Black Panther Giveaway This Month

Wakanda Forever !!

Black Panther, from Marvel and Disney, that soared to new heights at the South African box office, making history, is now available to purchase for your home movie collection, with Avengers: Infinity War following in the near future (watch our news pages for details).

Forming part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) the film is an integral part of the story that spans a decade of cinema.

And this August, SAMDB has the distinct pleasure of offering a giveaway of 5 copies of this epic tale, on DVD, to five of our fans / followers. All you have to do is like us on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter and either comment or tweet to tell us who your favourite Marvel character is, and why. See the links and embedded posts below.

Read the SAMDB review of Black Panther.

Please Note:

  • This giveaway is only open to persons living in South Africa
  • Names chosen, at random, will be contacted directly
  • The giveaway will be one copy of Black Panther, on DVD, and DVDs will be sent to chosen names by Disney South Africa
  • The five (5) persons chosen will be chosen at random from our fans and follows who tweet or comment.
  • You have until Friday 24 August 2018 to make these tweets or comments on our Facebook post or Twitter tweet.

SAMDB on Twitter – www.twitter.com/samoviedatabase

SAMDB on Facebook – www.facebook.com/samoviedatabase

Justice League (DVD) : Review

Film

Following on closely to the events depicted in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne / Batman (Ben Affleck – The AccountantSuicide Squad) is on a quest to unite a group of special people, possessing unique abilities and powers, drawing inspiration from Superman’s (Henry Cavill) sacrifice, and selfless act. As the world faces a grave dangers, and a powerful enemy from a time long past, Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds – Frozen).

Joining this intrepid group of metahumans, is Batman’s newfound ally, Diana Prince / Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot – Wonder WomanTriple 9), to face an even greater enemy. Barry Allen / The Flash (Ezra Miller – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) is on-board, with Arthur Curry / Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Victor Stone / Cyborg (Ray Fisher) rounding off the list.

With all the many characters brought together in one story, and the fast pace at which we are introduced to each, especially for viewers new to these characters and this world, rewatch value is rather high on the film given that the film is both a good story and contains a lot of information and action thrown at the user in one go.

Of course, one could not let a DC Universe collection exist without the addition of this latest outing of the heroes, so yet another reason to get a copy.

Read the full SAMDB review of Justice League.

Disc

Overall, the disc is of a good technical quality, with a fun main feature.

Justice League is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a decent average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on-screen. There is also no visible colour bleed. Details in darker scenes is good, as with the many faster paced action sequences.

Viewers with the necessary hardware or software could scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.

Video for the bonus feature is a bit more compressed, leaving more space for a higher bitrate on the main feature. However, that being said, while the disc is dual layer, there is still an amount of free space on the disc that could have been utilised.

The menus are very compressed, at low bitrates, but this poses no issue, as this is merely to navigate with.

Audio

Audio is encoded at a high constant bitrate, and presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker. The audio stage is very broad, with great use of discreet mixing to both front and surround channels, greatly expanding the on-screen world, and placing the viewer in the midst of the action.

Audio for the bonus feature on the disc is presented only as a stereo 2.0 soundtrack.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to use. The main menu is static, with a background poster and accompanying music. There are text links to play the main feature, scene selections, languages, and special feature.

The scene selection sub-menus each contain six medium sized colour, static thumbnails, for a total of twelve chapters. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, nor is there any package insert listing with chapter names or descriptions.

The languages sub-menu has a text list of available audio languages, including English descriptive audio, and a list of available subtitle languages, including English for the deaf or hard of hearing.

The special feature (singular) sub-menu has just one text item, to play the included special feature on the disc.

Bonus Features

Road to Justice – This feature talks about how the heroes have teamed up, covering from the Justice Society to the Justice League, with insightful input from the creators and filmmakers.

A fun trip down memory lane, that should appeal to any lover of the DC Universe or the DC Comics. A nice addition.

Packaging

Packaging is rather standard on the DVD, with a poster on the front, with title. There are no cast names, but these should be known to almost everyone by now.

The back of the packaging has a few small poster type images, showing one hero per poster. There is a short synopsis, and the usual technical information too.

There are no package inserts, such as chapter listing.

Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay (DVD) : Review

Film

Task Force X, of Suicide Squad fame, is tasked with stealing a mystical, powerful object, once again needing to risk life and limb, and possibly betrayal, to make the world a better place.

With the voice talents of Christian Slater (Hot Tub Time Machine 2), Vanessa Williams, and Tara Strong (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, Gnome Alone), to name a few, there is no shortage of talent in this film. As with Batman: Attack on Arkham, it bests its namesake, to deliver a fun film, expanding on the DC Universe, and showing us that, yes, we can get a good movie, with these characters.

While the animation in the film is rather simplistic, waving photorealism in favour of more comic book style, the film is by no means a children’s film, staving off the watered down depictions of kiddies movies, and presenting the viewer with an adult film, with adult themes, and one devoid of childish detour.

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay has a similar visual style to Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, however lacking the nostalgic appeal that movie delivers. However, it does bring its own to the table, and deliver a thoroughly entertaining and engrossing action story, with our favourite anti-heroes.

A fun jaunt into the DC Universe, and an entertaining movie, all in one.

Disc

Overall, the disc is of an average technical quality. Both video and audio might have benefitted from a higher bitrate encoding, and audio might have been more encompassing had there been more discrete use of the surround channels.

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a decent average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on-screen.  While there is no visible colour bleed, some colour does feel slightly washed out, lacking vibrance, and some scenes do feel a bit soft due to compression. Darker scenes do maintain adequate detail.

Scaling up to a larger or higher resolution screen would depend on the scaling method used, but viewers with the necessary hardware or software might find that the restrictions imposed by a lower bitrate might become more obvious.

Audio

Sound is encoded at a decent average bitrate, and presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Dialogue is clear via the centre channel, with most of the weight of the soundtrack carried by the front channels. Surround channels are not used much, other than to create a small amount of additional ambience, with almost no discernable discrete audio used here.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main menu is static, with accompanying music, and the films poster as background image.

There are text links to play the main feature, languages, and special features.

The languages sub-menu has text links to pick the desired audio languages, and desired subtitles. There are subtitles in English for the deaf or hearing impaired.

The special features sub-menu has text links to the three included special features.

Bonus Features

There are three special features included on the disc, with each short clip being not just a trailer, but an introduction to each of The Death of Superman, Batman: Assualt on Arkham, and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.

These are not just mere trailers, but rather including short sound bites from the filmmakers themselves, giving their own take on teasing each film.

While these may not actually be bonus features for a film, per say, they are still a nice inclusion on the disc, and should whet the appetite for any DC fans.

Packaging

Packaging is pretty standard for the disc, with a poster, with title on the front. On the back of the packaging are a few stills from the main feature, a short synopsis, a listing of bonus features (in an incredibly small font), and the usual technical information.

There are no package inserts, such as chapter listing.

 

The Man With The Iron Heart (DVD) : Review

Film

It’s 1942, and German fascists are expanding their borders, and The Third Reich is at its peak. Two young recruits, Jozef Gabcik (Jack Reynor – Detroit, Free Fire) and Jan Kubis (Jack O’Connell – Money Monster), of the Czech resistance in London are tasked with travelling to Prague and assassinating Nazi leader, Reich-protector Reinhard Heydrich (Jason Clarke – Everest, Terminator Genisys), head of the SS, the Gestapo, and the architect behind the “Final Solution”.

Despite Hydrich’s stoic outer appearance, life at home mirrors his inner turmoil. He all but ignores his wife, Lina Von Osten (Rosamund Pike – A United Kingdom), and he is under ever more pressure to please Hitler.

The Man with the Iron Heart is a harsh look at the hatred and ideals of the time before and during World War 2. The hardened hearts and mislead minds of those seeking to rid the world of an entire population group. The film takes a close look at both the emotions and actions of everyone involved, showing both the perpetrators and victims of these evil deeds, and while not sensationalising the violence, it does not shy away from the pain it caused, nor the emotion involved.

With all the drama, there are some scenes of tension, and some of action, which are delivered with just the right balance each time, rounding up a plot that sucks the viewer in as the characters develop and become better known to us.

A gritty war film, focusing on the drama of a small part of that time, presented by talented filmmakers and actors. An engrossing tale, that evokes both emotion and debate. Well worth watching.

Disc

Over all the disc is of a good technical quality, with an engrossing main feature to watch.

The Man with the Iron Heart is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on-screen, nor any colour bleed evident. Detail is good in darker scenes.

Viewers with the relevant hardware or software could scale up to a larger screen, or higher resolution, should they wish.

Audio

Main audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, with a stereo 2.0 downmix available. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker, with much of the weight of the soundtrack carried via the front channels, and music taking front left and right. The surround channels serve to expand the front channel sound stage, with not much discrete audio being sent to them, but allowing them to expand the on-screen action, helping to further draw the viewer into the story.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main menu is static, with accompanying background music. There are text links to play the main feature, and to access a scenes sub-menu. Yellow highlights the current selection, should viewers wish to know.

The scenes sub-menus each contain six small, motion, colour thumbnails, for a total of twelve chapters. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, nor is there any chapter listing insert in the disc packaging, making navigation to a particular part of the main feature a bit of guesswork. Viewers would be better off using their own hardware or software to create bookmarks.

Bonus Features

There are no bonus features on the disc, apart from trailers for I, Tonya, Final Portrait, and 24 Hours to Live.

While these trailers can be fast-forward or skipped individually, they can not be accessed again via the disc menu system.

Packaging

Packaging is pretty standard, with a poster on the front of the case, with title and main cast. The rear of the casing has a few stills from the main feature, a short synopsis, and the usual technical information.

There are no package inserts, such as chapter listings, included in the packaging.

 

Sniper: Ultimate Kill (DVD) : Review

Film

Marine sniper Brandon Beckett (Tom Berenger), along with DEA agent Kate Estrada (Danay Garcia) are sent to Colombia to capture drug kingpin Jesús Morales (Juan Sebastian Calero) for return to the US, and kill El Diablo (Felipe Calero), and the sniper hired by Morales to eliminate his competition.

The film makes a brave attempt at a top notch action feature, and so falls solidly into the category of lazy afternoon fun, when one does not want to exert oneself following an intricate plot. While the characters are well acted, as with films like this, they have very little substance to them.

The action scenes are very low key, apart from one or two kills via sniper, which has the camera linger for a while. This aside, the climax of the film itself is quite a letdown, building no tension, and providing no satisfaction for the viewer, with the incredibly hollow characters in the movie.

Sniper: Ultimate Kill is a run of the mill, low budget action, that would possibly appeal to fans of the genre, but not that many others. Watch it if you’re really bored.

Disc

Overall, the disc is technically average., and a dual-layer disc. It is, however, a pity that the bitrate on video was not a bit higher, as there is very little of the second layer used, meaning much more space was in fact available for use.

Sniper: Ultimate Kill is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a decent average bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on-screen, but in some more detailed scenes, there is a small amount of colour bleed evident. Colours could be a bit more vibrant, as they tend to feel a bit washed out at times. Details in darker scenes is adequate.

Viewers with the necessary hardware or software could scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.

Audio

Audio is encoded at decent bitrate, and presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker, with the weight of the soundtrack carried via the front channels. The surround channels carry ambient sounds, and could have been used a bit more for discrete sounds.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main menus is static, with accompanying background music. There are text links to play the main feature, for languages, scene selections, and to play the disc previews again.

The languages sub-menu has a text list of audio languages to choose from, and a list of subtitles, including for the for the hearing impaired. There are several subtitle menus, with a long list of languages to choose from.

The scene selection sub-menus each contain four large, still, colour thumbnails, for a total of sixteen chapters. Navigation between the chapter sub-menus is via a forward or backward arrow navigation button, with a button in the shape of a sniper reticle used to return to the main menu.

While the various chapter thumbnails are numbered, they are not labelled, nor is there any information provided via a package insert, so navigating to a particular part of the main feature would require some guesswork, or for the viewer to use their own hardware or software bookmarks.

Bonus Features

There are no bonus features, except trailers for Starship Troopers: Traiter of Mars, and Resident Evil: Vendetta, which autoplay at the beginning of the disc.

These can be individually skipped, or fast forward. They can also be accessed again via the main disc menu.

Packaging

Packaging for the disc is rather standard, with a poster, film title, and main cast listing on the front. On the back are a few stills from the main feature, a short synopsis, and some of the usual technical information found on most disc packages.

There are no package inserts, such as chapter listing.

 

Kidnap (DVD : Review

Film

A straight-forward, simple story, if even a bit cliched. A mother, Karla Dyson (Halle Berry – X-Men: Days of Future Past)  is going through a divorce. She takes her son, Frankie (Sage Correa), to a park, and while on her phone arguing, the child is kidnapped. She sees him getting into a car, in the distance, and gives chase, with the entire film following this chase, mostly by car, and at times on foot.

A very simple story, devoid of any twists, but also devoid of any substance. Karla drives like a maniac, causing many terrible accidents along the road as she goes, and is constantly talking to herself or to the not present Frankie in the most annoying way. This is likely for want of exposition, to help the audience, or just to fill the scene with some dialogue while she careens down various highways.

So little background or backstory is given to either the protagonists or antagonists, that one eventually just wishes they whole lot would be captured, and we can be done with a rather boring film that falls way short of anything to do with a thriller or action piece.

This terrible B-grade film is a long way from the Oscar winning roles of Halle Berry. A film without any substance.

Disc

Overall, the disc for Kidnap is of a very high technical standard, however with no bonus material, and a main feature story that is likely to infuriate more than entertain.

Kidnap is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, far higher than most other DVD discs. There are no visible on-screen artefacts, nor any colour bleed. Colour are rich and vibrant where needed, and detail in the few darker scenes is excellent.

There are many fast paced scenes in the film, and with the incredibly high bitrate, these look excellent. The video image scaled up to a larger and higher resolution screen looks great too, although results may vary depending on the hardware or software up-scaling method.

Audio

Audio is encoded at a high average bitrate, and presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, with a stereo 2.0 downmix. Switching between these two can only be done via hardware or software selection on the player, and not via the disc menu.

Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker, with the front channels used for environmental audio and music. The surrounds are used to great effect throughout the film, to expand the on-screen world and further draw the viewer into the action. The rear channels carry a significant amount of discrete audio.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main menu is static, with accompanying background music. There are text links to play the main feature, and for scene selection. Red is highlighted here, as some viewers may be unsure.

The scene selection sub-menus each have four small, motion, colour thumbnails each, for a total of twenty chapters. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, neither is there a chapter listing insert in the packaging. This would mean that navigating to a particular part of the main feature would require some guesswork. Viewers would be better of creating their own bookmarks using their hardware or software player.

Bonus Features

There are no bonus features on the disc, except for trailers to Wonder Wheel, Megan Leavey, and Breath. These autoplay at the beginning of the disc, and while they can be fast-forward or skipped individually, they can not be accessed again via the disc menu system.

Packaging

Packaging is pretty standard, with a poster, title and cast name listing on the front. The back has a few stills from the film, a short synopsis, and the usual technical information about the disc.

There are no package inserts, such as chapter listing, included.

 

Mother (DVD) : Review

Film

Known simply as Mother (Jennifer Lawrence – PassengersX-Men: Apocalypse) and Him (Javier Bardem) a couple’s relationship is put to the ultimate test a stranger, Man (Ed Harris – In Dubious BattleGravity) arrives, and stays the night at their house. Soon after his wife, Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer), joins him. The uninvited guests disrupt their tranquil existence, with more and more people arriving as things begin to spiral more and more out of control, bringing with them their own strife.

With the cerebral nature of the film, it most certainly warrants multiple viewings, with each subsequent rewatch giving the viewer more insight into a possible interpretation of the story, the characters, and the ever changing visual narrative.

Mother! is one of those films that was hated by some, loved by many, yet is is a great piece of filmmaking, presented by a talented cast, and one that is sure to evoke debate for years to come.

Read the full SAMDB review on Mother!

Disc

Overall, the disc could be better technically, with the video being a bit too compressed, where there is still some space left on the disc, that could have been used for a higher bitrate on the video.

The main feature is one of those films that one either loves or hates, yet is a great piece of film work non-the-less.

Mother! is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a below average bitrate, leaving some visible artefacts on-screen, however, given the constant camera movement, this is not all that easy to see. Colours are not vibrant, and there are some areas where there are small amounts of colour bleed evident. Darker scenes look slightly washed out, and lacking in detail.

While this could be scaled up to a higher resolution screen, coupling this with a larger screen would merely make the visual artefacts all that more evident. A pity, as a lot of the film depends on the visual narrative as the story progresses.

Audio

Audio is encoded at a decent average bitrate, and presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Dialogue is present and clear on the front and centre channels, with the surround channels serving to expand the on-screen world with more ambient sound.

Navigation

The main menu is static, easy to follow, and with a background image, with no accompanying music. There are text links to play the main feature, audio options, subtitles, special features, and scene selections.

The audio options sub-menu has a text list of the various audio languages, including descriptive audio in English.

The subtitles sub-menus have text lists for the subtitle choices, including English for the hearing impaired.

The special features menu has text links for the two bonus features.

The scene selection sub-menus each have four large colour, still thumbnails, for a total of twenty chapters. While these are large, and numbered, they are not labelled, nor listed on a package insert in the casing, meaning that navigating to a particular part of the film may require some guesswork. It may be best to create ones own bookmarks in hardware or software, when playing.

Bonus Features

Mother! The Downward Spiral – A behind the scenes look at the making of Mother! and how the filmmakers achieved the changing look and feel of the film.

This is a rather lengthy feature, full of interesting information about story and the filming process. Some very insightful input from the filmmakers, including the actors sharing about their respective characters, and the various on-screen relationships.

This is a great bonus feature to have on a disc, just going by the plethora of information and access it provides. A great addition for viewers and filmmakers alike.

The Makeup FX Of Mothers – A brief look at the various practical effects for make-up used in the film, and a behind the scenes look at their creation, including the animatronics used in the film. While brief, this featurette does provide some interesting information.

There is also a trailer for the TV series Twin Peaks, that auto-plays at the beginning of the disc. This can be skipped, or fast-forwarded. There is also a polite message prior to this, stating that you can directly access the main disc menu, should you wish.

Packaging

Packaging is pretty standard, with a poster, title and main cast on the front. On the back are some stills from the main feature, a brief synopsis, a listing of languages, subtitles, and the bonus features. There is also the usual technical information provided.

The packaging does not contain any inserts, such as chapter listing.

 

The Greatest Showman (DVD) : Review

Film

A musical and dance celebration of a visionary, coming from nothing, in a time when status and standing meant everything; P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman – Logan, X-Men: Apocalypse) went from nothing to a worldwide sensation, always striving to achieve more.

With the song and dance talents in characters Charity Barnum (Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea, Oz the Great and Powerful), Philip Carlyle (Zac Efron ), Anne Wheeler (Zendaya – Spider-Man: Homecoming), and Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson – Life, The Girl on the Train), one gets to marvel at a great many musical numbers, interspersed with a thoroughly engrossing story.

With the films multiple award nominations and wins in the recent awards season, it is clear as the opening titles appear on-screen, and the bass thumps through the sub-woofer, that you are in for an treat, not just auditory, but visual too.

A film that was seven years in the planning, culminating in this masterpiece of song, dance, and story. There is no way one could go wrong. Not a fan of musicals? Give it a try! It’s not just song, but a great story too.

The Greatest Showman is certainly one of the best movies in recent times, standing out amidst some stiff competition. A must see, and a must hear. Treat yourself to some fun.

Disc

The disc is of a decent technical quality, with decent compression, being on a dual layer disc, with a great main feature.

The Greatest Showman is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video for the film is encoded at a medium average bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on-screen, nor any visible colour bleed. Colour are vibrant in relevant scenes, as is the theme of the film with its brightly coloured sets and costumes. Details in darker scenes are good too.

Viewers with the relevant hardware or software can scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.

Audio

Main audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, with dialogue and vocals for the numerous songs clear via the centre speaker. The weight of dialogues scenes is carried via the front channels, with the soundstage coming alive when there is a dance or song number, expanding the on-screen world, drawing the viewer in, and creating a great all-encompassing number for viewers.

The Greatest Showman, while a visual spectacular, excels as far as audio goes, and one would be done a disservice if not listening on a great set of full-range speakers.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. After a brief transition video, the viewer is presented with a static menu, with text links to play the main feature, set up, scenes, and extras. There is background music accompanying the main menu.

The set up sub-menu has a text list of the various audio soundtracks, including a choice between English 5.1 and 2.0, and the audio commentary by director Michael Gracey. A link to a further sub-menu for subtitles is also present, leading to a list of various languages, or the default choice of no subtitles.

The scenes sub-menus each contain four large, still, colour thumbnails, for a total of twenty chapters. Yet, while these are numbered, they are not labelled, nor is there a package insert with chapter titles, meaning that a certain amount of guesswork is needed when wanting to navigate to a particular part of the main feature.

