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New to View: June 8

by on June 4, 2021
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By Bob Bloom
The following titles are being released on Tuesday, June 8, unless otherwise noted:

Center Stage (Blu-ray)
Details: 1992, Film Movement Classics
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The life and career of silent screen actress Ruan Lingyu, known as the “Greta Garbo of China” is the subject of this Hong Kong production.
Director Stanley Kwan does not tell her story in a conventional manner. Rather, he interposes footage from Ruan’s silent films and reflections about the actress from Kwan and star Maggie Cheung, who portrays Ruan.
Ruan, whose private life with frequent and vicious fodder for Shanghai tabloids, committed suicide in 1935 at the age of 24.
Also, the vast majority of her movies have been lost.
The film’s presentation is audacious, but effective. And critics believed so as well, giving it a 100 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; Cantonese and Mandarin 2.0 LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include an introduction to the movie and an interview with Kwan and an interview with Hong Kong film expert Paul Fonoroff.

Under the Sand (Blu-ray)
Details: 2000, Kino Classics
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Charlotte Rampling stars in this French drama about loss and grief.
Rampling plays Marie who, for many years, has spent summer vacations together with her husband, Jean (Bruno Cremer), at their country house.
One day, while Marie naps at the beach, Jean goes swimming. When Marie awakes, he is gone. Marie notifies the authorities, unsure whether Jean drowned or ran off.
After an extensive search, Jean’s body is not found. Marie is left in a hellish limbo, unable to properly grieve for her longtime love.
“Under the Sand,” which received a 93 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, offers a strong feature that looks at grief through the perspective of the mourner. Director Francois Ozon provides depth and an emotional truth that plays on our emotions.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; French 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus options include two commentary tracks, one with Ozon and the other with film critic Kat Ellinger, and an interview with Rampling.

The Stylist (Blu-ray + CD)
Details: 2021, Arrow Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: By day, Claire (Najarra Townsend, who also serves as one of the movie’s producers) is a hair stylist; at night, though, she is a serial killer who collects scalps, mostly of the customers she drugs then does away with.
Claire, who leads a lonely life, is conflicted after Olivia, her regular client, asks her to style her hair for her wedding day. Claire is afraid her homicidal tendencies will come to the fore.
The movie, written and directed by Jill Gevargizian, leaves several unanswered questions about Claire and how she became who she is.
Also, unexplained, is the mystery scar on her neck.
Still, “The Stylist,” shows some promise, having earned a 92 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
The Blu-ray comes with a CD of the film’s soundtrack.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a commentary track with Gevargizian and Townsend, an introduction to the film by Gevargizian, behind-the-scenes featurette, the video that was used to launch a Kickstarter campaign, the original short film “The Stylist” that was expanded into this feature, a look at some of the film’s locations and the visual essay, “The Invisible Woman,” that explores themes of women’s labor.

Sin (DVD)
Details: 2019 Corinth Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A historical drama, set in the early 16th century, that looks at Michelangelo’s struggles to finish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Because of his efforts, the artist is reduced to poverty and depleted because of his work.
When his sponsor, Pope Julius II dies, Michelangelo grows obsessed with getting the finest marble to complete his tomb.
His loyalty is tested when the new pope, Leo X, charges him with a lucrative new commission — the façade of the San Lorenzo basilica.
Michelangelo is under pressure from the new pope’s family, the Medicis, as well as that of his former patron, the Della Rovere. This causes the artist to begin examining his moral and artistic failings.
The movie is a character study of greatness and humanity behind a legendary artist. The film received an impressive 94 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: 1.33:1 full-screen picture; Italian Dolby digital; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a question-and-answer session with director Andrei Konchalovsky and a making of featurette.

True Mothers (DVD)
Details: 2020, Film Movement
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: An emotional Japanese feature about a couple who, after a long and unsuccessful struggle to get pregnant, decide to adopt a child.
During the next six years, the couple and the child settle into a comfortable, happy and routine life.
All that is shattered when a young woman, claiming to be the boy’s birth mother, arrives and demands his return.
As tension mounts, the only mother the boy has ever known grows fiercer and fiercer in her desire to protect her family.
The movie, which earned a 92 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, is an honest and open portrayal of motherhood.
Technical aspects: 1.85:1 widescreen picture; Japanese 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby digital; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental offerings include a short film, “Return to Toyama,” about a man who returns to his small coastal town to make amends with his father.

