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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Drama > Crime > Murder > Serial Killer > Police Procedural > Heist > Character Study > Science > The Boston Strangler (1968/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Hell Or High Water (2016/CBS Films/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/I Am Legend (2007/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Jason Bourne (

The Boston Strangler (1968/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Hell Or High Water (2016/CBS Films/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/I Am Legend (2007/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Jason Bourne (2016 aka Bourne 5/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Time After Time (1979/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The Town (2010/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)



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



PLEASE NOTE: The Boston Strangler 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 Time After Time is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.



This group of genre releases has us revisiting hots and old favorites, including three upgrades to previously reviewed titles, a new sequel, a restoration of an underrated favorite, plus one of the years best films as a new surprise...



Richard Fleischer's The Boston Strangler (1968) has finally been issued on Blu-ray, albeit a Twilight Time Limited Edition release. We previously reviewed the film on DVD a good while ago at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/1598/Boston+Strangler


Since then, despite controversy that Albert De Salvo may not have committed any of the murders, DNA evidence placed him at at least one murder in 2013, so that's been confirmed and even if many or most of the other murders were copycats, he is not guilt-free. Little was known when the film was made, though the script does not make up too much. However, the parade of 'perverts' and 'freaks' before the film focuses on De Salvo and the multiple-personalities excuse for De Salvo seem a bit much and even stereotypical today. Otherwise, the film holds up well enough and its strong cast continues to be inarguable.


Extras repeat the AMC Network Backstory installment on the film (just over 20 minutes), a Fox Movietone Newsreel covering the actual story, the original teaser and theatrical trailer for the film, but the Fleischer/Curtis audio commentary that I hoped would be recorded at the time never happened as those gentlemen are no longer with us. However, an informative commentary by film scholars David Del Valle and Steven Peros are among the expansive new extras Twilight Time and Fox have added. We also get another nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray also adds an Isolated Music Score with select Sound Effects and two new featurettes produced since the old DVD was released: Split-Screen Personality where the great William Friedkin discusses the film and Real Killer, Fake Nose offers further insight into the film and the murders.



David Mackenzie's Hell Or High Water (2016) is one of the surprise releases of the year, already getting some awards-season attention, tells the tale of how two brothers (Ben Foster, Chris Pine) not only start robbing banks, but a specific chain who has made their lives a living hell because of the way they are trying to hold onto family property at high costs and fix it so they can never get their place back. No one but they know this, yet a very smart, near-retirement cop (Jeff Bridges) sees the pattern and decides he can wait them out by picking the next targeted bank and catch them.


However, they start not always following their plans and sometimes the changes are due to circumstances beyond their control. Thus, this is also a character study of the people (and not just the lead actors) and the places they live, sometimes barely surviving. The screenplay by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) is very smart, observant and gives the cast a challenge they more than rise to. This is a heist film, but more and though we have seen some of this before, some things here are a pleasant surprise, funny, interesting and add up to a film that stays with you.


It should also be said that this is easily the best film the relatively young CBS Films has ever released.


Extras include the Red Carpet Premiere, a great Q&A after a big theatrical screening and three making of featurettes: Enemies Forever, Visualizing The Heart Of America and Damaged Heroes.



Francis Lawrence's I Am Legend (2007), Will Smith's big sci-fi/action hit of now 9+ years ago is back in its own upgrade, in a new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition, but the set still adds the older Blu-ray we reviewed at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/6950/I+Am+Legend+(2007/Blu-ray


The film has not improved in all those years and the digital work as aged more than expected, but it is stranger still that the discussed prequel to the film never materialized. After some critical risks and a few high profile duds, this year's Suicide Squad became Smith's biggest hit in years, troubled as it was. He gives it his best here and that's one of the reasons it was a hit, even if the classic story was watered down a good bit. Wonder if the prequel will ever happen.


Extras are the same as the previous Blu-ray of course, though we get Digital Copy and the 4K theatrical-only cut repeats its feature length audio commentary.



Paul Greengrass' Jason Bourne (2016) happens to also be a nine year mark for Matt Damon, whose had more hits and critical successes than Smith without the idea that they were competing stars. The last time Damon played Jason Bourne was the year Smith was in I Am Legend, but Smith landed up in the nigger hit with Suicide Squad, so why was the return to Bourne not as big as it could or should have been?


When Bourne Identity arrived in 2002, 9/11 had happened (the film was in the works before that) and the Bond films were reeling with the last two silly package deal Pierce Brosnan entries that I still feel are the nadir of the series despite the money they made. Identity had its issues, but it took itself and its audience more seriously, plus was newer to people that Mission: Impossible, so a new series was set. Bourne Supremacy followed two years later with an even better film, Bond was still on hold and a behind-the-scenes fiasco made the fourth Mission: Impossible seem like it would be the last, a temporary situation the Bourne films would also encounter. But Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum three years later was the peak of the series, making it the premiere spy film series, but Bond was back with Casino Royale (2006) in a very strong critical and commercial comeback, yet even the Bond films would concede to Bourne for the underrated Quantum Of Solace (2008) with a fight scene set up by a Bourne alumni.


As the Bond series continued its amazing run with Daniel Craig and Mission: Impossible returned, Damon and Director Paul Greengrass had left the series and a one-off with Mission: Impossible veteran and Hawkeye from the Marvel superhero films, the underrated Jeremy Renner happened, no one else launched a spy series, even if spies turned up in various action films incidentally and the XXX films stumbled in being a series.


So now we have Damon & Greengrass picking up where they left off nine years later and though the film has some good moments and Damon is up to the role physically (he wasn't doing Homer Simpson movies the last decade anyhow), some key actors and characters are not here, while others do turn up to good effect. The film's huge budget is on the screen for the most part, and yet, there's something not as good about this one as the best of the prior sequels.


On the one hand, the makers stay with the style of the previous Damon/Bourne films, which makes sense, but the story has not much new to offer. The fight scenes and action sequences have energy and work, yet not with the snap and impact of the previous sequels. Technology has changed a bit in nine years, something the script acknowledged by mentioning Edward Snowden a few times, then drops that instead of using that as a jumping-off point. Did the big budget undermine the basics here? Maybe.


But the biggest problem is that Skyfall and SPECTRE (flawed, but well done) were the last two James Bond films, with their huge budgets, highly successful and another set of strong peaks for the Bond series. This film needed to do more than deal with Bourne's lost past, add things that were unexpected and really deliver. Instead, the look of the film with its mix of regular, surveillance footage and shaky editing is now old hat. Hundreds of really bad action films (too many of which we have suffered through here at the sight) have ripped-off that look, though never realty capturing it, but this latest film cannot overcome looking like that. Additionally, and this is seeing the film in both the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and 1080p regular HD Blu-ray versions, there is more HD footage here than film and that renders the film a little generic, cuts into its energy and has it sometimes looking like its imitators in bits.


What we get is a film that is just at least able to get up to speed, so its not a failure, but its not the big comeback success audiences wanted for a character they really like and are invested in. Thus, will there be one more film? We'll see, but there is room for one.


Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds seven Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurettes that are nicely done, but should only be seen after watching the film.


The previous four films are being issued on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray to go with this release, which we hope to look at in the future, but you can read more about the original trilogy starting with this Blu-ray set with them....


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/8085/The+Bourne+Trilogy+(Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatu



Nicholas Meyer's Time After Time (1979) is the hit comedy thriller with Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) playing against what now seems like type as writer and futurist H.G. Wells, a mannered gentleman who has fine societal friends and one night, decides to share with them his new invention: a time machine! Little does he know that one of his longtime friends is no less than serial killer Jack The Ripper and that killer escapes in the machine when police track him to Wells' home. Wells is outraged, takes moral responsibility and when the machine returns to his basement, takes it to the future where the ripper has ended up.... 1979 San Francisco, California.


From there, we get some comedy, Mary Steenburgen is a bank teller who does currency exchanges and Wells meets searching for The Ripper. He did his exchange with her, plus Wells likes her and asks her for help without telling her much about either of them at first. A romance develops as the killings begin.


Except for a bad rape joke and extended ad placement for a food chain made out as a joke that interrupts the narrative, the film holds up well, with some sad items including how many more banks there used to be (pre-S&L crisis), the innocent days when the idea of any serial killer was truly shocking and the naïve sense of the 1970s counterculture at its end, though the script does some slight shaming of this in ways that are odd.


The new Warner Archive Blu-ray is a very welcome addition to their great series of high quality exclusives and one in time for Meyers' return to the Star Trek franchise as well as a favorite and enough of a hit in its time to merit such fine treatment.Nice to revisit a well done film where the joy behind the scenes came out on screen so well.


Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer and vintage audio commentary track with Meyer and McDowell. Just wish a new extra of some kind had been added.



