by Bryan Theiss
This week’s new arrivals include the latest works from from Kelly Reichardt and Superman, classics from Roger Corman, Kinji Fukusaku, Takashi Miike, Jules Dassin, Lucio Fulci and Larry Cohen, documentaries about stray dogs and undercover nursing home residents, two Doctor Who movies starring Peter Cushing, an uncut version of Psycho not seen in 60 years, and much more. We also brought in a bunch of limited edition blu-rays by Twilight Time.
Lucio Fulci’s last horror hit of the ‘80s involves a bullied girl getting telepathic revenge while in a coma, and features a famous death-by-snails scene. Severin presents a new 4K scan from the original negative, plus commentary with Fulci biographer Troy Howarth, interview with screenwriter Giorgio Mariuzzo and the featurette Italian Aenigma: Appraising Late Day Fulci.
AND SHE COULD BE NEXT (2020)
PBS documentary about the new wave of women of color in politics. Filmed during the 2018 midterms, it follows organizers and candidates including Rashida Tlaib and Stacey Abrams.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (1972)
One of Charlton Heston’s passion projects was directing and starring in this ‘70s Shakespeare adaptation “with surprisingly grand battle scenes shot in Spain on land and sea.” This Twilight Time edition includes isolated music track, commentary with film historians Lee Pfeiffer and Paul Scrabo and a making-of documentary with Fraser C. Heston.
ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS (1957)
Roger Corman’s famous atomic crustaceanfest in a new Scream Factory edition with new 2K scan of a fine-grain print. Includes commentary with film historians Tom Weaver, John Burns and Mike Brunas, and A Salute to Roger Corman featurette.
BAD EDUCATION (2019)
Not to be confused with the 2004 Almodovar movie, this is the true story of a Long Island superintendent (Hugh Jackman) who seemed like he was doing a great job until a reporter at the school newspaper uncovered his $11 million embezzling scheme. Co-starring Allison Janney, Ray Romano and Geraldine Viswanathan and directed by Cory Finley (Thoroughbreds). Writer Mike Makowsky (I Think We’re Alone Now) was a student at the school when it all went down.
The story of two teenage best friends in Scotland sneaking out to a rave for their last night hanging out together in 1994, when unlicensed dance parties were banned in the UK. Executive produced by Steven Soderbergh, who tried to recruit director Brian Welsh for a project after seeing his “The Entire History of You” episode of Black Mirror. Welsh turned the offer down, but showed Soderbergh the script for Beats and convinced him to help get it made.
BETTER THINGS: SEASON 1 (2017)
The first season of the superb FX comedy starring and created by Pamela Adlon (the voice of Bobby Hill!). Any description of what it’s about (a former sitcom actor trying to get work, date and raise three hilarious daughters) can’t really convey the unique storytelling and point-of-view of this outstanding series.
THE BIG FIX (1978)
Richard Dreyfuss stars as an ex-hippie p.i. searching for a fugitive pal from his Berkeley activist days (F. Murray Abraham) on behalf of someone running for governor in this satirical neo-noir adapted by Roger L. Simon from his own novel. This Twilight Time edition includes an isolated music track.
THE BIG UGLY (2020)
London mobsters Vinnie Jones and Malcolm McDowell try to launder money by investing with Ron Perlman in a West Virginia oil deal. Violence ensues. Co-written by Tarantino! Well, some guy named Paul Tarantino (no relation).
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
Clint Eastwood’s first time directing without starring was this romantic drama about middle aged William Holden falling for teenage hippie Kay Lenz. With commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger and C. Courtney Joyner.
BRUTE FORCE (1947) (CRITERION)
Jules Dassin (Rififi)’s first crime movie stars Burt Lancaster as an inmate hoping to escape from under the tyranny of sadistic guard Hume Cronyn. Criterion’s blu-ray features a new 4K restoration and commentary by film noir specialists Alain Silver and James Ursini.
CAGED HEAT (1974) / JACKSON COUNTY JAIL (1976)
Shout Factory brings us a double feature of ‘70s jail-themed Roger Corman productions. The former is directed by Jonathan Demme and the latter stars Tommy Lee Jones, so don’t worry, it’s all very respectable. Each has a director’s commentary track, a Leonard Maltin interview with Corman and a trailer. The Demme commentary also includes director of photography Tai Fujimoto, who continued to collaborate with him through Philadelphia, Silence of the Lambs, The Manchurian Candidate and more.
CANNON FOR CORDOBA (1970)
George Peppard loves it when a plan comes together, so in this western set during the Mexican Revolution he leads a band of misfits into Mexican territory to blow up half a dozen cannons. Includes audio commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson.
CARO DIARIO (1993)
It’s always exciting when something we’ve only had on VHS for years finally shows up on disc. This is an Italian comedy with three vignettes presented as the chapters of a diary. Director Nanni Moretti’s subsequent films include We Have a Pope, Mia Madre and Santiago, Italia.
CHILDREN OF HUANG SHI (2008)
Roger Spottiswoode (Under Fire, Tomorrow Never Dies) directed this historical drama about a British journalist (jonathan Rhys Meyers) and Australian nurse (Radha Mitchell) trying to save orphaned children during the Japanese occupation of China. Co-starring Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh, with cinematography Zhao Xiaoding (House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower, Shadow).
CORDILLERA OF DREAMS (2019)
Director Patricio Guzman, who left Chile when the military dictatorship took over more than 40 years ago, explores the cultural impact of the Andes, interviewing artists, a vulcanologist and a photographer of protests. This Cannes Film Festival best documentary winner completes a trilogy with Nostalgia for the Light and The Pearl Button.
COVERED WAGON (1923)
The first big budget western epic features a love triangle, a buffalo stampede, a prairie fire and a cast of thousands. Includes a commentary by film historian Toby Roan, a Wurlitzer score by Gaylord Carter and The Pie-Covered Wagon, a 1932 one-reeler spoof starring Shirley Temple.
A thousand years from now, post-Great Neutron Wars, the death ranger Kat (David Carradine) is plucked from the wastelands and forced to play Deathsport. You know how Lord Zirpola is, always doing stuff like that. Scream Factory’s blu-ray includes commentary with co-director Allan Arkush and editor Larry Block.
DOCTOR WHO AND THE DALEKS (1965)
Peter Cushing stars as the famous Timelord in the first ever Doctor Who movie adaptation – also the first time the character was ever seen in color. 2K restoration with new commentary by scholars Kim Newman, Robert Shearman and Mark Gatiss, 57-minute documentary Dalekmania and interview with author Gareth Owen.
DOCTOR WHO: DALEKS’ INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D. (1966)
Peter Cushing returns as the Doctor to help the human resistance escape from the iron, uh… toilet-plunger-looking-thinged grip of the Daleks. This one also has a commentary, the same Dalekmania documentary and interviews with actor Bernard Cribbins and author Gareth Owen.
ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT (1986)
A man falsely committed to an insane asylum by his greedy uncle actually turns crazy, escapes, and goes on a vengeful priest-themed killing spree. Yet another interesting rarity brought to use by Vinegar Syndrome, who call it “A seedy and perverse slasher-soap opera as only exploitation auteur Paul Leder (I Dismember Mama) and co-writer William Norton Sr. (Night of the Juggler) could achieve.” New restoration and interviews with stars Bernard White and Lauren Woodland.
FIRST COW (2019)
Kelly Reichardt wrote and directed this simple drama about a traveling chef and a Chinese immigrant in the Oregon frontier who become friends and plot to steal milk from the only cow in the area. Many critics have called it one of the best films of 2020. A.O. Scott of The New York Times writes, “First Cow is fundamentally a western: It takes up questions of civilization, solidarity and barbarism on the American frontier. And like many great westerns it critiques some of the genre’s foundational myths with bracing, beautiful rigor, including the myth of heroic individualism.”
Reichardt is one of the newest additions to our director’s section – you may also want to rent her films River of Grass, Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, Night Moves and Certain Women.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
FOR LOVE OF IVY (1968)
Sidney Poitier and Abbey Lincoln star in this romance about a hustler blackmailed into seducing a housekeeper. With a jazzy score by Quincy Jones and featuring Beau Bridges and Carroll O’Connor.
GHOST IN THE SHELL (1995)
Mamoru Oshii’s influential cyberpunk anime classic makes it to the 4K-Ultra format (rented with standard blu-ray, in case you don’t have a player for that).
GRAVEYARD OF HONOR (1975)
Kinji Fukusaku’s starkly realistic story of the rise and fall of real-life gangster Rikio Ishikawa is given the Arrow treatment, featuring a new commentary by critic Mark Schilling, a visual essay by Projection Booth podcast host Mike White, an appreciation of Fukusaku called A Portrait of Rage, and an interview with assistant director Kenichi Oguri.
