and Cleopatra (1972)/Hussy (1980/both Twilight Time
Limited Edition Blu-rays)/None But The Brave/A Patch Of
Blue (MGM/both 1965 Warner Archive Blu-rays)/Swing Kids
(2018/Well Go Blu-ray)/The Upside (2018/Universal Blu-ray
w/DVD)/War and Peace (1967/Criterion Blu-ray Set)
B/B/B-/B/B-/B+ & C+/B Sound: B-/C+/B-/C+/B-/B+ & C+/B-
Extras: B-/C/C-/C/C-/A/B Films: B-/C+/B-/B/C/B+/B-
Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Twilight Time,
are limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies
last, while None
But The Brave
Patch Of Blue
are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series. All can be ordered from the links below.
a group of interesting, unusual and even very ambitious dramas you
should know about, including a few you may have missed and have not
been heard of enough...
Heston wanted to make a Shakespeare film so badly, he eventually
directed and financed Antony
(1972) himself and played Antony, landed Hildegard Neil as Cleopatra
and got a fine supporting cast including Eric Porter as Enobarbus,
Fernando Rey as Lepidus, Freddie Jones as Pompey, Warren Clarke as
Scarus, Douglas Wilmer as Agrippa and Julian Glover as Proculeius.
They alone make this more than formidable a cast for any Shakespeare
release and no matter when the film shows its shortcomings, it has
aged well thanks to the cast, how well it was shot, the costumes,
some production design and how consistent it is in delivering ^The
Bard as a living text. Full color British TV productions of his
material were soon on the way and they also hold up, despite being on
old videotape and that is also because of their casts and
technicians. The early success of PBS attests to that.
it is a long film at 146 minutes, making sure the original material
is not compromised or butchered, so that adds to authenticity, but
even if they had a big budget, that is still long. At its best, it
is convincing, has good energy and Heston never quits, so subtle
intensity is a plus as well. However, you need to be a Shakespeare
fan to really get into it and now, you can finally see it in a
quality copy worthy of its limited theatrical release. I'm happy
with that and adds to the legacy of the cast as well. I just wonder
if theater owners still unhappy with the 1963 Cleopatra
just did not want to handle any such subject matter again so soon.
include a 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 another excellent
feature length audio commentary track by Lee Pfeiffer and Paul
Scrabo, Making Of featurette with Fraser C. Heston, Isolated Music
Score and Original Theatrical Trailer.
(1980) is back, finally arriving on Blu-ray, even if it is a limited
edition, with an early lead role for Helen Mirren when she was
unknown, bold and practically dangerous in the roles she dared to
take on. We reviewed the U.S. DVD edition many years ago at this
course, Mirren is more respectable now, but she is still good here,
this still holds up and is not only more of a curio since Mirren
remains one of the biggest actresses in the world, but John Shea (who
should have been a bigger movie star at the time with good work like
this) became Lex Luthor on TV, so that is just another reason many
would want to see it. That it is good until the last reel or so also
helps and those who are curious should get this disc while supplies
include a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including
informative text and an essay by Mike Finnegan, while the disc adds
an Original Theatrical Trailer, though I wish there were more.
we reviewed before from a Sinatra box set, None
But The Brave
a decent war film with Sinatra directing as the film examines both
sides between the U.S. and Japan in this smart, thoughtful film that
works more often than not. Compares well with the current cycle of
War genre work. Especially after all the war porn and garbage film
and TV war programming, idiotic and mindless as it has been since the
DVD release of this film arrived, this is not a work that condescends
to the audience and is a welcome addition to the Blu-ray world.
Walker, Tommy Sands, future director Tony Bill and Rafer Johnson (an
Olympic star too forgotten) make up the decent supporting cast.
Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.
Patch of Blue
(1965) is also from a DVD box set, this time of the work of Sidney
Poitier, and was the best entry in that case as Poitier plays a man
who befriends a blind white girl and helps her escape the abusive and
poverty-stricken home life with a prostitute mother played
wonderfully by Shelley Winters. It's an emotional film with depth of
character and extremely strong performances across the board.
Elizabeth Hartman is the girlfriend and especially with the
resurgence of open hatemongering, this film is a relevant as ever.
Nice to see a film by mature grown adults for mature grown adults.
include an Original Theatrical Trailer, A
Cinderella Named Elizabeth
vintage featurette and feature length audio commentary track by
(2018) is NOT a remake of the Spielberg-produced musical of the same
title at Disney that later made it to the stage, but a tale of a POW
internment camp during the Korean War where the people running it
decide to allow a tap dancing event, but it gets odd when the film
sees tap as rebellion against the enemy (captors? Americans? Other
Koreans? In an undeclared war?) and it goes for too much comedy and
fronting that has nothing to do with the seriousness of the 'true
story' it is based on.
cannot simply tap their way out of imprisonment and it will not
change racism, the Cold War or anything much else, though the film
oddly suggests that in a way that is not honest. This is made all
the worse (SPOILER ALERT) when the film gets serious, bloody, violent
and brutal in its last reels and that shows the major flaws it had to
begin with. It cannot stick with what it presented itself as, does
this problematic about face, then has a conclusion that belongs
elsewhere. I don't know what the makers were thinking, but this is a
Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.
(Kevin Hart) is a recently paroled ex-con, Philip (Bryan Cranston) is
a quadriplegic billionaire that needs a 'life assistant' to help him
with daily needs. The two couldn't be from more different worlds,
but fate creates an unlikely bond when Dell accidentally walks in on
an interview that he didn't expect to get. Now, Dell has a second
chance to rebuild his life, while Philip who has all but given up on
life through Dell he begins to live life again in Neil Burger's The
is an ex-con who needs an job in order to be with his family and by
accident scores a job of a lifetime working for billionaire Philip
Lacasse quadriplegic who needs 24 hour live in care. Dell gets the
job by being a smart ass to Philip during the interview, but instead
of rejecting him Philip surprisingly accepts Dell because he was the
only interviewee who was able to make him laugh instead just of
sucking up to him. At first, Dell clashes with Philip's assistant
Yvonne (Nicole Kidman) who think Dell is a joke and he isn't good
enough ...but over time Dell improves and (eventually) wins her
respect. With Dell, Philip gets brutal honest opinions, ideas and
answers and Dell reminds Philip how he still can have joy in his
life. Philip in turn teaches Dell on how to focus his life, to find
a purpose in life and to live for more than just himself. Together,
they become what each of them both needed ...a friend.
was a heart warming movie about how two opposite people can learn to
get along and help each other out. How people can overcome social
gaps and status, find hope in life and that anyone can become
friends. Based on a true story, this is the second version of the
story, with the French movie 'The
(released as 'The
in the U.S. as it might be confused with the hit gangster movie and
franchise). Extras include deleted scenes, gag reel, Onscreen
Chemistry: Kevin and Bryan, Creating a Story of Possibility, Bridging
Divisions, Embracing Positivity, Presenting a Different Side of Kevin
Hart and trailers.
we have one of the longest films we've ever covered, Sergei
produced by the Soviet Union with no expense spared and remains not
only the most expensive film they ever made (or ever will make) but
also one of the most elaborate and expensive films of all time.
Though one-time actor Bondarchuk
miscast himself in a key role for which he was twice the character's
age (Pierre Bezukhov), a big mistake, he co-wrote and dug deeply into
the book to bring it to life with all of its nuance, isolation,
loneliness and darkness, so it is likely the best version of the book
that will ever be produced, the most authentic via being Russian made
and with every historical Russian resource it needed there and that
no future version will ever be able to match.
Savelyeva saves the film as Natasha Rostova, as convincing and even
more authentic than Audrey Hepburn in the 1956
VistaVision/Technicolor version Paramount made with King Vidor
directing and everyone involved seems to be determined to put the
very best work into the film they can and the result is usually
sweeping, impressive, authentic and realistic in ways that at the
time (pre-Kubrick's Barry
pushed the envelop of epic films being big and great only a few years
after Lean's Lawrence
set new standards for such productions. Lean's Doctor
(1965, which the USSR hated) got its digs at the oppressive country
and was a huge international hit, this production was on track to
respond with the best of Russia even if it was a Russia long gone.
hours at length, released in four parts over two years, it is
presented that way here and over two Blu-ray discs, so Criterion does
not compromise the viewing experience. I have seen footage of the
film before and more than I realized, but it never looked and sounded
this good. I admit you have to be in the mood for this and do not
even have had to have read the long, long book, but if you can get
the energy together and get in the mood, you'll be surprised how this
is up there with the best 70mm large frame format productions.
