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You are here: Community Film DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for February 22, 2019

DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for February 22, 2019

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It’s time for another look at highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. There are more Oscar nominees arriving as well as plenty of genre fare; essentially, lots to choose from. 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!

Backtrace - A bank robber suffers a brain injury, develops amnesia and ends up locked away for years in a psychiatric institution. After a doctor gives the man a serum that begins to heal his broken mind, the criminal breaks out and heads out to retrieve the cash. Critics were disappointed by this thriller. It stars Sylvester Stallone, Matthew Modine, Ryan Guzman and Christopher MacDonald.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? - Based on a true story, this feature follows Lee Israel, a biographer of celebrities, who finds work drying up. She discovers a growing market of collectors who buy letters from famous authors and personalities and begins forging correspondence. Despite three Academy Award nominations, it looks as though the title is only being released on DVD this week... hopefully a Blu-ray will follow. It features Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells, Jane Curtin and Ben Falcone.

Captain Morten and the Spider Queen - This Estonia/Belgium/Ireland/UK stop-motion animated feature for family audiences is premiering exclusively on DVD this week. The story involves a young boy who lives in a resort beachside town and dreams of being the captain of a ship, just like his absentee father. The movie was nominated for several awards in Europe, but is premiering in this part of the world on disc. The all Irish voice-cast includes Ciarán Hinds, Brendan Gleeson, Michael McElhatton and Susie Power.

Duke - Two brothers who grow up in a reformatory find themselves fighting to survive wherever they go. When the pair arrive in Los Angeles, one decides to become a detective, while the other becomes obsessed with John Wayne movies. This independent drama has played various film festivals. Carmine Giovinazzo, Hank Harris and Richard Roundtree headline the feature.

Iceman: The Time Traveler - An officer of the Ming Dynasty is hunted down by sinister forces, who battle but are then frozen for more than 400 years. After thawing out, they begin their fight once again, much to the surprise of modern day Hong Kong. This is actually a sequel to a 2014 film that continues the story and resolves the fates of the characters involved. It features Donnie Yen, Baoqiang Wang and Shengyi Huang.

Overlord - This period war/horror movie is set in 1944 and follows a group of US soldiers making advances into Europe who crash their plane in a Nazi-occupied village. Once there, they try to complete their mission of taking down a radio tower, but discover sinister experiments being conducted by enemy forces that involve raising the dead. Overall, critics gave the movie good marks. It stars Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier and Pilou Asbaek.

Robin Hood - The legend of Robin Hood gets yet another retelling in this version of the classic fable. It introduces Robin as a young man and shows how he comes up against the actions of the Sheriff of Nottingham, choosing to train himself and fight the authority. It was recently nominated for several Golden Razzie awards, including Worst Picture. The cast includes Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan and F. Murray Abraham.

Sgt. Will Gardner - An Iraq war veteran suffering from traumatic brain injury from his time on the battlefield attempts to reintegrate with society. When things go poorly and he begins to suffer from horrific memories, the man decides to get on a bike and drive across America to deal with the pain and begin the healing process. In general the press didn’t find much to recommend to audiences. It features Max Martini, Omari Hardwick, Lily Rabe, Dermot Mulroney, Robert Patrick and JoBeth Williams.

A Star is Born - This third remake of the 1937 musical follows a successful musician who discovers a young talent and helps to get her career started. The two fall for each other, but as their relationship becomes more serious, the new artist’s success and other deeper problems begin to take their toll. It has been nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The movie stars Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay and Dave Chappelle.

Blasts from the Past!

Wow, it’s an incredibly busy time for classic releases being updated for Blu-ray. Arrow Video has previously released a Herschell Gordon Lewis box set, but has slowly been putting out each individual title separately. This week sees the release of Color Me Blood Red (1965) about an artist who becomes a success after using real blood to paint his works. The disc comes with shorts, interviews and talks with film scholars about the production as well as a bonus feature from the director called Something Weird (1967).

Arrow Academy, the same distributor’s arthouse line, is releasing My Name is Julia Ross (1945) on Blu-ray. This was a Hitchcockian thriller made by Columbia as a B picture on a double-bill. However, it came out so well that it was upgraded to an A-list release. It is a London-set mystery about a kidnapped secretary struggling to escape her employer.

Arrow Films also has So Dark the Night (1946), another movie from the same director about a Parisian cop who vacations to the countryside and is recruited to help solve a series of disappearances. Apparently, it’s a great film noir thriller and this Blu-ray comes with film critic commentary and a feature presenting a detailed analysis of the stor,y as well as other bonuses.

The musical drama Backbeat (1994) is arriving on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout! Select. This biopic tells the story of The Beatles before they were famous and a stopover in Hamburg, Germany that threatens to tear the group apart. This disc features deleted scenes, an interview with director Iain Softley, another interview with the filmmaker for the Sundance channel, casting sessions, featurettes, a talk with the photographer that part of the story is based on, and a group commentary with Softley and some of the cast.

