Recently in Blu-ray

Teen Titans: The Complete Series Coming to Blu-ray on December 3, 2019

Warner Archive Collection remasters beloved DC super hero series.
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Press release: Continuing its dedication to mining and remastering the best of Warner Bros. Animation’s deep library of super hero productions, Warner Archive Collection proudly presents Teen Titans: The Complete Series on Blu-ray starting December 3, 2019. Single Season volumes are also available. Pre-orders are now available via wb.com/warnerarchive and your favorite online retailer. It's a full plate of crime-fighting and chaos as Robin, Cyborg, Starfire, Raven and Beast Boy go up against killer villains such as Brother Blood, Mad Mod and their archenemy Slade. Get ready for all the big battles and unbreakable bonds that make these friends the

The Dead Center Blu-ray Review: Mostly Effective Psychological Horror

Primer's Shane Carruth stars in psychological and supernatural horror tale, where a suicide returns from the dead... but not alone.
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A spiral is integral to The Dead Center's imagery and story. A spiral appears on the photographs of a body from a crime scene, some sort of scar or lumps of tissue on his person. It wasn't seen in the autopsy because none was performed - the man breathes back to life on the gurney in the morgue, sneaks out, and ends up in a psychiatric ward. He was long dead when the paramedics brought him in; now he's catatonic, staring, and has become two doctors' problem: the medical examiner whose corpse has gone missing, and the psychiatrist who wants

Flowers in the Attic (1987) Blu-ray Review: I Think They Wilted

The best-selling novel gets a neutered adaptation but an excellent release by Arrow Video.
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I have this memory in which my mother gives me a copy of V.C. Andrews’ 1979 novel Flowers in the Attic. I was in my early 20s at the time and my mother gave the book great praise. For some reason, I thought the book was about the Holocaust, that it was a story similar to Anne Frank’s, where a group of young siblings were hiding from the Nazis in an attic of an old mansion. For anyone who has read the book, you know how far my idea is from the truth. The actual novel is about a group

Charley Varrick Blu-ray Review: No Country For Walter Matthau

Don Siegel's 1973 crime thriller is yet one more reason to love Walter Matthau.
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When I think of Walter Matthau, which is more often than you’d think, I think of him as a comic actor. My first memories of him are as a Grumpy Old Man, or as 1/2 of an Odd Couple. Certainly he was great in comedies and brought a light, hilarious touch to more serious films, but he was also a wonderful dramatic actor as well. He starred in numerous serious dramas like Fail Safe and JFK. He also starred in a number of action thrillers and spy movies like Charade, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Hopscotch, and the

Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles Blu-ray Review: Historical Animation Paired with a Dichotomy-Filled Story

Following the story of Luis Buñuel's compelling 1933 documentary, this animated feature combines surrealism and a real story that is sure to satisfy international audiences.
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Though not always the case, animated movies have a presumption of innocence, providing a movie-going experience for the whole family. Let me say this first: Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles is not a family film. Salvador Simó’s film depicts violence, death, and much heavier topics than usually seen in the animated genre. It’s not even completely animated, as the film follow Luis Buñuel’s journey in making his 1933 documentary Land Without Bread, a depiction of the very poor Las Hurdes region in Spain. This 2019 film combines real footage of that documentary with an animated plotline of Buñuel

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Blu-ray Review: A High-Quality, High-Definition Experience

Fast and furious enough to please fans and those looking for a ridiculous action movie.
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The folks behind the Fast & Furious franchise took two of their most bankable actors, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham to lead the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw and followed the series' successful formula: over-the-top action scenes set around the world combined with a focus on family. The movie was previously reviewed this summer. The Blu-ray's video has given a satisfying 1080P/AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 2.39.1. The colors shine in brilliant hues. Blacks are inky and whites are accurate. These elements contribute to the strong contrast which is most evident during the split-screen introduction of our

Woman in Hiding Blu-ray Review: Worth Looking For

Ida Lupino stars in this excellent melodrama with noir trappings.
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It is funny how when you discover something you'd never noticed before you suddenly start seeing it everywhere you look. Ida Lupino has been that way with me recently. Her’s was a name I’d heard before but wasn’t really familiar with. It was one of those names I’d seen in reviews or movie discussions that stuck in my brain but that I didn’t really associate with anything. I’d seen her in High Sierra with Humphrey Bogart years ago, but whatever impression she left had long since slipped my memory. Then a few weeks ago I randomly watched On Dangerous Ground.

