by Bryan Theiss
In this week’s new arrivals we have the long-anticipated return of Bill & Ted, the arguably less anticipated return of Pauly Shore, three remastered Clint Eastwood classics, live action Mulan, Schitt’s Creek, Norwegian super powers, a spontaneous human combustion love story, and much more.
THE BEGUILED (1971)
Don Siegel directed this different sort of Clint Eastwood vehicle where he plays an injured Union soldier being reluctantly sheltered by a boarding school for girls in enemy territory. This remastered blu-ray includes commentary by film historian Kat Ellinger, a featurette and a Trailers From Hell commentary by John Landis. (We also recommend Sofia Coppola’s 2017 remake.)
BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC (2020)
In the exact year when we needed it most, Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter finally made that Bill & Ted sequel they’ve been wanting to do for years. Still best friends (as are their daughters, played by Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine), an aging Bill & Ted begin to feel the pressure of not having fulfilled the prophecy to create the song that would unite the world. So they do some more time travel that causes even more problems. It’s goofy, optimistic, warm-hearted silliness, and as cool as it is to see the return of beloved characters like Bill, Ted and William Sadler’s Death, I think we can all agree that the new robot character steals the whole movie. From the director of Galaxy Quest.
(DVD – Blu-Ray coming later in the week)
“Poetic documentary” about the life and work (so far) of Colombian painter Fernando Botero, now 88 years old. Shana Nys Dambrot of LA Weekly described it as “a long and personal dinner conversation with the artist and his family.”
THE BRIDES OF DRACULA (1960)
In this Hammer classic, a young stranded teacher (Yvonne Monlaur) spends the night at the mysterious castle of a baroness (Martita Hunt), frees a man she finds chained to a wall (David Peel) and unleashes the type of evil where you have to call in Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) for help. (That’s why you shouldn’t mess with other people’s stuff.) Scream Factory’s new blu-ray presents the film in two different aspect ratios and offers a commentary by film historians Steve Haberman and Constantine Nasr, plus several featurettes about the film and its creators.
BUSTIN’ LOOSE (1981)
Richard Pryor is a jerky ex-con whose soft side comes through when he takes a job driving Cicely Tyson and a bus of special ed kids from Philadelphia to our neck of the woods. (There are scenes shot in Seattle, Redmond, Ellensburg and Snohomish.) Includes commentary by film historian Sergio Mims.
THE EIGER SANCTION (1975)
Clint Eastwood directed this spy thriller and stars as a former assassin who comes out of retirement to climb the Swiss Alps looking for a double agent who killed his friend. Includes commentary by film critic Nick Pinkerton, interviews with actors Reiner Schöne and Heidi Brühl, vintage 8-Minute promotional reel, and TV and radio spots.
A GIRL MISSING (2019)
Slow burn thriller about a nurse (Mariko Tsutsui) whose life unravels when her nephew kidnaps the daughter of the family she’s worked for for many years. Lisa Nesselson of Screen Daily calls it “a deft and absorbing multi-pronged tale about a kind, hard-working woman whose life becomes a morass of collateral damage.” Directed by Koji Fukada (Harmonium).
GIRLFRIENDS (1978) (CRITERION)
Claudia Weill, the fourth woman ever admitted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, directed documentaries, shorts for Sesame Street, episodes of groundbreaking television shows, and this indie comedy drama starring Melanie Mayron as a lonely photographer in New York City. Anita Skinner, Eli Wallach, Christopher Guest and Bob Balaban co-star. Criterion’s edition is a new 4K transfer supervised by Weill and director of photography Fred Murphy. It includes new interviews with Weill, Mayron, Guest, Balaban and screenwriter Vicki Polon, plus two shorts co-directed by Weill: Commuters (1970) and Joyce at 34 (1972).
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
GUEST HOUSE (2020)
A newly engaged couple moves into a dream home with two catches: 1) the previous owner’s friend still lives in the guest house and 2) HE IS A TOTAL PARTY ANIMAL PLAYED BY PAULY SHORE. I mean can you even imagine!? Also featuring Billy Zane and Steve-O.
