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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Mar 122019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelward,” “Green Book” and “Mortal Engines.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

“The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends: The Complete Series” (1959-1964): “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends” introduced some of the most unforgettable characters in TV history. Premiering in 1959 from Jay Ward Productions, the original series was comprised of 163 episodes featuring photo for The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends: The Complete Series Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties, Aesop and Son, Fractured Fairy Tales, Peabody’s Improbable History and more. Starring Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris, Natasha, Dudley Do-Right, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, this comprehensive 18-disc collection includes every unforgettable adventure, insightful bonus features and an episode guide. The series was officially known as “Rocky and His Friends” from 1959 to 1961, “The Bullwinkle Show” from 1961 to 1964, and “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” (or “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” or “The Adventures of Bullwinkle and Rocky”) in syndication. From Universal … photo for The Kid Brother “The Kid Brother” (1927): Silent-comedy legend Harold Lloyd goes west in this irresistible blend of action, romance, and slapstick invention. The bespectacled everyman is at his inimitable best as Harold Hickory, the gentle son of a prominent lawman who lives in the shadow of his rough-and-tumble brothers. When a traveling medicine show rolls into town, it brings with it excitement, the possibility of love, and a chance for Harold to prove his mettle. Deftly balancing Lloyd’s brilliant sight gags and thrilling set pieces — including an epic, knock-down, drag-out fight aboard an abandoned ship — with one of the actor-filmmaker’s most fully realized, root-for-the-underdog narratives, “The Kid Brother” is a hilarious and heartwarming high-water mark of early screen comedy. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, from The Criterion Collection … photo for The Magic Flute “The Magic Flute” (1975): This scintillating screen version of Mozart’s beloved opera showcases Ingmar Bergman’s deep knowledge of music and gift for expressing it cinematically. Casting some of Europe’s finest soloists — Josef Köstlinger, Ulrik Cold, Håkan Hagegård, and Birgit Nordin among them — the director lovingly recreated the baroque theater of Sweden’s Drottningholm Palace to stage the story of the prince Tamino and his zestful sidekick Papageno, who are sent on a mission to save a beautiful princess from the clutches of evil. A celebration of love and forgiveness that exhibits a profound appreciation for the artifice and spectacle of the theater, “The Magic Flute” is among the most exquisite opera films ever made. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … photo for The Prisoner “The Prisoner” (1955): Banned from the Cannes and Venice Films Festivals for being anti-Communist and excoriated elsewhere as pro-Soviet propaganda, Peter Glenville’s “The Prisoner” stoked controversy at the time of its original release and remains a complex, challenging and multifaceted exploration of faith and power. In an unnamed Eastern European capital, an iron-willed Cardinal (Alec Guinness) is arrested by state police on charges of treason. Tasked with securing a confession from him by any means necessary is a former comrade-in-arms from the anti-Nazi resistance (Jack Hawkins). Knowing the Cardinal will never fold under physical torture, the Interrogator instead sets out to destroy him mentally, breaking his spirit rather than his body. Adapted by acclaimed playwright Bridget Boland (“Gaslight”) from her own stage-play and showcasing powerhouse performances by two actors at the height of their game, “The Prisoner” is a tense, thought-provoking and disturbing drama about the endurance of the human spirit. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment … photo for Kolobos “Kolobos” (1999): “The Real World” meets “Saw” by way of “Suspiria” in this super-smart, super-gory — and, sadly, super-overlooked — late ’90s slasher effort from filmmakers Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk, released in the midst of the post-“Scream” slice-and-dice revival. A group of youngsters arrive at a snow-covered house under the guise of participating in a “grounding-breaking” new experimental film. With the entire property fitted out with cameras, their every move will be recorded. But when the house locks down, trapping the youngsters within, it soon becomes clear that something sinister is afoot. Scream — you’re on camera … Marketed as little more than a generic horror flick at the time of its release, “Kolobos,” far from being a run-of-the-mill slasher clone, has much more in common with the booby-trap stylings of “Cube” (1997) and the reality TV theme of “My Little Eye” (2002), which it preempted by some three years. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

From TV to Disc:

