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Blu-ray Reviews for April 24, 2018

Selections from this week’s Blu-ray releases can be found below in this ongoing weekly summary of reviews. Click on any of the following titles to navigate directly to that review. This week’s releases include: the Gerard Butler crime flick Den of Thieves; the next edition in Umbrella Entertainment’s popular movie trailer compilation series Drive-In Delirium: The New Batch; Arrow Video’s handsome deluxe reissue of the legendary cult classic Killer Klowns from Outer Space;  the charming-as-all-get-out Paddington 2; and Steven Spielberg’s rallying cry against the Fake News witch-hunt movement The Post. A list of other titles also available this week can be found at the end.


  Distributor: Universal Studios

Den of Thieves is a gritty Los Angeles crime saga which follows the intersecting and often personally connected lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Department and the state’s most successful bank robbery crew as they plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank of Downtown Los Angeles.

If David Ayer were to remake Heat, it would look a lot like Den of Thieves. What that means is it would be a familiar plot — a group of cops against a group of bank robbers, the leaders of each forming a mano-a-mano bond of sorts — but it would be “gritty,” “street-cool,” and very cursey. Just, constant cursing, and dialogue so “cutting” that even Michael Mann would have deleted it from his final draft of Miami Vice. It’s also two and a half hours long, which is, if we’re being kind, a half hour too long for this kind of escapism. Granted, Heat is ten minutes shy of three hours, but you never ever feel that amount of time passing as you watch it. Heat is an immediately seductive experience, and all of its little sub-conflicts that seem to branch off and disperse in their own seemingly pointless tangents come back around and mean something to the bigger picture. Den of Thieves feels every bit the 2.5 hours it is, and many of its little bits and details end up being nothing more than filler or plot holes. I get that, with any kind of film, there needs to be a reasonable suspension of disbelief, but Den of Thieves cuts around having to explain the most intricate moments of the film’s main heist while hoping that the audience will just accept it and not think too much. “How’d he get there?” “How’d they pull that off?” “You mean no one saw that?” Den of Thieves is totally fine without answering any of those questions beyond a lazy and broadly rendered Usual Suspects-esque moment of montage clarity for our lead sheriff — a sequence in which “the twist” is revealed, and which the film desperately tries to sell as mind-blowing and clever. (It’s not.)

Gerard Butler has been playing the same character over and over ever since his only one truly successful movie: the very homoerotic 300. In Den of Thieves, he’s playing basically the same character again, only now he’s an absolute scumbag. There’s nothing about him the least bit human. A single scene of him crying in his truck after seeing his newly estranged daughter does nothing to counteract the other 2 hours and 29 minutes of seeing him talk, act, and think like a scumbag who spite-fucks strippers, harasses his wife and her friends, drinks way too much, and violently rough houses with his suspects. Compared to him, even 50 Cent shows off more humanity with his fake movie family. Yes! 50 Cent! I just said this!

Den of Thieves is also filled to the brim with useless characters. Butler’s character of “Big” Nick O’Brien is the leader of a six-man sheriffs unit known for being rowdy and unconventional. (Spite-fuck a stripper if you’ve heard that one before.) But hilariously, each of these other teammates, who actually enjoy a great deal of screen time, maybe have three lines each during the entire running time. They are the most useless characters you’ll ever see in a film that’s longer than three entire dentist appointments. They exist only to ask dumb questions, so Big Nick can explain why those questions are dumb — they serve only as “natural” conduits of exposition to the audience. They’re boring, and if any of their names are ever uttered, I’d be hugely surprised.

Everyone keeps trying to make Heat. Ben Affleck got somewhat-but-not-really close with The Town, an admirable film that has not aged well. Christopher Nolan was hugely inspired by Heat when he made The Dark Knight. However you may feel about those critically well regarded films, they are no Heat.

Den of Thieves, definitely, is not.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Alternate Ending
  • Alpha Males
  • Into the Den
  • Alameda Corridor
  • Outtakes
  • Feature Commentary with Director Christian Gudegast and Producer Tucker
  • Tooley
  • Theatrical Trailer #1
  • Theatrical Trailer #2


Distributor: Umbrella Entertainment (Region Free Release)

Just when you thought that you’d seen every pulse-pounding, blood-drenched, flesh-filled scrap of trailer trash comes this third stupefying serving of mind-numbing, skull-splitting retro movie madness! Bulging with over 6 hours of non-stop sex, violence, vehicle destruction and cockamamie cosmic carnage – Drive-in Delirium: The New Batch is a rip-roaring, off-road, high-def ruckus that proudly programs your Blu-ray player to DETONATE! 175 Theatrical Trailers Remastered In High Definition!

Trailer compilations are easy to appreciate for multiple reasons: to test your knowledge as a cineaste and gauge how many films you’ve seen; to appreciate the art of the trailer and examine in what different ways it can be constructed; for a healthy boost of nostalgia; and to expose yourself to films you may have never seen, nor perhaps even heard of.

Umbrella Entertainment have been a strong purveyor of these trailer compilations, beginning with DVD and then recently upping the ante with Blu-ray releases. Called Drive-In Delirium, they have been exactly what you expect: hours upon hours of trailers, grouped by decade (‘60s & ‘70s Savagery and Maximum 80’s Overdrive).

Their newest release, Drive-In Delirium: The New Batch, is now upon us, and it continues the glorious work so far rendered by the Australian label. (ALL of these releases are Region Free, by the way, and you need to own them.) Like their previous releases, each trailer is presented as its own chapter stop, allowing you to skip with ease to the trailer you want to see. The inner artwork on each release also provides a comprehensive list, in their presentation order, of every trailer on the disc.

This time, since they’re not sticking to any specific era to organize the order of their trailers, they are actually weaved together by sticking to just one commonality. The very first handful of trailers are the typical alien and mutant sci-fi oddities from the 1950s, which offers the wrong impression of how the trailers will be ordered. But one alien trailer leads to the next, which then leads to one set in space, which then leads to one about something coming from space, which leads to… and it goes on and on. And like the previous compilations, these aren’t just trailers for pulpy B-movie exploitation and horror titles — hugely respected trailers appear next to ones…er, not so respected. (And I’m pretty sure Charles Bronson gets the most screen time on this disc, which made yours truly super happy.)

You can bet I was taking notes along the way. Films I never knew existed, but which I now need to see asap, thanks to this collection: The Killing of America, The Last Embrace, Silent Scream, and…drumroll, please…something called BATTLETRUCK.

If you’re a fan of trailer compilations, you’re not going to find anything better. If you’re a cineaste with a love for the bygone era of your favorite films, this new release will be a rewarding walk down memory lane. And if you’re a budding cineaste who needs to see and learn about more, more, more, you have found the perfect tool. Drive-In Delirium: The New Batch, the newest compilation in Umbrella Entertainment’s ongoing Drive-In Delirium trailer series, will be your gateway drug to a far better world of films that are more horrific, grimy, titillating, fantastic, and explosive than you could have ever imagined.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • VHS Delirium (Bonus 95 Minute SD Trailer Compile)

Distributor: Arrow Video

Step aside Pennywise… These Killer Klowns from Outer Space are outta this world – literally! – and they’re packing deadly popcorn guns and cotton candy cocoons! When Mike and his girlfriend Debbie warn the local police that a gang of homicidal alien-clowns have landed in the nearby area (in a spaceship shaped like a circus big-top, no less), the cops are naturally sceptical. Before long however, reports are coming in from other anxious residents detailing similar run-ins with the large-shoed assailants. There can no longer be any doubt – the Killer Klowns from Outer Space are here, and they’re out to turn the Earth’s population into candy floss! Written and produced by the Chiodo brothers – knowns for their work on a host of special-effects laden hits such as Team America: World Police and the Critters movies – Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a cinematic experience unparalleled in this galaxy, now newly restored by Arrow Video for this stellar edition.

Alien clowns from space are packing “deadly popcorn guns and cotton candy cocoons.”

It’s right there in the synopsis, people. If you don’t want to watch Killer Klowns from Outer Space based on that line alone — either again or for the first time — then no one can help you.

Lots of horror films are a huge part of my childhood. Killer Klowns from Outer Space was one of them. For a period during my late tens (that’s tens, not teens), it was almost inescapable. It played on television constantly, and the very first time I caught it, I was home from school with a fever and enjoying the rare chance to absorb day time television. (I also saw Innerspace and The Shining under similar circumstances. If you’ve never watched The Shining while you’ve had a fever, you really should.)

Killer Klowns is a gas — a slice of ‘80s horror/comedy filled with bad examples of both, but still a fun title and I’d even argue a staple of the genre. Written and directed by the Chiodo brothers, known for their practical effects work and monstrous Hollywood creations, it should be no surprise that the most engaging aspect of Killer Klowns are the clowny creations themselves — them, their weapons, their abilities, and eventually, their spacecraft. Whatever you may think of Killer Klowns as a horror film or a comedy, it never fails to impress as a visual delight of imaginative and well constructed practical effects.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space was for years a video store staple and then following that a cable staple (hence my first interaction with it), and its reputation has only grown over the years. It’s very silly, almost too much at times, but goddamn if it’s not exactly as its makers intended. It’s a sly cartoon masquerading as a horror film, and the joy of seeing John Vernon (Dirty Harry, Charley Varrick), of all people, interacting with those delightful clowns from space makes it all worth it. Not hurting is the presence of Suzanne Snyder, who appeared in enough ‘80s fare (Weird Science, Return of the Living Dead 2, Night of the Creeps, Retribution) that my crush on her during a young age lasted at least through the ‘90s.

For years, the Chiodo brothers have been teasing a sequel, and it’s truly a bummer that they haven’t gotten one to materialize. ‘80s nostalgia is huge and shows no signs of going away; it’s a perfect opportunity for them to resurrect our favorite galaxial clowns for another round of greasepaint mayhem and very broad humor — before someone remakes it.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative
  • Newly remastered stereo 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio options
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Archive audio commentary with the Chiodo Brothers
  • Let the Show Begin! Anatomy of a Killer Theme Song – an all-new interview with the original members of the American punk band, The Dickies
  • The Chiodos Walk Among Us: Adventures in Super 8 Filmmaking – all-new documentary highlighting the making of the Chiodo Brothers childhood films, from the giant monster epics made in their basement to their experiments in college
  • New HD transfers of the complete collection of the Chiodo Brothers 8mm and Super 8 films, including Land of Terror, Free Inside, Beast from the Egg, and more!
  • Tales of Tobacco – an interview with star Grant Cramer
  • Debbie’s Big Night – an interview with star Suzanne Snyder
  • Bringing Life to These Things – a tour of Chiodo Bros. Productions
  • The Making of Killer Klowns – archive production featurette
  • Visual Effects with Gene Warren Jr. – archive interview with co-writer/producer Charles Chiodo and visual effects supervisor Gene Warren Jr.
  • Kreating Klowns – archive interview with Charles Chiodo and creature fabricator Dwight Roberts
  • Komposing Klowns – archive interview with composer John Massari
  • Klown Auditions
  • Deleted Scenes with filmmaker’s audio commentary
  • Bloopers
  • Image Galleries
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck


Distributor: Warner Bros.

While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington sees a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. Hilarity and adventure ensue when the book is stolen and Paddington and the Browns must unmask the thief.

Family film notwithstanding, I’m just going to say it: Paddington 2 is charming as fuck. Admittedly I have not seen the first film, but I can only assume that this sequel is a superior being, as it seems to be somewhat of a tall order to have two films this charming, amusing, clever, and well written in a row. Or maybe I’m wrong and the Paddington series is a gift that keeps on giving and making you feel all the feels.

