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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Heist > Crime > Film Noir > Drama > Gangsters > Exploitation > Counterfeiting > Battles > War > Conqu > Vikings: Season 5, Volume 2 (2018/MGM/Fox Blu-ray set)

Assault, The (2017/Lionsgate DVD)/Big Clock (1948/Arrow*)/Boogie Boy (1998 w/DVD*)/Shade (2003*)/Toys Are Not For Children (1972/Arrow/*all MVD Blu-rays)/Trapped (1949/Flicker Alley Blu-ray w/DVD)/Vikings: Season 5, Volume 2 (2018/MGM/Fox Blu-ray set)

Picture: B-/B/B+ & B-/C+/B/B- & C+/B+ Sound: B-/B/B-/C+/B/B- & C+/B+ Extras: D/B/C+/A/B/B-/B Main Programs: C/B/C+/B+/C/B-/B

Here's a rich group of genre releases with their share of drama...

Tom Sizemore stars in the low budget action thriller, The Assault (2017), which seems like it was a screenplay written for prettier stars. The plot is pretty cookie cutter, a tormented wife and a stripper hatch a scheme to get back at the one's abusive husband by robbing his businesses wearing cool masks (remember The Town?). But when Broza (Sizemore), a detective, gets hired on the case right before the two women are about to spring their most dangerous part of the plan, one of them falls in love with him, and puts a wrench in the plan...

The Assault also features Kevin Nash, Jordan Ladd, Lindsay Lamb, and Nikki Moore.

The film is presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital English 5.1 surround sound. The compression issues are normal for the format with a lack of detail in the images that's would be more evident in HD. The film itself is shot cleanly for a low budget production and has a pretty professional appearance, but nothing out of the ordinary or over stylized as the cover art suggests.

No extras.

Aside from Tom Sizemore having a few moments, there isn't much to The Assault that you haven't seen in other action/crime/gangster movies. It tries, but is pretty mediocre.

This 1948 film noir, The Big Clock, is an interesting and suspenseful film starring Ray Milland and Charles Laughton with direction by John Farrow. Remade much later as the Kevin Costner film No Way Out, this original black and white nail bitter has been given the lavish treatment from Arrow Academy. The film centers around a murderous magazine tycoon who tries to frame an innocent man for the murder instead, but meanwhile the innocent man tries to solve the murder himself...

The Big Clock is presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.37:1 full frame aspect ratio and an audio mix in uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM. This transfer is straight from the original film elements and is likely the best that this film has ever looked here. Considering the age of the film, it's incredible how clean and crisp the transfer is here, which is no surprise as Arrow Academy also does incredible work.

Special Features include:

New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin

Turning Back the Clock, a newly filmed analysis of the film by the critic and chief executive of Film London, Adrian Wootton

A Difficult Actor, a newly filmed appreciation of Charles Laughton and his performance in The Big Clock by the actor, writer, and theatre director Simon Callow

Rare hour-long 1948 radio dramatization of The Big Clock by the Lux Radio Theatre, starring Ray Milland

Original theatrical trailer

Gallery of original stills and promotional materials

Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Christina Newland.

The '90s drama, Boogie Boy (1998) stars the underrated actor Mark Dacascos, who recently shined in John Wick 3: Parabellum as the villainous lead. While it has a very '90s vibe about it, there's some interesting filmmaking choices in Boogie Boy that make it worth checking out if you're a fan of 'after prison' dramas.

In this film, which is directed by Craig Hamann (Showdown in Manila) and produced by Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction), a criminal whose released from prison (played by Dacascos), vows to make a better life for himself, but soon crosses paths with a psycho ex-cellmate and finds himself back up to his usual drug habits and general bad behavior. Not even playing drums in a Joan Jett band is enough to convince this guy to not listen to the dope fiends. The film has many head scratching moments of choice, but that's ultimately the theme of the piece. A vision of a shattered life, Boogie Boy, isn't a bad film but at times can be pretty depressing.

The film stars Emily Lloyd, Michael Pena, Joan Jett, Jaimz Woolvett, Karen Sheperd, and Traci Lords.

Boogie Boy is presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and audio tracks in LPCM 2.0 stereo (48 KHz, 24-bit), which restores the film nicely on disc. There is also an anamorphically enhanced, standard definition DVD with similar, but more compressed specs. MVD has done a fine job with the presentation overall of this film.

Special Features include:

Cast and crew interviews

Making of featurette

Photo gallery

Original Theatrical Trailer

and a Collectible Mini-Poster.

Luck can change faster than a flip of a card in L.A., specially in the high stakes card game. There is no end to gamblers, card sharks, molls and mobsters and in a town where sin is a way of life, the little fish are always eyeing the big fish. A team of professional con-men (and women) want to take down 'The Dean' (Sylvester Stallone) the legendary gambler who never lost a hand. But can the beat a man who knows all the tricks of the trade?

In Damian Neiman's Shade (2003), a team of con artists and card sharks seek to claim fame and fortune by beating the current King of Cons, The Dean (Sylvester Stallone) in a single game of high stakes card game. Each of them alone could never beat the Dean, but together they might just have a chance. Combining their fortune and skills they buy, steal or cheat their way into the Dean's underground card game. However, things get complicated when they didn't realize they stole money from the mob and there is a crooked cop who also wants a 'cut' of their winnings. But there can be only one king and it is a crime when a hustler hustles a hustler?

