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


Oct 212013

intolerance“Intolerance,” D.W. Griffith’s 1916 silent cinema milestone, has been remastered in 2K by the Cohen Film Collection and will be made available on Blu-ray for the first time on Nov. 5. (A remastered DVD version will also be released).

Griffith changed the course of film history with his 1915 Civil War blockbuster “The Birth of a Nation,” and, spurred on by its colossal success, he went even bigger on his next epic, the ambitious and still awe-inspiring “Intolerance,” in which Griffith masterfully links four centuries-apart stories of universal suffering. Stung by charges of glorifying racism in “The Birth of a Nation,” Griffith decided to make his next film a plea for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. An epic like nothing that came before , the monumental film remains as powerful today as it was almost a century ago; the major innovation in screen narrative tells four stories in parallel about social injustice and the effects of intolerance through the ages.

“The Modern Story,” about a working man wrongly accused of a crime, was later issued as a separate film (“The Mother and the Law,” 1919). “The Judean Story” tells of Jesus’ conflicts with the Pharisees and Rome. “The Medieval Story” is about the effects of the massacre of 16th-century French Huguenots. “The Babylonian Story,” about the conquest of Babylon by Persia, also was issued later as a separate film (“The Fall of Babylon,” 1919). Skillful cross-cutting and linking shots of a figure representing Eternal Motherhood rocking a cradle, bring all four stories to a tense climax.

With the profits from “The Birth of a Nation,” Griffith spared no expense on “Intolerance,” constructing huge sets and hiring thousands of extras for spectacular crowd scenes; the most iconic representation of this lavishness remains the sequence set at the immense walls of Babylon. Many of the leading stars of the silent screen appear in the film, including Griffith regular Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Elmo Lincoln, Robert Harron and Constance Talmadge.

“Intolerance” proved to be an important training ground, with several of its assistant directors going on to important directing careers of their own, including Victor Fleming (“The Wizard of Oz,” “Gone With the Wind”), Allan Dwan (“Sands of Iwo Jima”), Sidney Franklin (“The Good Earth”) and Tod Browning (“Dracula,” “Freaks”).

The musical soundtrack for “Intolerance” is in mono for the DVD and 2.0 LPCM for the Blu-ray. Carl Davis’ orchestral score is in 5.1 Dolby Digital. Blu-ray and DVD extras include the two full-length features drawn from “Intolerance”: “The Fall of Babylon” and “The Mother and the Law,” accompanied by new scores by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra; a 2013 featurette with film historian Kevin Brownlow; new essays by Cineaste magazine editor Richard Porton and historian William M. Drew; and a theatrical rerelease trailer.

 Posted by on October 21, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 212013

photo for Based on the best-selling book series. A seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures Extras: “Bringing Them to Life” behind-the-scenes featurette, “Descendants of the Cup” featurette on the stunts and the cast’s transformation into Shadowhunters, “Almost Is Never Enough” music video by Ariana Grande, deleted scenes. Blu-ray adds “Interactive Lineage Tracker,” “Deadly Attraction” behind-the-scenes featurette with Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower on their roles as Clary Fray and Jace Wayland, “Entering the Shadow World” creatures featurette, “Into the Shadows: From Book to Screen.” Vitals: Director: Harald Zwart. Stars: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lena Headey, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Kevin Zegers, CCH Pounder, Jared Harris. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 130 min., Fantasy Adventure, Box office gross: $31.046 million, Sony. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 21, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 212013

photo for Percy Jackson The magical, mythical adventures of teenager Percy Jackson — son of the Greek god Poseidon — continue in this sequel. Out to prove he’s not just a “one-quest wonder,” Percy and his demigod friends embark on an epic, cross-country journey into the treacherous Sea of Monsters, where they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate evil. Their mission: to bring home the fabled Golden Fleece and save their dying safe haven, Camp Half-Blood. Based on the teen fiction book series by Rick Riordan. Extras: “Back to Camp Half-Blood” featurette, “It’s All in the Eye” featurette. Blu-ray adds Motion comic, collectible character cards, “Deconstructing a Demigod” featurette. Vitals: Director: Thor Freudenthal. Stars: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Brandon T. Jackson, Jake Abel, Anthony Head, Stanley Tucci, Sean Bean, Nathan Fillion. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 107 min., Action, Box office gross: $65.380 million, Fox. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 21, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 212013

photo for A sensual and provocative drama about two lifelong friends who find unexpected happiness in relationships that cross the bounds of convention. An unpredictable tale of misguided love and a heartfelt celebration of the enduring nature of female friendship, “Adore” is the English-speaking directorial debut of Anne Fontaine (“Coco Before Chanel”). Set in an Australian seaside town of otherworldly beauty, the film explores the intricacies of love, family, morality and passion as the two women become romantically involved with each other’s sons. Based on a novel by Nobel Prize for Literature winner Doris Lessing. Vitals: Director: Anne Fontaine. Stars: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville, Ben Mendelsohn, Sophie Lowe, Jessica Tovey, Gary Sweet. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 111 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.317 million, Paramount. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 21, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 212013

