My mother used to say that there are three sides to every story: His, hers and the truth. The power that behind the riveting film The American Side (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) insist that “there are three sides to every story…the truth, the lie and the American Side.”
American side, as opposed to the Canadian side. This gem was filmed at the falls. And then some.
When Charlie Paczynski’s raven-haired partner is caught in the crossfire of a blackmail scheme gone bad, he trails the prime suspect to the brink of Niagara, only to receive a cryptic warning: “what’s happening here you can’t begin to comprehend”… Thrust into a world populated by a whiskey-swilling raconteur (Robert Forster), strangely bonded siblings (Matthew Broderick and Camilla Belle), and a dubious government agent (Janeane Garofalo), Paczynski joins the quest for a long-lost design by enigmatic genius, Nikola Tesla. From the eccentric eavesdropper who gives him his first clue (yes! that’s Robert Vaughn, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) every door Paczynski forces open raises the stakes.
Reminiscent of the conspiracy thrillers of the ’70s, complete with a score by David Shire and packed with nods to Hitchcock and classic film noir, The American Side is a jigsaw puzzle mystery, climaxing under the roar of the Falls as the final piece snaps into place.The acclaimed neo-noir thriller stars Greg Stuhr as private detective Paczynski, whose investigation into a mysterious suicide leads him to unravel a conspiracy involving a long-lost design by forgotten scientist Nikola Tesla. (Hint: In 1893, Edward Dean Adams headed up the Niagara FallsCataract Construction Company, and he sought Tesla’s opinion on what system would be best to transmit power generated at the falls.)
At the heart of the story is the mysterious nature of science and the scientific mind. The plot revolves around a lost design by the man many consider the greatest inventor of any age–the tragically overlooked Serbian-American scientist, Nikola Tesla.
At the heart of the story is the mysterious nature of science and the scientific mind. The plot revolves around a lost design by the man many consider the greatest inventor of any age–the tragically overlooked Serbian-American scientist, Nikola Tesla.
Released by The Orchard digitally and on demand earlier this year, this entertaining homage to the detective stories of yesteryear is the perfect film for suspense fans of today.
Olive Films’ history of releasing forgotten and controversial films continues with The Outsider, a film about the Irish Troubles. The story of a disillusioned American Vietnam veteran who goes to fight for the I.R.A. only to discover he’s their pawn, the film received praise for its depiction of the moral murkiness of the Troubles. By all accounts, it is a war film with no heroism, glory, or ideals. Moreover, residents of Belfast frequently identify the movie’s portrayal of 1973 working class Belfast as one of cinema’s most realistic.
The Outsiderbecame the subject of controversy at its release due to its depiction of a British officer torturing an Irish prisoner. The film proved so controversial, in fact, that it was actually dropped from the 1979 London Film Festival. Having never been on disc before in the United States, Olive Films has given it a much-anticipated Blu-ray and DVD debut.
Gun the Man Down is a relatively obscure but entertaining Western. It is also a film of firsts. It was Angie Dickinson’s first starring role and the first Western directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, who went on to direct McLintock!, 116 episodes of Have Gun–Will Travel and 96 episodes of Gunsmoke. McLaglen’s direction isn’t the only thing Gunsmoke fans will recognize, because James Arness, known for playing Marshal Matt Dillon on the show for 20 years, stars in the film.
The script was by Burt Kennedy, who would become a director himself after a series of classic westerns working with Randolph Scott and Budd Boetticher. A Hollywood veteran, William Clothier, also deserves kudos for the film’s handsome black and white cinematography.
It was John Wayne (producer of Gun the Man Down through his Batjac Productions), who recommended Arness for the Gunsmoke part. Besides being an intriguing installment in the Western genre, it should also be of interest to fans because of how many future icons contributed to it.
More important elements of the film: Reportedly shot in just nine days, parts of the movie is told without dialogue. At one point, seven minutes pass without a word as the camera follows and crosscuts among several of the characters at the center of the story. Emmet is stalking Arness, searching the streets and buildings for him, while Dickinson and the two other members of the gang wait in the saloon for the sound of gunshots.
