"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Apr 212015

From the Big Screen:

"Taken 3" and "Cake." For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week's Highlights:

There's two great releases from the folks at The Criterion Collection — releases that every film lover should have in their collection. First up is "The River" (1951), the entrancing first color feature from Jean Renoir, shot entirely on location in India, a visual tour de force. Based on the novel by Rumer Godden, the film eloquently contrasts the growing pains of three young women with the immutability of the holy Bengal River, around which their photo for The River daily lives unfold. Enriched by Renoir's subtle understanding of and appreciation for India and its people, "The River" gracefully explores the fragile connections between transitory emotions and steadfast creation. In a high-definition digital transfer from the 2004 Film Foundation restoration, on DVD and Blu-ray, with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include an archival introduction to the film by the director; "Around the River," a 60-minute 2008 documentary by Arnaud Mandagaran about the making of the film; an interview from 2004 with Martin Scorsese; an audio interview from 2000 with producer Ken McEldowney; a new visual essay by film writer Paul Ryan, featuring rare behind-the-scenes stills; and an essay by film scholar Ian Christie and notes by Renoir on the film, discovered in the filmmaker's production files … The great Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu is best known for the stately, meditative domestic dramas he made after World War II. But during his first decade at Shochiku studios, where he dabbled in many genres, he put out a trio of precisely rendered, magnificently shot and edited photo for Eclipse Series 42: Silent Ozu -- Three Crime Dramas silent crime films about the hopes, dreams, and loves of small-time crooks. Heavily influenced in narrative and visual style by the American films that Ozu adored, these movies — gathered together in "Eclipse Series 42: Silent Ozu — Three Crime Dramas" — are revelatory early examples of his cinematic genius, accompanied here by new piano scores by Neil Brand. The collector's set includes: "Walk Cheerfully" (1930): This was the Japanese master's first true homage to American crime movies, and it is a fleetly told, expressively shot work of humor and emotional depth; "That Night's Wife" (1930): In noirish darkness, a man commits a shocking robbery. But, as we soon learn, this seeming criminal mastermind is actually a sensitive everyman driven to commit desperate deeds for the sake of his family; "Dragnet Girl" (1933): This formally accomplished and psychologically complex gangster tale pivots on the growing attraction between Joji, a hardened career criminal, and Kazuko, the sweet-natured older sister of a newly initiated young hoodlum.

From TV to DVD:

"Fortitude" (2015) is a dark drama TV series set in the melting Arctic — featuring psychological and thriller elements — that tells the story of the small idyllic town of Fortitude, whose peaceful existence is shattered after a brutal and shocking murder. Above-photo for Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Series average temperatures lead to a record ice melt revealing secrets long since hidden beneath the frozen landscape. Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer) leads the investigation and is forced to work alongside DCI Morton (Stanley Tucci), a detective who has flown into town from the mainland to contribute his forensic expertise. As the search for the killer progresses, their list of suspects — and suspicions of each other — grows. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from PBS Distribution … "Naked & Afraid: Season 1" (2013) is the Discovery Channel reality series about naked strangers set adrift in the middle of nowhere with no tools, no food, and no clothes. Two-disc set, $29.93 from Cinedigm … "Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Series" (2014) is a three-disc set with 10 episodes of the Hallmark series that follows the lives of four postal detectives who transform themselves into a team of detectives to track down intended recipients of undeliverable mail. Their missions take them out of the office and into an unpredictable world where redirected letters and packages can save lives, solve crimes, reunite old loves and change futures by arriving late but somehow always on time. The team includes charming Oliver O'Toole (Eric Mabius), a genius postal detective and the group s leader; new team member Shane McInerney (Kristin Booth), a technophile who brings 21st century sensibility to the group; free-spirited girl-next-door Rita Haywith (Crystal Lowe), who has a photographic memory; and lovable Norman Dorman (Geoff Gustafson), a master in conventional research methods. $24.95 from Cinedigm.

Buzzin' the 'B's:

