by Malakie Peters
It’s New Release Tuesday! This week we’ve got vintage Euro-horror, lots of 60’s comedy, classic Japanese erotic suspense, George Burns in Heaven and Hell, John Travolta fever, and more!
AGAINST THE CURRENT (2020) (DVD)
Veiga Gretarsdottir is the first person in the world to attempt to kayak over 2,000 kilometers around Iceland, counter-clockwise and against the current. Gretarsdottir, now in her mid-40s, has also pushed upstream in her personal life; she is transgender and received gender affirming surgery at 38. The documentary follows Gretarsdottir on her 103-day journey, as she traverses the tides, while also dealing with hormone injections, diet maintenance and decades of repressed self-expression.
ASHES AND DIAMONDS (1958) (BLU-RAY)
In a small Polish town on the final day of World War II, Maciek (Zbigniew Cybulski), a fighter in the underground anti-Communist resistance movement, has orders to assassinate an incoming commissar. But when he meets and falls for a young barmaid (Ewa Krzyżewska), he begins to question his commitment to a cause that requires him to risk his life. Ashes and Diamonds’ lustrous monochrome cinematography—wreathed in shadows, smoke, and fog—and spectacularly choreographed set pieces lend a breathtaking visual dynamism to this urgent, incendiary vision of a country at a crossroads in its struggle for self-determination.
BEGINNING (2020) (BLU-RAY)
In a sleepy provincial town, a Jehovah’s Witness community is under attack from an extremist group. In the midst of this conflict is Yana, the wife of the community leader, whose familiar world is slowly crumbling around her. Meanwhile, a detective intrudes on her home with devastating consequences. Recalling the films of Michael Haneke, Carlos Reygadas and Chantal Akerman, this is a provocative and visually arresting feature debut from Georgian writer-director Dea Kulumbegashvili that will shake you to your core.
BLIND BEAST (1969) (BLU-RAY)
An artist’s model, Aki (Mako Midori), is abducted, and awakens in a dark warehouse studio whose walls are decorated with outsized women’s body parts – eyes, lips, legs and breasts – and dominated by two recumbent giant statues of male and female nudes. Her kidnapper introduces himself as Michio (Eiji Funakoshi), a blind sculptor whom she had witnessed previously at an exhibition in which she featured intently caressing a statue of her naked torso. Michio announces his intention of using her to sculpt the perfect female form. At first defiant, she eventually succumbs to his intense fixation on her body and finds herself drawn into his sightless world, in which touch is everything.
THE CANNIBAL MAN (1972) (BLU-RAY)
When a slaughterhouse worker (Vicente Parra) accidentally kills a man during a fight, it will trigger a desperate descent into madness, mass murder and “the most horrific use of a single apartment since Polanski’s Repulsion” (Mondo Digital). Emma Cohen and Eusebio Poncela co-star in this “unforgettable mix of Euro arthouse and exploitive sleaze” (DVD Drive-In) – also known as The Apartment on the 13th Floor and Week of the Killer – now featuring both the International and extended Spanish Version newly scanned from the original negatives for the first time ever.
THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS UHD LIMITED EDITION (1971) (4K)
Heralded in its US marketing campaign as “nine times more suspenseful” than The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Cat O’ Nine Tails remains one of Argento’s most electrifying and underrated films. When a break-in occurs at a secretive genetics institute, blind puzzle-maker Franco Arnò (Karl Malden), who overheard an attempt to blackmail one of the institute’s scientists shortly before the robbery, teams up with intrepid reporter Carlo Giordani (James Franciscus) to crack the case. But before long the bodies begin to pile up and the two amateur sleuths find their own lives imperiled in their search for the truth.
CHONGQING HOT POT (2016) (DVD)
When three friends open a hot pot restaurant in a former bomb shelter, they discover it’s linked by a single wall to the bank vault next door. While deciding to take the easy money or go to the police, they find out one of the bank’s employees is a former classmate and look to enlist her in deciding their future.
THE CLOCKMAKER OF ST. PAUL (1974) (DVD)
Adapted from Georges Simenon’s novel The Watchmaker of Everton (1954), The Clockmaker of St. Paul stars Philippe Noiret as the unassuming title character, a man who begins to reexamine his life when his son is wanted for murder. Asked for help by the police inspector (Jean Rochefort), he realizes how little he knew about his son, and begins to seek out the truth hidden behind his family’s walls.
THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT (2021) (BLU-RAY and DVD)
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It reveals a chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of the most sensational cases from their files, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they’d ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defense.
DREAMBUILDERS (2020) (Blu-ray and DVD)
Minna’s life is turned upside-down when her dad’s new fiancée and her daughter, Jenny, move in. One night, Minna discovers a world behind her dreams, where the whimsical dreambuilders create every fantasy and nightmare we endure on their theater stages. Minna also finds out how to manipulate Jenny’s dreams. But interfering with dreams has dire consequences, and when Minna goes too far one night, Jenny can’t wake up anymore. Minna must enter the dream world one more time to face the nightmare she has created in order to save Jenny and her new family.
ELOY DE LA IGLESIA’S QUINQUI COLLECTION (1980) (BLU-RAY)
Short for quincallero (delinquent) and pronounced ‘kinky’, it was a brutal sub-genre of juvenile gang dramas produced in ’70s/’80s Spain. But for Basque writer/director Eloy de la Iglesia, these three Cine Quinqui classics would become the most successful, controversial and tragically defining films of his entire career. Navajeros, El Pico, and El Pico 2 are now scanned in HD from the original negatives with all-new Special Features created especially for this collection.
EVIL DEAD TRAP (1988) (BLU-RAY)
A TV station employee takes a camera crew out to an abandoned factory to investigate a purported snuff film that was made there, only to end up running for her life. Nami hosts a late night home video program. One night, she receives a tape which appears to be a real snuff film. When she and her crew investigate the location, she meets a man looking for his brother who warns her to stay away. As she gets closer to the truth, she and her friends are subjected to a brutal nightmare.
THE FAN (1981) (BLU-RAY)
He is Sally Ross’ greatest fan… and greatest nightmare. Sally Ross (Lauren Bacall) is a renowned Broadway star, glamorous celebrity, and the object of adoration of countless admirers. But among all the loving little people lurks a young man (Michael Biehn) whose devotion teeters on the edge of madness. His impassioned letters to her are initially a source of pleasure, but as he attempts to realize his ultimate fantasy and is met with rejection the stakes are raised to terrifying heights… which might bring on the final curtain for Sally.
THE FATAL RAID (2019) (BLU-RAY AND DVD)
Two elite police teams undertake a secret operation tracking a dangerous gang across the border into Macau, ending in a deadly firefight. Twenty years later, an escort mission brings the survivors back to the scene and an unwelcome reunion.
FUNHOUSE (2019) (DVD)
Down-and-out backup singer and celebrity ex-husband Kasper is invited to compete in the Funhouse, an online Big Brother style reality show. To rebrand his image and tarnished reputation, Kasper reluctantly accepts the offer. Together with seven other C-list celebrities from around the globe, he will compete for the prize of five million dollars. At first, the Funhouse is just as the name suggests, full of wild times, budding friendships, love connections and brewing rivalries. To everyone’s surprise, the fun quickly turns into misery when the first challenge leaves one of the contestants brutally murdered.
GUYANA: CULT OF THE DAMNED (1979) (DVD)
This dramatization of the Jonestown tragedy (starring Stuart Whitman, John Ireland, Joseph Cotten, and Bradford Dillman) traces the steps of Reverend Jim Jones, a highly charismatic but profoundly paranoid clergyman, who after years of evangelism, begins his own church in the mid-western United States. When Jones becomes increasingly obsessed with the belief that the CIA is out to get him, he emigrates with his congregation to Guyana, where he plans to create a utopia. But Jones’ utopia consists of a society where he demands his followers turn their minds, bodies and possessions over to him, one that is rife with orgies, physical violence, mental torture, and sexual abuse of children and adults. Ultimately, Jones’ paranoia reaches a fevered pitch that culminates in him taking savage action against his own congregation. Now see this cult classic thriller in HD, from a brand new 2K scan!
HABIT (2021) (DVD)
This edgy, outrageous thriller is one “habit” you’ll want to acquire! The action begins as L.A. party girl Mads (Bella Thorne) gets a gig running drugs for Eric, a washed-up Hollywood star. When their cash gets stolen and Eric is slain by a rival drug lord, Mads and her two BFFs hide out by dressing up as nuns. But in spite of their costumes, these bad girls are no angels.
LANSKY (2021) (DVD)
When the aging Meyer Lansky (Harvey Keitel) is investigated one last time by the Feds who suspect he has stashed away millions of dollars over half a century, the retired gangster spins a dizzying tale, revealing the untold truth about his life as the notorious boss of Murder Inc. and the National Crime Syndicate.
MOMENT BY MOMENT (1978) (BLU-RAY)
Huge news for those of us with Travolta fever: his steamy 1978 May/December romantic melodrama co-starring Lily Tomlin (and directed by Tomlin’s longtime partner and eventual wife, Jane Wagner) has finally hit the shelves! See Travolta and Tomlin sporting matching feathered hairstyles and loose-fitting denim button-downs while lounging in Tomlin’s luxury beach house or strolling along the seashore, all in glorious HD. Trisha Rawlings (Tomlin), a lonely, middle-aged Beverly Hills socialite, meets Vick “Strip” Harrison (Travolta), a suave young drifter. Their initial flirtation turns into a passionate relationship despite their age and class differences.
NO ONE HEARD THE SCREAM (1973) (BLU-RAY and DVD)
When a woman spies her neighbor disposing of his wife’s corpse, she will cross the line from witness to accomplice to something far more depraved. The film is co-writer/director Eloy de la Iglesia’s last work under Spain’s repressive Franco regime, now featuring an HD scan from the original negative.
OH, GOD! 3 FILM COLLECTION: OH, GOD! (1977), OH, GOD! BOOK II (1980), OH, GOD! YOU DEVIL (1984) (BLU-RAY)
George Burns stars as the good Lord in this heavenly trilogy of divine comedy! God comes to Earth in Oh, God! to spread the Good Word, but has a hard time convincing his chosen messenger, mild-mannered Jerry Landers (John Denver), who He really is. Jerry must in turn prove it to his disbelieving family as well as the rest of the world. God returns to Earth in Oh, God! Book II, this time spreading His Word through an enchanting little girl named Tracy Richards (Louanne), who comes up with a slogan to assure all that He still cares. In Oh, God! You Devil, George Burns takes on the dual roles of God and the Devil himself. Struggling musician Bobby Shelton (Ted Wass) unknowingly sells his soul for a life-changing transformation into a superstar rock idol. But when Bobby prays for his old life back, the fight for his soul will be settled in a high-stakes showdown between the Almighty Father and the Prince of Darkness in what has been called “the single best sequence of dual-image photography ever put on the screen” (USA Today).
OVERBOARD (1987) (DVD)
Get ready to fall in love all over again with one of the most popular romantic comedies of our time: Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell star in this riches-to-rags love story about a snobby yacht-owning socialite whose accidental amnesia presents the perfect opportunity for a widowed local carpenter to convince her she’s his wife and mother to his four out-of-control kids, now scanned in 2K for the first time ever.
PERFUMES (2019) (DVD)
Anne Walberg is a celebrity in the perfume world, creating fragrances and selling her incredible talent to companies of all kinds. She lives as a diva, selfish, and well-tempered. Guillaume is her new driver and the only one who is not afraid to stand up to her. When Anne loses her sense of smell after a night of drinking, she finds herself relying on Guillaume’s assistance in more ways than she initially expected.
PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY (2021) (BD/DVD)
The lovable rogue is back. Bea, Thomas, and the rabbits have created a makeshift family, but despite his best efforts, Peter can’t seem to shake his mischievous reputation. Adventuring out of the garden, Peter finds himself in a world where his mischief is appreciated, but when his family risks everything to come looking for him, Peter must figure out what kind of bunny he wants to be.
A RETURN TO SALEM’S LOT (1987) (BLU-RAY)
In a certain New England town, it’s hard to keep the undead down. The shocking story continues courtesy of Larry Cohen, tapping into his senses of the macabre as well as satire in a clever chiller based on characters created by Stephen King. Joining in to bedevil and terrify are Michael Moriarty as an anthropologist asked to write a “bible” for the town’s ghastly group, Andrew Duggan as the leader of the town folk who hide their blood-feasting bent behind sweet exteriors, and filmmaker Samuel Fuller in a rare on-screen role as a vampire hunter. For mortals who occasionally like to go to the devil — and come back — A Return to Salem’s Lot is one terrific terror trip.
THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (1967) (BLU-RAY)
The hit musical stars the iconic Julie Andrews in the title role of an innocent small-town girl who comes to the big city in search of a husband. Along the way she becomes the secretary of the rich and famous Trevor Graydon (John Gavin), befriends the sweet Miss Dorothy (Mary Tyler Moore), fights off the wretched Mrs. Meers (Beatrice Lillie) and hooks up with a lively paperclip salesman, Jimmy (James Fox). In the end it takes a rich and nutty jazz baby like Muzzy (Carol Channing) to unravel all these complications, give a great party, and match up lovers. George Roy Hill (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) directed this zany romantic spoof of the Roaring Twenties that garnered seven Academy Award nominations and won for its wonderful score by the great Elmer Bernstein (The Magnificent Seven).
VIVA (2007) (BLU-RAY)
Viva is a cult retro spectacle about a bored 1970s housewife who gets sucked into the sexual revolution. Abandoned by her perfect Ken-doll husband, Barbi (writer/director Anna Biller, The Love Witch) is dragged into trouble by her girlfriend, who spouts women’s lib as she gets Barbi to discard her bra and go out on the town. Barbi becomes a Red Riding Hood in a sea of wolves, and quickly learns a lot more than she wanted to about the different kinds of scenes going on in the wild ’70s, including nudist camps, the hippie scene, orgies, bisexuality, sadism, drugs, and bohemia.
THE WASTED TIMES (2016) (DVD)
Set against a chaotic, war torn Shanghai, The Wasted Times follows a local crime boss at the receiving end of the Japanese army’s attempt to forge a dubious alliance. Spanning three separate times during the period, the story details mindsets from various perspectives, all culminating in a suspenseful and tense finale.
WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT FEELING GOOD? (1968) (BLU-RAY and DVD)
Pete (George Peppard) and Liz (Mary Tyler Moore) live a cynical existence as part of a beatnik commune in a New York City loft. One day, the loft receives an unexpected visitor: a wayward toucan carrying a highly contagious virus that causes intense feelings of happiness and kindness in anyone affected by it. Pete catches the virus and soon an outbreak of euphoria spreads throughout the city like wildfire. But happiness threatens a society that thrives on misery, so the government sends professional problem-solver J. Gardner Monroe (Dom DeLuise) to save the good people of New York.
LAST DANCE (1996) (BLU-RAY)
Cindy Liggett (Sharon Stone) is a convicted killer facing imminent execution until a young lawyer, Rick Hayes (Rob Morrow), becomes convinced her case doesn’t warrant the death penalty. With time running out, Rick stages an 11th-hour challenge to the enormous political pressures weighing against them. Directed by Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy) and featuring Peter Gallagher and Randy Quaid, this must-see hit will have you on the edge of your seat until the 12th hour strikes.
LIFE STINKS (1991) (BLU-RAY)
From fortune 500… to fortune’s fool! Acclaimed actor/writer/director and comedy legend, Mel Brooks takes his hilarious brand of comic lunacy to the streets -literally- with this warmhearted comedy about a rich man who wins back his humanity by losing everything else he’s got. Multi-billionaire Goddard Bold (Brooks) has just made a deal that will change his life. In order to win the right to build over a ghetto, Bolt must survive on its impoverished streets penniless for 30 days. But when this well-to-do man discovers what it’s like to do without, it’ll take the charity of a feisty bag lady (Leslie Ann Warren) and a newly found appreciation for the best things in life to show him the true meaning of being “filthy rich”.
PORTRAIT OF JENNIE (1948) (BLU-RAY)
Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten star in this tender and poetic tale that is enthralling from its touching beginning to its haunting conclusion. When struggling artist Eben Adams (Cotten) meets the beautiful and mysterious Jennie Appleton (Jones), he is instantly captivated. Before long, Jennie has become his great muse and he is enjoying success and bliss beyond his dreams. But there is a price to pay for such elation, and soon Eben must face the truth about who Jennie really is.
THE SOLDIER (1982) (BLU-RAY)
Newly Mastered in HD! From writer/producer/director James Glickenhaus (The Exterminator) comes The Soldier – a powerful action-packed thriller of global intrigue and espionage. KGB agents posing as terrorists steal enough plutonium to destroy half of the world’s oil supply and threaten to do so unless the Israelis withdraw from the West Bank of Jordan. With the world on the brink of nuclear holocaust, The Soldier (Ken Wahl), who’s not part of the military, carries out his own unauthorized, illegal and highly dangerous plan to preserve the delicate balance of power. The Soldier is a relentless thrill ride loaded with some of cinema’s most unusual and dangerous stunts. Music composed and performed by Tangerine Dream.
SONG OF NORWAY (1970) (BLU-RAY)
Brand New 2K Master! From Andrew L. Stone, the acclaimed director of A Blueprint for Murder, comes this romantic musical based on the life of Norway’s greatest composer, Edvard Grieg (Toralv Maurstad). Impoverished after graduating from a music conservatory, Grieg causes controversy by marrying his cousin Nina (Florence Henderson). Soon afterward, he has an affair with a former schoolmate, Therese Berg (Christina Schollin), a wealthy woman who makes a deal with her influential father to end the romance if he arranges a concert for Grieg in Stockholm. Though his significance as an artist begins to find appreciation, the road to success proves to hold many personal compromises for Grieg.
THE TAKING OF BEVERLY HILLS (1991) (BLU-RAY)
Get ready for Beverly Hills to crash and burn as Ken Wahl (The Soldier) takes a one-man stand against one of the most daring heists ever conceived. When a toxic chemical spill sends fumes billowing through the city, emergency teams are on the spot in minutes to evacuate all civilians and set up quarantine. But it turns out that the spill is really a hoax and the emergency personnel are a crew of criminals executing an epic scheme on the entire city. There’s only one hitch in their plan: Boomer Hayes (Wahl), a pro quarterback and local resident, and an undisputed master of moving downfield against the odds. Boomer skillfully evades a deadly SWAT tank and dozens of hired guns, but as the army of criminals are closing in fast, he’ll have to use every trick in his playbook and more if he’s going to survive this real-life sudden-death match.
TOPAZE (1933) (BLU-RAY)
After years of dedicated service, Professor Topaze (John Barrymore) is summarily fired for flunking his worst student – who happens to be the son of the powerful Baron (Reginald Mason), a wealthy businessman who stands to make a fortune by peddling a worthless health tonic. All the Baron needs is one man with lots of academic credentials and few scruples to endorse his sparkling water. That’s where naïve Professor Topaze comes in and to complicate matters more, Topaze meets and falls in love with an enchanting temptress Coco (Myrna Loy), the Baron’s beautiful mistress.
A TOWN CALLED HELL (1971) (BLU-RAY)
An ex-soldier turned priest (Robert Shaw) shares a brutal town with Don Carlos (Telly Savalas), a bandit with a bloodthirsty gang of sadistic killers. A woman named Alvira (Stella Stevens), hauntingly dressed in black, arrives in town on a hearse, accompanied by a deaf-mute gunman (Dudley Sutton) and in search of her husband’s killer. Also arriving in town is a small platoon of soldiers and their Colonel (Martin Landau), looking for the legendary revolutionary leader, Aguila.
THE WOMAN IN RED (1984) (BLU-RAY)
He’s head over heels and headed straight for trouble! Businessman Teddy Pierce (Gene Wilder) has always played by the rules… until he meets the woman in red. With killer legs and a knockout style, Charlotte (Kelly Le Brock) is the ultimate fantasy woman. Now Teddy’s headed straight for trouble, deciding to give in to temptation and looking forward to the most romantic experience of his life. But Teddy’s amorous affections soon lead to hilarious consequences when his friends, his secretary, and Charlotte’s husband get involved.
THE WRONG GUY (1997) (BLU-RAY)
Comic icon Dave Foley (TV’s The Kids in the Hall) delivers a hilarious performance as Nelson Hibbert, a bungling executive furious over missing a “promised” promotion. Confronting his boss on the matter, he finds him murdered. Panicking, tripping, and screaming his way out of the office, Nelson, covered in “evidence,” is sure he’ll be pinned with the deed – even though video proves his innocence. The getaway scheme’s a scream when Hibbert crosses paths with the ruthless killer and clumsy cops. A series of on-the-lam mishaps and outrageous misfortunes finally lead him to coy cutie Lynn (Jennifer Tilly), who convinces him he’s the right guy to put the wacky disaster to rest.