The extras menu has a text list of the various bonus features on the disc, with some of the links leading to additional sub-menus.

Bonus Features

The Family Behind The Greatest Showman – A very detailed, and engrossing featurette detailing everything from conception of the film, right up to the end of production. This is a must for any both the casual viewer, or budding filmmaker alike, with much insight into the film, and process, by both cast and crew.

The Spectacle – A collection of featurettes providing more details about various aspects of the film, and its creation. These can be viewed via a “play all”, or selected individually.

Characters: Detailing the various main, colourful characters in the film, and how they came about. The filmmakers and actors give their input on character conception and development.

Choreography: A behind the scenes look at the dance numbers, the training and work that went into conceiving choreography that fits into the tone of the film, and the training each actor went through, for many months prior to filming, in order to pull of such a spectacle.

Cinematography: A look at the camera work and lighting of the various sets and scenes, with some very insightful input from director of photography Seamus McGarvey (Life, The Accountant).

Production Design: A very interesting look at the use of practical sets, and miniatures, including the use of 3D printing to create some of the city shots. Well worth a look, and a taste of whats to come for future creative design in film.

Scoring: The music of the film, the tone set by the composers, as well as the story behind the now hit songs, and how the music was to match both scenes, dance, and character.

Galleries – This leads to a sub-menu listing both concept art, and storyboards, and clicking on either of these takes the viewer to a screen with instructions on how to continue, whether to advance automatically or manually, through the presented images. Many of these images can be glimpsed as part of the feature The Family Behind The Greatest Showman, but now one can take time to admire them at leisure, and in a larger format.

Unfortunately, there is some issues, on some set-top players, in accessing the menu should one wish to leave this feature before finished. This is however not present on all hardware or software.

Music Machine – Two sub-menus with eleven and four test titles respectively, of songs in the film allowing one to jump directly to that particular music number. Once that number is finished, the disc does return the viewer back to this menu. There is also an option to display song lyrics across the bottom of the screen while watching which light up as each word is sung. A fun activity for anyone who loves music and musicals.

Sing-Along – This allows one to play the entire movie, but when there are song numbers, the lyrics are displayed below, highlighting the words as they are sung.

Audio Commentary By Michael Gracey – An informative commentary by Michael Gracey, offering insight and behind the scenes into the creation of the film, inception to screen, and offering a plethora of information for fans, film lovers and movie makers alike.

Packaging

Packaging for The Greatest Showman is standard, with a colourful poster on the front of the disc, in keeping with the feel of the film.

The back of the packaging has as brief synopsis, and some stills from the film. There is a list of the bonus features, and the usual technical information.

There is no package insert, with things such as chapter titles.

 

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight (DVD) : Review

Film

In an alternative Victorian Age Gotham City, Batman (Bruce Greenwood – The Post, Kingsman: The Golden Circle) begins his war on crime while he investigates a new series of murders by Jack the Ripper. As the films taglines says, “It’s The Bat against The Butcher”.

A mystery, set in the world of Batman, and the city of Gotham, filled with intrigue at every turn, suspense, and a good dose of action. This is Batman animated, for the adult audiences.

Gotham itself has a retro feel to it, with a hint of steampunk, as the alternate version being somewhat in the past compared to Gotham we all know.

Adding to the excellent story, are the talented voices of Jennifer Carpenter as Selina Kyle, Anthony Head as Alfred Pennyworth, Tara Strong (Gnome Alone, The Emoji Movie) as Marlene Mahone, to name but a few.

Whilst this is an animated film, it is directed at fans, and older audiences, not holding back on the mature subject matter, nor catering to kids, whisking one along for an adrenaline packed ride, with the caped crusader.

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is one of the best Batman stories available, and a great animated movie. A must see for any fans of the DC Universe or The Bat.

Disc

Overall, the disc is of a decent technical quality, despite the higher compression of the video. The main feature is an enjoyable film.

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a fair average bitrate. While this is lower than what one would expect, there are no visible artefacts on-screen, nor any colour bleed. The higher compression is likely to save on manufacturing costs by keeping the entire film on a single layer disc. Details in darker scenes is good.

Viewers withe relevant hardware or software could scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish, however, given the lower bitrate, this may lead to a softer image. Tests on a full HD screen still looked good though.

