Newly re-priced for the home video market, God Knows Where I Am (DVD: $24.95) is slated for release on October 23 from Juno Films. Reviewed in VL-5/17, Todd and Jedd Wider’s haunting documentary recounts the life and strange, sad death of Linda Bishop, beginning with the discovery of a woman’s decomposing body in a supposedly abandoned farmhouse in New Hampshire. The authorities finally identified her as the mentally-ill Bishop, who—according to a diary she scrawled while squatting in the unheated house—had been living there for four months, hiding from outsiders and surviving on apples (scrounged from local trees) and rainwater until she died of cold and starvation. Poignant excerpts from the diary are read by Lori Singer as the filmmakers—using footage shot inside the house, combined with interviews of its previous owners, as well as local police—reconstruct Bishop’s last weeks. Poignant, beautiful, spiritual, and deeply disturbing, the film is both a study of systemic failure and also a testament to artistic and independent spirit.
BearManor Media is proud to announce the release of The Weirdest Movie Ever Made: The Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film, a new book by Video Librarian reviewer Phil Hall. Available now for $24.95 for the hardcover edition and $14.95 for the softcover, the book explores the convoluted history following Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin’s October 1967 trip in which they emerged from a forest in Northern California with 59 seconds of grainy, shaky, silent 16mm film that offered documentary evidence of the existence of the Sasquatch, a creature of Native American folklore. Although neither Patterson nor Gimlin had any previous experience in filmmaking or zoology, they presented their remarkable footage as the first motion picture evidence to confirm the existence of the elusive Sasquatch, although the debate over the authenticity of the Patterson-Gimlin film continues to percolate.
The Criterion Collection’s January slate kicks off January 8 with Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami’s 2017 final film, the contemplative 24 Frames (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), which sets out to reconstruct the moments immediately before and after a photograph is taken. Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant enact an anguished romance in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 classic spy thriller Notorious (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95), arriving January 15 in a stunning new 4K restoration, which follows an alluring woman of ill repute recruited by a mysterious intelligence agent who must seduce a Nazi industrialist (Claude Rains) hiding out in South America. On January 22, Elaine May will join the Criterion Collection with 1976’s Mikey and Nicky (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk as small-time gangsters in a barbed study of friendship and betrayal that includes supporting players Ned Beatty and Joyce Van Patten. Also coming January 22 is the Blu-ray debut of Cristian Mungiu’s riveting Palme d’Or-winning 2007 Romanian breakout film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95), set during the prohibitive dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu and centering on college roommates (Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu) who seek an illegal abortion. And on January 29 look for director Norman Jewison’s 1967 courageous Oscar-winning Civil Rights-era drama In the Heat of the Night (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), presented in a new 4K restoration, which follows a traveling Philadelphia detective (Sidney Poitier) who becomes embroiled in a murder case and forms an uneasy alliance with the bigoted police chief (Rod Steiger) of a backwoods Mississippi town.
Public Media Distribution and the Smithsonian Channel have announced the upcoming release of The Obama Years: The Power of Words (DVD: $24.99), slated for October 30. Over eight years, President Obama delivered more than 3,500 speeches and statements that ranged from redefining patriotism, candidly addressing race relations, inspiring hope and healing, and turning divisive moments into an opportunity for national unification. But which are the moments that history will remember? Narrated by actor Jesse Williams, The Power of Words tells the story of Barack Obama, “writer in chief,” taking viewers inside the defining moments of his political career through the prism of six of his most memorable speeches. The program also features insights from eminent historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Douglas Brinkley, senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, Chief Strategist David Axelrod, Rep. John Lewis, Obama speechwriters Jon Favreau and Cody Keenan, Reagan speechwriter Clark Judge, and Smithsonian curator Harry Rubenstein of the National Museum of American History.
