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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Sep 202020
 

This Week’s Best Bets

An elegy of exile and an epic immersion into the world of rural Italy during the Mussolini years, Francesco Rosi’s sublime adaptation of the memoirs of the painter, physician, and political activist Carlo Levi, “Christ Stopped at Eboli” (1979) brings a monument of photo for Christ Stopped At Eboli 20th-century autobiography to the screen with quiet grace and solemn beauty. Banished to a desolate southern town for his anti-Fascist views, the worldly Levi (Gian Maria Volontè) discovers an Italy he never knew existed, a place where ancient folkways and superstitions still hold sway and that gradually transforms his understanding of both himself and his country. Presented for the first time on home video in its original full-length, four-part cut, “Christ Stopped at Eboli” ruminates profoundly on the political and philosophical rifts within Italian society — between north and south, tradition and modernity, fascism and freedom — and the essential humanity that transcends all. On DVD, Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.

From TV to Disc:

“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fifth Season “ (2020) is a three-disc set with all 15 episodes of the series that follows a group of misfit heroes as they fight, talk, and sing their way through protecting the timeline from aberrations, anomalies, and anything else that threatens to mess with history. After saving the world via the power of song and themed entertainment in last season’s finale, the Legends are major celebrities. Some struggle with the transition from lovable losers to A-list stars, while others start letting fame go to their heads. When a documentary crew decides to film the Legends in action, distracting them from their original mission, Astra Logue frees history’s most notorious villains from Hell in a bid for power. It’s up to the Legends to forgo fame and stop these reanimated souls (who they quickly dub “Encores”) from wreaking havoc on the timeline, whether it’s Rasputin popping out of his coffin and trying to become an immortal tsar or Marie Antoinette (and her head) turning the French Revolution into a deadly, non-stop party. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner … photo for The Good Fight: Season Four “The Good Fight: Season Four” (2020) is a two-disc set with all seven episodes. This season finds Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart navigating a very different landscape. After they lost their biggest client, Chumhum, and their founding partner’s name was tarnished, Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart was forced to accept an offer by a huge multi-national law firm, STR Laurie, to become a small subsidiary. Suddenly, all of their decisions can be second-guessed by the giant firm that is literally on top of them. While STR Laurie initially seem like benevolent overlords, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) and her colleagues (Cush Jumbo, Delroy Lindo and Audra McDonald) are chafing at their loss of independence while simultaneously investigating the emergence of a mysterious Memo 618. From CBS/Paramount … “Rick and Morty: Season 4” (2019-20) is a two-disc set with all 10 of Adult Swim’s hit series that follows the exploits of a super scientist and his not-so-bright grandson into multi-universes. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner … “Riverdale: The Complete Fourth Season” (2019-20) is a four-disc set with all 19 episodes. The fourth season begins with a farewell to Fred Andrews (Luke Perry). As Independence Day approaches, Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) receives a phone call that will forever change his life. Through an emotional journey, with support from his girlfriend, Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), and best friends Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), Archie and the citizens of Riverdale grieve the loss of the town’s heart and soul. Our story continues with senior year at Riverdale High, which means varsity football games, cheerleading, back-to-school parties and college applications. But it also means bittersweet moments, like the first last day of high school. In the meantime, Archie honors his father and develops a deeper connection with his mother, Betty uncovers more about her mother and sister, Veronica goes unsupervised while her parents spend time in jail, and Jughead turns more to writing. From Warner … photo for Sanctuary “Sanctuary” (2019) is a two-disc set with all eight episodes. Estranged Swedish identical twins Siri and Helena (Josefin Asplund) have always had a complex relationship. When Helena receives an invitation to visit Siri at an exclusive residential sanatorium in the breathtaking and picturesque Alps, she is reluctant but figures it will be a nice break from her monotonous life. Despite the peacefulness of the clinic, Helena refuses Siri’s plea for help in taking care of some business and swapping places for a few days but ends up waking up to find Siri gone. Soon she realizes that Siri isn’t coming back, and that the clinic is far from a place of recovery; it’s a facility for studying psychopaths. Helena is now trapped in a waking nightmare in which no one is who they seem to be, and everyone believes that she is Siri. Surrounded by the most predatory and manipulative people imaginable, including the director of the Sanctuary, Dr. Marvin Fisher (Matthew Modine), escape is now only the second order of business: Helena’s first problem is simple survival. From Sundance Now.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Most Wanted” (2020 — Canada), starring Josh Hartnett, Amanda Crew, Jim Gaffigan, Stephen McHattie, J.C. MacKenzie and Antoine Olivier Pilon is inspired by a gripping true story. An investigative reporter (Hartnett) fights to expose the twisted truth behind a heroin bust orchestrated by dirty cops to frame an innocent man — sentencing him to life in a Thai prison. On Blu-ray from Paramount … “The Secret: Dare to Dream” (2020), starring Katie Holmes, Josh Lucas, Celia Weston and Jerry O’Connell, is based on the groundbreaking best-selling book by Rhonda Byrne. The film follows Miranda (Holmes), a young widow trying to photo for The Secret: Dare to Dream make ends meet while raising her three children and dating her boyfriend (O’Connell). A devastating storm brings an enormous challenge and a mysterious man, Bray (Lucas), into Miranda’s life. Bray reignites the family’s spirit but, unbeknownst to Miranda, also holds an important secret — one that will change everything. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Lionsgate … In “Beckman” (2019), starring David A.R. White, Jeff Fahey, Burt Young, Kira Reed Lorsch and William Baldwin, Aaron Beckman (White) is finished — done with a life lived in the shadows as a cruel gun for hire. Now, his soul cries out for healing, peace, forgiveness, and grace. In desperation, he appeals to the church and is welcomed by an ailing pastor (Fahey). However, his journey towards salvation is cut short when his adopted daughter is kidnapped by a deranged cult leader named Reese (Baldwin). Blinded by rage, Beckman sets off on a dangerous rescue mission and is forced to revert back to his old violent ways. From Universal … In “Let It Snow” (2020 — Ukraine), starring Ivanna Sakhno, Alex Hafner and Tinatin Dalakishvili, Mia and Max visit a remote European resort for a free-ride snowboarding vacation but ignore the receptionist’s disturbing tales of unexplained deaths on the nearby trails. When they sneak onto a forbidden slope, Max goes missing, and Mia finds herself attacked by a masked snowmobile rider. Now she must brave the rider’s vicious attacks – as well as a massive avalanche– if she hopes to survive. From Lionsgate.

On the Indie Front:

In “The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova” (2018), starring Katherine Fogler, Douglas Nyback and Doroftei Anis, estranged siblings Sarah and Aaron Cotler arrive at an empty train station in photo for The Dancing Dogs of DombrovaDombrova, Poland, on a cold winter night. With their only available ride being a silent cab driver, they embark on a quest to fulfill their dying grandmother’s wish — find, dig up, and bring home the bones of her favorite childhood dog, Peter. From Film Movement … Set against the backdrop of 1960’s Brooklyn, “Extra Innings” (2020) tells the story of a young man who is caught between pursuing his dream of playing baseball and staying devoted to his Syrian Jewish family that is afflicted with mental illness. Based on the life story of writer and director Albert Dabah. Stars Aidan Pierce Brennan, Alex Walton, Geraldine Singer, Simone Policano, Natasha Coppola-Shalom and Mara Kassin. From Breaking Glass Pictures.

Foreign Films:

In “Amor Amor” (2017 — Portugal), five friends discover that love is a many-sided thing in a bittersweet romantic drama set over one New Year’s Eve in Lisbon. A loose adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s 17th-century play “La Place Royale,” the film tells the story photo for Amor Amor of a group of friends living love’s zigzags. There are those who come to discover themselves. Those who come to discover love. And those who come to discover the limits of their own freedom. From IndiePix Films … In “On a Magical Night” (2019 — France), starring Chiara Mastroianni, Benjamin Biolay and Vincent Lacoste, Maria, a woman dissatisfied with her marriage, has a heated argument with her husband of 20 years and spends the night in room 212 of the hotel across the street from their home. There, she has a bird’s eye view of her apartment, her husband, and her marriage. In this comic romp, she confronts her past lovers and relationships, fantasizing about the lives she could’ve lived and wondering if she’s made the right decisions. From Strand Releasing.

For the Family:

“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Explore the Outdoors” (2020) is a six-episode compilation featuring adventures and lessons as Daniel Tiger, with his friends and family, explore the great outdoors. In these episodes, Daniel learns about lizards after spotting one in his backyard, plays in the park with Prince Wednesday, goes on a nature walk, and much more. photo for Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs Throughout the stories, young viewers learn about the best ways to play with friends, how to be understanding and compassionate, the importance of selfless acts, dealing with conflicting emotions, and more. From PBS Distribution … The outrageous animated fairy tale spoof “Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs” (2020) starts as Snow White steals a pair of red shoes that transform her into a princess. Meanwhile, a witch’s curse turns seven brave princes into dwarfs, forcing them to seek out the princess, hoping for a kiss to break their spell. Together, they must face Snow White’s wicked stepmother – who will stop at nothing to get her precious shoes back – and, along the way, learn that true beauty lies within. Voices of Chloë Grace Moretz, Sam Claflin, Gina Gershon, Patrick Warburton and Jim Rash. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate.

Special Interest:

One of the greatest ballet dancers of his generation, Rudolph Nureyev is at the height of his photo for I Am a Dancer powers in the intimate 1972 documentary portrait “I Am a Dancer” (1972), which offers an unprecedented look at the training and dedication behind his electrifying art. Providing a unique glimpse into Nureyev’s personality, preparation and technique,the film includes excerpts from his performances in the classical ballets “La Sylphide” with Carla Fracci, and “The Sleeping Beauty” with Lynn Seymour; in addition to sequences from the modern ballet “Field Figures” with Deanne Bergsma, and Frederick Ashton’s “Marguerite and Armand” with his long-time partner Margot Fonteyn. Restored in HD. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Movement.

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 September 20, 2020 No Responses »
Sep 142020
 

This Week’s Best Bets

“Alejandro Jodorowsky: 4K Restoration Collection” is a deluxe box set that includes the latest film by the great Chilean-French artist/filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, “Psychomagic, A Healing Art,” as well as “Fando y Lis,” “El Topo” and “The Holy Mountain” restored in 4K on Blu-ray, along with new bonus features and CD soundtracks of the latter two titles. At the age of 91, Jodorowsky is as relevant as he’s ever been. In addition to completing “Psychomagic, A Healing Art,” he supervised the color correction of the 4K restorations of his essential films using the original 35mm elements, with stunning and vibrant results.
photo for Alejandro Jodorowsky: 4K Restoration Collection
“Psychomagic, A Healing Art” is an intimate exploration of the visionary director’s theory of trauma therapy. Jodorowsky’s unique concept of healing uses performance art as a vehicle to counter deep, debilitating psychic suffering with literal “acts of confrontation” in real world applications. Drawing from a life-long study of philosophy, psychology, ethnology, and world religions, from Freud to Shamans, from Kabbalah to Gurdjieff and everything in between, Jodorowsky works directly with people in pain who are eager to face, resolve and transcend their personal dilemmas through the use of radical performative art therapy. His healing concepts extend beyond the individual to the global, offering humanity a collective catharsis to a higher consciousness. “The world is ill, we need to make therapy pictures,” said Jodorowsky of his work. “If art is not a medicine for society, it’s a poison.” The cult classic “El Topo” is presented in 1:33 aspect ratio as it was shown in theaters in 1970. It is also available for the first time in 1.85:1 widescreen. Jodorowsky originally envisioned the film with this aspect ratio as an homage to Sergio Leone, and a half century later, that dream has finally been fulfilled. “El Topo” was followed with “The Holy Mountain,” which firmly established Jodorowsky as an auteur of Surrealist Cinema and sparked controversy at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival due to its sacrilegious imagery. The mythical, mystical masterpiece follows an elite group of thieves who embark on a spiritual journey to displace the immortal Gods who secretly rule the universe. Jodorowsky’s first feature, “Fando y Lis,” is a brutal and scathing examination of destructive co-dependence between two lovers conflicted by anguish and the demands they put on one another. Its grotesque and salacious imagery caused a riot at the 1967 premiere in Acapulco, which he narrowly escaped after having his life threatened. The set also contains the 1957 short film “Le Cravate,” a mime adaptation of a Thomas Mann story about a Parisian urchin who makes her living selling human heads. The box set features a book with photos and essays as well as newly filmed interviews with Jodorowsky and his long time personal assistant Pablo Leder. Jodorowsky’s son Brontis, who made his acting debut as the young boy in “El Topo,” is also interviewed. In addition, there are new introductions by Columbia University professor Richard Peña, a mini-documentary “A to Z of The Holy Mountain,” narrated by Jodorowsky biographer Ben Cobb, and CD soundtracks for “El Topo” and “The Holy Mountain.” On Blu-ray from ABKCO Films … photo for Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway What do you get when you cross Afro-futurism, Cold War paranoia, the dystopian world of Philip K. Dick and 60s exploitation cinema, along with a hefty dose of Lynchian surrealism? The answer: “Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway” (2019 — Spain), the second feature by Miguel Llansó (“Crumbs”) and one of the most striking and original films you’ll see all year. The year is 2035, and Special Agent Gagano (Daniel Tadesse) dreams of leaving the CIA to open a business with his wife Malin (Gerda-Annette Allikas). Before he can hand in his resignation, however, a strange cyber virus attacks Psychobook, the CIA’s operating system, forcing Gagano to enter cyberspace via virtual reality to combat the threat. Before long, however, the virus starts to reach out into the real world, destabilising the fragile socio-political order for its own ends, and Gagano, trapped in the VR world, must find a way out before it’s too late. Featuring encounters with an Irish-accented Joseph Stalin, a kung-fu-fighting Batman, and Jesus Christ himself, to name but a few, “Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway” is absurd, audacious and like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … Comedy legend Bob Hope is at his very best in the comedy-thriller “The Cat and the Canary” (1939). A decade after the death of an eccentric millionaire, his remaining photo for The Ghost Breakers relatives gather for the reading of the will at his abandoned mansion set deep in the Louisiana bayous. Tension builds after his niece Joyce (Paulette Goddard) is named the sole inheritor and it is revealed that one of the other relatives will get everything if the heiress goes insane within the next 30 days. The timid Wally (Hope) vows to protect Joyce who must spend the night in the haunted mansion along with her jealous relatives, a creepy maid and a homicidal maniac who has just escaped from a nearby sanitarium. An equal mix of both frights and fun, this unforgettable classic has become the gold standard for the horror-comedy genre. On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … A year after their smash hit “The Cat and the Canary,” Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard co-stared in the comedy-thriller “The Ghost Breakers” (1940). Ghosts and gags collide in this witches’ brew of laughs, with Hope as a Manhattan radio commentator who finds himself marooned on an island of the walking dead. Larry Lawrence (Hope), sought in connection with a murder he did not commit, eludes New York police by hiding in a steamer trunk. Soon the trunk (and Larry) are aboard a ship bound for Cuba, where the trunk’s owner, pretty Mary Carter (Goddard), is sailing to take possession of a recent inheritance: a “haunted” castle. Sensing that Mary is in danger, Larry and his valet Alex (Willie Best) precede her to the island, which is inhabited by a ghost, a zombie and perhaps even a flesh-and-blood fiend. There’s romance, comedy and chills as Hope and Goddard contend with earthly and unearthly foes —- and try to keep from ending up as ghosts themselves. The stellar cast includes Paul Lukas, Anthony Quinn and Paul Fix. New 2K Master. This is probably our favorite Bob Hope film of all-time. On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … photo for Beau Travail With her ravishingly sensual take on Herman Melville’s “Billy Budd, Sailor,” Claire Denis firmly established herself as one of the great visual tone poets of our time with “Beau Travail” (1999 — France). Amid the azure waters and sunbaked desert landscapes of Djibouti, a French Foreign Legion sergeant (Denis Lavant) sows the seeds of his own ruin as his obsession with a striking young recruit (Grégoire Colin) plays out to the thunderous, operatic strains of Benjamin Britten. Denis and cinematographer Agnès Godard fold military and masculine codes of honor, colonialism’s legacy, destructive jealousy, and repressed desire into shimmering, hypnotic images that ultimately explode in one of the most startling and unforgettable endings in all of modern cinema. On DVD, Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Agnès Godard and approved by director Claire Denis, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … A cult favorite, “Shivers” (1975) is acclaimed filmmaker David Cronenberg’s feature-length debut. When the residents of a luxury apartment complex outside Montreal are infiltrated by parasites and transformed into violent, sex-crazed maniacs, it’s up to Dr. Roger St. Luc to contain the outbreak from spreading to the city at large. Stars Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry and Barbara Steele. In a Blu-ray debut from Vestron Video Collector’s Series/Lionsgate.

