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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Aug 192019
 

From the Big Screen:

“A Dog’s Journey,” “The Hustle” and “Brightburn.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets:

Beatlemania never ends: (2018) The Beatles defined music and popular culture like no other band — but how exactly did they make the journey from Merseyside teenagers to international pop stars in the 60s? Featuring unique and revealing interviews from those involved in the early years of The Beatles, “The Beatles: Made on Merseyside” (2018) follows the Fab Four’s photo for The Beatles: Made on Merseyside ascent from Liverpool and Hamburg to the pinnacle of rock success. Recounting how American rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues dragged post-war Liverpool into one of the most vibrant music cities ever with the Mersey Sound, this acclaimed doc delves into the young history of the Fab Four, their early band iterations and why it took so long for them to break through the noise. From school bands, to colleges, Hamburg to The Cavern Club, The Beatles moved from skiffle to rock ‘n’ roll before creating their own unique sound that took the world by storm. With newly filmed contributions from the “fifth Beatle” Pete Best, Quarrymen Colin Hanton and Len Garry, Brian Epstein’s business associate Joe Flannery, The Beatles first ever secretary Freda Kelly, original Mersey Beat magazine owner Bill Harry, and flatmates of John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe, the film charts the original music and the energy and excitement that led to the explosion of Beatlemania and one of the most influential and beloved bands in history. From Omnibus Entertainment/Film Movement … There’s a trio of Blu-ray debuts this week: “Cruising” (1980): Academy Award-winner William Friedkin (“The Exorcist,” “The French Connection”) directs Al Pacino as an undercover cop pitched into New York’s seedy underbelly in Cruising – available for the first time on Blu-ray in a brand new director-approved transfer. photo for CruisingNew York is caught in the grip of a sadistic serial killer who is preying on the patrons of the city’s underground bars. Captain Edelson (Paul Sorvino) tasks young rookie Steve Burns (Pacino) with infiltrating the S&M subculture to try and lure the killer out of the shadows — but as he immerses himself deeper and deeper into the underworld, Steve risks losing his own identity in the process. Taking the premise and title from reporter Gerald Walker’s novel, “Cruising” was the subject of great controversy at the time of its release and remains a challenging and remarkable movie to this day, with Pacino’s haunted lead performance as its magnetic centerpiece. Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative, supervised and approved by writer-director William Friedkin; newly remastered 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio supervised by Friedkin. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “The Harder They Come photo for The Harder They Come [Collector’s Edition] BLU-RAY DEBUT [Collector’s Edition]” (1972): Jimmy Cliff stars as Ivan Martin in 1972’s “The Harder They Come,” the first feature film to come out of Jamaica. An aspiring singer who leaves his rural village for the big city of Kingston, Ivan is hoping to make a name for himself. Robbed of his money and possessions on his first day in town, he finds work with a self-righteous preacher and an unscrupulous music mogul who exploits young hopefuls. In desperation, the simple country boy turns outlaw, at war with both the police and his rivals in the ganja trade. Ivan’s dream of stardom soon becomes a reality as he rises to the top of both the pop charts — and the most-wanted lists. Directed and produced by Jamaican Perry Henzell, and written by Henzell and Trevor D. Rhone, the film also stars Janet Bartley, Carl Bradshaw, and Toots and The Maytals. Features a new transfer from the original 16mm negative. From Shout! Factory … photo for Magnificent Obsession “Magnificent Obsession” (1954): Reckless playboy Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson, in his breakthrough role) crashes his speedboat, requiring emergency attention from the town’s only resuscitator — at the very moment that a beloved local doctor has a heart attack and dies waiting for the lifesaving device. Thus begins one of Douglas Sirk’s most flamboyant master classes in melodrama, a delirious Technicolor mix of the sudsy and the spiritual in which Bob and the doctor’s widow, Helen (Jane Wyman), find themselves inextricably linked amid a series of increasingly wild twists, turns, trials, and tribulations. In a high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. From The Criterion Collection … And, lastly this week, we have “Akio Jissoji: The Buddhist Trilogy” (1970 — Japan). Akio Jissôji created a rich and diverse body of work during his five decades in Japan’s film and television industries. For some, he is best-known for his science-fiction: the 1960s TV series “Ultraman” and 1988’s box-office success “Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis.” For others, it is his 1990s adaptations of horror and mystery novelist Edogawa Rampo. And then there are his New Wave films for the Art Theatre Guild, three of which – “This Transient Life,” “Mandara” and “Poem,” photo for Akio Jissoji: The Buddhist Trilogy forming The Buddhist Trilogy – are collected here. Winner of the Golden Leopard award at the 1970 Locarno Film Festival, “This Transient Life” is among the Art Theatre Guild’s most successful – and most controversial – productions. The film concerns a brother and sister from a rich family who defy the expectations placed on them: he has little interest in further education or his father’s business, instead obsessing over Buddhist statues; she continually refuses a string of suitors and the prospect of marriage. Their closeness, and isolation, gives way to an incestuous relationship which, in turn, breeds disaster. “Mandara,” Jissôji’s first color feature, maintained the controversial subject matter, focusing on a cult who recruit through rape and hope to achieve true ecstasy through sexual release. Shot, as with all of Jissôji’s Art Theatre Guild works, in a radically stylized manner, the film sits somewhere between the pinku genre and the fiercely experimental approach of his Japanese New Wave contemporaries. The final entry in the trilogy, “Poem”, returns to black and white and is centred on the austere existence of a young houseboy who becomes helplessly embroiled in the schemes of two brothers in this exploration of faith in a post-industrial world. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

From TV to Disc:

