Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice 02/27/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

What’s it all about, Ma-zur-sky? Is this an honest look at the free love movement of the late sixties, or a shallow investigation of affluent, bored pre-Yuppies infatuated by the new permissiveness regarding sex? It generated a new buzz about a micro-trend that re-branded what was once called wife-swapping. Natalie Wood, Robert Culp, Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon are hip & happening, after being inspired to welcome ‘full honesty and emotional openness into their lives.’ It certainly sold tickets. By Charlie Largent. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
2/27/18

The Outlaw 02/27/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Louise Brooks once said that the movies were invented to give rich men access to desirable women. The Outlaw is the stuff of legend less for itself than for Howard Hughes’ creation of the sex star Jane Russell, and his battle with the censors and Hollywood itself. We’ve always gotten the impression that nobody has told the full story behind Hughes, Russell and this ultra-hyped notorious western. Starring Walter Huston, Thomas Mitchell, Jack Buetel and various and sundry anatomical attractions. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
2/27/18

The Incident 02/27/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

New Yorkers of two centuries ago surely complained loudly about rampant street crime, but in the 1960s the media really ramped up the reportage paranoia. Had a new age of senseless violence begun? A New York play about terror on the subway is the source for this nail-biter with a powerful cast, featuring an ensemble of sharp new faces and undervalued veterans: Tony Musante, Martin Sheen, Beau Bridges, Jack Gilford, Thelma Ritter, Brock Peters, Ruby Dee, Ed McMahon, Diana Van der Vlis, Mike Kellin, Jan Sterling, Gary Merrill, Robert Fields, Donna Mills. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
2/27/18

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds 02/24/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

Of all the ‘depressed relationship’ dramas of the early ’70s, this may be the most rewarding. It also sports one of the longest titles on record. Paul Zindel’s award-winning play gets a marvelous adaptation for the screen, thanks to Alvin Sargent, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. There’s also the stealth input of the star couple’s daughter Nell Potts, whose restrained performance is the happy opposite of mawkish and maudlin. With Roberta Wallach, Judith Lowry and David Spielberg. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
2/24/18

Shoes 02/24/18

The Milestone Cinematheque
Blu-ray

Some movies attempted to change social attitudes from the very beginning, and director Lois Weber made that goal her specialty, with a great many enormously popular films of the ‘teens and ‘twenties. Milestone’s disc of a Dutch restoration of this 1916 gem is a major find in terms of film culture: it helps write women filmmakers back into the historical record. With silent star Mary MacLaren and appointed with numerous extras. On Blu-ray from The Milestone Cinematheque.
2/24/18

No Orchids for Miss Blandish 02/24/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Devotees of crime and film noir will get a kick out of this Brit attempt to capture the American style, that now comes off as screamingly funny. It was both a huge hit and a big scandal in London, 1948, where the censors came down hard on the film’s flagrant immorality and over-the-top violence. Former pre-Code second-banana thug Jack La Rue tries hard to be Humphrey Bogart. Leading lady Linden Travers’ role is as non-PC now as it was then: an heiress falls in love with the gangster, who has raped her, because she likes it. But the film’s maladroit hardboiled dialogue is hilarious fun. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
2/24/18

Inferno: L’enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot 02/20/18

Arrow Academy
Blu-ray

A cinematic puzzle and a filmic detective piece, Serge Bromberg’s examination of a world-class filmmaker’s catastrophic, never-finished production fascinates and dazzles. If the particulars of H.G. Clouzot’s experimental epic of internal torment remain clouded, the astonishing visuals he created are a total knockout. Working with hours of uncut dailies and precise collaborator memories, Bromberg gives us the most interesting filmic autopsy on record. Incredible stuff! Starring Romy Schneider, Serge Reggiani, and Dany Carrel. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy.
2/20/18

Tom Jones 02/20/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Tony Richardson’s New Wave-inspired romp features Albert Finney in an 18th century pastoral with the lovely Susannah York as the apple of his eye and David Warner as the worm in that apple. With a brilliantly animated cast including Hugh Griffith, Joan Greenwood and Dame Edith Evans, the movie comes to us in a splendid edition sporting a gorgeous transfer. With Joyce Redman, Jack MacGowran, Diane Cilento, Peter Bull, Freda Jackson, Lynn Redgrave, & David Tomlinson. Trailers from Hell’s Charlie Largent is the reviewer. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
2/20/18

Night of the Living Dead 02/20/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Talk about Zombies We’ve Known and Loved — this famed shocker is now worshipped as the father of the modern horror film. It’s no museum piece but a taut thriller that hasn’t diminished one wit — it still pays off in real chills. George Romero was a genuine original when it came to inspired independent filmmaking: if you haven’t seen this in a while, you’ll be impressed with the quality of his direction. With Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, this the best movie ever to come out of Pittsburgh P.A. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
2/20/18

The Mercenary (A Professional Gun) 02/20/18

88 Films (Region B)
Blu-ray

Guest reviewer Lee Broughton is back with an in-depth look at Franco Solinas and Sergio Corbucci’s ‘committed’ political Spaghetti western, a large-scale drama about revolution, compromise and opportunism. Tony Musante is an honest peasant, Franco Nero a Polish military advisor, and Jack Palance a memorable villain; the music score is by Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai. Also with Giovanna Ralli and produced by Alberto Grimaldi, straight from Leone’s ‘Dollars’ films. On Region B Blu-ray from 88 Films.
2/20/18

The Silence of the Lambs 02/17/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Talk about staying power — Jonathan Demme’s riveting, ultimately humanistic horror thriller raked in a full house of Oscars and is still scaring new viewers. Even those that chose to avoid it know what it’s all about. My review bows to the film’s superiority and remarks on some of its finer points of cinematic splendor. Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster can do no wrong; Scott Glenn, Ted Levine and Diane Baker provide formidable support. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
2/17/18

Nowhere in Africa 02/17/18

Kino Lorber / Zeitgeist
Blu-ray

Caroline Link’s wonderful, woefully obscure Best Foreign Film winner is an entertaining story of the perils of wartime emigration. It hits hard right now, with our own immigration crackdown underway. A Jewish family smartly escapes Nazi Germany at the 11th hour, only to find themselves imprisoned in detention camps by the British — who ironically consider them dangerous enemy aliens. The show is a glorious growing-up tale for a German tot transplanted to Kenya, and becomes an edgy romantic story when the mother repurposes her amorous needs to help rescue her family. With Juliane K√∂hler, Sidede Onyulo and Merab Ninidze. On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber / Zeitgeist.
2/17/18

The Killing of a Sacred Deer 02/17/18

Lionsgate
blu-ray

There’s a point at which unnervingly harsh and disturbingly irrational movies become more trouble than they’re worth. This groaner is two hours of jeopardy to children and perversely cruel storytelling that never rewarded this viewer. And director Yorgos Lanthimos chooses a style of performance and presentation that all but bypasses recognizable human values. I hold the film no particular grudge. It may be a masterpiece, but if I didn’t need to review it, I wouldn’t have stuck it out to the end. With Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan and Raffey Cassidy. On Blu-ray from Lionsgate.
2/17/18

Threads 02/13/18

Severin Films
Blu-ray

Hey kids! Learn about the great time we’ll be having if the nuclear powers plunge us into a nuclear winter! This post-atomic horror show traumatized England in 1984, and even saw some airings in the U.S. thanks to the liberal media magnate Ted Turner. The most extreme prime-time response to Ronald Reagan’s heating up of the Cold War standoff, it remains the most honest look at a possible grim future, that rubs our noses in the full consequences of a nuclear exchange. Together with America’s The Day After and Testament, this TV show shouted a big ‘no’ to pro-nuke programs like the Strategic Defense Initiative, cynically marketed as ‘Star Wars.’ On Blu-ray from Severin.
2/13/18

Harper 02/13/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Ross Macdonald’s Cool Cat detective — originally Lew Archer — comes alive in Jack Smight’s smart SoCal kidnapping mystery, thanks to a charismatic Paul Newman and a hot cast of bright, smart actors. It’s the first screenplay sale for the celebrated William Goldman, and the crisp cinematography by ace cameraman Conrad Hall doesn’t hurt either. With a great cast: Lauren Bacall, Julie Harris, Shelley Winters, Arthur Hill, Janet Leigh, Robert Wagner, Pamela Tiffin and Robert Webber. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
2/13/18

The Witches (Le streghe) 02/13/18

Arrow Academy
Blu-ray

The strangest Italian portmanteau picture of the sixties features glorious Silvana Mangano in dozens of costume changes, directed by big names (Luchino Visconti, Vittorio De Sica, Pier Paolo Pasolini) and paired with a woefully miscast Clint Eastwood. The other major attraction in Dino De Laurentiis’ production is a delightful music score by Piero Piccioni, with an assist from Ennio Morricone. With an audio commentary by Tim Lucas. On Blu-ray from Arrow USA.
2/13/18