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You are here: Community Film DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for April 26, 2019

DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for April 26, 2019

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Welcome back. It’s time for another look at Blu-ray and DVD highlights arriving on store shelves. While this isn’t the busiest week for new releases, there are still plenty of interesting flicks that may catch your eye. 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!

Bisbee ‘17 - This documentary is about an Arizona mining town on the US/Mexico border and the horrific events that occurred in 1917, when 1200 immigrant workers were rounded up by locals, deported, and left to die in the desert. The community puts on a re-creation of the event, which forces the locals to come to terms with and understand the severity of their relatives’ actions. Critics were very impressed with the production. They wrote that the still-relevant topic dealt with its difficult subject in a creative way, and provided viewers and participants with an authentic sense of the awful event.

Destroyer - An LAPD officer with a dark past forces herself back into a narcotics-related investigation linked to one of her earliest cases as an undercover agent. When an old gang leader is reported to have reappeared in the area, she has visions of the past and seeks out old associates to try to resolve matters. The press generally liked the movie. Many called the lead performance of a deeply troubled cop fantastic. It stars Nicole Kidman, Sebastian Stan, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany and Bradley Whitford.

Escape Room - A group of seemingly random strangers is given passes and invited to try out a new “escape room” and potentially win a cash prize. When they begin, members of the group suddenly realize that the stakes are much higher than originally thought, and that they must solve the puzzles presented to them in order to survive. About half of critics liked that the characters weren’t buffoons and believed the movie provided some thrills. The same number complained that the movie becomes tiresome and completely loses its way during the final act. The cast includes Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine and Deborah Ann Woll.

The Gospel According to André - André Leon Talley is the subject of this documentary. The life of the designer is compiled from his childhood in the segregated Deep South, through the beginnings of his career and eventual rise to prominence in the world of fashion. In addition to giving more insight on his life, the movie also includes the thoughts of those who respected him, including Anna Wintour, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Bethann Hardison, Valentino, and Manolo Blahnik. Write-ups for this feature were very strong.

Blasts from the Past!

There are loads of interesting older titles arriving in high definition. Arrow Video has a Special Edition Blu-ray of Scared Stiff (1987), a low-budget slasher flick about a singer, her son and her psychologist boyfriend who move into a haunted house and must contend with a malevolent spirit that torments them. The release includes a 2K restoration of the feature from the original film elements, an audio commentary with the director and the producer, a new documentary about the production featuring the cast and crew, an interview with the composer and plenty of publicity materials.

Shout! Factory is delivering the Blu-ray debut of the early Sylvester Stallone period drama, Paradise Alley (1978). This effort is about a group of pals struggling to make their way out of their downtrodden Hell’s Kitchen homes (some by working in a local wrestling ring). Lead actor Stallone also, interestingly, croons some of the picture’s original songs. Bonus features include trailers, radio spots and a stills gallery. I’ll also be honest and say that I’m not entirely sure how monkeys fit into the mix, but based on the picture inclusions, there is one present.

Criterion has a Blu-ray of the well-regarded Elia Kazan satire, A Face in the Crowd (1957). Andy Griffith plays against type as a nasty comedian with a drinking problem who becomes a star on TV and whose demagogical actions even influence politics. The movie has gained esteem in showing how toxic personalities can manipulate the world by using media. The movie itself has been given a new 4K restoration and comes with interviews featuring Griffith and Kazan biographers, as well as a 2005 documentary on the film, and a trailer.

Kino has a remarkably busy week of releases. Among them, a Blu-ray of the thriller, The House of the Seven Gables (1940). This one, starring George Sanders and Vincent Price, comes with a film historian audio commentary and trailers. They also have The Informer (1929) in high definition; this feature is about IRA revolutionaries and is considered one of the best British films of the era. Included are a silent and sound version of the feature, along with a restoration demonstration.

They also have The Land Unknown (1957) on Blu-ray. This sci-fi flick is about a ship’s crew in Antarctica who finds a hole in the ice, flies through it, and discovers a fantastic prehistoric land filled with dinosaurs and other strange creatures. The disc includes a film historian audio commentary, an animated image gallery, and a trailer.

You can also pick up a Blu-ray of the unusual Amicus horror picture, Scream and Scream Again (1970). This terror flick with Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee features several anthology-esque stories that actually intersect, as they play out. The release includes both the US and UK cuts of the movie, a film historian commentary, a Trailers from Hell segment with director Mick Garris (Critters 2, Psycho IV, Sleepwalkers and various Stephen King TV miniseries), along with various publicity materials.

They are also debuting the British silent film Shooting Stars (1928) on Blu-ray. Apparently, this 90-plus-year-old comedy pokes fun at the movie industry. Additionally, they have a Blu-ray of the Robert Louis Stevenson adaptation of The Strange Door (1951). The horror flick stars Boris Karloff and comes with a film historian audio commentary and plenty of trailers.

Finally, Kino is making another UK silent classic available in the form of Underground (1928). This romance set in a subway system arrives with two different scores, and a feature on the movie’s restoration by the British Film Institute.

And a distributor called Garagehouse has a curious grindhouse title in the form of Supercock (1975). Set in the Philippines, this movie is about an American who takes his prize-winning rooster to compete in the first annual Cockfighting Olympics. When a gang tries to kidnap his fighter, the hero does everything he can to get his animal back and win the title.

This movie has been off the radar for many years. It is being made available on Blu-ray for the first time ever, transferred from the only known 35 mm print, which was recently discovered in the estate of the film’s late star, Ross Hagen. The Blu-ray comes with an audio commentary from cult moviemaker and fan Fred Olen Ray, and an old interview with Hagen.

You Know, For Kids!

It’s a slim edition for kid-friendly entertainment, but this is what is arriving on store shelves.

Fish Tales Presents: Mother’s Day

On the Tube!

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

Charm City (PBS)

Dead by Dawn (National Geographic)

Defiance: Season 1

Defiance: Season 2

Frontline: Predator on the Reservation (PBS)

The Heart Guy: Series 3

The High Chaparral: Season 3

Margaret: The Rebel Princess (PBS)

Nature: Wild Way of the Vikings (PBS)

A Place to Call Home: Season 6

Shameless: Season 9

By Glenn Kay
For the Sun