Category Archives: Movies

“Indiscretion” is a stylish, steamy thriller. Mira Sorvino is sizzling!

What a professional woman expects will be just a quick and harmless tryst with a handsome young artist becomes her worst nightmare in the sizzling new drama Indiscretion, starring Mira Sorvino. The seductive, steamy thriller arrives on MPI Home Video on November 14.

While her politician husband (Cary Elwes) and precocious teenage daughter (Katherine McNamara) are away, New Orleans psychiatrist Veronica Simon (Sorvino) enjoys a weekend fling with Victor (Christopher Backus), an alluring young sculptor. But after Veronica calls off the affair, Victor refuses to let go . . . and will stop at nothing to have Veronica for himself. Just how far will Victor go to get what he wants, and is there anything Veronica can do to stop his mad obsession before it destroys her family?
 
From filmmaking team Laura Boersma and John Stewart Muller (Fling) and guaranteed to appeal to fans of Unfaithful, Enough and Unforgettable (and perhaps Harvey Weinstein) this stylish psychological thriller reveals a woman pushed to the edge–who finds she must fight for what’s truly important to her or lose it all trying.

Cecil B. DeMille’s 102-year-old silent finds a “Captive” audience among cinema fans

Olive Films, truly a company to be revered for its interest in restoring and releasing films thought lost, has come up with yet another real winner.  The Captive, directed by a 34-year-old Cecil B. DeMille, is an amazing time capsule, showing a film maker’s early steps to understanding and exploiting  the new art form.

Image result for the captive demille poster

This is not a sword-and-swashbuckling lust-and-religion epic that modern audiences have come to expect from DeMille, but a small and delicate story about the triumph of love against all odds.

Older brother Marko, younger sister Sonia and cute little brother Milos live in a Balkan country at war with the Turks.  The older brother is killed. However, the conflict goes against the Turks, and prisoners are forced to aid families of the country where the older sister and little tyke live.  A Turkish nobleman, Mahmud Hassan, Bey of Karvan, is charged with serving Sonia and her young brother.  Yet DeMille steers the film into compelling territory: The sister and the nobleman fall in love, the Turks attack their cottage, threaten to kill and eat the tyke’s baby goat, as well as the usual rape and pillage.

How else can this end? The Turkish nobleman saves the day, clobbers a couple of Turks, and proposes to Sonia, who rejects him because he is of noble birth and she a simple peasant. Crushed, the Turk returns home, only to be stripped of all honors because of the aforesaid clobbering, so he hits the dusty road. Our heroine’s home is destroyed by more marauding Turks, and she hits the same dusty road with tyke and adorable goat, and, with the magic of cinema, they meet, embrace and  live happily ever after.

This rather ponderous detailing of what is an amazingly fast film— well under an hour—shows DeMille’s narration pile scene upon scene to construct the narrative.  The realism is amazing, the Turkish hoards are of reasonable  size, and the characters and relationships are developed, like building blocks, with nary a tease or  jump in logic, clearly the touch of genius is there.
Blanche Sweet and Page Peters (no relation to House), who plays her older brother.

The now-forgotten Blanche Sweet is a revelation in realistic film acting. The camera adores her; she is radiant in her every scene . Neither cloying nor plucky, she is completely convincing as the peasant girl who grows up and finds love.  The amorous Turk is played by House Peters, and the little tyke by Gerald Ward, two names perhaps even more obscure than Sweet.  The goat is suitably sympathetic.

For a film made 102 years ago, Olive has done a masterful job recreating the original color tinting on what appears to be a complete print thought lost for years. The Blu-ray is brilliant. If you enjoy silent films, get this, and if you have little experience with these period films you’d go far to find a better film reproduced in better condition.

Luke Hemsworth gives a star turn as “Wild Bill” Hickok, the actor’s first lead in a feature film

You’ve heard of the infamous legend.  Now you can meet him. Sort of.

Welcome to Hickok.

Following its theatrical release, the action-packed saga of the “Wild Bill” Hickok has rolled onto 4K UHD + BD and DVD. In the hopes of escaping his past as a notorious outlaw,  seeks redemption as a small town lawman.  Unfortunately, as the titular gunslinger discovers, the past has a way of catching up with you in Hickok, a frontier thriller starring Luke Hemsworth in his first leading role in a feature film; the period Western from Cinedigm and Status Media also stars Bruce Dern and country cronners Trace Adkins and Kris Kristofferson.

