From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets:
Two of our favorite films get the royal treatment this month: “Dead Man” and “Killer Klowns From Outer Space.” With “Dead Man” (1995), his first period piece, Jim Jarmusch imagined the 19th-century American West as an existential wasteland, delivering a surreal reckoning with the ravages of industrialization, the country’s legacy of violence and prejudice, and the natural cycle of life and death. Accountant William Blake (Johnny Depp) has hardly arrived in the godforsaken outpost of Machine before he’s caught in the middle of a fatal lovers’ quarrel. Wounded and on the lam, Blake falls under the watch of the outcast Nobody (Gary Farmer), a Native American without a tribe, who guides his companion on a spiritual journey, teaching him to dispense poetic justice along the way. Featuring austerely beautiful black-and-white photography by Robby Müller and a live-wire score by Neil Young, “Dead Man” is a profound and unique revision of the Western genre. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by director Jim Jarmusch, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … Step aside Pennywise … These “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” (1988) are outta this world — literally — and they’re packing deadly popcorn guns and cotton candy cocoons. When Mike and his girlfriend Debbie warn the local police that a gang of homicidal alien-clowns have landed in the nearby area (in a spaceship shaped like a circus big-top, no less), the cops are naturally skeptical. Before long however, reports are coming in from other anxious residents detailing similar run-ins with the large-shoed assailants. There can no longer be any doubt — the Killer Klowns from Outer Space are here, and they’re out to turn the Earth’s population into candy floss. Written and produced by the Chiodo brothers — known for their work on a host of special-effects laden hits such as “Team America: World Police” and the Critters movies — “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” is a cinematic experience unparalleled in this galaxy, now newly restored by Arrow Video for this stellar edition. Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative, with newly remastered stereo 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio options. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.
Also due this week: With her debut feature “The Virgin Suicides” (1999), Sofia Coppola announced her singular vision, which explores the aesthetics of femininity while illuminating the interior lives of young women. A faithful adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’s popular first novel, “The Virgin Suicides” conjures the ineffable melancholy of teenage longing and ennui in its story of the suicides of the five Lisbon sisters, stifled by the rules of their overprotective religious parents — as told through the collective memory of a group of boys who yearn to understand what happened. Evoking its 1970s suburban setting through ethereal cinematography by Ed Lachman and an atmospheric score by Air, the film secured a place for its director in the landscape of American independent cinema and has become a coming-of-age touchstone. On DVD and Blu-ray, with a new, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Ed Lachman and approved by director Sofia Coppola, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … “A Pistol for Ringo & The Return of Ringo: Two Films by Duccio Tessari” (1965): The original Ringo films introduced another iconic hero to the spaghetti western; a clean-cut sharp shooter who was markedly different to Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name. In “A Pistol for Ringo,” the eponymous hero, played by Giuliano Gemma, infiltrates a ranch of Mexican bandits to save a beautiful hostage (Nieves Navarro). In “The Return of Ringo,” the gunslinger, now a veteran of war, disguises himself as a Mexican in order to take revenge on outlaws who have stolen his property and taken his wife. Hugely successful upon their original release, thanks in part to the skilled direction of Duccio Tessari (“The Bloodstained Butterfly,” “Death Occurred Last Night”), the Ringo films proved influential on the Italian Western, spawning numerous unofficial sequels, due to their gripping set-pieces and unforgettable musical scoring by Ennio Morricone. Arrow Video is proud to present both films in sumptuous new restorations that truly brings their stylish cinematography to life. On Blu-ray with uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio, from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … Making its long-awaited Blu-ray debut is “Schlock” (1973), director John Landis’ long out-of-print first feature film in an exclusive dual-format mediabook Blu-ray/DVD worldwide-playable combo set limited to 2000 copies. This low-budget prelude to Landis’ brilliant career that includes “Animal House,” “The Blues Brothers,” and” An American Werewolf In London,” “Schlock” is an ingenious monster comedy filled with wild movie references and absurd gags, with the then 22-year-old filmmaker paying respect to some of his favorite films like “King Kong,” “2001,” “The Blob,” and “Frankenstein.” The long-slumbering banana monster Schlock wakes up after 20 million years and escapes from his cave, befriending a blind girl who thinks he’s a dog, and causes mass panic in the small town with a shocking bloody massacre setting the scene. Schlock tries to escape but the military is fast approaching. From Turbine Media Group.
From TV to Disc:
“Shameless: The Complete Eighth Season” (2017) is a three-disc set with all 12 episodes of the Showtime series. The Gallaghers are finally on an upswing in season eight! Frank (William H. Macy), tries to become a contributing member of society. Fiona (Emmy Rossum) finds success as a landlord. Lip (Jeremy Allen White) struggles to stay sober while Ian (Cameron Monaghan) takes up a cause. Debbie (Emma Kenney) tries life as a single working mom, while Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) gets creative finding tuition money after losing his military school scholarship. Meanwhile, Kev (Steve Howey) and V (Shanola Hampton) wrestle with Svetlana (Isidora Goreshter) at The Alibi. From Warner … “Unforgotten Season 1” (2015) is a two-disc set with six episodes of the UK crime drama. Season 1 opens with a human skeleton found beneath a basement. The remains could be centuries old — or four decades, as comes to light upon further investigation of the crime scene. Detective Chief Inspector Cassie Stuart and Detective Sergeant Sunny Khan eventually discover the victim was a young man, Jimmy Sullivan and his nearly-disintegrated pocket diary leads the detectives to a list of names that may hold the key to solving the murder. From PBS Distribution … “Z-O-M-B-I-E-S” (2018) is a Disney Channel original movie filled with music, dances, and high school woes — plus zombies. Set 50 years after a zombie apocalypse, zombies are finally allowed to enroll in Seabrook High School. The charming zombie Zed, who is determined to play football, meets freshman Addison who dreams of being a cheerleader — the ultimate form of status in the community. Zed and Addison work together to show Seabrook what they can achieve when they embrace their differences and celebrate what makes them a community. From Disney.