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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Genocide > Holocaust > Terrorism > WWII > Propaganda > Politics > Mexico > Comedy > German > Labor > Sla > Adam Resurrected (2008*)/Espaldas Mojadas (1955 aka Wetbacks/VCI*)/Granny Nanny (2020/Icarus DVD)/La Rebelion De Los Colgados (1954 aka Rebellion Of The Hanged/VCI*)/Messalina (1960*/**)/Royal Deceit

Adam Resurrected (2008*)/Espaldas Mojadas (1955 aka Wetbacks/VCI*)/Granny Nanny (2020/Icarus DVD)/La Rebelion De Los Colgados (1954 aka Rebellion Of The Hanged/VCI*)/Messalina (1960*/**)/Royal Deceit (1994*)/We Of The Never Never (1982/**both Twilight Time Limited Editions/*all MVD Blu-rays)/Wheel Of Fortune And Fantasy (2021/Film Movement Blu-ray)

Picture: B+/B/B/B/B-/B+/B-/B Sound: B+/C+/B/C+/C+/B+/B-/B Extras: C+/C-/D/C-/C/C-/B-/C- Films: B-/C+/B+/B-/C+/C-/B-/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Messalina and We Of The Never Never Blu-rays are now only available from Twilight Time, are limited editions and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for a big batch of dramas, including some new editions of a few we looked at before...

Directed by Paul Schrader (First Reformed, Card Counter, Auto Focus, writer of Taxi Driver) and featuring a stellar performances by Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe, Adam Resurrected (2008) gets a new life on Blu-ray disc thanks to MVD Visual.

Set in World War II era, Adam Stein (Goldblum) is in a psychiatric institute for Holocaust survivors and recalls his frightening story of being psychologically and psychically abused by the Nazis, basically acting like their human dog and being a clown/entertainer of sorts. The film is very well done, but pretty sad and at times a heavy watch.

Adam Resurrected 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 audio mixes in lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and an English LPCM 2.0 surround mix. The film is beautifully photographed and looks and sounds fantastic here for the format.

Special Features:

Audio Commentary with Director Paul Schrader

Behind the Scenes featurette

Deleted Scenes

Haifa International Film Festival Q & A

and an Original Theatrical Trailer

For more on the film, you can read our review of the older Blu-ray at this link:


Alejandro Galindo's Espaldas Mojadas (1955 aka Wetbacks) is essentially a propaganda film that tells its Mexican (et al) audience to NOT try to illegally cross over the border to the United States because 'things are not as good there as you think' and though a historically important film, is also a condescending propaganda film that gives us a bridge and shallow water below it that anyone could easily get across.

Likely more impressive or maybe more effective in its time, if it were a U.S. production, it might be considered racist or worse on some level, but now you can see for yourself with a cast led by David Silva and Victor Parra. Its is something to see.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black and white digital High Definition image transfer (from a 4K restoration) is from a restored print and luckily, the Kodak film stocks held up well enough for this to look as good as it does, though it can still show the age of the materials used, The lossless PCM 2.0 Mono sound is as good as this film will ever likely sound and the hard work to fix both on this film really pay off.

Extras include Original Theatrical Trailers.

Karin (Maryn Kroymann,) Gerhard (Heiner Lauterbach) and Philippa (Barbara Sukowa) are senior citizens, retired and bored... so in order to feel more alive they decide to be 'Granny-Nannies', each one of them gets to take care of a family with a 'small' child. Believing what their missing in life is children, but like families, you don't get to pick and choose (sort of) they soon learn being a grandpa or grandma isn't so easy and there will be complications, but then anything worthwhile isn't easy and it's never too late to find happiness in Wolfgang Groos' Granny Nanny (2020).

The trio are three old people without any children or grandchildren so they basically decide to become rent-a-grandparent to a family and child. Karin and her husband retired, but she is completely bored and wants to travel but her husband doesn't, she finds a family with a young boy and rebellious young girl, but then she ends up in an affair with the husband. Gerhard is a reluctant gay grandpa and he is trying to teach his little boy to fight back against school bullies.

Philippa is the free-spirited grandmother but she is estranged from her own family, she gets a little girl with over-controlling, overprotective parents with rules for everything. Things don't go as they want but when the little ones get into trouble, it's the grandparents to the rescue. They might be too old to have kids, but they never too old to be grandparents.

This a German film, a heartwarming story about grandparents and what it is means to be one. When people get old, they start wanting to have grandchildren, especially if they don't have any. As they learn take care of kids, they learn things about themselves they forgot, what it means to live, be alive and have fun, but along with fun comes trouble and responsibility.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image and lossy German Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix are as good as they could ever be in this format, though we bet a Blu-ray with lossless sound would bring out even more in the film. Extras only include trailers.

Alfredo B. Crevenna and Emilio Fernandez's La Rebelion De Los Colgados (1954 aka Rebellion Of The Hanged) has a family led by a smart, strong father (the late, great Pedro Armendariz, on his way to worldwide acting fame in films like From Russia With Love (1963,) the second-ever James Bond film) taking his family to a place to work and hopefully get ahead, only to find that it is a place of abuse, violence, slave labor, torture, lynching and other types of terror and murder.

