From the Big Screen:
Godzilla vs. Kong
(2021) Legends collide in Godzilla vs. Kong as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe. The epic clash between the two titans-instigated by unseen forces-is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the core of the Earth. Lame storyline and characters that could only enthrall audiences starved for action by COVID-19. Scored 76% at Rotten Tomatoes and 59 at Metacritic. Vitals: Director: Adam Wingard. Stars: Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Kaylee Hottle. 2019, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 113 min., Action Adventure, US box office gross: $99.704 million, worldwide $441.2 million, Warner. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Code, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo, VOD, Digital.
(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.
(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 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 … “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 entity 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), starring 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.
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 … … “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.
“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 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.