From TV to Disc:

“A House Divided: Season Two” (2020)is a two-disc set with six episodes. Follows the direct descendants of Letty Sanders, an enslaved woman who after arriving in Los Angeles in 1821, grew to become the wealthiest Black woman in the newly formed city. Centering on the present-day members of the highly esteemed Sanders family, Cameran Sanders Sr. has raised his three children in opulent wealth. After the sudden passing of his wife amidst a brewing government investigation into the business dealings of the family-owned bank, a new woman, Carissa Walker, emerges from the shadows determined to be the next Mrs. Cameran Sanders. As secrets are uncovered and scandals emerge, the Sanders family are forced to band together for the sake of their survival or risk the ultimate demise of their long-standing legacy. From photo for Killing Eve, Season 3 UMC-TV … “Killing Eve, Season 3” (2020) is a two-disc set with all eight episodes. The third season of the award-winning drama continues the story of two women with brutal pasts, addicted to each other but now trying desperately to live their lives without their drug of choice. For Villanelle (Jodie Comer), the assassin without a job, Eve (Sandra Oh) is dead. For Eve, the ex-MI6 operative hiding in plain sight, Villanelle will never find her. All seems fine until a shocking and personal death sets them on a collision course yet again. The journey back to each other will cost both of them friends, family, and allegiances … and perhaps a share of their souls.On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … “Mom: The Complete Third Season” (2015-16) is a two-disc set with all 22 episodes. Anna Faris and Allison Janney star in this comedy from executive producer Chuck Lorre (“The Big Bang Theory”). Christy (Faris) is still sober and has her life mostly back on track, though she’s continually tested by her mother, Bonnie (Janney). Together, the two work to overcome their mistakes and build a better future. From Warner … “Outlander: Season Five” (2020) is a four-disc set with all 12 episodes. Follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world in which her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate photo for Outlander: Season Five relationship is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. The fifth season follows Claire and Jamie’s fight to protect those they love, as they navigate the trials and tribulations of life in colonial America. The Frasers strive to flourish within a society which is unwittingly marching towards Revolution, and Jamie must now defend the home they have built together at Fraser’s Ridge while Claire seeks to put her own skills and medical expertise to use in keeping her family together and safe from harm. A Collector’s Edition Blu-ray set will also include a compact disc of the season 5 soundtrack, a 28-page digibook, and an excerpt from Diana Gabaldon’s upcoming ninth Outlander novel, “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone,” all within premium collector packaging. On DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray Collector’s Edition, from Sony … “Succession: The Complete Second Season” (2019) isa three-disc set with all 10 episodes of HBO’s provocative drama about an enormously wealthy, aging patriarch and his four grown children, who together control one of the biggest entertainment conglomerates in the world. The series explores themes of power, politics, money and family, played out within a rich and dysfunctional family whose patriarch, Logan Roy (Brian Cox), is CEO of Waystar Royco, one of the world’s largest media and entertainment conglomerates. Beginning where season one dramatically left off, the second season follows the Roys as they struggle to retain control of their empire amidst internal and external threats. While the future looks increasingly uncertain, it is the past that portends to ultimately destroy them, as each of Logan’s four children remains focused on personal agendas that may or may not sync with those of their siblings. From Warner.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Fear PHarm” (2020), starring Emily Sweet, Aimee Stolte and Houston Stevenson, four high school seniors attempt to make it through the world’s scariest Halloween corn maze in order to win a grand cash prize at their local fair. Unbeknownst to them, what they had thought would be easy and fun becomes a run for their lives from a deranged family that harvests the DNA of young teens for their special pharmaceutical cream. From Indican pictures … photo for Two Hundred Thousand Dirty In “Two Hundred Thousand Dirty” (2012), starring Mark Greenfield, Coolio, Rocío Verdejo and C. Clayton Blackwel, welcome to the monotonous, oppressive modern American byproduct of suburban sprawl: the urban strip-mall. Native to this environment and products of outdated pop culture are Rob (Greenfield) and Manny (Coolio), the unsuccessful, unrefined and uncouth sales force behind Affordable Mattress. When new employee Isabelle (Verdejo) is hired in hopes of improving dismal sales, some things do change and after recruiting fellow strip-mall burnout Martin (Blackwell), she’s got everyone working together to split a common goal – $200,000 for murdering her ex-husband. From Corinth Films … “Little Monsters” (1989), starring Fred Savage, Howie Mandel, Daniel Stern and Margaret Whitton, is a family friendly comedy about a sixth-grader (Savage) who’s recently moved to a new town and made friends with Maurice (Mandel) — the monster who lives under Brian’s bed. Maurice introduces Brian to the world of monsters, where junk food rules, adults aren’t allowed, and the fun and games never end. But when Brian’s brother is kidnapped, it’s time for Brian to get serious and fight the monsters on photo for Weathering With You</a >their own turf. In a Blu-ray debut from Vestron Video Collector’s Series/Lionsgate … In the summer of his high school freshman year, Hodaka runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo, and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits in “Weathering With You” (2019 — Japan). The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day, as if to suggest his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hodaka meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strong-willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky. Latest anime film from director Makoto Shinka. On DVD, Blu-ray, from (GKIDS/Shout! Factory … The “Stephen King 5-Movie Collection” brings together on Blu-ray five films that offer perfect entertainment for Halloween: “Pet Sematary” (1989), “Pet Sematary” (2019), “Stephen King’s The Stand” (1994), “The Dead Zone” (1983) and “Stephen King’s Silver Bullet” (1985).
From Paramount.

On the Indie Front:

“The Transcendents” (2020), starring Savannah Welch, Rob Franco, Kathy Valentine, Ben Reno, William LeRoy, Paul Sevigny and Cecilia Deacon, is a rock ‘n’ roll comedy thriller about Roger, a Rasputin-like drifter, who is in search of the ultimate indie-rock band, The Transcendents, a band that was on the brink of greatness before disappearing from the world. What he finds is less than transcendent: a band that has all but abandoned society, a host of unpleasant memories, and more questions than answers in his search. From Indican Pictures … “One Hour Outcall” (2019), starring Natalia Ochoa, William Norrett, Kristin Carey, Shannon Leigh Godwin and Octavio Rodriguez, is a sexy drama unraveling the complex relationship between a call girl and her client who meet every Thursday night. Esmeralda (Ochoa) is a college-aged, high-class escort, Greg (Norrett) a middle-aged, divorced photo for One Hour Outcallintrovert. Sexual tension and curiosity fill the air during their first rendezvous, each vying for the upper hand. As they continue their weekly explorations, however, they start to develop an intimacy that goes beyond the transactional and into the deeply personal. When his ulterior motive is revealed, their interludes force Greg to confront his relationship with Esmeralda, his family, and his own inner demons. And it forces Esmeralda to question whether or not she can truly leave her emotions at the door. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Gravitas Ventures … “In the Life of Music” (2018), starring Ellen Wong, Ratanak Ben, Daniel Chea, and best-selling Cambodian music group Small World Small Band, follows the journey of Hope (Ellen Wong) a young American girl visiting her relatives in Cambodia for the first time. Determined to learn the history of her parents, Hope discovers the story of how one song, “Champa Battambang,” played an integral part of three generations. Starting with how her parents met and fell in love in 1968, to their fight for survival during the war-torn Khmer Rouge years of the 1970s and finally finishing in the modern day with Hope getting the answers she has longed for. From Indican Pictures.

Foreign Films:

photo for A Tramway in Jerusalem In “A Tramway in Jerusalem” (2018 — Israel/France), starring Mathieu Amalric, Meital Dohan, Yuval Scharf, Hana Laslo and Lamis Ammar, the Light Rail Red Line of Jerusalem’s tramway connects the city from east to west, from the Palestinian neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina to Mount Herzl -— a journey that comprises the culturally complex makeup of the city. This humorous and touching film hinges on a series of encounters along the line: simple, mundane interactions that reveal the diverse mosaic of humanity that exists in the spiritual center of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Beneath the clashes and grievances among its population that the world sees, Jerusalem is a city teeming with everyday life; the small conflicts and reconciliations depicted offer a kernel of hope in a society torn by political strife. From Film Movement.

Special Interest:

“The Best of Cher”: Cher initially rose to stardom as part of a singing act with then husband Sonny Bono in the 1960s, hitting No. 1 with the single “I Got You Babe” before they starred together on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Following a parting of ways, the incredibly talented artist spread her wings, established a chart-topping solo career of her own, starred in her own variety show, and sold out music venues across the globe. This nine-disc set encompasses her entire photo for The Best of Chercareer. The Best of Cher 9-DVD Collector’s Set includes: 10 star-studded episodes of Cher with guest appearances by Charo, Ray Charles, Elton John, The Muppets, Linda Ronstadt, Raquel Welch, and more; both of Cher’s legendary TV Specials from the ‘70s; two unforgettable concerts in Vegas, live from the MGM Grand and the Mirage; The full-length documentary “Dear Mom, Love Cher,” a rare peek into Cher’s fascinating family history; exclusive new interviews with comedy icon Lily Tomlin, designer Bob Mackie, Cher executive producer George Schlatter, and Cher; rare clips including early TV appearances, rehearsal footage, and even Cher’s personal camcorder footage; a collectible book of Bob Mackie’s original wardrobe sketches for Cher. Get more info here. From Time Life.

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 September 14, 2020 No Responses »
Sep 072020
 

This Week’s Best Bets

In “Graveyards of Honor” (1975/2002 — Japanese) Two peerless masters of Japanese cinema – Kinji Fukasaku (“Battles without Honor and Humanity,” “Battle Royale”) and Takashi Miike (“Dead or Alive,” “Audition”) – present their own distinctive adaptations of yakuza expert Goro Fujita’s gangster novel “Graveyard of Honor,” each tapping into the zeitgeist of a distinct period of Japanese history. Set during the turbulent post-war years, Fukasaku’s original 1975 film charts the rise and fall of real-life gangster Rikio Ishikawa (Tetsuya Watari). Shot through with the photo for Graveyards Of Honor same stark realism and quasi-documentarian approach as Fukasaku’s earlier “Battles Without Honor and Humanity,” Fukasaku nonetheless breaks new ground through his portrayal of a gangster utterly without honor or ethics, surviving by any means necessary in a world of brutal criminality. Meanwhile, Miike’s 2002 retelling transplants the story to Tokyo at the turn of the millennium. Less a direct remake of Fukasku’s film than a radical reimagining of the same overarching premise, Miike’s film captures both the hedonism and nihilism of the modern Japanese crime scene in deliriously stylish fashion, resulting in a fascinating companion piece to the original that nonetheless stands as its own entity. On Blu-ray. in a limited edition two-disc set package featuring newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan; illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on both films by Jasper Sharp as well as copious other bonus features. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “There are eight million photo for The Naked City stories in the Naked City,” as the narrator immortally states at the close of this breathtakingly vivid film —- and this is one of them. Master noir craftsman Jules Dassin and newspaperman-cum-producer Mark Hellinger’s dazzling police procedural “The Naked City” (1948) was shot entirely on location in New York. Influenced as much by Italian neorealism as it is by American crime fiction, this double Academy Award winner remains a benchmark for naturalism in noir, living and breathing in the promises and perils of the Big Apple, from its lowest depths to its highest skyscrapers. On Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration by TLEFilms FIlm Restoration & Preservation Services, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. From The Criterion Collection … photo for Brute Force As hard-hitting as its title, “Brute Force” (1947) was one of Jules Dassin’s first forays into the crime genre, a prison melodrama with a scathing critique of the punitive American incarceration system at its heart. Burt Lancaster is the timeworn Joe Collins, who, along with his fellow inmates, lives under the heavy thumb of the sadistic, power-tripping guard Captain Munsey (a riveting Hume Cronyn). Only Collins’s dreams of escape keep him going, but how can he possibly bust out of Munsey’s chains? Matter-of-fact and ferocious, “Brute Force” builds to an explosive climax that shows the lengths men will go to when fighting for their freedom, and asks the question of who society’s real brutes are. On Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration by TLEFilms FIlm Restoration & Preservation Services, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. From The Criterion Collection.

