New to View: Jan. 24
A seminal Charles Bronson drama that leans heavily into the 1970s notion of New York City as a violent, crime-infested urban jungle. Read about it and other new releases in New to View.
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The following titles are being released on Tuesday, Jan. 24, unless otherwise noted:
Death Wish (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray)
Details: 1974, Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Rated: R, graphic and bloody violence, rape, sexual situations, violence
The lowdown: This seminal Charles Bronson revenge drama leans heavily into the nationwide perception of New York City as a violent, crime-ridden and ungovernable urban jungle.
That, of course, is not far from the truth, but director Michael Winner and screenwriter Wendell Mayes, adapting the novel by Brian Garfield, make it appear so.
Bronson portrays New York architect Paul Kersey whose wife is murdered and daughter brutally raped by intruders who follow them home from the grocery store.
Kersey is angered and frustrated by the inability of the police to find and arrest the perpetrators.
Later, on a trip to Tucson, he receives a gift — a revolver — from a grateful client. Slowly, Kersey begins venturing out and patrolling the city’s mean streets doling out old West justice.
His actions catch the imagination of city residents who proclaim the Vigilante a hero as well as the consternation of city officials who want to stop his deadly rampage.
The movie is politically incorrect with the vast majority of would-be robbers and muggers being either Black or junkies.
Still, the film spawned four sequels, each weaker than the previous outing.
Technical aspects: 4K: 2160p ultra high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles; Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include an interview with actor John Herzfeld and a commentary track with film historian Paul Talbot, author of the “Bronson’s Loose!” books.
“The Jackie Chan Collection: Volume 1 (1976-1982)” (Blu-ray)
Details: 1976-82, Shout! Factory-Shout Select
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A seven-disc set that spotlights the talents of Jackie Chan from early in his career.
The titles — “The Killer Meteors” (1976), “Shaolin Wooden Men” (1976), “To Kill With Intrigue” (1977), “Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin” (1978), “Dragon Fist” (1979), “Battle Creek Brawl” (1980) and “Dragon Lord” (1982) — display Chan’s martial arts skills, his stunt work and his comedic timing.
“The Killer Meteors” finds Chan as an “Immortal” who seeks the help of a local hero whose secret weapon “Killer Meteors” makes him nearly invincible.
“Shaolin Wooden Men” has Chan’s character as a young boy traumatized into silence after witnessing the murder of his father. He trains with Shaolin masters to learn various fighting techniques so he can eventually seek revenge.
“To Kill With Intrigue” deals with Chan’s character sending his pregnant girlfriend away from his family’s castle to spare her from a vicious gang led by a vengeful woman who had her face scarred as a child by the father of Chan’s character.
“Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin” centers on a young man (Chan) who is entrusted with the book of Art of the Snake and Crane after the disappearance of the Shaolin masters. The young man must fight various clans to learn the reason for the masters’ disappearance.
“Dragon Fist” follows a martial arts student on a journey to avenge the murder of his master.
“Battle Creek Brawl” is set in the 1930s as a young man, seeking fame and fortune, heads to Chicago. His life is disrupted when an evil mobster takes his brother’s fiancée hostage and forces him to enter combat tournaments in Texas.
“Dragon Lord” centers on a martial arts student who is constantly looking for romance and, in the process, runs afoul of some very evil bandits trying to steal antiques. He decides to put a stop to their efforts. This version includes the 103-minute extended cut of the movie.
Fans of early Chan films will enjoy these features as it shows the performer’s growing confidence and skill in front of the camera.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 (“Killer Meteors,” “Shaolin Wooden Men,” “To Kill With Intrigue,” “ Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin,” “Dragon Fist’) and 2.39:1 widescreen picture (“Battle Creek Brawl,” “Dragon Lord”); Mandarin, Cantonese and English (dubbed) DTS-HD Master Audio monaural and Cantonese and English DTS-HD Master Audio monaural (“Dragon Lord”; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include “The Golden Boy: Harvesting a Major New Martial Arts Maverick,” an 85-minute documentary; commentaries on each movie; and interviews with Chan, Rick Baker, David West, producer Fred Weintraub and actress Kristine DeBell.
Plan A (Blu-ray)
Details: 2021, Kino Lorber-Menemsha Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This post-World War II movie is based on a true story of the “Avengers” (no, not THOSE Avengers) —a group of Jewish vigilantes, Holocaust survivors, who vow to avenge the death of their people.
The focal point of the movie is Max (August Diehl), who lost his entire family in the death camps. Understandably, he is filled with rage and lives only for revenge.
Max helps the Jewish Brigade to secretly find and execute Nazis accused of having high positions in that system.
When the brigade is disbanded, Max joins Anna (Sylvia Hooks), and a group of former partisans. They travel to Nuremberg where they devise a plan to infiltrate German water companies as undercover engineers so they can poison the drinking water and kill 6 million Germans.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Details: 2021, IndiePix Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Poppy Simpson (Libby Hunsdale) is a 19-year-old who refuses to be defined by her Down syndrome.
She is determined to take charge of her own life. Her dream of becoming an auto mechanic has been stalled by her protective brother, who has taken over the family repair shop business.
It is not until Poppy teams up with an old friend who needs his car fixed for an upcoming burnout competition that her plans get back on course.
This sweet film from New Zealand is funny and vibrant that is bolstered by Hunsdale’s performance.
Technical aspects: 2.39:1 (16x9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English closed-captioned subtitles.
The Last American Virgin (Blu-ray)
Details: 1982, MVD Rewind Collection
Rated: R, sexual situations, language
The lowdown: This early teen comedy looks at more than sex. It touches upon responsibility, loyalty, friendship and teen pregnancy.
Director Boaz Davidson’s movie looks at the intersecting lives of Gary (Lawrence Monoson), a sensitive high schooler who falls hard for the new girl.
Her name is Karen (Diane Franklin), and she is hip and lovely. But Karen is much more interested in Gary’s good friend, Rick (Steve Antin). And when Karen becomes pregnant, it is Gary who comes to her aid.
The movie features a pulsating soundtrack with music by The Police, Blondie, Oingo Boingo, Quincey Jones, Devo, U2 and The Cars.
The movie is funny and bittersweet, capturing what it means to be a teenager. The film’s ending is rather dark.
Critics appreciated the movie, giving it a 77 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include interviews with Franklin, Monoson, Davidson and cinematographer Adam Greenberg.
Inu-Oh (Blu-ray + DVD)
Details: 2021, Shout! Factory-GKids
Rated: PG-13, strong violence, bloody images, suggestive material
The lowdown: This Japanese animated feature is a rock opera set in the 14th century about Inu-oh, who is afflicted with an ancient curse that has left him on the margins of society.
When he meets the blind musician Tomona, a biwa priest haunted by his own past, Inu-oh discovers an amazing ability to dance.
The pair soon become inseparable friends as crowds flock to their concerts.
Soon, those in power — worried by their overwhelming success — threaten to break up the band. Inu-oh and Tomona must continue to dance and sing to uncover the truth behind their creative gifts.
The film, which earned a 91 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, is an innovative and rollicking feature that is satisfying and very enjoyable.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; Japanese and English (dubbed) 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English 5.1 Dolby digital DVS; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; Japanese and English 5.1 Dolby digital and English 5.1 DVS; English SDH, English and Japanese subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include an interview with director Masaaki Yuasa, a question-and-answer session at the movie’s U.S. premiere, a look at Yuasa drawing Inu-oh and a scene breakdown.
Men at Work (Blu-ray)
Details: 1990, MVD Rewind Collection
Rated: PG-13, language, violence
The lowdown: Brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez star in this action-comedy written and directed by Estevez.
The two portray garbage collectors who are practical jokers and always seem to be in trouble.
When they discover the corpse of a local politician in one of the cans on their route, they know they will be the prime suspects.
Needing to clear themselves, they decide to turn detectives and solve the killing themselves, despite being pursued by the police and the actual killers.
The cast also includes Leslie Hope, Keith David, Dean Cameron and Cameron Dye.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 LPCM stereo; English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Other titles being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Belly (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + digital) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Biography: WWE Legends: Volume 3 (DVD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Colosseum (DVD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
The Dentist Collection (Blu-ray + digital) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Rock Dog 3: Battle the Beat (Blu-ray + digital & VOD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, STREAMING or VOD
How I Met Your Father: Season 2 (Hulu)
Waking Karma (XYZ Films)
Condor’s Nest (Saban Films-Paramount Pictures)
The Mission (Film Movement)
Servant: Season 4, Episode 3 (Apple TV+)
Shrinking: Episodes 1 & 2 (Apple TV+)
Truth Be Told: Season 3, Episode 2 (Apple TV+)
You People (www.netflix.com/YouPeople) (Netflix)
Princess Power (www.netflix.com/PrincessPower) (Netflix)
I am a founding member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. I review movies, 4K UHD, Blu-rays and DVDs for ReelBob (ReelBob.com), The Film Yap and other print and online publications. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow me on Twitter @ReelBobBloom and on Facebook at ReelBob or the Indiana Film Journalists Association. My movie reviews also can be found at Rotten Tomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.