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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Drama > Battle > Comedy > Mystery > Creatures > Holiday > Urban > Crime > Detec > Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season (2019/Blu-ray*/**)/Gremlins 4K (1984/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray*)/Shaft (2019/Blu-ray w/DVD*)/Supergirl: The Complete Fourth Season (2018 - 2019/Blu-ray/*all

Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season (2019/Blu-ray*/**)/Gremlins 4K (1984/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray*)/Shaft (2019/Blu-ray w/DVD*)/Supergirl: The Complete Fourth Season (2018 - 2019/Blu-ray/*all Warner/**both DC Comics)/The Tracker (2019/Lionsgate Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B Picture: B/B-/B & C+/B/B- Sound: B/B & B-/B & B-/B/B- Extras: C/C+/C+/C+/C- Main Programs: C+/Tracker: C-

Up next are a set of franchises that have been around for a while, two with new starts and one that wants to be a new start, but falls short...

We start with Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season (2019) finally bringing to life the team that came out of the second great era of DC Comics that began in the early 1960s (they first appeared in 1963 and some have accused Marvel Comics of using them as a model for The X-Men) and continued to surface in variant groupings since. 56 years later, they finally get a TV series, a live action incarnation that brings us the underrated Brendan Frazier back to the screen, here as Robotman, Matt Bomer (who almost played a big screen Superman at one point) as Negative Man, Diane Guerrero as Crazy Jane, April Bowlby as Elasti-Woman and Timothy Dalton (longtime, great Shakespearian actor and two-time James Bond) as The Chief, who brings them together.

The Greg Berlanti wave of DC Comics TV shows are as well-defined as any other major era of DC anywhere and to his credit, he knows this original group of shows he has successfully launched and made hits has peaked in its current form, so this series is a bit more comical and self-deconstructive than many of the other shows, but they have been as important as the feature films and animated productions in bringing the DC characters to life in ways that work for a mass audience and sometimes offer more.

I have not been as big a fan of the shows overall, yet they are well done and consistent enough to understand why they are hits and succeed, so though I think this show is too humorous and a little too derivative of things we've seen before, I like the idea he is digging into characters that are overdue to get their due and the talent he has attracted obviously agrees.

We get 15 episodes altogether and they are off to a good-enough start. I'd like to see the show get darker, take some risks and dig into the comic catalog of their appearances to make it a richer show. If they can somehow sign more talent that is as good as what they have brought together here, this could develop into something amazing no one is expecting. We'll see.

Extras include Digital Copy, a paper episode guide inside the Blu-ray case, Unaired Scenes and a Gag Reel.

Joe Dante's Gremlins 4K (1984) was a huge hit in its time, was playing on Christmas nostalgia while trying to be more of the same and features some of the best puppet work of its time, from the little cute Gizmo creature to the title characters he and duplicates of himself can unfortunately become. Some things about this film (the puppets would be digital, some aspects might be considered a little too politically incorrect) would not happen if the film was made today, but it is also a time capsule of a commercial cinema gone by already and of a commercial 1980s cinema we will never see again.

Zach Galligan plays a local young bank teller trying to have a better life and works hard at it, including a potential relationship with a lady friend (the underappreciated Phoebe Cates), keeping things good with his family and dealing with an angry rich lady in town (Polly Holiday) who wants to get rid of his beloved dog! He lands up getting Gizmo as a present, but is given three rules on how to care for him, including not getting him wet, or he will multiply. Of course, it all goes wrong and the madness begins.

Not the biggest fan of the film, it has some good moments and a good supporting cast (including Hoyt Axton, Judge Reinhold and Keye Luke), but Gizmo was not developed enough (though any similarity to E.T., any Star Wars or Muppet characters was always welcome) and the film just runs on its one-note sense of humor, which it has the energy to do in this case. It still has its share of missed opportunities (which its sequel never figured out) and it has aged oddly, not as fun as you might remember it and some parts more dated that others. Still, it was long overdue for a home video upgrade and it took 4K to finally make that happen.

Extras include Digital Code, Filmmakers' Commentary with Director Joe Dante, Producer Michael Finnell and Special Effects Artist Chris Walas, Cast Commentary with Director Joe Dante, Zack Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Dick Miller, and Howie Mandel, Gremlins: Behind the Scenes Featurette, Additional Scenes with Commentary, Photo Gallery, Theatrical Trailers, Additional Scenes, Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent: Making Gremlins, Gremlins: The Gift of the Mogwai (motion comic), The Last Gremlin (motion comic), From Gizmo to Gremlins: Creating the Creatures and Hangin' with Hoyt on the set of Gremlins.

Tim Story's Shaft (2019) is the fifth feature film to feature Ernest Tidyman's somewhat underrated series of novels. The second to feature Samuel L. Jackson, it is easily the most comical and humorous of a series (including an underrated TV series) not known for humor outright. It is much better than the first Jackson film, which I was still shockingly disappointed at (even wasting Christian Bale!) and was surprised this film even happened.

