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The era of big-budget Stephen King TV mini-series reached its peak in the mid/late ‘90s with the author’s frequent collaborator Mick Garris helming a terrific, sprawling take of King’s mammoth “The Stand.” For an encore, Garris and King reunited for THE SHINING (270 mins., 1997; Shout! Factory), following the popular 1980 Stanley Kubrick film adaptation which fans of the book – and King himself – were left disappointed by.

Broadcast on ABC over late April/early May of ‘97, the “Shining” mini-series was greeted with widespread critical acclaim and performed well enough in the ratings – but somehow it’s gotten lost in the shuffle over the years when a discussion of the better King film adaptations comes up. Part of that is due to a lack of visibility: since the Kubrick version has always been a mainstay in the Warner Bros. catalog, my guess is the studio has also never wanted this later adaptation to create confusion with the 1980 movie, leading to its relative lack of circulation (save a 2006 DVD release).

That changes this month with Shout’s premiere Blu-Ray release of the “Shining” mini-series, which should be essential viewing for any King fan. While there’s no doubt that, visually, the Kubrick film is more accomplished and chilling, from a dramatic and emotional angle, the mini-series is far more developed and satisfying.

For starters, Steven Weber evokes far more sympathy as Jack Torrance with Rebecca DeMornay a much more nuanced Wendy – the doomed married couple who take their young son (Courtland Mead) to a Colorado resort in the dead of winter, one that’s supposedly vacant but is, in reality, filled with very unhappy haunts. The Torrances’ backstory is more convincingly fleshed out and Weber’s Jack isn’t nearly as batty as Jack Nicholson’s comparable portrayal of the character, where the actor is basically crazy as soon as the story starts.

The entire point of King’s story also got lost in Kubrick’s movie, a picture that managed to set its reputation as a horror movie classic despite most critics and even viewers being disappointed by it at the time of its original release. Relationships between the Torrances were simplified, the dramatic arc and intention of King’s book obscured by Kubrick’s driving interest in his production’s undeniably accomplished technical attributes.

Garris’ mini-series, which King wrote and produced himself, has the opposite issue. The pedestrian visual effects in the TV “Shining” are completely of a mid ‘90s vintage – and look it – but the story is more relatable and the performances likewise humanistic. Various set-pieces like the “woman in 237” are supremely creepy for any TV standard, the conceit of having Danny informed by his own conscience (Wil Horneff), and the poignant ending – King’s own – all help to distinguish this rendering. Speaking of the picture’s surprisingly upbeat coda, it also delivers a degree of deliverance and even redemption that chilly Kubrick wasn’t interested in.

Worthy of a re-evaluation – especially if you distance yourself from Nicholson’s “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” hysteria – Shout’s “Shining” Blu-Ray is out this month featuring a new 2K scan from the interpositive. This debut HD transfer retains the original 1.33 TV aspect ratio (HD was still a couple of years off) but still looks so much better than the DVD and standard-def presentation we’ve previously seen of the mini-series. It may not restore a “cinematic” appearance but there are colors and details enhanced here that certainly aid the material. Some sections had to be derived from non-interpositive sources, and they seem to be (unsurprisingly) related to the early digital FX work used in the production, which was and is its weakest component.

Special features are ported over from Warner’s 2006 DVD including a commentary featuring Stephen King, Mick Garris, Steven Weber and others, plus 11 additional scenes. In all, a fine presentation of an underrated King production, especially if you enjoyed his original novel more than its 1980 movie namesake.

THE RING COLLECTION 4K UHD/Blu-Ray (Shout! Factory): THE RING (105 mins., 2002, PG-13); THE RING TWO (110 mins., 2005, PG-13); RINGS (102 mins., 2017, PG-13): Director Gore Verbinski’s “The Ring” was not only one of the horror genre’s most successful films of the last two decades, but also ushered in two sequels and years of Asian-horror domestic remakes – most of which, from “The Grudge” and its sequels, to the hugely disappointing remake of “Dark Water,” failed to live up to this film’s thrills.

The 2002 THE RING remains the best of the lot and follows the Japanese version fairly faithfully as it again features the premise that a video tape brings death to all those who view it within the span of seven days. Journalist Naomi Watts stumbles upon the tape after her niece’s heart mysteriously stops beating, and sees a series of seemingly random images on the video, several of which involve a little girl. This forms the basis for a mystery that takes Watts to an island off the northwest coast, where a horse breeder and her husband had a daughter with unexplained, incredible powers.

