Thursday, October 26, 2023





Label: WBHE
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 116 Minutes 
Audio: English ATMOS TrueHD with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: Dolby Vision HDR10 2160p Ultra HD Widescreen (2.39:1) 
Director: Ben Wheatley 
Cast: Jason Statham, Wu Jing,  Sophia Cai, Page Kennedy, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Skyler Samuels,  Cliff Curtis

Meg 2: The Trench (2023) delivers the big, dumb action sharksploitation fun you'd expect based on the first film with 
Jason Statham once again headlining. This time out our heroes face-off against a frenzy of ferocious Megs and other aquatic terrors that have once more scaped the Mariana Trench's thermocline layer and toothy mayhem erupts in the South China Sea. It's not great cinema but it is a heck of a fun popcorn muncher that delivers the big-budget action thrills and Megalodon carnage. I love the prehistoric opening where we see the food chain in action as smaller dinosaurs are eaten by larger dinos in succession until a T-Rex  munches on a dino, then then a meg beaches itself and chomps down the T-Rex. We have an evil mining corporation fucking up the thermocline, and Statham riding around on a jet ski hurling explosive tipped spears at giant sharks and octopi - what else do you need? The 4K presentation is top-notch with Dolby Vision HDR10 enhanced colors to compliment the finely details lensing and we get a fully subversive Dolby Atmos mix that packs a wallop. We also get a digital UHD copy of the film. The extras are quite slim, just a pair of featurettes that don't even add up to 20-min. 

Special  Features:
- The Making of “Meg 2: The Trench” – Cast and crew revisit the making of the film and working with new and returning cast members, then highlight the beauty and challenges of working with a Meg they can't see!​ (13 min) 
- Up From the Depths: Even More Beasts - Director Ben Wheatley, cast and producers guide fans through the creation and design of the new creatures seen in “Meg 2: The Trench” (10 min) 
- Slipcover
- Digital Copy 

Limited Edition 4K Ultra HD 

Label: SPHE
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: PG-13 
Duration: 138 Minutes 43 Minutes 
Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
Video: HDR10 2160p Ultra HD Widescreen (2.40:1) 
Director: Roland Emmerich 
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, Doug Savant, Harry Shearer

When I saw the teaser trailer for Godzilla (1998) when it hit the theaters back in 1998 I was excited, it was coming from the makers of Independence Day, which I liked a bunch, so I expected a big-budget monster on a rampage flick, and that's what we got. I still don't love the Jurassic Park-esque tiny zillas at Madison Square Gardens detour, but it does deliver Godzilla destroying NYC, plus it starred the always likable Matthew Broderick as scientist Niko Tatopoulos. Probably my favorite scene is still the one of from teaser trailer with the old man fishing off the end of a pier only to have it spoiled by the arrival of Godzilla in NYC, that's still a keeper. The 4K UHD is a massive upgrade over the 2009 Blu-ray, with Dolby vision HDR10 enhanced color infusion really blowing away the now shoddy looking by comparison 2009 release. Some of the composited shots still look soft, but details are crisp and and contrast is pleasing, the black levels are much improved, and the increased resolution is readily apparent. The Atmos remix takes the previous excellent DTS-HD MA 5.1 and bumps it up a notch as well, once Godzilla makes landfall in NYC and the building start crumbling and the military is launching an all-out helicopter assault with missile launches (one of them errantly taking out the Chrysler building, oops) the low-end delivers again and again. This limited edition Steelbook release also includes comes the Blu-ray and digital UHD copy of the flick. 

Special Features:
- Teaser Trailer #1 (1.36)
- Teaser Trailer #2 (1:56)
- Theatrical Trailer (1:46)
- Visual Effects Commentary
- Behind the Scenes of Godzilla with Charles Caiman
- All Time Best of Godzilla Fight Scenes 
- “Heroes” Music Video by The Wallflowers 


Label: WBHE
Region Code: Region-Free 
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 74 Minutes 44 Seconds 
Audio: English 
Video: 2160p UHD Widescreen 
Director: Yssa Badiola & Dustin Matthews
Cast: Jamie Chung, David Dastmalchian, Laura Bailey, Troy Baker, Travis Willingham, Ozioma Akagha, Jeannie Tirado, Tru Valentino, Lindsay Jones, Ruby, Kara Eberle​, Arryn Zech, Barbara Dunkelman, Maxwell Friedman, Christopher Sabat, J. Michael Tatum

Part 2 of the DCxRooster Teeth crossover Justice League x RWBY features team RWBY not in Remnant but now on Earth where Grimm poses a threat, and this time the JLA are not teens but their actual adult ages. A lot of what I said about the first film is true here, I am not a huge anime fan, I dig some of the older stuff like Akira and Metropolis, but I am particularly not a fan of RWBY's CGI anime-animation style and that holds true once more. With that said, if you are a fan or more open to the digital anime style, or a RWBY fan already, this 4K UHD looks terrific with bold vivid HDR-enhanced colors, impactful audio and some new extras that dig into the crossover. Not my bag of superhero tea but the enduring power of both properties probably means this has some serious crossover appeal, but it's just not for me. 

Special Features:
- You look…Different: RWBY on Earth – Earth is not exactly the same as Remnant, the world where Team RWBY live. The enemies are different. The Justice League heroes are different. And Team RWBY’s powers? They’re all extremely different. In this featurette, we get a closer look at Team RWBY on Earth.
- I’ve Got Your Back – In Part One, Justice League and RWBY members had to work together to save Remnant. Now in Part Two, on Earth, they all must work together to save each other. In this featurette, we get into the story behind so many of the characters saving each other both physically and emotionally.

BARBIE (2023)
4K Ultra HD + Digital

Label: WBHE
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 114 Minutes
Audio: English ATMOS TrueHD,
Video: 2160p Ultra HD Widescreen, 1080p HD Widescreen
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling,
America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman, Will Ferrell, Michael Cera, Ariana Greenblat, Ana Cruz Kayne, Emma Mackey, Hari Hef, Alexandra Shipp, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Simu Liu, Ncuti Gatwa, Scott Evans, Jamie Demetriou, Connor Swindells, Sharon Rooney, Nicola Coughlan, Ritu Arya, Dua Lipa, Helen Mirren

Barbie? Oh Christ - That was my initial reaction to the announcement of this one, but that this flick shattered expectation and is now one of the most profitable movies of all time certainly peaked my curiosity. As did that is was directed by Greta Gerwig who co-wrote it with Noah Baumbach, plus it stars Margot Robie and Ryan Gosling who both usually take on very interesting projects that defy expectations. I was a kid who loathed my sisters Barbie dolls, and as my name was Ken I have more than once found myself working alongside a Barbara or two, and both of us were subjected to "Hey, it's Barbie and Ken" taunts, which was annoying. Anyway, Barbie trauma aside, how was this flick? Well, I thought it was pretty cool, obsoletely nothing like what I expected, I loved it's ultra self-aware nature, how the borders of Barbieland  and the real world are traversable, as Barbie spiritual guru Weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon)  sends Robbie's "stereotypical" Barbie to the real world to reclaim her mojo, now finding herself strangely obsessed with depressing thoughts of death, which is decidedly most un-Barbie. Ken tags along and brings the patriarchy he discovered i the real world to the female lead Barbieland, and Barbie and her pals needs to bring down the patriarchy. The script is clever, smart, winky and satirical, and features a ton of Easter Eggs that I found myself researching as I am not too well-versed in Barbie stuff. What impressed me most was the amazing set designs that brought Barbieland to life with huge set pieces and loads of deep-diving winds and nods to her myriad accessories, clothing and side-characters - including a pregnant Barbie that when you move her arm up and down makes her tummy swells! The 4K UHD is a stunner, the HDR colors pops and dazzle in every frame, the Dolby Atmos track likewise is crisp, sharp and dynamic, and the extras while of the EPK variety are quite good, especially when it comes to bowing how they created the ultra-pink and pastel world of Barbieland. The metallic pink-sparkle slipcover certainly stands out on the shelf, and it comes with a digital UHD copy of the flick as well. 

Special Features:
- Welcome to Barbie Land – featurette (12 min) 
- Becoming Barbie – featurette (6 min) 
- Playing Dress-Up – featurette (8 min) 
- Musical Make-Believe – featurette (9 min) 
- All-Star Barbie Party – featurette (5 min) 
- It’s A Weird World – featurette (5 min) 

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital 

Label: WBHE
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: R
Duration: 79 Minutes 46 Seconds 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 2160p UHD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Ethan Spaulding
Cast: Joel McHale, Jennifer Grey, Gilbert Gottfried, Dusan Brown, Grey DeLisle, Robin Atkin Downes, Zehra Fazal, Kelly Hu, Matt Yang King, Phil LaMarr, Matthew Mercer, Dave B. Mitchell, Armen Taylor

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match is the fourth animated film in the franchise, each one has been a brutal spine-ripping bit of violent catharsis each go round. This one is actually my favorites, we're following Johnny Cage (voiced by Joel McHale) in 1980s Hollywood who is on a mission to become an action star. He's making what could be his big break when his co-star Jennifer Grey disappears, and thus he embarks on a Big Trouble In Little China-esque adventure with a secret society of demonic worshippers and Lovecraftian old gods looking to destroy Earthrealm. Much like Big Trouble Johnny is a bit of bystander to the actual heroics in the film, with other more kick-ass characters doing the heavy lifting and Cage merely being around to witness it and offer hos ibservations about the unreal events that transpire. That's not as complaint, I loved how dark and occult this one goes, the demonic old gods look terrific and the neon 80's trapping of this one deliver a fantasy version of that decade that the actual 80's could never live up to. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am not a gamer (I'm a button masher), I don't really know shit about the the world of Mortal Kombat, and this one more so than the other three animated flicks doesn't seem to concerned with it either, at least in my eyes. This one plays just fine as a hunky boneheaded action film star caught up in some demonic carnage in the 80's, and I though this had the best style of animation of all four of the films so far.  Kudos to Joel McHale for voicing Johnny Cage, he's awesome and knows exactly what the role calls for and brings the cheese full force, and kudos to Jennifer Grey for playing a version of herself! Another highlight was hearing the unmistakable voice of the late Gilbert Godfrey. The animated flick looks solid in HDR enhanced 4K with a and uncompressed DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack that kicks butt, those mock 80's songs are also quite fun and sound terrific.   
Special Features: 
- What Would Johnny Cage Do? (featurette) - Step inside the VO Booth with Joel McHale and Jennifer Grey and go behind the scenes with the filmmakers to learn the challenges they withstood to bring Johnny Cage's 80s action film to life. (9:55)
- Ninja Mime Trailer - Relive the trailer for the greatest 80s action film ever made: (1:03)
- Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match Audio Commentary - Join Producers Rick Morales and Jim Krieg and Screenwriter Jeremy Adams on an audio adventure recounting the totally tubular tale of bringing Johnny Cage's 80s awesomeness to life.

THE BOYS - SEASON 3 (2022) 2-DIsc Blu-ray 

Label: SPHE
Region Code: Region-Free 
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 481 Minutes 
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA with Optional English, English SDH, French Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)  
Cast: Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominique McElligott, Jessie T. Usher, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford, Tomer Capone, Karen Fukuhara, Nathan Mitchell, Colby Minifie, Claudia Doumit, Jensen Ackles

Based on the Dynamite Entertainment Comic Book Series by Garth Ennis and Illustrated by Darick Robertson the Amazon Prime Original series The Boys is the antidote to the glut of Marvel/DC superhero flicks that we find ourselves caught up in right now, a  wildly violent and wrong-headed satire of super-groups. The story arcs this season include fallout from the Stormfront debacle, The Boys find themselves contracted by by Victoria Neuman's Bureau of Superhuman Affairs to round up rogue supes, with a weary Queen Maeve of The Seven secretly working with Billy Butcher to find a rumored Anti-Supes weapon to defeat an increasingly unhinged Homelander, which sends them chasing after the world's  first superhero, the fallen Soldier Boy, and the truth behind his death. Vought has also devised a temporary variation on compound V which has military application, but which Butcher gets his hands on it and starts to abuse it, addicted to his newfound laser-eyes; and the search for who the head-popper is. Some of the more fucked-up scenarios this season of which there were many include a shrinking supe named Terminate not only fucking a Barbie-esque doll but also shrinking down and crawling into the urethra of a lover to pleasure him, but after binging coke all day a coke-sneeze causes him to resume normal size to disasterous result. We also get The Deep fucking an octopus, and Homelander getting a handy from a very charred Stormfront's at the hospital, plus a supes orgy by way of the annual HeroGasm gathering. It's another wild season of superhero WTF-ery, and if you're not familiar with the show but dig dark superhero tales like Invincible, Brightburn or Super you need to check out this series!

Special Features:
- Gag Reels (5 min) 
- Deleted and Extended Scenes (8 min) 
- The Making of Featurette (2 min) 

30th Anniversary 4K Ultra HD

Label: Tribeca
Region Code: Region-Free
Duration: 121 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: Dolby Vision 2160p Ultra HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Robert De Niro 
Cast: Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lillo Brancato Jr., Taral Hicks, Kathrine Narducci

Robert De Niro's directorial debut A Bronx Tale (1993) is a coming of age story based on Chazz Palminteri's stageplay, it tells the tale of 9 year old Calogero (aka C) who lives in the Bronx ('natch) with his white-collar parents; bus driver father Lorenzo (Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver) and mother Rosina (Kathrine Narducci), who try to steer him down the right path and away from the wise guys in the neighborhood. However, one day when Calogero witness local gangster Sonny (Chaz Palminteri) murder a man in cold blood he turns a blond eye tot he crime, winning fav or with gangster who takes him under his wing, much to the chagrin of his father. The story jumps ahead eight years later and C is a teenager, a wise guy in the making sees Sonny as a second father, his relationship with his own father is strained, and he falls in love with a African-American teen named Jane (Taral Hicks), but the late-60's racial tensions between Italian-Americans and African-Americans in the Bronx make this a difficult road to navigate, leading to heartbreak and tragedy. The flick has terrific performances from De Niro and Palminteri, plus the 60's period setting is wonderfully realized with some outstanding needle drops that put you in the right frame of mind. De Niro worked with some of the best directors, and the influence of Scorsese unparticular shades his directorial debut. Long unavailable in an HD format we not get both Blu-ray and 4K UHD releases from Tribeca with a 30th Anniversary restoration with HDR and Dolby Vision color-grades and uncompressed DTS audio. The restoration isn't quite dazzling; grain seems anemic and facial details loose some detail in the close-ups, and there's a bit of softens in spots, but colors are generally strong and it blows away the DVD at least. Extras include new interviews with Robert De Niro and Chazz Palminteri, a vintage making of EP and the Theatrical Trailer, plus we get a slipcover, 

Special Features:
- Revisiting A Bronx Tale: New interviews with Robert De Niro (15 min)  and Chazz Palminteri (46 min) 
- Theatrical Trailer (2 min) 
- Original Making of Featurette (5 min) 

YELLOWJACKETS - SEASON 2 (2023) 3-Disc Blu-ray 

Label: CBS/Showtime 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 520 Minutes 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.39:1) 
Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Sophie Nelisse, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sophie Thatcher, Samantha Hanratty, Steven Krueger, Warren Kole, Courtney Eaton, Liv Hewson

Showtime's Yellowjackets: Season One had me wrapped around it's finger, a show that was part survival thriller, part coming-of-age drama, and all comically black thriller, that starts off with a group of talented high school girls soccer players, the titular Yellowjackets, who on their way via plane to the 1996 national championship become the survivors of a plane crash deep in the remote northern wilderness. What happens is a descent into savage Lord of the Flies by way of Mean Girls styled clans while they are stranded for an extended length of time, which on it's own would haver been super interesting, but the series then tracks their lives 25 years in the future, moving back and forth between the present and the past exploring the relationship dynamics, backbiting, in-fighting and double-crossing that unfolded and continues to unfold. Anchored by a brilliant female cast that includes the adult versions of the girls played by Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers), Christina Ricci (Sleepy Hollow), Tawny Cypress (TV's Heroes) and Melanie Lynskey (Castle Rock), and an equally strong younger cast who play their younger selves in 1996; Sophie NĂ©lisse (47 Meters Down: Uncaged), Jasmin Savoy Brown (TV's The Leftovers), Sophie Thatcher (The Book of Boba Fett) and Sammi Hanratty (TV's Shameless). The cast of characters is an Evian water and battery acid mix of jocks, teen burnouts, goody-goodies, and secret keepers which makes for a fantastic blend of psychologies and social interaction, and the stitching together of the flashbacks and current day were well-done. Sadly season two is a bit of a bummer by comparison, storylines stagnant or come to limp conclusions, I found the 1996 storyline the most interesting and intense, but the 2021 arc just frustrated me a lot, and the season finale made me just want to stop watching the series altogether. I won't though, I stuck with The Walking Dead for all those long seasons long after it stopped being good, I am loyal that way, and I truly do hope that season 3 can return the show to must-see TV. The 3-disc Blu-ray set looks fantastic but I was surprised to see  they downgraded audio to lossy Dolby Digital - what the heck? It's a serviceable track true enough but the downgrade is truly unwarranted in 2023. 

Special Features: 
- Behind the Buzz: Episodes 201-209
- "No Return" Cover by Alanis Morissette
- Creating Yellowjackets