From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets:
Ida Lupino segued from being a star on the screen to being behind the camera in the 1950s and became one of the few female directors since the dawn of the “talkies.” Kino Lorber Studio Classics has put together a boxed set of four of her films on Blu-ray. “Ida Lupino: Filmmaker Collection” includes 4K restored classics: “Not Wanted” (1949), starring Sally Forrest and Leo Penn; “Never Fear” (1949), starring Sally Forrest and Hugh O’Brian; “The Hitch-Hiker” (1953), starring Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy and William Talman; and “The Bigamist” (1953), starring Joan Fontaine, Ida Lupino, Edmond O’Brien and Edmund Gwenn. Each title is also available separately. A nice bonus with the set is an 80 Page Booklet,”Ida Lupino: Auteuress,” by Ronnie Scheib … From one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed auteurs, Billy Wilder, comes the charming comedy classic “The Major and the Minor” (1942). Legendary actress and dancer Ginger Rogers stars as Susan Applegate, a struggling young woman who pretends to be an 11-year old girl in order to buy a half-price train ticket. Fleeing the conductors, she hides in the compartment of Major Philip Kirby (Ray Milland). The Major believes Susan is a child and takes her under his wing, but when they arrive at the military academy where Kirby teaches, his fiancée (Rita Johnson) grows suspicious of Susan’s ruse. Co-written by Wilder and Charles Brackett, “The Major and the Minor” assumes the guise of a light romance narrative in order to cleverly explore themes of identity and deception. Wilder’s American debut is presented here for the first time in stunning High Definition. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment … In “The Circus” (1928/1969),the last film he made during the silent era, Charlie Chaplin revels in the art of the circus, paying tribute to the acrobats and pantomimists who inspired his virtuoso pratfalls. After being mistaken for a pickpocket, Chaplin’s Little Tramp flees into the ring of a traveling circus and soon becomes the star of the show, falling for the troupe’s bareback rider along the way. Despite its famously troubled production, this gag-packed comedy ranks among Chaplin’s finest, thanks to some of the most audacious set pieces of the director-performer’s career, including a close brush with a lion and a climactic tightrope walk with a barrel full of monkeys. Rereleased in 1969 with a new score by Chaplin, “The Circus” is an uproarious high-wire act that showcases silent cinema’s most popular entertainer at the peak of his comic powers. On DVD, Blu-rays, with new 4K digital restoration of Charlie Chaplin’s 1969 rerelease version of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … Bill Forsyth put Scottish cinema on the map with “Local Hero” (1983), a delightfully eccentric culture-clash comedy. Riffing on popular representations of Scottish life and folklore, “Local Hero” follows the Texas oil executive Mac (Peter Riegert), who is dispatched by his crackpot boss (Burt Lancaster) to a remote seaside village in Scotland with orders to buy out the town and develop the region for an oil refinery. But as business mixes with pleasure, Mac finds himself enchanted by both the picturesque community and its oddball denizens — and Texas starts to feel awfully far away. Packed with a near nonstop stream of droll one-liners and deadpan gags, this enchanting cult hit finds Forsyth surveying the idiosyncrasies of small-town life with the satirical verve of a latter-day Preston Sturges, arriving at a sly commentary on conservation, corporate greed, and the legacies we leave behind. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, with new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … In “Quartet” (1981), starring Isabelle Adjani, Alan Bates, Maggie Smith and Anthony Higgins, Marya (Adjani), a vulnerable but complicated West Indian, finds shelter in the home of a manipulative and lecherous English art patron (Bates) and his painter wife (Smith) after her shady husband is imprisoned. The twisted dynamic that develops between this trio plays out against a stunning re-creation of the golden age of 1920s Paris and its culture and extravagant nightlife. In adapting Jean Rhys’ 1928 autobiographical novel, producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory — working with their longtime screenwriter Ruth Prawer-Jhabvala and cinematographer Pierre Lhomme — achieved an artistic breakthrough that remains one of the finest works of the team behind such acclaimed and distinguished films as “Howards End,” “The Remains of the Day,” “A Room With a View” and “The Bostonians.” On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cohen Film Collection.
From TV to Disc:
Garnering eight Emmy Awards including Best Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actor (Michael Moriarty), two Golden Globes and a Peabody Award, this two-disc edition of “Holocaust” (1978), starring Meryl Streep, James Woods and Moriarty, marks the first presentation of the groundbreaking miniseries on Blu-ray. “Holocaust” follows the tragedy and triumph of the Weiss family of Berlin and intertwines their fate as European Jews with the story of a German family, the Doffs, whose members include a high-ranking Nazi officer. Filmed on location in Germany and Austria, “Holocaust” uses the stories of these fictional families to portray the atrocities against the Jewish people from the 1930s to 1945, and presents a heart-wrenching portrait of their struggle. From CBS/Paramount … “Madam Secretary: Season Five” (2018-2019) is a five-disc set with all 20 episodes. The series stars Tea Leoni as Elizabeth McCord a college professor and a brilliant former CIA analyst who left for ethical reasons. Elizabeth – returned to public life at the request of President Conrad Dalton, who values McCord’s apolitical leanings, deep knowledge of the Middle East, flair for languages and ability to think outside the box. As McCord debates third-world problems, confronts issues related to her decision to run for president, finesses foreign dignitaries at work and does battle with the president’s combative chief of staff, that’s just a warm-up for when she goes home to her supportive husband, theology-professor-turned-intelligence operative Henry McCord (Tim Daly), and their three children, where “politics” and “compromise” take on new meaning. From CBS/Paramount
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
When his increasingly depraved behavior spirals out of control, Marcus retreats to his family home along the New England coast in “Seeds” (2018), starring Trevor Long, Andrea Chen, Garr Long and Kevin Breznahan. But instead of finding solace, Marcus is haunted by his darkest fears and deepest desires. Is he losing his mind or has something terrible burrowed deep within him? Marcus must fight to save his crumbling sanity and protect Lily, his beloved niece from a monster that lies in wait. From Uncork’d Entertainment … In “The Tracker” (2019 — Italy/USA), starring Dolph Lundgren, Cosimo Fusco and Marta Gastini, the wife and daughter of Aiden (Lundgren) were abducted and killed during a vacation. A decade later, a detective with new evidence calls Aiden to the scene of the crime — but Aiden arrives to find the cop murdered and the police refusing to help. Now, Aiden must use his skills as a sniper and warrior to unravel the vast conspiracy behind his loved ones’ murders.On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … Following in the footsteps of Francis Ford Coppola and Peter Bogdanovich, Roger Corman protégé Carl Colpaert made his directorial debut by combining repurposed excerpts from a foreign film — in this case, Mamoru Oshii’s (“Ghost in the Shell”) spellbinding 1985 anime “Angel’s Egg” — with new live-action footage shot in America. The result, “In the Aftermath” (1988), is a haunting post-apocalyptic vision like no other. In a radiation-soaked wasteland, two surviving soldiers, Frank and Goose, search for essential supplies amid the rubble. After a violent confrontation, Frank is haunted by visions of an angelic young girl holding a giant egg, herself a refugee from another world altogether. Could the egg be the key to saving both their worlds? A unique mash-up of 1980s B-movie nuclear paranoia and hauntingly lyrical animation, “In The Aftermath” is presented in a stunning new restoration that highlights Oshii’s visionary genius and Colpaert’s low-budget ingenuity. Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, on Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … In “The Black String” (2018), starring Frankie Muniz, Chelsea Edmundson, Ravi Patel and Mary K. DeVault, Jonathan, a lonely twentysomething, is stuck in his hometown working night shifts at the local convenience store. When an unexpected encounter with a mysterious woman turns his life upside down, Jonathan is stricken by illness and nightmarish visions. Friends and family believe he’s losing his mind, but Jonathan is convinced he’s the target of something far more sinister. From Lionsgate … In “Clownado” (2019), starring Linnea Quigley, Eileen Deitz, Rachel Lagen, John O’Hara and Joel D. Wynkoop, cursed demonic circus clowns set out on a vengeful massacre using tornadoes. A stripper, Elvis impersonator, truck driver, teen runaway, and a dude get caught in the supernatural battle between femme fatal and the boss clown from hell. From WildEye Releasing … More than a decade after the Spielberg blockbuster, a dream team of shock maestros – including producer-turned-director Fabrizio De Angelis (“Dr. Butcher M.D.,” “Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals”), screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti (“Bay of Blood,” “Demons”), gore guru Giannetto De Rossi (“Zombie,” “The Beyond”) and Oscar-nominated composer Riz Ortolani (“Mondo Cane,” “Cannibal Holocaust”) — created one of the most ridiculously entertaining “Jaws” rip-offs in ItaloSleaze history, “Killer Crocodile” (1989 — Italy), starring Richard Anthony Crenna, Pietro Genuardi, John Harper, Sherrie Rose and Van Johnson. When a humongous crocodile begins chomping on a tropical island community, a group of idealistic young environmentalists clash with a crusty redneck hunter to destroy the monster reptile spawned by toxic waste. Scanned in 2k from the original negative. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Severin Films … The hills are once again alive with the sound of screaming in Wes Craven’s hugely entertaining follow-up to his own groundbreaking 1977 “The Hills Have Eyes,” “The Hills Have Eyes 2 “ (1984). A motocross team on their way to trial a new super-fuel head out across the desert lead by Rachel, who, unbeknownst to the rest of the group, is a survivor of the cannibal clan that menaced the Carter family several years before. Opting to take an ill-advised shortcut across the desert, the busload of youngsters drive straight into the path of the remnants of Rachel’s demented cannibal kin — the menacing Pluto, and a hulking, blood-hungry brute by the name of The Reaper. Made by Wes Craven immediately prior to his smash-hit “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Hills Have Eyes 2” diverges from the grim tone of its predecessor in favor of fun action-horror thrills and spills replete with mutants, motorbikes, and – oh yes – dog flashbacks. In a Limited Edition Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … In “Awake” (2019), starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Francesca Eastwood, Malik Yoba and William Forsythe, a man (Meyers) wakes up in a hospital bed with no recollection of who he is or why he is there, but quickly learns he’s the lead suspect in a series of murders and is now wanted by the police. With the help of a trusting nurse (Eastwood), he manages to stay one step ahead of the detectives hunting him down but, as he uncovers some hard truths about his past, he quickly realizes some nightmares happen after you’re awake. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cinedigm … In “Madness in the Method “ (2019), starring Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Gina Carano, Vinnie Jones, Danny Trejo, Stan Lee and Teri Hatcher, conic actor Jason Mewes is tired of Hollywood’s perception of him. Upon advice from best friend Kevin Smith, Mewes tracks down a secret method acting book to reinvent himself as a serious actor – with disastrous consequences. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cinedigm … In the mid-90s, Dario Argento approached a physically and professionally ailing Lucio Fulci to direct one final production, an over-the-top shocker about grisly murders at a Paris wax museum. But when Fulci died only weeks before filming began, Argento turned to Sergio Stivaletti – the FX genius on “Phenomena,” “Opera,” “Demons” and “Cemetary Man” – to make his feature directing debut: “The Wax Mask” (1997 — Italy). From a screenplay co-written by Fulci with cinematography by Sergio Salvati (“Zombie,” “The Beyond”), and now featuring a 4k scan from the original negative supervised by Stivaletti. Paris, 1900: a couple are horribly murdered by a masked man with a metal claw who rips their hearts out. The sole survivor and witness to the massacre is a young girl. Twelve years later in Rome a new wax museum is opened, whose main attractions are lifelike recreations of gruesome murder scenes. A young man bets that he will spend the night in the museum but is found dead the morning after. Soon, people start disappearing from the streets of Rome and the wax museum begins filling with new figures. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Severin Films … Stephen King was once famously quoted as saying, “I have seen the future of horror… his name is Clive Barker.” That future was realized in 1987 with the release of Barker’s directorial debut, “Hellraiser” (1987). Based on his own novella “The Hellbound Heart,” Barker’s “Hellraiser” sees Larry (Andrew Robinson) and his wife Julia (Clare Higgins) move into their new home, unaware that something evil lurks beneath the floorboards of the dilapidated house — something that wants human blood … Introducing the world to the iconic Pinhead and his sadistic band of Cenobites, “Hellraiser” became an instant genre classic upon release and remains one of the most frighteningly original visions in horror. Brand new 2K restoration approved by director of photography Robin Vidgeon. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … Picking up right where “Hellraiser” left off, “Hellbound: Hellraiser II” (1988) expands upon the terrifying universe created in Clive Barker’s original film — taking the story into the very depths of Hell itself. Having escaped the clutches of Pinhead and the demonic Cenobites, Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) awakens to finds herself detained at the Channard Institute, a hospital for the mentally ill. But her torments are far from over — the chief doctor at the institute is determined to unleash the powers of Hell to achieve his own twisted ends. “Hellbound: Hellraiser II” is one of the most celebrated horror sequels of all time, offering a vision that is both more gruesome and fantastical than its predecessor. Brand new 2K restoration approved by director of photography Robin Vidgeon.On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … Diagnosed with a fatal condition, Frankie Carver (Nicolas Cage) is released from prison after serving 19 years of hard time in “A Score to Settle” (2019). With only a short time left to live, Frankie must desperately try to make amends with the son he left behind while he plots a bloody course of revenge – tracking down his old gang to make them pay one by one. Co-stars Noah Le Gros, Karolina Wydra, Mohamed Karim and Benjamin Bratt. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … In “Fear No Evil” (1981), starring Stefan Arngrim, Elizabeth Hoffman and Kathleen Rowe McAllen, God has appointed three archangels to fight against Lucifer, who has assumed human features. Archangel Raphael, in the guise of Father Damon, kills Lucifer and ends his life in jail. But his sister, Archangel Mikhail, knows that one day the Devil will reappear. Eighteen years later, Lucifer returns, now in the form of Andrew, a brilliant but shy schoolboy at Alexandria High who becomes conscious of his devilish nature on his birthday. On Blu-ray from Shout! Factory/Scream Factory … In “John Carpenter’s Vampires” (1998), starring James Woods, Thomas Ian Griffith, Daniel Baldwin and Sheryl Lee, “Forget everything you’ve ever heard about vampires,” warns Jack Crow (Woods), the leader of Team Crow, a relentless group of mercenary vampire slayers. When Master Vampire Valek (Griffith) decimates Jack’s entire team, Crow and the sole team survivor, Montoya (Baldwin), set out in pursuit. Breaking all the rules, Crow and Montoya take one of Valek’s victims hostage – a beautiful but unlucky prostitute (Lee). She is the sole psychic link to Valek and they use her to track down the leader of the undead. As Valek nears the climax of his 600-year search for the Berziers Cross, Jack and the new Team Crow do everything possible to prevent him from possessing the only thing that can grant him and all the vampires the omnipotent power to walk the world in daylight. On Blu-ray from Shout! Factory/Scream Factory.