Category Archives: DVDs

Vincent Lindon brings the life and loves of great sculptor “Rodin” to life

Paris, 1880. The 40-year-old sculptor Auguste Rodin finally receives his first state commission, The Gates of Hell, which will include The Kiss and The Thinker, two of his most famous creations. Constantly working, he shares his life with his lifelong partner, Rose,  and his mistress, young Camille Claudel, the gifted student who becomes his assistant and a talented sculptor in her own right during a decade of passion, mutual admiration and creative collaboration.
Following their painful breakup, Rodin continues to work relentlessly while facing both the rejection and enthusiasm provoked by the sensuality and originality of his sculptures. Rodin’s statue of Balzac, long in the making and rejected during his lifetime, will become the starting point of modern sculpture.

Cohen Media Group will release the 2017 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or nominee Rodin on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms on October 2.  The biographical drama, starring Vincent Lindon as the great sculptor, is the latest from Jacques Doillon, the multiple award-winning director of Ponette, La Drôlesse and dozens of other films that have made him one of the most esteemed European auteurs of the last 40 years.

Bonus features on the Blu-ray and DVD include the featurette Sculpting Rodin.

Shout! Factory to release “The Sound of Music Live”

Doe a deer.

Those three words instantly bring the Rodgers & Hammerstein’s beloved classic The Sound of Music comes to mind.

And this November, Shout! brings The Sound of Music Live, the ambitious, live-broadcast production from BAFTA-nominated director Coky Giedroyc, to DVD and Blu-ray.   Save the date: The discs will arrive on November 6, just in time for the holidays.

The musical, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2019, has become a favorite of families the world over with such perennially classic and unforgettable songs as “The Sound of Music,” “Edelweiss,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” and “My Favorite Things”. The Sound of Music Live, destined to become a new family chestnut, brings this beloved and timeless story to lavish life with a cinematically staged production featuring three soundstages and more than150 period costumes, all stunningly shot with 17 cameras.
In the new production, Kara Tointon delivers a “mesmerizing performance and incredible vocal talents” as Maria, the tomboyish nun who reluctantly becomes the governess for seven children living in the shadow of their stern widower father (played by Julian Ovenden). Along with her required duties, Maria brings love, music and excitement back into the children’s lives . . . and also eventually begins to have an effect on their father. But just when things are looking up, the rise of Nazism and the looming threat of war darkens their future.
Supported by Katherine Kelly as Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Alexander Armstrong as Max Detweiler, The Sound of Music Live-— which also features “How Can Love Survive” a song not in the original movie but part of the stage show since 1959—is an enchanting experience that will remain with audiences long after the last curtain call.

Taste you way across America with “No Passport Required”

Want to go on an inspiring journey across the U.S., exloring and celebrating the wide-ranging diversity of immigrant traditions and cuisines woven into American food and culture? Welcome to No Passport Required (PBS Distribution), available on DVD October 30

Chef Marcus Samuelsson—co-owner of New York’s critically-acclaimed Red Rooster Harlem—embodies America’s extraordinarily rich cultural diversity. Born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, and a proud resident of Harlem, he’s inspired by this global background to infuse his culinary experiences with diverse elements of music, history, culture and the arts. Today, he is a celebrated award-winning chef, restaurateur, author, philanthropist and food activist.

From Detroit, where Marcus meets Middle Eastern immigrants who call the city home, to the Ethiopian community in Washington, D.C.,  the program showcases how food can bring Americans—old and new—together around the table. In New Orleans, Marcus learns how Vietnamese culinary traditions have fully integrated into the fabric of the city, taking center stage with long-established French and African influences. In New York, he’s shown how the Indo-Guyanese culture thrives in a small enclave of Queens, and how this one community has taken the best of its Indian and Caribbean roots and incorporated those influences into its customs and cuisine. In Chicago, Marcus heads to the city’s Mexican neighborhoods and discovers their impact on the area’s food and cultural landscape. Then in Miami, he meets with members of the proud local Haitian community.

Bon appetit!

 

Shout Select reissues “City Slickers” on Blu-ray. Hop aboard!

Looking to hitch on something Slick . . . other than grace? How about City Slickers, the uproarious 1991 buddy comedy,starring  Billy Crystal, Bruno Kirby, Daniel Stern and Jack Palance, The slick flick is being reissued by Shout Select on a treasure-laden Blu-ray featuring a new 4K scan, audio commentary from director Rob Underwood, Crystal and Stern, oodles of specially-created featurettes and deleted scenes. The film is released October 16; order from shoutfactory.com and receive a free 18-inch by 24-inch rolled poster featuring brand new artwork.
This insightful, delightful comedy about cowboys, careers and midlife crises stars Crystal as 39-year-old New Yorker Mitch Robbins, who’s tired of his job and bored with his life. So he and his two best friends (Kirby and Stern) trade their briefcases for saddlebags and set out to find freedom and adventure herding cattle under the wide New Mexico sky. But what they discover instead is scorching sun, sore backsides . . . and more about themselves and each other than they ever thought possible.  Aside from the trio of fish-out-of-water urbanites, City Slickers also stars the inimitable Jack Palance, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as leathery trail boss, Curly.

What godfather? The Mafia is showcased (better and scarier) in the riveting import, “The Octopus (La Piovra)”

We’re Italian.

We’re thisclose to (certain members of) the Mafia.

We pissed in our pants (with excitement) when we heard that MHz Networks has a new restored edition of the seminal Mafia Italaianj TV series, The Octopus (La Piovra), available September 18 day and date on MHz Networks’ SVOD service, MHz Choice and on DVD.

The 21-DVD box set  has been restored by RAI using the best available masters from their archives. Video and audio quality reflect the vintage nature of these classic programs.

First broadcast in Italy in 1984, The Octopus was an international phenomenon, running for 10 seasons over 18 years. The title of this classic Mafia thriller says it all, evoking the image of a secret criminal cabal extending its tentacles into every layer of society. Ultimately filmed on three continents, The Octopus brings scope and sophistication to the story of an age-old battle, and shows the cost men and women pay when they stand up to the injustice of organized crime.

Created by Oscar screenwriter Ennio de Concini, director Damiano Damiani and with music by legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricon (a true hero!), The Octopus was the first Italian TV series to take a realistic look at the Mafia and law enforcement. Michele Placido won international fame for his role as police inspector Corrado Cattani, a role that brought him icon status throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, where the show was particularly popular, to Indonesia, Australia and beyond.

The outstanding international cast included Academy Award-winner Martin Balsam, Remo Girone, Angelo Infanti, Francisco Rabal, Bruno Cremer and Luca Zingaretti.

Beginning with the third season, director Luigi Perelli and screenwriters Sando Petraglia and Stefano Rulli took over creative direction and the show went from strength to strength, culminating with the Season 4 finale, the final episode to feature Michele Placido’s Inspector Cattani, which achieved record viewing figures for Italian broadcaster RAI in 1989.

From the fifth season, Remo Girone’s arch villain Tano Cariddi took on added dimensions and became as iconic in his own right as Placido’s police inspector was. French actress Patricia Millardet and Italian leading man Vittorio Mezzogiorno led the revamped cast, and the series continued its groundbreaking, ripped-from-the-headlines plots–echoing and, in some cases, predating seminal events in the then-contemporary battle against the Sicilian Mafia.

This new edition of the complete series of The Octopus has been digitally restored with revamped, easy-to-read English subtitles and a wealth of DVD extras, including interviews with actor Remo Girone, director Luigi Perelli and writer Sandro Petraglia.

Arrow shoots some nifty DVDs right into fervid film fans’ hearts

Fall into autumn with a wonderful selection of DVDs from Arrow.

