(2017/Focus/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray + Blu-ray w/DVD
(2017/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Reign:
The Fourth & Final Season
(2016 - 2017/Warner DVD Set)/Unlocked
Villainess (2017/Well Go
Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B & C+/B+ & C+/B/B/B
Sound: B+/B+ & C+/B/B/B Extras: B/C/D/C/C- Main Programs:
new releases all put women in the forefront of the action and the
results are usually more impressive than expected, but then maybe we
should know better...
on a graphic comic book novel 'The
taking place at the very end of The Cold War, David Leitch's Atomic
(2017) has the great Charlize Theron as an MI-6 assassin heading into
a still-divided Berlin (as the Berlin Wall is about to fall, but no
one is sure of that as the events of the story take place) to stop a
master list of double agents from getting into the wrong hands. That
includes the KGB, mercenaries, the East Germans and other
unscrupulous people, if only she can figure out who's who.
has proven he can direct action, of course, surprising us before, but
this is a solid step forward form his Keanu Reeves hit and not only
has a sizable budget, but a great supporting cast of its own
including James McAvoy (who is better than he gets credit for), Eddie
Marsan, Toby Jones, Ty Schweiger and John Goodman make for a
combination that gels well with new talents and a film with some
humor, but not too much.
course, Theron carries the film and by being that rare combination of
incredible talent (as her Academy Award and hard work over the years
bears out), yet is a true movie star the camera loves and has more
fans out there than I think people realize, this is a perfect vehicle
for her to show off her capacity in the genre (and her Mad
Max: Fury Road
work is no fluke by any means) has her going for it 100% and that is
why this film deserves a much huger audience than it has found so far
and is one of the best action films this year.
only minor complains are that a few moments ring false, maybe the
humor could have been pulled back a little bit more and the use of
hit New Wave music of the time is usually excellent, but does not
necessarily go all the way like Theron keeps doing. Otherwise, this
is a must-see film for anyone serious about action!
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber iTunes capable devices, while the 1080p Blu-rays add four
Making Of featurettes (Welcome
Have More Fun,
Of A Fight Scene),
a feature length audio commentary track by director Leitch and Editor
Elisabet Ronaldsdottir, Story In Motion with Leitch commentary in two
parts and Deleted/Extended Scenes.
actress Halle Berry leads the new crime/thriller from Universal,
(2017), which pits her against a kidnapper who steals her son. It's
funny that Berry is, in a sense, becoming the female Liam Neeson in
that this film is pretty similar to the Taken
franchise. The storyline of a parent vs a kidnapper is a concept
that's been done to death and its evident here in that this film
isn't necessarily bad but more or less, forgettable.
film also stars Dana Gourrier, Christopher Berry, Lew Temple, and
a stressful day at her waitress job, Karla Dyson (Berry) takes her
son to the park, where the poor little guy is kidnapped. Hot on the
trail of the attackers, Berry must get into a high stakes high speed
car chase to get her son back. When the law isn't as quick as she
likes, then she decides to take matters into her own hands.
the Scenes Featurette
for other Universal releases
is tacky and forgettable, but technically fine.
The Fourth & Final Season
come to ahead, as Mary and Elizabeth continue struggle against each
other for the throne of England. Both claiming the throne, they plot
through marriages, suitors, assassinations, alliances and betrayals
through the royal court and bring Scotland and England on the verge
of war. Meanwhile, Catherine plays her own game using her sons and
daughters to manipulate the French and Spanish court. Each of one of
their fates become more entwined as they discover who they can or
the final season of Reign
2016 - 2017), as Elizabeth foil an assassination attempt against her,
she discovers Mary the Queen of Scots was framed by John Knox to have
her and Elizabeth at each other's throats. Meanwhile, Mary tries to
secure her claim to the throne through marriage and support from
Scottish nobles, but even as Queens, they both have to deal with
manipulative men and the clergy who also tries to use the Queens as
their pawns to power, that their power only lasts until their
marriage to a king and produce an heir. Both sides uses religion
(Protestant and Catholicism) as an excuse to wage war for the throne,
while the nobles in court make alliances and betrayals depending on
whoever is on the current winning side.
is a tale of 3 powerful queens, and while they don't wear swords and
fight on the battlefield their fights involves politics, loveless
marriages and political backstabbing. The series is a historical
fiction make women seem like evil and manipulative (like
who will do anything to ensure their power and rule (including
killing a friend or marrying someone they don't love), but it is also
created a world in which the church had great influence over royalty
and secretly rejects women's rights (and to rule) and manipulates the
royalty for their own purposes.
are sadly no extras, but the final episodes are...
Friends Like These
- Elizabeth discovers John Knox was the mastermind who framed Mary
and was behind her assassination attempt. Mary seeks marriage to
Darnley to secure the throne.
Grain of Deception
- Mary discovers there is leak in her inner council and comes up with
a plan to find the traitor. Elizabeth tries to entrap John Knox.
- Elizabeth proposes a marriage for Mary, that if she marries Gideon
her first born would be the heir to England.
- Darnley stages a fake rescue of a child from a fire to impress
- Mary and Darnley becomes engaged, but Darnley must first prove his
- Elizabeth tries to bring Darnley back to England. There is an
assassination attempt on Darnley's life.
- Mary tries to bring peace between Darnley and James, but discovers
her marriage to him will never be more than a political arrangement.
Catherine and Narcisse discover what happened to Charles.
- As Mary and Darnley's wedding day approaches, tragedy pushes their
relationship further apart from one another. Elizabeth commissions
John Hawkins to explore the New World.
