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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
May 212019
 

From the Big Screen:

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” “The Upside” and “Isn’t It Romantic.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

“Let the Sunshine In” (2017): Two luminaries of French cinema, Claire Denis and Juliette Binoche, unite for the first time in this piercing look at the elusive nature of true love, and the extent to which we are willing to betray ourselves in its pursuit. In a richly layered performance, Binoche plays Isabelle, a successful painter in Paris whose apparent independence belies what she desires most: real romantic fulfillment. Isabelle reveals deep wells of photo for Let the Sunshine In yearning, vulnerability, and resilience as she tumbles into relationships with all the wrong men. Shot in burnished tones by Denis’s longtime collaborator Agnès Godard and featuring a mischievous appearance by Gérard Depardieu, “Let the Sunshine In” finds bleak humor in a cutting truth: we are all, no matter our age, fools for love. 4K digital master, approved by cinematographer Agnès Godard, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray.On DVD, Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection … “The Image Book” (2018 — France): The legendary Jean-Luc Godard adds to his influential, iconoclastic legacy with this provocative collage film essay, a vast ontological inquiry into the history of the moving image and a commentary on the contemporary world. Winner of the first Special Palme d’Or to be awarded in the history of the Cannes Film Festival. Displaying an encyclopedic grasp of cinema and its history, Godard pieces together fragments from some of the greatest films of the past, then digitally alters, bleaches, and washes them, all in the service of reflecting on what he sees in front of him and what he makes of the dissonance that surrounds him. He uses his own voice to guide us through the fascinating labyrinth of his mind. In some cases, it is to reflect on the metaphysical properties of the world — time, and space, and where meaning is found — but more importantly it is the image, the thing that has obsessed Godard for his entire career, that anchors this film. His ontological enquiry into the image continues to be one of the most moving in history. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber … photo for She-Devils On Wheels “She-Devils On Wheels” (1968): Wild! Vicious! With motorcycles as their lovers! Experience sights and sounds beyond your very imagining as “Godfather of Gore” Herschell Gordon Lewis (“Blood Feast,” “Two Thousand Maniacs!”) tackles the biker chick sub-sub-genre. Have you ever heard the saying “it’s a man’s world”? Well don’t dare repeat that to The Man-Eaters — a raucous, rowdy and randy gang of female bikers who ride their men just as viciously as they do their motorcycles. When they’re not racing each other to get first pick of the “stud line-up”, these female hellcats are busy terrorizing the town and clashing with the rival male gangs. Billed as “by far the most exciting picture of its type ever filmed”, “She-Devils on Wheels” sees splatter pioneer H.G. Lewis going full throttle with the most shocking biker flick of its kind — now accompanied by his other vicious gang opus “Just for the Hell of It” (1968) for a thrilling, pulse-racing double-bill. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Trading Paint” (2019), starring John Travolta, Toby Sebastian and Shania Twain, when their winning streak begins to fail, legendary father and son racing duo Sam (Travolta) and Cam (Sebastian) have a falling-out. A rival racing giant takes advantage of this rift and offers Cam a lucrative opportunity racing for the adversary. Cam accepts and the gap between father and son grows even bigger. Engines rev and sparks fly as the two are set against each other in an ultimate high-stakes race — and the most dangerous competition between father and son. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Lionsgate … photo for A Dark Place In “A Dark Place” (2019), starring Andrew Scott, Bronagh Waugh, Denise Gough and Christa Beth Campbell, a small-town sanitation truck driver (Scott) whose friendship with a young boy on his route leads to an obsession over uncovering the truth about the boy’s sudden disappearance. The more that Donny recalls the boy’s kindness, the more he becomes consumed by the discrepancies with the sheriff’s theory that he just ran away … and as Donny investigates and analyzes, he finds a steady and surprising resistance that mounts until the whole town seems to be against him. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Shout! Factory … In the animated adventure “Ruben Brandt, Collector” (2018 — Hungary), famous psychotherapist Ruben Brandt is plagued by terrible nightmares, and to make the dreams stop, Ruben is compelled to steal 13 paintings from the world’s most renowned museums. Soon, accompanied by four of his own patients, he and his crew of thieves strike regularly and with great success: the Louvre, Tate, Uffizi, Hermitage, MoMA and more! From Sony … “Masterpiece: Les Misérables” (2018): A blockbuster novel for over 150 years comes vividly to life in award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies’s multi-layered retelling of “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo. This six-episode adaptation on two discs stars Dominic West as Jean Valjean, the most famous fugitive in literature, David Oyelowo as his relentless pursuer, Javert, and Lily Collins as the tragic seamstress, Fantine; Ellie Bamber plays her adolescent daughter, Cosette; Academy Award-winner, Olivia Colman and Adeel Akhtar are Cosette’s cruel overseers, the Thénardiers; and Josh O’Connor is the student and reluctant revolutionary Marius, who falls in love with Cosette at first sight. On DVD, Blu-ray, from PBS Distribution … In “Dark Sense” (2019), starring Shane O’Meara, Jim Sturgeon, James Robinson and Margaret Ann Bain, Simon, a young man with exceptional powers, tracks down a serial killer, battling not only his own demons but a government agency that has decided Simon is too dangerous to be allowed to roam free. Based on the bestseller “First & Only”by Peter Flannery. On DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures … In “White Chamber” (2018), starring Shauna MacDonald and Oded Fehr, the United Kingdom in the near future faces civil war and martial law has been declared by a military government hellbent on squashing the opposition. A woman wakes up in a blindingly white cuboid cell, where General Zakarian uses increasingly sophisticated and cruel methods to torture her for information — information she claims not to have. As questions of trust are placed both on captor and captive, they find themselves embroiled in an increasingly spiraling journey into the nature of authority. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Dark Sky Films … photo for The Seduction “The Seduction” (1982) a steamy stalker thriller starring Morgan Fairchild and Andrew Stevens, ,akes its Blu-ray debut this week. L.A. anchor woman Jamie Douglas (Fairchild in her big screen debut) has it all: a glamorous career on a top-rated news show, a luxurious house in the hills, and a devoted young admirer named Derek (Andrew Stevens). But when Jamie rebuffs his romantic advances, Derek becomes an obsessed stalker who plays out an increasingly psychotic courtship with the frightened newswoman. Soon he is threatening every part of her life, secretly watching even her most intimate moments. Her tough-talking lover (Michael Sarrazin) can’t console her. A by-the-book cop (Vince Edwards) can’t protect her. But Jamie is far from helpless — and ready to fight back with all the weapons at her command … “The Bostonians” (1984), starring Jessica Tandy, Vanessa Redgrave, Linda Hunt, Christopher Reeve and Madeleine Potter, is an adaptation of Henry James’s 1886 novel of political intrigue and forbidden romance in post-Civil War Boston. Olive Chancellor finds her infatuation with young activist Verena Tarrant challenged by a Southern lawyer who also loves her. An intricately drawn study of the impact of women’s suffrage on society. In a 4K restoration on DVD, Blu-ray, from Cohen Film Collection … Roman Polanski (“Chinatown,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Repulsion”) explores the sexy side of obsession and the wild side of romance in “Bitter Moon” (1992), an outrageous look at the dark side of love. A mild-mannered man (Hugh Grant) attempts to rekindle the sexual fire in his marriage while on a cruise, but he develops an irresistible infatuation with an eccentric paraplegic’s wife (Emmanuelle Seigner). Offbeat and original, this voyage of wild obsession puts a whole new twist on the concept of marital bliss. Featuring dazzling performances and nasty comic moments, “Bitter Moon” is a hilarious walk on the wild side. Co-stars Peter Coyote, Kristin Scott Thomas, Victor Banerjee, Sophie Patel. On DVD, Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

