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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Animation > Action > Gangster > Drama > Comedy > French > Horror > Exploitation > Martial > Babylon 5: The Road Home 4K (2023/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Borsalino (1970/Blu-ray*/**)/Last House On The Left 4K (2009 remake/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray*/**both Arrow)/A Moment Of Rom

Babylon 5: The Road Home 4K (2023/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Borsalino (1970/Blu-ray*/**)/Last House On The Left 4K (2009 remake/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray*/**both Arrow)/A Moment Of Romance (1990/Radiance Blu-ray*)/The Postman Fights Back (1982/88 Films Blu-ray/*all MVD)

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

Now for a wide variety of new genre releases, mostly upgrades, from the ambitious to one of the worst releases ever...

In celebration of its 30th anniversary comes the animated feature film, Babylon 5: The Road Home 4K (2023), which is now on 4K UHD and Blu-ray. The film follows the multi-verse concept and features characters from different iterations of the franchise (and many of their original actor's voices as well.) The animated film is sure to please longtime fans of the sci-fi franchise who are thirsty for new material and follows John Sheridan who ends up transported though alternate versions of reality where he encounters the past, future, and present of the galaxy and finds deep meaning in his intergalactic mission.

The voice talent includes original series actors Bruce Boxleitner as John Sheridan, Claudia Christian as Susan Ivanova, Peter Jurasik as Londo Mollari, Bill Mumy as Lennier, Tracy Scoggins as Elizabeth Lochley, and Patricia Tallman as Lyta Alexander and many others!

Special Features: Filmmaker Commentaries and the Babylon 5 Forever featurette.

Jacques Deray's Borsalino (1970) is a high budget, stylized gangster genre film inspired in part by Arthur Penn's Bonnie & Clyde (1967) and arrived at the same time as its first imitators, namely George Roy Hill's Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969) for which it is compared to. In this case, it has equal star power in the pairing of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon, was a few years ahead of Hill's The Sting (1973) and was based on real life gangster crimes and personalities.

They were great friends when they made this, though its promotion caused a long-time riff between them, it was a huge hit overseas and showed a pre-Godfather gangster film could still do business after so many had bombed in the 1960s. Playing slightly different gangsters, they are good and have chemistry together, though the interplay reminded me more of Roger Moore and Tony Curtis on the hit TV series The Persuaders! than any feature film and in the best way.

On the one hand, they capture the period extremely well in color, style, costumes, production design, attitude and flow, plus the music works very well. However, it still was stuck on some older tropes of the genre that the two Godfather films would forever shatter. Yet, despite some obviousness and some predictability, it has more good moments than bad and some that are so French that you would never see them in a U.S. gangster production.

I would therefore recommend this to fans of the actors, the period and the genre (ironic Paramount picked this up for U.S. distribution before they knew what the had with The Godfather) and to see the lead actors in great prime form. Cheers to the supporting cast too. I hope this finds the new and larger audience it deserves.

Extras (per the press release) include a new feature length audio commentary by film scholar Josh Nelson

  • The Music of Borsalino, a new interview with composer and film historian Neil Brand on Claude Bolling's score

  • Dressing Down, a new interview with film scholar Elizabeth Castaldo Lunden on Jacques Fonteray's costume designs for Borsalino

  • Le Magnifique Belmondo, an archive extra celebrating the unique talent and career of the beloved French actor

  • Original Theatrical Trailer

  • Image gallery

  • Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Ginette Vincendeau and an archival piece by Elisa Fulco

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

  • Double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

  • and six postcard-sized reproduction artcards.

In the later 2000s, a tiresome-upon-arrival cycle of 'torture porn' movies arrived and though some initially made, money, they kept making them, no matter how bad they were or badly they were done. In the madness, some classics (or semi-classics if you were not a fan) were remade since it seemed the time to cash in. Besides a hideous I Spit On Your Grave remake, Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham co-produced (how involved they were is unknown, but it did not help one bit) a remake of his own early hit. Dennis Iliadis' Last House On The Left 4K (2009) is the pathetic result and though Tony Goldwyn and Aaron Paul make this a curio, but lead a cast of very bored-looking actors doing an extremely unnecessary rehash.

The very simple story is some gals get lost in the woods, but instead of being found or quickly finding safety, they get kidnapped, tortured and worse. This time, the viewer feels it in a whole new way. Then it run on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on for hours and hours... er, I mean 110 minutes. Movies this bad used to be maybe one every year or two, but no more. Eventually, the torture porn cycle stopped, but by watching this, the torture never ends. Avoid this garbage at all costs.

