Today's DVDs: Sophia Loren: Award Collection, Where the Road Meets the Sun and Savage
Sometimes, a particular mix of talent can add up to more than just the sum of its parts. This is especially true in the case of actors Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni and director Vittorio De Sica. The three made several films together, including the four that are featured in the new Blu-ray release Sophia Loren: Award Collection.
The five-disc release from Lorber Films includes Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1964), Marriage Italian Style (1964), Sunflower (1970), Boccaccio '70 (1972) and Vittorio D., a feature-length documentary about the director for each of the films in the collection, Vittorio De Sica.
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. We're sure the fact that Sophia Loren does her now-famous striptease in it in no way influenced the voting back then. By today's standards, the scene would get a PG rating (Loren gets down to a bra and panties, so there's no real nudity), but Loren packs plenty of sizzle into those few minutes. PG or not, it's required viewing.
Marriage Italian Style is a comedy with Mastroianni as a businessman who has kept a mistress, played by Loren, for several years. When the man makes plans to marry someone else, the mistress goes to ever more desperate lengths to get him to marry her (including a death bed scene for the obviously healthy and vivacious Loren).
Sunflower is the bittersweet story of a wife who goes in search of her husband, an Italian soldier, who's been reported missing in action in Russia. After a long ordeal, she finds him -- married to another woman. The fourth of Loren's features is Boccaccio '70, a four-part film with directors De Sica, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Mario Monicelli each taking turns at the helm.
Besides the documentary about De Sica, there are loads of extras on the Blu-ray.
stars Will Yun Lee, Fernando Noriega and Eric Mabius; screenwriter Mun Chee Yong also directs.
Although Where the Road Meets the Sun had only a limited theatrical release, Houston audiences caught it during its world premiere last spring at the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it took home both a Special Jury Award and a Gold for director Mun Chee Yong. (See our WorldFest interview with her here.) The plot follows four men who meet while living in a Los Angeles flophouse. Their lives become intertwined as they alternately befriend and betray each other before going their separate ways. There are moments while watching the film that the viewer thinks, "Oh, this can't be good," but by then it's too late. The four actors (Lee, Mabius, Noriega and Luke Brandon Field) have cast a spell and the audience is, like the characters, bound to see the story through to the end.
stars Martin Kove, Tony Becker and Robert Pralgo; Jordan Blum directs.
The new horror release Savage, The Bigfoot Legend Lives has an easy-to-follow plot. First, a forest fire breaks out in Bear Valley National Park. Firefighters respond and...then go missing. Poachers looking for easy pickings as the fire moves the wild animals into the open move in...then they go missing. Then a geek and his guide come along searching for evidence of Big Foot and...they go missing. There are a few survivors, including a nice-guy park ranger, but odds are they'll be the first to go if Blum ever puts out Savage II.
There's lots of growling and people being pulled out of cars or shelters, leaving nothing but bloody trails behind. The special effects are pretty low-level (no CGI marvels here), and the glimpses of Big Foot show that the costume department had a pretty tiny budget. Still, Savage delivers enough "Oh, shit!" moments and unintentional laughs to warrant a viewing (provided there are plenty of alcoholic beverages available).
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