From the Big Screen:
“Geostorm,” “Thank You for Your Service,” “Goodbye Christopher Robin,” “Jigsaw” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week’s Best Bets:
From the sublime to the ridiculous this week:
“Eclipse Series 45: Claude Autant-Lara — Four Romantic Escapes from Occupied France”: Too often overlooked after his work was spurned by the New Wave iconoclasts as being part of the “tradition of quality,” Claude Autant-Lara was one of France’s leading directors of the 1940s and 50s. He began as a set and costume designer and went on to direct French-language versions of comedies in Hollywood, but it was back in his home country that Autant-Lara came into his own as a filmmaker. He found his sophisticated and slyly subversive voice with these four romances, produced during the dark days of the German occupation. Sumptuously appointed even while being critical of class hierarchy, these films — all made with the same corps of collaborators, including the charmingly impetuous star Odette Joyeux — endure as a testament to the quick wit and exquisite visual sense of the director whose name they established. “Le mariage de Chiffon” (1942): This delightful comedy brought Claude Autant-Lara his first popular success as a director. Chiffon is being pushed by her mother to wed a dashing military officer but finds herself drawn to her stepfather’s penniless brother. “Lettres d’amour” (1942): A transporting period piece with ornate costumes by Christian Dior, “Lettres d’amour” paints a blithely pointed portrait of life in a highly stratified society. “Douce” (1943): Elegantly shot, “Douce” is a dizzying romantic roundelay that contains a biting critique of France’s rigid social order. This film, which ultimately takes a tragic turn, found Claude Autant-Lara in full command of his craft. “Sylvie et le fantôme” (1946): With this film, conceived during the occupation and released after the war, Claude Autant-Lara entered the realm of pure fantasy, marrying a playful script, artful special effects, and wistful performances. From The Criterion Collection.
“Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” (1978) is a splat of a cult classic. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the supermarket, you’re face to face with terror so bold, so frightening it has never been seen on-screen before or since (not until the sequel, anyway). After a series of bizarre and increasingly horrific attacks from pulpy, red, seeded fruit, Mason Dixon (David Miller) finds himself leading a “crack” team of specialists to save the planet. But will they be quick enough to save everyone? In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, with original 2.0 Mono Audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray). Extras include audio commentary from writer-director John DeBello, writer/co-star Steve Peace and “creator” Costa Dillon; deleted scenes; six exclusive featurettes: “Legacy of a Legend,” a collection of interviews, including comments from John DeBello, Costa Dillon, film critic Kevin Thomas, fans Kevin Sharp and Bruce Vilanch, future “Tomatoes” mainstay John Astin and actors Steve Peace, Jack Riley, and D.J. Sullivan, “Crash and Burn,” a discussion about the famous helicopter crash that could have killed everyone because the pilot was late on his cue, “Famous Foul,” about the San Diego Chicken and his role in the climatic tomato stomping ending, “Killer Tomatomania,” a smattering of interviews with random people on the streets of Hollywood about the movie, “Where Are They Now?” fills viewers in on what the cast and crew have been up to over the past couple of decades, “We Told You So!” takes a hard-hitting look at the conspiracy of silence surrounding the real-life horror of killer tomatoes; “Do They Accept Traveler’s Checks in Babusuland” (the original 8mm short that inspired “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”); original theatrical trailer; radio spots; collectible poster. From MVD Rewind Collection.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
In “Chasing the Dragon” (2017 — Hong Kong), starring Donnie Yen, Andy Lau, Kent Cheng, Philip Keung, Wilfred Lau, Yu Kang, Michelle Hu and Raquel Xu, Yen plays an illegal immigrant from Mainland China who sneaks into corrupt British-colonized Hong Kong in 1963 and transforms himself into a ruthless drug lord. Lau reprises the role of the corrupt cop Lee Rock (from the famous “Lee Rock” trilogy) seeking money and power. Based on a true story. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA … They took his money. They took his family. And now, they’ve taken his hands. But they can never take his revenge! Exploding from the same hallucinogenic netherworld as “Turkish Star Wars,” “The Sword and the Claw” (1975 — Turkey) stars Turkish genre legend Cuneyt Arkin in his most iconic role. It’s “Conan the Barbarian” meets The Three Stooges meets “Dolemite” with more lo-fi bloodshed, pop-art visuals, and bizarro dubbing than the boundaries of reality can handle. In a new 4K transfer from the only 35mm theatrical print in existence. Bonus features include the movie “Brawl Busters” (1981), a new 2K scan from an original theatrical print; reversible cover art with illustration by Alexis Ziritt (“Space Riders”). From AGFA … In “Jawbone” (2017), starring Ian McShane, Ray Winstone and Johnny Harris, retired prizefighter Jimmy McCabe (Harris) steps back into the ring decades after his stardom as a boxing teen have faded. Jimmy tries to regain his magic by training hard and fighting tough. But to earn real money, he must take part in a savage, unlicensed match that could end his career — and his life. From Lionsgate … And, last but not least, Doppelgänger Releasing/Scorpion Releasing brings out this week the Blu-ray debut of “Opera” (1987 — Italy), Italian filmmaker Dario Argento’s (best known for his work in the horror and thriller genres and regarded as one of the most influential artists of the past half-century) 1987 cult classic, arriving for the first time in a remastered/restored, high definition version, with over 45 hours of color correction,and a brand new 5.1 soundtrack. When young opera singer Betty (Cristina Marsillach) takes over the leading role in an avant-garde presentation of Verdi’s Macbeth, she triggers the madness of a crazed fan who repeatedly forces her to watch the brutal murders of her friends. Will her recurring childhood nightmare hold the key to the identity of this psychopath, or does an even more horrific evil lay waiting in the wings? Also stars Ian Charlston, Umberto Barberini, Daria Nicolodi and William McNamara. Extras include a rare interview with Argento, never-before released to U.S. audiences; a new interview with star McNamara; original trailer.