Archive Blu-ray)/Hell and
(1954/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The
(2011/Lakeshore/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The
On Empty (1988)/The
Sea Chase (1955)/Vision
Quest (1985/all Warner
Ultra HD Picture: B Picture: B-/B/B-/B-/B/B/B Sound:
B-/B/B/B-/C+/B-/B- Extras: C/C+/B-/C+/C-/C-/C- Films:
and High Water
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 the Blood
Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their
Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.
is war and war is drama. Three of these films are war genre, three
dramas with serious war-level conflicts and one, a domestic political
Cold War-era tale....
start with William A. Wellman's Blood
(1955) led by John Wayne as a Merchant marine Captain in Hong Kong
(then part of the British Empire) is out to save Chinese refugees
from the Red Army who wants to stop them from leaving the People's
Republic, ready to be a violent as they need to be. He also gets
involved with an attractive woman (Laurel Bacall) who's the daughter
of a doctor caught in the midst of all this. Can they get through
the title locale to safety?
mix of action and melodrama has some good moments, but tends to be
uneven, complicated by a very politically incorrect (or maybe
borderline racist?) portrayal of the Chinese, immigrants and
aggressors, so it is a dated time capsule with more ideological
issues than any review could get into. Still, this was sadly how so
many films of the time from Hollywood were and that is the path
chosen, but it dates it as the kind of time capsule we have too much
of. Bacall more than holds her own and Anita Ekberg shows up in with
barely a line of dialogue.
see why Warner made this a Warner Archive Blu-ray and not a wide
release, but it should be in print restored as should all of Wayne's
films (like The
his 70mm epic not being restored yet) and glad to have see it again
just the same.
include two looks at the film from the TV series Warner
two newsreels and (uncredited on the back of the case) an Original
and High Water
(1954) is also water-bounds, but this time, it is Richard Widmark in
a submarine going to the Arctic (before it started melting) to stop a
nuclear incident the U.S. mighty well get blamed for an worse. It is
a stuck-in-a film and also has its share of action and melodrama, but
it plays better than Blood
and also like a dry run for Voyage
To The Bottom Of The Sea.
Bella Davri, Victor Francen, Cameron Mitchell and David Wayne help
out as a solid supporting cast, but the film is a mixed bag overall.
has licensed this to Twilight Time as one of their Limited Edition
Blu-rays and that is a good idea as the film has only aged so well,
but I can see a larger audience for this one waiting to rediscover
it. Fans will be very happy with this new edition too.
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 Track, Original Theatrical Trailer and biography
Widmark: Strength Of Character.
moved up John Farrow's The
(1955) with John Wayne on this list to group the older CinemaScope
films together. Wayne is here on a ship again with another major
female leading lady facing danger, but this time it is the even more
mysterious Lana Turner as Wayne is a German officer who hates Hitler
and is currently in Australia where the British want to hold him and
his crew for the duration of the war... unless he can get them back
to Germany for uncertain fates.
is also a very mixed film like many of these showy, hyped CinemaScope
films (Farrow also directed Wayne in his big 3D movie Hondo)
so we get a mix of good and bad moments, but Turner manages to steal
all her scenes despite a solid supporting cast that includes Tab
Hunter, James Arness, Alan Hale and Claude Akins that will have you
saying 'look how young they all look'. Its that kind of film. Like
the other two Scope films, its worth a look, but don't have the
Original Theatrical Trailer is sadly the only extra.
(2011) is the film that saved Matthew McConaughey's
career, got him to take himself more seriously and led to a Academy
Award later for Best Actor and leads in some of the best films he
ever made. I am happy to see this and that I saw the potential for a
man whose career was in big trouble beforehand in my review of the
film when it first hit Blu-ray at this link...
Lionsgate has upgraded the film early on for the 2160p 4K Ultra HD
Blu-ray treatment and it is one of the best choices for an underrated
back catalog release choice. The film was not bad on Blu-ray, but
this new version makes it more vivid, enjoyable and more of a
pleasure to watch. I thought this might lead to some kind of sequel
and the film did not do badly, if not an outright blockbuster.
