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Room for Love by Ilya

This is a story about two people and about love. No, not that kind of story.

One of the people writes that kind of story, though. Pamela Green is a romance novelist, reasonably successful writing as Leonie Hart, with a fan club and what seems to be solid but unspectacular sales. But she’s in a bad patch of writer’s block, and has possibly soured on the entire idea of romantic love. Personally, she’s deep into her middle years, and alone: we don’t know exactly why and how when the book opens, but we will learn.

The other person is a young man: we actually meet him first. We don’t know his name. He travels to London from wherever, hitching rides and exchanging sex for money. He ends up on the street, with another young man. Things go bad.

Room for Love  is the story of Pam and that man — call him Cougar; he does when he gives Pam a name at all. It’s by a cartoonist of several names himself: credited as Ilya here, known to me previously as the Ed Hillyer who worked with Eddie Campbell on a number of Deadface stories .

Pam and Cougar meet on a bridge. It’s already a third of the way through this graphic novel, so we know their routines and lives pretty well at that point. Pam thinks Cougar is going to kill himself; we’re not sure but it seems plausible. She’s wrong, and she ruins what Cougar has. To atone, she offers, suddenly and surprisingly to both of them, for him to live in her house.

Cougar, we see, is the kind of man who takes every opportunity he can, so he agrees. He moves in with her, cleans up a bit. Opens up, not even that much of a bit. They end up having sex after a couple of days, and then regularly.

In retrospect, we realize that’s Cougar’s pattern: it’s how he gets close to people, how he transacts with people, how he gets what he wants. Maybe we realize that at the time: I didn’t. Pam doesn’t. Pam thinks this is a relationship.

Well, it is. But she thinks it’s a romantic relationship, when it’s a business relationship. Eventually, she learns better.

Actually, they both come out of Room for Love a little bit better, more able to handle the next big thing in their respective lives, the thing they were avoiding and trying not to think about. 

Ilya tells this story in contrasting colors: brown for Cougar and blue for Pam – panels washed with their respective colors when they’re separate

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, discrete highlights on their clothing when they’re together, dialog boxes outside panels in their colors. It’s a small thing, but a deeply comics thing: a clear visual representation of how separate they are, and a clean way to keep what are and are not two story strands separate. His art falls in that no-man’s-land: a little bit of cartooniness in his faces, to make them instantly identifiable, but mostly realistic, only in a slightly simplified, cleaner way. (I don’t have the language to talk very well about art; I’m a words person, mostly.)

This is a thoughtful story about two well-defined people. I have a few quibbles: there’s more than a bit of  psycho-babble near the end, and I think Pam’s agent is acting a lot more like an editor. But the quibbles are all on that level: minor, unimportant. Room For Love is interesting and resonant: it’s a book worth reading.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

REVIEW: Batman: The Long Halloween Part 2

REVIEW: Batman: The Long Halloween Part 2

The acclaimed maxiseries from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale was wisely produced as two animated feature films. Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 was a real treat, one of the best productions from Warner Animation in quite some time. As a result, expectations were high for a satisfying Batman: The Long Halloween Part 2, out on disc tomorrow. Unfortunately, it proved to be very much a letdown.

In part one, we have a Batman (Jensen Ackles) still in the early portion of his career, learning to think and be a detective as he worked with Commissioner Gordon (Billy Burke) and DA Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel) to find the Holiday Killer, who used celebrations to mask a series of murders. The Caped Crusader was aided by Catwoman (Naya Rivera), who was more sidekick and romantic interest than foil. The murders exacerbated the rivalry between Carmine “The Roman” Falcone (Titus Welliver) and Sal Maroni (Jim Pirri), the top two crime bosses in Gotham City, recognizing their time was rapidly fading with the arrival of the colorful crazies that followed in Batman’s wake.

