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Terminator 2: Judgment Day (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

December 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is a magnificent, classic James Cameron sci-fi action film.  And as the film had various releases on DVD and Blu-ray, unfortunately this is not the perfect 4K Ultra HD release that fans may have wanted.  The film would stand on its own but this 4K Ultra HD release defeats the point of being a great release with the overuse of DNR.

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 1991

DURATION: 137 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition, 2:40:1 aspect ratio, English, French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, German 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  SUBTITLES: English, Spanish, French and German Subtitles

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R (Strong Sci-Fi Action and Violence and For Language)

RELEASE DATE: December 26, 2017


Directed by James Cameron

Written by James Cameron, William Wisher

Producer: James Cameron

Executive Producer: Gale Ann Hurd, Mario Kassar

Co-Producer: Stephanie Austin, B.J. Rack

Music by Brad Fiedel

Cinematography by Adam Greenberg

Edited by Conrad Buff IV, Dody Dorn, Mark Goldblatt, Richard A. Harris

Casting by Mali Finn

Production Design by Joseph C. Nemec III

Art Direction by Joseph P. Lucky

Set Decoration by John M. Dwyer

Costume Design by Marlene Stewart


Starring:

Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor

Edward Furlong as John Connor

Robert Patrick as T-1000

Earl Boen as Dr. Silberman

Joe Morton as Miles Dyson

S. Epatha Merkerson as Tarissa Dyson

Castuolo Guerra as Enrique Salceda

Danny Cooksey as Tim

Jenette Goldstein as Janelle Voight

Xander Berkeley as Todd Voight


Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator in this explosive action-adventure spectacle. Now he’s one of the good guys, sent back in time to protect John Connor, the boy destined to lead the freedom fighters of the future. Linda Hamilton reprises her role as Sarah Connor, John’s mother, a quintessential survivor who has been institutionalized for her warning of the nuclear holocaust she knows is inevitable. Together, the threesome must find a way to stop the ultimate enemy: the T-1000, the most lethal Terminator ever created. Co-written, produced, and directed by James Cameron (THE TERMINATOR, ALIENS, TITANIC), this visual tour de force is also a touching human story of survival.


For those who grew up during the early years of cable television, James Cameron’s 1984 film “Terminator” shocked and electrified audiences with its special effects and the film’s final scenes.

When it was announced that a sequel was being planned and would be released in 1991, bringing back Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as the Terminator and Linda Hamilton, reprising her role as Sarah Connor.

Suffice to say, the second installment of the “Terminator” franchise didn’t disappoint.  Earning $523.7 million in the box office, which was a huge box office success and earning critical acclaim.

The film would also star a young Edward Furlong (“Detroit Rock City”, “American History X”), Robert Patrick (“The Faculty”, “The Marine”, “Charlie’s Angels”) and Joe Morton (“Justice League”, “Paycheck”, “Speed”) and the film has been released on video via theatrical version, special edition and extended special edition on VHS, LD, DVD, Blu-ray and now on 4K Ultra HD.

And I will be reviewing the 4K Ultra HD version.  It’s important to note that the 4K Ultra HD version features the original theatrical version, but it’s included Blu-ray includes all three versions of the film.

The film is set in 1995, John Connor (portrayed by Edward Furlong) is living with his foster parents and tends to get into trouble.  Meanwhile, his mother, Sarah (portrayed by Linda Hamilton) was arrested and imprisoned at a mental hospital after attempting to bomb a computer factory.

Prior to that, John’s mother had been preparing him for his role as the Human Resistance Leader against Skynet, the artificial intelligence that will be given control of the United States nuclear missile technology and would initiate a nuclear holocaust known as “Judgment Day” on August 29, 1997.

With 3 billion humans killed, Skynet would create robots known as Terminators to kill humankind.  But fighting them is the Human Resistance and in the future, John sends a reprogrammed T-800 Terminator (portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger) to find and protect his younger self back in 1995.

But Skynet sends a new Terminator known as T-1000 back in time to kill John Connor and this time, the Terminator is made out of mimetic poly-alloy (liquid metal), so this new Terminator can take any shape and appearance and make any part of its body a weapon.  In this case, transforming his arms into blades.

The Terminator T-800 is able to trackdown John, who is running away from the T-1000 Terminator disguised as a police officer.  Because the Terminator follows John’s instructions, fearing that the T-1000 will kill his mother, John orders the Terminator to help him rescue his mother Sarah.