Ringu Collection Blu-ray Review: Ghostly Revenge, Again and Again

Four weird, gripping and often terrifying films of spectral revenge that began the J-horror boom are now on Blu-ray.
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Horror as a genre tends to go through brief periods of inspiration, followed by long slogs of imitation. If you're unlucky, the inspired breakout hit is something like Saw, and as a horror fan you have to sit through years of vile dreck until something better comes along to rejigger the landscape. In the late '90s, horror was in one of its down-turn phases: the mid-'90s crackdown on letting youngsters into R-rated movies had the effect (still felt today) that to get the primary audience for horror, the young, you needed to be PG-13, which means violence has to be

It Always Rains on Sunday Blu-ray Review: A Slice of Post-War London

If you allow yourself to relax and let its myriad of stories wash over you, there is plenty to like.
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A man breaks out of prison and returns to the home of his former fiancee. They were set to be married but he got caught in a bash and grab and was put away for years. In the time between, she met another man, dull but kind, who has children of his own; settled down; and created a life for herself. But when she finds him hiding out in the air-raid shelter those old feelings return. With a house full of people, she can hardly let him inside. It is even difficult to smuggle him a little food. Elsewhere, three

The Man Between Blu-ray Review: Out of The Third Man's Shadow

Excellent film noir from Carol Reed might not be as good as "The Third Man," but it isn't too far off either.
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It is difficult not to compare The Man Between, Carol Reed’s 1953 thriller to a film he made four years earlier, The Third Man. Both films are set in bombed-out, post-war European cities (The Third Man in Vienna, The Man Between in Berlin). Both films feature espionage, intrigue, and flexible sympathies towards some of the main cast. I won’t argue that The Man Between is the better of the films, but it deserves to be a part of the conversation. Hopefully, this new Blu-ray transfer from Kino Lorber Studio Classics will pull it out from underneath The Third Man’s shadow.

The Cure: 40 Live - Curætion-25 + Anniversary Blu-ray Review: A Black Ruby Jubilee

A must-own set for fans and a perfect introduction to the band's great talents.
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The Cure: 40 Live collects two outstanding concerts performed in the summer of 2018 as founder Robert Smith, bassist Simon Gallup (1979-1982, 1985-present), drummer Jason Cooper (1995-present), keyboardist Roger O’Donnell (1987-1990, 1995-2005, 2011-present), and Reeves Gabrels (2012-present) celebrated the band's 40th anniversary, Disc 1 contains CURÆTION-25: From There To Here | From Here To There, a concert held on the 10th and final night of Robert Smith's Meltdown Festival on June 24 at London's Royal Festival Hall, an intimate theater with a capacity of 2,700. The lucky group of fans who attended got to hear a retrospective 28-song set that

Seven Days To Noon Blu-ray Review: A Very Good Drama

This post-war thriller might not be a white-knuckler, but its attention to detail and observations on humanity make it quite thrilling.
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The atomic bomb not only helped win World War II and fueled the Cold War for years after it, but it spurred our cultural imaginations and fears for decades to come. It spawned a huge wave of nuclear monster movies from Godzilla to all sorts of giant insect monsters and deadly amorphous blobs. Science-fiction films in the 1950s and beyond often relied on nuclear energy to create its deadly foes. There were also plenty of much more serious dramas like Sidney Lumet’s Fail-Safe about the potential of nuclear disaster. Released in 1950, Seven Days to Noon is a British drama