Part two picks up immediately with Falcone’s son Alberto dead and Holiday still on the loose. However, Batman has been absent for nearly three months and oddly, Bruce Wayne has been deeding over properties to Falcone. We learn this a result of Poison Ivy (Katee Sackhoff) and it finally takes Catwoman to free him only for Batman to almost immediately succumb to the Scarecrow’s (Robin Atkin Downes) fear gas so she has to save him again.

The biggest problem in Part Two is that Catwoman is more the proactive hero than the title character. Batman is reactive throughout until the final quarter and it undercuts his mystique.

Also, Part One did a nice job contrasting the marriages between the Gordons and the Dents and that’s all missing here. Instead, the focus is on one criminal after another interfering in the investigation, ultimately teaming up for mayhem but not with a lot of logic. Along the way, Dent is scared and has a mental break making him Two-Face, which becomes important as events progress.

The Falcone family could have benefitted from some more depth

, especially as Sofia (Laila Berzins), The Roman’s daughter, comes on the scene to lend a hand.

It’s a lot less interesting and complex than Part One and therefore, ultimately disappointing. Tim Sheridan’s script started off so well but suffers here. Visually, Sale’s distinctive design work is once again largely absent except for the title sequence.

The movie is out in a Blu-ray/Digital HD code combo pack with a 4K Ultra HD to follow. Overall, the 1080p presentation is perfectly satisfactory for the limited animation. The shadows and somber color palette work just fine. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is equally solid.

The supplemental features are lackluster, with the exception of the brilliant DC Showcase: The Blue Beetle (15:30). Designed to be a 1960s-style animated adaptation of the Charlton Action Heroes, this Jeremey Adams-written short is a sheer delight as Beetle (Matt Lanter) and The Question (David Kaye) investigate a crime, leading them to their old foe, Dr. Spectro (Tom Kenny), who has Captain Atom (Jeff Bennett) and Nightshade (Ashly Burch) in his thrall. The only other new piece is the obligatory A Sneak Peek of Injustice (7:48), adapting the video game and comic series. The disc is rounded out with From the Vault – Batman: The Animated Series: “Two-Face – Part One” (22:27) and “Two-Face – Part Two” (22:30)

Secret Empire #10 variant cover

The Law Is A Ass #454: Captain America Says Intern Stage Right

When I was younger, so much, much younger than today, Marvel published an epic called “Secret Empire.” It ran in Captain America for seven months back in 1974 and was a classic.

In 2017, not only was I much, much, much older, but Marvel ran another Secret Empire saga. This one ran even more months and made people with class sick.

Yes, that’s an over simplification and not completely accurate. There were many people who didn’t like this Secret Empire, so the odds are in favor of some of them having class. Still, while it’s true that there’s no accounting for taste, I just can’t make anyone liking this story add up. And it’s not because I have no taste for accounting.

The premise of Secret Empire boiled down to this; Captain America’s sworn enemy the Red Skull had a sentient Cosmic Cube, which identified as a little girl named Kobik, alter Cap’s memories so that he was now a sleeper agent for Hydra. Ultimately, Cap became the Supreme Hydra and he and Hydra took control of the United States, turning it into a fascist dictatorship.

Secret Empire had all the sensitivity and feeling of a zombie on novocaine. Marvel currently uses Hydra as a stand-in for Nazis, because Marvel comics and movies are sold globally and many countries have laws making it illegal to show swastikas or other symbols of the Third Reich. So for all intents and purposes other than the symbology, Hydra is the Nazis.

Captain America was the 1941 creation of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, two Jewish men who saw what the Third Reich was doing to the Jews in Europe while prominent Englanders preached appeasement and America practiced isolationism. Simon and Kirby wanted to create a symbol who could, and literally did, punch Hitler in the face. To make Simon and Kirby’s symbol of freedom the head of a stand-in for the Third Reich is like driving with a ten-speed problematic transmission.

Secret Empire went on for twelve issues of its own comic, including the zero issue and the aftermath issue. But wait, there’s more. It also crossed over into something like fifty-five issues of other characters’ comics, oh and another forty-one aftermath issues. I think. I could have missed an issue or two along the way. In fact, I know I missed an issue or two along the way. Who could afford to buy all those comics?

Secret Empire ended when the real Captain America, who was inside Kobik’s mindscape, convinced her to fight back. She did. And with the help of the Winter Soldier, Kobik and the real Captain America escaped her mindscape into to the world. Then Cap beat up Hydra Cap and Kobik used her comic powers to restore the world to its natural state. Kind of a deus ex cubus.

During the course of Hydra’s rule over America it did many things including, and this is where my column comes into it, interning Inhumans, so that they couldn’t use their powers against Hydra. At the end of the story, something had to be done with those interred Inhumans. Fortunately, in Secret Empire #10, the newly-reinstated United States government did the right thing; it released the Inhumans. Unfortunately, when it did the right thing it also did something wrong; it released the Inhumans with strings attached.

Before the government gave an Inhuman his or her release, it asked them to give the government a release by signing a form which “indemnifie[d] the United States government for any harm or harassment you were the victim of” during the internment. It also told the Inhumans they could have a lawyer look over the form, but any Inhuman who wanted that would have to go to another line; implying that their release might be delayed in bureaucratic red tape. Most signed. Maybe all. The comic spent all of three panels on this questionable practice, so it didn’t give us actual numbers.

The thing is, the Inhumans had committed no crimes, made no threats, or done anything by which the United States could justify imprisoning them. So the government was sorta, kinda required to release them because of that pesky old Constitution we keep talking about here in “The Law Is a Ass.” Not releasing the Inhumans would have caused much a due about process.

So if the government was required to release the Inhumans – and it was by cases such as Ex parte Endo – which said the US government could not continue to inter a Japanese citizen who was loyal to the government – it wasn’t very nice of the government

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, if not downright illegal, to coerce the Inhumans to sign a release from liability before they could get a release from custody.

When the government released the Japanese citizens it had interred during World War II, I don’t think it required them to sign release forms. In fact, a few decades back a federal appeals court ruled that formerly interred Japanese had the right to sue the U.S. government in court even though the suits were brought outside of the statute of limitations window. That fact would strongly suggest the government didn’t require signed release forms, but I don’t know this for a fact. George Takei, who actually was interred, might know. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to ask him.

I do know that inmates who are released from prison after introducing evidence that they were actually innocent are not required or coerced into signing release forms before they are released. I know this because many of these individuals who are released for actual innocence, including one who was a former client of mine, sue the government for wrongful imprisonment. Frequently with success, including one who was a former client of mine. If prisoners who didn’t actually do anything wrong aren’t asked to sign release forms, than interned Inhumans who didn’t do anything wrong shouldn’t have been asked to do so either.

Or, to paraphrase the Bard – because who among us doesn’t paraphrase the Bard from time to time – the evil that men did to the Inhumans lives after them; the good Inhumans shouldn’t have been interred with their bones.

Batman Goes AR in new Global App

Batman Goes AR in new Global App

BURBANK, CA, Aug.5, 2021 — DC today announced the release of the ultimate Batman mobile experience for kids ages 6-12, the DC: Batman Bat-Tech Edition app, a one-of-a-kind free mobile app available today on the App Store and Google Play stores in 13 different languages around the world. Immersing kids in narrative-driven, technology-inspired activities, the new app lets kids join Batman’s crime-fighting team, the Knightwatch and experience the world of Batman, learning how to use his Bat-Tech to fight crime and help defend Gotham City from his evil adversaries. The DC: Batman Bat-Tech Edition app is COPPA compliant and free to download and play. 

