By Harley Lond - 07/18/21 at 08:14 PM CT
FROM THE BIG SCREEN:
"Spiral (From the Book of Saw)" Working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city's gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer's morbid game. Vitals: Director: Darren Lynn Bousman. Stars: Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Samuel L. Jackson, Marisol Nichols, Dan Petronijevic, Richard Zeppieri, Patrick McManus, Ali Johnson, Zoie Palmer. 2019, CC, MPAA rating: R, 93 min., Horror, US box office gross: $22.746 million, worldwide $36.536 million, Lionsgate. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo, VOD, Digital. Extras: Audio Commentary with director Darren Lynn Bousman, co-screenwriter Josh Stolberg, and composer Charlie Clouser; audio commentary with producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg; "The Consequences of Your Actions: Creating Spiral"; "Drawing Inspiration: Illustrated Trap Breakdowns"; "Decoding the Marketing Spiral"; theatrical teaser; trailer; theatrical trailer. Read more here.
THIS WEEK'S BEST BETS:
The bright sun of the French Riviera is deceptive in "La piscine" (1969 -- France), a languorously alluring exercise in slow-burn suspense from thriller specialist Jacques Deray and legendary screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière. Ten years after their breakup, one of European cinema’s most iconic real-life couples, Alain Delon and Romy Schneider, reunited for this film, bringing a palpable erotic chemistry to their performances as the bronzed and beautiful vacationers whose blissed-out summer holiday on the Côte d’Azur is interrupted by the arrival of an old acquaintance (Maurice Ronet) and his eighteen-year-old daughter (Jane Birkin) —- unleashing a gathering tidal wave of sexual tension, jealousy, and sudden violence. A paragon of 1960s modernist cool thanks to effortlessly chic clothes and a loungy Michel Legrand score, "La piscine" dives deep to reveal sinister undercurrents roiling beneath its seductive surfaces. On DVD, in a Blu-ray debut, with new, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection ... "Flight to Mars" (1951) blasted into theaters at the dawn of the 1950s science-fiction boom from legendary producer Walter Mirisch ("Some Like It Hot," "The Magnificent Seven," "West Side Story," "The Great Escape", "The Pink Panther"). Filmed in gorgeous Cinecolor with special effects ahead of its time, the film arrives as a special edition DVD and Blu-ray. Starring Marguerite Chapman and Cameron Mitchell, the film follows five Earthlings who land a successful space expedition on Mars, where they encounter seemingly welcoming Martians. To their surprise, the Martians fear they have depleted the key mineral used to power their life support systems and are determined to get off the red planet by any means necessary, including stealing the Earthlings’ ship and invading Earth. Restored via a 4K transfer sourced from the original 35mm Cinecolor separation negatives. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cinedigm/The Film Detective ... Kino Lorber has three classic films due for release this week: "Thunderbolt" (1929), from Josef von Sternberg, the legendary director of "The Blue Angel," "Morocco" and "Blonde Venus," comes this Pre-Code proto-noir that mixes electrifying thrills with torrid romance. Condemned gangster Thunderbolt Jim Lang (George Bancroft) plots revenge on the young man (Richard Arlen) who stole his girlfriend (Fay Wray) and landed next to him on death row. Featuring script work by Charles Furthman ("Underworld") and Jules Furthman ("The Big Sleep") with Hollywood greats Herman J. Mankiewicz ("Citizen Kane") and Joseph L. Mankiewicz ("All About Eve"), "Thunderbolt" is an emotional drama renowned for its pioneering use of early sound technology, expressionistic visuals and bold blending of genres. On DVD, Blu-ray ... "Whirlpool of Fate" (1925) is Jean Renoir’s debut feature, a lyrical tale of the tragic life of an orphan girl. An independent feature shot on family friend Paul Cézanne’s property, La Nicotiere, it is a dreamy episodic melodrama that follows the poor girl as she endures the loss of her father, the abuse of her alcoholic uncle, and a perilous fall down a well that erases her memory and triggers surreal dreams. Presented in a beautiful new 4K restoration," on Blu-ray ... "Nana" (1926) is Renoir’s second feature, and one of his most ambitious productions, presented here in a new 4K restoration. It is an elaborately mounted adaptation of Émile Zola’s novel that tracks the doomed romances of its title character -- an actress who would go on to be the most notorious courtesan of her era. When her father dies, a young girl is sent to live with her uncle. Mistreated, she runs away to lead a vagabond’s life in the forest. When she is found, she becomes Nana, a fashionable actress of loose morals, becoming first the mistress of a count, and then of the Emperor’s chamberlain. On Blu-ray.
BUZZIN' THE 'B'S:
In "Gully" (2021), starring Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jacob Latimore and Charlie Plummer, three teens living in LA, all victims of extreme childhoods, wreak a hedonistic riot across the city over the course of 48 hours, unbound by societal norms. They take us on a rip-roaring ride of drugs and murder across the city. From Paramount ... In "Hydra" (2019 -- Japan), starring Masanori Mimoto, Miu and Tasuku Nagase, after retiring as an assassin, Takashi leads a quiet life as a chef at a sushi bar, where he secretly watches over the daughter of a former associate. His peace is short-lived: soon, he is recruited for a final job that he simply can’t refuse. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Well Go USA. Read more here ... In "Jakob's Wife" (2021), starring Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden and Bonnie Aarons, Anne, married to a small-town minister, feels like her life and marriage have been shrinking over the past 30 years. After a chance encounter with “The Master,” she discovers a new sense of power and an appetite to live bigger and bolder than before. As Anne is increasingly torn between her enticing new existence and her life before, the body count grows and Jakob realizes he will have to fight for the wife he took for granted. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films ... In "Born for Hell" (1976), Montreal filmmaker Denis Héroux -- future director of "The Uncanny" and Oscar-nominated producer of "Atlantic City" -- adapted the true story of Chicago mass murderer Richard Speck to war-torn Belfast, where a disturbed Vietnam vet drifter (Mathieu Carrière of "Malpertuis" and "Bilitis" fame) brutalizes a dorm full of student nurses. Re-edited by its video distributor and released as "Naked Massacre," Héroux's harrowing director's cut has remained unseen in America until now. Debra Berger ("The Inglorious Bastards"), Leonora Fani ("Giallo in Venice"), Christine Boisson ("Emmanuelle"), Ely Galleani ("Baba Yaga") and Carole Laure ("Sweet Movie") co-star in this uncompromising and unfathomably grim work of art, scanned in 2K from an uncut 35mm print discovered in The National Archives of Canada. U.S. Blu-ray premiere of the director's cut. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Severin Films. Read more here ... In "Initiation" (2021), starring Jon Huertas, Lochlyn Munro, Isabella Gomez, Froy Gutierrez, Bart Johnson, Yancy Butler and Gattlin Griffith, during a university’s pledge week, the carefree partying turns deadly serious when a star athlete is found impaled in his dorm. The murder ignites a spree of sinister social-media messages, sweeping the students and police into a race against time to uncover the truth behind the school’s dark secrets … and the horrifying meaning of a recurring symbol: a single exclamation mark. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate. Read more here ... From co-directors Paul Donovan and Maura O'Connell ("DEFCON-4") comes "Siege" (1983), one of the most disturbing -- and rarely-seen -- Canadian shockers of the 80s, inspired by the actual 42-day Halifax police strike: When a local group of right-wing vigilantes massacres the patrons of a gay bar, the sole survivor seeks refuge in a nearby apartment building whose residents must now defend themselves in a night of hate, terror and bloodshed. Doug Lennox, Tom Nardini, Jack Blum and Keith Knight star in this dark and intense thriller, still uncomfortably relevant 35 years after it was made -- released in the U.S. as "Self Defense" -- scanned in 2K from the original negative recently discovered in a Nova Scotia archive. The worldwide Blu-ray premiere of both the theatrical & extended versions of the 80s Canuxploitation shocker. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Severin Films. Read more here ... Forty years ago, Room 9 of the Johnson/Bedford Inn, located in a remote small town, was the site of a gruesome double murder. In "Room 9" (2021), starring Michael Berryman, Scout Taylor-Compton and Kane Hodder, with the town terrorized once again by a string of bloody ritual killings, a mysterious woman named Star arrives to investigate and suffers bizarre flashbacks related to the inn’s slayings. From Lionsgate. Read more here ... For his 2004 debut as writer-producer-director, Gabe Bartalos created "Skinned Deep" (2004), a demented gift from the B-Movie Gods about a rural clan of psychotic freaks, the killing spree that takes us places and shows us things we've never seen before and the final girl that may be their depraved undoing. Warwick Davis and Jason Dugre star -- with an appearance by fandom legend Forrest J. Ackerman -- in this brutal, bloody forgotten masterpiece, now scanned uncut in 2K from the original negative for the first time ever. Worldwide premiere of the unrated version. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Severin Films. Read more here ... In "The Wraith" (1986), starring Charlie Sheen, Nick Cassavetes, Sherilyn Fenn and Randy Quaid, when four glowing orbs crash into each other over the Arizona desert, they leave in their wake a badass Dodge Turbo Interceptor — and its enigmatic, helmeted driver. The next day, the mysterious Jake (Sheen) appears in the town of Brooks, catching the eye of Keri (Fenn) and the ire of Packard (Cassavetes), the ruthless leader of a gang of street racers. When gang members start losing races — and lives — to the Interceptor, the recent death of Keri’s boyfriend suddenly seems connected to the arrival of Jake, the unbeatable car ... and an avenging entity called The Wraith. On Blu-ray from Vestron Video Collector’s Series/Lionsgate ... In "Royal Deceit" (1994), starring Christian Bale, Gabriel Byrne, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Kate Beckinsale, Andy Serkis and Tom Wilkinson, a young prince (Bale), after discovering that his father has been murdered, vows to avenge the death and regain the crown. Plotting his revenge, he cleverly bides his time waiting and watching -- and hoping -- for the precise moment to execute the deadly plan. Written and directed by Gabriel Axel, director of the Academy Award Winning “Babette’s Feast.” On DVD, Blu-ray from Bleiberg Entertainment ... In the horror- thriller "32 Malasana Street" (2020 -- Spain), starring Begoña Vargas, Iván Marcos, Bea Segura, the Olmedo family decides to leave their village behind for a fresh start in the city and buy an old apartment at 32 Malasana Street for a suspiciously reasonable price. But soon after they’ve unpacked their bags, they discover something about their new home: they aren't alone. From RLJE Films ... "Close Range and Savage Dog" is a Scott Adkins Double Feature: "Close Range" (2015): After rescuing his kidnapped niece from a powerful drug cartel, Colton MacReady (Scott Adkins) begins a relentless fight to save his family. The cartel has descended upon his secluded ranch with a thirst for revenge. In tow are a corrupt local sheriff and his crew of deputies, ensuring that help won't be coming any time soon. "Savage Dog" (2017): In Vietnam in 1959, in the worst prison in the land, a European, former-champion boxer Martin Tilman (Scott Adkins) has made a name for himself fighting tournaments, on which wealthy criminals gamble in high stakes events. When Tilman is due for release, he just wants to return home, but the corrupt forces running the jail will do everything in their power to keep him locked down. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Bleiberg Entertainment.
ON THE INDIE FRONT:
In "Rock Paper Scissors" (2021), starring Vahe Sevani, Bjorn Yearwood, Jenna Aitken, Joey De Marco and Jeremy Dozier, best friends Kelvin and Cheddar, invariably avoiding the constant threat of wedgies, will do anything to stop being losers and start being the cool kids in school. Permanently placed in the friend zone by ladies, bullied on a daily basis by the jocks and dying to be noticed by anyone, they have one final chance: to win the ultra-cutthroat International Tournament of Rock Paper Scissors. From Indican Pictures ... "An American in Paris" (2018), starring David Seadon-Young, Haydn Oakley, Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild, is the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, inspired by the Oscar-winning film, that tells the impassioned story of love in the "City of Light." Jerry Mulligan is an American GI struggling as a painter in a city suddenly bursting with hope and possibility. Following a chance encounter with a beautiful dancer named Lise, the streets of Paris become the backdrop to a romance of art, friendship, and love. Features the original London company. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Liberator Films.
In "Fire (aka No Escapes; Ogon [original title])" (2020 -- Russia), Alexey Sokolov, who commands a team of Aerial Forest Protection Service firefighters, is a tough, decisive man who will fight ruthlessly for every last tree in the forest. His daughter Katya is dating Roman, a rookie firefighter from Moscow, whom Alexey takes along with his battle-tested team to the scene of a forest fire deep in the Russian interior. As the inferno engulfs everything in its path, Alexey will have to learn to rely on Roman, as the firefighters all band together to save a village and its residents from total destruction. Stars Konstantin Khabenskiy, Andrey Smolyakov, Irina Gorbacheva and Victor Dobronravov. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Shout! Factory.
"The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films" (2014) is a documentary about two Israeli-born cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who in pursuit of the American Dream, turned the Hollywood power structure upside down, producing over 300 films and becoming the most powerful independent film company in the world. Directed by Sundance Grand Jury Price nominee Hilla Medalia, this is an up close and personal documentary that examines the complex relationship between two contradictory personalities whose combined force fueled their success and eventual collapse. Featuring interviews with Jean Claude Van Damme, Michael Dudikoff, Eli Roth, Boaz Davidson along with Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus themselves, as well as archive footage of Sylvester Stallone, Charles Bronson and Chuck Norris in the definitive documentary about Cannon Films. On DVD, Blu-ray, from MVD Rewind ... In "Women Composers" (2021), when Leipzig pianist Kyra Steckeweh realized that her repertoire almost exclusively consisted of music composed by men, she began searching for pieces written by female composers. Her research in archives, libraries, and publishing houses quickly brought to light a variety of remarkable piano pieces that have been buried in history (19th and early 20th centuries) and rarely performed. Steckeweh sees a lot of catching up to do, which is why the focus of her piano recitals and recordings has since shifted to the music of women composers, particularly Mel Bonis, Lili Boulanger and Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel. In addition to the in depth examination of the music, Steckeweh, as a pianist and historian, seeks to look behind the notes: How did these women live? What barriers did they have to overcome and how did they manage to cope with the obstacles of their time? From Film Movement.
FROM TV TO DISC:
"Code 3: LA Sheriff's Case Files" (1957) is a three-disc set with 39 episodes. In 1957, Hal Roach Studios and producer Ben Fox brought the fast paced police drama "Code 3" to television. It starred Richard Travis as Sheriff George Barrett of the Los Angeles County Police Department with Denver Pyle as Sgt. Murchison and Fredd Wayne as Sgt. Bill Hollis. Like its sister series "Dragnet," "Code 3" featured true crime cases -- this time from the files of the search & rescue branch of the Los Angeles Police Department -- always “changing the names to protect the innocent.” At the end of most of the broadcasts, the real-life Sheriff of Los Angeles County, Eugene W. Biscailuz, made an appearance to recap that night’s adventure. From MPI Media Group ... "Gangs of London: Season 1 " (2020) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes. The series tells the story of London being torn apart by the turbulent power struggles of its international gangs and the sudden power vacuum that's created when the head of London's most powerful crime family is assassinated. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films ... "Shameless: The Eleventh and Final Season" (2020-21) is a three-disc set with all 12 episodes. The final season finds the Gallaghers at a crossroads…and they aren’t leaving without a fight. As Frank confronts his own mortality, Lip struggles with the prospect of becoming the family patriarch. Newlyweds Ian and Mickey figure out their committed relationship, while Deb embraces her individuality and single motherhood. Lastly, Carl finds an unlikely new career in law enforcement, while Kevin and Veronica struggle to keep the Alibi profitable during a pandemic. From Warner ... "The Spanish Princess Part 2" (2020) is a two-disc set with all eight episodes. Drawn from the best-selling novels “The King’s Curse” and “The Constant Princess” written by Philippa Gregory. The story of Queen Catherine and King Henry VIII continues in this conclusion to the dramatic miniseries. Beloved by their people and presiding over the most glamorous court in Europe, Catherine and Henry see their relationship tested as Catherine prepares to give birth to an heir, and England wars with France. From Lionsgate ... "Star Trek: Discovery - Season Three" (2020-21) is a four-disc set with all 13 episodes. After following Commander Burnham into a wormhole in the second season finale, season three finds the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery landing in an unknown future far from the home they once knew. Now living in a time filled with uncertainty, the U.S.S. Discovery crew, along with the help of some new friends, must work together to restore hope to the Federation. On DVD, Blu-ray, Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook, from CBS/Paramount ... "The Walking Dead” Season Ten" (2019-2021) is a six-disc set with all 22 episodes. Winter has turned to spring, and the collected communities are grudgingly respecting the new borders imposed upon them by the ever-brutal Alpha. But having organized themselves into a militia-style fighting force, the survivors are keenly aware that the Whisperers, and the horde of dead they mingle with, pose a threat unlike any they’ve ever faced. Paranoia, propaganda, secret agendas, infighting – all of these will test the group, individually and collectively, with the survival of civilization in a world filled with the walking dead hanging in the balance. Featuring the six additional episodes of the extended 10th season, including Negan’s long-awaited backstory, “Here’s Negan.” On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate.
Check out other new DVD/Blu-ray releases, streaming films, and information and reviews at OnVideo.