Region Free Import Blu-Ray)/Midnight
Diner (2019/Well Go
(1980) + El Pico
(1983) + El Pico 2
(1984/Severin Blu-ray Set)/Summer
Of 85 (2020/Music Box
Blu-ray)/12 Mighty Orphans
B-/A-/C+/B-/B/B Sound: B-/B+/C+/B- C+ B-/B/B- Extras:
B/D/C-/C+/B-/C- Films: B-/A/C/C+/C+/C+
Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment in Australia, can play on all Blu-ray players and can
be ordered from the link below.
for some interesting, even challenging dramas...
start with an international hit film that is considered a key piece
of serious Australian cinema. Bruce Beresford's Breaker
(1980) takes place during the Boer War in South Africa in 1901 as
Australian forces are told to take no prisoner by the British Empire,
led by the title character (the great Edward Woodward) and the result
is a Vietnam-calibre disaster. Some could call it an anti-war film,
but others might consider it a character study of war, the people and
I admit the casting works and acting is strong, I never thought this
film worked for its entire, tight 107 minutes. There are always
moments to me that are a bit off, but otherwise, it is at least a
minor classic of its kind and Woodward is more than capable of
carrying the role without hesitation. Based on the Kenneth Ross
play, maybe it is just that Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy) is
just too much of a journeyman director to really bring out the most
here. However, I think a remake would be a mistake. Now you can
judge for yourself.
a small alley deep within the city there is a small diner open from
12 midnight to 7 in the morning. A lone chef (Simon Chen) cooks
heartwarming meals to suit each of the customers who find and walks
through his doors. Each meal personalized to the customer's
personality and taste. Those who manage to find the diner, there is
magic in the chef's cooking and they share their stories and what
brought them to the city in the first place in Tony Ka-Fai Leung's
a small ally with a counter only restaurant a mysterious chef works
his magic hands to make heavenly home cooked meal. He has no menu,
but each day he makes something new and exciting for the regular
customers he serves. For those who work late and find this shop, it
is a place where they can rest and revive their weary body, soul and
spirit. After a hard day's work their lives are made sweeter with a
meal that reminds of them of their home. And just sometimes,
sometime... that one meal is enough to remind them of what their
story and dreams were.
was a heartwarming (and mouthwatering) film about cooking and the
various stories of customers who find a small but magical diner. By
finding the diner their lives were changed in some way and through
the meals they found hope, inspiration, bitterness and even a bit of
love and it gave them the strength to continue on.
(2021) has Cody Christian as the title character, a man who has part
of his arm missing since birth, finds a new calling in mixed martial
arts, which gives him the ability to fight back physically and
otherwise. Roughly inspired by a true story, it is a somewhat
formulaic story as told here (the biopic curse) and Kevin Pollack and
Elisabeth Rohm turn up in the supporting cast.
fighting is actually not bad here and will roughly remind some of Bad
Day At Black Rock
(reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) where a war vet (Spencer
Tracy) has a bad arm, yet uses judo to fight and win against anyone
physically attacking him. The story is not about a possible murder
here, but it echoes that film enough to note it. Whether Christian
could become an action star is another story, but considering some of
the idiots who are now, he could only be an improvement.
de la Iglesia's Quinqui
(1980) + El
(1983) + El
(1984) are three films that are part of a cycle of juvenile
delinquent films that were actually happening in world cinema
including Hector Babenco's Pixote
(1980, now on Criterion with a restoration backed by Martin Scorsese)
and the early films of actor Matt Dillon (My
et al) with a new honesty that had come a long way from old
melodramas, B-movies and the Rock Music movies o the 1950s.
Luis Manzano plays the lead in all three films, specific to a
post-Franco Spain (he is a different character in the first film,
versus the latter two) that deals with crime, exploitation, violence,
possible sexploitation and a place where (more shocking at the time)
gay and bi-sexual sex is as common as heterosexual sex and sexuality.
Sex is not always the focus of the films, though there is plenty of
nudity you would not see in a U.S. production.
have covered other de la Iglesia films, but they were not part of
this cycle at all and though sex is very open in his other dramas and
thrillers, these films turned out to be more person than expected and
are key time capsules as well. They qualify as gay cinema, yet these
is much more going on and parts are as honest and relevant as ever.
