Here’s a preview of two new movies in the ultra-high definition disc format.
God told me to (Blue Underground Home Entertainment, unrated, 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 91 minutes, $49.95) – Filmmaker Larry Cohen’s 1976 sci-fi horror cult classic gets an ultra-high-definition restoration to bring a new generation of B-movie fans a bizarre story filled with police procedural drama.
The film begins with an all-too-familiar mass shooting, even sadly today, as a sniper kills 15 humans in New York City and before jumping to his death he admits his crimes and says, “God said it. ”
This intriguing premise takes viewers on a journey with dedicated Catholic New York Police Department detective Peter Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco) as he investigates the sniper attack and other murders with killers mumbling the same directive, and the only clue being the connection to a mysterious man with long blond hair (creepy, mean actor Richard Lynch).
Cohen’s narrative dances between religious fanaticism and a fascination with aliens, but will cause a brain freeze with the stilted acting and plot-coated plot threads that lead to a very unsettling ending.
The film may also be remembered for the surprising supporting cast including comedy legend Andy Kaufman as a killer cop; Sylvia Sidney as the mother of a special child (afterlife social worker Juno is fondly remembered in “Beetlejuice”); and Oscar winner Sandy Dennis as Nicholas’ wife.
The restoration, completed in 2015 from the original camera negative, really brings the nearly 50-year-old visuals to life.
Although you can see a slight grain in the blue New York sky, the overall presentation is deep, clean and balanced.
Particularly noteworthy is a St. Patrick’s Day Parade offering lots of costume color and clarity and slightly muted colors, as well as a finale bathed in yellow light that still retains strong character detail.
Best extras: Blue Underground is overloading with digital goodies for the quirky film. The 4K disc features optional archival 2003 commentary with Cohen and producer William Lustig, and an all-new track with film historians Steve Mitchell (director of the ‘King Cohen’ documentary) and Troy Howarth (specialist in European cult cinema ).
Both have commentary duplicates but are also worth listening to for the abundance of film story and production nostalgia.
The included Blu-ray disc of the film (also in a restored version) also contains both commentaries as well as all the extras from the 2015 release.
They include interviews with special effects artist Steve Neill (10 minutes, Mr. Lo Bianco (12 minutes) and a pair of entertaining vintage Q&A sessions (30 minutes total) with Cohen of Lincoln Center in New York and the New Brewery Cinema in Los Angeles.
The lost city (Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment, PG-13 rated, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 112 minutes, $34.99) – Actress Sandra Bulloch’s latest action romantic comedy directed by brothers Adam and Aaron Nee earlier this year moves into the 4K realm while delivering a forgettable retread of familiar cinematic territory.
The story, also co-written by the brothers, centers on a widowed best-selling fantasy novelist, Loretta Sage (Mrs. Bullock), running out of inspiration, getting kidnapped on a real-life adventure by eccentric billionaire Abigail Fairfax ( Daniel Radcliffe) in search of treasure in a real lost city.
Thick as a brick cover model of his books, Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum), in love with Loretta, enlists the help of former military tracker Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt) to rescue her while tracking her.
The rescue almost works but turns into a fight for survival for Alan and Loretta as they try to escape evil minions in the jungle and end up stumbling upon the legendary Crown of Fire.
The movie has its early relegated moments with Trainer at work and later a foggy dawn motorcycle chase, but Mr. Tatum and Mrs. Bullock’s seductive hijinks lack chemistry and aren’t as powerful as when they sing. was paired with Ryan Reynolds in 2009. “The Proposal.”
The ensemble cast also struggles to help ignite the slightly tired narrative copy of “Romancing the Stone.” This is a one-time viewing for home theater audiences and does not need to be added to the disc library.
The 4K presentation excels at showcasing panoramic forested tropical island settings with waterfalls, vineyards, cliffs, caves, coves, mountain peaks, a volcano, and the ruins of the Lost City, all against Loretta dressed in of a purplish-pink sequined jumpsuit.
The best extras: Viewers get a pointless collection of seven nearly 40-minute featurettes that showcase the brilliance of the production while covering topics like cast chemistry, challenges while filming in real-life locations, and tropical, the waterfalls, the combination, 30 feet of charcuterie (food), the bad guys and the construction of the lost city.