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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Comedy > Adventure > Romance > Superhero > Action > Animation > Horror > Vampire > British > Jungle > Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959/Paramount/both Warner Archive Blu-rays)/Unnamable (1988/MVD Visual/Unearthed Blu-ray)

Black Eagle (1988/MVD Visual Blu-ray)/Justice League (2017/DC Comics/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Kickboxer: Retaliation (2017/Well Go Blu-ray w/DVD)/Leatherface: Texas Chain Saw Massacre III (1990/New Line/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The Man From Earth: Holocine (2017/MVD Visual Blu-ray)/Suspiria (1977 4K Restoration/Synapse Blu-ray Set)



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



PLEASE NOTE: The Leatherface Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



Here's the latest action and genre films to know about...



If you yearn for the VHS videotape era (or Betamax days) even today, you'll be wanting to take note of MVD's new Rewind Collection, which highlights some all but forgotten B-movies from decades past. Last month we reviewed the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes Blu-ray from the label and this month we are covering the resurrection of a VHS cult hit, Jean Claude Van Damme in Eric Karson's Black Eagle (1988).


The film also stars Sho Kosugi, Bruce French, William Bassett, and Kane Kosugi.


When the U.S. Air Force's most modern tactical aircraft, an F-111 Aardvark with a new laser guidance system, crashes into the sea near Malta - a region where the Soviet forces are highly present, times become dire. The CIA immediately sends out their best secret agent, Ken Tami (Kosugi), to salvage the system before it falls into enemy hands... however his opponent KGB agent Andrei (Van Damme) aka Black Eagle has other plans...


Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 English surround sound track (though PCM 2.0 sound is also included), the film looks improved on Blu-ray disc in comparison to the also included DVD edition and no doubt older versions in several formats. There's also no doubt that this is the best that the film has looked since its original release and the natural look and lighting holds up pretty well.


Special Features include:


Sho Kosugi: Martial Arts Legend (HD, 21:26) (featuring new interviews with Sho Kosugi and Shane Kosugi and more).


The Making of Black Eagle (HD, 35:50)(featuring new interviews with Director / Producer Eric Karson, Screenwriter Michael Gonzalez and stars Sho Kosugi, Doran Clark, Shane Kosugi and Dorota Puzio).


Tales of Jean-Claude Van Damme (HD, 19:20) (Brand new interviews with cast and crew tell stories about working with the legendary action star).


The Script and the Screenwriters (HD, 27:14) (featuring Michael Gonzales, Eric Karson and more).


Deleted Scenes


Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)


Collectible Poster


Limited Vintage Slipcover: FIRST PRESSING ONLY (see image below)



While the film has some fun fight sequences, overall it's pretty stale with performances that are less than exciting and some pretty cheesy moments. A product of its time and fun to look back on, this isn't among even Van Damme's best. However, if you're one of the many action fans that digs on this, then this is the edition to get. Look for Van Damme's latest below.



It's no secret that comic book fans have always drawn a line in the sand between Marvel and DC, especially when it comes to film and television. Over the years both companies have had hits and misses but no case has been quite as unique as the one for Zack Snyder's Justice League (2017), which was also co-directed (but not credited) by Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, first two Avengers films).


This is the first time that the Justice League characters (minus the Green Lantern and arguably the likes of Hawkman or the Martian Manhunter) have shared cinematic space together and is the fourth entry in DC's new cinematic franchise which includes Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the blockbuster smash Wonder Woman (all of which are reviewed elsewhere on this site). I would highly recommend watching those films in order to get all of the references before watching this one, however, this film is more of a popcorn muncher than the others and can be enjoyed regardless.


The Justice League features returning stars Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman). New characters in the film (although they were teased very briefly in BvS) include Ray Fisher (Cyborg), Ezra Miller (The Flash), and a highly entertaining performance by Jason Momoa as Aquaman. The film also features supporting roles by Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Amber Heard (Mera), J.K. Simmons (Commissioner Gordon), Jeremy Irons (Alfred), Connie Nielsen (Hippolyta), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Billy Crudup (Henry Allen) and of course, the underrated Ciaran Hinds, villainous as Steepenwolf.


