Now in Theaters:
Licorice Pizza (2021) (**) The usually dependable Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest effort is a shambling, ramble of a film concerning the budding romance of two young souls in 1973 San Fernando Valley, occasionally redeemed by its two appealing leads, exquisite cinematography and a few laughs courtesy of a guest turn by Bradley Cooper. Overlong by at least half an hour and featuring the bewildering placement of music not specific to the period, Anderson gives us little plot and lots of atmosphere. He’s usually good at striking a balance between the two. Not so much here. An unfortunate misfire albeit not without some merit but, in spite of the critical love, certainly a low point on the revered director’s resume.
The Matrix: Resurrections (2021) (Not Reviewed) Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss get another chance to decide whether they should gulp down the blue pill or the red pill in the fourth installment of the franchise. (Also streaming on HBO Max).
New to Streaming:
Mr. Saturday Night (2021) (***) is an interesting documentary portrait of the life of Bee Gees’ manager and music impresario, Robert Stigwood. Although the film gives an overall portrait of his life, its main focus is on the production of Stigwood’s crowning triumph, the 1977 film, Saturday Night Fever. Informative if a bit short on the latter details of its subject’s life.
New to Disc:
Shawscope: Volume One (1972-79) is the first in a series compiling the greatest output of the renowned Hong Kong movie studio. The inaugural collection presents twelve of the Studio’s films coupled with hours of bonus content and a 60-page collectible booklet. Titles in the set include Five Deadly Venoms, Crippled Avenger, Mighty Peking Man, Chinatown Kid, The Boxer From Shantung, Five Shaolin Masters and Shaolin Temple. Highly recommended and not only for fans of Hong Kong cinema.
The Learning Tree (1969) Director Gordon Parks’ autobiographical take on his life, growing up a poor black child in segregated rural Kansas during the 1920s, makes its Blu Ray debut with a new transfer and extras which include documentaries, interviews and the film’s trailer.
The Sherlock Holmes Vault Collection (1931-37) This new box set includes four remastered films featuring the legendary detective. Films included are The Fatal Hour, The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes, Silver Blaze and A Study in Scarlet.
The Day the World Ended (1955) The world ends, leaving the survivors to find their way in a mountain retreat, in this sci-fi classic from legendary producer, Roger Corman. Extras include a new Corman interview.
Going Berserk (1983) Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty and John Candy teamed up for this comedy involving the impending nuptials of a drummer and a congressman’s daughter. Extras include image gallery, TV spots and the film’s trailer.