"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Oct 232018

From the Big Screen:

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets:

In “Sisters” (1973), Margot Kidder is Danielle, a beautiful model separated from her Siamese twin, Dominique. When a hotshot reporter (Jennifer Salt) suspects Dominique of a brutal murder, she becomes dangerously ensnared in the sisters’ insidious sibling bond. A scary and stylish paean to female destructiveness, Brian photo for Sisters De Palma’s first foray into horror voyeurism is a stunning amalgam of split-screen effects, bloody birthday cakes, and a chilling score by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new 4K digital restoration, approved by director Brian De Palma, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … “Blood and Black Lace” (1964 — Italy), starring Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner, Mary Arden and Enzo Cerusico, is director Mario Bava’s Giallo masterpiece. An unscrupulous business operating under the guise of a top fashion house with exotic models running sexual favors, cocaine dealings and blackmail, becomes a murder scene–after someone is pushed to the edge. The saga begins when a beautiful model photo for is brutally murdered, and her boyfriend, a known addict supplying her drugs, is suspected of the crime…but is he guilty or is someone waiting in the shadows setting him up? New 2018 2K Restoration from original film materials in widescreen/1.85:1 aspect ratio. On Blu-ray from VCI Entertainment … Terence Davies’ feature debut “Distant Voices, Still Lives” (1988), winner of the International Critics’ Prize at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, heralded one of Britain’s finest filmmaking talents. Loosely based on the director’s own family and upbringing, “Distant Voices, Still Lives” presents an evocative account of working-class life in Liverpool, England during the 1940s and 50s. Births, marriages and deaths — and an expressive use of music — provide the underpinning for a film that is beautiful, heartbreaking, resonant … but never sentimental. Now regarded as a masterpiece of British cinema, and boasting a startling performance from Pete Postlethwaite as the head of the family,” Distant Voices, photo for Distant Voices, Still Lives Still Lives” has been treated to a glorious 4K restoration by the British Film Institute. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … Director William Wellman’s “You Never Know Women” (1926) is a thrilling romance that constructs a combustible love triangle between a Russian dancer, a handsome escape artist, and a wealthy broker. Vera Janova (Florence Vidor) is on her way to star in a Russian vaudeville revue when a falling girder nearly kills her. A construction worker saves her life, but before she wakes up the conniving Eugene Foster (Lowell Sherman) takes Vera into his arms, pretending to be the one who rescued her. Susceptible to Eugene’s oily charms, Vera begins ignoring Ivan Norodin (Clive Brook), a Houdini-like master of illusion who had loved her his whole life. Racked with jealousy, Norodin plans the ultimate illusion, one that could change their lives forever. Brand new HD master from a 4K of the 35mm nitrate tinted print and 35mm safety dupe negative by Paramount Pictures Archives. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Classics.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “I Think We’re Alone Now” (2018), starring Peter Dinklage, Elle Fanning, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Paul Giamatti, the apocalypse proves a blessing in disguise for one lucky recluse — until a second survivor arrives with the threat of companionship. After a mysterious event wipes out most of humanity, a small-photo for I Think We're Alone Nowtown librarian (Dinklage) finds that he prefers his newfound solitude. But his tranquility is suddenly disturbed when a fellow survivor (Fanning) arrives in town and inserts herself into his life. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Sony … An LA public school becomes a hotbed of sex, lies, and hilarity in the star-powered comedy “A Happening of Monumental Proportions” (2017), directed by Judy Greer. It’s Career Day, and two school administrators have just made a shocking discovery: the dead body of the groundskeeper. They decide to hide the body, sparking a series of wildly comic misadventures for teachers and students on a Career Day that no one will ever forget — no matter how hard they try. Stars Common, Bradley Whitford, Anders Holm and Allison Janney. From Lionsgate … In the pandemic thriller “Patient Zero” (2018), starring Matt Smith, Stanley Tucci and Natalie Dormer, humanity is battling intelligent, adrenaline-fueled creatures born from a viral super-strain. After being bitten, human survivor Morgan (Smith) realizes he is asymptomatic and can communicate with the infected, leading the last survivors on a hunt for Patient Zero and a cure. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Sony … In “The Padre” (2018), starring Tim Roth, Luis Guzmán, Nick Nolte and Valeria Henriquez, hell-bent on justice, retired U.S. Judge Randall Nemes (Nolte) and his hired gun, Gaspar (Guzmán), track down a small-time photo for The Padre con man (Roth) posing as a priest in a small Colombian town only to be thrown off-course by a scrappy 16-year-old local girl intent on reuniting with her little sister in the U.S. From Sony … Expect the unexpected in hip-hop artist Boots Riley’s directorial and screenwriting debut, “Sorry to Bother You” (2018), a surreal look at capitalism, corporate greed, and fractured workplace dynamics. In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, California, struggling telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, which propels him into a macabre universe. Stars Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick and Terry Crews. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Fox … In “I Am Vengeance” (2018), professional wrestler and former champion bare-knuckle boxer Stu Bennett stars as John Gold, an ex-soldier turned mercenary who learns of the murder of his best friend, Dan — and Dan’s parents — and heads to their hometown, seeking justice. Gold soon discovers Dan and his father were murdered while investigating a Special Forces unit led by an enigmatic, highly decorated soldier named Hatcher who went rogue in Afghanistan. Gold’s vengeance is unleashed, as he sets out to take down the killers. Co-stars Anna Shaffer, Mark Griffin, Bryan Larkin and Kevin Leslie. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “The Unnamable” (1988), starring Charles Klausmeyer, Mark Kinsey Stephenson, Alexandra Durrell, Laura Albert, Eben Ham and Blane Wheatley, college students from Miskatonic University who retreat to an early 18th-century photo for The Unnamable mansion for a weekend of lust are stalked by a fatalistic female in this horror film taken from a story by H.P. Lovecraft. The demon delights in tearing the limbs off her human victims to carry out a centuries-old family curse. Bloody graphic violence and nudity is combined with some campy comedy. Restored as a beautiful 4k scan and color corrected from the original negative. On DVD, Blu-ray from Unearthed Films … In “An Elephant’s Journey” (2018), starring Elizabeth Hurley, Sam Ashe Arnold and Tertius Meintjes, Phoenix (Arnold) moves to Africa to live with his Aunt Sarah (Hurley) after losing his parents. While on safari with his uncle one day, Phoenix wanders off and becomes lost in the African bush. After rescuing a huge elephant from a trap, Phoenix befriends the great creature, which he names Indlovu (“The Unstoppable”). Riding through the wilderness, the bold duo finds evidence of a local gang of poachers, and together they plot to stop the hunters’ cruel plans. From Lionsgate … In “Snake Outta Compton” (2018), starring Ricky Flowers Jr., Motown Maurice and Joston Theney, Cam and his hip-hop crew are all set to sign a record deal that could change their lives, but their jealous friend Vurkel wrecks their plans when he creates a giant, mutant snake that quickly lays waste to the city of Compton, eating everyone in its path. Aided by two corrupt cops, a crazed gangster, and a mad scientist, the band has one thing to do before getting the record deal they need — get that mother–in’ Snake Outta Compton by blowing it away it by pumping up the jams. From Lionsgate.

Blasts from the past:
In “Maximum Overdrive” (1986), making its Blu-ray debut this week, for three horrifying days, the Earth passes through the tail of a mysterious comet. The skies glow an eerie green as humanity waits to see what the fallout will be. But what they imagine is nothing like the nightmare the find — the comet’s magnetic fields cause all the machines on Earth to suddenly come to life and photo for Maximum Overdriveterrorize their human creators in a horrific killing spree. Now, it’s up to a small group of people trapped in a desolate truck stop to defeat the killer machines. From the mind of Steven King. Stars Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington, Yeardley Smith, Holter Graham. From Lionsgate … In “Creepshow Collector’s Edition” (1982), masters of the macabre — writer Stephen King and director George A. Romero -– conjure up five shocking yarns, each a virtuoso exercise in the ghouls-and-gags style of classic ’50s horror comics. A murdered man emerges from the grave for Father’s Day cake. A meteor’s ooze makes everything … grow. A professor selects his wife as a snack for a crated creature. A scheming husband plants two lovers up to their necks in terror. A malevolent millionaire with an insect phobia becomes the prey of a cockroach army. Stars Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Leslie Nielsen, Ted Danson, E.G. Marshall and King himself and the ghoulish makeup wizardry of Tom Savini. New 4K scan of the original camera negative, with color correction supervised and approved by director of photography Michael Gornick. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory … photo for Get Shorty: Collector's Edition In “Get Shorty: Collector’s Edition” (1995), starring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Rene Russo, Dennis Farina, Delroy Lindo, James Gandolfini and Jon Gries, loan shark Chili Palmer (Travolta) has done his time as a gangster. So when “business” takes him to LA to collect a debt from down-and-out filmmaker Harry Zimm (Hackman), Chili jumps headfirst into the Hollywood scene: He schmoozes a film star (DeVito), romances a B-movie actress (Russo) and even gets reservations at the hottest restaurants in town. In fact, all would be cool for this smooth new producer if it weren’t for the drug smugglers and an angry mobster who won’t leave him alone. But hey, this is Hollywood and no one said it would be easy. Wonderful, quirky adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s 1990 best-seller; featuring a new 4K HD scan. On Blu-ray from Shout! Factory Select … In “I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle” (1990), starring Neil Morrissey, Anthony Daniels, Burt Kwouk, Michael Elphick, Amanda Noar and George Rossi, when a Satanist biker is killed by a gang of Hells Angels, an evil spirit he was summoning possesses his old Norton Commando motorcycle. So, when unsuspecting local courier Nick “Noddy” Oddie (Neil Morrissey) becomes the bike’s new owner, little does he know that it runs on blood photo for Deadbeat at Dawn and has a habit for killing Hells Angels and anyone else who gets in its way. Veteran British TV director Dirk Campbell made his feature film directorial debut with this cult classic which co-stars Michael Elphick (“The Element of Crime”), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO of the “Star Wars” franchise) and Burt Kwouk (Cato Fong of “The Pink Panther” films). Brand New 4K Restoration, on DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … “Deadbeat at Dawn” (1988), Jim VanBebber’s notorious, blood-drenched cult classic rises again on the advent of its 30th anniversary, newly restored for the first time on Blu-ray. “”Deadbeat at Dawn”” follows the story of Goose — a gang leader whose girlfriend is brutally slaughtered when he attempts to leave the thug life behind. Pulled back into the gang, who’ve now formed an uneasy alliance with the thugs that butchered his girl, Goose sees an opportunity to exact his brutal, deadly revenge. The very definition of DIY, independent filmmaking (VanBebber quit film school after his first year and used his student loan to fund the movie), “Deadbeat at Dawn” surpasses its low-budget origins to create a revenge movie that delivers more thrills and bloody spills than all of Chuck Norris’ films combined. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