Foreign Films:

In “Big Brother” (2018 — Hong Kong), martial arts legend Donnie Yen stars as a former soldier recruited for his toughest mission yet – teaching a class of teen delinquents. As he kicks his way into their school and home lives, it becomes clear that his unconventional teaching style might be just what they need. zon DVD, Blu-ray, from Well Go USA … photo for Iceman In 1991, a melting glacier revealed the body of a man. At first, people assumed he was a hiker. Later, his true Stone Age origins were revealed. “Iceman” (2017 — Germany) is set in the stunning Ötztal Alps, more than 5,300 years ago. Kelab, leader of a Neolithic clan, is also the appointed keeper of the group’s holy shrine, Tineka. But, one day, while out hunting, his village is attacked by a bloodthirsty band of marauders. Everyone in the tribe is brutally murdered, including Kelab’s wife and son, and Tineka is stolen. Blinded by pain and fury, Kelab now has one sole purpose — vengeance — and he sets off on a treacherous odyssey through the mountains to confront his family’s killers. From Film Movement.

Special Interest:

“Reb Elimelech and the Chassidic Legacy of Brotherhood” (2018) is a multi-media experience presenting and explaining the origins of the Chassidic movement and the transformation it rendered to Jewish life at the time. Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk was one of the Chassidic world’s most celebrated founders. His legacy of loving your fellow man, regardless of personal connection, affiliation or religiosity, has guided his followers ever since. From SISU Home Entertainment.

All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers, and Power 10 subwoofer.

 Posted by on May 21, 2019 No Responses »
May 142019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Cold Pursuit,” “Never Look Away,” “Fighting With My Family” and “Happy Death Day 2U.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

“The Landlord” (1970)” Legendary filmmaker Hal Ashby made his directing debut with this acclaimed social satire starring Beau Bridges as a wealthy young man who leaves his family’s estate in Long Island to pursue love and happiness in a Brooklyn ghetto. When Elgar Enders (Bridges) buys a Park Slope tenement, he fully intends to evict the occupants and transform the building into photo for The Landlorda chic bachelor pad. But after meeting the tenants, Elgar adopts a “love thy neighbor” policy instead: first he falls head-over-heels for a sexy young go-go dancer … then he begins an affair with the sultry, married “Miss Sepia 1957.” Featuring brilliant performances by Lee Grant in an Oscar-nominated role, Pearl Bailey, Louis Gossett Jr., Robert Klein, Trish Van Devere, Hector Elizondo, Gloria Hendry and Susan Anspach, and with a potent script by Bill Gunn based on the novel by Kristin Hunter, “The Landlord” is one of the most original and provocative screen comedies to deal with race relations in urban America. Produced by Norman Jewison and shot by Gordon Willis. On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber … “The Buster Keaton Collection: The General and Steamboat Willie, Jr.”: “The General” (1926) and “Steamboat Willie, Jr.” (1928), high points not only of Buster Keaton’s incomparable career but of all silent cinema, and both included on the National Film Registry — are presented in new 4K restorations and feature orchestral scores by Carl Davis (“Pride and Prejudice,” “The World at War”). Many critics and historians consider “The General” to be the last great comedy of the silent era, and it consistently ranks as one of the finest films of all time on international critics’ polls. It is No. 18 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Greatest American Films, and is No. 34 on the latest Sight & Sound critics poll of the Greatest Films of All Time. “Steamboat Willie, Jr.” contains what many consider Keaton’s most memorable — and potentially deadly — film stunt: One side of a house falls on him while he stands in the perfect spot to pass through a window frame unharmed. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cohen Film Collection … photo for The Big Clock Adapted by acclaimed screenwriter Jonathan Latimer from a novel by the equally renowned crime author Kenneth Fearing, “The Big Clock” (1948) is a superior suspense film that classily combines screwball comedy with heady thrills. Overworked true crime magazine editor George Stroud (Ray Milland) has been planning a vacation for months. However, when his boss, the tyrannical media tycoon Earl Janoth (Charles Laughton), insists he skips his holiday, Stroud resigns in disgust before embarking on an impromptu drunken night out with his boss’s mistress, Pauline York (Rita Johnson). When Janoth kills Pauline in a fit of rage, Stroud finds himself to have been the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time: his staff have been tasked with finding a suspect with an all too familiar description … Stroud’s very own. Directed with panache by John Farrow, who stylishly renders the film’s towering central set, the Janoth Building, “The Big Clock” benefits from exuberant performances by Milland and Laughton, who make hay with the script’s snappy dialogue. A huge success on its release, it is no wonder this fast-moving noir was remade years later as the Kevin Costner vehicle “No Way Out.” In a high definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements with uncompressed mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack.On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … photo for Funny Games Michael Haneke’s most notorious provocation, “Funny Games” (1997) spares no detail in its depiction of the agony of a bourgeois family held captive at their vacation home by a pair of white-gloved young men. In a series of escalating “games,” the sadistic duo subject their victims to unspeakable physical and psychological torture over the course of a night. A home-invasion thriller in which the genre’s threat of bloodshed is made stomach-churningly real, the film ratchets up shocks even as its executioners interrupt the action to address the audience, drawing queasy attention to the way that cinema milks pleasure from pain and stokes our appetite for atrocity. With this controversial treatise on violence and entertainment, Haneke issued a summation of his cinematic philosophy, implicating his audience in a spectacle of unbearable cruelty. New 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Michael Haneke, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … “Princess Mononoke Collector’s Edition Set” (1997 – Japan): This limited-edition set comes housed in an elegant hard slipcase and includes a new 40-page book with stunning art and essays. Featured in a deluxe disc portfolio is a Blu-ray of the film paired with hours of special features, and the film’s soundtrack made available on CD for the first time in North America. From the legendary Studio Ghibli, this epic fantasy film is one of the best-photo for selling and internationally renowned films of all time. The set’s 40-page book features new essays by film critic Glenn Kenny (The New York Times, RogerEbert.com) alongside amazing imagery and statements from director Hayao Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki, and Miyazaki’s poems about the characters.
The first animated film to win the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year, “Princess Mononoke” is Miyazaki’s epic masterpiece that has dazzled audiences worldwide with its breathtaking imagination, exhilarating battles, and deep humanity. Inflicted with a deadly curse, the young warrior Ashitaka heads west in search of a cure. There, he stumbles into a bitter conflict between Lady Eboshi and the proud people of Iron Town, and the enigmatic Princess Mononoke, a young girl raised by wolves, who will stop at nothing to prevent the humans from destroying her home, and the forest spirits and animal gods who live there. Featuring the voices of Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Billy Bob Thornton. On Blu-ray from Studio Ghibli, GKIDS, and Shout! Factory) … photo for House of Games “House of Games” (1987): The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter David Mamet sat in the director’s chair for the first time for this sly, merciless thriller. Lindsay Crouse stars as a best-selling author and therapist who wants to help a client by making restitution for the money he owes to a gambler. After she meets the attractive cardsharp (Joe Mantegna), her own compulsions take hold as he lures her into his world of high-stakes deception. Packed with razor-sharp dialogue delivered with even-keeled precision by a cast of Mamet regulars, “House of Games” is as psychologically acute as it is full of twists and turns, a rich character study told with the cold calculation of a career con artist targeting his next mark. High-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Juan Ruiz Anchía, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Director-approved special edition. From The Criterion Collection.