Developed in conjunction with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, the new DC: Batman Bat-Tech Edition app features first-of-its-kind augmented reality (AR) technology to engage kids and immerse them in the world of the iconic DC Super Hero who uses crime-fighting tech to help him foil the evil deeds of The Joker, Mr. Freeze, The Riddler and other DC Super-Villains. In addition to learning about Batman’s technology through the app’s AR storytelling features, kids can play mini games

, transform photos with AR face filters and stickers, read exclusive digital comics, watch Batman Bat-Tech themed video content and gain access to the Batcomputer, the super-computer where Batman’s tech secrets are stored.  

“Batman is one of our most important franchises, so bringing together the DC and Warner Bros. Consumer Products teams to develop this app featuring his fan-favorite gadgets and crime-fighting tech was a chance for us to give fans yet another way to engage with a favorite DC Super Hero,” said Pam Lifford, President, WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences.  “The app creates a truly unique experience that gives kids around the world a chance to immerse themselves in the DC Universe — there’s no other app like it available today.”

“The Batman mobile app showcases Batman’s innovative technology, using augmented reality like never before, and gives kids a way to unlock the mystery behind Batman’s crime-fighting gadgets,” said Kevin Morris, Vice President, Franchise Management and Marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “Kids can now experience being a DC Super Hero alongside Batman, and while learning and playing they can also help save Gotham City.”

At launch, the DC: Batman Bat-Tech Edition app features:

  • Augmented reality (AR) missions: Through the new app’s AR features, kids become a member of Batman’s new Knightwatch team and immerse themselves in original Batman crime-fighting missions. The amazing AR provides a realistic 3D experience that draws upon engineering and design concepts to make Batman’s Bat-Tech come to life.
  • Mini games:  Users can play a Batman-themed mobile driving game where players test their skills at driving the Batmobile; Batarang Practice where players face off against the clock and find out how many targets they can knock down; and the Grapnel Launcher game where players must run and jump while utilizing Batman’s abilities to overcome obstacles. 
  • AR face filters: Kids can transform into Batman, The Joker, Batgirl and more of Gotham City’s most iconic characters using these fun filters and can save photos and share them with friends and family.
  • Sticker packs: Users can decorate photos with a variety of Batman-themed stickers, turning an ordinary shot into a cool Batman story.
  • Batman Bat-Tech video content: The app connects to the extremely popular DCKids’ YouTube channel.  A new series, entitled “Batman Science Lab” will launch this fall exploring the real-world applications of Batman’s technology. 
  • New missions, games, filters, sticker packs, and video content will be added and updated on a regular basis to keep the app experience fresh and fun for kids.

Additionally, launching exclusively on the DC: Batman Bat-Tech Edition app is a digital comic series, Batman – Knightwatch, where kids can explore how the Knightwatch program was created and follow along with Batman and his Super Hero team as they take on Gotham’s City’s Super-Villains following a massive breakout at Arkham Asylum. Additional digital comics will be added to the app on a regular basis.

Fans can download the DC: Batman Bat-Tech Edition today and help Batman save Gotham City.  Available for free on the App Store and the Google Play store, the app is playable on both tablets and smart phones. The app is available globally and is localized in 13 different languages.

A Clockwork Orange Makes 4K Ultra HD Debut Sept. 21

A Clockwork Orange Makes 4K Ultra HD Debut Sept. 21

BURBANK, CA – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced today that  A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 classic dystopian film, will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray and Digital on September 21. Adapted from Anthony Burgess’s 1962 decline-of-civilization novel, A Clockwork Orange received four Academy Award® nominations; Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (Based on Material from Another Medium) and Best Film Editing. 

Directed, written and produced by Kubrick, the film stars Malcolm McDowell as Alex DeLarge, Warren Clarke, James Marcus and Michael Tarn as his droogs, Patrick Magee and Michael Bates. 

In 2020, the United States Library of Congress selected A Clockwork Orange for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The 4K restoration was conducted by Warner Bros.’ Motion Picture Imaging (MPI).  Kubrick’s former right-hand man Leon Vitali and the Kubrick Estate worked closely with the team at Warner Bros. during the mastering process.

