Any movie with Beth Grant in its cast demands to be watched. Savored. And watched again.
I have known this treasure since the ’80s. personally and professionally. she never disappointed me. Never.
And so Lionsgate will be releasing her latest film, Wander Darkly, on DVD and Blu-ray February.
There is so much we can praise about the film (writer/director Tara Miele’s swift direction), flawless performances by Sienna Miller, Diego Luna, Aimee Carrero, Tory Kittles, Vanessa Bayer and, of course, Grant.
Yet there is too much we cannot share [read: reveal] and spoil the film’s taut core. What we will share is that the tragic auto accident experienced by Adrienne (portrayed by Miller) and Matteo (Luna) send their loves into a surrealistic downward spiral . . . forcing them to relive loving memories while confronting overwhelming truths. The final discovery? We clam up here.
Some say the film reminds them of Ghost. We see that. sort of.
But Wander Darkly is Miele’s champion . She offers a profound new perspective on the delicate nature of relationships with this emotionally moving story.
Perhaps nothing is as sweet and heartfelt as a love letter. Writing them is a lost art . . . in this frenzied society, couples would rather email and text thoughts of affection and love, often punctuated with one of those ugly, rude heart-shaped icons. Does anyone even know how to write in longhand?
And so we introduce you to Bob and Mariellen, a young man and woman who met at a USO dance in the summer of 1942. She was a college student at UCLA; he was a college student training as an aviation cadet. It was the onset of World War II, and fell madly in love before he was shipped to the South Pacific. They saw each other almost every weekend through the summer and fall, marrying that winter, before Bob was shipped overseas.
And so we introduce you to Letters Across the Pacific: A Love Story in the Time of War (BookLocker, $18.99). This is the story is about lovers and their lives, lives lived mostly through letters. It is a story written by the person who knew them well: Daughter April.
Their love letters are time capsules. We glimpse a marriage during the ’40s, during time in the South Pacific during WWII. We read slang and military jargon. We hear longing on both sides. We listen while they write of babies born and thunderstorms raging.
As time went on, Bob shares his feelings about phone calls, mail and the war. Mariellen continues to be supportive but also deals with the effects of staying home alone, pregnancy and her haunting concern for her husband’s safety.
Through WWII and the Korean War, they continue to navigate their lives through letters. Children arrive. Love endures.
The letters were saved and treasured by both of them. The letters traveled the world. And they survived. This story is the true account of their lives, told by them and related by their daughter.
We cannot think of a sweeter, more touching valentine.
MVD Entertainment is releasing more titles from the Yari Film Group, an independent film company founded in 2002. New titles this month:
Making its debut on physical media on Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD and digital comes Yari’s feature directorial debut Mind Games. Maxwell Caulfield stars in this taut psychological thriller about a family’s battle for survival against a cruel, scheming stranger.
Trapped in an unhappy marriage, Dana Lund (played by Edward Albert) and his wife, Rita (Shawn Weatherly) try to breathe new life into their relationship by taking a trip through northern California with their 10-year-old son Kevin (Matt Norero).
Along the way they pick up Eric (Caufield) an amiable hitchhiker who’s a psychology student. But Eric’s charm masks the fact that he is psychotic. Sensing the Lund’s vulnerability, he decides to take control of the family, then destroy it through deceit and emotional manipulation. At first the Lunds are easy prey until they realize they’ve become victims of a bizarre reign of terror. They begin to fight back in a desperate attempt to save themselves from Eric’s madness and perverse, well, mind games.
The Special Edition Blu-ray of Mind Games includes great exclusive bonus material including a brand new feature length documentary The Making of Mind Games, featuring interviews with Mawell Caulfield, Norero and Weatherly, producer Mary Apick and director Yari.
Additional features include “Bob Yari: Portrait of a Producer“, a retrospective featurette on the career of the producer of the Academy Award Best Picture Winning Crash, The Illusionist and Find Me Guilty. Also included is the film’s original trailer, reversible artwork sleeve, mini-poster and a limited slipcover.
Guy Pearce, Piper Perabo and Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons star in First Snow, an intriguing thriller about a man whose life spins out of control after psychic tells him his days are numbered. After his car breaks down in a desolate town, a slick salesman, Jimmy Starks (Pearce), visits a fortune teller (Simmons) to kill some time.
But the psychic’s ominous reading sends Jimmy’s life into a tailspin when he learns that his life will soon end, but he is safe at least, until the first snow of the season. Now, with his ultimate fate looming nearer, Jimmy becomes obsessed with revisiting his past in hopes of changing his destiny before it’s too late.
Sarah Michelle Gellar leads an all-star cast including Lee Pace and Michael Landes in the year’s most mesmerizing thriller, Possession. Newlyweds Jess (Gellar) and Ryan (Landes) seem to have it all until a car accident renders both Ryan and his brother Roman (Pace) comatose.
But things spin even more eerily out of control when Roman awakens and tries to convince Jess that he is her husband. Beside herself with fear and grief, Jess grapples with one question: Could the man before her actually be the man she lost….or does something far more sinister await her in his arms?
Academy Award winners Kim Basinger and Forest Whitaker join Danny Devito and an all-star cast in Even Money, a compelling thriller directed by Academy Award nominee Mark Rydell that follows the lives of nine individuals, as their fates become increasingly entwined in a web of addiction and gambling, culminating at one critical moment where their lives will be lost or reclaimed.
Struggling writer Kate (Basinger) loses her family’s savings at a casino; a washed-up magician ( Devito) tries to help Carol regain her money; Clyde (Whitaker) owes so much money to his dangerous bookie (Jay Mohr) that he asks his NBA-destined nephew (Nick Cannon) to throw the game.
Also starring Kelsey Grammer, Tim Roth, Ray Liotta and Carla Gugino, Even Money is a cautionary thriller about addiction and deception that hits a jackpot of suspense.
We turned green with fear and shock the first time we watched The House By the Cemetery, a truly frightening horror flick released in 1984. So bloody that cuts had to be made in Europe before its release.
Let us tell you the story: A young family moves from their cramped New York City apartment to a spacious new home in New England. But this is no ordinary house in the country: the previous owner was the deranged Dr. Freudstein, whose monstrous human experiments have left a legacy of bloody mayhem. Now someone ( or something) is alive in the basement, and home sweet home is about to become a horrific hell on earth.
Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Ania Pieroni, Carlo De Mejo and Dagmar Lassander star in this outrageous Italian shocker from Godfather of Gore Lucio Fulci.
Now, Blue Underground is now proud to present the flick in a new 4K restoration from the original uncut and uncensored camera negative, fully loaded with exclusive new and archival extras.
Bask in . . .
Disc 1 (Blu-ray) Feature Film + Extras
NEW! Audio Commentary with Troy Howarth, author of SplinteredVisions: Lucio Fulci and His Films
Poster & Still Galleries
Disc 2 (Blu-ray) Extras: Meet the Boyles Interviews with Stars Catriona MacColl and Paolo Malco Children of the Night Interviews with stars Giovanni Frezza and Silvia Collatina Tales of Laura Gittleson Interview with Star Dagmar Lassander My Time With Terror Interview with Star Carlo De Mejo A Haunted House Story Interviews with Co-Writers Dardano Sacchetti and Elisa Briganti To Build a Better Death Trap Interviews with Cinematographer Sergio Salvati, Special Make-Up Effects Artist Maurizio Trani, Special Effects Artist Gino De Rossi, and Actor Giovanni De Nava
NEW!House Quake Interview with Co-Writer Giorgio Mariuzzo
NEW! Catriona MacColl Q&A
NEW! Calling Dr. Freudstein Interview with Stephen Thrower, Author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci
Disc 3 (CD): Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Walter Rizzati
BONUS! Collectible Booklet with new essay by Michael Gingold
We are often on overload.
And that’s a good thing.
Especially when MVD Entertainment Group announces new DVD and Blu-Ray releases. They are titles movie mavens have wanted to (finally) be released; even re-released since the group’s various labels offer truly wonderous titles, almost always in new high definition prints.
Can we hear a bravo?
One gem: The Point! makes its HD debut on both Blu-ray and HD Digital in an Ultimate Edition. In late ’70, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson released his groundbreaking album, “The Point!”, a thematically brilliant, densely orchestrated concept album packed with more hooks than a meat locker. According to Nilsson himself: “I looked at the trees and realized all the leaves came to points and even the branches came to points. I thought, ‘Oh! Everything has a point, and even if it doesn’t, there’s a point to it.'”
Produced in ’70, the animated film version of The Point! first aired February 2, 1971, as an ABC Movie of the Week. The film was directed by Oscar-winner Fred Wolf and produced by Murakami-Wolf Films in association with Nilsson House Music. Complete with story and songs written by Nilsson and narration by Ringo Starr, The Point! is a timeless enchanting fable for the whole family to enjoy!
Years ago there was a place called The Land of the Point, because everything in The Land of the Point had one: the barns, the houses, the cars, everything-–even the people. Everyone, that is, except Oblio (played by Brady Bunch alum Mike Lookinland) who was born round-headed. Since he had no point, Oblio—along with his trusty dog, Arrow—was banished to the Pointless Forest. Join them to see what wonders await these two intrepid travelers as they make their way on their amazing, song-filled journey of discovery.!
With the entire re-release endeavor overseen by Lee Blackman for the Nilsson Estate and MVD Rewind Collection’s Eric D. Wilkinson, the project proved to be a challenging process.
According to Wilkinson, “We searched everywhere but came up empty-handed in regard to locating the original negative elements. Thanks to the generosity of collector Kier-La Janisse, who provided a rare 16mm print, we oversaw a 2K HD scan, which included shot-by-shot color-grading to reduce fade and improve consistency. Considering the condition of the elements we had – while a complete restoration proved to be unfeasible – the end result is the best the film has ever looked and we are proud to give fans and collectors the best edition on disc and digital that has ever been created for this classic animated film.” The Point! Ultimate Edition Blu-ray is packed with hours of bonus material that includes not only all of the previously available bonus featurettes, but also brand new material produced exclusively for this release by Kier-La Janisse and Lee Blackman, including new interviews with voice-over cast member Mike Lookinland; screenwriter Norm Lenzer; Harry Nilsson’s son Kiefo Nilsson and composer/producer Bobby Halvorson; and Nilsson biographer Alyn Shipton, whose featurette contains mini-interviews with several people familiar with Harry Nilsson’s work on film.