The hot, hot summer heat is finally starting to come to a close with the cool, crisp days of autumn right around the corner. To help you deal with the seasonal shift and welcome in the colors of fall, Arrow is giving viewers seven new films to keep you nice and cozy.

The slate begins with a couple of new entries from Arrow Academy starting with Tomu Uchida’s Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji.

Bloody Spear At Mount Fuji

This road adventure set during the Edo period is equal parts comedic and dramatic. A samurai and his two servants go on an epic journey is this hidden gem finally getting out to a wider audience.

From the Far East to the far west we shift with the release of the Peter Fonda directed western, The Hired Hand. Initially disregarded by critics and audiences, the film experienced a bit of a renaissance in 2001 thanks to a release from the Sundance Channel and is now considered a western classic. The film stars Fonda alongside Warren Oates.

The Arrow Video side brings out the reds of the season with two new horror titles starting with a brand new 4K restoration of Dario Argento’s horror masterpiece Deep Red. Long regarding as one of the greatest Italian horror films of all time, this edition comes fully loaded with bonus features to cure your Argento fever. Joining Deep Red is the extremely bizarre horror entry, The Baby. This strange look at an eccentric family and the social worker assigned to deal with them is sure to leave an impression. This release of the film includes a new retrospective from film professor Rebekah McKendry.

If you’re looking for a different brand of cult, Arrow has you covered with Horrors of Malformed Men and The Pyjama Girl Case. The former is a Japanese horror film from 1969 about a medical student that is perfectly sane but somehow ends up in an asylum. This classic is praised for its stylistic approach that lands all over the map.

Pyjama Girl Case, TheThe latter comes from director Flavio Mogherini and is the only giallo to take place in Australia. Following the true story of an unsolved Australian murder about a young girl that turned up dead on the beach in distinctive pajamas, this haunting giallo is sure to send a chill up your spine.

Arrow brings September to a close with Fred Zinnemann’s classic, The Day of the Jackal. Based on a novel written by Frederick Forsyth, this political thriller was nominated for 6 BAFTA awards, winning for best editing, and earn an Oscar nod.

Day Of The Jackal, The

The Day of the Jackal received a 4-star review from legendary critic Roger Ebert, who wrote that the film is “not just a suspense classic, but a beautifully executed example of filmmaking.”

 

PBS Distribution takes a revealing look in “The Amazing Human Body” 

Ever wonder how your body works?

Find out when PBS Distribution releases The Amazing Human Body.  This new series, presented in partnership with the BBC, explores the human body as viewers have never seen it before! Using cutting-edge graphics, the program reveals the surprisingly beautiful biological processes that keep humans alive.

Save the dates: The show is available on Digital September 20 and DVD September 25.

Discover the ingenious ways your body develops, adapts, and endures. How does your brain communicate with your body in order to help you learn new skills? What is the connection between a teenager’s craving for fatty foods and sudden growth spurts? And how does cell regeneration allow an octogenarian to compete in a grueling triathlon and live to tell the tale? Case studies from across the globe showcase the dazzling secret science of the human body.

A child prodigy in Phoenix demonstrates the brain’s ability to prioritize mental development over physical growth, a chilling dip in an icy lake reveals how shivering might just save our lives, and low-level torture in a London laboratory highlights the way our bodies block pain. Witness the fascinating and finely tuned systems that keep your body motoring – and the scientists guessing.

 

Don Graham takes a “Giant” and riveting look into the film that takes a wide-angle look of America

As I was doing research for my new book, Judy Garland Slept Here (to be published in September 2019 by Running Press), I read a most fascinating book which I dug into earlier: Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film (St. Martin’s Press; $27.99). Don Graham takes a larger-than-life narrative of the making of the classic film based on Edna Ferber’s controversial novel. Taking a wide-angle view of America—and Texas—in the Eisenhower era, Graham reveals how the film and its production mark the rise of America as a superpower, the ascent of Hollywood celebrity, and the flowering of Texas culture as mythology.

Featuring James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor, Giant dramatizes a family saga against the background of the oil industry and its impact upon ranching culture—think Spindletop Hill in Beaumont, Texas and the fabled King Ranch in South Texas.

Isolating his star cast in the wilds of West Texas in the summer of 1955, director George Stevens brought together a volatile mix of egos, anxieties, sexual tensions and talent. Stevens certainly had his hands full with Hudson’s latent insecurities, Taylor’s high diva-dom, and Dean’s rebellious antics. Yet he coaxed performances out of them that made cinematic history, winning Stevens the Academy Award for Best Director and garnering nine other nominations, including a nomination for Best Actor for James Dean, who died before the film was finished.

In this compelling and impeccably researched narrative history of the making of the film, Graham chronicles the stories of Stevens, whose trauma from witnessing the horrors of World War II intensified his ambition to make films that would tell the story of America; of Edna Ferber, a considerable literary celebrity who meets her match in the imposing Robert Kleberg, proprietor of the vast King Ranch; and of Glenn McCarthy, the Errol Flynn lookalike who became the most famous wildcatter in Texas history and the builder of Houston’s grand Shamrock Hotel.

Drawing on archival sources, Graham’s book is a comprehensive depiction of the film’s production, showing readers how reality became fiction and fiction became cinema.

Arrow Video shoots straight to the horror heart of Halloween with these fab releases

Forget that summer has slowed down.

Before you trick, Arrow Video brings you treats for Halloween.

A sampling . . .

Arrow Video releases a pivotal work in the career of director Kinji Fukasaku with the release of Street Mobster.
Street Mobster

A street wise punk with untamed anger and a lack of respect for authority gets caught in a bloody street war in hopes of securing turf for the remnants of a gang he once belonged to.

For fans of Italian horror you’ll want to take note as The Cat O’Nine Tails and What Have They Done to Your Daughters? come to Blu-ray.  The former is the middle entry in the “Animal Trilogy” from the maestro Dario Argento, and is the tale of a newspaper reporter and retired, blind journalist that join forces to solve a series of killings connected to a pharmaceutical company’s top-secret projects.

The latter is director Massimo Dallamano’s story of a police investigation into teen suicide that uncovers the dark details behind a teenage prostitution racket. Both films are landmark entries in Italian genre cinema.
Then there’s The Gore Gore Girls, a darkly comedic spatter fest from legendary filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis follows a young reporter as she attempts to solve the murder of a Chicago stripper.
Gore Gore Girls, The
The last film Lewis would make before returning 30 years later, it marked the first time he submitted one of his films to the MPAA where it would receive an X rating

Tideland is  a controversial film from visionary director Terry Gilliam that follows a young girl who is left alone in a decrepit country estate where she is forced to live within her own imagination.
Tideland
Responses to this dark fantasy have been divisive across the board, but one thing that can be agreed upon is that you won’t soon forget it.

Dope beats, unfriendly fire and the biggest, nastiest snake you’ve ever seen star in the hiss-terical comedy “Snake Outta Compton”  

Expect the unexpected a mere week before Halloween when Snake Outta Compton arrives on DVD, Digital and On Demand from Lionsgate.

It’s a great day in South Central: Cam and his hip-hop crew are all set to sign a record deal that could change their lives. But their jealous friend Vurkel wrecks their plans when he creates a giant, mutant snake that quickly lays waste to the city of Compton, eating everyone in its path. Soon Cam, Pinball, Neon, and Beez Neez cook up a crazy scheme to stop the monstrous, munching menace: Aided by two corrupt cops, a crazed gangster and a mad scientist, the band has one thing to do before getting the record deal they need–get that motherfuckin’ Snake Outta Compton!
Prepare yourself for dope beats, unfriendly fire, and the biggest, nastiest snake you’ve ever seen in this outrageous hiss-terical comedy.