Friday, May 7, 2021




Another week brings another installment of The Epitaph. No theme this week, a fairly random grouping of bite-sized capsule reviews of physical media releases from the U.S. and Australia. We get a star-studded crime thriller, a kitschy 70's cartoon rebranding, a documentary about a fascinating Australian aboriginal actor, a sleepy slice of insomnia infused exorcism, and a Paraguayan haunter. 


Label: Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 127 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen
Director: John Lee Hancock 
Cast:  Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Chris Bauer, Michael Hyatt

When Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington, Man On Fire) is sent to Los Angeles for a quickie evidence pick-up assignment he becomes entrenched in the search for a serial killer who is stalking the city. L.A. Sheriff Department Sergeant Jim Baxter (Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhasphodie) is a hot-shit cop who comes to trust Deke’s instincts, unofficially bringing him onto the case, inadvertently dredging up a case from Deke’s secretive past that will threaten to unravel both men. I loved this Se7en-ish noir thriller right up till the final leg when it swerved into subtlety instead of stepping on the gas, it didn't ruin it for me but it befuddled me. Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream) as the intensely creepy suspect has several unnerving engagements with the detectives that got under my skin in a good way, but  the finale does not have the impact I think writer/director thought it would. The movie is building to a fever-pitch, but it never boils properly over. I will concede that I can see liking this more when I re-watch it, but for right now I'm lukewarm. 

Special Features:
- Four Shade of Blue (Blu-ray only) 
- A Contrast In Styles
- Digital Copy


Label: Warner Archive
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 352 Minutes
Audio: English DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 Mono with Optional English Subtitlez
Video: 1080p HD Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Cast: Janet Waldo, Barbara Pariot, Jackie Joseph, Jerry Dexter, Casey Kasem, Sherry Alberoni, Don Messick 
In the early 70s I was still in the lower half if the single digits but I still have memories of sitting at my mother's feet watching the original Josie and the Pussycats and this sequel series set in outerspace. It wasn't my favorite but back in the day we had four channels tops so you watched whatever took arrived over the boob-tube, you couldn't be picky about these things! However, I was and will always be more a fan of Thundarr the Barbarian and Scooby-Doo, and this series definitely smacked up a Scooby-Doo riff. Josie and the gang get into plenty of alien adventures, along the way meeting a race of cat people, robot monsters, evil dictators, space pirates and plenty of other space-based screatures, including their new companion Bleep, voiced by Hanna-Barbera legend Don Messick. I am still not over keen on the kitschy girl-band show, but the 2-disc Blu-ray from Warner Archive contains all 16-episode of Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space with fresh 2021 HD scans and uncompressed audio with optional English subtitles. Its a fantastic looking set, on par with their other recent Hannah-Barberra restorations. If your a fan of vintage 70s kid friendly animation along the lines of The Monkees by way of Scooby, this is good stuff. No extras on this release, but the Warner Archive animation restoration is top-notch. 


Label: Umbrella Entertainment 
Region Code: Region-Free (NTSC) 
Rating: M
Duration: 49 Minutes 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual-Mono 
Video: Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Director: BIll Leimbach
Cast: Buffy Sainte-Marie, David Gulpilil. Peter Weir, Robert Powell

David Gulpilil: Walkabout to Hollywood (1980) is a 49-minute documentary produced for the BBC and directed by documenarian Bill Leimback. It's subject is the Australian Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil, who at the age of sixteen starred in Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout, which is also the first film I saw him in. He's an actor with a lot of presence and an expressive face that is very compelling. He went into feature in many more films, including Mad Dog Morgan (1976), Storm Boy, (1976), The Last Wave (1977), Dark Age (1987), The Tracker (2002), and Cargo (2017), before retiring in 2019 after announcing he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Gulpilil has a style that is so naturalistic and sometimes otherworldly, but never feels a parody of the indigenous people  of Australia, he has a way of expressing deep emotion with minimal dialogue. The doc is mainly focused on Gulpilil himself as he spends time in the outback teaching his kids traditions and in the city where he teaches aboriginal dance, including a trip to the U.S. screenings of his films and Q&A with fans. We also see him in conversation with Native Americans, discussing their art and culture. Its a fascinating story and a well-done doc, highly recommended if your interested in learning more about Gulpilil.the DVD from Umbrella Entertainment is fullscreen 4x3 and has not been restored. Its a warts and all presentation but is watchable. The only extras is a David Gulpilil trailer reel. 

Special Features: 
- David Gulpilil Trailers: Walkabout (1971), Mad Dog Morgan (1976), Storm Boy, (1976), The Last Wave (1977), Dark Age (1987), The Tracker (2002), Cargo (2017


Label: Umbrella Entertainment
Region Code: 4
Rating: MA 15+
Duration: 88 Minutes 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 with No Subtitle Options 
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 
Director: Daniel J. Phillips
Cast: Benson Jack Anthony, Erik Thomson, Sara West

In the indie exorcism flick Awoken (2020) Karla, a young medical student, is at her wit's end trying to find a cure for a genetic, terminal sleep afflicting her brother Blake. With few options left ro explore she agrees to an experimental treatment at a clinic in the basement of an abandoned underground hospital, which should send up red flags right away.  While there she discovers long lost tapes that reveal sinister secrets about their mother’s death from the same genetic disorder, revealing that demonic possession is also at play. Ironically for a film about people afflicted with insomnia I found it hard to stay awake. This was a real snoozer and I say its a hard pass. The region 4 DVD from Umbrella Entertainment is anamorphic widescreen as has zero extras. Skip it. 


Label: Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Region Code: A
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 108 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.39:1) 
Director: Robert Lorenz
Cast: Liam Neeson, Katheryn Winnick, Juan Pablo Raba, Teresa Ruiz

Liam Neeson seems to be enjoying a late-career run as an old man vigilante along the lines of Charles Bronson and Clinton Eastwood. I've never seen any of the Taken franchise or post-Taken movies either, they're not high on my list to see either, but that's no slight against Neeson or the movies, they're just not my cup o' tea. Here Neeson plays a grisled ex-Marine, an Arizona rancher named Jim Hanson (Liam Neeson) who is living a rugged life on the borderland with his trusty dog sidekick. Still grieving the death of his wife from cancer and the seemingly inevitable bank foreclosure on his property the fed-up vet gets a chance to vent his frustration on a drug cartel when he rescues an 11-year-old migrant named  Miguel and his mother who are fleeing the cartel and end up on his property. Its a decent flick with plenty of action, I didn't love it but appreciated Neeson's sturdy stubborn bad-assery, and its well-shot to boot, a decent popcorn muncher for sure. 

Special Features
- The Making of The Marksman
- Digital Copy

 THE MORGUE (2010)

Label: Well Go USA 
Region Code: A
Duration: 81 Minutes 
Audio: Spanish and Guaran DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Hugo Cardozo 
Cast: Francisco Ayala, Maria del Mar Fernandez, Abel Martinez, Pablo Martinez, Raul Rotela

The Paraguayan haunter Morgue (2019) follows a hard-luck security guard named Diego Martinez who is assigned nighty duty  at a creepy morgue, which he anticipates will ge an easy gig, but he's wrong. He ends up locked inside with what turns out to be the restless spirits of the dead. Unfortunately I couldn't get into this one, its slow-moving, predictable and not terribly well-excuted either, relying too heavily on cheap jump scares and not enough suspense magination to keep me interested.