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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Jul 062020
 

From the Big Screen:

“Trolls World Tour.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Best Bets

Mike Hodges (“Flash Gordon,” “Get Carter”) wrote and directed the supernatural chiller “Black Rainbow” (1989) as a meditation on the human race’s ability to destroy the world, a gothic tale of suspense and the occult, guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. Martha photo for Black Rainbow Travis (Rosanna Arquette) is a travelling clairvoyant on the road with her sceptic father (Jason Robards). During a séance Martha communicates a message from a dead man to his wife in the audience. Shocked, the wife insists her husband is still alive. Later that evening the husband is killed by a ruthless assassin. As Martha foresees more and more tragic events journalist Gary Wallace (Tom Hulce) follows the pair in pursuit of a hot story … with catastrophically eerie results. Sent direct to cable by its struggling distributor on initial release, “Black Rainbow” unfairly never got the exposure it deserved. Brand new restoration from the original negative approved by writer-director Mike Hodges, with original stereo 2.0 PCM uncompressed audio and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround Sound options. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … photo for Zombie For Sale “Zombie For Sale” (2019 — South Korea) is an infectiously funny slice of modern Korean cinema where “Train to Busan,” “The Quiet Family” and “Warm Bodies” collide to create a memorable rom-zom-com from first time director Lee Min-jae. When the illegal human experiments at Korea’s biggest pharmaceutical company go wrong, one of their “undead” test subjects escapes and ends up in a shabby gas station owned by the Park family – a band of misfits spanning three generations who hustle passers-by to make ends meet. When the Park family uncover their undead visitor, he bites the head of their household, who instead of transforming into an undead ghoul becomes revitalized and full of life. The family then hatch a plan to exploit this unexpected fountain of youth, allowing locals to pay to be bitten too, until things go wrong. With a cabbage-munching zombie who prefers ketchup over blood, and a dysfunctional family that gives the Kim family of “Parasite” a run for their money, “Zombie for Sale” will warm the deadest of hearts and breathe some new life into the zombie genre.On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … photo for The War of the Worlds In “The War of the Worlds” (1953), a mysterious, meteorlike object has landed in a small California town. All clocks have stopped. A fleet of glowing green UFOs hovers menacingly over the entire globe. The Martian invasion of Earth has begun, and it seems that nothing — neither military might nor the scientific know-how of nuclear physicist Dr. Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry) — can stop it. In the expert hands of genre specialists George Pal and Byron Haskin, H. G. Wells’s end-of-civilization classic receives a chilling Cold War-era update, complete with hallucinatory Technicolor and visionary, Oscar-winning special effects. Emblazoned with iconographic images of 1950s science fiction, “The War of the Worlds” is both an influential triumph of visual imagination and a still-disquieting document of the wonder and terror of the atomic age.On DVD, Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; new alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, created by sound designer Ben Burtt and presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Parts Unknown” (2019), starring William DeCoff, Alexandra Cipolla and Sarah Michelle, the world of wrestling meets the bloody battlefields of horror. After losing their livelihoods, a crazed family of disgraced professional wrestlers embarks on a spree of murder and carnage to satisfy a deal made with a demonic entity from another dimension. From Wild Eye Releasing … photo for Proximity In “Proximity” (2020), starring Ryan Masson, Highdee Kuan, Shaw Jones, Christian Prentice and Don Scribne, Isaac (Masson), a young NASA scientist, is investigating a meteor crash site, when he encounters — and is abducted by — extraterrestrials. Awaking three days later with no personal recollection of what happened, but with the event recorded on his camera, he attempts to share his discovery with the world. Faced with both believers and skeptics, Isaac becomes obsessed with finding incontrovertible proof, plunging him into a journey that encompasses both the other-worldly … and the deadly. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Shout! Studios … “VHYes” (2019), starring Mason McNulty, Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon and Mark Proksch, is a bizarre retro comedy shot entirely on VHS; the film takes us back to a simpler time, when 12-year-old Ralph mistakenly records home videos and his favorite late night shows over his parents’ wedding tape. The result is a nostalgic wave of home shopping clips, censored pornography, and nefarious true-crime tales that threaten to unkindly rewind Ralph’s reality. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Oscilloscope Laboratories … In “Belzebuth” (2019), starring Joaquín Cosio, Tobin Bell and Tate Ellington, special agent Emanuel Ritter leads a police investigation into a series of shocking deaths. But after a priest from the Vatican finds a link between the murders and an ancient demon, a descent into horror ensues. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … photo for Inferno of Torture Exploitation legend Teruo Ishii (“Horrors of Malformed Men”) delivers one of his most extreme visions of violent eroticism in “Inferno of Torture” (1969 — Japan), the sixth in his abnormal love series. Tattoos and torture await women forced into servitude in Ishii’s “Inferno of Torture.” Unable to repay a local lender, Yumi (Yumika Katayama) takes up an offer to serve as a geisha for two years with a promise of freedom once her debt is repaid. She quickly realizes that this is less a house of geishas than an extremely cruel brothel specializing in supplying western visitors with tattooed playthings. Taken under the wing of one of the leading tattoo artists vying for a coveted spot in the Shogun’s good graces through his work, Yumi’s body becomes a battleground as a rival artist becomes determined not to lose his spot at the top. When the madam, Otatsu (Mieko Fujimoto) trains her eye on the blossoming relationship between the benevolent artist Horihide (Teruo Yoshida) and his model, she makes sure than her stay is less than hospitable, inspiring the torturous inferno of the title. Following Ishii’s legendary “Shogun’s Joy of Torture” and “Orgies of Edo,” the prolific filmmaker still manages to turn up the heat in this incredibly violent and salacious entry in a filmography unlike any other. From the film’s opening scene depicting some of the most perverse violence ever captured on screen, through to the shock ending that will leave the audience’s mouths agape, there’s nothing quite like “Inferno of Torture.” Tender romance clashes with vile sadism as a sea of tattooed female flesh floods nearly every frame of this film depicting Japan’s Edo period as only Ishii could. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … In “Blood and Money” (2020), starring Tom Berenger, Kristen Hager, Paul Ben-Victor and Mark Sivertsen, a retired veteran (Berenger) hunting in the Allagash photo for Sorry We Missed Youbackcountry discovers a dead woman with a duffle bag full of money. He soon finds himself in a web of deceit and murder. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Screen Media Films … The British working class is once again the empathetic subject of Ken Loach’s wrenching, intimate family drama “Sorry We Missed You” (2019 — UK) that exposes the dark side of the so-called “gig economy.” Ricky, a former laborer, and his home-attendant wife Abby — who lost their home in the 2008 financial crash — are desperate to get out of their economic distress. When an opportunity comes up for Ricky to work as his own boss as a delivery driver, they trade in their only asset, Abby’s car, for a shiny new white van and the dream that Ricky can work his way up to someday owning his own delivery franchise. But the couple find their lives are quickly pushed further to the edge by an unrelenting work schedule, a ruthless supervisor and the needs of their two teenage children. Capturing the sacred moments that make a family as well as the acts of desperation they need to undertake to make it through each day, this universal story is skillfully and indelibly told with unforgettable performances and a searing script by Loach’s long-time collaborator Paul Laverty. Stars Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone, Katie Proctor, Ross Brewster and Charlie Richmond. On DVD from Zeitgeist Films.

On the Indie Front:

“Disclosure” (2019 — Australia), starring Mark Leonard Winter, Geraldine Hakewill, Matilda Ridgway, Tom Wren and Greg Stone, is a drama that follows two couples who go to war over an allegation of child-on-child abuse. Australian documentary-maker Emily and her journalist husband Danny are reeling from an allegation of abuse their 4-year-old daughter Natasha has made against a local politician’s 9-year-old son, Ethan. Ethan’s parents, Joel and Bek, arrive unannounced at Emily and Danny’s house intent on convincing the couple that Natasha’s allegation is a fabrication. Accusations, arguments, and the ultimate search for leverage turn their civil conversation into a vicious confrontation.From Breaking Glass Pictures … In “Hope Gap” (2020), starring Annette Bening, Bill Nighy, Josh O’Connor and Aiysha Hart, Grace (Bening) lives an idyllic life until her 29-year marriage to Edward (Nighy) abruptly ends, leaving their only son (O’Conner) to pick up the pieces. As life unravels, Grace discovers it’s never too late to be happy. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Screen Media Films.

Foreign:

“The Prince” (2019 — Chile), starring Juan Carlos Maldonado, Alfredo Castro and Gastón Pauls, is a prison drama set in a repressive 1970s Chilean prison. During a night of heavy drinking, 20-year-old Jaime unaccountably stabs his best friend. He is sent to jail for murder and there, alone and afraid, he comes under the protection of a tough older inmate known as “The Stallion.” The unlikely pair begin a clandestine romance but violent power struggles inside the penitentiary threaten their bond. A story of survival and love that takes its inspiration from Jean Genet’s “Un Chant d’amour” and Fassbinder’s “Querelle” in its affecting exploration of masculine aggression, conflicting loyalties and pent-up sexual desires. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Artsploitation Films.

For the Family:

Available for the first time in North America, the new movie “Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna” (2020– Japan) features the last adventure of Tai and Agumon. Includes both versions – English voice cast and the original Japanese audio with English subtitles. Now on the cusp of adulthood, Tai and his DigiDestined friends discover that with age their bonds with each of their Digimon will ultimately break. How does it end for Tai, Agumon and the others? On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Shout! Factory.

Special Interest:

“Slay the Dragon” (2019): Ten years ago, a secretive high-tech gerrymandering initiative was launched with only one mission in mind: undermine American democracy. Although gerrymandering — the practice of redrawing electoral maps to serve a single party — has been around for over a century, in today’s hyper-partisan political environment it has been taken to unprecedented extremes, fueled by the elimination of corporate campaign contribution limits and the availability of vast amounts of personal information. Directed by Barak Goodman (“Woodstock,” “Oklahoma City”) and Chris Durrance (“Gerald R. Ford: A Test of Character”), “Slay the Dragon” follows the real-life stories of everyday people fighting on the front lines to make sure their vote matters. As the 2020 Census approaches, American democracy is once again defending itself against those who might aim to manipulate district boundaries in an effort to sway elections. Now more than ever before, activists are taking a stand, making their voices heard and giving power back to the American people. 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 July 6, 2020 No Responses »
Jun 292020
 

This Week’s Best Bets

In the definitive Spaghetti Western “Django” (1966 — Italy), Franco Nero gives a career-defining performance as Django, a mysterious loner who arrives at a mud-drenched ghost town on the Mexico-US border, ominously dragging a coffin behind him. After saving imperiled prostitute Maria (Loredana Nusciak), Django becomes embroiled in a brutal feud between a racist gang and a band of Mexican revolutionaries. With “Django,” director Sergio Corbucci upped the photo for Djangoante for sadism and sensationalism in Westerns, depicting machine gun massacres, mud-fighting prostitutes and savage mutilations. A huge hit with international audiences, “Django’s” brand of bleak nihilism would be repeatedly emulated in a raft of unofficial sequels. The film is presented here in an exclusive new restoration with a wealth of extras including the newly restored bonus feature “Texas Adios,” which also stars Franco Nero, and was released as “Django 2” in several territories. New restoration from a 4K scan of “Django” from the original camera negative; new restoration from a 2K scan of “Texas Adios” from the original camera negative. On Blu-ray and Blu-ray Steelbook. Includes six double-sided collector’s postcards; double-sided fold-out poster; limited edition 60-page perfect-bound book featuring new writing on the film by Howard Hughes and Roberto Curti, and original reviews; reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips; and much, much more. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … photo for Come and See “Come and See” (1985 — USSR), the legendary film from Soviet director Elem Klimov, is a senses-shattering plunge into the dehumanizing horrors of war. As Nazi forces encroach on his small village in Belorussia, teenage Flyora (Alexei Kravchenko, in a searing depiction of anguish) eagerly joins the Soviet resistance. Rather than the adventure and glory he envisioned, what he finds is a waking nightmare of unimaginable carnage and cruelty — rendered with a feverish, otherworldly intensity by Klimov’s subjective camera work and expressionistic sound design. Nearly blocked from being made by Soviet censors, who took seven years to approve its script, “Come and See” is perhaps the most visceral, impossible-to-forget antiwar film ever made. On DVD, Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restoration by Mosfilm, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.

From TV to Disc:

“Evil: Season One” (2019) is a three-disc set with all 13 episodes. A psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion. That’s the mysterious – and dangerous – line explored by skeptical psychologist Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) when she teams up with priest-in training David Acosta (Mike Colter) photo for Evil: Season One to explore the evil humanity is capable of. Together, they dive into the Catholic Church’s files of occult phenomena to bring them to rational conclusions… or attempt to. Angel sightings, demonic possessions, prophecies and conspiracies will test their faiths and push them to their limits as they learn that the world’s darkness may run deeper than they ever thought possible. From CBS/Paramount … In ” Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears” (2020), Phryne Fisher embarks on an exhilarating new journey of mystery and mayhem through exotic 1920s British Palestine and the opulence of grand London manors. Fisher frees a Bedouin girl, Shirin Abbas from unjust imprisonment in late 1920s Jerusalem, and unravels a wartime mystery concerning priceless emeralds, ancient curses and the truth behind the suspicious disappearance of Shirin’s forgotten tribe. Partially crowd-funded by the series’ die-hard fans. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Acorn Media.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Force of Nature” (2019), starring Emile Hirsch, Kate Bosworth, Mel Gibson, David Zayas, Stephanie Cayo, Will Catlett, Swen Temmel, Tyler Jon Olson and Jorge Luis Ramos, is an action-thriller takes place during a violent Category 5 hurricane. As disgraced cop Cardillo (Hirsch) races to evacuate an apartment building, he comes across Dr. Troy (Bosworth) and her retired detective father, Ray (Gibson). When a murderous gang of thieves arrives to rob a wealthy tenant, they must join forces to battle the criminals and escape with their lives before the entire city is deep underwater. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In photo for Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash In “Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash” (2020) a plane carrying Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd mysteriously runs out of gas mid-air en route to a concert in 1977, crashing into a dangerous Mississippi swamp while killing several of the band members, crew and both pilots. This dramatization tells the story through one of the survivors, drummer Artimus Pyle, who not only survived the fatal crash (that claimed the life of the band’s founder and front man Ronnie Van Zant amongst others), but who also bravely pulled the remaining survivors out of the plane wreckage before staggering towards the nearest farmhouse in rural Mississippi to seek help. Stars Ian Shultis, Sean McNabb, Tom Jenkins, Kelly Lynn Reiter, Anthony Traina and Mark Dippolito. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cleopatra Entertainment/MVD Entertainment … Italian writer/director Umberto Lenzi helmed popular peplums, created extreme poliziotteschi, and invented the Italian cannibal phenomenon. Hollywood actress Carroll Baker was the Golden Globe winning/Academy Award nominated star of “Baby Doll,” “Giant” and “The Carpetbaggers.” Together in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, they made four landmark films that changed the erotic thriller and Giallo genres forever. For the first time, here’s the complete “The Complete Lenzi/Baker Giallo Collection” collaboration on six discs, featuring restored uncensored versions, alternate edits, remastered soundtracks, exclusive special features, and more. In a limited, numbered edition release of only 4,000 units. The four titles: “Orgasmo” (1969), “So Sweet … So Perverse” (1969), “A Quiet Place to Kill” (1970) and “Knife of Ice” (1972). On Blu-ray from Severin Films … photo for Narrow Margin (Special Edition) “Narrow Margin (Special Edition)” (1990): From Peter Hyams, the writer-director of “Busting,” “Capricorn One,” “Outland,” “The Star Chamber” and “2010,” comes this suspenseful remake of the classic 1952 film noir. Screen legend Gene Hackman stars as an L.A. District Attorney attempting to take an unwilling murder witness (Anne Archer) back to the United States from Canada to testify against a top-level mob boss. Frantically attempting to escape two deadly hitmen sent to silence her, they board a Vancouver-bound train only to find the killers are onboard with them. For the next 20 hours, as the train hurls through the beautiful but isolated Canadian wilderness, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues in which the ability to tell a friend from foe is a matter of life and death. James B. Sikking, J.T. Walsh, M. Emmet Walsh, Susan Hogan and Harris Yulin co-star in this action-packed thriller. In a brand new 4K master. On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … photo for The Lurker In “The Lurker” (2019), starring Scout Taylor-Compton, Naomi Grossman, Ari Lehman and Adam Huss, a group of high school students, celebrating their final performance of “Romeo and Juliet,” begin to slowly disappear one at a time. As students and faculty begin to die, it’s a race against time for the cast to find the killer and escape with their lives or face their final curtain call. From Indiecan Pictures … “Four Kids and It” (2020), starring Paula Patton, Matthew Goode, Russell Brand, and the voice of Michael Caine, is based on iconic children’s author Jaqueline Wilson’s “Four Children and It,” and is a modern twist based on E. Nesbit’s 1902 classic “Five Children and It.” On a seaside holiday, four kids from a blended family visit the beach, where they discover a floppy-eared creature that grants their wishes. But there’s a catch: the kids’ adventures in rock-climbing, pop stardom, and flying end promptly at sunset — leaving them in danger each time. Can they learn to control the magic before something dreadful happens? On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate.

