The Mix : What are people talking about today?

0

A Fire Story by Brian Fies

Nobody would want Brian Fies’s career, not matter how many books he sells and how many awards he wins. Two of his three major books to date have been pure “making lemonade” activities: he went through things no one wants to and came out the other side to write about them.

First was Mom’s Cancer, which was about exactly what you’re thinking it was. In between was the fictional Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?  And his new book for 2019 was A Fire Story , because his house burned down in the October 2017 series of wildfires in Northern California.

So if I say that I hope Fies’s career takes a different tack in the coming years, that’s what I mean: I hope he doesn’t have any more tragedies that launch books. He’s due for a happy book, or three, or five.

A Fire Story started out of immediacy: Fies wrote and drew a twenty-page version of this story a few days after the fire, when the pain was raw and he and his family had just realized what “we’ve lost everything” means. He posted it online, and it was seen around the world — hundreds of thousands read Fies’s comic, and a few million saw an animated version made by the San Francisco PBS station (which also won a local Emmy).

The book version of A Fire Story came about a year later, which means it’s still pretty raw and immediate — I have to imagine Fies writing and drawing this in temporary housing or rented houses, waiting and hoping to get back to the normal life that burned up.

The story here starts from those initial pages — redrawn, cleaned up, expanded, but those first panels are all here in new forms. This is how Fies and his wife woke up in the middle of a Monday night, grabbed a few things, and fled a house that then burned down before the night was over. Fies expands that story in multiple ways — he brings in more of his family, including the grown twin daughters who take in Fies and his wife after the fire; he adds the narrative of several other people whose houses were burned down, so this is no longer just his story; and he continues though the beginning of rebuilding, showing scenes of sifting the ashes [1] and dealing with the insurance adjuster.

A Fire Story is powerful, direct, and personal: Fies went through something horrible and had the skills to present its horrors clearly and precisely to the world. It’s a book to be deeply ambivalent about: do we wish it never existed, because Fies’s house was instead saved? Do we rationalize that there are always houses that burn down, somewhere, and at least this giant wildfire resulted in some great art?

I don’t know how I feel about it. I’m glad Fies was about to squeeze this lemonade and still wish he hadn’t had to. Maybe, at best, it can help those of us who have not lost everything understand it a bit better: I’ve been known to whine about my 2011 flood, which destroyed an entire basement but left the rest of the house intact; and that’s minor compared to what Fies suffered.

But  A Fire Story is a major graphic novel, no matter what else. And Fies shows that he has not just the artistic chops, but the resilience and clear vision to do it. I just hope that his next project requires the chops and maybe the vision, but not the resilience.

[1] This is not a metaphor. One of his daughters is an archeologist, and uses a rocking screen on the site of their burned house.

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

0

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

Unhappy childhoods make for more interesting books than happy ones: can we agree on that? I’ve seen several Boomer nostalgia vehicles that were basically “everything was for the best in the best of all possible worlds when I was free, white, male, and seven years old,” and they’re all deadly dull at best.

Unhappiness leads to better stories: writers don’t have to suffer, but it definitely gives them better material.

Vera Brosgol has some pretty good material; she off-handedly mentions things both at the beginning (growing up poor among spoiled rich girls in Albany, NY) and the end (moving suddenly to London at the age of ten) of this book that look like they could be full graphic novels of their own. But Be Prepared  is the story of one summer at camp…well, a little about the months leading up to that summer, and how she got to that camp, but all focused on ORRA.

Maybe I should back up slightly — Be Prepared is the story of a girl named Vera, but Brosgol’s afterword explains that it’s not purely autobiographical. The general outlines are correct, but she went to the ORRA camp for two years, not one, and events have been shaped here to make a better story — including details from other campers, such as her younger brother. Readers who demand absolute factual accuracy will be crushed; those who like stories about people will be much happier.

I fall into the second camp.

(Hah! “camp”. Pun not intended.)

Brosgol is not a new hand at this — her previous graphic novel Anya’s Ghost also drew on her being-an-odd-Russian-kid-in-America childhood, but in a clearly more fictionalized and fantastic way. (The title is not a metaphor.) That was also a damn good graphic novel, just like Be Prepared. Brosgol is creating stories aimed at younger readers — my guess is upper elementary school, maybe shading into middle, since the rule is that kids hate reading about anyone the slightest bit younger than themselves — but they’re smart, well-told stories that can only come from adult distance, and that makes them just as good for adult readers.

Anyway, young Vera feels like an outsider — her friends are more affluent and “American” than she is. But there’s a summer camp affiliated with her family’s Russian Orthodox church, and so she thinks she wants to lean into being Russian — that will be where she finds girls just like her, and the best friends of her life, right?

Unfortunately, wrong. Young Vera is introverted and a bit quirky — like all the best people — and the ORRA camp is cliquish in its own way, with traditions and history and skills she knows nothing about. Plus an outdoor latrine, which is a whole different kind of reality check.

So she’s quickly writing letters home begging to be saved from the camp she spent so much time begging to go to. But her mother is busy, so that’s not going to happen. Young Vera is just going to have to make it through camp — find a friend on her own, find things that make her happy, find things she can be good at. She does: it works out.

It turns out this isn’t the kind of unhappy childhood caused by outside events — well, it is, partly, because being poorer than people around you is never a happy thing — but mostly because young Vera is the kind of person who has trouble being happy. (I know that kind of person well; I’m one, myself.)

And, again, Be Prepared is published specifically for kids, and in particular kids who are their own flavors of weird, unhappy, different, and introverted, but Brosgol is a great storyteller. Her drawings have life and verve to them, with lots of clear emotion in her kid characters, and she structures the story well. I might even give this the highest praise: Be Prepared is a book even for those few bizarre kids who enjoyed camp.

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

REVIEW:
0

REVIEW: Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy

Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis turned a high concept into a charming, enduring film in Back to the Future. It spawned two uneven sequels (and I am so glad Gale see s no reason for a fourth installment) with time-hopping DeLorean and the character of Doc Brown melding into the pop culture zeitgeist.

The films, certainly the first one, deserve to be seen by all, including the current generation to whom the 1950s and 1980s are equally ancient.

Thankfully, Universal Home Entertainment agrees and we have been treated to DVDs, and Blu-rays ever since. Out this week, in time for everyone’s holiday shopping, comes Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy as the films receive the Ultra HD treatment. In a lovely embossed slipbox, you get six discs with carryover content from the 2010 and 2015 editions.

Doc Brown has invented a time machine and with Marty on hand, they travel back to 1955, inadvertently keeping Marty’s parents from meeting. As time threatens to unravel, he has to befriend them both, avoid his mom’s icky romantic advances, and get them to fall in love while dealing with the social mores of a conservative era that, like time, is slowly starting to come part. It took televisions stars Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox and turned them into movie stars. The rest of the casting was spot on which helped turn the first film into a blockbuster.

So of course, we had a sequel, going forward in time to see further ripples that are more unpleasant than one would hope for. Here. Elisabeth Shue comes along for the rider as Marty’s girlfriend and future wife (a concept which frightens here at first). And then, for the final installment, they head backwards, to a simple, dustier time: The Wild West. This is the less creatively interesting one but saved thanks to the romance between Doc Brown and Mary Steenburgen, who is good in everything.

The new scans are pristine and wonderful with Dolby Vision color correction, making shadows deeper and the 1950s a technicolor delight. The Dolby Atmos soundtrack perfectly captures the sound effects, but more important, the vital, vibrant rock and roll that was gaining popularity during the earlier era of the first film. Thankfully, the work on the sequels is equal or even better than the original.

There’s a bonus seventh disc with fresh new supplemental content along with material from the 30th anniversary edition. Among the new features is the brief The Hollywood Museum Goes Back to the Future (10:17), as Museum President Donelle Dadigan walks us through their BTTF exhibit. There’s also Back to the Future: The Musical Behind the Scenes, a three part feature on the musical version.

A nice addition is An Alternate Future: Lost Audition Tapes (3:45 focusing on those who didn’t win the familiar roles. These include potential Biffs Billy Zane and Peter DeLuise; possible Marty McFlys C. Thomas Howell, Jon Cryer, and Ben Stiller as Marty McFly; with Kyra Sedgwick as Jennifer Parker.

