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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Oct 102017
 

From the Big Screen:

"Baby Driver," "The Beguiled," "The House" and "Wish Upon." For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week's Highlights:

There's a trio of classic films due this week, headed up by a pair of restorations from the 1940s:

"The Sea Wolf" (1941), starring Edward G. Robinson, John Garfield, Ida Lupino, Alexander Knox, Barry Fitzgerald, Gene Lockhart and Howard da Silva, one of the great Warner Bros. classics that has existed only in truncated form for 70 years has been restored to its original length as first released in 1941, with 14 minutes of long-missing footage, remastered from a 4K scan. "The Sea Wolf" stars Edward G. Robinson, Ida Lupino and John Garfield and is directed by Michael Curtiz. It was one of Warner Bros. highest-grossing titles of 1941, well-received by both critics and audiences. Robert Rossen’s adapted screenplay — which contemporized the story by adding a strong anti-photo for The Sea Wolf fascist component by making the main character a thinly disguised figure reminiscent of a European dictator — is still considered the benchmark version of Jack London’s best-selling psychological thriller. Executive producer Hal B. Wallis brought together a stellar team of Warner talents to further the studio’s reputation for prestigious, action-packed, yet socially conscious productions. "The Sea Wolf" was the fifth screen version of London’s 1904 best-seller. The story had been filmed three times during the silent era and was released as an early talkie from Fox Film Corp. in 1930, before the rights were eventually acquired by Warner Bros. Eight worldwide film and television versions followed. In order to present a 1947 "sea-faring" double feature re-issue with 1940's "The Sea Hawk," Jack Warner cut both films to accommodate more daily showings in theaters. The 14 minutes from "The Sea Wolf" were physically edited and removed from the original camera negative and no 35mm copies were thought to have remained — until a recent extensive archival search yielded a thought-lost nitrate positive fine grain master made at the time of the film’s production. The latter became the basis for the new 4K scan which was used by Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging to meticulously restore the picture. An audio restoration was also performed to take full advantage of the rich musical underscoring by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Robinson gives one of his strongest performances as Wolf Larsen, the brutal sea captain of the seal-hunting schooner “Ghost,” who gives save haven to fugitives George Leach (Garfield), Ruth Webster (Lupino) and writer Humphrey van Weyden (Knox). Larsen’s crew mutinies against his horrific abuses; van Weyden, Webster and Leach attempt an escape, only to return to find what they think is a deserted ship. They tangle with Larsen, during which the commander reveals a dark secret he’s been hiding as he and the boat sail toward disaster. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Warner Archive.

A major box office success upon its release, "T-Men" (1947), directed by Anthony Mann and starring Dennis O’Keefe, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford, Charles McGraw, Jane Randolph and June Lockhar, holds a special place in the film noir canon not only as director Mann's breakout film, but as the initial pairing of the filmmaker and photo for T-Men cinematographer John Alton. Like none before them, their combination of highly stylized camera set-ups, along with the brilliant uses of light and shadows, created the gritty realism and visual tension that made their crime thrillers popular with critics and movie patrons alike. When the trail goes cold on a counterfeit ring in Los Angeles, Treasury agents Dennis O’Brien (O’Keefe) and Tony Genaro (Ryder) are called upon to infiltrate the shadowy and dangerous underworld of organized crime. Their only lead takes them to Detroit where they convince mob kingpin Carlo Vantucci of their criminal pedigree and start piling up clues to tie the Vantucci mob to the “tough, tight outfit” in L.A. But the deeper O’Brien penetrates the organization, the more harrowing the mission becomes for him and fellow T-Man Genaro, with their every move being scrutinized and carrying the risk of deadly exposure. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from ClassicFlix.

Gloriously cinematic despite being made on a tiny budget, Orson Welles's "Othello" (1952/1955) is a testament to the filmmaker's stubborn willingness to pursue his vision to the ends of the earth. Unmatched in his passionate identification with Shakespeare's imagination, Welles brings his inventive visual approach to this photo for Othello enduring tragedy of jealousy, bigotry, and rage, and also gives a towering performance as the Moor of Venice, alongside Suzanne Cloutier as his innocent wife, Desdemona, and Micheál MacLiammóir as the scheming Iago. Shot over the course of three years in Morocco, Venice, Tuscany, and Rome and plagued by many logistical problems, this fiercely independent film joins "Macbeth" and "Chimes at Midnight" in making the case for Welles as the cinema's most audacious interpreter of the Bard. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc. New, restored 4K digital transfers of two versions of the film, the 1952 European version and the 1955 U.S. version, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.

Also from Criterion this week is "The Lure" (2015 — Poland), a genre-defying horror-musical mash-up — the bold debut of Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska — that follows a pair of carnivorous mermaid sisters drawn ashore to explore life on land in an photo for The Lure alternate 1980s Poland. Their tantalizing siren songs and otherworldly auras make them overnight sensations as nightclub singers in the half-glam, half-decrepit world of Smoczynska's imagining. The director gives fierce teeth to her viscerally sensual, darkly feminist twist on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid," in which the girls' bond is tested and their survival threatened after one sister falls for a human. A coming-of-age fairy tale with a catchy synth-fueled soundtrack, outrageous song-and-dance numbers, and lavishly grimy sets, The Lure explores its themes of emerging female sexuality, exploitation, and the compromises of adulthood with savage energy and originality. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from The Criterion Collection.

And, last but not least, is "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (1987). Written and directed by the incomparable John Hughes, the celebrated comedy makes an on-time arrival for its 30th anniversary on Blu-ray Combo Pack with a Digital HD copy and on DVD. Starring comedy greats Steve Martin and John Candy, the uproarious classic follows a businessman (Martin) who is struggling to get home for Thanksgiving, but burdened by one travel mishap after another, as well as the company of an annoying traveling salesman (Candy). Filled with outrageously funny situations and a generous helping of warmth, the film also features appearances by Michael McKean, Edie McClurg and Kevin Bacon. The Blu-ray features an in-depth retrospective on John Hughes’ career that includes interviews with those who worked with him and explores his indelible impact as a writer and filmmaker. Additional features include “Getting There is Half the Fun: The Story of Planes, Trains And Automobiles,” “John Hughes For Adults,” a tribute to John Candy and a deleted scene. From Paramount.

From TV to DVD:

"Dynasty: The Complete Series" (1981-89) is a 57-disc set with all 217 episodes. An icon of catfights, camp and 80s excess, the Golden Globe-winning (Best Television Series – Drama, 1984) primetime soap opera arrives on DVD for the first time in a new shelf-friendly complete series collection — timed for the modernized reboot of the series on The CW. The outrageously photo for Dynasty: The Complete Series entertaining pop culture phenomenon aired from 1981-1989, and changed the entertainment landscape with its larger-than-life portrayal of the luxurious lives and passionate loves of the wealthy and powerful Carrington family. Famous for its plotlines of treachery and betrayal mixed with unforgettable camp and larger-than-life glamour, the captivating series was created by Richard and Esther Shapiro and produced by TV legend Aaron Spelling. The primetime soap opera features Golden Globe-winning performances by John Forsythe as oil magnate Blake Carrington, Joan Collins as former wife Alexis Carrington Colby, Linda Evans as Blake's new wife Krystle Carrington, Heather Locklear as Sammy Jo Dean Carrington, Pamela Sue Martin as Fallon Carrington Colby, and Diahann Carroll as Dominique Deveraux. From CBS/Paramount … "Everybody Hates Chris: The Complete Series" (2005-09) is a 16-disc set with all four seasons. The coming-of-age comedy that follows the childhood of legendary comedian Chris Rock. Narrated by Rock and inspired by his formative years, the acclaimed sitcom follows a black teen in Brooklyn during the early 1980s who attends a mostly white school. Bolstered by a soundtrack that beautifully evokes the 80s, he show
photo for Everybody Hates Chris: The Complete Series chronicles the life-of the young Chris, whose family's penny-pinching is leavened by love (and laughs). From CBS/Paramount … "Impractical Jokers: The Complete Fifth Season" (2016) is a four-disc set with all 26 episodes of truTV’s top-rated series. In season five, the guys visit the world-famous Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York, play an epic game of catch-and-release at the supermarket and go on a helicopter ride from hell. The four jokers also pose as receptionists, cashiers, restaurant hosts, pet store employees and wreak havoc at a pawn shop. The season ends with a two-hour event in which the guys team with NITRO CIRCUS and face obstacle courses, high-flying jumps, and much more. From truTV … "Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland" (2017) is based on the best-selling book written by the late Michael Jackson’s most trusted bodyguards, Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard with Tanner Colby. The scripted Lifetime Original Movie — featuring the acting debut of Navi, a Michael Jackson tribute artist who worked closely with the pop legend as his body double for many years — gives an intimate view of The King of Pop both as a caring father and as a man enduring untold hardships during the last years of his life. A behind-the-scenes perspective from those closest to the music icon. Co-stars Chad L. Coleman, Sam Adegoke. From Lionsgate … "Murdoch Mysteries: Once Upon a Murdoch Christmas" (2016) is set in Toronto in the late 1890s and early 1900s during the age of invention. "Murdoch Mysteries" (aka The Artful Detective) centers on Detective William Murdoch, a methodical and dashing detective, who enlists radical new forensic techniques to solve some of the photo for Murdoch Mysteries: Once Upon a Murdoch Christmas city’s most gruesome murders. Days before Christmas in Edwardian-era Toronto, Detective William Murdoch is called to investigate a daring train robbery. When witnesses insist the culprit exhibited superhuman abilities, Constable Crabtree realizes the robber bears a striking resemblance to the title character of his new graphic novel, Jumping Jack. As more robberies targeting gifts from Eaton’s luxury department occur around Toronto, Murdoch and his team are forced to consider the possibility that Crabtree’s character has come to life. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Acorn Media … "Reign: The Fourth and Final Season" (2017) is a three-disc set with all 16 episodes. The story of young Mary Queen of Scots comes to an end. Season four finds Mary rising to the challenge, taking back her country and establishing her rule in Scotland, the land of her birth but a wild nation foreign to her, and now, once again, her home. It's a season of impossibly high stakes, unexpected betrayals, sexual exploits, a royal wedding, a royal birth and a rising body count as three queens in three nations fight for their people, their loves, and their lives. From Warner.

Buzzin' the 'B's:

Urban angst meets the Wild West when three NYC punks (Jon Cryer, Daniel Roebuck and Flea) on a road trip to California cross paths with a vicious gang and their psycho leader (Lee Ving) in "Dudes [Collector's Edition]" (1987), making its Blu-ray debut this week. Aided by a pistol-packin’ knockout (Catherine Mary Stewart), a photo for Dudesdaredevil Elvis Presley impersonator (Pete Willcox), and mystical spirits of the past, they relentlessly pursue the gang to an epic, hallucinogenic, final showdown. Directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Penelope Spheeris ("The Decline of Western Civilization," "Suburbia," "Wayne’s World"), "Dudes" blasts a killer soundtrack featuring The Vandals, The Little Kings, Keel, Jane’s Addiction and Steve Vai. From Shout! Factory’s Shout Select … In "Pilgrimage" (2017), starring Tom Holland, Jon Bernthal and Richard Armitage, a young novice (Holland), leaving his Irish monastery for the first time, departs with a devoted group of monks and a mysterious former Crusader (Bernthal) as they attempt to transport a holy relic to Rome. Threatened at every turn by savage tribes, traitorous Norman soldiers and those that seek the power they believe the relic holds, the young man finds surprising courage while faced with deadly challenges that will push his body, mind and spirit to the breaking point.On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from RLJ Entertainment … "Open Water 3 Cage Dive" (2017), starring Joel Hogan, Megan Peta Hill, Josh Potthoff and Pete Valley, is the third chapter in the popular Open Water series. Three friends from California head to the rugged Australian coast for a cage-dive encounter with deadly great whites. But after attracting a swarm of vicious sharks, their tour boat is destroyed by a massive rogue wave. As clouds gather and darkness descends, the three friends find themselves alone and defenseless, afloat in the chilly ocean as hungry man-eaters begin to circle. With little hope of rescue, they must fight to survive using only their courage. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate … photo for House by the Lake In "House by the Lake" (2017), starring James Callis, Anne Dudek and Amiah Miller, a struggling couple, Scott and Karen, pack up their troubled young daughter and head to a picturesque lake house to reconnect and put their problems behind them. As Emma spends time with her new nanny, the little girl begins fixating on an imaginary friend she calls the Fish Man. Karen's fear of the strange man down the beach, Emma's fear of the water and her recurring sleepwalking continue to raise tensions in the house and drive a wedge between Scott and Karen until one night Emma disappears. When she's found breathing underwater in the tub, Emma insists she's been with the Fish Man. And he's coming back for her. From Random Media … In "Armed Response" (2017), starring Wesley Snipes, Anne Heche and Seth Rollins, a team of highly trained operatives find themselves trapped inside an isolated military compound after its artificial intelligence is suddenly shut down. The crew begins to experience strange and horrific phenomena as they attempt to uncover the unidentifiable threat that killed the previous team. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate … "Summer of Fear (aka Stranger in Our House)" (1978), starring Linda Blair, Lee Purcell, Jeremy Slate, Jeff East, Fran Drescher, Carol Lawrence, Macdonald Carey and Jeff McCracken, is Wes Craven's 1978 cult favorite, based on the best-selling young adult novel by Lois Duncan of "You Know What I Did Last Summer" fame. A country family of five take in cousin Julie (Purcell), whose parents recently died in a car crash. While the rest of the family and those around them are completely charmed by Julie, teenaged daughter Rachel (Blair) grows photo for Summer of Fear (aka Stranger in Our House) suspect that her cousin has an alternative agenda; one that possibly includes witchcraft. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Doppelganger Releasing … "Fallen" (2017), starring Addison Timlin, Jeremy Irvine, Harrison Gilbertson, Lola Kirke, Daisy Head, Hermione Corfield, Malachi Kirby and Joely Richardson, is a supernatural love story that transcends the boundaries of heaven and earth. Luce (Timlin) is just an ordinary teen girl until a shocking accident sends her to a mysterious reform school for misfit and eclectic teenagers. There, she meets two students, Daniel (Irvine) and Cam (Gilbertson). Torn between the instant electrifying connection she feels with Daniel and the attracting force of Cam, Luce is quickly pulled into a passionate love triangle. As she tries to piece together deeply fragmented memories, she is left with a feeling of undeniable longing for her one true love and the revelation of a love story that has been going on for centuries. Based on Lauren Kate’s worldwide best-selling young adult book of the same name. From Sony … "Demonic" (2015), starring Maria Bello, Frank Grillo, Cody Horn and Dustin Milligan, centers on the aftermath of a horrific massacre where five college students were brutally murdered inside an abandoned home. Detective Mark Lewis (Grillo) and psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Klein (Bello) question one of the few survivors who explains they were amateur ghost-hunters, seeking out paranormal phenomenon at the abandoned house, which was believed to be haunted. But what started out as a harmless activity turned into something truly terrifying. From Lionsgate.

On the Indie Front:

"Maudie" (2016), starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, is the true story of folk artist Maud Lewis (1903-1970) (Hawkins) and the unlikely romance between Maud and a hardened reclusive bachelor, Everett Lewis (Hawke). Maud Lewis, a bright-eyed, intelligent woman, hunched with crippled hands from arthritis, yearns to be independent and to live away from her overly protective family. She escapes her solitary existence in her aunt’s home through her art, dreaming away the days, until in her early 30s she finds, and answers, an advertisement for a housekeeper. With the eventual support of Lewis, she becomes a famous folk artist. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Sony.

Foreign Films:

"Heartstone" (2017 — Iceland), starring Baldur Einarsson, Blær Hinriksson, Diljá Valsdóttir, Katla Njálsdóttir, Gunnar Jónsson, Søren Malling and Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir, is set in a remote fishing village in Iceland, where teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it's time to leave the playground and face adulthood. From Breaking Glass Pictures.

For the Family:

"SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete Ninth Season" (2017) is four-disc set with 54 episodes, including three double-length episodes. SpongeBob, Sandy, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs and Plankton are up to even more of their wet-and-wild, deep-sea dilemmas. Whether it's SpongeBob searching for a job, Squidward learning the art of kah-rah-tay or Mr. Krabs getting married (to a pile of cold-hard-cash), the nautical nonsense is as rampant as ever. From Nickelodeon/Paramount … In "Once Upon a Sesame photo for SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete Ninth Season Street Christmas" (2017), it’s Christmas Eve and Elmo couldn’t be more excited for a visit from Santa and gifts under the tree. To coax the little monster into drifting off to sleep, Elmo's dad spins him a bedtime story about his great-great-grandmonster, back when Sesame Street was a very different place and everyone was so grouchy Santa didn’t even visit. With some help from his friends it is Elmo’s job to bring kindness, holiday cheer, and the spirit of Christmas to Sesame Street. From Warner … "Peppa Pig: Princess Peppa," (2017) features 12 magical “peppasodes” from the top-rated "Peppa Pig" TV series seen daily on Nick Jr. In the new DVD, preschoolers join Peppa and her little brother George as their bedtime story turns them into “Princess Peppa” and “Sir George the Brave.” Together, they meet a wizard, encounter a scary dragon and celebrate a huge party. The fun continues with a visit from the tooth fairy, a trip to a castle and a special drive to find a rainbow’s end. Each DVD also comes with an “oinktastic” surprise — a limited edition princess Peppa plush. From Fox … Based on the treasured book by Russell and Lillian Hoban, "Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas 40th Anniversary" (1977) is the touching story of a down-on-its-luck otter family that risks everything for the chance to win the cash prize at a Christmas talent contest. In 1977, the television special featured a special appearance by the Kermit the Frog as the narrator. In subsequent photo for Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas 40th Anniversary airings, Kermit’s narration was edited out, but this fully remastered version includes the restored scenes with Jim Henson’s iconic character. From Sony … "Justice League Action: Season 1 Part 1" (2016-17) is a two-disc set with 26 episodes. The first DVD collection of the hit Cartoon Network animated series. The “Trinity” of DC’s Justice League — Superman (voiced by Jason J. Lewis), Batman (Kevin Conroy) and Wonder Woman (Rachel Kimsey) — are joined by a galaxy of rotating allies and enemies like John Constantine, Zatanna, Booster Gold, Plastic Man, Lobo, Mr. Freeze, Black Adam and Swamp Thing. The Super Heroes must battle enemies that include space invaders and bizarre forces of magic as they try to defend Earth from Super-Villains intent on destroying the planet. The star-studded voice roster includes Mark Hamill (The Joker, Swamp Thing), Carl Reiner (The Wizard), James Woods (Lex Luthor), Jon Cryer (Felix Faust), Christian Slater (Deadshot), Sean Astin (Shazam), Ken Jeong (Toyman), Diedrich Bader (Booster Gold), Andy Richter (Chronos), Jake T. Austin (Blue Beetle), Mena Suvari (Killer Frost), Lacey Chabert (Zatanna), Jerry O’Connell (The Atom), and Patton Oswalt (Space Cabbie). From Warner.

Special Interest:

"Lewis Black: Black to the Future" (2017): Known as the king of the rant, Lewis Black uses his trademark style of comedic yelling and animated finger-pointing to skewer anything and anyone that gets under his skin. His live performances provide a cathartic release of anger and disillusionment for his audience. A passionate performer who is a more pissed-off optimist than mean-spirited curmudgeon, Black is the rare comic who can cause an audience to laugh themselves into incontinence while making compelling points about the absurdity of our existence. Recorded live just a few blocks from his home in New York City, Black sheds light on this crazy, messed-up world. Also available on CD and LP. From MVD Entertainment Group. Due October 13.


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 October 10, 2017  Add comments

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