Acclaimed director James D. Stern provides an eye-opening look at Trump voters in American Chaos (DVD: $25.99), releasing October 23 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. In his latest documentary, Stern chronicles the cultural divide of the 2016 presidential election, traveling through America’s red states to interview and spend time with Donald Trump supporters from different backgrounds in an attempt to find answers and insights to explain the appeal of the billionaire candidate. Bonus features include audio commentary by Stern and cinematographer Kevin Ford, and a “Further Pandemonium” compilation of deleted and extended scenes.
From his breakout role in Mork & Mindy to his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, iconic actor Robin Williams (1951-2014) displayed an inimitable artistry that made him beloved by millions. In conjunction with the Trustees of the Robin Williams Trust, Time Life is celebrating the incomparable career of the singularly innovative actor with the release of Robin Williams: Comic Genius (DVD: 22 discs, $199.99), available exclusively now at RobinWilliams.com. The extensive boxed set includes five HBO stand-up specials, including Off the Wall (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1983), An Evening at the MET (1986), Live on Broadway (2002) and Weapons of Self Destruction (2009); never-before-released concert specials; talk show and late-night appearances on The Tonight Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Saturday Night Live; an episode of Inside the Actors Studio; USO shows; exclusive behind-the-scenes featurettes; the 2018 HBO documentary Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind; and a 24-page memory book with rare archival photos.
The Criterion Collection’s December slate kicks off December 11 with Euzhan Palcy’s (Hollywood’s first black female director) 1989 film A Dry White Season (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), based on the courageous apartheid chronicle by André Brink that follows a white Johannesburg schoolteacher (Donald Sutherland) who remains blissfully incurious about the lives of his black countrymen until a wave of brutal repression comes crashing down on his gardener (Winston Ntshona). Also arriving on December 11 is filmmaker Samuel Fuller’s unconventional 1957 western Forty Guns (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), featuring silver screen legend Barbara Stanwyck as a rancher who commands a posse of cowboys and falls for a U.S. marshal (Barry Sullivan). Coming December 18 is a new 4K restoration of Julien Duvivier’s long-unavailable 1946 black-and-white thriller Panique (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), based on a novel by Georges Simenon that centers on eccentric, antisocial Monsieur Hire (Michel Simon), who feels drawn to a pretty young newcomer in town (Viviane Romance) and is framed for murder. Also slated for December 18 is the standalone Blu-ray 2K digital restoration of Ingmar Bergman’s piercing 1953 psychological drama Sawdust and Tinsel (Blu-ray: $39.95), an early breakthrough for the legendary Swedish filmmaker centering on a battle of the sexes between a turn-of-the-20th-century circus owner (Åke Grönberg) and his younger mistress (Harriet Andersson).
PBS Distribution has announced the upcoming release of the Frontline documentary Separated: Children at the Border (DVD: $14.99), which is slated for October 9. What’s happened to the more than 2,000 families who were separated after crossing the U.S. border unlawfully in 2018? And how did immigration policy in America reach this point? Investigating the government’s handling of immigrant children who were separated from their parents after crossing into America prior to Trump’s reluctant executive order stopping the practice in June 2018, the film also traces what happened on immigration during the Obama years that some say helped lay the groundwork for what the Trump administration did next. With on-the-ground reporting from Central America and at the border, Separated: Children at the Border takes a close look at how the U.S.’s immigration policies involving children have played out over the years—and why, even for those families who have now been reunited, the scars remain.
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The true story behind one of the most iconic and talented performers of our time is told in Whitney (DVD: $19.98, Blu-ray: $24.99), slated for release on October 16 from Lionsgate. With seven consecutive U.S. no. 1 singles, and 200 million+ albums sold worldwide, Whitney Houston (1963-2012) was a music sensation who starred in several blockbuster movies before her brilliant career gave way to erratic behavior, scandals, and death at the age of 48. With the cooperation of the Estate of Whitney E. Houston, Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald unravels the story of her life and career in this production that features never-before-seen footage, exclusive demo recordings, rare performances, audio archives, and original interviews with the people who knew the Grammy and Emmy award-winner. A two-time nominee at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the documentary includes bonus features such as audio commentary with Macdonald and producer Simon Chinn, and a motion photo gallery.