Category Archives: DVD Review

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DVD Review – The Zookeeper’s Wife

Category : DVD Review

Director: Niki Caro

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Daniel Brühl

Year: 2017

American audiences will recognize Jessica Chastain of course, and they may even know Daniel Bruhl, who I recently raved about in my review of Alone in Berlin.  But Johan Heldenbergh might not be someone you’ve seen before, and that’s a shame.  I can’t claim higher ground, I’ve only seen him one time, in The Broken Circle Breakdown, a powerful film in which he shone.  And his light radiates again here in a film that isn’t his vehicle, but which he steals whenever he is on camera.  He & Bruhl duel for the attention of Chastain, which is one of the themes of the movie, though not its primary by any means.  But that subplot does pit these two fine actors against each other, and I think it, along with the true story behind the action, saves the film from potential ruin.

The Movie

Based on the book by the same name, The Zookeeper’s Wife tells the true story of the Zabinski family, their zoo, and their heroic acts during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, Poland during WWII.  The Zabinskis ran the Warsaw Zoo with care and dedication, loving the animals as their own children, forming relationships that went beyond humans and animals.  Antonina was as hands on as possible, living among the creatures, helping them through struggles, viewing each of them as an individual life.  Jan was a hard worker, a strong husband, and loved to see his wife moving hay right beside him, her bare feet in the soil of the land.  And their son Ryszard grew up in the heart of it all, a magical place of energy and caring that radiated warmth to all who visited.

But war was coming, and its evil effects were inevitable.  When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Warsaw was bombed, including the beloved zoo.  Buildings were destroyed, animals were killed, and those who ran confusedly free were quickly shot by soldiers.  The Nazis rolled into the city and took complete control, claiming the battered zoo as a weapons depot, and taking over its operation.  The animals were taken to Berlin by Lutz Heck, Hitler’s head zoologist, who believed he could breed aurochs back into existence.  Meanwhile, under his very nose, the Zabinskis refused to be beaten.  They turned what was left of the zoo into a pig farm to feed German soldiers, but also began smuggling in Jews from the ghetto, hiding them in cages beneath the ground, helping them to escape the brutality of the Nazis and their Final Solution.

What an incredible true tale, a story of bravery in the face of pure evil and of a family who risked everything to do what was right.  The Zabinskis saved over 300 Jews from certain death over the years, all the while putting their own children’s lives in danger every day.  That kind of courage is only called upon during terrible times, but I don’t think that everyone has it in them to convert it into action when death is the punishment for discovery.  The Zabinskis were simply heroic beyond measure, and although their effort saved such a small number compared to the millions who died, each life was a sacred thing being stolen away, each life saved was a miracle.

Now back to the movie, which I have to say was mediocre compared to the actual events that inspired it.  Most of that is because of Jessica Chastain, who has fooled so many into thinking that she is ultra-talented, when the opposite is true.  She’s a one-note actress, made all the more apparent by the use of a fake accent, which hampers any actor’s ability to emote properly.  She isn’t as strong as her preceding reputation, and the film could have flopped because of it.  To say that the men saved the day would be sexist, but in this film Heldenbergh and Bruhl were the far more believable leads, perhaps helped by their actual accents, but I also believe aided by their superior talents.  The film was fine, it didn’t feel overly long, I was interested throughout, but the majority of that was due to the reality of the situation, not by the work of the woman who was supposed to be the reason to watch.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 (1o80p HD Widescreen) and shot using both Arri Alexa M cameras with Hawk V-Lite lenses and Arri Alexa XT Plus cameras with Hawk V-Lite, V-Plus, and V-Series lenses, the video quality of the film was top-notch.  The colors were magnificent, the scenery was beautiful, the animals looked lovely, the costumes were cool, and the visuals of the majority of the movie should be commended.

Audio – The Blu-ray was done in English DTS-HD Master Audio, with alternate choices of English DVS Dolby Digital 2.0 and Spanish DTS Digital Surround.  Subtitles are available in English SDH, Spanish, and French.  Also, menu button sounds can be turned on/off.  The audio quality of the film was excellent, with a nice backing track and a strong balance.

Extras – There are a few extras on the Blu-ray, if you were interested in learning more.  There are 6 deleted scenes that can be played all at once or individually.  The Making of The Zookeeper’s Wife is a 7-minute behind-the-scenes segment.  The Zabinski Family is a 4-minute featurette including interviews with the author of the novel and the children of the real life Jan and Antonina.  And there are also 6 previews: The Theory of Everything, The Danish Girl, Hyde Park on Hudson, Loving, Race, Suffragette.

Final Thoughts

Recommended.  With this film, the content may outperform the delivery, but there are enough positives about the movie itself to warrant a watch, if not a falling in love.  Chastain is the weakest link by far, and I wish that the critical and cinematic worlds weren’t so taken with her, that a different actress could have taken this role to the place it needed.  Why not a Polish actress, there’s a simple question with a predictably complicated answer.  Heldenbergh and Bruhl succeeded in part because they were more authentic, although the former is actually from Flanders, and the latter is half Spanish.  They are simply more talented as well, that point should be made, and their screen time was of a higher quality because of it.  The video was superb, the audio solid as well, and there are some special features for those who want more.  Overall, a strong showing, a fascinating tale, just not a movie that will make an awards splash or be remarked upon often in the coming years.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Alone in Berlin

Category : DVD Review

Director: Vincent Perez

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Emma Thompson, Daniel Brühl

Year: 2016

The rise of the wonderful and incomparable Daniel Bruhl has been well-witnessed, at least among those who have been paying attention.  The German/Spanish actor has been hitting more home runs than not with his film choices, or perhaps his talent level helps lift each lucky movie he appears in.  Inglourious Basterds, Rush, A Most Wanted Man, Woman in Gold, The Colony, Civil War; he has range, enigma, he captivates, fascinates, and we’re seeing him smack dab in the middle of his prime.  What’s incredible about his role in Alone in Berlin is that it’s not even the lead, but he shines anyway.  And what’s incredible about the film itself is that it boasts such a young star but also sticks him in a package with two fantastic, proven veterans, making other features jealous of its wealth of plot and particulars.

The Movie

In Berlin in 1940, the War seems a simple, winnable thing, a destiny that all Germans share.  They celebrate the fall of France as Europe will some years later celebrate its own liberation, predicting an end to the conflict in a few weeks or months, when England assuredly falls.  Still, battles must be fought and men must die, including Hans, the only son of aging, working-class couple Otto & Anna Quangel.  They have always been hesitant to officially join the Nazi party, to support Hitler entirely, due largely to the fact that they are simple people without a heretic’s ideals.  When their son is killed, any reason for supporting the cause vanishes, and it is replaced by an angry spark that fans to flame.

Otto, hiding his handwriting, wearing gloves, and choosing random locations, begins dropping anti-Hitlerism propaganda throughout the city, small cards that call for the voice of the people to lift up, join together, and to defy a nation that is building itself on hate.  Anna joins in the charade, quickly becoming an accomplice to a crime that may seem harmless to some, but catches the eye and the ire of the SS.  Local investigators nickname the criminal the Hobgoblin, scrambling to find him before the upper echelon’s embarrassment turns to violence, before they are punished by a regime that lacks patience for those they deem unable to fulfill the duties they owe to their fatherland.

Bruhl plays the cop, Gleeson and Thompson the mother and father, all three combining to create a terrific trio that could carry a film were they given nothing but a few rags to wear and a few lines to spout.  Bruhl fits into this era so well, his accent and his demeanor matching the genre perfectly, down to the funny mustache that works so well.  Gleeson may have had the weakest German drawl, but it can’t be easy for an Irishman to pull that off, and his character was so excellent that any small flaws were quickly forgiven.  And Thompson was the glue that held the entire story together, offering Gleeson support when he needed it and creating another emotional layer to the film when one would have been good enough to get by.

The surprise was in the direction, since Perez does not have much experience, and this subject matter could easily weigh down whatever a filmmaker was trying to lift up.  There were scene choices throughout that caught my eye, an attention to detail and cinematography that was pleasantly unexpected.  The film flowed nicely without needing much action to drive it, the characters themselves picking up all the slack and pulling the plot along.  This time period is pretty awesome, from whichever perspective you want to view it, and we don’t often get to see what was happening deep within Germany at the time, so that was a nice change from the standard WWII war flick.  Alone in Berlin is laudably strong from start to finish, flying under-the-radar but deserving much more.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and filmed using a Sony CineAlta F65 camera, the video quality of the film is just above run-of-the-mill, solid but not amazing.  It captures the feel of the era just fine, without reaching Hollywood elite heights.  The cinematography is better than the actual picture, which is fine by me.

Audio – The DVD was done in English 5.1, with an option of English SDH or Spanish subtitles.  The sound quality of the film is fine, without anything memorable, but it does offer a strong backing soundtrack to help drive the plot.

Extras – There are two bonus features on the disc: interviews with cast/crew and a trailer for the film.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended.  If you are in the mood for some master-class acting set against an uncommon backdrop, Alone in Berlin is the flick for you.  Bruhl, Gleeson, and Thompson all deliver stellar performances, while fitting into the era with ease.  This is a story that needs to be told, an uncomplicated tale of ordinary people who did what they could in extraordinary times.  This isn’t a movie to take home a barrel full of awards, nor will it go down as one of the best WWII tales of all-time, but it can be appreciated for its simplicity and its grace, especially among such horror.  The video, audio, and extras are all only OK, so look elsewhere for technical marvels, but you won’t find them distracting either.  The film speaks clearly, views cleanly, and is easy to recommend.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – The High Schoolers Guide to College Parties

Category : DVD Review

Director: Patrick Johnson

Starring: Nate Rubin, Kris Kiley, Brina Palencia

Year: 2015

Your guess is as good as mine as to why American Pie worked when so many other coming-of-age sex comedies die a terrible death as soon as they hit the screen, some as soon as they hit the straight-to-DVD shelves.  Maybe it was Eugene Levy, maybe it was the pie, who knows, but that film is now a classic, and in comparison, The High Schoolers Guide to College Parties will never be.  Not only will it never become a classic, it will never be seen by more than the 200 people globally who invested their time in watching this complete waste of space and regretted every minute of it.  Add this film to the long list of those who tried and failed.

Movie

Shaq is a high school loser, and his only hope for redemption lies in becoming at least a passable collegiate when the time comes.  First, his name gets him picked on, since he’s so very tiny and obviously not related to O’Neil.  Second, he dresses like an intern for some strange startup company.  And third, he just kissed his best friend Chelsea, which was both a terrible idea and probably the only action he’s ever had.  He needs a sign that life might improve, and getting a college scholarship when all his friends are off to community college might just be the ray of light that keeps him going.  Problem is, he’ll need to throw a party first.

The frat boy type group that holds Shaq’s fate in their hands wants him to have a keg bash to show that he has what it takes to be a big man on campus.  He doesn’t, of course, but this might be his only chance to escape the shitty fate that’s already laid out in front of him.  So Shaq and his friend Sideshow start a list of what they will need to impress the partygoers; beer, a band, hot girls, costumes, a hip house, and enough people to make the pair of them look cool.  Meanwhile, Shaq has to navigate the crush headed his way from his best friend, whose heart he’s breaking by not returning her affection, and he has to make a fake ID translate into liquid courage.  Good luck, bud, you’re going to need it.

I guess it’s partly my job to break down why some movies work and why some don’t, and with every review I try to get closer and closer to that level of understanding, something that I’m sure will never actually come.  But sometimes it’s hard to make sense out of why some ingredients blend in just the right way, while other, almost identical recipes go up in flames.  American Pie, Superbad, Clerks; these are the movies that High Schoolers Guide is trying to be, but these are the movies that had the right magical combinations to work; this film couldn’t work magic if it was directed by David Copperfield himself.  It may not always be easy to pinpoint why a movie succeeds, but it sure is obvious sometimes when it absolutely doesn’t.

I have a screenplay idea in the back of my mind, I’ve tried to transpose it onto paper, but now I feel like I’m one step closer to completing it, because now I know exactly what I don’t want it to resemble.  A low-budget, coming-of-age comedy has a certain vibe, but this movie is disastrous in every way, it’s precisely the direction I wouldn’t want to take any film I was tagging my name onto.  It’s stupid beyond belief, crass when it has no need to be, juvenile at every turn with no breaks, and presents absolutely no talent to the screen that any of us could possibly take seriously.  More an idea gone bad than actual cinema, consider this a lesson in the dangers of thinking that anyone can make a movie and then acting on that.

The DVD

Video – With no aspect ratio to speak of and no video details other than “color”, this is a picture quality best forgotten immediately.  The film looks as bad as it feels to watch it, and so I have to recommend that you don’t.

Audio – The DVD comes with two audio choices, 5.1 Surround or 2.0 Stereo.  The film is done in English, but there is an option of English SDH.  That’s it as far as the sound, except to note that the music is horrendous and the voices don’t match the characters’ lip movements.

Extras – There are no special features on this disc.

Final Thoughts

Skip It.  Some b-movies are fun, some sex romps are entertaining, some high school dramas turn into something that we actually connect with.  None of that is true about High Schoolers Guide, so you’re better served pretending that you’ve never heard of it.  This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen, a complete failure to tell a story that anyone would want to hear.  It feels like a skit, but a skit that you made up when you were drunk with your dumbass buddies.  The video is terrible, the audio just as bad, and there are no extras on the disc, so look elsewhere for any redeeming qualities.  Just don’t bother with this movie; it isn’t worth the loss in brain cells.

☆ – Content

☆ – Video

☆ – Audio

☆ – Extras

☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – A United Kingdom

Category : DVD Review

Director: Amma Asante

Starring: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport

Year: 2016

A true story about Botswana in the 1940s isn’t the type of tale to grab the attention of American audiences with ease.  The second element of real life drama here helps a bit; the marriage of a black king to a white commoner, the crossing of racial lines that was more than taboo at that time and is still a topic of conversation to this day.  The cast also aids in the sale of this film, Oyelowo and Pike being two premiere talents who may not yet be household names, but who both deserve and demand critical respect for their accomplishments.  Unfortunately, anything the director could add to this story wasn’t enough to overcome some initial disinterest, and couldn’t force the film to be anything other than slightly boring.

The Movie

Bechuanaland in the early 1900s was a place of great turmoil, and the King turned to Great Britain for aid.  To keep South Africa from annexing the country, it became a protectorate of England, its people’s freedom both protected and diminished.  Generations later, the same royal line marched on in succession, but each King had to bow to the will of a Queen overseas, as Bechuanaland’s inhabitants grew poorer and South Africa grew more powerful.  With the rise of apartheid in the area, tension mounted and segregation increased, fueled by Europe’s racism and the inability of the native leaders to completely rule themselves.  Seretse Khama, the next King, was sent to London for an education, and saw for himself there the injustices that seemed so daunting.

But life goes on, sometimes pitting individual desires against greater causes.  Seretse fell in love with a British woman named Ruth, a salesman’s daughter who had no designs on becoming royalty of what amounted to an English colony.  This man and this woman fell in love and wanted to get married, a right that was not denied by law, but was seen as a betrayal to both their race and their country.  Bringing home a white wife to his native village, Seretse was challenged by both his own uncle and the British government, as his marriage threatened the delicate balance of power in the region, and angered the very powerful South African state.  Love doesn’t always conquer all, it sometimes shatters under pressure, and few couples in history have ever felt such weight.

The base story behind this film is a fascinating one, a true tale of love in the face of a seemingly unbeatable challenge.  Banished from his own country for the sin of marrying the woman he loved, Seretse fought on against all odds, as Ruth was forced to grow accustomed to a new home without her new husband.  Talk to a historian if you want to know how many small details were true to life, how many were forged for this film, but the love story shouts its message loud and clear, ringing with a truth that’s beautiful to watch.  I had no problem with the plot, or with the passion behind it, the movie carrying an important topic back into the annals of history while also making this fight seen extremely relevant to our own time.

My major gripe with this film is that it’s simply a little boring.  The drama is set up well, it all flows nicely for a small period of time, but then everything slows down, and for the majority of the movie nothing interesting happens.  It’s a bit of a runaround, the same events occurring over and over, and perhaps that’s how it really happened, but on screen it just doesn’t work.  Once you get past the fact that literally nothing exciting happens except a childbirth, you can see some talent on display, but it’s almost too late by then.  Oyelowo is as strong as always, Pike feels a little less like a fit for her character, but their chemistry is really nice.  Davenport was a good villain, Tom Felton steps away from Draco Malfoy, but Laura Carmichael ought to be banned from the cinema; I couldn’t stand her as Lady Edith Crawley and she’s no good here either.  My overall takeaway is right near the middle of appreciating the true story and the acting, but feeling frustrated that the film failed to add any spice to what was ultimately an upsettingly bland offering.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 (Widescreen), the video quality of the Blu-ray is probably the highlight of the film.  The African scenery is beautiful, and a ton of attention was paid to the cinematography of the movie, not just to a few lovely sunsets.  The colors were rich, the shots clear, and the visuals of this disc will impress those looking for some artistic details.

Audio – The Blu-ray was done in English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, with an option of English Descriptive Audio 5.1.  Subtitles are available in English SDH, Spanish, or French.  The audio quality of the film is quite nice as well, with attention paid to dialogue, scenery, and soundtrack.  The music is very pleasant, if not something you’ll look up the next day on Spotify.

Extras – There are quite a few special features on the disc if you’re thirsty for more.  A search bar is available on the main menu, where you can peruse scenes and bookmarks.  Making Of is a 6-minute behind-the-scenes segment.  Filming in Botswana is a 6-minute on-location piece.  The Legacy of Seretse and Ruth is a 4-minute look at their story.  London Film Festival Opening Night Gala Premiere is a 6-minute walk down and interview segment on the red carpet.  Lastly, six trailers are presented: A United Kingdom, Hidden Figures, Jackie, Rules Don’t Apply, This Beautiful Fantastic, Table 19.