“Ancient Aliens: Season 11, Volume 2” (2016) is a two-disc set with nine episodes. This season explores incredible new developments in the search for evidence of extraterrestrial contact in our distant past — and even today. In Egypt, new technology has detected a previously unknown void in the Great Pyramid; on the island of Sardinia, ancient statues of giants with robotic faces are being shown to the public for the first time; and, in the north of England, scientists claim to have discovered what could be biological evidence of alien life. From Lionsgate … “The Simple Heist” (2018) is a two-disc set with six episodes. When two women find themselves overlooked and underappreciated as they face their older years, they resort to drastic measures to get payback. Jenny is a teacher struggling to stay afloat during a messy divorce, while her best friend, gastroenterologist Cecilia, has financial problems from a failed stock investment. After Cecilia learns of a bank robbery plan from a dying patient, she convinces Jenny that a crime spree is just what they need to take control of their lives. As the robbery sets off a chain of events exposing them to blackmail, car chases, and a dangerous biker gang, Jenny and Cecilia quickly learn that money won’t solve all their problems. Rich with dry humor, this Swedish-language comedy-drama combines crime caper with sharp social critique. From Acorn Media.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Vengeance: A Love Story” (2017), starring Nicolas Cage, Anna Hutchison, Talitha Eliana Bateman, Deborah Kara Unger and Don Johnson, single mother Teena is brutally assaulted by a local gang in front of her daughter Bethie. Despite Bethie’s ability to identify the attackers, the defense hires a hot-shot attorney who manipulates the law. When the criminals are set free, a veteran-turned-detective (Cage) is dismayed at the lack of justice and plots revenge against the men on Teena’s behalf. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Filmrise … In “Lifechanger” (2018), starring Lora Burke, Jack Foley, Elitsa Bako, Rachel VanDuzer and Steve Kasan, a murderous shape-shifter sets out on a blood-soaked mission to make things right with the woman he loves. Every few days, Drew has to shape-shift, or face a painful death. He has to find someone and make a copy. He takes everything: their looks, memories, hopes, and dreams. Their entire life. He becomes them, and they die horribly. Enter Julia, the object of Drew’s affection. How can he make things right when he’s never the same person for very long? On DVD, Blu-ray, from Uncork’d Entertainment … photo for Dark River Following the death of her father, Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns to her home village for the first time in 15 years to claim from her estranged brother (Mark Stanley) the family farm she believes is rightfully hers in “Dark River” (2017), co-starring Jonah Russell and Sean Bean. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Filmrise … “London Fields” (2018), starring Amber Heard and Billy Bob Thornton, is a dark, suspenseful thriller based on Martin Amis’ best-selling novel. Clairvoyant femme fatale Nicola Six (Heard) has a premonition about her impending murder. Yet rather than try to save herself, she engages in the elaborate seduction of three men, one of whom she knows will be her murderer. One, an American author with a fatal illness (Thornton), decides her story will form the basis of his final novel. From Fox … In the twisted love story “Piercing” (2018), starring Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska and Laia Costa, a man seeks out an unsuspecting stranger to help him purge the dark torments of his past. His plan goes awry when he encounters a woman with plans of her own. A playful psycho-thriller game of cat-and-mouse based on Ryû Murakami’s novel.On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal … photo for Showdown In “Showdown” (1993), starring Kenn Scott, Billy Blanks, Christine Taylor, Patrick Kilpatrick, James Lew and Brion James, Ken Marks (Scott) finds a dangerous enemy on his first day at his new school; an enemy who makes his living as the champion of an illegal fighting operation. School janitor and ex-cop Billy Grant (Blanks) trains Ken to defend himself. What Billy doesn’t know is that the man behind it all is the one man from his past who wants him dead. On Blu-ray from MVD Rewind Collection … In “And Then There Was Eve” (2018), starring Karan Soni, Tania Nolan, Rachel Crowl and Mary Holland, Alyssa, a successful photographer, wakes one morning to find her apartment ransacked and her husband mysteriously missing. Left without even a photograph to offer the police, she turns to his colleague Eve, a talented jazz pianist with a flirtatious charm and disarming grace. Eve helps her confront her husband’s longtime struggle with depression and to, over time, accept his absence. While getting to know this woman through such unusual circumstances, Alyssa is surprised to find herself falling in love again. From Breaking Glass Pictures … In “The Glorious Seven” (2018), ex-military commander David Guerra is hired by a shady millionaire to rescue his wife, who was kidnapped by the leader of a guerrilla group. Guerra hires six of his former special forces comrades to join him on the mission. From photo for The Craft [Collector’s Edition] Uncork’d Entertainment … In the horror-thriller “The Craft” (1996), starring Neve Campbell, Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Rachel True and Skeet Ulrich, Campbell stars as Sarah, the new kid at St. Benedict’s Academy. Having always been a bit unusual, she fits right in with the school’s outsiders. There’s something different about them though, and it’s not just that they won’t settle for being a group of powerless misfits. They have discovered The Craft … and they are going to use it. In a Blu-ray Collector’s Edition from Scream Factory … In “A.I. Rising” (2019 — Serbia), on a lonely mission to Alpha Centauri, Sebastian is teamed up with Nimani 1345, a female cyborg designed to fulfill his every need. At first thrilled to be able to control her, Sebastian grows tired of having his desires fulfilled so easily. Longing for human intimacy, Sebastian alters Nimani’s programmed responses, but in doing so he risks the mission’s security — and his own life. From Lionsgate … In the dystopian thriller “The Last Man” (2019), starring Hayden Christensen and Harvey Keitel, Christensen plays Kurt, a vet suffering from PTSD who comes photo for Man's Best Friend BLU-RAY DEBUT home to an unholy, unruly land. The world is bad, no question — but local street prophet Noe (Keitel) says it’ll get even worse when a catastrophic storm strikes. As Kurt heeds Noe’s advice and readies for the apocalypse, he meets sultry Jessica, who also begins to believe. Yet even as the planet falls apart, Kurt finds his life finally coming together. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … “Man’s Best Friend” (1993), starring Ally Sheedy and Lance Henriksen, makes its Blu-ray debut this week. When an ambitious news journalist (Sheedy) breaks into a genetic research facility, she uncovers the biggest story of her career and unleashes the lab’s most dangerous experiment: Max — a genetically enhanced guard dog with a vicious killer instinct. Superior sight, hearing, strength, and intelligence make him faster, stronger, and smarter than almost any other animal alive — and deadlier. Without the neuropathic drugs needed to curb his aggressive nature, his predatory urge runs out of control … and once he tastes blood, nothing can stop him. From Scream Factory.

On the Indie Front:

In “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” (2018), starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane and Forrest Goodluck, a teenage girl is forced into a gay conversion therapy center by her conservative guardians in 1993. Once there she finds an unconventional family in fellow “sinners” Jane and Adam. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Filmrise … photo for Tyrel In “Tyrel” (2018), starring Christopher Abbott, Trust Arancio, Nicolas Arze, Tyler joins his friend on a trip to the Catskills for a weekend birthday party with several people he doesn’t know. As soon as they get there, it’s clear that (1) he’s the only black guy, and (2) it’s going to be a weekend of heavy drinking. Although Tyler is welcomed, he can’t help but feel uneasy in “Whitesville.” The combination of all the testosterone and alcohol starts to get out of hand, and Tyler’s precarious situation starts to feel like a nightmare. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Magnolia Home Entertainment.

Foreign Films:

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the British Independent Film Awards, the Grand Jury Prize at AFI Fest and a César Award for music direction, photo for Marquise “Marquise” (1997 — French), starring Sophie Marceau, Bernard Giraudeau and Patrick Timsit, is a lavish costume dramedy set in 17th century France. Presented in a new 2K digital restoration. Born into poverty, Marquise (Marceau) is a beautiful street dancer who found fame and notoriety among the 17th century aristocratic elite under the stage name Mademoiselle Du Parc. When the distinguished Molière (Giraudeau) and his theatre troupe come to town, Marquise mesmerizes the men, and joins the troupe. She marries Gros René (Timsit) and becomes a favorite of King Louis XIV, but it is not until Marquise becomes the mistress of rival playwright Racine that she finally realizes her ambition to become a great actress. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Movement Classics.

Special Interest:

“Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes” (2018) is a documentary that deftly fuses the personal, the political and the just plain surreal as it charts the rise and fall of Fox News chairman, Roger Ailes. Variously called a bulldog, a kingmaker, and the Ernest Hemingway photo for Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes of campaign advisors, Ailes was a key media consultant to presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush, powerfully shaping American political history over the last 50 years. After creating a ratings powerhouse, with more viewers than all its direct competitors combined, in 2016 Ailes was forced out of Fox amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment. He died in May 2017 at the age of 77. This is the origin story of one of the most powerful and divisive figures in American media, as well as a clear-eyed look at how we got where we are today. From Magnolia 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.

 Posted by on March 12, 2019 No Responses »
Mar 052019
 

From the Big Screen:

“The Favourite,” “Creed II,” “Instant Family” and “Vox Lux.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

