Category Archives: DVD Review

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DVD Review – Soul on a String

Category : DVD Review

Director: Yang Zhang

Starring: Quni Ciren, Kimba, Siano Dudiom Zahi

Year: 2016

Soul on a String is a Chinese/Tibetan, Western/Adventure, ancient/modern warrior’s tale, and these odd combinations are the reason that the film ultimately succeeds.  This feature is hard to define, it straddles many borders while paying homage to many styles, but it is made just well enough to elicit respect, when it could easily have gone down a baffling and far less appealing route.  Sacred stones, lone wolves, blood oaths, desperate journeys; this movie needed every one of its 140 minutes to tell a complicated story, but the result was surprisingly solid, especially when my expectations were so very low.

The Movie

Tabei has walked a crooked road, outpacing his demons for years, but they will finally catch up to him when he can flee no longer.  He owes many debts, has angered many men, and is being hunted by a pair of brothers who must settle a family feud.  The list of his enemies is long, and even in the Tibetan wilderness, every man runs out of hiding places eventually.  He will have to face his past transgressions before he can become a soul at peace, but his natural desire to escape always keeps him moving away from settling his debts, from confronting his mistakes head on.

When Tabei is struck by lighting after finding a beautiful stone inside the mouth of a deer, the hunter begins his journey to hell, a place he undoubtedly belongs.  But sacred priests revive him, draw him back from the underworld, and give him a mystical task; to take the precious stone to the holy land in the north, to drop his evil ways along the wayside of his path.  Tabei begins his adventure, but his old enemies are drawing closer, the stone attracts those who would profit from it, the vengeful brothers won’t give up their duty, and those he meets along the way will change his life in ways he never imagined.

Soul on a String works when perhaps it shouldn’t by combining multiple genres, melting multiple storylines, and cleverly manipulating time in such a way that audiences are left fascinated rather than bored.  It’s a Tibetan Western, but with broadswords as well as cowboys, landscapes devoid of any habitation as well as transistor radios.  Director Yang Zhang is able to weave stories throughout that compliment each other and make each other more important, to tell a timeless tale that feels so ancient, centered around a culture that has stayed constant for so many years, yet with modernity hovering around the periphery like a wild dog keeping out of the light of a fire.

It’s this skill that makes this film something more than a throwaway foreign flick, that keeps it grounded and gives it more life than it would appear to have at first glance.  There’s some real wit used to producing this story this way, with some twists thrown in for your enjoyment and to keep you on your toes.  A little humor is even scattered about to lighten the heavy load, to take us out of our heads for a moment, and to give us a taste of ridiculous reality.  It’s difficult to judge the acting, so much of the film is focused on the heavy mood and the slowly-plodding plot, but I would say all involved were solid in their performances.  And I can’t forget to mention the cinematography, the landscapes, wow, you might find yourself booking a flight to Tibet as soon as you can.  This is a real winner of a film without being something that you’ll remember for long, a cool piece of cinema that has surprises, but also never had a very high ceiling.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (Widescreen), the video quality of the DVD is excellent, with a real eye for landscape and detail that truly brings the story to life.  The costumes, the sets, the countryside; it’s a beautiful film to see, and the picture is clear throughout, a nice treat for those looking for strong cinematography and fine visuals.

Audio – The disc was done in 5.1 Surround, with an option of 2.0 Stereo.  The language is Tibetan, with an option of English subtitles.  The audio quality is high as well, with rich, natural music that fits the country perfectly.  The sound of the film is well-balanced and smooth.

Extras – The only special feature on the DVD is a short film, The Rifle, The Jackal, the Wolf, and the Boy, an 18-minute movie from Lebanon about a pair of brothers who use their father’s gun and the lesson learned from the experience.

Final Thoughts

RecommendedSoul on a String is a unique artwork that deserves appreciation, but I would stop short of calling it one of its year’s best.  What it does well it does very well, but it still falls short of pleasing American audiences at least, perhaps being designed for a different group, a different expectation.  It does surprise with its quality though, and does deliver a number of strong elements, from the visuals to the magnitude of its scope.  The video is admirable, the audio is fine, there aren’t many extras, so the technical side is a mixed bag.  Watch for something a little unusual, a little magical, and mostly mood-driven, a film that might not blow Hollywood out of the water, but that still boasts a powerful punch.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Spirited Away

Category : DVD Review

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden

Year: 2001

With the presence of Studio Ghibli, and with the emergence of Laika Entertainment, there exists real competition with Disney/Pixar for the animation market.  Disney will always be a hit with kids, delivering epic fantasies and stunning princesses.  Laika has taken a darker road, using stop-motion to tell us spooky tales.  And Ghibli, which has been producing in Japan for 30 years, gives audiences a unique perspective that the more artistic will appreciate while children will delight.  Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, The Secret World of Arrietty, The Wind Rises, When Marnie Was There; these are some of the most widely known and successful animated movies across the globe, and Ghibli’s contributions to even American entertainment can’t be denied.

The Movie

Young Chihiro must follow her parents to a new home, new town, new school, leaving her friends and her past behind.  She’s a timid girl, scared of everything, and not near up to the task of starting life anew in a strange place.  Her parents try to convince her that this is all an adventure, that wonderful new experiences await her around the corner, but she can’t see that, the pain of leaving is still too raw.  Chihiro can’t accept her changed life, but she will soon be forced to look around in a way she has never done before.  Taking a shortcut, her father drives the family up a forest road, which dead ends at an ancient-seeming building that is actually not as old as it seems.  As the family enters to explore, they cross the line between fantasy and reality.

An abandoned amusement park lies on the other side of the gateway, Chihiro demanding to leave immediately, her parents anxious to discover.  They trek through empty fields, a man-made river that was never filled, a fake town where people used to come for entertainment and festive food.  Actually, someone is cooking something, and Chihiro’s parents follow their noses until they find an unparalleled feast, gorging themselves on delights until they begin to resembled pigs rather than humans.  Chihiro finds herself in a world inhabited by spirits, a world in which her parents are fattened up for the slaughter, a world in which little makes sense and danger lurks around every corner.  She’ll make new friends who will help her on her mission to rescue her parents and to leave this magical world, but in the end she will have to find the courage to save herself.

