From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Highlights:
There’s two idiosyncratic films from two idiosyncratic directors this week, both from The Criterion Collection:
Stanley Kubrick bent the conventions of the historical drama to his own will in “Barry Lyndon” (1975), his dazzling vision of brutal aristocracy, adapted from a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray. In picaresque detail, “Barry Lyndon” chronicles the adventures of an incorrigible trickster (Ryan O’Neal) whose opportunism takes him from an Irish farm to the battlefields of the Seven Years’ War and the parlors of high society. For the most sumptuously crafted film of his career, Kubrick recreated the decadent surfaces and intricate social codes of the period, evoking the light and texture of 18-century painting with the help of pioneering cinematographic techniques and lavish costume and production design, all of which earned Academy Awards. The result is a masterpiece — a sardonic, devastating portrait of a vanishing world whose opulence conceals the moral vacancy at its heart.On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray … In the town of Twin Peaks, everyone has their secrets — but especially Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). In “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” the prequel to his groundbreaking 1990s television series, David Lynch resurrects the teenager found wrapped in plastic at the beginning of the show, following her through the last week of her life and teasing out the enigmas that surround her murder. Homecoming queen by day and drug-addicted thrill seeker by night, Laura leads a double life that pulls her deeper and deeper into horror as she pieces together the identity of the assailant who has been terrorizing her for years. Nightmarish in its vision of an innocent torn apart by unfathomable forces, “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” is nevertheless one of Lynch’s most humane films, aching with compassion for its tortured heroine — a character as enthralling in life as she was in death. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, with restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director David Lynch; 7.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, supervised by Lynch; alternate original 2.0 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray.
From TV to DVD:
“Ancient Aliens: Season 10, Volume 1” (2015) is a two-disc set with all eight episodes. Join renowned ancient astronaut theorists as they explore the new evidence regarding the existence of extraterrestrials and extraterrestrial intelligence using newly declassified documents from all over the world. Uncover more astonishing new evidence of extraterrestrial intervention on Earth than ever before, including an aluminum object that resembles the foot of a lunar lander … but inexplicably dates to over 40,000 years ago. In India, a thousand-year-old mask is discovered that looks identical to the face of a grey alien. Newly uncovered records from Russia indicate that in 1948, an ancient rocket was discovered in Kiev. Is it possible that we are on the brink of a reconnection with our alien ancestors? On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate … “America: Promised Land” (2017) showcases the building of America as a nation through the telling of historical events. Everyone knows America is the land of immigrants, but how much do we really know about what drove those migrations in the first place? “America: Promised Land” uncovers the great forces in history that helped shape the country we live in today. Told primarily through enhanced graphics, this HISTORY documentary special follows the migratory journeys of real people in history, revealing surprising and mind-blowing facts along the way (including the creation of the postage stamp by the Irish, the aid Germans provided to the Union Army in the Civil War, the Great Migration of African-Americans to the North and West, and much more). Each chronological hour focuses on a specific theme — Land, War, Opportunity, and Disaster — to tell the story of how the experiences of our ancestors determined how we ended up where we are. From the producers of “America: The Story of Us.” On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate … “Ernie Kovacs: Take a Good Look” (1959-61) is a seven-disc set with all 49 episodes of this truly offbeat game show hosted by Ernie Kovacs. Kovacs was a consummate comedian, influencing TV funnymen such as Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jim Henson, Pee-wee Herman, Billy Crystal, as well as Monty Python and “Saturday Night Live.” “Take a Good Look” is Kovacs’s aphoristic “if a tree falls in the woods” answer to the panel quiz show. Kovacs turns the secret guest show formula on its ear and almost inverts it. “In Take a Good Look,” it’s the host who gives the panel hints about the secret guest’s identity and in the form of surreal sight gags, blackouts and sketches. The clues only really make sense if you know who the guest is, to begin with. Throughout the series’ run, different approaches were taken to address this. Early on in Season One, Kovacs himself has trouble explaining the show’s formula to the home audience. Throughout the show’s two seasons, panelists periodically complain to Ernie that the clues don’t make sense; there’s one show where Hans Conried protests, “Please, Ernie … tell them it’s rigged!” All in all, it is Kovacs who seems to be enjoying the game the most, making these crazy blackouts as well as the commercials for Dutch Masters cigars. You watch the episodes of this game show and wonder “Did this really air on network television?” Airing October 22, 1959 to July 21, 1960, and October 27, 1960 to March 16, 1961 on ABC, Take A Good Look hosted an eclectic mix of guest stars, such as his then wife, Edie Adams, Carl Reiner, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mort Sahl, Our Gang’s Jean Darling, chess world champion Bobby Fischer, Major League Baseball’s Rogers Hornsby, White House Butler Alonzo Fields, Los Angeles Dodgers Chuck Essegian and Don Drysdale, Hawaiian Congressman Daniel Inouye, Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley, several Olympic athletes, and many more. The Library of Congress, who acquired the entire collection of the Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams in 2015, has digitized, restored and preserved the material contained within this DVD set. In all, that is more than 20 hours of additional rare Kovacs material. From Shout! Factory.