Finally, there’s Could You Survive the Movies? Back to the Future (19:47): A YouTube video which reality tests some of the physical humor from the films.

REVIEW: Batman: Death in the Family

REVIEW: Batman: Death in the Family

900 numbers for polling purposes, charging users for each call placed, was a 1980s fad that seemed perfect to employ in comic books for some sort of stunt. Editor Denny O’Neil and DC’s Marketing team, led by Bruce Bristow, conceived of the stunt and Jim Starlin wrote the four-part “Death in the Family” storyline to accommodate the stunt. Jason Todd, the second Robin, never was accepted by fans, either under his father, writer Gerry Conway or the post-Crisis writers Max Allan Collins and Jim Starlin. Callers got to say he would live or die.

It went on to become a media sensation, and a closer than expected vote. It also brought down the wrath of Warner Bros who was unaware of the event and the press attention because, back then, DC was a pimple on the conglomerate’s butt and no one considered telling them.

Still, the strong storyline and fine art from Jim Aparo and Mike DeCarlo turned the story, post-event, into a seminal tale that has been collected and referenced ever since. It sadly also gave rise to the nonsensical “Under the Red Hood”, which somehow resurrected Jason Todd, turning him from a mid-to-late teen into a muscular adult. We know the Lazarus Pit can bring back the dead, but the physical changes seemed arbitrary/ Nor was his resurrection necessary. But that’s me.

The twin stories have been compacted into the newly released Batman: Death in the Family, containing a first for the DC Animated Universe: interactivity. Much like the original story, once the Joker beats Robin with a crowbar, viewers get to pick what happens next: Robin dies in a fiery explosion or Batman save Robin. Later, viewers get other branching options, so the 86 minute run time covers all the variations while each iteration runs about 20 minutes each.

Some make more sense than others, and there’s reused footage from the Under the Red Hood animated film, both of which were directed by Brandon Vietti.

As a stunt, it’s fine with fun branches and keeps you engaged. As an adaptation of the Big Event, it leaves a lot to be desired. In truncating the story, we lose Robin’s motivation, which was seeking his birth mother, leading him to accidentally encountering the Joker. Here, he’s a brat, defying Batman’s orders to not go after the Clown Prince of Crime by himself. Meanwhile, very little of the Judd Winick story about Jason’s resurrection and reinvention as the Red Hood survives in this adaptation.

It’s interesting for this to come out just after the animated universe was rebooted in the recently released Superman; Man of Steel disc, since this stands alone.

The disc is available only as Blu-ray and Digital HD code option. Please be aware that the Digital version does not offer the branching options so you get one story called Under the Red Hood: Reloaded.

The 1080p presentation is in keeping with the usual high standards from Warner Home Entertainment and retains the color palette well. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio keeps pace so the overall home experience is a strong one.

The adventure receives audio commentary from DC Daily’s Amy Dallen and Hector Navarro, touching on the source material and the animated adaptation.

The disc comes complete with the recent run of DC Showcase shorts, which have been scattered elsewhere overt the last few years. As with the previous releases, these tend to be more satisfying than the stories they accompany. This time around we have Sgt. Rock (14:55), first appearing on Batman: Hush; Adam Strange (16:05), which can also be found on Justice League Dark: Apokolips War; The Phantom Stranger (15:07) from Superman: Red Son; and Death (19:08), which first appeared on Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.

The shorts also receive new commentary from Dallen and Navarro, adding some additional background and detail.

 

Win a Blu-ray copy of Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy

Rushing into stores at 88 mph, Universal Home Entertainment’s Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy, offers a 4K Ultra HD edition for the first time. It’ll also be out in a Blu-ray boxset and our friends at Universal gave us one Blu-ray copy to giveaway to a lucky reader.

All you have to do is tell us which specific era, past or future, you would want to visit and why.

The contest is open to North American readers only and the decision of ComicMix‘s judges will be final. All entries must be posted no later than 11:59 p.m., Monday, October 19.

In case you missed the announcement this summer, here are the details.

