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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Urban > Crime > Civil Rights > Riot > Murder > Mystery > Survival > WWII > Biography > Road Movie > Come > Detroit (2017/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/Dolores Claiborne (1995/Castle Rock/New Line/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The Mountain Between Us (2017/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/DVD)/On Wings Of Eagles: The Eric Liddell

Detroit (2017/Annapurina/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/Dolores Claiborne (1995/Castle Rock/New Line/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The Mountain Between Us (2017/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/DVD)/On Wings Of Eagles: The Eric Liddell Story (2016/Sony DVD)/Scarecrow (1973/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Stronger (2017/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Wuthering Heights (1970/American International/MGM/Twilight Time Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B & C/B/B/B/B/B/B Sound: B & C+/B/B+ & B/B/B-/B/B- Extras: C+/C/C+/D/C-/C+/B Films: C+/B/C+/C+/B-/B/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Wuthering Heights (1970) 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 Dolores Claiborne and Scarecrow Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

Next up are several serious dramas with some mystery, some melodrama and mature themes you should know about, new and classic...

We start with Katherine Bigelow's ambitious Detroit (2017) which attempts to portray the madness that became the riots in the title Michigan town in the late 1960s. The opening credits offer a brief history into the build up into what happened and how ugly it got. Even if some narrative license may have been taken here and there (and one civil rights figure landed up having a scandal a few months after the film was released), it is Bigelow doing what too few filmmakers seem to know about since the 1980s: getting in there and getting your hands dirty to tell a human story!

The screenplay's approach is multi-layered, telling the story from the point of several lives and how it all intersects. Cheers to all for making this feel mostly like the late 1960s, though some dialogue is bad and shows the very recent vintage of the production, which may have thrown off some viewers. Some scenes are very violent, others just so sad in their honesty and it reminds us all of how much has not changed despite some progress, though we can also ask why have we not learned more to have any kind of progress.

Of course, politics and petty people are the reason, these kinds of events almost happening by design at time from certain powerful people who could care less, the kind that lately have made no secret of their intents, hatreds or disregard for law, justice or others. Though I also very much liked the actors cast (including those playing thankless, even mean, hateful roles), there are just one too many instances of yelling, threats (especially with guns) and it undermines the intelligence and build-up the film has going for it. In other words, it tries to hard when it did not need to.

John Boyega, Will Pouter, Jason Mitchell, Algee Smith, Anthony Mackie and John Krasinski lead a cast that is truly giving it their all because they all know the importance of the event and getting it right. Despite missteps, it is still worth a good look for the many things that do work and the story it has to tell. It may not be remembered for awards season like it could be, but much work here is worthy of that kind of attention. Thanks to all who took the risks to bring this one to life.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer looks good on the Blu-ray, starting with the animation, moving on the the newly-shot footage and integrating vintage material into the film very well. Care was truly taken to make this melt well and it does, never looking bad or sloppy. The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image DVD is much softer and passable to watch, but the Blu-ray is the preferred way to see it all.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix sometimes overdoes the loud noises when it did not need to, but dialogue, music (including classic hits) and other sounds are well recorded and mixed throughout. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is not as good, so only expect so much.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber-capable devices, while the discs add six Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurettes that are not bad, bu on the short side.

From the mind of Stephen King comes Dolores Claiborne (1995), which is finally finding its way onto Blu-ray disc courtesy of Warner Archive. The film stars Kathy Bates (Misery) in one of her most memorable roles accompanied by Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Directed by Taylor Hackford (The Comedian, Ray, Devil's Advocate), the creepy film looks and sounds great in HD and hasn't aged much since its initial release.

Accused of murdering her employer of 22 years, housekeeper Dolores Claiborne (Bates) is facing some serious charges against her. However, once her estranged daughter Selena (Leigh) comes back into the picture, the mystery surrounding two deaths centered around Dolores come to light. The other being Dolores' husband and Selena's abusive father.

Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a great sounding English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless track, the film hasn't looked or sounded this great on home video ever. The score by Danny Elfman is fantastic and the character details and colors really shine.

Special Features...

Commentary by Director Taylor Hackford

HD Trailer

The film is pretty effective and keeps you guessing from frame one.

Director Hany Abu-Assad (The Idol, Omar) directs Kate Winslet and Iris Elba in the new romance/drama The Mountain Between Us (2017) that has landed on disc. Nicely produced and looking great on the new 4K Ultra HD format, Mountain is in the 'survival of the fittest' sub-genre that isn't entirely realistic popcorn-munching fare. However, the chemistry between Winslet and Elba onscreen works and ultimately makes the film worth a watch.

