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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Religion > Drama > Crime > Murder > Mystery > Superhero > Fantasy > Surrealism > Book Of Harth (2022/DVD*)/Cutting Class 4K (1989/4K Blu-ray w/Blu-ray/*both MVD)/Sandman: The Complete First Season (2022/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray Set)

Book Of Harth (2022/DVD*)/Cutting Class 4K (1989/4K Blu-ray w/Blu-ray/*both MVD)/Sandman: The Complete First Season (2022/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray Set)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B-/B+/B+ Sound: B-/B/B+ Extras: C+/B/C+ Main Programs: B/C+/B+

Here's an eclectic group of releases for you to know about....

Pierre Guillet's The Book of Harth (2022) is a charming documentary about conceptual artist David Greg Harth who has a 20 year old art project named ''The Bible Project.''

Harth has gone all over New York City and elsewhere to obtain as many famous autographs as possible in his beaten up copy of the Holy Bible. The final result is a mix of thoughts and deeper meaning, focusing on blending the world of fame with the world of religion. Some celebrities refuse to sign it. Others are intrigued by it and go deeper. One calls it bad luck. And others simply sign it and go about their day. The mix of reactions by each is interesting. Needless to say his collection of autographs in the book is nothing short of remarkable, with celebrities both living and dead. Harth struggles with ending the 20-year-long project which has consumed a lot of his personal life, and finally decides to keep going with a Volume Two. The Bible Project is really what you make of it and the concept itself is pretty interesting.

The well executed documentary focuses mainly on The Bible Project, but also allows the audience to get to know Harth as a person as well as we see some of his other odd performance pieces, and a little about his personal life and struggles with depression. The film paints a portrait of what it's like in the life of a lonely artist and how one is driven by passion and dedication to complete their arts in different forms.

Several celebrities from A to Z make walk-on appearances in the film and a few you get to see some fun candid moments of. Kevin Smith and John Waters both have funny sound bytes in it, but you get to see glimpses of how wild the crowds can get just to get an autograph or picture of the rich and famous in the natural world.

The Book of Harth is presented in standard definition on DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio mix. Seeing that this is a digitally shot documentary, it looks and sounds fine for what it is on the aging DVD format. However, a 1080p transfer would be a nice bump up and more reflective of the native quality of the piece.

Special Features include Deleted Scenes and an Audio Commentary.

I would suggest checking this short documentary out. It's fun to watch and moves right along with nice visuals and editing.

Cutting Class 4K (1989) is an interesting high school set thriller starring Brad Pitt in one of his earliest roles. Directed by Rospo Pallenberg, the film centers on a love triangle between Paula (Jill Schoelen, who was also in the cult classic Popcorn), Dwight (Pitt), and Brian Woods (Donovan Leitch).

Brian just got out of a mental institution after the fallout and mysterious death of his father and seems a bit unhinged as hotshot pretty boy Dwight constantly ups him in every department (except educational ones.) When murders start to occur in the high school, the whodunit starts to narrow in on Brian, who tries to convince the innocent and oblivious Paula of his innocence, which she buys into until it's too late.

The film has some clever writing and I could see this actually being a good remake in the right hands. As it stands, it is a fun time capsule piece of the late '80s and its hilarious to see Brad Pitt so wet behind the ears as an actor. Also starring in the film as the Principal is the late Roddy McDowall, who is the unsung comic relief of the piece, with one scene where he checks out Jill Scholen behind the closed door of his office that hasn't aged well.

Speaking of, the underrated Jill Schoelen did a great job in this film as the innocent and kind young girl who has no idea of the horrific things that pop up in her life such as her dad being shot with a arrow and her best friend murdered behind the bleachers. I'm a bit surprised that she didn't become a bigger name in Hollywood as she certainly had the talent and looks to do so.

Some characters are inserted into the plot just to add suspicion of who the killer might be, one of which is an odd and creepy janitor, whose motivations throughout the piece are unclear as he is threatening in one moment and downright silly in the next. I feel like maybe they needed a few more drafts of the script before they went into production on this as a bunch of little oddities prevent it from being listed among some of the more accomplished 80s teen films of the like.

Cutting Class is presented in 2160p on 4K UHD disc with HDR10, an HEVC / H.265 codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and an audio track in English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit) and lossy, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448 kbps) Mono. This is the same transfer as the 2018 Vinegar Syndrome release, both of which are better than the old Lionsgate DVD we reviewed eons ago. The image is very sharp and looks as good as a film of this time and nature can look. The also included 1080p Blu-ray is of lesser quality and the same soundtrack.

Special Features are not identical to the Vinegar Syndrome release and include:

An Original Theatrical Trailer

Collectible LaserVision Mini-Poster

Reversible artwork (reverse side features MVD Rewind Collection Artwork and Rewind number sequence

Limited Edition Slipcover (First Pressing Only; with Rewind number sequence on right spine)

Interview with star Jill Schoelen

Interview with star Donovan Leitch

"Kill Comparisons" featurette

"Find The Killer and Win" VHS Video Store Retailer Promo

and an R-Rated / Edited Version of "Cutting Class".

Cutting Class is a pretty fun-but-imperfect '80s indie movie, and not necessarily one that makes the cut on many cinephile's lists. This release is fine, but feels more like a recycling of Vinegar Syndrome's now out-of-print release, sans a few of the extras.

After years in development, the live action adaptation of DC and Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: The Complete First Season (2022) lands on disc from Warner Brothers / Netflix in its first season. The creators no doubt had a monumental feat to pull off with this epic project with the wild visuals and scope of production, but the end result is surprisingly pretty strong.

The Sandman is a mix of fantasy and historical fiction that centers on Morpheus the Dream King who explores different paths of the cosmic, living, and the dead. When he is captured in the world of the living, his absence causes a huge riff in the dreaming and waking worlds. The epic story is hard to summarize in just a few sentences but is definitely an enjoyable and visually rich journey that's one of Netflix's strongest productions to date.

The series stars Tom Sturridge, Boyd Holbrook, Vivienne Acheampong, Patton Oswalt, and David Thewlis.

The Sandman: The Complete First Season (three Blu-ray BD-50 disc set) is 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 English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems; 48kHz, 24-bit). There is also a 4K UHD version available that we are not covering here, but is getting rave reviews as well with slightly higher resolution than this 1080p Blu-ray version. The show has a lot of digital elements and effects, but it shot in a very cinematic and stylized way that cleverly calls back to the original graphic novel art.

Special Features featurettes: Behind the Scenes Sneak Peak and The World of the Endless.

The Sandman is an effective big budget Netflix genre series that stands tall against some of their other more questionable projects in similar genres. The cast is certainly intriguing and I look forward to seeing further seasons.

- James Lockhart



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