Olive Films continues playing the game, and they remain the winner in the victorious game known as Rare, Forgotten and Lost Movies That Must Be Seen and Owned.
Witness: Commemorating the 30th anniversary of Showtime’s first original movie, The Ratings Game, actor-director Danny DeVito and producer David Jablin sought to finally bring their passion project to the home video market. “Being collectors of special edition discs of our favorite films, we decided that if we were going to do it at all, we’d want to give our ‘baby’ the same kind of loving treatment and do it in a way that would appeal to comedy fans and video collectors like ourselves,” says DeVito.
“In looking for a distributor, we specifically wanted a filmmaker-friendly company that would recognize and respect that this was a passion project for Danny and I and still is” explains Jablin. “It’s been great dealing with everyone at Olive who have truly cared about getting all the details right as much as we have. Danny had the one print ever made of the film for its 1984 big-screen premier party in storage all this time and Olive Films has done an absolutely beautiful job restoring it in full HD.”
See what we mean? Olive played, they won, Danny and David won. And we won.
In 1984, Showtime Networks made their first foray into original movies with The Ratings Game starring Danny DeVito and his wife Rhea Perlman. The hilarious and biting take-down of the ratings-obsessed network television industry, which also marked DeVito’s feature directing debut, was greeted with love-letter reviews from critics and fans alike. The feature also boasts an eclectic comedy ensemble with performances from Gerrit Graham, George Wendt, Vincent Schiavelli, Ronny Graham, Steve Allen, Huntz Hall, Michael Richards and Jerry Seinfeld. Unfortunately, after its premiere, the film slipped through the cracks of the network’s slowly evolving distribution channels and fell into obscurity as a result, “except with its many fans who continue to hound us for copies to this day” adds Jablin.
With some notoriously bad, foreign-made bootleg versions floating around under the name The Mogul, the film has remained essentially lost for more than 30 years. “The mere existence of those totally crap bootleg copies really stuck in our craw and definitely motivated us to set the record straight and put out our film in all of its original glory,” adds DeVito.
In addition to the film itself, the DVD and Blu-ray includes a liner notes booklet with photos and art from the film, as well as a rare collection of four early short films directed by DeVito. “The bonus materials we included have also never been distributed on disc and were fan favorites from our early work,” says Jablin. Altogether they tell the story of Danny’s journey as a film director of distinction.”
She was considered, other than Wing, the worst singer who ever lived, if you want to call what came out of her mouth singing. Her name was Florence Foster Jenkins, famous for uttering “some may say that I couldn’t sing, but no one can say that I didn’t sing.” Meryl Streep plays her in the big-screen Florence Foster Jenkins. Missed the fun at the cineplex? The flick arrives on Digital HD November 29 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack December 13. The Blu-ray Combo Pack with Digital HD features 50 minutes of bonus content including behind-the-scenes footage, a Q&A with Streep, an exploration of the music, deleted scenes and much more.
While the voice she hears in her head is beautiful, to everyone else it is hilariously awful. Her husband and biggest fan, St. Clair Bayfield (portrayed by Hugh Grant) is determined to protect his beloved Florence from the truth. But when Florence stages a huge concert at Carnegie Hall, he faces his greatest challenge to make sure her performance hits all the right notes.
It would be Jenkins’ first and only performance at Carnegie Hall in 1944. The show sold out, some 2,000 were turned away and scalpers sold tickets for outrageous sums. Hmm, Jenkins died a month after that performance . . . not bad for an encore. Jenkins collapsed and died in Schirmer’s Music Store; her last words? “It must’ve been the creamed chicken.”
Cher has always wanted to turn back time. It’s been there, of sorts, in Back in Time , a documentary that’s a look at the very real impact the Back to the Future movies have had on our culture. This tightly-focused film shows that what was once a little idea became something truly amazing which resonated through the culture.
Spanning over two years of filming, Back in Time is a cinematic monument to the immensity of the trilogy’s fandom. By capturing countless of hours of footage and interviews, the crew watched as the impact of the trilogy became apparent. Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, James Tolkan, Lea Thompson, Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox give interviews about their experiences with the movie.