Foreign:

Based on true events that took place at the outset of the Georgian Civil War in 1992, the drama “Dede” (2018 — Georgia), starring Natia Vibliani, Nukri Khachvani and George Babluani. takes place in the rural and isolated community of Svaneti, where a Caucasus Mountain people far removed from the modern world live, a patriarchal society that revolves around forced photo for Dede marriages, pride and a tradition that dictates the code of daily life. Dina is a young woman promised by her draconian grandfather to David, one of the soldiers returning from the war. Once a marriage arrangement is brokered by two families, failure to follow through on the commitment is unthinkable. Unfortunately, Dina finds herself unable to love her fiancée, and instead falls for his handsome friend, Gegi, who saved David’s life during the war. Humiliated after she reveals her true feelings, David attempts to kill his friend, but fails, and takes his own life rather than lose face. Dina is rattled, but relieved at the same time and quickly marries Gegi. The pair then flee the village and attempt to make a new life in a nearby community, but the ill sentiment harbored by David’s family doesn’t subside any more quickly than the harsh, unforgiving conditions that are an ever present part of life in Svaneti. From Corinth Films.

Special Interest:

“SUZI Q” (2020) charts the 54-year career of the pioneering female rocker, positioning Suzi as the trailblazer and inspiration for a generation of women who were to follow after her in the next decade, but whose trailblazing status was not sufficiently recognized by the music industry and contemporary audiences, especially in North America. “SUZI Q” reminds contemporary audiences of her pioneering influence, white-hot talent and string of incandescent rock hits, like “Can The Can,” “48 Crash” and “Daytona Demon” that were the vehicle for her explosion of gender stereotypes in rock n roll, rewriting the rule book for the expected image of women in rock music and reaching millions of people worldwide in the process. On DVD from Utopia Distribution. Due July 3.

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 June 29, 2020 No Responses »

 
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