January 17, 2022

SHOCK (1977): Bava and "Beyond"

SHOCK - aka Beyond the Door II (Blu-ray Review)
1977 / 95 min

FROM ARROW VIDEO

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

The great Mario Bava’s last film didn’t get much respect on this side of the pond.

Bava was, of course, one of Italy’s acknowledged horror masters (and who almost single-handedly invented giallo), but schlock specialists Film Ventures International apparently didn’t trust his name and reputation enough to promote Shock on its own merits. Instead, they hawked it as a sequel to 1974’s Beyond the Door, a comparatively classless Exorcist rip-off. 


From a commercial standpoint, I guess it’s understandable. At the time, Bava’s films were more revered in Europe, while Film Ventures had just made a fortune distributing Beyond the Door. Still, rebranding Shock as Beyond the Door II was not only deceptive, it was selling the movie short.


While Shock doesn’t rank among Bava’s classics, it is sort of a return to the stylish, atmospheric horror from his early days (though still includes a few jarring moments of gory violence). Italy’s own scream queen Daria Nicolodi delivers one of her best performances as Dora, whose first husband, heroin-addicted Carlo, apparently killed himself. Following a nervous breakdown and a few years of therapy, she returns to their old house with son Marco (David Colin Jr) and new husband Bruno (John Steiner). 


Bruno lends a hand.
Carlo, however, doesn’t appear to be done with her. His presence is still in the house and he uses their son to torment her from beyond the grave. “Possessed” Marco not only raises hell around the house, he appears intent on killing her. Naturally, Bruno thinks she’s slipping back into madness, providing logical explanations for all the bizarre occurrences. However, some stunning revelations in the final act confound what we’re led to believe about both Dora and Bruno, as well as Carlo’s suicide. It’s a startling plot twist the viewer isn’t likely to see coming. 

Until then, Shock overcomes a rather mundane first act to slowly develop into a tension-filled, surreal ghost story, punctuated by a jolting scare or two. There are several creepy dreamlike sequences, some of which even offer the suggestion that all of this is in Dora’s head. Getting to the good stuff requires some patience - and a willingness to overlook occasionally clunky dialogue and a dull performance by Steiner - but this is ultimately a dark journey worth taking.


Nice to see Arrow Video giving Shock the Blu-ray release it deserves, with a great 2K restoration and a bevy of bonus features, all of which are brand new. After watching them, one can’t help but feel the film has always been a bit underappreciated. While it’s attractively packaged with new & original cover art, perhaps they should have included more of the dubious promotional material from the film’s American release. Deceptive or not, Beyond the Door II is still part of its history and some of that artwork was pretty cool, too.


EXTRA KIBBLES

ITALIAN & ENGLISH VERSIONS

A GHOST ON THE HOUSE - Interview with Laberto Bava - Mario’s son - who co-wrote & co-directed.

VIA DELL’OROLOGIO - Interview with co-writer Dardano Sacchetti.

SHOCK! HORROR! - THE STYLISTIC DIVERSITY OF MARIO BAVA - The best of the bonus features, this is an excellent overview and appreciation of Bava’s career by author Stephen Thrower, with a special emphasis on Shock.

THE DEVIL PULLS THE STRINGS - Video essay by author Alexandra Nicholas.

THE MOST ATROCIOUS TORTUR(E) - Short interview with critic Alberto Aarina, who discusses star Daria Nicolodi (RIP).

ITALIAN TRAILER

5 “BEYOND THE DOOR” TV SPOTS - Includes one where it was paired up with The Dark.

IMAGE GALLERY

SUPPLEMENTAL BOOKLET - Includes an excellent essay, “Shock Horror a la Bava,” by Troy Howarth; cast, crew & restoration credits.

REVERSIBLE COVER - With new & original Italian artwork (we kinda like the new cover).


January 16, 2022

THE TOOLBOX MURDERS (4K): Grindhouse Nostalgia

THE TOOLBOX MURDERS (4K UHD Review)
1978 / 94 min

FROM BLUE UNDERGROUND

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat😼

The most famous scene in The Toolbox Murders is also its most disturbing, in which a beautiful young woman (Kelly Nichols) is pleasuring herself while taking a bubble bath, just before being chased around her apartment and killed by a madman with a nail gun. As suspenseful as it is titillating, what ultimately makes it so unnerving is the song playing in the background, a haunting, country-tinged ballad written specifically for the scene. The striking contrast between what we see and hear gives the entire sequence a visceral power that the remainder of the film doesn’t come close to achieving.

That scene is arguably a big reason The Toolbox Murders became one of the more notorious American exploitation films of the ‘70s. But time has not been quite as kind to this one as, say, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Toolbox’s most obvious inspiration). Perhaps many of us have forgotten that most of the murders occur in the first 20 minutes, with the masked killer lugging around his trusty tool kit to dispatch several women in a suburban apartment building. For the most part, those scenes remain pretty effective, their lack of style or polish rendering them a bit harsher than your typical slash-fest (though seldom as graphic as the film’s reputation suggests).


Cameron ignores the five-second rule.
However, things slow to a crawl once it settles into the story, mostly the search for Laurie (Pamelyn Ferdin), a teenage girl kidnapped by the killer. Veteran bad-guy Cameron Mitchell and TV heart-throb (at the time) Wesley Eure add some zest to their unhinged characters, but everyone else is dull as dishwater, exacerbated by drab performances and terrible dialogue. Even the cops are inconsequential to the plot, with Laurie’s brother doing most of the legwork (at least until he’s set on fire). Still, our patience is somewhat rewarded by a climax that’s alternately goofy and disturbing.

Admittedly, part of the film’s cult appeal at the time might have been the participation of TV stars not typically associated with exploitation cinema, but it’s ultimately the murders that make the movie (well, that and Ms. Nichols’ date with Mr. Bubble). As such, this new 4K UHD release will be of considerable nostalgic appeal for those who fondly recall the golden age of grindhouse. Newly scanned, the outstanding overall picture and sound quality belies the film’s age. This is probably the best The Toolbox Murders has ever looked, even in theaters. The disc is also loaded with a generous batch of new & vintage bonus features which are not-only entertaining, they provide considerable historical context.


EXTRA KIBBLES

4K & BLU-RAY COPIES

DRILL SERGEANT - Interview with director Dennis Donnelly, mostly a TV director who was obviously grateful for the opportunity (this was his only feature film). He offers a lot of fond memories of his career and the shoot.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE - Interview with actor Wesley Eure. He’s extraordinarily enthusiastic, and sometimes quite funny.

FLESH AND BLOOD - Interview with actor Kelly Nichols. She discusses her career as a make-up artist, porn actor and her infamous scene in this film. 

SLASHBACK MEMORIES - Journalist David Del Valle discusses Cameron Mitchell’s long career. This is, by far, the most interesting and amusing of the new interviews.

“THEY KNOW I HAVE BEEN SAD” - Video essay by Amanda Reyes (with a few comments near the end by Chris O’Neill).

2 AUDIO COMMENTARIES - 1) By producer Tony Didio, cinematographer Gary Graver and actor Pamelyn Ferdin; 2) By historians Troy Howarth & Nathaniel Thompson 

I GOT NAILED IN THE TOOLBOX MURDERS - Archival interview with Marianne Walter (aka Kelly Nichols).

TRAILER, TV & RADIO SPOTS

POSTER & STILL GALLERY - 119 images.


January 14, 2022

DANCING WITH CRIME & THE GREEN COCKATOO: A Decent Double Feature

DANCING WITH CRIME / THE GREEN COCKATOO (Blu-ray Review)
1940 & 1947 / 146 min (2 movies)

FROM COHEN MEDIA GROUP 

Review by Mr. Paws😽

I’ve really been enjoying the double features Blu-ray Cohen Media Group has been releasing on Blu-ray lately. It’s been kind-of cool checking out some of the European obscurities they’ve managed to dig up, and this set features a couple of low-budget British crime thrillers from the ‘40s. Neither are classics, but both are fairly entertaining and noteworthy for some of the people involved.

In 1947’s Dancing with Crime, young cabbie Ted Peters (Richard Attenborough) and his fiancee, Joy (Sheila Sim), take it unto themselves to investigate the murder of their childhood friend, Dave, at the hands of a local ganster/nightclub owner. Formulaic but fun, the film is mostly noteworthy for featuring Attenborough in an early starring role. However, it’s Barry K. Barnes who steals the show as a cold-blooded, slightly sadistic mob enforcer. You might want to watch it with subtitles, though. The dialogue is loaded with very British slang and dialect.


"You're it."
Produced in 1937 but released in 1940, The Green Cockatoo features naive young Eileen (Rene Ray), fresh off the bus to find work in the big city. Instead, a dying small-time hood - knifed for double-crossing the local mob - asks her to deliver a message to his brother, nightclub singer Jim Connor (John Mills). For much of the story - eluding the mob and the cops - she has no idea Jim is the very brother she’s supposed to give the message to. This one is efficiently paced and economically directed by famed production designer John Cameron Menzies, who also helmed the sci-fi classics, Things to Come and Invaders from Mars.

Neither of these films are gonna make anyone forget The Third Man, but as second-tier crime thrillers go, both are enjoyable enough on their own terms. As usual with Cohen Media’s two-fer discs, there isn’t any supplemental material, but the video restorations are pretty decent.

January 13, 2022

THE POOP SCOOP: More 4K Classics and the "Airport '83" (sort of)

😸THE GODFATHER Celebrates 50th Anniversary With February 25th Theatrical Release & March 22nd 4K Ultra HD Release Of All 3 Restored Films
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola’s Academy Award®-winning* masterwork The Godfather, Paramount Pictures announced today that the film will have a limited theatrical release in Dolby Vision beginning February 25, 2022 exclusively in Dolby Cinema at AMC Theatres in the U.S., as well as in international territories around the world.  All three films in the epic trilogy have been meticulously restored under the direction of Coppola and will be made available on 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever on March 22, 2022. Coppola’s masterful film adaptation of Mario Puzo’s novel chronicles the rise and fall of the Corleone family and the film trilogy is rightfully viewed as one of the greatest in cinematic history.  In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the first film’s original release on March 24, 1972, Paramount and Coppola’s production company American Zoetrope undertook a painstaking restoration of all three films over the course of three years. Every effort was made to create the finest possible presentation for today’s audiences who can watch the films using technology that has advanced dramatically since 2007 when the last restoration was completed by eminent film historian and preservationist Robert Harris.  Using that work as a blueprint, the team spent thousands of hours to ensure that every frame was evaluated to create the most pristine presentation while remaining true to the original look and feel of the films.

😸TOUCH OF EVIL 3-Disc Special Edition on 4K & Blu-ray coming 3/15
Directed by Hollywood legend Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, The Stranger, The Lady from Shanghai), Touch of Evil is a film noir masterpiece whose Hollywood backstory is as unforgettable as the movie itself. Starring Charlton Heston (The Big Country, Ben-Hur), Janet Leigh (The Manchurian Candidate, Psycho) and Welles himself, this dark portrait of corruption and morally compromised obsessions tells the story of a crooked police chief who frames a Mexican youth as part of an intricate criminal plot. With its iconic ticking-bomb opening shot, shadowy cinematography by Russell Metty (Spartacus), evocative score by Henry Mancini (Arabesque) and memorable supporting turns by Akim Tamiroff (The General Died at Dawn) and Marlene Dietrich (Desire), Touch of Evil is a stylistic triumph that stands the test of time. This 3-disc special edition features 4K restorations of three versions of the film: the Theatrical version, the Preview version and the Reconstructed version based on Orson Welles’ original vision.

