Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage – Arrow Video (4k UHD)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1970
Director: Dario Argento
Writers: Dario Argento, Fredric Brown, Bryan Edgar Wallace
Cast: Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salerno, Eva Renzi

Release Date: July 26th (UK), July 27th, 2021 (USA)
Approximate Running Time: 96 Minutes 44 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £34.99 (UK), $59.95 (USA)

"Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante, We Own the Night), an American writer living in Rome, inadvertently witnesses a brutal attack on a woman (Eva Renzi, Funeral in Berlin) in a modern art gallery. Powerless to help, he grows increasingly obsessed with the incident. Convinced that something he saw that night holds the key to identifying the maniac terrorizing Rome, he launches his own investigation parallel to that of the police, heedless of the danger to both himself and his girlfriend Giulia (Suzy Kendall, Spasmo)..." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "New 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films".

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage comes on a 100 GB triple layer 4K UHD.

Disc Size: 88 GB

Feature: 66 GB

This release uses as its starting point the source that Arrow Video used for their excellent 2017 Blu-ray release. And as great as Arrow Video’s 2017 Blu-ray looked, there are several areas where this new release looks even better. Most notably shadow detail and details in general are noticeably stronger. 

Audio: 5/5

This Release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian. Both audio mixes are in excellent shape, dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced, ambient sounds are well-represented and Ennio Morricone’s score sounds appropriately robust. Included with this release are two subtitle options, English SDH and English for the Italian language tracks.

Extras:

Extras for this release include reversible cover art, a double-sided fold-out poster, 6 lobby card reproductions, Image Galleries: Posters/Italian Lobby Cards/French Lobby Cards/Spanish Lobby Cards/German Promotional Material/US Publicity Stills, a trailer that created for 2017 Texas Frightmare (55 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), international trailer for The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (2 minutes 48 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), Italian theatrical trailer for The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (3 minutes 11 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with English subtitles), an archival interview with actress Eva Renzi titled Eva Talking (11 minutes 19 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo German with English subtitles), a visual essay on the cinema of Dario Argento by author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas titled The Power of Perception (20 minutes 57 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with film critic Kat Ellinger titled Black Gloves and Screaming Mimi’s (31 minutes 54 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor Gildo Di Marco titled An Argento Icon (22 minutes 4 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with English subtitles), an interview with screenwriter / director Dario Argento titled Crystal Nightmare (31 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with English subtitles), an audio commentary with Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films and a sixty page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Rogues’ Gallery: Portraits of Fear written by Howard Hughes, an essay titled Sacrificial Knives and Cultic Objects: Reflections of The Screaming Mimi in Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage written by Jack Seabrook, an essay titled Murder Has Two Faces: The Duality of Dario Argento’s The Bird With The Crystal Plumage written by Rachael Nisbet and information about the restoration/transfer.

Summary:

Few directors have made the impact that Dario Argento and his debut film The Bird the Crystal Plumage did upon their arrival. That said, Dario Argento like a previous wunderkind Orson Welles would achieve perfection with his first film that he has yet to match with his later films.

The plot and narrative flow of The Bird the Crystal Plumage is flawless in every way as the dialog spoken in the film is not only humorous, at times it is deeply rich in context to what is going on with in the film. A first glance at the cast for The Bird the Crystal Plumage and one would quickly assume that this is some knock off B-film which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Even at this early stage in his career Dario Argento exhibits his knack for bring out the best in everyone he works with. And nowhere is this clearer, then when it comes to the actresses he's worked with. He photographs woman with the utmost beauty, which makes the criticism that his films are full of misogyny laughable.

Though Tony Musante who portrays the protagonist Sam Dalmas had only acted in a few films before The Bird the Crystal Plumage. He delivers a solid performance that’s arguably his best performance.

Without a doubt, the most surprising aspect of The Bird the Crystal Plumage is Suzy Kendall’s portrayal of the protagonist's girlfriend. Though I have not been a fan of most films I have seen her in. She delivers her most accomplished performance. With the scene where her character Julia who's terrorized by the killer as she's trapped in her apartment being The Bird the Crystal Plumage’s most memorable moment. The emotion she conveys in this scene and her screams of terror are genuine. Also, this scene shows just what a director like Dario Argento can bring out performance wise.

Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, like Dario Argento, was relatively new to his profession and The Bird the Crystal Plumage clearly benefits from his expert use of the camera. Some of the best examples of his contributions is his use of minimal light which helps obscure details which we are not meant to see.

When discussing The Bird the Crystal Plumage one must one forget the invaluable contribution of Ennio Morricone’s score. Just like Bernard Herrmann’s score Psycho is at least 50% or more of the reason Psycho is as terrifying as it is. It’s impossible to imagine The Bird the Crystal Plumage without Ennio Morricone’s score.

Since making The Bird the Crystal Plumage Dario Argento’s films have seemed rushed and in many cases obviously lack the funds he needed to do them properly. Also, as a writer he’s become more focused on style over substance.

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage gets a solid 4K UHD upgrade from Arrow Video, highly recommended.

4K UHD screenshots.












Written by Michael Den Boer

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Born for Hell – Severin Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: France/Italy/West Germany/Canada, 1976
Director: Denis Héroux
Writers: F.G. Ranger, Denis Héroux, Clenn Wood
Cast: Mathieu Carrière, Debra Berger, Christine Boisson, Myriam Boyer, Leonora Fani, Ely Galleani, Carole Laure, Eva Mattes, Andrée Pelletier

Release Date: July 20th, 2021
Approximate Running Times: 91 Minutes 38 Seconds (Theatrical Cut), 85 Minutes 43 Seconds (Naked Massacre: U.S. video release cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Versions)
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English (Both Versions), DTS-HD Mono French (Theatrical Cut)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Versions)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95

"a disturbed Vietnam vet drifter (Mathieu Carrière of MALPERTUIS and BILITIS fame) brutalizes a dorm full of student nurses." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.5/5 (Both Versions)

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "scanned in 2K from an uncut 35mm print discovered in The National Archives of Canada."

Born for Hell comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 44.1 GB

Feature: 23.7 GB (Theatrical Cut), 17.8 GB (Naked Massacre: U.S. video release Cut)

The source used for the theatrical cut is in good shape and any source related shortcomings are for the most part not intrusive. Image clarity looks stronger in brighter scenes, which is unfortunate since a large part of the film takes place at night. Though colors fare well, there are instances where colors fluctuate. Black levels are best described as serviceable, there are some noticeable instances of black crush. That said, at least grain remains intact.

The source used for the extended cut titled Naked Massacre quality wise is similar to theatrical cut's source.

Audio: 4/5 (Both Versions)

The theatrical cut comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and a DTS-HD mono mix in French. For this review I only listened to the English language track. Though this track sounds clear and balanced, its limited range wise. The extended cut comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and this track is on par with the theatrical cut’s English language track. Both versions come with removable English SDH subtitles. 

Extras:

Extras for this release include an Italian trailer for Born for Hell (2 minutes 58 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with artist Joe Coleman titled Artist Joe Coleman on Speck (14 minutes 21 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a video essay by filmmaker Chris O’Neill titled Bombing Here, Shooting There (14 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with podcaster Esther Ludlow who discusses Richard Speck titled A New Kind of Crime (38 minutes 20 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with local filmmakers John McNaughton and Gary Sherman titled Nightmare In Chicago: Remembering the Richard Speck Crime Spree (12 minutes 52 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor Mathieu Carrière titled The Other Side of the Mirror (14 minutes 14 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and Naked Massacre the U.S. video release cut of Born for Hell (85 Minutes 43 Seconds, 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC, DTS-HD mono English with removable English SDH subtitles).

Summary:

Born for Hell is a film with two identities that never merge. On one side it's a film about a country besieged by terror and on the other side it's a story about a psychopath serial killer.

Though Born for Hell uses the political turmoil that ravaged Northern Ireland in the 1970’s as a backdrop for this film’s narrative. The way which the political elements weave into the narrative is never fully convincing and these scenes feel forced.

Then there’s the way Born for Hell ineffectively uses a real life serial killer named Richard Speck's story that further hampers an already weakly constructed narrative. Ultimately, Born for Hell would have been a more effective film if it focused more on the killer.

