Like Thanos himself, August isn’t playing around. We are only two weeks into the month and already it has been packed with more new DVD and Blu-ray releases than any other time this year to date. Obviously the biggest new arrival this time out is Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel’s jaw-dropping blockbuster. But even if you were to remove that movie from the equation (say, by snapping your fingers) you’d still have an impressive volume of motion pictures to choose from — including classics from the golden age of Hollywood right up to recent art house favorites. Take a look, and have fun, we think you’ll love watching any and all of these!
In order to wipe out half of all life in the universe, the alien despot Thanos (a motion-captured Josh Brolin) must acquire six gems of unimaginable power called the Infinity Stones. Now, even the efforts of Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the Guardians of the Galaxy, and many other heroes may not be enough to save the day. Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana co-star in this massive comic book adventure.
With the final surrender of the Axis in 1945, America had ended the advance of European fascism…but the subsequent domestic peacetime proved to be riven with swaths of racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Catholic sentiment. This rediscovered, remarkable, and still relevant essay from documentarian Leo Hurwitz (“Native Land”) looks at the final triumphs of U.S. forces abroad, and the extent to which the very ideologies they had fought against would continue to manifest at home.
From producer Roger Corman comes a diabolical horror outing about reproductively challenged couple Virginia (Brooke Adams) and Brad Marshall (Jeff Hayenga), who take part in Dr. Richard Mayerling’s (James Karen) experimental in-vitro fertilization program. Soon, the mother-to-be discovers that what she’s carrying may not be altogether human! With Jane Cameron, K Callan, and, in early roles, Kathy Griffin and Lisa Kudrow.
Tobe Hooper (“Poltergeist”) directs this sci-fi shocker, based on the book “Space Vampires” by Colin Wilson. The only survivors of a doomed space expedition are one crew member and a trio of humanoids discovered in suspended animation. Once brought back to London, the aliens reveal their ability to drain the life force out of living beings, putting everyone on Earth in jeopardy. Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Mathilda May, Frank Finlay, and Patrick Stewart star.
The Howling (Steelbook)
Amazing special effects and a furry sense of humor highlight this Joe Dante scareshow about L.A. TV anchorwoman Karen White (Dee Wallace), who after a terrifying event, goes on vacation at the Colony, a remote California rest resort. Once there, White finds the Colony is home to a host of strange characters, who all seem to be vicious werewolves. John Sayles loosely adapted the Gary Brandner novel; with Christopher Stone, Patrick Macnee, Kevin McCarthy, John Carradine.
Army of Darkness (Steelbook)
The outrageous “Evil Dead” series continues as cynical, chainsaw-handed department store clerk Ash (Bruce Campbell) and his ’73 Oldsmobile land in medieval England, where he battles pit-dwelling monsters, his own villainous twin, and a battalion of living skeletons. Hip humor and great special effects highlight Sam Raimi’s action-horror yarn; Embeth Davidtz, Ian Abercrombie also star.
As London was swinging, starry-eyed provincial best mates Brenda (Rita Tushingham) and Yvonne (Lynn Redgrave) came to town, certain that they’d own it in no time. The peaks and valleys they each face as they try to carve out their own niches of notoriety in the Mod era fuel this of-its-moment, slapstick- and song-filled farce. Michael York, Anna Quayle, Ian Carmichael, Irene Handl also star. Fun score performed by the leads includes “Carnaby Street,” “It’s Always Your Fault,” and the title tune.
In the months leading up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, few American media voices questioned the government’s assertions that Saddam’s regime had continued to stockpile weapons of mass destruction. Knight-Ridder correspondents Jonathan Landay (Woody Harrelson) and Warren Strobel (James Marsden) had their doubts about the case for war, and their pursuit of the truth receives a riveting recounting from director/co-star Rob Reiner; with Tommy Lee Jones, Milla Jovovich, Jessica Biel.
Stylish remake of the 1952 comedy classic has shady real estate magnate Harry Brock (John Goodman) hiring reporter Paul Verrall (Don Johnson) to smarten up flighty girlfriend Billie Dawn (Melanie Griffith) so she can socialize with government VIPs on a business trip to Washington. What Harry didn’t expect was for Billie to catch on so fast…or for her to fall for her handsome tutor. Edward Herrmann, Max Perlich, Michael Ensign also star.
The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (Criterion Collection)
South Texas, 1901: Thanks to a dispute over a horse sale and a language barrier, Mexican tenant farmer Gregorio Cortez (Edward James Olmos) found himself a fugitive for the self-defense slaying of the sheriff who’d wounded his brother. For ten days, he eluded civilian posses that numbered in the hundreds, and the flight that enflamed two communities became the stuff of legend. Long-demanded fact-based western co-stars Bruce McGill, Brion James, James Gammon, Pepe Serna.
