Tag Archives: Cohen Film Collection

Petrucelli Picks: 2019 Gift Guide: The Year’s Best from the Cohen Film Collection

We like to think of the Cohen Film Collection as competition to the Criterion Collection; Cohen 2K and/or 4K restorations are stunning; they usually add fascinating bonus tracks and keeps their prices at amounts the average person can afford.
This year, the marvels we considered Cohen’s Best of the Year . . .

At the very top of the list moves that silence remains golden. Buster Keaton, one of the most important and highly-regarded comedians of Hollywood history, is celebrated in three volumes.  Comedian? Also  film director, producer, screenwriter and stunt performer.
The Great Stoneface’s brilliance is seen in three essential restored Blu-ray volumes.
The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 1 features The General and Steamboat Bill, Jr.)
The Buster Keaton Collection
The General is considered to be the last great comedy of the silent era, and it consistently ranks as one of the greatest films of all time on international critics’ polls. Orson Welles called the film the greatest comedy, the greatest Civil War movie, even the greatest film of all time.
Set during the Civil War and based on a true incident, the film is an authentic-looking period piece that brings the scope and realism of Matthew Brady-like images to brilliant life.

Keaton portrays engineer Johnnie Gray, rejected by the Confederate Army and thought a coward by his girlfriend (the so-underrated silent icon Marion Mack). When a band of Union soldiers penetrate Confederate lines to steal his locomotive, Johnnie Gray sets off in pursuit. In Steamboat Bill, Jr., as the son of a steamboat captain, Buster falls in love with the daughter of a rival steamboat owner. When a cyclone rages, Buster proves himself a hero by rescuing his love and her father from a watery grave.

The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 2 features Sherlock Jr.  and The Navigator. In Sherlock Jr., Buster plays a movie projectionist who daydreams himself into the movies he is showing and merges with the figures and the backgrounds on the screen. While dreaming he is Conan Doyle’s master detective, he snoops out brilliant discoveries.

The Buster Keaton Collection - Volume 2 (Sherlock Jr. / The Navigator) [Blu-ray]And in another hilarious comedy, Keaton and his sweetheart are cast adrift on a deserted ocean liner. The ship finally runs aground on a desert island where the two unfortunates are chased by cannibals. A box office success, The Navigator is also one of Keaton’s most revered films.

The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 3 features Seven Chances and Battling Butler.  In Seven Chances, Buster gets word that if he can be married by seven o’clock that evening he will inherit $7,000,000. When his sweetheart refuses, he proposes to everyone in skirts, including a Scotsman.
The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 3 (Seven Chances / Battling Butler) Hopeful still, he advertises for a bride and is horrified to discover 500 would-be-brides hot on his trail in a hilarious chase to the finish. Keaton remarked on occasion that Battling Butler was his favorite of all his films. Based on a Broadway play, the story revolves around a case of mistaken identity between two Alfred Butlers, one an effete millionaire (Keaton), the other the heavyweight champion of the world (the marvelous Francis McDonald).

Coincidence brings them to the same backwoods Kentucky neighborhood, where Butler-the-flop finds love with a mountain girl, but not before antagonizing Butler-the-brute into a Madison Square Garden grudge match.



A classic of French cinema, Joan of Maid is Jaques Rivette’s ambitious two-part historical epic starring Sandrine Bonnaire.  For Joan the Maid: The Battles, the first installment of his powerful yet restrained two-part study, director and co-screenwriter Rivette surveys the revelatory period where Joan met with royalty, joined the army and led the French into battle against the English.
Joan the Maid [Blu-ray]As Joan,  Bonnaire gets at the reality behind the legend, showing the matter-of-fact courage of a teenage girl. Joan the Maid: The Prisons, the second part of Rivette’s diptych, brought leading lady Bonnaire a César Award nomination for her powerful performance, as she plays out windows in the final two years of Joan’s life, from the battlefield victory, to prison life, to the stake.


The Return of Martin Guerre is one of the most stunning, beautifully filmed atmospheric movies of all time. One critic said “it literally looks like it was painted by Camille Pissarro”.
A thought-provoking story, indeed: In medieval France, some villagers challenge a man’s claim of identity when he (as he says) returns home from some time in the army.

So how do you prove that you are who you say you are, hundreds of years before fingerprinting and DNA? The village dentist is dragged out, as is the midwife who delivered him and the shoemaker who brings a wooden last he made of the husband’s foot before he went off to war.
Gérard Depardieu and Nathalie Baye, who has the difficult job of playing either his wife or his co-conspirator, depending on what’s actually going on, offer solid, riveting performances.