“Arrow: The Complete Seventh Season” (2018-19) is a five-disc DVD, four-disc Blu-ray, with all 22 episodes. Following Oliver Queen’s shocking decision to turn himself over to the FBI and reveal his identity as the Green Arrow to the public, he has spent the past five months in prison while his team was left behind to protect Star City. In the wake of Ricardo Diaz’s escape, Oliver has yet again turned into someone else inside Slabside Maximum Security Prison. Determined to keep a low profile to shorten his sentence for the sake of his family, Oliver’s limits will be tested when he and Team Arrow are pitted against the most ruthless villains they have yet to face. From Warner … photo for Blue Bloods: The Ninth Season “Blue Bloods: The Ninth Season” (2018-19) is a six-disc set with all 22 episodes as the Reagan family (a multigenerational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement) drama continues with an all-star cast including Tom Selleck, Donnie Wablberg, Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes and Len Cariou. Frank Reagan (Selleck) is the New York Police Commissioner and heads both the police force and the Reagan brood. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son, Danny (Wahlberg), a seasoned detective, family man and Iraq War vet who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases with his partner, Detective Maria Baez. The Reagan women in the family include Erin (Moynahan), a New York Assistant D.A. who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie is the youngest Reagan, a Harvard Law graduate and the family’s “golden boy.” Unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decided to give up a lucrative future in law and follow in the family footsteps as a cop. He’s found a friend and ally in Eddie Janko, his female partner who keeps him on his toes, but has very different reasons than the Reagans for joining the police force. After several years of working together, Janie (Estes) and Eddie finally succumbed to their strong feelings for one another and are engaged to be married. Following Jamie and Eddie’s engagement during season eight’s finale, the ninth season finds the family questioning the future of their partnership. Meanwhile, Erin is on tap for a promotion after her boss’s untimely death and Danny prepares to send his eldest son, Jack, to college. From CBS/Paramount … photo for NCIS: New Orleans: The Fifth Season “NCIS: New Orleans: The Fifth Season” (2018-19) is a six-disc set with all 24 episodes. The hit series starring Scott Bakula follows the local field office that investigates criminal cases involving military personnel in The Big Easy, a city known for its music, entertainment and decadence. returns immediately after the assassination attempt on Agent Dwayne Pride (Bakula) as he fights for his life in the ICU, while the team searches the city for the hit woman who tried to kill him. In the fifth season, Pride will explore new opportunities in the agency while Special Agent Hannah Khoury (newcomer Necar Zadegan) is called in to lead the New Orleans office in his absence. From CBS/Paramount … “Ronja, The Robber’s Daughter” (2017 — Japan) is a four-disc set with all 26 episodes of the first television series produced by the renowned Studio Ghibli. One stormy night, a girl is born inside a mountain fort, surrounded by her parents and a loving band of robbers. Now 10 years old, Ronja has grown into a strong and active girl, who discovers the forest as both a beautiful and frightening place inhabited by unique creatures. She befriends the son of her father’s rival, which begins the drama of her friendship and family loyalties. As she struggles to balance this friendship with her family relationship, she comes to understand that differences can be overcome with the help of love and understanding. On Blu-ray from GKIDS and Shout! Factory … photo for The Walking Dead” Season 9 “The Walking Dead” Season 9” (2018-19) is a five-disc set with all 16 episodes. Last season brought the culmination of “All Out War,” which pitted Rick Grimes and his group of survivors against the Saviors and their leader, Negan. With Negan’s life in his hands, Rick had a character-defining choice in front of him, and he spared Negan to uphold the values his late son, Carl, championed — values that created conflict within his group. Now, with the survivors rebuilding civilization under Rick’s leadership a year and a half after the end of the war, it’s a time of relative peace among the communities. However, the world they knew is rapidly changing, nature is literally taking over, and, as time passes, the communities confront unexpected obstacles and danger. But nothing can prepare them for the formidable force they’re about to encounter, threatening the very idea of civilization our survivors have worked so hard to build. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “The Assault” (2017), starring Tom Sizemore, Kevin Nash and Jordan Ladd, Lindsay is tired of her husband Seth’s abuse and she’s out for revenge. Lindsay and her exotic-dancer friend Nikki are stealing Seth’s riches in a series of brazen armed robberies. But things get complicated when Nikki seduces Broza (Sizemore), the detective on the case. When their final heist goes horribly wrong, the two women must flee for their lives – with an unsuspecting Broza in hot pursuit. From Lionsgate … In “The Brink” (2017 — China), starring Max Jin Zhang, Shawn Yue, Yue Wu and Janice Man, a renegade cop is on a mission to bring a shady smuggler to justice by any means necessary. When his investigation leads to a Triad mob boss and global smuggling ring, his manhunt quickly turns from local misconduct into a violent photo for The Brink international incident. There’s a relentless barrage of high flying action and explosive fight sequences, and once the fists start flying, they never stop – not even underwater. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA … In “The Sun is Also a Star” (2019), starring Yara Shahidi, Charles Melton, Cathy Shim, Gbenga Akinnagbe and Faith Logan. college-bound romantic Daniel Bae and Jamaica-born pragmatist Natasha Kingsley meet—and fall for each other—over one magical day amidst the fervor and flurry of New York City. Sparks immediately fly between these two strangers, who might never have met had fate not given them a little push. But will fate be enough to take these teens from star-crossed to lucky in love? With just hours left on the clock in what looks to be her last day in the U.S., Natasha is fighting against her family’s deportation as fiercely as she’s fighting her budding feelings for Daniel, who is working just as hard to convince her they are destined to be together. From MGM/Warner.

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 August 19, 2019 No Responses »
Aug 122019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Avengers: Endgame” and “Unplanned.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets:

Kicking off this week are three classic French crime films from Kino Lorber Studio Classics:
“Port of Shadows (aka Le Quai Des Brumes)” (1938) is director Marcel Carné’s (“Children of Paradise”) controversial adaptation of the Pierre Mac Orlan novel of the same name. Down a foggy, desolate road to the port city of Le Havre travels Jean (Jean Gabin), an army deserter looking for another chance at life. Fate, however, has a different plan for him, when acts of both revenge and kindness turn him into front-page news. “Port of Shadows” starkly portrays an underworld of lonely souls wrestling with their own destinies, a quintessential example of poetic realism, one of the classics of the golden age of French cinema. Stars Jean Gabin, Michel Simon, Michèle Morgan, Pierre Brasseur, Robert Le Vigan and Édouard Delmont. On DVD, Blu-photo for Port of Shadows (aka Le Quai Des Brumes) ray … Jacques Becker’s “Touchez Pas Au Grisbi” (1954) occupies a significant part in French cinema history; it exerted a huge influence on subsequent directors such as Jean-Pierre Melville (“Le Doulos”), Henri Verneuil (“The Sicilian Clan”) and Claude Sautet (“Classe Tous Risques”). Max (Jean Gabin) is an aging gangster who manages to pull off his final heist, a spectacular gold bullion robbery at Orly airport. All is well until Max’s former girlfriend Josy (Jeanne Moreau) tips off a rival gangster, Angelo (Lino Ventura). Angelo kidnaps Max’s partner and best friend and threatens to kill him unless Max hands over the loot from his robbery. “Touchez Pas Au Grisbi” was the birth the French policier, a European transposition of the fantastic American gangster films and film noirs of the 1940s. On DVD, Blu-ray … and “Razzia Sur La Chnouf” (1955). Based on a novel by the legendary writer Auguste Le Breton (“Rififi,” “Bob Le Flambeur”) with direction by Henri Decoin. After a spell in the U.S.A., master criminal Henri Ferré dit ‘Le Nantais’ (Jean Gabin) returns to Paris and is recruited by Paul Liski (Marcel Dalio), head of a major narcotics ring, to oversee and improve the efficiency of their distribution. Merchandise has been disappearing and unreliable dealers must be eliminated. For the latter, Henri is assigned two hitmen, Roger le Catalan (Lino Ventura) and Bibi (Albert Rémy). Released as “Razzia” in the U.S., the film thrillingly explores the criminal underworld of 1950s Paris. On DVD, Blu-ray.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Django the Bastard” (1969 — Italy), starring Anthony Steffen, Rada Rassimov, Paolo Gozlino and Luciano Rossi, is an intriguing spaghetti western with gothic horror genre elements. The mysterious stranger named Django — a ghost-like figure — walks into a dusty western town with vengeance on his mind. As he finds the men he’s looking for, he places a cross with the person’s name and death date in the middle of the street before enacting violent revenge. Is Django truly an unstoppable human army-of-one, or an avenging immortal angel of death? On DVD, Blu-ray from Synapse Films … photo for The Reflecting Skin “The Reflecting Skin” (1990) is a darkly humorous, nightmarish vision of the American dream. As mysterious deaths plague a small prairie town in 1950s Idaho, 8-year-old Seth (Jeremy Cooper) comes to believe that Dolphin Blue (Lindsay Duncan), the reclusive English widow living next door, is a vampire, stealing the souls of his neighborhood friends one by one. Seth’s worst nightmares come true when his older brother Cameron (Viggo Mortensen in one of his first starring roles) returns home from military service and falls in love with the widow. Could he be her next victim? On DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Movement Classics … The “Vault” (2019), starring Theo Rossi, Clive Standen, Samira Wiley, William Forsythe, Don Johnson, Vincent Pastore and Chazz Palminteri, is a stylish thriller reveals the true story of one of the largest robberies in U.S. history. While doing time for a botched heist, two small-time crooks cook up an ill-fated scheme to rip off a nearby vault for $30 million – money that belongs to the local mafia. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … photo for The Mummy Rebirth In “The Mummy Rebirth” (2019), starring Carter, David E. Cazares, Brittany Goodwin and Deanna Grace Congo, two treasure hunters uncover a sealed tomb and awaken a mummy that has waited years to come back and wipe humanity from the face of the Earth. It’s a race against time as they try to stop the Mummy from wreaking havoc on the modern world. From Uncork’d Entertainment … In 1992, Cameron Todd Willingham (O’ Connell), a poor, uneducated heavy metal devotee with a violent streak, was convicted of arson-related triple homicide and put on death row. “Trial By Fire” (2018), starring Jack O’ Connell, Laura Dern, Emily Meade and Jeff Perry, is the true-life Texas story of the unlikely bond that formed between Willingham and Elizabeth Gilbert (Dern), a Houston mother of two, who battled against the state for 12 years to try and save Willingham by exposing suppressed evidence and illogical conclusions. From Lionsgate … In “All Is True” (2019) directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh and co-starring Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Lolita Chakrabarti and Jack Colgrave Hirst, the year is 1613, and Shakespeare is acknowledged as the greatest writer of the age. But disaster strikes when his renowned Globe Theatre burns to the ground. Devastated, Shakespeare returns home to Stratford, where he must face a troubled past and a neglected family. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Sony … photo for The Velocipastor After a devastating family tragedy, a priest travels to China to find deeper spirituality, but instead is endowed with an ancient ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur in “The Velocipastor” (2018), starring Alyssa Kempinski, Greg Cohan and Claire Hsu. At first, he is horrified by his newfound superpower, but a local prostitute convinces him to use his newfound gift to fight evil – and ninjas. On DVD from Wild Eye Releasing … In “Shadow” (2018 — China), starring Chao Deng, Li Sun and Ryan Zheng, a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king has a military commander who has a secret weapon: a “shadow,” a look-alike who can fool both his enemies and the King himself. Now he must use this weapon in an intricate plan that will lead his people to victory in a war that the King does not want. Director Zhang Yimou (“Hero,” “House of Flying Daggers”) once again pushes the boundaries of wuxia action to create a film like no other, masterfully painting a canvas of inky blacks and greys punctuated with bursts of color from the blood of the defeated. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA … In “Vice Squad” (1982), starring Season Hubley, Gary Swanson and Wings Hauser, Princess (Hubley) is a single mom by day, a Hollywood prostitute by night. A volatile cop, Tom Walsh uses her to trap a sadistic pimp named Ramrod, who murdered one of her friends. But when Ramrod escapes police custody, Princess is in grave danger. No matter which way she turns, Ramrod is coming for her. New 4K scan of the negative. In a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray debut from Shout! Factory.

Foreign Films:

Bursting with the colorful street style and music of Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture, “Rafiki” (2018 — Kenya), starring Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva, is a tender love story between two young women in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality. Kena and Ziki have long been told that “good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives” — but they yearn for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls encourage each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki must choose between happiness and safety. Initially banned in Kenya for its positive portrayal of queer romance, the film won a landmark Supreme Court case chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation. From Film Movement … photo for Damned Summer Idling afternoons and psychedelic moods immersed in music provide an adrenaline rush for drifting youth in Lisbon in the docu-fiction hybrid “Damned Summer” (2018 — Portugal) from first-time Portuguese director Pedro Cabeleira. Chico’s summer starts at home, with his grandparents, under the cover of the lemon trees; an outlet, the place of his childhood memories. But now, he belongs to Lisbon, where he just finished college and hopes to find a career. Part of a new generation, Chico has few prospects or expectations, and reaching adulthood seems to be perpetually delayed. Intoxicated nights of affections and heartbreak propel him into psychedelic hedonism, where burning anguish and aimlessness fuel his euphoria in this homage to the mysteries of youth. From IndiePix Films … In “Is That You? (¿Eres tú, Papá?)” (2019 — Cuba), starring Gabriela Ramos, Eslinda Nuñez, Lynn Cruz and Osvaldo Doimeadiós, living in a modest shack in the Cuban countryside, 13-year-old Lili and her mother appear trapped in a meagre, suffocating existence by her domineering father, Eduardo. His sudden absence should represent a new freedom for the girl and her mother, but Lili is distraught. In desperation, Lili carries out a ritual taught to her by a spiritualist to help bring him back, leading Lili to uncover a disturbing truth about her father’s disappearance. From Breaking Glass Pictures … photo for The Other Side of Everything In “The Other Side of Everything” (2018 — Serbia), a locked door inside a Belgrade home has kept one family separated from their past for generations. An intimate conversation between the director (Mila Turajlic) and her mother, the dynamic activist and scholar Srbijanka Turajlic, reveals a house and a country haunted by history. What begins as the chronicle of a childhood home grows into an elegant portrait of a charismatic and brilliant woman in times of great political turmoil. From Icarus Films … In “The Whirlpool” (2012 — France), starring Agathe Feoux and Pierre Perrier, two twentysomething strangers, Agathe and Victor, meet on holiday at Niagara Falls. Both lost souls — Agathe, adopted and bogged down in a complex relationship with her therapist, Victor coping with a family drama — impulsively decide to share a motel room, romance evolves into a road trip across New York State to the airport in Boston. Uninhibited sexual chemistry, organic moments of humor, and improvised, unrehearsed acting converge in this vibrant, non-linear narrative throwback to vibrantly experimental period of late sixties cinema. From IndiePix Films.

