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New to View: Oct. 13

by on October 9, 2020
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By Bob Bloom
The following titles are being released on Tuesday, Oct. 13, unless otherwise noted:
Batman: Death in the Family (Blu-ray + digital)
Details: 2020 Warner Home Entertainment
Rated: R, bloody violence, drug material
The lowdown: In this DC animated feature, you can decide the destinies of Batman and his protégé, Jason Todd, who has taken on the mantle of Robin.
Robin’s heightened sense of justice has him hunting The Joker. Can Batman save him before it is too late.
“Death in the Family” heads a compilation of shorts that deal with tragedy, revenge and redemption. And, you can help shape the outcome.
The set features four additional shorts: “Sgt. Rock,” “Death,” “Adam Strange” and “The Phantom Stranger.”
The release is DC’s first interactive film release.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (“Batman: Death in the Family”), English 5.1 Dolby digital (“Sgt. Rock,” “Adam Strange” and “Death”), English 2.0 Dolby digital (“The Phantom Stranger”) and French 2.0 Dolby digital (“Batman: Death in the Family”); English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Commentaries on all five shorts is the major bonus component.

Star Trek: Picard: Season One (Blu-ray)
Release date: Oct. 6
Details: 2020, CBS Home Entertainment-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A three-disc set featuring all 10 first-season episodes of this CBS All Access series that continues the saga of Jean-Luc Picard, former captain of the Enterprise and admiral in Starfleet.
When the series open, Picard is retired, but troubling dreams — as well as a visit from a mysterious young woman — rouse him into action.
The series introduces new characters as well as surprise appearances by some familiar faces, as Picard tries to solve some mysteries from his past and save a new, but despised, species from annihilation.
“Star Trek” fans will enjoy the series, which featured textured scripts, fine acting, action and special effects.
The most enjoyable aspect, of course, is the return of Patrick Stewart as Picard; his gravitas, dignity and sense of humor remains as entertaining as it was two decades ago.
Fans will not be shortchanged the high adventure featured in these episodes.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus components include story logs on all 10 episodes; a “Star Trek: Short Treks” episode, “Children of Mars”; a gag reel; deleted scenes; commentaries; a featurette on the creation and launch of the series; a look at the former Borgs who populate the series; a featurette on the new characters; and an examination of the show’s sets.

Sergeant York (Blu-ray)
Details: 1941, Warner Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Gary Cooper won the first of his two best actor Academy Awards for his portrayal of real-life World War I hero Alvin C. York, a backwoods Tennessee farmer who, at first, was a hell-raiser then, after finding religion, became a conscientious objector when drafted into the Army.
York won many citations, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, after capturing 132 German soldiers during the Battle of the Argonne in 1918.
The film was released when the United States was on the cusp of another war. The movie — and Cooper’s performance — inspired thousands of enlisted men.
Director Howard Hawks assembled a first-rate cast to support Cooper, including Joan Leslie as Grace, his future wife; Walter Brennan as Pastor Pile, York’s spiritual guide; Stanley Ridges as his commanding officer; George Tobias as a fellow soldier; Noah Beery Jr. and Ward Bond as York’s backwoods partners; and Margaret Wycherly as York’s mother.
The release is a made-on-demand Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wb.com/warnerarchive or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 (4×3) full-screen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an informative and interesting commentary track by film historian Jeanine Basinger, a making of featurette, a Porky Pig cartoon and a vintage short, “Lions for Sale.”

Reversal of Fortune (Blu-ray)
Details: 1990, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: R, language
The lowdown: Jeremy Irons was awarded a best actor Academy Award for his performance as Claus von Bulow, a European aristocrat, accused of trying to murder his wife, socialite Sunny (Glenn Close).
The movie, directed by Barbet Schroeder, is narrated by Sunny, who is in a coma, after falling into diabetic shock. Her husband is charged with attempted murder by giving her an overdose of insulin.
Von Bulow, whose cold and arrogant demeanor leads most people to assume he is guilty, hires Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver) to defend him.
Despite, at first, believing von Bulow is guilty, Dershowitz takes the case after von Bulow agrees to fund Dershowitz’s defense of two black youths accused of capital murder.
Von Bulow’s haughty personal style does not make it easy for Dershowitz and his law students to defend him, much less like him.
Still, von Bulow is exonerated, but a sliver of doubt continued to float over him for years to come.
The release is a made-on-demand Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection and can be ordered at www.wb.com/warnerarchive or other Internet sellers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16×9) widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio stereo; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major extra is a commentary track with Schroeder and screenwriter Nicholas Kazan.

Curse of the Undead (Blu-ray)
Release date: Oct. 6
Details: 1959, Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This B-movie was an unusual take on the vampire genre.
Michael Pate (“Hondo”) stars as gunfighter-for-hire Drake Robey, who also happens to be a vampire.
He begins terrorizing a small town, where he sets his sights on beautiful rancher, Delores Carter (Kathleen Crowley).
Trying to figure out why several young women have died of massive blood loss are Delores’ father, Dr. Carter (John Hoyt) and the local minister, Preacher Dan Young (Eric Fleming of “Rawhide”).
The Carters also are having problems with their neighbor, Buffer (Bruce Gordon), which causes grief and tragedy for Delores, who winds up hiring Robey and his gun to deal with Buffer and his crowd.
The movie also deals with an old Spanish land grant and a family curse.
At times, you feel sympathy for Robey, despite being the monster he has become.
This is a rather good film — as a Western and a vampire story.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A commentary by film historian Tom Weaver is the major bonus option.

Warning From Space (Blu-ray)
Details: 1956, Arrow Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This goofy Japanese sci-fi feature has the distinction of being that country’s first color presentation in the genre.
Coming two years after “Godzilla,” it’s seemingly pro-nuclear weapons outlook is rather surprising.
The plot turns on a giant starfish-like race of aliens called Pairans, who have come to Earth with a very important message that will change the fate of the planet.
To help deliver their message, one of the Pairans is transformed into a copy of a local showgirl.
The Blu-ray features the original Japanese version of the movie as well as an English-language version that shifts some scenes and plot points around.
At times, the plot and the motivation of some characters make little sense, but overall, this is an innocuous and enjoyable feature.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.34:1 full-screen picture; Japanese and English LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major extra is a select-scene commentary.

The Face at the Window (Blu-ray)
Release date: Oct. 6
Details: 1939, Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Tod Slaughter was British cinema’s equivalent to Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, starring in a series of Victorian melodramas, some with horror-related themes.
“The Face at the Window,” set in 1880 Paris, centers on a killer referred to “Le Loup” (“The Wolf”), who allows his victims to see his deranged and drooling face before fatally stabbing them in the back.
The plot also involves the robbery of the Brisson Bank in Paris, but a criminal called “The Face,” who murders an employee during the holdup.
Coming to the rescue of the bank is the very wealthy Chevalier Lucio del Gardo (Slaughter), who promises the bank’s owner that he will make a large deposit. But in return, he wants to marry the banker’s daughter, Cecile.
Cecile, of course, is in love with hard-working, but poor, bank clerk Lucien.
The chevalier uses evidence to incriminate Lucien and convince the dim-witted chief of police that Lucien is the criminal he wants.
The movie owes more to the popular British stage melodramas of the early 20th century than American horror films.
Today, Slaughter is mostly remembered by cinephiles and film buffs, but he is worth checking out. At times, he was over the top and very florid, but his movies, despite their low budgets, were entertaining.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 full-screen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: The main extra is a commentary track by film historian-author Jean-Claude Michel.

Carmilla (DVD)
Details: 2020, Film Movement
Rated: Not rated, sexual content
The lowdown: This movie was inspired by the 1872 Gothic novella, but downplays the vampiric aspects of the movie, instead concentrating of the relationship between isolated 15-year-old Lara (Hannah Rae) and Camilla (Devrim Lingnau), the enigmatic young woman brought to Lara’s house to recuperate.
The movie is heavy on atmosphere and delves more on Lara’s growing attraction to Camilla, despite the protests of Lara’s strict governess, Miss Fontaine (Jessica Raine).
This is a dark, foreboding feature drenched in melancholy and desire.
Technical aspects: 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major supplemental offering is a short film entitled, “Three Towers.”

“Forbidden Fruit: The Golden Age of the Exploitation Picture: Volume 7” (Blu-ray)
Test Tube Babies & Guilty Parents
Details: 1934, 1948 Kino Lorber Classics
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: These two exploitation movies examine the perils of parenting, something a majority of us are familiar with — but not at the extremes depicted in these offerings.
“Guilty Parents” (1934) centers on young Helen Mason, on trial for murder. Her defense attorney says she is not to blame, even though she did kill a man.
Instead, he blames her puritanical mother who refused to educate her daughter about the facts of life.
The girl started running with the wrong crowd and eventually turned to prostitution.
“Test Tube Babies” (1948) looks at a married couple who cannot have children, which causes a rift.
The wife begins attending wild parties and taking up with other men. When confronted by her husband, she blames their problems on her inability to have babies.
They go for testing and it turns out, the husband is sterile. The answer is artificial insemination, using a sperm donor. It proves successful and the couple lives happily ever after.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture (“Guilty Parents”) and 1.37:1 full-screen picture (“Test Tube Babies”); English DTS-HD Master Audio monaural on both releases: English SDH subtitles on both releases.
Don’t miss: Extras include a commentary track on “Test Tube Babies” and a 1951 short film, “Sex and Romance.”

Broil (Blu-ray)
Details: 2020, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Seventeen-year-old Chance Sinclair (Avery Konrad), after a violent incident at school, is sent to live with her strict uncle.
There, he uncovers a dangerous and ancient family secret and is caught in the middle of warring factions of his family.
Chance pins her hopes of survival on a killer-for-hire, played by Jonathan Lipnicki, with a unexpected talent for culinary creations.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.

