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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

September 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

For fans of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and have the equipment to play 4K Ultra HD films, then definitely upgrade to this 4K Ultra HD 35th Anniversary release.  The film looks and sounds better than ever and I highly recommend Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” on 4K Ultra HD.

Images courtesy of © 1982 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: E.T. the Extra Terrestrial

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 1982

DURATION: 1 Hr. and 55 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition, English Dolby Atmos, French, Spanish, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description, SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese

COMPANY: Universal

RATED: PG

RELEASE DATE: September 12, 2017


Directed by Steven Spielberg

Screenplay by Melissa Mathison

Producer: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

Associate Producer:  Melissa Mathison

Music by John Williams

Cinematography by Allen Daviau

Edited by Carol Littleton

Casting by Jane Feinberg, Mike Fenton, Marci Liroff

Production Design by James D. Bissell

Set Decoration by Jackie Carr

Costume Design by Kurt and Bart


Starring:

Dee Wallace as Mary

Henry Thomas as Elliott

Peter Coyote as Keys

Robert MacNaughton as Michael

Drew Barrymore as Gertie

K.C. Martel as Greg

Sean Frye as Steve

C. Thomas Howell as Tyler

Erika Eleniak as Pretty Girl


Relive the adventure and magic in one of the most beloved motion pictures of all-time, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, from Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg. Captivating audiences of all ages, this timeless story follows the unforgettable journey of a lost alien and the 10-year-old boy he befriends. Join Elliot (Henry Thomas), Gertie (Drew Barrymore) and Michael (Robert MacNaughton) as they come together to help E.T. find his way back home, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is “one of the great American films” (Leonard Maltin) that forever belongs in the hearts and minds of audiences everywhere.


As the film “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” celebrates its 35th anniversary this year and 2017 features the film’s debut on 4K Ultra HD.

There is no denying how beloved this film is.  A personal film created and directed by Steven Spielberg, the concept came from his imaginary friend that he had after his parents divorce in 1960.  He and writer Melissa Mathison would eventually develop the film and with a budget of $10.5 million, the film would become the highest-grossing film of all time for eleven years until Spielberg topped it in 1993 with his film “Jurassic Park”.

But “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” is well-known for everyone going out to watch the film, critics praised the film and for “Star Wars” fans, remembering that “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” would overthrow the film as the highest-grossing film but yet paying a homage to the film by featuring the toys in the film.

The film would launch Steven Spielberg’s career, it would also launch the careers of young Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore, but also would featuring up-and-coming talent with C. Thomas Howell and Erika Eleniak. While talents Dee Wallace and Peter Coyote had established careers, their careers would no doubt receive a boost from “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”.  And for producer Kathleen Kennedy, it was a beginning of what would become a string of consecutive high-grossing films in her producing oeuvre.

Considered by many as the greatest film ever made, in 1994, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

The film was re-released in 1985, would have a 20th Anniversary release in 2002 which featured a new premiere and a reunion of the cast and it’s first release on DVD.  And here we are in 2017 as the film will be celebrating it’s 35th Anniversary and the film makes its debut on 4K Ultra HD.

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” begins with alien botanists landing in a forest in California.  As they are obtaining plant samples, government agents arrive on scene and as the aliens flee in their spaceship, one is left behind.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to a ten-year-old boy named Elliott (portrayed by Henry Thomas) who is trying to fit in with his brother Michael (portrayed by Robert MacNaughton) and his friends, but also living with his recently-separated mother Mary (portrayed by Dee Wallace) and his younger sister Gertie (portrayed by Drew Barrymore).

As Elliott goes outside to meet with the pizza delivery person and get pizza for his brother’s party, he hears a noise inside the shed.  As he throws a baseball towards the shed, someone throws the ball back at him.

Freaking out, he runs inside telling everyone something is in the shed.  And when Michael and his friends go to check, they see footprints and suspect a coyote.

