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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Aug 062018
 

From the Big Screen:

“Life of the Party” and “Breaking In.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets:

A pivotal work in the yakuza movie genre and in the career of director Kinji Fukasaku (“Battle Royale”), “Street Mobster” (1972 — Japan) presents an abrasive portrait of the rise and fall of a reckless street punk caught in the crossfire of a bloody turf war raging in the mean streets of Kawazaki. When Okita Isamu (Bunta Sugawara) re-emerges onto the mean streets of Kawazaki after five years in prison for a string of brutal crimes, he comes face to face with prostitute Kinuyo, who immediately pinpoints him as one of the participants in her brutal sexual assault years earlier that left her shell-shocked and consigned to photo for Street Mobster the life of a sex worker. While the two outcasts form an unlikely bond, Okita returns to his criminal ways. He is approached by veteran gangster Kizaki (Noboru Ando), who encourages him to round up a group of local chinpira street punks to shake up the uneasy agreement between the two rival yakuza groups, who between them control the city’s bars, gambling dens and entertainment areas. However, when the new outfit goes too far into the turf of the big boys, they find themselves caught in the midst of a violent reprisal, before an offer of patronage appears from an unlikely source. “Street Mobster” is the first film in which Fukasaku’s vital and exhilarating approach to the contemporary-set gangster picture was paired with the untamed, raw charisma of Japan’s top screen mobster Sugawara Bunta. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … The countdown has begun! Against the real-life backdrop of the US deployment of WMDs in Europe during the escalating Cold War, the dramatically involving and agonizingly graphic film “The Day After” (1983), about nuclear holocaust, detonated a direct hit into the heartland of America, becoming the most watched TV movie of all time and remains one of the most talked-about programs in history. When Cold War tensions reach the ultimate boiling point, the inhabitants of a small town in Kansas learn — along with the rest of America — that they have less than 30 minutes before 300 Soviet warheads begin to appear overhead. Can anyone survive this ultimate nightmare … or the nuclear winter that is sure to follow? Top-notch direction by Nicholas Meyer (“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “Company Business”), from a teleplay by Edward Hume (“Two-Minute Warning,” “21 Hours at Munich”) and starring Jason Robards, John Lithgow, JoBeth Williams, Steve Guttenberg and Amy Madigan. Includes both the 122-minute TV cut (1.33:1) and the 127-minute theatrical cut. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

From TV to Disc:

“The Good Doctor: Season One” (2017-18) is a five-disc set with all 18 episodes. Freddie Highmore stars as Dr. Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome, who relocates from a quiet country life to join a prestigious hospital’s surgical unit. Alone in the world and unable to personally connect with those around him, Shaun uses his extraordinary medical gifts to save lives and challenge the skepticism of his colleagues. From Sony … “No Offence, Series 1” (2015 — UK) is a three-disc set with eight episodes of the outrageous female-driven police procedural that follows an unorthodox team of cops in Manchester. Charismatic DI Vivienne Deering leads an ace but unorthodox squad that tackles Manchester’s most gruesome and off-the-wall crimes, including drug dealers, neo-Nazis, and black-market organ sellers. When strong-willed DC Dinah Kowalska connects a body at the morgue to a group of murdered girls with Down’s syndrome, Viv and her team begin the hunt for a serial killer. What they uncover could leave even the most seasoned officers reeling. Loaded with dark humor and shocking plot twists. From Acorn Media … “Riverdale: The Complete Second photo for Riverdale: The Complete Second Season Season “ (2017-18) is a fur-disc set with all 22 episodes. Based on the characters from Archie Comics, “Riverdale” returns with its subversive take on small-town life. Determined to protect the sanctity of his town in the wake of his father’s shooting by the Black Hood, Season Two finds Archie (KJ Apa) seeking justice … and vengeance. As a civil war brews between the Northside and the Southside, loyalties are divided. Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) relationship enters fragile territory when Jughead decides to join the Southside Serpents and Betty’s long-lost brother Chic returns. Veronica (Camila Mendes) finds her life upended by her father Hiram’s (Mark Consuelos) arrival and his dark schemes for the town’s future. Everyone will have to pick a side, including Queen Bee Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), star-to-be Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), Kevin Keller (Casey Cott), and Reggie Mantle (Charles Melton). Things are never what you’d expect in Riverdale, and that’s especially true as Archie and the gang race to avert a full-on riot and to solve the mystery of the Black Hood. Though there’s many twists and turns in “Riverdale,” this season isn’t as startling as the first … but still very, very entertaining and watchable. If you grew up with Archie and the gang — which means anyone from 20 to 80, then this is a must see. On DVD, Blu-ray from Warner … “SIX: Season 2” (2018) is a two-disc set with all 10 episodes. Follows Navy SEAL Team Six in a mission to destroy the terrorist network responsible for an attack on their former team leader. From Lionsgate.

“Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:”

After deciphering a message found in a satellite, a genius cryptographer finds himself stalked by government agents and otherworldly beings in the sci-fi thriller “Alien Code” (2017), starring Kyle Gallner, Azura Skye, Mary McCormack and Richard Schiff. Cryptographer Alex Jacobs finds himself recruited and sent to a secret lab to decipher an encrypted message. After breaking the code that is housed inside a mysterious satellite, Alex becomes convinced that the message is a disturbing warning … from the future. Once he returns home, a string of unexplainable incidents start happening, and Alex finds himself caught up in an unexpected journey to discover the reality about the warnings and himself. From Sony … photo for On Chesil Beach “On Chesil Beach” (2017) takes place in 1962 England, where two young people from drastically different backgrounds — well-to-do Florence (Saoirse Ronan) and working-class Edward (Billy Howle) — meet and begin an idyllic courtship. Though their love is true, the societal pressures and sexual mores of the time cause strain between the young couple, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night. Adapted by Ian McEwan from his bestselling novel. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal) … “Aardvark “ (2017) follows Josh Norman (Zachary Quinto), a troubled man who has lived in the shadow of his brother Craig (Jon Hamm) for so long he starts seeing that shadow everywhere. After experiencing a series of hallucinations involving Craig — an actor, and the star of a popular TV drama — Josh places himself in the care of Emily (Jenny Slate), a young therapist. Emily wades deeper and deeper into Josh’s psychologically-troubled world and suddenly finds herself falling for the famous brother. Caught between family dysfunction and her alluring neediness, is Emily willing to risk her career and reputation all for the sake of love? On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … photo for Revenge In “Revenge” (2018 — France), starring Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens and Vincent Colombe, debut director Coralie Fargeat announces her stunning arrival, painting a crimson canvas of hypnotic beauty and bloody retribution in this razor-sharp feminist subversion of the revenge-thriller. Jen’s (Matilda Lutz) romantic getaway with her wealthy married boyfriend is suddenly disrupted when his sleazy friends arrive for an unannounced hunting trip. Tension mounts in the house until the situation abruptly –– and viciously –– intensifies, culminating in a shocking act that leaves Jen left for dead. Unfortunately for her assailants, Jen survives and reemerges with a relentless, wrathful intent: revenge On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … In “Blackmark” (2017), starring Jeff Hatch, Kaiwi Lyman and Corey MacIntosh, an unknown entity has hacked into a Soviet missile and aimed it at the United States. With minutes before Mutually Assured Destruction, an American military industrialist and a Soviet nuclear commander race against the clock to prevent a nation from nuclear annihilation. Unbeknownst to them the threat is just the beginning of an even bigger crisis – one that will change the course of history forever. From Sony … In “Measure of a Man” (2018), starring Blake Cooper, Donald Sutherland, Luke Wilson, Beau Knapp and Judy Greer, 14-year-old Bobby (Cooper) is enduring a torturous family vacation. His summer job is backbreaking, his parents appear on the verge of divorce, his sister is forcing him to keep her secrets, and his best friend is leaving. On top of that, a crazy townie is out to get him. Over the course of an emotional roller coaster of a summer, Bobby learns what makes up the true measure of a man in this coming-of-age story. from Lionsgate … photo for The Death of Superman “The Death of Superman” (2018) is a new animated feature-length DC Universe Movie. The Man of Steel meets his ultimate match when Doomsday comes to Earth – hell bent on destroying everything and everyone in his path, including the Justice League. Ultimately Superman finds himself in a fight to the finish when the Man of Steel becomes the only hero who can stand in the way of the monstrous creature. A Blu-ray Deluxe Gift Set includes a collectible Superman figurine. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo, from Warner … in “The Rider” (2018), starring Brady Jandreau, Jim Jandreau and Lilly Jandreau, young cowboy Brady (Jandreau), once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, is warned that his competition days are over after a tragic riding accident. Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose: to ride and compete. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for new identity and tries to redefine his idea of what it means to be a man in the heartland of America. Based on Brady Jandreau’s real life story. From Sony … Four siblings move to America with their mother to escape a troubled past in “Marrowbone” (2017), starring George Mackay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton and Mia Goth. When she dies, they vow to stay together, no matter what. But when a ghostly presence torments what’s left of their family, and a lawyer threatens their pact, the four must stand together or be torn apart forever. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo, from Magnet Label/Magnolia Home Entertainment … photo for Pickings “Pickings” (2018), starring Elyse Price, Katie Vincent, Emil Ferzola, Yaron Urbas, Joe Trombino, Joel Bernard and Michelle Holland, is billed as a neo-noir spaghetti western. Jo Lee-Haywood (Price) is a devoted single mother and sister who divides her time between her family and Pickings, the local Michigan tavern that she owns. When a local mob boss (Ferzola) and his goons try to muscle in and wet their beaks off Jo’s hard work, it’s up to Jo to embrace her inner demons and tap into her mysterious and violent past to protect her family and livelihood. It doesn’t take too long for the haunted, hardboiled Jo and her pistol-packing posse to lock and load and take on the mob the only way they know how. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Music Box Films … When you’re dealing with demons, be careful what you wish for. In the ultra-unsettling occult nightmare “Pyewacket” (2017), starring Nicole Muñoz and Laurie Holden, teenage Leah (Muñoz) finds solace from the recent death of her father — and from her strained relationship with her mother (Holden) — by dabbling in the dark arts. It all seems like harmless fun at first … until an argument leads Leah to do the unthinkable: put a death curse on her mother. On DVD, Blu-ray, from IFC Midnight/Scream Factory … In “Dead Shack” (2017), starring Matthew Nelson-Mahood, Lizzie Boys and Gabriel LaBelle, it’s shaping up to be a good weekend for Jason, a shy teenager. He’s driving up to a cabin in the woods photo for Dead Shack with his brash best friend Colin, Colin’s older sister, Summer, and their father and step-mother, Roger and Lisa, who are permanently stuck in party mode. But things quickly go south when Jason, Colin and Summer witness their neighbor feeding two locals to her undead husband and kids. Realizing their own potential fate, the kids must work together to bash in some zombie skulls and save themselves from the neighbor’s ghoulish family. On DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Shudder … Set amidst the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, the bloody thriller “Lowlife” (2017) zigzags back and forth in time as it charts how fate — and a ruthless crime boss — connects three down-and-out reprobates mixed up in an organ harvesting scheme that goes from bad to worse to off-the-rails insane. On DVD, Blu-ray, from IFC Midnight/Scream Factory … A teenage girl’s coming-of-age arrives with a terrifying twist in “Wildling” (2018), a spellbinding take on the werewolf legend. Since birth, Anna (Bel Powley) has been raised in isolation by a man she knows only as Daddy (Brad Dourif). He has done everything possible to conceal the truth about her origins from her. But when the teenage Anna is suddenly thrust into the real world under the protection of no-nonsense police officer Ellen (Liv Tyler), it soon becomes clear that she is far from ordinary. On DVD, Blu-ray, from IFC Midnight/Scream Factory.

On the Indie Front:

“Brotherly Love” (2018), starring Anthony J. Caruso, Derek Babb, Chance McKee and David Blackwell, is an LGBTQ religious-drama about Which call do you answer? The one you feel from God or the one you feel about your authentic self? This is the dilemma at hand for Brother Vito, struggling with a decision as he must decide between becoming a Brother or allowing himself to declare his love for Gabe. From Breaking Glass Pictures.

Foreign Films:

In “Speed Walking” (2014 — Denmark), starring Villads Bøye, Anders W. Berthelsen and Sidse Babett Knudsen, situated in a quirky, small town situated on the outskirts of everything, 14-year-old Martin is getting ready for one of the most formal transitions from boy to man: the communion. It’s 1976, music’s in the air and hormones are blossoming. But in the midst of it all, Martin’s mother suddenly passes away. Her tragic death triggers a series of events that not only change Martin’s life forever, but also affects everyone else in the local community. Speed Walking is an intense, humorous, and evocative story about how life and death demand a transition in us all. From Breaking Glass Pictures … “Big Fish & Begonia” (2018 — China) is an animated feature that captures the unique aesthetics, mystique, and rich cultural traditions of ancient China: a photo for Big Fish & Begonia tale of love, sacrifice, and grand adventure, the film entwines new storytelling, mythical legends, and lyrical characters from beloved Chinese literary classics. Under the ocean is a mystical race of beings that control the tide and the changing of the seasons. One of these beings, a restless young girl named Chun, wants to experience the human world, not simply observe it. When she turns 16, she is allowed to transform into a dolphin to explore the human world. However, the world is a dangerous place. Trapped in a vortex, she is nearly killed but saved at the last minute by a human boy, who drowns as a result. Consumed by guilt, Chun decides to go on an epic adventure to give the boy life again. As protector of his soul, Chun must defeat those who stand in her way, including her own family. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Shout! Factory … In “Zama” (2017 — Argentina), starring Daniel Giménez Cacho, Lola Dueñas and Matheus Nachtergaele, the titular character, Zama, an officer of the Spanish Crown born in South America, waits for a letter from the King granting him a transfer from the town in which he is stagnating, to a better place. His situation is photo for Bye Bye Germany delicate. He must ensure that nothing overshadows his transfer. He is forced to accept submissively every task entrusted to him by successive Governors who come and go as he stays behind. The years go by and the letter from the King never arrives. When Zama notices everything is lost, he joins a party of soldiers that go after a dangerous bandit. From Strand Releasing … “Bye Bye Germany” (2018 — Germany), starring Moritz Bleibtreu, Antje Traue, Tim Seyfi, Mark Ivanir and Anatole Taubman, takes place in Frankfurt in 1946. David Bermann (Bleibtreu) is determined to make the most of the ravaged postwar era by recruiting some friends from a displaced persons camp to sell linens at inflated prices to unsuspecting Germans. Most of the group have a simple motivation: to raise the money necessary to leave Germany behind and move on to the United States. But David has a secret, and the beautiful American Army investigator Sara Simon (Antje Traue) is determined to uncover it. From Film Movement.

For the Family:

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series (25th Anniversary Edition Steelbook)”: In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the multi-generational pop culture phenomenon, Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Saban Brands, will release this stunning Power Rangers collection. Spanning the first three seasons of the Power Rangers television series and spotlighting “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie” for the first time on Blu-ray, this collection features over 60 hours of action-packed entertainment across 19 DVDs and 1 Blu-ray, including hours of bonus content with brand-new interviews specific to the movie. In 1993 two unsuspecting astronauts unleashed the greatest evil Earth had ever known — the heinous witch Rita Repulsa. In the 25 years since, with each new villain more photo for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series (25th Anniversary Edition Steelbook) sinister than the last, the citizens of Earth have relied on the Power Rangers to protect them. As a superhero team comprising “teenagers with attitude,” the Power Rangers must use their individual strengths combined with the virtue of teamwork to vanquish their foes, keeping Earth safe for another day. Following its debut in 1993, Saban’s iconic live-action pop culture franchise quickly became the most watched children’s television program in North America. Emphasizing the importance of teamwork, responsibility and helping others by following the adventures of a group of ordinary young people who “morphed” into superheroes, this long-running series has been seen in more than 60 countries, translated into numerous languages, and remains a mainstay in children’s programming blocks. On DVD, Blu-ray.

Special Interest:

“The Us Festival: 1982: The Us Generation” (2017) is an in-depth look at one of the most influential music festivals of all time. “The Us Generation” is from award winning filmmaker and rockumentarian Glenn Aveni, who is also the film’s director. Co-photo for The Us Festival: 1982: The Us Generationdirected by Jay Cederholm and produced by Bruce Gibb & Rich Schmig, the film blends rare concert footage and insightful interviews with both organizers and performers. The film tells the story of the groundbreaking 1982 Us Festival — an epic three-day event featuring an eclectic and unprecedented lineup boasting some of the biggest names in music, performing live in front of over one million people at Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino, CA. The Us Festival was the brainchild of Apple visionary Steve Wozniak, who wanted to create something that was a true celebration of Americana, cultivating positive vibes and building a deep sense of community through the power of technology and music. Highlights include performances by chart-topping superstars Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, alt-rock trio The Police, blues rock heroes Fleetwood Mac, guitar virtuoso Carlos Santana, retro-chic favorites The B-52s, and new wave icons The Cars; as well as archived appearances by Johnny & Joey Ramone, Carlos Santana, Sting, Ric Ocasek, Danny Elfman, and Fred Schneider; plus exclusive sit-downs with festival founder Steve Wozniak, Mick Fleetwood, Eddie Money, Marky Ramone, Kate Pierson, Stewart Copeland, and Mickey Hart, among others. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from MVD Visual.

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

 Posted by on August 6, 2018  Add comments

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