By Harley Lond - 08/13/19 at 11:16 PM CT
FROM THE BIG SCREEN:
"Avengers: Endgame": This is the one Marvel fans have been waiting for -- the end to the 22-film Marvel Cinematic Universe skein that sets the stage for the next phase of Marvel films. There's more destruction, more violence and more death than ever before as the Avengers try to put the universe back together again after the devastating events of "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018) -- and, going forward, as we lose some Marvel heroes but gain some new ones. The universe is in ruins due to the efforts of the Mad Titan, Thanos and, with the help of remaining allies, the Avengers must assemble once more in order to undo Thanos's actions and undo the chaos to the universe, no matter what consequences may be in store, and no matter who they face. Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Dave Bautista, Tilda Swinton, Jon Favreau, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Redford, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson. From Disney.
"Unplanned" is based on the true story of Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson who was converted to become an anti-abortion activist after witnessing an abortion for the first time and then reflecting on her own two abortions. The film is a work of political and religious propaganda by the filmmakers who created the "God's Not Dead" and "Do You Believe?" films, and uses the drama and actors merely as mouthpieces for their proselytizing. Stars Ashley Bratcher, Brooks Ryan and Robia Scott. From Pure Flix Entertainment.
THIS WEEK'S BEST BETS:
Kicking off this week are three classic French crime films from Kino Lorber Studio Classics: "Port of Shadows (aka Le Quai Des Brumes)" (1938) is director Marcel Carné's ("Children of Paradise") controversial adaptation of the Pierre Mac Orlan novel of the same name. Down a foggy, desolate road to the port city of Le Havre travels Jean (Jean Gabin), an army deserter looking for another chance at life. Fate, however, has a different plan for him, when acts of both revenge and kindness turn him into front-page news. "Port of Shadows" starkly portrays an underworld of lonely souls wrestling with their own destinies, a quintessential example of poetic realism, one of the classics of the golden age of French cinema. Stars Jean Gabin, Michel Simon, Michèle Morgan, Pierre Brasseur, Robert Le Vigan and Édouard Delmont. On DVD, Blu-ray ... Jacques Becker's "Touchez Pas Au Grisbi" (1954) occupies a significant part in French cinema history; it exerted a huge influence on subsequent directors such as Jean-Pierre Melville ("Le Doulos"), Henri Verneuil ("The Sicilian Clan") and Claude Sautet ("Classe Tous Risques"). Max (Jean Gabin) is an aging gangster who manages to pull off his final heist, a spectacular gold bullion robbery at Orly airport. All is well until Max's former girlfriend Josy (Jeanne Moreau) tips off a rival gangster, Angelo (Lino Ventura). Angelo kidnaps Max's partner and best friend and threatens to kill him unless Max hands over the loot from his robbery. "Touchez Pas Au Grisbi" was the birth the French policier, a European transposition of the fantastic American gangster films and film noirs of the 1940s. On DVD, Blu-ray ... and "Razzia Sur La Chnouf" (1955). Based on a novel by the legendary writer Auguste Le Breton ("Rififi," "Bob Le Flambeur") with direction by Henri Decoin. After a spell in the U.S.A., master criminal Henri Ferré dit 'Le Nantais' (Jean Gabin) returns to Paris and is recruited by Paul Liski (Marcel Dalio), head of a major narcotics ring, to oversee and improve the efficiency of their distribution. Merchandise has been disappearing and unreliable dealers must be eliminated. For the latter, Henri is assigned two hitmen, Roger le Catalan (Lino Ventura) and Bibi (Albert Rémy). Released as "Razzia" in the U.S., the film thrillingly explores the criminal underworld of 1950s Paris. On DVD, Blu-ray.