😸STARFLIGHT ONE on Blu-ray 3/8
This is as close to a fifth Airport movie as you’re ever gonna get. Special effects guru John Dykstra (Star Wars) brings his technical expertise to this futuristic vision of the maiden flight of the world’s first hypersonic transport jet. Touted as a technological breakthrough, the super-speed aircraft debarks amid much fanfare. All systems are “go” until a misguided missile renders the craft helpless, pushing it into a deadly orbit above Earth that threatens the total annihilation of its passengers. Time is running out for the Starflight One, a.k.a. Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land, in this nerve-jangling space-age disaster movie directed by suspense specialist Jerry Jameson (Airport ’77, TV’s Superdome) with music by the great Lalo Schifrin (Coogan’s Bluff, Bullitt). Heading the all-star cast of this sci-fi adventure are Lee Majors (TV’s The Six Million Dollar Man) as the ship’s captain, Hal Linden (TV’s Barney Miller) as the scientific genius behind the machine, Tess Harper (Tender Mercies) as Majors’ wife, Lauren Hutton (Gator) as Majors’ lover and Ray Milland (Panic in Year Zero) as the high-powered chairman of the aerospace company.

January 11, 2022

THE DRY: Two Mysteries for the Price of One

THE DRY (Blu-ray Review)
2020 / 117 min

FROM RLJ ENTERTAINMENT

Review by Tiger the Terrible😼

Eric Bana has starred in enough high profile American movies that it’s easy to forget he’s Australian, so it’s kinda jarring to hear him speak without inflection in The Dry. I’ll bet he appreciated the opportunity to shoot a film in his own backyard, though, even if that yard looks like one of the country's bleaker regions.

He plays Aaron Falk, a big city detective returning to his rural hometown for the funeral of childhood friend Luke, who supposedly killed his family in a murder-suicide. Luke’s parents believe otherwise, and implore Aaron to investigate the incident further. But Aaron’s not welcome by everyone because many feel he was responsible for the death of Elle (Bebe Bettencourt) years earlier. She was found drowned in a nearby river and he’s been branded as a liar and murderer ever since.


Through numerous flashbacks, we learn Elle, Luke, Gretchen and Aaron were close childhood friends, though Aaron obviously wanted more than friendship with Elle. Chronicling the circumstances leading up to Elle’s death, the audience becomes certain Aaron had nothing to do with it. Considering her emotional state, it may have even been suicide. However, her father and cousin, Grant (Matt Nable), are sure of his guilt. Now both of them simply want Aaron out of town, Grant going as far as to threaten him and vandalize his car. Still, Gretchen (Genevieve O’Reilly) is glad to see him again, and the two rekindle their friendship…and then some.


"I thought I paid this."

So The Dry offers two mysteries: Was Luke’s death the result of a murder-suicide, and who was actually responsible for Elle’s death 20 years ago? Though leisurely paced, the present-day story is fairly interesting, with Aaron’s investigation pointing to a variety of suspects. Bana delivers an earnest, appropriately low-key performance that definitely suits his character, who never really wanted to return to his hometown in the first place. The bleak, dry setting befits the tone, as well, sharply contrasting the flashback sequences, when the town was still vibrant and prosperous, the river still running nearby. 


From a narrative standpoint, however, those flashback sequences are far less compelling. Sure, they reveal something about Aaron, but mostly confirm what we already suspected and at no point are they really pertinent to the present-day story. Besides, the film is already somber enough without the distressing revelation Aaron learns about Elle’s death. Still, some viewers might appreciate two mysteries for the price of one.


EXTRA KIBBLES

FEATURETTES - Homecoming; Page to Screen; Jane Harper’s Day on Set (Harper is the original author); Falk and Gretchen; Filming in the Wimmera Region.


January 10, 2022

ESCAPE FROM MOGADISHU: Harrowing History

ESCAPE FROM MOGADISHU (Blu-ray Review)
2021 / 122 min

FROM WELL GO USA

Review by Tiger the Terrible😸

Based on a true story, Escape from Mogadishu is an intense, suspenseful film that unfolds like a mash-up of Argo and Black Hawk Down, with all the political turmoil and visceral conflict such a comparison suggests.

In 1991, Somalia is on the verge of war between the corrupt government and a growing resistance movement. At the same time, both North and South Korea are going to great lengths trying to be admitted into the United Nations, which apparently requires support from that same government. Somewhat amusingly, each ambassador is sucking-up to the Somali president while undermining the other, aided by their prospective intelligence officers.


When war finally breaks out in Mogadishu, both ambassadors - along with colleagues and family members - are trapped in their embassies and unable to communicate with their prospective countries to arrange flights out of the country. With chaos and violence erupting in the streets, even venturing outside is risky. The situation in the North Korean embassy is especially dire…diabetic ambassador Rim Yong-su (Heo Joon-ho) is out of insulin and they’re low on food. After the building is invaded and ransacked by rebels, he has no choice but to risk taking everyone to the South Korean embassy with the hope of finding protection. This doesn’t sit well with his hot-headed intelligence officer, Tae Joon-ki (Koo Kyo-hwan).


"Damn! You just took-out a Bookmobile!"
But even though South Korean ambassador Hin Sin-seong (Kim Yoon-seok) opens the doors for them, decades of distrust and deceit don’t die easily, even under these circumstances, as depicted through the ongoing conflict between Joon-ki and Sin-seong’s own intelligence officer, Kang Dae-jin (Jo In-sung), the latter of whom expects the North Koreans to defect in exchange for protection. But with the fighting intensifying and chances of escape dwindling, both sides are forced to set aside their differences in order to make a harrowing journey to the Italian embassy, South Korean allies who have a plane available.

Escape from Mogadishu does a great job establishing its characters and the setting’s precarious political climate. Somewhat surprisingly, the first act is often quite funny, particularly depicting some of the sillier aspects of diplomacy. Somalia looks like an awful place to be a foreign diplomat even before all hell breaks loose. When it does, the film deftly shifts tonal gears as it throws everyone in harm’s way. The scenes of violent conflict are vivid, intense and - in the case of atrocities committed by both rebels and the Somali military - sometimes infuriating. Director Ryoo Seung-wan maintains a constant level of tension - even during the quieter moments - but the highlight of the film is the climactic car chase. Packed into four cars reinforced with make-shift shields, everyone desperately races to reach the Italian embassy with both rebels and police in pursuit. As action set-pieces go, it’s a masterful sequence.


I don’t know how much of this is an accurate depiction of what actually transpired, nor do I really care. Almost epic in scope, Escape from Mogadishu is an gripping human drama that also happens to be a hell of an action film. Engaging characters - performed by a solid ensemble cast - ensure our investment in their dire circumstances. Fast-paced and compelling, this is well-worth checking out.


EXTRA KIBBLES

FEATURETTES - 3 promotional featurettes: “Motive”, “Mogadishu” and “Actors”; An interview with a military consultant; behind-the-scenes car chase montage. These are all very short, the longest running 3 minutes.

3 TRAILERS

January 9, 2022

The Bravery Behind DUNE (2021)

DUNE (Blu-ray Review)
2021 / 155 min

FROM WARNER BROS

Review by Tiger the Terrible😺

#InPartnershipwithWB

When you think about it, Dune might be the biggest act of bravery ever undertaken by a major studio. 

First off, David Lynch’s truncated, convoluted adaptation of Frank Herbert’s unwieldy novel was one of the most noteworthy flops of the '80s, both critically and commercially, adding credence to the argument that maybe the author’s vision was too much for one movie. A miniseries followed in 2000, which never escaped its TV origins, but was more-or-less faithful to the book. So did we really need a third run at the same story?


