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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Science Fiction > Comedy > Thriller > Psychotic > Fantasy > Monster > Martial Arts > Aliens, Clowns and Geeks (2021*)/Edge Of Sanity (1989/Arrow*)/Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore 4K (2022/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Hero (1997*)/Human Lanterns (1982/both 88 Films

Aliens, Clowns and Geeks (2021*)/Edge Of Sanity (1989/Arrow*)/Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore 4K (2022/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Hero (1997*)/Human Lanterns (1982/both 88 Films/*all MVD Blu-rays)

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

Genre madness is all over the place in the following releases...

If you love watching silly off the wall B movies that aim just to make you laugh and nothing more then Aliens, Clowns, and Geeks (2021) might be worth putting in your movie watching que. Directed by Richard Elfman (Director of Forbidden Zone and Modern Vampires and brother to famous composer Danny Elfman), this movie is zany and over the top silly in every way that a Troma film is, but not quite as crude as the former. At first glance, I was expecting this to be a nearly unwatchable and painful experience, but after taking the chance I found this movie to be pretty hilarious and a lot more fun than I was expecting. In fact, I dare even recommend it.

The film stars Steve Agee (Suicide Squad), French Stewart (3rd Rock From The Sun), George Wendt (Cheers), Verne Troyer (Austin Powers), Anastasia Elfman (Bloody Bridget), Malcolm Foster Smith (The Middle), Rebecca Forsythe (Bronx Bull), Angeline-Rose Troy (CineDopes), Nic Novicki (Boardwalk Empire) and Martin Klebba (Pirates of the Caribbean) with a soundtrack featuring original music by Danny Elfman (Batman, Spider-Man) and Ego Plum (SpongeBob SquarePants)!

An out of work actor (Bodhi Elfman) ends up accidentally obtaining the key to the universe and is drawn into an inter-galactic was between aliens and alien clowns in a battle of supremacy. With the help of his sexy scientist girlfriend (Rebecca Forsythe), this broke out of work actor may be the key to saving mankind!

Aliens, Clowns, and Geeks is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) and an LPCM 2.0 track. The music is a highlight to the piece with some fun low budget sounding score by Elfman and a clean digitally shot feature presentation that is fine.

Special Features:

Aliens, Clowns and Geeks: Behind the Scenes Interviews with the cast and crew

Interview with Writer/Director Richard Elfman

'Mambo Diabolico' Music Video

and an Original Theatrical Trailer

In Edge Of Sanity (1989), Psycho star Anthony Perkins plays another dual personality role, this time he's the infamous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A period piece set in London similar in some ways to Jack the Ripper as the victims of his crimes are mainly prostitutes who somehow fall for Hyde's pasty looking pale appearance. Of course, the plot of Jekyll and Hyde is an allegory for drug/alcohol abuse and how one person can be two different people when under the influence of said substance. This film goes out of it's way to prove that point as it shows Hyde going through addiction and withdrawal while absorbing the chemical smoke that turns him into what he is.

Perkins is pretty convincing in the role and the film is definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the late actor's body of work. He has a very grimacing evil look to his Hyde counterpart here that is infamously seen at the film's climax as he edges towards Jekyll's wife with a knife... however this film doesn't have the ending you may expect.

Arrow Video has restored the film to HD glory and packed with extras in this new release. A grisly R rated adaptation of the original Robert Louis Stevenson story, Perkins goes all out in the role and plays both doctor and monster in a menacing and creepy fashion. From the director of other sexy films of the time, Love Circles and Lady Libertine, Gerard Kikoïne.

The film also stars Glynis Barber, Sarah Maur Thorp, David Lodge, Ben Cole, and Ray Jewers.

Edge of Sanity 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 LPCM 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit) Stereo. Shot on 35mm film, the presentation is nice and clean and has high production design.

Special Features:

Brand new feature length audio commentary by writer David Flint and author and filmmaker Sean Hogan

Over the Edge, a brand new interview with Stephen Thrower, author of Nightmare USA

Jack, Jekyll and Other Screen Psychos, a brand new interview with Dr Clare Smith, author of Jack the Ripper in Film and Culture

French Love, a career-spanning interview with director Gerard Kikoïnem

Staying Sane, Gerard Kikoine discusses Edge of Sanity

Original Theatrical trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

and First Pressing Only: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jon Towlson.

The Harry Potter franchise and its spin-off, The Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them are both under the Wizarding World banner and created by author J.K. Rowling herself. So why do these Fantastic Beasts films, this is the third one now, feel so much more lifeless than the nearly perfect Potter series? I think the issues are probably at the top of the creative food chain behind the scenes. Director David Yates is beyond bored with the franchise at this point after making six films and you can really tell here. He's like a director that's stuck in a franchise prison he can't escape. God knows he tried with that mediocre Tarzan movie years ago, but he quickly jumped back into the Potter-verse when that whole thing went south, continuing here with franchises like Star Wars and Marvel are trying different filmmakers now and spinning new approaches to familiar material and with some pretty wildly inventive results. So why the Potter franchise is being done so tightly knit with its film team is kind of a mystery. Especially after all of this time leading up to this film, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore 4K (2022)

Another thing I think that takes American audiences out of these Fantastic Beast movies is the overall British feel to them that isn't quite Hollywood mainstream, and the tone doesn't quite match with the old. This film was also plagued with controversy before the cameras even rolled as Johnny Depp was replaced as the villain Grindelwald with Mads Mikkelsen, Ezra Miller who plays a supporting role went completely off the deep end and is still as of this writing causing lots of sleepless nights for Warner Bros. executives, and author/creator J.K. Rowling herself is now under a lot of scrutiny for some of her bizarre personal point of views on some touchy real world subjects that we won't dive into here.

Still, the Potter-verse style seeps through the wooden cracks and we get a few fun moments with some creative magic amidst the overstuffed CGI. At the end of the day, there are a few things that I personally couldn't shake. I like Jude Law as an actor, but I just don't feel like his casting is right for Dumbledore. That combined with another lackluster performance by Eddie Redmayne, who is just not a leading man really, and some other characters that simply aren't as dynamic or interesting as those in the Harry Potter films. There was a certain chemistry between the original Potter leads that this is really lacking.

The film also stars Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, and Katherine Waterston.

Dumbledore (Law) and Grindelwald (Mikklesen) are on opposing sides of the wizarding world and much is at stake. Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Redmayne) joins up with a crew of misfits under Dumbledore and hatch a hair brained scheme that involves all sorts of bizarre and fun creatures. The followers of Grindelwald are starting to grow, however, and the conflict between both sides overshadows all.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is presented in 2160p on 4K UHD disc with a HEVC / H.265 (56.48 Mbps) codec, Dolby Vision/HDR10, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and tracks in lossless Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) and even lossy Dolby Digital 5.1. The transfer is breathtaking and really shows off the format despite some of the lacking parts of the movie itself, the look and feel of it is big budget and beautiful. Also included is a 1080p Blu-ray disc that houses the feature and the bonus material.

Special Features:

The Dumbledore Family Tree

Dumbledore Through the Ages

Magical or Muggle

The Magic of Hogwarts

Even More Fantastic Beasts

Newt in the Wild

The German Ministry of Magic

A Dumbledore Duel

The Candidates' Dinner

Erkstag Jailbreak

Battle in Bhutan

The Secrets of Cursed Child

and Deleted Scenes

The future of the Harry Potter franchises seem a bit in the dark at the time of this writing, but my hopes are that these films will come to be a bit more respected down the line the same way that the Star Wars prequels were. As of the time of this writing, however, I feel like fans are a bit burnt out on Fantastic Beasts, or never liked it much at all, and are generally wanting nostalgia and to see the old cast members reunited for another Potter centered film. I have faith that it will likely happen eventually, but the next franchise installment better have some more bang.

Corey Yuen's Hero (1997) not to be confused with several other films that have the same name is an Asian martial arts film. This is a remake of Cheh Chang's classic The Boxer from Shantung (1972) from Shaw Brothers, but has a more '90s vibe that will please more modern martial arts movie fans as there is certainly some great stunt work on display here.

The film stars Takeshi Kaneshiro, Biao Yuen, Jessica Hester Hsuan, Wah Yuen, Valerie Chow, and Corey Yuen.

The film centers of Ma Wing Jing at the end of the Qin Dynasty, who saves the life of a mobster in Shanghai and is gifted a nightclub as a thank you. However, it comes with rival gangs and corrupt people forces that seek to overturn Jing's kindness to their enemy.

Hero is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and an English LPCM 2.0 Mono. The HD transfer certainly improves on prior editions of the film on disc and doesn't have anything noticeably distracting from the overall presentation.

Audio commentary with Asian cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema

Hong Kong Trailer and an English Trailer.

Finally, we have Chun Sung's Human Lanterns (1982,) a mix of horror and martial arts by The Shaw Brothers and mixes nightmarish images with traditional martial arts swordplay. 88 Films has been turning out these kung fu classics in new remastered editions and they are surely welcome.

The film stars Tony Liu, Kuan-Tai Chen, Lieh Lo, Ni Tien, Linda Chu, and Meng Lo.

A Hong Kong giallo, Lung Shu Ai (Tony Liu), a pompous and wealthy man, hires Chao Fang (Lieh Lo) to make a special lantern for an annual lantern festival. However, Chao remembers losing his woman to Lung, so he plots revenge on the man and his loved ones. This spirals into a terrifying blood soaked kung fu explosion!

Human Lanterns 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 LPCM 2.0 Mono. 88 Films are pretty consistent with their presentations and this release is no exception. The film is nicely restored and photographed and there certainly was a nice production design team at the core of the film.

Special Features:

Feature Length Audio Commentary by Kenneth Brorsson and Phil Gillon of the Podcast on Fire Network

A Shaw Story: Interview with Susan Shaw

The Beauty and the Beasts: Interview with Linda Chu

Lau Wing: The Ambiguous Hero

and a Trailer.

If you're a fan of Shaw Brothers martial arts films, then this one is pretty well produced and has a nice mix of martial arts and horror in hits core.

- James Lockhart



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