On The Nile
Cross: Season 1
Roth's History Of Horror: Season 1
Tax Collector 4K
(2020/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray/** all RLJ)
Ultra HD Picture: B Picture: C/B/B-/C/B/B/B- Sound:
C/B/B/C/B-/B/B- Extras: D/B/D/D/C/C/C- Main Programs: C+/B- &
for a wide variety of genre releases that span mediums and decades...
start with a hit French TV series, Balthazar:
(2019) with Tomer Sisley as the title pathologist helping to solve
crimes in his district. It is not necessarily an ongoing storyline,
so you only lose a little when you start on later episodes, yet I
still felt uninformed and as I always like to do, wish I had a chance
to start with the debut season. It is also as graphic in blood and
surgery issues as any U.S. show of its kind could be, more than
broadcast TV and at least as much as cable/satellite.
the 10 episodes are much of what we have seen before, though diehard
fans of such TV will enjoy the different style, cast and change of
venue. Otherwise, it is more of the same like the glut of police
are no extras.
Video presents two interesting films from Director Yasuzo Masumura.
(1962) and The
(1963), both of which are available together in this new Blu-ray
release. Both of these films show the dark side of man kind and how
people can turn against one another easily just to be the winner of
in some respects to last year's fantastic film Ford
(reviewed in its 4K release elsewhere on this site), Black
pits two rival car companies against one another to create the
perfect racing vehicle. The film is beautifully shot in black and
white and feels like a more modern film than it is at moments. The
film stars Jiro Tamiya, Junko Kano, Eiji Funakoshi, and Hideo
is a courtroom drama that is a different kind of 'competition' than
but shares some of the ill willed spirit of that film. The film
starts with an Old Man being murdered and then presents us with a
list of suspects. This 'whodunnit' mystery will have you scratching
your head until its surprising climax! The film stars Ken Utsui,
Junko Kano, Hideo Takamatsu, Shigeru Koyama, and Eitaro Ozawa.
recorded critical appreciation by Jonathan Rosenbaum
trailers for both films
galleries for both films
sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet
with new writing on the films by Mark Downing Roberts.
it is one of her most famous and successful books, there for some
reason has always been issues that have stopped Agatha Christie's
On The Nile
from a live-action adaptation that really worked. Now, the 2003
David Suchet version is out on Blu-ray as a single and we reviewed it
as part of a set on Blu-ray at this link:
is the same disc and transfer and still is not even as good as the
1978 feature film, but the reason this is being issued now is that
the 70mm remake by Kenneth Branagh is coming to theaters (pandemic
notwithstanding) and we will see if three times is finally the charm.
are no extras.
Cross: Season 1
(2020) is part of a new series of shows from the new Urban Movie
Channel that is predominantly African American and wants to be
gritty. We just started getting releases from the network and this
one is a mixed bag, wanting to be hip with fast cars, action,
violence, harsh language and wild situations. Though the best part
is how some of the actors make some interesting choices in their
performances (that is the part that feels like new ground here) and
there is some energy here, the show is everything we have been seeing
in such feature films for a while.
A. Williams and Jeff Logan are twins who find themselves faced with
dealing with a child kidnapping ring and when they have no faith the
police will help, they decide to get crazy and do something about it
themselves. Though I am no fan of child in jeopardy storylines, this
one seems ironic and timely, but the show still cannot offer much
more than similar shows we've seen in the U.S. and in an unusual
number of foreign TV shows of late. Still, those interested might
find it a curio worth looking at.
are no extras.
Roth's History Of Horror: Season 1
(2018) is meant to be a counterpart to the same producers Science
Fiction documentary series with James Cameron, but they picked the
wrong horror figure and the show is, despite some fine interview
clips with key actors and other creative talent, a mess!
silly, phony, wacky, appealing to the lowest common denominator of a
'history' and lacking the kind of thought and research the Cameron
show had, it is hardly good enough for a college class or anyone
serious about horror films. Imagine how hard that is to do when you
have the interview talent and clearances for all these classic movie
and TV clips?
first episode is about zombies and tries to sell them as monsters of
this century, but that is so dumb it would take a long essay to
dispute that, starting with how played out those films are and we are
only a fifth through the century! The next two episodes are devoted
to slasher films and just bunches them all up instead of separating
various eras, then the rest of the subjects of each show does equal
injustice and delivers the same sloppy laziness throughout.
course, some of the clips are great and some of the interviews are
fine, but not all of them. Thus, you have to go though a ton of
chafe to get to the whole wheat here, something the Cameron series
never made you do. Some fans will not care, but this could have been
much, much better and it is a giant disappointment.
include extended interview clips with Stephen King, Quentin
Tarantino, Edgar Wright, Diablo Cody, Roger Corman, John Landis and
Joe Dante, plus featurettes How
and Costello Meet Frankenstein''
influenced Tarantino, How Video Games Resurrected
[no pun intended?] Zombie
Movies, Is Horror Sexist or Feminist?, Making a Monster
(2020) is the latest 'vampires in the night' series (usually traced
to the late Joel Schumacher's Lost
(1987) as a current cycle, though a few vampire films like this were
made before) and it is a mixed bag, covers much of what we have seen
before and again, may have too many child in jeopardy elements, but
in this case, it is in the Stephen King style, yet not anywhere
nearly as distinctive.
we join the madness in its sophomore season, I had seen bits and
pieces of the show before, so I knew what I was getting into by
taking it on. Though he is not in the show much, the case notes that
Zachary Quinto is here, but he is not a co-star, though he is the
best thing about the show when he is here and effectively so. It is
remarkable he did not show up in a vampire story before.
it is all over the place in a way even seeing the entire debut season
would correct, so it is for fans only, yet that is who it is aimed
for. Too bad it was not able to exceed that. Still, it is
professionally produced and one of the better such shows of its kind
in production now. Whether it will get better or hold up as it
stands is another story, but just cannot recommend it.
ComicCon@HomePanel and three brief Behind The
Scenes pieces: A
Look at Season 2,
Up with the Characters
Origins of Charlie Manx.
David Ayer has had one of the more unusual Hollywood careers of late.
He began to make his mark as a writer on poor commercial films like
critical acclaim for Training
but the first screenplay for what turned into The
Fast and The Furious
franchise put him over. He also directed Fury,
the first Suicide
film and two films that try to go into other corners of the Training
world. The first was the unmemorable Street
and now, we have another.
Tax Collector 4K
(2020) is not about the IRS gone wild, but a enforcer/gangster type
collecting dirty money and we get two of them in David (Bobby Soto)
and Creeper (Shia LeBeouf, who is not in the film as much as the
artwork suggests) convincing enough in their roles (LeBeouf allegedly
got tattooed for this role in a method actor move) and the set up has
many possibilities, but instead, we get so many missed opportunities
that I was disappointed. I expected something new, but save the
predominantly Hispanic cast giving it their all, this did not work
much at all.
there is a glut of such films stuck in an older, played-out style and
did not work out that well, so why Ayer thought he could get
something new out of this world after so much time is a mystery. It
could either be something new because so much time passed or nothing
more, the latter of which is what we sadly get. As compared to the
it looks dated upon arrival.
include Digital Copy and Deleted Scenes, but that is all.
for playback performance. The
2160p, 1.85 X 1, HEVC/H.265, (NO
HDR; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Tax
is the best-looking performer on the list as expected, but not by the
margin it might have been. Any HDR might have brought out more, but
the highlights are here and there. Director
of Photography Salvatore Totino, A.S.C., A.I.C., keeps the look of
the film consistent, but it is not up to his best work, which
includes several of Ron Howard's best looking films (The
as well as some visually memorable music videos for Tina Turner,
Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Radiohead. Perhaps they felt they needed
to keep this looking like the previous two films on some level, but
the look and the editing just don't add up or synthesize into
something better than expected.
1080p Blu-ray version is a little lighter and has more motion blur,
but color is about the same. Both discs offer the same DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that have some punch at times, but
the soundfield is uneven and sometimes just not as well recorded or
mixed as they should be.
films are presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an
MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and paired
with Japanese LPCM Mono tracks with optional English subtitles. The
black and white restorations here are very nicely done here and I'm
sure this is the best that these films have looked on disc.
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Nile
is not badly shot, but does have some motion blur and soft shots
throughout, while the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix has some Pro
Logic-like surrounds but is not very active, though recorded well
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Roth
is mixed with sloppy editing, but has some nice vintage film clips
and the newer interviews are usually shot well, but some of the
editing is very cliched and played out. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix is interview based
and audio from the films can run from mono to stereo with surrounds.
Interviews are clear enough, but the soundtrack could have been
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on NOS4A2
is actually one of the better presentations here, stable and despite
some cliched editing, not too bad. Color is about as good as can be
expected for how this is stylized and the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is as good as anything on
this list, which means it is not bad and has a consistent soundfield.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Balthazar
and the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Double
have some style, but are softer and have more motion blur than I
would have liked. Cross
is more flawed and it style tends to work against it. Both only
offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mixes that underwhelm and is
particularly an issue with the Rap/Hip Hop bass-loaded soundtrack on
which the older sound format just cannot resolve properly or fully.
Nicholas Sheffo and James