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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Mar 252019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Aquaman,” “Stan & Ollie,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Second Act.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

On February 9, 1964, the Beatles made their first live appearance on American television on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” ratcheting up the frenzy of a fanbase whose ecstatic devotion to the band heralded an explosive new wave of youth culture. “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” (1978) looks back to that fateful weekend, following six teenagers, each with their own reasons for wanting to see the Fab photo for I Wanna Hold Your Hand Four, from New Jersey to Manhattan on a madcap mission to meet the band and score tickets to the show. With this rollicking first feature, director Robert Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale established themselves as a filmmaking team par excellence, adept at mining America’s cultural memory for comedy and adventure with a winning mixture of sweet nostalgia and playful irreverence. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, approved by director Robert Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … Set in the 1930s Depression era during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, “The Tarnished Angels” (1958) covers three days in the lives of a trio of flying-circus performers, headlined by former WWI fighter-pilot hero Roger Shumann (Robert Stack) and his beautiful blonde wife, LaVerne (Dorothy Malone). Romantic complications arise when newspaper reporter Burke Devlin (Rock Hudson) falls in love with LaVerne while covering their daredevil aerial show. Legendary filmmaker Douglas Sirk (“Magnificent Obsession,” “All That Heaven Allows,” “Written on the Wind,” “Imitation of Life”) directed this masterpiece based on a novel by William Faulkner, adapted for the screen by George Zuckerman. Features Troy Donahue in one of his earlier roles. Also stars Robert Middleton, Alan Reed and William Schallert. On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … photo for Japon In “Japón” (2002 — Mexico), the preternaturally assured feature debut by Carlos Reygadas, a man (Alejandro Ferretis) travels from Mexico City to an isolated village to commit suicide; once there, however, he meets a pious elderly woman (Magdalena Flores) whose quiet humanity incites a reawakening of his desires. Recruiting a cast of nonactors and filming in sublime 16 mm CinemaScope, Reygadas explores the harsh beauty of the Mexican countryside with earthy tactility, conjuring a psychic landscape where religion mingles with sex, life co-exists with death, and the animal and spiritual sides of human experience become indistinguishable. A work of soaring ambition and startling visual poetry, “Japón” is an existential journey through uncharted cinematic territory that established the singular voice of its director. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Carlos Reygadas, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “The Vault” (2017), starring James Franco, Taryn Manning, Francesca Eastwood and Scott Haze, two estranged sisters are forced to rob a bank in order photo for The Vault to save their brother. The heist begins smoothly, but mayhem ensues when the defiant bank manager sends them to a basement-level vault — home to something truly evil. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Filmrise … In “King of Thieves” (2018), a star-studded cast (Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Charlie Cox, Michael Gambon, Ray Winstone) pulls off one of the biggest bank heists in history when a band of misfit criminals plot an unprecedented burglary at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit. The thieves, all in their 60s and 70s except for one, manage to escape with allegedly £200. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “Blood Hunger: The Films of Jose Larraz,” one of the most underrated and oft-neglected genre filmmakers of his generation, Spanish-born director José Ramón Larraz finally receives his due with this collection of his work, the first of its kind, bringing together a fascinating cross-section of films from the first half of his lengthy cinematic career. In Larraz’s debut feature, the hitherto ultra-rare “Whirlpool” (1970), Vivian Neves photo for Blood Hunger: The Films of Jose Larraz stars as Tulia, a young model invited to a photographer’s secluded country home for what purports to be a quiet weekend retreat — but soon transpires to be anything but. 1974’s “Vampyres” — perhaps the best known and most widely-released of all José Larraz’s films — sees a duo of blood hungry female vampires prowling the British countryside, from where they lure unsuspecting male motorists back to their imposing, dilapidated mansion for draining… in more ways than one. Meanwhile, in 1978’s “The Coming of Sin (La Visita del Vicio),” a young gypsy girl experiences a violent sexual awakening as her dreams of a naked young man on horseback become reality. By turns terrifying, titillating, artful and scandalous, these three films collected here — all newly restored from original film elements, with “Whirlpool” and “The Coming of Sin” making their Blu-ray world premieres — collectively offer film fans a unique perspective on the fascinating, highly-varied career of one of the horror genre’s most overlooked auteurs. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … In photo for Greasy Strangler (Special Director's Edition) “Greasy Strangler (Special Director’s Edition)” (2017), starring Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo and Darrell Keith Harris, when Big Ronnie and his son Brayden meet female tourist Janet on Big Ronnie’s Disco Walking Tour — the best and only disco walking tour in the city — a fight for Janet’s heart erupts between father and son, and the infamous “Greasy Strangler” is unleashed. On Blu-ray from Filmrise … “Nemesis 2/Nemesis 3/Nemesis 4: Triple Feature”
brings together three sequels to 1992’s “Nemesis,” about cyborgs fighting humans in the near future. “Nemesis 2: Nebula” (1995) takes place 73 years later; humans have lost the Cyborg Wars and they are now slaves to the cyborg masters. Rebel scientists have developed a new DNA strain, which could signal the end of the cyborgs, and it is injected it into a pregnant volunteer. When the cyborgs learn of the woman and photo for Nemesis 2/Nemesis 3/Nemesis 4: Triple Feature her baby, both are listed for termination. To escape, the woman steals a cyborg ship and is transported back in time to East Africa in 1980, where the mother is killed, but the baby — named Alex — is saved. In “Nemesis 3: Time Lapse” (1996), Alex has grown up and discovers she has 20 half-sisters who are waiting for her to return to the year 2077. In “Nemesis 4: Death Angel” (1996), Alex is making a living in the future working as a cybernetically-enhanced assassin but, when she accidentally targets the wrong man and kills the son of a major crime syndicate head, she finds herself on the run once again as every assassin in town comes to collect the bounty on her. On Blu-ray from MVD Rewind … “The Street Fighter Collection” (2018) Contains all three “Street Fighter” films with uncut versions and new 2K scans of the original film elements. Meet the meanest and most lethal karate master ever to rule the streets. He’s Sonny Chiba, one of the greatest martial arts actors to ignite the screen. In “The Street photo for The Street Fighter Collection Fighter,” Chiba stars as Terry Tsurugi, a mercenary who has been hired by both the yakuza and the mafia to kidnap a wealthy heiress, but when he isn’t paid, a violent clash ensues. Chiba is back in “Return of the Street Fighter.” This time Tsurugi is hired by the mob to kill two informants, but when he realizes one is an old friend, he refuses, and he becomes the one being hunted. When Tsurugi is double crossed by the Ôwada clan, he takes off with something they want in “The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge.” Soon he’s being chased by a group of deadly assassins. On Blu-ray from Shout! Factory Select … Shout! Factory/Scream Factory has three Blu-ray debuts this week: In “The Body Snatcher” (1945), the two titans of horror, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, come photo for The Body Snatcher BLU-RAY DEBUTtogether in their last on-screen pairing. Karloff plays the title role in the Val Lewton adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s fictional short story “The Body Snatcher,” directed with subtle calculation by versatile Robert Wise (“West Side Story,” “The Sound of Music”). A doctor (Henry Daniell) needs cadavers for medical studies and Karloff is willing to provide them one way or another. New 4K scan of the original camera negative … “Warning Sign” (1985), stars Sam Waterston, Kathleen Quinlan, Yaphet Kotto. In the rolling Utah countryside, a small town is host to a fortress-like research facility that the townspeople believe is developing new advancements in agriculture. But deep within is a top-secret project to create a bioweapon that turns anyone exposed to it into a raging, psychotic killer. When the unthinkable happens and the facility is locked down, Sheriff Cal Morse (Waterston) must choose between keeping the town safe and rescuing his wife Joanie (Quinlan), who is trapped inside. But for Major Connolly (Kotto), there is only one remorseless solution: contain the deadly virus … at all costs … photo for Brighton Beach Memoirs BLU-RAY DEBUT “Brighton Beach Memoirs” (1986) stars Jonathan Silverman, Blythe Danner, Bob Dishy and Judith Ivey. Fifteen-year-old Eugene Jerome (Silverman) is desperately trying to uncover life’s mysteries, but his family keeps hiding the clues. Even so, he manages to keep his priorities — baseball and girls — firmly in order. Neil Simon’s hilarious adaptation of his Broadway smash about growing up in Brooklyn is a wonderful, semi-autobiographical comedy with heart, wit and hysterical insights into family life and growing up just a little off-center.

Foreign Films:

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, “Capernaum” (Chaos) (2018 — Lebanon), a new film by Nadine Labaki, depicts the journey of a clever, gutsy 12-year-old boy, Zain Al Rafeea, who survives the dangers of the city streets by his wits. He flees his parents and, to assert his rights, takes them to court, suing them for the “crime” of giving him life. On DVD, Blu-ray, photo for Perfect Blue from Sony … “Perfect Blue” (1997 — Japan) is the directorial debut of acclaimed director Satoshi Kon (“Paprika,” “Millennium Actress”). The critically-acclaimed animated film has frequently been hailed as one of the most important animated films of all time. This new Blu-ray edition features both a newly digitally remastered version of the film and an original definition presentation. Rising pop star Mima has quit singing to pursue a career as an actress and model, but her fans aren’t ready to see her go. Encouraged by her managers, Mima takes on a recurring role on a popular TV show, when suddenly her handlers and collaborators begin turning up murdered. Harboring feelings of guilt and haunted by visions of her former self, Mima’s reality and fantasy meld into a frenzied paranoia. As her stalker closes in, in person and online, the threat he poses is more real than even Mima knows, in this iconic psychological thriller. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from GKIDS/Shout! Factory.

Special Interest:

photo for Life After Flash The documentary “Life After Flash” (2017) looks at the roller coaster life of Sam J. Jones since his role as Flash Gordon, his struggles and successes, and the aftermath of when he went up against one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood. Features Melody Anderson, Brian Blessed, Topol, Peter Wyngarde, Richard O’Brien, Deep Roy, Brian May, Peter Duncan, Howard Blake, Stan Lee and Brian May. From Cleopatra 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 March 25, 2019 No Responses »
Mar 192019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Mary Poppins Returns” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

“Far From Heaven (Special Edition)” (2002), directed by Todd Haynes and starring Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson, Viola Davis, James Rebhorn. Moore and Quaid star in this seductive story of a seemingly perfect family, and the forbidden desires that threaten to tear it apart, set in 1950s Connecticut. Cathy Whitaker (Moore) has it all — a lovely home, two wonderful children and a handsome husband (Quaid) who is successfully climbing the corporate ladder. But Cathy’s idyllic existence is just an illusion, and she eventually must choose between living a lie or following her heart. Written and directed by Todd Haynes (“Carol”), “Far From Heaven” garnered rave reviews and was nominated for four Academy Awards® including Actress (Moore), Original Screenplay (Haynes), Original Score (Elmer Bernstein) and Cinematography (Edward Lachman). The film is nothing less than Haynes’ homage to Douglas Sirk. In a new Blu-ray edition from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … photo for Detour “Detour” (1945): From Poverty Row came a movie that, perhaps more than any other, epitomizes the dark fatalism at the heart of film noir. As he hitchhikes his way from New York to Los Angeles, a down-on-his-luck nightclub pianist (Tom Neal) finds himself with a dead body on his hands and nowhere to run — a waking nightmare that goes from bad to worse when he picks up the most vicious femme fatale in cinema history, Ann Savage’s snarling, monstrously conniving drifter Vera. Working with no-name stars on a bargain-basement budget, B auteur Edgar G. Ulmer turned threadbare production values and seedy, low-rent atmosphere into indelible pulp poetry. Long unavailable in a format in which its hard-boiled beauty could be fully appreciated, “Detour” haunts anew in its first major restoration. “Detour” was restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation in collaboration with the Cinémathèque Française, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection … photo for Wanda “Wanda” (1970): With her first and only film — a hard-luck drama she wrote, directed, and starred in — Barbara Loden turned in a groundbreaking work of American independent cinema, bringing to life a kind of character seldom seen on-screen. Set amid a soot-choked Pennsylvania landscape, and shot in an intensely intimate vérité style, the film takes up with distant and soft-spoken Wanda (Loden), who has left her husband, lost custody of her children, and now finds herself alone, drifting between dingy bars and motels, where she falls prey to a series of callous men — including a bank robber who ropes her into his next criminal scheme. A difficult-to-see masterpiece that has nonetheless exerted an outsize influence on generations of artists and filmmakers, “Wanda” is a compassionate and wrenching portrait of a woman stranded on society’s margins. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restoration by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, The Film Foundation, and Gucci, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Red Room” (2017 — Ireland), starring Brian Fortune, Eddie Jackson and Cristina Ryan, Kyra, a young woman kidnapped off the street after a night out, wakes up in an isolated house with two other captives. They are informed by their sadistic captors that they must wait their turn to enter the Room before they will be released. Once they discover they will never leave the house alive, they plot to escape before it is their turn to enter the Red Room. From Breaking Glass Pictures … photo for Ritual - A Psychomagic Story In “Ritual – A Psychomagic Story” (2013 — Italy), Fragile Lia (Désirée Giorgetti) once had a strong, passionate relationship with her lover Viktor (Ivan Franek), but a series of traumatic events sends her spiraling into a dark depression. Desperate to find a cure, she visits her old Aunt Agata (Anna Bonasso) at her creepy 18th century villa in Mason, a small Italian village steeped in magic, popular beliefs, traditional culture, myths and legends. Passionate about psychomagic and popular medicine, Agata is the local healer who has learned these methods from Fernando (Alejandro Jodorowsky), her dead Chilean husband. And it’s here, in Mason, that Lia is taken on a powerful psychomagic journey to liberate her unconscious mind from its emotional turmoil. Inspired by the philosophy of and featuring an appearance by Chilean director and cult icon Jodorowsky, the legendary filmmaker of “El Topo” and “Holy Mountain,” the explores the territory of maternity, psychomagic, madness, superstition and popular beliefs. From Omnibus Entertainment … In “The Second Time Around” (2017), starring Linda Thorson and Stuart Margolin, Katherine Mitchell, a widowed yet vibrant senior, wasn’t looking for love a second time — not at her age, and certainly not with grumpy Isaac Shapiro. Despite the nosey bunch of seniors in the residence where Katherine convalesces after breaking her hip, she and Isaac warm to each other over their shared love of music. Against unforeseen obstacles, their love blooms and together they set out to fulfill Katherine’s lifelong dream of going to the opera in Milan. From First Run Feature … In photo for She Wolf “She Wolf” (2013 — Argentina), starring Mónica Lairana, Guadalupe Docampo and Luján Ariza, a female serial killer is stalking the shadowy streets and underground subways of Buenos Aires. Capable of shifting between three manifestations of her inner self, this cunning seductress lures unwitting men to a night of unbridled ecstasy that ends in their blood-soaked demise. The trail of bodies she leaves behind threatens to lead the police to her door but the titular she-wolf is so lost in her fractured psyche that the threat to her own safety barely seems to register. But when one of her intended victims turns out to be an undercover police detective, her frantic escape leads her into the arms of a charming young drug dealer, whose love could provide the key to her salvation. From Omnibus Entertainment … In “The Quake” (2018 — Norway), starring Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp and Kathrine Thorborg Johansen, the ground beneath the residents of Oslo, Norway can’t be trusted. For Norwegian geologists like Kristian Eikjord, studying the daily quakes proves that it’s no longer a matter of if, but when the next catastrophic event will strike. Will it surpass the 5.4 magnitude earthquake that devastated the city in 1904? Can anyone survive it? The thriller follows Kristian as he makes a perilous attempt to help his wife, daughter and others escape a crumbling skyscraper when nature takes its course. What if a massive earthquake is looming? On DVD, Blu-ray, from Magnolia Home Entertainment … When four teens “borrow” a car for one night of fun, what starts as a wild joy ride turns into a nightmare in “Accident” (2017 — South Africa & France), starring Stephanie Shield, Roxane Hayward, Tyrone Keogh and Keenan Arrison. After a violent crash, they discover that being stuck at the bottom of a ravine in an overturned car is the least of their problems. The psychotic owner of the car that they stole has them in his crosshairs and will stop at nothing to get both the car and its contents back. On Blu-ray from Well Go USA.

There’s a slew of oldies but goodies due out this week:
photo for The Deadly Mantis BLU-RAY DEBUT “The Deadly Mantis” (1957), starring Craig Stevens, William Hopper and Alix Talton makes its Blu-ray debut this week. What’s worse than a horde of locusts? A gigantic man-eating praying mantis, released from a million years of deep, frozen sleep and ready to claw its way to world domination. This menacing insect kills everything in its path while scientists and military men work feverishly to stop it. Stevens stars as the commander in charge of putting an end to this beastly insect with Hopper as the paleontologist and Talton as his beautiful assistant, a photojournalist, assigned to help in this epic battle between man and insect. From Scream Factory … The classic Hammer Films thriller “The Witches (The Devil’s Own)” (1967), starring Joan Fontaine, Alec McCowen and Kay Walsh, makes its Blu-ray debut this week. Haunted by the terrors of her experience with African witch-doctors, school teacher Gwen Mayfield (Fontaine) accepts an appointment as headmistress at the Haddaby School run by Alan Bax (McCowen) and his sister Stephanie (Walsh). Gwen initially revels in the peacefulness she has found in the quiet English countryside but soon begins to sense “undercurrents.” Before long, a local boy falls into a coma and Gwen discovers a voodoo doll impaled by pins. The danger that follows brings her face to face with witchcraft as a series of disasters unfold and lead her to the horrible truth. From Scream Factory … photo for Strip Nude for Your Killer “Strip Nude for Your Killer” (1975 — Italy): As the 1970s wore on and audiences began to tire of the tried and tested giallo formula popularized by the thrillers of Argento, Fulci and their contemporaries, filmmakers sought to reinvigorate the ailing movement by injecting elements from other genres. Some took inspiration from the then-burgeoning crime thriller movement, with tales of organized crime and corrupt police officials, while others decided to sex things up by crossing serial killer thrills with salacious soft-core antics. A spate of highly sexualized murders is rocking a prestigious Milanese fashion house. Ambitious photographer Magda (Edwige Fenech) and her on-off boyfriend, love rat Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo), team up to crack the case. But, with the motorcycle helmet-wearing killer bearing a grudge against the agency’s employees, it’s surely only a matter of time before they too end up feeling the force of his wrath. A sleazy Euro cult experience, with kitschy fashion shoots, back alley abortions, blow-up sex dolls and some very indelicate humor. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … In “Losin’ It” (1983), directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Tom Cruise, Shelley Long, Jackie Earl Haley, John Stockwell, Henry Darrow, Rick Rossovich and Joe Spinell, Hollywood icon Cruise, in his first starring role, has everything to gain — and a certain something to lose — when he crosses paths with Shelley Long in this rambunctious road-trip comedy set in the wild and wacky sixties. When all-American high-schooler Woody (Cruise) and his Sinatra-obsessed pal Dave (Haley) decide that it’s time to lose their virginity, they enlist the help of their “more experienced” friend Spider (Stockwell) and head south-of-the-border. Now, in a hilariously raunchy search for cheap booze — and even cheaper thrills == the intrepid trio will run into fast-food floozies, crooked cops and a close encounter with a doubting would-be divorcée (Long) that will change Woody’s life forever. Wonderfully directed by Curtis Hanson (“L.A. Confidential”) with a screenplay by B.W.L. Norton (“Convoy”). In a brand new 2K master. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … photo for Born In East L.A. [Collector’s Edition] BLU-RAY DEBUT “Born In East L.A. [Collector’s Edition]” (1987) makes its Blu-ray debut this week. Cheech Marin wrote, directed and starred in this hip, outrageous comedy that’s more timely than ever. The story follows Rudy (Marin), an American of Hispanic descent, whose south-of-the-border looks show him no mercy during an immigration raid in a migrant worker factory. As his luck goes, he is caught with neither money nor his ID and is deported to Mexico — without speaking a word of Spanish! Unable to contact his vacationing family or his newly immigrated cousin (played by comedian Paul Rodriguez), Rudy is in for a crazy ride as he tries every legal — and illegal — scheme he can think of to get back home. From Shout! Factory Select … In “The Minion” (1988), starring Dolph Lundgren, Françoise Robertson, Roc LaFortune, David Nerman and Allen Altman, international action star Lundgren stars in a non-stop action-packed thriller. When a beautiful and ambitious archaeologist (Françoise Robertson) unearths a mysterious key beneath the streets of 1999 New York City, the Templar Knights of Christ send Lucas (Lundgren) to retrieve it. With no time to lose, he must convince her to give him the key before unspeakable evil is unleashed upon the world by the Minion, a demonic servant of the Antichrist who will do everything in its power to possess the key and see that its sinister master is freed. And only Lucas-a modern-day warrior trained in the ancient arts-can defeat the ultimate evil. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

Foreign Films:

“Becoming Astrid” (2018 — Sweden/Denmark), starring Alba August, Trine Dyrholm, Henrik Rafaelsen, Maria Bonnevie and Björn Gustafsson, is a biopic of Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, the author of numerous children’s books and creator of Pippi Longstocking. Teenaged Astrid Lindgren (August leads a carefree photo for Becoming Astrid life with her family in the forests and fields of rural Sweden. Restless and eager to break free from the confines of her conservative upbringing, she accepts an internship at a local newspaper where she attracts the attention of its married editor, Blomberg. After Astrid becomes pregnant, she leaves her childhood home and goes to Copenhagen to secretly give birth to a son, Lasse, whom she reluctantly leaves in the care of a foster mother, Marie. Astrid goes into self-imposed exile in Stockholm, refusing Blomberg’s offer of marriage and saving up her paltry salary for visits to see Lasse. When Marie falls ill, Astrid uses her imagination and flair for storytelling to reconnect with her son. From Music Box Films.

For the Family:

“PawParazzi” (2018), stars Sara Fletcher, Jay Mohr and Kristy Swanson as the voice of Latte. The cushy Hollywood life of Latte the dog is turned upside down when her owner, superstar actress London Bridges, heads to the boonies to make a new film. The pampered pooch tries to stop thieves from stealing London’s diamond necklace from a farmhouse, but they escape with the jewels. With the help of hunky farmer Tom, can London track down the priceless stones before a scandal breaks out? From Lionsgate.

Special Interest:

“On Her Shoulders” (2018): At only 23-years-old, Nadia Murad’s life is a dizzying array of important undertakings — from giving testimony before the U.N. Security Council to visiting refugee camps to soul-bearing media interviews, emotionally draining speeches, and an endless succession of one-on-one meetings with top government officials. Though it all takes an enormous toll, this once ordinary girl has survived the 2014 genocide of the Yazidis in Northern Iraq and escaped sexual slavery at the hands of ISIS to become a relentless beacon of hope for her people. With deep compassion and a formal precision and elegance that photo for The Last Resortmatches Nadia’s calm and steely demeanor, filmmaker Alexandria Bombach follows this strong-willed young woman, who once dreamed of opening a beauty salon in her village, as she fights to bring ISIS to justice and save her people from extinction. After the documentary was completed, Murad was named as one of two winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. From Oscilloscope Films … “The Last Resort” (2018): Before the arrival of “Miami Vice” and “MTV Spring Break,” South Beach was home to the largest cluster of Jewish retirees in the country. Drawn by the small apartments, low cost of living, sunny weather, and thriving cultural life, they came by the thousands seeking refuge from the Northeast’s brutal winters. By the 1970s, these former New Yorkers had turned from seasonal visitors to year-round residents, making Miami Beach home to a population that was primarily over 70 and overwhelmingly Jewish. “The Last Resort” takes audiences on a journey to the iconic Miami Beach of that era through the lens of young photographers Andy Sweet and Gary Monroe. With cameras in hand, they embarked on an ambitious 10-year project to document this unique chapter in the city’s history, which would soon be erased by the turbulent 1980s. Featuring interviews with Pulitzer Prize winner Edna Buchanan, filmmaker Kelly Reichardt, photographer Gary Monroe, and more, The Last Resort is a stunning testament to a community all but forgotten … until now. From Kino Lorber.

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 March 19, 2019 No Responses »
Mar 122019
 
Hal

Hal

Although Hal Ashby directed a remarkable string of acclaimed, widely admired classics throughout the 1970s—HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST DETAIL, SHAMPOO, COMING HOME, BEING THERE—he is often overlooked amid the crowd of luminaries from his generation. Amy Scott’s exuberant portrait explores that curious oversight, using rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings to reveal a passionate, obsessive artist. Ashby was a Hollywood director who constantly clashed with Hollywood, but also a unique soul with an unprecedented insight into the human condition and an unmatched capacity for good. His films were an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor, and humanity. Through the heartrending and inspiring HAL, you feel buoyed by Ashby’s love of people and of cinema … a little like walking on water.

Special Features:
  • Feature-length audio commentary with director Amy Scott, producers Christine Beebe, Brian Morrow, Jonathan Lynch and Lisa Janssen
  • The Cutting Room Floor – interview outtakes
  • Behind the scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
On DVD and Blu-ray April 2 from Oscilloscope Laboratories

 Posted by on March 12, 2019 No Responses »
Mar 052019
 

From the Big Screen:

“The Favourite,” “Creed II,” “Instant Family” and “Vox Lux.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

From one of the masters of the film noir, Robert Siodmak (“The Killers,” “The Dark Mirror”), comes “Phantom Lady” (1944), a consummate crime classic. After a fight with his wife, Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis) heads to a bar to drown his sorrows. There he strikes up a conversation with a mysterious, despondent lady photo for Phantom Lady who agrees to accompany him to a show uptown but withholds her name. Arriving home, Scott is met by grimly countenanced cops — his wife has been strangled with one of his neckties and he is the prime suspect. He has a solid alibi but his theater companion is nowhere to be found and no one remembers seeing them together. When Scott is charged with murdering his wife, it falls to his devoted secretary “Kansas” (Ella Raines) to find the phantom lady and save Scott from the electric chair. Adapted from a hit novel by acclaimed crime writer Cornell Woolrich, “Phantom Lady” boasts stylish cinematography, cruel characters and memorable performances from Raines and Franchot Tone. The film is presented here for the first time in stunning High Definition. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment … The “Sister Street Fighter Collection” (1974) is a two-disc set that includes all three films in the Sister Street Fighter trilogy. Etsuko Shihomi is the half-Chinese, half-Japanese Li Koryu, who travels to Yokohama to investigate the disappearance of her brother, an undercover cop. When she discovers a smuggling ring run by a drug lord with his own personal army of deadly fighters, she must penetrate his evil lair and defeat not only his champion (Masashi Ishibashi from the Street Fighter films) but also a group of female Thai kickboxers called The Amazon Seven. Shin’ichi Chiba appears in a cameo as a fellow karate master who helps Koryu in her mission. Released only three months later, photo for Sister Street Fighter Collection the sequel, “Sister Street Fighter: Hanging By a Thread,” once again follows Li Koryu as she investigates another smuggling ring, this time involving diamonds implanted into the derrieres of prostitutes! Teaming up with enigmatic fighter Tsubaki (Yasuaki Kurata), she once again calls upon her fighting skills to take down another round of colorful bad guys. The final film of the official trilogy, “Return of the Sister Street Fighter,” finds her back in Yokohama searching for a woman who has become the mistress of another crime kingpin. Kurata again co-stars but this time as a crazed fighter working for the villains who swears that he’s the man who can kill Li Koryu. Genre entertainment of the highest order, the Sister Street Fighter films are a wild ride through some of the best exploitation cinema Japan produced in the 1970s. Funky and over-the-top, filled with wall-to-wall action, and featuring some of the craziest villains ever depicted onscreen, the series embodies female power in a male-dominated genre and is a magnificent showcase for the physical presence and martial arts skills of its lead star. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

From TV to Disc:

“Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season” (2018) is a four-disc set with all 16 episodes. In Season 4, we see the world of Madison Clark and her family through new eyes — the eyes of Morgan Jones, who is joining the story from the world of “The Walking Dead.” The characters’ immediate pasts mix with an uncertain present of struggle and discovery as they meet new friends, foes, and threats. They fight for each other, against each other, and against a legion of the dead, and work to build an existence strong enough to resist the crushing pressure of lives coming apart. There’s darkness and light; terror and grace; and photo for Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season the heroic, mercenary, and craven, all crashing together toward a new reality. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … “House of Cards: Season Six” (2018) is a three-disc set with all eight episodes. The final chapter in the critically acclaimed and award-winning political drama. Following the death of President Frank Underwood, Vice President Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) has ascended to the position of Commander in Chief of the United States, working to rally her allies and outwit those who oppose her. The intrigue and political maneuverings inside the White House continue as the first female president seeks to solidify her legacy. Co-stars Michael Kelly, Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Sony … “Krypton: The Complete First Season” (2018) is a two-disc set with all 10 episodes of the series that tells the origin story of DC’s iconic photo for When Calls The Heart: The Greatest Blessing Superman in a whole new way. What if Superman never existed? Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet, Krypton follows a young Seg-El, the legendary Man of Steel’s grandfather, who is faced with a life and death conflict — save his home planet or let it be destroyed in order to restore the fate of his future grandson. With Krypton’s leadership in disarray and the House of El ostracized, Seg fights alongside Earthly time-traveler Adam Strange to redeem his family’s honor and protect the ones he loves while saving the future of his legacy from DC Super-Villain Brainiac.On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner … “When Calls The Heart: The Greatest Blessing” (2018) is the latest entry in the series based on the books by celebrated author Janette Oke (“The Love Comes Softly” series). When a group of orphans become stranded in Hope Valley for Christmas, their caretakers — sisters who have a mysterious backstory — lead Bill to investigate the circumstances of their arrival. He discovers the sisters and their orphanage are in jeopardy, so Abigail and the other residents rally to make it a Christmas to remember for the orphans. From Shout! Factory.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Ben Is Back” (2018), starring Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Courtney B. Vance and Kathryn Newton, follows the charming yet troubled Ben Burns (Hedges), who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben’s wary mother Holly Burns (Roberts) welcomes her son’s return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm’s way … and he promptly disappears. During the 24 hours photo for Ben Is Back that may change their lives forever, Holly must do everything in her power to avoid the family’s downfall. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Lionsgate … In “The Clovehitch Killer” (2018), starring Charlie Plummer, Dylan McDermott and Samantha Mathis, Tyler Burnside (Plummer) is a Boy Scout, a volunteer at his local church, and the dutiful son of an upstanding, community leader dad (McDermott). Only one thing troubles the quiet Kentucky town he lives in: the unsolved murders — in which 10 women were brutally tortured and killed by a psychopath known as Clovehitch — that rocked the community more than a decade ago. When Tyler discovers a cache of disturbing images in his father’s possession, he begins to suspect that the man he trusts most in the world may be Clovehitch … and that his deadly rampage may not be over. On DVD, Blu-ray from IFC Midnight/Scream Factory … After a shooting at a police funeral, reclusive ex-cop Gannon finds himself unwittingly forced out of retirement when he realizes that the killer belongs to the same militia he joined after quitting the force in “The Standoff at Sparrow Creek” (2018), starring James Badge Dale, Chris Mulkey, Brian Geraghty, Robert Aramayo, Patrick Fischler and Happy Anderson. Understanding that the shooting could set off a chain reaction of copycat violence across the country, Gannon quarantines his fellow militiamen in the remote lumber mill they call their headquarters. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … “The Vanishing (aka Keepers)” (2019), starring Gerard Butler, Peter Mullan and Connor Swindells is an action-packed thriller based on true events. After three lighthouse keepers arrive for work on a remote Scottish isle, they make a fateful discovery: a wrecked rowboat — with a chest full of gold. As a mysterious boat heads toward the island, the three men make a choice that will change their lives forever, ensnaring them in a web of greed, paranoia, and guilt. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … There’s three interesting thrillers from overseas this week: In “Do It Yourself” (2017 — Greece), small-time crook and ex-con Alkis is double-crossed by an ex-cellmate and finds himself trapped in a working porn studio where his shady, trigger-happy accomplices have no intention of letting him out alive. The disheveled crook has only one option — to escape by any means possible. From Artsploitation Films … photo for The House “The House” (2016 — Norway) is set in the frozen wilderness of Norway during WWII, two German soldiers escort a Norwegian soldier to a prisoner of war camp but as the weather begins to take a toll on them, they find an empty house near the forest where they finally can get some rest. However, what seems to be a warm and welcoming shelter turns much more sinister and deadly. They begin to wonder if they somehow have stepped into a psychological hell from which there may be no escape. From the director of “Christmas Blood.” From Artsploitation Films … In “Jupiter’s Moon” (2017 — Hungary), the director of the critically acclaimed “White God” employs his uniquely talented eye to create this riveting Palme d’Or nominated supernatural thriller. Aryan, a young Syrian refugee (Zsombor Jéger) is shot while trying to cross the Hungarian border. While treating his wounds, a doctor (Merab Ninidze) at the refugee camp discovers that Aryan has gained an extraordinary talent — he can levitate at will. The corrupt doctor sees an opportunity and offers to smuggle Aryan out of the camp if, in return, he helps him make some money by using his new miraculous gift. Director Kornél Mundruczó marks himself as one his generation’s most visionary directors by tackling eternally mythic themes and contemporary political issues with mind-bending aplomb. From Icarus Films … And, lastly, Shout! Factory brings us “Kalifornia Collector’s Edition” (1993), starring Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes. When urban intellectuals Brian (Duchovny) and Carrie (Forbes) set out on a cross-country trip to research a book about serial killers, they share the ride with a couple they barely know — Early Grayce (Pitt) and his girlfriend Adele (Lewis). Locked in a car hurtling westward, the four travelers struggle to find some common ground. But when they finally do connect, Early’s violent nature abruptly emerges and the terrified Brian and Carrie realize that they don’t need to go very far to learn about ruthless killers … because they are already face-to-face with one! Includes both the theatrical cut and unrated version of the movie. On Blu-ray.

On the Indie Front:

“100 Yards” (2018) stars Sean Patrick Flanery, Steven Brewis, Danielle Rayne and Rebecca Lim in a drama about a famous but flawed college athlete who turns down the NFL to search for his mother who has gone missing, only to find out he has an illness that takes him on an unexpected journey. From RLJE Films.

Foreign Films:

In “Liz and the Blue Bird” (2018 — Japan), Naoko Yamada presents her fourth feature film with a subtle yet entrancing brilliance in this complex look photo for Liz and the Blue Bird at friendship and growing up. Mizore Yoroizuka plays the oboe, and Nozomi Kasaki plays the flute in Kita Uji High School’s concert band. Mizore is shy and soft-spoken, while her best friend, Nozomi, is outgoing. The two girls grow closer as they practice for their last duet before graduating, a piece called “Liz And The Blue Bird.” However, the impending separation may be more than their friendship can handle. Interspersed with their story is the fantasy tale of Liz, who like Mizore, seeks a friendship that may be too hard to hold onto in this beautiful coming-of-age story. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Shout! Factory.

Special Interest:

“Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival” (2018): Donna Haraway is the author of the groundbreaking “A Cyborg Manifesto.” This documentary features Haraway in a playful and engaging exploration of her life, influences, and ideas. Best-known for her ground-breaking work on gender, cyborgs, animals and post-colonialism, Haraway is a passionate and discursive storyteller. The film is structured around a series of discussions on subjects including capitalism, science fiction, unconventional marital and sexual partnerships, the role of Catholicism in her upbringing, humans and dogs, the suppression of women’s writing, the surprisingly fascinating history of orthodontic aesthetics, and the need for new post-patriarchal narratives. From Icarus Films.

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 March 5, 2019 No Responses »
Feb 052019
 

From the Big Screen:

“The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” “Widows,” “A Private War,” “The Sisters Brothers” and “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

Directed by Ingmar Bergman, “Shame (Skammen)” (1968) is at once an examination of the violent legacy of World War II and a scathing response to the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star as musicians living in quiet retreat on a remote island farm, until the civil war photo for Shame that drove them from the city catches up with them there. Amid the chaos of the military struggle, vividly evoked by pyrotechnics and by cinematographer Sven Nykvist’s handheld camera work, the two are faced with impossible moral choices that tear at the fabric of their relationship. This film, which contains some of the most devastating scenes in Bergman’s oeuvre, shows the impact of war on individual lives. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … The cult classic “Double Dragon” (1994), starring photo for Double Dragon (Collector's Edition Robert Patrick, Scott Wolf, Mark Dacascos, Alyssa Milano and Julia Nickson, based on the video game smash hit, roars to life with amazing special effects, spectacular action sequences, and a knock-about sense of humor. It’s the year 2007, and what remains of LA is now “New Angeles,” a city ravaged by earthquakes, tidal waves and vicious gangs. The evil tycoon Koga Shuko (Patrick) is obsessed with finding the two halves of a talisman known as the “Double Dragon,” which will give him awesome mystical powers. Two teenaged brothers, Jimmy (Dacascos) and Billy Lee (Wolf) find themselves in possession of the amulet’s missing half, thrusting them into the adventure of their lives. In a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo from MVD Rewind Collection.

