This week’s new releases feature the 70th Anniversary Edition of what many people consider to be the finest movie ever made, classic films from Jerry Lewis and Wheeler and Woolsey making their home video debuts, recent theatrical hits and lots more. Take a look!
As time goes by, one of the best-loved films ever made. Humphrey Bogart is cafe owner Rick, Ingrid Bergman lost love Ilsa, and Paul Henreid resistance leader Victor. Their lives and destinies come together in the exotic Moroccan city. Winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. With Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Dooley Wilson, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet; Michael Curtiz directs.
Playboy Frank Sinatra instructs younger brother Tony Bill in the fine art of swinging, only to have his sibling steal away his favorite girl, in this laugh-filled film version (scripted by Norman Lear) of Neil Simon’s first play. Co-stars Jill St. John, Lee J. Cobb, Molly Picon, Barbara Rush; look for a cameo by Dean Martin.
What do Joe Dante, Robert De Niro, Bruce Dern, Peter Fonda, Pam Grier, Irvin Kershner, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, William Shatner, and the great Dick Miller all have in common? They all owe a debt of gratitude to Roger Corman, the low-budget movie maverick who helped their mainstream cinema careers take off. This tribute documentary includes fantastic film clips and interviews with those and other Corman colleagues and admirers.
Four of director David Lean’s adaptations of writer Noel Coward’s plays are collected in this set. First, Lean’s debut solo directorial effort, “This Happy Breed” (1944) is a fine, understated drama that looks at a typical, working-class British household and how it’s affected by the events of the years between World Wars I and II. Robert Newton, Celia Johnson, John Mills, and Kay Walsh star. Then, Coward adapted his own witty stage farce for this (literally) spirited screen version of “Blithe Spirit” (1945). Rex Harrison is a writer whose research into the occult leads him to muddled medium Margaret Rutherford, who accidentally conjures up the ghost of Harrison’s first wife. Kay Hammond co-stars as the trouble-making spectre. Four-disc set also includes the Criterion Collection versions of “In Which We Serve” and “Brief Encounter” (1945).
Mourning the loss of his father (Tom Hanks) one year after he died in the 9/11 attacks, young, intelligent New Yorker Oskar (Thomas Horn) discovers a key in their house that he believes may literally unlock a secret about his dad’s life. Hiding the quest from his mother (Sandra Bullock), Oskar seeks out a variety of people in the city, including a mysterious old man (Max von Sydow) who does not speak, but may have something to teach. Based on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel; John Goodman, Viola Davis co-star.
A klutzy TV repairman (Jerry Lewis) obsessed with detective novels gets a chance to play sleuth when he takes on a case meant for his private eye mentor (Jesse White). What happens, though, when his search for a late millionaire’s lost son leads to none other than Jerry himself? Slapstick shamus comedy also stars Joan O’Brien, Mae Questel, Zachary Scott; Frank Tashlin directs.
Wheeler and Woolsey adopt Spanky McFarland and head south to collect the youngster’s inheritance. Little do they know that their journey will take them smack dab in the middle of an old-fashioned family feud. Hilarious hijinks featuring Noah Beery, Lucille LaVerne, and Margaret Dumont; directed by George Stevens.
Compelling mystery stars Barbara Stanwyck as a single, pregnant woman who befriends a pair of newlyweds on a cross-country train. When the couple is killed in a crash, survivor Stanwyck is mistaken by the dead man’s family for the daughter-in-law they never met and moves in with them. Stanwyck has her child and even begins a relationship with her “brother-in-law,” but what happens when her secret is threatened? John Lund, Jane Cowl,Lyle Bettger also star.
The penultimate project for Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey casts them as partners in a pharmaceutical company that’s future is threatened by their constant bickering. Their solution: a wrestling match for control of the firm…plus, the loser has to be the winner’s valet for a year. Marjorie Lord, Patricia Wilder, Esther Muir co-star.
