Palestinian surgeon Amin Jaafari (Ali Suliman) is fully assimilated into Tel Aviv society, has a loving wife, an exemplary career and many Jewish friends. But his picture-perfect life is turned upside down when a suicide bombing leaves 17 dead, and the Israeli police inform him that his wife Sihem (Reymonde Amsellem) not only died in the explosion, but was responsible for it. Initially interrogated as a possible accomplice, Amin is shaken further when he receives a posthumous letter from Sihem confirming her role in the carnage. Shattered by this revelation, Amin abandons the relative security of his adopted homeland to enter the Palestinian territories in pursuit of the zealots who recruited his wife. Based on Yasmina Khadra's prize-winning and bestselling novel. In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles. Extras: Interview with director Ziad Doueiri, theatrical trailer, photo gallery. Vitals: Director: Ziad Doueiri. Stars: Ali Suliman, Reymonde Amsellem, Evgenia Dodena, Dvir Benedek, Uri Gavriel. 2013 — Lebanon/France/Qatar/Belgium, CC, MPAA rating: R, 95 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.714 million, Cohen Media Group.
From the Big Screen:
"Monsters University" and "R.I.P.D." For more releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
From the opening shots of "La Notte" (1961), you know you're in the hands of a master filmmaker. The stark black-and-white images contrast old and new Milan from a street-level camera view of a pre-war building and a modern skyscraper, them moves to the top of a newly constructed high-rise, finally descending to earth as an outdoor elevator moves to the ground floor. The contrasts between the values of the old and the new, between love and lust, and between ennui and happiness continues in this psychologically acute, visually striking modernist work — director Michelangelo Antonioni's follow-up to the epochal "L'avventura." Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau star as a novelist and his frustrated wife who, over the course of one night, confront their alienation from each other and the achingly empty bourgeois Milan circles in which they travel. Antonioni's muse Monica Vitti smolders as an industrialist's tempting daughter. "La notte" is an indelible illustration of romantic and social deterioration. In a gorgeous looking new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. From where else — The Criterion Collection … "The Beauty of the Devil" (1950), directed by master filmmaker Rene Clair ("Under the Roofs of Paris," "A Nous la Liberte," "I Married a Witch," "And Then There Were None"), is a retelling of the Faust legend. An aging professor of alchemy makes a bargain with the Devil that will give him youth, fame and riches in exchange for his soul. Clair creates an allegorical fantasy that is both whimsical and tragicomic in this rarely seen masterpiece. Stars Michel Simon and Gerard Philipe. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc, newly remastered by Cohen Media Group.
From TV to DVD:
David Suchet stars as Agatha Christie's mustachioed mystery-solver in "Agatha Christie's Poirot, Series 9" (2003), which consists of four feature-length episodes: "Five Little Pigs," "Sad Cypress," "Death on the Nile" and "The Hollow." Newly remastered and restored to their original U.K. broadcast order. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Acorn Media … Set in Montpelier in the south of France, "Antigone 34" (2012) is a stylish, fast-paced police- thriller that examines the dark underbelly that lies beneath one of Europe's most beautiful cities, featuring Victor, a disbarred doctor, and Helene, a non-conformist psycho-criminologist. Three-disc set with six episodes, $39.95 from MHz Networks Home Entertainment … "Cook's Country, Season 6" (2013) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes of the series that features the best regional home cooking in the country and relies on the same practical, no-nonsense food approach that has made Cook's Country magazine so successful. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc, $29.99 from PBS Distribution … "Family Tree: The Complete First Season" (2013) is a two-disc set with eight episodes that centers on 30-year-old Tom Chadwick (Chris O'Dowd) who, after losing his job and his girlfriend, begins exploring his family heritage after inheriting a mysterious box from a great aunt he never met. Unsure of his identity, he uncovers a world of unusual stories and characters as well as a growing sense of who he and his real family are. Writer-director Christopher Guest's first television series. $29.98 from HBO … "The Johan Falk Trilogy" includes three feature films about touch Swedish cop Johan Falk, whose fictional exploits are based on true stories of criminals, victims, law enforcement operatives and private security companies. Three-disc DVD, $39.95 from MHz Networks Home Entertainment … "Line of Duty, Series 1" (2012) is a two-disc set with five episodes of the British police drama series about a London police officer who is transferred to the anti-corruption unit after he refuses to participate in a bureaucratic cover-up following a botched counterterrorism raid. $39.99 from Acorn Media … "Spiral: Series 2" (2008) is a four-disc set with eight episodes of the hard-hitting Parisian cop procedural/thriller. $49.95 from MHz Networks Home Entertainment.