From TV to Disc:

HBO’s “Bad Education” (2020), starring Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, Geraldine Viswanathan, Alex Wolff, Rafael Casal, Annaleigh Ashford and Ray Romano, is the fascinating true story of one of the largest public-school embezzlement scandals in America. Inspired by the true story that rocked the town of Roslyn, NY in 2004 and garnered attention nationwide, the film centers on the stunning impact and aftermath of a multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme, and follows Frank Tassone (Jackman) and Pam Gluckin (Janney), who reign over a popular Long Island photo for Bad Education school district on the verge of the nation’s top spot, spurring record college admissions and soaring property values. Between them, they racked up over $11.2 million dollars in extravagant personal expenses. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner … “Bull: Season Four”(2019-20) is a four-disc set with all 20 episodes. Inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw, the founder of one of the most prolific trial-consulting firms of all time. Brilliant, brash and charming, Dr. Jason Bull is the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high-tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick. His personal life proves harder to manage as he tries to live a healthier lifestyle following a heart attack and learns he is expecting a child with his ex-wife. Bull employs an enviable team of experts at Trial Analysis Corporation to shape successful narratives down to the very last detail. From CBS/Paramount … “Frankie Drake Mysteries, Season 3” (2020) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes. A slate of new adventures as the ladies of Drake Private Detectives take on more challenging cases and face off against some impressive foes in Toronto in the 1920s. From PBS Distribution … “Prodigal Son: The Complete First Season” photo for Prodigal Son: The Complete First Season (2019-20) is a four-disc set with all 20 episodes. Criminal psychologist Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) knows how killers think and how their minds work. Why? His father is “The Surgeon,” a serial killer who has taken the lives of more than 20 people. He works with NYPD detective Gil Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips); Detective Dani Powell (Aurora Perrineau), a headstrong cop; Dr. Edrisa Tanaka (Keiko Agena), an off-center coroner; and Detective JT Tarmel (Frank Harts), who questions whether Bright is a psychopath himself. But Bright’s best resource is his homicidal yet oddly loving father, Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen). As he helps track down dangerous criminals, Bright also battles his own demons – and it doesn’t help that his mother, former leading socialite Jessica Whitly (Bellamy Young), has an opinion on every aspect of his life. Malcolm Bright isn’t a serial killer, he was just raised by one. From Warner… “Supergirl: The Complete Fifth Season” (2019-20) is a four-disc set with all 19 episodes. In season five, Supergirl faces threats, both new and ancient. National City becomes enthralled with addictive virtual reality technologies created by CatCo’s charming-but-secretive new owner, Andrea Rojas. As Kara uses the power of the press to try to expose this danger, she must contend with challenges put up by rival reporter William Dey, renegade Martian Malefic J’onzz, a shadowy organization called Leviathan, and the shocking return of Lex Luthor who, in addition to his plot for world domination, seeks to claim the soul of Supergirl’s best friend (and his sister) Lena. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

Several years after their son’s disappearance, a grieving couple adopts a feral boy, who begins to eerily resemble their child more with each passing day in “Evil Boy (aka Stray)” (2019 — Russia) . starring Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov and Sevastian Bugaev. While the mother believes they have found their son, her husband is certain that he died. As strange accidents begin happening around the boy, the pair soon wonders whether they’ve adopted something not entirely … human. With English subtitles and dub. From Well Go USA … In “Ballbuster” (2020), starring Jerry O’Connell, Elisabeth Röhm and Luenell, Rich (O’Connell) is an entitled all-star basketball icon who is suspended from the league just before the final championship due to poor judgement. If he wants another chance to play in game seven, he has photo for Ballbuster to tour with a charity league team of castoffs. In the “unfortunate” process, he encounters the most bizarre on-road experiences, endures wacky consequences and faces his craziest challenges yet. From Indican Pictures … In “Range Runners” (2019), starring Celeste M Cooper, Sean Patrick Leonard, Michael B. Woods and Tiffany Renee Johnson, a woman thru-hiking an isolated trail runs into trouble when her pack is hijacked by two men hiding out in the woods, desperate and on the run. Now, stranded and left to fend for herself, she has a choice: crawl back to her normal life in defeat, or push forward and take back what was stolen from her. From Dark Star Pictures/Uncork’d Entertainment … In “Retaliation” (2017), starring Orlando Bloom, Janet Montgomery, Charlie Creed-Miles and Anne Reid, Bloom stars as Malky, a demolition worker whose life receives a seismic shock when, out drinking with friends at a local pub, he sees a disturbing figure from his past: the man he holds responsible for a traumatic childhood incident. Fueled by anger, Malky sets out on a path of vengeance — and discovers that no one can escape the consequences of their sins. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … In “First Cow” (2019), starring John Magaro, Orion Lee,Toby Jones, Ewen Bremner, René Auberjonois and Alia Shawkat, two travelers, on the run from a band of vengeful hunters in the 1820s Northwest, dream of striking it rich — but their tenuous plan to make their fortune on the frontier comes to rely on the secret use of a wealthy businessman’s prized dairy cow. With their scheme landing somewhere between honest ingenuity and pure grift, photo for First Cow renowned filmmaker Kelly Reichardt finds a graceful and deeply moving origin story of America in their unlikely friendship and fragile life at the margins. The film world premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in August 2019 and screened to great acclaim at the New York Film Festival in September 2019 and the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2020. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Lionsgate … In “Evil Under the Skin” (2019), starring Helene Udy, Carl Bailey, Tim O’Hearn, Donna Hamblin and Angela Barajas, a mother and daughter head off for a secluded weekend to reconnect but little do they know the sordid past of the home they’re staying will drag them down into madness. From Midnight Releasing … The “Rob Zombie Trilogy Steelbook” includes the grizzled, horrifying films “House of 1000 Corpses,” “The Devil’s Rejects,” and “3 From Hell.” Baby Firefly, Otis Driftwood, Captain Spaulding, Sheriff Wydell, and Rob Zombie’s other killer characters wreak havoc in the blood-soaked trilogy that made them famous. Two young couples cross paths with Otis Driftwood and the cannibalistic Fireflys while touring America’s backroads in “House of 1000 Corpses” (2003). In “The Devil’s Rejects” (2005), Sheriff Wydell deals with depraved, hostage-taking murderers holed up in a rundown motel in his uniquely unhinged way. Baby, Otis, and Captain Spaulding are finally put behind bars in “3 From Hell” (2019) … but can evil really be locked away? On Blu-ray from Lionsgate.

