(2022/*both Sony Blu-rays)/Road
(1994/Blu-ray/*both Film Movement)
B-/B-/C+/B- Sound: B/B-/C+/B- Extras: C-/C/C/C Films:
for some dramas with some comedy, some more than others...
(2021) is based on the book by Rosa Liksom about a young Finnish
woman (Seidi Haarla) leaving Russia (pre-Ukraine invasion) leaving
behind an unsatisfying love affair to go by train to very snowy, cold
Murmansk. She lands up having to share the title car with a Russian
miner (Yuriy Borisov) who is a little off-kilter, then they start
getting other visitors along the way.
are all trying to find new connections, but that will be a bit more
difficult as they all have personal issues to deal with and things to
learn. I am a sucker for films that take place on trains, but I
never totally bought this film, though the actors are not bad. Maybe
the book was better, but it was another case of many things we had
all seen before, some locales are interesting. It did well at
Cannes, but it feels long at 107 minutes and ultimately does not
offer too much new to see or experience. Still, it is sad to see
anything about Russia before recent events and will likely be
remembered as one of a short list of films that did not know they
were at the end of an era.
(2022) is a personal pet project that star Mark Wahlberg backed
personally, a biopic about a young boxer-turned-priest that has its
moments, yet has the actor repeating himself a little bit with a
screenplay that does not offer much new either. A bit cliched, Jacki
Weaver and Mel Gibson play the man's parents at all points of his
life and seeing Gibson again in anything at this point is odd to me.
I believed they could be his parents, though.
to say Wahlberg gives it his all and is never afraid to get his hands
dirty, so he could not have done better. Its a small, even
old-fashioned project like Channing Tatum's Dog
(also reviewed on this site) that is a personal throwback work that
only got made because of the leads' box office clout. There is some
audience for this one, but I am not it. Look into it if you are
(Wu Ke-Zi) and Guo (Kai Ko) are illegal immigrants. They snuck
across the Burmese border to find jobs in Thailand. After bribing
border patrols, cops, and officials they still have a tough time
finding jobs, as they work, they must apply for IDs and work permits.
Lianqing works from job to job and continues to apply for legal
papers believing legal documents will lead her to a better life.
Meanwhile, Guo believes it is easier and better to work without
permits and it is a waste of time and money to continue to bribe the
officials. But after Lianqing acquires fake identity papers
everything changes between her and Guo in Midi
just wants to work and have a better life. So does Guo. However,
without any legal papers they only way to survive is to continue to
bribe officials and working for employers who paying for cheap labor
and even lower paying jobs. Lianqing finds herself constantly
failing job interviews and losing her jobs and even getting arrested
without legal papers. Meanwhile, Guo works in a factory outside the
system and he constantly 'rescues' Lianqing and even tells her it's
hopeless and it's better to work at the factory with him instead of
worrying about legal papers. Guo is in love with Lianqing and tries
to make her see his point of view and give up on getting legal
papers. But Lianqing then learns Guo has been hindering her from
getting legal papers, she leaves him. What will happen next?
is drama and struggle of illegal immigrants living in a corrupt world
and where everyone must have legal papers. After blood, sweat and
tears, tragedy only follows for those who try and work hard. Can
happiness ever be found?
(1994) takes place in Taipei, Taiwan, with three different roommates
in one apartment trying to get along, find happiness and any kind of
connection. One is a suicidal guy (Lee Kang-sheng) who works in a
funeral home, another a freewheeling guy (Chen Choa-jung) who is not
as joyous as he thinks and is the lover of their female counterpart
(Yang Kuei-mei) is in the real estate business. Decently shot and
more often silent (minus any dialogue or voice overs) has a visual
style that the Blu-ray case accurately states is not unlike
Michelangelo Antonioni, but you get much more L'Avventura
here and though that's nice and even somewhat of a risk, it does not
necessarily make the film work. I do think the actors are not bad
and locales interesting, so the film creates its own feel and mood,
but it never adds up into something more.
was still enough to make it a critical and commercial success at the
time, though with the current state of work politics, war and the
like, this might become more of a time capsule than any of the makers
could have imagined at the time. It is at least ambitious and those
interested should definitely give it a look.
for playback performance. The
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Compartment
tends to be on the soft side throughout, if not awfully so, but more
often than it should.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Stu
is just as unexpectedly soft and even slightly more throughout to the
point it is a bit of a distraction.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Vive
is also a little softer throughout than I would have liked, but it
looks very slightly better than the others being shot on 35mm film.
Otherwise, still on the soft side and too much so for me.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Mandalay
is going to be the weakest performer here being the only DVD, but it
is fine for the old format.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Compartment
is a mixdown from its original Dolby Atmos soundmaster, but is still
the best performer on the list with a consistent soundfield and good
recording, mixing and mastering throughout.
I cannot say that about the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless
mix on Stu
which is softer and weaker than any film with Wahlberg should be at
this point in time. What happened?
Mandarin PCM 2.0 Stereo on Vive
is not bad and has some limited Pro Logic-like surrounds, but sounds
good for its age.
lossy Chinese/Burmese/Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Mandalay
DVD is the poorest showing here, but might sound better lossless. It
include Digital Copy on Stu,
which also offers 10 minutes of Deleted Scenes and a featurette about
the real Father Stu, Compartment
adds a few trailers including one of its own, Vive
adds a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative
text, illustrations and a solid essay by Nick Pinkerton, while its
disc adds a featurette on the director discussing this film (et al)
adds the short film ''On
(Directed by Wei Shujun / Chinese with English subtitles / 15
minutes; per the press release:) In a border village, a Chinese
teenager of Korean descent aspires to emigrate to the homeland.
Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Mandalay)