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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Drama > Airline > Disaster Film > Melodrama > China > Serial > WWII > Camp > Adventure > Thriller > Mys > The Captain (2019*)/Jungle Queen (1945/Universal/VCI**)/Passion Of Darkly Noon (1995/Arrow/**both MVD Blu-rays)/Titans: The Complete Second Season (2019/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray Set)/The Witch: Subver

The Captain (2019*)/Jungle Queen (1945/Universal/VCI**)/Passion Of Darkly Noon (1995/Arrow/**both MVD Blu-rays)/Titans: The Complete Second Season (2019/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray Set)/The Witch: Subversion (2018/*both Well Go Blu-rays)

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

Now for more action and thrills, even if some are not as convincing as others...

We start with another release allegedly 'based on a true story' except that Andrew Lau's The Captain (2019) takes unnecessary liberties with a real-life event in 2018 when a May flight on an Airbus A319 gets shocking dicey when the windshield of the cockpit of the plane breaks up (!!!) and that should mean the death of everyone on board. However, the title character, with the moral support of all and some help by certain people, mighty be able to quickly restore things temporarily and just enough to bring them all in for a safe landing... or will he?

Even at 111 minutes, I found this to strain disbelief early on, get stuck on itself too early and never recover, even if the plane in the narrative somehow might. It just felt too gaudy and forced throughout, phony and tired very quickly. The actors were mostly unknown to me and they did not even gel, so see this one at your own risk.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is an HD shoot that is almost consistent, but has motion blur and bad CGI effects issues that make it look even more fake than it should, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 Mandarin lossless mix has some good moments, but also offers an inconsistent soundfield and a few sounds that are off.

A trailer is the only extras and I can see why.

Next up is another Saturday Morning Movie Serial, this time is one we have never reviewed before, Universal Pictures unintentionally wacky Jungle Queen (1945) where the title woman (Ruth Roman as Lothel) rules a spot in Africa where another woman (Lois Collier) is looking for her father while the Allies are trying to smash the Nazis on the 'mysterious' continent. When Lothel decides to help the Allies and their reps (Eddie Quillan and Edward Norris), the Nazis go after her. Boy, will they be sorry!

Needless to say you get as many stereotypes as you get cliches and other unintentionally amusing and funny moments, so expect little political correctness or brilliant realism, but some anti-Axis WWII propaganda filling in some of the dead spaces. Having just watched some WWII U.K. Ealing films, even the stock footage here is secondary, but all 13 chapters just keep rolling on, cliffhanger after cliffhanger. Co-directed by the studio's team of Lewis D. Collins and Ray Taylor, this runs 219 minutes, so be ready for a long sit. It is definitely worth a look and Roman steals the film.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image has some flaws from the older materials, but the new 2K scan is nice enough and maybe a tad lighter than some might like. Otherwise, it is fine, but the sound is lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono and is transferred a little lower than it ought to be. Wish it were PCM Mono at a better volume. Turn it up, but just be very careful of volume switching.

There are no extras, but anything more would have been interesting.

Brendan Fraser, known typically for his comedic/adventure type roles, took a dramatic and intense turn in this 1995 thriller The Passion of Darkly Noon. Co-starring a sultry Ashley Judd and a mute Viggo Mortensen, this unusual film is directed by British filmmaker Philip Ridley (The Reflecting Skin).

The acting and filmmaking is bold with some of the later scenes a bit experimental. Fraser plays an unhinged and lost character pretty well and is very expressive with his eyes and movements. This isn't his first serious role, however, as he was also in 1994's With Honors (with Joe Pesci and a hit Madonna song) and later 1998's Gods and Monsters before doing The Mummy trilogy. Taking course over several days, which run through the film like chapters. The first half of the piece is definitely its strongest while some of the later sequences feel a bit long and drug out. Still, this is an exceptional release from Arrow that's worth checking out.

Darkly Noon (Fraser) is an escapee from a bizarre cult by which his deceased parents were the leaders. Callie (Judd) takes him in and nurses him back to health after he's found nearly dead by the roadside in the woods. Once he wakes up, he starts to have feelings for Callie, which is strictly against his religious beliefs, however, Callie is basically married to a mute (Mortensen) who is coming back home from a trip 'any day now'. As time passes and he returns, Darkly gets very jealous and starts losing his mind as he loses the attention of Callie whose more absorbed in Viggo's character. Instead of feeling welcomed into their family, he feels neglected and soon adapts a fierce personality that becomes monstrous and obsessive.

The Passion of Darkly Noon is presented in 1080p high definition with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix. A 2.0 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless Stereo mix is on the disc as well. The film has interesting color correction with highly saturated colors that make the character of Callie appear almost angelic when Darkly first wakes up and interacts with her. This 2K restoration from the original elements (and approved by the Director) comes across very nice in this Blu-ray release. The score is tense and offbeat and certainly helps adds to the level of uneasiness during the later part of the film.

Special Features include:

New audio commentary by writer/director Philip Ridley

Isolated score track in lossless stereo, including never-before-heard extended and unused cues, and the two songs from the film

Sharp Cuts, a newly filmed interview with editor Leslie Healey

Forest Songs, a newly filmed interview with composer Nick Bicat

Dreaming Darkly, an archive featurette from 2015 featuring interviews with Ridley, Bicat and star Viggo Mortensen

Previously unreleased demos of the music score, written and performed by Bicat before filming started

Theatrical trailer

Image gallery

and reversible sleeve featuring new and original artwork/shiny cover art.

Titans: The Complete Second Season (2019) series is here. In some ways it follows the formula of the label's DC Comics series like Arrow, The Flash, and others only the exception here is that they say (too naughty for TV) bad language. Which feels forced and out of place here. There's plenty of familiar characters in this such as Robin, Starfire, Jason Todd, and Raven with other familiar comic book characters like Deathstroke thrown in the mix. The problem for me is that it's too angsty and dramatic and feels more like a teenie bopper TV series than a superhero series to be taken seriously. Some of the special effects here and there are pretty cool, but all in all, it just feels inferior compared to any of DC's cinematic works.

Some of the stars of the show include Teagan Croft, Brenton Thwaites, Anna Diop, Ryan Potter, Minka Kelly, and Alan Ritchson to name a few.

A darker take on the Teen Titans comic book series, the show follows the Titans, a band of younger superheroes who have come together against evil doers independent of the more famous hero counterparts. In this season, they go up against Deathstroke, whose own son inherits unique abilities despite losing his voice. Other classic characters appear along the way as this band of angsty heroes struggle to make sense of it all.

Season 2 episodes include Trigon, Rose, Ghosts, Aqualad, Deathstroke, Conner, Bruce Wayne, Jericho, and Atonement.

Titans: The Complete Season 2 is presented here in 1080p high definition across two Blu-ray discs with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.00:1 and an audio mix in lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1, both of which are standard for the format. The initial premiere of the show was through HD streaming through the DC Universe streaming label and is presented here nicely with no commercial breaks or interruptions.

Special Features only offer the Jason Todd: Fate by the Fans featurette.

If you are a fan of the series then this is a nice collection of the Second Season.

Finally we have The Witch: Subversion (2018), a new foreign action thriller from Director Park Hoon-Jung that borrows elements from other action films in the same vein such as Hanna, Dark Angel, Black Widow, and the John Wick series with a little dash of X-Men and The Matrix. Full of interesting photography, choreography, and action sequences, this film isn't half bad and definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the American films I just mentioned.

The film stars Choi Woo-shik, Kim Da-mi, Cho Min-soo, and Park Hee-soon. This is a Warner Bros production, however, despite being a foreign film and is directed by Hoon-jung Park (I Saw The Devil).

Ja-yoon (Woo-shik) escapes from a government testing facility as a kid. An old couple find her on their small farm as a child and take care of her and give her a seemingly ordinary life with a sister and all. Flash forward to the future and she is now a teenager. While her life seems normal, she participates in a singing competition and appears on TV. She starts having problems when it's revealed she needs a bone marrow transplant from her biological parents or she will die. She has painful flashbacks and memories of being a super-soldier badass.

Needless to say, it's not long until the bad guys spot their super weapon after seeing her on television. Having amnesia and not remembering anything of what happened to her, she soon strikes back her enemies with a vengeance when she unlocks her true potential and abilities.

The Witch: Subversion is presented here in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and two great sounding Korean audio mixes in both lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and lossy Korean Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (both with English subtitles.) One thing I found strange was that at certain points in the film, the characters do say things in English. In terms of presentation, the film looks great with interesting color correction. There's predominate blue hues in many sequences, particularly many scenes that were shot day for night.

Special Features are minimal with just Trailers and Previews being it. Kind of a shame as it would have been nice to see some of the behind the scenes video on how some of the stunts and choreography were pulled off.

If you don't mind its borrowing from stronger sources, The Witch: Subversion is fine popcorn munching fun.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Captain, Jungle) and James Lockhart



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