DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for September 11, 2015


Hello once again. It’s time to take a look at what’s new for the week on DVD and Blu-ray. 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 Age of Adaline - This romance title involves a woman who has an accident and soon finds that she can no longer age. Nearly 80 years later, she falls for a guy, but struggles with letting him in on her secret. Reviewers were split on the movie. Some found it to be a sweet concoction that would appeal to those who enjoyed similar titles like The Time Traveller’s Wife. Others called it ridiculous and absurd, wasting a good cast. It stars Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, Kathy Baker and Ellen Burstyn.

American Heist - An ex-con with no prospects convinces his reformed brother to assist him on one last bank robbery. From then on out, viewers witness a well-planned and executed heist. Just kidding. Of course, one assumes that the cash grab does not go cleanly and that there are significant hiccups. The press did not like the flick, calling it dull and derivative. One even suggested that the only thing it stole was 90 minutes of his precious time. Ouch! For those who want to take a chance on it, the cast includes Hayden Christensen, Adrian Brody and Jordana Brewster.

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th - Here’s something interesting for 80s horror movie fans. Based on the non-fiction book of the same name, this documentary uses hundreds of interviews with cast and crew members of the famous “slasher” series to document its entire history (from the first movie to the recent reboot) in a feature. It also features never-before-seen outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage from the various productions. With a running time listed online of well over 6 hours, it has been described as an exhaustively detailed look into the films. Internet reviews have even suggested that the doc is actually much better than the films it chronicles.

The Editor - This low-budget horror flick is a homage to Italian “giallo” thrillers made by the likes of Dario Argento and Mario Bava. The story follows a film editor working on a suspense picture. When members of the cast and crew start getting murdered, he becomes the main suspect and must conduct his own investigation to clear his name. More horror aficionados liked this title than disliked it. While some thought the joke eventually wore thin, most found it to be a funny, near perfect emulation of these types of films, from the lighting and camerawork right down to the post-production voice-dubbing.

Blasts From the Past!

Criterion is giving Brian De Palma fans a treat with the Blu-ray of Dressed to Kill (1980). It’s a classic little thriller oozing style and technical smarts that follows a teenager and a call girl who team to solve a murder in Manhattan. There’s more to it of course, but that would give away all the fun. There was an attempt to release this title a month ago, but a technical glitch delayed its release and correct version is now available (it’s marked Second Printing on the back). Extras include a restored 4K digital transfer of the Unrated version, new interviews with the director and stars, as well as the bonus features that were made available on the out-of-print 2001 DVD release. I’m looking forward to picking it up.

Also arriving on Blu-ray is a Shout! Factory special edition of the Wes Craven cult horror flick, Shocker (1989). It’s not one of the late director’s better movies (if fact, it may be his most absurd), but it definitely isn’t boring. A mad killer on death row manages to turn himself into an electrical entity and moves through circuits and television sets to stalk new prey. Frankly, it’s incredibly dopey, but it’s hard not to laugh and be entertained by the over-the-top climax, in which the villain and protagonist fight against a backdrop of several television programs. Perhaps that explains some its cult appeal. The disc itself contains two commentary tracks (including one with director Craven), making-of clips, new interviews with cast and crewmembers as well as trailers and stills. I’ve heard it’s a solid transfer, so fans will definitely want to pick it up.

With the Crystal Lake Memories release, Paramount have also decided to re-release all of the Friday the 13th films in double feature sets, each containing two films. So you can pick up parts 1 and 2 on their own, or 3 and 4, or 5 and 6, etc., as you see fit.

Kino have a few new releases as well. Defiance (1980) with Jan-Michael Vincent and Danny Aiello is a gritty action flick in the Death Wish mold that follows a loner who takes on a gang in a New York neighborhood. The Honey Pot (1967) is crime comedy about a devious millionaire attempting to con three wealthy socialites. The cast includes Rex Harrison, Cliff Robertson and Susan Hayward. Hornet’s Nest (1970) is a WWII movie with Rock Hudson about a lone soldier who makes a deal behind enemy lines with some youths to help him blow up a Nazi dam. Finally, Jan-Michael Vincent gets his second title of the week with Vigilante Force (1976). In this exploitation action flick, he teams with Kris Kristofferson. The pair play brothers who try to clean up crime from their town - however, things end up going south when they gain power and become corrupt themselves. Curiously enough, it was directed by George Armitage (who would later go on to helm a couple of fantastic flicks, Miami Blues and Grosse Pointe Blank).

Kino Classic also have The Epic of Everest (1924). This black and white documentary was an official record of climbers Irvine and Mallory and their ill-fated attempt to reach the summit of Everest. The movie includes some of the earliest images captured from the area.

While it has already come out in a big box set, Arrow Video are now releasing a regular Blu-ray/DVD combo of the horror satire, Society (1989). Ever wanted to know what obscenely wealthy Beverly Hills socialites do behind closed doors? It sure isn’t pretty in this gruesome flick. Beyond a sharp, fresh digital transfer of the film, the release includes loads of nifty extras with director Brian Yuzna (Bride of Re-Animator), including a new commentary and interviews. There are also featurettes with the cast and crew. For those interested, it’s an impressive-looking package.

Beat Takeshi fans will be happy to see the actor’s take on Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (2003) finally being re-released on Blu-ray from LionsGate. The previous edition is long out-of-print and had been going for $80 through most online retailers.

Universal are debuting a couple of catalog titles on Blu-ray for the first time. They include the Nic Cage drama The Family Man (2000) and the quirky Coen Brothers/Billy Bob Thornton film noir homage, The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001).

You Know, For Kids!

Looks like there are a couple of DVD reissues of children’s features as well as some newer material this week. Check them out below.

The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000 Robert DeNiro movie)

Over the Garden Wall (Cartoon Network)

Clifford’s Really Big Movie (2004)

Jetsons: The Movie (1990)

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Monster Musical

Sesame Street: Play All Day With Elmo

Thomas & Friends: Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure - The Movie