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New on DVD and Blu-ray Week of April 26-May 2

View Harley Lond's Profile

By Harley Lond - 04/26/16 at 02:54 AM CT

Due this week from The Criterion Collection is a fabulous anthology of documentaries about John F. Kennedy: "The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates." Seeking to invigorate the American documentary format, which he felt was rote and uninspired, Robert Drew brought the style and vibrancy he had fostered as a Life magazine correspondent to The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Cover for The Kennedy Films of Robert Drews & Associates filmmaking in the late fifties. He did this by assembling an amazing team -- including such eventual nonfiction luminaries as Richard Leacock ("Louisiana Story"), D. A. Pennebaker ("Don't Look Back"), and Albert Maysles ("Grey Gardens") -- that would transform documentary cinema. In 1960, the group was granted direct access to John F. Kennedy, filming him on the campaign trail and eventually in the Oval Office. This resulted in three films of remarkable, behind-closed-doors intimacy -- "Primary" (1960), "Adventures on the New Frontier" (1961) and "Crisis" (1963) -- and, following the president's assassination, the poetic short "Faces of November" (1964). Collected here are all four of these titles, early exemplars of the movement known as Direct Cinema and featuring the greatest close-up footage we have of this American icon. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restorations of all four films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray ... two love stories get the Blu-ray treatment this week: "Brief Encounter" (1945), David Lean's tearjerker about an ultimately doomed love affair between a married doctor (Trevor Howard) and a suburban housewife (Celia Johnson) in fog-enshrouded London, from The Criterion Collection, and "Death Becomes Her" (1992), Robert Zemeckis' satirical treatise on love, friendship, aging and mortality, starring Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep and Isabella Rossellini, from Scream Factory.


"Ride Along 2," a lackluster sequel to 2014's smash hit comedy, revolves around Ben (Kevin Hart) and soon-to-be brother-in-law James (Ice Cube) who head to Miami to bring down a drug dealer who's supplying the dealers of Atlanta with product. Co-stars Ken Jeong, Olivia Munn, Benjamin Bratt, Sherri Shepherd and Tyrese Gibson. Extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel, commentary and several featurettes. From Universal ... "Son of Saull" takes place in Auschwitz-Birkenau in October 1944. Saul (Geza Rohrig) is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners forced to assist Krampus Blu-Ray Cover the Nazis. While working, Saul discovers the body of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child's body, find a rabbi to recite the mourner's Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial. Academy Award-, Golden Globe- and Independent Spirit-Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film. From Sony ... In "Krampus," a dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, causing young Max to become disillusioned and turn his back on Christmas. Bad call. Little does he know that this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. A fun holiday outing for horror mongers. Stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Allison Tolman, David Koechner and Conchata Ferrell. Extras include a gag reel, commentary, and featurettes. From Universal.


