(1987/Orion/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)/Drive
Hard (2014/Image Blu-ray
Italian Cop & Gangster Films That Ruled The '70s
(2014/Cinema Epoch DVD)/The
remake/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Zig
B-/B-/B- & C/C+/B-/C+ Sound: C+/B-/B- & C+/C/B-/C
Extras: C+/C+/D/C+/C+/C- Films: C+/C/C/B/C/C+
Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Twilight Time,
are limited to only 3,000 copies each and can be ordered while
supplies last, while Zig
DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.
a list of mixed thrillers you may or may not have heard of, plus a
documentary about a crime film cycle in Italy whose films you may or
may not have seen...
(1977) was a well-promoted attempt by United Artists to capitalize on
the big Hollywood A-level Horror genre films that were making big
money like Rosemary's
and especially The
but this time, it would involve a dead girl, reincarnation and
different form of faith. Marsha Mason and John Beck (Rollerball)
are a happily married couple whose daughter (Susan Swift, looking a
bit like Linda Blair) seems well and all are happy. That is until
the young lady starts having nightmares.
this time, a strange man (Anthony Hopkins) is sighted following them
and watching them more than he should, though we soon learn he has a
good reason for his unreasonable behavior: he suspects (after much
research and thought) that their daughter is really the reincarnation
of his young daughter who died in a car accident where the car
crashed, caught fire and killed her!
father is furious and mother unbelieving until more events at least
convince her maybe something is wrong. From there, the film swings
between some interesting moments, preposterous ones and a few that
don't work, but at least this is somewhat ambitious, if not
ultimately successful. In the end though, I doubt this would have
been made without the money those other films had pulled in. Norman
Lloyd also shows up towards the end in an interesting turn, but that
does not save things. However, this one is worth a look for all the
things they actually try out. I wish supernatural films today were
always this smart and ambitious.
include an illustrated booklet on the film including informative text
and a Julie Kirgo essay on the film, while the Blu-ray adds an
Original Theatrical Trailer and Isolated Music Score track by Michael
(1987) was Orion Pictures attempt to have a wild voodoo thriller with
Martin Sheen when he was still considered box office (and was not
overtaken by his son Charlie), but the screenplay I so increasingly
wacky and contrived that it plays more like a bad action film than
anything with the supernatural, with suspense or in the ned, any
logic that adds up including a very desperate ending taken a little
Jimmy Smits, Robert Loggia and Richard Masur show up giving it their
best, but I was nor impressed then and remain disappointed now.
recovered the next year artistically with his highly underrated
with Shirley MacLaine, but only Loggia continued to have more regular
feature film roles. The genre was a bit played out at this time and
but was also well-promoted in its time, yet interesting moments are
limited and is a curio at best. Having the son of Sheen's character
in jeopardy also wears thin quickly.
include another illustrated booklet on the film including informative
text and a Julie Kirgo essay on the film, while the Blu-ray adds an
Original Theatrical Trailer
and Isolated Music Score track.
(2014) brings the great Oz-ploitation director back with a pairing
that has possibilities as John Cusack plays a gun-toting crook/thief
who kidnaps expert car driver Thomas Jane to help him rob a bank.
Made in Australia, this had possibilities and the leads have some
chemistry, but it is held back by a derivative script and a need to
be like an expensive, overproduced Hollywood action film when it
should have been much more like a gritty Australian thriller like
they are not making much anymore.
car chases, something Trenchard-Smith excels at, are not bad, but
even they feel restrained, while the fights are not bad. Most of the
96 minutes is everything we have seen before, though fans of the
leads or actor might want to give this a look for the few sequences
are no extras.
The Italian Cop & Gangster Films That Ruled The '70s
(2014) is an excellent documentary with a ton of interviews that does
its best to explain, define and cover the 1970s hardcore violent
crime films coming out of Italy in the wake of the Hollywood crime
cycle and gangster genre revival. With their extreme violence,
blood, torture, sex, sexism, sex crime, robbery and murder plots
throwing good taste out the window, they were bold if not always
original. They also produced stars and continued others careers.
