By Harley Lond - 08/29/18 at 01:56 AM CT
FROM THE BIG SCREEN:
"Book Club" is a pretty mundane and innocuous comedy about four lifelong friends whose lives are turned upside down when their book club attempts to shake things up by tackling the infamous "Fifty Shades of Grey." Diane (Diane Keaton) is recently widowed after 40 years of marriage. Vivian (Jane Fonda) enjoys her men with no strings attached. Sharon (Candice Bergen) is still working through a decades-old divorce. Carol's (Mary Steenburgen) marriage is in a slump after 35 years. Four impressive stars in watchable performances that way out-distance the script. Co-stars Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson, Richard Dreyfuss and Ed Begley Jr. Extras for Book Club include deleted and extended scenes and five behind-the-scenes featurettes. From Paramount.
The documentary "RBG" follows the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg from her childhood to her career as a groundbreaking attorney, to her current role as a Supreme Court Justice. The 85-year-old’s legacy thrives as she continues her role as one of the most prominent Supreme Court Justices of our time. Taking a stand for an array of voiceless minorities and respectfully dissenting on their behalf, Ginsburg continues to redefine the American way by fighting for change. Affectionately nicknamed “Notorious RBG,” she is known to many as a pop culture icon, but very few are aware of her personal journey toward becoming the phenomenon she is today. Featuring interviews with Ginsburg and those closest to her, RBG highlights the Supreme Court Justice’s untold story and the battles she’s faced in and outside of courtroom. Extras include deleted and extended scenes and additional interviews. From Magnolia Home Entertainment.
Also due this week is "Tag," a silly action-comedy about five grown-up men who participate in an annual no-holds-barred game of tag that they've been playing since the first grade. Nuff said. Stars Ed Helms, Hannibal Buress, Jeremy Renner, Annabelle Wallis, Jon Hamm, Leslie Bibb, Rashida Jones, Isla Fisher, Jake Johnson and Brian Dennehy. Extras include deleted scenes and a gag reel. From Warner.
THIS WEEK'S BEST BETS:
"Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection" includes all Universal Pictures’ legendary monsters from the studio that pioneered the horror genre from the 1930s to late-1950s -- on Blu-ray for the first time. Includes: Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Werewolf of London (1935), Dracula's Daughter (1936), Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Invisible Woman (1940), The Mummy's Hand (1940), The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), The Mummy's Ghost (1942), The Mummy's Tomb (1942), Invisible Agent (1942), Phantom of the Opera (1943), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), The Mummy's Curse (1944), The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944), House of Dracula (1945), She-Wolf of London (1946), Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, and includes a 3D version), Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), Revenge of the Creature (1955 and includes a 3D version) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956). $149.00 from Universal ...(1968 -- Cuba), by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, is the most widely renowned work in the history of Cuban cinema. After his wife and family flee in the wake of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the bourgeois intellectual Sergio (Sergio Corrieri) passes his days wandering Havana in idle reflection, his amorous entanglements and political ambivalence gradually giving way to a mounting "Memories of Underdevelopment" sense of alienation. With this adaptation of an innovative novel by Edmundo Desnoes, Gutiérrez Alea developed a cinematic style as radical as the times he was chronicling, creating a collage of vivid impressions through the use of experimental editing techniques, archival material, and spontaneously shot street scenes. Intimate and densely layered, "Memories of Underdevelopment" provides a biting indictment of its protagonist's disengagement and an extraordinary glimpse of life in post-revolutionary Cuba. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection ... One of the preeminent figures of Iranian cinema, Mohsen Makhmalbaf has written and directed an impressive array of acclaimed films, winning accolades at international film festivals and the admiration of world cinema audiences. This collection, "Mohsen Makhmalbaf: The Poetic Trilogy," presents three of Makhmalbaf's most lyrical films that the director has termed his Poetic Trilogy. "Gabbeh" (1996) tells of an elderly couple who stop by a stream to wash a vividly woven traditional Persian rug ("Gabbeh"). A beautiful woman, depicted in the rug's elaborate design, suddenly appears and tells a heart-rending story of love and loss. A film imbued with the ideas of Sufism, "The Silence" (1998) tells of Khorshid, a young blind boy from Tajikistan who earns rent money for his family by tuning rare instruments but becomes enraptured by the sonorous music he hears on his way to work each day. "The Gardener" (2012) is an imaginative documentary that follows Makhmalbaf, and his son Maysam, to Israel to investigate the Bahá'í Faith, a religion with 7 million followers, which originated in Iran 170 years ago.From Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment ... "Straight to Hell" (1986), starring Joe Strummer, Courtney Love, Sy Richardson, Dick Rude, Jim Jarmusch, Shane MacGowan, Xander Berkeley, Elvis Costello, Grace Jones, Dennis Hopper, Kathy Burke and The Pogues, is from Alex Cox, the director of "Repo Man," "Highway Patrolman" and "Sid and Nancy." In this director's cut of the 1987 cult classic, four hapless bank robbers bury their loot and attempt to hide out in a deserted desert town, but very soon find out that the town is not really deserted. Norwood (Sy Richardson), Simms (Joe Strummer) and Willy (Dick Rude) are three black-suited killers-for-hire. After missing their intended target and trying to escape the wrath of their employer (Jim Jarmusch), they head for the desert and rob a bank en-route. As their car dies in a ravine, the trio bury their money and head for a lonely town to hide out till the heat blows over. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
BUZZIN' THE 'B'S:
"American Animals" (2018), starring Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Jared Abrahamson, Blake Jenner, Udo Kier and Ann Dowd, is the unbelievable but entirely true story of four young men who attempt one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history. Determined to escape their predictable suburban lives, Spencer and Warren decide to do something extraordinary: steal some of the world’s most valuable books from a college library. Enlisting two other friends, Spencer and Warren meticulously plot the theft -- but their caper takes on a wild life of its own. Listed on the F.B.I.’s all-time most significant art theft cases. On DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Lionsgate ... "Upgrade" (2018 -- Australia), starring Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel and Leigh Whannell, is a thrilling and hyper violent vision of the future. Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. After his wife is killed during a brutal mugging that also leaves him paralyzed, Grey Trace is approached by a billionaire inventor with an experimental cure that will "upgrade" his body. The cure -- an artificial intelligence implant called STEM -- gives Grey -- a self-identified technophobe -- physical abilities beyond anything experienced, and the ability to relentlessly claim vengeance against those who murdered his wife and left him for dead. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Universal ... "Mind Game" (2004 -- Japan) is anime auteur Masaaki Yuasa’s first feature film, a boundary-pushing tale that embodies the 1960s and 70s acid animation. The rarely seen film comes to the US for the first time with this release. Buckle in and prepare to surrender yourself to an exhilarating and wildly entertaining ride in this gloriously colorful and unconstrained cult classic. Loser Nishi, too wimpy to try to save his childhood sweetheart from gangsters, is shot in the butt by a soccer-playing psychopath, projecting Nishi into the afterlife. In this limbo, God -- shown as a series of rapidly changing characters – tells him to walk toward the light. But Nishi runs like hell in the other direction and returns to Earth a changed man, driven to live each moment to the fullest. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from GKIDS/Shout! Factory ... "Freedom Fighters: The Ray" (2018), a DC Animated feature film based on the popular CW Seed series, features the first openly gay character to headline a DC Super Hero Movie. All his life, Ray Terrill has fought injustice, dreaming of making a real difference like his older brother, a Marine who was killed in Afghanistan. One day, he stumbles upon a dying Super Hero from another Earth and is stunned to find that this Super Hero looks just like him — because it is. The dying Ray Terrill of Earth-X transfers photokinetic energy to this Earth’s Ray, making him a Super Hero – The Ray. However, Ray quickly learns being a Super Hero isn’t all hanging muggers from streetlamps and fighting giant robots. As the evil Nazi New Reichsman of Earth-X, led by Overgirl, close in, The Ray must learn to harness his powers by coming to terms with his true self, even if that means also finally coming out of the closet to his parents. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo,from Warner ... Blasts From the Past: In "Boss" (1975), Boss (Fred Williamson) has "decided to hunt white folks for a change," by becoming a bounty hunter to click the hammer on fugitive outlaws. He and his comic sidekick Amos (D'Urville Martin) ride into the town of San Miguel, find it has no sheriff, and takes the job himself, much to the displeasure of the racial epithet-hurling townsfolk who must pay $20 each time they use the "n-word." Those $20 fines add up faster than a Texas tornado, as does the posterior kicking of those who try to keep the duo from instituting "black man's law in white man's town." Blaxploitation from famed sci-fi and 'B' director Jack Arnold ("It Came From Outer Space," "Creature From the Black Lagoon," "The Incredible Shrinking Man"). In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Kit Parker Films/MVD Visual ... In "Blast" (1997), starring Rutger Hauer, Linden Ashby, Andrew Divoff, Tim Thomerson and Shannon Elizabeth, terrorists disrupt the Atlanta Olympics by kidnapping the U.S. women's swim team and wire each competition venue with deadly fission explosives. If their demands aren't met, the team will be executed. Unknown to them, a janitor (Ashby) -- a former Olympic gymnast champion of Tae Kwon Do whose life has been altered by injuries and alcoholism -- is also trapped within the sprawling compound. Totally unprepared for an assault of this magnitude, the president and the FBI enlists a brilliant Interpol counter-terrorism expert "Leo" (Hauer) -- who coordinates his efforts with the trapped janitor -- to contain the volatile situation. On Blu-ray from