Ultra HD* showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.   

A Clockwork Orange will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $24.99 ERP and includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc with the feature film and special features. Fans can also own A Clockwork Orange in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning September 21.  

About the Film:
In an England of the future

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, Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his “Droogs” spend their nights getting high at the Korova Milkbar before embarking on “a little of the old ultraviolence,” while jauntily warbling “Singin’ in the Rain.” After he’s jailed for bludgeoning the Cat Lady to death, Alex submits to a behavior modification technique to earn his freedom; he’s conditioned to abhor violence. Returned to the world defenseless, Alex becomes the victim of his prior victims.

Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Elements
 
A Clockwork Orange Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:

  • Commentary by Malcolm McDowell and Nick Redman
  • Still Tickin’: The Return of Clockwork Orange [2000 Channel 4 Documentary]
  • Great Bolshy Yarblockos! Making A Clockwork Orange
  • Turning Like Clockwork
  • Malcolm McDowell Looks Back
  • O Lucky Malcolm!


Peter David’s Genis-Vell Collected in  Marvel Tales #1

Peter David’s Genis-Vell Collected in Marvel Tales #1

New York, NY— August 4, 2021 — Last week it was announced that “The Last of the Marvels,” an upcoming story arc in writer Kelly Thompson’s hit run on CAPTAIN MARVEL, will feature the return of a fan-favorite former Captain Marvel: Genis-Vell! When a mysterious new enemy begins targeting every hero with a connection to the Captain Marvel legacy, the son of the original Captain Marvel will resurface. And fans eager to learn more about the character’s rich history will be able to do so this November with GENIS-VELL: MARVEL TALES #1. This latest Marvel Tales installment will collect the opening issues of writer Peter David and artist Chriscross character-defining 2000s series which saw Genis-Vell rise as a prominent hero in the Marvel Universe.

Meet the son of the greatest warrior the galaxy has ever known! Spawned in a test tube, Genis-Vell now struggles to fill the boots of his late father Mar-Vell — the original Kree Captain Marvel! Genis has inherited Mar-Vell’s greatest gift, cosmic awareness — which might be enough to make him go mad, if he didn’t have Rick Jones along for the ride. But sharing a body, and switching places back and forth from the Negative Zone, might drive them both crazy! Get ready for Peter David and Chriscross’ hilarious saga featuring the Hulk

, Wendigo, Moondragon…and Rick’s estranged wife, Marlo!

The Marvel Tales anthology series shines a spotlight on fan-favorite characters, features timeless stories, and highlights some of Marvel’s most impressive talent from the past eight decades. Check out artist Carlos Pacheco’s brand-new cover artwork below and go to the stars and beyond with Genis-Vell when GENIS-VELL: MARVEL TALES arrives in November!

Marvel’s Top Talent Redraws Fantastic Four #1

Marvel’s Top Talent Redraws Fantastic Four #1

This November, fans will get to experience two of the Fantastic Four’s greatest adventures in a brand new way in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE #1! In the tradition of GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: TRIBUTE TO WEIN & COCKRUM #1 and CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE #1, this giant-sized issue will present classic stories with stunning new artwork by today’s leading artists.

Sixty years ago, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby made history and brought about the beginning of the Marvel Age of comics with the release of FANTASTIC FOUR #1. Now a bevy of Marvel’s finest creators will pay tribute to that monumental moment by reinterpreting

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, page by page, the story from that inaugural release as well as FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3, the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm!

“It’s the 60th Anniversary of the Fantastic Four—and that means it’s a good time to assemble the best and brightest that Marvel has to offer to joust with the King,” Executive Editor Tom Brevoort said. “This issue not only reimagines that initial FANTASTIC FOUR issue from 1961 through the vision of the artists of today, but also the later story from FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 in which Reed and Sue were married and the entire Marvel Universe of the period showed up. There’s really no better way to commemorate this anniversary than by revisiting these classic works anew.”

