The DVDs and Blu-rays debuting this week take film lovers into the stratosphere and beyond! Fresh off of its theatrical release (and four Academy Award nominations), the fact-based First Man kicks things off, with other notable releases from the Warner Archive Collection, the Criterion Collection, and more. Here are this week’s most notable new releases!
Ryan Gosling stars as Neil Armstrong in this acclaimed biopic, based on James R. Hansen’s book. In the wake of a family tragedy, Armstrong becomes a major player in NASA’s bid to see that the U.S. finally pulls ahead of the Soviet Union in the Space Race. He works in the Gemini and Apollo programs before being given command of the Apollo 11 mission and becoming the first person to ever walk on the moon on July 20th, 1969. With Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll.
While the public image of radio spokeswoman Glory Eden (Ginger Rogers) was one of squeaky cleanliness, her private life of clubbing and carousing was something else again. Her nervous handlers looked to her fan base for a straight-arrow suitor, and chose earnest farmboy Jim Davey (Norman Foster)…but what happens when he wants to drop the promotional pretense and settle down for real? Pre-Code farce that marked Ginger’s RKO debut co-stars ZaSu Pitts, Frank McHugh, Allen Jenkins.
The United Kingdom gets a sobering lesson in the power of the atom, as nuclear testing frees a brontosaurus-like reptile from its eons-long slumber, and sends the now-irradiated leviathan up the Thames and on a shattering rampage through the streets of London. Classic sci-fi thriller that features the stop-motion animation craft of Willis O’Brien (“King Kong”) stars Gene Evans, Andre Morell, John Turner, Leigh Madison, Jack MacGowran. AKA: “Behemoth,” “Behemoth, The Sea Monster.”
Heiress Joan Ogden (Helen Twelvetrees) had it bad for wastrel Harry Swift (Monroe Owsley), and spent the night with him. After her father (Robert Warwick) tried to quash the relationship, Swift threatened to ruin her reputation…and Joan’s loving brother Dick (Robert Young) responded with gunfire. Can Dick avoid the death penalty after his anguished sister turns her back? Pre-Code effort inspired by Philadelphia’s Eddie Allen “honor killing” case co-stars Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt.
10 To Midnight (Collector’s Edition)
Grizzled L.A. police detective Leo Kessler (Charles Bronson) gets assigned to investigate Warren Stacy (Gene Davis), a serial killer who manages to beat the rap after murdering several women. And when Stacy targets Kessler’s daughter (Lisa Eilbacher), the veteran cop throws caution (and ethics) to the wind as he embarks on a crusade of vengeance. Edge-of-your seat crime thriller co-stars Andrew Stevens, Geoffrey Lewis, Wilford Brimley.
Based on Angie Thomas’ YA novel, this powerful and timely drama focuses on Starr (Amandla Stenberg), an African-American teen who witnesses her friend–who’s also black–getting killed during a traffic stop when police mistakenly believe he’s reaching for a weapon. In the wake of the tragedy, Starr struggles with whether or not she should tell the truth about what happened, and what the ramifications would be at her mostly white school. With Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie, Common.
After three years at sea, merchant sailor Charles Tuttle (Jon Hall) came home to Polynesia, and found his eccentric extended clan–spearheaded by patriarch Uncle Jonas (Charles Laughton)–to be as irrepressible…and flat broke…as ever. Will his valiant efforts to reverse their fortunes, from cockfighting to salvage, pay the bills faster than Jonas can fritter it away? Scenic adventure-comedy also stars Florence Bates, Gene Reynolds, Peggy Drake, Victor Francen.
Mikey and Nicky (The Criterion Collection)
Certain that his boss figured out he’d been skimming cash–and has hired a contract killer–low-end Philadelphia street hood Nicky Golodin (John Cassavetes) called the only person he trusts, lifelong pal and fellow thug Mikey (Peter Falk). The pair spend an episode-filled night roaming the neighborhoods, but is Mikey trying to ease Nicky’s paranoia…or just setting his buddy up? Critically acclaimed drama from writer/director Elaine May co-stars Ned Beatty, William Hickey, Joyce Van Patten.
