Cherry Falls Blu-ray Review

I never got around to seeing Cherry Falls until this new Blu-ray release. It’s not entirely my fault since the film lingered in post-production purgatory before being aired edited for television on USA. Now finally seeing the uncut version, and learning more of the backstory, I think its fate was sealed before production even wrapped.Cherry

Cherry Falls has a great idea. A serial killer is targeting virgins, so the slasher movie equation of sex = death is reversed. Sex will now be your salvation. But Cherry Falls never really figures out how to twist the horror trope so it ends up being just another slasher knockoff.

There are some nice scenes of teens who don’t really like each other agreeing to hook up just to lose their virginity before the killer strikes. More of that would have been great. Instead, the whole mythology of the killer is just distracting. Focus on the virginity M.O. and exploit that twist on horror.

The film looks great on Blu-ray. 2000 was recent enough that the film is clean, and this is back when indies were shot on film. It’s also so far back bad Avid effects that give away the hasty post-production. Running the footage unaltered would look fine. Using drop frames and slow-mo only looks like you’re an amateur Avid editor.

The behind the scenes documentary is the real story of Cherry Falls. It includes details on indie studios that no longer exist, including the ones who passed. The producer recalls that director Geoffrey Wright’s ambition was to shoot it like Vertigo. Oh honey. Maybe just aim for scene to scene coherence. Needless to say, Cherry Falls does not resemble Hitchcock, and the reasons why are further revealed.

Wright fell so far behind in production, they had to cut scenes out of the script. That explains why the satire was missing, no matter how much they talk about it being intended as a satire. What remains is what was barely shot before they lost the actors and locations, so it’s hardly Vertigo.

The film was further compromised by a poorly conceived decision on Wright’s part to shoot the teen orgy scene nude. It was written to be occurring under a sheet. So with a long sequence of naked bodies, of course it all got cut by the MPAA. Dude, you can’t show that explicitly. The point is to allude to it. But now it’s Blu-ray. Where is all that footage? This is several distributors ago so nobody probably saved it.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Review

Remember how it felt when the original Star Wars trilogy was finally released on DVD? Blu-ray didn’t even exist yet, but it was such a fight to convince Lucasfilm to release the films on DVD. George wasn’t a supporter of the format, and tested the waters with the prequel trilogy first. But man, when Episodes IV, V and VI were finally on DVD, it was a revelation. Even though it was the special editions, 90% of the movie were original footage and you could see the shiny helmets and detailed model work like never before.

That’s what it’s like watching The Force Awakens on Blu-ray. Our expectations are a little higher and we have seen both trilogies on Blu-ray by this point. You could go right from 1983’s Return of the Jedi to 2015’s The Force Awakens without missing a beat. Because J.J. Abrams shot on 35mm film, it maintains a consistent look with the other films. Yet it boasts all the new things that could only be achieved now, like BB-8 and Maz Kanata.

Of course the bonus features are extensive. The production of the movie was secretive but it was well documented. They even joke about that when the cast are finally allowed to actually talk about the movie. Considering so much of the film pays homage to A New Hope, it’s apropos that they show a little behind the scenes footage of the original model work in VHS quality. Even the bonus features pay homage to the original bonus features!

The most interesting thing to me was Mark Hamil’s participation in the table read. Since he has no lines in the movie, it was an easy joke about what he was doing there. It turns out he read all the stage directions. How great would it have been if they included the entire table read with Hamill’s narration? As it is, we get to hear a few scenes of it.

Point Break Blu-ray Review: Extremely Fast and Extremely Furious

This is why I love movies.  A crew of thousands spent a year prepping and filming these stunts. A few professionals trained for decades to be able to accomplish them, all to put on a show for me for two hours. The fact that it’s still Point Break makes it both relevant and nostalgic.

Luke Bracey is Johnny Utah in Point Break

Luke Bracey is Johnny Utah in Point Break

It’s a new Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) for whom the name is not a source of pride but rather guilt. His experience does give him some insight into a series of crimes involving extreme stunts, and when I say extreme I mean it. This Point Break is extreme! So Utah goes undercover and discovers Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez)’s gang is not committing crimes to fund their extravagant adventures. Their mission has more noble, and socially relevant aims, but still involves thieving, destruction and public endangerment.

Bodhi and Johnny Utah share a moment in an extreme location

Bodhi and Johnny Utah share a moment in an extreme location

The reason to do Point Break now is to do every extreme sport that’s been invented since the original Point Break. But, you don’t want to just watch a Warren Miller movie. Ericson Core, his own DP, shoots the extreme scenes with a beginning, middle and end so they are extensions of the plot and characters. He also shoots them clearly so we can actually see all the awesome stuff his performers can do. A gunfight and a fistfight are filmed with a shakier camera, but still much clearer than the unfortunate style of modern action movies.

You begin to realize that as epic as the international locations of Point Break are, the extreme action scenes are really intimate between two men. Bodhi and Utah are often the only people in the scene, and even with the rest of Bodhi’s gang the focus is on the two heroes. And still, four characters is pretty intimate for a big action movie. I think it speaks to the way Bodhi’s philosophy, and the sheer nature of pushing yourself to the limit, makes the clutter of the world disappear.

Edgar Ramirez is Bodhi in Point Break

Edgar Ramirez is Bodhi in Point Break

The new story is full of surprises and relevant themes of the modern FBI and social activism. Where Point Break does pay homage to the original, it’s only the things you would insist be included. Anything that was a stretch in the original may still be a stretch, but you know my attitude. “Because it’s awesome” trumps any lapse in logic. Being awesome is always better than making sense.

A few big reveals may be a tad ungraceful, and some backstory is just plain blurted out, but sometimes people just talk, you know. People are narcissistic, they like to overshare. We definitely did not need a line explaining what a point break is. That was better left ambiguous.

Climbing Angel Falls in Point Break

Climbing Angel Falls in Point Break

Aside from the exciting, clear photography, the stylistic choice to hold back on the colors seems to downplay the majestic locations in which they filmed. I’m so on board with the rest of the creative decisions I’m going with it.

My hope is that what this Point Break can do is give us the further adventures of Johnny Utah. Hopefully we don’t have to wait another 24 years for them to invent more extreme sports crimes. I want more Point Break now!

The Blu-ray

I still wish Core had embraced the colors of his epic locations, but we still get to see all the detail in the motocross tracks in the sand, the textures of the rocks on all the mountains, the layers of the wave curl, the mist of Angel Falls and its bronze rapids below. You can’t beat that night photography on the water.

I liked the deleted scenes. There are more with Utah and Pappas (Ray Winstone) which was an important relationship in the original. There’s even an additional action scene. You didn’t think they’d forget skateboarding, did you?

I wish the behind the scenes features had gone a little more in depth. All we have are four short two-minute briefs on some of the key stunt sequences. That’s just enough to introduce the real athletes and show their prep work. At least we get to own the extreme new Point Break at home now!

The Big Short Blu-Ray Review: Nothing Short of Brilliant

This one is really personal for me. Back in 2006 I was saying that these mortgages are crazy and there’s no way the values will match the loans. After it all went down, people said I was only saying that in hindsight, so I can’t win. It seems I was not alone, but when people told Michael Burry (Christian Bale), Mark Baum (Steve Carell) and Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) they were crazy, those guys didn’t take it lying down.

On Blu-ray March 15

On Blu-ray March 15

The big question I still had about this crisis is answered by The Big Short. Who pays for a short? I know what it is, but if you bet on a business failing, where does the money come from? Well, for shoring mortgage securities, a financial first, they had to invent the contract specifically for Burry. I guess the ultimate answer to my question is that businesses accept shorts out of hubris. They never think they’re going to fail and have to pay up. Certainly the banks believed mortgages were impossible to fail, which is probably what companies issuing IPOs think of their values too.

I’m a tad gratified that I wasn’t the only person to suspect something fishy, but I kind of wish Burry and Baum in particular had been whistle blowers instead of trying to profit on the financial crisis themselves. Rookie investors Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) and Charlie Gellar (Joe Magaro) too. The joke was on them when they tried to get the banks to honor the corrupt deal they made.

