"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Mar 122018

From the Big Screen:

“The Shape of Water,” “I, Tonya,” “The Disaster Artist,” “Justice League,” “Call Me By Your Name” and “Ferdinand.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bet:

No filmmaker captures the grandeur and energy of New York like Martin Scorsese. With this the sumptuous romance “The Age of Innocence” (1993), he meticulously adapted the work of another great New York artist, Edith Wharton, bringing to life her tragic novel of the cloistered world of Gilded Age Manhattan. “The Age of photo for The Age of Innocence Innocence” tells the story of Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), whose engagement to an innocent socialite (Winona Ryder) binds him to the codes and rituals of his upbringing. But when her cousin (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrives in town on a wave of scandal after separating from her husband, she ignites passions in Newland he never knew existed. Swelling with exquisite period detail, this film is an alternately heartbreaking and satirical look at the brutality of old-world America. ON DVD, Blu-ray, with new, restored 4K digital transfer, approved by director Martin Scorsese, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras:include a new interviews with Scorsese, co-screenwriter Jay Cocks, production designer Dante Ferretti, and costume designer Gabriella Pescucci; “Innocence and Experience,” a 1993 documentary on the making of the film; trailer; an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien.From The Criterion Collection.

From TV to Disc:

“Fear the Walking Dead The Complete Third Season” (2017) is a four-disc set with all 16 episodes. As society collapses around them, the families must come together to survive the apocalypse and combat the deadly threats on all sides. On DVD, Blu-ray from Lionsgate … “The Good Fight: Seson One” (2017) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes of the CBS All-Access Original Scripted Series that picks up where “The Good Wife” ended. When her friend’s multimillion-dollar investment scam ruins Diane Lockhart’s (Christine Baranski) plan for retirement, wipes out her savings and taints her reputation, she photo for The Good Fight: Season Oneis literally at a loss. In Season 1, a disgraced Diane is forced out of her own law firm and joins another distinguished company as a junior partner. She recruits Maia Rindell (Rose Leslie), a promising young attorney with her own baggage: Maia’s parents are blamed for running the con that defrauded Diane and other members of Chicago’s business elite. Diane is reunited with her ex-employee, Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo), who’s made a name for herself since leaving Lockhart/Gardner. Under the pressure to both rebuild and maintain their lives, this fearless team of women all have something to prove, and nothing to lose. From Showtime/Paramount … “The Handmaid’s Tale: Season One” (2017) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes. Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship. Based on the acclaimed novel by Margaret Atwood. On DVD, Blu-ray from Fox … “Into the Badlands: The Complete Second Season” (2017) is AMC Channel’s visually stunning, martial arts, action-packed top-scripted show. Three-disc set with 10 episodes. Season Two Sunny (Daniel Wu) and M.K. (Aramis Knight) separated and scattered to the wind, each imprisoned in unlikely places. While M.K. struggles to control his powers, Sunny is determined to fight his way back into the Badlands to find his family — or die trying. On their journey, Clipper and Colt are assisted by new allies whose motivations may be anything but pure. Meanwhile, The Widow (Emily Beecham) continues to consolidate power against the other Barons, while a dark and mysterious threat prepares to exact revenge on them all. On DVD, Blu-ray from Lionsgate … “Kendra on Top: Season 6” (2017) features all 16 episodes revealing the never-boring life of the former “Playboy Girl Next Door.” In Season 6, Kendra relocates from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for a life-changing opportunity — one that could propel her career in a dynamic new direction. But will her time away from her family and friends have a disastrous effect? And can her marriage to former NFL player Hank Baskett survive the distance? From MPI/Dark Sky … “LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures” (2017) is a two-disc set with all 12 episodes. The Emmy-nominated animated television series is set between “Stars Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” and focuses on the three Freemaker siblings as they explore new worlds, meet new characters and have unforgettable adventures. The second and final season follows Rowan, Kordi and Zander as they are thrown into battle after they join up with the Rebels. From Disney … “Major Crimes: The Sixth and Final Season” (2017-18) is a three-disc set with all 13 episodes. The show that began as a sequel to the award-winning police procedural “The Closer” and quickly became a hit series in its own right, is now drawing to an end after a successful, six-year run. In Season Six, “Major Crimes” takes a serialized turn as the squad struggles to solve mysteries and murder surrounded by complex political conflicts, attempting to photo for The Wonder Years: The Complete Seriessidestep controversial issues as they track down three lethal murderers. As Cmdr. Sharon Raydor grows accustomed to her new boss, Assistant Chief Leo Mason, the detectives find themselves questioning their faith in the rapidly changing priorities of the justice system and their ability to reason through difficult changes From Warner … “The Wonder Years: The Complete Series” arrives in two editions: The 26-Disc Deluxe Edition features all 115 landmark episodes and nearly 23 hours of specially-produced bonus features, housed in a mini school locker packed with memories; and a 22-disc slipcase edition is streamlined for the sitcom purist. “The Wonder Years” debuted in 1988 following ABC’s broadcast of Super Bowl XXII, and, for six memorable seasons, the series affectionately captured the angst of growing up in suburban middle-class America in the late ’60s, as seen through the life and times of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage). It was unlike anything on television and audiences eagerly followed his evolution as a typical awkward teenager who remembered every moment of his transition from childhood with excruciating detail and remarkable hindsight. From his first kiss with Winnie photo for The Wonder Years: The Complete Series Cooper (Danica McKellar) to his friendship with Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano) and the ups and downs of the Arnold family, fans shared in laughter, love, and loss, but above all, wonder. From 1988 to 1993, The Wonder Years was one of the most popular shows on TV, achieving a spot in the Nielsen Top 30 for four of its six seasons. Both sets contain all 115 compete episodes from the series six year run — remastered and engineered for optimal viewing — along with complete show notes with episode synopses, cast member reflections, “Current Events,” and more, as well as the soundtrack of over 300 classic period songs as they were featured in the original broadcasts includes such artists as: Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, and of course, Joe Cocker’s unforgettable theme. The mini-locker edition includes two “notebooks,” each featuring detailed episode information and production photos, as well as a replica yearbook embellished with signatures from cast members, behind-the-scenes photos and classic show memorabilia, and liner notes penned by Fred Savage, series creators Neal Marlens and Carol Black and executive producer Bob Brush. From Time Life.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Children of the Corn: Runaway” (2016), starring Marci Miller, Lynn Andrews, Mary Kathryn Bryant and Jake Ryan Scott, is the new chapter (the 10th) in the Children of the Corn series, and tells the story of young, pregnant Ruth, who escapes a murderous child cult in a small Midwestern town. She spends the next decade living anonymously in an attempt to spare her son the horrors that she experienced as a child. Ruth and her son end up in a small Oklahoma town, but something is following her. Now, she must confront this evil or lose her child. On DVD, Blu-ray from Lionsgate … photo for Kickboxer: Retaliation In “Kickboxer: Retaliation” (2018), starring Alain Moussi, Christopher Lambert, Mike Tyson and Jean-Claude Van Damme, one year after finding vengeance for his murdered brother, MMA champion Kurt Sloane finds himself back in Thailand — kidnapped and imprisoned there by a powerful gangster (Christopher Lambert). His only shot at freedom is to win an underground death match against a 400lb killer enhanced with state-of the-art drugs (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). To make it out alive, he seeks training unlike anything he’s ever endured, with the help of the legendary Master Durand (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and fellow prisoner Briggs (Mike Tyson). On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA … In the VHS cult classic “The Soultangler” (1987), insane genius Dr. Anton Lupesky has developed a drug that allows users to inhabit corpses and transform into rabid maniacs. Can reporter Kim Castle stop the carnage and save our species from annihilation? This epic of outsider filmmaking is a dream-like wasteland that’s punctuated with severed heads, evil beasties, and hooded slashers. Filmed in basements and garages, director Pat Bishow’s earnest devotion to storytelling in the spirit of H.P. Lovecraft elevates “The Soultangler” beyond kitsch and into heavenly territory. Transferred from the original 1″ master tapes. From Alamo Drafthouse’s American Genre Film Archive [AGFA]).

On the Indie Front:

“1:54” (2018), starring Antoine Olivier Pilon, Sophie Nélisse, Lou-Pascal Tremblay and David Boutin, is a psychological thriller. Tim, a shy 16-year-old athlete, is gifted with a natural athletic ability for running. However, the last four years of high school have been tough on him because of Jeff and his crew. In his last year of high school, Tim is sick and tired of feeling like a loser, and wants to shine for once. He decides to stand up to Jeff by dethroning him in the 800m championship, the event Jeff is known for in school. But behind the photo for When The Starlight Endscompetition and rivalry, a secret is wreaking havoc. Soon, Tim finds himself pushed to the edge because of the pressure he endures where human limits reach the point of no return. From Breaking Glass Pictures … “When The Starlight Ends” (2016), starring Sam Heughan, Arabella Oz, David Arquette and Sean Patrick Flanery, is a surreal romanic comedy. It’s been one month and 14 days since she left. Despondent Jacob (Heughan) is a writer, and Carli (Oz) was his beautiful muse. She was his reason for writing and his reason for loving. Now, she will haunt him at his keyboard, as he writes and rewrites their story, forever searching for a happier conclusion. With each new draft, Jacob is forced to relive their time together — both real and imagined — as he agonizes over whether he made the right decisions and struggles to finally pen the perfect ending for them both. From Cinedigm.

Foreign Films:

“The Assistant” (2015 — France), starring Nathalie Baye and Malik Zidi, is a thriller in the vein of classic Hitchcock. With his wife in labor, father-to-be Thomas (Zidi) speeds to the hospital, and in the process, accidentally kills a young man on the road. That death sets into motion events that will change everyone’s lives forever, including the young man’s mother, Marie-France (Baye), who cannot recover from the trauma. Nine years later, Marie-France takes a job as Thomas’s assistant, without him knowing about her connection to his past. Her maternal rage has tragic consequences as she insinuates herself into Thomas’s life, work and family. From Icarus Films … photo for Pastor Paul When a white tourist travels to West Africa, gets cast in a micro-budget version of “Hamlet”, and is possessed by a ghost, anything can and does happen in “Pastor Paul” (2015 — Nigeria), as film that multi-hyphenate director-writer-actor Jules David Bartkowski calls “the world’s first American Nollywood film.” Benjamin (played by Bartkowski) is a bumbling, geeky mathematician on a mission to discover the hidden formulas in the rhythms of African drumming when he’s asked to act in a movie by Kubolor (Wanlov the Kubolor, one half of the Ghanaian hip-hop duo FOKN Bois), a famous Nollywood actor. Somewhat befuddled, Benjamin agrees. On the set, however, he’s stricken with seizures and speaks in tongues, horrifying the crew though inadvertently giving the director exactly what he wanted. Benjamin returns to his research, seeking out drummers in remote villages, until his possession reoccurs and he wakes up the next morning in an abandoned house. With a life that’s quickly turned into a real-life Nollywood movie, will he be able to rid himself of this strange spiritual malady in time for the movie premiere? Filmed in Ghana and Nigeria as a guerilla-style international co-production. From IndiePix Films.

For the Family:

In “Monsters at Large” (2016), starring Mischa Barton, Brooklynn Prince, Austin St. John and Stephen Tobolowsky, Alex decides to end his kid brother’s nightmares by forming a task force to take care of imaginary monsters. When their business becomes a hit, nothing can go wrong — until one of the monsters turns out to be real, and really big. Supernatural family adventure. From Lionsgate … photo for Birdboy: The Forgotten ChildrenBirdboy: The Forgotten Children “Birdboy: The Forgotten Children” (2017 — Spain) is a darkly comic, beautiful and haunting animated tale of coming of age in a world gone to ruin. There is light and beauty, even in the darkest of worlds. Stranded on an island in a post-apocalyptic world, teenager Dinky and her friends hatch a dangerous plan to escape in the hope of finding a better life. Meanwhile, her old friend Birdboy has shut himself off from the world, pursued by the police and haunted by demon tormentors. But unbeknownst to anyone, he contains a secret inside him that could change the world forever. On Blu-ray/DVD Combo from GKIDS/Shout! Factory … “LEGO DC Super Heroes: The Flash” (2018) is the latest animated film from Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment and The LEGO Group. Here, Reverse-Flash manipulates the Speed Force to put The Flash into a time loop that forces him to relive the same day over and over again — with progressively disastrous results, including losing his powers and being fired by the Justice League. The Flash must find a way to restore time to its original path and finally apprehend his worst enemy before all is lost for The Flash — and the world.On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Warner.

Special Interest:

“Frank Serpico” (2017) is a documentary on the famed NYPD officer who inspired a film classic tells his story. In the early 1970s, one man stood up to the entire New York City police force. Hailed as a hero by many, hated by others, officer Frank Serpico made headlines when he blew the whistle on a culture of bribery and corruption within the department. His one-man crusade for police reform inspired the Al Pacino classic that bears his name, but the real-life saga is as gripping as anything Hollywood could dream up. Now, Frank tells his story in his own words: from his Italian-American roots in Brooklyn to his disillusionment with the NYPD to his riveting account of a dramatic drug bust — and possible set-up — that ended with him being shot in the face. Featuring music by Jack White and interviews with Serpico’s associates and admirers — including writer Luc Sante and actor-filmmaker John Turturro — this is an inspiring, all-access portrait of a courageous man who refused to betray his ideals. From IFC Films.

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 March 12, 2018  Add comments

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