A Raisin in the Sun 09/29/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Lorraine Hansberry’s play has been given a masterful film adaptation, with the emotional truth of her words left intact. We’re told of some superficial compromises, but they do not diminish the play’s powerful clash between old and new ideas in a Southside Chicago family struggling to escape poverty. This may be Sidney Poitier’s best screen performance, but the honors are shared with a superlative cast: Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands, Ivan Dixon, John Fiedler, Louis Gossett Jr., Stephen Perry, Joel Fluellen. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/29/18

Looker 09/29/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

It’s always fun to peruse the impressive career of writer-director Michael Crichton, whose brilliant, commercially savvy ideas so often hit the mark. He even invented a plausibly credible dinosaur movie. This 1981 thriller may be his least coherent show, with too many screwy ideas and a supporting cast that needed better direction. Yet it has the winning combination of Albert Finney and Susan Dey, and some very original thriller elements.. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
9/29/18

The Cyclops 09/25/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

He’s back — looking meaner and uglier than ever!  Bert I. Gordon’s early sci-fi effort shapes up as a surprisingly entertaining monster thriller with an elemental appeal. And lots of groaning and howling, too. Led by Lon Chaney Jr., the all-name cast keeps things lively. The pop-eyed monster is the ultimate bogeyman for the kiddies. Any movie that inspired as many nightmares as this one did, can’t be bad. With Gloria Talbott, James Craig and Tom Drake. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
9/25/18

The Mind of Mr. Soames 09/25/18

Powerhouse Indicator
Blu-ray

Amicus tries for class-act science fiction: lifelong coma sleeper Terence Stamp is revived as an ‘adult baby’ and must be educated in a medical psychology lab. But hey, Doctors Nigel Davenport and Robert Vaughn differ on how to raise children! The bouncing baby Cockney is soon an infantile Clockwork Orange, defying his minders and running away to see the world for himself. No, you can’t explain youth rebellion that easily… Also with Donal Donnelly, and shot by cameraman Billy Williams. On Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
9/25/18

The Dragon Missile 09/25/18

88 Films
Region B Blu-ray

Guest reviewer Lee Broughton offers an assessment of one of the Shaw Brothers’ quirkier and more idiosyncratic historical martial arts efforts: an action-packed Meng Hua Ho wuxia flick from 1976 that concerns an irredeemable killer sent on a mission to save the life of a despicable and hated tyrant. Outstanding fight choreography, unusual weaponry and unpredictable plot twists! On Region B Blu-ray from 88 Films.
9/25/18

The Changeling 09/22/18

Severin Films
Blu-ray

Morbid spirits are on the loose … Peter Medak directed this much-respected ghost story, that finds new wrinkles and some great characters in a haunted house. George C. Scott adds another fine performance to his record, as a master musician who discovers a secret room and a horror story that happened seventy years before. The nervous supporting cast features Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas, Jean Marsh, John Colicos, Barry Morse, and Madeleine Sherwood. On Blu-ray from Severin Films.
9/22/18

The Trip to Bountiful 09/22/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Horton Foote strikes again, with a warm and thoughtful tale of life as it was lived in East Texas in 1950. Geraldine Page won an Oscar for her unguarded portrait of Carrie Watts, a woman who has outlived her peers and been uprooted from an ideal hometown of her youth. Her trip to recover her life becomes a bittersweet acknowledgment that some things just need to be accepted with as much grace as can be mustered. The great ensemble cast teams Fitzgerald with John Heard, Carlin Glynn, Rebecca De Mornay and Richard Bradford. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
9/22/18

Death in Small Doses 09/22/18

The Warner Archive Collection
DVD

This ’50s drug epic is not about hopheads on dope, but working folk frying their brains on amphetamines. Peter Graves’ undercover narc seeks the source of deadly pills that are wreaking havoc in the trucking industry; the film’s wild card is an unhinged Chuck Connors — yes, that Chuck Connors — as a deranged pill-popper running amuck on the highways. Seat belts recommended. Co-starring the formidable Mala Powers and Merry Anders in showcase roles. On DVD from The Warner Archive Collection.
9/22/18

My Man Godfrey 09/18/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

For my money this is the brightest, most endearing and wittiest ’30s comedy to be given the name ‘screwball.’ Everyone on screen is flawlessly magnificent — Carole Lombard, William Powell, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Jean Dixon, Eugene Pallette and Mischa Auer — and Gregory La Cava’s direction is so good, it’s invisible. No kidding, I’ve never watched this with a group or individual that didn’t immediately rank it among the best entertainments they’ve seen. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/18/18

The Invisible Man Complete Legacy Collection 09/18/18

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray

Universal’s four-disc set includes all six transparent epics (The Invisible Man, The Invisible Man Returns, The Invisible Woman, The Invisible Agent, The Invisible Man’s Revenge and Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man), starring Claude Rains, Vincent Price, Jon Hall, Virginia Bruce and Arthur Franz as various invisible leading players. Reviewer Charlie Largent sorts them out. The original Griffin is a maniacal murderer (beware monocaine!) but subsequent no-see-’em folk are innocent good guys, a Nazi-fighter and a sexy woman! On Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
9/18/18

Day of the Jackal 09/18/18

Arrow Video
Blu-ray

Fred Zinnemann’s counter-assassination thriller remains topflight filmmaking, torn from reality and shot through with an unsentimental dose of political realism. Edward Fox’s implacable killer outwits the combined resources of an entire nation as he stalks his prey, and when bad luck forces him to improvise, he racks up more victims on his kill list. Step aside Bond, Bourne and Marvel — the original Jackal is the man to beat. Starring Edward Fox, Michel Lonsdale, Delphine Seyrig, Cyril Cusack, Alan Badel, Olga Georges-Picot, Derek Jacobi and Jean Martin. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video.
9/18/18

Sangaree (3-D) 09/15/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray + 3D

‘3rd Dimension!’ ‘Technicolor!’ Paramount underwent a difficult post-production learning curve getting this early entry in the 3-D craze out the door and into waiting theaters. Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl decorate the colonial-era costume drama, injecting some heat into their frisky wrestling match meet-cute love scene. Rip those bodices! Also starring Tom Drake, Patricia Medina and Francis L. Sullivan; comes with an educational restoration comparison extra. On 3-D Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
9/15/18

The Man Who Cheated Himself 09/15/18

Flicker Alley
Blu-ray + DVD

The Film Noir Foundation has helped revive yet another difficult-to-see noir gem — the murder coverup tale begins with a shooting in a mansion and races across San Francisco to a finale given classic lines by director Felix Feist. And the casting: Slightly saggy Lee J. Cobb as a romantic leading man? Sunny, everybody’s-mom Jane Wyatt as a duplicitous killer?   Bring it on!   Also starring John Dall and Lisa Howard, whose political backstory is one of the strangest in Hollywood history. On Blu-ray + DVD from Flicker Alley.
9/15/18

The Farmer’s Daughter 09/11/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

A solid mainstream hit for 1947, Loretta Young and Joseph Cotten’s political fairy tale maintains its charm despite the usual populist dodges — a spirited young woman finds both romance and The American Dream when she runs for Congress. With Ethel Barrymore as a political party kingpin, and the very young Lex Barker, Keith Andes and James Arness as Loretta’s farm-fed brothers. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
9/11/18

Queen of Outer Space 09/11/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

“I hate her! I hate dat qveen!” Despite being one of the most maladroit sci-fiers of the ‘fifties, color and ‘scope and Zsa Za Gabor’s hilarious accent make this Allied Artists offering a must-see head scratcher. Bad taste! Tacky art direction! Infantile sexist humor! The word on the street is that the Me Too movement has this embarrassing howler on their kill list. With Eric Fleming, Dave Willock, Paul Birch, Laurie Mitchell and Lisa Davis. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
9/11/18

The Tree of Life 09/08/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Terrence Malick’s magnum opus fully expresses what might be called his ‘Unified Theory’ of cinema — which embraces the human experience from the core of family life to the creation and destruction of the universe. Even Stanley Kubrick didn’t go that far: he never filmed merciful dinosaurs or anything as simple as a mother who experiences rapture rolling in the grass with her young sons. Starring Jessica Chastain, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Hunter McCracken and several soulful dinosaurs. The set contains an added Extended Version.  On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/8/18

Bronson Caverns, The Hidden Hollywood Location 09/08/18

CineSavant Article
Photo Feature

Let’s take a trip back to Bronson Caverns, but with new and better photos! Once you visit this hiding-in-plain-sight Hollywood location, you’ll start seeing it every time you tune in an old movie. We dropped in on Labor Day to commune with the ghosts of B-movies past. It’s a thoroughly un-glamorous yet essential Hollywood side trip for genre cinema enthusiasts. And Savant is a well-informed, annoyingly opinionated tour guide. With plenty of images old and new.
9/8/18

First Reformed 09/04/18

Lionsgate
Blu-ray

Paul Schrader’s austere, intense thriller is billed as a return to the director’s ‘transcendental’ roots, although we suspect he never really left them at all. Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried and Victoria Hall immerse us in a country pastor’s dreadful impulse to act on spiritual values and strike back against evil. The mix of Robert Bresson style and slightly ‘Taxi Driver’ suspense plotting leads us to fear an exploitation apocalypse at the finale… but Schrader surprises us, mercifully. On Blu-ray from Lionsgate.
9/04/18

Missing 09/04/18

Powerhouse Indicator
Region B Blu-ray

Costa-Gavras’ superlative political thriller begins with a skeptical attitude, but soon pulls viewers into the depth and breadth of a monstrous political crime aided and abetted by our own U.S. government. Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemmon headline a strong cast, in a story that our State Department called a pack of lies — until the truth became undeniable. With Melanie Mayron and John Shea; Filmed by a French crew in Mexico for Hollywood’s Universal Pictures, which stood behind the film even when our government complained. That’s a triumph for freedom of speech and expression. On Region B Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
9/04/18

Creature From the Black Lagoon Complete Legacy Collection 09/01/18

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray + 3D

It’s controversy in the Black Lagoon! Universal releases a much-desired box of all three Gill Man epics — but goes cheap on the encoding and hands us a 3-D rendering of Revenge of the Creature at half- bit rate and half- resolution. When is a Blu-ray not a Blu-ray? When it’s not even full HD. And all that after commissioning a state-of-the-art 4k 3-D video remaster! We still love the movies — Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of… and … Walks Among Us— and my review takes the time to justify our devotion to them. Now all we need is a satisfactory disc presentation. On Blu-ray from Universal Home Entertainment.
9/01/18

The Naked and the Dead 09/01/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

One of the splashier WW2 combat sagas adapts Norman Mailer’s respected book but ends up a bona fide mess. Aldo Ray, Cliff Robertson and Raymond Massey flail about in a compromised screen story, augmented with side-dish appearances by sultry Barbara Nichols and — even though she’s allowed to contribute almost nothing — famous ecdysiast Lili St. Cyr.  Let the search for outtakes begin. With exactly every actor one would expect in a 1958 war movie — William Campbell, Richard Jaeckel, James Best, Joey Bishop, Jerry Paris and a humiliating role for L.Q. Jones. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
9/01/18