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


May 222014

In August, Criterion presents an array of contemporary classics from around the world. They include two by directors new to the collection: the iconic Bob Fosse, with his Oscar-winning autobiographical musical drama “All That Jazz”; and the beloved Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar, with his provocative and sensual “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” August will also bring two long-requested titles: John Cassavetes’ raw and emotional “Love Streams,” never before on DVD or Blu-ray in the U.S.; and “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” the sexy smash hit from Oscar-winning “Gravity” director Alfonso Cuaron. All that plus a new Blu-ray edition of Shohei Imamura’s intense serial killer thriller “Vengeance Is Mine.”

August 9: Love Streams (1984)
August 16: Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990)
August 16: Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)
August 23: All That Jazz (1979)
August 23: Vengeance Is Mine (1979)


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 Posted by on May 22, 2014 No Responses »
May 192014

From the Big Screen:

“The Monuments Men,” “3 Days to Kill,” “About Last Night,” “Pompeii” and “Vampire Academy.” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Highlights:

“The Color of Lies” (1999 — France), starring Jacques Gamblin, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Sandrine Bonnaire and Antoine de Caunes, is a late-career masterpiece from director Claude Chabrol which, as in many of his suspenseful films, uses a murder mystery to expose the underlying tensions and deceptions of photo for The Color of Lies a close-knit community. A 10-year-old girl’s violated body is found in the woods of a Brittany fishing village. Suspicion immediately falls on Rene (Gamblin), a painter and the girl’s art teacher; he is apparently the last person to have seen her alive. The inspector in charge of the investigation (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) immediately questions him. In this provincial town where the residents all know each other, Rene becomes increasingly unsettled by his neighbors’ suspicions and by the inspector’s investigation. Children stop coming to him for lessons. His beloved wife, Vivianne (Sandrine Bonnaire), a nurse, protects and supports him, but is tempted by the advances of an arrogant local TV personality (Antoine de Caunes). True to form, Chabrol is less interested in whodunit mechanics than in dissecting a culture of lies — from advertising to adultery — that permeates modern society. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from the Cohen Film Collection.

photo for Like Someone in Love Abbas Kiarostami has spent his movie career exploring the tiny spaces that separate illusion from reality and the simulated from the authentic. At first blush, his extraordinary, sly “Like Someone in Love,” (2013) which finds the Iranian director in Tokyo, may appear to be among his most straightforward films. Yet with this simple story of the growing bond between a young part-time call girl and a grandfatherly client, Kiarostami has constructed an enigmatic but crystalline investigation of affection and desire as complex as his masterful “Close-up” and “Certified Copy” in its engagement with the workings of the mercurial human heart. In a Blu-ray/DVD Dual Format Edition .New 2K digital film transfer, supervised by director Abbas Kiarostami, with 3.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.

“The Great Flood” (2012) is the story, told without dialogue, of the Mississippi River Flood of 1927, the most destructive in U.S. history and the cause of a million people’s displacement. Bill Morrison, the acclaimed director of “Decasia” (the newest inductee to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry) and Bill Frisell, Grammy-winning composer and guitarist, have teamed up to create a powerful new cinematic experience. In the spring of 1927, the river broke out of its earthen embankments in 145 places and inundated 27,000 photo for The Great Floodsquare miles. Part of its legacy was the forced exodus of displaced sharecroppers, who left plantation life and migrated to Northern cities, adapting to an industrial society with its own set of challenges. Musically, the Great Migration fueled the evolution of acoustic blues to electric blues bands that thrived in cities like Memphis, Detroit and Chicago, becoming the wellspring for R&B and rock as well as developing jazz styles. For the film, Morrison scoured film archives, including the Fox Movietone Newsfilm Library and the National archives, for footage of the Mississippi River Flood. All film documenting this catastrophe was shot on volatile nitrate stock, and what footage remains is pock marked and partially deteriorated. The degraded filmstock figures prominently in Morrison’s aesthetic with distorted images suggesting different planes of reality in the story — those lived, dreamt, or remembered. For the score, Frisell has drawn upon his wide musical palette informed by elements of American roots music, but refracted through his uniquely evocative approach that highlights essential qualities of his thematic focus. Playing guitar, Frisell is joined by Tony Scherr on bass, Kenny Wollesen on drums and Ron Miles on trumpet. From Icarus Films.

“Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley” (2014): Often referred to as “the funniest woman in the world,” the iconic black comedienne Jackie “Moms” Mabley broke racial and gender boundaries as the first black female headliner at the photo for Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley Apollo Theater and Carnegie Hall. In her directorial film debut, Whoopi Goldberg pays homage to this pioneering talent by bringing together an impressive roster of A-list entertainers and historians to celebrate Mabley’s storied life and career. Born Loretta Mary Aiken in Brevard, N.C., on March 19, 1894, Mabley was one of the most successful entertainers to perform on the black vaudeville stage, also known as the “chitlin’ circuit.” Her monologues touched on traditional topics such as family, as well as more controversial subjects that were typically avoided by comedians of the era, regardless of race, including infidelity, poverty, welfare and alcohol. Her successful career spanned five decades (though white audiences generally did not learn of her until the early 1960s), throughout which she recorded more than 20 comedy albums and appeared in numerous films. This documentary includes vintage clips and recordings of her performances, as well as recent interviews with some of the world’s top comedians, and Mabley fans, including Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Robert Klein, Bill Cosby and Goldberg. $19.98 from HBO.

“John Wayne: The Epic Collection” is a collection of 40 Warner and Paramount Films starring the iconic actor, on 38 discs, $149.98. The collection comes packaged in a handsome book with unique collectibles and hours of special features: The coffee table book includes a chronological presentation of Wayne films, enhanced with wonderful photographs; the special features include commentaries, documentaries, featurettes, vintage shorts and classic cartoons; and the special John Wayne collectibles include personal correspondence, script pages/covers, pages with Wayne’s notations and behind-the-scenes artifacts. View the complete list of films here. From Warner.

photo for The Abbott and Costello Show: The Complete Second Season “The Abbott and Costello Show: The Complete Second Season” (1953) is a four-disc set with 26 episodes digitally restored and re-mastered. Beginning in 1952, the filmed half-hour series “The Abbott and Costello Show” appeared in syndication on local stations across the country. Loosely based on their popular radio series, the show cast the duo as unemployed wastrels, with one of the show’s running gags involved Abbott perpetually nagging Costello to get a job to pay their rent. The simple plotlines were often just a set-up to recreate the pair’s classic comedy routines — including “Who’s on First?” and other familiar set pieces — from their films and burlesque performances. Also featuring Sidney Fields as their landlord, Hillary Brooke as a friendly neighbor often caught in the pair’s schemes and Joe Besser as Stinky, a 40-year-old dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit, “The Abbott and Costello Show” was voted as one of the “Top 100 TV Shows of All-Time” by both Time and Entertainment Weekly. From Entertainment One.

“Weekend of a Champion” (1971/2013), a nearly forgotten film by Roman Polanski, made at the height of his fame, has resurfaced to thrill fans of the director as well as lovers of auto racing. Restored and with new footage, the photo for Weekend of a Champion film is a you-are-there look at racing great Jackie Stewart as he competes in the renowned Monaco Grand Prix. In 1971, Oscar-winning filmmaker and racing fan Roman Polanski spent a weekend with world champion Formula One driver Jackie Stewart as he attempted to win the Monaco Grand Prix, one of the premier events in the sport. Polanski was given intimate access to Stewart’s world for three days, both on the track and off. The result was an extraordinarily rare glimpse into the life of a gifted athlete at the height of his powers. The film, produced by Polanski and credited to documentary director Frank Simon, premiered at the 1972 Berlin Film Festival and played throughout Europe. But it then sat dormant for 40 years until Polanski restored and recut the film, adding a new epilogue showing Polanski and Stewart reminiscing in present-day Monaco, having a conversation about their friendship, the evolution of racing, and life in general. The revitalized film premiered as an Official Selection at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and went on to a successful theatrical U.S. release. From MPI Home Video.

