Our Pick of the Week Gets Mean

Vice Squad Blu Ray Release Date Scream

Welcome to this week in home video! Click the title to buy a Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon and help support FSR in the process!


Pick of the Week

Vice Squad [Scream Factory]

What is it? A mad pimp stalks a prostitute through the moon and neon-lit streets of LA.

Why see it? Gary Sherman’s hard-hitting thriller is a mean, ugly movie that moves with an angry propulsion through its late night genre plot. The cop may be a fairly bland action hero, but the film rides on the energy and performances of Wings Hauser as Ramrod the killer pimp and Season Hubley as the hooker caught up in his rampage. The film makes Los Angeles into a playground, beautifully shot but ugly in its rides and activities. Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray makes things even prettier with a sharp new scan and some informative and entertaining new extras.

[Blu-ray extras: New 4K scan, commentaries, interviews, featurette]


The Best

Avengers EndgameAvengers: Endgame

What is it? All that drama and death from Infinity War? Yeah, don’t worry about that.

Why see it? This is as much of an event movie as you’re ever likely to find, and that comes with both positives and negatives. There’s plenty to critique with the film — the final battle, Black Widow, the results of the un-snap, other choices — but for fans of the franchise it’s a satisfying, entertaining, and must-see film that wraps up much of the 21 films that precede it. It’s a solidly entertaining movie that takes its time with characters (more often than not), and the disc is equally loaded with extras that let viewers further into its world.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes, gag reel]

The New KidsThe New Kids

What is it? The new kids in town find trouble with the locals.

Why see it? Sean Cunningham delivers a tight little thriller here about newcomers targeted by bullies and fate in the form of a villainous James Spader. (Curiously, Spader also stars in another film released the same year called Tuff Turf which sees him playing the new kid in town dealing with rough bullies. It’s also great fun.) The film takes its time before the third act goes full bore with the violence set through an amusement park. The disc has no extras, but it’s cheap and the film is worth it for genre fans.

[Blu-ray extras: None]

Port Of ShadowsPort of Shadows [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A deserter hopes for a brighter future.

Why see it? Marcel Carne’s film found controversy in his home country for its portrayal of a deserter as a hero of sorts, but the film’s power remains even decades later. There’s romance and minor action, but the heart of the tale is a man struggling to find himself in a world that won’t give him time to rest. Beautiful black & white photography compliments the atmospheric and very human tale. Kino’s disc includes a very detailed documentary from a few years back exploring the film’s production and lasting impact.

[Blu-ray extras: Introduction, documentary]

RoxanneRoxanne

What is it? A man with a big nose smells his way to love.

Why see it? Steve Martin’s updated take on Cyrano de Bergerac remains a delightful, sweet, and very funny romantic comedy despite people not really talking about it anymore. Daryl Hannah co-stars, and the film finds big laughs and heart in their well-paced romance. The disc is free of extras unfortunately, but if you don’t have this one in your library it’s still well worth a pick-up.

[Blu-ray extras: None]


The Rest

BlackmailBlackmail [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A woman is blackmailed!

Why see it? Alfred Hitchcock’s first sound film — and only his second tale of suspense — is a sharp little thriller that sees a woman kill a man in self defense only to panic and try to dispose of the body. Unfortunately for her, there’s a witness, and we get some fun thrills and turns with what follows. It’s a pale predecessor to the master’s later work, but it’s interesting seeing his style and talents build. Kino’s disc includes the silent version as well as an informative commentary by Tim Lucas.

[Blu-ray extras: Commentary, interviews, silent version, introduction]

Django the Bastard [Synapse Films]

What is it? Django wants revenge.

Why see it? Typical Django, always wanting vengeance. This entry in the long-running and frequently unrelated franchise leans mildly into horror — not to the degree of something like the classic High Plains Drifter though — but sticks mostly with the expected tropes and action beats. it’s good fun for western fans who appreciate simple motivations and bloody gun fights. Synapse cleans up the picture nicely and includes a commentary by Troy Howarth that as usual delivers tons of information on the production.

[Blu-ray extras: New 2K scan, commentary]

Hart To HartHart to Hart – The Movies

What is it? TV’s favorite mystery solving couple return eight times.

Why see it? Fans of The Thin Man — a film I only *just* watched and loved — should enjoy this series unofficially based on that classic premise. Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers aren’t quite as witty, but they have great chemistry as the well to do married couple who, with the help of their butler/chauffeur/cook Max and little dog solve all kinds of murder mysteries. The series is fun, and these TV movies continue that trend.

[DVD extras: None]

MoonfleetMoonfleet [Warner Archive]

What is it? A boy discovers the evils of men.

Why see it? Fritz Lang’s filmography is filled with classic tales — Metropolis (1927), M (1931), Cloak and Dagger (1946) — but he’s made several that don’t really get much chatter. This mid 50s thriller is an example of that despite being a solid story with attractive set pieces and suspenseful beats. Stewart Granger does good work as a man who walks a fine line between moralities.

[Blu-ray extras: None]

MurderMurder [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? Someone is murdered!

Why see it? Alfred Hitchcock’s early films may have lacked some originality in their titles, but the style and suspense remain. Here a woman is charged and convicted of murder, and a man works to prove her innocence. It’s fairly standard stuff, but Hitchcock remains a filmmaker who makes the typical engaging, and that’s enough to make this a good watch.

[Blu-ray extras: Commentary, interviews, German version, introduction]

The Ugly AmericanThe Ugly American

What is it? A Southeast Asian country splits between American interests and inner rebellion.

Why see it? This is an engaging and revealing film about America’s history of sticking our military-covered nose into another country’s business, and while it leans towards the US being the good guys it’s honest enough to acknowledge that our intentions don’t always pan out. Marlon Brando does good, non-showy work as the American in charge of a project and trying to calm local reactions,

[Blu-ray extras: None]

Wagon MasterWagon Master [Warner Archive]

What is it? A wagon train heads west.

Why see it? John Ford westerns are like Alfred Hitchcock suspense flicks in that even the ones that aren’t masterpieces are still well worth a watch, and that includes this tale of Mormons looking for opportunity. There’s plenty of drama, lots of character, and a sprinkling of action. Watch the film and then watch it again with the commentary track featuring thoughts from Ford, Peter Bogdanovich, and Harry Carey Jr.

[Blu-ray extras: Commentary]

White Line FeverWhite Line Fever

What is it? A Vietnam veteran struggles after the war thanks to thugs.

Why see it? Jan-Michael Vincent was hot stuff in the 70s and early 80s, and while my favorites of his remain The Mechanic (1972) and Defiance (1980), this little trucker flick is good fun. He stands up to smugglers, drives his rig through a giant fountain, and leads a union rebellion, and his name is Carrol Jo Hummer.

[Blu-ray extras: None]


Also out this week:

All Is True, Another Stakeout [KL Studio Classics], Endless Love [Shout Select], The Inland Sea [Criterion Collection], Pan Am – The Complete Series, Razzia Sur La Chnouf [KL Studio Classics], Shadow, Shiraz: A Romance of India, Teacher, Touchez Pas Au Grisbi [KL Studio Classics], Unplanned, Vault, The Velocipastor

"Rob is great. He likes movies. He writes about them. And he's a good person."