Nero, John Saxon, Antonio Sabato, Fred Williamson, Henry Silva, Joe
Dallesandro, Chris Mitchum, Luc Merenda and many more insiders are
interviewed, joined by many insiders, directors, writers, production
people, vintage film clips and fun animation in an uncut 127 minutes
documentary all serious film fans and filmmakers will want to see.
As fans, the makers might be giving this cycle a little more credit
than it should, but otherwise, it is nice to see these raw films get
the serious, smart treatment they are getting here. We've even
covered many of these films (especially from Raro Video) and this is
a great place to being to learn about them, even if you have only
seen a few, if that. Well done!
include bonus interview clips, including some that should have stayed
in the main program.
original version of George Sluizer's The
was just issued on Blu-ray by The Criterion Collection, so Fox &
Twilight Time have decided to issue the 1993 remake as a Limited
Edition Blu-ray. It is not a great film, good remake and was not a
hit, but it has become an odd curio. A pre-24
Kiefer Sutherland and then-unknown Sandra Bullock are a couple taking
a trip when she goes to buy something at a gas station and
disappears. We soon discover that she has been abducted by a strange
man (Jeff Bridges truing something different) for reasons we are not
clear on at first.
this remake gets as contrived as The
very quickly more interested in plot twists that strain credibility
more and more than actually telling a story with suspense, going for
formula instead. Nancy Travis shows up as Sutherland's new love
interest, but the Bullock character is insufficiently dealt with and
the result is a package deal mess that should have never been made.
There are still enough wacky moments not to totally write it off, but
far from enough to recommend it.
include yet another illustrated booklet on the film including
informative text and a Julie Kirgo essay on the film, while the
Blu-ray adds an Original Theatrical Trailer and Isolated Music Score
A. Colla's Zig
(1970) has George Kennedy as a man arrested for a crime that gets him
sent to jail, which is how we meet him, but it turns out it is part
of a con by the man who is up to something bigger than is first
apparent in this challenging mystery crime thriller trying to take
its cues from John Boorman's classic Point
(1967, finally on Blu-ray form Warner) to some success, if not as
much a Stephen Soderbergh's The
Wallach is his attorney who may not know everything that is really
happening, Anne Jackson is his wife and the rest of the cast is
really good. Even when this did not always work, I liked the
intelligence, look and feel of the film and it is a must-see for all
serious film fans or mature adult viewers who like something
challenging. Kennedy does some of his boldest work here too.
trailer is the only extra.
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Drive
and 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition images on the three
Twilight Time Blu-rays all have their issues and limits, evening out
as the best performers on the list. Drive
is an HD shoot that has its moments, but also its share of detail
look a little aged and slightly strained and Audrey
may be grainy and not perfect, but color comes through in many nice
shots. It may show its age at times and try to have the look of the
but is my favorite transfer on the list.
is a compilation of new HD and old film clips in an anamorphically
enhanced 1.78 X 1 image that is just fine, while the anamorphically
enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Zig
was shot in real anamorphic 35mm Panavision and processed in
MetroColor with more than its share of nice shots throughout, tying
with Eurocrime for second place in playback. Both would look better
in HD, but the Drive
DVD is especially weak, soft and the worst performer on the list.
four Blu-rays offer lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) sound, with
offering DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes; the former has
some flaws and limits, while the latter is not a bad upgrade after a
long road to get where it is. For the record, its trailer announced
it would be simple Dolby A-type analog surround stereo, then the
print offers it as more advanced Dolby SR (Spectral Recording) analog
sound, but here it is up to 5.1 that is a little harsh and overly
sweetened, but is not bad for its age. A DTS-MA 2.0 Stereo version
is here too, but it is weaker than expected and for purists only who
should be careful of volume switching.
only has a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix with Pro
Logic-like surrounds and more overly sweetened sounds, but that is
enough to tie it with its 5.1 counterparts
for first place on the list. Ariadne
has a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix that is more
aged, but not bad despite its age and good enough to compete with the
lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the Drive
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Eurocrime
has some good sound, but there are many patches where the interview
sound is rougher or lower and sometimes, music overrides talking.
Nothing some remixed, reediting and rebalancing could not fix,
though, but the sound is flawed, so expect that.
order the Audrey
Rose, Believers and Vanishing
edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at this link:
to order the Zig
Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: