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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Science Fiction > Action > Superhero > Crime > Heist > Thriller > Detective > Mystery > Spy > Cable T > Perry Mason: The Complete First Season (2020 revival/HBO Blu-ray*)/Secrets She Keeps (2020/Sundance DVD)/Strike Back: Seventh & Final Season (2018/HBO DVD/*all Warner Archive)

Avenue 5: The Complete First Season (2020/HBO DVD*)/Black Lightning: The Complete Second & Third Seasons (1999/Blu-ray sets*)/Honest Thief (2013/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Leon The Professional 4K Steelbook (1994/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Perry Mason: The Complete First Season (2020 revival/HBO Blu-ray*)/Secrets She Keeps (2020/Sundance DVD)/Strike Back: Seventh & Final Season (2018/HBO DVD/*all Warner Archive)

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

PLEASE NOTE: All of the Warner Archive series releases can be ordered from Warner Home Entertainment at the link below.

Now for wall-to-wall action in the following releases...

From the creators of the hit series Veep (reviewed elsewhere on this site), the sci-fi comedy Avenue 5: The Complete First Season (2020) lands on DVD. The show centers around a space cruise ship from the rich in the future that has corporate sponsorship. At first the space journey seems to be going fine despite its eccentric crew of characters, including its ship captain who is really an actor (played hilariously by Hugh Laurie) and who knows nothing of this important job he is in change of, however danger soon subverts the space journey and ends up costing its crew YEARS of time away from home and sets them off course by accident. One zany mishap after another happens and the show brings up a honest look and many questions as to what a space cruise of this caliber would be like if it really happened.

The show features many big names including Josh Gad, Lenora Crichlow, Ethan Phillips, Armando Lannucci, Suzy Nakamura, and Zach Woods to name a few.

The first season features 9 episodes including I Was Flying, And Then He's Gonna Shoot Off..., I'm A Hand Model, Wait A Minute, Then Who Was That On..., He's Only There to Stop His Skeleton From Falling Over, Was It Your Ears?, Are You A Spider, Matt?, This Is Physically Hurting Me, and Eight Arms but No Hands.

Avenue 5 is presented here in anamorphically enhanced standard definition on DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. Despite from compression issues, the show looks about the same as it does on its original HBO broadcast if not slightly worse.

Special Features:

Invitation to the Set Featurette

Josh Gad Commercial

and Zach Woods Commercial

The DC Comics superhero series Black Lightning (2018 - present) has been released on Blu-ray here in its second and third seasons. Although as of this writing it has been announced that the fourth season will be the last in the series.

Developed by Salim Akil, the black superhero Jefferson Pierce who is a brilliant meta-human with a family that each possess some super powers. Jefferson is a former Olympic athlete and respected educator who also happens to be a superhero known as Black Lighting when he needs to be and can generate pure electrical energy. However, his daughters inherited his powers too and may be even more powerful than he is! As the Pierce Family attempts to defend the city of Freeland, they end up against a gang known as the One Hundred and various Government agencies experimenting with meta humans.

The show is at times political but ultimately falls into the soapy drama roots of most DC superhero shows. The digital effects aren't too bad for TV and there are some fun moments however. If you're a fan then you will want to pick these discs up as they are far superior to the normal presentation on TV.

The series stars Cress Williams as Black Lightning, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Krondon, and Christine Adams to name a few. The series is divided into various 'books' with several chapters within each book.

Second 2 - 16 Episodes include The Book of Consequences, The Book of Blood, The Book of Rebellion, The Book of Secrets, and The Book of the Apocalypse.

Season 3 - 16 Episodes include The Book of Occupation, The Book of Resistance, The Book of Markovia, and The Book of War.

Black Lightning 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 lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1. The presentation on disc is of course commercial and network watermark free, and far superior to the original network broadcast, as well as the DVD sets of these seasons we recently covered. This is the preferred way to view the shows/.

Special Features for Season 2 includes:

Whale of a Villain Featurette / Come to Georgia PSA

Season 3 extras include The Best of DC TV's Comic-Con Panel - San Diego 2019

The Black Lighting series is kind of fun, but nothing completely original that hasn't been done better in other DC shows.

Liam Neeson stars in The Honest Thief (2020), which is an interesting action thriller with a twisty turning plot that will leave you guessing until the end. Similar in tone to other Neeson movies over the years, this time he's an expert safe cracker (known as the 'In and Out Bandit') who decides to give up his life of crime after falling in love with a woman. A year later, he decides to turn himself in to the Police in hopes of getting a break on his sentence and turn over the more than 9 million dollars he stole, but when two crooked cops catch wind of the cash, they decide to frame him for murder, and get off with the money clean. Their plan viciously backfires and soon Neeson is on the run and in heavy pursuit of the authorities.

Honest Thief is written and directed by Mark Williams and also stars Kate Walsh (Grey's Anatomy), Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice), Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad), and Anthony Ramos (Hamilton). The ensemble cast includes Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) and Jasmine Cephas Jones (Blindspotting).

The film is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1, and a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit). The film looks pretty good on disc for the format, particularly when watching in an upscale to 4K. The film is stylistically shot and has a nice sound mix and fills the room with theatrical grade sound. Also included is a standard definition DVD with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix.

No extras.

The Honest Thief is an entertaining Neeson vehicle that isn't badly made in the least. Worth a watch if you're a fan of his work.

Next, a re-release of the previous 4K UHD of Leon The Professional (1994), only this time in a collectible steel book packaging with very cool artwork.

Captivating, action packed, and dramatic, it will be hard for Director Luc Besson to ever match what he pulled off with this film. It kickstarted Natalie Portman's career and didn't hurt Gary Oldman's either... I just wish we saw more Jean Reno in recent years (though he's had his fair share of enjoyable flicks). If for some reason you haven't seen this groundbreaking action classic, then I would highly suggest checking it out in 4K UHD.

Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is only 12-years-old, but is already familiar with the dark side of life: her abusive father stores drugs for corrupt police officers, and her mother neglects her. Leon (Jean Reno), who lives down the hall, tends to his houseplants and works as a hired hitman for mobster Tony (Danny Aiello). To say that Leon is good at what he does, is an understatement. He is a disciplined and trained individual with not much room in his life for friendships or relationships. When Mathilda's family is murdered by crooked DEA agent Stansfield (Gary Oldman), Mathilda joins forces with a reluctant Leon to learn his deadly trade and avenge her family's deaths. More happens than either expects, giving the audience one of the best third acts ever put on film.

Mastered in 4K 2160p high definition with HDR (high dynamic range 10-bit color) and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 track that are on both the 4K UHD disc and the Blu-ray (also included), of which we were able to access from a solid, lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track, both of which push the original Sony Dynamic Digital Sound (aka SDDS) 7.1 sound master will make your neighbors think a gun battle is going on in your home. This was one of the first films to offer the full SDDS treatment theatrically and the sonics hold up well, most apparent in Atmos. Skin textures are more defined than before and shots have more contrast, making this a big step up from even the Blu.

Special Features are the same as the previous release:

Theatrical and extended versions of the film

Cast and Crew Look Back

Jean Reno: The Road To Leon

Natalie Portman starting young

Fact Track (Extended Version) and the Original Theatrical Trailer.

If there is one thing that the new Perry Mason (2020) series on HBO does effectively, it's pulling off the 1930s time period very effectively on screen. Produced by (sadly not starring or even featuring) Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan Downey, the new series based on the classic film noir/crime character of Perry Mason is played by Matthew Rhys (Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), whose a defense attorney on a case that will legitimize his growing career.

Based on characters created by author Erle Stanley Gardner, Perry Mason also stars Juliet Rylance, Chris Chalk, Shea Whigham, Tatiana Maslany, and John Lithgow with Stephen Root, Gayle Rankin, Nate Corddry, Veronica Falcon, Jefferson Mays, Lili Taylor, Andrew Howard, Eric Lange, and Robert Patrick.

8 Episodes span two Blu-ray discs and are entitled Chapters 01- 08.

Perry Mason is presented in an MPEG-4 AVC codec in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.00:1 and a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix. The show is captured very nicely on disc here although would look even better on 4K UHD. A digital copy is also included. The money is on the screen as with every HBO production and the presentation here on disc is just as crisp as it is in the original broadcast.

Special Features:

Robert Downey Jr. & Matthew Rhys Conversation

Robert Downey Jr. & Susan Downey Conversation

The Characters of Perry Mason

and Under the Fedora

If you're a fan of film noir and crime dramas, then Perry Mason should certainly be on your list!

The Secrets She Keeps (2020) is a foreign dramatic series that revolves around two pregnant women who have a chance encounter that later leads to a twisted whodunnit mystery. The six episode series shows how far someone will go to have a seemingly 'perfect' family even if it means stealing a child in the process.

Adapted from the award-winning book by Michael Robotham, starring Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey), Jessica De Gouw (The Crown), and Michael Dorman (Patriot).

The Secrets She Keeps is presented in standard definition on DVD with an anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mix. The series is nicely shot and pretty cinematic. Some compression issues are evident here with the aged format.

Special Feature includes a Behind the Scenes featurette.

Finally, a long-running action show concludes. Strike Back: The Complete Seventh and Final Season (2018) has arrived. Strike Back (2010-2018) the complete seventh season is now available on DVD courtesy of Cinemax. The action packed show stars Sullivan Stapleton, Philip Winchester, Alan Sumarwata, and Michelle Lukes to name a few. The show has a very serious and realistic tone and doesn't try to be anything silly.

The show follows a covert antiterrorism unit Section 20 with Novin, Wyatt, Mac and Chetri - who are on a mission of the utmost importance: to save a biochemist and secure a life threatening virus from being sold on a black market. This season wraps up the series in a surprising climax.

The show is presented in standard definition and spans two DVDs here with an anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. Despite some compression issues, the series looks and founds fine on an upscale.

No extras, but fans can be satisfied the show got to have the run it wanted.

To order any of the Warner Archive Blu-ray or DVD releases above, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- James Lockhart



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