And there’s two important Blu-ray debuts this week: Since its release, director Werner Herzog’s “Nosferatu the Vampyre” (1979) has not only become one of the director’s most acclaimed films, but one of the most compelling and visually-striking interpretations of the Dracula story ever committed to film. photo for Nosferatu the Vampyre BLU-RAY DEBUT In his haunting interpretation of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 classic, Herzog eschews the popular conception of the vampire as confident and alluring, and instead focuses on the tragedy of the creature: doomed to immortality, weary, and disgusted at his own existence. Stars Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani and Bruno Ganz. From Shout! Factory … The comedy-Western “McLintock!” (1963) stars John Wayne as George Washington McLintock, a proud, defiant cattle baron whose daughter is due home from college. But G.W.’s happy reunion is tempered by the arrival of his headstrong wife (Maureen O’Hara), who recently left him, and whose return brings with her verbal fireworks and slapstick pratfalls. Scanned in 4K. Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and co-starring Patrick Wayne, Stefanie Powers, Jack Kruschen, Chill Wills, Yvonne De Carlo, Jerry Van Dyke, Edgar Buchanan, Bruce Cabot, Perry Lopez and Strother Martin. From Paramount.

From TV to DVD:

Heading up the TV releases this week is “Happy Days: The Fifth Season”
(1977-78), a four-disc set with 27 episodes. The nostalgic comedy set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin follows the Cunninghams and their two kids, Richie and Joanie and their relationship with Fonzie, a motorcycle-riding Casanova who became a pop-culture phenomenon. Features the iconic “jump the shark” scene and a collection of famous guest stars including Robin Williams, Christopher Knight, Rance Howard, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Morgan Fairchild and Suzi Quatro. $42.99 from CBS/Paramount … Also this week: “Arthur Hailey’s The Moneychangers” (1976), starring Christopher Plummer, Kirk Douglas, Anne Baxter, Ralph Bellamy, Timothy Bottoms, Joan Collins, Robert Loggia and Jean Peters in an adaptation of photo for Happy Days: The Fifth Season Arthur Hailey’s bestselling book about corruption and greed in the banking business. From CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount … All the young midwives and good sisters return in the BBC’s critically acclaimed drama “Call the Midwife: Season Three” (201-14), based on the best-selling memoirs of former nurse Jennifer Worth. The third season — with eight episodes — takes viewers to 1959, on the eve of the Swinging Sixties. Three-disc DVD: $39.98, two-disc Blu-ray: $44.98. From BBC Home Entertainment … The British crime solving odd couple of grumpy, straight-talking Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel (Warren Clark) and his well-mannered partner Inspector Peter Pascoe (Colin Buchanan) return with their fiery brand of detective work in “Dalziel & Pascoe: Season Nine” (2009), which features four two-part murder mysteries. In a two-disc set, $34.98 from BBC Home Entertainment … “The Dating Guy: The Complete First Season” (2009) is a three-disc set with 13 episodes of the adult animated comedy about the outrageous world of twenty-something dating, $29.98 from Entertainment One … The six-part adventure “Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World” (1967) has been restored and digitally remastered, thanks to the discovery of a batch of missing episodes last year. Previously available exclusively on iTunes, “The photo for L.A. Law: The Complete Second Season Enemy of the World” features Patrick Troughton as both the Second Doctor and his antagonist (Ramon Salamander). The TARDIS lands on an Australian beach in the 21st century. But this is no seaside vacation — within minutes, the Doctor, Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling) are under attack. $19.98 from BBC Home Entertainment … “Duck Dynasty: The Duck Days of Summer” (2012-13) consists of three vacation-themed episodes including the double-length episode of the family trip to Hawaii, $9.98 from Lionsgate … “L.A. Law: The Complete Second Season” (1987-88) is a five-disc set with 20 episodes, $29.93 from Shout! Factory … “Mountain Men: Season 2” (2013) is a two-disc set with 16 episodes, $19.98 from Lionsgate … In the knuckle-biting final 10 episodes of this cold-case detective drama “Waking the Dead: Season Nine” (2011), Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd (Trevor Eve) and his team tackle their most challenging and personal cases to date. Three-disc set, $39.98 from BBC Home Entertainment … “Warehouse 13: Season Five” (2014) is a two-disc set with six episodes, $39.98 from Universal … “Warehouse: The Complete Series” (2009-14) is a 16-disc set, $219.99 from Universal.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

After a series of inexplicable murders sweeps a small, isolated community, a priest and a local police detective learn that a troubled teen with a dark past has recently moved to town and the pair find themselves pitted against a demonic force more diabolically evil and twisted than any of them could have imagined in “Way of the Wicked” (2014), starring Christian Slater, Vinnie Jone, Emily Tennant and Jake Croker. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Image Entertainment … photo for McCanick Set over the course of one long, hot day, the mystery “McCanick” (2013), starring David Morse, Cory Monteith, Mike Vogel, Rachel Nichols, Tracie Thoms and Ciaran Hinds, follows a narcotics detective who hunts for a seemingly harmless young criminal who knows a damaging truth about the cop’s past. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA … College students exploring an abandoned insane asylum accidentally shatter canisters holding the cremains of former mental patients and when they inhale the dusty ash filling the air, they’re soon possessed by the souls once held within them … and one is a convicted serial killer from 1950 in “House of Dust” (2013), starring Inbar Lavi, Steven Grayhm, Eddie Hassell, Holland Roden, John Lee Ames, Alesandra Assante, Joy Lauren, Nicole Travolta and Stephen Spinella. From Anchor Bay … Set in the lower echelons of 1860s Paris, a beautiful young woman trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, meets her husband’s alluring friend and embarks on an illicit affair that leads to tragic consequences in “In Secret” (2013), starring Elizabeth Olsen, Oscar Isaac, Tom Felton and Jessica Lange. From Lionsgate … In “Grand Piano” (2013,) Elijah Wood stars as Tom photo for Grand Piano Selznick, the most talented pianist of his generation, who stopped performing in public because of his stage fright. Years after a catastrophic performance, he reappears in public in a long awaited concert in Chicago. In a packed theater, in front of the expectant audience, Tom finds a message written on the score: “Play one wrong note and you die.” Without leaving the piano, Tom must discover the anonymous sniper’s motives and look for help without anyone realizing. Co-stars John Cusack. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment … “Mischief Night” (2012), starring Brooke Anne Smith, Marc Valera and Malcolm McDowell, follows the unexpected relationship between a predator and his prey the night before All Hallows Eve. The seventh film in the After Dark Originals 2 series. From Lionsgate … In “Raze” (2013), starring Rachel Nichols, Zoe Bell, Doug Jones and Sherilyn Fenn, two drugged and abducted women wake up to find themselves in a concrete bunker where they discover that they are in a modern-day coliseum, where they and 48 other women have been selected to fight to the death. If they refuse, their loved ones will be killed. From IFC Films … “Could This Be Love” (2014), starring Drew Sidora, Tommy Ford and Romeo photo for The Revengers Miller, is an Urban rom-com about a small town country girl who returns home after college to take over the family business, her father’s beloved bed and breakfast. Facing an unfaithful husband and dysfunctional relationship with her mother, she finds herself at a difficult crossroads … until a young, handsome lawyer checks in and opens her eyes to an entirely different life. From Entertainment One … In “The Right Kind of Wrong” (2013), starring Ryan Kwanten, Sara Canning, Ryan McPartlin and Kristen Hager, a failed-writer-turned-dishwasher made famous for his many flaws and shortcomings in a blog called “Why You Suck,” a huge Internet success written by his ex-wife, meets the girl of his dreams … on the day she is marrying the perfect man. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment … The life of a peaceful rancher is destroyed when he comes back from a hunting trip to find his family massacred, and he recruits a team of convicts to find the men responsible for the crime in “The Revengers” (1972), starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Woody Strode and Susan Hayward. From CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount.

For the Family:

In “Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure “ (2014), pint-sized cousins Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie McClelland — who became celebrities thanks to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” — star in this made-for-video feature. The girls are sent to Switzelvania by Ellen as special correspondents to cover the coronation of a new queen. Once there, they encounter three very different princesses competing for the throne. Together, they hatch a royal plot to help the best candidate win. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Warner.

Special Interest:

The rebuilding of Ground Zero is the most architecturally, politically, and emotionally complex construction project in recent American history. From the beginning, the effort has been fraught with controversy, delays and politics. The struggle to develop these 16 acres of “sacred” land has encompassed 12 years, 19 government agencies, and over $20 billion. Aside from the engineering challenges, various constituencies — politicians, developers, architects, insurers, local residents, and relatives of 9/11 victims — profess conflicting claims to the site. The documentary “16 Acres: The Struggle to Rebuild Ground Zero” (2014) is the inside story of how and why this photo for 16 Acres: The Struggle to Rebuild Ground Zerohistoric project got built. At the heart of the story is the dramatic tension between noblest intentions, the desire of everyone involved to “get it right,” and the politics, hubris, ego and ideology that is the bedrock of New York City. The DVD release coincides with the May 21 opening of the long-awaited National September 11 Memorial Museum at The World Trade Center site. The filmmakers have also produced an enhanced, interactive e-book companion to the film, which will be available on iTunes May 15. “16 Acres + : Companion to the Acclaimed Documentary About the Struggle to Rebuild Ground Zero,” the first of its kind to be released in conjunction with a documentary, includes slide shows, architectural renderings, video extras, animation, and a narrative that provides background and context. From First Run Features … The monstrous triple feature “Chased By Dinosaurs” (2003) from the creators of “Walking With Dinosaurs” takes viewers around the world and brings the lizards of the photo for The First World War: The Complete Series past to life: “The Giant Claw,” “Land of Giants” and “Allosaurus.” $19.9 from BBC Home Entertainment … “Civil War 360” (2013) is a three-part Smithsonian Channel series hosted by Ashley Judd, Grammy-nominated country singer Trace Adkins and Dennis Haysbert that takes an intimate look at the war that changed our nation. $19.98 from Inception Media Group … In time for the for the First World War Centenary, “The First World War: The Complete > Series” (2003), the acclaimed 10-part series based on the book by renowned WWI historian Hew Strachan, offers a stunning account of “the war to end all wars,” as well as providing new insights into one of the defining events of modern history. Explores many of the little-known campaigns and battles as well as the Western Front. Combines previously unseen film from newly accessible archives in Central and Eastern Europe with new film of the battlefields across the world as they are today. Three-disc DVD, 34.98 from Entertainment One … “Secrets of the Third Reich” (2013), a Smithsonian Channel four-part series, uncovers the little-known stories that played a large role in determining the fate of the war and those who fought in photo for Secrets of the Third Reich it. In “Hitler’s Madness” medical experts and war historians explore recently discovered medical records that reveal tantalizing evidence about Hitler and the controversial doctor he entrusted with his life; “Hitler’s General” maps the sensational rise and fall of Hitler’s favorite general Erwin Rommel, a.k.a. the Desert Fox; “The Ghost of U-513” explores the secrets that were buried at sea when the pride of the German submarine fleet was sunk by U.S. forces; “Deadly Missions” brings to life through dramatic re-creations, rare archival footage and interviews with war historians and a German special forces veteran the secret operations that took place in the shadows of WWII. $19.98 from Inception Media Group … “Hitler and the Nazi” (2014) is a documentary that offers an absorbing look at Adolf Hitler’s brutal rise to power and features archived footage and interviews. Tracing his rise, first through politics and then through force, to become Germany’s most powerful leader, the film captures the ruthless dictator as he marches Germany into another war in a delusional quest for global domination. Three-disc DVD, $29.98 from Cinedigm.

 Posted by on May 19, 2014 No Responses »


May 152014

photo for Her It would be an understatement to say that Spike Jonze is a quirky filmmaker; from “Being John Malkovich” through his many music videos and shorts and through even the dismal failure of “Where the Wild Things Are,” the director has tackled on-the-edge themes and projects. Here he explores love in the age of the electronic machine by mating a depressed single man — heartbroken after the end of a long relationship — with a computer operating system that takes on a life of its own. Joaquin Phoenix plays a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people; when he upgrades his computer to a new, advanced operating system he encounters “Samantha,” a bright, female voiced (Scarlett Johansson) intuitive and unique entity that becomes his best friend and, eventually, his lover. It’s warm and fuzzy and imminently enjoyable, as the film explores the ups and downs of what we know will be a doomed relationship. Phoenix gives a cavalier performance. Extras: “Her: Love in the Modern Age” featurette. Blu-ray adds “The Untitled Rick Howard Project,” “How Do You Share Your Life With Somebody.” Vitals: Director: Spike Jonze. Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Scarlett Johansson. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 126 min., Drama, Box office gross: $25.240 million, Warner. 3 stars

