Hidden Figures is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us NASA's untold history, a mad king, some nice-looking horror collections, and much more.
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If you aren’t utterly amazed by space travel, then you aren’t paying attention - especially in the early days of NASA.  They worked out ridiculously complicated math problems using a pencil and a slide rule.  My phone has more computing power than their big mainframes did.  

Some of the people doing those calculations were young African American women.  Hidden Figures tell their story.  It stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae as the mathematicians.  It's received some good review and has done well at the box office.  I’m a sucker for heart-warming historical stories and this one looks like a lot of fun as well.  It also stars Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst.

In a week full of interesting films, I’m most looking forward to watching Hidden Figures.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg / The Young Girls of Rochefort (Criterion Collection):  These two classic Jaques Demy musicals were previously released by Criterion in a Demy boxed set.  Now, they are getting individual releases.

Ludwig:  Arrow Academy brings this 1973 drama about the Mad King, Ludwig II who was great friends with Richard Wagner and nearly bankrupted his country building romantic castles (the famous of which, Neuschwanstein, was the inspiration behind Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle).

The Phantasm Collection:  Well Go USA has collected all five Phantasm films in  this really nice looking collection.  They’ve previous released the first and fifth films in the series individually and from the sound of it they've essentially ported over a Shout Factor release of the second film so if you already have some of these films already on Blu-ray this collection may not be for you.  But otherwise its quite a Phantasm feast.

House: Two Stories:  I have fond memories of watching these two films as a teenager in the late '80s.  I don’t actually remember anything plotwise about the films but the cover photo of a disembodied hand ringing a doorbell has stuck with me.  It appears Arrow has done their usual excellent job of restoring the video and loading it with extras.

Veep: The Complete Fifth Season:  I’ve watched the first two seasons of this HBO comedy (all that my Amazon Prime subscription will allow).  I’ll be interesting to see how the show progresses especially now that the actual White House is stranger than anything mere comedy writers could possible come up with.

Brimstone:  Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning, Carice van Houten and Kit Harrington star in this western a woman being hunted by a vengeful preacher.

Lion:  Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, and Nicole Kidman star in this based-on-a-true-story drama about a five-year-old Indian boy who gets lost in the streets of Calcutta.  Surviving on his wits, he eventually get adopted by an Australian couple. Many years later, he travels back to Indian to look for his parents.  Was nominated for numerous Academy Awards.

Silicon Valley: The Complete Third Season:  I keep hearing good things about this comedy from Mike Judge about a bunch of computer nerds.  One of these days, I’ll give it a shot.

Dead or Alive Trilogy:  You either love Takashi Miike or you hate him. I can’t imagine the Japanese provocateur finds a lot of people landing luke warm on him after having watched his  massive (and massively varied) filmography.  This trilogy is a very loosely connected (mainly through the actors who star in each film though are playing different characters) series of tales about the Yakuza.  Its got Miike’s usual bouts of hyper violence and weirdness though it never gets quite as out-there as some of his other films do.  Arrow has yet again put together a nice-looking boxed set for it.

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