by Ben Redder
New Release Tuesday! This week we’ve got a ton of vintage sexploitation, another huge stack of new 4Ks, some Bela Tarr, some Ridley Scott, some Paul Schrader, kung-fu in 3D, and more!
BEDTIME STORY (1964, Blu-ray / DVD)
The caddish Freddy Benson enjoys setting up elaborate ruses to seduce women on the French Riviera. Con artist Lawrence Jameson likes to pose as a prince to swindle the wealthy. When the two men meet, each perceives the other as an interloper and a threat. Upon the arrival of vacationing soap heiress Janet Walker, the two sweet-talking scoundrels compete to be the first man to trick her out of both her clothes and her fortune.
THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE (1970, 4K UHD)
Sam Dalmas, an American writer living in Rome, inadvertently witnesses a brutal attack on a woman in a modern art gallery. Powerless to help, he grows increasingly obsessed with the incident. Convinced that something he saw that night holds the key to identifying the maniac terrorizing Rome, he launches his own investigation parallel to that of the police, heedless of the dnger to both himself and his girlfriend.
BLACK BOOTS, LEATHER WHIP (1983, Blu-ray)
When down-on-his-luck Al Pereira is hired by a sultry client for a fast-buck job, he’ll find himself caught in a web of seduction, murder, blackmail, polyamorous mayhem and a Sadomasochistic centerpiece that is jaw-droppingly extreme even by director Jess Franco’s standards.
BUTCH CAMP (1996, Blu-ray)
Mild-mannered gay man Matt Grabowski — who’s tired of being a pushover — enrolls in an assertiveness-training course conducted by brash dominatrix Samantha Rottweiler. This one hasn’t aged well, folks.
CARD COUNTER (2021, Blu-ray / DVD)
William Tell is a gambler and former serviceman who sets out to reform a young man seeking revenge on a mutual enemy from their past. Tell just wants to play cards. His spartan existence on the casino trail is shattered when he is approached by Cirk, a vulnerable and angry young man seeking help to execute his plan for revenge on a military colonel. Tell sees a chance at redemption through his relationship with Cirk.
CRASH! (1977, DVD)
What dark powers possess the mysterious trinket? When his patient Kim is nearly killed in a motor accident, Dr. Martin decides to investigate. His only clue is a strange trinket which Kim has clutched since her crash. An occult expert tells him it is Akasa – a Hittite God of revenge and destruction. Meanwhile Kim’s car, apparently unmanned, rampages the roads causing carnage and disaster.
DAMNATION (1987, Blu-ray)
A mid-career masterwork by legendary Hungarian art house auteur Béla Tarr and the first of his internationally acclaimed trilogy of films written in collaboration with author László Krasznahorkai, this film chronicles the doomed affair between bar Titanik regular Karrer and the cruel cabaret singer he pines for while scheming to displace her brutish husband. A poignant Communism allegory that solidified Tarr’s unique aesthetic, Damnation is photographed in an exquisitely black & white palette underscored by the mesmerizing long takes that would come to be his trademark.
DANGEROUS (2021, Blu-ray)
Ex-con and reformed sociopath Dylan Forrester is trying to quietly serve out his parole — with the help of a steady supply of antidepressants and his eccentric psychiatrist. But when his brother dies under mysterious circumstances, Dylan breaks parole and, with a dogged FBI agent on his trail, goes to uncover the truth. A band of heavily armed mercenaries wants something Dylan’s brother was hiding, and Dylan will need all his guile and tactical skills to survive.
DISCIPLES OF SHAOLIN (1975, Blu-ray)
Another Kung Fu vehicle from the infamous Shaw Brothers Studio, this film delivers a typically power-packed Hong Kong tale of enemy gangs and super cool fight scenes. When shaolin disciple Kuan Fung Yi takes a job at a textile factory he soon becomes embroiled in a bitter and violent clash with the rival Manchu clan who run a neighbouring mill. As well delivering some impressive martial arts set pieces, Disciples of Shaolin also provides a political punch, underlining the abuse of workers and the corruption of cruel bosses. Fast, fierce and thought provoking, this is a must-watch for fans of extreme Asian cinema.
THE FABULOUS DORSEYS (1947, DVD)
Growing up in a coal-mining community in Philadelphia, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey (playing themselves) are encouraged by their father, Thomas, to study music. The highly competitive siblings are soon playing with their father’s band. As grown men, the Dorseys begin touring with their own ensemble, with childhood friend Jane Howard on vocals. Despite their rising success, the bickering brothers have a falling out, and Jane schemes to reconcile them.
FOUR SEASONS (1981, Blu-ray)
Jack and Kate traditionally go on vacation with their friends every new season. Old friend Nick surprises everyone when he arrives not with his wife, Anne, but with his new girlfriend, the much younger Ginny. The group — all of which had grown to be good friends with Anne — must come to terms with this unexpected development. Ultimately, they learn to accept Nick’s decision, and work to welcome Ginny as a friend.
GOING BERSERK (BLU-RAY/1983)
Chauffeur John Bourgignon is engaged to Nancy Reese, the daughter of famed Sen. Ed Mills. In the midst of a political campaign, Ed — who disapproves of John — is blackmailed by a sleazy film director into televising his daughter’s wedding. Things go from bad to worse for John when a cult leader, the Rev. Sun Yi Day, captures the would-be bridegroom and attempts to brainwash him into murdering Ed.
GOMORRAH: THE SERIES – SEASON 2 (2016, DVD)
Following his escape from prison, Pietro realizes that his stay in Naples will be short-lived, and promptly flees to Cologne, leaving the clan in the hands of Malammore and the rest of the members that aided his escape. He also plots to seek vengeance on the people who ambushed Gennaro, who survived his shooting. Ciro, meanwhile, forms an alliance with Conte, at the expense of his relationship with his wife, Debora.
In a forgotten pocket of Southern Ohio where American manufacturing and opportunity are dying up, a determined young woman finds a ticket out when she is accepted to college. Alongside her older brother, Ruth Avery joins a dangerous scrap metal crew in order to pay her way. Together, they spend one brutal winter working the scrap yards during the day and stealing valuable metal from the once thriving factories at night. With her goal in sight, Ruth finds that the ultimate cost for an education for a girl like her may be more than she bargained for, and she soon finds herself torn between a promising future and the family she would leave behind.
THE HOUSE OF LOST WOMEN (1983, Blu-ray)
Desdemona lives on an isolated island with her strange family: her father Mario, her stepmother Dulcinea and her mentally challenged sister Paulova. As the only inhabitants on the island loneliness and desolation engulf all members of her family. Desdemona tries to ward off her boredom by taking long walks along the beach or engaging in acts of self-gratification. She often tries to seduce her own father Mario to engage in acts of a sexual nature. Their daily routine is interrupted by the arrival (by boat) of a robust male stranger who brings friction into Desdemona’s family.
IVANHOE (1952, Blu-ray)
Loyal British knight Wilfred of Ivanhoe sets out on a mission to free the kidnapped King of England, Richard the Lionheart, in this rousing adventure tale. The brave Ivanhoe must eventually confront the devious Prince John and the fierce Norman warrior Brian de Bois-Guilbert, while also juggling the affections of the beautiful maidens Rowena and Rebecca.
LANGUAGE LESSONS (2021, Blu-ray)
When Adam’s husband surprises him with weekly Spanish lessons, he’s unsure about where or how this new element will fit into his already structured life. However, when tragedy strikes, his teacher becomes a lifeline he didn’t know he needed.
LAST DUEL (2021, 4K UHD / Blu-ray / DVD)
In the first of two films directed by Ridley Scott in 2021, Jean de Carrouges is a respected knight known for his bravery and skill on the battlefield. Jacques Le Gris is a squire whose intelligence and eloquence makes him one of the most admired nobles in court. When Le Gris viciously assaults Carrouges’ wife, she steps forward to accuse her attacker, an act of bravery and defiance that puts her life in jeopardy. The ensuing trial by combat, a grueling duel to the death, places the fate of all three in God’s hands.
THE LAST WAVE (1977, Blu-ray)
In Sydney, business lawyer David Burton is given the pro bono assignment of defending five aborigines accused of the murder of another tribesman. None of Burton’s clients are willing to speak about what happened, even in their own defense, and the medical examiner on the case can’t figure out how the victim died. But what’s most troubling Burton is the increasingly terrifying apocalyptic visions he’s having, leading him to think Australia may soon be destroyed.
LEARNING TREE (1969, Blu-ray / DVD)
With this tender and clear-eyed coming-of-age odyssey, the renowned photographer turned filmmaker Gordon Parks not only became the first Black American director to make a Hollywood studio film, he also served as writer, producer, and composer, resulting in a deeply personal artistic achievement. Based on Parks’s own semi-autobiographical novel, this film follows the journey of Newt Winger, a teenage descendant of Exodusters growing up in rural Kansas in the 1920s, as he experiences the bittersweet flowering of first love, finds his relationship with a close friend tested, and navigates the injustices embedded within racist legal and educational systems. Exquisitely capturing the bucolic splendor of its setting, this landmark film tempers nostalgia with an incisive understanding of the harsh realities, hard-won lessons, and often wrenching moral choices that shape the road to self-determination of the young Black man at its center.
LUZZU (2021, DVD)
A hardworking Maltese fisherman, Jesmark is faced with an agonizing choice. He can repair his leaky luzzu — a traditional, multicolored wooden fishing boat — in the hopes of eking out a meager living at sea for his wife and newborn son, just as his father and grandfather did before him. Or he can decommission it in exchange for an EU payout and cast his lot with a sinister black-market operation that is decimating the Mediterranean fish population and the livelihoods of the local families who depend on it.
MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN (1960, Blu-ray)
Young art student Hans von Arnam arrives by barge at an old mill to write a monograph about its celebrated sculptures of women in the throes of death and torture, maintained and curated by the mill’s owner, the hermetic Professor Wahl. But when Hans encounters the professor’s beautiful and mysterious daughter Elfi, his own fate becomes inexorably bound up with hers, and with the shocking secret that lies at the heart of the so-called Mill of the Stone Women. Has the distinction of being the first Italian horror film to be shot in color.
THE MITCHELLS VS.THE MACHINES (2021, Blu-ray / DVD)
Young Katie Mitchell embarks on a road trip with her proud parents, younger brother and beloved dog to start her first year at film school. But their plans to bond as a family soon get interrupted when the world’s electronic devices come to life to stage an uprising. With help from two friendly robots, the Mitchells must now come together to save one another — and the planet — from the new technological revolution.
MY STEPMOTHER IS AN ALIEN (1988, Blu-ray)
Trying to rescue her home planet from destruction, a gorgeous extraterrestrial named Celeste arrives on Earth and begins her scientific research. She woos quirky scientist Dr. Steve Mills, a widower with a young daughter. Before long, Celeste finds herself in love with Steve and her new life on Earth, where she experiences true intimacy for the first time. But when she loses sight of her mission, she begins to question where she belongs.
NASTY HABITS: THE NUNSPLOITATION COLLECTION (1972-1980, Blu-ray)
Throughout the ‘70s, Italian filmmakers fired a canon of blasphemy to launch what remains the most controversial genre of all. Partake of its unholy sacrament with these four uncut/uncensored Nunsploitation classics: In Sergio Bergonzelli’s CRISTIANA DEVIL NUN – here in two extreme versions – a born-again nymphomaniac finds pleasures of the flesh in a convent of the damned. Suzy Kendall and Eleonora Giorgi star in Domenico Paolella’s historically accurate and wholly amoral STORY OF A CLOISTERED NUN. Sleaze maestro Joe D’Amato combines Sapphic lust, Satanic panic and pure filth for IMAGES IN A CONVENT. And with THE TRUE STORY OF THE NUN OF MONZA, director Bruno Mattei fulfills ungodly vows of graphic sacrilege.
THE O. HENRY PLAYHOUSE: COMPLETE SERIES 1 (1957, DVD)
William Sydney Porter, better known by his pen name O. Henry, is celebrated the world over for his humorous writing style which is also noted for its surprise endings. Academy Award-winning actor Thomas Mitchell portrays writer O. Henry himself in each episode as he describes his current story-in-progress to his publisher and others he interacts with. Directed by such Hollywood veterans as Bernard Girard and George Waggner, this set contains thirteen half-hour episodes that shine the spotlight on the beloved author’s timeless tales.
PLAYDURIZM (2021, DVD)
Demir suddenly wakes up with no memory of the past and in an unfamiliar apartment. Surrounded by balloons and an oinking pig, he scurries his way out only to be stopped by the hunky and handsome Andrew who assures the teen that he actually lives there, with the hunk, his girlfriend and their pet pig. As he uncomfortably settles into this new reality, Demir quietly longs for his heterosexual roommate. He gets his chance when Andrew’s girlfriend Drew ODs and they stash her body under the sofa. Demir now does everything he can to be possessed by this man, all the while ignoring the violent clues of how he got there. An intoxicating blend of fantasy, violence, passion and control.
POND LIFE (2021, DVD)
It’s summertime 1994 in a quiet ex-mining village in Yorkshire. Trevor is treading on everyone’s toes at home as misfit Pogo is trying to make sense of the world. Lovesick Malcolm is trying to mend his broken heart and best friends Shane and David have nothing better to do. When rumors of a giant carp at the local ponds begin to swirl about town, this young community, led by Trevor, embark on a fishing expedition they will never forget.
PREMUTOS: THE FALLEN ANGEL (1997, DVD)
Premutos is the first of the fallen Angels, even before Lucifer. His goal is to rule the living and the dead. His son should pave the way for him to return. A young man begins to suffer from visionary flashbacks – of the past lives he lived. On his father’s birthday, a case containing an old book is found in their garden, which was hidden by a Warlock in 1943. When the young man touches with the book, he mutates into a monster and awakens an army of zombies, ready to bring back the fallen Angel Premutos.
PUT YOUR DEVIL INTO MY HELL (1972, DVD)
This medieval-set romp tells the tale of a randy village Lothario who becomes increasingly obsessed with bedding the wife of the Mayor and then goes to insane lengths to reach his goal, getting into all manner of frisky misadventure along the way. This riotous – and rarely seen – Italian comedy is filled with nudity, bad behavior, eye-popping color and politically incorrect absurdity. Get ready for a goblet full of lurid laughs…Italian style!
THE RED SHOES (1948, 4K UHD / Blu-ray)
Moira Shearer is a rising star ballerina torn between an idealistic composer and a ruthless impresario intent on perfection. Featuring outstanding performances, blazingly beautiful cinematography by Jack Cardiff, Oscar-winning sets and music, and an unforgettable, hallucinatory central dance sequence, this beloved classic, dazzlingly restored, stands as an enthralling tribute to the life of the artist.
REVENGE OF THE SHOGUN WOMEN 3-D (1977, 3-D Blu-ray / Blu-ray)
Thirteen women train to become nuns after they are ravaged by bandits. A mastery of kung fu is required before the women finish their training, and after they leave the temple the nuns head out for vengeance. Restored in 3-D by 3-D Film Archive!
THE SEDUCTION OF JOE TYNAN (1979, Blu-ray)
A liberal United States senator, Joe Tynan is in over his head with both his work and his home life. Joe sees little of his wife, Ellie, due to the demands of his job, and their relationship is further strained when he begins to fall for Karen Traynor, a pretty attorney. Working with Karen on a Supreme Court appointment case that could mean a big boost for his career, Joe has to weigh various compromises against staying true to his ideals.
SOUTH OF HEAVEN (2021, DVD)
Convicted felon Jimmy gets early parole after serving twelve years for armed robbery. Upon his release, he vows to give Annie, his childhood love, now dying from cancer, the best last year of her life – unfortunately it’s not that simple.
TOGETHER TOGETHER (2021, DVD)
A young loner becomes a surrogate mother for a single, middle-aged man who wants a child. Their unexpected relationship soon challenges their perceptions of connection, boundaries and the particulars of love.
UNDINE (2020, DVD)
A woman works as a historian who specializes in the urban development of modern-day Berlin. When the man she loves betrays her, she must kill him and return to the water in a reimagining of the ancient myth of Undine.
VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (2021, Blu-ray / DVD)
Eddie Brock is still struggling to coexist with the shape-shifting extraterrestrial Venom. When deranged serial killer Cletus Kasady also becomes host to an alien symbiote, Brock and Venom must put aside their differences to stop his reign of terror.
THE WALTONS: HOMECOMING (2021, DVD)
The Walton family is excited to learn that John Sr. will be coming home for Christmas during the winter of 1933. However, when a storm threatens his arrival and he’s nowhere to be found, John Boy embarks on a life-changing journey to find him.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013, 4K UHD)
In 1987, Jordan Belfort takes an entry-level job at a Wall Street brokerage firm. By the early 1990s, while still in his 20s, Belfort founds his own firm, Stratton Oakmont. Together with his trusted lieutenant and a merry band of brokers, Belfort makes a huge fortune by defrauding wealthy investors out of millions. However, while Belfort and his cronies partake in a hedonistic brew of sex, drugs and thrills, the SEC and the FBI close in on his empire of excess.