The Circus is the Pick of the Week

A 1928 Charlie Chaplin gem headlines a new week of great releases.
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When it comes to humor and heart, there was probably no one better to deliver that wonderful mixture than the great Charlie Chaplin. His characters represented outsiders who are just trying to belong in a world that continues to shut them out. Although his 1928 effort, The Circus, wasn't as impactful nor profound as City Lights, Modern Times, or even The Great Dictator, it still has enough pathos and reality to win over the most jaded of movie lovers. Chaplin plays a falsly accused thief running away from the police, who ends up in a traveling circus. He interupts a series of acts and immediately wins over the crowd. From there, he gets the job as a property man, and eventually becomes the Funny Man. His boss' beautiful stepdaughter encourages him to demand to be paid fairly, which he misinterprets this as a confession of love. He figures out the hard way that she isn't really in love with him; instead, she is in love with a handsome tight-rope walker, which causes him to lose his ability to do or be anything.

I bet the special features of the new release from Criterion will probably get into the film's difficult production history, all of the sight gags, and some of the deleted sequences. It also includes a brand new commentary by Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance, outtakes, rerelases trailers, a new interview with Eugene Chaplin (Charlie's fifth child with Oona O'Neil Chaplin), and a documentary about Chaplin's life and career, among others. Judging by the amount of supplements (old and new) and the obvious 4K restoration, this should be another incredible edition for lovers of Chaplin and film in general.

Other interesting releases:

Local Hero (Criterion Collection) - A man from an American oil company is sent to Scotland to purchase an entire village in order to build a refinery. Things don't particularly work out that way.

John Carpenter's Vampires - Jack Crow and his specialized team are designed to rid the world of blood-thirsty vampires. After they are successful, they become lazy and undetached, in which they easily become the new snack for a powerful and relentless master vampire. Read Mat Brewster's review.

Stephen King's The Stand - The acclaimed 1994 four-part miniseries, adapted by King himself, centers on a group of survivors after a plague destroys nearly half of the world. They are forced to choose sides between the unrelenting battle between good and evil.

The Set-Up - Robert Ryan stars as over-the-hill boxer Stoker Thompson, who belives he can still win a match despite doubts from his wife and manager. He goes into his next fight determined to beat his rival, but unbeknownst to him, his manager has stolen money from a ruthless gambler. In typical noir fashion, things don't end well for Stoker.

The Letter - The great Bette Davis stars as the wife of a rubber plantation owner who shoots a man to death and claims it as self-dense; the letter she wrote before the crime may lead her to her tragic destiny.

Hellraiser - Clive Barker's 1987 grisly classic where Julia (Claire Higgins) helps her lover, Frank, come back to the mortal world from hell, after his soul was sent there by him opening up an evil puzzle box. Freeing him unleashes Pinhead and his squad of demons back into Earth. Julia's stepdaughter Kristy (Ashley Lawrence) vows to stop her and save the day.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II - The groteseque sequel to the 1987 horror hit, which in Kristy is this time committed to an insane asylum for treatment. However, the chief psychiatrist, is secretly obsessed with the afterlife, and he successfully resurrects Julia and unleashes Pinhead and the Cenobites. Naturally, Kristy is once again forced to save the day, and reclaim what's left of her sanity.

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