- Mary and Darnley get wed and Mary is with child. Elizabeth
discovers (to her anger) a number of bordertowns have switch over to
- Mary and Darnley have a marital spat with one of Darley's family
of the Night
- Mary foils Darnley's attempt for the throne and power, but promises
not to try to seize the throne again from Elizabeth.
- As Mary and Darnley's relationship continue to worsen, Darnley
plots with John Knox in attempt to get rid of her.
- After failing to disgrace Mary, Darnley and Mary are forced to work
together to escape. Mary vows to retake her castle by force.
Bride. A Box. A Body
- Mary takes back Edinburgh Castle. Narcisse takes his revenge on
John Knox and Elizabeth.
in the Water
- Mary has a difficult birth and almost dies. She pleads to
Elizabeth to protect and accept her child as an heir to England and
Scotland. Elizabeth discovers who killed Gideon.
it Cost Her?
- Mary recovers her son and orders the assassination of Darnley, but
then is arrested by John Knox for regicide. Years later, Elizabeth
accepts James as 'her' heir to the throne, but decides on a different
fate for Mary.
her original 'Girl
trilogy, Noomi Rapace has shown she has the talent, personality and
star appeal, but projects like the Alien
not really given her the platform she's needed to show her best
sides. Michael Apted's Unlocked
(2017) is a very pleasant surprise of a thriller that offers her best
work and role since that trilogy and fortunately for her, it is the
Apted of the underrated Extreme
or even Thunderheart
and not the extremely disappointing James Bond film The
World Is Not Enough.
Of course, Apted's Up
films are his key series of cinematic immortality, but he is easy to
underestimate in narrative works when he is at his strongest as he is
is a spy named Alice, whose still not happy with a mission that did
not stop a terrorist attack in France a few years ago, but terror
attacks don't get put on hold via depression or PTSD bouts, so she
may be on again in the U.K. as a CIA expert in getting answers from
prisoners on where the next secret bombing may take place. In what
seems like a routine reentry into the world of espionage to 'unlock'
the truth about the latest planned attack, she is being suckered and
used for something uglier and catches on quickly, so into action she
is so highly respected, he got no less than John Malkovich to play
her CIA boss, Toni Collette (channelling Annie Lennox of Eurythmics
as well as Theron does of Blonde's Debbie Harry) to play her British
MI contact, Orlando Bloom and Michael Douglas to be in the cast, but
that also speaks to the strength of the mostly solid, sound,
well-thought out screenplay by Peter O'Brien that makes this one of
the must-see action films of the year.
few years ago, this would have received a big theatrical release, but
Lionsgate has decided to issue this Blu-ray as part of their Premiere
series of direct-to-home-video releases and this one is easily the
best ever in that series. Not to say some good titles have not been
issued under that banner before, but this is so good, you'll be
shocked it was not in theaters first. Plus, most commercial action
film that did hit theaters this year were not this good, had this
good a script or this good a cast. Make sure you see Unlocked
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds the Original
Theatrical Trailer, trailers for other releases and a nearly
15-minutes long Making Of featurette.
we have Jung Byung-Gil's The
(2017), another assassin as sleeper agent story like La
but this one interrupts its usual revenge story with Kim Ok-Vin in
the title role with big action pieces that have their moments.
However, the opening action sequence is so strong, the result of the
film simply cannot help going a bit downhill afterwards, making one
wish they had $30 to $50 Million more just to make this one gigantic
action set piece after another. Still, the opening is very
impressive, sometimes remarkable and as good as anything in action
cinema of late.
the drama kicks in, it can be cliched and it does slow down the pace,
so the next sequence is always welcome. The fighting talent here is
numerous, huge and action choreography really strong, further
shrinking the plot and narrative, but the good parts are so good for
its slightly longer-than-expected 124 minutes that it is worth seeing
the whole thing and is more than a companion to Atomic
Therefore, this too is worth going out of your way for.
sadly only includes an Original Theatrical Trailer and a too-brief
Making Of clip.
2160p HEVC/H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced
2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image on Atomic
is the best playback performer here, even as good as the other
Blu-rays are. Though the CGI effects are the weakest link, the HD
shoot is smooth and impressive enough for the most part with even a
few demo shots, leaving the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition
image on the regular Blu-ray version hides some flaws and holds back
some better quality and is not as good. The anamorphically enhanced
DVD included on the Blu-ray edition is on the weak side visual and
hard to watch, especially after seeing both the 4K and regular
really good DTS: X 11.1 lossless mix is on the 4K and Blu-ray
editions (playing as a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 7.1 mixdown
track on older systems) and is as sonically adept as anything here,
with some great surrounds, immersive action and a smart mastering all
around, made better by the hit songs that in some cases sound like
they are from master tapes. The DVD has to settle for very
Dolby Digital 5.1
in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and
a nice sounding English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 track
on the Blu-ray disc, the picture and sound on Reign
are impressive and up to the high standards of the format. Also
included is a DVD in standard def with a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital
track and a digital UV copy of the film as well.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Unlocked
is also a smooth HD shoot with some good moments, but also more than
a few shots that lack detail. However, this is very watchable
otherwise and the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is surprisingly well
recorded and active, with even dialogue scenes recorded well.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can on
is also an HD shot and has some great visuals, but some later actions
scenes and shots can look pale and not hold up as well, yet that was
not enough of a problem to penalize the otherwise fine visuals. The
Korean DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is more convincing
and accurate than the English dub and the sound mix here too is no
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Reign
is as good as it could possibly get in the format, though it would
look better in any HD format as it was produced that way, as is the
case for the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound on all episodes.
Sheffo, Ricky Chiang (Reign)