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One of the most exciting mid ‘70s thrillers, the all-star Robert Evans production of William Goldman’s novel MARATHON MAN (125 mins., 1976, R) became a box-office hit in the Fall of ‘76 and remains a suspenseful, superbly helmed ride from director John Schlesinger. One of many classics hitting 4K UHD this year, Kino Lorber’s new 4K scan of the Original Camera Negative results in a marvelous transfer with Dolby Vision HDR, adding fresh layers to Conrad Hall’s cinematography, including enhanced depth and shading absent from previous home video releases, even Paramount’s earlier Blu-Ray.

Mostly shot on-location in New York City, “Marathon Man”’s authentic “you are there” surroundings add immeasurably to its story of a grad student (Dustin Hoffman) becoming involved with his brother’s (Roy Scheider) secretive government work. This involves being a courier for diamonds being sold by an infamous Nazi (Laurence Olivier) living in seclusion in the South American jungle; however, after his brother’s death in NYC, Olivier’s Szell decides to come to America to access his diamond cache, taking out government agents he’s aligned with and Hoffman himself, even though he doesn’t have a good answer when Olivier asks “is it safe?”

Co-starring William Devane as Scheider’s untrustworthy fellow agent and Marthe Keller as a Swiss student (or is she?) Hoffman becomes involved with, “Marathon Man” was based on Goldman’s 1974 novel, one that was immediately snapped up by Paramount and Evans, who put film into production with an A-grade cast across the board. The resulting film is creepy, fast-moving and top-rate in every facet, from its performances to Michael Small’s dramatic score and Hall’s cinematography.

We’ve seen numerous catalog UHD releases already this year and Kino Lorber’s Dolby Vision HDR presentation of “Marathon Man” is unquestionably one of the best. Colors are a little more intense but it’s the difference in contrast that marks this as a truly superior image to previous editions of “Marathon Man,” which appeared flat and fairly ordinary in previous home video transfers. The off-kilter mood of the film and Hall’s work are enriched by this outstanding release (1.85), which also includes a Blu-Ray derived from the same 4K OCN scan and both 5.1/2.0 stereo mixes. Note the film was originally released in mono but this Paramount DVD-era remix is superb in its imaging and sound stage, with Small’s score a beneficiary of the enhanced stereo surround field.

Kino Lorber has included an enjoyable new commentary from one of my favorite disc duos, Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson, that offers insight into the film and especially its NYC location shooting (with a little L.A. thrown into the mix). Other extras have been carried over from the DVD release including a vintage Making Of hosted by Evans, rehearsal footage, the trailer, and a 2001 retrospective Making Of sporting interviews with Hoffman, Scheider, Keller and Goldman. A highly recommended package for an exciting film that manages to maintain its suspense even on repeat viewing.

Made a few years later at Paramount – but looking much more like a product of the small screen – was the final film of superstar Steve McQueen, who would pass away from cancer just a few months after the release of THE HUNTER (97 mins., 1980, PG).

A loose adaptation of the life and times of real modern-day bounty hunter Ralph “Papa” Thorson, “The Hunter” offers a quintessential McQueen role of a tough guy who will stop at nothing – including mass destruction – to bring in a variety of fugitives across the country. These include a wise young LeVar Burton and the son of hard-working restaurateurs who ends up fleeing from McQueen in a dizzying chase throughout the city of Chicago, most notably on train tracks, all backed to the jazzy strains of Michel Legrand’s score (except for said Windy City sequence, which was replaced with a rescore by a credited Charles Bernstein).

There’s some notable action set-pieces executed by McQueen and director Buzz Kulik (though reports have it the actor handled most of the film himself), plus an attempt at a dramatic undercurrent involving Papa’s younger, pregnant girlfriend (the lovely Kathryn Harrold), whose life is put in jeopardy by one of Thorson’s former subjects (Tracey Walter), who’s out for revenge.

“The Hunter” was a troubled production that was originally written by prolific TV scribes Richard Levinson and William Link (“Columbo”), then revised by Peter Hyams, who was supposed to direct. Hyams was tossed from the project though he’s still credited on the script, along with Link and Levinson’s pseudonym “Ted Leighton.”