Extras (per the press release; for those who care) include Illustrated Collector's Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Zoe Rose Smith

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Eric Adrian Lee

  • Exclusive new filmed introduction by director Dennis Iliadis

  • Brand new audio commentary by David Flint and Adrian Smith

  • A River of Blood, a new 31-minute interview with Sara Paxton

  • The Notorious Krug, a new 27-minute interview with actor Garret Dillahunt

  • Suspending Disbelief, a new 18-minute interview with screenwriter Carl Ellsworth

  • Reviving the Legend, a new 33-minute interview with producer Jonathan Craven

  • Look Inside featurette, from the films original 2009 release

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Original Theatrical Trailer

  • and an Image Gallery.

Benny Chan and Johnnie To's A Moment Of Romance (1990) feature a hoodlum (Andy Lau from Infernal Affairs) to be a getaway driver for a Triad boss (Tommy Wong from The Killer) for a big heist. However, it is a disaster and the driver kidnaps an innocent woman (Jacklyn Chien-Lien Wu) to hide behind and protect him. However, the heist has gone so bad, they decide to kill both of them.

Though I have watched plenty of Hong Kong cinema, including more dramas than the action fans have, I knew something more was going on here than it would seem with the careful casting and all, but it turns out the makers are doing more with the history intertextually of such crime and action films than it might seem for such a familiar scenario.

Cheers to them for the ambition and with Hong Kong filmmaking coming to an end, these films become more and more important. Unless you are a big fan and have seen more films that I have (many such people exist like that in North America alone) than you will not get as much out of this as those who have will. As the film stands otherwise, it is not bad for what it is, but is otherwise still much of what we have seen before. Now in its rerelease, it is an unexpected long goodbye to a cinema that has sadly come to a screeching halt.

Extras include a reversible cover and booklet on the film, while the disc adds feature length audio commentary track by film scholar Frank Djeng, Archival Audio Interview with Co-Director Chan, video essay In Love and Danger: Hit Cinema Through A Moment Of Romance and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Ronny Yu's The Postman Fights Back (1982) is an early Chow Yun-Fat film where he is not the lead, but part of the tale of a man (Ka-Yan Leung) needing to make a secret delivery to a rebel leader gets twisted when loyalty to country suddenly tops the money and then, he still needs to protect himself. A film that vies between its drama and some uneven martial arts sequences, it is trying to do something different than we had seen at the time, but is not always successful in doing so.

Still, it is not from lack of trying and the cast is working hard to make it all work. Maybe some of the screenplay could have been changed or upped, but the director ultimately has to take responsibility and he may have taken on more than he could handle and was trying top pull off. Still, this is supposed to be a key film in the genre and with Hong Kong cinema at an end, it takes on a whole new value. See it if you are really interested or curious.

Extras (per the press release) include Feature Length Audio Commentary with Frank Djeng and Ronny Yu

  • Feature Length Archive Audio Commentary with Stephan Hammond

  • Interview with Chow Yun-Fat

  • Interview with Leung Kar-Yan

  • Second Interview with Leung Kar-Yan

  • Interview with Ronny Yu

  • and the Original Hong Kong Trailer.

Now for playback performance. Babylon 5: The Road Home 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 an audio track in lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit). A 1080p Blu-ray disc is also included with identical widescreen and audio tracks, but a less detailed image as compared to the 4K. The animation isn't terrible overall and appropriate for a home video style release similar to other Warner Bros. animated shows.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.85 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on the Left 4K disc is one of the softest I have seen in the format to date, while the 1080p Blu-ray version is even worse. The visuals are not very memorable like its predecessor's was, so expect little here in that respect. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is also on the weak side and was not that good-sounding at the time, while the oddly-included PCM 2.0 Stereo is even somehow worse. The combinations are as pathetic as the film itself.

The 1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image on Borsalino has some fine shots, good color and depth of field, but it is shot in a style that can emphasize style and is a little soft in decently recreating its period. Otherwise, it is a pleasure to watch. As for sound, the original theatrical mono sound is here in French PCM 1.0 Mono and lesser English dub 1.0 Mono soundtracks. They are passable, but limited, making one wish for 2.0 Mono of some kind. It would have also helped the solid music score.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Moment is the third-best looking transfer here after the Babylon 4K and Borsalino, with a 4K scan from the original 35mm color camera negative and that material was definitely stored well because the results are really good. The Cantonese PCM 2.0 Mono from the original theatrical mono soundtrack is as good as this film will ever likely sound, resulting in a combination that is more effective than you might expect.

And finally, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Postman has some good color, but is a little softer throughout than I would have liked and shows its age at a few moments with a 2K restoration off of the original 35mm color camera negative. That is even considering it is trying for a gritty look in many places. The Cantonese and lesser English dub PCM 2.0 Stereo is not bad, but also sounds boxy and was only so well recorded. That is a little disappointing, but unfortunately, a trend for certain Hong Kong films we've seen a big cycle of getting upgrades lately. Guess the sound was only so well recorded, mastered, mixed and stored. Oh well.

- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (4K)



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