From the Big Screen:
“Minions” and “Ant-Man.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week’s Highlights:
“Battles Without Honor and Humanity” (1973), a violent yakuza saga that has influenced filmmakers from Quentin Tarantino to Takashi Miike. Made within just two years, the five-film series brought a new kind of realism and ferocity to the crime genre in Japan, revitalizing the industry and leading to unprecedented commercial and critical success. Fukasaku and his team broke with the longstanding studio tradition of casting marquee idols as honorable, kimono-clad heroes, defending their gang bosses against unscrupulous villains, and instead adapted true accounts torn from the headlines, shot in a documentary-like style, and with few clear-cut heroes or villains. The vibrancy and dynamism of the filmmaking, plus its shocking violence, Shakespearean plotlines, and wide tapestry of characters, launched a revolutionary new genre, establishing the series as one of the great masterpieces of world crime cinema. Thirteen Blu-ray disc limited edition box set, $149.95 from Arrow Video/MVD … The highly-anticipated restoration of the underground film classic “Thundercrack!” (1975), the world’s only underground kinky art adult horror film, complete with four men, three women and rampaging circus animals. With the initial setup of an atmospheric gothic tale — a dark and stormy night breakdown featuring a creepy old house on the hill — it quickly turns into an eerie orgy of graphic humor, horror and sex. A tour de force of underground filmmaking with a plot beyond description, this film fully exposes itself with amazing dialogue and trash-noir lighting through which to peer at the pickles, the puke and the polymorphs. In 1975, Curt McDowell and writer-actor George Kuchar created the exceptionally perverse and utterly brilliant “Thundercrack!,” a film not recommended for those with tender sensibilities. A true cult classic that has shocked, excited and amazed audiences worldwide for 40 years, this presentation is the first ever official North American video release. Stars Marion Eaton, George Kuchar, Melinda McDowell, Mark Ellinger, Mookie Blodgett, Ken Scudder, Moira Benson. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc fro Synapse Films/CAV Distributing … Takashi Murakami, one of the most popular artists in the world, made his directorial debut with “Jellyfish Eyes” (2013) taking his boundless imagination to the screen in a tale that is about friendship and loyalty at the same time as it addresses humanity’s penchant for destruction. After moving to a country town with his mother following his father’s death, a young boy befriends a charming, flying, jellyfish-like sprite — only to discover that his schoolmates have similar friends, and that neither they nor the town itself are what they seem to be. Pointedly set in a post-Fukushima world, Murakami’s modest-budgeted special effects extravaganza boasts unforgettable creature designs and carries a message of cooperation and hope for all ages. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, with a new, high-definition digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.
Also due this week: “Speedy” (1928), the last silent feature to star Harold Lloyd — and one of his very best, in which he plays a good-natured but scatterbrained New Yorker who can’t keep a job. He finally finds his true calling when he becomes determined to help save the city’s last horse-drawn trolley, which is operated by his sweetheart’s crusty grandfather. From The Criterion Collection … the Blu-ray debut of “You Can’t Take It With You” (1938) directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore and Edward Arnold. All-new 4K restoration, presented in collectible 24-page digibook packaging with rare photos and a new essay by film historian Jeremy Arnold. From Sony.
From TV to DVD:
For two seasons (1976-1978) and 37 episodes, Don Rickles brought his distinctive brand of comedy to NBC-TV as the star of “CPO Sharkey.” Politically incorrect before the term existed, Rickles’ character, Chief Petty Officer Otto Sharkey, a 24-year naval veteran, had pretty much seen and heard it all, and he whipped his recruits into shape at the San Diego naval training center with his sharpened shards of wisdom. “CPO Sharkey: The Best of Season One” delivers six complete episodes as they originally aired on NBC, highlighting Rickles’ snappiest sitcom performances. Episodes include “Oh Captain My Captain,” where the chauvinistic Sharkey meets his new commanding officer, who turns out to be a woman; “The Dear John Letter,” in which Chief Robinson (Harrison Page) suspects Sharkey to be a smooth ladies man; “Goodbye Dolly,” featuring an inflatable doll that causes a ruckus in the barracks until everyone’s favorite Chief Petty Officer quickly deflates the situation; “Sunday in Tijuana,” with some South of the Border jail time for the men of Company 144; “Sharkey Boogies on Down,” where Rickles tests his dance moves at a disco for Chief Robinson’s birthday; and “Sharkey’s Secret Life,” in which the recruits are convinced that Sharkey may be gay after he purchases a toupee from a mysterious, shoulder-purse-toting wig salesman. On DVD, $12.95 from Time Life … “Family Guy Season 13” (2014-15) is a three-disc set with 18 episodes. From Fox … “Hannibal: Season Three” (2015) is a four-disc DVD, three-disc Blu-ray with all 13 episodes of the series based on the characters and elements appearing in the novel “Red Dragon.” Stars Mads Mikkelsen as the iconic Hannibal Lecter, Hugh Dancy, Gillian Anderson, and Laurence Fishburne. Hannibal (Mikkelsen) is on the run in Europe — accompanied by his psychiatrist, Bedelia Du Maurier (Anderson) — sporting a new identity, but servicing the same insatiable appetite. As the lives of Will (Dancy) and Jack (Fishburne) converge toward Hannibal again, each with their own motivations to catch him once and for all, their deadly dance turns in startling and unexpected ways. From Lionsgate … “The Unauthorized Full House Story” (2015), starring Garrett Brawith, Justin Mader, Justin Gaston, Stephanie Bennett, Writtney Wilson, Jordyn Ashley Olson, is a “tell-all” TV movie based on the 90s sitcom that showcases the “Full House” stars’ rise to fame and their attempts to balance life on and off the screen. “Full House” is more popular than ever with an eagerly anticipated Netflix continuation “Fuller House.” The movie also explores the warm bond that grew between the actors over the eight-year run of the show. From Lionsgate.