the best vault materials they could find at this time. Made under unusual circumstances you can read more about in this set, et al, it deserves a Blu-ray release and finally gets one. Oh, and though the leads are the only two talking often, they know how to make that work more than most.

Extras include the usual illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and essay by the always reliable Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds the Original Theatrical Trailer, affiliated Fox Movietone News reels and an Isolated Music Score track by Georges Auric (Wages Of Fear, The Innocents, Lavender Hill Mob, Roman Holiday, Bonjour Tristesse).

Eric Shapiro's Living Things (2014) is the next of our dramas where the limited cast just talks and talks without much else going on. Here, a female vegetarian takes on a meat-eating guy and we get a long 75-minutes dialogue-as-debate on the subjects surrounding that debate and more. I expected that once this got started, it would take off after the obvious. Instead, it was all obvious, nothing new and the actors sometimes talk at each other more than talk to each other. At least they tried, but it did not add up as hoped.

The Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

Neil LaBute's Some Velvet Morning (2013) is obvious, simple, cynical and par for the course of a director who made a name for himself portraying the way men hate women. However, he was soon wallowing and even glorifying such things and this is as bad an example of it and the worst entry on this list. If not for the actors, it would have actually been worse as even from the cover, an older man (Stanley Tucci in yet another thankless role) visits a younger, sexy woman (Alice Eve, who deserves better than this!) who was his mistress. He is there to restart a relationship she is not interested in. Guess what the result is after a long 82 minutes?


Extras include interviews with Tucci, Eve & LaBute.

Finally we have Lenny Abrahamson's What Richard Did (2012) with Jack Reynor as the title character, part of a group of seemingly easy-going guys in their home of Dublin going out, meeting gals, having a good time and more. His family has money and he has life easy, but from the title, he makes a big mistake... at first without realizing it. It takes a while to get to this point, he is not a mean person necessarily and then, what will he do as a result?

After the disgraceful affluenza case in the U.S., this will hit a chord with some and may offend a few, but it is intelligently handled and is based on a book. However, my problem is that in its 88 minutes, it did not go far enough, ask more questions or become more challenging. Too bad, because this could have been great.

Extras include interviews with Abrahamson & Reynor.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Allison is rough, shows the age of the materials used and does not have the best color. By this time, Fox abandoned dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor for their DeLuxe color, but you can see sometimes how good this looked. Director of Photography Oswald Morris, B.S.C. (The Man With The Golden Gun, Lolita, Equus, Fiddler On The Roof) uses the very widescreen CinemaScope frame to its fullest extent in its location shooting, but this copy is a little more grainy and color-challenged than I would have liked, but it looks the best of any entry on the list.

Tying for second place are the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Sky & Attorney and the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Richard, which can be soft at times, but are usually good for the format. Too soft for their own good are the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image Fighting and Living and the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Velvet including more motion blur than expected.

As for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix on Allison is the substitute for at least a 4.0 or 5.1 version of the original 4-track magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects mix on better 35mm film prints. Guess those tracks are missing or unrestored at this time, but it is still the best-sounding release on the list, tied by the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on Attorney, which is easily the DVD champ here. The five remaining DVDs tie for second place from the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Fighting, Velvet and Richard to the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Sky and Living, dialogue-based as some of them can be.

You can order the Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison limited edition Blu-ray among other great choice releases while supplies last at this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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