Polyester Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: John Waters' First Big-Budget Film

Polyester introduced the one-time only Odorama card to offend viewers' sense of smell as well as their sense of decorum.
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Polyester, John Waters’ first big budget, mainstream film, was released by in 1981 by New Line Cinema. Its $300,000 budget may give it a high-rent look, but the low-rent appeal is still there, albeit way toned down from early Waters' films like Pink Flamingos and Multiple Maniacs. Divine plays Francine Fishpaw, a sweet, submissive housewife married to Elmer Fishpaw (David Samson), a porno theater owner with a bad toupee. Their kids are juvenile delinquents. Her daughter Lu-lu (Mary Garington) is a slutty girl who causes havoc with her greaser boyfriend Bo-Bo (Stiv Baters). Her son Dexter (Ken King) is a

The Wizard of Oz 4K Ultra HD Review: Somewhere Over the HDR Rainbow

The classic arrives on 4K for the first time
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Dorothy and the gang are back in a sparkling new 80th anniversary edition of the classic film, released in 4K Ultra HD for the first time. The legendary tale is just as great as you remember it, and now looks better than ever thanks to a totally spotless, newly restored 8K 16-bit scan of the original Technicolor camera negative. Ensuring the best possible home presentation, the 4K disc includes Dolby Vision HDR, as well as HDR10+ to optimize brightness levels and contrast for each scene. Although the original soundtrack was mono, it has been enhanced to DTS-HD MA 5.1 on

Scars of Dracula Blu-ray Review: A Bit of a Retread but Still Enjoyable

While understandably not held in high regard, there's still some fun to be had seeing Lee back as the Count.
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Scars of Dracula is Hammer's sixth Dracula film and the fifth to feature Christopher Lee. It follows a familiar template: Dracula is resurrected, causes mayhem among the local citizenry, sets his sights--er, fangs on one particular lovely maiden, and is defeated in the end. It's one of the lesser of the series because it's a bit of a retread, but it was still enjoyable when one is in the mood for some classic horror. Scars opens in Dracula's castle, not the church where he died in the previous film, Taste the Blood of Dracula. As stated in the extras, this

Apprentice to Murder Blu-ray Review: Graduated to Boring

This 1980s folk horror is light on scares and heavy on nothing happening.
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The early 1970s saw several British films being released that have been defined as “folk horror” by fans. These are films like Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man, which incorporated old folk tales and pagan rituals into horror movies. In the 1980s, movies like Children of the Corn moved the setting to rural America but the idea was the same. These films often dealt with isolated communities living in picturesque, yet somehow unsettling rural areas. They are inhabited by deeply religious people who incorporate pagan or satanic rituals into their daily lives. This mix of isolationism and “weird” belief systems

Ringu Blu-ray Review: One Ring That Started Them All

Arrow Video brings a new 4K restoration of this Japanese horror film that started a movement.
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Japanese folklore has long included ghosts who haunt the living because they died with anger, rage, fear, or some other strong emotion. Many of these myths include a young girl with long, black hair obscuring her face. In 1991, Koji Suzuki updated these stories in his novel Ring. This was made into a 1995 TV movie called Ring: Kanzenban and then again as a theatrically released film called Ringu in 1998 by Hideo Nakata. Ringu made some significant changes to the novel and became a huge hit, becoming the highest-grossing horror film in Japan. It found an international audience on

Scarface: 'The World Is Yours' Limited Edition Review: Say 'Hello' to Your New Christmas Present

This double feature gift set is sure to make any cinephile smile.
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In the opening of Howard Hawks’s gangster film Scarface (1932), we see a title card that notes that the film is an indictment of gang rule in America, and then it deflects any responsibility towards the eradication of gang violence away from the film industry and towards the government. This was added after a long feud between the MPPDA (which became known as the Hays Office) and Hawks (and Howard Hughes, who produced the film). The Hays Office believed the film glorified gang violence and demanded numerous cuts. Some cuts were made, the ending was changed, and finally, the title

Genius Party & Genius Party Beyond Blu-ray Review: Dozen Odd Egg Japanese Animations

Twelve short films from veterans of the anime industry explore the limits of storytelling, animation, and sometimes the audience's patience.
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Short movies get kind of short shrift because... they're short. And even though our modern mode of considering a "film" as something that lasts at least 90 minutes has more to do with modern commerce than it does with anything inherent in the medium, it's hard to fight against cultural expectations. The short film feels like a calling card. A dry run. A test for an idea that might have legs, or be the basis of a "real movie". Except in the world of animation. Some of the greatest animators in history have done nothing but shorts. All of the

La Marseillaise Blu-ray Review: Viva La Revolution!

Jean Renoir's telling of the French Revolution is more history lesson than dramatic film, but it is well worth watching.
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The French Revolution is one of the most important events of modern history. That mere commoners - people stricken with great poverty, ground under the thumb of the aristocracy - rose up to smash the monarchy and create a democratic republic is nothing short of astounding. It helped sweep in revolutions and reform across the globe, triggering the decline of absolute monarchies. That the revolution ultimately turned into the Reign of Terror in which thousands of so-called enemies were guillotined, leading to Napoleon declaring himself emperor does not diminish the importance of what came before those dark times. In 1938,

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines 4K Ultra HD Review: All Hail the Princess

Diana tees off against a massive array of all-female baddies in this original story.
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The latest DC animated film starts off poorly, with a prolonged 10-minute origin story on Wonder Woman’s home island of Themyscira followed by another nearly 10 minutes of her introduction to the U.S. before we even get to the opening credits. We’ve seen Wonder Woman’s origin so many times in her previous incarnations that the latest rehash is a total waste of viewer time. Thankfully, things pick up once the credits end, and the film does have one major perk that sets it aside from the majority of DC’s typical adaptations of comic book stories: an original plot. Diana is

Toy Story 4 Blu-ray Review: A Toy's Purpose

It was wonderful to have one more adventure with the Toy Story characters, and this serves as a fitting conclusion to the series.
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Even though Toy Story 3 seemed the perfect ending to the film franchise, Toy Story 4 offers a compelling continuation of the beloved Pixar characters, specifically Woody (Tom Hanks) who needs to find his place in the world now that he is Bonnie's toy and no longer Andy's. The story deals with themes that adults will better identify with than children. Bonnie isn't as taken with Woody as Andy was, and whereas Woody was in charge in Andy's room, Dolly (Bonnie Hunt) has that role in Bonnie's. During craft time at her kindergarten orientation, Bonnie creates Forky (Tony Hale) out

My Boyfriend's Back Blu-ray Review: A Light Comedy with Zombies

A movie so utterly light and unoffensive I can't hate it.
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There has been a lot of bemoaning over the last few years about how Avenger-sized films have destroyed the mid-budget movie. The major studios only seem to make blockbuster hopefuls with sequel and spin-off capabilities. Independent studios make more interesting films but their budgets are small which naturally limits their capabilities. Romantic comedies and thoughtful dramas are few and far between. While watching My Boyfriend’s Back, the Bob Balaban-directed romcom with zombies from 1993, I kept thinking about how this sort of film could never get made today. It is goofy, broadly acted, and strangely bloodless for a film produced

And Soon The Darkness (Special Edition) Blu-ray Review: And Eventually the Thrills

This very slow moving British thriller takes its time getting to the action but is quite good if you have the patience.
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Two British nurses, Jane (Pamela Franklin) and Cathy (Michele Dotrice), take a cycling holiday in rural France. They’ve planned their route out for each day and Jane pushes Cathy to stick to it, which means not stopping very often or spending much time off their bikes. Cathy wants to stop off and eat at the cafes, take in the local scenery and possibly flirt with the cute guy who seems to be following them. They ride for a while but Cathy’s incessant complaining leads to a stop at a little grove of trees. Cathy lays out a blanket and turns

Hercules in the Haunted World Blu-ray Review: Sword & Sandals Meets Horror

Mario Bava infuses the tired Hercules film with his own sense of style, creating something unique and really fun.
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For decades the Italian film industry often emulated the successful films of the United States. Through the late 1950s and early 1960s, with the popularity of such Hollywood films as The Ten Commandments and Spartacus, this often took the form of Biblical epics and stories set in the Greco-Roman period. Critics, with some derision in their voices, called these films peplum (using the Latin word for the Roman style tunics worn in such films) or sword-and-sandal movies. Fans have reconstituted those slags into something more positive. In the early part of this movement, Hercules was by and far the most

Nightmare Beach Blu-ray Review: Somebody Wake Me Up

Slasher horror meets spring break comedy in this terrible '80s hybrid from schlock master Umberto Lenzi.
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If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to mix an ‘80s slasher with an ‘80s spring break comedy, then Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare Beach is for you. Well, actually it isn’t for anybody because it is a terrible, terrible movie. It wasn’t even for Umberto Lenzi for he swears he didn’t direct it (at least according to IMDB trivia). He was signed on to direct but at the last minute decided it was too similar to one of his other films (Seven Blood Stained Orchids) and begged off the production. The credits name a “Harry Kilpatrick” as the director

Midsommar Blu-ray Review: Unsettling in Any Season

Ari Aster's follow-up to Hereditary confirms his unique talent.
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Midsommar is marketed as a horror film, but it’s so different from the typical entries in that genre that it really belongs in a category all its own. While there is a bit of stomach-churning gore and an overbearing sense of dread as writer/director Ari Aster leads us down his twisted rabbit hole, there’s also an intriguing anthropological study of an insular Swedish culture that reveals unexpected layers of beauty in its madness. Where most horror films increase their scares by incorporating night settings, Midsommar frightens viewers in the full light of day during a festival occurring during the season

Morituri (1965) Blu-ray Review: Hidden Naval WWII Classic

Starring Marlon Brando and Yul Brenner, Morituri is a great spy thriller beautifully shot aboard a real German frigate.
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The cliché is, they don't make them like they used to. But, damn it, movies like Morituri don't get made anymore. It's a suspense thriller with a complex technical background with several moving parts, both in the setting and the character interaction. It was made in a time where special effects were difficult to impossible to achieve, so the amazing things you see aren't done with computers, but with some underpaid idiot risking his life to get a shot. And there was an inkling in the filmmaker's mind that an adult might be in the audience, so the level of

The Big Fix (1978) Blu-ray Review: A Hippy Neo-noir Lament

Richard Dreyfuss is Moses Wine, a former-hippy detective whose latest case takes him back to his radical roots.
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Despite being such a sunny city, Los Angeles is the home of noir. All those sun bleached streets are hiding the deepest shadows. Many of the best literary mystery writers set their stories. Ray Chandler's Philip Marlowe and Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer hit the mean streets of Los Angeles, as does Harry Bosch and the various morally-conflicted cops of James Ellroy's various pitch black noirs. Unique among this varied crowd of detectives is Moses Wine. Philip Marlowe was a white knight of the streets. Lew Archer was WWII vet and amateur psychologist who found social ills at the foundation of

The Prey Blu-ray Review: Pray You'll Never Have To Watch

Arrow Video does an excellent job presenting this should-have-been forgotten slasher in a very nice package.
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The 1980s were a great time for horror movies in general and slasher flicks in particular. With the advent of home video and the booming popularity of video rental stores, there was suddenly a need for more and more videos to stock those shelves. Lots of studios specializing in cheaply made, straight-to-video movies sprung up overnight. Horror fans are a motley lot and easily amused. They are not known for snobbish attitudes, willing to take a chance (and often enjoy) films of lower budget and artistic caliber. As long as the film has plenty of violence, at least some blood-soaked

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