BUZZIN' THE 'B'S:
"Django the Bastard" (1969 -- Italy), starring Anthony Steffen, Rada Rassimov, Paolo Gozlino and Luciano Rossi, is an intriguing spaghetti western with gothic horror genre elements. The mysterious stranger named Django -- a ghost-like figure -- walks into a dusty western town with vengeance on his mind. As he finds the men he's looking for, he places a cross with the person's name and death date in the middle of the street before enacting violent revenge. Is Django truly an unstoppable human army-of-one, or an avenging immortal angel of death? On DVD, Blu-ray from Synapse Films ... "The Reflecting Skin" (1990) is a darkly humorous, nightmarish vision of the American dream. As mysterious deaths plague a small prairie town in 1950s Idaho, 8-year-old Seth (Jeremy Cooper) comes to believe that Dolphin Blue (Lindsay Duncan), the reclusive English widow living next door, is a vampire, stealing the souls of his neighborhood friends one by one. Seth's worst nightmares come true when his older brother Cameron (Viggo Mortensen in one of his first starring roles) returns home from military service and falls in love with the widow. Could he be her next victim? On DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Movement Classics ... The "Vault" (2019), starring Theo Rossi, Clive Standen, Samira Wiley, William Forsythe, Don Johnson, Vincent Pastore and Chazz Palminteri, is a stylish thriller reveals the true story of one of the largest robberies in U.S. history. While doing time for a botched heist, two small-time crooks cook up an ill-fated scheme to rip off a nearby vault for $30 million - money that belongs to the local mafia. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate ... In "The Mummy Rebirth" (2019), starring Carter, David E. Cazares, Brittany Goodwin and Deanna Grace Congo, two treasure hunters uncover a sealed tomb and awaken a mummy that has waited years to come back and wipe humanity from the face of the Earth. It's a race against time as they try to stop the Mummy from wreaking havoc on the modern world. From Uncork'd Entertainment ... In 1992, Cameron Todd Willingham (O’ Connell), a poor, uneducated heavy metal devotee with a violent streak, was convicted of arson-related triple homicide and put on death row. "Trial By Fire" (2018), starring Jack O’ Connell, Laura Dern, Emily Meade and Jeff Perry, is the true-life Texas story of the unlikely bond that formed between Willingham and Elizabeth Gilbert (Dern), a Houston mother of two, who battled against the state for 12 years to try and save Willingham by exposing suppressed evidence and illogical conclusions. From Lionsgate ... In "All is True" (2019) directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh and co-starring Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Lolita Chakrabarti and Jack Colgrave Hirst, the year is 1613, and Shakespeare is acknowledged as the greatest writer of the age. But disaster strikes when his renowned Globe Theatre burns to the ground. Devastated, Shakespeare returns home to Stratford, where he must face a troubled past and a neglected family. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Sony ... After a devastating family tragedy, a priest travels to China to find deeper spirituality, but instead is endowed with an ancient ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur in "The Velocipastor" (2018), starring Alyssa Kempinski, Greg Cohan and Claire Hsu. At first, he is horrified by his newfound superpower, but a local prostitute convinces him to use his newfound gift to fight evil - and ninjas. On DVD from Wild Eye Releasing ... In "Shadow" (2018 -- China), starring Chao Deng, Li Sun and Ryan Zheng, a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king has a military commander who has a secret weapon: a “shadow,” a look-alike who can fool both his enemies and the King himself. Now he must use this weapon in an intricate plan that will lead his people to victory in a war that the King does not want. Director Zhang Yimou ("Hero," "House of Flying Daggers") once again pushes the boundaries of wuxia action to create a film like no other, masterfully painting a canvas of inky blacks and greys punctuated with bursts of color from the blood of the defeated. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA ... In "Vice Squad" (1982), starring Season Hubley, Gary Swanson and Wings Hauser, Princess (Hubley) is a single mom by day, a Hollywood prostitute by night. A volatile cop, Tom Walsh uses her to trap a sadistic pimp named Ramrod, who murdered one of her friends. But when Ramrod escapes police custody, Princess is in grave danger. No matter which way she turns, Ramrod is coming for her. New 4K scan of the negative. In a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray debut from Shout! Factory.