Back in Time began as a project conceived by Jason Aron, a fan of the Back to the Future series that was posted to the website Kickstarter in June 2013. More than 600 people backed the campaign, pledging more than $45,000 in order for the documentary to be made. The film was shot over a period of two years; while production primarily took place in the United States, another filming location was that of London, England during a Back to the Future fan event. The film opened theatrically on October 21 2015, the day that the series’ protagonist Marty McFly travels to in Back to the Future Part II. The DVD travels to store shelves on September 13.
Gregory Weinkauf of The Huffington Post said that the documentary “gets to the heart of the Back to the Future phenomenon, proving as enjoyable as the franchise it affectionately explores”, calling it “a delightful return to, and updating of, a beloved story”.
Olive Films continues its tradition of releasing lost, little-known films . . . even films that have had DVD life, but are resurrected through 4Ks scan of original camera negatives and crammed with essentials extras.
The next titles to be included in Olive Signature, a new series of DVD & Blu-ray releases offering deluxe editions of time-honored classics, fan favorites and under-appreciated gems from the Olive catalog. Olive Signature titles feature pristine audio and video presentation and an abundance of bonus material that will delight fans, collectors, and cinephiles. They continue the series with two distinct, but beloved classics. Save the release date: October 25.
The Quiet Man (1952)
Sean Thornton (portrayed by John Wayne), an American boxer with a tragic past, returns to the Irish town of his youth. There, he purchases his childhood home and falls in love with the fiery local lass, Mary Kate Danaher (the lovely Maureen O’Hara). But Kate’s insistence that Sean conduct his courtship in a proper Irish manner with matchmaker Michaleen Oge Flynn (Barry Fitzgerald) along for the ride as chaperone is but one obstacle to their future together; the other is her brother, “Red” Danaher (Victor McLaglen), who spitefully refuses to give his consent to their marriage, or to honor the tradition of paying a dowry to the husband. Sean couldn’t care less about dowries or any other tradition that might stand in the way of his happiness. But when Mary Kate accuses him of being a coward, Sean is finally ready to take matters into his own hands. The Quiet Man would go on to win two Academy Awards in 1953, including Best Director (John Ford) and Best Cinematography and received five more nominations including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (McLaglen).
Bonus tracks abound!
Mastered from 4K scan of original camera negative
Audio commentary with John Ford biographer Joseph McBride
Tribute to Maureen O’Hara with Ally Sheedy, Hayley Mills and Juliet Mills
Don’t You Remember It, Seánín?: John Ford’s ‘The Quiet Man’ –A visual essay by historian and John Ford expert Tag Gallagher
Free Republic: The Story of Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures
The Old Man: Remembering John Ford – An appreciation of the director with Peter Bogdanovich
The Making of The Quiet Man – Written and hosted by Leonard Maltin
The Night of the Grizzly (1966)
Adventure is the name of the game in this action-packed, western-tinged adventure. Clint Walker stars as “Big Jim” Cole, a former lawman who trades his badge for rancher duds when he inherits land in Wyoming. But no sooner has the Cole family begun settling into their new life when nature—in the form of a blood-thirsty grizzly bearrears its ugly head. Adding to the terror and tension are a group of envious neighbors who want the Cole property for themselves, and the unwelcome return of an outlaw from Big Jim’s past who’s out for revenge. Directed by Joseph Pevney, The Night of the Grizzly features a who’s-who of great character actors including Keenan Wynn, Jack Elam, Leo Gordon and Ron Ely.
New High-Definition digital restoration
Audio Commentary by film historian Toby Roan
Blood on the Claw: How Cheyenne Bodie Became a Movie Star – An essay by C. Courtney Joyner
The Legend of Big Jim Cole – Interview with Clint Walker
The Night of the Grizzly World Premiere archival footage
At Home with Clint Walker and His Home Gymnasium – Archival interview
The truth is always louder than mere words. Witness Louder Than Bombs (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), a riveting film in which a war photographer’s mysterious death is revealed.
Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne and newcomer Devin Druid star as family members coming to terms with conflicting memories and new revelations about the life and passing of their mother and wife, a renowned photographer played by Isabelle Huppert.
Directed by acclaimed Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier and co-starring Oscar nominees Amy Ryan and David Strathairn, Louder Than Bombs was an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival (2015), where it was nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or. Released theatrically by The Orchard earlier this year, the film arrives on DVD with director’s commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette and photo gallery.
What does Jesse Eisenberg think of his role? “There’s an enigmatic quality to the character I play,” he says. “His mother has killed herself, but he’s not reacting to his grief in a way that’s immediately obvious. And yet his reaction is emotionally correct. An actor will always take that kind of emotional logic and run with it, will make the character as eccentric as they can, because it’s rare to find a script, like this one, that allows an actor to behave ambivalently or to live out ambiguity. My character abandons his wife and child in a way that’s seems innocuous at first but then seems increasingly immoral. When I read the script, I couldn’t get his moral compass. It seemed vague. But then, when you’re acting it, it seems exactly right—this is what somebody would do in this particular situation.”
No one, nothing, did violence on the small screen as well (and bloody) as Cinemax’s Banshee. Die-hard fans—so die-hard they are called“Fanshees”—went into deep mourning when they learned the Emmy-winning action-packed series (ex-con assumes the identity of a small-town Pennsylvania sheriff deep in Amish country)—would be coming to an end.
A show source says that “we have not been canceled, but on the creative side, we have decided to end the show, basically because we were done telling the story. As Cinemax’s highest-rated show, no one was looking to cancel us. It was a creative decision. The premise was never meant to survive a long stretch. We all made the decision at the end of season three that we were going to make season four our grand finale.”
Banshee co-creator Jonathan Tropper adds his take: “’Banshee’ has been an incredible ride, and we continue to break new ground in season four. While we certainly considered returning for a fifth season, I always said that when the story was told, it would be time to move on, and that time has come. I am grateful to Cinemax for making ‘Banshee’ the great success it has been and for supporting our creative decision to wrap things up.”
This leaves four electrifying seasons, now on Blu-ray and DVD, though Banshee: The Complete Fourth Season doesn’t arrive until October 4. Sure to lift any “Fanshee” out of the doldrums, the three-disc sets are packed with behind-the-scenes extras including audio commentaries, exclusive deleted scenes, episode recaps, Banshee Origins (which tells the story behind the story with eight prequel videos featuring the cast of Banshee);Zoomed In Episodes 1–8 (an on the set feature highlighting how key, adrenaline-filled scenes were created); and specially-created cast retrospectives on “Best Fight Scenes” and “Job’s Best Outfits.”
Created by Tropper and David Schickler, Banshee charts the final twists and turns that follow Lucas Hood, an ex-convict who assumed the identity of sheriff in the Amish-area town Banshee, where his former lover and partner-in-crime was living under her own alias, Carrie Hopewell. The final season takes place two years after Lucas gave up his badge after a bloody, multi-million-dollar heist at the Camp Genoa Marine Base which proved costly: Carrie’s husband Gordon was killed, and Lucas’s longtime computer-hacker partner, Job, was abducted by a shady criminal ring.
After settling a score with a “recruiter” from Lucas’s past whom he hoped would have intel on Job, Lucas went on a bender before being rescued by an unlikely savior, Proctor’s niece. Emerging from a self-imposed exile, Lucas returns to Banshee to find it a changed town. Brock Lotus is now sheriff, Kai Proctor is the mayor, and the old “Cadi” police station has been replaced by a state-of the-art facility.
A new deputy with ties to Proctor, Nina Cruz, has joined Brock’s team, along with Kurt Bunker, the skinhead-turned-deputy who continues to make amends for his dark past while fighting the racist overtures of the group led by his younger brother Calvin. After reuniting with Carrie, their daughter Deva, and ex-boxer Sugar Bates, Lucas becomes immersed in a new Banshee crisis: rooting out a vicious serial murderer whose latest victim is someone near and dear to his heart.
