Lately we’ve been talking a lot about summer blockbusters on MovieFanFare, and can you blame us? There is an excitement to seeing a huge budget film packed with thrills, stunts and excitement that is unlike any other moviegoing experience. The Indiana Jones saga is one of our most enduring film franchises — indeed, as you read these very words production is underway on a fifth entry in the saga. Kicking off this week’s new releases is a new Indy 4K Ultra HD set, and it is just one of the great offerings that is now available. Although all of the following aren’t blockbusters, they all chronicle the human experience, making them worthy additions to your physical media library!
Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection (4K Ultra HD)
Five-disc set includes Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).
The Lovebirds (2020)
Breakup-bound Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) were trying to be good citizens when they let a badge-flashing pedestrian commandeer their car to chase a fugitive bicyclist. However, the “cop” proceeded to literally run down his quarry, then take off on foot. After being made by eyewitnesses, they’re faced with a comic hunt to try and clear their names–and if they blow it, it won’t just be their relationship that’s doomed. Thrilling action-comedy co-stars Anna Camp, Kyle Bornheimer.
City of Lies (2021)
The unsolved murders of rap superstars The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur are at the center of this true-life crime drama. Almost twenty years after the homicides, disgraced former LAPD detective Russell Poole (Johnny Depp) and journalist Jack Jackson (Forest Whitaker) work together to uncover the truth, reinforcing Poole’s long-held suspicions of police corruption and a cover-up. Shot in 2016, the film co-stars Rockmond Dunbar, Neil Brown Jr., Xander Berkeley.
Y Tu Mamá También (Criterion Collection) (2002)
Two Mexican teens–wealthy Tenoch and working-class Julio–hope to fill their idle summer days with sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. At a wedding party, they meet Luisa, a striking woman 10 years their senior and fed up with her adulterous husband. She joins the boys on a road trip to a beach resort and, during the journey, teaches them some scorchingly erotic lessons. Alfonso Cuarón’s sensual odyssey stars Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, Maribel Verdú.
From the producers of “The Simpsons”! Jon Lovitz is the animated Jay Sherman, a TV movie critic who is forced to review the most pathetic films which he always rates as “It stinks.” In addition to the film parodies, the show also deals with his personal life: working for a tyrannical media mogul boss, his lovelife and his family. The complete series is featured in this collection.
The Tanner abode in San Francisco got a refill from the next generation, in this anticipated sequel sitcom. Recently widowed veterinarian D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure) decided the best option for her three sons (Michael Campion, Elias Harger, Dashiell and Fox Messitt) would be a blended household with sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), lifelong bestie Kimmy (Andrea Barber), and her teenage daughter (Soni Nicole Bringas). “Full House” regulars Bob Saget, John Stamos, Dave Coulier, and Lori Loughlin made guest appearances as well.
75 episodes on 10 discs.
Fool for Love (1985)
Robert Altman and Sam Shepard team up to bring Shepard’s insightful, multi-layered play of obsessive love to the screen. Transient cowpuncher Eddie (Shepard) pulls up at a rundown desert hotel, ready to resume his passionate love-hate relationship with onetime flame May (Kim Basinger), but an eccentric old local (Harry Dean Stanton) makes clear why their union is, and has always been, doomed. Randy Quaid, Deborah McNaughton also star.
Pretty in Pink (Steelbook Packaging 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray)
Working class Andie (Molly Ringwald) and rich kid Blane (Andrew McCarthy) are star-crossed high school lovers from opposite sides of the tracks. With the senior prom fast approaching, can their romance survive the unrequited crush of Andie’s best pal Duckie (Jon Cryer) as well as pressure from Blane’s clique of wealthy friends? James Spader, Annie Potts, and Harry Dean Stanton also star in this seriocomedy from writer John Hughes and director Howard Deutch
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Steelbook Packaging 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray)
High-spirited “hooky” comedy from John Hughes stars Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, an über-popular Chicago high school student who recruits girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) and best pal Cameron (Alan Ruck) for an unauthorized day off on a beautiful spring day. Tooling around in Cameron’s dad’s Ferrari, the trio will have to stay one step ahead of tenacious dean of students, Edward R. Rooney (Jeffrey Jones). With Jennifer Grey, Edie McClurg.
Cusp-of-30 office drone Fred Fitzell (Dylan O’Brien) had the usual angst of a man his age…until he started fixating on a long-forgotten classmate (Maika Monroe) who’d inexplicably vanished back in high school. The obsession led him to recall his own use in the day of a mysterious designer drug–and into an existence where his ability to distinguish between present and past starts breaking down. Hallucinatory thriller co-stars Keir Gilchrist, Hannah Gross, Emory Cohen, Amanda Brugel. AKA: “The Education Of Fredrick Fitzell.”
