“I Carry You With Me” (Sony Pictures Classics) is a film best enjoyed without spoilers, but suffice it to say that it’s one of the year’s most moving love stories. Aspiring chef Iván (Armando Espitia) and landowner’s son Gerardo (Christian Vazquez) fall in love, but societal pressures in Mexico prompt Iván to cross the border and move to New York City. Acclaimed documentary director Heidi Ewing (“Jesus Camp”) brings her formidable storytelling skills and eye for non-fiction filmmaking to this powerful and poignant film that’s incredibly relevant to current events on multiple levels.
Also available: Unless you were a pre–“Ted Lasso” subscriber to Apple TV+, you probably missed one of 2020’s best films, Sofia Coppola’s “On the Rocks” (Lionsgate), starring Rashida Jones and shoulda-been-an-awards-contender Bill Murray; speaking of “SNL” alums who got done dirty by the Academy, The Criterion Collection has a great new Blu-ray (and even a 4K) of “Uncut Gems”; you’ve seen “Nomadland,” and you’re anticipating “Eternals,” but now you catch Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao’s debut feature “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” (Kino Lorber) on Blu-ray; John Ridley directs Leslie Odom Jr., Cynthia Erivo, Orlando Bloom, and Frieda Pinto in the sci-fi romance “Needle in a Timestack” (Lionsgate).
Hot-shot dealmaker Jeremy Piven returns to the old neighborhood and rekindles his crush on Taryn Manning in the comedy “Last Call” (IFC Films); indie legend Alexandre Rockwell (“In the Soup”) earned rave reviews for the coming-of-age tale “Sweet Thing” (Film Movement); Judy Greer plays the ghostly “Lady of the Manor” (Lionsgate), who haunts stoner Melanie Lynskey into getting her life together.
Dev Patel stars in “The Green Knight” (Lionsgate), David Lowery’s visionary (although not for all tastes) take on the legendary medieval saga; two lovers meet in dreams and try to find each other in waking life in “Dreaming Grand Avenue” (Music Box Films); considered by many to be the best of the recent spate of Ted Bundy movies, “No Man of God” (RLJE Films) stars Luke Kirby as Bundy and Elijah Wood as FBI analyst Bill Hagmaier; Mark Wahlberg plays a father driven to battle school bullying in honor of his gay son “Joe Bell” (Vertical Entertainment).
The French animated hit “Little Vampire” (Shout Kids) follows its young hero — OK, he’s 300 years old, but he’s been 10 years old that entire time — as he attempts to attend school for the first time, despite his parents’ concern that it’s far too dangerous. If you’re looking for some kid-friendly Halloween fare, this one fits the bill, and this first North American release of the film comes with English- and French-language soundtracks.
Also available: The legendary lover makes one final conquest in Benoît Jacquot’s “Casanova, Last Love” (Cohen Media Group), with “Titane” star Vincent Lindon in the title role; “The Shepherd” (Corinth Films) finds his traditional way of life under attack by property developers in this powerful Spanish import; Adèle Exarchopoulos (“Blue Is the Warmest Color”) stars in “Sibyl” (Music Box Films) as an actress whose tempestuous love life becomes fodder for a would-be novelist.
Before directing “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Blindspotting,” Carlos López Estrada was known for making music videos, and with “Summertime” (GDE Entertainment) he returns to capturing performance, this time celebrating the poetry of 25 young Los Angeles–based artists whose lives will intersect over the course of one hot day in Southern California. It’s a celebration of these spoken-word artists (who all participated in a workshop conducted by López Estrada), but the film also manages to find a way to present one of the most oft-filmed cities on Earth in a brand-new light.
Also available: “The Capote Tapes” (Greenwich Entertainment) further illuminates the anecdotes shared with author George Plimpton for his Truman Capote biography; “Savior for Sale” (Greenwich Entertainment) investigates whether a massively expensive Leonardo da Vinci painting is a genuine masterpiece or a total fraud; a 24-year-old artist in Amarillo decides to become the “Kid Candidate” (Gunpowder & Sky) for city council; a who’s-who of comic talent piece together the life and career of improv pioneer Del Close in “For Madmen Only” (Utopia).
Disability activist Ady Barkan is “Not Going Quietly” (Greenwich Entertainment) as he stands up to Washington indifference and encourages citizens everywhere to do likewise; twin brothers who have become successful in the arts — Joel-Peter is a photographer, Jerome is a painter — yet have remained estranged from each other for most of their lives are the subject of “Witkin & Witkin” (IndiePix Films); director Andrés Bronnimann tries to throw his arms around “The Universality of It All” (IndiePix Films); African-American filmmaker Savanna Washington gets up close and personal with some citizens of one of the world’s most closed-off countries in “Playing Frisbee in North Korea” (Kino Lorber).