The story of the West’s most notorious gunslinger and his road to redemption, Hickok finds the infamous, hard-drinking outlaw (Hemsworth) in 1870’s Abilene, Kansas, seeking to start a new life.  Captivated by Wild Bill’s unparalleled gun skills, the mayor, George Knox, (Kristofferson) quickly ropes him in as the town marshal.  Recognizing the need to clamp down on the wildest cow-town in the west, Hickok soon finds himself at the center of a controversial ordinance while dispensing his own brand of frontier justice.
His attempts to protect Abilene, however, are quickly challenged by a band of outlaws led by powerful saloon owner Phil Poe (Adkins).  And when Poe places a bounty on Wild Bill’s head, the marshal, with the help of outlaw turned lawman John Wesley Hardin, makes a stand for Abilene and his new life, while putting his reputation as the fastest draw in the west on the line.
Shot on the dusty, turn-of-the-century sets like Melody Ranch (also home to HBO’s Westworld), the action-packed HICKOK, directed by Timothy Woodward Jr. and written by Michael Lanahan, is filled with gritty authenticity.  Variety calls it “a respectfully sincere retelling of a familiar legend,” and of Hemsworth’s star turn, The Hollywood Reporter declares, “following in the footsteps of such actors as Gary Cooper, Jeff Bridges and Sam Elliott, among many others, the burly Hemsworth proves more than credible with his portrayal of the iconic gunslinger.”

First Run Features makes a run to the top spot with a trio of new DVDs

We are speeding so fast to get you new First Run Features news that we may a ticket. It’s worth it. Now on DVD:

Speed Sisters
A film by Amber Fares
English & Arabic with English subtitles, 2016
The Speed Sisters are the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East. Grabbing headlines and turning heads at improvised tracks across the West Bank, these five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene.
Weaving together their lives on and off the track, Speed Sisters takes you on a surprising journey into the drive to go further and faster than anyone thought you could.

Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame
A film by Tony Girardin
English, French & Italian w/ English subtitles, 2016
Giuseppe Marinoni found his calling when he transitioned from champion cyclist to master bike craftsman. But after years hunched over toxic fumes, his passion almost killed him. Today, at age 75, Marinoni is back in top shape, and decided to attempt the world hour record for his age group, all on a bike he built with his own hands almost 40 years ago.

Casablancas
A film by Hubert Woroniecki
When he created the Elite modeling agency in the ’70s, John Casablancas invented the concept of the “supermodel.” If names like Naomi, Cindy, Linda, Iman, Gisèle or Kate are part of popular culture today, it’s mostly his doing.
He lived a life many have dreamed about, surrounded by glamour and beauty. Now, John Casablancas tells his own story.


 

Summer is not over, now that “Baywatch” makes 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack & Blu-ray Combo Pack waves

Summer is still sizzling and Paramount Home Media Distribution is making waves with the release of Baywatch. This new extended version features outrageous footage not seen in theaters, on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack. Take a dip now that the flick has been released.

When a dangerous crime wave hits the beach, legendary Lt. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) leads his elite squad of badass lifeguards on a mission to prove you don’t have to wear a badge to save the bay. Joined by a trio of hot-shot recruits including former Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron), they’ll ditch the surf and go deep undercover to take down a ruthless businesswoman (Priyanka Chopra), whose devious plans threaten the future of the bay.

The Baywatch 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Packs include both the extended and theatrical versions of the film and are loaded with special features, including interviews with the sensational cast, a look at the “Baywatch” legacy, behind-the-scenes footage of the spectacular stunts, as well as deleted and extended scenes.  The film also boasts a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

And underwater?

“My Mother and Other Strangers” offers an absorbing adventure in 1943 Ireland

Shot on the stunningly beautiful Ards Peninsula Ards Peninsula in Northern Ireland, My Mother and Other Strangers (PBS Distribution) portrays the culture clash when a U.S. bomber base is established near the fictional village of Moybeg in 1943, bringing hundreds of gum-chewing, swing-band-listening American airmen to a remote Ulster farming community, with its winsome women and stolid workingmen.

The action is framed from the point of view of a young boy, Francis Coyne, whose childhood is populated by strangers. On the one hand, there are the friendly Americans in their Jeeps and airplanes, who treat him like a little brother.

Then there is his mother, Rose, an upright Englishwoman who married Michael Coyne and moved to his hometown, Moybeg, where she is raising their three children, teaching in the village school, and tending a grocery shop next to Michael’s pub. Despite being a pillar of the community, Rose has never fit in. She speaks more properly than the locals, loves English literature, and has a lively interest in the wider world.