As the two are able to free Sarah, she is intent in finding Miles Bennett Dyson (portrayed by Joe Morton), the Cyberdyne Systems engineer responsible for creating Skynet.

But hot on their trail is the T-1000 intent in killing all of them.

Can Sarah, John and the T-800 survive against the T-1000?


VIDEO:

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is presented in 4K Ultra High Definition ala 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).

Picture quality was a bit of a surprise.  Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) was utilized for the clean up for the video and so, the film is devoid of the grain that it previously incorporated.  While casual viewers probably may not be able to tell, videophiles will notice the change in details as picture quality is a bit waxy.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI (Category 2) Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Lossless audio quality is very good with an English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack and a German 6.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack.  With the high level of action featured in this film, may it be the T-800 vs. the T-1000 or the Terminator taking on the police with machine guns ablazing, this is no doubt an immersive action-driven soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” comes with the following special features (on the Blu-ray Disc):

  • T2: Reprogramming the Terminator – The Making of T2 Documentary from 1993 – (30:54) The original “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” documentary from 1993.
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio commentary – (3:13) Two deleted scenes with optional audio commentary from James Cameron.

EXTRAS:

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet Digital HD code (Theatrical Version).


“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is one of those films that I watch often, mainly because it’s a film that brings me a lot of memories.

Going out on a movie date with my girlfriend, who would eventually become my wife.  Purchasing the film on VHS, LD, DVD, multiple times on Blu-ray and now once again watching it on 4K Ultra HD.

Of all the “Terminator” film installments, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” resonates strongly for its storyline and character portrayals and it was an amazing follow-up to the first film.  It was James Cameron’s story, his vision and executed his way.  As for the other films that came after, unfortunately, other films were quite forgetful.

It’s a shame that director James Cameron never came back to “Terminator” soon after the 1991 release, but he, Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton will be back with the sequel to “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” in 2019 and for me, I just want to see the “Terminator” series done right and with James Cameron back, perhaps this is what the franchise had needed long ago.

But as I watch this film again, I still enjoyed it like I did when I was in my teens.  It’s an awesome sci-fi action film that builds upon the original and while there are plenty of action sequences, in today’s cinema world, which dominates many action films over its plot, Cameron wrote a film that balances its action with a storyline that matters.  A storyline that captivates you and a storyline that no doubt took advantage of the special effects of its time in its full efficacy.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was fantastic as the reprogrammed T-800 trying to protect a young John Connor while helping his toned mother, Sarah, portrayed by the toned, muscular Linda Hamilton showing us that she has become a strong female character that can kick a lot of arse. I remember watching her scenes and being amazed of how much she worked out for this film and at the time, showing us a strong female character that took matter into her own hands in order to get the job done.  That was really rare to see in the early ’90s.

You then had the debut of Edward Furlong who had a promising outlook to another young actor at the time, Leonardo DiCaprio but both with two different outcomes in their personal life and acting career.  And sure enough, it was James Cameron’s 1997 “Titanic” film starring DiCaprio that would shoot the young actor’s career into superstardom.  And you had Robert Patrick in one of the coolest antagonist roles at the time.

The film just worked as the action and storyline went smoothly but what James Cameron has planned for the next film, will be exciting to see.  And I look forward to seeing it.

As awesome this film was and how many times I have owned it, I have been looking forward to this 4K Ultra HD version.  As much as I enjoy this film, there are a few problematic things with this release that prevents it from being a five-star release.  All three films are presented in this release, but only on the Blu-ray disc.  The 4K Ultra HD version only showcases the original theatrical version.

The next unfortunate part of this release is the choice to utilize DNR to strip the film’s grain and for videophiles who care about picture quality, this is a no-no.  When you remove the DNR, things look waxy and this may be fine for the casual viewer but for those who invested in 4K Ultra HD, the experience in watching these films in the best way and as close to the original presentation is important.  So, why the choice to use DNR, I am not sure but it affected the picture quality of this release.

But again, all is not lost, as you do get the three versions: theatrical, special edition and extended special edition on the Blu-ray disc and you do get an UltraViolet Digital HD code for the theatrical version.

As for lossless audio, the film sounds great especially how immersive things become during the more action-driven scenes in the film.  So, that’s a plus!

As for special features, the original 1991 documentary and two deleted scenes with optional commentary can be found on the Blu-ray disc.

