This week we’ve got Christopher Nolan’s latest, Iñárritu via Criterion, evil entities, Drew Barrymore as an outlaw, Jodorowsky’s trauma therapy, British politics, overlooked musicians, suckoids, several classic Warner Archive titles, and more!
THE 300 YEAR WEEKEND (1971)
A psychologist conducts a 24-hour group therapy session at a drug rehab clinic. As the patients share and time stretches on, the doctor finds himself increasingly involved, and eventually compelled to share his own story. Audio Commentary by Film Historian/Filmmaker Daniel Kremer and Film Critic Scout Tafoya.
After escaping a killer who kidnapped her while she was traveling, a woman must fight for her life in the wilderness with him on her trail. Described as a “tense, muscular suspense exercise” by Variety’s Dennis Harvey.
(DVD and Blu-ray)
AMORES PERROS (2000) (CRITERION)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s debut feature follows three dissimilar people whose lives are connected by a car crash. Criterion writes that the film “brought the director’s electrifying visual style and bravura multistrand storytelling to the screen with the heart-stopping impact of a primal scream.” Included in the extra features: a behind-the-scenes documentary, a conversation between Iñárritu and filmmaker Paweł Pawlikowski (who most recently directed Cold War), and a new interview with composer Gustavo Santaolalla.
(DVD and Blu-ray)
THE BEACH HOUSE (2019)
A college couple on a beach vacation agree to share their space with an older couple they hadn’t expected to already be occupying the house. They all drink, have cordial conversation, and take edibles on their first night together. The next day plays out like an apocalyptic, nature-is-angry nightmare that one would hope to be substance-induced… no such luck.
BEASTS CLAWING AT STRAWS (2020)
In Kim Yong-hoon’s debut feature, desperate characters hope a fancy designer bag full of money will solve their problems, but things get messy. A playfully dark thriller that wears its influences on its sleeve.
BODIES, REST & MOTION (1993)
As the lives of four young people change and intertwine, they search for what they want from life and love. Stars Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda, Tim Roth, and Eric Stoltz.
THE CLOSET (2020)
After the death of his wife, architect Sang-won (Ha Jung-woo) moves into a new house with his daughter, Yi-na (Heo Yool). Feeling ignored by her occupied father, Yi-na spends time alone and discovers odd noises coming from her closet. When she mysteriously disappears, Sang-won must venture through doors he may have otherwise chosen to leave shut. Written and directed by Kim Kwang-bin.
THE DARK AND THE WICKED (2020)
On an isolated farm, siblings Louise (Marin Ireland) and Michael (Michael Abbott Jr.) sense that an evil presence looms as their ailing father inches closer to death and their mother seems to suffer from a darkness beyond grief. Hope Madden writes for UK Film Review: “a slow burn with nerves fraying inside the isolated farmhouse as noises, shadows, and menacing figures lurk outside.” Directed by Bryan Bertino (whose directorial debut was 2008’s The Strangers).
(DVD and Blu-ray)
DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE (1970)
In this comedy-drama directed by Frank Perry with a screenplay by Eleanor Perry, Carrie Snodgress plays a woman who is frustrated and unhappy in her marriage to a horrid tool of a guy. Described by Michael McNay for The Guardian as “Balefully brilliant.”
(DVD and Blu-ray)
ECHO BOOMERS (2020)
Mel (Michael Shannon) runs an underground operation of people who, tired of waiting for wealth to “trickle down,” steal from the rich. Lance (Patrick Schwarzenegger), a recent college grad who is disillusioned and saddled with loan debt, finds himself involved and in over his head.
THE GERMAN LESSON (2019)
In a German juvenile detention center after World War II, a young man is confronted with memories of how his childhood was affected by the war. Fionnuala Halligan of Screen Daily says, “This is a cerebral piece of work which tackles some of the war’s longer, lingering questions in Germany and beyond, made flesh by some wonderful performances.”
Besides the fact that Drew Barrymore and James LeGros teamed up to star in this remake, all you really need to know is on the front of the collector’s edition box: “Love made them crazy. Guns made them outlaws.”
LADYBUG LADYBUG (1964)
Set during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, staff and students at a rural elementary school react to a nuclear attack warning, unsure of whether it’s real or a false alarm. Inspired by a true story written by Lois Dickert. Directed by Frank Perry and screenplay by Eleanor Perry.
(DVD and Blu-ray)
LOVE EXPRESS: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF WALERIAN BOROWCZYK (2018)
A documentary that celebrates the work of director Walerian Borowczyk and explores questions of artistic freedom.
PSYCHOMAGIC: A HEALING ART (2019)
Pumpkin smashing, live burials, and jumping from planes: filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky shares his theory of trauma therapy with others in this documentary, his bold theatricality on full display. According to the book he wrote on the topic, Jodorowsky has apparently been developing his method for many years, employing “the powers of dreams, art, and theater to empower individuals to heal wounds that in some cases had traveled through generations.”
PUZZLE OF A DOWNFALL CHILD (1970)
Lou (Faye Dunaway), a former model, opens up about the struggles of her high-profile life to Aaron (Barry Primus), who is making a film about her. The first feature by award-winning director Jerry Schatzberg, who followed up Puzzle with The Panic in Needle Park (1971) and Scarecrow (1973). Brilliant Carole Eastman wrote the screenplay for Puzzle under her favored pseudonym, Adrian Joyce (the first screenplay she wrote was for The Shooting (1966, directed by Monte Hellman), which you should check out if you like strange and good things).
(DVD and Blu-ray)
ROADKILL (2020) (2 DISKS)
In this political thriller mini-series, Peter Laurence (Hugh Laurie) is a British politician whose private life is unraveling, and he’s got enemies plotting to bring him down. Brash in his attempts to further his own agenda and with sensitive secrets to keep concealed, he has to watch his back if he’s going to succeed.
SIDEMEN: LONG ROAD TO GLORY (2016)
A documentary that takes an intimate look at the remarkable lives of three sidemen to Chicago blues legends: piano player Pinetop Perkins, drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and guitarist Hubert Sumlin. Helping to cement the legacies of these sidemen are live performances and insights from many of the rock and blues musicians they influenced. Frank Scheck writes for The Hollywood Reporter: “None of the three subjects are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but as the film makes abundantly clear, they should be.”
SPOKEN WORD (2009)
After returning home to be with his dying father, a spoken word artist must resist being drawn back into the ways of his old life. For The New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis says the film is “a quietly resonant family drama about the tug of old habits and the difficulties of escaping the past.”
Director Christopher Nolan is back with his first film since the heavily lauded Dunkirk (2017) and he is, as he loves to do, toying with linearity again in this story concerning time travel – or, as the promotional materials insist: “inversion.” The “survival of the entire world” is at stake, and in his mission to prevent World War III, a Protagonist (John David Washington) is “armed with one word.” (You guessed it.) Also features performances from Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki.
(DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD)
TREMORS (1990) (LIMITED EDITION) (2 DISKS)
“Mega-worms or suckers or… or suckoids!” Set in a small desert town and possessing marvelous creature design, Tremors is a campy horror comedy that will make you laugh but also might change the way you look at the ground because “that’s how they get you.” This packed limited edition features a new 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films (approved by director Ron Underwood), audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes, early shorts from the creators, and more.
THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW (2020)
We got Thunder Road (2018), and now we have filmmaker Jim Cummings’s most recent step into the role of a hotheaded cop – complete with a small-town murder mystery, supernatural concerns, and a Twin Peaks feel. Some scenes “imaginatively and uncomfortably tap into contemporary anxieties about the inherent power of law enforcement,” says Chuck Bowen for Slant. Cast as Sheriff Hadley, this was Robert Forster’s final role before he passed away last year.
And we’ve got more Blu-rays coming later this week…
THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
By way of murder and obsession, Victor Frankenstein pieces together a being that he brings to life. But due to his inclusion of a damaged brain in the reanimation experiment, things aren’t going the way he’d planned. Directed by Terence Fisher. Peter Cushing as Frankenstein. Ubiquitous and always fantastic Christopher Lee as The Creature.
THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
A musical about a group of women going west to open a restaurant for the Harvey House chain. Well, Susan (Judy Garland) was initially going west to marry a guy she’d been exchanging letters with, but she ends up getting catfished pretty bad, so she joins the Harvey House team instead.
MISTER ROBERTS (1955) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
Near the end of World War II, crewmen of a U.S. Navy cargo ship stationed on the Pacific are growing restless. Once they’re finally granted liberty to go ashore, trouble ensues. Directed by John Ford. Stars Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell, and Jack Lemmon.
THE STOOGE (1951)
Bill (Dean Martin) has a musical-comedy act that’s only successful because Ted (Jerry Lewis) is his “stooge,” or an active participant in the show who enhances the material but gets no credit. Bill desires to have a successful solo act, but he’ll have to swallow some pride and share the limelight if he wants to make it in the business. Jerry Lewis’s favorite Martin & Lewis film.
TEX AVERY’S SCREWBALL CLASSICS VOLUME 2 (WARNER ARCHIVE)
Uncut, restored and remastered in HD for the first time, another volume of comedic cartoons from Tex Avery.
YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN (1950) (WARNER ARCHIVE)
A driven young trumpet player is torn between two very different women. Directed by Michael Curtiz. Stars Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, and Doris Day.