From the Big Screen:
This Week's Highlights:
Shout! Factory's Shout Select Line has pulled out all the stops for "The Pink Panther Film Collection Blu-ray Set," a new, long-awaited complete collection of the classic movie comedies, many of which have been out of print for years. The legendary Peter Sellers stars as the irrepressible and incompetent Inspector Jacques Clouseau in this six- film collection, which consists of "The Pink Panther" (1964), "A Shot in the Dark" (1964), "The Return of the Pink Panther" (1975), "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" (1976), "Revenge of the Pink Panther" (1978), and "Trail of the Pink Panther" (1982), each directed by Academy Award-winner Blake Edwards ("Victor/Victoria," "Breakfast at Tiffany’s"). For the first time in any home entertainment issue, all six Clouseau comedies are available together in a single collection, with four making their debuts on Blu-ray, including "A Shot in the Dark" and "The Pink Panther Strikes Again," both presented in new 4K scans of the interpositives. Includes a 24-page book with an essay by animation historian and film critic Jerry Beck. There's too many extras to list here, including new and vintage featurettes, commentaries, photo galleries, trailers, TV spots and more. Check out a complete rundown here.
There's two very provocative "men under stress and duress" films this week from The Criterion Collection: "The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog" (1927), Alfred Hitchcock's third feature film, one in which he took a major step toward greatness and made what he would come to consider his true directorial debut. This haunting silent thriller tells the tale of a mysterious young man (matinee idol Ivor Novello) who takes up residence at a London boardinghouse, just as a killer who preys on blonde women, known as the Avenger, descends upon the city. The film is animated by the palpable energy of a young stylist at play, decisively establishing the director’s formal and thematic obsessions. In this edition, "The Lodger" is accompanied by "Downhill," another 1927 silent exploration of Hitchcock’s “wrong man” trope, also headlined by Novello — making for a double feature that reveals the great master of the macabre as he was just coming into his own. On DVD and Blu-ray, with a 2K digital restoration, with a new score by composer Neil Brand, performed by the Orchestra of Saint Paul’s … In the thriller "Straw Dogs" (1971), arguably Sam Peckinpah’s most controversial film, David (Dustin Hoffman), a young American mathematician, moves with his English wife, Amy (Susan George), to the village where she grew up. Their sense of safety unravels as the local men David has hired to repair their house prove more interested in leering at Amy and intimidating David, beginning an agonizing initiation into the iron laws of violent masculinity that govern Peckinpah’s world. Working outside the U.S. for the first time, the filmmaker airlifts the ruthlessness of the Western frontier into Cornwall in "Straw Dogs," pushing his characters to their breaking points as the men brutalize Amy and David discovers how far he’ll go to protect his home — culminating in a harrowing climax that lays out this cinematic mastermind’s eloquent and bloody vision of humanity. On DVD, and Blu-ray, in a new, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
Warner Archive has just released the Blu-ray debut of the prototypical ex-1970s-militants-on-the- run film "Running on Empty" (1988). In this poignant drama from director Sidney Lumet, ex-radicals Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti have raised their family in hiding, constantly moving and changing aliases to flee facing charges from an inadvertent crime they committed as war protestors 15 years earlier. As their eldest son River Phoenix (who rose to stardom and a nomination for his performance) comes of age, he is torn between running with his beloved fugitive parents, or developing his musical talents and pursuing his own life, which includes a new girlfriend (Martha Plimpton). The chemistry on display between the two young stars still burns the screen decades later.
From TV to DVD:
In the darkly comic French crime series "Caïn," wheelchair-bound police captain Fred Caïn is quicker and more mobile than most able-bodied people. In his investigations, he spins circles around suspects and digs deep inside the darkest hidden corners of the human mind. A motorcycle accident caused by speeding and his own use of narcotics has left him unable to walk, but clear-eyed about criminality and motive. He’s left the drugs behind but a dark sense of humor remains, and his disdain for "bipeds" can make him difficult to work with. He uses his disability to his advantage by breaking with convention and the law without an ounce of shame or trepidation. Only army veteran Lucie Delambre can handle him as a partner, and his friend and boss Jacques Moretti runs interference for him with the higher-ups. Set in Marseille, "Caïn" is a crime drama with a twist, a police procedural that focuses on psychology and the human being behind the criminal. Each three-disc set — "Caïn: Season 1" (2012) and "Cain: Season 2" (2014) contain eight episodes. From MHz … "Detective Montalbano: Episodes 28 & 29" (2017) contains the latest installments in the long-running Italian TV series, "Detective Montalbano": A Nest of Vipers" and "According to Protocal." Based on the blockbuster crime novels by Andrea Camilleri, the episodes depict life in the fictional Sicilian town of Vigata — where the pace of life is slower, there’s few cars and home cooking abounds. Detective Montalbano (Luca Zingaretti) heads the police department, solving crimes with his always loyal and sometimes effective police squad who find themselves crossing paths with housewives and fisherman, priests and liars, saints and Mafia dons. From MHz … "Dirty Dancing" (2016), starring Abigail Breslin, Colt Prattes, Debra Messing, Bruce Greenwood, Sarah Hyland, Nicole Scherzinger and Katey Sagal, is a reimagining of the beloved 1987 hit film and global pop-culture phenomenon. This three-hour ABC original movie event features the story from the original film told from a fresh perspective. Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances “Baby” Houseman falls in love with the camp’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle, and nothing is ever the same for anyone in the Houseman family. Modernized, updated versions of memorable, favorite songs including “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” “Love Man,” “Do You Love Me,” “Hungry Eyes,” and “She’s Like the Wind” are teamed with well-known songs new to the world of Dirty Dancing (such as “Fever” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me”), woven into the story. Discover what happens to Baby and Johnny after that summer, and learn more about the supporting characters from the original film. From Lionsgate … "Midsomer Murders, Series 19, Part 1" (2017) is a two-disc set with four episodes in which the capable Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) investigates the cozy villages of Midsomer’s most sinister secrets: "The Village That Rose from the Dead," "Crime and Punishment," "Last Man Out" and "Red in Tooth & Claw."On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Acorn Media … "The Strain: The Complete Third Season" (2016) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes. The war between the bloodthirsty strigoi and the remaining human survivors of New York intensifies. Although Dr. Ephraim Goodweather’s bioweapon initially helped stave off the vampiric creatures, they have evolved into a bigger threat to humanity than ever. Now, distraught over his kidnapped son, Eph teams with Dutch to search for signs of weakness in the strigoi. Meanwhile, Abraham Setrakian’s discovery of a mysterious shipment from Egypt brings a shocking realization. From Fox … "Striking Out" (2017) is a two-disc set with four episodes. When Dublin-based solicitor Tara Rafferty (Amy Huberman) discovers that her fiancé and fellow solicitor, Eric (Rory Keenan), has been cheating on her with a colleague, she breaks up with him, quits her job at the prestigious law firm where they worked together, and begins accepting clients out of a makeshift office in the back of a café. From Acorn Media.