Cleaning Lady (2018/RLJ
(1929/Universal/Flicker Alley Blu-ray w/DVD)/Rondo
C+/C+/B/B- & C+/C+ Sound: C+/C+/B/B- & C+/C+ Extras:
C-/D/B/B-/C- Films: C/C-/B/C+/C-
a wide sampling of genre films over the last 90 years to consider and
some to avoid...
start with David Clay Diaz's Agony
(2016) from Germany, with a tale of a woman being murdered and
dismembered. We are asked to figure out which of two young men did
it in what is touted as a 'character study' but instead is just a
very bad mystery film, plus its trivialization of the young lady is a
big problem in itself. So is it the punk-like guy who hates
authority or the more passive guy who seems to be integrated into
society a bit more?
93 minutes, you'll care less as this thing drones on and on with some
fancy shots and not much else. The makers are a little too easily
impressed with themselves and this is quickly forgotten, though I
wonder if they did a character study of how a gal lands up this way
if they would have had a good movie then.
are the only extras.
(2018) is even worse because everyone here is unlikable and not even
in a Noir-like way, but no one has any common sense, so when an
employer tells all her problems to the title character and said
'Lady' goes on a serial killer killing spree, are we supposed to be
shocked? Instead we get a Single
for morons and the thing is not even smart enough to be funny about
it. How about ''she doesn't do windows, but she throws people to
their death thorough them!'' or ''she'll clean up your life until
there are no lives left'' or the like. Nope. 90 minutes of boredom
and some blood.
are the only extra here too.
Van Cleef stars in the early spaghetti western The Grand Duel
(1972) which is a favorite of Quentin Tarantino as he even used a
song from the film's soundtrack in the first Kill Bill film.
This is sharp shooting fun that's relentless and at times very
entertaining with great stunt work and tight cinematography and
editing that still holds up to this day.
film also stars Alberto Dentice, Jess Hahn, and Horst Frank to name a
few. A mysterious gunfighter (Lee Van Cleef) protects a man accused
of killing an Arizona big shot at any costs unnecessary!
audio commentary by film critic, historian and theorist Stephen
Unconventional Western, a newly filmed interview with director
Last of the Great Westerns, a newly filmed interview with
screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
by Chance, an interview with the actor Alberto Dentice AKA Peter
of the Box, a newly filmed interview with producer Ettore Rosboch
Day of the Big Showdown, a newly filmed interview with assistant
director Harald Buggenig
City Showdown, a newly filmed video appreciation by the academic
Italian and international theatrical trailers
image gallery featuring stills, posters, lobby cards and home video
sleeves, drawn from the Mike Siegel Archive and other collections
sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new
writing on the film by Kevin Grant and original reviews.
(1929) was the famous director's last film for Universal Pictures, at
the end of its silent era, about a theater under attack from someone
threatening to kill people if they keep performing there and the dead
body then disappears. The theater closes for a while, then reopens
under uncomfortable circumstances. Might sound a bit like Phantom
Of The Opera
(1925, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and it uses the
same sets as the silent classic, but this is a straight forward,
outright mystery film based on a separate book.
like some of the shots in the film, the darkness and even some of the
editing, so it has its moments, but it is too haunted by Phantom
for its own good and that sometimes gets in the way. Laura La Plante
is the lead, a big star for Universal at the time and you can see
why, so she is a plus, then the rest of the cast is not bad and make
the film fun. Glad surviving prints were found so we could see the
film again, but expect a mixed film, ambitious as it can be.
include a reversible sleeve for the disc case, an excellent booklet
inside the discs case with plenty of tech info., essays (including
one by John Soister) and pictures that are something to see, while
the discs add John Soister's fine visual essay Paul Leni & The
Last Warning (about 10 minutes long), Rare Image Gallery with some
great stills and poster art and Notes On A New Score by Composer
Arthur Barrow, who made brand new music for the film.
and least is Drew Barnhardt's Rondo
(2018) throwing out anything bloody and violent it can think of and
expecting us to laugh to be shocked or take it seriously, but all we
really get is a mess about a house of hookers where customers get
killed and other goofy, unsustainable events occur. Why? How? I
never bought any of the situations, performances or anything
resembling logic as I hoped this might pick up, but I was just
say I did not care for the 'film' or its characters is an
understatement and only a few glimmers of professionalism stopped
this from being a total, absolute disaster and bomb, but it sure came
close to that. Also, seems too many involved here are too impressed
with that they've done here and they can forget it. I did.
are too much (no humor intended) including an audio commentary that
tries to explain this mess, Deleted Scenes that look as bad as
everything that is the final product, select music commentaries for
music that was bad and artwork/lobby cards set to music in a montage
that shows the promotion was as lame as the final cut.
for playback quality. Presented in 1080p high definition with a
widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and an uncompressed Mono 1.0 LPCM
audio, the presentation is pretty sharp. A 2K restoration from the
original camera negative, The
here features original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and
credits and newly translated English subtitles for the Italian
soundtrack. It is the best performer on the list.
the 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on The
Blu-ray can show the age of the materials used, but the transfer
looks good often and has its share of atmosphere and true darkness in
its great monochrome cinematography by Director of Photography Hal
Mohr, A.S.C., in keeping with the look the studio was delivering in
the genre at the time. They would only grow this look from here.
The PCM 2.0 Stereo version of the score on the blu-ray is fine, but I
was not big on it. The DVD version is just fine, but not as rich,
dark or detailed as the Blu-ray and the score is weaker on the DVD in
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.
leaves the rest of the DVDs, all new HD shoots that have about equal
playback quality, though the
anamorphically enhanced 2.00 X 1 image on Agony
fares best because it was shot much better than the other two films:
the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Cleaning
and the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Rondo
look like bad cable TV movies, alone and by comparison.
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Agony and lossy Dolby
Digital 5.1 mixes on Lady and Rondo are nothing
spectacular and even dull, all equal and flat at best, though Agony
at least has a few sonic moments where they are trying.
Nicholas Sheffo and James