THIS WEEK’S THEATRICAL RELEASES:
“The Rover”: This overlooked gem is a gritty and violent drama set 10 years after a global economic collapse where food and gasoline are expensive and life is cheap. The film follows hardened loner Eric (Guy Pearce) as he travels the desolate towns and roads of the Australian outback, causing no trouble until a gang of three thieves — who have just robbed a dusty outpost and murdered the inhabitants — steals his car, a Rover, to make their getaway. Eric takes off after them in another vehicle, along the way capturing — and saving — the wounded brother (Robert Pattinson) of one of the robbers, who was left behind in the escape. Eric forces him to help him track down the trio, along the way encountering a bevy of misfits, oddballs and miscreants as he seeks his beloved car, the one thing that still matters to him. Unlike other post-apocalyptic thrillers, there’s no zombies, vampires or “Mad Max”-type villains, just the slow disintegration of society and human values as nihilism and the worst impulses of human nature come to the fore. Michod paints a balmy, sun-drenched wasteland with leisurely strokes punctuated by bursts of danger and violence. If you’re used to a “Jack Irish,” “The King’s Speech” or a “Mildred Pierce”-Guy Pearce, you’re in for a pleasant surprise here as the U.K.-born, Aussie-raised actor becomes a Down Under “Man With No Name.” Also stars Tawanda Manyimo, David Field, Richard Green, Ben Armer and Gillian Jones. Extras include an interesting behind-the-scenes featurette, “Something Elemental: Making the Rover.” From Lionsgate.
Also due this week: “Neighbors,” a goofy comedy about new parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne), who are living the American Dream — complete with an adorable baby girl and a beautiful new starter home in the suburbs — until their life is turned upside down when they discover that their new next-door neighbors are none other than dozens of Delta Psi Beta fraternity brothers led by charismatic president Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) and whose epic parties get out of hand. Co-stars Dave Franco, Jake Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Lisa Kudrow. Extras include featurettes and deleted/alternate scenes. From Universal.
THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS:
The folks at The Criterion Collection want to shock the heck out of you this week with two incredibly gorgeous and thought-provoking releases, both in Blu-ray and DVD. First up is “The Innocents” (1961), a genuinely frightening, exquisitely made supernatural gothic that stars Deborah Kerr as an emotionally fragile governess who comes to suspect that there is something very, very wrong with her precocious new charges. A psychosexually intensified adaptation of Henry James’s classic “The Turn of the Screw,” co-written by Truman Capote and directed by Jack Clayton, “The Innocents” is a triumph of narrative economy and technical expressiveness, from its chilling sound design to the stygian depths of its widescreen cinematography by Freddie Francis. New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Next up is maverick director Roman Polanski’s “Macbeth” (1971), his first film after his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by members of the Manson Family in 1969. Polanski imbued his unflinchingly violent adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy of ruthless ambition and murder in medieval Scotland with grit and dramatic intensity. Jon Finch and Francesca Annis are charged with fury and sex appeal as a decorated warrior rising in the ranks and his driven wife, scheming together to take the throne by any means. Co-adapted by Polanski and the great theater critic and dramaturge Kenneth Tynan, and shot against a series of stunning, stark British Isle landscapes, this version of Macbeth is among the most atmospheric and authentic of all Shakespeare films. The director-approved special edition features new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
Get ready for another pre-Halloween avalanche of films: Anchor Bay and Scream Factory have collaborated to bring home two gigantic boxed sets of all the “Halloween” films for the first time, “Halloween The Complete Collection Blu-ray.” A Deluxe Edition boasts 15 discs and contains all the “Halloween” feature films — “Halloween,” “Halloween II,” “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers,” “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers,” “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers,” “Halloween H20,” “Halloween: Resurrection,” “Rob Zombie’s Halloween” and “Rob Zombie’s Halloween II.” The set includes the never-before-released producers cut of “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” as well as the ultra-rare network TV version of the original “Halloween,” the network TV version of “Halloween II,” plus the unrated versions of “Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II.” It’s packed with hours of new bonus features including new interviews with cast and crew from the entire franchise. In response to years of fan feedback, the first “Halloween” will now also include the original mono audio track and the set will include both versions of the original “Halloween” — the original Blu-ray release and the recently remastered 35th Anniversary version with the mono track added back in. It also comes with a limited edition 40-page book written by Michael Gingold of Fangoria Magazine. The collectible packaging will include a newly commissioned illustration on the outer case and each film will be in its own black Blu-ray case with the original theatrical one sheet as the key art. This deluxe set carries an SRP of $169.99. A 10-disc Edition includes the original theatrical versions of the “Halloween” films and will include select bonus features for $129.99.