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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Jun 242019
 

From the Big Screen:

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

This Week’s Best Bets

The Criterion Collection has two disparate releases this week: With the trailblazing musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (2001), writer-director-star John Cameron Mitchell and composer-lyricist Stephen Trask brought their signature creation from stage to screen for a movie as unclassifiable as its protagonist. Raised a boy in East Berlin, Hedwig (Mitchell) undergoes a photo for Hedwig and the Angry Inchtraumatic personal transformation in order to emigrate to the U.S., where she reinvents herself as an “internationally ignored” but divinely talented rock diva, characterized by Mitchell as a “beautiful gender of one.” The film tells Hedwig’s life story through her music, an eclectic collection of original punk anthems and power ballads by Trask, matching them with a freewheeling cinematic mosaic of music-video fantasies, animated interludes, and moments of bracing emotional realism. A hard-charging song cycle and a tender character study, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” is a tribute to the transcendent power of rock and roll. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new 4K photo for War and Peace digital restoration, supervised by director John Cameron Mitchell and cinematographer Frank DeMarco, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray … and “War and Peace” (1966-67) At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet film industry set out to prove it could outdo Hollywood with a production that would dazzle the world: a titanic, awe-inspiring adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic tome in which the fates of three souls — the blundering, good-hearted Pierre; the heroically tragic Prince Andrei; and the radiant, tempestuous Natasha — collide amid the tumult of the Napoleonic Wars. Employing a cast of thousands and an array of innovative camera techniques, director Sergei Bondarchuk conjures a sweeping vision of grand balls that glitter with rococo beauty and breathtaking battles that overwhelm with their expressionistic power. As a statement of Soviet cinema’s might, “War and Peace” succeeded wildly, garnering the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and setting a new standard for epic moviemaking. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new 2K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray.

In honor of its upcoming 70th anniversary, the timeless animated classic “Cinderella” (1949) waltzes into the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection. Recently added to the prestigious National Film Registry, the animated classic centers on kind and hardworking Cinderella, who is ordered around by her cruel stepmother, her awful stepsisters — even the big clock in the church tower tells her when to start another day of drudgery. But they can’t stop photo for Cinderella 70th Anniversary Walt Disney Signature Edition” />her from dreaming, and Cinderella has faith that someday her wishes will come true. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, with a host of new features including “Cinderella” trivia and fun facts, hosted by Ruth Righi and Ava Kolker from Disney Channel’s “Sydney to the Max,” and “In Walt’s Words: Enhanced Edition,” a special edition of “Cinderella” featuring fascinating production details, original storyboards, archival photos, thumbnail sketches and transcripts throughout the feature film. Vintage extras include “Diane Disney Miller Cinderella Film Intro”; “The Real Fairy Godmother” real-life inspiration, Mary Alice O’Connor, wife of Disney layout artist Ken O’Connor”; “The Art Of Cinderella” concept art, character model sheets, live-action reference, pencil animation, behind-the-scenes stills, feature stills; music and more. From Disney … “Fatso” (1980), the only film written and directed by the legendary Anne Bancroft, makes its Blu-ray debut this week. This boisterous, heartwarming comedy about a man caught between his health, his self-esteem and his appetite, highlights Dom DeLuise’s genius for blending pathos and comedy. All his life, Dominic DiNapoli (DeLuise) has found comfort in food. But when his sister Antoinette (Bancroft) implores him to stop eating himself into an early grave, Dominic begins bouncing from crash diets to the support group “Chubby Checkers” to all manner of binges in between. In the end, Dominic photo for Fatso discovers that what he needs most is a steady diet of love — from his family, from a new and lovely neighborhood acquaintance — and most importantly, from himself. From Shout! Factory Select … Never before released on Blu-ray in North America, “Heroes Shed No Tears” (1986 — Hong Kong) is the explosive precursor to John Woo’s breakout film “A Better Tomorrow.” Here he demonstrates the genesis of his trademark style of hyperkinetic action and violence. The action movie that he identifies as his “first real film” broke a string of low-budget slapstick farces, and built the foundation for his over-the-top genre films that would follow. Hong Kong action veteran Eddie Ko stars as soldier-of-fortune Chan Chung, the leader of an elite Chinese commando force enlisted by the Thai government to capture General Samton, a powerful drug lord from the Golden Triangle. After a successful raid on the general’s headquarters, the mercenaries cross into Vietnam and encounter a barbaric colonel (Lam Ching Ying), who is determined to stop them at any cost. Now pursued by both Samton’s henchmen and the colonel’s troops, the heroes flee for the border of Thailand, out manned and out gunned by their enemies. 2K digital restoration. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Movement Classics … “Double Face” (1969 — Italy): In the post-war years, the proliferation of transnational European co-productions gave rise to a cross-pollination of genres, with the same films sold in different markets as belonging to different photo for Double Facemovements. Among these, Riccardo Freda’s (“I vampiri,” “The Horrible Dr. Hichock”)”Double Face” was marketed in West Germany as an Edgar Wallace “krimi,” while in Italy it was sold as a giallo in the tradition of Mario Bava’s “Blood and Black Lace,” combining elements from both genres for a unique and unforgettable viewing experience. When wealthy businessman John Alexander ( Klaus Kinski, giving an atypically restrained performance)’s unfaithful wife Helen (Margaret Lee) dies in a car crash, it initially looks like a freak accident. However, the plot thickens when evidence arises suggesting that the car was tampered with prior to the crash. And John’s entire perception of reality is thrown into doubt when he discovers a recently-shot pornographic movie which appears to feature Helen — suggesting that she is in fact alive and playing an elaborate mind game on him. Psychological, psychedelic, and at times just plain psychotic, “Double Face” stands as one of the most engaging and enjoyable films in Freda’s lengthy and diverse career — a densely-plotted, visually-stunning giallo. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

From TV to Disc:

