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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Nov 112019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Good Boys,” “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” “The Farewell” and “47 Meters Down: Uncaged.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets:

It must be getting close to the holiday gift-giving season — there’s a profundity of remastered classic and cult films to partake of this week.

An archetypal example of its genre, “The Far Country” (1954 is one of five superb Westerns the screen legend James Stewart made with acclaimed Hollywood auteur Anthony Mann (the others being “Winchester ’73” [1950], “Bend of the River” [1952], “The Naked Spur” [1953] and “The Man from Laramie” [1955]. Mann’s film tells of Jeff Webster (Stewart) and his sidekick Ben Tatum (Walter Brennen), two stoic adventurers driving cattle to market from Wyoming to Canada who come to logger heads with a corrupt judge (John McIntire) and his henchmen. Ruth Romai plays a sultry saloon keeper who falls for Stewart, teaming up with him to take on the errant lawman. An epic saga set during the heady times of the Klondike Gold Rush, “The Far Country” captures the scenic grandeur of northern Canada’s icy glaciers and snow-swept mountains in vivid Technicolor. Mann’s direction expertly steers the film to an unorthodox, yet thrilling ‘all guns-blazing’ finale. Two-disc limited edition with two presentations in both original photo for The Far Country aspect ratios of 1.85:1 and 2.00:1. Brand new 4K restoration from the original film elements by Arrow Films. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “Charley Varrick” (1963), directed by Don Siegel and starring Walter Matthau, Joe Don Baker, Felicia Farr, Andy Robinson, John Vernon, Sheree North, Norman Fell, Benson Fong, Woodrow Parfrey, William Schallert and Marjorie Bennett, is a tough-as-nails action classic about a small-time crook who outfoxes the mob and the law. Screen great Walter Matthau stars as the titular career criminal, with the powerful Joe Don Baker as the tough Mafia hitman on his tail. Charley robs small banks with small payrolls. That keeps him out of trouble until he stumbles onto the mob’s secret stash. The chase is on as the Big Boys go after the “Last of the Independents.” It’s a heart-pounding ride that builds to a fiery airborne climax as Charley makes his last desperate run for the Mexican border and safety. Two of the film’s best features are the terrific photography by Michael C. Butler and original music score by Lalo Schifrin. On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … Hardboiled crime-drama “Madigan” (1968), directed by Don Siegel and starring Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, Inger Stevens, Harry Guardino, James Whitmore, Susan Clark, Don Stroud, Sheree North, Warren Stevens and Raymond St. Jacques, takes a hard-hitting look at the lives and loves of New York City’s top cops. Directed in gripping documentary style by Siegel, Widmark portrays the veteran Big Apple detective who is given only a few hours to track down a vicious killer. Fonda is the humane yet relentlessly forceful police commissioner who orders Widmark into the streets to solve the case, even though it might be his last assignment. Screenplay by Abraham Polonsky and Howard Rodman with stunning CinemaScope cinematography by acclaimed DP Russell Metty (“Touch of Evil”). On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” (1974), directed by Michael Cimino and starring Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, George Kennedy, Geoffrey Lewis, Gary Busey, Catherine Bach, Vic Tayback and Dub Taylor, is a bold, witty and tough crime-thriller starring screen icons Eastwood and Bridges as a pair of modern-day outlaws. Thunderbolt (Eastwood) is a former thief whose razor-sharp wits and steely nerves made him a master of his profession, but he’s about to re-enter the criminal world with a new partner: Lightfoot (Bridges), a brash young drifter whose energy and exuberance give the veteran a new outlook on life. Their target: the seemingly impenetrable Montana Armored Depository. After forming an uneasy alliance with Thunderbolt’s former partners in crime, Red Leary (Kennedy) and Eddie Goody (Lewis), they launch an amazing scheme that will test the limits of their endurance, and the power of their friendship. Fueled by explosive action, fascinating characters and a powerfully moving climax, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is an adventure of the highest caliber and the directorial debut for Cimino, who also wrote the original screenplay. Wonderfully shot in Scope by Frank Stanley (“The Eiger Sanction”). On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … photo for With its droll humor and bittersweet emotional heft, “The Daytrippers” (1996), the feature debut of writer-director Greg Mottola, announced the arrival of an unassumingly sharp-witted new talent on the 1990s indie scene. When she discovers a love letter written to her husband (Stanley Tucci) by an unknown paramour, the distraught Eliza (Hope Davis) turns to her tight-knit Long Island family for advice. Soon the entire clan — strong-willed mom (Anne Meara), taciturn dad (Pat McNamara), and jaded sister (Parker Posey) with pretentious boyfriend (Liev Schreiber) in tow — has squeezed into a station wagon and headed into Manhattan to find out the truth, kicking off a one-crazy-day Odyssey full of unexpected detours and life-changing revelations. Performed with deadpan virtuosity by a top-flight ensemble cast, “The Daytrippers” is a wry and piercing look at family bonds stretched to the breaking point.
On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Greg Mottola, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection … In “Winter Kills “ (1975), starring Jeff Bridges, Anthony Perkins, Eli Wallach, Sterling Hayden, John Huston, Elizabeth Taylor, Dorothy Malone, Tomas Milian, Belinda Bauer, Ralph Meeker, Toshirô Mifune, Richard Boone, Joe Spinell, Tisa Farrow and Erin Gray, Bridges stars as Nick Kegan, the son of world-famous tycoon Pa Kegan (Huston) and half-brother of the late US President Timothy Kegan, who was slain by a lone assassin 19 years earlier. But when a long-rumored “second gunman” makes a secret deathbed confession, Nick begins to unravel a trail of suspects that includes a billionaire war-freak (Hayden), a murderous mob boss (Meeker), a shady nightclub owner (Eli Wallach), a Cuban kingpin (Tomas Milian), an eccentric computer expert (Perkins) and a mysterious Washington madam (Taylor). One-of-a-kind black comedy-thriller from acclaimed writer-director William Richert and based on the best-selling novel by Richard Condon (“Prizzi’s Honor,” “The Manchurian Candidate”). In a new 4K master, on DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … In “Road Games” (1981), Stacy Keach is Pat Quid, a lone trucker who plays games to keep his sanity on long hauls through the desolate Australian Outback. Jamie Lee Curtis is a free-spirited hitchhiker looking for excitement with a game of her own. And somewhere up ahead is a maniac in a van whose game may be butchering young women along the highway. But when the killer decides to raise the stakes, Quid’s game becomes personal … and the rules of this road are about to take some very deadly turns. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory … In “Heathers” (1988), starring Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty and Lisanne Falk, the Heathers — beautiful, popular and ruthless — are the picture-perfect queens of the social scene at Westerburg High that everyone wants to be. And photo for Spirited Away Collector's Edition Set that includes Veronica – or so she thought – until she meets JD. He’s the new bad boy in class with some extreme ideas about how to get even with the school bullies and mean girls. But is he prom date material or a dangerous psychopath? The classic, wickedly dark comedy still rules as the greatest high school movie that isn’t afraid of a little mayhem. On Blu-ray from RLJE Films … The limited-edition “Spirited Away Collector’s Edition Set” (2001 — Japan) comes housed in an elegant hard slipcase, with a new 40-page book with stunning art and essays. Featured in a deluxe disc portfolio will be a Blu-ray of the film paired with hours of special features and the film’s soundtrack on CD, now available exclusively on disc in North America. From the legendary Studio Ghibli, this wondrous fantasy film is one of the best-selling and internationally renowned films of all time, becoming the highest-grossing film in Japanese history in 2001. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Hayao Miyazaki’s epic adventure is a dazzling masterpiece from one of the most iconic filmmakers in the history of animation. Chihiro’s family is moving to a new house, but when they stop on the way to explore an abandoned village, her parents undergo a mysterious transformation and Chihiro is whisked into a world of fantastic spirits ruled over by the sorceress, Yubaba. Put to work in a magical bathhouse for spirits and demons, Chihiro must use all her wits to survive in this strange new place, find a way to free her parents and return to the normal world. On Blu-ray from GKIDS/Shout! Factory.

