Kid Galahad 08/29/17

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

He sings, he fixes cars, and he takes punches better than De Niro’s Raging Bull. Elvis Presley excels in one of his few ’60s pictures that show an interest in being a ‘real movie,’ a remake of a boxing saga with entertaining characters and fine direction from noir ace Phil Karlson. Plus Charles Bronson, Lola Albright and Joan Blackman in standout roles. Old Warners contractee Wayne Morris didn’t live long enough to know his 1939 role would be taken by Elvis, in a remake. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
8/29/17

Red Line 7000 08/29/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

It’s finally here in all its glory, the Howard Hawks movie nobody loves. The epitome of clueless ’60s filmmaking by an auteur who left his thinking cap back with Bogie and Bacall, this show is a PC quagmire lacking the usual compensation of exploitative thrills. James Caan caps a disposable male cast, but Gail Hire, Laura Devon, Charlene Holt and Mariana Hill struggle like heck to break out of glamorous but demeaning roles. But hey, it has a hypnotic appeal all its own: we’ll not abandon any movie where Teri Garr dances.. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
8/29/17

Festival: Folk Music at Newport, 1963-1966 08/29/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

We thought all the great vintage music documentaries were accounted for, but Murray Lerner’s look at the Newport Folk Festival in the mid-‘sixties is a terrific time machine to a kindler, gentler musical era. The mix of talent is broad and deep, and we get to see excellent vintage coverage of some real legends, before the hype & marketing plague arrived: Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Donovan, Bob Dylan, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, Mary Travers, Odetta. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
8/29/17

Certain Women 08/26/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Is this the new feminist breakthrough? Director Kelly Reichart doesn’t like labels, and to her credit as a woman director, her amalgam of three tangential short stories transcends the format in a studious, low-key way. Four interesting actresses present interesting portraits that illuminate the realities of life in the great Middle America. Stars Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart attracted the viewers, and relative newcomer Lily Gladstone shines as well. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
8/26/17

Visit to a Small Planet 08/26/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Trailers From Hell’s Charlie Largent takes on Gore Vidal’s cosmological comedy about a space visitor on an anti-militarist mission. Jerry Lewis skips Vidal’s biting satire and sticks with the goofy jokes and babe-ogling. Charlie’s essay Jerry Lewis Returns to the Cosmos begins with an extended, recommended overview of Lewis’s film career, striking a winning balance between admiration and psych analysis 101. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
8/26/17

The Noose Hangs High 08/26/17

ClassicFlix
Blu-ray

Even lesser Abbott & Costello movies are still comedy gravy for the avid fans of the fast-talking duo. Their first film deal away from Universal yields a so-so production graced with a string of their patented old-time comedy routines. And the transfer beats anything we’ve yet seen. Foolish window washers Bud and Lou are seen through the farcical paces with Joseph Calleia, Kathy Downs, Errol Morris and Mike Mazurki. On Blu-ray from ClassicFlix.
8/26/17

The Stranger 08/26/17

Olive Films
Blu-ray

Edward G. Robinson uncovers another killer, but this time he’s after a Nazi mass murderer, not an insurance salesman. Orson Welles’ most conventional thriller is a masterpiece of style and judgment, with a good sense of time and place – and a lot of expressive shadows. How does this new Blu-ray shape up in comparison to earlier presentations?. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.
8/26/17

The Long, Hot Summer 08/22/17

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

Barns are a-burning, Paul Newman is recommended to Joanne Woodward as ‘a big stud horse’ and Lee Remick oozes sexuality all over Martin Ritt’s CinemaScope screen. William Faulkner may be the source but this tale of ambition in the family of yet another southern Big Daddy is given the faux Tennessee Williams treatment — it’s a grand soap opera with a fistful of great stars having a grand time. Looking better than ever on Blu-ray, with Orson Welles, Anthony Franciosa and Angela Lansbury. From Twilight Time.
8/22/17

Held for Questioning (Der Aufenthalt) 08/22/17

The DEFA Film Library
DVD

Sylvester Groth shines in this East German movie about a luckless private in a Polish prison, thrown in with a group of defeated Nazi war criminals. For a country that usually paints the ideological divide in black and white red, Frank Beyer’s film of Hermann Kant’s semi-autobiographical story is surprisingly even-handed; in the awful aftermath of WW2, millions of soldiers never found their way back to their countries of origin. An excellent addition to films from behind the old Iron Curtain, on DVD from The DEFA Film Library.
8/22/17

Prizzi’s Honor 08/22/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-Ray

It’s a crime comedy with class. Richard Condon and John Huston’s gangland version of Moonstruck bounces effortlessly between earnest romanticism and cynical satire. Jack Nicholson’s hit man is a brass-knuckle Romeo, and Kathleen Turner’s mysterious bicoastal Juliet has nothing but surprises for him. Near the end of his career, Huston’s direction is as assured as can be. With Anjelica Huston, William Hickey, Robert Loggia and John Randolph. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
8/22/17

Stalker 08/19/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Andrei Tarkovsky’s bizarre philosophical science fiction epic may be his most successful picture overall — every image and word makes its precise desired effect. Three daring men defy the law to penetrate ‘the Zone’ and learn the truth behind the notion that a place called The Room exists where all wishes are granted. Plenty of art films promise profound ideas, but this one delivers. Extra interview pieces give us the inside story from Tarkovsky’s collaborators. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
8/19/17

The Man with Two Brains 08/19/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Steve Martin brings down the house with this adoring, hilarious pastiche of mad doctor and disembodied brain motifs — surely the epitome of cultured comedy. Under Carl Reiner’s direction Martin is marvelous, and he’s aided and abetted by the daring sexpot-turned comedienne Kathleen Turner — who has a better handle on outrageous sexy comedy than they do. It’s class-act nonsense and inspired silliness. Where else can a crazed surgeon proclaim his special screw-top skull surgery method, and utter the immortal words, “Scum queen?!” With David Warner and Paul Benedict; on Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
8/19/17

Tobor the Great 08/19/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Robot roll call! This also-ran robotic fantasy from the 1950s is precisely the kind of movie one would expect from Republic, a two-fisted anti-Commie tract for juveniles. The studio comes up with an impressive robo-hero, but short-changes us when it come time for action thrills. Still, as pointed out in Richard Harland Smith’s new commentary, Tobor filled the the kiddie hunger for sci-fi matinees, at least until Robby the Robot came along. Charles Drake is the adult scientist, and genius-brat Billy Chapin is the one who sets Tobor on a Robot rampage. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
8/19/17

Night Moves 08/15/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Arthur Penn’s detective movie is one of the best ever in the genre, one that rewards repeat viewings particularly well. Gumshoe Harry Moseby compartmentalizes his marriage, his job, his past and the greedy Hollywood has-beens he meets, not realizing that everything is interconnected, and more than capable of assembling a world-class conspiracy. Gene Hackman tops a sterling cast in the film that introduced most of us to Melanie Griffith, here playing a disturbingly convincing bit of teen jailbait. With Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, Edward Binns, John Crawford and James Woods. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
8/15/17

Ronin 08/15/17

Arrow Video
Blu-Ray

Robert De Niro picks up a gun once again as a highly paid spy-mercenary-thief hired for a bit of international larceny, robbing a courier of some undisclosed secrets of one kind or another. Juicing up a Melville- like stoic crime fantasy with superb car stunt work puts director John Frankenheimer back in the game, with a worthy project. With Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Sean Bean, Stellan Skarsgard, Michael Lonsdale and Jonathan Pryce. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video.
8/15/17

Bob Hope on Blu-ray 08/15/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Trailers From Hell’s Charlie Largent reviews the new releases of Bob Hope’s mid-career comedies on blu ray. The films only occasionally hint at his prodigious skills but, like the great comedian’s career, the results are a mixed but ultimately rewarding experience. The Road to Rio, My Favorite Brunette, The Road To Bali, The Lemon Drop Kid, Son of Paleface. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
8/15/17

Duel in the Sun 08/15/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-Ray

David O. Selznick’s absurdly over-cooked western epic is a great picture, even if much of it induces a kind of hypnotic, mouth-hanging-open disbelief. Is this monument to the sex appeal of Jennifer Jones, Kitsch in terrible taste, or have Selznick and his army of Hollywood talents found a new level of hyped melodramatic harmony? It certainly has the star-power, beginning with Gregory Peck as a cowboy rapist who learned his bedside manners from Popeye’s Bluto. It’s all hugely enjoyable. Also starring Joseph Cotten, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Walter Huston, Butterfly McQueen, Charles Bickford and Tilly Losch; directed by King Vidor, William Dieterle and several others. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
8/15/17

