Thursday, August 6, 2020

COMA (2019) (Dark Sky Films Blu-ray Review)

COMA  (2019) 

Label: Dark Sky Films
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 111 Minutes 
Audio: Russian DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.39:1)
Director: Nikita Argunov
Cast: Irina Starshenbaum, Rinal Mukhametov, Anton Pampushnyy, Lyubov Aksyonova, Milos Bikovic, and Konstantin Lavronenko


Russian sci-fi fantasy film Coma (2019) offers up a visual treat while telling the story of a promising young architect who is involved in a horrific car accident. He awakens from his coma to find that he is trapped in a strange and surreal in-between place, not reality at all, but a world that is stitched together from the memories of people who are comatose. The sprawling landscape stretches out into an evolving menagerie of fantastical terrains that shouldn't exist together but to in this warped realm. 


Visually this thing is a stunner, the VFX are incredible, the imagination runs wild, it's truly a feast for the eyes, but the narrative struggles quite a bit, failing to match the visuals. I watched this twice last night and both times the story sort of fell apart, it gets a bit convoluted, with what I would call a weak finish. What it's got going for it some gorgeous world building with amazing visuals that bathe the eyes in digital magic, it's an impressive looking film, it's just too bad the story was not more enthralling, failing to match the wonder of the what you;re seeing onscreen. There's elements here that brought to mind The Matrix, Inception, Flatliners, and even a bit of Ready Player One - you can see the influences bleeding through, but it's still a fun watch, the story just didn't do it for me. 


Audio/Video: Coma (2019) arrives on Blu-ray from Dark Sky Films framed in 2.39:1 widescreen in 1080p HD, with both Russian and English-dubbed DTS-HD MA 5.1 with optional English subtitles.  Extras on the disc include four 2-min featurettes exploring the digital visual effects, the characters and world building, plus a 2-min trailer for the film.

Special Features: 
- CGI Featurette  (2 min) 
- Character Featurette (2 min) 
- Love Featurette (2 min) 
- The World of Coma Featurette (2 min) 
- Trailer  (2 min) 


Coma (2019) is a visually stunning film full of digital world-building, imagination and bombast, it's a bit more challenged by the narrative and story arc but it's still an entertaining slice of escapist sci-fi fantasy. 


THE WRETCHED (2020) (IFC Midnight Blu-ray Review)

THE WRETCHED (2020) 

Label: IFC Midnight
Release Date: August 11th 2020 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 96 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 and 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen 
Directors: Brett & Drew Pierce 
Cast: John-Paul Howard, Piper Curda, Azie Tesfai, Zarah Mahler,  Kevin Bigley, Jamison Jones  


While emotionally struggling with the fallout of his parent's impending divorce teenager Ben (John-Paul Howard, Snatchers) dabbles with mischief by way of breaking into a neighbors house in an ill-fated attempt to steal painkillers, which results in him broken his arm. As punishment for his teen delinquency his mother sends sent to spend the summer with his father LIam (Jamison Jones, True Detective), where he gets a summer job at ta marina, making the acquaintance of teen co-worker Mallory (Piper Curda, A.N.T. Farm), who offering something of a love-interest. 


He befriends an adolescent kid named Dillon who lives next door to his dad, but one day he notices that the kid has disappeared, so he inquires with the kid's father, but he seems to have no recollection of ever having a son, he thinks Ben is nuts or playing some sort of joke on him. This is all very strange indeed, so Ben starts spying on the neighbors, and begins figuring that there is something is very odd about the kid's mother Abbie (Zarah Mahler, Beyond Skyline). Something seems to have gotten under her skin, or more accurately, something evil is wearing her skin, and making kids disappear from the neighborhood, while at the same time making people forget that these kids ever existed. 
Ben tries to tell Mallory and his father about the evil living next door, but she thinks he nuts and dad thinks it's just teen weirdness, or worse yet, he thinks Ben is on drugs again. It doesn't help that Ben doesn't initially get on well with his father's girlfriend Sarah (Azie Tesfai, TV's Supergirl), at one poit sladhing her arm with a butcher's knife.  

Our teen-hero played by Howard is solid, a moody teen with some some divorce anxiety, he's nicely counter-balanced by Mallory, who sort of reminded me of Corey from Say Anything, as the girl that is obviously right for Ben but is sort of sidelined as he peruses the unattainable hot chic at school, who ultimately embarrasses him at a pool party. 

Truth be told The Wretched doesn't have a lot of originality, it's the evil presence next door and no one believe the troubled teen when he tries to blow the whistle routine. It mixes in a bit of Fright Night voyeurism with some witchy The Blair Witch Project evil to a largely satisfying effect. The witchy evil of the film is only seen in fleeting glimpses at the start, first appearing as it is birthed from the carcass of  a deer, and then donning the skin of next door neighbor Abbie. Actress Zarah Mahler does good work transforming from cool mom to twitchy evil child-eater, her performance nicely enhanced by camera trickery and editing, it all adds up to a creepy film that managed to get under my skin. While lacking in originality I think it's well-directed and nicely acted with some cool creepy effects work, it doesn't have to be original to be good. There's a reason that the Friday the 13th franchise is my favorite, it's the comfort food of slashers, it need not be a delicacy, just tasty, and this is certainly a tasty treat of a film. 

Audio/Video:  The Wretched (2019) arrives on Blu-ray from IFC Midnight in 1080p HD widescreen with English DTS-HD MA 2.0 and 5.1 audio with optional English subtitles.  Extras include a commentary from The Pierce Brothers, and another with Composer Devin Burrows. The single-disc release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a single-sided sleeve of artwork. 

Special Features: 
- Audio Commentary with The Pierce Brothers
- Audio Commentary with Composer Devin Burrows


The Wretched (2019) is an example of a supernatural horror flick that's not really offering anything new but manages to execute the familiar tropes in a way that still satisfies with it's blend of witchy creepiness and under-the-skin creepiness. 

WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES THE GROUNDBREAKING 300 (2006) TO BE RELEASED ON 4K UHD WITH HDR BLU-RAY COMBO PACK AND DIGITAL on 10/6

300 (2006) 

DIRECTOR ZACK SYNDER’S VISIONARY FILM TO BE AVAILABLE IN
4K RESOLUTION WITH HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE (HDR) FOR THE FIRST TIME


Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced today that 300, the highly-acclaimed 2007 cutting-edge, heart-pounding, visual masterpiece from director Zack Snyder, will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital on October 6. Based on the stylized graphic novel from icon Frank Miller (Sin City), 300 is an epic action-adventure about the 300 Spartan warriors led by the heroic King Leonidas who challenged Xerxes and his massive Persian army at the ancient Battle of Thermopylae.  Facing insurmountable odds, they fought to the death to defend their honor and freedom, inspiring all of Greece to unite against the enemy.

From visionary filmmaker Zack Snyder (Watchmen, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), 300 combines stunning live action with virtual backgrounds and features spectacular performances from Gerard Butler (Reign of Fire, Olympus Has Fallen), Lena Headey (TV’s “Game of Thrones,” The Purge) David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) and Rodrigo Santoro (TV’s “Westworld,” Love Actually).

Ultra HD showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.  

300 will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $24.99 (expected retail price) and features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc of 300. Fans can also own 300 in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on October 6. The  Blu-ray disc of 300 will include more than 3 hours of previously released special features, including commentary from Zack Snyder.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of 300 will also feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar. Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

SYNOPSIS
The epic graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City) assaults the screen with the blood, thunder and awe of its ferocious visual style faithfully recreated in an intense blend of live-action and CGI animation. Retelling the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, it depicts the titanic clash in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his massive Persian army. Experience history at swordpoint. And moviemaking with a cutting edge.  

Ultra HD Blu-ray Elements 

300 Ultra HD disc contains the following special features:
- Commentary with director/co-writer Zack Snyder, co-writer Kurt Johnstad and director of photography Larry Fong

300 Blu-ray disc contains the following special features:
- Commentary with director/co-writer Zack Snyder, co-writer Kurt Johnstad and director of photography Larry Fong
-   The 300: Fact or Fiction
-   Who Were the Partans? The Warriors of 300
-   Preparing for Battle: The Original Test Footage
-   The Frank Miller Tapes
-   Making of 300
-   Making 300 in Images
-   Webisode: Production Design
-   Webisode: Wardrobe
-   Webisode: Stunt Work
-   Webisode: Lena Headey
-   Webisode: Adapting the Graphic Novel
-   Webisode: Gerard Butler
-   Webisode: Rodrigo Santoro
-   Webisode: Training the Actors
-   Webisode: Culture of the Sparta City/State
-   Webisode: A Glimpse from the Set: Making 300
-   Webisode: Scene Studies from 300
-   Webisode: Fantastic Characters of 300
-   Deleted Scenes with introduction by Zack Snyder

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS
On October 6th, 300 4K UHD will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers including GooglePlay, Vudu, Xbox and others, and will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

ABOUT DIGITAL
*Digital movies or TV episodes allow fans to watch a digital version of their movie or TV show anywhere, on their favorite devices. Digital movies or TV episodes are included with the purchase of specially marked Blu-ray discs. With digital, consumers are able to instantly stream and download movies and TV shows to TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones through retail services like CinemaNow, Flixster Video, Vudu and more. For more information on compatible devices and services go to wb.com/digitalmoviefaq. Consult a digital retailer for details and requirements and for a list of digital-compatible devices.


