DVD Obscura: 'Dayveon,' 'A Fantastic Woman,' 'Cold Turkey' and Much More

DVD Obscura: 'Dayveon,' 'A Fantastic Woman,' 'Cold Turkey' and Much More

Jun 13, 2018

What's new on home video? For those of us interested in watching indie and foreign films and/or documentaries and/or grindhouse titles and/or classic cinema and/or television shows, the answer is easy: plenty! Here's our guide to the latest and greatest.

New Indie

DayveonYou may well have missed Dayveon (FilmRise/MVD) during its all-too-brief theatrical run in 2017, but it’s a drama that packs a real punch. Amman Abbasi’s directorial debut follows its 13-year-old lead character through a long, hot summer in Arkansas in which the young man finds himself inexorably drawn into gang life. Populated with a cast of newcomers, the film has a neorealist feel that makes the drama that much more powerful. A powerful film from a new cinematic voice.

Also available: Director Michael Schlesinger’s love of vintage comedy shorts comes through in The Misadventures of Biffle and Shooster! (Kino Lorber), a collection of hilarious vignettes you’d swear were created in Hollywood’s Golden Age; Cate Blanchett is up to the challenge of Manifesto (FilmRise/MVD), an experimental piece in which she portrays 13 different characters; a young girl is determined that she alone is keeping her small town safe in the charming fantasy I Kill Giants (RLJE Films).


New Foreign

Daniela Vega’s powerhouse performance anchors the Oscar-winning import A Fantastic Woman (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), the latest from Chilean director Sebastián Lelio (Gloria, Disobedience). Vega began as a consultant to the project before being cast in the lead role of Marina, a waitress and singer whose lover dies, putting this transgender performer in conflict with the man’s selfish and cruel family.

Also available: Vazante (Music Box Films), shot in glorious widescreen black-and-white, explores themes of race, feminism and colonialism in Brazil; Toby Jones stars in the unsettling psychological thriller Kaleidoscope (IFC Midnight/Scream Factory); in Souvenir (Strand Releasing Home Entertainment), Isabelle Huppert stars as a washed-up Eurovision singer who gets one more chance at a comeback.

Sally Potter and an all-star cast (including Kristin Scott Thomas, Patricia Clarkson and Cillian Murphy) skewer modern mores and politics in the farcical The Party (Lionsgate); during the Anglo-Boer war, Brits and South Africans face off in a rugby match that’s literally a matter of life and death in Blood and Glory (Cleopatra Entertainment); Maya the Bee 2: The Honey Games (Shout Factory Kids) sees the world’s favorite animated German bee competing to keep her hive’s treasure.

Once Upon a Time (Well Go USA Entertainment) is a visually stunning Chinese fantasy starring Liu Yifei, soon to be seen in the live-action Mulan; Diane Kruger gives a gut-punch of a performance as a wife and mother out for justice – and then vengeance – in Fatih Akin’s In the Fade (Magnolia Home Entertainment); a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee face off in court over The Insult (Cohen Media Group) in this critically acclaimed festival favorite.


New Documentary

The people most inclined to yell “Fake news!” are the same people who have been perpetrating it for years. ACORN and the Firestorm (First Run Features) takes a calm and clear-headed look at how a community-organizing group found itself demonized by Fox News and its acolytes, leading to the group’s destruction. As fomented, invented hysteria continues to dominate politics, it’s both illuminating and necessary to understand how the noise machine works.

Also available: You can’t tell the players in the collapse of late-stage capitalism without a scorecard, so check out the econ docs Capitalism and Marx Reloaded (both Icarus Films); narrated by Colin Farrell, It’s Not Yet Dark (FilmRise/MVD) follows a young filmmaker with ALS as he sets out to make his first feature.

The Secret Life of Lance Letscher (FilmRise/MVD) looks into the life of the Austin-based collage artist who has turned personal trauma into acclaimed collages; while Leah Remini is on hiatus, catch up with the powerful Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (FilmRise/MVD); a young boy survives a massacre during Guatemala’s civil war, and it takes 30 years for justice to be served in the acclaimed Finding Oscar (FilmRise/MVD).

Take a trip to some of the world’s oldest vineyards in Our Blood Is Wine (Music Box Films); fans of Brazilian music won’t want to miss Divine Divas (FilmRise/MVD), about the country’s groundbreaking drag performers of the 1960s, and Elis (Cleopatra Entertainment), an intimate portrait of legendary vocalist Elis Regina.


New Grindhouse

It’s Alive Trilogy (Scream Factory) offers all three of Larry Cohen’s wackadoo killer-newborn epics in one box set, and on Blu-ray to boot. Is it a cautionary tale about the environment, or a subtle statement on abortion? Sure, if you want, but these movies are mostly wonderful, trashy fun, now restored to 2K. Hey, the first one features a score by Bernard Herrmann and makeup effects by Rick Baker. And with a new documentary coming out about Cohen’s singular contributions to American cinema, there’s never been a better time to catch up with this creepy trilogy.

Also available: The four-part horror anthology The House That Dripped Blood (Scream Factory) memorably promises “Vampires! Voodoo! Vixens! Victims!”; dinner party guests hunker down when the alien apocalypse starts in Night Zero (Conquest/MVD); imagine Toho Studios’ take on Hammer Films, and you’ve got The Bloodthirsty Trilogy (Arrow), three vampire tales from director Michio Yamamoto; Desolation (IFC Midnight/Scream Factory) sees a family regretting their visit to the woods when a silent stalker appears.

Sammo Hung was action coordinator on Paradox (Well Go USA Entertainment), starring Tony Jaa; Helen Mirren classes up Winchester (Lionsgate), about a real house that claims to be haunted; found-footage meets social media in Followers (Synkronized) when a couple of “influencers” find themselves being hunted down; Peter Weller plays a Wall Street master of the universe facing a whole other kind of rat race in the cult classic chiller Of Unknown Origin (Scream Factory).


New Classic

The very funny Cold Turkey (Olive Films) – about an entire town that tries to give up smoking for 30 days, in the hopes of a big payout from a tobacco company that hopes to prove that they can’t do it – features great movie work from people often associated with television, from director Norman Lear (who would of course go on to create some of the small-screen’s most influential shows) to cast members like Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, Tom Poston and Barnard Hughes. A charming and underseen early-70s farce.

Also available: Spaghetti Western classic A Fistful of Dollars (Kino Lorber) – which launched the careers of actor Clint Eastwood, director Sergio Leone, and composer Ennio Morricone – gets a gorgeous 4K restoration on Blu-ray; also new on Blu-ray is the riveting noir Gun Crazy (Warner Archive Collection), sadly as relevant as ever; disco the night away with the effervescently silly Thank God It’s Friday (Mill Creek Entertainment); portrait painting take a long time, and Jacques Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse (Cohen Film Collection) captures that precision in his lengthy, fascinating drama.

Dick Miller gets a rare lead role in the beatnik satire A Bucket of Blood (Olive Films); Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice (Kino Lorber) is as powerful as ever, and it’s never looked better on home video; Paul Mazursky’s early comedy Next Stop, Greenwich Village (Twilight Time) remains one of the great coming-of-age movies ever; Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell are a hilarious pair of gold-diggers in Kansas City Princess (Warner Archive Collection).

Klaus Kinski’s slithery turn as a morbid doctor is one of the highlights of the creepy Death Smiles on a Murderer (Arrow); Big Business (Kino Lorber) inserts Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler in the twins-separated-at-birth formula, to farcical results; the 80s kiddie epic Savannah Smiles (MVD Rewind) has inspired everything from a Pushing Daisies episode to a Girl Scout cookie flavor; Claude Berri’s sentimental favorite The Two of Us (Cohen Film Collection) hits Blu-ray in a new 4K restoration.

OK, so Father’s Day is coming up, and maybe your dad already has a 4K system, or maybe you’re planning to give him one. He’s gonna need some dad-type movies for it, and that has to be the reason why Die Hard: 30th Anniversary (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), Source Code (Lionsgate) and Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator and Braveheart (all Paramount Home Media) have all just been released. Make pop-pop happy.


New TV

Audiences might have turned their backs on Action Point, but surely there’s still an appeal to watching Johnny Knoxville and his cronies risk life and limb by falling off things or having other things propelled at them. Relive the magic with Jackass: Complete Movie and TV Collection (Paramount Home Media), a fully-stuffed box set that offers up the run of the TV series along with the four feature films (including Bad Grandpa) as well as the alternate edits. And please, don’t try any of this at home.

Also available: If you’re somehow not a Netflix subscriber, then you’ve missed out on Dear White People: Season One (Lionsgate), one of the decade’s smartest sitcoms; children are missing and spouses are in peril in the addictive Mary Higgins Clark: 14 Film Collection (Mill Creek Entertainment); Rick and Morty: Season 3 (Adult Swim) continues the outrageous and misanthropic adventures of a scientist and his grandson; by the time we get to Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Fourth Season (Time Life), it’s clear that everyone wanted to be a guest star, so this set features a roster that includes Truman Capote, Carol Channing, Bing Crosby, Vincent Price, Orson Welles, Rod Serling and Debbie Reynolds, to name just a few.

So you’ve been collection MST3K episodes, but some of the title slipped between the box-set cracks? Here comes Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Singles Collection (Shout Factory) to help make your archives complete; I’m Dying Up Here: Season One (Showtime/CBS) celebrates the groundbreaking paradigm shift of the 1970s L.A. comedy scene; the Great One packed up his crew (and his fellow “Honeymooners”) and took off for Miami Beach to produce The Jackie Gleason Show in Color: Deluxe Edition (Time Life); Catherine Zeta-Jones returns to her Traffic stomping grounds for the searing biopic Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story (Lionsgate).

And Acorn TV keeps the scintillating international mysteries and procedurals coming with Dear Murderer, Series 1; Midsomer Murders: County Case Files; Ackley Bridge, Series 1; East West 101, Series 2; and Detectorists, Series 3.

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