Kindly Maine backwoods preacher Seth Parker (Phillips Lord) always had sage advice for his neighbors, and he’ll need all his wisdom and wit when the young ward (Frankie Darro) he’d raised from infancy gets snatched by the abusive and alcoholic father (Stanley Field) who’d abandoned him. Homespun screen vehicle for radio pioneer Lord’s popular broadcast persona co-stars Frank Albertson, Dorothy Peterson and, in one of her earliest performances, Bette Davis.
Based on a true story, director Brian DePalma’s searing war drama stars Michael J. Fox as Max Eriksson, a green recruit in Vietnam who refuses to participate when his squad leader (Sean Penn) and some other members of his outfit abduct and gang-rape a village girl. In the aftermath of the horrifying assault, Erikkson finds his life in jeopardy at the hands of his fellow soldiers. A powerful look at a different side of the Vietnam War also stars John C. Reilly, John Leguizamo, Don Harvey, and Ving Rhames.
Michael Lawson (David Corenswet) is a young and ambitious Washington, D.C. player trying to work his way into the presidential campaign of Senator John Baines (David James Elliott). After sleeping with Baines’ wife (Mimi Rogers) and blackmailing an adviser (Adrian Grenier), Lawson may find he’s made one dangerous political move too many when he begins an affair with the senator’s beautiful daughter, Darcy (Grace Victoria Cox). With Thora Birch, Faye Grant.
The womanizing ways of wealthy Texas landowner Wade Hunnicutt (Robert Mitchum) drive his wife Hannah (Eleanor Parker) into the arms of his illegitimate son, Rafe Copley (George Peppard), who then clashes with his half-brother Theron, (George Hamilton), first over the affair with his mother and then over the love of the same girl (Luana Patten). Vincente Minnelli’s potboiling take on the William Humphrey novel also stars Everett Sloane, Constance Ford.
Laserblast (VHS Retro: Big Box Collection)
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.
British illustrator Colin Ware (Colin Firth) heads to a small Vermont town after fiancée Vera (Minnie Driver) dumps him. While staying at a hotel, the matchmaking innkeeper (Mary Steenburgen) fixes him up with Mandy (Heather Graham), a free-spirited nurse. Romance ensues, but when Vera arrives, hoping to reconcile, Colin’s life is thrown into a tizzy. Oliver Platt also stars; based on the novel “New Cardiff” by Charles Webb (“The Graduate”).
It was 1977 in London, partying teenage punk Enn (Alex Sharp) wasn’t looking to meet just any girl…and he thought he’d lucked out when he met the odd but cute Zan (Elle Fanning). Turns out she’s from way out of town–an explorer from another planet, actually–and she wants to make the most of her last 48 hours Earthside. John Cameron Mitchell’s funny and frenetic take on the Neil Gaiman short story co-stars Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson, Joanna Scanlan, Stephen Campbell Moore.
Orphaned Minnesota teen Sebastian Prendergast (Asa Butterfield) lived a cloistered but unusual existence–within a tourist trap geodesic house maintained by his Buckminster Fuller acolyte grandma (Ellen Burstyn). However, one unanticipated visitor–infirm rebel kid Jared Whitcomb (Alex Wolff)–gave him his first real shot at friendship and experiences beyond the dome. Engaging coming-of-age tale from the Peter Bognanni novel also stars Nick Offerman, Maude Apatow, Michaela Watkins.
Old-money, ever-idle Ambrose Applejohn (John Halliday) desperately wished there’d be more to his life than knocking around in the family coastal manse. He’d get all he could handle in the course of a weekend, as he discovered he was the direct descendant of a notorious pirate…and various disreputable types invaded his home looking for the legendary treasure of “Applejack”! Pre-Code comedy-mystery marked by a ribald dream sequence co-stars Mary Brian, Kay Strozzi, Louise Closser Hale.
It was July 4th weekend in 1976, and troubled teen Drew Tate (Larenz Tate) was dragged by his folks (Joe Morton, Suzzane Douglas) to the Martha’s Vineyard beach house of his well-off, conservative uncle (Glynn Turman). The heartfelt coming-of-age experiences he’d have at the hands of a spoiled princess (Jada Pinkett Smith) and an unhappily married woman (A.J. Johnson) fuel Matty Rich’s wistful tale; Morris Chestnut, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Duane Martin also star.
When the Janowski family opted for farm life in rural Maine, talented violinist son Stan (Donald Woods) discovered he enjoyed working the land as much as the company of pretty neighbor Jen Shaw (Jean Muir). When disaster hits the spread, will he be able to resist the lure back to city life…or the romantic conniving of Jen’s ambitious stepsister Doris (Dorothy Appleby)? Earnest take on the Gladys Hasty Carroll novel co-stars Russell Hardie, Clara Blandick, Dorothy Peterson, Arthur Hohl.
For a complete list of this week’s new releases, click here.