For the Family:

“Wild Kratts: Creepy Creatures”” (2018): Halloween is right around the corner and the Kratt Brothers, Martin and Chris, decide that the best thing to do on Halloween is to discover new “creepy cool” creatures. While they search for these new creatures, they find out that Zach and the other villains have a plan to ruin Halloween. Will the Kratt Brothers save Halloween? Also includes the adventure “Masked Bandits,” where the Wild Kratts notice strange things happening in the Tortuga HQ. Jimmy is convinced it’s a ghost. From PBS Distribution.

Special Interest:

“The Inland Sea” (1991): In 1971, author and film scholar Donald Richie published a poetic travelogue about his explorations of the islands of Japan’s Inland Sea, recording his search for traces of a traditional way of life as well as his own journey of self-discovery. photo for The Inland Sea Twenty years later, filmmaker Lucille Carra undertook a parallel trip inspired by Richie’s by-then-classic book, capturing images of hushed beauty and meeting people who still carried on the fading customs that Richie had observed. Interspersed with surprising detours — a visit to a Frank Sinatra-loving monk, a leper colony, an ersatz temple of plywood and plaster — and woven together by Richie’s narration as well as a score by celebrated composer Toru Takemitsu, “The Inland Sea” is an eye-opening voyage and a profound meditation on what it means to be a foreigner. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Hiro Narita, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection … photo for “Peter, Paul and Mary At Newport 1963-65” features 18 previously unreleased performances by the legendary folk trio of Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers. This collection of remarkable archival performances at the iconic folk festival at Newport, Rhode Island, from 1963 to 1965 reveals the electrifying and optimistic spirit of an era, at the peak of America’s Folk Revival. Some of these timeless songs have never been seen on television, and some, like “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “If I Had A Hammer,” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” became part of the “soundtrack” of an era of extraordinary social and political transformation. These historic recordings epitomize Peter, Paul and Mary’s music in the ’60s era of optimism, turmoil and vast change in America. Due August 13 from Shout! Factory.

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 August 12, 2019 1 Response »
Aug 052019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Pokemon Detective Pikachu,” “The Curse of La Llorona,” “Poms,” “Tolkien,” and “The Souvenir.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets:

“An Angel at My Table” (1990), Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jane Campion brought to the screen the harrowing autobiography of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. Three actors in turn take on the lead role (including Kerry Fox in a marvelous performance as the adult Frame), as the film describes a journey from an impoverished childhood marked by tragedy to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia resulting in electroshock therapy and a narrowly photo for An Angel at My Table escaped lobotomy to, finally, international literary fame. Unobtrusively capturing the beauty and power of the New Zealand landscape while maintaining the film’s focus on the figure at its center, Campion broke new ground for female filmmakers everywhere and earned a sweep of her country’s film awards, along with the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Formats: Blu-ray Disc with high-definition digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Stuart Dryburgh and approved by director Jane Campion, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. From The Criterion Collection … From Billy Wilder, the legendary director of Five Graves to “Cairo,” “Double Indemnity,” “Some Like It Hot,” “Irma La Douce” and “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes,” comes the classic comedy “A Foreign Affair” (1948) that mixes romance with hard-boiled wit in a story about stiff-necked Iowa congresswoman Phoebe Frost (Jean Arthur) mired in jaded postwar Berlin. As she investigates the morale of American troops, she is cynically wooed by fellow Iowan Captain John Pringle (John Lund), who is trying to cover up his affair with Nazi-tainted chanteuse Erika von Schlütow (Marlene Dietrich). In this often amusing and forever endearing film, Wilder peppers the love story with tart dialogue and satiric jabs at Midwestern naïveté. From Kino Lober Studio Classics.

From TV to Disc:

“The Best of The Carol Burnett Show: 50th Anniversary Edition”
(1967-78) Twenty-one disc set with 60 hand-picked episodes covering every one of the 11 seasons. photo for The Best of The Carol Burnett Show: 50th Anniversary Edition Includes “The Best of The Carol Burnett Show” (10 discs), “11 Years, Together Again” (10 discs) and “The Final Show” (March 29, 1978) (1 disc). Guest stars include Lucille Ball, Sammy Davis Jr., Phyllis Diller, Ella Fitzgerald, Rita Hayworth, Rock Hudson, Steve Lawrence, Bob Newhart, Bernadette Peters, Carl Reiner, Burt Reynolds, Don Rickles, Neil Sedaka, Lily Tomlin, Mel Tormé, Flip Wilson, Jim Nabors, Soupy Sales, Cass Elliot, Ben Vereen, Ray Charles, Andy Griffith, Chita Rivera and more. Extras include exclusive interviews with Carol, Vicki Lawrence, Tim, Alan Alda, Julie Andrews, Carol Channing, Steve Lawrence, Don Rickles, and more; a cast reunion and backstage tour of Studio 33; never-before-seen outtakes including Harvey Korman as Mother Marcus; newly produced featurettes including “11 Years of Laughter,” “11 Years of Style” and “The End of 11 Years: Saying So Long.” From Time Life.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Alice, Sweet Alice” (1976), starring Linda Miller, Mildred Clinton and Paula E. Sheppard, a young Brooke Shields meets an untimely end in this religious-themed proto slasher par excellence from director Alfred Sole. On the day of her first communion, young Karen (Shields) is savagely murdered by an unknown assailant in a yellow rain mac and creepy photo for Alice, Sweet Alice translucent mask. But the nightmare is far from over — as the knife-wielding maniac strikes again and again, Karen’s bereaved parents are forced to confront the possibility that Karen’s wayward sister Alice might be the one behind the mask. Bearing influences from the likes of Hitchcock, the then-booming Italian giallo film and more specifically, Nicolas Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now,” “Alice, Sweet Alice” is an absolutely essential — if often overlooked — entry in the canon of 1970s American horror. Brand new 2K restoration of the theatrical version from the original camera negative. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “The Command” (2019 — Belgium), starring Matthias Schoenaerts, Léa Seydoux and Colin Firth, is the true story of the K-141 Kursk, a Russian flagship nuclear powered submarine that sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea in August 2000. As 23 sailors fought for survival aboard the disabled sub, their families desperately battled bureaucratic obstacles and impossible odds to find answers and save them. Based on Robert Moore’s book, “A Time to Die.” On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “The Night Sitter” (2018), starring Elyse DuFour, Jack Champion and Jermaine Rivers, a scheming con artist poses as an innocent babysitter to steal from a wealthy occult enthusiast. Just as the thief arrives to clean out the house, the home owner’s reclusive son stumbles upon one of his father’s artifacts and unwittingly summons a trio of witches known as The Three Mothers. As the playful, sadistic witches start picking people off, the humans form an unlikely bond and try to survive the night together. From Uncork’d Entertainment … In “Project Ithaca” (2018), starring James Gallanders, Deragh Campbell and Daniel Fathers, a malevolent alien species has been abducting humans for decades … possibly centuries. Their endgame: to harvest enough human emotional energy to open a wormhole through which their spacecrafts can pass and conquer our world. To end this threat, the U.S. military initiates photo for Project Ithaca Project Ithaca, a top-secret plan to teleport a human-alien hybrid, SERA, aboard the “mother ship” to destroy it. SERA awakes inside the alien craft along with five others. Divided, they will die; only together, can they defeat the aliens and find a way home. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “American Killing” (2019), starring Trevor Peterson, Persia White and Caitlin Gerard, a writers retreat for a failing TV cartoon show takes a very dark turn when its obsessive showrunner manipulates his team into playing along in his disturbed, hidden-camera “masterpiece” that involves him murdering his writers one-by-one, on camera. From High Octane Pictures … In “D-railed” (2019), starring Lance Henriksen, Shae Smolik, Frank Lammers, Carter Scott, Everette Wallin and Tonya Kay, a woman boards a train that derails into a lake in the middle of the night. She, along with other surviving passengers, find themselves trapped within the sinking wreckage … but what they discover beneath the surface is far more terrifying as they fight to stay alive against a deadly predator determined to kill them all. From Uncork’d Entertainment … “The Outsider” (2019) starring Trace Adkins, John Foo, Sean Patrick Flanery and Danny Trejo, is a gritty tale of revenge in a small Western boomtown. In search of the American dream, a railroad worker (Foo) finds himself on the wrong side of a lawless frontier. As the Marshall (Adkins) attempts to control his corrupt town, tragedy strikes sending the railroad worker on a path of retaliation. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cinedigm … photo for Batman: Hush “Batman: Hush” (2019), the latest animated feature from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC, centers on a shadowy new villain known only as Hush, who uses Gotham’s Rogues Gallery to destroy Batman’s crime-fighting career, as well as Bruce Wayne’s personal life — which has already been complicated by a relationship with Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Warner … In “3 Lives” (2019 — Germany), starring Mhairi Calvey, Anatole Taubman and Victor Alfieri, a woman on the run in the wilderness from ruthless kidnappers — three ex-soldiers –discovers her rescuer is the man jailed for attacking her 15 years earlier. From High Octane Pictures … In “Wicked Witches” (2019), starring Duncan Casey, Justin Marosa and Samantha Schnitzler, after being thrown out of his home by his wife for being promiscuous, Mark finds himself back at Dumpling Farm, a place of youthful memories and parties, but things aren’t quite right. His old buddy Ian, who has never left the place, is possessed by a group of demonic, flesh eating Witches. Using Ian and his farm, these beautiful Witches trap Mark and his friends to consume their souls. Due August 9 from Midnight Releasing.

On the Indie Front:

“The Iron Orchard” (2018), starring Lane Garrison, Ali Cobrin, Austin Nichols and Lew Temple, is the story of Jim McNeely (Garrison), a young man thrust into the vibrant and brutal West Texas oilfields in 1939. In a state gushing with oil and filled with ambition, McNeely settles into a small-town community that is slowly overcoming the trauma of the Great Depression. The formidable path before him is riddled with obstacles — overbearing bosses who try to keep him down, powerful oilmen who are reluctant to invest in a fresh face, and women who see salvation in his charms — but he finds a glimmer of hope with his first loves: new wife Lee Montgomery (Cobrin) and drilling for oil. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Santa Rita Film Co … photo for The Buskers and Lou Determined to build a new life for himself, a young man returns home from prison to find work and a place to live and struggles to not fall back in with his old crowd in “The Buskers and Lou” (2014), starring Marshall Walker Lee, Megan Carver and Tyler Andre. From Random Media … In “Off Season” (2019), starring Jessica Cadden Osborne, Chance Kelly, Amanda Good Hennessey, Braedyn Clark and Sosie Bacon, a young woman takes work on a Martha’s Vineyard farm and befriends the 10-year-old farmer’s daughter only to discover present day horrors that stem from a dark past. From Indican Pictures … In “Plus One” (2019), starring Maya Erskine, Jack Quaid, Ed Begley, Jr., Beck Bennett, Rosalind Chao and Brianne Howey, long-time friends Alice and Ben find themselves in that inevitable year that all late twentysomethings experience — in which seemingly every person they know gets married —- and agree to be one another’s plus ones as they power through an endless parade of insufferable weddings. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films.

Foreign Films:

“The Girl in the Fog” (2017 — Italy), starring Toni Servillo, Jean Reno and Galatea Ranzi, is based on the internationally acclaimed novel of the same name. The film follows the sudden disappearance of Anna Lou, a 16-year-old girl, from a small mountain village in the Italian Alps. Called to investigate the mystery is the enigmatic Detective Vogel (Servillo), who soon realizes that this case is far from simple. Working against the clock and amidst an unprecedented media frenzy, Vogel must make use of his unconventional methods to uncover the truth, in a town where motives are obscure, facts are distorted – and everyone could be a suspect. From Icarus Films … photo for How Long Will I Love U “How Long Will I Love U” (2018 — China), starring Jia Ying Lei and Li Ya Tong, is a romantic comedy about a man and a woman living in the same apartment nearly 20 years apart who wake one day to find their timelines have merged. Now they’re stuck with one another, unless they can work together long enough to find a way back to their normal lives … if destiny will allow it. On Blu-ray from Well Go USA … The visceral and compelling “Girls of the Sun” (2018 — France), starring Golshifteh Farahani, Emmanuelle Bercot and Zübeyde Bulut, is based on a true story that reveals the strange and unexpected turns modern warfare can take. Somewhere in Iraqi Kurdistan, Bahar, commander of the all-female “Girls of the Sun” battalion, is preparing to liberate her hometown from the hands of ISIS extremists, hoping to find her son who is being held hostage. A French journalist, Mathilde, comes to cover the attack and bear witness to the story of these exceptional warriors. As their lives are turned upside down, the Girls of the Sun find themselves fighting for women, life and liberty. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cohen Media Group … In “Tiger Milk” (2017 – Germany), starring Flora Thiemann, Emily Kusche, David Ali Rashed, Narges Rashidi, Emil Belton and August Carter, best friends Nini and Jameelah are 14 years old. Summer has begun and Berlin is their playground. Sticky lipped and heavy-eyed from drinking tiger milk — a mix of passion fruit, milk, and brandy — they flirt and use their innocent charm for fun. This summer, it’s going to happen — sex and true love with Nico and Lukas. But when Jameelah’s family is threatened with deportation back to Iraq, the two girls realize that their friendship is more important than ever. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Altered Innocence.

For the Family:

In “Sesame Street: Dance Party” (2018), celebrities such as Amy Ryan, Liev Schreiber, Maria Menounos, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, Sutton Foster, Ne-Yo, Janelle Monae and Wendy Williams join the Sesame Street gang to sing and dance. This special collection includes over two hours of content that will make your child want to move and groove. Little ones will love to see real kids dancing flamenco, doing an Irish stepdance, clapping out West African beats, and cha-cha-ing all over the place. From Sesame Workshop/Shout Kids … photo for The Jungle Bunch “The Jungle Bunch” (2017 — France) is an animated family feature. Maurice may look like a penguin — but he’s a real tiger inside. Raised by a tigress, he’s the clumsiest Kung-Fu master ever. Along with his friends, The Jungle Bunch, he intends to maintain order and justice in the jungle, as his mother did before him. But when Igor, an evil koala, wants to destroy the jungle once and for all with the help of his army of silly baboons, Maurice faces his biggest challenge yet. From Shout! Kids … “The Swan Princess: Kingdom of Music” (2019) is the latest adventure in the animated “Swan Princess” franchise. Princess Odette is hosting a music competition to celebrate Princess Alise’s birthday – the winner will sing at her grand birthday ball. Prince Li of Cathay has entered, but his sister Princess Mei Li has stowed away on his ship to seek help from Odette and Derek for Chen, who has been cursed to live as a dragon. Lucas and Alise are reunited but Prince Li’s arrival makes Alise doubt her feelings. While Li and Lucas fight for Alise’s heart, Derek and Odette try to help Mei Li and Chen break the curse. Who will win the music festival and will Chen ever be free from his curse? From Sony … photo for Penguin Highway “Penguin Highway” (2018 — Japan) is the winner of the 42nd Japan Academy Award for Excellent Animation of the Year. Budding genius Aoyama is only in the 4th grade, but already lives his life like a scientist. When penguins start appearing in his sleepy suburb, hundreds of miles from the sea, Aoyama vows to solve the mystery. When he discovers that the arrival of the penguins is somehow related to a mysterious young woman from his dentist’s office, they team up for an unforgettable summer adventure. Based on the best-selling Japanese science fiction novel written by Tomihiko Morimi (“The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl”), “Penguin Highway” has also had its novel released in the US this year.On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Eleven Arts/Shout! Factory.

Special Interest:

“Amazing Grace” (2018) is a documentary presenting the live recording of Aretha Franklin’s album “Amazing Grace” at The New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972. From Universal … In 1969 the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, leading to three nights of rioting by the city’s LGBT community. With this outpouring of courage and unity the gay liberation movement had begun. “Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community” (1984) pries open the closet door, setting free the dramatic story of survival, love, persecution and resistance experienced by LGBT Americans since the early 1900’s. Revealing and often humorous, this widely acclaimed film relives the emotionally-charged sparking of today’s gay rights movement, from the events that led to the fevered 1969 riots to many other milestones in the fight for acceptance. Newly restored from First Run Features … “Sex Trafficking In America” (2019) is a Frontline documentary that tells the stories of young women coerced into prostitution — and follows one police unit that’s committed to rooting it out. In the film, award-winning director Jezza Neumann and producer Lauren Mucciolo immerse themselves with the Phoenix police unit that’s tackling child sexual exploitation, offering an inside look at the lucrative industry through unique access to a series of undercover, high-stakes police operations. They also film with young women who have escaped the trade. What’s revealed is a crime that’s both hidden in plain sight and growing – due in part to social media, where traffickers often start to groom and recruit young women and girls. With extensive and intimate access to local law enforcement, prosecutors, service providers and the women themselves, the film shines a light on the hidden reality of sex trafficking in America. From PBS Distribution … photo for Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation “Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation” (2019) is an American Experience documentary from award-winning filmmaker Barak Goodman that revisits the 1969 Woodstock concert for its 50th Anniversary. In August 1969, half a million young people from all walks of life journeyed from every corner of the country to a dairy farm in upstate New York for a concert unprecedented in scope and influence. The film examines the tumultuous decade that led to those three historic days — years that saw the nation deeply divided by Vietnam and racial, generational and sexual politics — through the voices of those who were present for the event that would become the defining moment of the counterculture revolution. Focusing on individuals that were at the concert including concert goers, security guards, performers, and local residents, “Woodstock” expands our understanding of the event as not only an unparalleled musical milestone, but a once-in-a-century cultural phenomena that served as a coda to the sixties and a harbinger of the decades to come. From PBS Distribution … Tom Lehrer spent his brief, yet remarkable music career writing and performing brilliant satirical songs that entertained and enlightened millions. Biting, intelligent, and socially conscious, his songs were accessible and intimate commentaries on society and politics in the 1950s and 60s. “Tom Lehrer: Live in Copenhagen” (1967), originally filmed for Danish television in September 1967, captures a rare concert recording and features many of his best-known songs, including: “I Wanna Go Back To Dixie,” “MLF Lullaby,” “We Will All Go Together When We Go,” “When You Are Old And Gray,” “I Hold Your Hand In Mine,” “Send The Marines,” “The Irish Ballad,” “The Elements,” “Smut,” “The Hunting Song,” “My Home Town,” “Who’s Next,” “Poisoning Pigeons In The Park,” “National Brotherhood Week,” “Wernher Von Braun,” and “The Vatican Rag.”From PBS Distribution.

