It’s another exciting week for new releases, as we’ve once again got a little something for everyone…from the cinematic swan song (for now) of a certain mutant superhero team to favorites by the Warner Archive Collection and Criterion Collection. Let’s dive right in to the impressive amount of Blu-rays and DVDs that are out this week!
Telekinetic mutant Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) finds her abilities enhanced after contact with a blast of cosmic energy. As she becomes more powerful–and more dangerous–Jean must face off against fellow mutants such as Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) while an alien shapeshifter (Jessica Chastain) tries to acquire the evil force that now possesses her. Jennifer Lawrence co-stars in this 1990s-set “X-Men” adventure, based on Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s classic comic storyline.
In the 1950s, young TV variety show staff writer Benjy Stone (Mark-Linn Baker) lobbied hard to arrange a guest-star berth for his boyhood hero, ‘30s-era screen swashbuckler Alan Swann (Peter O’Toole). He wound up regretting what he wished for, as his future then hinged on keeping the dissipated, hard-drinking womanizer sober and in line through broadcast night. Wistful and wonderful comedy co-stars Joseph Bologna, Jessica Harper, Lainie Kazan, Bill Macy; Richard Benjamin directs.
Polyester (Criterion Collection)
Poor Baltimore hausfrau Francine Fishpaw (Divine) is living in a suburban nightmare. Surrounded by an unfaithful pornographer husband, rebellious, ungrateful children and an unsympathetic mother, can she find happiness from the unexpected attentions of sophisticated drive-in owner Todd Tomorrow (Tab Hunter)? John Waters’ Douglas Sirk melodrama from hell and off-center satire of the American Dream also stars Edith Massey, Ken King, Mink Stole, Jean Hill, and Stiv Bators.
Cluny Brown (Criterion Collection)
As her plumber uncle was distressed by her free spirit–and her desire to follow him into the trade–working-class British lass Cluny Brown (Jennifer Jones) was shunted off to be a house servant for a well-to-do family. Her candid wit manages to pop her employers’ pretentiousness, as well as charm their bemused houseguest, refugee author Adam Belinski (Charles Boyer). Ernst Lubitsch’s sprightly take on the Margery Sharp novel co-stars Peter Lawford, Reginald Owen, Helen Walker.
A taut and dramatic essay on human depravity and redemption that over the years has earned a cult reputation (as has writer/director Samuel Fuller). A prostitute (Constance Towers) tries to leave the city streets behind her and start a new life in a small quiet town, but soon discovers a dark secret that threatens her new existence. Lurid melodrama, with an unforgettable opening, also stars Michael Dante, Anthony Eisley.
Hospital administrator and single mom Dr. Lizzie Beauman (Nikki Deloach) is shocked to discover that the kindly widower (Tom Thon) her daughter (Skylar Olivia Flanagan) has befriended is the father of Charley (Jeff Hephner), the hotshot EMS helicopter pilot she just hired. Can Lizzie–who struggles with a fear of flying–get past it if it means finding true love? Barbara Niven also stars in this “Hallmark Hall of Fame” romance.
An international cast–including Charles Bronson, Toshirô Mifune, Alain Delon, Capucine, and Ursula Andress–propels this European production dubbed “the first East-meets-West western.” Bandits Link Stuart (Bronson) and Gauche Kink (Delon) steal a golden sword from Japanese diplomat Kuroda Jubie (Mifune) visiting the American West, and after Stuart is double-crossed, he joins forces with Jubie to get it back. With Anthony Dawson; directed by Terence Young (“Dr. No”).
They are what they are, and that’s all they are–and since they’re the remaining 17 color Famous Studios Popeye shorts from 1948-1949 making their home video bow, that’s plenty! “Olive Oyl for President” (1948), “Pre-Hysterical Man” (1948), “A Wolf in Sheik’s Clothing” (1948), “Robin Hood-Winked” (1948), “Popeye’s Premiere” (1949), “A Balmy Swami” (1949), “Barking Dogs Don’t Fite” (1949), “The Fly’s Last Fight” (1949), and more.
Sexy, tongue-in-cheek actioner from Andy Sidaris stretches from the shores of Hawaii to the neon jungle of Las Vegas. The explosive story stars Erik Estrada as dangerous arms dealer Juan Degas (aka Jack of Diamonds), whose desperate attempt to keep gorgeous agents Donna Hamilton (Dona Speir) and Nicole Justin (Roberta Vasquez) out of his way fails miserably and only succeeds in making them even more determined to bring him down. With Cynthia Brimhall, Devin DeVasquez, and Danny Trejo
With a terror-stricken nation being blitzed by enemy bombing planes directed by the evil Ivan Shark, good guy Captain Albright (Dave O’Brien) becomes Captain Midnight and soars off into the big blue sky to head off the reign of terror and rescue a kidnapped scientist. Co-stars Dorothy Short, James Craven, Bryant Washburn. 15 episodes.
Originally titled “Alcoa Presents” during its 1959-1961 run on ABC, this spooky anthology presented dramatized true stories of people who encountered ghosts, ESP, premonitions, and other unexplainable phenomena. John Newland hosts. Notable guest stars included Warren Beatty, Charles Bronson, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lee, Elizabeth Montgomery, Donald Pleasence, William Shatner, and many more. Episodes include “Delusion,” “Ordeal on Locust Street,” “Brainwave,” “Doomsday,” “The Inheritance,” “The Explorer,” “The Clown,” “Delia,” “House of the Dead,” “Tidal Wave,” “Anniversary of a Murder,” and “To Know the End.”
Filmmaker Ken Burns trains his focus on another uniquely American art form, as the evolution of country music from the balladeers of Appalachia to the 21st century’s most popular performers is examined in depth. Offering compelling interviews about C&W’s development alongside performance footage and rare recordings, the spotlight shines on immortals like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, and many others.
After six years away fighting the Axis, dutiful Willie Higginbotham (Dominic Roche) was anticipating coming home to the loving bosom of his family. Unfortunately, he’s returned to find the whole brood–including his bored spouse (Olive Sloane) and party-girl daughter (Diana Dors)–under the sway of the slick spiv (Leslie Dwyer) who’s rented out his room. Acrid post-War farce from England, adapted from playwright/lead Roche’s stage hit, also stars Wally Patch, Ronald Adam, Alastair Hunter.
Terrifying suspenser stars Susan George as Amanda, a young woman hired as a babysitter by a wealthy couple (John Gregson and Honor Blackman). Amanda soon finds she must defend herself and her charge from his demented father (Ian Bannen), who’s just escaped from a mental institution and wants his son back…at any price! George Cole, Dennis Waterman, Tara Collinson also star. AKA: “I’m Alone and I’m Scared,” “Night Legs.”
When gold fever struck the frontier town of Calender, the Danby clan used their control of the main access road to bleed the community dry…and their rifles to quiet any protests. The desperate locals gambled and pinned a badge on disinterested but dead-shot drifter Jason McCulloch (James Garner), who proceeded to clean the mess up his way. Enduring comedy oater co-stars Joan Hackett, Walter Brennan, Bruce Dern, Jack Elam.
Rather than being led down the aisle by a notorious madam, con artist Latigo Smith (James Garner) hits the trail and winds up in the town of Purgatory, where he’s quickly mistaken for a notorious pistolero. With warring mining factions each offering him big money to drive the other out, he’s in no big hurry to correct them! Pseudo-sequel to “Support Your Local Sheriff” co-stars Suzanne Pleshette, Jack Elam, Joan Blondell, and Marie Windsor.
Unable to make a living in his homeland, a young Irishman prepares to emigrate to America in search of a better life. While he says his goodbyes and reflects upon his past over the course of his final day in Ireland, his public and private personas reveal insight into his complex relationships and the melancholy that seems to shadow him. Powerful adaptation of Brian Friel’s play stars Donal McCann, Des Cave, Siobhan McKenna.
Miss Tulip Stays the Night (Dead by Dawn)
Crime novelist Andrew Dax (Patrick Holt) and his sultry wife Kate (Diana Dors) were settling into their holiday getaway at a rural cottage when a knock came from the odd, jewel-laden senior Miss Tulip (Cicely Courtneidge), looking for a night’s shelter. It seemed like a harmless enough request…but when she’s discovered shot in bed the following morning, Andrew has his hands full proving his innocence. Mystery-comedy also stars Jack Hulbert, A.E. Matthews, Pat Terry-Thomas. AKA: “Dead by Morning.”
Ordinary and lonely Liverpudlian Brenda Thompson (Rita Tushingham) was desirous of excitement and love, and packed up for still-swinging London in pursuit of both. Intrigued by attractive new neighbor Peter Clive (Shane Briant), she dolls herself up to land him…but, unfortunately, her Mr. Right is a serial killer with a penchant for killing pretty things. Bizarre psychoshocker from Hammer also stars James Bolam, Katya Wyeth, Annie Ross, Tom Bell. AKA: “Dressed for Death,” “Til Dawn Do Us Part,” “The Victim.”
In this gripping made-for-TV Western actioner, Clint Walker stars as Kinkaid, a bounty hunter transporting outlaw Billy Riddle (John Ericson) across the desert to face justice. With Riddle’s girlfriend (Margot Kidder) in tow, Kinkaid soon becomes the target of the sinister Angus Keough (Richard Basehart) and his gang, who are out to collect the bounty for themselves. With Gene Evans, Arthur Hunnicutt.
Jimmie (Tommy Lewis), an Aborigine man of mixed racial heritage, faces prejudice and abuse in 19th-century Australia while performing the lowliest menial jobs he can obtain. With new burdens of marriage and fatherhood thrust upon him, Jimmie is subjected to continuing humiliations that spur him to acts of shocking violence. Based on a factual novel by Thomas Keneally, this searing drama co-stars Bryan Brown, Angela Punch McGregor.
Prosperous but hard-living Florida surgeon John Livingston (Casper Van Dien) thought it would be a balm for his friends–troubled Afghanistan vet David Cooper (Griff Furst) and newscaster spouse Vivian (Brianne Davis)–to join him on his yacht for a jaunt to the Virgin Islands. A tense trip got far, far worse when the engine stalled…and the only Samaritan sailor (Judd Nelson) to be found on the open seas turned out to be anything but good, in this unnerving effort.
A Sunday-night TV staple for 17 years (plus two years in syndication), the adventures of the heroic collie and her human families are now on video. Tommy Rettig played Lassie’s owner, Jeff, from 1954-57, with Jan Clayton as his mother and George Cleveland as Gramps. Jon Provost’s Timmy debuted in 1957, with Cloris Leachman and Jon Shepodd, then June Lockhart and Hugh Reilly, playing his parents. Lassie was portrayed by six different collies over the series’s run, starting with Pal. 18 episodes are included in this release.
For details of all of this week’s new releases, click here.