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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Teens > Animation > Japan > Crime > Horror > Adventure > Science Fiction > Satire > Cable TV > Thrill > House Party (2023 remake/DVD*)/Junk Head (2017/Synergetic DVD**)/Omerta: The Act Of Silence (2011/DVD**)/Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin (2022/HBO DVDs*)/Rick and Morty: Season Six (2022/Adult Swim

House Party (2023 remake/DVD*)/Junk Head (2017/Synergetic DVD**)/Omerta: The Act Of Silence (2011/DVD**)/Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin (2022/HBO DVDs*)/Rick and Morty: Season Six (2022/Adult Swim Blu-ray Set/*all Warner)/Texas Chainsaw Mascara (2022/Billzebub DVD/**all MVD)/Wire Room (2022/Lionsgate Blu-ray)

Picture: B-/B-/C/B-/B/C/B+ Sound: B-/C-/C/B-/B/C/B+ Extras: D/D/D/B/C+/C-/C- Main Programs: C/C-/C-/C/B-/D/C

Here's a new batch of genre releases to know about...

House Party (2023) is a lackluster R-rated remake of the 1990s comedy franchise that centers on two broke cleaners who end up getting a job to clean basketball star LeBron James' mansion and decide to throw a huge party there with resources beyond their own. This remake failed to draw in audiences theatrically in January with no real fanfare, which after seeing it, isn't surprising as the film is pretty mediocre and seems to drag on forever despite its 100 minute running time. Warner Bros. should learn from this and the failed Space Jam sequel that LeBron (who was also a producer on this project) should probably remain a sports figure rather than a leading man.

The film stars Jacob Latimore, LeBron James, Tosin Colem Allen Maldonado, and Bottara Angele; it is directed by Calmatic.

House Party is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio mix. Despite the compressed presentation that lacks detail of even 1080p, the film looks and sounds fine for the format. A Blu-ray version is available on the market.

No extras.

This House Party remake is nothing terribly special and made likely as a tax write-off from a studio perspective.

Junk Head (2017) is a Japanese stop motion animated movie that took ten years to complete and is now out on DVD. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi film is directed by Takahide Hori and centers on a future where humans are forced to move underground to avoid global destruction.

The cast includes Takahide Hori, Atsuko Miyake, Yuji Sugiyama, and others.

Junk Head is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio mix with no English subtitle option and so it makes it difficult to understand what is being said if you don't speak the language. The animation isn't as impressive as I was hoping by going off the cover art.

The style of the film is a mix of digital animation and stop motion animation with what appears to be clay-like characters. By looking at the cover, one would guess that this was a completely digitally animated feature. Some moments (particularly buildings) look pretty good whilst the animation of the characters themselves are severely lacking. The character voices are manipulated and in Japanese and so watching the film is a bit painful because you never know what's going on. Seems like a lot of odd choices were being made during the making of this film.

No extras.

Junk Head failed to impress me aside from a few moments of ambitious animation attempts.

Omerta: The Act Of Silence (2011) is a gangster / religious/ inspirational based independent film that desperately wants to be a Scorsese-like gangster film like GoodFellas, but is told on a shoestring budget with occasional religious overtones. This mess of an indie movie wears its inspirations on its sleeves and aims high, but ultimately falls short.

The film follows a world champion boxer who seeks a Priest for forgiveness for the sinful life that he lived with his gangster friend. Things start out seeming like it's going to be a heartfelt religious film, but then kicks over to gangster movie mode with four letter words, rap music, and voice-overs that were obviously inspired by GoodFellas. If it didn't try so hard to be like a Scorsese film with fake Brooklyn accents and forced over acting in virtually every scene, it could be more compelling.

The film stars Will Wallace, Joe Estevez, Adam Nelson, Joe D'Onofrio, and Carmen Argenziano; it is written and directed by Craig Syracusa.

Omerta: The Act of Silence is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio mix. The audio is dicey in some areas with some voice overs that are terribly performed with fake accents and bad sound mixing in some scenes with ambient sound that comes in and out. Dubbed voice overs are obvious and shot on digital video, the look is clean but not overly stylized. Acting, as with most independent films, is dicey and inconsistent. Some scenes are way too blue and pink as well, which doesn't make sense for scenes filmed in broad daylight. Compression issues are evident with the aging DVD format.

No Extras.

Omerta: The Act of Silence is an admirable effort that wears it's influence on it's sleeves, but has many shortcoming similar to most independent films from ten years ago.

The HBO Max teen horror drama Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin (2022) is a spin-off of the original series. The film kind of follows a story similar to Nightmare on Elm Street in some ways where a group of girls (called 'The Liars') are haunted by events that happened to their mothers 20 years prior whilst being tormented by a mysterious and a serial killer and a serial rapist. While this show isn't this reviewer's cup of tea, I can see it being appealing for the younger audience it's geared towards. In essence, it's like a CW Network soap opera mixed with a slight thriller / horror formula with an R-rated twist.

The cast includes Jordan Gonzalez, Bailee Madison, Zaria, Mallory Bechtel, and Chandler Kinney.

Presented across three DVDs, the season is comprised of ten episodes divided into chapters that include Spirit Week, The Spirit Queen, Aftermath, The (Fe)male Gaze, The Night He Came Home, Scars, Carnival of Souls, Bad Blood, Dead and Buried, and The Final Girls.

The series is in a three disc DVD set and is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio mix. The production is solid all around as is the norm for HBO productions. Aside from being a compressed and none too detailed image, it looks fine. The series is clearly geared towards a female teenage audience and features a lot of pop music and cliquey fashion.

Special Features:

Inside the Sin: A Liar's Club

A New Generation of Terror: The Villains of Original Sin

Swagger, Romance, and Fear: The Boys of Original Sin

and Character Check-in: Noa Olivar, Imogen Adams, Tabitha ''Tabby'' Haworthe, Kelly Beasley, Minne ''Mouse'' Honrada, and Faran.

This Pretty Little Liars revival goes to great lengths to be topical and controversial while mimicking stronger films of the same vein.

Rick and Morty: Season Six (2022) has arrived compete and tries to take a slightly different approach from the previous seasons, which you can read more about starting at this link:


I cannot get into many of the changes without ruining the new episodes, but longtime fans will get it and I would highly recommend if you are interested and not already watching the show, start with the debut episode at the beginning of the first season for maximum impact. Though I am not a big fan of the show, I am impresses with how they have been continuously clever with what they are doing here and have never sold the fans out or cut them off (think The Simpsons, but not Family Guy or South Park) and was surprised how good these shows were considering I cannot claim being the biggest fan. That's great for any series at this point, but we'll see how long they can keep this high quality up.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on each episode are as top rate as ever, especially as compared to any animated TV series being produced today and this might just look a bit better than previous seasons, but without loosing the look or character of the series.

Extras include (per the press release) Rick and Morty: Inside Season 6 (New Featurette:) Take a trip through the show's portal-less sixth season with co-creator Dan Harmon, co-executive producer Steve Levy, showrunner Scott Marder, and writers Heather Anne Campbell, Albro Lundy, Rob Schrab and James Siciliano.

Anatomy of a Scene: "Bethic Twinstinct" (Featurette): Co-creator Dan Harmon, showrunner Scott Marder, director Douglas Einar Olsen and writer Anne Lane dig into the carcasses of two scenes while you stare at them in a numb trance.

Anatomy of a Scene: "Night Family" (Featurette): Clock the most extensive car chase in the series' history with co-executive producer Albro Lundy, showrunner Scott Marder, writer Rob Schrab and director Jacob Hair.

Anatomy of a Scene: "Analyze Piss" (Featurette): Co-creator Dan Harmon, showrunner Scott Marder, director Fill Marc Sagadraca and writer James Siciliano go blow-for-blow on Jerry's fight with Pissmaster.

and 10 Inside the Episodes featurettes: Take a deeper look into each of the ten episodes from the season.

From a filmmaker named Bill Zebub comes Texas Chainsaw Mascara (2022), which it insists on its cover is not a parody film of the cult classic by a similar name. Mascara is an endurance test to sit through from frame one for even the most seasoned of cinephiles. In the film, a couple get captured by a clan of rednecks and are tortured and degraded in every way possible. Of course there is one serial killer in the film wearing a pig mask as such a thing is basically required.

It breaks every filmmaking rule known to man and has no shape or form to its storytelling. It's horribly edited and terribly color corrected with desperate attempts at being avant-garde. Slow motion shots go on far past their welcome. The acting from every member is excruciatingly bad. There is really no moments that are admirable in this whole thing. Clearly, the filmmakers were all on something when they came up with this concept for a film that will be forgotten as quickly as it's released no doubt.

The film stars Heather Beck, Dani Bliss, and Calvin Burnett.

Texas Chainsaw Mascara 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 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit) PCM Stereo channel that's fine for a film of this kind. It was shot on digital video (an antiquated older version?) and as mentioned, the color timing is off so things look a bit too contrasty and de-interlacing was used on more than one occasion. It's very possible this was shot with a cell phone or prosumer camera.

Special Features: Dirtbags, another film with a cameo by Peter Steele.

Unless you are looking for a film to use to torture someone steer clear of this amateur filmmaking mess.

And finally, in one of the final onscreen performances by Bruce Willis, Matt Eskandari's Wire Room (2002) explodes onto Blu-ray from Lionsgate. The wire room is a fancy name for approved government surveillance with Kevin Dillion in the hot seat (meaning most of the movie he's watching and reacting to things on screens.) Bruce Willis shows up briefly as his commanding officer who is wise to what happens beyond the obvious. They are monitoring a dangerous gun runner who gets ambushed at his home. Dillion and Willis have to come up with a clever scheme to get out of this realm of violence without getting themselves offed in the process.

The film stars Kevin Dillon, Bruce Willis, Oliver Trevena, Texas Battle, Cameron Douglas, Shelby Cobb.

Wire Room is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.00:1 and a lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) sound mix. A polished, decent looking film for being on the lower budget scale, there isn't anything visually jarring or amateur on the production side.

The only extra is a trailer for the film.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Morty) and James Lockhart



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