From one of the masters of the film noir, Robert Siodmak (“The Killers,” “The Dark Mirror”), comes “Phantom Lady” (1944), a consummate crime classic. After a fight with his wife, Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis) heads to a bar to drown his sorrows. There he strikes up a conversation with a mysterious, despondent lady photo for Phantom Lady who agrees to accompany him to a show uptown but withholds her name. Arriving home, Scott is met by grimly countenanced cops — his wife has been strangled with one of his neckties and he is the prime suspect. He has a solid alibi but his theater companion is nowhere to be found and no one remembers seeing them together. When Scott is charged with murdering his wife, it falls to his devoted secretary “Kansas” (Ella Raines) to find the phantom lady and save Scott from the electric chair. Adapted from a hit novel by acclaimed crime writer Cornell Woolrich, “Phantom Lady” boasts stylish cinematography, cruel characters and memorable performances from Raines and Franchot Tone. The film is presented here for the first time in stunning High Definition. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment … The “Sister Street Fighter Collection” (1974) is a two-disc set that includes all three films in the Sister Street Fighter trilogy. Etsuko Shihomi is the half-Chinese, half-Japanese Li Koryu, who travels to Yokohama to investigate the disappearance of her brother, an undercover cop. When she discovers a smuggling ring run by a drug lord with his own personal army of deadly fighters, she must penetrate his evil lair and defeat not only his champion (Masashi Ishibashi from the Street Fighter films) but also a group of female Thai kickboxers called The Amazon Seven. Shin’ichi Chiba appears in a cameo as a fellow karate master who helps Koryu in her mission. Released only three months later, photo for Sister Street Fighter Collection the sequel, “Sister Street Fighter: Hanging By a Thread,” once again follows Li Koryu as she investigates another smuggling ring, this time involving diamonds implanted into the derrieres of prostitutes! Teaming up with enigmatic fighter Tsubaki (Yasuaki Kurata), she once again calls upon her fighting skills to take down another round of colorful bad guys. The final film of the official trilogy, “Return of the Sister Street Fighter,” finds her back in Yokohama searching for a woman who has become the mistress of another crime kingpin. Kurata again co-stars but this time as a crazed fighter working for the villains who swears that he’s the man who can kill Li Koryu. Genre entertainment of the highest order, the Sister Street Fighter films are a wild ride through some of the best exploitation cinema Japan produced in the 1970s. Funky and over-the-top, filled with wall-to-wall action, and featuring some of the craziest villains ever depicted onscreen, the series embodies female power in a male-dominated genre and is a magnificent showcase for the physical presence and martial arts skills of its lead star. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

From TV to Disc:

“Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season” (2018) is a four-disc set with all 16 episodes. In Season 4, we see the world of Madison Clark and her family through new eyes — the eyes of Morgan Jones, who is joining the story from the world of “The Walking Dead.” The characters’ immediate pasts mix with an uncertain present of struggle and discovery as they meet new friends, foes, and threats. They fight for each other, against each other, and against a legion of the dead, and work to build an existence strong enough to resist the crushing pressure of lives coming apart. There’s darkness and light; terror and grace; and photo for Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season the heroic, mercenary, and craven, all crashing together toward a new reality. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … “House of Cards: Season Six” (2018) is a three-disc set with all eight episodes. The final chapter in the critically acclaimed and award-winning political drama. Following the death of President Frank Underwood, Vice President Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) has ascended to the position of Commander in Chief of the United States, working to rally her allies and outwit those who oppose her. The intrigue and political maneuverings inside the White House continue as the first female president seeks to solidify her legacy. Co-stars Michael Kelly, Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Sony … “Krypton: The Complete First Season” (2018) is a two-disc set with all 10 episodes of the series that tells the origin story of DC’s iconic photo for When Calls The Heart: The Greatest Blessing Superman in a whole new way. What if Superman never existed? Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet, Krypton follows a young Seg-El, the legendary Man of Steel’s grandfather, who is faced with a life and death conflict — save his home planet or let it be destroyed in order to restore the fate of his future grandson. With Krypton’s leadership in disarray and the House of El ostracized, Seg fights alongside Earthly time-traveler Adam Strange to redeem his family’s honor and protect the ones he loves while saving the future of his legacy from DC Super-Villain Brainiac.On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner … “When Calls The Heart: The Greatest Blessing” (2018) is the latest entry in the series based on the books by celebrated author Janette Oke (“The Love Comes Softly” series). When a group of orphans become stranded in Hope Valley for Christmas, their caretakers — sisters who have a mysterious backstory — lead Bill to investigate the circumstances of their arrival. He discovers the sisters and their orphanage are in jeopardy, so Abigail and the other residents rally to make it a Christmas to remember for the orphans. From Shout! Factory.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Ben Is Back” (2018), starring Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Courtney B. Vance and Kathryn Newton, follows the charming yet troubled Ben Burns (Hedges), who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben’s wary mother Holly Burns (Roberts) welcomes her son’s return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm’s way … and he promptly disappears. During the 24 hours photo for Ben Is Back that may change their lives forever, Holly must do everything in her power to avoid the family’s downfall. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Lionsgate … In “The Clovehitch Killer” (2018), starring Charlie Plummer, Dylan McDermott and Samantha Mathis, Tyler Burnside (Plummer) is a Boy Scout, a volunteer at his local church, and the dutiful son of an upstanding, community leader dad (McDermott). Only one thing troubles the quiet Kentucky town he lives in: the unsolved murders — in which 10 women were brutally tortured and killed by a psychopath known as Clovehitch — that rocked the community more than a decade ago. When Tyler discovers a cache of disturbing images in his father’s possession, he begins to suspect that the man he trusts most in the world may be Clovehitch … and that his deadly rampage may not be over. On DVD, Blu-ray from IFC Midnight/Scream Factory … After a shooting at a police funeral, reclusive ex-cop Gannon finds himself unwittingly forced out of retirement when he realizes that the killer belongs to the same militia he joined after quitting the force in “The Standoff at Sparrow Creek” (2018), starring James Badge Dale, Chris Mulkey, Brian Geraghty, Robert Aramayo, Patrick Fischler and Happy Anderson. Understanding that the shooting could set off a chain reaction of copycat violence across the country, Gannon quarantines his fellow militiamen in the remote lumber mill they call their headquarters. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … “The Vanishing (aka Keepers)” (2019), starring Gerard Butler, Peter Mullan and Connor Swindells is an action-packed thriller based on true events. After three lighthouse keepers arrive for work on a remote Scottish isle, they make a fateful discovery: a wrecked rowboat — with a chest full of gold. As a mysterious boat heads toward the island, the three men make a choice that will change their lives forever, ensnaring them in a web of greed, paranoia, and guilt. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … There’s three interesting thrillers from overseas this week: In “Do It Yourself” (2017 — Greece), small-time crook and ex-con Alkis is double-crossed by an ex-cellmate and finds himself trapped in a working porn studio where his shady, trigger-happy accomplices have no intention of letting him out alive. The disheveled crook has only one option — to escape by any means possible. From Artsploitation Films … photo for The House “The House” (2016 — Norway) is set in the frozen wilderness of Norway during WWII, two German soldiers escort a Norwegian soldier to a prisoner of war camp but as the weather begins to take a toll on them, they find an empty house near the forest where they finally can get some rest. However, what seems to be a warm and welcoming shelter turns much more sinister and deadly. They begin to wonder if they somehow have stepped into a psychological hell from which there may be no escape. From the director of “Christmas Blood.” From Artsploitation Films … In “Jupiter’s Moon” (2017 — Hungary), the director of the critically acclaimed “White God” employs his uniquely talented eye to create this riveting Palme d’Or nominated supernatural thriller. Aryan, a young Syrian refugee (Zsombor Jéger) is shot while trying to cross the Hungarian border. While treating his wounds, a doctor (Merab Ninidze) at the refugee camp discovers that Aryan has gained an extraordinary talent — he can levitate at will. The corrupt doctor sees an opportunity and offers to smuggle Aryan out of the camp if, in return, he helps him make some money by using his new miraculous gift. Director Kornél Mundruczó marks himself as one his generation’s most visionary directors by tackling eternally mythic themes and contemporary political issues with mind-bending aplomb. From Icarus Films … And, lastly, Shout! Factory brings us “Kalifornia Collector’s Edition” (1993), starring Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes. When urban intellectuals Brian (Duchovny) and Carrie (Forbes) set out on a cross-country trip to research a book about serial killers, they share the ride with a couple they barely know — Early Grayce (Pitt) and his girlfriend Adele (Lewis). Locked in a car hurtling westward, the four travelers struggle to find some common ground. But when they finally do connect, Early’s violent nature abruptly emerges and the terrified Brian and Carrie realize that they don’t need to go very far to learn about ruthless killers … because they are already face-to-face with one! Includes both the theatrical cut and unrated version of the movie. On Blu-ray.

On the Indie Front:

“100 Yards” (2018) stars Sean Patrick Flanery, Steven Brewis, Danielle Rayne and Rebecca Lim in a drama about a famous but flawed college athlete who turns down the NFL to search for his mother who has gone missing, only to find out he has an illness that takes him on an unexpected journey. From RLJE Films.

Foreign Films:

In “Liz and the Blue Bird” (2018 — Japan), Naoko Yamada presents her fourth feature film with a subtle yet entrancing brilliance in this complex look photo for Liz and the Blue Bird at friendship and growing up. Mizore Yoroizuka plays the oboe, and Nozomi Kasaki plays the flute in Kita Uji High School’s concert band. Mizore is shy and soft-spoken, while her best friend, Nozomi, is outgoing. The two girls grow closer as they practice for their last duet before graduating, a piece called “Liz And The Blue Bird.” However, the impending separation may be more than their friendship can handle. Interspersed with their story is the fantasy tale of Liz, who like Mizore, seeks a friendship that may be too hard to hold onto in this beautiful coming-of-age story. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Shout! Factory.

Special Interest:

“Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival” (2018): Donna Haraway is the author of the groundbreaking “A Cyborg Manifesto.” This documentary features Haraway in a playful and engaging exploration of her life, influences, and ideas. Best-known for her ground-breaking work on gender, cyborgs, animals and post-colonialism, Haraway is a passionate and discursive storyteller. The film is structured around a series of discussions on subjects including capitalism, science fiction, unconventional marital and sexual partnerships, the role of Catholicism in her upbringing, humans and dogs, the suppression of women’s writing, the surprisingly fascinating history of orthodontic aesthetics, and the need for new post-patriarchal narratives. From Icarus Films.

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.

 Posted by on March 5, 2019 No Responses »
Feb 252019
 

From the Big Screen:

“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “The Possession of Hannah Grace” and “Mary Queen of Scots.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

A slow-burning masterwork of the early 1990s, “To Sleep With Anger” (1990), the third feature by Charles Burnett, is a singular piece of American mythmaking. In a towering performance, Danny Glover plays the enigmatic southern drifter Harry, a devilish charmer who turns up out of the blue on the South photo for To Sleep With AngerCentral Los Angeles doorstep of his old friends. In short order, Harry’s presence turns a seemingly peaceful household upside down, exposing smoldering tensions between parents and children, tradition and change, virtue and temptation. Interweaving evocative strains of gospel and blues with rich, poetic-realist images, “To Sleep with Anger” is a sublimely stirring film from an autonomous artistic sensibility, a portrait of family resilience steeped in the traditions of black mysticism and folklore. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new, restored 4K digital transfer, approved by director Charles Burnett, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection … “A Bill of Divorcement” (1940), stars Maureen O’Hara, Adolphe Menjou, Fay Bainter, Herbert Marshall, C. Aubrey Smith and May Whitty. After 15 years in a mental asylum, Hilary Fairfield (Adolphe Menjou) has suddenly regained his sanity, escaped from the institution and come home. But a few things have changed in his absence. For one, his strong-willed daughter Sydney (Maureen O’Hara) has grown up and is planning to marry. For another, his wife (Fay Bainter) has divorced him and is planning to re-marry. It’s enough to drive a man crazy — or a woman, for that matter. Especially when Sydney learns it wasn’t “shell shock” that sent her father to the asylum, but family madness — and now she’s sure she’s inherited it. Brilliantly helmed by director John Farrow (“The Big Clock”), this film was a remake of the 1932 film with the same title, directed by George Cukor and starring John Barrymore and Katharine Hepburn in her film debut. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber … photo for In honor of its 30th anniversary, two-time Academy Award-winner (Best Original Score and Best Original Song “Under the Sea,” 1989) “The Little Mermaid” (1989) dives into the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection with all-new bonus features and a sing-along mode. Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale about a beautiful mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human, “The Little Mermaid” was directed by John Musker and Ron Clements. It features the voice talents of Jodi Benson as Ariel, Pat Carroll as Ursula, Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian, Christopher Daniel Barnes as Eric, Kenneth Mar as Triton, Buddy Hackett as Scuttle, Jason Marin as Flounder and René Auberjonois as Chef Louis. The film was originally released in theaters on Nov. 15, 1989 and is the 28th film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, and the first in what many described as a new Disney animation renaissance. On Blu-ray/DVD Combo, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo, from Disney.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In the twist-filled supernatural thriller “Between Worlds” (2018), starring Nicolas Cage, Franka Potente, Penelope Mitchell and Garrett Clayton, cage stars as Joe, a struggling truck driver haunted by the memory of his deceased wife and daughter. Joe’s life takes a dramatic turn when he meets Julie (Potente), a woman with mysterious spiritual powers, whose daughter, Billie, lies in a coma. Julie enlists Joe’s help to stop Billie from crossing over to the spirit world, but when Billie awakes, her body is possessed — by the vengeful spirit of Joe’s dead wife. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Lionsgate … In “Rampant” (2018 — South Korea), starring Hyun-Bin, Jang Dong-Gun, Jo Woo-Jin, Man-Sik and Kim Eui-Sung, a darkness looms over ancient Korea: murderous creatures known as Night Demons have overrun the country. Returning from a long imprisonment abroad, Prince Ganglim photo for The Mole People BLU-RAY DEBUT discovers that it will take the strength of his entire kingdom to stop the bloody rampage spreading across the nation in this fresh new take on zombie horror from the studios that brought you “Train to Busan.” On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA … Scream factory has two horror films making Blu-ray debuts this week: In “The Mole People” (1956), starring John Agar, Hugh Beaumont and Nestor Paiva, three archaeologists discover the remnants of a mutant five-millennia-old Sumerian civilization living beneath a glacier atop a mountain in Mesopotamia. The party of archaeologists come upon an unusual race of albino beings who shun all forms of light and have mutant mole men as their slaves. Because of their “magical cylinders of fire” (what we know as flashlights), these archaeologists are treated like gods — until they try to liberate the mole people. Can the archaeologists escape this hallowed mountain in Asia — or will they be destroyed in a strange underground world? The film is presented in two aspect ratios – 1.85:1 and 2.00:1 … “Willard” (2003) is a new version of the classic 1971 film. For years, Willard Stiles (Crispin Glover) has been trapped in a dead-end job with no friends and no future. Willard’s life seems hopeless until he makes an eerie discovery: he shares a powerful bond with the rats that dwell in his basement. Now a guy who has been trampled in the rat race his entire life is suddenly ready to tear up the competition … beginning with his boss. New 2K scan of the original film elements.

Foreign Films:

photo for Ships (Ferahfeza) “Ships (Ferahfeza)” (2013 — Turkey), the feature-length debut from award-winning filmmaker Elif Refig, centers on Ali (Ugur Uzunel), a young shipyard worker and restless romantic who, during the day, thinks about the importance of coincidences. One such coincidence is his encounter with the strong and energetic Eda (M. Sitare Akbas), a graffiti artist. Together, they embark on a quixotic adventure through Turkey’s industrial port-cities hoping to escape the suffocating routine of their daily lives by finding the ship that Ali has only seen in his dreams. Includes Refig’s Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Foreign Filmmaker award-wining short film, “Man to Be.” On DVD from IndiePix Films.

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.

 Posted by on February 25, 2019 No Responses »
Mar 122019
 
Hal

Hal

Although Hal Ashby directed a remarkable string of acclaimed, widely admired classics throughout the 1970s—HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST DETAIL, SHAMPOO, COMING HOME, BEING THERE—he is often overlooked amid the crowd of luminaries from his generation. Amy Scott’s exuberant portrait explores that curious oversight, using rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings to reveal a passionate, obsessive artist. Ashby was a Hollywood director who constantly clashed with Hollywood, but also a unique soul with an unprecedented insight into the human condition and an unmatched capacity for good. His films were an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor, and humanity. Through the heartrending and inspiring HAL, you feel buoyed by Ashby’s love of people and of cinema … a little like walking on water.

Special Features:
  • Feature-length audio commentary with director Amy Scott, producers Christine Beebe, Brian Morrow, Jonathan Lynch and Lisa Janssen
  • The Cutting Room Floor – interview outtakes
  • Behind the scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
On DVD and Blu-ray April 2 from Oscilloscope Laboratories

 Posted by on March 12, 2019 No Responses »
Feb 052019
 

From the Big Screen:

“The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” “Widows,” “A Private War,” “The Sisters Brothers” and “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

Directed by Ingmar Bergman, “Shame (Skammen)” (1968) is at once an examination of the violent legacy of World War II and a scathing response to the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star as musicians living in quiet retreat on a remote island farm, until the civil war photo for Shame that drove them from the city catches up with them there. Amid the chaos of the military struggle, vividly evoked by pyrotechnics and by cinematographer Sven Nykvist’s handheld camera work, the two are faced with impossible moral choices that tear at the fabric of their relationship. This film, which contains some of the most devastating scenes in Bergman’s oeuvre, shows the impact of war on individual lives. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … The cult classic “Double Dragon” (1994), starring photo for Double Dragon (Collector's Edition Robert Patrick, Scott Wolf, Mark Dacascos, Alyssa Milano and Julia Nickson, based on the video game smash hit, roars to life with amazing special effects, spectacular action sequences, and a knock-about sense of humor. It’s the year 2007, and what remains of LA is now “New Angeles,” a city ravaged by earthquakes, tidal waves and vicious gangs. The evil tycoon Koga Shuko (Patrick) is obsessed with finding the two halves of a talisman known as the “Double Dragon,” which will give him awesome mystical powers. Two teenaged brothers, Jimmy (Dacascos) and Billy Lee (Wolf) find themselves in possession of the amulet’s missing half, thrusting them into the adventure of their lives. In a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo from MVD Rewind Collection.

From TV to Disc:

