Blu-ray Review “Miramax Triple Feature: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later & Halloween: Resurrection”

Directed by: Joe Chappelle, Steve Miner, Rick Rosenthal
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Kim Darby, Marianne Hagan, Mitch Ryan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, Michelle Williams, Sean Patrick Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tyra Banks, Busta Rhymes
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Running Time: 88, 85, 90 minutes (respectively)

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: 3 out of 5 stars
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Halloween: Resurrection: 3 out of 5 stars

Echo Bridge is the studio behind this Miramax Triple Feature release. Though previously released individually before, this is the first time that “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers”, “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” & “Halloween: Resurrection” has been released together. These are all the films that are under the Miramax label, as “Halloween 1-5” are under other distributors. I am a little disappointed though with the missing features on “Resurrection” from its solo release. But even though these aren’t the best film in the series, if you are a fan of this franchise now you can have a chance to get all these films together in one Blu-ray release.

Official Premises: “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers”: In a single horrifying night, Michael Myers’ masked reign of terror changed Halloween forever. Now, six years after he was presumed dead in a fire, Myers has returned to kill again—and this time there’s no escape. As the homicidal fury builds to a spine-tingling climax, the long-hidden secrets of the screen’s most maniacal murderer are revealed…with shocking results. “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later”: Now the headmistress of a private school, Laurie Strode is still struggling with the horrifying, 20-year-old memories of the maniacal killer Michael Myers…when he suddenly reappears with a vengeance. “Halloween: Resurrection”: Reality programmers select a group of thrill-seeking teenagers to spend one night in the childhood home of serial killer Michael Myers. But the broadcast turns deadly when Michael himself decides to crash the party.

This Blu-ray presentations are these releases are varied but mostly with mixed results. “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” comes with a 1080i transfer and a 2.0 Stereo track, not the worst but also not the best. “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” comes with a 1080p transfer, but is the worst of the bunch and also comes with a 2.0 Stereo track. Lastly we have “Halloween: Resurrection”, which is the best of the trio with its 1080p transfer and its 5.1 DTS audio track. But like I said earlier don’t celebrate yet because the solo release for “Resurrection” also came with a Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS-HD MA, and LCM 2.0 Stereo tracks, which are missing here. Also missing for “Resurrection” is the special features from the solo release as well. So got to take the good with the bad.  Still worth the price of the cheap Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Double Feature: The Prophecy / The Prophecy II”

Directors: Gregory Widen, Greg Spence
Starring: Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Vincent Spano, Russell Wong
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Running Time: 181 minutes

The Prophecy: 4 out of 5 stars
The Prophecy II: 3.5 out of 5 stars

As I have stated before, Christopher Walken delivers one of his best roles as Gabriel in this franchise. This release finally brings us “The Prophecy II” on Blu-ray for the first time. It comes packaged with the first film as well. Not sure why Echo Bridge chose it leave it out in the last collection. Overall this series is always fun to watch and continues to be entertaining throughout each viewing. This is a must purchase for all fans of the horror genre.

“The Prophecy” follows an L.A. homicide detective, who while fighting to stop the forces of evil, finds an unlikely ally in an elementary school teacher. Together they race against time and terror to save the world as we know it. “The Prophecy: God’s Army” brings the returns of Christopher Walken as the menacing angel Gabriel. The only hope for survival in the battle of good and evil lands in the unborn child of an innocent woman (Jennifer Beals)…unless Gabriel catches her first.

The Blu-ray presentation on both of these films are very impressive. They both come with 1080p high definition transfer. “The Prophecy” is presented with an impressive Dolby Digital 5.1 track. While “The Prophecy II” only comes with a 2.0 Stereo track. “The Prophecy” also packed with a theatrical trailer and a production featurette, which is rare (but encouraged) for Echo Bridge. If you are a fan of the series and looking for a chance to own the missing second film, this is a cheap and quick way to get these films on Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Double Feature: The Crow: City of Angels / The Crow: Wicked Prayer”

Directors: Tim Pope, Lance Mungia
Starring: Vincent Perez, Edward Furlong, Mia Kirshner, Tara Reid
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Running Time: 185 minutes

The Crow: City of Angels: 3.5 out of 5 stars
The Crow: Wicked Prayer: 2 out of 5 stars

I feel bad for Vincent Perez in “The Crow: City of Angels”, since he has really big shoes to walk-in. This sequel does not trump the first one with the late Brandon Lee but it surely gives it some respect and delivers a good time. On the other side of this release we have “The Crow: Wicked Prayer”, which does not succeed at all. The film has Edward Furlong taking the lead as the risen vigilante but it is more laughable than chilling. I would have liked to see a double feature with “The Crow” and “The Crow: City of Angels”, but Echo Bridge unfortunately doesn’t have the right to the first film.