MVD Marquee Collection ... In "Bram Stoker's Shadowbuilder (Special Edition)" (1998), starring Michael Rooker, Leslie Hope, Tony Todd, Charlotte Sullivan and Kevin Zegers, a demon is summoned to take the soul of a young boy who has the potential to become a saint. If the demon succeeds, it will open a doorway to Hell, blazing a terrifying trail of destruction, possession and mayhem -- and destroying humanity. The fate of the world hinges on the final outcome of a renegade priest's battle with the soul eating Shadowbuilder. On Blu-ray from MVD Rewind ... In "Crazy Six" (1997), the Eastern Bloc has fallen and Communism is dead. In its place has come new opportunity -- but not without a deadly price. Powerful Mafia families have emerged from the anarchy to vie for control of the lucrative underground weapons and technology trade. Crazy Six (Rob Lowe) and Dirty Mao (Mario Van Peebles) are the leaders of two rivaling mob families who agree to form an uneasy alliance in order to overthrow Raul (Ice-T), the head of one of the largest crime cartels in Europe. But when the mission goes awry, the place turns into a deadly battleground with three world class gangsters fighting each other to the death. Also stars Burt Reynolds and Thom Matthews. On Blu-ray from MVD Marquee Collection ... In 1964, 20th Century Fox released an independent shocker, "The Horror of Party Beach" -- shot in two weeks for $50,000 outside Stamford, Connecticut by local producer-director Del Tenney -- advertised as “The First Horror-Monster Musical.” When nuclear waste dumped into the ocean mutates a shipwreck full of corpses, it unleashes an onslaught of bikini teens, surprising gore, dubious science, an intrepid maid, The Del-Aires, and arguably the greatest, worst monsters in horror movie history. Features a new 2K scan from the original negative. Stars John Scott, Alice Lyon abd Allan Laurel. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Severin Films ... In the Blu-ray debut of "Brainscan" (1994), starring Edward Furlong, Frank Langella and T. Ryder Smith, Michael, a lonely teenager (Furlong), orders the latest interactive video game, and the new high-tech wizardry penetrates his subconscious, where his darkest impulses lead him through a deadly maze of murder, deception and desire. Pursued by homicide detective (Langella) and prodded by "The Trickster" (Smith) who materializes into his room, Michael is torn between the worlds of good and evil, of reality and fantasy and, ultimately, life and death. From Shout! Factory.
FROM TV TO DISC:
"The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season" (2017-18) is a four-disc set with 23 episodes. In Season Four, the mission of Barry Allen, aka The Flash (Grant Gustin), is once more to protect Central City from metahuman threats. First, he’ll have to escape the Speed Force. With Barry trapped, the job of protecting Central City falls to his family – Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin); his fiancée, Iris West (Candice Patton); and Wally West/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) – and the team at S.T.A.R. Labs – Dr. Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco Ramon/Vibe (Carlos Valdes) and brilliant scientist Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). When a powerful villain threatens to level the city if The Flash doesn’t appear, Cisco risks everything to break Barry out of the Speed Force. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner ... "Lucifer: The Complete Third Season" (2017-18) is a five-disc set with all 26 episodes. Entering its third season, the story of the original fallen angel continues. As Season Two came to a close, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) took care of a little problem called Mom, aka Charlotte (Tricia Helfer). But now he’s facing an even greater challenge -- finding out who kidnapped him, and why his angel wings are back. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner ... "NCIS: Los Angeles - Season 9" (2017-18) is a six-disc set with all 24 episodes of LA's most elite squad that navigates humanity's deadliest threats. "NCIS: Los Angeles" is the high-stakes world of a division of NCIS that is charged with apprehending dangerous and elusive criminals who pose a threat to the nation's security. By assuming false identities and using the most advanced technology, this team of highly trained agents go deep undercover putting their lives on the line in the field to bring down their targets. Special Agent "G" Callen (Chris O'Donnell) is a chameleon who transforms himself into whomever he needs to be to infiltrate the criminal underworld. His partner is Special Agent Sam Hanna (LL Cool J), a former U.S. Navy SEAL who has seen action in both Afghanistan and Iraq. From CBS/Paramount ... In "Paterno" (2018), starring Al Pacino and Riley Keough, Joe Paterno, after becoming the winningest coach in college football history, is embroiled in the famous Jerry Sandusky sexual-abuse scandal, forcing his ouster at the same time he learned he had cancer. The story focuses not only on Paterno and his family, but on Sara Gamin, the 23-year-old reporter and Penn State grad who broke the story in The Patriot-News, a local newspaper. Paterno’s legacy is challenged over the course of one explosive week, as he is forced to face questions of institutional failure in regard to Sandusky’s young victims. From HBO ... "S.W.A.T.: Season 1" (2017-18) is a five-disc set with all 22 episodes of the dramatic action series that takes a realistic and sensitive look at the brave men and women who form the elite unit of Metro Special Weapons and Tactics of the L.A.P.D. From Sony.