Man's Hand (2023/Lionsgate DVD)/Giant Gila Monster/Killer
Shrews (both 1959/Film Masters Blu-ray)/Justice League:
Warworld 4K (2023/DC Comics/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
w/Blu-ray)/River Wild (2023 remake/Universal Blu-ray)/Wichita
(1955/Allied Artists/Warner Archive Blu-ray)
Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: C/B-/B+/B-/B- Sound:
C+/B-/B+/B-/B- Extras: C/B-/C+/D/C- Films: C/C &
Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered
from the link below.
a mix of genre releases, including an odd remake and the surprise
restorations of some curios form the 1950s...
(2023) is yet another part of the too-clean, boring, highly
predictable series of dull Westerns that prove the genre is dead and
when most of the acting is from the Hallmark/Lifetime Channels bad
acting schools, you pray for a shootout ASAP so the whole thing will
end very, very quickly.
couple hoping to find a settlement and find a peaceful life are
ambushed, there goes the post-honeymoon plans. Stephen Dorff and
Cole Houser show up briefly and easily outact the rest of the cast,
but they are hardly in it enough to make any difference and even at
their very best, the production has all kinds of problems and this
just goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on
for a very long 96 minutes. Try this one at your own risk, but do
not operate heavy machinery or attempt anything else delicate or
includes trailers, a feature-length audio commentary track and long
behind the scenes featurette.
Giant Gila Monster
(both 1959) have been surprisingly restored by the Film Masters label
(their debut title!) on Blu-ray and now you can see more clearly than
ever how bad they are. Gila
has a giant lizard attacking unsuspecting suburbanites, rock and roll
fans and shoppers in Texas. I've heard of everything being bigger in
Sullivan and Fred Graham lead the cast of unknowns into bad visual
effects that even outdo the bad, or at least 'unique' acting style.
This is bad and very amusing at the same time in the
'so-good-its-bad' mode and somehow is more pleasant and entertaining
to sit through than some hundred-millions-dollar
would-be-blockbusters we’ve had to suffer through in the last few
years or so. This is considered a bad film and among the worst
(pre-CGI era?) ever made, but the second feature commonly makes Top
Ten lists of the same.
I said about The
when reviewing it on DVD years ago, it ''is one of those all-time bad
films [and] ultra-low budget chuckler is up there on the all-time bad
list as James Best (later of TV's Dukes
is joined by a cast of unknowns fighting hand puppets and dogs with
really bad make-up attachments on their mouths trying to convince us
they are deadly killers!
it is that bad, and that is just for starters. Forget the bad
acting, awkward editing or any sense of suspense. It is just
outright bad, but I never laugh, but just sit in disbelief it got
made. It is just bad, weak filmmaking, plain and simple. You'll
just have to see it for yourself.''
you can judge both for yourself, when you stop laughing!
(per the press release) include Ray
Kellogg: An Unsung Master,
a Ballyhoo Motion Pictures documentary written by C. Courtney Joyner
and narrated by Larry Blamire; an archival interview with star, Don
Sullivan, conducted by author Bryan Senn in 2009; full commentary of
Giant Gila Monster
by Larry Strothe, James Gonis, Shawn Sheridan and Matt Weinhold from
podcast; full commentary of The
by professor and film scholar Jason A. Ney; original, vintage radio,
marketing spots for both features, provided by Gary L. Prange; and
a[n excellent] full-color, inserted booklet with essays by Don
Stradley and Jason A. Ney.
animation and Warner Bros. bring us a new feature length R-rated
Justice League animated film to the 4K UHD format: Justice
League: Warworld 4K
(2023). What's great about these films is that they are more adult
oriented in tone and aren't afraid to shy away from moments of
violence despite the use of these classic characters. Justice League
members are transported to Warworld, a war torn planet where things
are never as they seem and war is constant. Different realities
where different scenarios form such as a western, a black and white
1950s-esque past, and the reality of the grim future that lies within
impressive voice cast features Jensen Ackles (Supernatural,
as Batman and Officer Wayne, Darren Criss (The
Assassination of Gianni Versace,
as Superman and Agent Kent, and Stana Katic (Castle,
as Wonder Woman and Diana Prince. Many other DC universe characters
are featured including Jonah Hex, Martian Manhunter, and more!
