Category Archives: Movies

Kenneth Mader’s award-winning sci-fi thriller “Displacement” comes to DVD

Have you ever wanted a second chance? To give someone a gift you weren’t able to give? Tell them you loved them one last time? These are the questions at the heart of Chicago native writer/director Kenneth Mader’s award-winning sci-fi thriller Displacement (All Channel Films), a character-driven time travel story that explores themes of love and loss, the power of forgiveness, and the consequences of turning back the clock.

The flick stars Courtney Hope, Bruce Davison, Susan Blakely, Sarah Douglas, Lou Richards and Christopher Backus.

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“The response to the film in theatrical, digital and festival release around the country has been great,” says Mader, “and I’m thrilled to be able to bring it to DVD fans nationwide.”

Grieving over the death of her mother (Blakely) to cancer, Cassie must find a way to reverse the anomaly and solve the mystery of Brian’s death, all while avoiding a shadowy group that is dogging her every move, sending Cassie on a journey that will shake her very core, setting off a chain of events that brings her to the brink of complete emotional and physical collapse.

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In order to untangle the anomaly, Cassie seeks counsel from her old physics professor (Davison), encounters her estranged physicist father (Richards) and finds herself being repeatedly interrogated by the mysterious Dr. Miles (Douglas) all of which reveal clues that lead her further down a path toward discovery and potential redemption. But at how steep a price?

Save the date: “Endeavour Season 4” hits shelves September 5 

It’s the summer of 1967, and the effects of the Cold War and ’60s counterculture are being felt in Oxford. It has barely been two weeks since the events depicted in the season three finale, and we find Oxford’s finest picking up the pieces of their personal and professional lives. Endeavour waits to hear the result of his Sergeant’s Exam, and self-medicates to numb his heartache over Joan, but whisky and Tännhauser will only get a man so far. Meanwhile, Thursday and Win deal with their own sense of grief. Their home is empty, Sam gone to the Army and Joan . . . who knows where?

Welcome to Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour Season 4 will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on September 5. The program will also be available for digital download. Save the date!

A description of each of the episodes from Season 4 is listed below.

Game
Endeavour, struggling with Joan Thursday’s sudden departure, finds himself consumed by a nightmarish hunt for a serial killer. He must race against time to find the connection between a chess-playing “thinking” machine and a baffling drowning.

Canticle
When morality advocate Joy Pettybon receives a death threat, Endeavour must protect her at all costs. But the arrival of a rebellious band, The Wildwood, quickly drags Endeavour into a bloody war of social attitudes that just had its first fatality.

Lazaretto
Whispers of a cursed ward at the local hospital and a seemingly innocuous death begin a chain of events that leads Endeavour to investigate the dark depths of the hospital, its staff and its patients. Meanwhile, he is forced to confront his own ghosts as he discovers a chilling secret.

Harvest
The extraordinary discovery of a 2,000-year-old body reveals a new lead in a missing person case. Endeavour and Thursday must investigate the eerie village of Bramford, where nature is pitted against man and pagan rites hide nuclear mysteries.

 

Scarlett Johansson comes out of her shell for Manga mavens

Remember the controversy? The first photo of Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi in the film Ghost in the Shell [below] was released and fans and fanatics cried that the casting of the live-action adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s manga series was “another Hollywood whitewashing incident.”
Ghost In The Shell Scarlett Johansson

Steve Paul, one of the flick’s producers left his shell and  promised “everybody is going to end up being really happy with it,  when they see what we’ve actually done with it. I don’t think anybody’s going to be disappointed.”

You decide now that Ghost in the Shell is available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray Combo Packs from Paranount Home Entertainment.

Manga maniacs know the story: Major (Johansson), who believes she was rescued from near death. The first of her kind, Major is a human mind inside an artificial body designed to fight the war against cyber-crime. While investigating a dangerous criminal, Major makes a shocking discovery . . .  the corporation that created her lied about her past life in order to control her. Unsure what to

believe, Major will stop at nothing to unravel the mystery of her true identity and exact revenge.
Says Scarlett: “I think when you have a character that’s so beloved, people have a lot of opinions about these characters that they love and grew up with and are inspired by and so forth. I try to kind of clean the slate and really follow my instincts with the character and hope that I give the character as much integrity as people expect,. Bringing these pages to life is a kind of challenge. Because you can’t rip it off the page, it’s totally different. You’re playing it as a–it’s not really a person, but it’s a human brain, it’s someone who’s having this life experience. Which is very different from just ripping stuff off from the manga.”

The acclaimed “Heal the Living” comes to Blu-ray and DVD from Cohen Media Group

Following a successful and acclaimed U.S. theatrical release, Cohen Media Group will release Katell Quillévéré’s Heal the Living on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms on August 29, 2017.