As Elliott doesn’t believe it’s a coyote and thinks it may be a goblin, he is made fun of by Michael and his friends.

This leads Elliott to do a test by placing Reese’s Pieces candy to see if he can lure whatever it maybe to his home and sure enough, he is able to lure an alien to his home.

Elliott eventually introduces Michael and also Gertie to the alien and they decide to keep it hidden from their mother.

The alien which they name E.T. is an intelligent life form that learns from the humans and tries to show them where he lives by levitating balls and also he revives a dead chrysanthemum.

It’s not long after, Elliott and E.T. begin to share a psychic connection.  Meanwhile, government agents start to do research around the forest and find Reese’s Pieces and are thinking that the alien was lured to a nearby neighborhood.  And start to use listening devices to hear any conversations that may be going on the neighborhood to see if someone had lured the alien to their home.

Meanwhile, the longer E.T. stays in Earth, Michael starts to notice that E.T. is getting sick and after seeing a comic strip featuring Buck Rogers, E.T. sees how humans are able to have devices to call home and E.T. tries to find ways to make a device to communicate with his fellow aliens to come back and retrieve him on Earth.

But as E.T. is getting sicker and the government agents are nearby, what will happen to both E.T.and Elliott, who is showing signs of being sick like E.T. as they both share a psychic connection.


VIDEO:

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” receives its first 4K Ultra HD K Ultra HD release and is presented in 4K Ultra High Definition. The film is presented in 2160p UD HDR 10 Widescreen 1:85:1.

Having watched this film on DVD upon its first release and then on Blu-ray, I can easily say that the 4K Ultra HD is fantastic.  For the most part, the film doesn’t even seem ’80s because the resolution is so great.  But during the scenes with visual effects (such as Elliot and E.T. bike scene on air), the technology of its time does show its age in that moment.  Bu for the most part, this is the best version of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” that I have seen to date!

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 equally impressive. Featured in English DTS-X Immersive Audio, Brazilian, Portuguese, French European, Japanese, L.A. Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1 and English, Japanese DTS Digital Surround 2.0.

The film has a blend of crystal clear dialogue and the musical score by John Williams is spectacular!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Brazilian, Portuguese, Complex Mandarin, French Canadian, Japanese and L.A. Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“E.T. the Extra Terrestrial” comes with the following special features (on the Blu-ray Disc):

  • Deleted Scenes – (3:37) Deleted scenes from the film.
  • Steen Spielberg & E.T. – (12:31) Steven Spielberg discusses how he created E.T. and how he came up with the concept of the film.
  • The E.T. Journals – (53:37) A two-part documentary on the making of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” back in 1981.
  • A Look Back – (37:43) A look back during the film of “E.T.” with behind-the-scenes footage and also interviews with cast and crew.
  • The Evolution and Creation of E.T. – (50:13) A featurette on the making of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”
  • The E.T. Reunion – (17:55) The 20th Anniversary Reunion with Dee Wallace, Drew Barrymore, Henry Thomas, K.C. Martel, Peter Coyote, Steven Spielberg and producer Kathleen Kennedy.
  • The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams – (10:03) A featurette with John Williams on creating the music for “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”.
  • The 20th Anniversary Premiere – (17:49) A featurette of planning the 20th Anniversary Premiere with a live orchestra conducted by John Williams and setting up the stage at the Shrine Auditorium.
  • Designs, Photographs and Marketing – Featuring E.T. designs by production illustrator Ed Verreaux, E.T. Designs by Carla Rambaldi, Spaceship Designs by Ralph McQuarrie, Designs by Production Illustrator Ed Verreaux, Production Photographs and Marketing E.T.
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Special Olympics TV Spot

EXTRAS:

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


I grew up during the time “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” was released in theaters.  I can easily remember going to my uncle’s wedding in Reno, Nevada and hearing the news on the radio of how the film became the highest-grossing film of all time.

