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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Jan 082019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Mid90s.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

In “When Harry Met Sally… (30th Anniversary Edition)” (1989), director Rob Reiner, screenwriter Nora Ephron, and stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan take you on a journey of love and friendship like no other in this magnificently witty love story that has been deservedly hailed as one of the photo for When Harry Met Sally... (30th Anniversary Edition)greatest romantic comedies of all time. Will sex ruin a perfect relationship between a man and a woman? That’s what Harry Burns (Crystal) and Sally Albright (Ryan) debate while sharing a drive from Chicago to New York. Eleven years of friendship later, they’re still no closer to finding the answer. Will these two best friends ever accept that they’re a perfect match … or will they continue to deny the attraction that exists between them? Also stars Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. Features a new transfer restored from a 4K scan of the original camera negative. On Blu-ray from Shout Select … “Let the Corpses Tan” (2017 — Belgium) is a deliriously thrilling homage to Spaghetti Westerns and 1970s Italian crime films. Belgian filmmakers Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani trade in the crushed velvet and creeping shadows of their giallo-worshipping first two films (“Amer,” “The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears”) for blistering sun, creaking leather and raining bullets. After stealing a truckload of gold bars, a gang of thieves absconds to the ruins of a remote village perched on the cliffs of the Mediterranean. Home to a reclusive yet hypersexual artist and her motley crew of family and admirers, it seems like a perfect hideout. But when two cops roll up on motorcycles to investigate, the hamlet erupts into a hallucinatory battlefield as both sides engage in an all-day, all-night firefight rife with double-crosses and dripping with blood. Based on a classic pulp novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette and Jean-Pierre Bastid and featuring vintage music cues by Ennio Morricone, “Let the Corpses Tan” is a deliriously stylish cinematic fever dream that will fire up your senses like buckshot to the brain. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber … photo for 24 Frames For what would prove to be his final film, “24 Frames” (2017), Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami gave himself a challenge: to create a dialogue between his work as a filmmaker and his work as a photographer, bridging the two art forms to which he had dedicated his life. Setting out to reconstruct the moments immediately before and after a photograph is taken, Kiarostami selected 24 still images — most of them stark landscapes inhabited only by foraging birds and other wildlife — and digitally animated each one into its own subtly evolving four-and-a-half-minute vignette, creating a series of poignant studies in movement, perception, and time. A sustained meditation on the process of image making, “24 Frames” is a graceful and elegiac farewell from one of the giants of world cinema. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with 2K digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection … “Willie Dynamite” (1974) is “The hands-down winner of the all-out best blaxploitation movie of the seventies,” according to author and artist Darius James in “That’s Blaxploitation!” Willie Dynamite may not be as photo for Willie Dynamite well-known as John Shaft, Sweet Sweetback or “Super Fly’s” Youngblood Priest, but he certainly deserves to be. Who is Willie Dynamite? He’s the flashiest pimp in New York — he drives a personalised purple-and-gold Cadillac and wears some of the most eye-catching outfits ever seen on a cinema screen. He wants to be No. 1, but with the police, the D.A., fellow pimps and a tough-talking social worker on his tail, can a man as arrogant and amoral as Willie D avoid a downfall? “Willie Dynamite” competes with the best of blaxploitation on all levels. Roscoe Orman dominates with his central performance — a star turn that’s the equal of Richard Roundtree in “Shaft” or Pam Grier in “Coffy.” Multi-award-winning director Gilbert Moses balances action and social commentary as deftly as Gordon Parks, Jr. did with “Super Fly.” And the score by J.J. Johnson, featuring Motown legend Martha Reeves, is as catchy as anything composed by Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield or James Brown. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

From TV to Disc:

“Castle Rock: The Complete First Season” (2018): Welcome to Castle Rock, the small rural town carved out of the deepest woodland in Maine, in which many of acclaimed, best-selling author Stephen King’s most-loved works of fiction come to life. The first season of Castle Rock follows Henry Deaver (André Holland), a Death Row attorney who returns to Castle Rock, Maine, his hometown, after he receives an anonymous phone call from the infamous Shawshank State Penitentiary. The call is about a nameless young man (Bill Skarsgård) who is found locked in an underground cage that’s located in a long-abandoned cell block beneath the prison. Upon his discovery, the mysterious young man, with a sinister and unnerving presence, whispers Henry’s name. Curious about how and why someone left this boy imprisoned, Henry is drawn into the case and attempts to help him. But there are reasons why “The Kid” was imprisoned. And reasons why he should never be set free. Permeated with a sense of foreboding and dread, the haunting small town of Castle Rock is not willing to let Henry leave. Aside from now having to deal with the strange young man found in the prison, Henry is faced with the fact that his adoptive mother (Sissy Spacek), who lives in Castle Rock with retired Sheriff Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn), is struggling with the onset of dementia. Reluctantly, Henry stays to figure out just who “The Kid” is and how he wound up imprisoned under such appalling circumstances. On three-disc DVD, two-disc Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray four-disc combo, from Warner … “The Purge: Season One” (2018) is a two-disc set with all 10 episodes, Set in an altered United States, several unrelated people discover how far they will go to survive a night where all crime is legal for 12 hours. During a 12-hour period when all crime, including murder, is legal, a group of seemingly unrelated characters cross paths in a city in an altered America. While the clock winds down, some will fight, some will hide, others will embrace what it means to Purge to its fullest extent. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Hell Fest” (2018), starring Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards, Bex Taylor-Klaus and Tony Todd, a group of friends are bound for a horror-themed Halloween event at a local amusement park — a sprawling labyrinth of rides, games, and mazes that travels the country and happens to be in town. But a masked serial killer turns the amusement park into his own playground, terrorizing attendees while the rest of the patrons believe that it is all part of the show. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo, from Lionsgate … photo for The Car: Road to Revenge “The Car: Road to Revenge” (2019), starring Grant Bowler, Kathleen Munroe, Martin Hancock, Micah Balfour, Burt Grinstead, Nina Bergman, Jamie Bamber and Ronny Cox, is a stylized, unrated sequel to the unconventional horror cult classic “The Car” (1977). An unscrupulous District Attorney in a dilapidated cyberpunk city plagued by crime is savagely murdered and tossed out of a building onto his brand new car. Mysteriously, he and his car come back to life as a single being with a thirst for vengeance. The eerie driverless car embarks on a vicious rampage exacting revenge on the criminals. In an homage to the original, Ronny Cox returns as The Mechanic. From Universal … “The Oath” (2018), starring Ike Barinholtz, Tiffany Haddish, Nora Dunn, Jon Barinholtz, Meredith Hagner, Carrie Brownstein, Billy Magnussen and John Cho, is a gleefully wicked comedy about surviving life in politically divided America. When high-strung Chris (Barinholtz) and his more levelheaded wife Kai (Haddish) learn that citizens are being asked to sign a loyalty oath, their refusal to sign—along with the arrival of two government agents (Cho and Magnussen) —- sends an already tense holiday dinner completely off the rails. From Lionsgate … photo for Time Freak “Time Freak” (2018), starring Asa Butterfield, Sophie Turner and Skyler Gisondo, asks the question, “If you could turn back time … could you win back the love of your life?” That’s the problem puzzling Stillman (Butterfield), a physics genius recently dumped by his stunning girlfriend Debbie (Turner). So, after creating a timeline of their romance and a machine to rewind the past, he grabs his wing man Evan (Gisondo) and sets off to right every wrong he made with Debbie. But as this insane comedy proves, there are some mistakes too perfect for science to fix. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn” (2018), starring Aubrey Plaza, Jemaine Clement, Emile Hirsch and Craig Robinson, Lulu Danger’s unsatisfying marriage takes a turn for the worse when a mysterious man from her past comes to town to perform an event called “An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn; For One Magical Night Only” in this offbeat indie comedy. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … “The Great Battle” (2018 — South Korea), is set during the Tang dynasty, the action-packed film is based on the historic 80-day battle between the Goguryeo and Tang forces known as The Siege of Ansi, that took place while the two groups were at war between 645-668 AD. The Goguryeo forces held their fortress against 200,000 invading Tang soldiers. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA … photo for Bent /></a> <b>“Bent”</b>(1997 — UK), starring Ian Mckellen, Clive Owen, Lothaire Bluteau, Mick Jagger, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Paul Bettany and Brian Webber, is set amidst the decadence and terror of pre-war Germany, and is a harrowing yet inspirational tale of struggle against oppression, based on the landmark play by Martin Sherman. A chance encounter at a Berlin nightclub exposes Max (Owen) and his partner Rudy (Webber) as homosexuals during the “Night of the Long Knives” purge. After two years on the run, they are captured and put on a train to Dachau, where Rudy is savagely beaten to death. Inside the camp, Max finds the will to survive through the help of a fellow prisoner, Horst (Bluteau), and the two men develop an unbreakable bond. Winner of the Prix de la jeunesse (Award of the Youth) at Cannes Critics’ Week in 1997, the film has been digitally restored. Nominated “Outstanding Film” at the GLAAD Media Awards, and captured the Best Feature Award at the Torino International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Movement Classics … In <b>“What They Had”</b><br />
(2018), starring Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster and Blythe Danner,  Bridget (Swank) returns home to Chicago at her brother’s Shannon) urging to deal with her ailing mother (Danner) and her father’s (Forster) reluctance to let go of their life together. From Universal … In <b>“Intensive Care”</b> (2018), starring Tara Macken, Jai Rodriguez, Leslie Easterbrook and Kevin Sizemore, three low life criminals plan to rob an elderly woman’s home, but her caregiver turns out to be a former special ops agent with an agenda of her own. From Screen Media Films … <img width= “8MM” (1999), starring Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare, Anthony Heald and Chris Bauer, is an electrifying thriller about one man’s obsessive search for the truth about a six-year-old crime and his ultimate discovery of the truth about himself. Cage plays a private investigator hired to discover if Scream Factory … In “Blind Date” (1984), starring Joseph Bottoms, Kirstie Alley, Keir Dullea, Marina Sirtis, Lana Clarkson and James Daughton, ad executive Jonathon Ratcliff (Bottoms), struck by sudden blindness, is frustrated when doctors can find nothing wrong with him. With the aid of his girlfriend (Alley), he consults a top eye doctor (Dullea) who fits him with an experimental device allowing him to see with the aid of a computer interface and brain electrodes. Meanwhile, a taxi driver is taking young women up to their apartments, sedating them, and performing a little fatal amateur surgery. Their paths inevitably converge as the serial killer starts cutting too close to home. On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber … In “Street Law” (1974 — Italy), the legendary Franco Nero stars as Carlo Antonelli, an average citizen until the day he is brutally beaten during a violent robbery. When the police drop the case and the suspects remain free, Carlo is pushed beyond his breaking point. Now he launches an all-out war against the criminal scum who plague our cities, where justice has its own rules, vengeance needs no badge and the only thing that matters is “Street Law.” Co-stars Barbara Bach, Giancarlo Prete, Renzo Palmer, Massimo Vanni, Romano Puppo. On Blu-ray, from Code Red/Kino Lorber.

Foreign Films:

“Memoir of War” (2018 — France), starring Mélanie Thierry, Emmanuel Bourdieu and Benoît Magimel, is based on Marguerite Duras’s semi-autobiographical novel that follows the famed author as she navigates her way through Nazi-occupied France during World War II. The great novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker is widely considered one of the leaders of the “Nouveau Roman” literary movement. Her photo for Memoir of War script for Alain Resnais’s 1959 masterpiece “Hiroshima Mon Amour” earned her a nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the 1961 Academy Awards. In the film, it’s 1944 and Marguerite Duras (Thierry) is an active Resistance member along with her husband Robert Antelme (Bourdieu) and a band of fellow subversives. When Antelme is deported to Dachau by the Gestapo, Marguerite becomes friendly with French Nazi collaborator Rabier Magimel) to obtain information of her husband’s whereabouts. But as the months wear on with no news of Robert, Duras must begin the process of confronting the unimaginable. France’s official submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category for the upcoming 91st Academy Awards. From Music Box Films … “A Paris Education” (2018 — France), starring Andranic Manet, Diane Rouxel and Jenna Thiam, is a sweeping love letter to cinema from filmmaker Jean Paul Civeyrac (“My Friend Victoria”). Etienne (Manet), a serious and impressionable shaggy-haired young cinephile, leaves behind his steady girlfriend (Rouxel) in Lyon to study film in Paris. Settling into a dingy flat with a rotating cast of roommates, he immerses himself in a bohemian world of artists, intellectuals, and fellow film geeks who excitedly share their passion for Bresson, Ford, and obscure Russian directors. It’s a seemingly idyllic life of the mind — until more complicated matters of the flesh, as well as jealous creativity, intrude. Shooting in timeless black and white and interweaving references to philosophy, music, and cinema-from Pascal to Mahler to Parajanov-Jean Paul Civeyrac conjures a bittersweet ode to student life that evokes the films of the French New Wave. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber … “The Captain” (2017 — Germany), starring Max Hubacher, is based on the arresting true story of the Executioner of Emsland, a World War II tale like no other — a searing historical drama with undertones of absurd black comedy that presents the evils of Nazism and fascism as a devastating kind of game to be played by those most gullible and unscrupulous. It follows a young German army deserter, Pvt. Willi Herold (Hubacher), after he finds an abandoned Nazi captain’s uniform in the final weeks of World War II. Emboldened by the authority the uniform grants him, he amasses a band of stragglers who cede to his command despite the suspicions of some. Citing direct orders from the Fuhrer himself, he soon takes command of a camp holding German soldiers accused of desertion and embarks on a brutal mission of torture and slaughter, all in the name of “justice.” Increasingly intoxicated by the unquestioned authority, the enigmatic imposter soon discovers that many people will blindly follow the leader … whomever that may be. On Blu-ray from Music Box Films. The DVD of “The Captain” was released December 18.

Special Interest:

“Kusama: Infinity” (2018): Now the top-selling female artist in the world, Yayoi Kusama overcame impossible odds to bring her radical artistic vision to the world stage. For decades, her work pushed boundaries that often alienated her from photo for Kusama: Infinity both her peers and those in power in the art world. Kusama was an underdog with everything stacked against her: the trauma of growing up in Japan during World War II, life in a dysfunctional family that discouraged her creative ambitions, sexism and racism in the art establishment, mental illness in a culture where that was particularly shameful and even continuing to pursue and be devoted to her art full time on the cusp of her 90s. In spite of it all, Kusama has endured and has created a legacy of artwork that spans the disciplines of painting, sculpture, installation art, performance art, poetry and literary fiction. After working as an artist for over six decades, people around the globe are now experiencing her installation Infinity Mirrored Rooms in record numbers. From Magnolia Home Entertainment.

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 January 8, 2019  Add comments

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