An exciting, lighthearted Gallic adventure starring Jean-Paul Belmondo as an 18th-century Parisian thief who quits the outlaw Malichot’s (Marcel Dalio) gang and becomes the highwayman known as “Cartouche.” Together with the beautiful Gypsy (Claudia Cardinale) he loves and the rest of their rabble, Cartouche passes his ill-gotten gains along to the less fortunate, much to the displeasure of his former boss. With Jean Rochefort; co-written and directed by Philippe de Broca.
Le Magnifique (1973)
Jean-Paul Belmondo plays both shy adventure writer François Merlin and his suave fictional hero, Bob Saint-Clar, in this fast-paced comedy from director Philippe de Broca. Merlin’s life begins mixing with his writing, and soon his exploits as Saint-Clar find him romancing the gorgeous Tatiana (Jacqueline Bisset)–who is actually Merlin’s neighbor, Christine–and battling the villainous Col. Karpoff (Vittorio Caprioli), in reality the author’s publisher, Georges Charron. AKA: “The Magnificent,” “The Man from Acapulco.”
From Ken Burns, creator of the acclaimed series “The Civil War,” comes a monumental look at America’s pastime. Chronicling the history of the sport from its genesis in the early 1800s to the modern era, the nine-part series surveys baseball and its relationship to American culture and society. Filled with archival footage, interviews with diamond stars past and present, and commentary from George Will, Bob Costas, Billy Crystal, and other notables, this epic is a must-have for all lovers of the game. Also included is Burns’ 2010 follow-up, “Baseball: The Tenth Inning.” 23 hrs. total on 11 discs.
Miserably newlywed for business motivations, honeymooning heir Henry Leblanc (Uno Henning) is captivated by Stascha (Marlene Dietrich), a beautiful woman squired by the creepy Dr. Karoff (Fritz Kortner). When she asserts unhappiness with her own situation, Henry connives a plan for them to run off together–but she’s tragically keeping the truth about her connection to Karoff. Early dramatic lead for Dietrich co-stars Oskar Sima; Curtis Bernhardt directs.
MacGyver: Season 4 (2020)
A Swiss Army knife, his wits, and maybe a paper clip or two is all the equipment covert government operative Angus “Mac” MacGyver (Lucas Till) needs to stop the bad guys, in this action-packed redo of the popular 1985-92 series. Premiering on CBS in 2016, the show also stars George Eads as Mac’s partner and ex-Delta Force soldier Jack Dalton, Tristin Mays as hacker and tech specialist Riley Davis, and Justin Hires as Wilt Bozer, a childhood friend of Mac’s and would-be film director. 13 episodes on 3 discs.
When formidable foodie Henry Ross (Dylan Neal) and SFPD detective pal Maggie Price (Brooke Burns) dropped by a charity auction–where he was to authenticate and bid on the chef’s book from a legendary eatery–they found the item had been snapped up. After Maggie traced the bookseller buyer to his establishment, and found him dead, they’d be trying to cook up another seemingly impossible solution. Fifth franchise entry also stars Bruce Boxleitner, Samantha Ferris, Matthew Kevin Anderson.
Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978)
Creepy 1970s made-for-TV shocker focuses on a suburban dad as he brings home a German shepherd for his family, unaware that the pooch is one of Satan’s minions. When the demonically possessed canine begins using supernatural powers to wreak murderous havoc, the stage is set for a dramatic showdown between man and beast. Richard Crenna, Yvette Mimieux, Kim Richards, Ike Eisenmann star.
Left amnesiac after a horrific London car crash eight months prior, a man (Luc Merenda) clung desperately to what shards of memory he had. The trail took him to Portofino, Italy, and the lovely wife (Senta Berger) he’d quickly married just before his disappearance. As they pieced together his past, they’d discover that it wasn’t very savory…and that it was about to catch up with him. Duccio Tessari’s stylish giallo co-stars Anita Strindberg, Umberto Orsini, Bruno Corazzari.
Animator Marcell Jankovics rendered an eye-popping fantasy adaptation of the favorite Hungarian folk tale, as the powerful hero Treeshaker–whelped and raised by a white horse–set out in search of his biological brothers Stonecrusher and Irontemperer to gain their help in finding the entrance to the Underworld and liberating the trio of princesses trapped within. Long-unseen spectacle features the voices of György Cserhalmi, Vera Pap.
The Howl of the Devil (1988)
After the suicide of iconic horror film star Alex Doriani (Paul Naschy), his son Adrian (Sergio Molina) was left in the care of Alex’s resentful failed thespian twin brother Hector (Naschy, again). To escape life in Hector’s isolated mansion and its parade of women hired for rough sex (and mysteriously slain on the way out), Adrian retreated into a fantasy world of movie monsters (all played by Naschy). Terror tour-de-force co-stars Caroline Munro, Howard Vernon.
Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)Pau
From the “Pretty in Pink” writer/director team of John Hughes and Howard Deutch comes this engaging teen comedy/drama. Eric Stoltz stars as sensitive high school outsider Keith Nelson, who pines for the beautiful and popular Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson), all the while oblivious to the fact that his tomboy best friend Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) is carrying a torch for him. With Craig Sheffer, John Ashton, Elias Koteas.
A rafting trip down the Rio Grande turns to terror when campers in a ghost town are knocked off one by one by an unseen killer. What else exactly is an unseen killer to do with his free time, after all? Their only chance to make it out alive may lie with an enigmatic cowboy who purports to have spent the last four decades tracking the murderous maniac. This creepy chiller produced during the golden age of the “slasher” era stars Pepper Martin, Hank Worden, and Woody Strode.
Seminary dropout Ike “Vikar” Jerome (James Franco, who directed)–having seen a mere handful of movies, but obsessed nonetheless–came to Hollywood in 1969, looking for whatever labor he could find. Schooled in film editing by a kindly veteran (Jacki Weaver), he’d have a roller-coaster career, miraculously hanging on in a jarringly evolving industry. Long-shelved take on the Steve Erickson novel co-stars Megan Fox, Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, Joey King, Dave Franco, Danny McBride.
The Green Promise (1949)
Stubborn widower Matthews (Walter Brennan), struggling to raise four children on his own, refuses to use modern technology to run his farm. But when he becomes incapacitated, oldest daughter Deborah (Marguerite Chapman) takes over and, with help from her siblings and a local boy (Robert Paige) who’s taken a liking to her, shows Matthews the error of his Luddite ways. Warm family drama also stars Natalie Wood, Milburn Stone, Robert Ellis. AKA: “Raging Waters.”
The Unhealer (2020)
Bullied teen Kelly (Elijah Nelson) was put upon in part because of an eating disorder, and his desperate mom (Natasha Henstridge) turned to an oddball faith healer (Lance Henriksen) for help. The botched ritual transferred the old man’s shamanistic power–to visit his suffered pain on those that inflicted it–to his young subject…and now Kelly’s going to literally let his tormentors know how it feels. Novel revenger also stars Kayla Carlson, Adam Beach, Branscombe Richmond, Chris Browning.
The Good Traitor (2020)
In April 1940, Danish diplomat Henrik Kauffmann (Ulrich Thomsen) was a few months into his posting as ambassador to the U.S. when his nation capitulated to invading German forces. Daringly declaring himself his people’s one true representative, he’d spend the war years facilitating the Allied cause–and angling to avoid deportation–as shown in this intriguing biodrama. Denise Gough, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Zoë Tapper, Henry Goodman co-star.
Assault on VA-33 (2021)
It’s “Die Hard” in a hospital when terrorists take over a VA medical center while PTSD-afflicted U.S. Army veteran Jason Hill (Sean Patrick Flanery) is on the premises. Big mistake. And with his wife, daughter, and a high-ranking general part of a group being held hostage, Hill could be the only one who can keep the ruthless villains from carrying out their evil plot. Action-packed thriller also stars Michael Jai White, Mark Dacascos, Weston Cage Coppola, Gina Holden.
By 1900, Lyman Frank Baum was a 44-year-old Chicago journalist whose aspirations had taken him around the nation, seeking but not finding fortune as an actor, dry grocer, publisher, and traveling salesman. That year, his dreams to craft children’s literature brought the publication of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” and this “American Experience” entry offers a revealing look at both his remarkable life and enduring legacy.
The first of several projected spin-offs from “Power” picks up soon after the original series’ conclusion and puts James St. Patrick’s conflicted son Tariq (Michael Rainey, Jr.) at center stage. As Tariq tries to move on with his life, with his mother Tasha (Naturi Naughton) facing the rap for his crime, the choice between a college career and his father’s legacy of dealing may prove no choice at all. Mary J. Blige, Method Man, Melanie Liburd, Paige Hurd, Woody McClain, LaToya Tonodeo, Shane Johnson co-star. 10 episodes on 3 discs.
The Human Condition (Criterion Collection)
All three parts of Masaki Kobayashi’s thoughtful trilogy are included in this release.
Winning 1984-1996 CBS series starred Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, a former substitute teacher-turned-mystery novelist. While writing bestselling whodunits, Fletcher puts her sleuthing skills to the test by attempting to solve real-life crimes in the small town of Cabot Cove, Maine. Recurring cast members included Tom Bosley, Ron Masak, William Windom, Michael Horton, and Jerry Orbach. 264 episodes on 63 discs.