From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets
In 1968, acclaimed director Toshio Masuda (“Rusty Knife,” “Tora! Tora! Tora!”) and rising star Tetsuya Watari (“Tokyo Drifter”) teamed up for “Outlaw: Gangster VIP,” a gritty yakuza yarn based on the writings of real life ex-gangster Goro Fujita. The series offers up a depiction of the Japanese underworld that was unprecedented in its realism and its sympathetic portrayal of its protagonist as a man haunted by his past, unable to escape a life of crime. The success of the initial installment spawned five sequels, continuing the story of the lone wolf “Slasher” Goro and his quest for redemption. The films presented a new kind of realism and violence that would prefigure Kinji Fukasaku’s “Battles Without Honor and Humanity” series. With their winning combination of brutal violence, gang warfare and sweeping romance, these films make for a unique and unforgettable viewing experience. The “Outlaw: Gangster VIP Collection” set includes six films in the “Outlaw” series released for the first time in the West: “Gangster VIP,” “Gangster VIP 2,” “Heartless,” “Goro the Assassin,” “Black Dagger” and “Kill!” Limited edition box set (3000 copies) containing all six films available with English subtitles for the first time on any home video format High Definition digital transfers from original film elements by Nikkatsu Corporation. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.
Courtesy of horror auteur and cult filmmaker Larry Cohen (director of the “It’s Alive” series, “Bone,” “God Told Me To,” “Q: The Winged Serpent,” and scribe behind the “Maniac Cop” trilogy), “The Stuff” (1985) is a titillating treat for the taste-buds that blends elements of films such as “Street Trash” with the straight-up B-movie flavor of “The Blob.” Are you eating it … or is it eating you? The Stuff is the new dessert taking supermarket shelves by storm. It’s delicious, low in calories and – better still – doesn’t stain the family carpet … What’s not to like?! Well, for a start it has a life of its own, and we’re not talking friendly live bacteria … Young Jason seems to be the only one who doesn’t love The Stuff – in fact he won’t go anywhere near it, after having seen the pudding crawling around the fridge one night. What’s more, everyone who eats The Stuff has started acting really weird … Now, teaming up with wise-cracking industrial saboteur “Mo,” Jason must put a stop to The Stuff and the organization behind it or face a gooey, gloopy demise. Coming So grab a spoon and dig on into The Stuff – the taste that delivers … much more than you bargained for! New High Definition restoration of the film from a brand new 2K scan of the original camera negative. On Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.
“Forbidden Hollywood Volume 10” is the tenth and final volume in Warner Archive Collection’s Forbidden Holltywood pre-code film series. Includes: W.S. Van Dyke’s “Guilty Hands” (1931), starring Lionel Barrymore as a DA who commits the perfect crime. Kay Francis co-stars; James Flood & Elliott Nugent’s “The Mouthpiece” (1932) stars Warren William in a breakout performance as a DA turned defense attorney; Edward Sutherland spills the “Secrets of the French Police” (1932) as an inspector (Frank Morgan) and a thief (John Warburton) scour the underworld for a waif who may be Princess Anastasia (Gwili Andre); Howard Bretherton & William Keighley’s “The Match King” (1932), starring Warren William in the title role and based on the real-life story of industrialist Ivar Kreuger. Glenda Farrell delivers the glam; “Babyface” Barbara Stanwyck sizzles as a spouse torn between love (Otto Kruger) and country in Archie Mayo’s “Ever in My Heart” (1933) with Ralph Bellamy as “the other guy” (naturally!). From Warner.
Whit Stillman followed his delightful indie breakthrough “Metropolitan” with another clever and garrulous comedy of manners, “Barcelona” (1994), this one with a darker edge. A pair of preppy yet constitutionally mismatched American cousins — a salesman and a navy officer — argue about romance and politics while working in the beautiful Spanish city of the film’s title. Set during the eighties, “Barcelona” explores topics both heady (American exceptionalism, Cold War foreign policy) and hilarious (the ins and outs of international dating, the proper shaving method) while remaining a constantly witty delight, featuring a sharp young cast that includes Taylor Nichols, Chris Eigeman and Mira Sorvino. On DVD and Blu-ray, in a new, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Whit Stillman and cinematographer John Thomas, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection. Stillman’s work is not for everyone, but if you enjoy his films, then you should snap up Criterion’s “A Whit Stillman Trilogy: Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco,” which brings all his work together in one set along with commentaries, deleted scenes, outtakes, video interviews and more.
From TV to DVD:
“And Then There Were None” (2015), Agatha Christie’s classic tale, is here adapted by the BBC, in a two-disc set with three episodes. Stars Sarah Phelps, Maeve Dermody, Aidan Turner, Charles Danc, Anna Maxwell Martin, Sam Neill, Miranda Richardson, Douglas Booth, Maeve Dermody, Burn Gorman, Toby Stephens, Noah Taylor. As the world teeters on the brink of World War II, 10 strangers are invited to isolated Soldier Island. Among them are young secretary Vera Claythorne (Dermody), soldier Philip Lombard (Turner), General John MacArthur (Neill), spinster Emily Brent (Richardson), and Judge Lawrence Wargrave (Dance). With seemingly nothing in common, the guests wonder who their mysterious host may be. But the ominous reason for their visit soon becomes clear … the guests start dying one by one. From Acorn Media … The first Western to be made in Ireland, “Dominion Creek” (2015) follows the ambitious Connolly brothers — recent immigrants from Ireland as they work the silver mines of Montana in 1897 and dream of riches and adventure. Seduced by rumors of a greater prize to the north, they embark on a dangerous journey to the heart of the Yukon in this tale of greed, love, betrayal … and gold. From Acorn Media … “Haven: The Final Season” (2014-15) is a four-disc set with the last 13 episodes of the Syfy series based on Stephen King’s novella “The Colorado Kid” that follows former FBI agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) and her supernatural exploits in the small town of Haven, Maine. The final season presents hometown heroes Audrey, Nathan (Lucas Bryant), Duke (Eric Balfour) and Dwight (Adam Copeland) with challenges unlike any they’ve experienced before: The town of Haven has been cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious fog bank and is on its own. Through journeys into the past, the future, and the very fabric between worlds, events in Haven hurtle towards a cataclysmic showdown. From Entertainment One … “Little House on the Prairie: Season Nine Deluxe Remastered Edition” (1982-82) is a five-disc set with all 21 episodes, restored and remastered. It’s time to say farewell to Walnut Grove and the Ingalls Family in the ninth and final season of this unrivaled series, a season of change when the Wilders take in their sweet niece Jenny; when Laura wins a book-writing contest; when a jealous Nancy runs away; and when Willie surprises the family with his engagement. From Lionsgate … “Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Sixth Season” (2015-16) is a five-disc set with all 21 episodes, $49.99 from Warner … “Silicon Valley: The Complete Second Season” (2015) is a two-disc set with all 10 episodes of the series that takes a comic look at the modern-day epicenter of the high-tech gold rush, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success. After taking the tech world by storm last season at TechCrunch Disrupt, Richard and rest of the Pied Piper team — Erlich, Jared, Dinesh and Gilfoyle — look ahead to a bright and profitable future. But their success may be in jeopardy, thanks to big changes at Raviga, the company created by Peter Gregory, and Nucleus, the competing compression platform launched by Hooli CEO Gavin Belson. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from HBO … “Veep: The Complete Fourth Season” (2015) is a two-disc set with all 10 episodes. Having become president after her predecessor stepped down, it remains to be seen whether Selina’s term will outlast that of America’s shortest-serving president, William Henry Harrison. The stakes for Selina and her team are higher than ever before: she must still run for election, and her people must grapple with how to make her seem “presidential.” The fourth season of the hit HBO comedy series was the winner of five 2015 Emmy awards including Outstanding Comedy series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy series (Julia Louis-Dreyfus who has won an Emmy for each season of Veep), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Tony Hale) and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Skewering the whirlwind day-to-day existence of the Vice President’s office and Washington politics at-large, the series continues to prove that in Washington, even the most banal decisions can have ripple effects, with unexpected and far-reaching consequences. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from HBO … “When Calls the Heart: Troubled Hearts” (2015) is the latest episode in the series based on the work of author Janette Oke (“The Love Comes Softly” series). Big revelations are in store for Hope Valley as Elizabeth moves into her own rowhouse, dismaying Jack, who has been planning to build a new home for the both of them. Rosemary discovers that Lee has taken out a loan and worries that he’s in financial difficulties. And Jesse, the young drifter who works in Abigail’s kitchen, has information that could ruin Pastor Frank’s good standing in Hope Valley. From Shout! Factory.