When a daring raid on a fur- and gold-bearing freighter en route to Edmonton ends with the slaying of his CO, RCMP Sgt. Alan Baker (Dick Foran) pledges to bring the gang responsible to justice. First, though, he’ll have to deal with the local rush to judgment when the perpetrators seek to frame an innocent trapper (Russell Simpson) for their crimes. Technicolor-enhanced outdoor adventure programmer also stars Gloria Dickson, Gale Page, Patric Knowles, James Stephenson, Allen Jenkins.
Steadfast airline pilot Wad Madison (Robert Armstrong) knew he’d be in for career turbulence when he drew the duty of mentoring reckless playboy/flyboy Len Kendrick (Vinton Hayworth), who also happened to be the boss’ son. The flight path didn’t get any easier once Len set his sights on Wad’s gorgeous attendant girlfriend Kay Armstrong (Sally Eilers), and didn’t care how he removed any obstacles. Sturdy sky drama also stars Charley Grapewin, Ward Bond, Frances Sage.
Swayze-less sequel to the 1989 hit focuses on Shane Tanner (Johnathon Schaech), DEA agent and son of Swayze’s character from the first film. Taking charge of his uncle’s Louisiana bar, the Black Pelican, he must shut down a drug-running operation while also searching for those responsible for his legendary father’s murder. Tanner’s going to be nice…until it’s time to not be nice! Ellen Hollman, Jake Busey, Will Patton, Richard Norton also star. AKA: “Road House 2: Last Call.”
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (The Criterion Collection)
Wanting to end her pregnancy–with abortion a crime in Ceausescu’s Romania of the late ‘80s–Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) turns to her college roommate Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) for help in procuring an operation. Otilia takes charge of every detail, but as the time grows close to meet with the black market doctor (Vlad Ivanov) she engaged, she grows fearful their plans could end in tragedy. Cristian Mungiu’s intense, acclaimed drama co-stars Teodor Corban.
With the identities of all MI7 agents revealed in a cyber attack, ex-operative Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is called out of retirement. Joined by former sidekick Bough (Ben Miller), English gets mixed up with gorgeous Russian spy Ophelia (Olga Kurylenko) as he stumbles his way through a mission to take down the nefarious American tech businessman (Jake Lacy) he believes was behind the hack. Emma Thompson, Adam James also star in the third entry in the espionage comedy series.
Smooth-talking, hard-hitting hairstylist and ladies’ man “Mr. Jonathan” Knight (John Daniels) could always deliver service and satisfaction to his Beverly Hills clientele…and give them a trendy do, as well. When he discovers that his attractive new receptionist (Tanya Boyd) is in over her head with the mob, he’ll be lining up the thugs to get cuts–from a chainsaw! Action-comedy from cult director Greydon Clark co-stars Joe Ortiz, Anne Gaybis, Skip E. Lowe, Helene Farber.
Willard had his rats and Timmy had Lassie, but for mortician’s daughter Susan Bradley (Suzanne Ling), the companions of choice were her assorted pet spiders. For a warm-up, she set ‘em loose on her adulterous mom when she found out she was planning to have her dad killed…and now the classmates who’d always tormented her are going to be the main course! Creepy-crawly drive-in shocker also stars Eric Mason, Herman Wallner, Patricia Landon, Beverly Eddins.
Just when he and his cronies pull a heist that will allow him to retire from the “business,” ex-con Ray Gleason (Ted Danson) is left son Timmy (Macaulay Culkin) to look after. The neglected boy finds and hides the loot, forcing Dad to spend time with him and fulfill his parental obligations, in this amusing, heartwarming comedy. Glenne Headly, Saul Rubinek co-star.
We think you’ll agree that this is an exciting time to be a film lover! Which of these are you looking forward to?