Crazy Max [KL Studio Classics, 4K UltraHD]
What is it? George Miller’s classic franchise starter.
Why see it It’s rare for a movie franchise to keep the same director and multiple films for decades, but George Miller is that rarity. From the most recent action masterpiece Mad Max: Fury Road to 1979’s Mad Max, Miller has screened the show in four films – and three of them are brilliant pieces of apocalyptic action! (Sorry Beyond Thunderdome fans …) This first entry is the one with the lowest budget and therefore the smallest, but it remains an exciting piece of exploitation with eccentric characters, big stunts and lots of carnage. Cinema’s new 4K release captures the chaos in all its detail and grandeur, and while the soft-focus cinematography of the film is preserved, there is a new clarity and shine to it. The original Australian mono audio track is included as well as a 5.1 surround mix and the synchronized version “American”. Add in the clever selection of cover art and this becomes a must for action fans.
[Extras: Commentary, interviews, featurettes]
Buck Rogers – The Complete Collection [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? The 25th century has never been so fun.
Why see it This late 70s / early 80s series only ran for two seasons, but it managed to provide plenty of unforgettable thrills and fun entertainment. This collection spans both seasons and the theater, and while the show never got the love of any other science fiction / adventure series, it remains a fun one for those of us who have dug up our action ethos among the stars, science Fiction and some cool alien encounters. For my money, there is also one of the scariest episodes of a TV show – the episode “Space Vampire” of the first season remains scary as hell!
[Extras: Commentaries, interviews]
The lost weekend [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? An alcoholic realizes that he is an alcoholic.
Why see it Billy Wilder is a filmmaker who has done wonderfully different genres, and while he has directed some classic romps, his earlier work has often been much more serious and in-depth. This tale of an alcoholic (Ray Milland, at his best) telling his own story along the way to a possible ending is a sad, compelling story with few glimmers of hope along the way. It’s far from glamorous, but it’s powerful. This US Blu lacks the epic interview with Wilder that will be available when Eureka is released in the UK, but it’s still a fantastic release on its own with an outstanding remaster.
[Extras: New 4K master, commentary, radio adaptation]
What is it? A group of friends meets for a stupid Olympics.
Why see it There’s a pretty funny cast here – Olivia Munn, Dax Shepard, James Roday, Josh Duhamel, okay, I said fun isn’t crazy great – but the writing is so particularly sophomoric that none of it is actually funny. Of course, it’s all about mocking grown men who act like kids, among other things, but the film also tries to get involved in that to create a jumbled subject for broad comedy. Watch for the cast responding, but don’t expect a new hangover.
What is it? The classic story is getting an almost unrecognizable makeover.
Why see it While this film takes on some aspects of Alexandre Dumas’ famous character, it is actually a 2014 sequel to Forbidden Kingdom and features the return of Jason Flemyng. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on your tastes for excessive CG, dubbing, and “big” gigs, but at least this time we get support from Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger – the latter makes sure the characters are reminded to practice . It’s stupid.
The Jewish Soul: Ten Classics of Yiddish Cinema
What is it? A 5-disc set of ten feature films that are important to Yiddish culture.
Why see it The films range in their releases from 1937 to 1950, and they are even more diverse in content with comedy, drama, the supernatural and more, all of which are represented here. It’s an important historical release, and cinema (and lobster) restorations are improving old, damaged source materials. The films don’t just differ in physical presentation, which means some are likely to play better than others, with The Dybbuk being my pick so your mileage may vary.
[Extras: Booklet, commentaries, alternate versions]
peninsula [4K UltraHD]
What is it? Years after the zombie outbreak, raids are the new jam.
Why see it This sequel to Train to Busan lacks the tension, terror, and suspense of the original, but rarely tries to compete on these fronts. Instead, the film is more of a CG-heavy robbery film that looks familiar to post-apocalyptic film fans and at the same time finds new thrills. It’s a sharp looking romp, even more so in 4K, and the energy stays consistently high. This time it’s more about the cheese than the terror, but it’s a fun ride.
[Extras: Featurette, interviews]
Also out this week:
Ava, Babylon Berlin – Season 3, Cemetery of Terror [Vinegar Syndrome], Deadly Games [Vinegar Syndrome], Essential Fellini [Criterion Collection]He came out of the swamp [Arrow Video]The Irishman [Criterion Collection], The Killing Floor, rest in pieces [Vinegar Syndrome], Riders of Death Valley, Whodunit? [Vinegar Syndrome]