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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Motion Capture > Action > Science Fiction > Thriller > Spy > Espionage > Cold War > Horror > Mon > Alita: Battle Angel (2019/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray 2D)/Enigma (1982*)/Gorilla Man (1943/Warner Archive DVD)/Lords Of Chaos (2019/w/DVD*)/Mortuary (2005/*all Blu-ray/MVD)

Alita: Battle Angel (2019/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray 2D)/Enigma (1982*)/Gorilla Man (1943/Warner Archive DVD)/Lords Of Chaos (2019/w/DVD*)/Mortuary (2005/*all Blu-ray/MVD)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A 3D Picture: B Picture: B+/B+/B-/B+ & B-/B Sound: A/B/B-/B+ & B-/B- Extras: B/C/D/C+/B Films: B+/C+/C/B/D

PLEASE NOTE: The Gorilla Man DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

The following genre films includes Fox's last big budget production on their own and some other wild excursions in narrative...

Director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, The Desperado Trilogy) and visionary director James Cameron (Avatar, Terminator, Aliens, Titanic) bring you a cutting edge adaptation of a popular Japanese manga of the same name, Alita: Battle Angel (2019). Presumably a franchise starter and surprisingly dark in some places, Alita is a sci-fi action romp that utilizes motion capture technology to new heights and is a pure popcorn munching spectacle from frame one. While it didn't break any major records in the box office this year, the film performed a bit better than expected (it made over $400 million worldwide) and has finally landed on disc in this excellent new triple combo pack that includes the 4K UHD disc, Blu-ray 3D, and regular 1080p Blu-ray editions of the film. There's also a wealth of extras as per usual for Robert Rodriguez productions.

The film stars Rosa Salazar (Bird Box) as Alita and Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Jennifer Connelly (Labyrinth), Mahershala Ali (who was excellent in Green Book and was just casted as Blade in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), and Keenan Johnson. The film is produced by Jon Landau, whose Cameron's right hand man and one of the biggest names in the business.

Set hundreds of year in the future, the world is divided between the rich and the poor after The Fall, a catastrophic event that reshaped mankind in this world where we co-exist with robots and robotically enhanced people in a place called Iron City. A scientist (Waltz) discovers the discarded upper body of Alita (Salazar) in a junkyard and rebuilds her, only to find out that she is 300 years old and quite a unique specimen... a kind hearted fighter/warrior who is a lethal and advanced fighting machine. As Alita struggles to remember her past, she also falls in love with a teenage boy and ends up becoming a champion in the game of motor ball, an extreme futuristic sport. However, when Alita dips into the bounty hunting underworld in an effort to protect a loved one, she soon finds that she has many enemies including one who knows of her troubled past.

There are many films that Alita is reminiscent of including Rollerball (for the Motorball sequence, especially in the far superior 1975 original film), Spielberg's A.I., Cameron's own Terminator film, and The Matrix Trilogy, but it still manages to create its own unique world with its own unique characteristics. I must admit that this is some of the best visual effects work I've seen this year, even besting some of Hollywood's bigger budgeted features. It helps when the filmmakers know how to use the technology to its full potential unlike others who are more after the eyecandy. I'm sure there will always be a new detail to catch in this film, even after repeat viewings.

I saw this film in IMAX and Dolby Vision when it was released in theaters and while it's certainly not as big as it was then, the home video presentation has translated very well. Presented in 2160p HEVC/H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR (10+; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on 4K Ultra HD disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39 X 1 and a 1080p Blu-ray version of the film with the same widescreen and audio specs as well.

The 3D Blu-ray in 1080p MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image can look good and work, even covering up limits in the 2D presentations, but it does not always work well all the way despite James Cameron being such a huge 3D fan. Otherwise, its not bad and the most promoted 3D title in the U.S. in a long time. The format has had more success overseas.

Audio mixes are the disc are spot on as well with tracks in English Dolby Atmos 11.1, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless, and English Descriptive Audio 5.1. Foreign language tracks are also on the disc in lossy Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 and French DTS 5.1 respectively. For a film like this with such detailed sound work, you'll definitely want to see it with a proper home surround system to get maximum enjoyment. From the violent fight scenes to the riveting score, this disc could likely be demo worthy for the right person with a nice 4K setup.

Special Features include (per the press release):

Alita's World - get a deeper look into the world of Alita: Battle Angel with these dynamic motion comics.

The Fall - a look back at the terrible war that almost destroyed two planets and set the stage for the cyborg warrior Alita's return 300 years later.

Iron City - Hugo gives a guided tour of the Iron City he knows, showing off its dark corners and broken-down neighborhoods.

What it Means to be a Cyborg - hunter-warrior Zapan tracks his mark across Iron City while musing about what it means to be a cyborg.

Rules of the Game - A high-octane "crash course" in Motorball, introducing the rules, game-play, and the top-ranked players and their arsenal of weapons.

From Manga to Screen - a behind-the-scenes look into the origins of Yukito Kishiro's beloved manga, "Gunnm," and the long road to bring it to life on the big screen.

Evolution of Alita - how Alita was brought to life, from the casting of Rosa Salazar, to performance capture, and final VFX by WETA Digital.

Motorball - go inside Iron City's favorite pastime, from the origins and evolution of the sport, to rules on how the game is played.

James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez and cast Q&A moderated by Jon Landau.

