As April rolls on, it’s important to take some ‘me time’ for yourself before the late spring/summer hecticness kicks in. And what better way to relax than with a great film? This week’s new Blu-ray and DVD releases include recent theatrical releases, classics unearthed from the Hollywood vaults, and so much more! Here we go…
M. Night Shyamalan’s cleverly conjoined follow-up to “Unbreakable” and “Split” finds invulnerable vigilante David Dunn (Bruce Willis) in pursuit of superhuman schizophrenic Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy). However, their conflict culminates in their arrest and commitment to an asylum, where a smug psychiatrist (Sarah Paulson) tries to convince both they’re delusional…and puts Crumb in perilous proximity to Dunn’s brittle nemesis, Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson). Spencer Treat Clark, Anya Taylor-Joy co-star.
Under the gun by his employers to map human consciousness into android receptacles, neuroscientist Will Foster (Keanu Reeves) heartbreakingly loses his wife (Alice Eve) and three kids in a car wreck. The grieving genius resolves to use his imperfect process to resurrect his family in cloned bodies…and the ethical dilemmas of his decision may prove to be the least of the perils that result. Sci-fi suspenser also stars Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emjay Anthony, Emily Alyn Lind.
Milquetoast greeting-card scribe Erwin Trowbridge (Frank McHugh) didn’t have respect at home or office, but he did have an uncanny knack for picking winning racehorses. He didn’t have the nerve to place any bets himself…but a trio of impressed hoods (Sam Levene, Allen Jenkins, Teddy Hart) decided he should have a new career as their meal ticket! Fun take on the popular George Abbott-John Cecil Holm stage farce co-stars Joan Blondell, Guy Kibbee, Carol Hughes, Edgar Kennedy.
Specialty dancer Hal Le Roy stepped into the role of Carl Ed’s comic-strip adolescent for this youth-oriented comedy-musical, as hapless Harold found his two left feet costing him the attentions of gal pal Lillums Lovewell (Rochelle Hudson). Can impromptu dance lessons from pal Shadow (Eddie Tamblyn) and a role in the high school variety show get him in rhythm? Guy Kibbee, Clara Blandick, Hugh Herbert, Patricia Ellis co-star; score includes “Simple and Sweet,” “Collegiate Wedding.”
The first full-Technicolor film produced was this delightful adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair.” Miriam Hopkins stars as the self-centered and manipulative anti-heroine Becky Sharp, who tries to lift her lowly “showbiz family” status by sucking up to a classmate (Frances Dee) and her clan. The plan doesn’t work out…and while she torpedoes her own life, the lives of others are also destroyed in her wake. Cedric Hardwicke, Billie Burke, and Nigel Bruce co-star.
In July 2015, officials at New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility were stunned to discover, first, that convicted murderers Richard Matt (Benicio del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano) had tunneled out…and second, that they’d been aided by seduced prison worker Joyce Mitchell (Patricia Arquette). The bizarre tale, from the inmates’ hatching of the plan through the subsequent manhunt, is laid out in this Showtime miniseries directed by Ben Stiller; David Morse, Bonnie Hunt co-star.
Years after an undercover assignment went sideways, down-and-out LAPD detective Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) learns that Silas (Toby Kebbell), the leader of the criminal gang she infiltrated, is once again robbing banks. As Erin attempts to track down Silas, flashbacks reveal the truth about her relationship with her police partner (Sebastian Stan), and their involvement in a heist that ended in tragedy. Engaging crime thriller also stars Tatiana Maslany, Bradley Whitford.
Are you superstitious? If not, you just might become so after viewing this twisted tale of revenge. A family learns that the pond in front of the New England house they’ve just moved into was where a suspected witch was drowned in 1692. But when the magical woman returns to seek vengeance against the descendants of her murderers, it spells deadly trouble for the entire community. James Houghton, Albert Salmi, Lynn Carlin star. AKA: “The Witch.”
Sophia Loren and Richard Burton star in this lavish adaptation of the Noël Coward drama. Despite both being married, social worker Anna Jesson (Loren) and Dr. Alec Harvey (Burton) find their chance meeting at a train station leading to an unexpected connection and a passionate love affair. With Jack Hedley, Rosemary Leach.
Bizarre shocker, based on the novel by Graham Masterton, follows Karen Tandy (Susan Strasberg), a woman hospitalized with a tumor on the back of her neck. The tumor is, in fact, a deformed fetus containing the reincarnated spirit of a 400-year-old Native American shaman who’s ready to be “born” and unleash Hell on Earth. Isn’t that always the way! Tony Curtis, Michael Ansara, Stella Stevens, and Burgess Meredith co-star.
Glyn McLyntock (James Stewart) is a reformed outlaw who now works as a wagon scout helping a group of settlers reach Oregon Territory. He finds he has his hands full dealing with attacking Shoshone Indians, dwindling rations, a gold rush that’s driving supply prices up, and a former friend (Arthur Kennedy) who’s become a treacherous rival. Julie Adams, Harry Morgan, Lori Nelson, and Rock Hudson also star in this exciting frontier action tale.
Diamonds of the Night (Criterion Collection)
Near WWII’s end, a pair of Czech Jewish teenagers (Antonin Kumbera, Ladislav Jansky) take the chance of slipping off a Dachau-bound transport train and fleeing into the surrounding woods. Their hallucinatory and terrifying experiences on the run pose as much peril as their eventual discovery by locals, in Jan Nemec’s stark and gripping feature directing bow; adapted from Arnost Lustig’s autobiographical opus “Darkness Has No Shadow.”
In 1967, with the modern gothic soap opera he’d pitched to ABC getting tepid response, TV producer Dan Curtis upped the ante with the introduction of a centuries-old vampire…allowing “Dark Shadows” and Barnabas Collins to become fan favorites of the day and cultural icons since. Curtis’ remarkable career and contributions, from Collinwood’s heyday to his acclaimed Herman Wouk adaptations, are covered in this documentary appreciation featuring family, fans, and collaborators.
Mystery, action, and fun abound in Andy Sidaris’ seaside sizzler that’s hotter than a summer day at the beach. Private investigator Cody Abilene (Darby Hinton) puts his life on the line when he’s recruited by federal intelligence agent Contessa Luciana (Sybil Danning) to find out who’s behind the sale of computer technology to the Russians, an assignment that, naturally, brings him into contact with a succession of beautiful babes. Art Metrano, Shelley Taylor Morgan, Lori Sutton co-star.
Blood-curdling fright flick about a woman who’s raped by ages-old vampire Caleb Croft (Michael Pataki) and has a baby boy, James, who drinks her blood. When he grows up, the human/vamp hybrid James (William Smith) dedicates himself to finding his father–who now works as a college professor–so he can kill him once and for all. With Lyn Peters, Diane Holden, and Kitty Vallacher. AKA: “Seed of Terror.
The legendary Franco Nero stars in the titular role as a half-breed gunfighter who returns from the killing fields of the civil war to find his hometown’s inhabitants terrorized by tyrannical gang leader Caldwell. Keoma’s father welcomes his prodigal son’s return, but when Keoma saves a vulnerable pregnant woman from Caldwell’s thugs, the stage is set for a violent confrontation. Ken Wood co-stars.
When it came to bullies and adolescence’s other perils, misfit Brit schoolboy Alex Elliot (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) knew he couldn’t count on the adults around him for much. So when revived Arthurian sorceress Morgan Le Fay (Rebecca Ferguson) and her minions threaten the world, it falls to him to wield Excalibur and rally his disbelieving classmates to his cause. Joe Cornish’s throwback family adventure co-stars Tom Taylor, Angus Imrie, Rhianna Doris, Dean Chaumoo, and Patrick Stewart as Merlin.
For a complete overview of all of this week’s new releases, click here.