The Paddington series, as a whole, had its work cut out for it: not only was it attempting to adapt a long-running and very well established literary character (one that had to be brought to life entirely by CGI), it also had the unenviable task of finding ways to make the property equally appealing to children and adults. I mean, outside of Pixar and the occasionally on-point Dreamworks Animation, have you seen kids’ films? Pretty terrible, right? Subsisting on animating a cat or baby with a husky man’s voice, dropping a few app or meme references, and then calling it a day, Hollywood “focuses” its entertainment of children by dropping one demeaning film after another whose garish design, handful of fart jokes, and closing credits Imagine Dragons song pretty much sums up what Hollywood thinks of children: mindless consumers with no discernible taste. (To be fair, this is pretty much the same attitude Hollywood has toward adults, too.)

And that’s what makes Paddington 2 such a success. I keep coming back to “charming” because that’s pretty much the ideal way to describe this sequel. Voiced by Ben Whishaw, who offers the titular bear a sense of wonder, Paddington Brown (nee Bear) is impressively brought to life entirely digitally — realistic enough to make his creation impressive, but also fantastical enough that he continues to embody his iteration as a book series character. The multitudes of interesting environments in which the story takes place, like the city street exteriors that join together all of our characters, or the prison that comes into play later on, have been similarly rendered: realistic, but with exaggerated features and designs that offer them a subtle make-believe aesthetic as seen in the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie).

The human cast, the standouts being Hugh Bonneville, Hugh Grant, and Brendan Gleeson, gleefully embrace the concept and honestly sell the illusion of them interacting with a cartoon bear — that sounds like faint or even dismissive praise, but you’ll honestly forget after a while that everyone is clearly interacting with what’s essentially an off-screen presence. Gleeson, especially, has never played this kind of role before and it’s a delight to see him ham it up with such a kidlike version of “the mean guy.” (His character’s name is Knuckles, which I just love.)

Though it rode a wave of critical love, I still went into Paddington 2 feeling pretty indifferent, but that goddamn bear and his love of marmalade sandwiches charmed off my goddamn pants. I haven’t had such a good time with a kid’s film in a very long time; I’m hoping the inevitable Paddington 3 captures the same kind of magic.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Audio Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Paul King
  • Paddington: The Bear Truth
  • How to Make A Marmalade Sandwich
  • Music Video with Phoenix Buchanan
  • The Magical Mystery of Paddington’s Pop-Up Book
  • The Browns and Paddington: The Special Bond
  • Knuckles: A Fistful of Marmalade
  • The (Once) Famous Faces of Phoenix Buchanan


Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Oscar winners Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks team up for the first time in this thrilling film based on a true story. Determined to uphold the nation’s civil liberties, Katharine Graham (Streep), publisher of The Washington Post, and hard-nosed editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) join forces to expose a decades-long cover-up. But the two must risk their careers –– and their freedom –– to bring truth to light in this powerful film with a celebrated cast.

As has been pointed out before, I’m sure, there’s no more prescient time for a film like The Post to come out and remind people about the importance of journalism. In this age of Fake News “witch hunt!” labeling and people often springing from their ideological corners to do battle only before retreating back to the safety of their bubbles, it’s nice to be reminded of when the American people looked to the reporter for a dose of hard reality.

Except for a few small moments of schmaltz, The Post doesn’t feel obviously like a Steven Spielberg film. It’s less showy than what’s come before, a little more dialed down, and I might even say a little more mature (though the filmmaker is hardly incapable). John Williams’ musical style might seem a little familiar every so often, but his approach is low key as well. Even the typically bleached look of Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography has been dialed down. You could argue that compared to recent “for me” films from the director, such as Lincoln or War Horse, the scale is smaller and the history less infamous, but this choice to present the film in a less showy manner might be more about the significance of the story being told. The story’s the thing, to adapt The Bard, and Spielberg allows it to take center stage, with a smart, restrained, and nuanced script by screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer.

Also keeping it dialed down are Tom Hanks as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee (famously portrayed before by Jason Robards in the legendary All the President’s Men) and Meryl Streep as the Post’s owner Katharine Graham. Hanks’ gravelly voice, Robert Langdon hair, and chain smoking embody the bullish and stubborn Bradlee, but it’s Streep (to no one’s surprise) who quietly dominates the screen. The Post, besides being prescient as the trust of our news media is constantly called into question by Trump and his disciples, is also prescient in the #MeToo movement. Streep’s Graham rehearses her “lines” before stepping into a meeting filled only with men — either the Post’s board members or investors after she takes the Washington Post public. But in both she clams up, subtly but obviously ashamed of herself, allowing the conversation to, again, be dominated by men, and her prepared remarks read by someone else. The Post is smart enough never to hit you over the head with these implications, as they are gently infused throughout the script — or maybe the audience, too, is now more receptive to this following their wokeness.

And can I just say it’s a delight to see the likes of Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, who came to prominence from their comedic partnership on HBO’s sketch comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David, sharing the screen together again in a far more serious endeavor, and at a point where each of them have achieved great success in their careers as both comedic and dramatic actors. Thanks to Odenkirk’s successful run on the unexpectedly great Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, his role as Ben Bagdikian is fuller and richer, allowing for a handful of quietly dramatic moments.

You might not think that films about the newspaper business could be so dramatic, or feel so high stakes, but I can point to examples both well known (All the President’s Men, Zodiac) and under the radar (Shattered Glass) that prove otherwise. The Post even ends in the most appropriate way possible; the conflict contained within its running time would be just one of many important stories about political corruption that would break, and, sadly, there’s no end of those in sight.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Layout: Katharine Graham, Ben Bradlee & The Washington Post
  • Editorial: The Cast and Characters of The Post
  • The Style Section: Re-Creating an Era
  • Stop the Presses: Filming The Post
  • Arts and Entertainment: Music for The Post


Also Available This Week:

Distributor: Lionsgate

Starring Theo James (Divergent), Jacqueline Bisset, and Ben Kingsley, the compelling story tells the tale of a young man who lands his dream job at the United Nation’s Oil and Food program, but soon finds himself in the middle of a worldwide conspiracy.

Special Features:

  • “The Truth Behind Backstabbing for Beginners” Featurette

Distributor: Shout! Factory

Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as the future’s most fearsome warrior in this adrenaline-charged sci-fi thriller. Deteriorating from a deadly plague, 21st-Century America is descending into a barbaric nightmare. Only Pearl Prophet (Dayle Haddon), a beautiful half human/half cyborg, has the knowledge necessary to develop a vaccine. But during her quest to gather data and bring the cure to the world, Pearl is captured by cannibalistic Flesh Pirates who plot to keep the antidote for themselves and rule the world. Now, only saber-wielding hero Gibson Rickenbacker (Van Damme) can rescue her and save civilization.

Special Features:

  • NEW 4K Scan From The Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Albert Pyun
  • NEW A Ravaged Future – The Making Of CYBORG – Featuring Interviews With Writer/Director Albert Pyun, Actors Vincent Klyn, Deborah Richter, And Terrie Batson, Director Of Photography Philip Alan Waters, And Editor Rozanne Zingale
  • NEW Shoestring Fantasy – The Effects Of CYBORG – Featuring Interviews With Visual Effects Supervisor Gene Warren Jr., Go-Motion Technician Christopher Warren, And Rotoscope Artist Bret Mixon
  • Extended Interviews From Mark Hartley’s Documentary ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS With Writer/Director Albert Pyun And Sheldon Lettich
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

Distributor: Shout! Factory

“Ladies and gentlemen, players and ladies, high-lifes and low-lifes, all you trash with cash, allow me to announce the Doctor is IN!” Clifford Skridlow’s newest profession is the oldest profession in Doctor Detroit, a chaotic comedy starring the one and only Dan Aykroyd. When fast-talking pimp Smooth Walker (Howard Hesseman, WKRP In Cincinnati) finds himself in hot water with Chicago crime boss Mom (Kate Murtagh), he claims that there’s a new player in the game: Doctor Detroit, a cat who’s badder than bad … and completely fictitious. In need of a patsy until the heat dies down, Smooth hits paydirt with mild-mannered professor Clifford Skridlow (Aykroyd) — and promptly skips town, leaving his bevy of sexy “employees” in Clifford’s hapless hands. Charmed by the ladies and spurred by his dedication to chivalry, Clifford agrees to become their protector and ally, transforming himself from a power-walking professor to a heroic hustler … and throwing down the gauntlet to save his college from financial ruin and the four damsels from the wrath of Mom!

Special Features:

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Michael Pressman And Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball
  • NEW Interview With Director Michael Pressman
  • “Radio Free Detroit” – Inside The Doctor Detroit Audio Press Kit, Featuring Rare And Vintage Interviews
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spots

Distributor: Twilight Time (limited to 3,000 units)

Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) stars Marilyn Monroe in an early dramatic role, eerily playing a demented baby sitter drawn to a man (Richard Widmark) she ultimately becomes convinced is her dead lover. Anne Bancroft is also on hand, making her screen début as Widmark’s chanteuse girlfriend, hoping against hope that he’ll prove himself worthy. Shot, handsomely, by the great Lucien Ballard (The Wild Bunch).

Special Features:

  • Isolated Music Track
  • Marilyn Monroe: The Mortal Goddess
  • Richard Widmark: Strength of Characters
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Distributor: Shout! Factory

With an interminable case of writer’s block and a personal family crisis, playwright Nate (Jemaine Clement, Flight of the Conchords) is forced to move into his father’s (Elliott Gould, Ocean’s Eleven) retirement community. But a chance encounter with the local community theatre group may help turn his life around … or signal the end of his once promising career for good. Marking his directorial debut, Sam Hoffman has lovingly crafted an endearing father-son tale with the right mixture of laughs and drama from his stellar cast, which includes singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, two-time Emmy winner Bebe Neuwirth and Golden Globe® and Emmy® nominee Annie Potts.

Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer

Distributor: Twilight Time (limited to 3,000 units)

The estimable Richard Fleischer (Fantastic Voyage, The Boston Strangler) directs Stirling Silliphant’s adaptation of Joseph Wambaugh’s compulsive bestseller, The New Centurions, focusing on a group of rookie cops who make their way from the LAPD police academy to the city’s very mean streets. George C. Scott stars as a wise but embittered veteran along with Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jane Alexander, and Rosalind Cash.

Special Features:

  • Isolated Music Track
  • Audio Commentary with Actor Scott Wilson and Film Historian Nick Redman
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historians Lee Pfeiffer and Paul Scrabo
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Distributor: Arrow Video

The original Ringo films introduced another iconic hero to the spaghetti western; a clean-cut sharp shooter who was markedly different to Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name.

In A Pistol For Ringo, the eponymous hero, played by Giuliano Gemma (Day of Anger, Tenebrae), infiltrates a ranch of Mexican bandits to save a beautiful hostage (Nieves Navarro, Death Walks on High Heels). In The Return Of Ringo, the gunslinger, now a veteran of war, disguises himself as a Mexican in order to take revenge on outlaws who have stolen his property and taken his wife.

Hugely successful upon their original release, thanks in part to the skilled direction of Duccio Tessari (The Bloodstained Butterfly, Death Occurred Last Night), the Ringo films proved influential on the Italian western, spawning numerous unofficial sequels, due to their gripping set-pieces and unforgettable musical scoring by Ennio Morricone. Arrow Video is proud to present both films in sumptuous new restorations that truly brings their stylish cinematography to life.

Special Features:

  • Brand new 2K restorations of both films from the original negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Italian and English soundtracks
  • Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • Audio commentaries for both films by Spaghetti Western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke
  • They Called Him Ringo, an archival featurette with star Giuliano Gemma
  • A Western Greek Tragedy, an archival featurette with Lorella de Luca and camera operator Sergio D’Offizi
  • Revisiting Ringo, a new video interview with critic and Ringo fan Tony Rayns
  • Gallery of original promotional images from the Mike Siegal Archive
  • Original trailers
  • Gallery of original promotional images
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the films by Howard Hughes and a newly-translated interview with Duccio Tessari

Distributor: Arrow Video

Boundary-breaking Early Crime Thrillers, Mob Dramas And Action Movies From Legendary Cult Director Seijun Suzuki. Includes: Eight Hours of Terror (1957), The Sleeping Beast Within (1960), Smashing the 0-Line (1960), Tokyo Knights (1961), The Man with a Shotgun (1961).

Available for home-viewing for the very first time ever outside of Japan, this collection of bleak crime thrillers, brash mob dramas and exuberant action movies, made across the first five years of Seijun Suzuki’s career within Nikkatsu’s Borderless Action (mukokuseki akushon) line, presents a heady mix that laid the ground for what was to come.

The Sleeping Beast Within (1960) is a gripping crime thriller that sees a newspaper reporter’s search for his girlfriend’s missing father lead him into heart of the criminal underworld of Yokohama’s Chinatown. Its companion piece, Smashing the 0-Line (1960), follows two reporters’ descent into a scabrous demimonde of drug and human trafficking. In Eight Hours of Terror (1957), a bus making its precarious way across a winding mountain road picks up some unwelcome passengers. In Tokyo Knights (1961), a college student takes over the family business in the field of organised crime, while The Man with A Shotgun (1961) marks Suzuki’s first entry into the territory of the “borderless” Japanese Western.

Special Features:

  • Limited Edition Dual Format Collection [1500 copies]
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Newly translated optional English Subtitles
  • Audio commentary by critic and author Jasper Sharp on Smashing the 0-Line
  • Tony Rayns on the Crime and Action Movies – the critic and historian discusses the background to the films, their place within Suzuki’s career and the talent involved with them
  • Trailers
  • Stills Gallery
  • Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • 60-page illustrated collector’s book featuring new writing by Jasper Sharp

Distributor: Arrow Video

Adapted from C.K. Stead’s novel Smith’s Dream, Sleeping Dogs almost single-handedly kickstarted the New Zealand New Wave, demonstrating that homegrown feature films could resonate with both local and international audiences, and launching the big-screen careers of director Roger Donaldson (No Way Out, Species) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Possession).

Neill – in his first lead role in a feature – plays Smith, a man escaping the break-up of his marriage by finding isolation on an island off the Coromandel Peninsula. As he settles into his new life, the country is experiencing its own turmoil: an oil embargo has led to martial law and civil war, into which Smith reluctantly finds himself increasingly involved.

Co-starring Warren Oates (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia) as the commander of a US army unit drawn into the conflict, Sleeping Dogs is simultaneously a political thriller, a personal drama and a true landmark in New Zealand cinema.

Special Features:

  • High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
  • Optional 2.0 (uncompressed LPCM) and DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtracks
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Commentary by writer-director Roger Donaldson, actor Sam Neill and actor-writer Ian Mune
  • The Making of Sleeping Dogs (2004), a 65-minute retrospective documentary on the film’s production featuring interviews with Donaldson, Neill, Mune, Geoff Murphy
  • The Making of Sleeping Dogs (1977), a contemporary behind-the-scenes documentary featuring interviews with Donaldson and Neill
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell, a contemporary review by Pauline Kael and the original press book

Distributor: Twilight Time (limited to 3,000 units)

The great American auteur Samuel Fuller gives us, in Underworld U.S.A. (1961), a terrifyingly prescient look at a nation – on the surface serene and at peace – in which organized crime and big business have somehow merged. All this is seen through the eyes of a young man (Cliff Robertson) bent on avenging the death of his father at the hands of “punks” who turn out to be ubiquitous and working on both sides of the law. Also starring (wonderfully) Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay, and Richard Rust, and memorably shot by the great Hal Mohr (Rancho Notorious, The Wild One).

Special Features:

  • Isolated Music Track
  • Sam Fuller Storyteller
  • Martin Scorsese on Underworld U.S.A.
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

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J. Tonzelli is a writer, film critiquer, and avid Arnold/Van Damme/Bronson enthusiast who resides in rural South Jersey. He is the author of "The End of Summer: Thirteen Tales of Halloween" and the "Fright Friends Adventure" series, co-authored with Chris Evangelista. He loves abandoned buildings, the supernatural, and films by John Carpenter. You can read some of his short fiction at his website, JTonzelli.com, or objectify him by staring at his tweets: @jtonzelli. He apologizes for all the profanity.

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