This week you’ll find a portrait of life in Cuba, George Clooney and Laura Dern up against a giant grizzly bear in an ‘80s horror, the world’s last Blockbuster, people working to escape their pasts and circumstances, Sammy Davis, Jr., and more!
ANNA LUCASTA (1958) (BLU-RAY)
A woman strives to heal from the wounds of her past and move forward, but there are those who seek to thwart her efforts. Features Sammy Davis, Jr. and Eartha Kitt.
BREACH (2020) (DVD)
Bruce Willis stars in this John Suits-directed sci-fi action thriller from last year about a ship of people fleeing a disease-stricken Earth. But on board, there’s another deadly problem to deal with. 2020 also gave us the wild commercial for DieHard batteries, Diehard is Back – another Willis-Suits collaboration.
DARK INTRUDER (1965) (BLU-RAY)
A suspenseful, atmospheric gothic horror tale. Stars a young and inquisitive Leslie Nielsen (15 years before Airplane) as an occult expert investigating a series of murders that contain mystical elements. This new 2K remaster includes an audio commentary by film historian and screenwriter Gary Gerani.
EPICENTRO (2020) (DVD)
A Hubert Sauper documentary that captures the people and culture of Cuba. “Sauper ultimately forces us to question not only the perspective of documentaries such as his own, but how we choose to approach them, as fellow humans whose souls are connected with those onscreen, or ugly tourists not unlike those we see gawking at a local boy getting his hair cut. Rather than massage the ego of its progressive target audience, this film stares back at us with a piercingly critical gaze.” – Matt Fagerholm, Roger Ebert
GRIZZLY II: REVENGE (1983) (DVD-R)
You probably never thought you’d be lucky enough to see John Rhys-Davies, George Clooney, and Laura Dern team up in a corny ‘80s giant-grizzly-survival-rock-concert movie… But you are that lucky, because after nearly four decades in the making due to a whole gnarly nest of issues, here it is in finished form! It’s an André Szöts-directed sequel to William Girdler’s 1976 Grizzly, which, having come out the year after Jaws, garnered criticism at the time for pulling some rip-off moves (but that didn’t affect the top-spot success it had at the box office). In Grizzly II: Revenge, the concert will go on, despite the big angry bear that’s on a killing spree.
HOST (2020) (DVD, BLU-RAY)
A virtual séance-centered horror that takes the fears associated with online video chats during lockdown to new, supernatural extremes.
HOT MESS (2018) (DVD-R)
Director Lucy Coleman’s comedy about a 25-year-old writer trying to find her place in the world.
THE KISS BEFORE THE MIRROR (1933) (BLU-RAY)
“Her secret revealed!” An attorney ponders the possibility of murdering his wife, who he believes may be cheating on him. Nancy Carroll stars in this enticing pre-Code thriller with a twist of macabre from director James Whale (Frankenstein, The Old Dark House, The Invisible Man).
THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER (2020) (DVD, BLU-RAY)
If you’ve ever been to the last Blockbuster in the world (located in beautiful Bend, Oregon), you know it’s a special place. And if you’ve never been, you could go visit, or you could check out this wonderful documentary about it (or both). There’s an obvious solidarity Scarecrow feels toward the final Blockbuster, given our mutual position as one of the last physical video stores. There are far fewer of us than there were 10 years ago, but we’re still here and standing – despite the many threats to our existence. Last time I was at the Seattle Earthwise, a great architectural salvage place in SoDo, there was a giant Blockbuster sign hanging in their outdoor area. Among rusted antiques and artifacts of centuries past, the sign was a symbol of the fact that most of the world has moved on from video stores. The Last Blockbuster is a heartening reminder that there are people who haven’t.
LET HIM GO (2020) (DVD, BLU-RAY)
A retired sheriff (Kevin Costner) and his wife (Diane Lane) search for their grandson, and when they find him in the hands of a dangerous and uncompromising family, they must fight to bring him home.
LOVE, WEDDINGS & OTHER DISASTERS (2021) (DVD)
Diane Keaton and Jeremy Irons star in this interwoven-storyline romantic comedy that takes us on warmhearted journeys of searching for love.
A MAN CALLED ADAM (1966) (BLU-RAY)
Another Sammy Davis, Jr. movie this week! He plays a famous jazz musician with a past that threatens to destroy him. Other big names in the cast: Louis Armstrong, Ossie Davis, Cicely Tyson, Mel Torm, and Peter Lawford. Consider pairing A Man Called Adam with Anna Lucasta.
MOUSEHUNT (1997) (BLU-RAY)
Nathan Lane and Lee Evans play two guys who inherit an old house and aim to sell it, but first they have to get rid of the exceptionally clever mouse already living there. What results is a riotous series of man vs. mouse battles. I can’t count how many times I watched this movie as a kid, and now I’m excited to watch it again.
MR. INBETWEEN: SEASON 2 (2019) (DVD-R)
A criminal-for-hire has to juggle what he does for work with his personal life, including being a father, partner, and friend.
THE NORSEMAN (1978) (BLU-RAY)
Lee Majors is an 11th-century Viking prince who travels to a new land to find his captured father.
ONCE UPON A RIVER (2019) (DVD)
After a series of horrifying events and losses, Margo (played by newcomer Kenadi DelaCerna, who delivers an excellent performance) is left in a threatening situation without a support system. To escape and find connection to all that she has left, she travels along the Stark River to find her mother, meeting people along her journey who shape her in profound ways.