“Manhunt” (2019) is a single disc with three episodes. Based upon the memoirs of former London Metropolitan police detective DCI Colin Sutton, the three-part drama stars one of the most popular British actors on television in the United States, BAFTA- and SAG-award winning actor Martin Clunes. Clunes stars as DCI Sutton who determinedly and tenaciously pursued serial killer Levi photo for Manhunt Bellfield. When the battered body of a French student is found on Twickenham Green in London, hardworking and humble DCI Colin Sutton (Clunes) is appointed the lead detective on his first big case. After connecting the young woman’s murder to a previous attack, Sutton embarks on a quest to catch a serial killer. With the press in a frenzy and the public demanding answers, his team grows discouraged as they find no motive, witnesses, or forensic evidence. But Sutton’s commitment never wavers, often at the expense of his relationship with his wife. Realistically portraying the ins and outs of police investigations, “Manhunt” tells the story of one detective’s uncompromising search for justice. On DVD, Blu-ray from Acorn Media … “Marcella, Season 2” (2018) is a two-disc set with all eight episodes. Emmy award-winning actress Anna Friel (“Pushing Daisies”) reprises her role as DS Marcella Backland, a London detective who experiences violent blackouts. In Season 2, when a body is found inside a wall, Marcella is horrified to discover that she knew the victim: a young boy who went missing years ago while walking home with her son. As more corpses turn up, Marcella wades through a complex web to catch a serial killer, but her deteriorating mental state threatens to derail the investigation. From Acorn Media.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“The Aftermath” (2019), starring Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke and Alexander Skarsgård, is set in 1946 and follows Rachael Morgan (Knightley), a British woman whose colonel husband (Clarke) is charged with rebuilding war-ravaged Hamburg. When she joins him there during the bitter winter months, she learns they will be sharing their home with a German widower (Skarsgård) and his troubled daughter. Before long, the unusual arrangement intensifies political divides and stirs deep personal wounds.On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Fox … In “The Poison Rose” (2019), starring John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, Brendan photo for The Poison Rose Fraser, Famke Janssen, Kat Graham, Peter Stormare, Ella Bleu Travolta and Robert Patrick, Travolta plays Carson Philips, a hard-drinking L.A. private eye who takes a case in his old hometown of Galveston, Texas. While searching for a missing woman, Philips must confront a crime boss (Freeman), a shady doctor (Fraser), a sexy club singer (Graham), his former lover (Janssen) — and his own dark, disturbing past. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “Furie” (2019 — Vietnam), starring Veronica Ngo, Phan Than Nhien and Mai Cat Vi, when a little girl is kidnapped by a trafficking ring, they soon find they messed with the wrong child. Her mother, a notorious former gang leader, is close on their trail and will go to any lengths to bring her daughter home. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA … “Maze” (2018 — Ireland), starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Barry Ward and Martin McCann, is a drama inspired by the true events of the infamous 1983 prison breakout of 38 IRA prisoners from HMP, which was to become the biggest prison escape in Europe since World War II.On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lightyear Entertainment … In “The New York Ripper” (1982), a blade-wielding psychopath is on the loose, turning The Big Apple bright red with the blood of beautiful young women. As NYPD detective Fred Williams (Jack Hedley) follows the trail of butchery from the decks of the Staten Island Ferry to the sex shows of Times Square, each brutal murder becomes a sadistic taunt. In the city that never sleeps, the hunt is on for the killer that can’t be stopped. Co-written and directed by acclaimed horror maestro Lucio Fulci (“Zombie,” photo for The New York Ripper “City Of the Living Dead”) and filmed on location in the mean streets of New York City, this is one of Fulci’s most savage and controversial thrillers. In an exclusive Limited Collector’s Edition that includes a Blu-ray, DVD, Soundtrack CD, collectible booklet, reversible sleeve, and 3D lenticular slipcover (First Pressing Only). New 4K restoration from its original camera negative, completely uncut and uncensored. From Blue Underground … In “Night Killer” (1989 — Italy), starring Peter Hooten, Tara Buckman and Richard Foster, writer-director Claudio Fragasso, here under the name Clyde Anderson, set out to direct a suspense thriller about a suicidal beauty, an unstable sleazebag and a masked killer with a razor-fingered glove … somewhere between “Zombie 4” and “Troll 2.” But when the producers received Fragasso’s cut, they hired his former partner Bruno Mattei (“The Other Hell,” “Robowar”) to shoot additional scenes of graphic gore and released it in Italy as “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3”. The result is part sicko giallo, part depraved slasher and 100% batsh*t insanity. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Severin Films … “Night of the Creeps Collector’s Edition” (1986), starring Jason Lively, Tom Atkins, Steve Marshall and Jill Whitlow, contains both theatrical and director’s cut versions of the film. When an alien experiment goes awry, it crashes to Earth in 1959 and infects a young college student. Twenty-seven years later, his cryogenically frozen body is thawed out by fraternity pledges … and the campus is quickly overrun by alien creatures whose victims turn into zombies. Director Fred Dekker’s thoroughly enjoyable throwback chiller deftly mixes all sorts of genres while simultaneously having fun with them (the college and all the leading characters are named after famous horror movie directors). On Blu-ray from Scream Factory … photo for American Horror Project Volume 2 [Limited Edition] Continuing its mission to unearth the very best in weird and wonderful horror obscura from the golden age of US independent genre moviemaking, Arrow Video presents the long-awaited second volume in its American Horror Project series co-curated by author Stephen Thrower (“Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents”): “American Horror Project Volume 2 [Limited Edition].”Starting off with a little-seen 1970 offering from underrated cult auteur John Hayes, “Dream No Evil” is a haunting, moving tale of a young woman’s desperate quest to be reunited with her long-lost father — only to find herself drawn into a fantasyland of homicidal madness. 1976’s “Dark August” stars Academy Award-winner Kim Hunter in a story of a man pursued by a terrifying and deadly curse in the wake of a hit-and-run accident. Lastly, 1977’s Harry Novak-produced “The Child” is a gloriously delirious slice of horror mayhem in which a young girl raises an army of the dead against the people she holds responsible for her mother’s death. All three films have been newly remastered from the best surviving film elements. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “Robowar” (1988 — Italy), starring Reb Brown, Catherine Hickland, Massimo Vanni and Jim Gaines, is a brain-melting mash-up of “Predator,” “Robocop” and Philippines war movie mayhem. When a team of badass commandos is hired for a jungle rescue mission, they instead find themselves hunted by a kill-crazed creature that is part man, part machine and all glorious 80s ItaloSleaze. Now scanned in 4k from the original negative. There will also be a limited Edition of 3,000 units with a Bonus CD soundtrack composed by Al Festa. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Severin Films.

