(2016/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/Decoy:
The Complete 39 Episode Series
(1957 - 1959/Film Chest DVD Set)/Ex
(2015/A24/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Mine
(2016/Well Go Blu-ray w/DVD)/My
Gun Is Quick (1957/MGM
Limited Edition Collection DVD)/Obsessions
(1969/Cult Epics Blu-ray w/DVD)/Starlight
(2017/Cleopatra/MVD Visual Blu-ray)
Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B & C/C+/B/B & C+/C/B &
C+/B Sound: B & C+/C/B+/B- & C+/C/C/C+ Extras:
C-/C/C+/C+/D/C+/D Main Programs: C+/B-/C+/C+/C+/C+/C
Gun Is Quick
DVD is now only 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.
is a new group of genre films that include gems from the past,
including some unexpected, plus recent productions....
(2016) is one of several films here that strangely deals with the
idea of identity, here with Michele Rodriguez playing a man involved
in gangster violence who eventually is transformed into a woman
surgically by a mad female scientist played by a scene-stealing
Sigourney Weaver. Essentially trying to reference thrillers like
the film is saying only things it knows its saying and the plot is
pedestrian, leaving us to be impressed (or not) by the visual effects
and make up to turn Rodriguez into a lanky street guy, Weaver as
creepy as anything and support by Tony Shalhoub and Anthony LaPaglia
helping add some much needed grit to the proceedings.
filmed under the title Tomboy,
Hill can direct, but as he proved with Johnny
with Mickey Rourke, tech puts him out of his safe zone a bit and he
loses control of his work, all despite being a co-producer of the
films. This is still worth a look for the actors (I like them all)
and that Hill always has a few good moments in anything he helms, but
I was disappointed overall as the gimmickry gets in the way of even
the creepiness. Weaver proves once again she is never to be
The Complete 39 Episode Series
(1957 - 1959) is a remarkable lost police drama shot on location in
New York City (the first and one of a handful of such shows like Car
54, Where Are You?)
that had a special look and feel like no other that has never been
duplicated since such productions ceased. Beverly Garland (on her
way to becoming one of the most successful character actresses in all
of TV history and still squeezed in a few feature films) is Casey
Jones, out title character who goes undercover to solve crimes and
other mysteries for the New York Police Department. A few decades
ahead of Angie Dickinson's Police
(reviewed elsewhere on this site), the show is very well-written,
well acted, well shot, has its Noir moments and a few episodes are
surprisingly violent and brutal for the time.
other remarkable thing is the parade of some of the best actors in
the business, especially before they became known, showing up when
they were young and just starting. They are reason alone to see the
show, let alone how amazing Garland actually is here. Those actors,
some of whom show up playing more than one part across these shows,
include Simon Oakland (Kolchak:
The Night Stalker),
Frank Sutton (Gomer
Suzanne Pleshette (Bob
Frank Campanella (in a recurring Lieutenant role), Joseph Campanella,
Peter Falk, Martin E. Brooks (Bionic
Million Dollar Man),
Arch Johnson, Barbara Barrie (Barney
appropriately), Lois Nettleton, Joanne Linville, Martin Balsam,
Joshua Shelley, Michael Tolan, Albert Dekker, Ruth McDevitt (Pistols
The Night Stalker),
Richard Davalos, Mason Adams, Lonny Chapman, Frank Silvera, Edith
Atwater, Ellen Parker, Al Lewis (brutal here), Larry Hagman, Bert
Freed, John Cassavetes, Ed Asner, Norman Rose, Henry Beckman, Colleen
Dewhurst, Clifton James, Vincent Gardenia, Diane Ladd and so many
great acting showcase, it also had as a producer and sometimes
director Stuart Rosenberg, who did much TV as well has major feature
films like Cool
Of The Damned,
Pope Of Greenwich Village
and the original Amityville
Needless to say this is a show where so much talent was just getting
warmed up and it is worth seeing every episode to see them all in
is Film Chest's DVD version, so it is the only one to consider of
this minor TV classic I hope everyone gets to catch up with.
(2015) has been reissued in an upgraded 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray by
Lionsgate. Though it includes the original 1080 Blu-ray we
previously reviewed at this link...
then, my option remains the same on the film, it has some good
moments, but is not as well-rounded or great as some have said
because it does not go far enough in what the material deals with.
However, it looks better here in the new 4K version and thus, works
better and is more watchable. If you can see it that way, that's the
way to go. More info on this set follows below.
Guaglione & Fabio Resinaro's Mine
(2016) has the underrated Armie Hammer as a soldier who sees his
fellow soldier getting blown up by a mine and then steps on one, but
it does not go off. It will when he removes his foot, so what can he
do? Wait 56 hours until help arrives? Too bad he is in the middle
of the hot desert. Thus, the Fabios (as they are sometimes called,
or Fabio & Fabio) have made a stuck-in-a film that is not as
obnoxious or obvious as the usual for that cycle of mostly tired
releases. However, this one is not half-bad, though its pushing it
at 107 minutes.
is also the side of this that can feel like War Porn (war is easy,
war is fun, war is simple, war is a permanent state, war is natural,
war cannot always hurt you, etc.), but there is not too much war
here, os the film sidesteps this just enough with its substance. It
may not be for everyone, but it is worth a look for what does work.
A. White & Phil Victor's My
Gun Is Quick
(1957) is the Mike Hammer film that dared to follow Robert Aldrich's
(1955, reviewed on Criterion Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and yet,
Hammer creator Mickey Spillane did not like that film, so he got this
one made. Robert Bray is a brutal, short-tempered and
not-too-memorable Hammer trying to find out why a woman he just met
was killed. It looks good, is watchable and has some good moments,
but is not very memorable or effective overall. By this time, Darren
McGavin would play Hammer on TV and have a big hit with it, whether
Spillane was a fan or not.
has issued this curio as part of their Limited Edition Collection DVD
series and it should be in print since all detective films and Noir
films (this is a very late Noir) should always be available. I just
did not like this one and it is worth a look once, if that. Now you
can see for yourself.
de la Parra's Obsessions
(1969) is a thriller that has been out of circulation for a while,
with the added intrigue of having Martin Scorsese as a co-writer and
a music score by no less than Bernard Herrmann. Dieter Geissler
plays a college student who discovers a strange peephole in his wall
when a comical painting of Vincent van Gogh (the self-portrait has a
steel shaver near his one ear) falls to the ground. He starts
looking, discovering some very odd, bizarre things are going on next
door and he gets his fiancee involved (Alexandra Stewart, looking
great here). However, whatever odd things he is witnessing, there is
worse to come.
first English-language Dutch film has some interesting moments and
unintentionally amusing ones, but it does hold together as a thriller
that well, though it still has its moments. It reminded me of De
Palma's early thriller work in a good way, but some of it is just too
predictable and a few things too obvious. Still, any serious film
fan should see this one for who is involved and what does work. It
has been a very long time since I saw it, so only so much of it stuck
with me. Still, they do some things here most filmmakers would not
do today and that's a good thing.
Epics has delivered a solid Blu-ray w/DVD set the film deserves.
(2017) takes place in a circus in the outskirts of town and deals
initially with the relationships of the performers, then it gets
surreal with dream-like appearances by Iggy Pop as a sort of
spiritual figure. Denis Levant is the main protagonist, but the film
gets to tied up in its surrealism and melodrama to do anything more
than what you eventually expect after the first 10 minutes or so of
it. Pop is here almost as if Blondy has Wender's overrated Wings
in mind, but we don't get much more.
course, you'll think of other circus films, including
(intentionally?) Fellini's 8
but I did not buy the love story or much more of this. It's not
awful, but it is trying at times almost seeming repetitive. Thus, it
is not for everyone, only the most curious.
2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra
High Definition image on the new 4K UHD Blu-ray of Ex
is easily the best performer here, passing its 1080p digital High
Definition regular Blu-ray image transfer in Video White, most Video
Black, depth and detail, but there are other limits (the Academy
Award visual effects show their limits, for instance) so the 4K
version is about as good as this is ever going to look.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Assignment
offers nothing special visually, but it is at least a solid,
professional, consistent digital HD shoot, though the anamorphically
enhanced DVD is softer and weaker than it should be. The 1080p 2.35
X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Mine
is also a digital shoot that has obviously been over-enhanced
visually to make the desert (shot on location to their credit) look
hotter and brighter than it was, which gets a little annoying.
However, it works for what it is and the anamorphically enhanced DVD
looks better than expected considering the blown-out Video White.
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image is centered in a 1.78 X
1 frame, on Obsessions
has a slightly brown color throughout that makes the film look a
little aged, but there is still good color throughout and it is an
interesting shoot. The anamorphically enhanced DVD is not bad for
the format, but the Blu-ray has more detail and depth.
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Starlight
is an HD shoot that is not bad, but can have some sloppy editing and
mixed cuts in its bid to be surreal. Otherwise, this looks just fine
and can more than compete with the other HD shoots here.
1.33 X 1 black and white image on the episodes of Decoy
can look really good from episode to episode, but there are many
instances of damage, flaws and dirt that you can expect for a lost
show. Otherwise, I like the shows late Noir look and those who look
at it will be surprised how good it holds up.
anamorphically enhanced black and white 1.66 X 1 image on Gun
is from a nice, clean print, but the actual transfer is softer than
expected, so once again the older transfer holds back what could and
would be impressive performance. Guess we'll have to wait for the
Blu-ray to fix that.
for sound, Ex
was the first Blu-ray ever to feature a DTS:
X 11.1 track, which is repeated on the 4K Blu-ray disc, sounding as
articulate as before and easily the sonic champ here. Systems
without DTS: X will get a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 mixdown.
offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, but Mine
has some mixing and recording issues, so it ranks third place behind
the competent-if-unremarkable Assignment.
The DVDs of both offer lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, but Mine
sounds better on DVD than Assignment.
(2.0 Mono on both Blu-ray and DVD) and Starlight
(5.1) have lossy Dolby Digital that is not as good as these releases
could sound, but they sound good enough. Dubbing on Obsessions
can be trying, though.
also offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, but they are also on the
weak side with flaws and low volume from episode to episode on Decoy,
then a lower-than-usual volume on Gun that sounds like its from a
good source that was not transferred properly.
have no extras, while Ex
repeats its Blu-ray extras
of Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable
devices, while the Blu-ray itself adds 8 promo vignettes on the film,
a 5-part Making Of featurette Through
The Looking Glass: Creating Ex Machina
and a SXSW Q&A with Cast & Crew featurette where the director
starts talking about the dangerous unchecked power tech companies
have in creating such things or in our lives, but the film
practically never goes there.
comes with a booklet that has notes, an episode guide and some nice
also offers Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber iTunes capable devices, while the discs offer a Filmmaking
Portraits featurette that shows the film being made without comment.
adds a Making Of featurette, Deleted Scenes, Original Theatrical
Trailer and VFX & Storyboard piece worth checking out after
seeing the film.
adding an original Dutch Theatrical Trailer, text interview with
Martin Scorsese, script of the film with Scorsese's personal notes,
an HD Photo Video Gallery, a clip on Scorpio Films and separate
intros to the film and separate interviews by Director Parra and lead
actor Dieter Geissler.