I definitely recommend this trilogy if you can handle the raw
(2020) is a different kind of melodrama featuring Felix Lefebvre as
Alexis, a young man who is just finding himself when overturning in a
boat leads to him being rescued by David (Benjamin Voisin) who
happens to like him and is gay (or possibly bi-sexual, the film does
not get into that) so the two have a serious affair.
eventually develops as Alex is unhappy that he may be with any other
man or woman, but they have hit it off (Alex narrates) and we see
their affair to its end. It is partly tragic, yet it is in a way
that would be rightly criticized by the documentary The
but I will not get into that as to not ruin the film. The film is
based on a book entitled Dance
On My Grave,
though the movie is not morbid.
actors are convincing along with the rest of the cast and the
locations and supporting actors are just fine too, but I had issues
with the story overall. No doubt Ozon can direct and I need to see
more of his films, one of the most successful directors in the world
who has never had a big U.S. critical or commercial success. I liked
the other films more that I have seen so far, but you would be
unlikely to be made in the U.S. at all, let alone in this way. Those
interested should see it.
(2020) has Luke Wilson (always a somewhat underappreciated actor) as
real life coach Rusty Russell, who brings his family in the middle of
The Great Depression to help out at a Fort Worth orphanage and shape
up a football team to take on the best. The film covers somewhat
familiar ground, but to its credit, does not offer the usual ending.
Helping the film is a solid supporting cast that includes Robert
Duvall, Wayne Knight, Vinessa Shaw and Martin Sheen, whose character
cast of young (semi-)unknowns playing the older orphans is very
convincing and helps the film to overcome some of its limits and the
film does not shy away from how bad things were at the time. Running
118 minutes, it could have even been better, but has enough good
moments that those interested should give it a look.
for playback performance. The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High
Definition image on Morant has some nice shots, but there is a slight
softness that I have never seen with the film before despite this
being about as good as I have seen it and it is because the colorist
has decided to make the film slightly a sandy color throughout (not
monochromatic, but towards that color) and may not be the disaster
the 4K scan of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly recently was,
yet it is still problematic. I don't think this is what Director of
Photography Donald McAlpine quite had in mind. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes do what
they can with the original monophonic sound and the result is as good
as this film will likely ever sound. I liked the 5.1 a little more
in this case.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Midnight
looks great throughout and is one of the best-looking regular
Blu-rays we've seen from Well Go to date, while the
Mandarin DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is very clean,
clear, well recorded mixed and goes well with the image.
1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on all three
Quinqui films can show the age of the materials used, but they
have been scanned and remastered from their original negatives and
the results are as good as can be expected form these low budget
productions. The DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 2.0 lossless mixes on the films sound about as good as they
can from the original monophonic soundmasters, but the first El
Pico is a little harsher
and a bit shrill in parts than it ought to be.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Summer
was mostly shot on 16mm Kodak Vision 3 color negative stocks
(200T and 500T) with some very impressive results, color wise, as
well as in depth and detail. Looking much better than most HD shoots
we have seen (and ofter suffered though lately) will surprise many.
The French DTS-HD MA (Master Audio)
5.1 lossless mix is also well recorded from the dialogue, to the
music and sound effects. The combination is one of the best on this
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Orphans
is not bad and has some stylized work on it to make it look like the
past, but is only so clear via the old format, while the DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is a well-recorded, dialogue-based
mix that has some limits, but is fine for what it is.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Notorious is an HD
shoot with some motion blur and not the most colorful viewing
experience. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 has some punch and kick
(literally and figuratively) to it, but it is limited by the old
codec that was always too compressed for its own good. The
combination is passable.
include Original Theatrical Trailers on all releases, save Navajeros,
Summer and Orphans, Breaker adds a new feature length
audio commentary track by Beresford, Producer Noel Carroll and Actors
Jack Thompson and Bryan Brown, all-new feature-length documentary
Breaker Morant: The Retrial, Slide Show, Photo Gallery,
The Myth Exposed: Director's Postscript, The Breaker
documentary and great archival audio interview with Edward Woodward.
adds other previews, Quinqui also adds actor Jose
Sacristan on Eloy de la Iglesia, Blood In The Streets: The
Quinqui Film Phenomenon with film scholars Mery Cuesta and
Tom Whittaker and Queerness, Crime and the Basque Conflict in
the Quinqui Films of Eloy de la Iglesia panel with film
scholars Alejandro Melero and Paul Julian Smith, moderated by Evan
Purchell of Ask Any Buddy.
adds Q&A from Rendez Vous with French Cinema, Interviews with
Ozon and the actors, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Dance and Fight
Rehearsal featurette, Poster Gallery, A Summer Dress
short film by Ozon and 35mm film, costume and light tests. In the
case the the latter, they tested 35mm and 16mm film to decide what to
shoot on and show the tests. They chose 16mm.
offers Deleted Scenes.
Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link for it and other hard to
find titles at:
Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Midnight)