From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets
“The Andromeda Strain” (1971), starring Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olsen and Kate Reid, is one of th most stunning — and innovative — SF films of all time … and one of our favorites. Before he created Westworld and Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton first blurred the line between science fiction and science fact with his breakout success “The Andromeda Strain.” Two years after the novel’s publication, Robert Wise directed the film adaptation, a nail-biting blend of clinically-realized docudrama and astonishing sci-fi visuals that ushered in a new subgenre: the “killer virus” biological thriller. A government satellite crashes outside a small town in New Mexico — and within minutes, every inhabitant of the town is dead, except for a crying baby and an elderly derelict. The satellite and the two survivors are sent to Wildfire, a top-secret underground laboratory equipped with a nuclear self-destruct mechanism to prevent the spread of infection in case of an outbreak. Realizing that the satellite brought back a lethal organism from another world, a team of government scientists race against the clock to understand the extraterrestrial virus — codenamed “Andromeda” — before it can wipe out all life on the planet. Aided by innovative visual effects by Douglas Trumbull (“2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Silent Running”) and an unforgettable avant-garde electronic music score by Gil Melle, Wise’s suspense classic still haunts to this day, and is presented here in a stunning, exclusive new 4K scan and restoration from the original negative. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman”: In 1960, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman began work on three of his most powerful and representative films, eventually presented as a trilogy. Already a figure of international acclaim for such masterpieces as “The Seventh Seal” and “The Magician,” Bergman turned his back on the expressionism of his fifties work to focus on a series of chamber dramas exploring belief and alienation in the modern age. Collaborating with the distinguished cinematographer Sven Nykvist, and eliciting searing performances from his refined cast of regulars—Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Gunnel Lindblom, Ingrid Thulin, and Max Von Sydow among them — Bergman unleashed “Through a Glass Darkly” (1961), “Winter Light” (1963), and “The Silence” (1963) in rapid succession, exposing moviegoers worldwide to a new level of intellectual and emotional intensity. Drawing on Bergman’s own upbringing and ongoing spiritual crises, the films of the trilogy examine the necessity of religion and question the promise of faith. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restorations of all three films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays. From The Criterion Collection … Genre regular Cameron Mitchell stars in “Trapped Alive” (1988), thrilling tale of escaped hoodlums and underground-dwelling cannibals from director Leszek Burzynski and “Hellraiser” producer Christopher Webster. One wintry night, pals Robin and Monica are making their way to a Christmas party when they’re carjacked by a gang of crooks recently escaped from the local penitentiary. With the two young women taken as hostages, things take an even darker turn when their vehicle plummets down an abandoned mine shaft, trapping them underground with the dangerous crooks — and a mutant cannibal. Filmed in 1988 under the title of “Forever Mine” but not released until 1993, “Trapped Alive” was the first film to come out of Wisconsin’s now-defunct Windsor Lake Studios, which would go on to produce a number of films under the Fangoria Films label in the early-90s, including 1992’s Bruce Campbell-starring “Mindwarp.” Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.
From TV to Disc:
“The Brady Bunch: 50th Anniversary TV & Movie Collection” is a 30-disc collection that features all five years of the series (1969-74) and the first-ever DVD release of “The Bradys” and “The Brady Brides” spinoff series as well as all “The Brady Bunch” movies. “The Brady Bunch” made television history when it debuted 50 years ago on September 26, 1969. When widower Mike Brady (Robert Reed) marries a lovely lady named Carol Ann (Florence Henderson), their two families become one. The six children include Carol’s daughters Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Jan (Eve Plumb) and Cindy (Susan Olsen), as well as Mike’s sons Greg (Barry Williams), Peter (Christopher Knight), and Bobby (Mike Lookinland). Together with their dog Tiger and quirky housekeeper Alice (Ann B. Davis), this wild clan became the Brady Bunch. Along with all five seasons of the series, the set includes “The Brady Kids: The Complete Animated Series,” “The Bradys” and “The Brady Brides” spinoffs, alongside five television films “The Brady Bunch Movie,” “A Very Brady Christmas,” “The Brady Bunch in the White House,” “Growing Up Brady” and “A Very Brady Sequel.” From CBS/Paramount … “Lost in Space, The Complete First Season” (2018), a reimagining of the original family space adventure, is set 30 years in the future and finds the Robinsons torn off course en route to what they hoped would be a fresh start on a distant space colony. Against all odds, but with endless hope and extensive training, the family bands together to survive on a dangerous alien planet. All 10 episodes on four-DVDs of three Blu-rays. From Fox … “Sara Stein — From Berlin to Tel Aviv: The Complete Series” (2018) is a two-disc set with four feature-length episodes of the internationally flavored crime series. As a criminal investigator of Jewish descent working in Berlin, Sara Stein was used to operating independently of everyone else. Her keen instincts and sound judgement enabled her to navigate sure-footedly through many sensitive cases. But it was not until she found herself investigating the murder of an Israeli DJ that politics and religion played such an important role in her life. Now, facing new challenges as a detective in Tel Aviv, Sara continues to strive for truth and justice while dreaming of peace for her beloved new home, Israel. From Omnibus Entertainment … “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season One” (2018) includes all eight episodes on three-disc DVD, two-disc Blu-ray. John Krasinski stars as Tom Clancy’s iconic CIA analyst in the new hit series already renewed for a second and third season on Amazon Prime Video. When CIA analyst Jack Ryan stumbles upon a suspicious series of bank transfers his search for answers pulls him from the safety of his desk job and catapults him into a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout Europe and the Middle East, with a rising terrorist figurehead preparing for a massive attack against the U.S. and her allies. From Paramount.