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

OnVideo

Sep 182013
 

 
In December, Criterion will release Martin Scorsese’s “World Cinema Project,” a box set collecting six amazing, rarely seen films from around the world in recent major digital restorations. “Each and every title is precious to me,” says Scorsese of these films, which hail from Mexico, Senegal, South Korea, and elsewhere. Next up is the ultimate freewheeling classic of 1970s American cinema, Robert Altman’s “Nashville,” in a packed special edition with a new documentary featuring interviews with many members of the film’s brilliant ensemble cast. That’s followed by Italian provocateur Elio Petri’s chilling and surreal thriller “Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion,” which won an Oscar for best foreign-language film. All this plus a new Blu-ray of the quirky documentary classic “Grey Gardens,” which also features the filmmakers’ 2006 follow-up “The Beales of Grey Gardens,” featuring footage not seen in the original.

Dec. 3: “Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion”
Dec. 3: “Nashville”
Dec. 10: “Grey Gardens”
Dec. 10: Martin Scorsese’s “World Cinema Project”

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 Posted by on September 18, 2013 No Responses »
Sep 162013
 

From the Big Screen:

“Behind the Candelabra,” “World War Z,” “The Bling Ring,” “The East” and “Disconnect.” Read more at the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

Collectibles:

The highlight of the week is Shout! Factory’s “The Bruce Lee Legacy Collection,” an
11 Blu-ray/DVD box set in book-style packaging marking the 40th anniversary of the release of
“Enter the Dragon” and the 40th anniversary of Lee’s death). The set offers the first-ever Blu-photo for The Bruce Lee Legacy Collection ray presentations (as well as the DVD versions) of “The Big Boss,” “Fist of Fury,” “Way of the Dragon” and “Game of Death” and includes three documentaries on two discs, “Bruce Lee: The Legend” (and the original version “Bruce Lee: The Man, The Legend”), the critically acclaimed “I Am Bruce Lee” and “The Grandmaster and the Dragon: William Cheung and Bruce Lee”; and a bonus disc with hours of extra content. The book includes 68 pages of archival materials, rare and never-before-released photos, a new essay on Lee’s amazing career, and much more. $119.99.

“Two Men in Manhattan” (1959) is a rediscovered gem from master filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville. Melville’s moody dramas, including “Bob le Flambeur,” “Le Doulos,” “Le Samourai” and “Army of Shadows,” were deeply influenced by classic Hollywood crime pictures, making iconic use of cigarette-smoking, world-weary gangsters and detectives in trenchcoats and fedora hats. His minimalist style, including shooting on real locations, was a major influence on the next photo for Two Men in Manhattan generation of filmmakers that would create the New Wave. The dark shadows of New York come to life here in this tale about a French UN delegate who disappears into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Melville himself) and hard-drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasse) on a mission to find him. Their only lead: pictures of three women that could indicate a scandal. Though not the best of Melville’s outings (it was a major flop at the boxoffice and was never released in the states), the film nevertheless is a shining example of Melville’s existential filmmaking: the protagonists (one a hero, the other an antihero) must grapple with ethical dilemmas throughout the course of their Odyssey and decide whether they should cash in on their discovery or squash their finding for the sake of the greater good. The location shots of New York are gorgeous; the interiors (shot in a studio in France) no so. The story line is corny at times and requires leaps of faith by the viewer because of plot inconsistencies — but the film has more to do with the appearances of reality than realism for its own sake. Extras include a conversation between film critics Jonathan Rosenbaum and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky and a new essay by Melville scholar Ginette Vincendeau. On Blu-ray and DVD from Cohen Film Collection.

The Criterion Collection this week offers the Blu-ray debut of Richard Linklater’s “Slacker” (1991), a prime example of American independent film that presents a day in the life of a loose-knit Austin, Texas, subculture populated by eccentric and overeducated young people. Linklater and his crew threw out any idea of a traditional plot, choosing instead to create a tapestry of over 100 characters, each participant “handing off” the movie to the next character he or she meets in the loose-knit structure (ala Luis Bunuel’s “The Phantom of Liberty”). Also from Criterion comes “Autumn Sonata” (1978) on DVD and Blu-ray. The film was the only collaboration between cinema’s two great Bergmans — ­Ingmar, the iconic director of “The Seventh Seal,” and Ingrid, the monumental star of “Casablanca.” The grand dame, playing an icy concert pianist, is matched beat for beat in ferocity by the filmmaker’s recurring lead Liv photo forUllmann as her eldest daughter. Over the course of a long, painful night that the two spend together after an extended separation, they finally confront the bitter discord of their relationship. Both releases come loaded with extras … “A Letter to Three Wives” (1949), directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (almost as a precursor to “All About Eve”) and starring Ann Sothern, Linda Darnell, Jeanne Crain, Kirk Douglas and Paul Douglas, arrives on Blu-ray from Fox. In this award-winning melodrama, a letter is addressed to three wives from their “best friend,” Addie Ross, announcing that she is running away with one of their husbands — but she doesn’t say which one, forcing the women to reminisce about the ups and downs of their marriages — giving the viewer a glimpse into their lives and loves. A fabulous peek at mid-century culture and mores — with great acting and directing. Extras include commentary and “Biography: Linda Darnell: Hollywood’s Fallen Angel.” Other Blu-Ray releases this week: universal has broken up its “Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection” Blu-ray set and has released four of the horror classics separately on Blu-ray: “Frankenstein” (1931), “Dracula” (1931), “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935) and “The Wolf Man” (1941), $26.98 each.

From TV to DVD:

“Adventure Time: Jake the Dad” (2013) is an all-new compilation that features 16 popular episodes from seasons 4 and 5 of the series, plus a must-have Jake hat included as an on-pack bundle, $24.98 from Warner … “Arrow: The Complete First Season” (2012-13) photo for (2012-13) includes all 23 episodes of CW’s modern-day re-imagining of the iconic DC Comics superhero. After being marooned for five years on a remote island, billionaire Oliver Queen returns home with a mysterious agenda and a lethal set of new skills that he uses in a war on crime in this hard-hitting action series. Available as a five-disc DVD, $59.98; and a Blu-ray/DVD Combo (four Blu-ray discs, five DVD discs) for $69.97. From Warner … “Bates Motel: Season One” (2013) is a modern day re-imagining of the classic film “Psycho” that looks at Norman Bates’ teenage years and his intricate relationship with his mother, weaving a web of deception, murder and unexpected twists in a small town where nothing is what it seems. Stars Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga. Three-disc set with 10 episodes, $44.98 on DVD and Blu-ray. From Universal … “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation — The Thirteenth Season” (2012-13) is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $69.99 from CBS/Paramount … In “Dalziel & Pascoe: Season 8” (2004), Superintendent Andy Dalziel, a blowhard old-school detective and his cultured by-the-book partner, Peter Pascoe, return for another season of puzzling cases and surprising twists. Two-disc DVD, $34.98 from BBC Home Entertainment …
photo for Grimm: Season Two “Grimm: Season Two” (2012-13) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes. Now fully embracing his identity as a Grimm (a line of guardians who mediate between the human world and the world of the monsters of mythology), Portland homicide detective Nick Burkhardt tackles even more gruesome and bizarre crimes linked to creatures of lore. On $59.98; Blu-ray, $69.98. From Universal … “The Hollow Crown: The Complete Series” (2012) is the miniseries adaptation of four of Shakespeare’s most celebrated historical plays: “Richard II,” “Henry IV (Part 1 and Part 2),” and “Henry V.” Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston and Ben Whishaw in his award-winning role as Richard II star in this epic tale of three Kings and their battle for survival, and the rise and fall of a dynasty. From Universal … “Leverage Season Five” (2012-13) is a four-disc set with 15 episodes, $29.98 from Fox … “The Mentalist: The Complete Fifth Season” (2012) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes of the show about Patrick Jane, the California Bureau of Investigation consultant and former faux-psychic obsessed with finding Red John, the serial killer who murdered his family. The Sunday night hit procedural combines crime-solving twists with wry humor that celebrate mind over matter. Though Red John may still be at large, the CBI has captured Lorelei, one of his accomplices. With Lorelei firmly in the grasps of the CBI, will Jane be able to get information about Red John out of her? $59.98 from Warner … “Nashville: photo for The Mentalist: The Complete Fifth Season The Complete First Season” (2012-13) is a five-disc set with 21 episodes, $45.99 from Disney … “Top Gear: The Worst Car in the History of the World” (2013) has hosts Jeremy Clarkson and James May traveling to the very distant North of England to name and shame the most rubbish car from a manufacturer which, frankly, should have known better, and argue over the great and the awful from Peugeot, Ford, Mahindra, FSO, Alfa Romeo, Rolls Royce, Porsche, Citroen, Saab, and many more. $9.98 from BBC Home Entertainment … “Vegas — The DVD Edition” (2012-13) is a five-disc set with 21 episodes of the series inspired by the true story of former Las Vegas photo for Vegas -- The DVD Edition Sheriff Ralph Lamb, a former military police officer, who now patrols the once-desolate desert city. As corruption builds within Las Vegas during the 1960s, Lamb is called upon to bring order to the new entertainment mecca, putting him face-to-face with the ruthless Chicago gangster who intends to claim Vegas as his own. Extras include “He Ain’t Like the Real Law,” which profiles the real life of Sheriff Ralph Lamb; more. $64.99 from CBS/Paramount … “Waking The Dead: Season Eight” (2012) returns with a dark and frightening new season. The Cold Case Squad has new offices in an eerie basement and a new team member who is keeping secrets. Three months have passed since the death of his son, and Boyd is determined to get back to work with his team he seems more reckless than ever. And could Eve be in a relationship with a man who was involved in a murder thirteen years ago? Two-disc set with eight episodes, $34.98 from BBC Home Entertainment.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Hidden in the Woods” (2012 — Chile), starring Siboney Lo and Carolina Escobar, is based on a bizarre true story — and is not for the faint of heart. Being remade in the U.S. by the original’s director, Patricio Valladares — the film features extreme violence, prostitution, sexual assault, buckets of blood and even cannibalism. Deep in the Chilean countryside, Ana and Anny live with their deformed brother and are subject to their father’s perverse and sadistic whims. After a dispute with the police leaves a wake of death and mutilation, they flee and find refuge in a remote cabin hidden from society. Meanwhile, a crime lord, convinced they have stolen the massive stash of drugs their father was hiding, sends a violent pack of thugs to find them. Spanish with English subtitles. With an eight-page collector’s booklet and a behind-the-scenes featurette. From Artsploitation Films … photo for
“Bless Me, Ultima” (2013), starring Miriam Colon, Benito Martinez and Dolores Heredia, was written for the screen and directed by Carl Franklin. A drama set in New Mexico during WWII, it centers on the relationship between a young man and an elderly medicine woman who helps him contend with the battle between good and evil that rages in his village. From Sony … In “Breakout (aka Split Decision)” (2013), starring Brendan Fraser, Dominic Purcell, Ethan Suplee, Daniel Kash, Holly Deveaux and Amy Price-Francis, an innocent camping trip takes a dark turn for a young brother and sister when they witness a murder and become the killers’ next target. Serving time over a protest gone terribly wrong, their father, Jack Damson (Fraser), devises a plan to break out of prison and rescue his kids. From Sony … photo for Drift In “Drift” (2012), starring Myles Pollard, Xavier Samuel and Sam Worthington, two brothers in Australia in the 1970s battle killer waves, uptight society, corruption and ruthless bikers to create a surf business — rethinking board design, crafting homemade wetsuits and selling merchandise out of their van — and kick-start the modern surf industry. Inspired by a real story.On DVD and Blu-ray from Lionsgate … After a young girl has her first baby tooth fall out, she becomes haunted by a hideous “tooth fairy” in “The Haunting of Helena” (2012 — Italy), starring Harriet MacMasters-Green, Jarreth J. Merz, Matt Patresi, Giuliano Montaldo and Sabrina Jolie Perez; from Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment … “Suddenly” (2013), directed by Uwe Boll and starring Ray Liotta, Dominic Purcell and Michael Pare, is a remake of the 1954 Frank Sinatra classic that follows the journey of a washed-up war veteran, now a local cop and town drunk, as he must come to grips with his demons in order to stop three assassins before they kill the U.S. president as his travelcade passes through the small town of Suddenly. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment … When their latest work is buffed by a rival crew, two determined graffitti writers embark on an elaborate plan to “bomb” the ultimate location: the New York Mets’ Home Run Apple in “Gimme photo for the Loot” (2012), starring Ty Hickson and Tashiana Washington. But first they need to raise money to meet their goal. Over the course of two whirlwind summer days, the pair travel on a epic urban adventure involving black-market spray cans, illicit bodegas, stolen sneakers, a high-stakes heist, and a beautiful girl whose necklace is literally their key to fame. From IFC Films … In “Java Heat” (2013), starring Mickey Rourke, Kellan Lutz and Ario Bayu, a Muslim detective teams with an American FBI agent/Marine posing as a graduate student to find the man behind a series of deadly terrorist bombings in Indonesia. The unlikely duo embark on a treacherous manhunt for the attacks’ real perpetrator, a new breed of klepto-terrorist who is even more twisted and terrifying than the Jihadist terrorists he hides behind. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from IFC Films … In “Simon Killer” (2012), starring Brady Corbet and Mati Diop, a recent college graduate flees to Paris after a break-up, where his involvement with a prostitute begins to reveal a potentially dark past. From IFC Films … Fifteen years after an on-campus murder, students re-open the case for a class and uncover a truth more horrifying and closer to home than they ever imagined in “Unsolved” (2009), starring Jerome Braggs, Amy Briede and Lezette Boutin. From MVD Entertainment.