Universal City, California, July 27, 2020–Great Scott! In 1985, Director Robert Zemeckis, Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, and Producer/Screenwriter Bob Gale embarked on a three-part journey through time that broke box-office records worldwide and catapulted BACK TO THE FUTURE into one of the most beloved trilogies in motion picture history. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment celebrates the 35thAnniversary of the groundbreaking first film with BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE ULTIMATE TRILOGY available on 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever on October 20, 2020-just in time to celebrate “Back to the Future Day” on October 21! This collection is loaded with bonus material including a bonus disc that comes with over an hour of brand-new content such as rare audition footage from Hollywood stars Ben Stiller, Kyra Sedgwick, Jon Cryer, Billy Zane, Peter DeLuise, and C. Thomas Howell, a tour of the film’s props and memorabilia hosted by co-writer/producer Bob Gale, a sneak peek at the new musical show, and a special episode of the popular YouTube Series “Could You Survive The Movies?” Join Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), and a time-traveling DeLorean for the adventure of a lifetime as they travel to the past, present, and future, setting off a time-shattering chain reaction that disrupts the space-time continuum!
BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE ULTIMATE TRILOGY will includes all three movies in collectible disc book packaging plus a bonus disc including all-new bonus content. For the first time, the past, present, and future collide in eye-popping Ultra HD resolution for a time-traveling celebration. New 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray™ deliver the highest quality picture, more colors than ever before, and immersive, multi-dimensional sound. From filmmakers, Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, and Bob Gale, this unforgettable 35th-anniversary collection features hours of bonus features and is an unrivaled trilogy that stands the test of time making this a must-own for everyone’s movie library. All three BACK TO THE FUTURE films will also be available on 4K Ultra HD digitally for the first time ever and BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE COMPLETE trilogy will also be available on DVD.

Three premium collections will be available at select retailers for a limited time only:

  • BACK TO THE FUTURE 35TH ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY LIMITED EDITION GIFT SET (4K UHD): Includes exclusive levitating Hoverboard replica (Amazon Exclusive)
  • BACK TO THE FUTURE 35TH ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY LIMITED EDITION GIFT SET (Blu-ray™): Includes exclusive levitating Hoverboard replica (Target Exclusive)
  • BACK TO THE FUTURE 35TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION TRILOGY (4K UHD): Includes three newly designed steelbooks (Best Buy Exclusive)
  • For more information on these exclusives, please visit the individual retailer’s stores and websites.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE ULTIMATE TRILOGY will be available on 4K Ultra HD combo pack, which includes 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, & Digital Code and on Blu-ray™ which includes the Blu-ray™ & Digital Code.

  • 4K Ultra HD is the ultimate movie watching experience. 4K Ultra HD features the combination of 4K resolution for four times sharper picture than HD, the color brilliance of High Dynamic Range (HDR) with immersive audio delivering a multidimensional sound experience.
    • BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE ULTIMATE TRILOGY 4K Ultra HD is available with HDR10+™, providing a premium HDR picture quality. HDR10+ transforms your movie watching experience with incredible brightness and contrast for each scene, delivering brighter brights and deepest darks.
  • Blu-ray unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
  • Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.
  • The Movies Anywhere Digital App simplifies and enhances the digital movie collection and viewing experience by allowing consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers. Consumers can also redeem digital copy codes found in eligible Blu-rayTM and DVD disc packages from participating studios and stream or download them through Movies Anywhere.  Movies Anywhere is available only in the United States.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE ULTIMATE TRILOGY bonus DISC FEATURES ON BLU-RAY™:

  • An Alternate Future: Lost Audition Tapes (NEW) – Get a glimpse of the BACK TO THE FUTURE that could have been with rare audition footage featuring now-famous celebrities.
    • Ben Stiller
    • Kyra Sedgwick
    • Jon Cryer
    • Billy Zane
    • Peter DeLuise
    • Thomas Howell
  • The Hollywood Museum Goes BACK TO THE FUTURE (NEW) – Join Co-writer/Producer Bob Gale on an intimate tour of an exhaustive exhibit of the films’ props and memorabilia.
  • BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE MUSICAL Behind the Scenes (NEW) – Get a sneak peek at the new musical show including a Q&A with the cast and creative team plus two new song recordings.
    • Cast and Creative Q&A
    • Original Songs
      • Gotta Start Somewhere
      • Put Your Mind To It
    • Could You Survive The Movies? BACK TO THE FUTURE (NEW) – Explore the magic and science of BACK TO THE FUTURE and find out which laws of physics were actually violated in this special episode of the popular YouTube series.
    • 2015 Message from Doc Brown
      • DOC BROWN SAVES THE WORLD!
    • OUTATIME: Restoring the DeLorean
    • Looking BACK TO THE FUTURE
      • The Script
      • Casting Marty McFly
      • Christopher Lloyd Reflects on Doc Brown
      • The DeLorean Time Machine
      • Building Hill Valley
      • Prepping for the “Johnny B. Goode” Scene
      • The Score
      • Rushing the Cut
      • The Legacy
    • BACK TO THE FUTURE: The Animated Series
      • Brothers (Season 1, Episode 1)
      • Mac the Black (Season 2, Episode 1)
    • 2015 Commercials
      • JAWS 19 Trailer
      • Hoverboard Commercial

BACK TO THE FUTURE bonus FEATURES ON 4K Ultra Hd & BLU-RAY™:

  • Deleted Scenes (Commentary by Producer Bob Gale available)
    • Peanut Brittle
    • “Pinch Me”
    • Doc’s Personal Belongings
    • “She’s Cheating”
    • Darth Vader (Extended Version)
    • “Hit Me George”
    • “You Got a Permit?”
    • The Phone Booth
  • Tales from THE FUTURE: In the Beginning…
  • Tales from THE FUTURE: Time to Go
  • Tales from THE FUTURE: Keeping Time
  • Archival Featurettes
    • The Making of BACK TO THE FUTURE
    • Making the Trilogy: Chapter One
    • BACK TO THE FUTURE Night
  • Michael J. Fox Q&A
    • How He Got the Role
    • The Character of Doc
    • Working on a Film and TV Series at the Same Time
    • Shooting BACK TO THE FUTURE II and III Together
    • DeLoreans
    • Special FX and Stunts
    • The Appeal of BACK TO THE FUTURE
    • Shooting BACK TO THE FUTURE
  • Behind the Scenes
    • Original Makeup Tests
    • Outtakes
    • Nuclear Test Site Sequence (Commentary by Producer Bob Gale available)
    • Photo Galleries*
      • Production Art
      • Storyboards
      • Behind-the-Scenes Photographs
      • Marketing Materials
      • Character Portraits
    • Huey Lewis and the News “The Power of Love” Music Video
    • Theatrical Teaser Trailer
    • Join Team Fox
    • Q&A Commentary with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale
    • Feature Commentary with Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton

*Only on the Blu-ray™ disc

BACK TO THE FUTURE II bonus FEATURES ON 4K Ultra Hd & BLU-RAY™:

  • Deleted Scenes (Commentary by Producer Bob Gale available)
    • Old Terry and Old Biff
    • “Dad’s Home” (Extended Version)
    • Pizza Scene
    • Jennifer Faints (Extended Version)
    • Old Biff Vanishes from Car
    • Burned Out High School
    • Marty Meets Dave
  • Tales from THE FUTURE: Time Flies
  • The Physics of BACK TO THE FUTURE with Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Archival Featurettes
    • The Making of BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II
    • Making the Trilogy: Chapter Two
  • Behind the Scenes
    • Outtakes
    • Production Design
    • Storyboarding
    • Designing the DeLorean
    • Designing Time Travel
    • Hoverboard Test
    • Evolution of Visual Effects Shots
    • Photo Galleries*
      • Production Art
      • Storyboards
      • Behind-the-Scenes Photographs
      • Marketing Materials
      • Character Portraits
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Q&A Commentary with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale
    • Feature Commentary with Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton

*Only on the Blu-ray™ disc

BACK TO THE FUTURE III bonus FEATURES ON 4K Ultra Hd & BLU-RAY™:

    • Deleted Scene (Commentary by Producer Bob Gale available)
      • The Tannen Gang Kills Marshal Strickland
    • Tales from THE FUTURE: Third Time’s the Charm [FEATURED BONUS]
    • Tales from THE FUTURE: The Test of Time [FEATURED BONUS]
    • Archival Featurettes
      • The Making of BACK TO THE FUTURE Part III
      • Making the Trilogy: Chapter Three
      • The Secrets of the BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy
    • Behind the Scenes
      • Outtakes
      • Designing the Town of Hill Valley
      • Designing the Campaign
      • Photo Galleries*
        • Production Art
        • Storyboards
        • Behind-the-Scenes Photographs
        • Marketing Materials
        • Character Portraits
      • ZZ Top “Doubleback” Music Video
      • FAQs About the Trilogy
      • Theatrical Trailer
      • BACK TO THE FUTURE: The Ride
        • Lobby Monitor
        • The Ride
      • Q&A Commentary with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale
      • Feature Commentary with Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton

*Only on the Blu-ray™ disc

FILMMAKERS:

Back to the Future
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Producer: Bob Gale, Neil Canton
Screenplay: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale
Music: Alan Silvestri, Chris Hayes, Johnny Colla, Huey Lewis
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy
Sound Editor: Charles L. Campbell, Robert Rutledge

Cast: Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly), Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Emmett Brown), Lea Thompson (Lorraine Baines), Thomas F. Wilson (Biff Tannen), Crispin Glover (George McFly), Claudia Wells (Jennifer Parker), Billy Zane (Match), Casey Siemaszko (3-D)

Back to the Future II
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Producer: Bob Gale, Neil Canton
Screenplay: Bob Gale
Music: Alan Silvestri
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall
Visual Effects: Ken Ralston, Michael Lantieri, John Bell, Steve Gawley

Cast: Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly / Marty McFly Junior / Marlene McFly), Christopher Lloyd (Doctor Emmett Brown), Lea Thompson (Lorraine), Thomas F. Wilson (Biff Tannen / Griff), Casey Siemaszko (3-D), Billy Zane (Match), Elisabeth Shue (Jennifer), Elijah Wood (Video Game Boy)

Back to the Future III
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Producer: Bob Gale, Neil Canton
Screenplay: Bob Gale
Music: Alan Silvestri
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall

Cast: Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly / Seamus McFly), Christopher Lloyd (Doctor Emmett Brown), Lea Thompson (Maggie McFly / Lorraine McFly), Thomas F. Wilson (Buford ‘Mad Dog’ Tannen / Biff Tannen), Mary Steenburgen (Clara Clayton), Elisabeth Shue (Jennifer), Richard Dysart (Barbwire Salesman), Harry Carey, Jr. (Saloon Old Timer),  Flea (Needles)

TECHNICAL INFORMATION 4K ULTRA HD:

Street Date: October 20, 2020

Selection Number: 61212628 (US) / 61212662 (CDN)
Layers:  BD-100
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 1.85:1 Widescreen
Rating: PG
Subtitles: English, French Canadian, Latin American Spanish
Video: 2160p UHD Dolby Vision/HDR10+/HDR 10
Sound: English Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital 2.0 ; French European DTS Digital Surround 5.1 ; Latin American Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1

Run Time:
Back to the Future – 01:55:57
Back to the Future II – 01:47:55
Back to the Future III – 01:58:14

 
TECHNICAL INFORMATION BLU-RAY:
Street Date: October 20, 2020
Selection Number: 61212631 (US) / 61212636 (CDN)
Layers: BD 50
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 1.85:1 Widescreen
Rating: PG
Subtitles: English, French Canadian, Latin American Spanish
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0, French European DTS Digital Surround 5.1 and Latin American Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1

Run Time:
Back to the Future – 01:55:57
Back to the Future II – 01:47:55
Back to the Future III – 01:58:14

TECHNICAL INFORMATION DVD:
Street Date: October 20, 2020
Selection Number: 61212627 (US) / 61212635 (CDN)
Layers: DVD 9
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: PG
Subtitles: English SDH, French Spanish
Sound: English, French, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Run Time:
Back to the Future – 01:55:57
Back to the Future II – 01:47:55
Back to the Future III – 01:58:14

LOTR and The Hobbit Make 4K Ultra HD in Box Sets

LOTR and The Hobbit Make 4K Ultra HD Debut in Box Sets

BURBANK, CA, October 8, 2020 – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced today that The Hobbit Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, will be available for the first time on 4K UHD on December 1.