From TV to Disc:

“The Donna Reed Show: Seasons 1 – 5” (1958-66): Originally airing on ABC-TV, “The Donna Reed Show” is one of the most popular and enduring family sitcoms in television history. Starring Academy Award winner Donna Reed as homemaker Donna Stone, Carl Betz as her pediatrician husband Alex, Shelley Fabares as daughter Mary, Paul Petersen as son Jeff and, later, Patty Petersen as adoptee Trisha, the series is a humorous and heartwarming slice of Americana that has earned a legion of new fans through showings on Nick at Nite, TV Land and MeTV. This special collection presents all 186 episodes from Seasons 1 through 5 in complete versions and digitally remastered. From MPI Media Group.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Yakuza Law” (1969 — Japan): Director Teruo Ishii, the Godfather of J-sploitation, presents this gruelling anthology of torture, spawning three district periods of Japanese history and bringing to the screen some of the most brutal methods of torment ever devised. In this deep dive into the world of the Yakuza, meet the violent men who rule the Japanese underworld and the cruel punishments inflicted on those who photo for Yakuza Law transgress them. The carnage begins in the Edo Period with a violent tale of samurai vengeance starring Bunta Sugawara (“Battles Without Honor and Humanity”), before shifting to the Meiji Period as the exiled Ogata (Minoru Oki, “Shogun Assassin”) returns to face punishment for his past transgressions … and, ultimately, to take his revenge. Finally, the action is brought right up to date with a tale of gang warfare set in then-present-day 60s Japan and headlined by Teruo Yoshida (Ishii’s “Orgies of Edo”), as a powerful crime syndicate seeks bloody vengeance for the theft of one hundred thousand yen. Brutal, bewildering and definitely not for the faint-hearted, “Yakuza Law” represents Japanese popular cinema at its most extreme … and most thrilling. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … In “Impossible Mission (aka The Vibe)” (2018), starring Jimena Gala, Ben Vinnicombe and James Giblin, Rosa, a master assassin with a knack for poisons, sets out on a search and destroy mission against a spiritual leader, but conflicts within her own organization spell disaster for her long before she ever closes in on her target. From High Octane Pictures … “Silencio”
(2018 — Mexico), starring John Noble, Rupert Graves and Melina Matthews, is a sci-fi time displacement drama in which a woman must find a powerful stone — originally discovered in the Zone of Silence, the Bermuda Triangle of Mexico, by her grandfather — in order to save her son’s life. Along the way, she stumbles upon family secrets and enemies who believe the stone’s power is worth killing for. From Uncork’d Entertainment … photo for Backdraft 2 “Backdraft 2” (2019), starring Donald Sutherland, William Baldwin, Joe Anderson and Alisha Bailey, is the sequel to the 1991 hit and follows an investigator with the Chicago F.D. who has to track down an arms dealers who use deadly fires as a distraction. Sean McCaffrey (Anderson), son of late Steven “Bull” McCaffrey, now works at the same firehouse with his uncle Brian (Baldwin). When investigating a fire, Sean and partner Maggie realize they are dealing with something bigger. With the help of arsonist Ronald Bartel (Sutherland), Sean must stop who is behind the fire and their devious plans. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … “American Exit”
(2019), starring Dane Cook, Udo Kier and Levi Miller, is based on an incredible true story. The crime-thriller stars Cook as Charlie, a desperate father who steals a million-dollar painting from Anton, a shady art dealer. With time running out, he flees to the California desert with his rebellious teen son, Leo. But when Anton and his henchman come seeking revenge, the situation explodes into violence. From Lionsgate … In the futuristic thriller “Life Like” (2019), starring Drew Van Acker, Addison Timlin, James D’Arcy and Steven Strait, Sophie and James purchase a lifelike robot to cook and clean at their sprawling new home. At first, android Henry is quiet and hard-working. But as his artificial-intelligence programming kicks in, Henry starts to anticipate the couple’s needs and desires, ones they themselves cannot fully understand. Will Henry’s terrifying behavior destroy Sophie and Julian’s relationship—and their lives? From Lionsgate … photo for Never Grow Old In “Never Grow Old” (2019), starring Emile Hirsch, John Cusack and Déborah François, a once-peaceful frontier town is now a den of vice after vicious outlaw Dutch Albert (Cusack) and his gang arrived — and began gunning down their opposition. Undertaker Patrick Tate (Hirsch) must choose between the blood money he makes burying the murderers’ victims and the threats he and his family face in this intense action-drama. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “Valentine: The Dark Avenger” (2019 – Indonesia), starring Estelle Linden, Matthew Settle, Arie Dagienkz, the City of Batavia has been infested with robbery and violence. Srimaya, a waitress at a café, dreams of a glamorous life as an actress, but a chance meeting with a film director and his assistant leads to a life-changing series of events for her, as they take her on a thrilling adventure that finds the waitress-turned-actress transforming into the person Batavia City needs and deserves most: the consummate kick-ass superhero. Taking to the streets as “Valentine,” she becomes a role model to the people of Batavia, and a foil to the city’s lowlifes and ne’er-do-wells. But when a sinister masked villain emerges from the shadows of the night, Srimaya realizes that all of her vigilante exploits were a mere dress rehearsal for the ultimate showdown. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Shout! Factory/Scream Factory … In “Triple Threat” (2018 — Thailand/China), starring Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Tiger Chen, Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Michael Bisping, Celina Jade and Jeeja Yanin, wen a hit contract is taken out on a billionaire’s daughter (Jade) intent on bringing down a major crime syndicate, a team of wanted mercenaries (Jaa,Chen) must take on a group of professional assassins (Adkins, White, Bisping) to stop them from hitting their target. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Well Go USA … photo for Saint Bernard “Saint Bernard” (2013), starring Jason Dugre, Katy Sullivan and Peter Iasillo Jr., is a hallucinatory epic that follows an unhinged orchestra conductor named Bernard (Dugre) as he graphically descends into a surreal odyssey of chaos and psychosis. Features a performance by punk legends The Damned. Transferred from the original negative and unleashed beyond the underground festival circuit for the first time ever. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray. From Severin Films … “Don’t Look” (2018), starring Luciana Faulhaber, Jeff Berg, Jarrod Robbins, Curtis K. Case and Lindsay Eshelman, is a female-directed twist on horror films that centers on five New York City Millennials who escape the big city for a rustic Thanksgiving weekend in the country. But as will happen in horror, something threatens to shatter their peaceful getaway and they are targeted for murder. From Wild Eye Releasing … “Masked Multilator” (2019): In 1994, a production team in Eastern Pennsylvania brought together a group of local pro wrestlers and young actors to make a horror-action film. A quarter of a century later, the movie was finally finished: After accidentally killing an opponent in the ring, a professional wrestler takes a job at a group home for youth offenders. But when a psychopath wearing a wrestling mask begins butchering the teenage residents, their rehabilitation will become a no-holds-barred battle for survival. Stars James DeBello, Glenn Hetrick and Brick Bronsky. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Intervision Picture Corp. … In “Beer League” (2006), starring Artie Lange, Ralph Macchio and Anthony DeSando, an unemployed slacker inspires his softball teammates to improve their game so they won’t get kicked out of the local league. From Filmrise … photo for The Big White After finding a frozen corpse in a dumpster, on-the-verge-of-being-bankrupt Alaskan travel agent Paul (Robin Williams) decides to use it to claim his long-lost brother’s life insurance policy in “The Big White” (2005). However, the body is also sought by two dangerous hitmen. Co-stars Holly Hunter, Giovanni Ribisi, Tim Blake Nelson, W. Earl Brown and Woody Harrelson. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Filmrise … In “Mortuary” (2005), starring Dan Byrd, Denise Crosby and Stephanie Patton, a family moves to a small town in California where they plan on starting a new life while running a long-abandoned funeral home. The locals fear the place, which is suspected to be on haunted ground. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Filmrise … In Virgina Minnesota” (2019), starring Aurora Perrineau, Rachel Hendrix, Susan Walters, Jessica Miesel, Harold Perrineau, Julia Keefe, Eyas Younis and Aaron Hill, two young women embark on an illuminating 24-hour journey, unlocking memories of their childhood, exploring a world of fantastical creatures and buried memories with comical and touching results. From Indican Pictures.