A fresh twist on home-invasion horror. Aubrey and Paul Davison decide to celebrate their wedding anniversary by inviting their four children and their significant others to a family reunion at their remote weekend estate. But the family reunion goes awry when their home comes under siege by a mask-wearing team of crossbow-bearing assailants. The family has no idea who's attacking them or why they're under attack. The hapless victims seem trapped … until an unlikely guest of the family proves to be the most talented killer of all. Extras: "No Ordinary Home Invasion: The Making of You're Next" featurette; commentary with director Adam Wingard, writer Simon Barrett and actors Sharni Vinson and Barbara Crampton; commentary with Wingard and Barrett. Vitals: Director: Adam Wingard. Stars: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, AJ Bowen, Ti West, Rob Moran, Joe Swanberg, Wendy Glenn, Amy Seimetz, Barbara Crampton. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 94 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $18.474 million, Lionsgate.
On the surface Adam (Mark Ruffalo), an over-achieving environmental consultant, Mike (Tim Robbins), a long-married small-business owner, and Neil (Josh Gad), a wisecracking emergency-room doctor, have little in common. But all are in different stages of dealing with addiction. Confident and successful in his career, Adam is afraid to allow love back into his life, even if that means losing a chance to start over with smart, beautiful and accomplished Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow); Mike's efforts to control his wife, Katie (Joely Richardson), and son, Danny (Patrick Fugit), as tightly as he does his impulses are tearing the family apart; and Neil is still deeply in denial when befriended by Dede (Alecia Moore), who has just begun to take her own small steps back to health. As they navigate the rocky shores of recovery, Adam, Mike and Neil become a family that encourages, infuriates and applauds each other on the journey toward a new life. Extras: "One Step at a Time: The Making of Thanks for Sharing" featurette, commentary with co-writer/director Stuart Blumberg and co-writer Matt Winston, gag reel, deleted scenes. Vitals: Director: Stuart Blumberg. Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Gad, Joely Richardson, Patrick Fugit, Alecia Moore. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 113 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $1.032 million, Lionsgate.
A look at hit pop group One Direction and its meteoric rise to fame, from humble hometown beginnings and competing on the "X-Factor" to conquering the world and performing at London's famed O2 Arena. A captivating and intimate all-access look at life on the road for the global music phenomenon, interspersed with live concert footage. Available as a DVD, an Ultimate Fan Edition DVD/Blu-ray Combo, and an Ultimate Fan Edition DVD/Blu-ray/3D Blu-ray. Blu-ray extras: Extended cut with 20 minutes of new footage and four additional songs; three featurettes: "I Didn't Do It" in which the boys try to complete on-air promotions at a Japanese radio station, "Hold That Pose" in which the boys visit the famed Madam Tussauds wax museum to experience their own sculptures being created; and "Up All Night!," two mini movies previously only shown during the live concert; "Best Song Ever" music video; five "Going Home" featurettes in which each member of the group visits their home town, family and friends offering fans a glimpse at their life off the road; "Before the Show" featurette with the boys hanging out, playing games, exercising/training, and getting ready for one of their performances; "1D Family" featurette on the fans of One Direction; extended scenes. DVD extras: Select featurettes from the Ultimate Fan Edition. Vitals: Director: Morgan Spurlock. Stars: Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 92 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $28.818 million, Sony.
