Severin’s Blu-ray showcases the low budget art of independent filmmaker Frederick R. Friedel with excellent transfers of his two mid-’70s movies, Axe (aka Lisa, Lisa) and Kidnapped Coed (aka The Kidnap Lover).
Arrow Video’s commitment to genre releases is on full display in a selection of recently viewed Blu-rays, each featuring informative supplements: the Japanese juvenile delinquent series Stray Cat Rock, Don Coscarelli’s epic Phantasm series, a pair of Gothic gialli from Emilio P. Miraglia, and Spanish director J.P. Simon’s adaptation of Brit author Shaun Hutson’s gross-out novel Slugs.
Criterion’s World Cinema Project 2 box set opens windows on a number of unfamiliar national cinemas with an eclectic selection of six distinctive features.
Four Twilight Time releases showcase exceptional acting in a variety of styles: Spencer Tracy and Frederick March in Stanley Kramer’s Inherit the Wind (1960); Jeff Bridges, John Heard and Lisa Eichhorn in Ivan Passer’s Cutter’s Way (1981); Sean Penn and Christopher Walken in James Foley’s At Close Range (1986); and David Thewlis in Paul Greengrass’ Resurrected (1989).
A pair of made-in-Germany genre-bending thrillers are well-served by excellent Blu-ray editions: Sam Fuller’s Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street (1972) from Olive Films and Wolf Gremm’s Kamikaze ’89 (1982) from Film Movement.
Two recent Japanese animated features – Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s Patema Inverted and Keiichi Hara’s Miss Hokusai – and Caltiki: The Immortal Monster, an early low-budget horror from Mario Bava, illustrate the range of styles and content available to fantastic film.
A collection of random thoughts about recent viewing and reading, including an ambivalent excursion into Netflix streaming.
Rachel Low’s multi-volume History of the British Film, written in the late ’40s and early ’50s, provides a vivid portrait of a new, complex art form being invented moment-by-moment.
Juzo Itami’s international hit Tampopo (1985), a prodigiously inventive comedy about our relationship with food, gets an excellent release on Blu-ray from Criterion.
Criterion adds another landmark of Japanese popular cinema to their collection with an impressive Blu-ray release of the complete Lone Wolf and Cub series, a dark, poetic, bloodily violent adaptation of Kazuo Koike’s epic manga.