We are the champions this week, and by that we mean “we” in reference to movie lovers everywhere! Why? Because there are an incredible array of both new and classic movies making their DVD and Blu-ray debuts this week, everything from the recent Freddie Mercury biopic that is in contention for several Academy Awards, Tyler Perry’s latest comedy gem, several Criterion Collection releases, and so much more. You could say that this week’s new releases will rock you. In fact, we just did. Twice! Anyhow, see what flicks are breaking free onto home video now with this rundown of noteworthy offerings now available!
An acclaimed performance by Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury fuels this powerful biodrama about the rock band Queen. The film follows the group’s ups and downs through the ‘70s and early ‘80s, while chronicling Mercury’s turbulent personal life, his relationships with band mates Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello), his struggles with his sexual identity, and the tragic AIDS diagnosis that would lead to his untimely death. With Lucy Boynton, Mike Myers.
Writer/director Tyler Perry’s wacky comedy stars Tiffany Haddish as Tanya, fresh from a five-year prison stint and about to move in with her considerably more responsible sister, Danica (Tika Sumpter). Tanya hilariously disrupts Danica’s life, becoming convinced her sister is being “catfished” by a fake online boyfriend, and taking it upon herself to find out the truth. With Omari Hardwick, Amber Riley, Mehcad Brooks, Missi Pyle, and Whoopi Goldberg.
All That Heaven Allows (Criterion Collection)
Producer Ross Hunter reunited “Magnificent Obsession” stars Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman and director Douglas Sirk for this lush romance in which small-town widow Cary Scott (Wyman) is drawn to handsome gardener Ron Kirby (Hudson), a man 15 years her junior, and faces scandal and scorn from her friends and family. With Agnes Moorehead, Gloria Talbot, Conrad Nagel.
In the spring of 1987, the smart money was on charismatic Colorado senator Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman) to head the Democratic presidential ticket the following year. However, his jousting with the political press over his rumored infidelities would all too quickly scuttle his ambitions and forever alter the landscape of government-media relations. Jason Reitman’s acrid American snapshot co-stars Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Alfred Molina, Ari Graynor, Mike Judge, and Sara Paxton as Donna Rice.
Drawing upon actual correspondence left by Vincent Van Gogh–and a compelling central performance from Willem Dafoe–director Julian Schnabel delivered an evocative and dreamlike look into the tormented artist’s troubled psyche during his turbulent final years in the South of France. Remarkable effort co-stars Rupert Friend as Van Gogh’s brother/broker Theo and Oscar Isaac as Paul Gauguin; Madds Mikkelsen, Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric, Niels Arestrup also star.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (25th Anniversary Edition)
A surprise box office hit, this charming British romantic comedy follows Charles (Hugh Grant) and Carrie (Andie MacDowell), two people whose inevitable coming together is followed through a series of encounters at the nuptials of mutual friends, a funeral…and even their own weddings. Sharply written and acted, with a great supporting cast that includes Simon Callow, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Rowan Atkinson.
La Vérité (Criterion Collection)
In a Parisian docket, the fallen Dominique Marceau (Brigitte Bardot) stood on trial for the murder of Gilbert Tellier (Sami Frey), the rising orchestra conductor who’d once been her lover. As her defense counsel (Charles Vanel) tries to argue that the act was one of passion, rather than premeditated, a sobering portrait of a troubled young life gone off the rails emerges. Henri-Georges Clouzot’s provocative courtroom tragedy also stars Paul Meurisse, Marie-José Nat. AKA: “The Truth.”
In WWII-era Cairo, Egypt-reared German agent Alex Wolff (David Soul) applied his knowledge of the cultural terrain in order to infiltrate the British command and facilitate Rommel’s march. Could tenacious spyhunter Major William Vandam (Cliff Robertson) track him down before the damage was insurmountable? Long-sought TV adaptation of the Ken Follett thriller, inspired by the Johannes Eppler case, also stars Season Hubley, Robert Culp, Lina Raymond, Anthony Quayle, David Hemmings.
Karen McCoy (Kim Basinger) is a sexy veteran bank robber who, upon being released from a six-year prison stint, just wants to live a normal life. But a malicious crime kingpin (Terence Stamp) and McCoy’s shady parole officer (Gailard Sartain) hold her son hostage in order to force her into pulling off an impossible $18 million job. Suspenseful thriller co-stars Val Kilmer as an incompetent would-be crook who idolizes McCoy and helps her with the heist.
After five years in prison, an ex-con returns to a society where total sexual freedom is now the norm. Michael (Hugo Metsers) yearns for sex and becomes fascinated by the amorous life of an attractive woman next door (Carry Tefsen), eventually organizing a series of sordid orgies with her and the neighbors. This was the most controversial and talked about Dutch film upon theatrical release – a sensation that brought millions of visitors to cinemas. Produced by Pim de la Parra and directed by his partner Wim Verstappen, Blue Movie was a breakthrough commercial hit for their company Scorpio Films – and the start of the Golden Years of Dutch cinema, also known as the “Dutch Sex Wave.” Presented by Cult Epics for the first time ever in hi-definition on Blu-ray and DVD, and featuring cinematography by Jan de Bont, this release allows you to see for yourself what all the commotion was about!
Beautiful Greek locales and beautiful bodies enmesh in this fun-filled, romantic tale. Michael (Peter Gallagher) and Cathy (Daryl Hannah) are an American couple whose Mediterranean vacation takes a steamy turn when they meet Lina (Valérie Quennessen), a gorgeous young French woman who joins them on an unexpected sensual odyssey. Barbara Rush, Carole Cook, Hans van Tongeren co-star; Randal Kleiser (“The Blue Lagoon”) directs.
Eight friends at a prestigious women’s college in the 1930s graduate and enter the adult world, where success and happiness await for some, disappointment for others. Shirley Knight, Elizabeth Hartman, Joan Hackett, Jessica Walter, Joanna Pettet, Kathleen Widdoes, Mary-Robin Redd, and Candice Bergen (in her film debut as the “Sapphic” Lakey) form the ensemble cast in this dramatic adaptation of Mary McCarthy’s novel; with Hal Holbrook, Larry Hagman, Richard Mulligan.
In their cramped Tokyo apartment, Osamu (Lily Franky) and Nobuyo (Sakura Ando) matter-of-factly made ends meet for the family by supplementing their backbreaking day jobs with petty theft and scams. After they opt to take in an abused and abandoned 4-year-old girl (Sasaki Miyu), her initially happy assimilation into the shifty household is destined to end badly. Hirokazu Koreeda’s pointed social drama co-stars Kiki Kirin, Matsuoka Mayu, Jyo Kairi.
Berlin Alexanderplatz (Criterion Collection)
Alfred Döblin’s acclaimed novel is brought to the screen by iconoclastic filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder in this sprawling interpretation originally made for television. The audacious tale, set in Weimar-era Germany, centers on the travails of an ex-convict (Günter Lamprecht) attempting to rehabilitate his shattered life in the midst of a society itself in the throes of transformation. Karlheinz Braun, Hanna Schygulla also star.
The declining years of Oscar Wilde are drawn into compelling focus in this bravura effort from star/screenwriter/director Rupert Everett, as the flamboyant British wit–having fled to the continent after serving his indecency conviction–caroused and bitterly ruminated over his circumstances to such few remaining supporters and paramours as Bosie Douglas (Colin Morgan) and Robbie Ross (Edwin Thomas). Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Anna Chancellor also star
After a woman is murdered by a killer wearing a Cupid mask, four of her female friends from junior high receive Valentine’s Day cards with creepy messages on them from an anonymous source. Could the maniac be the geeky kid they ridiculed back in the day, and which of the other ladies is next on his hit list? David Boreanz, Denise Richards, Marley Shelton, Katherine Heigl, and Jessica Capshaw star in this grisly shocker
Popeye the Sailor: Volume 2: 1938-1940
His grammar was atrocious and he probably had poor depth perception, but he always managed to save the day and (usually) get the girl. Join Popeye, Olive Oyl, Bluto, and company for a two-disc collection of 31 fun-filled Fleischer Brothers cartoons, including “I Yam Lovesick” (1938), “Goonland” (1938), the two-reel special “Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp” (1939), “Never Sock a Baby” (1939), “Wimmin Hadn’t Oughta Drive” (1940), “Popeye Presents Eugene the Jeep” (1940), and more.
Popeye The Sailor: Volume 3: 1941-1943
The mumbling sailor-man comes out with his spinach-fueled fists flying in this two-disc set that features 32 animated shorts from both the Fleischer and Paramount studios. Includes “Problem Pappy” (1941), “Popeye Meets Rip Van Winkle” (1941), the Fleischers’ last Popeye cartoon “Baby Wants a Bottleship” (1942), the controversial “You’re a Sap, Mr. Jap” (1942) and “Scrap the Japs” (1942), “A Jolly Good Furlough” (1943), Popeye’s final black-and-white short “Cartoons Ain’t Human” (1943), and more.
For a complete overview of this week’s new releases, click here.