SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco's "About My Father" leads the charge for this week's digital releases. Also coming this week is A24's "Beau Is Afraid" I've said just about all I could ever want to say about the film in my review. Given a bit of influence, I'd direct you toward "Chevalier," a historical drama about composer Joseph Bologne.
Physical releases for the week include the monstrous hit "Super Mario Bros. Movie," sports drama "Sweetwater," and horror "The Pope's Exorcist." However, the most exciting releases for me are Shout! Factory's Shaw Brothers box set, Well Go USA's "Sakra" directed by and starring Donnie Yen, and the 4K releases of "Time Bandits," "Rain Man," and "Insidious."
Studio Synopsis: The hottest comic in America, Sebastian Maniscalco joins forces with legendary Italian-American and two-time Oscar winner, Robert De Niro (Best Actor, "Raging Bull," 1980), in the new comedy "About My Father." The film centers around Sebastian (Maniscalco) who is encouraged by his fiancée (Leslie Bibb) to bring his immigrant, hairdresser father, Salvo (De Niro), to a weekend get-together with her super-rich and exceedingly eccentric family (Kim Cattrall, Anders Holm, Brett Dier, David Rasche). The weekend develops into what can only be described as a culture clash, leaving Sebastian and Salvo to discover that the great thing about family is everything about family.
Studio Synopsis: A paranoid man (Joaquin Phoenix) embarks on an odyssey to get home to his mother (Patti LuPone) in this bold and ingeniously depraved film from writer-director Ari Aster (Midsommar, Hereditary), a darkly funny epic and elemental nightmare.
Studio Synopsis: Inspired by the incredible true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, Bologne (Kelvin Harrison Jr. in a tour de force performance) rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer, complete with an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton) and her court.
Studio Synopsis: After bad intel from headquarters results in a tragic civilian death, an elite sniper duo attempts to flee the area but can't seem to shake a mysterious, inhuman creature stalking them from the shadows. (Also available on Blu-ray)
Studio Synopsis: Newly remastered in 4K by the BFI National Archive, "The Draughtsman's Contract" is Peter Greenaway’s masterpiece. Set in a richly exaggerated 17th-century England, this witty, stylized, erotic country house murder mystery catapulted Greenaway to the forefront of international art cinema. Adorned with intricate wordplay, extravagant costumes and opulent photography, Greenaway’s first narrative feature weaves a labyrinthine mystery around the maxim “draw what you see, not what you know.” An aristocratic wife (Janet Suzman) commissions a young, cocksure draughtsman (Anthony Higgins) to sketch her husband’s property while he is away—in exchange for a fee, room and board, and one sexual favor for each of the twelve drawings. As the draughtsman becomes more entrenched in the devious schemings in this seemingly idyllic country home, curious details emerge in his drawings that may reveal a murder. (Also available on Blu-ray)
Studio Synopsis: A shy teenager on a summer vacation experiences the joy and pain of young adulthood when he forges an unlikely bond with an older girl.
Studio Synopsis: A jaded preacher struggles to regain control of his life after a terrifying experience with the unknown in the most haunted house in Kentucky.
Studio Synopsis: In the heat of the summer, Andy leaves the city in order to spend some time at a luxury villa with his best friends. As they party and goof around, their initial consensual horseplay reveals that they each have different personal boundaries.
Studio Synopsis: Teddy Jackson (Kevin Hart) is a bumbling entrepreneur who can't make any of his ideas work. Taking his wife on a vacation getaway, Teddy ends up at the wrong Airbnb and is mistaken for a vicious assassin known as The Man From Toronto. When the real assassin (Woody Harrelson) arrives, the two realize that they have to work together to escape tenacious FBI agents, bloodthirsty hired killers and a handler (Ellen Barkin) who wants her money back. (Also available on Blu-ray)
Studio Synopsis: A group of friends and their troubled professor rise above a challenging semester and a raging pandemic to find their true voices
Studio Synopsis: During the pandemic, a pregnant restaurateur tries to rob a priceless truffle from a reclusive World War 2 veteran in a new revenge horror-thriller from award-winning filmmaking duo Steven Garbas and Chantelle Han, "Peppergrass."
Studio Synopsis: What's worse than getting dumped? For Will, it's finding out that his new place is haunted. Now faced with a quarter-life crisis and a house full of spirits, Will must figure out how to make things right with his ex-girlfriend and banish the sacrifice-seeking demon residing in his house.
Studio Synopsis: Tommy Guns invokes the ghosts of Angola’s colonial past while embracing the symbolic power of genre filmmaking. The story begins in 1974, just one year before the country’s independence from decades of Portuguese rule. Wealthy colonists are fleeing the country as Angolan revolutionaries gradually claim their land back. A tribal girl discovers love and danger when her path crosses that of a Portuguese soldier. Another group of soldiers, completely cut off from the outside world, blindly follow the brutal orders of their commander in the name of serving their country. But nothing stays fixed in this genre-shifting cinematic puzzle, which playfully swerves from art house drama to war film to zombie flick to escape thriller with exhilarating control. (Also available on Blu-ray)
Studio Synopsis: Two Brooklyn plumbers who are brothers and best friends: Mario, the brave one with the “let’s-a go” attitude, and the perpetually anxious Luigi, who would prefer to go nowhere. We open with the Super Mario Brothers reckoning with their struggling plumbing business, and wind up in a whirlwind adventure through Mushroom Kingdom
Studio Synopsis: In "Sweetwater," Nat Clifton (Everett Osborne) is the star attraction of the popular traveling basketball team, the Harlem Globetrotters, led by owner and coach Abe Saperstein (Kevin Pollak). When New York Knicks executive Ned Irish (Cary Elwes) and Knicks coach Joe Lapchick (Jeremy Piven) decide it is time for the Knicks to integrate, with the support of NBA President Maurice Podoloff (Richard Dreyfuss), they come together with the other team owners of the league to make history.
Studio Synopsis: Inspired by the actual files of Father Gabriele Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican (Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe; 2000, Best Actor, "Gladiator"), "The Pope's Exorcist" follows Amorth as he investigates a young boy's terrifying possession and ends up uncovering a centuries-old conspiracy the Vatican has desperately tried to keep hidden.
Studio Synopsis: The terrifying story of a family who, shortly after moving, discovers that dark spirits have possessed their home and that their son has inexplicably fallen into a coma. Trying to escape the haunting and save their son, they move again only to realize that it was not their house that was haunted.
Studio Synopsis: "Rain Man" stars Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise as estranged brothers on a road trip unlike any other across America. Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) has been given the news that his recently deceased father has left his entire fortune to his autistic brother Raymond (Hoffman), who he did not know existed. In a crass bid to grab some, if not all of the inheritance, Charlie abducts Raymond and what begins as a money-making scheme for Charlie turns into a journey of discovery between brothers who are worlds apart.
Studio Synopsis: In this fantastic voyage through time and space from Terry Gilliam, a boy named Kevin (Craig Warnock) escapes his gadget-obsessed parents to join a band of time travelers. Armed with a map stolen from the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson), they plunder treasure from Napoleon (Ian Holm) and Agamemnon (Sean Connery)—but the Evil Genius (David Warner) is watching their every move. Featuring a darkly playful script by Gilliam and his Monty Python cohort Michael Palin (who also appears in the film), "Time Bandits" is at once a giddy fairy tale, a revisionist history lesson, and a satire of technology gone awry.
Studio Synopsis: Starring international action star Donnie Yen-When a respected martial artist is accused of murder, he goes on the run in search of answers about his own mysterious origin story and the unknown enemies working to destroy him.
This spectacular box set comprises 11 classic martial arts films from the famous Shaw Brothers' library, featuring some of their greatest stars – Jimmy Wang Yu (One-Armed Swordsman), Cheng Pei-pei (Come Drink With Me), Lo Lieh (King Boxer), Ku Feng (The Five Venoms), and David Chiang (The Boxer From Shantung). Many of these films are debuting for the first time on Blu-ray. Get ready for some exciting thrills and chills as heroes meet villains in a duel to the death!
Studio Synopsis: In the same year that director-writer Chang Cheh and star Jimmy Wang Yu revolutionized Hong Kong kung fu cinema with "One-Armed Swordsman," they also collaborated on this epic of the Six Kingdoms era. Here, Yu is a two-armed swordsman who is also a Wei Empire patriot. Inside the Han Empire, Han Kuei, who comes from the royal family, assumes full power and wants to eliminate loyal officer Yen Sui. Later, our main character is betrayed by a jealous rival and becomes a village butcher. But when he meets Yen Sui, he is sent back on the road of vengeance. Chiao Chiao, the lovely and talented costar of "One-Armed Swordsman," here plays Hsia, the love of the hero's life and the strong woman who survives to protect their child.
The Thundering Sword
Studio Synopsis: Superstar swordswoman Cheng Pei-pei, ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), stars as the daughter of the Poison Master in a "Romeo And Juliet"-style martial arts adventure concerning a search for the magical "Heaven and Earth" weapon in "The Thundering Sword."
The Golden Swallow
Studio Synopsis: The indomitable martial arts team of director Chang Cheh and stunt choreographer Liu Chia-liang continues the compelling saga of "The Golden Swallow" from King Hu's "Come Drink With Me" in this sequel of heartbreaking romance, intrigue and stunning action.
The Jade Raksha
Studio Synopsis: Thanks in great part to Cheng Pei-pei, women in martial arts movies played a more central role in the plots and the swordswomen of the genre became some of the most charismatic figures in Hong Kong cinema. In "The Jade Raksha," Cheng Pei-pei becomes a human combine harvester as she hacks and whacks a path through life, avenging the death of her family under the moniker 'The Jade Raksha.'
The Bells of Death
Studio Synopsis: "The Bells Of Death" is a whirlwind story about a man embarking on a life-long journey to master the sword, then find and eliminate the three men who killed his family and abducted his sister.
The Sword of Swords
Studio Synopsis: Jimmy Wang Yu had just exploded into superstardom as "One-Armed Swordsman" when he teamed with respected writer-director Cheng Kang for this tale of master martial artists vying for the title blade – a "weapon of exceptional brilliance." And with legendary martial arts choreographers Lau Kar-leung and Tang Chia directing the action, the result is a superb, flat-out adventure of intrigue, deception, and an abduction, delivering one battle after another until it culminates in an amazing all-out slaughter.
Studio Synopsis: Rampaging bandits are pillaging peaceful Chinese villages until the grieving dart master Liu Wen Lung sets out with his student, son, and servant to avenge his murdered wife and set things right. Renowned director Ho Meng-Hua – soon to be internationally famous for "The Flying Guillotine" – masterfully balances action with intrigue and romance, as the path of righteousness is littered with lies ... and corpses.
The Invinvible Fist
Studio Synopsis: "The Invincible Fist" is one of the few films where the godfather of the kung fu film Chang Cheh headlined Lo Lieh as the leading hero three years before Lo would become the Shaw Brothers' first international star in King Boxer (aka Five Fingers Of Death). Here he plays a dedicated chief constable for Tsang Chou village who falls in love with the blind daughter of a bandit who is wreaking havoc. Joining him in all the action and emotion are award-winning actor Ku Feng and future superstar David Chiang.
Studio Synopsis: Cheng Pei-pei, the screen's greatest swordswoman, teams with Lo Lieh for this amazing, fast-paced adventure of the "Martial Arts World" – where everyone is killing to gain the famous "Jade Dragon Sword." Fascinating characters, like the Roaming Knight and the Master of Dragon Swamp, clash in this family feud, which takes place over twenty years. In addition to the spectacular fights, this special production holds an emotional wallop for the finale.
The Flying Dagger
Studio Synopsis: Godfather of the kung fu film, director Chang Cheh is famous for introducing the revolutionary concept of "yanggang" (macho) martial arts movies. Until then, female stars (often in male swordsman roles) ruled the screens. This collaboration between him and swordswoman supreme Cheng Pei-pei is exceptional indeed. Cheng could hold her own with any man, freeing Chang to create the best of all possible martial arts worlds.
The Golden Sword
Studio Synopsis: Lo Wei remains internationally famous for directing Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan's first major movies. Cheng Pei-pei is now internationally famous for her superlative villainous role in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." But both were superstars in Hong Kong for decades prior, so any teaming of the superlative "swordswoman supreme" and the vaunted director/writer/actor is cause for celebration. Kao Yuen joins them as a noble swordsman, and award-winning actor Ku Feng stars as the Frontier Terror in the evocative and effective "Martial Arts World" adventure.