Glenn Close‘s Academy Award-nominated performance in The Wife is the most notable DVD/Blu-ray of the week, and it is joined by several acclaimed films getting Criterion Collection and Warner Archive Collection releases, as well as other theatrical hits and critical darlings. There’s a lot of home video respectability as we bid adieu to the first month of 2019, so let’s jump right in and give a standing ovation to all of the great titles that are now available. Really though, they are all winners!
For nearly half a century, Joan Castleman (Glenn Close) subsumed both personal literary aspirations and pride to give willing support to her overbearing and philandering novelist husband Joe (Jonathan Pryce). However, when he received the career capstone of the Nobel Prize for Literature, their journey to Stockholm might set the stage for her to publicly pop his pretensions. Telling take on the Meg Wolitzer novel co-stars Max Irons, Christian Slater, Elizabeth McGovern, Annie Starke, Harry Lloyd.
In the Heat of the Night (Criterion Collection)
Philadelphia homicide cop Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) was waiting for the train out of Sparta, Mississippi, when the local constabulary rousted him on a murder charge. After learning of Tibbs’ bona fides–and reputation–racist police chief Bill Gillespie (Best Actor Oscar-winner Rod Steiger) grudgingly asked his ex-suspect’s help in flushing out the real perpetrator. Five total Oscars, including Best Picture, went to Norman Jewison’s compelling adaptation of John Ball’s novel; Warren Oates, Lee Grant co-star.
All That Jazz (Criterion Collection)
Bob Fosse co-wrote and directed this glittery, surrealistic musical based on his own life. Roy Scheider is Joe Gideon, a demanding musical director trying to balance his work on a Broadway production with his hectic personal life and a consuming drug habit. Dazzling dance numbers include appearances by Ben Vereen, Jessica Lange, and Ann Reinking. Songs include “On Broadway,” “After You’ve Gone,” and the title tune.
Cruel circumstance provided college freshman Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges) with a traumatic and humiliating outing to his conservative Baptist parents (Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe). After they push him into gay conversion therapy, his experiences within the program may permanently fissure the family they thought they were repairing. Director/co-star Joel Edgerton adapted Garrard Conley’s memoir for the screen. Joe Alwyn, Xavier Dolan, Troye Sivan, Cherry Jones, Flea also star.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
In Victorian London, young Clara (Mackenzie Foy) looked forward to her first Christmas without her late mother with nothing but bitterness. However, she couldn’t have expected that her mum’s last gift–a mystical egg-shaped box–would lead her into an otherworldly land populated by fairies and living toys, and a power struggle with the mysterious Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren). Disney’s inspired take on the holiday fantasy co-stars Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman, Eugenio Derbez, Misty Copeland.
Deep within Colonial India, commanding officers Brunswick (Walter Pidgeon) and Pindenny (David Niven) had enough of the rowdy shenanigans of privates Ackroyd (Stewart Granger), Sykes (Robert Newton), and Malloy (Cyril Cusack)–and tried to break their booze-fueled bond by promoting Ackroyd. Will fences be mended before his friends are marched into an insurgency trap? Adventure-comedy inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s prose also stars Robert Coote, Dan O’Herlihy, Michael Ansara.
As a make-good to his Texas oil baron boss when an Argentine land purchase collapses, businessman Tim Kelly (James Ellison) heads to Buenos Aires to acquire a champion racehorse. His fortune doesn’t get any better as he falls for Lolita O’Shea (Maureen O’Hara), who also happens to be the daughter of the steed’s disapproving owner (Robert Barrat)! Buddy Ebsen, Fortunio Bonanova, Diosa Costello co-star; Rodgers-Hart score includes “You’ve Got the Best of Me,” “Amarillo.”
Wrongly convicted of murder and en route to prison, Ann Gray (Maureen O’Sullivan) goes on the run after her paddy wagon crashes. She winds up begging the help of young defense lawyer Tony Baxter (Joel McCrea), who puts his career on the line to hide her till he can prove her innocence–and possibly his life, as the real killer surfaces to try and ensure her silence. Crackling, laugh-leavened crime drama also stars Lewis Stone, Louis Calhern, Edgar Kennedy, Robert Greig.
Proud ER nurse Katie McDermad (Jane Greer) would have reason to regret being short with snippy outpatient Tony Brown (Peter Lawford)–as he was one of the hospital’s biggest benefactors, and had her fired. Wanting to save her job, and the facility’s endowment, doctor Jeff Chadwick (Gig Young) encourages her to apologize…and starts feeling his own pangs of jealousy once they start getting cozy. Romantic charmer also stars Rita Corday, Barbara Ruick, Elaine Stewart.
After an American sub ventures into Russian waters responding to a ship in distress–and winds up on the ocean floor itself–Commander Joe Glass (Gerard Butler) draws the dicey duty of leading the investigative voyage. Dealing with literal treacherous waters as well as diplomatic tides, he discovers that the naval disasters may be part and parcel of an audacious power grab at the Kremlin. Throwback thriller also stars Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, Toby Stephens, Michael Nyqvist.
Sarah T.: Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic
Fifteen-year-old Sarah Travis (Linda Blair) secretly turns to alcohol in an effort to deal with her overwhelming anxiety and feelings of loneliness and inferiority. But her drinking quickly gets out of hand, seriously affecting her schoolwork and threatening to put her on a downward spiral she may not be able to recover from. Powerful made-for-television movie from director Richard Donner also stars Larry Hagman, Verna Bloom, William Daniels, Michael Lerner, and Mark Hamill.
While trying to protect a young prince who is heir to Thailand’s throne, Tarzan (Jock Mahoney) must square off against the boy’s evil uncle in three dangerous challenges. Participating in a machete fight and other brutal contests, our hero puts his skills to the ultimate test. But does Tarzan have what it takes to succeed and ensure that the prince fulfills his royal destiny? Woody Strode, Tsu Kobayashi, Earl Cameron co-star.
After a princess friend sends an emissary to find him deep in the jungle, Tarzan (Jock Mahoney) learns that the construction of a new reservoir in India threatens the lives of a group of elephants. Upon his arrival there, he tries to help out and soon finds himself dealing with the animals as well as some profit-minded businessmen. Co-stars Jai, Leo Gordon, Mark Dana.
With Superman fallen in battle, can anyone take his place as defender of Metropolis…and the world? Four very different claimants to his mantle soon emerge–armored engineer Steel (voiced by Cress Williams), cocky teenage clone Superboy (Cameron Monaghan), alien construct Eradicator (Charles Halford), and the half-humanoid Cyborg Superman (Jerry O’Connell)–but do any have a treacherous agenda? Follow-up to “The Death of Superman” also features the voices of Rebecca Romijn, Rainn Wilson.
The brutal slashing of a pizza delivery guy can rattle a small town–even one like Kingfisher, where half the populace are ghosts. As local authorities scramble to cope, the victim’s tough ex (Zazie Beetz) decides to launch her own investigation…and her sights are set on a rival Chinese take-out driver (Chance the Rapper) who also happens to be a werewolf. Oddball horror comedy also stars Chris Parnell, Paul Scheer, Joe Keery, Will Brill, Tim Decker, Rae Gray, Y’lan Noel.
Suburbia (Collector’s Edition)
Director Penelope Spheeris takes an unflinching look at teenage alienation with this intense drama that focuses on a group of runaways and punk misfits called the T.R.s (The Rejected) living in an abandoned house. The disenfranchised youths form themselves into an unconventional family as they face violent opposition from those around them. Bill Coyne, Chris Pederson, Jennifer Clay, Timothy O’Brien, and Flea star.
For a complete run down of all of this week’s new releases, click here.