Shout! Factory also has a Blu-ray of The Return of the Vampire (1944) starring Bela Lugosi. In it, he plays a Hungarian bloodsucker stalking villagers in the English countryside. This release comes with three separate film historian audio commentaries as well as an 8mm version of the flick, and publicity materials.

Kino has a trio of interesting flicks hitting high definition. Mad Dog and Glory (1993) is a very entertaining little dark comedy with Robert DeNiro, Bill Murray and Uma Thurman. If memory serves, it’s quite effective and very funny. The Special Edition Blu-ray includes a director commentary, as well as a making-of documentary and a theatrical trailer.

It also has a Special Edition Blu-ray of the Kim Basinger heist picture, The Real McCoy (1993). She plays an ex-con forced against her will to pull off an $18 million dollar score. This release includes a new commentary track with director Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, Ricochet).

Finally, Kino has a Special Edition Blu-ray of the hockey picture, Youngblood (1986). The story involves a young up-and-comer fighting for his chance to play in the NHL. It stars Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Cynthia Gibbs and Keanu Reeves, and the disc includes a director commentary.

Year of the Dragon (1985) is a crime thriller from Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter, Heaven’s Gate) featuring Mickey Rourke as a police captain attempting to take down a criminal enterprise operating out of Chinatown. The movie wasn’t well regarded upon its release, but has since become a cult item. Warner Archive is now releasing a Blu-ray of the feature. Apparently, it comes with a Cimino commentary and a theatrical trailer.

And there’s more. Mill Creek is releasing the notorious sci-fi flick, Barb Wire (1996), which features Pamela Anderson as a mercenary in a dilapidated future world. The movie was nominated for several Razzie Awards including Worst Picture. Now’s your opportunity to catch up with it on Blu-ray for a low price.

Mill Creek also has several more older releases that are being repackaged with some cool 80s VHS box art covers. The titles coming this week include The Legend of Billie Jean (1985), Neighbors (1981), Sheena (1984) and Songwriter (1984). I must admit, I really like these covers, and they really have me considering ordering a few of their titles.

And Twilight Time has some Blu-rays for order, as well as Limited Editions. They include The Admirable Crichton (1957) and the classic comedy Bedazzled (1967) with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. The distributor is also putting out the Oliver Stone drama, Talk Radio (1988) and the Jayne Mansfield satirical comedy, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957). Most of the titles include a few bonuses and can be ordered through the Twilight Time website.

Those who enjoy B-movie horror may be excited about the release of the Ted Raimi serial killer flick, Skinner (1993). In it, he plays a psychopath who falls for a local housewife in between his murder sprees. Severin is putting out this Blu-ray and it includes interviews with the cast and crew, as well as extended takes and outtakes from the shoot.

Redemption is releasing a Double Bill Blu-ray of a couple of European flicks, Dracula’s Fiancee (1989) and Lost in New York (2002). Troma is giving Revenge of the Spacemen (2014) the high definition treatment, as well.

Universal is re-releasing a stack of Blu-rays. Some of the most notable titles include Cry-Baby (1990), Hard Target (1993) and the Frank Langella version of Dracula (1979). I’d pay particular attention to John Woo’s Hard Target, featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme. The cut of Hard Target that appeared on Blu-ray in a recent Van Damme box set was actually the longer, European version. It is actually an improvement over the old US release, and is likely the closest we’ll ever get to seeing Woo’s original version.

Finally, Criterion has the Brigitte Bardot film, La Verite (1960). This well-regarded French drama arrives on Blu-ray with a 4K digital restoration, a 60-minute documentary on the feature, as well as interviews with the director and star. Additionally, you can pick up a Blu-ray of Death in Venice (1971) an Italian/French film about an artist vacationing in Venice who becomes obsessed with another visitor to the area. This feature has also been given a 4K restoration and comes with documentaries, short films and more extras than can possibly be listed here.

You Know, For Kids!

Here are some kid-friendly titles.

Captain Morten and the Spider Queen

Octonauts: Reef Rescue

Scooby-Doo Spring Break Triple Feature

VeggieTales (there are about 8 different VeggieTales releases arriving this week)

On the Tube!

And these are the week’s TV-themed releases.

The 10th Kingdom (2000 mini-series)

American Masters: Sammy Davis Jr. - I’ve Gotta Be Me (PBS)

Candles on Bay Street (2006 Hallmark TV movie)

Crossroads: A Story of Forgiveness (Hallmark TV movie)

Damages: The Complete Series

Doctor Who: Resolution

Harvest of Fire (Hallmark TV movie)

Five People You Meet in Heaven (2004 mini-series)

Moby Dick (1998 mini-series)

NOVA: Operation Bridge Rescue (PBS)

The Odyssey (1997 mini-series)

Wild Arctic (National Geographic)

Visit: www.CinemaStance.com

By Glenn Kay
For the Sun