Foreign Films:

“Nina” (2018 — Poland): Struggling in her marriage and yearning for change, Nina longs to have a child but is unable to conceive. Multiple failed attempts have left her disillusioned and at a breaking point, but an accidental encounter with Magda renews her hope. Young and independent, Magda may be a possible solution to their pregnancy problem. But while her husband fails in his attempts to engage Magda as a surrogate, Nina also photo for Nina becomes ensnared by thoughts of Magda. And as her thoughts shift from surrogacy to a more intimate curiosity, Magda awakens a repressed desire in Nina, causing her life to suddenly and unexpectedly spiral out of control. The feature film debut of Polish director Olga Chajdas. Stars Julia Kijowska, Eliza Rycembel and Andrzej Konopka. From Film Movement … “The Return of the Hero” (2018 — France): France, 1809: The charming Captain Neuville (Dujardin) is set to marry the naïve Pauline (Merlant) when the war breaks out, forcing Neuville to depart for the battlefield. After not hearing from the captain for months, Pauline grows sick with worry, and her sister Elizabeth (Laurent) decides to write letters on Neuville’s behalf to cheer her up. Neuville returns home in glory and is welcomed as a hero, but unbeknownst to everyone, he is a coward and a war deserter. A suspicious Elizabeth is determined to expose the real Neuville, and the two imposters find themselves in a ruthless fight. Stars Jean Dujardin, Mélanie Laurent and Noémie Merlant. From Icarus Films.

Special Interest:

“Apollo 11” (2019) is a cinematic event 50 years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission — the one that first put men on the moon, and forever photo for Apollo 11made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … “The Shape of Now” (2018): According to estimates, approximately 200,000 people lost their lives in the 50-year Colombian civil war. Another 25,000 were kidnapped, and many are still considered missing. When the peace deal between the government and the FARC rebels was made in photo for The Shape of Now November 2016, guns were banned from the conflict. But since then, Colombians have faced the nearly impossible task of having to agree on a common past. The film follows scientists, academics and activists who are attempting to normalize war-torn Colombia after the disarmament of the country’s oldest guerrilla organization. At the same time, a group of elderly mothers searches for a direct way to approach the possible killers of their missing children, forging a necessary and genuine encounter in an attempt to find clues about their whereabouts — or get closure. Director Manuel Correa attempts to shed light on the difficult process of reconciliation and healing with this powerful documentary about memory and shared experiences during wartime. From IndiPix Films … “Surviving Birkenau: The Dr. Susan Spatz Story” (2019): A compelling and powerful Holocaust documentary follows one photo for Surviving Birkenau: The Dr. Susan Spatz Story woman’s courageous struggles and ultimate escape from the Nazis Final Solution. The documentary — vividly and emotionally narrated by Dr. Susan Spatz at the age of 96 — recounts her astonishing life, from an idyllic childhood in Austria to the unimaginable horrors she and her family suffered at the hands of the Third Reich. Born in Vienna in 1922, Spatz was an only child who lived a life of privilege until the Nazis invaded, and she and her mother found themselves “in the trap,” experiencing many of the terrors of her fellow European Jews: early Nazi oppression in Berlin; post-“Anschluss” Vienna and Nazi-occupied Prague. But, after being deported to Theresienstadt, the true nightmares awaited in Birkenau, the notorious woman’s death camp in Auschwitz. After three years of brutal internment and a transfer to Ravensbrück, a death march led not to the grave, but to freedom. With the assistance of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, filmmaker Ron Small brings Susan’s story to rich life for future generations in this second film to be released from the newly launched Holocaust Education Film Foundation (HEFF). From Dreamscape Media.

All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers, and Power 10 subwoofer.

 Posted by on May 14, 2019 No Responses »
Apr 232019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Escape Room” and “Destroyer.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

“A Face in the Crowd” (1957) chronicles the rise and fall of Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith), a boisterous entertainer discovered in an photo for A Face in the CrowdArkansas drunk tank by Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal), a local radio producer with ambitions of her own. His charisma and cunning soon shoot him to the heights of television stardom and political demagoguery, forcing Marcia to grapple with the manipulative, reactionary monster she has created. Directed by Elia Kazan from a screenplay by Budd Schulberg, this incisive satire features an extraordinary debut screen performance by Griffith, who brandishes his charm in an uncharacteristically sinister role. Though the film was a flop on its initial release, subsequent generations have marveled at its eerily prescient diagnosis of the toxic intimacy between media and politics in American life. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … “Noir photo for Noir Archive Volume 1: 1944-1954 Archive Volume 1: 1944-1954″ Stalwart “noir” directors and casts highlight these nine hard to find features. “Address Unknown” (1944) director William Cameron Menzies, stars Paul Lukas, Carl Esmond, Peter Van Eyck; “Escape in the Fog” (1945) director Oscar (Budd) Boetticher, stars Otto Kruger, Nina Foch, William Wright; “The Guilt of Janet James” (1947) director Henry Levin, stars Rosalind Russell, Melvyn Douglas, Sid Caesar; “The Black Book” (aka “The Reign of Terror”) (1949) director Anthony Mann, stars Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, Arlene Dahl; “Johnny Allegro” (1949) director Ted Tetzlaff, stars George Raft, Nina Foch, George Macready; “711 Ocean Drive” (1950) director Joseph M. Newman cast Edmond O’Brien, Joanne Dru, Otto Kruger; “The Killer That Stalked New York” (1950) director Earl McEvoy stars Evelyn Keyes, Charles Korvin, William Bishop; “Assignment Paris” (1952) director Earl McEvoy, stars Dana Andrews, Marta Toren, George Sanders; “The Miami Story” (1954) director Fred F. Sears, cast Barry Sullivan, Luther Adler, John Baer. Presented in high definition in their original aspect ratios. Curated from the Columbia Pictures Library. On Blu-ray from Kit Parker Films/MVD Entertainment … photo for Alien 40th Anniversary Edition “Alien 40th Anniversary Edition”: “In space no one can hear you scream.” The terrifying sci-fi adventure, “Alien”, celebrates 40 years with an all-new 4K Ultra HD master, available April 23. A limited edition 4K UHD steelbook of “Alien 40th Anniversary Edition” will also be available exclusively at Best Buy. In the film that birthed the wildly successful “Alien” franchise, the crew of the deep space tug Nostromo awaken from stasis during a voyage home to Earth when their ship’s computer detects what is believed to be an alien distress signal coming from the desolate nearby moon, LV-426. While investigating, one of the crew, Kane (John Hurt), is attacked by an alien creature that latches to his face and he is rushed back to the Nostromo to receive medical treatment. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the ship’s warrant officer, advises against Kane’s return due to quarantine regulations — but her orders are ignored by Ash (Ian Holm), bringing the Nostromo under threat from a mysterious, extraterrestrial apex predator with violent and lethal survival instincts. The film was restored in 4K in 2018 by 20th Century Fox at Company 3/Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, supervised by Ridley Scott and Pam Dery, with the 4K scans done at EFilm.
On 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Comb from Fox.

From TV to Disc:

“A Place to Call Home, Season 6 – The Final Chapter” (2018) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes. A sweeping romantic drama set in 1950s rural Australia and dealing with important social issues of the time: homosexuality, single motherhood, racism and the lingering effects of war. The final chapter of the Bligh saga brings love and healing to Australia’s first family as each member photo for A Place To Call Home, Season 6 – The Final Chapter finds their true meaning in life and a place to call home. Also available: “A Place To Call Home: The Complete Collection (Limited Edition)” in a 20-disc set with all 67 episodes in special collectible packaging with two hours of bonus features. Also includes a set of six drink coasters and stirrers, six note cards and envelopes, and an eight-page booklet featuring an interview with series creator and writer Bevan Lee. From Acorn Media … “Shameless: The Complete Ninth Season” (2018) is a four-disc set with 14 episodes. In the ninth season, political fervor hits the South Side of Chicago as the Gallaghers take justice into their own hands. While Frank (William H. Macy), sees financial opportunity in giving voice to the underrepresented working man, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) tries to build on her real estate success and takes an expensive gamble. Debbie (Emma Kenney) fights for equal pay, and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) considers attending West Point. Ian (Cameron Monaghan) faces the consequences of his crimes and Lip (Jeremy Allen White) becomes a sober coach for a famous actress. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Hagazussa” (2017 — Germany)is a haunting pagan death trip — a startling vision of psychedelic horror set in a dark past when Europe suffered from the paranoia and superstition that swept the land. In the 15th Century in the remote Austrian Alps, the orphan Albrun grows up to be a simple goatherd living in solitude … and a marked woman. As a scapegoat of ancient myths and monstrous misogyny, Albrun finds herself tormented by the local townsfolk, driving her to unleash the inner darkness that swells within her. A self-styled witch, Albrun soon exercises her other-worldly birthright and conjures a plague that makes the surrounding human cruelty look pathetic and small by comparison. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Doppelgänger Releasing … photo for Death Is a Number In “Death Is a Number” (1951), starring Terrence Alexander, Denis Webb and Lesley Osmond, a numerologist relates the family history of a friend, racing driver John Bridgeman (Denis Webb), whose mysterious death may have been the final act of an ancient family curse related to the number nine. This classic British makes its HD North American debut. From Juno Films Selects/MVD Entertainment … In “Naples in Veils” (2017 — Italy), a young woman crosses paths with a mysterious gentleman, only to find herself in the center of a murder investigation where nothing is as it seems. One night during a party, Adriana crosses the seductive and powerful gaze of Andrea, a charming and self-confident young man. They are immediately attracted to each other and spend a passionate night together. Adriana begins to think this could be the beginning of a great love that could change her life and they agree to meet the next day, but Andrea doesn’t show up. Disappointed, Adriana goes back to her normal life, but an unexpected breakthrough comes: Andrea is suddenly found dead. From Breaking Glass Pictures … photo for Scared Stiff In “Scared Stiff” (1987), TV star Mary Page Keller (“Pretty Little Liars”) appears alongside Andrew Stevens (“10 to Midnight,” “The Fury”) as a couple terrorized by an age-old curse in this much-underrated late-80s offering from director Richard Friedman. Keller plays Kate Christopher, a singer who moves into an old colonial mansion with her son and psychologist boyfriend David (Stevens). But when they make a strange and gruesome discovery in the boarded-up attic, it soon becomes clear that the mansion carries with it a dark and blood-stained past — and one that is about to terrorize them in the present. The second feature helmed by Richard Friedman, who went on to direct such genre favorites as Doom Asylum and “Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge,” “Scared Stiff (AKA The Masterson Curse)” builds to an astonishing practical FX-laden climax sure to please fans of 80s horror. Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “Tito and the Birds” (2018 — Brazil) is an nimated film about a little boy and his journey to save the world. Tito, a shy 10-year-old boy, lives in a world on the brink of pandemic. Fear is crippling people, making them sick and transforming them. Tito realizes, based on his father’s past research, that there may be a way to utilize the local pigeon population and their songs to create a cure for the disease. His father was forced to leave when Tito was only six and the struggle to find a cure becomes linked with the search to find his father again, along with his own identity. On Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Shout! Studios … photo for Torment In “Torment (Paper Gallows)” (1950), starring Dermot Walsh, Rona Anderson, John Bentley snf Dilys Laye, brothers Cliff and Jim Brandon are a successful writing team specializing in murder mysteries, but Cliff and Jim are almost as disturbed as some of the characters they’ve created. While researching their latest novel, one of the brothers commits murder, simply to experience the thrill. He then attempts to frame his secretary Joan for the crime, since she’s in love with the other brother. The saner of the two races against time to save Joan from the gallows and to bring his sibling to justice. First time ever on disc in North America. From Juno Films Selects/MVD Entertainment … “Dick Dickster” (2018), starring Bob Shafer, Andy Dick and Richard Grieco, is the saga of Dick Dickster, a washed-up director who has a big ego and a bad attitude. His manager wants to ditch him, his wife can’t wait to divorce him and he owes the mob $50,000. And District Attorney Ed Lawler is re investigating statutory rape charges against Dick from his cult movie “Cult of Doom.” But things change when a film school student begins filming a documentary about him and hen a mysterious XXX producer offers Dick 100-K to turn “Cult of Doom” into:” Cult of Poon.” Dick can’t say no. From Indican Pictures … “The Green Inferno” (2013) is a two-disc Collector’s Edition set, with the film on Blu-ray and the original motion picture soundtrack by Manuel Riveiro on CD. From Eli Roth, the mastermind behind the “Hostel” franchise and “Cabin Fever.” A group of student activists fly to Peru determined to protect the Amazon rainforest, only to crash-land deep in the jungle. Captured by a pack of bloodthirsty cannibals, the survivors suffer unspeakable acts of butchery at the hands of the very tribe they were trying to save. A non-stop barrage of carnage and chills, the film is an unhinged blast. On Blu-ray from Shout! Factory/Scream Factory.

Foreign Films:

“Farinelli”: (1994 — France/Italy) In the 18th century during Handel’s time, no man could eclipse the fame or passion of the opera singer Farinelli. Filled with romance and eroticism, this is the incredible, true story of the legendary castrato. Castrated as a child to preserve his angelic voice, Farinelli (Stefano Dionisi) tours the royal courts of Europe with his brother and composer Riccardo (Enrico Lo Verso). The two are inseparable, seducing audiences both on and off the stage, while sharing everything — even lovers — until rivalry and obsession threaten to tear them apart. Winner of the 1995 Best Foreign Language Golden Globe. In a new 2K digital restoration. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Movement Classics.

Special Interest:

“The Gospel According to Andre”: (2017) André Leon Talley has been a fixture in the world of fashion for so long that it’s difficult to imagine a time when he wasn’t defining the boundaries of great style. Kate Novack’s intimate portrait takes viewers on an emotional journey from André’s roots growing up in the segregated Jim Crow South to become one of the most influential tastemakers photo for The Gospel According to Andre and fashion curators of our times. From Magnolia Home Entertainment … “Target: St. Louis”: (2016) This stunning documentary about environmental racism during the Cold War exposes the secret history and conspiracy surrounding the U.S. Army aerosol radiation testing in segregated neighborhoods of North St. Louis. After Hiroshima, the United States Army, eager for new ways to weaponize atomic power, engaged in a series of classified open-air studies designed to test the effects of aerosol radiation in a metropolitan setting. At first, the tests were described as defensive, the latest strategy against the threat of Russian bombers. But as later declassified documents suggest, the goal of the testing (performed primarily in low-income and African-American neighborhoods of North St. Louis), was to develop offensive capabilities which could match the climate and terrain of downtown Moscow. Consequently, generations of St. Louis inhabitants were unwitting participants in a government testing program which, like the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Project, photo for was facilitated by the U.S. Department of Public Health. Investigating the historical catalyst for these events, the survivors’ quest for answers and the subsequent Federal legislation requiring informed consent by human subjects, Target: St. Louis is a compelling and shocking documentary audiences won’t soon forget. From IndiePix Films … “Tickled”: (2016) After stumbling upon a bizarre “competitive endurance tickling” video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled, reporter David Farrier reaches out to request a story from the company. But the reply he receives is shocking — the sender mocks Farrier’s sexual orientation and threatens extreme legal action should he dig any deeper. So, like any good journalist confronted by a bully, he does just the opposite: he travels to the hidden tickling facilities in Los Angeles and uncovers a vast empire, known for harassing and harming the lives of those who protest their involvement in these films. The more he investigates, the stranger it gets, discovering secret identities and criminal activity. From Magnolia Home Entertainment.

All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers, and Power 10 subwoofer.

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