But the “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” madness didn’t end there, I purchased an Atari game which was supposed to be based on the film that frustrated me to no end and I also had a life-size E.T. toy chest, which my brother and I would use to scare my little sister when she was misbehaving.

I have to admit that I was indifferent towards the film, a little bit bitter as the film would kick “Star Wars” out of the top spot of highest-grossing films of all time.  But yet, each time I watched the film, I could see it’s charm, I could see why it attracted people to want to watch it many times.

And as I got older, I watched the film and appreciated it even more.  Especially when I first introduced the film to my child and he got to watch it and enjoy it.

And having watched this film many times, here I am reviewing it for the 35th anniversary release on 4K Ultra HD.

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” is a film that captivates you.  A young boy who meets his first true friend and having to lose that friend.  A sci-fi film which government agents want to capture the alien and learn from it.  An action film as the children do whatever they can to protect their sick friend.  And the fact that the child actors believed E.T. to not be a puppet but like a living being, is what sold the film to audiences.

And even back for the film’s 20th Anniversary, the cast talked honestly about how they never thought about E.T. as a puppet but as an actual thing that was truly alive and that was quite fascinating.

It’s a film that moved audiences, a film that moved President Reagan and his wife, a film that moved Princess Diana and it was a film that was no doubt a masterpiece by Steven Spielberg who would go on to make many more wonderful films in his long oeuvre.

And it’s a film that will no doubt stand the test of time with a new generation of moviegoers.

Now there are a few things I must discuss, for those who owned the 20th Anniversary version which had both the theatrical and the 20th Anniversary Extended Version of the film.  The 2002 version digitally removed the guns used by government agents with walkie talkies (towards the end of the film).

In 2011, Steven Spielberg made it clear that there will be no more digital enhancements and perhaps he learned by fan backlash of the George Lucas’ original “Star Wars” trilogy and also backlash from critics and also ridiculed in a “South Park” episode, no doubt Spielberg learned a lesson.  He has made it clear that he wants people to watch the original 1982 version and sure enough, with the 4K Ultra HD release, you are getting the 1982 film and yes, the agents have their guns.  And no, the 2002 version is not included.  So, if you like that version, keep (or find) that 2002 20th Anniversary DVD release.

As far as the 4K Ultra HD version is concerned, this is the best version I have seen of this film to date.  While created in 1982, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” on 4K Ultra HD doesn’t even look its age.  It looks almost recent, aside from when the bike flying scene is shown, that is the only time where old technology and 4K Ultra HD tends to show the aging visual effects of its time.  But other than that, everything else about this film looks great in 4K!  The lossless audio features crystal clear dialogue especially crystal clear music from John Williams.  And last, all the 20th Anniversary special features from the DVD are included in this release and more.

Overall, for fans of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and have the equipment to play 4K Ultra HD films, then definitely upgrade to this 4K Ultra HD 35th Anniversary release.  The film looks and sounds better than ever and I highly recommend Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” on 4K Ultra HD.

Cross (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Created in a comic book style and featuring talent who were popular in the ’80s and ’90s, “Cross” is an indie popcorn action film that is hampered by its writing and acting.  But for those who are into mindless action and gunfights, then “Cross” is a film that you may want to check out!

Images courtesy of © 2011 Cross Entertainment, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Cross

DURATION: 105 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

COMPANY: Sony Home Entertainment

RATED: R (For Violence and Some Language)

RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2011

Directed by Patrick Durham

Written by Patrick Durham, Jonathan Sachar, Tanner Wiley

Produced by Jonathan Sachar, Judy Durham, Patrick Durham

Executive Produced: Rocky Scapellati, Tanner Wiley, Stuart Cameron, Stu higton, Constantin Brancov, Robert Lamey, Anne O’Shea, Robbin Wood

