PBS Distribution has announced the upcoming release of Masterpiece: Little Women (DVD: $24.99, Blu-ray: $34.99), slated for May 22. Set to air on May 13 and May 20, this latest adaptation of the 1868 Louisa May Alcott classic follows the four March sisters on their journey from childhood to adulthood while their father is away at war. Under the guidance of their mother Marmee (Emily Watson), the girls navigate what it means to be a young woman: from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first love, loss, and marriage. Also featuring Angela Lansbury as the cantankerous and wealthy Aunt March, Michael Gambon as benevolent neighbor Mr. Laurence, and Jonah Hauer-King as a charming boy next door, the miniseries stars Maya Hawke as the willful and adventurous Jo; Willa Fitzgerald as the eldest and most virtuous, Meg; Annes Elwy as the shy sister, Beth; and Kathryn Newton as Amy, the youngest of the family. A celebration of family as much as it is a recognition of the challenges of growing up and forging an individual identity, Little Women remains relevant due to the universal themes at its core.
On July 24, Shout! Factory will release Gravity Falls: The Complete Series (DVD: 7 discs, $59.98; Blu-ray: 7 discs, $99.99), featuring all 40 episodes of Disney’s hit Emmy Award-winning 2012-16 series, available for the first time in a complete series box set. Created by Alex Hirsch and inspired by his real-life adventures with a sibling, the series follows twin brother and sister Dipper and Mabel Pines as they spend summer with their great uncle Grunkle Stan in the mysterious town of Gravity Falls, OR. Featuring the voices of Hirsch, Jason Ritter, Kristen Schaal, and Linda Cardellini, celebrity guest stars include Mark Hamill, J.K. Simmons, Will Forte, Nick Offerman, Chelsea Peretti, and Nathan Fillion. While also offered in a six-disc retail edition, the collector’s edition box sets will include an additional disc with new bonus features.
Coming from deep within computer programming culture, Internet trolls are pissed off and using the click-bait obsessed mass media to propel their movement into the mainstream, including influencing presidential elections and manipulating journalists. Directed by George Russell, Troll Inc. (DVD: $19.99), slated for release on May 22 from Virgil Films, was made possible due to attorney access to DOJ documents via the Freedom of Information Act. This timely documentary features interviews with prosecuted whistleblower and notorious Internet troll Andrew Auernheimer and his legion of cultural saboteurs, who are attempting to overthrow civilization one meme at a time.
MPI Media Group is releasing Doris Day: A Sentimental Journey (DVD: $14.98) on April 17. Celebrating one of Hollywood’s biggest and most beloved stars, Doris Day (born 1922) began her legendary career as a big band singer in the 1940s, made her motion picture debut in 1948, and became box-office magic for the next two decades in musicals, comedies, and dramas such as Calamity Jane, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Pajama Game, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, The Thrill of It All, and three iconic romantic comedies with Rock Hudson, including her Oscar-nominated Pillow Talk. In the late 1960s, Day moved to television with her top 10 sitcom The Doris Day Show, followed by music specials in the 1970s and “Doris Day’s Best Friends” in the 1980s. Since retiring from show business, Day has devoted herself to her first love with the Doris Day Animal Foundation. Detailing her dramatic life story and career with a combination of rare footage and archival materials from Day’s own collection, A Sentimental Journey features famous friends and admirers including Betty White, Clint Eastwood, and film critics Roger Ebert and Molly Haskell.
On April 17, IFC Entertainment will release the English and German true crime documentary Killing for Love (DVD: $24.98). On March 30, 1985, Lynchburg, VA, couple Derek and Nancy Haysom were discovered brutally murdered at their home. The arrest and conviction of the couple’s daughter Elizabeth (a scholarship student at the University of Virginia), and her boyfriend Jens Söring (the brilliant son of a German diplomat), set off a media frenzy, becoming the first trial of its kind to be nationally televised. But what if the justice system got it all wrong? Directed by Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger and featuring the voices of Daniel Brühl and Imogen Poots, Killing for Love untangles the web of romantic obsession and betrayal that may have led an innocent man to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Kino Lorber is proud to announce that the acclaimed 1988 PBS series Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers is for the first time available digitally, premiering March 20 on all major digital services including iTunes, Amazon, Vimeo, and on Kino Lorber’s own Alive Mind Cinema website and www.PowerOfMyth.net. A home media edition of the series, with expanded special features, is planned for release later this year. Originally broadcast less than a year after Joseph Campbell’s passing, the six-part, six-hour program features a conversation between mythologist Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers, discussing the importance of myths and storytelling, and the impact they have on our lives. Each segment focuses on a different aspect of the mythologies, characters, and themes central to world cultures and religions. Individual episodes include “The Hero’s Adventure,” “The Message of the Myth,” “The First Storytellers,” “Sacrifice and Bliss,” “Love and the Goddess,” and “Masks of Eternity.”
