From the Big Screen:
"Taken 3" and "Cake." For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week's Highlights:
There's two great releases from the folks at The Criterion Collection — releases that every film lover should have in their collection. First up is "The River" (1951), the entrancing first color feature from Jean Renoir, shot entirely on location in India, a visual tour de force. Based on the novel by Rumer Godden, the film eloquently contrasts the growing pains of three young women with the immutability of the holy Bengal River, around which their daily lives unfold. Enriched by Renoir's subtle understanding of and appreciation for India and its people, "The River" gracefully explores the fragile connections between transitory emotions and steadfast creation. In a high-definition digital transfer from the 2004 Film Foundation restoration, on DVD and Blu-ray, with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include an archival introduction to the film by the director; "Around the River," a 60-minute 2008 documentary by Arnaud Mandagaran about the making of the film; an interview from 2004 with Martin Scorsese; an audio interview from 2000 with producer Ken McEldowney; a new visual essay by film writer Paul Ryan, featuring rare behind-the-scenes stills; and an essay by film scholar Ian Christie and notes by Renoir on the film, discovered in the filmmaker's production files … The great Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu is best known for the stately, meditative domestic dramas he made after World War II. But during his first decade at Shochiku studios, where he dabbled in many genres, he put out a trio of precisely rendered, magnificently shot and edited silent crime films about the hopes, dreams, and loves of small-time crooks. Heavily influenced in narrative and visual style by the American films that Ozu adored, these movies — gathered together in "Eclipse Series 42: Silent Ozu — Three Crime Dramas" — are revelatory early examples of his cinematic genius, accompanied here by new piano scores by Neil Brand. The collector's set includes: "Walk Cheerfully" (1930): This was the Japanese master's first true homage to American crime movies, and it is a fleetly told, expressively shot work of humor and emotional depth; "That Night's Wife" (1930): In noirish darkness, a man commits a shocking robbery. But, as we soon learn, this seeming criminal mastermind is actually a sensitive everyman driven to commit desperate deeds for the sake of his family; "Dragnet Girl" (1933): This formally accomplished and psychologically complex gangster tale pivots on the growing attraction between Joji, a hardened career criminal, and Kazuko, the sweet-natured older sister of a newly initiated young hoodlum.
From TV to DVD:
"Fortitude" (2015) is a dark drama TV series set in the melting Arctic — featuring psychological and thriller elements — that tells the story of the small idyllic town of Fortitude, whose peaceful existence is shattered after a brutal and shocking murder. Above- average temperatures lead to a record ice melt revealing secrets long since hidden beneath the frozen landscape. Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer) leads the investigation and is forced to work alongside DCI Morton (Stanley Tucci), a detective who has flown into town from the mainland to contribute his forensic expertise. As the search for the killer progresses, their list of suspects — and suspicions of each other — grows. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from PBS Distribution … "Naked & Afraid: Season 1" (2013) is the Discovery Channel reality series about naked strangers set adrift in the middle of nowhere with no tools, no food, and no clothes. Two-disc set, $29.93 from Cinedigm … "Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Series" (2014) is a three-disc set with 10 episodes of the Hallmark series that follows the lives of four postal detectives who transform themselves into a team of detectives to track down intended recipients of undeliverable mail. Their missions take them out of the office and into an unpredictable world where redirected letters and packages can save lives, solve crimes, reunite old loves and change futures by arriving late but somehow always on time. The team includes charming Oliver O'Toole (Eric Mabius), a genius postal detective and the group s leader; new team member Shane McInerney (Kristin Booth), a technophile who brings 21st century sensibility to the group; free-spirited girl-next-door Rita Haywith (Crystal Lowe), who has a photographic memory; and lovable Norman Dorman (Geoff Gustafson), a master in conventional research methods. $24.95 from Cinedigm.