When her drinking threatens to derail a stage actress’s (Joan Fontaine) career, an ad man and recovering alcoholic (Ray Milland) tries to get her to join AA with him and live a sober life. Their shared struggle draws the pair together…but Milland has a wife and family. Director George Stevens’ mix of romance and social drama also stars Teresa Wright, Richard Derr.
Lavishly mounted, espionage-tinged tale set in the waning days of Czarist Russia, where British envoy Leslie Howard finds himself bound to block a potential armistice between the Bolsheviks and the Kaiser. His duties become that much more dicey when he rescues beauteous Russian Kay Francis from mob violence, falls for her–and discovers she’s Lenin’s secretary. With William Gargan, Irving Pichel, and J. Carrol Naish as Trotsky.
Experimenting with a bold new method of treating mental illness, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) engages madhouse patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) in a series of focused conversations. This seemingly successful “talking cure” brings Jung into the company of the man who inspired it, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), which results in a triangle of psychological complexities and sexual temptations. David Cronenberg’s provocative period drama co-stars Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon.
In the third entry in the popular live-action/animated series, Alvin, Simon, Theodore, their guardian Dave (Jason Lee), old foe Ian (David Cross), and Chipettes Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor wind up marooned on a tropical island. Their adventure includes an encounter with a mysterious castaway named Zoe (Jenny Slate), a dangerous volcano, a buried treasure, and a spider bite that brings about an odd change in Simon. Also features the voices of Justin Long, Anna Faris, Amy Poehler, and Christina Applegate.
It’s “Ocean’s Eleven” on the…well, on the ocean, as American diver Frank Sinatra teams up with Italian beauty Virna Lisi and an international band of mercenaries to restore a German U-boat and use it to rob the Queen Mary ocean liner in mid-voyage. Tony Franciosa, Richard Conte, and Errol John also star in this nautical caper thriller; script by Rod Serling.
Beyond her status as an iconic sitcom performer, newly minted nonagenarian Betty White is next most celebrated as a tireless advocate of animal rights, and this enjoyable documentary follows Betty across the country–and the globe–as she encounters all manner of fascinating creatures and the conscientious folks charged with their preservation and care.
The first 16 episodes from the second season–including “The Price Of Death,” “The Cave-In,” “Anatomy Of A Prison Break,” “List For A Firing Squad,” and “Passage Into Fear”–are featured in a four-disc set.
The remaining 13 episodes from the second season–including “The Courier,” “The Gray Passenger,” “Sky On Fire,” “The Satellite,” and “The Extortionist”–are featured in a four-disc set.
Grim, politically charged drama that follows the challenges of British officers stationed in post-WWII Vienna, charged with giving the Soviets their full cooperation in repatriating citizens back behind the newly erected Iron Curtain…including those who don’t wish to go. Walter Pidgeon, Peter Lawford, Janet Leigh, Ethel Barrymore, Angela Lansbury, Louis Calhern star.
When an attorney (Dean Martin) keeps blowing his pay on the ponies, his desperate wife (Lana Turner) arranges with his partner (Eddie Albert) to become Martin’s new secret “bookie,” thus keeping his losses in the household. Her plan hits a snag after a winning streak means Turner has to pay off Dino’s–and his pals’–wagers. Fast-paced comedy also stars Walter Matthau, Nita Talbot.
Dog walker Jerry Lewis is given a job at the high-end department store owned by girlfriend Jill St. John’s disapproving mother. The always-inept Jerry tries his best to finish the tasks he’s given by manager Ray Walston and manages to win over St. John’s dad, but how about her tough-as-nails mom? Agnes Moorehead, John McGiver also star; Frank Tashlin directs.
Dust Bowl-era farce from Wheeler and Woolsey casts them as a couple of quacks armed with a weather machine who promise a meteorological miracle to the residents of a drought-stricken and desperate California town. The land speculators who want to buy the locals out, however, aren’t happy with these would-be saviors and start cooking up a dark forecast of their own. Dorothy Lee, Benton Churchill, George Meeker co-star.
For details and availability of more of this week’s new releases, click here.
Here’s a look at last week’s Blu-ray and DVD releases.