From the Big Screen:
“Red 2,” “Getaway,” “JOBS” and “The Canyons.” For more releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
We travel to France and Japan — and back in time — for this week’s best bets. First off there’s “Le joli mai (The Lovely Month of May)” (1963), directed by Chris Marker & Pierre Lhomme. One of Chris Marker’s major works, “Le joli mai” had its U.S. premiere at the very first New York Film Festival in 1963, then quickly disappeared from our screens. But the film, now fully restored, reemerged at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, and Toronto Film Festival. A portrait of Paris and Parisians shot during May 1962 — after the end of the French war in Algeria and ”the first springtime of peace” for France since before World War II — the cinema verite “Le joli mai” is a film with several thousand actors including a poet, a student, an owl, a housewife, a stock broker, a competitive dancer, two lovers, General de Gaulle and several cats. It features a musical score by Academy Award-winning composer Michel Legrand, with narration by Simone Signoret (English) and Yves Montand (French). From Icarus Films … The colossally popular Zatoichi films make up the longest-running action series in Japanese history and created one of the screen’s great heroes: an itinerant blind masseur who also happens to be a lightning-fast swordsman. As this iconic figure, the charismatic and earthy Shintaro Katsu became an instant superstar, lending a larger-than-life presence to the thrilling adventures of a man who lives staunchly by a code of honor and delivers justice in every town and village he enters. The films that feature him are variously pulse-pounding, hilarious, stirring, and completely off-the-wall. The “Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman” deluxe set features the string of 25 Zatoichi films made between 1962 and 1973, collected in one package for the first time. In new digital restorations, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays, from The Criterion Collection.
Also due this week: “Breaking Bad: The Complete Series BLU-RAY” (2008-13), a collector’s edition of the entire series with more than two-hours of never-before-seen footage in a new series documentary (“No Half Measures: Creating the Final Season of Breaking Bad”) exclusively in the box set, which comes packaged in a collectible replica barrel representing part of Walter White’s dark legacy. The documentary chronicles the making of the final season, from filming the first table read to the very last day on set and everything in between, including Bryan Cranston inviting the camera in to his Albuquerque living room for the first reading of the final script with Aaron Paul. The box set also contains all bonus features from previously released seasons (more than 50 hours, including retail exclusives formerly only available in select stores), a Los Pollos Hermanos apron and a collectible booklet with a letter from Gilligan, as well as a commemorative “Breaking Bad” challenge coin designed and created by Gilligan exclusively for this set as a token of appreciation to fans for making the “Breaking Bad” journey. $299.99 from Sony.
From TV to DVD:
“Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Series 10” contains four mysteries, newly remastered and restored to their original U.K. broadcast order, in a two-disc DVD set, $39.99; and two-disc Blu-ray set, $49.99. From Acorn Media … “Breaking Bad: The Final Season”
(2013), containing the last eight episodes of the immensely popular series. On three-disc DVD, $55.99; two-disc Blu-ray, $65.99. From Sony … “Impractical Jokers: The Complete First Season” (2011-12) is a two-disc set with 17 episodes of the truTV show that centers around four longtime friends who dare each other to do outrageous things in public on hidden camera, capturing the startled reactions from innocent bystanders. $19.98 from Warner … “Murdoch Mysteries, Season 6” consists of 13 episodes of the hit detective series set in Victorian-era Toronto that follows Yannick Bisson as the brilliant Detective William Murdoch, a pioneer of crime-solving technologies. In four-disc DVD and three-disc Blu-ray sets, $59.99 each. From Acorn Media … “Old Dogs & New Tricks: Complete Seasons 1 & 2” (2011-13) contains all 15 episodes of the TV series that follows the friendship and tribulations of four diverse and otherwise successful gay West Hollywood men — each one located squarely within middle age. From Wolfe Video.