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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Jun 042018
 

From the Big Screen:

"A Wrinkle In Time," "Death Wish," "Gringo," "The Hurricane Heist" and "Thoroughbreds." For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week's Best Bets:

This week's crop of collectible films spans the 50s, 60 and 70s, in joyous counterpoint to the lackluster big screen releases this week. Chronologically:

In celebration of its 65th anniversary, Disney’s beloved flight of fantasy, "Peter Pan" (1953), comes out of the vault for its 65th anniverary and joins the Walt Disney Signature Collection. In “Peter Pan,” fantastic adventures await the Darling children — Wendy, John and Michael — when Peter Pan, the hero of their stories, whisks them away to the magical world of Never Land. After flying with Peter and the delightfully impish Tinker Bell past the “second star to the right and photo for Peter Pan straight on till morning,” they explore the enchanted island and Peter’s secret hideout with the Lost Boys, and leap into high-flying battles with swashbuckling pirates and the infamous villain Captain Hook. This Signature edition appears to be the same as 2013's Diamond Edition except for the addition of several new bonus featureds and its availability on Movies Anywhere. It's a difinte must buy for families who don't already own the film, though the DVD/Blu-ray combo carries a steep retail price. Extras include "Stories from Walt’s Office: Walt & Flight"; "A 'Darling' Conversation with Wendy & John: Kathryn Beaumont (the voice of Wendy) and Paul Collins (the voice of John)"; You Can Fly”: A new “Oke” rendition and graphic look of the classic Disney song, “You Can Fly,” with fun lyrics on screen; "Never Smile at a Crocodile” new “Oke” rendition and graphic look of the deleted song, “Never Smile at a Crocodile”, with fun lyrics on screen; legacy "DisneyView"; legacy sing-along version of the film; legacy "Growing Up with Nine Old Men"; deleted songs and scenes; Disney Song Select; commentary Hosted by Roy Disney; backstage Disney, more.

The very traditional but rousingly colorful "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1954), making its Blu-ray debut this week, features a new 1080p HD master from a 2018 2K scan in its original 2.55 CinemaScope aspect ratio, with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio (based on the original 4-track magnetic mix, but re-built from recording session masters and original stems). Includes the rarely-seen alternate widescreen (1.77 aspect ratio) alternate version presented for the first time in 1080p HD. Of photo for Seven Brides for Seven Brothersnote is that two versions of the film exist, one in CinemaScope and the other in traditional widescreen. In 1953 when CinemaScope was brand new, MGM was concerned that if it was a fad they would have an unusable film in the long-run, so for protection they shot the film twice. Two different takes of each shot with different staging was filmed which reflect the different frame size of traditional widescreen (which is less wide and more rectangular) and CinemaScope. By the time the film was released, CinemaScope had proven a huge success and the alternate version was rarely seen until its release on DVD in 2004. The story: Adam (Howard Keel), the eldest of seven brothers, goes to town to get a wife. He convinces Milly (Jane Powell) to marry him that same day. After they return to his backwoods home she discovers he has six brothers — all living in his cabin. Milly sets out to reform the uncouth siblings, who are anxious to get wives of their own. Then, after reading about the Roman capture of the Sabine women, Adam develops an inspired solution to his brothers' loneliness … kidnap the women they want from the surrounding villages. From Warner.

"The Big Country (60th Anniversary Special Edition)" (1958), directed by William Wyler and starring Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Burl Ives, Charles Bickford and Chuck Connors, is a bold, sweeping tale of a photo for The Big Country (60th Anniversary Special Edition) ship's captain (Peck) who ventures west to find a hotbed of jealousy, hatred and dangerous rivalries. As the reluctant hero is thrust into the maelstrom, he must summon all of his resolve to save not only his own life, but also the life of the woman he loves. An action-packed adventure that triumphs as a work of art. The film's legendary rousing score by Jerome Moross was nominated for an Oscar. On DVD, Blu-ray, with audio commentary by noted cultural historian Christopher Frayling; a "Directed by William Wyler" documentary; interviews with Cecilia Peck, Carey Peck and Tony Peck; interview with Fraser Heston; interview with Catherine Wyler; "Fun in the Country featurette; "Larry Cohen on Chuck Connors"; original theatrical trailer; TV spot; two animated image galleries; reversible Blu-ray art. From Kino Lorber Classics.

The landmark Spaghetti Western "The Great Silence" (1968 — Italy), scored by Ennio Morricone, comes out today in a stunning 50th anniversary restoration. Restored in 2K from original elements, the film is directed by Sergio Corbucci and stars Jean-Louis Trintignant and Klaus Kinski. The release features both the photo for The Great Silenceoriginal Italian and English language versions. On an unforgiving, snow swept frontier, a group of bloodthirsty bounty hunters, led by the vicious Loco (Kinski) prey on a band of persecuted outlaws who have taken to the hills. Only a mute gunslinger named Silence (Trintignant) stands between the innocent refugees and the corrupt bounty hunters. But, in this harsh, brutal world, the lines between right and wrong are not always clear, and good does not always triumph. Featuring superb photography and a haunting score from maestro Morricone, Corbucci's bleak, brilliant and violent vision of an immoral, honorless West is widely considered to be among the best Westerns ever made. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Film Movement Classics.

And, last but not least, there's the Blu-ray debut of "Greaser’s Palace" (1972), the surreal and outrageous parable on the life of Christ set in a rundown Wild West town. Robert Downey’s deliciously irreverent film is an acid comedy Western of incredible extremes, playing like a lighter version of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s "El Topo" minus the ultra-violence, while still retaining every ounce of religious blasphemy and taboo-smashing absurdity. The cult favorite is the story photo for Greaser's Palace BLU-RAY DEBUTof Christ's sufferings, “updated” and set in the wild and woolly Old West, where a zoot-suited drifter named Jessy (Allan Arbus) performs miracles and attracts a large following. But what he really wants to do is sing and dance. He finally gets a chance to bring his act to the The Palace, a saloon run by the ruthless Seaweedhead Greaser (Albert Anderson), and he's a big hit. But Jessy’s got more miracles to do … like restoring life to Greaser's son Lamy (Michael Sullivan), who’s been killed by his father, and then contending with Greaser's envious daughter Cholera (Luana Anders). Meanwhile, an unnamed woman (Elsie Downey) struggles to reach the town after her husband and son are murdered. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Scorpion Releasing and Doppelgänger Releasing.

Buzzin' the 'B's:

In "Freak Show" (2018), starring Alex Lawther, Bette Midler, Larry Pine, Abigail Breslin, Laverne Cox and AnnaSophia Robb, Billy Bloom (Lawther) is one-of-a-kind: a fabulous, glitter-bedecked, gender-bending teenager whose razor-sharp wit is matched only by his outrageous, anything-goes fashion sense. When his glamorous mother (Midler) is forced to send him to live with his straight-laced father (Pine), Billy finds himself a diva-out-of-water at his new ultra-conservative high school. photo for Freak Show"The Midnight Man" (2016), starring Gabrielle Haugh, Grayson Gabriel, Robert Englund and Lin Shaye, two teenagers discover a mysterious box hidden away in the attic in a sprawling mansion, with instructions for The Midnight Game, an ancient pagan ritual said to summon the player’s greatest fears. It all seems like harmless fun to the pair — until they unleash the terrifying spirit of The Midnight Man, an unholy force who pits them against their darkest demons and dares them to survive. Includes the original 2013 Irish feature film. On DVD, Blu-ray, from IFC Midnight/Shout Factory … "The Rake" (2018), starring Shenae Grimes-Beech, Rachel Melvin and Izabella Miko, is a chilling tale of siblings who return home 20 years after the shocking murder of their parents and discover that the horrible crime may have a startling connection to a local urban legend. From Sony … photo for Altered Perception When the government attempts to produce a designer drug aimed at correcting the false perceptions that people develop during trauma and stress, the implications are deadly in "Altered Perception" (2018), starring Jon Huertas, Jade Tailor, Jennifer Blanc and Matthew Ziff. Advertised as a cure for socio-political tensions, four couples volunteer, but end up with far more than they bargained for as their past and present are examined while taking variations of the new drug. However, this causes them to doubt their own memory, perceptions — and even their own sanity. From Synkronized Films … In "Supercon" (2018), starring Ryan Kwanten, Maggie Grace, Mike Epps, Russell Peters, Clancy Brown and John Malkovich, a rag-tag group of former TV stars and comic book artists, who make their living working at conventions, decide to steal the loot from a crooked promoter and an overbearing former TV icon. From Sony … "Satellite Girl and Milk Cow" (2014 – South Korea) is an animated sci-fi-romance. An out-of-commission satellite picks up a lovelorn ballad on her radio antenna and descends to Earth to find the source of such sincere emotions. But on the way she is caught in a raging magical battle and transforms into Satellite Girl, complete with rocket shoes and weapon-firing limbs. Meanwhile, the balladeer photo for Satellite Girl and Milk Cowin question — a loser twentysomething at a café open mic — meets the fate that befalls all broken-hearted lovers: he is turned into a farm animal. But love knows no bounds, and aided by the wise and powerful Merlin — a wizard who has been turned into a roll of toilet paper — the duo must evade the all-consuming incinerator monster, the wily pig witch, and other nefarious adversaries in an attempt to be together. On DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo from GKIDS/Shout! Factory … In "Devil’s Gate" (2017), starring Amanda Schull, Milo Ventimiglia, Shawn Ashmore and Jonathan Frakes, when a woman and her son mysteriously vanish, FBI agent Daria Francis (Schull) is dispatched to the small town of Devil’s Gate, North Dakota to investigate the number one suspect: religious fanatic Jackson Pritchard (Ventimiglia), husband and father of the missing persons. But when Francis and local deputy Colt Salter (Ashmore) arrive at Pritchard’s foreboding property, they discover much more than they bargained for lurking in the basement. On DVD, Blu-ray, from IFC Midnight/Shout Factory.

On the Indie Front:

"Hooked" (2018), starring Laura Austin, Conor Donnally and Jay Alan Christianson, follows 18-year-old hustler Jack and his boyfriend Tom. They're an item, close and very much in love. However, Jack tends to be very impulsive with his body and emotionally explosive. Matt, a married man who hasn't come out of the closet, decides to take Jack from NYC to Miami with the intention of helping him before it’s too late. Not just a cautionary tale of life on the streets, a percentage of the profits from the film will be donated to non-profits and partner organizations to support the homeless LGBTQ youth demographic. In the US, LGBTQ youth are 8 times more likely to end up homeless, and those homeless individuals are 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence and more than twice as likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. It’s common for non-LGBTQ shelters to simply refuse service to transgender teens. From Breaking Glass Pictures.

Foreign Films:

In "Oh Lucy!" (2018 — Japan), starring Shinobu Terajima, Josh Hartnett, Shioli Kutsuna, Koji Yakusho, Reiko Aylesworth and Megan Mullally, bored Tokyo office lady Setsuko (Shinobu Terajima) breaks free of her monotonous life when her niece, Mika (Shioli Kutsuna), convinces her to enroll in an unorthodox English class. There, she adopts a blonde-haired alter ego named "Lucy" and develops romantic feelings for her American instructor, John (Josh Hartnett). But after his photo for Oh Lucy! sudden disappearance, Setsuko follows his trail halfway around the world to Southern California, where family ties and past lives are tested as she struggles to fulfill the promise of "Lucy." The darkly comical East-meets-West feature was expanded from director Atsuko Hirayanagi's festival favorite short film of the same name, which garnered admiration, accolades and 35 awards at prestigious festivals the world over, including Cannes and Sundance. Executive produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, the feature-length version was shot in Tokyo and Los Angeles with a supremely talented ensemble cast in 2016. 100% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. On DVD, Blu-ray from Film Movement … "The Outsider" (2018 — France) is a thriller based on a true story. Before the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 caused chaos in world markets and misery for millions of homeowners, another financial apocalypse was already under way at one of France’s most prestigious banks. The Outsider tells the true story of France’s greatest financial scandal and Jérôme Kerviel (Arthur Dupont) the low-profile young trader who was held responsible. When all was said and done, the bank suffered a loss of €4.9 billion and Kerviel was fired, sued, arrested and imprisoned, making Kerviel the most famous Frenchman to ever sit in front of a Bloomberg Terminal and pay the price. From Icarus Films.

For the Family:

The folks at Disney saw fit last year to reboot their popular 1980s "DuckTales" series on Disney XD/Disney Channel and, unlike other reboots of kids shows from other studios, they've pretty much kept the spirit of the original, ratceting up the edgeiness a bit for a modern kids audience. As you'll recall from the comic books and previous series, Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey, Louie and friends continually get embroiled in precarious situations — either fomented by the kids' inquisitive nature or their Uncle's lust for more money, getting bailed out by their wits and a little help from their friends. This week Disney has released "DuckTales: Destination Adventure!" (2018), with six episodes of adventures from Duckburg to legendary destinations around the world: "The Beagle Birthday Breakout!," "The Living Mummies of Toth-Ra!", ":The Impossible Summit of Mt. Neverrest!," "The Spear photo for Ducktales: Destination Adventure! of Selene!," "The Missing Links of Moorshire!" and "Beware the B.U.D.D.Y. System!" Along for the ride are the voices of David Tennant as Scrooge McDuck; Danny Pudi as Huey Duck; Ben Schwartz as Dewey Duck; Bobby Moynihan as Louie Duck; Kate Micucci as Webbigail (Webby) Vanderquack; Beck Bennett as Launchpad McQuack; Toks Olagundoye as Mrs. Beakley; and Tony Anselmo as Donald Duck. There's even Lin-Manuel Miranda voicing Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera — aka Gizmoduck — in the last episode on the disc. The DVD also includes two classic DuckTales episodes from the original series' last season (1990): "New Gizmo-Kids on the Block" and "Ducky Mountain High," and its interesting to note the difference in the animation: where the 1980s series was softer and rounder, the new episodes reflect the harder edge of modern animated comics ala the Marvel and DC universes. The modern DuckTales are fun for youngsters and oldsters alike … "The Steam Engines of Oz" (2018), based on the graphic novel of the same name by Arcana Studio, is an animated steampunk twist on "The Wizard of Oz." Set a century after Dorothy first clicked her ruby slippers together, the Emerald City is no longer a magical land but a toxic, heavily industrialized wasteland ruled by the iron fist of the once beloved hero, the Tin Man, who has seemingly lost all heart. Oz's only hope rests with a young engineer named Victoria Wright, who assembles a motley crew of ill-mannered munchkins, mischievous flying monkeys and, of course, the not-so-Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow for a quest to find the tin man's heart. Along their journey, they ultimately learn that friendship and determination can overcome any obstacle. With the voices of Ron Perlman, William Shatner and Julianne Hough. In Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Cinedigm … "Avatar – The Last Airbender: The Complete Series Blu-ray" is a 9-disc set with every episode from this fan-favorite show. Fans of this classic will be able to relive the full three-season saga, as young Airbender Aang fulfills his destiny of being the long-lost Avatar. Katara and Sokka, siblings and members of the Water Tribe, help Aang master the four elements needed to become the Avatar – master of water, earth, fire and air. From Nickelodeon/Paramount.

Special Interest:

"Genetically Modified Children" (2018): Can Monsanto chemicals permanently alter your child s genes? Low-income tobacco farmers face skyrocketing cancer rates with more devastating repercussions affecting their children: severe physical deformities and mental disabilities. Choosing between poverty or poison, Latin photo for Genetically Modified Children American growers have no choice but to use harmful chemicals such as the herbicide glyphosate (aka Monsanto's Roundup) and Bayer s insecticide Confidor if they want to certify and sell their crops to Big Tobacco. As patent and regulatory laws continue to favor the profits of Monsanto and chemical companies, the tobacco makes its way into the hands and mouths of consumers worldwide in Philip Morris products, while the poisons used to harvest the crops contaminate the farmers' blood and are modifying the human genome, creating genetically modified children. This is the first documentary to detail the unholy alliance between Philip Morris and Monsanto, exploiting generations of impoverished Argentinian farmers, and causing devastating disease and disability among their children. A US-based legal team has taken on the David vs Goliath battle against these corporations to seek justice for these exploited families and their genetically modified children. From Cinema Libre Studio.

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 June 4, 2018  Add comments

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