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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Comedy > Assassin > Drama > Sex Industry > Gangsters > Cable TV > Journalism > Western > Revenge > Bo > Accident Man (2017/Sony Blu-ray)/Brackenmore (2016/MVD DVD)/The Deuce: The Complete First Season (2017/HBO Blu-ray Set)/The Finger Points (1931/First National/Warner Archive DVD)/The Hanging Tree (195

Accident Man (2017/Sony Blu-ray)/Brackenmore (2016/MVD DVD)/The Deuce: The Complete First Season (2017/HBO Blu-ray Set)/The Finger Points (1931/First National/Warner Archive DVD)/The Hanging Tree (1959/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Jawbone (2017/Lionsgate DVD)/9/11 (2017/Fox DVD)/Rise Of The Footsoldier, Part 2 (2015/Lionsgate DVD)/Silver Bullet (1985/Stephen King/Paramount/Umbrella Region Free Blu-ray)



Picture: B+/B-/B/C/B/B-/B/B-/B Sound: B+/B-/B/C/C+/B-/B/B-/B Extras: C/D/C+/D/C-/C/D/C/B Main Programs: C/C/C+/C/C+/C+/B+/C+/C+



PLEASE NOTE: The Silver Bullet Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia and can play on all Blu-ray players, while The Hanging Tree Blu-ray and Finger Points DVD are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.



Here's a big chunk of genre releases, usually with a darker side...



Accident Man (2017) is a fun action flick with a decent cast and some well constructed action sequences but some moments that don't quite hit the mark. The film definitely shows its influences loud and clear with the feel of a Guy Ritchie or Matthew Vaughn film virtually from frame one, with the main character also the narrator with plenty of quick editing tricks, slow mo, and freeze frames to aide his quippy dialogue.


Not to say that filmmaking formula doesn't work here because it mostly does (and pushes the story along), but it seems to be the norm for most action movies nowadays and is starting to grow a bit stale on me. Based on a British crime comic strip of the same name, Accident Man is full of hits, punches, and misses.


The film stars Scott Adkins, Ray Stevenson, Ashley Greene (Twilight), David Paymer, Michael Jai White, and Ray Park (Darth Maul from later Star Wars films). The film is directed by Jesse V. Johnson (The Hitmen Diaries). The film has a pretty nice cast of B-list actors with many recognizable faces.


Mike Fallon (Adkins), the Accident Man, is a stone cold killer whose methodical ways of murder baffle the police in that he makes his assassinations look like accidents. (In one scene, he kills someone driving a car with a sniper rifle, forcing them to crash and kill another victim.) This interesting skill set of intelligent murder makes him the 'best at what he does'... not to mention that he's pretty good at destroying any person that gets in his way. Of course, he can't stay top dog for long... when a loved one is dragged into the London underworld and murdered by his own crew. Obviously, Fallon goes out against his former allies because of this in a heavy dish of revenge.


The film is presented in 1080p high definition with a 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a DTS-HD 5.1 MA (Master Audio) lossless track, both of which look and sound up to standards with the format. The film looks and sounds like a bigger movie than it is with nice color correction that's no doubt inspired by Michael Bay and Guy Ritchie much like its screenplay. The soundtrack is jazzy and fun and a predominant voiceover is front and center in the track.


Special Features include...


Assassin's Roll Call


Violent Ballet: Filming the Fight


Commentary with Scott Adkins and Stu Small


While it doesn't have any big names in it per say, Accident Man delivers the action movie goods with plenty of action to satisfy fans of the genre but a little too much like other stronger films to stand out as much as it hopes. What it's missing is a more charismatic lead, while Adkins is a good looking guy and able to fight well and all, he doesn't have the personality to carry out the character as it appeared to be written on page. Had this movie starred Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) or David Harbor (Stranger Things), then it could have been a bit more fun. In short, the film seems to be one that was meant to be bigger than it turned out being.



Brackenmore (2016) is a small Irish town with some dark secrets inspired by Rosemary's Baby and Twin Peaks. Featuring a strong performance by Sophie Hopkins and exceedingly creepy, the film is an occult thriller that's definitely worth checking out.


The film also stars D.J. McGrath, Joe Kennard, Bertie Bronsan, and Helena O'Connor with directed by J.P. Davidson and Chris Kemble.


A slow burn thriller of sorts, the film has gotten some mixed reception but I thought was pretty interesting even though it likely isn't going to become a cult classic or anything.


The story centers around Kate (Hopkins) who returns to Brackenmore after the death of her Uncle. Born in Brackemore, Kate soon realizes that the neighbors and townspeople are all up to something... and in on it together with some rather occult undertones. Filled with interesting imagery and beautiful Irish locations, the film is bizarre to say the least.


Presented on anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 2.1 English stereo track, the film looks and sound as good as it can on DVD. I'd love to see it in HD as the lighting and depth is limited here and I'm sure stronger on that release.


No extras.



Following The Get Down and Vinyl, The Deuce: The Complete First Season (2017) is yet another cable TV series with graphic situations trying to revisit the 1970s in historically cultural ways. All are focused on music, but unlike the previous series, this one is actually about how the XXX graphic sex 'porn' industry finally happened after years of legal challenges about what you could and could not show on camera, let alone talk about, aided by the counterculture movement, fall of the Hollywood studio system, all kinds of imported films, a legitimate foreign film market and New York City at its functionally dirtiest.


Made by HBO like Vinyl, James Franco (unconvincing in dual roles as brothers) co-produced with the makers of The Wire to tell how in NYC circa 1971, various prostitutes (including a scene and show-stealing Maggie Gyllenhaal), would be filmmakers (including Numb3rs David Krumholtz almost unrecognizable), organized criminal elements, the police by default (NYC is allowing prostitution, despite how illegal it was on the books) and people (too) close to those criminals (like the brothers Franco plays) eventually become unlikely allies as they all find themselves drifting into actual sex film production, just as the infamous Deep Throat (1972) was about to kill all laws preventing graphic sex from being shown for good and making what would be over $600 Million by today's box office.


As a show, it is not bad, but the storyline about the brothers Franco plays goes on too long and gets way too much time and attention. With Franco in a current scandal as we post, I guess this will get some curiosity interest, but since he has gone out of his way to play way too many people near scandal or infamy, not as much. Thus, the show works better the more it focuses on all the other characters.


I also liked how it deals with the film technology of the time, how people saw any part of the industry then versus now with the onslaught of generic digital video all over the place and the recreation of the 1970s is not bad, if not always 100% on. I would recommend the show with caution, not because of the sex or violence, but because you have to have serious patience with the Franco segments.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on all episodes are just fine, look good, are stable, consistent, professionally created and make the show watchable on a technical level, but rarely exceed anything past their content. That is not a problem, though.


Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-rays add audio commentary tracks on the first and last episodes, Inside The Episodes clips for all the shows and two short Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurettes.



John Francis Dillon's The Finger Points (1931) is also about crime, gangsters in Chicago, being covered by the local press whom they want to silence. Enter a young, ambitious, fair-minded new reporter (big star of the time Richard Barthelmess) who wants to tell the truth about everything, make a name for himself at his newspaper and expose the ugliness to make the town safer. Can he do it and get the support he needs?


This First National film (a studio Warner had bought) was made before self-censuring Hollywood codes of what you could and could not have in a film was established, so it is a darker tale of the darkness and reality of the situation the film presents. It has aged unevenly, but is bold by the standards of then and now, putting it into the Gangster genre as well as those about the power of the press in the U.S. and a democracy in general. It is worth a look, but expect some off moments.


The 1.33 X 1 black & white image transfer can show the age of the materials used, which are in rough shape and shows the film needs to be restored ASAP, though I hope this is just an old print. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono has constant background hiss, pops and a few clicks, so be careful of volume switching and high volumes, but it is just listenable enough.


There are sadly no extras.



Delmer Daves' The Hanging Tree (1959) is one of the director's lesser-seen Westerns with Gary Cooper as a doctor setting up practice near a gold mine circa 1973 in Montana, only to have to dal with greed, torture, murder and even romance (Maria Schell) in this mixed melodrama that also features the big screen film debut of George C. Scott as an off-kilter preacher and Karl Malden as someone even more no good.


Warner Archive has decided to exclusively issue this film on Blu-ray and they have done a decent restoration job, though with limits. It is not a great film, despite seriously goods efforts of all involved and is a bit predictable, but it is solid enough as far as the genre is concerned. That makes it worth a look, but it is not a film that stayed with me.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image has been restored, but despite it originally being issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor version prints, the color is not always that good. Still, flaws are limited and the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound is a little more compressed and problematic than expected. However, this was a theatrical monophonic sound film, so one can only expect so much and maybe the original soundmaster was lost.


The only extra is an Original Theatrical Trailer, though something else would not have hurt.



If you are a fan of boxing dramas, then you'll want to check out Jawbone (2017), a sports drama that has a decent cast in Johnny Harris, Ray Winstone, Michael Smiley, and Ian MacShane himself. Not being a huge fan of the sport myself, I found this film to be similar to Rocky and The Fighter in some regards as its a rags-to-riches-type story taking place in the competitive world of sports.


Past his prime in the sport of boxing, prized fighter Jimmy McCabe (Harris), returns to the ring in an attempt to piece his personal life back together. He ends up getting himself back into shape, despite many obstacles, and soon finds himself in a unlicensed and vicious match that could end both his career and life. All the bets are on McCabe as each punch could either make or break him.


Presented on DVD in anamorphically enhanced standard definition with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the film is presented up to standards for the format, but lacks some of the depth and detail that would be hopefully seen in an HD version of course. The film is stylized and shot well as mentioned, with a dramatic score by Paul Weller. No digital copy.


Special Features include...


Making of Featurette


Jawbone Trailer


Lionsgate Trailer Gallery



Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gershon, Luis Guzman and Wood Harris star in all-star cast movie based on the real events on 9/11 (2017). On the morning of September 11, 2001, five random people were riding together in an elevator suddenly find themselves trapped. As they learn what is happening and who each other are, they must work together in order to survive. Their only hope Matzie the elevator operator (Whoopi Goldberg) who tells them what to do, as well as what is happening on the world outside while they are trapped in the elevator.


Five people are brought together by fate on that fateful day on 9/11, a rich CEO, his wife, a bike messenger, a janitor and a mistress. Each one was living their own separate lives with different concerns, different problems, different goals, but all that is suddenly ripped from them when 9/11 occurs and they're only goal becomes to survive. It is only in the darkest hours does human courage and faith show people's true mettle and colors.


This was a movie in dedication to those who lived (and died) on 9/11, civilians, EMTs and fire fighters. Imagine yourself living a normal day, good or bad, rich or poor, but suddenly none of that matters when you are trapped in a burning building in a terrorist attack.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 are as good as they can get in the format, surprisingly. Extras include trailers.



Written and Directed by Ricci Harnett, who starred in the first installment in the Rise of the Footsoldier franchise back in 2007, Part 2 (2015) in the series is landing on DVD courtesy of Lionsgate. Based on a true story, the film follows the story of Carlton Leach who lived a very dangerous and violent life and was known as one of the kings of the underworld.


The film also stars Craig Fairbrass, Steven Berkoff, Luke Mably, Terry Stone, and Roland Manookian to name a few. The film is pretty entertaining if you don't a little torture, strippers, and characters that aren't particularly likeable.


Whether it's battling drug addiction, women, or violence the story of Carlton Leach (Harnett) is no doubt on a journey of self discovery. Still angry after the murder of three of his closest friends, Carlton tries to fill the void in life with bad habits and even badder tendencies. As he climbs the ranks of revenge against his friends' murderers, he learns that fame in the underworld comes with a price more than money and street cred.


Presented on standard definition DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 English track, the film is up to standards but not as impressive as a digital or HD transfer. The film is well shot with decent production design and cinematography and has the feel of a bigger production than what it likely was.


Special Features...


The Making of Rise of the Footsoldier, Part 2


Director's Commentary


Theatrical Trailer


Lionsgate Trailer Gallery


Not a bad British mobster film and pretty violent from out the gate.



A product of the early '80s, an age where the werewolf reigned supreme with such classics as The Howling and An American Werewolf in London, Stephen King took a stab (or is that claw, bite...) with his own Lycan story Silver Bullet (1985) from Director Dan Attias (who later had a successful TV career), producer Dino DeLaurentiis, and stars Corey Haim and Gary Busey. Silver Bullet is a fun time capsule piece and plays out now like an episode of Goosebumps or Tales From the Crypt in today's world of viewing.


Tarker's Mill is a quiet town that is soon plagued by a vicious monster whose targets seem to be random. When wheelchair bound teen Marty (Haim), his sister (Megan Follows), and Uncle Red (Busey) end up in the center of the mystery, the werewolf soon reveals himself in human form. Can Marty convince the townspeople of who the assailant is before its too late? And what if that werewolf comes looking to silence Marty?


The film feels a bit like Fright Night only with a werewolf spin. The wolves themselves are pretty unique looking (and were brought to life with the help of the late artist Bernie Wrightson) and are very animalistic in appearance, similar to a bear almost. Behind the Scenes featurettes on the disc reveal that the Wolfman costume was all remote and wire controlled with a lot of offscreen squabbling that took place to try to decide on a look. At the end of the day, the wolf scenes play out as part horror and party comedy, with a baseball bat (named The Peacemaker) a popular weapon. The film also stars Everett McGill (Licence To Kill) and Terry O'Quinn.


Presented on Blu-ray for possibly the first time as of this writing, the 1080p Blu-ray picture in 2.35 X 1 (shot with underrated, anamorphic J-D-C Scope lenses in 35mm) and 2.0 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Mono lossless track make for a nice preservation of the original source material. The film hasn't aged much or shown much sign of wear as there are plenty of details to be had in the image. The synth-centric score is front and center in the mix and the detail in the image is impeccable.


Special Features are aplenty with...


Commentary with Director Dan Attias


Full Moon Fever featurette


The Wolf Within - Interview with Everett McGill


Dino's Angel Takes on Lycanthropy featurette


Isolated Score Selections with the Composer


Trailer / TV Spot / Radio Spot / Still Gallery


Reversible Cover


Complimenting Umbrella's semi-recent release of Stephen King's Cat's Eye (reviewed elsewhere on this site), Silver Bullet makes for a fine edition to your Stephen King movie library on HD. Surprisingly, the film hasn't found its way to Blu-ray in America yet but this is a good one to tide you over until then.



To order the Umbrella import Blu-ray of Silver Bullet, go to this link for it and other hard to find releases:


http://www.umbrellaent.com.au/


and to order either of the Warner Archive DVD (The Finger Points) or Blu-ray (The Hanging Tree), go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo (Deuce, Warner Archive), Ricky Chiang (9/11) and James Lockhart

https://www.facebook.com/jamesharlandlockhartv/


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