New Releases for August 10!

by Malakie Peters

It’s New Release Tuesday! This week we’ve got a modern Japanese classic on Criterion, more vintage goodness from Kino Lorber, a notorious Spanish slasher, all four Poisons Ivy, and more!

AFTER LIFE (1998) (Criterion Collection)

If you could choose only one memory to hold on to for eternity, what would it be? That’s the question at the heart of the revelatory international break-through of Hirokazu Kore-eda (Still Walking, Shoplifters), a bittersweet fantasia in which the recently deceased find themselves in a limbo realm where they must select a single cherished moment from their life to be recreated on film for them to take into the next world. What emerges is a panoramic vision of the human experience—its ephemeral joys and lingering regrets—and a quietly profound meditation on memory, our interconnectedness, and the amberlike power of cinema to freeze time. (Blu-ray, DVD)


Abel Ferrara headlines a series of concerts and a film retrospective in France dedicated to songs and music from his films. Ferrara is joined on stage by past collaborators, including composer Joe Delia, actor-singer Paul Hipp and his wife, actress Christina Chiriac, for concerts at the Metronum in Toulouse and the Salo and Silencio Clubs in Paris in October 2016. (DVD)


From the fevered mind of the notorious Jess Franco comes 1987’s Angel of Death (aka Commando Mengele). When an attractive pair of young Nazi hunters exploring Uruguay accidentally stumble upon the lair of the maniacal war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele, they live to regret it. There, deep in the sweltering jungles, Mengele has continued his hideous human experiments, torturing, murdering, and mutilating nubile virgins in the name of creating some sort of master race. Soon, mercenaries, monstrosities, femme fatales, and vengeful concentration camp survivors face off, with bullets and bodies flying everywhere and Mengele holding cretinous court. (DVD)


A new setting and a new midnight society bring fresh scares when the group’s leader suddenly vanishes, prompting the remaining members to search for clues, confront dark forces, and ultimately uncover the truth behind their seaside town’s terrifying curse. (DVD)


Based on the bestselling novel by Fannie Hurst (Imitation of Life), Back Street is a quintessential tearjerker in which a couple meets and falls in love but is unable to marry due to impossible circumstances. However, despite their situation, they carry on a lifelong illicit affair until tragedy strikes. Directed by David Miller (Midnight Lace), this emotional remake garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design. (Blu-ray)


Batman races against the calendar when an unknown criminal named Holiday starts committing murders on holidays throughout the year. (Blu-ray)


Charley Chase returns with 21 of his most outrageous comedy shorts in Volume Three, featuring his last three years of comedies for the Lot of Fun and some of the best sound shorts he made for Hal Roach. (DVD)


Dark Stories tells five tales of gripping terror in a fantastic anthology where horror, suspense and humor intertwine with stark reality to make us shiver with fear. Join us for a Ghoul’s Feast, the Last Judgment before the impending Apocalypse, a surprise package from the delivery man, a forensic scientist confronted by his zombie victim, and the worst Moroccan monster nightmare. (DVD)

DESIRE (1936)

For one short but glorious year, Ernst Lubitsch was production head at Paramount Pictures, becoming the only major Hollywood director to run a large studio. And as he found himself with less time to direct, he produced and developed Lubitsch-like little gems like Desire. The plot – Marlene Dietrich’s a jewel thief, stealing her way through France and Spain, and Gary Cooper’s her unwitting beau – sounds like your garden variety Lubitsch comedy. But with Frank Borzage directing, the Lubitsch touch is gone and all of the cavorting seems a little weightier. Not that it’s a serious film by any means, but more like a weird hybrid where the director of some of early Hollywood’s greatest melodramas (7th Heaven, Street Angel, History Is Made At Night) tried on the frothy Euro-hat for a while, and enjoyed it! (Blu-ray) (by Mark Steiner)

DRUNK BUS (2020)

Michael (Charlie Tahan) is a recent graduate whose post college plan is derailed when his girlfriend leaves him for a job in New York City. Stuck in Ohio without a new plan of his own, Michael finds himself caught in the endless loop of driving the “drunk bus,” the debaucherous late-night campus shuttle that ferries drunk college students from parties to the dorms and back. When the bus service hires a security guard to watch over the night shift, Michael comes face to tattooed face with Pineapple (Newcomer Pineapple Tangaroa), a 300-lb punk rock Samoan who challenges him with a kick in the ass to break from the loop and start living or risk driving in circles forever. (DVD)


After an ill-fated audition at a prestigious New York music conservatory, violinist Finley Sinclair (Rose Reid) travels to an Irish coastal village to begin her semester studying abroad. At the B&B run by her host family she encounters gregarious and persistent heartthrob movie star Beckett Rush (Jedidiah Goodacre), who is there to film another installment of his medieval fantasy-adventure franchise. As romance sparks between the unlikely pair, Beckett ignites a journey of discovery for Finley that transforms her heart, her music, and her outlook on life. (BD/DVD)


This gruesome story of one of Spain’s most notorious serial killers was a very personal project for Paul Naschy, who wrote, directed and acted in the film alongside María José Cantudo and Ágata Lys. This macabre tale of a “black legend” from Spain’s rural past was impossible to see for many years but is now available, fully uncut and restored, for the first time on US home video. (Blu-ray)

HAVOC (2005)

Starring Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips, and Freddy Rodriguez, a group of wealthy Los Angeles teenagers try to become part of the “gangsta lifestyle” but soon run into trouble when they come face-to-face with a real gang of drug dealers. (Blu-ray)


After surviving a night of terror on the West Coast, (not-so) best-selling author Carl Black (Mike Epps) moves his family back to his childhood home where he hopes to find the peace and quiet he needs to write his new book. But when an eccentric neighbor (Katt Williams) moves in next door, Carl becomes convinced that the man is a vampire trying to take his family, and must team up with his oddball neighbors to save his career and their lives. (DVD)


Arthur, Kalle and Yus, three-fathers-in-law, couldn’t be more different. But they have one thing in common: their daughters have all fallen in love. Antonia cancelled her wedding because she fell head over heels for a political activist squatter. Luna has fallen in love with a nude photographer. And Sophie skips school to spend her time with Andi, who has shady criminal connections. Having no other choice, the unlikely trio of fathers decide to form a secret pact with one goal: the sons-in-law have to go! They will embark on a hilarious journey where no idea seems too crazy in order to get rid of them. (DVD)


A band of modern-day Robin Hoods known as “The Misfits” recruit renowned thief Richard Pace (Pierce Brosnan) to help them pull off the heist of the century. The prize: millions in gold bars stashed underneath one of the world’s most secure prisons. (DVD)


The award-winning Canadian series returns with new mysteries for Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) and his team to solve in Edwardian Toronto, including an investigation into an explosion at a suffrage rally, the bizarre murder of a young woman who disappeared a decade earlier yet somehow hasn’t aged a day, an adventure in the woods that turns scary when Murdoch, Ogden, Higgins and Ruth are stalked by a beast that killed two men, and an exploration of the disappearances of Nikola Tesla and Marie Curie from a 20th century innovators conference. (DVD)


Dwight and his sister Jessie reach a crossroads over what to do about their younger brother Thomas’ mysterious illness. The increasingly dangerous task of keeping him alive weighs heavily on sensitive Dwight, and as a fiercely private and close-knit family unit, Thomas and Jessie depend on him and the rituals they’ve learned in order to keep their secret. Dwight yearns for another life, but Jessie will stop at nothing to keep her family together. (Blu-ray, DVD)


Following 24 unique characters through 5 days in the country music capital, Robert Altman’s Oscar winning epic presents a complexly textured portrayal (and critique) of America’s obsession with celebrity and power. An essential of 70s cinema, this newly remastered Blu-ray, from a 4K film scan of the original elements, looks better than ever. (Blu-ray)

O.S.S. (1946)

Richard Maibaum, who would go on to adapt 12 of the first 15 James Bond films, wrote this snappy spy film about an early iteration of the CIA – the Office Of Strategic Services – and their work in Nazi-occupied France near the end of WWII. Alan Ladd is the leader of an O.S.S. team sent into enemy territory to blow up a railway tunnel, and Geraldine Fitzgerald is his fellow spy and love interest. Directed by the soon-to-be-blacklisted Irving Pichel, O.S.S. is a lean and refreshingly unambitious thriller and its beautiful restoration by Kino Lorber is a welcome addition to our Blu-ray collection. (Blu-ray) (by Mark Steiner)


The weirdest, or at least most intentionally surreal, thing to ever come out of a major studio in the golden age of the Hollywood studio was this Henry Hathaway melodrama that features a luminous Gary Cooper and Ann Harding as a pair of star-crossed lovers who seek to escape their mortal difficulties in otherworldly ways. Out of circulation for decades, and only given a so-so DVD release, Charles Lang’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous photography has never looked better than in this restoration by Kino Lorber. (Blu-ray) (by Mark Steiner)


Montgomery Clift stars as George Eastman, determined to win a place in respectable society and the heart of a beautiful socialite (Elizabeth Taylor). Shelley Winters is the factory girl whose dark secret threatens Eastman’s professional and romantic prospects. Remastered from a 4K film transfer in celebration of its 70th Anniversary. (Blu-ray)

THE POISON IVY COLLECTION (1992, 1996, 1997, 2008)

All four Poison Ivy films in one collection and in high definition! Tempestuous young Ivy (Drew Barrymore) befriends introverted teen Sylvie (Sara Gilbert) and seduces her way into the lives of Sylvie’s wealthy family in Poison Ivy. In the piquant follow-up, Poison Ivy 2: Lily, a sheltered art student (Alyssa Milano) finds Ivy’s diaries and, after reading them, is lured into uninhibited risk-taking to become a wild woman. Then Ivy’s sister (Jaime Pressly) visits the Greer residence in Poison Ivy: The New Seduction, and it doesn’t take long for her to use her skills of manipulation to throw the household into a slate of panic and deceit. A college freshman (Miriam McDonald) is invited to join an exclusive campus sisterhood, where cold blooded ambition causes the group to seduce, blackmail or do away with anyone that gets in their way in Poison Ivy: The Secret Society. (Blu-ray)

PROFILE (2021)

Inspired by true events, Profile follows an undercover British journalist on her quest to bait and expose a terrorist recruiter through social media, while trying not to be sucked in by her recruiter and lured into becoming a militant extremist herself. The unconventional thriller plays out entirely on a computer screen in the Screenlife format, directed by Timur Bekmambetov. (DVD)


While her house undergoes repairs, fiercely independent senior Helen (Ellen Burstyn) reluctantly moves into a nearby retirement community. Once at Pine Grove Senior Community, she encounters feisty widows, cutthroat bridge tournaments, and a group of bullying mean girls that reminds her of high school and has her yearning to go home. But somewhere between flower arranging and water aerobics, Helen discovers that it’s never too late to make new friends and perhaps even find a new love. (DVD)


After a floundering toy salesman rescues a beguiling woman whose car was stuck on the train tracks, she inadvertently whisks him into an epic series of misadventures that turn his life upside down. He soon finds himself entrenched with gangsters, strange interlopers, kidnapping and other sundry crimes and misdemeanors. (DVD)


In a locked-down NYC, two priests open their church doors to those seeking salvation during the most isolating of times. Throughout their encounters with the city’s sweetest, wildest and weirdest, the two priests learn the importance of connection, empathy and open-mindedness. (DVD)


An Indigenous woman in Australia is thrust into the political limelight following her admirable actions in a high-risk situation. (DVD)


A beautiful young European girl, Carol, is drawn through mental telepathy to the ancient lost city of Kuma, there to become the reincarnation of its lost former ruler, Ayesha, and consort of her predecessor’s lover, Kallikrates. (Blu-ray)


Who Will Start Another Fire is a collection of nine short films by emerging filmmakers from underrepresented communities around the world. Each of these stories is personal and distinctly told, but unified by themes of rebirth and growth. The title alludes to Malawian poet Jack Mapanje’s Before Chilembwe Tree (1981), in which he asks, “Who will start another fire?” By omitting the question mark and retaining his language, the film proposes an answer to his question. (DVD)


Winner of the Lion of the Future Award for best Debut Feature at the Venice Film Festival, You Will Die At Twenty is a visually sumptuous “coming-of-death” fable. During her son’s naming ceremony, a Sheikh predicts that Sakina’s child will die at the age of 20. Haunted by this prophecy, Sakina becomes overly protective of her son Muzamil, who grows up knowing about his fate. As Muzamil escapes Sakina’s ever-watchful eye, he encounters friends, ideas and challenges that make him question his destiny. Sudan’s first Oscar submission, You Will Die At Twenty is an auspicious debut and a moving meditation on what it means to live in the present. (DVD)

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