This was a con movie filled with an all star cast, Sylvester Stallone, Melanie Griffith, Hal Holbrook, Gabriel Byrne, Jamie Foxx, Stuart Townsend and Thandie Newton. While this movie is lesser known compared their more popular films, it feels like they wanted play their own version of Ocean's 11 and also a chance for them to play different roles.

Though the film looks consistent the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix are a generation down and seem older, liker an older HD master. Otherwise, this is watchable, but could haver been a bit better. Extras include a feature length audio commentary, making of the film, tricks of the trade, interviews with cast and crew and trailers.

Toys Are Not For Children (1972), also known as Virgin Dolls, is a bizarre exploitation film centered around a troubled young girl named Jamie whose stuck in the mind of a child and sexually attracted to her long lost father and is still obsessed with the toys that he gave her as a child. As an adult, she ends up getting a job at a toy store where she meets Charlie, and the two get married. However, on the honeymoon Charlie can't get Jamie to sleep with him because the only thing that does it for her are, ahem, older father-like figures. So, she ends up running away from her husband and onto New York City, where she becomes an escort for older men. However, Charlie ends up going to the city to look for his bride...

The film stars Harian Cary Poe, Fran Warren, Marcia Forbes, Evelyn Kingsley, Luis Arroyo, and Peter Lightstone, and is directed by Stanley H. Brassloff.

Toys Are Not For Children is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a nice sounding audio mix in English LPCM Mono (48kHz, 24-bit). Remastered in 2K from the original film elements, this is certainly the best that this film has ever looked on disc. Considering its age and modest production cost, even the more impressive job done by Arrow Video.

Special Features include:

Brand new audio commentary with Kat Ellinger and Heather Drain

Newly-filmed appreciation by Nightmare USA author Stephen Thrower

'Dirty' Dolls: Femininity, Perversion and Play - a brand new video essay by Alexandra Heller Nicholas

Original theme song ''Lonely Am I'', newly transferred from the original 45-RPM vinyl single

Original Trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Vanity Celis.

Richard Fleischer's Trapped (1949) is a lost Film Noir finally found in a complete, archive-worthy edition with Lloyd Bridges as a criminal out of jail and trying to get the illegal plates he co-owned before he was sent up the river, plates so perfect that they make counterfeiting dollars as easy as anything. However, a now-drunken friend has lost them to a rich, powerful gangster and Bridges has to go out of his way to get them back. A old flame (Barbara Payton) os shocked to see him back and gets involved helping him, but he'll need more than her when the feds go into action to get those plates back.

Of course, other criminals around in the know want to make sure the feds never see them again and will kill anyone to keep and keep using them. Taking place in Hollywood and Los Angeles, the film is saved for its 70th Anniversary and turns out to be another Fleischer gem that has sadly not been seen like this in decades. Flicker Alley has issued it in one of their Blu-ray/DVD sets and serious film fans will want to catch up with it. Bridges is great, Payton became a star at the time because of it and its return could not be more timely. You'll love the way it handles the counterfeiting part right in the beginning.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film as the copy used is easily the best in existence and a revelation for those who know it better and even the 1.33 X 1 image on the DVD is better than anything you've ever seen on TV or in clips.

The sound from, the theatrical optical mono on the print includes DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless on the Blu-ray and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the DVD that are not bad, with the DTS having a slight edge.

Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text, poster art, profiles and tech notes, while the discs add a feature length audio commentary track by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo and Noir scholar Alan K. Rode and two featurettes: Freeing Trapped on saving the film and A Sedulous Cinderella: Richard Fleischer Remembered on one of the greatest journeyman directors ever.

And finally we have Vikings: Season 5, Volume 2 (2018) on Blu-ray disc, uncut for the first time to much fanfare. This is a great season and should definitely be checked out if you're a fan of Game of Thrones or simply a history buff. The production design is spot on and the diverse cast portray very well fleshed out characters that exist in this world of yesteryear.

Vikings stars Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standed, and Jessalyn Gilsig to name a few. Directors for this season include Ken Girotti, Jeff Woolnough, Johan Renck and others.

Scandinavia has never seen darker times as Ivar the Boneless rules over the land. Following intertwining stories ultimately pitting Ivar against the sons of Ragnar who combat him for taking back their homeland of Ireland. 10 episodes span three Blu-ray discs and include The Revelation, Murder Most Foul, A New God, The Lost Moment, Hell, The Buddha, The Most Terrible Thing, Baldur, What happens in the Cave, and Ragnarok.

Vikings is presented here uncut and commercial free in 1080p high definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and an audio mix in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix. This is a huge improvement over the original broadcast with more depth and detail in the nicely shot series that allows it to be viewed as the filmmakers originally intended as opposed to network broadcasting.

A digital copy is also included.

Special Features include:


The Creator's Audio Commentary with Michael Hirst and Actor Gustaf Skarsgard

The Epic War of Ragnar's Sons

The King and the Warrior Bishop

and Deleted Scenes

We also reviewed Season 5, Volume 1 elsewhere on this site:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Trapped), Ricky Chiang (Shade) and James Lockhart



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