Writer/director Adam McKay makes fun of the exposition of it all by sexing up the definitions and explanations. Supporting characters break the fourth wall to contradict the main characters, even to point out the Hollywood coincidence of the adaptation. I don’t care for the shakycam style with manufactured zooms, but the fact that it’s mimicking other “serious” films makes it go down easier. It’s fun overall, with music video twerking and quick cuts to Baum’s bookshelf with titles that are surely metaphorical. I’ll find out when I can freeze frame on the Blu-ray. He keeps cutting the sound off just before a character finishes talking, because we already get it and it’s time to move on.

There’s still a lot of terminology. FICA, AAA, subprime, income verification. It’s the perfect tone of ER where you believe the characters know the jargon and you kind of learn what it means along the way. Big picture issues are illustrated by the characters, often using dramatic props. It still lost me on a few exchanges but by then it’s no surprise the house of cards went deeper and deeper.

McKay incorporates all the complex factors of the crisis smoothly into the narrative. Tenants of shady landlords are given a fair shake, the realtors with their heads in the sand, opportunistic bankers, the promise of refinancing, the regulation agencies driven to slack by competition…

The Big Short is scathing. It’s a shame we only get a movie this compelling because something massively disastrous happened. If they could make the movie in 2004 we might’ve had a chance. I’m still grateful for it though. If it takes millionaire filmmakers to convince people to be more responsible with their money and opt out of corrupt ponzi schemes, I’ll take it.

The Blu-ray

I got worried that the picture for The Big Short was looking rough on Blu-ray. The gritty handheld style seemed to be unleashing a whirlwind of digital noise, and considering one of the bonus features had McKay bragging about using old school film, I’d hate for them to have botched the transfer. Fortunately, I found an easy fix for this. I switched my TV settings from Vivid to Standard and it brought out the way McKay envisioned The Big Short to look.

I guess not all movies are meant to be vivid. The stark, gritty documentary style take on wheeler-dealer offices and big city corruption is meant to be cold and callus. The film look actually makes The Big Short appear more real than its digital counterparts. Bonus features are thorough about the making of the film, and some deleted scenes display more McKay irreverence, but it’s really the movie that speaks for itself and it looks great on Blu-ray.

Community Season 6 DVD Review

On DVD March 8

On DVD March 8

The DVD release of Community’s hitherto final season reminds me to watch it. I forgot to watch it on Yahoo! Screen. Sorry about that. That’s my fault. But the episodes are as strong as ever. The incorporation of remote students via tablets is current and clever, and Abed’s party movie is a strong illustration of the point at which it stops being fun.

Even with the extended Yahoo! episodes, there are still a few deleted scenes with some fun moments, but nothing memorable. The gag reel includes some surprisingly low brow bodily humor. A Community quiz is really a good illustration of the patience that cast has for trivia, and how hard it is to remember stuff from even recent seasons.

The main behind the scenes feature is focused on the season/series finale and final season. It gets to the creative and emotional heart of the show for the fans and creators. This is going to hit fans hard, and it’s a great bonus reason to complete the six season DVD set.

The Tribe Blu-ray Review

The Tribe was my favorite movie of last year. It is such a pure cinematic experience to be transported into a world where we are truly outsiders and we have to keep up. Now it’s great to see those harrowing long takes unfold in Blu-ray HD quality. The widescreen frame remains crisp. The colors are not too bright, which is appropriate for a stark crime drama. You can tell when a  yellow bus drives by that it’s not going to be about the Blu-ray colors, but the detail in the graffiti laden brick is palpable. You can see sharp black silhouettes of the gang at night, and you can see the depth of the long hallways.

On Blu-ray, DVD and VOD March 8

On Blu-ray, DVD and VOD March 8

I always like to do homework after I discover filmmakers at festivals, but the only homework I can do on writer/director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky is his short films. Deafness, included on this Blu-ray, is rough but he’s practicing choreographing single takes and conveying dialogue in sign. In a car you can see cop speaking louder as if a deaf kid will hear him, but we only hear the engine outside. It’s fun to see a few new scenarios that didn’t make it into The Tribe or maybe he just didn’t want to repeat them.

