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The Last Matinee (Dark Star) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • The Last Matinee (Dark Star) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: Dark Star
    Released on: October 26th, 2021.
    Director: Maximiliano Contenti
    Cast: Ricardo Islas, Luciana Grasso, Franco Duran, Julieta Spinelli
    Year: 2020
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Last Matinee - Movie Review:

    Maximiliano Contenti's 2020 film, The Last Matinee, takes place, puzzlingly enough, on a Sunday evening in the rainy city of Montevideo. Seemingly wanting a break from the torrential downpours, a shady looking man (Ricardo Islas) walks into the Opera Theater where an old horror film is being screened. Not surprisingly, given the weather outside, the audience for this showing is pretty sparse. A kid named Tomas (Franco Duran) has snuck his way, and a few teenagers like Goni (Vladimir Knazevs), Angela (Julieta Spinelli) and Esteban (Bruno Salvatti), are hanging out hoping for some fun. A pair of young lovebirds is also in attendance, as well as a surly old guy, but that's about it. Mauricio (Pedro Duarte), the usher, pokes around as well.

    Behind the scenes, a young woman named Ana (Luciana Grasso) insists that her father, sends the aged projectionist, her father, home and kindly opts to take over for him for the night. She gets the show started, using the downtime in her new duties to study, unaware of what will soon transpire. And what transpires isn't all that terribly surprising, at least for us, as it turns out the shady guy is a psychotic killer out to rack up a body count as high as he can. When Ana realizes what's happening, she works with the surviving theatergoers to try and figure out how to get out of this situation alive.

    The acting isn't always perfect in this movie. Luciana Grasso handles her role well enough, we like her and she seems smart and capable (at least initially). Pedro Duarte comes across as a bit of a goof, but that's probably on purpose. The three cast members that play the teens are a bit annoying, as is Duran as Tomas. The other issue is the logic gaps. Without spoiling things too much, Ana discovers something early on that should cause her to go into 'all hands on deck' emergency mode, but she doesn't do that and instead goes back to hitting the books. Logic gaps like this are as common as common can be in horror movies but this one stands out as she's setup to be the smart one in the film.

    The Last Matinee may not be the most original film ever made but it's slick, tense and plenty gory - all good qualities in a horror film. Clearly meant as a throwback to the glory days of Italian genre pictures (Lamberto Bava's two Demons pictures being an obvious influence, though Contenti doesn't try to take things as over the top as Bava did), this Uruguayan picture moves at a nice, quick clip and makes good use of its classic theater location to build a fair amount of mood and atmosphere. The film was clearly made on a modest budget but there's care and attention given to the cinematography, there are a lot of nice angles used here and the framing is always pretty strong. The movie boasts a good score and pretty decent sound design as well.

    The Last Matinee - Blu-ray Review:

    Dark Star brings The Last Matinee to Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 widescreen with the feature using up 18.7GBs of space on the 50GB disc. Shot digitally, this looks good save for some noticeable compression artifacts scattered about and a bit of mild banding. There are times where the image looks to have been intentionally softened for effect but detail is, generally speaking, pretty solid with some appreciable depth and texture on display. Colors look great, skin tones are nice and accurate and black levels are solid.

    Spanish language tracks are provided in 16-bit DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and 16-bit LPCM 2.0 Stereo with optional subtitles provided in English only. The 5.1 mix is the one to go with here if you've got the setup for it, as it does a really nice job elevating the score and effectively placing some of the effects in the surround channels. The track is clean and balanced and free of any audible defects.

    In addition to The Last Matinee, the disc also includes two additional feature films, the first of which his Frankenstein: Day Of The Beast, the complete ninety-one minute feature film that plays during The Last Matinee which was directed by Ricardo Islas in 2011. This basically tells a condensed version of the Frankenstein story we've all been familiar with for ages, but with a few interesting touches. The monster (Tim Kruger) doesn't talk at all but is quite observant. We see him learn at the house of the blind man but then kill everyone off. Dr. Frankenstein (Adam Stephenson) is out to recapture his creation and when he comes across the carnage he realizes that the monster won't becoming peacefully. He heads back to civilization to wed Elizabeth (Michelle Shields) and, of course, the monster shows up and wreaks havoc. This isn't the most polished movie ever made but it's got a lot of heart and a lot of energy and it plays better here in this complete version, looking much better than the intentionally degraded version we see in The Last Matinee. Not all of the makeup effects are perfect but there's a lot of creativity on display here and this turns out to be a very cool addition to this release.

    The second bonus feature film is Muneco Viviente V (or Puppet Pal V), a ninety-three minute movie from 2008. The film tells the story of a young man named Bruno (Bruno Contenti) whose parents leave him alone. They're tired of supporting him and paying for everything, it's time that he figured things out on his own. They split, and with nothing to eat in the house, Bruno decides that he'll have a house party and invite people over, asking them to bring something to eat with them. His friends show up and everyone sort of hangs out and plays video games, until a weird one-eyed army doll from Brunno's childhood shows up and starts killing off the guests! The movie doesn't always make sense but it's pretty entertaining even if most of the acting is less than good. Some of the effects are pretty neat and it's paced reasonably well.

    A few brief featurettes are also found in the supplements. The eleven minute Behind The Scenes is exactly what it sounds like, a collection of interviews with the cast and crew that goes over what was required of them during the making of the movie, what it was like on set, and thoughts on the project overall. The three minute VFX Backstage with VFX Director Chistian Gruaz is a quick look at some of the effects featured in the picture while the three part Urban Legend: The Matinee Massacre, which is hosted by Guillermo Lockhart, spends fourteen minutes exploring the murders that take place in the feature. This is done up as a mock true crime TV show and it's quite well done.

    The disc also includes a collection of short films, starting with the ten minute Hobby Metal (which comes with its own nine minute behind the scenes piece), followed by Movie Day, Fruit Stairs and Thank You For Your Visit, each of which are quite short at just a minute each. The three minute Popping Eyes, the four minute The Cookie and the nineteen minute Maxi Contenti's Fear are also included here.

    Rounding out the extras are some storyboards, six minutes of deleted scenes from The Last Matinee, a music video for the track 'Espada' by Phoro, menus and chapter selection and some reversible cover sleeve artwork.

    The Last Matinee - The Final Word:

    The Last Matinee isn't a perfect film but it's well-paced, gory and clearly has a serious love for the films that obviously inspired it. The Blu-ray release from Dark Star presents the feature in decent shape and on a disc stacked with supplements, including two additional feature length productions, making for a solid release overall.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Last Matinee Blu-ray screen caps!





























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