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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Science Fiction > Post Apocalyptic > Murder > Mystery > Nuclear Accident > Conspiracy > OzP{l > After Darkness (2018/Lionsgate DVD)/Bad Times At The El Royale (2018/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Chain Reaction (1980/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/DC Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moment

After Darkness (2018/Lionsgate DVD)/Bad Times At The El Royale (2018/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Chain Reaction (1980/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/DC Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments (2018/Hardcover/Chartwell Books)/Viking Destiny (2018/Lionsgate Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Chain Reaction Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, play on all Blu-ray players and can be ordered from the link below.

Here's a fun new coffee table book and wacky set of new genre film releases...

Sebastian Silva's After Darkness (2018) is a low budget post apocalyptic thriller starring Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things) and has an interesting concept even if the execution is at times dicey. In the film, the sun burns out and causes global darkness throughout the Earth. As this drastically changes life on the planet, it changes the mindsets of its inhabitants too, as a family struggles for survival.

The film also features Valorie Curry, Tim Daly, Kyra Sedgwick, and John Patrick Amedori.

Presented in standard definition on DVD with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, the film looks and sounds fine for the format. Compression issues evident (especially when comparing directly to HD), but the overall presentation doesn't have any noticeable issues outside of its limitations.

No extras.

After Darkness is a bit slow in parts and has an interesting concept, but ultimately feels like a one-timer.

One film that seems like it could have worked based on its cast and potentially interesting look is Drew Godard's Bad Times At The El Royale (2018) with Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, eventually Chris Hemsworth and a decent supporting cast. The film opens with crime as a man locks himself into one of the rooms at this gaudy motel, buries some treasure, then gets the surprise of his life... he is killed. Then we see various people, few that there are, show up at this stylized hotel that actually is between two states (California and Nevada) and get all kinds of strange ideas and dialogue to go with the artifice.

So what's there and who knows it? Turns out all kinds of odd things are happening there, but this is no Twilight Zone episode, so no fantasy elements exist, but it is yet another 'stuck in a' movie where the only time we see anything or anyone outside of the hotel is in flashbacks meant to help build the fleeting narrative (not always convincing) and the ending, if it really is an escape. Though some might think 'retro' seeing the poster art, we eventually discover this is all taking place in the late 1960s somehow and can fell like that at times, but the film does rebel in its artifice a bit, countered by a great selection of classic songs form the time that somehow do not help the film and are not placed in it very well to create any kind of suspense, tension or narrative synthesis.

The result is a 'stuck in a' film that wants to be fancier, maybe smarter, but never really works. Bridges can do no wrong and is great in every scene he's in, while the rest of the cast does give it there best to the point that some of the unknowns here might not be so for long. Thus, it is disappointing that so much talent and good ideas are here, yet never add up. Nice try.

If this new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray of the film from Fox proves anything, this is one of the best-looking films of 2018, though the 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image can have some softness, but it looks to be that way in shots due to styling and certainly not by shooting on film (real 35mm anamorphic Panavision!) as they did. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is not bad, but the loss of detail, color range and warmth is comparatively apparent.

Though a dialogue-driven film despite so much music and hit classics, the Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) lossless mix on the 4K version and decent DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on the regular Blu-ray are still sonically impressive and though maybe they could have done more with the sound design to help the film narrative (cheers to having the nerve to actually play vinyl that might be a tad worn or even warped), the sound is state-of-the-art enough.

Extras include Digital Copy, a teaser, trailer, stills gallery and Making Of featurette. Those curious should still see it, but go in with limited expectations.

Ozploitation favorite The Chain Reaction (1980) gets a new HD transfer and release courtesy of Umbrella releasing. Made around the same time as the original Mad Max, and it even got a little help from that film's director George Miller on set with some of the action sequences, which are pretty impressive to this day.

Chain Reaction stars Ross Thompson, Steve Bisley, Arna-Maria Winchester, Hugh Keays-Byrne, a cameo by a young Mel Gibson and Ralph Cotterill. The film is directed by Ian Barry (Robo Warriors).

