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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Racism > Genocide > Apartheid > South Africa > Comedy > Romance > Sex > France > Class Division > Sout > Cry Freedom (1987/Umbrella Import Blu-ray)/A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints (2006*)/Hold Back The Dawn (1941/Arrow/*both MVD Blu-rays)/Never Ever (2016/Film Movement DVD)/Parasite (2019/Universal Bl

Cry Freedom (1987/Umbrella Import Blu-ray)/A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints (2006*)/Hold Back The Dawn (1941/Arrow/*both MVD Blu-rays)/Never Ever (2016/Film Movement DVD)/Parasite (2019/Universal Blu-ray)

Picture: B/B+/B/B-/B+ Sound: B/B+/B/B-/B+ Extras: D/B/B/D/C Films: B/C+/B/C/B

PLEASE NOTE: The Cry Freedom Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can play on all Blu-ray players and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for more awards-season filmmaking, including the latest big winner to hit the jackpot...

Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline star in the late Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom (1987). The incredibly well made film features stunning realism in this true story that follows the horrors of racial war in South Africa. Winner of several awards and wide critical acclaim, the film looks and sounds great in this new Blu-ray release from Umbrella Entertainment.

The film also stars Penelope Wilton, Kevin McNally, Josette Simon, John Thaw, and John Matshikiza to name a few.

The story centers around South African journalist Donald Woods (Kline) who is forced to flee the country after attempting to investigate the death in custody of his friend, the black activist Steve Biko (Washington). What he finds in Africa will not only shape his life but the lives of others as well. Kline and Washington are brilliant together on screen here and really make for an interesting watch!

Cry Freedom is presented in 1080p high definition with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a 2.0 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Stereo lossless mix that is clear and consistent throughout. The film is very nicely shot by Ronnie Taylor (Sea of Love) in 35mm and still holds up nicely today.

No extras.

A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints (2006) is an okay movie with a stellar cast. Robert Downey Jr. (pre-Iron Man), Shia LaBeouf, Dianne Wiest, (a quite young) Channing Tatum, and Rosario Dawson line headline the picture, which is based on a true story based on the young life of the film's director - Dito Montiel (who also directed LaBeouf in Man Down and Tatum in The Son of No One and Fighting). This film is part of MVD's Marquee Collection of titles.

With his father ill, Dito comes home to find his 'saints', or his loved ones that he lost, left behind or can't help but remember. The film is a story of relationships old and new, as well, the relationship between Dito and his father before his death and takes place in Astoria, Queens.

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (original aspect ratio is 1.85:1) and two nice sounding audio mixes in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and LPCM 2.0. The transfer is nice with lush colors and nothing that hinders the presentation in any way.

Special Features include:

Shooting Saints: The Making of Featurette

Full Monty interview

Young Laurie Audition Tape

Deleted Scenes

Alternate Openings and Endings


and Audio Commentary with Director Dito Montiel and Editor Jake Pushinsky.

Who doesn't love a classic black and white romance film? Arrow Academy presents the newly restored Hold Back The Dawn (1941) from Paramount Pictures onto Blu-ray for the first time.

Starring Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland, the film follows Georges Iscovescu (Boyer), who hopes to get into the US by any means necessary. When he finds out there is an eight year waiting period to do so, he ends up cooking up a plot with his dance partner, Anita (played by Paulette Goddard), to marry a woman whose a US citizen and then dump her once he gets to where he wants to be. Once Georges meets Emmy, he ends up falling in love with her for real. However, an immigration officer threatens to muck up Georges' new proposal to Emmy.

As mentioned this is the first time that Hold Back The Dawn has been presented in high definition and it's presented here in black and white with a 1.37:1 full frame aspect ratio and an uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack. The film looks startlingly fantastic here considering its age, and doesn't look nearly as aged as you'd expect.

Special Features include:

New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin

Love Knows No Borders, a newly filmed video appreciation by film critic Geoff Andrew

The Guardian Lecture: Olivia de Havilland, A career-spanning onstage audio interview with Olivia de Havilland recorded at the National Film Theatre in 1971

Rare hour-long radio adaptation of Hold Back the Dawn from 1941 starring Charles Boyer, Paulette Goddard and Susan Hayward

Gallery of original stills and promotional images

Original trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by writer and critic Farran Smith Nehme.

Never Ever (2016) is a French romantic drama that's your run of your mill sexual drama with some interesting photography and setting.

The film centers around a filmmaker (Mathieu Amalric) who becomes obsessed with a body artist named Laura and the two begin to have an affair. But things take a sour turn when he dies in a tragic motorcycle accident and leaves Laura alone... or is there someone else living with her? Nothing is as it seems in this film, that seems mostly aimed at pseudo-intellectuals.

The film stars Julia Roy, Jeanne Balibar, and Elmano Sancho to name a few.

Never Ever is presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossy 5.1 French Dolby Digital surround sound mix with English subtitles. Despite the compression issues evident with the DVD format, the film looks and sounds fine.

No Extras.

Finally, it was the biggest winner at the 2019 Academy Awards ceremony and now Bong Joon-ho's Parasite (2019) is on Blu-ray disc in this first, relatively bare bones, release of the film on Blu-ray. The studio decided not to put out a 4K UHD version at this time, however the Blu-ray is top notch and looks and sounds fine for the format.

The multi-layered film brings up many relevant topics to today's society including power, money, upper and lower classes, etc. while examining many other modern themes of the human condition in a unique way.

The story centers around two families, the Park family (which are quite wealthy and have a beautiful home) to the destitute Kim clan, who live in poverty. Through a series of smooth manipulation, the Kim clan end up working for the Parks in their home, the teenage son tutors their high school daughter (and sparks a romance), the teenage daughter is an art teacher for their young boy, Mr. Kim assumes the position of the driver, and Mrs. Kim ends up stealing the spot of housekeeper (who has some secrets of her own.) The biggest scene of the film happens in the third act and is certainly shocking and out of nowhere. All in all, this is a film that definitely needs to be seen.

The film stars Song Kang-ho, Jo Yeo-Jeong, Woo-sik Choi, So-dam Park, Seo Joon Park, and Hye-jin Jang.

Parasite is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a great sounding audio mix in Korean DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) lossless mix with English subtitles. The image and presentation here is fine for the format, however, a 4K UHD version of the film down the line is inevitable. The film is uniquely shot by Hong Gyeong-Pyo and has an interesting award winning score by Jung Jae-il. This is fine filmmaking across the board and it translates well to home video.

The only special features are:

Q and A with Director Bong Joon Ho

and Trailers

While it may not have been everybody's pick for best picture on Oscar night, Parasite is certainly an interesting work and effective storytelling from visionary director Bong Joon-ho. It also doesn't hurt to get more casual moviegoers exposed to international films.

To order the Cry Freedom Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link for it and other hard-to-find titles at:


- James Lockhart



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