TV GONE WEST
SUGARFOOT: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (1958-59) Saddle up for another shot of sarsaparilla alongside the wild west's coolest counselor-by-correspondence, "Sugarfoot" Tom Brewster (Will Hutchins). Tom continues to wander the west while pursuing his law degree by mail, always ready to outwit first and resort to violence last in this 5-Disc, 20-Episode collection. The griping season opener, "Ring of Sand," sees Tom going round in circles in an arid wasteland as he desperately tries to save a grieving father (Will Wright) from his suicidal quest for vengeance. He later tests his mettle against foes like his evil, identical cousin "The Canary Kid" (Will Hutchins) which guest stars Wayde Preston as Colt .45's Christopher Colt! Tom also aids friends valiant and true, including a caped, crusading Polish pianist played by Adam West! Other notable guests include 77 Sunset Strip's Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Ed "Kookie" Byrnes, Jay North, Tommy Rettig, Martin Landau, John Carradine, Don "Red" Barry, Dorothy Provine and Virginia Gregg. Note: Initial quantities of this release will be traditionally replicated (pressed) in anticipation of high consumer demand.
ALICE: THE COMPETE FOURTH SEASON (1979-80) Farewell, Flo – and hello Belle! Alice's fourth season saw some big changes coming to Mel's Diner. Polly Holiday's Flo proved to be such an irresistible spin-off lure, midway through the season she heads off to Flo's Yellow Rose. In a serendipitous twist, Flo's fill in turns out to be no less a talent than the original Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore's Flo, Diane Ladd! Ladd plays Belle, a former employee and flame of Mel's, who considers herself something of a country-western warbler – look out, Alice! This season the show puts celebrities playing themselves on the menu, including Art Carney (who turns out to be Vera's cousin), both Telly and George Savalas make a pit stop and Dinah Shore even hosts Mel – and his chili – on her talk show! Memorable guests NOT playing themselves include the great Eve Arden as a local talk host and Martha Raye as Mel's overbearing mother. 3-Disc, 26 Episode Collection. Note: Initial quantities of this release will be traditionally replicated (pressed) in anticipation of high consumer demand.
Paramount Playhouse – Back in Print
THE ROSE TATTOO (1955) Tennessee Williams reportedly tailored the part of Serafina Delle Rose for Italian actress Anna Magnani (Rome, Open City) but Magnani did not feel her command of English was sufficient to the demands of William's prosodic dialogue on stage. Thankfully, when the play came to be adapted for film four years later, that was no longer the case and Magnani astonishes. Serafina is a widowed recluse, clashing with her amorous age teenage daughter (Marisa Pavan) when her world is upended by the seemingly cloddish truck driver played by a beaming Burt Lancaster. Daniel Mann directs under producer Hal Wallis, with legendary lensman James Wong Howe framing the action.
THE MATCHMAKER (1958) Thornton Wilder's classic comedy about love and errant clerks – which would later become the musical, Hello Dolly – comes to the big screen courtesy of director Joseph Anthony and writer John Michael Hayes (Winter Kill). Yonkers matchless matchmaker Dolly Levi (Shirley Booth) sets her sights on miserly department store magnate Horace Vandergelder (Paul Ford) who already has intentions towards the lovely lady milliner Irene Malloy (Shirley MacLaine). It's a good thing for Dolly that Vandergelder's overworked clerks Cornelius Hackl (Anthony Perkins) and Barnaby Tucker (Broadway cast transplant Robert Morse) decide to play hooky and monkey wrench the works. 16×9 Widescreen.
THIS PROPERTY IS CONDEMNED (1966) Sidney Pollack directs this cinematic expansion of Tennessee Williams' devastating one act play, with a young Francis Ford Coppola making script contributions. A waif dressed in rags (To Kill a Mockingbird's Mary Badham) tells a tale of woe to a young boy (Jon Provost) outside a condemned boarding house. It's the story of her sister Alva Starr (Natalie Wood), the town's main attraction at the too-young age of sixteen and Owen Legate (Robert Redford), the railroad man sent to shut the town down. In a storm of passions and cheap experiences, the chance of reclaimed innocence flickers. But can love truly triumph over knowledge? A superb cast fills out the passion play, including Charles Bronson, Kate Reid, Dabney Coleman and Robert Blake. 16×9 Widescreen.
FIRST MONDAY IN OCTOBER (1981) Master craftsmen Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee (Inherit the Wind) presciently presented a play about the first woman justice on the Supreme Court – a conservative! – in 1977. By the time Ronald Neame directed the film adaptation, life imitated art in a very big way when Ronald Reagan (Voice of the Turtle) nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to the bench on July 7, 1981. Jill Clayburgh plays the conservative Judge Loomis, while Walter Matthau plays her left-leaning foil, Judge Snow, in full amiable curmudgeon mode. Barnard Hughes plays the Chief Justice charged with keeping his fractious court in balance as they take on standards of indecency, pornography and free speech. 16×9 Widescreen.
SHIRLEY VALENTINE (1989) Willy Russell's one woman show Shirley Valentine, the tale of a lower middle class Liverpudlian lass' middle aged sexual re-awakening, was a smash stage hit with Pauline Collins in the role. Lewis Gilbert wisely retained her services for this cinematic treatment thats opens the story up while still retaining its dramaturgical charms. Tom Conti is a delight as an aging Greek Casanova, lampooning his own considerable screen smolder reputation. Shirley Valentine took world cinema by storm upon its initial release, and still strikes a moving, quirky chord decades later. 16×9 Widescreen.
HBO Never Forgets
AN APOLOGY TO ELEPHANTS (2013) Elephants, majestic and intelligent,have suffered under the hands of humans for hundreds of years. They're poached for their tusks, chained in captivity and their natural habitats destroyed. Narrated and executive produced by Lily Tomlin and directed and produced by Amy Schatz, An Apology to Elephants is an HBO family documentary that illustrates how elephants live in the wild – from their matriarchal structure to their truly impressive memories – and examines the problems and issues that arise when they are brought to live in captivity in zoos and circuses.
Criterion will kick off the New Year with a wide variety of titles from all over the world, running the gamut from slapstick to suspense to intimate drama, all in Blu-ray and DVD dual editions. First there's Stanley Kramer's mega-madcap movie "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" in a jam-packed edition, featuring a newly reconstructed 197-minute extended cut of the film. Then, Criterion will offer two quintessential heist thrillers: Jules Dassin's influential Paris caper "Rififi," and "Thief," the neo-noir that kicked off the career of action director Michael Mann. Plus, there's Terence Davies' aching masterpiece "The Long Day Closes," and Aki Kaurismaki's elegant, charming depiction of bohemian Paris life "La Vie de Boheme" — neither film has previously been available on DVD or Blu-ray in the U.S. And finally there's Akira Kurosawa's bold and bloody Macbeth iteration, "Throne of Blood" — surely one of cinema's great Shakespeare adaptations. And add in a three-DVD box set celebrating the later films of Indian director Satyajit Ray, on Criterion's Eclipse label.