OUR MOTHERS (2019) (DVD)
In this César Díaz-directed drama, a Guatemalan anthropologist (Armando Espitia) makes a discovery that he believes could lead him to his missing father. “Rather than relying on explanatory flashbacks to open a window into an unrecoverable past, Díaz focuses on the present-day human and physical evidence of the Guatemalan genocide: dirt-encrusted bones, suspiciously clear tracts of land where bodies rest in mass graves, and bereaved Mayan women who, after almost 40 years, have yet to receive closure for the deaths of their loved ones.” – Pat Brown, Slant Magazine
QUEEN OF HEARTS: AUDREY FLACK (2019) (DVD)
A documentary about Audrey Flack, a visionary American artist who has explored and influenced several mediums for many decades, from photorealist painting to sculpting.
THE ROAD TO MANDALAY (2016) (DVD)
Directed by Midi Z, The Road to Mandalay follows the rough – yet hopeful and sometimes joyful – journeys of two immigrants who flee Myanmar in search of a better life in Thailand.
THE SOUNDS (2020) (MINI-SERIES) (2 DISKS) (DVD)
In this psychological thriller series, Maggie and Tom move from Canada to New Zealand to start anew. But Tom goes missing after they arrive, and damaging secrets from his past are revealed.
TALES OF THE UNCANNY (2020) (BLU-RAY)
Severin Films chief David Gregory and House of Psychotic Women author Kier-La Janisse blossomed the idea for this “ultimate survey of anthology horror” when Covid-19 hit. What resulted was a comprehensive and entertaining Zoom-enabled documentary featuring discussions with over 60 essential voices in horror, such as Eli Roth, Joko Anwar, Rebekah McKendry, Brian Yuzna, and Roger Corman. “As a Bonus, Severin is proud to include the rarely-seen 1919 compendium EERIE TALES and the thought-lost 1949 French/Belgian anthology HISTORIES EXTRAORDINAIRE/UNUSUAL TALES.”
TESLA (2020) (DVD, BLU-RAY)
“A freewheeling take on visionary inventor Nikola Tesla, his interactions with Thomas Edison and J.P. Morgan’s daughter Anne, and his breakthroughs in transmitting electrical power and light.” Stars Ethan Hawke as Tesla.
THURSDAY (1998) (BLU-RAY)
Thomas Jane and Aaron Eckhart star in this action comedy about a man who tries to reinvent himself in a new city after spending time as a drug dealer in Los Angeles. But it’s not long before he is confronted with the dangers of his past life. Bonus features: new audio commentary by film historian Sally Christie, and an interview with Thomas Jane.
WELCOME TO CHECHNYA (2020) (DVD)
A crucial and engrossing documentary from journalist-turned-filmmaker David France about activists fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and safety in Chechnya. “This is frequently a hard movie to watch, from the testimonies about torture and repression to what would appear to be footage of a woman being murdered by family members because of her sexual orientation, but France balances the horror of this international scandal with an intimately human element… [Welcome to Chechnya] has the potential to rally global humanitarian concern for this tragedy.” – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
WILD MOUNTAIN THYME (2020) (DVD)
Emily Blunt is delightful to watch in this Ireland-set romantic comedy about a woman who has long had her heart set on a fellow farmer (Jamie Dornan). Mix in Jon Hamm and a dispute over a family farm with Christopher Walken, and you’ve got a winning recipe for a good time. Written and directed by John Patrick Shanley (who also wrote Moonstruck).
We also got in a ton of new Kino-Lorber Blu-ray releases:
BAT 21 (1988)
BILL OF DIVORCEMENT (1932)
BILLY TWO HATS (1974)
BUFFET FROID (1979)
COLONEL REDL (1985)
CRY FREEDOM (1987)
DOG DAY (1984)
HOLLY & THE IVY (1952)
THE INFORMER (1929)
JEFFERSON IN PARIS (1995)
ROY COLT AND WINCHESTER JACK (1970)
Other titles that went out on the shelves last week:
100 MEN AND A GIRL (1937) (BLU-RAY)
BLOOD AND SAND (1922) (BLU-RAY)
COBRA WOMAN (1943) (BLU-RAY)
DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS (1939) (WARNER ARCHIVE) (DVD-R)
THE EAGLE (1925) (BLU-RAY)
EAGLE’S WING (1979) (BLU-RAY)
FEAR THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON 5 (2015) (4 DISKS) (DVD)
FOUR MOTHERS (1941) (WARNER ARCHIVE) (DVD-R)
FOUR WIVES (1939) (WARNER ARCHIVE) (DVD-R)
GHETTO DAWG 2 (2005) (DVD)
GRUNT: THE WRESTLING MOVIE (1985) (BLU-RAY)
HYENAS (1992) (BLU-RAY)
IPCRESS FILE (1965) (BLU-RAY)
IT STARTED WITH EVE (1941) (BLU-RAY)
THE LEGION (2020) (DVD)
LIVE LIKE A COP, DIE LIKE A MAN (1976) (BLU-RAY)
LOVE OF JEANNE NEY (1927) (2 VERSIONS) (BLU-RAY)
MUNCHHAUSEN (1943) (BLU-RAY)
OLDEST PROFESSION (1967) (2 VERSIONS) (BLU-RAY)
PROMARE (2019) (DVD, BLU-RAY)
REAP THE WILD WIND (1942) (BLU-RAY)
RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING (1966) (BLU-RAY)
SCENES FROM THE CLASS STRUGGLE IN BEVERLY HILLS (1989) (BLU-RAY)
SILENT RAGE (1982) (BLU-RAY)
SOUTHLAND TALES (2006) (LIMITED EDITION) (2 VERSIONS) (2 DISKS) (BLU-RAY)
SPIRAL (2019) (BLU-RAY)
THE SPOILERS (1942) (BLU-RAY)
THREE SMART GIRLS GROW UP (1939) (BLU-RAY)
TOBRUK (1966) (BLU-RAY)
WHITE LINE FEVER (1975) (BLU-RAY)