From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Highlights:
There’s a bevy of classic films due out this week, starting out with the fabulous collection, “De Palma & De Niro: The Early Films (Limited Edition).”
In 1963, Robert De Niro stepped in front of a movie camera for the first time. The resulting film, a low-budget black and white comedy called “The Wedding Party,” would take three years to complete, and another three years to be released, but it would also establish a hugely important working relationship for the aspiring actor. One of the filmmakers, long before he became synonymous with suspense thanks to “Carrie”, “Dressed to Kill” and other classics, was Brian De Palma. He and De Niro would team up again in the next few years for two more comedies, both with a countercultural bent. “Greetings”, the first to receive an X certificate in the United States, is a freewheeling satire focusing on a trio of twentysomething friends — a conspiracy theorist, a filmmaker, and a voyeur played by De Niro — as they try to avoid the Vietnam War draft. “Hi, Mom!”, originally named “Son of Greetings,” returns to De Niro’s voyeur, now an aspiring maker of adult films, for another humorous glimpse at late-sixties society, this time turning its attentions to experimental theater, cinéma vérité, the African American experience, and the white middle classes. Brought together for the first time — and each newly restored by Arrow Films especially for this release — these three films offer a fascinating insight into the early careers of two of American cinema’s major talents. New restoration from a 2K scan of “The Wedding Party” from the original film negative; new restoration from a 2K scan of “Greetings” and “Hi, Mom!” from original film materials. Original uncompressed mono soundtracks. On Blu-ray, from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … From Arrow Video’s US sister label, Arrow Academy, comes “The Apartment.” In 1960, following the success of their collaboration on “Some Like it Hot,” director Billy Wilder reteamed with actor Jack Lemmon for what many consider the pinnacle of their respective careers: “The Apartment.” C.C. Bud Baxter (Lemmon) is a lowly Manhattan office drone with a lucrative sideline in renting out his apartment to adulterous company bosses and their mistresses. When Bud enters into a similar arrangement with the firm s personnel director, J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), his career prospects begin to look up … and up. But when he discovers that Sheldrake’s mistress is Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), the girl of his dreams, he finds himself forced to choose between his career and the woman he loves … . Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, “The Apartment” features a wealth of Hollywood’s finest talent on both sides of the camera at the top of their game. By turns cynical, heart-warming and hilarious, Wilder’s masterpiece now shines like never before in this all-new, 4K-restored edition from the original camera negative, with original uncompressed PCM mono audio. On Blu-ray … MVD Entertainment has on hand a new pressing of “Maniac” (1980), in a three-disc limited edition (two Blu-rays, soundtrack CD) 4K restoration from the original camera negative, packaged with a 3D lenticular slipcover — only 10,000 available. Frank Zito (a career performance by writer-executive producer Joe Spinell of “Rocky” and “The Godfather” fame) is a deeply disturbed man, haunted by the traumas of unspeakable childhood abuse. And when these horrific memories begin to scream inside his mind, Frank prowls the seedy streets of New York City to stalk and slaughter innocent young women. Now Frank has begun a relationship with a beautiful photographer (Caroline Munro of “The Spy Who Loved Me”), yet his vile compulsions remain. These are the atrocities of a human monster. This is the story of a Maniac. Directed by William Lustig and featuring landmark gore effects by Tom Savini, this relentlessly shocking and disturbing film was originally banned or censored all over the world due to its graphic violence. Now Blue Underground is thrilled to present MANIAC in a brand-new 4K Restoration from its recently discovered 16mm original camera negative, overflowing with hours of new and archival extras.
From The Criterion Collection there’s “A Dry White Season” (1989). With this bracing drama, made at the climax of the anti-apartheid movement, director Euzhan Palcy issued a devastating indictment of South Africa’s racist government — and made history in the process, becoming the first black woman to direct a Hollywood studio film. White schoolteacher Ben Du Toit (Donald Sutherland) lives in Johannesburg and remains blissfully incurious about the lives of his black countrymen until a wave of brutal repression comes crashing down on his gardener (Winston Ntshona), bringing Du Toit face-to-face with harsh political realities. Based on a celebrated novel by André Brink and rooted in the first-hand research the Martinican Palcy did in South Africa into the way black people lived under apartheid, “A Dry White Season” is unflinching in its depiction of violence and its chronicling of injustice, making for a galvanizing tribute to those willing to sacrifice everything to fight oppression. On DVD, Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray … and “Forty Guns” (1957). Hollywood legend Barbara Stanwyck saddled up with writer-director Samuel Fuller for the pulp maestro’s most audacious Western, a boldly feminist spin on the genre that pivots effortlessly between ribald humor, visceral action, and disarming tenderness. High-riding rancher Jessica Drummond (Stanwyck) commands a 40-strong posse of cowboys, ruling Cochise County, Arizona, without challenge. When U.S. marshal Griff Bonnell (Barry Sullivan) and his brothers arrive in town with a warrant for one of her hired guns, Jessica begins to fall for the lawman even as he chips away at her authority. With astonishing black-and-white CinemaScope photography, hard-boiled dialogue laced with double entendres, and a fiery performance by Stanwyck at her most imperious, “Forty Guns” is a virtuoso display of Fuller’s sharpshooting talents. On DVD, Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. .
From TV to Disc:
“Instinct: Season One” (2018) is a four-disc set with all 13 episodes. Alan Cumming stars as Dr. Dylan Reinhart, a former CIA operative who is lured back to his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer. He is a gifted author and university professor living a quiet life teaching psychopathic behavior to packed classes of adoring students. But when tenacious top NYPD detective Lizzie Needham appeals to him to help her catch a serial murderer who is using Dylan’s first book as a tutorial, Dylan is compelled by the case and comes out of retirement. Though Dylan and Lizzie initially clash, when it comes to catching killers, they realize they will make an ideal team if they both trust their instincts. On DVD from CBS/Paramount … “Nathan For You” (2013-17) is a nine-disc set with all 30 episodes of Comedy Central’s series. Comedian Nathan Fielder uses his business degree and life experiences to help real small businesses turn a profit. But because of his unorthodox approach, Nathan’s genuine efforts to do good often draw real people into an experience far beyond what they signed up for. On DVD from Paramount … “Our Cartoon President: Season One with World Class Amenities” (2018) is a three-disc set with 18 episodes. From executive producer Stephen Colbert comes a caricature of a president without character in an animated series that goes straight for the heartless. Go inside the revolving door that is Trump’s inner circle for an unfiltered free-for-all even Canadian healthcare would be proud of. From the president’s attempt to “win” the State of the Union to the army of Trump impersonators employed to comfort disaster victims, it’s the kind of rampant absurdity that can only be matched by the day-to-day reality of Trump’s America. On DVD from CBS/Paramount.