Spirited Away is one of the most stunning films you will ever watch, with visuals that will burn themselves into your mind and will stay with you forever.  I know that sounds dramatic, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen still images like this, the screenshots from this film becoming a gallery of brilliant paintings with vast imagination as their origin, imagination that I can’t even fathom.  I hope these pictures do the movie justice, or simply do a search and see your yourself’; every scene is beautiful and original, every character worth turning into a statuette and placing on a shelf to view for years to come.  The visuals are by far the best part of this film, the artwork and the time put in to creating it are both vastly impressive.

The story, unfortunately, doesn’t hold its own.  I know that this film is highly regarded, and I don’t mean to suggest that it shouldn’t be.  I just couldn’t immerse myself in the story the way I wanted to, the way I though that I would be able to, not like I have with other Ghibli features at least.  Ponyo and Arrietty had plots that I just adored, whereas Mononoke and Spirited Away were more scattered, more chaotic, and probably a little more anime.  That’s not my genre, I won’t claim to know a ton about it, I just assume that I like my Ghibli slightly more American, and I’ll tale the blame for being conditioned by Hollywood animation into becoming so ethnocentric.  But I won’t insult myself completely; I love Ghibli, I love what they do, I guess I just enjoy some more than others.  This film is still spectacular, in a very literal sense, with music and mood and moments that will blow you away.  You just may need to discover which Ghibli style suits you best so you can enjoy their amazing movies to the maximum.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (1080p HD Widescreen), the video quality of this Blu-ray version of Spirited Away is among the best you will ever watch.  Its visuals are mind-blowing, and a reason alone to watch the film.  The color and the clarity are brilliant, as are the choices behind every scene and image.  The Blu-ray disc is exactly the media on which to watch this movie, but the film itself brings the beauty to the screen.

Audio – The Blu-ray was done in English 5.1 DTS HD, with an option of Japanese 5.1 DTS HD or French 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Subtitles are available in English SDH, English, or French.  The film is dubbed from its original Japanese, but it loses nothing in translation.  The dialogue is simple and sometimes stilted, but that can be forgiven, and the soundtrack that backs the film is very strong.

Extras – The special features on this disc are few, and also self-explanatory.  Feature-Length Storyboards, Behind the Microphone, Original Theatrical Trailers, and TV Spots.

Final Thoughts

Recommended.  I might be in the minority in claiming that Spirited Away is not amazing, but perhaps I need to clarify exactly what I mean.  Because the film did amaze me, how anyone could create such a world and then put in on my screen, that is purely unbelievable.  The images will stay with me, the music was delightful, the characters so diverse and special.  But I just couldn’t accept the story, couldn’t find the entertainment that so many others have found, and so I wasn’t mesmerized by the film as an entire entity.  I hope that how much I appreciated this movie shines through, and I also assume that you will understand your own taste level and expectations, that personal knowledge leading you to the right Ghibli film.  The video is outstanding, the audio is great, and there are a few special features to enjoy, so the technical aspects won’t disappoint.  Watch with confidence, enjoy something brilliant, and feast your eyes.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Ponyo

Category : DVD Review

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Frankie Jonas, Noah Lindsey Cyrus

Year: 2008

My first experience with Studio Ghibli was watching Princess Mononoke.  I had never seen Japanese animation before and was unprepared for the style, the action, and the dubbing.  It was an art form that I wouldn’t appreciate until years later, even though the studio was becoming famous worldwide.  Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, Arrietty, The Wind Rises, When Marnie Was There; these are some of the most widely-known and successful animated movies of all-time, though Americans continue to prefer Disney, Pixar, and other local animation studies.  But the power of Ghibli can’t be denied, as their films are an artistic medium all on their own and continue to amaze us with wonderful stories brought to life with dazzling talent.

The Movie

Loosely based on The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, Ponyo is a tale of love breaking all boundaries.  Sosuke is a young boy who lives near the sea with his mother & father.  His mother works at a nearby retirement home, his father is a sailor.  Sosuke happily relies upon his own independence and imagination, but when he happens to find a goldfish along the shoreline, he’s overjoyed to finally have a companion.  The trouble is, the fish he names Ponyo isn’t a fish at all, but the daughter of a powerful sorcerer and the Sea herself.  They need her to return to the ocean, to keep the balance between life on land and life under the sea, but Ponyo’s love for Sosuke is too powerful a thing to be set aside for the survival of the world as we know it.

Ponyo’s magic delights her new friend, but it also releases the forces of nature in ways that she cannot control.  Ponyo’s transformation into a human girl throws off the balance of the Earth, and causes the Moon’s misalignment, resulting in a storm the likes of which Sosuke’s tiny shipping village has never seen before.  Her mother and father are desperate to take her back to her home before total destruction ensues, but they also know that they cannot rip apart her love for this special little boy, or for a human world that is so full of delights.  Ponyo and Sosuke will have to work together to prove that their love for each other is stronger than the gravity that wishes to pull them apart, and that they are willing to fight for what they know feels right.

Studio Ghibli makes another masterpiece; what else is new.  Ponyo is just another beautiful depiction of a classic tale, a reimagining of a story we thought we knew so well.  It’s very, very different from Disney’s Little Mermaid, holding tight to the original content in some ways, and creating something completely new in others.  It’s as if that tale happened in modern Japan with children as the protagonists, the result becoming something better than you might predict.  The color, the brilliant artwork, the stunning visuals; breathtaking all.  And the cast was pretty impressive, apart from the two youngsters, who we’ll root for to make names of themselves as well.  Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Cloris Leachman, Betty White, Lily Tomlin; top that if you can.

