From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets:
There’s three cool entries this week from The Criterion Collection: In “Election” (1999) Perky, overachieving Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) gets on the nerves of history teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) to begin with, but after she launches her campaign for high-school president and his personal life starts to fall apart, things spiral out of control. In Alexander Payne’s satire “Election,” the teacher becomes unhealthily obsessed with cutting his student down to size, covertly backing a spoiler candidate to stop her from steamrolling to victory, and putting in motion a series of dirty tricks and reckless promises with uncanny real-world political parallels. Adapting a then-unpublished novel by Tom Perrotta, Payne grounds the absurdity of his central dynamic in the recognizable — the setting is his hometown of Omaha, and the accomplished cast is rounded out with nonprofessionals — and distills his closely observed take on deeply flawed humanity to its bitter but stealthily sympathetic essence. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised and approved by co-writer-director Alexander Payne, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray … “The Complete Monterey Pop Festival” On a beautiful June weekend in 1967, at the beginning of the Summer of Love, the first and only Monterey International Pop Festival roared forward, capturing a decade’s spirit and ushering in a new era of rock and roll. Monterey featured career-making performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, but they were just a few performers in a wildly diverse lineup that included Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas and the Papas, the Who, the Byrds, Hugh Masekela, and the extraordinary Ravi Shankar. With his characteristic vérité style — and a camera crew that included the likes of Albert Maysles and Richard Leacock — D. A. Pennebaker captured it all, immortalizing moments that have become legend: Pete Townshend smashing his guitar, Jimi Hendrix burning his, Mama Cass being blown away by Janis Joplin’s performance. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the most comprehensive document of the Monterey International Pop Festival ever produced, featuring the films “Monterey Pop,” “Jimi Plays Monterey,” and “Shake! Otis at Monterey,” along with every available complete performance filmed by Pennebaker and his crew. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 16-bit 4K digital restoration of “Monterey Pop,” supervised by director D. A. Pennebaker, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack; restored high-definition digital transfers of “Jimi Plays Monterey” and “Shake! Otis at Monterey” with uncompressed stereo soundtracks; alternate soundtracks for all three films featuring 5.1 mixes by legendary recording engineer Eddie Kramer, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio. Extras include “The Outtake Performances”: Two hours of performances not included in “Monterey Pop,” from the Association, Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Blues Project, the Byrds, Country Joe and the Fish, the Electric Flag, Jefferson Airplane, Al Kooper, the Mamas and the Papas, Laura Nyro, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Simon and Garfunkel, Tiny Tim, and the Who … “General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait” (1974 — France) In 1974, Barbet Schroeder went to Uganda to make a film about Idi Amin, the country’s ruthless, charismatic dictator. Three years into a murderous regime that would be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Ugandans, Amin prepared a triumphal greeting for the filmmakers, staging rallies, military maneuvers, and cheery displays of national pride, and envisioning the film as an official portrait to adorn his cult of personality. Schroeder, however, had other ideas, emerging with a disquieting, caustically funny brief against Amin, in which the dictator’s own endless stream of testimony — charming, menacing, and nonsensical by turns — serves as the most damning evidence. A revelatory tug-of-war between subject and filmmaker, “General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait” is a landmark in the art of documentary and an appalling study of egotism in power. On DVD and Blu-ray, with a new, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by Schroeder, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
From the folks at Arrow Video/Arrow Academy: “Pulp” (1972.) A year after they’d created one of the defining British gangster pictures with “Get Carter,” three Michaels — writer-director Mike Hodges, producer Michael Klinger and star Michael Caine — reunited for another crime picture, albeit with a more oddball flavor. Caine plays Mickey King, a successful pulp novelist responsible for such titles as “My Gun Is Long” and “The Organ Grinder,” who is invited to ghost-write the autobiography of a mystery celebrity. His client turns out to be a former actor, played by Mickey Rooney, well-known for his gangster roles and real-life gangster connections — but death is around the corner, and King finds his commission to be a lot more complicated than he first imagined. A favorite of J.B. Ballard, “Pulp” has long existed in the shadow of its predecessor. Tonally, it could not be more different — “Get Carter” never had the time for sight gags and one-liners — but it’s a real gem in its own right and fully deserving of a wider audience. This release aims to right that wrong. Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, supervised and approved by director of photography Ousama Rawi, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release, with original 1.0 mono sound. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc.
From TV to DVD:
“Doc Martin, Series 8” (2017) is a three-disc set with all eight episodes. Martin Clunes returns as Dr. Martin Ellingham in the eighth series of this smash-hit British comedy. In these all-new episodes, the doctor continues his practice in the picturesque seaside town of Portwenn, while raising his son with wife Louisa. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Acorn Media … “Fuller House: The Complete Second Season” (2016) is a two-disc set with all 13 episodes. There’s no place like home, as the Tanner-Fuller-Gibblers serve up a whole new set of adventures. D.J. finally decides between Matt and Steve. Kimmy’s ex-husband, Fernando moves into the Tanner house. Ramona thinks she’s ready for her first kiss. The entire Tanner family shows up to the house for Thanksgiving, pushing D.J.’s organizational skills to the extremes. Kimmy tries to get her childhood band Girl Talk back together again. Uncle Jesse and Becky consider making an addition to their family. A famous ‘90s boy band makes a guest appearance and much more. From Warner … The “Game of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season” (2017) featured the most-watched premiere and finale episodes in HBO history, and the series remains the most-awarded drama series in Emmy history, with 109 nominations to date and winning the 2015 and 2016 trophy for Best Drama Series. In Season 7, Daenerys Targaryen has finally set sail for Westeros with her armies, dragons and new Hand of the Queen, Tyrion Lannister. Jon Snow has been named King in the North after defeating Ramsay Bolton in the Battle of the Bastards and returning Winterfell to House Stark. In King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister has seized the Iron Throne by incinerating the High Sparrow, his followers and her rivals in the Sept of Baelor. But as old alliances fracture and new ones emerge, an army of dead men marches on the Wall, threatening to end the game of thrones forever. In four-disc DVD, three-disc Blu-ray sets. From HBO … In the final season of the acclaimed BBC detective drama “George Gently, Series 8” (2017), Tony-nominee Martin Shaw returns as DCI George Gently, a brilliant and honorable cop investigating murders in the rugged North East of England. It’s 1970, the start of a new decade. Radical social and political change is in the air, and Gently is on the brink of retirement. Tasked with investigating two last homicides, Gently finds himself at odds with his cocky protégé, DI John Bacchus and questioning the legacy he will leave behind. When a victim’s body is discovered eight years after his wife was convicted of killing him, Gently reopens the case against the wishes of Bacchus, who was part of the original investigation. Later, a cold case leads Gently to suspect a charismatic politician billed as a future prime minister. Along with DS Rachel Coles, Gently and Bacchus must enter a shadowy world of political intrigue and risk everything—even their own lives—to uncover the truth. In a two-disc DVD, single Blu-ray Disc, from Acorn Media … “The Strain Season 4” (2017) is a three-disc set. In the final 10 episodes of this terrifying series from the visionary minds of Guillermo del Toro, Carlton Cuse and Chuck Hogan, nuclear winter envelopes the planet and a desperate, weakened humanity — existing only as slave labor for “The Partnership” — is controlled by the bloodthirsty strigoi. Meanwhile, the sinister “Master” grooms Eph’s son Zack to rule the post-apocalyptic dystopia. With nothing left to lose, Eph and a tiny group of survivors plot to defeat The Master and save what’s left of humanity — and the planet. From Fox … “Zoo: Season Three” (2017) is a four-disc set with all 13 episodes of the CBS drama that portrays a dwindling human population battling against a devastating army of unstoppable lab-made creatures who are hell-bent on destroying mankind. The year is now 2027 and the world has reached a tipping point. The human population continues to dwindle due to a sterility problem and a devastating threat rises in the form of “the hybrids,” the army of unstoppable lab-made creatures . Although the team has become estranged over the past decade, they’re are forced to overcome their differences and reunite. As the planet’s future hangs in the balance, the team must race to stop the hybrids and their creator – a shadowy figure with a startling connection to the team’s past. From Paramount.