That’s the only word that can be used to describe this week’s batch of new DVD and Blu-ray releases. With just a little over a month until the holidays, the studios are unleashing a stunning amount of releases.(Seriously, this is the biggest week of new titles in 2020 to date). Kicking things off this week is a Van Heflin favorite available exclusively from Movies Unlimited, and there are titles ranging from Hallmark Channel hits to TV season sets and so much more! So now sit back, relax, and let the shopping commence!
Tennessee Johnson (A Movies Unlimited Exclusive!)(1942)
Sterling M-G-M biopic offers a sturdy effort by Van Heflin as 17th U.S. President Andrew Johnson, focusing on his tenure in Washington from the outbreak of the Civil War–where he refused to join his fellow Southern Senators in succession–through his presidency, where his conciliatory posture toward the defeated Confederacy spurred the impeachment effort spearheaded by Rep. Thaddeus Stevens (Lionel Barrymore). Ruth Hussey, Marjorie Main, Regis Toomey, J. Edward Bromberg co-star.
fter losing all their money to a thieving business manager, video store mogul Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy, who co-created with son Daniel), his soap opera actress wife Moira (Catherine O’Hara), and their grown children David (Daniel Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy) must abandon their upscale lifestyle. The only asset they have left is Schitt’s Creek, Ontario–a small town they bought as a joke in the early ‘90s–which becomes their new home as they try to adjust to a simpler way of life. Emily Hampshire, Chris Elliott, Jennifer Robertson co-star in this Canadian sitcom. All 80 episodes of the series are featured in this collection.
With Imperial China invaded, impetuous Hua Mulan (Yifei Liu) made the choice of donning a man’s armor and reporting in the place of her conscripted, infirm father (Tzi Ma). Maintaining her disguise as she distinguished herself in training, will her eventual discovery keep her from a fateful showdown with the warlord Böri Khan (Jason Scott Lee)? Disney’s thrill-packed live-action second pass at the heroine of legend also stars Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Yoson An, and Jet Li; Niki Caro directs.
Pride of the Yankees (1942)
Gary Cooper stars as baseball’s legendary “Iron Horse,” Lou Gehrig, in one of the finest sports movies ever made. Follow Lou’s life, from his boyhood on the streets of New York to his all-star career with the Bronx Bombers and his tearful farewell speech at Yankee Stadium, cut down by a mysterious, fatal disease. With Teresa Wright, Walter Brennan, and Babe Ruth as himself.
The Westerner (1940)
Directed by William Wyler, this classic frontier drama is set in 1880s Texas, where wanderer Cole Harden (Gary Cooper) gets caught in the middle of a deadly range war between newly arrived homesteaders and area cattlemen backed by corrupt judge Roy Bean (Best Supporting Actor Oscar-winner Walter Brennan), “the law west of the Pecos.” With Doris Davenport, Fred Stone, Forrest Tucker.
Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)
The long-awaited third entry in the popular comedy/sci-fi series finds the universe on the brink of destruction–and Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) still haven’t written the song that was meant to prevent that very catastrophe. Can another wild trip through time and a little help from their respective daughters (Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine) get the tune penned before all of reality is lost forever? With Kristen Schaal, William Sadler.
Three-disc set includes Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991) and Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020).
Wuthering Heights (1939)
Emily Brontë’s classic novel of doomed love in 19th-century England is brought to the screen in a stunning production that stars Laurence Olivier as the brooding Heathcliff and Merle Oberon as his paramour, Catherine. As a visitor to the titular estate learns the story of Heathcliff and Cathy’s tragic tale, insights into the eternal power of romance are revealed. With David Niven, Flora Robson, Donald Crisp, Geraldine Fitzgerald; William Wyler directs.
Stella Dallas (1937)
Barbara Stanwyck landed her first Oscar nomination for her title turn as a crass, factory-town chippie who overachieves and lands a proposal from a now-broke blueblood lawyer (John Boles). Renewed success takes him to the big town, leaving her to raise their daughter (Anne Shirley)…and to make heartbreaking choices to ensure the girl’s social standing. King Vidor’s adaptation of the Olive Higgins Prouty sudser co-stars Alan Hale, Tim Holt, Marjorie Main, Barbara O’Neil.
The Little Foxes (1941)
Bette Davis is unforgettable as the matriarch of a well-to-do family in the early-1900s Deep South who stops at nothing–from ignoring her ailing husband to trying to marry off her daughter to a man she doesn’t love–in her drive for wealth and status. William Wyler’s moody drama also stars Herbert Marshall, Russell Hicks, Dan Duryea, and Teresa Wright (in her film debut); based on the Lillian Hellman play.
Our Christmas Love Song (2019)
Having bowed her holiday single to great reception, C&W star Melody Jones (Alicia Witt) received a stunning lump of coal–plagiarism accusations by her onetime mentor (Karen Kruper). Heading home to Indiana in search of the original composition that would vindicate her, the seasonal reunion with her estranged clan–and her former flame (Brandon Hines)–just might bring her into harmony with what really matters. Tuneful Hallmark effort co-stars Brandi Alexander, Curtis Moore.
Holiday for Heroes (2019)
When coffee shop owner Audrey Brown (Melissa Claire Egan) started shipping java to her brother stationed in Afghanistan, she’d make a fan–and pen-pal–out of his topkick, Matt Evans (Marc Blucas). Transferred to her town during the holiday season, he looks her up…and, soon, his struggle between re-upping and taking a teaching job across the country gets complicated by a third option. Sincere seasonal service romance from Hallmark co-stars Latarsha Rose, William Rubio.
Minneapolis shopkeeper Alice (Cindy Busby) and traveling medical salesman Jack (Benjamin Hollingsworth) met cute when he wandered into the wrong Christmas party, and decided to share a ride when it turned out they had to go to the same out-of-town wedding. Will charming coincidence, however, lead to something that lasts–particularly after she gets stunning medical news? Second seasonal fact-based favorite co-stars Kathie Lee Gifford, Barclay Hope, Hilary Jardine.
The Christmas Club (2019)
With their hectic schedules, neither dance instructor Olivia Bennett (Elizabeth Mitchell) nor business consultant Edward Taylor (Cameron Mathison) were looking for love this holiday season. But that may be about to change–whether they want it to or not–when they team up to help an old lady get her lost Christmas Club money back…and can’t seem to stay away from each other. Lovely Yuletide tale from Hallmark also stars Zoe Fish, Jennifer Pudavick, Elliot Ledlow.
Entertaining Christmas (2018)
Candace Livingston (Jodie Sweetin) was the choice of her lifestyle doyenne mom Liz (Jane Moffatt) to take over the family business empire–but when it came to domestic skills, talent skipped a generation. After a young fan’s online plea for Liz to swing a holiday homecoming for her deployed widowed dad (Brendan Fehr), Candace gets pushed to prove she can handle it…setting the table for complications and romance in this Hallmark charmer. Ana Araujo, Tamara Almeida co-star.
Rising C&W singer Charlotte Quinn (Laura Osnes) was particularly glad to leave the road and return home this season, as her brother Eric (Jesse Irving) would be back from his deployment. She’d wind up renewing her brief acquaintance with his fellow soldier Matt (Stephen Huszar), in town and directing his energies toward Operation Homefront–and as she lends a hand, they’ll find another kind of mutual commitment. Markian Tarasiuk, Jan Bos, Donald Heng, Havana Guppy also star.
Brides of Dracula (Collector’s Edition)(1960)
Hammer’s sequel to “Horror of Dracula” follows Baron Meinster (David Peel), a young Transylvanian imprisoned by his mother in their ancestral castle. It seems master Meinster has inherited the mantle–and appetites (if not the name)–of the bloodsucking titular count, and, once released, sets out to make a teacher his latest victim. Peter Cushing returns as vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing; with Yvonne Monlaur, Martita Hunt.
Fine screen adaptation of Theodore Dreiser’s “Sister Carrie” stars Jennifer Jones as the beautiful small-town girl whose dreams of fame and wealth collide with harsh reality after finding nothing but drudge labor in Chicago. Laurence Olivier co-stars as the flashy, unhappily married restaurateur whose pursuit of her would have ruinous consequences; Eddie Albert, Miriam Hopkins, William Reynolds also star. Extended video version includes the deleted “flophouse” scene.
Girlfriends (Criterion Collection)(1978)
When her friend and roommate gets married and moves out of the apartment they share, an aspiring photographer (Melanie Mayron) begins a journey of self-discovery that ultimately leads to an unexpected career taking pictures at bar mitzvahs and Jewish weddings. Bob Balaban, Christopher Guest, Anita Skinner, and Eli Wallach co-star in this refreshingly perceptive look at one young woman’s response to new-found independence in New York City.
Creator Julian Fellowes’ acclaimed British series, opening during the reign of King George V, concerns the comings and goings of the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), the Dowager Countess Grantham (Maggie Smith), and other assorted members of the Crawley family and their servants. Their stately Downton Abbey home is first shaken when a famous maritime disaster puts the family’s line of inheritance into question. With Elizabeth McGovern, Penelope Wilton. 47 episodes, five Christmas specials, and the 2019 feature film “Downton Abbey” on 22 discs.
The popular 2005-13 NBC mockumentary sitcom, based on the BBC series of the same name, chronicles the interoffice politics and personal lives of employees at the Dunder-Mifflin paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. As tactless boss Michael (Steve Carell) presides over his staff–which includes clueless assistant Dwight (Rainn Wilson), bored office drone Jim (John Krasinski), put-upon secretary Pam (Jenna Fischer), and wise temp Ryan (B.J. Novak)–a hilarious glimpse into the contemporary American workplace is revealed. With Brian Baumgartner, Creed Bratton, Mindy Kaling, Angela Kinsey, and Ed Helms. 187 episodes on 34 discs.
A troubled teenager with a really cool van finds an alien weapon and pendant/power source in the desert. Donning the artifacts allows the lad to begin a laser-powered rampage against his enemies (and mutate into an alien!) in this sci-fi outing that features stop-motion ETs by Dave Allen (“Equinox”). Kim Milford, Cheryl Smith, Eddie Deezen, Keenan Wynn, and Roddy McDowall star.
The Day Time Ended (1980)
A California family thought they were on the cutting edge of the future when they moved into their eco-friendly, completely solar-powered desert home. That turned out to be a little too accurate, as a solar flare causes the property to become the focal point of a time rift from which dinosaurs, aliens, and all kinds of anachronistic antagonists spill forth. Jim Davis, Dorothy Malone, Chris Mitchum, Marcy Lafferty co-star. AKA: “Vortex.” 79 min.
Secret Zoo (2020)
Interning lawyer Kang Tae-Soo (Ahn Jae-Hong) was promised a staff position with his firm if–and only if–he could keep a failing zoo afloat until a buyer could be found. Considering that most of the animals were sold off, the task seemed impossible…until he hit on the idea of dressing his disaffected staffers in highly realistic creature costumes! Popular farce also stars Kang So-Ra, Park Yeong-Gyu, Kim Sung-Oh, Jeon Yeo-Been.
Burst City (1982)
Acknowledged as an influence on the cyberpunk genre, this irreverent and kinetic feature fuses the postapocalyptic settings of “Mad Max” with Japanese punk music, as a group of Tokyo’s punk bands and their fans prepare to clash with a company planning to build a new nuclear power plant. Just as Yakuza thugs and the police appear to have tamed the uprising, two biker warriors arrive and the construction workers stage a wild revolt. Michirou Endo, Shigeru Izumiya star.