The Mountain Between Us also stars Dermot Mulroney, Beau Bridges, and Lucia Walters.

Two strangers (Winslet, Elba) are victims of circumstance when their pilot (Bridges) suffers a stroke during flight on a charter airplane they are traveling on. The plane goes down on a remote snowy tundra that's gorgeous to look at but also terrifying in that its really in the middle of nowhere. The two (and a dog) end up on a Lord of the Rings-style trek across snowy lands for weeks on end with barely any food, both wounded, and fall in love somewhere along the way. Just when you think the movie is over, it isn't, and takes an interesting turn in its final act.

Presented on 4K UHD disc in a 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and nice sounding English DTS-HD MA 7.1 lossless track, the film is more effective on 4K than it is on the 1080p Blu-ray (also included) for the snowy aerial shots alone. The plane crash sequence, which is nicely directed by the way, stands out nicely on the mix and makes you feel like you're in the plane going down in flames with them. Other than a few key sequences, the film is pretty natural looking and has a dramatic score that ushers it forwards. A digital UV copy is also included.

Special Features...

Love and Survival: Creating Chemistry

Mountain Between Them: Shooting in Isolation

The Wilds: Survival Stunts

Deleted Scenes


(WARNING: Slight spoilers below...)

Some moments in the film are a little too predictable and convenient, such as one sequence where the characters find an abandoned house just moments after Winslet falls into an ice filled lake. The addition of the dog is a little odd, though he does help a few times, but the likelihood of its survival in reality is pretty slim... (and he doesn't get skinner over the course of the film either). When you see films like The Revenant that are more accurate in their portrayal of belong lost in the wilderness and compare it to this, then you can definitely see that this is a more Hollywood-ized version. Still, it's not a bad movie for date night and has many tender moments for the ladies.

Based on a true story, On Wings Of Eagles: The Eric Liddell Story (2016) is based on a true story and centers around Eric Liddell (played by Joseph Fiennes very well) who was China's first gold medalist and one of Scotland's Greatest Athletes. Set in China during the as the Japanese are invading during World War II, this chilling drama is directed by Stephen Shen and Michael Parker. The money is certainly on the screen here as the production design and period specific elements are all in place.

The film also stars Shawn Dou, Bruce Locke, Augusta Xu-Holland, Elizabeth Arends, and Simon Two.

Eric Liddell (Fiennes) may have won gold for the United Kingdom and possessed a lilting Highland brogue, but he was born in China and lived more than half his life there evangelizing, falling in love, and teaching. The film highlights key moments in his life, such as when Liddell famously refused to run an Olympic race on a Sunday to honor God. But after the 1924 Olympics when he returned to China, Liddell finds himself a prisoner of war as his homeland is occupied by Imperial Japan. While visually pleasing, the film may have been a bit too slow paced to capture a larger audience in the US outside of critics.

Presented on standard definition DVD with an anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, the film looks and sounds as good as it can on the compression-heavy format. This multi-million dollar production is pretty lavish and detailed and the colors here are fine for the format but could easily be improved in higher definition.

No special features whatsoever, though, just a chapter selection.

Jerry Schatzberg is one of the underrated filmmakers of the American New Wave of feature films made in Hollywood from the mid-1960s to later 1970s and Scarecrow (1973) is as successful and as well talked about as any of his works. Part of a well-acknowledged buddy film cycle form the time, Gene Hackman and Al Pacino are down on their luck dreamers (Hackman just out of jail, Pacino just back from waterways work as it were) who have dreams of simple-but-consistent success as the ex-con is heading to Pittsburgh to open up what he believes will be a very profitable car wash operation (because they have so many dirty cars there at the time?) so off they go.

This road movie becomes a character study (and look at a changing America in the midst of the counterculture movement) as they try to reach their goals, but real life keeps getting in their way. Part of the joy of this film is to see two of the greatest actors of all time in peak form teamed up together and delivering. Hackman almost outperforms Pacino (few men alive could ever being to imagine that one, but there are a few who might...) in the down-and-out department, but there is also many things being said here about The American Dream and the film sadly got lost in the shuffle of the actor's more commercially successful works and their huge bodies of remarkable films.

