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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.

$5 a Day (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 


“$5 a Day” is a very good independent film that is entertaining, enjoyable and definitely an upbeat father-and-son relationship/comedy-based film.  If you are a Christopher Walken fan or looking for a lighthearted and never heavy, heartfelt film, definitely give this film a try!

Images courtesy of © 2010 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: $5 a Day

FILM RELEASE DATE: 2008

DURATION: 98 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1, enhanced for 16×9 TV’s), DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Subtitles: English, English SDH

COMPANY: Image Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Sexual Content, Brief Nudity and Language)

RELEASE DATE: August 24, 2010

Directed by Nigel Cole

Written by Neal H. Dobrofsky, Tippi Dobrofsky

Produced by Carol Baum, Jane Goldenring, Kia Jam

Executive Producers: David Bergstein, Warren T. Goz, Stewart McMichael

Co-Producer: Jeff G. Waxman

Music by Alex Wurman

Cinematography by Peter Donahue

Edited by Susan Littenberg

Casting by Joseph Middleton

Production Design by Bryce Perrin

Costume Design by Melissa Bruning

Starring:

Christopher Walken as Nat Parker

Alessandro Nivola as Ritchie Flynn Parker

Sharon Stone as Dolores Jones

Dean Cain as Rick Carlston

Peter Coyote as Burt Kruger

Amanda Peet as Maggie

Nat (Christopher Walken, Oscar® winner, The Deer Hunter) is an eccentric conman – a hustler content with a life of schemes and underhanded deals.  He lacks one thing:  a reconciliation with his son, Flynn (Alessandro Nivola, Jurassic Park III), who has ceased trusting his father long ago.  But Nat’s time is growing short:  he has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.  True to form, Nat cons Flynn into joining him in a cross country journey to an experimental medical facility.  Short on money, but not on imagination, the two realize that to reach their destination they can spend no more than $5 A Day.  They come up with increasingly ridiculous schemes to keep within their budget – but there is a distance of emotion as well as miles to cover.  Are they on the path towards a father-son reunion?


A wild cross country road trip featuring father and son scammers .  Although a comedy in which Christopher Walken shines, the film is an enjoyable father and son relationship type of film that is not only fun to watch but is heartfelt and enjoyable.

When the comedy “$5 a Day” was greenlighted back in 2003, I don’t think anyone expected the film to change directors several times and end up being completed by director Nigel Cole (“Saving Grace”, “Calendar Girls”).

The film was written by Neal H. and Tippi Dobrofky (“Flinch”, “The Donor”) and a film that would feature talents Christopher Walken (“Wedding Crashers”, The Funeral”, “Batman Returns”, “View to a Kill”), Alessandro Nivola (“Jurassic Park III”, “Junebug”, “The Eye”), Sharon Stone (“Total Recall”, “Basic Instinct”, “Last Action Hero”) and Amanda Peet (“2012”, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”, “The X Files: I Want to Believe”).

“$5 a Day” revolves around Ritchie Flynn Parker (played by Alessandro Nivola), a man who worked as a restaurant inspector until he was fired for not reporting that he is a former felon.  Ritchie is a man who is a former felon and scam artist and now he is trying to live a normal life with a different alias and trying to get past his criminal past and live a happy life with his girlfriend Maggie (played by Amanda Peet).

Unfortunately, when Maggie has a conversation with Ritchie’s father Nat (played by Christopher Walken), the truth came out and Maggie finds out that not only is Ritchie’s father is alive (he told her that he was dead) but that his name is not Flynn (which is his last name not his first).  But Maggie does tell Ritchie that the purpose of his call was to let him know that he is sick and dying but Ritchie does not believe his father and tries to plead with her that he is a liar.

But with everything going downhill for him, he finds his father’s letter to him with a plane ticket and wanting to see him immediately.  Ritchie is not sure why but he goes to visit his father.

When Ritchie arrives to his father’s place, he finds out that Nat has a malignant tumor in his head and he is dying.  His wish is for Ritchie to drive him to New Mexico for one week and that is all he is asking for.

For Ritchie, he has a hard time forgiving his father because his father is also an eccentric con man and excellent scam artist and partly responsible for landing Ritchie in prison for several years.  If anything, Ritchie learned a lot from his father and also is a very good scam artist himself and ended up being caught.

No matter how Ritchie may feel about his father, just in case what Nat is saying about his illness is true, Ritchie knows that if this is his dying wish, he’ll do it and thus he agrees to drive his father all the way from the East Coast to New Mexico and despite their estranged relationship, the two embark on a cross country trip that will bring a lot of skeletons out of the closet but also, possibly bringing father and son closer than ever.

VIDEO:

“$5 a Day” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1).  A lot the scenery from the film was primarily shot outdoors and one of the highlights of the film is the travel cross country.  This is where cinematographer Peter Donahue (“Junebug”, “Then She Found Me”) shines as he highlights the various surroundings of the various states both Ritchie and Nat are visiting.

The outdoor locations definitely are much livelier on BD, blacks are nice and deep, good amount of detail during close-ups and there is a good amount of grain that can be seen in the film as well.  The indoor sequences seem to feature quite a bit of noise it seems, if anything a mix of grain and noise that may seem as if the film has a heavy amount of grain.

But overall, PQ is fine and I didn’t see any major compression artifacting or DNR.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“$5 a Day” is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  The film is primarily a dialogue driven film, there is no action sequences and I didn’t detect any surround usage throughout the film.  The film is primarily center and front channel driven and dialogue is clear and understandable.  I detected no audio problems while listening to the lossless soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English and English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“$5 a Day comes with the following special features:

  • Director and Cast Interviews – (35:09) Featuring interviews with director Nigel Cole, Alessandro Nivola, Sharon Stone, Dean Cain, Peter Coyote and Amanda Peet.  In standard definition.
  • Still Galleries – Featuring a photo gallery (images by Michael Parmelee), production stills and photos from cast and crew.  To view images, you will need to use your remote to cycle through the images.
  • Trailer – (2:03) Featuring the original theatrical trailer in standard definition.

Let me first start off with how much I enjoy films that star Christopher Walken.  The man still has a comedic charm and it is so evident in “$5 a Day” that you can’t help but sit back and enjoy the ride as the film really is a fun and entertaining father and son relationship film.

Both Alessandro Nivola and Christopher Walken have a good relationship as the father and son on the big screen.  And although on paper, it sounds as if this film could be bleak and become a tear gusher, the film doesn’t go that direction and become a film full of cliches.  If anything, the Dobrofsky’s are able to capitalize on Walken’s comedic timing and once again, Walken did a fantastic job in this film.

The film also features a good number of cameos.  Sharon Stone, while receiving major billing on the Blu-ray cover, the truth is that she has a small part playing Ritchie’s former babysitter Dolores Jones and if you thought that Stone was sexy in her films during the ’80s and ’90s, Sharon Stone continues to look incredible in this 2008 film as she is seen mostly wearing a bikini, sexy clothing and lingerie.  Also, the film stars Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”, “The Division”, “Clubhouse”) as Rick Carlston, a restaurant owner and Peter Coyote (“The 4400”, “Commander in Chief”, “A Walk to Remember”) as an old family friend and rival to Nat who plays a significant role in the film.

The Blu-ray release of “$5 a Day” does feature very good cinematography and  lossless audio is clear and understandable but the BD is a little light when it comes to special features.

Overall, “$5 a Day” is a very good independent film that is entertaining, enjoyable and definitely an upbeat father-and-son relationship/comedy-based film.  If you are a Christopher Walken fan or looking for a lighthearted and never heavy, heartfelt film, definitely give this film a try!

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