For the past 12 months, DEA agent Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) and U.S. naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) have been reluctantly attached at the hip. Working undercover as members of a narcotics syndicate, each man distrusts his partner as much as the criminals they have both been tasked to take down. When their attempt to infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel and recover millions goes haywire, Trench and Stigman are suddenly disavowed by their superiors. Now that everyone wants them in jail or in the ground, the only person they can count on is the other. Unfortunately for their pursuers, when good guys spend years pretending to be bad, they pick up a few tricks along the way. Extras: Deleted and extended scenes, “Undercover and Into Action” featurette, commentary with director Baltasar Kormakur and producer Adam Siegel. Blu-ray adds “The Good, the Bad and the Sexy,” “Finding the Vibe,” “Living Dangerously” featurettes. Vitals: Director: Baltasar Kormakur. Stars: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Fred Ward, James Marsden, Edward James Olmos. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 109 min., Action, Box office gross: $7.468 million, Universal.
Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds star as two cops dispatched by the otherworldly Rest In Peace Department to protect and serve the living from an increasingly destructive array of souls who refuse to move peacefully to the other side. Veteran sheriff Roy Pulsifer (Bridges) has spent his career with the legendary police force known as R.I.P.D. tracking monstrous spirits who are cleverly disguised as ordinary people. His mission? To arrest and bring to justice a special brand of criminal trying to escape final judgment by hiding among the unsuspecting on Earth. Once the wise-cracking Roy is assigned former rising-star detective Nick Walker (Reynolds) as his junior officer, the new partners have to turn grudging respect into top-notch teamwork. When they uncover a plot that could end life as we know it, the pair must miraculously restore the cosmic balance … or watch the tunnel to the afterlife begin sending angry souls the very wrong way. Extras: TBA. Vitals: Director: Robert Schwentke. Stars: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 96 min., Supernatural Action Comedy, Box office gross: $32.731 million, Universal.
Fired from his telecom job, Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is forced by company CEO Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) to infiltrate Wyatt’s longtime rival’s (Harrison Ford) company to steal trade secrets. Soon, Adam realizes that he’s caught between two ruthless players who will stop at nothing to win. But, desperate to win over an Ivy League beauty (Amber Heard) and help his blue-collar father, Adam risks everything in a dangerous race against time. Based on Joseph Finder’s New York Times best seller. Extras: Deleted scenes, “Privacy Is Dead” featurette, “The Paranoia Begins” production featurette, “The Players” behind the scenes featurette, theatrical trailer. Vitals: Director: Robert Luketic. Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, Amber Heard, Josh Holloway, Embeth Davidtz, Richard Dreyfuss, Lucas Till. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 106 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $3.528 million, Fox.
Stewart, James Stewart
OF HUMAN HEARTS (1938) James Stewart had one of his first major starring roles in this Ante-and-Bellum family saga about a prideful son’s feud with his preacher father. Scorning at his father’s life of poverty and self-sacrifice, Jason Wilkins (Stewart) pursues success as a surgeon in the North before the Civil War intervenes to teach Jason the true cost of neglect thanks to an executive-in-chief intervention. Walter Huston plays the padre who tries to teach his headstrong scion the importance of sacrifice, while Beulah Bondi plays the mother whose love knows no bounds. Beulah would go on to play Stewart’s mother four more times, including an episode of The Jimmy Stewart Show, now available for streaming on Warner Archive Instant. Co-starring John Carradine, Guy Kibbee, Charles Coburn, Ann Rutherford and legendary TV producer-to-be Gene Reynolds. Newly Remastered
VIVACIOUS LADY (1938) Ginger personally selected Jimmy Stewart to play her romantic co-star in this riotous romance, and he proves to be the perfect man for the job. When a sizzling night club singer (Rogers) romances and weds a buttoned-down botany professor (Stewart) over the course of a single evening, sparks and subterfuge ensues. Stars start crossing against the newlyweds when they travel to Morgan¹s moss-backed college town to break the news to Morgan¹s disapproving family (Beulah Bondi and Charles Coburn) but can’t bring themselves to do it forcing the pair to conducted their marriage incognito. Director George Steven¹s first outing as a producer is a delight. Newly Remastered
NO TIME FOR COMEDY (1940) James Stewart’s rich gifts for drama, romance and comedy already propelled him on a meteoric rise when he was paired with the very lively and very lovely Rosalind Russell in this screwball classic set amidst the bright lights of Broadway. Russell plays the acting gal how knows it all while Stewart is the hick from the sticks with a flair for the funny. It’s love at first line reading for the pair but when a wanna-be muse (Genevieve Tobin) convinces Stewart’s comedy king he should try his hand at serious drama, the romance hits the rocks. Charles Ruggles plays the cynical industrialist spouse of the drama wannabe that squares up the triangle. William Keighley directs with a script by master scribes Julius and Philip Epstein.