BASICS
PRODUCT ERP
Ultra HD Blu-ray $24.99
Standard Street Date: October 6, 2020
EST Street Date: October 6, 2020
Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, Français & Español
Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, Français & Español
Special Feature Languages: Audio & subtitles may vary. Not rated and may not be SDH
Running Time: 116 minutes
Rating: R (for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity)
DOLBY ATMOS   [CC]

YOUTUBE CHANNEL UPDATE: $3 RARE STEELBOOK HAUL AT THE PAWN SHOP!

A lot of the time a trip to the local pawn shop yields only a few $1 dollar finds, not usually anything pecial - but on one trip to the pawn I walked away with about twelve of those Disney tin releases for $5 each, some of them doubbles that I sold off at a tidy profit! In this video I go over a few rare steelbook Blu-ray finds from the pawn shop just down the styreet - including the Synapse Films releases of DEMONS and DEMONS 2, Arrow Video's DEMONS/DEMONS 2, THE BEYOND and Scream Factory's THE THING - it was a great day at the pawn!



If you're a movie collector and have not started frequenting pawn shops in your area I say get yourself to one today. A lot of the time it's a few movies on the cheap, but you won't find anything special, just something you probably wouldn't have bought if it weren't so cheap, stuff typically ranfing from $1-$5, but every so often you will find something fantastic and much sought after. I know that when I am out bargain hunting at the pawns I sometimes see something for so cheap that it gives me what I call the guilt-sweats, I start thinking how did this end up here, what's the story, why would someone pawn their Synapse Steelbooks of DEMONS and DEMONS 2, and I hope that I never end up needing to do the same. 

Liv Tyler stars in horrifying home invasion The Strangers (2008), Limited-Edition Blu-ray Box Set release September 28th in the UK from Second Sight Films


THE STRANGERS (2008) 
Limited Edition Blu-ray

Horrifying home-invasion The Strangers, the 2008 debut film from writer-director Bryan Bertino (Mockingbird, The Monster), stars Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings, The Leftovers) and Scott Speedman (Underworld, Animal Kingdom) as a couple terrorised by masked attackers. Garnering cult status since its release, The Strangers now arrives as a Limited-Edition Blu-ray box set from Second Sight Films on 28 September 2020.

After a proposal gone wrong at a friend’s wedding, what should have been a romantic getaway for Kristen (Tyler) and James (Speedman) is disturbed by a 4am knock on the door and a terrifying invasion of their home by three strangers in disguise. Named for their nightmarish masks, Man in the Mask (Kip Weeks – Ragged Isle), Dollface (Gemma Ward – The Great Gatsby), and Pin-up Girl (Laura Margolis – Dirty Sexy Money), the twisted trio have brutality in mind and the couple are at their mercy, but who are they and what is their motive?

Kristen and James must fight to survive a night of psychological torment and bloodthirsty violence...who will make it out alive?

The hugely anticipated release features a host of brand-new special features, including an extended cut, deleted scenes and new interviews with Liv Tyler and Laura Margolis, director Bryan Bertino and editor Kevin Greutert (Titanic, The Saw Franchise). The set arrives complete with new artwork and poster, and a soft cover book with new essays by Anton Bitel and Mary Beth McAndrews plus stills and behind-the-scenes images.

Don’t open the door...The Strangers are coming.

Special Features: 
- Includes Theatrical Cut and Extended Cut
- Because You Were Home: a new Interview with director Bryan Bertino
- Cutting Moments: a new interview with editor Kevin Greutert
- The Fighter: a new interview with actor Liv Tyler
- The Pin-Up Girl: a new interview with actor Laura Margolis
- The Elements of Terror: interviews with cast and crew
- Strangers at the Door: interviews with Director Bryan Bertino and cast
- Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer

Limited edition Contents:  
- Limited Edition Box Set of only 3,000
- Soft cover book with new essays by Anton Bitel and Mary Beth McAndrews plus stills and behind-the-scenes images
- Poster with new artwork

Title: The Strangers Limited Edition 
Blu-ray Cat.No.: 2NDBR4121 
Release Date: 28 September 2020 
Cert: 15 
Running Time: 86 mins 
Region:
Pre-order here: bit.ly/TheStrangersLtd 

Artsploitation's BENJAMIN (2019), a Romantic Comedy of a Different Kind, gets a DVD August 25th

BENJAMIN (2019) 

Artsploitation Films, known for edgy and, at times, explicit genre films has announced it is taking a one month break from the cinematic carnage and sexual excesses (well, the carnage at least) in announcing the upcoming release of Benjamin, a quirky, anxiety-fueled gay rom-com directed by Simon (“Nevermind the Buzzcocks”) Amstell and starring Colin Morgan (Merlin, The Happy Prince). The film will be released on DVD and VOD/Streaming on August 25, 2020.

SYNOPSIS: Simon Amstell’s offbeat gay romantic comedy centers around Benjamin (Colin Morgan), a nervous, neurotic filmmaker juggling the anxieties of finalizing his upcoming film with the fear and awkwardness of a burgeoning romance. Will Benjamin’s insecurities get in the way of success and happiness? Will his film be a critics-savaging disaster and he, a one-hit wonder? Amstell peppers this entertaining tale with scene-stealing cast of supporting characters including Joel Fry (Game of Thrones), Jessica Raine, Jack Rowan and Anna Chancellor.

Title: Benjamin
Director: Simon Amstell
Country: UK
Year: 2019
Duration: 85 minutes
Language: English
Video: 1.78:1
Audio: Dolby 5.1

The Resident Evil Collection Coming to 4K Ultra HD for the First Time Ever on November 3rd

ALL SIX LIVE ACTION FILMS TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME

ON 4K ULTRA HD NOVEMBER 3


INCLUDING HOURS OF SPECIAL FEATURES
WITH RARE ARCHIVAL FEATURETTES
AND AN EXTENDED CUT OF RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE

ALL SIX FILMS ALSO AVAILABLE DIGITALLY IN 4K WITH HDR

One of the most successful live-action video game film franchises of all time gets an upgrade when the RESIDENT EVIL 4K ULTRA HD COLLECTION arrives on November 3rd from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. This limited-edition gift set marks the first time that fans will be able to experience all six films on 4K Ultra HD disc with High Dynamic Range and Dolby Atmos audio. The films will also be available digitally in 4K with HDR.

The RESIDENT EVIL 4K ULTRA HD COLLECTION will include Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse (both the original theatrical version and an extended cut), Resident Evil: Extinction, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Resident Evil: Retribution and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter as well as hours of bonus content across all six films, including rare archival featurettes that have been previously unavailable on disc.

Based on the popular video game series by Capcom, the Resident Evil franchise stars Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) as Alice, a superhuman security expert pitted against the sinister Umbrella Corporation as the world’s population is transformed into flesh-eating creatures by one of its most dangerous biological weapons.

RESIDENT EVIL - BONUS FEATURES BLU-RAY
- Cast and Filmmakers’ Commentary
- Visual Effects Commentary
- Alternate Ending with Director Paul W.S. Anderson’s Video Introduction
- 12 Featurettes
- “My Plague” Music Video by Slipknot4K ULTRA HD
- Theatrical Trailer

RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE - BONUS FEATURES
BLU-RAY
- Filmmaker Commentary
- Cast Commentary
- Writer / Producer Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- “Game Over: Resident Evil Reanimated” Documentary
- “Corporate Malfeasance” Featurette
- “Game Babes” Featurette
- “Symphony of Evil” Featurette
- Theatrical and Extended Cuts of the Film
- Theatrical Trailers

RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION - BONUS FEATURES
BLU-RAY
- “Under the Umbrella” Picture-in-Picture
- Filmmaker Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- 4 Featurettes4K ULTRA HD
- Resident Road Map: Reflections on the Future of the Series
- Theatrical Trailers

RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE BONUS FEATURES
BLU-RAY
- “Undead Vision” Picture-in-Picture
- Filmmaker Commentary
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Outtakes
- 7 Featurettes 4K ULTRA HD
- Alice Activated
- Theatrical Trailers

RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION - BONUS FEATURES
BLU-RAY
- Director and Cast Commentary
- Filmmaker Commentary
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Outtakes
- Project Alice: The Interactive Database
- 8 Featurettes 4K ULTRA HD
- Evil Goes Global
- Undead Retribution
- Theatrical Trailers

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER - BONUS FEATURES BLU-RAY
- Retaliation Mode with Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich
- 3 Featurettes 4K ULTRA HD
- Maximum Carnage: Best Kills
- Creature Chronology
- Theatrical TrailersSPECS

4K Ultra HD: All films presented at 2160p Ultra High Definition resolution with HDR 10 and Dolby Atmos immersive audio + DTS-HD MA 5.1 original theatrical audio tracks (DTS-HD MA 7.1 for RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER); aspect ratios vary
Blu-ray: All films presented at 1080p High Definition resolution; aspect ratios and audio configurations vary
Rating:
Resident Evil: R for strong sci-fi/horror violence, language and brief sexuality/nudity
Resident Evil: Apocalypse: Theatrical Cut: R for non-stop violence, language and some nudity; Extended Cut: Unrated
Resident Evil: Extinction: R for strong horror violence throughout and some nudity
Resident Evil: Afterlife: R for sequences of strong violence and language
Resident Evil: Retribution: R for sequences of strong violence throughout
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter: R for sequences of violence throughout

FOR MORE INFORMATION