Blu-ray Round-up: 'Ivan's Childhood' is a beautiful film about the horror of war
Plus two by Woody Allen and the lost films of H.G. Lewis
"Ivan's Childhood" (Criterion), the debut feature by Andrei Tarkovsky, views the Russian front of World War II through the eyes of a boy who serves as a scout for the Russian soldiers as they attempt to fight back the invading German forces. The black and white film is both stark and lovely, poetic and harrowing, with graceful camerawork over a devastated landscape. Also known as "My Name is Ivan," the 1962 film won the Golden Lion at Venice
A review copy was man available by deadline, but according to the press release, the Blu-ray features the supplements originally presented on the 2007 DVD: the interview featurette "Life is a Dream" with film scholar and Tarkovsky expert Vida T. Johnson, and shorter interviews with actor Nikolai Burlyaev and cinematographer Vadim Yusov (both in Russian with English subtitles.
Woody Allen created his biggest hit of the decade in the delightful "Hannah and Her Sisters" (MGM), and earned seven Oscar nominations in the process (it won statues for Michael Caine and Dianne Weist in supporting actor categories and Allen for his script). Playful, warm, and very funny, it’s one of Allen’s most affirming comedies, a lovely celebration of true romance and Allen’s belief that the power of laughter can save the human soul. The excellent cast also includes Mia Farrow as Hannah, Maureen O'Sullivan and Lloyd Nolan as her show-biz vet parents, Barbara Hershey and Max Von Sydow.
It arrives along with the sci-fi spoof "Sleeper" (MGM), one of the "earlier, funnier ones" starring Allen as a health food store owner who wakes up 200 years in future in a totalitarian police state, where he's drafted as an unlikely revolutionary. Both debut sans supplements.
"The Lost Films of H.G. Lewis" (Vinegar Syndrome) presents three of the cult director's sexploitation films, all released between 1969 and 1971 and long thought lost: "Ecstasies of Women" (1969), set in the culture of Los Angeles swingers, and "Linda and Abilene" (1969), in the western mode, and the porno "Black Love" (1971), which masquerades as a sex education film. These are in no way good movies (in fact they are quite amateurish and tedious) but they have been painstakingly mastered from the original negatives and Lewis has his fans and these discoveries will prove irresistible to his fans. Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack includes trailers, a booklet with liner notes, and reproductions of the lab notes on postcards.