Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New on DVD (01/10/06)...

Some good stuff this week.

The TV set of the week is The Flash Complete Series, all $22 episodes of what was a surprisingly good superhero series.

Meanwhile, Chicagoans might want to check out the Lou Rawls Show with Duke Ellington. While only encompassing a single episode, the release is timely, as Mr. Rawls passed away this last weekend. Good keep you, sir.

Other sets this week include Boy Meets World S4; House of Elliot S2; Men Behaving Badly S3 and (separately) S4; Once & Again S3; Red Dwarf S7; Rising Damp S1; Strong Medicine S1; Urban Gothic S1

Several DVDs worthy of spotlighting this week.

The classic AIP films sci-fi films of the ‘50s famously suffer from rights issues. However, at least some of them are coming out this week. Hopefully, more will follow. Replicating the format of the MGM Midnight movie double bills, the discs feature two movies each, and cost around $10 a shot. The titles are Earth vs. the Spider / War of the Colossal Beast (kind of odd, since The Amazing Colossal Man isn’t out), and How to Make a Monster / Blood of Dracula. Essential purchases, despite being (sadly) full framed presentations.

The awesome Toho sci-fi submarine flick Atrogan comes out this week too, courtesy of the fine folks at Media Blasters, who have really been doing a bang up job with Toho’s non-Godzilla titles. Yog, Monster from Space (under the title Space Amoeba) is due out also on the 17th of this month. $12.

Also in time, presumably, for Black History month, we see several classic movies with black casts or racial themes.

The cream of the crop are the musicals Cabin in the Sky (dircted by Vincent Minnelli) and Stormy Weather. Both feature Lena Horne, and the latter sports Cab Calloway and Fats Waller among others.

Green Pastures is modern (as of 1936, anyway) retelling of Bible incidents recast in the black community. Hallelujah is perhaps the earlier studio film featuring a black cast, being a very early musical made in 1929.

Also released in a new special edition is the documentary A Great Day in Harlem, a well regarded piece about jazz musicians

Several Sam Peckinpah Westerns come out today. The Ballad of Cable Hogue is more comedic in tone (although with dramatic elements too), and features a terrific cast: Jason Robards, Stella Stevens, David Warner, Strother Martin, Slim Pickins and other familiar faces. $13

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid ($20). Largely considered a misfire, this stars James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson (not exactly a match for the real Billy), Bob Dylan (!), Jason Robards and others.

Ride the High Country ($13) This highly regarded tale of aging gunfighters prefigures Peckinpah’s classic The Wild Bunch. Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea star, along with a young Mariette Hartley.

Finally, The Wild Bunch ($20) itself is back out, this time in a two-disc special edition.

Other Titles:

The Bad Sleep Well Any Kurosawa is must see stuff, and not just his samurai films. This gritty crime flick will please any film lover, especially as the disc is from the good people at Criterion. It also features another terrific performance by Toshiro Mifune. $22

Cold Sweat $5 Typical Charles Bronson action stuff from the ‘70s.

Eraserhead $18 Still David Lynch’s best and most disturbing film.

Funeral Home $6 1980 horror film about people disappearing from a bed and breakfast. Has a fairly good rep.

Another classic Western is re-released today in a special edition, The Magnificent Seven Collector’s Edition. $18

Mirrormask Recent fantasy tale from the Jim Hensen studio.

Night of the Skull is more Jesse Franco stuff.

One Armed Swordsman 2-Pack features, well, the One Armed Swordsman. I know he fought Zatoichi once, I’ve got that movie.

Prime Target David Heavener stars as Jake Bloodstone (really), with both the Mob and the FBI after him. Co-stars Tony Curtis, Isaac Hayes, Robert Reed (!!) and Andrew Robinson. $6

Project: Kill Humorously inane spy flick with Leslie Nielsen, and directed by William Girdler. $6

Roger Corman Puerto Rico Trilogy The Last Woman on Earth, Creature from the Haunted Sea and Blood Island. All in widescreen, and with an impressive set of extras, including commentaries (not featuring Corman) on each film. $13

Sisters of Death Oft-released public domain title that’s a combo slasher/Ten Little Indians sort of deal. Pretty amusing. Stars Claudia Jennings (oh la la). $6

Trouble Man Blaxploitation flick featured in the Medved’s 50 Worst Films of All Time. $10

Valachi Papers Mob drama with Chuck Bronson. It’s an actual movie, though. $14

Young Mister Lincoln Henry Fonda in the venerable classic, directed by John Ford, from the Criterion people. $22

Zorro Cliffhanger Collection Three highly amusing serials featuring the Mexican Robin Hood. $19


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