Fortunately, Warner Bros. via their great Warner Archive series is issuing this great restoration of the film in the Blu-ray format. Another long overdue release, the film may have a few off moments and predictable moments, but it is a fine film from the period and all serious film fans need to see it at least once. Besides what I've already explained, it is also visually impressive.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer comes from original camera materials and you can rarely see signs of the age of the materials used as a result, but this was also not only shot in film in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision, but issued in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor release prints. Most important, it was lensed by no less than the mighty Vilmos Zsigmond, A.S.C. who was also Director of Photography on everything from The Deer Hunter to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and that does not begin to tell how great he was.

As usual, he uses the very widescreen frame to its fullest extent, going for a very big screen look, feel and largesque that furthers the narrative, cinematic space and sense of place in ways that make this not just a movie, but an experience like great films should always be. Thanks to Blu-ray, you can see the depth intended and despite some flaws, you can now experience the look and feel intended pretty much throughout.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix can show its age, but it is dialogue-based and is fine for its age, budget and time (the studios moved back to mono sound by the time TV kicked in by the 1970s for a while) and I doubt this could sound much better.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer and vintage featurette On The Road With Scarecrow.

Director David Gordon Green is one of the most underrated and promising directors in the business today. Known for his comedy collaborations with actor/writer Danny McBride on HBO's shows such as Eastbound and Down and the recent masterpiece Vice Principals (both shows are reviewed elsewhere on this site), Green steps out of his comedic comfort zone in the midst of a busy point in his career (he is soon directing a reboot of John Carpenter's Halloween franchise), and tackles a heavy hitting modern day drama in Stronger (2017).

Based on the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings (the recent Hollywood film Patriots Day was also on the subject), Stronger stars Jack Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman, an everyday working class guy who works at Costco who goes to the Marathon to support his ex-girlfriend Erin, who is running in the race. After the bomb goes off, Jeff loses his legs and has to get a new handle on life due to this tragedy. As Jeff remembers what the bomber from the incident looks like after he comes to, he soon becomes a crucial player in identifying the suspect.

The film also stars Tatiana Maslany, Clancy Brown, Miranda Richardson, and Frankie Shaw.

Presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless track, the film looks great here. The production design and cinematography is top notch with a slight blue tint as the constant reoccurring color. Character details are evident and the sound mix is on point, leaving little to be desired for a film of this nature.

Also included is a digital UV copy.

Special Features...

''Faith, Hope, and Love: Becoming Stronger'' featurette

The film is an endearing true story on a sensitive subject and is full of great performances, strong filmmaking, and a great story of the human condition.

And last but not least, the wild, imaginative, underrated Robert Fuest's version of Wuthering Heights (1970) has finally made it to Blu-ray, though it is actually his most reserved feature film and though the Laurence Olivier film of the Emily Bronte classic is still the most discussed, this is (even in its edited form) one of the most mature and naturalistic adaptations ever films with a pre-James Bond Timothy Dalton as Heathcliff matched well by Anna Calder-Marshall as Cathy (or Catherine if you prefer, though Kate Bush and Pat Benatar don't) in an also really good-looking film. We previously reviewed the DVD years ago at this link...


Besides the playback on this limited edition Twilight Time Blu-ray outdoing the DVD as expected, we actually get extras. Now that I know the film was tampered with and this version sadly does not add that footage to the film or in the extras, I can see Fuest and company had an even larger vision that was denied. That means its time to start getting this film to a new generation and it be reconsidered as the solid work it is, maybe eventually getting restored to (a?) the longer cut, but more on that in a moment.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer rarely shows the age of the materials used, then displays far more detail and color range than you might expect. Director of Photography Director of Photography John Coquillon (Witchfinder General, the original Straw Dogs, The Changeling) succeeded even more than I realized now that I can see just how good this was really meant to look in in a palpable feel that is not clean or 'Hollywood'.

Issued in other color formats overseas (hope to cover that later), the interesting Movielab struck the 35mm U.S. prints and the color here is just fine.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is also a definite improvement over the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the old, dated DVD, with talking and music easier to hear, the performances even more impressive.

Extras include another one of Twilight Time's signature illustrated booklets 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 a very impressive feature length audio commentary track by Film Historian Justin Humphreys about the film and its various cuts & versions you should hear after seeing the film, plus we get an Isolated Music Score Track and Original Theatrical Trailer. Too bad Dalton, Fuest and/or Calder-Marshall (et al) were not available for a featurette. Definitely a film worth your time, this cut runs 104 minutes.

To order the Wuthering Heights limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other fine exclusives while supplies last at these links:




...and to order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Detroit, Scarecrow, Heights) & James Lockhart



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