"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Sep 042018

From the Big Screen:

“Hereditary” and “Adrift.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets:

“Sid Caesar: The Works”: Without Sid Caesar, comedy might have been a lot less funny. In 1949, television was an infant technology. No one knew how long or whether it was going to last at all. A 27-year-old Broadway star, along with a team of writers and performers who would become legendary, including Imogene Coca, Nanette Fabray, Mel Brooks, Carl photo for Sid Caesar: The Works Reiner, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon, and Woody Allen, revolutionized sketch comedy by telling stories rooted in the human condition. They redefined television sketch comedy, and paved the way for generations to follow; Caesar’s influence reverberating throughout “Saturday Night Live” (he hosted the show in 1983 and was named an honorary cast member), Reiner’s inspiration for “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” Brooksfilms’ “My Favorite Year” and Neal Simon’s Broadway hit “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” to name a few examples. The five-DVD set, spanning 1950 to 2014, contains over 11 hours of fan favorites and previously unreleased material, as well as a 20-page book of history, rare photos, and notes, and many interviews and extras, including the 2014 Paley Center for Media Tribute Program with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Billy Crystal. The set begins with “The Admiral Broadway Review,” through “Your Shows of Shows” and “Caesar’s Hour.” It contains the first-time DVD release of the feature film “Ten From Your Show of Shows,” the Emmy-winning 1967 “CBS Reunion Special,” the “Chevy Show” and a rare 1983 episode of “A&E’s Nightcap,” featuring Studs Terkel and Calvin Trillin in conversation with Sid Caesar, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. From Shout! Factory … photo for Scenes from a Marriage BLU-RAY “Scenes from a Marriage” (1973, 1974) chronicles the many years of love and turmoil that bind Marianne and Johan (Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson), tracking their relationship through matrimony, infidelity, divorce, and subsequent partnerships. Originally conceived by director Ingmar Bergman as a five-hour, six-part television miniseries, the film is also presented in its three-hour theatrical cut. Shot largely in intense, intimate close-ups by cinematographer Sven Nykvist and featuring flawless performances by Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, Bergman’s emotional X-ray reveals the deep joys and pains of a complex bond. High-definition digital transfers of both the television version and the U.S. theatrical version of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks. From The Criterion Collection … photo for Bloody Spear At Mount Fuji Praised by Japanese film critics and much admired by his contemporaries Akira Kurosawa and Yasujirô Ozu, Tomu Uchida nonetheless remains little-known in the west. His 1955 masterpiece “Bloody Spear At Mount Fuji” is an excellent entry point for the newcomer. Set during the Edo period, the film is a tragicomic road movie of sorts, following a samurai, his two servants — including spear-carrier Genpachi — and the various people they meet on their journey, including a policeman in pursuit of a thief, a young child and a woman who is to be sold into prostitution. Winner of a prestigious Blue Ribbon Award for supporting actor — and Kurosawa regular –Daisuke Katô, “Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji” is a film deserving of much wider international recognition. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment.

From TV to Disc:

“Bull: Season Two” (2017-18) is a six-disc set with all 22 episodes of the courtroom drama inspired by the early career of talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw. The series follows the brilliant, brash and charming Dr. Bull, the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high-tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick. Bull employs an enviable photo for Bull: Season Two team of experts at Trial Analysis LV Corporation to shape successful narratives down to the very last detail. In high-stakes trials, Bull’s combination of remarkable insight into human nature, three Ph.D.’s and a topnotch staff creates winning strategies that tip the scales of justice in his clients’ favor. From CBS/Paramount … “The Goldbergs: Season 5” (2017-18) is a three-disc set with all 22 episodes. Season 5 continues to focus on the Goldberg family dynamic while also drawing on popular pop culture from the iconic decade. With camera in hand, young Adam continues to capture all of the craziness with hilarious homages to ‘80s favorites like “Flashdance,” “Weird Science,” “The Golden Girls” and QVC. From Sony … “Hawaii Five-0: The Eighth Season” (2017-18) is a six-disc set with all 25 episodes. A contemporary take on the classic series about an elite federalized task force whose mission is to wipe out the crime that washes up on the islands’ sun-drenched beaches. Returning to Hawaii to head up the new team after some persuasion — from Hawaii’s former governor is Detective Steve McGarrett (Alex -O’Loughlin), a photo for Hawaii Five-0: The Eighth Seasondecorated Naval officer turned cop. His rules: no red tape and full blanket authority to hunt down the biggest “game” in town. From CBS/Paramount … “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Sixth Season” (1972-73) is a six-disc set with 24 episodes of the final season. By the time “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” signed off the air on March 12, 1973 with 140 trailblazing episodes across six seasons, the show had become a cultural touchstone without peer. Broadcast from beautiful downtown Burbank, “Laugh-In” was hosted by straight man Dan Rowan and wisecracking co-host Dick Martin, who 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 series received a makeover in its final season with new cast members including comedian Patti Deutsch, folksy singer-comedian Jud Strunk, ventriloquist act Willie Tyler & Lester and giddy Goldie Hawn look-alike Sarah Kennedy, a new set, a bevy of new Downtown Beauties, photo for Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: The Complete Sixth Seasonand the show’s musical director Ian Bernard and His Band playing live during some of the party scenes. Guests included Steve Allen, Jack Benny, Carol Burnett, James Caan, Johnny Carson, William Conrad, Howard Cosell, Sammy Davis Jr., Dom DeLuise, Angie Dickinson, Phyllis Diller, Sandy Duncan, Nanette Fabray, James Farentino, Robert Goulet, Jack Klugman, Michael Landon, Steve Lawrence, Rich Little, Don Rickles, Vin Scully, Mark Spitz, Sally Struthers, John Wayne and Henny Youngman. From Time Life … “Silicon Valley: The Complete Fifth Season” (2018) is a single-disc set with all eight episodes. Finally on the brink of success, Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) and the Pied Piper team return from the fourth season’s chaos. But with more money, inevitably, comes more problems. While Richard struggles to be a leader and play with the big dogs, the rest of the team adjusts to new faces, new digs and new anxieties. Always looming is Hooli rival Gavin Belson, who has returned to power but finds the threat of Pied Piper, and its boldness, hard to shake. Continuing to mine the over-the-top world of Silicon Valley for humor and poignancy, this season sees Pied Piper facing higher stakes, greater competition and even more opportunities to screw it all up. From HBO … “Supernatural: The Complete Thirteenth Season” (2017-18) includers all 23 episodes. Their universe is in danger!, and the Winchester brothers continue on their journey to save the world. Last season, the Winchesters were reunited with their resurrected mother, Mary, who joined forces with the British Men of Letters. But things turned from bad to worse, with the return of Lucifer and the surprising revelation that the Devil was expecting a child with a human mother. In Season Thirteen, Sam and Dean find themselves facing Lucifer’s offspring, a creature of almost unimaginable power – one that could save the world… or destroy it. On DVD and Blu-ray from Warner … “Young Sheldon: The Complete First Season” (2017-18) is a two-disc set with all 22 episodes of the “Big Bang Theory” prequel. From Warner.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Beast” (2017), starribng Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Trystan Gravelle and Geraldine James, a troubled woman living in an isolated community finds herself pulled between the control of her oppressive family and the allure of a secretive outsider suspected of a series of brutal murders. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … “The Big Take” (2018), starring Robert Forster, James McCaffrey, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Zoë Bell, Bill Sage and Dan Hedaya, is a comedic, suspenseful caper about a blackmailed movie star and an aspiring screenwriter looking for his big break whose lives become intertwined following a deadly case of mistaken identity. The reclusive movie star hires a private detective after he’s blackmailed, but things turn violent when the screenwriter is fingered for the crime in a dangerous case of mistaken identity. From Sony … photo for Brothers In “Brothers” (2016 — China), starring Ethan Li, Peter Ho and Xia Zitong, Chen Tiejin, once a poor vagrant, has risen through the ranks of the Red Army and is now a brave and experienced company commander. During a dangerous rescue mission, Commander Tiejin and his Red Army troop are locked in heated battle with the Kuomintang soldiers. Raising his weapon to deliver the final blow, he stops dead – the solder is none other than his brother he lost five years before, now working alongside the enemy. In a time of hardship and war, can brotherly love bridge the divide to find peace? From Well Go USA … When he’s hired to document the behind-the-scenes action of the ultra-low-budget horror movie Spectre of Death (“the first 3D found-footage horror film”) in “Found Footage 3D” (2016), starring Carter Roy, Alena von Stroheim, and Chris O’Brien, an aspiring filmmaker packs up his camera and travels with the film’s crew to a creepy cabin in the woods. But, when the fictional evil presence from their film begins appearing in his behind-the-scenes footage, he has to figure out how to stop it before it finds its way into the real world. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Shudder … “Lake Placid: Legacy” (2018), starring Katherine Barrell, Tim Rozon, Joe Pantoliano and Sai Bennett, is the sixth installment of the popular franchise. When a group of young explorers venture to a mysterious lake, they discover an island harboring an abandoned lab facility with a horrific legacy: the photo for Deerp Red island is home to a deadly predator. Before they can turn back, the crew gets dragged into a battle for their lives — former enemies will quickly need to put their egos aside and work together if there is any hope for survival. From Sony … In “Trench 11”(2017), starring Rossif Sutherland, Robert Stadlober and Charlie Carrick, a highly contagious biological weapon, created by German forces in WWI, is discovered by Allied troops as they explore an abandoned underground bunker. Realizing they need to contain and destroy the threat, their mission becomes a fight for survival when one of their own is infected by the deadly parasite and begins to violently attack them. The soldiers now need to not only save themselves, but must stop the outbreak before it spreads to the rest of the world. From RLJE Films … From Dario Argento, maestro of the macabre and the man behind some of the greatest excursions in Italian horror (“Suspiria,” “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage”), comes the ultimate giallo movie “Deep Red” (1975 — Italy), starring David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi and Gabriele Lavia. One night, musician Marcus Daly (Hemmings), looking up from the street below, witnesses the brutal axe murder of a woman in her apartment. Racing to the scene, Marcus just manages to miss the perpetrator … or does he? As he takes on the role of amateur sleuth, Marcus finds himself ensnared in a bizarre web of murder and mystery where nothing is what it seems. Aided by a throbbing score from regular Argento-collaborators Goblin, Deep Red (aka Profondo Rosso and The Hatchet Murders) is a hallucinatory fever dream of a giallo punctuated by some of the most astonishing set-pieces the sub-genre has to offer. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … In “Ghost Stories” (2017), starring Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther and Martin Freeman, a debunker of all things paranormal, Professor Goodman has devoted his life to exposing phony psychics and fraudulent supernatural shenanigans. His skepticism is tested, however, when he receives a case file on three chilling and inexplicable incidents: a night watchman haunted photo for Truth or Dare by disturbing visions as he patrols an abandoned asylum; an edgy young man involved in a hellish car accident deep in the woods; and a wealthy former banker visited by the spirit of his unborn child. Even more disturbing is that each of these macabre stories seems to have a sinister connection to Professor Goodman’s own life.On DVD, Blu-ray, from IFC Midnight/Scream Factory … In “Truth or Dare” (2017), starring Cassie Scerbo, Brytni Sarpy, Mason Dye, Harvey Guillen, Luke Baines, Ricardo Hoyos and Heather Langenkamp, eight college friends head to a “Haunted Rental” in a remote town for Halloween weekend where they play the game rumored to have caused the deaths of seven teenagers decades earlier — Truth or Dare. And what starts out as vodka-induced fun quickly turns serious when the dares become sickeningly dangerous and the truths threaten to tear the group apart. When players attempt to refuse the increasingly challenging tasks, they’re met with deadly consequences. From Cinedigm.

Foreign Films

For “Godard Mon Amour” (2017 — French), starring Louis Garrel, Stacy Martin, Bérénice Bejo, Micha Lescot, Grégory Gadebois and Romain Goupil, it’s Paris, 1967. Jean-Luc Godard, the maker of “A bout de souffle”, “Le Mépris” and “Pierrot le fou”, idolized by critics and intellectuals, is shifting from revolutionizing cinema to becoming a revolutionary tout court. Isn’t he shooting “La Chinoise”, more a political tract in favor of Maoism than an actual movie? His female star is Anne Wiazemsky, writer François Mauriac’s granddaughter, sixteen photo for Godard Mon Amour years his junior. Anne and Jean-Luc have been dating since 1966 and they marry this very year. She admires Jean-Luc’s originality, intelligence, wit and boldness while he loves Anne’s freshness and – admiration of him. But May 1968 puts their marriage to the test. Godard, who is more and more involved in the revolution, indeed becomes less and less available to his young wife, which does not prevent him from acting jealous. It also looks as if the genius is losing his sense of humor. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cohen Media Group … Marine Le Pen was defeated in the French election that brought Emmanuel Macron to power, but her far right-wing party, with its nationalist, anti-immigrant platform, lives on to feed the fear and resentment that begot Donald Trump’s election. “This Is Our Land” (2017 — France), starring Émilie Dequenne, André Dussollier, Guillaume Gouix and Catherine Jacob, is a fictionalized story of an attractive working-class single mother in the North of France who naively agrees to run for mayor, representing the Patriotic Bloc. With the help of the charming town’s esteemed physician and the blonde-bobbed leader who never met an angry crowd she couldn’t make angrier, the Populists’ rhetoric seizes control of the minds of the electorate. From Icarus 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 September 4, 2018  Add comments

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