Hideo Nakata’s Japanese filming of Koji Suzuki’s novel was a smash hit in its native country, and was one of the few recent genre films to succeed primarily on the power of suggestion and minimalist scares – not gore and violence. It was followed by a poorly received semi-sequel called “Spiral,” the tepid “Ring 2” and a so-so prequel (“Ring 0”).

The American remake, scripted by Ehren Kruger (“Scream 3”), drops the ball in a couple of places (most notably in the subplot involving Watts’ son, who apparently shares a physic connection with the girl that’s never elaborated upon), and adds a couple of unnecessarily ghoulish-looking Rick Baker corpses, but otherwise adheres closely to its source material. “The Ring” is a movie that starts off slowly but picks up steam as its mystery unfolds, culminating in a doozy of a climax that’s a little more Hollywood than the Japanese version, yet in some ways is superior: there’s just more atmosphere and tension in the American remake.

Verbinski also does an adept job building and sustaining tension; the Pacific Northwest locales are vividly photographed by Bojan Bizelli, and if there’s one area where the American “Ring” is a marked improvement on its predecessor, it’s in the film’s stylish look and mood. Complimenting the picture is a superb score by Hans Zimmer — or at least, Zimmer and a trio of “Additional Music” credited composers.

“The Ring” was a big box-office hit but its quality did not wear off on a pair of inevitable follow-ups: Hideo Nakata himself came in to direct THE RING TWO in 2005 but despite his involvement and a returning Naomi Watts, the follow-up came off as “been there, done that” and was inferior on every level. Paramount, which inherited the Dreamworks live-action catalog, tried their hand at a belated third entry, RINGS, in 2017, but the scares had run dry despite a few tweaks to the formula and a twist ending intended to launch sequels that never came.

Shout Factory’s THE RING COLLECTION premieres the three American “Ring” films in excellent Dolby Vision HDR (1.85) transfers from their original negatives across a trio of 4K UHD discs. Blu-Rays are also included, which may be of interest since “The Ring Two” never even generated a format release in the U.S., while 5.1/2.0 DTS MA soundtracks are included on each picture (7.1 on “Rings”).

New special features include critics Emily Higgins and Billy Dunham providing commentaries on “Ring Two” and “Rings” plus the featurette “Ghost Girl Gone Global.” Ported-over supplements from earlier releases include an Unrated “Ring Two” cut on the Blu-Ray only along with the short film “Rings” (no relation to the 2017 sequel), featurettes, interviews, and deleted scenes on the last entry.

CARRIE 4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray (100 mins., 2013, R): Watchable if unnecessary updating of Stephen King’s novel ends up a watered down remake of Brian DePalma’s 1976 hit, with even that version’s screenwriter, Lawrence D. Cohen, here given a credit. Chloe Grace Moretz gives a fine, sympathetic performance as the tormented teen who’s the focus of one particular bully, unaware the object of her ridicule has blossoming physic powers. The high school element of the picture works best, relegating the material involving Julianne Moore’s unhinged, crazy religious mama to the movie’s weaker, more heavy-handed half. Overall, it’s thoroughly watchable, well-acted but forgettable, with the movie growing increasingly tired as it chugs along to a bombastic climax executed by director Kimberly Pierce. Shout’s 4K UHD offering boasts a new Dolby Vision HDR presentation of the ‘13 “Carrie” plus new interviews with author Joseph Maddrey and production designer Carol Spier discussing the remake. Other extras are pulled from MGM’s 2013 release including an alternate – and absolutely horrendous – ending that tries (and fails spectacularly) to mimic the shock finale of the DePalma film; deleted scenes and featurettes, a commentary from Pierce, and a Blu-Ray copy.

CHILD’S PLAY 4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray (90 mins., 2019, R; Shout! Factory): Bland and forgettable remake of the Thanksgiving ’88 horror hit presses the reset button, with Chucky the killer doll being a newly enhanced, interactive A.I. model whose psychotic motivations are decidedly less supernatural in origin. A couple of twists like those make this “Child’s Play” not entirely the push-button rehash you might expect, but Tyler Burton Smith’s script still doesn’t substitute fresh concepts in his reworking of Don Mancini’s original characters, as Chucky (now voiced by Mark Hamill) again stalks single mom Karen (Aubrey Plaza) and son Andy (Gabriel Bateman). You’ve seen it before — and executed better at that. Shout’s 4K UHD marks the premiere release of the “Child’s Play” remake in 4K and the Dolby Vision HDR presentation is just fine across the board (2.39) while the same 5.1 DTS MA mix has been reprieved from the earlier Blu-Ray. Extras include commentary from director Lars Klevberg, Making Of featurettes and the trailer.

Series on Disc New Releases

HEROES: The Complete Collection Blu-Ray (2006-10/2015; Universal): It started out as one of the most absorbing and freshest TV series of its era, and while Tim Kring’s “Heroes” may have quickly fallen off, it remains an admirable small-screen attempt to capture the “graphic novel”/super-hero zeitgeist shortly before Marvel’s big-screen universe was about to explode.

Certainly Season 1 was and is a terrific viewing experience. Creator-producer Kring’s absorbing hybrid of domestic drama and super-hero saga offers an enormously intriguing set of varied characters, most of whom sport extraordinary powers and find themselves unknowingly crossing paths with one another — as well as a psychotic villain named Sylar who’s able to retain the power of any and all “Heroes” in the known universe.

The appealing cast includes Milo Ventimiglia and Adrian Pasdar as a pair of brothers struggling with their newfound abilities; Hayden Pannetiere as a high school cheerleader with the power of invincibility, plus Jack Coleman as her mysterious father, who knows more about her potential than he’s letting on; Ali Larter as a female Jekyll/Hyde, trying to protect her equally “gifted” son and her estranged ex-con husband; Masi Oka as a Japanese office worker with the power to teleport anywhere, at any time; Greg Grunberg as a cop with physic abilities; and Sendhil Ramamurthy as a scientist searching for the answers that connect them all. Together, the group encounter a number of villains, from the chilling Sylar (Zachary Quinto) to Malcolm McDowell’s shady Trump-like entrepreneur, who has a few “special” abilities of his own.

With action, suspense, and terrific ensemble performances, “Heroes” was one of the happy surprises of the 2006-07 television season, leading NBC to renew the series (as well as a spin-off) for some 30 episodes.

Unfortunately, Kring’s associate – producer Bryan Fuller – took off after the first season and between that and a writer’s strike, “Heroes” quickly went downhill. Inconsistent writing doomed Season 2, as the focus shifted off its original cast and towards a never-ending succession of new characters being introduced – at a thrifty 11 episodes (cut down because of the strike), one could argue “Heroes” never recovered off its disappointing sophomore season. Seasons 3 and 4 attempted to get the show back on track with a somewhat reduced ensemble but the solid entertainment and overall plotting of Season 1 was never equaled, nor was it in the anemic “Heroes Reborn” follow-up from 2015, which tried to relaunch the show to little avail.

For those wanting another look – or their first look – at “Heroes” (Season 1 most especially), Universal’s Blu-Ray includes all 90 episodes of the franchise with rock-solid 1080p (1.78) transfers and 5.1 DTS MA soundtracks. Extra features range from an elongated, never-aired 73-minute pilot episode to an alternate ending of Season 2; deleted scenes; featurettes; interviews; and commentaries with the cast/crew and Tim Kring.

Another big Blu-Ray box-set is newly available from Universal: SUITS – THE COMPLETE SERIES (aprx 99 hours, 2011-19), the fan-favorite USA cable series that’s become something of a streaming sensation over the last few years, partially because of Megan Markle’s association with the show (it helps the program itself is pretty amusing too!).

Gabriel Macht stars as a Manhattan attorney who hires an unmotivated Patrick J. Adams to be his new associate – the hitch being that Adams doesn’t have a law degree but does have an uncanny ability to remember things. Gina Torres, Sarah Rafferty, Rick Hoffman, Dule Hill, Amanda Schull and Katherine Heigl all co-star in a series that produced some 134 episodes over the previous decade and became, much like USA’s “Monk,” a top-rated cable mainstay.

Universal’s Blu-Ray features all nine seasons in 1080p (1.78) transfers with 5.1 DTS MA soundtracks and all the show’s extras from their corresponding DVD editions. These include an alternate premiere episode; deleted scenes; a gag reel; commentaries; featurettes; and plenty more. Highly recommended for fans and casual viewers alike!

4K UHD & Blu-Ray New Releases

AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM 4K UHD (124 mins., 2023, PG-13; Warner): The original “Aquaman” became a mammoth worldwide success in 2018, back when the super-hero genre was at a level where basically any genre entry would become a hit. Flash forward to our fractured, still-recovering post-pandemic/strike theatrical marketplace and the sequel that, a few years back, would’ve been a surefire success – “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” – became a typical underperformer that managed to best DC’s other 2023 misfires (“The Flash” and “Blue Beetle”) but little more at the box-office.

The movie itself – which shows ample signs of overly-intensive post-production tinkering – isn’t all bad, at least. Jason Mamoa is back as Arthur Curry and the decision to make “Lost Kingdom” a “buddy” pic with Aquaman having to work with brother (and former archenemy) Patrick Wilson in order to take on Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) was, at least, a wise one as Mamoa and Wilson’s chemistry is easily the best element in David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick’s script. A returning James Wan serves up a similar blast of underwater fantasy adventure as its predecessor, but there’s no denying the sequel’s pace and coherence aren’t on the same level, diminished by a fragmented narrative and truly curious decisions like relegating heroine (and still third-billed) Amber Heard to a mere handful of lines. Were kids really so up in arms after her court battle with ex Johnny Depp that “Mera” needed to be cut so drastically from the finished film?

Warner’s 4K UHD (1.78) does include a reference-quality Dolby Vision HDR presentation and Dolby Atmos sound. This is a good looking presentation all the way around with a Digital HD code and standard-issue making-of featurettes included on the supplemental end.

Also available on 4K UHD this week from Warner, THE COLOR PURPLE (141 mins., 2023, PG-13) brought the Broadway stage musicalization of Alice Walker’s novel to the screen from producers Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones – veterans of the source material’s widely celebrated 1985 film version. Sadly, this picture didn’t meet with nearly the expected box-office interest as it sputtered out after a decent opening this past Christmas, a commercial disappointment given its pedigree.

For musical fans “The Color Purple” serves up a respectful take on Walker’s novel with Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray’s songs embodied by a terrific cast including Taraji P. Henson and especially “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino as Celie. Warner’s 4K UHD (1.85) includes another superlative Dolby Vision HDR presentation with Dolby Atmos audio, Digital HD code, and numerous behind-the-scenes featurettes with cast and crew interviews.

THE 355 4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray (123 mins., 2022, PG-13; Universal): Belatedly issued on 4K UHD, Simon Kinberg’s female-espionage thriller “The 355” offers Jessica Chastain leading an ensemble of international spies (Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz, and Lupita Nyong’o) who come together to prevent a top-secret weapon from being used for nefarious purposes. Bingbing Fan, Edgar Ramirez and Sebastian Stan co-star in a movie that was shot several years prior to COVID but only released to little notice in 2022 — it’s certainly watchable yet Theresa Rebeck and Kinberg’s script is bereft of imagination and never rises to the level of the superb cast he was able to assemble here. Universal’s 4K UHD boasts HDR10 enhancement over its previous Blu-Ray along with new Dolby Atmos sound, the Blu-Ray, deleted scenes and featurettes plus a Digital HD copy.

ANYONE BUT YOU Blu-Ray (103 mins., 2023, R; Sony): It’s been a while since something that wasn’t an IP-driven movie, sequel or remake struck it big at the box-office – but folks looking for something, anything, a little different this past holiday season turned Will Gluck’s R-rated and tepidly reviewed “Anyone But You” into an unlikely success. Much of it is due to the chemistry between stars Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, he of “Top Gun: Maverick” success, and she parlaying off assorted HBO series roles – together, they convincingly render a would-be couple who break up after a first date, only to end up both traveling to the same Australian “destination wedding.” Gluck, who helmed “Easy A,” is better here at cultivating laughs than romance, but the breezy tone and settings keep the material from growing stale in spite of its cliched elements. Deleted scenes, featurettes, outtakes and bloopers are all included in Sony’s now available Blu-Ray (1.85, 5.1 DTS MA) along with a Digital HD copy.

New on Blu-Ray

WITNESS Blu-Ray (112 mins., 1985, R; Paramount): Moving, exciting, beautifully performed and written, “Witness” needs little introduction for most viewers. Its relatively simple tale of a Philadelphia cop (Harrison Ford) who has to go undercover into Amish country to protect a young boy (Lukas Haas) and his mother (Kelly McGillis) who witnessed a brutal murder was a box-office hit and multiple Oscar winner (earning nods for script and editing, plus nominations for Best Picture and several other categories).