New Jersey high school senior Mara Carlyle (Katherine Langford) had to contend with daily drama pretty much like any other kid, such as her growing attraction to quiet loner Dylan (Charlie Plummer). Beyond that, there was the matter of her classmates randomly and inexplicably exploding–and her town going on lockdown as the government hunted for the reason why. Jaw-dropping take on Aaron Starmer’s darkly satirical YA novel co-stars Piper Perabo, Chelah Horsdal, Rob Heubel, Yvonne Orji.
Guest House (2020)
Affianced Sarah (Aimee Teegarden) and Blake (Mike Castle) thought their lives were starting when they bought that dream property in the L.A. burbs, but there was something the inspection should have turned up–the prior owner’s stoner buddy Randy (Pauly Shore), squatting in the guest cottage and with no intentions of going anywhere. Strap in for the raucous and raunchy war of wills in this throwback funfest co-starring Billy Zane, Steve-O, Chris Kattan, and Lou Ferrigno (Sr. and Jr.).
Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)
From the folks who gave you “Kentucky Fried Movie” comes this wild collection of skits. In addition to the fake ‘50s-style sci-fi flick “Amazon Women on the Moon,” the film features late-night TV commercial spoofs, some very literal video pirates, film critics who review peoples’ lives, a funeral-turned-roast, and more. Rosanna Arquette, Ed Begley, Jr., Sybil Danning, Arsenio Hall, Russ Meyer, Michelle Pfeiffer, and many others star; includes segments directed by Joe Dante and John Landis.
Murphy’s War (1971)
In the waning days of World War II, Irish merchant seaman Murphy (Peter O’Toole) washed up on Venezuela’s shore, the lone survivor of a German U-boat attack on his ship. Recovering, he determined to wreak his revenge by any means possible…and after learning where the sub was moored, he commandeered a recovered duck plane for a certain suicide mission. Peter Yates’ gripping take on the Max Catto novel co-stars Siân Phillips, Philippe Noiret, Horst Janson.
The Beguiled (1971)
Offbeat, entrancing drama, set near the end of the Civil War, stars Clint Eastwood as wounded Union soldier Corporal John McBurney in Louisiana, who is found by a girl and taken to a remote boarding school for young ladies to recuperate. McBurney’s presence stirs up romantic feelings and jealousies and leads the headmistress (Geraldine Page) to take drastic measures to “protect” her charges. With Elizabeth Hartman, Pamelyn Ferdin; Don Siegel directs.
The Eiger Sanction (1975)
Spectacular mountain climbing scenes and fast-paced action highlight this rousing adventure. Clint Eastwood (who also directed) is an art professor and ex-government hit man who’s lured out of retirement to “sanction” (eliminate) those responsible for a former co-worker’s murder. The mission takes him to a dangerous climb in the Swiss Alps. George Kennedy, Vonetta McGee, Thayer David also star.
Save the Tiger (1973)
When cooking of the books and providing escorts to the clientele still can’t steer his small dress manufacturing concern from the edge of collapse, compromised and disillusioned combat veteran Harry Stoner (Best Actor Oscar-winner Jack Lemmon) ponders what it all was for–as well as whether to torch the business for the insurance. Acclaimed character study co-stars Jack Gilford, Laurie Heineman, Thayer David, and Lara Parker; directed by John Avildsen.
Play Misty for Me (1971)
Before “Fatal Attraction,” there was this superb suspenser that marked Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut. Eastwood plays Dave Garver, a late-night California DJ who has a romantic fling with devoted listener Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter). But when Garver attempts to end the affair, the unbalanced Evelyn’s obsession with him takes a dangerous and deadly turn. With Donna Mills, John Larch.
Seeking answers about his clouded family history, young American Eric (Nat Wolff) arrived in his ancestral homeland of Norway…and soon became a pariah from the strange atmospheric phenomena that accompanied his presence. After an encounter with a bully turned deadly, he was arrested–and the authorities would come to discover the uncanny truth about his birthright. Fantasy-actioner from director André Øvredal (“Trollhunter”) also stars Iben Akerlie, Priyanka Bose, Per Frisch.