Who would have thought that a movie about a porn star — a movie about sex, drugs and the adult film industry — would be boring. Well, that’s just the case with “Lovelace,” a bio-drama about unlikely porn star Linda Lovelace and “Deep Throat,” the first scripted adult theatrical feature film (in 1972) that was a phenomenal success and pretty much legitimized adult films for the American middle class. Linda Susan Boreman (Amanda Seyfried) escaped a strict religious family and discovered freedom and the high-life when she fell for and married charismatic hustler Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard), who coerced her into the biz as the “girl-next-door” with an impressive capacity for fellatio, then fell prey to his abuse, eventually leaving “Hollywood” for a mid-West, suburban life, where she fought violence against women. It’s really not much of a story; aside from the few sexual hijinks highlighted in the film, both Lovelace, Traynor and their friends and entourage are pretty uninteresting — which just goes to show that show biz can be just as dull as any other biz. Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurette. Vitals: Director: Bob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Wes Bentley , Adam Brody, Bobby Cannavale, James Franco, Debi Mazar, Chris Noth, Robert Patrick, Eric Roberts, Chloe Sevigny, Sharon Stone, Juno Temple. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 93 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.354 million, RADiUS-TWC/Anchor Bay.
Adam Sandler keeps making the same junky films over and over again — and keeps making tons of money. “Grown Ups 2” is no exception. Here we have the same characters, the same stupid bits, the same sloppy jokes, the same bathroom humor — from “Grown Ups” and almost every previous Sandler film — with a different locale and slightly different situations. After reuniting with his high school classmates three summers before (in 2010’s “Grown Ups”), Lenny (Adam Sandler) decides he wants to move his family back to his hometown and have them grow up with his gang of childhood friends and their kids. It’s boring, disgusting and stupid. Nuff said. The should-be-ashamed co-stars include Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello. Extras: Eight deleted scenes, “Shaq and Dante: Police Force” featurette. Blu-ray adds three featurettes: “Look Who Stopped By” look at the cameos throughout the film, “Mr. Spade’s Wild Ride” with Spade as he prepares to be rolled down the hill in a tire, and “The Feder House” look at the construction of the sound stage where the Feder house was built. Vitals: Director:. Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Shaquille O’Neal, Nick Swardson, Alexander Ludwig, Milo Ventimglia. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $130.188 million, Sony.
Sequel to 2010’s horror-thriller in which a family tried to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further. Here, the haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world. They must rely on familiar allies to exile the demons that follow them and unearth the secret before the evil continues its deadly rampage. Extras: “Peripheral Vision: Behind the Scenes” featurette, “Ghostly Transformation” featurette on how the actors were transformed into ghosts in The Further through make-up effects. Blu-ray adds “Haunted Hospital: On Location” featurette; “Leigh Whannell’s Insidious Journal”; “Work in Progress: On Set Q&A” with Barbara Hershey, Patrick Wilson, Jason Blum, James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell; “Insidious: Spectral Sightings” three-part webisodes. Vitals: Director: James Wan. Stars: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 106 min., Supernatural Horror, Box office gross: $82.133, million, Sony.
Dance film follows a legendary break-dancing crew’s return to its roots in order to reclaim the world championship after more than a decade of defeat. The Battle of the Year competition is an all out war of mind-blowing dance moves, explosive routines and electrifying displays of skill and imagination. The American team, a group of underdogs, is pitted against the world’s elite as they tear it up in their struggle for the top spot. Extras: “This Is Planet B Boy” featurette explores B-Boy history and culture, “Preparing for Battle: Training & Rehearsals” behind-the-scenes featurette. Blu-ray adds Extended dance sequences from three scenes in the film; “The Art of B-Boying: A Guide to Breaking” featurette. Vitals: Director: Benson Lee. Stars: Josh Holloway, Laz Alonso, Caity Lotz, Josh Peck, Chris Brown. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 110 min., Music, Box office gross: $8.792 million, Sony.
