Top Film Picks on DVD/Blu-ray: A Cold War Classic, a "Kitchen Sink" Drama, & an Indie Thriller

LJ's film columnist picks the month's top indie, foreign, and classic films, now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

LJ's film columnist picks the month's top indie, foreign, and classic films, now available on DVD and Blu-ray.
dvd covers
The Boat Is Full. 103+ min. In German w/English subtitles. Kino Lorber. 1981.
DVD UPC 738329241919. $19.95; Blu-ray UPC 738329242282. $29.95.
Escaping Nazi Germany, a band of refugees—a deserting soldier, two children, a teen boy, a young woman, and an elderly man—slip into Switzerland looking for asylum. Posing as a family with the help of sympathetic innkeepers, the exiles dread detection by an officious local constable. Markus Imhoof (More than Honey) directs this tense and
affecting drama without traditional conventions like heartstring-pulling music.
 
By the Grace of God. 137+ min. In French w/English subtitles. Music Box Films. 2019. DVD UPC 751778951413. $29.99.
Molested by a Catholic priest as a child, a family man (Melvil Poupaud) learns that the perpetrator still ministers to children three decades later. After getting an ineffectual reception from Church hierarchy, he and other former victims begin legal proceedings against the pedophile. Based on an actual case and ensuing scandal in France, François Ozon’s (Frantz) earnest docudrama avoids sensationalism in favor of sensitivity and restraint.
 
Fail Safe. b/w. 112+ min. Criterion Collection. 1964. DVD UPC 715515240512. $29.99; Blu-ray UPC 715515240413. $39.99.
When a mechanical error sends U.S. bombers toward designated Russian targets, the President (Henry Fonda) tries to prevent retaliation by offering a sacrificial tit for tat with the Soviet premier. Sidney Lumet’s nail-biting Cold War thriller plays like a deadly serious alternative to the darkly comedic “Dr. Strangelove” scenario. Although not quite in a league with Stanley Kubrick’s absurdist vision, Safe never fails to deliver provocative drama. Restored in high-def with illuminating extras.
 
Gregory’s Girl. 91+ min. Film Movement. 1980. DVD UPC 850003924694. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 850003924694. $29.99. Rated: PG.
A gawky high-school boy, the eponymous teenager (John Gordon Sinclair) in Scottish filmmaker Bill Forsyth’s (Local Hero) breakout international hit takes a fancy to a
new classmate (Dee Hepburn) whose soccer-playing ability earns her a spot on the male team. The shag hairstyles of this classic rom-com—nicely restored for its 40th anniversary—are dated but the turmoil of young love remains timeless.
 
I See You. 98 min. Paramount. 2019. DVD UPC 032429334367. $19.99. Rated: R.
A police investigator (Jon Tenney) works a child kidnapping case while dealing with an adulterous wife (Helen Hunt) and a resentful teenaged son (Judah Lewis) in an upper-middle-class suburban household inhabited by a mysterious presence. Adam Randall’s twisty thriller thwarts expectations with a startling point-of-view shift. Barely distributed after its initial film-festival run, this suspenseful tale deserves an audience.
 
Room at the Top. b/w. 117+ min. Jack Clayton, Kino Lorber. 1959. Blu-ray UPC 738329233808. $29.99.
An ambitious, working-class young man (Laurence Harvey) takes a civil servant job in a northern England mill town before wooing a local millionaire’s daughter (Heather Sears). Still, his heart belongs to an older, married Frenchwoman (Oscar-winning Simone Signoret) with whom he has a passionate affair. Frank for its era, Jack Clayton’s classic "kitchen sink drama" trenchantly plumbs the tragedy that ensues in a social climber’s pursuit of money over love.

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