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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Malaysia > Crime > Death > Execution > Character Study > Hanging > Politics > Comedy > Colombia > Horr > Apprentice (2016/Film Movement DVD)/Bad Luck Goat (2017/Film Movement DVD)/Candy Apple (2015/IndiePix DVD)/Eight Films By Jean Rouch (1956 - 1969/Icarus DVD Set)/Gun Runners (2015/Film Movement DVD)/I

Apprentice (2016/Film Movement DVD)/Bad Luck Goat (2017/Film Movement DVD)/Candy Apple (2015/IndiePix DVD)/Eight Films By Jean Rouch (1956 - 1969/Icarus DVD Set)/Gun Runners (2015/Film Movement DVD)/IndiePix Festival Favorites, Volume One: White Shadow (2013) + Women Without Men (2010 DVDs)/The Settlers (2016/Film Movement DVD)/The Yellow Handkerchief (1977/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)

Picture: C+/B-/B-/C+/C/C+/C+/B+ Sound: B-/B-/B-/C+/C+/C+/C+/C+ Extras: B-/C/C/C+/C-/C+/D/C Films: B-/C+/C/B/C+/B-/C+/A-

PLEASE NOTE: The Yellow Handkerchief 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, from the links below.

The following releases are a serious cross section of dramas and documentaries dealing with the tales of people all over the world, art films and news all worth you knowing about...

We start with Boo Junfeng's Apprentice (2016), a disturbing film about executioners, a veteran at it (Wan Hanafi) and the potential title character (Fir Rhaman) who is anxious for some reason to work with him in a morbid business, but is really motivated by some other hidden secrets. If you have not already been creeped out by the sense of death and morbidity of the set-up, know it is a good character study that keeps things tight at 96 minutes and is a smart film. Maybe it does not ho on to make some big statement, but I think it has enough to consider that if you're looking for a film to make you think and challenge you, this will fit the bill. Aside from a few down moments, this is not bad and worth a look.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image looks as good as it can in this format and plays fine, while we get the sound in lossy Malay Dolby Digital 5.1 and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, but the 5.1 is very surprisingly clean and clear. Too bad its not lossless.

Extras include small notes inside the left hand paper sleeve, a feature length audio commentary track by the director, his short film Tanjong Rhu (aka The Casuarina Cove, about sexuality and censorship and oppression that is a waste of the government's time and not good) that runs about 20 minutes and Theatrical Trailers for Film Movement releases

Director Samir Oliveros' foreign hit Bad Lucky Goat (2017) is a feel good film about the bond between a brother and sister in Colombia. After hitting a billy goat with their father's car, the pair go on a mission to right their wrong and earn money in order to repair the vehicle. Along the way, they discover a few life lessons, meet some unusual characters, and grow a bit closer as family.

A big winner at several film festivals, the film stars Kiara Howard, Ambrosio Huffington, Jean Bush, Honlenny Huffington, Michel Robinson, and Elkin Robinson.

Presented in standard definition on DVD with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a 5.1 Track in Creole with English Subtitles. The film is very well shot and has a wide color range that highlight yellows, blues, and greens very well. This would be a great film to put out in HD or 4K UHD especially.

Special Features include...

Small notes inside the left hand paper sleeve

Miss World - a Bonus Short Film


and 'About Film Movement'

Bad Lucky Goat is fun but nothing that blew me away.

Candy Apple (2015) directed by Dean Dempsey is a dirty punk rock music fueled acid flashback that's both dark comedy and horror. Produced on a shoestring, the film centers around drug addiction and the dying relationship between a father and son. You can kind of compare it to Trainspotting in a way... but it's not nearly as impactful or cinematically sound.

The film stars Sophia Lamar, Dean Dempsey, Lucille Bignom, Texas Trash, Neon Music, and Cory Kimbrow-Dana. The film is shot primarily in New York and is definitely more the exploitation crowd.

After burning bridges out west, double-amputee Terry Trash (played by himself) moves in with his adult son Bobby in his small apartment in NYC. Bobby is reluctant but committed in helping his ex-junkie father while trying to stay focused on his own creative pursuits as a filmmaker. However nothing is as it seems on the surface as both men are living secret lives that soon intermix.

Presented on DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, both of which look/sound fine for the standard definition format. Compression and lack of vividness in color comes with the format as well though all in all, the soundtrack here is nicely mixed and center stage with great punk rock music.

The only extra is a Trailer.

The film succeeds in being off the wall and a bit outrageous at times and though is the kind of film that makes you feel dirty after watching it.

Eight Films By Jean Rouch (1956 - 1969) includes a new documentary on the director and eight films that are documentaries, now restored, that shows Rouch as a forerunner of the French New Wave. Those are dramatic films from 1959 into the early 1970s whose style and freedom changed world cinema forever. However, like 'Kino Pravda' before it in the 1930s Soviet Union, Cinema Verite (film truth in both cases) more by the French than even Russians searched for a new honestly and realism in filmmaking. The shock here is that Rouch went out of his way to interview and show persons from other cultures who had not really been seen on film or even otherwise and captured their worlds brilliantly.

Those films were captured on 16mm film, in black and white, then color and are as follows:

The Mad Masters (aka Les Maitres tous/1955) deals with Ghana and the Hauka religious sect, controversial even then and on the visually graphic side, so beware.

Mammy Water (1956) is in the same country with ideas of water spirits and now, a title considered very racist.

Moi, Un Noir (1958) takes us to Nigeria to meet Abidjan migrants, but tries a different approach to showing this.

The Human Pyramid (1961) has white colonial French students meeting with African classmates to see what results. Along the lines of the Apted Up series, it is a learning experience left as natural as possible.

The Lion Hunters (1965) shot between Mail and Niger as the 'gow' hunters of the Songhay people do what the title suggests; animal lovers will not be pleased.