“The Deuce: The Complete Second Season” (2018) is a three-disc set with all nine episodes. The Second Season continues to trace the evolution and power dynamics of the porn industry in New York’s Times Square neighborhood in the 1970s. Picking up in late 1977, five years after season one, The Deuce’s backroom massage parlors and hotels have exploded into sprawling emporiums, while the New York Mafia’s grip on the porn business is beginning to slip as talent migrates to the West Coast – but for now, the city is flush with movies, music and art. Season photo for Gunsmoke: The Fourteenth Season, Volumes One & Two 2 also captures the disco era in all its excesses before developers, crack cocaine, AIDS, and videotapes conspire to end the debauched glory of Times Square. On DVD, Blu-ray, from HBO … “40 & Single: Season 1” (2018) features six episodes of the series about a bisexual, mixed race, single bridal fashion designer who maneuvers life and business in post colonial Africa. From Urban Movie Channel/RLJ Entertainment … “Gunsmoke: The Fourteenth Season, Volumes One & Two” (1968-69) is a seven-disc set with 26 digitally remastered episodes. James Arness returns to the Wild West as the legendary Marshal Matt Dillon. Hellbent on serving justice in the Old West, Dillon finds himself going head-to-head with Dodge City’s most dangerous outlaws. Often surrounded by epic gunfights, brawls, cold-blooded murders and bank robbers, Dillon continues his adventures alongside the loyal Doc Adams (Milburn Stone), sexy saloon proprietress Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) and lovable Deputy Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis). This season, Dodge City is counting on Dillon to bring justice to the badlands and set order in the west. At the untamed edge of civilization, Dillon faces off with remorseless bounty hunters, a vengeful ex-lawman and a 103-year-old horse thief. From CBS/Paramount.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “The Cloverfield Paradox” (2018), starring David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Bruhl, Chris O’Dowd, Zhang Ziyi, Aksel Hennie and John Ortiz, orbiting above a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Paramount … In “Fighting the Sky” (2018), starring Angela Cole, Matthew Ward, Nicole Ann Hicks, Alison Headrick, Jinette Faraj and Judith Faraj, strange other-worldly sounds are echoing around the world. A group of researchers, led by expert ufologist Lorraine Gardner, begin an expedition to track down the point of origin from which the sounds emerge. Yet as their journey deepens, they begin to discover more than they bargained for. From High Octane Pictures … In “All the Devil’s Men” (2018), starring Milo Gibson, Sylvia Hoeks and William Fichtner, a team of hardened military operatives go on a relentless manhunt through the backstreets of London. A battle-scarred mercenary in the War on Terror is forced to go on an overseas mission to find a disavowed CIA operative, which turns into a deadly running battle with a former military comrade and his private army. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … photo for Grand-Daddy Day Care In “Grand-Daddy Day Care” (2019), starring Reno Wilson, Danny Trejo, Barry Bostwick, Linda Gray, Julia Duffy, Garrett Morris, Hal Linden and George Wendt, when Frank Collins (Wilson) suffers from writer’s block, he decides to start a day care for his father-in-law (Trejo) and other seniors as a way to make quick cash, while giving him time to still work on his next book. Eventually getting a small group to care for, Frank soon learns that these are not your typical seniors and they can’t be easily corralled. With a code enforcement officer challenging the legality of his business, and his senior charges getting into all kinds of trouble, Frank’s work days become anything but effortless. From Universal … In “Mermaid Lake of the Dead” (2018 — Russia), starring Viktoriya Agalakova, Efim Petrunin and Sofia Shidlovskaya, some people believe that if you go walking by the lake a night, a mermaid will get you and seduce you with her singing. Once a young woman sent to a tragic and watery grave, she has since become something unholy. Cursed to swim the waters in which she met her untimely death, the mermaid has risen once again. This unspeakable wraithlike creature hungers for love — and has set her hook for the fiancé of a young woman from the town, setting up a desperate battle with pure, undying evil. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Scream Factory … photo for The Fifth Cord The success of Dario Argento’s “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” ushered in a host of imitators, seeking to capitalize on this new, modern take on the giallo thriller. Many were highly derivative, but a number nonetheless rose above the crowd thanks to skillful execution and a willingness to experiment stylistically. One such example is “The Fifth Cord” (1971) which, in the hands of director Luigi Bazzoni, turns a conventional premise into a visually stunning exploration of alienation and isolation. When a man barely survives a brutal assault en route home from a New Year’s party, washed-up, whisky-swilling journalist Andrea Bild (Franco Nero) is assigned to report on the case. Before long, the maniac strikes again, this time with fatal results. As the body count rises, Andrea falls under suspicion himself, making it even more imperative that he crack the case. His only clue lies in a series of black gloves found at the location of every attack, each with a finger cut off … Adapted from a novel by David McDonald Devine, “The Fifth Cord” boasts a complex, Agatha Christie-esque plot and outstanding cinematography courtesy of future Oscar-winner Vittorio Storaro.On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “Poetic Justice” (1993), starring Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Regina King and Joe Torry, makes its Blu-ray debut this week. Jackson and Shakur made their film debuts in director John Singleton’s (“Boyz N the Hood”) street-smart love story. A mismatched pair pushed together for a road trip from South Central L.A. to Oakland, Justice (Jackson) and Lucky (Shakur) have only one thing in common: they can’t stand each other. But as their friends Iesha and Chicago (King and Torry) fight — and make up — in the back of the van, Justice and Lucky find themselves reluctantly drawn together before being confronted once again by the shocking violence they thought they’d left behind. Featuring the music of Naughty by Nature and Tony! Toni! Tone!, and the poetry of Maya Angelou. From Sony … photo for The Possessed “The Possessed” (1965 — Italy) is a wonderfully atmospheric proto-giallo based on one of Italy’s most notorious crimes, The Alleghe killings, and adapted from the book on that case by acclaimed literary figure Giovanni Comisso. Peter Baldwin stars as Bernard, a depressed novelist who sets off in search of his old flame Tilde (Virna Lisi), a beautiful maid who works at a remote lakeside hotel. Bernard is warmly greeted by the hotel owner Enrico (Salvo Randone) and his daughter Irma (Valentina Cortese), but Tilde has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Bernard undertakes an investigation and is soon plunged into a disturbing drama of familial secrets, perversion, madness and murder … Co-written by Giulio Questi and co-directed by Luigi Bazzoni, “The Possessed” masterfully combines film noir, mystery and giallo tropes, whilst also drawing on the formal innovations of 1960s art cinema (particularly the films of Michelangelo Antonioni.) A uniquely dreamlike take on true crime, “The Possessed” is presented here in a stunning new restoration. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … In “Higher Learning” (1995), starring Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport, Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes, Jennifer Connelly and Tyra Banks. First-term freshmen get a crash course in diversity, identity and sexuality when people from all different walks of life encounter racial tension, rape, responsibility, and the meaning of an education on a university campus. In a Blu-ray debut from Sony.

On the Indie Front:

In “When It Comes Around” (2018), starring Jackée Harry, Brad James, Shanica Knowles, Denyce Lawton and Chico Benymon, Dexter (James) is a man with all the moves: with the ladies, on the basketball court and in the cutthroat business of sports management. But this player is about to be played. When his company photo for Electric Love hires a new agent named Jerry and Jerry turns out to be a stunning, competitive woman with moves of her own … Dex will learn a thing or two about relationships and what it feels like to lose. From Urban Movie Channel/RLJ Entertainment … “Electric Love” (2019), starring Mia Serafino, Zachary Mooren, Matt Bush and Victoria Fratz, follows four couples as they traverse modern dating in Los Angeles utilizing popular dating apps like Tinder and Grindr. Emma and Adam swipe right and fall head first into a passionate relationship, ignoring red flags along the way. Greg deals with obstacles in finding a genuine connection on the Grindr scene when a sudden match may have turned his luck around. Director Aaron Fradkin drew from real-life experiences for some of the hilarious bad date stories depicted in the movie. Real-life Grindr stories shared by Grindr users were used to authenticate the feel of the same-sex dating storyline. From Gravitas Ventures.

Foreign Films::

“Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms” (2018 — Japan) was the winner of Best Animated Film at the Shanghai International Film Festival and awarded Best Film for Fantastic Discovery at Spain’s Sitges Film Festival. Though only 15, photo for Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms Maquia knows she will live for centuries without aging past adolescence. She belongs to the Iorph, a clan of ageless beings just like her. Maquia’s elders warn her not to fall in love with anyone outside their realm, lest she wish to encounter true loneliness in the end. But fate pushes Maquia out into the mortal world one night, when an invading territory separates her from the clan. There she discovers an orphaned baby, Arial, and takes him in as her own child. From this point, Maquia will suffer extreme heartbreak in the name of motherhood, as she watches Arial grow and seeks to reconnect with her lost Iorph friends, all torn apart by the cruel world of Mesate. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Shout! Factory.

For the Family:

In “PJ Masks: Butterfly Brigade” (2019), preschoolers can join the trio of heroes, Catboy, Owlette and Gekko, on their nighttime adventures as they work together to stop the baddies and save the day in six episodes. When Luna Girl pushes her moths aside and steals butterflies to be her new sidekicks, can Catboy learn to make friends with the butterflies and stop her? And Owlette is so amazed photo for Bernie the Dolphin by Night Ninja’s new school bus fortress, she forgets all of the reasons why she loves the PJ Masks HQ. From Fox … Set in St. Augustine, Florida, the Dove Foundation approved “Bernie the Dolphin” (2018), starring Lola Sultan, Kevin Sorbo, Patrick Muldoon and Logan Allen, is a family adventure about a brother and sister who befriend a badly sunburned dolphin separated from his family and uncover a secret plan that could destroy the beach and their new friend’s home. The kids must devise a clever plan to stop the bad guys, protect the sea life, and, most importantly, save their new friend, Bernie. From Lionsgate … In “Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost” (2019), the Mystery Inc. gang heads to the snowy peaks of the Himalayan mountains to track down a lost chest that contains the spirits of 12 captured ghosts in this all new animated feature. From Warner.

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.

 Posted by on February 5, 2019 No Responses »
Jan 222019
 

From the Big Screen:

“First Man,” “The Hate U Give” and “Johnny English Strikes Again” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu shot to international prominence with “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (2007), his rigorously realistic Palme d’Or-winning second feature. In 1987, during the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, college roommates Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) seek an illegal abortion for Gabita. In unflinching but empathetic detail, “4 Months, 3 photo for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 DaysWeeks and 2 Days” recounts the events of 24 perilous hours in their lives, culminating in their encounter with a manipulative and menacing abortionist (Vlad Ivanov). With powerful performances that accentuate the characters’ flawed humanity, “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” is a gutting account of the impossible choices women face when taking control of their bodies means breaking the law. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by director Cristian Mungiu, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … photo for Mikey and Nicky Elaine May crafted a gangster film like no other in the nocturnal odyssey “Mikey and Nicky” (1976), capitalizing on the chemistry between frequent collaborators John Cassavetes and Peter Falk by putting them on-screen together as small-time mobsters whose lifelong relationship has turned sour. Set over the course of one night, this restless drama finds Nicky holed up in a motel after the boss he stole money from puts a hit on him. Terrified, he calls on Mikey: the one person he thinks can save him. Scripted to match the live-wire energy of its stars — alongside supporting players Ned Beatty, Joyce Van Patten, and Carol Grace — and inspired by real-life characters from May’s childhood, this unbridled portrait of male friendship turned tragic is an unsung masterpiece of American cinema. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Elaine May, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … photo for Waterworld The most expensive film ever made at the time of its release, the infamous “Waterworld” (1995) “Waterworld” has thrilled audiences through the years with its awe-inspiring action scenes, gargantuan maritime sets and ground-breaking special effects. The post-apocalypse film stars Kevin Costner The Mariner — a mutant trader, adrift in a dystopian future where Earth is submerged under water and humankind struggles to survive on boats and in ramshackle floating cities. The Mariner becomes embroiled with the Smokers, a gang of pirates who, led by villainous leader Deacon (Dennis Hopper), are seeking Enola (Tina Majorino), a girl with a map to the mythical realm of “Dryland” tattooed on her back. Famous for both its epic scale and the controversy that swirled around its production, “Waterworld” is a key cult film of the 1990s, and an essential entry into the subgenre of ecologically-minded blockbusters. Presented here in an exclusive new restoration, in three different cuts: the original cut from a 4K scan, the extended US TV cut, which runs over 40 minutes longer than the theatrical cut, and the extended European “Ulysses” cut, which includes censored shots and dialogue. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.

From TV to Disc:

“The Dick Cavett Show: Inside The Minds Of: Vol. 2”:
Beginning in, 1968 Dick Cavett was the host of his own talk show, in a variety of formats and on a number of television and radio formats. These episodes were taken from shows that aired between 1990 through 1995 and feature some of the insightful, thought provoking and satirical brilliance of George Carlin, Martin Mull and Steve Martin. From MVD Entertainment … “Fuller House: The Complete Third Season” (2007) is a two-disc set with all 18 episodes of the sequel to the 1987–1995 television series. Highlights: Joey, Jesse and Danny come home to celebrate 30 years since they initially moved in together to raise the Tanner girls. Guest appearances by original “Full House” cast including John Stamos, Bob Saget, Dave Coulier and Lori Loughlin. From Warner.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

While on assignment in war-torn Bosnia, a team of Navy SEALs discovers the existence of a treasure hidden at the bottom of a lake by the Nazis in “American Renegades” (2017), starring J.K. Simmons, Sullivan Stapleton, Ewen Bremner, Charlie Bewley and Sylvia Hoeks. In an effort to help the locals, photo for the SEALs engineer a covert operation to retrieve the gold and return it to its rightful owners. After a deadly turn of events, the team is detected by the enemy — and left with only 10 hours to carry out the mission. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … Late one night, a knock on the door interrupts a husband and wife’s evening, changing their lives forever in “West of Redemption” (2010), starring Billy Zane, Kevin Alejandro, Mariana Klaveno and Charles Leggett. When Hank Keller (Zane) opens the door to a traveler (Alejandro) whose truck broke down, it opens a nightmare for everyone, unwinding a complicated web of mysteries that ends with a kidnapping, a dead body and several suspects. From IndiCan Pictures … Starring the creators of “The Room,” the cult film that inspired “The Disaster Artist,” “Best Friends Volume 1” (2017) is a comedy-thriller featuring Tommy Wiseau as a mortician named Harvey and Greg Sestero as Jon, a drifter — two unlikely friends/business associates whose partnership is > tested by creeping paranoia and issues of loyalty and trust. photo for In “Best Friends Volume 2” (2018) the laughs and thrills continue with Harvey out of the way and Jon and his girlfriend escaping to the Arizona desert … but their quest to open a safe full of loot leads them into a gang of desperate, deadly characters, leaving Jon, fighting to survive, haunted by freakish memories of the long-lost Harvey. On Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “Here and Now” (2018), starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Simon Baker, Common, Taylor Kinney, Waleed “Cobra Collector’s Edition” (1986), starring Sylvester Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen and Reni SantoniLt, police Lt. Marion Cobretti (Stallone) is a one-man assault team whose laser-mount submachine gun and pearl-handled Colt .45 spit pure crime-stopping venom. This thriller pits Cobretti against a merciless serial killer. The trail leads to not one murderer but also an army of psychos bent on slashing their way to a “New Order” — and killing a witness along the way. Fortunately, her protector is Cobra, a man who delivers vigilante justice like no other. New 2K Scan of the original film elements. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory … The cult classic movie based on the video game smash hit “Double Dragon (Collector’s Edition)” (1994), starring Robert Patrick, Scott Wolf, Mark Dacascos, Alyssa Milano and Julia Nickson, roars to life with amazing special effects, spectacular action sequences, and a knock-about sense of humor. It’s photo for Double Dragon (Collector's Edition the year 2007, and what remains of LA is now “New Angeles,” a city ravaged by earthquakes, tidal waves and vicious gangs. The evil tycoon Koga Shuko (Patrick) is obsessed with finding the two halves of a talisman known as the “Double Dragon,” which will give him awesome mystical powers. Two teenaged brothers, Jimmy (Dacascos) and Billy Lee (Wolf) find themselves in possession of the amulet’s missing half, thrusting them into the adventure of their lives. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from MVD Rewind Collection … In “10 to Midnight” (1983), starring Charles Bronson, Gene Davis, Lisa Eilbacher and Andrew Stevens, Bronson plays Leo Kessler, a cynical Los Angeles cop on the trail of Warren Stacy (Davis), a homicidal maniac who turns rejection from beautiful women into the ultimate revenge. When the legal system sets Stacy free, Kessler plants evidence to put him behind bars for good. But Kessler’s plan backfires, leaving him with only one option: to hunt down Stacy on his own … before the crazed killer can strike again. New 4k scan of the original camera negative. In a Blu-ray debut from Scream Factory.