From TV to Disc:

“The Big Bang Theory: The Twelfth and Final Season” (2018-19) is a three-disc DVD and two-disc Blu-ray with all 24 episodes. For years, fans have been delighted watching their favorite physicists Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) navigate the universe and everyday life along with Penny (Kaley Cuoco), and fellow scientists Howard (Simon Helberg), Raj (Kunal Nayyar), Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), as well as other beloved characters. Now that Sheldon has married neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler, he’ll have to make some serious adjustments to their “Relationship Agreement” in Season 12. Will their equation for marital bliss alter the chemistry between these two beautiful minds? Perhaps Leonard and Penny will provide the data as they experiment with variable in their own marriage. Meanwhile, Howard and Bernadette explore the principles of parenthood, and Raj considers a traditional arranged marriage. Quantum comedy converges in the 12th dimension for the final season. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner … “Cobra Kai Seasons 1 & 2 Limited Collector’s Edition” (2018-19) is a four-disc set with all 20 episodes. The return of two iconic characters, the arch-rivals from the legendary “The Karate Kid” film series reunite over 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament. Now living in the affluent hills of Encino, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) leads an enviable life. Meanwhile, his high school adversary, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), has taken a rocky turn, but seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo. Their lives inevitably become intertwined and the rivalry is reignited, setting forth the next generation of “karate kids.” On DVD, from Sony.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Brian Banks” (2019), starring Aldis Hodge, Sherri Shepherd and Greg Kinnear, the inspirational true story of Brian Banks (Hodge), an All-American high school football star committed to USC who finds his life upended when he is wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Despite lack of evidence, Banks is railroaded through a broken justice system and sentenced to a decade of prison and probation. Years later, with the support of Justin Brooks photo for Brian Banks(Kinnear) and the California Innocence Project, Banks fights to reclaim his life and fulfill his dreams of playing in the NFL. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … In “After The Wedding” (2019), starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Billy Crudup and Abby Quinn, as if driven by an inescapable force, Isabel has devoted her life to running an orphanage in a Calcutta slum. With funds running dry, a potential donor, who requires she travel from India to New York, to deliver a presentation in-person, contacts Isabel. At first balking at the demand of an uncommitted philanthropist, she relents, and travels to a city she deliberately hasn’t returned to in over two decades. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Sony … In “Cross: Rise of the Villains” (2018) Brian Austin Green, Lori Heuring, Patrick Durham, Juhahn Jones, Vinnie Jones, Tom Sizemore, Danny Trejo. Armed with an explosive powerful ancient cross amulet, Callan (Brian Austin Green) is back with his extraordinary team of weapons experts to defend Los Angeles from its biggest threat yet — super villains Muerte (Danny Trejo) and Drago (Manu Intiraymi). Callan will have to join forces with his once mortal enemy, Gunnar (Vinnie Jones), to try to save the city. Tom Sizemore returns as Detective Nitti and Lou Ferrigno, DB Sweeney, Jeremy London and Eric Roberts return as The Contractors in this third installment in the franchise. From Sony … Welcome back to Tromaville High School! In “Return to … Return to Nuke ‘Em High Aka Volume 2” (2018), starring Asta Paredes, Catherina Corcoran, Lloyd Kaufman and Zac Amico, the once tone-deaf Glee Club has now turned into a vicious gang of Cretins, wreaking havoc upon Tromaville and two innocent lesbian lovers, Crissy and Lauren. As Lauren suffers the side-effects of a Cretin forced duck rape, Chrissy follows a trail of tainted toxic taco crumbs, leading her to the crux of all Tromaville High School’s mutating mires, the evil Tromorganic Foodstuffs Conglomerate and its salacious CEO, Lee Harvey Herzkauf. On Blu-ray from Troma Entertainment … photo for Truth in “Truth” (2019), starring Eric Paul Erickson and Rachel Alig, after a long and bloody revolution, captured army officer Xavier Faraday is offered amnesty if he will detail his time at a notorious internment camp. When Xavier reluctantly agrees, his interrogator peels away the layers of his life, only to reveal he’s not the only one hiding something. The film unfolds with only two actors in a single location, in real time. As the story progresses, nothing is what it seems and both characters will sacrifice everything in order to achieve their goals and uncover the truth. From Random Media … When an elite group of American soldiers are ordered to take out a series of German machine gun nests in “D-Day: Battle of Omaha Beach” (2019), starring Weston Cage Coppola, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture, they find themselves blindly venturing into hostile territory. Outnumbered and outgunned they must risk life and limb as they cross treacherous terrain, never knowing where the enemy might be hiding. Based on the incredible true story of heroes Lieutenant Colonel James Rudder, Lieutenant General Omar Bradley and Major Cleveland Lytle and a day that was destined to change history. From Cinedigm … In “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019), starring Zack Gottsagen, Thomas Haden Church, Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson, Zak (Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, runs away from a residential nursing home to fulfill his dream of attending the pro wrestling school of his idol, The Salt Water Redneck (Church). On the road, Zak meets Tyler (LaBeouf), a small-time outlaw who becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together, they set out on a wild, life-changing journey and try to convince Eleanor (Johnson), a kind nursing-home employee charged with bringing Zak back, to join them. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … photo for In director James Franco’s drama “Pretenders” (2018), starring Franco, Dennis Quaid, Brian Cox, Shameik Moore, Juno Temple, Jack Kilmer and Jane Levy, life imitates deadly art as a French New Wave-obsessed film student finds his muse in a mysterious actress that both he and his best friend fall in love with. After years of sex, betrayal, and collateral damage, the three end up in a dangerous situation that leaves one of them fighting for his life. From Cleopatra Entertainment … Based on the romances between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and Prince William and Kate Middleton, the “Royals & Romance 3-Film Collection” features three Lifetime movies: “Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal” (2019),” Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance” (2018), and “William & Kate” (2011). From Lionsgate … In the romantic comedy “The Weekend “ (2019), starring Sasheer Zamata, Tone Bell, DeWanda Wise, Kym Whitley and Y’lan Noel, Zadie (Zamata) goes on an insane weekend getaway with her ex, Bradford (Bell) and his new girlfriend (Wise). At the B&B run by her nosy mom (Whitley), Zadie feels like a third wheel until handsome Aubrey (Noel) shows up. While crushing on Aubrey, Zadie gets a little drunk and makes a lot of trouble for everyone — including herself. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … photo for Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping In the rock mockumentary “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” (2016), starring Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Joan Cusack and Imogen Poots, after a two-year, sold-out, worldwide tour, Conner4Real (Samberg) is the biggest name in music. Go behind the scenes as Conner faces a crisis of popularity after this sophomore album flops, leaving fans, sycophants and rivals all wondering what to do when Conner4Real is no longer the dopest star of all. The hilarious comedy from blockbuster producer Judd Apatow is loaded with cameos from the biggest names in comedy and music, including Justin Timberlake, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Carrie Underwood, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ringo Starr, Simon Cowell, Mariah Carey and more. In a Blu-ray Steelbook from Shout! Factory … “The Gun Runners” (1958), directed by Don Siegel and starring Audie Murphy, Eddie Albert, Patricia Owens, Everett Sloane, Jack Elam and Richard Jaeckel, is an action-packed adventure-yarn about Florida gun-smuggling during the Cuban Revolution. In order to pay off debts, cabin-cruiser skipper Sam Martin (Murphy) rents his boat to a ruthless gun merchant who sells his illegal arms to a revolutionary group in Cuba. Soon Sam finds himself in deep water as director Siegel ratchets up the tension in this sea-faring thriller based on the classic Ernest Hemingway novel “To Have and Have Not.” On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … photo for Werewolf In a Girls' Dormitory “Werewolf In a Girls’ Dormitory” (1961 — Italy) is a twisted Italian horror EuroShocker. When an all-girl reform school is rocked by a series of grisly murders, it unleashes a nightmare of sexual corruption and lupine depravity. Carl Schell, Barbara Lass (aka Roman Polanski’s first wife Barbara Kwiatkowska) and Luciano Pigozzi star in this infamous Italian/Austrian co-production – originally titled “Lycanthropus,” directed by Paolo Heusch from a screenplay by giallo maestro Ernesto Gastaldi with a classic score by Armando Trovajoli, newly scanned in 2k from archival elements recently discovered in a Rome lab vault. On DVD, Blu-ray + CD, from Severin Films … “Yesterday Was a Lie” (2009) is digitally remastered shot-by-shot for the 10th anniversary edition of the jazzy neo-noir that explores mind-twisting sci-fi themes including the nature of time, reality and human consciousness. Kipleigh Brown stars as Hoyle, a girl with a sharp mind and a weakness for bourbon who finds herself on the trail of a reclusive genius (John Newton). But her work takes a series of unforeseen twists as events around her grow increasingly fragmented, disconnected and surreal. With a sexy lounge singer (Chase Masterson) and a loyal partner (Mik Scriba) as her only allies, Hoyle is plunged into a dark world of intrigue and earth-shattering cosmological secrets. Haunted by an ever-present shadow (Peter Mayhew) whom she is destined to face, Hoyle discovers that the most powerful force in the universe — the power to bend reality, the power to know the truth — lies within the depths of the human heart. On DVD, Blu-ray, from IndiePix Films … photo for Flowers in the Attic In “Flowers in the Attic” (1987), when her husband dies in a tragic accident, widow Corrine Dollanganger (Victoria Tennant) takes her four children to the ancestral family home she fled before they were born. Locked away in the attic by their tyrannical grandmother (Louise Fletcher), it falls to older brother and sister Chris (Jeb Stuart Adams) and Cathy (Kristy Swanson) to care for their younger siblings. But with their mother growing increasingly distant and erratic and a mysterious sickness taking hold, will any of the Dollanganger children survive to escape the clutches of the house’s cruel matriarch? Originally published in 1979, VC Andrews’ novel “Flowers in the Attic” was a smash hit, spawning four sequels and going on to sell over 40 million copies worldwide. With undercurrents of incest and child abuse and a haunting score by Christopher Young (“Hellraiser”), “Flowers in the Attic” is a dark and chilling Gothic suspense thriller in the classic tradition. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

On the Indie Front:

photo for A Snow White ChristmasIn a “A Snow White Christmas” (2018), starring Michelle Randolph, Carolyn Hennesy, Liam McNeill and Rich Barnes, when Blanca Snow is faced with spending Christmas with her dastardly stepmother, Victoria, she attempts to fulfill her late father’s wishes and create new memories as a family. However, Victoria plots to edge Blanca out of her father’s inheritance and keep the money and his mansion, for herself. From Monarch Home Entertainment.

Foreign:

“Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles” (2018 — Spain) is a deeply affecting and humanistic animated portrait of a legendary artist hunting for his purpose. Filmmaker Luis Buñuel is left penniless after the scandalous premiere of his film “L’Age d’Or.” However, his good friend, the sculptor Ramón Acín, buys a lottery ticket with the promise that if he wins, he will pay for Buñuel’s next film. Incredibly, luck is on their side, so they set out to make the movie, an unconventional documentary about the desperately poor Las Hurdes region in Spain. Buñuel’s initially callous approach to the extreme poverty and situations he encounters (or creates) gradually leads to a filmmaking experience that will transform him forever. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from GKIDS/Shout! Factory.

For the Family:

photo for Steven Universe: The Movie In “Steven Universe: The Movie” (2019), with the voices of Zach Callison, Estelle, Michaela Dietz, Deedee Magno, Tom Scharpling and Grace Rolek, Steven thinks his time defending the Earth is over, but when a new threat comes to Beach City, Steven faces his biggest challenge yet. Two years have passed since Steven Universe resolved the ongoing conflict between Earth and the Diamonds and brought peace to the galaxy, seemingly allowing Steven and the Crystal Gems to live happily ever after. However, Steven’s past comes back to haunt him in the shape of a mysterious Gem hellbent on destroying him and everything he holds dear, including the Earth itself. From Cartoon Network.

Special Interest:

“Scared of Revolution” (2018) is the untold story of the godfather of rap. Umar Bin Hassan hasn’t even hit 70 yet, but he walks with difficulty and there’s sadness and fatigue in his eyes. As a member of The Last Poets, a group of performance poets who expressed the photo for Scared of Revolutionprogressive spirit of the times starting in the late 1960s, he was a major influence on later hip-hop artists. In one of his best-known pieces, “Ni****s Are Scared of Revolution”, he criticizes his black brothers’ destructive, macho behavior. The documentary, based on Christine Otten’s book, “The Last Poets,” concentrates on Hassan’s personal life, in which he still fights his demons. He grew up poor with a violent, unpredictable father, which in turn left him with an inferiority complex. In the course of his adult life, he has had a string of bad relationships and left children without a father figure. In his darkest hour, he also battled a crack addiction. Today, Hassan takes control of his life again, breaks the destructive cycle and does his best to be the devoted father and grandfather that he was never fortunate enough to have. From Film Movement.

