New Releases for the Week of January 9

From the Big Screen:

“It,” “The Foreigner” and “My Little Pony: The Movie.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bet:

Few American historical figures are as revered as Abraham Lincoln, and few director-star collaborations embody classic Hollywood cinema as beautifully as the one between John Ford and Henry Fonda. “Young Mr. Lincoln” (1939), their first together, was Ford’s equally poetic and significant follow-up to the groundbreaking western “Stagecoach,” and in it, Fonda gives one of the finest performances of his career, as photo for Young Mr. Lincolnthe young president-to-be as a novice lawyer, struggling with an incendiary murder case. Photographed in gorgeous black and white by Ford’s frequent collaborator Bert Glennon, “Young Mr. Lincoln” is a compassionate and assured work and an indelible piece of Americana. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray debut. The film is a watershed production — for Ford, for Fonda and, later, in the 1970s, for film theory and criticism. From Geoffrey O’Brien’s essay, from the release:

“In Young Mr. Lincoln, John Ford achieves the perfection of his art. Never were his matter and his method more aptly fitted, and never were his tendencies toward sprawl and overemphasis more rigorously controlled. It is a masterpiece of concision in which every element in every shot, every ratio, every movement, every shift of viewpoint seems dense with significance, yet it breathes an air of casual improvisation. While its surfaces paint, with relaxed humor and effortless nostalgic charm, an imaginary antebellum America, it sustains an underlying note of somber apprehension, all the more powerful for being held in check.

In a by-now famous essay in the August 1970 issue of Cahiers du cinéma, the editors used post-modern rhetoric (based on the work of Louis Althusser, Roland Barthe and Jacques Lacan, and using Marxist, semiological and Freudian discourses) in a scene-by-scene analysis of the film to discover the ideological underpinnings of the film — and American culture. The essay set the standard for a radical, political analysis of cinema that looked at films that, though firmly in the vein of “bourgeois ideology,” revealed the ruptures in that ideology.

Extras include a new audio commentary featuring film scholar Joseph McBride (“Searching for John Ford: A Life”); “Omnibus: John Ford, Part One,” director Lindsay Anderson’s profile of the life and work of director John Ford before World War II; talk show appearance by Fonda from 1975; audio interviews from the seventies with Ford and Fonda, conducted by the filmmaker’s grandson Dan Ford; Academy Award radio dramatization of the film; an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and an homage to Ford by filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein. From The Criterion Collection.

From TV to DVD:

“Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Second Season” (1968-69) is the latest DVD installment of TV’s legendary, star-studded, pop culture variety show. The six-disc set features 26 complete, remastered episodes from the iconic and groundbreaking Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series. Guest stars include Mel Brooks, Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis Jr., Kirk Douglas, Hugh Hefner, Jack Lemmon, Liberace, Bob photo for Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In: The Complete Second SeasonNewhart, Richard Nixon, Don Rickles and many more. When, in 1968, presidential nominee Richard Nixon rhetorically queried “Sock it to me?” on “Laugh-In,” it helped to elevate him to the White House and was named by Time Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Presidential Pop Culture Moments.” That’s just one of the many unforgettable pop culture highlights in a transformative season full of them. The ’60s gave us “in-crowds,” “be-ins” and “love-ins,” and starting in 1968, the happening place for free-form comedy was “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” broadcast from beautiful downtown Burbank. Straight man Dan Rowan and wisecracking co-host Dick Martin led a gaggle of goofballs including Goldie Hawn, Judy Carne, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Gary Owens, Jo Anne Worley and Alan Sues through a rapid-fire assault of one-liners, skits, bits and non sequiturs that left viewers in hysterics and disbelief. This set includes such classic, long-running features as “Sock It to Me,” “Cocktail Party,” “The Fickle Finger of Fate” and “Gladys and Tyrone,”; lighthearted salutes to higher education, machines, pollution, dancing class, police, the telephone company, the post office, and Raquel Welch; Pigmeat Markham, reclaiming his “Here Comes the Judge” routine, dispensing justice with a large rubber gavel to the noggin; Tiny Tim singing and exploring Burbank and more. From Time Life.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Bullet Head” (2017), starring Adrien Brody, Antonio Banderas and John Malkovich, three career criminals find themselves trapped in a warehouse with the law closing in after a heist gone tragically wrong. Inside the warehouse, however, a more dangerous threat awaits — and the fugitives are plunged into a furious battle for their lives. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Lionsgate … “Marshall” (2017), starring Chadwick Boseman, Sterling K. Brown, Kate Hudson and Josh Gad, is based on the incredible true story of future Supreme Court Justice photo for MarshallThurgood Marshall and one of the landmark cases of his life. It follows the young lawyer (Boseman) to conservative Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur (Brown) charged with sexual assault and attempted murder of his white socialite employer (Hudson). Muzzled by a segregationist court, Marshall partners with a courageous young Jewish lawyer (Gad) and together they mount the defense in an environment of racism and anti-Semitism. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Digital, from Universal … In “Friend Request” (2017), a cautionary tale about social media, starring Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan and Liesl Ahlers, Laura (Debnam-Carey) is a popular college student who lives her college life to the fullest and gladly shares it with her 800 Facebook friends. But when she accepts a friend request from her mysterious classmate Marina (Ahlers), she unwittingly sets a terrible curse in motion. One after another, her closest friends die horrendous deaths, leaving Laura with only a few days to solve the enigma of this haunting curse to save the few friends she has left, as well as her own life. On DVD from Lionsgate … photo for Bad Day for the Cut In the witty and ultra-violent thriller “Bad Day for the Cut” (2017), starring Nigel O’Neill, Susan Lynch, Józef Pawlowsku, Stuart Graham, David Pearse, Brian Milligan and Anna Prochniak, a mild-mannered farmer sets off on a bloody quest for vengeance after his elderly mother is brutally murdered. As he tracks her killers through the criminal underworld of Belfast, he begins to realize that there was a darker side to his beloved mother — and to himself. The film made its world debut in the Midnight section at the Sundance Film Festival. On Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA … In “November Criminals” (2017), starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Ansel Elgort, Jared Kemp, Catherine Keener and David Strathairn, college bound friends Phoebe (Moretz) and photo for November Criminals Addison (Elgort) find themselves falling for one another. After the mysterious murder of their friend and classmate Kevin Broadus (Kemp), they defy the authorities and put themselves at risk to uncover the truth from the lies and rumors. Inspired by Sam Munson’s 2010 novel. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Sony … In “68 Kill” (2017), starring Matthew Gray Gubler and AnnaLynne McCord, trailer-dwelling, sewage-pumping Chip may not lead the most glamorous life, but he’s got one thing going for him: He’s head over heels infatuated with his girlfriend, Liza. So when she proposes a plot to steal $68,000, he goes along with the plan. But when what was supposed to be a simple heist turns into an off-the-rails, blood-spattered crime spree, Chip learns the hard way just how deranged the love of his life really is. photo for Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from IFC Midnight/Scream Factory … “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House” (2017), starring Liam Neeson, Diane Lane, Marton Csokas, Tony Goldwyn, Ike Barinholtz, Josh Lucas, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Brian D’Arcy James, Maika Monroe, Michael C. Hall, Bruce Greenwood, Noah Wyle and Eddie Marsan, tells the story of “Deep Throat,” the G-Man who leaked information to journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to uncover the Watergate scandal and bring down the president. The true identity of the secret informant remained a mystery and source of much public curiosity and speculation for more than 30 years. That is until, in 2005, special agent Mark Felt shockingly revealed himself as the tipster. This unbelievable true story chronicles the personal and professional life of the brilliant and uncompromising Felt, who risked and ultimately sacrificed everything — his family, his career, his freedom — in the name of justice. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Sony.

On the Indie Front:

In “Crazy Famous” (2017), starring Gregory Lay, Richard Short, Ajay Naidu and Catherine Curtin, Bob is an average Joe whose obsession to be famous lands him in a mental hospital. When a patient claims Bin Laden is still alive, Bob escapes with a band of misfits in a last-ditch effort to get Bin Laden and the fame he so deeply desires. From Gravitas Ventures … In “So B. It” (2016), starring Talitha Bateman, Alfre Woodard, John Heard, Jessica Collins, Jacinda Barrett, Dash Mihok, photo for The Tiger Hunter Cloris Leachman and Michael Arden, a young girl named Heidi, who lives with her mentally disabled mother, travels solo across the country to find out about her and her mother’s past. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Good Deed Entertainment/Cinedigm … “Jesus Meets The Gay Man” (2017) is a story of reconciliation, forgiveness and renewal wrapped in Monty Python-like sketches and a jazzy dance number — a mocumentary that will have you see Jesus in a new light, while at the same time convincing you to work on your abs. Developed by looking at the questions of what Jesus would have said or done if He had met a gay person, the film aims to bridge the gap between Christians and the homosexual community, who have been at odds on this issue, with critical thinking and humor. In this age of so much information on the Bible and on the topic of homosexuality, can the LGBTQIA and the Christians find forgiveness? From Breaking Glass Pictures … In “The Tiger Hunter” (2016), starring Danny Pudi, Karen David, Jon Heder, Rizwan Manji, Sam Page, Parvesh Cheena and Kevin Pollak, a young Indian man travels to 1970s Chicago to become an engineer and to live up to the legacy of his father — a legendary tiger hunter back home. But when his job falls through, he resorts to an elaborate charade with misfit friends in order to woo his childhood sweetheart. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Shout! Factory.

Foreign Films:

In “The Teacher” (2016 — Czech Republic), starring Zuzana Mauréry, Eva Bandor, Peter Bebjak, Monika Certezn and Tamara Fischer, set in a middle school classroom in Bratislava in 1983, a new teacher, Maria Drazdechova (Maurery), asks each student to stand up, introduce themselves and tell her what their parents do for a living. It photo for The Teacher slowly becomes clear that perhaps the pupils’ grades are related to how willing their guardians are open to helping her out with her errands, her house cleaning, and other random services. After one of the students attempts suicide, however, the director of the school has no choice but to call for an emergency parents’ meeting to remove the teacher, but because Ms. Drazdechova is also a high-ranking official of the Communist Party, parents are hesitant to sign a petition to transfer her out. In a classroom behind the Iron Curtain, the future of all the families are at stake, as each family must wrestle with standing up for what they believe in or silently keeping the status quo. From Film Movement … Nominated for Sundance Grand Jury Prize World Cinema, “Woodpeckers” (2017 — Dominican Republic) follows inmate Julián, who finds love and a reason for living in the last place imaginable: the Dominican Republic’s Najayo Prison. His romance with prisoner Yanelly must develop from behind the bars of the men’s prison as he uses “woodpecking” (sign language) to talk to the female inmates without the knowledge of the guards and keeping his secret from his cellmates. From Strand Releasing.

For the Family:

In “Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold” (2018), super sleuths Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma join forces with the world’s greatest detective, Batman, when they discover that villains from both of their respective rogues’ photo for Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold galleries have combined efforts to terrorize the city. With Scooby snacks in tow, the crime-fighting teams encounter classic Batman foes (Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn) and allies (The Question, Aquaman, Plastic Man, Martian Manhunter) along with a bevy of fiends from Scooby-Doo lore (Spooky Space Kook, Gentleman Ghost, Miner 49er, Ghost Clown). Avid Scooby-Doo fans know this isn’t the first time the Caped Crusader has partnered with Mystery Incorporated. Forty-five years ago, Batman (and Robin) were the featured guest stars in a pair of “The New Scooby-Doo Movies.” Premiering in 1972, the renowned detectives worked to solve crimes together in the hour-long television movies entitled “The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair” and “The Caped Crusader Caper.” From Warner.

Special Interest:

The documentary “The Departure” (2017) follows a former punk-turned Buddhist-photo for The Departure priest in Japan who has made a career out of counseling suicidal people. A 44-year old Tokyo native, Ittestsu Nemoto has dedicated his life to helping suicidal people find reasons to live. But this work has come increasingly at the cost of his own family and health, as he refuses to draw lines between those he counsels and himself. “The Departure” captures Nemoto at a crossroads, when his growing self-destructive tendencies lead him to confront the same question his patients ask him: what makes life worth living? As director Lana Wilson follows Nemoto, with complete access to his daily life, the film unfolds as Nemoto reaches a pivotal moment — he must confront what’s perhaps most frightening of all – the meaning and value of his own life, and how he should be living it. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from FilmRise.

All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers, and Power 10 subwoofer.

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