“The Crow: City of Angels” is a fast-moving and action-packed sequel to The Crow and stars Vincent Perez and Mia Kirshner. After being brought back to life by a mysterious crow, our vicitim seeks revenge on the evil drug cartel that murdered him with the help of beautiful woman Sarah (Kirshner). “The Crow: Wicked Prayer” stars Tara Reid, David Boreanaz and Edward Furlong. It follows ex-con Jimmy Cuervo (Furlong) who while trying to straighten out his life, his girlfriend Lily and himself are brutally murdered by a renegade biker gang in a satanic ritual. Of course in line with the series, Cuervo comes back to get revenge.

Despite the including of “Wicked Prayer”, this Blu-ray presentation is actually quite impressive. Both films look great in their 1080p transfers and both include very powerful DTS 5.1 audio track, as well as 2.0 Stereo tracks. Also in a rare change for Echo Bridge each film actually has special features. For “City of Angels”, there is Brandan Lee’s Last Interview and a production featurette. For “Wicker Prayer”, there is two deleted scenes and a commentary track with director Lance Mungia, director of photography Kurt Brabbee, editor Dean Holland and sound designer Steve Avila. Not the best track but better than no extras.


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Blu-ray Review “Miramax Multi-Feature: Jackie Chan Series”

Directed by & Starring: Jackie Chan
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Running Time: 386 minutes

Operation Condor: 3 out of 5 stars
Operation Condor- Armour of God 2: 3 out of 5 stars
Jackie Chan’s Project A: 3 out of 5 stars
Jackie Chan’s Project A2: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I remember dating back to 1994 when I first saw Jackie Chan’s “Rumble in the Bronx”, still one of my favorites. It changed my life and introduced me to kung-fu films. Since then Jackie’s films have been ported to the US over the years. The films included in this set are not his best but are still entertaining. Though since they are American versions of the films, they are badly cut and edited. They also are only available with a dubbed track not the original language with subtitles. Though with the low price, fans of Jackie Chan will enjoy a chance to see this films on Blu-ray.

“Operation Condor” features Jackie Chan as the world’s greatest secret agent, code name Condor, who is sent to track down stolen Nazi gold. “Operation Condor: Armour of God 2” features Chan back as the fortune hunter whose ex-girlfriend is kidnapped and held for ransom by an evil cult. “Jackie Chan’s Project A” features Chan as Dragon, a coast guard officer on patrol in late 19th century Hong Kong, who battles with a vicious gang syndicate for control of the waters. “Jackie Chan’s Project A2” follows its predecessor where Dragon is assigned to lead the local police force but discovers and aims to remove police corruption.

The Blu-ray transfers on these films are not the greatest. They are all presented in 1080p though, which is a plus at least. The video quality on “Operation Condor 2: Armour of the Gods” is the best on the disc but it only comes with Dobly Stereo 2.0 audio track, as does “Project A”. “Project A” and “Project A2” transfers are also very grainy and rough, despite the 1080p transfer. “Operation Condor” and “Project A2” comes with Dobly Digital 5.1 surround tracks. Overall mixed results on these films, leading up to barely satisfactory. But when it comes down to it, you can find this Bluray for $10 or less and for that it is worth your money.


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Blu-ray Review “Miramax Multi-Feature: Wes Craven Presents Series”

Directors: Patrick Lussier, Robert Harmon
Starring: Christopher Plummer, Jason London, Jonny Lee Miller, Omar Epps, Roy Scheider
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Running Time: 364 minutes

Dracula 2000: 4 out of 5 stars
Dracula II: Ascension: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Dracula III: Legacy: 3 out of 5 stars
They: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray Score: 3 out of 5 stars

The main draw for me to this release was the three “Dracula” films, all presented by Wes Craven. “Dracula 2000″ was a really clever and fun film. The two “Dracula” sequels are decent but have a direct-to-video feel, still the three together are worth the purchase alone. I was never a huge fan of “They” but it is also a decent bonus to this release. Wes Craven’s name personally to me does not bare much weight recently I feel that he has really lost his street cred…I mean have you see “Scream 4″? Nonetheless, they films are worth purchasing for horror fans, especially for the low cost.

“Dracula 2000” takes the tale of Dracula into the 21 century where a team of techno-savvy thieves break into a vault they find a crypt unopened for 100 years. Dracula is unleashed and wreaks havoc. “Dracula II: Ascension” follows a group of medical students who discover the body of the Dracula and will wish that they hadn’t. “Dracula III: Legacy” follows vampire hunters Father Uffizi and Luke as they follow Dracula back to Eastern Europe they aim to end his reign again. “They” follows a student who experienced night terrors only to find out that the monsters in their closets are real and they are coming for her.

