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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > S&M > Erotic > Bondage > Gangster > Murder > Crime > Mob > Mystery > Adventure > Swords > Action > Literat > Fifty Shades Darker (2017/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/GoodFellas (1990/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The Last Of Sheila (1973/Warner Archive DVD)/Swashbuckler Double Feature: The

Fifty Shades Darker (2017/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/GoodFellas (1990/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The Last Of Sheila (1973/Warner Archive DVD)/Swashbuckler Double Feature: The Black Pirate (1954) + Tales Of Robin Hood (1951/Lippert/VCI/Sprocket Vault DVD)/3:10 To Yuma (2007 remake/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Last Of Sheila DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Here are a really interesting set of great films, with some genre films and B-movies...

James Foley's Fifty Shades Darker (2017) is the sequel to the inexplicably successful Fifty Shades Of Gray (2015) which we reviewed on regular Blu-ray at this link...


Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are back in what we could call 'Eyes Wide Shut with no point' as the supposed world of upscale S&M is explored (yawn....) in a film about sex that truly is one of the most non-erotic motion pictures ever made, even when seeing things more vividly in the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format. Miss Johnson is certainly pretty, sexy and the like, but the acting is dull, silly and unless you care, there is no major difference between this and the previous film. That is no complement.

Kim Basinger is here as an intertextual reference to 9 1/2 Weeks and all the other films where she was a sex object exploited, warning Johnson's character not to be an exploited sex object (?!?) and the great Marcia Gay Harden also sleepwalks through this bore collecting one of the easiest paychecks she'll ever get struggling to just look interested. However, you could make this film with mannequins and except in rare cases, you'd probably make an more interesting film.

Too bad, because a potentially interesting story is here... somewhere... afar... that could be smart and sexy (like Eyes Wide Shut uncut), but his is just cynical, tired, formulaic product that has all the eroticism of burning piles of 8-track tapes. Even the nudity is sometimes bad. Skip it!

Our next 4K entry is a true masterwork, Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas (1990), which was recently restored in a 4K master for this regular Blu-ray we reviewed recently...


Now we have a 2160p version and it is better than even that high quality Blu-ray. Save the booklet that came with that version, this has all the extras plus the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray that has some great shots, if not totally consistent for tech reasons i'll get into below. However, this is the kind of back catalog title that shows off the format's capacity and one of my 4K demos to date.

If GoodFellas is one of the greatest gangster and crime films ver made, the same could be made for Herbert Ross' The Last Of Sheila (1973) that it is one of the greatest mystery films ever made. A true masterwork waiting to be rediscovered, James Coburn is a movie mogul whose wife Sheila was killed a few years ago. Fast forward to the present where he has guests gathering on his luxury boat that happens to be called the 'Sheila' with the twist that her murderer(s) are on board. Making the mystery with some of the most well-laid out clues in cinema history work even better is an amazing cast with amazing chemistry that includes Dyan Cannon, Raquel Welch, James Mason, Richard Benjamin, Joan Hackett and Ian McShane (that cast alone should make this a mega-curio!) that keeps you guessing and has all kinds of curve balls to boot.

This Warner Archive DVD allows you to finally be able to see the visual clues the ancient VHS and bad TV copies ruined. Add Bette Midler's song ''Friends'' and you have what is at least a minor classic if not much more. Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins co-wrote the script and it is a career high for all involved. Go out of your way for this one!

The new Swashbuckler Double Feature DVD offers two films that are obscure, but interesting and should also be curios. First we have Allen H. Miner's The Black Pirate (1954) with Anthony Dexter, Martha Roth and Lon Chaney, Jr. as a priest (!) has evil buccaneers traveling to El Salvador (no joke, it was shot on location there back in the day) to raid the place for treasure, women and more. Based on a tale by the creator of Zorro, this has a mix of bad acting, brutal moments, interesting locales and odd fighting sequences, yet it has to be seen to be believed and should especially interest anyone who likes the endless Pirates Of The Caribbean series. It is also a rare film shot in Ansco Color, but more on that in the tech section. Uneven, but worth a look for those interested.

Then we get James Tinlings' Tales Of Robin Hood (1951) with Robert Clarke (looking as much like Errol Flynn as much as possible) as the title hero. This only runs an hour and you'd think it was some kind of TV pilot at times, so basic it is, yet is it not awful despite being obvious and predictable. It is also no worse than most of the B-movies we've seen with the title character. It goes no where fast and has a low budget (in black and white too), but it is one for completists and at least is not pompous or pretentious to its credit.

Lippert distributed both at the time and was more typical of the growing stream of B product we got all the time, which I prefer to the bad big films we get too often now. This is fun if nothing else and its nice these are on DVD.

James Mangold's remake of 3:10 To Yuma (2007) remains one of the few truly great Westerns of the last 30 years, so it is no surprise that Lionsgate would pick this gem as one of their back catalog releases early on to issue as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. We've celebrated this film a few times on the site and the best part of this is teaming of Christian Bale and Russell Crowe (as good guy hunting down an evil killer) against each other is great, formidable, palpable and still underrated. However, this is what you get when you get two of the best living actors together.

The original film is really good, but this remake is a Revenge Western that turns into a character study with solid performances, battles and pacing throughout, based on the Elmore Leonard novel. It also has a supporting cast that just gets better every time you see it including including Ben Foster, Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Dallas Roberts, Vinessa Shaw, Alan Tudyk and Logan Lerman. Add how good this is in 4K and it instantly becoming one of the best back catalog titles in the format (along with GoodFellas, Independence Day and Labyrinth) and maybe more people will finally catch up with this gem.

Now for technical performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on the three releases here are impressive, as good as they can likely look at this level and all offer demo moments. I spent months testing GoodFellas, comparing its new 4K 1.85 X 1 presentation to the recent 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition regular Blu-ray and against all the 35mm and other video footage I have ever seen of the film. The result is that I think it is just better enough than the regular Blu-ray despite some grain issues that I am giving it one of the highest ratings of any disc I have ever bestowed, but I would also argue that this is one of the most visual complex 35mm and HD-shot films of the last 50 years and might need a 6K or 8K master to capture all that Scorsese and Director of Photography Michael Ballhaus, A.S.C. (who JUST passed away as we were preparing this coverage!) to capture this remarkable, amazing, most complex of cinematic shoots. As it stands, the improvements impress often in the color, textures, Video Red, Video Black, Video White, detail and depth the film was famous for immediately. As incredible as ever, it has endless imitators visually and 99.9% of all of them never even came close!

The 2160p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Shades and Yuma definitely offer more color range, detail and depth than their decent regular 1080p, but Shades (stopping me from falling totally asleep in my tortured viewings) has the plus of Director of Photography John Schwartzman, A.S.C., who at least makes it look like they are in a world of wealth and money without it being the joke the film itself tends to be. Color, depth and detail improve nicely, as it does on Yuma, though some monochromatic tendencies in the color holds back the 4K performance. However, there are more than enough improvements that 4K is the way to go to see the film, especially if you've never seen it before and the 4K makes this look big and grand as intended, which is yet another reason it holds up so well. Nice demo shots too!

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Sheila looks as good as it can in the DVD format, from a beautiful color print, showing off how good this must have looked in its original release when issued on 35mm in real dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints. Director of Photography Gerry Turpin (Deadfall, The Whisperers, Young Winston, and most appropriately, the British TV spy classic The Avengers) adds clues through blocking and other visually clever twists and turns that make this all highly rewatchable. I also must give Production Designer Ken Adam credit for adding to all that. All in all, this is such a remarkable film!

The 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Robin and color transfer on Pirates can show the age of the materials used, both having a little more softness than expected. However, Pirates is a special rare film, as it was one of the few independent films shot in 35mm with Ansco Color/Anscochrome, a fine, solid alternative to Fuji, Kodak, DuPont and Ferrania color stocks of the time with their own look and feel. Though this print was damaged throughout by bad storage, you can STILL see how good the color is and was throughout. MGM backed Ansco (owned by, then folded by GAF in 1977) and used it exclusively for their then-new MetroColor labs before the parties agreed to folds the arrangement. A few independent films got to use the stock and any film shot that way is as much a pleasure to view as a Technicolor film or the best prints from the other film companies. That alone is reason enough to get this disc.

Now for the sound, starting with the DTS: X 11.1 lossless mixes on Shades and Yuma, which definitely show off the underrated format and codec, but Yuma is the sonic champ here, an improvement even over the powerful PCM 7.1 mix from the regular Blu-ray version (a rare PCM mix from anywhere in any format), but the DTS-X sounds smoother and more naturalistic throughout while retaining the power of the soundtrack. Shades is still decent and has DTS: X on the 4K and regular Blu-rays. However, with so much talk and bad sex, music takes center stage and its not always memorable, so the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix upgrade from analog Dolby on GoodFellas can more than compete. It is also one of the best sound mixes with some of the best use of music in any film ever!

Both DVDs offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound, but Sheila has been taken care of and sounds as good as it can without being lossless, while both Swashbuckler films have older soundtrack that can sound a little brittle, distorted and aged despite the cleaning up that has been done. Be careful of high playback levels or volume switching in those cases.

Extras for all three 4K releases include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray add all previous extras in the cases of Yuma and GoodFellas (featurettes, documentaries, audio commentaries, etc.), while Shades adds Deleted Scenes and seven featurettes. Sheila has a feature length audio commentary track with Richard Benjamin, Dyan Cannon & Rachel Welch, plus an Original Theatrical Trailer, something we also get for Pirates on the Swashbuckler DVD, which also adds separate audio interview reenactments with talks by Robert Lippert and Robert Clarke.

To order the Warner Archive The Last Of Sheila DVD, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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