I might have liked Arrietty just a touch more than Ponyo, appreciating its slow pace, deep moments, and phenomenal music.  But Ponyo held its own, will delight children, and impressed me as a singularly unique film in a world of recycled time-wasters.  It’s very different from Ghibli’s more mystical features, like Mononoke or Spirited Away, and always feels directed at children, with their interests at heart.  But I don’t see that as a bad thing; an animation studio, no matter how deep and adult their themes, should always remember the passion with which children appreciate animation, which is perhaps why adults can continue to love it no matter how old they get.  This is a powerful art form, Ghibli wielding its tools with fine and magical precision.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (1080p HD Widescreen), the video quality of this Blu-ray version of Ponyo is among the best you will ever watch.  Animated or not, this film is a spectacle to see, a marvel to sit down in front of.  The color, the imagination, the backdrops, the characters; it’s perfection all-around.  One of the most beautifully draw features you will ever see, Ponyo‘s visuals will blow you away.

Audio – The Blu-ray was done in English 5.1 DTS HD, with an option of Japanese 5.1 DTS HD or French 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Subtitles are available in English SDH, English, or French.  The film is dubbed from its original Japanese, but it loses nothing in translation.  The dialogue is simple but clever, the voice-overs work in every way, the stars that got on board should be commended, and the music will delight you for years to come.

Extras – The special features on this disc are among the most numerous I have ever come across.  There are so very many, but thankfully they are also self-explanatory.  Feature-Length Storyboards, The Five Geniuses Who Created Ponyo, The Locations of Ponyo, Press Conference: Theme Song Announcement, Theme Song Music Video, Interview with Hayao Miyazaki, Interview with Toshio Suzuki, Opening Event at Hibiya Scala-Za Theater, Hayao Miyazaki Press Conference at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan, Behind the Microphone, Creating Ponyo, Ponyo & Fujimoto, The Nursery, Producer’s Perspective: Telling the Story, Scoring Miyazaki, Original Theatrical Trailer, and TV Spots.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended. If there’s a more delightful modern animated flick out there, I’d like to see it, because Ponyo is currently the claimant to the crown.  It’s so magically delicious, and it broadcasts that joy to audiences of all ages.  It’s not the animation that Americans are most used to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be open-minded, and that doesn’t mean that some other form can’t be just as great as what comes out of the studios that we’re used to.  The music is something that stands out as well, a common theme woven through a soundtrack that will live in your brain for days, but you won’t want it to leave.  The video is amazing, the audio spectacular, and the extras more than numerous, so the technical aspects live up to the content.  For my money, this is one of Ghibli’s best, something for every age group, and a film that will simply brighten your day.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Killing Hasselhoff

Category : DVD Review

Director: Darren Grant

Starring: Ken Jeong, David Hasselhoff, Jon Lovitz

Year: 2017

Ken Jeong has been steadily climbing the comedy ladder over the last fifteen years, but I have to wonder if he recently fell off the other side.  He started on TV with bit parts, received small roles in a few silly films, got his break with The Hangover, seemed to be picking up steam in Community, but since then everything he touches tanks.  Dr. Ken is the worst television show I’ve ever had the misfortune to accidentally watch, and Killing Hasselhoff is not much better; a weird, cameo-driven pseudo-thriller that doesn’t have an original bone in its lifeless, laughless body.  I think we might need to face it; Jeong isn’t actually funny.

The Movie

Chris is part of a very strange betting pool, in which each member forks up five hundred bucks each year, the pot growing to an astounding 500k.  What are they betting on?  Which celebrity will die first.  Chris has David Hasselhoff, who he is also hosting an event for at the night club that he owns, so it’s a wacky situation, helping a famous guy who you also hope will kick the bucket.  But it’s all in fun, no one means anyone any harm, and Chris is happy with his life.  He has a beautiful girlfriend, great buds, he loves his job, and things are looking up in the City of Angels.  What could possibly go wrong?

Well, Chris also owes a lot of money to a dangerous loan shark, and when a misunderstanding at the club leads to a scandal, Chris loses his money, his friends, and his girl.  The shark wants to collect, his friends have lost their minds, his girlfriend leaves him, and Chris’ options have suddenly vanished.  How can he get a whole lot of money very quickly, enough to smooth over all the life-altering problems that just popped up at the same time?  Why, by killing David Hasselhoff, of course.  Hasselhoff is cool, sure, but his death is worth half a million, so Chris will have to grow a pair and off the ageless wonder that is the Hoff.

I just watched Baywatch, so it was fun to see Hasselhoff yet again, when I hadn’t really expected to see him any more for the rest of my (or his) life.  But he keeps appearing, which I’m actually glad of; the guy does have a special quality that is still likeable after all these years.  He doesn’t take himself too seriously, which is quite refreshing, and his enjoyment of his own career makes us enjoy it too.  He’s the highlight of this film, along with an extremely funny kiwi, Rhys Darby, who steals the show in his few scenes.  Will Sasso also makes an appearance, and I’ll never forget his MADtv performances, so he was also a welcome sight.

You know who wasn’t?  Ken Yeong.  I don’t think it’s even arguable, the guy just isn’t funny.  It’s like he’s not even trying to be funny anymore, like he’s decided to be a straight man with comedians around him.  Problem is, he can’t act, either, so I really have no idea what he’s doing here and who’s paying him to be on camera.  Jim Jeffries was equally terrible, and those two were lucky that the cameos saved their bacon, at least to some extent.  WWE Studios made this movie, which is weird, but it actually suited it, because you can’t take either seriously, and both are a waste of your time.  If the Hoff hadn’t saved the day, Killing Hasselhoff would have been a complete and utter failure.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, the video quality of this DVD is mediocre at best.  Absolutely no attention was paid to the quality of the picture or the integrity of the visuals; it’s an average DVD, filmed in an average manner, with nothing special about it.

Audio – The disc was done in English Dolby Digital 5.1, with subtitle choices in English SDH, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, and Thai.  That’s it for the audio, and it’s about as nondescript as the video.  The sound is passable, the soundtrack is forgettable, and no cares were given.

Extras – The only special feature is an 8-minute collection of deleted scenes.

