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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Dec 022019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Ready or Not.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets:

Past, present and future collide in darkly satirical fashion in “Slaughterhouse-Five” (1972). Based on Kurt Vonnegut’s classic 1969 novel, this tale of time travel and alien abduction emerged as part of a wave of more cerebral science-fiction films in the late 60s to early 70s, elevating the genre beyond the B-movie fare of previous decades. Upstate New York, 1968: Mild-mannered Billy Pilgrim (Michael Sacks) finds himself “unstuck in time.” Traveling photo for Slaughterhouse-Fiveback and forth across the entire span of his existence, he experiences key events of his life in a random order, including his formative years, the firebombing of Dresden and finally, at some undefined point in the future, his surreal adventures on a distant planet. Praised by Vonnegut himself for its fidelity to his novel, “Slaughterhouse-Five” boasts assured direction by George Roy Hill. Hill was a idiosyncratic director, moving from such early films as the pat comedy “Period of Adjustment” to Lillian Hellman’s “Toys in the Attic” to the offbeat “The World of Henry Orient” before hitting the jackpot with “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” “Slaughterhouse-Five” followed on that success but was not as enthusiastically received. “The Sting” restored Hill’s position as a bankable director, and he went on to direct several more unusual projects, including the Paul Newman-starrer hockey film “Slap Shot” and an adaptation of John Irving’s “The World According to Garp.” Restored in 4K from the original camera negative, “Slaughterhouse-Five” features a memorable score by renowned concert pianist Glenn Gould. Stars Michael Sacks, Perry King, Valerie Perrine, Ron Leibman and Eugene Roche. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “Joan the Maid” (1994 — France), master filmmaker Jacques Rivette’s ambitious historical epic about Joan of Arc, originally released in 1994, stars modern screen icon Sandrine Bonnaire as the young 15th century warrior who became a martyr and French national hero. For “Joan the Maid: The Battles,” the first installment of his ambitious yet restrained photo for Joan the Maid two-part study, director and co-screenwriter Rivette surveys the revelatory period where Joan met with royalty, joined the army and led the French into battle against the English. As Joan, Bonnaire gets at the reality behind the legend, showing the matter-of-fact courage of a teenage girl. “Joan the Maid: The Prisons,” the second part of Rivette’s diptych, brought Bonnaire a César Award nomination for her powerful performance, as she plays out windows in the final two years of Joan’s life, from battlefield victory, to prison life, to horrific execution at the stake. Film critic-turned-filmmaker Rivette (1928-2016) was one of the pioneering figures of the French New Wave, but one whose work stood out in unique ways — marked by improvisational performances, loose narratives and lengthy running times — as he altered the cinematic landscape throughout his long career. His “Paris Belongs to Us,” “L’Amour fou,” “Celine and Julie Go Boating,” “Le Pont du Nord,” “La Belle Noiseuse” and the 13-hour “Out 1” are revered touchstones of modern art cinema. New 4K restoration, from Cohen Film Collection … photo for THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE “The Story of Temple Drake” (1933), loosely adapted from William Faulkner’s controversial novel “Sanctuary,” is a notorious pre-Code melodrama that stars Miriam Hopkins as Temple Drake, the coquettish granddaughter of a respected small-town judge. When a boozehound date strands her at a bootleggers’ hideout, Temple is subjected to an act of nightmarish sexual violence and plunged into a criminal underworld that threatens to swallow her up completely. Steeped in Southern-gothic shadows by influential cinematographer Karl Struss and shot through with moral ambiguity, “The Story of Temple Drake” is a harrowing vision of sin and salvation that boasts an astonishing lead performance from the fiery Hopkins, whose passage through the stations of terror, trauma, and redemption is a true tour-de-force of screen acting. High-definition digital restoration. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection … photo for TUNES OF GLORY In Ronald Neame’s “Tunes of Glory” (1960), the incomparable Alec Guinness plays Jock Sinclair — a whiskey-drinking, up-by-the-bootstraps commanding officer of a peacetime Scottish battalion. A lifetime military man, Sinclair expects respect and loyalty from his men. But when Basil Barrow (John Mills) — an educated, by-the-book scion of a military family-enters the scene as Sinclair’s replacement, the two men engage in a fierce struggle for control of both the battalion and the hearts and minds of its men. Based on the novel by James Kennaway and featuring flawless performances by Guinness and Mills, “Tunes of Glory” uses the rigid stratification of military life to comment on the institutional contradictions and class hierarchies of English society, making for an unexpectedly moving drama. New 4K digital restoration. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection.

From TV to Disc:

photo for City on a Hill Season One “City on a Hill: Season One” (2019) is a four-disc set with all 10 episodes of the Showtime Original drama starring Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge. The show is set in the early 1990s, when Boston was rife with violent criminals emboldened by local law enforcement agencies in which corruption and racism was the norm, until it all suddenly changed in what was called the “Boston Miracle.” In this fictional account, driving change is Assistant District Attorney Decourcy Ward (Hodge), who comes from Brooklyn and forms an unlikely alliance with a corrupt, yet venerated FBI veteran, Jackie Rohr (Bacon). Together, they take on a family of armored car robbers from Charlestown in a case that grows to involve, and ultimately subvert, the entire criminal justice system of Boston. From Paramount … This is the one that millions have been waiting for: “Game of Thrones: Season 8” (2019), a four-disc DVD, three-disc Blu-ray set with all six episodes. Also available in Steelbook and 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combos. For the ultimate gift, there’s photo for Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection Limited Edition Blu-ray
“Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection Limited Edition Blu-ray,” packaged in a visually stunning wooden shadow box case, featuring beautiful, multi-layered panel designs by Robert Ball (the artist behind the “Beautiful Death” series) that summarize the “Game of Thrones” story. Each season is represented by a different layer, showcasing iconic characters and memorable moments from the show, all clambering toward the Iron Throne. The set also contains a “Hand of the King” pin clasp, which holds all nine custom plated disc sleeves.$249.00. A standard DVD + Digital set will retail for $166.99; Blu-ray + Digital, $199.99. From HBO … “The Simpsons: The Complete Nineteenth Season” (2007-08) is a four-disc set with all 20 episodes. On DVD from Fox.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “The Shasta Triangle” (2019), starring Dani Lennon, Ayanna Berkshire, Helenna Santos and Madeline Merritt, a young woman returns to her hometown to uncover the truth about her father’s disappearance. Deep in the woods, she and her childhood friends battle ancient and terrifying forces controlling the town. From Giant Pictures … In “Blood Bags” (2019 — Italy), starring Makenna Guyler, Emanuele Turetta and Marta Tananyan, two friends break into an abandoned mansion and discover that a creature is stalking the corridors. With all the exits sealed off, the creature hunts them, growing hungry for their blood. Fron High Octane Pictures … “This is Our Home” (2019), starring Jeff Ayars and Simone Policano, is a chilling account of a struggling couple who, during a weekend getaway, are greeted in the middle of the night by a child claiming to be their son, from Uncork’d Entertainment … photo for Savage
“Savage” (2018 — China), starring Chang Chen, Ni Ni, Liao Fan, Huang Jue, Liu Hua, Zhang Yicong and Li Guangjie, is an action-packed heist thriller set on a remote mountain in northeastern China. The film follows a dogged detective as he squares off against a trio of violent crooks. Buried by treacherous conditions at the top of Mt. Baekdu, a policeman must brave the extreme conditions until he’s relieved from his post. When a group of thieves stumbles into the station in search of safe shelter, the night turns into a fight for survival as the two sides must put aside their differences to outlast the night. On Blu-ray from Well Go USA … In “Low Tide” (2019), starring Keean Johnson, Alex Neustaedter, Daniel Zolghadri and Jaeden Lieberher, Alan, Red, and Smitty spend high summer on the Jersey Shore roving the boardwalk and getting into trouble. But the discovery of good old-fashioned treasure sets the friends on an escalating course of suspicion and violence. From Lionsgate … In “Semper Fi” (2019), starring Jai Courtney, Nat Wolff, Finn Wittrock, Beau Knapp, Arturo Castro and Leighton Meester, Cal (Courtney) is a by-the-book police officer who, along with his close-knit group of childhood friends, makes ends meet as a Marine Corps reservist. When Cal’s reckless younger half-brother, Oyster (Wolff), is arrested after a bar fight and given an unfair prison sentence, Cal – driven by his loyalty to family and fierce code of honor – fights for Oyster in this gripping tale of brotherhood and sacrifice.On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Lionsgate … photo for killerman In “Killerman” (2019), starring Liam Hemsworth, Emory Cohen and Diane Guerrero, Hemsworth stars as money launderer Moe Diamond in the dangerous criminal underworld of New York City. When a lucrative drug deal goes wrong, Diamond wakes up from a car crash with no memory, millions in cash, and a crew of dirty cops hunting him down. With a stranger who says he’s his best friend and a fiancee he does’t remember, Moe must race against the clock to discover his own identity–and escape his past, before it destroys any chance at a future. From Paramount … When their father is murdered, three brothers descend upon an Oregon mountain river to spread his ashes in “Red Handed” (2019), starring Michael Biehn, Christian Madsen, Owen Burke, Ryan Carnes, Kenzie Dalton and Michael Madsen. After they arrive, one of their children goes missing. One of the brothers was himself abducted 30 years ago when they visited this same river, but he has blocked the incident out of his mind. Only by unlocking the mysteries inside his subconscious, will they be able find the child and return him to safety. From High Octane Pictures … When her sister is taken by a gang of white slavers, Margaret (Karen Kopins) knows she needs a hero with a difference to bring her home in photo for Jake Speed “Jake Speed” (1986). Enter Speed (Wayne Crawford), leaping from the pages of pulp thriller novels and into the real world. With Margaret and his trusty sidekick Desmond Floyd (Dennis Christopher), Jake arrives hot on the heels of the kidnappers in a southern African country gripped by civil war. But it soon turns out Jake got more than he bargained for when he discovers that the ringleader of the slavers is none other than his own arch-nemesis: the wicked, criminally insane Sid (John Hurt). A ripe slice of 80s action cheese with romance, death-defying stunts, spellbinding scenery shot on location in Zimbabwe … and best of all, a wickedly off-the-wall performance by the late John Hurt. Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original 35mm interpositive. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … In “Big Trouble in Little China” (1986), Kurt Russell stars as Jack Burton, a tough-talking truck driver whose life goes into a supernatural tailspin when his best friend’s fiancée is kidnapped in John Carpenter’s action film. Jack suddenly finds himself in a murky, danger-filled world beneath San Francisco’s Chinatown, where Lo Pan, a 2,000-year-old magician, mercilessly rules an empire of spirits. Facing down a host of unearthly terrors, Jack battles through Lo Pan’s dark domain in a full-throttle, action-riddled ride to rescue the girl. Co-stars Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun and James Hong. In a two-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory.

On the Indie Front:

In “Adam” (2019), starring Nicholas Alexander, Bobbi Salvör Menuez and Margaret Qualley, awkward, self-conscious Adam Freeman (Alexander) has just finished his junior year of high school in 2006. When his cool older sister Casey (Qualley) suggests he visit her in New York for the summer, Adam has visions of meeting a girl and finally gaining some actual life experience. The fantasy doesn’t materialize exactly as expected. Casey has enthusiastically embraced life amidst Brooklyn’s young LGBTQ community and invites Adam to tag along with her to queer bars, marriage equality rallies and other happenings. When Adam falls at first sight for Gillian (Menuez), a smart, beautiful young woman in this new crowd, she mistakenly assumes he is trans. Flummoxed and enamored, he haplessly goes along with her assumption, resulting in an increasingly complex comedy — and tragedy — of errors he’s ill-equipped to navigate. From Wolfe Releasing … In “Santa Fake” (2019), starring Damian McGinty, Heather Morris, John Rhys-Davies and Judd Nelson, Pat Keeley (McGinty), an undocumented Northern Irish immigrant, has made his way to NYC where he is taken in, unwittingly, by a crime boss (Rhys-Davies). Asked to deliver two mysterious briefcases, naive Pat in a panic ends up in the wrong destination: Santa Fe, New Mexico. There he finds a home and a job as the shopping mall Santa Claus, allowing him to hide in plain sight from both the authorities and the gangsters he is trying to evade. As Pat gets wrapped deeper into the spirit of Christmas and his role as Santa Claus, he finds that the phony white beard and big red suit are more than just a handy disguise, but instead his real destiny.From Gravitas Ventures.

Foreign:

“Funan” (2019 — France), the winner of the top prizes at the Annecy Animation Festival and the Animation is Film Festival, the critically acclaimed drama Funan is a searing and remarkable debut from filmmaker Denis Do and is based on the true life stories of his family’s harrowing experience under the Khmer Rouge. Cambodia, April 1975. Chou is a young woman whose everyday world is suddenly upended by the arrival of the Khmer Rouge regime. During the chaos of the forced exile from their home, Chou and her husband are separated from their 4-year-old son, who has been sent to an unknown location. As she navigates her new reality, working in the fields day and night under the careful watch of soldiers, and surviving the small indignities and harrowing realities of the increasingly grim work camps, Chou remains steadfast in her determination to reunite her family – even if it means risking everything. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from GKIDS/Shout! Factory … World War II’s Siege of Leningrad – in which Nazi Germany blockaded the major Soviet city for 28 months – ranks as perhaps the single most brutal and devastating military campaign in modern history. Now, the story of this unspeakable siege is told through the lives of people caught in the middle of it in photo for Battle of Leningrad “Battle of Leningrad”
(2019 — Russia), starring Andrey Mironov-Udalov and Maria Melnikova. September 1941. In a turn of events young lovebirds Kostya and Nastya find themselves on board a barge that will evacuate people from sieged Leningrad. At night the barge gets into the storm. When it starts sinking, enemy planes – but not rescuers – are the first to arrive at the scene.On DVD, Blu-ray, from MPI Media Group … In “The Ground Beneath My Feet” (2019 — Austria), starring Valerie Pachner, Pia Hierzegger and Mavie Hörbiger, Lola, not yet 30, controls her personal life with the same ruthless efficiency she uses to optimize profits in her job as a high-powered business consultant. But when she receives the news that her older sister Conny has attempted suicide, Lola’s secrets begin to unravel into the workplace. As she tries to do what’s best for her sister without jeopardizing all she’s worked so hard for, Lola slowly finds her own grip on reality slipping away. From Strand Releasing.

For the Family:

“Buttons: A Christmas Tale” (2018), starring Jane Seymour, Roma Downey, Abigail Spencer, Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury, is a family film narrated by Kate Winslet and Robert Redford. It follows the heartwarming journey of two orphan girls whose only wish is to find a home for Christmas. With a little help from their guardian angels (Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury), they discover that miracles really can happen when you find the power to believe. From Paramount … photo for Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary Celebration In “Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary Celebration” (2019), viewers can join host Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the residents of Sesame Street — humans and monsters alike — to celebrate 50 years of learning, laughter, and love. Familiar felt faces like Roosevelt Franklin, Don Music, Sherlock Hemlock, and The Amazing Mumford join original Sesame Street cast members and celebrity guests like Norah Jones, Nile Rodgers, Sterling K. Brown, Meghan Trainor, Patti LaBelle, Elvis Costello and more in this heartwarming special. “Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration” reimagines classic segments and songs as the Sesame Street gang gets ready for a big party to celebrate the neighborhood’s 50th birthday. When the famous street sign goes missing before the party, it’s up to Elmo, Rosita, Grover, and Abby to track it down, while Big Bird and Snuffy plan a surprise of their own. From Sesame Workshop/Shout Kids.

Special Interest:

“To Be of Service” (2019), from Oscar-nominated Josh Aronson and featuring a new song from Jon Bon Jovi, is a documentary about veterans suffering from PTSD who are paired with a service dog to help them regain their lives. Returning home for these vets is often plagued by depression and a painful disconnect from the world they once knew. Family, old friends and jobs seem foreign, and newly returned warriors often struggle to return to a normal civilian life. The film follows these warriors with their dogs as this deeply bonded friendship restores independence and feeling for the men and women who so courageously served our country. From First Run Features … “That Pärt Feeling – The Universe of Ärvo Part” (2018) is an intimate documentary that follows the brilliant, reclusive Estonian composer as he photo for That Pärt Feeling - The Universe of Ärvo Part collaborates with the Cello Octet Amsterdam. Pärt is the most performed living composer in the world, but he is considered to be something of a recluse, and his person and work have rarely been documented on film. Here, home viewers get to know Pärt as an artist combining an incredible sensitivity with humor and energy in his work. His reputation stems from his deeply-held belief that it’s not through words that a great artist communicates, but simply through music. Though he may seem reclusive in his person, what he wants to say and what he means is written in notes. From Film Movement … “Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins” (2019) is a relevant and razor-sharp look at the trailblazing career of political columnist Molly Ivins. Media firebrand Molly Ivins, six feet of Texas trouble, took on the Good Old Boy corruption wherever she found it. Her razor sharp wit left both sides of the aisle laughing and craving ink in her columns. She knew the Bill of Rights was in peril and said, “Polarizing people is a good way to win an election and a good way to wreck a country.” Molly’s words have proved prescient. Now it’s up to us to raise hell. 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.

 Posted by on December 2, 2019 No Responses »
Nov 242019
 

Happy Thanksgiving

From the Big Screen:

“Angel Has Fallen,” “Don’t Let Go,” “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” and “Official Secrets.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets:

“Robocop” (1987) marked director Paul Verhoeven’s Hollywood debut and instantly became an enduring sci-fi/action classic when it landed in theaters in the summer of 1987. Verhoeven’s peerlessly exciting and kinetic visuals were matched by a sharp script, iconic cast and exceptional special effects by Rob Bottin (“The Thing”) and Phil Tippett (“The Empire Strikes Back”). The film takes place in Detroit in the not-too-distant future. Heroic cop Alex Murphy photo for robocop(Peter Weller) is gunned down in the line of duty, only to be resurrected as RoboCop — a cybernetic mix of spare human parts and Motor City steel, and the latest defense against crime designed by the all-powerful OCP Corporation. As RoboCop’s memories of his former life as Murphy resurface, only his ex-partner (Nancy Allen) stands beside him to fight against the vicious thugs responsible for his death, as well as a nefarious top-level OCP executive orchestrating the chaos from above. Unsurpassably thrilling, unexpectedly moving and unforgettably hilarious in equal measure, the future of law enforcement is back in a definitive Blu-ray presentation packed with hours of brand new bonus features and exclusive collectable packaging. 4K restoration from the original camera negative by MGM, transferred in 2013 and approved by director Paul Verhoeven. Includes director’s cut and theatrical cut of the film on two Blu-ray discs, with original lossless stereo and four-channel mixes plus DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound option on both cuts. In both Limited Edition Blu-ray and Steelbox Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … photo for In Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s devastatingly witty Hollywood classic “All About Eve” (1950), backstage is where the real drama plays out. One night, Margo Channing (Bette Davis) entertains a surprise dressing-room visitor: her most adoring fan, the shy, wide-eyed Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). But as Eve becomes a fixture in Margo’s life, the Broadway legend soon realizes that her supposed admirer intends to use her and everyone in her circle, including George Sanders’s acid-tongued critic, as stepping-stones to stardom. Featuring stiletto-sharp dialogue and direction by Mankiewicz, and an unforgettable Davis in the role that revived her career and came to define it, the multiple-Oscar-winning “All About Eve” is the most deliciously entertaining film ever made about the ruthlessness of show business. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … photo for Now, Voyager In “Now, Voyager” (1942), nervous spinster Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) is stunted from growing up under the heel of her puritanical Boston Brahmin mother (Gladys Cooper), and remains convinced of her own unworthiness until a kindly psychiatrist (Claude Rains) gives her the confidence to venture out into the world on a South American cruise. Onboard, she finds her footing with the help of an unhappily married man (Paul Henreid). Their thwarted love affair may help Charlotte break free of her mother’s grip — but will she find fulfillment as well as independence? Made at the height of Davis’s reign as the queen of the women’s picture and bolstered by an Oscar-winning Max Steiner score, “Now, Voyager” is a melodrama for the ages, both a rapturous Hollywood romance and a poignant saga of self-discovery. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.

From TV to Disc:

“Line of Duty, Series 5” (2019) is a two-disc set with all six episodes of the highest-rated UK program of 2019 with more than 11 million viewers. The cop drama follows anti-corruption unit 12 (AC-12) as they investigate fellow police officers accused of corruption. Each season features a new guest lead(s). In Series 5, Stephen Graham stars as John Corbett, the ruthless leader of an organized crime group who hijacks a seized drug transport. AC-12 investigators suspect corrupt police officers of leaking information. As the body count rises, AC-12 realize they’re facing their most vicious adversary yet. From Acorn Media … “London Kills, Series 2” (2019) is a two-disc set with all five episodes. The series follows a different murder each episode and an ongoing story involving the lead detective’s missing wife. The elite murder squad returns. As the detectives solve each case – skeletal remains dug up in the garden, the brutal murder of a pub landlord, a teenage au pair found dead, the double-shooting of a father and son – there’s one mystery Detective Inspector David Bradford can’t unravel. Where is his wife Sarah? As the other detectives investigate why David is lying to them about the night Sarah disappeared, they begin to think the unthinkable – did the Detective Inspector murder his wife? On DVD, Blu-ray, from Acorn Media.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “The Driver” (2018), starring Mark Dacascos, Julie Condra and Noelani Dacascos, after a plague of the undead decimates human life on earth, a former hit man (Dacascos), his wife (Condra), and daughter, Bree (Noelani Dacascos), live quietly in a survivalist compound. But when their base is attacked, a massive explosion summons a swarm of the undead. They escape and must seek out the Haven – a rumored sanctuary up north – while the father teaches his daughter to shoot, drive, and survive before time runs out. From Lionsgate … In “The Dwelling” (2019), starring Alysa King abnd Gwenlyn Cumyn, four people find themselves stuck on a haunted antique bed where leaving means suffering a gruesome death. Plagued with frightening hallucinations, they must figure out the bed’s secrets before they are ultimately picked off one by one. From Uncork’d Entertainment … photo for Union A civil war love story that is epic, moving, crazy and loaded with facts that are staggering, “Union” (2018), starring Virginia Newcomb, Cece Kelly and Blaine Burdette, is based on Lizzie Compton, a real-life woman who fought as a man in some of the worst battles of all time. Not only did she fight – she was wounded multiple times. Compton saw considerable action during the war, serving in seven different regiments, holding the record for the most amount of reenlistments. She transferred many times, either due to her sex being revealed or her fear of being detected. She fought at the Battle of Antietam and the Battle of Gettysburg among many others. She was last shot in the shoulder outside of Green River, Kentucky, at the Battle of Tebbs Bend. While she was being treated by the surgeon, her sex was discovered. Undeterred, she returned to Green River after her recovery to join a regiment that was encamped there. Her last known whereabouts were in the mountains of Tennessee where she made her home living as man until her death. From Indican Pictures … In “Mary” (2019), starring Gary Oldman, Emily Mortimer, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Stefanie Scott, Chloe Perrin, Douglas Urbanski and Jennifer Esposito, David (Oldman) is a struggling blue-collar captain looking to make a better life for his family. Strangely drawn to an abandoned ship that is up for auction, David impulsively buys the boat, believing it will be his family’s ticket to happiness and prosperity. But soon after they embark on their maiden journey, strange and frightening events begin to terrorize David and his family, causing them to turn on one another and doubt their own sanity. With tensions high, the ship drifts off course, and it becomes horrifyingly clear that they are being lured to an even greater evil out at sea. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … Scream Factory has this week a 40th anniversary, photo for Prophecy BLU-RAY DEBUT Blu-ray debut of John Frankenheimer’s “Prophecy” (1979). Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire star as a doctor and his wife who travel to Maine to research the impact of the lumber industry on the local environment. They begin to investigate a succession of mysterious and terrifying events: ecological freaks of nature and a series of bizarre and grisly human deaths. Something unimaginably horrible waits in the woods … something unwittingly created by man, that will become an uncontrollable, merciless machine of destruction … Also from Scream Factory is a new Blu-ray of “Dracula” (1979), starring Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence and Kate Nelligan. Throughout history, Dracula has filled the hearts of men with fear and the hearts of women with desire. In this stylish production of Bram Stoker’s classic gothic horror tale, Frank Langella reprises his electrifying, award-winning stage performance as the bloodthirsty Count Dracula as he goes in search of his ultimate bride. Meanwhile, the renowned and relentless vampire hunter, Professor Van Helsing (Laurence Olivier), seeks to end the dark prince’s reign of terror over the citizens of Transylvania. Featuring an all-star cast, fine direction and a superbly atmospheric score by the great John Williams, “Dracula” is an unforgettable adaptation of one of the most enduring horror legends of all time. New 4K scan of the original best available film elements.

Foreign:

“Olivia” (1951 — France) is a remarkable work by one of France’s first groundbreaking female filmmakers, and easily merits rediscovery today after being neglected for nearly 70 years. Plunging the viewer – and the main character – into a true lion’s den, Jacqueline Audry (1908-1977) depicts a 19th century boarding school for young girls, one divided into two camps where all the shots, even the most underhanded, are allowed. That’s because the two mistresses of the house, Miss Julie (Edwige Feuillère) and Miss Cara (Simone Simon) are engaged in a turf war as well as a war of the heart. Competing for the affections of their students, they route passion, hatred and unexpected reversals of loyalties. “Olivia” is a truly unique film that depicts a world almost without men. For 1950s France, when homosexuality was still largely considered deviant, Audry has made a fundamentally feminist film. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Icarus Films.

Special Interest:

“The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection Volume 6” (1978-80): In the sixth and final volume of Pink Panther shorts, produced primarily for “The All New Pink Panther Show,” the animators (directors Friz Freleng, David H. DePatie, Art Leonardi) at DePatie-Freleng revisited some of the character’s most hilarious and endearing situations, haunting the nightmares of his long-time “Little Man” nemesis (“Pinkologist”), performing a Chaplinesque battle of cat vs. appliance (“Pink Breakfast”), and delving into the surreal with the space opera “Star Pink” and the high-concept “String Along in Pink.” The collection ends with the final short in the series, “Supermarket Pink,” a clever satire of consumer culture. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

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 November 24, 2019 No Responses »
Nov 182019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” and “Blinded by the Light.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets:

“Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection BLU-RAY DEBUT”
All 28 of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello’s iconic films from the height of their popularity at Universal Pictures, spanning 1940-1965, now available on Blu-ray for the first time: “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars,” “Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion,” “Abbott and Costello photo for Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection BLU-RAY DEBUTLost in Alaska,” “Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein,” “Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops,” “Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff,” “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy,” “Buck Privates,” “Buck Privates Come Home,” “Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man,” “Comin’ Round the Mountain,” “Here Come the Co-Eds,” “Hit the Ice,” “Hold that Ghost,” “In Society,” “In the Navy,” “It Ain’t Hay,” “Keep ‘Em Flying,” “Little Giant,” “Mexican Hayride,” “One Night in the Tropics,” “Pardon My Sarong,” “Ride ‘Em Cowboy,” “The Naughty Nineties,” “The Time of Their Lives,” “The Wistful Widow,” “Who Done It?” Extras include 10 new audio commentaries, a collectible book, a bonus disc with more than eight hours of content. Read more here. From Shout! Factory … “Betty Blue” (1986) When the easygoing would-be novelist Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) meets the tempestuous Betty (Béatrice Dalle in a magnetic breakout performance) in a sunbaked French beach town, it’s the beginning of a whirlwind love affair that sees the pair turn their backs on conventional photo for Betty Bluesociety in favor of the hedonistic pursuit of freedom, adventure, and carnal pleasure. But as the increasingly erratic Betty’s grip on reality begins to falter, Zorg finds himself willing to do things he never expected to protect both her fragile sanity and their tenuous existence. Adapted from the hit novel “37°2 le matin” by Philippe Djian, Jean-Jacques Beineix’s (“Diva”) art-house smash — presented here in its extended director’s cut — is a sexy, crazy, careening joyride of a romance that burns with the passion and beyond-all-reason fervor of all-consuming love. This is the 185 minute director’s cut and it is a revelation — it has to be one of the most involving and gloriously directed and acted love stories of all time. It’s amazing and a must-see. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, with high-definition digital restoration, approved by director Jean-Jacques Beineix, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection … photo for Cold War The sweeping, delirious romance “Cold War” (2018) begins in the Polish countryside, where Wiktor (Tomasz Kot), a musician on a state-sponsored mission to collect folk songs, discovers a captivating young singer named Zula (Joanna Kulig). Over the next 15 years, their turbulent relationship will play out in stolen moments between two worlds: the jazz clubs of decadent bohemian Paris, to which he defects, and the corrupt, repressive Communist Bloc, where she remains — universes bridged by their passion for music and for each other. Photographed in luscious monochrome and suffused with the melancholy of the simple folk song that provides a motif for the couple’s fateful affair, Pawel Pawlikowski’s timeless story — inspired by that of his own parents — is a heart-stoppingly grand vision of star-crossed love caught up in the tide of history. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new 4K digital master, supervised and approved by director Pawel Pawlikowski and director of photography Lukasz Zal, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio Soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection photo for Rock ‘N’ Roll High School (40th Anniversary Edition Steelbook) … Gabba hey! Hard to believe, but it’s been 40 years since we first saw Riff Randall and the Ramones take the halls of “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School” (1979). Executive produced by Roger Corman and directed by Allan Arkush, “Rock ’N’ Roll High School” boasts performances by the Ramones and stars P.J. Soles (“Halloween”) in the lead role of Riff Randell, Vince Van Patten (“Hell Night”), Clint Howard (“Grand Theft Auto”), Dey Young (“Spaceballs”), Mary Woronov (“Death Race 2000”), Dick Miller (“Piranha”) and Paul Bartel (“Hollywood Boulevard”). Based on Arkush’s own high school fantasy, the film takes place at Vince Lombardi High School — the wildest, most rockin’ high school around. That is, until a thug of a principal, Miss Togar, comes along and tries to make the school a totalitarian state. With the help of the Ramones, the students of Vince Lombardi battle Miss Togar’s iron-fisted rule and take their battle to a truly rockin’ conclusion. “Rock ’N’ Roll High School” quickly developed a devoted following after its release in and became a mainstay of the midnight movie cult circuit. As with films like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” audience members began to dress up like the cast and the Ramones for screenings. New 4K scan from the original camera negative. In a 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Steelbook edition from Shout! Factory.

From TV to Disc:

“Catch-22” (2018), starring George Clooney, Christopher Abbott, Grant Heslov, Kyle Chandler, Hugh Laurie and Giancarlo Giannini, is a two-disc set with all six episodes of the limited series based on the celebrated Joseph Heller novel. “Catch-22” follows the adventures and misadventures of a U.S. air squadron in Italy during World War II. Yossarian is a bombardier whose frantic obsession every time he goes up on a mission is “to come down alive.” The real enemy for Yossarian and his rag-tag bunch of friends is the bureaucracy of the military, inverting logic at every turn. The pinnacle of this is Catch-22, a military by-law which states that if you fly your missions, you’re crazy, and don’t have to fly them; all you have to do is ask. But if you ask not to, then you’re sane, and so you have to fly them. From Paramount … “Deadline” (1959-61) is a three-disc set with 39 episodes. Lost and photo for Deadlineforgotten in a garage in New Jersey for over 50 years, the “Deadline” TV series, which dramatized stories drawn from actual newspaper headlines of the 1950’s, has been rediscovered to remind us of a time when newspaper reporters were revered as heroes and the guardians of truth and justice. Reporters are the first line of defense of the principles rooted in our Constitution and protected under the First Amendment. They uphold everything that our civil society stands for. At a time when print news media is rapidly disappearing and news reporters are being vilified as “enemies of the people,” “Deadline” has emerged from hibernation and is making its home video debut. Hosted and narrated by Paul Stewart and starring Peter Falk, Diane Ladd, George Maharis, Robert Lansing, and many more, this anthology series is available for the first time since it aired on primetime TV nearly 60 years ago. On DVD from Film Chest … “The Kominsky Method: The Complete First Season” (2019) is a two-disc set with all eight episodes of the Netflix series that centers on the life of acting coach Sandy Kominsky (Michael Douglas) and his long-time agent and best friend Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin), as they deal with the ups and downs of growing older while living in youth-obsessed Los Angeles. Sandy Kominsky’s (Douglas) life didn’t turn out the way he’d planned. His dream of having a successful acting career was slowly and inexorably replaced with the reality of being a mere acting coach. Clinging to his best friend and long-time agent Norman Newlander (Arkin), the two men are forced to confront loneliness, health issues, the loss of loved ones, financial calamity, grown-up children with grown-up problems, and estrangement from a world that is undergoing constant and rapid change. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner … “Taken Down” (2018) is a two-disc set with all six episodes. In Dublin, a young Nigerian girl, Esme Lukasa, is found dead at a bus stop opening an investigation into her violent death. This leads Inspector Jen Rooney and her team of detectives to a Direct Provision Centre for asylum-seekers. It is soon discovered that another girl from the center has disappeared. The police enter a murky underworld of slumlords and traffickers to find out who killed Esme and rescue the missing girl before she suffers a horrific fate. From Acorn Media.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Once Upon a Time in Deadwood” (2019), starring Robert Bronzi, Michael Pare, Karin Brauns, Lauren Compton and Chris Matteis, a notorious gunslinger is slipped a slow-acting poison by an heiress and told he has three days to track down and rescue her sister, who has been kidnapped by a gang of hoodlums and holds the antidote. From Uncork’d Entertainment … In “American Dreamer” (2018), starring Jim Gaffigan and Robbie Jones, a down-on-his-luck ride-share driver, who makes extra cash chauffeuring a low-level drug dealer around town, finds himself in a serious financial bind and decides to kidnap the dealer’s child. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate) … photo for The Divine Fury in “The Divine Fury” (2019 — South Korea), starring Park Seo-joon, Ahn Sung-ki and Woo Do-hwan, after losing his father at a young age in a terrible accident, Yong-hu (Park) abandons his Christian faith and chooses to only believe in himself. Now as an adult, Yong-hu is a champion fighter and has everything he has ever wanted, that is until a mysterious wound appears in the palm of his hand. And he himself in the middle of a dangerous fight against otherworldly evil forces seeking to wreak havoc on the human world. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA … In “The Fare” (2019), starring Gino Anthony Pesi and Brinna Kelly, when a charming woman named Penny climbs into his taxi, Harris finds himself entranced. That is, right up until she disappears from the back seat without a trace. As he desperately tries to make sense of what happened, he resets his meter and is instantly brought back to the moment she first climbed into his cab. He and Penny find themselves trapped in an endlessly looping ride that changes their lives forever. On Blu-ray, from Epic Pictures … In “The Gliksmans” (2017), starring Jon Jacobs, Bryna Weiss, Cloris Leachman, Richard Portnow, Edward Asner and Ron Jeremy, two elderly people are being forced out of their home and decide to rob a bank. Unfortunately, they eat psychedelic mushrooms instead of their pills, and it puts the robbery in a whole new perspective. From Indican Picture … In “Animal Among Us” (2019), starring Christian Oliver, Larisa Oleynik, Don Frye, Christine Donlon and Jonathan Murphy, 15 years ago, two teenage girls were murdered at Merrymaker Campgrounds. The case was filed as an animal attack, the camp was condemned, and the killer never found. But something horrific still waits in those woods, ready to kill again. From Uncork’d Entertainment … Screen legend Alain Delon stars in the provocative French thriller “Diabolically Yours” (1967 — France) as a wealthy man at the center of an extraordinary plot after a car crash leaves him unable to remember who he is. With his wife (Senta Berger) convinced he is faking his amnesia, he sets out to discover who and why someone wants him to believe he is going crazy and should end his life. Wonderfully directed by Julien Duvivier (“Panique”) and beautifully shot by Henri Decaë (“Le Samouraï”). On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … “Un Flic” (1972 — France) is directed by Jean-Pierre Melville and stars Alain Delon, Richard Crenna, Catherine Deneuve, Michael Conrad, Riccardo Cucciolla and Jean Desailly. From Jean-Pierre Melville, the legendary director of “Bob Le Flambeur,” “Le Doulos,” “Le Deuxième Souffle” and “Le Cercle Rouge” comes this action-packed neo-noir. A Paris police chief (Alain Delo) discovers that his nightclub owner friend (Richard Crenna) also leads a group of bank robbers. When he’s tipped off that the same robbers are planning a drug heist, the police chief races to defeat his two-faced friend. Meanwhile, the police chief has engaged in some double-crossing himself-by sharing the same woman (Catherine Deneuve) with the man he calls his friend. Melville’s last film plays beautifully with all his trademark silences, grim faces and gloomy colors, featuring stunning photography by the great Walter Wottitz (“Army of Shadows,” “The Train”). On DVD, Blu-ray. from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … photo for Hitchhike to Hell All roads lead to terror in the delightfully sleazy cautionary tale “Hitchhike to Hell” (1977) from cult director Irvin Berwick (“Malibu High,” “The Monster of Piedras Blancas”). Howard is a mild-mannered momma’s boy whose job running deliveries for a cleaning agency affords him a lot of time out on the road. It’s not until he picks up young women who’ve run away from home that he transforms into a twitching, homicidal maniac, hellbent on meting out punishment for their “transgressions.” Can the cops put a stop to Howard’s demented spree before he claims yet another victim? Influenced by the depraved crimes of the likes of “Co-ed Killer” Edmund Kemper, “Hitch Hike to Hell” is a bona fide American nightmare from the vaults of legendary exploitation producer Harry Novak (“The Child,” “Toys Are Not for Children”). New 2K restoration from original film elements with 1.33 and 1.78 versions of the feature. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “The Boys Next Door” (1984), is the moment 80s teen movies turned harrowing, frightening and all too real. Maxwell Caulfield and Charlie Sheen star as high-school outcasts who head to Los Angeles for a spree of petty crime, senseless violence, and savage murder. Patti D’Arbanville and Christopher McDonald co-star in this descent into hell featuring music by Iggy Pop, Tex & The Horseheads and The Cramps, scanned in 4K from the original negative. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Severin Films … In photo for The Fan BLU-RAY DEBUT “The Fan” (1981), starring Lauren Bacall, Michael Biehn, James Garner, Maureen Stapleton, Hector Elizondo, Sally Ross (Bacall) is a renowned Broadway star, glamorous celebrity, and the object of adoration for countless admirers. But among all the loving little people lurks a young man (Biehn) whose devotion teeters on the edge of madness. His impassioned letters to her are initially a source of pleasure, but as he attempts to realize his ultimate fantasy — and is met with rejection — the stakes are raised to terrifying heights … which might bring on the final curtain for Sally. In a Blu-ray debut from Scream factory … In “Jawbreaker 20th Anniversary” (1999), starring Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart, Julie Benz, Judy Greer, Chad Christ, Ethan Erickson, Carol Kane and Pam Grier, in what was meant as a harmless birthday prank, three of Reagan High School’s most popular girls, Julie, Marcie, and Courtney, pretend to kidnap their friend, the latter shoving a jawbreaker into the victim’s mouth to keep her from screaming. Their plan goes awry when the girl accidentally swallows the jawbreaker, choking to death. The cool and calculating Courtney tries to cover the crime but is found out by school geek Fern Mayo. In return for her silence, Courtney transforms the gawky Fern into the stylishly beautiful Vylette, leaving the conscience-stricken Julie out in the cold, threatening to set her up for the girl’s murder if she breaks her silence.On Blu-ray from Sony.

On the Indie Front:

In “Genèse” (2018 — Canada), three teenagers encounter the turmoils of love and youth. While the charismatic Guillaume (Théodore Pellerin) wrestles with his sexual identity at photo for Genèseboarding school, his older half sister Charlotte (Noée Abita) navigates an adult world filled with casual cruelty. Separately, Félix (Édouard Tremblay-Grenier) meets his first girlfriend while away at summer camp. At a time when others are conforming, these three individuals stand their ground and assert their right to love and be free. From Film Movement … In “The Demons” (2015 – Canada), while Montreal is in the throes of a string of kidnappings targeting young boys, 10-year-old Felix (Edouard Tremblay-Grenier) is finishing his school year in the seemingly quiet suburb where he lives. A sensitive boy with a vivid imagination, Felix is afraid of everything. Little by little, his imaginary demons begin to mirror those of the truly disturbing world around him. From Film Movement.

Foreign:

“Eva Perón: The True Story” (1996 — Argentina): At the time of the film’s release, the darling of Argentina had been immortalized not only in the collective consciousness of her country, but also in literature, theater, and film. “Eva Perón: The True Story,” however, presents not the public image of Evita, but the personal life, with all of its struggles and successes, of a woman who rose from rural anonymity to become the most beloved figure in the country. The film zooms in on the years before Eva Perón’s death, with flashbacks highlighting key moments of her story, from childhood to her relationship with Juan Perón. Though these moments from her past illuminate the legend Evita has become, the film does not attempt to present a complete biography. Rather, it is an intimate portrait of a woman in the last years of her life who wants to achieve so much more than the time left to her will allow. Stars Esther Goris, Víctor Laplace and Cristina Banegas. From Facets … In “Queen of Hearts” (2019 — Denmark/Sweden), starring Trine Dyrholm, Gustav Lindh and Magnus Kreppe, Anne, a brilliant and dedicated lawyer specializing in children and young adults, lives what appears to be the picture perfect life with her doctor-husband, Peter, and their twin daughters. When her estranged teenage stepson, Gustav, moves in with them, Anne’s escalating desire leads her down a dangerous rabbit hole which, once exposed, unleashes a sequence of events that threatens to destroy her world. The film celebrated its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won The Audience Award for World Cinema Dramatic. From Breaking Glass Pictures.

Special Interest:

The life and music of legendary rock pioneer Chuck Berry are celebrated in “Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll (Collector’s Edition)” (1987), capturing a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of rock ‘n’ roll’s finest. In 1986, Keith Richards invited a roster of brilliant musicians to honor Chuck Berry for an evening of music to commemorate Berry’s 60th birthday, photo for Rock ‘N’ Roll High School (40th Anniversary Edition Steelbook) including performances by Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Linda Ronstadt, Etta James, and Julian Lennon, along with archival footage of an unforgettable duet by Chuck and John Lennon. This dynamite crowd pleaser is from director Taylor Hackford and Stephanie Bennett, producer of “Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll” and author of the new book “Johnny B. Bad: Chuck Berry and the Making of Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll.” On DVD, Blu-ray, from Shout! Factory … “Cold Case Hammarskjöld” (2019 — Denmark/Norway/Sweden/Belgium) is a documentary investigation into the fatal and mysterious plane crash of U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld. In 1961, United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld’s plane mysteriously crashed, killing Hammarskjöld and most of the crew. With the case still unsolved 50-plus years later, Danish journalist, filmmaker and provocateur Mads Brügger leads viewers down an investigative rabbit hole to unearth the truth. Scores of false starts, dead ends and elusive interviews later, Brügger and his sidekick, Swedish Göran Björkdahl, begin to sniff out something more monumental than anything they’d initially imagined. On DVD, 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.

 Posted by on November 18, 2019 No Responses »

 
 Posted by on February 22, 2018 Comments Off on
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