Times Square [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Two teenagers connect in the wilds of New York City.
Why see it? Tim Curry is the most recognizable face here and plays a DJ overlooking NYC’s nighttime, but it’s the two young girls who hold the attention. Trini Alvarado and newcomer Robin Johnson are the mismatched pair, one a little rich girl and the other a street rat, and you can easily feel the reality of their friendship. The pair are on the run from authorities and others and become legends to other teens who make the way to Times Square for a sighting. The city is captured with an equal eye and appreciation for the city’s beauty and rawness. The film’s been out of reach for a while, and Kino’s new Blu gives it an overdue facelift. The commentary with Johnson and director Allan Moyle is an interesting look at the movie business, and the soundtrack is legit.
[Extras: New 4K scan and HD master, commentaries]
candy man [4K UHD, Scream Factory]
What is it? An urban legend comes to life.
Why see it? Clive Barker’s novella “The Forbidden” is already a classic, but it found eternal life on the screen with Bernard Rose’s adaptation. It received two sequels — three if you count the recent “requel” — but it’s the original that keeps delivering the goods. Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd take the leads, and both do wonderfully intense work in a story that weaves terror and social commentary into something smartly terrifying. The film offers up some bloody demises and frightening set-pieces alongside its condemnation of institutional racism, and Philip Glass’ score is an all-timer. This new 4K master is gorgeous and finds previously unappreciated depths and details in the darkness. Highly recommended.
[Extras: New 4K master, commentaries, interviews, featurettes]
Flower Drum Song [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A big, lavish American musical focusing on an Asian cast.
Why see it? Rodgers & Hammerstein released this big-screen musical in 1961 making it the first big Hollywood production featuring a mostly Asian cast, and that alone makes it worth your time. The film blends a fairly standard romantic comedy story line with music and character beats that touch on the Asian influences, and there’s a warmth to its groundbreaking reality. Nancy Kwan, James Shigeta, James Hong, and more familiar faces bring the story to life. Kino’s new disc is packed with featurettes offering a look into the film’s production and reputation since.
[Extras: New 2K master, featurettes, commentary]
One Armed Boxer [Arrow Video]
What is it? A student survives an attack on his school and seeks revenge.
Why see it? Wang Yu was already no stranger to fighting with one arm out of commission, but rather than simply tie it behind his back he goes the full dismemberment this time out. Baddies leave him one arm short, and after recovering, training, and sneaking something special, he heads out for bloody justice. This Golden Harvest production is a good time across the board with some terrifically choreographed and executed fight sequences and a lack of shyness when it comes to the bloodletting. Yu is a charismatic performer capable of some fun action beats, and Arrow’s new Blu-ray looks fantastic and features some enlightening extras.
[Extras: 2K restoration, commentary, interview]
Wild Things [4K UHD, Arrow Video]
What is it? A sweaty thriller with more twists than a Chubby Checker concert.
Why see it? When it comes to 90s thrillers, few can touch the combination of sexy silliness that we get with John McNaughton’s Wild Things. Matt Dillon stars as a popular teacher in a Florida high school who’s accused of rape by two students. The case goes to trial and all hell breaks loose. Double crosses abound as the story unfolds with funny, sexy, ridiculous precision. Add in Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, Bill Murray, Robert Wagner, Theresa Russell, and a killer score, and you have a fantastically twisty ride that never gets old. It’s highly entertaining. Arrow’s new 4K is a thing of beauty, and it’s loaded with extras new and old.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, theatrical and unrated cuts, commentaries, interviews, booklet, poster]
A Dangerous Man
What is it? An unintentionally funny action movie.
Why see it? Steven Seagal’s first film, Above the Law, remains a banger, and his next couple deliver a solid time for action fans, but it wasn’t long before he lost his touch. That hasn’t stopped him from releasing new films, of course, as evidenced by the forty-three movies he’s made since 2001. This effort from 2009 is a stinker in every way. The action is lackluster, every shot of Seagal that doesn’t show his face is an obvious body double, and his character is boring in his invincibility. It’s just a dull ride.
What is it? A man loves his cousin, what’s so wrong about that?
Why see it? Christopher Eccleston takes the lead in Michael Winterbottom’s adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel as a man better than his situation in life would suggest. He’s smarter and more ambitious than it allows too, but that’s all challenged when he falls for his cousin (Kate Winslet). The two of them are the main draw here — the story’s fine, and the novel is considered literature for a reason, but it’s Eccleston and Winslet finding romantic/dramatic time together that makes it a worthwhile watch.
What is it? A woman is haunted by her dead mother.
Why see it? Sandra Oh is an incredibly talented actor, and young Fivel Stewart impresses, but neither can give life to this fairly dull tale of a supernatural threat. The hook involving Korean lore and culture is ultimately the most interesting element, but it’s smothered in Hollywood horror antics. At under ninety minutes, though, it’s a fast enough investment for genre fans with some strong performances at its core.
Also out this week:
Agent Game, The Batman, The Burning Sea, Lifeforce [4K UHD, Scream Factory]Malignant [4K UHD]Mississippi Masala [Criterion Collection]The Pemini Organization, Studio 666, X