Saturday, February 24, 2024



TICKET TO PARADISE (2022) - HARRIET (2019) - EILEEN (2022) - CONTAGION (2011) - THE GROOM WORE SPURS (1951) - WONKA (2023) 

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital 

Label: Universal Studios
Region Code: Region-Free 
Rating: PG-13 
Duration: 104 Minutes 
Audio: English Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD MA 7.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 2160p Ultra HD Widescreen (2.39:1) 
Director: Ol Parker 
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kaitlyn Dever, Billie Lourd, Lucas Bravo

Ticket To Paradise is a charming rom-com starring George Clooney (From Dusk Till Dawn) and Julia Roberts (Flatliners) as exes who despise each but team-up on a shared mission to sabotage their lovestruck lawyer-daughter's (Kaitlyn Dever, The Last of Us) destination wedding plans. The thought is to prevent her from making the same mistake they once made when they were young, so together they travel to Bali to stop her from marrying a handsome seaweed farmer (Maxime Bouttier, 
Mr. Midnight: Beware the Monsters), but of course along the way they see the error of their ways, and might even see in each other what they saw when they were young and still in love. I found this to be pretty predictable and by-the-numbers rom-com, just by reading the synopsis on the wrap prior to popping it in I pretty much nailed the outcome, but you know what, it's so dang charming and fun I rather enjoyed it and had a big smile on my face when the credits rolled. Kudos to Billie Lourd (TVs Scream Queens) as the bride-to-bes bestie, I could have done with more of her in this to be honest. The 4K UHD looks great, the exotic tropical locations are gorgeous with vibrant WCG infused colors and the Dolby Atmos audio delivers a flawless A/V experience. Ticket To Paradise is fun escapist entertainment, which was a treat for my wife who usually cannot stand the sort of flicks I watch, hahaha. 

Special Features: 
- Return of the Dynamic Duo (4:38) 
- Destination Wedding (3:38) 
- Production in Paradise (3:44) 
- Keep a Straight Face (2:35) 
- Digital Copy 

HARRIET (2019)
4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital 

Label: UPHE
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: PG-13 
Duration: 125 Minutes 7 Seconds 
Audio: English Dolby Atmos,  with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: HDR10 2160p Ultra HD Widescreen ((2.39:1), 1080p HD Widescreen (2.39:1)  
Director: Kasi Lemmons 
Cast: Cynthia Erivo Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Janelle Monae

Harriet (2019) tells the extraordinary true tale of Harriet Tubman's escape from slavery and her transformation into a freedom fighter who dedicated her life to freeing other slaves from the chains of oppression. Harriet is played by Cynthia Erivo (HBO's The Outsider) who gives a marvelous performance as the determined former slave who goes onto become one of the most prominent conductors of the Underground Railroad, freeing hundreds of slaves during her in her lifetime. The 4K upgrade looks terrific, the HDR10 color-grading offers deep blacks and well-saturated colors, with crisp textures and details, plus we get a Dolby Atmos upgrades that is quite immersive. 

Special Features: 
- Deleted Scenes (15:35) 
- Her Story (5:57) 
- Becoming Harriet (3:37) 
- Audio Commentary with Director/Co-writer Kasi Lemmons
- Digital Copy 

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EILEEN (2022)
MOD BLu-ray 

Label: Decal Releasing
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 97 Minutes 22 Seconds 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 and 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.65:1) 
Director: William Oldroyd
Cast: Thomasin Mckenzie, Anne Hathaway, Jim Dunlop, Sam Nivola

Eileen (2023) is a psychological thriller set in the 60's in Boston, Massachusetts, where the titular Eileen (Thomasin Mckenzie, Last Night in Soho) is a peculiar young woman who works at a juvenile detention prison. Her life is dreary, she lives with an alcoholic and increasing unhinged father, (Shea Wigham, Vampires vs. the Bronx) the former chief of police who just casually verbally eviscerates her at every turn, chipping away at her self esteem. Meanwhile she has an active imagination and a vivid libido but no way to express either outside of masturbation and imagining the violent deaths of her and her father, but that all changes when she encounters a new psychologist, Rebecca Saint John (Anne Hathaway, Colossal), who joins the prison staff. Rebecca is a seemingly self-assured Hitchcock blonde who strikes up an unlikely friendship with the weird wallflower, unleashing her inner desires. Their friendship hints at lesbian-tinged coming-of-age romance, and I thought I knew just where this was headed, but in a way that I absolutely adore it defied my expectations at nearly every turn, both hitting harder and ending a bit more ambiguous than I would have imagined. The period set film looks terrific, set in the dreary Boston winter with period garb and decor that is not glamorous in the least, Rebecca is the only vibrancy in the film and Eileen is drawn to her like a moth to the flame, but with a twist. Eileen gets an MOD Blu-ray from Neon, there are no extras sadly, but it looks and sounds terrific. 

Special Features: 
- None

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4K Ultra HD + BLu-ray + Digital 

Label: WBHE 
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: PG-13 
Duration: 106 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 2160p Ultra HD Widescreen
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Marion Cottilard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Ehle, Sanaa Lathan

The Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) directed Contagion (2011)
is a film that has aged quite well, a very scientific and realistic medical thriller about the outbreak of a worldwide highly contagious respiratory virus. Sound familiar? It sure does but this was made back in 2011, nearly a decade before COVID-19, but the way that this rings to true to how things panned out is incredibly eerie. I never saw this when it hit the cinema, and I had heard a lot about it during the Corona Virus lockdown and how prescient it was, but I was trying to find some escapist entertainment during that times, so I avoided it.  Having watched it now, all I can say is wow, this is not only a terrific medical-disaster thriller, but it's so well-researched and intelligently written, as well an expertly crafted film that had me on the edge of my seat. There;s a lot of threads here, at the heart we have Matt Damon's character who wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) and son dies after his wife returns home from Hong Kong, his grief mired by the knowledge that his wife was having an affair with an old flame; various members of the scientific community represented by Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Elliott Gould, and  Marion Cotillard; a conspiracy theorist blogger (Jude Law) who ramps up public fears. It's star-studded thriller for sure, but also one that transcends that star-power to deliver a satisfying pandemic thriller that is startling accurate to what we all live through during the bad, dark days of COVID-19. This flick gets a top-notch 4K upgrade, the restoration was completed at Warner Bros. Discovery’s Motion Picture Imaging (MPI) and was sourced from the original camera negative with HDR color-grading, delivering a crisp image that delivers color, textures, fine detail and superior contrast in spades, it's a very pleasing image. Audio chores are handled by a capable DTS-HD MA  track, and we get the archival extras from the previous Blu-ray.

Special Features:
- The Reality of Contagion – Featurette (11 min) 
- The Contagion Detectives – Featurette (5 min) 
- Contagion – How a Virus Changes the World –Featurette (2 min) 
- Digital Copy 

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MOD Blu-ray 

Label: Shoreline Entertainment
Region Code: Region-Free 
Rating: PG 
Duration: 81 Minutes 15 Seconds 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Fullscreen (1.33:1) 
Director: Richard Wharton
Cast: Ginger Rogers, Jack Carson, Joan Davis

When Western film-star Wild Ben Castle (Jack Carson, Dangerous When Wet) loses $60,000 in a game of dice with Vegas mob-mogul Harry Callan (Stanley Ridges, Each Dawn I Die) he hires ace lady-lawyer Abigail Jane "A.J." Furnival (Ginger Rogers, Gold Diggers of 1933) to represent him to help him settle the debt. AJ is in awe of Castle's star charisma, but does not realize that he's not only a degenerate gambler but a bit of womanizing scoundrel, too. The two marry and AJ discovers that Castle hired her for reasons other than her superior negotiating skills, which rubs her the wrong way, discovering that he;s no treakl cowboy, in fact he hates horses and cannot stand the outdoors. There's fun scene of him putting on a record and attempting to pass it off as his own singing and guitar playing which works fine until the record is accidentally sped up! A pretty fluffy rom-com that offers precious few actual laughs, I found it to be pretty dopey, but I found Carson and Rogers to be affable aces, even though I thought their onscreen chemistry was pretty dire. This Blu-ray is MOD and not pressed, so be aware of that, and also looks to be sourced from an 1.33:1 SD video master that has quite a few blemishes, it looks pretty dire in HD to be honest, but does have uncompressed audio, which in about on par witht he video. No extras here, it's just a barbones. If you really just want a dedicated physical media release of the flick this will fit the bill, but this is available on the PizzaFlix YouTube channel in about as good of quality as you get here.  

Special Features: 
- None

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WONKA (2023) 
4K Ultra HD + Digital 

Label: WBHE
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: PG 
Duration: 116 Minutes 
Audio: English ATMOS TrueHD with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 2160p Ultra HD Widescreen
Director: Paul King 
Cast: Chalamet Calah Lane, Keegan-Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant

Based on the iconic character at the center of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wonka (2023)  tells the tale of a young naive chocolate-maker Willy Wonka (
Timothée Chalamet, Bones and All)  who arrives in Europe to establish his chocolate shop at the famous Galéries Gourmet. Arriving there he finds himself going up against a Chocolatier Cartel comprised of Arthur Slugworth (Paterson Joseph, Æon Flux), Gerald Prodnose (Matt Lucas, Bridesmaids), and Felix Fickelgruber (Mathew Baynton), that is none too welcoming of competition. They're in league with crooked clergy (Rowan Atkinson, Rat Race) and a chocolate-addicted chief of police (Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele) to ensure that no new chocolatiers are able to set up shot in the area. Beyond that Wonka finds himself crookedly indebted to the aptly named Mrs. Scrubitt (Olivia Colman, Hot Fuzz) and Bleacher (Tom Davis, Prevenge), working off his debt in their Dickensian laundry workhouse, where he befriends an orphan by the name of Noodle (Calah Lane). He must also contend with a diminutive Oompa Loompa named Lofty (Hugh Grant, Lair of the White Worm) who is after his chocolate but also becomes an ally. Now I was not thrilled with this when it was first announced, if for no other reason than Gene Wilder is my Willy Wonka, the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is one of my most treasured childhood films, but I went in with an open heart about it and had quite a good time with his one. I thought Chalamet was quite good inthe role, his singing during the musical numbers is not exactly his strong suit he does well enough, the songs in the film Neil Hannon, lead singer of the Divine Comedy are fantastic, and the confectionery tale does have a sense of wonder about it, which is what I am looking for from a Wonka tale. I thought Grant stole very scene he was in and found Noodle's orphan a bit of distraction, but otherwise I was pleasantly surprised just how much of a good time I had with Wonka. 

Special Features: 
- Unwrapping Wonka: Paul King’s Vision: Revered director Paul King takes you on a deep dive into his experience adapting the beloved story of Wonka. (12:28) 
- The Whimsical Music of Wonka: Composer Joby Talbot and songwriter Neil Hannon take you into the studio to illuminate the craft behind the wondrous songs of the film. (6:01)
- Welcome to Wonka Land: Production designer Nathan Crowley and the rest of the “Wonka” crew discuss creating the magical sets that transport audiences to the worlds of the film. (10:51)
- Hats Off to Wonka: Costume designer Lindy Hemming breaks down the inspiration and intention behind each of the character’s wonderful costumes. (6:41) 
- Wonka’s Chocolatier: Chocolatier Gabriella Cugno provides an in-depth look at the creation of the beautiful chocolates seen in “Wonka.” (8:51)
- Digital Copy 
- Slipcover 

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