This week’s new Blu-ray and DVD offerings are the perfect snapshot of the diversity of the moviegoing experience. Making their home video debuts this week are are assortment of favorites — both classic and contemporary — from the Warner Archive and the Criterion Collection. Other noteworthy new offerings include everything from recent TV season sets (perfect for your own bingewatching sessions) to cult faves for psychotronic film fans. Take a look at the latest and greatest new releases, and plan what you’ll be watching next!
Another Thin Man (1939)
In their third screen outing, new parents Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell, Myrna Loy) travel to the Long Island estate of a wealthy munitions mogul (C. Aubrey Smith) who’s convinced a shakedown artist (Sheldon Leonard) is out to kill him. When he’s found murdered, the cops find the case open and shut–but a skeptical Nick isn’t so sure. Engaging whodunit based on Dashiell Hammett’s “The Farewell Murder” also stars Virginia Grey, Otto Kruger, Ruth Hussey, Patric Knowles.
Each Dawn I Die (1939)
Crusading reporter Frank Ross (James Cagney) got under the skin of the local political machine…so they framed him on a DUI manslaughter rap. Gamely trying to keep from being broken by prison–and those trying to ensure he never gets out–the alliance for survival he strikes with connected inmate Hood Stacey (George Raft) might be his only ticket to freedom. Top-notch “big house” drama that was a Warners staple also stars George Bancroft, Jane Bryan, Victor Jory, Maxie Rosenbloom.
Quick Change (1990)
For Grimm (Bill Murray), Phyllis (Geena Davis), and Loomis (Randy Quaid), sticking up a midtown Manhattan bank and exiting with a million in cash was the easy part. Getting to Kennedy Airport would be another story, as they hit a nightmarish series of Big Apple obstacles while trying to stay ahead of the world-weary cop (Jason Robards) on their tail. Murray co-directed this calamitous comic take on the Jay Cronley novel; keep an eye out for Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub, Phil Hartman.
Irma Vep (Criterion Collection)(1997)
Writer/director Olivier Assayas’ satirical look at the French movie industry stars Jean-Pierre Leaud as a once-hot filmmaker whose comeback attempt is a remake of the classic silent serial “Les Vampires,” with Hong Kong action star Maggie Cheung (playing herself) in the lead. Language problems, an amorous costume lady and a nervous breakdown by the director are among the on- and off-the-set crises.
Masculin Feminin (Criterion Collection)(1966)
In his cinematic salute to the nascent youth counterculture of the 1960s (whom he described as “the children of Marx and Coca-Cola”), filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard depicts the stormy romance between radical and would-be writer Paul (Jean-Pierre Leaud) and beautiful pop singer Madeleine (Chantal Goya) in mod Paris. Marlène Jobert, Michel Debord, Catherine-Isabelle Duport co-star.
Cold Call (2019)
Already on the margins, home health care worker June Clarke (Sally Lindsay) made the grievous mistake of giving a telemarketer banking information–and the financial fallout worked a cascade of tragedy for her family as well as herself. Meeting an old school chum (Daniel Ryan) at a victims’ support group, he resolves to help her recover from the scammers…but the nature of the payback will be decidedly off the books. Suspense-drama co-stars Taj Atwal, Melanie Kilburn, Dan Renton Skinner.
Wisting: Season 1 (2019)
Veteran Larvik homicide detective William Wisting (Sven Nordin) found his latest investigation anything but routine after evidence linked the body to a long-vanished American serial killer. His bid to keep the case–and the presence of FBI Special Agent Maggie Griffin (Carrie-Ann Moss)–quiet hits a snag in the form of his determined crime journalist daughter Line (Thea Green Lundberg). Riveting procedural based on the Jørn Lier Horst novels co-stars Mads Ousdal, Lars Berge. 10 episodes on 3 discs.
A Lovely Way to Die (1968)
Having turned in his badge over brutality charges, ex-cop Jim Schuyler (Kirk Douglas) gets propositioned by a cagey lawyer (Eli Wallach) to bodyguard a gorgeous widow (Sylva Koscina) accused of killing her rich husband. As he starts falling for his charge, Schuyler sets out to prove her innocence…and might not live to regret the effort. Sharon Farrell, Ralph Waite co-star; keep an eye out for Ali MacGraw in her film debut.
Single mom Victoria (Ruby Rose) thought she could leave her dark and dangerous past as a Russian drug courier behind when she took a position as caregiver for retired police commissioner Damon (Morgan Freeman). Sounds like he didn’t vet her well? Think again–because he’s engineered her daughter’s kidnapping, and he’s turning the reluctant assassin loose on the gangsters who know all about his dirty laundry. Nick Vallelonga, Patrick Muldoon, Ekaterina Baker, Miles Doleac co-star. AKA: “The Longest Night.”
Deep Blood (1990)
A decade after four friends entered into a pact to help each other if danger ever arose, three find they’ll have to do just that when a monstrous shark kills the fourth as they all vacation together. But if their ravenous quarry is indeed the living embodiment of an ancient and deadly spirit as legend would suggest, do ordinary men stand a chance against it? Grisly Italian shocker stars Frank Baroni, Cort McCown, Keith Kelsch, and husband and wife comedy duo Mitzi McCall and Charlie Brill.
Battle Hymn (1957)
Based on a true story, director Douglas Sirk’s moving drama stars Rock Hudson as Col. Dean Hess, an American WWII pilot who became a minister after the war. Still racked with guilt over the unintended bombing of an orphanage in Germany, Hess returned to the service as a flight instructor during the Korean conflict where he wound up caring for a group of refugee children. With Martha Hyer, Dan Duryea, Don DeFore.
The Time Travelers (1964)
A group of researchers working on a visual portal through time find they succeeded too well, as they were able to physically step a century into the future–and found a dying Earth ravaged by mutants, with civilization’s remnants trying to flee the planet. Can the temporally-trapped scientists make their way back to their era and avert the catastrophe to come? Long-sought fantasy favorite stars Preston Foster, Philip Carey, Merry Anders, Steve Franken, John Hoyt.
Tell Me A Story: Season Two (2019)
Developed by Kevin Williamson for CBS All Access, each season arc of this ensemble crime drama intertwines a trio of plotlines inspired by classic fairy tales. Season 2 follows three troubled Nashville siblings: A once-rising country music singer (Natalie Alyn Lind) badly burned in an assault, who bonds with a disgraced cop (Eka Darville); her lawyer sister (Odette Annable), whose writer fiancé (Paul Wesley) falls into a dangerous obsession with a young woman (Danielle Campbell); and her alcoholic brother (Matt Lauria), seduced by a frustrated heiress (Ashley Madekwe) with a shadowed past. Carrie-Anne Moss also stars. 10 episodes on 3 discs.
Last Gasp (1995)
Ruthless developer Leslie Chase (Robert Patrick) didn’t want to be bothered with the indigenous tribe holding up his project in Mexico…so he engineered their mass execution. The dying chieftain, however, projects his spirit into his persecutor–and as Chase is seized by an unstoppable urge to kill and cannibalize his victims, he won’t long be able to outrun justice. Straight-to-video stunner also stars Joanna Pacula, Mimi Craven, Nan Martin, Don Edmonds.
Death Promise (1977)
The residents of a run-down New York tenement complain to the greedy businessmen who own the building, only to be met with hostility and violence. When one of the tenants is murdered, his martial arts student son and a buddy set out on a bone-breaking mission of vengeance to hit the fat cats where they live. Wild slice of low-budget, ’70s-style action cinema stars Charles Bonet, Speedy Leacock, Tony Liu. AKA: “Slumfighter.”
Switchblade Sisters (1975)
The Dagger Debs are the wildest–and sexiest–female teen gang to ever hit the mean streets, and when new gal Maggie (Joanne Nail) inadvertently comes between head Deb Lace (Robbie Lee) and her fella, you can bet there’ll be hell to pay! Maybe a stint in juvie–and a mutual enemy in “Crabs” (Chase Newhart)–can make these switchblade sisters simpatico. Director Jack Hill’s “Shakespeare-influenced girl gang/women in prison/action movie medley” co-stars Asher Brauner, Monica Gayle.
Werewolves on Wheels (1971)
You say you like growling, snarling man-beasts? You say you like red-hot biker action? Well, then, you can’t miss with this horrifying tale of a motorcycle gang that encounters a cult of Satanists. When a curse placed on the gang leader’s girlfriend transforms her into a bloodthirsty werewolf, she begins turning the rest of the bikers into leather-clad lycans. With Steve Oliver, Donna Anders, “Father Knows Best” co-star Billy Gray, and “Eve of Destruction” singer Barry McGuire.