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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Brothers > War > Adventure > France > Death > Family > Psychology > Swiss > German > Romance > Politics > Adama (2015/Icarus DVD)/Dark Fortune (2016*)/Dede (2017/*both Corinth DVDs)/Husbands (1970/Sony/Columbia/Criterion Blu-ray)/Time Zone Inn (2018/IndiePix DVD)/Victory (1981/Lorimar/Warner Archive Blu-r

Adama (2015/Icarus DVD)/Dark Fortune (2016*)/Dede (2017/*both Corinth DVDs)/Husbands (1970/Sony/Columbia/Criterion Blu-ray)/Time Zone Inn (2018/IndiePix DVD)/Victory (1981/Lorimar/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Wuthering Heights (1953/MVD/Liberation Hall DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Victory Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

A wide range of dramas, including a classic, are up next...

Simon Rouby's Adama (2015) stars Azize Diabate Abdoulaye as the title character, a 12 year old boy who goes in search after his brother leaves the village to prove he is a man. He follows his brother who has joined as a soldier over seas to fight in the war, as he travels further and further away he learns how vast and more to the world than his village. He meets people and sees different places, but never giving up, and determined to find and bring his brother home.

Adama come from a small village in the cliffs of Africa. He has been raised that they should never leave or venture beyond the cliffs, those who do are never to return. Adama's brother, tired of the village and elder's traditions, sneaks off and joins the army dreaming of becoming a soldier and hero. Adama chases after his brother stowaway on a ship, hitchhiking and anyway to find his brother, along the way he see the wonders of westernization, modernization, meeting people, he is robbed and he also sees the ugly side of humanity. As he gets closer to the war he does find his brother, but by then both of them has lost their innocence, but suddenly when a bomb is just about to hit them, a crazy old man who journeyed with Adama shoves them down a hole and they are burred beneath the earth. Adama and his brother wake up and find themselves magically transported to the caves in the cliffs near their home and they return to their village.

This was an interesting animation with a mix of painting style and 3D CGI visual effects. The story is like a fairytale and a coming of age story about 2 boys who want to seek their fortune beyond the walls and safety of their village. By the end of the tale... Well, you'll have to see the rest. Extras include trailers.

Stefan Haupt's Dark Fortune (2016) involves the sad story of a family who gets into a car wreck and all of them die except Yves (Noe Ricklin) who is certainly not well and has a goofy aunt who would not help matters, so child psychologist Eliane Hess (Eleni Haupt) steps in to take care of the young boy, but there are things even she does not know about and there will be more work in solving things than it already appears.

The acting is good here, this is well paced and takes the audience seriously, but I did not think it all added up and some of it was a little predictable. It is apparently based on a popular novel, but the film has to stand on its own. Running 114 minutes, the Swiss/German production is not bad, but maybe it could have tried a few things differently. Still, those interested should consider seeing it.

There are no extras.

Mariam Khatchvani's Dede (2017) isa set at the beginning of the Georgian Civil War and has a story we've seen before of a woman in a regressive society 'promised' to a man she does not want to be with, but in this case, she is more interested in being with his best friend. Apparently based on a true story that is believable enough, some of the twists and turns are believable, but others just obvious or predictable, so the dilemma is do you change the story for more impact or even political points, or leave it as is?

This one runs a tight 97 minutes and does take us to a place we have not been before, so seeing that is a plus and the actors are good, while the directing is not bad, but it did not stay with me as much as I would have liked it to. Still, it is decently done for what it is and you might want to see it if interested in the set-up.

A trailer is the only extra.

John Cassavetes' Husbands (1970) can be a very difficult film to watch for some, spending almost 2.5 hours focusing on three married men who never grew up, are insanely loyal to each other and are from from good at being what the title of the film is. With that said, it was a revelation when it arrived 50 years ago, showing men in their early 40s being so toxic and careless, even if they were also funny while being crude. It is only because Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk play the three leads that they get away with what they do here, already very popular for their commercial success on TV, et al.

After Shadows and Faces, Cassavetes wanted to push the limits of acting and improvisation in elongated, extended form and knowing this could wear thin for the length of film he wanted to have, Cassavetes makes the smart move of have the trio go to London, England to be obnoxious there too!

Within the narrative, it can get rough, but with some ironic distance, these actors show that they are some of the best of their generation and maybe of all time, coming up with all kinds of interesting, unforgettable and even shocking moments. By today's standards, some of this is simply not politically correct, but it influence as a sort of streetwise answer to Ingmar Bergman would influence and join such incredible work by Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets), Francis Coppola (Godfather, The Conversation), Robert Altman (California Split, The Long Goodbye) Michael Cimino (Deer Hunter, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot), Arthur Penn (Night Moves) and so many others at the time. No doubt it is a must-see classic, but be prepared for the long haul.

Extras include a high quality paper pullout in the Blu-ray case with technical information and a solid essay by filmmaker Andrew Bujalski, while the disc adds a feature length audio commentary track by from 2009 featuring critic Marshall Fine, New interviews with producer Al Ruban and actor Jenny Runacre, New video essay featuring audio recordings of John Cassavetes in his own words exploring the actor-director's spirited approach to acting, The Story of "Husbands" - A Tribute to John Cassavetes (2009), a half-hour program featuring Ruban, actor Ben Gazzara, and cinematographer Victor J. Kemper, a hilarious episode of The Dick Cavett Show from 1970 featuring Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, and actor Peter Falk acting nuts for its 45 minutes placement and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Also known as Senza Distanza, the Italian drama/comedy Time Zone Inn (2018) takes place in a B&B where every room is designed like a different city with that city's timezone. As couples experience these rooms together, the test begins to see if their bonds can withstand being distant from one another. The film explores many themes about love and relationships and was a hit on the film festival circuit with many accolades and is a clever concept.

The film stars Giovanni Anzaldo, Elena Arvigo, Marco Cassini and is directed by Andrea di Iorio.

The only special feature is a trailer.

Time Zone Inn is very philosophical and looks at love from many different perspectives and has a very surreal dream-like quality to it even if it does tend to be a bit slow at points.

John Huston's Victory (1981) has the legendary director still able to make big commercial films and gets to pair a still risk-taking Sylvester Stallone with Michael Caine and soccer/European football legend Pele (who was playing for Warner Bros. own soccer team at the time) in a WWII tale where the Nazis decide to stage a game with their elite players versus whomever the Allied prisoners of war can piece together. After what happened between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. At the winter olympics of the time, you can see why the makers thought this might be timely commercially.

Max Von Sydow plays the lead Nazi official hoping the game will go the fixed way imagined to show how 'superior' the Nazis are and this has a few good moments including when Stallone used to try to act. However, it is a little predictable and maybe the Nazis are portrayed in ways that are considered too kind and pat. Now you can see for yourself and at least the film is ambitious if a bit flawed.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

And finally, a very different version of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights that was made in 1953 and has no less than Richard Burton in its lead. However, this was made for live TV (The DuPont Show Of The Month series) directed by solid journeyman Daniel Petrie and produced by David Susskind. So its Heathcliff versus Edgar Linton for the affections of Catherine, but instead of a pretentious overly-costumed melodrama that might lean towards stuffiness, the limited budget and being studio-bound means the actors have to focus on performance and character.

Fortunately, Burton is in good form here, joined by Patty Duke, Denholm Elliott and Rosemary Harris, making this a very welcome change of pace from the more recent versions that do not always work and get to the point of the story (depending on how much of the book you think they cover or not) in a good 90 minutes that is never dull. Thus, it is a little gem worth seeing, especially if you love the book, actors and are curious how they pulled this off.

With all the controversy with DuPont recently, we see several commercials for only their products and some are fine, though all of the episodes of this show are haunted by the disaster that was Teflon (hurting and killing a whole bunch of people, the environment and even animals!) and then, it also occurred to me that the company was making movie film at the time and this whole show is highly likely shot on their own film stocks. They even made one special for kinescope recording.

There are sadly no extras, unless you want to count the commercials.

Now for playback performance. The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Husbands is from a new 4K scan that makes the film look really good and sometimes great from the intimate room scenes to location work from New York City to London, with some great color to boot as lensed on 35mm color film by Director of Photography Victor J. Kemper, A.S.C.. This looks as good as anything on the list and the PCM Mono (from magnetic and optical sound sources) may show its age, but sounds as good as it ever did or will.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Victory is also newly restored from the original 35mm anamorphic Panavision negative (lensed by Director of Photography Gerry Fisher, B.S.C.) and looks as fine as it can with solid MetroColor and the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix does cut back on the music by Rocky veteran Bill Conti (who did the far superior score for the James Bond film classic For Your Eyes Only the same year), but this also sounds as good as it ever will.

Time Zone Inn is presented in anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 widescreen in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Italian Stereo with English subtitles. While the image is compressed (as is native in the format,) the overall presentation is fine and the film is eloquently and very cinematically shot.

The 1.33 X 1 black & white image transfer with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound on Wuthering is the poorest presentation here by default as the program was recorded on kinescope equipment (meaning the film an old analog black and white TV picture tube of the time with all of its flaws!) so it is only going to look so good, but it is fine for what we get and most dialogue is audible.

The remaining three of the DVDs offer anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 images (Adama a little better than the rest) with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound (Adama barely better than the others, all in their respective languages), so they all play fine for recent productions and are passable for the older DVD format. If they ever get issued on Blu-ray, we'll have to see how much of an improvement we get in each case.

To order the Victory Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo, Ricky Chiang (Adama) and James Lockhart (Inn)



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