Friday, May 31, 2013
Not on the Elm Street We All Know and Love!
I rarely step into the Wal-Mart in my town these days. However, I had to buy a gift card and Wal-Mart was right there. Upon grabbing the card, I decided to go back to look at their Blu-ray selection; which it actually expanded somewhat, yet was still poor as I owned a lot of them. While looking around at the $7.88 bin, I saw something strange at the bottom while digging. I pulled up this beat to hell copy of a film called, "A Walk in My Shoes". It had a price tag of $15 on it and I proceeded to take it to the scanner and it rang up $5. I decided to get it and went to the cash register.
Upon looking at the poor old woman who looked like she was 75 years old; looked like she was depressed to the point she wanted to "check out" herself. I've never seen depression like this where you could tell that someone was wanting to end it all. I pay, I leave; and I go home. I look at this Blu-ray and I dread what lies ahead of me. I pop in the Blu-ray into my PS3 and the previews begin to load up and the horrors! Oh, the horrors! We had two previews for some horribly made movies which makes The Asylum films look like movies that Spielberg made.
Constantly advertising that; "FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT IS BACK"! Really? Who cares? There was a family movie night? Most nights in my family as a child was family movie night. Except, one day, it would be "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and then the next night it would be; "The Big Lebowski". Not crap like; "The Jensen Project". Not in a million years!
With this movie; "A Walk in my Shoes", think of the movie, "Freaky Friday" sprinkled with Wal-Mart Great Value and P&G's Dawn advertisements all over the film. That's it! A one sided "Freaky Friday" with two different women somewhat switching bodies. We don't see what happens on Nancy Travis' side with the broke mother who works at a diner to try to pay the bills. It doesn't make complete sense which makes me wonder why did the producers even try. Another aspect of the film is that Randy Jackson from American Idol was a producer on this film. Really? I don't know how many times his name was placed on the packaging.
The frustrations I felt while watching this film, were legendary, even in hell. One thing that constantly annoyed me was that there was a street sign that popped up several times throughout the film. What was the name of the street sign? NE ELM ST. I wish Freddy Krueger would come in and slash everyone to pieces with his glove. It made me want to watch the four Elm Street Blu-rays that I own. Avoid this film, the Wal-Mart advertisements were making me nauseated. .5/5.
Presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, Wal-Mart has given this transfer a decent look. Which is surprising because when I think of Wal-Mart doing something, who would have thought that they wouldn't screw this up like their Blu-ray selection at most stores throughout the country. Most scenes look crisp and clear. However, whenever we had P.O.V. shots from a skateboard, it looked like a poor resolution Go-Pro camera taped to the board. However, despite the fact the image is crisp and clear, it doesn't impress. 3.5/5.
Someone at Wal-Mart Studios knows what Dolby Digital DTS-HD Master Audio is? Because we have a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track for the English audio. Surprising. But, it's not that action packed of an audio track for the film. Then, we have a dub track in Spanish, that is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. We couldn't get that Spanish dub in DTS-HD MA 5.1? 4/5
While this release may span across three discs, I measure this by quality. The first disc in my case was the CD soundtrack; while a soundtrack would be a more desirable choice over a DVD, this soundtrack is unimpressive. With mostly a tame rock soundtrack that has to be good for all ages as Wal-Mart doesn't sell CDs with a parental advisery! HIDE THE KIDS' EARS!!! There's cussing in 'his music, Ma! A DVD copy of the film, really, someone at Wal-Mart Studios thought to put a DVD copy in this Blu-ray combo pack?
The special feature section of the Blu-ray is creatively called; "Beyond a Walk in my Shoes". The first thing on the menu is "Meet the Stars" where you can individually go in and look at the cast interviews. Who cares about this cast? "Family Moments" which asks the more adults of the cast of what makes good family moments? "Just for Laughs" is an individual selection of clips which consists of bloopers and the cast and crew just screwing around on the set. "Beyond the Soundtrack" which consists of bios on the "talent" who had songs on the soundtrack.
"Behind the Scenes" which is more stuff from filming that you can't care for at all. And finally; "Favorite Movie Moments" which is more behind the scenes stuff which shows how the scene was done. Again...I'll take "Crap" for $2,000; Alex. Also, the cover advertises; "And More..."; well, there's nothing else. .5/5.
To toot my own horn here on the box cover, "Widescreen Version: Presented in a 'LETTERBOX' Widescreen format preserving the 'SCOPE' aspect ratio of it's original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for Widescreen TVs." Judging from the NBC logo slapped on the back of the box art, this didn't go theatrical. My film went theatrical and is in "scope". This is a straight to television movie and is not in "scope". If this went theatrical, I'm sure there would be riots. I've seen a theatrical presentation of an Aslyum film on the big screen; Mega Python Vs Gatoroid. There's no way this went theatrical.
But, with my little rant aside, this is a bad movie. If you want to see a film with blatant product placement with Wal-Mart's "Great Value" brand splashed over the screen most of the time, have at it. This $5 could have gone to something better. Yet, I like to torture myself with these films because no one else really has reviewed this release. So, my pain for your enjoyment! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? 2/5.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
"Can We Get a Recall?"
It's a shame that Sony, creator of the Blu-ray format, has given up on releasing their movies on Blu-ray! Well, it's a good thing that Mill Creek decided to step in and release titles for them. I managed to order this Blu-ray from one of my favorite webstores and scored it for under $6. This Blu-ray would be perfect, if it wasn't for one small, but large flaw.
Paula Henning (Franka Potente, Princess and the Warrior) is accepted into one of Germany's best medical schools. As she arrives to Heidelberg, we learn that there is a secret underground society that is conducting illegal dissections on people. As Paula discovers the mystery, her friends are dying off one by one.
I thought this was a great German horror film. Franka Potente does a great job as does Benno Furman. Which is a great duo as they are foes in this film and lovers in Princess and the Warrior. And it's really nice that we have a different kind of horror movie; it's a slasher, but the methods are unique as the killers are obsessed with the human body. 5/5.
Anatomy 2: 3.5/5
Jo is a young med student who is trying to find a cure for his brother's muscular disease. While at the same time, the same group of medical madmen are operating at his university. This time, this branch of the Anti-Hippocratics are focusing on improving the human condition. Jo is soon accepted into the group and realizes he is in over his head.
For a sequel, it was good. Franka Potente has a cameo in the film and is in it for about five minutes and that's it. The cast is ok. Just the plot of this film does not compare to the first film. Considering that these people are not preserving, but, essentially destroying the human body as they want to replace everyting with synthetic muscles and everything else under the sun. I give the film a 3.5/5
Mill Creek's transfer of the film Anatomy is pretty good as it is in 2.35:1, 1080p, and MPEG4/AVC. This is a different source which was not used on the Sony DVD. The credits on the DVD were in English whereas all of the credits on Mill Creek's Blu-ray are in German. Grain is pretty strong in most spots. There was only three instances of print damage that I could spot while viewing the film; 56 minutes, 67 minutes, and in the final scene during the end credits. There might be some dirt here and there, but it's not as bad as the transfer was on the DVD. Sony and Mill Creek give Anatomy a quality debut on Blu-ray. 4/5.
Anatomy 2: 4/5
NOTE: I would give this a zero out of five stars, but, I don't feel it's entirely fair.
The biggest problem with the transfer on Anatomy 2 is that English subtitles are hardcoded into the video transfer of the film. So, if you decide to watch the film with French or Spanish subtitles, you have to watch it with English subtitles on top of that. This is something that you expect with a DVD. I cannot recall any Blu-rays that I have seen where the subtitles are actually hardcoded into the video itself.
While setting this aside, the video quality is pretty good for a film that is now ten years old. Presented in 1080p, in 2.35:1, and in MPEG4/AVC. I never saw Anatomy 2 on DVD, so, I cannot comment on the quality differences between both formats. Grain is present throughout. I give the video presentation, despite the hardcoded subtitles, a 4/5.
This is another oddity, the original German audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and the English dub is presented in Dolby Digital DTS-HD MA 5.1. Why Sony handed off the original audio in an inferior soundtrack is questionable. English is the default audio track on the film. But, are most people going to listen to the film in it's English dub? We also have the film with a French Dolby Digital 2.0 track. I give the audio presentations a 4/5.
Anatomy 2: 4/5
Unlike Anatomy, we do not have an English dub track for the second film and we now have the German audio in DTS-HD MA 5.1. Then we have a Spanish dub in Dolby Digital 5.1 for the film, which the first film didn't have. And on top of that, French Dolby Digital 2.0. I'd say the sound levels all sound even in comparison to the first film. But, I think the English subtitles are more of a distraction compared to listening to the audio. I give the audio presentation a 4/5.
Can't say if there was any extras on the second film, but all of the bonus material from the first film is non-existant on this Blu-ray. I can't think of any Mill Creek Blu-rays, with the exception of the Gamera trilogy, that had extra features. 0/5.
I got this for under $6; if the problem of hardcoded English subtitles on the second film doesn't bother you, then go for it. I think I'll wait until Sony Germany releases Anatomy 2 on Blu-ray over there and see if it has English subs. I just think it's such a doozy that this happened; was there any quality control done on this Blu-ray? Setting that problem aside, 3/5.