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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Sexual Harassment > Politics > Media > Character Study > Cable Telefilm > Western > Revenge > Real > Confirmation (2016/HBO Blu-ray)/The Deadly Trackers (1973/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Five Days One Summer (1982/Ladd Company/Warner Archive DVD)/I, Anna (2012/Embargo/Kimstim DVD)

Confirmation (2016/HBO Blu-ray)/The Deadly Trackers (1973/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Five Days One Summer (1982/Ladd Company/Warner Archive DVD)/I, Anna (2012/Embargo/Kimstim DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Deadly Trackers Blu-ray and Five Days One Summer DVD are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Here's a new cable telefilm based on a real-life political event and three dramas with stakes as high...

Rick Famuyiwa's Confirmation (2016) takes on the serious case of Anita Hill (Kerry Washington) risking her reputation and career to accuse (future Justice) Clarence Thomas (Wendell Pierce, portraying him well with dignity, et al) of sexually harassing her, leading to an unprecedented media circus so vile, that only an Andy Warhol film that showed it non-stop for several weeks could begin to give one the impression of how insane it was. Still, this HBO cable telefilm manages to communicate a nice chunk of the madness in its 128 minutes. The accusation was a problem enough for those who wanted Thomas in, but the racially-tinged sexist backlash and media's complacency to doubt Hill off the bat became the bigger issue.

The film shows how she and pother witnesses where smeared and railroaded instead of merely dealing with the accusation and disproving it legitimately (they could not, thus Thomas was guilty of something, reenforced by the other women who soon spoke out after Hill) so it became totally politicized and still affects us to this day (the demonization of Hillary Clinton no matter what, women still being assaulted on college campuses and ignored or worse) in a situation that needs to change soon and is long overdue for change. No matter the outcome of the Hill/Thomas Hearings, it became a watershed for women in politics, et al, and this film (despite a few down points) spells it all out well enough. It has my largest recommendation of all the entries on this list. Greg Kinnear is good as a Joe Biden in flux and Jennifer Hudson also has a brief-but-important turn here.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds Character Spots and interview clips with Washington and Pierce.

Originally a Sam Fuller film, The Deadly Trackers (1973) is a revenge western taken over by Barry Shear and is pretty brutal, even by today's standards as these films became most graphic (Vietnam was part of that) with Richard Harris as a sheriff out to stop a tough criminal (a very rough-looking Rod Taylor) who is about to be captured when he kidnaps Harris's son, then kills him and his wife! From there, Harris is on the hunt, but it will not be easy with plenty of twists and turns.

Unfortunately, the film is very uneven thanks to Fuller's loss, editing is awkward, pacing not good and the great acting suddenly becomes shrill in the mess, the hate obvious and the result is 105 minutes of strained cinema that looses its impact as it can never build itself up to anything. The opening and closing credits are presented in a sepia-like cloth as if to make sure we know this is supposed to be in the past, but it seems slapped together and desperate. It also contradicts the plot, graphicness and you can tell something possibly interesting was lost in the process, like a character study instead of a bloodfest.

Warner Archive has issued it on Blu-ray for posterity and we guess any of Fuller's work on the film (he co-wrote this with Lucas Heller, but only Heller get credit now) is either lot or stuck in a legal entanglement, but it should be in print and looks as restored as it is likely ever going to be.Sad this did not work out and Fuller could not complete the film.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

Fred Zinneman's Five Days One Summer (1982) is the journeyman director's last film, with Sean Connery dating below his age for sure, but she (Betsy Brantley) is pretending to be his wife when she should not be and it is even more complicated. We also learn the relationship may be an abusive one with Connery's character not a nice guy, but this is all challenged when they meet a mountain climbing guide (Lambert Wilson) who she likes and they start to have their own affair.

Cheers to The Ladd Company for making a film of such challenging material and all for taking the risks to be in such a film, and though Zinneman could still direct actors well in what would be his last feature film, it does not add up to what it could or should have despite some solid moments throughout. Connery was in an odd period before his comeback started to come about (starting with Ladd having him be in the lead for Peter Hyams' underrated Outland, then onto Never Say Never Again and The Untouchables) and it is definitely worth a look just the same. Anna Massey rounds out a decent supporting cast and the locales are a plus.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is sadly the only extra.

Barnaby Southcombe's I, Anna (2012) has the great Charlotte Rampling in the title role, a woman seeming shocked at a brutal murder in an apartment building which will be blamed on a young man, but she may know more about what really happened than she is saying. Enter the ever-capable Gabriel Byrne as a police investigator who meets her and sees something is amiss in an unusual way. Thus, this becomes a mystery, psychological thriller, character study and showcases the talents of two great internationally-known actors who deserve a bit more attention.

The script still has some issues and makes the film uneven at times, but there is more than enough here to give it a look.

There are unfortunately no extras.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Confirmation is a solid digital HD shoot, while the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Tracker can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and was originally issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints that this disc shows often to good effect. The two tie as our best performers here and either offer little to complain about.

As for the DVDs, the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Summer and anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Anna (one of the last films shot on Fuji 35mm film camera negative) may also have some flaws, but tie for second place and look as good as expected for that format, so presentations here are up to what one would like.

Then there is the sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Confirmation can be quiet at times and offers some monophonic audio, but is as well mixed and presented as expected and is easily the best performer sonically here. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on Trackers sadly shows the age of the audio source, though if original audio stems exist somewhere, could this sound a bit better. Hard to tell, but it is so compressed and aged that the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Summer and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Anna can more than compete, but I expected a little more out of Anna, so those silences hurt it a bit too.

To order either of the Warner Archive releases, The Deadly Trackers Blu-ray and Five Days One Summer DVD, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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