Yana Novikova’s interview is presented in complete silence, with no ambient noise whatsoever. Her signing is subtitled but we can see all of her expressive gestures. It really gives you a sense of a vivacious talent, and covers a lot of what you’ll want to hear about the film. She brings up that scene on her own.

The commentary sounds like a tape recording, or maybe a digital recording on the lowest quality setting. It was recorded at Sundance but it is scene specific. Devin Faraci keeps the commentary moving. During a slow patch, he remembers a comment he heard so he asks Slaboshpitsky a question to keep him talking until the next sequence.

As promised by Slaboshpitsky, there are no English subtitles on the Blu-ray, except for descriptions of non dialogue audio. The Tribe must be experienced as a silent movie. If one so happens to speak Ukranian sign, then they get to see a different movie. For most American Blu-ray owners, they should go on the ride with The Tribe.

Franchise Fred Blu-ray Review: Creed Is Why I’m Franchise Fred

Creed is why I’m Franchise Fred, because time adds layers to stories. What was a plot device for Rocky IV now paved the way for the story of a son’s struggle for identity, forgiveness and allows him to make an impact on a legend. Spoilers for Rocky IV follow, but I didn’t want to put them up top for anyone binge watching the series for the first time in anticipation of Creed.

Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed and Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in Creed

Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed and Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in Creed

The name Creed does not scroll across the screen like Rocky’s did. This is his story and they’re going to do it his way. We also meet a different Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) than we’ve seen, even in Rocky Balboa. Rocky has lost even more now, he has remorse for some decisions he’s made, and Stallone is finally allowing him to appear frail. I assume that’s acting. Stallone is immortal.

The most admirable connection to the Rocky movies is that Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) is actually Apollo Creed’s illegitimate son, and it’s judgment free. He’s not a son Apollo conceived with Mary Anne (now Phylicia Rashad) before his death. This is a profoundly forward thinking, compassionate view of the paths families take and still stick together, as Mary Anne reaches out to a young, troubled Adonis.

As a Rocky fan, my biggest hope was for an emotional confrontation where Adonis would yell at Rocky, “Why didn’t you stop that fight?” Of course, quoting eight-year-old Fred probably wouldn’t be the strongest dramatic choice, and writer/director Ryan Coogler has even better dramatic motivations in store. Adonis’s daddy issues aren’t from abandonment. They’re more about distancing himself. Going by his mother’s name, Adonis’s legacy is a ticking time bomb in the information age.

Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson in Creed

Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson in Creed

His relationship with a singer, Bianca (Tessa Thompson) is much different than Rocky and Adrian’s from the initial point that she has her own ambitions and determination. Rocky and Adrian were two people connecting over the way no one else believed in either of them. Now how do two people who have self-confidence, maybe overconfidence in Adonis’s case, connect?

Creed’s got Easter eggs galore that allow the film to progress themes of previous movies without diverting into tangents. Just about every sequel is touched on. It’s got a really touching moment about Rocky Jr. that I suspect is Stallone getting to say goodbye to his real life son Sage, in a Furious 7 sort of way where Rocky Jr. gets a more hopeful future. The only thing missing is, “Remember when you trained Tommy Gunn? I’ll show you I’ve got the heart he never had!” I’m sure that will be on the DVD. It’s already on the DVD in my heart.

Even a still frame of this makes me want to work out.

Even a still frame of this makes me want to work out.

There are little hints of Bill Conti in the new score, but it builds to its own Creed theme. I can’t say if the Creed theme, by Ludwig Goransson, will stand the test of time like “Gonna Fly Now,” but it sure kicks ass in this movie. There’s also a unique new training montage, but some glorious classic running and working out too.

Creed has the best cinematography of any Rocky movie, although perhaps that is unfair to the original. ‘70s cinema had a different aesthetic, so John G. Avildsen and James Crabe weren’t trying oners. But Coogler and DP Maryse Alberti devise some beautiful ways to bring the viewer into fights and training montage. Their crowning achievement, however, is a simple two shot of Rocky and Adonis with a meaningful photo in between them.

We're going to be seeing this scene a lot on awards shows.