On the Indie Front:

  • “And Now a Word From Our Sponsor”: (2012) Bruce Greenwood, Parker Posey, Allie MacDonald, Callum Blue. An advertising CEO wakes up in the hospital speaking only in ad slogans and is taken home by the hospital’s Head of Charity Foundation, who has a past history with him. There he begins to have a positive affect on the dysfunctional relationship she has with her daughter. From Virgil Films.
  • photo for And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

  • “A Big Love Story”: (2012) Robbie Kaller, Jillian Leigh, Tommy Snider, Constance Reese. A former college football star whose chance to play in the NFL abruptly ended with a blown out knee finds himself alone, working a minimum wage job and weighing a deadly 413 pounds — until he meets up with a personal trainer who not only helps him lose weight — but find love. Director Ryan Sage found the script for the award-winning feature in a rather unusual place: Craigslist, where he purchased it from Chicago comedian Dale Zawada for $500. From Osiris Entertainment.
  • “Greetings From Tim Buckley”: (2013) Penn Badgley, Imogen Poots, Ben Rosenfield. In 1991, a young musician named Jeff Buckley rehearses for his public singing debut at a Brooklyn tribute concert for his father, the late folk singer Tim Buckley. Struggling with the legacy of a man he barely knew, Jeff finds solace in a relationship with an enigmatic young woman working at the show. As they explore New York City, their adventures recall glimpses of Tim’s own 60s heyday, and Jeff finds himself on the verge of stardom. From Tribeca Film.
  • “Lionhead”: (2013) Trevor Lissauer, Jill Crenshaw, Michael Madsen, Brien Perry, Daniel Roebuck, Deirdre Lovejoy. An angst-ridden young man, who desperately wants to marry his girlfriend against the wishes of her imposing father, inherits $10,000 but spends it all on a worthless fake diamond. To save the relationship, he sets out to get back his money and prove his love, but his lawyer, criminal investigators, the mob and even the pizza boy all get involved in the action. From Green Apple Entertainment.
  • “Shanghai Calling”: (2012 — USA/China) Daniel Henney, Eliza Coupe, Bill Paxton, Alan Ruck, Geng Le, Zhu Zhu. A New York attorney is sent to Shanghai on business, where he finds himself in a legal mess that threatens his career. With the help of a relocation specialist and her contacts, he soon learns to appreciate the wonders of Shanghai. From Anchor Bay.
  • “Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven”: (2011) Rena Riffel, Glenn Plummer, Dewey Weber,Greg Travis. Unofficial follow-up to Paul Verhoeven’s 1995 cult sensation. With fame and fortune in her eyes, Vegas stripper Penny Slot sets out on an adventure to become the star dancer on a TV series but instead finds danger in a town more wicked than Sin City. From Wild Eye Releasing.
  • photo for Somebody Up There Likes Me

  • “Somebody Up There Likes Me”: (2013) Nick Offerman, Keith Poulson, Jess Weixler, Megan Mullally. Comedic fable about a man watching his life fly by. Max (Poulson), along with his best friend Sal (Offerman) and the woman they both adore, Lyla (Weixler), stumble through 35 years of seemingly mandatory but unfulfilling entanglements. With music by Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio and animation sequences by Bob Sabiston (“A Scanner Darkly,” “Waking Life”). From Tribeca Film.
  • “The We and the I”: (2012) Michel Gondry’s cinema verite-style drama that gives an inside look into the dynamics, drama and hilarity that emerge on a real-time bus ride with a group of remarkable nonprofessional high-school actors. It’s the last day of the school year, and a group of high-schoolers board a city bus to make their way home. With the summer break ahead, and feeling more liberated than usual, this colorful crowd of kids – the cool ones, the outsiders, and everyone in between — act out as only teens can when they are among their peers and away from authority figures. From Virgil Films.

Foreign:

“Augustine” (2013 — France), starring Vincent Lindon, Soko, Chiara Mastroianni, Olivier Rabourdin and Roxane Duran, is the true story of the unusual relationship that developed between a pioneering 19th century French neurologist and his star patient, a teenaged maid, brought to life in this darkly sensual period drama, a complex and startling portrait of power, desire and madness, written and directed by first-time feature filmmaker Alice Winocour. In Belle Epoque photo for Augustine Paris, 19-year-old kitchen maid Augustine (Soko) suffers an inexplicable seizure that leaves her partially paralyzed, and she is shipped off to an all-female psychiatric hospital specializing in the then-fashionable ailment of “hysteria.” Augustine captures the attention of renowned neurologist Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot (Lindon), mentor of Sigmund Freud, after she has another attack that appears to give her intense physical pleasure. Intrigued, Charcot begins using her as his principal subject, hypnotizing her in front of his fellow doctors. As Augustine displays her spectacular fits in lecture halls, the lines between doctor and patient become blurred, radically impacting the course of both of their lives. On DVD and Blu-ray from Music Box Films … “In the Fog” (2012 — Russia), starring Vladimir Svirskiy, Vladislav Abashin and Sergei Kolesov, takes place in 1942 on the western edge of the USSR under German occupation. In the region, local partisans are waging a brutal battle against their foreign enemies. Sushenya, an innocent rail worker, is arrested with a band of saboteurs when a train is derailed not far from his village. The German officer decides to set him free rather than hang him with the others, but rumors of Sushenya’s “treason” spread quickly and partisans Burov and Voitik seek revenge. Captured by the partisans, photo for Sushenya is led through the forest where they are ambushed. Soon he finds himself one-on-one with his wounded enemy, forced to make a moral choice under immoral circumstances. From Strand Releasing … Set in France during WWII, “War of the Buttons” (2012 — France) tells the tale of two rival groups of kids from neighboring villages. Pre-teen rebel Lebrac leads a spirited group of kids in a pint-sized “war” where the victory comes from capturing the enemies’ buttons, belts, and laces — forcing them to return home ragged to face their mothers’ reprimand. When Violette, a young Jewish girl, comes to town to hide from the Nazis, Lebrac befriends her and the children put their own conflicts aside to protect their new friend from the very real war happening around them. Stars Jean Texier, Ilona Bachelier, Guillaume Canet, Laetitia Casta and Kad Merad. From The Weinstein Co./Anchor Bay … “The Last Tycoon” (2012 — Hong Kong), starring Chow Yun-Fat, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo and Francis Ng, spans 30 tumultuous years in Shanghai beginning at the turn of the 20th century, telling the story of the rise and fall of real-life gangster Cheng Daqi (Yun-Fat) and his violent swath through the criminal underworld. On DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Well Go USA.

For the Family:

photo for Barney: Most Huggable Moments
“Barney: Most Huggable Moments” (2013) is a two-disc set that celebrates more than 25 years of sharing, caring and imagination with Barney and his friends; includes episodes never-before seen on DVD and the delightful “Barney: Dino-mite Birthday.” Barney brings preschoolers on journeys big and small and reminds everyone that they’re special just the way they are. $14.98 from Lionsgate … “Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway — The Movie” (2013) is a new feature for kids 2 to 5 that introduces four new engines on the Island of Sodor, including Stephen, who is based on the legendary “Stephenson’s Rocket,” one of the fastest and most advanced steam locomotives of its day. The engines also go on an adventure involving suits of armor, coats of arms and legends of long-ago heroes. On DVD, $19.98; Blu-ray/DVD Combo, $24.99 form Lionsgate.

Special Interest:

“Brainwave” (2012) is a three-disc set with 10 programs of the series of conversations called Brainwave that take place in New York City each year in which the best and brightest artists and scientists participate in provocative, far-reaching, unscripted conversations to explore memory and perception, creativity and consciousness, happiness, fear, illusions, and dreams. Launched by the Rubin Museum of Art in 2008 and now in its sixth edition, Brainwave pairs celebrities from many walks of life — ­actors, musicians, comedians, composers, photo for A Girl and a Gun filmmakers, choreographers, artists, and authors — ­with leading neuroscientists and other experts to explore how the human mind works. The series has not aired on television, and this collection features some of the most interesting participants, including superstar chef Mario Batali, author R.L. Stine (Goosebumps series), Debra Winger, comedian Lewis Black and musician Henry Rollins. $59.99 from Athena … “A Girl and a Gun” (2012) brings a female perspective to the debate that’s raging across the nation and explores the intersection of “girl power” and firepower. Filmed throughout the U.S., the film delves deep into the American gun world to show the relationship between women and their guns. The classic Hollywood portrayals of pistol packin’ mamas, tomboy sharp shooters, sexually twisted femme fatales, and high-heeled, cold-blooded assassins are caricatures. In truth, the typical woman who hangs out at rifle ranges and keeps ammo in her purse is the girl-next-door, the single mom, a hard working sister or aunt. Breaking through the stereotypes, the film reveals how some women have embraced this object whose history is deeply bound to men and masculinity. From First Run Features … In “Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan: Creepy Crawlers and Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan: Deadliest Critters” (2012) actor and wildlife enthusiast Dominic Monaghan travels across the globe, from the rainforests of Ecuador to an underground river in Laos, to uncover the scariest and most exotic creatures on the photo for Fear Files planet. InCreepy Crawlers,” Monaghan meets the giant white goliath beetle of Cameroon, the Giant Huntsman Spider of Laos, the worlds largest centipede — scolopendra gigantica — of Venezuela, an aggressive, venomous carnivore that is rumored to snatch bats right out of the air. In “Deadliest Critters” he travels to Guatemala to seek out an endangered and venomous reptile, the Guatemalan beaded lizard, then he meets one of the most dangerous scorpions in the world, the black hairy thick-tailed scorpion in Namibia, then goes to the Ecuadorian rainforest to face off with a 4 million-strong colony of flesh-eating, venom injecting army ants, and finally travels from the snake-infested rice paddies of Vietnam’ Mekong Delta to a crocodile filled lake in search of one of the world’s most dangerous aquatic insects — the giant water bug. $14.98 each from BBC Home Entertainment … “Fear Files” (2005) is a three-disc set that explores the legends of ghosts, vampires and the history of the haunting holiday of Halloween. This creepy compilation features over three hours of frightening programming with three History specials: “The Hauntings,” “Vampire Secrets” and “The Haunted History of Halloween.” $19.98 from Lionsgate … “Haunted History “
(2013) takes viewers deep into frightening ghostly events that linger within historic locations across the United States. Driven by terrifying eyewitness accounts, each episode examines a site’s spooky events in relation to its gruesome past. Hear the ghosts of soldiers at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, meet the restless souls plaguing Salem, Massachusetts, visit Chicago’s infamous “Murder Castle” and many more. $19.98 from Lionsgate … “Space Junk 3D”
(2013), originally created for exhibition in IMAX theatres, and narrated by Tom Wilkinson, is the first movie to explore the exponentially expanding ring of debris that’s orbiting — and threatening — out planet’s space lanes. On 3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray from Image Entertainment.

 Posted by on September 16, 2013 No Responses »
Sep 132013
 

 
There will be something for everyone on your holiday shopping list this November from Criterion. For the action admirer, there is quite the gift: “Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman,” a lavish, gorgeously illustrated collector’s set featuring the iconic Japanese blade master in twenty-five exhilarating adventures. For lovers of classic comedy, there will be an extras-laden edition of Charlie Chaplin’s monumental “City Lights,” among the most beloved films of all time. Fans of fresh contemporary indie cinema can take a spin with Noah Baumbach’s giddy “Frances Ha,” one of the most acclaimed films of this year, straight from its smash theatrical run. And as if that weren’t enough, Criterion is also reissuing in a newly restored edition Yasujiro Ozu’s magnificent drama “Tokyo Story” (recently named the greatest film ever made in a Sight & Sound magazine directors’ poll).

Nov. 12: “City Lights”
Nov. 12: “Frances Ha”
Nov. 19: “Tokyo Story”
Nov. 26: “Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman”

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 Posted by on September 13, 2013 No Responses »
Sep 132013
 

Due November 2:

photo for Lovelace In 1972 — before the internet, before the adult film explosion — “DDeep Throat” was a phenomenon: the first scripted adult theatrical feature film, featuring a story, some jokes, and an unknown and unlikely star, Linda Lovelace. Escaping a strict religious family, Linda Susan Boreman discovered freedom and the high-life when she fell for and married charismatic hustler Chuck Traynor, who coercived her into the porn industry. As Linda Lovelace, she became an international sensation — less centerfold fantasy than a charming girl-next-door with an impressive capacity for fellatio. After struggling to break free from Traynor, whose endless abuse nearly killed her, Lovelace made it her life’s mission to fight violence against women. Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurette. Vitals: Director: Bob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Wes Bentley , Adam Brody, Bobby Cannavale, James Franco, Debi Mazar, Chris Noth, Robert Patrick, Eric Roberts, Chloe Sevigny, Sharon Stone, Juno Temple. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 93 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.354 million, RADiUS-TWC/Anchor Bay. 2 stars

 Posted by on September 13, 2013 No Responses »
Sep 132013
 

photo for Warner Archives Monsterpiece Theater

Garner: Greatness

NICHOLS: THE COMPLETE SERIES (1971-72) This seldom seen, never-syndicated TV gem is a true one-season wonder courtesy of the legendary James Garner and scribe Frank R. Pierson (Cat Ballou). True to his ‘maverick’ self and the megawatt star power he gained via his breakout movie work, Garner returned to TV in 1971 on his own terms. Nichols bears his imprimatur in every way. It’s a sardonic critique of the cliched American Hero’s penchant for ugly, violent solutions to the complicated problems and an exploration of the moral grays of day-to-day life. Garner plays Nichols, an Army lifer who cashes out after he observes the advent of the machine gun at the dawn of 20th Century, going as far as swearing off gunplay. When he returns to his old town, its unofficial mayor, the hardscrabble and semi-larcenous “Ma” Ketcham (Neva Patterson), quickly drafts him and his motorcycle to become sheriff. Instead of his guns, Nichols tries to lead the town by his wits, charm and absolute aversion to violence in a town still clinging to the ways of the Wild West. Far, far ahead of its time, Nichols failed to find an audience and faded into obscurity – but not before Garner saw the show out with a final episode that is truly a stunner. Garner would revisit much of Nichols’ themes and ethos (along with co-star Stuart Margolin) in a more contemporary setting to great success with The Rockford Files. Co-starring Margot Kidder who’s engaging and enchanting as the lovely local barmaid who captures Nichols’ eye – and almost his heart. 6-Disc, 24-Episode complete collection

 

POW-ell – and how!

WILLIAM POWELL AT WARNER BROS. (1931-34) Between his matinee idol silent Paramount era and his grand gent days at MGM, William Powell enjoyed a 9-film interregnum on the gritty streets of the Warner Bros. lot. As the studio struggled with how to fit the suave thespian in amongst its assortment of rough-hewn character mooks and mugs, Powell himself struggled to find vehicles that would best show off his strengths. What emerged is a series of seldom-seen gems that display a truly titanic talent in its nascent stages, still astonishing and beguiling – all with an extra soupcon of pre-Code spice! Set contains:

  • THE ROAD TO SINGAPORE (1931) Powell plays the cad who came back in this tale of torpid torment and tempestuous passions in the tropics. Doris Kenyon plays the object of his attention while Louis Calhern plays the cuckold. Alfred R. Green (Baby Face) directs.
  • HIGH PRESSURE (1932) Mervyn LeRoy directs Powell as a scurrilous stock promoter cursed with the Achilles’ heel of actually buying into the hokum he’s peddling. A riotous, sly delight peppered with clever characters and quick wits. Also stars Evelyn Brent, George Sidney, Guy Kibbee, Frank McHugh and John Wray.
  • PRIVATE DETECTIVE 62 (1933) Powell plays a disgraced and disavowed secret agent who turns to divorce work to keep his kitchen from getting lean. Bankrolled by a hood and partnered with a fink, he gets tasked with getting the goods on a gambling lady. But in this game of cards it’s the lady who has the best hand. The indispensable Michael Curtiz directs, Margaret Lindsay co-stars.
  • THE KEY (1934) Both sides of the Irish uprising – “the Irish problem” for the British, “the troubles” for the natives of Eire – bookends this tale of a romantic triangle among the occupying forces. Powell plays a cynical seducer soldier-of-fortune, Edna Best is the lass he left behind, and Colin Clive is the intel officer who courted and kept her. Michael Curtiz directs with a sympathetic eye to both sides.

Back in Print From the Paramount Ranch

THE TIN STAR (1957) Anthony Mann directs this Western classic that plays to the post-High Noon audience while still staying true to the tropes of the past. Henry Fonda stars as hard-bitten and bitter bounty hunter Morg Hickman, enlisted by greenhorn lawman Ben Owens (Anthony Perkins) to show him the ropes of roping in the lawless and the lynchers. Future outlaw icon Lee van Cleef appropriately appears as a cretin.

CHUKA (1967) Rod Taylor produced this muscular Gordon Douglas directed besieged fort flick that reflects the Vietnam era as much as the Frontier times. Taylor plays taciturn gunslinger Chuka, fast on the draw and slow to forgive, who finds himself sharing the siege with a crew of craven soldiers, their unhinged commander (John Mills) and an old flame (Luciana Paluzzi). Also stars Ernest Borgnine and James Whitmore.

WATERHOLE #3 (1967) Blake Edwards produced this satirical, cynical Western directed by William Graham. A gambler (James Coburn) crosses path with an ugly crew of renegade soldiers (led by Claude Akins) and a sheriff gone bad (Carroll q O’Connor) while on the hunt for a fortune in buried loot. Also stars Joan Blondell, James Whitmore, Margaret Blye and Bruce Dern.

BAD COMPANY (1973) Oft’ overlooked cinema titan Robert Benton co-wrote (with noted screenscribe David Newman) and directed this revisionist Western that casts a jaundiced but humane eye on the myth and realities of the Wild West. It’s a journey away from innocence as seen through the prism of two young men – one full of schemes (an already astonishing Jeff Bridges), the other full of dreams (Barry Brown). On the run from the Civil War draft, the salvation they seek in the West may very well be their damnation.

BEAUTICIAN AND THE BEAST (1997) Ken Kwapis directs Timothy Dalton and Fran Drescher in this goy vs. oy riff on The King and I. Eager to make her way in the world, hairdresser Joy Miller (Drescher) gets her chance when she’s sent to a modern once-upon-a-time land called Slovetzia to tutor the three children of gruff, widowed dictator Boris Pochenko (Timothy Dalton). Joy thinks she’s been hired as a beautician. Boris thinks she’s been hired as an able science teacher. The fate of a nation hangs in the balance! Also stars Ian McNeice.

New from HBO

MARY AND MARTHA (2013) Richard Curtis (Black Adder, Doctor Who, Four Weddings and a Funeral) pens this tale of tragedy and redemption starring Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn. Two very different women – an upscale American interior designer named Mary (Swank) and a middle-class Englishwoman named Martha (Blethyn) form an unlikely bond following the loss of their only children from malaria contracted in Africa. Battling their lingering grief and the strains on their marriages, the two work together to raise awareness of malaria, a preventable and treatable disease, while recovering their sense of purpose. Philip Noyce directs.

