Top

“I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL,” A NEW ONE-HOUR SPECIAL FEATURING TWO EPISODES OF THE CLASSIC SERIES, TO BE BROADCAST FRIDAY, DEC. 22

December 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“The Christmas Episode” and the Newly Colorized “The Fashion Show”

to Be Seamlessly Combined

I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, a new one-hour special featuring two back-to-back colorized episodes of the classic series, will be broadcast Friday, Dec. 22 (8:00-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL features “The Christmas Episode” and the newly colorized “The Fashion Show.” Both were colorized with a nod to the 1950s period in which they were filmed. The main titles and end credits are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour, with no interruption between the episodes.

“The Christmas Episode” finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos’ son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward.

“The Christmas Episode” was first broadcast on CBS on Christmas Eve, 1956. The episode was not included in the series’ long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication. Long thought to be lost, the program was rediscovered by CBS in 1989.

In “The Fashion Show,” Lucy convinces Ricky to allow her to spend up to $100 on a dress at the fashionable Don Loper Salon in Beverly Hills. However, when an opportunity arises for Lucy to participate in a Loper fashion show featuring glamorous movie star wives, Lucy winds up spending five times that! Lucy hopes that if she gets a mild sunburn, Ricky will feel sorry for her and forgive her for spending so much, though, as always, she goes a bit too far!

“The Fashion Show” was originally broadcast Feb. 28, 1955, and became an immediate favorite not only of viewers, but of Lucille Ball herself. The episode features a few of her real-life personal friends: Mrs. Gordon MacRae, Mrs. William Holden, Mrs. Van Heflin, Mrs. Forrest Tucker and Don Loper himself.

“I Love Lucy” Christmas specials have aired on the Network the past four years, each combining the holiday-themed episode with a different comedy classic. Beginning in 2015, “The Christmas Episode” has been shown colorized in its entirety, with fully-colorized flashback scenes that had previously been presented in black-and-white.

“I Love Lucy” was broadcast on the Network from Oct. 15, 1951 through June 23, 1957. It was voted “The Best TV Show of All Time” in a 2012 viewer poll conducted by People magazine and ABC News. “I Love Lucy” stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and Vivian Vance and William Frawley as the Ricardos’ friends and landlords, Ethel and Fred Mertz.

 

Frau Faust vol. 1 by Kore Yamazaki (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

November 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Another action-packed thirteenth volume of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” as vampires from another region have come to confront Ferid but also Krul Tepes. Meanwhile, what secret is lurking within Yoichi? All this and more!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

© 2015 Kore Yamazaki. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Frau Faust vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Kore Yamazaki

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Kodansha

RATED: 13+

RELEASE DATE: September 26, 2017


From the creator of The Ancient Magus’ Bride comes a supernatural action manga in the vein of Fullmetal Alchemist! With electrifying art and a gripping story, Frau Faust reimagines the protagonist of the classic tale who makes a deal with the devil as a tenacious female scholar.

More than a century after an eccentric scholar made an infamous deal with a devil, the story of Faust has passed into legend. However, the true Faust is not the stuffy, professorial man known in fairy tales, but a charismatic, bespectacled woman named Johanna Faust, who happens to still be alive. Searching for pieces of her long-lost demon, Johanna passes through a provincial town, where she saves a young boy named Marion from a criminal’s fate. In exchange, she asks a simple favor of Marion, but Marion soon finds himself intrigued by the peculiar Doctor Faust and joins her on her journey. Thus begins the strange and wonderful adventures of Frau Faust!


Back in the 1500’s, a German legend about a scholar named Faust who made a pact with the Devil remained pervasive for centuries to come.

Based on the Johann Georg Faust, an alchemist, astrologer and magician of the German Renaissance, decades after his death, books were written about Faust and because of the mystery if Faust really lived, when or how he died, the man’s name lives on.

The legend is as follows, Faust who was highly successful was dissatisfied with life and so he made a pact with the devil named Mephistopheles in exchange for his soul, he would have unlimited knowledge and pleasures.  The story was reworked by Goethe in the late 1700’s and “Faust” was made into a tragic play which would become Goethe’s magnum opus and the greatest work of German literature.

For mangaka Kore Yamazaki, the author is a big fan of mythology and would work on a manga series titled “Frau Faust” and in this story, making Faust a woman instead of a man.

The manga begins with a story of the legend of Faust being read by a woman named Johanna.  A storekeeper yells that a boy has stolen a book from him and he bumps into Johanna.

Johanna manages to save the boy from punishment but takes him to his mother.  As Johanna talks the boy named Marion, she learns that he was stealing the books that were originally his and was taken and sold by debt collectors.

Feeling bad for him, she offers to teach Marion.  But looking through his stack of books, he sees “The Life of Dr. Faust” and Johanna is shocked that the events of Faust were made into a book.

That night, as Johanna is searching for her dog, an inquisitor comes and impales her with a sword.  The inquisitor calls Johanna, Dr. Faust and that he smelled the scent of a demon on her.

As Marion is shocked that Johanna is Faust, she heals quickly and tells the inquisitor that her goal is to crush her demon.  But as mephisto shows up, he transports Johanna and Marion to another location.

About to wipe off Marion’s memories of finding out her true identity, he tells her that despite her being a monster or a cursed individual, he wants to learn from her and wants her to continue to be his teacher.

Which leads Faust to take Marion to her home with her loved one’s waiting for her.  But there are secrets surrounding the town she lives in, what is planted there and why people are getting sick or dying.

Meanwhile, the inquisitor manages to track the two down.  What will happen to both Faust and Marion?

Also, included is a second story titled “The Invisible Museum” about a teenage student named Asaki, and the director of the musuem wants her to find a butterfly that has escaped her box at the Invisible Museum.  But what happens when Asaki confronts it?


For the first volume of “Frau Faust”, it’s a very interesting story inspired by the German legend of Faust. As Kore Yamazaki is heavily into mythology and legends, writing about Faust and giving the character a different spin, by making her a female and also creating various other creations by her. Meanwhile, having Inquisitors that want her dead.

Johanna Faust is seeking missing parts of her demon and now she must go on a journey, a long with a boy who has a thirst for knowledge that wants to learn from her and help her with her mission.

Artwork by Kore Yamazaki is good and with open scenery full of detail.

The first volume is more character-building chapters and establishing Johanna Faust and Marion but also other characters close to Faust, but also showing how much her life is in difficult, considering her pact made with a demon to find his missing pieces of her demon.

So far, an entertaining story plus a secondary story titled “Imaginary Museum”. But both stories are interesting, very different from each other but a fresh unique spin on the German legend, Faust.

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

 

Wolf Warrior 2 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Wolf Warrior 2” exceeds the first film in quality and performances.  A film with international flavor and shot in Africa, director and actor Wu Jing has no doubt directed and starred in his best action film yet!  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Beijing Dangfeng International Culture & Communication Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Wolf Warrior 2

FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 124 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 16:9, Mandarin 5.1 and English DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English and Chinese

COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment

RATED: NR

Release Date: December 12, 2017


Directed by Wu Jing

Written by Qun Dong, Yan Gao, Yi Liu, Jing Wu

Producer: Hallong Guan, Daoqing Ji, Jianmin Lv, Zhang Miao

Co-Producer: Qingyi Chen, Jie Cui, Lu Han, Hong Ling, Hongyan Liu, Xiaojiang Quji, Wenji Sun, Yi Xiu, Hao Zhu

Associate Producer Hao Deng, Defu Jiang, Yang Li, Kailuo Liu, Yan Wu, Zhiyong Xu, Haicheng Zhao, Jiangjun Zhao

Line Producer: Ying Liang

Music by Joseph Trapanese

Cinematography by Peter Ngor

Edited by Ka-Fai Cheung

Production Design by King Man Lee, Ligang Wang

Art Direction by King Man Lee


Starring:

Wu Jing as Leng Feng

Frank Grillo as Big Daddy

Celina Jade as Rachel Prescott

Gang Wu as He Jianguo

Hans Zhang as Zhuo Yifan

Qian Yu as Bida Qian

Nan Yu as Long Xiayoun

Shanshan Chunyu as Lin Zhixiong

Haifeng Ding as Captain Zhang

Oleg Prudius as Bear

Heidi Moneymaker as Athena

Ann James as Nesa


The Wolf Warrior is back, bigger and badder than ever, in this action-packed sequel to the 2015 blockbuster hit. With his career in tatters, China s deadliest Special Forces operative has settled into a quiet life on the sea. But when he crosses paths with a sadistic band of mercenaries terrorizing innocent civilians, he must reaffirm his duty as a soldier and save the day once again. Fists (and bullets, tanks, missiles and much more) will fly in this adrenaline-fueled tour de force of bravura action filmmaking, all culminating into a climatic battle between the Wolf Warrior and the mercenary leader (Frank Grillo, Captain America: The Winter Solider and Captain America: Civil War).


From martial arts actor Wu Jing (“Tai Chi II”, “The Mummy”, “Shaolin”, “SPL: Kill Zone”) comes his second film in the “Wolf Warriors” series in which he directs and also has the starring role.

In 2015, Wu Jing shown audience internationally that he’s the next generation of Chinese action stars and his last film, Wu Jing played the role of Sergeant Leng Feng, a a Chinese Special Forces marksman who is facing a court martial because he didn’t follow orders in the field.

This time around Leng Feng has gotten into trouble once again!  And the situation has gotten even worse.

The film was release in China in the Summer of 2017 and created with a budget of $30.1 million, the film would go on to earn $870.3 million becoming one of the top grossing films of 2017 and now the film will be released on Blu-ray in North America courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment in December 2017.

Along with Wu Jing, the film also stars Frank Grillo (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Warrior”, “The Grey”), Celina Jade (“Arrow”, “Legendary Assassin”, “Skin Trade”), Hans Zhang (“Boss and Me”, “No Limit”, “The Rise of a Tomboy”), Nan Yu (“The Expendables 2”, “Tuya’s Marriage”, “The Taking of Tiger Mountain”) and former WWE superstar Oleg Prudius.

The film continues right after the first film as Leng Feng and his fellow Wolf Brigade members bring his remains to his comrade’s family for the funeral.  But while the family are mourning, a real estate company is destroying the family’s home on the day of the funeral.

The boss of the real estate company threatens the soldiers to leave but Leng Feng kicks him.  When the boss sends his thugs after the soldiers, they easily beat them.  When the police arrives arrive, the boss of the real estate company tries to get Leng Feng in trouble and tells him to his face that he will make the family wish they were all dead when they are all gone.

Leng Feng kicks the boss and kills him.  This leads to Leng Feng being sent to prison for two years and is dishonorably discharged from the Chinese Army which he had sacrificed his life for.

After serving his two years in prison, Feng leaves to Africa where he has been spending his life as a mercenary providing security aboard a freighter delivering relief supplies to Africa.  But while aboard the freighter, they are attacked by Somalian Pirates which Feng defeats. We learn that Feng is carrying a bullet which he found when his fiance was kidnapped while on a mission while incarcerated.  And so, he has been in Africa trying to get clues of where the bullet originates from.