We’re going to be seeing this scene a lot on awards shows.

I’m really happy that this film is finally motivating the industry to rally behind Stallone for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. I was always in awe of what he brought to his roles, and the more sophisticated I got the more I appreciated some of the politics and big picture hero’s journey stuff he’s been dealing with. But I was reading First Blood in middle school and a teacher commented on “that idiot on the cover.” I had one friend who refused to see any Stallone movie with me (in his defense, it was the Oscar/Stop or My Mom Will Shoot era, but he missed out on Cliffhanger!) Anyway, the locker room scene will be Stallone’s Oscar clip reel. It’s really amazing to see Stallone both close the book and open a new chapter on the character he knows most intimately.

Sylvester Stallone is Rocky Balboa in Creed

Sylvester Stallone is Rocky Balboa in Creed

One thing I didn’t quite get is why Adonis was so gung ho to become a boxer. The world is pretty much against boxing, because of real and fictional deaths and brain damage in the ring. Adonis has resources and job opportunities. Maybe it’s just in his blood, or maybe he never shook the volatile youth who’d pick a fight anytime a kid stepped to him. Ultimately, “because he wants to” may be a good enough reason, or maybe it was when Mary Anne told him who his father was she incepted him and he’d never be anything else. It’s just not as clear as the film’s other themes, but maybe instinct isn’t supposed to be.

So here’s the argument that birthed Franchise Fred. When a glut of sequels males it feel like a bastardized version of the original and there’s nowhere left to go, that’s not the time to give up. That’s the time to get inspired, to think of a new step or even invite another talent to bring their vision to the story. It may take years or decades, but you keep fighting to keep the story alive. That’s what Rocky would do.

The Blu-ray

On DVD and Blu-ray March 1

On DVD and Blu-ray March 1

Creed is the first Rocky movie shot in 2.35:1. It’s fitting that the new generation has a new look, and no Rocky movie has ever looked this good. Even the 4K restoration of the original has the ’70s grit and grain, and none of the sequels have been restored in HD. You can tell when they show clips in the bonus features!

Many sequences in Creed stand out. That one take fight has so much activity going on so everywhere the camera spins it’s catching something, and the background is a black void so it’s like there’s no world outside the fight. Training sequences in the gym are dynamic with all the bags, crowds, sparring rings and posters of previous fights on the wall. And, of course, there’s all those glistening male bodies.

Bonus features are good too. It’s nice to hear Stallone articulate what Apollo Creed meant to Rocky. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the first four movies put into quite that context before. We get to hear some real boxers and MMA fighters talk about the influence of the Rocky movies and a little bit of the specifics of diet and training to get Michael B. Jordan into Adonis shape.

There are some good deleted scenes too. Just seeing Rocky standing in the Philadelphia snow does something for me. A lot of them are jus extended scenes between Adonis and Bianca or Adonis and Mary Anne, but the details deepen the struggle and I love these characters so much that I welcome an extra 20 minutes with them.

Catch ‘The Hateful Eight’ Out On Blu-Ray/DVD March 29, 2016!


Three Oscar® Nods and a Golden Globe win for:


BEVERLY HILLS, CA (February 18, 2016) – Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company are proud to present the home entertainment release of the eighth film by two-time Academy Award® winner Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained, Pulp Fiction). Shot entirely on 70mm and featuring a Golden Globe® and BAFTA® award-winning score by Oscar® winner Ennio Morricone (Bugsy, The Mission). An explosive frontier mystery about eight strangers with one deadly connection, The Hateful Eight will be available for digital download on March 15, 2016 from Starz Digital before heading to retail on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack ($39.99 SRP) and DVD ($29.98 SRP) from Anchor Bay Entertainment and On Demand March 29, 2016. Special features for The Hateful Eight include two featurettes – “Beyond the Eight: A Behind-the-Scenes Look” and “Sam Jackson’s Guide to Glorious 70mm.”

“If you’re going to shoot your movie and release it in 70mm, it’s really the way to go: twenty-four frames a second flickering through a projector, creating the illusion of movement.”

