In this lesser-known ‘70s Blaxploitation film, Rudy Ray Moore plays Dolemite, a pimp just out of the slammer who decides to get his revenge on the gangster who set him up for his jail time. Although the movie is shaky dramatically and histrionically, it has some fun moments that are par for the course for this genre; as always, if this is directly in your wheelhouse, your mileage may vary. There’s a decent hi-def transfer; extras include making-of featurette, commentary and interviews.
Yet another nasty “nanny” thriller, this one follows a psychotic young woman who—after kidnaping the real babysitter and takes her place (because that’s what such women do)—does even crazier things like playing with a gun in front of her charges and showing the kids their parents’ sex tape. Again, there are fleeting moments of tension—thanks to Sarah Bolger’s carefully delineated portrayal of Emelie—but they are few and far between, even for an 80-minute B-movie. The film does have a good Blu-ray transfer; the lone extra is a making-of featurette.
(Anchor Bay/Weinstein Co)
Natalie Portman plays a farmer’s wife and mother in the Wild West who must protect her grievously injured husband from a murderous gang with the help of her former fiancée in this surprisingly tepid western directed with only nominal energy by Gavin O’Connor. Portman, though game, is one-note, while the various men in her life are played with little variety by Noah Emmerich, Joel Edgerton and Ewan MacGregor. The film looks impressive on Blu-ray.
Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates
One of the godfathers of the cinema verite movement, Robert Drew and his associates made four seminal film records of President Kennedy’s short term as president: Primary (made in Wisconsin during the spring of 1960), Adventures on the New Frontier (JFK’s early days in office), Crisis (an account of the Cuban Missile Crisis) and finally the classic silent short Faces of November (showing the reaction to his assassination). This unexpected but superb release collects these classic historical documents, and brings them to Blu-ray in the best possible hi-def conditions, along with several excellent extras, like an alternate cut of Primary, a commentary on Primary, the new documentary Robert Drew in His Own Words, outtakes and new and vintage interviews and conversations.
In the outlandish thriller Remember, Christopher Plummer plays an elderly Auschwitz survivor tracking down the last of the Nazis who killed his family before he completely loses his memory; Atom Egoyan’s chilly direction mutes what could have been a guilty pleasure, but there are Plummer’s yummy performance and a clever twist ending. Backtrack is little more than a lukewarm update of The Sixth Sense with a confused-looking Adrien Brody as a psychiatrist whose patients are connected to victims of a train crash decades earlier—which he may have been involved with as a teen. Both films have solid transfers; both discs include featurettes, and Remember includes a director and writer commentary.
Not one of his most memorable films, 1972’s What? is Roman Polanski at his most inconsequential: despite the presence of Marcello Mastroianni as a clichéd European playboy and photogenic locations on the Italian Riviera, it’s only the appealing appearance of Sydne Rome—a young American actress not averse to wandering around through the movie either semi-nude or completely nude—that makes this flimsy movie watchable. Polanski has fun in a small role but, as director, only his healthy musical palette of Schubert, Beethoven and Mozart belies the fact that What? is pretentious and empty. There’s a striking hi-def transfer; extras are new interviews with Rome, composer Claudio Gizzi and cinematographer Marcello Gatti.
Pretty Little Liars—Complete 6th Season
The fates of the “liars” quintet of Aria, Emily, Hanna, Spencer and Mona hang in the balance in an unusually diverting series of mysteries, as the drama’s daring sixth season leaps ahead a half-decade to provide some answers to many difficult questions. The five-disc set, which comprises all 21 episodes from the most current season, also includes bonus features: four featurettes and deleted scenes.