Wrestler: The Wizard (2017/Warner DVD)/Apocalypse Child
(2015/Candy Factory DVD)/By The Time It Gets Dark
(2016/Icarus/KimStim DVD)/Hana-bi (1997/aka Fireworks/Film
Movement Blu-ray)/The Prison (2017/Well Go Blu-ray)/Men Go
To Battle (2015)/Puppylove (2013)/Soul On A String
(2016/Film Movement DVDs)/The Summer Of All My Parents
(2016/aka July-August/First Run DVD)
B-/B/B/B+/B-/B/B/B/B Sound: B-/B/C+/B+/B-/B/B/C+/C+ Extras:
B/D/D/B/D/C+/D/C/D Film: C/B/C+/B+/B+/B/C/C+/C+
a variety of recent dramas, mostly independent, you should be aware
Wrestler: The Wizard
Wrestler: The Wizard (2017) is another coming-of-age sports based
film that pulls at the heartstrings and isn't unlike many of the
other films that you've seen in the genre before. While not
necessarily filmed or acting poorly, the film ends up being pretty
mediocre in my opinion with a few recognizable faces and an 'inspired
by true events' tagline but a storyline that feels old hat.
film stars George Kosturos, William Fichtner (The Dark Knight),
Jon Voight, Lia Marie Johnson, Kevin Schmidt, Shannon Collis, and is
Directed by Alex Ranarivelo (The Dog Lover).
in the 1980s, a teenage boy (Kosturos) flees his war-torn home in
Iran and resides in America, where he hopes to live a normal teenage
life. When he joins the school's wrestling time, he finds his
calling and ultimately takes the cake to become an honored player on
the team while facing a laundry list of hostilities along the way.
in standard definition with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of
2.35:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the standard definition
presentation of the film looks fine and completely passable for DVD
but, as with anything, could benefit in 2160p or even 1080p given its
production value. No digital copy is included.
Madadian and Shani Rigsbee
Wrestler: American Dream
Cornejo's Apocalypse Child (2015) is an interesting romantic
drama that centers around a surfer who believes that his illegitimate
father is none other than Director Francis Ford Coppola, who
apparently was with his biological mother during the filming of
Apocalypse Now. An intriguing premise for this
Philippines-produced indie, the film features interesting
performances and stunning photography.
Child stars Sid Lucero, Ana Abad-Santos, Gwen Zamora, Annicka
Dolonius, RK Bagatsing, and Archile Alemania to name a few.
in Baler, a town known for its surfing, a surfing instructor and
master of the waves named Ford (Lucero) feels as if he is wasting his
life away under the sun. Struck by the season of surfing coming to
an end, he is faced with several changes in his life that force him
to confront his past and his future.
in standard definition DVD with a 1.77:1 widescreen aspect ratio and
a standard 5.1 surround sound track, the film looks and sounds fine
for DVD minus some compression issues (however, the copy we have is a
DVD-R). The film's exotic locations look great in the film and could
be improved upon in a future HD release that I'm sure is inevitable.
that this film won several awards on the festival circuit, it will be
hopefully find a second life on disc as it is pretty interesting and
solidly made. Looking forward to seeing more from Cornejo in the
The Time It Gets Dark
is a narrative surrounding the lives of several people from
revolution of the '70s in Thailand to the modern era. The stories of
a waitress working in a country cafe to a dinner on a river cruise
ship. A young filmmaker interviewing former political writer about
her life and the massacre of 1976 at Thammasat University. The
political and cultural changes of Thailand. The modern generation
and how they are living now in Director Anocha Suwichakornpong's By
The Time It Gets Dark (2016).
was one of those weird films that didn't really have a story or plot,
rather it is about the setting and feeling. It takes a third person
view of life as if one is looking back over life. It's NOT the story
of a country's revolution, but more on how people lived their lives
and through their struggles. Through quiet ambiance and nature, they
reflect on the human perspective on life is so limited, that they can
only see what is in front of them at that time, people react more
than they think about the future. As it slowly moves forward in
time to the modern age, we go from country to city, a new generation
appears and takes over. And we have to wonder ...if this was what
the future the previous generation wanted and died for.
was a social political cultural film on Thailand, it paints a world
in which students of the past rose up in anarchy towards the
government. Their views on the government are anyone who works in
the government are corrupt and they care more about lining their own
pockets than helping the people. Having no main characters or
plot made things feel like nothing really matters in history,
regardless of human struggles or strife, people will continue to live
throughout the ages, the sacrifices one generation makes are trivial
and forgotten by the next generation. It raises a question to the
audience of what gives your life, your generation any meaning?
