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Archive for the 'Blu-ray Reviews' Category

The Private Lives Of Elizabeth And Essex (Blu-ray Review)

We have to be nearing the Warner Archive Collection release of Captain Blood, right? They seem to be strolling through the catalog of legendary director Michael Curtiz with an almost monthly regularity. He and actor Errol Flynn are also one of the earliest and most famed director/actor combinations of all time. This month of May, they are releasing their collaboration on The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, which also stars the iconic Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth and a breakout role for a young Vincent Price. They’ve done a 4K restoration from the Technicolor negative as well as ported over some of the original bonus features. It’ll hit the (online) streets on May 18th, and when you just hear “Michael Curtiz”, “Errol Flynn”, “Warner Archive” together, know its an instant pick up. Which you can do by pre-ordering using the paid Amazon Associates link following the review.

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Big Fish (4K Blu-ray Review)

Every time I see a Tim Burton release set for a 4K UHD Blu-ray, I get excited.  His films, even at their darkest are the kinds of films made for the format.  They’re thought provoking, odd, and just a little different.  Batman, Returns and Beetlejuice already made their debuts on the format in the last two years and nobody would say they were lackluster releases, making classics look and sound incredible.  Big Fish is one of the films in his canon I hadn’t seen.  I wasn’t even aware it was his movie. Shockingly, I pride myself on my Rain Man like ability to recall information about films, even ones I haven’t seen, so this is a shame for me… Big Fish is a special film and you can read all about why below. Be sure to click the paid link at the end to get yourself a copy of this 4K UHD unsung film too!

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Shrek: 20th Anniversary Edition (4K Blu-ray Review)

It’s sort of mind mind-boggling to think that Shrek was released 20 years ago.  I remember it’s DVD release, picking it up at Costco, and loving how much they included in special features, and giving folks without HDTVs the option for a Pan and Scan version too.  The thoughtfulness of that package was why I fell in love with physical media.  The movie itself was also a blast, turning the family animated film on its ear and giving just as much good stuff to the adults as the children. Now the classic comedy celebrates its 20th anniversary with a 4K Blu-ray release.  Will the film still delight, looking better than ever? Find out more below and click the paid link below to order yourself a copy!

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The Little Things (Blu-ray Review)

The Little Things came and went as a blip on the HBO Max radar earlier this year.  Middling reviews, and some tepid audience response made things a little interesting for me.  A 90’s throwback thriller with some twists, and a dynamite main cast had me wondering if there was just a lost audience for a good movie. Discover my findings in the review below and click the paid link at the end if you feel so inclined to make a buy!

 

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Drunken Master II (Blu-ray Review)

It’s very exciting times over at Warner Archive, even if the rumor mill wants to be pointing toward certain doom and gloom. As always, we’ll just have to see how true that random information showing up on Twitter will turn out to be. In the meantime, I’m excited to see them dipping into their Jackie Chan catalog with a proper release of Drunken Master II. This is a little bit different version than The Legend Of The Drunken Master film it was released as after Chan broke out in the 90s, but the proper version of the film has never been released here in the United States…until now. Mark your calendars, make your pre-orders (you can use the paid Amazon Associates link below) and get ready for some impressive action and comedy from the master on May 18th!

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King Kong – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

While not the most popular rendition for the 8th wonder of the world, not having the 1976 version of King Kong on Blu-ray (In the United States) has long been a bit of a glaring hole in cinematic history as represented by the current home video format. And fortunately, in this case, the wait is proving to be well worth it, as it is finally arriving in a boutique label release that gives it so much more than just a basic disc. Scream Factory has labored themselves with a load of new interviews, a restored extended TV cut and lots of really fun vintage marketing materials to make up a 2-Disc release for the Dino de Laurentis mega-budget picture. Perhaps, as always, this one may need another look or maybe it will have a new appreciation found when done sorting through the various bonus materials. This one hits the (likely virtual) shelves on May 11th (TODAY, as a I post this). It looks to be having some stock issues, but maye the paid Amazon Associates link below will be working so you can land yourself a copy of this very anticipated release.
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Justice Society: World War II (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

The Animated DC Universe continues its impressive and well received run going back to the past again with Justice Society: World War II. We get the present meeting such as The Flash goes back and meets a younger Wonder Woman and crew. It’ll be arriving to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray on May 11th. It’ll include a making of Featurette as well as a look at the highly anticipated Batman: The Long Halloween Part One. You can pre-order the film now and have it on or around the release date from the paid Amazon Associates link that comes after the review below. It helps the site and it helps you by landing a quality animated superhero film!
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Thundarr The Barbarian: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

Warner Archive Collection has show no bias in terms of its quest of restoration projects across the catalog. In addition to golden era Hollywood movies, musicals, horror films and the like, there have been plenty of animated titles getting attention. April saw Thundarr The Barbarian resurrected and put on Blu-ray. Now, while it looks like a Hanna Barbara event, it is actually not. However, the show did come from people who spun out of there and modeled their business practice off of them. Thundarr The Barbarian will be arriving as a 3-disc set, newly restored, and porting over a previous bonus featurette that is a retrospective on the series as a whole. Before Arnold was Conan, before He-Man won over the hearts of children around the globe, there was Thundarr The Barbarian. And you can own every episode by using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review.

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Speed (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Last year, there was the doom and gloom word that catalog titles were damned in the eyes of Disney. That only their fresh, shiny new stuff “might” be getting 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray releases. Sorry about all of you that love those classic Fox titles, they care even less on those. Everything was going all into the era of Disney+. However, a stunner and sign of hope came with the announcement of Speed (and Heat) coming to the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format. And I can attest that Speed is very real. Word has it that the remaining Alien films will be coming too. Now, its unclear whether this is Disney’s doing or if this is some sort of clean up from things already finished or worked on at Fox before the buyout. Nonetheless, I’ll take the win and enjoyment. Speed is hitting the streets, well, online stores on May 4th. So, step aside star wars, Keanu and Sandra are going to give you some force this year. You can pre-order this using the paid Amazon Associates link following the review.
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Judas And The Black Messiah (Blu-ray Review)

When I first saw Judas and the Black Messiah in January 2021, a few weeks before its Sundance premiere and eventual theatrical release, I was convinced it had a good chance of winning Best Picture. Being a film that is so of the moment and constructed in such an accessible manner made it the kind of fiery drama that tends to work for the Academy, without feeling bogged down weighty issues other “prestige” films don’t always handle well. As it stands, while nominated in all of the major categories, the film still managed to win two Oscars, including a very deserved statue for Daniel Kaluuya. It’s for a good reason this story of Fred Hampton, and the Black Panther party received the acclaim that it did, and now the film has arrived on Blu-ray to continue to share that story in such a successfully dramatized way.

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The Furies – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Making its return to the Criterion Collection with a Blu-ray upgrade, Anthony Mann’s 1950 western, The Furies, has arrived in a new packed set, featuring the fierce film, a cleaned-up transfer, a collection of extras, and the full 1948 novel on which the film is based. That’s certainly one way to appreciate this “Freudian Western” that pits an all-in Barbara Stanwyck against veteran Oscar-winner Walter Huston in his final performance.

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Josie And The Pussycats In Outer Space: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

This felt inevitable after Warner Archive Collection released the original Josie and the Pussycats complete series a few months back as they’ve been going down, restoring and releasing their Hanna Barbera line. Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space was a sequel/spin-off/rebranding of the show that took off in 1972. Unfortunately it didn’t last too long, but did indeed keep Josie and her Pussycats going for another year. Warner Archive has restored this to go along with the original series on your shelf. A nice two disc set, but includes no extras this time around. They released it on April 13th. So, you can go ahead and order yourself a copy using the paid Amazon Associates link following the review. Amazon, which is now sort of the main hub for all things Warner Archive Collection. Let’s just hope this sub-label of Warner Bros home video keeps alive as they do some of the very best work in the business these days!
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Quick Change (Blu-ray Review)

The Bill Murray directed Quick Change came as a nice surprise to the April slate of releases from Warner Archive Collection. It found itself a quick kill at the 1990 box office, finding itself debuting in the bottom half of the top ten and out of theaters altogether after three weeks. In its defense, it came out around the same time as a lot of big name iconic films were making a push (Ghost, Dick Tracy), but couldn’t even manage to best even The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.  Nonetheless, it has managed to find a cult following and life on home video. The film also produced plenty of surprise and excitement when this Blu-ray was announced. I’m not so sure I can say the same for the now out of print Blu-ray for that Renny-Harlin/Andrew Dice Clay vehicle (Which admittedly is quite something in its own right). You can pre-order it now using the paid Amazon Associates link at the bottom of the page to have around release day, April 27th.
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Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar (Blu-ray Review)

If it hadn’t been for the Twitter super buzz for it back in February, Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar might have flown by on my radar. For some reason, I hadn’t caught wind of it until then, oddly enough. I was going to rent it, but the review copy request came in the very next week and the release date for Blu-ray wasn’t that far away. So I practiced patience and here we are. It arrived on April 6th and comes complete with some deleted material and featurettes for the film. You can land yourself a brand new copy of it on Blu-ray, at the (currently) low price of $14.96 by using the pad Amazon Associates link that follows the review. You don’t really have to if you don’t want to, but it helps the site (and our self esteem) just a hair if you do. Plus, we are saving up to get matching pairs of culottes for the photo for our Why So Blu holiday card we are sending out at the end of the year. And you know you want to see  Gerard in culottes, right?
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Memories of Murder – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Before Parasite won Best Picture and three other Oscars in 2020 (back when the world was in order), it was just one of several incredible films directed by the Academy Award-winning Bong Joon-ho. Memories of Murder is among them. However, much like the elusive killer in this film (and in real life), this film has sadly not been widely available, but that has fortunately changed. Whether or not people had a chance to recently see the film, this sophomore effort from Bong is a great reminder of his talent early on, let alone a great crime drama layered with dark comedy. Fortunately, the Criterion Collection has now provided a proper U.S. Blu-ray release for the film.

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Doctor X (Blu-ray Review)

The Doctor X debut on Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection kills two birds with one stone in many regards. One, it brings more 1930s non-Universal horror to Blu-ray in prestigious fashion. Two, it continues Warner Archive’s roll out of the filmography of the great Michael Curtiz. They’ve also added some fresh new bonus materials to this release a la The Curse of Frankenstein. Curtiz isn’t synonymous with horror, but he did put out three significant titles during the 1930s and now two of them are on Blu-ray from Warner Archive (The other is The Mystery of the Wax Museum, a fantastic release). You can also watch the film in its rarely seen color form and the black and white version, which technically are two completely different productions as they are different takes during the shoot. It’ll be available on April 20th. You can find a paid Amazon Associates pre-order link to use following the review if you’d like to help the site just a hair.
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Wonder Woman 1984 (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Wonder Woman 1984 had the unfortunate fate of constantly pushing back its release date. Even prior to a few pandemic related moves, the film had already shuffled a couple of times.  After so much moving and shaking, enough had been enough and Warner Bros made the bold move of releasing it in theaters and on HBO MAX parallel to one another on Christmas Day. A move that kick started their notion to release all theatrical films on HBO MAX for 1 month for 2021. And, sigh of relief, it has been given a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray home video release. Hitting stores last week on March 30, it was complete with a nice slew of bonus features and a Dolby Atmos track. A nice follow to the HBO MAX release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League to keep the DC movie hype train going. You can order it now, and you do have the option to use the paid Amazon Associates link following the review if you so choose to do.

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Secrets & Lies – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

It’s a shame I’m not more well-versed in the films of Mike Leigh. I’ve seen many of them, but not all. And yet, each time I catch up with one of his films, I continue to believe he’s one of the best modern dramatists who continually delivers well-written, terrifically made original films. Now I’ve caught up with Secrets & Lies for the film time, and it’s another standout. This new Criterion Collection release delivers a fantastic presentation of the film, complete with new interviews and more. It’s a good thing, too, as the Oscar-nominated film is easily another 90s standout.

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