The Great (1956/United
Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The
Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2
(2015/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/Point
Break 3D (2015/Warner
Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)/The
Red House (1947/Film
Cars (2015/Sony DVD)/The
(1951/RKO/Warner Archive DVD)
Picture: B Picture: B-/B & C+/B & C/B-/C+/C+ Sound:
C+/B & C+/B & C+/C/C+/C+ Extras: C+/C+/C-/D/D/D
Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is
limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last,
is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series. All can be ordered from the links below.
a new set of dramas all aiming to be event film of their own kind,
but not always working out...
(1956) is finally on Blu-ray, even if MGM has taken the United
Artists film (which has a following) and allowed Twilight Time to
issue it only as a Limited Edition Blu-ray. Here is our coverage of
the film on its older DVD edition...
film keeps aging, but the actors continue to hold up against anything
that looks phony or dated, but it is a long film and the booklet
included tells us it was originally going to be longer! If that
would have worked, I would have been fine with that, but if it still
even exists, I'll believe it when I see it. This is still the short
136 minutes version and not the slightly longer 141 minutes or much
longer director's cut of the film. Unless you have a really good
film print, this is the best way to see the film on home video for
include yet another highly underrated, illustrated booklet on the
film including informative text and essay by the great film scholar
Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds a fine Claire Bloom interview on
Isolated Music Score and Original Theatrical Trailer.
Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2
(2015) comes at the end of the 'youth against police states' fantasy
cycle that has been pretty phony and unrealistic to begin with,
usually gutting the true politics you might get in the likes of Peter
(see the review elsewhere on this site), et al. However, the
Lionsgate money-machine has not even been as fun as an OzPloitation
film, though it has given the great Donald Sutherland a chance to go
'boo hiss' again in a big hit, but it has dragged out the endless end
and given us a dud of an ending (albeit rather predictable, no major
win against the evil state that it could have had) and just in time
as the cycle claims big budget victims in its imitators arriving too
we move on, all three... I mean four
films in the series have now been issued in the new 4K Ultra HD 2160p
Blu-ray format and you can catch then all here...
to say Jennifer Lawrence almost seems to have outgrown her role and
the cast including Julianne Moore, Jenna Malone, Josh Hutcherson,
Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jeffrey Wright and
Stanley Tucci is not weak in the on-screen talent department. Too
bad their Music Video director holds them back way too much. Of
course, the saddest thing here is one of the final appearances of the
great Philip Seymour Hoffman who we can at last say met with much
great success and love before we lost him way too soon.
the lack of energy, this is really for fans only and I find it hard
to believe all the fans can actually be happy with how this ended.
However, it will always be the first and most important of this cycle
and at least it was not budget-lacking for what that's worth.
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds a feature length
audio commentary track with Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson, an
documentary, three more
Behind The Scenes featurettes including Panem
and the especially excellent A
that is more interesting than any of the films in the series.
(2015) is the latest package deal that should not have happened, in
part because it was still too soon for the original film was only
discovered by audiences much later than its original release as
discussed in our Blu-ray coverage of the film a few years ago...
before continuing, the title has since even been issued in the new 4K
Ultra HD Blu-ray format since this coverage, so you can read about
that version here...
I was not a big fan of the film, it had some good moments and
Katherine Bigelow has become a more important filmmaker since. Some
were offended this remake was made only a few years since original
co-star Patrick Swayze passed away too young, making some feel this
was a money grab cash-out and highly disrespectful. Though it
actually does not come across as that smug, the bigger problem is
that some good talent is brought together only to be wasted here.
Director Core made Invincible
with Mark Wahlberg, a film I really liked and should have been a much
bigger hit and discovered
as well, but that didn't happen and Core directed smaller projects
while still being a good cameraman/cinematographer.
leads are Edgar Ramirez from Bigelow's Zero
among other projects and Luke Bracey, another actor will to jump into
a role and both have energy enough to maybe make a breakthrough.
However, the slightly decolored digital shooting and especially the
script that seems to have been based on a checklist to not do
as well as the original film and replace it with fluff. In all this,
I could actually see a workable remake here, but Delroy Lindo and Ray
Winstone cannot give this the street cred it needs, the action is
silly and each segment looks like a music video, energy drink
commercial, clothes ad and/or spoof of all of the above.
it died at the box office as quickly as a receding tide, but here it
is. Warner has issued this Blu-ray 3D version with a Blu-ray 2D and
DVD, though it feels more like the options are here so you'll
actually take a look at it. In better producing hands, this could
have been a pleasant surprise, but this Point
breaks up way too early to work and never recovers. What a wipeout!
in a lenticular slipcase packaging include Digital HD Ultraviolet
Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices,
while the Blu-ray adds three Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurettes,
Original Theatrical Trailers and Deleted Scenes.
