(1931/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Long
Arm Of The Law, Parts I
(1983) & II
(1987/88 Films/**both MVD Blu-ray)/Wandering
Earth II (*both 2023/Well
B+/B+/B-/B/B Sound: B+/B+/C+/B-/B+ Extras: C/B/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.
a wide range of mystery thrillers, most involving crime...
a time bending drama starring Judy Greer (Jurassic
series) in a nice starring role for the underrated veteran actress.
The Hollywood indie brings up a lot of questions about life decisions
and what lengths a person dealing with trauma would go to change
their troubled past, and the ripple effects of one event or bad
decision, and how that can affect others.
story centers around a woman whose husband is killed by a drunk
driver and it ruins both her and her daughter's life in a ripple
effect. When a brilliant scientific friend of the husband comes up
with a time machine of sorts, the woman does what she must to bring
back her husband, even if it means taking the life of his accidental
killer in exchange. Once the husband comes back to life, things in
the new reality start to change. The more and more the machine is
used, the stranger things start to get, the wilder this all becomes.
film is similar in some ways in tone to The Butterfly Effect,
as the film challenges its viewers with moral dilemmas and an
interesting first two acts and then a semi-lackluster ending. The
film also stars Edi Gatheg and Payman Maadi.
Features: a Behind the Scenes featurette and a Trailer.
is a bit too dramatic for its own good at times, but is well made and
acted, and makes ya think a little bit too. Worth checking out!
Garcia Bogliano's Black Circle (2018) is a artsy Swedish
psychological horror film that is the cinematic equivalent of being
hypnotized or drugged in a weird way. Gasper Noe is another
filmmaker who experiments with a similar cinematic formula of gives
the viewer a sense of unease. The story centers on a troubled young
woman whose sister recommends that she listens to the B side of a
weird record before she goes to sleep and her life will improve after
a few days; a sort of magnetic hypnotism. But once she starts to
fall down the rabbit hole things do start to improve in her life, the
paper she can't seem to write just flows out freely. Soon after, she
starts to have several bizarre visions and occurrences and the true
mystery behind the black circle is revealed.
film doesn't play out like a traditional narrative, but rather
slingshots it's viewers all over the place with different cinematic
styles, weird music and sound design, and both narrative and arthouse
film stars Christina Lindberg, Felice Jankell, Erica Midfjall, Hanna
Midfjall, and Hanna Asp.
Open Your Eyes original short film
with Adrian Garcia Bogliano and Christina Lindberg
Black Circle Behind-the-scenes featurette
a Still Gallery.
Circle is interesting, but may not be suited for everyone's taste
due to its experimental style.
(1931) is a really good film that goes from joy to disaster as Joan
Crawford, in great, rare form, is the daughter of a wealthy
stockbroker who knows the market better than most. We see her at a
party for the rich elite early on and her lifestyle for a good while,
then the market starts to turn and her father is so stressed out, he
dies on the stock market floor of a heart attack!
leaves her and her brother (William Holden in an early role) having
to sell the estate and their belonging to survive and when none of
their friends seem to be around, she gets a job writing at a local
newspaper. Her brother gets involved in selling alcoholic beverages
to his rich pals like he was before the crash as Prohibition
continues and that leads him soon getting involved with a dangerous
gangster (Clark Gable, very effective in an early role too) who has
darker plans for everyone.
her beloved fellow reporter is killed by someone associated with
Gable's men, she goes undercover as a dancer in one of his clubs, but
she looks too good and soon gets his attention. This could help her
assignment at first, then things get worse and the film really gets
Bros. was the home of the gangster picture, but MGM gives it its best
try here and though it is not totally such a film, do a good job.
Gable and Crawford have unexpected chemistry and would make more
films together, while MGM made sure this production was top rate.
That part of it sure holds up. I had not seen this one for a long
time, even forgetting a few points, so I was very happy to see it
again and would argue that it is one of the best and most underrated
films all involved made down to journeyman filmmaker Beaumont
shows how underrated he remains.
the rest of the cast including Cliff Edwards, Lester Vail, William
Blakewell, Joan Marsh, the underrated Natalie Moorhead (I wish she
were in the film longer) and uncredited Wilbur Mack and Ann Dvorak
(who was in the original Scarface
a year later,) this is a must-see film for all serious film lovers!
include the documentary Hollywood:
The Dream Factory
and two monochrome Warner Bros. animated shorts: One
Darn Ya, Smile.
Long Arm Of The Law, Parts I
(Michael Mak, 1987)
came along when the films coming out of Hong Kong had become very
comical and were usually just entertaining for fun, especially the
Martial Arts genre which moved to comedy after they fell out of favor
in places like the U.S. and other genres become popular. Though
Martial Arts movie legend Sammo Hung was involved as a producer on
the first film, for which there is some humor included, he sadly is
not on screen.
way, the films helped launch a new more raw, brutal, violent and
realistic series of films, usually involving crime and becoming the
core of Hong Kong Cinema until its recent demise due to political
changes too involved to go into here. A gang starts to rob from rich
people in Hong Kong, but the police become more proactive than
expected and go after them hard. At first, it is hard to tell if
they'll succeed, then things start to happen and the plot really
second film (also called Saga II) has three wild Chinese
soldiers with bad records escape China, then get recruited to fight
crime in Hong Kong and trusting their superiors, but things quickly
escalate into violence when criminals from China also come to visit
and maybe permanently to make money, et al. This has almost no humor
and some advantages over the first film, though the makers were very
smart not to try and imitate the first film much or think more of the
same would do for audiences. I liked this one a little more and
think it holds up a little better, but no doubt these were important
and influential in their time, eventually influencing several genres
worldwide and helping establish the likes of John Woo.
makes them more than key enough to more than justify this nice
special edition set and one that those who like such films should go
out of their way for just to see what they pulled off. Sure, the
films owes much to Film Noir, 1970s action films from Hollywood and
Italy, more hard-hitting British crime films and a few other sources,
including the more serious Martial Arts films of the 1970s. That is
why these films needed restored and reissued. Now you can see for
are many and include the great packaging, a double-sided mini-poster,
high quality illustrated booklet with poster reproductions, tech info
& an excellent, extensive essay by scholar Tim Cunliffe,
reversible sleeves featuring original artwork and discs adding...
Commentaries by Hong Kong Film Expert Frank Djeng
New Interviews for each film with Actor Philip Chan
New Interviews for each film with Director Michael Mak
new artwork by Sean Longmore
New Interview with Ben Lam on the sequel
interview with stuntman Stephen Chan
more films in what turned out to be an anthology series followed and
maybe we'll see what they are like at some point, but those
interested should definitely get this set.
Wandering Earth II
(2023) is a big budget sequel to the hit film by director Frant Gwo
(reminds us of legendary clothing designer Don Feld also identified
often as Donfeld and almost legendary music composer Frank De Vol
being identified as De Vol) is a sequel to a film that has not been
issued on home video on the U.S.!
over several years in the future, it deals with disasters mankind has
to deal with and can technology properly applied save humans
worldwide. Such speculative fiction is nothing new, but this film
goes way out of its way to portray the potential events, even if they
get dated like the 1936 British sci-fi classic Things
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) and I actually welcomes that risk
of dating quickly just to get the audience to think differently and
more freely in that direction.
of the cast was new to me, though Andy Lau from Infernal
is the best seen and known here, though cheers to the whole cast for
going all out to meet what the makers are trying to do here. Though
this did not stay with me and knowing this particular genre better
than most as a self-admitted superfan, at least they tried and for
Chinese Cinema, that is a good thing. Those interested will want to
give it a good look, but know it is about three hours long.
trailer for this film and a few similar ones from Well Go are the
for playback performance. Aporia
is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4
AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossless,
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mix. Shot in Los
Angeles, the film has a nice look and feels like a larger movie than
it is considering its smaller budget feel.
presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC
codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a lossless, Swedish
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) with English subtitles. The
film looks and sounds great on Blu-ray disc and really pushes the
limitations of the format. Synapse Films is known for putting out
strong content with a high level of sound and picture presentation
and this release is no exception.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on Dance can show the age of the materials used, but
this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film
and despite some softness and very slight motion blur in places, it
looks really good and is interesting to see the MGM gloss still
trying to be gritty. The DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is an impressive restoration of
the original theatrical monophonic sound and considering its age, is
the best this film will ever sound.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on both Long
films come from 2K scans and can also show the age of the materials
used with some grain present a little more than you might expect,
especially in the first film. The sequel definitely gains in
clarity, depth of field and detail and color range in comparison to
the first and more money is in the film. Maybe the original camera
negatives or best surviving materials have not held up because of
storage and/or the 35mm negatives were not as good as other color
stocks of the time. Odds are it is Kodak, Fuji or a combination of
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes on both have been
restored well and are as good as these films will also ever sound.
2.75 X 1 digital High Definition image on Wandering
is an all-Ultra HD shoot that uses new Hawk anamorphic lenses trying
to look like lenses from the mid-1970s (1974 to be exact, if we
believe the name of them) and it helps the film look better, though
there is far too much CGI here and it was made partly during the
worldwide pandemic. It owes some of its look to past space films
(non-space opera types like 2001,
etc.) and is visually ambitious. The results are more hit than miss.
lossless Mandarin Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for
older systems) is not bad and the film was also issued in IMAX,
making for a combination that does fare better than many tired
blockbusters of late. Not issued on 4K here yet, that will make for
an interesting comparison when that happens.
the Warner Archive Dance
Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive
Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Aporia, Circle)