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 August 5, 2019 No Responses »
Jul 292019
 

From the Big Screen:

“The Intruder,” “Long Shot” and “UglyDolls.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets:

There’s two exciting Blu-ray debuts this week, both revolving around the famous British Professor Bernard Quatermass, an intelligent and highly moral British scientist and pioneer of the British space program. Originally a 1953 BBC TV series, Professor Quatermass was ported to the big screen in “The Quatermass Xperiment” in 1955. Scream Factory brings home the second and photo for Quatermass 2 BLU-RAY DEBUT third entries in the franchise, “Quatermass 2” and “Quatermass and the Pit.” “Quatermass 2” (1957): The second and most talked about of the three science fiction stories written by Nigel Kneale and based on his critically acclaimed BBC series. Professor Quatermass, played by Hollywood veteran Brian Donlevy reprising his role from “The Quatermass Xperiment,” is Britain’s most clever scientist. Investigating a series of bizarre incidents that have been reported from a deserted area, he finds a group of soldiers and government officials that appear to be controlled by aliens from another world. When a close friend is brutally murdered by these beings, Quatermass leads a mob of local workers to a showdown with the extraterrestrials. Directed by Val Guest and produced by Anthony Hinds, “Quatermass 2” was retitled “Enemy From Space” for its U.S. theatrical release. 2K scan of a photo for Quatermass and the Pit BLU-RAY DEBUT pristine archival film print. “Quatermass and the Pit” (1967): Hobbs End, Knightsbridge, London. While working on a new subway tunnel for the London Underground, a group of construction workers uncover a strangely shaped skull. Nearby, another discovery: a large, mysterious and impenetrable metal object. Initially mistaken for an unexploded bomb, the object and its strange power turn out to be far more horrific than anybody could have possibly imagined. Is it of this Earth? Could it be the ancestral link to mankind’s evolution? Or could it be an ancient link to the unleashing of the ultimate evil? There’s only one man capable of unraveling the clues, and his name is Professor Bernard Quatermass, a man of science who thrives on the dark mysteries of the world. “Quatermass and the Pit” stars Andrew Keir, James Donald, Barbara Shelley and Julian Glover. The film is directed by Roy Ward Baker (“A Night to Remember)”. For its U.S. theatrical release, it was re-titled “Five Million Years to Earth.”

From TV to Disc:

“The Good Place: The Complete Third Season” (2018-19) is a two-disc set with all 12 episodes. The show follows Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Jason (Manny Jacinto) — ordinary people who enter the afterlife, and thanks to some kind of error, find themselves in The Good Place instead of The Bad Place (which is definitely where they belong). At the end of Season 2, Michael (Ted Danson) and Janet (D’Arcy Carden) appeared in front of the Judge (Maya Rudolph) to argue that the humans may have been judged unfairly and deserve a second chance. With a snap of her fingers, the Judge sent the humans back to Earth, in a new timeline where they never died. From Shout! Factory … photo for Murdoch Mysteries, Season 12 “Murdoch Mysteries, Season 12” (2018) includes all 18 episodes. Set in Toronto in the late 1890s and early 1900s during the age of invention and starring Canadian Screen Award “Fan’s Choice Award” winner Yannick Bisson, the mystery series centers on Detective William Murdoch, a methodical and dashing detective, who enlists radical new forensic techniques like fingerprinting, ultraviolet light, and trace evidence to solve some of the city’s most gruesome murders. In Season 12, Murdoch and his wife, Dr. Julia Ogden, have moved into a modern new house, but they soon discover their home has mysteries of its own. Murdoch and his team tackle cases involving a seemingly invisible man, the killing of a French diplomat, a possible alien invasion, and one of their own suspected of murder. During their investigations, they encounter architect Frank Lloyd Wright, entrepreneur Elizabeth Arden, and inventor Nikola Tesla. In a five-disc DVD, four-disc Blu-ray set. From Acorn Media … “Vidago Palace” (2018 – Spain/Portugal) is a two-disc set of the six-part romantic period drama. Against the glamorous backdrop of an exclusive luxury hotel and health resort in Portugal at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, two young people of different classes who long to be together must overcome many obstacles that are thrown in their path. From Acorn Media.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “The Swindlers” (2017 — South Korea), starring Yoo Ji-tae, Hyun Bin, Bae Seong-woo, Park Sung-woong and Nana, high stakes and fast talk are the game in this crime caper that brings together unlikely allies from different sides of the law. Each member of the team has their own motives, but they’ll have to work together to achieve their common goal — trapping the world’s most legendary con man. On Blu-ray from Well Go USA … photo for Domino In “Domino”(2019), directed by Brian De Palma and starring Nikolaj Coster-Wealdau, Carice van Houten and Guy Pearce, a Copenhagen police officer, Christian (Coster-Wealdau), seeks justice for his partner’s murder by ISIS member Imran. Determined to hunt Imran down, Christian and Alex (van Houten), a fellow cop and his late partner’s mistress, are unwittingly caught in a deadly cat-and-mouse chase with a duplicitous CIA agent (Pearce) who is using Imran as a pawn to trap other ISIS members. Their quest for revenge becomes a race against time to save their own lives. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “Body at Brighton Rock” (2019), starring Karina Fontes, Casey Adams, Emily Althaus, Wendy, a part-time summer employee at a mountainous state park, takes on a rough trail assignment at the end of the season, trying to prove to her friends that she’s capable enough to do the job. When she takes a wrong turn and ends up deep in the backcountry, she stumbles upon what might be a potential crime scene. Stuck with no communication after losing her radio and with orders to guard the site, Wendy must fight the urge to run and do the harder job of staying put — spending the night deep in the wilderness, facing down her worst fears and proving to everyone — including herself — that she’s made of stronger stuff then they think she is. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Magnolia Home Entertainment … From legendary horror film producer Val Lewton and from Jacques Tourneur, the director of the original “Cat People,” “The Leopard Man” (1943), starring Dennis O’Keefe, Margo and Jean Brooks, is one of the first American films to attempt a remotely realistic portrayal of a serial killer. Is it man, beast or both behind a string of savage maulings and murders? An escaped leopard provides the catalyst for a foray into fear in which a cemetery is the rendezvous for death and love, and a closed door heightens rather than hides the horror of a young girl’s fate. New 4K scan of the original nitrate camera negative. In a Blu-ray debut from Scream Factory … photo for Lust for a Vampire“Lust for a Vampire” (1971) is a Hammer Film classic. A mysterious man performs rites of black magic, bringing the notorious female vampire Carmilla Karnstein back to life. Looking to quench her bloodlust for the fairer sex, she enrolls at an exclusive girl’s school as the young debutante Mircalla (Yutte Stensgaard), and begins to feast on her fellow students as well as indulging in her unholy desires for a teacher. New 4K scan of the negative, presented in two aspect ratios: 1.66:1 and 1.85:1. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory … “The Reptile” (1966) is another Hammer Film classic. A deadly epidemic is spreading through the remote Cornish village of Clagmoor Heath. As darkness falls, its victims are found foaming at the mouth with savage wounds on their necks. After his brother falls prey to the “black death,” Harry Spalding (Ray Barrett) travels with his new wife (Jennifer Daniel) to Clagmoor to investigate his sibling’s mysterious death. With little help from the unfriendly locals, Harry follows a trail of clues that leads him to the sinister Dr. Franklyn (Noel Willman), the doctor’s strange, but beautiful daughter (Jacqueline Pearceo) … and a horrific family secret. Presented in two aspect ratios: 1.66:1 and 1.85:1. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory … In “Chain of Death” (2018), starring Madeline Zima, Adrienne Barbeau, Dey Young, Jamie Clayton, Ray Wise, John photo for Chain of Death Patrick Amedori and Neus Asensi, when a successful surgeon discovers he has the same neurological disorder as his invalid father, he joins an underground assisted suicide group operating under one rule: if you want to die, you first must help someone else kill themselves. But when his turn to assist goes awry, law enforcement and The Chain close in. From Cleopatra Entertainment … In an act of desperation, the coach of The Maine Lobsters, a pro football team that has lost 32 games in a row, travels to Japan to buy a school of sumo wrestlers in “Hail Mary!” (2018), starring Eddie Mekka, Chet Gole, Sheena Colette, Joomin Hwang, Claire Kennedy and Yama. His intention: To bring the humongous wrestlers back to Portland to replace his inept offensive line. From MVD Visual … “The White Crow” (2019), starring Oleg Ivenk, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Chulpan Khamatova, Ralph Fiennes and Lexey Morozov, is the incredible true story of legendary ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, from his poverty-stricken childhood in the Soviet city of Ufa, to his blossoming career as a dancer in Leningrad, to his nail-biting defection to the West at the height of the Cold War. From Sony.

On the Indie Front:

In “Portraits of Andrea Palmer” (2017), Andrea Palmer (Katrina Zova) spends her days working as a cam girl. After having an online breakdown, she receives an unexpected and too-good-to-be-true offer to come to Los Angeles and work full time as an erotic model. Jumping on what seems like a perfect opportunity for financial independence, Andrea immediately travels to LA but no sooner than arriving, discovers that she’s been conned and finds herself stranded and alone. Relying on what she knows best, she begins working as an escort, losing a bit of herself with each new client and becoming more and more willing to perform the vilest of sexual services; a decision which can only end in tragedy and violence. Uncensored 2k Scan from original 16mm reversal film. On Blu-ray from Tomorrow Productions … photo for Mountain Rest In “Mountain Rest” (2018), starring Natalia Dyer, Kate Lyn Sheil, Shawn Hatosy and Frances Conroy, after years without contact, estranged daughter Frankie (Sheil) and granddaughter Clara (Dyer) pay a visit to aging actress Ethel (Conroy) at her mountain cabin. The visit leads into a strange and surprising weekend of fantasy and disillusionments — and an extravagant party. From Filmrise … In “Zilla and Zoe” (2019), starring Greg James, Aida Valentine, Sam Kamerman, Kurt Conroyd and Mia Allen, Zoe, age 10, is obsessed with making horror films. A deadline for a big horror contest is coming up, and Zoe is determined to win. But when her father, concerned about her increasingly gory activities, orders her to stop making horror films and shoot her sister’s wedding week instead, Zoe has no other choice. To win the contest of her dreams, she’ll have to turn her sister’s wedding into a horror film. From Indican Pictures.

Foreign Films:

In “The Island” (2018 — China), starring Huang Bo, Shu Qi, Wang Baoqiang and Zhang Yixin, news of a meteorite bound to strike the Earth doesn’t have much effect on Ma Jin’s everyday life; he still gets up and goes to a job where he spends his time daydreaming of a romance with his colleague Shanshan, and of winning the lottery. But when this cataclysmic event occurs during a team-building trip, he finds himself shipwrecked on an island with an odd group of co-workers … and the winning lottery ticket in his pocket. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA … photo for Ayiti Mon Amour Set in Haiti five years after the devastating earthquake, “Ayiti Mon Amour” (2018 — Haiti) is a captivating magical realist tale that was the country’s first official entry for Best Foreign Language Film. A grieving young boy discovers he has a superpower. An old fisherman realizes the cure for his ailing wife can be found in the sea. A muse struggles to exit the story her author is penning. And in Kabic, a coastal fishing village town forgotten by the rest of the world, the sea is gaining ground. In Guetty Felin’s magical neorealist tale, these stories intertwine, collide and co-exist to create a poetic portrait of the island nation. Set five years after the devastating 2010 earthquake, “Ayiti Mon Amour” avoids the images of the disaster that filled screens the world over. Instead, the director, making her narrative feature debut, taps into her past documentary work to infuse verité-style moments along with lyrical elements to capture the realities of modern-day Haiti through a unique lens. Shot on location with local actors and crew. From IndiePix Films.

For the Family:

In “Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie” (1997), the evil space alien Divatox plans to unleash the dark forces of Maligore, a powerful, fiery creature imprisoned inside a volcano on the magical island of Muiranthias. She can reach the island only by traveling through the dangerous Nemesis Triangle, and for that she needs the special powers of the magician Lerigot. But Lerigot flees to Earth, to see the only people who can stand against Divatox and her evil plan — the Power Rangers. In a Blu-ray debut from Shout! Factory.

Special Interest:

“Creating Woodstock” (2019): With the future of the highly anticipated Woodstock 50 music festival unclear, a younger generation may not know that the original “Three Days of Peace and Music” were also plagued by uncertainty, last-minute venue changes, a lack of headliners and permits … and in fact it almost didn’t happen! With more than 70 hours of interviews with photo for Creating Woodstock Woodstock producers, planners, and performers, director Mick Richards, who attended the 1969 festival as a teenager, has created the most comprehensive and deeply researched look back at how the event came to be. The documentary features never-before-seen private film and rare archival video footage, original interviews with key figures, and uncovered photographs that show just how much went in to pulling off the impossible. First-hand accounts of little known stories are woven throughout the film, such as when Jimi Hendrix was stranded at the airport and hitched a ride to the site, or when a bank manager was awoken in the middle of the night to get money to pay The Who, which then needed to be helicoptered to them before they would go on stage – much like the personal supply of strawberries that Janis Joplin required. From Cinema Libre Studio.

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 July 29, 2019 No Responses »

 
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