Still, not enough people have seen it and this new 4K version is the
best. The film holds up well too.
repeat from the previously reviewed Blu-ray including Digital Copy
for PC and PC portable devices, Deleted Scenes and three featurettes:
The Case: Creating The Lincoln Lawyer,
Home On The Road
and One On One interview piece with McConaughey and Connelly.
(2016) offers a mixed film with one of Debra Winger's rare movie
appearances of any kind. The liked actress who became a hit in mixed
films like Urban
Officer & A Gentleman
started to run into complications after Terms
and rejected so many films, we stopped seeing her. Instead of
building a catalog of well-picked films, see did a mix of good and
forgotten before her partly self-imposed retreat despite accolades
from Bette Davis, who thought she was the only actress back then who
could take on Davis' toughest roles.
time, she is part of a married couple (Tracy Letts is her husband) on
the slow decline to a break-up and though the acting is not bad, the
pacing, script, editing and directing are choppy, sometimes sloppy
and never convinced me anything here was real, including the duel
extra-marital affairs. The film may not be smug, but this goes on
for a long 94 minutes and never gets better down to its supporting
cast of mostly unknowns. It is just a disappointment all around and
makes one feel Miss Winger (the only live-action Wonder Girl to date,
by the way) has lost her sense of high quality choices. We'll see.
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds two Making Of
featurettes and a feature length audio commentary track with Jacobs.
(1988) is an interesting attempt to tell a story of the remainder of
what happened to the most radical people of the counterculture
movement, years into the Reagan Era that wanted to erase it all.
Christine Lahti (underrated) and Judd Hirsch (better than people give
him credit for) are parents somehow managing to avoid the FBI since
the Vietnam War where one of their bombing stunts (blowing up a
napalm lab) accidentally got someone killed. Now, they have two sons
and keep running away from each small town they 'move' to and
integrate in before running away again.
their older son (River Phoenix, gone way too soon, showing here the
massive talent and man we lost) Danny is a musical prodigy and he
wants to follow this, but his father finds this impossible as they
want to keep the family together. Remarkably, the married couple
still has several connections and their political underground network
has money, is still
active and helping them run. Danny also gets interested in the
daughter (Martha Plimpton) of a music man trying to help him out, not
knowing his back story. Will he abandon his family or stay with
some script/story issues, it is not a bad film, though its ending
seems abrupt and not very believable, yet it is a film that holds up
enough and anything Lumet has directed should be seen at least once.
Also as usual, Lumet's talent, reputation and greatness always
guarantees a top rate supporting cast and this time, we get Stephen
Hill, Lynne Thigpen, L.M. Kit Carson and David Margulies shows
Lumet's knack for great casts. Nice to have this one finally
arriving on Blu-ray.
Original Theatrical Trailer is sadly the only extra, but it would
have been nice to interview the cast or have a Lumet commentary
track, et al.
(1985) is a film that had a mixed release, ad campaign and plays like
a product of the smart 1970s and plastic 1980s at the same time. The
underrated Matthew Modine is Louden Swain, a guy who wants to be more
than just bored with life, wants a girlfriend and become a wrestler.
He's so serious about it, he tolerates the goofiness of his
classmates and is ready to take on the #1 threat from a competing
team, thus embarking on a journey to do just that.
wants to make his dad (Ronny Cox) happy, but suddenly meets a gal
(Linda Fiorentino) he is interested in getting involved with, but she
is streetwise and cynical beyond his experience. Still, they allow
her to stay at their place for a while, then a relationship sort of
starts to happen. From this, the film shifts between their
relationship, his training and formula 1980s moments that seem stuck
into the film. At a local bar Louden visits, there is a singer
(Madonna before most knew who she was, dressed in her iconic 1980s
clothing!) singing the two songs (two of her best still to date) that
became hits with connected to the film: #1 smash ''Crazy
and dance/cult hit ''Gambler''
to the point that the film has focus issues in trying to tell its
story, yet also be Rocky
Modine is incredible here, carrying the film, making moments and
lines work that most actors of his or any age would have probably
flubbed and a conclusion that apparently went over too many viewers
heads at the time for those who actually saw it. Along with the
likes of Full
this film is absolute proof that Modine is one of the best actors of
his generation, even if he never gets credit for it. As a matter of
fact, the cast is very impressive here (Forest Whittaker among them),
but we did not see more of them enough after this since the film was
not a blockbuster or not silly or vapid enough. That's a real shame.