Puzzle (Blu-ray + DVD)
Details: 1974, VCI Home Entertainment-MVD Visual Entertainment
Rated: R, violence
The lowdown: In this Italian giallo feature, a man stranded in London is suffering from amnesia after a car accident.
With no memory, the only thing he can recall is that his name may be Peter. Despite an attempt to murder him and a series of strange events, he learns that his name is Ted and that he is married to the beautiful Sara (Senta Berger), who is waiting for him in the Italian resort town of Portofino.
When Ted arrives, he discovers that his wife is hurting, believing he had abandoned her. Her consolation is her dog and Luca, a young boy who lives next door.
Ted and Sara reconcile and set out to unravel the mystery of his missing months. They encounter, murders, international criminal plots and betrayals. They also are being tormented by a mysterious woman with a hidden agenda and a mystery man with allergies.
Closer to home, Sara is trying to figure out why the returned Ted is different from the one who left. As Sara and Ted continue to investigate, they come closer and closer to solving this strange puzzle.
The movie is a prime example of this uniquely Italian genre.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English (dubbed) stereo; English SDH subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English (dubbed) stereo; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include liner notes and a commentary track.

Fuller House: The Fifth and Final Season (DVD)
Details: 2019-20, Warner Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A two-disc set featuring the final 18 episodes of this update of the 1990s ABC series, “Full House.”
The new series, which aired on Netflix, is set in the Tanner childhood home in San Francisco.
In season five, the house is fuller than ever with the arrival of baby Daneille, while DJ, her sister, Stephanie, and best friend, Kimmy, await the next exciting family event — a triple wedding — as the members of the she-wolf pack prepare for marriage with Steve, Jimmy and Fernando.
These last episodes offer plenty of heart, memories and tears.
To comply with Federal Trade Commission obligations, I am bound to state that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I am reviewing in my weekly online column. The opinions I share are my own — honest!
Fans of both series will feel nostalgic and enjoy watching some favorite characters before they sign off.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.

Zeroville (Blu-ray)
Details: 2019, MVD Visual Entertainment
Rated: R, sexual content, nudity, language, drug use
The lowdown: James Franco stars in and directs this comedy misfire about Vikar (Franco), a bizarre individual stumbling about 1969 Hollywood.
Vikar, who has tattoos of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor from his favorite movie, “A Place in the Sun,” on the back of his bald head, wants to be part of the movies.
He finds work first building sets, then as an apprentice editor. He is obsessed with the power of manipulating moving images.
His involvement with the creative process of movies grows, as does his interest in a tragic film actress named Soledad (Megan Fox). Together they discover the difficulties of existing in the blurred landscapes between fantasy and reality.
The film, which also features Seth Rogen, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson, is light on laughs and self-indulgent. A vast majority of critics also made that assessment, giving the movie a 23 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A trailer is the only extra.

Other titles being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Baphomet (Blu-ray & DVD & digital) (MVD Visual Entertainment)
Blackstock Boneyard (DVD & VOD) (Uncork’d Entertainment)
Blurred Vision (DVD) (Indican Pictures)
City of Lies (Blu-ray & DVD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Ebola Rex (DVD & VOD) (Wild Eye Releasing)
Flashback (Blu-ray & DVD & digital) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
MacGyver: Season 4 (DVD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Omerta: The Act of Silence (DVD) (MVD Visual Entertainment)
Power Book II: Ghost: Season 1 (DVD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
The Unhealer (Blu-ray & DVD & digital & VOD) (Shout! Studios)

FOR KIDS
Sesame Street: Cool Counting Direction (DVD & digital) (Shout! Factory Kids-Sesame Workshop)

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, STREAMING or VOD
Future Fear (Wild Eye Releasing)
George A. Romero’s The Amusement Park (Shudder)
Gully (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Nobody (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
On the Trail of Big Foot: The Journey (Small Town Monsters)
Terror Eyes (Indican Pictures)
Voyagers (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Moloch: Episode 1-6 (Sundance Now, June 10)
Holler (IFC Films, June 11)
Home Before Dark: Season Two (Apple TV+, June 11)
Love, Victor: Season Two (Hulu, June 11)
Mortal Kombat (Warner Home Entertainment, June 11)
Queen Bees (Gravitas Ventures-Universal Studios Home Entertainment, June 11)
Skater Girl (Netflix, June 11)
Trese (Netflix June 11)
Wish Dragon (Netflix, June 11)
The Art of Political Murder (HBO Home Entertainment, June 14)

I am a founding member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. I review movies, 4K UHD, Blu-rays and DVDs for ReelBob (ReelBob.com), The Film Yap and other print and online publications. I can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com. You also can follow me on Twitter @ReelBobBloom and on Facebook at ReelBob or the Indiana Film Journalists Association. My movie reviews also can be found at Rotten Tomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.

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