The Right Thing
(1989/Universal/Criterion Blu-ray Set)/The
(2006/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The
(1949/RKO/*both Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Silent
A Dark Odyssey
(2018/Umbrella Region 4 PAL Import DVD)
Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B+/B-/B-/B/C+/C+ Sound:
B/B-/B/C+/C/C+ Extras: A-/B-/B/C+/D/D Films: B+/B-/B+/B-/C+/C
Import DVD is now only available from Umbrella Entertainment in
Australia and can only play on DVD, 4K and Blu-ray players that can
handle PAL DVDs,while The
are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series. All can be ordered from the links below.
for some serious dramas with serious themes, including a few with
star with a still-controversial classic, Spike Lee's Do
The Right Thing
(1989) now celebrating 30 years. We covered the DVD edition ten
years ago at this link...
I still like Jungle
this film is as relevant as ever, an American classic and Lee needs
to be commended for his prediction about gentrification, that the
rich and wealthy would come back to bad neighborhoods abandoned in
New York City and and rebuild them, no matter who they might push
out. The film has become better with age, more special with age and
still (even after all of cinema has become more senselessly violent
three decades alter and counting) questions the violent reaction the
community has to a senseless police killing.
more killings have happened in real life and while most of the
violence in films since (fiction mostly, but violence still) has been
committed by caucasians, the one rare film with persons of color who
have nowhere to turn and cannot take it anymore is still
being intellectually criticized. In all cases, those critics never
think about alternatives or have any answers in how these persons
with no economic or political power are to get justice. That is
ultimately the situation and question this film's very title asks us
to consider and that it has no easy answers.
the first 12-inch LaserDisc of the film, Lee has slowly been building
up the extras and discussions of the film and this new Criterion
double Blu-ray set has the most ever for it yet, including an
excellent 108-page high quality, thick booklet on the film including
an essay by critic Vinson Cunningham, and (on the Blu-ray) extensive
excerpts from the journal Lee kept during the preparation for and
production of the film, while the discs add a feature length audio
commentary from 1995 featuring director Spike Lee, Dickerson,
production designer Wynn Thomas, and actor Joie Lee, Introductions by
"Do the Right Thing,"
a documentary from 1988 by St. Clair Bourne, New interviews with
costume designer Ruth E. Carter, camera assistant Darnell Martin, New
York City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr., and writer Nelson
George, Interview with editor Barry Alexander Brown from 2000,
Programs from 2000 and 2009 featuring Lee and members of the cast and
crew, Music video for Public Enemy's "Fight the Power,"
directed by Lee, with remarks from rapper Chuck D, Behind-the-scenes
footage, Cannes Film Festival press conference from 1989, deleted and
extended scenes, original storyboards, trailer, and TV spots.
makes it the ultimate version of the film and one of the best
Criterion editions of an excellent year they are having!
(1940) brings Bette Davis and her favorite director together for one
of her finest roles, for this winning adaption of M. Somerset
Maugham's novel about an adultering woman who may or may not be
behind the title scribement, but could she also be a murderess?
the down side, Asian characters (sometimes played by Asian actors,
sometimes not) date this films in ways it need not be, though Gale
Sondergaard is always a welcome presence, but the rest of the film
holds up well and Davis has some of her all-time classic moments in a
film about to celebrate 80 years. Cheers to Wyler who knew what he
was doing and is not always remembered as the great journeyman
director he was, getting lost in the shuffle despite an amazing list
of hits and other underrated works.
made a great team, Wyler and Davis, something that deserves a new
examination, but this is just typical of the high quality of Warner's
big event movies of the time and that spirit has managed through
thick and thin to survive at the studio today. This 95 minutes of
melodrama is one of the best of its kind and tightest examples of the
genre around. That is why everyone should see it or now restored
here, see it again.
include an Alternate Ending Sequence, Original Theatrical Trailer and
two Radio drama adaptions of the film, both with Davis recreating her
role here and the latter with Vincent Price, both installments of the
del Toro's Pan's
(2006) may have seemed like a fantasy genre film from the man who
directed hits like Blade
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) and he is an expert in genre
filmmaking, no doubt. His knowledge is as exceptional as his
application of this kind of storytelling as much as any filmmaker
alive, but in one of his greatest triumphs and a film that is still
underrated, telling a dark tale of the hatred and evils of murderous
fascism in a Spain not long ago and how one young lady has to handle
she lands up finding a magic pathway that shows her truths, including
powerful truths in what is happening to her and her mother as the
mother is involved with one of the main government militarists and
how the evil is so deep, how is a young pre-teen female supposed to
deal with it all?
a film that belongs on the same shelf with Wizard
and several versions of Alice
it also is one of the rare films in the last 40 years to try to make
a big statement and succeed in a finale worthy of Lean's Dr.
Its arrival in this very impressive $K reissue is a true event and
as it is one of the most underrated films of the last few decades, an
event for us all to celebrate.
old Blu-ray edition and includes the feature length audio commentary
by Guillermo del Toro on both disc versions, while the older Blu-ray
retains a video
prologue by Guillermo del Toro, plus featurettes The
Power of Myth,
Faun and the Fairies,
Color and the Shape
Yes, a Criterion Blu-ray was issued a few years ago with more
extras, but you'll have to get that one separately.
(1949) is a good boxing film, so much so that it influenced
(1980) and I want to add immediately that Wise has never been my
favorite director. I am no fan of Sound
and think the big bomb Star!
is the more ambitious film, even if it does not work. The
was not bad, but most of his work is just flat and dull to me, though
has its moments, The
is his best film. The
is only 72 minutes long, but it is very efficient filmmaking and if
not a classic, more like what he was capable of when he had to dig
into serious subject matter.
Ryan is very convincing as the boxer who is one punch away from
money, fame and success, but the dirty world of the sport and the
many dark figures in it stand in the way of he and his wife (Audrey
Totter) must face in a world where they otherwise would not be
treated well at all. Alan Baxter, George Tobias and Wallace Ford
help make up a convincing supporting cast and its nice the film has
been so well-restored and finally made it to Blu-ray. It is one
only extra is a near-feature length audio commentary track by Wise
and Martin Scorsese that is worth seeing after the film, but has a
few dead spots that could have been filled with more comments or
(2018) tells the true Cold War/pre-Berlin Wall tale of how a group of
students in 1956 East Germany have a moment of silence for victims of
a military uprising in Budapest that they heard about and apparently
were not supposed to hear. The government and Stazi state police did
not jam and stop outside radio broadcasts well enough, so this
ruffles the establishment and the students a re told to give up who
shared the information or face consequences.
refuse and go through all kinds of trouble, with the twist that they
can still go to the other Germany of West Germany, but why should
they leave their home in the first place? What kind of home is it?
The film is well made and acted, though I think it missed a few
opportunities along the way, but it is worth a look and especially at
this time, more people should try it out.
are no extras.
we have Federico Alotto's Ulysses:
A Dark Odyssey
(2018) treating the classic like a few movies have of Shakespeare
lately, trying to do a modern, contemporary take on it to be gritty,
hip and 'get to younger audiences' et al, but despite good supporting
turns by Udo Keir and Danny Glover, this adaptation of Homer's
book, it looks like every cliched videogame, sci-fi, horror and
post-apocalyptic TV show and movie we've seen and not so good at it.
also tends to follow the classic somewhat closely, but in such a
paint-by-numbers way that it wears itself thin early during its long
116 minutes running time. I still have to it credit for going
through all this trouble and expense, but it just does not work out
well, though maybe it will help some grade school classes get through
the book by default. Andrea Zirio is not bad in the lead, but it
looks too much like Snyder's 300
for tis own good and will ultimately appeal to few.
are no extras.
2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.85 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra
High Definition image on Labyrinth
is impressive. The film was shot on 35mm film and has some earlier
digital CGI visual effects, but they look just fine, in part because
they were well thought out artistically and not overdone. However,
the film is also has dark visuals and great color at times, so we get
the best reproduction we could hope for (unless del Toro redid the
CGI and did an 6K scan of the negative) and resulting in this looking
every bit as good as it did in 35mm when it was first released. The
regular 1080p Blu-ray repeats the old, controversial Blu-ray, which
was accused of being overly cleaned of grain and resulting in a loss
of detail and a slightly waxy look. That is far more apparent vs.
the 4K version.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfers on Letter
can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a
transfer to all previous releases of the films, but Letter
can have more than a few shots that lack detail and I am uncertain
whether it is the film's style or something wrong with the transfer.
I expect the 35mm vault materials are in good shape, but it comes up
a bit short. Set-Up
looks impressive throughout and is another RKO film saved.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
looks the best it has ever looked, almost pushing into 4K quality
thanks to the new 4K scan supervised by Director of Photography
Ernest Dickerson, now a capable director on his own. Maybe some
primary colors intended might be a bit darker, but this is another,
rich impressive transfer that has Criterion on top of their Blu-ray
game with some jaw-dropping shots. It is better than all previous
Blu-ray and DVD editions.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on both DVD releases look good
for the formats as recent HD production shoots go, but the lossy
Dolby Digital 5.1 on Slient
is a little to quiet at times, though it is a dialogue-based film
dealing with a police state. Ulysses
is almost too loud at times to no point.
for the rest of the Blu-ray sound, it seemed like Labyrinth
retained its DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix from the old
Blu-ray edition, but
the sound a little better on the 4K version and it is actually a 5.1
mix. That means the 7.1 was spreading the sound out a bit and unless
del Toro wanted an 11.1 upgrade, this is more authentically the sound
intended. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Thing
is the best it ever sounded, off of an analog Dolby SR (Spectral
Recording) analog soundmaster (with location recording carefully
done) from 2009 off of a 4-track soundmaster. That work holds up
well here and is the second-best sonic presentation on the list.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes on Letter
are from their original theatrical mono soundmasters, but Set-Up
sounds older, while Letter
is clearer than expected.
Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and other hard to find
to order either The
Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this link for them and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: