by Ben Redder
It’s New Release Tuesday! We’ve got killer twins, music docs, loads of vintage horror, long-silent shorts, the latest from Marvel, and more.
THE DROWNING (2021, DVD)
When Jodie Walsh’s four-year-old son vanished from a lakeside picnic he was presumed to have drowned. But his body was never found, and Jodie’s always believed he was abducted. Nine years later she sees a boy on his way to school and is convinced it’s her missing son. Suddenly the life she’s painstakingly rebuilt is jeopardised as she embarks on a dangerous and morally dark journey to prove the boy really is the son she lost. Will she convince the police and her own family that the man now looking after the boy isn’t his actual father, but his abductor?
FREUD aka FREUD: THE SECRET PASSION (1962, Blu-ray / DVD)
John Huston’s biopic of Sigmund Freud follows the progress of the father of psychoanalytical psychiatry as he develops the notion that neurosis stems from sexual repression. By treating patients with various issues, including a woman haunted by recurring dreams and a man with an Oedipus complex, Freud experiences epiphanies that lead to the birth of modern analysis, despite the scorn his theories initially receive from his colleagues.
HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1978, Blu-ray)
Joe Pendleton, quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, is killed in an auto accident. In the afterlife, Joe discovers that his guardian angel has taken him from his body prematurely, and he is due many more years on earth. Unable to return to his body, Joe assumes the form of greedy multimillionaire industrialist Leo Farnsworth. As Farnsworth, Joe attempts a return to football and falls in love with environmental activist Betty Logan.
JET PILOT (1957, Blu-ray)
During the Cold War, a Russian jet enters air space over Alaska and is escorted to an American air base. The pilot, Anna Marladovna, demands asylum but refuses to provide information on Soviet activities. Col. Jim Shannon receives orders to befriend Anna in order to win her confidence and gather information. The pilots compete with each other but gradually fall in love. When it appears Anna may be deported, Jim marries her — only to discover that she may be a spy.
KEYBOARD FANTASIES – BEVERLY GLENN-COPELAND STORY (2021, DVD)
Emerging from years in isolation to an enraptured crowd, a transgender, septuagenarian musical genius finally finds his place in the world. Part biopic, part tour documentary, Keyboard Fantasies tells the mystical tale of cult musician Glenn Copeland, who wrote and self-released a cassette called Keyboard Fantasies in Huntsville, Ontario back in 1986. While living in near isolation, the sci-fi obsessed Copeland recorded the whole thing in an Atari-powered home studio, the result of which featured seven tracks of a curious folk-electronica hybrid, a sound realised far before its time. Three decades later, courtesy of a rare-record collector in Japan, a reissue of Keyboard Fantasies and subsequent plays by Four Tet, Caribou and more, the music had finally found its audience. Half aural-visual history, half DIY tour-video, the film provides a vehicle for our newly appointed queer elder to connect with youth across the globe. A timely lullaby to soothe those souls struggling to make sense of the world.
LAST MATINEE (2020, Blu-ray)
The audience attending the last showing of a horror film in a small downtown cinema are terrorized by a murderer who begins to pick them off, one by one. The only person to notice that something strange is going on is the projectionist’s daughter.
LAUGHING DEAD (1989, Blu-ray)
A busload of travelers and their guide, on the hunt for Aztec ruins, decide to stop in an all but forgotten-to-time Mexican village, on the eve of the Day of the Dead. The tour leader, a disgraced priest, is enlisted by a local doctor to perform what he believes to be an exorcism, but in actuality, the doctor is using him to begin a diabolical ritual intended to bring about Hell on Earth!
MALIGNANT (2021, Blu-ray / DVD)
Madison is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities. The film’s biggest selling point is also a spoiler. If you haven’t seen this yet, it’s because you already know what I’m referring to, or you have no idea what I’m talking about. If the latter is the case, watch this without reading another word on it. IYKYK
MASTERPIECE MYSTERY – GRANTCHESTER SEASON 6 (2021, DVD)
It’s 1958 and trouble is brewing in the Cambridgeshire village of Grantchester. Reverend Will Davenport relishes his role as a firebrand vicar, but the very role he loves puts him at odds with his own ideals when Leonard is caught up in a scandal. Meanwhile, Geordie finds his principles shaken, Mrs. Chapman is distraught, and Geordie’s wife Cathy is defiant. With new crimes around every corner, and morality and legality at odds, it’s going to take all of Will’s skill and empathy to navigate these choppy waters and help the ones he loves.
MYSTERY OF PICASSO (1956, Blu-ray)
Director Henri-Georges Clouzot peers into the imagination of Pablo Picasso’s studio and emerges with a quiet documentary that captures the revolutionary painter’s creative process. Through a combination of stop-motion and time-lapse photography, Picasso’s Cubist work comes to life on screen. Paint strokes and splashes of color appear as if by magic, as empty canvases become platforms for a series of daring and original drawings and paintings that exist only within the confines of this film.
NEEDTOBREATHE – INTO THE MYSTERY (2021, DVD)
A chronicle of the unique recording of NEEDTOBREATHE’s latest album. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and without telling a soul, the band decamped to a historic house-turned-recording studio in remote Tennessee to work on new music. Over three weeks, they resided under one roof and handcrafted an album that may contain their most important music ever. A rare look at the collaboration of artists at the height of their creative powers who are struggling with the same fear and isolation that has affected everyone.
NOTHING UNDERNEATH/TOO BEAUTIFUL TO DIE (1985-1988, Blu-ray)
NOTHING UNDERNEATH – Bob Crane has long maintained a psychic connection to his twin sister, Jessica, who works as a fashion model in Milan. When Bob senses that his sister might be injured or killed, he travels to Italy to look for her, only to discover that she’s vanished without a trace. Enlisting the help of about-to-retire Commissioner Danesi, Bob soon finds himself embroiled in a web of mystery and terror, when a scissors wielding killer begins to strike and all clues lead back to Jessica…
TOO BEAUTIFUL TO DIE – A group of high fashion models have been invited to an isolated house to attend a party. As the night wears on, one of the models falls victim to a deadly ‘accident,’ which sets into motion a series of brutal murders, all traced back to a shocking secret… An in name only sequel to NOTHING UNDERNEATH.
ONE IN A THOUSAND (2020, DVD)
Iris, an awkward teenager that has been recently expelled from schools, meets a mysterious older woman with a tough past and feels immediately attracted to her. Residing in a community of project houses, she has to overcome her fears and struggle with her insecurities in order to experience first love. A story full of tenderness in a very hostile environment where desire adapts many forms in the darkness, and gossip can turn into a hostile weapon.
PARTY GIRL (1958, Blu-ray)
Deft lawyer Thomas Farrell has found himself a role successfully defending the crooked goons of crime boss Rico Angelo. When Thomas meets glamorous dancer Vicki Gaye, he falls in love with her. Vicki makes Thomas realize that he should stop representing criminals, and he tries to break ties with Angelo. However, the mobster will not let Thomas free and kidnaps Vicki in order to keep the lawyer in his employ.
RAGING FIRE (2021, DVD)
Bong is a highly respected hardline cop with a long history of success on dangerous cases. However, his past unexpectedly comes back to haunt him when a sting operation is attacked by a mysterious group of criminals led by Ngo, his former protégé, a talented former officer who had once respected and admired Bong. However, a terrible mistake years prior landed him in prison, quickly turning the once rising star into a furious man with a grudge, and the will to destroy everyone who had wronged him—including his former mentor.
REDS (1981, Blu-ray)
American journalist John Reed journeys to Russia to document the Boleshevik Revolution and returns as a revolutionary himself. His fervor for left-wing politics leads him to Louise Bryant, then married, who will become a feminist icon and activist. Politics at home become more complicated as the rift grows between reality and Reed’s ideals. Bryant takes up with a cynical playwright, and Reed returns to Russia, where his health declines.
ROMANCE (1999, Blu-ray)
Catherine Breillat’s landmark film placed her as an audacious boundary-pushing female auteur, establishing her as a provocateur who opened the doors to women directors taking charge of their own sexual ideals and imagery. This is the tale of a beautiful woman’s frustration with the lack of intimacy in her relationship, who seeks out sexual adventures in order to spark the interest of her love, a self-absorbed male model.
SAINT MAUD (2019, Blu-ray / DVD)
Maud is a reclusive young nurse whose impressionable demeanour causes her to pursue a pious path of Christian devotion after an obscure trauma. Now charged with the hospice care of Amanda, a retired dancer ravaged by cancer, Maud’s fervent faith quickly inspires an obsessive conviction that she must save her ward’s soul from eternal damnation, whatever the cost.
SHANG-CHI & LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (2021, Blu-ray / DVD)
Thousands of years ago, Xu Wenwu finds the Ten Rings, ten mystical weapons that grant their user immortality and great power. Wenwu amasses an army of warriors called the Ten Rings and conquers many kingdoms and topples governments throughout history. In the present day, Shang-Chi works as a valet with his best friend Katy. While on the bus on their way to work, Shang-Chi and Katy are attacked by the Ten Rings led by Razor Fist. Shang-Chi fights them off, but discovers that his pendant given to him by his mother has been taken. Fearing that the Ten Rings will attack Xialing for her pendant, Shang-Chi decides to track her down and reveals his past to Katy, who agrees to help him.
SHATTER DEAD (1994, Blu-ray)
When the Angel of Death impregnates a mortal woman, the dead stop dying. But these zombies are not out to destroy the living; their only desire is to return and be back among us. And now a bloody war has broken out between the living and the dead, bleeding the final survivors from our broken world. Amid this fetid landscape of zombie massacres rises Susan, a lone woman desperate to get back to her boyfriend and a life of some sanity. And she’s not about to let anyone, living or undead, get in her way? Are you ready to feel the Final Wraith of God?
SHIT & CHAMPAGNE (2020, Blu-ray)
After her fiancé, Rod, and her half-sister, Brandy (the world renowned calf model) are both brutally murdered, Champagne Horowitz Jones Dickerson White (a divorcée and exotic dancer from the wrong side of the tracks) uses “all the right moves” to single-handedly take on the largest sex, drug and back-to-school clothing ring in the country. Adapted from Drollinger’s wildly successful stage show.
THE SHOW (2020, DVD)
Fletcher Dennis is an assassin, a private investigator, and a master of identities. When he takes a job from a threatening client, he expects that retrieving a stolen artifact will be a simple gig. However, Northampton is not what he expected, and he soon finds himself in a curious twilight world. Encountering vampires, children detectives and drug queenpins, Fletcher soon realizes that the boundaries between dreams and reality have dissolved. He must wade through the surreal, the bizarre and the criminal to finish the job and try to return to the real world.
SLOW DANCING IN THE BIG CITY (1978, DVD)
In Manhattan, columnist Lou Friedlander experiences love at first sight when he sets his eyes upon a new tenant in his apartment building: Sarah Gantz, a ballerina who has recently broken up with her boyfriend. However, Sarah soon discovers that she has a terminal illness and should give up dancing for her health. Undeterred, she fights against the disease to keep her career while Lou documents her struggles, the pair growing ever closer to one another.
SUMMER OF 84 (4K UHD / Blu-ray)
It’s the summer of 1984 – the perfect time to be 15 years old and free. But when neighborhood conspiracy theorist Davey Armstrong begins to suspect his police officer neighbor might be the serial killer all over the local news, he and his three best friends begin an investigation that soon turns dangerous.
TICKS (1993, 4K UHD / Blu-ray)
A group of problem teens from Los Angeles join an inner-city wilderness project in an attempt to get back in touch with life’s priorities, led by do-gooders Holly and Charles. When they get to the campsite, they begin having a problems adjusting to the wild life, particularly with the local cannabis growers using herbal steroids to accelerate plant growth, and the mutated ticks that the leaky steroid system has created. These oversized mutant ticks – with an insatiable lust for human flesh – start terrorizing the campground, eating the campers and everything else in sight.
TO HELL AND BACK (1955, Blu-ray)
Young Audie Murphy’s (playing himself) father abandons his large family, and Audie becomes the main breadwinner. When World War II breaks out, Murphy wants to enlist, but looks too young and small to make a good fighter. Nevertheless, admitted as an infantryman by the Army, Murphy proves a courageous soldier. The film, based on Murphy’s life, reenacts his many battles, including the ultimate feat that earned him a Congressional Medal of Honor: single-handedly turning back a German attack.
VANILLA SKY (2001, Blu-ray)
Young, handsome and wealthy, publishing tycoon David Aames can have anything his heart desires. Still, David’s charmed life seems incomplete. One night, David meets the woman of his dreams and believes he may have found the missing piece. But a fateful encounter with a jealous lover suddenly sends David’s world out of control, rocketing him on a roller-coaster ride of romance, sex, suspicion, and dreams, to a shocking, final awakening you will never forget.
VILLAGE DETECTIVE – A SONG CYCLE (2021, DVD)
During the summer of 2016, a fishing boat off the shores of Iceland made a most curious catch: four reels of 35mm film, seemingly of Soviet provenance. Unlike the film find explored in Bill Morrison’s Dawson City: Frozen Time, it turned out this discovery wasn’t a lost work of major importance, but an incomplete print of a popular Soviet comedy from 1969, starring the beloved Russian actor Mihail Žarov. Does that mean it has no value? Morrison thought not. To him, the heavily water-damaged print, and the way it surfaced, could be seen as a fitting reflection on the film work of Žarov, who re-emerges from the bottom of the sea 50 years later like a Russian Rip Van Winkle, to a world where reels of film are as antiquated as the Soviet Union. But if celluloid film is the only medium that can survive the ocean, how will future generations remember us?
WILD INDIAN (2021, DVD)
Makwa, a young Anishinaabe boy, likes to escape his troubled life by playing with his friend Ted-O. One day, Makwa shockingly murders a schoolmate, and the two boys cover it up. Decades later, when a man who shares his violent secret seeks vengeance, M