Brave, Bold and Now on Blu-ray!
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (2008) Bat-mite (voiced by Paul Reubens) put it best: “Batman’s rich history allows him to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. To be sure, this is a lighter incarnation, but it’s certainly no less valid and true to the character’s roots than the tortured avenger crying out for mommy and daddy. AND BESIDES, THOSE EASTER BUNNIES LOOK REALLY SCARY, RIGHT?!” Under the aegis of producer James Tucker, B:TBATB bravely challenged modern fan conceptions of The Dark Knight while boldly exploitating the richness of the entire DC Comics universe. The result is a sly and skillful blend of Dick Sprang’s Batmen, TV’s timeless 1966 incarnation, Bruce Timm’s animated series and scores of others which creates a unique show that appeals to fans both new and old. Lead voice actor Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) uses his crack comic skills to channel Kevin Conroy’s Caped Crusader making his Bats the ultimate straight man in the world’s funnest cape cartoon. And he’s aided by a legion of vocal acting titans (and directed by legendary voice director Andrea Romano) that includes John Dimmagio (Aquaman), James Arnold Taylor (Green Arrow), Will Friedle (Blue Beetle), Tom Kenny (Plastic Man), Grey Delisle (Black Canary) and Neil Patrick Harris (The Music Meister). This 2-Disc, 26-Episode Blu-ray Disc Collection presents B:TBATB’s inaugural season in all its crisp and clear 1080p High Definition, as it was meant to be enjoyed. A galaxy of Bat-tastic team-ups await as they face any peril including other heroes OUTRAGEOUSLY stealing the show in their relentless pursuit of justice.
And fun. And really scary Easter Bunnies.
Kissing the Grits
FLO: THE COMPLETE SERIES (1979-80) Polly Holliday’s character Flo’s ever-burgeoning popularity proved irresistible spin-off allure, and the sassy Texas belle was lured out of the confines of Alice’s Mel’s Diner and set-up shop in her own show and roadhouse, Flo’s Yellow Rose. After an Alice-like car breakdown, Flo ends up in her infamous hometown of Cowtown, TX where, thanks to the desperate wiles of local banker Farley Waters (Jim Baker), Flo buys the local rundown roadhouse. Now she just has to talk the he-man cowboy bartender (Geoffrey Lewis) into letting a woman be his boss… Also stars Sudie Bond as Flo’s raucous Mama, Lucy Lee Flippin as Flo’s prim sister Fran, Joyce Bulifant as waitress/BFF Miriam, Leo Burmeister as madcap mechanic Randy and Stephen Mills as laconic ivory-tickler Les. Flo: The Complete Series features all 29 episodes from its two-season run plus a bar full of guests including James Cromwell, Robert Englund, Forrest Tucker, Joanna Cassidy, Hoyt Axton and Alice’s Vic Tayback as Mel.
Showtime on TNT
NEVER FORGET (1991) Leonard Nimoy and Blythe Danner star in this telefilm inspired by the life of Mel Mermelstein, the man who in the face of manipulations and machinations by the historical revisionism of professional hate groups, caused the US courts to recognize the holocaust as uncontestable fact. After the horrors of Nazi occupation, Hungarian born Auschwitz survivor Mermelstein finds a new life and new family in the new world, but strives to keep the memory of the family he lost alive by educating a new generation to the truths of Nazi depredations. When the Institute for Historical Review issues a hectoring challenge to Mel Mermelstein to prove the holocaust happened in a court of their making, Mel defiantly teams up with local lawdog Bill Cox (Dabney Coleman) to teach the Institute a lesson in truth. One of Nimoy’s finest performances in a career littered with them.
CRAZY IN LOVE (1992) Holly Hunter, Gena Rowlands, Frances McDormand and Bill Pullman star in this adaptation of Luanne Rice’s novel about a family of women living on an island in the Puget Sound. Georgie (Hunter), the youngest of the women, is head over heels for businessman hubby Nick (Pullman), but the dangers of commuting by puddle-jumper plane start to unravel their domestic stability. Then, as Geogie’s insecurities mount, a dashing photog (Julian Sands) enters the picture. Hunter and Pullman are the focus, but the quiet truths of Rowlands and McDormand are the show.
A LIFE IN THE THEATRE (1993) Playwright David Mamet and frequent collaborator director Gregory Mosher re-team to adapt their stage wonder, A Life in the Theatre, for the small screen starring a pair of true stage and screen superstars, Jack Lemon and Matthew Broderick. This two-man show focuses on the backstage ramblings of a pair of repertory actors – one an aging vet, the other a rising (wannabe) star – across seasons and shows as the pair wrestle with their craft and each other. Lemon and Broderick are masterful as they each, in turn, subsume their gifts to inhabit the shoes of the showmen who stand in the shadows.
THE HEIDI CHRONICLES (1995) Wendy Wasserstein’s blockbuster stage chronicle of the baby boomer generation’s slow rise to self-knowledge as seen through the lens of a young, independent woman stars Jamie Lee Curtis. Art student Heidi Holland navigates the choppy waters of a culture in flux, from sock hops and student protests in the Sixties to the sexual revolutions of the Seventies and the cynicism and tragedies of the Me-decade Eighties. Tom Hulce delivers an outstanding (and award winning performance) as Heidi¹s pal Peter Patrone. Also stars Peter Friedman and Kim Cattrall.
DEADLOCKED (2000) Charles Dutton and David Caruso star in this crackerjack suspense thriller that mixes courtroom drama, hostage crisis and murder mystery to brew up a powerful stew that takes aim at racial inequality in America while simultaneously examining personal responsibility and family obligations. When correction officer Jacob Doyle’s (Dutton) estranged son is convicted of murder in the first, Doyle snaps and takes the jury hostage inside their own courtroom. Doyle then tasks the DA (Caruso) that just convicted his son with proving his innocence – in 24 hours, or the jury starts to die.
HBO is Here to Help
THE WEIGHT OF THE NATIONS FOR KIDS (2012) This three part series take aim at childhood obesity through a series of short films designed to empower and educate young people on how to battle this rising epidemic. “The Great Cafeteria Takeover” follows a group of New Orleans kids, who dubbed themselves the Rethinkers, as they make a difference in their community by transforming their school lunch menu with healthier, better-tasting options. “Kebreeya’s Salad Days” follows 17-year-old Kebreeya’s crusade to improve nutrition awareness on a personal, family and community level in her North Carolina town by maintaining a garden at an elementary school and encouraging others to do the same via the student group SWARM (Students Working for an Agricultural Revolutionary Movement). “Quiz Ed!” tests the nutrition and physical activity knowledge of students of varying ages and activity levels to inspire them to choose foods with less sugar and not skip meals. Directed and Produced by Shari Cookson & Nick Doob.
NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection or WB Shop.com
From the Big Screen:
“White House Down,” “Girl Most Likely,” “Lovelace” and “Grown Ups 2.” For more releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
And the gift-set assault begins … With Hanukkah just three weeks away and Christmas following a month later, the studios are raising the ante on their box sets for gift-giving. This week there’s some pretty nifty offerings, headed up by “Naked City: The Complete Series” (1958-63), a 29-disc set with all 138 classic episodes of the acclaimed Emmy Award-winning police drama series filmed entirely in New York City and starring Paul Burke, Horace McMahon, Harry Bellaver, James Franciscus, John McIntire and Nancy Malone. “Naked City’s” first season featured half-hour episodes while the remainder of its four season run was comprised of hour-long episodes. The classic TV series — which focused on the lives of the detectives of New York’s 65th Precinct, but wasn’t shy on vivid chases and gun fights — was famous for the signature closing line of every episode, “There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.” The show featured an amazing list of guest stars including Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, William Shatner, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Rip Torn, Alan Alda, George C. Scott, Telly Savalas, Leslie Nielsen, Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, James Caan, Jack Klugman, Jean Stapleton, Walter Matthau, Jon Voight, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Peter Falk, George Segal, Jack Warden, Ed Asner, Doris Roberts, Suzanne Pleshette, Diane Ladd, Vic Morrow, James Coburn, Mickey Rooney and Burgess Meredith, to name just a few. From Image Entertainment.
For Doctor Who fans there’s “Doctor Who: The Complete Series 1-7 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Gift Set,” a 29-disc set celebrating Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary. The set includes the complete adventures of the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), available in newly remastered Blu-ray versions at full 1080p resolution for the first time ever, sitting alongside those of the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith). Also includes fully remastered complete Tenth Doctor Specials as well as The Complete Fifth and Sixth Series (previously available on Blu-ray), to full 1080p resolution, and the new “Doctor Who: The Complete Seventh Series Blu-ray.” Extras include hours and hours of bonus features from the past collections plus 120 minutes of bonus material that has never previously been available on disc. Add in a Doctor Who Universal Remote Control Sonic Screwdriver, a gesture-based remote control replica of the Eleventh Doctor’s trusty tool, crafted from real metals and featuring sound effects from the show; now you can control your television with a wave of your hand and feel like a Time Lord yourself. There’s also three exclusive original art cards and an exclusive Doctor Who comic book. $349.98 from BBC Home Entertainment … The “James Dean Ultimate Collector’s Edition” is a beautifully designed and packaged limited and numbered seven-disc Blu-ray set celebrating James Dean. When he died in 1955 at the age of 24 in a car crash, Dean — a talented “method” actor, rebel and risk taker — was mourned by millions of fans throughout the world. Despite only making three films — all of them for Warner Bros. — Dean became one of Hollywood’s most spectacular stars, and 50 years later still remains an internationally compelling force, an iconic image, and a cult favorite of timeless fascination. The core of the set are his three films: “East of Eden,” “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant,” each in a 4k restoration from original camera negatives remastered at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging. For “Rebel Without a Cause,” the stereo soundtrack was reconstructed from the magnetic soundtrack stripes of CinemaScope release prints. Also included are three full-length documentaries: “James Dean Forever Young,” narrated by Martin Sheen; “American Masters: James Dean — Sense Memories” and “George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey” (Stevens directed “Giant”). The collection also contains a 48-page photo book with behind-the-scene images and rare insight into each film, three mini reproductions of the original theatrical movie posters, and reproductions of production memos from “East of Eden” and “Rebel Without a Cause.” The “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” will sell for $99.98; each film will also be available as a stand-alone Blu-ray book for $27.98 each. Extras include a new featurette: “Dennis Hopper: Memories from the Warner Lot”; vintage documentaries: “James Dean Remembered,” “Forever James Dean,” “George Stevens: Filmmakers Who Knew Him,” “Return to Giant, “Memories of Giant,”” East of Eden: Art in Search of Life,” “Rebel Without a Cause: Defiant Innocents”; commentaries on all three films; premiere footage for “East of Eden” and “Giant”; wardrobe tests; screen tests; deleted scenes for “East of Eden” and “Rebel Without a Cause”; and much, much more. From Warner … Also from Warner, just ahead of the December 13 release of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition” The set — available as a five-disc Blu-ray 3D set ($54.98), a three-disc Blu-ray set ($35.99) and a five-disc DVD set ($34.99) features a 13-minute longer cut and nine hours of new special features, including commentary with director-producer-screenwriter Peter Jackson and co-producer/screenwriter Philippa Boyens, and “The Appendices,” a multi-part documentary focusing on various aspects of the film and the Trilogy. From New Line.
Here are the titles releasing under the Sony Pictures Choice Collection manufacture-on-demand program on November 5.