However, it is one of the few teen films of the 1980s (along with
that actually works (most John Hughes films did not) and that is why
despite a title that puzzled some people, Vision
may be a minor classic and everyone serious about filmmaking should
see this one at least once.
Original Theatrical Trailer is sadly the only extra, so Music Videos
might not be here since Warner Music and Warner Bros. the film studio
are no longer part of the same company? A new featurette or
commentary would have been nice.
2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10-bit color; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35
X 1 Ultra High Definition image on Lawyer
has a different frame than the 1.78 x 1 regular Blu-ray, but we get
better composition, less motion blur and a more consistent image that
was missing before, allowing the film to be more involving.
a rare occurrence, we have no less than three films shot in the
earliest version of CinemaScope at 2.55 X 1 before that was shrunk
(to 2.35 or 2.39 X 1) to make permanent room for an optical
soundtrack. We get decent 1080p digital High Definition image has
all kinds of ghosting and alignment issues and though this is still
an HD image transfers for Alley,
has a few more flaws than the other two. Water
is the only film here to get the 35mm
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor treatment in release prints and
with the DeLuxe lab name also on the poster, was one of the last Fox
films to get this treatment before the studio had DeLuxe do the color
on all their films in a few years.
had already done this sooner with their own lab processing Eastman
Kodak 35mm color negative film under the WarnerColor banner (1954's
was the only WarnerColor scope film to get Technicolor prints
apparently). Warner has done extensive work on the Wayne film and
they could not look much better in this format as they do here, while
is as strong and shows at times how good the Technicolor must have
looked in those now very valuable 35mm prints. Fans will not be
disappointed by any of them.
1080p 1.85 X 1 HD shot digital High Definition image transfer on
is on the dull side to create a mood, we guess, but also has some of
the motion blur and detail issues the regular 1080p Lawyer
Blu-ray has. On the other hand, Warner's great restoration team
delivers again with the two 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition
image transfers on the 35mm-shot Empty
which barely show the age of the materials used and look as good as
I've ever seen them. This is not to say they looked stunning to
begin with, but for the dramas they are, have been lensed
professionally, smoothly and consistently, making their dramas all
the more enveloping. Those who might only know clips from Quest
via the music video for the two Madonna songs will be surprised too.
for sound, Lawyer
has been upgraded to a Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless mix on the 4K 2160p
disc that is fine, but it is only so much of an improvement for the
well-recorded, dialogue-based film to begin with. Some scenes are
improved a bit, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on
the regular Blu-ray and lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown on the 4K
disc sound fine. In retrospect, this is a more well-recorded film
than I remembered.
(a new digital recording) and Water
(originally 4-track magnetic
stereo sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects like the two
Wayne films) are here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes
that sound good, but Lovers
can be lite and limited being a dialogue-based film, but the real
surprise is how good Water
sounds for its age to the point that it is the second-best release
her sonically. The people at Fox did their work and because it was
preserved, it holds up.
because the 4-track soundmasters to the Wayne films were allegedly
thrown out (!!!!), they are here with Quest
as DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless Stereo releases that all
have their flaws and limits (Quest
was originally issued in Dolby's older A-type analog Dolby System
theatrical format with monophonic surrounds) so they tie for
one of the last major studio releases (along with Woody Allen's many
films of the time) as one of the last theatrical monophonic (optical
sound) releases and it is represented here in a lossless DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 2.0 Mono mix though this can sound good, it
unfortunately exposes the flaws and limits in how it was recorded
order the Hell
and High Water
limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while
supplies last at these links:
to order any or all four of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this
link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at: