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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Surrealism > Myth > Horror > Fantasy > Science Fiction > The Sunday Woman (1975/Radiance Blu-ray/*all MVD)/Violent Streets (1974/Film Movement Blu-ray)

Leda 3D (2022/GFY Blu-ray 3D w/2D*)/Last Starfighter 4K (1984/Universal/Arrow 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray*)/Sci-Fi 4 Pack: The Galaxy One Collection (1971 - 1993/DVD Set*)/The Siege (2022/Well Go USA Blu-ray)/The Sunday Woman (1975/Radiance Blu-ray/*all MVD)/Violent Streets (1974/Film Movement Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ 3D Picture: B Picture: B-/X/C-/B-/B/B- Sound: B- (Leda: B) Extras: B+/B-/D/C/B-/B- Films: C+/C+/C- C C+ C-/C/C+/B-

Here's some horror, science fiction and martial arts action for you to know about and consider...

Samuel Tressler IV's Leda 3D (2022) is an often-silent thriller about the title character young newlywed (Adeline Thery) who should be happy with recent events, instead getting haunted by images that disturb and confuse her for starters, than only get worse as they keep happening more frequently and even more graphically and violently. Is she having a mental breakdown or is it something more supernatural?

Well, we've seen this kind of tale before and despite the ambitions of this one, it is no match for some of the best such films of its kind (Polanski's Repulsion among them) and though I appreciated some moments here and the project's ambitions, they barely keep this one going for 76 minutes and that includes ideas that the makers (or at least director) know the meaning of. You can find out more from the extras, but this should be able to work on its own without explanation. Instead, you get uneven results more likely to appeal to horror and mythology fans (Greek Mythology in this case) than others and is at least worth a look for them and fans of #D filmmaking. Otherwise, cannot recommend this one much.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer, two feature-length audio commentary tracks (one with co-writers Samuel Tressler IV & Wesley Pastorfield and Producer Clark Kline, the other with actor Adeline Thery, Cinematographer Nick Midwig and Samuel Tressler IV, nearly a half-hour of Deleted Scenes, a Behind the Scenes Stills Gallery and (in HD) Two Years, a short film by Tressler IV.

Nick Castle's The Last Starfighter 4K (1984) has been further upgraded by Arrow Film into an Ultra High Definition release. We covered the regular Blu-ray deluxe edition the label issued here:


The film has aged in odd ways for me, and for a film I was never a big fan of, but understood both its appeal and why it was not the huge hit Universal Pictures had hoped for at the time. In the digital and cyber era, some of it is unexpectedly charming, other parts even more aged and dated. Either way, but it has had a steadily growing following and the 4K version being issued now helps to prove it. As classic videogames from the 1970s and 1980s have a new, growing following a curiosity, this will continue. 70mm blow-up prints are still getting screened. We'll have to see in a few years what people say and think about the film then.

Extras repeat the early Arrow set.

MVD Visual debuts an interesting collection of four vintage B-grade Sci-Fi movies in a two disc set that fans of old TV sci-fi may enjoy: The Sci-Fi 4 Pack: The Galaxy One Collection (1971 - 1993). This would laughable to kids of today's generation, but including some telefilms, was the state of the genre at the time. None of the films are really classics or have outstanding technical merits by any stretch and mimic a lot of other successful films in the genre released around their time like Star Trek, Star Wars, Lost in Space, and Kubrick's 2001.

Timewarp (TV Movie, 1981): Adam West stars as a astronaut who ends up in a time warp after discovering a black hole in space! Timewarp also stars Chip Johnson, Gretchen Corbett, Peter Kastner, and the movie serial Superman himself, Kirk Alyn.

Lifepod (TV Movie, 1993): Ron Silver stars in this 1990s Telefilm that feels like it was made two decades earlier. A group of space travelers are lost in space and attempt to uncover a puzzle of who was behind this change in flight pattern. Lifepod stars Ron Silver, Robert Loggia, Stan Shaw, and Jessica Tuck.

The Killings At Outpoint Zeta (1980): The best of the bunch; a group of astronauts go to a foreign planet named Zeta to find lost crew, but end up encountering rock monsters instead. The film stars Gordon Devol, Jacqueline Ray, and Jackson Bostwick.

And Star Odyssey (1979): This one centers on Earth being attacked by an alien and his army of robotic-like humanoids. The film stars Yanti Somer, Gianni Garko, and Malisa Longo.

No extras.

Not to be confused with the increasingly bizarre Bruce Willis/Denzel Washington film, Brad Watson's The Siege (2022) is about a fighter/soldier of some sort (Daniel Stisen, who can fight, but is doing the 'burned out guy' routine a little too much here) he goes to a secret location to cleans himself of all kinds of stress, internal issues and get a new identity. Too bad the place he is going to is about to fall under attack, as a young woman (Yennis Cheung) is the target.

At first, he wants nothing to do with it, but quickly has no choice as the the group doing the killing intends to kill everyone staying there, no matter who they are. Running 90 minutes, this takes too long to get going, wastes too much time, has too many cliches and a low(er) budget than many such films of its kind is no excuse. Acting is so-so, with the action barely better. With more work, this could have been at least a little better, but it is a very mixed bag that ultimately comes up short.

An Original Theatrical Trailer and Making Of featurette are the only extras.

Luigi Comencini's The Sunday Woman (1975) is a comical murder mystery film trying to also make the big statement about class division in Italy (et al) when a somewhat elitist albeit bored woman (Jacqueline Bisset) whose successful architect husband is killed by being beaten to death. She and a gay male friend of hers (Jean-Louis Trintignant) are suddenly the biggest suspects. In comes the Turin Police Commissioner (played by no less than Marcello Mastroianni) to find out what is really going on.

Though the film is just a little too silly for its own good, it never gets smug and is part fo a few cycles going on at the time. These include films making political statements, more realistic detective films, deconstructionist detective films and also happens to have a great cast, great locales and is ambitious like most such films of its time. Even when I found it repetitive and falling short, it was not from lack of trying, ambition or energy.

However, it is only repeating things that we have seen before, but especially in the time we are now in as this arrives nicely restored on Blu-ray, its ideas cannot be presented enough and point debated enough. The actors are in eccentric form and though there might be a little chemistry here and there, plus the camera unconditionally loves Bisset (as all cameras ever made tend to) it is a film made by adults with a brain for adults with a brain. Thus, it is definitely worth a good look for those interested and like the subject matter, but with a bit more focus, restraint and additional comic approaches, this could have been a minor classic. Needless to say the film has always had its fans, understandably so. Now you can judge for yourself.

Extras include a reversible sleeve featuring designs based on original posters, a removable OBI piece only on the first Limited Edition of 2,000 copies and a high quality 24-page booklet with an archival piece on the film, illustrations and a new essay on the film by Mariangela Sansone, while the disc adds a newly filmed interview with academic and Italian cinema expert Richard Dyer, who looks at The Sunday Woman (2022, 18 minutes,) an archival interview with cinematographer Luciano Tovoli who discusses his work on the film (2008, 22 minutes,) newly filmed interview with academic and screenwriter Giacomo Scarpelli, who discusses the life and work of his father, Furio Scarpelli and his writing partner Agenore Incrocci (2022, 36 minutes,) an archival French TV interview with Jean-Louis Trintignant in which the actor discusses The Sunday Woman (1976, 4 minutes) and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

We conclude with Hideo Gosha's Violent Streets (1974) which is not perfect, but one of the better yakuza crime/gangster films and the famous samurai film genre director's impressive first attempt in this genre. Egawa (Noboru Ando, a one-time actual yakuza member who became an actual actor) plays an old-school yakuza who suddenly has to fight for what he has after retiring from the life by being challenged by new yakuza, all while a mob war is already well underway.

Like so many such films (including the John Wick films, so we've seen this as a repeated scenario in the genre) the lead character will fight back, sometimes reluctantly. However, instead of resting on cliches and tired archetypes, this film has some twists, turns, eccentricity, mystery, suspense and realistic points that separate it from most in its genre, so it was a pleasant surprise and I almost think I may have seen eons ago. Glad to see it now.

This is being issued by Film Movement, who just issued Gosha's two Samurai Wolf films (reviewed elsewhere on this site) that I was not as big a fan of, but he is definitely more at home, more ambitious and more impactful here, so this is worth a good look for those interested. Wish more of these films were this ambitious.

Extras include a solid quality 16-page booklet on the film with a new essay by Japanese film expert Mark Schilling, while the disc adds Tattooed Director: Hideo Gosha featurette with Tomoe Gosha and A Street That Can't Be Beat video essay by TokyoScope author Patrick Macias.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.85 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Last Starfighter 4K is an improvement over the already impressive upgrade Arrow delivered on their regular special edition Blu-ray release and also features all the same soundtracks that the original set had. I liked the 4.1 as much as the 5.1, but all show their age since this was a 4.1 Dolby magnetic stereo surround release in its 70mm blow-up prints. They wisely did not try to do a DTS: X/Dolby Atmos upgrade because the sound is just not there.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution, (mostly, save one shot) black & white digital High Definition image on Leda 3D is not bad for a low-budget, all HD shoot and plays better than the 1080p 2D version that is a bit soft and lacking. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is the default highlight of the whole disc, save a few good, choice 3D shots on the 3D version of the film.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on The Siege is an all-HD shoot that simply looks a little too soft throughout, even when the color holds, then the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix also has some sonic and soundfield limits, so the combination is a little disappointing and trying throughout.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 and 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Sunday Woman can show the age of the materials used in small parts, but they both look really good for their age and I liked the narrow-vision of the 1.33 X 1 block-style presentation a little more. This was shot soft matte, so it could be shown full frame on TV, et al, while basic widescreen was in mind for theatrical presentations. Nice job. The French DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo (!) lossless mix is the same on both versions and is about a good as this film will ever sound, including the playful music score by no less than Ennio Morricone.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Violent Streets can also show the age of the materials used, with limits of the real anamorphic lenses (dubbed ToeiScope, but it could be any lens or several types, just not as good as Panavision) obvious, but yet very well used. The color is either Eastman Kodak and/or Fuji 35mm color negative as far as we could find out, but no fancy dye-transfer Technicolor here. The compositions and use of the scope frame are a plus. The Japanese PCM 2.0 Mono sound is as good as this film will likely ever sound and is just fine throughout.

Lastly, the Sci-Fi Four Pack isn't going to go down in history as the best looking DVD transfer by any stretch of the imagination, and most all of the films look a bit fuzzy overall. They are all presented in standard definition on DVD with a 1.33 X 1 full frame aspect ratio and a lossy 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio (mono and in the case of Timepod, barely stereo) mix. Of course the special effects are all pretty prehistoric and the level of cheese is off the space radar, but there is some fun to be had in each of these despite the limitations they faced.

- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Sci-Fi)



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