From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bet
With “Roma” (2018), his eighth and most personal film, Alfonso Cuarón recreated the early-1970s Mexico City of his childhood, narrating a tumultuous period in the life of a middle-class family through the experiences of Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio, in a revelatory screen debut), the indigenous domestic worker who keeps the household running. Charged with the care of four small children abandoned by their father, Cleo tends to the family even as her own life is shaken by personal and political upheavals. Written, directed, shot, and co-edited by Cuarón, Roma is a labor of love with few parallels in the history of cinema, deploying monumental black-and-white cinematography, an immersive soundtrack, and a mixture of professional and nonprofessional performances to shape its author’s memories into a world of enveloping texture, and to pay tribute to the woman who nurtured him. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with 4K digital master, supervised by director Alfonso Cuarón, with Dolby Atmos soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.
From TV to Disc:
“Gunsmoke: The Complete Eighteenth & Nineteenth Seasons” (1972-73, 1973-74) are two six-disc sets with 24 episodes each. The multiple award-winning classic is shooting its-way back onto TV screens. The beloved Dodge City crew going are once again negotiating with the ungoverned and rugged frontier that surrounds them. Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) continues his mission of being the ever-steady force that keeps his town from spiraling into lawlessness. Along with the unflappable Deputy Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis), the witty Doc Adams (Milburn Stone), and the beautiful but unpredictable Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake), Marshal Dillon must stand tall against the criminals and chaos that jeopardize the sanctity of Dodge City. Guest stars include the likes of Harrison Ford, Tom Skerritt, Kurt Russell and Michael Learned. From CBS/Paramount.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
In “Alien Outbreak” (2020), starring Katherine Drake, Ritchie Crane and Philip Alexander Baker, a small rural community is attacked by an alien presence and a pair of local police officers — Zoe and Patrick — battle through the night to take control as they become cut off from the outside world. Residents begin to behave strangely with mass suicide panic. Zoe and Patrick begin to fight back and b and soon discover things are not all as they seems. Can they save their community and the outside world before it’s too late? From High Octane Pictures … During the final days of World War I, a regiment of daring African-American “Buffalo Soldiers” is trapped deep behind enemy lines in “The Great War” (2019), starring Bates Wilder, Hiram A. Murray, Aaron Courteau, Billy Zane and Ron Perlman. After one of these soldiers manages to escape, he’s ordered to join a select team of white troops, led by a battle-scarred officer, to find and rescue the survivors. Casting aside their racial differences, the determined men join forces to find their lost comrades in this gripping action-filled tale of bravery and unity. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “Get Gone” (2019), Hoax Busters, an internet “fake video” team take a weekend retreat after busting another online lie to do some team building. They travel to Whiskey Flats, Oregon and meet with Craig Eubanks, a shifty, bossy know-it-all outdoor guide who promises them his company – Rocks and Roots – will build their team confidence. At the same time, an invasive drilling company with the rights handed over by the Federal government are moving onto the land of a family that has lived on the property (illegally as “squatters”) for over 30 years. When the drillers attack the family and the Hoax Busters get caught in the middle, things quickly go awry. From Cleopatra Entertainment … “Hell on the Border” (2019), starring David Gyasi, Frank Grillo and Ron Perlman, is the incredible true story of Bass Reeves (Gyasi), the first black Marshal in the Wild West. Having escaped from slavery after the Civil War, he arrives in Arkansas seeking a job with the law. To prove himself, he must hunt down a deadly outlaw (Grillo) with the help of a grizzled journeyman (Perlman). As he chases the criminal deeper into the Cherokee Nation, Reeves must dodge bullets and severe discrimination in hopes of earning his star — and ends up cementing his place as a cowboy legend. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … “Greener Grass” (2019), starring Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe and Beck Bennett, is a bizarre slideshow of a world of murder, braces, and plastic ball babies. In a day-glo colored, bizarre version of suburbia, soccer moms and best friends Jill (DeBoer) and Lisa ((Luebbe) are locked in a passive-aggressive battle of wills that takes a turn into the sinister when Lisa begins systematically taking over Jill’s life. Meanwhile, a psycho yoga teacher killer is on the loose, Jill’s husband has developed a curious taste for pool water, and Lisa becomes pregnant — with a soccer ball. On Blu-ray from IFC Midnight/Scream factory … In “Nighthawks: Special Edition” (2019), starring Chace Crawford, Kevin Zegers, Janet Montgomery and Michele Weaver, wide-eyed Midwest transplant Stan (Crawford) agrees to play wingman to his calculating and privileged roommate Chad (Zegers) as they embark upon an exploration of glittering New York nightlife, whose darkest secrets are held captive by an elite band of millennials known as Nighthawks. From Filmrise … After being horrendously embarrassed by the mean girls at school, Faye, a practicing witch, summons the evil “Cupid” (2019), starring Georgina Jane, Bao Tieu, Michael Owusu, Abi Casson Thompson and Sarah T. Cohen, to take revenge on all those who wronged her. On Valentine’s Day, Cupid does in fact rise and will stop at nothing until the walls are covered in blood. The students must figure out a way to stop Cupid and undo the spell before their hearts get broken … very literally. From Uncork’d Entertainment … In “Prescience (aka Intuitions)” (2019), starring René Mena, Mike C. Manning, Vannessa Vasquez, Eric Roberts and Linda Gray, a criminal attorney struggles with his sexuality, a cryptic new boyfriend, unemployment and the disturbing childhood secrets his parents hold. From Indiecan Pictures … In “My Bloody Valentine (Collectors Edition)” (1981), on Valentine’s Day, someone always loses their heart. Twenty years ago, this small town lost more than that. When supervisors abandoned their posts to attend the town’s annual holiday dance, a tragedy claimed the lives of five miners. The sole survivor, Harry Warden, was institutionalized, but returned for a vengeful massacre on the disaster’s first anniversary. Nineteen years later, the town is gearing up for another Valentine’s Day party. Teen sweethearts T.J. and Sarah, along with their friend Axel, are among the excited partygoers. But when a box of candy containing an eerie warning and blood-soaked heart arrive, the townsfolk realize that romance is as good as dead. And so are they. Two-disc set with new 4K scans of the original camera negatives of the theatrical and uncut versions. Stars Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Helene Udy, Rob Stein, Peter Cowper, Thomas Kovacs, Jim Murchison and Alf Humphreys. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory).