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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Biopic > Filmmaking > China > Mental Health > Feminism > Dutch > Comedy > Wealth > Family > Suicide > He > Resurrection (2020/Warner Blu-ray)/Siberia (2021/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Soulmates: Season One (2020/AMC Blu-ray Set)/Wild Mountain Thyme (2020/Universal DVD)

Center Stage (1991/Film Movement Blu-ray)/Cool Lakes Of Death (1982/Cult Epics Blu-ray)/French Exit (2021/Sony DVD)/Last Call (2019/Mill Creek/MVD Blu-ray)/Quick Change (1990/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Resurrection (2020/Warner Blu-ray)/Siberia (2021/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Soulmates: Season One (2020/AMC Blu-ray Set)/Wild Mountain Thyme (2020/Universal DVD)

Picture: B/B/C+/B/B+/B+/B/B/B- Sound: B-/B-/C+/A-/B+/B+/B/B/B- Extras: C+/C/C-/C/C/D/D/C-/D Main Programs: B-/B-/C/B+/B/B/C/C/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Quick Change Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

The following are a group of dramas, though some might try some comedy, or add something unusual to the mix, but also expect even more unusual items as follows...

Stanley Kwan's Center Stage (1991) is a long, filmmaking industry-heavy, biopic looking at the too-short life of actress and big screen sensation Ruan Lingyu (Maggie Cheung, who is very convincing here) during the silent era of Chinese Cinema. Done in a way that bounces back from the past to admirers in the present, that can break up anything that gets started in this 154-minutes-long work that still does justice to the star somewhat lost to time and we see why she was such a big deal.

The best parts to me are seeing Lingyu in front of and behind the camera (some rare actual footage of her is shown throughout) and it is worth a look, but just be ready for a long and involving viewing. Wish we sam more ambitious dramas like this now, because we used to all the time.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is from a new 4K transfer of original camera materials that includes some monochromatic moments, but the film is otherwise in color and looks as good as it can in the format. The PCM 2.0 Mono shows its age a little more and I wanted at least stereo badly, but this is warm and sounds as good as it probably ever will.

Extras include an illustrated booklet on the film with text (including an essay by Aliza Ma, Head of Programming at Metrograph) in tech info, while the disc adds a new Stanley Kwan intro, Kwan and Hong Kong cinema expert Paul Fonoroff interviewed on camera about the film and connected cinematic history.

Nouchka Van Brakel's Cool Lakes Of Death (1982) has the sensational, sensuous, sexy actress Renee Soutendijk (later of hits like Paul Verhoeven's The Fourth Man) as a woman who goes from young abused woman, to loveless marriage, to wild sex and sadly, deep mental illness. Sometimes hard to watch, sometimes beautiful to see, it was a big deal at the time and I can see why.

Though some would argue that it fits into the cycle of woman losing it' films that seem to be more prominent in a male-dominated cinema, so having a female director with a feminist bent makes a big difference and makes this the best of the films on our list. Some things here are sadly predictable, but that is also the point, especially when a good woman is trapped and has no place to go. Derek De Lint co-stars and they are backed by a solid supporting cast.

The 1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and many shots are stylized to be diffused or lite, so that is the way the film is often supposed to look and it looks good off of a new 4K transfer. The Dutch Mono sound is here in both PCM 2.0 and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless sound that are similar often, but the PCM has some moments that work better.

Extras include a 1982 Polygoon Journal Newsreel from 1982 in HD showing the film being made, the Original Theatrical Trailer and aa Poster & Photo Gallery.

Azazel Jacobs' French Exit (2021) has Michelle Pfeiffer as an older socialite in Manhattan who is in shock when she finds out she is broke, despite the fortune her long-deceased husband left, so she picks up her cat, herself and her adult son (Lucas Hedges) and heads for a borrowed place in Paris. The film wants to be a drama with a dark sense of comedy, but it never finds itself despite fine performances all around.

Running 144 minutes, it does not offer anything truly funny and I was never totally convinced at what I was watching, though Pfeiffer gives a particularly consistent performance. The problem is not the ability for the script and makers to get the audience to sympathize with fallen people of means, but there is simply not enough character development or other exposition to make this work. There are a few ways this could have come to life and it was poised to be a potential awards season release, but it simply is not memorable and disappoints.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is a consistent HD shoot that looks good and is convincing in being in areas of the wealthy, though the format might be holding it back, which I can also say about the well-recorded dialogue handled by the old, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 codec. Bet this sounds better lossless.

Deleted & Extended Scenes are the only extra.

An overnight janitor is mistaken for a suicide prevention line, as fate has brought the two together it soon becomes evident that both their lives will be changed forever. Shot in one take and dual screens, no cuts, two stories soon become one in Gavin Michael Booth's Last Call (2019).

Beth is just an overnight school janitor trying to make a few extra bucks, worrying about why her son isn't home yet. Until Scott accidentally calls her thinking he's calling a suicide prevention hotline. As they share their woes, Beth is thankful for someone to talk to, she empathizes with Scott while being a lonely mother working alone in the night, but she only realizes too late Scotts is suicidal and his very life is in her hands. As Scott tells his story, Beth learns of his tragedy and must somehow convince Scott to change his mind. What if one call is the difference between life and death ...and you are holding that phone?

This was a very dramatic film, about suicide. The character, Beth's woes soon pale to the character Scott. She realizes is under qualified, but she also has no choice and everything she says, does she is unable change Scott's mind. It reveals that suicides are not unreasonable, they are just people who have lost and somehow everything they do, done has led them to conclude life, the world would be better if they didn't exist.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is nothing special, but very consistent, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is also not showy, but is exceptionally clean and clear.

Extras include making of a split screen film and trailer.

Bill Murray (who also co-directs here), Geena Davis, and Randy Quaid star in the hilarious crime comedy, Quick Change (1990), gets a new Warner Archive Collector's Edition Blu-ray with a clean HD transfer. The film stars out in a way that you don't quite expect as Bill Murray appears in a full clown costume walking through various places in '90s New York City, only to take a turn and rob a bank at gunpoint. After an elaborate and effective robbery, Murray, Davis, and Quaid (the former two in on the robbery as well), flee the scene and attempt to jump a plane and start a new life... with the money strapped to their bodies under their clothes!

While the film shows its age in many moments that today would be solved by an Uber or a cellphone, the film is pretty funny and has great onscreen chemistry between Bill Murray and Geena Davis which works. It's interesting that Murray co-directed the film as well, even if it may not have been one of his most financially successful outings despite Warner having a decent ad campaign for it at the time.

The film also stars several familiar faces including Jason Robards, Tony Shalhoub, Philip Bosco, Stanley Tucci, the late Phil Hartman, and Kurtwood Smith (Robocop).

Quick Change is presented in 1080p High Definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85 X 1, and a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo mix with Pro Logic surrounds. It was originally issued theatrically with older Dolby A-type analog noise reduction, so expect it to show a little age, but it plays very well otherwise. The film looks pretty clean throughout and the presentation is fine for the Blu-ray format.

The only extra sadly is a trailer.

Adapted from Discovery's A.D. The Bible Continues (et al), Resurrection (2020) is set after Christ's Crucifixion, the film deals with the aftermath of the tragic event which leaves many feeling lost and hopeless. The cinematic film deals with Christ's resurrection as well and features hope in the face of uncertainty.

The film stars Joanne Whalley (Daredevil), Greta Scacchi (Presumed Innocent), Jodhi May (The Last of the Mohicans), Vincent Regan (Clash of the Titans), and Juan Pablo Di Pace (Fuller House). Resurrection is produced by Roma Downey, Mark Burnett and "The Bible" showrunner Richard Bedser.

Resurrection is presented in 1080p high definition with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78 X 1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix. The soundtrack is by acclaimed composers Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe.

No extras.

The film is great for those who enjoy religious programming and is educational to those who may not be as familiar.

Abel Ferrera's Siberia (2021) is one of the more subtle works of a director whose once-promising career has gone off the tracks as Willem Dafoe plays a bartender who cannot understand the native language, et al, in the title locale. Once again, like many Dafoe films of late, he gets lost in another world in an abstract way, a sort of hallmark of his career at this point, but unlike The Lighthouse, this is not that memorable. At least Dafoe is always will to take risks and get his hands dirty, but it does not pay off here, especially after 92 minutes.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer has the isolated look intended, so no problem here and since the film is one the silent side, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix has no problem handling the sound. Yet, it has a consistent soundfield.

There is Digital Copy, but no extras.

Soulmates: Season One (2020) is a new science fiction cable TV series about how a new innovation that tells you who your mate for life can be determined by a new technology still does not seem to lead to happiness and joy as some expect. The six episodes offer six different stories, so this is an anthology series, but none of them did much, worked well or delivered any thing new or any kind of profound commentary that they could and should have. Co-creator/writer Will Bridges worked on the brilliant Stranger Things, so I expected much more than we got.

Unless you watch British and/or European TV shows, you will likely not recognize some of the cast, but Charles Heaton (from Stranger Things, et al) and Bill Skarsgard will be the most familiar actors here. See for yourself, but don't expect much.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is a sometimes colorful shoot per episode and they are consistent and clear enough with their subtle 'in the future' look, but nothing we have not seen before. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on each show have good soundfields and work well enough.

A Look At Soulmates featurette is the only extra.

Finally, the storybook like romance film, Wild Mountain Thyme (2020), has an all-star cast and beautiful cinematography. The film is lighthearted and fun and paints an interesting picture of Ireland if you can get past the slightly forced accents from the stars and Hallmark Channel movie moments. From director John Patrick Shanley (writer of Moonstruck), the film is an adaptation of his own play entitled Outside Mullingar and is a safe bet for a compromising date night movie.

The film stars Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Jon Hamm, and Christopher Walken.

A farmer named Rosemary (Blunt) is in love with her neighbor Anthony (Dornan) set against a beautiful Ireland landscape. Anthony is oblivious to Rosemary's feelings and must deal with his Father (Walken) who wants to sell his property to his American nephew. As love blossoms and life begins to change, Anthony must choose a new path.

Wild Mountain Thyme is here reviewed on standard definition DVD with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85 X 1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, both of which are of the norm for the format. With a film as beautiful looking as this, it definitely needs the 4K UHD treatment as this version suffers from compression issues native in the aged format.

No extras.

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


- Nicholas Sheffo, Ricky Chiang (Last Call) and James Lockhart (Quick, Resurrection, Thyme)



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