Like all “classic” films, “Witness” has a timeless quality about it: the romance between Ford and McGillis, the relationship McGillis has with Amish suitor Alexander Godunov, the superior performance by young Haas, and even the “thriller” angle that results in a well-executed though standard shoot-out finale makes for a dynamic piece of entertainment – one that’s elevated by the cast, Weir’s direction, John Seale’s cinematography, and Maurice Jarre’s music into a remarkable film that’s just as fresh as it was two decades ago (be on the lookout for Viggo Mortensen as one of the Amish).

This budget-priced Paramount Blu-Ray offers a 1080p (1.85) transfer and 5.1 audio but no extras or even its remastered HD transfer Arrow put out in their deluxe UHD/BD last fall. Hardcore cinephiles will do well to check out that limited edition instead but casual viewers may find this no-frills release to suffice.

GOOD BURGER 2 Blu-Ray (90 mins., 2023, Not Rated): The ‘90s Nickelodeon live-action comedy series “All That” starring Kenan Thompson (who’s basically been at SNL ever since) and Kel Mitchell produced a big-screen spin-off of one of its sketches – “Good Burger” – that became a cult favorite in 1997. Seeing that retro-sequels are all the rage these days, Paramount greenlit – with the help of Brian Robbins, who directed the original and now serves as the studio CEO (that helps!) — this Paramount+ sequel bringing Kenan and Kel back to their original roles with loads of cameos and slapstick laughs. This Rhode Island-lensed affair follows another Ocean State-shot streaming sequel (“Hocus Pocus 2”) but doesn’t quite hit as much of the mark, as the mileage for one’s fondness of “Good Burger 2” is mostly going to be predicated upon their enjoyment of/nostalgia for its predecessor. On Blu-Ray March 26th (1.85, 5.1 DTS MA), Paramount’s “Good Burger 2” disc also includes numerous featurettes and behind-the-scenes clips plus a blooper reel.

THE CONTENDER Blu-Ray (126 mins., 2000, R; Giant Pictures): Rod Lurie’s 2000 political thriller about a female senator (Joan Allen) tagged for the Presidency was met with some controversy for both being too on the nose with its political agenda as well as post-production editing that reportedly irked producer, and top-billed star, Gary Oldman. The result is a movie that’s well acted across the board – with a supporting cast that also counts Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, William Petersen and Sam Elliott among its ranks – but falls apart at the finish line, succumbing to a heavy-handed political sermon delivered by Bridges’ “American President.” Until then “The Contender” splits itself down the middle fairly effectively, making its late transgressions especially lamentable. An internationally-financed film Dreamworks distributed in the U.S. (and whose distribution rights have seemingly lapsed), “The Contender” makes its Blu-Ray debut from independent label Giant Pictures in a no-frills Blu-Raysporting a decent HD catalog transfer (1.85, 5.1/2.0).

COCKTAIL HOUR Blu-Ray (74 mins., 1933; Sony): Pre-Code romantic drama stars Bebe Daniels as a successful NYC commercial artist who has to choose between three male suitors: an Englishman she meets during her trip to Paris, a dashing Prince once she gets there, or her boss back in the Big Apple (Randolph Scott). Victor Schertzinger helmed “The Cocktail Hour,” which received mixed reviews upon its original release and has made scant appearances on home video; Golden Age fans might want to give it a spin in this new Sony restoration, marked by a crisp B&W HD transfer (1.37, mono).

THE LUZHIN DEFENCE Blu-Ray (109 mins., 2009, PG-13; Sony): Little-seen adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel features John Turturro as a genius, tormented chess master who falls for a fellow player (Emily Watson) during an international competition. Unfortunately, Turturro’s Alexander Luzhin is haunted by both his troubled childhood and a competitor who threatens to destroy him in a finely-cast yet downbeat picture scripted by Peter Berry and directed by Marleen Gorris. “The Luzhin Defence”’s premiere Blu-Ray (1.85, 5.1 DTS MA) is now available from Sony sporting Gorris’ commentary, a featurette and the trailer.

