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.
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- 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 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 Ullmann 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) (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 …
“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: 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 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 …
“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 … 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 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.
- “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.
- “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.
“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 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, 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:
“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.
“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, 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 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.