Final Thoughts

Rent It.  This film needed a different lead, and then probably a different writer and director.  The concept was humorous, the Hoff was badass, there were a few funny scenes, but ultimately there wasn’t enough done right to make this a watchable movie.  Ken Yeong may have already peaked and may be on his way down, which is too bad, because he seemed to have some potential.  Maybe he needs to switch to writing, but I’m not sure that would help.  The video here is not outstanding, the audio is only OK, and the extras fail to impress, so look elsewhere for technical marvels.  Actually, look elsewhere for comedy too, unless you are ready, willing, and able to be in a very forgiving mood.

☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ – Extras

☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – The Island of Dr. Moreau

Category : DVD Review

Director: Don Taylor

Starring: Michael York, Burt Lancaster, Barbara Carrera

Year: 1977

The Island of Dr. Moreau is a film based on an H.G. Wells novel published in 1896, a sci-fi classic written by a legendary author that spawned a sci-fi classic directed by a talented filmmaker.  Don Taylor oversaw more television episodes and made-for-TV movies than you can count, but he also directed films in the Planet of the Apes and Omen franchises, as well as The Final Countdown, a Kirk Douglas/Martin Sheen action/time travel flick.  There’s more than enough genius to go around behind this 70s take on the timeless story of Dr. Moreau, and the result is one of the better genre films you are likely to see, a complete success in the world of vintage movies that translates superbly to modern-day screens.

The Movie

When a British ship sinks in the Pacific, engineer Andrew Braddock soon becomes its sole survivor, his lifeboat drifting ashore on a remote island, hundreds of miles from anything.  Lucky for him, perhaps, there’s a small settlement within the jungle, a high-class tropical locale run by the mysterious Dr. Moreau.  Braddock is told that a ship will be coming to drop off supplies, that he can leave at that time, and that meanwhile he is the good doctor’s guest on the island.   There’s even a lovely lady, Maria, to keep him company while he waits.  But he may not ask too many questions, he may not interrupt Dr. Moreau’s research, and he may not leave the compound after dark.

Braddock quickly becomes curious and then suspicious about just what the doctor is up to, so he does some investigating inside the small fort and outside its walls, in the heart of the jungle.  What he discovers goes beyond his understanding and his moral code.  Dr. Moreau has escaped persecution from his peers and is carrying out mad science where no can find him.  His dream is to discover the link between mankind and animals, to find out just what it is that makes us civilized, to locate the genes that determine our humanity.  He is willing to do whatever it takes to prove his theories, including torturing the local animal life, and he isn’t about to let Andrew leave the island and ruin the glorious plan.

What an incredibly interesting story devised by one of the greatest authors of all time.  Wells was so far ahead of his generation that he may well have traveled back in time to tell us stories, to prepare us for what was to come.  The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man; he and Jules Verne set the stage for sci-fi, and their imaginations are still fueling ours to this very day.  The plot of this film is so entertaining; a shipwrecked man, a mad scientist, a lovely lady, experiments gone wrong, a hero to stop them, a religion and a law forming in the middle of the jungle where man has never been to sow the seeds of civilization before, for good or for ill.  For such a simple and classic premise, there is an infinite amount that can be discussed, more questions than answers in the end.

And the movie itself harnesses the feel that Wells was aiming for, crafted in super 70s style, and gifting us with something that we can enjoy 40 years later with ease.  The music, the set, the costumes; it’s turn-of-the-century and 70s at the same time, it’s Planet of the Apes meets Robinson Crusoe in a near-perfect way.  You can sense the Apes inspiration, the action has the same tone, but don’t blame Taylor for carrying that over, he knows when a good recipe should be copied.  And give Michael York credit for pulling off the lead role and for taking the project onto his shoulder.  He’s a classic in his own right, and that should be acknowledged: Logan’s Run, The Three Muskateers, Murder on the Orient Express.  The ending is wonderfully ambiguous, which I loved, although there is some removed footage that you can find if you look and that will give you a definitive answer, if you want to know it.  Overall, The Island of Dr. Moreau is a gem in every way, a classic that should be remembered, a film that hasn’t been diminished with the passing of the years.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and with no other video details available, the quality is on par with what you should expect from a 70s movie transferred to a DVD; grainy but satisfying.  As long as you know what the era produced, you won’t be surprised by the picture quality, and you may actually be pleased by the attention to detail, the importance the visuals are given in each scene.

Audio – The disc was done in English Mono, with an option of English subtitles.  No other audio details are available, but again, you shouldn’t be expecting amazing things from this decade, from this medium.  The backing soundtrack is nice, very creepy and very thrilling, which is enough to get audiences by.

Extras – There are few special features on the disc.  The first is a trailer for the film.  Audio Commentary with Jeff Belanger and Dr. Dreck can be enjoyed along with the film.  And The Island of Dr. Moreau as a Theological Grotesque by Gorman Beauchamp is a 7-page essay through which you can scroll and enjoy.

Final Thoughts

DVD Talk Collector Series.  If you love 70s flicks and sci-fi, this film should be added to your short list, kept on a shelf with the classics that will never be forgotten.  It is slightly less known but as deserving as the hits of the genre and of the decade, and should be given its proper respect.  Val Kilmer, Marlon Brando, and David Thewlis did a version in 1996, but it isn’t nearly as good; this one should be the definitive film.  The video, audio, and extras may not be very impressive, but that can be forgiven; we know that movies made 40 years ago don’t look the same as those made today.  But don’t overlook the qualities that are present, that are strong, and that are ready for you to enjoy whenever you want to give them a chance.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Lowriders

Category : DVD Review

Director: Ricardo de Montreuil

Starring: Gabriel Chavarria, Demian Bichir, Theo Rossi

Year: 2016

A Peruvian director, Montreuil attempts to capture Mexican-American tradition with his drama Lowriders, a film about art, family, and the bonds that never break.  Montreuil is a relative amateur, with two features and two shorts under his belt, but no major projects for approaching ten years.  He steps in and attempts to wrestle a heavy theme, a vibrant culture, and a few name actors, hoping that the final product will be a movie that will surprise audiences with its depth.  But Lowriders isn’t fresh at all, isn’t well-acted in any scene, and won’t catch the attention of those looking for a diamond in the rough.

The Movie

Danny Alvarez grew up in the urban jungle of L.A., not a child of the streets, but a kid who felt that the city was his for the taking, that the walls were canvases, not barriers.  Danny is an artist, his medium is graffiti, and not everyone appreciates his love for painting where you are decidedly not supposed to paint.  His father wants him to follow in the family footsteps, to work alongside him in the garage fixing cars, sure, but to also create art of a different kind.  His father is a builder of lowriders, a Mexican-American tradition since their heritage was threatened in this new place that their grandparents called home.

So Danny paints in the night while his father prepares the family’s classic car for a lowrider competition.  But there’s an extra piece to the puzzle that’s about to make its volatile presence known.  Francisco Alvarez, known to all as ‘Ghost’, just got out of prison and is coming home to see his family.  Danny’s brother has been away for years, his father disowned him, and the icing on the cake will be when Ghost joins a rival car club that means to win the competition trophy for itself.  The drama will come to a head, this family will need to heal, and Danny has to decide what kind of man he wants to become.

Montreuil tries to do some damage with a heavy punch of emotion in this film, but all he actually manages is a scrape on the face of a theme that has seen better directors, better actors, and better versions.  His attempt to capture family drama feels forced, and we’ve seen this plot a thousand times, each one cheesier than the next.  The boy, his passion, his father, his passion, the two butting heads, add in a wild card that disturbs the tenuous balance; it’s been done.  Setting the story here, in L.A., in a Mexican neighborhood, with these cool cars; that was perhaps the only thing he got right.

The cast didn’t help move the quality up the scale, so the director can’t be solely blamed.  Chavarria was college-level, I hate to say, not strong enough for a spotlight like this.  Bichir, who played his father and who you might recognize as Mexican Bob, was better, but was thrust into a role that basically had no depth.  They tried to make up a past drinking problem, but that didn’t work at all.  Rossi, who didn’t seem related to the other characters, was misused entirely.  And the supporting cast was just odd; Tony Revolori, Melissa Benoist, Eva Longoria.  None of it really worked, and the result was general disappointment.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 (1080p HD Widescreen), the video quality of the Blu-ray disc is better than most DVDs, not quite as good as most Blu-rays.  The cars, the graffiti, the streets; there was an eye for visuals here, but not enough to escape the lack of content within the story itself.

Audio – The Blu-ray disc was done in English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, with a choice of Descriptive Video Service.  Subtitles are available in English SDH, Spanish, and French.  Also, button sounds can be turned on/off in this menu.  The audio was fine, with some cool backing tracks, but not much else.

Extras – There are a number of special features on the Blu-ray disc, but they are surprisingly short.  Lowriders: Art, Love, and Family is a 1-minute summary of the film.  Ghost’s Arrival is a 1-minute character study.  The Culture of Lowriders is a 1-minute glance at the tradition.  And there are four trailers: Sleight, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, The Darkness, Incarnate.

Final Thoughts

Rent ItLowriders doesn’t succeed in becoming more than a made-for-TV movie about family crisis, even with its alluring backdrop and honest heart.  The storytellers just weren’t good enough to raise it above its default level, and audiences will find themselves let down by the quality.  The video, the audio, the extras; they’re all OK, but nothing stands out as a reason that you should run out to watch/purchase this film.  Better luck next time for all involved, as they’ll need to take this opportunity as a stepping stone toward better and more interesting levels.

☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Diamond Cartel

Category : DVD Review

Director: Salamat Mukhammed-Ali

Starring: Karlygash Mukhamedzhanova, Armand Assante

Year: 2017

Diamond Cartel is what you would get if you combined Sharknado with The Expendables and set it in Kazakhstan.  I’m not kidding, it’s that horrible of a concept, and how anyone in their right mind could want to turn it into an actual movie is beyond me.  The director is Kazakh, this is his second attempt at a feature film, and his first also writing and producing the flick.  It’s safe to say that he might not know exactly what he’s doing, although the same can surely be said about the minds behind the worst cinema in history, and that might not always be accurate.  Regardless, this is 100 minutes of pure torture to anyone with taste, a complete waste of footage that should have been scrapped the moment it was imagined.

The Movie

Ultra-rich casino owner and diamond enthusiast Mussa just purchased a giant stone for 30 million dollars, the transaction just needing to officially take place.  But you know how these deals between criminal overlords go; someone always ends up hurt.  And this meeting is no exception, as tensions are high when the items are brought to trade, and as each side comes heavily armed and not so mentally stable.  However, it’s a third party who breaks up the high-priced deal, taking the diamond and the money after killing everyone involved in the brokerage.  Who is this band of masked men and sexy, machine gun-wielding ladies?  We are about to find out, but the story isn’t a simple one.

Aliya, a former employee of Mussa, has been plotting against him for a long time, waiting to seek her revenge for a slight that can’t be forgiven.  Also, she has two lovers who she’s using toward her own ends, a big bad mob boss who never lets anything stand in his way and a young romantic who will always wait for Aliya to find him again.  She teams up with various underground personas, steals the treasure, and makes off with it, a ton of crooks hot on her trail.  But what’s her ultimate goal and who does she really love; these are the questions that will haunt the plot as we journey across Asia with stolen goods and evil assassins, hoping that the end will finally bring some peace.

I’ll give the filmmaker one bit of credit; this is a twisted, twisty story that you haven’t seen before, a cast of crazy characters that you’d never want to meet.  Problem is, there was absolutely no reason to turn this idea into an actual movie, and absolutely no talent to help pull off the feat.  The plot makes no sense whatsoever, the characters don’t do anything resembling normal human activity, and by the end I had no clue what was going to happen, not because I was tricked, but because it seemed like the facts were being created on the spot.  This was less a movie and more a spectacle, a chance to blow things up and cut off limbs, but without an actual reason for doing so.

And I have to say, when they did try something gross like stabbing someone through the mouth or something big like blowing up an SUV, it looked so dumb that you would laugh if it weren’t also so pathetic.  That’s how it reminded me of Sharknado; it went full circle past b-movie, back around to actual movie, but forgot to do any of things that would make it watchable.  The last straw was the cameos, which made no sense and were simply insulting to both the actors and to the audience.  Armand Asanta, Michael Madsen, Peter O’Toole, and the guy who fought Jean Claude in Bloodsport; excuse me, why?  Nothing about this film was credible or even plausible, and not even silly enough to warrant any sort of fun on our part.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and no other video details available, the picture quality weighs in as perhaps the best thing about the film.  The visuals were fine, the color was saturated, and there was an attempt at some artistic detail.  The problem was, the CGI explosions and blood were so horrible, you almost wished you couldn’t see them as clearly as you could.

Audio – No audio information is available, and the sound quality of the film confused me from start to finish.  It seemed dubbed, with dialogue lagging behind mouth movement in a way that felt like the movie’s natural audio wasn’t what we were hearing.  But I definitely recognized some actors’ voices, though it sounded like it wasn’t coming from their live performances, so it was very strange.  Perhaps the film was dubbed after the fact for an unknown reason, or perhaps only the non-English speakers were covered over, and then sound effects added in after the fact.  Also, there was a good 10 minutes where I heard an echo that I believed was placed there on purpose, for some insane reason.

Extras – The special features on the disc are a Music Video featuring DMX & Blackburner, a Slide Show, and a Trailer.

Final Thoughts

Skip It.  I wouldn’t recommend this movie to my sworn enemy.  It’s one of the worst films I have ever seem, top to bottom, and I can’t imagine every individual involved not being completely embarrassed by what they just worked on.  A paycheck is a paycheck, but who put up the money for this story to be put on camera, what sadistic mind wanted to torture us like that?  It’s over-the-top, it’s nonsensical, it’s foolish, it’s scattered; I have rarely watched anything that was as unbelievably bad as this movie.  The video was alright, the sound was entirely off, there aren’t any great extras, so don’t imagine that the technical aspects will save the day.  Really, I did you a service by watching this so you don’t have to.

☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Betting on Zero

Category : DVD Review

Director: Ted Braun

Starring: William Ackman

Year: 2016

In a time when one of America’s favorite national arguments has reared its bitter head with renewed energy (capitalism vs socialism, free market vs big government, cutthroat competition vs equal protection), Betting on Zero is a documentary that will slide into the conversation with ease.  It’s specifically based on Herbalife; the company, the court cases, the sanctions, and the famous Ackman short.  But it can’t help also being about politics, using this bizarre story to highlight the two polar viewpoints that fight against one another and make our entire country spin.  In case you don’t know much about Herbalife, this documentary is here to fill you in, and it’s also prepared to take sides when it feels the need.  This isn’t unbiased observation, nor is it a positive message we can all get behind and learn from.  Rather, it’s a fearless statement against crooked policies, and a warning for us to open our eyes.

The Movie

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman was perhaps the most arrogant man in the business, but he made money, a lot of money, and that much green can cover up any amount of flaws.  He knew what stocks to buy, which companies to back, and he made his clients very happy, despite a personality that only a genius can pull off.  From time to time, Ackman’s fund would come across a business they thought was destined to fail, so instead of buying a ton of stock and hoping the price would rise, they bet that the value would fall.  This is called shorting, and it can make certain people rich while a company goes under.  Ackman’s latest target was Herbalife, a vitamin supplement and health shake distributor that he predicted would go belly up in a matter of years.

Ackman believed that Herbalife was a pyramid scheme, not as actual product-selling, multi-level marketing corporation, as they would claim.  It’s not illegal to make money by having people under you and to gain commission on their sales, but it is illegal to turn a profit solely by this method, without any product value.  Ackman argued that Herbalife was built on tricking people into buying the product in bulk in order to enter the system, a product that they then couldn’t sell.  Only those at the very top ever see any income, while those at the bottom watch their life savings vanish.  The Latino community was especially affected by the Herbalife scam, class action laws suits popping up all over the country, even while the giant company expanded across the globe.

You can’t talk about this movie without getting into politics, as the director does not shy away from making this a choose-a-side issue.  To be fair, he points out the ways in which Ackman would make money off of Herbalife failing, so of course he wants to convince people that Herbalife is going to fail.  That’s not an issue the film skirts around, but it also makes no bones about how it feels toward the capitalist manifesto and how it specifically, negatively affects the poor, the uneducated, the naive, and the immigrant.  A free market economy is great in theory, but in reality the greedy will always rise to the top, spreading the lie as they do that anyone can reach the same height if they work hard enough, when they themselves had to destroy the lives of countless others on their way up.  Capitalism isn’t fair competition, and we need to stop pretending that everyone has the same chance, that a good work ethic is all it takes to reach your dreams.

Putting politics aside, Herbalife is still a shitty company.  It is based on the idea that becoming rich is worth any cost, that the lives of others don’t matter, that those who don’t succeed are merely weak, rather than taken advantage of.  This film shows footage from Herbalife meetings, from rallies, from training sessions, and the message is clear in each one; get as many suckers under you as you can, they don’t matter, the only thing that counts is you making money off their backs.  It paints the company in a horrible light, and I for one am not sure in what other way it could appear.  We walk along with the protestors and the scammed, understanding that this is an actual crime destroying the lives of millions, not just a Wall St. power play for dollars, not just another capitalist theory, but a practice put in motion that needs stopping.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (16×9), the video quality is as unremarkable as you would expect from a documentary that mostly sits while others talk.  They do add in some graphics to help us understand what’s going on, and we do receive some nice footage of the past to give us context, but overall the picture quality isn’t going to wow.

Audio – The DVD was done in English 5.1 Surround, with an option of 2.0 Stereo.  Subtitles are available in Spanish.  That’s it as far as the audio goes, but there is a nice soundtrack in the back and a nice theme that runs throughout, giving the story some musical weight.

Extras – Only a few special features are available on the disc: six additional scenes and a trailer for the film.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended.  Some might say that it isn’t a critic’s job to get political, to take sides on an issue while trying to understand a film.  But with Betting on Zero, audiences don’t really have the luxury of standing in the corner while two fighters duke it out.  We’re put in the middle of the action and asked to form an opinion, not presented with a balanced account that has many sides …many sides.  The director is biased, and so was I coming in, but this film isn’t about us all getting along, it’s attempting to broaden the knowledge of a scam, to expose corruption to as many people as will look.  The video is only fine, which isn’t shocking, the audio is OK, with a nice theme track, and the extras are minimal, so don’t expect much from a technical standpoint.  This is a documentary I would quickly recommend to left-leaners, because they would support it, and perhaps even right-wingers, with the hope that they might learn something.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – It Comes at Night

Category : DVD Review

Director: Trey Edwards Shults

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Christopher Abbott

Year: 2017

Every year there seems to be one horror standout that gets critics raving.  And every year those critics refer back to the marching order of surprisingly high-quality, wonderfully original, always terrifying flicks that caught their attention enough to be Oscar conversation-worthy in an otherwise typical lineup of tear-jerking dramas.  I’m no different, and so here they are: The Babadook (2014), It Follows (2015), The Witch (2016).  This year’s title already goes to It Comes at Night, even with much of the year left, simply because it is that good.  Get Out is probably the only horror film that you could argue should dethrone it, but that film is something extra special, and it could even be nominated for Best Picture.  If what you’re looking for is pure, unrelenting terror; the king has already been crowned.

The Movie

After an unspecified terror has swept across the cities of the land, people are now classified by two groups; the sick and the survivors. The sick develop some sort of unparalleled illness that kills them quickly once caught, leaving their ravaged bodies to be burned by those they leave behind. The survivalists cling to safety through isolation, staking claims on whatever house or cave or truck they call home, defending their turf and food to the death. Paul keeps his family safe deep in the woods at his wife’s father’s cabin, even after Bud dies of the sickness. Paul and Sarah watch over their teen son, Travis, staying together during the day and locking the doors at night.

When a man claiming to have a family in the forest breaks into their fortress in search of water, they must make a life-changing decision; save this new family and risk their own, or deny them and let them die.  If they open their doors, their own lives are immediately in jeopardy, but how can they ignore the suffering of others in a time in which there are so few left to help?  What’s the point of living if every day is simply another lonely struggle, with no one else to share the burden with?  Paul and his family will have to choose between life-altering actions, and the results will be far deadlier than they could ever have imagined, with repercussions that snap back at their relatively peaceful life with the full force of fate.

It Comes at Night follows the tradition of modern horror hits by presenting us with a unique story, slowing down the action, refusing to give in to genre standards (mostly), and delivering something truly/refreshingly horrifying.  It’s a slow burn if ever there was one, a deliberate buildup to horror that you partly want and partly hope never comes.  The son, Travis, has dreams each night, and it’s these night terrors that really drive the story forward toward the edge, and I found myself desperate for him to just STOP so I wouldn’t have to see what happens next.  That’s a sure sign of some talent behind the writing and the directing of this film, that the fear became so palpable that I felt like I might be able to avoid it if I begged.

The kid, in many ways, was the main character, it was through his eyes that we watched events unfold, all while the men of the movie had their own private battle.  Joel Edgerton can do no wrong, and I’m not sure if there’s a more trustworthy actor in Hollywood currently, someone you can count on (as soon as you hear their name) to deliver a game-changing performance.  Christopher Abbott, his counterpart, was solid as well, both men protecting their families no matter what the cost.  Edgerton’s wife, played by Carmen Ejogo, was a shell of a character, and I thought it was strange how underutilized she was.  Abbott’s wife, on the other hand, played by Riley Keough, was really fascinating, and Keough is quickly becoming one of my favorite young actresses.  For my money, and perhaps more specifically tailored to my tastes, Z for Zachariah is the post-apocalyptic drama you want, but there’s no denying the power of It Comes at Night.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 (1080p HD, 16×9 Widescreen) and shot using an Arri Alexa XT camera with Panavision Primo and Ultra Speed lenses, the video quality of this Blu-ray disc is excellent and a credit to the media.  The film plays with light and dark, with seen and unseen, and that attention to detail really comes across on this disc.  The picture quality and the visuals are top-notch.

Audio – The Blu-ray was done in English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, with subtitle choices in English SDH and Spanish.  That’s it for the audio, except for the haunting backing track that really sets the mood throughout.  The sound quality of the disc is high, which won’t come as a surprise.

Extras – There are a few special features on the Blu-ray if you’re looking for more.  Audio Commentary with writer/director Trey Edwards Shults and actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. can be accessed here and played during the feature.  Human Nature: Creating It Comes at Night is a 30-minute behind-the-scenes featurette.  There are five trailers: Good Time, A Ghost Story, Free Fire, The Wall, The Blackcoat’s Daughter.  And bookmarks can be utilized in this menu.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended.  This film builds upon the current platform that modern horror has been constructing, adding another layer to the solid brickwork that fans of the genre have so been enjoying these pasts few years.  But this movie works as a drama as well, a psychological thriller that teaches us what it means to be human, all while scaring us out of our seats.  It’s a story that spans genres and still might be the best horror flick you watch this year.  The video is very strong, the audio is great, and there are extras for audience members wanting more.  There’s really nothing to dislike here, it’s all high quality cinema, with a post-apocalyptic feel to boot, a melding of styles that works on every level.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Baywatch

Category : DVD Review

Director: Seth Gordon

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Jon Bass

Year: 2017

For anyone who grew up in the 90s, Baywatch was a constant TV companion.  It lasted 11 seasons, 242 episodes, completely engulfing the decade in red bathing suits and slo-mo beach runs.  Chandler and Joey of Friends famously loved the show, even naming a pet chick Yasmine Bleeth.  That’s how popular it was, it was featured on other successful shows while it was still on air.  Now, you might scoff at the word ‘popular’, you might rather go with ‘ridiculed’, and you wouldn’t be completely wrong.  Part of why some watched the show at all was to make fun of it, the stupid scenarios, the bad dialogue, the impossible breasts and abs.  As a boy during the era, I watched for Kelly Packard, Nicole Eggert, and Nancy Valen, I didn’t watch for the plot twists.  Whatever your reason was for tuning in though, Baywatch became an icon, and as silly as it was, we still talk about it today.  A movie version just made sense, and I’m glad they made it, the fact that it isn’t really that good shouldn’t come as a big surprise nor does it really matter.

The Movie

Welcome to Emerald Bay, realm of the aqua-god also known as Mitch Buchannon.  Mitch rules the beach with an iron fist, leading Baywatch as part dictator, part saint, part father-figure, and part sea king.  Baywatch has been tasked with keeping visitors safe, a job that they don’t take lightly.  Mitch demands passion from his employees; being a lifeguard isn’t just an occupation, it’s a way of life, and the team is an elite group of water-saviors that also happen to have killer good looks.  Mitch, the muscle-bound behemoth, but gentle underneath.  Stephanie, his right hand woman, his sergeant of the sand.  CJ, the bubbly beauty, but don’t assume she doesn’t know her stuff.  And now the team needs to hire three new recruits, younglings who will be thrown to the waves as sacrifices if they can’t pull their weight on shore.

First is Matt Brody, an Olympic swimmer who can’t stay out of trouble, a hot head who needs a real job with a real purpose if he’s going to get his mind right.  Next, Summer Quinn, a smart cookie who knows her own heart and has dreamed of becoming a Baywatch babe for years.  And last, Ronnie Greenbaum, a pudgy computer expert who loves CJ from afar, has no physical gifts whatsoever, but refuses to quit when the going gets tough.  This trio of newbies will have to learn fast, because danger is always lurking in the water for anyone who doesn’t stay vigilant.  Trouble is working double time currently, as local landowner Victoria Leeds seems to be up to no good, and the beach is due to suffer.  Dead bodies and hard drugs keep popping up wherever Victoria goes, and Mitch knows that she’s the snake in the grass.  Convincing local law enforcement is a tougher matter, so Baywatch is on the case, and these limber sea lions won’t let their Lieutenant down without diving in and rescuing the town before it’s too late.

I can’t imagine watching this movie without some prior information about the show; it would be like visiting a foreign planet where there are creatures resembling humans, but they act like in they’re in a vaudeville comedy and they look like they just came off an assembly line.  And that’s just part of it; not having any connection to the show would make these characters insane, this story absurd, and the jokes so incredibly bad that you’d feel the need to call the authorities.  Basically, you can’t watch this movie without first having enjoyed the show, at least a little, at least to laugh or ogle or something.  But assuming that you tuned in at some point during the 90s, there’s enough about Baywatch the film to entertain even the most casual fan of the series.  The character names are recycled, allowing you to remember the old cast.  The unbelievable plot becomes acceptable when the players make fun of themselves.  The slo-mo, the running, the bouncing, even Hoff and Pam; so much from the old has been brought to the new, and I think that’s why the movie works.

Now, hey, let’s be real, it doesn’t work that much.  There are only so many asses you can parade in front of the camera, so many jokes you can make about penises before even the lewdest fan starts to get bored.  That didn’t surprise me, the step toward the adult that this film took, like the old show had been combined with Silk Stalkings, but it did feel a little juvenile, like they should have gone all the way (bare boobs) or nowhere at all (hairy man chest).  What did surprise me was the relative background that the ladies occupied, while the gentlemen were front stage.  Specifically, Daddario should have been featured much more heavily than Bass, who was a poor man’s Josh Gad and didn’t make me laugh once.  She’s actually a good actress and did OK in her side story with Efron; I’m not sure why she and the other women were secondary characters.  The Rock was good though, he’s just a stud, and maybe he’s even getting strong enough at acting that he can lead movies of this caliber.  He was cool, the cameos were nice, the eye candy was constant, no one took themselves too seriously, Dwayne even calling Zac ‘High School Musical’ at one point.  So if you watched the show, if you understand that the movie version is going to be equally dumb, there’s a good chance you sit through this film and come out the other side smiling.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (1080p HD) and shot using an Arri Alexa XT Plus camera with Panavision G-Series, ATZ, and AWZ2 lenses, the video quality of this Blu-ray disc is pretty spectacular.  The beaches, the sunrises, the life guards, the perfect bodies, the red bathing suits; it’s a feast for the eyes, that is if you’re looking for color saturation, breasts, and tanned pecs.  In all seriousness, the picture is quite nice, and the Blu-ray really shows it off.  There are a couple scenes in which CGI is used that look pretty stupid, but otherwise, you’ll like what you see.

Audio – The Blu-ray disc was done in English Dolby Atmos sound.  There are also many other options: French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, and English Audio Description.  Subtitles are available as well: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese.  The audio quality of the disc is great, with some nice music for the background and a few good effects for the action.

Extras – There are many special features on the Blu-ray, enough to please fans of the show and the movie alike.  Meet the Lifeguards is a 21-minute behind-the-scenes segment.  Continuing the Legacy is a 9-minute look at how the film honors the series.  Stunts & Training is a 9-minute featurette on preparing for the thrilling moments.  And Deleted & Extended Scenes is a compilation of 6 bonus footage sequences.

Final Thoughts

RecommendedBaywatch works because so many of us remember the old stories, the old characters, the old jokes, and we actually wanted to be reminded of them now; ‘why’ might be a question for a different time.  We like what we like, and we liked the show, for whatever insane reason, making us the perfect audience for a film version.  It’s far from perfect; actually it’s a bit farcical and more than a touch pandering.  But then again, we weren’t expecting anything less, and got exactly what we paid for.  I can’t imagine critics and audiences who went in preparing to hate it coming out with a different opinion; you can tell yourself right now whether you will enjoy more Baywatch beauties or not.  But at least no one is trying to trick you, you will get what you desire.  The video was surprisingly nice, the audio was solid as well, and there are some extras thrown in for good measure, so the technical side holds up.  Watch for a good time, don’t expect much, remember the good ol’ days, enjoy the slo-mo, sit back, and try not to think it through.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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