From the Big Screen:
“Gone Girl” and “A Walk Among the Tombstones.” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week’s Highlight:
“The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” (1972): In the early 1970s, Rainer Werner Fassbinder discovered the American melodramas of Douglas Sirk and was inspired by them to begin working in a new, more intensely emotional register. One of the earliest and best-loved films of this period in his career is “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant,” which balances a realistic depiction of tormented romance with staging that remains true to the director’s roots in experimental theater. This unforgettable, unforgiving dissection of the imbalanced relationship between a haughty fashion designer (Margit Carstensen) and a beautiful but icy ingenue (Hanna Schygulla) — based, in a sly gender reversal, on the writer-director’s own desperate obsession with a young actor — is a fully Fassbinder affair, featuring exquisitely claustrophobic cinematography by Michael Ballhaus and full-throttle performances by an all-female cast. New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Michael Ballhaus, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from The Criterion Collection.
From TV to DVD:
“Ancient Aliens Season 6 Volume 2” (2013-14) is a three-disc set with the final 12 episodes of Season 6, $19.99. It’s a journey into a yet uncharted world of astonishing ancestors and phenomenal technological advances. From which supernatural beings do healers and superheroes really gather their powers? Who, or what, were the voices that drove Nikola Tesla to his compulsive need to reinvent the future? Were the winged messengers revered within age-old texts really birds, angels … or aliens? Investigates the creatures of early religious texts including the scorpion-tailed locust in Revelations; Ezekiel’s fiery, angel-driven chariots; and India’s half-human half-reptile gods called Nagas. The voyage travels down the paths of extraterrestrial seduction, Nazi time travel and the mysterious megalithic stone structures which continue to baffle archaeologists. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate … “Boardwalk Empire: Season 5” (2014) concludes the powerful and groundbreaking five-season run. Season 5 of “Boardwalk Empire” begins in 1931, a full six years after the end of Season 4. In stark contrast with the Roaring 20s, the country is in the throes of the Great Depression, and with the end of Prohibition in sight, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) is looking to legitimize himself by forging alliances with liquor producers, including Bacardi in Cuba. Season 5 also includes flashback scenes of Nucky, Eli, the Commodore, Gillian and others from 1884-1900 — childhood experiences that would shape their relationships and their futures. On DVD: $59.99, Blu-ray Disc: $79.98 from HBO … “The Bridge Season Two” (2014) is a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $39.98 from Fox … “Dallas: The Complete Third and Final Season” (2014) is a three-disc set with 14 episodes, $39.98 from Warner … “Duck Commander: Before the Dynasty” (2014) features nine episodes of the “Duck Dynasty” series prequel, $14.98 from Lionsgate … “Episodes: The Third Season” (2014) is a two-disc set with nine episodes, $25.49. Stars Matt LeBlanc in his Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning role as a fictionalized version of himself. Season Three picks up with Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig), the English couple whose hit U.K. sitcom is remade for U.S. audiences and corrupted beyond recognition, back together but they soon discover that it’s not so easy to heal old wounds. Things get no easier for Matt this year as his career and ego continue to be pummeled. From CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount … “House of Lies: The Third Season” (2014)is a two-disc set with 12 episodes, $39.98 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount … “MythBusters 10th Anniversary Collection” (2014) is a 10-disc set that includes 50 episodes selected by the “MythBusters” cast. Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Grant Imahara, Kari Byron, and Tory Belleci tackle more than 35 hours of debunking in this anniversary collection. To celebrate their 10-years, those mad scientists in the MythBusters lab have cooked up their biggest concoction yet with the craziest, coolest, and most combustible conundrums that the scientific world has to offer … and they risk life, limb, and eyebrows to stamp each myth with the official Mythbusters seal. $99.99. From Cinedigm.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
“Jimi: All Is By My Side” (2013) is a Jimi Hendrix rock biopic sans the rock (apparently the Hendrix estate refused to license Jimi’s music for the film) staring Andre Benjamin, Hayley Atwell, Imogen Poots, Andrew Buckley and Ruth Negga. OutKast’s Benjamin stars as Hendrix in this drama from Academy Award-winning writer-director John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”). The film covers a transformative year in Hendrix’s life from 1966-67, in which he went from a New York City backing musician to making his mark in London’s music scene up until his Monterey Pop triumph. On DVD, from XLRator Media … “The Two Faces of January” (2014) is a thriller centered on a con artist, his wife, and a stranger who flee Athens after one of them is caught up in the death of a private detective. Stars Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac. On DVD, Blu-ray from Magnolia Home Entertainment/Magnet Label … “The Identical” (2014), starring Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green, Joe Pantoliano and Blake Rayne, follows twin brothers unknowingly separated at birth during the Great Depression. One, raised by his birth parents, grows up to achieve rock-n-roll stardom 20 years later; the other, adopted by a reverend and his wife, struggles to balance his love for music and pleasing his parents who believe he has been called on by God to become a preacher. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Cinedigm … In “Viktor” (2014), starring Gerard Depardieu, Elizabeth Hurley, Eli Danker and Polina Kuzminskaya, Frenchman Victor Lambert, after spending seven years in jail for an art heist, returns to Moscow to uncover the circumstances behind his son’s brutal murder. Unconcerned for his own well-being, Viktor enters a dark and violent underworld of drugs, diamonds and smugglers, embarking on his own pitiless manhunt. From Inception Media Group … In “Zarra’s Law” (2014), starring Brendan Fehr, Erin Cummings, Nick Sandow, Tony Sirico and Burt Young, retired cop Tony (Sirico) infiltrates the seamy world of organized crime and gets lost in a labyrinth of greed, dead ends, lies when he tries to avenge the death of his brother. From ARC Entertainment … A group of high school teenagers and their parents attempt to navigate the many ways the Internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives in “Men, Women & Children” (2014), directed by Jason Reitman and starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Ansel Elgort, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Dean Norris and Judy Greer. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Paramount … “Revenge of the Green Dragons” (2014), starring Justin Chon, Kevin Wu, Harry Shum Jr., Shuya Chang, Eugenia Yuan, Geoff Pierson and the ever-present Ray Liotta, is based on a New Yorker article chronicling New York’s most notorious street gang, the Green Dragons. Two immigrant brothers join the Green Dragons gang and quickly rise up the ranks and become notorious in the community, drawing the attention of the NYPD’s Detective Bloom. But when an ill-fated love affair pits one of the brothers against the gang’s leader, he sets out for revenge on the group. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate … In “Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse” (2014), a 2,000-year-old ivory carved astrology board holds the secret to a series of global catastrophes unleashed when a mysterious planet crosses the sun. A rogue scientist is the key to deciphering the symbols and humanity’s only chance at survival. Stars Joel Gretsch, Aaron Douglas, Andrea Brooks, Christopher Lloyd. From Anchor Bay … After a weekend of partying with stolen money, three Texas teens find themselves indebted to a sociopathic criminal named Giff in “Bad Turn Worse” (2014). To pay their debt, Giff forces the teens to steal from his boss, a money-laundering gangster named Big Red. But things go from bad to worse when betrayal, distrust, and corruption complicate an already dangerous plan. Stars Jeremy Allen White, Logan Huffman, Mackenzie Davis, William Devane, Mark Pellegrino. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc. from Anchor Bay … Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana to recuperate from a horrific car accident, a young woman comes face to face with a long-tormented spirit that has been seeking her return and clearly has no intention of letting her escape in “Jessabelle” (2014), starring Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, David Andrews and Joelle Carter. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate … In “The Honeymoon” (2014), starring Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Ben Huber and Hanna Brown, a newlywed couple finds their lake-country honeymoon descend into chaos after the husband finds his wife wandering and disoriented in the middle of their first night. As she becomes more distant and her behavior increasingly peculiar, he begins to suspect something more sinister than sleepwalking took place in the woods. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment/Magnet Label … When her husband is sentenced to eight years in prison, Rudy drops out of medical school in order to focus on her husband’s well-being while he’s incarcerated – leading her on a journey of self-discovery in the process in “Middle of Nowhere” (2012), starring Emayatzy Corinealdi, Omari Hardwick, Edwina Findley Dickerson and Sharon Lawrence. From Lionsgate … “The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power” (2015), starring Victor Webster, Lou Ferrigno, Ellen Hollman, Barry Bostwick, Michael Biehn, Rutger Hauer, Roy “Big Country” Nelson, Royce Gracie and Don Wilson, is the third sequel in the action-packed franchise. After the king of Norvania is assassinated, the legendary Scorpion King Mathayus is framed for the crime and must fight off an entire kingdom of soldiers. Now Mathayus (Victor Webster) and his only remaining allies, a mysterious woman and her unconventional father, are the last hope to stop the evil heir to the throne on his quest for an ancient and almighty mystical power. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Universal.
Based on the short stories of Curzio Malaparte, Liliana Cavani’s (“The Night Porter”) Palme d’Or nominee film “The Skin” (1981 — Italy/France) is the director’s controversial look at the aftermath of German occupation of Italy during World War II. After the Allies liberate Naples in 1943, life for the locals is not much easier, especially for women; many must sacrifice their dignity and morals in order to survive. Marcello Mastroianni plays Malaparte, a diplomatic liaison between the Allied and Italian forces, who chronicled the desperate measures taken by his Italian countrymen to endure even after the defeat of their enemy. Burt Lancaster plays liberating American Gen. Mark Clark, who struggles to fathom the devastation around him. Co-stars Claudia Cardinale. Restored and remastered for its U.S. debut. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from the Cohen Film Collection … In “Bird People” (2014 — France), starring Josh Charles, Anais Demoustier and Radha Mitchell, a Silicon Valley engineer (Charles), in an airport hotel on the outskirts of Paris, abruptly quits his job, breaks up with his wife, and isolates himself in his room. But as fate draws him and a young French maid (Demoustier) together, he may just discover the unexpected shakeup his life so desperately needed. From IFC Films … In “Two Mothers (Zwei Mutter)” (2013 — Germany), starring Karina Plachetka and Sabine Wolf, a lesbian couple struggle against inconsistent laws and bigotry in an effort to have a child. From Canteen Outlaws … “Wetlands” (2013 — Germany), starring Carla Juri, Christoph Letkowski, Marlen Kruse, Meret Becker and Axel Milberg, is an unapologetically sexy and subversive comedy based on the best-selling novel by Charlotte Roche. When a bizarre shaving accident lands rebellious teen Helen (Carla Juri) in the hospital, she develops an unlikely bond with her male nurse (Christoph Letkowski) who she seduces with stories of her sexual adventures while using her illness to try and reunite her divorced parents. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Strand Releasing … In Eric Rohmer’s “Four Adventures of Reinette & Mirabelle” (1987 — France), two young women — one from the city, the other from the country — meet and bond over an exquisite atmospheric event, and then room together in Paris, where they encounter many of the inevitable characters of a modern city: the impossible waiter, the metro station hustler, and the snooty gallery owner. On DVD from Icarus Films … In “Once Upon a Time in Shanghai” (2014 — Hong Kong), starring Philip Ng, Andy On and Sammo Hung, a country bumpkin moves to 1930’s Shanghai in the hope of becoming rich, but ends up honing his kung fu skills to become a lethal fighting machine. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA … In Ramon Zurcher’s “The Strange Little Cat” (2014 — Germany), a mother desperately trying not to implode and her youngest daughter who explodes constantly form poles between which sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, cats and cousins weave in and around each other in the tight domestic space of a middle-class Berlin flat. From Icarus Films.
“Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis?” (2014): Ignorance, negligence and indifference at the hands of the U.S. healthcare system are but a few of the unsettling things audiences will witness in an unprecedented documentary that captures the events that precipitated the alleged murder of autistic Chicago teen, Alex Spourdalakis. The documentary from the Autism Media Channel, filmed in the months leading up to Alex’s death, is a troubling and haunting film that depicts a healthcare system ill-equipped to treat a disorder that is increasingly prevalent in our country. Mute and afflicted with severe autism, Alex Spourdalakis went from being a handicapped but happy adolescent to a sleepless, violent young man out of control. Gastrointestinal pain and inflammation lay at the heart of his problem, but failing to recognize this, successive doctors put him in locked restraints for over 70 days while, despite expert advice, they numbed his brain with dangerous psychotropic drugs. Helpless and beyond exhausted, overwhelmed by Alex’s suffering, his mother and Godmother plotted his death and their own, unsuccessful, suicide. From TDC Entertainment.