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
After Time (1979/Warner
Archive Blu-ray)/The Town
(2010/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)
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:
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.
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...
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...
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
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
where the great William Friedkin discusses the film and Real
Killer, Fake Nose
offers further insight into the film and the murders.
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
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.
should also be said that this is easily the best film the relatively
young CBS Films has ever released.
include the Red Carpet Premiere, a great Q&A after a big
theatrical screening and three making of featurettes: Enemies
The Heart Of America
(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...
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
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.
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
(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
but Smith landed up in the nigger hit with Suicide
so why was the return to Bourne not as big as it could or should have
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:
so a new series was set. Bourne
followed two years later with an even better film, Bond was still on
hold and a behind-the-scenes fiasco made the fourth Mission:
seem like it would be the last, a temporary situation the Bourne
films would also encounter. But Supremacy
three years later was the peak of the series, making it the premiere
spy film series, but Bond was back with Casino
(2006) in a very strong critical and commercial comeback, yet even
the Bond films would concede to Bourne for the underrated Quantum
(2008) with a fight scene set up by a Bourne alumni.
the Bond series continued its amazing run with Daniel Craig and
returned, Damon and Director Paul Greengrass had left the series and
a one-off with Mission:
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.
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.
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.
the biggest problem is that Skyfall
(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
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.
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.
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....
(1979) is the hit comedy thriller with Malcolm McDowell (A
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
but not least is Ben Affleck's The
(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
with Extended Version of the film...
Blu-ray of the film...
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.
down to Digital Copy are the exact same as the featurettes and audio
commentary for the Extended Blu-ray.
are offered here in 2160p HEVC/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
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.
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.
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Time
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
of the 35mm real anamorphic Panavision shoot here meant to be seen on
a big screen. Director of Photography Paul Lohmann (Mommie
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.
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 lossless 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
4K Blu-ray, Bourne
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 TrueHD 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.
for third place is the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on
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
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.
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.
limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while
supplies last at these links:
to order the Time
Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: