No Down Payment 04/28/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

The blacklist strikes back as both writer Ben Maddow and director Martin Ritt examine the booming ’50s phenomenon of The Suburbs. No money up front will get you into an ‘estate’ of your dreams, provided you’re white. Possibly a little too direct in its messaging of sickness in the American dream, much of what we see in the ticky-tacky subdivision of Sunrise Hills will ring true to those of us who lived it. And the cast can’t be beat: Joanne Woodward, Sheree North, Tony Randall, Jeffrey Hunter, Cameron Mitchell, Patricia Owens, Barbara Rush and Pat Hingle. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
4/28/18

Down 3 Dark Streets 04/28/18

ClassicFlix
Blu-ray

“It’s under the Big ‘W’!”  A smart cop show goes all ‘Dragnet’ on a trio of criminal cases in the good old City of the Angels. To figure out who gunned down a top detective, rough tough FBI agent Broderick Crawford must get to the bottom of three separate dramas, each involving a beautiful woman: Ruth Roman, Martha Hyer, Marisa Pavan. The producers know how to get attention for their show — the climactic shootout takes place under the Hollywood Sign. With Kenneth Tobey. On Blu-ray from ClassicFlix.
4/28/18

And God Said to Cain & Twice a Judas 04/28/18

Wild East
Spaghetti Western Collection Volume 45 Double Bill DVD

Guest reviewer Lee Broughton returns to shine a critical light on a double bill Spaghetti Western disc, two features starring the world’s favorite acting fiend, Klaus Kinski. The prolific German actor racked up credits in more than twenty Euro-Westerns, some of which amounted to brief-if-worthy guest spots. These two Italian productions feature the German actor up front in starring position, and both are pretty good genre entries to boot. Also starring Antonio Sabato and Peter Carsten. A double bill DVD disc from Wild East.
4/28/18

Little Murders 04/24/18

Powerhouse Indicator
Region B Blu-ray

The blackest of black comedies confronts us with an urban worst case scenario — Jules Feiffer’s ‘social horror’ movie is like a sitcom in Hell, with citizens numbed and trembling over the unending meaningless violence. What was nasty satire in 1971 now plays like the 6 o’clock news. Too radical for its time, Feiffer and director Alan Arkin’s picture is more painfully funny, and frightening, than ever. A sensational cast: Elliott Gould, Marcia Rodd, Vincent Gardenia, Elizabeth Wilson, Jon Korkes, John Randolph, Doris Roberts, Lou Jacobi, Donald Sutherland, Alan Arkin. On Region B Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
4/24/18

The Three Stooges Collection Volumes 1 and 2 04/24/18

Mill Creek Entertainment
Blu-ray

Spread out you knuckleheads, the Stooges have finally hit HD home video in fine form, with more head bonking and eye-poking than you can shake a Curly at. Charlie Largent reviews two budget-friendly packages that bring together the fan favorites Have Rocket, Will Travel, The Three Stooges Meet Hercules, Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze, The Outlaws Is Coming! and a pair of tune-filled comedies from their ’40s heyday, Time Out for Rhythm and Rockin’ in the Rockies. Don’t forget to donate to your local hospital’s Three Stooges ward. Separate releases on Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment.
4/24/18

Hope and Glory 04/24/18

Olive Films
Blu-ray

Where Were You in ’42? If you were little Johnnie Boorman in 1940, you might have been squatting in dank bomb shelter with your Mum and sisters, waiting out an air raid alert. Writer-director Boorman’s personal memory of what for some kids was a glorious time when working-class Brits endured adverse conditions: it’s warm & fuzzy affectionate and frequently hilarious, with a keen eye toward slightly bawdy family humor. Sarah Miles and Ian Bannen star. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.
4/24/18

Blaze 04/21/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

It’s hard to know much exaggeration is used in movies about crazy Suth’un politics, when some of the serious movies resemble Julius Caesar with mint juleps. This true story is about an old-school populist Louisiana governor who falls for a nationally-known stripper, the famous Blaze Starr, and is told from the stripper’s POV. Paul Newman is at his late-career best, and Lolita Davidovich lights up the screen. The governor can get away with most anything except what he wants to do most — pass some color-blind laws about hiring and voting. With Jerry Hardin, Gailard Sartain, Richard Jenkins, Jeffrey DeMunn, Robert Wuhl, Garland Bunting, Brandon Smith. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
4/21/18

The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre 04/21/18

Powerhouse Indicator
Blu-ray

Roger Corman’s ferocious gangster epic (more squibs!) bounces back in a UK Region B edition, noisier and bloodier than ever. Jason Robards, George Segal, Ralph Meeker and a couple of dozen top-notch hoods replay the ugly events that led up to the notorious 1929 gangland slaying. The actual crime now almost seems tame — where gun massacres are concerned, today ‘Every Day Is a Holiday.’ Starring Jason Robards, George Segal, Ralph Meeker, Jean Hale and a tall stack of Corman regulars and gangland favorites. On Region B Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
4/21/18

The Virgin Suicides 04/17/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Sofia Coppola’s first feature film is a head-swirling poetic essay about adolescent angst and terminal self-destruction in suburbia, where some families are unbalanced, others are dysfunctional and some are just plain toxic. Coppola sticks close to the source book, looking for visuals to express author Jeffrey Eugenides’ solution-challenged mystery, narrated by a composite group of teenaged boys. Kirsten Dunst, James Woods, Kathleen Turner and Josh Hartnett star. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
4/17/18

Bombshell, The Hedy Lamarr Story 04/17/18

Kino / Zeitgeist
Blu-ray

The pretty faces that give Hollywood its glamour eventually fade, but Alexandra Hall’s documentary reveals a remarkable woman who parlayed her beauty into an incredible life — from nude scenes in a notorious 1933 Austrian film, to eleven years in Hollywood as MGM’s ‘most beautiful girl in the world’, to a seemingly incompatible achievement: she invented a revolutionary communications technology for the WW2 war effort, and only belatedly received credit for it. A remarkable audio interview with the legendary lady brings a fabulous life into focus. On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber / Zeitgeist.
4/17/18

The Vampire (1957) 04/17/18

Scream Factory
Blu-ray

CineSavant reaches back one year to pick up a notable low-key horror from the team of Levy-Gardner-Laven and good old United Artists. They have a respected actor, a workable concept and a horror screenplay from an unusual source for the 1950s . . . a (gasp) woman. More civilized monster movies just aren’t out there, although this one could have used a more creative title. With John Beal, Colleen Gray and Kenneth Tobey. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory.
4/17/18

Along Came Jones 04/14/18

ClassicFlix
Blu-ray

Big star Gary Cooper kids his screen image as an infallible hero in a western that almost plays as a screwball comedy, complete with the ultimate grouchy sidekick, William Demarest. Loretta Young’s attraction to Coop’s goofy ‘bronc stomper’ seem glowingly authentic. The jokes are funny, and the sentiment feels real, right up to the unexpectedly violent ending. . . for 1945, that is. On Blu-ray from ClassicFlix.
4/14/18

Les Girls 04/14/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Cole Porter’s Les Girls.  The curtain is falling on the MGM musical, and Gene Kelly’s final song and dance at the studio is for a Paris-set show biz tale about a dancing star and his trio of showgirls. Actually, the comedy and the actresses get more attention than does Kelly. The gimmick is a Rashomon– like clash of conflicting testimony, but we prefer to concentrate on the sexy dancing and Kay Kendall’s hilarious drunk act. Who thought a boozy beauty wailing opera songs would be funny? Mitzi Gaynor, Taina Elg and Jacques Bergerac co-star; George Cukor directs. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
4/14/18

Five on the Black Hand Side 04/14/18

Olive Films
Blu-ray

This quirky family comedy conceived as an antidote to blaxploitation pictures was adapted from a play that claims no goal beyond feel-good entertainment — and a little preaching about black solidarity. Broad humor, simple characters and thin dramatic conflicts can’t blur the fact that this comedy has its heart in the right place. A game group of talented actors assures us that we’re gonna be glorified, unified and filled-with-pride! Starring Clarice Taylor, Leonard Jackson, Glynn Turman, D’Urville Martin, Richard Williams, Virginia Capers, Ja’net DuBois, Bonnie Banfield, Tchaka Almoravids and future director Carl Franklin. On Blu-rayfrom Olive Films.
4/14/18

The Maze 04/10/18

KL Studio Classics
3-D Blu-ray

It’s a promising project for Allied Artists: William Cameron Menzies does a spooky horror movie in 3-D! Something creepy’s going on in a mysterious Scottish castle, something to do with problems in the lineage to a Barony. It’s also a 3-C epic: Candles, Cobwebs and Corridors. Add a frightened, shivering heroine in a nightgown and the horror recipe is complete. It’s another restoration treat from the 3-D Film Archive. With Richard Carlson and Veronica Hurst. On 3-D Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
4/10/18

Gumshoe 04/10/18

Powerhouse Indicator
Blu-ray

When is a private eye parody not a parody? Stephen Frears’ first feature strikes a delicate balance — its nearly absurd hardboiled lingo outdoes the spoofs, but the story and characters are pitched 100% straight. Albert Finney IS Eddie Ginley, surrounded by a pack of exciting, imaginatively cast actors: Billie Whitelaw, Frank Finlay, Janice Rule. On Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
4/10/18

Sleeping Dogs 04/10/18

Arrow Academy
Blu-ray

Director Roger Donaldson has enjoyed a rewarding Hollywood career, but he began in New Zealand where this fantasy mini-epic about resistance to a political takeover became the first Kiwi picture to win an international release and launch a national film industry. The film’s young star didn’t do too badly either — the ‘ordinary guy’ who becomes a rebel terrorist is played by none other than Sam Neill. Sold as an action thriller, the show is really a primer on how a democracy can be turned into a police state, with the public’s full approval. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy

The Awful Truth 04/07/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Charlie Largent of Trailers from Hell writes up what is possibly the best Screwball Comedy of them all, Leo McCarey’s hilarious take on a phffft marriage that just won’t die: the separated partners just can’t stop tease-flirting with each other. Cary Grant pulls awful tricks on the new man in Irene Dunne’s life, and she puts on an crazy impersonation to humiliate him, etc. Even the dog formerly known as Asta is funny. With the ever-suffering Ralph Bellamy, the most generous actor of his time. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
4/07/18

Don’t Bother to Knock 04/07/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

“Wash your face, brush your teeth, and say your PRAYERS.” Marilyn Monroe’s first plunge into a dramatic starring role casts her as a dangerously unstable babysitter in a hotel-set suspense thriller co-starring Richard Widmark and Anne Bancroft. Ms. Monroe may not be Ethel Barrymore (thankfully) but the role suits her well — to play a woman unhinged by low self-esteem and melancholy romantic reveries, she may have tapped personal experience. With Elisha Cook Jr. and Lurene Tuttle. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
4/07/18

Danger Signal 04/07/18

The Warner Archive Collection
DVD

Ah romance! A handsome stranger takes a room in your house, lets you feed him and doesn’t pay the rent — of course he’s the perfect man of your dreams. Excellent WB players Faye Emerson and Zachary Scott enliven an odd mix of moods in a tale of a murderous Bluebeard- boyfriend. Director Robert Florey’s thriller is half stylish spook show, and half romantic sitcom. With Dick Erdman, Rosemary DeCamp and perky Mona Freeman as the little sister who needs to be told, ‘Don’t you do what your big sister done.’ On DVD from The Warner Archive Collection.
4/07/18

The Age of Innocence 04/03/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Martin Scorsese commands the screen without a single profane word or gunshot to the head. His adaptation of Edith Wharton’s 1920 novel is a marvel for its year, a highly entertaining, dramatically involving epic that takes us to a world lost to time, the high-toned society of New York in the 1870s. For adult viewers, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder form a stunning romantic triangle. With excellent extras, including an exceptional interview with the director. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
4/03/18

Three Video Nasties 04/03/18

88 Films Slasher Classics Collection (UK)
Region B Blu-ray

Guest reviewer Lee Broughton covers a trio of video nasties. The Toolbox Murders, Blood Harvest and A Cat in the Brain each feature a pop culture icon in a leading role. Hollywood actor Cameron Mitchell, oddball 1960s crooner Tiny Tim and the Italo horror director and all-round enfant terrible Lucio Fulci find themselves caught up in their own gory and disturbing splatter show. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all three films fell foul of the British Board of Film Classification at the time of their original release in the UK. Separate releases, on Region B Blu-ray from 88 Films (UK) Slasher Classics Collection.
4/03/18

Red Planet Mars 04/03/18

Not on Home Video

It’s a review. No, it’s a rant. Stop, you’re both right.  CineSavant’s overt mission is to demonstrate that old movies, especially old Science Fiction movies, are more relevant than ever. There is at present no authorized home video release of this amazing 1952 politico-religious pretzel of a movie. The surprise is that it accurately presages the media hysteria that underpins our present day Info Wars. Fake News comes from the sky, and a major world revolution results — for the better? Will religious fundamentalism rule all? This may be the most radical faith-based picture ever to get a major release. Starring Peter Graves and Andrea King. Not on Home Video.
4/03/18