"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Oct 232017

From the Big Screen:

“War for the Planet of the Apes” and “Annabelle: Creation.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Highlights:

With Halloween fast approaching, there’s three fabulous thrillers coming your way — from the Golden Age of Hollywood, from the decadent 1960s, and from the present:

The legendary classic “The Old Dark House” (1932), based on J.B. Priestley’s popular novel “Benighted,” was directed by James Whale in the fertile period between his “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein.” Here Whale puts a surprising spin on horror film conventions even as he is creating them, adding black humor and sexual perversity that was eye-opening in 1932. A quintessential dark and stormy night brings a group of travelers to a forbidding mansion in the Welsh countryside, where they find themselves at the mercy of the strange, and possibly dangerous, Femm family. Boris Karloff is, as always, unforgettable, here playing a mute, menacing butler. The superb cast also includes Gloria Stuart, Melvin Douglas, Charles Laughton (in his first Hollywood film), Raymond Massey and Ernest Thesiger. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from the Cohen Film Collection … photo for Blood Feast The filmography of late movie maverick Herschell Gordon Lewis brims with the mad, macabre, and just downright bizarre. But perhaps the most unhinged of all his directorial efforts, and certainly the most influential, must surely be his original gore-fest “Blood Feast” (1963) — the first ever splatter movie. Dorothy Fremont is looking to throw a party unlike any other, and she gets just that when she hires the decidedly sinister Fuad Ramses to cater the event. Promising to provide her guests with an authentic Egyptian feast, Ramses promptly sets about acquiring the necessary ingredients — the body parts of nubile young women. Featuring a host of stomach-churning gore gags including the infamous tongue sequence and much more nastiness besides, Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast more than lives up to its name and remains essential viewing for any self-respecting splatter fan. Stars William Kerwin, Mal Arnold and Connie Mason. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … photo for Personal Shopper With his intimate supernatural drama “Personal Shopper” (2017 — France), the celebrated French filmmaker Olivier Assayas conjures a melancholy ghost story set in the world of haute couture. Starring Kristen Stewart, whose performance in Assayas’s “Clouds of Sils Maria” made her the first American actor to win a César Award, this evocative character study tells the story of a young American fashion assistant and spiritual medium who is living in Paris and searching for signs of an afterlife following the sudden death of her twin brother. A stirring depiction of grief in the form of a psychological thriller, “Personal Shopper” — which won Assayas the best director award at Cannes — is a chilling meditation on modern modes of communication and the way we mourn those we love. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, with 2K digital master, supervised by director of photography Yorick Le Saux and approved by director Olivier Assayas, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection.

From TV to DVD:

“The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Lost Christmas”: From 1967 to 1978, “The Carol Burnett Show” was the benchmark for primetime variety programs, bringing together the best in sketch comedy, song and dance. Carol and her photo for The Carol Burnett Show: Carol's Lost Christmas cast members Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner, and later, Tim Conway and Dick Van Dyke, entertained millions of viewers with a spontaneity and go-for-broke attitude sorely lacking elsewhere. Their annual Christmas shows soon became a popular event in Burnett’s regular season schedule. Across three episodes not seen in more than 40 years, home audiences will receive the gift of non-stop laughter and entertainment: Think Santa knows who’s been naughty or nice? Jonathan Winters as St. Nick has other ideas, along with a strange collection of dolls. The old lovebirds Bert and Molly (Harvey and Carol) exchange a few choice words while they slowly rock themselves into the New Year. Carol and Vicki join the Bob Mitchell Singing Boys for a touching performance of “Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown?” And pitchmen Garry Moore and Durward Kirby reach out and touch the pocketbooks of parents with an array or ridiculous toys for kids. From Time Life … The English village mystery gets a contemporary spin in the hit British television series “Midsomer Murders, Series 19, Part 2” (2017) that has earned a worldwide following. Bucolic settings harbor macabre crimes and eccentric characters that are no match for DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) and his new assistant, DS Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix. Includes two mysteries: “Death by Persuasion”: A woman is stabbed in the neck with a quill near a Georgian re-creation event celebrating Jane Austen. “The Curse of the Ninth”: The winner of a prestigious music award is found strangled with a violin string moments before a photo for Vera, Set 7 performance. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Acorn Media … “Vera, Set 7” (2017) is a four-disc set with four episodes. Inspired by the novels of best-selling author Ann Cleeves, Oscar-nominee Brenda Blethyn returns as Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, a cantankerous, but brilliant detective who solves unthinkable crimes in northeast England. “Natural Selection”: DCI Vera Stanhope investigates the mysterious death of a wildlife ranger, whose body is discovered on the shore of a remote island off the coast of Northumberland. “Dark Angel”: When the body of a drug addict is found face-down in a river, DCI Vera Stanhope is forced to unearth a case from the past in order to unmask the killer. “Broken Promise”: DCI Vera Stanhope investigates the murder of a promising university student, who falls to his death in suspicious circumstances. “The Blanket Mire”: When the body of a missing 18-year-old is discovered buried on the moors, DCI Vera Stanhope is forced to delve beyond the original enquiry and into the life and the secrets of the victim. From Acorn Media.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Where’s the Money” (2017), starring Andrew “King Bach” Bachelor, Kat Graham, Logan Paul, Allen Maldonado, Josh Brener, Devon Werkheiser, Method Man, Retta, Mike Epps and Terry Crews, Del (Bachelor), a quick-witted young man from the streets of South Central Los Angeles, learns that his photo for Where's the Money still-in-prison father (Epps) and just-out-of-jail uncle (Crews) stole a million dollars and stashed it in the basement of an old flophouse. There’s just one problem: A major university is encroaching on the ’hood and that old flophouse is a newly gentrified (all-white) fraternity house. Now, with the help of his dream woman (Graham) and best friend (Maldonado), Del must rush the frat, ingratiate himself with the fraternity brothers (Paul and Brener), and grab the cash before his crazy, gun-wielding uncle (Crews) or a local gangster (Method Man) get there first. From Lionsgate … In “Mind Blown” (2016), starring Jessica Uberuaga, Michael Marinaccio and Luke Goss, a group of telekinetics, brought together by a high-tech military organization, agree to use their powers for the good of humanity. But when they discover they’ve been tricked into destroying cities and killing innocent civilians, one team member takes matters into her own hands. Originally premiered on Syfy. From Lionsgate … In “Bushwick” (2017), starring Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Angelic Zambrana and Jeremie Harris, emerging from a NY subway on her way home from college, Lucy (Snow) discovers her neighborhood of Bushwick engulfed in utter chaos. Trying to escape the violence, Lucy seeks refuge in the basement of Stupe (Bautista), a former Marine on his way out of town to find his family. As the unlikely pair navigate through a hail of gunfire and lethal explosions, they learn they are in the middle of a civil war as Texas attempts to secede from the US. With the clash between local residents and the militia escalating, Lucy and Stupe must rely on each other in an impossible race to get out of the city and survive another day. On DVD, Blu-photo for Planetarium ray/DVD Combo from RLJ Entertainment … The setting for “Planetarium” (2017), starring Natalie Portman, Lily-Rose Depp, Emmanuel Salinger, Amira Casar and Pierre Salvadori, is Paris in the 1930s, where two sisters, American spiritualists Laura and Kate Barlow, are winding up a world tour. Seemingly adept at communicating with the dead, the women are somewhat less experienced with the business of the living. Nevertheless, their astonishing exhibit of apparently supernatural powers piques the interest of powerful French film producer André Korben, who retains their strange talents for his wildly ambitious new film project. Laura and Kate are soon swept up in a scheme that, fusing art and the occult, portends a dark shadow soon to be cast over all of Europe. From Sony … “Evil in the Time of Heroes” (2009 — Greece), starring Billy Zane, Andreaas Kontopoulus, Argiris Thanasoulas and Meletis Georgiadis, is the sequel to the 2009 zombie flick. Thousands of years ago in ancient Greece, a horde of blood thirsty zombies began wreaking havoc on humans, and only a mysterious cloaked hero known as Prophitis (Zane) and his other worldly weapons could save them. Flash forward to modern-day Greece where Athens is once again plagued by the carnivorous undead, and a ragtag band of human survivors — a taxi driver, a pair of hot-blooded soldiers, and a doctor — is on the run. But zombies are only half the problem, as Greece has been targeted for destruction with a mega-bomb in order to contain the growing zombie virus. So now, the remaining humans and the elusive Prophitis must race against both zombies and time to ensure their survival. From Doppelgänger Releasing … “The Good Catholic” (2016), starring Zachary Spicer, Wrenn Schmidt, John C. McGinley and Danny Glover, is a romantic comedy about a small town priest (Spicer) who suffers a crisis of faith when he finds himself attracted to a female parishioner. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Broad Green Pictures.

Special Interest:

Ten years after the Academy Award-winning “An Inconvenient Truth” brought climate change to the forefront of mainstream culture, the 2017 Environmental Media Association (EMA) Award-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” (2017) follows former Vice President Al Gore as he continues his tireless fight, traveling around the globe to educate and inspire the next generation of climate champions. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Paramount.

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, 2017  Add comments

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