Gérard Depardieu also stars in the lovely Get Out Your Hankerchiefs, a  complex, funny, sad, uncomfortaable and very French look at love and sexual dynamics. Depardieu plays a man who truly loves his wife, but is so bothered by his wife ‘s depression that he decides to ask a stranger to be her lover.
No luck, and now the two men are bewitched and
befuddled.Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
What does work is her love affair with a precocious 13-year-old boy who, in many ways, is the most mature character in the film. And she wants his baby!
This is an unconventional comedy  that charmed and shocked the Oscars and went on to become one of the most talked-about French films of the decade.



Starting in 1999, Claude Lanzmann made several films that could be considered satellites of Shoah, the 9 1/2 hour documentary of the Holocaust he made without using a single frame of archival footage. Shoah: Four Sisters is a continuation of Shoah, comprised of interviews conducted in the ’70s that didn’t make it into his completed monumental work. In the last years of the late director’s life, he decided to devote a film to four women from four different areas of Eastern Europe with four different destinies, each finding herself improbably alive after war’s end: Ruth Elias from Ostravia, Czechoslovakia; Paula Biren from Lodz, Poland; Ada Lichtman from further south in Krakow; and Hannah Marton from Cluj, or Kolozsva’r, in Transylvania.

Survivors of unimaginable Nazi horrors during the Holocaust, they tell their individual stories and become crucial witnesses to the barbarism they experienced. Each possesses a vivid intelligence and a commitment to candor that make their accounts of what they suffered through both searing and unforgettable. The frankness of their words, their intensely scrutinized faces, and their bravery as they revisit unimaginable experiences will make them lasting presences in the moral universe of younger generations. Lanzmann’s films remarkably stay within the immediate present tense, where the absolute horror of the Shoah is always happening.


Between the Lines, the sophomore 1977 film by trailblazing writer/director Joan Micklin Silver, marked her second independent production and theatrical follow up to the acclaimed Hester Street. Some consider this an adult version of The Front Page. At the offices of a Boston alternative newspaper, the staff members enjoy a positive and open-minded work environment.
Between the Lines Music critic Max (the brilliant Jeff Goldblum) uses his influence to score dates, while news reporter Harry (the brilliant John Heard) is dating the lovely Abbie (the brilliant Lindsay Crouse), the publication’s lead photographer. However, it seems as though their relatively carefree days are numbered when the owner of a major publishing company buys the paper, leading to more money, but even more changes.
Keep your eyes peeled for Michael J. Pollard, Marilu Henner, Lewis J. Stadlen, Joe Morton, Lane Smith, Jill Eikenberry and a slew of mother big and small-screen faves.



 

PETRUCELLI PICKS: GIFT GUIDE 2019: THE BEST DVDS/BLU-RAYS OF THE YEAR

Before making Hollywood epics such as Tora! Tora! Tora! and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, director Richard Fleischer started his career with a series of low-budget B-features, often taking ripped-from-the-headlines tales of crime stories and spinning them into noir gold,  of which an exquisite example is 1949’s endlessly entertaining Trapped.

A young Lloyd Bridges stars as hard-boiled hood Tris Stewart, a convicted counterfeiter doing time in the Atlanta pen. When a fresh batch of fake bills starts circulating, treasury agents bail Stewart out to help lead them to the maker of the fake plates. But Tris double-crosses the Feds, hooking up with his gun-moll sweetie (22-year-old Barbara Payton in her breakout role). They plan to heist the plates and hightail it across the border. With the Feds closing in and the double-crosses piling up, Stewart finds himself between a rock and a hard place. Will he trapped for good?

Although long sought by the Film Noir Foundation, Trapped was believed to have suffered the unfortunate fate of many B-films of the era—oblivion. But when a private collector deposited a 35mm acetate print at the Harvard Film Archive, the Film Noir Foundation and UCLA Film & Television Archive (with support from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Charitable Trust [The HFPA Trust]) sprang into action, restoring the film. The result, presented in a Blu-ray/DVD dual-format edition by Flicker Alley, honors the pitch-perfect performances, assured direction, and gorgeous cinematography of this edge-of-your-seat, noir classic.


Olive Signature line has released  a Blu-ray edition of Bells of St. Mary’s that is a significant improvement over the DVD released by Republic Pictures 100 years ago. The lack of specks and soot and and scratches leads us to believe the film has been (greatly) restored, though why Olive doesn’t use this bragging point is beyond us.
The Bells of St. Marys (Olive Signature) [Blu-ray]This is not a true “Christmas film”, but the warmth and heart and humor and luminous Ingrid Bergman make it worth a few viewings. We are still a bit surprised when we admit that she and co-star Bing Crosby (as a nun and a pastor at odds with each other) have appealing chemistry together.


