It’s all about variety this week, from a brainless big-budget FX blockbuster, Transformers: Age of Extinction, to a 1970s retro sci-fi parody, Space Station 76, to a queer Polish drama, Floating Skyscrapers (above), plus one of queer German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s best works, Ali: Fear Eats The Soul.
Here’s the skinny on each.
($49.99 3D Blu-ray, $39.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 DVD; Paramount)
Shia LaDouche, step aside, for new franchise star Mark Wahlberg. Other than that, it’s just what you’d expect. Big robots, crazy effects, and more useless plot and inane dialogue than anyone would EVER need. Extras include an 8-part making-of, several featurettes, and a gag reel.
Space Station 76
($26.99 DVD; Sony)
Actor Jack Plotnik, best known for his turns in Gods & Monsters and as pyscho has-been actress, Evie, in drag comedy Girls Will Be Girls, assumes the director’s chair for this retro, 1970s-styled sci-fi satire that’s been likened to “Gene Roddenberry meets Pedro Almodovar.” Patrick Wilson plays the closeted captain of a space station, the staff of which includes Matt Bomer as an engineer with a prosthetic hand (which is, of course, just a glove), and Liv Tyler as a newly arrived second-in-command. Evokes the look and kitsch of old TV shows set in outer space, with hysterically straight-faced delivery (so to speak). Extras include a making-of, outtakes and deleted scenes.
($24.99 DVD; TLA)
In this Polish drama, a champion swimmer, Kuba, finds his “straight” life with girlfriend Sylwia thrown into chaos when he falls for another, younger athlete, Michal.
($39.99 Blu-ray/DVD; Criterion)
The late, great queer German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder touches on racism and the difficult challenges faced by an interracial couple in this 1974 Douglas Sirk homage about a 60-year-old, widowed cleaning lady, Emmi, who falls for a younger Moroccan mechanic, Ali (played by El Hedi Ben Salam, a Fassbinder regular and, for several years, his boyfriend). Despite their deep affection for one another, the couple quickly begins to feel the strain of a disapproving, racist, xenophobic society. Will they be able to disregard what the world has to say and be happy together? Well, this is a melodrama, so… While the prolific Fassbinder shot Ali in a mere 15 days on a low budget in between a couple of major productions, this stands out as one of his absolute finest, must-see works. This gorgeous 4k restoration comes with extras including an introduction from Todd Haynes (who also paid homage to Douglas Sirk’s social melodramas with Far From Heaven), interviews, a 2002 short film about a real-life incident involving neo-Nazis harassing one of Fassbinder’s foreign actors and more.
Decoding Annie Parker
The Pretty One