Power to the Paramounts!
BRANDED (1950) This big screen adaptation of Max Brand’s Montana Rides! finds celluloid cowboy icon Alan Ladd donning the boots of Choya, a gunfighter comprised of complicated ethics. Choya gets roped into a scheme to impersonate a wealthy rancher¹s long lost son – which works – until he starts to fall for his “sister.” The shame becomes too much for Choya to bear, so he sets out to make-up for the wrong he has done. With Mona Freeman, Charles Bickford, and Robert Keith, directed by Rudolph Maté.
I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE (1958) Too often dismissed as a retread of the paranoid cold war classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, I Married a Monster from Outer Space is a classic creeper in its own right, remixing cold war chills with post-nuclear family anxiety along with a nod to seminal Sci-Fi show, It Came From Outer Space. Newlywed Marge Farrell (Gloria Talbott) grows increasingly alarmed over the changes in her new husband Bill (Tom Tryon), who’s been acting stranger and stranger since their wedding night. Determined to find out what’s happening to her man, Marge stumbles onto a terrifying plan and now must convince someone – anyone – to believe her…
THE ADVENTURERS (1970) Troubled playboy Dax (Bekim Fehmiu)uses romance as a stepping stone to success… all while scheming to bring vengeance on those who once wronged him and his family. A Monte Cristo for the jet-set, Candice Bergen, Olivia de Havilland, Ernest Borgnine, Rossano Brazzi, Charles Aznavour and more star in this lavish adaptation of the lurid Harold Robbins pot-boiler, under the direction of Lewis Gilbert.
THE BIG BUS (1976) Ahead of its kind pre-cursor to cinema satires like Airplane!, this disaster film spoof is a sleeper well-worthy of rediscovery. The Big Bus depicts the doomed (spoiler alert!) maiden New York to Denver journey of The Cyclops, the world’s first nuclear-powered bus. With Joseph Bologna, Stockard Channing, and John Beck. Also with Rene Auberjonois, Ned Beatty and Bob Dishy. And José Ferrer, Ruth Gordon and Harold Gould. Oh, we almost forgot Larry Hagman, Sally Kellerman and Richard Mulligan, Lynn Redgrave, Stuart Margolin, Howard Hesseman and Vic Tayback, too! Directed by James Frawley, written by Lawrence J. Cohen and Fred Freeman.
THE EVENING STAR (1996) Shirley MacLaine reprises the character of Aurora Greenway in this follow-up to the smash-hit and award-strewn Terms of Endearment. The next generation confronts Aurora with as many challenges as ever, as she tries her best to raise her beloved daughter’s rebellious and troubled brood. With Bill Paxton, Miranda Richardson, Marion Ross and Juliette Lewis. Directed by Robert Harling.
New from HBO
FALL TO GRACE (2013) Alexandra Pelosi depicts the extraordinary journey of ex-New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey in this remarkable documentary. From one of the worst political scandals of the decade and his outing as a closeted gay man, to his life’s “second act” and its spiritual quest where he studies to become an Episcopal priest, McGreevey’s journey is one of redemption and transformation. This is a true tale of second chances, which McGreevey says everybody deserves. “No one should be defined by the nadir of their existence,” he says. “That shouldn’t define the entirety of their narrative.”
The famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes. Native American spirit warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed idealistic lawyer John Reid (Armie Hammer) into a legend of justice — as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption in the Wild West. Shortly after the Civil War, Reid rides with his Texas Ranger brother to apprehend notorious bandit Bruce Cavendish and his gang. The Rangers are ambushed and the only survivor, Reid, is rescued by a renegade Comanche, Tonto, and brought back to life as the masked man. The pair pursue Cavendish and get involved in other adventures, including a Comanche uprising, fights with the U.S. cavalry, a blown-up silver mine, and an attempted takeover of the transcontinental railroad. Extras: Blooper reel; deleted scene; “Riding the Rails of The Lone Ranger” behind-the-scenes featurette on the train sequences; “Armies’s Western Road Trip” location tour; “Becoming a Cowboy” featurette that follows the cowboy (and cowgirl) cast to boot camp, where they got a chance to experience what their characters would really be living like in the Wild West. Vitals: Director: Gore Verbinski. Stars: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, William Fichtner. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 149 min., Western Action, Box office gross: $88.559, million, Warner.
Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Shining” was released in May 1980 to mixed reviews and a slow but steady boxoffice (topping out at a very respectable $44 million by year’s end). As with all of Kubrick’s work, it was a multilayered affair, ripe with allusions and meanings. But unlike other Kubrick films, a cult of interpreters sprang up around “The Shining,” fans who claimed to have decoded the film’s “secret messages” addressing everything from the genocide of Native Americans to a range of government conspiracies. This documentary takes a look at some of the complex theories that attempt to deconstruct the film and create a new meaning out of “the hidden symbols and messages” embedded in Kubrick’s scenario. We hear from some of the people who have reworked the film to match their own ideas; “The Shining” is examined inside and out, backwards and forwards (and, as one theorist urges, the film is literally played forward and backwards simultaneously to note overlapping images and symbols), intercutting it with layers of dreamlike imagery to illustrate their streams of consciousness. It’s a bit too much at times, kind of reminiscent of the “Paul Is Dead” conspiracy; if nothing else, it’s a fun endeavor. (In case you forgot, Room 237 is where some rather nasty stuff takes place in the film). Extras include featurettes and deleted scenes. Vitals: Director: Rodney Ascher. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 102 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $.259 million, IFC Films.
French master filmmaker Francois Ozon (“Young & Beautiful”, “Potiche,” “Hideaway,” “Angel,” “Swimming Pool,” “Under the Sand”) again pushes the boundaries of storytelling with this genre-busting mystery-thriller-romance about the intrigues created by a 16-year-old student, Claude (Ernst Umhauer), who comes to the fore in a writing class taught by a bored, middle-aged, failed writer, Germain (Fabrice Luchini). When Claude comes up with a short story written about how he has schemed his way into the house of a schoolmate and seen things not meant for outsiders’ eyes, he seduces German and his wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) into what becomes an ongoing tale, creating a multi-layered saga that pushes at imagination, reality and fantasy, threatening to suck the pair into the saga as characters in Claude’s own story. It’s suspenseful, disturbing and a heck of a lot of fun. In French with English subtitles. Extras include a making-of documentary and deleted scenes. Vitals: Director: Francois Ozon. Stars: Ernst Umhauer, Fabrice Luchini, Emmanuelle Seigner, Kristin Scott Thomas, Denis Menochet. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 105 min., Mystery Thriller, Box office gross: $.354 million, Cohen Media Group.
I was no fan of the first two “Iron Man” movies; I found snarky wealthy industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and his tin-man-without-a-heart persona rather annoying and the action all too metallic and overwhelming; there just wasn’t enough reality to the films. Of course I was in the minority. But that’s been rectified by this outing, which, by stripping Stark of his safety net and putting him out into the world sans his armor, serves to humanizee the character and actually make me root for him (instead of wanting to run out and get a can opener). The plot: A foreign radical named The Mandarin masterminds a series of terrorist attacks, including one on Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre and one that totally destroys Stark’s house and all its weaponry, forcing Stark and one remaining suit into hiding in, of all places, Tennessee. There he finds out about a super-secret DNA altering program called Extremis that gives people super-human strength and the ability to recover from crippling injuries. That discovery leads him to Miami, where he finds that the real brains behind The Mandarin is someone from his past who not only has a grudge to settle with Stark, but who also wants to take down the president of the United States and install a puppet government. Only Stark — basically stripped of his powers and relying on his intellect and wits — stands in the way of this dastardly scenario. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: Does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man? Jon Favreau handed over the directorial duties on “3” to Shane Black, who wrote the “Lethal Weapon” franchise films, “The Long Kiss Goodnight” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” and who, along with Drew Pearce, wrote this definitely more humanistic story line. Extras include a very cool “Marvel One Shot: Agent Carter” short film starring Hayley Atwell as British agent Peggy Carter from “Captain America,” flexing her muscles as a hot secret agent for S.H.I.E.L.D; a couple behind-the-scenes featurettes; a gag reel and deleted & extended scenes; and commentary with Pearce and Black. Vitals: Director: Shane Black. Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany, William Sadler, James Badge Dale, Yvonne Zima. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 130 min., Action Adventure, Box office gross: $403.157 million, Disney.
