(2023/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/La
(1997/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/3
Days In Malay
(*both 2023/Well Go Blu-ray)/Stonewalling
B- & C/B-/B/B-/B/C Sound: B & C+/C+/B-/B/B/C+ Extras:
C-/C/C-/C-/C+/C- Films: C/C+/C+/C/C+/C+
Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
following dramas also have their serious and even political sides....
A. Abekaser's The
(2023) is a mixed action drama with Emile Hirsch as the title
character, who once worked for the Israel intelligence agency, the
Mossad. When that country gets hit with a series of terrorist
bombings, he finds himself back in the think of things, especially
when the daughter of a U.S. Senator is one of the fatalities.
course, with the horrid events happening in that country now
conducted by a Hamas deciding to go to the point of no return, this
seems already dated, tame, ineffective and banal. The makers could
not have seen that coming, but for what is here before those
real-life events, this is just not that good and Hirsch has not been
very good in much of anything he has appeared in since Speed
was Warner Bros. biggest financial bomb until The
earlier this year, give or take inflation. He looks bored, is
unconvincing and I never bought him in it. The rest of the cast is
just as off.
bad someone did not engineer a better screenplay. Only see it if you
are very, very, very, very, very, very interested.
include Digital Copy, while the disc adds a Behind The Scenes
featurette with interviews and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
(1966) is an interesting and palpable drama about the Mexican
revolution of the early 20th
Century through the eyes of a young woman (Silvia Pinal) whose
newlywed husband has to join the Revolution whether he wants to or
not. She decides not to be left behind and joins him (!!!) as the
bloody battles begin. Things only get worse and she get more
involved than she ever imagined.
say anything else would be offering spoilers, it is a decent film,
even if it has more than a few points that are flat. Apparently, the
negative has the original built-in subtitles from back in the day, so
that means white lettering with no outlines or black background for
them to not be lost in some part of the scenes. Fortunately, this is
not very common here and they look good, but I have to say it has
been a very, very, very long time that I have watched a film with
this oldest style of subtitles. The font is not bad either.
action is appropriately dirty and bloody, even in black and white and
it looks and feels as period as intended, though the subtitles
actually get in the way of the suspension of disbelief at times. The
directing is on the strong side and the cast of (mostly to me)
unknowns are also pretty good, though one might recognize Pedro
Armendriz, Jr from the James Bond films. If you are interested, it
is worth a look, but please note the film's original elements have
not aged as well as hoped for.
include a solid featurette on the film with scholar Dr. David Wilt
very much worth seeing after viewing the film.
(1997) is one of the later Hollywood films the internationally known
and respected filmmaker (especially thanks to Z)
made in his career and like some of the others (Music
fall a little bit short of their full political, artistic and
cinematic potential. Here, Dustin Hoffman is a reporter who is
willing to bend 'the truth' a bit for a good story. Then a bank
hostage situation arrives.
Travolta (during his comeback period) is the fired museum guard who
decides to try to get it back and bring a rifle to do it! Far more
of a shocking act in its time, this was made during the (now we know)
late analog era of news and analog TV news, so his bad decision
becomes a big news story that goes out of control and Hoffman's
overly-eager reporter wants to use it to become an even bigger star
course, this plays like a knock-off of Sidney Lumet's classic Dog
but does not play it for laughs like the Bill Murray film Quick
Note that all three of those films were made by Warner Bros.
the performances are good, the directing not bad, the screenplay
cannot get the film to take off like it needed to and make the big
statement at the time the film was trying to make. It dod not
succeed at the time and even if it did, it would have not been the
next modern version of another Lumet classic, his film of Paddy
One think that did age in interesting ways is showing analog TVs as
something bad, but that needs some kind of separate essay that has
nothing to do with this film, even if the film is not a great
is in good form and when he wants to get his hands dirty, Travolta
shows in real life, he can really act when given the opportunity and
he goes all in at it. The supporting cast that also includes Alan
Alda, Ted Levine, Mia Kirshner, Robert Prosky and Blythe Danner, so
this does nto suffer an on-screen lack of talent and considering the
director's reputation, you can see why the top names in the business
were signing up for all these high profile productions. All serious
film people should see this one at least once just to see what
happens, but I will always be disappointed it did not deliver like I
thought it might.
still glad Warner Archive issued this on Blu-ray because the talents
involved are important enough that this film should always be
available and in print, even if it has its many problems and has
dated in odd ways.
include an Original Theatrical Trailer.
actor Louis Mandylor's 3
Days In Malay
(2023) has the in front of the camera talent helming this tale of how
the U.S. Marines during WWII battled the Japanese Imperialists in
'operation watchtower' or the Guadalcanal Campaign, which we have
seen on the big screen before (1942's Guadalcanal
from Fox is one of the most famous). This version is ambitious, but
is a very mixed bag that has too many missed opportunities to work.
Mandylor also co-stars.
is ambitiously made, though its budget limits are more apparent than
I think the makers realize, leaving the film to last only 99 minutes
and that might have been too long for what they do here. I never
bought it was from its time, it does not feel like the period,
including the acting and style, so the result is a weird
disappointment that I actually had higher hopes for. You can see it
for yourself, but if you must, do not have the highest expectations.
include an Original
Strong & William Kaufmann's Warhorse
(2023) is yet another Gulf War drama that would seem to be too many
years (or decades) too late, but it actually takes place in 2021 when
the Biden Administration did its long-overdue U.S. pullout from
Afghanistan, no matter how that went. The cast of unknowns, led by
Johnny Strong, has him as the lone surviving Navy SEAL (after a
copter crash) saving a little girl from the worst of the aftermath.
don't get many illicit appeals to pity that these child-in-jeopardy
tales tend to produce, nor do we get anything new in the way of
character study or unique, new, different or fresh storytelling, but
I give it a point for trying some new kinds of approaches to said
storytelling in some of the action scenes. Unfortunately, it is very
little and I cannot recommend this one either.
include a Directors feature length audio commentary track, Original
Theatrical Trailer and a Making Of featurette.
Ji & Ryuji Otsuka's Stonewalling
(2022) is a surprisingly long drama about a young woman (Yao Honggui)
in a changing China who gets pregnant just as China starts to tighten
up some freedoms as Hong Kong also gets most of its greatness rolled
back. This does not waste its time though, has its share of
character study of the surroundings and its characters, plus a pace
that allows us to take it all in without tricks, slickness and
shortcuts you'd get in most Hollywood films.
we have seen some of this before, though that sometimes becomes
ironic and sad as she is 20 years old, has ambitious plans for the
future and her potential future is taken away from her by
circumstances beyond her control. It is something different and
sometimes special, but it cannot always keep it all going, but it is
not for lack of trying. I'd say if you want to see it, be use to be
awake and ready for a long sit, but you might appreciate it at least
as much as I did, though I wish more would have happened and I did
like the ending. That definitely worked.
include an Original Theatrical Trailer.
for playback performance. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 High Definition image
Blu-ray is a little soft from a slightly off at times HD shoot,
though some of that shaky camera work and off editing are supposed to
be its style, but we've seen all this too much, especially in the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix at least has a consistent
soundfield and is as good sonically as any of the entries here. The
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the DVD is much softer and
hard to watch, while its lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 soundmix is slightly
better, but underwhelming.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on La
can certainly show the age of the 35mm materials used with some
slight softness, as the source shown here is from a 4K scan and maybe
original materials did not age as well as expected in parts. Some
good restoration work has still been done and damage showing is at a
minimum. The PCM 2.0 Mono sound, the film issued with analog optical
monophonic RCA-format sound, shows its age much more and demonstrates
the budget limits of the production. Though it can be a little rough
in spots, this is likely the best this film will ever look and sound.
1080p 2.35 X 1 High Definition image on Mad
was shot in the Super 35 format with Kodak 35mm color negative film
and looks decent for its age, if not stunning and defying age, but it
is hard to tell if this is a new or recent HD scan or not. Color is
consistent. The film was issued theatrically in all three digital
sound formats of the time (including DTS, Dolby Digital and SDDS/Sony
Dynamic Digital Sound) that were all lossy, so this Blu-ray offers a
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that is not awful, but
seems limited and a little strained, also suggesting the production
may have used some older audio equipment. The combination is good,
but not state of the art for its time.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Malay
is, on the other hand, another HD shoot with some softness issues
whether part of it is style or not. Again too, the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless soundmix is more consistent,
has a better soundfield and holds up better when viewing.
1080p 2 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Warhorse
is an odd aspect ratio, but it looks decent throughout considering
that and color is not bad. It is the best of the HD shoots by
default, by not being as soft or shaky, though it has narrative
moments to be a rough. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless sound has a consistent
soundfield as well, so that is not problem and that makes it just
barely the best performer on the list.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Stonewalling
is has a colorful, interesting HD shoot, but the presentation is just
a little softer throughout than I would have liked, but I have to
consider the old format might be an issue. The lossy
Mandarin/Hunanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has some good surrounds to
it and is clean and clear enough, subtitles not withstanding, but I
bet a lossless version would yield more out of the soundmaster.
order the Mad
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