Overall, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is a magnificent, classic James Cameron sci-fi action film.  And as the film had various releases on DVD and Blu-ray, unfortunately this is not the perfect 4K Ultra HD release that fans may have wanted.  The film would stand on its own but this 4K Ultra HD release defeats the point of being a great release with the overuse of DNR.

Killing Gunther (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Taran Killam’s directorial debut for “Killing Gunther”, a film he wrote and starred in, is no doubt a film full of laughs and plenty of action.  I was surprised how entertaining and fun this film was and not at all hyper-moronic.  And what best than to see Arnold Schwarzenegger return to a film to display his comedic and action talent.  An entertaining popcorn comedy/action film worth watching…”Killing Gunther” is worth watching!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Killing Gunther

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 95 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p (1:85:1 Aspect Ratio), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R

RELEASE DATE: December 26, 2017


Directed by Taran Killam

Screenplay by Taran Killam

Produced by Taran Killam, Kim Leadford, Ash Sarohia, Steven Squillante

Executive Producer: Charles Auty, Maxime Cottray, Liz Destro, Sean Andrew Maurer, Steven Pottash, Arnold Schwarzenegger, D. Todd Shepherd, Joe Simpson, Andrew Xavier Yakub

Associate Producer: Daniel J. Elder, Peter Pietrangeli

Music by Dino Meneghin

Cinematographer: Blake McClure

Edited by Adam Epstein

Casting by Judy Lee

Production Design by Armanno Di Febo-Orsini

Art Direction by Cynthia E. Hill

Set Decoration by Jacqueline Miller

Costume Design by Reiko Kurumada, Ariana Preece


Starring:

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Robert “Gunther” Bendik

Cobie Smulders as Lisa McCalla

Hannah Simone as Sanaa

Allison Tolman as Mia

Taran Killam as Blake

Steve Bacic as Max

Amir Talai as Izzat

Bobby Moynihan as Donnie

Scott McNeil as Cheyenne

Aaron Yoo as Yong

Paul Britain as Gabe

Peter Kelamis as Rahmat

Ryan Gaul as Barold

Alex Duncan as Jewel

Aubrey Sixto as Ashley


KILLING GUNTHER is a comedy set in the world of contract killers. A group of young, raw, and undisciplined assassins hire a docu-crew at gunpoint to have undeniable proof that they’re the ones who will kill the most infamous hit man of all time, Gunther (Arnold Schwarzenegger). But Gunther is on to them before they know it and makes their lives a living hell, turning the hunters into the prey in a kill-or-be-killed race against time.


Saturday Night Live star and actor Taran Killam (“12 Years a Slave”, “Brother Nature”) makes his directorial debut in the action-comedy, “Killing Gunther”.  A film which he also writes and stars as the main protagonist.

The film also stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (“Terminator” films”, “True Lies”, “Predator”), Cobie Smulders (“Avengers” films, “Jack reacher”, “Safe Haven”), Hannah Simone (“New Girl”, “Old Boy”, “Folk Hero & Funny Guy”), Allison Tolman (“The Gift”), Steve Bacic (“The 6th Day”, “X-Men 2”, “Good Luck Chuck”), Bobby Moynihan (“Saturday Night Live”, “Sisters”), Aaron Yoo (“21”, “Disturbia”, “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist”), Ryan Gaul (“Identity Thief”, “Father Figures”), Amir Talat (“The Circle”, “Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay”, “Legally Blonde 2”) and Paul Britain (“Saturday Night Live”, “Hotel Transylvania” films).

And now the film will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate.

The film revolves around a hitman named Blake (portrayed by Taran Killam) who wants to kill the world’s greatest hitman, the mysterious Gunther (portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger) for sleeping and stealing his girlfriend, Lisa McCalla (portrayed by Cobie Smulders).

Now Blake has recruited a group of assassins to kill Gunther.  Including deadly assassin  Sanaa (portrayed by Hannah Simone) and daughter of legendary hitman, Rahmat Fairouza, bomb and explosives professional Donnie (portrayed by Bobby Moynihan), poison expert Yong (portrayed by Aaron Yoo), former extremist Izzat (portrayed by Amir Talai), hacker/computer expert Gabe (portrayed by Paul Britain) and Russian couple Mia (portrayed by Allison Tolman) and Barold (portrayed by Ryan Gaul).  And Blake’s mentor and assassin, Ashley (portrayed by Aubrey Sixto).  And also, Blake has his friend Max (portrayed by Steve Bacic) involved.