Charley Chase Collection: Volume 2
The great comedic actor Charley Chase continued a very popular run at Columbia Pictures, making several two-reel comedies for the studio. Volume two of this collection highlights not only his slapstick comedy and hilarious sight gags, but also his singing ability in shorts such as The Grand Hooter and The Big Squirt. Chase was an immensely loved comedian, and these twelve shorts are a great addition to your collection.
Unknown Valley (1933)
Joe Gordon (Buck Jones, Forbidden Trails) heads into the desert to meet his father for some prospecting, but discovers that his father left months earlier and hasn’t returned. Joe passes out in the desert heat, and is found by a group of villagers led by elders Crossett (Wade Boteler, The Green Hornet, 1940) and Snead (Ward Bond, It’s a Wonderful Life). After finding his father being held prisoner by the villagers, Joe must not only save his father, but a young woman (Cecilia Parker, Love Finds Andy Hardy), as well.
Queen Bee (1955)
In a beautiful, Georgia mansion, the home’s matriarch, Eva (Joan Crawford, Grand Hotel), rules with an iron fist. Whether it‘s domineering her alcoholic husband, Avery (Barry Sullivan, The Tall Man), or preventing Carol (Betsy Palmer, Friday the 13th, 1980) from marrying Judson (John Ireland, All the King’s Men, 1949), Eva controls everyone around her. But when a cousin, Jennifer (Lucy Marlow, A Star Is Born, 1954), comes into town and develops a bond with Avery, Eva wants to take control of the situation again — leading to dark choices.
Sail A Crooked Ship (1961)
Gilbert Barrows (Robert Wagner, TV’s “Hart to Hart”) tries to save a broken-down ship from being destroyed and hires a gang of oddball criminals to fix it, but they have other plans in mind — to rob a bank in Boston and pull off the greatest crime ever. The crew finds itself trying to dodge other ships, a hurricane and a mutiny in the process. Featuring comic legend Ernie Kovacs (North to Alaska), Carolyn Jones (TV’s “The Addams Family”), Frankie Avalon (Grease) and Frank Gorshin (TV’s “Batman”), SAIL A CROOKED SHIP is a zany, madcap comedy.
Bambole! (AKA The Dolls, 1965)
Loosely based on episodes from Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, this Italian comedy is composed of four amusing vignettes. First, a husband (Nino Manfredi, Bread and Chocolate) is upset that his wife (Virna Lisi, Queen Margot) is always on the phone with her mother, so he searches for ways to entertain himself. Second, a student (Elke Sommer, A Shot in the Dark) bounds across Rome looking for the perfect father of her child. Third, a cheating woman (Monica Vitti, L’Avventura) tries to bump off her husband to be with her lover. Lastly, a woman (Gina Lollobrigida, Beat the Devil) tries to seduce the secretary (Jean Sorel, Belle de Jour) of a monsignor. Featuring beautiful women and lively comedy, BAMBOLE! is an entertaining romp.
Kill Me Quick, I’m Cold (1967)
Giovanna (Monica Vitti, L’Avventura) and Franco (Jean Sorel, Belle de Jour) are lovers pretending to be brother and sister in order to con unsuspecting marks while staying in the most luxurious locales throughout Europe. In their travels, they come across the beautiful Christina (Daniela Surina, Divorce His – Divorce Hers), a girl who is being threatened by her brother, Sergio (Roberto Bisacco, Romeo and Juliet), in order to get the family fortune. But as Giovanna and Franco delve into her story, the double-crossing begins, and no one is sure who is getting tricked.
The Horseman (1971)
In Afghanistan, the ruthless sport of buzkashi (similar to polo) is a game of great pride. When Uraz (Omar Sharif, Lawrence of Arabia) breaks his leg and loses a spirited match, he brings shame to his village, especially his father, Tursen (Jack Palance, City Slickers), a former champion. After losing his leg below the knee, Uraz, in order to regain his honor, must learn to ride again and win with a special, one-of-a-kind horse. Directed by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, 1962), THE HORSEMEN is an epic, gripping tale.
TV on DVD
Battle Dome: The Complete First Season
BATTLE DOME combines brute strength with unquestionable beauty in a competition requiring brains, brawn and athletic endurance. Average people get into the Dome to face a cadre of colorful competitors (including Terry Crews from TV’s “Everybody Hates Chris”) in a variety of exciting games to see who will hold the Battle Dome championship belt. Also featuring an assortment of gorgeous ladies (including Playboy’s Dahm Triplets), BATTLE DOME is a fast, frenetic mixture of sports and entertainment.
The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case (1976, TV Movie)
In the story that shocked the world, THE LINDBERGH KIDNAPPING CASE is a compelling crime drama. When the baby of Anne (Sian Barbara Allen, Billy Two Hats) and legendary pilot Charles Lindbergh (Cliff De Young, Glory) is kidnapped and held for ransom, the story becomes a media sensation. Although the ransom is paid, the baby is found dead in the woods and Bruno Richard Hauptmann (Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs) is suspected. Through courtroom testimonies and eyewitness accounts, the truth of this shocking crime is revealed.
Breaking Up is Hard To Do (1979 – TV Movie)
Six men (Ted Bessell, TV’s “That Girl”; Jeff Conaway, Grease; Robert Conrad, TV’s “The Wild Wild West”; Billy Crystal, When Harry Met Sally…; Tony Musante, We Own the Night; and David Ogden Stiers, Beauty and the Beast), all newly single, stay at a beach house in Malibu to rediscover their young, partying ways. While the nights are meant for fun and frolic, their amazing summer causes the six men to learn about themselves and the importance of their friendships.
Beach Patrol (1979 – TV Movie)
The sands of Southern California are protected by the BEACH PATROL, policemen who cover the coast in dune buggies. When the patrol’s newest officer, Jan (Christine De Lisle, TV’s “The A-Team”), spots a drug kingpin on her first day, she becomes a target for murder. It’s up to the patrol to track down the crime boss before Jan or her partners wind up dead. Also featuring Robin Strand (TV’s “Generations”) and Jonathan Frakes (TV’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation”), BEACH PATROL is a wild, fast-paced crime story.
Salvage 1: Golden Orbit (1979 – TV Movie)
Harry Broderick (Andy Griffith, TV’s “The Andy Griffith Show”) is not like any junk dealer you’ve met. Harry has dreams, and one of them is to go to space, reclaim all of the useless satellites and salvage them. He builds his own spaceship, The Vulture, out of junk and brings on former astronaut Skip Carmichael (Joel Higgins, TV’s “Silver Spoons”) and fuel expert Melanie Slozar (Trish Stewart, TV’s “The Young and the Restless”). Together the team goes into space to get a dead communications satellite, but the government wants them stopped, as there is secret information on it.
Once Upon A Spy (1980 – TV Movie)
When NASA’s mega-computer is stolen, the government calls on Jack Chenault (Ted Danson, TV’s “Damages”), a wisecracking computer expert, to help track it down. Partnered with Paige Tannehill (Mary Louise Weller, Animal House), the two find out that Marcus Valorium (Christopher Lee, The Lord of the Rings series), a mysterious and powerful millionaire, is in control of the computer and plans to use it to take over the world. It is up to Jack and Paige to take down Valorium and save the day.
Far From Vietnam (1967) Initiated and edited by Chris Marker, this is an epic 1967 collaboration between cinema greats Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch and Alain Resnais in protest of American military involvement in Vietnam. The film brings together an array of contributions, none individually credited, under a unified editorial vision. The elements span documentary footage shot in North and South Vietnam and at anti-war demonstrations in the United States; a fictional vignette and a monologue that dramatize the self-interrogation of European intellectuals; interviews with Fidel Castro and Anne Morrison, widow of Norman Morrison, the Quaker pacifist who burned himself alive on the steps of the White House in 1965; reflections from French journalist Michele Ray; and a range of repurposed media material. Passionately critical and self-critical, it’s a milestone in political documentary and in world cinema. Formats: DVD, VOD. Extras: “The Sixth Side of the Pentagon” (Chris Marker & Francois Reichenbach, 1967), original theatrical trailer. $29.98 from Icarus Films.
THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON (1991-92) Joining series star (and now full Producer) Gerard Christopher were comic scribes Andy Helfer, Mike Carlin, and J.M. Dematteis as well as future Justice League animated mainstay Stan Berkowitz who all helped The Adventures of Superboy sail above any syndicated show limits thanks to their ample imaginations and affection for the source material. This 3-Disc, 22-Episode complete series collection sees young Clark Kent/Kal-El ready to break the bonds of boyhood and emerge as the legendary Man of Steel while battling and befriending classic four color foes like Lex Luthor (Sherman Howard, Batman Beyond), Metallo (Michael Callan, Mysterious Island) and Bizarro (Barry Meyers aka Douglas B. Meyers, Mr. Silver the Robotic Performer), as well as TV originals Chaos (Paul McCrane, Robocop), Adrian Temple (Roddy Piper, They Live) and Tommy Puck (Billy Mummy, Babylon 5). It all leads up to a one-two punch season finale, “Rites of Passage” that sees Superboy return to Smallville to begin his final steps into Supermanhood. Note: Initial quantities of this release will be traditionally replicated (pressed) in anticipation of high consumer demand.
Middle-Aged Man of No Fear – on Blu-Ray!
FEARLESS (1993) Peter Weir directs this visionary tale of ordinary folk transformed by extraordinary events to tragic and transcendent ends. Jeff Bridges delivers one of his most unforgettable performances as Max, an architect who survives a horrific plane crash unscathed. But Max’s family might not be so lucky, as the experience has left the now shamanistic survivor seemingly beyond the reach of his wife (a deeply anchored Isabella Rossellini) and son (Spencer Vrooman). Rosie Perez plays “the other woman” Carla, whose overwhelming grief may prove to be the panacea for both her and Max. Finally presented in it’s correct wide screen aspect ratio, Weir and cinematographer Allen Daviau’s vision comes to breathtaking Blu-ray from a sparkling new master. Also stars Tom Hulce, John Turturro, Benicio Del Toro, and John De Lancie. Adapted for the screen by Rafael Yglesias from his own novel. 16×9 Widescreen 1080p HD, DTS-HD Audio, Blu-ray Disc
Lee Tracy: Blarney Man of Ballyhoo
THE HALF NAKED TRUTH (1932) Pre-Code cinema fast-talker Lee Tracy helps give birth to a new queen comedienne when he teams up with “The Hot Pepper” Lupe Velez and director Gregory La Cava in this Big top-cum-Great-White-Way ballyhoo. Tracy and Velez play a carnie pitchman and hoochie-coochie girl who take their act off the road to make big rubes out of the seen-it-all citizens of the Big Apple. Eugene Pallette co-star as their circus strongman pal strong-armed into playing a “Turkish” bodyguard (and “Turkish” is code for a specific type of harem guardian, if you know what we mean) for Velez’s faux fugitive queen. Nothing fails quite like success and the perfect pair of pitchers have a falling out, thanks to a wannabe lothario (Frank Morgan). And this, of course, means war…
THE NUISANCE (1933) Lee Tracy is sublimely in his element as an in-it-to-win-it shyster bleeding the “soulless corporation” running his city’s streetcars in this pitch perfect cynical crusader flick. Unfortunately for the gentry of this fine city, Tracy’s J. Phineas Stevens, Esq. who has the moral edge (albeit a thin one) over the corrupt public utility corp. Creating the quandary is lay private detective Madge Evans, sent undercover and under the sheets to get the goods on Stevens. Frank Morgan plays Stevens secret weapon, a dyspeptic dipsomaniac doc who knows how to doctor an X-ray, while Charles Butterworth plays an archetypical example of the now-vanished art of flop men, who throw themselves under cars for a quick payoff (no foolin’!). Directed by Jack Conway.