photo for Blackfish Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000 pound orcas, or “killer whales,” soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet, in our contemporary lore, this mighty black and white mammal is like a two-faced Janus — beloved as a majestic, friendly giant yet infamous for its capacity to kill viciously. “Blackfish” unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who — unlike any orca in the wild — has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what exactly went wrong? Shocking, never-before-seen footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals. Extras: Extended interviews, AXS TV: “A Look at Blackfish,” theatrical trailer. Vitals: Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 83 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $2.043 million, Magnolia Home Entertainment. 3 stars

 Posted by on October 21, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 182013

photo for Kick-Ass 2 Sequel to the surprise 2010 hit about costumed high-school heroes. Self-made superhero Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and sweet-faced, foul-mouthed assassin Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) try to return to life as “normal” teenagers, but soon find themselves faced with their deadliest challenge yet. To seek revenge for his father’s death, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has re-invented himself as The Mother F%&*^r and assembled an evil league of super-villains. To defeat their new nemesis, Kick-Ass and Hit Girl must team up with a new wave of masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), in this battle of real-life villains and heroes. Extras: Extended scenes; “Upping the Game” featurette; “Going Ballistic: Weapons & Stunts” featurette; “Creating a Badass World” featurette; commentary with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz and writer-director Jeff Wadlow. Blu-ray adds alternate opening; “Big Daddy Returns: The Unshot Scene”; “An Ass-Kicking Cast” featurette; “Street Rules: Showdown at the Evil Lair”; “Hit Girl Attacks: Creating the Van Sequence.” Vitals: Director: Jeff Wadlow. Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jim Carrey, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Clark Duke, Lyndsy Fonseca, Morris Chestnut, John Leguizamo, Donald Faison, Lindy Booth, Yancy Butler. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 103 min., Action Comedy, Box office gross: $28.751 million, Universal. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 18, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 162013


Featuring Efrem Zimbalist Jr, Helena Bonham Carter, Bill Maher, Kim Basinger, Louis Gosset Jr, Sam Jones, Joan Bennet, David Carradine & Keye Luke as Master Po.



THE FBI: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON (1970-71) At the dawn of the 70s the Culture War captured as much attention as the Cold War, and the storylines seen in this season of The FBI reflected this. While still on the watch for saboteurs and spies, Inspector Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), Special Agent Colby (William Reynolds), and Assistant Director Ward (Philip Abbott) were just as likely to be tasked with tracking down psychotic Vietnam veterans or stopping college kids with a terrorist bent. All-star actors who battle the FBI as kidnappers, bank robbers, and extortionists or play the innocent victims whose aid Erskine and co. come to include Martin Sheen, Joan Van Ark, Billy Dee Williams, Robert Loggia, Bradford Dillman, Dabney Coleman, Suzanne Pleshette, and William Shatner as a mob drug dealer gone rogue!


KUNG FU: THE MOVIE (1985) Bridging the gap between the classic original series and its syndicated hit sequel Kung Fu: The Legend Continues is this mid-eighties movie of the week. Ten years after we last saw Kwai Chang Caine, the man of peace gets dragged into stateside fallout from the Opium Wars. Brandon Lee, son of the Caine-that-almost-was, adds to the action with the grace and gravity that propelled him to superstar status before his tragic death. Also stars Martin Landau and Keye Luke.

SIDEKICKS (1974) The James Garner/Lou Gosset comedy western The Skin Game gets a small screen sequel in this pilot movie that pairs Lou Gossett with Larry Hagman in the Garner role. Conman Quince Drew (Hagman) travels the west with his freeborn crony Jason O’Rourke (Gossett), playing a slavery shell-game that involves repeatedly selling his pal, then escaping with the money. On the run from a vengeful posse, the pair get tangled up in the schemes of a bankrobber. Also stars Blythe Danner, Harry Morgan and Jack Elam. 

THE EYES OF CHARLES SAND (1972) This first-rate paranormal TV thriller sees Peter Haskell playing Charles Sand, a businessman who comes into the family legacy – or curse – on the death of his uncle. Now possessed of a second sight, Sand is powerless in the face of his new fate and drawn into a macabre world of murder, madness and spectral visitors. Joan Bennett and Adam West co-star.

 THE SPIRIT (1987) Will Eisner’s immortal creation, the non-super hero The Spirit, gets a small screen tryout (and Ted’s Sam Jones) in this tongue-in-cheek crime caper. This fish-out-of-water take updates the setting by four decades, and makes Denny Colt, The Spirit, the straight man that the twisted world of the 80s deperately needs. Nana Visitor (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) plays Denny’s galpal, Ellen Dolan.

CLUB MED (1986) World-renowned vacation hot spot Club Med (Ixtapa) provides the exciting and new, albeit stationary, location for love and romance for a diverse group of globe-trotting revelers. Young mom Kate (Linda Hamilton, Beauty and the Beast) travels from Boston in the wake of her marriage break-up and discovers her old flame O’Shea (Jack Scalia) is running the joint; runaway French blue-blood Simone (Traci Lind) sneaks into the resort thanks to some avuncular subterfuge courtesy of English widower Gilbert Anthony Paige (Patrick Macnee). Sinbad (Sinbad) costars as club comedian and Bill Maher plays a wisecracking mixologist that has trouble making the guests laugh.



KILLJOY (1981) Prolific helmer John Llewellyn Moxey directs a young Kim Basinger in this neo-noir murder mystery set around the delicious soapy confines of a major modern medical center. Surgeon Max Heller (Steven Macht) and pathologist Paul Trenton vie for the attentions of Laury Medford (Basinger) and the chief administrator’s job that comes with it. Laury gets wind that Max might have a secret side practice of his own by the name of Joy Morgan but when she gets murdered, plot twists come faster than the cry of “Stat!” Also stars Nancy Marchand as Paul’s scheming mother and Robert Culp as a relentless investigator. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s annual Edgar Award for Best TV Feature.

FATAL DECEPTION: MRS LEE HAVEY OSWALD (1992) A young and gifted Helena Bonham Carter stars in this biopic about Lee Harvey Oswald’s forgotten victims – his wife and children. Carter plays Marina, Oswald’s Soviet spouse who sees her world turned upside down while a living as a stranger in a strange land. Frank Whaley plays Lee, an enigma even to the woman who knew him best. Was he just a troubled soul or a man with a troubling secret? Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager) plays the conspiracist that leads Marina to question events and reopen some very deep wounds.



THE CABBAGE PATCH KIDS’ FIRST CHRISTMAS/THE LITTLE TROLL PRINCE HOLIDAY DOUBLE FEATURE Fire up your Yule log and get set for an early Xmas, courtesy of Xavier Roberts and a wannabe gnome! The Cabbage Patch Kids First Christmas (1986) finds the magical brood leaving the safety of their Georgia hidden patch in search of the Christmas spirit in the big city courtesy of  Ruby Spears. Beyond the protection of their human guardian Xavier Roberts and Colonel Casey the stork, the kids find that the big city has its own brand of menace, one very similar to their own… Can they find the Christmas Spirit in time to help a very special orphan? The second feature, The Little Troll Prince (1984), finds Hanna-Barbera mixings Scandinavian folklore with traditional holiday spirit for a charming concoction about a royal monster that trades in menace for a simple life of domestic gnome-dom. An all-star voice brings the tale to life, including Vincent Price, Jonathan Winters, Don Knotts and Cloris Leachman.

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

 Posted by on October 16, 2013 1 Response »
Oct 152013

photo for Guillermo del Toro has come a long way since “Mimic” (1997) and “The Devil’s Backbone” (2001). His horror instinct led him to direct “Hellboy” (2004) and the award-winning “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006) and write “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” as well as the “Hobbit” outings (and produce a host of horror and dark dramas). He’s certainly produced and written more films than he’s helmed. So fans who have been eagerly awaiting a new directorial effort on his part (it’s been five years since “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”) won’t be disappointed with “Pacific Rim,” a solid modern CGI-driven monster flick that can only be described as Godzilla meets the Transformers. The plot is simple — Legions of gigantic, monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, rise from another “world” through a breech in the Pacific Ocean, bent on destroying mankind and consuming the Earth’s resources. To combat them, the world’s armies cooperate to build massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But it’s a losing battle until a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Though the story line is a bit silly and full of holes, one easily suspends disbelief to savor del Toro’s style and flourish and his fantastic images. It’s a slam-bam action-adventure that doesn’t ask you to think too much — you just need to crank up the volume and allow the images to wash over you. Extras: Commentary by director-screenwriter Guillermo del Toro, “Drift Space,” “The Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim,” “The Shatterdome,” “Focus Points,” deleted scenes, blooper reel. Blu-ray adds “The Directors Notebook.” Vitals: Director: Guillermo del Toro. Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Rob Kazinsky, Max Martini, Clifton Collins Jr., Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 131 min., Sci Fi Action, Box office gross: $100.366 million, Warner. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 15, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 152013

photo for The Heat Even in this enlightened era, female buddy movies are far and few in between — so it’s a pleasure to have two top comediennes join forces to tear up the big screen with outrageous bits and wild shtick. It’s a great concept picture: Take sassy, foul-mouthed Melissa McCarthy and slapstick-savvy Sandra Bullock and cast them as a boundary-busting Boston cop (McCarthy) and a straight-laced FBI agent (Bullock), throw them on a typical crime case (they join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord), and watch the sparks — and laughs — fly. Needless to say, Bullock’s by-the-book procedures clash with McCarthy’s nasty and violent style of police work, but the pair eventually learn to work together and bring down the bad guys. Think “Rush Hour” with women. This is one funny movie. Sequel anyone? (Actually, there are rumors of a “Heat 2” in the works). Extras: Commentary, bloopers, alternate scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes. Vitals: Director: Paul Feig. Stars: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir, Michael Rapaport, Marlon Wayans, Kaitlin Olson. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 117 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $156.392 million, Fox. 3 stars

 Posted by on October 15, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 152013

From the Big Screen:

“The Heat” and “Pacific Rim.” For more releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.


Topping the list of must-viewing this week is “Eyes Without a Face” (1960), making its Blu-ray debut from The Criterion Collection. At his secluded chateau in the French photo for Eyes Without a Facecountryside, a brilliant, obsessive doctor (“Children of Paradise’s” Pierre Brasseur) attempts a radical plastic surgery to restore the beauty of his daughter’s disfigured countenance — ­at a horrifying price. “Eyes Without a Face,” directed by the supremely talented Georges Franju, is rare in horror cinema for its odd mixture of the ghastly and the lyrical, and it has been a major influence on the genre in the decades since its release. There are images here — ­of terror, of gore, of inexplicable beauty — ­that once seen are never forgotten. In French with English subtitles, in a new high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack.

“Wild Style” (1983) is the landmark New York film that introduced hip-hop, break dancing, freestyle rapping and graffitti art to the world. Legendary New York graffitti artist Lee Quinones stars in the role of Zoro, the city’s hottest and most elusive graffitti writer as he makes his way from the bombed-out streets of the Bronx to the lively art world of downtown Manhattan, all the while working through his complicated feelings for fellow graffitti artist photo for Wild Style: 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition Rose (Sandra Fabara). Along his journey, Zoro encounters a number of other New York denizens ­on the streets, in subway trains and out in the nightclubs, ­who revel in the passion and innovation of the burgeoning hip-hop culture. In a special 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition two-disc set with a 48-page booklet written by director Charlie Ahearn, $29.95 from Music Box Films … “Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle” (2013) is a well-made and fairly comprehensive three-part PBS documentary that examines the comic book genre and its powerful legacy in America, beginning some 75 years ago when these “disposable diversions” were created in large part by the children of immigrants whose fierce loyalty to a new homeland laid the foundation for a multi-billion-dollar industry. The first part, “Truth, Justice, and the American Way (1938-1958)” chronicles the origins of superheroes — from Superman and Batman to Wonder Woman photo for Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle and Captain America. In the next section, “Great Power, Great Responsibility (1959-1977),” the next generation of comic books were subject to intense government scrutiny for their influence on American children (vis-a-vis the infamous Comic’s Code Authority), and the comics grew up. In the final section, “A Hero Can Be Anyone (1978-Present),” superheroes (and mere mortal heroes) became an influential part of our national identity, and reflected the darker side of late-20th and early 21st century culture and politics. Among the notable on-camera talents in the film are Stan Lee, Adam West, Lynda Carter, Pulitzer Prize-winners Michael Chabon and Jules Feiffer, and interviews with the late greats Joe Simon (co-creator of Captain America) and Jerry Robinson (who helped create the Joker). Airs on PBS Tuesday Nights, October 8–October 22. On DVD $24.99; Blu-ray $29.99. From PBS Distribution.

Think you know your American (or world) history? Unless you’ve read Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” or made a heroic effort to dig down deeper into historical sources, past what we’ve been taught in high school and most colleges, there’s a myopia that prevents many Americans from seeing the wider picture of the world around us. Here’s an antidote: “The Untold History of the United States” (2013), a 10-part Showtime Original Series from three-time Academy Award-winning writer and director Oliver Stone. The in-depth, surprising, and totally riveting series, co-written by Stone with Peter Kuznick and Matt Graham, photo for The Untold History of the United States was directed and narrated by Stone. Stone and Kuznick, esteemed American University Associate Professor of History, and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute, co-authored the companion book (Gallery Books) to the series, which presents our country’s unlearned history, drawing on archival findings from around the world and recently declassified material. The documentary looks back at human events that at the time went under-reported, but that crucially shaped America’s unique and complex history throughout the 20th century, covering the time period from the atomic bombing of Japan to the Cold War, through the fall of Communism to the events of today. Beside the 10 chapters, this release will boast more than three and a half hours of bonus material, including two unaired chapters and a new companion documentary featuring Stone and Tariq Ali — author, philosopher, activist, writer, socialist leader, editor — who worked with Stone on the documentary “South of the Border.” Right now the project is only available as four-disc Blu-ray set for $49.99; from Warner.

