SXSW Prize Winner ‘S#!%house’ Due on DVD and Blu-ray May 18 From IFC

The comedic romance S#!%house will come out on DVD and Blu-ray May 18 from IFC Films.

The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival.

In the film, lonely college freshman Alex (writer/directory Cooper Raiff) has closed himself off from his peers who all appear to have college figured out. But everything changes one night when he takes a leap and attends a party at S#!%house — a legendary party fraternity — where he forges a strong connection with Maggie (Dylan Gelula, First Girl I Loves). The next day, she ignores him completely and seems to have forgotten about their amazing night. Desperately clinging to his social breakthrough, Alex pulls out all the stops with one more night at the fraternity, hoping to rekindle that moment of connection.

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A Call to Spy

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Shout! Factory/IFC;
Drama;
Box Office $0.16 million;
$19.98 DVD, $22.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some strong violence, disturbing images, language, and smoking.
Stars Sarah Megan Thomas, Stana Katic, Radhika Apte, Linus Roache, Rossif Sutherland, Samuel Roukin, Andrew Richardson, Laila Robins, Marc Rissmann.

Based on actual events, the compelling A Call to Spy tells the story of Britain’s efforts to recruit and train female spies to infiltrate Europe during World War II.

Sarah Megan Thomas, who also wrote the screenplay, stars as Virginia Hall, an American recruited to set up a spy ring in France because her dreams of diplomatic service are dashed due to her having a wooden leg. Most of the film is told from her point of view and details her mission posing as a journalist in Nazi-occupied territories to build a resistance and funnel information back to her spymasters in London.

The initiative to create a corps of lady spies, which came at the behest of Winston Churchill, is overseen by Vera Atkins (Stana Katic), the overqualified secretary of spy chief Col. Buckmaster (Linus Roache). The real-life Atkins would serve as one of the inspirations for Miss Moneypenny in Ian Fleming’s “James Bond” novels.

Among her other recruits is Noor (Radhika Apte), a Muslim of Indian heritage who was the company’s best wireless operator, which earned her a ticket into the field before she had a firm grasp of the covert aspects of espionage.

In fact, one of the central themes of the film, and more fascinating aspects of it, is how much the British government stumbled around trying to figure out how to conduct clandestine missions and minimize risk to their agents. Numerous mentions are made to large numbers of spies being killed due to shoddy security and just plain laziness when it came to following protocol, not to mention some of the prim-and-proper spymasters simply not having the instincts for recognizing obvious traps.

A Call to Spy is not heavy on action or intrigue, but it is loaded with strong drama and a solid emotional foundation, ably anchored by Thomas, both in her performance and her pen.

The Blu-ray includes a three-and-a-half-minute behind-the-scenes featurette built around interviews with the cast and filmmakers.

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Shout! Factory Releasing Blu-rays of ‘Tesla,’ ‘Sputnik,’ ‘A Call to Spy’ and ‘Centigrade’ in February

Shout! Factory and IFC will release four notable independent and foreign films on Blu-ray Disc and DVD in February 2021.

Due Feb. 2 is Tesla, starring Ethan Hawke as famed inventor Nikola Tesla, who fights an uphill battle to bring his revolutionary electrical system to fruition, then faces even thornier challenges with his new system for worldwide wireless energy. Tesla’s uneasy interactions with his fellow inventor Thomas Edison (Kyle MacLachlan) and his patron George Westinghouse (Jim Gaffigan) are in sharp contrast to his sidewinding appeal to financial titan J.P. Morgan (Donnie Keshawarz). The disc will include a making-of featurette.

Arriving Feb. 9 is the Russian sci-fi horror film Sputnik. When her controversial methods threaten her career, young doctor Tatiana (Oksana Akinshina), is recruited by the military to assess a very special case, that of a cosmonaut who survived a mysterious space accident and has returned to Earth with an organism living inside him that only shows itself late at night.

Feb. 16 sees the release of A Call to Spy, based on the true story of the female spies who fought against the Nazi occupation of France. As Great Britain’s forces were stretched thin during World War II, Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive began to enlist women as spies to conduct sabotage and build a resistance. Spymistress Vera Atkins, later the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond franchise, was the chief recruiter for this secret army. Atkins selected two unusual candidates: Virginia Hall, an American journalist from Baltimore with a wooden leg, and Noor Inayat Khan, a wireless officer of Indian descent and an avowed pacifist. The disc includes a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Centigrade, which arrives Feb. 23, is also inspired by true events and follows a young American couple, Matt and Naomi, as they travel through the Arctic mountains of Norway. After pulling over during a snowstorm, they wake up trapped in their SUV, buried underneath layers of snow and ice. As if the stakes aren’t high enough for the pair, Naomi is eight months pregnant as they contemplate how to escape their frozen prison.

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‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ Coming to Disc Sept. 8

Shout! Factory in conjunction with IFC films has announced the Sept. 8 release of True History of the Kelly Gang, an Australian Western that follows the story of legendary outlaw Ned Kelly.

The film will be making its Blu-ray debut, and is available for preorder now from ShoutFactory.com.

An adaption of the 2000 novel of the same name by Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang is a highly fictionalized account of the life of Australian bushranger Ned Kelly (George McKay, 1917, Ophelia) and his gang as they flee from authorities during the 1870s. It is ostensibly written by Kelly to his fictional daughter.

It all begins when Ned Kelly’s mother (Essie Davis, The Babadook, Game of Thrones) sells him off into the hands of the notorious bushranger Harry Power (Russell Crowe, Gladiator, L.A. Confidential), where the young bandit discovers he comes from a line of warriors called the Sons of Sieve. Fueled by his roots and an appetite for revenge, Ned Kelly leads an anarchist army to wreak havoc on their oppressors.

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The film was directed by Justin Kurzel and written by Shaun Grant and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2019.

Hulu Acquires Documentary ‘Crime + Punishment’

Hulu announced the acquisition of whistleblower documentary Crime + Punishment.

The streaming service will partner with IFC Films to release the documentary simultaneously in theaters and on Hulu Aug. 24th. The deal also expands Hulu’s relationship with IFC Films, which includes an output agreement for non-documentary, narrative films.

After debuting at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, the film went on to win the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking. It also won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Independent Film Festival in Boston. Stephen Maing directed, produced and filmed, and Academy Award Winner Laura Poitras serves as an executive producer.

Crime + Punishment goes behind the scenes and undercover to expose discriminatory policing practices, intimidation and corruption within the New York Police Department. Told from multiple perspectives and precincts throughout New York City, the film chronicles the actions of a band of minority whistleblower officers known as The NYPD 12, as well as the efforts of ex-cop turned private investigator Manuel Gomez as they seek to expose the illegal use of arrest and summons quotas. The NYPD 12 find themselves weathering harassment and retaliation from within their own departments.

“It was an act of bravery and defiance by all the cops and families who allowed their stories to be documented over the past four years so I’m heartened to know their efforts will not be in vain and this story made widely accessible,” Maing said in a statement. “It’s exciting to have Hulu’s amazing partnership and share this film theatrically, pursue an ambitious social impact campaign and present these previously unheard voices of active duty officers into the national dialogue around police reform. I am grateful for the collaborations and support I’ve received along the way, but most importantly to the brave participants of the film who have stepped forward for the sake of other citizens and officers.”

The film is the latest to join Hulu’s documentary slate, which includes the recently-released Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie and March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step, as well as Grammy and Emmy Award winning film The Beatles: 8 Days a Week — The Touring Years, Too Funny to Fail, Obey Giant, Becoming Bond, Dumb, and Batman and Bill.

Italian Oscar Entry ‘A Ciambra’ Due on Disc July 10 from IFC

Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, A Ciambra, Italy’s entry for the 2018 Academy Awards, will come out on DVD and Blu-ray Disc July 10 from IFC Entertainment.

The second feature from director Jonas Carpignano (Mediterranea), the Cannes Film Festival award winner follows 14-year-old Pio (Pio Amato) who wants nothing more than the respect of his older brother, whom he emulates in every way — including his career as a petty criminal. When both his father and brother are arrested, Pio is determined to prove he can step up and be the head of his sprawling Romani family.

Both the Blu-ray and DVD include the making-of documentary “A Ciambra: The Other Side of the Story” and deleted scenes.

‘Death of Stalin’ Due on DVD and Digital June 19

The parody The Death of Stalin will come out on DVD and digital June 19 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

The title will also be available for sale or rental from cable, satellite and telco providers through IFC Films.

The film made $7.5 million at the box office.

Written and directed by Emmy Award winner and Oscar nominee Armando Iannucci (“Veep,” In the Loop), the film follows the tyrannical ruler’s hapless inner circle in the days after his death. As they scramble to come up with the next evolution of the revolution, it’s clear everyone is really out for themselves.  The Death of Stalin stars Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Rupert Friend, Andrea Riseborough, Jason Isaacs and Michael Palin.

The DVD includes the behind-the-scenes featurette “Dictators, Murderers, and Comrades…Oh My!” and deleted scenes.

Shout! Factory Releasing ‘Freak Show’ on Disc June 5

Shout! Factory and IFC Films will release the coming-of-age drama Freak Show on Blu-ray and DVD June 5. The directorial debut of actress and producer Trudie Styler, Freak Show stars Alex Lawther, Bette Midler, Larry Pine, Abigail Breslin, Laverne Cox and AnnaSophia Robb.

Lawther plays Billy Bloom, a gender-bending teenager who feels like a fish out of water at a conservative high school.