Anniversary Complete Series Blu-ray Set (2002
(2017/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/L.
A. Confidential: 20th
Legend Of The Holy Drinker (1988/MVD
Visual/Arrow Blu-ray w/DVD)/London
DVD)/The Pirates Of Blood
(1962/Hammer/Sony/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The
Of A Minor (1975/aka
Too Young To
Visual/Arrow Blu-ray w/DVD)
Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B+/B+/B-/B+ & B-/B-/B/B+/B+ &
B- Sound: B+/A/B-/B+ & B-/B-/B/B+/B+ & B- Extras:
A+/B/C/B/D/B/C+/B Main Programs: A/C/B/B/C/B/C+/C+
Pirates Of Blood River
Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is
limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered from the link below.
a great group of new genre releases to check out...
the Vampire Slayer
creator Joss Whedon brought a series to Fox that masterfully blended
elements of the classic Western with hard Science Fiction and
featured a remarkable ensemble cast. That series was Firefly
(2002 - 2003), and it accomplished more in fourteen hour-long
episodes than most science fiction television shows have done during
their entire multi-year runs. Of course this begs the obvious
question, why did the show fail? Quite simply, not enough people
never gained the acclaim or success it deserved when it was
can understand the vagaries of the television ratings system? The
bottom line was that despite being as smart, slick, and spirited as
anything produced for the genre over the last ten years, Firefly
failed. Now fifteen years later, Fox has released a new 3-disc
Blu-ray collection of the show totaling 14 episodes (3 of them
unaired) and loaded with all of the extras any diehard fan could hope
Mr. Whedon trades on Western themes, Firefly
adroitly mixes in the sci-fi elements that make it a mainstay on the
watchlists of fans and convention goers worldwide. Led by Captain
Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), a roguish Han Solo type scarred by war
and desperate to maintain his independence, the crew of the
Serenity-class spaceship called Firefly steals and swindles their way
across the 'Verse, but still manages to often do the right thing.
The show features a brilliant ensemble cast including Ron Glass
(Preacher Book), Gina Torres (Zoe Washburne), Morena Baccarin (Inara
Serra), Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb), Alan Tudyk (Hoban Washburne),
Jewel Staite (Kaylee Frye), Sean Maher (Dr. Simon Tamm), and Summer
Glau (River Tamm).
few of these characters hold secrets that drive the plot along like a
runaway meteor. Chief among them is River Tamm. Rescued by her
brother from a government facility and pursued by mysterious agents
of that same hegemonic entity, the young woman exhibits strange
flashes of ESP shows considerable mental damage from her
imprisonment. And what of Preacher Book, the Shepherd (re: Priest)
who knows military hardware and tactics better than any holy man has
a right to?
Blu-ray performance is one of the reasons for the rewatchability, on
top of the storytelling and action, of course. The Surround sound on
this set is remarkable, but newcomers to the show shouldn't be
alarmed when the gorgeously digitized space explosions produce no
noise - Whedon and crew stuck to their guns on the show's 'hard'
sci-fi tone, and everybody knows that there is no sound in a vacuum.
The images on this collection are as sharp as the sound, but look
better than the broadcast of the show could hope to offer, at a 1080p
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition aspect ratio.
collection is loaded with extras as well, including numerous
commentaries on individual episodes, deleted scenes, gag reels, and a
number of other great features. One additional note on presentation:
the episodes are arranged as Whedon originally intended them to be,
with the two-part 'Serenity' leading off, followed by 'The Train Job'
(the 'first' episode as dictated by Fox executives at the time).
totals over ten hours of damn-good sci-fi entertainment. Watching
episodes and extras in this boxed set certainly leaves one wondering
what could have been had the show truly found its audience when it
counted, rather than months and years later.
the series, the feature film Serenity
was made, as recently issued on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray whose playback
performance is getting mixed reviews (we hope to see it at some
point). You can read more about this series and that film at these
previous Blu-ray set (proving the show could make a great 4K release
superstars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson star in The
(2017) which is popcorn munching fare at its dumbest. The big
budget, visual effects fueled, massacre that is this film has the
feel of a bad Die
sequel so much so that you'll wait for Bruce Willis (Jackson's
co-star in the third installment of that franchise) to pop up... but
he never does. It's also comparable to every buddy cop movie you've
ever seen in terms of plot as well with both leads doing their usual
schticks and nothing out of their comfort zones.