Davis & Fairbanks, Jr. – Together & Separate
PARACHUTE JUMPER (1932) Alfred R. Green (Baby Face) pairs Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Bette Davis for this high-flyer that mixes romance and rum-running during the lowdown depths of the Great Depression. Fairbanks and Frank McHugh play ex-Marine pilots who end up flying shady missions for a smuggler (Leo Carrillo) who may be slipping something extra in amongst the hooch. Davis plays “Alabama”, an out-of-work stenographerÂ who shacks up with the boys – but don’t any funny ideas, pre-Code or not, Alabama’s on the up-and-up, got that? Newly remastered.
LOVE IS A RACKET (1932) Fast-talking Fedora-man Lee Tracy takes a bite out of the second banana role (and the amazing Ann Dvorak is third!) in support of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in this tale of bullets and Broadway. Fairbanks plays a Great White Way gossip columnist who knows what NOT to mention if he want to keep his skin. This applies double to the activities of gangster Ernie Shaw (the always treacherous Lyle Talbot) but what’s a guy to do when his best dame gets caught up kiting checks and Shaw’s the gent holding the marker? William Wellman deftly mixes crime and comedy for this pre-Code charmer that really sticks.
THE WORKING MAN (1933) Warner Bros.’ leading “prestige” performer, Mr. George Arliss is the topliner for this corporate comedy romance, re-teams with his co-star from the smash The Man Who Played God, Bette Davis. Arliss plays shoe manufacturing magnate John Reeves, who long ago lost his love to the arms of his main rival, Tom Hartland. Encountering the now orphaned Hartland children – and feeling pushed out at his own company – Reeves goes “undercover” inside the Hartland’s manor and launches an all-out assault against his own company, while Jenny Hartland (Ms. Davis) defects to Reeves’ Shoes and the arms of his nephew. A farce with heart, Arliss keeps this corker on the sweet and narrow without descending into treacle. Newly remastered.
From the Big Screen:
“Iron Man 3,” “Room 237,” “In the House” and “Unfinished Song.” For more releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
It’s beginning to smell a lot like holiday gift-giving time — in late September? Yep. This week marks the beginning of an onslaught of box sets, collectors’ editions, remasters from the vaults, and all sorts of merchandising gambits to loosen our grip on our wallets. And I couldn’t be happier. Here’s this week’s majestic releases, in order of age-appropriateness:
Warner Home Video is unleashing “The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray,” a six-disc set with “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” with the existing extra content for each film. “Batman Begins” and its special features reside on one disc; “The Dark Knight” and its special features take up two discs; “The Dark Knight Rises” also takes up two discs; a sixth disc is devoted to new special features, which include two new featurettes — “The Fire Rises: The Creation and Impact of The Dark Knight Trilogy” (with never- before-seen footage, rare moments, and exclusive interviews with Guillermo Del Toro, Damon Lindelof, Michael Mann, Richard Roeper, Zack Snyder and others) and “Christopher Nolan & Richard Donner: A Conversation” (Nolan and Richard Donner [“Superman”] sit down to discuss the trials and triumphs involved in bringing the two most iconic superheroes of all time to the big screen, and how “Superman” influenced Nolan when developing” Batman Begins”); IMAX sequences: Scenes from “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises” in the original IMAX aspect ratio; exclusive new collectible memorabilia: Premium Mattel Hot Wheels Vehicles: Batmobile, Batpod and Tumbler, newly commissioned collectible art cards by Mondo featuring Scarecrow, Joker, Bane, Harvey Dent, and Ra’s al Ghul, 48-page hardcover book featuring production stills and behind the scenes images from all three movies. Whew! The set, which carries a $99.97 price tag (but is much lower via Amazon), is also available as a download and via UltraViolet.
Next up is Anchor Bay’s “Halloween 35th Anniversary Blu-ray” (1978), in an all-new HD transfer personally supervised by the film’s original cinematographer, Dean Cundey, with a new 7.1 audio mix (as well as the original mono audio), a brand-new feature length audio commentary by writer-director John Carpenter and star Jamie Lee Curtis, an all-new bonus feature with Curtis, as well as selected legacy bonus features from previous releases. Available in a collectible limited-edition book-style package (available only for the first printing) with 20 pages featuring archival photos, an essay by “Halloween” historian Stef Hutchinson and specially commissioned cover art by Jay Shaw. $34.99. Other extras include “The Night She Came Home” new featurette with Jamie Lee Curtis, “On Location,” trailers, TV and radio spots, additional scenes from TV version. The film co-stars Donald Pleasence, P.J. Soles, Kyle Richards, Nancy Loomis, Charles Cyphers and Brian Andrews.
Let’s move to the early 1970s now for a stay with one of the true kings of cool, Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack second in command, Dean Martin. Martin’s career as a singer and actor, and as an entertainer, in movies and Las Vegas, spanned the 1950s and 1960s; he was a king of primetime TV from 1965 to 1974 with his “Dean Martin Variety Show”. He next segued to “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast,” a series of television specials that ran from 1974 to 1984 in which Martin and friends would periodically “roast” a celebrity. “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Complete Collection” is the ultimate Roasters DVD set, featuring all 54 roasts with such roastees as Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, George Burns, Don Rickles, Hank Aaron, Wilt Chamberlin, Joe Namath, Muhammad Ali, Ronald Reagan, Martin himself, and many, many more. The 25-Disc set includes over 40 hours of incomparable comedy, along with more than 15 hours of bonus features highlighted by comedy sketches from “The Dean Martin Show,” exclusive interviews (with 34 former Roast participants, production personnel, critics and fans including: Don Rickles, Carol Burnett, Ruth Buzzi, Tony Danza, Abe Vigoda, Angie Dickinson, Dan Haggerty, Ed Asner, Fred Willard, Jimmie Walker, Rich Little, Rip Taylor, Shirley Jones, Tim Conway, Florence Henderson and many more), rare home movies, 11 featurettes and a 44-page collector’s book with archival production materials and more. Available exclusively online at deanroasts.com, $249.95. Ships this week. Read the complete press release here. (StarVista Entertainment/Time Life).
In the late 1940s, the incandescent Hollywood star Ingrid Bergman found herself so moved by the revolutionary neorealist films of Roberto Rossellini that she sent the director a letter, introducing herself and offering her talents. The resulting collaboration produced a series of films that are works of both sociopolitical concern and metaphysical melodrama, each starring Bergman as a woman experiencing physical dislocation and psychic torment in postwar Italy. It also famously led to a scandalous affair and eventual marriage between the filmmaker and star, and the focus on their personal lives in the press unfortunately overshadowed the extraordinary films they made together. Criterion’s “3 Films By Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman” brings together “Stromboli” (1950), “Europe ’51” (1952) and “Journey to Italy” (1954) in a five-disc DVD set and a four-disc Blu-ray set. The films are intensely personal portraits that reveal the director at his most emotional and the glamorous actor at her most anguished, and that capture them and the world around them in transition. There are new digital film restorations of the English- and Italian-language versions of “Stromboli” and “Europe ’51” and the English-language version of “Journey to Italy”, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions. A partial list of the extras includes archival television introductions by Rossellini to all three films; audio commentary for “Journey to Italy” featuring scholar Laura Mulvey; “Rossellini Through His Own Eyes,” a 1992 documentary on the filmmaker’s approach to cinema, featuring archival interviews with Rossellini and Bergman; new visual essays about Rossellini by scholars Tag Gallagher and James Quandt; “Rossellini Under the Volcano,” a 1998 documentary that returns to the island of Stromboli 50 years after the making of “Stromboli”; new interview with film historian Elena Degrada about the different versions of “Europe ’51”; new interviews with Isabella Rossellini and Ingrid Rossellini, daughters of Rossellini and Bergman; “Ingrid Bergman Remembered,” a 1996 documentary on the actor’s life, narrated by her daughter Pia Lindstrom; “My Dad Is 100 Years Old,” a 2005 short film, directed by Guy Maddin and starring Isabella Rossellini; a booklet featuring essays by critics Richard Brody, Fred Camper, Dina Iordanova, and Paul Thomas; letters exchanged by Rossellini and Bergman; “Why I Directed Stromboli,” a 1950 article by Rossellini; a 1954 interview with Rossellini conducted by Eric Rohmer and Francois Truffaut for “Cahiers du cinema”; and excerpts from a 1965 interview with Rossellini conducted by Apa and Maurizio Ponzi for “Filmcritica.”
Blu-ray debuts this week: “Prince of Darkness (Collector’s Edition)” (1987), directed by John Carpenter and starring Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount, Alice Cooper and Dennis Dun. Extras include commentary with Carpenter, “Sympathy for the Devil”: new interview with Carpenter, “Alice at the Apocalypse”: new interview with actor and rock legend Alice Cooper, alternate opening from the TV version, more. From Shout! Factory/Scream Factory …“Psycho II (Collector’s Edition)” (1983), directed by Richard Franklin and starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Meg Tilly, Robert Loggia and Dennis Franz; and “Psycho III (Collector’s Edition)” (1986), directed by Anthony Perkins starring Perkins, Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey, Roberta Maxwell and Hugh Gillin. Both sequels hail from Shout! Factory/Scream Factory.