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You are here: Community Film Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for January 27, 2023

Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for January 27, 2023

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Welcome to another look at highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. This week sees a mix of some studio fare, independent arthouse and genre flicks, as well as some interesting documentaries. So, if you can’t make it out to the movies this week or need to stay indoors, be sure to give one of these titles a try!

BIG NEW RELEASES!


BRAINWASHED: SEX-POWER-CAMERA: This documentary tells the history of cinema, but focuses on one previously unexamined aspect. Using clips from titles from the late 1800s to present, the movie shows how the visual grammar of cinema creates discrimination, pay inequity and other problems like sexual harassment. It includes Interviews and thoughts from artists like Julie Dash, Penelope Spheeris, Charlyne Yi, Catherine Hardwicke, Rosanna Arquette and many others.

Reviews were positive overall. About one-quarter of write-ups complained that while the issue addressed was important, the title didn’t make its case effectively and used some poorly constructed arguments. Still, the majority were impressed and thought the movie effectively showed many examples of sexism that has been prevalent since the beginning of film.

THE GHOSTS OF MONDAY: A group of American filmmakers decide to make a documentary on a haunted hotel in Cyprus. After traveling to the Mediterranean island locale and starting to shoot, they discover more about its history and the 100 people who died there under mysterious circumstances. It isn’t long before the visitors begin experiencing strange phenomena and find their own lives at risk.

This independent chiller from Cyprus hasn’t been seen by many critics and thus far the responses that have appeared are mixed. One online reviewer thought the feature was overstuffed, but appreciated that it was attempting to deal with a variety of issues dealing with the nation’s history. Others just found the movie ineffective and too jumbled to chill or thrill.

The cast includes Julian Sands, Elva Trill, Mark Huberman and Anthony Skordi.


GLORIOUS: In this indie horror/thriller/comedy, a man upset about a nasty break-up drives to the country to regroup. Or, at least, the protagonist tries to head out of town, but ultimately decides to stop at a roadside restroom. After entering, a strange voice from an adjacent stall begins talking to him. It tells the lead that it is a demon planning on causing terror and bloodshed throughout the world… unless the man performs a sexual act that will satiate the monster. Horrified, the lead tries to figure out what he should do next.

Critics were entertained by this feature, which first debuted on the Shudder streaming service. A small number didn’t think the jokes landed and felt the story was padded out to an excessive length. Everyone else was amused, calling the performers excellent, the visuals stylish and the story unpredictable from start to finish.

It stars Ryan Kwanten, J.K. Simmons and Sylvia Grace Crim.

THE HONEYMOON: Looking for a wacky comedy? This British/Italian production involves a young couple who get married and decide to honeymoon in scenic Venice.

Unfortunately, the groom’s oafish close friend and best man asks to tag along on the trip. He immediately gets the trio into serious trouble. While touring around, the man offends a major drug dealer. Soon the bride is taken hostage and the two pals are forced to successfully deliver illegal products to free her.

This feature hasn’t been seen by many in this part of the world and is debuting on disc. That may be because the majority of international press members panned the movie. They called the protagonists charmless and annoying. They also called the attempts at humor forced and ineffective.

It stars Pico Alexander, Asim Chaudhry, Maria Bakalova and Lucas Bravo.


THE JUSTICE OF BUNNY KING: A homeless woman loses her children to foster care and tries to earn cash by washing cars at intersections. She also moves in with her sister’s family, taking care of her brother-in-law’s aged mother for compensation. After witnessing her brother-in-law sexually abuse his stepdaughter, the lead expresses outrage and is thrown out of the house. She races away with the abused teen and the pair try and recover her own children.

This drama from New Zealand was very well-received. One or two notices did take issue with the troubled lead character and thought her transformation into a hero wasn’t believable. But the consensus was that the film was an interesting character piece. They also wrote that the phenomenal performances added enough authenticity to involve them in the story.

It stars Essie Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Ryan O’Kane and Lively Nili.


MINDCAGE: Two police detectives are forced to make contact with an imprisoned serial killer when a copycat begins terrorizing a city. The devious maniac welcomes the pair and offers insight into the mind of the murderer, but also begins playing games with the leads. The pair must probe his mind to determine whether or not he is being truthful or is setting them up for failure.

Reaction was generally negative towards this thriller. A small number liked the cast enough to call it an enjoyable B-movie with a few wild twists. Still, everyone else asserted that there wasn’t much suspense generated and that there was nothing memorable about the story. They believed that an impressive cast was wasted with a substandard script.

The cast includes Martin Lawrence, Melissa Roxburgh, John Malkovich and Robert Knepper.

PLAN A: This English-language coproduction between Germany and Israel is based on a true story and set in 1945 during the close of World War II. A group of Jewish Holocaust survivors whose entire families were wiped out by Nazi soldiers plot a radical revenge plan... they set out to poison the entire water supply of Nuremberg, Germany. Meanwhile, forces try to stop and/or convince them not to carry out their mission.

The press had a mixed response to the end product. Nearly half said that the screenplay and presentation was a bit clumsy and didn’t do enough to involve viewers or make them wonder what they might do under similar circumstances. Just as many (and a few more) found the subject compelling and engrossing and the story suspenseful. They wrote that it made interesting points about the problems that arise when one seeks brutal retribution.

August Diehl, Sylvia Hoeks, Michael Aloni and Nikolai Kinski headline the feature.

THE TALE OF KING CRAB: An Italian in the 1800s is exiled from the country when he gets into a bitter conflict with a prince. The outcast eventually sails across the world and lands in Argentina. Determined to prove his detractors wrong, the man hears a legend of buried gold and sets out to locate it. He puts together a crew of ruthless men to find the treasure, but his obsession ends up endangering the entire crew.

This co-production between Italy, France and Argentina was released in Europe in late 2021 and is now finding its way to North America on disc. Response from the press was very positive. A tiny number thought the filmmakers tried to add too many fantastical elements to the story. Regardless, the vast majority complimented the moody tone and believed that it was unique and strangely engaging throughout.

It stars Gabriele Silli, Maria Alexandra Lungu and Ercole Colnago.


TAURUS: This independent drama deals with the occasionally cruel nature of the entertainment industry. A rising but psychologically troubled musician in Los Angeles searches for inspiration for his next big record. Burdened with a desire to create a truthful and honest song, he finds himself becoming addicted to substances and suffering, all to earn the public’s attention.

Critics were largely split on this feature, although it did earn slightly more recommendations than pans. Many asserted that the lead was grating and that the movie over-dramatized the pain the character endured. But more appreciated the performances, thought it was authentic and served as an effective, cautionary tale about the music industry.

It features Colson Baker, aka Machine Gun Kelly, Maddie Hasson, Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory, Ruby Rose, Scoot McNairy and Lil Tjay.


THE VELVET QUEEN: This French documentary captures the exploits of nature photographer Vincent Munier and writer Sylvain Tesson as they set out to locate and study the extremely elusive snow leopard. Their travels take them to the spectacular Tibetan highlands, where they track animals and patiently sit, all in the hope of sighting the leopard and learning more about its habits.

Every reviewer who saw this feature enjoyed it. They all wrote that the scenery was gorgeous from beginning to end. Notices also commented that there was plenty of interesting material with the figures themselves as the viewers watched how they conducted their search and stayed put in a very unforgiving environment. Many write-ups even called it an inspirational journey.


VIOLENT NIGHT: In case you’re still interested in some holiday-themed entertainment, this action picture is debuting on disc less than two months after its theatrical run. The plot involves a team of mercenaries who break into the home of a wealthy family on Christmas Eve. When Santa arrives unexpectedly on the scene, the armed tough-guys discover that the famous North Pole resident has no problem doling out justice to evil-doers.

Overall, critics appeared to enjoy this genre picture. One-quarter of reviewers felt that the movie could’ve been even more outrageous and that it didn’t leave a lasting impact. However, the general consensus was that while extremely violent, the leads were clearly having a lot of fun and that the end product delivered thrills and laughs in equal measure.

The film stars David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, Edi Patterson, Cam Gigandet and Beverly D’Angelo.

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!

If you have a little one to entertain, this is your only option this week.

Rock Dog 3: Battle the Beat (Lionsgate) Blu-ray

ON THE TUBE!

Here are the week’s TV-themed releases.

Chesapeake Shores The Complete Series (Hallmark) DVD

City on a Hill The Complete Series (Showtime Entertainment) Blu-ray

Colosseum (History) DVD

Dynasty (2017 - 2022): The Complete Series (CBS) DVD

NOVA: Crypto Decoded (PBS) DVD

NOVA: Nazca Desert Mystery (PBS) DVD

VISIT: WWW.CINEMASTANCE.COM