Into this isolated domain comes Captain Ronald Dreyfus, U.S. Army Air Forces, who encounters Rose during a walk on the heath. When they meet again, he quotes her a line from Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott”—one of her favorite poems.

Captain Dreyfus is as reserved as Rose is. But in his capacity as base liaison officer, he has occasion to see her frequently: dealing with a fracas between airmen and regulars at the pub, arranging for an army nurse to care for a sick child, and planning a Christmas party for the school.

Both would-be lovers fight against the stronger feelings that are overwhelming them—emotions that are increasingly evident to those around them.

Wary of betraying her husband, Rose feels seized by some otherworldly force, a sentiment she can only recognize from a piece of literature—Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights—which she quotes from memory: “Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”

During its recent UK broadcast, viewers and critics were deeply moved by this bittersweet tale. “No other recent drama has captured quite so keenly a sense of the complex, hidden, unspoken desires that can roil away beneath even the quietest surface,” wrote the reviewer for The Telegraph.

Corneliu Porumboiu’s “The Treasure” is a madcap treasure

In the mood for a madcap comedy, “an ingeniously intricate goofball comedy that evokes heroes of legend while bringing sociological abstractions to mucky life”, as New Yorker scribe Richard Brody calls it? Look no further than The Treasure (IFC), coming to DVD on September 19.
The Cannes prize-winning charmer from acclaimed director Corneliu Porumboiu spotlights a hunt for buried treasure that sends two men on a surprising comic caper. Costi (portrayed by Cuzin Toma) is a workaday family man whose cash-strapped next-door neighbor (Adrian Purcarescu) makes him an intriguing proposition: Help him find the fortune reportedly buried somewhere on the grounds of his family’s country home and split the profits. But as the two men dig, they unearth more than they bargained for, excavating not only dirt, but traces of Romania’s often tumultuous history. Part modern-day fable, part profound social commentary, The Treasure confirms Porumboiu’s status as second scribe (Scott Foundas of Variety) gushes that the director is “one of our great contemporary observers of the human comedy”

MHz Choices makes big (ger) news four days before my birthday

My birthday (September 17) is big news, but four days before, September 13,  MHz Networks makes small-screen history when they premiere 1864 on its streaming service MHz Choice. This Danish drama of love in the time of war, reaches across eras to connect individual lives, confront a nation’s trauma, and examine the events of an epic war that formed the self-image of Denmark. Internationally renowned “Danish New Wave” director Ole Bornedal, read the letters of the soldiers to create a factual fairy tale.

Shot as a feature film and available as eight episodes, this sweeping drama reflects Borndal’s renowned mix of stylistic experimentation with engrossing stories, as seen in his thriller Nattevagten (1994), which screened at the Cannes, Toronto and Sundance film festivals; the American remake of Nightwatch; I am Dina, winner at the Montreal Film Festival; Just Another Love Story; The Substitute and Deliver Us From Evil, all winners of international prizes and acclaim. Bornedal also directed the top American horror film of 2012, The Possession, and co-produced Guillermo del Toro’s Mimic.

Bornedal has gathered the top acting talent of the current golden era of Denmark’s film and television, such as Sidse Babett Knudson, seen in the hit television series Borgen and Westworld, who delivers an unforgettable performance alongside her Borgen costar Pilou Asbæk, also known for Game of Thrones and The Borgias.
A TALE IN TWO ERAS 

1864 
Following victories over the Prussian Empire in the war of 1848-51, Denmark is emboldened and begins scheming to annex Schleswig into the Danish Kingdom. Armed with nationalist furor, the leader of the Parliament dismisses the country’s European treaties and throws Denmark into war with Prussia. Amid escalating conflict, two peasant brothers grow up and fall in love, both with the same well-read and beautiful woman. When the war erupts, these two young men volunteer for service, setting the stage for a sweeping drama.

Pilou Asbæk (Borgen, Game of Thrones) and Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen, Westworld) star in 1864

2014 
Meanwhile, in 2014, a young girl suffers the loss of her brother to the war in Afghanistan. Depressed and despairing, she takes a position as aide to an aging Baron, who happens to reside in the same countryside inhabited by the brothers in 1864. Here, she discovers a diary and encounters the extraordinary love triangle. She becomes an eyewitness to history, powerfully connected to the brothers—and thousands of Danish soldiers—who fought one of the nation’s bloodiest battles, a slaughterhouse that changed Denmark forever.

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.

CourtneyHope3

“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.

BruceDavison1

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.