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Category:    Home > Reviews > Supernatural > Mystery > Thriller > Noir > Horror > Comedy > Drugs > Gangsters > Slasher > Exploitation > Supe > Amazing Mr. X (1948/Film Detective Blu-ray)/Dirty Laundry (1987/MVD Blu-ray)/Escape Room 2: Tournament Of Champions (2021/Sony Blu-ray)/Fried Barry (2020/RLJ Blu-ray)/Night House (2020/Searchlight/Dis

Amazing Mr. X (1948/Film Detective Blu-ray)/Dirty Laundry (1987/MVD Blu-ray)/Escape Room 2: Tournament Of Champions (2021/Sony Blu-ray)/Fried Barry (2020/RLJ Blu-ray)/Night House (2020/Disney Blu-ray)/The Suicide Squad 4K (2021 first sequel/DC Comics/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

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

If you like horror, comedy and/or gross humor, you'll find some or all of that in the following entries...

Bewrnard Vorhaus' The Amazing Mr. X (1948) is an early sound film about spiritualists and connecting with ghosts, whether they turn out to be real or not. We originally looked at the film on DVD over 13 years ago at this link:


It has not improved with age, save the impressive camera work but legendary cinematography John Alton, A.S.C., who is the reason it is discussed the most. You can see his remarkable work much more clearly in this new, upgraded Blu-ray edition from Film Detective.

I want to add that I think co-stars Turhan Bey, Cathy O'Donnell and Lynn Bari are good here, but most people do not known who they are (though I always did) and failed to note how well they gel together here, even if I ultimately did not think the film worked. Richard Carlson is still a standout here, despite not having as much screen time. Those really interested can see it for themselves, more clearly than ever. Nice to see it restored so well.

Extras include an illustrated booklet on the film with an essay on lead Turhan Bey by film scholar Dan Stradley, while the disc adds the featurette Mysteries Exposed: Inside The Cinematic World Of Spiritualism and a very well done, feature length audio commentary track by film scholar Jason A. Ney, which is not a repeat of the track on the VCI DVD by another scholar, but new for this release as well.

William Webb's Dirty Laundry (1987) is the kind of low-budget comedy home video and a larger number of theaters in the late 1980s (when they still existed) could still support. A guy (Leigh McCloskey) goes to a laundromat and accidentally gets involved in a drug deal where the money goes missing and he gets blamed!

His girlfriend (Jeanie O'Brien) is a music reporter, which leads them to be in contact with a shady music manager (Sonny Bono) who also happens to know the lead gangster whose product it is and whose money is missing (legendary singer Frankie Valli) and a 'humorous' chase results. Unfortunately, the script is all over the place, a mix of good and bad actual musicians play musicians in the film, there are really no laughs, Robbie Rist, Carl Lewis and Greg Louganis as a heterosexual surfer dude do not add to any of this.

Considering some of the talent here, this could have worked better in any number of ways, but the makers just throw it all together and it never adds up after 89 minutes. For the ultra-curious only.

Extras include a collectible mini-poster inside the Blu-ray case, while the disc adds a feature length audio commentary track by Tony Piuso, Newt Wallen & Crystal Quin, an Original Theatrical Trailer and two on-camera actor interviews (Leigh McCloskey and Robbie Rist) at about a half-hour each.

Next, the concept of the Escape Room franchise is a pretty clever one and it has a vibe similar to the Final Destination or Saw films in some ways. Real escape rooms are something you can find in just about any major city now. You and a group of your friends can get locked in a room and must solve hidden clues in order to escape. It was only a matter of time until someone made a movie about them, thus a franchise is born.

Well in the sequel, Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions (2021), we retain that same basic concept although it's pushed to the limits in a win or die scenario (and several do die.) The biggest film with the film is that it spends most of its 90-minute running time jumping from one elaborate trap to the next and sums it up with an ending that spends more time setting up another film than it does resolving the story in this one. We don't know who is the pulling the strings behind the lot of this, which adds some mystery to it, but is equally frustrating.

The film stars Logan Miller, Taylor Russell, Anton David Jeftha, Deborah Ann Woll, and Holland Roden.

In Tournament of Champions, six teens and/or early 20-somethings end up on a subway together, when the transit wrecks and they realize they are in a trap. It doesn't take long until we realize that each of these characters were past champions in previous versions of the escape room. As they go from elaborate trap to elaborate trap and the group grows smaller and smaller, its up to the sole victor (I won't spoil it for you) to find out what the meaning of all these traps are and what part they play in the future of demonic escape rooms.

Special Features:


Go Inside the Minos Escape Rooms

Meet the Players

and Director Adam Robitel on Raising the Stakes

Fried Barry (2020) is a pretty wild film that's just plain weird from start to finish. It is shot gorgeously and has some very impressive filmmaking elements in it that can only be described as trippy. The story centers on a bizarre looking junkie (Gary Green) who ends up getting abducted by aliens and ends up getting his body 'invaded' by an alien force. As Barry goes around town, he gets into bizarre situation after bizarre situation, and starts to realize that he is anything but normal anymore. Part body horror, part drug movie, part gross, Fried Barry is definitely a movie to check out if you like any of what I just described in a film.

The film stars Gary Green, Joey Cramer, Chanelle De Jager, Lise Slabber, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, and Jenna Saras. It was a Fantasia Film Festival Official Selection for 2020 as well with direction by Ryan Kruger.

Special Features:

Audio Commentaries

Making Of featurette

Fried Barry Short Film

Deleted/Extended Scenes


Barry Outtakes

and How To with Barry

Rebecca Hall (Godzilla vs Kong, Iron Man 3, The Prestige) proves her leading lady capabilities with the exciting supernatural thriller, The Night House (2020), which is a creepy ghost story that is definitely pretty original. With a vibe similar to suspense films like Robert Zemeckis' What Lies Beneath and even a dash of inspiration maybe from The Invisible Man remake, the film centers mainly on a female protagonist who slowly solves a complex mystery surrounding her (maybe evil?) husband. Things get pretty weird in this film though, and the slow build up pays off with a satisfying ending.

The film also stars Sarah Goldberg, Stacy Martin, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Evan Jonigkeit.

Beth (Hall) is a school teacher who is shaken by the sudden suicide of her husband and is now living in the lake house that he built before he died. As she attempts to move on with her life, she slowly starts to piece together the events that led us to his death and some startling secrets about him are unearthed, she soon realizes that these events hold a bizarre connection to her past.

Special Features:

What Happens at the Lake House Featurette

and Trailers

Finally we have James Gunn's The Suicide Squad 4K, a 2021 (first?) sequel to the hit 2016 film we reviewed on 4K disc here:


Returning from the first David Ayer film are Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), Amanda Walker (Viola Davis) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) while losing Will Smith. New cast members include Savant (Michael Rooker), T.D.K. (Nathan Fillon), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), Javelin (Flula Borg), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniel Melchior), Mongal (Mayling Ng), Polka Dot Man (David Dastmalchian in one of the best performances here), Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena, struggling to give an acting performance for once in his life and succeeding here and there) and King Shark (voice of Sylvester Stallone).

Before this film, DC Comics had two universes to deal with in the superhero genre: the regular one and the comedy one launched by Shazam!, but this film adds a third one of absurd, ultra-gross, wacky humor and situations that are two outrageous for the other films and too gross for the new child-friendlier Shazam!. Gunn, in an attempt to make up for the last film's mixed response, goes for broke and the gross situations, gross dialogue, absurd moments and has so many such vignettes that it constantly interrupts any narrative the film could or should have.

On the one hand, it has plenty of well-thought out moments and tie-ins for longtime and new DC fans, but it more than earns it R-rating puling far past his Marvel movies and falling back more than a few times of his horror genre entries to the point that some may argue it is not a superhero genre film and since it is a supervillain film, that has a degree of validity. Unfortunately, Gunn succeeds and fails at the same time, coming up with so many moments as intended, but shrinking narrative to the point that the film is no better than its predecessor.

At least the actors give it their best and Gunn's love of all genres attempted are authentic enough, but it is just too much and it does not add up when all is said and done, including having see more than some of this before, including in Gunn's own films. See for yourself, but expect the unexpected and do not have high expectations. That might help.

Extras include Digital Copy, while both discs add a feature length audio commentary track by Gunn and the regular Blu-ray adds a Gag Reel, five featurettes (Gotta Love the Squad and The Way of The Gunn, Comic Book Origins of The Suicide Squad, Starro: It's a Freakin Kaiju! and Bringing King Shark To Life), Breakdowns (It's a Suicide Mission Scene, My Guns Bigger Than Yours Scene, Harley's Great Escape Scene and The Fall of Jotunheim Scene,) War Movie Retro Trailer, Horror Movie Retro Trailer, Buddy-Cop Retro Trailer and Deleted & Extended Scenes.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HECV/H.265, 1.90 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10+; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Squad 4K version just passes up the rest of the entries here for color range, detail, depth and clarity. The 1080p Blu-ray version is good for the now-older format, but cannot match the 4K in overall performance. More impressive is the soundtrack, which is in Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) on both discs. It is one of the most impressive uses of the sound format to date with all kinds of traveling dialogue and sound effects that make for some of the film's better and more interesting moments. A nice surprise.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Mr. X can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film including the older DVD form VCI that looked OK for the time and under the circumstances, but now shows its age and was from a lesser source. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is also an improvement, but the sound is optical mono from an independent film production, so one can only expect so much. Otherwise, its fine.

Fried Barry is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix. The film looks and sounds fine for the Blu-ray format and definitely looks better than streaming. As mentioned the film has great cinematography and a highly cinematic look even though the content at some times can be questionable.

Escape Room is preserved 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) 5.1 mix. The film looks and sounds up to standards with the Blu-ray format in an overall satisfying presentation.

The Night House is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix. The film is beautifully photographed and has a great and tense sound mix that that is heightened.

Finally, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Laundry can also show the age of the materials used, but the slight motion blur suggests a slightly older HD master or someone did not totally transfer this as well as they could have. Color is fine otherwise and the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is about as good as an independent film from the time could sound in mono, as at this point, only Woody Allen and ultra-low budget films were not using at least simple stereo at this point. The combination is a little aged, but is good enough for this release, though die hard fans might want a little more.

- Nicholas Sheffo (4K, Dirty, X) and James Lockhart



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