From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets
Here’s a delightful, often overlooked gem from director Howard Hawks, starring a notoriously suave and daredevil Cary Grant and the always lovely, bewitching Jean Arthur, and featuring Hawks’ penchant for verbal wit and visual craftsmanship. “Only Angels Have Wings” (1939) stars Arthur as a traveling entertainer who gets more than she bargained for during a stopover in a South American port town. There she meets a handsome yet aloof pilot, played by Grant, who runs an airmail company, staring down death while servicing towns in treacherous mountain terrain. Both attracted to and repelled by his romantic sense of danger, she decides to stay on, despite his protestations. This masterful and mysterious adventure, featuring Oscar-nominated special effects, high-wire aerial photography, and Rita Hayworth in a small but breakout role, explores Hawks’s recurring themes of masculine codes and the strong-willed women who question them. On DVD and Blu-ray, in a new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.
“The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun” (2015 — France) is a very stylish psychological thriller about a beautiful secretary who uses her absent boss’ blue Thunderbird to go joyriding in the South of France but ends up involved in murder and intrigue — and begins to doubt her own sanity. After she shuttles her boss and his family to the airport where they depart on a short vacation, Dany (Freya Mavor) decides to take a fantasy joyride along the Mediterranean coast — but her trip quickly turns into a nightmare. At every stop along the way, people recognize her — even though she’s never been there before. And to make matters worse, a dead body is discovered inside the trunk of the car. Has she lost her mind? Director and comic book writer Joann Sfar (“The Rabbi’s Cat,” “Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life”) puts his graphic novel background to good use here with interesting dissolves, split screens, diagrams, flashbacks, flashforwards and flashsideways super-saturated colors and oblique camerawork. It’s a fun and mysterious ride, highlighted by the gorgeous lead whom the camera just loves. Co-stars Benjamin Biolay, Elio Germano and Stacy Martin. The film is based on a novel by Sebastien Japrisot (“One Deadly Summer,” “A Very Long Engagement”); it was originally turned into a film of the same name in 1970 by Anatole Litvak with Samantha Eggar (as Dany), Oliver Reed, John McEnery and Stephane Audran. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment.
From TV to DVD:
In “Don Matteo, Sets 13-15,” Terence Hill stars as a thoroughly ordinary Catholic priest with an extraordinary ability to read people and solve crimes. He’s a parish priest who never met an unjustly accused person he didn’t want to help and his easygoing manner endears him to people, making it easy for them to reveal their secrets when they get into trouble. His friend and chess partner is Marshal Cecchini, who slips him information about new cases much to the chagrin of the police chief who isn’t at all thrilled about the collaboration. But he’s in agreement with Don Matteo about one thing: the importance of justice being served. “Don Matteo, Set 13” includes episodes 129 – 141, “Don Matteo, Set 14” includes episodes 142 – 155, and “Don Matteo, Set 15” includes episodes 156 – 168. Each four-disc set retails for $39.95. From MHz Home Entertainment … “Grace and Frankie: Season One” (2015) is a three-disc set with all 13 episodes. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star in this wildly original, honest look at two frenemies who form an unlikely bond after their lives are flipped upside down — and permanently intertwined — when their husbands (Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen) reveal they are gay and in love with each other. From Lionsgate … “Heroes Reborn: Event Series” (2015-16) is a four-disc set with all 13 episodes. From Tim Kring, the creator of the global phenomenon “Heroes” comes this wildly imaginative and thrilling new volume in the “Heroes” universe featuring a host of new characters with startling powers. After a massive terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas, evolved humans are blamed for the tragic event, forcing them into hiding or on the run from those seeking retribution. The conflict between humans and evolved humans — dubbed “Evos” — escalates into all out civil warfare. “Heroes Reborn” recaptures the magic of the original series and lays the foundation for the next volume in the “Heroes” mythology. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Universal … “Sisters: Season 4” (1993-94) is a six-disc set with all 22 episodes. The story of the unforgettable Reed women continues in the series that follows the lives of Alex (Swoozie Kurtz), Georgie (Patricia Kalember), Frankie (Julianne Phillips), and Teddy (Sela Ward) — four very different women forever connected by the bonds of family. George Clooney and Jo Anderson join an already strong supporting cast for this chapter in the lives of the Reed siblings. From Shout! Factory.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
The success of Stuart Gordon’s hit horror-comedy “Re-animator” meant that a sequel was all but inevitable. The resulting follow-up, “Bride of Re-animator” (1989) — this time helmed by director Brian Yuzna (“Society,” “Return of the Living Dead 3”) — would prove that there was a good deal more life left in the story of Dr. Herbert West and his ghoulish exploits. It is eight years since the Miskatonic massacre. Unperturbed by the disastrous outcome of his previous meddling with the dead, Dr. West (again played by Jeffrey Combs) continues his research into the phenomenon of re-animation; only this time, he plans to create life — starting with the heart of his young protege Dan’s dearly deceased, Meg Halsey. Surely nothing could go wrong? With special effects master Screaming Mad George (the man behind the infamous “shunting” sequence in “Society”) on hand to contribute a host of characteristically weird and wonderful creations — including zombified bats and a one-eyed finger spider — “Bride of Re-animator” is a more than worthy successor to Gordon’s original cult classic. Brand new 2K restorations of the Unrated and R-rated versions of the film, approved by director Brian Yuzna. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “Destroyer & Edge of Sanity” is a double feature of horror featuring Anthony Perkins, making its Blu-ray debut this week. “Destroyer” (1988): The execution of a serial killer is interrupted by a prison riot and, though thought dead, he returns 18 months later to terrorize a film crew shooting a prison movie. Co-stars Lyle Alzado and Deborah Foreman. “Edge of Sanity” (1989): Perkins stars as an outwardly rational Dr. Jekyll who rapidly descends into a world of sexual obsession and murder as Mr. Hyde … and who may also be Jack the Ripper. From Scream Factory … John Carpenter’s “Village of the Damned Collector’s Edition” (1995) makes its Blu-ray debut this week. In the remake of the 1960 British sci-fi classic, something is terribly wrong in the tiny village of Midwich. After an unseen force invades a quiet coastal town, 10 women mysteriously find themselves pregnant. Local physician Dr. Alan Chaffee (Reeve) and government scientist Dr. Susan Verner (Alley) join forces when the women simultaneously give birth… and the reign of supernatural terror begins. Stars Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Michael Pare. From Scream Factory … In “Standoff” (2015), starring Laurence Fishburne, Thomas Jane and Ella Ballentine, Jane plays Carter, a troubled veteran who gets a chance at redemption by protecting a 12-year-old girl from a deadly assassin (Fishburne) after she witnesses a murder. Holding a shotgun with a single shell, he engages in physical and psychological warfare in a desperate fight for the girl’s life. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate … On a flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo, a plane is shaken by severe weather. When the turbulence subsides, a passenger suddenly dies — and a supernatural force is unleashed, overtaking the passengers as they desperately fight to figure out what it is and how to stop it in “Flight 7500” (2015), starring Leslie Bibb, Jamie Chung, Jerry Ferrara, Ryan Kwanten, Johnathon Schaech, Amy Smart. From Lionsgate … First time teacher Eddie Cole turns his detention class into “Sex Ed” (2014), but he might not be the best teacher: His students seem to have more experience than him. Stars Haley Joel Osment, Lorenza Izzo, Kevin Hernandez, Glen Powell, Laura Harring. From Monarch Entertainment.
An unemployed father seeking a gift for his dying daughter, a disturbed woman with a dark past, and a math teacher turned criminal find their fates bound together in the thriller “Magical Girl” (2014 — Spain). When his young daughter is diagnosed with terminal leukemia, Luis becomes obsessed with fulfilling her dying wish: to own an exorbitantly expensive dress inspired by her favorite anime character, “Magical Girl Yukiko.” After an encounter with the beautiful, rich, and mentally unstable Barbara, Luis decides to extort her for the money he needs. Barbara agrees to meet Luis’ demands, but events soon take a shocking turn. Stars Luis Bermejo, Lucia Pollan, Barbara Lennie, Jose Sacristan, Marina Andruix, Raimundo de los Reyes. From First Run Features.
For the Family:
In “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” (2016), with the voices of Jason O’Mara, Jerry O’Connell, Rosario Dawson, Shemar Moore and Christopher Gorham, the demonic forces of Trigon infiltrate the minds and bodies of the Justice League, turning the veteran super heroes against their youthful counterparts in this all-new DC Universe Original Movie. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack from Warner … In “Power Rangers Dino Charge: Resurgence”
(2015), the Red, Black, Blue, Green, and Pink Rangers unite in this new Power Rangers series to save the world from prehistoric pests. The Power Rangers’ skills and teamwork are put to the test as they race to rescue Chase from an evil spell, battle the fast-firing Cavity monster, discover the destructive Ankylo Zord, and face off against a team of Power Ranger clones. From Lionsgate … “Me … Jane … And More Stories About Girl Power” (2016) features four Scholastic Storybook Treasures stories: “Me … Jane”: In this characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. “Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors”: This inspiring story of the first female doctor in America shows how one strong-willed woman opened the doors for all the female doctors to come. “I Could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote:” This is the true story of Esther Morris, who started out life believing she could do anything, and then proved it! “Players in Pigtails”: A story that celebrates a brave girl’s love of the game as she works to become a player in the first-ever All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. From Cinedigm … In “Pound Puppies: Showstopping Pups” (2016), the Pound Puppies are in the spotlight in this new collection of adventures. The little ones can join Lucky, Niblet, Cookie, Squirt and Strudel as they display their song-and-dance skills, solve a mystery, become superheroes and encourage a faded TV star to return to glory. Five episodes: “The Accidental Pup Star,” “It’s Elementary, My Dear Pup Club,” Hot Dawg!,” “The Watchdogs” and “Back in Action.” $9.98 from Shout! Kids … “Power Rangers: Wild Force: The Complete Series” (2002) is a five-disc set with all 40 episodes. The Orgs, an ancient evil, have awakened from a time long forgotten, and threaten the world. The only hope is the floating island in the sky known as the Animarium, the remains of an ancient kingdom destroyed by the Orgs 3000 years ago. There, the Wild Zords recruit five young heroes from the modern world and grant them the power to become Wild Force Power Rangers. To aid the Power Rangers in their battle to save the Earth from the evil Orgs, the Wild Zords descend from their habitat in the sky to prove that when humans and animals work together, nothing can stop them. $14.99 from Shout! Factory.
“Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson” (2016) is the new, must-see four hour documentary, directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon, airing on PBS April 11 and 12. The documentary tells the story of Jack Roosevelt Robinson, who rose from humble origins to break baseball’s color barrier. Robinson waged a fierce lifelong battle for first-class citizenship for all African Americans that transcends even his remarkable athletic achievements. In addition to Rachel, Sharon and David Robinson, “Jackie Robinson” features interviews with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama; former Dodgers teammates Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine and Ralph Branca; writers Howard Bryant and Gerald Early; Harry Belafonte; Tom Brokaw; and Carly Simon. Jamie Foxx is the voice of Jackie Robinson, reading excerpts from his newspaper columns, personal letters and autobiographies. In a two-disc DVD, Blu-ray Disc from PBS Distribution.