Lightning: The Complete First Season
(2018/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray set)/Colossus
On A Murderer
(2003/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Super
Fly (1972/*both Warner
B/B-/B+/B/B Sound: B/C+/B/B/C+ Extras: B/C+/B/B/B Main
Programs: C/C+/B/B & C+/B-
Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment in Australia and can play on all Blu-ray players, while
Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their
Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.
a group of genre releases you definitely should read about...
Comics' latest TV series Black
joins the ranks of their other broadcast cable series seen mostly on
the CW (Arrow, The
- all reviewed elsewhere on this site). Granted, he's not the most
popular character that they could of chose, but it's a safe one.
Released around the time Marvel's Black
(see our 4K review elsewhere on this site) swept cinemas, this new
series came out to mixed fanfare. A bit too predictable and silly to
take too seriously at times, there isn't much originality to any
aspect of this superhero show and is about as cookie cutter as you
can get... but that's not to say it isn't at times entertaining.
Lightning: The Complete First Season
Cress Williams (Code
China Anne McClain (House
Nafessa Williams (Twin
Christine Adams (Marvel's Agents
Marvin "Krondon" Jones III, Damon Gupton (Whiplash)
and James Remar (The
show is based on the DC character created by Tony Isabella with
Trevor Von Eeden, Not surprisingly, Black
is executive produced TV heavyweights Greg Berlanti (Arrow,
Salim and Mara Brock Akil (The
and Sarah Schechter (Arrow,
DC's Legends of Tomorrow).
Pierce was Black Lighting... a vigilante that could harness
electricity. Now the years have passed and Pierce is a mild mannered
daddy to two and a principal at a high school. Thinking that his
past as a crimefighter is over, he is soon thrown back into the field
as a gang known as the One Hundreds threaten his neighborhood.
first season is comprised of thirteen episodes which include The
Resurrection, Lawanda: The Book of Hope, Lawanda: The Book of Burial,
Black Jesus, And Then the Devil Brought the Plague, Three Sevens: The
Book of Thunder, Equinox: The Box of Fate, The Book of Revelations,
The Book of Little Black Lies, Sins of the Father: The Book of
Redemption, Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion, The Resurrection
and the Light: The Book of Pain,
and lastly Shadow
of Death: The Book of War.
in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1
(the norm for TV series of this nature) and a DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 5.1 lossless track, the presentation is top notch and up to
Blu-ray standards. Of course when this show as originally broadcast
it was on network television so not only did it have commercial
breaks but hideous watermarks all over it too. In short, if you're a
fan of the series, this will be like watching it for the first time
as its an uninterrupted and clean transfer. A digital copy is also
Lightning Comic-Con panel
Family of Strength
Lightning Come Visit Georgia
he gained control of his filmmaking his way, Sergio Leone directed
the swords & sandals B-movie Colossus
(1961), the kind of film Steve Reeves was making at the time and
became the biggest star of in this version of the cycle. However,
Rory Calhoun, the gritty character actor known then for Westerns and
later for the bloody cult horror spoof Motel
(1980) and underrated hit daytime TV soap opera Capitol,
plays the moderately strong-looking Dario, who became a war hero out
of Athens (circa 280 B.C.) and now is involved in several attempts to
overthrow a king whose become a dictating tyrant. The centerpiece of
his rule is a new gigantic statue of Apollo.
course, the film becomes a mix of big casts, badly dubbed dialogue,
mixed fighting sequences and all tend to pale as compared to
the year before, but the promotion sure goes out of its way to look
like it is as big as that film. I give the makers credit for going
as bonkers as they could with the resources they had, but the mostly
unknown cast can only do so much with the material and the overall
result is an uneven film in the genre as expected. Leone is trying
to make this work and Calhoun tries to carry this too, so it is
interesting to watch the ambition, something most modern blockbusters
lack, so those interested should give it a watch, especially on this
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the
age of the materials used, but this is better than I've ever seen the
production, shots in the old anamorphic 35mm format SuperTotalScope,
either a relabeled TotalScope to make it sound better or maybe a
barely improved one. Either way, like old CinemaScope, the quality
of the lenses show their age as do the 35mm materials. With that
said, this is as rest is worth sitting through the flaws to see what
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is a decent
representation of the old theatrical mono, though like all old
Italian post-WWII films, the dubbing throughout and all over is
obvious and can make it challenging to watch whether you are laughing
at the flaws or trying to concentrate and enjoy the film.
only extra is a good one, s feature length audio commentary track by
film scholar and historian Christopher Frayling that is very
informative and really adds tot he film.
Joe D'Amato (Emanuelle
and the Last Cannibals,
is one of the best Italian film directors of all time and even though
he has left us, his work lives on in beautiful high definition.
Other studios have been restoring and releasing D'Amato's films on
Blu-ray disc, most notably Severin Films with their deluxe Beyond
Blu-ray last year and Emanuelle
and the Last Cannibals
this year. Now, Arrow steps forward with D'Amato's thriller Death
Smiles on a Murderer
(1973), starring Klaus Kinski, which is a bizarre little piece of
cinema indeed. A period piece, the film is set in Austria and has
high production value and great costuming. While gory, it's not
quite as far as D'Amato goes later in his career.
in the 1900s, centers around a man that discovers an ancient Incan
formula for raising the dead, and uses it for a series of revenge
murders. Many fall victim in the film and its lucid and dreamlike
story (aided by a fantastic score) feels the speculation of who is
going to die next. Some of the best scenes are in the last act when
the Undead Murderer stalks her prey and it is uniquely photographed
and cleverly cut.
film has been beautifully remastered in 1080p high definition with a
1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and an Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio
track, both of which are of great quality. A 2K restoration from the
original camera negative, the beautiful cinematography is elegantly
captured. You can watch the film in German or Italian (which has
newly translated subs) and the original soundtracks as well.
audio commentary by writer and critic Tim Lucas
Smiles on Death,
an archival interview in which the director discusses the film
About Ewa, a newly-filmed, career-spanning interview with the
on the Taboo: Sex, Death and Transgression in the horror films of Joe
D'Amato, new video essay by critic Kat Ellinger
and collections gallery
sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles
PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film
by critic Stephen Thrower and film historian Roberto Curtis
Smiles on a Murder
is a classic and has never looked this good before.
releases H.P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator
trilogy on Blu-ray and this review focuses on the Brian Yuzna
directed sequels, Bride
(1993) and Beyond
(2003), both of which are together for the first time in HD and star
cult film superstar Jeffrey Combs.
was previously released on Blu-ray by Arrow films last year which is
a much heftier release with more extras. This is the first time that
has been available in HD, although a Vestron edition is coming out
later this summer (with different extras for sure) that we hope to
cover and compare to this release as well.
can check out our past coverage here...
has been eight months since the bloody massacre at Miskatonic Medical
School. Unperturbed by the disastrous outcome of his previous
meddling with the dead, Dr. West (Combs) continues his research into
the phenomenon of re-animation; only this time, he plans to create
life - starting with the heart of his lab assistant Dan's dearly
deceased, Meg Halsey. Surely nothing could go wrong?
he was young, Howard Phillips (Jason Barry) watched his sister get
torn apart by one of Dr. Herbert West's (Combs) reanimated corpses.
Phillips, now a doctor, is eager to learn more about the mad doctor's
attempts to bring back the dead that he accepts a position at the
prison where West is being held. Phillips delves further into West's
gruesome research, which attracts the attention of a local reporter
(Elsa Pataky) and the cruel prison warden (Simon Andreu).
films are presented on 1080p High definition with great sounding 5.1
mixes. The films have slightly different widescreen aspect ratios...
and 1.78:1 (Beyond).
The transfer of Bride
is only bested by the Arrow release, which has a slightly cleaner
audio track as well.
and Rated Versions
Commentary by Director Brian Yuzna and David Gregory (Severin Films)
Commentary with Brian Yuzna, Jeffrey Combs, Tom Rainone, John Carl
Buechler, Mike Deak, Robert Kurtzman, Howard Berger, and Screaming
Commentary with Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott
Yuzna remembers Bride of Re-Animator Featurette
Masters: The Special Effects Artists
Ahead in Horror Featurette
the Scenes with Special Effects Artists
Adventures Radio Presents: Herbert West: Re-Animator Trailer
Making of Beyond Re-Animator
Re-Animator: Animate Your Bones
this edition is a little pricey in the U.S., it definitely has some
great extras and nice presentations if you don't want to go for the
Arrow or Vestron releases. It is nice to have both of them together.
Too bad Stuart Gordon didn't return to the directing chair for these
two, however Yunza has an interesting cinematic voice that works for
we have Gordon Parks Jr.'s original Super
(1972) arriving exclusively on Warner Archive Blu-ray as the remake
starts to arrive in theaters. This original was made on a low budget
in the early days of what became the so-called 'Blaxploitation'
movement and is both one of its earliest and best films along with
films and Black
this case, we have Ron O'Neal as Priest, the drug dealing anti-hero
of the piece, dealing with others who might be trying to take over
his business, turf or just trying to rob from him, but he's got so
much going on working to his advantage (women, money, connections,
knowing secrets, great clothes of the time and a car like nothing
you've ever seen before) that he's a few steps ahead of everyone...
even racist white police officers and others high up in power who
would like to use him or stop him.
ace in the hole he has is his mentor, played by the great character
actor Julius W. Harris, who is one of the only actors alive who could
have taken this role and made it work. Their chemistry makes you
believe they've known each other for many years, are best friends and
built what they have going. O'Neal's work here is easy to
underestimate as well, carrying the film without a false note
throughout. The other actors are not bad either and sometimes you
feel like you are watching a documentary and not a drama, but using
the streets of New York City of the time (another priceless aspect of
the film) means they could not lose cinematically and this is a
classic of its genre that deserves the top rate treatment it gets on
this Blu-ray edition.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer hardly shows
the age of the materials used, is far superior a transfer to all
previous releases of the film and manages to retain the grittiness,
grain and rich color of the film as shot. To compete with MGM and
Warner Bros. decided top do them one better at the time by outdoing
the color format the 35mm release prints were in. Shaft
was issued in MetroColor as MGM's lab was still alive and well, but
Warner allowed Technicolor to issue the film in 35mm dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor prints and though this transfer might not
always show that, at times it does and it is also one of my demos for
rich, thick 35mm film of the time looking as it should. They did a
great job of the transfer here.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix shows the age and
limits of the budget of the film in terms of dialogue and location
audio recording, so only so much can be done with that, but as many
know, the classic music added to the film by the legendary, ingenious
Curtis Mayfield took a good genre film and made it into its own
classic. His music is excellent, defines the heavy soul of the era
and expands the narrative situations like little to nothing we had
ever seen before. It could be argued that years before Flashdance,
MTV and the like, Mayfield made this the first soundtrack-driven
non-musical and it may be a classic in that respect as much as
anything else, which says something. His music was all recorded in
studio and in stereo, but being it was probably too high fidelity
versus the original dialogue recordings, a stereo or 5.1 upgrade was
not possible here. Still, Warner cleaned this up as much as possible
without ruining it.
include a solid feature length audio commentary track by film
scholar and historian, Dr. Todd Boyd, USC Professor of Cinema and
Television and author of ''Am
I Black Enough For You: Popular Culture From the 'Hood and Beyond''
(with a few silent moments), Curtis Mayfield on Super Fly, ''Behind
with Les Dunham, Ron O'Neal on the Making of Super Fly, Costume
Designer Nate Adams Goes ''Behind
Last Deal: A Retrospective Documentary
and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link for it and other
hard-to-find releases at:
to order either or both of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, The
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases
Nicholas Sheffo (Colossus,