This week’s new releases include some crazy b-movies and classroom scare films, a documentary about how movies portray disability, a new film by a top anime director, Russian sci-fi, TV fantasy, Sylvester Stallone playing soccer with Pelé, Olive Oyl running for president, and much more. You can rent them all from our Pickup Window, or via rent-by-mail.
ATLANTIC CITY (1980)
Small time numbers runner Burt Lancaster and waitress Susan Sarandon get into some trouble trying to sell a stolen batch of cocaine in Atlantic City’s early days as a mob-infested gambling resort. Directed by Louis Malle between Pretty Baby and My Dinner With Andre, it was nominated for best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay Oscars.
BEAU BRUMMELL (1954) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
Stylish historical drama starring Stewart Granger as the swordsman who befriends the Prince of Wales (Peter Ustinov) and falls in love with Lady Patricia (Elizabeth Taylor).
BEST FRIENDS (1975)
Richard Hatch and Doug Chapin star as life-long buddies who are growing apart as they both get engaged, and decide to go on one last road trip together. Things get ugly. Yet another interesting find from Vinegar Syndrome, who describe it as “a tense character drama that slowly morphs into an unsettling thriller focused on repressed obsession and PTSD… one of the great overlooked post-Vietnam angst films.” Includes interviews with director Noel Nosseck, cinematographer Stephen M. Katz, editor Robert Gordon and composer Rick Cunha.
An American newlywed (Brett Stimely) tries to save his kidnapped wife (Anna Nicholas) with the help of an ex-stunt driver cabbie (Tamil superstar Rajinikanth in his first English-language role) in this Indian-American co-production directed by Dwight H. Little (Halloween 4, Marked For Death, Rapid Fire) and written by Nico Mastorakis (Hired to Kill). Arrow’s special edition includes an interview with Mastorakis, a commentary by journalist Bryan Reesman and a video essay on Rajinikanth by Indian cinema expert Josh Hurtado.
CODE OF THE FREAKS (2020)
Using hundreds of movie clips along with new interviews with disabled artists, scholars and activists, this documentary debunks movie tropes about disability and shows how they’ve shaped attitudes and behavior toward the disabled. Includes audio description.
After a mysterious accident, a young architect finds himself in a bizarre world based on the fragmented memories of everyone currently experiencing comas. He tries to understand the rules of the place as he fights to survive and find the exit to reality. Part of a recent wave of FX-heavy Russian sci-fi.
DEAD DICKS (2019)
How’s this for twist on a Groundhog Day/Happy Death Day style premise: a suicidal young man keeps trying to kill himself, but each time he finds himself still alive… with his dead body in the apartment. A new one each time. As his bodies pile up he and his sister “think that a vagina-like opening in Richie’s bedroom might hold the answer.” Kristy Puchko of Pajiba says it, “tackles taboos, blending trippy horror, irreverent humor, and shocking tenderness to create a film that’s both darkly challenging and wildly entertaining.” Includes director commentary, video diaries and featurettes.
40 POUNDS OF TROUBLE (1962)
Tony Curtis plays a hotel/casino manager who has to chaperone a performer’s niece (Suzanne Pleshette) and an abandoned five year old while hiding out from detectives trying to make him pay money he owes his ex. The climax involves a chase through Disneyland, which was less than a decade old at that point. From Kino Lorber’s Tony Curtis Collection box set, with commentary by film historians Kat Ellinger and Mike McPadden.
THE GREAT IMPOSTER (1960)
Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird) directed this true story of con artist Ferdinand Waldo Deemara Jr. (Tony Curtis), who impersonates a college professor, a monk, a warden and a Navy surgeon while outrunning the authorities and the girlfriends he’s left behind. Co-starring Karl Malden, Edmond O’Brien and Raymond Massey, with a score by Henry Mancini. This disc from Kino Lorber’s Tony Curtis Collection box set includes a commentary by film historian Kat Ellinger.
Extremely realistic dramatization of a group of teachers and students trying to survive the bombing of Hiroshima, based on eye witness accounts and featuring around 90,000 residents of the city as extras, including many survivors of the actual event. Scenes from this were included in Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour, but the film itself has been largely unavailable. Includes new video essay by Jasper Sharp, archive interview with actress Yumeji Tsukioka and 73-minute documentary Hiroshima Nagasaki Download (2011), featuring survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings now living in the United States.
HIS DARK MATERIALS: SEASON 1 (2019)
HBO fantasy series about an orphan (Dafne Keen – X-23 from Logan!) on an adventure in a world where human souls manifest as talking animal companions. Also starring Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, James McAvoy and Clarke Peters. Based on a trilogy of novels by Philip Pullman, previously adapted as the movie The Golden Compass.
HOMECOMING: SEASON 1 (2018)
Julia Roberts plays a social worker who works for a facility that helps soldiers transition to civilian life. After quitting and becoming a waitress she begins to understand that there was more going on there than she realized. Also starring Bobby Cannavale, Stephan James, Shea Whigham, Alex Karpovsky and Sissy Spacek.
HOUSE OF HUMMINGBIRD (2018)
South Korean drama about a 14-year-old girl (Park Ji-hoo) wandering Seoul in 1994 looking for love. Writer/director Kim Bora drew on her memories of the time around the collapse of the Seongsu bridge to inspire a coming of age story about the rapid modernization of Korea.
IT STARTED WITH A KISS (1959) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
An Air Force staff sergeant (Glenn Ford) has his life and marriage (to Debbie Reynolds) uprooted by winning an eye-catching Lincoln Futura concept car. The one-of-a-kind car used in the movie was later modified to become Adam West’s Batmobile! Also starring Eva Gabor.
JACK RYAN: SEASON 2 (2019)
John Krasinski returns as the famous Tom Clancy CIA agent character, uncovering a conspiracy with global implications while tracking a suspicious arms shipment in Venezuela. Also starring Wendell Pierce and Noomi Rapace.
MR. NO LEGS (1978)
This ‘70s drive-in classic is legendary for starring real-life double-amputee Ted Vollrath as a mob enforcer who kicks ass in a wheelchair with built-in weapons. Also starring Richard Jaeckel and Rance Howard, it’s directed by Ricou Browning (the diver who played the Creature From the Black Lagoon and created Flipper). This has never had a good quality video release before, but Massacre Video has done a new 2K restoration from the only known 35mm print.
MY FAVORITE YEAR (1982) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
In the live TV days of 1954, young comedy writer (Mark Linn-Baker) is tasked with keeping a washed up movie idol (Peter O’Toole) sober in the week leading up to his appearance on a variety show. It’s a fictional story, but inspired by an experience executive producer Mel Brooks had writing for Your Show of Shows when Errol Flynn was a guest. Directorial debut of Richard Benjamin (Mermaids).
NONE BUT THE BRAVE (1965) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
Frank Sinatra stars (and directs for the first time) in the suspenseful WWII story of a group of Marines who crash land on a remote island controlled by a Japanese platoon who are also cut off from their command. The Americans include Clint Walker, Tony Bill and Olympic Decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson, but the story is told through the diary entries of a Japanese soldier (Tatsuya Mihashi, The Bad Sleep Well).
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK: SEASON 7 (2019)
The final thirteen episodes of the popular women’s prison comedy-drama based on Piper Kerman’s memoir about life in minimum security prison. This last season deals with Piper (Taylor Schilling)’s life after being released, contrasted with the experiences of the other inmates.
THE PERFECT FURLOUGH (1958)
Military psychologist Lieutenant Vicki Loren (Janet Leigh) tries to improve the morale of the lonely men stationed at a remote Arctic outpost with a contest where one gets to go to Paris with their favorite pinup queen (Linda Cristal). Of course the lieutenant goes along to chaperone and the Don Juan corporal who rigs the raffle to win ends up falling for her. Directed by Blake Edwards right before Operation Petticoat. This disc from Kino Lorber’s Tony Curtis Collection box set includes commentary by film historian David Del Valle.
POPEYE THE SAILOR: THE 1940’S V.3
In these 17 color shorts originally released to theaters in 1948 and 1949, Popeye and Olive travel in time to Plymouth Rock, the Old West and prehistoric times, Popeye imagines Olive running for “Presidink,” and much more. Most of these were produced in a short-lived process called Polacolor which was carefully restored here to make the colors look extra vibrant.
RIDE YOUR WAVE (2019)
A young surfer falls in love with a firefighter, who then dies at sea. But she discovers she can summon his spirit to any watery surface if she sings their song. Another inventive, romantic anime from director Masaaki Yuasa (Mind Game, The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl, Lu Over the Wall).
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
THE SCARE FILM ARCHIVES V.1: DRUG STORIES!
Our friends at the American Genre Film Archive present a collection of anti-drug classroom propaganda films they promise include “sentient LSD tabs, spiders on speed, and an ex-junkie named Florrie Fisher (the real-life inspiration for Amy Sedaris’ Jerri Blank character on Strangers With Candy)”, all restored in 2K from 16 mm films found in the Something Weird vaults. Includes eleven shorts, plus Drug Stories! Narcotic Nightmares and Hallucinogenic Hellrides, “a full-length mixtape from the AGFA team.”