Have an appetite for a dark, delectable comedy in the tradition of cannibal classics Eating Raoul and Delicatessen? Look no further than A Feast of Man (IndiePix Films), certain to satisfy your hunger (and funny bone).
A Feast of ManWhen a wealthy and eccentric New York playboy prone to mischief dies unexpectedly, his four closest socialite friends  are summoned to the late aristocrat’s country home overlooking the Hudson for a viewing of his video will. Only things don’t go quite as Wolf, the executor of the estate, had planne: Gallagher’s posthumous wish is to put his dearly beloved to the test—each will become a millionaire overnight if they can unanimously agree to consume his dead body and the group, has until the end of the weekend to reach a decision.  Funny food for thought!

Say hello to the ultimate Tony Montana experience with the Scarface “The World Is Yours” Edition Gift Set (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment). This gem is chockfull of goodies: The 1983 film is 4K UHD; experience the unforgettable film like never before with HDR for brighter, deeper, more lifelike color.
There’s also more than 2 and a half hours of bonuses, including the brand-new Scarface 35th Anniversary Reunion Feature, with an all-new conversation with director Brian De Palma and actors Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer and Steven Bauer. Another Blu-ray bonus: Both the original theatrical and alternate censored versions of Howard Hawks’ newly restored 1932 version Scarface. Perhaps best of all is the limited edition, individually-numbered replica of one of the most iconic props from the film.


After a 30-year-old bachelor, leaves his corporate job to pursue his dreams as an artist, he embarks on a new life as an Uber driver while working on a graphic novel titled Pixelia, which just happens to also be the name of this IndiePix Films release. One day, a transgender woman gets into his car and changes his life forever; they spend the whole day together, opening each other’s minds: she shares her desire to adopt a child, while he narrates the story of his graphic novel.
After a special bond quickly forms, he realizes his own queer identity, and the couple start to make their way in a culture that is not always friendly to alternative ways of life.
This LGBTQ festival favorite, made on a show string budget, is a prime example of India’s budding queer cinema movement.

The Broad City Complete Series(Paramount) has everything a queen or two could ever need. In addition to every single freakin’ episode, there are special features including outtakes, deleted/extended scenes, and every episode of Hack into Broad City and Behind Broad CitysPlus, a special features only disc with more than 30 minutes of additional extras. Yaaaas!


Frank Capra’s heart-warming masterpiece is the best-known and most-loved holiday film.  Now you can watch It’s a Wonderful Life (Paramount)  holiday classic like never before, newly remastered from the original film negatives and more vibrant than ever with stunning clarity.
With the endearing message that “no one is a failure who has friends”, Capra’s heartwarming masterpiece continues to endure, and after more than 70 years, this beloved classic still remains as powerful and moving as the day it was made.


Not to be catty, but little heroes can romp to the rescue with the PAW Patrol pups, as the canine crew use their tools, tech, vehicles and problem-solving skills to save Adventure Bay.
Each pup has a unique job and skills, but the pack must always come together as a team to save the day. The 3-DVD set PAW Patrol: Best in Snow Collection (Nickelodeon) deserves a spot in each kid’s stocking.


For the young and young-at-heart: Bumblebee & Transformers Ultimate 6-Movie Collection,
including Bumblebee and all five Transformers films, from visionary director Michael Bay and legendary producer Steven Spielberg.


Baby Boomer boom! The Toys That Made Us (Screen Media) is an American television series created by Brian Volk-Weiss. The first four episodes of the series began streaming on Netflix on December 22, 2017, and the next four were released on May 25, 2018.
The eight-episode documentary series, as it was originally touted, focused on the history of important toy lines. The first four episodes focus on the Star Wars, He-Man and G.I. Joe toy lines with subsequent episodes featuring LEGO, Transformers, Hello Kitty and Star Trek. The Bu-ray set includes a free collectible!


Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orphee & Eurydice in one of opera’s most beautiful masterpieces; his exquisite drama introduces us to Orpheus, the poet and musician whose every word and note communicate the most overwhelming love for his Eurydice.
Gluck: Orphee et Eurydice [Blu-ray]This production features Gluck’s reworking of the original German opera into a French-language production which contains thrilling ballet sequences that will come to vivid life under the direction and choreography of the legendary John Neumeier. This production stars Dmitry Korchak as Orphée with Andriana Chuchman as Eurydice and Lauren Snouffer as Amour.  Oui!


Democracies should protect their citizens, especially the most vulnerable among them, but the United States is increasingly failing to do so especially in areas like the Rust Belt, the manufacturing heartland of the nation that includes Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The investigative documentary The Corporate Coup d’Etat (First Run features) shows how corporations and billionaires have taken control of the American political process, and in doing so have brought economic hardship and ruin to vast swaths of the country. It combines insights from political thinkers and journalists with the experiences of citizens from the Rust Belt, where factory closures and outsourcing have left it desolate and people hopeless.
Corporate Coup d'Etat, TheThe film argues that the crisis predates Adolph Freak’s election by many years: Decades ago, U.S. democracy began selling its soul to big corporations; lobbyists and business-friendly politicians took control in Washington, gradually undermining the will of the people. Provocative and revealing, The Corporate Coup d État exposes what happened and where we are now.

Other First Run features topping the list:
Tattoo Uprising reveals the artistic and historical roots of today s tattoo explosion. This sweeping overview explores how tattoos were used in early Christian practices, how they were discovered halfway around the world during the voyages of Captain James Cook, and how they exploded in popularity in America beginning with artists like Ed Hardy.
Tattoo UprisingThere’s an unforgettable appearance by  Werner Herzog, who allows a rare glimpse at his Ed Hardy tattoo.

Spanning three generations, Chasing Portraits is a deeply moving narrative of the richness of one man’s art, the devastation of war, and an unexpected path to healing. Moshe Rynecki was a prolific artist who painted scenes of the Polish-Jewish community until he was murdered during the Holocaust. Chasing PortraitsFor more than a decade his great-granddaughter, Elizabeth, has searched for the missing art.

An elderly man, Octav Petrescu (portrayed by the brilliant Marcel Iures), returns to his childhood villa in Romania to sell it. Arriving there after a decades-long absence, Octav wanders through the atmospheric house and undulating grounds that surround it and is confronted and transformed Octavby the memories and spectres of his youth, eventually finding answers to questions that have cast a shadow over his adult life.

From Oscar-nominated Josh Aronson and featuring a new song from Jon Bon Jovi, To Be Of Service is a documentary about veterans suffering from PTSD who are paired with a service dog to help them regain their lives.
To Be of ServiceThe film follows these warriors with their dogs as this deeply bonded friendship restores independence and feeling for the men and women who so courageously served our country.


Inherited from Maria Montessori in 1907, the Montessori Method is a child-centered educational philosophy that celebrates and nurtures each child’s desire to learn, an approach valuing the human spirit and full development: physical, social, emotional and cognitive. The Montessori Method is increasing in popularity both in the U.S. and abroad.
Curious to see how the Method works first hand, filmmaker Alexandre Mourot sets his camera up in the oldest Montessori school in France (with kids from 3 to 6) and observes. He meets happy children, free to move around, working alone or in small groups. Some read, others make bread, do divisions, laugh or sleep. The teacher remains discreet.
Children guide the filmmaker through the whole school year, helping him understand the magic of their autonomy and self-esteem–the seeds of a new society of peace and freedom, which Maria Montessori dedicated her life work to.
Such is the wonder and joy of Montessori: Let the Child be the Guide.


Holy high notes! Melody Makers (Cleopatra Entertainment/MVD Visual), a chronicle of the birth of music journalism from the world’s oldest and longest standing seminal music magazine, Melody Makersis not just another music documentary; through a series of interviews from artists and journalists of the time, the film tells the true story of the rise and fall of the world’s most influential music publication and uncovers an era of tremendous creative freedom.


Who says the holidays can’t be a horror . . . and we don’t just mean when the in-laws come. George Roy Hill’s landmark science-fiction classic, Slaughterhouse-Five, tells the tale of World War II soldier Billy Pilgrim and how he was abducted by aliens. The flick took home the Jury Prize at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival and has been a favorite of sci-fi fans ever since.  Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote the novel the book is based on, famously claimed, “I drool and cackle every time I watch that film.”
Slaughterhouse-Five [Blu-ray] Not only is Arrow bringing this to Blu-ray for the first time in North America, but it comes with a brand new 4K restoration and a spaceship-load of special features. Yippee!


He was a true genius. And Kurt Weill’s Street Scene is an amazing mélange of show tunes, arias, jazz numbers, folk songs and spirituals, a true musical melting pot that aptly underlines the rich variety of characters that populate the New York City tenement block in the ’30s that’s the focus of this exceptionally vital and criminally undervalued work.
It was meant meant to be a truly American opera, half-way between his The Threepenny Opera and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story and drawing from the famous play by Elmer Rice (recipient of the Pulitzer Prize when it was published in 1928).
Kurt Weill's Street Scene [Blu-ray]Weill wrote Street Scene shortly after fleeing Nazi Germany. When he discovered the vitality of the American musical scene, his focus became to reconcile the Broadway musical with European traditional opera, jazzy and North-American tunes with an almost Puccinian-like lyricism. Under Tim Murray’s vivid and precise baton, the superb production by John Fulljames perfectly renders the vitality and energy released by the streets of New York that proved to be a great inspiration to the theatrical mind of the composer.
Released by BelAir Classiques, the staging generously evokes a bygone era of American history, simultaneously looking rundown and part of a dreamscape worth longing for.


 

 

 

Ready to enjoy something sweet? Order “Peppermint Soda”, new from Cohen Film Collection

Whenever Charles S. Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Cohen Media Group, has something to say, we listen. Closely. The newest film the Cohen Film Collection has released: director Diane Kurys’ acclaimed debut film, Peppermint Soda, now on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms.
In the vein of such coming-of-age classics as Francois Truffaut’s The 400 BlowsPeppermint Soda captures a particular moment in the tumultuous life and development of two young people. Anne (played by Eléonore Klarwein) and Frederique (Odile Michel) are teenage sisters in 1963 France, torn between divorced parents and struggling with the confines of their strict school. Along the way, they undergo an awakening both political and romantic.
Diane Kurys’ celebrated film, with cinematography by Oscar-winning Philippe Rousselot, revels in the comedy and tragedy of the seemingly mundane, weaving a complex tapestry of everyday existence that also touches on the universal. The world cinema classic received a 2K restoration for its 40th-anniversary theatrical re-release in 2018, and Cohen Film Collection is proud to present k this striking new restoration for home viewing.
The flicwas the first film by actress-turned-writer/director Kurys, and instantly established her as a highly personal filmmaker drawing on her own life for cinematic inspiration. It won France’s Prix Louis Delluc, while the U.S. National Board of Review’s 1979 awards honored it as Top Foreign Film.
The Cohen Film Collection’s deluxe Blu-ray and DVD of Peppermint Sodaboth include interviews with Diane Kurys and actress Eléonore Klarwein; the featurette “A Meeting with Yves Simon;” a scrapbook of the film; the French restoration trailer; and the 2018 re-release trailer.

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.

The breakthrough “Shakespeare Wallah”, with a gorgeous 2K digital restoration, is now on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms 

One of the first Merchant Ivory productions, the sumptuous Shakespeare Wallah established the tone for so many of the collaborations to come from producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory: the deft, multilayered screenplay by their frequent collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, luminous cinematography, a wry sense of humor and a cast of characters rich in their very human complexity.
Cohen Film Collection’s new restoration of the film, released in theaters nationwide in 2017, came from the 35mm composite fine grain master held at the archive of the George Eastman Museum. The scan and 2K digital restoration was completed in conjunction with the British Film Institute’s Unlocking Film Heritage program. This breakthrough film is now on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms.
The true story of British actor-manager Geoffrey Kendal and his family of traveling theatrical players is used as a fascinating lens into the ever-evolving relationship between Great Britain and India. The film follows Tony Buckingham (Geoffrey Kendal) and his wife, Carla (Laura Liddell), as the actor-managers of a troupe who travel through ’60s post-colonial India staging Shakespeare’s plays. But the Buckinghams come to realize to their dismay that classic English theater is falling out of favor in a changing country where the public has become more excited by the explosion of vibrant Bollywood films – and, more deeply, is looking to move beyond everything British. Meanwhile, the Buckinghams’ daughter Lizzie (future Britcom favorite Felicity Kendal) becomes involved in a love triangle that would fit perfectly in both a Shakespeare drama and a Bollywood musical.
With music by the great Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray and memorable performances by cinema icons Shashi Kapoor and Madhur Jaffrey (who won the Silver Bear award for Best Actress at the 1965 Berlin International Film Festival), Shakespeare Wallah remains a one-of-kind gem of modern world cinema.
Both the Blu-ray and the DVD editions are supplemented with a wealth of bonus material, including a conversation with the filmmakers, featuring Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, Shashi Kapoor and Felicity Kendal; the film’s original trailer; and its 2017 rerelease trailer.

“Daughter of the Nile” is a rediscovered gem in the filmography of Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien, courtesy of Cohen Film Collection

Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Daughter of the Nile is the groundbreaking 1987 drama from one of modern world cinema’s most acclaimed filmmakers, and Cohen Media Group celebrates the film’s 30th anniversary with 4K digital restoration.
A rediscovered gem in the filmography of Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien, Daughter of the Nile is a neon-lit, contemporary drama inspired by the heroine of a Japanese manga series. With Hou’s gentle but keen observation, the film follows a young woman and her brother as they float along the periphery of the Taipei underworld, intriguingly blending gangster tale with mood-drenched introspective drama. Based on the personal experiences of frequent Hou screenwriter Chu T’ien-wen, the film is a profoundly moving observation of marginalized youth.
The film won the Special Jury Prize at the 1987 Turin International Festival of Young Cinema and was entered into the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.
Hou Hsiao-hsien emerged in the ’80s to become one of the leading figures, along with Edward Yang and Chen Kunhou, of the New Taiwanese Cinema, a movement away from the kung fu films and overwrought melodramas of the past to an emphasis on realistic portrayals of everyday life, a style often compared to Italian neorealism. Hou’s Daughter of the Nile sits among a string of masterpieces-A Summer at Grandpa’s, A City of Sadness, The Puppetmaster, Flowers of Shanghai-that led him to be voted Director of the Decade for the 1990s in a poll of American and international critics put together by The Village Voice and Film Comment. His most recent film, The Assassin,brought him the Best Director prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
In addition to offering digitally restored picture and sound, Cohen Film Collection’s release boast a wealth of extras. Both the Blu-ray and DVD include an audio commentary track by film scholar Richard Suchenski, a new interview with Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns and the 2017 rerelease trailer.

“Heat and Dust” is given a new 4K digital restoration by Cohen Film Collection

Cohen Film Collection starts the New Year off with another gem: Merchant Ivory Productions’ modern classic Heat and Dust, now on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms. The 1983 multi-generational drama—about the clash between modern-day India and its past Raj era of British rule, and starring Julie Christie and Greta Scacchi—has received a striking new 4K digital restoration.

Merchant Ivory’s magnificent film moves effortlessly between the vibrant world of modern India and the magnificent splendors of the Raj. Cross-cutting between two generations, the acclaimed film by the longtime team of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is a sprawling epic of self-discovery and a lush evocation of the prismatic and sensuous beauty of India.
As she searches for answers to the mystery surrounding a long-ago affair between her aunt Olivia (portrayed by Greta Scacchi) and an Indian prince (Shashi Kapoor), Anne (Julie Christie) becomes immersed in the local culture, the pull of the past simultaneously leading her into a clearer view of her own future. Jhabvala adapted her own novel to great effect, and Richard Robbins created the haunting score. The film earned the Merchant Ivory team nine BAFTA nominations and a Palme d’Or nomination at Cannes for director Ivory.
Cohen Film Collection has given Heat and Dust lavish treatment on disc. The two-disc DVD includes a feature-length audio commentary track; the film’s original trailer as well as its 2017 re-release trailer; and the the rarely shown 1975 Merchant Ivory film Autobiography of a Princess, starring James Mason.
The two-disc Blu-ray includes all of the above plus an interview with producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory, writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, composer Richard Robbins, and cast members Greta Scacchi and Nickolas Grace; the featurette Remember Heat and Dust; a new conversation between Ivory and filmmaker Chris Terrio; and a new on-stage Q&A with co-star Madhur Jaffrey.

 

Cohen Film Collection releases a trio of Claude Chabrol masterworks . . .oui! oui! oui!

Once again, Cohen Film Collection has released, for the first time in HD, a collection of films by Claude Chabrol, one of the most prolific and widely respected of French film directors.  As one of the prime instigators of the French New Wave, Chabrol directed lean narrative films whose keenly observed realism typically drew inspiration from the suspense film and psychological thriller. The triumvirate of films include:

Betty
In one of Chabrol’s darkest dramas, Marie Trintignant gives an astonishing performance as Betty, a woman whose alcohol-soaked life has finally fallen to pieces.  She fortunately falls under the care of an older woman (Stéphane Audran) with a similar background, but her benefactor’s sympathies may be misplaced. Gushes the Chicago Sun Times: “One of the most eerily disturbing and mesmerizingly powerful films.”

Torment (L’Enfer)
Based on a script by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Chabrol explores the point at which jealousy and obsession turn to madness.  François Cluzet plays Paul, a young husband who, along with his beautiful wife (Emmanuelle Béart at her sexiest) runs a country hotel.  Paul soon becomes obsessed with his wife’s flirtations, but is it all in his head? Roger Ebert’s take? “Made with the practiced ease of a master.”The Swindle
Isabelle Huppert and Michel Serrault star as a couple of small-time con artists looking for the next big game in this psychological thriller tinged with wry humor.  Into their web stumbles a naïve financial courier (François Cluzet) accompanying what might be their biggest score yet.  “Disturbing, compelling, and very smart stuff”, says Entertainment Weekly.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best DVDs and Box Sets (Part One)

Rock ‘n roll! Pin-up girls! Hot rods and hotter fashion! Welcome to the documentary It’s a Rockabilly World (Virgil Films). Directed by the award winning Brent Huff, the film focuses on the vibrant scene known as “rockabilly” and the people who follow this subculture religiously.unnamed-2 The term dates back the mid-’50s, where it was coined to describe the rock ‘n roll played by hillbillies, by Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. The flick details its humble beginnings to the global sensation it is today, not only in the United States but in Europe, South Africa and Japan. The colorful cast brings you right onto the rockabilly scene-describing how and why they fall in love with this cultural phenomenon.

The action of Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures: Complete Season One (Disney) begins after the events of The Empire Strikes Back and before Return of the Jedi and follows a family of scavengers who build and sell starships from battle debris strewn throughout the galaxy. Recycling runts!s-l1600-6 When their youngest discovers a natural connection with the Force through an ancient artifact—the Kyber Saber—his world is turned upside down, and he and his family are thrown into an epic struggle against the Empire to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy. The Freemakers explore new worlds, meet new and familiar characters and learn the meaning of family. Relive all 13 action-packed episodes in one nifty set. And no, you;re not hearing things: The voice of Lando Calrissian is that of Billy Dee Williams, reprising his role from the original film series.

RuPaul has his queens. And the Kingdom of Avalor has theirs. After saving her enchanted kingdom from an evil sorceress, Princess Elena must now reign as Crown Princess until she’s old enough to become Queen. s-l1600-7She has help: With her sister Isabel, magical flying jaquins, and her friends Naomi, Royal Wizard Mateo and Royal Guard Gabe by her side, this empowered Princess will do her best to rule Avalor with bravery and compassion. Disney’s most inspiring new leader embarks on a heroic journey to restore her kingdom to greatness and prove she’s ready to rule. Such is the wonder of Elena of Avalor (Disney).

We know the story well: Ben-Hur is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala, an officer in the Roman army. The story’s highlight still remains the chariot race: Both the 1925 silent film version, starring gay icon Ramon Navarro as Ben-Hur, and the 1959 blockbuster remain memorable with Biblical proportions. (Three were two other adaptations of the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace: The 1907 silent film starring Herman Rottger and the 2003 animated film with Ben-Hur voiced by Heston.) ben-hurA new version hit theaters earlier this year, starring Jack Huston in the title role. The breathtaking action-adventure,from Paramount Home Media Distribution, is a great adventures, especially on Blu-ray!

If you missed the critical acclaim (think applause, then more applause) director Andrew Neel’s gripping drama Goat received at its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, ask Santa for the Paramount Home Media Distribution DVD. goat-2016-hollywood-full-movie-dvdrip-1-4gb-download Based on Brad Land’s memoir, the film follows a 19-year-old Brad (played by Ben Schnetzer), newly arrived to college and desperate to belong.  Taking a cue from his older brother Brett (Nick Jonas), Brad decides to pledge a fraternity.  At first, it’s all parties and girls, but as Brad enters into the final stretch of the pledging ritual—known as “hell week”—things take a violent, humiliating turn.  What occurs in the name of ‘brotherhood’ tests both boys and their relationship in brutal ways.

True cinephiles crave everything Cohen Film Collection releases. Trust us and check out the wide array of flicks at cohenmedia.net. Santa will get a long list. One must-have: Merchant Ivory’s undisputed masterpieces Howards End, in a gorgeous new 4k restoration on Blu-ray and DVD. This adaptation of E.M. Forster’s classic novel won multiple prizes including three Academy Awards, with Emma Thompson picking up Best Actress.unnamed-1 A saga of class relations and changing times in an Edwardian England on the brink of modernity, the film centers on the interwoven fates and misfortunes of these three families and the diverging trajectories of the two sisters’ lives are connected to the ownership of Howards End, the beloved country home. A compelling, brilliantly acted study of one woman’s struggle to maintain her ideals and integrity in the face of Edwardian society’s moribund conformist values.

Only producer Lorne Michaels could make our Saturday nights live with laughter. Witness: Brother Nature (Paramount Home Media Distribution), the outrageous new comedy about family, friendship and fish.  Roger, a straight-laced politician, has big plans to propose to his dream girl at her family’s lake house. But everything goes awry when he meets his potential brother-in-law Todd: A full-time camp counselor with a heart of gold and a wild sense of fun, pining to be Roger’s best friend, and ultimately catapulting him into a series of unfortunate events.brothernature-570x300
As Roger tries to take a stand amidst outrageous fishing excursions, propulsive water jetpacks and American history-themed musicals, he realizes that being a part of a new family may be more difficult than he’d thought.

Perhaps the most touching and important film of the year: When two pregnant cows were trapped in an over-turned rig on the 210 Freeway in March, the City of Los Angeles’ SMART, a specialized mobile animal rescue team, was called in to save them. The team, the first of its kind in the United States, is a uniquely trained unit within the Animal Services division that risks life and limb to rescue domestic and wild animals in the most precarious situations. An award-winning documentary film, SMART: Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team (Cinema Libre Studio), captures the heart and soul of this team as they battle to save LA’s animals.