Music by Peter Carl Ganderup, Sean Schafer Hennessy

Cinematography by Massimo Zeri

Edited by Justin Zev Rose, Paul G. Volk

Production Design by Jeffrey Givens

Art Direction by Nicholas Leitling

Costume Design by Kerri Kordowski

Starring:

Michael Clarke Duncan as Erlik

Vinnie Jones as Gunnar

C. Thomas Howell as Jake

Brian Austin Green as Callan

Tom Sizemore as Detective

Jake Busey as Backfire

Robert Carradine as Greek

William Zabka as Saw

Susie Abromeit as Sunshine

Lori Heuring as Lucia

Bart Johnson as LAndon

Samantha Mumba as Ishka

Lew Temple as Detective

Patrick Durham as War

Gianni Capaldi as English

Camille as Langfield as Pain

Michael Masini as Rook

Tim Abell as Riot

Stephanie Drapeau as Juliane

James Logan as Trench

Fernando Lara as Mario

Kari Nissena as Glare

Jessica Chobot as Abbey

David Mattey as Kong

Jonathan Sachar as Shark

Andre Gordon as Ranger

Aurelia Scheppers as Brianna

When beautiful, young women start disappearing from the streets of L.A., it’s time for good guy Callan (a.k.a. Cross) and his crew of weapons experts to kick into high gear and take out the trash. Granted incredible power by his ancient Celtic cross, Callan must fight to stop an immortal Viking from destroying mankind with his doomsday device. Also starring: Tom Sizemore, Jake Busey and Lori Heuring.

Film Clip – Hand to Hand

Film Clip – Loading Out

Film Clip – Necklace Swipe

Film Clip – Pool Hall

Trailer – Coming Soon

Known for his independent low-budget horror films such as “HOBOKEN HOLLOW”,  “TOOTH AND NAIL” and “THE KILLING JAR” and the comedy “THE PENTHOUSE”, writer and filmmaker Patrick Durham returns with his new film “CROSS”, an action film which is created to look like a live action comic book.

The film stars Brian Austin Green as the main character Callan, who has been given the Celtic Power to protect the innocent.

Born from warrior families chosen by gods to protect mankind from the darkest of enemies, when Callan was younger, he was given an ancient Celtic Cross which gives him the power of invulnerability, important when he and his team which include weapons expert Riot (played by Tim Abell), Backfire (played by Jake Busey), War (played by Patrick Durham), Lucia (played by Lori Heuring) and Shark (played by Jonathan Sachar) as they take on the evil empire led by Erlik (played by Michael Clarke Duncan) in Los Angeles.

When an ancient Viking named Gunnar (played by Vinnie Jones) comes to Los Angeles to join forces with Erlik, an evil doctor (played by Robert Carradine) are kidnapping women for their blood, blood that Gunnar wants to use to destroy the world.

Meanwhile, detective Nitti (played by Tom Sizemore) is doing all he can to stop Calland and his team as he sick of them doing his job for him.

But as odds still look about even between both Callan and Erlik, things change drastically when Gunnar steals Callan’s Celtic Cross and now making both him and his team vulnerable to attacks from Erlik and his gang.

Can Callan and crew stop Erlik but most of all, stop Gallan before he destroys the world?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Cross” is presented in 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen and is presented in English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Picture quality is very good for DVD but perhaps the best part of the film is its use of audio.  Awesome use of the surround channels for the gun shots and LFE for explosions.  The film does feature a good amount of action and use of audio, so that’s definitely a positive for the film!

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Cross” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Patrick Durham.  Patrick talks about how they came up with the ideas from the film and working with the cast and challenges they had when making the film and also reshooting certain scenes.
  • Alternate Ending – (:34) The alternate ending for “Cross”.
  • Deleted Scenes – (8:32) Featuring seven deleted scenes.
  • Alternate Opening Animatic – (1:01) Featuring music and sketches of the alternate opening animatic.

I remember when I first watched the old “Captain America” low-budget film, remember watching “The Flash” on TV and just remember the major comic book companies attempt making movies.

This is before the blockbuster movies that we see today, which cost millions to make.  Back then, they were low-budget and didn’t star any major talent.  And for many of us who were comic book fans, we would try to stay optimistic when these films were released, despite knowing they were low-budget independent films based on major comic book.

And there have been good independent films based on comic book properties, one of my favorites when I was younger was “Firearm” based on a character from the Ultraverse (which many people probably never watched before) and I even supported live comic book drama CD’s from Image and Malibu back in the ’90s.

In some sort of geeked out way, to see these character receive a movie or a audio drama CD was quite unique at the time.

And although I have stopped comic book collecting since the late ’90s, I would assume that these are still going on today.  And for this direct-to-video release for “Cross”, this kind of reminds me of those times back then of watching those indie comic films.

“Cross” is developed with the comic book style of presentation especially the way it was written.  It’s important to note, while this film does star many talent who were very popular in the ’80s and ’90s, one should not look at “Cross” as a blockbuster film, nor should it be seen as a film that will attract the masses because it won’t.

In some way, you can call the film a popcorn action film with cheesy lines and bad acting.  In fact, I often wondered if writer/director Patrick Durham is a video game fan because seriously, I can picture his storyline being used in a video game.  In fact, the way the film was created, there is so much gunfighting that many first-person shooters and action-based video games were coming into my head.  In fact, while watching the film, I just felt like pausing and wanting to play some “Call of Duty” or partake in a paintball competition with friends.

But there are just some moronic situations that you see in this film that was reminiscent of ’70s drive-in movies.  Those scenes where people know there is danger but they don’t run, escape…they just stay and get killed.  Well, “Cross” has a few of those instances.  In one scene, two thugs are arguing and warn the security guard meter man who has written a ticket to get away. Of course, the security guard keeps writing the ticket and plans to give the ticket to the thugs who repeatedly warned him that if he doesn’t leave, he will get killed.    And guess what happens, he gets shot and killed by the thugs.

I will say that when I first read that Brian Austin Green was the main protagonist, I was a bit surprised but once I was able to let go of any memories of his character from “90210”, he actually did a pretty good job playing the part of Callan, Jake Busy did a good job at playing the mouthy Backfire and Michael Clarke Duncan, well….he does a good job playing the bad guy period.

But I just felt that Tom Sizemore’s role as Detective Nitti was rarely used, underdeveloped and you would have hoped his character had more of a purpose in the film.  And aside from Sizemore, heck, I was hoping to see more of Lori Heuring in action!

The film also stars C. Thomas Howell, Robert Carradine and William Zabka, if anything, for ’80s movie fans who loved “Soul Man”, “Revenge of the Nerds” and “Karate Kid” will definitely have a blast seeing these guys again.

And of course, what film with violence would not be complete without a cameo by Danny Trejo!  But I wish there was more Danny Trejo!

But in the end, while that geek side of me wants to say I enjoyed the film, while understanding what Durham was trying to accomplish, it didn’t succeed.  Bad writing, bad character development, bad acting hurts this film.   But at the same time, I know there are people who appreciate these kind of films.

As for the DVD, you do get an insightful audio commentary by director Patrick Durham and deleted scenes, an alternate ending and alternate opening animatic.  I will say the best part of the film for me was seeing how the audio was utilized.  The sound editor did a good job of utilizing the surround channels and LFE for the action-sequences and the biggest surprise for me about the whole film was its use of audio.

Overall, “Cross” is a popcorn action film that was created in a comic-book style.  Unfortunately, the writing, the acting may not be the best but the fact is, there are a good number of people who appreciate Patrick Durham’s writing and filmmaking style.

So, if you are a fan of Durham’s work or if you are wanting, craving mindless action and a lot of gun fights, cute girls and seeing a few stars who were popular in the ’80s and ’90s, then definitely give “Cross” a chance!

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