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You are here: Community Film DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for July 15, 2016

DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for July 15, 2016

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Welcome back to another edition of highlights arriving on DVD and Blu-ray. Those looking for something new to rent or buy will definitely be able to find something below. 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 Horse - This little New Zealand production recreates a true story about a brilliant speed-chess champion struggling with bipolar disorder. After being released from a psychiatric institution, he begins to find some hope in life after agreeing to coach a children’s team. The press gave this drama excellent reviews, complimenting the lead performance and stating that although the story follows a formula, it does so in a believable and naturalistic way. The cast includes Cliff Curtis, James Rolleston, and Kirk Torrance.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Chapter three in the Divergent series of films finds its young protagonist going beyond the walls of her dystopian society and befriending the elite group of humans responsible for it. However, do they have her best interests in mind or are they plotting something more sinister? Notices were very poor for the latest sequel. The drama was described as cheesy and the effects were criticized for looking chintzy. It stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Jeff Daniels, Octavia Spencer, and Naomi Watts.

Everybody Wants Some!! - The latest from Richard Linklater is a “spiritual sequel” to his beloved ’70s coming-of-age film, Dazed and Confused. This time out, he follows a college freshman in 1980 during his first weekend at school. Much time is spent with his roommates, wandering the city in an attempt to get a handle on his new environment. The press greatly enjoyed the film. While a few found the narrative a bit loose and didn’t feel it was as strong as its predecessor, most were amused by the eccentric characters and their observations on college life. The cast includes Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, Wyatt Russell, and Glen Powell.

Green Room - Looking for a good scare? You can’t do much better than this violent thriller ... it’s about a punk band that arrives at a remote venue populated by skinheads. When the musicians witness a violent crime, they find themselves trapped inside the club and in mortal danger. Critics praised the film as nail-bitingly tense and disturbing, ratcheting up tension scene by scene, thanks to its strong performances ,and delivering a couple of unexpected twists along the way. Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Mark Webber, and Eric Edelstein headline.

Miracles From Heaven - “Based on a true story” (take that with a grain of salt) — this drama follows a 10-year-old girl struggling with an incurable disease. After she suffers a freak accident, her family finds that she’s miraculously been cured. Reviews were mixed for this faith-based drama, with more falling on the negative side. Some thought it was well-produced and offered some above-average performances for this type of movie, but more found the tone overly sanctimonious and felt the efforts to induce tears too obvious and ineffective. The cast includes Jennifer Garner, Kylie Rogers, Martin Henderson, and Queen Latifah.

Mountains May Depart - Also known as Shan he gu ren, this foreign-language romance/drama is a China/France/Japan co-production. The story involves two friends attempting to woo the same woman. After she chooses one, events jump ahead several years and show how the characters’ lives have drastically changed. A few found it too languid to recommend, but the press generally gave the film high marks; many called it a low-key and insightful melodrama. It features Tao Zhao, Yi Zhang, and Jing Dong Liang.

Napoli Napoli Napoli - Although it was completed back in 2009 and did the rounds at various film festivals, this combination documentary-drama is only now receiving a straight-to-video release. It tells the story of the descent of Napoli, Italy, into organized crime and violence. Eccentric director Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant, The Addiction) includes interviews and dramatic recreations of gang-related brutality. Festival notices were mixed, saying it was rough and slipshod, although it also featured a few striking moments.

Road Games - This small suspense feature follows an English hitchhiker in France who finds his attempts to return home spoiled after being picked up on the road by a strange couple. Reviews were pretty decent for this effort. Many stated that it too obviously tries to emulate the vibe of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Nonetheless, many enjoyed the dark humor and tension as well as the dramatic miscommunication between the characters speaking different languages. Sounds like it could all depend on your personal taste. It stars Andrew Simpson, Josephine de la Baume, Frederic Pierrot, and Barbara Crampton.

Blasts From the Past!

Made for a mere $30,000 dollars, Carnival of Souls (1962) is one of those drive-in movies that really touches a nerve with viewers and shows you can make a scary film despite very limited resources. Consistently weird and nightmarish in its tone, the story involves a woman who finds herself in a small town and drawn to a strange, rundown pavilion. She’s soon tormented by odd, ghostly figures. It’s an effectively eerie piece that has drawn more and more fans over the years. Now, Criterion is bringing it to Blu-ray with a huge assortment of extras. Besides a 4K restoration of the film, it features a director commentary, interviews with fans and movie critics about the film, a 1989 documentary on the movie, a tour of the locations, deleted scenes, outtakes, and a history of the resort the film was shot on. There are even more bonuses, but you can look those up on your own.

Kino has some interesting Blu-rays. Invisible Invaders (1959) is an eccentric B-movie about aliens who invade Earth by taking over the bodies of the dead and forcing them to do their bidding. It features John Agar and John Carradine and is silly fun for zombie fans. The distributor also has a couple of Westerns for you. There’s The Ox-bow Incident (1943) with Henry Fonda; it’s about a lynch mob who disagrees over whether or not the men they’re about to hang are really guilty. Additionally, Yellow Sky (1948) stars Gregory Peck as a bank robber on the run in the old west.

Belladonna of Sadness (1973) is a strange, arthouse animated feature from Japan. Cinelicious Pictures is releasing a new Blu-ray that presents the film in its entirety for the first time in North America. For those interested, the story follows a peasant woman who is violently abused and makes a pact with the Devil to get revenge. Might be an interesting one for animation enthusiasts.

Just Desserts: The Making of Creepshow (2007) from Synapse is a release devoted to a very specific title, but a worthy one nonetheless. Since its original run decades ago, horror fans have really taken to the 1982 George Romero/Stephen King anthology film, Creepshow. This feature-length documentary was made some time ago, but after being out-of-print for years, it is finally debuting on Blu-ray. It shows how the movie was conceived and created, using interviews with cast and crew, as well as behind-the-scenes footage. Genre fans have described the non-fiction film as phenomenal, so if you’re a big fan of film, you should get a kick out of it. There are hours of extras as well, including commentary tracks, extended interviews, and various other bonuses.

Warner Archives is also making available some catalog titles for made-to-order DVDs. These include the Edward G. Robinson drama, A Dispatch From Reuters (1940) and Fred Zimmerman’s Five Days One Summer (1982), which stars Sean Connery as a doctor having an illicit affair with his niece. They’ve also got the comedy, It’s A Date (1940), about a mother and daughter fighting for the same role on stage. Finally, Warner is releasing a Blu-ray of the well-regarded Fred Astaire musical comedy, Silk Stockings (1957).

You Know, For Kids!

There’s plenty for the little ones this week; you can read the list below.

Blaze and the Monster Machines: Fired Up!

Cartoon Network: Adventure Time: Card Wars

Dinosaur Train: Under the Volcano

Histeria!: The Complete Series (1998-2000) (Warner Archive)

LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Gotham City Breakout

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Season 5

Power Rangers Dino Charge: Breakout

By Glenn Kay

For the Sun