starring Gary Oldman (giving it his all as per usual) as a Eastern
European Foreign Dictator baddie and Salma Hayek who phones it in
here with an underwhelming performance as Jackson's estranged
criminal wife, the film is silly, unrealistic, and in the same realm
films in terms of intelligence... which is appropriate as the film's
director, Patrick Hughes, also directed The
a client dies on duty by chance, one of the world's top body guards
(Reynolds) ends up with his career (and relationship with a hot
Interpol Agent) down the toilet. But when an unkillable hitman
(Jackson) ends up getting hunted down by Gary Oldman for knowing too
much, Reynolds must come out of retirement to get him to a court date
with the International Court of Justice. Killing hundreds of baddies
along the way, Reynolds and Jackson do what they must to make it to
the court date on time, get the girls, and clear both of their names.
on 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High
Definition image and 1080p Blu-ray disc with a 2.39:1 widescreen
aspect ratio and a Dolby Atmos 11.1 tracks, the film looks and sounds
awesome on both formats. The film is well shot with high production
value, exotic locations including Amsterdam, and a nice mix of
practical and computer enhanced effects. The 4K disc has more
noticeable details, particularly in close ups shots and wide scenics.
The sound mixes are the same on both discs.
digital copy is also included.
Action in a Big World" Featurette
Extended/ Alternate Scenes
Hitman's Bodyguard: A Love Story" Featurette
vs. Bodyguard" Featurette
plenty of eye candy on display here that entertains but it doesn't
really stick with you after the credits roll. A great 4K
far as nailing the look and feel of a film noir, L.A.
(1997) comes pretty close to capturing it. While its hard to believe
it's 20 years old now, the film is being put back out on disc in
celebration. Please note that we are covering the standard
definition DVD in this review and not the Blu-ray. If you haven't
seen this film and you're a fan of 1950s crime action, then it's a
must see for sure.
by Curtis Hanson (8
the film features an all-star cast with Guy Pearce (before his
arguably best performance in Memento),
Russell Crowe (a few years before his role in Gladiator),
Kim Basigner, Kevin Spacey (pre-scandal), James Cromwell, and Danny
DeVito amongst many others.
Los Angeles. Three very different cops are all after the truth, each
in their own style: Ed Exley (Pearce), the golden boy of the police
force, is willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell
out. Hard edged Bud White (Crowe), is gruff and out for justice but
unable to control his violent temper. Finally, the clever Jack
Vincennes (Spacey), who feeds the tabloids what they want to hear
(much to reporter DeVito's delight) and is on top. Until his
conscience drives him to join Exley and White down the one-way path
to find the truth behind the dark world of L.A. Crime. In the midst
of it all is the beautiful Lynn Bracken (Basigner) who is a femme
fatale in the truest sense of the word and out for her own reasons.
in standard definition with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of
2.35:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the film doesn't look
nearly as good as it does in HD, but it is passable here. The colors
are a bit muted and compressed, but the film has a wonderful score by
the late Jerry Goldsmith (and source music of the era) and
breathtaking cinematography by Dante Spinotti, A.I.C. Humorously,
the digital HD version of the film included is a tad better looking
than the DVD on a 4K UHD television. This film would be a good
candidate for the 4K UHD format, and hopefully that will happen down
Features include a commentary track with several cast and crew
Legend Of The Holy Drinker
filmmaker Ermanno Olim (The
Tree of Wooden Clogs)
brings his personal touch to The
Legend of the Holy Drinker
(1988), a film that I had never heard of prior to this release. A
Prince and the Pauper-type story, the film centers around Andreas
Kartack (Rutger Hauer) who plays a homeless man who lives under the
bridges. One day a rich stranger pays him 200 francs to right his
life... however, his alcoholism gets in the way.
of the Holy Drinker
also stars Anthony Quayle (Lawrence
Sandrine Dumas (The
Double Life of Veronique)
and Dominique Pinon (Delicatessen,
film is presented here with a brand-new 4K restoration from the
original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this
release that is nothing short of stunning. Included is both there
1080p Blu-ray and the anamorphically enhanced, standard definition
DVD which features both the English and Italian versions of the film.
The film is presented in lossless 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) on
the Blu-ray and Stereo 2.0 that features both the English and Italian
interview with actor Rutger Hauer, recorded exclusively for this
with screenwriter Tullio Kezich
PRESSING ONLY: New writing on the film by Helen Chambers, author of
Joseph Roth in Retrospect: Co-existent Contradictions
a great showcase for Rutger Hauer as an actor, the critically
acclaimed film has a fun story that is nothing short of marvelous to
behold visually. This is great work done by Arrow.
new heist thriller, London
(2017) is about a group of thieves who get more than they bargain for
after a grand bank robbery. The film stars Craig Fairbrass as Jack
Cregan - a robber who pulls off a successful heist but shortly after
his father is murdered. Out to get revenge in any way he can, Jack
takes to the streets and seeks revenge against the man who took his
loved one from him... at any cost!
film is your standard revenge action thriller that isn't anything too
groundbreaking. The production value and acting aren't too bad with
co-stars James Cosmo, Men Ferda and Nick Moran amongst others. If
you're a fan of these sorts of films then this isn't the worst one
out there... or the best.
in muddy standard definition, anamorphically enhanced 2.40:1
widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, the
presentation is as good as DVD allows. Colors and details are highly
compressed with this really showing on a 4K UHD TV but maybe not as
much on an older television set.
extras with the exception of previews for other Lionsgate movies.