– Quentin Tarantino


Ultra Panavision 70 is the very rare and exceptional format that Quentin Tarantino and his team used to shoot The Hateful Eight, the widest 70mm theatrical release in twenty years. Panavision’s unique anamorphic camera lenses capture images on film in an incredible aspect ratio of 2.76:1. Almost all films seen today are shot in ratios of either 1.85:1 or 2.39:1. Simply put, Ultra Panavision 70 provides an amazingly wide and more detailed image.

The Hateful Eight marks the triumphant return to the genre for legendary composer Morricone (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars). Nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Score, Morricone is back in the saddle after nearly four decades since last scoring a full-length Western. Additional Academy Award® nominations include 3-time Oscar® winner Robert Richardson for Best Cinematography and Jennifer Jason Leigh for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The Hateful Eight’s notorious all-star cast also boasts Oscar® nominees Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction), Kurt Russell (Silkwood), Emmy® nominee Walton Goggins (TV’s Justified), Demián Bichir (A Better Life) and Tim Roth (Rob Roy).

Blu-ray™ and DVD special features include:

• Beyond the Eight: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

• Sam Jackson’s Guide to Glorious 70mm


Set six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in those parts as “The Hangman,” will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a southern renegade who claims to be the town’s new Sheriff. Losing their lead on the blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie’s, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. Bob (Demián Bichir), who’s taking care of Minnie’s while she’s visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all.

Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

Written By: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and more.

Arriving on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand March 29, 2016. Available on Digital HD March 15, 2016

Steve Jobs Blu-ray And Digital Review

I don’t think I noticed when I first saw Steve Jobs that it was shot on three different formats. On Blu-ray, they seem to have made it a point to leave the format differences in the transfer. They didn’t clean it up because it’s not supposed to look uniform.

Act one looks like old movie with new stars as young real life people. The colors are still bright, but with saturated grain. The middle Is classic 35mm, sharp and polished but still flares up digital noise. The third part is cleanest because it’s HD, though lets not kid ourselves, it still gets noisy in a few spots.

Since Steve Jobs comes with a digital copy too, I also compared it to the Vudu HD version. The three different formats are still noticeable, but not nearly as pronounced as on the Blu-ray. You see it most in the first part with the 16mm grain. 35mm and digital look a lot more similar in the streaming version.

The Blu-ray also comes with a 45 minute behind the scenes documentary in three parts, which is where the actors get to talk about their research and working with Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin. There are also two commentary tracks but both a tad more restrained than you might expect.

You’d expect Sorkin to talk more but his track had a lot of gaps and he’s genuinely interested in editor Elliot Graham who’s there with him. Boyle’s is technical and practical  regarding the filmmaking and working with the actors, also more gaps than expected. Maybe the plus is you get to hear the movie and commentary at same time.

Franchise Fred Blu-ray Review: The Toxic Avenger Collection

The Toxic Avenger was an essential franchise for Franchise Fred growing up. I remember when I discovered there was not only Toxic Avenger II, but Toxic Avenger III on VHS. Then when I first became a journalist, Troma released Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV and I met Lloyd Kaufman, Toxie and Sgt. Kabukiman in person.

Yet, once I started covering Blu-ray, I had only seen Toxic Avenger II in HD. Now all four are available in a single collection, and looking back at Troma’s signature films in HD is a revelation.

The most striking is the original Toxic Avenger. The film is scratched up, but the picture quality is stunning. Film transfers to HD with bright colors and effectively disgusting details in the gore and transformation makeups, still giving you a look at the grain of the film.

Originally filmed as a single movie, II and III are a noticeable improvement in technical quality, or at least in preservation. Shooting on film gives them a look closer to the blockbusters of the late ‘80s, and by now perhaps they’d thought about preserving the source materials.

Hard to believe Citizen Toxie is now 15 years old. As the most recent film, it has the brightest, sharpest picture, and most pristine transfer. Yet just by being shot on film, it harkens back to the classic days of Troma.

All four films are also loaded with bonus features, including interviews with the original cast members and a rare on camera interview with Michael Herz. By Citizen Toxie, Lloyd Kaufman was also making feature length behind the scenes documentaries, which are incredibly valuable to do it yourself filmmakers.