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).
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.
A collection of random thoughts about recent viewing and reading, including an ambivalent excursion into Netflix streaming.
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.
His Girl Friday (1940) and Only Angels Have Wings (1939), two of Howard Hawks’ most critically acclaimed movies, have received excellent treatment from Criterion on Blu-ray, along with a restored transfer of Lewis Milestone’s pre-code adaptation of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s play The Front Page (1931), the source of Hawks’ cynical 1940 romantic comedy.
Another random sample of recent viewing, from Ken Russell’s debut feature French Dressing through Andrew Bujalski’s retro-video experiment Computer Chess to David Mackenzie’s Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray release showcases Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years (2015), a subtle character study with career-best performances from Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a married couple whose settled lives are disrupted by an event which predates their relationship.
A round-up of recent Blu-ray viewing, with some classics, an occasional dud, and a few old favourites.