From New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, the two epic trilogies include the theatrical and extended versions of the six films in 4K UHD with HDR.  The Hobbit Trilogy includes The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesThe Lord of the Rings Trilogy includes The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which won Academy Awards® for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.  Both trilogies will also include Digital copies of both versions of each film.

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

The 4K remastering process was overseen by Peter Jackson.

In addition, it was also announced that a 4K UHD “Middle-earth” Ultimate Collectors’ Edition featuring the theatrical and extended versions of all six films, along with new bonus content, previously released Blu-ray discs of The Hobbit Trilogy, and remastered Blu-ray discs of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy will be released in the summer of 2021. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy featuring remastered Blu-ray discs of the theatrical and extended versions of the 3 films will also be released in the fourth quarter 2021, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs of The Hobbit Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy will feature Dolby VisionTM HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs of The Hobbit Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy will also feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar. Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

The Hobbit Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy will be available on 4K Ultra HD for $89.99 Expected Retail Price.

Fans can also own The Hobbit Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy in 4K UHD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on December 1st.
BASICS
PRODUCT                                                                                ERP
The Hobbit Trilogy Ultra HD Blu-ray                                  $89.99
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Ultra HD Blu-ray                 $89.99
Street Date: December 1st, 2020

Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, French, Spanish (Extended Editions), English, Spanish (Theatrical versions)
Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Rating: All films rated PG-13 except for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition, which is Rated  R for violence
DOLBY ATMOS-TrueHD   [CC]

Finally, a movie that Alan Moore (probably) won’t disavow…

…because he not only wrote it himself, he’s in it. Watch the trailer for The Show:

  • Official selection 53 Sitges Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantàstic de Catalunya
  • Official selection 2020 SXSW Film Festival

From the mind of Alan Moore comes a new feature film directed by Mitch Jenkins starring Tom Burke, Siobhan Hewlett, Alan Moore, Ellie Bamber, Darrell D’Silva, Richard Dillane, Christopher Fairbank, and Sheila Atim.

A frighteningly focussed man of many talents, passports and identities arrives at England’s broken heart, a haunted midlands town that has collapsed to a black hole of dreams, only to find that this new territory is as at least as strange and dangerous as he is. Attempting to locate a certain person and a certain artefact for his insistent client, he finds himself sinking in a quicksand twilight world of dead Lotharios, comatose sleeping beauties, Voodoo gangsters, masked adventurers, unlikely 1930s private eyes and violent chiaroscuro women…and this is Northampton when it’s still awake. Once the town closes its eyes there is another world entirely going on beneath the twitching lids, a world of glittering and sinister delirium much worse than any social or economic devastation. Welcome to the British nightmare, with its gorgeous flesh, its tinsel and its luminous light-entertainment monsters; its hallucinatory austerity.

In other words, for those who thought JERUSALEM made too much sense.

REVIEW: Genesis II/Planet Earth

REVIEW: Genesis II/Planet Earth

Gene Roddenberry left Star Trek’s third season to write a Tarzan film that never got produced, setting a tone for the next decade of his career. He produced the wretched Pretty Maids all in a Row and slunk back to television, first with the animated Trek and then a deal with Warner Bros that would see him produce the underrated Questor and Spectre along with a new science fiction film, seemingly designed to distance himself from the optimistic SF albatross around his neck.

He cut a deal with CBS in 1972 to produce a 90-minute film, Genesis II designed to be a pilot for a potential series. He quickly reunited with many of the behind-the-scenes Trek team and got to work, creating a dystopia that began in 1979. We open in 2133 as Earth is recovering from nuclear war and mankind has been dramatically reduced in number. Apparently, the survivors didn’t learn any lessons as the two sides battle, with dollops of slavery, racism, and gender inequality still on display.

“My name is Dylan Hunt. My story begins the day on which I died.”  A NASA scientist, Hunt (Alex Cord) slept through the worst and is awoken to find a world out of control. Using his perspective, he finds like-minded allies forming a rebellious group determined to repair and ultimately save mankind.

As a concept, it’s not bad. The execution, from Samuel A. Peebles’ script on down, is where the pilot film gets into trouble. Peebles’ writing was stiff, and whatever rewriting Roddenberry did, didn’t help. The characters are types, never fully fleshed out, and Cord’s heroic role is blunted by his cold, aloof performance (making him better suited as Airwolf’s Archangel a few years later).

The most interesting performer here is actually Mariette Hartley, who isn’t wearing much (thank you, William Ware Theiss), allowing us to see her two navels (long story), but she has charisma and presence, unlike just about everyone else surrounding her.

Set against an America that was still arguing over Vietnam, a public just waking up to the corruption in the White House, and where a generation gap made communication nearly impossible, the themes are bluntly handled and where Trek offered people hope, this showed that nothing was going to change. Despite reasonable ratings during two airings, the network dithered over greenlighting the series. Ultimately, they gave the one SF slot on the schedule (talk about your quota systems) to a weekly version of Planet of the Apes.

ABC was waiting in the wings, wanting the show, but like Trek got a second pilot order with the new network insisting on major casting revisions. Gone was Cord, and in came journeyman action actor John Saxon, who had an appeal of his own and was a popular name thanks to Enter the Dragon. Also gone was Hartley in favor of Diana Muldaur, who was game but unconvincing in her part. The sole holdover was Ted Cassidy, but he didn’t have enough to do.

Rather than use the current events of the day as a springboard, Roddenberry stuck to themes that didn’t translate well nor were they well-handled in the rewrite, this time from Roddenberry and relatively new to TV writing Juanita Bartlett (who acquitted herself later on series like The Rockford Files and The Greatest American Hero.)

Joining the reimagined show was producer Robert Justman, fresh off the beleaguered Search, and he wrangled the production into a 90-minute production that never quite gelled. Years later, he admitted it wasn’t a very good pilot, which explains why ABC didn’t go to series.

Warner Archive remastered these two telefilms and they look pretty darn good. They are certainly a cultural curiosity, worth watching if you are a devotee of Roddenberry. They’re not very good as stories or pilots, the lofty ideas never properly translating to the screen. (It should be noted that after Roddenberry left, the studio tried one more time with Strange New World which isn’t here and that’s fine.) There are no extras but having these two on one-disc is a nice keepsake for collectors.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s 4K debut in Limited Ed Steelbook

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s 4K debut in Limited Ed Steelbook

The film that introduced America to Star Trek Discovery‘s Michelle Yeoh and helped make Ang Lee a popular director, is making its 4K Ultra HD debut on December 1 in a limited edition steelbook.

SYNOPSIS

Two master warriors (Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh) are faced with their greatest challenge when the treasured Green Destiny sword is stolen. A young aristocrat (Zhang Ziyi) prepares for an arranged marriage, but soon reveals her superior fighting talents and her deeply romantic past. As each warrior battles for justice, they come face to face with their worst enemy – and the inescapable, enduring power of love. Set against 19th-century China’s breathtaking landscape, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON is the action-packed box office smash from two-time Best Director Academy Award winner Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, 2005; Life of Pi, 2012) and featuring stunning martial arts choreography by Yuen Wo Ping (The Matrix).

The limited edition SteelBook includes the critically-acclaimed film on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray™.

BONUS MATERIALS

  • Six Deleted Scenes: presented in 4K Ultra HD with High Dynamic Range
  • In-Depth Retrospective Interviews: Director Ang Lee, producer James Schamus and editor Tim Squyres discuss the making of the groundbreaking film
  • Introduction to the Film and the Deleted Scenes by Director Ang Lee
  • “A Love Before Time” Music Video: in English and Mandarin
  • The Making of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Commentary with Ang Lee and James Schamus
  • Commentary with Cinematographer Peter Pau
  • A Conversation with Michelle Yeoh
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

CAST AND CREW

Directed By: Ang Lee
Screenplay By: Wang Hui Ling and James Schamus and Tsai Kuo Jung
Produced By: Bill Kong, Hsu Li Kong, Ang Lee
Executive Producers: James Schamus, David Linde
Cast: Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Lang Sihung, Cheng Pei Pei

SPECS

Run Time: Approx. 120 minutes
Rating: PG-13 for Martial Arts Violence and Some Sexuality
Feature: 2160p Ultra High Definition/2.40:1
Audio: Mandarin (Taiwan) Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA