"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Jul 032017

Have a Safe and Sane Fourth of July

From the Big Screen:

“The Zookeeper’s Wife.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Highlights:

There’s slim pickings on the home video shelves this week as the studios expect that most people will be in their backyards barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers and setting off fireworks instead of parking in front of their DVD players. Still, there’s one important release this week: “Doberman Cop” (1977 — Japan) was released just as the popularity of yakuza movies was waning in Japan, and as the country’s film industry was undergoing some fundamental shifts. The film is a unique entry in the career of director Kinji Fukasaku (“Battles Without Honor and Humanity,” “Cops vs Thugs”), and reunited him with star Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba in an photo for Doberman Cop American-style crime movie that mixes gunplay and pulp fiction with martial arts and lowbrow comedy. Based on a popular manga by “Buronson” (creator of “Fist of the North Star”), “Doberman Cop” follows the fish-out-of-water adventures of Joji Kano (Chiba), a tough-as-nails police officer from Okinawa who arrives in Tokyo’s Kabuki-cho nightlife district to investigate the savage murder and mutilation of an island girl who had been working as a prostitute. Initially dismissed as a country bumpkin (complete with straw hat and live pig in tow!), Kano soon proves himself a more savvy detective than the local cops, and a tougher customer than anyone expected. As he probes deeper into the sleazy world of flesh-peddling, talent agency corruption and mob influence, Kano uncovers the shocking truth about the girl, her connection to a yakuza-turned-music manager (Hiroki Matsukata), and a savage serial killer who is burning women alive. Made to appeal both to the youth market with its biker gangs and popular music, as well as to old-time yakuza movie fans, “Doberman Cop” is an surprising oddity in Fukasaku’s career, his sole film adapted directly from a manga and never before released on video outside of Japan. Featuring Chiba at his charismatic best — channeling a Japanese Dirty Harry while doing all his own stunts — and Fukasaku at his most fun, deftly showcasing the combined talents of his “Piranha Army” stock company of actors and other regular players — “Doberman Cop” is a classic action comedy and a missing link in 1970’s Japanese cinema deserving of rediscovery. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo with high definition digital transfer and original uncompressed mono audio. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

From TV to DVD:

“Homicide: Life On The Street” (1993-1999) is a 35-disc box set with all 122 episodes. A critical smash and a three-time Peabody Award winner, the series presented viewers with a gritty and realistic examination of detectives working the homicide division in Baltimore and remains one of television’s finest hours about one of America’s toughest jobs. Based on the book “Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets” by David Simon, the critically acclaimed series became one of the most seminal drama series of all time by virtue of its powerful writing, gritty realism, emotionally charged storylines and outstanding ensemble cast, including Richard Belzer, Andre Braugher, Yaphet Kotto, Melissa Leo and Ned Beatty. From Shout! Factory … photo for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends Featuring Steve Martin, Robin Williams & Eddie Murphy “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends Featuring Steve Martin, Robin Williams & Eddie Murphy” contains nine new-to retail shows from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s featuring three of the most loved guests from “The Tonight Show” — Steve Martin, Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy. Each DVD contains complete, unedited shows — including vintage commercials — highlighting some of the most cherished moments from 30 years of “The Tonight Show.” Disc 1: Steve Martin (original air dates: July 21, 1976: Steve Martin, Jimmy Stewart, Karen Black, and more; May 21, 1982: Steve Martin, Sylvester Stallone; December 19, 1991: Steve Martin, Cathy Ladman, Leon Redbone). Disc 2: Robin Williams (original air dates: April 3, 1984: Robin Williams, Phyllis Newman; January 10, 1991: Robin Williams, Steve Lawrence; September 19, 1991: Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, Park Overall). Disc 3: Eddie Murphy (original air dates: January 1, 1982: Eddie Murphy, McLean Stevenson; February 10, 1982: Eddie Murphy, Wayne Rogers, Albert Hague; July 30, 1982: Eddie Murphy, Randall “Tex” Cobb, Angela Bofill. From Time Life.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Song to Song” (2016), directed by Terrence Malick and starring Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and Natalie Portman, is a modern love story set against the Austin, Texas music scene. Two entangled couples — struggling songwriters Faye (Mara) and BV (Gosling), and music mogul Cook (Fassbender) and the waitress whom he ensnares (Portman) — chase success through a rock ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal. Features performances by Iggy Pop, Johnny Rotten, Patti Smith, Lykke Li, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Big Freedia, Diplo, Alan Palomo of Neon Indian, Spank Rock, Dana Falconberry, Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears and The Black Lips. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Broad Green Pictures … photo for Bitcoin Heist In “Bitcoin Heist (2016 — Vietnam), starring Kate Nhung, Thanh Pham and Petey Majik Nguyen, hackers have become the bank robbers in the new world of crypto-currency. In order to catch the most wanted hacker, The Ghost, an Interpol special agent assembles a team of thieves to plan the ultimate heist. But as any good criminal knows, there is no honor among thieves. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Well Go USA … In “Drone” (2017), starring Sean Bean, Patrick Sabongui, Joel David Moore and Mary McCormack, drone pilot and family man Neil (Bean) has spent his career conducting deadly, covert missions overseas all from the comfort of his suburban hometown. When an enigmatic, Pakistani businessman (Sabongui) shows up at his home seeking revenge, Neil must confront the consequences of his actions.On DVD, Blu-ray from Screen Media Films.

Special Interest:

Bob Hope, the greatest entertainer of the 20th century, spent nearly half of his 100 Christmases heading up USO shows as a globetrotting Santa Claus with a golf club, a sackful of jokes, and an airplane filled with stars. Armed with a lifelong dedication to America’s troops and a star-studded crew of performers, he performed on photo for Bob Hope Salutes the Troopsbattleships and battlefields, sometimes accompanied by the sound of fighter jets overhead. The missions were often dangerous, and their schedule brutal, yet for thousands of servicemen and women far from home there was no one like Hope for the holidays. Bob Hope’s legendary NBC-TV comedy and Christmas specials — some of the most-watched programs in television history — spanned five decades, from President Truman to Clinton. The three-disc “Bob Hope Salutes the Troops” collects some of the legendary performer’s greatest and most patriotic holiday specials, including seven classic shows from the ’60s to the ’90s, re-mastered from original broadcast elements for optimal viewing: Bob Hope’s Christmas Cheer in Saudi Arabia (Original Airdate: 1/12/91), The Bob Hope Christmas Special: Around the World with the USO (Original Airdate: 1/16/69), Bob Hope: Memories of WWII, The Bob Hope Christmas Special (Original Airdate: 1/15/65), The Bob Hope Christmas Show (1/16/63), The Bob Hope Christmas Special: Around the Globe with the U.S.O. (Original Airdate: 1/17/72), The Bob Hope Christmas Special (Original Airdate: 1/17/73). From Time Life.

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.

 Posted by on July 3, 2017  Add comments

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