(2023) After a Black Friday riot ends in tragedy, a mysterious Thanksgiving-inspired killer terrorizes Plymouth, Massachusetts – the birthplace of the holiday. Picking off residents one by one, what begins as random revenge killings are soon revealed to be part of a larger, sinister holiday plan. Will the town uncover the killer and survive the holidays … or become guests at his twisted holiday dinner table? Vitals: Director: Eli Roth. Stars: Patrick Dempsey, Ty Olsson, Gina Gershon, Addison Rae, Milo Manheim, Jalen Thomas Brook, Neil Verlaque. CC, MPAA rating: R, 106 min., Horror Thriller, North American box office gross: $31.823 million, worldwide $46.079 million, Sony. Formats: DVD + Digital Code, Blu-ray + Digital Code, VOD, Digital.
(2023) From legendary director John Woo and the producer of John Wick comes this gritty revenge tale of a tormented father who witnesses his young son die when caught in a gang’s crossfire on Christmas Eve. While recovering from a wound that costs him his voice, he makes vengeance his life’s mission and embarks on a punishing training regimen in order to avenge his son’s death. Full of Woo’s signature style, “Silent Night” redefines the action genre with visceral, thrill-a-minute storytelling. Vitals: Director: John Woo. Stars: Joel Kinnaman, Scott Mescudi, Harold Torres, Catalina Sandino Moreno. CC, MPAA rating: R, 104 min., Action, North American box office gross: $8.012 million, worldwide $11.065 million, Lionsgate. Formats: Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Code, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo + Digital Code Steelbook, VOD, Digital. Extras: “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” featurette; theatrical trailer. Read more here.
This Week’s Best Bets:
In “Mudbound” (2017), in the Mississippi Delta of the 1940s, two farming families — one of white landholders, one of Black tenant farmers — are bound by the unforgiving soil they share as they struggle to survive amid the upheavals of World War II and the poisonous hatred of the Jim Crow South. Each family sends a young man off to battle; when they return home, scarred, and find a common bond, the community is ripped apart. Writer-director Dee Rees, with cowriter Virgil Williams, crafts a uniquely American tragedy, imbuing bitter historical realities with a timeless weight. Featuring bone-deep performances from her ensemble cast — including Carey Mulligan, Mary J. Blige, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, and Jonathan Banks — and backed by Rachel Morrison’s darkly burnished cinematography, “Mudbound” is a searing humanist study of inheritance based upon Hillary Jordan’s novel. On DVD, Blu-ray, with new 2K digital master, supervised by director Dee Rees and director of photography Rachel Morrison, with Dolby Atmos soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … A jolt of adrenaline shot straight to the heart of 1990s British cinema, “Trainspotting” (1996), a darkly funny adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel, was a major breakthrough for director Danny Boyle, producer Andrew Macdonald, and screenwriter John Hodge. With live-wire energy and stylistic verve, “Trainspotting” bounces across the life and times of Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), a Scottish heroin addict who, along with his misfit mates, gets high, gets in trouble, gets clean, and gets high again, all in a bid to outrun the banality of modern existence. Kinetically cut to an iconic soundtrack of techno, rock, and Britpop, this indie phenomenon chooses life in all its ugly, beautiful, terrifying exhilaration. On Blu-ray, 4K UHD + Blu-ray combo edition with new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Danny Boyle, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features. Alternate 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. From The Criterion Collection.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
Ripped from the pages of Robert E. Howard’s beloved pulp stories, and brought to the screen by maverick director John Milius, “Conan the Barbarian”(1982) is one of the most beloved fantasy-action adventures in Hollywood history, which not only popularized a new subgenre – the sword-and-sorcery film – but also made a cinematic icon of its star, former bodybuilding sensation Arnold Schwarzenegger. In an ancient land, young Conan witnesses his family being slaughtered by an evil snake cult ransacking his village. Raised as a slave, the adult Conan (Schwarzenegger) rises up through the fighting pits, becoming an unparalleled and fearsome warrior. Unexpectedly freed, Conan and his companions – two fighters, Subotai (Gerry Lopez) and Valeria (Sandahl Bergman), as well as a Wizard (Mako) – are enlisted by King Osric (Max von Sydow) to free his daughter from the hypnotic clutches of the same cult that murdered Conan’s family long ago, led by the shape-shifting sorcerer Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones). Crom has commanded it: at long last, Milius’ glorious ode to the days of high adventure (co-written by Oliver Stone) has been restored in glorious 4K with hours of bonus features and a heart-racing Atmos remix that immerses you in the action, accompanied throughout by an electrifying, career-best score by the late Basil Poledouris (“RoboCop”). In a Limited Edition Blu-ray and Limited Edition 4K UHD from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment. Read more here. … After conquering the box office with his first outing as the sword-wielding Cimmerian, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns in “Conan the Destroyer” (1984), an exciting and action-packed sequel from veteran director Richard Fleischer that amps up the fantasy-adventure and hews closer to the character’s pulp and comic book origins. Still mourning the death of his beloved Valeria, Conan is given an offer he can’t refuse by Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas): he will escort her niece, Princess Jehnna (Olivia d’Abo), on a quest to find a mystical horn that will awaken a slumbering god, in return for Valeria being brought back from the dead. With a new group of companions by his side – including a fierce warrior woman named Zula (Grace Jones) – Conan must battle an onslaught of evil beasts, wizards and cannibals, little suspecting that the wicked Taramis intends to betray him with the aid of her head guard, Bombaata (Wilt Chamberlain). Photographed by the great Academy Award-winning cinematographer Jack Cardiff, with another rousing score by Basil Poledouris, “Conan the Destroyer” has finally been restored in 4K with hours of brand new bonus features. In a Limited Edition Blu-ray and Limited Edition 4K UHD from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment. Read more here … Iconic actor Peter O’Toole joins forces with director Peter Yates in “Murphy’s War” (1971), a blisteringly acerbic, wildly entertaining film about the absurdity of war. During the last days of WWII, the merchant ship “Mount Kyle” is sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of Venezuela and the sailors machine-gunned in the water. Only Murphy (O’Toole) survives, making his way to shore where he is nursed to health by Dr. Hayden (Sian Phillips), a pacifist Quaker who runs a missionary settlement near the mouth of the Orinoco River. When Murphy discovers that the U-boat is now hiding further up the river using the jungle for cover, he becomes obsessed with retribution and begins a one man war to sink the German U-boat, no matter the cost. With a script by Stirling Silliphant, cinematography by the legendary Douglas Slocombe and a supporting cast that includes Philippe Noiret and Horst Janson, “Murphy’s War” is an underseen gem. In a Limited Editionm Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment. Read more here.
In “My Sailor, My Love” (2022 — Ireland, starring James Cosmo, Brid Brennan, Catherine Walker and Nora-Jane Noone, Howard is a widowed sailor living alone on the coast of Ireland. His daughter, Grace, hires Annie, a lovely older woman to help around the house. Initially resistant to this support, Howard is soon charmed by Annie’s gentle care, and the two fall in love. This new romance illuminates the hurt within Howard’s relationship with Grace, tearing at Howard and Annie’s seaside love story. From Music Box Films … In “Goodbye & Amen” (1978 — Italy), John Dannahay (Tony Musante), a CIA agent stationed in Rome, is planning to overthrow an African government. But his plan goes wrong when a corrupt colleague starts shooting people from the roof of a hotel, taking an innocent couple hostage. Director Damiano Damiani wields expert tension in this gripping espionage thriller, twisting and turning its tight plot to its sensational finale. Featuring a fantastic supporting cast including Claudia Cardinale, John Steiner and Wolfango Soldati, “Goodbye & Amen” is one of the great 1970s Italian action thrill rides, set to a haunting score by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis. New 2023 restoration of the film from the original camera negative presented with Italian and, for the first time on home video, English audio options. On Blu-ray from Radiance/MVD Entertainment … “Dard Divorce” (2001 — Germany), starring Martina Ittenbach, Daryl Jackson, Jaymes Butler and Barrett Jones, is the chilling tale of a young divorcee caught in battles both for her children and her life. When Nathalie’s daughter and son go missing, she must contend with violent corrupt forces to find them, entangling her with Mafioso, hit men, and other savage criminal elements — only to become brutally tortured herself. From legendary German splatter director Olaf Ittenbach. Completely uncut in all of its gory goodness. On Blu-ray from Massacre Video … In “The Sting of Death” (1990 — Japan), in the aftermath of World War II, a writer’s love affair with another woman drives his wife mad with distrust. Realizing his errors, he tries all he can to save her from literally losing her mind. Kohei Oguri’s haunting adaptation of the novel by Toshio Shimao is shot in a hyperreal style that is equal parts painterly and unflinching. Featuring striking set design, powerful lead performances and a vivid evocation of small-town life in postwar Japan, “The Sting of Death” won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival while stars Ittoku Kishibe and Keiko Matsuzaka won numerous awards for their performances. Radiance Films is proud to present this remarkable film on Blu-ray for the first time in the world. On Blu-ray from Radiance/MVD 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.