Final Thoughts

Rent It.  With better pieces than a final puzzle, A United Kingdom is a movie with a wonderful motive that just didn’t come together correctly.  The actors are solid, the direction is artistic, the foundational story is there.  The result just isn’t captivating in the way you might imagine it should be.  The true story element is fascinating, but there isn’t any passion infused into the plot, at least not enough to keep audiences from yawning.  If the film had been any longer, I might have fallen asleep, and that’s not a note on my lack of attention, it’s a criticism of the filmmakers’ inability to successfully draw me in.  The video is actually quite wonderful, the audio nice, and the extras plentiful.  Just don’t expect an Oscar-winning feature film; it won’t hold up to that much scrutiny.

☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – A Cure for Wellness

Category : DVD Review

Director: Gore Verbinski

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth

Year: 2016

For a film from the director who brought us The Weather Man and Rango, his newest feature, A Cure for Wellness, is both satisfyingly sinister and comfortably classic.  To be fair, Verbinski also directed The Ring, one of the scariest films I have ever seen, and The Curse of the Black Pearl, an absolute and near-perfect gem, so perhaps he is simply the most versatile filmmaker in the industry and we ought to stop imagining that we can predict what he might do next or how well it might turn out.  This film is a pleasant (or unpleasant) surprise, depending on how you look at it, delivering an old-school feel while presenting us with something uniquely spooky.  Hats off to Verbinski for crafting something so strange and yet so familiar, a movie that will scare, of course, but one that is also dangerously delightful.

The Movie

Young, up-and-coming executive Lockhart is in a bit of a pickle. His nefarious and not-so-clever methods have been noticed by the board of his company right before their big merger, something that ought to land him in jail, do not pass go. But there are bigger fish to fry, and Lockhart has no choice but to be the angler. A board member, Pembroke, has gone away to a spa in the Alps and has yet to come back, something that needs to happen if the merger is to be carried out. Lockhart’s job is to travel into the mountains, convince Pembroke to return, and all shall be forgiven. But, as they say with a smile at the sanitarium, why would anyone want to leave? After all, the upper-echelon clientele are very sick, Dr. Volmer seems to be making them well again with his treatments, even if Lockhart begins to suspect that evil might be lurking deep inside the healing waters of the idyllic Alpine retreat.

Lockhart meets the staff and the guests of the sanitarium, and is at a loss for what to do next.  The staff all smile as they lead you to your next treatment, they are all young and attractive, but their goodwill comes with a definite creepiness that says they’re not telling you all they know.  The guests seem to love their home away from home, not wanting the subject of leaving to even be brought up, but some of them are getting sicker, not better, without even seeming to recognize their danger.  And when Lockhart meets the captivating Hannah, who has been at the spa as long as she can remember and who is labelled as a special case, he knows that something must be done to convince the outside world that Volmer and his crew are up to no good, some unknown wickedness that only our hero can expose, but only if he resists the treatment long enough to make it past the gates.

With a horror throwback feel that almost reminded me of Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing, Verbinski’s A Cure For Wellness breathes classic creep while shouting modern imagery.  It’s extremely difficult for a film to walk the fine line between paying homage to the classics while also bringing something new to the theatre, but this movie was able to keep that precarious balance.  There was an odd comfort in the atmosphere of the plot, even while audiences were forced to look away from what they did not want to see, a pleasant mood like spending time with an old friend, all while demanding that the hero not open that door.  Verbinski created a fledgling world in which to set his story, pulled an evil plot out of thin air, but somehow also made us feel like we’d seen this all before, in a good way though, as if we too were enjoying the sinister setting too much to leave.

There’s an extremely unnerving tune played at the beginning of the film, and then brought back throughout, that sets the tone for the whole show, that sets you on edge and makes you wonder what you got yourself into.  This music, some stellar cinematography, and a patience to let events unfold as they will without forcing them to life are all to Verbinski’s credit, helping to elevate the movie above simple genre horror.  There was an insanity to the characters, an unexplained madness, that made the whole thing wonderfully unpredictable as well.  Jason Isaacs was the devil of this particular hell, and I couldn’t help relating his character from The OA, another megalomaniac with a secret.  And Dane DeHaan was great, a bit everyman, a bit cocky, a nice combination of both that made him relatable.  A Cure for Wellness is a strange, drawn out, psychotic, disgusting adventure tale, not a film for the meek, but something that will please your darker side if you so desire.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (Widescreen), and shot using an Arri Alexa XT M camera with Leica Summilux-C, Zeiss Master Prime, and Ultra Prime lenses, an Arri Alexa XT Studio camera with Leica Summilux-C, Zeiss Master Prime, and Ultra Prime lenses, and an Arri Alexa XT camera with Leica Summilux-C, Zeiss Master Prime, and Ultra Prime lenses, the video quality of the Blu-ray is one of the best I have ever seen.  Combined with out-of-this-world cinematography and an unmatched eye for imagery, the picture quality of this film is one if its greatest highlights.

Audio – The Blu-ray disc was done in English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, with options of English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1.  Also, subtitles are available in English SDH, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.  The sound/music of the film perhaps made it work, was the extra feature that brought it up to the level of greatness.  The film’s soundtrack is phenomenal, with a common theme woven throughout that will give you nightmares as it lulls you to sleep.

