This Week’s Best Bets:
The folks at The Criterion Collection have two remarkable films on hand this week:
“The Bridge” (1959) and “The Fisher King” (1991). The astonishing “The Bridge,” by Bernhard Wicki, was the first major antiwar film to come out of Germany after World War II, as well as the nation’s first postwar film to be widely shown internationally, even securing an Oscar nomination. Set near the end of the war, it follows a group of teenage boys in a small town as they contend with everyday matters like school, girls, and parents, before enlisting as soldiers and being forced to defend their home turf in a confused, terrifying battle. This expressively shot, emotionally bruising drama dared to humanize young German soldiers at a historically tender moment, and proved influential for the coming generation of New German Cinema auteurs.On DVD, Blu-ray Disc. New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. A fairy tale grounded in poignant reality, the magnificent, Manhattan-set “The Fisher King,” by Terry Gilliam, features Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams in two of their most brilliant roles. Bridges plays a former radio shock jock reconstructing his life after a scandal, and Williams is a homeless man on a quest for the Holy Grail — which he believes to be hidden somewhere on the Upper West Side. Unknowingly linked by their pasts, the two men aid each other on a fanciful journey to redemption. This singular American odyssey features a witty script by Richard La Gravenese (“The Bridges of Madison County”), evocative cinematography by Roger Pratt (“12 Monkeys”), and superb supporting performances by Amanda Plummer and an Oscar-winning Mercedes Ruehl, all harnessed by Gilliam into a humane, funny modern-day myth. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc. New, restored 2K digital transfer, approved by director Terry Gilliam, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
From TV to DVD:
“That Show With Joan Rivers” (1968-69) is a four-disc set with 29 episodes from the first season of Joan River’s syndicated daytime talk show, $11.99 from Film Chest Media Group … In “When Calls the Heart: Heart And Soul” (2014), Elizabeth Thatcher, a young school teacher from a wealthy Eastern family, migrates from the big city to teach school in a small coal mining town in the west. Hallmark movie 2 of Season 2. Based on the books by Janette Oke (“The Love Comes Softly” series) From Shout! Factory … “Workaholics: Season 5 “ (2015) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes.On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Paramount.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
In “The Forger” (2015), starring John Travolta, Christopher Plummer, Tye Sheridan, Jennifer Ehle, Abigail Spencer and Anson Mount, the world’s best art forger (John Travolta) makes a deal with a crime syndicate to get an early release from prison, but in return he must pull of an impossible heist — he must forge a painting by Claude Monet, steal the original from a museum and replace it with a replica so perfect that no one will notice. He enlists the help of his father (Christopher Plummer) and son (Tye Sheridan) and together they plan the heist of their lives. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate … After being mysteriously framed for a terrorist bombing, a Foreign Service Officer (Milla Jovovich) must evade government capture and death by a ruthless assassin (Pierce Brosnan) in order to stop the real perpetrators’ master — and much deadlier — plan in “Survivor” (2015), starring Pierce Brosnan, Milla Jovovich, Dylan McDermott, Emma Thompson, Angela Bassett, Antonia Thomas and James D’Arcy. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Alchemy … Devastated by his wife’s suicide, which according to his beliefs condemns her to hell, Lee Leung (Simon Yam) decides to save as many souls as he can by killing suicidal people before they do it themselves. After surrendering himself to the police, he realizes that someone may have been pulling his strings all along in “Cross” (2014 — Hong Kong), co-starring Jason Chang, Kenny Wong, Morning Mo, Kageyama Yukihiko, Liu Kai Chi, Nick Cheung. From Well Go USA … Based on V.C. Andrews’s bestselling “Dollanganger” series of books, “If There Be Thorns” (2015) is the third installment, following “Petals on the Wind” and the highest-rated made-for-cable movie in 2014, “Flowers in the Attic,” shadowing the tragically dysfunctional Dollanganger family as they try to escape their past, only to find out there are some things you can never leave behind. Stars Heather Graham, Jason Lewis, Mason Cook, Emily Tennant, Rachel Carpani. From Lionsgate … In “Teen Beach 2” (2015), modern day teens Mack and Brady get a real world visit from Lela, Tanner, Butchy, and other surfer and biker pals from the beach party film within a film, “Wet Side Story.” Stars Ross Lynch, Maia Mitchell, Grace Phipps, Garrett Clayton. Due June 26 from Disney.