Though, the creative talent behind Born for Hell was trying to make an statement film about human nature and violence. Along the way their message gets drowned out by Born for Hell more exploitative elements.

Born for Hell makes its way to Blu-ray via a strong release from Severin Films that comes with two versions of the film and a wealth of extra content. 













Written by Michael Den Boer

Skinned Deep – Severin Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2004
Director: Gabriel Bartalos
Writer: Gabriel Bartalos
Cast: Les Pollack, Aaron Sims, Kurt Carley, Linda Weinrib, Eric Bennett, Lee Kociela, Karoline Brandt, Jim O'Donoghue, Liz Little, Warwick Davis, Jason Dugre

Release Date: July 20th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 97 Minutes 57 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95

"His mind-blowing work as an FX artist has included everything from Frank Henenlotter’s BRAIN DAMAGE and FRANKENHOOKER to Matthew Barney’s CREMASTER CYCLE. And for his 2004 debut as writer/producer/director, Gabe Bartalos created this “demented gift from the B-Movie Gods” (Bloody Good Horror) about a rural clan of psychotic freaks, the killing spree “that takes us places and shows us things we’ve never seen before” (Dread Central) and the final girl that may be their depraved undoing." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "now scanned uncut in 2K from the original negative for the first time ever."

Skinned Deep comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 27.8 GB

Feature: 26 GB

The source used for this transfer is in excellent shape. Colors are nicely saturated, image clarity and black levels are strong throughout, and compression looks very good.

Audio: 4.5/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD stereo mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds clean, clear and balanced throughout. This is an active soundtrack that does a great job with ambient sounds and the score sounds appropriately robust.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a trailer for Skinned Deep (2 minutes, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival Making Of featurette (22 minutes 20 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a new featurette with writer/producer/director Gabe Bartalos, actors Jay Dugre and Karoline Brandt and weapons machinist Jake Lee titled Deep Cuts: A Look Back on Skinned Deep (14 minutes 18 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles)  and an audio commentary with Gabriel Bartalos, Karoline Brandt, Jason Dugre and visual effects Al Magliochetti.

Summary:

Saint Bernard was written and directed by Gabriel Bartalos whose most known for his work as a makeup / special effect’s artists. Notable films that he worked on as a makeup / special effect’s artist include, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, From Beyond, Brain Damage and Frankenhooker.

Skinned Deep’s narrative revolves around a family of psychopaths who would fit in nicely in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. From its opening moments Skinned Deep is a go for the jugular experience that has all the elements that horror cinema fans crave. There are an ample amount of gory set pieces and the special effects look amazing. Other strengths include the meticulous detail that went into set design, which makes the world these characters live in all the more convincing and the cast's enthusiastic performances make sure that there's not a dull moment. Not too be overlooked when discussing Skinned Deep is Gabriel Bartalos’ contributions to the film. He’s a creative force of nature who’s overflowing with imagination and nightmarish imagery.

Severin Films gives Skinned Deep a solid audio/video presentation and a trio of insightful extras, highly recommended.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Siege – Severin Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Canada, 1983
Directors: Paul Donovan, Maura O'Connell
Writer: Paul Donovan
Cast: Tom Nardini, Brenda Bazinet, Daryl Haney, Terry-David Després, Jack Blum, Keith Knight, Doug Lennox, Jeff Pustil, Fred Wadden, Gary Dempster, Dennis O'Connor

Release Date: July 20th, 2021
Approximate Running Times: 83 Minutes 52 Seconds (Theatrical Cut), 93 Minutes (Extended Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Versions)
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English (Both Versions)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Versions)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95

"When a local group of right-wing vigilantes massacres the patrons of a gay bar, the sole survivor seeks refuge in a nearby apartment building whose residents must now defend themselves in a night of hate, terror and bloodshed." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.25/5 (Both Versions)

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "scanned in 2K from the original negative recently discovered in a Nova Scotia archive."

Siege comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45.7 GB

Feature: 20.9 GB (Theatrical Cut), 23 GB (Extended Cut)

Though both versions have some very minor print debris during the opening credits/moments of the film. The bulk of both transfers are in excellent shape. Colors are nicely saturated, image clarity and black levels look strong throughout. Also, the image retains an organic look and compression looks very good.

Audio: 4/5 (Both Versions)

Each version comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and both versions come with removable English SDH subtitles. There are no issues with distortion or background hiss, dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and ambient sounds are well-represented.

Extras:

Extras for this release include reversible cover art, a slipcover, a trailer for Siege (1 minute 8 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with co-director Paul Donovan & Filmmaker Jason Eisener and an extended cut of Siege (93 minutes,  1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC, DTS-HD mono English with removable English SDH subtitles).

Summary:

There are films who’s end game you can see a mile away. And then there are films like Siege that exceed expectations. That said, though Siege quickly establishes where it wants to go, along the way there are an ample amount of surprises that keep the journey from ever feeling predictable.

The narrative revolves around a gang of hooligans homophobes who use a police strike as a way to intimidate patrons at a gay bar. From there things take a dark turn, when one of the hooligans accidentally kills someone. It’s this event that sets the rest of the plot in motion. With one of the patrons escaping death at the hands of the hooligans ringleader. And though he temporarily finds refuge in an apartment. This leads to the gang of hooligans setting siege to the apartment and everyone inside.

Before I go any further it should-be noted that this release comes with two versions of Siege. The theatrical cut opens with news footage and other information about an impending police strike. This footage is not present in the extended versions which opens with about ten minutes of character backstory that’s not present in the theatrical cut. Though I usually am for more backstory, ultimately the way the theatrical cut dive quickly into the story is a much stronger opening. And for the remainder of this review I will focus on the theatrical cut.

From its opening moments Siege is an intense experience that job building tension to its boiling point. With the scene at a gay bar perfectly sets the tone for the events that follow. It's in this scene that Siege firmly sets in stone how depraved the hooligans are. And though their bigotry of gays is what gets them into trouble. Ultimately it’s their lust for bloodshed and disregard that proves to be their undoing.

From a production standpoint, there’s not an area where Siege comes up short. The premise is well-executed and once the siege happens there’s rarely a moment to catch your breath. Other strengths include inventive kill sequences that are sufficiently and performance wise the cast far exceed expectations. Overall Siege is a solid thriller that fans of 1980’s exploitation cinema should thoroughly enjoy.

Severin Films gives Siege a solid release that comes with two versions of the film and an insightful audio commentary track, highly recommended.

Theatrical Cut screenshots.






Extended Cut screenshots.






Written by Michael Den Boer

Donnie Darko – Arrow Video (4k UHD)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2001
Director: Richard Kelly
Writer: Richard Kelly
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daveigh Chase, Mary McDonnell, James Duval, Patrick Swayze, Jena Malone, Seth Rogen, Noah Wyle, Drew Barrymore, Patience Cleveland, Katharine Ross

Release Date: April 26th, 2021 (UK), April 27th, 2021 (USA)
Approximate Running Times: 113 Minutes 14 Seconds (Theatrical Cut), 133 Minutes 51 Seconds (Director’s Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10 (Both Versions)
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English (Both Versions)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Versions)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £39.99 (UK), $59.95 (USA)

"Donnie is a troubled high school student: in therapy, prone to sleepwalking and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. During that time he will navigate teenage life, narrowly avoid death in the form of a falling jet engine, follow Frank's maladjusted instructions and try to maintain the space-time continuum." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5 (Both Versions)

Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "The Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut have been sourced from brand new 4K restorations from the original camera negative and produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release, supervised and approved by director Richard Kelly and cinematographer Steven Poster."

Donnie Darko comes on a 100 GB triple layer 4K UHD.

Disc Size: 90.8 GB (Theatrical Cut), 98.8 GB (Director’s Cut)

Feature: 75.6 GB (Theatrical Cut), 86.3 GB (Director’s Cut)

Donnie Darko makes its way to 4K UHD via a strong release from Arrow Video that most familiar with the film should-be happy with. Released four years after their 2017 Blu-ray, this latest release from Arrow Video for the most part looks very similar. That said, there’s noticeable improvements when it comes to image clarity and though some may find some of the darker scenes too dark, I thought black levels look consistently strong throughout and any black crush issues are negligible.

It should-be noted some people had issues with the theatrical cut stuttering on their player. This issue has since been fixed by Arrow Video.