Features aren't quite as plentiful as usual for these DC films but
includes two new featurettes:
Go behind the scenes and inside the process of designing and creating
three distinct genres for the Justice League to inhabit on Warworld.
Heroic, the Horrible and the Hideous:
Dive deep into the origins and histories of the key players on
Warworld and learn how the filmmakers brought them to life.
it's not the best of the bunch, Justice
takes a different tone and feel than usual, and that at least is to
direct to video remake of River
(2023) is certainly nowhere near the caliber of the original film The
which starred Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon respectively. With no big
names behind it, the remake however does follows similar story beats
similar to the original. The film follows a group of friends, two of
whom are siblings, an ex con, and two tourists, who go on a white
water rafting expedition in the middle of nowhere. It doesn't take
too long, however, until one of them tries to cover up the past.
Brody, Leighton Meester, Eve Connolly, Taran Killam, and Olivia
is a watchable film. It is not completely without merit, however, it
feels pretty standard in terms of story and nothing too original or
groundbreaking that we haven't seen before. It is pretty obvious
from the get-go who the villain of the story is, despite the attempt
to make it a surprise.
(1955) has Joel McCrea as Wyatt Earp in an early widescreen portrayal
of Dodge City, the man just wanting to go into business, but needing
the law to protect his hard work, so he becomes the law. An early
Walter Mirisch production, it is not a bad film, if not always great
and is one of the more serious attempts as a Western narrative at the
time when some were starting to get formulaic, silly or even
by small mini-major Allied Artists, the film is ambitious and focuses
on its subject as well as it can, helped by some convincing visuals
(they are only going to be so spectacular and not much different from
so many other films (and TV shows) in the genre at the time still
enjoying a boom period) and good early scope compositions.
it stand out a little more is the solid supporting cast that includes
Vera Miles, Lloyd Bridges, Wallace Ford, Edgar Buchanan, Mae Clark,
Jack Elam and Peter Graves. Ultimately, it is for fans only, but is
worth a look for the things that work and again, how well it works
considering it was not backed by a major studio at a time when the
idea of independent filmmaking was hardly heard.
including two classic Technicolor MGM Droopy cartoons: Deputy
First Bad Man,
in HD but with lossless Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound.
for playback performance. Justice
League: Warworld 4K
is presented in 2160p on 4K UHD disc with HDR10, an HEVC / H.265
codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a lossless audio mix
in English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1. The animation style is
similar to other DC animated features and has a clean animation style
that's detail is captured in full in 2160p and looks fine here with
no glaring issues. Also included in this two disc set, along with a
digital copy, is a standard 1080p 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).
enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the Hand
DVD is more on the soft side than I expected with color and lighting
a bit off and compositions flat. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound
has a bad mix where the sound effects and surrounds (music
especially) overwhelm the dialogue, which is actually hard to hear at
times. The combination is very, very, very trying.
1080p 1.33 X 1 and 1.85 X 1 black & white digital High Definition
image transfers ON Gila
can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a
transfer to all previous releases of the films and much better than
anyone could have ever expected. In both cases, the films (likely
shot on the same monochrome film stocks, but was it Kodak, Ansco,
DuPont?) are not bad. However, there is some slight softness
throughout both and the 1.33 X 1 image shows more of the filmed frame
than the 1.85 X 1 version, which still looks good and I like more in
some ways. This is shot soft matte, the makers knowing they had
regular widescreen projection to consider.
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). The film isn't
terribly photographed and has some cinematic moments, with the best
bits being those on the raging waters themselves.
leaves the 1080p 2.55 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
one of the last of the older, wider CinemaScope releases, well
restored here, but still showing the age of the materials used. The
only such wider-screen film from an independent company also issued
in 35mm dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor, that color is about as good as it can be
here, yet the older lens system has permanent distortions and flaws
that are a permanent part of its production. The DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is as good as the film will ever sound,
a this is one of the (if not THE only) early scope film to not
feature 4-track magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound
effects. Allied Artists skipped the expense of the new sound format.
order the Wichita
Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great
Nicholas Sheffo (Gila,
westerns) and James Lockhart