Cohen Media Group will release Merchant-Ivory Productions’ breakthrough film Shakespeare Wallah (DVD: $25.99, Blu-ray: $30.99) on April 3. One of the first Merchant-Ivory productions, this sumptuous black-and-white/English and Hindi 1965 drama established the tone for so many of the collaborations to come from producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory: a deft, multilayered screenplay by their frequent collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, luminous cinematography, a wry sense of humor, and a cast of characters rich in their very human complexity. Here, the true story of British actor-manager Geoffrey Kendal and his family of traveling theatrical players is used as a fascinating lens into the ever-evolving relationship between Great Britain and India. Shakespeare Wallah follows Tony Buckingham (Geoffrey Kendal) and his wife (Laura Liddell) as part of a troupe who travel through 1960s post-colonial India staging Shakespeare’s plays. But the Buckinghams come to realize to their dismay that classic English theater is falling out of favor in a changing country where the public has become more excited by the explosion of vibrant Bollywood films, while the Buckinghams’ daughter Lizzie (Felicity Kendal) becomes involved in a love triangle. With music by the great Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray and memorable performances by cinema icons Shashi Kapoor and Madhur Jaffrey, this 2K digital restoration—completed in conjunction with the British Film Institute’s Unlocking Film Heritage program—includes bonus materials such as a conversation with filmmakers Merchant and Ivory as well as Kapoor and Felicity Kendal.
Criterion has announced its upcoming June slate. Coming June 12 in a new 4K restoration is Lino Brocka’s searing 1975 Tagalog-language urban melodrama Manila in the Claws of Light (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95), a candid portrait of a young fisherman from a provincial village who arrives in the capital on a quest to track down his missing girlfriend. Arriving June 19 is the home video debut of Víctor Erice’s haunting 1983 Spanish masterpiece El Sur (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), an adaptation of a novella by Adelaida García Morales that follows a young girl captivated by her doctor father and his mysterious past. Also on June 19, director Michael Moore joins the Criterion Collection with the release of his Oscar-winning 2002 documentary Bowling for Columbine (DVD: 2 discs, $29.99; Blu-ray: $39.95), an incisive and perennially relevant documentary on gun control in the wake of the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Coming on June 26 is a 4K restoration of John Waters’ outrageous 1974 melodrama Female Trouble (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), starring Divine as a teenage nightmare whose egomaniacal impulses land her in the electric chair. Finally, on June 26 also look for a 2K restoration of Ingmar Bergman’s 1960 Swedish Best Foreign Language Oscar-winner The Virgin Spring (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), a harrowing tale centering on the murder of a virgin and her father’s (Max von Sydow) ruthless pursuit of vengeance.
From executive producers and Academy Award winners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, National Geographic’s first-ever scripted series, Genius (DVD: 4 discs, $29.98), which offers an extraordinary look into the life of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein, is slated for release on April 17 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush stars as the rebellious daydreamer who became the greatest scientific mind of the 20th century. Beyond his groundbreaking theories of relativity, viewers will also witness Einstein’s struggles to be a good husband and father, and a man of principle during a time of global unrest. Also featuring Johnny Flynn as young Albert and Emily Watson as his second wife, Elsa, Genius takes viewers on a 10-episode journey of discovery guided by Einstein’s wit, wisdom, and insatiable thirst for knowledge. Bonus features include behind-the-scenes featurettes.
What do the most ravishingly beautiful actress of the 1930s and ‘40s and the inventor whose concepts were the basis of cell phone and bluetooth technology have in common? Both were Hedy Lamarr, a glamour icon whose face was the inspiration for Snow White and Cat Woman and she was a technological trailblazer who perfected a radio system to throw Nazi torpedoes off course during WWII. Acquired by Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber, filmmaker Alexandra Dean’s Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $34.95) weaves interviews and film clips together with never-before-heard audiotapes of Lamarr speaking on the record about her incredible life, from her beginnings as an Austrian Jewish émigré, to her scandalous nude scene in the 1933 film Ecstasy, to her glittering Hollywood life, to her groundbreaking but completely uncredited inventions, and finally her latter years when she became a recluse, impoverished, and almost forgotten. This is the story of an unusual and accomplished woman, once spurned as too beautiful to be smart–a role model for today.