(2019/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Mad
Adventures Of ''Rabbi'' Jacob
(1973/Film Movement Blu-ray)/MIB:
Blu-ray w/DVD)/One Night
The Dark Avenger
(2018/*both PAL Import DVDs/**all Umbrella Ent.)
B & C/B-/B & C/C/B-/C+ Sound: B & C+/B-/B &
C+/C/B-/C+ Extras: C/C/C/C-/D/D Films: C/C/C/C+/B-/C
DVDs and The
Blu-ray imports are now only available from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment in Australia, the Blu-ray is region free, while the
DVDs will only play on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K players that can handle
the PAL DVD format and can be ordered from the link below.
I am asked what a commercial film is, which usually means a film
meant to make a big amount of money, usually one that costs a nice
chunk of change, but you can have other kinds of hits too, so I
decided to group these new releases together...
start with Tate Taylor's Ma
(2019), a rare upscale slasher film with Octavia Spencer reuniting
with her The
director for this intended-to-be horror thriller playing Sue Ann, a
woman mostly alone who lets herself be taken advantage of when a
group of teenagers want her to get contraband for a party they are
having. She says no at first, then quickly relents, establishing
trust, but she has ulterior motives and things are about to get
idea is good and Spencer is sure up to the job of the acting, joined
by Allison Janney in a role that should have been more, Juliette
Lewis and Luke Evans, but the script has problems early on and if you
can somehow buy it, than one would have to admit that these are the
dumbest teenagers in recent slasher horror cinema, so much so that
this unintentionally plays like a spoof of the genre the many times
it gets it wrong. It never recovers, especially from an early
over-the-top scene that would have ended this movie sooner and
different. Too bad, because the set up was ideal for the genre, but
they just do not deliver.
(per the press release) include a NEW Alternate Ending that did not
make any difference to this writer/critic, Creating
- Take a deeper look at the character of Sue Ann, and how trauma from
people's past can manifest itself later in life, Party
- The cast, crew, and filmmakers discuss how all the elements came
together to make this unique thriller, Deleted Scenes and a
Mad Adventures Of ''Rabbi'' Jacob
(1973) is a questionable comedy that became a hit in France as their
comedies got sillier in the post-Tati era, this one replacing old
stereotypes with new ones (including a few parts that are racist for
any era) as we meet the real Rabbi of the title leaving New York City
for Paris, where a factory-owning bigot (Louis de Funes) gets
involved with a Arab opposition man (Claude Giraud) who has been
targeted for assassination.
film tries to make the bigot funny and cute, with de Funes doing all
kinds of non-verbal comedy and it never pans out, but this was
considered funny, if not a satire of bigotry as you would find in the
U.K. (Warren Mitchell's Alf Garnett) or the U.S. (Carroll O'Connor's
Archie Bunker, based on Mitchell's Garnett with elements of the
non-racist Archie of Duffy's
A blackface joke early on gives you an idea of the film's
there are a few funny moments, with the twist in that the bigot here
is mistaken for the actual Rabbi and spends the rest of the movie
using that to avoid his murder, murder of his new Arab friend and his
family, as his daughter is about to get married!
curio with some historic value, don't expect much and be almost
stunned and shocked at some of its insensitivity as it thinks it is
making a statement about unity.
an illustrated booklet on the film including informative text an
essay by Phoebe Maltz Bovy and the disc adds an interview with writer
Daniele Thompson about the film's release.
Gary Gray's MIB:
the fourth Men
film overall and a spinoff of a trilogy that everyone thought wrapped
up that franchise. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are gone (almost
killing the point of making this film) but the re-pairing of Marvel
Comics co-stars Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth should have
worked, but the poor script and some very poor directing makes this
one of the strangest disappointments of late... for those who even
thought this should have been made.
has a childhood experience that exposes the MIB people to her very
early, while he is already an agent (we bounce back and forth in a
timeline, though this is not time travel film) and they land up
working together later (the present) against a new creature invasion
through the time/space continuum (translation, boring digital
monsters that are tired, destroy everything and will kill us all, but
we never believe it) so you can imagine how the 115 minutes here goes
on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.