From TV to Disc:

“The Deuce: The Complete Second Season” (2018) is a three-disc set with all nine episodes. The Second Season continues to trace the evolution and power dynamics of the porn industry in New York’s Times Square neighborhood in the 1970s. Picking up in late 1977, five years after season one, The Deuce’s backroom massage parlors and hotels have exploded into sprawling emporiums, while the New York Mafia’s grip on the porn business is beginning to slip as talent migrates to the West Coast – but for now, the city is flush with movies, music and art. Season photo for Gunsmoke: The Fourteenth Season, Volumes One & Two 2 also captures the disco era in all its excesses before developers, crack cocaine, AIDS, and videotapes conspire to end the debauched glory of Times Square. On DVD, Blu-ray, from HBO … “40 & Single: Season 1” (2018) features six episodes of the series about a bisexual, mixed race, single bridal fashion designer who maneuvers life and business in post colonial Africa. From Urban Movie Channel/RLJ Entertainment … “Gunsmoke: The Fourteenth Season, Volumes One & Two” (1968-69) is a seven-disc set with 26 digitally remastered episodes. James Arness returns to the Wild West as the legendary Marshal Matt Dillon. Hellbent on serving justice in the Old West, Dillon finds himself going head-to-head with Dodge City’s most dangerous outlaws. Often surrounded by epic gunfights, brawls, cold-blooded murders and bank robbers, Dillon continues his adventures alongside the loyal Doc Adams (Milburn Stone), sexy saloon proprietress Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) and lovable Deputy Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis). This season, Dodge City is counting on Dillon to bring justice to the badlands and set order in the west. At the untamed edge of civilization, Dillon faces off with remorseless bounty hunters, a vengeful ex-lawman and a 103-year-old horse thief. From CBS/Paramount.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “The Cloverfield Paradox” (2018), starring David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Bruhl, Chris O’Dowd, Zhang Ziyi, Aksel Hennie and John Ortiz, orbiting above a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Paramount … In “Fighting the Sky” (2018), starring Angela Cole, Matthew Ward, Nicole Ann Hicks, Alison Headrick, Jinette Faraj and Judith Faraj, strange other-worldly sounds are echoing around the world. A group of researchers, led by expert ufologist Lorraine Gardner, begin an expedition to track down the point of origin from which the sounds emerge. Yet as their journey deepens, they begin to discover more than they bargained for. From High Octane Pictures … In “All the Devil’s Men” (2018), starring Milo Gibson, Sylvia Hoeks and William Fichtner, a team of hardened military operatives go on a relentless manhunt through the backstreets of London. A battle-scarred mercenary in the War on Terror is forced to go on an overseas mission to find a disavowed CIA operative, which turns into a deadly running battle with a former military comrade and his private army. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … photo for Grand-Daddy Day Care In “Grand-Daddy Day Care” (2019), starring Reno Wilson, Danny Trejo, Barry Bostwick, Linda Gray, Julia Duffy, Garrett Morris, Hal Linden and George Wendt, when Frank Collins (Wilson) suffers from writer’s block, he decides to start a day care for his father-in-law (Trejo) and other seniors as a way to make quick cash, while giving him time to still work on his next book. Eventually getting a small group to care for, Frank soon learns that these are not your typical seniors and they can’t be easily corralled. With a code enforcement officer challenging the legality of his business, and his senior charges getting into all kinds of trouble, Frank’s work days become anything but effortless. From Universal … In “Mermaid Lake of the Dead” (2018 — Russia), starring Viktoriya Agalakova, Efim Petrunin and Sofia Shidlovskaya, some people believe that if you go walking by the lake a night, a mermaid will get you and seduce you with her singing. Once a young woman sent to a tragic and watery grave, she has since become something unholy. Cursed to swim the waters in which she met her untimely death, the mermaid has risen once again. This unspeakable wraithlike creature hungers for love — and has set her hook for the fiancé of a young woman from the town, setting up a desperate battle with pure, undying evil. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Scream Factory … photo for The Fifth Cord The success of Dario Argento’s “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” ushered in a host of imitators, seeking to capitalize on this new, modern take on the giallo thriller. Many were highly derivative, but a number nonetheless rose above the crowd thanks to skillful execution and a willingness to experiment stylistically. One such example is “The Fifth Cord” (1971) which, in the hands of director Luigi Bazzoni, turns a conventional premise into a visually stunning exploration of alienation and isolation. When a man barely survives a brutal assault en route home from a New Year’s party, washed-up, whisky-swilling journalist Andrea Bild (Franco Nero) is assigned to report on the case. Before long, the maniac strikes again, this time with fatal results. As the body count rises, Andrea falls under suspicion himself, making it even more imperative that he crack the case. His only clue lies in a series of black gloves found at the location of every attack, each with a finger cut off … Adapted from a novel by David McDonald Devine, “The Fifth Cord” boasts a complex, Agatha Christie-esque plot and outstanding cinematography courtesy of future Oscar-winner Vittorio Storaro.On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “Poetic Justice” (1993), starring Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Regina King and Joe Torry, makes its Blu-ray debut this week. Jackson and Shakur made their film debuts in director John Singleton’s (“Boyz N the Hood”) street-smart love story. A mismatched pair pushed together for a road trip from South Central L.A. to Oakland, Justice (Jackson) and Lucky (Shakur) have only one thing in common: they can’t stand each other. But as their friends Iesha and Chicago (King and Torry) fight — and make up — in the back of the van, Justice and Lucky find themselves reluctantly drawn together before being confronted once again by the shocking violence they thought they’d left behind. Featuring the music of Naughty by Nature and Tony! Toni! Tone!, and the poetry of Maya Angelou. From Sony … photo for The Possessed “The Possessed” (1965 — Italy) is a wonderfully atmospheric proto-giallo based on one of Italy’s most notorious crimes, The Alleghe killings, and adapted from the book on that case by acclaimed literary figure Giovanni Comisso. Peter Baldwin stars as Bernard, a depressed novelist who sets off in search of his old flame Tilde (Virna Lisi), a beautiful maid who works at a remote lakeside hotel. Bernard is warmly greeted by the hotel owner Enrico (Salvo Randone) and his daughter Irma (Valentina Cortese), but Tilde has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Bernard undertakes an investigation and is soon plunged into a disturbing drama of familial secrets, perversion, madness and murder … Co-written by Giulio Questi and co-directed by Luigi Bazzoni, “The Possessed” masterfully combines film noir, mystery and giallo tropes, whilst also drawing on the formal innovations of 1960s art cinema (particularly the films of Michelangelo Antonioni.) A uniquely dreamlike take on true crime, “The Possessed” is presented here in a stunning new restoration. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … In “Higher Learning” (1995), starring Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport, Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes, Jennifer Connelly and Tyra Banks. First-term freshmen get a crash course in diversity, identity and sexuality when people from all different walks of life encounter racial tension, rape, responsibility, and the meaning of an education on a university campus. In a Blu-ray debut from Sony.

On the Indie Front:

In “When It Comes Around” (2018), starring Jackée Harry, Brad James, Shanica Knowles, Denyce Lawton and Chico Benymon, Dexter (James) is a man with all the moves: with the ladies, on the basketball court and in the cutthroat business of sports management. But this player is about to be played. When his company photo for Electric Love hires a new agent named Jerry and Jerry turns out to be a stunning, competitive woman with moves of her own … Dex will learn a thing or two about relationships and what it feels like to lose. From Urban Movie Channel/RLJ Entertainment … “Electric Love” (2019), starring Mia Serafino, Zachary Mooren, Matt Bush and Victoria Fratz, follows four couples as they traverse modern dating in Los Angeles utilizing popular dating apps like Tinder and Grindr. Emma and Adam swipe right and fall head first into a passionate relationship, ignoring red flags along the way. Greg deals with obstacles in finding a genuine connection on the Grindr scene when a sudden match may have turned his luck around. Director Aaron Fradkin drew from real-life experiences for some of the hilarious bad date stories depicted in the movie. Real-life Grindr stories shared by Grindr users were used to authenticate the feel of the same-sex dating storyline. From Gravitas Ventures.

Foreign Films::

“Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms” (2018 — Japan) was the winner of Best Animated Film at the Shanghai International Film Festival and awarded Best Film for Fantastic Discovery at Spain’s Sitges Film Festival. Though only 15, photo for Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms Maquia knows she will live for centuries without aging past adolescence. She belongs to the Iorph, a clan of ageless beings just like her. Maquia’s elders warn her not to fall in love with anyone outside their realm, lest she wish to encounter true loneliness in the end. But fate pushes Maquia out into the mortal world one night, when an invading territory separates her from the clan. There she discovers an orphaned baby, Arial, and takes him in as her own child. From this point, Maquia will suffer extreme heartbreak in the name of motherhood, as she watches Arial grow and seeks to reconnect with her lost Iorph friends, all torn apart by the cruel world of Mesate. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Shout! Factory.

For the Family:

In “PJ Masks: Butterfly Brigade” (2019), preschoolers can join the trio of heroes, Catboy, Owlette and Gekko, on their nighttime adventures as they work together to stop the baddies and save the day in six episodes. When Luna Girl pushes her moths aside and steals butterflies to be her new sidekicks, can Catboy learn to make friends with the butterflies and stop her? And Owlette is so amazed photo for Bernie the Dolphin by Night Ninja’s new school bus fortress, she forgets all of the reasons why she loves the PJ Masks HQ. From Fox … Set in St. Augustine, Florida, the Dove Foundation approved “Bernie the Dolphin” (2018), starring Lola Sultan, Kevin Sorbo, Patrick Muldoon and Logan Allen, is a family adventure about a brother and sister who befriend a badly sunburned dolphin separated from his family and uncover a secret plan that could destroy the beach and their new friend’s home. The kids must devise a clever plan to stop the bad guys, protect the sea life, and, most importantly, save their new friend, Bernie. From Lionsgate … In “Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost” (2019), the Mystery Inc. gang heads to the snowy peaks of the Himalayan mountains to track down a lost chest that contains the spirits of 12 captured ghosts in this all new animated feature. From 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 February 5, 2019 No Responses »
Jan 222019
 

From the Big Screen:

“First Man,” “The Hate U Give” and “Johnny English Strikes Again” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu shot to international prominence with “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (2007), his rigorously realistic Palme d’Or-winning second feature. In 1987, during the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, college roommates Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) seek an illegal abortion for Gabita. In unflinching but empathetic detail, “4 Months, 3 photo for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 DaysWeeks and 2 Days” recounts the events of 24 perilous hours in their lives, culminating in their encounter with a manipulative and menacing abortionist (Vlad Ivanov). With powerful performances that accentuate the characters’ flawed humanity, “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” is a gutting account of the impossible choices women face when taking control of their bodies means breaking the law. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by director Cristian Mungiu, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … photo for Mikey and Nicky Elaine May crafted a gangster film like no other in the nocturnal odyssey “Mikey and Nicky” (1976), capitalizing on the chemistry between frequent collaborators John Cassavetes and Peter Falk by putting them on-screen together as small-time mobsters whose lifelong relationship has turned sour. Set over the course of one night, this restless drama finds Nicky holed up in a motel after the boss he stole money from puts a hit on him. Terrified, he calls on Mikey: the one person he thinks can save him. Scripted to match the live-wire energy of its stars — alongside supporting players Ned Beatty, Joyce Van Patten, and Carol Grace — and inspired by real-life characters from May’s childhood, this unbridled portrait of male friendship turned tragic is an unsung masterpiece of American cinema. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Elaine May, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … photo for Waterworld The most expensive film ever made at the time of its release, the infamous “Waterworld” (1995) “Waterworld” has thrilled audiences through the years with its awe-inspiring action scenes, gargantuan maritime sets and ground-breaking special effects. The post-apocalypse film stars Kevin Costner The Mariner — a mutant trader, adrift in a dystopian future where Earth is submerged under water and humankind struggles to survive on boats and in ramshackle floating cities. The Mariner becomes embroiled with the Smokers, a gang of pirates who, led by villainous leader Deacon (Dennis Hopper), are seeking Enola (Tina Majorino), a girl with a map to the mythical realm of “Dryland” tattooed on her back. Famous for both its epic scale and the controversy that swirled around its production, “Waterworld” is a key cult film of the 1990s, and an essential entry into the subgenre of ecologically-minded blockbusters. Presented here in an exclusive new restoration, in three different cuts: the original cut from a 4K scan, the extended US TV cut, which runs over 40 minutes longer than the theatrical cut, and the extended European “Ulysses” cut, which includes censored shots and dialogue. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

From TV to Disc:

“The Dick Cavett Show: Inside The Minds Of: Vol. 2”:
Beginning in, 1968 Dick Cavett was the host of his own talk show, in a variety of formats and on a number of television and radio formats. These episodes were taken from shows that aired between 1990 through 1995 and feature some of the insightful, thought provoking and satirical brilliance of George Carlin, Martin Mull and Steve Martin. From MVD Entertainment … “Fuller House: The Complete Third Season” (2007) is a two-disc set with all 18 episodes of the sequel to the 1987–1995 television series. Highlights: Joey, Jesse and Danny come home to celebrate 30 years since they initially moved in together to raise the Tanner girls. Guest appearances by original “Full House” cast including John Stamos, Bob Saget, Dave Coulier and Lori Loughlin. From Warner.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

While on assignment in war-torn Bosnia, a team of Navy SEALs discovers the existence of a treasure hidden at the bottom of a lake by the Nazis in “American Renegades” (2017), starring J.K. Simmons, Sullivan Stapleton, Ewen Bremner, Charlie Bewley and Sylvia Hoeks. In an effort to help the locals, photo for the SEALs engineer a covert operation to retrieve the gold and return it to its rightful owners. After a deadly turn of events, the team is detected by the enemy — and left with only 10 hours to carry out the mission. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … Late one night, a knock on the door interrupts a husband and wife’s evening, changing their lives forever in “West of Redemption” (2010), starring Billy Zane, Kevin Alejandro, Mariana Klaveno and Charles Leggett. When Hank Keller (Zane) opens the door to a traveler (Alejandro) whose truck broke down, it opens a nightmare for everyone, unwinding a complicated web of mysteries that ends with a kidnapping, a dead body and several suspects. From IndiCan Pictures … Starring the creators of “The Room,” the cult film that inspired “The Disaster Artist,” “Best Friends Volume 1” (2017) is a comedy-thriller featuring Tommy Wiseau as a mortician named Harvey and Greg Sestero as Jon, a drifter — two unlikely friends/business associates whose partnership is > tested by creeping paranoia and issues of loyalty and trust. photo for In “Best Friends Volume 2” (2018) the laughs and thrills continue with Harvey out of the way and Jon and his girlfriend escaping to the Arizona desert … but their quest to open a safe full of loot leads them into a gang of desperate, deadly characters, leaving Jon, fighting to survive, haunted by freakish memories of the long-lost Harvey. On Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “Here and Now” (2018), starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Simon Baker, Common, Taylor Kinney, Waleed “Cobra Collector’s Edition” (1986), starring Sylvester Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen and Reni SantoniLt, police Lt. Marion Cobretti (Stallone) is a one-man assault team whose laser-mount submachine gun and pearl-handled Colt .45 spit pure crime-stopping venom. This thriller pits Cobretti against a merciless serial killer. The trail leads to not one murderer but also an army of psychos bent on slashing their way to a “New Order” — and killing a witness along the way. Fortunately, her protector is Cobra, a man who delivers vigilante justice like no other. New 2K Scan of the original film elements. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory … The cult classic movie based on the video game smash hit “Double Dragon (Collector’s Edition)” (1994), starring Robert Patrick, Scott Wolf, Mark Dacascos, Alyssa Milano and Julia Nickson, roars to life with amazing special effects, spectacular action sequences, and a knock-about sense of humor. It’s photo for Double Dragon (Collector's Edition the year 2007, and what remains of LA is now “New Angeles,” a city ravaged by earthquakes, tidal waves and vicious gangs. The evil tycoon Koga Shuko (Patrick) is obsessed with finding the two halves of a talisman known as the “Double Dragon,” which will give him awesome mystical powers. Two teenaged brothers, Jimmy (Dacascos) and Billy Lee (Wolf) find themselves in possession of the amulet’s missing half, thrusting them into the adventure of their lives. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from MVD Rewind Collection … In “10 to Midnight” (1983), starring Charles Bronson, Gene Davis, Lisa Eilbacher and Andrew Stevens, Bronson plays Leo Kessler, a cynical Los Angeles cop on the trail of Warren Stacy (Davis), a homicidal maniac who turns rejection from beautiful women into the ultimate revenge. When the legal system sets Stacy free, Kessler plants evidence to put him behind bars for good. But Kessler’s plan backfires, leaving him with only one option: to hunt down Stacy on his own … before the crazed killer can strike again. New 4k scan of the original camera negative. In a Blu-ray debut from Scream Factory.

Foreign Films:

“The Apparition “ (2018 — France), starring Vincent Lindon and Galatéa Bellugi, is a modern-day ecclesiastical thriller that follows a respected journalist whose belief system is profoundly shaken when he’s recruited by the Vatican to investigate an apparition of the Virgin Mary, witnessed by a similarly beguiling young woman. Jacques Mayano, a writer with a large regional newspaper in France, is tapped by the Vatican to lead a committee to explore the legitimacy of saintly apparitions in a small French village. Traveling to the village for this canonical investigation, he meets the young and sensitive Anna, who claims to have witnessed a vision of the Virgin Mary. Though she has gained a captive audience following her declaration, Anna is torn between her faith and the many solicitations she receives. Confronted with opposing views from clergy members and skeptics, Jacques finds his own ideologies and values challenged as he works to uncover the hidden mysteries, motivations, and pressures surrounding Anna’s vision. From Music Box Films … photo for I Am Not a Witch Filmmaker Rungano Nyoni captured a BAFTA for her provocative debut feature, “I Am Not a Witch” (2017 — Zambia), a striking satire about witchcraft in contemporary Zambia, and the U.K.’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film. When 9-year-old Shula is accused of witchcraft, she is exiled to a witch camp run by Mr. Banda, a corrupt and inept government official. Tied to the ground by a white ribbon, Shula is told that she will turn into a goat if she tries to escape. As the only child witch, Shula quickly becomes a local star and the adults around her exploit her supposed powers for financial gain. Soon she is forced to make a difficult decision — whether to resign herself to life in the camp, or take a risk for freedom. From Film Movement … Deemed cursed by the local villagers, three-time widow Er Hao (Tian Tian) has her hands full with a rogue fireworks explosion, a tagalong teenager, and a veritable army of crazed local men who can’t keep their hands off her in “The Widowed Witch” (2017 — China). Turned away when she seeks shelter from her neighbors and forced to take up residence in a cold camper van, Er Hao’s future looks as bleak as the stark, snowy countryside. A series of fluke changes in fortune causes Er Hao to embrace the mystical identity her villagers have assigned to her. As a sort of modern shaman, she steers superstitions into small subversions, helping others who once shunned her and proving that to survive as a woman is a kind of magic. From Icarus Films.

For the Family:

“Peppa Pig: When I Grow Up” (2019) contains 12 Peppa-sodes with Peppa, her little brother George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, and friends. Peppa and her friends use their imaginations to decide what they want to be when they grow up, as they work to help others in “The Police,” “Doctors,” and “The Fire Engine. Later, the playgroup gets excited for showtime; in “Move to Music,” the friends dance along with Madame Gazelle and learn how to play instruments for an oinktastic performance in “Shake, Rattle and Bang.” From Fox.

Special Interest:

“The Wandering Muse” (2018): From ram’s horn to beatbox, this documentary, filmed across the globe over seven years by award-winning director Tamás Wormser, explores the kaleidoscope of Jewish identities through the ever-changing music of photo for The Wandering Muse the diaspora. In constant motion, the film is a series of encounters with Jewish musicians from around the world. Taking their music beyond the concert hall, audiences are granted front row seats to the spontaneous magic of a creative process that transcends the struggles of the musicians’ lives. In an alternative Argentinean bar, two friends play tango-infused klezmer. In rural Uganda, villagers chant Hebrew prayers in East African harmonies. At a Montreal party, an artist mixes hip-hop and jazz with cantorial singing in a multilingual tour de force. In a Berlin apartment, an American harmonizes with a Russian friend in a rendition of an anti-Zionist song from the 1920’s. From IndiePix.

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 January 22, 2019 No Responses »
Dec 312018
 

Happy New Year

From the Big Screen:

“Night School” and “Bad Times at the El Royale.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Red vs. Blue: The Shisno Paradox:” (2018), starring Matt Hullum and Gus Sorola, two groups of soldiers in the distant future are battling for control of the least desirable piece of real estate in the known universe: a box canyon in the middle of nowhere. A simple trip out for pizza ends with the Reds and Blues scattered and lost in time. Their ridiculous adventures in history inadvertently make them pawns in a war between Gods and Titans, which has been raging since before the dawn of time. Based on the longest running web-series on the internet. From Cinedigm … In “The City of Gold” (2018), staring Vernon Wells, Christopher Atkins and Branscombe Richmond, an anguished media magnate, Jonathan Davenport, accompanies his estranged lover to the Peruvian Amazon in pursuit of a reclusive artist living in rebel occupation. Despite its philanthropic intentions, the mission proves to be the harbinger of something dark and ominous rooted deep within Jonathan. From High Octane Pictures.

Foreign Films:

“Scaffolding” (2018 — Israel), starring Asher Lax, Ami Smolartchik, Yaacov Cohen, Keren Berger and Naama Manor, is based on the real life experiences of director Matan Yair, and follows 17-year-old Asher, compelled by rage, but still endowed with charm and street wisdom, as he is torn between his ailing father wanting him to join the family scaffolding business, and a favorite professor who pushes him toward a more studious life. When tragedy strikes, Asher must take the ultimate test of maturity. From Breaking Glass Pictures.

Special Interest:

“Bad Reputation” (2018) is an admiring documentary portrait of punk rock icon Joan Jett, who became mega-famous from the number-one hit “I Love Rock n Roll.” That fame intensified with the music video’s endless play on MTV, world tours and many hits to follow, like “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” but that photo for Bad Reputationstaple of popularity can’t properly define a musician. Jett put her hard work in long before the fame by ripping it up onstage as the backbone of the hard-rock legends The Runaways, starting her record label out of the trunk of a car after being rejected by 23 labels, and influencing many musicians – both her cohort of punk rockers and generations of younger bands – with her no-bullshit style. Bad Reputation is a wild ride as Jett and her close friends tell fans how it really was in the burgeoning ‘70s punk scene and the rocky road that led to rock stardom decades on. Their interviews are laced with amazing archival footage and the theme is clear: Even though people tried to define Jett, she never compromised. She will kick your ass, and you’ll love her photo for Love, Gilda all the more for it. From Magnolia Home Entertainment … In her own words and voice, comedienne Gilda Radner reflects on her life and career in “Love, Gilda” (2018). Weaving together her recently discovered audiotapes and rare home movies, the documentary opens a unique window into the honest and whimsical world of the beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her story. The unforgettable documentary also includes interviews with original “Saturday Night Live” cast and crew, such as Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, Paul Shaffer and longtime friend, Martin Short, and diaries read by modern-day comedians who were inspired by Gilda, including Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Cecily Strong. Radner puts a smile on the faces of people who remember watching her as one of the original cast members of “Saturday Night Live,” where she created and portrayed now-classic comic characters such as Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella and Lisa Loopner. She quickly rose to meteoric fame in television, movies and on Broadway, and was declared one of America’s sweethearts. Director Lisa D’Apolito unearthed a collection of diaries and personal audio and videotapes documenting her childhood, her comedy career, her life with Gene Wilder and ultimately, her struggle with cancer. From Magnolia Home Entertainment.

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

 Posted by on December 31, 2018 No Responses »

 
 Posted by on February 22, 2018 Comments Off on
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