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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Animation > Comedy > Satire > Spaghetti Western > Horror > Thriller > Terro > Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusader (2016/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Blindman (1971/ABKCO Films DVD)/Body Snatchers (1993/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Independence Day: Resurgence (2016/Fox 4K Blu-ra

Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusader (2016/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Blindman (1971/ABKCO Films DVD)/Body Snatchers (1993/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Independence Day: Resurgence (2016/Fox 4K Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The Night Of The Grizzly (1966/Paramount/Olive Signature Edition Blu-ray)/Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985/Orion/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Schneider Vs. Bax (2015/Film Movement DVD)



4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B/B/C+/B/B/B/C+ Sound: B/C+/B/B+ & B/C+/B/C+ Extras: C/C-/C-/C-/C+/B-/C- Films: B-/C+/B-/C-/C+/C/C



PLEASE NOTE: The Remo Williams 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, while Body Snatchers Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.



Here's a new set of all kinds of genre film releases for you to know about...



Rick Morales' Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusader (2016) brings back Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin from the original hit 1960s TV series (reviewed elsewhere on this site), but this is animated, yet the actors already voiced animated versions of the Dynamic Duo in the late 1970s hit Filmation TV series (also reviewed elsewhere on this site) The New Adventures Of Batman that actually had Batmite (!) and was still more serious at times than what we get here. Not that that's a bad thing.


Playing it more as a spoof of the 1960s show, we have an Aunt May that suspects 'something' about Bruce Wayne & Dick Grayson, but they've got trouble as their alter-egos when The Joker, Penguin, Riddler (all voiced by actors doing a fine job of imitating original actors (respectively) Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith and Frank Gorshin) and Catwoman (voiced well by original actress Julie Newmar) show up on Dick;'s favorite TV show.


Skipping the 1970s show, this feature-length romp is still taking place in the mid-1960s (before Batgirl shows up) so its focused on jokes, in-jokes, intertextual references and gags about the show and that time period. Its gets a little silly at times (outer space, duplication rays, etc.) but is a very amusing, interesting work that shows a love of the original show and seems to be a trial run for a possible series of direct-to-video features. That could work, but they will have to try some other approaches, because there are some things here that just do not work. Otherwise, this is an interesting attempt to do a retro project and it was smarter than you might expect. Wait until you see who else shows up.


Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the discs add a bunch of DC Comics-related previews and two Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurettes: Those Dastardly Desperados and A Classic Cadre Of Voices.



Ferdinando Baldi's Blindman (1971) features Tony Anthony from The Stranger series of Spaghetti westerns that wanted to emulate Clint Eastwood's films. Those were produced by Allen Klein of ABKCO Records, but were co-produced by MGM (Warner owns them now owning older MGM films up to 1986), but Anthony and Klein took a break between films 2 and 3 to make this one. Owned by ABKCO Films, it is finally hitting at least DVD in a fine new HD master from the 35mm negative. Anthony is the title character, a cowboy who is blind, but wants 40 women he was promised and will do what he has to to get them and have a contract he has honored. The one twist here is that Ringo Starr, who was dabbling in filmmaking of all kinds at the time, plays a rough, mean, even violent Mexican bandit type in what is his most politically incorrect turn. He is not the main villain and not even in the film enough, but his acting turn here adds to the oddness of the film. With other Anthony Westerns on DVD and Blu-ray, plus a few of Starr's films finally on disc, the time was overdue for this release.


At this point in the genre, Spaghetti Westerns were starting to add comedy, maybe too much, but you'll be surprised how serious this one is for the most part. Nice to see it again, flaws and all, after all this time.


Sadly, an original theatrical trailer is the only extra, but for more on Anthony's Westerns, start at this link for his 3D hit Comin' At Ya! on Blu-ray and you'll find coverage of all four of his Stranger series films...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/14059/Comin'+At+Ya!+3D+(1981/MVD+Visual+Blu-ray)/H



Abel Ferrera's Body Snatchers (1993) is the third and underseen version of the book that inspired the 1956 and 1978 classic films of unforgettable terror. Ferrara was known for his independent works (like the underrated Ms. 45) and this was his one time working with a big Hollywood studio. People who worked on the script include Larry Cohen (the It's Alive films) and Stuart Gordon (the Re-Animator films) and it feels like it to the film's advantage. The aliens are back, but this time, they are invading a military town, a place where families live near a military base. R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket) and Forest Whittaker show up in interesting performances as soldiers, but most of the cast remain unknowns over two decades since the film was released.