What’s unfortunate is that McQueen and Hyams didn’t get along, since this picture cries out for an injection of cinematic style that’s nearly entirely absent from the finished product. The interior scenes look like something out of ‘70s network television, over-lit and so plainly shot that there’s little separating the movie from your average episode of “Eight is Enough.” These visuals are so dated that, just showing this picture to someone who wasn’t aware of its release date, you’d expect them to peg this as a movie from a different, earlier era altogether.

That could be a compliment for some movies, but here, “The Hunter” seems out of time in terms of its approach – making it doubly disappointing Hyams, who was coming off widescreen thrillers like “Capricorn One,” didn’t make the picture instead. Yes, some of the action sequences and stunts are still effective and reasonably well-choreographed – and there’s a fun running gag involving Papa’s terrible driving – but in order to appreciate “The Hunter” as a modest goodbye to McQueen and his storied career, one’s expectations firmly have to be in check.

Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray offers a stellar new 4K scan of the original camera negative (1.85) that’s a major upgrade on the older Paramount master seen streaming and in Imprint’s Blu-Ray from last year. Colors and details are clearer throughout, while mono sound and a new commentary by Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson is heavy on an analysis of the superstar’s legacy.

Action – and Adventure!

Debuting this month from Kino Lorber is a movie that’s never been released on home video in this country, and one that’s been notoriously difficult to simply see at all, at least since it was taken out of syndicated TV circulation over 30 years ago: the international production MARCO POLO (104 mins., 1962), starring Roy Calhoun as a (predictably) less than an accurate depiction of the real 13th century explorer. This Marco is a dashing Saturday matinee hero who travels the world expanding his trade, helping Kublai Khan and falling for his daughter (Yoko Tani) in the process.

The movie was one of numerous Italian-lensed pictures that were shot with an American lead and then shopped to studios like American-International for release back in the 1960s – think any number of “Hercules” sequels with Steve Reeves or the like. Calhoun himself starred in a few of them, most notably “The Colossus of Rhodes,” and here takes center stage in this film (one that lists Hugo Fregonese and Piero Pierotti as co-directors), which deftly recycles stock footage with Cinemascope sized B-grade adventure – amidst a predictably silly script – that fans nostalgic for the era ought to appreciate.

It’s safe to say nobody has seen “Marco Polo” like this before – in more ways than one. Not only does Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray (2.35, mono) offer a spectacular, fresh and vibrant 4K restoration of the picture, but it’s being screened here in a version never before seen in the U.S.

Back when “Marco Polo” was released by AIP, the studio trimmed the film and redubbed the picture – they also had the movie rescored by Les Baxter, dropping Angelo Francisco Lavagnino’s score from the original European print. This version of the movie was the only one seen in the U.S., but it seems to have been lost to time as Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray debuts the movie’s “export” version instead: a different English dub with additional scenes and Lavagnino’s score fully intact.

Like most, I’ve never seen any previous version of the film so I have no baseline to compare it with, but I did hear Baxter’s punchier score for the AIP cut courtesy of Kritzerland’s release on CD, and it seems like AIP attempted to instill a faster pace and sense of energy this 104-minute cut is mostly devoid of. While you could argue Baxter’s more “colorful” score is livelier, on the other hand, Lavagnino’s score is certainly “prettier” and flows with a more lyrical tone, apropos to what’s on-screen – at least in this version.

Thankfully, Tim Lucas is on-hand here to explain the mystery surrounding the unique home video discovery Kino Lorber has given us. In his commentary, Lucas touches upon the film’s history and tries to make sense of what AIP could’ve cut out of the movie, as well as its special place as an internationally-designed co-production, sporting the sensibilities of filmmakers from all around the globe.

The exotic locations of Machu Picchu are a main part of the entertainment of SECRET OF THE INCAS (100 mins., 1954), a picture which curiously had been missing on home video until last year’s Imprint Blu-Ray – all despite being a Paramount hit back in the mid ’50s. Perhaps the movie’s absence can be explained by its influence on a little movie that came out decades later – “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” which mixed Saturday matinee thrills with an adventure plot more than a bit “reminiscent” of this particular cinematic excursion.

Make no mistake, though: “Secret of the Incas” isn’t exactly bursting with big-screen action, as the first third is a talky affair wherein grizzled, cynical tour guide Charlton Heston agrees to help a Romanian refugee (Nicole Maurey), though not for reasons she suspects. The duo steal a plane and head to Machu Picchu in order for Heston’s Harry Steele to find an Incan treasure, all the while a rival expedition led by archaeologist Robert Young attempts to do the same.