least some money is on the screen and the likes of Emma Thompson and
Liam Neeson are always a plus on the big screen, but the script is
for fans only and Director Gray just cannot handle commercial films
well. This needed the Gray of The
remake or even Set
and it got the Gray of lesser music videos (he's made a few good
ones, though) and the nadir of his career, Be
True, he was coming off of hits that are also extreme fluff like Law
Of The Furious,
but a film like this requires much more and he could not overcome the
problems here. He's just a so-so journeyman. If they do another MIB
film, they need a new director and some new writers. Otherwise, they
should quit while they are ahead.
are many in any event and (per the press release) include 4K
exclusive Deleted Scenes, ''Alien-cestry.com'':
Everyone has a little alien in them! Trace your roots with
Alien-cestry.com, and ''Neuralyzer:
Like It Never Even Happened'':
As NOT seen on Alien TV, order now to get your very own Neuralyzer
and erase life's embarrassing moments like a pro, PLUS a Gag
Reel: Even top MIB agents forget their lines. See their
bloopers in this unforgettable gag reel, ''New
Recruits, Classic Suits'':
Anchored by the delightful chemistry between Tessa Thompson and Chris
Hemsworth and supported by icons like Emma Thompson & Liam
Neeson, the cast of MIB International is truly out of this world!,
Do This! Inside the Action & Stunts'':
MIB International is packed with action and stunts, go behind the
scenes with the team to see how they pulled it off, ''Look
Right Here: Gadgets, Weapons, & Rides'':
From the iconic Neuralyzer to a tricked out Jag, check out the
amazing arsenal of gadgets, weapons and vehicles, ''Expanding
the Universe of MIB'':
MIB ups the ante with international locations, aliens and more as the
universe expands, ''Frank
& Pawny's Peanut Gallery'':
Everyone's favorite pug and pawn join together to watch a few key
scenes and share their thoughts, ''Les
Twins Leave It on the Floor'':
Dance sensations Les Twins show off their signature style and how
they devised their alien moves, ''In
Case You've Been Neuralyzed: MIB Recap'':
Join Frank the Pug for this rapid-fire recap of the MIB franchise and
MIB Meet the NBA'':
With talent like this, these NBA stars must be super-human.
(1984) is meant to be a hit film, even if it is not an expensive one,
plus add it qualifies as an Oz-Ploitation film at the ned of the run
of such releases and it shows that a B-movie can still be ambitious.
Four friends forming two couples (Cassandra Delaney, Tyler Coppin,
Saskia Post and Jay Hackett) attend a concert by the great band
Midnight Oil (with good performance footage of them live, if not long
enough), but U.S. warship shave been arriving in Sydney and it looks
like the Cold War will heat up into a nuclear battle between the U.S.
and U.S.S.R. And this is one of the main places it will break out.
film belongs in a cycle of films at the time with such fears (this
extended to TV shows and even music videos like ''Russians''
by Sting) and the four are alone at the Sydney Opera House (the
security apparently had tother things to do) leaving them facing
their mortality, watching movies and wondering if it is the end.
There is no deep statements being made or brilliant statements made,
but it has a few good moments.
the makers where allowed to use rough footage from Fritz Lang's
Metropolis (1926, but rough older footage, see more in the tech
review below) and it really dates the film. Queen used such footage
in a few of their music video (Freddie Mercury actually recorded the
for the much-debated New Wave/Rock soundtrack for his 70mm re-release
of the film in 1984, actually now on Blu-ray) and it just does not
should have spent the time on more ideas and character development,
especially since the actors are interesting. Instead, we get a time
capsule at best. See it if you are curious.
only extra is a trailer after the film.
a mixed-but-underrated film by a music video director with more
classics under his belt. Bad, dated digital effects, a few missteps
and jingoism hold it back and age it, but between the production
design, attitude, action, humor and sheen, it has turned out to be an
important film in the superhero genre, inspiring several dozen
dialogue & plot points in Batman
trying to be original enough, revive the spirit of the original pulp
novels and radio series and all a few years before Blade
finally proved a Marvel Comics movie could work and be a hit after
decades of embarrassing failures.
new back story is that ultra-rich Lamont Cranston (Alec Baldwin at
his classic Hollywood best) has run off to Tibet and become a killer
dictator with a kingdom, but he is kidnapped one night by someone who
knows who he really is and punished for his crimes while being taught
a new way. Back in New York City of the 1930s, he has become the
title hero, fighting gangsters and other nemesis, but soon face a
visitor in Shiwan Khan (John Lone of Year
Of The Dragon
a classic nemesis from the print version) and the new threat is on.
design, costumes, sets, use of color and Director of Photography
Stephen H. Burum, A.S.C., delivering still-impressive cinematography
makes the film very watchable, while co-stars Peter Boyle, Penelope
Ann Miller, Tim Curry, Jonathan Winters and a pre-X-Men
Ian McKellan are better here than they got credit for at the time.
The fact that the script lets it become a sort of Raiders
Of The Lost Ark
by the end does not help, but this was one of the classiest superhero
movies up to that time and still holds up for the most part on that
Goldsmith's music score is one of his last best works and in
retrospect already 25 years later, one of the most important
transitional works in superhero genre history. The character had a
serial in 1940 from Columbia Pictures with Victor Jory, but it was
very repetitive, a TV pilot was a bust and Universal created some
short theatrical films, but this is probably the most well realized
version of the character to date, flaws and all. It was also issued
at the time the Billy Zane The
arrived and found an audience, but not enough of one to inspire a
is worth revisiting.
are no extras, though a recent U.S. Blu-ray has some and an expanded
version of the soundtrack was issued on CD relatively recently,
expanded with bonus and previously unheard tracks.
we have Agus Hermansyah's Valentine:
The Dark Avenger
(2018) which is a very rare release, a superhero film on a low budget
from a small, unknown set of producers and comic book company I never
heard of. This one comes from Indonesia and the pretense is a movie
producer is trying to hire an actress for his project, but expects
her to be a masker vigilante/superhero. I never bought it, the film
looks like everything we've seen in the genre (from the big films to
some of its spoofs, or somewhere in between like Kick
and adds nothing new to the near-genre glut save where it is shot.
much so, it looks like it was made in the 1990s around the time of
before the genre was renewed by that film and Blade.
Set up with an obvious sequel or series in mind, it is a curio, but
sadly does not add up to much else.
are no extras.
for playback performance. We'll note in advance that Ma
have also been issued on 4K Ultra HD disc and we hope to see them at
some point, but you are probably better off getting them in 4K if you
have a system that can play that format back. With that said, the
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Ma
is an HD shoot that has a few more soft points than I expected, but
is good enough, though the anamorphically
enhanced DVD is definitely softer and not as easy to watch. Color is
not bad on the Blu-ray, though.
1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image on Rabbi
has more soft shots than expected, but the color is actually really
good and as good as anything here, oddly, including the location
shooting. Shot on Eastman Kodak 35mm negative, I like the
compositions in this now lesser-used aspect ratio.
1080p 2.00 X 1 digital High Definition image on MIB
obviously is loaded with visual effects and plenty of money is on the
screen, but the HD shoot still has some soft shots and some CGI
animation is not as good as other such moments. That aspect ratio is
still new, though it was the original one for SuperScope back in the
1950s by coincidence, so now its back. The anamorphically enhanced
DVD is softer and just watchable enough, but not great.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on The
can show the age of the HD master and the film, so some of the matte
work and visual effects look great, but some are sloppy, misaligned
and this is one of the very first films to use Cgi digital effects in
a practical way, so the image can look degraded before some of them
kick in. Color is still good and some shots have not looked this
good since I saw it on 35mm film, for which it was so well shot in.
This will do until a 4K remaster turns up.
1.33 X 1 color image on Stand
is from an old PAL video master of the original 35mm shoot, so it has
a disclaimer about the flaws and those analog videotape flaws
including video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, PAL cross
color, faded color, aliasing errors and tape damage. Otherwise, the
original shots look great, the footage from Lang's Metropolis
is very dated (before the two restorations took place) and concert
footage of Midnight Oil not bad. Hope they recover the 35mm elements
on this one.
leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Avenger looking
fine for a new HD shot, but nothing special is here and some of
digital effects look poor. Color is not bad, though and the lossy
Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is consistent enough if not memorable.
four Blu-rays offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless mixes, with
offering 2.0 Mono that sounds pretty good for its age, while Ma,
have 5.1 mixes, with Ma
just barely holding its soundfield, MIB
obviously a mixdown from a 12-track master and The
maybe down a generation, it was an early demo for DTS at the time.
You can still hear how good Jerry Goldsmith's score is, but maybe it
will get a 12-track upgrade when they make a 4K disc of it.
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Stand
is a generation down, so it barely has its Pro Logic surrounds, so be
careful of volume switching and loud playback levels.
order either of the
Umbrella import One
DVDs and/or The
Blu-ray, go to this link for them and other hard to find releases: