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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Jun 142021
 

From the Big Screen:

 

French Exit

photo for French Exit (2021) “My plan was to die before the money ran out,” says 60-year-old, penniless Manhattan socialite Frances Price (Michelle Pfeiffer), but things didn’t go as planned. Her husband, Franklin, has been dead for 12 years. With his vast inheritance gone, she cashes in the last of her possessions and resolves to live out her twilight days anonymously in a borrowed apartment in Paris, accompanied by her directionless son, Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), and a cat named Small Frank — who may or may not embody the spirit of Frances’ dead husband. Vitals: Director: Azazel Jacobs. Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges, Valerie Mahaffey, Imogen Poots, Susan Coyne, Danielle MacDonald, Isaach de Bankolé, Tracy Letts. 2021, CC, MPAA rating: R, 113 min., Drama Comedy, US box office gross: $.629 million, worldwide $1.374 million, Sony. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, VOD, Digital. Extras: Deleted and extended scenes. Read more here.

Voyagers

photo for Voyagers (2021) With the future of the human race at stake, a group of young men and women, bred for intelligence and obedience, embark on an expedition to colonize a distant planet. But when they uncover disturbing secrets about the mission, they defy their training and begin to explore their most primitive natures. As life on the ship descends into chaos, they’re consumed by fear, lust, and the insatiable hunger for power. Vitals: Director: Neil Burger. Stars: Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, Colin Farrell. 2021, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 108 min.,Sci Fi, US box office gross: $3.131 million, worldwide $3.907 million, Lionsgate. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo, VOD, Digital. Extras: “Born for This: The Cast of Voyagers” featurette, “Against Type: Unlearning Human Nature” featurette, “Survival of the Fittest: The Physicality of Voyagers” featurette, “On the Surface: The Visual Style of Voyagers” featurette, “Hidden Chambers: Tour the Humanitas” featurette. Read more here.

This Week’s Best Bets:

“Streetwise/Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell:” (1984/2016) In 1983, director Martin Bell, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and journalist Cheryl McCall set out to tell the stories of homeless and runaway teenagers living on the margins in Seattle. “Streetwise” follows an unforgettable group of kids who survive by hustling, panhandling, and dumpster diving. Its most haunting and enduring figure is iron-willed 14-year-old Erin Blackwell, a.k.a. Tiny; the project’s follow-up, “Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell,” completed 30 years later, draws on the filmmakers’ long relationship with their photo for Streetwise/Tiny: The Life Of Erin Blackwell subject, now a mother of 10. Blackwell reflects with Mark on the journey they’ve experienced together, from Blackwell’s battles with addiction to her regrets to her dreams for her children, even as she sees them repeat her own struggles. Taken together, the two films create a devastatingly frank, empathetic portrait of lost youth growing up far too soon in a world that has failed them, and of a family trying to break free of the cycle of trauma -— as well as a summation of the life’s work of Mark, an irreplaceable artistic voice. On DVD, Blu-ray, with new, restored high-definition digital transfers of both films, supervised by director Martin Bell, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack for the “Streetwise” Blu-ray and 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack for the “Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell” Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … “Ziegfeld Follies” (1945): Following in the footsteps of dearly departed showman extraordinaire Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Ziegfeld Follies is a who’s who of Golden Age Hollywood talent. This all-star revue is heaven to fans of musicals. Fred Astaire dazzles in four numbers, with Gene Kelly joining him in their first-ever screen pairing. Red Skelton reprises his funny Guzzler’s Gin skit. Esther Williams swims, Lena Horne sings, and Judy Garland spoofs snobbery. There’s Verdi opera and Fanny Brice vaudeville. Patter and pantomime. What a show! In a Blu-ray debut from Warner Archive … photo for Last Train From Gun Hill BLU-RAY DEBUT “Last Train From Gun Hill” (1959): A gripping Western from director John Sturges — one of the greatest filmmakers of the genre — “Last Train From Gun Hill” follows U.S. Marshal Matt Morgan (Kirk Douglas) on the trail of his wife’s killer. Adding a dark twist to the tale, the suspect’s father is Morgan’s longtime friend, cattle baron Craig Beldon (Anthony Quinn). Morgan is determined to capture the killer and take him away by the 9:00 train, against all odds. Remastered from a 6K film transfer of the original VistaVision negative for exceptional picture quality. The limited-edition Blu-ray Disc includes a new “Filmmaker Focus” with film historian Leonard Maltin, access to a digital copy of the film, as well as original theatrical trailers for “Last Train from Gun Hill,” “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” “The Furies,” and “The Black Orchid.” The Blu-ray comes in collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments. From Paramount Presents.

From TV to Disc:

“The Walking Dead: World Beyond Season 1” (2020) is a three-disc set with all 11 episodes. Now a decade into the apocalypse, sisters Hope and Iris Bennett have grown up inside the walls of one of the few remaining first-world communities. Their home, the Campus Colony, is a satellite settlement with a population of just under 10,000, located a hundred miles outside surviving city of Omaha, Nebraska. The sisters’ scientist father conducts research over 1,000 miles away in a research facility run by the Civic Republic, an ally of Omaha, but one that does not reveal its location to outsiders. When the sisters receive a message that their father might be in a danger, they defy their own community’s rules and enlist their friends to embark on a cross-country quest to save him. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … “Your Honor” (2020-21) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes of the legal thriller that stars Bryan Cranston as Michael Desiato, a respected New Orleans judge whose teenage son, Adam (Hunter Doohan), is involved in a hit-and-run that leads to a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices. Unbeknownst to Adam, the victim is the son of much-feared crime boss Jimmy Baxter (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his wife, Gina (Hope Davis), who are both out for vengeance and will not stop until justice is served on their own terms. From Showtime/CBS/Paramount.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Anything for Jackson” (2020 — Canada), starring Sheila McCarthy, Julian Richings, Konstantina Mantelos and Yannick Bisson, after a tragic car accident that took their grandson’s life, Audrey and Henry are unable to go on without him. Following the guidance of their ancient spell book, the elderly couple decide to abduct a young pregnant woman with the intention of performing a “reverse exorcism” to channel their grandson’s spirit inside her unborn child. But when it becomes clear the ritual has called upon more than one spirit, the couple realize they have summoned more than they bargained for and must put an end to the evil photo for H.P. Lovecraft’s The Deep Onesentity they’ve invoked. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … In “H.P. Lovecraft’s The Deep Ones” (2020), starring Gina La Piana, Johann Urb, Robert Miano and Jackie Debatin, a married couple rents a beachside cottage only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and strange occurrences. They soon discover themselves in the grips of a mysterious cult and their ancient sea god. From 123 Go Films/Distribution Solutions … When unrest spreads following the death of a Muslim suspect while in police custody, two Danish police officers on routine patrol find themselves trapped in a maze of buildings within a city torn by the loss and fueled by anger in “Enforcement” (2021 — Denmark), starring Jacob Lohmann and Simon Sears. Unwelcome and at risk during violent riots, the officers must manage without police reinforcement and make their way out alive. From Magnolia Home Entertainment … After the death of her boyfriend, vulnerable mother-to-be Charlotte is taken in by her deceased partner’s mother, Margaret, and stepbrother, Thomas in “Kindred” (2020), photo for Enforcementstarring Tamara Lawrance, Jack Lawson and Fiona Shaw. But Charlotte’s source of comfort soon turns to terror as her benefactors begin to appear increasingly obsessed with her every move. Plagued by mysterious hallucinations, Charlotte finds her suspicions raging with palpable fear about Margaret and Thomas’s intentions for her unborn child. On DVD, Blu-ray, from IFC/Shout! Factory … “Night Walk” (2019), starring Sean Stone, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts and Tom Lister Jr., is an action-thriller about one man’s quest for justice. It starts as Frank, an American, visits the Middle East with his girlfriend, Sarah. But when Sarah is killed in a police incident, Frank is framed for her murder and sent to a prison in the U.S. Then, after uncovering the conspiracy that led to Frank’s sentence, his friend dies mysteriously. Now, seeking bloody justice, Frank plans to escape from prison — but must partner with a dangerous gang to do so. From Lionsgate. Read more here.