See this modern take on two of the most pivotal moments in Marvel Comics history when FANTASTIC FOUR ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE #1 hits stands in November.

Warped & Faded: Weird Wednesday and the Birth of the American Genre Film Archive Coming in November

Warped & Faded: Weird Wednesday and the Birth of the American Genre Film Archive Coming in November

Austin, TX – Mondo is excited to announce the new book release of Warped & Faded: Weird Wednesday and the Birth of the American Genre Film Archive, available for saleon November 16, 2021 from author Lars Nilsen, editor Kier-La Janisse, along with several genre enthusiast contributors. Nilsen

, a longtime Alamo Drafthouse film programmer and now at Austin Film Society, and Janisse, genre scholar and author (House of Psychotic Women), programmer and documentary filmmaker (Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror), have written a definitive guide to exploitation cinema.

At the dawn of this century, a scrappy one-screen theater in Austin, Texas became ground zero for a revolution in film exhibition. That cinema, the Alamo Drafthouse, took the seemingly foolhardy step of offering free screenings of exploitation and horror movies that had quite literally been consigned to the scrap heap. The idea began in the sleep-deprived mind of its co-founder, Tim League, as he piloted a grotesquely overloaded rental truck home to Texas, with hundreds of otherwise unwanted film prints in the back, an expense he could ill-afford. Why not, he thought, offer a screening series at the theater that would allow everyone to discover these movies simultaneously, as they unfolded on screen in all their speckled, splicey glory? And why not make it free?

From that fevered notion, a legend was born: the series, Weird Wednesday, continues to this day. The film archive that was born from that initial axle-warping payload is now called the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) and it has preserved, restored and distributed hundreds of films that might otherwise have been thrown into an abandoned mine or pushed off a barge into international waters.

Mondo’s new book, Warped & Faded, tells the story of the Wild West days of the Weird Wednesday series and AGFA in the words of the people who were there.

Profusely illustrated with poster art, advertising mats and rare stills from the films, Warped & Faded features contributions from Weird Wednesday Hall-of-Famer Gary Kent and genre champions Tim Lucas, Stephen Thrower, Pete Tombs, Maitland McDonagh, Kat Ellinger, Chris Poggiali, Robin Bougie, Mike Malloy, Bryan Connolly, Heidi Honeycutt, Rodney Perkins, Zack Carlson, Kier-La Janisse and more.

In the months to come, Alamo Drafthouse will share exciting programming announcements to celebrate the weird and wonderful films featured in Warped & Faded, including the long awaited return of the weekly series that inspired it, which has been on a pandemic hiatus.

Beloved Shawshank Redmeption Makes 4k UHD Debut Sept. 14

Beloved Shawshank Redmeption Makes 4k UHD Debut Sept. 14

Burbank, Calif., July 26, 2021 – The Shawshank Redemption, which received seven Oscar® nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Original Score and Best Screenplay, will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital on September 14, it was announced today by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Released in 1994, the film marked the feature directorial debut of its screenwriter, Frank Darabont.

The Shawshank Redemption, the emotionally moving portrayal of a friendship between men under the harshest of circumstances, stars Academy Award® winning actor Tim Robbins (Mystic River, Bull Durham) and Academy Award® nominee Morgan Freeman (Driving Miss Daisy, Unforgiven, Bruce Almighty).  Based on Stephen King’s novella “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” the movie won Frank Darabont an Oscar® nomination for his adapted screenplay and critical acclaim for his directorial debut.  Mr. Darabont is one of only six filmmakers in history with the unique distinction of having his first two feature films receive nominations for the Best Picture Academy Award:  1994’s The Shawshank Redemption and 1999’s The Green Mile.

In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected The Shawshank Redemption for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Ultra HD* showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.   
The Shawshank Redemption will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $24.99 ERP and includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc with the feature film and special features. Fans can also own The Shawshank Redemption in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on September 14.  