Jaguar (1967) is a companion piece with three Songhay men to add to previous film footage.

Little By Little (1969) has Nigerian friends of Rouch go to France for a different take on things.

And The Punishment (1962) has a young lady sent home from school walking the streets and encountering various people.

So this is interesting viewing, even groundbreaking at times when you really think about it, but you do really have to be in a documentary mood to sit through the whole set. With that said, it is good viewing and even something special, but some might still be bored because this is not their thing. I think I saw some of these a long time ago, but now I can really say I got a thorough go-through on them and can see what all the fuss is about.

The 1.33 X 1 image transfer can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film (if any) and though color might be off in parts and these may be soft (where's the Blu-ray?), work was definitely done to upgrade and fix them and its amazing they survived. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the films will also obviously show their age, but they sound good under the circumstances.

Extras include an illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and essays on Rouch and his work running 24 pages, while we also get the Documentary Jean Rouch: The Adventurous Filmmaker (2017) that runs just under an hour. All in all, its a good, smart set worth your time, especially if it is of your particular interest.

Anjali Nayar's Gun Runners (2015) is a documentary from about how two young men in Kenya are sick of the police, organized criminals and having to survive via crime, switching to long-distance running to become professional runners, maybe Olympians and get out of the vicious cycle. High odds and obstacles are in the way, though that also sounds like a formulaic story (Rocky, et al) so though this variant is for real, we've still seen this plenty of times and in many other documentaries. A Canadian production (of all things, good for them!), this runs a watchable 89 minutes-long that is not too long, but never short.

What saves this is its apparent honesty and that made it worth a look, with any history learned a plus, because it still takes us a few places we mostly if ever have been before.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is on the soft side with its share of motion blur, but its not too bad, while the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is simple, but fares better overall. Theatrical Trailers for Film Movement releases are the only extras.

Next up is the 3-film IndiePix Festival Favorites, Volume One DVD set with I Believe In Unicorns and two films we've covered before, accompanied by their review links: White Shadow (2013)...


and Women Without Men (2010)...


Those are good choices and certainly dramas worth your time.

Shimon Doton's The Settlers (2016) is a controversially-named documentary look at the rise and conflicts in the founding of Israel, a great country and major ally in the Middle East in the face of many Arab countries who might not be as keen on the U.S., et al. It is obviously less derogatory than other names Jews and Israelis are being called post-WWII over there, but you can also imagine it is what it feels like/seems to those who were there pre-WWII/Israel or those old enough when the briefly-lived Palestine was land dominated for eons as part of the Ottoman Empire.

Since this very title is streeting, unwise U.S. policy with the current 2017 administration going bonkers for the poorest Prime Minister in Israel's history have decided to name part to all of Jerusalem the country's new capital, a move rejected by the U.N. in a landmark defiance of the current U.S. position, though also showing the world is sick of the current irresponsible shenanigans of a country that helped make the U.N. possible in better days.

In all that, this work holds up well enough in that it asks a key question about Israel in what part of the land is that country, what are the final standards of what is settled territory and if it keeps shifting all the time and changes as the political back & fourth gets more wild and especially lately, unnecessarily severe, what will its final shape and status be? The desperate Jerusalem move actually desecrates one of the inarguable reasons for Israel and even Christianity over there: the long existence of holy land. That is why, even with this recent stunt, Israel and world Jewry will always have a claim there.

So some of this is already dated, no matter the fine points I may or may not agree on, but is still worth a good look because its adds to the conversation. At 110 minutes, it says much, but more should be said, especially at a time with such a leadership vacuum.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo look and sound as good as they can considering the rough nature of various historic video and even film clips (the film sometimes needs HD restorations and photochemical upgrades), but plays well under the circumstances. Theatrical Trailers for Film Movement releases are the only extras, if that.

Three complete strangers brought together by fate go on a road trip searching for some meaning to their lives. As they journey across the country sightseeing, they run into various situations, accidents and unplanned events. As they learn more about each other (and themselves) they eventually become friends ...and learn that sometimes there no greater journey than the journey home in Yoji Yamada's The Yellow Handkerchief (1977, aka Shiawase No Kiiroi Hankachi).

Kinya, Akemi and Yusaku were three complete strangers until Kinya offered them a ride. Kinya, after being dumped, decides to quit his job, buy a red sports car, go on a road trip to Hokkaido and picks up Akemi (and tries to get laid). Akemi after finding out her boyfriend cheated on her, is also taking a break/vacation from life joins Kinya on his impromptu road trip. Yusaku was recently released from prison and trying to get home. Both Kinya and Akemi are depressed about their life, but if life had to teach them anything ...are that things go unplanned. As they travel from place to place sightseeing, they are finally brought together when they learn Yusaku's his wife might be still waiting for him, before their trip he sent her a postcard saying that if she forgives him and wants him back, to hang a yellow handkerchief in front of their home. Kinya and Akemi decides to help Yusaku, and by helping him they also helped themselves learning that if an ex-con like Yusaku can still find happiness ...then maybe they can too.

This was an amusing film from 1977, now available on Blu-ray. Licensed by Twilight Time, the company seems to be about bring old classic movies onto modern Blu-ray format. The film was a story about imperfect lives of imperfect people, it had moments with heartbreak, heartwarming scenes mixed with melodrama comedy/friendship and ends with the message of how hope springs eternal.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image looks great throughout with incredible color, depth and detail, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix does show its age, so expect the usual sonic limits.

Extras 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 disc adds an Isolated Music Score from composer Masaru Sato.

To order The Yellow Handkerchief limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:




- Nicholas Sheffo, Ricky Chiang (Handkerchief) & James Lockhart (Goat, Apple)



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