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is as good as it can get in
the DVD format here, but the lossy Dolby Digital sound is a bit
lacking and there are no extras.
(Takeshi Kitano) is a disgraced cop would do anything to protect
those he cares about, his partner was shot and his wife is dying from
leukemia. He borrows money from the yakuza and ends up robbing a
bank to pay back his 'loans', but when the yakuza finds out, they
decide they want the rest of Nishi's money... the yakuza is about to
learn, that Nishi is the last man they should ever mess with in
Takeshi Kitano's Hana-bi (1997/aka Fireworks).
is a rough and ready street cop who was once known and feared for his
violence and ability to get the job done. It is a imperfect world
and a cop still has to eat and pay bills, and in a world gone wrong,
even cops have to get dirty to make ends meet. All Nishi really
wants is to live in peace with his wife's final days, but when the
yakuza discover the source of his new found money they decide he
needs to pay 'interest'. Nishi decides he had enough, and anyone who
disturbs his peace ...will have to answer to him.
film was an early release and success from Takeshi Kitano, like most
of his roles he plays, he plays quiet man that speaks more through
his fists and brutal acts of violence. That in order to do his job,
he must be violent ...that in a corrupt world, police needs to be
just a brutal and ruthless. But in the end, Kitano's character still
has a code of honor which set him above the rest.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image looks great and the
lossless 5.1 surround sound are great throughout. Extras include an
audio commentary track, making of the film, essay on the film and
is a disgraced police inspector sent to prison to do hard time, but
there in the prison he soon learns the prison is no longer in control
of the guards, has long since been in control of the prisoners. And
through the prison, at night they take on various 'jobs' outside
prison, but in a prison where there are no rules, how long can any
man survive when everyone wants to be king of the hill?
Na Hyun's The Prison (2017), Yu-gon was a policeman, but in
prison he learn there are new rules, everything is controlled by the
'Captain' Jung Ik-ho. The Captain keeps the peace during the day,
but at night he runs a criminal organization from inside the prison,
a perfect cover for crimes where no on suspects the criminals are
already on the inside of a prison. Those who are loyal are richly
rewarded with money and power, those who aren't end up in various
'accidents', but secretly Yu-gon was sent in as a mole to find
evidence. As he gets closer to the Captain he learns Ik-ho is always
one step ahead of everyone else and he is not vicious because he is
evil, but because like him he just wants to survive. But in the
end... what can one man do against the entire system?
a corrupt world of policemen, criminals, budget cuts and politicians
only the vicious survives, regardless of a policeman or prisoner,
everyone in the end is just trying to live and the live blurs between
good and evil. Those who know how to work the system can even turn a
prison into a paradise.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is an HD shoot with
issues throughout in blur, detail and inconsistency, while the
lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 surround mix is also uneven
with some sonic issues. Extras include trailers.
Go To Battle
feature film debut from Director Zachary Treitz, Men Go To Battle
(2015) is a period Civil War piece with a humorous contemporary twist
that is sharply made and pretty fun to watch. A winner at the
Tribeca Film Festival, Men Go To Battle is a must see for fans
of the Civil War or Western genres.
film stars Charlotte Arnold, Steve Coulter, Samantha Jacober, Rachel
Korine, and David Maloney to name a few.
in Kentucky in 1861, the film centers around two brothers Henry and
Francis Mellon who are both struggling to maintain their family
estate. When Francis' practical jokes go a bit far, Henry disappears
and decides to join the arm in the ongoing Civil War. Facing both
problems of the time and strained relationships, the brothers both
try to survive in a difficult time in history.
in standard definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and a
lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound track (and a 2.0 Dolby Digital
track as well), the transfer of the film is up to standards and looks
pretty good for the format.