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly 50th Anniversary 08/13/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Will Blondie, Tuco and Angel Eyes be forever facing off on the giant threshing wheel? Sergio Leone’s Civil War gunslinger epic is everybody’s favorite western, and most everybody has a bone to pick regarding problems with the previous DVDs and Blu-rays. The good news is that Kino’s 50th Anniversary Special Edition takes giant leaps in correcting older audio issues . . . but the bad news . . .. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
8/12/17

Meantime 08/13/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Nobody stands up for Britons in the lower class trenches like the fierce, opinionated and outright brilliant Mike Leigh; his unusual writing and directing method yields terrific results in his first feature made for TV. And the early performances of Tim Roth, Phil Daniels and Gary Oldman should be the stuff of acting legend, ’80s style. With Marion Bailey, Pam Ferris, Tilly Vosburgh, Alfred Molina and Jeff Robert. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
8/12/17

The Crimson Kimono 08/13/17

Twilight Time
Blu-Ray

Another great Samuel Fuller film on Blu-ray — this one is a crime tale set in downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, that forms an interracial romantic triangle. It’s risky for its year because of the sexual dynamics — a Japanese-American man falls in love with a Caucasian woman. Fuller’s approach is years ahead of its time, even if Columbia’s sales job was a little weird. Victoria Shaw and Glenn Corbett get top billing, but newcomer James Shigeta steals the show. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
8/12/17

Re-Animator 08/08/17

Arrow Video
Blu-ray

Trailers from Hell’s Charlie Largent resurrects a real favorite, Stuart Gordon’s epic gross-out about the grisly adventures of H.P. Lovecraft’s Dr. Herbert West. Filmdom’s maddest mad scientist brings dead flesh back to life and proves conclusively that the grave is no barrier to one man’s libidinous lust. This 2-disc limited edition contains two versions of the film and a long list of extras — full cast and director commentaries, the works. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video.
8/08/17

Beggars of Life 08/08/17

Kino Classics
Blu-ray

A happy discovery! This is a major late- silent-era gem on the order of Von Sternberg’s Docks of New York — a special treat that will please fans of director William Wellman — he revisited parts of it in a later talkie. It’s also a key movie in our education/adoration of the maverick actress Louise Brooks, the timeless erotic sensation too hot and too independent for Hollywood. Also starring Wallace Beery and Richard Arlen. On Blu-ray from Kino Classics.
8/08/17

Freebie and the Bean 08/08/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Here’s how one pushed the limits of good taste in 1975. James Caan and Alan Arkin run the gamut of racist, raunchy, sexist & homophobic jokes as bad boy cops breaking the rules, and director Richard Rush delivers some impressive, expensive action stunts on location in San Francisco. Does it get a pass because it’s ‘outrageous?’ The public surely thought so. If the star chemistry works the excess won’t matter. With Valerie Harper, Loretta Swit and Jack Kruschen. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
8/08/17

The Dinner 08/05/17

Lionsgate
Blu-ray

How far will the new American aristocracy go to protect its privileges? Oren Moverman’s intense four-way war of wills is sourced from a novel but shapes up as an intense stage piece in a chi-chi restaurant interrupted by flashbacks and other stylistic flourishes. The acting foursome is excellent, with Steve Coogan a standout as a truly disturbed character. Four adults debate their sons’ high crimes and misdemeanors over designer cuisine. Also starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Rebecca Hall. On Blu-ray + Digital HD from Lionsgate.
8/05/17

Hopscotch 08/05/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

A generic spy story becomes an inspired light comedy with the application of great talent led by the star-power of Walter Matthau. Matthau’s CIA spook hooks up with old flame Glenda Jackson to retaliate against his insufferable CIA boss (Ned Beatty) with a humiliating tell-all book about the agency’s dirty tricks history. Matthau’s sloppy, slouchy master agent is a comic delight; Ronald Neame’s stylishly assured direction makes a deadly spy chase into a wholly pleasant romp. With Sam Waterston and Herbert Lom. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
8/05/17

Silkwood 08/05/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

It’s a quality true-life mystery-exposé that doesn’t come off as tabloid trash or Oliver Stone hysteria — the true story of Karen Silkwood is told without cooking the books. The all-superstar cast is something too — Meryl Streep, Cher and Kurt Russell. Only a fine director like Mike Nichols could steer this one into good entertainment & memorable cinema territory. With Craig T. Nelson, Diana Scarwid, Fred Ward, Ron Silver and Charles Hallahan, on Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
8/05/17