Saturday, October 21, 2023

4K Digital Review: Theater Camp


Theater Camp was acquired by Searchlight Pictures after the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and after a very short time in theaters, it is available to stream at home. While you can watch it on Hulu, you will not get all of the bonus features only available on the digital release. Please note that there is no physical copy release. 

The film opens with AdirondACTS theater camp founder Joan (Amy Sedaris) suffering a seizure from the strobe lights during a staging of Bye Bye Birdy. Her son Troy (Jimmy Tatro), who knows nothing about drama or the theatrical arts, is forced to step in to run the camp while she recovers. The returning camp counselors Amos (Ben Platt) and Rebeccas-Diane (Molly Gordon) are not happy with Troy especially since he has cut a number of counselors to help save on costs. It turns out the camp has been running for years at a loss and a neighboring camp wants the land. 

Theater Camp is shot mockumentary style and is filled with situational humor. Most of the film is improvised and all the actors do an incredible job, especially the child actors. If you were ever part of a drama club or camp, either as a student or a teacher, Theater Camp will bring back found memories.    


Theater Camp was shot to recreate the look of 16mm film. The look is soft with muted colors and artificial film grain that really capture this look of 16mm film. 


The audio presentation is in a 5.1 audio mix. The dialogue is crisp and clean with little surround sound presence other than music and crowd noise and ambience. It is a dialogue heavy film so no surprise with the audio coming mostly front the front channels. 

Bonus Features

  • Side by Side by Side: A Theater Camp Chat (7:17) – Go backstage with the creative team of THEATER CAMP as they discuss why being in sync as actors, writers, friends, and filmmakers brought their comedy to life. Featuring Ben Platt, Molly Gordon, Noah Galvin, Jimmy Tatro, Owen Thiele, and Nick Lieberman.
  • Deleted Scenes (4:44) – Enjoy a front-row seat to some of the funniest material ever to grace a cutting room floor in this string of highly amusing deleted scenes.
  • Extended Scenes (4:05) – Sometimes the comic magic just can't be contained in the final cut. So, when enough isn't quite enough and you crave just a little bit more, these extended scenes are the perfect thing to satisfy you!
  • Talent Showcase Reels (16:52) – Witness the improvisational genius of the cast in these talent showcase reels and watch as the actors build upon and embellish each scene with hilarious, impromptu, alternate takes.
    • Rebecca-Diane (4:06)
    • Amos (3:29)
    • Troy (2:45)
    • Songwriting with Rebecca-Diane & Amos (3:41)
    • Troy Meets with Rebecca-Diane & Amos (2:58)
  • Outtakes (3:36) – With a cast as funny as this, it's no surprise that even these pros couldn't keep from cracking up. This outtake reel reveals just how hard it can be to keep a straight face.

A fun film that pays a loving homage to those that were in drama club. A quirky mockumentary with solid audio and fun video to recreate the 16mm film feel. Some fun bonus features but I would have loved an audio commentary. 

* The digital copy was provided by Walt Disney Home Entertainment for the sole purpose for the review and the review is solely my opinion*

Monday, October 2, 2023

4K Digital Review: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny opens in 1944 with Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and his partner Basil Shaw (Toby Jones) captured by the Nazi's while trying to save a historical artifact. They pair come across half of Archimedes dial, an artifact desired by Jurgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen).

We then flash-forward twenty-five years to New York where Indy lives alone and is heading towards retirement. Grieving the loss of his son and nearing a divorce of his wife Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), Indy is found by his god daughter Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), the daughter of Basil Shaw. Helena cons Indy into giving her his half of the dial and we are off on an adventure. Indy must stop Helena from selling the dial or before Voller acquires it. 

Harrison Ford is wonderful in his final film as Indiana Jones. Once again his comedic timing is spot on. And this time around he plays Indy as a heartbroken man whose grief and love of history leaves him feeling stranded in the present. 

Director James Mangold unfortunately just doesn't deliver what Steven Spielberg could. The action sequences feel flat and it feels like Mangold felt the pressure of the other films. But as we head towards the film's finale, Mangold puts his own touch on the franchise that tugs on our sense of nostalgia. This brings the film to an effective final scene.


The 4K digital stream is a stunning transfer. The opening sequence, underwater sequence and interiors feature strong contrast with rich, inky blacks and wonderful shadow detail. The details in Indy's face and cloth textures are phenomenal. 


The Dolby Atmos track is immersive and makes wonderful use of all the speakers. Dialogue is front and center, the surround channels are extremely active and the LFE adds something extra to the explosions. Just a solid audio track that one expects from Disney and an Indiana Jones movie.

Bonus Features:
The Making of Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny
  • Chapter 1 – Prologue – Harrison Ford leaps back into action as Indiana Jones! Journey to 1944 as this featurette reveals the filmmakers, characters, stunts, locations, and incredible visual effects that make up the thrilling opening of Dial of Destiny!
  • Chapter 2 – New York – Blast off to adventure as James Mangold showcases the re-creation of 1969 Manhattan for the Moon Parade chase. This featurette spotlights Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) as John Williams conducts his beautiful new theme for this compelling character.
  • Chapter 3 – Morocco – The man in the hat is back! Explore Morocco as this featurette breaks down the white-knuckle stunts of the medina tuk-tuk chase and hotel brawl. Meet Teddy (Ethann Isidore), Indy’s precocious new ally in the hunt for the dial!
  • Chapter 4 – Sicily – Meet Renaldo (Antonio Banderas) as he guides our heroes on a perilous underwater treasure hunt! Catch up with Harrison Ford and Phoebe Waller-Bridge on location in Sicily and explore the caverns, traps, and bugs surrounding Archimedes’ tomb!
  • Chapter 5 – Finale – This featurette breaks down the thrilling climax to the Indiana Jones series. Cast and filmmakers James Mangold, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, John Williams, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford bid farewell to one of the greatest heroes of all time.

Even with it's faults, this was still a fun Indiana Jones film that is said to be the last of the series. A fantastic video transfer and audio track combined with bonus features that left me wanting more makes this a worthy addition to your library.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is available now on digital and has yet to be announced as a physical copy.

*The digital copy was provided for review purposes by Walt Disney Home Entertainment and the review is strictly my own opinion*