It’s New Release Tuesday!
BIG EASY (1987)
Colorful drama, set in New Orleans, about the relationship which develops between a young police lieutenant and an uncompromising female DA who is unimpressed with the bribery and corruption which is rife in his department. A vicious gang war is also simmering and looks set to erupt at any moment, as the murder of a Mafia soldier is followed swiftly by the killing of three drug-dealing gangsters. (BLU-RAY)
CHESS STORY (2021)
Vienna, 1938: Austria is occupied by the Nazis. Dr. Josef Bartok (Oliver Masucci) is preparing to flee to America with his wife Anna when he is arrested by the Gestapo. As a former notary to the deposed Austrian aristocracy, he is told to help the local Gestapo leader gain access to their private bank accounts in order to fund the Nazi regime. Refusing to cooperate, Bartok is locked in solitary confinement. Just as his mind is beginning to crack, Bartok happens upon a book of famous chess games. To withstand the torture of isolation, Bartok disappears into the world of chess, maintaining his sanity only by memorizing every move. As the action flashes forward to a transatlantic crossing on which he is a passenger, it seems as though Bartok has finally found freedom. But recounting his story to his fellow travelers, it’s clear that his encounters with both the Gestapo and with the royal game itself have not stopped haunting him. Adapted with opulent attention to period detail by filmmaker and opera director Philipp Stölzl, CHESS STORY brings Stefan Zweig’s stirring final novella to life. (DVD)
DEAR MR. BRODY (2021)
When 21-year-old hippie-millionaire Michael Brody Jr. decided to give away his fortune to anyone in need, he ignited a psychedelic spiral of events. An instant celebrity, Brody was mobbed by the public, scrutinized by the press, and overwhelmed by the crush of personal letters responding to his extraordinary offer. Fifty years later, an enormous cache of these letters are discovered—unopened. (DVD)
DEMON OF PARADISE (1987)
Hunters become the hunted when illegal dynamite disturbs the ageold slumber of a carnivorous lizardman. Resort owner Angela, joins forces with Sheriff Keefer to save tourists from the beast’s path of death. (BLU-RAY)
DEVIL’S PEAK (2023)
Eighteen-year-old Jacob McNeely (Hopper Penn) is torn between appeasing his meth-dealing kingpin father and leaving the mountains forever with the girl he loves. (DVD)
FINAL COMEDOWN / SAVAGE! (1972)
THE FINAL COMEDOWN: Johnny Johnson (Billy Dee Williams) is a young man with a promising future. But push him too far, and you’ve got a revolution on your hands!
SAVAGE!: James Iglehart stars as a criminal on the run who finds even more trouble when he is caught between two warring factions in a tropical nation’s bloody conflict. (BLU-RAY)
FISHER KING (1991) (CRITERION)
A fairy tale grounded in poignant reality, Terry Gilliam’s magnificent, Manhattan-set The Fisher King features Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams in two of their most brilliant roles. Bridges plays a former radio shock jock reconstructing his life after a scandal, and Williams a homeless man on a quest for the Holy Grail—which he believes to be hidden somewhere on the Upper East Side. Unknowingly linked by their pasts, the two men aid each other on a fanciful journey toward their own humanity. This singular American odyssey features a witty script by Richard LaGravenese, evocative cinematography by Roger Pratt, and superb supporting performances by Amanda Plummer and an Oscar-winning Mercedes Ruehl, all harnessed by Gilliam into a compassionate, funny modern-day myth. (BLU-RAY + 4KULTRAHD)
FLAMING EARS (1991)
Super-8 DIY filmmaking at its most audacious, Flaming Ears is a pop sci-fi lesbian extravaganza set in the year 2700 in the fictional burned-out city of Asche. In this cardboard-and-plastic dystopia, Spy (Susana Helmayr) is a comic book artist whose printing presses are burned down by Volley (Ursula Puerrer), a sexed-up pyromaniac. Wounded in her quest for revenge, Spy is sheltered by Nun (A. Hans Scheirl), an amoral alien in a red plastic suit with a predilection for reptiles…who also happens to be Volley’s lover. This story of obsession and revenge is also an anti-romantic plea for love in all its many forms. (BLU-RAY)
A hippie radical, Huey Walker (Dennis Hopper) has been a fugitive for decades, accused of a crime that he may not have committed. Finally apprehended, Walker is escorted to trial by uptight 20-something FBI agent John Buckner (Kiefer Sutherland). While the two seem to be polar opposites, it turns out that Buckner may have more in common with Walker than is initially apparent, a point that is driven home when the pair faces off against a sinister small-town sheriff (Cliff De Young). (BLU-RAY)
GORGEOUS (1999) (2 VERSIONS)
Young and beautiful Bu (Shu Qi, The Transporter) finds a romantic message in a bottle near her family restaurant in Taiwan. On a whim, she flies to Hong Kong to meet her potential soul mate, who turns out to be Albert (Tony Leung, Infernal Affairs), a gay beautician pining for his ex. Taking pity on the girl, he brings her to his workplace, where she falls for the wealthy and lonely C.N. Chan (Jackie Chan, Rush Hour, Supercop). But when Chan’s lifelong enemy, Lo, discovers Chan has a new love, he decides to ruin their happiness. (BLU-RAY)
HEART OF DRAGON (1985)
Lifelong friends since they met as boys at Peking Opera school, Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung conquered the Hong Kong film industry side-by-side in the 1970s and 1980s. One of their greatest collaborations sees the two ‘brothers’ playing actual brothers for a change: 1985’s Heart of Dragon, a film that combines heart-rending drama with pulse-pounding action!
Tat (Chan) is a hotshot cop with more stresses than he can bear: if he’s not on the verge of getting beaten up on his day job, he’s looking out for his mentally handicapped brother Dodo (Hung), who needs constant supervision in case his naïve, kind nature gets taken advantage of. Tat wants nothing more than to escape his obligations and see the world; but when Dodo accidentally winds up in the line of fire, Tat must run into danger and make the ultimate sacrifice to save his brother.
More serious and emotionally driven than many of their prior films, Hung and Chan made sure not to skimp on jaw-dropping stunts and high-velocity violence while showing a broader depth to their talents than audiences had seen before. The result is one of the jewels of 80’s Hong Kong action cinema, now restored with additional fight scenes filmed especially for the Japanese market! (BLU-RAY)
HELL IS FOR HEROES (1962)
During World War II, a small group of soldiers led by the brave Sergeant Larkin (Harry Guardino) anticipate returning home after fighting on the Siegfried Line in France. Among them are Reese (Steve McQueen), a rebellious loner who lives for battle, and Corby (Bobby Darin), a slick hustler. However, the squad is then informed that they must go back to the front lines, where they are vastly outnumbered and forced to fight within the reach of a menacing German pillbox. (BLU-RAY)
HOUB, EL (THE LOVE) (2022)
Moroccan-Dutch Karim tells his parents that he is attracted to men. After years of keeping up appearances, the word is finally out. The difficult days that follow evoke beautiful and poignant memories. He realizes that he has to confront his family to finally break the silence. But in order to be accepted, he must come to terms with his own feelings first. (DVD)
When Mordecai, a Holocaust survivor, portrayed by Academy Award Nominee Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans, Ordinary People) is given a new iPhone, an unexpected series of events upends his world. A heartwarming Miami-set comedy based on a true story. Co-starring Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Goonies) and Academy Award Nominee Carol Kane (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Hester Street). (DVD)
INFINITY POOL (2023)
While staying at an isolated island resort, James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em (Cleopatra Coleman) are enjoying a perfect vacation of pristine beaches, exceptional staff, and soaking up the sun. But guided by the seductive and mysterious Gabi (Mia Goth), they venture outside the resort grounds and find themselves in a culture filled with violence, hedonism, and untold horror. A tragic accident leaves them facing a zero tolerance policy for crime: either you’ll be executed, or, if you’re rich enough to afford it, you can watch yourself die instead. (BLU-RAY and DVD)
In a career-defining performance, Bill Nighy (Love Actually) plays Williams, a 1950’s London civil servant who struggles to maintain order under mountains of paperwork. Overwhelmed at work and lonely at home, his life takes a heartbreaking turn when a medical diagnosis tells him time is short. Influenced by a local decadent (Tom Burke) and the vibrant Margaret (Aimee Lou Wood), Williams continues to search for meaning until a simple revelation gives him the purpose to create a legacy for the next generation. Adapted by Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro (Remains of the Day) and based on the classic Akira Kurosawa film Ikiru, Living is ” one of the best pictures of the year”. (David Fear, Rolling Stone) (BLU-RAY and DVD)
LOT OF NOTHING (2022)
Upscale Los Angeles African-American couple James (Y’lan Noel) and Vanessa (Cleopatra Coleman) were checking the evening news when they caught the report of a white cop’s shooting of an unarmed Black kid… and the officer involved happened to be their next-door neighbor Brian (Justin Hartley). Their resolve to do something-like a social media flaming-unexpectedly escalated into taking Brian hostage. (DVD)
MAN ON THE TRAIN (2002)
In this elegant crime drama, a mysterious stranger is the lone passenger disembarking from a train in a sleepy French village. His name is Milan (rock icon Johnny Hallyday, Détective), a criminal intent on knocking over the local bank. Upon his arrival, he is befriended by Manesquier (Jean Rochefort, Symphony for a Massacre), a retired poetry teacher. Through their unexpected friendship, both men come to realize they have been given the opportunity to look back on their lives—complete with dashed hopes and unfulfilled dreams. At the same time, both are given the momentary chance to explore the road not taken. (BLU-RAY)
MARTIN (1977) (CODE B)
Young Martin (John Amplas) is entirely convinced that he is an 84-year-old blood-sucking vampire. Without fangs or mystical powers, Martin injects women with sedatives and drinks their blood through wounds inflicted with razor blades. After moving to Braddock, Penn., to live with his superstitious uncle (Lincoln Maazel), who also believes Martin is a vampire, Martin tries to prey exclusively on criminals and thugs but stumbles when he falls for a housewife (Sara Venable). (BLU-RAY)
MISSION, THE (2022)
Every year, over 60,000 young missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sent across the world to preach their gospel. Sundance Film Festival selection THE MISSION follows four Latter-day Saints teenagers from their training in Utah to their missions in Finland, home of Europe’s most private and secular people. Tania Anderson’s film tracks these wide-eyed, impassioned teens on their two-year rite of passage, as they struggle with being immersed in a new culture, and the daily rejections they inevitably receive throughout their task. Granted total access by the Church, THE MISSION is a sensitive observational documentary detailing the challenges and triumphs of these missionaries’ journeys. (DVD)
MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER (1953)
Hollywood legend Tyrone Power (The Mark of Zorro, Prince of Foxes) plays a high-stakes game for love and money in the Technicolor adventure The Mississippi Gambler. Mark Fallon (Power), a riverboat gambler on his way to New Orleans, meets Angelique Dureau (pitch-perfect Piper Laurie, Son of Ali Baba, The Hustler), a Southern belle who spurns his charm and advances. Using his winnings to build a casino, Fallon’s card skills make him a fortune, while his pursuit of the fiery Angelique leads to knife fights, family feuds and duels over personal honor. (BLU-RAY)
MOMENT TO MOMENT (1965)
The ravishing and radiant Jean Seberg (Breathless) and Honor Blackman (Goldfinger) star in this deliciously twisted affair of illicit lovemaking and mysterious murder, all set in the exotic French Riviera. “He’s dead!” Thus begins the story of the beautiful Mrs. Kay Stanton (Seberg), left alone in the paradise of Cannes, France, as her husband, a globetrotting psychiatrist, lectures across Europe. As much as she resists, she can only simply surrender into the arms of a forbidden lover, a handsome, young American ensign. But their night of passion has deadly consequences—or does it? Not all is as it seems as the unfolding drama becomes evermore intriguing and intense. (BLU-RAY)
RUTHLESS: MONOPOLY’S SECRET HISTORY (2023) (AMERICAN EXPERIENCE)
For generations of us, it was where we first learned about capitalism-and Atlantic City-and the board game Monopoly remains as enduringly popular as ever. However, the backstory of how the game was first developed and marketed differs depending on who you ask, and this compelling “American Experience” entry examines the near-century of ironic controversy over the credit due early-20th-century “The Landlord’s Game” creator Lizzie Magie for the phenomenon. (DVD)
Discover the vast and strangely beautiful places where things go to die and meet the people who collect, restore, and recycle the world’s scrap. SCRAP is a love letter to the things we use in our daily lives. This cinematic documentary tells the stories of people who have deep connections to objects that have reached their end of life.
The stories convey a deeper environmental and human message about our relationship to things, the sadness we feel at their eventual loss, and the joy that we find in giving them a new purpose. By showing discarded goods in a new way, the film raises awareness about the fate of the things we use and explores how artists and other creative thinkers can be part of finding usefulness in the things we discard. (DVD)
SILENT ENEMY (1930)
Directed by H.P. Carver and filmed in the Canadian Northwest, this portrait of Native American life follows the Chippewa tribe in distress as they travel North when food is scarce just before the onset of winter. As the tribe battles hunger, however, conditions only become more desperate after the death of their leader, Chief Chetoga. A new Chief must now be chosen without delay in order to secure food and safety for the tribe.
Based on detailed accounts of French missionaries, The Silent Enemy, a hybrid of fictional melodrama and ethnographic film techniques, was made in collaboration with Native American actors with the goal of depicting the authentic ways of life of the Ojibway indigenous tribe before the arrival of European settlers. In his prologue to the film, Chief Chauncey Yellow Robe, a noted and respectable Sioux, asks audiences to view the performers in the film not as actors, but as people revisiting – or reenacting – their heritage and traditions.
The Silent Enemy, while progressive in many ways (including its early use of Indigenous actors), is nonetheless a product of its time in terms of ethnographic depiction of Native American life before the arrival of European settlers. The film therefore should not be viewed as a document of anthropological accuracy, but rather as a flawed though beautiful, suspenseful, and well-intended attempt to honor the Ojibway people. (BLU-RAY)
STRANDED / PLASTIC DOME OF NORMA JEAN (2 FILMS BY JULEEN COMPTON) (1966)
Stranded follows Raina, a young American woman (played by Compton), traveling through Greece with her American lover (Gary Collins), and her French, gay best friend (Gian Pietro Calasso). A free spirit, Raina rejects the limitations of marriage and domesticity imposed on women of her generation and instead chooses to adventure across Europe on a quest for self-determination. The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean is the story of a clairvoyant teenage girl, Norma Jean (Sharon Henesy), who struggles between the responsibility of seeing the future and the attentions of a rock-n-roll band (Marco St. John, Sam Waterston, Skip Hinnant) set on exploiting her powers for profit. Centered around an enigmatic dome structure delivered to the magical pastoral Ozark countryside, this film explores a battle of wills, both spiritual and material.
Juleen Compton, working in Europe and the United States, finds inspiration in the rebel spirit and stylistic innovation of the French New Wave to create characters in search of identity, and explores the uncommon portrayal, for the era, of female agency. As one of the few American women making feature films during the 1960s, Compton’s work demonstrates independent filmmaking’s resolve to push against the boundaries of tradition and create a new cinematic language. (BLU-RAY)
THEY CAME TO CORDURA (1959)
Set against the backdrop of the 1916 war against Pancho Villa, They Came to Cordura stars screen icon Gary Cooper (High Noon) as Thomas Thorn, a career Army officer given the humiliating task of leading five Medal of Honor candidates to the military base of Cordura, Texas. Branded a coward during battle, Thorn hopes to learn what these men, each of whom performed heroically under fire, possess which he lacks. But as the grueling journey through the desert progresses, the “heroes” panic, attempting murder and mutiny as the quest for survival reveals their true characters. The brilliant Rita Hayworth (The Lady from Shanghai) co-stars as the seventh member of the group, an American expatriate who gradually comes to appreciate Thorn’s quiet integrity as he leads his mutinous charges through a desperate odyssey. Filled with both exciting action and finely tuned drama, their treacherous trek to the town of Cordura (which is also the Spanish word for courage) is a rugged and riveting tale of bravery far more enduring than the fleeting heroics of battle. Co-starring Van Heflin (Shane) and Tab Hunter (Damn Yankees) under the stirring direction of Robert Rossen (All the King’s Men, The Hustler). (BLU-RAY)
TNT JACKSON (1974)
Martial arts expert Diana ‘T.N.T.’ Jackson (Jeannie Bell) is pure dynamite when she takes to the streets of Hong Kong in search of her missing brother and runs afoul of the city’s most villainous drug pushers. (BLU-RAY)
TRUTH ABOUT SPRING (1965)
Real-life father and daughter John and Hayley Mills (co-stars of Tiger Bay and The Chalk Garden) headline the swashbuckling romp The Truth About Spring. Tommy Tyler (John Mills, Ryan’s Daughter), an easy-going Caribbean sailor, is searching for sunken treasure with his tomboy daughter, Spring (Hayley Mills, The Parent Trap). Things get complicated in their houseboat when a young, wealthy lawyer (James MacArthur, Swiss Family Robinson) sets sail with them in search of excitement, riches…and maybe even love. (BLU-RAY)
TURN EVERY PAGE: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBERT CARO AND ROBERT GOTTLIEB (2022)
Two literary legends, writer Robert Caro and his longtime editor, Robert Gottlieb, have worked together to create some of the greatest non-fiction books in history. Now 86, Caro is determined to complete the final volume of his masterwork, The Years of Lyndon Johnson; Gottlieb, 91, wants to edit it. With humor and insight, this unique double portrait reveals the work habits, peculiarities and professional joys of these two ferocious intellects as they attempt to finish the final masterstroke in their life’s work. (DVD)
UP, DOWN, FRAGILE (1995)
Inspired by the backstage Hollywood musicals of the 1930s, this later period Rivette recounts the adventures of three young women (Nathalie Richard, Marianne Denicourt, Laurence Côte) in Paris, each at a turning point in her life – and with a musical number (or two)! (BLU-RAY)
VAMPIRO NEGRO (1953)
A virtually unknown remake of M, Fritz Lang’s seminal 1931 thriller, El vampiro negro (The Black Vampire) is a revisionist take on the tale by Argentine director Román Viñoly Barreto. Thanks to the diligent efforts of the Film Noir Foundation, a stunning restoration of the film was created by UCLA Film & Television Archive, now presented in its first-ever home video release – with special thanks to Fernando Martín Peña and Argentina Sono Film.
Argentine beauty Olga Zubarry stars as a cabaret performer trying to protect her young daughter (Gogó) from a mysterious murderer while parrying the advances of the prosecutor (Roberto Escalada) pursuing the killer. Nathán Pinzón, who also appeared in Viñoly Barreto’s The Beast Must Die (La bestia debe morir) a year earlier, gives an impressive against-type performance as the disturbed pedophile hiding in plain sight. (BLU-RAY and DVD)