Around this time it’s obvious that Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and presumably Philip Kaufman must have watched this picture, as Steele even stages a “map room” moment in order to retrieve the priceless artifact – and despite his own cynicism, finds himself having a change of heart at the story’s end. These story elements carry an undeniable “Raiders” type of aspect, as does Steele’s entire wardrobe: the fedora, leather jacket, pants and Heston’s five o’clock shadow served as an obvious physical blueprint for Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones.

The movie itself – well, we’ve all seen more thrilling ’50s adventure movies, and it’s here where the Lucas/Spielberg crew obviously elevated cinema as an art form with “Raiders,” all the while using the same concept from a picture as creaky as “Secret of the Incas.” Yet this is nevertheless still an enjoyable enough relic from its era, entertaining if you recognize elements that would be reworked into all kinds of other films – including Yma Sumac’s main theme, which was later used in a key moment during the Coen Brothers’ “Big Lebowski”!

Held off home video in the U.S. for reasons one can only assume are related to the Indiana Jones series (I guess?), Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray (1.85) may come a few months after Imprint’s Blu-Ray but benefits from premiering an all-new 4K scan of the 35mm YCMs. This results in a far superior transfer to the ancient master that turned up on the Imprint disc, much closer to restoring the movie’s Technicolor hues by comparison. The disc also includes its own, exclusive commentary by Toby Roan that offers a good amount of researched history and comes highly recommended.

THAT MAN BOLT Blu-Ray (104 mins., 1973, R): Serviceable action vehicle for star Fred Williamson was apparently supposed to start a mini-franchise but stalled out after tepid commercial reaction. That’s unfortunate since there was initial potential in the Universal-backed “That Man Bolt” for Williamson to carve out a craftier, globe-trotting character than most of the Blaxploitation leads he often played. Williamson even gets to mix up some kung fu with the usual action fisticuffs as he attempts to courier money from Hong Kong to Mexico City, getting mixed up with, and trying to turn the tables on, a nefarious crime syndicate. Henry Levin started directing the film but was replaced by David Lowell Rich, apparently to give the film more “punch,” but the end result is pretty tepid stuff, best recommended for Williamson aficionados. Kino Lorber’s 2K-mastered Blu-Ray (1.85, mono) includes a Williamson interview and pays tribute to Bill “Banana Man” Olsen, the late head of Code Red’s video imprint who likely was behind the label’s release of this title.

Truffaut Classics and Other French Imports

Several features from the great French New Wave director Francois Truffaut debut from Kino Lorber this month, bringing several titles back in circulation while adding a new compilation of Blu-Ray format premieres.

THE BRIDE WORE BLACK Blu-Ray (107 mins., 1968): Truffaut found a perfect vehicle to pay homage to Alfred Hitchcock via this adaptation of Cornell Woolrich’s novel, as “The Bride Wore Black” follows a widow (Jeanne Moreau) who goes after the men who murdered her husband on their wedding day. Truffaut went so far as to recruit Bernard Herrmann to score “The Bride Wore Black,” which is an interesting attempt to play off the tension and suspense of Hitch’s works. The movie doesn’t quite build up a head of steam – at times it feels too leisurely for the genre – but it’s certainly an intriguing piece for both Truffaut and Hitchcock aficionados. Previously released on Blu-Ray by Twilight Time, Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray (1.66) hails from the same MGM master with mono French sound and English subtitles, plus the Twilight Time commentary track with Julie Kirgo, Steven C. Smith and the late Nick Redman.

MISSISSIPPI MERMAID Blu-Ray (123 mins., 1969): Though not regarded as one of Truffaut’s best works, this second adaptation by the director of a Cornell Woolrich novel – following “The Bride Wore Black” – is an intriguing story of a French plantation owner (Jean-Paul Belmondo) who gets more than he bargained for after sending for a mail-order bride. She arrives in the form of Catherine Deneuve, but appearances prove to be deceiving in a film that was later reworked into the tepid Antonio Banderas-Angelina Jolie outing “Original Sin.” Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray boasts yet another strong MGM catalog master (2.35) preserving the movie’s Dyaliscope lensing while the trailer (narrated by Rod Serling) and Twilight Time commentary are reprieved, with Nick Redman and Julie Kirgo performing their customary, even-handed analysis of the movie, touching upon its strengths, the two leads, and its place in Truffaut’s filmography. Regarded by some as a rare misfire for the director, “Mississippi Mermaid” nevertheless makes for a satisfying view on Blu-Ray with the two stars at the height of their on-screen charisma.

THE STORY OF ADELE H. Blu-Ray (98 mins., 1975, PG): Truffaut’s 1975 film launched the career of beautiful Isabella Adjani, starring in the tragic, real-life role of Adele Hugo – the daughter of the “Les Miserables” author – who spent years following an English soldier (Bruce Robinson) around the world in a futile attempt at convincing him to love her. Truffaut’s film is as depressing as it sounds, but is so beautifully shot – by Nestor Almendros – and acted by Adjani that it’s hard not to be moved by it. The MGM 1080p (1.66) transfer on Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray captures the nuances of Almendros’ cinematography in a satisfying presentation; extras include another engaging Twilight Time commentary with Nick Redman and Julie Kirgo discussing the picture and its historical background.

FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT COLLECTION Blu-Ray: Box-set collection offers the Blu-Ray format debuts of four Truffaut features from the 1970s, which met with varying degrees of success. Included here, and all licensed through MGM, are THE WILD CHILD (85 mins., 1970), with Truffaut playing an 18th century doctor trying to acclimate a young boy, raised in the wild, to society; SMALL CHANGE (105 mins., 1976), which looks at childhood in what was one of Truffaut’s biggest commercial successes in his native France; THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN (120 mins., 1977), a comedy later remade as a misfired Blake Edwards/Burt Reynolds teaming in 1983; and THE GREEN ROOM (94 mins., 1978), a historical drama pairing Truffaut with Nathalie Baye, which was met with meager box-office receipts upon its initial distribution. All four films offer solid 1080p MGM catalog transfers, each in French with English subtitles.

THE CRIMSON RIVERS Blu-Ray (106 mins., 2000, R): Potent, popular serial killer thriller stars Jean Reno as France’s top cop, who partners with younger detective Vincent Cassel to investigate a series of murders in a small, quaint town in the Alps. Director Mathieu Kassovitz’s movie was a huge hit upon its initial release, even if it’s more style than substance as the convoluted script doesn’t ultimately make a lot of sense. That said, “The Crimson Rivers” led to an inferior 2004 sequel plus a more recent TV series, and makes its U.S. Blu-Ray debut at last in a Gaumont-licensed 1080p (2.35) transfer, in French with English subtitles. Ample extras include a documentary, multiple featurettes, the trailer, and a subtitled commentary with Reno, Cassel and Kassovitz.

From Raro Video comes Mario Monicelli’s LET’S HOPE IT’S A GIRL (119 mins., 1986), a mid ‘80s French comedy featuring Catherine Deneuve and Liv Ullman in a “battle of the sexes” story with Ullman as a woman who takes over her family’s Tuscany farm after divorcing her husband (Philippe Noiret). Surprising this one didn’t become an American comedy remake at some point given the era, but this good-natured and funny film with on-point performances from both leads. Kino’s Blu-Ray offers a 1.66 transfer in Italian with English subtitles…Jane Birkin and Geraldine Chaplin starred in Jacques Rivette’s LOVE ON THE GROUND (176 mins., 1983) as members of a theater troupe called to a mansion where they mix reality and fantasy as the playwright’s life unspools around them. A dreamy and odd, yet engaging, film from Rivette with Cohen Media Group’s Blu-Ray (1.85, 2.0 stereo) featuring a commentary by Richard Pena and French dialogue with English subtitles.

Big-Screen Drama (And Comedy!)

WORLD APART Blu-Ray (113 mins., 1988, PG): Well-reviewed late ‘80s apartheid drama was one of many to touch upon the subject, with movies like “Cry Freedom” and “A Dry White Season” also being released around the time. “A World Apart” stands apart due to the conviction of its performances, with Barbara Hershey as a South African journalist who ends up jailed after her husband (Jeroen Krabbe) is exiled from Johannesburg for his Communist beliefs. The burden to keep their family together falls upon her eldest child, played by Jodhi May in a remarkable performance that earned raves. Effectively shot by Peter Bizou and helmed by noted cinematographer Chris Menges, “A World Apart” is a solid character drama with an occasionally overstated Hans Zimmer score, and debuts on Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber with an effective 1080p (1.85, 2.0 DTS MA stereo) transfer, commentary from writer Shawn Slovo, interview with Krabbe and the trailer.

RAW WIND IN EDEN Blu-Ray (93 mins., 1958): Full-color Cinemascope photography of the Mediterranean makes this zesty romantic drama particularly appealing. In one of her later (and rare) “dramatic” turns, Olympian Esther Williams steps outside the pool to play a model who crashes on a gorgeous coastal island along with her boyfriend (Carlos Thompson), only to meet a casual beach bum (Jeff Chandler) who’s actually a millionaire. Various entanglements involving them, and Chandler’s fiancee (Rossanna Podesta), make for an enjoyable item that’s attained a cult following – and should gain more fans courtesy of Kino Lorber’s gorgeous 2K master (2.35). Extras include a commentary featuring David Del Valle and Daniel Kremer.

THE BLISS OF MRS. BLOSSOM Blu-Ray (93 mins, 1968, PG): Dated but interesting late ‘60s relic of swingin’ London features Shirley MacLaine as the wife of bra manufacturer Richard Attenborough, and who becomes so bored with their relationship she decides to keep a lover (James Booth) in their attic. Not a movie that’s circulated a whole lot over the years, this adaptation of an Alec Coppel stage play is pretty frivolous but at least director Joseph McGrath keeps the movie moving and John Cleese chips in an early role as a postal clerk which predates his Monty Python stardom. A 4K scan (1.85) of the original camera negative is on tap here in Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray plus a commentary by Daniel Kremer.

30s and ‘40s Vintage Titles

SORROWFUL JONES Blu-Ray (88 mins., 1949): A remake of “Little Miss Marker,” this sentimental Damon Runyon adaptation sports Bob Hope in the title role of a racetrack bookie who ends up saddled with a young girl after a gambler leaves her off as collateral. Lucille Ball pairs up with Bob again, this time as a nightclub singer who’s also lusted after by Bruce Cabot in this Sidney Lanfield-helmed Paramount outing that marked one of Hope’s more “dramatic” turns. The net result received mixed reviews, but fans of Bob and Lucy may want to check out Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray just the same, the disc offering a new 2K master (1.37 B&W) with the trailer also on tap.

IF I WERE KING Blu-Ray (101 mins., 1938): Ronald Colman plays poet Francois Villon in opposition to Basil Rathbone’s King Louis XI in this Preston Sturges-penned adaptation of Justin Huntly McCarthy’s play. Under the direction of Frank Lloyd, this late ‘30s Paramount production is an A-grade adventure with a romantic undercurrent as Villon falls for a lovely princess (Frances Dee); the material was previously musicalized as “The Vagabond King” and here receives a glossy, star-driven approach with Rathbone particularly enjoyable in an Oscar-nominated turn. Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray (1.37 B&W) includes a fresh 2K Universal master and a welcome new commentary by Julie Kirgo.

WHITE WOMAN Blu-Ray (68 mins., 1933): Pre-Code fans may get a kick out of this Charles Laughton-led potboiler involving a plantation owner (Laughton) who takes a cabaret performer (Carole Lombard) as his bride on his Malaysian estate, only to have her become infatuated with one of his workers (Kent Taylor). Over-the-top performances especially by Laughton are on-hand in this silly yet very watchable picture that premieres on Blu-Ray (1.37 &W) in a new 2K master from Kino Lorber sporting a new commentary by Daniel Kremer and Allan Arkush.

Also New & Noteworthy

New From Kino Classics this month is CONGRESS DANCES (99 mins., 1932), an early ‘30s curio from Germany starring Lilian Harvey as a shopkeeper who heads to Vienna in order to push her flowers in front of notable world leaders – this time with worldwide consequences amongst various European heads of state. Comedy and song intermingle in this pre-WWII piece, restored here in a 2K B&W transfer (1.19:1) with a commentary by Eddy von Mueller on-hand…Also new from Kino Classics is a disc that takes you back into the world of the 1950s and early ‘60s when people had to strain to see nudity on-screen. Dan Sonney and Maurice Zouary’s feature NUDIST LIFE (72 mins., 1961) is the lead component of this compilation of archival “nudist films,” which also include Samuel Cummins’ 10 DAYS IN A NUDIST CAMP (61 mins., 1957) and comic Sammy Petrillo introducing us to SHANGRI-LA (63 mins., 1961), mixing bad jokes with leering nude footage. A number of other shorts are included, all from various sources, in a fascinating time capsule.

Dean Stockwell starred in Milton Moses Ginsberg’s THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON (74/89 mins., 1973, PG), a satire about a presidential aide bitten by a werewolf, who in turn causes all kinds of mayhem on Capitol Hill. Ginsberg’s movie isn’t quite as adept in its social commentary as you might think, with most of the film coming off as a poor updating of the old Lon Chaney film – something Ginsberg tried to address in a director’s cut that runs some 15 minutes shorter than his 1973 release version. Both cuts are included here in Kino’s Blu-Ray (1.85) along with an interview with Ginsberg, trailer, and critical discussion with Simon Abrams and Sheila O’Malley.

New DVDs from Kino Lorber: Chase Joynt mixes actual history with a fictional story in FRAMING AGNES (75 mins., 2022), a look at a transgender woman who participated in a real, infamous gender health study at UCLA during the 1960s. A look at how the past and present mix in historical terms related to the issue, “Framing Agnes” is new on DVD featuring a 1.78 transfer, 5.1/2.0 sound, and the 2019 short that formed the basis of the movie…CALENDAR GIRLS (85 mins., 2022) is a documentary following a Florida dance team for women over 60 that performs at over 100 events annually, intertwining family with intense practices and moves along the way (2.39, 5.1/2.0).

From Virgil Films comes HIGH EXPECTATIONS (96 mins., 2022), Jonathan Southard and Christopher White’s independent film about a soccer player who’s cut from his father’s football squad and is driven by his ex-girlfriend to give his aspirations one last shot – for a rival team. Tayllor Gray co-stars with Virgil’s DVD (16:9, 5.1) available on February 28th…In A LIFE’S WORK (90 mins., 2021), documentary filmmaker David Licata follows four disparate subjects to see how far along they are in their respective working fields that won’t be completed in their lifetimes, including SETI director Jill Tarter and gospel music archivist Robert Darden. First Run Features’ DVD includes seven deleted scenes and eight gospel music tracks (1.78).

Quick Takes

WARM BODIES 4K UHD Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook (97 mins., 2013, PG-13; Lionsgate): Jonathan Levine’s agreeable zombie-sleeper that pairs a human survivor in a post-apocalyptic world (Teresa Palmer) with a member of the undead (Nicholas Hoult) who’s starting to exhibit signs of humanity. Their Romeo & Juliet-esque relationship makes for a movie that’s a lot more entertaining than its genre contemporaries – and certainly unique with its comedic and romantic components, a mix that helped the film do fairly well at the box-office.

Like most of Lionsgate’s UHD catalog releases, this 4K catalog title offers a decent uptick in color and lighting over its Blu-Ray counterpart (also included), though the color scheme of “Warm Bodies” doesn’t always make great use of HDR. There’s Dolby Vision capability and Dolby Atmos to match, along with the Blu-Ray reprising the various extras from its prior release (deleted scenes, commentary, short-ish featurettes). A Digital HD copy is also included in a limited-edition Steelbook that’s currently exclusive to Best Buy.

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS: ORIGINAL SIN DVD (509 mins., 2022; Warner): HBO Max spin-off of the popular Freeform teen drama is set in the town of Milwood, a blue collar community still reeling from a tragic set of events from over 20 years prior. In the present, a group of teen girls from different cliques find themselves having to pay the price for their parents’ involvement in that event, in a similarly-themed series to the original “Pretty Little Liars,” set in a fresh yet thematically “remixed” environment to its predecessor. A number of featurettes are included in Warner’s DVD (1.78, 5.1), out February 28th.

NORTHERN SHADE Blu-Ray (96 mins., 2023; BayView Entertainment): Filmmaker Christopher Ruckinski’s feature debut stars Jesse Gavin as a Connecticut Army veteran who comes out of isolation in order to track down his younger brother, who’s since been recruited by an extremist militia. Set during COVID, “Northern Shade” does an interesting job working in a familiar action premise with characters struggling, as many of us were, with alienation during the previous three years. The movie offers strong characterizations and southern New England locales that likewise gives it a fresh feel. BayView’s Blu-Ray is out this week (2.39, 5.1 PCM).

NEXT TIME: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE Rips in 4K! Until then, don’t forget to drop in on the official Aisle Seat Message Boards and direct any emails to our email address. Cheers everyone! 

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