There’s no finer mess than when Laurel and Hardy get together! The classic comedies featuring the pair have been restored, and lead off this week’s new releases. There’s also cult horror films, several Vanessa Redgrave movies, dramas, laugh-packed favorites, and so much more. Here’s a rundown of this week’s most notable new Blu-rays and DVDs!
A fine mess? Hardly, as these painstaking digital restorations of Stan and Ollie’s classic comedies look as good as the day they were released. The features “Sons of the Desert” (1933) and “Way Out West” (1937), as well as 17 shorts from 1927-1933 including “The Music Box” (1932), “County Hospital” (1932), “Their First Mistake” (1932), “Brats” (1930), “Berth Marks” (1929), and the near-complete and new-to-video “The Battle of the Century” (1927), are collected here.
The Cameraman (Criterion Collection)(1928)
A tintype street photographer (Buster Keaton), smitten by a film studio office girl (Marceline Day), tries to become a newsreel lensman in order to impress her, but his double-exposed footage of battleships sailing up Broadway make his prospects look dim. Keaton’s first M-G-M feature after years of independent production was, ironically, one of his most successful. Harold Goodwin, Sidney Bracey, Harry Gribbon also star.
What kid wouldn’t want to be a member of the Justice League? Ten-year-old Billy Batson gets that chance (well, at least his adult superhero alter ego does) when he’s recruited to join the likes of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and has to fight such supervillains as Mister Mind and Black Adam. Billy will learn some valuable lessons about trust along the way as he’ll have to reveal his secret identity to his new teammates. Action-packed Lego DC adventure features the voices of Sean Astin, Troy Baker, Grey Griffin.
The Quarry (2020)
In a dusty Texas border town, the church’s long-standing vacancy was addressed by the arrival of the new minister (Shea Whigham). Though the affable reverend quickly becomes accepted by the community for his sage counsel–from the hardened police chief (Michael Shannon) to the local drug traffickers–he may not have a prayer if the stunning truth about his past comes to light. Second screen take on Damon Galgut’s South Africa-set novel co-stars Catalina Sandino Moreno, Bruno Bichir.
Friday the 13th (40th Anniversary Limited Edition)(1980)
The one-time bane of nearly every critic in America, the blood-soaked first film in the franchise has gone on to cult classic status. Decades after the drowning death of adolescent Jason Voorhees and the barn murders of a pair of young lovers, scenic Camp Crystal Lake reopens. Now the place is crawling with campers and young, naive, sex-hungry counselors…and a maniacal killer! And just what is the deal with this Jason kid? Adrienne King, Betsy Palmer, Kevin Bacon, Ari Lehman star.
Classic, ahead-of-its-time British farce stars David Warner as Morgan, an eccentric London artist with two obsessions: gorillas and trying to win back ex-wife Leonie (Vanessa Redgrave). Morgan resorts to outrageous tactics–not the least of which involve explosives and kidnapping–in order to prevent Leonie from remarrying. Wild comedy that features spoofs on mental health, Marxism, and Tarzan movies, and a hilarious wedding scene co-stars Robert Stephens, Irene Handl.
Romance on the High Seas (1948)
Lively romance and music galore marked this marital infidelity farce that was Doris Day’s screen debut. Mrs. Elvira Kent (Janis Paige) suspects husband Michael (Don DeFore) is cheating on her, and together they wind up on a Caribbean cruise where nightclub singer Georgia Garrett (Day) and private eye Peter Virgil (Jack Carson) get in the middle of the jealous couple’s spying. Oscar Levant co-stars; songs include “Put ‘Em in a Box,” “It’s Magic”; choreography by Busby Berkeley.
Mary, Queen of Scots (1971)
Vanessa Redgrave stars as the strong-willed Mary Stuart, whose Catholic faith put her at odds with cousin Queen Elizabeth I of England (Glenda Jackson) and scheming half-brother James (Patrick McGoohan) in the 16th century. While Elizabeth worries that Mary may have designs on her throne, James plots to set himself up as Scotland’s ruler. Timothy Dalton, Nigel Davenport, Trevor Howard, Daniel Massey, Ian Holm also star in this lush biopic.
Jungle Queen (2K Restored Special Edition)(1945)
Ruth Roman plays the title role of Lothel, mysterious leader of an African tribe whose homeland is caught in the middle of a battle between Nazi spies and Allied agents, in this exciting mix of wartime drama and jungle action. With Edward Norris, Douglass Dumbrille, Tala Birell. Includes all 13 chapters.
Horrors of Spider Island (1960)
A classic mix of horror, bad special effects, and sexy beauties, this West German import tells of a talent scout and six gorgeous gals whose plane crashes on a deserted island inhabited by a giant spider whose bite turns the agent into a monster. This version of the film features a “skinny-dipping” sequence cut from most others. Stars Alex D’Arcy, Barbara Valentin, Rainer Brandt, Dorothee Parker, Helma Vandenberg. AKA: “It’s Hot in Paradise.”
Handed a Miami party pass by fan Paula Abdul (as herself)–and discovering that it only admits three–Sal (Sal Vulcano), Joe (Joe Gatto), Murr (James Murray), and Q (Brian Quinn) road-trip down from Staten Island, challenging one another to their signature hidden-camera competitive shenanigans with the loser being cut out of attending. Bellylaugh-filled big-screen spin-off for the Tenderloins’ enduring truTV series features cameos from Jaden Smith, Joey Fatone.
Bad Therapy (2020)
Quirky dark comedy focuses on Susan (Alicia Silverstone) and Bob (Rob Corddry), a married Los Angeles couple in need of a little therapy. Marriage counselor Judy Small (Michaela Watkins) comes highly recommended, but when she insists they see her separately, it’s just the first in a series of obsessive and calculating–not to mention professionally questionable–tactics designed to break up Susan and Bob. With Aisha Tyler, Sarah Shahi, Haley Joel Osment, Anna Pniowsky, David Paymer.
Divine comedy is in store for the quiet English village of Dibley when their newly appointed vicar turns out to be a woman. Dawn French stars as put-upon cleric Geraldine Granger in this beloved, award-winning British sitcom created by screenwriter/director Richard Curtis (“Love Actually”). Co-stars Gary Waldhorn, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Trevor Peacock, Emma Chambers, and John Bluthal. All 20 episodes and 10 specials are included in this collection.
Vanessa Redgrave delivers a fine performance as famed American dancer Isadora Duncan in this engaging biodrama. The film follows Isadora’s rise to international stardom in the early 20th century–when her risqué style of dance and forward-thinking lifestyle were considered scandalous–as well as her romantic relationships, devastating personal tragedies, and untimely death. With John Fraser, James Fox, Jason Robards, Zvonimir Crnko.
Project: Metalbeast (1995)
High-tech terror and supernatural suspense mix in this tale of a CIA experiment in lycanthropy that went horribly (and, not surprisingly) awry, resulting in a bloodbath. Twenty years later, a scientist (Kim Delaney) developing artificial skin uses as a test subject that ill-fated project’s cryogenically frozen leader/willing guinea pig (John Marzilli), resulting in the accidental creation of a werewolf with metallic skin and a thirst for blood. With Barry Bostwick, Kane Hodder, Musetta Vander.
In a British harbor town, young widow Anne Osborne (Sarah Miles) found her lonely existence upended by her chance encounter with American mariner Jim Cameron (Kris Kristofferson). Though their mutual attraction swiftly becomes intensely and erotically physical, her impressionable adolescent son Jonathan (Jonathan Kahn) has a disturbingly stunning response once Cameron chooses to move on. Striking adaptation of the Yukio Mishima novel co-stars Earl Rhodes, Margo Cunningham.
Three Christs (2017)
Joining the staff of a Michigan mental hospital in 1959, psychiatrist Alan Stone (Richard Gere) sought to reject then-accepted treatments for paranoid schizophrenia. By arranging group therapy for a trio of patients (Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins, Bradley Whitford)–each under the delusion that he was Jesus–he’d find outcomes he hadn’t anticipated. Intriguing effort drawn from the Milton Rokeach case study “The Three Christs of Ysplanti” co-stars Julianna Margulies, Charlotte Hope.
Young Ahmed (2019)
With an absent father and little going on in his life, Belgian 13-year-old Ahmed (Idir Bin Addi) was readily swayed toward religious fundamentalism by online influences and the leanings of his charismatic imam (Othmane Moumen). His growing isolation would find him lashing out at family–and dramatically so against the kindly teacher (Myriem Akheddiou) he regards as an apostate. Engrossing effort from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne co-stars Claire Bodson.
Erudite and witty, unsentimental and caustic, her analyses for The New Yorker made her indisputably the most influential film critic of her ‘60s-’70s heyday–and arguably, of all time. The life and career of Pauline Kael pull focus in this absorbing documentary, which combines copious archival interviews of its famously feisty subject with new observations from dozens of contemporaries, adherents, and foes, including Alec Baldwin, John Boorman, Francis Ford Coppola, and David Edelstein.
The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)
Creepy, crawly spiders from space appear in a small Wisconsin town and wreak havoc. Soon, the townsfolk find themselves under attack from the now-colossal critters, who think that people taste like YUM! Good thing two NASA scientists (Steve Brodie, Barbara Hale) are hard at work on solving this sticky problem! This bug-tastic shocker co-stars Leslie Parrish, Alan Hale, Jr.
This four-disc chilling collection of horror classics includes The Monster and the Girl (1941), Captive Wild Woman (1943), Jungle Woman (1944), and Jungle Captive (1945).