Pirates Of Blood River
of Hammer's lesser known films and surely one that isn't easy to find
Pirates of Blood River
(1962). This British gem is an interesting epic that stars
Christopher Lee in a role unlike any other you've seen him in before.
Unlike Disney's Pirates
of the Caribbean
franchise, this film is a tad bit slower but still has plenty of
swashbuckling to get your jolly rogers off.
as 'the pirate movie without a boat', this low budget film only shows
an actual boat in its opening scenes (likely stock footage) and as a
matte painting later on. But who says you need millions to make a
pirate movie. All you need is an eyepatch and a thirst for
treasure-seeking to join this group.
Pirates of Blood River
is directed by John Gilling (Hammer's The
of the Zombies
to name a few) and features Kerwin Matthews, Glen Corbett, Maria
Landi, Oliver Reed, Andrew Keir, and Peter Arne with a screenplay by
John Hunter, John Gilling, and Jimmy Sangster.
a village of Huguenot refugees, Jonathon Standing (Matthews) is
exiled by his religious and politically powerful father to a nearby
penal colony for committing adultery. This penal colony is then
invaded by pirates (led by Lee) who force Jonathan to lead them back
to his village, convinced that it contains a treasure beyond their
in 1080p high definition with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a
English 2.0 lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Mono, there’s no
doubt that the film looks and sounds fantastic thanks to the new HD
master Sony sent over to Twilight Time. In pretty good shape for its
age, nothing really stuck out to me and I'm sure this is the best the
film has looked before.
Score (By Gary Hughes) & Effects Track
Commentary with Writer Jimmy Sangster, Art Director Don Mingaye, and
Film Historian Marcus Hearn
a collector's insert booklet with linear notes and another great
Julie Kirgo essay
surprised Peter Cushing didn't pop up somewhere in this tale, as he
would have fit right in (and make a good pirate as well!). The film
is surprisingly pretty historically accurate it seems, with
impressive costumes and sets that reflection the era. The film is
shot nicely and is a good popcorn muncher. Not one of Hammer's best,
but certainly deserving of a nice release such as this one.
(2017) is an interesting little film in the view of The
that poses the question of 'how far will a TV show go for ratings?'
Starring Josh Duhamel as a TV show host of a 'bachelor show' whom is
exposed to a horrific incident when one of his contestants commits
suicide on live air. While at first posed as a disaster to the
network, soon the idea comes to create a whole show where people kill
themselves on live air. Of course, the show is a giant hit and soon
many that are living on hard times are considering going to this
outrageous length to help make their family rich.
film also stars Famke Janssen (the X-Men
Sarah Wayne Callies (The
Caitlin FitzGerald, James Franco (in a cameo) and Giancarlo Esposito
(who also directed).
in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and
an English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless track, the film is
up to Blu-ray standards and is presented in a clear and detailed
transfer. The film is shot pretty well with strong production values
that highlight L.A., where the film was obviously shot.
digital UV copy is also included.
The Show Featurette
and Crew Interviews
Death Of A Minor
Italian giallo The
Suspicious Death of a Minor
(1975) is an entertaining thrill ride in the vein of some of Dario
Argento's earlier works. Director Sergio Martino (Torso)
brings us this film, which is his sixth stab at the genre.
Beautifully restored in HD, the film has a great style with nice
production value and interesting filmmaking.
film stars Claudio Cassinelli (What
Have They Done to Your Daughters?),
Mel Ferrer (Nightmare
Barbara Magnolfi (Suspiria)
and Jenny Tamburi (The
and features a script by veteran giallo writer Ernesto Gastaldi (All
the Colours of the Dark,
Walks at Midnight).
Germi (Cassinelli) is an undercover cop who is hot on the trail of a
murderer, who is killing off more and more witnesses before the
Police can get to them. Centering around the death of a prostitute,
the crime inflates as Germi is put to the ultimate test.
in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and
a new 2K restoration from the original film elements, the image on
this film has never looked better than it does here. Sporting a PCM
1.0 Mono lossless track (dubbed in English or the original Italian
soundtrack) on the Blu-ray, the mix comes across flawlessly. Also
included is a standard definition DVD with a lesser and more
compressed presentation in lossy Dolby Digital and anamorphically
audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So
Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films.
interview with co-writer/director Sergio Martino
sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris
PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing
by Barry Forshaw.
Pirates Of Blood River
limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while
supplies last at these links:
Scott R. Pyle (Firefly)