From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Highlights:
From The Criterion Collection this week comes two classic films, one from America, one from France. One of the fastest, funniest, and most quotable films ever made, “His Girl Friday” (1940) stars Rosalind Russell as reporter Hildy Johnson, a standout among cinema’s powerful women. Hildy is matched in force only by her conniving but charismatic editor and ex-husband, Walter Burns (played by the peerless Cary Grant), who dangles the chance for her to scoop her fellow newswriters with the story of an impending execution in order to keep her from hopping the train that’s supposed to take her to Albany and a new life as a housewife. When adapting Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s smash hit play “The Front Page,” director Howard Hawks had the inspired idea of turning star reporter Hildy Johnson into a woman, and the result is an immortal mix of hard-boiled newsroom setting with remarriage comedy. Also presented here is a brand-new restoration of the 1931″ The Front Page,” the famous pre-Code adaptation of the same material, directed by Lewis Milestone. On DVD and Blu-ray, with a new high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray … “The 400 Blows “ (1959) was François Truffaut’s first feature and also his most personal. Told from the point of view of Truffaut’s cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), “The 400 Blows (Les quatre cents coups)” sensitively re-creates the trials of Truffaut’s own childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, and petty crime. The film marked Truffaut’s passage from leading critic to trailblazing auteur of the French New Wave. On DVD and Blu-ray, in a restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray … For a sweet, innocuous, teen angst coming-of-age romantic comedy, check out “Hickey” (2017), starring Troy Doherty, Flavia Watson, Raychel Diane Weiner, Zedrick Restauro and Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr. Brilliant but insecure Ryan Chess (Doherty) has spent the entire summer trying to decide where to go to college. He has a full ride to MIT, but staying in town and attending UCLA would keep him close to longtime crush Carly (Watson), who works at the same electronics store as him. But when the branch is ordered to be closed, Ryan and the rest of his co-workers have one day to save the store …and give him the chance to win the heart of the girl he loves. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Gravitas Ventures.
From TV to DVD:
“Broad City: Season Three” (2016) is a two-disc set with all 10 episodes of the series that follows two women throughout their daily lives in New York City, making the smallest and mundane events hysterical and disturbing to watch, all at the same time. This season Abbi, Ilana and a lineup of special guests find true love (or one-night stands), get high on life (among other things) and show New York City how it’s done. From Paramount … “Homeland Season Five” (2015) is a four-disc DVD, three-disc Blu-ray set with all 12 episodes. Now working at a private security firm in Berlin, Carrie (Claire Danes) is trying to start a new life, but she soon discovers she can’t escape her past. Blindsided by stunning betrayals, and without Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and Quinn (Rupert Friend) to rely on, Carrie must uncover a deadly conspiracy that puts thousands of lives at risk, including her own. From Fox … “Mr. Robot: Season 2” (2016) is a four-disc DVD, three-disc Blu-ray set with all 12 episodes of the series that follows Elliot Alderson, a young cyber-security engineer who becomes involved in the underground hacker group fsociety, after being recruited by their mysterious leader. Following the events of fsociety’s 5/9 hack on multi-national company Evil Corp, the second season explores the consequences of that attack as well as the illusion of control. From Universal … The Original King of Late Night is back and better than ever with this new-to-retail DVD series, featuring the very best episodes from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Each DVD features full episodes — including original commercials — that showcase an amazing talent and true American icon who, across 30 years and 4,000 shows, paved the way for a late night TV revolution in memorable fashion. The inaugural release — “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends (Featuring Jerry Seinfeld)” (2017) — contains three complete episodes starring the inimitable Seinfeld before his eponymous sitcom re-wrote TV history. After his first appearance (May 6, 1981), Carson was impressed and Seinfeld became a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show”. In 1989, Seinfeld debuted on NBC, and by its fourth season, it had become the most popular and successful sitcom on American television. This “Johnny And Friends” release features three pre-Seinfeld episodes, June 27, 1985; February 21, 1986 and June 9, 1988. Also appearing: Arnold Schwarzenegger, an 18-year-old Andre Agassi, and Oprah Winfrey in her first “Tonight Show” outing. From Time Life.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
In “Lost & Found” (2016), starring Justin Kelly, Benjamin Stockham, Celeste Desjardins, Jason Patric and Cary Elwes, young brothers Andy and Mark, sent to spend the summer with their uncle on a remote island, learn that their eccentric grandfather once owned the island, but vanished without a trace … taking with him the secret to a vast fortune. Delving into the mysterious past of the island, the brothers discover that their grandfather designed a complex treasure hunt, a hunt that could lead to unimaginable wealth and heal their broken family – if they can find it in time. Sinister forces also search for the money and will stop at nothing to keep the boys from their quest. From Sony … In “Max Steel” (2016), starring Ben Winchell, voice of Josh Brener, Maria Bello, Andy Garcia, Ana Villafañe and Mike Doyle, 16-year-old Max McGrath is just trying to fit in at his new school when he discovers that his body can generate a mysterious energy. When he meets Steel — a rebellious techno-organic alien who has been secretly watching him — the two unlikely friends find themselves hunted, and must band together to form the superhero Max Steel to stop the sinister forces after them. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Universal … “xXx: 15th Anniversary Edition” (2002), starring Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Marton Csokas and Samuel L. Jackson, has been remastered and released just in time for the Jan. 20 theatrical release of “xXx: Return of Xander Cage,” starring Diesel, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa. On Blu-ray Disc, with a new “Origins of a Renegade” featurette and such archival special features as deleted scenes, 10 featurettes, commentary, music videos. From Sony.
On the Indie Front:
In “The Harrow” (2016), Miller, a southern drifter, lives in seclusion in an abandoned 100-year-old slaughterhouse — his only company visions of Gale, his dead lover who was murdered a decade ago. When Gale’s daughter Ruth arrives, looking to dig up the past, she and Miller reassemble the shards of his shattered memory and are horrified at what they uncover. Stars Sonya Harum, Maggie Geha, Tom McKay, Geneva Carr.From Breaking Glass Pictures … “Closet Monster” (2015), starring Connor Jessup, Aaron Abrams and Aliocha Schneider, is a surreal tale that follows the artistically driven Oscar (Jessup) hovering on the brink of adulthood. Struggling to find his place in the world after a rough childhood and haunted by images of a tragic incident, Oscar dreams of escaping his small town. After he meets a mysterious and attractive new co-worker, Oscar follows the guidance of his pet hamster Buffy (voiced by Isabella Rossellini) and faces his demons to find the life he wants. From Strand Releasing.
“The People vs. Fritz Bauer” (2015 — Germany), starring Rudiger Klink and Burghart Klaussner, is the story of the man who brought high-ranking German Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann to justice. Germany, 1957. Attorney General Fritz Bauer receives crucial evidence on the whereabouts of SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann. The lieutenant colonel, responsible for the mass deportation of the Jews, is allegedly hiding in Buenos Aires. Bauer, himself Jewish, has been trying to take crimes from the Third Reich to court ever since his return from Danish exile. However, there’s little success due to the fierce German determination to repress its sinister past. Due to his distrust of the German justice system, Bauer contacts the Israeli secret service Mossad, and by doing so, commits treason.On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Cohen Media Group.
For the Family:
“Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir: Be Miraculous” (2016) is the third volume of action adventure from the CGI-animated Nickeleodeon TV series. The time is now. The city is Paris. And two amazing heroes stand to protect its citizens against evildoers: Ladybug and Cat Noir. But can this uncanny duo continue to keep their city safe from dastardly ne’er-do-wells and get their homework in on time? The superheroes known as Ladybug and Cat Noir are actually Marinette and Adrien, two young students with super-secret lives. Seven episodes, $9.99, from Shout! Kids … In “Apple of My Eye” (2016), starring Avery Arendes, Amy Smart, Liam McIntyre and Burt Reynolds, a young girl who defines herself by her equestrian abilities struggles after she loses her eyesight following a traumatic accident. Her devoted parents do everything possible to help her adjust, but she’s unable to connect to anyone or anything. That is, until she meets Charlie (Reynolds), a guide dog trainer who introduces her to Apple, an affectionate miniature horse, who becomes her new eyes — and new best friend. From Sony.
“The Story of God With Morgan Freeman” (2016) is a two-disc set with all six episodes of the National Geographic series hosted by Morgan Freeman that investigates how the power of religion touches all of our lives, no matter what our faith. Freeman presents his quest to find how most religions perceive life after death, what different civilizations thought about the act of creation, and other big questions that humankind has continuously asked since the dawn of time. From Fox.