From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bet:
Aging blonde-bombshell Anita Ekberg gives a full-bodied performance as a sex-crazed sister with some seriously bad habits in the lurid cult classic “Killer Nun” (1979 — Italy). One of the most notorious “nunsploitation” films, “Killer Nun” tells the sordid story of Sister Gertrude, a disturbed woman of the cloth who degenerates into a perverse mire of drug taking, sexual perversion, sadistic torture and murder. Joe Dallesandro (“Flesh for Frankenstein”), Alida Valli (“Suspiria”) and the ample Paola Morra (“Behind Convent Walls”) offer spirited performances and able support to Ekberg, in this shocking tale based on real events. Boasting an incongruously classy score by legendary composer Alessandro Alessandroni and stylishly rendered scenes of sex and murder, “Killer Nun” takes the viewer on hair-raising journey from the heights of religious ecstasy to the depths of devilish degeneracy. Giulio Berruti’s sleazy classic is presented in a stunning new 2K restoration. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.
From TV to Disc:
“The Haunting of Hill House” (2018) is a three-disc Blu-ray and four-disc DVD set with all 10 episodes. The critically acclaimed, modern reimagining of Shirley Jackson’s legendary novel about five siblings who grew up in the most famous haunted house in America. Now adults, they’re reunited by the suicide of their youngest sister, which forces them to finally confront the ghosts of their pasts … some of which lurk in their minds … and some of which may really be lurking in the shadows of the iconic Hill House. From Paramount … “The Returned (‘Les Revenants’): Season Two” (2018): The second season of the highly acclaimed French television series (winner of a 2014 Peabody Award, an 2013 International Emmy Award, and nominated for BAFTA Award in 2014). Based on the 2004 feature film “Les Revenants” by Robin Campillo, the gripping and stylish supernatural drama television series was created and directed by Fabrice Gobert and made its American debut in 2014 to critical acclaim currently holding a collective 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for seasons one and two. It tells the gripping story of a group of people returning to their alpine village in a state of confusion. What they do not yet know is that they have been dead for several years, and no one is expecting them back. The first eight episodes in Season One portray their struggle to reintegrate with their families and past. Buried secrets emerge and new mysteries develop as they grapple with a miraculous and sinister new reality. Season Two, featuring the conclusion of this 16-part series, picks up six months after season one leaves the village in a state of turmoil and distress. Three-disc DVD, two-disc Blu-ray from Music Box Films.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
“Star Trek: Picard Movie & TV Collection” is a six-disc set with two feature-length TV episodes and four “Next Generation” films: “Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Best of Both Worlds,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation: Chain of Command,” “Star Trek: Generations,” “Star Trek: First Contact,” “Star Trek: Insurrection” and “Star Trek: Nemesis.” Includes a 16-page comic book from IDW. Formats: Blu-ray. Extras include 10 hours of features including commentaries, deleted scenes, gag reel,interviews, featurettes, more. From CBS/Paramount … In “Crawl” (2019), starring Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper, a hurricane tears through Florida and Haley (Scodelario) rushes to find her father (Pepper), who is injured and trapped in the crawl space of their home. With the storm intensifying and water levels rising, the pair face an even bigger threat lurking below the surface. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Paramount … In “The Lingering” (2018 — Hong Kong), starring Athena Chu, Louis Cheung, Bob Chang, Terry Zou, Lee Fung and Wei Lai, Dawa and his mother spend a terrifying night alone on New Year’s Eve in the basement after being tormented by a strange and dangerous presence. Years after his mother’s death, Dawa is forced to return, again facing the presence that once tortured him as a child. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA … “The Omen Collection Deluxe Edition” includes all four original films as well as the 2006 remake. The five-disc Blu-ray set includes 1976’s “The Omen” (new 4K remaster); “Damien: Omen II” (1978), in which Damien discovers his destiny; “The Final Conflict” (1981) in which he realizes his full power; and “Omen IV: The Awakening” (1991), in which a demonic force returns in the form of a wicked young girl. The haunting legacy comes full circle with the 2006 version. Formats: Blu-ray. From Scream Factory … “Genius Party and Genius Party Beyond” (2018) is an eclectic collection of short animated stories from 12 acclaimed directors, available for the first time ever in North America. “Genius Party” consists of seven connected and visually experimental stories while “Genius Party Beyond” includes five. The directors: Masaaki Yuasa (“Mind Game”), Shinichiro Watanabe (“Cowboy Bebop”), Hideki Futamura, a key animator on the cult-classic anime “Perfect Blue,” as well as Atsuko Fukushima, Shoji Kawamori, Shinji Kimura, Yoji Fukuyama, Mahiro Maeda, Koji Morimoto, Kazuto Nakazawa, Shinya Ohira and Tatsuyuki Tanaka. On Blu-ray from GKIDS/Shout! Factory … Written and directed by horror master Rob Zombie, “3 From Hell” (2019), starring Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Richard Brake, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Danny Trejo and Sid Haig, follows three of the director’s most vicious creations as they leave a trail of corpses in their wake. After barely surviving a furious shootout with the police, Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley), and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) are behind bars. But pure evil cannot be contained, and a firestorm of murder, madness, and mayhem will be released in this terror ride to Hell … and back. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Lionsgate … In “Night Hunter” (2019), starring Henry Cavill, Ben Kingsley, Alexandra Daddario and Stanley Tucci, police detective Marshall (Cavill) and local vigilante Cooper (Kingsley) arrest a serial killer targeting women … but they discover his game has just begun. The hunt is on as the murderer masterminds a series of deadly attacks from behind bars. Now in a desperate race against time, Marshall and Cooper fight to stay one step ahead of their suspect’s deadly plan. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Paramount … “Devil’s Revenge” (2019) is co-produced, co-written and stars William Shatner; co-stars Jeri Ryan, Jason Brooks, Ciara Hanna, AnnMarie Giaquinto, Michael Yahn, Patrick O’Brien. John Brock is a down-on-his-luck archaeologist who returns from an expedition to the caves of rural Kentucky after unsuccessfully trying to locate a mysterious relic that his family has sought for generations. Upon his return, John starts to see dream-like visions of a ferocious bird-like creature from ancient folklore. John soon learns that the cave he came into contact with on his last expedition was indeed the cave that contains the relic and also a portal to Hell and a place of worship for the Occult. John discovers that the only way to stop the increasingly realistic visions is to go back to the cave with his family, find the relic once and for all, and destroy it. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cleopatra Entertainment … The “Malevolence Trilogy” features all three films in the franchise. “Malevolence 3: Killer” (2018) stars Katie Gibson, Kevin McKelvey, Adrienne Barbeau and Ashley Wolfe. Tortured and abused at the hands of his psychotic captor, Graham Sutter, Martin Bristol is damaged beyond repair. Lurking in the shadows of suburbia, he stalks and kills without remorse. Special Agent William Perkins follows Martin’s trail of terror, desperate to capture him before he kills again. Martin’s family, mourning his disappearance for years, is informed not only that he is alive, but that he is responsible for the wave of murder sweeping through their town. Will they be able to reunite with their long lost son before it’s too late, or will Perkins have to use excessive force to bring him down? This final chapter celebrates the 15th anniversary of the launch of the cult classic independent horror trilogy. “Malevolence” (2004), stars R. Brandon Johnson, Samantha Dark, Heather Magee. Taken from his backyard swing at the age of six, Martin Bristol was forced to witness and participate in the horrific crimes of a deranged madman. For years, Martin’s whereabouts have remained a mystery … until four bank robbers, on the run from the law, meet up at an abandoned house to split up the loot. They chose the WRONG house. “Malevolence 2: Bereavement Director’s Cut” (2010) stars Michael Biehn, Alexandra Daddario, Brett Rickaby. There are some evils, so unspeakable, they will scar you for life. The horrific account of 6-year-old Martin Bristol, abducted from his backyard swing and forced to witness the brutal crimes of a deranged madman. All on DVD/Blu-ray Combos from MVD Entertainment Group … When young Peter McCrea (John Kallo) witnesses a gang murder, he’s thrust into a dangerous world where strength and power are the keys to survival in “My Samurai (Collector’s Edition)” (1992). His only hope is Young Park (Julian Lee), a powerful martial arts master with a gift for destroying any opposition. On the run from the gang and the police, Young Park must teach Peter the secrets of self defense — and inner strength. From one action-packed sequence to the next, Peter learns about courage, force, and himself — so that he may confront the ultimate challenge of his life. On Blu-ray from MVD Rewind.
In “Ulysses & Mona” (2018 — France), starring Éric Cantona and Manal Issa, Ulysses (Cantona) is a 55-year-old contemporary artist who ran away from his family and ended his career four years earlier. Now, he spends his days in seclusion hitting tennis balls or listening to horror movie soundtracks. Mona (Issa) is a 20-year-old art student. Between nude drawing workshops and boring theory classes, her life couldn’t be more uneventful. But everything changes when Mona decides to meet Ulysses. After a failed first attempt and some misfortune, both set out on a journey that will change their lives forever. From Film Movement … “At War” (2018 — France) is a gripping drama about French union workers who battle their corporate bosses — and are willing to do everything — to save their jobs. Laurent Amédéo, a blue-collar union rep who acts as spokesperson for the 1100 employees of Perrin Industries, an automotive parts plant in southwest France, who have waived bonuses and unpaid hours to keep the operation going for five years. Despite heavy financial sacrifices on the part of the employees and a record profit that year, the distant German management orders the plant closed, having deemed it “non-competitive.” As the film opens, the workers are already two months into a labor strike, halting all operations at the plant to protest its impending shutdown and the move to the cheaper labor market of Romania. Stars Vincent Lindon as Amédéo; the rest of the cast is comprised largely of non-professional actors. An Official Competition selection at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cinema Libre Studio.
For the Family:
“Princess Emmy” (2019 — Germany) is a young girl with a secret gift — she is the only one in the Kingdom of Kandis who can speak to horses. Up until now, life for Emmy has been wonderful: exploring and hanging out with her best friends — a stable full of horses; spending time with her family at the castle and not having a care in the world. That is, until her jealous, scheming cousin Gizana appears, challenging her at every turn, threatening Emmy’s chances of becoming an officially inaugurated princess and generally making her life hell. And on top of all that, Emmy must undergo the ultimate test to earn the right to keep her gift. If she fails, she loses the gift and her best friends forever. Stars the voices of Ruby Barnhill, Bella Ramsey, Franka Potente, John Hannah. From Shout! Kids!.
“Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love” (2019) chronicles the beautiful, yet tumultuous, love story of the legendary Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne Ihlen, which inspired Cohen to write classics like “So Long, Marianne.” Directed by award-winning filmmaker and personal friend of Marianne, Nick Broomfield (“Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer,” “Whitney: Can I Be Me”), the film features Leonard Cohen, Marianne Ihlen, and commentary from Judy Collins. The documentary starts on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960, where Cohen, then a struggling and unknown fiction writer, and Ihlen, a single mother with a young son, became part of a community of expat artists, writers, and musicians. Never-before-seen footage shot by Broomfield and legendary documentarian D.A. Pennebaker make for a unique portrait of an idyllic 1960’s bohemia. It was a time that left a lasting imprint on both Marianne and Leonard, whose friendship would last another 50 years before their deaths in 2016. From Lionsgate.
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.