HARRY CHAPIN: WHEN IN DOUBT DO SOMETHING (2020)
Documentary on the life, music and activism of the “Cat’s in the Cradle” singer, with testimonials from Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Pete Seeger, Sir Bob Geldof, Kenny Rogers, Graham Nash, Pat Benatar, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Robert Lamm, Richie Havens, and Harry Belafonte.
A family invites their neighbors over for Christmas dinner. Gory murders ensue. Anton Bitel of Sight and Sound writes that it, “exposes a deep seam of dysfunctional fathering and familial alienation as the Hendersons’s Yuletide dinner is violently disrupted by body-snatched neighbors, and home truths are excavated.”
“A 19-year-old’s life in Guatemala City is routine and aimless, until he finds passion, pain and self-reflection through a relationship with a Caribbean migrant.” Director Li Cheng was born in China and lives in the U.S., but moved to Guatemala for two years and conducted research in twelve Latin American countries to prepare for this film.
MARONA’S FANTASTIC TALE (2019)
G-Kids, the American distributors of Studio Ghibli and other interesting international animation, bring us this visually unique French/Romanian/Belgian film about a stray dog remembering the human companions from throughout her life. You can watch it with French or English dialogue, and it includes a Q&A with director Anca Damian. This has been officially “Triple F-Rated,” a designation for films that “ have significant women on screen in their own right and are written and directed by women.”
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
MOLLY OF DENALI: MOLLY’S AWESOME ALASKAN ADVENTURES (2019)
32 stories on two discs from the Peabody-winning PBS animated series.
Nat Wolff (Paper Towns) stars as an American in Norway who accidentally kills someone and discovers he has God-like powers based on Norwegian mythology. Directed by André Øvredal (Trollhunter, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark).
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
Disney’s live action/non-musical version remake of their 1998 animated film comes from the director of Whale Rider and features an incredible supporting cast including Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Gong Li, Jet Li, Tzi Ma, Rosalind Chao, Ron Yuan and Cheng Pei-pei.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
PLAY MISTY FOR ME (1971)
In Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut he also stars as a radio DJ who may come to regret having a fling with an obsessive fan (Jessica Walter, Arrested Development). This edition includes commentary by film historian Tim Lucas, video essay by Howard S. Berger, interview with co-star Donna Mills, featurettes, Trailers From Hell commentary by Adam Rifkin, and more.
A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK (2019)
Woody Allen’s latest stars Timothee Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Liev Schreiber, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Rebecca Hall, Diego Luna, others.
A REGULAR WOMAN (2019)
Based on a tragic true story, this is about a young woman who escapes to Berlin from a forced marriage in Turkey but still faces the wrath of her ultra-conservative family, with little help from local authorities. Claudia Puig of FilmWeek calls it, “tragic, illuminating, and very intimately told. It’s very stylistically intriguing… It presents the story from the victim’s perspective. It restores her voice, in a sense.”
SCHITT’S CREEK: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
We now have all six seasons of the beloved Eugene Levy/Catherine O’Hara show that swept all seven major comedy categories at the Emmy Awards this year. Each season rents separately.
SECRET ZOO (2020)
In this South Korean comedy, an unhappy lawyer takes a job running a zoo, but discovers they’ve already sold most of their animals, so he and the staff dress in furry costumes and put on a show.
SHUTTLECOCK (1991) (DIRECTOR’S CUT)
“At the memorial for his father, WWII hero Major James Prentis (Alan Bates), Johan Prentis (Lambert Wilson) confesses a dark family secret to his own son (David Oakes), something that he has harbored for over twenty-five years. The film explores the complex nature of heroism, betrayal, and father-son relationships.”
Katherine Langford (Knives Out) and Charlie Plummer (All the Money in the World) star in this dark comedy romance as teenagers who fall in love during a chaotic year when other students at their high school keep inexplicably exploding. Written and directed by Brian Duffield (Underwater).
THE TROUBLE WITH MAGGIE COLE (2020)
Six-part British comedy-drama about a woman (Dawn French) in a small coastal village who gives up too much gossip about the locals in a radio interview and has to deal with the repercussions.