Bursting with the colorful street style and music of Nairobi's vibrant youth culture, "Rafiki" (2018 -- Kenya), starring Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva, is a tender love story between two young women in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality. Kena and Ziki have long been told that "good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives" -- but they yearn for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls encourage each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki must choose between happiness and safety. Initially banned in Kenya for its positive portrayal of queer romance, the film won a landmark Supreme Court case chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation. From Film Movement ... Idling afternoons and psychedelic moods immersed in music provide an adrenaline rush for drifting youth in Lisbon in the docu-fiction hybrid "Damned Summer" (2018 -- Portugal) from first-time Portuguese director Pedro Cabeleira. Chico's summer starts at home, with his grandparents, under the cover of the lemon trees; an outlet, the place of his childhood memories. But now, he belongs to Lisbon, where he just finished college and hopes to find a career. Part of a new generation, Chico has few prospects or expectations, and reaching adulthood seems to be perpetually delayed. Intoxicated nights of affections and heartbreak propel him into psychedelic hedonism, where burning anguish and aimlessness fuel his euphoria in this homage to the mysteries of youth. From IndiePix Films ... In "Is That You? (¿Eres tú, Papá?)" (2019 -- Cuba), starring Gabriela Ramos, Eslinda Nuñez, Lynn Cruz and Osvaldo Doimeadiós, living in a modest shack in the Cuban countryside, 13-year-old Lili and her mother appear trapped in a meagre, suffocating existence by her domineering father, Eduardo. His sudden absence should represent a new freedom for the girl and her mother, but Lili is distraught. In desperation, Lili carries out a ritual taught to her by a spiritualist to help bring him back, leading Lili to uncover a disturbing truth about her father’s disappearance. From Breaking Glass Pictures ... In "The Other Side of Everything" (2018 -- Serbia), a locked door inside a Belgrade home has kept one family separated from their past for generations. An intimate conversation between the director (Mila Turajlic) and her mother, the dynamic activist and scholar Srbijanka Turajlic, reveals a house and a country haunted by history. What begins as the chronicle of a childhood home grows into an elegant portrait of a charismatic and brilliant woman in times of great political turmoil. From Icarus Films ... In "The Whirlpool" (2012 -- France), starring Agathe Feoux and Pierre Perrier, two twentysomething strangers, Agathe and Victor, meet on holiday at Niagara Falls. Both lost souls -- Agathe, adopted and bogged down in a complex relationship with her therapist, Victor coping with a family drama -- impulsively decide to share a motel room, romance evolves into a road trip across New York State to the airport in Boston. Uninhibited sexual chemistry, organic moments of humor, and improvised, unrehearsed acting converge in this vibrant, non-linear narrative throwback to vibrantly experimental period of late sixties cinema. From IndiePix Films.
FOR THE FAMILY:
"Wild Kratts: Creepy Creatures”" (2018): Halloween is right around the corner and the Kratt Brothers, Martin and Chris, decide that the best thing to do on Halloween is to discover new “creepy cool” creatures. While they search for these new creatures, they find out that Zach and the other villains have a plan to ruin Halloween. Will the Kratt Brothers save Halloween? Also includes the adventure "Masked Bandits," where the Wild Kratts notice strange things happening in the Tortuga HQ. Jimmy is convinced it’s a ghost. From PBS Distribution.
"The Inland Sea" (1991): In 1971, author and film scholar Donald Richie published a poetic travelogue about his explorations of the islands of Japan's Inland Sea, recording his search for traces of a traditional way of life as well as his own journey of self-discovery. Twenty years later, filmmaker Lucille Carra undertook a parallel trip inspired by Richie's by-then-classic book, capturing images of hushed beauty and meeting people who still carried on the fading customs that Richie had observed. Interspersed with surprising detours -- a visit to a Frank Sinatra-loving monk, a leper colony, an ersatz temple of plywood and plaster -- and woven together by Richie's narration as well as a score by celebrated composer Toru Takemitsu, "The Inland Sea" is an eye-opening voyage and a profound meditation on what it means to be a foreigner. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with new, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Hiro Narita, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection ... "Peter, Paul and Mary At Newport 1963-65" features 18 previously unreleased performances by the legendary folk trio of Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers. This collection of remarkable archival performances at the iconic folk festival at Newport, Rhode Island, from 1963 to 1965 reveals the electrifying and optimistic spirit of an era, at the peak of America’s Folk Revival. Some of these timeless songs have never been seen on television, and some, like “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “If I Had A Hammer,” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” became part of the “soundtrack” of an era of extraordinary social and political transformation. These historic recordings epitomize Peter, Paul and Mary’s music in the ’60s era of optimism, turmoil and vast change in America. Due August 13 from Shout! Factory.
Check out other new DVD/Blu-ray releases, streaming films, and information and reviews at OnVideo.