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

 Posted by on November 11, 2019 No Responses »
Nov 042019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Hobbs & Shaw,” “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” “The Art Of Racing In The Rain” and “The Kitchen.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

While investigating the mysterious deaths of two fighters in “Bare Knuckle Brawler” (2019), starring Peter Passaro, Martin Kove, Deborah Twiss, Danny Trejo and Martin Kove, undercover police officer Joey Calderon is murdered. His loose cannon brother Steve returns home, desperate for answers and hungry for revenge. As he makes his way through the underground world of no-holds-barred bare-knuckle fighting run by the Mereta crime family, Steve learns there is only one rule to find his brother’s killer and stay alive: there are no rules. From Breaking Glass Pictures … In “Devil’s Acid” (2019), starring Drew Rin Varick, Ashley Dulaney, Jessica Lynn Parsons, Betty Jeune, Nina Leon and Eric Gibson, brothers Johnny and Luke hold this years “haunted hot girl challenge” in an abandoned prison facility deep in the forest on acid. It’s a good trip until the devil shows up. From High Octance Pictures … photo for Apprentice to Murder In “Apprentice to Murder” (1988), set in early 20-century Pennsylvania Dutch Country, young Billy Kelly (Chad Lowe) falls in with a charismatic “powwower” or folk magic healer, Dr. John Reese (Donald Sutherland), shunned by the rest of the community for his non-conformist beliefs. Together, they investigate the mysterious sickness that is blighting the area, which Reese believes to be the work of a sinister local hermit. But as the plague spreads and the wide-eyed Billy falls ever deeper under Reese’s spell, are they doing God’s work or the Devil’s bidding? A chilling and unforgettable tale of the macabre that blurs the lines between conventional notions of “good” and “evil.” Also stars Mia Sara. Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original 35mm interpositive. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … In “Eminence Hill” (2019), starring Lance Henriksen, Barry Corbin and Dominique Swain, a notorious outlaw and his gang come upon a small homestead, killing both husband and wife and kidnapping their teenage daughter. With the law closing in on them, and after losing their way, the bandits find themselves in the town of Eminence Hill, a community run by a group of deeply pious and fanatical homesteaders. From Uncork’d Entertainment … “Marla” (2018), starring Lisa van Dam-Bates, Travis Johnny Ware, Jason Stange and Katie Hemming, explores the terrifying account of a girl who goes to get an IUD implanted by a family friend turned doctor who then commits a deranged act. The event has deadly implications for those close to her. From High Octane Pictures … photo for Snow Falling on Cedars Collector’s Edition In “Snow Falling on Cedars Collector’s Edition” (1999), starring Ethan Hawke, James Cromwell, Richard Jenkins, Youki Kudoh, James Rebhorn, Sam Shepard, Rick Yune and Max von Sydow, a murder trial has upset the quiet community of San Piedro, and now this tranquil village has become the center of controversy. For Ishmael Chambers, a local reporter, the trial strikes a deep emotional chord when he finds his ex-lover is linked to the case. As he investigates the killing, he uncovers some startling clues that lead him to a shocking discovery. New 4K transfer and restoration supervised by cinematographer Robert Richardson. In a Blu-ray debut from Shout! Select … “Holiday Hell” (2019), starring Jeffrey Combs, Joel Murray, Jeff Bryan Davis, Lisa Coronad and Meagan Karimi-Naser, is a horror anthology set on Christmas Eve. A woman enters a curiosity shop looking for a last-minute gift. There, she meets a mysterious shopkeeper who tells her the horrific stories behind four objects in the shop. As he weaves tales of killer dolls, witches and psycho Santas, the woman senses she might be in danger. She has until midnight to choose her gift, but will she choose wisely? From Uncork’d Entertainment … photo for Byleth: The Demon of Incest In one of the most bizarre EuroSleaze sickies of the ‘70s, “Byleth: The Demon of Incest” (1972 – Italy), Mark Damon (“House of Usher,” “Crypt of the Living Dead”) delivers an atypically unhinged performance as a duke consumed by unnatural lust for his beautiful sister (Claudia Gravy). Toss in depraved dollops of sex, voyeurism, demonic possession and giallo-style violence, and you get the insane rarity The Wild Eye calls “Intriguingly different and endearingly odd for Italian Horror aficionados.” Aldo Bufi Landi and Fernando Cerulli co-star in this long-lost filth-fest, directed by Spaghetti Western veteran Leopoldo Savona and now scanned in 2k from negative elements recently discovered in a Madrid lab vault. On DVD, Blu-ray from Severin Films

From TV to Disc:

“Good Omens” (2019), based on the acclaimed novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, is a new TV adaptation that follows Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and Crowley (David Tennant) as they join forces in an attempt to intercept the antichrist and avert the apocalypse. in addition to big-budget effects and classic British wit, this is a dramatic world of angels and demons where anything can happen – from miracles and prophecies to the most unlikely of friendships. Armageddon is coming. Still, it’s not the end of the world on DVD, Blu-ray, from BBC Studios … “Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries” (2019) includes all four feature-length episodes. In this mod spin-off to the wildly popular Australian mystery series, Peregrine Fisher (Geraldine Hakewill) inherits her aunt Phryne’s estate after she goes missing on a case. As the plucky Peregrine steps into her aunt’s fabulous lifestyle in 1960s Melbourne, she photo for The Simple Heist, Series 2 decides to follow in Phryne’s footsteps as a lady detective for a groovy new era. From Acorn Media … “The Simple Heist, Series 2” (2019) is a two-disc set with six episodes. Popular Swedish dramedy about best friends in their 60s who turn from bank robbing to art theft. Gastroenterologist Cecilia (Sissela Kyle) and teacher Jenny (Lotta Tejle) are living comfortably having pulled off their bank robbery. But when Jenny’s daughter is passed up for a scholarship and Cecilia’s frustrations with her job reaches a boiling point, the two friends decide it’s time for another heist. From Acorn Media … “Yellowstone: Season 2” (2019) is a four-disc DVD and three-disc Blu-ray with all 10 episodes of the family drama that follows the story of a multi-generational family that controls the largest contiguous ranch in the U.S. In Season 2, John (Kevin Costner), Kayce (Luke Grimes) and the rest of the clan battle constant encroachment from ruthless enemies on all sides. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Paramount.

For the Family:

photo for Cinderella and the Secret PrinceIn “Cinderella and the Secret Prince” (2018), with the help of good fairy Crystal, Cinderella and her three mouse friends are able to escape the attic they live in and make it to the Royal Ball at the palace … but they soon discover a terrible secret. The real Prince has been turned into a mouse by an evil witch … and the “Prince” standing in front of everyone at the Ball is an impostor! Cinderella and her faithful furry friends must embark on an all-new adventure to restore the real Prince to his true form and help him defeat the forces of darkness. From Shout! Kids.

Special Interest:

“Food Coop” (2016) is an inside look at the Park Slope Food Coop, one of America’s most successful cooperative food supermarkets. In Brooklyn, NY, in the shadow of Wall Street, an institution that represents a less well-known American tradition is booming. The Park Slope Food Coop, a cooperative supermarket where all 16,000 members work 2.75 hours per month to earn the right the buy the best food in New York at incredibly low prices. The documentary looks at how the Park Slope Food Coop works, the rules that make it function, the diversity and eccentricity of its members, and how the coop demonstrates a potential for change and how its mode of participation viscerally teaches democracy to those who take part. 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 November 4, 2019 No Responses »
Oct 282019
 

This Week’s Best Bets:

“Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975”: The Criterion Collection celebrates the arrival of spine number 1000, a Blu-ray collector’s set fit for the granddaddy of all movie monsters. This landmark edition gathers for the first time all the Godzilla films from Japan’s Showa era: 15 kaiju rampages, presented in high-definition digital transfers and accompanied by photo for Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 a slew of supplemental material, including a giant deluxe hardcover book with notes on each film and new illustrations from sixteen artists, new and archival interviews with cast and crew members, and much, much more. In 1954, an enormous beast clawed its way out of the sea, destroying everything in its path — and changing movies forever. The arresting original “Godzilla” soon gave rise to an entire monster-movie genre (kaiju eiga), but the King of the Monsters continued to reign supreme: in 14 fiercely entertaining sequels over the next two decades, Godzilla defended its throne against a host of other formidable creatures, transforming from a terrifying symbol of nuclear annihilation into a benevolent (if still belligerent) Earth protector. Collected here for the first time are all 15 Godzilla films of Japan’s Showa era, in a landmark set showcasing the technical wizardry, fantastical storytelling, and indomitable international appeal that established the most iconic giant monster the cinema has ever seen. Eight Blu-ray discs for $224.95. More information, and a list of bonus features, can be found here.photo for Matewan Written and directed by John Sayles, the wrenching historical drama “Matewan” (1987) recounts the true story of a West Virginia coal town where the local miners’ struggle to form a union rose to the pitch of all-out war in 1920. When the town of Matewan’s miners go on strike, organizer Joe Kenehan (Chris Cooper, in his screen debut) arrives to help them, uniting workers white and black, Appalachia-born and immigrant, while urging patience in the face of the coal company’s violent provocations. With a crackerjack ensemble cast-including James Earl Jones, David Strathairn, Mary McDonnell, and Will Oldham — and Oscar-nominated cinematography by Haskell Wexler, “Matewan” taps into a rich vein of Americana with painstaking attention to local texture, issuing an impassioned cry for justice that still resounds today. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Sayles, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … photo for An American Werewolf In London One of the greatest directors of the 1980s, John Landis (“The Blues Brothers,” “Trading Places”), expertly combines macabre horror with dark humor in the lycanthropic classic “An American Werewolf In London” (1981). American tourists David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are savaged by an unidentified vicious animal while hiking on the Yorkshire Moors. David awakes in a London hospital to find his friend dead and his life in disarray. Retiring to the home of a beautiful nurse (Jenny Agutter) to recuperate, he soon experiences disturbing changes to his mind and body, undergoing a full-moon transformation that will unleash terror on the streets of the capital. “An American Werewolf in London” had audiences howling with laughter and recoiling in terror upon its cinema release. Landis’ film has gone on to become one of the most important horror films of its decade, rightly lauded for its masterful set-pieces, uniquely unsettling atmosphere and Rick Bakers’ truly ground-breaking, Oscar-winning special makeup effects. New 2018 4K restoration from the original camera negative supervised by John Landis. In a limited edition Blu-ray with a double-sided fold-out poster, six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions, and a 60-page booklet featuring new writing by Travis Crawford and Simon Ward, archival articles and original reviews. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … photo for Man of a Thousand Faces One screen legend pays homage to another in “Man of a Thousand Faces” (1957, an enthralling biopic that sees Oscar-winning tough guy James Cagney give a multifaceted portrayal of silent cinema legend Lon Chaney. In early horror classics such as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” Lon Chaney captivated audiences with his vivid personifications of grotesque and afflicted characters. His extraordinary make-up skills, and miraculous ability to completely transform into grisly yet sympathetic and tragic monsters, garnered him international acclaim and the famous moniker of this film’s title. Yet, despite his talent and success, Chaney led a life plagued by hardship and heartache. This insightful film-portrait traces the trajectory of the actor’s career: from impoverished vaudeville clown to Hollywood stardom, while also capturing the drama that surrounded his private life. Presented here for the first time in High Definition from the original negative. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment … In 1998, director Hideo Nakata unleashed a chilling tale of technological terror on unsuspecting audiences with “Ringu” (1998 — Japan), a film that redefined the horror genre, launched the J-horror boom in the West and introduced a generation of moviegoers to a creepy, dark-haired girl called Sadako. The film’s success spawned a slew of remakes, reimaginations and imitators, but none could quite boast the power of Nakata’s original masterpiece, which melded traditional Japanese folklore with photo for Ringu contemporary anxieties about the spread of technology. A group of teenage friends are found dead, their bodies grotesquely contorted, their faces twisted in terror. Reiko (Nanako Matsushima), a journalist and the aunt of one of the victims, sets out to investigate the shocking phenomenon, and in the process uncovers a creepy urban legend about a supposedly cursed videotape, the contents of which causes anyone who views it to die within a week — unless they can persuade someone else to watch it, and, in so doing, pass on the curse. Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative, approved by director of photography Junichiro Hayashi. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … Also from Arrow is the “Ringu Collection [Limited Edition]” with the genre-defining trilogy: “Ringu” (1998), the film that started it all, plus Hideo Nakata’s chilling sequel, “Ringu 2” (1999) and the haunting origin story, “Ringu 0” (2000) as well as the “lost” original sequel, George Iida’s “Spiral” (1998). Brand New 4K restoration of “Ringu” from the original camera negative, approved by director of photography Junichiro Hayashi. On Blu-ray … From the great Luis Buñuel comes “Susana” (1951 — Mexico), made during his years in exile in Mexico. Set on a gorgeous Mexican farming estate, “Susana” reveals how quickly the moral conventions of society can shatter. The titular Susana, armed with nothing more than her sensuality, pushes a family to the brink of collapse. She escapes from a reformatory and finds her way to the estate presided over by the kind Don Guadalupe, his loving, devout wife Doña Carmen, and their intelligent son Alberto. Before a full day has passed Susana begins to seduce Don Guadalupe, Alberto, and ranch hand Jesús, drawing them in with an innocent façade that conceals her ingenious schemes. “Susana” highlights the fragility of the bourgeoisie family and the hypocrisy of the seemingly honorable characters. With only the slightest temptation from a beautiful woman, even the most upstanding characters toss aside the constraints of morality. In Susana, Buñuel reveals both the power of female sexuality and the inability of society to contain it. From Facets.

From TV to Disc:

“A Discovery of Witches” (2018) is a two-disc set with all eight episodes. The supernatural thriller and Sundance Now/Shudder Original Series based on the critically acclaimed and bestselling “All Souls” trilogy by Deborah Harkness is a modern-day love story, set in a world where witches, vampires and demons secretly live and work alongside humans, hidden in plain sight. Brilliant historian Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer) is a witch denying her own heritage. But when she unexpectedly calls up an ancient, bewitched manuscript from Oxford’s Bodleian library, she finds herself thrown into the heart of a dangerous mystery – and into the path of the enigmatic geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode). Their unlikely alliance to find the book before it falls into the wrong hands – and their deepening relationship – threatens to violate age-old taboos and shake the fragile peace that exists between the species. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Acorn Media … “Queens of Mystery” (2019) is a three-disc set with ix episodes of the contemporary mystery series that follows the adventures of three crime-writing sisters and their niece, Detective Sergeant Mattie Stone. Using their knowledge of crime — both real world and fictional — together they solve murders in the picturesque English region of Wildemarsh. But no matter how many cases they’re able to crack, the unsolved mystery that still haunts the Stone family is that of Mattie’s mother’s disappearance 25 years ago. From Acorn Media.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “10 Minutes Gone” (2019), starring Bruce Willis and Michael Chiklis, crime boss Rex (Willis) hires Frank (Chiklis) and his crew to steal a priceless jewel stash — but the job goes wrong when someone tips off the cops. After Frank suffers a blow to the head, he wakes up to find the jewels gone and no memory of his attacker. Now, Frank must confront his team members one by one to find the traitor — before Rex covers his tracks by having Frank murdered. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … photo for Two Evil Eyes (Limited Edition) In “Two Evil Eyes” (1990), the masters of modern horror — George Romero and Dario Argento — bring you an unprecedented pair of shockers inspired by the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. In Romero’s “The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdemar,” a conniving wife (Adrienne Barbeau) and her lover use a hypnotic trance to embezzle a fortune from her dying husband, only to receive some chilling surprises from beyond the grave. Then in Argento’s “The Black Cat,” a deranged crime scene photographer (Harvey Keitel) is driven to brutal acts of madness and murder by his girlfriend’s new pet. But will this cunning feline deliver a final sickening twist of its own? Martin Balsam, E.G. Marshall, John Amos and Tom Atkins co-star in this wild horror hit that also features grisly makeup effects by Tom Savini. In a three-disc Blu-ray set with a new 4K restoration from the original camera negative for the films’ 30th anniversary. The third disc is “Two Evil Eyes” original motion picture soundtrack by Pino Donaggio. From Blue Underground … “Them That Follow” (2018), starring Walton Goggins, Alice Englert, Olivia Colman, Kaitlyn Dever, Jim Gaffigan, Thomas Mann and Lewis Pullman is a thriller that tells the story of a community of snake handlers dealing with a terrible secret that endangers their livelihood. Deep in Appalachia, Pastor Lemuel Childs (Goggins) presides over an isolated community of Pentecostal snake handlers. As his devoted daughter Mara (Englert) prepares for her wedding under the watchful eye of Hope Slaughter (Colman), Mara reveals a deadly secret that threatens to shatter the entire community. From Lionsgate … photo for The Blob Collector’s Edition The Blob is back in this horrific tale “The Blob” (1988), starring Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith, Donovan Leitch, Jeffrey DeMunn, Candy Clark,Joe Seneca. about a vile, malignant life-form that crashes to Earth in a cozy, rural American town called Arborville. Untroubled by conscience or intellect, the Blob does only one thing — and it does it well. It eats anything and everything that moves: men, women, and children. It wants to swallow the entire town of Arborville. The original version of the “Blob” thrilled and terrified movie audiences back in 1958. In a Blu-ray collector’s edition from Scream Factory … In “The Devil Rides Out” (1968), a Hammer Films classic starring Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Nike Arrighi, Leon Green, Patrick Mower, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, Sarah Lawson, Paul Eddington, the debonair Duc de Richleau has been entrusted with the care of his deceased friend’s son, Simon Aron. The Duc discovers that the young man has been seduced into joining a satanic cult headed by the diabolic Mocata, who is intent on making Simon one of the Devil’s disciples. Having rescued Simon from a bloodied ritual, de Richleau is pursued by Mocata, who will stop at nothing to destroy the Duc and his friends, even summoning the Angel of Death himself. New 2K scan of the 20th Century Fox interpositive (also included is the Studio Canal restored master). On Blu-ray from Scream Factory … In ” Door in the Woods” (2018), starring John-Michael Fisher, Katherine Forbes and Lauren Harper, a family is haunted by a group of evil spirits that they accidentally release after finding a mysterious gateway during a hike in the woods. They turn to a shaman who must help them save their child and send the entities back to the spirit world forever. From WildEye Releasing … photo for Jirga: A Soldier's Story Australia’s pick for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2019 Oscars, “Jirga” (2018), starring Sam Smith, Sher Alam Miskeen Ustad and Amir Shah Talash, is a unique look at the impact of war on both sides, and specifically at the war in Afghanistan, where armies from all over the world have fought for the United States. Here, a former Australian soldier returns to a village where he was involved in war crimes. Seeking relief from his torment, he puts his life in the hands of the village justice system – the “Jirga.” Shot in Afghanistan after the Pakistani Secret Service cancelled permission to film, director Benjamin Gilmour took his star Sam Smith and filmed in Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan, using some incredibly natural non-actors, a few being former members of the Taliban itself. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lightyear Entertainment.

For the Family:

“A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish” (2019), starring Laura Marano, Gregg Sulkin, Barclay Hope and Johannah Newmarch, is a contemporary musical take on Cinderella that follows Katherine “Kat” Decker, who dreams of becoming a famous singer-songwriter. Her reality, however, is suffocated by her conniving and cruel stepfamily and a demoralizing job working as a singing elf at billionaire Terrence Wintergarden’s Santa Land. When she starts to fall for Nick, the handsome new Santa at the tree lot, things begin to look up. Unfortunately, when her stepmother and stepsisters realize Kat has been invited to the prestigious Wintergarden Christmas Gala, they’ll stop at nothing to procure their own invitation and keep Kat from attending. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Warner … “Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Edition” (1999-2001) is a six-disc set with all 52 episodes, digitally remastered for its Blu-ray debut, individually numbered for a Limited Edition release of 50,000. The animated adventures of The Dark Knight were taken to even greater heights with this series, providing an edgier, faster-moving, more contemporary take on crime-fighting in Gotham. From Warner.

Spcial Interest:

“Mike Wallace Is Here” (2019) is an archival look at the legendary career of investigative journalist Mike Wallace. For over 50 years, “60 Minutes'” fearsome newsman Mike Wallace went head-to-head with the 20th century’s most influential figures. Relying exclusively on archival footage, this documentary interrogates the interrogator, tracking Mike’s storied career and troubled personal life while unpacking how broadcast journalism evolved to today’s precarious tipping point. 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.

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