Foreign Films:

“The Apparition “ (2018 — France), starring Vincent Lindon and Galatéa Bellugi, is a modern-day ecclesiastical thriller that follows a respected journalist whose belief system is profoundly shaken when he’s recruited by the Vatican to investigate an apparition of the Virgin Mary, witnessed by a similarly beguiling young woman. Jacques Mayano, a writer with a large regional newspaper in France, is tapped by the Vatican to lead a committee to explore the legitimacy of saintly apparitions in a small French village. Traveling to the village for this canonical investigation, he meets the young and sensitive Anna, who claims to have witnessed a vision of the Virgin Mary. Though she has gained a captive audience following her declaration, Anna is torn between her faith and the many solicitations she receives. Confronted with opposing views from clergy members and skeptics, Jacques finds his own ideologies and values challenged as he works to uncover the hidden mysteries, motivations, and pressures surrounding Anna’s vision. From Music Box Films … photo for I Am Not a Witch Filmmaker Rungano Nyoni captured a BAFTA for her provocative debut feature, “I Am Not a Witch” (2017 — Zambia), a striking satire about witchcraft in contemporary Zambia, and the U.K.’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film. When 9-year-old Shula is accused of witchcraft, she is exiled to a witch camp run by Mr. Banda, a corrupt and inept government official. Tied to the ground by a white ribbon, Shula is told that she will turn into a goat if she tries to escape. As the only child witch, Shula quickly becomes a local star and the adults around her exploit her supposed powers for financial gain. Soon she is forced to make a difficult decision — whether to resign herself to life in the camp, or take a risk for freedom. From Film Movement … Deemed cursed by the local villagers, three-time widow Er Hao (Tian Tian) has her hands full with a rogue fireworks explosion, a tagalong teenager, and a veritable army of crazed local men who can’t keep their hands off her in “The Widowed Witch” (2017 — China). Turned away when she seeks shelter from her neighbors and forced to take up residence in a cold camper van, Er Hao’s future looks as bleak as the stark, snowy countryside. A series of fluke changes in fortune causes Er Hao to embrace the mystical identity her villagers have assigned to her. As a sort of modern shaman, she steers superstitions into small subversions, helping others who once shunned her and proving that to survive as a woman is a kind of magic. From Icarus Films.

For the Family:

“Peppa Pig: When I Grow Up” (2019) contains 12 Peppa-sodes with Peppa, her little brother George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, and friends. Peppa and her friends use their imaginations to decide what they want to be when they grow up, as they work to help others in “The Police,” “Doctors,” and “The Fire Engine. Later, the playgroup gets excited for showtime; in “Move to Music,” the friends dance along with Madame Gazelle and learn how to play instruments for an oinktastic performance in “Shake, Rattle and Bang.” From Fox.

Special Interest:

“The Wandering Muse” (2018): From ram’s horn to beatbox, this documentary, filmed across the globe over seven years by award-winning director Tamás Wormser, explores the kaleidoscope of Jewish identities through the ever-changing music of photo for The Wandering Muse the diaspora. In constant motion, the film is a series of encounters with Jewish musicians from around the world. Taking their music beyond the concert hall, audiences are granted front row seats to the spontaneous magic of a creative process that transcends the struggles of the musicians’ lives. In an alternative Argentinean bar, two friends play tango-infused klezmer. In rural Uganda, villagers chant Hebrew prayers in East African harmonies. At a Montreal party, an artist mixes hip-hop and jazz with cantorial singing in a multilingual tour de force. In a Berlin apartment, an American harmonizes with a Russian friend in a rendition of an anti-Zionist song from the 1920’s. From IndiePix.

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.

 Posted by on January 22, 2019 No Responses »
Dec 312018
 

Happy New Year

From the Big Screen:

“Night School” and “Bad Times at the El Royale.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Red vs. Blue: The Shisno Paradox:” (2018), starring Matt Hullum and Gus Sorola, two groups of soldiers in the distant future are battling for control of the least desirable piece of real estate in the known universe: a box canyon in the middle of nowhere. A simple trip out for pizza ends with the Reds and Blues scattered and lost in time. Their ridiculous adventures in history inadvertently make them pawns in a war between Gods and Titans, which has been raging since before the dawn of time. Based on the longest running web-series on the internet. From Cinedigm … In “The City of Gold” (2018), staring Vernon Wells, Christopher Atkins and Branscombe Richmond, an anguished media magnate, Jonathan Davenport, accompanies his estranged lover to the Peruvian Amazon in pursuit of a reclusive artist living in rebel occupation. Despite its philanthropic intentions, the mission proves to be the harbinger of something dark and ominous rooted deep within Jonathan. From High Octane Pictures.

Foreign Films:

“Scaffolding” (2018 — Israel), starring Asher Lax, Ami Smolartchik, Yaacov Cohen, Keren Berger and Naama Manor, is based on the real life experiences of director Matan Yair, and follows 17-year-old Asher, compelled by rage, but still endowed with charm and street wisdom, as he is torn between his ailing father wanting him to join the family scaffolding business, and a favorite professor who pushes him toward a more studious life. When tragedy strikes, Asher must take the ultimate test of maturity. From Breaking Glass Pictures.

Special Interest:

“Bad Reputation” (2018) is an admiring documentary portrait of punk rock icon Joan Jett, who became mega-famous from the number-one hit “I Love Rock n Roll.” That fame intensified with the music video’s endless play on MTV, world tours and many hits to follow, like “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” but that photo for Bad Reputationstaple of popularity can’t properly define a musician. Jett put her hard work in long before the fame by ripping it up onstage as the backbone of the hard-rock legends The Runaways, starting her record label out of the trunk of a car after being rejected by 23 labels, and influencing many musicians – both her cohort of punk rockers and generations of younger bands – with her no-bullshit style. Bad Reputation is a wild ride as Jett and her close friends tell fans how it really was in the burgeoning ‘70s punk scene and the rocky road that led to rock stardom decades on. Their interviews are laced with amazing archival footage and the theme is clear: Even though people tried to define Jett, she never compromised. She will kick your ass, and you’ll love her photo for Love, Gilda all the more for it. From Magnolia Home Entertainment … In her own words and voice, comedienne Gilda Radner reflects on her life and career in “Love, Gilda” (2018). Weaving together her recently discovered audiotapes and rare home movies, the documentary opens a unique window into the honest and whimsical world of the beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her story. The unforgettable documentary also includes interviews with original “Saturday Night Live” cast and crew, such as Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, Paul Shaffer and longtime friend, Martin Short, and diaries read by modern-day comedians who were inspired by Gilda, including Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Cecily Strong. Radner puts a smile on the faces of people who remember watching her as one of the original cast members of “Saturday Night Live,” where she created and portrayed now-classic comic characters such as Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella and Lisa Loopner. She quickly rose to meteoric fame in television, movies and on Broadway, and was declared one of America’s sweethearts. Director Lisa D’Apolito unearthed a collection of diaries and personal audio and videotapes documenting her childhood, her comedy career, her life with Gene Wilder and ultimately, her struggle with cancer. From Magnolia 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.

 Posted by on December 31, 2018 No Responses »

 
 Posted by on February 22, 2018 Comments Off on
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