From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Highlights:
There’s two worthy films from the 1980s due this week from The Criterion Collection:
The inimitable comic team of Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson star in “Hopscotch” (1980), a nimble tale of international intrigue from master British filmmaker Ronald Neame. Based on Brian Garfield’s best-selling novel, the blithe thriller centers on Miles Kendig (Matthau), a disillusioned retired CIA agent who, with the help of a chic and savvy Viennese widow (Jackson), threatens to publish his memoirs and expose the innermost secrets of every major intelligence agency in the world. Despite being in major hot water with his former colleagues, Kendig refuses to get in line — he’s having too much fun. Set to the sounds of Mozart, this lighthearted sendup of the paranoid dramas of its era is an expertly crafted, singular take on the spy movie. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray … A slow-burning depiction of economic degradation in Thatcher’s England, Mike Leigh’s “Meantime” (1984) was the culmination of the writer-director’s pioneering work in television and became his breakthrough theatrical release. Unemployment is rampant in London’s working-class East End, where a middle-aged couple and their two sons languish in a claustrophobic public housing flat. As the brothers (Phil Daniels and Tim Roth) grow increasingly disaffected, Leigh punctuates the grinding boredom of their daily existence with tense encounters, including with a priggish aunt (Marion Bailey) who has managed to become middle-class and a blithering skinhead on the verge of psychosis (a scene-stealing Gary Oldman, in his first major role). Informed by Leigh’s now trademark improvisational process and propelled by the lurching rhythms of its Beckett-like dialogue, ” Meantime” is an unrelenting, often blisteringly funny look at life on the dole. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Roger Pratt and director Mike Leigh, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
From TV to DVD:
“Billions: Season Two” (2017)is a four-disc set with all 12 episodes of the Showtime Original Series that chronicles a power struggle between a rich hedge fund manager (Damian Lewis) and a hard-charging U.S. Attorney (Paul Giamatti) who probes the billionaire’s fiances. After being deftly outplayed, brilliant hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod is upping his game and using his considerable resources to exact revenge on ruthless U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades. Axe’s aggressive move sends Chuck reeling as he finds himself under investigation, forced to scramble to hang on to his Office and his family. But the embattled prosecutor still has some tricks up his sleeve and it’s not long before Axe learns that money can’t buy everything … or everyone. The series also stars Maggie Siff and Malin Akerman. From Showtime/Paramount … “The Blacklist: Season Four” (2016-17) includes all 22 episodes. A new FBI profiler, Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), has her entire life uprooted when a mysterious criminal, Raymond Reddington (James Spader), who has eluded capture for decades, turns himself in and insists on speaking only to her. In this season, Liz works to resolve the mystery of her lost childhood, but every day without the truth holds more danger for her and her family. Meanwhile, the Task Force reels from Liz’s resurrection and friendships are fractured. Betrayed by those closest to him, Reddington’s specific moral code demands justice, all the while battling an army of new and unexpected blacklisters. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Sony … “Britney Ever After” (2016), starring Natasha Bassett, Nicole Othat follows the tumultuous story of pop icon Britney Spears: from humble beginnings on the Mickey Mouse Club, to her rise to fame, her fall from grace, and eventual triumphant resurrection via sold-out performances in Las Vegas. On DVD from Lionsgate … “Dominion Creek, Series 2” (2017) is a two-disc set with four episodes. Known as “An Klondike” in Ireland and winner of four Irish Film and TV Awards for Series 1, including Best Drama, Lead Actor and Script, the four-part Series 2 stars Owen McDonnell, Seán T.Ó Meallaigh, and Dara Devaney as the Connolly brothers; three Irish emigrants seeking riches in the American Gold Rush. In this season, as the Connolly Brothers continue to grow their influence in Dominion Creek, two new arrivals into town are set to change everything. The storylines and characters draw from historical accounts and are inspired by real life tales of people who experienced the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s.From Acorn Media … “800 Words, Season 2, Part 2” (2017) of the heartwarming Aussie-Kiwi dramedy continues the saga of George Turner (Erik Thomson), a recently widowed father who quits his job as a popular 800 word columnist for a top selling Sydney newspaper, who looks to make a new home for himself and his family in a strangely beautiful and quirky New Zealand coastal town. Two-disc DVD with all eight episodes. From Acorn Media … In “Murdoch Mysteries: Season 10” (2016-17), Yannick Bisson stars as Detective William Murdoch, a methodical and dashing detective who solves crimes in the early 1900s in Toronto, using radical new forensic techniques like fingerprinting, ultraviolet light, and trace evidence to solve some of the city’s most gruesome murders. In Season 10, with all 18 episodes, Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy) deals with post-traumatic stress from her near-death experience; Constable Crabtree (Jonny Harris) faces relationship problems; Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig) gets caught up with a passion for soccer; and morgue attendant Rebecca James (Mouna Traoré) determinedly pursues her medical education. As Murdoch and his team face murdered debutantes and cutthroat athletes amid historical events like the Great Toronto Fire of 1904, old enemies come back to haunt them. Along the way, they encounter some of the greatest minds of the time, including horror author H.P. Lovecraft and inventor Reginald Fessenden. Five-disc DVD, four-disc Blu-ray from Acorn Media … In “NCIS: New Orleans – The Third Season” (2016), a spin-off of NCIS (2003) set in the Crescent City, Special Agent Dwayne Pride, aka “King” (Scott Bakula) leads the team as they investigate criminal cases that affect military personnel. Working alongside Pride is Special Agent Christopher Lasalle (Lucas Black). Series regulars Bakula, Black, CCH Pounder, Shalita Grant, Rob Kerkovich and Daryl Mitchell are joined by series newcomer Vanessa Ferlito. The third season also features a special NCIS crossover episode with appearances by cast members Mark Harmon, Sean Murray and Wilmer Valderrama. From CBS/Paramount … “Riverdale: The Complete First Season” (2017) is a three-disc set with all 13 episodes. Based on the characters from Archie Comics, “Riverdale” gives a subversive take on small-town life. Things aren’t always what you expect in Riverdale. As a new school year begins, the town is reeling from the tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom. The summer’s events made all-American teen Archie Andrews realize that he wants to pursue a career in music, but his fractured friendship with Jughead Jones, and Josie McCoy’s focus on her own band leaves Archie without a mentor. Meanwhile, girl-next-door Betty Cooper is not ready to reveal her true feelings for Archie, and new student, Veronica Lodge, has an undeniable spark with Betty’s crush. And then there’s Cheryl Blossom, Riverdale’s queen bee, who stirs up trouble amongst Archie, Betty and Veronica. But is Cheryl hiding something about the mysterious death of her twin brother, Jason? Riverdale may look like a quiet, sleepy town, but there’s so much more to the story. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Warner.