About the Film:
This inspiring drama tells the story of Andy Dufresne (Robbins), a prominent banker unjustly convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment at Maine’s Shawshank Prison.  He is befriended by longtime convict Red (Freeman) who’s been in long enough to know the ropes and helps him cope with the frightening realities of prison life.  As the two men grow closer

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, so does the sense of hope that can truly set them free.

Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Elements
The Shawshank Redemption Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:

  • Commentary by Frank Darabont
  • “Hope Springs Eternal: A Look Back at The Shawshank Redemption” 
  • “Shawshank: The Redeeming Feature”
  • “The SharkTank Redemption”
  • 5 Stills Galleries
  • “Bogs Takes a Fall” Storyboard”
  • New Fish Arrive” Storyboards

BASICS
Ultra HD Blu-ray $24.99*                 
Standard Street Date: 9/14/21
Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French
Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Parisian French
Run Time: 142 minutes
Rated: R

REVIEW: A Quiet Place/ A Quiet Place Part II

REVIEW: A Quiet Place/ A Quiet Place Part II

In 2018

, director John Krasinski delivered a gripping thriller in the guise of a science fiction/horror film, something that would not have out of place in the 1950s. A Quiet Place, though, was a contemporary film as it focused entirely on a family, trying to survive in a world post-invasion. The aliens, in this case, had such a superior sense of hearing that the merest cough would alert them, allowing them to hunt you down. Whatever made the sound was destined to be destroyed.

As a result, husband Lee (Krasinski), pregnant wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), deaf daughter Reagan (Millicent Simmonds), and son Marcus (Noah Jupe) try to navigate the world where the merest whisper could be a death sentence. It is a post-apocalyptic tale of survival that works on the screen as the audience is caught up in the long silences, the heightened sense of danger around every corner, and admiring the ingenuity and love clearly evident during the movie.

It proved such a success, that to Krasinski’s surprise, Paramount Pictures ordered a sequel. The film was shot and then delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. When it opened in the spring, it was a major success, both critically and commercially.

The new film is out now in 4k Ultra HD and in a variety of other formats. Interestingly, the two films were combined into a two-disc Blu-ray release, in case you missed the first one.

The first film was shot on actual film and the high definition transfer is immaculate with excellent color saturation. For a film where sound or its absence was vital, the audio track is equal to the visual presentation.

The first disc contains three featurettes: Reading the Quiet — Behind the Scenes of A Quiet Place (14:45), The Sound of Darkness — Editing Sound for A Quiet Place (11:44), A Reason for Silence — The Visual Effects of A Quiet Place (7:33).

A Quiet Place Part II opens with a flashback that details the day the aliens crashed to earth and the panic that ensued. After that, we pick up pretty immediately after the first film as new mom Evelyn has to keep her newborn silent and circumstances force them from the sanctuary Lee had built for them. Their trek brings them into the world of survivalist Emmett (Cillian Murphy) and the possibility that surviving humans are gathering somewhere nearby. As Evelyn goes to investigate, the narrative tension is successfully mounted and sustained, letting body language and facial expression do a lot of the heavy lifting. We have multiple threads to follow this time, but director Krasinski does a masterful job letting these breath and showing the characters grow.

Yes, things wind down to a satisfying ending, but you can see the door remains open for more stories told in this frighteningly familiar world.

The high-definition transfer is not as brilliant as the first disc but certainly satisfactory enough for home viewing. Instead, the Dolby Atmos audio track is much superior and makes the viewing much better.

Time, there are more featurettes, well worth a look: Director’s Diary: Filming with John Krasinski (9:38), Pulling Back the Curtain (3:47); Regan’s Journey (6:19); Surviving the Marina (5:00); and Detectable Disturbance: Visual Effects and Sound Design (8:26).

The double-feature Blu-ray comes with Digital HD codes for both films with most of the featurettes available for streaming.