IFC Films offers an August filled with a trio of must-see, must-own films.
In the span of 11 tense minutes, a whirlwind of interlocking tales of life in the surveillance age unfold in this stylish, propulsive thriller from acclaimed director Jerzy Skolimowski. In a city square in Warsaw, a sleazy film director “auditions” a married actress in a hotel room; a hot dog vendor goes about his work while concealing a dark secret; a drug runner has a tryst with a client’s wife; and a young man plots an ill-advised robbery.
Mixing sleek cinematography with footage from webcam, smartphone and CCTV cameras, 11 Minutes masterfully lays out the pieces of a puzzle and then brings them together in an explosive climax.
The IFC Films theatrical release, a winner of multiple prizes at the Venice Film Festival, Polish Film Festival and Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival, stars Richard Dormer, Paulina Chapko, Andrzej Chyra and Wojciech Mecwaldowski. “
In this captivating, star-filled road movie, a French woman finds liberation in the dusty highways, open spaces and smoky barrooms of the great American West. Diane Kruger stars as Romy, a Parisian who, while on vacation in California, breaks things off once and for all with her boorish husband (Gilles Lellouche) in a dramatic final fight. Now a free woman in a strange land, Romy embarks on a life-changing trip through the desert, crossing paths with strangers who impact her life in various ways: a kindly small-town police officer (Joshua Jackson), a pregnant, trailer park-dwelling mother (Lena Dunham) and a charming, ruggedly independent cowboy (Norman Reedus), with whom she finds the possibility of new love. Beautifully capturing the landscapes and soul of the Southwest, Sky, an IFC Films theatrical release and an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, is a stirring emotional odyssey about what it means to start your life over again.
Anthony Weiner was a young congressman on the cusp of higher office when a sexting scandal forced a humiliating resignation. Just two years later, he ran for mayor of New York, betting that his ideas would trump his indiscretions. With unprecedented access to Weiner, his family and his campaign team, the universally acclaimed flick is a thrilling look inside a political comeback-turned-meltdown. What begins as an unprecedented surge to the top of the polls takes a sharp turn once Weiner is forced to admit to new sexting allegations.
He desperately tries to forge ahead, but the increasing pressure and crippling 24-hour news coverage halt his political aspirations. With the city of New York as a loud and bustling backdrop, Weiner walks the line between political farce and personal tragedy as it plunges through an increasingly baffling campaign with unflinching clarity, humor and pathos. The IFC Films theatrical release won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.
August continues to bring daze, and as the big-budget summer blockbusters begin their annual invasion, those who have no interest in the usual explosive entertainment should look to IndiePix Unlimited, the signature subscription streaming service from IndiePix Films. Counter-programming of the highest order, they’ve carefully curated the “5 Must-See Films of Summer,” suitable for binge-watching indoors or anchoring your own festival.
Highlighted by the all-new digital release Mouton, a compelling French language drama which captured both a Special Jury Prize and Best First Film (from directors Gilles Deroo and Marianne Pistone) at the prestigious Locarno Film Festival; the essential must see films also include the world cinema festival favorites The Winter (Greece), Crumbs(Ethiopia) and Samson & Delilah (Australia) and Ondi Timoner’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning doc, We Live in Public.
Called “the independent film champion” by TechHive.com, consumers interested in programming their own film festival with IndiePix Unlimited and “5 Must-See Films of Summer” can simply visit indiepix-unlimited.tumblr.com/ and sign up for access to these cinematic gems, as well as a highly-curated catalog of 400+ acclaimed world cinema classics, short films, documentaries and more. For $5.99 per month (with the first month free!) IndiePix Unlimited offers movie lovers the opportunity to watch Indiepix’s deep, award-winning catalog anywhere and anytime through any platform . . . whether tethered to a desktop or out and about on an iPhone, tablet or Android device. With free apps supporting both iOS and Android devices, subscribers need only to sign up on the secure site for immediate 24/7 access.
Before you start logging in, let us give you a little more movie maven info about each of the must-see flicks. Mouton(France) Directors Gilles Deroo and Marianne Pistone borrowed from the cinema-verité handbook with their feature film debut, a highly original drama that follows cheerful 17 year-old, Aurélien Bouvier, also known as Mouton (Sheep). He works in the kitchen of the local seafood restaurant in the little town of Courseulles-sur-Mer on the Normandy coast and enjoys a simple life filled with work friendship and love. But when Mouton suffers a bizarre accident with a chainsaw during the Fête de la Sainte-Anne, the film’s focus turns to those left behind in a drama about which Variety loved the film, gushing: “Films that truly surprise are the rarest of the rare and Mouton‘s originality and intriguing docu-style approach make it impossible to dismiss as just another arty experiment”.
The Winter(Greece) The dazzling feature debut of talented VFX artist Konstantinos Koutsoliotas, this is the story of an impoverished writer, Niko (Theo Albanis) who leaves London for his family home in the Greek mountain town of Siatista.
Upon arriving, he discovers the home has been abandoned and is now haunted by the ghosts of the past. Working to retain his grasp on reality, Niko sets about to uncover the mystery of his father’s death in this poignant, fantastical drama blended with a touch of magical realism and influenced by the works of Poe and Lovecraft. It was nominated for a Méliès d’Argent Best Fantastic Feature Film at 2015 Imagine: Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival.
Crumbs(Ethiopia) Called “outlandish and imaginative” by The Hollywood Reporter and “an instant classic” by Movie City News.com, this film is a post-apocalyptic, surrealist science-fiction romance. Set against the background of spectacular Ethiopian landscapes, the film finds a strange-looking scrap collector, Gagano (played by the charismatic Daniel Tadesse). Alternately gripped by daydreams and constant fears, the diminutive Gagano has had enough of collecting the priceless crumbs of decayed civilization, including the most valuable: merchandise from Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan. When a spaceship that has been hovering high in the sky for years starts showing signs of activity, Gagano has to overcome his fears–as well as a witch, Santa Claus and second-generation Nazis–to discover things aren’t quite the way he thought. After its World Premiere in the Bright Futures section at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, followed by EFM in Berlin, Crumbs captured a special Nightfall Jury Mention at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival, and the New Flesh Award for Best First Feature Film at Montreal’s 19th Annual Fantasia International Film Festival.
Samson & Delilah(Australia) Best described as a “survival love story”, Australia’s official Oscar submission from 2009 and winner of the Caméra d’Or at Cannes for Best First Film, follows cheeky, aimless Samson (Rowan McNamara, in his big screen debut) and Delilah (Marissa Gibson), two indigenous 14 year-olds living in a isolated Aboriginal community in the desert of Central Australia. Among a tiny collection of houses, day in and day out, nothing changes and no one seems to care. However, when tragedy strikes, the duo are branded as outcasts and they turn their backs on home and embark for distant Alice Springs on a grueling road trip. Subjecting the wayward couple to extreme poverty, addiction and hunger, their journey of self-discovery helps them discover that while life isn’t always fair, love never judges.Based on director Warwick Thornton’s personal experiences, Samson & Delilah was an international smash, capturing 7 Australian Film Institute Awards, as well as Best Feature Film at the 2009 Asia Pacific Awards, Best Film at the Amazonas Film Festival in Brazil and the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film at the St. Tropez Film Festival in France.
We Live in Public (USA) Ten years in the making and culled from 5,000 hours of footage, We Live in Public reveals the effect the web is having on our society, as seen through the eyes of “the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of”, artist, futurist and visionary Josh Harris.
documented his tumultuous life for more than a decade to create a riveting, cautionary tale of what to expect as the virtual world inevitably takes control of our lives.
Whether you’re interested in binge-watching the 5 Must-See Films of Summer or creating your own queue filled with acclaimed cinema, don’t miss out on a truly unique, engaging and watercooler-worthy viewing experience with the IndiePix Unlimited!
Petrucelli Picks the best in books, music and film . . . and then some