From the Big Screen:
“Love, Simon,” “The Strangers: Prey at Night,” “Sherlock Gnomes,” “I Can Only Imagine” and “Tomb Raider.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week’s Best Bets:
Director Philippe de Broca’s “King of Hearts” (1966 — France), which brought a modern 1960s sensibility to a story set during World War I, laid the groundwork for such dark war comedies as “How I Won the War” and “M*A*S*H.” Scottish soldier Private Plumpick (Oscar nominee Alan Bates) is sent on a mission to a village in the French countryside to disarm a bomb set by the retreating German army. Plumpick encounters a strange town occupied by the former residents of the local psychiatric hospital who escaped after the villagers deserted. Assuming roles like Bishop, Duke, Barber and Circus Ringmaster, they warmly accept the visitor as their “King of Hearts.” With his reconnaissance and bomb-defusing mission looming, Plumpick starts to prefer the acceptance of the insane locals over the insanity of the war raging outside. Since its 1966-67 release, “King Of Hearts” has become a worldwide cult favorite and stands out as one of the most memorable films by Philippe de Broca (“That Man From Rio,” “Dear Inspector”). The superb cast also includes Oscar nominee Geneviève Bujold, Jean-Claude Brialy, Michel Serrault, Adolfo Celli and Pierre Brasseur. The score is by Oscar winner Georges Delerue. In a 4K restoration, on DVD and Blu-ray, from Cohen Film Collection.
From legendary filmmaker Paul Verhoeven (“Robocop”) and screenwriter Gerard Soeteman (“Soldier of Orange”) comes this unrated director’s cut of the explosive, fast-paced and thrilling coming-of-age drama “Spetters” (1980 — Netherlands). Raw, intense and unabashedly sexual, “Spetters” is a wild ride that will knock the unsuspecting for a loop. Rien, Eef and Hans are three young guys stuck in an industrial town on the outskirts of Rotterdam. They couldn’t be more different except for one thing: their shared passion for motorcycle racing, which each sees as his ticket to a better life. But a deeper passion will soon rule each of their lives, when a sexy, ambitious blonde (Renée Soutendijk) comes between them and provokes unforeseen events that will rock their worlds. Co-starring Rutger Hauer, Hans van Tongeren, Jeroen Krabbé, Toon Agterberg and Maarten Spanjer. In a new 4K restoration, on DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
In 1593, Christopher Marlowe penned “Edward II,” based on the life of Britain’s only openly gay monarch. In 1991, legendary artist and director Derek Jarman radically adapted the Elizabethan drama in a highly stylized feature, “Edward II” (1991), starring Jarman muse and Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton and Steven Waddington. Jarman’s postmodern adaptation delivers filmgoers to the court of Plantagenet King Edward II (Waddington), a weak gay monarch with a tenuous grasp on the throne. The stage is set for palace revolt when the King rejects his wife, Queen Isabella (Swinton), and takes a male lover, the ambitious commoner Piers Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan) upon whom he bestows gifts and power. The spurned Queen and the sober court officials become enraged and the plotting begins in this festival favorite, a Golden Lion nominee at Venice. With anachronistic imagery, gay activists battling riot police and a rare film appearance by Annie Lennox singing Cole Porter’s 1944 classic “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” the story of Edward and the persecution he suffered is given contemporary resonance in one of Jarman’s most powerful and personal films. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Movement.
Lino Brocka broke through to international acclaim with “Manila in the Claws of Light” (1975 — Philippines), this candid portrait of 1970s Manila, the second film in the director’s turn to more serious-minded filmmaking after building a career on mainstream films he described as “soaps.” A young fisherman from a provincial village arrives in the capital on a quest to track down his girlfriend, who was lured there with the promise of work and hasn’t been heard from since. In the meantime, he takes a low-wage job at a construction site and witnesses life on the streets, where death strikes without warning, corruption and exploitation are commonplace, and protests hint at escalating civil unrest. Mixing visceral, documentary-like realism with the narrative focus of Hollywood noir and melodrama, “Manila in the Claws of Light” is a howl of anguish from one of the most celebrated figures in Philippine cinema. On DVD and Blu-ray, with a new 4K digital restoration by the Film Development Council of the Philippines and Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, LVN, Cinema Artists Philippines, and cinematographer Mike De Leon, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.
The 10-disc DVD, CD and Blu-Ray boxed set“George Carlin Commemorative Collection” features all 14 HBO specials plus more than five hours of previously unreleased bonus material including rare performance footage from Carlin’s personal archive. George Carlin was not only one of America’s greatest comedians whose albums topped the charts, he was a pioneer of cable TV’s concert format that has become a benchmark of success for all humorists ever since. All of Carlin’s pointed, often controversial but always hilarious specials originally shown on HBO have been gathered here for the first time. Encompassing over five decades of his groundbreaking career, all 14 of the legendary funnyman’s Emmy nominated HBO specials are now available, plus a previously unreleased HBO special entitled “40 Years of Comedy” hosted by Jon Stewart plus Carlin’s posthumous audio release, “I Kinda Like It When a Lotta People Die.” One of the key bonus pieces of material is Carlin’s first stand-up special from 1973, “The Real George Carlin,” which has not been seen since it first aired. Additional bonus material includes “APT 2C” (a never-aired HBO pilot from the ’80s) plus two one-hour stand-up comedy club performances that features material performed by Carlin for the first time. There is also never-before-released material from the 1960s — when Carlin was a clean-cut, suit-wearing guest on the variety shows such as “Talent Scouts,” “The Jackie Gleason Show” and “Hollywood Palace.” The box set features also includes both DVD and Blu-ray discs of the HBO specials “Life Is Worth Losing” and “It’s Bad for Ya” plus liner notes written by comedian Patton Oswalt. From MPI Home Video.
From TV to DVD:
“Will & Grace (The Revival): Season One” (2017-18) is a two-disc set with all 16 episodes. A decade after their unforgettable eight-season run, comedy’s fabulous foursome is back as Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally reprise their acclaimed roles as Will, Grace, Jack and Karen. The new season picks back up right where it left off — best friends navigating life together once again. Extras include deleted scenes; gag reel; “Back to the Beginning” behind-the-scenes featurette; “Reuniting the Team”: What started as a PSA, turned viral and sparked the revival of a new era of “Will & Grace”; “Classic Comedy” with series director, James Burrows and the cast on creating the funny and keeping the laughter going. From Universal.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
“The Mimic” (2017 — South Korea), starring Yum Jung-Ah, Park Hyuk-Kwon, Shin Rin-Ah, Heo Jin, Kil Hae-Yeon and Lee Yool, is based on the classic mythological “Tiger of Mt. Jang” Korean ghost story, in which a legendary ghost mimics humans to lure them. The mother of a missing child takes in a lost girl she finds in the woods near the mysterious Mt. Jang and soon begins to wonder if she is even human as mystifying things begin to happen to her and her family. On Blu-ray from Well Go USA … In “An Ordinary Man” (2018), starring Ben Kingsley, Hera Hilmar and Peter Serafinowicz, an infamous war criminal and former general (Kingsley), spending his life on the run from international authorities, is suddenly moved to a new hideout, where he develops a relationship with the maid that looks after him. But when he discovers that she is actually an agent hired to protect him, he makes a decision that will drastically change both of their lives. From Lionsgate … In “Sea Change” (2017), starring Emily Rudd, Colin Ferguson, Maria Dizzia and Siobhan Williams. 17-year-old Miranda Merchant reluctantly arrives on the shores of Selkie Island to live with her estranged mother, Amelia, after the death of her father. As Miranda settles into island life, she learns about the Seawalkers — who, according to local legend, are half-human and half-sea creature — and she begins to believe that they could be real. As she uncovers more about her family’s past, Miranda makes a startling discovery about her own connections to the Seawalkers. From Lionsgate … In “Ninja III: The Domination [Collector’s Edition)” (1984), starring Lucinda Dickey and Shô Kosugi, aerobic instructor Christie Ryder (Dickey) becomes possessed by the spirit of an evil ninja when she comes to his aid after he was shot down. Dominated by the killer’s vicious and relentless rage, she sets out to brutally attack his enemies. Her boyfriend, confused by Christie’s changing personality and afraid that he might be her next victim, enlists the help of Yamada (Kosugi). In a life-threatening exorcism and ultimate fight to the death, Yamada proves that he is Christie’s only chance for survival. In a new 4K scan from the original film elements. From Scream Factory.