From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets:
The Grand Prix winner at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, “La Belle Noiseuse (aka The Beautiful Troublemaker)” (1991 — France) is Jacques Rivette’s intimately epic exploration of the convergence between artistry and eroticism. Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) is a reclusive painter living in the French countryside with his wife (Jane Birkin). Their lives are radically upended with the arrival of a younger artist (David Bursztein) and his girlfriend (Emmanuel Béart), who becomes the muse that awakens Edouard’s fading passions. Rivette creates a layered character study, while also offering an immersive meditation on the creative process. Rivette (1928-2016) was a key member of the New Wave of the late 1950s and ’60s — the group of film critics for the influential magazine Cahiers du Cinéma who put their revolutionary theories to the test as they became filmmakers themselves and changed the face of modern movies. Standing somewhat apart from Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer and other pioneers of the movement, Rivette created films marked by improvisation, unusual length and loose narrative that give the impression of events simply unfolding before the camera. New 4K restoration of the original four-hour version (in 1992, Rivette released a much shorter cut, titled “Divertimento,” which presented the story chiefly from the Béart character’s point of view). On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cohen Film Collection … A small-town fable about violence and redemption, “Moonrise” (1948) is the final triumph of Frank Borzage, one of Hollywood’s most neglected masters. Stigmatized from infancy by the fate of his criminal father, young Danny (Dane Clark) is bruised and bullied until one night, in a fit of rage, he kills his most persistent tormentor. As the police close in around him, Danny makes a desperate bid for the love of the dead man’s fiancée (Gail Russell), a schoolteacher who sees the wounded soul behind his aggression. With this postwar comeback, Borzage recaptured the inspiration that had animated his long and audacious early career, marrying the lyrical force of his romantic sensibility with the psychological anguish of film noir, in a stunning vindication of faith in the power of love. On DVD and Blu-ray, with restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection.
From TV to Disc:
“Ackley Bridge, Series 1” (2017) is a two-disc set with six episodes of the new school-based British drama that offers a gritty, funny and truthful insight into the daily drama of teachers, teenagers and families whose lives and cultures collide in a fictional 21st century Northern English town. After years of racial segregation in a small Yorkshire town, two high schools integrate white and Pakistani students by combining into Ackley Bridge College. But the transition is far from easy for teachers and students alike. Headmistress Mandy clashes with her husband, PE teacher Steve, and free-spirited English teacher Emma deals with her daughter showing up drunk to class. Troublemaker Jorda creates enemies by disparaging the school, while best friends Missy and Nasreen quarrel when vivacious Missy doesn’t fit in with Nasreen’s conservative Muslim friends. Will Ackley Bridge unite the community — or tear it apart? From Acorn Media … “Dear White People Season One” (2017) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes. Set against the backdrop of a predominantly white Ivy League university, where racial tensions bubble just below the surface, “Dear White People Season One” is a send-up of the now post-postracial America that tells the universal story of finding one’s own identity and forging a wholly unique path. The satirical series — which picks up where the acclaimed 2014 film by the same name left off — follows a group of Winchester University students of color as they navigate a diverse landscape of social injustice, cultural bias, political correctness (or lack thereof), and activism in the millennial age. Through its absurdist lens, “Dear White People Season One” leads with laughter as it utilizes biting irony, self-deprecation, and sometimes brutal honesty to hold a mirror up to the issues plaguing society today. From Lionsgate …“Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Fourth Season”: The ’60s gave us “in-crowds,” “be-ins” and “love-ins,” and starting in 1968, the happening place for free-form comedy was “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” broadcast from beautiful downtown Burbank. Straight man Dan Rowan and wisecracking co-host Dick Martin led a gaggle of goofballs through a rapid-fire assault of one-liners, skits, bits and non sequiturs that left viewers in hysterics and disbelief. Anything and anyone in the public eye was a target. Political correctness? Forget it! The groundbreaking show anchored the Monday 8 p.m. time slot on NBC until March 12, 1973. Available for the very first time at retail, this seven-disc set features 26 complete, remastered episodes from the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series. Season Four guest stars include Truman Capote, Art Carney, Johnny Carson, Wilt Chamberlain, Carol Channing, Tim Conway, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Rich Little, Bob Newhart, Vincent Price, Carl Reiner, Debbie Reynolds, Don Rickles, Rod Serling, Orson Welles, and many more. From Time Life.