From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bet
“The Films of Maurice Pialat”: Though not a household name — and with only 10 films in his 30-year career — iconoclastic French auteur Maurice Pialat has now come to be regarded as a masterful realist and creative genius, often called “the French Cassavetes.” His films use long takes, elliptical editing and are noted for their unsentimental look at human interaction. The folks at the Cohen Film Collection are bringing together for the first time in HD a collection of Pialat’s films. Volume One includes the family drama “The Mouth Agape” (1974) with Nathalie Baye, the slice-of-life film about teenagers in suburban France “Graduate First” (1979) and “Loulou” (1980), a tale of tortured love of which Andrew Sarris wrote “A masterpiece of subtlety and eroticism. Gérard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert just happen to be the sexiest couple in the history of the cinema.” On DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Extras include four hours of bonus material, including the 2007 documentary “Maurice Pialat: Love Exists”, narrated by Gérard Depardieu … Director Kaneto Shindo’s documentary-like, dialogue-free portrayal of daily struggle, “The Naked Island” (1960), is a work of visual beauty and invention. The international breakthrough for one of Japan’s most innovative filmmakers — who went on to make such other marvelous movies as “Onibaba” and “Kuroneko” — “The Naked Island” follows a family whose home is on a tiny, remote island off the coast of Japan. They must row a great distance to another shore, collect water from a well in buckets, and row back to their island — a nearly backbreaking task essential for the survival of these people and their land. Featuring a phenomenal modernist score by Hikaru Hayashi, this is a truly hypnotic experience, with a rhythm unlike that of any other film. On DVD and Blu-ray, with a new, high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.
From TV to DVD:
“Angie Tribeca: The Complete First Season” (2016) is a two-disc set with all 10 episodes from the first season of the offbeat police procedural comedy that follows a squad of committed LAPD detectives who comprise the RHCU (Really Heinous Crimes Unit). Together, they investigate some of LA’s most intriguing cases, which range from the murder of a ventriloquist to a rash of baker suicides. The cable TV series — Already renewed for a second season — stars Rashida Jones as lone-wolf detective Angie Tribeca Season One included guest appearances by Lisa Kudrow, Bill Murray and many other stars. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from TBS/Turner Home Entertainment … “Cop Rock: The Complete Series” (1990): Part singing. Part dancing. All COP. Steven Bochco (“Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue”) produced this short-lived bold take on the police procedural genre, which lasted 11 episodes. Combining the gritty, character-driven drama Bochco fans expected with flourishes from musical theatre (including songs composed by Grammy-, Emmy-, and Oscar-winner Randy Newman), “Cop Rock” followed the lives of detectives and officers who didn’t just walk the beat … but had the moves to keep a beat as well. Originally airing on ABC in 1990, the series centered on the LAPD and featured an ensemble cast that mixed musical numbers and choreography throughout storylines. From Shout! Factory … “The Facts of Life: The Final Season” (1987-88) is a three-disc set with all 24 episodes. Blair (Lisa Whelchel), Natalie (Mindy Cohn), Tootie (Kim Fields) and Jo (Nancy McKeon) launch into adulthood in this ninth and final season of the long-running spin-off from “Diff’rent Strokes.” The “girls” from Eastland are girls no longer. Facing the challenges of young adulthood — including marriage, work, and their very different future goals — it seems the four ladies are destined to go their separate ways and leave their longtime home in Peekskill. But when Eastland School for Girls is threatened with closure, Blair takes steps to save the place where their unshakeable friendship all started. From Shout! Factory … “Mr. Selfridge: The Final Season” (2016) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes. The clock nears closing time as mercantile genius Harry Selfridge faces creditors, swindlers, mob bosses, irate relatives, and spurned mistresses in the farewell season once again starring three-time Emmy winner Jeremy Piven as the man who revolutionized the world’s retail experience. Making new trouble for Harry this season are Jimmy Dillon (Sacha Dhawan), an Anglo-Indian entrepreneur specializing in too-good-to-pass-up business deals; press magnate Lord Wynnstay (Robert Pugh), who exploits Harry’s shocking private life to sell newspapers; and the blonde bombshells of their era, Dolly sisters Rosie and Jennie (Emma Hamilton, Zoe Richards), American twin dancers who appeal to Harry’s wicked streak. “Mr. Selfridge” airs on MASTERPIECE March 27–May 22. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from PBS Distribution … “Carol + 2: The Original Queens of Comedy”: Carol Burnett was born ready for prime time, but the last major step before “The Carol Burnett Show” began its incredible run in 1967 occurred a year earlier. CBS promised Burnett her own special, provided she could deliver a major star for the show. She phoned Lucille Ball and the rest is history. “Carol + 2” aired in 1966, uniting two zany redheads with the always unpredictable Broadway dynamo Zero Mostel for an hour of comedy and song. Also included is the 1972 CBS television movie version of “Once Upon a Mattress,” in which Carol reprises her 1959 Tony-nominated Broadway debut role as Princess Winnifred the Woebegone. Joining her are Ken Berry, Bernadette Peters and Jack Gilford. And, finally, the DVD includes Burnett on the origins of the “Charwoman,” in which she introduces the first appearance of the Charwoman character in the television special “Carol & Company” (original air date February 24, 1963). $12.95 from Time Life) … “Xena: Warrior Princess – Season Six” (2000-01) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes. Lucy Lawless returns one last time to her iconic role in this pop-culture phenomenon. With the ever-loyal Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) by her side, Xena (Lawless) has confronted immortals, armies and even motherhood with an unwavering warrior’s composure. But as she sets out to kill the beast Grinhilda and recover the Rheingold ring, Xena will face one of her most formidable obstacles ever: the dark secrets of her past. From Universal … “Xena: Warrior Princess – The Complete Series” (1995-2001) is a 30-disc set for $129.98. She has outwitted gods, defeated massive armies and found redemption through conquering insurmountable tasks. Lucy Lawless is unforgettable as the mighty warrior princess in the cult TV favorite. For the first time, all six seasons are now available together, uninterrupted and back-to-back for adventure-seekers everywhere. Join Lucy Lawless as she and her faithful friend, Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor), confront immortals, villains and monsters alike in the ultimate quest to protect the innocent and find redemption for Xena’s wicked past. From Universal.