Blu-Ray Report For May
Ride Along 2 (2016) (**) Ice Cube and Kevin Hart return in the sequel to the surprise hit of 2014 as the two law-men/brothers in law hightail it to Miami, this time around to follow up one of Cube’s leads. If you’re a fan of the original you’ll eat it up, others beware. Extras on the Universal release include making of documentaries and deleted scenes.
Top Gun (1986) (***) What can you say about the iconic 1986 film from the late director Tony Scott that hasn’t been said already? It’s certainly not high art but the film’s influence cannot be underestimated. Paramount has released the film in a 30th anniversary Steel Book Blu-ray package and the extras include documentaries and commentary with the late director.
Brief Encounter (1945) (*** ½) Before director David Lean began making films along the lines of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, he helmed this small masterpiece about a doctor (Trevor Howard) and a housewife (Celia Johnson)-both married-who embark on a short but passionate affair. The film’s influence is still felt today. Extras on the Criterion release include documentaries on Lean and the film’s writer, the celebrated playwright, Noel Coward.
Twilight Time, whose releases are limited to a pressing of 3000 units for each of their titles, has issued a new batch of classics during the month. Their product can be ordered via www.twilighttimemovies.com and www.screenarchives.com. This month’s offerings include the following titles:
Cutter’s Way (1981) (***) Director Ivan Passer’s adaptation of the novel, Cutter and Bone, offers a fine showcase for the talents of John Heard and Jeff Bridges in this modern neo-noir set against the sun drenched backdrop of sunny Santa Barbara. In the film, which also serves as a unique look into how our country was affected by both Watergate and the Vietnam War, a wounded vet enlists the aid of his best friend in the hopes of pinning a murder on a man of high society which leads to tragedy for all involved. Extras on the release include an isolated track containing Jack Nitzsche’s fine score and a commentary track.
Vanessa Redgrave & Jane Fonda in Julia (1977)
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) (***) Twilight Time offers up another fine performance by Jeff Bridges with this release. Here he was Oscar nominated for his performance as a happy go lucky drifter who crosses paths with a notorious bank robber (Clint Eastwood, in an essential performance). George Kennedy provides a great menacing turn in a supporting role along with Eastwood regular, Geoffrey Lewis. Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter) wrote and directed. This is the second pressing of the title after an initial run sold out and when this one’s gone that’s it. Extras include an isolated score track and commentary.
Chato’s Land (1972) (***) marked the first collaboration between star Charles Bronson and British director, Michael Winner. It’s a revenge thriller with Bronson as a Native American being pursued by a motley crew of assorted lowlives lead by Jack Palance. The delicious supporting cast, which includes Ralph Waite (as a very nasty villain), Simon Oakland, James Whitmore, Richard Jordan, is a movie fan’s dream come true. Extras include commentary and isolated score track.
In the French Style (1963) (** ½) is an adaptation of two stories by author Irwin Shaw and directed by British helmer, Robert Parrish. The film stars the great Jean Seberg-an actress whose personal life was dotted with tragedy-as an American girl attempting to make it an as artist in France while floating through many romantic endeavors in the interim. Seberg is definitely the attraction here and more than makes the film worth a look. Extras include commentary, trailer and isolated score track.
Julia (1977) (***) The great Alvin Sargent (Paper Moon, The Spiderman franchise) penned the script of this Oscar nominated tale of the relationship between Lillian Hellman (Jane Fonda) and her childhood friend, Julia (Vanessa Redgrave), a rabid champion of human rights, set against the backdrop of the heady, early days of WW II. Douglas Slocombe’s stunning cinematography is excellently rendered via the 4K transfer of the film included in this release. Extras include commentary with Jane Fonda and isolated score track.
A Prayer For the Dying (1987) (**) Mickey Rourke’s performance as a tortured IRA hitman trying to get out of the business and start a new life after accidentally bombing a school bus full of children is the chief attraction in director Mike Hodge’s thriller. Bob Hoskins and Alan Bates also offer great supporting work but the film is an acquired taste although it does have its moments. Extras include isolated score track and an interview with Hodges.
Coming soon to Blu-ray: In a Lonely Place, Easy Rider, Joy, The Fifth Wave, Deadpool, How to be Single, Zoolander 2, Gods of Egypt and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
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