Contaminated by a nuclear-plant spill, an Australian worker (Thompson) hides with Larry (Bisley) and Carmel (Winchester), who were hoping for a quiet vacation before the run-in. It doesn't take long for top secret Government officials to come for the contaminated man and a no-holds-barred chase begins.

The film is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a nice sounding track in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless in English. While it's not as impressive as Ultra HD, the film looks and sounds better than any previous release of the film. It has a low budget feel but thanks to its interesting locations, it looks pretty nice still even in HD,

Special Features include...

Extended NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD interviews with Steve Bisley, Arna-Marie Winchester, Director Ian Barry and Associate Producer Ross Matthews.






While it isn't quite as memorable as Mad Max, there's plenty of fun to be had watching The Chain Reaction that makes it recommendable.

Female super heroines are more popular than ever now and DC Comics has always been a great home to many. Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Mera, Black Canary, and countless others get the spotlight in this beautiful new full color book DC Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments (2018), which is now available from Chartwell Books.

Check out our previous review of another title in this new series, The Justice League: 100 Greatest Moments book, which is also a must have!


The book goes through the DC Comics library and picks out some of the characters' pivotal moments on the page and lays them out in detail for the reader. First appearances and monumental moments are broken down so that it's easy to get a complete grasp of the characters and maybe discover a few you aren't as familiar with either. The book isn't limited to just the full good hearted female characters either as Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy get a little bit of attention here too (thanks to the Gotham City Sirens inclusion)... hey, they have been known to be good from time to time!

The hardcover book is a total of 312 pages in length and examines in depth how these dozens of female characters (in alphabetical order by name) went from the damsel in distress in the 1930s to becoming strong and capable fighters that can hang with the 'big boys' of DC such as Batman and the Justice League. The artwork is clear, well-reproduced in the case of the comic book panels and pages and quite detailed and the book itself is a fast and fun read from cover to cover.

The book also highlights several lesser known characters or those haven't appeared in any movies or television heavily yet such as Bumblebee, Artemis, Phantom Lady, Power Girl, Doctor Light, and more. This is a nice companion for any DC Comics fan and will also help you track down key comic issues to help better understand the characters.

This great book is just the beginning too as a DC Comics Villains: 100 Greatest Moments book is coming out soon from Chartwell Books!

In the meantime, catch this one because it is very thorough and well done.

Finally, Viking Princess Helle (Anna Demetriou) is forced to flee her kingdom when she is framed for the murder of the King by her evil Uncle who wants the throne. But with the help of the Odin (Terrence Stamp) and Viking Warriors loyal to the throne, they build their own army to take back the Kingdom and for Helle to assume her rightful place on the throne in David L.G. Hughes' Viking Destiny (2018).

Helle is secretly the heir to the throne of the Viking kingdom, but because she was born a girl she was secretly switch at birth with her male cousin. Twenty years later, she discover the truth, but not before her 'Uncle' frames her for the murder of the King, her real father (and he also kills his own son to get the throne). Both sides are manipulated by the gods, Helle with Odin telling her to reclaim her throne and her Uncle by Loki, the God of Lies and Mischief (Murray McArthur) telling him to steal the Kingdom. Helle is forced to runaway, but then she is supported by Viking Loyalists which appose her Uncle's cruel rule. In the end they forced in a final battle in which Helle faces her Uncle in one epic battle.

This was an action filled story, with a warrior princess and romanticizing the Viking culture including, how they were glorified pirates/bullies and believed that might makes right and if you kill someone you are better that them and had the right rule and take whatever you want from them. The entire cast looked like if they were from a renaissance fair and any 'deaths' seem always to happen off screen (or someone was standing in front of the camera).

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix look and sound fine for a decent epic production like this, but never exceed in a way the shocks or impresses much, so it makes one wonder if a 4K/11.1 version would impress more. Extras include One True Heir: A Warrior's Destiny, Of Gods, Women & Men: The Cast, Strength From Within: Staging the Battles and trailers.

To order The Chain Reaction Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Royale), Ricky Chiang (Viking) and James Lockhart



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