Underground: Season Two DVD Review

  • Actors: Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Jessica De Gouw, Alano Miller, Christopher Meloni
  • Producer: Mark McNair
  • Format: AC-3, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 11, 2017
  • Run Time: 470 minutes

        Following the success of several other historical television series, including the American Revolution-based “Turn,” a series about the Underground Railroad seemed a sure-fire hit. And it was, to a certain degree, but that wasn’t enough to keep it from being cancelled. Fans pointed at the cancellation of Netflix’s “The Get Down” around the same time as reason to believe that the black narrative was a deciding reason for the cancellation, but there are many other factors that must be considered. Just as “Turn” was cancelled, “Underground” was popular with fans and had decent reviews, but the high production costs were too much to warrant continuing. When Sinclair Broadcast Group bought WGNA’s parent company earlier this year, they canceled several of the channel’s most successful shows, including their biggest hit, “Outsiders.” “Underground” was another unfortunate casualty, though there have been rumors that it may find a home at another network.

The Lost City of Z Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller
  • Director: James Gray
  • Disc Format: Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Broad Green Pictures
  • Release Date: July 11, 2017
  • Run Time: 141 minutes

        David Lean must be turning over in his grave at the sad state of affairs that the film industry has become, that a film of classic and mature storytelling like The Lost City of Z would go largely unnoticed while multiplexes are swamped each weekend with the latest comic book release. The Lost City of Z has all of the makings of a classic, had it only been released 50-years ago. Based on a true story of adventure and exploration, it is a narrative that has no need for superhuman characters. The protagonist is human and flawed, but that also means that he may perish at any time along the adventure in the narrative, raising the stakes far higher than any of this year’s CGI-laden releases. There have been few films as praised this year, and it stars three actors who have been previously attached to massive blockbusters with great success (including the latest Spider-man, Tom Holland), despite displaying only a modicum of the skill they show in this film. And yet, somehow The Lost City of Z only saw a fraction of the ticket sales, proving through release date and limited marketing that Hollywood no longer has faith in the intelligence of audiences.

The Fate of the Furious 4K Ultra HD Review

  • Actors: Vin Diesel, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson
  • Director: F. Gary Gray
  • Writer: Chris Morgan
  • Producers: Vin Diesel, Neal H. Moritz, Michael Fottrell
  • Disc Format: NTSC, Subtitled, 4K
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: July 11, 2017
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018

        There are reportedly two more films planned in the Fast and the Furious franchise, though if The Fate of the Furious is any indication of the direction they will take, it won’t be the driving sequences that makes them a success. This may have been what made the films popular in the first place, but the ensemble cast has gradually replaced the driving as the most important element since the fifth film, which reinvented the racing franchise as heist films. With Paul Walker missing for the first time and the two most memorable action sequences taking place outside of the driver’s seat and without any of the original stars, The Fate of the Furious marks yet another transition for the franchise.

Bitcoin Heist Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Kate Nhung, Thanh Pham, Veronica Ngo
  • Director: Ham Tran
  • Disc Format: Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: Vietnamese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: July 4, 2017
  • Run Time: 110 minutes

        In making the Vietnamese caper movie, Bitcoin Heist, filmmaker Ham Tran seems to have pillaged an assortment of Hollywood heist films for inspiration. This foreign film has the sensibility of a Hollywood blockbuster, complete with an ensemble cast of actors, action sequences, comedic relief, and a few twists in the narrative. Often it not only feels like movies like Ocean’s 11 and Now You See Me, but actually borrows from them shamelessly, even including a magician in the narrative to align more with the latter. While this is far from original, it is mostly effective in creating an entertaining film.