And Blake has also hired a documentary crew to document how this group will kill Gunther.  The problem, no one knows Gunther and what he looks like.

But on the first meeting and as Max is going to reveal Gunther’s location, Gunther uses a sniper and kills Max and shoots an RPG towards the group.  Meanwhile, Ashley who is getting out of the hospital, has a heart attack while discussing killing Gunther.

With two people down, the group sets up a fake hit and when Gunther is at a building, the group goes after him and tries to kill him but Gunther ends up evading the group and during a fight with Izzat, manages to choke the extremist with his robotic hand.

While Sanaa was able to pull of a shot and get Gunther in the leg, she is about to get shot but is saved by Donnie who instantly falls for her.

As the group loses Gunther and reviews the security footage, they see Gunther wearing a mask of Blake and realize he is also a master of disguise.

Can Blake and his remaining group members find a way to kill Gunther?  Or will Gunther eliminate all of them?


VIDEO:

“Killing Gunther” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). The film shows great detail on closeups and low-light situations are presented well. Colors are natural, black levels are nice and deep and for the most part, the film looks very good in HD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Killing Gunther” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and features crystal clear dialogue, while action scenes utilize the surround channels very well.    The overall lossless soundtrack is very good!

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Killing Gunther” comes with following special feature:

  • Deleted Scenes– A short featurette on the working relationship of Judi Dench and Ali Fazal.
  • Bloopers – Featuring outtakes from “Killing Gunther”.

EXTRAS:

“Killing Gunther” comes with an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


With Taran Killam making his directorial debut in a comedy/action film, having watched the “Saturday Night Live” talent and also his fellow co-stars in “Killing Gunther” made me think this would be a popcorn comedy/action film that would be moronic or juvenile, like other SNL stars who have appeared in films.

Some manage to create or star in films that are surprisingly good and others who have starred in films that are terribly bad.  And with “Killing Gunther”, fortunately this film lands in the “surprisingly good” category as “Killing Gunther” was hilarious and fun!

The film revolves around a ragtag bunch of killers who come together under Killam’s main character, Blake.  An assassin who wants revenge against Gunther for stealing and sleeping with his girlfriend.

Brokenhearted about the breakup, he wants nothing but to take down the world’s greatest hitman.

But Gunther is the greatest hitman for a reason.  Not only is he a master of disguise but he is often one step ahead of Blake and his group.  And despite how murderous Blake’s team is, they are no match against Gunther.

But if Blake can find out who Gunther really is and where he lives, perhaps he has a chance of killing him.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the character of Gunther and the actor returns to his comedy roots of playing a hitman that just is impossible to kill, and Schwarzenegger brings the laughs as we see the numerous people he had disguised himself as.

And of course, there are many silly moments throughout the film, as one can expect from Killam.  But the most enjoyable part about this film is wondering who will get who and whether or not Blake or Gunther is victorious at the end.  And one will no doubt want to stick around after the credits, as we get the answer of who is the last person standing.

As for the Blu-ray, picture and lossless audio quality is great.  Special features include deleted scenes and bloopers.

Overall, Taran Killam’s directorial debut for “Killing Gunther”, a film he wrote and starred in, is no doubt a film full of laughs and plenty of action.  I was surprised how entertaining and fun this film was and not at all hyper-moronic.  And what best than to see Arnold Schwarzenegger return to a film to display his comedic and action talent.

An entertaining popcorn comedy/action film worth watching…”Killing Gunther” is worth watching!

Arnold Schwarzenegger Admits to Betraying His Family

May 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

When the Los Angeles Times reported that Arnold Schwarzenegger had fathered a child out of wedlock by having an affair with a member of his housekeeping staff and it was the cause of the separation between he and Maria Shriver, many wondered if it was true.

Schwarzenegger has now admitted to it.

In a statement to the LA Times, Schwarzenegger said, “After leaving the governor’s office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago. I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry.”

In an interview with MSNBC, Schwarzenegger’s former spokesperson Sherri Annis was also surprised. When asked if she knew about the affair, Annis said, “Listen, if he concealed it from Maria, he certainly concealed it from me. Maria had his back on every occasion and it was known that she was always looking out for him. So he did a very good cover up job on this one.”