Short Film: Operation Commando directed by Jan Czarlewski
and Cast Commentary
coming of age drama Puppy Love (2013) is a film about the
sexual awakening in a young girl as she meets an unhinged neighbor
who is all about sexual freedom and the gnarly life of partying. The
film is interestingly made, but at times a bit trying to root for
this main character, who transforms from curious teen to asking her
father if he would have sex with her. While I see what the film was
aiming for in its themes and metaphors, I found it to be a bit silly
and far fetched.
film stars Salene Rigot, Vincent Perez, and Andrey Bastien as the
in standard definition DVD with a widescreen anamorphically enhanced
aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a lossy French Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
track with English subs, the presentation here is standard and up to
par with the format and presents the film in a compressed format.
On A String
the wanderer discovers a scared stone after killing a deer and he is
given a pilgrimage by a monk, to bring the sacred stone back to a
legendary holy mountain. Legend has it however, the scared stone is
the key to the entrance of heaven ...and it seems like everyone know
that he has it ...and they want it in Yang Zhang's Soul On A
is a nomadic wanderer, he is lazy, a drunkard and even killed a man,
but all that is put on hold when by fate a sacred stone falls into
his lap. A Tibetan monk tells him he must return the stone to the
Holy Mountain and all his past sins will be forgiven. Tasked with
returning the stone to the Holy Mountain (which no ones knows where
it is) he is followed unwillingly by his woman and a mysterious mute
boy whom discovers a map drawn onto Taibei's back. On top of
everything they are tracked by bounty hunters, mercenaries, and the
son of the man he killed who wants revenge. Will Teibei be able to
complete his journey and escape his wheel of karma or will his
past catch up to him first?
whole plot/setup of this story makes it seem like a comedy about to
happen, but it seems it is more of a cautionary tale story of karma
than comedy, that "Buddha has a plan for everything".
Everything was filmed in the vast and beautiful plains and mountains
of Tibet. By accepting and giving help to others will brings good
fortune, while lying, cheating, stealing and killing will bring
misfortune and set you down the path of evil.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is as good as it can get in
the DVD format, but the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix shows its age a
bit. Extras include a bonus short film: The Rifle, The Jackal,
The Wolf and The Boy, and trailers.
Summer Of All My Parents
age 14, and her big sister Josephine are spending their summer
between their divorced parents. Between boys and their secretly
pregnant mother, Laura and Josephine are just normal tomboys. That is
until Josephine starts gets involved with a boy ...from the wrong
side of the town. Laura suddenly realizes, how much trouble they are
in and that she just might have to grow up faster than her sister and
parents in Diasteme's The Summer Of All My Parents (2016 aka
all fun and games playing pranks, causing trouble, and raising hell
until it happens to you. Laura is your typical tomboy girl, going
through teenage rebellion and puberty. Tell her not to do something
and she will do it. As her older sister Josephine is getting
interested in cute boys and her own sexuality, they are unfortunately
blind to trouble until it is too late. This time, their 'pranks'
could really land them in jail. Laura realizes if she continues down
her path, she will only repeat the same mistakes as her family
members and end up just like them, sad and never really happy.
was your typical teenage drama movie, it is about kids wanting
attention having fun and wild parties, but not taking any
responsibility. It seems like a lot of the French movies enjoy
making films of teenage girls going through puberty, learning about
sex and sexuality and losing their virginity/innocence. It also
seems to say that French girls like to have fun, but when it gets
serious they runaway or cry in hopes of someone else fixing their
problems for them. In the end it is a cautionary tale where the
characters have to decide if it is time to grow up a bit. C'est la
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is as good as it can get in
the DVD format here too, but the lossy Dolby Digital mix shows its
age a bit more than anything else on this list and almost earns a
lower rating. Extras includes trailers.
James Lockhart (Wizard, Child, Battle, Puppy)
& Ricky Chiang