(2019/Acorn DVD Set)/Pride
(1940/MGM/*both Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Shanghai
Triad (1995/Film Movement
C/B/C+/B/B+/B Sound: C+/C+/C+/B-/B+/C+ Extras:
C-/C-/C/C/C+/B+ Main Programs: C+/C+/C+/B-/B/B-
Blu-rays and now only available from Warner Bros. through their
Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
new group of dramas are wide-ranging and have their share of
start with Cory Finley's Bad
(2020) with Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney as part of the staff of
the Roslyn High School where it looks like they are helping everyone
out, but in reality, skimming money from the budgets. Based on a
true story, they landed up steal over $21 Million before they got
caught. The cable telefilm is not badly shot or directed, cheeky at
times with its teleplay and has its moments.
plays Frank Tassone, who is more manipulative and clever than it
first seems, which is how he managed to keep the fraud going for so
long, but Janney's Pam Gluckin is also formidable and they are
friends and partners in this. A sad story when you think about it,
we have seen a few too many such scandal films in recent years, but
this one does not seem to pull any punches. Look for Ray Romano in
one of his unrecognizable turns too.
include two promo clips HBO used to promote the film and a Virtual
Conversation with Jackman and Janney.
(1951) is one of the more commercial turns for the rough and tumble
director as we are told the WWII story on how the Marines and their
aerial unit (pre-Air Force) took on Japanese Kamikaze fighters.
Robert Ryan plays the leader of the squad, but they discover in the
first scene that a new leader played by John Wayne is taking over,
which will lead to personal conflict, but hopefully not enough to
stop them from winning the war.
film has some good moments and looks good for its age, but it is
ultimately still a formula genre film, even if it is a bit better
than the usual fair for the time when the genre was not yet played
out. Don Taylor and Jay C. Flippen are among the solid supporting
cast and it moves with decent energy for its 102 minutes runtime.
For fans only and some others who may be curious.
the popularity of the film among Wayne fans, an Original Theatrical
Trailer, re-issue version, is the only extra.
(2019) is a drama that is a bit of a thriller, but takes on more
serious themes as the underrated Julia Ormond (Smilla's
Sense Of Snow)
as an older woman who finds love at 60 a bad husband and children who
are not exactly the most supportive. She meets a new man who is very
young (Ben Barnes) and starts to feel better about her life. Too bad
there is a lack of support and their accusations that he is after her
money, et al.
am always happy to see Ormond and it has been a while, but she is
still great and she steals all her scenes, but the other actors are
not bad. The problem is that the writing is mixed and the results of
the story told is uneven. It is serious, but it could have done a
bit of a better job dealing with the most serious aspects of the
issues presented. At least it is mature and ambitious, but its
better than much of the bad TV we have suffered through of late.
Julia McKenzie is among the rest of the cast.
Behind The Scenes featurette (21 minutes) is the only extra.
doubt the most abused classic author in film and TV for the last 20
years has been poor Jane Austen. Why do most productions have to be
pretentious and pseudo-supportive of any female audience.
Fortunately, there are exceptions and Robert Z. Leonard's 1940
version of Pride
easily remains one of the best adaptations of any of her books, ever.
MGM knew what it was doing by casting Greer Garson, Laurence Oliver,
Edna May Oliver, Maureen O'Sullivan, Mary Boland, Ann Rutherford and
a cast that always seems as of the time as the production itself.
The sets and costumes still hold up too.
course, this also has one other very, very noteworthy participant
going for it. The screenplay was co-written by none other than
Aldous Huxley, the author of one of the most important books ever
He of all people would not let the screenplay turn into fluff,
formula or anything idiotic or condescending. With Jane Murfin, they
deliver a screenplay that is on the money from beginning to end. Now
totally restored, you can appreciate the film and instantly, you'll
see why most later adaptations of this and other Austen works are
include the Crime Does Not Pay short Eyes Of The Navy,
MGM animated cartoon The Fishing Bear and an Original
Yi-Mou's film Shanghai Triad (1995) gets a stunning HD
restoration from film movement that cinephiles won't want to miss.
The gorgeously photographed film centers on the Shanghai crime
syndicates of the 1930s.
the film, a young boy comes to know a beautiful woman named Xiao
(Gong Li). Aside from being a stage performer, she was bought by a
Godfather at a tender young age, and is now the centerpiece between a
feud between two rival gangs. This award winning film is definitely
worth checking out if you like foreign cinema with great
film stars Li Bao-Tian, Li Xue-Jian, Sun Chun, and Wang Xiao-Xiao.
color booklet with essays by critic and lecturer John Berra
in Shanghai video essay by John Berra
and previews for other Film Movement releases
we have a restoration of Jean Renoir's drama Toni
(1935) which has the all-time filmmaking giant going on location
(much rarer at the time) to industrial Southern France to tell the
tale of the title character (Charles Blavette) arriving from Italy
when France was low on local workers, hoping to at least make a
living for himself. Unfortunately, he has some character flaws,
including juggling two women (Celia Montalvan, Jenny Helia) and not
always handling the stress or trauma of his situation.
was also intending to be political by simply showing this underside
of life with people who have limited money, resources, education,
means or hope and how their lives might turn out. The points he
makes are often as valid now as they were nearly 85+ years ago when
the film was released and some aspects are as relevant as ever.
Class division and prejudice included, Renoir pulls no punches and
makes as honest a film as he could, including the early innovation of
not using professional actors, something that would be a hallmark of
post-WWII Italian Cinema when Neo-realism arrived. A remarkable film
for its time that keeps on giving, even when it shows its age in
include an illustrated
booklet on the film including informative text and a vintage essay by
Renoir himself and an essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, while
the disc adds a feature-length audio commentary from 2006 featuring
critics Kent Jones and Phillip Lopate, on-camera introduction by
director Jean Renoir from 1961, Episode of Cineastes
de notre temps
from 1967 on Renoir, directed by Jacques Rivette and featuring a
conversation with actor Charles Blavette about the film and NEW video
essay about the making of Toni
by film scholar Christopher Faulkner.
for playback performance.
The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Bad
was actually shot on film, but this is much softer than it should be,
even for this old format and I expect would make for a fine Blu-ray.
It has a good use of the scope frame and color is at least
consistent. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix has plenty of talk, but
some good music and choices of songs. Made me want a lossless
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Leathernecks
rarely shows the age of the materials used, is far superior a
transfer to all previous releases of the film and considering the
concern of how poor RKO films might look due to the neglect of the
catalog over earlier decades, this is impressive. Howard Hughes
owned the studio by then and famously created his own scope format so
he did not have to pay for CinemaScope, but never had a problem
paying for the expense of
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor on his biggest productions.
Though you get plenty of stock footage (some of which is probably
16mm Kodachrome) and the like, this looks really good for a war genre
film and holds up incredibly well. I was even surprised by the depth
and detail in some shots. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono
lossless sound is also as good as this film will ever sound, but the
audio shows its age a bit. Goes to show you how many bad copies of
this have been circulating.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the Gold episodes
are well-shot in HD and the darkness might not always be convincing,
but at least the look is consistent and the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1
sound is just fine for a dialogue-based production.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on Pride very rarely shows the film's age, has some
great demo shots and the money MGM put out for their glossy
monochrome film really pays off here. It is arguable that it remains
one of the best-looking versions of this book or any Austen
live-action production, especially most of the awful ones we have
seen in the last 15 to 20 years. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound is also as good as
this film will ever sound, except this sounds much better and clearer
than expected, so don't be surprised at the clarity if you get this
Triad is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc in a
MPEG-4 AVC (36.99 Mbps) codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1
and a nice sounding audio mix in Mandarin LPCM 2.0 Stereo, from the
original audio master. This was issued in Dolby old A-type analog
Dolby System noise reduction format and sounds good for tis age. Use
Pro Logic or similar decoding when viewing. The film has been
remastered for this release and looks great for the format. Much
like Yi-Mou's other films, there are several interesting color
schemes here with red and blue being constant recurring colors. The
image is pretty sharp for Blu-ray but could be improved even further
on 4K UHD disc.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on Toni is the oldest film here and a lower-budget
film than Pride, so it more so shows the age of the materials
used, which are the original 35mm camera negative and a 35mm
fine-grain positive to fix, repair and fill in sections that might
not be in prime shape from the negative. The results are impressive
under the circumstances and it is the best the film has looked in
decades. The PCM 2.0 French Mono
lossless sound is not going to be brilliant, especially for it being
so dialogue-based, but it is good for the most part, though this is
from the original optical nitrate sound negative and shows its age
throughout. It is amazing it survived but it has and one of the
reasons it holds up is that Renoir's nephew Claude Renoir
photographed it. It was the beginning of a great collaboration that
lasted several films, including The
River (see the Criterion
Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and even after as Claude's final work
was on the classic 1977 James Bond film The
Spy Who Loved Me, a big
hit and fan favorite.
order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, The
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases
Nicholas Sheffo and James