Director and co-writer Quillévéré’s film, adapted from the Booker Prize-longlisted novel by Maylis de Kerangal, is an elegant and moving drama about families brought together by shocking news. Quillévéré carefully weaves together three seemingly unrelated stories: a French teenager and his friends on a surfing road trip that leads to tragedy; a woman in another town who learns that her weak heart is beginning to fail and action must be taken; and two teams of doctors and medical experts who struggle through their day-to-day attempts to save lives.
These plot threads are tied together in unexpected ways, creating an emotionally intense drama involving estranged parents, family secrets and a tragic accident. Ultimately, Heal the Living is an impassioned story of personal connections that philosophically, spiritually and literally plumbs the depths of the human heart.
Emmanuelle Seigner, Tahar Rahim, Anne Dorval  and screen newcomer Gabin Verdet star in this moving and eloquent film.
The film was an Official Selection at the Venice Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. It has received widespread praise, both for its stylistic innovation and its emotional power.
Bonus features on the Blu-ray and DVD include an interview with director Katell Quillévéré.

 

25 years after its release, “Juice” still is a powerful flick, now on its Blu-ray debut

Paramount is pushing the power of Juice. A powerful morality tale steeped in ’90s urban culture, Juice marked the feature directorial debut of Spike Lee’s acclaimed cinematographer Ernest R. Dickerson and the first starring roles for Omar Epps and an electrifying Tupac Shakur.

Now, 25 years later, the gritty and influential film continues to be celebrated for its realistic portrayal of Harlem life, the early New York hip hop scene and the fate of four friends in pursuit of the power and respect they call the Juice.

To mark the film’s silver anniversary, Paramount Home Media Distribution has released the film on Blu-ray for the first time ever, and it’s packed with brand new interviews with Dickerson, producer David Heyman, Epps and fellow actors Khalil Kain and Jermaine Hopkins.  The cast and crew look back on making the film, share heartfelt stories of working with Shakur and reveal the influence that Juice had on them both personally and professionally. The in-depth featurettes are also loaded with never-before-released footage of the cast on set and vintage interviews with Shakur, Queen Latifah, Cindy Herron of En Vogue, the Shocklee brothers, Eric B, EPMD, Cypress Hill and more.  Along with a brand new commentary by the director, fans also will get to see the original ending and hear Dickerson detail the reasons that it was changed prior to the film’s theatrical debut.

Juice has also been released on DVD and on Digital HD.

“Nova: Building Chernobyl’s MegaTomb” proves another disaster looms

Ever wonder why Nova, now in its 44nd season, is the most-watched primetime science series on American television, reaching an average of five million viewers weekly? The series remains committed to producing in-depth science programming in the form of hour-long (and occasionally longer) documentaries. Witness another wonder: Nova: Building Chernobyl’s MegaTomb (PBS Distribution).

In 1986, in the heart of the Ukraine, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded, releasing 400 times more radiation than the Hiroshima Bomb. It was the world’s worst nuclear disaster.  Thirty workers died. 50,000 people fled the nearest city. And radioactive fallout made an area larger than Long Island a no-go zone. Hastily, a so-called “sarcophagus” was built to contain the radioactive materials that lingered at the site after the explosion. But 30 years later, the sarcophagus is crumbling, and another disaster at Chernobyl looms.

Now, an international team of engineers is racing the clock to assemble one of the most ambitious superstructures ever built … an extraordinary 40,000 ton, 1.5 billion dollar mega dome to entomb the crumbling remains of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Battling arctic winter weather–and lethal radiation–this DVD features the inside story of the epic race to build Chernobyl’s MegaTomb.

“Family Mission: The TJ Lobraico Story” is profound, powerful

105th Airlift Wing NY Air Nation – Used by Permission of the Lobraico Family
TJ Lobraico, a young Air Force Staff Sergeant from a small-town in Connecticut, was on patrol with his unit in Afghanistan, five miles north of Bagram Airfield in September of 2013. The American patrol interrupted an enemy IED team, and TJ ran into enemy fire to protect his teammates and the K9 unit patrolling with them.   He was hit multiple times by small arms fire and died on the battlefield.
TJ was born into a close USAF family that served together at Stewart Air National Guard Base in New York. His mother is a Lt. Colonel and his father a USAF Master Sergeant in the security forces, both in the same unit in which TJ served. His stepfather is a former Air Force medical technician and his grandfather a retired two-star general.  TJ’s brother-in-law was with him when he died.
He was sworn in by his mother, and later buried by her after falling in combat. Family Mission: The TJ Lobraico Story (Virgil Films) is TJ’s story, but also that of an Air Force family that lost their youngest member to enemy fire, but still continues to serve; service to country is a true family mission.

First Run Features releases two great new DVDs . . . and all that jazz

Streisand wondered how do you keep the music playing? We wonder what does it take to keep Jazz Age music going strong in the 21st century? Two words: Vince Giordano. He’s a bandleader, musician, historian, scholar and Madhattan institution. For nearly 40 years, Giordano and The Nighthawks have brought the joyful syncopation of the ’20s and ’30s to life with their virtuosity, vintage musical instruments and more than 60,000 period band arrangements.

They take to the stage of Iguana (240 West 54 Street) every Monday and Tuesday evening. Three sets are performed from 8 p.m.-11 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.). There’s a $20 cash cover charge at the door + a $20 food/drink minimum. For reservations, call (212) 765-5454.

Can’t take the A train to NYC? We strongly encourages viewing Dave Davidson and Amber Edwards’’s There’s a Future in the Past (First Run Features), a beautifully-crafted documentary that offers an intimate and energetic portrait of a truly devoted musician and preservationist, taking us behind the scenes of the recording of HBO’s Grammy-winning Boardwalk Empire soundtrack, and alongside Giordano as he shares his passion for hot jazz with a new generation of music and swing-dance fans.

The DVD starts swinging on July 11.

Also swinging that day from FRF: The Penguin Counters. Armed with low-tech gear and high-minded notions that penguin populations hold the key to human survival, Ron Naveen lays bare his 30-year love affair with the world’s most pristine scientific laboratory: Antarctica. The film follows Ron and his ragtag team of field biologists to one of the harshest corners of the planet, where they track the impact of climate change and ocean health by counting penguin populations.

What’s unique about this film is the verité style of filmmaking (by Peter Getzels, Harriet Gordon and Erik Osterholm) on a scientific quest in the Antarctic, skillfully embedding an important environmental message with a good yarn. Special permits allowed unprecedented access to remote penguin colonies–in all their chaos and splendor.

Haunted by the ghosts of fallen explorers and charmed by the eccentricities of feathered bipeds, the penguin counters’ treacherous, heart-warming journey poses the ultimate question in the world’s fastest warming region: What can humans learn from penguins on the frontlines of climate change?

In “Opening Wednesday,” Charles Taylor explores what B-films embody of ’70s America

Classics such as Cabaret, The Godfather, Taxi Driver and The Wild Bunch reigned over ’70s cinema. But there are riches found in the overlooked B-movies of the time . . . flicks that were rolled out wherever they might find an audience, perhaps tell an eye-opening story about post-Watergate, post-Vietnam America. Missed them? Catch up with  Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s (Bloomsbury, $27), in which acclaimed film critic Charles Taylor revisits the films that don’t make the Academy Award montages and explores what these B-films embody of ’70s America.Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-in Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s

Opening Wednesday unlocks a forgotten treasury, films that display the honest, almost pleasurable, pessimism of the era, with a staying power that stands in opposition to what Taylor calls the current “infantilization” in Hollywood. Taylor argues that movies today—beginning with the unprecedented success of Star Wars in 1977—have devolved to “spectacle and gimmicks,” with sequels and remakes and spinoffs as the bulk of mainstream moviemaking, while films from the 1970s portray a “connection to the world, and to real-life emotions.”

In the essays of Opening Wednesday, Taylor pays homage to the trucker vigilantes, meat magnate pimps, blaxploitation “angel avengers,” and taciturn factory workers of grungy, unartful films such as Prime Cut, Foxy Brown and Eyes of Laura Mars.

He creates a compelling argument for what matters in moviemaking and brings a pivotal American era vividly to life in all its gritty, melancholy complexity.

“The Impossible Has Happened: The Life and Work of Gene Roddenberry, the Creator of Star Trek” flies high

The impossible has happened . . . and we don’t mean why we continue to question why William Shatner is a “star.”Image result for william shatner 2017

Last September marked the 50th anniversary of the debut of the world’s most successful science fiction television series: Star Trek. In The Impossible Has Happened: The Life and Work of Gene Roddenberry, the Creator of Star Trek (Aurum Press, $19.99), author Lance Parkin, goes in search of the show’s creator.

This book reveals how an undistinguished writer of cop shows set out to produce “Hornblower in space” and ended up with an optimistic, almost utopian view of humanity’s future that has been watched and loved by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Along the way Parkin examines some of the great myths and turning points in the franchise’s history, and Roddenberry’s particular contribution to them.Image result for The Impossible Has Happened: The Life and Work of Gene Roddenberry, the Creator of Star Trek 2017 He will look at the truth in the view that the early Star Trek advanced a liberal, egalitarian and multi-racial agenda, chart the various attempts to resuscitate the show during its wilderness years in the ’70s, explore Roddenberry’s initial early involvement in the movies and spin-off Star Trek: The Next Generation (as well as his later estrangement from both), and shed light on the colorful personal life, self-mythologizing and strange beliefs of a man who nonetheless gifted popular culture one if its most enduring narratives.