Marquee names like Hugh Jackman and Helen Mirren sing the praises of working “On Broadway” (Kino Lorber); learn about the man behind some of the 20th century’s most enduring architecture and furniture in “Aalto” (Film Movement), about the life of Scandinavian legend Alvar Aalto; in “Downstream to Kinshasa” (Icarus Film Home Video), casualties of the war in the Congo make their way to the capitol to demand dignity and compensation; one of this generation’s greatest singer-songwriters performs her heartbreaking music in “Mary Chapin Carpenter: One Night Lonely” (PBS).
“The Big Scary ‘S’ Word” (Greenwich Entertainment) is “socialism,” and this documentary seeks to cut through the propaganda and misinformation on the subject; this Halloween, get to know the actor behind Barnabas Collins in “Dark Shadows and Beyond: The Jonathan Frid Story” (MPI Home Video); legendary gospel-music doc “Say Amen, Somebody” (Milestone Films) comes to Blu-ray in a new 4K restoration with new extras; “Tiger”: Parts One and Two (HBO) traces the peaks and valleys of the life of the legendary golfer.
So much of the physical-media horror content at this time of year is pitched toward he Halloween holiday, so let’s put a spotlight on Scream Factory’s elaborate new 4K editions of John Carpenter’s classic “Halloween” as well as the 4K releases of the each-has-its-own-fans sequels “Halloween II,” “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers,” and “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers.” Laden with extras and featuring new 4K scans, these collections definitely belong in the libraries of slasher-enthusiasts to be enjoyed this year and for many Octobers to come.
Also available: When director Gary Graver wasn’t making exploitation flicks like “Trick or Treats” (Code Red), he was a friend and collaborator to Orson Welles (Graver was the director of photography on “The Other Side of the Wind”), so you just know he was one of the greatest dinner-party guests in the history of Hollywood; Francis Coppola seems bound and determined to zhuzh every movie he’s ever made, and now he’s gone back to his very first, the creepy, low-budget, “Dementia 13”: Director’s Cut (Vestron/Lionsgate); you can get out of the room, but you can’t get out of the sequel, if “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) is any indication; an alien visitor selects drug-addled degenerate “Fried Barry” (Shudder/RLJE) as his tour guide for Earth, so you can imagine how that goes.
Hagsploitation (or, if you prefer, grand-dame guignol) fans, rejoice — Kino Lorber offers a pair of new Blu-rays of vintage TV movies featuring Hollywood legends taxing their vocal cords: Olivia de Havilland in “The Screaming Woman” and Bette Davis in “Scream, Pretty Peggy”; “Fritz the Cat” and “The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat” (both Scorpion) put animated “funny animals” into extremely adult situations back in the 1970s; Rebecca Hall stars as a skeptic who rethinks her ideas about the existence of ghosts in “The Awakening” (Cohen Media Group); a warlord’s general is haunted by memories of his past in Cong Cai’s “God of War II” (Well Go USA Entertainment).
“Skull: The Mask” (Shudder/RLJE) is about a mask that makes people do things much, much more terrifying than Jim Carrey singing “Cuban Pete”; a lone astronaut seeks to find “The Colony” (Lionsgate) on the devastated planet of Earth; modern-day (well, 1958, anyway) Los Angeles grapples with the terrifying creation of “Frankenstein’s Daughter” (The Film Detective).
If you’re one of those “31 Horror Films for Halloween” film buffs, who likes to dig into the spooky every single night of October, there are plenty of classics to slake your taste for terror, including the Universal Classic Monsters Icons of Horror Collection, which features 4K remasters of the classic versions of “Dracula” (including the Spanish-language version, shot on the same sets at night), “Frankenstein,” “The Invisible Man,” and “The Wolf Man,” as well as “The Incredible Shrinking Man” (The Criterion Collection), “Mad Love” (Warner Archive Collection), new 4Ks of “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Misery” (both Kino Lorber), “Children of the Damned” (Warner Archive Collection), “The Amazing Mr. X” (The Film Detective), and the Mark Robson-Val Lewton double-feature disc “Bedlam” / “Ghost Ship” (Warner Archive Collection).
Also available: Want some beloved films on 4K to show off your home theater to friends and family this holiday season? Columbia Classics 4K: Volume Two (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) offers hi-def editions of “Anatomy of a Murder,” “Oliver!,” “Stripes,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “The Social Network,” and “Taxi Driver.”
Kino Lorber serves up some saucy, spicy films from the pre–Production Code era this month, including Cary Grant and Randolph Scott (Google it) in “Hot Saturday,” Claudette Colbert in “Torch Singer,” and two rarities from Tallulah Bankhead’s relatively brief screen career, “The Cheat” and “Devil and the Deep”; Lynne Ramsay’s 1999 breakthrough feature “Ratcatcher” gets the full treatment from The Criterion Collection as does Satyajit Ray’s “Devi” and the Humphrey Bogart classic “High Sierra” (The Criterion Collection), co-starring Ida Lupino and directed by Raoul Walsh.
