From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets
“Let the Sunshine In” (2017): Two luminaries of French cinema, Claire Denis and Juliette Binoche, unite for the first time in this piercing look at the elusive nature of true love, and the extent to which we are willing to betray ourselves in its pursuit. In a richly layered performance, Binoche plays Isabelle, a successful painter in Paris whose apparent independence belies what she desires most: real romantic fulfillment. Isabelle reveals deep wells of yearning, vulnerability, and resilience as she tumbles into relationships with all the wrong men. Shot in burnished tones by Denis’s longtime collaborator Agnès Godard and featuring a mischievous appearance by Gérard Depardieu, “Let the Sunshine In” finds bleak humor in a cutting truth: we are all, no matter our age, fools for love. 4K digital master, approved by cinematographer Agnès Godard, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray.On DVD, Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection … “The Image Book” (2018 — France): The legendary Jean-Luc Godard adds to his influential, iconoclastic legacy with this provocative collage film essay, a vast ontological inquiry into the history of the moving image and a commentary on the contemporary world. Winner of the first Special Palme d’Or to be awarded in the history of the Cannes Film Festival. Displaying an encyclopedic grasp of cinema and its history, Godard pieces together fragments from some of the greatest films of the past, then digitally alters, bleaches, and washes them, all in the service of reflecting on what he sees in front of him and what he makes of the dissonance that surrounds him. He uses his own voice to guide us through the fascinating labyrinth of his mind. In some cases, it is to reflect on the metaphysical properties of the world — time, and space, and where meaning is found — but more importantly it is the image, the thing that has obsessed Godard for his entire career, that anchors this film. His ontological enquiry into the image continues to be one of the most moving in history. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber … “She-Devils On Wheels” (1968): Wild! Vicious! With motorcycles as their lovers! Experience sights and sounds beyond your very imagining as “Godfather of Gore” Herschell Gordon Lewis (“Blood Feast,” “Two Thousand Maniacs!”) tackles the biker chick sub-sub-genre. Have you ever heard the saying “it’s a man’s world”? Well don’t dare repeat that to The Man-Eaters — a raucous, rowdy and randy gang of female bikers who ride their men just as viciously as they do their motorcycles. When they’re not racing each other to get first pick of the “stud line-up”, these female hellcats are busy terrorizing the town and clashing with the rival male gangs. Billed as “by far the most exciting picture of its type ever filmed”, “She-Devils on Wheels” sees splatter pioneer H.G. Lewis going full throttle with the most shocking biker flick of its kind — now accompanied by his other vicious gang opus “Just for the Hell of It” (1968) for a thrilling, pulse-racing double-bill. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
In “Trading Paint” (2019), starring John Travolta, Toby Sebastian and Shania Twain, when their winning streak begins to fail, legendary father and son racing duo Sam (Travolta) and Cam (Sebastian) have a falling-out. A rival racing giant takes advantage of this rift and offers Cam a lucrative opportunity racing for the adversary. Cam accepts and the gap between father and son grows even bigger. Engines rev and sparks fly as the two are set against each other in an ultimate high-stakes race — and the most dangerous competition between father and son. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Lionsgate … In “A Dark Place” (2019), starring Andrew Scott, Bronagh Waugh, Denise Gough and Christa Beth Campbell, a small-town sanitation truck driver (Scott) whose friendship with a young boy on his route leads to an obsession over uncovering the truth about the boy’s sudden disappearance. The more that Donny recalls the boy’s kindness, the more he becomes consumed by the discrepancies with the sheriff’s theory that he just ran away … and as Donny investigates and analyzes, he finds a steady and surprising resistance that mounts until the whole town seems to be against him. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Shout! Factory … In the animated adventure “Ruben Brandt, Collector” (2018 — Hungary), famous psychotherapist Ruben Brandt is plagued by terrible nightmares, and to make the dreams stop, Ruben is compelled to steal 13 paintings from the world’s most renowned museums. Soon, accompanied by four of his own patients, he and his crew of thieves strike regularly and with great success: the Louvre, Tate, Uffizi, Hermitage, MoMA and more! From Sony … “Masterpiece: Les Misérables” (2018): A blockbuster novel for over 150 years comes vividly to life in award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies’s multi-layered retelling of “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo. This six-episode adaptation on two discs stars Dominic West as Jean Valjean, the most