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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Zombie > Murder > Action > Child Killer > Russia > Science Fiction > Post-Apocalyptic > T > Sherlock Holmes (2009) + A Game Of Shadows (2011/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

Blood Quantum (2019/RLJ Blu-ray)/Evil Boy (2019/Well Go DVD)/Genesis II (1973)/Planet Earth (1974/Blu-ray*)/Riverdale: The Complete Fourth Season (2019 - 2020/DVD/*both Warner Archive)/Sherlock Holmes (2009) + A Game Of Shadows (2011/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B+/B-/B/C+/B+ Sound: B+/B-/C+/C+/B+ Extras: D/C-/D/C/C+ Main Programs: B/C+/C+/C+/B+ & B

PLEASE NOTE: The Riverdale DVD and Genesis II/Planet Earth Blu-ray are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the links below.

Up next are more murder, horror, mystery thrillers, plus a sci-fi double feature you may have missed...

From RLJ and Shudder comes a fresh zombie story, Blood Quantum (2019). While the world is overrun by zombies, there's a reserve on Red Crow that's a safe place from the zombie pandemic. In the hundred or so residents there, some of which are immune, battle against the undead that threaten their land. It's not often that you see a Zombie movie from the perspective of Native Americans and it makes for an interesting and different feel.

The film stars Michael Greyeyes, Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, Devery Jacobs, and Natalie Liconti.

Blood Quantum is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC Codec and an original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and paired with a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit) mix. The film definitely had a decent budget behind it and it comes across nicely onscreen here on Blu-ray disc.

No extras.

Blood Quantum feels at times like a Walking Dead episode and has some cinematic moments here and there. The special effects and makeup aren't bad (Walking Dead does has the advantage there), and the drama isn't too overbearing. If you're craving some zombie action this isn't a bad film on the Shudder roster.

Evil Boy (2019) also known as Stray as Tvar is a Russian horror film that can be summed up by the title. After losing their son, a young couple end up adopting a feral and very creepy little boy. Similar to other films where children are killers that we have reviewed recently on this site such as Mikey and Z, the young child appears to be at first innocent, but soon proves to be creepy and downright evil. It isn't long before it kills everything in sight with bizarre animalistic force and begins to transform into the image of their dead child. Is this Evil Boy human? Or some kind of demonic hell spawn?

The film stars Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Anna Ukolova, and Sevastian Bugaev.

Evil Boy is presented in standard definition on DVD with an anamorphically enhanced widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a lossy Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, there's also an English language mix on the disc with optional English subtitles. The film is very nicely shot yet and likely has a budget of a few million. The money is on the screen and the colors and compositions are very professional. Compression issues that are the norm for the format.

Special Features: Trailers

So all in all, this is not a bad film and is akin to something you would see on Shudder.

In the 1970s, TV audiences finally caught up with Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek, a show that bombed in the late 1960s, only to become one of the most successfully syndicated TV shows in TV rerun history. People at the time were highly underestimating and even laughing at the following. How times change.

In the middle of that, Roddenberry had signed a deal with Warner Bros. Television in an attempt to launch another such series, thinking the market would be interested and not thinking Trek would ever be making any kind of comeback. Among the many things Roddenberry tried at the time, two TV movies were made: John Llewellyn Moxey's Genesis II (1973) and Marc Daniels' Planet Earth (1974). Both had been previously issued on DVD, but now they have this fine Blu-ray double feature edition. We reviewed the first film on DVD at this link:


Though not a sequel or too directly connected, Planet Earth has some of the same ideas, John Saxon takes over the main lead role from Alex Cord, sets and one of the characters from the first film turns up as an older man, but that is the extent of the connections. Still, this was ambitious for the time and like the first film, has its moments.

Dylan (Saxon) leads a group to a strange, hidden place dominated by women with dicatorship leanings (think a rougher version of Zardoz) and have to play stupid to figure out what is going on and to stop anything bad there from getting worse. Janet Margolin, Ted Cassidy, Christopher Clay and Diana Muldaur are among the supporting cast. I like elements of both films, with Cord in the original being a bit wilder-looking, suggesting more possibilities at the time, yet Saxon comes up with a take that also works, even if it might remind one a little more of a Captain Kirk.

Neither telefilm launched a series, but it shows how ambitious Warner and TV of the time could be, even suggesting smart, challenging thoughts and ideas along the way. These were also a part of a cycle of post-apocalyptic movies and TV projects being made in the aftermath of films like Kubrick's 2001, Truffaut's film of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and Godard's Alphaville, but Trek was doing it for TV.

While other space shows were thriving at this time (Space: 1999, Space Academy, the original Doctor Who, The Starlost and even Star Maidens, which Planet Earth will also remind people of,) most of the post-apocalyptic TV was not doing well. Most surprising were the ambitious live action TV versions of Planet Of The Apes and Logan's Run, yet the one series that was a big hit set in such a world was the underrated live action Saturday Morning hit Ark II, which definitely owes something to Roddenberry. In all that, these two telefilms are definitely worth a look and to me, play better than many of the later Trek spin-off series.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers can sometimes show the age of the materials used. As shot on 35mm film, this is far superior a transfer to the previous DVD release of Genesis and is even more revealing than expected. Planet looks as good, though both also have their share of old-looking matte work and some optical printing here and there. Both also were originally monophonic productions and are both here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes.

There are sadly no extras, though this arrives as John Saxon's passing has happened as we post, so we should dedicate this to him.

Next, we finally catch up with the dark revision of the Archie Comics universe by way of David Lynch (albeit in a lite way) with Riverdale: The Complete Fourth Season (2019 - 2020) as the title suburb that has made many generations laugh for many, many decades is suddenly a semi-death trap. Back in the day, it would have looked like a spoof on a TV skit show, but now, this kind of dowdy revisionism plays to a young audience and the result here is a hit.

Archie (AJ Apa) now had to deal with being haunted by dead people, having bizarre dreams that tell him of things happening in his real life and the rest of the gang is still here, even if the soda shop is not. I have to admit I was not impressed with what little I saw when this debuted and more now than then, keep laughing unintentionally at the writing and storylines because versus the fun and true humor of the original comic books, the so-so radio comedy from back in the day and the several animated series the sadly defunct Filmation Studios made (the original

Everything's Archie series (like several of the series, reviewed elsewhere on this site) made the #1 hit record ''Sugar, Sugar'' possible and that song is still getting airplay to this day.

In fairness to this show, even if Filmation had limited budgets, the reason this show can be a hit is because the animated series (especially the first one) were so dead on about the original comic books, no series of any kind was going to outdo them or even be able to pick up where they left off. They had great energy and are still hilarious for fans of all ages, and still have more energy than this new live-action show. However, it is consistent enough for what it is, so if the gang has to clothe themselves in the horror genre for a generation, oh well. That makes this show for new fans only.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is not bad for the older format and you can see the use of subtle color range, but it is still a dark show visually and it resolves itself better in its native HD playback where available. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 has some ambience and sound effects, but is often still dialogue-based. We are certain this would be at least a bit better in a lossless codec.

Extras include three featurettes: Agent Betty Cooper, Mystery At Stonewall Prep and Riverdale; 2019 Comic-Con Panel.

Finally, hard to believe, but we are covering these two for the first time. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are Sherlock Holmes and Watson in the two hit films from Director Guy Ritchie, Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011). (A rumored third film is in the works as of this writing.) Looking back on these flicks now that they are on the 4K UHD format, they are a lot of fun to watch and have definitely aged well. These two new discs look undoubtedly better image wise in 2160p, but in terms of sound and extras on these discs there isn't anything new.

The 2009 Sherlock Holmes re-imagines the characters in a period set yet humorous way as they face off against the evil occultist: Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). As Watson attempts to get married, Holmes ends up tirelessly on the track of Blackwood who has seemingly risen from the dead. Holmes also encounters a femme fatale Irenne Adler (Rachel McAdams), whom he has a fling with. Ritchie portrays Holmes as a scattered brained but brilliant Detective, one who isn't afraid to get into a burly brawl or seclude himself for months on end.

The sequel, A Game of Shadows, is a worthy follow-up to the original and has Holmes and Watson face off against the infamous villain Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) who is finally a mental match to Holmes. The film also features Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films), Rachel McAdams, and Stephen Fry.

The Sherlock Holmes films are both presented in 2160p on 4K UHD disc with HDR (High Dynamic Range) a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (A Game of Shadows has a 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio) and an HEVC / H.265 codec that had to be upscaled 4K because of all the digital work to make the films look period and paired with a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix (48kHz, 24-bit) mixes. It is curious why they didn't upgrade the audio mix on these to Dolby Atmos or 7.1, but the image is far improved with much more detail in the image than in 1080p. The films have a very stylized look and rich colors that are slightly desaturated and help craft a dirty period setting that's a mix of practical and digital effects. Hans Zimmer's theme is fantastic and definitely helps propel the action throughout both features.

Also included on these is the original 1080p Blu-ray discs with feature the same widescreen aspect ratio and audio mixes as the 4Ks. Also note that there are no new extras on the 4K discs and that these extras are on the 1080p Blu-ray disc from the past release and included here.

Special Features for Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Maximum Movie Mode

Focus Points

Sherlock Holmes: Invented

Special Features for A Game of Shadows (2011)

Maximum Movie Mode

Focus Points

A Game of Shadows Movie App

All in all, the image is much improved on the 4K UHD releases of these films. If you are a fan and have the home entertainment system, they are a noticeable improvement from the already nice looking Blu-ray discs. Aside from the boost of quality in picture, however, there isn't much new here sound or extras-wise.

To order either of the Warner Archive releases, the Riverdale DVD and/or Genesis II/Planet Earth Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Genesis, Riverdale) and James Lockhart



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