GRAVEYARD OF HONOR (2002)
Oh, hey, look, it’s Takashi Miike’s stylish quasi-remake of the aforementioned Fukusaku gangster classic, reimagining the concept for the hedonistic 21st century Japanese criminal underground. With new commentary by Miike biographer Tom Mes, visual essay by author Kat Ellinger, and archival features including interviews, making-of featurette, premiere special, and more. (Blu-Ray)
THE GREY FOX (1982)
Richard Farnsworth (The Straight Story) stars as a convicted stagecoach robber who gets out of prison in 1901, sees The Great Train Robbery, and starts getting ideas. New 4K restoration with commentary by director (of Repo Man, but not this) Alex Cox and interviews with producer Peter O’Brian and composer Michael Conway Baker.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
HELLO, FRISCO, HELLO (1943)
A quartet of Vaudevillians try to make it big in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. The song “You’ll Never Know won the best original song Oscar.
LIGHTFOOT, GORDON: IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND (2019)
This new documentary “follows Lightfoot’s evolution from Christian choirboy to troubled troubadour to international star and beloved Canadian icon.”
LIMBO (1999) (PLUS 2 SHORTS)
Tina Krause is an actress with over 100 IMDb credits since the mid-‘90s, mostly in no budget exploitation movies like Shriek of the Lycanthrope, The Infamous Bondage Murders and An Erotic Vampire in Paris. Now our friends at the American Genre Film Archive and Bleeding Skull! present her only film as a writer/director, which they describe as “what might happen if David Lynch and Nine Inch Nails collaborated on a shot-on-video horror movie.” Transferred from the original S-VHS master tape, with commentary by Krause and the Bleeding Skull! Team, archival making-of documentary, Fantastic Fest Q&A and short films Answering Machine and Eaten Alive.
LOS REYES (2019)
A documentary following two stray dogs, Chola and Football, who hang around the oldest skate park in Santiago. “The human world appears in stories of adolescents in transit to adulthood. We listen to their voices and see fragments of their bodies as part of the environment that surrounds the world of dogs.”
A MAN CALLED PETER (1955)
The story of Peter Marshall (Richard Todd), a Scottish immigrant in a New York seminary who became a Presbyterian pastor and chaplain of the United States Senate, based on a book by his wife Catherine (played by Jean Peters in the movie). Twilight Time’s disc includes an isolated music track, audio sermon by the real Peter Marshall and Fox Movietone newsreels.
Zero Mostel stars as Inspector Hoku Ichihara (hmm…), who imagines he’s a samurai as he chases a stolen robot in this spoof of Charlie Chan mysteries.
MOLE AGENT (2020)
Is this documentary, an 83-year-old is hired to go undercover in a Chilean retirement home suspected of elder abuse, and becomes involved in the lives of the residents.
MR. MERCEDES: SEASON 3
Brendan Gleeson stars as Stephen King’s retired detective character Bill Hodges in a show developed by David E. Kelley. In this season he tries to catch the killer of a beloved local author who also stole valuable unpublished novels.
MY GAL SAL (1942)
Musical biography of songwriter Paul Dresser (Victor Mature), with Rita Hayworth as the titular stage star who helps him make it big. Includes isolated music track.
NAKED CITY (1948) (CRITERION)
Jules Dassin’s influential police procedural, shot on location in New York. Criterion’s blu-ray features a new 4K restoration, commentary with screenwriter Marvin Wald, and interviews with Dassin, film scholar Dana Polan and James Sanders on the film’s locations.
NAUGHTY VICTORIANS (1975) (XXX)
An adaptation of the anonymous Victorian novella The Way of a Man With a Maid, Vinegar Syndrome describes this as a “bawdy erotic comedy” with “elaborate production design and glossy cinematography.” New restoration with historical commentary track by author and professor Dr. Laura Helen Marks, plus trailers and and an article gallery.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
A NICE GIRL LIKE YOU (2020)
A violinist (Lucy Hale) is accused of being uptight, so she creates a list of wild things to do. Co-starring Mindy Cohn from The Facts of Life!
OLD IRONSIDES (1926)
Wallace Beery leads a ragtag band into the middle of a pirate war. This new restoration from the Library of Congress includes commentary by film historian Toby Roan and score by J.S. Zamecnik and Hugo Riesenfeld, adapted for piano by Rodney Sauer.
THE ONION FIELD (1979)
LAPD officers John Savage and Ted Danson (in his movie debut) pull over a car for an illegal u-turn and find themselves kidnapped by bank robbers James Woods and Franklyn Seales. Directed by Harold Becker (Sea of Love, Malice) and adapted by Joseph Wambaugh from his 1973 true crime book. Includes interview with Savage, commentary by Becker and Ring of Truth documentary.
PERFECT STRANGERS (1984)
Vinegar Syndrome brings their world class treatment to a lesser known Larry Cohen thriller about a hitman who has a murder witnessed by a young child and seduces his single mother to find out how much the kid knows. Includes an interview with star Ann Carlisle and archival interview with Cohen.
PSYCHO (1960) (60TH ANNIVERSARY) (UNCUT) (2 VERSIONS)
Wait – what!? It turns out the version of Psycho we’ve all been watching our whole lives “was edited for content and subsequently used for TV broadcasts, theatrical re-releases and home entertainment over the last 60 years.” That version is included on this blu-ray, but so is “the extended version of the movie as seen in theaters in 1960… exactly as intended by Alfred Hitchcock and now available with additional footage for the first time ever”! That plus a ton of bonus features like newsreel footage about the release, excerpts from the Hitchcock/Truffaut interview, shower sequence storyboards by Saul Bass, commentary with Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho author Stephen Rebello, and more.
Orlando Bloom plays against his Elf/pirate hearthrob image in a disturbing thriller about a demolition worker who sees his childhood abuser while out drinking with friends and decides to get revenge. Formerly titled Romans, the film is well reviewed, particularly for Bloom’s performance. They photoshopped him to look kind of like John Travolta on the cover though.
RING OF BRIGHT WATER (1969)
The real life husband and wife who starred with Elsa the Lion in Born Free take things to the next level by starring with Mij, the “delightfully mischievous otter who’ll enchant viewers of all ages.” With commentary by film historian Lee Gambin.
Marlon Brando plays an Air Force major facing discriminatory military policies after falling in love with a Japanese actress (Miiko Taka) while stationed near Kobe, Japan. Also starring Ricardo Montalban and featuring a score by Franz Waxman.
THE SIN OF NORA MORAN (1933) (SPECIAL EDITION)
Zita Johann (The Mummy) stars as a young woman sentenced to death for a crime she didn’t commit, but she can’t reveal the truth without damaging the lives of loved ones. This is a limited edition disc from Film Detective, featuring a 4K restoration from the UCLA Film & Television Archive and an original documentary called The Mysterious Life of Zita Johann.
Long before being on Homicide: Life On the Street or winning an Oscar for The Fighter, Melissa Leo starred as a teenage runaway resorting to prostitution to survive the streets of New York City. With commentary by writer/director Joan Freeman (Satisfaction) and producer/co-writer Robert Alden.
SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW (2020)
DC Comics may have recently ended their long-running “DC Animated Movie Universe” continuity with Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, but they’re still at it with standalone movies like this new take on young Superman, emphasizing his alien origins and using a cleaner, more retro design style. Darren Criss (American Crime Story: The Death of Gianni Versace) plays Superman, with Alexandra Daddario (We Summon the Darkness) as Lois Lane and Zachary Quinto (Star Trek) as Lex Luthor.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
SUPPOSE THEY GAVE A WAR AND NOBODY CAME? (1970)
From the director of I Love You, Alice B. Toklas comes this comedy-drama about an army base trying to improve relations with the locals by throwing a community dance. The cast includes Brian Keith, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine, Ivan Dixon, Suzanne Pleshette and Don Ameche. New 4K scan with commentary by film historians Dr. Eloise Ross and Dr. Dean Brandum.
TROMASTERPIECE THEATRE EP.2: POULTRYGEIST (2020)
Corny the talking popcorn box and Reel the talking film reel riff on Troma’s 2006 film Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.
THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG (2019)
George MacKay (the main guy in 1917) plays the legendary Australian outlaw in a fictionalized account of his gang on the run in the 1870s. Russell Crowe plays his mentor, and Nicholas Hoult and Charlie Hunnam are also in it. Director Justin Kurzel previously did The Snowtown Murders, The Turning, Macbeth (the one with Michael Fassbender) and Assassin’s Creed.
WITNESS TO MURDER (1954)
Barbara Stanwyck witnesses a woman being strangled in an apartment across the street, but the police can’t find a body, so they tell her she was dreaming. Great work, guys. This noir from the director of The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T got left in the dust when the similarly themed Rear Window came out less than a month later.
YELLOW HANDKERCHIEF (1977)
Three strangers go on a road trip together in a tearjerker from Tora-san creator Yoji Yamada. It was the first Best Picture winner at the Japan Academy Prize.
ZPG: ZERO POPULATION GROWTH (1972)
In this Soylent Green-esque dystopian tale, Oliver Reed and Geraldine Chaplin star as a couple trying to secretly have a child, despite rules designed to save the world from calamitous overpopulation. With commentary by film historian Steve Ryfle.