TURN BACK THE CLOCK (1933) This landmark comedic fantasy directed by Edgar Selwyn and co-written by Selwyn and the great Ben Hecht stars Lee Tracy as the time-tossed middle-aged everyman Joe Gimlet. NYC tobacconist and WWI vet Joe is struck in a rut, married to his high school sweetheart Mary (the always pleasing Mae Clarke) when a chance encounter with his hometown pal-made-good Ted Wright (a charming Otto Kruger) causes Joe to doubt his life’s choices. A horrible accident sends Joe plunging down the depths of his own past and finds himself back in the innocent days of 1910, armed with the memories of 1932. This time around Joe ain’t gonna be a sap, he’s gonna go for the dough, see? He sets Mary aside and makes a play for the one he let away, the wealthy Elvina (Peggy Shannon), and formerly future Mrs. Ted Wright. As Joe changes the present to avoid his future, Joe and Ted trade lives in bittersweet fashion as they discover middle-aged regret is a class-less affair. As an extra bonus – look for a cameo by the now Ted Healy-free Three Stooges as a trio of wedding singers!
HBO on the Hunt
MANHUNT (2013) The May 1, 2011 raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan that culminated in the killing of Osama bin Laden took 40 minutes, but the CIA¹s hunt for bin Laden took two decades. Manhunt tells the remarkable true story of this nearly 20-year pursuit of the world¹s most notorious terrorist. Directed by Greg Barker and based on the book ³Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad² by Peter Bergen, this documentary feature is a real-life spy thriller that reveals behind-the-scenes accounts from CIA analysts, targeters and operatives who testify to the disagreements, frustrations, tragedies and triumphs that make up this fascinating yet painful chapter in American military and political history.
NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection or WB Shop.com.
I really wanted to like “R.I.P.D.” It had gotten such bad buzz before it opened, and then such a lukewarm reception by the critics, that I wanted to give the film the benefit of the doubt and be generous with what — in concept — sounded like a great idea: A police force made up of dead cowboys and deceased cops whose mission was to return to the “other side” monstrous spirits still roaming the Earth (the screenplay was based on the Dark Horse graphic novel). Unfortunately, however, the whole affair came off as a re-purposed “Men in Black,” right down to the use of secret entrances to the agents’ headquarters, the pairing of a grizzled veteran (Jeff Bridges as a long-dead old West gunslinger) and a newbie (Ryan Reynolds as a recently dead cop), and outlandish bodies for the evil spirits once their human facades are stripped off. The plot: Reynolds, on the verge of becoming a dirty cop, is killed in the line of duty and in order to redeem himself, he’s forced to join the Rest in Peace Department and, with veteran dead sheriff Roy Pulsifer (Bridges), has to track down criminals trying to escape final judgment. They soon uncover a plot to open a tunnel between Earth and the afterlife that would begin sending angry souls the wrong way, an action that could end life as we know it. Despite sporadic spectacular special effects, the film drags, especially in lengthy “talky” scenes between Bridges — here making a mockery of his “True Grit” persona — and Reynolds. And the one original bit — both men have avatars that represent them when they’re seen by the living, a Chinese man for Reynolds, a sexy woman for Bridges — falls flat because of stilted acting and pacing. Extras: Deleted and alternate scenes, gag reel, “Transferring R.I.P.D. – The Making of.” Blu-ray adds alternate openings, “R.I.P.D Motion Comics: Bringing the Avatars to Life,” “Nick’s New Avatars,” “Filming the Other Side,” “Walking Among Us: Deados & Avatars,” “Anatomy of a Shootout.” 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.