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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Killer Doll > Animals > Comedy > Thriller > Serial Killer > Mystery > Action > Robbery > Crime > Gang > Brahms: The Boy 2 (2020/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Carnival Magic (1981 with film Lost/Severin Blu-ray)/Eye See You (2002/aka ICU aka Detox aka D-TOX/MVD Blu-ray)/From Iceland To Eden (2020/Cinema Libre

Brahms: The Boy 2 (2020/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Carnival Magic (1981 with film Lost/Severin Blu-ray)/Eye See You (2002/aka ICU aka Detox aka D-TOX/MVD Blu-ray)/From Iceland To Eden (2020/Cinema Libre DVD)/Postcard Killings (2018/RLJ Blu-ray)/3-D Rarities II (1941 - 1983/Flicker Alley Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D)

3D Picture: B+ Picture: B+ & B-/C+/B-/B-/B+/B Sound: B+ & B-/C+/B-/B-/B+/B- Extras: C/A/B/C/C/B Films: C/B+/C+/C/C+/B

Here's a good mix of genre and special interest releases, including some odd films you really should know about...

Brahms: The Boy 2 (2020) is about as paint by numbers as you can get with a horror film, specifically one about a creepy doll. Almost identical in storytelling to any Child's Play or Annabelle movie, Brahms: The Boy 2 stars Katie Holmes who does the best she can with the material, and genuinely looks a bit freaked out in some scenes. Overall, the film is safe and boring, with plot points that you can see coming from a mile away.

The film also stars Ralph Ineson, Owain Yeoman, Anjali Jay, and Oliver Rice.

Katie Holmes plays a mother who gets robbed in a lonely house with her young son while her husband is at work. The boy goes mute after the attack and it becomes apparent to the family that some changes have to be made. When they move to a new place outside of the city, called the Heelshire Mansion, the boy finds a bizarre doll named Brahms buried in the woods. After they clean the doll off, it starts communicating to the boy telepathically (presumably) and the two form a bizarre and creepy friendship. It soon becomes apparent that this doll is a killing machine hell bent on manipulating the boy for his own dastardly deeds... and of course this isn;t the first time it's done this.

There are several scenes in this film that have become essential in every 'killer doll movie'. Long pauses of the parent looking at the doll and the doll moving just in time as they are caught unseen. Many moments where the kid is blamed for things the doll does. And of course, the doll defying all logic and doing things there;s no possible way they could do. Here, it's flipping over a heavy wooden table... no way even this spooky porcelain doll could do that.

Brahms: The Boy 2 is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a nice sounding English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48 kHz, 24-bit) lossless mix. The film is nicely shot with a creepy score and some unique looking set pieces. Also included is a lesser, compressed, standard definition DVD with a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix.

Special Features include:

Alternate Ending

and Deleted / Extended Scenes.

Next is a double feature film from Severin Films of Carnival Magic (1981) and Lost. Carnival Magic is about a talking monkey taken center stage in a circus, but when a jealous star feels a monkey stole his spot light he has plans to get rid of the monkey. Lost is about a young girl and her family moves from the city to the countryside to start over a new life, but then she gets lost in the wilderness and must somehow find her way home.

To save a dying circus Marcus reveals his talking monkey Alex to save everyone's jobs. Except the jealous tiger tamer feels Alex has stolen his spot light and plot sells him to a doctor who wants to dissect Alex to find out how he can talk. However, Marcus and the circle considers Alex to be part of the circus family they all decide to rescue Alex.

In Lost, a young city girl gets lost in the vast countryside with only her dog and her wits. While her parents search for her she must somehow survive the elements, wild animals and befriends a crazy old man who lives in the hills.

This was a double feature from the 1980s and it was a rough transfer looking like it was from something like VHS to Blu-ray. It is children theme movies, Carnival Magic was like E.T. except with a monkey instead of an alien. Lost was like Pippi Longstocking meets Little House on the Prairie. Extras include Boon To Science, audio commentary, outtakes, TV spots and trailers. The picture and sound show their age and are similar to the older Blu-ray we reviewed of Magic at this link:


Despite having plenty of bombs in his career, especially after trying to make serious films (Victory, F.I.S.T., Paradise Alley), Sylvester Stallone has coasted on his politics (right of center populism) and his franchises Rocky and Rambo. When Rambo III (1988) became one of the biggest bombs of all time, hurt Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures and Carolco Pictures, those companies took a few years to recover and the smallest one eventually folded. After a surprise comeback with Cliffhanger a few years later, he was searching for more hits.

He had a few, but one film was such a speed bump that most have not heard of it and it barely opened in the United States. I Know What You Did Last Summer director Jim Gillespie was given more money, a formula script and more good actors than expected, but the film landed up going under FOUR title changes and several cuts, none of which took hold. Now being issued on Blu-ray under one of its latter titles, Eye See You (2002/aka ICU aka Detox aka D-TOX) has Stallone as a cop taunted by a serial killer who eventually drives him so insane, one last ugly act causes him to have a nervous breakdown.

This has him landing up in a mental institute that happens to be located in a very isolated part of the world with a giant snowstorm that ranks with Kubrick's The Shining (1980, now on a solid 4K disc) and yes, the killer has followed him there!

We get Kris Kristofferson, Charles Dutton, Tom Berenger, Robert Patrick, Dina Meyer, Courtney B. Vance, Sean Patrick Flannery, Jeffrey Wright (just before the Westworld revival and Craig Bond films), Robert Prosky, Steven Lang, Polly Walker and others in what is simply NOT your typical slasher film cast and all lensed by the brilliant Director of Photography Dean Semler, A.C.S, A.S.C., so there were high hopes for this one. Universal and Imagine Entertainment originally backed it and though it was not masterwork of cinema, it could have worked and been a hit.

Then Stallone was not happy that the film did not feature him enough and that landed up backfiring and sending him back to the B-movie world when that did not have to happen. The cut of the film we get here is not as clear as it could be and trying to favor him more unnecessarily ruins the pace, suspense, consistency the film originally had and looks like someone tampered with it and did not know what they were doing.

The earlier DETOX cut is supplied here by the director in a very, very rough low def version with better opening credits, better editing and color that looks far more like Semler's superior work. Outside of this, I have seen two other cuts (and not using up the titles not used here) and can tell you this film could look even better if someone went to the original director's cut 35mm negative (or dupe, if it exists) and did a 4K scan supervised by Semler, but that sadly is not in the cards at this time. The HD cut has bad imitation of Fincher's Se7en credits that too many films, TV shows and music videos were doing at the time, making it seem, more dated than it needed to be. The film is a belated relic of bad 1980s formula filmmaking, but has aged in interesting ways and has some interesting moments, so I was glad to revisit it in more versions. It is a failure you have to see to believe, choc full of missed opportunities. Also, Stallone could have tried a few different tones in certain scenes that would have helped.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used, namely that they look second generation versus the original 35mm camera negative and color grading lacks range and depth, making it look cheaper than it should, thus you'll see more color in the very rough low def director's cut that should be here.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is a little rough too, which I remember sounding a little smoother in imports discs I saw of the film and it was a multi-channel digital sound recording. The film was well recorded enough on set, et al, but I have a feeling some of this is second-generation off the original soundmaster to do the recut.

Extras include that director's cut, plus 8 Deleted Scenes (also in rough low def), photo gallery, original theatrical trailer and eight interview clips made at the time with various members of the cast. Wish I could have done an audio commentary on this one.

Featuring very similar cover/poster art, the Icelandic thriller, From Iceland to Eden (2020), is a wild and colorful drugged out love story that's exchanges experimental and artistic for realism. A 'Bonnie and Clyde' type love story, the film has some interesting filmmaking techniques, but is ultimately not too original.

Oliver and Loa are two druggies who end up falling in love and end up involved in a dangerous scheme with a crime syndicate. As they lose grasp of reality, they end up digging a hole deeper and deeper for themselves as the Syndicate starts to pursue them. They dream of paradise and a means to escape, but put it all on the line in the name of love.

The film features a strong foreign cast in Huld Johannesdottir, Hansel Eagle, and Arnar Jonsson.

From Iceland to Eden is presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition on DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a fine sounding lossy audio mix in Icelandic Dolby Digital 5.1 with English subtitles. There are moments of noticeable compression, but ultimately it looks fine for the format.

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes

and a Trailer.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is known to horror fans as Negan from The Walking Dead as well as a host of other genre characters in film and TV. Here he leads a talented cast in the action/drama The Postcard Killings (2018), which is an interesting murder mystery worth checking out on disc.

The film also stars the underrated Famke Janssen (Taken, Goldeneye, X-Men series), Liza Marklund, and Cush Jumbo. The film is directed by Dania Tanovic and based upon a bestselling novel by James Patterson and Liza Marklund.

NY Detective Jack Kanon (Morgan) loses his daughter and her husband in a grisly murder where the murderer mutilated the bodies and posed them in bed together. He and his wife (Janssen) explore London as they attempt to solve the mystery behind the murder. Once on the case, Jack learns that there are other murders that are similar and pre-marked with a postcard to authorities before the killings happen.

The Postcard Killings is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a nice sounding mix in English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) lossless sound. The film has a nice color palette with blue tones predominant in most of the London are more solemn scenes with a bit more color for the flashbacks. Some details would be brought out better in 4K UHD, but what we get is not bad.

Special Features: The Making of the Postcard Killings.

The Postcard Killings is an interesting drama and if nothing else proves that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a fine (if not underrated) actor that's perfectly capable of being a leading man.

Finally, though I love photochemical film, large frame formats, 4K, 8K and advance color formats, I also still love 3D (or 3-D is you prefer) and think it is sad it did not take hold this time with Blu-ray 3D since the format worked even when many of the 3DTVs were substandard, a big mistake on the part of the manufacturers. Still, it has its diehard fans in the U.S. and did better overseas, so great titles are still being made and that includes 3-D Rarities II (1941 - 1983) following the impressive first installment from Flicker Alley. This is more than worthy of that first one, reviewed elsewhere on this site. I will explain the contents by extrapolating on the well-written press release a but because it is very on the money.

The main programs include the long-lost film A Day in the Country; 3-D master Raymond Spottiswoode's The Black Swan; Stereoscopic Anthropologist Hillary Hess' presentation of Mid-Century Memories in Kodachrome Stereo (save possible shrinkage in some cases, the color in Kodachrome holds up incredibly well and it sure does here); the mysterious Polaroid-filmed Games in Depth (one of the companies rare delvings into movie film, like the later ill-faded instant Super 8 movie film format Polavision); a prologue for Frankenstein's Bloody Terror, a West German-Spanish co-production originally filmed in Hi-Fi Stereo 70 (this needs its own release, as does Paul Morrissey's Flesh For Frankenstein); and a trailer for the 1983 documentary The 3-D Movie, which serves as a brief historical showcase for a wide swath of classic 3-D films and offers a collection of clips of 3-D films going back for decades.. Wonder if that could get its own release, give or take copyright clearances.

Then we get a feature-length film starting with the historical romance/adventure El Corazon y la Espada (1953, aka The Heart and the Sword, aka The Sword of Granada). The first 3-D movie ever produced in Mexico, the original Spanish version of El Corazon y la Espada has not been viewed in its intended format since 1955. Scanned in 4K and restored frame-by-frame from the original left/right 35mm camera negatives, the film stars Cesar Romero (longtime romantic lead who later became the first live-action The Joker in the Adam West 1960s Batman series and movie) and Katy Jurado (High Noon and Broken Lance among so many others) with other top starts of Mexican cinema of the day. They are great together, with the expected chemistry and the film is plenty of fun.

Finally, if you know what stereo still pictures are about (most today know what that is from the View-Master toy (some of those were featured on the previous 3-D Rarities Blu-ray) with its circular picture discs or the earlier Tru-Vue format (those were in rectangles) you could buy them pre-made or make your own with various 3D still 35mm cameras. The great comedy film star Harold Lloyd loved the format and shot thousands of pictures this way, so we get some amazing shots (some of his Hollywood friends) stereoscopic images, supplied by Lloyd's granddaughter, Suzanne Lloyd Hayes. Its great they held up so well and more than worth your time here.

So with all of that on one disc, you should buy this one even if you can only see it in 2D.

The 1080p MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image is here in several aspect ratios, but this is the best performer on the list, any ghosting and alignment issues are limited and it is another gem for anyone who loves 3D and is building a serious library. The 22D 1080p versions of each of the films and stills are also just fine and can look great, so great care has been taken here as much as in Flicker Alley's original volume of this hopefully continuing series to make this a true treasury.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless sound mix is usually monophonic, though some newer audio is simple stereo and just fine, sounding as good as it ever likely will. I ti impressive that some of this has held up as well as it has.

Extras include two feature length audio commentary tracks. One for El Corazon y la Espada with author David Wilt and film historian Dr. Robert J. Kiss, the other on The Black Swan with 3-D film expert Mike Ballew. We also get yet another high quality Souvenir Booklet (14 pages long on the usual high quality paper) featuring rare photographs and extensively researched liner notes from (again) 3-D expert Mike Ballew.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Eye, 3D), Ricky Chiang (Magic) and James Lockhart



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