Superman's death has affected the world as we know it and an apocalyptic threat is looming over the planet. It's up to Batman (Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gadot) to form what

meta-humans they are aware of the world over in order to prevent the supernatural villain Steppenwolf (Hinds) from obtaining all of the Mother Boxes (each of which is hidden in different realms), in order to call down upon Darkseid and bring about the end of humanity. With the help of The Flash (Miller), Aquaman (Momoa), and Cyborg (Fisher) the Justice League is formed... however it quickly becomes apparent that Superman's death may not be permanent. Can they bring back Superman from the grave in order to stop this unstoppable threat and save the day?


In case you're not up to date with Hollywood drama behind the scenes, the production for Justice League was a little rushed and insane for all parties involved. Zack Snyder's superhero films (all of which I personally have enjoyed) have been met with harsh criticism from fanboys and movie-goers with a lot of gripes and complaining despite the impressiveness of all of the films from a production standpoint. Snyder clearly has a love for the characters and over his three films brought a dark style that helped evolve the brand to a more faithful comic adaptation than the (mostly) grounded reality of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. Snyder's daughter unfortunately passed on during the film's production and Warner Bros. had to bring on Joss Whedon to finish the film. This affected Snyder's original version (which was reportedly three hours long as opposed to this two hour version) and expensive reshoots made the production even longer and more challenging. Taking all of this into consideration, this version of Justice League isn't half bad (and could have been way worse) with great onscreen chemistry among its cast, beautiful costume and production design, and very expensive visual effects sequences.


The film's biggest problem is its weak villain Steppenwolf, who is really only a challenge until (spoiler) Superman shows up in the last act but I can forgive it for that. The film could have gone a million different directions considering its rich history in comic book mythology and I think many of the decisions made here were safe choices. Is it the best superhero movie ever made? Not at all. But is it fun, imaginative, and pretty to look at? Absolutely.


The film is presented here in 2160p HECV/H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on the new 4K UHD format and looks absolutely gorgeous. The film has a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (shot on 35mm film) and a crystal clear, lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 track that captures the rich sound design at home perfectly. Also on the disc are lossless 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) tracks that I'm sure work line on older systems. Also included is the 1080p Blu-ray with similar but less impressive specs. There are a few moments that really shine in 2160p, namely a scene where the League are talking to Gordon on a rooftop and its raining. You can see every rain drop on Batman's cowl despite the costume's darkness. Perhaps even demo disc worthy.


Also included is a digital copy of the film.


Special Features...


Road to Justice - Journey alongside DC comic creators as they explore over fifty years of the Justice League, from comic books to animated adventures to their cinematic debut.


Heart of Justice - Discover the heart, soul and mind of the Justice League, as the cast and filmmakers share their admiration for DC's iconic Trinity: Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.


Technology of the Justice League - From Batman's arsenal to Cyborg's alien tech, interface with the Justice League database to learn their most advanced secrets.


Justice League: The New Heroes - Join Ray Fisher on a personal tour to meet the newest members of the Justice League: Aquaman, the Flash and Cyborg.


The Return of Superman - Bonus scenes not seen in theaters.


Steppenwolf the Conqueror - Join actor Ciaran Hinds and the filmmakers as they reveal the story behind mankind's ancient enemy and the Justice League's greatest challenge.


Scene Studies: Revisiting the Amazons/Wonder Woman's Rescue/Heroes Park/The Tunnel Battle - Take a closer look at the filmmaking process behind Justice League's most visually exciting and action-packed sequences in these four subsections.


Suit Up: The Look of the League - Costume Designer Michael Wilkinson explores the innovation and artistry that goes into creating the costumes of DC's iconic heroes.


and two Deleted Scenes


Despite the severe lack of deleted scenes, this release isn't too bad and it's nice to finally have the film on disc to add to the collection. I'd recommend this film to anybody that yearns for escapism, especially in these crazy modern times.



MMA fighter Kurt Sloane finds himself kidnapped and forced to fight in an illegal underground death match against drug fueled and enhanced fighter, but in order to prepare for this ultimate fight he trained by the legendary Master Durand (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and prison fighter Briggs (Mike Tyson) in Kickboxer: Retaliation (2017).


Can Durand and Briggs teach him what he needs to survive?


Kurt Sloane is a champion prize fighter in the states, but he finds himself recruited to into the illegal world of underground fighting, to fight a 400-lb drug fueled and enhanced fighter, Mongkut because he has no other challengers. He is kidnapped and his wife is held at ransom to for him to fight. Locked in a prison controlled by the Moore (Christopher Lambert) the Kingpin he is given the choice of fight or die. He is then given time to be trained former legendary master Durand, a blind master fighter and the toughest man in prison, Briggs. As he trains, Durand and Briggs teaches him how it isn't always the strongest that win, and before the end he will have to use everything he learned if he wants to survive the fight.


This was like a mix of kickboxing fighting with a Jackie Chan movie, there was a lot of blood letting fights, but also also a lot of amusing training and fighting scenes. Most the movie was building up to the final fight and how the main character used what he learned to win.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image looks as good as this HD shoot can, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is very well recorded and offers fine accompaniment, it is not as impressive as the image. Ditto for the anamorphically enhanced DVD with lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, which cannot match the Blu-ray, but is OK. Extras include trailers.



Leatherface: Texas Chain Saw Massacre III (1990) is the (very belated, making it one sequel per decade since the original) third entry in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise and is definitely worth revisiting in this new Blu-ray edition from Warner Archive. While not as iconic as the first two Texas Chainsaw films but better than the much maligned fourth installment, Leatherface features R.A. Mihalioff as the iconic killer and a very young Viggo Mortensen, William Butler, Kate Hodge, and Dawn of the Dead's Ken Foree in a film by Jeff Burr (Stepfather 2). It's also worth noting that the film was written by author David J. Schow, who was a close friend of Psycho author Robert Bloch and who brings his own unique narrative to the film.


Two yuppy college kids (Hodge and Butler) end up on a backroad in Texas and soon become the prey of Leatherface and his demented new family of cannibalistic misfits. As they witness the horror and atrocities that the new Sawyer family has in store, they must gather their wits and attempt to get out alive before Leatherface's new chainsaw (with the clever inscription 'The Saw Is Family') ends their lives early.


Presented in 1080p high definition on the Blu-ray format with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (original aspect ratio - 1.85:1) and an English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless track, the film certainly looks better here than on previous standard definition DVD versions of the past. The image is much cleaner, with less grain and more detail on the characters. Originally shot on 35mm, the film hasn't aged too terribly.


Most of the extras are carted over from the DVD version, and in standard def, nonetheless and include:


Filmmaker Commentary


The Saw is Family: Making of Featurette


We Know What To Do With Them Parts: Deleted Scenes


Alternate Ending


Trailers



While it's a bummer that the unrated scenes are a bonus feature instead of back in to the film itself, this release is superior to previous ones in terms of presentation. While this certainly isn't the strongest entry in the franchise, it's still better than the past three latest attempts.



The indie Sci-Fi drama, The Man From Earth: Holocene (2017) is a follow-up to The Man From Earth (2007). The slow paced film has a theatrical feel similar to a play, mainly in part due to its abundance of dialogue. I haven't seen the first, but from what I can gather it's similar in tone to this.


Oddly enough, the filmmakers Director Richard Schenkman and Producer Emerson Bixby put the film out for free download on the internet upon its completion many months ago. Now out in a proper release, and packed with bonus materials, the heavy themed film is scientific and philosophical but nothing groundbreaking in terms of filmmaking.


John Oldman (Smith), now 14,000 years old and teaching in Northern California, realizes that not only is he finally starting to age, but four students have discovered his deepest secret. The students soon contact Art Jenkins, whose career fell apart after publishing a book about John's story, and from there things start to get a bit complicated.


The film stars David Lee Smith, William Katt, Vanessa Williams, Michael Dorn, Sterling Knight, Brittany Curran, Carlos Knight, Akemi Look, and John Billingsley.


The film is presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a 5.1 English surround mix. While the sound mix is fine, the image is a bit compressed looking coming from the digital source. Considering this is a low budget film, that could be part of the reason for the lackluster presentation.


Special Features include...


Commentaries


The Man From Earth: Legacy - 86 min documentary


From Script to Screen


Star Trek: Jerome Bixby's Sci-Fi Legacy


On the Set


The Story Of The Story


Original 2007 Trailer


The Man From Earth: Holocene Trailers (Teaser/Theatrical)


Contagion - A Micro-Short Film


Photo Gallery


Restoration Demo


For more on the original film try our coverage in this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/6195/Jerome+Bixby%E2%80%99s+Man+From+Earth+(A



And finally, the second U.S. Blu-ray release of Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977) in the second variant of a new 4K Restoration of the film. This one is by Synapse, though the other has hit other markets, including by Umbrella in Australia, which we reviewed here...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/15104/Better+Watch+Out+(2016/Well+Go+Blu-ray+w/DV


This makes it the fifth time and fifth version of the film we've covered since the site launched. Now we are happy with the sound, a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 4.0 lossless mix reflecting the original magnetic stereo surround the film was issued in, as well as a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix upgrade that is also not bad. I do have issues with the transfer, but before getting to that, the fine extras for this double Blu-ray set include...


Two audio commentaries by authors and Argento scholars, Derek Botelho, David Del Valle and Troy Howarth.


Do You Know Anything About Witches? - 30 minute SUSPIRIA visual essay written, edited and narrated by Michael Mackenzie.


Suzy in Nazi Germany - Featurette on the German locations from SUSPIRIA.


A Sigh from the Depths: 40 Years of SUSPIRIA - All-new anniversary retrospective on the making of the film and its influence on cinema.


Olga's Story - Interview with star Barbara Magnolfi.


Original theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots.


"International Classics" English "Breathing Letters" opening credit sequence from U.S. release.


Alternate All-English opening and closing credits sequences, playable via seamless branching.


and Reversible Cover Art created by Joel Robinson.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is credited as a ''color correction supervised and approved by Suspiria Director of Photography, Luciano Tovoli'' and 'exclusive;y for Synapse, but that is to to suggest the two different 4K masters are two contradictory scans. All markets releasing the 4K master on regular Blu-ray can claim exclusivity. However, something is a bit off here as even versus older Blu-rays of the film, it looks like someone at Synapse took a few liberties, leaving the intentionally vibrant dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor version from original European 35mm prints too toned down and even more subtle scenes a shade too dark. What gives?


Argento and Tovoli not on went all out for richer, more complex color, they used hard to expose (read lower light sensitivity) Eastman Color Kodak 35mm negative to further that end. Someone apparently did not like their vision and we get a flawed presentation, with the additional issue of it lacking the striking detail and depth the newer Umbrella Blu-ray has. We've seen this practical 'Technicolor phobia' before of late (the 4K scan of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly on regular Blu-ray from Kino in the U.S. is too sepia gold, also NOT reflecting how the film is supposed to look) so it is not just an issue with one classic film.


Thus, the Synapse edition may have solid sound and the great extras still make it worth it for fans, but the integrity of the image is compromised and I hope any 4K 2160p Ultra High definition Blu-ray version of the film in any market does not run into this problem. Those with older Blu-ray versions of the film should hold on to the for now.


Any comments on this are welcome.



To order the Warner Archive Leatherface Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo (Suspiria), Ricky Chiang (Kickboxer) and James Lockhart

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


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