Other notable releases this week: The Blu-ray debut of “High Plains Drifter” (1973), directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Mitch Ryan, Jack Ging, Morgan Allen and Stefan Gierasch. One of Eastwood’s signature Westerns, and his second film as a director, it’s a variation on the “man with no name” theme. Eastwood stars as the drifter known only as “the Stranger,” who mysteriously appears out of the heat waves of the desert photo for and rides into the lawless, sin-ridden town of Lago. After making a name for himself with a string of blazing gun battles, The Stranger is hired by the townspeople to provide protection from three ruthless gunmen. A prime example of Eastwood’s emphasis on justice, redemption, revenge and morality. From Universal … Universal has released “Love Actually — 10th Anniversary Edition” (2003), a delightful romantic comedy — and perennial holiday season favorite — that follows eight couples whose lives intersect shortly before Christmas. Stars Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Sienna Guillory, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Keira Knightley, Martin Freeman, Andrew Lincoln, January Jones, Thomas Sangster, Kris Marshall, Heike Makatsch, Gregor Fisher, Joanna Page and Chiwetel Ejiofor. On DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo, with such extras as deleted scenes, “The Music of Love Actually,” “The Storytellers,” Kelly Clarkson “The Trouble With Love Is” music video, Billy Mack “Christmas is All Around” music video and commentary.

From TV to DVD:

“Anger Management: Volume Two” (2013) consists of all 22 episodes of second season of the series that follows Charlie Goodman (Charlie Sheen), a non-traditional therapist specializing in anger management, whose life is complicated by his relationships with his own therapist and best friend, his ex-wife whose positive outlook but poor life-choices frustrate Charlie, their 15 year-old daughter who has OCD, and of course, his interfering and meddlesome father. In a three-disc DVD set and one Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate … “Come Dance With Me” (2012) is a Hallmark Channel movie starring Andrew McCarthy, Michelle Nolden, Stephanie Mills, Mary Long, Zachary Bennett, Chris Gillett and Jane Moffat in which a rising financial executive who is dating the fabulously rich and elegant daughter of his boss signs up for dance lessons to prove himself at their lavish annual Christmas dance. Yet sparks start to fly between photo for Anger Management: Volume Two Jack and his dance instructor, and he’s forced to make some important life decisions before it’s too late. From Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment … “Counting Cars: Season 2, Volume 1” (2013) is a two-disc set with 12 episodes of the series that rolls into Sin City to bet on vintage wheels with the legendary Danny “The Count” Koker, the man with an insatiable appetite for classic cars, which he buys, restores and flips. This time around he gets sidetracked by a curious lady in a hot pink Beetle while trying to score a classic Ford Galaxie, among other outings. $14.98. from Lionsgate … “Defiance: Season One” (2013) is a three-disc set with 13 episodes of the sci-fi series from the producers of “Battlestar Galactica,” “Caprica” and “Farscape.” It’s 2046 and over 30 years have passed since aliens arrived, changing life on Earth forever. In the frontier town of Defiance, a drifter-turned-lawkeeper (Grant Bowler) and the newly-appointed mayor (Julie Benz) attempt to lead the human and alien residents through the prejudices and politics that threaten the fragile peace they’ve fought for. On DVD, $59.98; Blu-ray Disc, $69.98; from Universal … “The Fall, Series 1” makes its North American DVD debut: The series follows DSI Stella Gibson, a steely detective on the trail of a serial killer stalking the streets of Belfast. Over five engrossing episodes, this psychological thriller follows both the hunter and the hunted as they attempt to outmaneuver each other. When it photo for Defiance: Season One debuted on the BBC in May 2013, “The Fall” was the highest-rated drama premiere in eight years for BBC Two. Two-disc DVD, $39.99, from Acorn Media … “Gentle Ben — Season One” (1967-68) is a four-disc set with 28 episodes of the family-friendly series about a boy and his 650-pound best friend, Ben the bear. Starred a young Clint Howard and Dennis Weaver. Based on the children’s novel that follows the adventures in the Florida Everglades of a game warden, his wife, their son Mark and Mark’s tame bear Ben. $29.98 from CBS/Paramount … “Hart of Dixie: The Complete Second Season” (2012-13) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes of the series that stars Rachel Bilson as New York surgeon Dr. Zoe Hart, who is just starting to adjust to life as a general practitioner in BlueBell, Alabama. This season Zoe captures two hearts and has to choose between bad boy Wade Kinsella and good guy George Tucker while Zoe’s best friend and the mayor of BlueBell is surprised by a familiar face and an unexpected twist in the mayoral race, and newly jilted Lemon Breeland tries to deal with fresh beginnings the best way she knows how. $59.98 from Warner … “Lifetime Holiday 4-Film Collection” (2012) consists of four Christmas-themed Lifetime Original movies from 2012: “The Christmas Consultant,” starring David Hasselhoff; “Holiday Spin,” starring Ralph Macchio; “The March Sisters at Christmas,” starring Julie Marie Berman; and “Holly’s Holiday,” starring Claire Coffee. $19.98 from Lionsgate … photo for Hart of Dixie: The Complete Second Season “The Pallisers: 40th Anniversary Edition” (1974) features all 26 episodes of the addictive British drama, the sprawling BBC saga of wealth, passion, and power that chronicles 20 years in the life of an aristocratic dynasty moving through high society in the heyday of Queen Victoria’s reign. Based on Anthony Trollope’s six “political” novels. Eight-disc DVD, $99.99 from Acorn Media … “Prayers for Bobby” (2009) is the award-winning TV movie, starring Sigourney Weaver, Henry Czerny, Ryan Kelley, Austin Nichols, Carly Schroeder and Shannon Eagen, that tells the true story of Mary Griffith (now a gay rights crusader), whose teenage son committed suicide due to her past religious intolerance of gays and lesbians. Based on the book of the same title by Leroy Aarons. From Lionsgate … “Vikings Season 1” (2013) is a three-disc set with nine episodes of History’s drama series. On DVD, $49.98; Blu-ray Disc, $59.99. From Fox.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “The Colony” (2013), starring Laurence Fishburne, Bill Paxton and Kevin Zegers, a struggling outpost of survivors, forced underground by the next ice age, must fight to preserve humanity against a threat even more savage than nature. On DVD and Blu-ray from Image Entertainment … When Dracula kidnaps a woman he believes is the reincarnation of his dead wife, vampire hunter Van Helsing and his companions must rescue her before time runs out in “Dracula: The Dark Prince” (2013), starring Luke Roberts, Kelly Wenham, Stephen Hogan and Jon Voight. From Lionsgate … The crew of a Danish cargo ship is hijacked by Somali pirates, who proceed to engage in escalating negotiations with the authorities in Copenhagen in “A Hijacking” (2012 — Denmark), starring Pilou Asbaek, Soren Malling and Dar Salim. From Magnolia Home Entertainment … “ThanksKilling 3” photo for ThanksKilling 3 (2012), starring Dan Usaj and Joe Hartzler, with an appearance by porn star Wanda Lust, is the “Raunchiest Puppet Movie Ever Made,” a comedy-horror spoof that sees the return of original creators Jordan Downey and Kevin Stewart with Turkie, the fowl-mouthed Thanksgiving villain. The original “ThanksKilling” was made for the minuscule budget of $3,500 while Downey and Stewart were still in college. After years of marketing it themselves, and with the help of distributor Gravitas Ventures, the film went on to gain a massive cult following for its purposeful “so bad it’s good” vibe. Using the fan base to their advantage, Downey and Stewart were able to raise over $100,000 on Kickstarter to make their ambitious follow up, “ThanksKilling 3,” the first movie ever to skip it’s own sequel. “ThanksKilling 3” follows the feathered villain Turkie as he carves through the likes of a rapping grandma, a mindless puppet, a wig-wearing inventor, a bisexual space worm, and their equally ridiculous friends on his quest to recover the last copy of “ThanksKilling 2.” From MVD Entertainment Group/Gravitas Ventures … “Maniac” (2012) is a remake of William Lustig and Joe Spinell’s 1980 cult classic of the same name. In this 21st century Jack the Ripper story photo for Drug War set in present-day Los Angeles, Frank (Elijah Wood, in an acting change of pace) leads a deceptively peaceful life: To the outside world, he’s a withdrawn and somewhat eccentric owner of a mannequin store. But his quiet façade masks an inner rage that forces him to brutally kill and scalp the women who get too close to him. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from IFC Midnight Films … “Ingenious (aka Lightbulb)” (2009) stars Dallas Roberts, Jeremy Renner, Ayelet Zurer and Marguerite Moreau in a rags-to-riches story of two friends, a small-time inventor and a sharky salesman, who hit rock bottom before coming up with a gizmo that becomes a worldwide phenomenon. From Lionsgate … “Drug War” (2012 — Hong Kong) is the latest actioner from prolific and talented director Johnnie To. Manufacturing just 50 grams of meth in China will earn you a death sentence. Timmy Choi (Louis Koo) just got caught making tons. Now he’s in the custody of Captain Zhang (Sun Honglei), and has one chance to avoid execution — turn informant and help the cops bring down the powerful cartel he’s been cooking for. Over the next 72 sleepless hours, the sting spins out of control, the line between duty and recklessness is blurred, and it becomes unclear who actually has the upper hand. Co-stars Sun Honglei and Michelle Ye. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA … In “Abducted” (2013), starring Trevor Morgan, Tessa Ferrer, Ross Thomas and Jelly How, four couples are kidnapped by masked abductors in Griffith Park, locked in a dark cell, sedated by gas, subjected to bizarre medical experiments and horrific physiological torture, and photo for Murder University escape only to discover the world will never be the same. From Entertainment One … A solar flare four times larger than the Earth is heading towards the planet and only one man, a renegade ad-hoc scientist, can possibly reverse the cataclysm — but he cynically warns that the countdown to the end of humanity has begun in “Exploding Sun” (2013), starring David James Elliott, Anthony Lemke, Natalie Brown and Julia Ormond. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Gaiam Vivendi … In “Jug Face” (2013), starring Sean Bridgers, Sean Young, Lauren Ashley Carter and Larry Fessenden, a pregnant teen trying to escape a backwoods community discovers that she may be sacrificed to a creature in a pit, an entity that requires the bloodshed to keep the community safe. “The Pit Wants What It Wants.”On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Modern Distributors/MVD Entertainment … In “Murder University” (2012), starring Samantha Acampora and David Adams Murphy, a small New England college is plagued by a series of brutal, cult-like murders that share a similar pattern to killings some 20 years earlier. The lone survivor of a recent attack must team up with a veteran police detective and his daughter in order to uncover the secret behind the killings, revealing a legacy of murder and the occult that has been kept buried for decades on campus. From Wild Eye Releasing/MVD Entertainment.

For the Family:

  • “Barney: 3-Movie Pack” (2013): Three super-dee-duper Barney feature-length movies: “Barney: The Land of Make Believe,” “Barney: Let’s make Music” and “Barney: Night Before Christmas — The Movie.” $19.98 from Lionsgate.
  • “Bubble Guppies and Team Umizoomi: Into the Snow We Go!” (2013): Holiday season compilation with three holiday episodes: “Bubble Guppies: Happy Holidays, Mr. Grumpfish!”, “Team Umizoomi: A Sledding Snow Day” and “Team Umizoomi: City of Lost Penguins.” $14.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount.photo for The Halloween Stories Collection, Volume 2
  • “The Halloween Stories Collection, Volume 2”: Includes 14 stories perfect for early and pre-readers on All Hallows Eve. Though filled with skeletons, witches and more seasonal spooks, families can encourage creativity and music appreciation with the classic sing-along “Dem Bones,” learn about Latin American holidays with “The Day of the Dead,” and delight in the not so spooky-ooky stories of “Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman.” Three DVDs: “The Day of the Dead … And More Halloween Tales” (also includes “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything,” “Kitten’s First Full Moon” and “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves”); “Dem Bones … And More Sing-Along Stories” (also includes “Dinosaur Bones,” “Hush Little Baby,” “The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night” and “The Erie Canal”); “Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman … And More Spooky Stories” (also include “The Boy with Two Shadows,” “Los Gatos Black on Halloween,” “What’s Under My Bed?” and “King of the Cats.” Three DVD set from Scholastic Storybook Treasures.
  • “Home For Christmas: A Golden Christmas 3” (2012): Shantel VanSanten and Rob Mayes star in this Dove-approved family film about two unlucky Golden Retriever owners who — with the help of some Christmas spirit and their furry friends — fall in love during the most wonderful time of the year. Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment has partnered with The Petfinder Foundation via a donation on behalf of the film. A top destination for dog lovers, Petfinder Foundation helps homeless pets by saving lives through adoptions and helping shelters across the nation (Petfinderfoundation.com). From MarVista Entertainment and Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment. photo for Home For Christmas: A Golden Christmas 3
  • “It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!” (2013): A new SpongeBob feature has Plankton vow to get his Christmas wish — the Krabby Patty formula — by turning everyone in Bikini Bottom bad by feeding them his special jerktonium-laced fruitcake. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, $21.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount.
  • “Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: The Scorpion Sting” (2011): Consists of seven episodes from the Nickelodeon TV series, $14.98 from Fox.
  • “Lost and Found” (2008): This CGI animated family film explores the true meaning of friendship when a young boy finds a penguin on his doorstep and decides to take his unexpected visitor all the way back home to the South Pole. Based on a best-selling children’s book by acclaimed author Oliver Jeffers (inspired by the real-life story of a little boy in Belfast who somehow managed to sneak a penguin out of the zoo during a class trip and all the way home to his bathtub before anyone noticed). Narrated by Jim Broadbent. Winner of more than 60 international awards. From Entertainment One.photo for Lost and Found
  • “Merry In-Laws” (2012): When Alex accepts her boyfriend Peter’s marriage proposal she has no idea her future in-laws are none other than Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, who decide to stay for a pre-Christmas visit that ends up complicating the wedding plans. A Lifetime movie. Stars Kassia Warshawski, Lucas Bryan, George Wendt and Shelley Long. From Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment.
  • “Monsters vs Aliens: Cloning Around” (2013): Eight episodes form Nickelodeon TV series, $14.98 from Fox.
  • “A Monsterous Holiday” (2013): A teenager teams up with a teenage Frankenstein’s monster to win a science fair, but inadvertently creates a new monster that threatens the town and Halloween. Stars the voices of Brooke Shields, Jon Heder, Sean Astin, Matthew Lillard, Drake Bell and Kyle Chandler. From Arc Entertainment.
  • “The New Three Stooges Complete Cartoon Collection:” Premiering on television in 1965, the “The New Three Stooges” featured animated cartoons with the voices of the Three Stooges — Larry, Moe and Curly Joe — as well as real footage “wraparounds” of the three comedy greats performing short skits to accompany the cartoons. This five-disc set contains all 156 cartoons and 40 live action shorts. Also included in this collector’s edition package is a CD featuring 12 sing-along and 11 Christmas songs performed by the Stooges. From Image/Madacy Entertainment. photo for
  • “Shrek the Musical” (2013): The Broadway production based on the smash-hit movie, featuring a score of 17 all-new songs, filmed on stage to capture the magic of a Broadway performance. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from DreamWorks/Fox.
  • “Thomas & Friends: 3-Movie Pack” (2013): Three action-packed feature-length movies chug your way: “Thomas & Friends: Blue Mountain Mystery — The Movie,” “Thomas & Friends: Day of the Diesels — The Movie” and “Thomas & Friends: Misty Island Rescue — The Movie.” $19.98 from Lionsgate.

