Monday, December 10, 2012

Kino Lorber Sets February Release Package

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Kino Lorber steps up in February with a nifty blend of foreign language arthouse imports and a heart-pounding array of horror entries that will certainly please genre connoisseurs.

First up, the arthouse entries that will be making their domestic debuts on DVD.   We begin with the Feb. 5 arrival of American filmmaker Chris Smith’s Hindi-language import, The Pool.

The ARR is a long-in-the-tooth 1,614 days and the domestic box office take from the film’s limited arthouse run was $94,901.

The story, although set in the Goa region of India and presented in Hindi, could be from pretty much anywhere.  The fact that an American writer/director, known for his documentaries (The Yes Men, American Movie, etc.), made the film says as much.  

It’s about class, education, status and the hustle.  How far can ambition and street smarts take you … and where is that point where the “stink” of the street defines just how far you can go? 

In a documentary-like presentation, with characters seemingly playing themselves, we are introduced to Venkatesh (Venkatesh Chavan), a smart, but uneducated jack-of-all-trades worker at a local hotel who becomes enamored with the glistening swimming pool of a wealthy neighbor.   Step by step he ingratiates himself to the owner of the walled-off household, beginning as an unpaid helper, then gardener and more … but how far can he go?   

A beautiful, even lyrical film; a study in contrasts … fascinating and long overdue for a home entertainment release.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

On Feb. 19 look for a truly one of a kind Russian-language import, director Valery Todorovsky’s Hipsters.   A musical drama set during the 1950s that explores a little known jazz-inspired counter culture that not so much flourished, but managed to eek out a survival in the cold, one-size-fits-all dreariness of the Soviet Union.

You have to think in terms of Martians trying to mimic life in the United States, but with garbled transmissions and incomplete data.  The result for these “aliens” proves to be an eclectic mix of bouffant hairstyles, wildly colored clothing (imagine: thrift store rejects) and saxophones.  

The following week, Feb. 26, the arthouse selections conclude with documentary filmmaker Sophie Fiennes’ Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow.   This oddly-structured film mirrors, in many ways, the other-worldly life — and artistry — of performance artist Anselm Kiefer.   We get a first-hand tour of his studio — an art project onto itself — in the south of France (Barjac) and get to observe, if not “know,” the artist himself.

The ARR is 564 days and the box office take during the film’s limited domestic run was $44,264.
The other side of the February release coin from Kino Lorber is dedicated to all things horror.
Feb. 12 marks the arrival of four Blu-ray SKUs showcasing the work of Brit filmmaker Pete Walker.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Susan George stars in Die Screaming, Marianne
We kick off the hi-def parade with the 1971 Susan George flick, Die Screaming, Marianne, filmed before she hit it big the same year with Straw Dogs.  Walker did this one on the cheap — not his best work, but over the years it has gained a certain cult status.  

Kino Lorber has remastered it for the Blu-ray launch, plus there is commentary from Walker, who is joined by film critic and author Jonathan Rigby (“English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema,” etc.) and there is also a featurette titled, “Pete Walker: An Eye for Terror.”

By 1974 he had hit his stride with House of Whipcord, which is a curious blend of women in prison elements and torture for torture’s sake — it’s almost as if the script was written with the thought in mind to see what creepy things they could come up with to do this young woman and the next.   Sadistic, in a word.

House of Whipcord arrived domestically at the height of the Brit anthology horror craze of the early 1970s (Asylum, Tales from the Crypt, The House That Dripped Blood, etc.) and has everything in it that genre fans expect from films released during this period.

Bonus features include the featurette titled “Perversions of Justice” and commentary from Walker, who is joined by the director of photography, Peter Jessop.

The third film from Pete Walker making the transition to Blu-ray is the 1976 film release of Schizo (1977 domestically), a “slasher” flick starring Lynne Frederick (Phase IV, No Blade of Grass, Vampire Circus).

Bonus features include an interview with Walker and the featurette titled “My Sweet Schizo.”
Last in the mix is The Comeback, a 1978 haunted house thriller starring Grammy-winning singer Jack Jones as a down-on-his-luck singer (typecasting) who is being haunted by visions of his dead ex-wife. 
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Bonuses here include commentary from Walker and the featurette titled “Slasher Serenade.”
On Feb. 26 Kino Lorber will be delivering Blu-ray and DVD editions of two films from cult horror filmmakers Jesus Franco and Jean Rollin — Oasis of the Zombies (Jesus Franco directing, 1982) and Zombie Lake (Jean Rollin directing; Jesus Franco script, 1981).

And last, but certainly not least, is the Feb. 12 three-disc, triple feature set titled: Satanic Sluts Collection.  Included are: Satanic Sluts: The Black Order Cometh, Satanic Sluts II: The Black Masses and Satanic Sluts III: Scandalized … all from the demented mind of writer/director Nigel Wingrove (Visions of Ecstasy, Sacred Flesh, Axel, etc.).

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report:  DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

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