“And I take no pleasure in today’s news. I hate to see it for any family, but especially someone who I knew and really did enjoy working with and for. And I saw a marriage that was — it was a partnership, a real partnership, political partnership, entertainment partnership. They worked together well at the time,” Annis said.

The Terminator – Digibook version (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

James Cameron’s timeless sci-fi classic “The Terminator” will continue to entertain fans for generations to come. But while this digibook release marks the third Blu-ray release of the film, the Blu-ray is the same with the only difference is that it now comes in a digibook format.  If you have the previous versions on Blu-ray, you may not even need to bother with this release unless you are a hardcore fan or collector. But if you have never seen the film before,  then I definitely recommend checking this latest Digibook Blu-ray release for “The Terminator”!

Images courtesy of © 2010 Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Terminator

FILM RELEASE DATE: 1984

DURATION: 108 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 1:85:1), English PCM 5.1 (Uncompress Audio), English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Korean and Chinese

RATED: R

COMPANY: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc./Twentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: May 10, 2011

Directed by James Cameron

Written by James Cameron and Gale Ann Hurd

Producer: Gale Anne Hurd

Executive Producer: John Daly, Derek Gibson

Music by Brad Fiedel

Cinematography by Adam Greenberg

Edited by Mark Goldblatt

Casting by Stanzi Stokes

Art Direction by George Costello

Set Decoration by Maria Rebman Caso

Costume Design by Hilary Wright

Starring:

Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator

Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor

Paul Winfield as Lt. Ed Traxler

Lance Henriksen as Det. Hal Vukovich

Bess Motta as Ginger Ventura

Earl Boen as Dr. Peter Silberman

Rick Rossovich as Matt Buchanan

In the year 2029, the ruling super-computer, Skynet, sends an indestructible cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before she can fulfill her destiny and save mankind.

James Cameron, the mastermind of two of the highest earning films “Avatar” and “Titanic” began his writing/directing career with “Piranha Part Two: The Spawning” back in 1981 but the first film where he would be recognized internationally is for the 1984 film “The Terminator”.

Inspired by “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Star Wars”, Cameron knew at a young age that he wanted to work on sci-fi films.  While working and editing “Piranha Part Two”, the filmmaker had a 102 degree fever and had nightmares of a chrome skeleton crawling through flames.  From that moment, “The Terminator” was born.

Crafting a screenplay which other Hollywood Studios were after, Cameron would not sell it unless he was able to direct.  No one wanted to give him the chance but his friend, producer Gale Ann Hurd, bought the rights to the screenplay, raised the finances and Cameron would be the director.

Created with a budget of $6.5 million, “The Terminator” would go on to make over $78 million.  A major success and also the synergy that would ignite the career of James Cameron who would go on to make “Aliens”, “The Abyss”, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”, “True Lies” and then his two big record-breaking films “Titanic” and “Avatar”.

But as the film would be significant for Cameron, it would also ignite the careers of Arnold Schwarzenegger (“Predator”, “The Running Man”, “Total Recall”), Linda Hamilton (“Beauty and the Beast”, “Dante’s Peak”, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”) and Michael Biehn (“The Abyss”, “The Rock”, “Aliens”).

The Blu-ray release of “The Terminator” came out in 2006.  In 2009, to mark the release of “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” on Blu-ray, a lenticular cover version of the Blu-ray was released.  And now we have a third version of “The Terminator” on Blu-ray which has the same Blu-ray release but it now comes with a digibook with essays, photos and trivia for the film.

“The Terminator” takes place in a post-apocalyptic time on Earth ravaged by war in 2029.  This time, it is the artificial intelligent machines that have conquered humanity and are planning to exterminate the entire human race.

But two people go back in time, to the year 1984.  One is the human resistance fighter Kyle Reese (played by Michael Biehn) and the other is the Terminator cyborg (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) who was sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor, the woman who would raise John Connor, the leader of the human resistance against the machines in the future.

The Terminator does all he can to find Sarah Connor, by going through the phonebook and killing whoever has that name.  When the first two are killed, many worry about the third Sarah Connor in the phonebook.

As Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton) is shocked to hear the news of a possible serial killer going after anyone with the name, she worries about her friend Ginger who is back at home with her boyfriend.  But it’s too late, the Terminator has murdered them and also intercepts Sarah’s phone call that she is at the club.

Immediately, the Terminator heads to the club to go after his target and as he is about to kill her, Kyle Reese barely saves her by pumping several shotgun shells on the Terminator but knowing that these weapons can only slow him but not defeat him.

John explains that his job is to protect her but she has a hard time believing that he is from the future and that a cyborg from the future is trying to kill her.  But Sarah quickly learns that Kyle is telling the truth and both do all they can to run and escape from the The Terminator.  But will Kyle be able to protect her against a foe that can’t be killed?

VIDEO:

It’s important to note that this third digibook Blu-ray release for “The Terminator” is the same Blu-ray from the second release.

Presented in 1080p High Definition (widescreen 1:85:1), like most films released in the early ’80s and are out on Blu-ray, not many films were able to utilize higher stock film.  In fact, despite the enormous success of “The Terminator”, one must remember that this was not a high budget Hollywood film, “The Terminator” was made with a budget of $6.5 million.   One thing you will notice is that this film has aged and there are scenes in which you can see the dust and speckles.

But still, the Blu-ray release does look better than any other video counterpart that the film was released in but with that being said, one thing that high definition does do for sci-fi films is also show the technology of the time.  In the case of “The Terminator”, the scene in which a rubber masked (life sized puppet?) head looks rubberized.  Granted, you can see detail of that mask, such as the lips and eyes but it was a scene that stood out back then in 1984 and it stands out even moreso in 2011.

“The Terminator” is not going to be the best looking film on Blu-ray but if you enjoy the film, this is the best looking version of the film to date.

AUDIO:

I know that many were hoping for a DTS-HD MA or Dolby TrueHD release of “The Terminator” since this is the third Blu-ray release of the film but this digibook version is the same Blu-ray presented like the previous two versions in the fact that “The Terminator” is in English 5.1 uncompressed and English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital.

With that being said, this is still the better version than its older video counterparts.  There are times when the surrounds are utilized during the action sequences, the music sequences and dialogue is clear even when the action sequences are much more audible.  But considering the age of this film and that it was originally a monaural soundtrack, it was nice to see them mix a 5.1 uncompressed soundtrack but it still maintains the same audio as the original 2006 Blu-ray release.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Terminator” comes with the following special features:

  • Creating the Terminator: Visual Effects & Music – (12:58) Presented in standard definition, this featurette goes into the making of the visual effects and the music for the film.
  • Terminator: A Retrospective –  (20:31) Presented in standard definition is an older retrospective and features James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger discussing the script and their memories of working on the first film.
  • Terminated Scenes – (9:56) Featuring a total of seven short scenes cut from the film.

EXTRAS:

“The Terminator” digibook version comes with a book (as part of its case) featuring James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Michal Biehn.  With images from the film, also included are the following essays: “James Cameron: Cinematic Terminator” by Richard Tanne and Tech Noir: The Dark Side of Techno” by Travis Baker.  Also, Terminator Trivia.

“The Terminator”, to tell you the truth, I don’t know how many times I have seen this film.  Having owned so many video versions, watching it on HBO as a kid and just playing that very popular scene of the Terminator emerging from the fire over and over again, needless to say, I really enjoyed this film.

Here we are 27-years-later and “The Terminator” receives its third Blu-ray release in five years.

But before I talk about the Blu-ray release, I just to first talk about James Cameron and how admirable he was by sticking to his guns and not selling the screenplay of “The Terminator” to the biggest bidder.  His goal and dream was to direct this film that he wrote and was unwilling to budge.

And when you learn about James Cameron, being poor, broke and taking odd jobs such as become a truck driver to live his dreams of wanting to get his foot in the door of filmmaking is very admirable.  While I’m sure at the time, when so much money was offered to him for “The Terminator” screenplay, I can imagine that family and friends have probably thought he was crazy to turn down the money.  But he stuck to his guns and “The Terminator” would pave the way for him to direct the even more awesome sequel “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”, “Aliens”, “True Lies” and eventually his two masterpieces “Titanic” and “Avatar”.

Sure, there are those who are not too passionate about James Cameron films but one has to admire how this filmmaker has stuck to his guns not just for “The Terminator” but for all his films, wanting to direct it the way he wants and nobody interfering.  There are not many directors who are given that much power but Cameron did it.

With “The Terminator”, with only $6.5 million, he was able to do it and as he did for this film and as he has done for every other film that he has written and directed, they have become box office hits.  Maybe the filmmaker has “The Midas Touch” but you have to give him his due, especially for his selection of talent.  Arnold Schwarzenegger has a lot to thank Cameron for his role in “The Terminator”, this film made him a superstar, an action star and sure enough, Schwarzenegger was one of the biggest stars of the ’90s.

Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn would also benefit from their role on “The Terminator” and here we are 27-years-later, people still remember “The Terminator”, “Terminator” films are still being made and for any of us who grew up at the time and enjoyed this film, as a sci-fi fan, you can’t help but have this film in your collection.

Which brings me to this Blu-ray release, the third version of “The Terminator” and the question is if this release is worth it?

If you can still find the first Blu-ray version, you’ll notice that it’s being sold now for under $10.  The second version has the lenticular cover but same Blu-ray release and now this third version has a digibook.

I personally enjoy digibooks that go into the history of the film and come with a good number of pages.  In this case, you get about 24-pages worth of content.  From learning how James Cameron became the director of the film, how he got the idea to write the film and the memorable images from the film.

If you really love this film, I’m sure that you’re going to buy the digibook no matter what.  But for others who own previous versions of the film, it may not be priority but if you are collector, sometimes these digibooks go out of print quickly, so for collector’s, it may be worth it.

As for me, having three releases, many fans of the film have been wanting new special features, a better lossless soundtrack and a better remastering using today’s technology vs. what was around when Blu-ray first came onto the scene.

But there are no differences in content and features compared to its previous two Blu-ray releases but if you have been wanting to get this film, now’s the time to get the Digibook version (with the best cover of the three Blu-ray releases by far).n n Overall, If you haven’t purchased this Blu-ray yet or have not watched the film and are wanting to… then definitely pick up this Blu-ray release!

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have separated

May 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In another celebrity marriage that would appeared to have lasted, unfortunately for Arnold and Maria, the couple have separated after 25-years of marriage.

The former California governor and “Terminator” star Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have issued the following joint statement to the Los Angeles Times:

“This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us. After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion and prayer, we came to this decision together. At this time, we are living apart while we work on the future of our relationship.”

“We are continuing to parent our four children together. They are the light and the center of both of our lives. We consider this a private matter and neither we nor any of our friends or family will have further comment.”

Last Action Hero (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 13, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Similar to its 2003 DVD counterpart, “Last Action Hero” on Blu-ray is still a barebones release.  But when it comes to picture and audio quality, the Blu-ray release of “Last Action Hero” is quite solid for a film that came out in 1993.  Audiophiles who are a big fan of this film will definitely enjoy how great this film sounds via lossless!

Images courtesy of © 1993 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Last Action Hero

DURATION: 131 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Widescreen 2:40:1, English, French and Portuguese DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese

RATED: PG-13 (For Strong Action Sequences)

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: January 12, 2010

Directed by John McTiernan

Story by Zak Penn and Adam Leff

Written by Shane Black and David Arnott

Executive Producer: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Produced by John McTiernan, Stephen J. Roth

Co-Producer: Neal Dorlinger, Robert E. Relyea

Associate Producer: Robert H. Lemer

Music by Michael Kamen

Cinematography by Dean Semler

Edited by Richard A. Harris, John Wright

Casting by Janet Hirshenson, Jane Kenkins

Proudction Design by Eugenio Zanetti

Art Direction by Marek Dobrowolski, Rick Heinrichs

Set Decoration by Cindy Carr

Costume Design by Gloria Gresham

Starring:

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jack Slater

F. Murray Abraham as John Practice

Austin O’Brien as Danny Madigan

Art Carney as Frank

Charles Dance as Bendict

Frank McRae as Lieutenant Dekker

Anthony Quinn as Tony Vivaldi

Ian McKellen as Death

Action-adventure superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger bursts through the screen as a larger-than-life movie hero in this nonstop adventure from acclaimed director John McTiernan (Predator, Die Hard).

A year after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”, in 1993, he followed up with the summer action film “Last Action Hero”.

The film was directed by John McTiernan (“Die Hard: With a Vengeance”, “The 13th Warrior”, “The Thomas Crown Affair”) and a screenplay by Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon” films, “The Monster Squad”, “The Last Boy Scout”) and David Arnot (“The Adventures of Ford Fairlane”).  The film featured cinematography by Dean Semler (“Bruce Almighty”, “The Alamo”, “The Longest Yard”, “2012”) and music by Michael Kamen (“X-Men”, “Band of Brothers”, “Frequency)”.

An expensive film which cost around $85 million, the film was literally a spoof on action films and would feature cameos from many stars around that time.  From Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Ian McKellen, Tina Turner, Robert Patrick and many more.

The film revolves around a boy named Danny Madigan (played by Austin O’Brien) who is a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger action films, especially his character Jack Slater.

The problem with Danny is that he rarely goes to school and it’s become a problem since he spends his time watching movies and his mother covers up for him.

With the release of “Jack Slater IV”, his friend Nick (played by Robert Prosky) who runs a very old rundown movie theater that is not doing so well, Jack gives him a sneak preview to catch the movie.  Nick also talks about how he was given a gold-ticket by Harry Houdini but never used it.

Nick tears the ticket in half and gives Danny the other half and as Danny is getting involved and enjoying the film, the ticket starts to magically work and next thing you know, Danny is inside the film for “Jack Slater IV” and in this world, things work like the movies and not real life.

As the film progresses and Danny sticks with Jack Slater and the two take on the bad guys which include the evil Englishman Benedict (played by Charles Dance).  But somehow along the way, Benedict steals Danny’s ticket and has now cross over to the real world where Danny has come from.

In the real world, Benedict starts to learn that bad guys can win and starts killing people and noticing that the police are not there to stop him.  So, Benedict comes up with an idea to stop Jack Slater and that is by killing off the real actor that plays him…Arnold Schwarznegger.

Can Jack Slater and Danny stop Benedict in time?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Last Action Hero” is featured in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1).  Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has given this film a pretty good treatment as they have with “Cliffhanger” and “Air Force One” in which they kept the film as close to what we see on the big screen, including the fine layer of grain.

For a film that is 17-years-old, the film looks good for its age and because there is so much happening throughout the film.  For example, in Danny’s world, you can see how run down the theater is, old-style seats and everything is dark and there aren’t any vibrant colors.  Until he goes into Jack Slater’s world, then colors are vibrant and much better visuals.  Definitely a major improvement from the 2003 DVD of “Last Action Hero”.

Now, where this film shines is with its lossless audio soundtrack.  Featured in English, French, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA and Spanish 5.1, one thing that “Last Action Hero” had when it was first released in theaters was the fact it was the first film to utilize Sony’s Dynamic Digital Sound.  Granted, at that time, many theaters weren’t equipped to play SDDS but there was concentration on the film’s audio and that is where this Blu-ray shines.

The opening sequence alone shows you that the film is going to utilize all channels and thus bringing a more immersive soundscape as you hear gun shots, explosions, crashing metal, booms all through your front, surround and rear surround channels.  Subwoofer utilizes the booms and for the most part, this is the best I have ever heard from this film.  The lossless audio soundtrack for this 1993 film is very well-done!

Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Last Action Hero” comes with no major special features but is BD-Live enabled with movieIQ which allows people to obtain real-time information of the cast, music, trivia while watching the film.

When “Last Action Hero” first came out and when I watched in the theaters, I figured a pairing with director John McTiernan and Arnold Schwarznegger (known for their action films) would be a wonderful pairing.  But I can remember how impatient I was getting because the film seemed so long (especially at 131 minutes).  I felt that the arc where Danny is in Jack Slater’s world tend to drag quite a bit.

But I admit that I enjoyed how it was a satire of action films and also featured cameos by many celebrities.  By the third and final arc, things started to get more interesting as Jack Slater is pulled out of his magical world and now having to deal with this new world that he is quite unaware of.  For the most part, “Last Action Hero” was a good popcorn flick but I do remember that since it came right after “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”, there was high expectations.

Needless to say, despite what the critics may have felt about the film, “Last Action Hero” did well in the worldwide box office and even some appreciating the film much more now than when it first came out in theaters back in 1993.

For those who purchased the 2003 DVD and are big fans of the film, you maybe wondering if the Blu-ray is worth buying.  The bad news is that there are no special features on this Blu-ray unless you have BD-Live and you can take advantage of the movieIQ function.  But other than that, I’m still amazed that for a film that was quite expensive, featured so many talent did not have any featurette created for it.  No commentary, no theatrical trailer, there is no special features and to me, that’s surprising.  But the Blu-ray is a major step up in picture and audio quality and that is where fans of the film will appreciate its HD release on Blu-ray.

Overall, “Last Action Hero” on Blu-ray is literally a barebones Blu-ray release but for Schwarzenegger or McTiernan fans and those who truly enjoyed this film will definitely enjoy it much more with its video and audio upgrade.

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