Jan. 7: Eclipse Series 40: Late Satyajit Ray
Jan. 7: Throne of Blood
Jan. 14: Rififi
Jan. 14: Thief
Jan. 21: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Jan. 21: La Vie de Boheme
Jan. 28: The Long Day Closes
It's been 18 years since director Richard Linklater teamed with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for "Before Sunrise" (1995), a romantic drama about two strangers, American tourist Jesse and French student Celine (in their twenties), who meet on a train bound for Vienna and spend a day and night together discussing love, life, religion, and the possibility of feelings for each other. It's been nine years since "Before Sunset" (2004), when the three reteamed for a sequel in which Jesse, now a successful author, travels to Paris for a book signing at Shakespeare and Company; in the audience, attracted by the book that was based on their interlude nine years before, is Celine. This time they have the briefest of encounters as Jesse, now married with a son, must catch a plane back to the states. Still, they talk over love, life, politics, and their unfulfilling relationships with their significant others. The film ends on an ambiguous note: Does Jesse stay or catch his flight? In this next installment, Jesse and Celine, now in their forties, face the past, present and future: family, romance and love. It turns out Jesse has left his marriage and his son in America, and now lives with Celine in Paris with their twin daughters. On a writer's retreat in Greece, the couple looks forward to a night of passion, but instead their idyllic evening turns into a test of their relationship and a discussion of what the future holds for them. Jesse yearns to spend more time with his son in the states; Celine resents her role as mother and housekeeper. What starts out as a beautiful day devolves into antagonism, hateful words, and spiteful actions. And, again, they talk of life and love and human relationships. Since there's so very little action in the film — it's basically just Jesse and Celine talking while driving, walking and strolling through the beautiful Greek countryside — the narrative only works if the viewer can empathize with the pair, which may be difficult since they are so painfully honest about their feelings (as is, almost unbelievably, everyone else in the film). It's all about their relationship, and what it says about love, life, marriage, and long-term commitment. If you like Hawke-Jesse and Delpy-Celine — or if you want Woody Allen-like conversations on steroids — this is for you. Extras: Commentary with Hawke, Delpy and Linklater, "Revisiting Jesse & Celine" featurette, Q&A with Hawke, Delpy and Linklater. Vitals: Director: Richard Linklater. Stars: Ethan Hawke Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 109 min., Romantic Drama, Box office gross: $8.016 million, Sony.
Ready for good, old-fashioned scares and frights — sans torture, gore and porn? Then "The Conjuring" is for you. Here's a horror film that relies on editing and story line for its creepiness — it's scares come from closing doors and creaking floors, much like the great horror films before special effects made it too easy to create chills. It revolves around real-life American paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga), who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse in Rhode island in 1971. It turns out the house was haunted by an accused witch, Bathsheba, who tried to sacrifice her children to the devil and killed herself back in 1863, and the Warrens must struggle long and hard to exorcise the house of the powerful demonic entity. The work of the pair inspired "The Amityville Horror." Extras: "Scaring the “@$*%” Out of You" featurette. Blu-ray adds "The Conjuring: Face-to-Face With Terror" and "A Life in Demonology" featurettes. Vitals: Director: James Wan. Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Joey King, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaveras, Sterling Jerinsas, Marion Guyot, Steve Coulter, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 112 min., Horror, Box office gross: $135.355 million, Warner.
Director Nicolas Winding Refn's much-anticipated follow-up to 2011's "Drive" wasn't what most people expected: Yes it was dark, as was "Drive," but it was way more sleazier, dirtier and weirder. There's no likeable characters here nor any redemption, but there's definitely a tour-de-force performance by Kristin Scott Thomas. Julian (Ryan Gosling), an American fugitive from justice, runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business. His mother, the head of a vast criminal organization, arrives from the U.S. to collect the body of her favorite son, Billy, who has just been killed after having savagely murdered a young prostitute. Crazy with rage and thirsty for vengeance, she demands that Julian produce the heads of the murderers. But first Julian must confront Chang, a mysterious retired policeman — called the Angel of Vengeance — who has resolved to scourge the corrupt underworld of brothels and fight clubs and to take down Julian and his operation. It's bleak, crude and rude and, unlike "Drive," has no redeeming qualities. Vitals: Director: Nicolas Winding Refn. Stars: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Gordon Brown, Yayaying Rhatha, Tom Burke, Sahajak Boonthanakit. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Crime Thriller, Box office gross: $.775 million, Anchor Bay.