February always makes us think of arrows . . . after all, that is the cherubic Cupid’s weapon of choise.
We also think of Arrow, that continues to offer up a diverse lineup for home video collectors with a trio of must- see, must-have releases.
The triumvirate drops on February 25, starting with Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Manon via Arrow Academy. Loosely adapted from Antoine François Prévost’s 1731 novel, this stunning French drama is the story of a French Resistance fighter that rescues and falls in love with a woman from accused of working with the Nazis. The couple moves to Paris where their life begins to spiral out of control as they get caught up in prostitution and murder.
How good is it? The film took home the Golden Lion award at the 1949 Venice Film Festival. This new high definition release includes a brand-new video appreciation by critic Geoff Andrew and an archival documentary that features Clouzot discussing his love for literature.
First up from Arrow Video is the multi-disc set One Missed Call Trilogy. This legendary trio of J-horror films launched with Takashi Miike’s2003 film about people who receive strange voicemails from their future selves predicting their deaths. Yumi Nakamura, a young psychology student, begins to investigate the calls and discovers this terrifying circumstance has been plaguing Japan for centuries. The original series was followed by two more films, One Missed Called 2 and One Missed Call: The Final Call.
While the franchise never quite reached the popularity of contemporaries like the Ring and Ju-on: The Grudge, it’s certainly not without its own devoted fan base thanks to its visual flare and the nightmare scenario catered towards a generation that grew up with cell phones. The complete trilogy comes to Blu-ray with a full voicemail of special features that include interviews, documentaries, a TV special and a short film.
Rounding out February is José Ramón Larraz’s bonkers late-era slasher, Deadly Manor. Also known as Savage Lust, this final genre effort from Larraz follows a pretty standard template as teens stay the night in an abandoned mansion that happens to be home to a lunatic killer.
Unlike the trailer above, the film has been restored in 2K using the original elements. Deadly Manor will be making its Blu-ray debut. This release will include a multitude of special features, including a new interview with actress Jennifer Delora and the original VHS trailer.
Already ready for your eyes and ears:
José Ramón Larraz’s Edge of the Axe. This Spanish-American slasher follows a masked killer picking off people in a small California village with, that’s right, an ax!
Overlooked for years, this new 2K restoration (from the original camera negative) looks to introduce this cult classic to a new audience. The release includes English and Spanish versions of the film, two new audio commentaries, and more.
Black Angel is a stunning black-and-white film noir that marked the final time behind the camera by prolific director Roy William Neill. After a man is convicted for murder, his wife and victim’s ex-husband fight to prove his innocence. Lost in the shuffle of ’40s noir, and hated by author Cornell Woolrich whose novel served as the source material, Black Angel is a sleek and stylish film that genre fans will surely appreciate.
This new Arrow release contains a brand-new restoration of the film, starring Dan Duryea, June Vincent and Peter Lorre, and a number of bonus features, including a video appreciation by film historian Neil Sinyard.
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:
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.”
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.
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