This Review Roundup consists of five “new” releases and one already available through Epic Pictures. Now I used quotes with new because these films may be getting new releases on Blu-ray this week from Kino Lorber, but they are older movies. You’ll see as I go along.
Up first is Play Misty For Me. This 1971 film stars Clint Eastwood as a radio DJ who meets a fan at a bar and spends the night with her. Jessica Walter plays that fan who ends up stalking Eastwood and she is just fantastic in the role. The film is Clint’s directorial debut and definitely shows his promise as a filmmaker. He’s good as the womanizing DJ, but Walter steals the film to me. I know more of her later work so seeing a younger character of hers was great especially in this performance. She was a seasoned actress at this point, but I haven’t seen much of it unfortunately. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role and I understand why. The film has gone through a 2K remastering for this release and it has some solid bonus features including new commentary, a video essay and more. If you’re a fan of the film, this new release is a must own.
Sticking with Clint, also out this week is a 2K master of The Beguiled. I always thought I had seen the film, but turns out I hadn’t. When the remake (starring Colin Farrell) came out a few years ago, I knew it was a remake of this Clint Eastwood film, but after watching this new Blu-ray, I clearly hadn’t seen the movie. Clint plays a Union Civil War soldier who is shot and taken in by a headmistress and students of an all girl school in the south. They treat his wounds and at first want to hand him over to the Confederates close by, but with no men around, they keep him around to help out. Until things start getting personal. The headmistress starts to like the idea of a man around her as does her assistant. There’s also a student who’s very willing to take care of a man and causes a major issue in the house. I won’t spoil it, but it does get dark. I expected something supernatural for some reason, but I’m glad it didn’t go that way. There’s a scene early on with a 12 year old girl that would not be allowed in today’s world, but that just makes it even better to me. Clint is great as are the three females leads (one of which Clint would have an affair with for quite a while). This also came out in 1971 and this new Blu-ray release comes with a new audio commentary and more.
Last of the Clint Eastwood flicks is The Eiger Sanction. I actually hadn’t heard of this 1975 film which Clint also directed. I can kind of see why it might be one of his lesser known films because it’s all over the map. Clint plays a professor teaching art who also happens to be a retired assassin with a huge stolen art collection. He’s blackmailed into a job, a sanctioned killed, but it doesn’t go according to plan. He’s then told he must participate in a mountain climb because one of the men in that climb will be someone involved with a killing. Yeah that’s the plot to this movie. The first act is Clint shown as a professor, being forced into a killing by an albino. The second act is him training with an Indian girl at George Kennedy’s resort and the third act is a mountain climb. I’m pretty sure the writers of Archer have ripped off this movie because Eastwood is a womanizing spy (he literally sleeps with almost every woman in the film) and there’s an episode of Archer where Archer and Lana go on a mountain to find a foreign agent. This film is also a new 2K master and comes with new commentary, new interviews and archive interviews.
The next two films are also from Kino Lorber, but don’t have Clint Eastwood in them. First is Bustin’ Loose. This 1981 comedy stars Richard Pryor as a conman who in order to stay out of jail must drive a broken down bus of kids and Cicely Tyson cross country to Seattle. I remember seeing it back in the day when Pryor was a king of comedy. Some of the comedy doesn’t quite hold up today, but it’s still a solid film with a good story at heart. Pryor of course starts to care for the kids and wants to help them get to Seattle and have good lives. Tyson’s opinion of Pryor changes as he changes from the rough guy just doing a job to a caring guy. It’s definitely a bit dated and some of the comedy doesn’t quite land, but it’s still Richard Freakin’ Pryor! It looks and sounds good on Blu-ray and comes with new commentary.
Amazon Women on the Moon is another movie I’ve seen, but it’s been a while. It came out in 1987 and is a sort of sequel to Kentucky Fried Movie. I’ve always had a like/dislike relationship with this movie. There are parts I liked (and still found funny in a rewatch) and parts that I just didn’t get the point. I was always more interested in the film within the film. Amazon Women on the Moon is a spoof of early sci-fi movies and that is the movie within this movie plus fake commercials and skits. Some of the skits just don’t seem necessary to me and I’d rather just the sci-fi spoof. I will say the David Alan Grier bit is still without a doubt the funniest part of the movie. He plays a black man without soul and his parts are still hilarious. The dating part with Steve Guttenberg and Rosanna Arquette was pretty funny, but others miss the mark especially today. If the movie was just a spoof of 50s sci-fi I’d love it because those parts in this film are great. With Joe Dante, John Landis and so much talent involved I wanted a bit more, but it’s pretty much a cult classic and looks good in this new release with some good bonus features.
Last we have The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw from Epic Pictures which is available on home video through their website and VOD. I quite enjoyed this one. It’s the movie I was hoping The Witch was and unlike that movie, something I’d watch again. This comes across as a period piece, but isn’t. A group of Irish settlers still live as farmers with a devotion to their faith. All of them struggle besides Agatha Earnshaw who some believe is tied to witchcraft and Satan! She has a daughter Audrey who she hides from the village until one day she is noticed and it’s all downhill from there. Audrey thinks her mother is weak and decides to step up and no longer hide herself. The village slowly starts to be destroyed as one man kills himself and his family, a young mother who just lost her son seems to be going mad and those who see young Audrey think she’s the most beautiful girl they’ve ever seen. The actress playing her (Jessica Reynolds) is pretty great in the role especially for someone her age with little experience. Yes she’s quite easy on the eyes, but I thought she did a great job with her character. I enjoyed the setting and thought the costuming and production design were top-notch. It doesn’t rely on jumpscares and isn’t the typical paranormal movie of today. It’s something I’d definitely consider watching again. If you’re looking for something different yet also feels familiar at the same time, I recommend it.