New Release Wall
At the midway point of 2022, it seems difficult to imagine how “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24/Lionsgate) wouldn’t be figuring heavily in best-of lists and award chatter come December. The sophomore feature from The Daniels (“Swiss Army Man”) mixes genres and metaphysics with heart and soul to create a hard-to-describe but easy-to-love masterpiece, one that’s not quite like anything else you’ve ever seen. Moving, funny, exciting, mind-bending and always giving you something to look at — including extraordinary performances from Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu and Jamie Lee Curtis — this is a one-of-a-kind film that will reward repeat viewings (and a deep dive into the extras on the DVD and Blu-ray).
“The Bob’s Burgers Movie” (20th Century Studios): There’s a mystery to solve, a sinkhole to fill, and a restaurant to save in the first big-screen outing for the long-running Fox animated sitcom.
“Cinderella” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Charm and irritation do battle in this updated take on the legendary fairy tale (starring Camila Cabello), but it does have its moments.
“Downton Abbey: A New Era” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment): This second film adaptation of the cozy, beloved series involves so many cast members (as British aristocrats and their servants) that they had to bifurcate the story to two locations.
“The Duke” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Jim Broadbent stars as an unlikely art thief and Helen Mirren as his ever-patient wife in this “true story of Brits being adorably criminal” movie.
“The Lost City” (Paramount Home Entertainment): Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum and (all too briefly) Brad Pitt employ their wattage to carry the day in this “Romancing the Stone” retread that goes down easily enough.
“Reno 911! The Hunt for QAnon” (Comedy Central/Paramount): America’s dopiest law-enforcement team meets its mental match as they set sail on a very MAGA cruise to hunt down the notorious internet influencer.
“Superior” (Factory 25) stars twin actresses Alessandra Mesa and Ani Mesa as twins Marian and Vivian, who reunite under stressful circumstances in the stylish debut feature from director Erin Vassilopoulos. Marian’s on the run, Vivian’s stuck in their hometown, and their troubles really start when the two have to trade places in this unpredictable thriller that’s earned comparisons to early David Lynch. The Blu-ray features a commentary, short film, and Q&A.
“Dual” (RLJE Films): Karen Gillan must battle her clone to the death — in a future society, there can be only one — so she turns to Aaron Paul for coaching.
“Final Flesh” (AGFA/Drag City): Director Vernon Chatman wrote a four-part screenplay about a family living by ground zero of an apocalyptic event, then sent the chapters to four different adult-fetish video companies to see what they’d make of it, and the results are like nothing you’d imagine.
“The Righteous” (Arrow): Henry Czerny stars in this black-and-white thriller who gets far more than he bargained for when he invites a stranger to stay the night.
Even after “Drive My Car” (The Criterion Collection) swept Best Picture from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics, this powerful Japanese import shocked veteran awards pundit when it became a major Oscar contender. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s contemplation of grief, redemption and theatre is masterfully subtle (and yes, three hours long), so it’s an essential addition to your media library as a film that merits multiple viewings. (Criterion, of course, offers plenty of ancillary materials, including a new interview with the director, an extensive making-of documentary, the press conference from the film’s Cannes 2021 premiere and more.
“Apocalypse After” (Altered Innocence): A collection of provocative shorts from director Bertrand Mandico (“The Wild Boys,” “After Blue (Dirty Paradise)”).
“Pompo the Cinephile” (GKIDS): A producer takes a chance on her assistant and hires him to direct a film in this movie-mad anime hit.
“Poppy Field” (Film Movement): A closeted Bucharest cop sees his personal and professional lives collide in this acclaimed Romanian drama.
“Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis” (Eleven Arts/Shout Factory): The popular and long-running sports manga makes the leap to anime. (Seriously, American animation studios, why can’t we have feature films about moviemaking and tennis?)
“Sexual Drive” (Film Movement): Filmmaker Kôta Yoshida connects three disparate characters by their appetites for both sex and food in a film that’s equal parts thriller, sex comedy, and gastronomic extravaganza.
“The Sacred Spirit” (Arrow): The debut feature from Spanish writer-director Chema Garcia Ibarra, shot in 16mm, follows a quiet office worker who comes to understand a shocking secret when he becomes the leader of a group of UFO enthusiasts.
Just when we thought there was nothing new to learn or say about the Fab Four, along comes “The Beatles: Get Back” (Disney/Apple Corps), Peter Jackson’s extraordinary assemblage of documentary footage originally shot in January 1969 by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg (“Let It Be”). The results are an exhilarating portrait of artists at work and the creativity and volatility of a band that is about to dissolve after changing the world.
“20,000 Days on Earth” (Giant Pictures): A day in the life of legendary musician Nick Cave.
“Accepted” (Greenwich Entertainment): Students at a Louisiana prep school known for funneling students to elite universities must contemplate their futures after a New York Times article raises questions about the school’s legitimacy.
“Alaskan Nets” (GDE): Examines the power of basketball to bring together the community of Metlakatla, Alaska’s last Native reserve.
“Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen” (Zeitgeist/Kino Lorber): Broadway success doesn’t always translate to movies, but this joyous doc follows director Norman Jewison and the talented cast and crew that made “Fiddler on the Roof” a cinematic triumph.
“Forbidden Love” (Canadian International Pictures): This acclaimed 1992 Canadian documentary mixes interviews with cinematic flights of fantasy to explore “hidden” lesbian lives of the mid-20th century.
“Invisible Valley” (Kino Lorber): A look at one year in the Coachella Valley, from wealthy snowbirds to undocumented farm workers to music-festival attendees — and the environmental forces that affect them all.
“Museum Town” (Kino Lorber): How did a dried-up Massachusetts industrial town become a mecca for contemporary art? Director Jennifer Trainer tells the tale (and Meryl Streep narrates it).
“Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché” (Utopia): This portrait of the X-Ray Spex vocalist (co-directed by the singer’s daughter) tells the story of the first woman of color to front a UK punk band.
“The Silver Screen: Color Me Lavender” (Kino Lorber): Documentarian Mark Rappoport (“Rock Hudson’s Home Movies,” “From the Journals of Jean Seberg”) parses the queer underpinnings of classic Hollywood and provides new context for wildly gay moments that have been in the movies all along.
“Stay Prayed Up” (Greenwich Entertainment): This music-filled doc celebrates the legacy of 82-year-old gospel legend Lena Mae Perry and the South Carolina gospel combo The Branchettes as they record their first live album.
Summers with Picasso (Icarus Films Home Video): This two-disc set features a pair of films about the artist’s French period: François Levy Kuentz’s “On the French Riviera with Man Ray and Picasso” and Christian Tran’s “Picasso and Sima, Antibes 1946.”
“We Want the Airwaves” (Gravitas Ventures): Go behind the scenes as a trio of first-time TV-makers try to hit the airwaves with their activist docu-series, “Manifesto!”
The “killer alien disguised as a sexy human lady” sub-genre has had many entries over the years, but “Species” (Scream Factory) ranks among the best, thanks mainly to Natasha Henstridge’s combination of ethereal beauty and commitment to the bit. It helps that director Roger Donaldson leans heavily on both sex and violence — always a winning combo in exploitation fare — and that the film features a top-drawer roster of character actors including Alfred Molina, Marg Helgenberger, Forest Whitaker, Michael Madsen, Ben Kingsley and, in one of her very first screen roles, Michelle Williams.
“11th Hour Cleaning” (Screen Media): A crime-scene clean-up crew is tormented by a Nordic demon hanging around one of their jobsites.
“Bigfoot or Bust” (Coldwater): From director Jim Wynorski, so you know “or bust” isn’t just an expression in this goofy comedy about curvy monster-hunters and time travel.
“Cordelia” (Screen Media): Antonia Campbell-Hughes is sent into a “Repulsion”-esque spiral by her handsome neighbor Johnny Flynn (“Emma.”).
Giallo Essentials: Black Edition (Arrow): This box set features some lesser-known but still essential entries into the popular Italian horror sub-genre: Silvio Amadio’s “Smile Before Death,” Francesco Mazzei’s “The Weapon, The Hour, The Motive” and Giuseppe Bennati’s “The Killer Reserved Nine Seats.”
“Hell High” (Arrow): Cruel high-school pranks lead to bloody horror in this 1989 film also known as “Raging Fury.”
“Hellbender” (Shudder/RLJE): A repressed young woman discovers that “illness” isn’t the real reason that her mother has kept her locked away from the world in this witchy coming-of-age thriller.
“Martial Club” (88 Films): Rival fight school throw down in this Shaw Brothers martial-arts extravaganza.
“Monstrous” (Screen Media): Christina Ricci and Santino Bernard star as a traumatized mother and son who face new horrors when they move into an isolated house.
“Planet of the Vampires” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Sci-fi and horror collide in this Mario Bava classic, presented on this new Blu-ray in a new 2K restoration with lots of extras.
“Slapface” (Shudder/RLJE): With few other friends in his life, a withdrawn young boy strikes up an acquaintance with the monster in the local woods.
“Steele Justice” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Martin Kove (“Cobra Kai”) stars in a “Rambo” knock-off that nonetheless boasts an impressive supporting cast, including Sela Ward, Ronny Cox, Bernie Casey, and Sarah Douglas. New commentary on this Blu-ray release.
“Terror Circus” (Code Red) Fans of legendary director Alan Rudolph often cite “Welcome to L.A.” as his debut feature, but he got his start with a pair of early-70s horror movies, one of which was this saga of an unhinged kidnapper and trio of Vegas showgirls.
“They Live in the Grey” (Shudder/RLJE): The title suggests a meeting between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Liam Neeson, but it’s actually about a social worker whose investigation of a child-abuse claim leads to the discovery of a supernatural entity that’s harassing an entire family.
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics), making its 4K debut, probably represents the blip in Hollywood history where anyone would have thought to match up Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. They’re not an obvious choice as a romantic couple, but then little in Spike Jonze’s direction of Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay travels the past of least resistance. This story of love, loss, regret and memory butts up against any number of genres — including rom-com, drama, and sci-fi — yet ultimately manages to find its own distinctive tone.
“Adventures of Don Juan” (Warner Archive Collection): This 1948 Errol Flynn vehicle looks better than ever in a 4K scan of the original nitrate Technicolor negative.
“Desperate Hours” (MVD Rewind): Mickey Rourke stars in this remake of the Humphrey Bogart thriller.
“Doña Flor and Her Two Husbands” (Film Movement Classics): Sonia Braga rocketed to international stardom in this sexy Brazilian farce about a woman torn between her nice-guy second husband and her ne’er-do-well first husband, even though the latter is a ghost.
“El Cortez” (Kino Lorber): Lou Diamond Phillips stars in this contemporary (2006) noir about an autistic ex-con who gets ensnared in a murderous scheme.
Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema VIII (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): This latest collection in the series features “Street of Chance” (1942), “Temptation” (1946) and “Enter Arsene Lupin” (1944).
“The Frisco Kid” (Warner Archive Collection): Gene Wilder as a westward-bound rabbi makes an unlikely pairing with cowboy Harrison Ford in this 1979 Robert Aldrich comedy-Western.
“The Killing” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Stanley Kubrick’s heist classic — the movie that taught young Quentin Tarantino everything he knows about non-sequential narrative — makes its 4K debut.
“Last of the Dogmen” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Barbara Hershey and Tom Berenger happen upon a previously undiscovered indigenous tribe.
Maria Montez & Jon Hall Collection (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Fans of vintage colonizer camp would do well to pick up this box set featuring three movies (“White Savage,” “Gypsy Wildcat,” “Sudan”) from its most glamorous practitioners.
“Marty” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): The Oscar wins (including Best Picture and Best Actor) for this adaptation of a Paddy Chayefsky teleplay (starring Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair) cemented the influence the small screen would have upon Hollywood.
“Miami Blues” (MVD Rewind): Film critic Curt Holman once referred to this sweaty comedy-thriller — in which fugitive Alec Baldwin pretends to be a cop, using a badge stolen from Fred Ward — as “a four-star two-and-a-half-star movie.”
“Nathalie…” (Cohen Film Collection): Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart and Gerard Depardieu form an unconventional love triangle in this drama from Anne Fontaine.
“Native Son” (Kino Classics): Novelist Richard Wright stars as his own protagonist, Bigger Thomas, in this French 1951 adaptation of his classic 1940 novel. Censored upon its original US release, the film appears in the most complete form ever available in the United States on this new Blu-ray restoration.
“Salt and Pepper” / “One More Time” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Rat Pack–ers Sammy Davis Jr. (he’s Salt) and Peter Lawford (he’s Pepper) teamed up amiably in a pair of comedic adventures, playing London nightclub owners who get pulled into capers and shenanigans. “One More Time” is notable for being one of the few films directed by, but not starring, Jerry Lewis.
“Sampo” (Deaf Crocodile): If you know this film only from “Mystery Science Theater 3000” — which screened the chopped-up version released by AIP in the 1960s — you’re missing out on an epic Russian-Finnish mythological adventure. The complete, restored version makes its US release, in a new 4K remaster, on this new Blu-ray.
“Summertime” (The Criterion Collection): Katharine Hepburn gives one of her most haunting performances as a love-starved school teacher having a summer fling on a trip to Venice in this David Lean drama.
“They Call Me Mister Tibbs” / “The Organization” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Sidney Poitier made such an impact with audiences in 1967’s “In the Heat of the Night” that he played Detective Virgil Tibbs in two follow-up features, both making their Blu-ray debuts.
“Time Out of Mind” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Phyllis Calvert and Robert Hutton star in this noir-flavored melodrama from Robert Siodmak.
“Where the Lilies Bloom” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Four children fight to keep their family together after the death of their father; keep an eye out for a pre-“WKRP” Jan Smithers.
While “The Twilight Zone” deserves all the praise it gets, there hasn’t been nearly enough adulation for Rod Serling’s other major anthology show, which the new collection “Night Gallery”: Season Two (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) seeks to remedy. This gorgeous set features 2K restorations of every single episode of the season, and each one comes with at least one separate commentary track, including several from super-fan Guillermo del Toro as well as filmmakers like John Badham who worked on the original show.
“Ants!” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): This entertainingly ridiculous nature-gone-wild thriller (also known as “It Happened at Lakewood Manor”) will give you the creepy-crawlies.
“Batwoman”: The Third and Final Season (DC/WB): Oh Kate Kane/Ryan Wilder, you were just too awesome for prime time.
“I’m Dangerous Tonight” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): In this made-for-TV movie — something of a precursor to “In Fabric” — Mädchen Amick turns an ancient cloak into a dress that leads anyone who wears it to ruin. Directed by Tobe Hooper!
“Rocco Schiavone: Ice Cold Murders”: Seasons 3 & 4 (Kino Lorber): The irascible Roman detective continues to solve crimes in the remote Alps — but can he solve the riddle of his own psyche?
“SeaQuest DSV”: The Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment): Steven Spielberg’s submarine-themed show (like his LA submarine-themed restaurant) was not long for this world, but he gave it a good shot.
“Starhunter Redux”: The Complete Series (Shout Factory): The cult sci-fi series makes its Blu-ray debut with this 10-disc set.
“Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Another 1970s made-for-TV scary-bugs classic, this one stars Claude Akins, Tom Atkins (“Halloween III: Season of the Witch”) and Pat Hingle.
“Terror Out of the Sky” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Also known as “The Revenge of the Savage Bees” — yes, another bad-bug movie — this one has Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Dan Haggerty, Tovah Feldshuh and the recently departed Philip Baker Hall standing between humanity and winged destruction.
“That Dirty Black Bag”: Season 1 (AMC/RLJE): How gritty is this Western series? The title refers to the receptacle a bounty hunter uses to carry heads of his quarry in.
“Yellowjackets”: Season One (Showtime/CBS/Paramount): One of the past year’s most addictive shows, a group of women are unwillingly reunited when a shared secret from their past comes roaring back to haunt them. Perfect for revisiting as we all wait for season two.