March Blu-ray Releases
20th Century Women (2016) (***) Director Mike Mills’ autobiographical tale of a single mother raising her son in 1979 contains a superb performance by Annette Bening. Extras include two featurettes and director’s commentary.
Sony: Elle (2016) (***) Isabelle Hupert justifiably received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her turn as a victimized CEO attempting to take justice into her own hands following a series of vicious attacks. Extras include two featurettes.
Passengers (2016) (** ½) After coming out of hibernation too soon, two passengers (Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence) aboard a spaceship, on a 90 year journey to another planet, fall in love. Tolerable but awfully predictable. Extras include five featurettes and deleted scenes.
Julieta (2016) (** ½) A mother and daughter find their relationship coming apart after the family patriarch dies in the latest film from celebrated filmmaker Pedro Almodovar. Extras include a featurette on the film’s director.
Collateral Beauty (2016) (* ½) Will Smith’s latest is a contrived and emotionally manipulative tale of a man attempting to come to grips with a tragedy. Extras include a featurette.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) (** ½) This expansion of the Harry Potter franchise concerns Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) whose job is documenting magical creatures. When the creatures get loose in the big city Newt has his hands full. Potter fans will love it. Others less so. Extras include a multi part documentary and deleted scenes.
Live by Night (2016) (** ½) Ben Affleck’s first time behind the camera in four years is a lackluster gangster film based on a Dennis Lehane novel. Well executed but awfully derivative. Extras include four featurettes, director’s commentary and deleted scenes.
Fences (2016) (***) is star/director Denzel Washington’s faithful adaptation of the celebrated August Wilson play concerning a former Negro league baseball player now trying to make ends meet as a garbage man. Too stagebound for its own good at times but well acted. Viola Davis nabbed an Oscar for her role. Extras include five featurettes.
Silence (2016) (***) Martin Scorsese’s passionate tale of two missionaries (Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver) and their trek to Japan in search of their mentor (Liam Neeson) is a bit sluggish at times but also undeniably powerful. Extras include a featurette.
Warner Archive (Available for order at www.wbshop.com)
Peter Sellers in Being There
World Without End (1956) (** ½) was billed as the first Cinemascope science fiction thriller. It’s a tale of astronauts caught in a time warp and stars Hugh Marlowe and Rod Taylor. No extras
S.O.B. (1981) (***) Blake Edwards’ takedown of Hollywood features many great jabs aimed at the movie industry. If you’re a fan of Edwards (The Pink Panther films) style of humor you’ll find much to love and with a great cast to boot. Notable for star Julie Andrews sole nude scene. No extras.
Finian’s Rainbow (1968) (**) was Francis Ford Coppola’s (The Godfather) second film and the last musical for Fred Astaire. Beautifully photographed but hopelessly dated. Extras include a featurette, director’s commentary and film introduction.
Valley of Gwangi (1969) (*** 1/2) is one of special effects maestro Ray Harryhausen’s best films, a tale of a cowboy who stumbles upon an undiscovered world full of dinosaurs. Extras include a behind the scenes documentary.
Demon Seed (1977) (*** ½) is a striking and suspenseful adaptation of the Dean Koontz novel about a computer who is bent on impregnating the wife (Julie Christie) of its creator. No extras.
Being There (1979) (****) is probably the pinnacle of celebrated director Hal Ashby’s career. The tale of a mentally challenged man (Peter Sellers) who accidentally rises to the highest ranks of politics is more timely than ever. Extras include a new 4K transfer of the film, making of documentary, deleted scenes/outtakes and two 1980 interviews with star Peter Sellers conducted mere months before his death.
Multiple Maniacs (1970) (**) is one of John Waters’ earliest films and his inexperience as a filmmaker shows. Occasionally humorous but nowhere near as good as later efforts. Extras include a new 4K restoration of the film, director commentary, new cast/crew interviews and a new video essay.
Red Dawn (1984) (* ½) Russians invade small town USA and it’s up to the teens to save the town. This perennial favorite of the eighties generation was never a good film and has not aged well. Extras include a new making of documentary, trailer and four vintage featurettes.
Robocop 3 (1993) (**) Our hero of the film’s title finds himself joining a band of freedom fighters in the lamest entry in the series. Visual effects are the sole virtue. Extras include director commentary, making of documentary and a featurette on the film’s special effects.
Colors (1988) (***) Two cops (Sean Penn, Robert Duvall) put their differences aside in order to clean up the gang-infested streets of 1980s era LA. Not perfect but fairly engrossing. Extras include an extended cut of the film and two featurettes.
Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) (** ½) is the tale of a mutt who, like the title says, saves Tinseltown. The plot is generic but the real kick is the blink-and-you-miss-it cameos from nearly seventy stars from Hollywood’s golden age. No extras.
Twilight Time (titles are limited to a pressing of 3,000 units and available for order at www.twilighttimemovies.com and www.screenarchives.com.
Baby Boom (1987) (***) stars Diane Keaton as a single professional who inadvertently becomes saddled with the responsibility of taking care of a baby. The film served as a comeback of sorts for Keaton. Extras include music/effects track, audio commentary and the film’s trailer.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967) (***) Filmmaker David Swift’s film adaptation of the acclaimed musical boasts excellent choreography by the great Bob Fosse and stars Robert Morse and Michelle Lee. Extras include isolated music track, two featurettes, and the film’s trailer.
Peyton Place (1957) (***) Grace Mealious’ best seller serves as the basis for this look at the seedy goings on in a small New England town, one of the biggest grossing films of its year. Lana Turner, Diane Varsi, Hope Lange and Russ Tamblyn lead the cast. Extras include two audio commentaries, featurette on the film’s locations, behind the scenes doc, and trailers.
Our Man in Havana (1959) (***) was one of the last films to be shot in Havana after the fall of the Batista regime and the rise of Castro. It’s an adaptation of the Graham Greene novel about a vacuum cleaner salesman (Alec Guiness) who accidentally becomes a British spy. Extras include music/effects track and the film’s trailer.
Coming soon: Invasion of the Bee Girls, Tampopo, Rumble Fish, Split, A League of Their Own (25th), La La Land, Phantasm Collection and Mephisto Waltz.
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