However, Meg Tilly is very memorable here and Gabriele Anwar is effective in a film meant to give her an acting career and not quite helping her. Our loss too. Now finally issued by Warner Archive and on Blu-ray, it was rarely seen widescreen (outside of film prints and the old 12-inch analog LaserDisc), it has been a hit in this new version, proving the following for this remake is growing. Warner lost confidence in the film an allegedly cut it down in length (it feels like it) and we do not get the debut of a possibly longer version. But even in this shorter cut, this is creepy and more well made than it got credit for at the time. I'm glad to see the film get the respect it deserves and hope more people finally catch up with it. This fine new edition will help that cause.


Sadly, an Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.



Roland Emmerich's Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) could have been some kind of hit, even without Will Smith returning, but did they have to have his character be dead as this starts? That is the kind of bad judgment and very bad thinking that ruined what could have worked as most of the original is back. The killer aliens are also back, but why they took two full decades with all their advanced technology is as goofy as the rest of this long, 120 minutes exercise in pointlessness that will make you root for the aliens just so it will be over.


Nonetheless, Fox has issued it immediately as a day-and-date 4KBlu-ray w/Blu-ray and now, you can see and hear more clearly than ever how much this failed. Any of the fun, humor or energy the first film had is gone, and they still have the same director too? After the real life 9/11 terror attacks, a sequel was unthinkable and after a few decades (think Ghostbusters), it is better to forget about sequels, reboots or the like. This and the aliens are all too digital, this has more cliches than you could imagine (at least the first film had fun with them) and I cannot recommend this under any circumstances. It is barely even good technically.


Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while both discs offer a feature length Director's Audio Commentary and the 1080p Blu-ray adds Deleted Scenes with optional commentary, Concept Art Galleries, Gag Reel, It's Early ABQ, the 4-part Another Day documentary and War Of 1996 featurette.


Fortunately, the original film has already been issued on 4K 2160p Blu-ray and you can read more about it at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/14279/Creed+(2015+Rocky+spin-off/MGM/Warner)/In+Th



Joseph Pevney's The Night Of The Grizzly (1966) is a film that did mixed business in its time, but became a staple in TV syndication and on home video when it was there. With a previous Blu-ray edition doing well enough, Olive has reissued an upgraded version of the film as part of their new Signature Edition series on Blu-ray. Clint Walker is a lawman trying to settle down and buy a farm, but greedy people and other goofs are trying to get in his way and even stop him, then there is a grizzly bear on the loose killing cattle and even people. The title sounds like this might just be a horror film (sad how times have changed), but it is supposed to be part of the old action/nature films that included so many Tarzan films and other Westerns.


This is enough of a Western to qualify for the genre and has more comedy than you might expect including Nancy Culp of The Beverly Hillbillies as comic relief running a local shop, Jack Elam doing his comical thing and Keenan Wynn as another boo, hiss villain. I'm not a big fan of the film and never have been, but part of its appeal is it comes from a more innocent time and a time when Hollywood was trying to make more pleasant entertainment, thus its loyal following. Now it has a special edition fans can love, even if you don't land up liking the film. In that, its worth a look for those interested. Martha Hyer also stars.


Extras in the slipcase packaging include an illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and an essay by C. Courtney Joyner on the film, while the Blu-ray disc adds a feature length audio commentary track by Toby Roan, archival World Premiere footage of the film's launch, full color archival At Home With Clint Walker and His Home Gymnasium interview featurette and a new Walker interview dubbed The Legend Of Big Jim Cole.



Guy Hamilton's Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985) has finally arrived on Blu-ray in the U.S. and we covered what is essentially the same transfer from Arrow U.K. at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/13012/The+Last+Passenger+(2012/Cohen+Media+U.S.+R


Needless to say I am no big fan of the film, a film trying to be a Bond film while being an anti-Bond film (and I don't mean serious spy thriller versus more commercial action/adventure) and it is more painfully obvious just how much failed here. Orion Pictures hoped for a hit and it was just a big dud with barely a cult following, but enough to get what is now two special editions. This time, MGM (the owners of the Orion catalog) have licensed this to Twilight Time, but it will be one of their Limited Edition Blu-rays. For fans only, to say the least.


Extras in this new edition come with a new illustrated booklet on the film totally different from the Arrow version, including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, an Original Theatrical Trailer, an Isolated Music Score with select Sound Effects and a different, feature length audio commentary track from Arrow's featuring film, genre scholars Lee Pfeiffer, Eddie Friedfeld and Paul Scrabo. As well, we get a stills & promotional gallery and five Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurettes that debut here: composer Craig Safan appears in Assassin's Tune interviewed (again!) about the music, Created, The Destroyer; Writing Remo Williams, Unarmed and Dangerous: Producing Remo Williams, Secrets Of Sinanju: Training Remo Williams and Balance Of Power: Designing Remo Williams. Add that to all that Arrow offered on the film and that more extras than a film like this could have ever, ever, ever hoped to expect.