SHADOW MAGIC Blu-Ray (116 mins., 2001, PG; Sony): Charming Chinese import renders the story of how motion pictures were introduced in Peking at the turn of the 20th century, through the eyes of a photographer played by Xia Yu. Jared Harris co-stars as an Englishman who works with Yu to bring the world of movies to insular Chinese culture in writer-director Ann Hu’s lovely film with a nice romance added into its “Cinema Paradiso”-styled premise. Sony’s debut Blu-Ray of “Shadow Magic” includes Hu’s commentary, the trailer, a 1080p (1.78) transfer and 5.1 DTS MA Mandarin audio with English subtitles.

THE PRINCE OF EGYPT: THE MUSICAL (144 mins., 2022; Universal) captures a live London performance of Stephen Schwartz’s stage musicalization of the Dreamworks animated film. Schwartz built off his hit song “When You Believe” from its predecessor for his musical rendition and interested viewers/musical buffs should enjoy this HD presentation of the show despite its mixed reviews. The Universal (1.78, 5.1 DTS MA) Blu-Ray includes a good looking transfer and nicely engineered soundtrack.

THE ACT Blu-Ray (7 hours, 2019; Universal): Hulu original series painstakingly (and many times painfully) portrays the relationship between crazed mother Dee Dee Blanchard (Patricia Arquette) and her daughter Gypsy (Joey King), whom she portrayed as a basic invalid despite her relative health. Years later, Gypsy takes revenge after her growing independence in a true story that’s both hard to believe and perfectly built for fans of “true crime” cable/streaming series. This Universal production was first available on Hulu and here comes to Blu-Ray in a no-frills, good looking HD master (2.39, 5.1 DTS MA).

HAYSEED Blu-Ray (107 mins., 2023; GDE): Acclaimed indie whoduneit features a series of appealing characters including Bill Sage’s insurance investigator, who becomes the defacto Columbo after a small-town reverend is murdered. Travis Burgess’ film accomplishes a great deal in its running time in terms of offering a glimpse of folksy charm and a mystery that’s surprisingly spry and effective (1080p, 5.1 DTS MA).

AT 23000 FEET Blu-Ray (79 mins., 2023; BayView): Kovid Mittal attempts to climb a 23,000 feet mountain in preparation for his own prospective climb up Mount Everest in this visually impressive documentary Mittal also directed. BayView Entertainment brings “At 23000 Feet” to Blu-Ray March 26th featuring a 1080p transfer (2.40) and uncompressed PCM (2.0) stereo sound.

RICK AND MORTY Season 7 Blu-Ray (225 mins., 2023; Warner): The voice actors may have changed but the humor in this seventh season of Cartoon Network staple “Rick and Morty” remains as wacky as always. This time out, the duo engage with some of the series’ equally colorful supporting players in 10 episodes of zaniness, captured here in 1080p transfers with 5.1 DTS MA sound. Even though the series’ off-camera drama has dominated headlines in recent years (controversy having ousted its co-creator in the process), fans should still be satisfied, at least once they’ve acclimated to the different sound emitting from its lead characters.

Coming From Well Go USA

Donnie Yen scales the heights in POLAR RESCUE (103 mins., 2022) as a Dad who heads into action in order to find his young son after he becomes lost in a horrendous storm. More character-driven than you might expect from Yen, “Polar Rescue” netted decent reviews and debuts on Blu-Ray March 26th from Well Go sporting a 1080p transfer, DTS MA Mandarin audio and English subtitles…Also on March 26thBORN TO FLY (128 mins., 2023) is Shanghai’s answer to “Top Gun” with Wang Yibo as a cocky young test pilot working on a secretive new air craft. Ample action and an appealing story make “Born to Fly” a worthwhile import to track down when Well Go releases the film on Blu-Ray with a 1080p presentation and DTS MA Mandarin audio with English subs.

Coming April 2nd, BABY ASSASSINS 2 (102 mins., 2023) brings back Akari Takaishi and Saori Izawa as a pair of teen assassins being attacked by rival hitmen while they're supposed to be taking on actual teenage activities (and jobs) that don't involve their "special set of skills." Well Go USA's Blu-Ray of this Japanese comedic action sequel from director Kensuke Sonomura debuts on April 2nd with a 1080p transfer and 5.1 DTS MA Japanese sound with English subtitles.

NEXT TIME: Kino Lorber New Releases! Until then, don’t forget to drop in on the official Aisle Seat Message Boards and direct any emails to our email address. Cheers everyone!

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Comments (4):Log in or register to post your own comments
Gosh,'ve been BUSY!!!

Thank you for leading off with the mini-series of "The Shining". I remember watching it and loving it much more than Kubrick's take on the tale, but -- as you said in your review -- the mini-series seemed to disappear from the memory of anyone discussing King's work that was adapted for television.

I also appreciate learning of many more films coming out, including "Witness". It has been a long time since I saw hat film, and it holds a special spot in my memories of favorite films.

I really tried to enjoy the TV miniseries version of The Shining, but the pouty kid and bland visuals just kept me at bay. I was never in suspense or fully invested in the characters, but the best thing going with it was Rebecca DeMornay. Steven Weber just didn't have the acting chops to carry this tortured soul, and I never fully felt the family was in peril as did Kubrick's movie did. And the horrible CGI effects of the hedge animals was bad even then. I appreciate the effort to remain truthful to King's book, but for me Kubrick's version, due to his visual aesthetics, use of music and the unbelievable sense of dread, as different it is from the novel, is a true horror film. The miniseries is more like a love note to his fans, of which I am. But it is easily forgettable.

ANYONE BUT YOU Blu-Ray (103 mins., 2023, R; Sony): It’s been a while since something that wasn’t an IP-driven movie, sequel or remake struck it big at the box-office – but folks looking for something, anything, a little different this past holiday season turned Will Gluck’s R-rated and tepidly reviewed “Anyone But You” into an unlikely success. Much of it is due to the chemistry between stars Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, he of “Top Gun: Maverick” success, and she parlaying off assorted HBO series roles – together, they convincingly render a would-be couple who break up after a first date, only to end up both traveling to the same Australian “destination wedding.” Gluck, who helmed “Easy A,” is better here at cultivating laughs than romance, but the breezy tone and settings keep the material from growing stale in spite of its cliched elements. Deleted scenes, featurettes, outtakes and bloopers are all included in Sony’s now available Blu-Ray (1.85, 5.1 DTS MA) along with a Digital HD copy.

I saw the film. It was just okay. But the reason I saw it despite the reviews was... well, because my wife asked me to, being a fan of Sweeney from the first season of Euphoria. But the reason I was interested to go is because the film is a loose adaptation of my favorite Shakespeare comedy, Much Ado About Nothing! The main characters are even still named Bea(trice) and Ben(edick)! Ben's friend is a gender-swapped Claudia instead of Claudio! And there are tons of direct Much Ado About Nothing references throughout, many of them not very subtle like the regular title cards that appear with direct quotations from the play (these were usually charming). Sometimes the dialogue is even directly pulled from the original play, though this was less successful for me.

Anyhow it's not as good as it should be (I was hoping it would be at least as solid a Shakespeare update as 10 Things I Hate About You) but it was an inoffensive way to pass a couple hours at the theater.


The biggest sign of Heroes' downfall is that BBC2 didn't bother getting Heroes Reborn*.. Here's the one of the show's BBC2 idents with She Whose Surname is Constantly Spelled Incorrectly. (It's Panettiere- not Pannettiere)[youtube][/youtube]
*Like another ill-fated NBC spinoff/continuation (Joey), Channel 5 took it. The S2 change in character focus and constant introduction of new characters (is a taste of what Teen Wolf Too scriptwriter Tim Kring had originally intended for the series (i.e. completely changing the lineup each season). Some people shouldn't be showrunners (Looking at you Jason Rothenberg, Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz).

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Ear of the Month Contest: Elmer Time, Vol. 2
Today in Film Score History:
April 12
Andy Garcia born (1956)
Bruce Broughton begins recording his score to Eloise at the Plaza (2003)
David Raksin begins recording his score for Right Cross (1950)
Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Shattered Mirror” (1996)
Edwin Astley born (1922)
Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for Rampage (1963)
Georg Haentzschel died (1992)
Herbert Gronemeyer born (1956)
Herbie Hancock born (1940)
Hugo Friedhofer begins recording his score to Soldier of Fortune (1955)
Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Changing Face of Evil” (1999)
Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for One Little Indian (1973)
Lisa Gerrard born (1961)
Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score to Lust For Life (1956)
Richard Shores died (2001)
Ronald Stein born (1930)
Russell Garcia born (1916)
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