Drama ‘Drowning by Numbers’ Due on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD May 30 From Severin and MVD

The darkly comedic Drowning by Numbers (1988) will be released on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, as well as Danza Macabra Volume One: The Italian Gothic Collection on Blu-ray, May 30 from Severin Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

In between his celebrated The Belly of an Architect and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, writer/director Peter Greenaway shocked/delighted international audiences with the slyly deranged black comedy Drowning by Numbers. Oscar nominee Dame Joan Plowright (Enchanted April), four-time BAFTA Award nominee Juliet Stevenson (Truly Madly Deeply) and two-time Golden Globe nominee Joely Richardson (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) star as three generations of women who murder their husbands. Bernard Hill (“The Lord of the Rings,” Titanic) co-stars. The release features a new 4K scan from the original negative personally supervised by Greenaway. Special features on 4K Ultra HD disc include audio commentary with Greenaway and the trailer. Special features on the Blu-ray (also included in the 4K release) include audio commentary with Greenaway; “Painting by Numbers,” an interview with Greenaway; “Three Women and a Coroner,” an interview with actor Bernard Hill; the archival featurette “Fear of Drowning”; some Greenaway game concepts; and the trailer.

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The four-film Danza Macabra Volume One: The Italian Gothic Collection celebrates a genre known for its castles, crypts and candelabras, but that also embraced themes of violence, madness and sexual deviance. In 1964’s The Monster of the Opera, director Renato Polselli and screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi craft a surreal erotic shocker set within a contemporary dance troupe. Perhaps the genre’s rarest film, the berserk supernatural narrative of 1965’s The Seventh Grave also makes it among the strangest. For 1970’s Scream of the Demon Lover, director José Luis Merino gathers classic traditions, then strips them naked and ties them to a torture rack. And 1971’s Lady Frankenstein delivers iconic EuroCult talent on both sides of the camera for one of the most luridly entertaining shockers of the decade. The films in this collection are fully restored from their original negatives, with 12-plus collective hours of special features.

Red Sparrow

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Fox;
Thriller;
Box Office $46.83 million;
$29.99 DVD, 34.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence, torture, sexual content, language and some graphic nudity.
Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Joely Richardson, Ciarán Hinds, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeremy Irons.

Based on the same-titled 2013 novel by Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow is a complex psychological thriller about the divided loyalties of a young woman caught amid the international intrigue of spycraft in Eastern Europe.

Jennifer Lawrence stars as Dominika, whose career as a ballerina is cut short by a leg injury. She is quickly recruited by her uncle, a Russian spy chief, to train as an elite covert operative, lest she be executed for her knowledge of an assassination.

Her mission is to root out a mole in the Russian government by seducing his U.S. contact, Nash (Joel Edgerton). What follows are a series of plot twists and turns as Dominika maneuvers through a complicated game of espionage while her true allegiances remain a mystery.

The film is more or less a slow burn that really benefits from multiple viewings. Director Francis Lawrence even helps out with an audio commentary that dissects the storylines and delves into the motivations of the characters, if they aren’t already apparent from the performances.

The subplot of a secret spy school in the heart of Russia brings to mind the backstory for Marvel’s Black Widow, and in the absence of a long-anticipated solo movie for that character, Red Sparrow plays like a bit like an ersatz stand-in, minus the dozens of obligatory references to other comic book movies.

The Red Sparrow Blu-ray includes 12 minutes of interesting deleted scenes that can be viewed with option commentary from the director.

The disc also comes with more than 70 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes organized in standard fashion by the various aspects of the production. The 13-minute “A New Cold War: Origination and Adaptation” deals with the development of the film from the source material; “Agents Provocateurs: The Ensemble Cast” is a 15-minute round-up of the actors; “Tradecraft: Visual Authenticity” covers the look of the film in 13-and-a-half minutes; “Heart of the Tempest: Locations” is an 11-minute piece about the film’s settings; the 12-minute “Welcome to Sparrow School: Ballets and Stunts” focuses on the action sequences, limited as they may be; and the 14-minute “A Puzzle of Need: Post-Production” deals with things like editing and music.

‘Red Sparrow’ Coming Out on Disc May 22

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has set a May 22 release date for Red Sparrow, a suspense-driven spy drama starring Jennifer Lawrence.

The film will be released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc, and DVD.

As of April 15, Red Sparrow has earned $46.5 million in U.S. theaters.

Lawrence portrays Dominika, a former ballerina forced to enter Sparrow School, a secret government program that thrusts her into a treacherous espionage game between Russia and the CIA. She emerges trained as a lethal agent, but is trapped in a world she desperately wants to escape.

The film was directed by Francis Lawrence (Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2) and features a supporting cast that includes Joel Edgerton, Jeremy Irons, Matthias Schoenaerts, Mary-Louise Parker, Charlotte Rampling and Joely Richardson. Bonus material takes viewers inside the making of the film, exploring source material with the author, cast and director commentary, deleted scenes and more.

All three disc releases comes with director commentary and deleted scenes (with optional commentary by director Lawrence). The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc also include the following:

  • “A New Cold War: Origination and Adaptation”
  • “Agents Provocateurs: The Ensemble Cast”
  • “Tradecraft: Visual Authenticity”
  • “Heart of the Tempest: On Location”
  • “Welcome to Sparrow School: Ballet and Stunts”
  • “A Puzzle of Need: Post-Production”
  • Movies Anywhere Digital Code