A Horseman (1978/United
Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The
Ghost That Never Returns
(1930/Flicker Alley Blu-ray)/Interiors
(1978/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition
Blu-ray)/Manchester By The
B/B-/B/B & C+/B Sound: C+/C+/C+/B & C+/B Extras:
C/B-/C/C/C Films: B/B-/B/B/C+
NOTE: The Comes
Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Twilight Time,
are limited to only 3,000 copies each and can be ordered while
supplies last from the links below, while The
Ghost That Never Returns
Blu-ray is now available online and can be ordered from our friends
at Movie Zyng via the order button atop this review or on top of our
right hand sidebar.
following films have complex human stories to tell with multiple
characters to the point they create their own worlds of specific
densities and are all ambitious. A few are even classics and minor
J. Pakula's Comes
what you would call a 'modern western' though set towards the end of
WWII in 1945, though that might be new enough to call it a
'contemporary western' as well. Its concerns are the same as many, a
greedy man (Jason Robards) is determined to get land he has always
wanted, no matter what. He tried to do this decades ago by
destroying the owner by telling him he had sex with his young
daughter, now grown up (Jane Fonda) is still working it against many
odds besides his interference. Then the title character (James Caan)
shows up and slowly starts to get involved.
earlier incident where the man he was riding with is killed for no
good reason, pulls him in. At first, he does not know the situation
or the players and his meeting with the now-hardened woman is not
exactly one that goes off without a hitch, but they eventually start
working together, all as her old nemesis closes in and they have to
face the bank trying to foreclose. The set-up is almost reminiscent
but instead of a landmark, Transitional Western as that one was, this
turned out to be one of the last ones (along with The
and the few Clint Eastwood would make in this time period) to
actually be the last words in the genre as it headed for decline and
into a deep sleep for a long time.
is also among the last of the United Artists films made under the
regime that built the studio before they had a falling out with
corporate owner Transamerica and left the studio to form Orion
Pictures. Of course, Cimino's Heaven's
killed the studio's desire to make Westerns from how badly it
financially bombed (propaganda war against it included), but the
genre was still running out of steam and if it was not that film, it
would have been something else. Today, in which we get so many bad
westerns and very few good ones, the film holds up well, the acting
is top notch, this is one of Fonda's most surprising performances and
its better than most films in the genre today. Some aspects may be
obvious, but Pakula tried something different and it worked.
look of the film is great too (more in the tech section below) and
always had a unique look without overdoing it. It is certainly a bit
visually darker than you might expect for a film of its kind of the
time, but with so many films getting dark in pointless ways, the
shots here are superior and more complex in that approach. That
makes seeing the film a one-of-a-kind experience and if the genre had
found a few more years in it, it might have had a chance to be more
influential. Glad MGM allowed Twilight Time to issue this one as a
Limited Edition Blu-ray, even if they did not have a great print
include a 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 adds an Isolated
Music Score and Original Theatrical Trailer.
Ghost That Never Returns
(1930) is a late silent entry from the former Soviet Union (now
Russia) about a man named Jose Real (Boris Ferdinanov) to work in the
oil business in South America, but gets jailed for trying to unionize
the workers. He is freed later to see his family, but a killer has
been hired to get rid of him, as he is considered still too
subversive to their own financial good. A great companion to films
Of The Earth
it suddenly seems as timely as ever and the great video label Flicker
Alley has issued it on Blu-ray in its full-length 94-minutes version.
The film manages to be not a mere propaganda film, but one with
something to say, show and asks the audience to think. Glad it was
only extra is the first experimental Soviet sound film Pacific
(1931) with its own interesting background.
an amazing about-face from the perennial comedy director, not taking
self-reflective jabs as his comedy persona yet, but daring to make a
film in the mode, look, feel and deep emotional content of his
favorite filmmaker, international art film legend Ingmar Bergman.
That took guts as at this time, Bergman was STILL at the height of
his popularity, powers and every film he released (like Allen) was
considered a serious cinematic event. Instead, Allen's film is so
successful, the title is now often used to start to describe
Page is the overbearing father of a family that looks like it has it
all, but is unhappy and worse inside, from the father (E.G. Marshall)
to his three daughter (Mary Beth Hurt, Kristin Griffin and of course,
Diane Keaton) and after being in this state for at least a
generation, something's got to give. But being this is a film in the
Bergman mode, that will be slow, painful, long and very difficult...
like real life. It is one of Allen's best films because he remains
himself all while taking after an all-time master like Bergman and to
be blunt, hardly anyone alive now, then or ever could have come close
to what he achieves here. It remains one of his most important films
and has only become greater with age.
was shocking in its time coming from him (and a year after Annie
Hall), but now, it makes much more sense after all the dark, mature,
deep films Allen has made on occasion. Sam Waterston, Richard Jordan
and Maureen Stapleton also star.
include a well-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 adds an Isolated Music Score.
By The Sea
originally set to be a non-commercial lead acting turn for Matt
Damon, whose big blockbuster commercial success has likely had him
really wanting to get back to basics, though he has been good and on
a roll in his recent set of releases that have usually fared well.
Yet, it was bigtime moviemaking that forced him to drop out of this
one at the last minute. However, his replacement was Casey Affleck,
not only the brother of Damon's longtime filmmaking partner Ben, but
an underrated actor on his own who has often been overshadowed by his
brother and whose best work has gone underseen. This time, Casey not
only pulls off the best performance of his career, but a hit that
shocked viewers, won him a Best Actor Academy Award and that yes,
proves he was even a better choice for the role than Damon.
find his character Lee a janitor just barely making it, alone, in
solitude, not that happy and obviously in some pain. How he got
there is a question, but we soon start to learn (in clever flashback)
when his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) suddenly dies way too young.
This leaves him in awful shock, but not as much of a shock as the one
he gets when he hears he has been made caretaker of Joe's son Patrick
(Lucas Hedges in a breakthrough role) that he feels totally
unprepared for. Worse, he has to deal with an ugly event of the past
that simply destroyed him as a person.
will save that as a surprise if you do not know, because it helps the
impact of the film, but it includes what happened between him and his
now ex-wife Randi (an unbelievably great Michelle Williams, one of
our best actresses, hitting yet another home run) not talking about
what no one wants to talk about in the town of the title. It is not
something evil or vicious that has happened, but horrible and so
painful, misdirected anger is very easy to throw around. Everyone is
damaged on some level in the film as it manages to be so honest, real
and palpable down to the way the locales are so well shot. Williams
and Hedges were nominated and Lonergan (who may be overshadowed in
his comeback film here) does a brilliant job of bringing it all
together and it is NOT easy what he pulled off here. So many things
could have gone wrong, but they did not and the result is a true gem
of a film. We'll still be talking about it decades from now!
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds a Making Of
featurette entitled Emotional Lives, Deleted Scenes and A
Conversation with Writer/Director Lonergan.
we have Adam Smith's ambitious film Trespass
(2015) with Michael Fassbinder as a family man down and out, living
with them in the European equivalent of a trailer park, still dealing
with a criminal father (Brendan Gleeson) who is pushing him to be
part of a heist that has very, very high risks. The heist is
interesting, there are some funny moments here, the acting is
impressive, but the script gets muddled and uneven, taking a road
sometimes too familiar and settling for that as reality.
are a few good moments here and actors I bet I'll see again soon who
deliver, but the film ultimately is not too memorable despite only
running 100 minutes-long. Those interested in the situation might
like it more, but I was slightly disappointed, so be awake and alert
in fairness to it if you catch it. Rory Kinnear and Sean Harris also
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds two Making Of
where Smith discusses the contributions of The Chemical Brothers.
starters technically these Blu-rays all look fine, even when the
print in two older cases have some issues. As Twilight Time has told
customers in advance, the
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Horseman
has many little instances of print flaws, but they felt it was too
important a film not to release, even if a restored print was not
available. It was shot by the legendary Director of Photography
Gordon C. Willis, A.S.C., and the fact that it still looks good in a
flawed print speaks volumes about his talent. If anything, the film
has only appreciated in value visually and its impact as solid as
1080p 1.33 X 1 (centered in a 16 X 9/1.78 X 1 frame with bookends)
black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Ghost
obviously is going to show the age of the materials used, but this
looks pretty good for its age and Blackhawk, Flicker Alley and comes
from a 16mm print of the only surviving full-length version of the
film. It retains the intent of darkness and other qualities that
made this such an important early piece of Soviet Cinema. Nice.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Interiors
rarely shows the age of the materials used, is far superior to all
previous releases of the film and also happens to be shot by Director
of Photography Gordon C. Willis, A.S.C., miraculously capturing the
look and feel of the signature density of Ingmar Bergman films. It
is no phony copy, as engaging as ever and still stunning in its power
after all these years. Note that Willis did both in a years time!!!
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Manchester
is a terrific, naturalistic HD shoot (using the Arri Alexa) that is
among the best of its kind we have seen to date and because the
makers took their time to get it to look so good, so smooth and
edited it with such superior flow. The powerful acting, directing and
screenplay come across with all the more power, even in the lesser,
enhanced 1.85 X 1 image DVD version that is passable, but cannot give
you the idea of what the makers pulled off here. Cheers to Director
of Photography Jody Lee Lipes for such great work.
but not least is the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image
transfer on Trespass,
a gritty shoot that still manages a great use of color and Director
of Photography Edu
Grau gets it all to match nicely.
the sound department, Manchester
have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that are pretty well
mixed and presented with consistent, warm soundfields through that
make them the sonic champs on the list. Horseman
have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mixes from their
original optical mono theatrical presentations and sound a little
more compressed than I'd like, but play as well as can be expected.
2.0 Mono on Ghost
is obviously the oldest, most aged film here, but the music is just
fine, tying the 1978 films and all three are tied by the lossy Dolby
Digital 5.1 on the Manchester
DVD for second and last place. The Blu-rays could not sound much
better than they do here.
order the Comes
limited edition Blu-rays, buy them and other great exclusives while
supplies last at these links: