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Dr. Cheon and the Lost Talisman Blu-ray Review

 

  • Director ‏ : ‎ Kim Seong-Sik
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Gang Dong-Won, Huh Joon-Ho, Esom, Lee Dong-Hwi, Kim Jong-Soo
  • Language ‏ : ‎ Korean (DTS 5.1)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Widescreen
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 38 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ February 27, 2024

        Although the plot of Dr. Cheon and the Lost Talisman borrows heavily from the horror genre, dealing with an exorcist who is cynical about the existence of evil spirits until finally encountering something that can’t be explained, the execution feels more influenced by the superhero genre. The spectacle is absurd and leans heavily on computer generated effects, while the horror elements all take the backseat to action and humor. While some of the MCU films like Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness have leaned into horror elements, this horror film has adopted the tone of most superhero films, with equally disappointing results.

 

The Moon Blu-ray Review

 

  • Director ‏ : ‎ Kim Yong Hwa
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Sul Kyung-gu, Doh Kyung-soo, Kim Hee-ae, Park Byung Eun, Cho Han Cheul
  • Language ‏ : ‎ Korean (DTS 5.1)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Widescreen
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 2 hours and 9 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ February 27, 2024



        The plot of the South Korean space drama, The Moon, sounds like something created in response to the success of Hollywood blockbusters like The Martian or Gravity, grounding the spectacle in relatively realistic scenarios and the human responses to them. While this sounds great on paper, the execution of the narrative falls short due to sloppy filmmaking and sub-par visual effects. Little about The Moon feels complete, from the rudimentary effects to the underdeveloped plot that leans too heavily on a few melodramatic twists.

 

A Creature Was Stirring Blu-ray Review

 

  • Director ‏ : ‎ Damien LeVeck
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Chrissy Metz, Annalise Basso, Scout Taylor-Compton, Connor Paolo
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English (DTS 5.1)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ R (Restricted)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Widescreen
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 36 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ February 13, 2024

        I’ll just come right out and admit that reviewing A Creature Was Stirring feels like a near-impossible task. While it resembles multiple other established narratives, each twist subverts expectations while pivoting to different ones, leaving this poor reviewer uncertain how much can or should be revealed. At the same time, I couldn’t help but notice how many structures within the home invasion sub-genre serve as inspiration for the various narrative directions, in part because it has become my official field of study in recent years.

 

Gotcha! Review

 


         Despite a longstanding tradition of using horror films to tackle social issues involving race, among other things, in films like White Zombie (1932), The Night of the Living Dead (1968), Candyman (1992), or The People Under the Stairs (1991), the genre simultaneously often been criticized for the way in which it handles the representation of minority groups. This was the source of comedy in last year’s satirical slasher, The Blackening, which played with the tropes of the genre and its treatment of black characters. Gotcha! is also a slasher with an all-black cast, though it approaches the narrative in a straightforward manner rather than poking fun at the genre’s historical shortcomings.

 

Wolf Pack Blu-ray Review

 

  • Director ‏ : ‎ Michael Chiang
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Max Zhang, Aarif Lee, Jiang Luxia, Mark Luu, Liu Ye
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ January 23, 2024



         I have long encouraged anyone willing to listen to expand their film viewing experiences beyond national borders, despite the common misconception that foreign films are slow and boring. If each year’s Academy Awards nominees for Best Foreign Language Film are often misleadingly self-serious, but there is a world of trashy genre filmmaking in a language other than English. In other words, Hollywood is not the only industry aware of the value in pure spectacle and mindless entertainment, and Wolf Pack is a perfect example coming from China.

 

The Childe Blu-ray Review

 

  • Director ‏ : ‎ Park Hoon-Jung
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Kim Seon-ho, Kang Tae-ju, Kim Kang-woo, Go A-ra, Heo Joon Seok
  • Language ‏ : ‎ Korean (DTS 5.1)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 58 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ January 16, 2024


         One of my favorite things to do is to watch movies I know nothing about. This is the purest way to enjoy a film, especially for someone who watches as many as I do. Often even just the theatrical trailer is enough to potentially spoil any narrative twists, so there is something refreshing about allowing the filmmaker to reveal each plot point in their own time. Unfortunately, even though The Childe has several secrets that it slowly reveals throughout the run-time, I was easily able to guess what they were, even without the assistance of promotional materials. While I was still able to enjoy the spectacle contained within the plot, I wish the direction of the narrative had been less obvious.

 

Journey to Bethlehem Blu-ray Review

 

  • Director: Adam Anders
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Fiona Palomo, Milo Manheim, Antonio Banderas
  • Dubbed: ‏ : ‎ Spanish
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ SONY
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Digital_copy, Blu-ray, Subtitled
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 98 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ January 16, 2024


 

         We may have had four Spider-Man franchises in the last two decades, but that is nothing compared to the number of times the nativity story has been revisited on film. Whether it is a sincere dramatic retelling like The Nativity Story (2006), an animated revision like The Star (2017), or a docudrama like Why the Nativity? (2022), there always seems to be a new approach to the familiar old story. Journey to Bethlehem is no exception, revising the story of Christ’s birth with a popular young cast and the structure of a lighthearted musical. Although the film is live action, it carries the tone and sensibility of an animated children’s film, shoehorning in silly comedic elements to go with the goofy over-acting and mildly catchy songs.

 

Your Lucky Day Blu-ray Review

 

  • Director ‏ : ‎ Dan Brown
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Angus Cloud, Elliot Knight, Jessica Garza, Sterling Beaumon, Mousa Hussein Kraish
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ R (Restricted)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 29 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ January 23, 2024


         If believability is something you look for in your gritty crime thrillers, it is best to avoid Your Lucky Day. Despite the story being grounded with real-world problems and believably cynical characters, the plotting simultaneously demands far too much suspension of disbelief from the audience. But if you are willing to dismiss absurd sequences with a pregnant woman able to physically overpower large men with weapons, it isn’t a film without glimpses of inspiration. Just don’t go in expect Angus Cloud to be treated with reverence, even if the film is dedicated to him and unjustly gives him top billing due to the actor’s untimely death.

 

The Flying Swordsman DVD Review

 

  • Director ‏ : ‎ Qiao Lei
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Zhao Huawei, Chen Yusi, Wu Yijiang, Zheng Haonan, Lu Liangwei
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 44 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ January 9, 2024

         It took a bit of searching online for information about the Chinese martial arts epic, The Flying Swordsman, before I realized the reason that I was finding little was because the title has been changed from the original translation, The Hidden Fox. The Hidden Fox may be a better name for the film’s narrative, though The Flying Swordsman is likely a choice intended to signal to audiences what genre this film falls into. Unfortunately, the storytelling is unnecessarily convoluted regardless of what it is called.

 

The Ghost Station Blu-ray Review

 

  • Director ‏ : ‎ Jeong Yong-ki
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Kim Bo-ra, Kim Jae-Hyun, Shin So-Yul
  • Language ‏ : ‎ Korean (DTS 5.1)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go USA
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 21 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ December 19, 2023

         The Ghost Station fits in perfectly with the type of supernatural horror coming from multiple Asian countries (though primarily Japan, so common it became referred to as J-horror) at the beginning of the twenty-first century, which only increased when Hollywood began remaking many of the more successful films. There are even elements of The Ghost Station that feel as if they have been lifted directly from some of the most successful of these, including a well that plays a part in the hauntings and a curse that can be passed on, just like The Ring. Even without these derivative elements, The Ghost Station is still several decades too late to feel relevant.

 

The Wandering Earth II Blu-ray Review

 

  • Director ‏ : ‎ Frant Gwo
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Andy Lau, Wu Jing, Li Xuejian, Ning Li, Wang Zhi
  • Dubbed: ‏ : ‎ English
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English (DTS 5.1)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 2 hours and 53 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ December 19, 2023

         When the epic Chinese blockbuster The Wandering Earth was released in 2019, it felt like a response to mindless Hollywood disaster films like Armageddon or Moonfall, complete with an emphasis on visual effects and goofy comedic relief. While the storyline seemed primed for a sequel, The Wandering Earth II made the questionable decision to focus on the events before the first film, making it a prequel despite the confusion of the title.

 

Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 5 Blu-ray Review

 


  • Director ‏ : ‎ Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline, John Blystone
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Buster Keaton, Margaret Leahy
  • Subtitles: ‏ : ‎ English
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Cohen Film Collection
  • Aspect Ratio ‏ : ‎ 1.33:1
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Blu-ray
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 2 hours and 27 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ November 7, 2023


 

         Even the worst of Buster Keaton’s content surpasses most of the slapstick seen in modern cinema, partially because of his unwavering commitment to the gags. Sometimes this meant Keaton would literally put his life on the line to capture a moment on film, many of which have remained timeless long after the actor has passed. Other times, Keaton’s commitment was simply to maintain the lack of facial expression he was best known for, even resulting in the nickname ‘The Great Stone Face.’ With the fifth volume of the Cohen Film Collection’s Buster Keaton Collection, it is clear that they included the comedic star’s most beloved classics in the previous releases, though there are some bold experimentations in the two films chosen for the latest installment.

 

Mercy Road Blu-ray Review

Director: John Curran
Cast: Luke Bracey, Toby Jones
Written by: John Curran, Jesse Heffring, Christopher Lee Pelletier
Release Date: 12/12/2023



 

         Any director bold enough to take on a film set in a single location should be commended, especially one essentially relying on a single actor to carry the narrative. Mercy Road follows in the tradition of movies like Locke or Buried, where an isolated character only has conversations on a cell phone to propel the plot forward. Unfortunately, while director John Curran may have been daring enough to attempt a similar feat, the filmmaking does not match his ambition.

 

Eye for an Eye: The Blind Swordsman Blu-ray Review

 

  • Director ‏ : ‎ Yang Bingjia
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Xie Miao, Gao Yi, Zhang Haosen, Gao Weiman, Xiang Hao
  • Dubbed: ‏ : ‎ English
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English (DTS 5.1)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 18 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ November 28, 2023

         The character of blind martial artist has existed in numerous forms throughout film history, including the longest running Japanese film series based on the wandering swordsman and ronin, Zatoichi. There have also been iterations of the trope in other national cinemas, including Hong Kong and Hollywood. The Chinese release, Eye for an Eye: The Blind Swordsman, doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it is a solid contribution to the archetype, expertly made with impressive choreography and gorgeous cinematography. Even with an overcomplicated plot despite the simplicity of the story, this is one of the best action films to come out of China in years.

 

Expend4bles 4K Ultra HD Review

 

  • Director: Scott Waugh
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Lionsgate Home Entertainment
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ R (Restricted)
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Subtitled, 4K, DVD+Blu-ray, Digital_copy
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 44 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ November 21, 2023


 

When the first film in The Expendables franchise was released, it was both ahead of its time and simultaneously felt intentionally dated. Often humorous—occasionally unintentionally—The Expendables films resemble action releases from the 1980s, which is fitting considering the impressive cast of veteran action stars. While the films seem to belong to another decade, this franchise was also the first to benefit from the novelty of a beefed-up ensemble cast of movie stars. Simply put, without The Expendables, there may never have been The Avengers. With that being said, The Expendables 4 (released as Expend4bles) has slipped in quality even more than the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent years.

 

The Expendables 4K SteelBook Collection Review

 

            When the first film in The Expendables franchise was released, it was both ahead of its time and simultaneously felt intentionally dated. Often humorous—occasionally unintentionally—The Expendables films resemble action releases from the 1980s, which is fitting considering the impressive cast of veteran action stars. At the same time the films seem to belong to another decade, this franchise was also the first to benefit from the novelty of a beefed-up ensemble cast of movie stars. Simply put, without The Expendables, there may never have been The Avengers. It served as a return for Sylvester Stallone, both as an action star and as a filmmaker, resulting in the revival of several of his most popular 80’s franchises (Rambo, Rocky Balboa).

 

Crocodile Island DVD Review

 

  • Director ‏ : ‎ Xu ShiXing, Simon Zhao
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Gallen Lo, Liao YinYue, Wang BingXiang, He QiWei, Dang Wei
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 27 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ November 21, 2023

         There are two kinds of bad films: the ones that know they are bad and lean into it with a campy approach, and the ones that are sincere and serious in their efforts despite the glaring shortcomings in filmmaking. Crocodile Island does not appear aware of just how bad it actually is, which removes some of the enjoyment found in other B-film creature-feature releases like Sharknado or The Meg. There is some unintentional enjoyment to be found in the laughably bad execution of visual effects in this Chinese B-film, but this may not be enough to make watching Crocodile Island a worthwhile experience for sober audience members.

 

The Equalizer 3 Blu-ray Review

 

  • Director: Antoine Fuqua
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, David Denman
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ SONY
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ R (Restricted)
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Digital_copy, Blu-ray, Subtitled
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 109 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ November 14, 2023


 

         Denzel Washington won his second Academy Award for his first collaboration with director Antoine Fuqua, so it is not surprising that the pair have worked together multiple times since. In addition to remaking The Magnificent Seven, the star and director have turned 1980s crime series “The Equalizer” into a successful action franchise. The first two installments were action-packed, turning the network-safe show into some of the most intense American action films of the twenty-first century. While The Equalizer 3 slows down the pace of the narrative to close out the film series, there is still enough brutal action to satisfy fans.