Foreign Films:

In “Half Brother (Meio Irmão)” (2018 — Brazil), starring Natalia Molina, Diego Avelino and Francisco Gomes, Sandra’s mother has been missing for days. Disoriented and without money, she asks Jorge, her distant half brother, for help. But he is going through a difficult situation: after recording a homophobic aggression, he is being threatened to not release the images. From Breaking Glass Pictures … photo for The Great War of Archimedes“The Great War of Archimedes” (2019 — Japan), starring Jun Kunimura, Minami Hamabe and Min Tanaka, is based on the acclaimed 2015 manga series “Archimedes no Taisen.” The film is a fictionalized depiction of the behind-the-scenes struggles of building the Yamato, the largest battleship in the world, during WWII. Pre-WWII, the Japanese Navy commissioned the creation of the impressive “supership” Yamato, strongly opposed by a top official insisting on more strategic and battle-ready warships. After being ignored without cause, Admiral Yamamoto recruits a math genius to help uncover what he soon suspects is a massive conspiracy. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Well Go USA.

For the Family:

In “Rock Dog 2: Rock Around the Park” (2021), with the voices of Ashleigh Ball, Andrew Francis and Brian Drummond, one year after the events of the original “Rock Dog,” Bodi and his band, True Blue, have become locally famous in the village of Snow Mountain — they even have devoted fans. But when a music mogul named Lang gives them the opportunity to tour with pop sensation Lil’ Foxy, Bodi and his friends learn that fame comes at a price, and ultimately discover that only by staying true to yourself can you unleash the power of rock ‘n’ roll. On DVD, Blu-ray with digital code,from Lionsgate.

Special Interest:

“Salvador Dali: In Search Of Immortality” (2018 — Spain) is the definitive three-part min-series on one of the great masters of modern art takes viewers on an eye opening journey through the life and work of the great Salvador photo for Salvador Dali: In Search Of Immortality Dalí and his longtime muse and collaborator, Gala. The film begins in 1929, a crucial year in Dalí’s life and career, as he joined the surrealist group and met Gala, and ends in 1989, the year of his death. Dalí’s geographies figure prominently in his fascinating story: Portlligat, the location of his only stable home/workshop; his hometown of Figueres, where he created his Dalí Theater/Museum; and Púbol, home to the magnificent Castle he shared with Gala. Using archival footage, images and documents (many of them never before used in a film), this intimate and revelatory documentary examines Salvador Dalí himself, his relationship with Gala, his mind blowing creations, and his surrealist life philosophies, bringing us closer to a singular genius who managed to create a character that is a work of art unto itself. From Film Movement.

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 June 14, 2021 No Responses »
Jun 072021
 

From the Big Screen:

“City of Lies”

photo for City of Lies What is worse, the crime or the cover-up? Based on the book, “LAbyrinth,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Randall Sullivan, this crime-thriller follows the investigation into the infamous murder of iconic rap artist Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. and the death of Tupac Shakur. Johnny Depp stars as determined LAPD detective Russell Poole, who spent nearly 20 years trying to solve the murder, and Forest Whitaker stars as Jack Jackson, a journalist who teams up with Poole in search of the elusive truth. Together they explore why the case remains cold — and why a secretive division of the LAPD is seemingly set on keeping it that way. Vitals: Director: Brad Furman. Stars: Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker, Rockmond Dunbar, Xander Berkeley, Michael Paré. 2021, CC, MPAA rating: R, 112 min., Crime Thriller, US box office gross: $.572 million, worldwide $2/844 million, Saban Films. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, VOD, Digital. Extras: Deleted scenes, “Crafting the Characters in City of Lies,” commentary with director Brad Furman and author Randall Sullivan. Read more here. 3 stars

This Week’s Best Bets:

Maggie Cheung embodies tragic silent screen siren Ruan Lingyu, known as the “Greta Garbo of China,” in the unconventional biopic “Center Stage” (1991 — Hong Kong), by Hong Kong New Wave master Stanley Kwan. Praised for her moving and emotive onscreen presence, Ruan’s photo for Center Stage BLU-RAY DEBUTprivate life, which was frequent fodder for the vicious Shanghai tabloids, began to mirror the melodramas which brought her fame, culminating in her suicide at age 24. Kwan and Cheung paint a kaleidoscopic yet intimate portrait of the ill-fated actress, deftly blending lush period drama, archival footage, and metatextual documentary sequences of Cheung reflecting on Ruan’s lasting legacy. Digitally restored in 4K from the original negative. On DVD, and in a Blu-ray debut from Film Movement Classics … In “Under the Sand” (2000), the incomparable Charlotte Rampling gives one of her most acclaimed performances in Francois Ozon’s mesmerizing tale of loss and grief. For many years, Marie (Rampling) and Jean (Bruno Cremer) have happily spent their vacations together at their country house. One day at the beach, Marie naps in the sand while Jean goes for a swim. When she awakens, he is gone. Did he drown? Did he run off? Distraught, Marie notifies the authorities. But after an extensive search, no body is found, and Marie is left in a painful limbo, unable to properly grieve for her lost love. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Classics … photo for The Human Condition Blu-ray Debut “The Human Condition” (1959-61), the mammoth humanist drama by Masaki Kobayashi, is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. Originally filmed and released in three installments of two parts each, the nine-and-a-half-hour “The Human Condition,” adapted from Junpei Gomikawa’s six-volume novel, tells of the journey of the well-intentioned yet naive Kaji — played by the Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai — from labor camp supervisor to Imperial Army soldier to Soviet prisoner of war. Constantly trying to rise above a corrupt system, Kaji time and again finds his morals to be an impediment rather than an advantage. A raw indictment of Japan’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best. In a three-disc Blu-ray set debut, with high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural (Parts 1–4) and 4.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio (Parts 5 and 6) soundtracks. From The Criterion Collection … Marlene Dietrich for years insisted that “The Blue Angel” (1930) was her screen debut, when in fact she was catapulted to fame by the silent drama of 1929, “The Woman One Longs For,” which fits neatly among the visually dynamic and emotionally dark melodramas of Joseph von Sternberg and G.W. Pabst. Uno Henning stars as a young businessman whose plans of marriage are interrupted when he becomes entranced by a haunting young woman (Dietrich) who seems to be the victim of a monocled sadist (Fritz Kortner). Like Dietrich, director Kurt Bernhardt would emigrate to the United States and enjoy a long career making films based around strong female characters. Restored in 2012 by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung, this edition is accompanied by a spectacular original orchestral score by Pascal Schumacher. On Blu-ray from Kino Classics.

From TV to Disc:

“Fuller House: The Fifth and Final Season” (2019-20) is a two-disc set with all 18 episodes. In the fifth and final season, the Tanner childhood house is fuller than ever with DJ’s three boys, Stephanie’s new baby, and Kimmy’s feisty family, as the she-wolf pack prepares for a triple wedding and celebrates all the memories that have led them there. “Fuller House” is the continuation of the 90s ABC series “Full House,” which centered around three grown men raising three girls in San Francisco, and which premiered in 1987 on ABC and became an instant hit with viewers. From Warner … “MacGyver: Season 4” (2020) is a three-disc set with all 13 episodes. In this reboot of the 1980s series, ex-MI6 agent Russ Taylor recruits former Phoenix Foundation members Mac, Riley, Bozer, Matty, and Desi to hunt down a bioweapon that’s planned to be used by a mysterious organization for a devastating attack on a major U.S. city. From Lionsgate … “Power Book II: Ghost Season 1” (2020-21) includes all 10 episodes and picks up after the events of “Power” as Tariq St. Patrick grapples with his father’s death while his mother, Tasha, faces charges for the murder her son committed. Tariq is forced to split his time between school and hustling to pay for Davis MacLean, the defense lawyer who is Tasha’s only hope of escaping prosecution by U.S. Attorney Cooper Saxe. Tariq turns to the drug game; he figures out the only way to avoid the same fate his father met is to become him — only better. From Lionsgate.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

Obsession gets a makeover in “The Stylist” (2020), a deliciously twisted slice of female-led psychological horror, nominated for the New Visions Award for Best Motion Picture at the 2020 Sitges International Film Festival and based on co-writer/director Jill Gevargizian’s award-winning short film of the same name. We all dream of being someone else … but for Claire photo for The Stylist(Najarra Townsend), that dream goes from an obsession to a living nightmare. Hairstylist by day, serial killer and collector of scalps by night, Claire’s lonely existence is thrown into turmoil when her regular client, Olivia (Brea Grant), asks her to style her hair for her wedding day. Increasingly fixated on Olivia’s seemingly flawless life, Claire vows to lock up her scalp collection and change her ways for good – only to discover that repressing your deadly desires is easier said than done. In a Limited Edition Blu-ray with soundtrack CD,from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … Screen greats Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jacqueline Bisset star in the uproarious spy comedy “Le Magnifique – aka The Man from Acapulco” (1981 — France). Belmondo plays Francois, a reclusive novelist whose wild imagination gets the best of him in this delightful blend of fantasy and adventure. Becoming the lead character from his own book, the dashing spy-hero Bob Saint-Clair, Francois is hysterically thrown into the middle of his latest espionage case, “How to Destroy the Reputation of the Greatest Secret Agent.” Only with the help of Francois’ beautiful and enticing neighbor (Bisset aptly filling the role of his seductive assistant, Tatiana) can the author save the world from his editor, who has been transformed into dastardly secret agent Karloff. Together, the duo gets caught in a whirlwind of chases, betrayals, confrontations and mutual attraction. Long before Austin Powers, this cleverly written French comedy outrageously portrays the spy game like it’s never been seen before. Co-written and directed by Philippe de Broca (“That Man from Rio”) and beautifully shot by René Mathelin. In a Blu-ray debut from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … Spanish horror star Paul Naschy plays a multitude of roles in a tour-de-force performance in one of his last great films, “The Howl of the Devil” (1988 — Spain). He plays Hector Doriani a stage and screen actor who feels himself living in the shadow of his dead twin brother, Alex Doriani, the latter once a famous star of horror movies. Alex’s young son, photo for The Howl of the Devil Adrian, now lives with Hector in his brother’s isolated mansion in the countryside. To keep alive the memory of his father, the boy imagines himself visited by the spirit of the dead man, incarnated in a series of classic horror characters from the past. Eric, Alex Doriani’s former butler, now also works for Hector. His main role is to locate and bring to the mansion a series of women who are paid large sums of money by Hector to take part in various sadistic sex games. To complicate matters even further, the games always seem to end with the women getting slaughtered in various gruesome ways by a black gloved, masked killer. Also on hand is horror diva Caroline Munro, as Hector’s housekeeper and cook, who is being pursued by a local priest with whom she once had a much-regretted affair. One of the last films to be directed by Paul Naschy, “The Howl Of The Devil” was, for many years, impossible to see in anything like its intended form. This first HD presentation of the film shows it at last in its true glory. New 4k transfer from the film negative, digitally restored. On Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro … In “Flashback” (2021), starring Dylan O’Brien, Maika Monroe, Hannah Gross, Emory Cohen and Keir Gilchrist, Fredrick Fitzell (O’Brien) is living his best life until he starts having horrific visions of Cindy (Monroe), a girl who vanished in high school. After reaching out to old friends with whom he used to take a mystery drug called Mercury, Fredrick realizes the only way to stop the visions lies deep within his own memories, so he embarks on a terrifying mental odyssey to learn the truth. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate. Read more here … A bullied teenager gains the means to fight back when a botched faith healing bestows supernatural, shamanistic powers upon him in “The Unhealer” (2020), starring Elijah Nelson, Kayla Carlson, Adam Beach, Natasha Henstridge and Lance Henriksen. When his lifelong tormentors pull a prank that causes the death of someone he loves, the teen uses his newfound abilities for revenge and goes on a bloody rampage to settle the score. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Scream Factory. Read more herephoto for Hunting Ground In “Hunting Ground” (1983 — Spain), Adele, a female lawyer, brilliantly played by Assumpta Serna, passionately defends criminals, believing that everyone deserves a second chance and that criminality is more often than not bred by deprivation. In the courtroom, a pair of local hoods sees her in action and decides to follow her. They steal her car, find the keys to her country villa and decide to rob the place. Unfortunately, Adele’s family turns up at the villa mid-burglary and her husband is killed. But that is only the beginning of the nightmare. Directed by Jordi Grau who made the horror classics “Blood Ceremony” and “Let Sleeping Corpses Lie.” In a new 4k transfer from film negative, uncut, digitally restored. On Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro … In “Assault on VA 33” (2021), starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Michael Jai White, Mark Dacascos, Rob Van Dam and Weston Cage Coppola, Flanery stars as decorated army veteran Jason Hill. While on a routine visit to the local VA hospital, organized terrorists infiltrate the building and take hostages, including a decorated general, and Hill’s wife. The highly trained veteran is outnumbered and the last line of defense, taking on a building full of armed insurgents before it’s too late. From Paramount … In “The Lovebirds” (2020), starring Anna Camp, Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Kyle Bornheimer and Paul Sparks, a couple (Rae and Nanjiani) experiences a defining photo for Undercover Punch & Gun moment in their relationship when they become mixed up in a murder mystery. As their journey to clear their names takes them from one extreme circumstance to the next, they must figure out how they, and their relationship, can survive the night. From Paramount … In “Undercover Punch & Gun” (2019 — Hong Kong), starring Philip Ng, Van Ness Wu and Andy On, an elite cop working undercover to infiltrate a notorious drug ring has his plan compromised when a rival agency with a grudge attacks during a trade, killing the gang’s leader. Their cover blown, both teams are forced to unite and take to the high seas in an attempt to overthrow the ruthless smuggler behind it all. With an all-new English dub. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Well Go USA … Set in the iconic Italian neighborhood of Bensonhurst, “Omerta: The Act of Silence” (2011), starring Paul Malignaggi, Will Wallace and Joe Estevez, is a peek inside the operation of the Mafia, at a time when the organization had a firm grip on day-to-day living in the area. The word Omerta describes a code of silence about criminal activity and a refusal to give evidence to authorities. From MVD Entertainment Group.

Foreign Films:

Partially inspired by true stories, the comedy “Beate” (2018 — Italy), starring Donatella Finocchiaro, Betti Pedrazzi and Lucia Sardo, is a modern social fairytale set in Northeast Italy. When the employees of the Veronica lingerie factory discover they’re to be photo for Beate fired, they take matters into their own hands and borrow equipment to produce their own garment line. Lead by plucky forewoman Armida, they’re determined to overcome the odds and succeed. Nearby, in “Convent of the Holy Mantle,” a handful of nuns skilled in the art of embroidery and devoted to a mummified body of a “blessed one,” are in danger of being transferred, while the unscrupulous mayor — also the owner of the Veronica factory — wants to develop a luxury resort where the convent resides. Together, to oppose their unfortunate turns, they join forces for a surprising collaboration: a line of sexy lingerie. However, they ‘re soon attacked by the owner of Veronica and the convent’s Mother Superior, from whom the operation had to be kept secret. From Corinth Films … In “True Mothers” (2020 — Japan), starring Hiromi Nagasaku, Arata Iura and Aju Makita, after a long and unsuccessful struggle to get pregnant, Satoko and her husband decide to adopt a child. Over the next six years, the middle-class couple and their young son, Asato, settle into a comfortable, albeit routine life. The family’s orderly existence is shattered by the arrival of Hikari, a young woman who claims to be Asato’s biological mother and demands his return. The film weaves photo for True Mothers together multiple timelines and genres and was Japan’s entry for Best International Film Oscar this year. From Film Movement … The Danish psychological thriller “Blurred Vision (Tågesyn” (2019 — Denmark), starring Niklas Herskind, Ida Rasmussen and Dorte Højsted, follows Andre and Elisa, a couple who has recently discovered they’re expecting their first child. Full of hope and excitement for their family’s future, they move to the countryside to be closer to Elisa’s mother, Martha. When life seems perfect, things start to unravel as Elisa develops psychosis and Andre begins to question his own sanity, the pregnancy, and his girlfriend. As disturbing secrets surface about Elisa and a web of lies are spun by her and her overprotective mother, Andre must fight for himself and the life of his unborn child. From Indican Pictures … Alberto Testone. Step inside the brilliant, tormented mind of renaissance legend Michelangelo in Andrei Konchalovsky’s lavish and gripping drama “Sin” (2019 — Russia/Italy). Florence, early 16th century. Although widely considered a genius by his contemporaries, photo for Sin Michelangelo Buonarroti is reduced to poverty and depleted by his struggle to finish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When his commissioner and head of the Della Rovere nobility Pope Julius II dies, Michelangelo becomes obsessed with sourcing the finest marble to complete his tomb. The artist’s loyalty is tested when Leo X, of the rival Medici family, ascends to the papacy and charges him with a lucrative new commission — the façade of the San Lorenzo basilica. Forced to lie to maintain favor with both families, Michelangelo is progressively tormented by suspicion and hallucinations, leading him to ruthlessly examine his own moral and artistic failings. From Corinth 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 June 7, 2021 No Responses »
May 302021
 

 

Happy Memorial Day

 

From the Big Screen:

The Courier

photo for The Courier (2020) This true-life spy thriller is the story of an unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. At the behest of the UK’s MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), he forms a covert, dangerous partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis. Vitals: Director: Dominic Cooke. Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Merab Ninidze, Rachel Brosnahan, Angus Wright. 2020, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 112 min., Thriller, US box office gross: $6.370 million, worldwide $10.210 million, Lionsgate. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo with digital code, VOD, Digital. 3 stars

Boogie

photo for Boogie (2021) The coming-of-age story of Alfred “Boogie” Chin (Taylor Takahashi), a basketball phenom living in Queens, New York, who dreams of one day playing in the NBA. While his parents pressure him to focus on earning a scholarship to an elite college, Boogie must find a way to navigate a new girlfriend, high school, on-court rivals and the burden of expectation. Vitals: Director: Eddie Huang. Stars: Taylor Takahashi, Pamelyn Chee, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Taylour Paige, Pop Smoke, Perry Yung. 2021, CC, MPAA rating: R, 89 min., Drama, US box office gross: $4.063 million, worldwide $4.063 million, Universal. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray with digital code. 3 stars

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Spare Parts” (2020), starring Julian Richings, Michelle Argyris, Emily Alatalo, Kiriana Stanton and Chelsea Muirhead, is set in a godforsaken bar in the middle of nowhere where an all-girl band — Ms. 45 — rips the stage apart with their punk spirit. But their performance impresses an enthusiastic fan who lures the girls into a trap, sedates them, and starts … customizing them. Slowly they begin to gain consciousness and, in total shock, realize their arms have all been replaced with axes and chainsaws to fight gladiator-style in a junkyard arena owned by a sadistic “emperor,” forcing them into the battle of their lives with one prize in mind — their freedom. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … In “The Vault” (2021), starring Freddie Highmore, Astrid Bergees-Frisbey, Sam Riley, Liam Cunningham, and Famke Janssen, an engineer (Highmore) learns of a mysterious, impenetrable fortress hidden under The Bank of Spain and joins a crew of master thieves who plan to steal the legendary lost treasure locked inside while the whole country is distracted by Spain’s World Cup Final. With thousands of soccer fans cheering in the streets, and security forces closing in, the crew have just minutes to pull off the score of a lifetime. From Paramount … photo for Mommie Dearest BLU-RAY DEBUT Based on Christina Crawford’s controversial best-selling tell-all novel, “Mommie Dearest” (1981) features a powerhouse performance by Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford, struggling for her career while battling the inner demons of her private life. While the public Crawford was a strong-willed, glamorous object of admiration, behind the scenes is a private Crawford — the woman desperate to be a single mother and trying to survive in a devastating industry that swallows careers thoughtlessly. Newly restored from a 4K film transfer, “Mommie Dearest” is presented in a limited-edition Blu-ray Disc with collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments and access to a Digital copy of the film. From Paramount Presents … “Endangered Species” (2021), starring Rebecca Romijn, Philip Winchester and Isabel Bassett, is an action packed survival-adventure about a wealthy American family who travel to the vast African wilderness of Kenya hoping for a dream vacation filled with excitement, bonding and a chance to fix the growing rifts within their family. But when their safari vehicle is attacked by a rhino protecting her calf, the family is left stranded miles from help and their dream vacation turns into a nightmarish struggle for survival in a world where they are the bottom of the food chain. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “Embattled” (2020), starring Stephen Dorff, Darren Mann, Karrueche Tran, Colin McKenna and Elizabeth Reaser, a son aspires to follow in his famous MMA father’s footsteps, but along his journey must figure out how to break the abusive cycle, if possible, that his father has continued.On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … In “Trigger Point” (2021), starring Barry Pepper, Colm Feore, Laura Vandervoort and Eve Harlow, Nicolas Shaw, a disgraced former U.S. secret agent who suffered memory loss at the hand of captors, is dragged back into the darkest shadows of the spy world when he is enlisted by his former partner to help find a missing colleague. Nicolas’ skills are put to the ultimate test as the two men try to unravel the mystery behind her disappearance before it’s too late. But to uncover the truth, Nicolas will need to remember the past. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Screen Media Films.

From TV to Disc:

“Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal: The Complete First Season” (2019-20) is a two-disc DVD and single-disc Blu-ray with all 10 episodes. Eat, or be eaten! Kill, or be killed! Get into survival mode with Adult Swim’s #1 prehistoric animated series. The wordless show features a caveman at the dawn of evolution and a dinosaur on the brink of extinction. Bonded by tragedy, this unlikely friendship becomes the only hope of survival in a violent, primordial world. On DVD, Blu-ray with digital code, from Warner.

On the Indie Front:

In “Shoplifters of the World” (2021), starring Elena Kampouris, Nick Krause and James Bloor, four friends, in the Summer of 1987, reeling from the sudden break-up of the iconic British band The Smiths, embark on a night out of partying to mourn their musical loss. At the same time, an impassioned Smiths fan takes a local radio DJ hostage at gunpoint and forces him to play nothing but Smiths tracks. With the radio station playing as the soundtrack to their night, the friends go on a wild journey of self-discovery that will transform them forever. From RLJE Films.

Special Interest:

“A Glitch in the Matrix” (2021) is focused on Simulation Theory — the belief that all of reality, including the Earth and universe, could in fact be an artificial simulation or computer simulation — director Rodney Ascher (“Room 237,” “The Nightmare”) uses a noted speech from Philip K. Dick to dive down the rabbit hole of science, philosophy and conspiracy theory. photo for A Glitch in the MatrixThe film also uses contemporary cultural touchstones like “The Matrix,” interviews with real people shrouded in digital avatars and a wide array of voices, expert and amateur alike. If simulation theory is not science fiction but fact, and life is a video game being played by some unknowable entity, then who are we, really? On DVD, Blu-ray, from Magnolia Home Entertainment … “Stray” (2021 — Turkey) is a documentary that explores what it means to live as a being without status or security by following three stray dogs as they embark on inconspicuous journeys through Turkish society. Zeytin, fiercely independent, embarks on adventures through the city at night; Nazar, nurturing and protective, easily befriends the humans around her; while Kartal, a shy puppy living on the outskirts of a construction site, finds companions in the security guards who care for her. The strays’ disparate lives intersect when they each form intimate bonds with a group of young Syrians with whom they share the streets. Director Elizabeth Lo’s award-winning film is a sensory voyage into new ways of seeing and a critical observation of human civilization through the unfamiliar gaze of dogs. From Magnolia Home Entertainment.

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.

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