While having fun with the locals in Africa, they are caught in an attack by rebel forces who seek to overthrow the government.  Bloodshed happens on both sides but for Leng Feng, he tries to make sure his young friend, Tundu gets to safety.

While Feng Leng is intent of getting Tundu to safety, he doesn’t want to leave because his mother is still in the danger zone (working at a Chinese factory).

Meanwhile, we learn that the rebels are working with a mercenary group known as the Dylan Corps led by Big Daddy (portrayed by Frank Grillo).  And they are after a Dr. Chen who has the vaccination for Lamania, which many people in Africa have contracted and are dying from.

As Leng Feng manages to infiltrate the lab, Dylan Corps mercenaries are there, including Bear (portrayed by Oleg Prudius) and sharpshooter Athena (portrayed by Heidi Moneymaker) who shoots and kills Dr. Chen.  But he is not the only person that knows how to create the vaccine, so does his assistant, Dr. Rachel Smith (portrayed by Celina Jade).  Dr. Chen’s last dying wish is for  Leng Feng to take his daughter, Pasha to safety and so, Leng Feng, along with Dr. Smith and Dr. Chen’s daughter must survive the onslaught of Dylan Corps mercenaries that are after them, as they attempt to capture Dr. Smith and the girl.

 


VIDEO:

“Wolf Warrior 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition and is presented in 16×9. There is no doubt that “Wolf Warrior 2” was created with a higher budget.  It has an international feel, shot in Africa, international talent, larger explosions and everything from picture quality is much better with this sequel.  Close-ups show great detail, the film looks great in HD

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Wolf Warrior 2” is presented in Mandarin and English  5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Dialogue is crystal clear through the front channels but also the action sequences which utilize the surround channels and LFE well. The film is quite immersive during the action sequences and the film sounds great in HD!

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Wolf Warrior 2” comes a “Behind-the-Scenes” featurette


For many films with a sequel, not all can best the original.  But there are few films that do.

“Wolf Warrior 2” can be added to those list of films that are much better than the original as the last film was too focused in a jungle and while action-packed and exciting, it became a bit repetitive.

“Wolf Warrior 2” is much different than most Chinese action films that stay focused in Asia, but this time around, Wu Jing’s latest film has an international flavor.  I’m not sure where the film was shot in Africa but with the collaboration between both countries, it was no doubt fascinating to see this international flavor for a Chinese action film.

This time you have actor Frank Grillo and even former WWE superstar Oleg Prudius as antagonists.  “Arrow” star Celine Jade as Dr. Rachel Prescott Smith as Leng Feng’s counterpart along with actors Hans Zhang and Gang Wu.

I have no doubt that Weng Ju will no doubt be the next martial arts star that we will see more of in the near future as this film is bigger, better, more explosive than the first.

It’s one thing to have action scenes from martial arts fighting, gun battles but this film has tank battles, drone attacks and high-adrenaline battle scenes.  There is so much packed into this one film that it’s a popcorn action film with substance, not all just action.

And we will no doubt see more of the character Leng Feng in the near future! (So, don’t stop watching when the credits show up.)

The film also shows the collaboration between China and Africa.  I didn’t know much about China’s presence in Africa but learned that a few years ago, the Chinese government offered a $60 billion loan and aid package to Africa to develop infrastructure, improve agriculture and reduce poverty in the content.

I read on one site that there are almost 75,000 Chinese residents living in Ghana.  Chinese businesses such as restaurants, casinos and grocery stores are being developed, facilities are being built, railways and telecom systems and more roads being developed.    Although media tends to report on the negative of illegal gold mining or illegal poaching or creating a new location for cheap labor costs and that China is exploiting the resources of a poor country.

I’m not going to be polemic upon the subject because I’m not really in the know of how things truly are economically and politically but the fact is that both countries are working together and a film such as “Wolf Warrior 2” is an example of that and wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing more Chinese films shot in Africa.

The Blu-ray looks great in 1080p High Definition and the lossless soundtrack is immersive and cool!  And you get behind-the-scene featurettes which include interviews with director Wu Jing, the talent and also filming in Africa.

Overall, “Wolf Warrior 2” exceeds the first film in quality and performances.  A film with international flavor and shot in Africa, director and actor Wu Jing has no doubt directed and starred in his best action film yet!

Recommended!

 

The Villainess (A J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“The Villainess” is no doubt one of the craziest, high-octane revenge action films that I have seen come out from Korea and Asian in general in the past few years.  If you are an Asian cinema fan who loves violent action films, then “The Villainess” is for you!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Next Entertainment World. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Villainess

FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 124 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9 widescreen), Korean and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment

RATED: N/A

RELEASE DATE: November 21, 2017


Directed by Byung-gil Jung

Written by Beyong-sik Jung, Byung-gil Jung

Cinematography by Saba Mazioum


Starring:

Ok-bin Kim as Sook-hee

Ha-kyun Shin as Joong-sang

Jun Sung as Hyun-soo

Seo-hyeong Kim as Chief Kwon

Eun-ji Jo as Jim Seon

Ye-ji Min as young Sook-hee


Bloody revenge is at the heart of this stylish, kinetic action-thriller that gives a welcome shot of adrenaline to the classic femme fatale story. Honed from childhood into a merciless killing machine by a criminal organization, assassin Sook-hee is recruited as a sleeper agent with the promise of freedom after ten years of service – and she jumps at the chance for a normal life. But soon enough, secrets from her past destroy everything she s worked for, and now nobody can stand in her way as she embarks on a roaring rampage of revenge.


From the filmmaker  Byung-gil Jung who wrote and directed “Confession of a Murder” comes his latest film “The Villainess”.

Co-written by Byung-gil Jung and Byeong-sik Jung, the film stars Ok-bin Kim (“Thirst”, “The Front Line”), Ha-kyun Shin (“Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance”, “Thirst”, “The Front Line”), Jun Sung (“Pluto”, “High Society”, “Shut Up Flower Boy Band”) and Seo-hyeong Kim (“Late Spring”, “The Berlin File”, “Sweet Sex and Love”).

Screened for its world premiere at the 70th Cannes Film Festival and was well-received by the audience, the film will now be released in North America on Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment.

The film begins with one woman named Sook-hee (portrayed by Ok-bin Kim) slaughtering dozens of men before being captured.

We then see the past of Sook-hee as a 10-year-old girl, being told by her father to hide under the bed.  A group of men comes after her father who stole something from them and then she sees him killed and then bludgeoned by a sledgehammer.

While Sook-hee didn’t see the face of the man who killed her father, she sees the guy with a sledgehammer coming back into the room and it happens to be Jang Chun, a friend of her father.  She immediately thinks he is responsible for her father’s death, when in reality, it was Lee Joong-sang (portrayed by Shin Ha-kyun) that did it.

Jang Chun sells Sook-hee to become a prostitute but Lee Joong-sang ends up saving the little girl and takes her into his gang where she is trained to become a killer.  For Sook-hee (adult version portrayed by Ok-bin Kim), as she gets older, her goal is to kill Jang Chun as revenge for killing her father.

And Sook-hee gets her revenge on Jang Chun, but Jang Chun tells her that he wasn’t responsible and before he could tell her the truth, he is killed by Lee Jong-sang.  But Lee Joong-sang does all he can to make sure that Sook-hee doesn’t know the truth of who was responsible for killing her father.

And as she is trained and raised to become the perfect assassin, she falls for Lee Joong-sang.  But because she is falling in love with him, he is upset by that and cuts her off by planning a fake marriage with her and stages his own death and upset and what took place, we learn that the opening scene with the many kills by her at the beginning of the movie was in reaction to Lee Jong-sang’s death.

She is arrested but because of her mercenary talents, she is taken in by Korea’s intelligence agency along with other similar girls who will take on deadly jobs.  And for Sook-hee, because she is pregnant, she is given a chance of freedom to live with her daughter if she works for them for 10 years.

Sook-hee agrees to the terms, raises her daughter under a new name and tries to start a new life.  Meanwhile, the agency has a man named Jung Hyun-soo (portrayed by Jun Sung), who is to work undercover and keep watch on her.  But eventually these two would fall in love.

When her target is to be meeting at a nearby building, the agency stages a wedding where Sook-hee would be a sniper and take out the target from a building across the street.  But what she doesn’t expect is to find out that her target is the man that she loved…Lee Joong-sang.  The same man who killed her father.

How will life change for Sook-hee when she finds out that Lee Joong-sang is still alive?


VIDEO:

“The Villainess” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Picture quality is fantastic, close ups show great detail. Great action shots and great detail for closeups. The film looks great in HD and I didn’t notice any artifact or banding issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Villainess” is presented in Korean and English 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Dialogue and music is crystal clear, as with action sequences which utilize the surround channels quite well.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Villainess” comes with a “making of” featurette.

EXTRAS:

“The Villainess” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.


Modern Korean action films have often become more slash and hack, run and shoot type of films.  Trying to show the highest of highs and lowest of lows with no shying away from true brutality.

Where no character’s love ones are spared, “The Villainess” is a film that captures high-octane action, savage brutality and an insane number of kills.

Sure, it may seem almost a bit video game-like when the film starts off with one woman, Sook-hee, decimating an entire gang and many dozens of men are shot and stabbed to death but it’s what the film is all about, a woman who was trained to be the perfect assassin.

So, wonderful at being a killing machine but disregarded by the man who help made her what she is…a villainess because she had fallen in love with him.

And because she thinks she is dead, she is recruited by the Korean intelligence agency to get a new lease of life if she fulfills a 10 year duty to pull off kills, but at the same time, she can raise her daughter and live a new life, under a new name, and pursue a career as an actress.

But because of this new life, it doesn’t mean that life is less risky.  She’s still a mercenary and being put on the most deadliest missions for the Central Intelligence Agency where her chance of dying is quite high.

But things seem to be looking up as she has fallen for her neighbor Jung Hyun-soo (portrayed by Sang Joon), not knowing that he is a spy for the agency but he genuinely falls in love with Sook-hee.

What she doesn’t expect is that her next target is actually the man that made her to an assassin, a man that she loved and a man that should be dead, Lee Joong-sang.  She doesn’t know that he is also the man that killed her father, when she was young.

An action film full of twist and turns, many people tortured, beaten, killed and a Korean action film that continues the brutality that one is used to seeing, from films such as “Oldboy” and “The Man from Nowhere”, the film almost feels as if inspired by Luc Besson’s 1990 film “La Femme Nikita”.

Some may find “The Villainess” to be a bit over-the-top and almost too video game-like but for the most part, filmmaker Byung-gil Jung knows how to target the audience that absolutely loves action films with thrilling action and crazy kills.

Picture quality and Lossless audio is very good and for those who are not into reading English subtitles and watching it in its original Korean presentation and prefer English dubs, “The Villainess” does come with a good English dub.  And the Blu-ray release does come with a “Making of”.

Overall, “The Villainess” is no doubt one of the craziest, high-octane revenge action films that I have seen come out from Korea and Asian in general in the past few years.  If you are an Asian cinema fan who loves violent action films, then “The Villainess” is for you!

 

WWE® STUDIOS AND SONY PICTURES WORLDWIDE ACQUISITIONS TO PARTNER ON THE MARINE 6: CLOSE QUARTERS

November 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Starring WWE Superstars The Miz® and Becky Lynch™, and
WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels®


Burbank, Calif. (November 22, 2017) – WWE Studios and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) today announced that the two studios will partner again to release the upcoming action film The Marine 6: Close Quarters, directed by James Nunn (The Marine 5: Battleground, Eliminators). The film will feature WWE Superstars The Miz and Becky Lynch, and WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, and is set to begin production on Monday, November 27 in London.
When Jake Carter (The Miz) and fellow Marine Luke Trapper (Shawn Michaels) stumble upon a kidnapped girl being held prisoner by a dangerous gang of international criminals, they find themselves in the crosshairs as they try to save the girl and bring her kidnappers to justice.

The Marine series continues to deliver action-packed entertainment to our fans, and we are excited to partner again with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and director James Nunn to bring The Marine 6: Close Quarters to a global audience” said Michael Luisi, President of WWE Studios. “The motion picture debut of the talented Becky Lynch and the addition of Shawn Michaels to the series, alongside The Miz, is sure to bring the excitement and action to the next level.”

The film is written by Craig Walendziak.

ABOUT WWE STUDIOS
WWE Studios develops and produces feature films, as well as television and digital content. Its diverse slate is released theatrically, direct to home, and/or across digital platforms, and is co-produced & distributed through partnerships with premier global entertainment companies. WWE’s film division, led by President Michael Luisi, is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA.

Upcoming films from WWE Studios include Fighting With My Family, written and directed by Stephen Merchant and featuring Dwayne ‘The Rock®’ Johnson, Vince Vaughn, Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden, Lena Headey and Nick Frost, and The Buddy Games, co-written and directed by Josh Duhamel who also stars alongside Dax Shepard, Kevin Dillon, Olivia Munn, Nick Swardson, Dan Bakkedahl, James Roday and WWE Superstar Sheamus®.

Films from WWE Studios include The Call with Halle Berry and WWE Superstar David Otunga®, Birth of The Dragon acquired at the Toronto Film Festival, the Sundance film Sleight starring Jacob Latimore, Dulé Hill and Seychelle Gabriel, Oculus directed by Mike Flanagan starring Karen Gillan and Katee Sackhoff, Dead Man Down with Colin Farrell and WWE Superstar Wade Barrett®, Incarnate starring Aaron Eckhart and featuring WWE Superstar Mark Henry®, Armed Response starring Wesley Snipes, Anne Heche, Dave Annable and WWE Superstar Seth Rollins®, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone starring Brett Dalton, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes and WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels®; and animated films, Surf’s Up 2: WaveMania, Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery, Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Speed Demon, The Flintstones Stone Age Smackdown and The Jetsons & WWE:  Robo-WrestleMania.

ABOUT SONY PICTURES WORLDWIDE ACQUISITIONS
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company. SPE is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., which is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group includes film labels Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, and Sony Pictures Classics.  For additional information, visit http://www.sonypictures.com.

 

Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” is a Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Irving Berlin classic.  Presented in its original B&W and also a colorized version, this is no doubt the best presentation of the film.  But even better is the inclusion of the wonderful “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical” on Blu-ray making this “Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” worth owning!

Images courtesy of © 1942 Paramount Pictures Inc.  Renewed 1969 by EMKA. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Holiday Inn

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 1942

DURATION: 1 Hr. and 41 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p (1:33:1 Aspect Ratio), English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: November 28, 2017


Directed by Mark Sandrich

Screenplay by Claude Binyon

Adaptation by Elmer Rice

Idea by Irving Berlin

Produced by Mark Sandrich

Music by Robert Emmett Dolan

Cinematographer: David Abel

Edited by Ellsworth Hoagland

Art Direction by Roland Anderson, Hans Dreier

Costume Design by Edith Head

Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical

Directed by David Horn

Produced by Mitch Owgang

Executive Producer: David Horn

Post Production Producer: Bill Kabel

Associate Producer: Julie Leonard

Lighting Designer: Alan Adelman

Audio Producer: Daryl Bornstein

Line Producer: Eileen Bernstein

Edited by Gary Bradley

Online Editor: Michiel Pilgram

Associate Editor: Annette Jolles

Production Manager: Lisa Richardson


Starring:

Bing Crosby as Jim Hardy

Fred Astaire as Ted Hanover

Marjorie Reynolds as Linda Mason

Virginia Dale as Lila Dixon

Walter Abel as Danny Reed Louise Beavers as Mamie

Irving Bacon as Gus

Marek Windheim as Francois

James Bell as Dunbar

John Gallaudet as Parker

Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical

Bryce Pinkham as Jim Hardy

Corbin Bleu as Ted Hanover

Megan Sikora as Lila Dixon

Danny Rutigliano as Charlie Winslow

Morgan Gao as Charlie Winslow

Lora Lee Gayer as Linda Mason

Megan Lawrence as Louise


Screen legends Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire sing and dance their way into your heart in one of the most timeless holiday classics ever, Holiday Inn. Featuring the Academy Award-winning song, “White Christmas,” Crosby plays a song-and dance man who leaves showbiz to run an inn that is open only on holidays. Astaire plays his former partner and rival in love. Follow the two talented pals as they find themselves competing for the affections of the same lovely lady (Marjorie Reynolds). ‘Tis the season for one of the most sensational musical comedies of all time!


Filmmaker Mark Sandrich may be known for his films with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but he’s also known for his 1942 holiday film “Holiday Inn” which he collaborated with Irving Berlin, who wrote the story and also wrote 12 songs for the film, one which would become a holiday classic…”White Christmas”.

Featuring choreography by Danny Dare, the film would bring together Bing Crosby (“Going My Way”, “Road to…” films, “White Christmas”) and Fred Astaire (“Top Hat”, “Swing Time”, “Funny Face”) with actress/dancer Virginia Dale (“Docks of New Orleans”, “The Singing Hill”).

The film would receive a 1943 Academy Award for Best Original Song for “White Christmas” and would receive numerous nominations for “Best Score” and “Best Original Story”.

And to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of “Holiday Inn”, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be releasing the film on Blu-ray and will feature the original but also a color-version of the film.  Also, included is Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical and a digital copy of the film.

“Holiday Inn” revolves around three individuals: Jim Hardy (portrayed by Bing Crosby), Ted Hanover (portrayed by Fred Astaire) and Lila Dixon (portrayed by Virginia Dale) and these three have a popular musical act.

Jim and Lila are getting married and are planning to retire and live in a farm in Connecticut, but Lila shocks Jim by telling him that she’s not done performing and that she has fallen for Ted and will continue on as his partner.

Jim is heartbroken by Lila’s decision but goes ahead and moves to Connecticut and says his goodbye to everyone.

A year later, he returns back to New York City on Christmas Eve and he has found farm life to be difficult but he comes up with an idea to turn his farm to an entertainment venue and call it the “Holiday Inn” and it will only be open on public holidays.  Ted and his agent Danny (portrayed by Walter Abel) think it’s a bad idea but they wish the best for Jim.

While Ted and Danny are at a flower shop in the airport, the employee Linda Mason (portrayed by Marjorie Reynolds) who recognizes Danny as a talent agent, begs him for a chance to work in show business.  He refers her to Jim’s Holiday Inn and next thing you know, Jim finds a new partner.

But when Ted finds out that Lila has left him for a Texas millionaire, Ted drives to the Holiday Inn to talk with Jim.  While drunk, he sees Linda and the two start dancing and everyone is ecstatic, especially Danny who thinks that Ted has found a new partner. But because Ted was drunk, both Ted and Danny do not know the woman that Ted was dancing with and the two now search for the woman who can be their next starlet.

Jim overhears the two and doesn’t want his friend to steal Linda away, like he did with Lila.

Will Jim become successful with the Holiday Inn with Linda?  Or will Ted entice Linda to join him as his partner and become big in show business?


VIDEO:

“Holiday Inn” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:33:1 aspect ratio).  The picture quality of “Holiday Inn” is very good.  Remastered, the film features wonderful clarity and black and white levels are sharp and looks much better than its older DVD counterpart.

As for the colorized version, this is based on the 2008 Legend Films colorization and no doubt one of the better colorization projects that Legend Films have done.  In fact, Legend Films worked with Edith Head’s sketch artist, Jan Muckelstone, as a color design consultant for costume authenticity.

As for “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical”, the musical is presented in 1:78:1 aspect ratio and the stage presentation is colorful but the best part of this musical is that there are many camera angles, from the center, from the left and right of the stage and also a camera above center and above left and right.  A fantastic presentation overall!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” is presented with English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio.  The film features crystal clear dialogue and music through the front channels.

Subtitles are in English SDH, Francais and Espanol.

“Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and not only is the musical crystal clear but also the live audience as well.  The musical sounds fantastic in HD!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” comes with following special features:

  • A Couple of Song and Dance Men – (44:36) A documentary about Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire with film historian Ken Barnes and actress Julie Andrews.
  • All-Singing All-Dancing – (7:15) A featurette about how the singing and dancing was created for film before and for post-production.
  • Coloring a Classic – (8:51) A featurette about the coloring of “Holiday Inn” by Legend Film and the process and planning involved.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by film historian Ken Barnes including archive audio comments from Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and John Scott Trotter
  • Theatrical Trailer

EXTRAS:

“Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” comes with an UltraViolet Digital HD code and a Blu-ray disc of “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical”.


While Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire only made two films together, the pairing of these two actors was no doubt a major collaboration between the two men known for their music and dancing. But also showcasing the dancing and the vocals of Virginia Dale and Marjorie Reynolds.

But also a collaboration between director Mark Sandrich, know for directing many of the famous Astaire/Rogers films and with songwriter Irving Berlin.

And “Holiday Inn” has remained a a class holiday film known for popularizing the holiday song “White Christmas”, which was interesting because Berlin and Crosby didn’t think much about the song and would never expect the song to be an iconic Christmas song that would endure in popularity.

Receiving rave reviews from film critics, “Holiday Inn” would be one of the top grossing films of 1942 in the United States.

The films captures the wonderful music of Irving Berlin but also the wonderful vocal and dancing talent of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.  Both Virginia Dale and Marjorie Reynolds also gave a wonderful song/dance performance throughout the film.

As positive as I am with this film, I will have to mention that for those who are sensitive to films that showcase Caucasian talents in blackface, you may be offended by the “Abraham” minstrel musical number.

While Bing Crosby is seen in blackface, in the audio commentary, film historian Ken Barnes explains how Crosby was one of the few white performers who worked with African American artists despite the criticism he received and flack he got from studio heads.

There is no option to choose an edited version of the film, which many may have seen on television via AMC.  For cinema purists against any removal of scenes, it is important to note that the complete “Abraham” musical number is included on this Blu-ray release.

A big surprise with this 75th Anniversary release of “Holiday Inn” is the inclusion of the “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical”, a two hour fun-filled stage performance.  The musical opened on Broadway in 2016 and the storyline is a much different story than the original film and the “Abraham” minstrel performance and several songs omitted.

The storyline about Jim moving to Connecticut and Lila staying with Ted remains the same but focuses more on Jim’s time at the farm.  Also, the character of Linda Mason is an aspiring performer-turned-schoolteacher who had lived on the farm.  Both are attracted to each other but their relationship is awkward and Linda introduces Louise Badger (a farmhand who worked at the Mason Farm) to help Jim tend the farm.

But as Jim misses performing, he decides to turn his farm to an inn (only open on holidays) and he brings Linda and his friends to perform on New Year’s Eve.  But when Jim sees Ted dancing with Linda, he gets jealous and punches Ted in the face.  Which leads to a second act which I won’t spoil.

But seeing the energy from the play and the focus on character development of the musical, surprisingly, I found myself more entertained by the musical stage version than the original film.

Granted, I enjoyed both of them but the uplifting energy from the musical, plus the inclusion of other popular Irving Berlin films made me enjoy “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical” even more!

As for the Blu-ray release, the film is presented in 1080p High Definition black and white (1:331) and also features a new colorized version from Legend Films (known for colorizing many classic B&W films).  Picture quality is no doubt better in terms of clarity and sharpness compared to the older DVD.  And as for the colorization, I used to be a bit critical of the older colorization films from Legend Films but I have to say that with newer technology, the colorization of “Holiday Inn” is well-done.

The lossless audio is in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels.

The picture quality of “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical” is also wonderful and the camera work in capturing the stage version is well done!  And the lossless soundtrack in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is crystal clear!

And as for special features, you get a lengthy featurette about the Crosby/Astaire collaboration, an insightful featurette about the making of the dancing scenes and also a featurette about the making of the colorization for the film.  Also, an audio commentary is included.

Overall, “Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” is a Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Irving Berlin classic.  Presented in its original B&W and also a colorized version, this is no doubt the best presentation of the film.  But even better is the inclusion of the wonderful “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical” on Blu-ray making this “Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” worth owning!

 

Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

November 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Whether or not you are a Bob Hope fan or a person who wants to own the earlier films of one of Hollywood’s true Kings of Comedy, will no doubt want to check out “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection. Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection

YEAR OF FILM: The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938), College Swing (1938), Give Me a Sailor (1938), Thanks for the Memory (1938), Never Say Die (1939), The Cat and the Canary (1939), Road to Singapore (1940), The Ghost Breakers (1940), Road to Zanzibar (1941), Caught in the Draft (1941), Nothing But the Truth (1941), Louisiana Purchase (1941), Star Spangled Rhythm (1942), My Favorite Blonde (1942), Road to Morocco (1942), Road to Utopia (1946), Monsieur Beaucaire (1946), Variety Girl (1947), Where There’s Life (1947), The Paleface (1948), Sorrowful Jones (1949) + America Masters: This is Bob Hope (2017)

DURATION: The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1 hr. 31 min.), College Swing (1 hr., 26 min.), Give Me a Sailor (1 hr., 20 min.), Thanks for the Memory (1 hr., 15 min.), Never Say Die (1 hr., 22 min.), The Cat and the Canary (1 hr., 12 min.), Road to Singapore (1 hr., 25 min), The Ghost Breakers (1 hr., 25 min.), Road to Zanzibar (1 hr., 31 min.), Caught in the Draft (1 hr., 22 min.), Nothing But the Truth (1 hr, 30 min.), Louisiana Purchase (1 hr, 38 min.), Star Spangled Rhythm (1 hr., 39 min.), My Favorite Blonde (1 hr., 18 min.), Road to Morocco (1 hr., 22 min.), Road to Utopia (1 hr., 30 min.), Monsieur Beaucaire (1 hr., 33 min.), Variety Girl (1 hr., 33 min.), Where There’s Life (1 hr., 15 min.), The Paleface (1 hr., 31 min.), Sorrowful Jones (1 hr., 28 min.) + America Masters: This is Bob Hope (2 hours)

RATED: Not Rated

COMPANY: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

AVAILABLE ON: November 14, 2017


Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection features 21 of the funniest movies from the legendary comedian. As a recognized genius of American comedy, Bob Hope has no equal. From his early days in vaudeville to his years as a top Hollywood box-office draw and star of radio, TV and live performances, Bob Hope’s innocent charm and lightning-quick wit have delighted millions of fans throughout the world. Co-starring some of Hollywood’s greatest stars including Lucille Ball, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Lamour, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Martha Raye, Betty Grable, Paulette Goddard, Jane Russell and, of course, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection will entertain longtime fans and introduce a whole new generation to the unforgettable style of one of the most famous comedians of all time!


Bob Hope is an American comedian and actor who has had one of the most successful careers in Hollywood.

A career that spanned 80 years and starring in more than 70 short and feature films, a longtime host of the Academy Awards, appeared in many stage productions and television roles and also authored 14 books.

Bob Hope has no doubt left a legacy of films and television specials and music that will entertain many generations of people interested in classic Hollywood but also wanting to experience the comedy of one of the true Kings of Comedy.

To celebrate Bob Hope’s career, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be releasing “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection” which contains “Bob Hope: The Comedy Essentials Collection” (15 Classic Movies + 1 Documentary) and Bob Hope and Bing Crosby: The Comedy Essentials Collection (6 classic movies).

Included are:

  • The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938) – A musical starring W.C. Fields and Bob Hope and features Bob Hope’s signature song, “Thanks for the Memory”.  Featuring a race between a new $40 million dollar “Radio powered” ocean liner S.S. Gigantic vs. the smaller S.S. Colossal.  Who will win?
  • College Swing (1938) –  A comedy starring George Burns, Gracie Allen, Martha Raye and Bob Hope.  A college founder of the powerful Alden Family leaves his will to the first female who will graduate from college, unfortunately no one has since 1738.  200 years later, Gracie Alden is the last girl of the line and is having problems with her studies, so she hires Bud Brady (Hope) to help her.
  • Give Me a Sailor (1938) – Starring Betty Grable, Jack Whiting, Martha Raye and Bob hope.  Two brothers, Jim (Hope) and Walter (Whiting) who are sailors of the US Navy love the same woman, Nancy (Grable).  Jim tries to get Nancy’s sister to help break Walter and Nancy’s relationship.
  • Thanks for the Memory (1938) – Starring Bob Hope and Shirley Ross.  A story about an out-of-work writer who stays home and plays a husband at home while his wife goes to work for her former fiance.
  • Never Say Die (1939) – A remake of the silent film, multi-millionaire hypochondriac John Kidley (Hope) is told he only has a month to live.  So, he breaks up with his fiance and heads to the Swiss spa of Bad Gaswasser where he meets a young Texas heiress, Mickey Hawkins (Raye).
  • The Cat and the Canary (1939) – A horror comedy, Cyrus Norman is a millionaire who lived in the Louisiana bayou with his mistress Miss Lu.  His will is to be read and a group meets at the mansion for the reading from the will but someone has removed the will from the safe and tampered with it.
  • Road to Singapore (1940) – Starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, Josh Mallon (Crosby) and Ace Lannigan (Hope) are best friends working on the same ship.  After seeing their fellow sailors being mistreated by their wives and girlfriends, the two vowed to never get involved with women again.  The two head to Singapore but can they stay true to their vow?
  • The Ghost Breakers (1940) – Starring Bob Hope, Paulette Godard and Richard Carlson, what happens when a radio broadcaster, a manservant and an heiress investigate a mystery in a haunted castle in Cuba.
  • Road to Zanzibar (1941) – The second “Road to…” film starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.  Chuck (Crosby) and Fearless (Hope) go on a jungle adventure but what happens when these con-men find themselves attracted to two con-women.
  • Caught in the Draft (1941) – Vain Hollywood actor has a big fear of being drafted into the US army, afraid of loud noises, accidentally joins the army.
  • Nothing But the Truth (1941) – Starring Bob Hope and Paulette Godard.  When stockbroker T.T. Ralston promises his niece Gwen (Godard) to double the amount if she can raise $20,000.  So, she asks Steve Bennett (Hope) to raise the money.
  • Louisiana Purchase (1941) – A senator investigating graft in Louisiana is the target of a scheme involving a beautiful woman named Marina (portrayed by Vera Zorina).
  • Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) – An all-star musical.  What happens when former silent movie star Pop Webster (portrayed by Victor Moore), who works as a security guard at Paramount Pictures, tells his son Johnny (portrayed by Eddie Brack), from the Navy that he is the studio’s Executive VP in Charge of Production.  But what happens when Johnny surprises his father with a visit to Hollywood.  When Johnny offers to put on a variety show, can he get Bob Hope and Bing Crosby to perform?
  • My Favorite Blonde (1942) – Starring Bob Hope and Madeleine Carroll. What happens when a vaudeville performer gets mixed up with British and German secret agents?
  • Road to Morocco (1942) – Starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.  What happens when two castaway on a desert shore are sold into slavery by a beautiful princess?
  • Road to Utopia (1946) – Starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, what happens when two vaudeville performers go to Alaska to make a fortune?  Received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
  • Monsieur Beaucaire (1946) – Starring Bob Hope and Joan Caulfield.  What happens when a barber of King Louis XV masquerades as a nobleman engaged to the princess of Spain?
  • Variety Girl (1947) – What happens when two hopeful actresses (portrayed by Mary Hatcher and Olga San Juan) come to Hollywood and exchange identities.
  • Where There’s Life (1947) – Starring Bob Hope and Signe Hasso. Michael Joseph Valentine is an American radio announcer who finds out that he is the new king of “Barovia”, but a secret society known as Mordia (who assassinated the previous ruler) targets him.
  • The Paleface (1948) – Starring Bob Hope and Jane Russell.  Calamity Jane (Russell) finds out who is smuggling her rifles to the Indians.  After marrying a dentist named Peter “Painless” Potter (Hope), can he keep her identity a secret.
  • Sorrowful Jones (1949) – Starring Lucille Ball and Bob Hope.  A remake of Shirley Temple’s film, “Little Miss Marker”.  A young girl is left with the very cheap Sorrowful Jones (Hope). When her father doesn’t show up, he has to take care of the child, which interferes with his lifestyle.
  • America Masters: This is Bob Hope (2017) – The unabridged director’s cut of the film.  Voiced by Billy Crystal and featuring interviews with Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Margaret Cho, daughter Linda Hope, Kermit the Frog, film critic/historian Leonard Maltin, Conan O’Brien, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Connie Stevens and biographer Richard Zoglin (author of “Hope: Entertainer of the Century”).

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • Bob Hope and the Road to Success – (14:12) Author Randall G. Mielke discusses Bob Hope and Bing Crosby “Road to…” films.
  • Entertaining the Troops – (6:17) Bob Hope biographer Richard Grudens reflects on Bob Hope entertaining the troops.
  • “Sweet Potato Pie” Sing-A-Long
  • “The Road to Morocco” Sing-A-Long
  • “The Buttons and Bows” Sing-Along
  • Command Performance 1944 – (6:46) From “Command Performance USA” from 1944.
  • Command Performance 1945 – (5:02) Excerpt from Army-Navy Screen Magazine of Bob Hope’s appearance on “Command Performance USA” in 1945.
  • Hollywood Victory Caravan – (19:44) A 1945 short about a girl trying to get to Washington D.C. to be with her lonseom brother, a wounded G.I. and she persuades Bing Crosby to let her join his caravan.

With the release of “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection, fans are no doubt getting one of the best sets featuring a collection of Bob Hope films.

Bob Hope emerged as an actor as early as 1934 in numerous shorts, but it wasn’t until 1938 when he starred in “The Big Broadcast of 1938” when Bob Hope would appear in a feature film and the song “Thanks for the Memory” would become his trademark.  And from that first film and on, he would grow into a comedic actor and would become one of America’s most beloved onscreen actors and entertainers for many decades.

And with the collection of films in “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection”, included are nearly all the films that Bob Hope starred in from 1938-1949. This includes his first feature film,  four of his successful “Road to…” films with Bing Crosby and many films that help define Bob Hope as one of the best American comedians of all time.

Of the 28 films Bob Hope made from 1938-1950, 21 films are included in this set.  Two of his film in the early ’40s were created for MGM (and can be found in the DVD set “Bob Hope MGM Movie Legends Collection”) while others have not been released on DVD.

The majority of the early Bob Hope films were distributed by Paramount Pictures and in 1955, MCA (Music Corporation of America) purchased the pre-1950 sound films from Paramount.  In 1958, MCA purchased Universal (and currently, all of MCA, Universal, NBC are owned by Comcast).  So, that is how many of the pre-1948 Paramount films made it to this set.

Many may wonder how could this be considered an “Ultimate Movie Collection” when four of the seven Bing Crosby/Bob Hope “Road to…” films are included in the “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Collection” and that three films were left out.   Paramount actually let the copyright expire for “Road to Rio” and “Road to Bali” and so they are available via Public Domain (so, many companies have released inferior versions on DVD), while the seventh film “The Road to Hong Kong” is owned by MGM.  Fortuantely, Paramount licensed the rights to Kino Lorber for a few pre-1950 (and later) Bob Hope films such as the 1947 film “My Favorite Brunette”, “Road to Rio” and “Road to Bali” for Blu-ray release.   So, now people can watch much better versions of these films in terms of picture quality.

So, for the most part, this set is not 100% complete but you do get a huge majority of these earlier Bob Hope films in this DVD box set. In my opinion, it’s the classic black and white Bob Hope films that I tend to favor the most.  But if you are a serious Bob Hope fan, he has created many hilarious and entertaining films throughout his career.

And for an actor with so many films created, it’s great to see Universal Studios Home Entertainment releasing a DVD set with nearly two dozen films.

Prior to the release of “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection”, it was a little costly to purchase Bob Hope sets.  For example, the Universal release of “Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memories Collection” only featured six films and you were paying a little less than $25. The four film “The Bob Hope and Big Crosby Road to Comedy Collection” was over $15.  And now you can get this 21 movie set plus the “American Masters: This is Bob Hope” documentary plus a few Bob Hope shorts for under $42.  So, it’s an amazing deal!

For those who owned prior Bob Hope DVD releases, it’s important to note that there are no new special features and there is no new remastering or restoration that were done with each film.  There are 10 DVD’s are provided with two to three films per DVD.

I wished that Universal would have considered releasing this set on Blu-ray, because it would have given more fans, especially those who owned the previous DVD’s, to upgrade to better quality versions of the film.  But until then, this DVD set with 21 films featuring Bob Hope is magnificent!

Overall, whether or not you are a Bob Hope fan or a person who wants to own the earlier films of one of Hollywood’s true Kings of Comedy, will no doubt want to check out “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection.  Recommended!


 

Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

This set is amazing and is the definitive Alfred Hitchcock set to own (featuring many of his films from 1942-1976) and any cineaste wanting to own these magnificent Alfred Hitchcock films on Blu-ray will want the Ultimate Collection. And this 2017 release is even better with 10 additional TV episodes included. This set is no doubt a 5 STAR release! “Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: Saboteur (1942), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Rope (1948), Rear Window (1954), The Trouble with Harry (1955), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Marnie (1964), Torn Curtain (1966), Topaz (1969), Frenzy (1972), Family Plot (1976)

DURATION: Saboteur (1 hr., 49 min.), Shadow of a Doubt (1 hr, 48 min.), Rope (1 hr, 21 min.), Rear Window (1 hr., 52 min.), The Trouble with Harry (1 hr., 39 min.), The Man Who Knew Too Much (2 hrs.), Vertigo (2 hrs., 8 min.), North by Northwest (2 hrs., 16 min.), Psycho (1 hr., 49 min.), The Birds (1 hr., 59 min.), Marnie (2 hrs., 10 min.), Torn Curtain (2 hrs., 8 min.), Topaz (2 hrs., 23 min.), Frenzy (1 hr., 56 min.), Family Plot (2 hrs.) + 7 TV Episodes from “Afred Hitchcock Presents” and 3 TV Episodes from “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour”

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition

COMPANY: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: October 17, 2017


Universally recognized as the Master of Suspense, the legendary Alfred Hitchcock directed some of cinema’s most thrilling and unforgettable classics. Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection features 15 iconic films from the acclaimed director’s illustrious career including Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest and many more. Starring Hollywood favorites such as James Stewart, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Paul Newman, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery and Kim Novak, this definitive collection showcases a true cinematic master at his best. Featuring over 15 hours of insightful bonus features plus an exclusive collectible book, each film has been digitally restored from high resolution film elements for the ultimate Hitchcock experience.


 

For the cinema fans who are fans of Alfred Hitchcock, Universal has released “Alfred Hitchock: The Ultimate Collection” which comes with 15 movies and 10 TV episodes plus over 15 hours of bonus features and a booklet.

Included in the “Alfred Hitchcok: The Ultimate Collection” are the following films:

  1. Saboteur – A 1942 film noir spy thriller.  The film revolves around Barry Kane (portrayed by Robert Cummings) who works at Stewart Aircraft Works in Glendale, California.  When he and his friend Mason (portrayed by Virgil Summers) bump into a man named Fry (portrayed by Norman Lloyd), not long afterward, a fire is started and when the men go to stop the fire, Mason is burned to death.  When investigators interview Barry, he tells him that the fire took place after they bumped into a man named Fry, but there are no records of Fry ever working for the company.  And now Barry is accused of sabotaging his worksite and killing his friend.  Barry becomes a fugitive and is helped by a blind man (portrayed by Vaughan Glaser), and when his niece, Patricia “Pat” Martin (portrayed by Priscilla Lane) visits, Barry tries to please his innocence to Pat.  But she is more intent of reporting him to the police.  What happens when he kidnaps Pat?  Will Barry find a way to prove his innocence?
  2. Shadow of a Doubt – A 1943 psychological thriller film noir.  The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.  The film revolves around Charlie Newton (portrayed by Teresa Wright) who is excited when her Uncle Charlie (portrayed by Joseph Cotten) is coming to visit.  When two men come to do a national survey, they want to feature the family but Charlie gets upset when a photographer takes his picture and demands for them to give the film to him.   The men reveal to Charlie that they are detectives and suspect that Charlie is the “Merry Widow Murderer”.  Will Charlie help her uncle or will she keep tabs on him for the detectives?
  3. Rope -A 1948 psychological crime thriller film noir based on the 1929 play by Patrick Hamilton inspired by the real-life murder of Bobby Franks in 1924.  One of Hitchcock’s first Technicolor films.  The film revolves around two intellects, Brandon Shaw (portrayed by John Dall) and Phillip Morgan (portrayed by Farley Granger) who strangled their former classmate from Harvard University, David Kentley (portrayed by Dick Hogan).  The two committed the crime as an intellectual exercise and wanted to prove themselves by committing the “perfect murder” inspired by their prep-school housemaster, publisher Rupert Cadell (portrayed by James Stewart) who talked with them about the intellectual concepts of Nietzsche’s Ubermermensch and De Quincey’s art of murder as a means to show one’s superiority over others.
  4. Rear Window – A 1954 American Technicolor mystery thriller based on Cornell Woolrich’s 1942 short story “It Had to Be Murder”.  Considered as one of the greatest movies ever made, the film received four academy award nominations and was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.  The film revolves around professional photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (portrayed by James Stewart) being confined in a wheelchair in his Greenwich Village apartment after breaking a leg while trying to photograph a racetrack accident.  While keeping his windows open to stay cool, he observes various people across the street. One night during a thunderstorm, he hears a woman scream and then the sound of glass breaking.  He sees the woman no longer there and a man with a large knife and handsaw.  Jeff is convinced that the man, Lars Thorwald (portrayed by Raymond Burr) may have killed his bedridden wife.
  5. The Trouble with Harry – A 1955 black comedy.  In the small town of Highwater, Vermont, the body of Harry Worp (portrayed by Philip Truex) is found.  The problem is who the person is, who was responsible for the death and what to do with the body.  No one is upset that Harry is dead.  No one really cares.  And each hope that the body will not bring the attention of the authorities to come to Highwater.
  6. The Man Who Knew Too Much – A 1956 suspense thriller film noir and a remake of Hitchcock’s own 1934 film of the same name.  The film won an Academy Award for Best Song for “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” by Doris Day.  The film revolves around an American family, Dr. Benjamin “Ben” McKenna (portrayed by James Stewart), his wife Jo (portrayed by Doris Day) and their son Hank (portrayed by Christopher Olsen) vacationing in Morocco.  One day, they see a man being chased by the police.  The man who was stabbed in the back approaches Ben and before he dies, tells Bernard that a foreign statesman will be assassinated in London soon and gives him the name “Ambrose Chappelle”.  But when Hank is kidnapped and Ben receives a call that his son won’t be harmed if the McKenna’s say nothing about the warning message Bernard received.  Will the McKenna’s get their son back?
  7. Vertigo – A 1958 film noir psychological thriller based on the 1954 novel “D’entre les morts” (From Among the Dead) by Boileau-Narcejac.  The film focuses on former police detective John “Scottie” Ferguson.  Scottie is forced into early retirement because an incident in the line of duty which caused him to develop acrophobia (an extreme fear of heights) and vertigo (a false sense of rotational movement).  His friend and ex-fiance Midge Wood (portrayed by Barbara Bel Geddes) tells him that perhaps a severe emotional shock may cure him.  One day, Scottie is hired by an acquaintance, Gavin Elster (portrayed by Tom Helmore), as a private investigator to follow his wife, Madeleine (portrayed by Kim Novak) who is behaving strangely.
  8. North by Northwest – A 1959 thriller film considered as one of the “Greatest Films of All Time”.  Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.  The film revolves around two thugs looking for George Kaplan and a waiter calling out for him, meanwhile at the same time, advertising exec Roger Thornhill (portrayed by Cary Grant) is summoning a waiter.  Immediately, Roger is mistaken as George Kaplan and is kidnapped.  He is brought to the estate of Lester Townsend and interrogated by a spy, Phillip Vandamm (portrayed by James Mason).  Roger tries to explain that he is not George Kaplan but they do not believe him.  And now Roger’s life is at risk.
  9. Psycho – A 1960 psychological horror film based on the 1959 novel by Robert Bloch. Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.  The film revolves around a real estate secretary named Marion Crane (portrayed by Janet Leigh) who talks with her boyfriend Sam Loomis (portrayed by John Gavin) how they can’t afford to get married due to his debts.  After lunch, her boss asks her to deposit a $40,000 cash deposit for her company at the bank.  Instead of depositing the money, she steals the money and gives it to Sam to pay off his debt.  But while leaving town, she sees her boss and she becomes paranoid.  While driving, she decides to stop for the night at the Bates Motel, which Norman Bates (portrayed by Anthony Perkins) and his mother operates.
  10. The Birds – A 1963 horror-thrilller film based on the 1952 story by Daphne du Maurier.  Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.  Melanie Daniels (portrayed by Tippi Hedren) is a young socialite known for her racy behavior and her pranks.  While going to Bodega Bey to visit Mitch Brenner (portrayed by Rod Taylor) and her family, they all noticed that something unusual is happening to the birds and they are attacking people.
  11. Marnie – A 1964 psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and based on the 1961 novel by Winston Graham. The film revolves around Margaret “Marnie” Edgar (portrayed by Tippi Hedren) who steals $10,000 from her employer’s safe and flees.  She changes her appearance and identity and heads to Virginia and Baltimore.  Meanwhile, Mark Rutland (portrayed by Sean Connery), hires Marnie for his company.  But what happened when she tries to pull of the same heist on her new boss?
  12. Torn Curtain – A 1966 political thriller about a US physicist and rocket scientist named Michael Armstrong (portrayed by Paul Newman) who is traveling to Copenhagen with his assistant and fiance, Sarah Sherman (portrayed by Julie Andrews).  As he receives a radiogram to pick up a book, he sees a message which prompts him to go to Stockholm.  She follows him but instead of Stockholm, they are flying to East Berlin and he is welcome to the East German government.  Has Armstrong defected?
  13. Topaz – A 1969 spy thriller based on the 1967 Cold War novel by Leon Uris. The film follows a French intelligence agent who becomes entangled in the Cold War politics which lead up to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and eventually the breakup of an international Soviet spy ring in France.
  14. Frenzy – A 1972 British thriller film based on the novel “Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square” by Arthur La Bern.  In London, a serial killer is raping women and strangling them with neck ties.  Who is responsible?
  15. Family Plot – A 1976 Technicolor dark comedy/thriller and the final film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and based on the novel “The Rainbird Pattern” by Victor Canning.  The film is about two couples, a fake psychic and her cab driving boyfriend and another that are professional thieves and kidnappers.

“The Best of Alfred Hitchcock Presents” features the following episodes:

  1. Revenge
  2. Mr. Blanchard’s Secret
  3. Lamb to the Slaughter
  4. Poison
  5. Arthur
  6. Mrs. Bixby and the Colonels Coat
  7. Bang! You’re Dead

“The Best of the Alfred Hitchcock Hour” features the following episodes:

  1. I Saw the Whole Thing
  2. Three Wives Too Many
  3. Death Scene

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Saboteur” comes with the following special features:

  • Saboteur: A Closer Look
  • Storyboards: The Statue of Liberty Sequence
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s Sketches
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer

“Shadow of a Doubt” comes with the following special features:

  • Beyond a Doubt: The Making of Hitchcock’s Favorite Film
  • Production Drawings by Art Director Robert Boyle
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer

“Rope” comes with the following special features:

  • Rope Unleashed
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer

“Rear Window” comes with the following special features:

  • Rear Window Ethics: An Original Documentary
  • A Conversation with Screenwriter John Michael Hayes
  • Pure Cinema: Through the Eyes of the Master
  • Breaking Barriers: The Sounds of Hitchcock
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut Interview Excerpts
  • Masters of Cinema
  • Feature Commentary with John Fawell (Author of “Hitchcock’s Rear Window: The Well-Made Film”)
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Re-Release Trailer Narrated by James Stewart

“The Trouble with Harry” comes with the following special features:

  • The Trouble with Harry Isn’t Over
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer

“The Man Who Knew Too Much” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of the Man Who Knew Too Much
  • Production Photographs
  • Trailers

“Vertigo” comes with the following special features:

  • Obsessed with Vertigo – New Life for Hitchcock’s Masterpiece
  • Partners in Crime: Hitchcock’s Collaborations
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut Interview Excerpts
  • Foreign Censorship Ending
  • The Vertigo Archives
  • Feature Commentary with Director William Friedkin
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lew Wasserman Era
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Restoration Theatrical Trailer

“North by Northwest” comes with the following special features:

  • Destination Hitchcock: The Making of North by Northwest
  • North by Northwest: One for the Ages
  • The Master’s Touch: Hitchcock’s Signature Style
  • Feature Commentary by Screenwriter Ernest Lehman
  • Stills Gallery
  • Trailer Gallery

“Psycho” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of Psycho
  • Psycho Sound
  • In the Master’s Shadow: Hitchcock’s Legacy
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut Interview Excerps
  • Newsreel Footage: The Release of Psycho
  • The Shower Scene With and Without Music
  • The Shower Scene: Storyboards by Saul Bass
  • The Psycho Archives
  • Feature Commentary with Stephen Rebello (Author of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho)
  • Lobby Cards
  • Behind-the-Scenes Photographs
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Re-Release Trailer

“The Birds” comes with the following special features:

  • Deleted Scene
  • The Original Ending
  • The Birds: Hitchcock’s Monster Movie
  • All About the Birds
  • Storyboard Sequences
  • Tippi Hedren’s Screen Test
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut Interview Excerpts
  • Universal International Newsreels
  • Production Photographs
  • 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
  • Theatrical Trailer

“Marnie” comes with the following special features:

  • The Trouble with Marnie
  • The Marnie Archives
  • Theatrical Trailer

“Torn Curtain” comes with the following special features:

  • Torn Curtain Rising
  • Scenes Scored by Bernard Hermann
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer

“Topaz” comes with the following special features:

  • Alternate Endings
  • Topaz: An Appreciation by Film Historian and Critic Leonard Maltin
  • Storyboards: The Mendozas
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer

“Frenzy” comes with the following special features:

  • The Story of Frenzy
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer

“Family Plot” comes with the following special features:

  • Plotting Family Plot
  • Storyboards: The Chase Scene
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer

“The Best of Alfred Hitchcock” comes with “Alfred Hitchcock: A Look Back”

“The Best of the Alfred Hitchcock Hour” comes with “Fast Your Seatbelt: The Thrilling Art of Alfred Hitchcock”

EXTRAS:

“Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection” comes with a 60-page booklet and slipcase.


For any true cinema fan, owning Alfred Hitchock films comes with the territory of a being a true cineaste.

Alfred Hitchcock films are must-own films (unless you are the type who have foresaken physical media and have gone the digital route) and should earn a spot in your cinema collection.

For this review, I’ve already reviewed many Hitchcock films, so I’m going to approach this set of why you should own “The Ultimate Collection” and whether or not it’s worth upgrading from “The Masterpiece Collection”.

When it comes to Alfred Hitchcock films, to enjoy Alfred Hitchock films,  one must know that Hitchock has worked for numerous companies in his long career.  And that there are several releases that are no doubt key collections to own.

“Alfred Hitchcock: The Classic Collection” (MGM but on Blu-ray), “Classic Hitchcock” (Hitchcock’s British films + 1 American film from the Criterion Collection on Blu-ray), “Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection” (Warner Bros. on DVD) and “Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection” (MGM on DVD)  are no doubt the best collections featuring his films from 1927-1941. His first two films “The Pleasure Garden (1925) and “The Mountain Eagle (1926) may not be easy to find but the majority of Hitchcock films can be found in various collections.

But for his major cinema works from 1942-1976, the Universal Studios release of “Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection” was no doubt the collection to own back in 2005.  Back then, the set featured a 14-movie collection on DVD. But in 2012, a 15-movie collection was released on Blu-ray and DVD and in 2013, Universal releasing a UK version “Alfred Hitcock: The Ultimate Filmmaker Collection” with film reel type casing for the Blu-ray’s and poster art cards.

One wouldn’t think that Universal would release another Alfred Hitchcock set so soon, and if anything, one would probably think that a 4K version release would be on the horizon in the near future.  But here we are, five years later since the release of “The Masterpiece – Limited Edition Set” and Universal has now upped the ante by releasing the “Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection” on Blu-ray and DVD featuring the 15 films from the previous set but now including 10 TV episodes from “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” (NOTE: All TV episodes are on DVD, not on Blu-ray).

And simply, “Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection” is the definitive Hitchcock Blu-ray set to own!

While Alfred Hitchcock has had a wonderful list of films in his oeuvre, his Universal films are no doubt the more memorable films.  Films such as “Psycho”, “The Birds”, “Vertigo”, “Rear Window”, “North by Northwest” and “The Man Who Knew Too Much” are films that people tend to hold Hitchcock to the highest regard.  But films such as “Saboteur”, “Shadow of a Doubt”, “Topaz”, “Marnie” are entertaining and showcase that wonderful Hitchcock style of filmmaking.

There are no cinema duds in this set.  Sure, some people may find Hitchcock venturing into black comedy for “The Trouble with Harry” may be too different from his other films for their tastes but that is the beauty of Hitchcock films. He took on different types of films and gave it his own personal style.  From his earliest work to “Family Plot” (his final film), we see Hitchcock evolve as a filmmaker and even with his work for Universal, we see Hitchcock show why he is the Master of Suspense.  His style of filmmaking evolving from “Saboteur” to a film such as “Rear Window”, “North by Northwest” and “Psycho” and to even his final film, “Family Plot”.

Hitchcock was a filmmaker who took on various types of films and to this day, these classic films featured in the “Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection” are still revered, still talked about many decades later and will continue on as topics of discussion among cineaste generations from now.  That is how long-lasting, how effective and how well-respected his cinema work is.

As for the Blu-ray release, as for picture quality, all films are presented in 1080p High Definition.  The first three films are presented in full frame 1:33:1 aspect ratio, while the majority of the films are in widescreen 1:85:1.  The TV episodes are in full frame 1:33:1 aspect ratio.  The films that received the new restoration look fantastic.  Actually, all films look fantastic on Blu-ray compared to the 2005 Masterpiece DVD set.  So, picture quality-wise, you can’t go wrong!  While some may question Universal for not upscaling the TV series to Blu-ray, the fact that you get 10 additional episodes, over 15 hours of bonus features and the booklet is quite amazing.

As for the lossless audio, one should remember that the majority of all Hitchcock films were recorded in monaural and the films are presented in English DTS-HD Master 2.0.  With the exception of “Saboteur”, the other soundtracks for the films include a French DTS Surround 2.0 Mono soundtrack, the only films that have other language selections are Vertigo (which has an Espanol DTS Surround 2.0 soundtrack) and “North by Northwest” which feature a Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese 1.0 soundtrack.

As for subtitles, all films come with an English SDH  and Spanish subtitles.  Only “Saboteur”, “Rear Window”, “Vertigo”, “North by Northwest”, “Psycho”, “The Birds” and “Topaz” come with an French subtitles.

Now, everything I mentioned is positive.  What about the negatives?  Really, there aren’t any.  But if I had to nitpick, I wish that Hitchock’s 1955 film “To Catch a Thief”, which was included in the 2013 UK Blu-ray set “Hitchcock: The Ultimate Filmmaker Collection” but was never included in both the US release of “The Master Collection” or this 2017 “The Ultimate Collection”.  I would imagine because it’s a Paramount Pictures film and what was allowed in UK, was not possible for the US release. It’s also important to note that “To Catch a Thief” from “The Ultimate Filmmaker Collection” had no special features whatsoever and unlike the other discs on that set, “To Catch a Thief” had no label.  So, quality-wise, on that set, the UK received an inferior Blu-ray version of that film.  So, it wouldn’t have matched with this set, as every film disc in “Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection” has special features.

A big question that some may ask is if one should upgrade their “Masterpiece Collection” for “The Ultimate Collection”.  My answer is if you own the “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” DVD sets, then no.  But if you don’t, ask yourself if the additional ten hours of non-film entertainment is worth it for you.

The booklet is the same.  The digibook style sleeves are the same with the addition of the additional pages to hold the TV series but other than that, if you own the Masterpiece Collection, there is no additional special features as they are the same Blu-ray discs.  “The Ultimate Collection” just includes the additional 10 TV episodes.

Overall, this set is amazing and is the definitive Alfred Hitchcock set to own (featuring many of his films from 1942-1976) and any cineaste wanting to own these magnificent Alfred Hitchcock films on Blu-ray will want the Ultimate Collection.  And this 2017 release is even better with 10 additional TV episodes included.  This set is no doubt a 5 STAR release!

“Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection” is highly recommended!

 

Rememory (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

While Mark Palansky’s “Rememory” may not be a groundbreaking film, but I enjoyed the concept and also Dinklage’s performance.  And while the film does have its faults, I did enjoy “Rememory”.

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Rememory

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 112 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p (2:40:1 Aspect Ratio), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English SDH/Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: PG-13

RELEASE DATE: November 28, 2017


Directed by Mark Palansky

Written by Mike Vukadinovich and Mark Palansky

Produced by Daniel Bekerman, Lee Clay

Co-Producer: Ethan Lazar, Tyler Nelson

Executive Producer: Jim Reeve

Music by Gregory Tripi

Cinematography by Gregory Middleton

Edited by Jane MacRae, Tyler Nelson

Casting by Tineka Becker: Tiffany Mak

Production Design by Hank Mann

Costume Design by Patricia Hargraves


Starring:

Peter Dinklage as Sam Bloom

Matt Ellis as Dash Bloom

Jordana Largy as Freddie

Martin Donovan as Gordon Dunn

Evelyne Brochu as Wendy

Henry Ian Cusick as Lawton

Anton Yelchin as Todd

Julia Ormond as Carolyn Dunn

Gracyn Shineyi as Jane Dunn


The film explores the unexplained death of Gordon Dunn (Martin Donovan), a visionary scientific pioneer whose body is found shortly after the unveiling of his newest work: a device able to extract, record and play a person’s memories. Gordon’s wife, Carolyn (Julia Ormond), retreats into her house and cuts off contact with the outside world when a mysterious man (Peter Dinklage) shows up. After stealing the machine, he uses it to try and solve the mystery, beginning an investigation of memories that lead him to unexpected and dangerous places.


From the director of “Penelope” and “A Series of Unfortunaate Events” comes the film “Rememory”.

The film stars Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, “The Station Agent”), Matt Ellis (“Final Destination 3”, “Undead Union: The Making Of”), Jordana Largy (“Once Upon a Time in Wonderland”), Martin Donovan (“Ant-Man”, “Insomnia”, “Weeds”), Evelyne Brochu (“Cafe de Flore”, “Tom at the Farm”, “X Company”), Henry Ian Cusick (“Lost”, “Hitman”, “The 100”), Anton Yelchin (“Star Trek”, “Terminator Salvation”, “Fright Night”), Julia Ormon (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Legends of the Fall”, “My Week with Marilyn”) and more.

And now “Rememory” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate.

The film begins with Sam Bloom (portrayed by Peter Dinklage) at the bar with his brother Dash Bloom (portrayed by Matt Ellis).  As the two drive home, singing out loud, their car is smashed into by another car and when Sam Bloom comes to, Dash is bleeding and dying, while Sam screams for help.

Fastforward to the future and the accident still haunts Sam.  While he is watching Gordon Dunn (portrayed by Martin Donovan), a scientific pioneer who created new technology that allows for one to extract memories and watch them on an external device.

Later, the doctor is approached by a woman named Wendy (portrayed by Evelyne Brochu) who wants something back from the scientist.  We then see Todd (portrayed by Anton Yelchin) who confronts Gordon for ruining his life and bringing up something that should have stayed in the past.  Meanwhile, Cortex CEO, Lawton (portrayed by Henry Ian Cusick) listening in on their conversation.

We then see Wendy coming in and access Gordon Dunn’s Cortex device, Sam parked in the parking lot alone watching Todd, and then later Wendy leave Gordon’s office and then we also see Gordon laying on the ground, dead.

The next morning, Sam learns that Gordon Dunn is dead and when he comes to bring flowers to his widow, he manages to steal keys inside the house and manages to use it to break into his home and steal one of the Cortex prototype devices along with recordings of memories from other test users.

And through these memories, what will Sam discover?


VIDEO:

“Rememory” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio)

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Rememory” is presented with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Rememory” comes with following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Mark Palansky and actor Peter Dinklage
  • The Memories We Keep – (31:59) A featurette about the concept and making of the film, as well as the evolution of the script and casting for the film.  Also, remembering actor Anton Yelchin.

EXTRAS:

The Blu-ray comes with an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


“Rememory” is a film directed and written by filmmaker Mark Palansky and created around actor Peter Dinklage and a film that looks into the extraction of memories.

The film revolves around a man named Sam Bloom (portrayed by Dinklage) who had a tragic past three years and watching scientific pioneer, Gordon Dunn, introduce his Cortex device that allows people to extract memories and watch them on an external device.

But when Gordon Dunn is found dead, we see numerous people along with Samuel who happen to be near the scene of the crime.

When Sam reads that Dunn had died, it leads him to stealing Gordon’s Cortex device in hoping he can find answers of who or what is responsible for his death but most of all, helping him come to terms with his tragic past.

If there was one issue with the film is that Cortex would go through any means of finding the stolen Cortex device and are quite aware that Sam Bloom is possibly involved.  While there are those in the company that are aware of Sam, there is buildup to painting the Cortex Corporation as a big, bad corporation and its leader, Lawton (portrayed by Henry Ian Cusick) being the film’s main antagonist.  But there was no element of danger as Sam was able to go around and accomplish things quite easily.

There is also not much time to establish the other characters in the film, they are merely subjects of tests conducted by Gordon but we don’t feel much impact with these characters at all.  If anything, the film hinges on the shoulders of Sam and Carolyn Dunn (portrayed by Julia Ormond).

I will also add that for the short moments that Anton Yelchin was in the film, you can’t help but feel sad that this young talented actor is no longer with us.  He had an emotional performance in the film and “Rememory” was among the last three films that Yelchin would make before dying in a fatal accident in the summer of 2016.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is good, especially on close-ups.  Lossless audio is primarily dialogue-driven and the audio commentary and featurette were entertaining.  I like the fact that Palansky gave people a chance to send in their own HD memories and they included a few of those selected, for their memory footage to be part of the film.

Overall, while Mark Palansky’s “Rememory” may not be a groundbreaking film, but I enjoyed the concept and also Dinklage’s performance.  And while the film does have its faults, I did enjoy “Rememory”.

 

Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The exciting, action-packed finale of “Blue Exorcist” is here! Twin brothers, Rin and Yukio must join forces in confronting their demonic father, Satan! “Blue Exorcist” turned out to be an exciting, action-packed series that I highly recommend! And for fans, “Blue Exorcist: Limited Edition Blu-ray Set II” is definitely worth owning!

Purchase this Blu-ray from Rightstuf

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © 2009 by Kazue Kato/SHUEISHA, Blue Exorcist Committee, MBS. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga 1

YEAR: 2017

DURATION: (Episodes 1-6) 147 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: 13 and Up

Release Date: November 14, 2017


Based on the manga by Kazue Kato

Directed by Koichi Hatsumi

Series Composition by Toshiya Ono

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano, Kohta Yamamoto

Character Design by Keigo Sasaki

Art Director: Maho Takahashi

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Bryce Papenbrook as Rin Okumura

Jun Fukuyama/Johnny Yong Bosch as Yukio Okumura

Kana Hanazawa/Christine Marie Cabanos as Shiemi Moriyama

Kazuya Nakai/Kyle Hebert as Ryūji Suguro

Ayahi Takagaki/Stephanie Sheh as Kuro

Eri Kitamura/Kira Buckland as Izumo Kamiki

Hiroshi Kamiya/Sam Regal as Mephisto Pheles

Keiji Fujiwara/Kirk Thornton as Shirō Fujimoto

Koji Yusa as Renzō Shima

Rina Satou/Wendee Lee as Shura Kirigakure

Tetsuya Kakihara/Darrel Guilbeau as Amaimon

Yuuki Kaji as Konekomaru Miw


Blue Exorcist, the manga by Kazue Kato which has surpassed 15 million copies in sales. Following a TV anime series and a theatrical film, the long-awaited new series has come back! Set in Kyoto, a new chapter of Blue Exorcist is about to begin…

Born the spawn of Satan, Rin Okumura decides to hide his origins, and become an exorcist. He enrolls at the Exorcism Cram School, a training institute for exorcists located on the True Cross Academy grounds. But, his cover is blown during an attack by Amaimon, the King of Earth, and he is revealed to be the son of Satan. Terrified of Satan’s blue flames, his friends start to distance themselves from Rin…

It is then that someone steals the Left Eye of the Impure King, sealed away in the deepest part of the academy, and Rin and the others find themselves embroiled in an unexpected crisis…


Nearly six years since “Blue Exorcist” first aired on Japanese television, now the 12-episode anime series “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga” has aired in Japan and will now be released on Blu-ray in the U.S. courtesy of Aniplex of America, Inc.

In the “Kyoto Saga”, Rin’s secret that he is the son of Satan has been exposed and for some his friends, they realize that Rin is the son of the demon that killed their family and friends.  And because of Rin showed signs of trying to use his power against evil, to be used as a weapon if his father was to reappear, he has been given a second chance.  Mess up and he will be executed.

Meanwhile, the “Left Eye of the Impure King”, a demon relic was stolen from True Cross Academy.  And now someone is trying to steal the right eye…who among the Myoda sect are responsible?

What is the secret to Rin’s sword and how did his father come to acquire it?  And can Rin stay out of trouble to prevent being executed?

Find out in “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga” vol. 1!

So, What is “Blue Exorcist”?

“Ao no Exorcist” (Blue Exorcist) is an anime adaptation of a manga series written and illustrated by Kazue Kato, a mangaka who won a Tenkaichi Manga Award back in 1999 at the age of 19 and won a Tezuka Award in 2000 for his manga “The Witch and the Rabbit”. Kato is also known for his 2006 manga series “Robot Usakichi” (Space Traveler Robo & Usakichi).

“Blue Exorcist” was serialized on Jump Square Magazine by Shueisha since April 2009 and is still an ongoing manga series (as of January 2012, there have been a total of 30 chapters released).

With the popularity of the manga series, an anime adaptation was produced by A-1 Pictures with Hitoshi Okamura as the producer. The series began back in April 2011 and 25-episodes have aired in Japan. And now the second setof “Blue Exorcist” was released on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex.

The series revolves around a hotheaded teenager named Rin Okumura. Both he and his brother Yukio have been raised by Father Fujimoto at the Cross Academy Town – Southern Cross Boys Monastery. While Yuki shows great intelligence and is attending school at True Cross Academy to become a doctor, Rin is quite the opposite. He tends to get himself in trouble, fights a lot and is continually told by Father Fujimoto to find a job.

Unfortunately for Rin, finding and holding onto a job is difficult. But one day, while working at a supermarket, he sees a monster in a girl’s scarf. He tells Father Fujimoto of what he has seen and Father Fujimoto starts to fear that something is happening. One day, Rin encounters a group of thugs and its leader that he had beaten up earlier and suddenly sees him turn into a demon. The demon tells Rin that satan is waiting for him and immediately, Father Fujimoto is there to save him and exorcise the demon. Fortunately, Father Fujimoto is there to help but it is all revealed to Rin about why he can see monsters.

It’s the fact that he is not truly human. He is the son of a human woman and satan. And the monsters he have seen, it is explained to Rin that in the world, there is Assiah, the realm of humans, and Gehenna, the realm of demons. Both are not supposed to come in contact with each other but they have and as an exorcist, it is his duty to send the demons back to where they belong. And satan wants to reunite with his son.

To protect Rin, Father Fujimoto gives him the Kamkakushi key, so he can hide anything. And he is also given the Koma Sword, a magic sword passed down from generation to generation and a sword where Rin’s powers have been sealed since birth. Rin’s flame resides inside the sword and is sealed by the scabbard. If he draws it, he will assume his demonic nature and will never be able to live as a human again.

One day, he and Father Fujimoto try to prepare for an imminent attack and tells Rin that he must seek shelter where satan can’t get to him but Rin takes it as his father trying to get rid of him forever. In return, Rin said some hurtful things to Father Fujimoto and the pain that Father Fujimoto felt was enough for satan, the demon to possess him.

Satan shows up to claim his son and attacks Father Fujimoto. Satan reveals that he created Rin from a human woman in order to create a container that would be powerful enough to hold him.

But it’s something that Father Fujimoto will not let happen to the boy, he looked at as a son. In order to save Rin, Father Fujimoto risks his own life to keep satan away and is killed in the process.

Now Rin mourns for the one person he knew as his father and when Mephisto Pheles, a friend of Father Fujimoto comes to visit, he tells him that they represent the Knights of the True Cross and they exorcise demons. And Rin has two choices, they will kill him, or he kills the demons. Instead, Rin tells him that he could care less about being human or a demon, he wants to become an exorcist like Father Fujimoto and avenge him and that means defeating his own father.

So, from that point on, Rin must be trained to become an exorcist and will have to follow special rules (which includes not revealing his true nature). But the first thing that he will need to do is enroll at the same school that his brother Yukio attends. When Rin sees his brother, Yukio is in the top of the class and that he is a special leader that people follow at the school and he is no longer the scrawny younger brother he once knew.

As Rin is now a student at the Knights of the True Cross, many of the elders are not too thrilled because Rin is the son of Satan and because Rin tends to be more of a hothead, they are not too sure if he can fit into the Academy.  But Rin is determined to make good on his promise to his deceased father and to protect people, but most of all, to kill satan.

The story continues as Rin continues to study along with his classmates and each are trying to be Esquires, in order to take on various missions.  But others at the Academy and the higher ups want to test Rin and find out if he is a person that can be taught and eventually fight with the other exorcists in defeating demons and satan himself.

While people question a demon being an exorcist, for Rin, he makes a goal that one day, he will become a Paladin (highest level of exorcism) like his adoptive father, Father Shiro and prove that because he is satan’s son, that having a caring father like Shiro can make a big change in the life of a person, even if they are a demon.


“Blue Exorcist” features the following characters:

  • Rin Okamura – The main protagonist.  The son of Satan but born from a human mother.  He and his brother Yukio are twins but he inherited his father’s powers.  Rin’s power was sealed inside a sword by Mephisto Pheles, so he can live a human life.  Rin was raised by the priest Shiro Fujimoto as normal humans with compassion and love.  Despite getting into a lot of trouble and his abilities tend to be more of fighting or cooking, since discovering his power and identity, he vows to use his power to avenge his adoptive father Shiro Fujimoto’s death and defeat Satan.  He vows to attend True Cross Academy and do all it takes to become a Paladin and a “Meister” (Knight).  Rin also has taken in a dog demon (Cat Sith) which he names Kuro.
  • Yukio Okamura – The son of Satan but born from a human mother.  Unlike Rin he did not inherit Satan’s powers.  Known as the intellectual person of the family, unbeknown to Rin was that he has been secretly trained to become an exorcist since the age of seven in order to protect his brother.  So, now he is an instructor at True Cross Academy and responsible for looking after his brother.  But he harbors a secret…dark spots are starting to appear on his body which Yukio has told no one about, despite being tested daily if Satan’s power is in him.
  • Mephisto Pheles – The Chairman of True Cross Academy.  He and Shiro Fujimoto worked together in order to seal Rin’s power and make him human.  Mephisto is a powerful exorcist but because he is a demon, many do not believe him while others believe he has proven he is on the side to fight against Satan.
  • Ryuji Suguro – Also known as “Bon” to his classmates.  He has a high temper and is often fighting and arguing with Rin.  But despite his attitude, he is the best student in the class and dedicated to his studies.  Part of his drive is because Satan destroyed his family temple.
  • Shiemi Moriyama – The daughter of a woman who runs an exorcist-only shop.  She lacks confidence and she is quite sheltered (having lived with her grandmother and her only friends were plants) but when given the chance to meet and make friends at True Cross Academy, being in school gives her a new lease on life.   It appears that both Rin and Yukio may have feelings towards her.  Shiemi is a tamer and can summon a greenman spirit to produce herbs and barriers.
  • Izumo Kamiki – She always has a cold attitude and known for her eyebrows.  The only friend she is close to is her best friend Paku but slowly (very slowly), she is starting to befriend her classmates.  She can summon two Baykko (foxes) to fight.
  • Konkomaru Miwa – Very smart but very shy.  He is the strategist and is loyal to his best friend Ryuji and Renzo, since they grew up at the same temple that was destroyed.  His parents were killed by Satan.
  • Renzo Shima – Carefee, loves to flirt with girls (especially Paku and Izumi) but has a major phobia of insects.  He also grew up with Ryuji and Konekomaru.  Renzo carries a K’rik staff to fight.
  • Shura Kirigakure – The carefree, hardly wears anything, loves alcohol, upper first class exorcist who was asked by priest Shiro Fujimoto to train Rin and help him become a “Meister”.  She can draw a demon sword from her chest and  stomach and is an excellent fighter.
  • Shiro Fujimoto – The priest of Southern Cross Monastery who raised both Yukio and Rin as a loving father.  He is a Paladin in the True Cross Order and was the strongest exorcist.  Was thought to be the only man who could not be possessed by Satan but after an argument with Rin (and Rin saying some hurtful things) which shocked Shiro, it was enough time for Satan to possess Shiro.  In order to protect himself from hurting Rin and Yukio, Shiro sacrificed himself.

VIDEO:

“Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9 Widescreen). The anime production is well-done. The surrounding environments are well-detailed, painted nicely, while the character designs are vibrant, clear and just gorgeous on Blu-ray!

If anything, character designer Keigo Sasaki (“Night Raid 1931″, “Sengoku Basara”) does a great job of bringing the characters from Kazue Kato’s manga series to life, while art director Mahot Takahashi (“Pumpkin Scissors”, “Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee”, “Tokko”) did a wonderful job in bringing the series to life with the scenery and painted backgrounds.

Animation is vibrant, colorful and the series looks great on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Blue Exorcist” is presented in English Linear PCM Stereo and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo with English subtitles. Audio is clear coming from the front channels. Japanese voice acting for the series is excellent! I personally had my receiver set to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack. But dialogue is understandable and English subtitles are easy to read.

As for the English dub track, the overall acting is good but it’s once again an action series with Johnny Yong Bosch as the lead character. For the most part, the voice acting by the English dub staff is very good.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga 1” comes with the Japanese PV’s, trailers and textless opening and closing themes.

EXTRAS:

“Blue Exorcist:Kyoto Saga” comes with a 38-page booklet and comes with three collectable postcards.


I’ve always enjoyed “Blue Exorcist” from the manga and the original series and Rin and his brother Yukio trying to keep a secret that they are the children of Satan.  While Rin is the primary one who has the blue flames and literally needs to control his power or he will become a demon.  While Yukio looks like the level-headed, intelligent brother but in reality, he is trying to hid something dark within him.

As “Kyoto Saga” takes place after Rin’s secret is revealed, his friends are starting to treat him differently.  Primarily because his father is the one who slaughtered their friends or family and for some, having a friend who can turn to evil is not easy for them.

So, for Rin, what matters most is trying to control his power and try not to get in trouble or else face the consequence and that is execution.

For “Kyoto Arc”, there is a new nemesis and one who is trying to revive the Impure King by stealing its left and right eye and to return it back to the demon.  Who is responsible?  And what is the secret of Rin’s sword and how did his father come to acquire it?  All this is revealed in first volume of this saga!

The series has developed quite well in terms of storyline pacing, animation, voice acting and just overall enjoyment and the second season is consistent.  There is a lot of action, humor and drama, especially as Rin is dragged into things and his anger tends to get the best of him.

As for the overall series, the character designs are actually pretty cool, especially the costume designs for the characters. Also, the art backgrounds for this series is nicely detailed and range from pastels to really vibrant colors. Something you typically don’t see in a TV Series.

“Blue Exorcist” has a good balance of humor, action and an interesting concept in balance with awesome animation and beautiful art backgrounds. While the action may be it a bit too visual for younger anime viewers (as this is suggested for 13 and up), for fans of action-based anime or manga series such as “Naruto” and “Bleach” will find “Blue Exorcist” to their liking.

And once again, with the release of “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga I”, Aniplex of America continues to deliver in terms of swag with a special booklet and collectable postcards.

Overall, “Blue Exorcist” turned out to be an exciting, action-packed series that I highly recommend! And for fans who loved the first season, “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga 1” is definitely worth watching!

Purchase this Blu-ray from Rightstuf

 

Next Page »

Bottom