Last but not least is Alex Van Warmerdam's Schneider Vs. Bax (2015) which wants o be a comedy about two people trying to kill each other, but lands up with some mixed results. Schneider (Tom Dewispelaerew) has been hired to kill Bax (played by Director van Warmerdam), but they have nothing against each other and really don't know each other. Turns out an outside guy who seems to dislike them both has set them up against each other. Schneider finds this out when his 'employer' sends him a text message meant for Bax, but they land up trying to kill each other anyhow and anyone else there gets stuck in the middle.


This is not exactly Black Humor outright in this Dutch production, but it is somewhat dark, yet I expected something more surprising or interesting. The actors and locales are actually interesting and some scenes to work, but (not that the makers are smug) the people who made this are just coasting a bit on what they think works more than it does. The result is very awkward and does not end in a way that is satisfying, but at least its not digital effects and green & blue screen for two hours, to its credit.


Trailers and the darkly humorous short film, Matthias Sahli's House Arrest, are the only extras.




By default and despite so many false and fake-looking effects, the 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition 2.35 X 1 image on Independence is the best presentation here, just over the regular 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image Blu-ray transfer and the other entries on this list. Its close. In 2160p, you can simply see more detail, depth and a better color range, even if the colors look unnatural. This is sloppy, even for Emmerich, whose overdosed his audiences and himself with digital effects. I would also argue the original film, especially on 4K Blu-ray, looks better throughout despite being 20 years older.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Batman has simple animation that will remind some of rotoscoping, but that is the style and it is consistently colorful and that becomes more apparent in subtle ways when compared to the passable, anamorphically enhanced DVD. The makers are having fun here and though I would argue they have slightly pulled back on the color versus what they could or should have done, this is fine.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Body rarely shows the age of the materials used, is a brand new HD master of the film and was one of the few films shot in what was being dubbed ArriScope (no 3D and using Clairmont camera equipment) giving the film a very different look (Radioland Murders and Pricilla, Queen Of The Desert used the format) that lands up making this even more creepy visually as a result. Its worth seeing just for that.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Grizzly is slightly dark and can show the age of the materials used, but this is just superior a transfer to the previous Olive Blu-ray edition, though the dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor you would have seen in such 35mm prints of the film in theaters is not always present, but usually so. Expect more grain than usual, though, since the frames are smaller.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Remo is the same, also darker-than-it-should-be video master (film color by DeLuxe) that the import Blu-ray had. Though I'm no fan of the film, from what I have seen of it earlier and considering the Director of Photography is the great Alan Hume, B.S.C., this is just not quite correct, but passable.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on both DVDs have their moments of softness, but Blindman is another film here shot in tiny Techniscope frames and issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints. ABKCO has struck a new print and it looks pretty good, but despite being made five years after Grizzly, you can see more grain and part of that is more outdoor shooting. Still, this looks the best I've seen it in eons, so at least the print is more accurate versus some of the Blu-rays here.


The Bax DVD is an HD shoot that has some good shots, also takes place in mostly outdoor locales and is consistent, but still has more soft shots than I would have liked.


As for sound, Independence not only offer D-BOX motion bass encoding, but the 4K 2160p version offers a Dolby Atmos 11.1 mix (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) that is easily the best sound mix on the list, but its regular Blu-ray 1080p edition comes with a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix that is no slouch either. Too bad the actual mixing is boring, predictable, synthetic and unexciting, like the film's script itself.


Both Batman (recorded all in studio, of course) and Body are not only both well mixed and presented with consistent soundfields, but are offered in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that work well. I have to give Body credit for sounding so good for its age, though, well thought out in advance.


Grizzly has a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix that really shows its age and slightly disappoints (must be the way it was recorded), as does the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix (with real Pro Logic surrounds) on Remo that sounds exactly like the mix from the import Blu-ray. Its isolated music score sounds better, so flaws are inherent to the way it was recorded.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Blindman was post-dubbed, so the errors can be distracting, but it sounds fine for what we get, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo on Bax are decent, but the 5.1 is slightly better. Still, the mix is quiet at times for suspense purposes and the film would probably sound better lossless. Both DVDs tie with the Grizzly Blu-ray for sonic last place.



To order the Remo Williams limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great gems while supplies last at these links:


www.screenarchives.com


and


http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/


and to order the Body Snatchers Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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