You can also see our coverage pf the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version
elsewhere on this site.
(1947) has now been issued for the second time on Blu-ray, this time
by Film Detective, but we covered the older Film Chest Blu-ray/DVD
set at this link....
not perfect, it remains a film worth seeing once and that is much
easier with this better visual transfer, though expect some age on
the presentation as this remains an orphan films of sorts and who
knows where the original camera materials are, if they still exist.
are no extras as there were on the previous Blu-ray edition.
of Wahlberg, he co-produced Bradley Jay Kaplan's Stealing
(2015), a tale based on a true story (could have fooled me) about a
young man (a showy performance by Emory Cohen that is underwritten
and almost a spoof of itself) who keeps getting into trouble with the
law, takes nothing seriously and thus, is running away from
something(s). When he lands up in a youth prison, he cannot conform
and instead of serious character development, we get endless 1970s
cinema references, some flashbacks that almost help and too many
cliches that I they outdo the movie references.
Huffman shows up as his upset mother, plus we also get Mike Epps and
John Leguizamo to add street cred (results mixed) and William H.
Macy, so another good cast is here and unknowns we might see again
get mixed in. I wanted to like this one, but it just stayed flat and
never delivered, plus more than a few moments killed anything
realistic about it. You could do worse though.
are unfortunately no extras.
Cameron Menzies' The
(1951) happens to be the best for last, a Cold War/Red Scare thriller
with Elliott Reid as a reporter who happens to land up in a small
town that seems somewhat friendly, but is actually hiding something
big and is up to no good. The few people there would like him gone
before he finds out, but he has no idea anything is even happening at
first, so they put up with him. However, his desire for fishing and
some odd attitudes keep him there, then he finds he cannot leave when
his car suddenly
will not run correctly.
out the Soviet Union has a crazy viral war plot in the works and the
whole town of secret pro-communists USSR-style are going to make sure
the worse happens... but that naïve, pesky reporter (who falls for
one of the locals, played by Carla Balenda) is going to get that big
story... as soon as he figures out what it is, unless they kill him.
the legendary production designer, was also an amazing director,
creating tension and suspense with a great support cast that includes
Raymond Burr, Lurene Tuttle and Otto Waldis makes this one of the
truly good films RKO made when Howard Hughes ran the studio. I had
not seen it for years and it holds up well, has aged very well and
best of all, is darker and more realistic than many films like it
since. It has even held up long after the Cold War ended and is
are sadly no extras.
1080p 2.35 X 1 CinemaScope digital High Definition image transfer on
can show the age of the materials used, but this is an improvement
over the DVD we covered years ago and superior enough transfer to
that film that you can enjoy it more. You can also get a better idea
of how good the fresh 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor
prints of the film must have looked.
digital HD shoots in 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image
look a little better and are the best performers here, but that is
often by default as there are very few really good or memorable shots
in either release to be impressed with and the anamorphically
enhanced DVDs are much softer; especially Point.
In the case of the 1080p 2.35 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution
digital High Definition image on Point,
it is no real improvement and some shots have zero benefits from the
format. Unless the upcoming 4K blu-ray is supposed to be better than
either presentation here, this is a generic dud all around.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on House
is enough of an improvement over the previous Blu-ray version that I
cannot even look at the older one anymore, but this print can still
show the age of the materials used. Until a better print turns up
and gets transferred correctly, this is the best you can do without
finding an actual 16mm or 35mm print of your own.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Cars
has some good shots, but is still softer than any of the Blu-rays and
on par with the just about the rest of the DVDs. The 1.33 X 1 black
and white image on Whip
looks really good for its age with a print at least as good as House,
with even more menacing shots. Wow, could this one use a Blu-ray
for sound, Point
are the sonic winners, but only so impressive as the
Dolby Atmos 11.1 mix (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) on Hunger
should really fly, but this thing is sooo talky and slow that
surrounds are uneven and the mixdown is not that much different than
the original soundmaster. Point
an 11.1 release, but Warner settles for a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio)
7.1 lossless mix is barely better than the original film (a DTS-MA
lossless 5.1 mix), which actually has some more character to it. The
lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on their respective DVDs are weaker
still and hard to enjoy.
is presented in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0
lossless Stereo is not bad, but just keeps pace with the DVDs on the
list, while House
is here in DTS-HD
MA (Master Audio) 1.0
lossless Mono that is the poorest performer on the list, overly
cleaned and compressed from the limited soundtrack the company had to
work with. How sad.
lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Cars
DVD can be good, but is not always great, while the lossy Dolby
Digital 2.0 Mono on Whip
sounds really good for its age and maybe a lossless version would
yield better fidelity.
order the Alexander
limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while
supplies last at these links:
to order The
Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: