Kino Lorber Honors Legacy of Sidney Poitier With Five-Film Blu-ray Release

Kino Lorber is honoring the legacy of celebrated actor Sidney Poitier, who died Jan. 6 at 94, with the Blu-ray Disc release of five of his classic films, including Lilies of the Field, for which Poitier won an Oscar.

“A pioneering movie star, director, and activist, Poitier’s groundbreaking screen roles paved the way for a generation of Black actors and established him as an entertainment icon,” the independent film distributor said in a statement.

Lilies of the Field, directed by Ralph Nelson, was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The 1963 film landed Poitier a Best Actor win for his portrayal of Homer Smith, an itinerant handyman who while driving through the Arizona desert meets five impoverished nuns. Stopping to fix their leaky farmhouse roof, Homer discovers that not only will the Mother Superior not pay him for the job, but she also wants him to build their chapel — for free! Hesitant at first, Homer soon finds himself single-handedly raising the chapel and the financing. 

Also available on Blu-ray Disc from Kino Lorber are For Love of Ivy (1968), a stylish romance in which Poitier plays a high-rolling hustler who is blackmailed into seducing a client’s naive young housekeeper;  The Wilby Conspiracy (1975), in which Poitier and Michael Caine play two very different men suddenly bound together and running for their lives in a suspenseful chase thriller set in apartheid-era South Africa; Red Ball Express (1952), a World War II film that marks one of Poitier’s first screen appearances; and Nationtime (1972), a documentary, narrated by Poitier, on the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana, a historic event that gathered Black voices from across the political spectrum, including Jesse Jackson, Dick Gregory, Coretta Scott King and Isaac Hayes.

Kino Lorber Sets Jan. 11 Blu-ray Disc Date for 1966 Comedy ‘Gambit’

Kino Lorber has set a Jan. 11 Blu-ray Disc release date for the 1966 heist comedy Gambit, starring Michael Caine and Shirley Maclaine.

The film, from director Ronald Neame, will be released under the independent supplier’s Studio Classics banner.

Gambit takes off in Hong Kong, where a dapper English cat burglar (Caine) enlists the aid of a Eurasian dancer (Maclaine) to help him in an elaborate scheme to grab an age-old artifact from the heavily secured palace of a powerful Middle Eastern tycoon (Herbert Lom, The Pink Panther Strikes Again). Unfortunately, the foolproof scheme begins to backfire shortly after it starts and the duo must pull out all the stops if they hope to come out on top. 

The film features music by Maurice Jarre (Lawrence of Arabia) and Technicolor cinematography by Clifford Stine (Bedtime Story).

The Blu-ray Disc release includes a new 4K restoration by Universal Pictures, as well as an audio commentary by director Neame, as well as a newly recorded audio commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger, Sergio Mims and Nathaniel Thompson.

Crime Thriller ‘Twist’ Spinning to Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 28

The crime thriller Twist is coming to Blu-ray (plus digital) and DVD Sept. 28 from Lionsgate.

Inspired by Charles Dickens’s iconic novel Oliver Twist, the film set in contemporary London follows the journey of Twist (Raff Law), a gifted graffiti artist trying to find his way after the loss of his mother. Lured into a street gang headed by the paternal Fagin (Michael Caine), Twist is attracted to the lifestyle — and to Red (Sophie Simnett), an alluring member of Fagin’s crew. But when an art theft goes wrong, Twist’s moral code is tested as he’s caught between Fagin, the police and a loose-cannon enforcer (Lena Headey).

Bonus features include “The Artful Dodger: Twist’s Underworld.”



Box Office $57.9 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of violence and action, some suggestive references and brief strong language.
Stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Martin Donovan, Clémence Poésy, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh.

Christopher Nolan’s films often employ time-shifting narrative techniques that challenge the viewer to pay attention in order to be rewarded with a compelling entertainment experience.

With Tenet, is it possible that Nolan has crafted such a bizarre premise that even his smartest fans will have trouble wrapping their heads around it?

If there were a movie or TV show in which the characters were watching a “Christopher Nolan-style” movie, and then the makers of that program had to create a fake film to both represent and satirize a Nolan movie, something like Tenet is probably what they would come up with.

The story involves a CIA agent (John David Washington) who finds himself caught up with a super-secret organization on a mission to stop World War III from being started by enemies from the future who are able to invert the entropy of objects so that the travel backwards in time. The main enemy in the present is a Russian oligarch (Kenneth Branagh) who wants to assemble a device that will wipe out time itself, causing a paradox.

A common trait to Nolan’s films is how much they seem to be meta-commentaries on the art of filmmaking, and Tenet is no exception. In addition to the editing techniques that alter the flow of time much like the way a viewer can jump around a movie using a home video player, Washington’s character is referred to only as “The Protagonist,” a word that literally means the main character of a story.

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At its simplest level, the film could be described as a time travel spy thriller, but that does little to convey just what a viewer is in for. Characters fight other characters who move backwards through the scene, then discover inversion machines that allow them to revisit earlier scenes, forcing characters in two different time frames to interact with each other, culminating in one of the most cinematically engaging, if utterly nonsensical, battles one is likely to witness.

Unlike Nolan’s earlier movies, such as Memento, Inception or Interstellar, where the time-shifting techniques have a certain logic to them, the exposition in Tenet would seem to defy all sense of rationality, yet they still work within the confines of the story as long as one doesn’t think about it too hard.

When a scientist character in the film trying to explain inverted time tells the hero, “Don’t try to understand it … just feel it,” she’s basically giving instructions to the audience, too.

And that’s pretty much the only way a viewer can make sense of what’s going on — by not trying to. Just enjoy the film in the moment, accept the notion that the characters have a handle on it, and take it in as an expression of pure cinema.

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There have been some grumblings about the sound mix favoring background noise and music to the point of making the dialogue hard to hear, and requiring subtitles, but I was able to make out what the characters were saying just fine. Perhaps it’s just a factor of getting used to it after multiple viewings.

The Blu-ray includes a comprehensive, multi-part behind-the-scenes documentary that runs about an hour and 15 minutes and covers the production from Nolan’s conception of it, to casting it, to crafting the action scenes, to post-production, editing and music. Viewers who’ve just watched the film and are still trying to make sense of it can take some satisfaction in seeing the stunt coordinator breaking his brain trying to conceive of how to depict a fight between two characters moving in opposite directions through time, and know they aren’t alone.

‘King of Thieves’ on Home Video March 26 From Lionsgate

Lionsgate will release the crime caper King of Thieves on Blu-ray, DVD and digital March 26. The film is currently available on demand.

Based on the true story of the Hatton Garden Heist, King of Thieves stars Michael Caine as a once notorious thief who assembles a misfit gang to pull off a burglary worth £200 million worth of stolen jewels and money. But when the investigation closes in, the cracks between the eccentric gang members begin to show.

The cast also includes Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Charlie Cox, Michael Gambon and Ray Winstone.

The home video edition includes a “King of Thieves: A Bloody Good Idea” featurette.