Emerging in the U.S. in the early 1970s, Blaxploitation films – the first to regularly feature soundtracks of funk and soul music and primarily African-American casts – were originally made specifically for a Black, urban audience. However, the genre's appeal soon broadened across racial and ethnic lines. In "Dolemite" (2015), starring Rudy Ray Moore, D'Urville Martin, Lady Reed, Jerry Jones and John Kerry, the baddest pimp in town, Dolemite (Moore), has just been released from prison, ready to take revenge on notorious gangster Willie Green (Martin), who set him up on a phony drug charge and stole his club, The Total Experience. With the help of his friend Queen Bee (Lady Reed) and their bank of Kung Fu fighting vixens, Dolemite takes on every "rat soup eatin' mother#%$*er" in South Central L.A.. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Vinegar Syndrome ... Dillinger Blu-Ray Cover The runaway success of "Bonnie and Clyde" in 1967 proved massively influential: It made stars of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, introduced a new form of violence to the movies, and inspired a stream of imitators, including "Bloody Mama," Martin Scorsese's "Boxcar Bertha "and the directorial debut of John Milius, "Dillinger." In "Dillinger" (1973), Milius presents John Dillinger as an almost mythical figure, tracing the rise and fall of the Depression era's Public Enemy Number One as he takes on the banks and the G-men, led by the infamous Melvin Purvis. Starring Sam Peckinpah favorites Warren Oates and Ben Johnson as Dillinger and Purvis, and with a supporting cast including Harry Dean Stanton, Richard Dreyfuss and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas, "Dillinger" is a top drawer gangster picture: explosive, stylish and hugely entertaining. Brand new 2K restoration of the film from original film materials from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment ... Also from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment comes "The Zero Boys" (1986), a genre-bending '80s classic with gruesome sequences that anticipate the torture porn horrors of "Hostel" and "Saw." For a group of young friends, a weekend of survival games in the wilderness turns into a genuine battle of life and death when one of their number turns up dead. Finding themselves hunted by a bloodthirsty band of maniacs intent on slaughtering them one-by-one, the self-styled "Zero Boys" must now play their war games for real. Featuring an early score from the legendary Hans Zimmer ("Inception," "The Dark Knight Trilogy"), "The Zero Boys" mixes action, survival and all-out slasher movie elements in a thrilling horror yarn that falls somewhere between "Friday the 13th" and "Deliverance." New What? Blu-Ray Cover 2K restoration of the film, approved by writer-director Nico Mastorakis ... Roman Polanski described his "What?" (1972) as the ribald adventures of an innocent girl. Critics called it an amoral, depraved disaster. More than four decades after its controversial release, it remains the most butchered, debated and least-seen film of the Oscar-winning director's entire career. The succulent Sydne Rome stars as an oft-naked American girl lost inside a Mediterranean villa inhabited by priests, pianists, perverts and a syphilitic pimp (a deliciously bizarre performance by Marcello Mastroianni) while indulging in madcap acts of gang rape, sodomy and ping-pong. Hugh Griffith ("Tom Jones"), Romolo Valli ("Boccaccio '70") and Polanski himself co-star in this surreal and sexy comedy, now finally restored to its original running time from a vault print reportedly stolen from the wine cellar of producer Carlo Ponti. From Severin Films ... In "Backtrack" (2015), starring Adrien Brody, Sam Neill, George Shevtsov and Robin McLeavy, psychologist Peter Bower's life is thrown into turmoil when he discovers that the patients he has been seeing are ghosts. Risking his own sanity, Bower delves into his past to uncover a terrifying secret which only he can put right. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate ... In "Jane Got a Gun" (2016), starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Noah Emmerich, Rodrigo Santoro and Boyd Holbrook, Jane Hammond (Portman), young and pretty with a soul of DVD Cover for Jane Got a Gun pure steel, is a good girl married to one of the worst baddies in town. When her husband Bill turns against his own gang, the vicious Bishop Boys, and returns home barely alive with eight bullets in his back, Jane knows it’s time to ditch the dress for a pair of pants and strap on her own gun. As the relentless leader John Bishop gears up for revenge, Jane’s best hope for her family's survival rests with her old love Dan Frost – a gunslinger whose hatred for Bill is only slightly overshadowed by his love for Jane. Together Jane and Dan spring clever traps, luring Bishop’s men to certain death just as their old feelings for each other resurface amidst the flying bullets. From The Weinstein Company ... In "The Driftless Area" (2015), starring Anton Yelchin, Zooey Deschanel, John Hawkes, Aubrey Plaza, Frank Langella, Alia Shawkat and Ciaran Hinds, bartender Pierre (Yelchin) returns to his hometown after the death of his parents and falls under the spell of the enchanting, mysterious Stella (Deschanel). As their relationship deepens, Pierre finds himself in a dangerous situation with a volatile criminal (Hawkes) who abruptly altered the course of Stella's life. From Sony.


The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Cover for Phoenix "Phoenix" (2014 -- Germany) is an evocative and haunting drama, set in a rubble-strewn Berlin in 1945. After surviving Auschwitz, a former cabaret singer (Nina Hoss, in a dazzling, multilayered performance), her face disfigured and reconstructed, returns to her war-ravaged hometown to seek out the gentile husband who may or may not have betrayed her to the Nazis. Without recognizing her, he enlists her to play his wife in a bizarre hall-of-shattered-mirrors story that's as richly metaphorical as it is preposterously engrossing. Revenge film or tale of romantic reconciliation? One doesn't know until the closing scene. On DVD and Blu-ray, in a new 4K digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection.


"Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production Season 1 Part 1" (2016) is a two-disc set with 26 episodes of the new animated series starring Bugs Bunny. The classic Looney Tunes receive an updated look with cutting-edge animation, clever storylines and new characters. "Wabbit's" premiere on Cartoon Network ranked #1 in its time slot across all Kids' networks with Boys 6-11 and ranked #2 with kids 6-11. The series was the #1 original kids program on basic cable with Boys 6-11. From Warner.


"That's Sexploitation!" (2013), from director Frank Henenlotter ("Basket Case," "Brain Damage") and co-producer Mike Vraney (the late founder of Something Weird Video) is a That's Sexploitation! Blu-Ray Cover documentary that is an eye-popping expedition through the world of pre-code peekaboos, stags, sex-hygiene films, goona-goonas, nudie-cuties, roughies, druggies, white-coaters and more, featuring thousands of spicy, steamy and downright sleazy clips from the SWV archives. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Severin Films ... " The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Country Special" features a pair of episodes from Glen Campbell's classic variety series, filled with music, laughter, and a roster of guest stars including Johnny Cash, June Carter, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Mel Tillis and Minnie Pearl. Includes performances of "Folsom Prison Blues," "I Saw The Light," "Act Naturally," "When You're Hot, You're Hot," "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am" and many others. From Shout! Factory, due Friday, April 29.


"The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official First Season" (2015) is a five-disc set with all 36 episodes. This special collection not only includes digitally remastered episodes with upgraded picture and sound, but also features the original extended pilot episode. Rarely seen, this episode offers a special glimpse into TV history with an unfamiliar intro to the new series, "The Hillbillies of Beverly Hills," extended scenes, and staged vignettes featuring as-yet unseen characters destined to become one of America's most favorite TV DVD Cover for The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official First Season families. The debut season follows the Clampetts -- Jed (Buddy Ebsen), Granny (Irene Ryan), Elly May (Donna Douglas), and Jethro (Max Baer Jr.) -- as they accidentally strike oil on their land and move from their backwoods cabin to a Beverly Hills mansion. On their journey to fulfill their dreams of swimming pools and movie stars, their humorous hillbilly lifestyle clashes with the "city folk" of Beverly Hills. From CBS/Paramount ... "A French Village - Season 3" (2010-11 -- France) is the blockbuster French drama, starring Audrey Fleurot and Thierry Godard ("Spiral"), that chronicles the impact of World War II on a small village in central France. The German occupation changes the life of the village of Villeneuve forever, and as its residents come under the pressures of war, they make choices that are inspiring and heartbreaking. In this gripping drama, ordinary citizens become patriots, traitors, Nazi employees or activists. Beginning with the Germans' arrival in June 1940, they DVD Cover for A French Village Season 3 endure five years of rationing, fighting and betrayals, and strain to keep some semblance of their existence intact. The war shatters all their lives, but a few of them, even in the shadow of destruction, reach out to find fleeting moments of connection and love. Four-disc DVD, $39.95 from MHz Home Entertainment ... "Hot in Cleveland Season Six" (2014-15) is a three-disc set with all 24 episodes of the final season of the TV Land series that stars Valerie Bertinelli Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Betty White. From Paramount ... "Inspector Rex: Season One: Vienna" (1994-95 -- Austria/Germany) There's a new crime-fighter in town: the international sensation, police dog Inspector Rex. The crime series that became one of the most successful franchises in the world revolves around amazing German Shepherd Rex, with his unerring instinct and phenomenal intelligence. He may have four legs but he puts them all to use: unlatching doors, pushing trolleys, disarming criminals, and even charming the ladies when necessary. After his handler is DVD Cover for Inspector Rex: Season One: Vienna killed in an explosion, Rex gets paired up with the handsome, recently-divorced Inspector Richard Moser to investigate crimes and clean up the streets of Vienna. Along with Moser's two-legged partner, Ernst Stockinger, they become the meanest crime-fighting team to hit the streets of Vienna, tracking down a serial teddy bear bomber, an old-lady killer and even Beethoven's head. Four-disc DVD, $39.95 from MHz Home Entertainment ... "19-2, Season 1" (2014) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes of the Canadian series that follows partners in the Montreal Police Department who must put their differences aside as their lives intertwine professionally and personally. Officer Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes) patrols the streets of Montreal with Station 19's newest squad member, Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso). Back on the job after a shooting incident, guilt-ridden Nick immediately clashes with overzealous Ben. As the wary new partners respond to some of the city's most violent and bizarre crimes, they learn the high cost of life on the force—both on and off duty. From Acorn Media.

Check out other April 26-May 2 DVD releases and reviews at OnVideo.


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