Special Interest:

In “Dirty Wars” (2013), investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill is pulled into an unexpected journey as he chases down the hidden truth behind America’s expanding covert wars. It’s the dirty little secret of the War on Terror: All bets are off, and almost anything goes. The rules of the game and of engagement have fundamentally changed. Today drone strikes, night raids and U.S. government targeted killings occur in corners across the globe, killing untold numbers of civilians. This documentary traces the rise of the Joint Special Operations Command, the most secretive fighting force in U.S. history, exposing operations carried out by people who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. No target is off-limits for the JSOC “kill list,” not even U.S. citizens. From IFC Films … “Last Will & Testament” (2013) explores one of the greatest literary mysteries of all time: who wrote the works of William Shakespeare? Although the official story of a Stratford merchant writing for the London photo for Dirty Wars box office has held sway for centuries, questions over the authorship of the plays and poems have persisted. Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles are among the many famous figures who doubt that a grain-dealer from Stratford-Upon-Avon was England’s “Star of Poets.” Derek Jacobi leads an impressive cast featuring Vanessa Redgrave and Mark Rylance on a quest to uncover the truth behind the elusive author. The first part of the film explores the orthodox story of William Shakespeare of Stratford and the longstanding views held by academia. The second part is a testament to an alternative Shakespeare – one presented to the world in the literary works themselves and in the testimony of his most insightful doubters. $24.99 from PBS Distribution … “The March” (2013) is a new documentary honoring the 50th anniversary of the original March on Washington, a watershed moment in the Civil Rights Movement. Unprecedented in size, the August 28, 1963 massive demonstration for racial and economic equality issued a clarion call for racial justice that would help usher in sweeping civil rights legislation and a sea change in public opinion. The event will forever be remembered for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s stirring “I Have a Dream” speech. Narrated by Denzel Washington and features interviews with Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, Diahann Carroll, Clarence B. Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Andrew Young, Joan Baez and others. $24.99 from PBS Distribution … “Super Stars Super Series Vol. 1” (2013) contains three hours of mat action with eight different wrestling promotions: Southwest, South Atlantic, WWA, Hawaii, Big Time, IWA, ICW, TWF, featuring some of the greatest talent ever to grace the square circle: Terry Funk, Andre the Giant, Tommy Rich, Bruiser Brody, Junkyard Dog, Jerry Lawler, Ric Rude, Lanny Poffo, Ivan Koloff, The Shiek, Gino Hernandez, Ivan Putski, The Kangeroos, Manny Fernandez, Mike Graham, Ox Baker, The Mongols, Mark Lewin, Lars Anderson, Tully Blanchard, David Von Erich, Jim Niedhardt, Eddie Gilbert, The Sheepherders and Others. $7.95 from Jadat Sports/MVD Entertainment.

 Posted by on October 15, 2013 No Responses »