This time out, we have a flashback with Shaft (Jackson) and a woman in his life (Regina Hall) who happen to have a baby and get attacked while arguing in a car. Shaft saves them, but it is the last straw in their relationship and she is gone... with their son. Flash forward to now and he (Jessie T. Usher) is now a tech expert for the F.B.I. when a military buddy of his is killed, one who had just sobered up, suddenly found dead of an overdose. He suspects otherwise and investigates. A mutual friend (Alexandra Shipp) who likes him was also the dead man's friend and wants answers.

When young Shaft Jr. cannot figure it all out, he turns to his estranged dad and the culture clash begins. Though some of this works, we've seen this cop/buddy/out of water thing in dozens of films and Jackson did it well in Die Hard 3, but the result here is barely more hit than miss with some politically incorrect language and a criminal plot that is only so engaging. Thus, the directing is not bad and cast likable and melding well, but one could argue that it is not a serious or even 'real' Shaft film (or is that 'for real'?), so this one is only for the curious.

Extras include Digital Code, Can Ya Dig It? The Making of Shaft (in both formats, and only on the Blu-ray:), A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy - Part One: A Bad Mother Born, A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy - Part Two: No Questions Asked, A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy - Part Three: A Legend of His Time, Deleted Scenes that are not bad and a Gag Reel

Supergirl: The Complete Fourth Season (2018 - 2019) continues the adventures of Superman's cousin that has finally become a hit after Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) arrives to save National City, et al. Our coverage of the previous season tends to also demonstrate the love fans have for the show...


Yet this writer does not think the show is fully effective, plus I still consider Helen Slater so good in the role that the fact she was in such a bad film remains one of the biggest missed opportunities in big screen cinema history and also sad that the appearance of the character on Superman: The Animated Series was not more often or led to a spin-off of its own. The character so this is only the very first step in giving her the respect and on-screen storytelling she deserves. More than a few longtime diehard fans might agree, but Benoist looks the part and gives it all she has, so that is primarily why the show is a hit.

All 24 episodes are here on four Blu-ray discs and it remains a decently budgeted show.

Extras include Digital Code, paper episode guide inside the Blu-ray case, plus the discs add a Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes and three Behind The Scenes featurettes on par with previous sets. Note that The Flash and Arrow have cross-over episodes here.

Last and least is Giorgio Serafini's The Tracker (2019) with Dolph Lundgren as the title character, a man whose rough, traumatic childhood is compounded by the violent loss of his wife and child, so he goes on the kill in this formula revenge piece that is everything we've seen to the point of no return and even for one of his B-movies, Lundgren seems a little bored and like he is going through the motions.

This drones on for a long 87 minutes, is not that well made or directed, the cast even seems lost and the result is a release you are better off losing track of. For hardcore fans of Lundgren only.

Extras only include Digital Copy, if that actually counts.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.85 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Gremlins is the best presentation here, but can be grain-heavy and is not always outstanding for a film that was made available in 70mm blow-ups, but it is the look of the film and there are a few demo shots above our letter grade. However, it looks far better than the Blu-ray with its old 1080p pressing at 1.85 X 1 that tends to be very soft and the color is not as good.

Doom Patrol and Supergirl are here in 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition transfers with good color consistency in line with previous DC Comics TV releases of this era and save the overly fast flying in the latter show, the visual effects are not bad. Both are HD productions.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Shaft is also an HD production (the first for the franchise) and it is not bad, having some good shots and some early 1970s styling early on it eventually skips. Not very memorable overall visually, but well shot for what it is. The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the DVD is much weaker and sometimes hard to watch.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Trackers can show motion blur and detail issues throughout, though maybe part of it is style, there are too many such issues to pass off as such and on larger screens, this will be harder to watch. Color is fair, but definition co9uld have been better.

As for sound, Shaft is the only one offering Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) sound, so Gremlins did not get an audio upgrade. Though hardly demo material, the sound has its moments in action sequences, but the use of various soul, R&B and Rap/Hip Hop tracks throughout tends to be a bit more interesting on the Blu-ray, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 does not deliver as well being a far cry from the Atmos mix.

Gremlins has its old, dated Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix on its old regular Blu-ray edition, but the new 4K disc has a clearer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that sounds fresher and clearer, likely sourced from the old 70mm 4.1 Dolby soundmaster that used older Dolby A-type analog noise reduction. The sound was considered good for its time, including the Jerry Goldsmith score, but it has not aged as well as other films from the time.

Doom Patrol and Supergirl both have decent DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on all of their episodes, so no major issues there and again, is consistent with the other DC TV shows in production, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Tracker is not very consistent in soundfield and flat more often than expected with too much talk for its own good. On better home theater systems, it will be even more trying sonically.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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