The Blu-ray presentation of these discs are not the greatest like most Echo Bridge multi-feature releases but they are honestly worth it to have these films on Blu-ray. The first two “Dracula” films are the best two films but also the worst presented here. They both included 1080i transfers and are only equipped with Dolby Stereo 2.0 tracks. This is a bit disappointing as they have full 5.1-channel versions on the DVDs. Though “Dracula III” & “They” both are presented in 1080p and both have 5.1 surround tracks. I wish that Echo Bridge will focus on unifying their releases and include 1080p and 5.1 sound on all films in these sets. Fans of these films, will still be happy for these HD upgrades.

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Multi-Feature: Children of the Corn Series”

Directors: James D.R. Hickox, Greg Spence, Ethan Wiley, Kari Skogland
Starring: Terence Knox, Daniel Cerny, Ron Melendez, Paul Scherrer, Naomi Watts
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Entertainment
MPAA Rating R
Release Date: Nov 29, 2011
Running Time: 341 minutes

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest: 4 out of 5 stars
Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror: 3 out of 5 stars
Children of the Corn 666: Issac’s Return: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The “Children of the Corn” series is a guilty pleasure.  The films in the franchise were never my favorite horror films but I could never say no to a new sequel.  Over the years there has been a total of eight films in this series, so this Blu-ray is just the tip of the iceberg.  Echo Bridge is behind this release, which they are very well-known for their Miramax Multi-Features.  This release is a great pick-up for horror fans, especially for its extremely low price.  It is also a great place to get all these films in one place and it is a step up from DVD for sure.

“Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest” is one of my favorites and follows a couple who adopts a pair of orphaned brothers, but the boys may not be as sweet an innocent as they seem.  “Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering” follows a young medical student who must solve the mystery that plagues the children of a small Midwestern town, starring a young Naomi Watts.  “Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror” follow six college students who take a wrong turn in a deserted rural town to discover that this place hides a murderous cult of evil children. “Children of the Corn 666: Issac’s Return” follows Hannah Martin, who while looking for parents picks up a dark stranger, who ends up assisting her in completing a sinister prophecy.

Let’s get to the Blu-ray presentation which is actually surprisingly decent.  The video transfer for “Children of the Corn 3, 4 & 6” are only presented in 1080i but honestly look pretty good. “Children of the Corn V” is presented in 1080p.  The picture has solid clarity and the colors are sharp.  It is definitely a step up from the previous DVD transfers.  The audio for all four movies include only an Dolby 2.0 Stereo track. They work though I always prefer 5.1 audio on Blu-ray, since 2.0 just screams DVD quality. Nonetheless, this is still a great purchase if you enjoy the series.

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Multi-Feature: From Dusk Till Dawn Series”

Directors: Robert Rodriguez, Scott Spiegel, P.J. Pesce
Starring: George Clooney, Marco Leonardi, Robert Patrick, Harvey Keitel, Michael Parks, Bruce Campbell
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Entertainment
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: Nov 29, 2011
Running Time: 290 minutes

From Dusk Till Dawn: 4 out of 5 stars
Full-Tilt Boogie: 2.5 out of 5 stars
From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Blood Money: 3.5 out of 5 stars
From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“From Dusk Till Dawn” is such a great film and kick started the careers of Robert Rodriguez and George Clooney. It is such a unique and fun film. It’s two sequels, also included in this release, are good but don’t reach the same level of kick-ass. Don’t forgot the feature-length and well-respected documentary “Full-Tilt Boogie” which is also included here. These are conveniently included all on one release thanks to Echo Bridge. Now with that said, this isn’t the best presentation of the films ever but it is in high-def and for the low-price it is definitely worth the purchase. Horror fans should not miss this release!

“From Dusk Till Dawn” follows the Gecko brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) as they head south to a seedy Mexican bar to hide out in safety. Of course it isn’t just your typical strip joint and has to fight for their lives to survive from the creatures it inhabits. “Full-Tilt Boogie” is a full length documentary which goes behind the scenes of on the production of the first “From Dusk Till Dawn”. “From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Blood Money” features a gang of misfits who head to Mexico for the perfect heist. But when they cross the wrong vampire, they get involved with a lot more than they can handle. “From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter” follows Johnny Madrid, who is on the run from the hangman along with the hangman’s daughter Esmeralda by his side. They embark on an adventure that leads them straight into the fight of their lives.

All four films are presented with 1080p transfers and they looks decent at the best but are still a step up from DVD. “Full-Tilt Boogie” is easily the worst quality of the three but it doesn’t bother me because I will watching the films more often than this doc. The audio is also decent with the first and third “From Dusk Till Dawn” pack a 5.1 surround track, but the second “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “Full-Tilt Boogie” are only Stereo 2.0 tracks. Also latestly there are no special features included, if you don’t count “Full-Tilt Boogie”.


