2020 has taught me one thing. Sometimes, you get busy. We all get busy. At AndersonVision, we’re always looking for the latest and neatest thing to do, then something slips past us. As such, we might periodically do one of these round-ups just to let our thoughts known. Here goes.
The Bells of St. Mary’s: Olive Signature is a stunning Catholic themed release about people finding charity in times of need. Bing Crosby rocks his socks off, while Ingrid Bergman does her best to make it work. Honestly, the entire thing feels like the Catholic School segments of The Blues Brothers played straight. Olive Films kills it again with their Signature brand of special features ranging from featurettes to a commentary. Plus, that 4K restoration has the movie looking amazing.
Manon is a recent release from Arrow Academy. I dig the Arrow Academy releases because they’re eclectic grab bags of movies from America and the World stage. Whether it’s a deep dive Altman flick or a French Post-War movie, you never know what you’re getting. Plus, the special features are crazy. I hope you appreciate these screen shots I’m tossing in here. Spent last Sunday grabbing all of them.
Brewster’s Millions had a stellar release from Shout Factory. You get the 1945 and 1985 versions of the films. Plus, there is a new commentary and interview. I know this won’t mean a damn thing to anyone under the age of 30. But, you got Richard Pryor and John Candy working the material at their best under the direction of Walter Hill. I would have killed for Hill to make more comedies. After all, he was way ahead of the curve by casting the 7th Heaven dad as a bad guy. I love, love, love this release.
Serendipity follows French artist Prune Nourry, as she documents being diagnosed with breast cancer. Turning her artistic eye into a medical odyssey, she meets with French female artists that share in her journey to self discovery in the face of cancer. While it was one of the most amazing documentaries to come out of 2019, I would have never heard about it unless Cohen Collection brought it to my attention. Check it out!
Wild Child / Life Happens are two movies I discovered streaming while waking up from being passed out. I wish there was a classier story than that, but I’ve woken up twice to hearing Krysten Ritter and Kate Bosworth searching for their last condom. Wild Child is something that I saw again on this Mill Creek disc, but can’t remember a thing about since I saw it. But, the Wild Child disc comes with commentary, deleted scenes and a buttload of featurettes. That’s cool.
Another Day of Life has some of my favorite animation in a GKIDS release ever. The film is quite mature, as it works as an adaptation of Ricardo Kapuscinski’s time spent documenting the Angolan Civil War. Mixing with different formats, traditional animation gives way to a look at a photojournalist learning the true nature of War. One of the best animated releases of 2020 so far.
Rosewood Lane / White Noise: The Light is a two-prong attack on the sense from Mill Creek. Did that sound good? Honestly, I love that a disc in 2020 could make me feel like I was diving through the DTV bin at Kroger Video. Victor Salva films and uninspired sequels to January dump films aren’t going to be high on anyone’s must-buy list. Still, I dig the effort.
Hudson Hawk is a film that has developed quite a following among film nerds. Who doesn’t like Danny Aiello and Bruce Willis busting out 1940s tunes while robbing stuff? Honestly, the most I knew from this movie came out of a Nintendo Power magazine. Nintendo Power ran a contest to promote the arrival of the film and I assume the NES tie-in game. I never knew who won, but I knew I didn’t want to meet Bruce Willis that bad. The Blu-ray comes with no special features.
No Mercy is another one of those movies that I saw too much on HBO as a child. Richard Gere and Kim Basinger make their way through the bayou to solve Gere’s cop partner’s death. The Chicago mob and other crooks are in on the mix and I’m back asleep again. I wake up to no special features. This is 2020, people.
When A Stranger Calls gets a pass for being a release during the Bronze Age of Horror. One thing I never noticed before was the time leap. How did I not notice the 7 year jump before? I mean, it’s not like it’s hard to spot Carol Kane aging in real time. Still, wasn’t Charles Durning not amazing in this movie? No special features.
Deadly Manor is Arrow’s latest attempt to win me over to Jose Ramon Larraz. While I appreciate the hell out of his movies and style, they don’t have a hold on me yet. Shot in a house that was crumbling apart while filming, the movie is as shaky as the foundation. I never buy the two lead females as being at each other’s throats. Plus, I’ve seen the dynamic at play in any other slasher movie released that decade. Still, Arrow poured all of its love into that A/V Quality.
ULTRAMAN WAS STILL PART OF MY 1Q 2020
The Return of Ultraman and Ultraman Orb also got late releases from Mill Creek. The Orb saga are 12 episode fixed series that highlight modern CG and deep family sagas about families growing more powerful in an Ultraman world. Neat in terms of world building, but that’s it.
The Return of Ultraman is the release that got my attention. The fourth entry in the classic Ultraman series feels quaint in 2020. Still, I dig seeing classic Kaiju blasting hard for 51 episodes for us all to enjoy. God Bless Mill Creek Entertainment!