Audio: 4.5/5 (Both Versions)

Each version comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds excellent, dialog comes through with crystal clear clarity, everything sounds balanced and dynamic when it needs too

Extras:

Extras for this release are spread over two discs.

Extras on the disc that contains the theatrical cut include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 28 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), twenty deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary by Richard Kelly (31 minutes 54 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a short film directed by Richard Kelly titled The Good Place (8 minutes 43 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Deus ex Machina: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko, a brand-new documentary by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures on the making of Donnie Darko, containing interviews with writer-director Richard Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick, director of photography Steven Poster, editor Sam Bauer, composer Michael Edwards, costume designer April Ferry, actor James Duval and critic Rob Galluzzo (85 minutes 32 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and two audio commentaries the theatrical cut, the first audio commentary with Richard Kelly and actor Jake Gyllenhaal and the second audio commentary with Richard Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick and actors Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Beth Grant, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Katharine Ross and James Duval.

Extras on the disc that contains the director’s cut include an image gallery, five T.V. spots (2 minutes 10 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a trailer for the director’s cut (55 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), music video for the song Mad World performed by Gary Jules (3 minutes 21 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Storyboard comparisons (7 minutes 58 seconds), B-roll footage (4 minutes 37 seconds), Cunning Visions infomercials (5 minutes 43 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), #1 Fan: A Darkomentary (13 minutes 18 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), They Made Me Do It (4 minutes 48 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), They Made Me Do It II – The Cult of ‘Donnie Darko’ (30 minutes 17 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), archive interviews with Richard Kelly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, James Duval, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Noah Wyle, Katharine Ross, Sean McKittrick, Nancy Juvonen, Hunt Lowry, Casey La Scala, and Steven Poster (14 minutes 20 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), The Donnie Darko Production Diary, an archival documentary charting the film’s production with optional commentary by Steven Poster (52 minutes 54 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and an audio commentary for the director’s cut with Richard Kelly and filmmaker Kevin Smith.

Other extras include reversible cover art, a two sided poster, seven art cards with images on both sides and a one hundred page hardcover booklet with cast & crew information, a foreword written by Jake Gyllenhaal, an essay titled Donnie Darko, Adolescence and the Lost Art of Remembering and Forgetting written by Nathen Rabin, an essay titled Discovery: Richard Kelly written by Mark Olsen, an interview conducted by Kevin Conroy Scott with Richard Kelly titled Asking Cosmic Questions, an essay titled The Cult of Patrick Swayze written by Jamie Graham, an essay titled After Darko: How Richard Kelly Adapted to the Apocalypse written by Anton Bitel and information about the restoration/transfer.

Summary:

One of the staples of American cinema is teenage angst, most notably Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause being widely considered as one of the best examples of teenage angst in cinema. Besides cinema, another notable example of teenage angst includes, J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye.

The premise for Donnie Darko is a clever mix of teenage angst and elements rooted in science fiction. At the heart of the narrative is an exploration about how the decisions one makes play a large role in the spiritual journey they are on. The main character is well-defined and Jake Gyllenhaal delivers an utterly convincing performance that resonates long after his characters’ fate is set in stone.

From a production standpoint, there is not a single area where this film does not excel. And besides Jake Gyllenhaal exceptional performance, other standout performances include, Patience Cleveland in the role of Roberta Sparrow (Grandma Death), a former teacher whose book about time travel helps Donnie Darko find the answers he seeks and Patrick Swayze (Point Break) in the role of a motivational speaker named Jim Cunningham.

The atmospheric visuals and musical choices do a superb job reinforcing the various themes explored throughout this film. And when discussing this film one must not overlook the contributions of screenwriter/director Richard Kelly who delivers one of the most memorable directorial debuts in cinema history.

Arrow Video continues to upgrade their catalog to 4K UHD with solid releases that port over all content from their limited edition releases, highly recommended.

                                               Theatrical Cut 4K UHD screenshots.









Director's Cut 4K UHD screenshots.









Written by Michael Den Boer

Cold War Creatures: Four Films From Sam Katzman (Limited Edition) – Arrow Video (Blu-ray) Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1955 (Creature with...