On the Indie Front:

In “Straight Up” (2019), starring James Sweeney, Omar Guazzelli, Brendan Scannell and Katie Findlay, Todd is a hyper-articulate, obsessive compulsive gay twentysomething whose fear of dying alone leads him to a baffling conclusion: he might not be gay after all. When he meets Rory, a whip-smart photo for Straight Upstruggling actress with her own set of insecurities, the two forge a relationship that’s all talk and no sex. Writer-director-star James Sweeney delivers a razor sharp rom-com that’s equal parts Classical Hollywood and distinctly 21st century, exploring just how elastic our definitions of love and sexuality can get. From Strand Releasing … In “Up On the Glass” (2020), starring Chase Fein, Chelsea Kurtz and Hunter Cross, a wanderer named Jack DiMercurio secretly desires the life and wife of his more affluent friend, Andy Shelton. Past tensions surface between the two men during an informal reunion at Andy’s cottage on Lake Michigan. One heinous act allows Jack to draw close to Andy’s wife Liz, but Jack finds living Andy’s life is a dangerous lie. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Gravitas Ventures.

Foreign Films:

“Pilgrimage” (2017 — Portugal) is a remarkable imagining of the historic voyages of 16th-century explorer and writer Fernão Mendes Pinto, one of the first Europeans to sail to and travel the Orient — India, Japan, and places in between. Pinto was a highly skilled writer and his photo for Pilgrimage controversial memoir, “The Travels of Mendes Pinto,” was published posthumously in 1614. The film is a lavish and sweeping epic imagining of these historic voyages. Hailing from the interior of Portugal, Pinto (Cláudio da Silva) wound up in Lisbon, where his uncle left him as a servant to a nobleman. In his mid-twenties, he ventured East, searching for both his brothers and a better fortune. The film details Pinto’s unforgettable 20-year journey at sea and on land, and the film deftly combines literary storytelling and imagined family stories. Portugal’s official entry for Best International Film, Academy Awards 2019. From IndiePix Films … In “Caro Diario” (1993 — Italy), director Nanni Moretti recounts three entries from his “diary,” a hilarious self-reflective comedy that follows the filmmaker’s musing on cinema atop a Vespa, a trip to the Aeolian Islands to work on his new screenplay, and his search for health and wellness after breaking out with a nagging skin rash .. all with the beautiful Italian scenery as a backdrop. Winner of Best Director at the 1994 Cannes Film, named “Best Film” by Cahiers du Cinéma, winner of the Italian Golden Globes and Italy’s David di Donatello Awards, the FIPRESCI Prize at the European Film Awards and many more. In a new 2K digital restoration. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Movement.

For the Family:

“Superman: Man of Tomorrow” (2020) is the latest entry in the popular series of animated DC Universe Movies. It’s the dawn of a new age of heroes, and Metropolis has just met its first. But as Daily Planet intern Clark Kent – working alongside reporter Lois Lane – secretly wields photo for Superman: Man of Tomorrow his alien powers of flight, super-strength and x-ray vision in the battle for good, there’s even greater trouble on the horizon. Follow the budding hero as he engages in bloody battles with intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo and fights for his life to halt the attack of power-hungry alien Parasite. The world will learn about Superman … but first, Superman must save the world. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo, from Warner … “We Bare Bears The Movie” (2020) is a TV movie based on the Cartoon Network’s hit series. When the bears’ love of food trucks and viral videos gets out of hand, it catches the attention of the menacing Agent Trout from the National Wildlife Control, who pledges to restore the “natural order” by separating them forever. Chased from their home, Grizz decides there’s only one thing they can do to find refuge – move to Canada! The Bears embark on an epic road trip filled with new friends, dangerous obstacles, and massive parties. From Warner.

Special Interest:

“Swans: Where Does A Body End?” (2019) is an intimate portrait of the band Swans, from their roots as a brutal, confrontational post-punk band that emerged from the same early 1980s era NYC that gave us Sonic Youth (and, somehow, Madonna) through their ill-fated bid at mainstream success in the 90s indie-rock gold rush, through breakups and chaos (on and offstage) to their odds-defying current status as one of the most accomplished and ambitious bands in the world, one whose concerts are more like ecstatic rituals than nostalgic trips back through their most popular songs. On DVD, Blu-ray, from MVD Entertainment. Due September 11.

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.

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