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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Creature > Literature > British > Drama > Crime > Animation > Games > Science Fiction > Sur > Tenet 4K (2020/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray Set)

Curse Of Frankenstein (1958/Hammer/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Haven (2004*)/Max Reload and the Nether Blasters (2020/*both MVD Blu-rays)/Possessor (2020/Well Go Blu-ray)/Untold Story (1993/Unearthed Blu-ray)/Tenet 4K (2020/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray Set)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B/B/B/B+/B+/B Sound: B/B/B/B+/B+/B+* Extras: B/C/B/C+/B/C+ Films: B+/C/C/B+/B-/C+

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

The following thrillers usually try to make you think, but do they all succeed? Well...

Before he was The Mummy or even Dracula, Christopher Lee was Frankenstein's Monster in this superb classic The Curse Of Frankenstein (1957) directed by Terence Fisher from a screenplay by Jimmy Sangster. This was the most profitable film made by a British Studio at the time of its release for many years and gave birth to Hammer Studios and the lifelong friendship of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Equal in importance and cinematic greatness, The Horror of Dracula came out only one year later in 1958 (and is reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site.) Now, Warner Archive has released this two disc Blu-ray edition with one disc containing two different versions of the film (widescreen and an open matte version) remastered in 4K and a second disc full of supplemental material. This is certainly a welcome addition to any horror fan's collection and doesn't disappoint.

Mary Shelley's classic story of Frankenstein hadn't been told to death when this film came out and this was the first proper telling in color. While Curse doesn't follow the novel exactly, Lee still proves to be a memorable and quite different take than Universal and Karloff's version, although he only played the role once here despite sequel films being made with Cushing. Lee's Frankenstein is different and more 'fleshy' in appearance than Karloff's version, and never mutters any words.

The story follows Victor Frankenstein (Cushing) who ends up creating a Monster along with his colleague Paul Krempe (Robert Urquhart). As the experiment at first turns out to be just a fantasy, after many trials and experiments, a living breathing monster (Lee) is born. Can Victor destroy his own creation before it turns madly out of control?

The film also stars Hazel Court, Melvyn Hayes, and Valerie Gaunt.

The Curse of Frankenstein is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a new 4K restoration from the Technicolor camera negatives. The film certainly looks and sounds better than it did on DVD with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio or a open matte 1.33:1 full frame version depending on version and both paired with a lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit). There is noticeable a lot more color and definition in this version, but still a few imperfections due to the condition of the film over so many years. Still, this is a must own release.

Special Features:

Newly Remastered 1.37:1 Open Matte version of feature

New feature commentary by Screenwriter/Film Historian Steve Haberman and Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr

The Resurrection Men: Hammer, Frankenstein and the Rebirth of the Horror Film

Hideous Progeny: The Curse of Frankenstein and the English Gothic Tradition

Torrents of Light: The Art of Jack Asher

Diabolus in Musica: James Bernard and the Sound of Hammer Horror

and an Original Theatrical Trailer (in HD).

Haven (2004) has a stunning cast for being a typical crime drama. The film stars Orlando Bloom, Zoe Saldana, the late Bill Paxton, and Anthony Mackie (The Avengers) - all of which are pretty big names for such a cookie cutter script. This film has a very 2000s feel and is trying to be a sort of Michael Bay type picture.

Corrupt Miami businessman Carl Ridley (Paxton) escapes to the Cayman Islands to escape prosecution, taking his resentful daughter (Agnes Bruckner) with him. Once there, he enlists the help of a shady investment banker in laundering his money, little realizing that his escape has set in motion a disastrous chain of events involving British native Shy (Bloom) who is in the midst of a complicated relationship with Andrea (Saldana).

Haven is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossy, English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The film is passable on the Blu-ray format and is professionally shot and produced.

Special Features:

Trailer (in very low resolution for some reason)

and a Making of Featurette

The ambitious low budget genre film, Max Reload The Nether Blasters (2020), has a high budget concept and is definitely aimed at a teen audience. It kind of reminded me of the new Jumanji films but on a smaller scale. It takes great strides in appealing to video gamers as there are segments with 8 bit animation, World of Warcraft-styling gaming, to more modern gaming that helps propel the narrative. The film is predominantly live action and its lead young stars tend to hold back the film as they are a bit too self aware in their performances. There's still a few recognizable faces and more to appeal to a younger audience though.

The film stars Hassie Harrison, Wil Wheaton, Kevin Smith, Martin Kove, and Greg Grunberg.

A video store clerk unleashes an ancient evil from a video game that threatens to destroy his small town. Joining up with his two video game genius friends, they formulate a plan to stop the evil using their know how from being hardcore gamers. The highlight of the film is Kevin Smith (before his massive weight loss) as the video store owner whose enthusiastic nerd-dom fans of his will surely enjoy.

Max Reload is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and an English PCM 2.0 Stereo audio mix. One thing that weighs down the film is the generic score which is very keyboard heavy. The cinematography is also a mixed bag with many closeups in soft focus and an overall lack of decent color grading. Other than that the film looks fine on Blu-ray disc.

Special Features

Art and Animation Featurette

''NetherCragon'' VFX Featurette

''Egypt'' VFX Featurette

''Reggie Gets Nethered'' Anatomy of a Scene Featurette

''Speed Run'' Bonus Featurette

Original Theatrical Trailer

Optional English subtitles for the main feature

Limited Run slipcover featuring artwork by legendary poster artist Paul Shipper

Max Reload is a love letter to video game fans and is fine for a teen audience. While the concept is Hollywood, the overall filmmaking is very indie and most of the acting is a bit rough.

Brandon Cronenberg's Possessor (2020) is easily the best Sci-Fi feature of the year. Smart, sexy, and brutal - this highly imaginative film is beautifully shot and constructed. The apple doesn't stray far from the tree it seems as Brandon has definitely learned a thing or two from his visionary father, David Cronenberg (Videodrome, Naked Lunch), who has always been an important talent in modern cinema.

A distant relative to some ideas presented in films like The Matrix and those of Christopher Nolan, Possessor explores the idea of hacking into the human mind and the consequences that may take. The film follows a unique organization in the future that has found a way to transfer the mind of one person to another for vicious means.

Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is an agent/assassin for this organization who infiltrates the minds of others and assassinates high end targets, committing suicide after the act is done. When she goes too deep for one case, she finds that she is losing a part of herself in the process and starts to become unhinged. As she becomes another man for a more dangerous mission, she finds it hard to escape his body and ultimately commits horrendous acts in the process.

The film also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tuppence Middleton, Sean Bean, Christopher Abbott, and Kaniehtiio Horn.

Possessor is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and audio mixes in English, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo as well. There is also a 4K UHD version of the film available from Well Go USA, but we are covering the standard Blu-ray version here for now. It looks and sounds fine for the format but with a bit more upscale and HDR, it could look even better. The film has a very nice and unnerving score that's ambient and a bit surreal that aides in the clean and artistically constructed visuals. This is definitely a nice looking release.

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes

Behind the Scenes

and Trailers

I would certainly recommend Possessor for fans of dark horror and sci-fi.

The Untold Story (1993) is a foreign extreme cult favorite that's finally gotten a good release on video after all of these years thanks to Unearthed Films. A foreign spin on the Sweeney Todd formula, Wong Chi Hang is a vicious killer with a temper that is all too real in this disturbing film that is sure to keep you glued to the screen. The Untold Story has some comedic moments, but also some that are very extreme, mainly in its last act when a horrific murder occurs. This all culminates into an interesting extreme film that is convincing in its execution and recommendable viewing for true crime and horror fans.

The Untold Story is written by and starring Danny Lee (Dr. Lamb) along with Siu-Ming Lau, Emily Kwan, Fui-On Shing, Parkman Wong, Anthony Wong, and directed by Herman Yau.

A family is murdered in 1978 and the remains of their bodies are washed a shore. The suspect ends up being a restaurant owner named Wong Chi Hang. When a Police Investigation doesn't pull up hard evidence, they take the man into custody and try to torture the truth out of him. All the while a startling discovery is centered on his bestselling pork bao... which has a secret ingredient.

The Untold Story is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC (29.99 Mbps) codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and Cantonese / Mandarin LPCM 2.0 Mono tracks with English subtitles.

Special Features:

Feature-Length Audio Commentary with Anthony Wong

Feature-Length Audio Commentary with Herman Yau

Isolated Film Score

Q&A with Herman Yau

Commentary with Art Ettinger (Ultra Violent) and Bruce Holecheck (Cinema Arcana)

Category III: The Untold Story of Hong Kong Exploitation Cinema

Cantonese Carnage: An Interview with Rick Baker



and Liner Notes by Art Ettinger (ON FIRST PRESSING ONLY).

Last but not least, one of the biggest films of the year in scale, budget and ambition, Christoper Nolan's Tenet 4K (2020) in a film ultimately about time travel that wants to be the next Inception, but sadly becomes the next Interstellar, tying that ambitious disappointment as Nolan's least successful film.

John David Washington (one of our best new actors, and not because of who his dad is) plays an agent who suddenly finds out there is a new project at hand being compared to the Manhattan Project (the U.S. program to make the first nuclear bombs) called TENET and it turns out it has to do with people with money and power from the future trying to change things by altering their past. That happened to be the current time the film takes place in. Joined by another agent (future Batman Robert Pattinson) and doing what he can to pick up things quickly, the duo sets out to stop the insurgence from the future.

Of course, like any 0other time travel film, it has to have a logic that holds and not all such films do, or they have simpler structures (the Back To The Future Trilogy, now in 4K) or are silly about it (the Bill & Ted trilogy) or try something more complex (Gilliam's 12 Monkeys, Resnais' JeT'aime, JeT'aime) or keep it together just enough to keep the action going (the better Star Trek adventures). Though this is a stand-alone film connected to no other films, I was reminded a bit of the better Tony Scott film Deja Vu (which stared the father of the lead here) and how nobody figured that one out, but Nolan very vaguely seems to want to pick up where that underrated film left off. Also, Nolan goes the long (and I mean looooonnnnnngggg) way to show how this all plays out, but with some clever ideas, could have shortened the film by 20 to 30 minutes. That still would not have helped other things.

Kenneth Branagh, a Nolan alumni, one of the most important actors, directors and scholars of Shakespeare on the big screen (and otherwise) and a great actor in so many other films, just does not work out as the Russian crime villain, seeming old hat a bit and never totally convincing me of who he is playing. The accent was a bit off, but the dialogue does not help and he is never truly menacing. Not annoying either, but the character is never fully developed. Also, the general screenplay has a few more moments of predictability, unusual for any Nolan film, than expected, so it is worth a look at best. Otherwise, it has too many missed opportunities and though mostly true to itself, is a disappointment.

At least a brief turn by Michael Caine is nice, and supporting work from Elizabeth Debicki, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Himesh Patel, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Dimple Kapadia has the energy and talent to overcome some of my complaints. Nolan films always have fine casts, after all.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.78 X 1 & 2.20 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image originated on Kodak Vision 3 color negative film shot in two 70mm formats: IMAX and Super Panavision 70, looking great for the most part here, if not always stunning all the time. Maybe the film playing backwards too often was a little annoying, but detail, color range and definition are superior all around as usual for a Nolan film and it is one of the best-looking films of a bad year. A few shots rate above my letter grade, while the 1080p digital High Definition image on the regular Blu-ray is not bad, but seems dull by comparison.

I expect few complaints here for the 4K version.

*As for the sound, I expected a DTS: X or Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless mixes, then remembered Nolan saves those for theaters and then remembered many people complaining about not being able to hear everything. Most did not see it in 12-track sound, though it seems it barely played that way. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix we do get is well mixed, I could hear most of the dialogue (accents were an issue) and the music score and sound effects were fine. Again, why no 12-track mix? It would have helped, but a quick note on the sound that is not as clear.

Obviously, if the characters can hear each other (we will not even go into the talking playing backwards (no backwards masking jokes please) that is part of the time travel plot) to be able to talk, then we should be able to make out most of this. In the name of 'realism' or the like, one could say that no, you are not going to hear everything clearly in real life and over-clarity could be too 'Hollywood' for its own good and the late, great Robert Altman was the first to have this as a feature of his many great films.

However, that was often overlapping dialogue when people (often comically) were talking over each other, even if they were not fighting, arguing or trying to outdo each other. Nolan's version has to do with not getting all the information you might need when it is a life and death situation (or just trying to follow his complex plots) which is fine, but does not always work. In this film, it never generates any suspense and just seems too mechanical, more then in any film he has made to date.

Like Altman, Nolan is pushing the boundaries of multi-channel sound, though when Altman was doing it, he was ahead of every filmmaker around (even Kubrick!) doing 8 tracks and up in older configurations. I actually like the idea of the distortion and not just doing it once as a gimmick, but overdoing it can be as bad as doing it badly once. Fortunately, you can replay it at home and even go for subtitles if you must. Otherwise, the mix is at least consistent in what it does.

Extras include Digital Copy, plus an hour-long, multi-part Making Of featurette entitled Looking At The World In A New Way: The Making Of Tenet.

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


- Nicholas Sheffo (Tenet 4K) and James Lockhart



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