Coming Attractions: DVD and Blu-ray Releases for May


Happy May Day, movie fans! And just like the proverbial flowers that have started blooming, a bounty of new titles will soon be popping up on home video. While we here at MovieFanFare do our best to keep you informed of latest releases every week (You have been noticing the articles in that first left-hand column on the homepage, haven’t you? Recent films and TV shows every Tuesday, vintage titles every Friday?), this seems like an ideal time to run down a few of the more interesting DVD (and, in more than a few cases, Blu-ray) releases for May.

American Sniper (2014) -A powerful, acclaimed performance from Bradley Cooper fuels director Clint Eastwood’s true-life drama, based on the book by Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. During four harrowing tours in the Iraq War, Kyle (Cooper) distinguishes himself as the most lethal sniper in the history of the U.S. military. Returning home, however, he finds it increasingly more difficult to adjust to a normal life with his family. Sienna Miller, Max Charles, Luke Grimes also star.

Blackhat (2015) – “Heat” director Michael Mann helms this slick thriller about a computer hacker (Chris Hemsworth) sprung from prison to assist the U.S. and Chinese governments in finding the “blackhat” whose devastating malware nearly caused the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. Teamed with an F.B.I. agent (Viola Davis) and a beautiful programmer (Wei Tang), the newly deputized cyber-warrior puts his mental muscle to a very dangerous test. Co-stars Leehom Wang, Christian Borle.

CHAMP, THE 1979The Champ (1979) – Once a contender, washed-up pug Billy Flynn (Jon Voight) continues as a club-fight tomato-can to pay for booze, the track, and the upbringing of his adoring son T.J. (Ricky Schroder). When his ex-wife (Faye Dunaway) re-enters their lives looking for custody, Billy resolves to make a seemingly impossible comeback. Franco Zeffirelli’s touching take on the 1931 Wallace Beery/Jackie Cooper classic co-stars Jack Warden, Strother Martin, Joan Blondell.

The Confession (Criterion Collection) (1970) – In 1952, Czechoslovak governmental minister Artur London (Yves Montand) was one of 13 ranking Communist Party members roped into a show trial for treason by the Stalinist wing. Of those defendants, he was one of three to escape summary execution. Expectedly harrowing and highly charged take on London’s memoir from Costa-Gavras co-stars Simone Signoret, Gabriele Ferzetti, Michel Vitold. Two-disc set includes the bonus documentary “You Speak of Prague: The Second Trial of Artur London” (1971).

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2015) – Turning to crowdfunding to finance his latest “joint,” Spike Lee delivers this provocative reimagining of the vampire film by updating the 1973 cult classic “Ganja & Hess.” After anthropologist Dr. Hess Green (Stephen Tyrone Williams) develops a thirst for human blood thanks to a cursed dagger, he lures Ganja (Zaraah Abrahams), his assistant’s ex-wife, into a romance…and into his world of addiction. Comic thriller co-stars Rami Malek, Elvis Nolasco.

David and Lisa (1962) – Teenager David Clements (Keir Dullea)–violently phobic about being touched–finds himself institutionalized by his exasperated family. Combative with the facility’s staff as well as his fellow patients, he finds his defenses challenged by his growing bond with Lisa Brandt (Janet Margolin), a schizophrenic who communicates only through rhyme. Affecting and compassionate indie groundbreaker co-stars Howard Da Silva, Neva Patterson, Clifton James.

FIFTY SHADES OF GREYFifty Shades of Grey (2015) – What began as “Twilight” fan fiction and became the first in a trilogy of bestselling books by author E.L. James comes to the screen, introducing BDSM-curious viewers to the start of the kinky romance between literature student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and wealthy businessman Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Their lust-at-first-sight relationship is tested when she learns his turn-ons include blindfolds, ropes, and riding crops. With Eloise Mumford, Marcia Gay Harden.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015) – There’s more time-hopping antics with Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Jacob (Clark Duke) in this hilarious sequel. This time, the guys attempt to travel to the past to prevent Lou from being shot, but accidentally wind up stuck in the future. Joined by old pal Adam’s son, Adam, Jr. (Adam Scott), they embark on a series of wacky adventures while trying to find the chemicals needed to power their hot tub time machine. Chevy Chase, Gillian Jacobs also star.

It! The Terror from Beyond Space (Remastered Edition) (1958) – An interplanetary ship rescues the sole survivor of a Martian scouting mission and heads back to Earth, unaware that a giant, bloodsucking creature has stowed away in the cargo hold and is slowly heading for the crew’s quarters. Well-made sci-fi thriller that was the unofficial inspiration for “Alien” stars Marshall Thompson, Ann Doran, and Ray “Crash” Corrigan as “It.”

Kid Glove Killer (1942) – When a special prosecutor appointed by a new, reform-minded mayor is murdered, police scientist Gordon McKay (Van Heflin) applies his cutting-edge forensics skills to try and root out the culprit. Unfortunately, a corrupt power broker (Lee Bowman) is determined to erase the evidence…or anyone investigating it. Crisp M-G-M “B” thriller, the feature directing debut for Fred Zinnemann, also stars Marsha Hunt, Samuel S. Hinds, Paul Fix.

KINGS OF THE SUNKings of the Sun (1963) – In pre-Columbian Mexico, Mayan ruler Balam (George Chakiris) must lead his people on a perilous journey across the Gulf of Mexico and into the American Southwest, as they’re attacked and pursued by Toltec invaders. Luckily for Balam, a noble Indian chief (Yul Brynner) comes to their aid. Spectacular historical adventure directed by J. Lee Thompson (“Taras Bulba”) co-stars Shirley Anne Field, Richard Basehart, Brad Dexter, Barry Morse.

Limelight (Criterion Collection) (1952) – Charles Chaplin tapped into his life experience for this bittersweet tale, playing an aging, once-great vaudevillian who finds renewed purpose when he offers shelter to a suicidal young dancer (Claire Bloom). The two discards gradually give one another the impetus to return to the stage in this moving opus; Nigel Bruce, Norman Lloyd, and (in a memorable shared set-piece with Chaplin) Buster Keaton also star. Two-disc set also includes the bonus shorts “A Night in the Show” (1915) and “The Professor” (1919).

The Maltese Bippy (1969) – Having lost their shirts in a skin-flick venture, filmmakers Sam Smith (Dan Rowan) and Ernest Grey (Dick Martin) were glad to still have a roof over their heads…even if it was their creepy, cemetery-flanking investment property. Are their bizarre new neighbors out to scare them off…and why? Horror-comedy vehicle from the duo’s “Laugh-In” heyday co-stars Julie Newmar, Carol Lynley, Mildred Natwick, Robert Reed.

MORTDECAIMortdecai (2015) – That’s Johnny Depp behind the mustache of infamous British art dealer Charlie Mortdecai in this quirky comic caper, based on the series of novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli. Deep in debt due to unpaid taxes, Mortdecai becomes embroiled in a wacky scheme to locate a missing painting, one believed to contain bank codes that will lead to the discovery of hidden Nazi gold. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany, Olivia Munn, and Jeff Goldblum also star.

Mr. Turner (2014) – Mike Leigh’s painstakingly rendered biographical portrait of groundbreaking 19th-century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner boasts a bravura title performance from Timothy Spall as the eccentric artist, whose gentle care at rendering the world’s beauty was only matched by his prickly brusqueness with the people who inhabited it. Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson, Lesley Manville also star.

The Rose (Criterion Collection) (1979) – In 1969, rock singer Mary Rose Foster (Bette Midler)–better known to legions of adoring fans simply as “The Rose”–was looking for an out from the grind of the road and the party life. Though she finds honest romance from a grounded chauffeur (Frederic Forrest), the incessant push from her calculating manager (Alan Bates) makes a flameout all but inevitable. Dynamic dramatic debut for Midler co-stars Harry Dean Stanton, David Keith.

SECRET INVASION, THEThe Secret Invasion (1964) – When Nazis abduct and imprison an Italian general who was planning on switching sides and turning over his army to Allied forces, a British intelligence officer is tasked with rescuing him. After drafting five unwilling criminals into helping him, he squares off against German and Italian soldiers in an effort to complete his mission. Directed by Roger Corman, this thrilling precursor to “The Dirty Dozen” stars Stewart Granger, Raf Vallone, Mickey Rooney.

Selma (2014) –  Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic 1965 attempt to help secure equal rights for black voters is chronicled in this gripping, fact-based drama. As King (David Oyelowo) leads a march between Alabama cities Selma and Montgomery, he’s met with opposition from Governor George Wallace (Tim Roth), while President Lyndon Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) is forced to choose which side of this civil rights struggle he’ll come down on. With Carmen Ejogo, Common, Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Seventh Son (2014) – In this exciting sword-and-sorcery saga, Jeff Bridges stars as Master Gregory, the last of an order of wizards tasked with protecting mankind from supernatural evils. When the sinister witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) escapes captivity, Gregory must train young Tom Ward (Ben Barnes)–the seventh son of a seventh son–as his new apprentice in an attempt to stop her from taking over the world of humans. With Alicia Vikander, Olivia Williams, Djimon Hounsou.

State of Siege (Criterion Collection) (1973) – In a Central American nation, leftist guerrillas abduct American contractor Philip Santore (Yves Montand), and grill him about the true nature of the services he provides for the ruling right-wing government. As the media frenzy and political posturing grows, the captors find no successful out from their actions. Costa-Gavras’ gripping, controversial opus inspired by the Daniel Mitrione kidnap/slaying in Uruguay co-stars Renato Salvatori, O.E. Hasse.

Still Alice (2014) – After becoming uncharacteristically forgetful, linguistics professor Dr. Alice Howland (Best Actress Oscar-winner Julianne Moore) is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. With help from her family, Alice steels herself in a brave attempt to face whatever the future has in store for her, even as her keen mind slowly begins showing further signs of deterioration. Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth also star in this powerful drama, based on Lisa Genova’s bestseller.

STRANGE MAGICStrange Magic (2015) – Reminiscent of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” this animated fairy tale musical from Lucasfilm follows the journey of Marianne (voiced by Evan Rachel Wood), a princess who loses faith in the magic of love after breaking off her engagement to the unfaithful Roland (Sam Palladio). While he seeks a “love potion” to restore her feelings for him, the evil Bog King (Alan Cumming) works to ban love entirely from his dark forest. Co-stars the voices of Elijah Kelley, Kristin Chenoweth.

The Train (1964) – In this riveting World War II tale, Burt Lancaster plays Paul Labiche, a railway engineer who enlists the help of members of the French Resistance to stop a train filled with national art treasures that is being routed to Germany by the Nazis. Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau, Michel Simon, Suzanne Flon, and Wolfgang Preiss also star in John Frankenheimer’s based-on-fact wartime thriller.

Viva Villa! (1934) – Thrilling biography starring Wallace Beery as Mexican bandit and revolutionary Pancho Villa. The film follows Villa’s life, from his revenge against the soldier who killed his father to his Robin Hood-like actions, robbing the rich landowners to help the poor, to his triumphs and misfires as a revolutionary leader and politician. Fay Wray, Stuart Erwin, and Joseph Schildkraut also star.

Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1981) – Left a quadriplegic after a car accident, sculptor Ken Harrison (Richard Dreyfuss) found his natural optimism dimmed by his circumstances, to the point where he requested that he be allowed to return home to die. The recalcitrance of the hospital administration leads to a poignant showdown in open court, in this take on Brian Clark’s acclaimed Broadway drama. John Cassavetes, Christine Lahti, Bob Balaban, Kenneth McMillan also star.

You can see more information on these and other upcoming titles by clicking here.