From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets:
Director Andrei Tarkovsky’s final masterpiece “The Sacrifice” (1986 — Russia) is a haunting vision of a world threatened with nuclear annihilation. As a wealthy Swedish family celebrates the birthday of their patriarch Alexander (Erland Josephson), news of the outbreak of World War III reaches their remote Baltic island — and the happy mood turns to horror. The family descends into a state of psychological devastation, brilliantly evoked by Tarkovsky’s arresting palette of luminous grays washing over the bleak landscape around their home. The film’s masterful cinematography is by Sven Nykvist, Ingmar Bergman’s longtime collaborator. Made as he was dying of cancer, “The Sacrifice” is Tarkovsky’s closing artistic testament, a profoundly moving, redemptive tragedy steeped in unforgettable imagery and heart-wrenching emotion. In a 4K Restoration.In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Kino Classics … After shocking and outraging the world with his genre-defining 1963 gore-fest “Blood Feast,” exploitation pioneer Herschell Gordon Lewis would seek (and positively succeed) to outdo himself with the deliciously depraved “Two Thousand Maniacs!” (1964). When a group of Yankee tourists take a detour and wind up in the small Southern town of Pleasant Valley — which has magically rematerialized 100 years after its destruction during the Civil War — they find themselves welcomed by the eager townsfolk as guests of honor at their centennial celebrations. Little do the Northerners know that the festivities are set to include torture, death and dismemberment. Stars Connie Mason, William Kerwin and Jeffrey Allen. Also includes H.G. Lewis’ fist fightin’, hooch-swillin’ epic “Moonshine Mountain.” In a Special Edition, on Blu-ray, with original Uncompressed PCM Mono Audio. Extras include an introductions to the films by Lewis; archive audio commentary on “Two Thousand Maniacs!” by Lewis; “David Friedman: The Gentlemen’s Smut Peddler” tribute to legendary producer David F. Friedman featuring interviews with Lewis, filmmakers Fred Olen Ray and Tim Sullivan and editor Bob Murawski; “Herschell’s Art of Advertising” in which Lewis shares his expert opinion on the art of selling movies; outtakes; trailers; reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil; more. From Arrow Video … For the first time on Blu-ray, and in a new, deluxe box set, the “The It’s Alive Trilogy” is reborn. It’s newborn and … It’s Alive … and murder is what it knows best. A proud couple’s bundle of joy is really a newborn terror in filmmaker Larry Cohen’s cautionary cult hit “It’s Alive” (1974) that tapped into environmental fears. The horror grows when multiple child monsters rampage in the first sequel “It Lives Again” (1978) as two brave parents try to stop them by becoming the bait for their spree. The now global mutants are rounded up and relocated to a far-flung island in It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987). Will a parent’s greatest nightmare become the world’s gravest fear? On Blu-ray, with new 2K scans of the original film elements of all three films, commentary by Cohen on all three films, new “Cohen’s Alive: Looking Back at the It’s Alive Films” featuring interviews with writer-producer-director Larry Cohen, actors James Dixon, Michael Moriarty and Laurene Landon and more. From Scream Factory … The wry, melancholic comedy “The Other Side of Hope” (2015 — Finland) from director Aki Kaurismäki, a response to the ongoing global refugee crisis, follows two people searching for a place to call home. Khaled (Sherwan Haji), a displaced Syrian, lands in Helsinki as a stowaway; meanwhile, middle-aged Finnish salesman Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen) leaves his wife and his job and buys a conspicuously unprofitable seafood restaurant. Khaled is denied asylum but decides not to return to Aleppo — and the paths of the two men cross fortuitously. As deadpan as the best of the director’s work, and with a deep well of empathy for its down-but-not-out characters (many of them played by members of Kaurismäki’s loyal stock company), “The Other Side of Hope” is a bittersweet tale of human kindness in the face of official indifference. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 2K digital transfer, approved by director Aki Kaurismäki, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.
From TV to Disc:
“The Jackie Gleason Show in Color: Deluxe Edition” (2017): From 1966-1970, Jackie Gleason, everyone’s favorite working-class hero, entertained enthralled audiences across the country with his eponymous TV variety show featuring hilarious sketches, celebrity guest stars and much more. Taped in Miami Beach, “The Jackie Gleason Show “delivered an unforgettable gallery of characters Gleason himself created and fine-tuned, including his most indelible and legendary creation — Ralph Kramden — as he and Art Carney revived their Honeymooners roles (with Sheila MacRae and Jane Kean added as the new Alice and Trixie), all presented in glorious color for the first time. Across three beautifully-remastered collector’s discs, “The Jackie Gleason Show in Color: Deluxe Edition” contains 12 never-before-released episodes — including seven unreleased Honeymooners sketches that haven’t been seen since they first aired, including “Six Months to Live,” “Alice’s Birthday,” “Lawsuit,” “Hot Tip,” “The New Bowling Ball,” “Norton Moves In” and “he New Manager.” Includes guest appearances by Jack Benny, George Burns, Milton Berle, Tony Bennett, Red Buttons, Phil Silvers, Florence Henderson, Frankie Avalon, Nipsey Russell, Edie Adams, Sid Caesar, Alan King, Robert Goulet, Mickey Rooney, Frank Sinatra Jr., Victor Borge and more. From Time Life … “The Shannara Chronicles Season Two” (2017) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes. Season Two finds the Four Lands in chaos. The re-emergence of magic has the populace terrified, and an organization called The Crimson is hunting down magic users, using fear and intimidation to sow discord among the races. Wil Ohmsford, scarred by the loss of Amberle and his separation from Eritrea, has turned his back on his magical destiny to become a healer. But when a mysterious woman named Mareth saves Wil from a Crimson attack, he is forced to rejoin the fight. After reuniting with Eretria, Wil and Mareth seek out Allanon, only to learn that the Druid’s former protégé, Bandon, is on a mission to resurrect a creature of darkest evil: The Warlock Lord. Together, our heroes must band together to take down The Crimson and prevent Bandon from unleashing an even greater threat upon the Four Lands…before it’s too late. On DVD, Blu-ray from Paramount … “Unforgotten Season 2” (2017) is a two-disc set with six episodes of the UK crime drama. Season 2 starts innocently enough with a routine river dredging operation. When the scoop brings up a soggy, old suitcase, the workers open it and find a corpse sealed up so long that the tissues have turned to a soapy substance. Gruesome forensic work identifies the victim as David Walker, a businessman missing for 25 years. The case tests the wits of crime-solving duo Detective Chief Inspector Cassie Stuart and Detective Sergeant Sunny Khan. On DVD, Blu-ray, from PBS Distribution.