Charley Varrick 01/20/18

Indicator UK
Region B Blu-ray

It’s the loose-censored early 1970s, and screen bandits shootin’ up the American movie landscape are no longer suffering the once-mandated automatic moral retribution. Walter Matthau launched himself into the genre with this excellent Don Siegel on-the-run epic, about an old-fashioned independent bandit who accidentally rips off the mob for a million. It’s great, wicked fun with Joe Don Baker, Andy Robinson, John Vernon, Felicia Farr, Sheree North and Jacqueline Scott. On Region B Blu-ray from Indicator (Powerhouse).
1/20/18

Blade Runner 2049 01/16/18

Warner Brothers Home Entertainment
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital

After 35 years Philip K. Dick’s brainstorm returns in a film sequel worthy of the original; Denis Villeneuve does right by the concept, but the show will be tough sledding for ADD-plagued modern viewers. Ryan Gosling follows in Harrison Ford’s replicant footsteps, surrounded by an impressive group of supporting actors. It’s long, it’s moody, it’s not for babies — but it is rewarding. Also with startling appearances by Robin Wright, Ana de Armas, Carla Juri, Jared Leto, Sylvia Hoeks, Mackenzie Davis, Sean Young, and Hiam Abbass. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
1/16/18

From Caligari to Hitler: German Cinema in the Age of the Masses 01/16/18

Kino Lorber
DVD

Take a trip into the depths of German silent film in a documentary that links expressionist cinema with dark political undercurrents. Director Rüdiger Suchsland’s essay adapts a famous & worthy but slightly outdated book, yet is an excellent overview of movies in the Weimar period. On the dark side of the force is the black-gloved master criminal Schranker from “M”. On the side of the angels are the carefree picnic girls from People on Sunday. The Golem, Nosferatu and the False Maria are in the thesis, too! On DVD from Kino Lorber.
1/16/18

The Hanging Tree 01/13/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

“To really live, you must almost die,” sings Marty Robbins, a lesson learned by Austrian import star Maria Schell. Delmer Daves’ best western puts virtue and faithfulness to the test: Gary Cooper’s distrustful, manipulative doctor hides his dark secrets and punishes those that admire and love him. Yet the ultimate reckoning demonstrates that sins can be forgiven and goodness rewarded, even in a corrupt and lawless community. That’s a fairy tale I still want to believe in. Also starring Karl Malden and, in his first feature film, George C. Scott. On Blu-rayfrom The Warner Archive Collection.
1/13/18

Bend of the River 01/13/18

Explosive Media (Germany)
All-Region Blu-ray

The second Anthony Mann / James Stewart western displays excellent direction and impressive Technicolor location photography high in the high mountains of Oregon. A matinee staple, it delivers everything — Stewart’s mostly good hero and Arthur Kennedy’s mostly bad hero spar and tangle and eventually fight to the death near the timber line. And the handsome Rock Hudson receives prime billing, mostly for flashing his incredible ‘Dazzledent’ smile. With Julia Adams, Lori Nelson and Jay C. Flippen. On All-Region Blu-ray from Explosive Media.
1/13/18

Raw Deal 01/09/18

ClassicFlix
Blu-ray

Special Edition.  Style can be the star in Classic Noir, making a less prestigious film more entertaining than one with bigger names. Dennis O’Keefe, Claire Trevor and Marsha Hunt spin an excellent crime-love-murder triangle, for a road picture that’s one of the best Noirs not made by a big studio. Director Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton dial up the intensity for an experience as rich as the best pulp crime fiction. With expert extras input from Alan K. Rode, Max Alvarez, Jeremy Arnold and Julie Kirgo. On Blu-ray from ClassicFlix.
1/09/18

Jabberwocky 01/09/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Charlie Largent takes on Terry Gilliam’s followup to Monty Python and The Holy Grail and ambitious and creative medieval romp suggested by Lewis Carroll, turning it into a low-key mud ‘n’ rags farce. Michael Palin is the only Python in sight and most of the comedy is in droll observations and muted satire — Palin’s sad sack hero just wants a job, not rewards, but he must go out and face the fearsome monster Jabberwocky anyway. Gilliam made the movie to establish his brand as a director, and Cinema 5 Distributing slapped ‘Monty Python’s Jabberwocky’ on the posters against his wishes. From The Criterion Collection.
1/09/18

Not as a Stranger 01/09/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

What? Doctors aren’t perfect? And some practicing doctors are incompetent? Stanley Kramer’s All-Star medical soap opera takes two unlikely students (Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra) through med school and confronts them with a number of pat dramatic complications. But the movie belongs to top-billed Olivia de Havilland, who lends a touch of class to the entire iffy enterprise. The picture also stars Broderick Crawford, Gloria Grahame, Charles Bickford and Myron McCormick. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
/1/09/18

The Executioner’s Song 01/06/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Reviewer Charlie Largent assesses Lawrence Schiller’s film of the Norman Mailer book about Gary Gilmore, a death row convict who petitioned not for a reprieve, but to have his sentence carried out. The famous TV movie was photographed by Freddie Francis and stars Tommy Lee Jones, Eli Wallach, Christine Lahti and Roseanna Arquette. This is a good call to remaster classic TV movies before they disappear: if available at all, too many can be seen only in wretched quality. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
1/06/18

Young Mr. Lincoln 01/06/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Viewers looking (desperately) for American leaders to admire can’t do better than to reflect on John Ford’s folksy, at least partly authentic honorarium to one of the greats. Henry Fonda is 100% dead-on as a vision of Abe Lincoln to bring tears to our eyes. Imagine . . . there’s such a thing as political integrity, or simply a person that puts the public good ahead of personal advantage. Criterion’s older extras are augmented with a fine new feature commentary by John Ford authority Joseph McBride. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
1/06/18

Legend of the Lost 01/06/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

America’s top box office star John Wayne sneaks away to a remote corner of the Sahara Desert with the top Italian sex symbol Sophia Loren … and foolishly brings an entire camera crew with him. Henry Hathaway’s impressive desert adventure boasts a fairly amazing, bona fide Lost City, made even more impressive through the Technirama cinematography of the legendary Jack Cardiff. Rossano Brazzi co-stars as a treasure hunter, who can’t handle the truth about his explorer-father. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
1/06/18

The Hospital 01/02/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

A story of murders in the ER becomes, courtesy of writer Paddy Chayefsky, either a preview of social breakdown or an impassioned examination of why we invest our lives and souls in imperfect institutions. George C. Scott is the doctor coming apart at the seams, who meets his match in a New Age hippie from a New Mexico commune. My instinct is that such a person would not look like Diana Rigg, but everybody needs a dream girl. With Barnard Hughes and Richard Dysart. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
01/02/18

Matinee 01/02/18

Shout Select
Blu-ray

A scary monster movie comes to Key West just as a nuclear crisis breaks out! Joe Dante’s incomparable paean to monster kid culture has finally arrived on Region A Blu-ray, with the great extras we expect from every Dante-involved home video offering. The picture only gets more charming and funny with time, with its great cast of teens to the perfect pitch of John Goodman and Cathy Moriarty’s bigger-than-life characters. On Blu-ray from Shout Select.
01/02/18

Cadillac Man 01/02/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

The irrepressible Robin Williams is Joey, a trash-talking Cadillac salesman with three women on the line, who becomes an involuntary hero when Tim Robbins smashes his motorcycle into the car showroom and threatens to kill everybody. Roger Donaldson’s crisis-farce black comedy is still funny — and my favorite Robin Williams feature. With Pamela Reed, Fran Drescher, Lori Petty and Lauren Tom as the abrasively funny Helen. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
01/02/18