SHANGHAI TRIAD (1995)
This is the first North American blu-ray release of the visually stunning, Oscar-nominated film starring Gong Li as a gangster’s mistress in one of her many collaborations with director Zhang Yimou (Red Sorghum, Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, Curse of the Golden Flower). Includes Trouble in Shanghai video essay by author Grady Hendrix.
SOUL COLLECTOR (2019)
Originally titled 8, this a South African horror drama about an old farm hand (Tshamano Sebe) fated to spend eternity collecting souls for a demon child he carries around in a leather bag.
SOUTH MOUNTAIN (2019)
A community college art teacher (Talia Balsam) spends a summer alone in the Catskills when her daughters are on vacation, her best friend is in chemo and her husband betrays her. This has a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes – Glenn Kenny wrote in the New York Times that “Balsam is marvelous throughout, precisely measured in portraying a state often teetering on abjection.”
A newly pregnant housewife (Haley Bennett) seems to be living a great life with her handsome husband (Austin Stowell) and fancy house, but her troubles come out in the form of the bizarre real life disorder pica, which causes her to compulsively swallow inedible objects.
T.R. BASKIN (1971)
Candice Bergen plays the young title character, who moves to Chicago seeking a new life. Also starring Peter Boyle and James Caan, it comes from the director Herbert Ross (The Owl and the Pussycat) and writer Peter Hyams (Busting, Outland).
THIS TEACHER (2018)
On a disastrous trip to visit a childhood friend in New York City, a French Muslim woman (Hafsia Herzi) ends up in a remote upstate cabin, where the initial freedom of being alone for the first time in her life is encroached upon by the Islamophobic suspicions of the locals. John DeFore of the Hollywood Reporter called it, “a strangely provocative film balanced between social parable and psychological horror.”
TIN CUP (1996) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
A washed up golfer (Kevin Costner) tries to qualify for the U.S. Open to steal his rival (Don Johnson)’s girlfriend (Renee Russo). One of those acclaimed sports romances from writer/director Ron Shelton (Bull Durham).
TOTO THE HERO (1991)
Young Thomas believes he was switched at birth with his rich neighbor, and plots revenge for the life he never had in this Belgian classic that has been compared to Cinema Paradiso and My Life as a Dog. Arrow is releasing it on blu-ray for the first time with newly translated subtitles, an extensive making-of documentary and interview with comic book artist Francois Schuiten, who did concept art for the film.
A TOUCH OF CLASS (1973) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
Glenda Jackson and George Segal star as a divorcee and an American cheater who meet in a London taxi and begin a tryst that takes them to Spain in this romantic comedy. Writer/director Melvin Frank previously wrote Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House and White Christmas. Roger Ebert described this one as “a sharp-edged, often very funny dissection of a love affair between two possibly incompatible people.”
UNDERWATER (1955) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
Treasure hunters including Richard Egan and Jane Russell fight over the contents of a 17th-century ship wrecked in shark-infested waters. John Sturges directed this Howard Hughes production the same year he did Bad Day at Black Rock and The Scarlet Coat.
VICTORY (1981) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
John Huston (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) directed this great crowdpleaser with a The-Longest-Yard-meets-The-Great-Escape premise. Michael Caine plays an English Captain who was a pro soccer player before the war and agrees to coach Allied POWs in an exhibition match against a German team. For the Germans it’s a propaganda stunt, for the prisoners it’s an opportunity for an escape attempt. It also stars Max von Sydow as the German Major, Sylvester Stallone is really good in a supporting role as a Canadian player, and the soccer scenes are choreographed by Pelé, who’s among the real players on the team.
THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL (1959) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
If you, like me, are a sucker for I Am Legend type “alone in an abandoned city” apocalypse movies, here’s a really interesting early one that stars Harry Belafonte. He’s a mine inspector who gets trapped in a cave-in and when he finally digs his way out all of the people seem to be gone, so he goes to live it up in New York City. When he finds and befriends another survivor (Inger Stevens) it turns out racial tension still exists after the end of the world. (We already have a DVD of this if you’re interested but can’t play blu-ray.)
YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT (2020)
Kevin Bacon reunites with Stir of Echoes writer/director David Koepp for another story about sinister forces and unraveling reality in a house, this time while vacationing in the Welsh countryside with his (acknowledged as much younger than him) wife Amanda Seyfried. Produced by Blumhouse.