New on Blu: JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK, POLTERGEIST II and III, BALLERS: SEASON TWO, The Story of God with Morgan Freeman: Season One

Testing who reads this. Today is my 34th birthday. Email me to say hi if you read this at chasewhale@gmail.com. kthanksbye!

Do you even care to know how "gorgeous" the 1080P or 2/4 K scan transfer looks, or how cool the extra features are? By now, you are well-versed in what transfers look like and you know what's coming with the release. You're (hopefully) here because you want to know the experience I had watching this/these film(s). 

New on Blu is a column from film pundit Chase Whale (that's me!), exploring studio, arthouse, underground, exploitation and cult cinema released on Blu-ray and DVD from some of the most cutting-edge independent distributors around the U.S. He talks about the movie and whether it's worth a buy or rent, not how amazing the transfer looks because you already know this system.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Director: Edward Zwick
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge
Film Rating: ★★★
Buy/Rent: RENT

Christopher McQuarrie (THE WAY OF THE GUN) did a terrific job directing the first JACK REACHER, and I wish he stayed on board the series. The books are great, this movie, is not. The first? A solid beginning to a promising franchise and Tom Cruise does fill the boots Jack Reacher wears well (same age but smaller and svelt versus large and pudgy), but this entry was just, well, boring. We do get Cruise running twice, which is nice, but not enough Cobie Smulders kicking ass, or even Reacher. Lots of jargon talk and a swift fight scene the audience sees coming a mile away. 

The Blu-ray does come with a kickass novella buy Jack Reacher author Lee Child with some groovy artwork. If you're a fan of Cruise running or Child's work, buy it. 

Poltergeist II: The Other Side (Collector's Edition)

Director: Brian Gibson
Writer: Mark Victor, Michael Grais
Cast: JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O'Rourke, Zelda Rubinstein
Film Rating: ★★★★★
Buy/Rent: BUY

Do you believe some people are doomed? I do. 

That’s my lede for this film’s coverage. 

It’s bone-chilling two of the leads died during horrifically during production of the POLTERGEIST series, films about death, ghosts, and spirits. Just watching them and knowing the history behind them makes the films truly terrifying. 

This is going to be mentioned by every writer reviewing these Blu-ray releases, but it’s important to talk about the elephant in the room. 

Dominique Dunne, who played Dana Freeling in POLTERGEIST, sister to Carol Anne Freeling (Heather O'Rourke), was strangled to death after the film was completed by her then jealous boyfriend. He's now out of jail and owns a restaurant in L.A., free as a bird and alive. (Please God, make this one burn.) 

She was written out of the second, supposed to have gone to college but the scene was cut. Completely gone and forgotten. That’s Hollywood for ya. Keep the machine moving. 

O'Rourke, the center of all three films (and who the dead are after), was clearly sick during part III. She was misdiagnosed of having Crohn's disease. If you read the heartbreaking report of her illness on Wikipedia, you'll learn her trail of sickness led to a heart attack. She was 12. 

These two films have been restored and re-release today, on January 31st. Heather O'Rourke died on February 1, 1988. A child haunted by death in the movies and plagued by death in real life. What a tragedy. 

Watching the third, seeing her puffy cheeks and knowing she was sick during production is just...depressing.

Much love to Scream Factory for doing a superb job bringing these back with their always fantastic artwork and restoration. The girls may be gone, but at least Scream Factory managed to salvage O’Rourke’s legacy.  

Recommendation: Watch the series in reverse order. That way you get the colorful O'Rourke at her best, and get to see Dunne in her final film performance. 

Poltergeist II: The Other Side (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
Starring Heather O'Rourke, JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Oliver Robins

Poltergeist III (Collector's Edition)

Director: Gary Sherman
Writer: Gary Sherman, Brian Taggert
Cast: Heather O'Rourke, Tom Skerritt, Nancy Allen, Lara Flynn Boyle, Zelda Rubinstein
Film Rating: ★★★
Buy/Rent: BUY

See Poltergeist II: The Other Side (Collector's Edition). 

Poltergeist III (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
Starring Tom Skerritt, Nancy Allen, Heather O'Rourke, Lara Flynn Boyle

Ballers: Season Two

Creator: Stephen Levinson
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, John David Washington, Omar Benson Miller
Film Rating: ★★★★★
Buy/Rent: BUY

I'll watch anything with Dwayne Johnson. I'd watch the hell out of GIGLI 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO if it were, starring The Rock. He's got charisma when he's angry, happy, or sad. Range. He won me (and most of America) over. 

I do have to admit I didn't pay attention to this show until I got season two and went back to watch the first. The story and characters arcs aren't interesting to a guy like me -- one who doesn't pay attention to sports -- but now I'm hooked, as well as learning something about the American sport we call football. (Be proud, dad. Be proud.) 

With football, the show is also about another one of America's favorite pastimes: rich celebrities doing rich shit, getting in trouble, and staying rich. 

This is season two. you know if you're want continue playing Ball or not. I'm in. 

 

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman: Season One

Creator: Stephen Levinson
Cast: Morgan Freeman
Rating: ★★★★
Buy/Rent: BUY

Morgan has played God in two goof fiction movies, and now, for National Geographic, he narrates with that beautiful voice of his while he explores the world, investigating different religious cultures and visiting prominent religious places. We learn (as he does) why these places are so prominent to God. 

Season one is six one-hour long episodes of his journey. It's proven to be popular, as season two is already underway. Believer or not, this is a fascinating look at faith.