Robert Rodriguez's 10 Minute Cooking School: Chocolate - a cooking lesson on how to make delicious chocolate like that seen in the movie.

2005 Art Compilation (2019) - James Cameron's original compilation of concept art for the then-titled "Battle Angel: Alita," presented with new voiceover and music.

Scene Deconstruction - view three different stages of the production - the original live-action performance capture, the animation stage, and the final Weta VFX from four different scenes

I Don't Even Know My Own Name

Just an Insignificant Girl

I'm a Warrior Aren't I?

and Kansas Bar

There's also an exclusive (limited) Best Buy Steelbook and a Target exclusive for collectors.

Alita: Battle Angel is a huge accomplishment for Robert Rodriguez, a director who started out as indie as it gets, and worked his way up. On par with other recent James Cameron productions in terms of its production value, this long in development film is one of the more underrated genre pictures of the year and certainly one worth checking out. It won't just appeal to genre fans either, as there is plenty of eye candy and an interesting world that just about anyone can enjoy.

A political thriller that reminded me a little of Coppola's The Conversation, Enigma (1982) has an all star cast in Martin Sheen, Sam Neill, and Bridgette Fossey and centers around Alex Holbeck (Sheen) is a double agent that tries to stop five pending murders from occurring by locating a Russian coded micro-processor that holds the key to the case. Along the way, he confronts his former mistress Karen Reinhardt (Fossey), who becomes torn between her love for Alex and Dimitri Vasilikov (Neill), a Russian KGB officer, amidst the chaos.

Enigma is presented on 1080p high definition Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and an audio mix in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that's pretty standard. The film is shot well and has strong production value that's true to the subject. MVD has done a nice job in restoring it here with what they had to work with.

The only Special Features are an Theatrical Trailer and a Photo Gallery.

One look at the cover of The Gorilla Man (1943) and you expect it to be a creature feature. With a title like that, a young woman looking quite spooked, and a monster-type hand reaching towards her. Unfortunately, the movie is far from that and isn't anything too special outside of nostalgia.

The film stars John Loder, Ruth Ford, Marian Hall, Richard Fraser, and Paul Cavanagh. It's directed by D. Ross Lederman. The Gorilla Man centers around Nazi spies that pose as doctors to frame a shellshocked British commando (John Loder) for murder. Of course things don't go as planned when he becomes known as The Gorilla Man, for his exceptional climbing abilities.

The black and white film is presented standard definition DVD with a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio and a 2.0 English stereo track. For being an older film, it has been restored very nicely and would benefit from an upgrade on a higher format.

No extras, but at least the film is now in print.

If you're a fan of Norwegian black metal and/or hardcore metal music, then the story of the bands MAYHEM and Euronymous shouldn't be too new to you. Lords of Chaos (2019) is very well done with some strong performances (including rising star Rory Culkin in the lead), but there are a few things that it gets wrong and that differ from the book from which the film (and real life story) is based. For one, the accents of the characters are all wrong and sound too American for their own good, and two some events have been altered that may differ some hardcore fans of the material. Though hateful and dark in spirit and ultimately pretty depressing, Lords of Chaos paints a unique picture of a band of misfit musicians that struggle to stand out in Oslo in the late 1980s, and make their mark whilst misbehaving badly simultaneously.

Seventeen-year-old Euronymous (Culkin) is determined to escape his idyllic Scandinavian hometown of Oslo in the late 1980s and create a new sensation in "true Norwegian black metal" with his indie band, MAYHEM. He's joined by equally fanatical youths - Dead (Jack Kilmer) and Varg (Emory Cohen). Believing that they're on the brink of a musical revolution, the group gets even darker, driven by the black metal dogma to spread evil. Soon, they start burning churches, doing drugs, and being as bad as they can possibly be whilst having a music store as a front. It doesn't take long for karma to catch up with them though, and soon the band goes through many changes - both good and bad.

The film is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossy English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix. The look of the film is dark and gritty and there seem to be several mixed formats at play here. The hectic editing complements the hardcore music at the time and creates a sense of discomfort in many scenes that aim for that effect. The unrated and rated versions are both presented here in this combo pack. No digital though.

Special Features include:

Director's Teasers:


Dead This is Gonna End Bad



Dirty Harry


Hold Door

The Bass

Time to Leave

Dark Throne

and a Theatrical Trailer

Finally. if you want to witness a beloved filmmaker on complete auto pilot then Tobe Hooper's joyless film Mortuary (2005) will be a good lesson in pain. The story is a kind of folk horror that's about a family that moves to a small town in California and work at a funeral business. They discover a local legend about the Fowler Boy, whose deformed, and has supernatural abilities. Of course it doesn't take long for the hapless victims to come across him... and all hell breaks loose.

Mortuary stars Dan Byrd, Denise Crosby, Rocky Marquette, Stephanie Patton, Price Carson, and Greg Travis.

The Blu-ray presentation isn't terrible but pretty standard with a 1080p picture and a widescreen aspect of 1.78:1 and audio mixes in lossy English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo. The film isn't shot terribly, and is cleaner looking than most indie horror flicks.

Special Features include:

Audio Commentary with Director Tobe Hooper

Inside the Graveyard

Behind the Scenes Featurette with Tobe Hooper

and an Original Trailer

Mortuary was critically panned and for good reason, however, if you're a hardcore Tobe Hooper fan you might want to check it out. Presentation and extras wise this release is fine.

To order The Gorilla Man Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- James Lockhart



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