Special Interest:

photo for Hot Doug's: The Movie “Hot Doug’s: The Movie” (2018) is inspired by chef Doug Sohn’s love of “encased meats” and his desire to serve a better hot dog turned into a culinary and cultural phenomenon in Chicago. Hot Doug’s opened in 2001 and quickly became a phenomenon, ushering in the era of gourmet-casual dining and attracting fans from around the world, including Anthony Bourdain, who included it as “one of the 13 places to eat before you die.” Love for Doug and his crew, who operated like family, made the restaurant an institution, with hungry fans waiting in line for hours to try culinary delicacies that transcended the average hot dog, made with ingredients including foie gras, venison, curry pork, and escargot. From Random 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 June 24, 2019 No Responses »
Jun 172019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Us” and “Wonder Park.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

There’s a delcious bounty of collectible DVDs and Blu-rays this week. Let’s start off with three releases the master of modern French cinema, Jean-Luc Godard:

“Detective” (1985 — France)” Godard’s “Detective” is an invigorating deconstruction of film noir that adds a dash of “Grand Hotel” (1932) melodrama and “Body and Soul” (1947) boxing drama, all tied into an arresting Godardian knot. In a luxury Paris hotel, two detectives (Laurent Terzieff and Jean-Pierre Leaud) are working on the vexing case of an assassinated prince. In a nearby room, boxing trainer Jim Fox Warner (Johnny Hallyday) is getting his young protege´ ready for a fight. But Jim owes big money to the mob, as well as to the Chenals, a bickering husband and wife (Claude Brasseur and Nathalie Baye). In Godard’s fractured, poetic style, the tension ratchets up between these groups until they reach a bloody breaking point … “First Name: Carmen” (1983 — France) Godard’s “First Name: Carmen” is a photo for Detective radical reinvention of Bizet’s opera, updating the story of sexual obsession with bank robbery and kidnapping. Godard himself appears as doddering Uncle Jean, who lends his house to his niece Carmen (Maruschka Detmers) while he is recovering in a mental institution. Carmen and her gang of youthful pals stage a bloody robbery of a bank, during which she falls in love with one of the security guards (Jacques Bonnaffé). Her gang is in the planning stages of an even bigger crime — the kidnapping of an industrialist (or his daughter), using the shooting of a documentary on luxury hotels as a pretext. This bizarre crime spree of sex and death is told via Godard’s dizzying deconstructive style and DP Raoul Coutard’s eye-popping colors, creating a singular work of art to rival Bizet … “Helas Pour Moi” (1993 — France) Godard’s “Hélas pour moi” is a provocative film about faith and desire. Inspired by the Greek myth of Alcmene and Amphitryon, it photo for La vie de Jésus investigates the story of a god inhabiting the body of a man to experience the pleasures of the flesh. The incident is told through the eyes of a publisher, Abraham Klimt (Bernard Verley), who is interviewing the inhabitants of a Swiss village regarding the strange story of Rachel (Laurence Masliah) and Simon Donnadieu (Gérard Depardieu). One summer Simon leaves on a business trip, but soon after a doppelgänger arrives in the village purporting to be Simon. He appears to be a god in human form, and he pursues Rachel in a series of philosophical seductions that explore divine and physical ecstasy. One of Godard’s most beautiful films (shot by DP Caroline Champetier), “Hélas pour moi” is a thought- provoking and sensuous work of art. All three films are available on DVD and Blu-ray from Kino Classics … The Criterion Collection has on hand two amazing films from French filmmaker Bruno Dumont: “La vie de Jésus” (1997): With his stunning debut feature, the risk-taking auteur Dumont immediately established his reputation as an uncompromising iconoclast on the cutting edge of French cinema. Blending unflinching realism with moments of startling, light-filled beauty, La vie de Jésusfinds unexpected philosophical richness in the quotidian, small-town existence of Freddy (nonprofessional David Douche in a revelatory, one-off performance), an aimless young man with epilepsy who, in his childlike simplicity, embodies both great tenderness and terrifying photo for L'humanité brutality. Leaving the film’s cryptic title tantalizingly open to interpretation, Dumont dares viewers to see the divine in a seemingly dead-end world. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, approved by Dumont, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray … “L’humanité” (1999): The transcendent second feature by Dumont probes the wonder and horror of the human condition through the story of a profoundly alienated police detective (the indelibly sad-eyed Emmanuel Schotté, winner of an upset best actor prize at Cannes for his first film performance) who, while investigating the murder of a young girl, experiences jolting, epiphanous moments of emotional and physical connection. Demonstrating Dumont’s deftness with nonactors and relentlessly frank depiction of bodies and sexuality, L’humanité is at once an idiosyncratic police procedural and a provocative exploration of the tension between humankind’s capacity for compassion and our base, sometimes barbarous animal instincts. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, approved by Dumont, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray.

Over a decade after re-defining the thriller with “The Third Man,” director Carol Reed returned to the genre with “The Running Man” (1963). Reuniting with that film’s cinematographer Robert Krasker (BAFTA-nominated for his work here), Reed goes in the opposite direction visually, framing the twisty plot in sun-kissed widescreen color. Rex Black (Laurence Harvey) has successfully faked his death in a plane crash and escaped to sunny Málaga under a new identity, waiting for his wife Stella (Lee Remick) to arrive with £50,000 of life insurance money. photo for The Running Man	It’s the start of a blissful, trouble-free new life for the couple — until Stephen (Alan Bates), the insurance agent in charge of investigating Rex’s death, suddenly arrives in town. Is he just holidaying in Spain, as he claims, or is he on assignment to foil Rex’s scheme? Adapted by John Mortimer (later the creator of “Rumpole of the Bailey”) from the novel “The Ballad of the Running Man” by Shelley Smith, this underappreciated entry in Reed’s celebrated oeuvre makes its official worldwide home video premiere. 2K restoration of the film by Sony Pictures. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment … Making its Blu-ray debut this week is the rather bizzare but absorbing “Thirst” (2009 — South Korea), from Chan-wook Park, the director of “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance,” “Oldboy,” “Lady Vengeance” and “Stoker” In this shockingly original vampire story with a chilling, erotic style, a blood transfusion saves the life of a priest (Kang-ho Song), but also transforms him into a vampire. He struggles to control his insatiable thirst for photo for Thirst blood until a love affair unleashes his darkest desires in deadly new ways. Daring and operatic, “Thirst” is a truly wicked love story that takes classic vampire lore to twisted new heights. From Kino Lorber Studio Classics … “Between the Lines” (1977) is the second feature film from pioneering American independent director Joan Micklin Silver. Set in the offices of a Boston alternative newspaper where the writers and editors enjoy a positive and open-minded work environment. Music critic Max (Jeff Goldblum) uses his influence to score dates, while news reporter Harry (John Heard) is dating the lovely Abbie (Lindsay Crouse), the publication’s lead photographer. However, it seems as though their relatively carefree days are numbered when the owner of a major publishing company buys the paper, leading to more money, but even more changes. Co-stars Gwen Welles, Bruno Kirby, Marilu Henner and Michael J. Pollard. In a 2K restoration. On DVD, Blu-ray, Digital, from Cohen Film Collection … And, lasltly, for all you classic horror fns out there, there’s “Universal Horror Collection Vol. 1,” a four-disc set with hi-def verions of four films celebrating horror icons Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi: “The Black Cat” (1934), “The Raven” (1935), “The Invisible Ray” (1936) and “Black Friday” (1940). On Blu-ray from Scream Factory.

From TV to Disc:

“Suits: Season Eight” (2018) is a four-disc set with all 16 episodes of the series that centers on a fast-paced Manhattan corporate law firm led by legendary lawyer Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), his intelligent but delicate partner, Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman), and secretary-turned-COO Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty). After surviving leadership turmoil and the loss of key partners, the trio continues to tackle top corporate cases. After muscling her way into the firm, powerhouse attorney Samantha Wheeler (Katherine Heigl) joins the ranks of Specter Litt and challenges the status quo. From Universal … “Swingtown: The photo for Swingtown: The First Season First Season” (2018) is a four-disc set with all 13 episodes. The 1970s themed series follows married couple Susan Miller (Molly Parker) and Jack Miller (Jack Davenport) as they move into a suburban neighborhood in Chicago next door to Trina Decker (Lana Parrilla) and Tom Decker (Grant Show), a couple with a peculiar marriage arrangement. Seeking new connections with each other in the midst of the sexual revolution, the swinger couples explore newfound relationships through open marriages, rendezvous and provocative gatherings. From CBS/Paramount … “Will & Grace (The Revival): Season Two” (2018) is a two-disc set with all 16 episodes. Yasss, Queen! The witty ensemble of Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally reprise their infamous roles as Will, Grace, Jack and Karen for Season 2 of the revival. This season they return with new looks, new loves, and new guest stars. The legendary James Burrows, director of every original “Will & Grace” episode, returns with a slew of razor-sharp jabs and dirty martinis. From Universal.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

With the current rise of cryptocurrency, people will always find ways to exploit the system and the global economy. In “Crypto” (2019), starring Beau Knapp, Alexis Bledel, Luke Hemsworth, Kurt Russell and Vincent Kartheiser, when Wall Street banker Martin (Knapp) is sent to a bank branch in upstate New York, he uncovers suspicious cash flow through a local gallery selling million-dollar paintings. As Martin traces links to a violent global mob, he realizes he’s put his nearby family in grave danger. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … photo for Lords of Chaos In “Lords of Chaos” (2019), starring Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, Sky Ferreira and Sam Coleman, it’s Oslo, 1987, and 17-year-old Euronymous is determined to escape his idyllic Scandinavian hometown and create “true Norwegian black metal” with his band, Mayhem. He’s joined by equally fanatical youths — Dead and Varg. Believing that they’re on the cusp of a musical revolution, the group gets even darker, driven by the black metal dogma to spread evil. They begin burning down churches throughout the countryside and stealing tombstones for their record store. But when the press catches up with them and Euronymous takes more credit than he’s earned for the group’s violent acts, Varg, fresh out of jail, arranges a dark encounter to settle the score and ultimately determine who the darkest black metal musician is. Inspired by a true story. From Unobstructed View … Welcome to Slaughterhouse, an elite boarding school where boys and girls are groomed for power and greatness… and they’re about to meet their match. In “Slaughterhouse Rulez” (2019), starring Asa Butterfield, Finn Cole, Hermione Corfield, Michael Sheen, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, this ancient and ordered world is about to be shaken to its foundations — literally — when a controversial frack site on prized school woodland causes seismic tremors, a mysterious sinkhole and an unspeakable horror is unleashed. Soon a new pecking order will be established as pupils, teachers and the school matron become locked in a bloody battle for survival. From Sony … “The Beach Bum” (2019), starring Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Stefania LaVie Owen, Jimmy Buffett, Zac Efron and Martin Lawrence, folloes the misadventures of Moondog (McConaughey), a rebellious stoner rogue who always lives life by his own rules. Directed by Harmony Korine (“Kids,” “Spring Breakers”). On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … photo for Run the Race The faith family drama “Run the Race” (2018) tells the dramatic journey of two high school athletes and brothers who see their relationship tested as they seek different paths out of their troubled lives. Reeling from his mother’s death and his father’s abandonment, Zach, an All-State athlete, finds glory on the football field, working to earn a college scholarship and the brothers’ ticket out of town. When a devastating injury puts Zach -— and his dreams — on the sidelines, brother David laces up his track cleats to salvage their future and point Zach toward hope. Stars Mykelti Williamson, Frances Fisher, Kristoffer Polaha and Tanner Stine. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … “Hotel Mumbai” (2018), starring Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Anupam Kher and Jason Isaacs, is the true story of humanity and heroism that vividly recounts the 2008 siege of the famed Taj Hotel by a group of terrorists in Mumbai, India. Among the dedicated hotel staff is the renowned chef Hemant Oberoi (Kher) and a waiter (Patel) who choose to risk their lives to protect their guests. As the world watches on, a desperate couple (Hammer and Boniadi) is forced to make unthinkable sacrifices to protect their newborn child. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Universal … In “Under the Silver Lake” (2018), starring Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough and Topher Grace, Sam (Garfield) is a disenchanted 33-year-old who discovers a mysterious woman, Sarah (Keough), frolicking in his apartment’s swimming pool. When she vanishes, he embarks on a surreal quest across Los Angeles to decode the secret behind her disappearance, leading him into the murkiest depths of mystery, scandal and conspiracy in the City of Angels. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate.

On the Indie Front:

In “Felix Austria!” (2013), compelled by the inheritance of a mysterious box of letters, American aesthete Brian Pfeifle, a young man from Modesto, California, begins the journey of a lifetime to reach the source of the correspondence: the last heir of the Holy Roman Emperors, aging Archduke Otto von Habsburg, in this quirky documentary. Assuming the name of Felix Etienne-Eduoard Pfeifle, spiritual heir to the Habsburg Empire, the quest takes him from the barrio of Los Angeles to Vienna itself, with an unlikely detour to upstate New York, allowing him, along with viewers, to explore matters that are exceptionally timely within the context of contemporary American culture –questions of identity, sexuality, appropriation and use — as well as issues that resonate within our own lives. What does it take to construct, and become, an independent self? From IndiePix Films.

Foreign Films:

“Modest Heroes” (2018 — Japan) is a collection of three animated stories exploring ideas of heroism in their own unique way. “Kanini & Kanino” is directed by Academy Award-nominee Hiromasa Yonebayashi (“When Marnie Was There”, “Mary and The Witch’s Flower”); “Life Ain’t Gonna Lose,” featuring the voice of Maggie Q (“Nikita,” “Designated Survivor”), is helmed by Yoshiyuki Momose, who was a key animator on Isao Takahata’s films at Studio Ghibli; and “Invisible” director Akihiko Yamashita was a key animator on many of Hayao Miyazaki’s best-known photo for Modest Heroes films. Each is produced by Studio Ponoc’s Yoshiaki Nishimura. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from GKIDS/Shout! Factory … K-pop star Do Kyung-soo, Jared Grimes, Park Hye-Su, Oh Jung-Se and Kim Min-Ho star in “Swing Kids” (2018 — South Korea), a swinging musical drama set during the Korean War in which the soldiers at a POW camp plan a tap show to distract both themselves and the prisoners from the hardships of war. Led by a former Broadway dancer and a rebellious North Korean soldier, the band of prisoners find a new sense of freedom in dancing. On Blu-ray from Well Go USA … In “Kanarie” (2018 — South Africa), starring Schalk Bezuidenhout, Hannes Otto and Germandt Geldenhuys, drafted during apartheid by the South African Army, Johan Niemand’s love for Boy George and Depeche Mode lands him a spot in the SADF Choir called the Canaries. Against a landscape where law and religion oppress individuality, Johan and the Canaries have to survive military training and go on a nationwide tour of the country, entertaining people whilst fortifying the belief in the military effort and promoting the cause of both Church and State. An unexpected romance on the battlefield forces Johan to reckon with his long-repressed sexual identity. From Breaking Glass Pictures.

Special Interest:

“The Brink” (2018): When Steve Bannon left his position as White House chief strategist less than a week after the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017, he was already a notorious figure in Trump’s inner circle, known for bringing a far-right ideology into the highest echelons of American politics. Unconstrained by an official post — though some say he still has a direct line to the White House — he became free to peddle influence as a perceived kingmaker and market his nativist views as a global movement. The documentary follows Bannon through the 2018 mid-term elections in the US, shedding light on his efforts to mobilize and unify far-right parties in order to win seats in the May 2019 European Parliamentary elections. To maintain his power and influence, the former Goldman Sachs banker and media investor reinvents himself — as he has many times before — this time as the self-appointed leader of a global populist movement. 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 June 17, 2019 No Responses »
Jun 032019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral” and “Gloria Bell.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

“The Andromeda Strain” (1971), starring Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olsen and Kate Reid, is one of th most stunning — and innovative — SF films of all time … and one of our favorites. Before he created Westworld and Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton first blurred the line between science fiction and science fact with his breakout success “The Andromeda Strain.” Two years after the novel’s publication, Robert Wise directed the film adaptation, a nail-biting blend of clinically-realized docudrama and astonishing sci-fi visuals that ushered in a photo for The Andromeda Strain new subgenre: the “killer virus” biological thriller. A government satellite crashes outside a small town in New Mexico — and within minutes, every inhabitant of the town is dead, except for a crying baby and an elderly derelict. The satellite and the two survivors are sent to Wildfire, a top-secret underground laboratory equipped with a nuclear self-destruct mechanism to prevent the spread of infection in case of an outbreak. Realizing that the satellite brought back a lethal organism from another world, a team of government scientists race against the clock to understand the extraterrestrial virus — codenamed “Andromeda” — before it can wipe out all life on the planet. Aided by innovative visual effects by Douglas Trumbull (“2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Silent Running”) and an unforgettable avant-garde electronic music score by Gil Melle, Wise’s suspense classic still haunts to this day, and is presented here in a stunning, exclusive new 4K scan and restoration from the original negative. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman”: In 1960, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman began work on three of his most powerful and representative films, eventually presented as a trilogy. Already a figure of international acclaim for such masterpieces as “The Seventh Seal” and “The Magician,” Bergman turned his photo for A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman back on the expressionism of his fifties work to focus on a series of chamber dramas exploring belief and alienation in the modern age. Collaborating with the distinguished cinematographer Sven Nykvist, and eliciting searing performances from his refined cast of regulars—Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Gunnel Lindblom, Ingrid Thulin, and Max Von Sydow among them — Bergman unleashed “Through a Glass Darkly” (1961), “Winter Light” (1963), and “The Silence” (1963) in rapid succession, exposing moviegoers worldwide to a new level of intellectual and emotional intensity. Drawing on Bergman’s own upbringing and ongoing spiritual crises, the films of the trilogy examine the necessity of religion and question the promise of faith. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restorations of all three films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays. From The Criterion Collection … photo for Trapped Alive Genre regular Cameron Mitchell stars in “Trapped Alive” (1988), thrilling tale of escaped hoodlums and underground-dwelling cannibals from director Leszek Burzynski and “Hellraiser” producer Christopher Webster. One wintry night, pals Robin and Monica are making their way to a Christmas party when they’re carjacked by a gang of crooks recently escaped from the local penitentiary. With the two young women taken as hostages, things take an even darker turn when their vehicle plummets down an abandoned mine shaft, trapping them underground with the dangerous crooks — and a mutant cannibal. Filmed in 1988 under the title of “Forever Mine” but not released until 1993, “Trapped Alive” was the first film to come out of Wisconsin’s now-defunct Windsor Lake Studios, which would go on to produce a number of films under the Fangoria Films label in the early-90s, including 1992’s Bruce Campbell-starring “Mindwarp.” Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

From TV to Disc:

“The Brady Bunch: 50th Anniversary TV & Movie Collection” is a 30-disc collection that features all five years of the series (1969-74) and the first-ever DVD release of “The Bradys” and “The photo for The Brady Bunch: 50th Anniversary TV & Movie Collection Brady Brides” spinoff series as well as all “The Brady Bunch” movies. “The Brady Bunch” made television history when it debuted 50 years ago on September 26, 1969. When widower Mike Brady (Robert Reed) marries a lovely lady named Carol Ann (Florence Henderson), their two families become one. The six children include Carol’s daughters Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Jan (Eve Plumb) and Cindy (Susan Olsen), as well as Mike’s sons Greg (Barry Williams), Peter (Christopher Knight), and Bobby (Mike Lookinland). Together with their dog Tiger and quirky housekeeper Alice (Ann B. Davis), this wild clan became the Brady Bunch. Along with all five seasons of the series, the set includes “The Brady Kids: The Complete Animated Series,” “The Bradys” and “The Brady Brides” spinoffs, alongside five television films “The Brady Bunch Movie,” “A Very Brady Christmas,” “The Brady Bunch in the White House,” “Growing Up Brady” and “A Very Brady Sequel.” From CBS/Paramount … “Lost in Space, The Complete First Season” (2018), a reimagining of the original family space adventure, is set 30 years in the future and ­finds the Robinsons torn off course en route to what they hoped would be a fresh start on a distant space colony. Against all odds, but with endless hope and extensive training, the family bands together to survive on a dangerous alien planet. All 10 episodes on four-DVDs of three Blu-rays. From Fox … “Sara Stein — From Berlin to Tel Aviv: The Complete Series” (2018) is a two-disc set with four photo for Sara Stein -- From Berlin to Tel Aviv: The Complete Series feature-length episodes of the internationally flavored crime series. As a criminal investigator of Jewish descent working in Berlin, Sara Stein was used to operating independently of everyone else. Her keen instincts and sound judgement enabled her to navigate sure-footedly through many sensitive cases. But it was not until she found herself investigating the murder of an Israeli DJ that politics and religion played such an important role in her life. Now, facing new challenges as a detective in Tel Aviv, Sara continues to strive for truth and justice while dreaming of peace for her beloved new home, Israel. From Omnibus Entertainment … “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season One” (2018) includes all eight episodes on three-disc DVD, two-disc Blu-ray. John Krasinski stars as Tom Clancy’s iconic CIA analyst in the new hit series already renewed for a second and third season on Amazon Prime Video. When CIA analyst Jack Ryan stumbles upon a suspicious series of bank transfers his search for answers pulls him from the safety of his desk job and catapults him into a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout Europe and the Middle East, with a rising terrorist figurehead preparing for a massive attack against the U.S. and her allies. From Paramount.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “The Cleaning Lady” (2018), starring Alexis Kendra, Rachel Alig, Stelio Savante and JoAnne McGrath, Alice (Kendra) seems like a woman who has it all: a gorgeous apartment, a booming career, a stunning physique, and a handsome boyfriend. The only problem is he’s married to someone else. Looking for a way to simplify her life, Alice hires Shelly to clean her house. As Alice begins to confide in Shelly about her illicit affair, their friendship grows… and so does Shelly’s twisted obsession with her new employer. It soon becomes clear that Shelly has motives that reach further than a normal cleaning lady. Shelly wants to cleanse Alice’s entire life and will stop at nothing until she’s done. From RLJE Films … photo for JTLeroy In “JTLeroy” (2018), starring Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Jim Sturgess, Courtney Love and Diane Kruger, a young woman named Savannah Knoop (Stewart) spends six years pretending to be the celebrated author and cult status character JT LeRoy, the made-up literary persona of her sister-in-law (Dern). The three books were purportedly semi-autobiographical accounts by a teenage boy of his experiences of poverty, drug use, and emotional and sexual abuse in his childhood and adolescence from rural West Virginia to California. Based on a true story. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” (2019), starring Hilary Duff, Jonathan Bennett and Lydia Hearst, based on one of Hollywood’s most chilling murder cases, follows pregnant 26-year-old actress Sharon Tate (Duff), a rising star about to have her first baby with her husband, director Roman Polanski. Plagued by terrifying premonitions, Sharon sees her worst nightmares come to life with the appearance of Charles Manson and his deadly cult. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “I’ll Take Your Dead” (2019), starring Aidan Devine, Ava Preston, Jess Salgueiro and Ari Millen, William has a simple job: he makes dead bodies disappear. This isn’t something he likes or even wants to do, but through circumstances out of his photo for I’ll Take Your Dead control, his little farm house in the country has become a dumping ground for the casualties of the gang related murders in the nearby city. After a woman’s body is dumped at the house, William begins his meticulous process when he realizes she’s not actually dead. As the gang activity increases, William patches the woman up and holds her against her will until he can figure out what to do with her. As they begin to develop a very unusual respect for each other, the woman’s murderers get word that she’s still alive and make plan to finish what they started. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Shout! Factory … Paying homage to the grindhouse features of the 1960s and 70s, “Rondo” (2018), starring Luke Sorge, Brenna Otts, Ketrick “Jazz” Copeland and Gena Shaw, is a darkly sexual, craftily stylized and wildly entertaining crime and revenge melodrama. Paul, a troubled young veteran, is told by a psychiatrist that sex is the solution to his dependency and drinking problems. But things turns out otherwise as Paul and his sister are sucked into a criminal underworld where sex and murder are daily specials and revenge is served piping hot. From Artsploitation Films … In “The Kid” (2018), starring Jake Schur, Leila Georg, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawk and Dane DeHaan, a young boy, Rio (Schur), is forced to go on the run across the American Southwest in a desperate attempt to save his sister (George) from his villainous uncle (Pratt). Along the way, he encounters Sheriff Pat Garrett (Hawke), on the hunt for the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid (DeHaan). Rio finds himself increasingly entwined in the lives of these two legendary figures as the cat-and-mouse game of Billy the Kid’s final year of life plays out. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate.

On the Indie Front:

In “All You Ever Wished For” (2018), starring Darren Criss, Madalina Ghenea and James Remar, Tyler Hutton (Criss) is a young New York fashion executive whose business trip to Milan takes an unexpected turn when he is kidnapped for ransom and whisked off to a remote Alpine village. Little does he or his three bumbling abductors know that the rustic cottage where they spend the night is under a gypsy love spell. Upon waking up the next morning, each of the men fall in love with the first living soul that meets their eyes: which are, for the kidnappers: a homely spinster; a handsome woodsman; and one cute cow. Tyler, as luck would have it, gets smitten by Rosalia (Ghenea), a raven-haired beauty with a sharp tongue and reluctant heart. From Omnibus Entertainment.

Foreign Films:

In “Guy” (2018 — France), starring Tom Dingler and Alex Lutz, Gauthier (Dingler), a young journalist, finds a letter suggesting he might be the son of Guy Jamet (Lutz in a Cesar award-winning performance), a 72-year-old French pop singer who was famous from the 60s to the 80s. As the old-time singer embarks on a tour to promote his newly released covers album, Guathier follows his maybe-biological father under the pretext of filming a documentary about Guy’s career. From Icarus Films … photo for Woman At War “Woman At War” (2018 — Iceland), starring Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, Jóhann Sigurðarson and Juan Camillo Roman Estrada, is the humorous story of one woman’s unique fight against climate change. The seemingly mild-mannered Halla blends in with her community during the day; at night, however, she is the vigilante known only as “The Woman of the Mountain”, whose goal is to take down the aluminum industry. When she is presented with a world-changing opportunity — the chance to adopt a child in Ukraine — she must choose whether or not to continue her life in the shadows or move towards the new light in her life. From Magnolia Home Entertainment.

For the Family:

“Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2018) is an all-New, feature-length animated thriller that finds Gotham City reaching New levels of danger when Shredder joins forces with Ra’s al Ghul to enact a nefarious plan — leading to the team-up of the Dark Knight and the Turtles to combat the combined might of the Foot Clan and League of Assassins. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Warner … “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie” (1995) makes its Blu-ray debut photo for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie this week. Power up with six incredible teens who out-maneuver and defeat evil everywhere as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. But this time, the Power Rangers may have met their match when they face off with the most sinister monster the galaxy has ever seen — Ivan Ooze. From Shout! Factory … “The Best of the New Scooby-Doo Movies: The Lost Episodes” (2019) features eight never-before released episodes that are now available together on DVD for the first time. The Mystery Inc. Gang teams up with stellar celebrity guest stars who help them solve the most intriguing cases. The gang joins forces with heartthrob Davy Jones as well as Josie and the Pussycats. Released just in time for Scooby-Doo’s 50th anniversary. All eight episodes are included in “The New Scooby-Doo Movies: The (Almost) Complete Collection” (see below). From Warner … “The New Scooby-Doo Movies: The (Almost) Complete Collection” (2019) includes — for the first time ever — nearly all episodes from “The New Scooby-Doo Movies,” the Scooby-Doo series featuring celebrity guests, now available to own in one collection. Includes 23 episodes. That loveable Great Dane and the Mystery Inc. gang encounter some of pop culture’s most legendary names, including Jonathan Winters, Dick Van Dyke, The Three Stooges, Cass Elliot of The Mamas & the Papas, Laurel & Hardy, Harlem Globetrotters, Batman and Robin and many more, as they embark on their mystery-solving adventures. Released just in time for Scooby-Doo’s 50th anniversary. On DVD, Blu-ray, Digital from Warner.

Special Interest:

“Terror in the Skies” (2018) is a documentary that explores hundreds of years of terrifying reports of encounters with massive, winged creatures around the Land of Lincoln. From Alton’s man-eating Piasa Bird legends to recent Chicago sightings of a creature said to resemble West Virginia’s infamous Mothman, “Terror in the Skies” takes an in-depth look at a centuries-old mystery. Small Town Monsters made waves in 2017 with their documentary “The Mothman of Point Pleasant,” which “Terror in the Skies” acts as a “spiritual sequel” to and one that will be concluded in 2020 by the final chapter in their Mothman trilogy, “The Mothman Legacy.” From Small Town Monsters … “Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert 1970” celebrates the life and work of the legendary folk singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie, whose songs have become part of the bedrock of American life. Three years after Guthrie died of Huntington’s disease in 1967, the California chapter of the Committee to Combat Huntington’s Disease, now known as the Hereditary Disease Foundation, helped stage this concert at the Hollywood photo for Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert 1970 Bowl in Los Angeles to raise funds for Huntington’s research. Although the concert took place one night only, four-time Emmy award winner Jim Brown filmed this historic event, with performances by Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Country Joe McDonald, Odetta, Richie Havens, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Earl Robinson, and The Band along with narration by actors Will Geer and Peter Fonda. From MVD Visual, due June 7 … “Screwball” (2018) is an irreverent, award-winning story of illegal drugs and famous baseball stars. Recounting the high-profile doping scandal that rocked Major League Baseball, director Billy Corben (“Cocaine Cowboys,” “Magic City Hustle”) takes us into the surreal Miami underworld that provided performance-enhancing drugs to Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and other star players. The documentary plays like a madcap Floridian crime comedy in the vein of Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen and the Coen Brothers while it raises serious questions about the ethics of professional sports. From Greenwich Entertainment … “Cherry Grove Stories” (2018) is an LGBTQ documentary that entertainingly recounts time in Cherry Grove, including queer origins, Tennessee Williams visits, decadent parties, sexual liberation, HIV alienation and the continual swinging of indecent law enforcement … all told through first person accounts and a treasure trove of fabulous, unseen archival footage of the beloved haven. In an era when it was illegal for two men to hold hands in public, the pristine beachfront hamlet of Cherry Grove on Fire Island, N.Y., was a safe haven for gays who were often targeted for arrest and prosecution. From Breaking Glass Pictures.

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 June 3, 2019 No Responses »
May 282019
 

From the Big Screen:

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

This Week’s Best Bets

There’s a host of great collectible releases this week; in alphabetical order:

“Blue Velvet” (1986) Home from college, Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) makes an unsettling discovery: a severed human ear, lying in a field. In the mystery that follows, by turns terrifying and darkly funny, David Lynch burrows deep beneath the picturesque surfaces of small-town life. Driven to investigate, Jeffrey finds himself drawing closer to his fellow amateur sleuth, Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), photo for Blue Velvet as well as their prime suspect, lounge singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini)– and facing the fury of Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), a psychopath who will stop at nothing to keep Dorothy in his grasp. With intense performances and hauntingly powerful scenes and images, “Blue Velvet” is an unforgettable vision of innocence lost, and one of the most influential American films of the past few decades. On DVD, Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, both supervised by director David Lynch. From The Criterion Collection … “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t” (1977) In the early 1960s in Paris, two young women become friends. Pomme is an aspiring singer. Suzanne is a pregnant country girl unable to support a third child. Pomme lends Suzanne the money for an illegal abortion, but a sudden tragedy soon separates them. Over a decade later, they reunite at a demonstration and pledge to keep in touch via postcard, as each of their lives is irrevocably changed by the women’s liberation movement. A buoyant hymn to sisterly solidarity rooted in the hard-won victories of a generation of women, “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t” is one of Agnès Varda’s warmest and most politically trenchant films, a feminist photo for One Sings, the Other Doesn't musical for the ages. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc., with new 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Agnès Varda and cinematographer Charlie Van Damme, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … “La prisonnière (Woman in Chains)” (1968) The final film of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s (“Diabolique,” “The Wages of Fear”) brilliant career, “La Prisonnière” is a sensuously colorful film of voyeuristic sexual obsession. It maps a love triangle between abstract sculptor Gilbert (Bernard Fresson), his TV editor girlfriend Josée (Elisabeth Wiener), and art gallery owner Stanislas (Laurent Terzieff). At an art opening, Gilbert ditches Josée, so she ends up going home with Stanislas, who shows her a photograph of a woman in bondage. The image is shocking and alluring, and Josée asks to attend his next erotic photo shoot, her first step in unlocking the depths of her desires. Making full use of the psychedelic optical effects that Clouzot developed for the unfinished “L’Enfer,” “La Prisonnière” is a visionary swansong for this legendary cinema artist. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Classics … “Madame X” (1960) Screen goddess Lana Turner stars in one of the best roles of her career in this stunning and emotional adaptation of Alexandre Bisson’s classic play. The ill-fated Holly Parker (Turner) is blackmailed by her evil mother-in-law (Constance Bennett) into photo for The Nun (La Religieuse) leaving her politician husband (John Forsythe) and their baby. Twenty years later, Holly finds herself on trial for her life … where she is defended by her own son (Keir Dullea). Directed by David Lowell Rich and co-starring Ricardo Montalban, Burgess Meredith, Virginia Grey and Warren Stevens. In a Blu-ray debut from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … “The Nun (La Religieuse)” (1965) Restored in 4K from the original negative, Jacques Rivette’s “The Nun,” initially banned in France, can now be seen in all its revolutionary glory. Adapted from Denis Diderot’s novel, it follows a rebellious nun (played by an incandescent Anna Karina) who is forced into taking her vows. Initially shunted into a restrictive, torturous convent, she eventually moves on to a more liberated one, where she becomes an object of Mother Superior’s (Liselotte Pulver) obsession. Banned for over a year by the French Minister of Information, and not released in the United States until 1971, it slowly became a landmark of the French New Wave, and with this stunning restoration, should also become an object of worship. In a Blu-ray debut from Kino Classics … “Penny Points to Paradise” (1961), starring Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Alfred Marks, Harry Secombe, Bill Kerr and Freddie Frinton. The feature film debut of the legendary Peter Sellers. After a big gambling win, Harry Flakers and his friend Spike Donnelly decide to go to the same shabby seaside boarding house that they have always patronized for their summer holiday, but this year all the other guests (including two young women out to marry money, a dodgy investment adviser and a photo for Penny Points to Paradisemaster forger and assistant) are intent on taking the fortune off them in one way or another. Also includes the 32 minute short “Let’s Go Crazy” also starring Sellers in a madcap comedy set in a nightclub combining variety acts with linking comedy sketches. First time ever on disc in North America. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Juno Films Selects … “Portrait in Black” (1960) Screen icons Lana Turner and Anthony Quinn star as an adulterous couple who conspire to kill her tyrannical husband. Soon after the murder, the lovers in crime receive an anonymous letter that says only, “Dear. Mrs. Cabot: Congratulations on the success of your murder.” With this alarming complication, their new life together begins unraveling as they become trapped in the realization that someone, somewhere, knows their dark secret. Directed by Michael Gordon with a screenplay by the writing team of Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts. The strong supporting cast includes Richard Basehart, Sandra Dee, John Saxon, Ray Walston, Virginia Grey, Anna May Wong and Lloyd Nolan. In a Blu-ray debut from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

From TV to Disc:

“Blood” (2018) is a two-disc set with six episodes of the Irish psychological crime thriller about the lies that can fracture a family. Cat Hogan (Caroline Main) returns to her hometown following the sudden death of her mother. But when the details about the accident don’t add up, Cat suspects her father (Adrian Dunbar), a well-respected doctor she has distrusted ever since a childhood trauma. Did he have a hand in her mother’s passing, or is Cat really the troublemaker her siblings perceive her to be? As she sets to find out the truth, Cat uncovers secrets long buried and risks destroying what’s left of her family ties. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Acorn Media.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “General Commander” (2019), starring Steven Seagal, Sonia Couling and Byron Gibson, CIA agent Jake Alexander (Seagal) sees a member of his team killed during a sting operation, and he demands revenge against the guilty mob boss. But the CIA won’t sanction the hit, so Jake and his crew quit the agency and form a task force with just one mission: vengeance. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “A Vigilante” (2018), starring Olivia Wilde, Morgan Spector and Kyle Catlett, after escaping her violent husband, Sadie (Wilde) makes it her life’s mission to help free others in danger. Now, after months of rigorous training in survival skills, boxing, and lethal martial arts, Sadie is back with a vengeance as an avenger who lives to defend victims of domestic abuse. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Lionsgate … In photo for A Record of Sweet Murder “A Record of Sweet Murder” (2014 –Japan/South Korea), Sang-joon has recently escaped from a mental institution and managed to amass a kill count in the high teens. A South Korean journalist and a Japanese cameraman are invited to an abandoned apartment to interview the murderer. They believe the wanted criminal has committed 18 murders, but the criminal claims he has already killed 25. He furthermore claims that if he completes the killing of all 27 on his list, not only will his dead friend be resurrected, but also all 27 will come back to life. On DVD, Blu-ray from Unearthed Films … In “The Unity of Heroes” (2018 — China), starring Vincent Zhao, Vini Li Lubing and Chen Chen, Zhao (“Once Upon A Time in China”) reprises his role as legendary folk hero Wong Fei Hung in this action-packed adventure in which a highly toxic drug is being distributed across the country by a corrupt pharmaceutical company and Wong Fei Hung and his students must stop the invasion. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA … In “The Uncanny” (1977), starring Peter Cushing, Ray Milland, Joan Greenwood, Donald Pleasence, Samantha Eggar and Susan Penhaligon, Wilbur Gray, a horror writer, has stumbled upon a terrible secret, that cats are supernatural creatures who really call the shots. In a desperate attempt to get others to believe him, Wilbur spews three tales of feline horror. Scanned from an inter-negative recently discovered in a London vault. On DVD, Blu-ray from Severin Films.

Foreign Films:

“Climax” (2018 — France), starring Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub and Claude Gajan Maull, is another truly unique and sensual vision from filmmaker Gaspar Noé (“Enter the Void”) that stirred up a buzz upon its premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. A hypnotic, shock-filled story of a party that descends into delirium over the course of one wintry night. In an empty and remote school building in the 1990s, a French dance troupe has gathered for rehearsal. The rehearsal morphs into a party — and then turns nightmarish as the dancers discover they’ve been drinking sangria laced with LSD. Passions and violence erupt as the night moves from jubilation to full-fledged anarchy. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate.

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 28, 2019 No Responses »

 
 Posted by on February 22, 2018 Comments Off on
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