Of State (*)/Brothers
(2017/Well Go DVD)/The
Last Hunt (1956/MGM)/The
Naked And The Dead
(1958/RKO/both Warner Archive Blu-rays)/The
Yellow Birds (*both
B+/B/B/B/B+ Sound: B+/C+/B-/C+/B+ Extras: C/C/C/C-/C
Naked And The Dead
Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their
Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the links below.
battles and intrigue figure prominently in the following releases...
Lawson (David Corenswet) is an ambitious young, good-looking
Caucasian man who will do anything to be a part of in Senator Baine's
(David James Elliott) political party in his run for Presidency
...including blackmail. He gets in but then he has to work with Rob
Reynolds (Adrian Grenier), Baine's shady manager. He ends up having
an secret affair with Baine's wife (Mimi Rogers) and then his
daughter, but what Michael didn't expect was to fall in love with
Baine's daughter (Grace Victoria Cox) and all hell breaks loose when
secrets start coming out ...including his own.
Eric Bross' Affairs
Lawson desires power and position while playing in Washington D.C.
political politics. Along with the help of his roommate Callie
(Thora Birch), he gets his hands on political damning videos of
powerful men and then blackmails them. On the side he is also male
gigolo willing to sleep with any powerful woman to win favors. He
ends up working with a shady manager Rob Reynolds in helping to
expose scandal of their enemies and bury their own, but he ends up
falling in love with the one girl he shouldn't, Baine's daughter and
his own affairs soon come to light. He tries to warn his friend
Callie that assassins are coming for her but is too late, to Rob
Reynolds Michael is either part of the solution ...or he is just
was a TOTALLY fictional political story fill with affairs, bribes,
backstabbing and murder, how powerful men are above the law and how
they are able to get away with murder. (But it could
be possibility) It is how in the name of politics, anything is
justified as long as you don't get caught or there aren't any
witnesses, but like all secrets they eventually get exposed.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer has a good,
clear, consistent look that establishes the political world of the
film and the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is its well recorded equal,
so this plays back very nicely. Extras
include deleted scenes, commentaries and trailers.
China's Civil War in the 1930s, two brothers separated by fate are
brought together, five years later on the battlefield of war... on
the opposite side. Forced to fight a war and along with their
brother-in-arms can the bond of two brother overcome the rules and
hardships of war? Or will the war force the brothers to kill one
Kiefer Liu's Brothers
Tiejin and his older brother were two orphans who grew up together in
the streets protecting one another until they were both drafted into
a war they didn't want to join. Tiejin managed to escape, but his
brother was taken away. Five years later they meet on opposite sides
of the battlefield and while they are enemies and at each other's
throats, neither one really want to kill each other. When it comes
to the lives of their men, brother-in-arms who have bleed and died
under their command they are forced to choose between their mission
and each other. Tiejin was once the kind and polite brother while
his older brother was the strong and rough type, over the 5 years
Tiejin has learn to become hard and tough. And while his older
brother was the enemy, he continues to protect Tiejin from certain
death... however it seems like no matter what they do, no matter how
much they care for each other... in the end they are forced to fight
each other to the death.
movie was more about the war between two brothers than the war they
were fighting in. The film was heavy with CGI using black and white
backgrounds and stop motion effects, making it look more like a comic
or film noir (it was kinda like the movie 300
anamorphically enhanced DVD image looks as good as this one can in
the format, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not as
impressive, with much dialogue and a limited soundfield. Extras
include making of the movie, interviews and trailers.
next two films are unusual, big productions made by there respective
studios that landed up producing mixed-but-interesting results and
are both worth looking into. Both issued in restored Blu-ray
editions by Warner Archive, we'll cover them together to make that
(1956) is a big CinemaScope, full color Western that is politically
incorrect to say the least, an early big Brooks film for MGM and the
underrated journeyman filmmaker still manages to get some interesting
things going here despite how oddly the film has aged. Part of this
is because the genre is dead and each film has to reinvent and
re-approach every single aspect of the Western, but even at this
time, Westerns like High
were questioning the genre and its ill take on history.
Taylor is a tough, angry cold hunter who gets together with Stewart
Granger to thin a heard of buffalo that the U.S. Government is
allowing more extreme killing of than usual. Joined by Russ Tamblyn
as a part-Native American young man and Lloyd Nolan as an old pro in
hunting, things quickly get uglier when Taylor kills a group of
Native American 'Indians' when he also knows it will put him at odds
with 'half-breed' Tamblyn. You can imagine how this just keeps
getting darker and darker, bad 'Hollywood Indian' casting (I always
liked Debra Paget, but as a real Native American?) gets in the way of
the drama with dated effects, et al.
a sometimes uneven script and the 103 minutes is an uneven viewing,
as it always was, but it never looked or sounded this good, so after
a very long time, it was like seeing so much of it for the first time
and one thing that holds up best is this idea that Tamblyn represents
a better future, even in the middle of all the madness. I believe
Brooks, even a few years before the youth generation, understood this
much and it is one of the reasons to put up with the artifacts that
fail, which is the case for so many Westerns of all eras anyhow.
acting is otherwise great, fight scenes not bad, the cast has some
odd chemistry and in lesser hands that Brooks, we would not likely be
talking about it as much or as well. Even if you don't like the
genre, there is enough good here worth a look.
we have the rugged and somewhat more distinctive Raoul Walsh making
one of RKO's last big films adapting norman Mailer's The
Naked And The Dead
(1958), which it turns out was in the developing process for a while.
This is the kind of filmmaker Howard Hughes would hire when he still
ran RKO, but the studio was eventually sold to another company, then
bought by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, becoming the Desilu Studios.
As you'll see in the trailer, Warner Bros. was distributing the
company's last films before it folded, though they would not actually
own their films until buying Turner Entertainment many decades later.
Robertson and Raymond Massey are two military commanders at odds with
each other, so much so that the very cold Aldo Ray, a third leader,
is pulled into their severe differences despite being a sadist and
possibly the worse of the three as they fight a key WWII battle in
the Pacific. We also get women (like Barbara Nichols and Lili St.
Cyr) and the solid supporting cast of character actors playing troops
with backstories like James best, L.Q. Jones, Joey Bishop, Richard
Jaeckel and Jerry Paris. Though parts of it are not as real as you
might see today and we get a few cliches here ands there, the film is
131 minutes that still just about justifies itself and has some
intense moments worthy of the last few decades of films in the genre.
At least RKO did not go out with a whimper.
both cases, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer
can show the age of the materials used, but Warner Archive has gone
out of their way to restore and save these films and the hard work
certainly pays off here. It also makes these versions far superior a
transfer to all previous releases of the film and even the least
enjoyable moments in either film more watchable as a result.
the case of Hunt,
it was shot with the old
CinemaScope lens system, so you get its flaws and distortions
throughout, but that is the style of the film and they make it work.
At this point, MGM was using Eastman Color film from Kodak (versus
Ansco Color they dropped then recently), yet it is interesting they
credit the film stock as that instead of their own MetroColor lab
without noting the film supplier change. I cannot imagine the film
looking much better color-wise than it does here, so great work all
around can be seen throughout.
has a very interesting history because for starters, Howard Hughes
refused to pay one penny for CinemaScope or any similar process, so
this film was actually shot 1.33 X 1 in what was called RKO Scope, a
precursor to Super 35. You did not need any squeeze lenses to do the
scope image, but the quality was not as good, though it had less
distortion than the more famous format. By this time, the frame was
readjusted from 2.20 X 1 to the 2.35 X 1 CinemaScope was finally
known for at the time. However, as a concession to Warner, the
trailer calls it WarnerScope, so that was all interchangeable since
it was a faked scope format.
better news is that the film was originally issued in 35mm
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints, so it is a solid film
as far as color is concerned and you
can see in many places how good it must have looked in such copies.
Now it is
not Technicolor like you'd expect in a musical or fantasy film, but
like later war films in the three-strip process (all the way up to
and including Malick's Thin
and the stunning restoration and reissue of Coppola's Apocalypse
reviewed elsewhere on this site) make the war ands the people all the
more warm, realistic and situations more palpable. Thus, this is a
one-of-a-kind production visually you should see just on that level.
films offer a single DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless soundtrack
mix, but Hunt
is in stereo while Dead
is monophonic. Dead
shows its sonic age and sounds about as good as it can, but Hunt
likely had 4-track
magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects, but that
soundmaster is (hopefully temporarily?) lost, so we get this instead.
It sounds pretty good and give us an idea that the filmmakers were
trying to record this as well as they could.
in both cases include an Original Theatrical Trailer, but Hunt
adds a Making Of featurette of sorts with Director Brooks and
Producer Dory Schary (who ran the studio and was moving it away from
musicals) from the TV show MGM
In black and white, it is worth your time after seeing the film.
conclude with the modern-era war film, The
(2018) is being hailed as this year's Hurt
and is comparable in some respects. Starring Alden Ehrenreich (who
was just fine as Han Solo in this year's blockbuster; more on that
later), the drama is heavy hitting and winner of several awards on
the film festival circuit.
film also stars Jennifer Aniston, Tye Sheridan, Toni Collette, and
the Iraq War, two young soldiers (Ehrenreich, Sheridan) are forever
changed by the horrors they witness. When Ehrenreich returns home,
he finds that he isn't the same man that he used to be much to the
dismay of his poor mother (Collette) and the impending demands of
war. The film outlines the tragedy of war and how it affects the
brave men and women that put their lives on the line to protect their
in 1080p high definition with a 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless mix, the film looks and sounds as
good as it can on Blu-ray disc with plenty of detail. The film
flashes to horrific war scenes and back to more normally lit domestic
scenes and does with with plenty of detail.
included is a digital copy.
of War: Making The Yellow Birds
is a fine film, even if films of this kind have been done before...
just be sure to have some tissues on hand, should you be so affected.
order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, The
Naked And The Dead,
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases
Nicholas Sheffo (Warner Archive), Ricky Chiang (Affairs,