(1956/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Backtrack
(1975/Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray w/DVD)/Misconduct
Along 2 (2013/Universal
B-/B-/B & C+/B/B/B & C/B Sound: B-/B/B- & C+/B/B/B &
C+/B- Extras: B/C-/B-/B-/C/C/C-/C- Films: C+/C/C+/C/C/C-/C
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
from the links below.
star system. In all kinds of filmmaking and all the media that
followed from TVs early days to the bottom rung of goofs on the
Internet giving us endless selfies of themselves trying to
brainwashing us into believing their boring lives aren't so, that is
a Hollywood side of glamour that has been made permanent. The
following feature film releases from the last 60 years show us how it
does work and when it also fails...
a big production form Fox with Yul Brynner at his commercial peak
(which is how he started his career) and the return of Ingrid
Bergman. Some people are huge fans of the film, as my fellow writer
will attest in his coverage of the DVD years ago at this link...
it was a comeback for Bergman, who I am a big fan of, I always found
the plot contrived (is she the one heir of the repressive Romanoff
Royal family that were all killed so we could be stuck with a Soviet
Union for longer than any of us needed?) and it just runs on and on
too much. There is also too much melodrama, any romance or
romanticizing is repetitive and the only reason to watch are the
actors and mopey on the screen. I can see why, despite the hit
animated film of the same name (taking serious liberties with
made this a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray. It deserves the
top rate treatment it gets here, including all the extras, but is not
for everyone. You should at least see it once to see what you think,
(2014) is a disappointing horror thriller with Adrien Brody (doing a
great Australian accent) as a psychiatrist Down Under who is haunted
by a death he does not want to talk about and whose patients are
starting to make him loose his grip on things. Sam Neill is the
doctor he turns to, in time for him to start seeing delusions of his
own. The problem here is that the film is not certain if it should
be a subtle supernatural thriller that does things smartly and
quietly, or hit you over the head with tired digital visual effects
and maybe some gory make-up, so it makes the mistake of doing both.
The result is a big disappointment and waste of talent, but the
makers were betting on the leads to make it a hit. That didn't work
(1975) is one of the major Blaxploitation films of the cycle, an
independent production (distributed by Dimension Pictures way back in
the day) directed by an underrated character actor who was also
gifted comically and it shows here as he goes behind the camera to
make what was a big hit. The big win here was getting no holds
barred comedian Rudy Ray Moore to star, a comic of the Redd Foxx
generation who said everything they were thinking and then some in a
screenplay he co-wrote and the result is a classic of the genre.
the title character, Moore plays a pimp with a heart of gold and then
some who manages to get one of his women to convince his prison
warden to let him go because he was framed. As soon as he does, all
hell quickly breaks loose, as does Dolemite's mouth and various guns.
this is done very comically, with one-liners that are the best
pre-Hip Hop/Rap kind up there with Mohammed Ali. The film gets silly
quickly, but is raw and funny on its own terms as only a film form
this cycle could be. The marital arts are particularly choreographed
basically well, if only they were executed with it looking like the
fighters were actually making contact
with each other. Otherwise, you can see everyone having fun and that
makes for a fun film, albeit an exploitive and knowingly silly one.
this is far form the best from the cycle, but it is a minor time
capsule classic and, well... you just have to see it to believe it!
back to the present, we are getting more projects with big names not
necessarily hitting movie theaters, but betting on star power, but
with mixed results. These last four films join Backtrack
as part of this unexpected new cycle....
(2015) beings together two of the greatest living actors around,
method acting genius Al Pacino and stage-to-big screen British legend
Anthony Hopkins. They even get a scene together in this big money
thriller about a man (Hopkins) dealing with a kidnapping and a
businessman (Pacino) out for big money, no matter who he has to run
over to get it. They even get a decent scene together.
Duhamel is the young lawyer for Pacino who is up to more no-good
things than anyone can imagine and a solid supporting cast that
include Alice Eve, Julia Styles, Malin Akerman, Byung-Hun Lee and
Glenn Powell do their best to add to the scenes the two legends
outright steal without trying. The script tries telling its story in
a different way, but its everything we've seen before not rearranged
enough and lacking new twists that could have put this over the top
and turned it into a surprise hit. Still, it is an interesting
failure with a few moments worth sitting through to get to.
(2015) pits Oscar Issac and the somewhat underrated Garrett Hedlund
in a mano-a-mano situation when the latter's character thinks he's
killed the formers in a nearby desert, but it did not happen as he
thought and now the 'victim' wants revenge. Unlike an older such
film like The
(see elsewhere on this site), the reasons for them to struggle
against each other are paper thin, unconvincing and never result in
anything but a flat story. The leads give it their all to their
credit, but to no avail. I wanted this to pick up at some point, but
that never happened. Walton Goggins also shows up, but this falls
apart early in its 93 minutes and sadly never recovers.
(2013) is a let's-cash-in, unnecessary sequel to a film no one talks
much about and re-teams Ice Cube and on-the-rise Kevin Hart in a film
with a new set of stereotypes and more formula that the baby food
isle of a mega supermarket for 102 long, long, joyless minutes where
people smile, but no one looks like they're having fun. They play
brothers-in-law (where's the divorce lawyer!?!) who go to Miami to
solve a criminal case that will eventually involve dumb gun play and
even dumber humor. If it wasn't for the loud-when-it-need-not-be
soundtrack, I could have used this to replace sleeping pills, as the
script is that dull.
underrated Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt and Sherri Shepherd
show up, but it is a losing situation for fans only if that. This is
one ride that feels like a very bad hitchhike!
(2014) is much like Mojave,
but we get an odd story that pits a vengeful Laurence Fishburne
against Thomas Jane (still the best Punisher) when a 12-year-old
young girl lands up witnessing a murder committed by Fishburne's
character. They have the intensity and acting chops to cover the
man-to-man part, but this become a stuck-in-a film where their
fighting inside the protector's home is not well laid-out. Again, I
kept hoping this one would pick up to, especially since both of these
guys are overdue for another big hit, but it falters by the halfway
mark and never recovers. Don't blame them, blame the bad pacing,
weak script and mixed directing. At least they both still got it!
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Anastasia
is a nice improvement in color, including Red and Black over the
older DVD from a while ago, but with new definition, detail and more
accurate color comes new flaws and minor issues in the transfer.
Otherwise, this is the best I have ever see the film. The same
HD-shot aspect ratio HD presentation on Backtrack
also has some detail and noise limits, with outside shots looking
better more than indoor shots than they ought to. It is not a sloppy
shoot, but inconsistent if this transfer represents the intent.
showing some age, the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image
transfer on Dolemite
is actually better than either of those other films, believe it or
not, as the makers found a 35mm negative print of some kind.
However, it must be in good shape because the film has never looked
this good and previous video releases are a bit rough. The
anamorphically enhanced DVD is not bad, but pales in comparison to
1080p 1.78 X 1 High Definition image transfer can show the age of the
materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous
releases of the film
remaining HD-shot features, Misconduct,
have surprisingly consistent 1080p
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers that are more
professional and good-looking than you might expect. Guess having
stars on the set you like is incentive to make sure this all looks
good. However, the
anamorphically enhanced Ride
DVD is the poorest performer here looking very soft and I very hard
the sound department, Anastasia
is offered in both DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes, but the film cannot get away from
the age of its fidelity. This was a film originally designed for
4-track magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects,
which it delivers in both mixes, but you can hear the intent better
in the 5.1 mix.
is surprisingly good-sounding for an old independent theatrical
monophonic release, issued here in a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0
Mono lossless mix that is in better shape than expected despite the
expected age of the source. There is also a 'boom mic' version
that's not bad and some might enjoy more with its different-sounding
fidelity. On the DVD version, they are both in lossy Dolby Digital
1.0 Mono sound.
rest of the Blu-rays offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless
mixes that are nothing spectacular, but again consistent and hold
their soundfield throughout. However, Standoff
is not as consistent throughout for whatever reasons and falls
between these new films and the two older ones in sound quality
overall. The DVD of Along
has a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 that is much flatter than expected and
ties with the Dolemite
DVD as the poorest fidelity sonically on the list. Weird.
on the five newer films include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC,
PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, plus Making Of
offers a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative
text and another excellent, underrated essay by the great film
scholar Julie Kirgo, who joins David Del Valle for the first of two
outstanding feature length audio commentary tracks, the other is by
film scholar and superfan Sylvia Stoddard, scholar John Burlingame,
Actor James MacArthur & Screenwriter Arthur Laurentis, then we
also get a Song Demo, Fox Movietone Newsreel, an Isolated Music Score
and an Original Theatrical Trailer that has its own isolated music
offers original cover artwork by Jay Shaw & reversible cover
artwork, while both disc versions add two framing options: the
intended 1.85:1 widescreen version and an alternate full frame 'boom
mic' version, the ''I,
making-of documentary, ''Lady
Then & Now''
featurette, Historical feature-length commentary track by Rudy Ray
Moore's biographer, Mark Jason Murray with vintage audio by Moore (!)
Theatrical Trailers for this film and The
which may be on Blu-ray soon.
add Deleted Scenes, while Along
also has a faux TV commercial from the film and seven Behind The
Scenes/Making Of featurettes, four of which are Blu-ray exclusives.
order the Anastasia
limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while
supplies last at these links: