Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Gaming > Russia > Giant Monster > Horror > Action > Superhero > Animation > Thriller > Supernatura > Isle Of The Dead (1945/RKO*)/Running Time (1997/Synapse Blu-ray)/The Undoing (2020/HBO/Warner Blu-ray)

Cosmoball (2020/Well Go Blu-ray)/Godzilla 4K (2014/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Harley Quinn: The Complete First and Second Seasons (2019 - 2020/DC Comics/*both Warner Archive Blu-rays)/Isle Of The Dead (1945/RKO*)/Running Time (1997/Synapse Blu-ray)/The Undoing (2020/HBO/Warner Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Isle Of The Dead and Harley Quinn Blu-rays are only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

This next group of genre releases covers some classic characters and new ones, all looking really good....

First we have the Russian made film Cosmoball (2020) is influenced by several other genre movies including Alita: Battle Angel, Rollerball (both the great original and hideous remake,) and the Tron series. The film in a way imitates the Hollywood blockbuster formula with high budget visual effects and a story similar to the heroes' journey seen in many genre tentpoles.

The film features an all Russian cast including Viktoriya Agalakova, Svetlana Ivanova, Valeriya Dmitrieva, Evgeniy Romantsov, and Mikhail Efremov with direction by Dzhanik Fayziev.

Set in an alternative future, a huge spaceship hovers over Earth that houses a stadium, which hosts sports events involving a dangerous ball known as Cosmoball that is a mix of soccer and football in some respects. An unwilling hero is drawn into the game with the odds against him and the fate of the world held in balance.

Cosmoball is presented in 1080p high definition with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 with audio mixes in lossless Russian DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 and English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.

The only extra is the trailer.

Before he helmed the successful Star Wars standalone film, Rogue One, Director Gareth Edwards entered the Hollywood fold with his take on Godzilla (2014). Fast forward to now the year 2021 and we have a sequel, The King of Monsters (2019) - which is reviewed elsewhere on this site, and we are in the wake of the theatrical and digital release of King Kong vs. Godzilla (2021) after many delays.

I have to say having seen Godzilla (2014) so many times over the years on various formats, that watching it on 4K UHD disc this time was akin to watching it again for the first time. With the enhanced HDR image, you can now see much more detail and specifically darker environments than the previously released 1080p Blu-ray version, which is also included here. If you're a fan of this film then you will want to upgrade. Sadly, there isn't much new in the way of extras, but the cover art is pretty nifty this time!

Told in a style similar to Jaws (the main character is even named Brody), we don't fully see the towering creature until about the midway through the film, focusing more on the human characters and a developed back story on Godzilla and the MUTO (Massive Ultra Terrestrials) that are both creatures that have been lying dormant for quite some time. The battle sequences are expertly choreographed and staged and the final reveal of Godzilla is pretty epic in scope. Some of the films flaws deal with the casting of Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age of Ultron and Kick Ass) who delivers a dead-pan performance and doesn't quite fit into the mold of his character. His dialogue and the way his character was written was also slightly generic. Note that we haven't seen much of him in much in recent years and he got kind of a bad deal in Avengers as his character barely stayed alive for one movie!

The rest of the cast is fine though some may argue that Bryan Cranston's (Breaking Bad) presence in the film is too brief however, he is in the moment and captures his character fine. I love Elizabeth Olsen in just about everything, and this role occurred right around the time she was just becoming Scarlet Witch aka Wanda in the Marvel Studios Avengers series (and now Disney Plus series Wandavision.) And of course Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins (Shape of Water) are fantastic in their Scientist roles, which carried over into the sequel King of Monsters.

Here's the basic rundown of the film - in 1954, the United States Armed Forces are assembled to witness a secret nuclear test. A hydrogen bomb, decorated with a monster insignia, is detonated when a giant creature emerges from the ocean. In 1999, Project Monarch scientists Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) investigate a colossal skeleton in a collapsed mine in the Philippines. They find two chrysalises; one dormant, one broken open, and whatever hatched has made a trail through the forest to the sea. In Japan, the Janjira Nuclear Power Plant experiences unusual seismic activity. Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), the plant's supervisor, sends his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) and a team of technicians into the reactor. While the team is inside, the reactor is breached, releasing radioactive steam. Sandra and her team are unable to escape and the plant collapses into ruin.

Fifteen years later, Joe's son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is a US Navy explosive ordnance disposal officer, living in San Francisco with his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and son Sam (Carson Bolde). After Joe is detained for trespassing in the Janjira quarantine zone, Ford returns to Japan. Convinced of a cover-up of the cause of the disaster, Joe convinces Ford to help him retrieve vital data at their old home. They find the zone is not contaminated, but after recovering the data, soldiers detain them in a secret facility within the plant's ruins. Inside, a giant winged creature emerges from a massive chrysalis and escapes, destroying the facility. Joe is injured and later dies. The incident is reported as an earthquake.

Serizawa, Graham and Ford join a US Navy task force led by Admiral William Stenz on the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga to search for the creature, dubbed Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, or MUTO. To Ford, the scientists reveal how a 1954 deep sea expedition triggered the appearance of Godzilla, a prehistoric alpha predator; how early nuclear tests were really attempts to kill it; that Project Monarch was formed secretly to study Godzilla; and that the MUTO caused the Janjira destruction. Ford reveals that Joe had monitored echolocation signals that indicated the MUTO was communicating with something...

The MUTO is found feeding off the wreckage of a Russian nuclear submarine it deposited in a forest in Hawaii. The military attacks and the battle shifts to Honolulu airport where Ford is waiting for a flight home. Godzilla arrives, causing a tsunami that devastates Waikiki. After briefly fighting Godzilla, the MUTO flies away, and Honolulu is left in ruin. Meanwhile, at a Nevada nuclear waste facility, a second, larger and wingless MUTO, emerges and devastates Las Vegas. The scientists deduce that the second MUTO is female, the two were communicating and will meet to breed.

The task force follows Godzilla, projecting that the monsters will meet in San Francisco Bay. Stenz approves the use of a nuclear explosion to kill the monsters, over the scientists' objections. Ford returns with the military to California and joins a team delivering warheads to San Francisco by train. The female MUTO destroys the train and devours one of the warheads. The remaining warhead is airlifted to San Francisco and activated. It is taken by the MUTOs, who construct a nest around it in the downtown area. People are evacuating across the Golden Gate Bridge when Godzilla arrives and the final showdown begins! Let them fight.

The transfer on this 4K UHD disc is fantastic in 2160p Ultra High Definition with an HEVC / H.265 codec that looks as sharp as it did on the big screen and preserves the 2.39:1 aspect ratio in anamorphic widescreen. The HDR presentation as mentioned earlier really enhances the image and made me notice things that I hadn't seen in the previous version.

The sound is also FANTASTIC in glorious, lossless English Dolby Atmos which is an improvement over the DTS HD-MA (Master Audio) 7.1 mix on the previous disc and a new Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mix which also sounds quite nice as well. I'm not sure if they went back and improved on the visual effects, but the texture on Godzilla and the MUTOs looks quite impressive and very realistic. Gareth Edwards' cinematography is very top notch as he has a beautiful eye for things and a way of shooting that's original. All of which is captured beautifully on this recommendable update.

The score by Alexandre Desplat has some great themes that should have carried over to the previous Godzilla movies, but didn't. What I like about his score is that he didn't try to spin a variation on the Toho theme like Brear McCartney and Junkie XL scores have done with later films in the series. Desplat's score is epic and stands on its own without the film as a visual aide.

Extras include the same as the previous Blu-ray release. Literally nothing new here.

MONARCH: Declassified - Discover explosive new evidence not contained in the film that unravels the massive cover-up to keep Godzilla's existence a secret:

Operation: Lucky Dragon

MONARCH: The M.U.T.O. File

The Godzilla Revelation

The Legendary Godzilla - Go behind the scenes with filmmakers and cast for an even deeper look at the larger than life monsters in the film:

Godzilla: Force of Nature

A Whole New Level Of Destruction

Into The Void: The H.A.L.O. Jump

Ancient Enemy: The M.U.T.O.s

As a Godzilla fan, it is nice to finally own the 2014 version on 4K UHD, and the film looks and sounds fantastic, and is a bit better now to watch now that there has been the sequel film. It may not be a perfect, but the monster scenes are really fun and the scope and cinematography is really top notch. Being the second American Godzilla movie, (the 1998 version is also in 4K UHD and reviewed elsewhere on this site), it will always hold a place in movie monster history.

The foul mouthed and adult oriented animated Harley Quinn series lands in a collectible three disc Blu-ray set - The Complete Seasons 01 and 02 (2019 - 2020) courtesy of Warner Bros. and DC. Similar to the Harley Quinn comics in terms of silly over the top style and zany execution, the new show is pretty funny and true to the character, and again is NOT for children.

Batman villainess Harley Quinn (voiced by Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco), the main romantic interest of The Joker, stars in this TV-MA-rated series that has her facing off against Gotham.

After she breaks it off with The Joker, she moves in with her friend Poison Ivy and tries to make a name for herself outside of just her association with the King of Crime. Along the way she encounters Batman (voiced by Diedrich Bader), Robin, Calendar Man, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Jim Gordon, Penguin, Bane, Lex Luthor, and many other iconic DC characters. The tone of this show is akin to the goofiness of Deadpool and doesn't hold back on the swear words, gore, and sexual content despite its animated exterior. The voice cast also includes Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Jacob Tremblay, Briana Cuoco, and Wayne Knight.

13 episodes make up the Complete Season One and include Til Death Do Us Part, A High Bar, So, You Need A Crew?, Finding Mr. Right, Being Harley Quinn, You're a Damn Good Cop, Jim Gordon, The Line, L.O.D.R.S.V.P., A Seat at the Table, Bensonhurts, Harley Quinn Highway, Devil's Snare, and The Final Joke.

Complete Season 2 includes 13 episodes as well including New Gotham, Riddle U, Trapped, Thawing Hearts, Batman's Back, Man, The Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues, There's No Place To Go But Down, Inner (Para) Demons, Bachelorette, Dye Hard, A Fight Worth Fighting For, Lovers' Quarrel, and Something Green.

The animated Harley Quinn is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a codec of MPEG-4 AVC (25.90 Mbps) and a 1.78 X 1 widescreen aspect ratio with a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix, which is an improvement over the previously released DVD version. The animation in the upscale looks perfectly fine and is quite colorful and detailed.

No extras.

If you liked Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey then you will want to check out this series. It's pretty funny and well done in my opinion. It will definitely appeal to Batman fans as its pretty creative and features so many familiar characters - many of which haven't gotten proper live action treatment yet.

Next, Boris Karloff stars in Isle of the Dead (1945) which has a shockingly great looking new 4K from the original nitrate camera negative on 1080p Blu-ray thanks to Warner Archive. The film also stars Ellen Drew, Katherine Emery, Alan Napier, and Helene Thimig with direction by Mark Robson. It is also another horror classic produced by the great Val Lewton.

The film centers around Gen. Nikolas Pherides (Karloff) who leaves the 1912 Balkan War to visit a small island where his deceased wife is buried. Upon arrival on the island, he realizes that Madame Kyra (Thimig) is really a Vampire with a sinister scheme.

Isle of the Dead is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec in black and white and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.37 X 1 that's paired with a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono mix. Its remarkable how well this film still looks after all of these years here (another remarkable restoration of an RKO Pictures film!) and is recommended for fans. I wish this was on 4K UHD, but I will happily take this version for now.

Special Features:

Commentary by Screenwriter/Film Historian Dr. Steve Haberman

and an Original Theatrical Trailer with Spanish Subtitles

Genre movie superstar Bruce Campbell stars in Running Time (1997) which is actually one of my favorite films of his outside of the Evil Dead series. Shot in black and white and seemingly shot in one continuous shot ala Alfred Hitchcock's Rope (1948), Running Time is a heist thriller that looks better than ever thanks to a clean new scan by Synapse Films.

The film also stars Jeremy Roberts, Anita Barone, William Stanford Davis, and Art LaFleur with direction by Josh Becker (Alien Apocalypse - which also stars Bruce Campbell).

Carl (Campbell) gets out of prison after a five year sentence only to plan a new and improved heist. As the crime gets out of way and time running against them, Carl and his incompetent crew members ultimately enter a fight for survival.

Running Time is presented in 1080p high definition black and white with a 1.37 X 1 full frame presentation and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) English 2.0 Stereo, both of which are a massive improvement over the original master on standard definition DVD. A lot of care was put into this release and it really is a great achievement in remastering.

Special Features:

Presented for the first time on video with the original theatrical stereo mix

Audio commentary with writer/director Josh Becker and star Bruce Campbell

"Run and Gun with Bruce Campbell" - All-new interview/featurette (22 mins.)

Q&A footage from the Freaky Film Festival Premiere at the University of Illinois

Original trailer

and reversible cover art from artists Wes Benscoter and Gerry Kissell

And finally, superstars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant star in the HBO limited series The Undoing (2020) which is now available on two disc Blu-ray from HBO. The series also stars Edgar Ramirez and Donald Sutherland. The show is directed by Susanne Bier (Bird Box) and the show runner is David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies, Boston Legal).

Six episodes in this limited series include The Undoing, The Missing, Do No Harm, See No Evil, Trial by Fury, and The Bloody Truth.

The Undoing is a murder mystery of sorts where Kidman plays a Manhattan psychologist whose married to Grant, whose an oncologist. At an auction event Kidman meets a woman named Elena who soon ends up murdered. After this woman is murdered she discovers her husband's connection to this woman to which she wasn't aware, and things get even more intense...

The Undoing is presented in 1080p high definition with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.00 X 1 and paired with a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix. As with all HBO series, the look is very professional and highly cinematic and with the talent in front of the screen it's to be expected. The show looks fabulous here and is comparable to the original streaming. No news of a 2160p version as of this writing.

Special Features include:

ALL six one-hour episodes

Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant Introduce The Undoing

Creating The Undoing

and The Undoing Revelation

You can order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, Isle Of The Dead and/or Harley Quinn, by going to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- James Lockhart



 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com