Audio

Audio is encoded at a high average bitrate, and presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker, with a fair amount of usage of the surround channels, for both effects and music.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main menu is static, having a poster background, and accompanying music.

There are labelled menu items to play the main feature, select languages, and special features. The icons do look as if they come from a standard icon pack, but this makes little difference, with them being labelled.

The languages sub-menu has text lists of the available audio and subtitle languages.

The special features contain a text list of links to three sneak peaks for upcoming films.

There is no chapter selection sub-menu, so access to the nine chapters would be handled by the viewers hardware or software player.

Bonus Features

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay – A video giving a sneak to the new Suicide Squad animated movie, featuring interviews with the filmmakers. Specifically spoiler free, this is a brief, yet interesting introduction to the film.

Justice League Dark – Another introduction to an upcoming DC animation, again with interviews with the filmmakers.

Batman: Bad Blood – The third sneak peak, and introduction featurette.

The three sneak peaks each include interviews, behind the scenes images in the form of concept art and storyboards, and spoiler free footage from the actual films themselves.

A nice addition, with each featurette, where the cast and crew expand on the character backgrounds, and settings of the films, where they fit into the DC world.

Packaging

The DVD packaging is pretty standard, with a title and poster on the front of the casing. The back has a short synopsis, and the usual technical information and logos.

There are no package inserts such as chapter titles, etc.

 

Suburbicon (DVD) : Review

Film

Suburbicon, an idyllic town, representing the American Dream in 1959s USA. Named after this town, the film is a noir crime thriller, full of mystery, and a story that brings together both the stereotypes of that bygone era, and current issues that still plague the world today.

When a home invasion goes wrong, Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon – Thor: RagnarokThe Great Wall) is forced to deal with his life being turned upside-down when his wife Rose (Julianne Moore – Kingsman: The Golden Circle, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1) is killed. Yet, not long before, the first African-American family had moved into the neighbourhood, and with all the racial fear that exists with the local townsfolk, they automatically become the prime suspects, and the target of much abhorrent behaviour by the locals.

Suburbicon is one of those nostalgic films, that brings both a hidden message bout pre-judging people based on race, or creed. At its heart, it has a dramatic story of family, and one that draws you in, and then shocks you.

Rewatch value on the film is not too high. After seeing it a few times, the shock value does tend to be diluted, however the story is well portrayed by a talented cast.

Read the full SAMDB review of Suburbicon.

Disc

Overall, the disc could be of a better technical quality. Video compression is high, for what seems to be the purpose of fitting the entire film onto a single disc layer, making for cheaper and easier manufacturing. This, however, does impact the visuals. It also means there are no subtitles on the disc, nor any additional soundtracks, other than the original English. Another disc, with issues, from Next.

Video

Video is encoded at a low average bitrate, leaving for a soft over-all look to the image. While the film does fill an entire single layer disc, this was likely done to negate the need for a double layer disc, saving on manufacturing costs, at the expense of quality.

While there are no visible artefacts on-screen, colour do appear subdued in scenes. There is no discernible colour bleed, but a lack of vibrancy.

Audio

Audio is presented in either a Dolby Digital surround track, or a stereo downmix. The soundtrack is encoded at a high average bitrate, with dialogue clear via the centre speaker. While the weight of the soundtrack is carried by the front channels, the surrounds are used for both music and larger, busier scenes, serving to expand the on-screen world, and further draw the viewer into the story.

Navigation

Navigation on the disc is simple, and easy to follow. The main menu has a motion background showing a few clips from the film (some could be classified as spoilers, although there is no context provided). This is accompanied by background music.

There are text links on the main menu to play the movie, scene selection, and setup.

The scene selection sub-menus each have ten small, desaturated, still thumbnails, for a total of twenty chapters. While these are numbered, they are not labelled on-screen, nor in the packaging, meaning that navigation to a particular point in the main feature will require an amount of guesswork.

The setup sub-menu merely has text links to choose between Dolby Surround or Dolby Stereo.

There are no subtitles on the disc, nor a soundtrack option for the hearing impaired.

Bonus Features

There are no bonus features on the disc, not even the usual trailers that autoplay at the beginning of many discs.

Packaging

Packaging for the DVD is basic, with a poster on the front of the disc, with title and main cast. The back has a short synopsis, and a few small stills from the main feature. There are some of the usual technical details here too.

There is no package insert for the disc, for things such as chapter headings, etc.