DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for Nov. 20, 2015


Whew! There’s a lot to get through for this edition so we’ll get right to it. 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!

Deadliest Prey - This sequel to the 1987 B-movie cult item Deadly Prey follows the first film’s villain as he is released from prison. Eager for revenge, he sets about kidnapping the our hero and this time finishing the job he set out to do nearly 30 years earlier. The movie is set to debut on disc and hasn’t garnered any reviews as of yet, but fans of the original film will likely want to see their favorite characters back in action. It stars Ted Prior and David Campbell.

Faults - Parents fearful for the safety of their daughter and grandchild (who have joined a cult) hire a man to help extract the pair. However, as he enters their society, even he finds himself at risk of being roped in. Critics were very positive about this indie drama. They stated that it was an impressive slow-burner with great performances and a dark sense of humor. The cast includes Leland Orser, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Ellis, Jon Gries and Lance Reddick.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Extended Edition) - It’s already been released, but now fans can pick up an extended version of the final film in The Hobbit trilogy. Expect about 20 minutes of new additional footage. Reviews were mixed for the movie in general, saying that it was technically impressive, but that the wonder and thrills of this fantasy world were beginning to dissipate. Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage headline the film.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - This spy caper and update of the TV series disappointed at the box office over the summer. It’s a bit of a shame, because the poor marketing campaign never hinted at the fun to be had. The 60s, Cold War era story follows a Russian and American spy who must team up to stop an evil plot by a megalomaniacal villain. The press enjoyed the film, calling it a slick and stylish effort with plenty of tongue-in-cheek laughs alongside a few thrills. It features Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander and Hugh Grant.

Sinatra: All or Nothing At All - This two part, four-hour HBO documentary chronicles The story of one the world’s greatest crooners. As told by the man himself using archived interview footage, it is intended to give as deep a look into the singer as has ever been seen. Reviewers greatly enjoyed the project - while they admitted that viewers will still be left with a few questions, they also stated there is plenty of fascinating material (including his standoffishness with the press and involvement with the mafia) that will keep viewers riveted.

The Stanford Prison Experiment - Based on a true story, this movie depicts a shocking 1971 event in which noted researcher Dr. Zimbardo attempted a social experiment on the inmates of a prison, testing their psychological and physical limits in order to better control them. It’s been described as extraordinarily well-acted and hard hitting to the point where it actually is painful to watch at points. The title doesn’t answer of the questions raised, and will likely lead to discussion afterward. The cast includes Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Michael Angarano and Tye Sheridan.

Trash - This high energy drama set in Brazil features three children who live off of the trash at a dump in Rio. When they come across a mysterious key, they find themselves being chased by cops and sketchy figures. Critics generally liked the film, with a few caveats. They praised the kinetic energy and pacing but felt it got a little too sappy for its own good late in the story. While much of the film is spoken in Portuguese, Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen also appear in English speaking roles.

Blasts From the Past!

It’s a very busy week for reissues on DVD and Blu-ray. Olive Films have a huge slate that includes numerous action B-movies and horror-themed slashers. Cemetery Sisters (1987) is a shot-on-video thriller about two siblings who marry men and kill them for their insurance money. The more recent Cinco De Mayo (2013) is a no-budget horror/comedy about a teacher who takes his revenge on some of his nasty student.

Dangerous Game (1993) is a weird thriller from Abel Ferrara (King of New York, Bad Lieutenant) about a film director who starts an affair with an actress. It stars Harvey Keiter and Madonna.

Deadly Prey (1987) is a popular cult action film in the Rambo mold that’s perhaps most famous for its over-the-top ridiculousness. As mentioned in the Big New Releases! section, they’re also distributing its sequel from a couple of years back, called Deadlier Prey (2013).

Death Nurse (1987) is another late 80s slasher about a psychotic woman and her brother; they open a medical clinic and begin to kill their patients, while continuing to bill the state. Those who want more can also check out Death Nurse 2 (1988), which features the villains returning to do more of the same to new victims.

There’s also Killer Workout (1987) aka Areobicide, a flick that sets a series of murders at an aerobics studio and gym. Speaking of silliness, Olive also has a musical slasher of sorts in Shock ‘Em Dead (1991). It involves a young man who make a deal with a voodoo priestess in order to be a heavy metal star - Traci Lords also appears.

But that’s not all. There’s also Splatter: Architects of Fear (1986). It claims to be a behind-the-scenes documentary about a crew creating make-up effects for a low-budget feature, but many sources claim that the film never existed and that this is simply a faux doc interspersing make-up tips with random effects scenes.

On a completely different tact, Criterion are releasing The Apu Trilogy on Blu-ray. The set includes three Bengali art-house classics from India that were once thought lost in a fire. They have since been rescued and painstakingly restored. There’s the 1955 effort Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road), the 1966 follow-up Aparajito (The Unvanquished) and the 1959 title, Apur Sansar (The World of Apu). The discs come with numerous bonuses, like new interviews with the actors, an audio recording with the director, a half-hour documentary on the films and video essays detailing their cinematic importance. There are even more extras, but it’s all too much to go through here.

Criterion also have a new Blu-ray of the famous film adaptation of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (1967). It is chock full of features as well - there are new interviews with the cinematographer, film critics and jazz historians on the film. Additionally, you’ll find archival material with the director. And as always, the elements have been fully restored in 4K, giving viewers the best possible picture.

It’s the 20th Anniversary of the French film The City of Lost Children (1995), and Sony are marking it with a new Blu-ray of the eye-popping visual treat. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro (Delicatessen, Amelie), the story involves a mad scientist who attempts to steal the dreams of children. A group of small fry attempt to fight back. Parents beware, while kids are the protagonists, this gorgeously shot film has a lot of dark elements and is really for older viewers.

Shout! Factory have several interesting Blu-ray releases as well. They include the crime/thriller Farewell, My Lovely (1975), which stars Robert Mitchum as famous detective, Philip Marlowe. If you are a budding filmmaker, you’ll get plenty of laughs from the 20th Anniversary edition of Living in Oblivion (1995).

The same distributor are putting out a double feature of the B-movies Troll (1986) and Troll 2 (1990). Of course, Troll 2 is among the most hilariously terrible movies ever made and has quite a deserved following. Shout! are adding a nice bonus to those who pick up the double feature early. They’re including a DVD of the documentary Best Worst Movie (2009) with the first 5000 copies.!

Finally, Shout! are delivering a Blu-ray of the thriller White of the Eye (1987). It’s an unusual film about a man in a desert community who is accused of a series of local murders and must prove his own innocence. David Keith stars and the movie was directed by Donald Cammell (Demon Seed, Performance).

Kino have a few noteworthy releases as well. They include the Edward G. Robinson/George Raft film noir A Bullet for Joey (1955), the Kelly McGillis/Jeff Daniels Cold War thriller, The House on Carroll Street (1988) and another film noir named Pitfall (1948). The latter is reported to be an underrated effort with a great twisty plot and memorable femme fatale.

And Scorpion have a couple of low-budget B-movie that will be arriving exclusively on DVD. The movies listed are The Cheerleaders (1973) and The Haunting of Morella (1990)

You Know, For Kids!

There’s little this week for the kids, besides a re-release of a kid’s film that flopped during its original release. Brave souls can give it a try, it does feature a lot of famous names in the voice cast.

We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993)