Because it is not preachy or compromised, it has aged well and
remains the definitive adaptation of the classic despite any flaws or
include a poster pullout with tech information and an essay by critic
Ella Taylor, while the discs add new interviews with cinematographer
Anatoly Petritsky and filmmaker Fedor Bondarchuk, son of Sergei
Bondarchuk, Two 1966 documentaries about the making of the film,
Television program from 1967 profiling actor Ludmila Savelyeva, and
featuring Sergei Bondarchuk, new program with historian Denise J.
Youngblood (Bondarchuk's "War and Peace": Literary Classic
to Soviet Cinematic Epic) detailing the cultural and historical
contexts for the film and a Janus rerelease trailer.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Antony
has some older optical printing and footage of model work from Ben
(Ultra Panavision 70/MGM Camera 65) and apparently a fox film (The
in original CinemaScope), but the film is one of the first to be shot
in the underrated anamorphic format Todd-AO 35. A competitor to
Panavision's lenses. The lenses were criticized for having some flair
issues, but I like their character and they landed up being used on
everything from big budget productions (Logan's
(1980)) to Shakespeare films (this one and Polanski's MacBeth)
and to low budget exploitation films (Grizzly,
films) and more to the benefit of all.
issued in 70mm blow-up prints, Director of Photography Rafael Pacheco
Of The Black Cat,
delivers a good-looking film that exceeds what you would expect with
its limited budget and the compositions are a plus.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Brave
looks better than its DVD version and like Antony,
was issued in 35mm dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor film prints, but Antony
only seems to have received this treatment in the U.K. and its looks
impressive on Blu=-ray, while Brave
looks like the same 35mm print was used as it was for the old DVD.
Its fine and has some good, consistent moments, but it also has some
color that is a little off and softness issues in places. Otherwise,
it is a solid Panavision presentation that outdoes its old DVD
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Hussy
is definitely an improvement over the soft DVD presentation which was
softer at the time than I would have liked. I didn't realize what I
was missing until I saw this Blu-ray transfer and the results are
that the actors have more impact and the places are more palpable,
even when the film goes astray in the end.
same can be said for the 1080p 2.35 X 1 black & white digital
High Definition image transfer on Patch,
which had a better DVD, but this Blu-ray version is particularly
impressive, also shot in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision. Only so
many films were shot this way, so they always impress.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Swing
is an HD shoot that is good, but has some softness issues, but the
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Upside
is more consistent an HD shoot and is cleaner throughout. Its
enhanced 1.85 X 1 DVD image version is much softer by comparison.
the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
was originally shot entirely on 65mm negative and distributed on 70mm
film. The restoration is entirely from 35mm reduction negatives
(several different copies) plus a 35mm positive, meaning a complete
70mm copy or any 70mm materials are either missing or lost forever.
With that said, you can tell this was a 70mm production as it looks
like a great reduction print. To some extent, it could be considered
a lost film, but this still impresses often.
entirely with 65mm Soviet-made cameras on Svema SovColor 65mm
negative film, no matter the many issues encountered, the only film
we can compare it to is the Cinerama
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) from 1965 in color and ambition.
for sound, it is the usual where the newer the production, the better
the sound, no matter how bad and weak most HD shoots are. Upside,
(Korean) and War
are here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes with Upside
the sonic winner by default despite being dialogue-based. Despite
being an at least partly backstage musical, Swing
does not have a consistent soundfield and some audio is not sounding
as good as others. War
was originally issued in 6-track magnetic stereo and this is a nice
restoration and upgrade, but it also shows its age with some limits
in soundfield and just the recording equipment of the time. The DVD
has lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 that is far less impressive.
also had 6-track magnetic stereo in its few 70mm blow-up prints, but
that soundmaster seems to be lost, missing or misplaced at this time,
so it has DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound like
all of which sound much better than their previous DVD Dolby Digital
Mono releases. You can imagine Antony was at least stereo to begin
with from how good it still sounds here down to the John Scott music
score and is fine for what it is, but maybe by the time a 4K version
is done years from now, that soundmaster will be recovered. At least
you get an isolated music track on it that sounds good.
limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at these
to order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, None
But The Brave
Patch Of Blue,
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases
Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Upside)