PHIL SPECTOR (2013) Al Pacino and Helen Mirren star in writer/director David Mamet’s fascinating exploration of the limits and boundaries to understanding embodied in the privileged attorney-client relationship.Pacino plays Spector to Mirren’s Linda Kenney Baden, who represented Spector during his first trial for murder. The film transforms news to myth, as Mamet draws inspiration from actual persons in a trial, but neither attempts to depict them nor comment upon the actual trial or its outcome. Also stars Rebecca Pidgeon, Jeffrey Tambor and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection or WB Shop.com

 Posted by on September 13, 2013 No Responses »
Sep 132013
 

Due November 5:

photo for Grown Ups 2After reuniting with his high school classmates three summers before (in 2010’s “Grown Ups”), Lenny (Adam Sandler), decides he wants to move his family back to his hometown and have them grow up with his gang of childhood friends and their kids. But his idyllic life is punctuated by the same craziness he thought he left behind: old bullies, new bullies, schizophrenic bus drivers, drunk cops on skis, psycho grade school girlfriends and a group of rowdy local college kids. Extras: Eight deleted scenes, “Shaq and Dante: Police Force” featurette. Blu-ray adds three featurettes: “Look Who Stopped By” look at the cameos throughout the film, “Mr. Spade’s Wild Ride” with Spade as he prepares to be rolled down the hill in a tire, and “The Feder House” look at the construction of the sound stage where the Feder house was built. Vitals: Director:. Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Shaquille O’Neal, Nick Swardson, Alexander Ludwig, Milo Ventimglia. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $130.188 million, Sony. 2 stars

 Posted by on September 13, 2013 No Responses »
Sep 122013
 

Due November 26:

photo for Red 2 Retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) and his team set out on a global quest to track down a missing, next-generation portable nuclear device that can change the balance of world power. To succeed, they’ll need to survive an army of relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on the technologically advanced super weapon. The mission takes Frank and his motley crew to Paris, London and Moscow. Outgunned and outmanned, they have only their cunning wits, old-school skills and each other to rely on as they try to save the world — and stay alive in the process. Extras: “The Red 2 Experience” behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, gag reel. Vitals: Director: Dean Parisot. Stars: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung Hun Lee, David Thewlis, Brian Cox, Neal McDonough. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 116 min., Comedy Action Thriller, Box office gross: $52.210 million, Summit Ent./Lionsgate. 3 stars

 Posted by on September 12, 2013 No Responses »
Sep 122013
 

Due November 12:

photo for Frances Ha Greta Gerwig is radiant as a woman in her late twenties in contemporary New York, trying to sort out her ambitions, her finances, and, above all, her tight but changing bond with her best friend, Sophie (Mickey Sumner). Frances lives in New York, but she doesn’t really have an apartment. Frances is an apprentice for a dance company, but she’s not really a dancer. Frances has a best friend named Sophie, but they aren’t really speaking anymore. Frances throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possible reality dwindles. Frances wants so much more than she has, but lives her life with unaccountable joy and lightness. “Frances Ha” is a modern comic fable in which director Noah Baumbach explores New York, friendship, class, ambition, failure, and redemption.Extras: Conversation between filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and the film’s co-writer and director, Noah Baumbach; conversation between actor and filmmaker Sarah Polley and the film’s co-writer and star, Greta Gerwig; conversation about the look of the film between Baumbach, director of photography Sam Levy, and creative director Pascal Dangin; trailer; booklet featuring an essay by playwright Annie Baker. Vitals: Director: Noah Baumbach. Stars: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Michael Esper, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 86 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $4.001 million, The Criterion Collection. 3 stars

 Posted by on September 12, 2013 No Responses »
Sep 122013
 

Due November 12:

photo for Man of Steel

Rebooting of the Superman franchise, with Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as the Kents, Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Michael Shannon as the evil General Zod from Krypton, who comes to Earth to wreak revenge on Kal-El (Superman). It’s an exciting retelling of the Superman origins. The official synopsis: A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind. Extras: “Strong Characters, Legendary Roles” featurette explores the legendary characters of the Superman mythology and how they have evolved in this new iteration of the Superman story; “All-Out Action” goes inside the intense training regimen that sculpted Henry Cavill into the Man of Steel and Michael Shannon and Antje Traue into his Kyptonian nemeses; “Krypton Decoded” lowdown on all the amazing Krypton tech, weapons and spaceships. Blu-ray adds “Journey of Discovery: Creating Man of Steel” immersive feature-length experience that allows viewers to watch the movie with director Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and others as they share the incredible journey to re-imagine Superman; “Planet Krypton” exploration of Krypton and its lost society. Vitals: Director: Zack Snyder. Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Julia Ormond, Antje Traue, Harry Lennix, Christopher Meloni, Laurence Fishburne. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 143 min., Action-Adventure, Box office gross: $113.080 million, Warner. 3 stars

 Posted by on September 12, 2013 No Responses »
Sep 092013
 

From the Big Screen:

“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Love Is All You Need,” “Chasing Ice” and “Peeples.” Read more at the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

Collectibles:

We loved Mike Nichols’ 1996 “The Birdcage,” starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as
a gay cabaret owner and his drag queen companion whose lives are thrown topsy-turvy when they agree to put up a false straight front for their son who’s set to marry the daughter of a right-wing moralistic U.S. Senator. But 18 years earlier we fell in love with the original, Edouard Molinaro’s photo “La Cage aux Folles” (1978), which is making its Blu-ray debut this week via The criterion Collection. How can you go wrong here: Toss in great acting and direction and a groundbreaking story line (in a less tolerant era), all set in the breathtaking environs of St. Tropez. Renato (Ugo Tognazzi) and Albin (Michel Serrault) — ­a middle-aged gay couple who are the manager and star performer at a glitzy drag club — ­agree to hide their sexual identities, along with their flamboyant personalities and home decor, when the ultraconservative parents of Renato’s son’s fiancee come for a visit. This elegant French farce about the importance of nonconformity and the beauty of being true to oneself was a breakout art-house smash in America and, of course, spawned “The Birdcage” and a major Broadway musical. In a new 2K digital film restoration, with a new interview with director Edouard Molinaro; archival footage featuring actor Michel Serrault and Jean Poiret, writer and star of the original stage production of “La Cage aux Folles”; a booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein; and more.

The mid-1960s was a great time for spy films, with such dashing spymasters as James Bond (Sean Connery), Derek Flint (James Coburn), Matt Helm (Dean Martin), Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) and Quiller (George Segal). Each had their light-hearted moments amongst the spying, mayhem and killing (and a couple, of course, were too light-hearted), but none of them were as bleak as “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” (1965), based on the best-selling novel by John le Carre, about a Cold War spy on one final dangerous mission in East Germany. Richard Burton is superb as Alec Leamas, whose relationship with a beautiful librarian, played by Claire Bloom, puts his assignment in jeopardy. It’s very hard-edged and depressing, but a perfect paradigm for the frightening Cold War atmosphere of the mid century. In a new high-definition digital film restoration from Criterion, with an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with author John le Carre; “The Secret Centre: John le Carre,” a 2000 BBC documentary on the author’s life and work; a booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow; and more.

