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DISCussion: New on DVD and Blu-ray (5.26.15)

"New on DVD and Blu-ray this Week!"

With the dearth of new releases this week – and the fact that both are completely unworthy of purchase – Orson Welles’ noir-killing Touch of Evil easily wins the title of Recommendation of the Week. Finishing off a solid group of re-releases, a pair of political thrillers from director Costa-Gavras provide plenty of reasons to empty your wallet and pray to the gods of Amazon.

New Release:
The Seventh Son – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
The Loft – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)

Re-Release
Touch of Evil (1958) – (Blu-ray and Digital HD)
The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971) – (Criterion Blu-ray)
State of Siege (1972) – (Criterion Blu-ray)
The Confession (1970) – (Criterion Blu-ray)

 

New on DVD

Touch of Evil (1958) – (Blu-ray and Digital HD) *Recommendation of the Week*
Directed by Orson Welles
Written by Orson Welles (screenplay), Whit Masterson (based on the novel Badge of Evil), Franklin Coen (reshoots), and Paul Monash (reshoots)
Starring: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh

Welles directs and stars in one of the greatest detective thrillers ever conceived. A twisted tale of intrigue, sedition, and murder, Touch of Evil is Welles at his near best. Proving too convoluted for studio executives, the film was reshot and edited for continuity without Welles’ approval or cooperation. After writing a 58-page memo pleading for the release of his original vision, a re-edit was finally produced in 1998, 13 years after Welles’ death, which aimed to adhere more closely to Welles’ intensions.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (Superb)
IMDB: 8.2 (Excellent)
Entertainment Fuse: 9.5/10

DISC DETAILS

Amazon: $14.97 (Blu-ray and Digital HD)

 

New on DVD

Seventh Son – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Directed by Sergey Bodrov
Written by Charles Leavitt (screenplay), Steven Knight (screenplay), Matt Greenberg (screen story), and Joseph Delaney (novel, The Spook’s Apprentice)
Starring: Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore

Another in a long line of recent Jeff Bridges missteps, Seventh Son is the tale of Mother Malkin’s (Moore), queen of the evil witches, escape from her entombment. Put there by hunter, Spook (Bridges), Malkin can only be brought to justice by her old rival and his new apprentice, the seventh son of the seventh son (Barnes).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 13% (Awful)
Metacritic: 30 (Terible)
IMDB: 5.5 (Okay)
Entertainment Fuse: 5.8/10 (Read our Review)

DISC DETAILS

Amazon: $19.95 (Blu-ray); $16.99 (DVD); $4.99/$14.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)

 

New on DVD

The Loft – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Directed by Eric Van Looy
Written by Bart De Pauw (screenplay) and Wesley Strick (screenplay)
Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller

A group of five middle-aged men decide split a penthouse apartment for “nefarious” purposes (cheating on their wives). When they discover a dead body in the empty apartment, they must re-enact a dull version of “Clue” to find out which one perpetrated the heinous act.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 12% (Awful)
Metacritic: 24 (Awful)
IMDB: 6.3 (Good)

DISC DETAILS

Amazon: $17.99 (Blu-ray); $15.99 (DVD); $4.99/$14.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)

New on DVD

The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971) – (Criterion Blu-ray)
Directed and written by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Hans Hirschmüller, Irm Hermann, Hanna Schygulla

An early example of Fassbinder’s melodramatic period, The Merchant of Four Seasons depicts the dissolution of a marriage and the general melancholy that accompanies success. An alcoholic fruit merchant has a clarifying brush with death, swears off drinking, and vows to reignite his love for his wife and young daughter. A weak heart forces him to hire an employee, and surprisingly enough, leads to a huge spike in monthly profits. The more he makes, however, the more unhappy he becomes.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 92% (Excellent at 12 reviews)
IMDB: 7.6 (Very Good)
Entertainment Fuse: 9.0/10

DISC DETAILS

Special Features: 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; Audio commentary featuring filmmaker Wim Wenders; New interviews with actors Irm Hermann and Hans Hirschmüller: Interview with film scholar Eric Rentschler; New English subtitle translation; PLUS: An essay by film scholar Thomas Elsaesser

Amazon: $22.99 (Criterion Blu-ray)

 

New on DVD

State of Siege (1972) – (Criterion Blu-ray)
Directed by Costa-Gavras
Written by Franco Solinas (written by original scenario) and Costa-Gavras (original scenario)
Starring: Yves Montand, Renato Salvatori, O.E. Hasse

A political thriller and critique of America’s involvement in foreign government, State of Siege follows a foreign dignitary (Montand) kidnapped by incensed guerrilla militants. A simultaneous criticism of the CIA’s tactics of control in South America, and the effectiveness of violent opposition to said tactics, Costa-Gavras shows a mastery of political commentary in film.

IMDB: 7.8 (Very Good)

DISC DETAILS

Special Features: 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Costa-Gavras, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; Conversation between Costa-Gavras and film scholar Peter Cowie; NBC News excerpts from 1970 on the kidnapping of Dan A. Mitrione, on which the film is based; English subtitle translation; PLUS: An essay by journalist Mark Danner

Amazon: $27.99 (Criterion Blu-ray)

 

New on DVD

The Confession (1970) – (Criterion Blu-ray)
Directed by Costa-Gavras
Written by Lise and Artur London (book) and Jorge Semprún (adaptation and dialogue)
Starring: Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Gabriele Ferzetti

This week we get another arresting political drama from Costa-Gavras in the form of his follow up to the international success, Z. Based on a true story, The Confession follows a bewildered Communist Party official (Montand) after he is taken, imprisoned, and tortured.

IMDB: 7.9 (Very Good)

DISC DETAILS

Special Features: 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Costa-Gavras, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; You Speak of Prague: The Second Trial of Artur London, a 1970 on-set documentary by set photographer Chris Marker, featuring Costa-Gavras, source book coauthor Artur London, actors Yves Montand and Simone Signoret, and screenwriter Jorge Semprún; Portrait London, a 1981 French program featuring Artur and Lise London discussing their experiences as political prisoners; Interview with Montand from 1970; Interview with editor Françoise Bonnot; One-hour conversation between Costa-Gavras and film scholar Peter von Bagh from 1998: Interview with John Michalczyk, author of Costa-Gavras: The Political Fiction Film; New English subtitle translation; PLUS: An essay by film scholar Dina Iordanova

Amazon: $27.99 (Criterion Blu-ray)

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