Mill Creek Entertainment is releasing six new titles to their Blu-ray catalog on July 22nd. We have the following Matthew Robbins’ “The Legend of Billie Jean” (1985), Phil Joanou’s “Gridiron Gang” (2006), Joel Schumacher’s “Flatliners” (1990), Luis Llosa’s “Anaconda” (1997), John McTiernan’s “Last Action Hero” (1993), and Mike Newell’s “Donnie Brasco” (1997). We received four of these six to review for the site but the results are in and we are not very impressed with these releses.
“Anaconda” Official Premise: A film crew headed by anthropologist Steve Cale and director Terri Flores journey through a river to find a mysterious Indian tribe and shoot a documentary on them. They save a guy called Paul Sarone from a sinking boat. He offers to help in their search for the tribe, but he is actually a snake-hunter looking for legendary anaconda snake, and when Cale is bitten by some tropical insect, Sarone takes over the boat.
I do not think that “Anaconda” is a very good film today. It thought it was good when I saw it in theaters many years ago but it certainly hasn’t stood up to time. This is the not the first time that this film has been released on Blu-ray either. It was put out back in 2009 by Sony Picture. It had a solid 1080p transfer, as does this, and a rocking Dolby TrueHD 5.1, unlike this. This Blu-ray only trumps a Dolby Digital 2.0 track, which is barely DVD quality in today’s standards. It also includes no special features of any sort, though the 2009 Blu-ray was bare bones as well.
“Donnie Brasco” Official Premise: Posing as jewel broker Donnie Brasco, FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone (Johnny Depp) is granted entrance into the violent mob family of aging hitman Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino). When his personal and professional lives collide, Pistone jeopardizes his marriage, his job, his life and, ultimately, the gangster mentor he has come to respect and admire. From acclaimed director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral), and featuring an extraordinary supporting cast including Michael Madsen, Anne Heche, Bruno Kirby and James Russo, Donnie Brasco is “one terrific movie!” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone).
Being an Italian man with a huge Italian family, it is hard not to quote this film at least once a month. It’s a fugazi!! “Donnie Brasco” has also been released before by Sony Pictures dating back to 2007. Though in that release only the Extended Cut was included. This release now only includes the Theatrical Cut. The 2007 Blu-ray included a nice LPCM 5.1 track and a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, while this one only includes the latter. That is two for two of these new releases from Mill Creek with only DVD quality audio. Top it out with no special features, even though 2007 release extras sucked they at least still has something.
“Flatliners” Official Premise: An ambitious, charismatic medical student persuades his classmates to take part in a reckless experiment. To see if there is life after death, they will kill themselves: temporarily shut down (“flatline”) their heart and brain functions to briefly experience clinical death. Their horror begins when they realize that although they’ve come back alive… they haven’t come back alone.
It has been many years since I last watched this film, it is still a great ride. “Flatliners” has continued to flat line for their Blu-ray releases. In case you are not seeing a trend here. This film has also previously been released by Sony on Blu-ray dating back to 2007. It came with disappointing 1080p transfer and a flat LPCM 5.1 audio track. This release continues that trend but also only includes a Dolby Digital 2.0 track for the audio, which fares even worse than the original. Lastly, there are no special features included at all, which though matches the previous release.
“Last Action Hero” Official Premise: Danny Madigan knows all the first 3 Jack Slater movies in and out. The 4th one is just about to be released too, and with a magical ticket Danny really gets to know that movie in and out too, literally speaking. During one of the action climaxes Danny is transported into the movie, into a world following other rules than the real one. Benedict, one of the evil guys, gets hold of the ticket and escapes out to the real world, a world where evil guys can actually win. Danny and Jack follow him back to the real world to get back the ticket and stop Benedict from killing the actor playing Jack.
“Last Action Hero” was never my favorite Schwarzenegger film. It has its moments but nothing too memorable. This film like the past three has received a Blu-ray release back in 2010 from Sony Pictures. It includes easily the best audio and video of the four combined. Though the 1080p transfer holds up with this release, once again we are missing out on a solid action packed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track for a lame Dolby Digital 5.1 track. There are no special features included either but in case you are skipping around here, none of these have any extras included.
So I know these don’t sound to flattering from but if you like these films, it is worth the less than $10 bucks to pick them up. They are not stunning Blu-ray releases at all but they are worth a few bucks if you have a hankering to revisit these films and do not already own them, just as long as you aren’t looking for an impressive release you will not be disappointed.