Since SMART’s formation in 2009, the self-trained team has saved nearly 1,000 animals . . . domestic, wild, and abused animals of all kinds. The team of 12 Animal Control Officers, represent the cultural melting pot that is this city, and has a 100% save rate. Due to SMART’s distinctive training, it can respond to calls that other emergency responders and Animal Control Officers are not equipped to handle, as seen in the film when they are called in to help Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) after a buck gets trapped in his backyard.
In the last seven years, team members have spent almost $80,000 dollars of their own money to assist with expenses not covered by the department’s budget. Says Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette, SMART’s role is “to show people that the impossible is possible.”
A truly remarkable team and their story.

Based on the phenomenal bestselling book series by acclaimed author James Patterson, Maximum Ride has landed on DVD
from Paramount Home Media Distribution.  Patterson’s book series spent 144 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, has sold more than 20 million books worldwide and has spawned 11 Manga comics. 91ze3jndmyl-_sl1500_ The film brings to life the extraordinary journey of six DNA-enhanced young orphans with the ability to fly who are on a mission to rescue the youngest of their flock while discovering the diabolical, scientific secrets of how they came to exist.  Their leader is Max, wise beyond her years, who must summon all her courage and acumen to outmaneuver the brutal half-human/half-wolf creations known as “Erasers”, confront her own inner demons and ultimately face a stunning betrayal.

Time Life is releasing several new-to-retail collections of episodes from the first five years of her  show with The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes–Classic Carol. This must-have series, unveiled by Time Life in 2015, features original, uncut broadcast episodes from Seasons 1-5 (1967-1972), unseen by the public in more than 40 years–no reruns, streaming video, DVDs or any other format. Until now.   Fans  will have the opportunity to restore their CB connections and tune in to rediscover what made the program tick and stick around as one of the best hours on TV.
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The 6-disc set  features 14 episodes, as they originally aired on television, and showcases some of the most acclaimed and beloved moments from “The Carol Burnett Show” including classic sketches “The Old Folks,” “Carol and Sis,” “The Ham Actors,” and “As the Stomach Turns;” TV spoofs including the ever-popular commercials; movie parody presentations from Tearjerker Theatre, Insomnia Theatre, and The Early Early Show; and guest stars including Lucille Ball, Ken Berry, George Carlin, Ray Charles, Cass Elliot, Robert Goulet, Bernadette Peters, Debbie Reynolds and Lana Turner. There’s also a 3-disc set (features seven episodes) and the single disc  that includes three episodes.

Specially-created bonus features are also available on both the 6-disc and 3-disc sets and include “A Writers’ Roundtable: A Conversation with The Carol Burnett Show‘s Writers” and interviews with show dancer and choreographer Randy Doney and ballet dancer Edward Villella.  The 6-disc collection also features several bonus shows, including “The Garry Moore Show” episodes featuring the original “Accidents” and “Princess of Morovia” sketches.

Your favorite pizza-loving heroes return in an epic new adventure loaded with wall-to-wall laughs. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (Paramount Home Media Distribution), the Heroes in a Half-Shell also will be available in a limited edition two-movie Blu-ray giftset with collectible metal lunchbox. Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo are back to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones.152bc4ff-842d-4ee6-879c-6a3c4af5e87e_1-26522b32e3088bd56cb2b1bf0f1f9643 After supervillain Shredder escapes custody, he joins forces with two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop and Rocksteady, to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater threat with similar intentions: the notorious Krang.

We cannot stand hip-hop or rap or any other such noise. But we did find the miniseries Streets of Compton (Lionsgate) fascinating as we witnessed the rise of West Coast hip-hop. Produced and narrated by rapper The Game, this miniseries brings unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to hip-hop’s origins, exploring the rise of music legends like NWA and Dr. Dre told through the eyes of its current and former residents. unnamed-1Compton is a place most people have never seen and the truth isn’t always pretty. Streets of Compton tells the story of how a city overrun by gangs and violence became a cultural powerhouse. Hip-hop superstar The Game takes us on a dark yet redemptive journey into the heart of his city.

We got out kicks from Kicks (Universal Studios Home Entertainment). In Justin Tipping’s feature debut, nothing is as simple as it seems. Fifteen-year-old Brandon longs for a pair of the freshest sneakers that money can buy; assuming that merely having them on his feet will help him escape the reality of being poor, neglected by the opposite sex and picked on by everyone — even his best friends.a17ne5ymmgl-_sl1500_ Working hard to get them, he soon finds that the titular shoes have instead made him a target after they are promptly snatched by local hood, Flaco. Seemingly the embodiment of menace, Flaco harbors complexities of his own that will be revealed when Brandon goes on a mission to retrieve his stolen sneakers with his two best friends in tow.