Last but not least is Ben Affleck's The Town (2010), another heist film like Hell Or High Water, but not as involving. When the film arrived, the big surprise was that actor/star Affleck had some directing skills, which as is the case with all his best work, comes out of his love of cinema. We have previously covered the film twice before as these reviews show...


Blu-ray with Extended Version of the film...

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11487/Ransom+Baby+(1973/Mya/E1+DVD)/The+Town


Theatrical-only Blu-ray of the film...

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10664/The+Town+(2010/Warner+Blu-ray


So now, with enough commercial success and Affleck's star finally climbing to higher highs, Warner has issued the film in the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format and included the Extended Blu-ray edition as its Blu-ray. Now, the film looks like a warm up for Affleck's Best Picture winner Argo (we'll be looking at the 4K Blu-ray of that ASAP) and a comparison of the two furthers my points of the limits of the film here, and not just because of a difference of subject matter. At least this film is ambitious and that's more than I can say about most such films in the genre, but character development is not as well-rounded as it could have been.


Extras down to Digital Copy are the exact same as the featurettes and audio commentary for the Extended Blu-ray.



Legend, Bourne and Town are offered here in 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition 4K image presentations that outperform their standard, consistent 1080p Blu-ray versions, but offer more in the way of detail, color range (as it is), depth and realism. Legend barely has the best regular Blu-ray presentation, so the new 4K upgrade improves on the actors while showing how much poorer the digital work is, Bourne tends to be slightly colorless in many parts but resolves depth, shadow detail, Video Red and Video Black better than the regular Blu-ray and Town is the most film-intense and is the best beneficiary of the 4K upgrade.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Strangler is the expected improvement over the older DVD we expected, but color range is improved, the darkness has better detail & range, the DeLuxe Color is warmer & fuller and Video White purer and creepier. That makes it much more of a viewing experience.


The 1080p 2.38 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Hell is one of the best HD shoots of the last few years using the Arri Alexa XT camera with Hawk Scope lenses to consistent, pleasant, smooth and smart effect. Director of Photography Giles Nuttgens has pulled off the best work yet in his career. The anamorphically enhanced DVD version is much softer than it ought to be and should not be considered a good representation of the fine work here.


Finally, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Time rarely shows the age of the materials used, is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and with a few flaws, is a fine representation of the 35mm real anamorphic Panavision shoot here meant to be seen on a big screen. Director of Photography Paul Lohmann (Mommie Dearest, Looker, High Anxiety, Fillmore, Altman's Nashville, Coffy) uses the widescreen frame pretty much to its fullest extent (decent color by MetroColor) making for a film with an enduring set of looks (two eras) that flow well.


As for sound, these films all have solid, even interesting sound design, though demo moments are limited. Bourne is our only 12-track release, with both the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and regular Blu-ray offering DTS: X 11.1 sound (or a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 for older systems) and it has some good moments, some articulation you would expect from the series and it is very professional, yet I think the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mixes on the I Am Legend 4K Blu-ray, Bourne Supremacy Blu-ray and Legend Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Blu-ray are better sound mixes overall with more creativity, kick and more active soundfields The 4K DTS Legend is just a tad better than the Dolby True HD on the older Blu-ray, but not by much. Legend is the sonic champion overall, but I have yet to heard the sound on the 4K Supremacy Blu-ray, so we'll see how that figures into all of this. Bourne is second place sonically.


Tying for third place is the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Hell and Town, the most reality-based productions of the four newer films, well mixed and presented, with Town holding up better sonically than you might expect. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Hell DVD is passable, but misses how well the film is really recorded and mixed.


The oldest films have interesting sound mixes of their own and because both thrillers each goes into different dimensions (mental illness and time travel respectively) and are thrillers, you get sound design that is more challenging than the norm. Strangler turns out to have also been released in 4-track magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects and that mix was apparently not available (lost?) when the DVD was issued a good while ago, so we get a new DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 3.0 lossless mix (not unlike Zardoz on DVD) from those tracks and it is now the best way to hear the film and in its original sonic intent. A DTS-MA 2.0 Stereo counterpart I also here, but it is not as good.


Time is offered in lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo that features Pro Logic surrounds from the original Dolby analog A-type theatrical film release. Like Strangler, some of the sound can show its age, but it is the best the film has ever sounded and add Miklos Rozsa's music score and it is a winner for its… time. I cannot imagine it or Strangler sounding much better than they do here, tying for fourth place. That makes this still a strong sonic list, with few disappointments.



To order The Boston Strangler limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:


www.screenarchives.com


and


http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/


and to order the Time After Time Warner Archive 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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