Second, the actual on-screen title is Dune Part One, a detail conspicuously left out of the entire ad campaign…which probably irked more than a few patrons settling into their theater seats for a complete movie. But indeed, the film ends mid-story, with no reassurance that we’d ever see its conclusion. This wasn’t like The Lord of the Rings, with three films planned all along, or two chapters of It, which had a narrative structure that essentially told separate stories. Considering the time and financial commitment, the wait-and-see approach as to whether or not there’d ever even be a Dune Part Two was pretty gutsy.


Third, even though Blade Runner 2049 was a great film, it severely underperformed at the box office, suggesting maybe the public was no longer interested in cerebral, somber and deliberately-paced science-fiction. Still, they had enough confidence in director Denis Villeneuve to hand him the reins for this one, too. At the very least, it’s obvious Dune ain’t being driven by profit alone.


Then to release it in the midst of a pandemic, where the odds of recouping your investment are iffy at best? Man, that takes some epic cajones, not to mention a truckload of confidence. Still, it’s safe to assume everyone involved consumed an equally large truckload of Rolaids prior to its release.


The gamble paid off, though. Dune was a big hit, both in theaters and on HBOMax,  justifying all those gutsy moves. It also means we’ll indeed be getting Dune Part Two, which is a good thing because Part One not only outclasses every previous adaptation - both aesthetically and tonally - it’s one of the best films of 2021. Dune is such a sprawling, spectacular and immersive experience that it’s relatively easy to forgive the fact it’s only half a movie.


"I told you not to feed him. Now he's gonna follow us home."
Whether one views it as a remake or simply a different adaptation of the same novel, comparisons to the 1984 film are inevitable. The story remains the same, but while Lynch’s version was almost comically convoluted, Villeneuve maintains the book’s narrative complexities without ever muddying the waters. And while the tone of this one is equally serious - something of a Villeneuve trademark - there are sparse moments of congenial humor, mainly because just as much care is put into creating well-rounded characters - instead of caricatures or talking heads - as the production design and visual effects.

Speaking of which, Dune is visually stunning, probably the best looking sci-fi film since…well, Villeneuve’s own Blade Runner 2049. Even if one finds the story a bit too weighty and perplexing - which is possible if you’re not paying complete attention - it’s enjoyable to simply kick back to take in the striking imagery, as well as Hans Zimmer’s incredible score. Admittedly, though, some of the epic grandeur might seem a little diminished at home.


Still, Dune is a terrific film that looks great on Blu-ray and, more importantly, holds up with repeated viewings. Visually and narratively, there’s so much to take in that seeing it more than once is practically essential. Yeah, it sucks that it ends mid-story - with nothing resolved - but at least we don’t feel cheated. Bring on Part Two!


EXTRA KIBBLES

8 FEATURETTES (Running 5-12 minutes each) - “The Royal Houses” (interviews with director Denis Villeneuve, producer Mary Parent and most of the main cast); “Building the Ancient Future” (production design); “My Desert, My Dune” (locations and creating the look of Dune); “Construction the Ornithopters” (the dragonfly-like flying machines); “Designing the Sandworm” (take a guess); “Beware the Baron” (how the main villain was created); “Wardrobe from Another World” (costume design); “A New Soundscape” (sound effects and music).

FILMBOOKS - 5 brief segments which provide background information about key aspects of the story: House Atreides, House Harkonnin, The Bene Gesserit, The Fremen and, of course, The Spice Melange.

INSIDE DUNE - Three production featurettes focusing on specific sequences: The Training Room, The Spice Harvester and The Sardauker Battle.

DVD & DIGITAL COPIES

January 5, 2022

THE POOP SCOOP: Collectible Classics Are Coming

THE GREEN MILE
arrives on 4K Ultra HD and Digital 2/22
The Green Mile, which received four Oscar® nominations, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Michael Clarke Duncan, Best Sound and Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital on 2/22/22, it was announced today by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The film stars Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, Forrest Gump), Academy Award® nominee Michael Clarke Duncan (Armageddon), David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graeme Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Patricia Clarkson, and Harry Dean Stanton. The film was written and directed by Darabont, based on “The Green Mile” by Stephen King, and produced by Darabont and David Valdes.  Mr. Darabont is one of only six filmmakers in history with the unique distinction of having his first two feature films receive nominations for the Best Picture Academy Award:  1994’s The Shawshank Redemption and 1999’s The Green Mile.

The Original FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX on Blu-ray from Criterion 3/22/22
A downed airplane is a motley group of men’s only protection from the relentless desert sun, in this psychologically charged disaster epic, one of the all-time great survival movies. James Stewart is the veteran pilot whose Benghazi-bound plane—carrying passengers played by an unshaven ensemble of screen icons including Richard Attenborough, Ernest Borgnine, Ian Bannen, Dan Duryea, Peter Finch, and George Kennedy—crash-lands in the remote Sahara. As tensions simmer among the survivors, they find themselves forced to trust a coldly logical engineer (Hardy Krüger) whose plan to get them out may just be crazy enough to work—or could kill them all. Directed with characteristic punch by Hollywood iconoclast Robert Aldrich, The Flight of the Phoenix balances adventure with human drama as it conducts a surprising and complex examination of authority, honor, and camaraderie among desperate men. In addition to a 2K digital restoration, bonus features include: New conversation between filmmaker Walter Hill and film scholar Alain Silver; New interview with biographer Donald Dewey on actor James Stewart and his service as a bomber pilot; Trailer. PLUS: An essay by filmmaker and critic Gina Telaroli.

KING RICHARD on 4K, Blu-ray & DVD 2/8
Armed with a clear vision and a brazen 78-page plan, Richard Williams (Will Smith) is determined to write his daughters, Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton), into history. Training on Compton, California’s abandoned tennis courts - rain or shine - the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s (Aunjanue Ellis) balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them. Based on the true story that will inspire the world, King Richard follows the uplifting journey of a family whose unwavering resolve and unconditional belief ultimately delivers two of the world’s greatest sports legends. The film is directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green from a screenplay by Zach Baylin, and stars two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Tony Goldwyn and Jon Bernthal. The film was produced by Tim White, Trevor White, Smith, Isha Price, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Adam Merims, Lynn Harris and Allan Mandelbaum, with Jon Mone and Peter Dodd executive producing. The film also stars Andy Bean, Kevin Dunn and Craig Tate (“Greyhound”).

 

ORDINARY PEOPLE Arrives in a Newly Remastered Blu-ray on 3/29
Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Timothy Hutton give powerful and moving performances as a family being torn apart by tragedy and the unrelenting pressure to maintain a façade of normalcy.  Ordinary People marked Hutton’s first film role and his performance not only earned him the Oscar® for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, but it also made him the youngest person to win in the category.  Robert Redford made his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed drama Ordinary People, arriving on Blu-ray as part of the Paramount Presents line March 29, 2022 from Paramount Home Entertainment. Remastered from a new 4K film transfer overseen by Redford, the Paramount Presents Blu-ray is presented in collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments.  The disc also includes new interviews with Hutton and Judith Guest, author of the novel upon which the movie was based.

 

THE HURT LOCKER on 4K Ultra HD SteelBook 2/22
War is a drug. Nobody knows that better than Staff Sergeant James, head of an elite squad of soldiers tasked with disarming bombs in the heat of combat. To do this nerve-shredding job, it’s not enough to be the best: you have to thrive in a zone where the margin of error is zero, think as diabolically as a bomb-maker, and somehow survive with your body and soul intact. Winner of six Academy Awards® (including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay), The Hurt Locker arrives February 22 on 4K Ultra HD™ SteelBook® from Lionsgate, exclusively at Best Buy. Directed by Academy Award® winner Kathryn Bigelow, the critically acclaimed film features Academy Award® nominee Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes and Golden Globe® Evangeline Lily. Featuring all-new artwork by Olivia Barrett, The Hurt Locker will be available on 4K Ultra HD™ SteelBook® at Best Buy.