Many think that issues of transition are a recent occurrence . . . some even peg it to the news frenzy when Cher’s daughter Chastity announced she was transitioning into a man, Chaz.
Think again. Becoming a Man: The Story of Transition (Simon & Schuster, $26) explores one man’s gender transition amid a pivotal political moment in America. For 50 years, author P. Carl lived as a girl and a queer woman, building a career, a life and a loving marriage . . . yet still waiting to realize himself in full. As Carl embarks on his gender transition, he takes us inside the complex shifts and questions that arise throughout—the alternating moments of arrival and estrangement. He writes intimately about how transitioning reconfigures both his own inner experience and his closest bonds—his 20-year relationship with his wife, Lynette; his already tumultuous relationships with his parents; and seemingly solid friendships that are subtly altered, often painfully and wordlessly. Carl blends the remarkable story of his own personal journey with incisive cultural commentary, writing brilliantly about gender, power, and inequality in America.
His transition occurs amid the rise of the Trump administration and the #MeToo movement—a transition point in America’s own story, when transphobia and toxic masculinity are under fire even as they thrive in the highest halls of power. Carl’s quest to become himself and to reckon with his masculinity mirrors, in many ways, the challenge before the country as a whole, to imagine a society where every member can have a vibrant, livable life. Here, through this brave and deeply personal work, Carl brings an unparalleled new voice to this conversation.
FYI: On March 26, 2017 Carl became a man.
Forget Frozen. Perhaps the best film taking place on frozen water (think ice) is The Ice King(Film Movement). With a mix of new interviews, crisp footage and a treasure-trove of archival materials, Emmy-nominated documentarian James Erskine takes viewers on an emotionally resonant journey through John Curry’s remarkable life and career. Curry transformed ice skating from a dated sport into an exalted art form. Coming out on the night of his Olympic win in 1976, he became the first openly gay Olympian in a time when homosexuality was not even fully legal.
Toxic yet charming; rebellious yet elitist; emotionally aloof yet spectacularly needy; ferociously ambitious yet bent on self-destruction, Curry was a man forever on the run: from his father’s ghost, his country, even his own self.
Above all, he was an artist and an athlete whose body time and time again—sometimes against his will—became a political battlefield. This documentary uses Curry’s life and accomplishments to chart both the evolution of competitive ice skating and of the gay movement of the ’70s and ’80s that culminated in the onslaught of AIDS, which he was diagnosed with in 1987 and which contributed to his death in 1994.
On the Beautiful Blue Danube: Creating the Music ofThe Ice King
Doris Day once told us that “four-legged animals are so much nicer than the two-legged ones”.
We couldn’t agree more.
In Animal Babies: First Year on Earth viewers meet six baby animals from across the globe, the toque macaque monkey, the spotted hyena, the African elephant, the sea otter, the mountain gorilla, and the Arctic fox. Like all babies, young animals can have a first year filled with joy, love and play. To survive, however, they must overcome threats and challenges, from rivals, from the elements, and from predators. Follow along as they experience joy and hardship, confront near-daily adversities, navigate their habitats and overcome challenges in their first year of life
Renowned wildlife cinematographers tell the stories of these magical first months in three parts, First Steps, Testing the Limits and New Frontiers. They travel the globe to follow the lives of these six iconic baby animals as they grow and develop. This is the story of what it takes to survive in the wild. This is their first year on Earth. Welcome.
Husband. Father. Agent. Killing Machine. And action movie wonder. Don’t miss Dolph Lundgren in the intense action thriller Hard Night Falling (Lionsgate), now wowing audiences on DVD, Digital and On Demand.
Lundgren stars as a highly trained foreign operative fighting a criminal mastermind to save not only hostages, but his imperiled family as well. This is a must-have for every Lundgren fan.
More on this intense action thriller. After years fighting crime at Interpol, agent Michael Anderson (Lundgren) takes the night off to reconnect with his estranged wife and teen daughter at an Italian villa. But their peaceful night is shattered as mastermind Goro and his mercenaries invade the property, hoping to find a lost cache of gold. With his family in danger, Anderson summons his team of crack operatives to help turn the tide and wipe Goro off the map.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day: A supernatural thriller summoning the darkest evil through a viral challenge. The Gallows Act II has arrived on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital) and DVD from Lionsgate.
You were expecting a box of chocolates?
Blumhouse Productions’ The Gallows Act II is a sequel to 2015’s The Gallows, with both films written and directed by Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff. When teenage vlogger and aspiring actress Auna Rue logs onto a sinister website, she’s trapped in the malevolent world of a cursed stage play, The Gallows. After performing a passage from the play for her tiny online fan base, Auna instantly achieves the stardom she seeks—as well as a twisted challenge from a deadly spirit (The Hangman) in this nightmarish supernatural thriller from the company that brought you Paranormal Activity and Insidious.
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