Paramount has tied in two Blu-ray releases to “Star Trek Into Darkness”: “Star Trek: Stardate Collection: contains all 10 original “Star Trek” films together on Blu-ray in a premium, collectible package with 12 discs and 25 hours of bonus content: interviews with the cast and crew, commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes and much more. The “Star Trek: The Original Series — Origins” collection showcases the origins episodes of the most significant characters from photo “Star Trek: The Original Series.” Introduced by Rod Roddenberry, son of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, and starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig and Ricardo Montalban, this collection includes: “The Cage,” thr original pilot episode of the epic series that introduced the iconic characters Captain Pike and Spock; “Where No Man Has Gone Before” second pilot episode in which Captain James T. Kirk is first seen at the helm of the Enterprise; “Space Seed” debut of the unforgettable super villain, Khan; “Errand of Mercy” introduces the legendary alien race the Klingons; “The Trouble With Tribbles.” Other Blu-ray releases this week: “The Fly” (1958), starring David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall, from Fox … and, on Friday, September 13, Warner will spring “Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection” with all 12 films from Warner Bros. and Paramount in one “Horrific” collection: a 10-Disc set with seven Blu-ray debuts and 11 hours of extra content in collectible tin packaging; includes a 40-page book with behind-the-scenes photos, a Camp Crystal Lake counselor patch, more. $129.95.

And speaking of Friday the 13, the folks over at 1428 Films have put together “Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th” that takes viewers behind the mask on a journey into the making of the landmark horror franchise — from its humble beginnings in 1980 at a New Jersey summer camp to the blockbuster release of its 2009 “reboot.” Combining hundreds of rare and never-before-seen photographs, film clips, outtakes, archival documents, conceptual art and behind-the-scenes footage, and featuring interviews with more than 150 cast and crew members spanning all twelve films and the television series, this is the ultimate tribute to one of horror’s most iconic and enduring franchises. $29.95 in a two Blu-ray/two DVD Combo.

From TV to DVD:

“Blue Bloods — The Third Season” (2012-13) is a Six-disc set with 23 episodes of the series about the Reagans, a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement, starring Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes, Amy Carlson, Sami Gayle and Len Cariou, $64.99 from CBS/Paramount … photo for Blue Bloods -- The Third Season “Chicago Fire: Season One” (2012-13) is a five-disc set with 24 episodes, $44.98. An up-close and personal view into the lives of everyday heroes follows the adventures of the men and women of Chicago Firehouse 51, the courageous firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics whose actions make the difference between life and death. From Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf (“Law & Order”), from Universal … “Homeland Season Two”
(2012) is a four-disc set with 12 episodes, on DVD, $59.98 and Blu-ray Disc, $69.99; from Fox … “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 8” (2012) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $39.98 from Fox … “The League Season 4” (2012) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes $29.98 from Fox … In “Luther 3” (2013), Idris Elba returns as John Luther in the third installment of the riveting psychological mini-series, in a two-disc DVD, $34.98 BBC Home Entertainment … “Parade’s End” (2012) is a five-part miniseries that explores a bygone England — spanning from the Edwardian era to the chaos and destruction of World War I, based on photo for four related novels by Ford Madox Ford published in the 1920s. Adapted for the small screen by Tom Stoppard, who vividly captures the devastation of war and the end of Edwardian ideals, bridging the gap between feudal England and the dawn of modernism. From HBO … “Supernatural: The Complete Eighth Season” (2012-13) is a five-disc set with 23 episodes, $59.98. Also available as a four-disc Blu-ray with UltraViolet digital copies, $69.97. After a year apart, Sam and Dean are reunited in the Eighth Season premiere. After escaping from Purgatory with the help of a vampire named Benny, Dean heads straight for Sam, but the reunion isn’t exactly everything he imagined it would be. Although Sam drops everything to join his brother, leaving the life he had grown accustomed to enjoy turns out to be harder than he imagined. In the meantime, Benny’s help turns out to be more than what Dean bargained for. As the brothers struggle with their unexpected reunion, they make a shocking discovery that could lead them on a deeply personal mission to settle old scores. From Warner.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Delete” (2011), starring Keir Gilchrist, Janet Kidder, Matt Frewer, Erin Karpluk, Ryan Robbins, Seth Green and Gil Bellows, a nearly triggered nuclear reactor meltdown turns out to be the work of a world-wide artificial intelligence that has turned into a conscious entity with the sole purpose of destroying the world, one disaster at a time, and the only way to save the world is to create a second form of artificial intelligence that is just as alive, just as intelligent and just as dangerous. Part of the Doomsday thriller series. From Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment) … In photo for Delete “Wish You Were Here” (2012), starring Joel Edgerton, Teresa Palmer, Anthony Starr and Felicity Price, the lives of a group of Australian friends are irreparably changed after one of them goes missing during a spontaneous vacation in Cambodia. As the investigation into the disappearance begins to reveal the nefarious motivations behind their trip, the remaining three struggle to carry on with their lives in Sydney amidst the threat that even more damning details will emerge From Entertainment One … In “Frankenstein’s Army” (2013), starring Karel Roden, Joshua Sasse, Robert Gwilym and Alexander Mercury, Russian soldiers pushing into eastern Germany toward the end of World War II stumble across a secret Nazi lab in which a German scientist, Viktor, has unearthed and begun experimenting with the journal of Dr. Frankenstein, with the goal to create an army of super-soldiers stitched together from the body parts of fallen Germans — in a desperate attempt to prevent Hitler’s defeat. On DVD and Blu-ray from MPI/Dark Sky Films … Nine friends take a holiday at a Victorian home on a private island and uncover a game that when played brings out the worst in each of them. Jealously, greed, hatred, lust, all of the things they keep buried deep inside themselves rise to the surface and come to a boil in “The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond” (2009), starring Danielle Harris, Robert Patrick and James Duval. On DVD and Blu-ray from Anchor Bay … One family’s world begins to unravel when a newly hired contractor with a sinister agenda enters their home, sabotaging their car, ruining the house’s plumbing and planting evidence framing the husband for an affair in “The Contractor” (2013), starring Brad Rowe, Christina Cox, Danny Trejo, Taylor Spreitler and Arianne Zucker. From photo Lionsgate … “Blood” (2012), starring Paul Bettany, Mark Strong, Stephen Graham and Brian Cox, is a thriller charting the moral collapse of a police family in which two cop brothers, smothered by the shadow of their former police chief father, must investigate a crime they themselves have committed. On DVD and Blu-ray from Image Entertainment … When the teenage daughter of a reclusive family of artists falls in love with an unusual boy at school, she awakens mysterious powers — she’s the last in a long line of female mystics who have practiced their magical traditions in secret for centuries — and discovers ancient secrets that will change her life forever in “The Last Keepers” (2013), starring Aidan Quinn, Virginia Madsen, Zosia Mamet and Olympia Dukakis. From Vertical Entertainment … In “The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue” (2010), two slacker brothers inherit a brownstone apartment building and run it into the ground: Tenants are moving out, no one drinks at the bar downstairs, and the building’s pets go missing. To make matters worse, they soon discover a mysterious creature is hiding in the basement, trying to eat every living thing in the building one by one. Stars Mike Bradecich, John LaFlamboy, Robert Englund and Tim Kazurinsky. From Level 33 Entertainment.

Ready for some vintage ‘B’? Synapse Films is releasing “Frankenhooker” (1990), a fairly funny take-off on Frankenstein and slasher films of the era. When Jeffrey Franken’s fiancee is chopped to pieces by the blades of a remote-controlled lawnmower, he uses his dubious medical knowledge to try to bring her back to life, reassembling her using the body parts of New York City’s finest prostitutes and resurrecting her during a heavy lightning storm. Unfortunately for Jeffrey, his dear Elizabeth’s brain is scrambled and she runs amok on 42nd Street, turning tricks and bringing high-voltage death to her customers … Vinegar Syndrome has a trio of double bills: photo “Blood Thirst/Thirsty Dead”: Two blood drinking B-movies made by Americans in Manila: “Thirsty Dead” (1966): A sinister cult kidnaps beautiful women to use in their ghastly blood rites. “Blood Thirst” (1972): After a series of brutal killings, an American investigator probes the violent goings on and discovers a horrifying secret … “The Doll Squad/Mission: Killfast Blu-ray”: Two classics from cult movie legend Ted V. Mikels explode. In “The Doll Squad” (1973), a foursome of female agents are out to stop a vicious evil mastermind from unleashing the bubonic plague. In “Mission: Killfast,” martial arts master Tiger Yang faces off against a group of savvy weapons dealers, resulting in a non-stop orgy of shoot-outs, explosions, and bikini clad beauties. … “Death Force/Vampire Hookers” (1978) Two blood soaked epics from the king of Filipino exploitation, Cirio H. Santiago. “Death Force”: After being left for dead by his fellow smugglers, Doug (James Inglehart) is rescued by two Japanese soldiers, living on a remote island, who teach him the ways of the samurai. Finally returning to the USA, he quickly exacts a brutal and bloody revenge. Co-stars Leon Issac Kennedy and Jayne Kennedy. Presented uncut and under its original title for the first time on home video. “Vampire Hookers”: When their commanding officer goes missing, two American sailors discover a group female of vampires who pose as prostitutes to lure men into their secret lair. Stars John Carradine … And, last but not least, Synapse Films is offering up “Twins of Evil” (1971), starring Peter Cushing, Dennis Price and Playboy centerfold models twins Mary and Maria Gellhorn in a Hammer horror classic about Satanism and witch hunts.

For the Family:

There’s a plentiful supply of DVDs this week for the kids:

  • “Chime Time Adventures” (2013): Follows the everyday adventures of 6-year-old twins Tommy and Tallulah as they work to “chime the time” and keep everything running smoothly in Tickety Town. Traveling through the special Tickety Toc clock, where Tommy and Tallulah live, audiences enter a fantastical CGI world of eclectic characters and tag along on escapades filled with surprises. First DVD release from the pre-school Nick Jr. TV Series. $14.98 from Anchor Bay.
  • “Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Great Roller Skate Adventure” (2012): Three new-to-DVD episodes: Dora and Boots zoom into Skate Park and stand up to the bullying Big Wheeler, Dora brings her friends to the doctor, Dora goes to the Green Power Science Fair. $14.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount.
  • photo

  • “Official Digimon Adventure: Volume 4” (2013): The first 21 episodes of Season 2. Commonly referred to as “Digimon Zero Two,” the second season takes place four years after the original series. With most of the original characters now in junior high school, the Digital World was supposedly secure and peaceful. However, a new evil has appeared in the form of the Digimon Emperor, and three new children are chosen to save the World. Three-disc set, $19.95 from Cinedigm.
  • “Sesame Street: C is for Cooking” (2013): Cookie Monster and lovable Elmo are in the kitchen with memorable songs and stories about how eating healthy can be beneficial and delicious for children. The also promotes math skills, such as counting, addition and measuring, as well cognitive reasoning skills such as following the steps of a recipe. Kids will discover how to make sushi, bread and oatmeal cookies, and then, join Murray as he takes a trip to cooking school. $14.98 from Warner.
  • “Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales Run For Your ‘Rife!” (2012): Two-disc set with 13 spooky mysteries in which Scooby and the gang come face-to-face with werewolves, zombies, ghosts and even the abominable snowman. Includes “Scooby-Doo! and the Spooky Scarecrow,” a new 22-minute cartoon, as well as “Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Werewolf?,” “A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts,” “Which Witch Is Which,” “A Tiki Scare Is No Fair,” “Scared a Lot in Camelot,” “Hang in There, Scooby-Doo,” “Snow Job Too Small,” “The Stoney Glare,” “Scooby Doo and a Mummy, Too,” “A Scooby-Doo Halloween,” “Scoobra-Kadoobra,” “Scooby in Kwackyland.” $19.98 from Warner.
  • “The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow” (2013): New animated mini-movie (22 minutes) — with the voices of Hank Azaria, Alan Cumming, Fred Armisen and Anton Yelchin — that revolves around the annual Smurfberry Hunt and the Headless Horseman. $6.99 from Sony.
  • “Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Bitty Mysteries” (2013): Strawberry and her pals learn to face their fears, become real-life heroines and find some missing VIPs (Very Important Pets) in this hour of mysteries. From Fox.
  • “Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk” (2013): Brings two of Marvel’s greatest heroes — Wolverine and the Hulk — together like never before for their most brutal encounter yet in Marvel Knights Animation’s latest animated adventure in a unique comic book style packaging that bridges the comic book to DVD concept. $14.97 from Shout! Factory.

Special Interest:

“Ping Pong” (2012 — U.K.) is a documentary about eight pensioners — in their 80s and 90s and one 100-year-old, with 703 years of experience between them — from across the planet who compete in the World Over 80s Table Tennis Championship in Inner Mongolia. The film shows that the advanced masters scene is like those in other sports, with rivalries, egomania and even dirty photo tricks — like stealing an opponent’s bat. From Cinedigm … From Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney comes “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks” (2013), a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller about Julian Assange and the creation of WikiLeaks, the controversial website that facilitated the largest security breach in U.S. history. Paralleling Assange’s rise and fall with that of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the young soldier who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents, the documentary is a multi-layered expose about transparency in the information age and our ever-elusive search for the truth.From Universal … Even though summer is officially over, party-time never stops. Here’s two DVDs to help you throw a great soirre: “Flair Bartending: The Working Flair Series” (2013) is a two-disc instructional DVD that includes step-by-step, slow-motion tutoring of 240 Flair Bartending moves, hosted by Scott Young, an internationally renowned bartending instructor and founder of ExtremeBartending.com. Flair Bartending series and Extreme Bartending have been seen on “The Rachel Ray Show” and featured in over 400 TV interviews and magazine/newspaper articles. $19.98 from Shelter Island; “How to Be the Life of the Party” (2013) is a jam-packed, ultra-fun three- hour program that teaches viewers how to be the center-of-attention at any party, birthday bash, BBQ or friendly gathering. $9.98 from Shelter Island.

 Posted by on September 9, 2013 No Responses »