You kinda have to see “Change of Habit” (Kino Lorber) to believe it, as nun Mary Tyler Moore finds herself falling for inner-city doctor Elvis; co-stars Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee fell in love during the making of “Come September” (Kino Lorber), but it’s mostly centered on Rock Hudson discovering that girlfriend Gina Lollobrigida has turned his Italian villa into a hotel without telling him; Hudson pops up again in “The Last Sunset” (Kino Lorber), opposite Kirk Douglas and frequent co-star Dorothy Malone in a Western directed by Robert Aldrich; Aldritch also directs Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper, who get mixed up in the Mexican Rebellion of 1866, in “Vera Cruz” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics).
Cam Archer’s long-unavailable cult fave “Wild Tigers I Have Known” (Altered Innocence) receives an eagerly-awaited Blu-ray release; Ronald Reagan is George Custer in “Santa Fe Trail” (Warner Archive Collection), one of his best movies, co-starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and — as an unforgettably haunted John Brown — Raymond Massey; Michael J. Fox shrewdly played to his “Family Ties” fanbase with 1980s movies like “For Love or Money” (Kino Lorber), where his character would learn that wealth isn’t everything; Treat Williams makes a dashing ne’er-do-well in “The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper” (Kino Lorber), about one of America’s most famous missing persons.
The best of the Marx Brothers’ MGM period, “A Night at the Opera” (Warner Archive Collection) taught many a Gen X game-show fan that Kitty Carlisle Hart did indeed have an ingénue period; Tom Cruise and Ridley Scott flopped with the fantasy saga “Legend” (Arrow Films), but like many a 1980s genre film, it has since amassed a cult following (this collection features, among many extras, Scott’s director’s cut); Dustin Hoffman delivers one of his most acclaimed performances playing an ex-con in Ulu Grosbard’s “Straight Time” (Warner Archive Collection); Quentin Tarantino’s WWII epic “Inglorious Basterds” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) makes its 4K debut.
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore make for an unlikely Holmes and Watson in Paul Morrissey’s spoofy “Hound of the Baskervilles” (Code Red); Jean Harlow gives a sublime comic performance in “Dinner at Eight” (Warner Archive Collection), opposite an all-star ensemble that includes Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler, John and Lionel Barrymore, Billie Burke, and Lee Tracy; 12 Classic Westerns: The Randolph Scott Collection (Mill Creek Entertainment) includes some masterpieces of the genre, including “The Tall T” and “Ride Lonesome”; the timeless short films of an American animation legend continue to be collected with Tex Avery Screwball Classics, Vol. 3 (Warner Archive Collection).
Speaking of vintage scary stuff for the Halloween season: Before there was “The X Files” or “American Horror Story,” there was “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” – The Complete Series (Kino Lorber). Darren McGavin (“A Christmas Story”) stars as investigative reporter Carl Kolchak, who’s constantly finding himself tracking down murders and other incidents that wind up having unexpected supernatural connections. A beloved one-season wonder that influenced many shows that followed (and offered an early writing gig to David Chase), “Kolchak” is the “Columbo”/“Dark Shadows” hybrid you never knew you needed.
Also available: The MCU shows on Disney+ have gotten lots of deserved buzz, but hats off to DC Comics for creating a veritable small-screen dynasty. You could spend all of October digging into their current set of releases, with a mix of contemporary shows — “Batwoman”: The Complete Second Season, “Black Lightning”: The Fourth and Final Season, “The Flash”: The Complete Seventh Season, “Superman & Lois”: The Complete First Season — and a pair of beloved classics, “Superman”: The Complete Animated Series and “Smallville”: The Complete Series (all Warner Bros. Home Entertainment).
Queen Latifah steps into Edward Woodward’s ass-kicking shoes in “The Equalizer”: Season One (CBS/Paramount); British women keep the home fires burning, and the homeland safe, during WWII in “Land Girls”: The Complete Collection (PBS); in another era, Victorian women discover unusual powers that place them in great danger in “The Nevers”: Season One, Part One (HBO/WB); Elizabeth Montgomery is determined not to become “The Victim” (Kino Lorber) in this 1972 made-for-TV chiller.
The brilliant kid with the soft-serve-ice-cream hair is back in “The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius”: Complete Series (Shout Factory); 1960s country-music variety TV lives again with “Country Legends: Dolly Parton, Porter Wagoner & Friends” (MPI Home Video); Jada Pinkett Smith plays an RN giving it her all in “Hawthorne”: The Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment); the ongoing release of the complete Japanese giant-robot saga continues with “Ultraman Tiga”: The Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment).