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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Biography > Biopic > Art > Germany > Oppression > Russia > WWII > Nazis > Holocaust > Backstage Musica > Egon Schiele: Death and the Maiden (*)/Khrystalyov, My Car! (1998/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/Morituri (1965/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/A Star Is Born: Encore (2018/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Un Tra

Egon Schiele: Death and the Maiden (*)/Khrystalyov, My Car! (1998/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/Morituri (1965/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/A Star Is Born: Encore (2018/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Un Traductor (*both 2018/Film Movement DVD)

Picture: C+/B+/B/B & C+/C+ Sound: C+/B+/C+/B+ & C+/C+ Extras: C-/B/C+/C-/C- Films: C+/B/B-/B-/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Morituri Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, us limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last at the links below.

Here's our latest set of dramas, including two we revisit yet again....

We start with Dieter Berner's Egon Schiele: Death and the Maiden (2018) which is not about the song or great mystery play Roman Polanski made into an underrated feature film, but about the real life artist of the title (Noah Saavedra) who made very sexy, erotic works at a time this was very taboo, but he is selling some of them and things are well, but WWI is ahead along with other troubles. This is a biopic to some extent and a decent capturing of the time and era, but despite a decent cast, does not make the best of its 100 minutes and falls into some predictability.

It has some good moments and tells us some of a story that we need and deserve to know (it seems mostly accurate), but I would have liked more character study, more revelations if possible and that means a few missed opportunities. Still, those interested should give it a good look.

Some trailers from the label and short film Nothing Happens are the only extras.

Aleksey German's (Hard to be a God) intense yet satirical take on Stalin's Russia, Khrystalyov, My Car! (1998), gets a very nice new release from Arrow Academy with not only a nice presentation, but very nice packaging to accompany. Shot with a sense of documentary realism, his surreal world paints a portrait of a literal hell on earth that some consider very disturbing. However, not without its lighter moments, there's no doubt that this is a fan for history buffs to check out interested in Stalin and Russia in particular.

The film centers around General Klenski, who is arrested in 1953 after being accused of being a participant in a plot during an anti-Semitic political campaign. The film stars Yuriy Tsurilo, Nina Ruslanova, Mikhail Dementyev, Aleksandr Bashirov, and Natalya Lvova.

The special features on the disc are vast and include...

Audio commentary by producer Daniel Bird

Between Realism and Nightmare, a new video essay on Khrustalyov, My Car! and the films of Aleksei German by historian and film critic Eugenie Zvonkine

Diagnosis Murder: Jonathan Brent on The Doctors' Plot, the academic talks about Stalin's anti-Semitic campaign which provides the backdrop for Khrustalyov, My Car!

Aleksei German, the veteran film historian and critic Ron Holloway interviews the Russian director

German... At Last, an interview with Aleksei German by producer Guy Seligmann

Re-release trailer

And included in this special edition release...

a double-sided fold-out poster

and a Limited Edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing by Gianna D'Emilio, an archival essay by Joel Chaperon and original reviews.

Bernhard Wicki's Morituri (1965) has finally arrived on Blu-ray, pretty late for any Marlon Brando film, but here it is, but it is a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray via Fox so fans should consider ordering ASAP. We've covered the film before, starting with our review of the film in DVD from years ago...


and then there is our coverage of the limited edition CD soundtrack from even earlier....


Now, you can get the film with a far better transfer that allows you to enjoy the cinematography, actors and performances much more easily, plus a few more extras, including the music on its own if you missed that CD. More on the tech playback below, but the film gets neglected like too many black and white films and it really looks fine here, plays well enough and more people should see it. Yul Brynner, Janet Margolin and Wally Cox also star, so the supporting cast is interesting and will hopefully give you another reason to catch it.

Extras include another nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the disc adds an Isolated Music Score and Original Theatrical Trailer.

Bradley Cooper's remake of A Star Is Born (2018) is still being talked about and some points even debated, so Warner Bros. has decided to issue an extended version with some more dramatic and musical scenes dubbed A Star Is Born: Encore that will give fans a fresh look at the film. You get both versions here. Here's my coverage of the 4K edition and the whole film...


This time we only get a Blu-ray/DVD set and that's fine for more people to be able to see it, but it does not change the film that much and some might think it throws it off. I did not mind it, but 12 more minutes means its a little more leisurely and that's fine. Bad films the studios try to save usually get this treatment in a lame attempt to salvage bombs, so this is rare for a film that is actually good like this. Fans will enjoy it, but I don't know how many outside of them will feel the need for a longer version. Gaga can do no wrong.

Digital Copy is the only extra.

Finally, Rodrigo & Sebastian Barriuso's Un Traductor (2018) is another dramatic biopic, this time about a Russian literature professor (Rodrigo Santoro) who has to translate for Soviet children brought to Cuba in the face of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Three years after the accident, the Berlin Wall falls, as does The Soviet Union, East Germany, the Warsaw Pact and world communism, meaning he, his family and these nuclear victims enter a whole new era of suffering.

This is intriguing, but the one thing the film does not make clear is if he was called in immediately (1986) when the disaster took place) or as the Wall (1989) was about to fall. This lack of clarity hurts this film, which is about (SPOLIER) the father of the co-directors, so one can get lost in what is really happening, as true as the events are and surely this happened to at least thousands of people as the big Soviet fall affected millions. Otherwise, this is not bad and those interested should see.

Some trailers from the label and short film For Dorian are the only extras.

Now for playback quality. Khrustalyov, My Car! is presented here for the first time in 1080p high definition with a 2K restoration from the original camera negative, done exclusively by Arrow Films. Aside from the crystal clear black and white image with a 1.37:1 full frame aspect ratio, the audio mix is an original uncompressed 2.0 Stereo Russian mix with newly translated English subtitles. The film is beautifully shot with nice levels of contrast and detail in the image.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image on Morituri makes the old DVD we covered look old and dated, though it was not bad for its time. Director of Photography Conrad Hall, A.S.C., became known for shooting darkly and it shows here. I doubt few could pull off some of what he pulls off here. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound mix outdoes the lossy old Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the DVD, but it also shows its age, so only expect so much dynamic range. The isolated music score is also in lossless DTS_MA and does outdo the fine old CD edition, but not wildly so.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers of Star Is Born look as good as the previous regular Blu-ray from the 4K set, looking fine for the format, but not as good as the 4K theatrical cut. Both Blu-rays have the same fine Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) as the 4K edition has before. In comparison, the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the DVD with its lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix just seems miles away from the 4K edition and softer than the Blu-ray editions.

Both Film Movement DVDs are here in anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image that look about as good as they can in the format and both offer both lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mixes with German and Spanish & Russian languages respective that have subtitles available. Both are passible for the format, but would benefit from at least regular Blu-ray upgrades. They look good otherwise.

To order the Morituri limited edition Blu-ray, get it while supplies last at these links:




- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Car!)



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