Extras –  There are a ton of special features on the Blu-ray, enough to delight those looking for more from this insane world.  A deleted sequence called “It’s Wonderful Here” is available to watch, it’s 5 minutes long, and it delivers more information about Lockhart’s stay at the spa, including many iconic images from the film that don’t actually appear in the theatrical version.  There are three, 3-minute meditation segments, where audiences can relax to the oddity that is this universe: Water is the Cure, Air is the Cure, Earth is the Cure.  The Score is a 4-minute look at creating the music.  And there are six trailers in all: theatrical, red band, international, The Belko Experiment, Morgan, Shut In.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended.  There are many words that could be used to describe A Cure for Wellness: throwback, pulp, gonzo (whatever that means, exactly).  But the one that keeps coming to mind is ‘sinister’; this film is about as sinister as you can get.  It isn’t the most frightening, it isn’t the cleverest plot, it isn’t exactly a b-movie.  It’s a sinister tale told almost flippantly, as if the details really don’t matter.  You’ll find yourself giving up eventually, when you realize that the point isn’t to explain every creepy plot twist, it’s to frighten you with just how bizarre the world can be, at least this wacky one in which people have lost their damn minds.  Then there’s the music, which connects the film from start to finish over the course of two and a half hours, and the cinematography, which can only be described as beautiful.  The video quality is amazing, the audio superb, and there are enough extras to delight fans, so the technical aspects of the film hold up beside what is also a strong, stand-alone feature.  Watch this movie more than once; I have, and it’s worth it.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Mortuary

Category : DVD Review

Director: Howard Avedis

Starring: Mary Beth McDonough, David Wysocki, Bill Paxton

Year: 1983

Director Howard Avedis dappled in sexploitation cinema in the 70s, although really, who didn’t.  He carried the style over into the 80s, adding murder and crime and thrills, but keeping the older women with large breasts.  It it’s not broke don’t fix it I guess; there will always be a market for b-movies with nudity and fake blood because, for some strange reason, we will always love them.  Mortuary is just another in a long history of intentionally bad films, but with a few key elements that deserve pointing out.  One is that at least two stars are on display here, making it a little more interesting than some of the others in its genre.  And another is that someone forgot to add in the humor, which we all know is the secret ingredient to any campy horror flick, something that this movie desperately needed.

The Movie

When Christie’s father died, her world came crashing down.  Her mother and the townspeople claimed it was an accidental drowning, but Christie knew better, and at night she could hear her father calling to her to solve his murder.  She didn’t know where to start though, and with her mother always trying to convince Christie that she was crazy, the mission to crack the case always seemed hopeless.  Her boyfriend, Greg, whom she attended junior college with, was very supportive, but his working class family needed him to drive their flower van, while Christie’s mansion remained almost empty, an example of the two very different worlds these young lovers inhabited.

One day, while snooping around a warehouse, Greg and his friend Josh stumbled upon something strange.  Josh used to work for the town hotshot Mr. Andrews, the local mortician, but was fired without pay.  To reimburse himself, Josh decided to rob the mortuary warehouse, and he needed Greg van’s to do it.  While there, the pair overhear a seance led by Mr. Andrews and accompanied by a group of lovely women, all marching around and chanting.  Coffins scattered throughout the warehouse made things even more creepy, and when Josh disappeared, Greg suspected foul play.  What is Mr. Andrews up to, what happened to Christie’s father, and will our heroic couple make it out of this mystery alive?

The plot of this film is ridiculous, which shouldn’t come as a big shock.  1983 was an amusing time, looking back on it, and I often wish that I had lived it, instead of only then being born.  The hair was feathered, the clothes were tight, the cars were rad, the lingo was cool, and the 70s were still clinging onto the timeline for dear life, fighting against being left behind.  There’s definitely an element of sexploitation still here, but with a hint of an attempt to move in a more serious direction.  Problem is, there wasn’t enough talent available in this film to complete the transition.  The boobs are still here, the gross out murders, the buxom women, the silly killers, but it’s all a bit too serious, which isn’t to its credit.  We could have used a little comedy since no one here was winning an acting or directing award, and the lack of levity made the whole project that much more desperate.

You might recognize Mary Beth McDonough as Erin from The Waltons, a show that is a major leap from Mortuary, which may have been why she chose a role like this.  She doesn’t bare all, but her body double does, which at the time may have been risque, I’m note sure, I was zero.  Either way, she was making a change from wholesome child to serious adult, the result of which was a lot of TV roles but not much else.  The other name to appreciate here is Bill Paxton, in one of his earliest film roles.  He’s actually the best part of the movie, no surprise, making it a must see for those missing the late actor and hoping to discover him in something new.  Other than that, this silly slasher isn’t worth many people’s time and won’t find a place in the canon of b-greats.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen), the video quality is as bad as you might imagine.  It’s a low-budget 80s movie after all, no one is expecting the “brand new 16×9 mastering in HD” to be anything great.  It’s watchable, it isn’t distorted and gross, so count your blessings and enjoy.

Audio – The disc is done in English Mono with no other language or sound options.  Other than a creepy backing track, there isn’t much to mention in the audio department, as it transfers fine as well but doesn’t make an impact.

Extras – The film can be watched with a Katarina’s Nightmare Theater introduction or simply as a feature film.  An interview with the film’s composer, John Cacavas, is available.  And there are ten trailers: Mortuary, DeathShip, The Return, Don’t Answer the Phone, Savage Streets, The Hearse, Terror, Satan’s Slave, Double Exposure, The Survivor.

Final Thoughts

Rent It.  Watching Bill Paxton as a troubled youth who works in his father’s mortuary was a real treat; not much else about this film was, except perhaps for the flowing locks of the lead characters.  What we have here is an attempt to move in a serious direction, but at the same time a desire to give audiences the cheap thrills they expect from the genre.  The result is a mess, but a likable one perhaps, though not anything to write home about.  The video, audio, and extras won’t excite comment, and the film won’t be considered a special effects showcase.  It is a good representation of the times, there are a couple stars to watch, so it isn’t all bad, but rather a movie that I would only recommend to aficionados of the style.

☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Breastmilk

Category : DVD Review

Director: Dana Ben-Ari

Year: 2014

For a natural experience that is older than modern, upright homo sapiens and is shared among countless species of mammal across the globe, breastfeeding carries a stigma around inside the borders of our society that is as nonsensical as it is undeniable.  Whether it occurs at the hospital after birth, at work in a dark room, at a restaurant table, or at home lying comfortably on a bed, breastfeeding is constantly under judgement and scrutiny.  Women are told how to feel about it, men are taught to look away from it, strangers become entitled to share their opinions on it, and the entire activity becomes a complicated social issue when at its core nothing could be more simple.  Breastmilk is a documentary that explores what it is like to be an American mother weighing the options surrounding breastfeeding, and how our culture has shaped our perception 0f this most basic practice.

The Movie

Each mother who prepares for the birth of her child, and each partner who prepares to become a parent, is faced with a barrage of choices: which stroller is best, how much time will I take off work, who will watch the baby when I am busy, do I want a natural childbirth, which toys are safe, what should I name the baby?  And in our modern world, breastfeeding has become just another in a long line of worries.  Mothers must decide whether to exclusively nurse their child, whether to nurse and supplement with formula, or whether to choose formula feeding entirely.  Occasionally these decisions are made for them by medical/health situations, but often the choice is their own.  Some mothers will be at work, some fathers will be uncomfortable, and so the natural process of breastfeeding becomes a debatable issue, one that hinges on personal preference and ability.

Over the course of this simple documentary, we meet both average parents and experienced specialists who all view breastfeeding from their own points of view.  A new mom produces so much milk that she stores it in the freezer, donating it to a couple who wants to feed it to their adopted baby.  A biologist couple want to exclusively breastfeed, but her milk supply is low and the baby’s tongue is attached to its mouth in a way that hinders feeding.  A lesbian couple breastfeed in turn, and don’t accept the negative viewpoint of those who may think their lifestyle is strange.  A librarian pumps at work in a private office, but doesn’t understand why even a school for children has such an outdated stance of motherhood.  These are just some of the stories we hear over the course of 90 minutes, just a sample of the myriad of parents who deal with the complications of breastfeeding every day.

One specialist sums it up best when she talks about the pressure put on women when it comes to their breast milk; every drop is scared, it’s liquid gold, pump every ounce you can, make sure you have enough to satisfy your child, take whatever dietary supplements you need.  While she agrees that breastfeeding is natural and wonderful, she questions the amount of importance we place on it, in an evolutionary sense.  If one woman in a village didn’t have enough milk, another would feed her child, milk isn’t a rare commodity, it’s as basic a human function as you can imagine.  This is just one viewpoint shared in the documentary, but it captures the general feel of the film; that our society has put so many boundaries on breastfeeding that it has lost its simplicity.  A mother nursing her child isn’t newsworthy, at its most basic, and yet we form battle lines around the issue as if it were a problem to be solved.

The movie is made simply, without the intrusion of a narrator or even an interviewer; the stories tell themselves.  We sit and watch a variety of women feed their children and talk about their personal experiences; what they feared, how they see their role, in what ways societal pressure has influenced them as mothers.  More an in-class perspective piece and less a theatrical film, Breastmilk nevertheless has a powerful message to convey; that women from a multitude of backgrounds all face the same adversity in balancing modern living with the evolutionary urge to give of themselves to their children, that our own predispositions to the subject affect how we face it.  At its core, this film is frank talk about a subject that is increasing in relevance in response to the neofeminist movement; women want equality but they also want to be feminine, putting breastfeeding at the center of the conversation and making documentaries like this ultra-important.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (16×9), the video quality of this film will not impress anyone.  But that’s not the point, it’s obviously not important to the filmmaker if we are stunned by visuals, the interviews are the main attraction and they speak for themselves.

Audio – Done in English 2.0 Stereo, the audio isn’t much better, but again, it doesn’t need to be.  There are no other language or sound options, so look elsewhere for technical marvels.

Extras – The only special feature on the disc is a trailer for the film.

Final Thoughts

Recommended.  There’s no need to go into the details of my own story, but I am a stay-at-home father whose children were breast fed.  Where once I was a young man who was made uncomfortable by the very idea of breastfeeding, that feeling swiftly fled as my wife, a couple classes, and my own babies taught me the value of nursing, and how normal it can feel.  This topic is an important one only in the sense that we have made it much bigger than it needs to be, have built it up as an arguable stance, when breastfeeding is older than humanity and should be something we take for granted, like breathing or chewing or scratching an itch.  This film brings up the problems that breastfeeding faces in the modern world, and for that should be something shown in parenting classes and school rooms across the country; I think it could absolutely do some good.  The technical side of the movie will not impress, but I don’t really view it as a film to be judged against other films.  I see it as a conversation being started because sometimes conversations are hard to start, and this is one we shouldn’t ignore.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Rock Dog

Category : DVD Review

Director: Ash Brannon

Starring: Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, Sam Elliott

Year: 2016

I’m not sure why every animation studio is producing a movie about a young guy with a magical guitar who has to save his village, but I dig it.  The Book of Life, Kubo and the Two Strings, soon to be Coco, and of course Rock Dog; it’s similar to how two film companies both produce an asteroid-hitting-the-Earth story at the exact same time and pretend not to notice each other.  I guess these things come in waves, trends happen, and there are many ideas out there that must be much worse than a cool kid with an axe, so maybe we should count our blessings.  Anyway, here’s another in the current stream, a unique production if not an original concept, and a film that’s actually, surprisingly, pleasantly good.

The Movie

On Snow Mountain, the sheep fear the wolves and the wolves fear the mastiffs.  Khampa, the big dog in town, protects the woolly citizens of the village with his magic fire powers, sending the wolves running when they come to make a meal out of the the sheep.  But he knows that they’ll be back, and so begins to plan.  He bans music from the town, since the sheep paid no attention to anything else.  He trains an army dressed up in dog costumes in order to trick the ever-watching wolves.  And he commits to making his only son, Bodi, the most vigilant watchdog ever to walk the mountain.  The only problem is, Bodi can’t harness the fire, doesn’t think the wolves are coming back, and just wants to follow his own dreams.

One day, when a passing plane loses some of its cargo, a radio falls near Bodi and he begins to listen to Angus Scattergood, the rock legend from the big city.  Bodi falls in love with rock, with the guitar, with expressing yourself through music, and he knows that this is what he was meant to do.  So, with his father’s temporary blessing, Bodi travels to the city in search of a band to join and a career to make.  Meanwhile, the wolves plan to kidnap the doggie unawares, making a ransom of him to the great Khampa, getting the sheep in return.  Bodi is oblivious, and just wants to meet the famous Mr. Scattergood, who is having troubles of his own, mainly coming up with more hit tunes, something that Bodi might just have a gift for.

It’s a predictable plot, and like I said, it’s been done a handful of times in recent years, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting from Rock Dog if you’ve seen any of the other films that basically follow the same path.  What’s different here is that the film was made to be released in China and the United States in staggered order, Chine first, then the U.S.  Signs in the movie are in Chines and in English, the setting is Tibet or a modern city, and you can imagine how easy it would have been to dub the film in either language.  In the States, a surprising number of stars and b-listers signed on; I doubt there was much of a time commitment involved.  Wilson, Izzard, Elliott, J.K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon; not the worst compilation of recognizable voices for an animated kid’s flick.

And, you know, the visuals were pretty cool, the animation not Pixar level but much better than some of the cheap knock-offs you see thrown around by the smaller studios.  This movie was done by Reel FX, which did Free Birds and The Book of Life, so it’s legit, if not high level.  When I looked up images to add to this review, there were a plethora of attractive ones to choose from, reminding me that the artistic quality of the film was actually really strong, something I didn’t appreciate until I stepped away, probably because I’ve grown used to top-notch animation and am less impressed by it now than I used to be.  The story itself was pretty funny, fairly clever, and as straight forward as you could ask for; basic entertainment perhaps, but in a good way.  My kids came away loving it, my son claiming it as his favorite movie, so take that for what it’s worth, and add in my opinion that Rock Dog is actually worth your time.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (16×9, 1080p HD), this Blu-ray disc is surprisingly sharp and the animation is shockingly good.  I didn’t expect much coming in from an off-brand animation company and a movie that wasn’t marketed to be a big hit, but I was pleasantly impressed.  The animation is great, the color is superb, and the Blu-ray quality is as good as you can expect from other, more expensive films.

Audio – The Blu-ray was done in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, with an option of Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Subtitles are available in Spanish and English SDH.  The audio quality, like the video quality, is better than you might imagine.  The music of the film is catchy and fun; not quite Disney soundtrack caliber, but not too far off and absolutely good enough to enjoy.

Extras – There are actually a ton of special features on the Blu-ray, if you’re thirsty for more.  Finding the Fire: The Making of Rock Dog – 6 mins, graphic novel adaptation and interviews.  Mic Check: Casting the Voices – 6 mins, introducing the American vocal cast.  A Rockin’ New World: Animating Rock Dog – 6 mins, the development from drawings to characters.  Rock Dog and Roll: Exploring the Music – 6 mins, a sit down with songwriter Adam Friedman.  ‘Glorious’ Music Video – 3 minute song with clips from the film.  Also from Lionsgate: Middle School, Leap!, Norm of the North, Shaun the Sheep Movie.  And lastly, Bookmarks.

Final Thoughts

RecommendedRock Dog is better than it appears.  I sat down to watch it with my kids, not expecting much at all, but I was entertained throughout and impressed by the attention to detail apparent from the very beginning.  In a way, it was like a Studio Ghibli film; an emphasis on positive story and cool animation with the knowledge that it is being made for both Asian and American audiences.  That opened the movie up a bit, allowed for some nice voice overs, and didn’t constrain it to the standard, Hollywood, goofy, juvenile, animated comedy.  Perhaps that’s sacrilege, and this definitely isn’t Ghibli, but I have to give credit to something that was made with much more heart than I had imagined it would be.  The video is solid, the audio very nice, and the extras plentiful, so you can enjoy the technical side of this project as well.  Get you family together, check out Rock Dog with an open mind, and enjoy.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Lake Eerie

Category : DVD Review

Director: Chris Majors

Starring: Meredith Majors, Betsy Baker, Anne Leigh Cooper

Year: 2016

You may think you’ve seen painful acting before, but you have yet to meet Lake Eerie, a film that is as bizarre, awful, and unimaginative as its title.  I’m not sure if my words can prepare you for such a film failure, an amateur attempt at something, I don’t know what, that could not possibility have resulted in what the filmmakers were aiming for.  Because, if this is the movie that they were trying to make, someone needs to take away their cameras and put them under lock and key.  I can only imagine that “haunted house story with Egyptian magic thrown in for good measure” sounded like a great idea, a script was written, and a film shot, all before anyone had the chance to think about the disastrous consequences.  I don’t want to picture a world in which this movie was intentional.

The Movie

Kate has just moved from Iowa to Michigan, buying a house right on the shore of Lake Erie.  Most of the inhabitants of the little town head south for the winter, the weather is so bad, but Kate has come seeking solitude, and that’s exactly what she’ll find.  The house she moves into is a big old, dusty thing, having been unoccupied for decades.  The man who lived there was an eccentric archeologist named Harrison, and the house was sold completely furnished, including his many treasures and unusual decorations.  Kate finds the house to be lonely and a little frightening, as she struggles to move past a personal tragedy and to get on with the life she still has ahead of her.

But the house isn’t just creepy, it’s downright haunted, but not in the ordinary ghost-in-the-attic manner.  It turns out, Harrison was obsessed with Egyptian legends, including the rituals surrounding the afterlife, a topic that he took much too seriously.  He was looking for an amulet, which was said to have the power to send the wearer over to the in-between world, a place that acts as a prison for souls that are not allowed a quiet rest.  Kate begins to encounter strange shapes and to experience odd dreams, all connected to Harrison and his attempts to reach that other world.  Now she will have to try to save him, with the help of a fiery student named Autumn, before he is trapped there for good.

If you noticed that the pictures I chose to showcase the movie aren’t that interesting or helpful, that’s because there aren’t very many images of the film available.  Well, unless you want pictures of the one time a naked woman walks out of the water with her butt and breasts on display, which you very likely might and I wouldn’t blame you for; it was the only remotely positive piece of what is otherwise an embarrassingly bad film.  The naked woman is part of a greater and more confusing storyline in which the main character’s dead husband asks her to have sex with this buxom lady because he “likes to watch”, which has absolutely nothing to do with the plot of the movie, comes completely out of left field, and really encapsulates the entire project, a 100-minute WTF moment that you swear someone could not actually have thought would work.

And it didn’t, not in any way, crashing and burning in record fashion.  I’ve seen the Sharknado movies so I know where the bottom is, but Lake Eerie gave those ghastly gems a run for their money.  At least they are stupid on purpose, talentless by design, over-the-top because someone wanted them that way, enjoyable exactly because they are so terrible.  This film can’t even be called a b-movie, it’s more like an f-movie, a student project done by adults that should have been scrapped the moment the first hideous scene was seen through a camera lens.  I assume Chris and Meredith Majors are married, he directing while she wrote, they both appear in the story, they’re both stunt people, and neither of them should ever attempt to make a movie ever again.  Even Lance Henriksen couldn’t save the day, and you know that means trouble.  The plot was insane, the acting god-awful, I could feel my brain withering from the very start, and I wish I could go back in time to unsee what I just watched.

The DVD

Video – Information on the aspect ratio and other video details for this film are unavailable, which is absolutely fine, given that the picture was as poor as you’d expect from one of the worst indie horror flicks you will ever see.

Audio – Not much in the way of audio choices either: your options are English 5.1 Surround or English 2.0 Stereo, with available English subtitles.  Even the music of this movie is poor, not much in the way of sound other than the standard creepy background track.

Extras – There are no special features on this disc.

Final Thoughts

Skip It. On the surface, Lake Eerie seems like your typical, fun, dumb, scary, haunted house, hidden secrets, sexy ghost, more-than-meets-the-eye horror flick, when in actuality all of that is just a tease, just a concept that the filmmakers didn’t have the talent to put into motion.  The result is a movie that wanted to be all those things but could never be, crawling along like a zombie instead, trying without success to reach an unattainable goal.  I’ve seen bad before, bad doesn’t make me cringe, I can take some b-quality as long as it’s laced with some self-awareness.  But therein lies the problem; this film wasn’t even ridiculous enough to be entertaining.  Instead, it was insultingly poor and a complete waste of time, which will launch it straight toward the bottom of my List.  The video, audio, and extras follow suit, so don’t count on the technical to save you, and just move on while you still have the chance, before you regret what you just made your eyes do.

☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ – Extras

☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – The Migrants

Category : DVD Review

Director: Tom Gries

Starring: Ron Howard, Cloris Leachman, Sissy Spacek

Year: 1974

The Migrants is a film that has almost completed its slide away from our memories, becoming something of the past that very few remember and even the internet can’t firmly hold captive in time.  Made for television in 1974, this movie is an adaptation of a Tennessee Williams story, living in that on-stage feeling that Williams perfected, but also bringing a Steinbeck air to the screen with its focus on the traveling worker and his family’s plight.  Not much remains of The Migrants except a barely-seen IMDb page, perhaps one or two images on an internet search, and apparently a DVD release more than 40 years after its production.  Still, it’s nice to stumble across both a random 70s flick that almost no one has seen and also a tale of the working family living through unthinkable conditions as they try to hold on to their personal sliver of the American Dream.

The Movie

The life of a migrant farm worker is one of toil and precious little else.  Following a caravan of cars across the country as the seasons change, they move from field to field, picking whatever is in bloom, handed pennies for their labor, and watching their children grow up to join the bow-backed throng.  A manager takes the fee from the farmer, dolling out each family’s share based on what they picked that day, buying them supplies from in town and keeping a book on what is owed.  More indentured servitude than manual labor, the family has few options, no permanent address, no money for healthcare, and doesn’t dare strike out on their own.  They know how others view them, as destitute gypsies traversing a dusty landscape with only the clothes on their backs to call their own.

The Barlow family leads a life of misery and travel that is hard to watch.  Mr. Barlow works the rows and tries his best to take care of his family, even while bringing each member into the field with him as soon as they are old enough to pick.  Mrs. Barlow has birthed many children, just to watch each one resign themselves to a life on the road.  Wanda and the little girls work right alongside the men, Wanda taking only a few days off to have a child of her own.  But Lyle, the son on the verge of becoming a man, wants more for himself, demands to be treated as a dedicated worker, and can’t wait for his chance to escape the bleak existence of the migrant worker, one whose only promise is to be short.

It’s rough knowing while watching this film that this life is not just a thing of the past to be pitied, but also one of modern times as well, a practice that has adapted to the future but hasn’t disappeared or become a lighter burden.  These families with their entire households packed onto a truck, moving from shack to shack, working with blistered hands each day, never resting until the day they die; it’s quite the tale to be reminded of and to face, even in a fictional nature such as this.  Give Williams and Gries credit for presenting us with a look at something we’d rather ignore when we buy our strawberries from the grocery store, at a piece of American history that hasn’t quite dissipated.

As far as the movie is concerned, there’s a reason it was made-for-TV and has since been almost completely forgotten, though that’s not to say there aren’t a few positives to latch on to.  It’s definitely quite theatrical, with an on-stage feel that would probably be more appreciated in that venue than in this media.  The dialogue is pretty stilted and silly, but again, it comes across as a play rather than a film, which allows you to forgive a little.  The acting didn’t need forgiving, it was rather solid, Howard, Leachman, and Spacek delivering quality 70s performances.  Still, this isn’t something you need to go out of your way to watch, it’s just a reminder of dated experimental cinema and of a darker part of Americana that we ought not forget.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, you know what to expect from a DVD version of a 70s television special, so you won’t be surprised that the visuals are not amazing.  There was at least some care given to how the film was presented, some effort put into staging and delivery, just don’t count on high quality video.

Audio – The disc was done in Dolby Audio, but no other sound/language/subtitle/production information is available.

Extras – The only special features are three trailers: Inherit the Wind, Lilies in the Field, I Want to Live.

Final Thoughts

Recommended.  I would be curious to know how many Baby Boomers out there remember and watched this film, because looking at it right now there doesn’t seem to be much memory of it left all these years later.  I would also wonder how it was received back then, was in an indie/art house picture, did it strike a cord with audiences who felt sorry for those destined for this life.  Whether during the Great Depression, the 70s, or right now, the story of the migrant worker is an important one, and I’m glad a film like this still exists to tell it.  It isn’t an amazing movie on its own, but it can still be appreciated for its message.  The video is poor, as is the audio, and there aren’t extras to speak of, so look elsewhere for technical marvels.  But enjoy this slice of history on its own merit and its flaws should be forgivable.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ – Extras

☆ – Replay

 

 

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