by Bryan Theiss
This week’s new arrivals include a documentary about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, some Japanese sci-fi classics by Ishirō Honda, multiple appearances by Romy Schneider, a former sidekick of the Joker going solo, and much more. They’re all available from our pickup window or to rent by mail.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1933)
It’s hard to keep track of all the versions of Lewis Carroll’s famous story, but this is the one that has W.C. Fields as Humpty Dumpty, Gary Cooper as the White Knight, Sterling Holloway as the Frog Footman and Cary Grant as the Mock Turtle. It’s directed by Norman Z. McLeod (Horsefeathers, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) and written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, Cleopatra) and production designer William Cameron Menzies. With a new commentary by film historian Lee Gambin.
BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (1959)
The nations of the earth unite to fight off a flying saucer invasion in this film from Godzilla director Ishirō Honda.
BEFORE THEY DIE! (2008)
Recent events have thrust a new spotlight on the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, when racist mobs attacked black residents and businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District, killing dozens of people and destroying 35 square blocks of what had been the wealthiest black community in the United States. This documentary follows the last three survivors at age 90, 92 and 104 years old as they travel the country telling their stories and seeking justice through a lawsuit against the city and the state that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The film runs 92 minutes, and the DVD includes a 20 minute epilogue.
THE CAMERAMAN (1928) (CRITERION)
Considered Buster Keaton’s last great masterpiece, the silent comedy icon plays a newsreel cameraman in Manhattan who befriends a monkey, gets caught up in a Tong war, etc. Criterion presents a new 4K restoration with a new score by Timothy Brock, commentary by author Glenn Mitchell, three documentaries (including The Motion Picture Camera from 1979 in a new 4K restoration), and even a new 2K restoration of Keaton’s next feature film Spite Marriage, with optional film historian commentary.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
CESAR ET ROSALIE (1972)
César (Yves Montand) is in love with Rosalie (Romy Schneider), even after she runs away with her ex (Sami Frey). From director Claude Sautet (Nelly and Mr. Arnaud).
CHOSES DE LA VIE (1969)
Another one from Claude Sautet and Romy Schneider, this time starring Michel Piccoli. Also known as The Things of Life.
James Mason stars as a reclusive, washed up lawyer who can’t relate to his 20-year old daughter (Geraldine Chaplin) or her entire generation. Nevertheless, he tries to get his groove back by defending her boyfriend (Paul Bertoya) on false charges of murder. Also starring Bobby Darin.
DIAMONDS FOR BREAKFAST (1968)
Marcello Mastroianni stars as a swinging playboy descendent of the Romanov family who gathers a crew of beautiful women to steal the family jewels while they’re on display at a London museum.
THE H-MAN (1958)(2 VERSIONS)
Another one from Godzilla director Ishirō Honda, this time about scientists trying to stop a slimy, green, matter-dissolving monster created by hydrogen bomb fallout. According to The Monthly Bulletin at the time, “for special effects, trick photography and spectacular staging, the Japanese again beat their Hollywood counterparts at their own game: The fantasy element of vanishing bodies and mobile liquid is brilliantly done.” Contains both the American cut and the original Japanese version containing much more of the crime world subplot.
HARLEY QUINN: SEASON 1 (2019)
The beloved DC Comics villain-sidekick-turned-anti-hero invented for Batman: The Animated Series now has her own not-for-kids cartoon where she founds a new super villain team after breaking up with The Joker and being rejected by The Legion of Doom. Featuring the voices of Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Ron Funches, Tony Hale, Jason Alexander, J.B. Smoove and Alan Tudyk. The Hollywood Reporter called it “one of the best surprises of the year… zippy, violent and irreverent… writing is frequently uproarious, chock full of Millennial nostalgia and cerebral gallows humor.”
Documentary chronicling decades of orchestrated campaigns and propaganda designed to promote homophobia in our society.
HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND (1960) (2 VERSIONS)
Severin Films presents this German sexy-horror film in new remasters of both its uncut original verision and the repackaged American one called It’s Hot in Paradise. Includes a documentary, an interview and alternate clothed scenes.
IMPORTANT C’EST D’AIMER (1975)
Well before his cult classic Possession, Polish director Andrzej Zulawski made this French film starring Romy Schneider as a b-actress in a passionate affair with a photographer (Fabio Testi). Klaus Kinski is also in it. This HD remaster is the film’s first time on disc in North America, and it includes an interview with Zulawski.
IMPRACTICAL JOKERS: THE MOVIE (2020)
A theatrically released “reality comedy film” based on the truTV series. The Jokers run into Paula Abdul at Red Lobster and she invites them to a party in Miami, but accidentally gives them one less ticket than they need. They go on a road trip competing in a hidden camera prank challenge to decide who gets to go to the party.
Vanessa Redgrave stars as the pioneering dancer Isadora Duncan in this biopic from director Karel Reisz (The French Lieutenant’s Woman). Also starring Jason Robards, with a score by Maurice Jarre (Lawrence of Arabia). With new commentary by filmmaker Allan Arkush and historian Daniel Kremer.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
KILL MODE (2020)
After 31 million people are wiped out by a virus, a team of rebels attack the pharmaceutical company that runs the world and caused the outbreak. There they rescue a girl held captive who soon manifests a strange mutation. From the director of the 2015 post-apocalyptic movie Molly.
THE MARSHES (2018)
A group of young microbiologists are stalked by a mysterious slasher in the Australian wilderness. Is that really necessary? Why not just let them take the water samples, dude?
MIDNIGHT FAMILY (2019)
A family runs a private ambulance in the wealthiest part of Mexico City. “Terrifying and exhilarating. Leaves you gasping,” wrote The New York Times. According to The Wrap, “Midnight Family is both a compassionate portrait of a working-class family and a frightening ride through a broken healthcare system that risks the lives of both patients and providers like the Ochoa family.”
MORGAN: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT (1966)
Morgan (the great character actor David Warner in one of his few starring roles) is an anarchic, failed artist whose upper class wife (Vanessa Redgrave) wants to divorce him and marry a gallery owner (Robert Stephens). Morgan attempts to get her back with ill-advised stunts including putting a skeleton in her bed, hiring a wrestler to kidnap her, and showing up at the wedding in a gorilla costume. “Not since Alec Guinness played Gulley Jimson in The Horse’s Mouth… have we seen an artistic nonconformist as wild as David Warner’s Morgan Delt,” wrote Bosley Crowther in The New York Times. With a new commentary by author Bryan Reesman.
MURDER BY DEATH (1976) (SHOUT SELECT)
Neil Simon’s uproarious comedy stars none other than Truman Capote as an eccentric millionaire who invites the world’s greatest detectives (Peter Sellers, Peter Falk, David Niven, Maggie Smith, James Coco and Elsa Lanchester) to a dinner party where he says someone will be murdered at midnight. Includes a new commentary by film historian Lee Gambin and a new interview with Simon.
THE QUARRY (2020)
It’s a rugged-character-actor-off between Shea Whigham and Michael Shannon as a drifter who kills and replaces a traveling preacher and a police chief who suspects something’s up. Also starring Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace).
ROAD TO MOTHER (2016)
A history of Kazakhstan told through several generations of a family surviving war and famine from the 1930s to the present. Includes making-of documentary.
SAINT FRANCES (2019)
Kelly O’Sullivan stars as a woman facing an unwanted pregnancy while working as a nanny to a six-year-old. From the always-interesting Oscilloscope label.
THREE CHRISTS (2017)
Richard Gere plays a psychiatrist in 1959 who tries to prove schizophrenics can be treated with empathy rather than electroshock by bringing together three different patients (Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins and Bradley Whitford) who believe they are Jesus. Directed by Jon Avnet (Fried Green Tomatoes).
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
TIME LIMIT (1957)
Actor Karl Malden’s only director credit is for this Korean War P.O.W. drama starring Richard Widmark, Richard Basehart, Rip Torn and Maltin Balsam. New 2K remaster.
UNMARRIED WOMAN (1978) (CRITERION)
Jill Clayburgh stars as a Manhattan gallery worker who finds herself first adrift and then empowered after her husband leaves her for a younger woman. Nominated for best picture, original screenplay and actress. Criterion’s new edition is a 4K restoration including a 2005 commentary track with Clayburgh and writer/director Paul Mazursky, new interviews with actors Michael Murphy and Lisa Lucas, new interview with author Sam Wasson on Mazursky’s films, and audio of Mazursky speaking at the AFI in 1980.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
YOUNG AHMED (2019)
Writer/directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (The Son, Two Days, One Night) look at the effect of fanaticism on a radicalized Muslim teenager in a Belgian town who plots to kill his teacher. Winner of Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
YOUNG BILLY YOUNG (1969)
Robert Mitchum plays an aging lawman who teams up with the titular youthful outlaw (Robert Walker) when they realize they have an enemy in common. Also starring Angie Dickinson and David Carradine, and directed by Burt Kennedy (Support Your Local Sheriff!).