Laid An Egg (1968/Cult Epics Blu-ray)/New Mutants 4K (2020/Marvel/Fox/Disney 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
w/Blu-ray)/Riders Of Death Valley
(1941/VCI Blu-ray*)/Silent Running
(1972/Arrow Blu-ray/*both Universal/MVD)/2067
Ultra HD Picture: A
Picture: B-/A-/B-/B/B Sound:
Extras: C+/C+/C+/B+/C+ Films: C+/C/C+/A/C+
a mix of genre releases that show the thin line between B-movies and
multi-million dollar commercial productions...
the five titles we are covering here, three are releases we reviewed in older
versions, starting with Giulio Questi's Death
Laid An Egg (1968) with Gina Lollobrigida, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Ewa
Aulin and Jean Sobieski. Cult Epics
issued the film on Blu-ray a few years ago with two versions (one included a
CD) and have reissued it in new 2K scans of two different cuts here. The original release was reviewed at
film is considered an early Italian Giallo horror film, yet it has other things
going on, other things it tries to add and juggle maybe a little more than it
should have, but that makes it an interesting early entry in the cycle. It is more successful than not as a
film, with its look, unusual editing and solid cast being a plus. Lollobrigida was still a major star and
Trintignant more popular than some might remember. Subplots alongside the murders
(including one that is so science fiction, it may take away from the realism of
the storyline) do not necessarily gel, but it is ambitious.
new 2K scans make it all the more watchable and despite having a few good
extras in the previous edition, there
is a whole new set here as follows (per the press release):
2K HD Transfer (from original 35mm negative) of
Director's Cut version in English and Italian language (105
Director's Cut Audio Commentary by Troy Howarth
(Author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films Vol. 1,
2, 3) and Nathaniel Thompson (Author of DVD Delirium and founder of
2K HD Transfer (from original 35mm negative) of
alternate International giallo 'Plucked' version in English and Italian
language (91 minutes).
Review by Italian critic Antonio Bruschini in HD.
Giulio Questi: The Outsider - the last interview HD 2010 (13 minutes).
Doctor Schizo and Mister Phrenic (2002) - Short film by Giulio Questi (15 minutes).
English & Italian language Trailers in HD.
Optional English subtitles for Italian language
versions and trailer.
Reversible sleeve with original Italian poster.
and Slipcase limited to the first 2000 copies
printed with fluorescent inks.
unlike the hit Marvel Cinematic Universe which has a cohesive cast, narrative,
and fan base, the X-Men movie franchise is in a weird place at this
moment in time. Producer/Director
Bryan Singer has proved to be one of the creepiest humans in existence, Hugh
Jackman hung up his claws as Wolverine, and Dark Phoenix was pretty much
a total disaster for all parties involved.
So what happens now until the inevitable Disney/Marvel Studios
reimagining of the X-Men? That's
where things get a bit complicated.
the making of this film Fox was bought out by Disney and the film doesn't
really make any attempt to tie together to anything before it aside from the
vague mentioning of the X-Men in one scene. Had they went with more well known
characters or maybe a cameo or SOME kind of connection, fans maybe have been a
bit more pumped. Alas, The New Mutants is a mix of horror
fantasy that is more akin to the FX series Legion than it is to the
films made by Singer.
now, here in the year 2020 as we battle the Covid pandemic, our newest X-Men
universe set film is the much maligned The New Mutants, which was
actually one of the first films to be released in theaters promptly when they
reopened in August after a few moments of complete shutdown. This didn't exactly help business or
make fans brave the theatre as the project had gotten nothing but bad press
from day one with rumored clashes behind the scenes within the crumbling Fox
studios, and SEVERAL release date pushbacks over the years. Now that we have the film on 4K UHD and
can watch it at any time, the final result is a teen genre picture with a few
demented moments and a mixed bag of mediocre CGI and muddy storytelling.
cast of The New Mutants isn't terrible at all with rising star Anya
Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Charlie Heaton (Stranger
Things), Henry Zaga, and Blu Hunt.
The film is directed by Josh Boone (The Fault Is In Our Stars).
film follows five teen mutants who are stuck in a mental ward / prison where
they are being monitored by one sole Doctor. As each of the teens struggle with their
newfound powers, they end up bonding despite their differences, and soon find
out that things aren't exactly as they seem.
strongest character in the film is no doubt Anya Taylor-Joy's Magik, who has a
cool magic sword thingy that transforms off her arm, glowing eyes, and the
ability to transport her enemies to a kind of limbo world, but overall the
powers to all of the characters are a bit silly and more mental than physical.
Williams plays a lesbian character named Rahne Sinclair that is never really
given much to do other than sneak around places and be observant. Both of the teen guys have powers that
are pretty silly and standard (Sunspot who gets 'too hot' and Sam kills
unintentionally.) However, the film
is told through the eyes of Danielle played by Blu Hunt, whose powers are a bit
more dangerous than all of them, and MAYBE should have been one of the sub
characters rather than the main character.
Then there's Alice Braga (Predators)
who is the Mad Doctor in charge of them (kind of silly that she is the only
authority figure in the film and manning these powerful children ALONE in a
huge facility), but possibly she may be a mutant herself. Yes, there's tons of plot holes and
groaner moments, but on occasion the film is watchable as it attempts to be a
dark teen horror film more than straight superhero faire and even dares a few
LGBTQ moments that don't seem too out of place.
Origins & Influences featurette
Meet the New Mutants featurette
The New Mutants is better than Dark Phoenix and has some interesting moments
propelled by Anya Taylor-Joy in particular. After reportedly being cut severely in
the editing room, this is likely not the film that Director Josh Boone intended
to make, but it's not a complete disaster either as many suspect it to be. More or less, it's a film that got lost
in the shuffle and that will likely be more well liked over time. The 4K UHD presentation is strong and
the disc has fine supplemental content.
upgrade is the big Universal Saturday Morning Movie Serial Western The Riders Of Death Valley (1941) that
we reviewed many years ago on DVD at this link:
hyped up on its star power and claims of expenditure, it sure has some energy
and fun to it, but the cliffhangers still are disappointing, yet since we
covered it, a cycle of bad Westerns have popped up. That makes this serial seem all the more
fun and authentic, no pretention or dull formula here, per se. Fans should be happy and it was a long
are improved over the old DVD edition and include audio commentary tracks on
the first two chapters by film scholar Toby Roan, Photo & Poster Gallery
and Original Serial Trailers.
Trumbull's Silent Running (1972) is
one of the first films we ever reviewed for this site and still one of the best
and most underrated. Several
editions have surfaced over the years including this then-decent DVD we
reviewed way back in the day:
film has aged very well, is more relevant than ever and sadly, its warnings and
downsides are horrifically more possible than ever, making it a sci-fi space
movie still way ahead of its time and its warnings as urgent as they could ever
be. Bruce Dern gives what is still
one of his greatest performances and the effects hold up far better than you
might expect. I cannot recommend
this film strongly enough, especially now that it has been restored and
from the U.S. DVD repeated here include the Original Theatrical Trailer, the nearly-hour
long ''Making Of Silent
vintage featurette, too-short five-minutes-long on-camera reflection by Trumbull,
a ten-minutes-long one by Dern, an outstanding alternate audio commentary by
Trumbull and Dern and a longer program on Trumbull's work and life. Arrow has added another well-illustrated booklets
on the film including informative text and two essays on the film, then further
added to the disc a new feature length audio commentary track by Kim Newman and
Barry Forshaw, older Trumbull/Dern commentary track from an edition we missed,
Isolated Music Score, No Turning Back
featurette on the music score by film and film music scholar Jeff Bond, visual
essay First Run by Jon Spira on the
screenplay formation, reversible sleeve and an extensive, impressive Behind The
Scenes Gallery of stills and images.
we have Sean Larney's new science fiction film 2067 (2020) about a future world that is polluted and lacks oxygen,
so people are being controlled and tormented by the lack of it, including a
young worker (Kodi Smit-McPhee of Game
Of Thrones) who does what he can to get by. His is ruining the lives and health of
everyone around him, but it turns out his scientist father (now deceased) was
developing a time machine and he is recruited to try to change the situation.
starts out smart and realistic, but turns too early into a StarGate/12 Monkeys hybrid, only distinguished by a set of good
actors and that it is an Australian production. I liked the things we have not seen
before and the different things the film offers, but it is not enough, even
with a strong supporting actor showing of Ryan Kwanten (District 9) and the ambition of the production overall. It is not a total failure by any means,
but a mix of more hot than miss that is worth a look if you are interested,
include a director's feature length audio commentary track and multi-part Behind
The Scenes featurette.
for playback performance. The
New Mutants is presented in 2160p Ultra High Definition HEVC/H.265 codec
with HDR (high dynamic range), a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and audio
mixes in lossless English Dolby Atmos (English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 48kHz, 24-bit
mixdown for older systems). The
clarity of the image often times makes it easier to spot some of the dodgy
digital effects, but helps overall in terms of color range. There's noticeably more texture and detail
overall than the also included 1080p Blu-ray addition which has similar audio
and video tracks. Overall, the 4K
presentation is pretty good and is up to par with Disney's other high profile
releases on the format.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Egg is improved in both
versions and more than enough to justify this reissue, but color is as much
improved as anything involving detail and depth here, shot on Eastmancolor 35mm
negative film. The Italian and English
Dub soundtracks have post-production work typical of post-WWII Italian films
and they both sound a little aged and sometimes rough, all in PCM 2.0 Mono
here. Diehard fans will still want
the older edition for extras and especially if they can get that CD.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfers on Riders
can show the age of the materials used, but this is a nice improvement over the
older DVD set we covered years ago from VCI and that goes for the PCM 2.0 Mono
sound, which is a little clearer and even warmer. Fans will be happy.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Silent Running
is a fine improvement over the transfer used on the DVD editions we covered
years ago with improved color, fullness, depth and detail I have only seen in
film copies before. Considering
this was a film that had a 70mm blow-up release, I was surprised that we get a
little more grain than expected.
Otherwise, this is the best I have ever seen the film from an accurate
2K scan (maybe they should try 4K down the line) and the PCM 1.0 Mono sound is
as good as it has ever sounded, though that 70mm version had 6-track sound, but
the soundmaster seems to have been misplaced. Otherwise, this is another top-notch
restoration from Universal and Arrow.
the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on 2067 is a
surprising good HD shoot with some good color, atmosphere and character we do
not see in enough films made today, especially in the science fiction
genre. I give the Australians (and
New Zealand for that matter) credit for being more than competitive when it
comes to filmmaking, understanding genre better than many in Hollywood. Even a little more impressive is the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix has a more active and impressive
soundfield and mix than expected and better than many a Hollywood genre film we
have encountered of late. I bet it
could even compete with New Mutants at times. The combination will impress and
challenge the best home theater systems.
- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart