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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
May 262015
 

From the Big Screen:

“Seventh Son” and “The Loft.” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Highlights:

Like so many greats of world cinema, Rainer Werner Fassbinder has been woefully neglected on American DVD and Blu-ray. Fortunately for us, the folks at The Criterion Collection are plugging gaps in the Fassbinder library with, most recently, releases of “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul” photo for The Merchant of Four Seasons (1974), “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” (1972), “World on a Wire” (1973) and “Eclipse Series 39: Early Fassbinder.” This week they’ve added “The Merchant of Four Seasons” (1971) to the list. Fassbinder kicked off a new phase of his young career when he made this despairing yet mordantly funny film in which he charts the decline of a self-destructive former policeman and war veteran struggling to make ends meet for his family by working as a fruit vendor. Fassbinder had skyrocketed to renown on the acclaim of a series of trenchant, quickly made early films, but for this one he took more time and forged a new style — featuring a more complexly woven script and narrative structure and more sophisticated use of the camera, and influenced by the work of his recently discovered idol, Douglas Sirk. The result is a meticulously made, unforgiving social satire. On DVD and Blu-ray, in a new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.

“Looney Tunes Musical Masterpieces” is a compilation of 18 classic theatrical shorts with two hours of hilarious musical numbers, featuring opera, piano concertos, jazz and much more. photo for Looney Tunes Musical Masterpieces From the brilliant minds of maestro Carl Stalling and animation legends including Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones, comes 18 musical treasures. Join the likes of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Porky Pig in classics including “Corny Concerto,” “What’s Opera, Doc?”, “Rabbit of Seville,” “Three Little Bops,” “I Love to Singa” and “Rhapsody in Rivets.” The complete list: “Corny Concerto,” “Page Miss Glory,” “Rabbit of Seville,” “Katnip Kollege,” “One Froggy Evening,” “High Note,” “Rhapsody Rabbit,” “Pigs in a Polka,” “What’s Opera, Doc?,” “Three Little Bops,” “Hillbilly Hare,” “Rhapsody in Rivets,” “Pizzicato Pussycat,” “Back Alley Oproar,” “Nelly’s Folly,” “Holiday Shoestrings,” “I Love to Singa,” “Lights Fantastic.” These shorts were previously released on “Looney Tunes Golden Collections.” $19.97 from Warner.

From TV to DVD:

“Bob’s Burgers: The Complete 4th Season” (2013-14) is a single-disc with 22 episodes, $26.96 from Fox … “Hello Ladies: The Complete Series and the Movie” (2013) is a three-disc set, $19.98, with all eight episodes of the HBO series about a gawky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. In his first starring series role, Stephen Merchant portrays Stuart, a web designer who relocated to L.A. from England in hopes of finding photo for Hello Ladies: The Complete Series and the Movie excitement, romance, and maybe even a soul mate. Working out of his home office, Stuart has an easy rapport with his attractive roommate Jessica (Christine Woods), though it’s clear she’s not romantically interested in him. Half as charming as he thinks he is — and twice as desperate — Stuart is obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people. Seduced by the promise of the best restaurants and hottest nightclubs, Stuart’s cheapness and pettiness often finds him just outside the door of L.A.’s most desirable locales. Stuart doggedly hits the L.A. social scene in search of beautiful women, often in the company of pals Wade (Nate Torrence), who’s in the throes of a divorce, and Kives (Kevin Weisman), a charismatic paraplegic who fares far better with the ladies than either Stuart or Wade. The series concludes with an 80-minute special, “Hello Ladies: The Movie.” From HBO … “Major Crimes: The Complete Third Season” (2014-15) is a four-disc set with all 19 episodes, $59.98 from Warner … photo for The Nanny: The Complete Series “The Nanny: The Complete Series” (1993-99) is a 19-disc set with all 146 episodes, $149.99. Starring Fran Drescher in her signature role, “The Nanny” — that flashy girl from Flushing with the heart of an angel (and the voice of a slighty more nasal angel) — charmed television audiences throughout its six-season network run detailing the comic misadventures of the sweet and sassy Fran Fine (Drescher), her sophisticated employer, Broadway producer Mr. Sheffield (Charles Shaugnessy), his boisterous brood (Nicholle Tom, Benjamin Salisbury and Madeline Zima) and his wisecracking staff (Lauren Lane and Daniel Davis). From Shout! Factory … photo for Ray Donovan: Season Two In “Ray Donovan: Season Two” (2014), Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber), Boston-bouncer turned Hollywood crisis fixer, can protect just about anything except the unity of his family. As his estranged ex-con father (Jon Voight) dodges the law, Ray’s lonely wife Abby finds herself drawn to a cop. Son Conor may be too close to home while daughter Bridget is slipping away. Can he hold the pieces of his family together while going to bat for celebrities in crisis? Twelve episodes. In a four-disc DVD: $39.98, three-disc Blu-ray: $49.99; from Paramount … “The Rockford Files: Movie Collection – Volume 2” is a two-disc set with four features: “Friends & Foul Play,” “Murder and Misdemeanors,” “Punishment and Crime” and “If It Bleeds… It Leads,” $26.98 from Universal … “The Rockford Files: The Complete Collection” is a 34-disc set with all 120 episodes from its six seasons and all eight television movies, $239.98 from Universal … “Sons of Liberty” (2015) is the five-hour HISTORY miniseries that follows a group of very different men fighting in the American Colonies for freedom: Samuel and John Adams, George Washington, Ben Franklin and John Hancock, from the street brawls in the streets of Boston to the Boston Tea Party to Paul Revere’s ride and the Battle of Lexington. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Lionsgate … photo for The Wonder Years - Season 3 “The Wonder Years – Season 3” (1989-90) is a four-disc set with 23 episodes, $29.98. Kevin experiences a lot of firsts in Season 3 — he gets his first pimple and his first puppy; he has his first French Kiss and joins his first band; and he gets his first “D” in math class. Paul is still as allergic as ever, but gets a boost of confidence from a date with Norma; and Jack and Karen stop fighting long enough to celebrate her 18th birthday, if only for a moment. This season features many fan-favorite episodes — including “Summer Song,” “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” and the Emmy award–winning “Goodbye” – plus, over 2 hours of bonus features including exclusive interviews with Danica McKellar and her sister, Crystal McKellar (Becky Slater). From StarVista/Time Life.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Cut Bank” (2014), starring Liam Hemsworth, Teresa Palmer, Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Dern, Michael Stuhlbarg, Oliver Platt and John Malkovich, Dwayne McClaren (Hemsworth), looking to leave the sleepy town of Cut Bank, hatches a get-rich scheme to get himself out. But when Dwayne’s plan backfires and he’s swept into a murder investigation led by the local sheriff (Malkovich), he discovers that Cut Bank is a small town full of big — and deadly — surprises in this thriller filled with plot twists, dark humor and a gallery of unforgettable characters.On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from From Lionsgate … photo for Cut Bank In “Gun Woman” (2014 — Japan), starring Asami and Kairi Narita, a brilliant doctor vows revenge on a crazy sadistic killer following the murder of his wife … and devises the perfect assassination plan by turning a young woman into the most lethal assassin the world has ever seen. He buys a young woman and trains her, implanting gun parts in her body that she must later assemble and use to kill her target before she bleeds to death. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Scream Factory … After emerging from their bunker following an apocalyptic meteor strike, a group of survivalists discover that the world is overrun with crazed mutants in “Mutant World” (2014), starring Kim Coates, Ashanti, Holly Deveaux and Amber Marshall. From Sony … After the bizarre death of her brother, Johana Burwood (Sarah Hyland) must return home after four years, to face her strange siblings, her out of touch father and her very touchy past in “See You In Valhalla” (2015), starring Sarah Hyland, Steve Howey, Odeya Rush, Bret Harrison, Emma Bell, Jake McDorman, Beau Mirchoff, Michael Weston and Conor O’Farrell. From ARC Entertainment … Welcome to Mykonos, the holiday destination of choice for sun, sea and slaughter. From cult director Nico Mastorakis, “Island of Death” (1976 — Greece) is a travelogue of atrocities with scenes so strong that the British government was once compelled to ban it as a “video nasty.” Arriving on the idyllic Greek island, Christopher and Celia appear to be every inch photo for Island of Death the perfect, handsome young couple. Little do the welcoming locals realize that they are in fact a pair of murderous degenerates, determined to spread their own particular brand of perversion across the island. DIY crucifixions, opportunistic bestiality, sexual peeing and murder by all conceivable forms ensue — including death by makeshift blowtorch, samurai sword, dump truck and more. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … Undeterred by the news of a classmate who recently took his life in nearby Covington Forest, five teens journey into the woods for an evening of flashlight games and ghost stories in “Nightlight” (2015). But their plans go awry when the friends awaken an unseen evil that will seize upon their deepest fears and plunge them into a nightmare of absolute terror. Stars Shelby Young, Chloe Bridges, Carter Jenkins, Mitch Hewer and Taylor Murphy. From Lionsgate … In 1066, following the brutal genocide ordered by William the Conqueror in order to control the unrelenting Rebels of the North, it’s a world of dark times and dark deeds. After years of slavery, a Norman Prince returns to the lost lands to seek revenge on his father’s murderer by leading a band of farmers in bloody retribution in “Sword of Vengeance” (2015), starring Stanley Weber, Annabelle Wallis, Ed Skrein, Dave Legeno and Karel Roden. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Well Go USA … photo for Assassin's Game When his son fails to assassinate an important target, a legendary hit-man is forced out of retirement to finish the job — or his son will be killed in “Assassin’s Game” (2014), starring Tom Sizemore, Vivica A. Fox and Bai Ling. From Lionsgate … There’s a pair of Blu-ray double feature debuts from Scream Factory this week: “Empire of the Ants and Jaws of Satan”: “Empire of the Ants”: (1977) Joan Collins, Robert Lansing, John David Carson, Albert Salmi. Extras: New audio commentary with director Bert I. Gordon. “Jaws of Satan”: (1981) Fritz Weaver, Gretchen Corbett, Jon Korkes, Norman Lloyd … and “The Food of the Gods and Frogs”:
“The Food of the Gods”: (1976) Marjoe Gortner, Pamela Franklin, Ralph Meeker, Jon Cypher, Ida Lupino. Extras: New audio commentary with director Bert I Gordon, new interview with actress Belinda Balaski. “Frogs”: (1972) Ray Milland, Sam Elliott, Joan Van Ark, Adam Roarke.

Foreign:

photo for So Bright Is the View “So Bright Is the View” (2014 — Romania) is the debut of filmmaking brothers Michael and Joel Florescu and an official selection of the 36th Moscow International Film Festival. The Romanian drama follows Estera (Bianca Valea), a middle class Jewish girl in modern-day Bucharest, who’s at a crossroads, forced to choose between pursuing a job in Atlanta working for a nouveau riche business thug, or joining her mother in Israel. With her father in prison for unspecified crimes and her mother about to be evicted, the pregnant Estera — trying hard to work out some sort of future with her boyfriend, Vlad (Robi Ers) — has only one hope: a “friend-interview” with Mike (Ovidiu Niculescu), a Romanian-American businessman, who may or may not have a job offer. From IndiePix Films.

Special Interest:

From first rehearsal to world premiere, “Ballet 422” (2014) takes us backstage at New York City Ballet as Justin Peck, a young up-and-coming choreographer, crafts a new work. “Ballet 422” illuminates the process behind the creation of a single ballet within the ongoing cycle of work at one of the world’s great ballet companies. New York City Ballet, under the artistic photo for Ballet 422 direction of Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins, boasts a roster of more than 90 elite dancers and a repertory of works by many of the greatest choreographers in the history of the art form. When 25-year-old NYCB dancer Justin Peck begins to emerge as a promising young choreographer, he is commissioned to create a new ballet for the company’s 2013 Winter Season. With unprecedented access to an elite world, the film follows Peck as he collaborates with musicians, lighting designers, costume designers and his fellow dancers to create “Paz de la Jolla,” NYCB’s 422nd new ballet. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment … The documentary “Magician: The Astonishing Life & Work of Orson Welles” (2014) looks at the remarkable genius of Orson Welles on the eve of his centenary — the enigma of his career as a Hollywood star, a Hollywood director (for some a Hollywood failure), and a crucially important independent filmmaker. Orson Welles’s life was magical: a musical prodigy at age 10, a director photo for Magician: The Astonishing Life & Work of Orson Welles of Shakespeare at 14, a painter at 16, a star of stage and radio at 20, romances with some of the most beautiful women in the world, including Rita Hayworth. His work was similarly extraordinary, most notably “Citizen Kane,” (considered by many to be the most important movie ever made), created by Welles when he was only 25. In the years following “Citizen Kane,” Welles’s career continued to change as he made film after film (some never finished, many dismissed) and acted in other projects often to earn money in order to keep making his own films. The documentary features scenes from almost every existing Welles film, from “Hearts of Age,” (which he made in a day when he was only 18 years old) to rarely-seen clips from his final unfinished works like “The Other Side of the Dream,” “The Deep” and “Don Quixote,” as well as his television and commercial work. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Cohen Film Collection.

 Posted by on May 26, 2015  Add comments

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