With no where to turn and no authorities to help, he and the rest of the workers decide they have no other alternative but to fight and rebel against their now-oppressors and hope for the best, but expect the worst. A bold storyline, this is impressive for its time and short 85 minutes length. The directing and acting are good, as is much of the editing and its always bold in dealing with its subject matter. Definite a serious dramatic gem worth catching, it is one of the better surprises we've seen of late.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black and white digital High Definition image transfer (from a new 4K scan) and PCM 2.0 Mono lossless mix here also benefit from very hard work in their restoration with the image looking impressive for its age and the sound as good as it likely will ever be.

Extras include some Original Theatrical Trailers.

Vittorio Cottafavi's Messalina (1960) is a moderately budgeted Italian-made epic about the title character (played by the British-born Belinda Lee, who died way too young in a accident) becomes the wife of Claudius (Marcello Giorda) by an arranged marriage after Caligula is killed off. However, she is wiser than many think and is up to all kinds of sexual acrobatics that would shock many in the kingdom. Lee makes that aspect of the tale easy to believe.

She is more interested in Lucius Maximus (Spiros Focas) than anyone else, but they would not be able to be public about if it started to happen and all this while other plots, wars and power plays are ongoing. Thus, you get all kinds of twists and turns, interesting to see here, even if you know the actual history. Fight scenes are mixed, but the cast is not bad and you also get a few shocking moments. No, not the best film of its kind, but not epic schlock either and now, you can see it for what manages to work.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used and its lower budget, but this was actually shot in the Ultra High Definition Super Technirama film format, which uses exceptionally clear lenses to squeeze the image onto the film and has also been used to make 70mm prints, superior to regular 35mm prints. Issued overseas in three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor, Warner handled it overseas, but it apparently was edited down for its U.S. release and issued in less-expensive color film prints. Needless to say this version is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film on home video and even some film prints, issued the same year as a similar but far more successful Technirama epic, Kubrick's Spartacus.

It can really look good often and sometimes great, but can also show its low-budget sides and will even remind you of such scenes in the Mankiewicz Cleopatra (1963) with Elizabeth Taylor. Though the sets can look on the fake side, they can also look fine and the costumes decent, even if they are not always as naturalistic and realistic as later such films.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is as good as this film will ever likely sound and it seems no stereo version ever existed. The music by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino (Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die, Chimes At Midnight, Agent 8 3/4 (aka Hot Enough For July,) Colossus Of Rhodes) is a plus here and the film needs it.

Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text, tech info and an essay.

Royal Deceit (1994) is film that I certainly never heard of before, but has an incredible cast including a young Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsale, Gabrielle Byrne, Brian Cox, and Helen Mirren. Based on the Danish interpretation of Hamlet rather than Shakespeare's, The film follows young Jute Amled (Bale) who must avenge his father's murder at the hands of his dissembling uncle (Byrne). The film has a low budget-ish feel at times, and is painfully predictable and not particularly engaging despite the familiar faces on the screen.

The film is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and an English LPCM 2.0 Stereo surround mix. The film is shot so so, but almost has a TV movie quality in the way it is photographed. The music is interesting as it seems to be created as music of this ancient era would have been.

The only extra is a Trailer.

Igor Auzins's We Of The Never Never (1982) is a great Australian film we are now reviewing for the third time and the first from a U.S. edition. Here's a link to our coverage of the import Blu-ray of a few years ago here:


Easily the best edition around, it is one of the best Australian films ever made and one of the most honest about their past decades ago with a solid cast and some great scenery. Now 40 years old and counting, it is not stuffy or Oz-Ploitation and definitely worth seeing. Serious film fans will want to out of their way for it if they have not seen it yet.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used, but this is from the same restoration and looks a little clearer and more stable versus the import's 1080i playback. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is as good as the previous Blu-ray and as good as this film will ever look.

Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text, tech info and an essay, while the disc adds the Back To The Never Never documentary featurette and an Original Theatrical Trailer. The Australian release has more, but this plays back a little better.

Lastly, we have Ryusuke Hamaguchi's semi-anthology Wheel Of Fortune And Fantasy (2021) with three honest, somewhat strong stories about living, relationships and people. The director says it is hard to get short films screened in Japanese movie theaters, so he made this. However, these go together well and the tales of an unusual love triangle with more anger and bold thoughts than expected, a relationship that never gels and the return of the repressed past are not bad apart or together.

Hamaguchi has something to say and show, proven by this release and if he can stay on track, could become the next big name director, but it is not easy, especially these days. However, enough is impressive here (despite a few off notes) to check this one out and you'll be more impressed than expected.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is a competent HD shoot that is not bad and consistent enough, while the Japanese DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix also sounds fine and the combination is professional and works.

Extras include an on-camera interview with the Director and Director Neo Sora's short film The Chicken, which I was no fan of.

To order the Messalina and/or We Of The Never Never limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo, Ricky Chiang (Granny) and James Lockhart (Adam, Royal)



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