Recent Blu-ray Releases
The Angry Birds Movie (2016) (**) is the long awaited adaptation of the popular game of the same name. Fans of the game may warm up to it more so than regular folks like me who found it to be typical of too many animated films that come and go these days. Extras on the Sony release include deleted scenes and dance along videos.
Maggie’s Plan (2016) (** ½) is writer-director Rebecca Miller’s latest romantic comedy and offers winning performances from its cast, which includes Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore. In the film, Gerwig falls in love with a married professor (Hawke) but, after having second thoughts, concocts a plan to get him back to his first wife (Moore). Extras on the Sony release include commentary, making of doc and outtakes.
Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words (2015) (***) utilizes home movies, diaries, letters, etc. in order to paint a more accurate portrait of the iconic actress, with actress Alicia Vikander serving as the voice of Bergman. The film does gloss over some of Bergman’s bigger professional moments but is still revelatory. Extras include 8mm home movies, deleted scenes, and outtakes from Bergman’s film On the Sunny Side.
The Immortal Story (1968) (** ½) is director Orson Welles’ final completed project, an adaptation of a short story by Isak Dinesen. While technically striking, the film is a bit dramatically inert but still worth a look. Extras include audio commentary, documentaries and interviews with surviving members of the cast.
American Dreamer (1984) (**) features actress JoBeth Williams (Poltergeist) as a bored housewife whose life is turned upside down when she receives a bump on the head and believes she’s her favorite author. There are some good moments here and there but its amusing at best. No extras on this release.
Whoever Slew Auntie Roo (1972) (** ½) stars Shelley Winters in this interesting variation on the famed tale of Hansel and Gretel, directed by horror auteur Curtis Harrington. Extras include trailers and audio commentary.
Eleni (1985) (***) is the true story of a New York Times reporter’s quest to find out about the details of his mother’s death, which took place during the civil war in Greece in the late 1940s. Kate Nelligan and John Malkovich are well cast. No extras on this release.
A Hologram For the King (2016) (***) offers up Tom Hanks as a divorced businessman, thrust into a comedy of errors, after being sent overseas to pitch American business technologies to a king. Extras include documentaries on the making of the film.
Tom Hanks & Sarita Choudhoury in 'Hologram'
Narcos: Season 1 (2015) (*** overall) This Golden Globe nominated series, initially on Netflix, follows the travails of drug cartels attempting to apprehend the infamous Pablo Escobar. Extras include featurettes and documentaries.
Twilight Time, whose releases are limited to a pressing of 3000 units for each of their titles, has issued a new batch of classics. Their product can be ordered via www.twilighttimemovies.com and www.screenarchives.com. This month’s offerings include the following titles:
A double feature of the Frank Sinatra vehicles, Tony Rome/Lady in Cement (1967/68) (*** both films) has been issued on a single disc. The title character is on the hunt for a missing diamond pin in the first film and in the second outing he’s hired to unravel the title mystery of a woman encased in cement. Extras include commentary, trailers and isolated score track.
Theater of Blood (***) features Vincent Price in one of his best performances as a Shakespearean actor who murders his critics by recreating famous death scenes from the celebrated plays. Extras include isolated score track, trailer and commentary.
Hardcore (1979) (***) was written/directed by Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) and features an arresting performance by George C. Scott as a doting, puritanical father who descends into the hellish world of adult filmmaking in order to find his runaway daughter. Extras include isolated score track, commentaries and trailer.
La Moglie Piu Bella (1970) (** ½) is the supposedly true-life tale of a 14 year-old girl (Ornella Muti) who took on the mob, much to the chagrin of her community. Extras include intro by director Damiano Damiani, trailer and isolated score track.
Vincent Price, right, in Theater of Blood
Glory Guys (1965) (***) features actor-turned author Tom Tryon in one of his rare leading roles. Scripted by the legendary Sam Peckinpah, the film is a dramatization of the tale of George S. Custer and his defeat at Little Big Horn. Extras include audio commentary, featurettes, still gallery, isolated score and trailer.
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) (***) is considered to be one of the crowning achievements of filmmaker Sam Peckinpah, although some disagree. Warren Oates takes the lead as a piano player offered more money than he can shake a stick at if he can retrieve the head of a notorious wanted man. Extras include score track, commentaries, tv spots, featurettes and original trailer.
Blunt Talk (2015) (*** overall) is a live action series from producer Seth MacFarlane concerning British talk show host, Walter Blunt (Patrick Stewart), and his plans to conquer the American market by espousing his views on life. Extras include featurettes.
Coming soon: Money Monster, Love and Friendship, South Park Season 19, The Meddler, Grandview USA, Blood Simple, Captain America: Civil War, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Valley of the Dolls, Cat People, Beware the Blob, Conjuring 2, Central Intelligence and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother.
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