From the Big Screen:
Space Jam: A New Legacy
(2021) Remake of 1996’s “Space Jam,” which combined live-action and animation and paired basketball legend Michael Jordan with Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes characters against a team of monsters from outer space. In this version, basketball champion and global icon LeBron James goes on an epic adventure alongside timeless Tune Bugs Bunny in a manic mashup of two worlds that reveals just how far some parents will go to connect with their kids. When LeBron and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before. It’s Tunes versus Goons. The ready-for-action Tunes destroy convention, supercharge their unique talents and surprise even “King” James by playing the game their own way. Vitals: Director: Malcolm D. Lee . Stars: LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Cedric Joe, Khris Davis, Sonequa Martin-Green, Ceyair J Wright, Harper Leigh Alexander, Xosha Roquemore. 2019, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 115 min., Family, US box office gross: $68.075 million, worldwide $144.875 million, Warner. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo, VOD, Digital. Extras: Deleted scenes. Blu-ray adds four featurettes: “First Quarter: Game On,” “Second Quarter: Teamwork,” “Third Quarter: Out of This World” and “Fourth Quarter: The Looniest.” Read more here.
This Week’s Best Bets:
“Universal Classic Monsters Icons of Horror Collection”: From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. This 4K Uktra HD set showcases four of the most iconic monsters in motion picture history. New Blu-ray editions of “Dracula” (1931, 90th Anniversary), “Frankenstein” (1931, 90th Anniversary), “The Invisible Man” (1933) and “The Wolf Man” (1941, 80th Anniversary). Formats: 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo + Digital Code. From Universal … The Blu-ray release of “Audrey Hepburn 7-Film Collection” is timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the beloved classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which was originally released on October 5, 1961, this collection sparkles with luminous performances from Hepburn in “My Fair Lady,” “Funny Face,” “Sabrina,” “Roman Holiday,” “Paris When It Sizzles,” “War and Peace,” and, of course, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The new collection also includes access to Digital copies of each film and the hours of bonus content. From Paramount. Read more here … “The Power and the Glory” (1961) is adapted from the Graham Greene novel that made the world gasp, about a priest who somehow stumbled onto the road to martyrdom. In the 1930s, a cynical Catholic priest is sent to Mexico to preach in post-revolution Mexico: a cleric who risks his life by continuing to conduct the Catholic Mass in secret after the totalitarian government has outlawed the Catholic Church. In order to confer the Christian sacraments, the priest must have wine but his attempts to obtain wine will call attention to his clandestine activities. Featuring an all-star cast (Laurence Olivier, Julie Harris, George C. Scott, Martin Gabel, Roddy McDowall, Keenan Wynn, Patty Duke) the film was released theatrically in Europe and was nominated for Emmy and DGA awards. The novel was recommended reading by Barack Obama in 2008. Read more here … In “Onibaba” (1964 — Japan), deep in the windswept marshes of war-torn medieval Japan, an impoverished older woman and her daughter-in-law murder lost samurai and sell their belongings for the most meager of sustenance. When a bedraggled neighbor returns from battle, lust, jealousy, and rage threaten to destroy the trio’s tenuous existence, before an ominous, ill-gotten demon mask seals their horrifying fate. Driven by primal emotions, dark eroticism, a frenzied score by Hikaru Hayashi, and stunning images both lyrical and macabre, the chilling folktale Onibaba by Kaneto Shindo conjures a nightmarish vision of humankind’s deepest desires and impulses. On Blu-ray, with restored high-definition transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. From The Criterion Collection. Read more here.
From TV to Disc:
“Clarice: Season One” (2021) is a four-disc set with all 21 episodes. A deep dive into the untold personal story of FBI Agent Clarice Starling as she returns to the field in 1993, one year after the events of “The Silence of the Lambs.” Brilliant and vulnerable, Clarice’s bravery gives her an inner light that draws monsters and madmen to her. However, her complex psychological makeup that comes from a challenging childhood empowers her to begin to find her voice while working in a man’s world, as well as escape the family secrets that have haunted her throughout her life. From CBS/Paramount … “The Nevers: Season 1 Part 1” (2021) is a two-disc set with all six episodes of the science fiction drama set in Victorian London. In August, 1896, London is rocked to its foundations by a supernatural event which gives certain people – mostly women – abnormal abilities, from the wondrous to the disturbing. But no matter their particular “turns,” all who belong to this new underclass are in grave danger. It falls to mysterious, quick-fisted widow Amalia True (Laura Donnelly) and brilliant young inventor Penance Adair (Ann Skelly) to protect and shelter these gifted “orphans.” To do so, they will have to face the brutal forces determined to annihilate their kind. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner … “The Paul Newman Trilogy” includes three early live TV performances starring Paul Newman … as a college kid, a clothing manufacturer, and a cowardly soldier. Produced by David Susskind for inclusion in various TV anthology series, these shows have not be seen since their original air dates in 1956-57. Featuring all star casts, headed by Paul Newman and starring Jack Lord, Nehemiah Persoff, Sydney Pollack, and Frank Campanella, each episode contains the original commercials and previews of future shows. “Five In Judgment” has two hitch hiking college kids forced to seek shelter from a storm in a small town diner where they’re falsely accused of committing murder. The diner customers and owner terrorize the boys in the belief they committed the murder, only to discover the horrible truth. “The Rag Jungle” has Newman working for his father as a clothing manufacturer. They run up against racketeers demanding protection money; Newman refuses to pay and after his father is attacked, he organizes other manufacturers to stand up against the gangsters. “The Army Game” portrays Newman as a spoiled mama’s boy, a nine-letter man in college and a narcissist who doesn’t want to be in the Army. His efforts to get a discharge anger his friends and barrack mates and it’s not until he’s attacked in the barracks that he’s given his discharge. Formats: DVD, Digital. From David Susskind Archive/MVD Entertainment Group. Read more here … “The Stand” (2020-21) is a three-disc set with all nine episodes. Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world decimated by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil. The fate of mankind rests on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail and a handful of survivors. Their worst nightmares are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man. Based on King’s best-selling novel of the same name, CBS All Access’ “The Stand” will close with a new coda written by the famed author himself. Stars James Marsden, Whoopi Goldberg, Amber Heard, Greg Kinnear, Odessa Young. On DVD, Blu-ray., from CBS/Paramount … Fans of Stephen King will be treated to a two-pack Blu-ray and DVD collection of “The Stand” in “The Stand 2-Pack”Composed of all episodes from the 2020 adaptation, the four-disc Blu-ray set and five-disc DVD set will also include all four parts of the six-hour Emmy Award-winning 1994 original miniseries. On DVD, Blu-ray, from CBS/Paramount.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
In “The Amityville Moon” (2021), starring Cody Renee Cameron, Tuesday Knight and Augie Duke, what if a house of holiness turned out to be a haven of evil? As Alyssa and Karla try to escape from the church home that holds them captive, Karla is slaughtered by a vicious, semi-human creature. After Detective Kimball tracks down Alyssa at a rowdy biker bar, she tells Kimball that women inmates disappear every full moon, and shows him the silver bullets in her gun. Now the two must return to the halfway house to confront the priest and nuns—and the snarling, savage evil—that dwell within. From Lionsgate). Read more here … In “Fried Barry” (2020 — South Africa), starring Gary Green, Chanelle de Jager and Brett Williams. Barry is a drug-addled degenerate who, after yet another bender, gets abducted by aliens. Barry takes a backseat as his alien visitor assumes control of his body and takes it for a joyride through Cape Town. What follows is an onslaught of drugs, sex and violence as Barry’s alien tourist enters the weird and wonderful world of humankind. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films. Read more here … In the coming-of-age tale “Saving Sloane” (2021), starring Taylor Foster, Augustine Frizzell, Gerardo Davila and Bryan Massey, Sloane Emerson struggles to do right, but her high school friends are leading her into trouble. Frustrated, her stepmom sends Sloane to stay with family at a ranch in the country. There, Sloane finds a kindred spirit in Glory, a horse with potential who’s hard to tame. Sloane bonds with Glory, but is horrified to learn that the creature will soon be sold. With time running out, Sloane makes a dangerous decision that could save – or threaten – both herself and Glory. From Lionsgate. Read more here … “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” (2021), starring Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Isabelle Fuhrman, Thomas Cocquerel and Holland Roden, is the sequel to the 2019 box office hit. Six people unwillingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive. Joining forces with two of the original survivors, they soon discover they’ve all played the game before. On DVD + Digital Code, Blu-ray + Digital Code, from Sony … “Night of the Animated Dead” (2021), with the voices of Josh Duhamel, Katharine Isabelle, James Roday Rodriguez, Katee Sackhoff, Will Sasso, Jimmi Simpson and Nancy Travis revisits George A. Romero’s 1968 horror classic “Night of the Living Dead” in an altogether unprecedented animated presentation. Siblings Barbara and Johnny visit their father’s grave in a remote cemetery in Pennsylvania when they are suddenly set upon by zombies. Barbara flees and takes refuge in an abandoned farmhouse along with stranded motorist Ben and four local survivors found hiding in the cellar. Together, the group must fight to stay alive against the oncoming horde of zombies while also confronting their own fears and prejudices. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Warner. Read more here … In “Six Minutes to Midnight” (2021), starring Nigel Lindsay, Judi Dench, Eddie Izzard, Jim Broadbent, Maria Dragus and Luisa-Céline Gaffron, it’s the summer of 1939, just before the outbreak of WWII, and influential families in Nazi Germany have sent their daughters to a finishing school in an English seaside town to learn the language and be ambassadors for a future looking National Socialist. A teacher there sees what is coming and is trying to raise the alarm. But the authorities believe he is the problem. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … In “The Amazing Mr. X” (1948), starring Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari and Cathy O’Donnell, Bey stars as Alexis, a mystery man who claims to communicate with spirits. Appearing on the beach one night, Alexis easily charms a depressed widow and her sister. The sly Alexis makes a living by separating gullible people from their money, but before this tale is over, he will learn that the living are far more dangerous than the dead. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cinedigm/The Film Detective … “Star Vehicle (aka Bleading Lady)” (2010 — Canada), starring Dan Ellis, Sindy Faraguna and Nathan Durec, is a gruesome and gory horror thriller that follows the downward spiral of movie driver Donald Cardini, a self-professed movie buff with a penchant for explosive violence. When a young and self-absorbed director challenges Don’s authority, murder and mayhem ensues. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Unearthed Films … They say the boy was scared to death. When the death of a child at a boarding school is blamed on a ghost, hoax exposer Florence Cathcart is certain that science and reason can explain it in “The Awakening” (2011), starring Rebecca Hall, Dominic West and Imelda Staunton, making its Blu-ray debut this week. But the truth she discovers is more terrifying than she could ever imagine, and soon the ghost hunter becomes the hunted. From Cohen Media Group … In “Night Shift” (1982), starring Henry Winkler, Shelley Long and Michael Keaton, making its Blu-ray debut this week, the world of Wall Street drove Charles Lumley III up the wall. His new job at the New York City Morgue is quieter – until Billy “Blaze” Blazejowski shows up with a cool idea on how to liven things up. Directed by Ron Howard, “Night Shift” is a breakneck farce rife with hysterical ideas thanks to veteran comedy writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. Winkler is low-key Lumley in a delightfully offbeat performance. Long also scores as a hapless happy hooker. But the casting triumph is film-debuting Keaton as Billy Blaze, launching a career rich in comedic and dramatic highlights. From Warner Archive … “Elvira’s Haunted Hills” (2001) is a camp outing from the iconic horror TV hostess Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. With her voluptuous figure, voluminous black hair and hilarious one-liners, the essence of camp oozes from her pores. The film culls its outrageousness from the classic Vincent Price/Edgar Allan Poe/Roger Corman films of the early 60s, along with a little “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Fearless Vampire Killers” for good measure. The tale begins in 1851, when Elvira and her maid Zou Zou are en route to perform in the Parisian Revue “Yes I Can Can,” but inadvertently end up at the sinister Lord Vladimere Hellsubus’ medieval castle. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Vladimere’s long-dead wife, Elvira learns of the Hellsubus curse and finds her life in danger. Will she escape the family curse and the evil Vladimere? And can she keep her hands off of the stable hand long enough to save the day? New restoration from a 4K Scan of the original camera negative. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory … In “Witching and Bitching” (2013 — Spain), starring Hugo Silva, Mario Casas, Pepón Nieto and Carolina Bang, when a bank heist in the city doesn’t all go according to plan, José and Tony find themselves in possession of some hostages, speeding through the mountains of Spain, hoping to quietly slip over the border. Not wanting to give up his custody days to his ex-wife, José has also brought his son along for both the robbery and the ride. Little do they know that this is only the beginning of their troubles, as they soon make a stop in a small tavern in the Basque countryside and find themselves the honored guests of a fractured family of witches who are preparing for an ancient ritual. On Blu-ray from IFC Midnight.
“Spring Blossom” (2021 — France), the charming debut feature from 20-year-old Suzanne Lindon, offers a bold and exploratory twist on a coming-of-age tale. Lindon plays Suzanne, a 16-year-old student daydreaming through a mundane high-school spring. While walking home, she catches sight of a handsome theater actor, Raphaël (Arnaud Valois), similarly lost in his own thoughts. They’re intrigued by each other, and their conversations eventually whisk them into a world of their own, which Lindon brings to life with freewheeling musical numbers and oneiric vignettes. From Kimstim). Read more here.
For the Family:
“Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 3”: After altering the face of cartoon comedy at Warner Bros. with his development of characters such as Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, Avery headed to M-G-M to further his reign of mayhem with the likes of Screwball Squirrel, Red Hot Riding Hood and Droopy. All of Avery’s star characters are featured here: Droopy, as a Mountie, a bullfighter and a Western deputy; Spike, as a hibernating bear’s weary watchdog; Red, as both Cinderella and a frontier cowgirl; and Screwball Squirrel, as – what else? – an escapee of a lunatic asylum. But it’s the stories, premises and gags that are front and center in Avery’s films – and this collection features his absolute best. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner Archive … “Little Vampire” (2021 — France) is an animated family film. Little Vampire has been 10 years old for the last 300 years. Despite living in a haunted house with a merry group of monsters, he is bored to death. His dream? Going to school to meet other kids. Unfortunately, his parents won’t let him leave the mansion, because they believe the outside world is way too dangerous! Accompanied by his trusted bulldog Phantomato, Little Vampire secretly sneaks out on a quest for new friends. He soon meets a human boy, Michael, but their friendship catches the attention of the terrifying Gibbus, an old enemy that has been chasing Little Vampire and his family for centuries. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Shout! Kids). Read more here.
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.