On the Indie Front:

In “Wobble Palace” (2018), starring Dasha Nekrasova, Jack Kilmer, Paige Elkington, Vishwam Velandy and Caroline Hebert, a millennial romance gone awry takes place on the eve of America’s most traumatic election, where a couple on the verge of a nervous break-up decide to split their house up over the weekend. Desperate to make new connections, Jane and Eugene find themselves in a series of unpredictable misadventures, sexual escapades and emotional traumas. From this simple premise we delve into a manic and hilarious world of lust and mistrust, revealing the identity crises and narcissistic self-loathing at the core of the millennial experience. From Breaking Glass Pictures.

Foreign Films:

“Trauma” (2017 — Chile), starring Catalina Martin, Daniel Antivilo, Macarena Carrere and Ximena del Solar, is a shocking, brutal tale that blends the dark history of Chile’s recent past (the violent, repressive military dictatorship of Pinochet) with the seemingly modern and progressive Chile of today. The two worlds clash when a group of women venture to the idyllic countryside for a weekend of fun. But their outing soon turns nightmarish a man, himself a victim of torture in the hands of the government, unleashes his pent-up rage on them. The women must fight for their very lives in this film of shocking violence and sexual assault. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Artsploitation Films … photo for Elena Ferrante on Film “Elena Ferrante on Film” is a specially-packaged collection released just prior to HBO’s anticipated series “My Brilliant Friend” that features new digital HD restorations of the only two films based on the novels of Elena Ferrante — both never before available in North America. “The Days of Abandonment” (2005 — Italy) takes place after Olga (Margerhita Buy) is abandoned by her husband. And, during these “days of abandonment”, her life become a desperate, dangerous freefall into the darkest places of the soul, as she roams the empty streets of a city that she has never learned to love. “Troubling Love” (1995 — Italy) focuses on the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters. Following her mother’s untimely and mysterious death, Delia (Anna Bonaiuto) embarks on a voyage of discovery through the streets of her native Naples searching for the truth about her family. A series of mysterious telephone calls leads her to compelling and disturbing revelations about her mother’s final days, and forces her to confront her childhood memories that shaped their family history. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Movement … In “A Kid” (2017 — France), starring Pierre Deladonchamps, Gabriel Arcand and Catherine de Léan, thirtysomething Parisian Matthieu learns that the father he never knew he had has died, so he decides to travel to the funeral in Quebec and meet the two Canadian brothers he just found out he had. But once in Montreal, Matthieu realizes that his new family does not share his desire to connect: He is alone, in hostile territory. From Icarus Films.

Special Interest:

In his latest documentary, “American Chaos” (2018), James D. Stern chronicles the cultural divide of the 2016 presidential election as he travels through America’s red states to interview and spend time with Donald Trump supporters from different backgrounds in an attempt to find answers and insights to explain the appeal of the billionaire candidate. In the six months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, director James D. Stern traveled to America’s red states asking about then-candidate Donald Trump’s appeal, and why potential voters were untroubled by things he had said and done. What he learned was a lesson in the central differences that continue to alienate Americans from one another. The film chronicles Stern’s journey, bringing audiences directly into the heart of the cultural divide that is tearing apart our democracy today. From Sony … photo for Yes - Yessongs “Yes – Yessongs” (1972): Yes has always been regarded as a unique rock group and progressive rock legends. Never afraid to innovate or draw their inspiration from music that traversed the spectrum from symphonic to rock, YES has been at the forefront of progressive rock and became a major force in popular music selling over 30 million albums and reaching platinum status multiple times worldwide. Filmed in 1972 at London’s Rainbow theatre, this feature film was released theatrically in the UK the following year with a quadrophonic sound track. The film features their new line-up of the time Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and Alan White. On Blu-ray, from Screenbound International. Due October 26“God Knows Where I Am” (2016) is the story of Linda Bishop, a well-educated New Hampshire mother who suffered from severe bipolar disorder with psychosis, who was intermittently incarcerated and homeless, inevitably being committed for three years to a state psychiatric facility. Upon her release, she wandered 10 miles down the road from the hospital, broke into an abandoned farmhouse and lived off rainwater and apples picked from a nearby orchard for the next four months, through one of the coldest winters on record. Unable to leave the house, she became its prisoner, and remained there, a prisoner of her own mind, eventually starving to death. Her body was discovered several months later and with it a diary that Linda kept documenting her journey. From Juno 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 October 23, 2018  Add comments

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