Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Home-Viewing Recommendations for March

It looks like March is turning out to be quite the month for the DVD and Blu-ray market with several new and classic films coming out, including two of my favorites from 2010 (Black Swan and The Fighter). With all of the great titles already out or just on the horizon, I wanted to throw some shout-outs to some that I am greatly anticipating (or already enjoying). In no particular order:

Jackson County Jail/Caged Heat: One of March's most exciting releases is this edition of Shout Factory’s continuing Roger Corman collection. Jackson County Jail is solid but the real treat here is the re-release of Jonathan Demme’s terrific Caged Heat starring Erica Gavin, Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith and Roberta Collins. Shout Factory’s DVD not only contains a remastered print of Demme’s important early work but also a new audio commentary with the man himself! Demme is joined on, what I am sure is, an excellent track by cinematographer Tak Fujimoto and Gavin. I can't wait to hear Demme's stories of shooting the film, working with Collins and Smith and, hopefully, telling the story of how John Cale came to score the film.

Out of Sight: One of my favorite films of all time gets the Blu-ray treatment and I hear the results are quite stunning. My copy has been shipped and I can’t wait to spend time with Jack Foley and Karen Sisco in High-Def.

The Walking Dead (Season One): For those that missed AMC’s terrific new series, this DVD and Blu-ray set should prove a perfect opportunity for catch up in anticipation of Season 2.

Love and Other Drugs: I’m not a fan of Edward Zwick’s works typically but I was really taken with this beautifully acted (Anne Hathaway is particularly exceptional here) and well-made romantic drama that is refreshing in the way it approaches modern relationships and sexuality, and for making a rather tired genre feel vibrant again.

Daughters of Darkness: Harry Kumel’s masterful vampire opus starring Delphine Seyrig comes to Blu-ray fully loaded with quite a number of great special features (including the astonishing Blood Spattered Bride as a High-Def bonus film!).

Italian Classic Reissues!: Dario Argento’s wonderful Phenomena starring Jennifer Connelly hits Blu-ray courtesy of Britain’s Arrow label. The picture quality on Arrow’s release is supposed to be a great improvement over past versions and the near hour long documentary is a real selling point as well. Also look for Blue Underground's release of Argento's incredible Inferno as well.
Perfume of a Lady in Black: Francesco Barilli’s stunning giallo starring a brilliant Mimsy Farmer finally hits American DVD courtesy of Raro’s new stateside division. This is one of the best Italian films of the seventies and it is so great to finally see it released here.
The Beyond: Lucio Fulci’s masterpiece finally hits Blu-ray courtesy, again, of Britain’s Arrow label with extras aplenty.
Finally, one of the few films from Antonioni I haven't seen, Le Amiche, is also being released on disc in March. Now if we could only get quality versions of Blow-Up, Zabriskie Point and The Passenger on Blu-ray.

Galaxina: While it may not be the greatest film in the world, Galaxina did offer the much-missed Dorothy Stratten her largest role and I am sure one of our great lost beauties will look even lovelier than ever in High-Def.

The Next Three Days: Forget any prejudices you might have against the films of Crash writer and director Paul Haggis and check out this extremely well-done thriller from last year that mostly slipped under the radar. The always astonishing Russell Crowe gives a jolting and quite haunting performance and Elizabeth Banks proves she is just more than just a great comedian. The Next Three Days is a terrific and intense film that was one of my favorites from 2010 and I highly recommend it.

Dorm that Dripped Blood: One of the early eighties more undervalued slasher's gets the deluxe treatment in this DVD/Blu-ray combo set. I can't wait to throw out my old murky looking full-frame VHS copy.

Even though it came out in February, I also wanted to mention that Bernardo Bertolucci's monumental Last Tango in Paris is now out on Blu-ray. Frustratingly MGM still refuses to give one of cinema's most important films special edition treatment but the picture quality is a big improvement over past version.


CiNEZiLLA said...

Got The Beyond on prebook, still contemplating Phenomena, but just the thought of Perfume of a Lady in Black on BluRay just sends shivers down my spine.

There's gonna be so much double dipping in 2011 it's an outrage.



Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Jason,
I've triple-dipped on some of these. It is insane!
Also, it Looks like I made a mistake in my original post. PERFUME OF A LADY IN BKLACK is apparently a DVD only. I have updated the post to reflect this. Thanks for commenting!

dfordoom said...

Blu-Ray isn't an option for me (or for anyone outside the US) but since Perfume of the Lady in Black is on DVD I might grab that one.

Jeremy Richey said...

Hey D,
I think with the exception of the Arrow releases there are DVD versions of all of these. Thanks for commenting...

Drew said...

The Perfume of the Lady in Black was one of my favorite discoveries of last year. Such a haunting, creepy film, almost as though Polanski made a Giallo.

Also really looking forward to upgrading my old Anchor Bay Daughters of Darkness DVD, what an underrated movie that is, should look tremendous on Blu.

Thanks for the heads-up on all these, Jeremy

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Drew!

Erich Kuersten said...

I'm glad I sold my old Anchor Bay DOD on ebay a score and seven years ago, as it had that icky image enhancement thing where everyone's face looks pale and sweaty (my AB Straw Dogs has this problem too)and the backgrounds glisten like they're actually foregrounds and covered in slime...
whoa! tangents! In short, awesome. thanks for posting these Jeremy. Those Corman double bills are great. They finally released the original Not of this Earth! here's hoping we get IT CONQUERED THE WORLD and THE UNDEAD soon! And of course, the Lady in Red

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Erich!
Some of those early Anchor Bay DVDs had issues didn't they? They were such godsends at the time but, looking back, the quality is sure 'iffy' on quite a few of them.
I tell you a Corman title that I am really looking forward to is the upcoming special edition of the Claudia Jennings films THE GREAT TEXAS DYNAMITE CHASE. Now if they would only do UNHOLY ROLLERS as well!!!

dfordoom said...

Jeremy, we definitely need a DVD release for Unholy Rollers! Haven't seen it, but I want to.

Jeremy Richey said...

I LOOOVVVEEE UNHOLY ROLLERS D. It's a great film and Claudia Jennings is a revelation in it.