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You are here: Community Film Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for July 24, 2020

Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for July 24, 2020

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It’s time for the latest look at highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. There are all kinds of interesting flicks, both new and old, coming your way on disc. So, if you can’t make it out to the movies this week, be sure to give one of these titles a try!

ATTRACTION 2: INVASION: In case you happen to be wondering if there actually ever was a movie called Attraction, it was released back in 2017. The film was a Russian production about a crashed alien spaceship in Moscow and it explored how the citizens react to these new extraterrestrial arrivals. This sequel is set three years later and picks up with the arrival of another otherworldly craft. The protagonist from the first movie and other characters must determine if the visitors’ intentions are good.

This foreign-language flick is debuting on disc in this part of the world, so there are currently no write-ups available. Online sources indicate that the feature will make little sense if you haven’t seen the original film and also complain that it’s overly talky, stiff, and doesn’t provide any thrills until the final act. The cast includes Irina Starshenbaum, Alexander Petrov, Yuriy Borisov and Oleg Menshikov.

OUR BODIES OUR DOCTORS: This small, indie documentary appears to have popped up on disc without much notice. It’s about a group of female physicians working at various health clinics for women in the states of Washington, Oregon, and Oklahoma. Viewers witness their daily trials and how they take care of patients in need of abortions. It also details the other health-related issues impacting those being treated.

There aren’t any detailed reviews in the press and this feature appears to be debuting on disc. However, it has played at numerous film festivals over the past year and received very positive reaction. It won Best Documentary at the Portland International Film Festival, and a Women in Cinema award in Seattle.

RECORDING IN PROGRESS: Here’s a documentary that may be of interest to music enthusiasts. This feature takes a look at recording studios and how they are managed and operated. It deals with current music technology and how all the elements are used to create the tunes that we hear around us. The movie also looks into recent trends in the industry and new ways in which music is being consumed by the public.

According to press releases, it boasts interviews with a few name record producers and musicians, too, including the likes of Steve Albini, Richard Fortus, Steve Lillywhite, Vance Powell and Kristeen Young. The film appears to be making its debut on disc, but should be of interest to anyone curious about how a music studio is run.

RESISTANCE: This historical drama is set during World War II. It is based on a true story and follows an aspiring Jewish performer who tries to bring laughter to the faces of children during the bloody conflict. He eventually joins the French Resistance effort, attempting to sneak Jewish kids out of the country before they are rounded up by authorities. Of course, these efforts put the young man and those around him in danger. Reaction was generally split toward this effort.

About half thought that the real story was remarkable, but said the material was presented in a formulaic and drab manner. Just as many suggested that the movie was a flawed, but important tribute to a unique figure’s humanitarian accomplishments. Jesse Eisenberg, Ed Harris, Clémence Poésy and Matthias Schweighöfer headline the film.

THE ROOM: A young couple yearning for a simpler and healthier life, leaves the city and takes up residence in a creaky old house in Maryland. While investigating the home’s basement, they discover a hidden room that has the power to make anything that they wish for materialize. They take full advantage of the gift, only to realize that there is a price to be paid for their selfish requests. This independent horror film debuted on Shudder and is now arriving on disc.

Reviewers generally liked what they saw. A few critiqued the feature for not making the most of the concept and relying on easy scares and jolts. Still, the consensus was that this was a moody and effective horror flick that delivers enough chills to earn it a recommendation. The leads are played by Olga Kurylenko and Kevin Janssens.

THE WHISTLERS: This dark crime comedy from Romania follows the exploits of a Bucharest police officer, frustrated with his meager life and small wages. He decides to take part in a heist with a mysterious woman who may be looking to set him up and take the money for herself. In order to pull off their elaborate scheme, the two decide to learn a secret language and communication method involving whistling. Reviewers were largely amused by the feature and gave it a lot of compliments.

While one or two described it as being a bit too exaggerated and filled with an overabundance of plot twists, a much greater percentage called it a thrilling effort that might actually be about more than it initially lets on. As of right now, this foreign-language film is being released on DVD only. Hopefully, a Blu-ray will follow. It features Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon and Rodica Lazar.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST!

It’s another busy edition filled with older films getting updated high definition transfers. Arrow Video is delivering a Blu-ray of the US/India co-production, Bloodstone (1988), a low-budget action/adventure picture likely capitalizing on the success of the Indiana Jones series. The story is about a couple honeymooning in India who come into possession of an enormous ruby. The wife is kidnapped by a criminal mastermind who wants the gem for himself.

The husband (who by chance appears to know martial arts) and, curiously enough, his cabbie (an ex-stunt driver), set out to save the couple and retrieve the valuable jewel. This film boasts the English-language debut of Indian star Rajinikanth as the skilled auto expert. Besides the high definition presentation, you’ll get a film historian commentary track, an interview with the producer, a video essay on co-star Rajinikanth, an image gallery and the original screenplay.

The Arrow Academy line is releasing a Special Edition of the award-winning French comedy, Life Is a Long Quiet River (1988). It’s considered by many to be one of, if not the best satire of its era, depicting two families from different backgrounds who discover that their children were accidentally mixed up at birth 12-years-earlier. In addition to the slick presentation, the Blu-ray includes new, updated subtitles, archival interviews with director Étienne Chatiliez, actor André Wilms, co-writer/co-producer Florence Quentin and producer Charles Gassot.

The drama, Ghost (1990), is a title arriving from “Paramount Presents”. Believe it or not, this box office smash about the spirit trying to reconnect with his dead wife and save her from a killer was made by wild and wacky Airplane! co-creator, Jerry Zucker. You’ll get the commentary and extras from the original DVD release, plus a new filmmaker focus discussion about the feature.

Kino is putting out a big assortment of old adventure films on Blu-ray. You can purchase Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944), Against All Flags (1952), Arabian Nights (1942), Buccaneer’s Girl (1950), Son of Ali Baba (1952) and The World in His Arms (1952). Each of these releases contains a new film critic or historian commentary, as well as a trailer for the feature.

Kino is also delivering three powerful, award-winning films by Hungarian director István Szabó. The Blu-rays in question include Colonel Redi (1985), Confidence (1980) and Mephisto (1981). All three titles have been given 4K restorations created by the Hungarian Film Institute. They also contain extra features on the making-of the movies.

 

Criterion has a new Blu-ray of the Iranian/French co-production and Palme d’Or winner, Taste of Cherry (1997). It’s about a truck driver planning on committing suicide who must find an assistant willing to bury him after he carries out the deed. The movie has been given a 4K digital restoration and includes a 39-minute sketch version that was presumably made in order to secure feature financing. You’ll also get an interview with an Iranian cinema scholar, a rare 1997 interview with the writer/director, trailer and a new subtitle translation.

 

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!

Here are some recent titles that may appeal to kids.

The Forest Man: The True Story of Jadav Payeng

Scoob!

ON THE TUBE!

These are the week’s TV-themed releases.

American Experience: George W. Bush (PBS)

American Experience: Mr. Tornado (PBS)

Castle Rock: Season 2

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 10

Jett: Season 1

Masterpiece Mystery: Grantchester: Season 5

Northern Exposure: The Complete Series

Sailing into Love (Hallmark TV-movie)

VISIT: WWW.CINEMASTANCE.COM

By Glenn Kay
For the Sun