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You are here: Community Film DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for Nov. 3, 2017

DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for Nov. 3, 2017

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Hello and welcome to a  post-Halloween edition of highlights coming your way on Blu-ray and DVD. And don’t need to worry if you don’t like scare flicks, because there’s a wide variety of releases both new and old covering many genres. 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!

The Dark Tower - Based on the fantasy book series by Stephen King, this effort is about two individuals in an eternal battle for the fate of the universe. The lead is a heroic gunslinger tasked with saving the title building from a nasty force of evil that wants to destroy the tower and end the world. While the novels have a huge following, the film adaptation failed to earn any praise from critics. They wrote that the material wasn’t translated properly, leaving gaping plot holes and a confusing story that was peppered with unexciting action sequences. Now audiences can make up their own minds. The cast includes Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Dennis Haysbert and Jackie Earl Haley.

Dawson City: Frozen Time - This documentary chronicles a small town in the Yukon Territory of Canada. During the beginnings of cinema, film prints were shipped around North America from city to city and this town in the middle of nowhere was the last stop. It is revealed that an enormous number of old silent shorts and newsreels (thought to be lost for good) were discovered buried under the ground. The feature tells of the history of the city and how this came to be, also showing numerous clips from the discovered footage. Notices were uniformly fantastic for the project, calling it a phenomenal history piece with haunting images from the past that had been buried for 100 years. They all believed that this documentary would likely end up with an Oscar nomination.

Kidnap - A single mom takes her child to the park, only to have him kidnapped when he

runs off to play. She sees the abductors and her son hustling to a vehicle and speeding off. Rather than leave it to the police, the lady immediately pursues them in her car through the city. The press mostly panned this thriller. A few complimented it for being a fast-paced and amusing little B-movie, but the majority commented that the movie was completely ridiculous and little more than a trashy and badly made potboiler. They also mentioned that it was filmed back in 2014, suggesting that the studio knew this wasn’t a stellar effort. It stars Halle Berry, Sage Correa and Chris McGinn.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST!

Holy cow, there are a lot of high definition reissues arriving this week. Olive Films have a big block of Blu-ray releases that include TV shows like Flipper: Season 3 (1966-67) along with several notable films. They have The Madness of King George (1994), a British historical drama about King George III, who suffered from dementia during his reign. It won an Oscar and received several nominations. Olive are also putting out The Miracle Worker (1962), a Helen Keller biopic starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke that also won a pair of Academy Awards.

Those wanting something a little more in the holiday vein can check out the Bela Lugosi horror picture Return of the Ape Man (1944). This one is about scientists who find a Neanderthal man frozen in a block of ice and unwisely decide to thaw him out in their lab. Also arriving is a Blu-ray of the family animated film, Rock-A-Doodle (1991). It comes from Don Bluth (The Secret of NIMH, All Dogs Go to Heaven) and involves the adventures of a rockabilly rooster. The movie has been out-of-print in any format for a long time and is making its debut in high definition.

Disaster movie fans can pick up a Blu-ray the early title, S.O.S. Tidal Wave (1939) about an underworld figure who creates a weapon that causes huge, destructive waves around the world. Additionally, the distributor has a Blu-ray of the comedy/drama Stay Hungry (1976). It’s a well regarded effort that revolves around the buy out of a small gym. The cast includes Jeff Bridges, Sally Field and Arnold Schwarzenegger (in a very early role). Finally, Olive have another horror entry in the form of The Vampire’s Ghost (1945).

Arrow Video have some Halloween appropriate releases. J.D.’s Revenge (1976) is a Blaxploitation film about a law student who becomes possessed by the spirit of a gangster from the 40s. Naturally, he decides to get revenge. The movie has been restored for this Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with a 2K upgrade and includes a new interview with the film’s producer/director, plenty of publicity material and other bonuses.

Arrow released a box set of the first three Hellraiser films a few months back. For the holiday, they’re releasing the original Hellraiser (1987) individually in a Limited Edition Steelbook package. It comes with all of the special features that were included in the previous edition. In fact, there are so many that they can’t even be listed here. Just know that if you’re interested in the film and don’t want the sequels, this is the Blu-ray to pick up.

Additionally, Arrow Academy have Federico Fellini’s The Voice of the Moon (1990). This Special Edition is also a Blu-ray/DVD combo and comes with a rarely seen hour-long documentary on the film’s production, as well as other bonus material. It was the final film from the director responsible for 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita; surprisingly, it never secured distribution in North America. Apparently, it’s an artful and enjoyable feature starring Roberto Benigni about a man who is released from a psychological institution and sets out to win the heart of the woman of his dreams.

Shout! Factory also aren’t letting Halloween go by without a few season appropriate releases hitting Blu-ray as a 2 disc Collector’s Edition. Dawn of the Dead (2004) is a remake of the George Romero zombie classic that updates the original with fast-moving, infected zombies, placing a bigger emphasis on action. It isn’t bad as remakes go, and the extras included are fantastic. It includes a new HD master of the R-rated and Unrated cuts from the digital archival negative. The disc features the commentary and other bonuses featured on previous releases along with new interviews with cast members, effects artists and writer James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy).

They also have a 2-disc Collector’s Edition of Land of the Dead (2005), George Romero’s fourth film in his legendary zombie series. This time out, a large group of survivors have created a new society for themselves boarded within the walls of a city surrounded by the undead. The very rich 1% live the high life while others struggle to survive down below. It isn’t long before a jilted worker decides to allow the zombies entry into the fortified area, causing chaos. It’s a good movie and the package includes a new 2K transfer of the inter-positive of both the cuts of the feature. The disc also features all of the old extras from previous releases, along with new interviews with cast members and a new commentary track featuring several of the zombie performers.

Not to be outdone, Blue Underground have some great Blu-ray/DVD combo releases as well. Dutch genre film director Dick Maas has been mentioned previously in this column for his well regarded 1988 action B-movie, Amsterdamned (which was put out by Blue Underground). Prior to that, he made a flick about a killer elevator. Yep, it really happened and was called The Lift (1983). The story featured the title piece of machinery murdering businesspersons at an office high rise. If memory serves, it’s no classic but isn’t half-bad and works as an enjoyably tongue-in-cheek little horror picture. This new release of the film in high definition includes both the Dutch and English language tracks, a commentary track and short film from the director, as well as other bonuses.

Blue Underground are also doing the same for the 2001 English-language remake. Titled Down aka The Shaft, this effort retold the story with Hollywood stars (Naomi Watts and James Marshall and Michael Ironside) and bigger effects. This Blu-ray also comes with a director commentary, a making-of featurette, behind-the-scenes footage and plenty of publicity materials. Sounds like fun stuff - here’s hoping they package all three of Maas’s features together at a kind of set. I’d be tempted to revisit them.

Kino also have some interesting Blu-rays on the way. They include the George Peppard western Cannon for Cordoba (1970). That one comes with a film historian commentary track. They also have the Sam Peckinpah flick, Junior Bonner (1972), which stars Steve McQueen. Like their previous release of Convoy, this disc comes packed to the gills with extras, including multiple featurettes, publicity materials a film historian commentary track and two lengthy documentaries. One is on the film and the other is on Peckinpah (who also directed The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, The Getaway, The Killer Elite and many others).

And Kino also have a Blu-ray of the goofy comedy, Young Doctors in Love (1982). This one was made shortly after the massive success of Airplane! and follows that film’s lead, throwing an over-the-top barrage of silly jokes and sight gags onto the screen. It revolves around a lives of several doctors at a busy hospital. The cast includes Michael McKeon, Sean Young, Hector Elizondo, Harry Dean Stanton, Dabney Coleman and Michael Richards and it was directed by Garry Marshall (of Happy Days and Pretty Woman fame). This disc comes with a commentary track and includes some trailers.

This week, Warner Archive are beginning to produce made-to-order DVDs of several new titles. They include The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), Palm Springs Weekend (1963), Parrish (1961) and Rome Adventure (1962). On Blu-ray, interested parties can now order the Al Pacino/Gene Hackman buddy flick, Scarecrow (1973). It follows an ex-cons and a homeless drifter who team up to make their way across the country.

Lionsgate are releasing another slasher on Blu-ray courtesy of their specialty Vestron line. This time out, it’s Slaughter High (1986), about a group of adults who are invited back to their high school for a reunion, only to be targeted by a merciless killer. The edition includes more extras that the film itself deserves, including a commentary track and interview with the composer. If you remember the film fondly, you should be happy with this package.

The Devil’s Rain (1975) is another cult grindhosue flick that certainly has its fair share of fans. This one involves a Satanic cult who possess the power to melt their victims. They really want a special book that a local owns. The movie has a crazy cast that includes Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, Eddie Albert, Tom Skerritt and John Travolta. Severin are delivering a new Blu-ray of the movie with a remarkable list of extras... too many, if fact to list here.

Finally, Scorpion have a Blu-ray of the thriller, The Salamander (1981). It stars Franco Nero, Anthony Quinn and Martin Balsam.

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!

Here are a few titles the kids may enjoy.

Chargeman Ken!: The Complete Series

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: Lobster Claus is Coming to Town

Power Rangers: Denji Sentai Megaranger: The Complete Series

ON THE TUBE!

And listed below are all of the notable TV-themed releases.

As Time Goes By: The Complete Collection (Newly Remastered)

Flipper: Season 3 (1966-67)

The Gene Doctors (PBS)

Humans: 2.0 (Season 2 - Uncut UK Edition)

The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: The Complete Collection (Newly Remastered)

Orphan Black: The Complete Series

Outcast: Season 1

Planet Earth 1 & 2 Giftset

Snake City: Season 4 (National Geographic)

By Glenn Kay

For the Sun