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You are here: Community Film DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for May 12, 2017

DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for May 12, 2017

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Welcome back to another look at highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s an edition filled with plenty of quirky and eccentric films. So if you can’t make it out to the movies this week, be sure to give one of these titles a try!

BIG NEW RELEASES

American Mummy - Set in New Mexico, this independent horror flick involves a group of university students who find a hidden tomb and unearth an ancient mummy. Of course, strange rituals are performed and the crusty corpse rises from the dead, possessing several of the kids and forcing them to wreak havoc on one another. This feature was completed a few years back, played at a film festival or two and is now making its debut on DVD. So, viewers shouldn’t expect too much more than some low-budget, B-movie chills. The cast includes Suziey Block, Aidan Bristow, Aaron Burt and Esther Canata.

Fifty Shades Darker - In this follow-up to the hit film Fifty Shades of Grey, heroine Anastasia decides to resuscitate her relationship with mysterious (or more accurately, creepy) businessman Christian Grey. However, their new start draws the attention and ire of his ex-girlfriends. As one might imagine, notices were terrible for this unusual romance flick. There were a few who called it entertainingly awful, but almost all others had nothing positive to say. They called it dull and slowly plotted with wooden dialogue and little onscreen chemistry between the lead characters. It stars Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Kim Basinger and Maria Gay Harden.

A Street Cat Named Bob - This UK production is based on a true story and tells the tale of a London street busker named James Bowen. Emotionally isolated, the recovering drug addict makes an unlikely friend in the form of a stray cat that he discovers and names Bob. The feline ends up changing his life in ways he never could have imagined. In general, the press were fond of this little picture from director Roger Spottiswoode (Turner & Hooch, Tomorrow Never Dies, Shake Hands with the Devil). While some suggested it was a little too cutesy for its own good, most were charmed by its good will and sweetness. Luke Treadaway, Bob the Cat and Ruta Gedmintas headline the feature.

Things to Come - A philosophy professor finds herself alone and unsure of what to do next after her husband of 25 years suddenly leaves her and a family member dies. She decides to reexamine and reprioritize her life, making a fresh start in the process. This French drama (which was released in its homeland under the title of L’avenir) earned plenty of raves from critics. They praised the work of lead actress Isabelle Huppert and called the feature compelling and thoughtful, dealing with personal issues in both a believable and relatable manner. The cast also includes Andre Marcon, Roman Kolinka and Edith Scob.

The Void - This low-budget, independent horror feature from Canada involves a police officer who finds a blood-soaked man by the side of the road. He rushes the injured party to a nearby hospital, but things get even stranger after arriving; the emergency room is understaffed and soon, sinister hooded figures begin appearing. Notices were pretty solid for this outing. While a few commented that the movie loses momentum in a few sections, most found it to be a chilling, fun and effective throwback to those old, 80s slasher flicks. It stars Aaron Poole, Kathleen Monroe, Ellen Wong and Kenneth Welsh.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST!

Arrow Video have a very quirky cult film arriving. The 2-disc special edition of Brain Damage (1988) contains the film on both Blu-ray and DVD with plenty of bonuses. This low-budget, independent horror/comedy comes from Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Frankenhooker). It’s about a young man who befriends a parasite. The organism creates a chemical that causes euphoric visions, but forces its host to kill in order to deliver the powerful highs. There’s a new transfer from original elements, an exclusive director commentary, new interviews with cast and crew, promotional material like trailers and numerous other extras.

Their other line, Arrow Academy are releasing the Blu-ray box set Kiju Yoshida: Love + Anachronism. This collection contains three hard-to-get films from Japanese filmmaker Kiju Yoshida. In this case Eros + Massacre (1969), Heroic Purgatory (1970) and Coup d’Etat (1973). Again, there are a ton of extras including scene specific commentary, a documentary on the films, trailers and a booklet on the director and the works contained.

Shout! Factory also have some Blu-rays of note. A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012) is a more recent film, but certainly fits into their cult catalog. Simon Pegg stars as a novelist who begins to develop paranoia while writing his latest project... or is the threat real? If memory serves, it’s an enjoyable little indie comedy with some chuckles and a strong lead performance.

They also have a Collector’s Edition of Serial Mom (1994) from director John Waters (Polyester, Hairspray, Cry-Baby). This hilarious dark comedy involves a suburban housewife who brutally murders anyone that offends her sensibilities or does wrong to a member of her family. Kathleen Turner plays the titular character. This release includes a new interview with Waters, a commentary with the director and Turner, a second commentary with Waters, interviews with the cast and crew, promotional featurettes and other bonuses. It’s a good time if you haven’t seen it.

Michael Mann’s Heat (1995) is a much beloved cops and robbers crime flick that famously featured the first onscreen teaming (well, at least, in one scene) of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. This is the Director’s Definitive Edition, meaning that it is Mann final say on the feature. Reportedly, the movie has been remastered in 4K as well. It comes with plenty of extras including a commentary, deleted scenes and featurettes and is currently selling for under $10, making this an appealing purchase.

Paramount are definitely going with a crime theme as well this week. While they have released all of these films before, but they’re bringing them back to Blu-ray with a low price-point and new cover art. The titles include the classics Chinatown (1974), Road to Perdition (2002) and The Untouchables (1987). They’re all phenomenal movies worth picking up if you haven’t already. Actually, the three would make for a pretty great movie-night triple feature.

Jeanne Dielman, 32, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) is certainly a long title in a number of ways, but that hasn’t stopped Criterion from putting out an elaborate Blu-ray. This three-and-a-half-hour, Belgian-set French drama involves a lonely, widowed housewife going through her daily routine until an unusual event changes things. The disc includes numerous bonuses, including a documentary shot during production, interviews, French TV programs about the production among other extras.

Kino have a few westerns arriving on Blu-ray. They include old westerns, Adios, Sabata (1970) starring Yul Brenner, The Return of Sabata (1971) featuring Lee Van Cleef and The Indian Fighter (1955) with Kirk Douglas. They also have the German E.T. knock-off, Making Contact (1985). Just like Spielberg’s famous kid’s film, this one’s about an alien life form that befriends a child. In this case, it does so by taking the form of a (oddly unsettling) puppet. It was an early feature for director Roland Emmerich, who would eventually find success with blockbusters like Stargate (1994) and Independence Day (1996). Alas, this release only contains the shorter US version and not the extended international cut. You’ll have to hold on to your out-of-print, special edition 2-disc Anchor Bay DVD to own both versions. And they also have Marjorie Morningstar (1958) with Gene Kelly and Natalie Wood.

Finally, Cult Epics are releasing the Netherland/West German thriller Obsessions (1969) in high definition. Believe it or not, this English-language production was co-written by a young Martin Scorcese.

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!

Here are some titles kids may enjoy.

Alpha and Omega: Journey to Bear Kingdom

Barbie’s Princess & Puppy Pack (Five Movies)

K-9 World Cup

ON THE TUBE!

And here are all the week’s TV show releases. There are plenty of great shows both new and old coming your way.

The Alf Collection: Seasons 1 - 4

Divorce: Season 1

Emergency: Season 1

Inside Amy Schumer: Season 4

Ironside: Season 3

Mannix: The Complete Series

NOVA: The Origami Revolution (PBS)

Orange is the New Black: Season 4

Plants Behaving Badly (PBS)

Rake: Series 1

Secrets of the Dead: Nero’s Sunken City (PBS)

Simon & Simon: Season 5

The Streets of San Francisco: The Complete Series

XIII: The Complete Series

By Glenn Kay

For the Sun