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Blu-ray Review “Miramax Double Feature: Equilibrium / Renaissance”

Directed by: Kurt Wimmer, Christian Volckman
Starring: Christian Bale, Taye Diggs, Daniel Craig
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Entertainment
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Running Time: 213 minutes

Equilibrium: 4 out of 5 stars
Renaissance: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I saw “Equilibrium” in the theaters and couldn’t get enough of this film once it hit DVD. I was very excited to see that Echo Bridge was releasing this film on Blu-ray. Now, they released this “Equilibrium” last year to a horrible release. They have made changes to this release to improve the Blu-ray experience overall. The second film on this double feature is “Renaissance”, which I have never seen prior to this release. I have heard of it just never saw it. I feel it is a great companion to “Equilibrium” and is all around a very intriguing and fun movie.

I am a huge sci-fi fan and I am happy get a chance to check out they really cool and imaginative titles on Blu-ray. In “Equilibrium”, it focuses on the best cop aka enforcer in a futuristic society, who soon realizes that things are not as they seem and makes a stand about the ‘man’. In “Renaissance”, we follow a cop that is drawn into the twisted underworld of 2054 corporate espionage. It is very film noir-ish and visually amazing.

Both films are presented in 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 encode and are presented in their proper 2.35:1 aspect ratios (unlike last year’s release for “Equilibrium”). The audio on both the films are also very impressive with Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. The only downfall, and really no biggie to me, is that “Renaissance” does not include its native French track, only the dub featuring Daniel Craig. Also like most Echo Bridge releases there is no bonus features on this release but overall big improvement and a fun double feature Blu-ray release.

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Triple Feature: eXistenZ / Malevolent / B. Monkey”

Directed by: David Cronenberg, John Terlesky, Michael Radford
Starring: Jude Law, Lou Diamond Phillips, Asia Argento
MPAA Ratings: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Entertainment
DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012
Running Time: 284 minutes

eXistenZ: 4 out of 5 stars
Malevolent: 2 out of 5 stars
B. Monkey: 3 out of 5 stars

Honestly this triple feature Blu-ray is worth it just alone for the purchase of Cronenberg’s gem “eXistenZ”. This film has never been released on Blu-ray before and this is the first time it has been available. I saw this film in theaters back in 1999 and it instantly becoming a favorite of mine.  If you are wondering why I gave this film 4 out of 5 stars, that is since the film says it is full 1080p but only registers 1080i and only comes with a Dolby Digital 2.0 track.  Now I am not even really complaining but the film does sound and look great on Blu-ray.

Now let’s get to the other films on this release.  I really do not see how “eXistenZ” fits in since it is not really an action movie, per say.  I love me some Lou Diamond Phillips but “Malevolent” just screams B-movie action and really doesn’t rise about that.  It does come with a 5.1 DTS audio track though, which was impressive and best on the entire disc.  “B. Monkey” stars the beautiful Asia Argento, who I can watch in honestly anything.  I saw this film many years ago and it has held up overtime.  It is still nothing to knock your sock off with but it is decent action and she kicks ass, as usual.

“eXistenz” directed by David Cronenberg, stars Jennifer Jason Leigh & Jude Law. It also has appearances from Ian Holm and Willem Dafoe. Leigh plays game designer Allegra Geller, who is responsible for the new groundbreaking virutal game system called “eXistenZ”. While on the run with Ted Pikul (Jude Law) to avoid being assassinated, they take the game for a test drive and become immersed in a dangerous alternate reality.

“Malevolent” stars both Lou Diamond Phillips and Kari Wuhrer. Jack (Phillips) is a cop who is trying to clear his name. After passing out in a bar bathroom and wakes up being framed for murder that he didn’t committ. It is up to him to clear his name and find the person responsible. Oh and Kari Wurher plays stripper (big stretch).

“B. Monkey” was originally released to cash in on the Asia Argento’s role in “XXX”. She plays a thief named B who is trying to get out of the business. While trying to kick her addiction to crime, she finds love with a school teacher. Then her past comes back to haunt her.

Echo Bridge is known for releasing Miramax’s films on Blu-ray, some in combo packs like this one and some solo.  This is obviously not the best Blu-ray that I own but I was just happy enough to see “eXistenZ” get a semi-HD treatment.  I also have to note that each film has zero special features.  There is virtually no room anyway since all three films are crammed on to one Blu-ray 50GB disc.  I hope that Echo Bridge is planning a solo release for “eXistenZ” in the near future and hoping they tack on some extras and fix the audio and video issues.  But for now I recommend snagging this release to add to your collection.