Kai: Seasons 1 & 2
(2018, 2019 DVD Set*)/Cross:
Rise Of The Villains
(2019/Acorn DVD Set)/Werewolf
In A Girls' Dormitory
C+/C+/C/C+/B Sound: C+/C+/C/C+/C+ Extras: B-/D/D/C+/B
Main Programs: C+/C/C/C+/C+
a wide variety of action and mystery releases, including an
unexpected sequel and other interesting throwbacks...
a trilogy of films and a recent revival, Cobra
Kai: Seasons 1 & 2
(2018, 2019) pick up the original theatrical Karate
films (the first two, though it is not necessarily ignoring the later
two) picking up (not unlike Creed
if you think about it) with the loser of the big battle from the
original films (johnny, played by William Zabka, the underrated actor
who can do more than play bullies) barely getting by on fix-it-jobs,
still driving around in his late-generation Firebird and not happy
with his life.
he suffers through several events, he discovers Daniel (Ralph
Macchio) is expanding his already successful car dealership which
makes reference to their surprise encounter all those decades ago.
After an encounter where Johnny (in the right) gets in trouble with
the cops, he has to take action to not sink lower. This eventually
leads to him reopening the karate school he is from and Daniel may
not be far behind for the most unexpected reasons.
have to say I was surprised how well this flowed, working better as a
series than expected, albeit semi-predictable. Everyone involved
seems to be very serious about making this as honest and smart as
possible and that shows in the time and care in the performances and
exposition. Still, it becomes a fans-only series, but that is not a
bad thing considering the various revivals of older film and TV shows
we've seen of late. Most have been unnecessary to be honest, but
has some unfinished business and deals with that the best it can.
include a two-sided headband in our DVD
set, while the discs (per the press release) add:
Scenes Saved from the Cutting Room Floor
Eggs: The cast and crew take you through their favorite 'Cobra Kai'
callbacks to the original THE KARATE KID franchise
& Fury: Fight Choreography: Learn about the training and
rehearsal process for the biggest action scenes in 'Cobra Kai'
the Dojo: The Characters: Discover more about your favorite
characters from the first two seasons
the Musical Identities of Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do with Composers
Performances at the Whiskey a Go-Go with Guest William Zabka
Durham & Paul G. Volk's Cross:
Rise Of The Villains
(2019) is a sequel to a film few people saw, trying to cash in on the
current comic book and superhero trends, casting names that make
sense (Vinnie Jones, Danny Trejo and most inarguably, Lou Ferrigno)
plus a few overdue to be there (the underrated D.B. Sweeney and Tom
Sizemore) and unexpectedly, Brian Austin Greene, who is here
because... hey, why not?
(surprise?) is the lead hero, he has to get a villain to join him to
fight other villains and unless you saw the last film, have to wing
it to keep up with the semi-developed characters who are all made to
shamelessly be comic book heroes (versus blockbuster superhero icons
for better and worse) and the results are very, very mixed, no matter
what preceded before. I never bought Greene in the led, though I
have zero against him.
this is for fans only and if you must see it, you had better see the
first one just in case.
are no extras.
(2018) is trying to be an old-fashioned thriller like you might have
seen from the early 1970s to early 1980s when independent horror
movies were being made all the time (miss that) and even tries to
have a little bit of that look as Toby (Logan Miller, trying for some
kind of star status) joins a strange program that leaves him on an
island for a few day s in an attempt to deal with the loss of his
father after not being very connected to his family to begin with.
No 'bad boy' cliches here.
like so many groups of teens going to other countries only to be
killed in the last slasher cycle that went on way too long, one or
more unknown creatures are hunting down any visiting humans and he is
among those there who are about to be targeted.
wished the script was as imaginative and suspenseful as the situation
set-up was, but it is squandered on very uneven ideas and pacing. At
only 85 minutes, they had something here, but even with Blumhouse
co-producing, this was just not well thought out enough and the
result are some of the most missed opportunities of anything I have
seen this year. Too bad, because they were potentially onto
are no extras.
(2019) is also a throwback to the idea of old mom and pop detective
agencies that have also led to key hit shows of the past (Honey
as Olivia Vinall plays a young 'newly promoted' police detective who
happens to have three aunts who run a mystery book store and start to
help her out with crime solving. With various publishing jokes
around, the aunts keep poking into her affairs for better and worse,
though as a side, she is still trying to solve how her mom
disappeared two decades earlier/
just made me wonder if the aunts are so smart, why can't they answer
that latter question? The show has issues like that here and there
that hold it back from being the next British TV classic, but it
still has some good moments and a decent supporting cast including
Siobhan Redmond, Julie Graham, Sarah Woodward and Juliet Stevenson
doing the show's voice-over narration. The makers clearly love the
genre however, so it is worth checking out if you are interested.
include Easter Eggs (10 minutes) and a Behind The Scenes featurette
running just over an hour.
we have Richard Benson/Paolo Heusch's Werewolf
In A Girls' Dormitory
(1961) which is more eerie, yet more amusing than the title would
suggest. This Italian/Austrian co-production with plenty of Italian
input, has a dorm overseas suddenly plagued with mysterious murders
that just might be of a supernatural nature, yet it is only the
beginning of the many issues there that are hidden and it will all
unravel before all is said and done.
get some suspense and moments you would not get out of the film were
it a U.S. or even U.K. production in a good way, but now this uncut
version has been discovered in a vault and that is why we have this
new Blu-ray from the Severin label. Carl Schell and Barbara Lass
lead the decent cast, Ernesto Gastaldi (All
The Colors Of The Dark,
reviewed elsewhere on this site) penned another smart screenplay here
and Armando Trovajoli created the fitting music, save the song meant
for the U.S. release you can hear a snippet of in the extras: ''The
Ghoul In School''. Apparently, that was another alternate title and
the pre-Beatles Rock N Roll tune might have had aspirations to be a
hit, but it did not become ''The
or the like.
are many and include may
not have included ''The
Ghoul In School''
in its entirety, but has a reproduction
booklet of the ''Directions
To Becoming A Werewolf''
promo piece, then the disc adds Bad
- Interview with Screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, Italian Trailer, US
Trailer, an Alternate Opening and a feature length audio commentary
track by with actor Curt Lowens and film scholar David Del Valle.
Also, our edition included a CD of the original soundtrack, so
collector's should try to get that one before it is too late.
1080p 1.78 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on Werewolf
can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a
transfer to all previous releases of the film, scanned in 2K from
archival elements found overseas. The film was shot on DuPont 35mm
black and white film and that gives it a look different from Kodak,
Agfa, Ansco or Gevaert films that help it have a feel we rarely see.
the DVDs are here in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image
presentations, save 2.35 X 1 on Prey,
are decent, though Prey
tends to be a little softer throughout. Otherwise, all are what we
would expect from the older format.
for sound, Werewolf
is here in Italian and English PCM 2.0 Mono versions that sound as
good as they can for their age, while the DVDs all have lossy Dolby
Digital 5.1 mixes, save Queens in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and
they are all about on par with each other, save Prey, which for a 5.1
film, sounds a bit low and a little off. The low budget caught up