Bullet For Sandoval (1970/UMC/MVD/VCI Blu-ray)/Mission:
Impossible Dead Reckoning, Part One 4K (2023/Paramount 4K Ultra
HD Blu-ray)/Palmetto (1998/Castle Rock/Warner Archive Blu-ray)
Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B-/X/B- Sound: B-/B+/B-
Extras: C+/B-/C- Films: C+/B-/C
Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
for the latest thrillers, including updates of two older features...
Bullet For Sandoval
(1970) is a Spaghetti Western that has always been a curio because it
co-stars Ernest Borgnine, who was doing several such rough and gritty
films at the time in the face of his comic performance on the hit
TV series (heavily in syndication for a long time) and his
Oscar-winning turn in Marty
(1954) and the fans always followed. VCI has had the rights for
decades to the film and we covered a basic DVD edition a good while
ago at this link:
the film is not a classic of the genre and has its issues, but the
crazy story of a soldier (George Hilton) getting revenge on the
father of his dead, pregnant girlfriend is bold and intriguing enough
to keep one watching, no matter the flaws or limits of the film when
it ultimately concludes. It is ambitious and one of the better such
westerns of the cycle by default, reminding us of how raw these films
could be versus their many bad imitators then and especially now.
may have mixed results in seeing it or even re-seeing it, but
everyone should see it at least once and this new Blu-ray upgrade is
now the best way to watch it outside of a mint, scope film print.
time we get extras that include the Original U.S. Theatrical Trailer
and a feature length audio commentary by superfan, film scholar and
filmmaker Alex Cox.
Impossible Dead Reckoning, Part One 4K
(2023) is the seventh feature film with Tom Cruise as disguise and
spy expert Ethan Hunt, who we first met back in 1996 where many felt
the title referred to how impossible it had become for Paramount
Pictures to revive the classic late 1960s franchise, a TV classic
whose first three seasons feature what remains some of the most
complex TV ever made, especially U.S. TV. The first four films were
very impressive, then the series had to find new ground. This is the
most elaborate and ambitious of the films yet in plot and scope,
going for a two part film.
one runs nearly three hours and starts with a Russian nuclear
submarine utilizing a new computer system with advanced computer
technology (dubbed A.I. here too, the series had a laptop many years
ago with Ving Rhames' Luther character saying it was customized with
something he called an A.I. chip) to battle any other kind of
sea-going or underwater vessel in the world, but something goes very
wrong and and the sub is undone.
old boss Kittridge (the always effective Henry Czerny in his first
appearance since the original Brian De Palma film) contacts him to
accept this mission and investigation, but has some personal
antagonism and reminder's of Hunt's darker past to throw in. Hunt is
all in, but also has some ideas of his own and likely, advanced
information even Kittridge does not. Thus, this all begins.
in several locations around the world, the MacGuffin (the thing all
the characters are chasing, but the audience usually would care less
about ala Alfred Hitchcock) involves a special electronic key divided
into two parts that when combined, can control the Russian A.I.
system, though it may have just grown a mind of its own (the latest
case of HAL in Kubrick's 2001:
A Space Odyssey of
the underrated Colossus:
The Forbin Project,
both reviewed elsewhere on this site) which is a nice twist on the
techno-thriller side of films like this one.
Atwell is a pickpocket who gets caught in the middle of all this,
Luther and Benji (Simon Pegg) are back, the very familiar character
actor Shea Whigman is here as Briggs (could he be the same character
as in the series?) and the supporting cast ('good or bad guys') are
well played by Cary Elwes, Esai Morales, Vanessa Kirby, Pom
Klementieff and Rebecca Ferguson. This is a very effective and
film starts out very well and goes on for a while before the opening
credits, then builds from there and is pretty good for the first
two-thirds of the film, then it has the job of being suspenseful and
working, yet not totally closing things out because of the film that
is due to follow. The stunts are decent, Cruise doing much of his
own work still, there is a really good car chase that goes all out if
not totally successful or original and the fights are fine if not
guess they felt they were at the point the Bond series was with huge
success and then got more ambitious making On Her Majesty's Secret
Service (1969) going all out in a way very few franchises in film
history ever have or will have the opportunity to do. Hunt is not
getting married here by a longshot, but it is elaborate and does try
to do some things different here at times and I liked that. The
Bourne series is finished, but the Bond films have just come off of
their spectacularly successful Daniel Craig run, so all the more
reason to really go big and broad here as Cruise has somehow aged
little since the first film.
cannot say anything else about the film without spoilers, but it is a
release worthy of the last few Craig/Bond and Bourne films, though
Cruise and company know what they are competing with, besides
themselves, other big budget film genres and Cruise as big at the box
office as he has ever been. You can see why Paramount and company
would go all out.
like On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the film shockingly
underperformed, but again, it was under unusual circumstances.
Cruise had not said he was quitting the series in mid-production,
something a producer like himself would never do anyhow, but the
semi-surprising actors strike (joining the writer's strike at the
time) had arrived and he was limited in personally promoting it being
a part of the SAG-AFTRA union. Then this era of the superhero films
was (and still is as we post) crashing spectacularly critically and
commercially at the box office, so that should have been an in for
this film. However, Barbie and Oppenheimer, which was
taking up all the IMAX screens worldwide, swooped in first and made
two big smash hits that overperformed spectacularly and people seemed
to like both very much.
the real life Russian invasion of Ukraine might have had somewhat of
an effect, though anything Russian in this film is very limited. I
think that if they had waited to issue the film in August or in the
fall, it would have done better and I believe it will go through the
roof on home video, et al, so this film and this series is far from
over. Plus, with the break in the Bond series before they get a new
actor and reboot, this franchise can take advantage of the lapse.
The next film was not finished shooting, so they have the advantage
of making any clever adjustments and updates that they can. As soon
as the actor's strike is over, I'm sure they will. They are off to a
very solid start here.
include Digital Movie, while the discs (per the press release) add:
to conclude, Volker Schlondorff
is a director who has been very consistent with making films for
smarter adults and has helmed the likes of A
Degree Of Murder
Lost Honor Of Katharina Blum
(1984) and the original 1990 feature film adaption of The
So it was a big deal when he was announced to make a big Hollywood
Neo-Noir with more sex than usual in Palmetto
(1998) with Woody Harrelson, Gina Gershon, Elisabeth Shue, Chloe
Seveigy and Michael Rapaport.
plays a recently-released convict named Harry who likely went to jail
for a crime he did not commit and is trying to figure out what to do,
revenge and/or big money. A sexy blonde (Shue, who was on a roll at
the time in lead roles, looking good in films like this that she made
better, no matter how disappointing they may have ultimately been)
gets him involved in a convoluted scheme that includes big money,
kidnapping, ransom and more.
compilations will ensue and the rest of the films nearly two hours
tries to do something with all that. It has the cast, locales, look
and even some chemistry, but it ultimately runs out of gas early, is
never sexy enough and becomes too predictable, going for obvious
deconstruction by the end of the film. Too bad because this could
have worked really well, but landed up being a disappointment all
around, though it is developing somewhat of a cult following and
increasingly, a curio.
Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.
for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1, Dolby
Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition
image on Mission:
is pretty good, more so on the outdoor and stunt footage than the
talking indoor scenes. This was all shot in a combination of Ultra
HD cameras that range from 4K to 6K, was finished in 4.5K, used real
Panavision anamorphic lenses and brought it all together with decent
results. No, I liked the early filmed ones look more and how they
looked, but this still has plenty of great visual moments.
Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems)
lossless soundmix has some great moments and demo moments, but not
overly amazingly all the way, but is still very professional and
effective enough. Still, I found some of the earlier films to have
some sonic character and uses of sound that worked better than here
and I did not buy some of the sound effects either. The combination
is still impressive enough and one of the best live action films of
the year in that respect.
we have both older films, which were shot in less-expensive versions
of the scope format albeit on photochemical 35mm film, but the 1080p
2.35 X 1 image on both are a bit off, with Bullet
in Cromoscope (which is Techniscope without the benefit of
three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor prints) with Kodak Eastmancolor
35mm negative that has a tendency in that time to fade a little bit.
The materials they used here suffer some of that, but it is still
better color than I have ever seen the film in. Palmetto
was shot in Super 35, a successor to Techniscope/Chromoscope with
about the same picture quality, but the full 1.33 X 1 frame is
usually shot, then a 2.35 X 1 frame is extracted from it.
makers had faster Kodak color negative film stocks to shoot with, but
this transfer looks a little older and a little strained throughout.
Some shots look better than others. It is consistent, but only so
memorable, but not too rough per the cycle of the genre being made.
sound on Bullet
has been upgraded to
PCM 2.0 Mono and is a nice upgrade from the lossy sound on the DVDs
we've had for the last few decades, while Palmetto
was a digital sound release and is here in a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio)
5.1 lossless mix that shows its age a bit and sounds slightly
strained. However, this was from the first few years of digital
sound on film and some flaws might be from the formats (DTS, Dolby
Digital, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound) being still relatively new
and/or recoding techniques not totally able to handle their advanced
order the Palmetto
Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great