In the horror thriller "Auteur" (2014), starring Tom Sizemore, Ian Hutton, BJ Hendricks and Madeline Merritt, a naive documentarian sets out to find a legendary horror director who mysteriously disappeared before the release of his highly anticipated masterpiece. As the filmmaker uncovers the story through various interviews, he learns that the truth is much more deadly than he ever imagined. From MVD Entertainment … In the very weird "Motivational photo for Auteur
(2013), starring Jeffery Combs, Adrian DiGiovanni and Danielle Doetsch, a depressed and reclusive 30-something, Ian Folivor, finds himself taking advice from a growth in his bathroom after a failed suicide attempt. The Mold, a smooth talking fungus who was born of the filth collecting in a corner of Ian's neglected bathroom, works to win Ian's trust by helping him clean himself up and remodel his lifestyle. With The Mold's help, Ian attracts the attention of a neighbor he's been ogling through his peephole, Leah, and he manages to find a slice of happiness despite his unnatural circumstances. But Ian starts to receive strange messages from his old and broken down TV set that make him realize that The Mold may not be as helpful as it seems to be. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Parade Deck Films … In "Wingman Inc." (2015), starring Kristopher Turner, Erin Cahill, Andrea Bogart, Daniele Watts and Reid Ewing, a professional wingman falls in love with a professional man-eater, and they come to realize that their hearts and careers are at stake. After an unexpected break-up, Bobby's friends convince him to get out of his rut by leveraging his prowess with the ladies into a business as a wingman-for-hire. Meanwhile, Kristy — who's also just gone through a break-up — finds therapy and monetary success in defending women from sleazy male advances. When Kristy and Bobby take a sudden interest in each other, it's only a matter of time before one of them finds out that they're working for the competition. From Lionsgate … photo for Deep in the Darkness In "Deep in the Darkness" (2014) , starring Sean Patrick Thomas, Kristen Bush, Dean Stockwell, Blanche Baker, Anthony Del Negro and Athena Grant, Dr. Michael Cayle thought leaving the chaotic lifestyle of New York City behind for the quiet, small town of Ashborough would bring his family closer together. Soon after arriving, however, he discovers the town's deepest secret: a terrifying — and controlling — race of creatures that live amongst the darkness in the woods behind his home. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Scream Factory … In a small American town still living in the shadow of a terrible coal mine accident, the disappearance of a teenage boy draws together a surviving miner, the lonely wife of a mine executive, and a local boy in a web of secrets in "Little Accidents" (2014), starring Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook, Jacob Lofland, Josh Lucas, Chloe Sevigny and Alexia Rasmussen. From Anchor Bay … A just paroled white supremacist and his ruthless girlfriend kill a cop and take an African American family hostage in "Supremacy" (2014), starring Danny Glover, Joe Anderson, Dawn Olivieri and Anson Mount. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA … photo for Ghoulies & Ghoulies II Take a creepy old Hollywood mansion, a naive young man and a pretty girl. Add an over-the-top orgy and some slimy, winged goblins who crawl out of toilets, and you have this double-bill of fun horror, "Ghoulies & Ghoulies II" (1984, 1988). From Scream Factory … also from the Scream! Factory vault comes "Escape From New York Collector's Edition" (1981), starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Season Hubley, Harry Dean Stanton and Adrienne Barbeau, in a new 2K scan of the inter-positive, struck from the original negative. The two-disc Blu-ray includes commentary with actress Adrienne Barbeau and directory of photography Dean Cundey; commentary with director John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell; commentary by producer Debra Hill and production designer Joe Alves; "Big Challenges in Little Manhattan: The Visual Effects of Escape From New York"; "Scoring the Escape: A Discussion With Composer Alan Howarth"; "On Set With John Carpenter: The Images of Escape From New York With Photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker"; and much, much more … A group of teens foolishly play with a spirit board and contact the spirit of a murdered man, who they soon resurrect from the grave in the form of a murderous zombie, intent on avenging his own death and stalking the teens down one by one until he can get to his killer in "Jonah Lives" (2012), starring Brinke Stevens, Jocelyn Padilla, Ryan Boudreau and Nicole Lasala. From Wild Eye Releasing … "The Walking Deceased" (2015), starring Tim Ogletree, Joey Oglesby, Troy Ogletree, Sophia Ali, Andrew Pozza and Dave Sheridan, is a spoof of "The Walking Dead." When a police officer wakes up in a hospital to find out he is in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, he'll do anything to find his family, even sacrifice Twitter. From ARC Entertainment.

On the Indie Front:

photo for First Period "First Period" (2013), starring Brandon Alexander III, Dudley Beene, Cassandra Peterson and Jack Plotnick, is a LGBT festival hit that has Alexander and Beene as a pair of hapless teenage girls who just want to be popular in high school. New girl Cassie and school outcast Maggie are easily the most unpopular girls at their high school. Together, they decide the way to win the hearts of cute boys and popular girls is to enter–and win–the annual talent show. But popular rivals Heather, Other Heather, and their hot boyfriends Dirk and Brett photo for Life Inside Out will stop at nothing to keep Cassie and Maggie the laughing stock of the school. From Falling Anvil Productions/Screen Media … When a mother returns to her musical roots, she rediscovers the passion of her youth, and finds a way to connect with her troubled youngest son in "Life Inside Out" (2013), starring Maggie Baird, Finneas O'Connell, Lori Nasso, David Cowgill, William Dennis Hunt, Roscoe Brandon and Orson Ossman. From Monarch Home Entertainment … photo for Sweet Lorraine In "Sweet Lorraine" (2015), Lorraine Beebie, the perfect minister's wife in suburban New Jersey, has one goal: to see her husband as the mayor of the small town in which she has rebuilt her life. Lorraine's quest comes head to head with her seedy and sultry past in the clubs and streets of New York City, a past that includes her ex-lover, the current mayor. Stars Tatum O'Neal, Steven Bauer, Peter Greene and Julianne Michelle. From Garden Thieves Pictures, due April 23.

Special Interest:

From the birth of jazz to the evolution of hip hop, from the advents of urban trends to transformative advances in technology, African Americans have played an integral role in molding American culture. Unfortunately, they tend to not be the beneficiaries of their own innovation. The documentary "Bleaching Black Culture" (2014) examines the continuum of America's black cultural appropriation and the effects on the African American community. From Cinedigm.

 Posted by on April 21, 2015 No Responses »
Apr 212015

photo for Kingsman: The Secret Service Based upon the comic book; tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. Vitals: Director: Matthew Vaughn. Stars: Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Jack Davenport, Sofia Boutella, Corey Johnson, Jorge Leon Martinez, Sophie Cookson. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 129 min., Action-Suspense, Box office gross: $125.659 million, Fox.

 Posted by on April 21, 2015 No Responses »
Apr 202015

photo for Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Due May 19:

Sequel to the 2010 comedy. When Lou (Rob Corddry) finds himself in trouble, Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) fire up the hot tub time machine in an attempt to get back to the past. But they inadvertently land in the future with Adam Jr. (Adam Scott). Now they have to alter the future in order to save the past … which is really the present. Vitals: Director: Steve Pink. Stars: Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Adam Scott, Chevy Chase, Angela Kerecz, Gillian Jacobs. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 93 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $12.314 million, Paramount.

Due June 16:

photo for Unfinished Business A hard-working small business owner (Vince Vaughn) and his two associates (Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco) travel to Europe to close the most important deal of their lives. But what began as a routine business trip goes off the rails in every imaginable — and unimaginable – way, including unplanned stops at a massive sex fetish event and a global economic summit. Vitals: Director: Ken Scott. Stars: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, Sienna Miller, James Marsden, Nick Frost. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 92 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $10.219 million, Fox.


 Posted by on April 20, 2015 No Responses »
Apr 202015

Due June 2:

photo for McFarland, USA Inspired by the 1987 true story, the film follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California's farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys' exceptional running ability, things begin to change. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream. Vitals: Director: Niki Caro. Stars: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Morgan Saylor, Martha Higareda, Michael Aguero. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 129 min., Drama, Box office gross: $42.955 million, Disney.

 Posted by on April 20, 2015 No Responses »
Apr 202015

photo for In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. But now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. As powerful, destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind. Vitals: Director: Neill Blomkamp. Stars: Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley (voice), Yo-Landi Visser, Ninja. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 114 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $31.338 million, Sony. Extras: "We Are Tetravaal" featurette in which Weaver, Jackman and Patel discuss their characters and on-set experiences. Blu-ray adds alternate ending; extended scene "A Very Bad Man"; eight featurettes: "Chappie: The Streetwise Professor," an inside look at Chappie and casting Copley to play the robot and his performance via motion capture, "Arms Race: The Weapons and Robots," offers deeper look at the real-world firepower tech and the design of the "Scout" robots and "Moose," "Bringing Chappie to Life: The Visual Effects," "From Tetra Vaal to Chappie," an in-depth exploration of the scriptwriting process, the early concept design work and other aspects of pre-production, "Keep It Gangster," a behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating an authentic South African gangster world, "The Reality of Robotics," "Jozi: Real City and a Sci-Fi Setting," "Rogue Robot: Deconstructing the Stunts and Special Effects"; "The Art of Chappie" photo gallery.

 Posted by on April 20, 2015 No Responses »
Apr 202015

When a brilliant high school student and his friends discover blueprints for a machine that can send them back in time, the possibilities seem endless. They rewrite history to win the lottery, photo for Project Almanac ace exams, and party like there’s no tomorrow. But by changing the past, they have threatened the future of our world. Can they undo the damage they have unleashed before it's too late? Vitals: Director: Dean Israelite. Stars: Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-D'Elia, Allen Evangelista, Ginny Gardner, Sam Lerner, Amy Landecker. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 106 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $22.348 million, Paramount.

 Posted by on April 20, 2015 No Responses »