Mallrats: Limited Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1995, Arrow Video
Rated: R, language, sexual references
The lowdown: “Mallrats” was Kevin Smith’s second directorial effort after his highly successful “Clerks.” His sophomore feature did not earn the praise of its predecessor, dividing critics about its worth.
What passes for a plot centers on T.S. (Jeremy London) and Brodie (Jason Lee), who venture to the local mall after their girlfriends break up with them.
At the mall, T.S. and Brodie discover that it is being used as the venue for a dating show, in which T.S.’s former girlfriend, Brandi (Claire Forlani), is a participant. They also learn that Brodie’s ex, Rene (Shannen Doherty), has been dating sleazy store manager, Shannon (Ben Affleck).
The guys devise a plan to win back their girlfriends by enlisting Jay and Silent Bob to hijack the game show.
While all this is going on Brandi’s dad, Jared (Michael Rooker), is on the hunt for the guys.
This limited edition release, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the movie, is a two-disc set featuring three cuts of the movie — the theatrical and extended versions as well as a TV version featuring some very funny overdubbing covering up the film’s profanity.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio: English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a new introduction to the film by Smith, a commentary track, an interview with Smith, a tribute by Smith to producer Jim Jacks,  interviews with costar Jason Mewes and cinematographer David Klein, an animated making of documentary featuring Minnesota crew members, deleted scenes, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage, an archival making of featurette, a question-and-answer session with Smith on the 10th anniversary of the movie’s release, a music video, a fold-out poster and a booklet.

A Regular Woman (DVD)
Details: 2019, Corinth Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This German feature is based on the 2005 “honor killing” of Hatun Aynur Sürücü, a young woman from an ultra-conservative Turkish family in Berlin.
In Turkey, Hatun escapes a forced marriage with her abusive cousin. She further alienates her family by adapting a westernized lifestyle.
The constant harassment of her family forces the pregnant young woman to flee Turkey and fend for herself and her child.
In Germany, the threats continue, but the authorities are unwilling to do anything unless a physical act of harm takes place.
This soon occurs as the family tasks Hatun’s youngest brother with the deed that will end the family’s shame, thus thrusting the practice of honor killings into a national spotlight.
This is a powerful feature about a disturbing subject that too often still takes place.
Technical aspects: 1.85:1 widescreen picture; German Dolby digital stereo; English subtitles.

The Soul of the Midnight Special (DVD)
Details: 1973-76, Time Life
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This five-disc set is a feast for the eyes and ears of soul-music fans, featuring dozens of performances by such artists as Al Green, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Barry White, Bill Withers, Billy Preston, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Earth, Wind and Fire, George Benson, Patti LaBelle, Ray Charles, The O’Jays, The Staple Singers, The Miracles and The Stylistics.
These artists were in the primes of their careers when they performed on “The Midnight Special.”
The set features such timeless songs as Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” and “What’d I Say”; the Spinners “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love”; Knight and Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia”; and Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”
The performances are uncut and unforgettable. The set is a delight for all fans of great music.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English Dolby digital.
Don’t miss: Extras include interviews with many of the artists.

Other titles being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
The Doorman (Blu-ray & DVD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Friday the 13th Collection: Deluxe Edition (Blu-ray) (Scream Factory)
Grant (DVD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
The Last Exorcist (DVD & digital) (Uncork’d Entertainment)
Seized (DVD & digital & VOD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

FOR KIDS
RWBY: Volume 7
(Blu-ray & digital) (Warner Home Entertainment)

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, STREAMING or VOD
Fatima (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Monster Force Zero (Wild Eye Releasing)
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad (101 Films)
Totally Under Control (Neon)
The Wall of Mexico (Dark Star Pictures)
Welcome to the Blumhouse: Evil Eye & Nocturne (Blumhouse-Amazon Studios)
In Case of Emergency (KinoNow, Oct. 14)
A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting (Netflix, Oct. 15)
Des: Episode 1 (Sundance Now, Oct. 14)
One Lane Bridge: Episode 5 (Sundance Now, Oct. 15)
Social Distance (Netflix, Oct. 15)
The Split: Season 2, Episode 3 (Sundance Now, Oct. 15)
Alone (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Oct. 16)
Don’t Look Back (Gravitas Ventures, Oct. 16)
Love and Monsters (Paramount Home Entertainment, Oct. 16)
Monochrome: The Chromism (Tempest Studios, Oct. 16)
The Secrets We Keep (Bleeker Street, Oct. 16)
S**thouse (IFC Films, Oct. 16)
The Trial of the Chicago Seven (www.netflix.com/thetrialofthechicagoseven) (Netflix, Oct. 16)
As I Lay Dying (Sundance Now, Oct. 19)
Becoming Who I Was (Sundance Now, Oct. 19)
Darkness: Those Who Kill (Acorn TV, Oct. 19)
Heavenly Gardens (Acorn TV, Oct. 19)
Mystery Road: Episode 3 (Acorn TV, Oct. 19)

I am a founding member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. I review movies, 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. My movie reviews also can be found at Rotten Tomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.

 

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