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You are here: Community Film Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for May 15, 2020

Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for May 15, 2020

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It’s time to once again look at new release highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. This edition features some interesting independent fare to check out from your couch. If you can’t make it out to the movies this week, be sure to give one of these titles a try!

 

New Releases!

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn - The latest DC comic book character to get her own spin-off movie is Batman foe Harley Quinn. Set immediately after the events of Suicide Squad, the plot finds the character in an abusive relationship with a violent mobster. When a diamond is stolen from the crime family by a young pickpocket, the protagonist decides to protect the girl and squares off against the crooks. Reactions were upbeat toward the latest entry in the franchise.

A group of reviewers thought the story had issues and called the film a messy, unmemorable hodgepodge with hit-and-miss gags that didn’t make a lasting impact. Still, more called it fun and appreciated the work of the film’s leads. It stars Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ella Jay Basco and Ewan McGregor.

Shoelaces - Also known in some territories as Laces, this foreign-language drama from Israel details the relationship between a widower father and his adult special-needs son. Their history is quite complicated, as the dad abandoned his child decades earlier before returning to help care for him. When the 60-year-old senior’s kidneys begin to fail, the son decides to donate one of his own to save his father’s life. However, their unique situation results in questions and objections about the procedure from professionals.

There haven’t been a great many reviews yet in this part of the world for this drama, but the ones that have appeared have all been positive and the movie itself has won numerous awards. According to sources, the performances are excellent and the movie is very powerful, making a strong emotional impact on viewers. Nevo Kimchi and Doval’e Glickman play the leads.

The Traitor - Set in the 1980s, this Italian crime biography tells the story of the man who took down the Cosa Nostra. The story begins with an all-out war between two Sicilian families that are fighting over the heroin trade. With his own life and family in danger, a fully initiated member of one of the groups decides to turn on both parties and work as an informant for the police. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes and won many awards at the Italian equivalent of the Oscars.

Naturally, critics in general were very impressed with this foreign-language title. One or two complained that they didn’t really learn enough about the protagonist and thought the movie should have focused more on his inner demons. However, almost everyone else called the movie a well-acted, compelling and powerful Mafia biopic that stands alongside titles like The Irishman. It features Pierfrancesco Favino, Luigi Lo Cascio and Fausto Russo Alesi.

Vivarium - A couple ready to start a family decides to find their perfect home and enlist the services of a real estate agent. He takes them to a mysterious suburban tract of identical homes. They are not impressed by what they see. Even worse, the pair soon realizes they can’t find their way out of the labyrinth streets.

The leads wonder if they will ever find their way out as they continue to search for an exit. Overall, the press seemed to like this independent sci-fi/thriller hybrid. A small group suggested that while it started out great, it made its point early on and didn’t offer much else for the remainder of the running time. Still, the consensus was that the film presents an effectively nightmarish scenario with plenty to analyze and noted that the movie was bolstered by the work of an exemplary cast. Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Molly McCann and Danielle Ryan headline the feature.

Blasts from the Past!

There were plenty of notable new releases arriving and just as many classic flicks are receiving a Blu-ray upgrade.

Mill Creek has been releasing Andy Sidaris action B-movies regularly over the past few months. The trend continues this week with the arrival of The Dallas Connection (1994) on Blu-ray. This one is about a secret team of shapely agents tasked with saving scientists who are being assassinated at a Dallas conference. The movie arrives in widescreen for the first time ever with a new 4K transfer, as well as an introduction with Andy Sidaris and star Julie Strain, behind-the-scenes featurettes, trailers and a director commentary.

 

The distributor is also making a couple of Double Feature Blu-rays available for purchase. The first one contains Hollywood Story (1951) and New Orleans Uncensored (1955), two film noirs from famous producer/director William Castle (The Tingler, 13 Ghosts, House on Haunted Hill), who is more known for his work with horror pictures.

Warner Archive is delivering some impressive catalog titles as made-to-order Blu-rays. The first is the Oscar-nominee Inside Daisy Clover (1965), a romance set against the backdrop of Hollywood starring Natalie Wood, Christopher Plummer and Robert Redford. The second title is the horror classic, Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) with Fay Wray. According to the studio press release, the movie was shot in the early Two-Color Technicolor process and was considered a lost film for decades.

That is, until a well-worn print was discovered nearly 50 years ago. They say that a meticulous new restoration allows the film to be experienced as intended.

You Know, For Kids!

This edition contains plenty of selections new and old that may appeal to the young…and young at heart.

The Call of the Wild (2020)

Howl’s Moving Castle

Ponyo

Ultraman Ace: Season 1 (1972 - 1973)

On the Tube!

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

Lucifer: Season 4

VISIT: WWW.CINEMASTANCE.COM

By Glenn Kay
For the Sun