famous fugitive in literature, David Oyelowo as his relentless pursuer, Javert, and Lily Collins as the tragic seamstress, Fantine; Ellie Bamber plays her adolescent daughter, Cosette; Academy Award-winner, Olivia Colman and Adeel Akhtar are Cosette’s cruel overseers, the Thénardiers; and Josh O’Connor is the student and reluctant revolutionary Marius, who falls in love with Cosette at first sight. On DVD, Blu-ray, from PBS Distribution … In “Dark Sense” (2019), starring Shane O’Meara, Jim Sturgeon, James Robinson and Margaret Ann Bain, Simon, a young man with exceptional powers, tracks down a serial killer, battling not only his own demons but a government agency that has decided Simon is too dangerous to be allowed to roam free. Based on the bestseller “First & Only”by Peter Flannery. On DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures … In “White Chamber” (2018), starring Shauna MacDonald and Oded Fehr, the United Kingdom in the near future faces civil war and martial law has been declared by a military government hellbent on squashing the opposition. A woman wakes up in a blindingly white cuboid cell, where General Zakarian uses increasingly sophisticated and cruel methods to torture her for information — information she claims not to have. As questions of trust are placed both on captor and captive, they find themselves embroiled in an increasingly spiraling journey into the nature of authority. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Dark Sky Films … “The Seduction” (1982) a steamy stalker thriller starring Morgan Fairchild and Andrew Stevens, ,akes its Blu-ray debut this week. L.A. anchor woman Jamie Douglas (Fairchild in her big screen debut) has it all: a glamorous career on a top-rated news show, a luxurious house in the hills, and a devoted young admirer named Derek (Andrew Stevens). But when Jamie rebuffs his romantic advances, Derek becomes an obsessed stalker who plays out an increasingly psychotic courtship with the frightened newswoman. Soon he is threatening every part of her life, secretly watching even her most intimate moments. Her tough-talking lover (Michael Sarrazin) can’t console her. A by-the-book cop (Vince Edwards) can’t protect her. But Jamie is far from helpless — and ready to fight back with all the weapons at her command … “The Bostonians” (1984), starring Jessica Tandy, Vanessa Redgrave, Linda Hunt, Christopher Reeve and Madeleine Potter, is an adaptation of Henry James’s 1886 novel of political intrigue and forbidden romance in post-Civil War Boston. Olive Chancellor finds her infatuation with young activist Verena Tarrant challenged by a Southern lawyer who also loves her. An intricately drawn study of the impact of women’s suffrage on society. In a 4K restoration on DVD, Blu-ray, from Cohen Film Collection … Roman Polanski (“Chinatown,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Repulsion”) explores the sexy side of obsession and the wild side of romance in “Bitter Moon” (1992), an outrageous look at the dark side of love. A mild-mannered man (Hugh Grant) attempts to rekindle the sexual fire in his marriage while on a cruise, but he develops an irresistible infatuation with an eccentric paraplegic’s wife (Emmanuelle Seigner). Offbeat and original, this voyage of wild obsession puts a whole new twist on the concept of marital bliss. Featuring dazzling performances and nasty comic moments, “Bitter Moon” is a hilarious walk on the wild side. Co-stars Peter Coyote, Kristin Scott Thomas, Victor Banerjee, Sophie Patel. On DVD, Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
In “Big Brother” (2018 — Hong Kong), martial arts legend Donnie Yen stars as a former soldier recruited for his toughest mission yet – teaching a class of teen delinquents. As he kicks his way into their school and home lives, it becomes clear that his unconventional teaching style might be just what they need. zon DVD, Blu-ray, from Well Go USA … In 1991, a melting glacier revealed the body of a man. At first, people assumed he was a hiker. Later, his true Stone Age origins were revealed. “Iceman” (2017 — Germany) is set in the stunning Ötztal Alps, more than 5,300 years ago. Kelab, leader of a Neolithic clan, is also the appointed keeper of the group’s holy shrine, Tineka. But, one day, while out hunting, his village is attacked by a bloodthirsty band of marauders. Everyone in the tribe is brutally murdered, including Kelab’s wife and son, and Tineka is stolen. Blinded by pain and fury, Kelab now has one sole purpose — vengeance — and he sets off on a treacherous odyssey through the mountains to confront his family’s killers. From Film Movement.
“Reb Elimelech and the Chassidic Legacy of Brotherhood” (2018) is a multi-media experience presenting and explaining the origins of the Chassidic movement and the transformation it rendered to Jewish life at the time. Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk was one of the Chassidic world’s most celebrated founders. His legacy of loving your fellow man, regardless of personal connection, affiliation or religiosity, has guided his followers ever since. From SISU Home Entertainment.
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.