 Posted by on May 15, 2014 No Responses »
May 152014

photo for Her Seven years after it left TV, “Veronica Mars” was resurrected as a theatrical feature. The cult series, which ran on UPN and The CW for 64 episodes from 2004-07, followed the adventures of high school-age private detective Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) who, after her best friend is murdered and her father is removed as county sheriff, dedicates her life to cracking the toughest mysteries in the affluent town of Neptune in Southern California. For several years after the series’ demise, fans clamored for more of Veronica and, finally, Bell and director-showrunner Rob Thomas put together a package for a big-screen continuation of Veronica’s saga — but the studio wouldn’t greenlight the project. Thomas and Bell decided to mount a Kickstarter crowd-sourcing campaign in 2013 to raise funds, and got a promise from the studio that the film would go into production if the duo raised $2 million. Lo and behold, the campaign raised $5.7 million from 91,585 donors in just a few days, ensuring a go-ahead for the film. The movie hit the big screen on March 14 in some 291 theatres for a box office take of $2 million; after a month in limited release, however, it ended up with only about $3.3 million … certainly not recouping its costs. The problem: The film was created for the TV series’ devotees, and never made an attempt to crossover to a wider audience. Directed by Thomas and starring Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring, Tina Majorino, Ryan Hansen, Percy Daggs III, Martin Starr, Krysten Ritter and Jerry O’Connell, the story picks up a year after Veronica’s high school graduation; she’s vying for a job at a hot-shot New York law firm when she’s called back to Neptune to help her old high school flame, Logan Echolls, who’s accused of murdering his current girlfriend. Once in Neptune, she gets embroiled in the murder mystery, police corruption and class warfare — as well as her 10-year high school reunion — and again takes up her sleuthing ways. For the non-fan, though mildly entertaining, the film is way too smug in its allusions to characters from the TV series who pop up here; the in-jokes and continuous snappy one-liners may have worked well on TV but fall flat on the big screen; the story line is bogged down by weak direction and sloppy pacing. It’s a TV show masquerading as a movie. Definitely for die-hard fans only. Extras: “By the Fans: The Making of the Veronica Mars Movie.” Blu-ray adds deleted scenes, gag reel, “More On-Set Fun: Welcome to Keith Mars Investigation,” “More On-Set Fun: Game Show With Kristen Bell and Chris Lowell,” “More On-Set Fun: On Set With Max Greenfield,” “More On-Set Fun: Veronica Mars’ Backers,” “More On-Set Fun: It’s Not All About You, Monkey,” “More On-Set Fun: Young Veronica.” Vitals: Director: Rob Thomas. Stars: Kristen Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring, Tina Majorino, Ryan Hansen, Percy Daggs III, Martin Starr, Jerry O’Connell. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: 107, PG-13 min., Comedy-Crime-Drama, Box office gross: $3.3 million, Warner. 2 stars

 Posted by on May 15, 2014 No Responses »
May 152014


TEST PILOT (1938) The terrific trio of Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy topline this high-flying drama about the men who dare the sky to destroy them and the people that love them. Gable plays daredevil test pilot Jim Lane who puts Drake’s (Lionel Barrymore) planes through their paces while best pal Gunner (Tracy) is the mechanic that keeps them bolted together. After crashing down out of the sky on a Kansas farm, Jim meets a farm girl (Loy) who turns the duo into a trio. But Jim Lane can’t change his profligate ways and now it will take two to save him. Test Pilot makes its DVD debut looking mighty fine as befits a film that has such soaring performances from its leading players.

HELL DIVERS (1931) Peacetime paean to the then-nascent crews of Navy Fliers, this pre-flight Top Gun pairs Clark Gable and Wallace Beery as two ground crew chiefs tasked with keeping the dive-bombers and their pilots flying. Beery is the rule-bending old pro, while Gable is the straight and narrow cocky young tyro gunning for his job. Full of fire, fisticuffs and eye-popping aerial maneuvers, Hell Divers is based on a story by famed aviator Lt. Comdr. Frank Wead whose life story was brought to the screen by John Ford and John Wayne in The Wings of Eagles.

AFTER OFFICE HOURS (1935) Post-code crime and romance newspaper caper features Gable playing a newshound (broadly) and Constance Bennett playing newspaper-slumming society gal (enchantingly). Ink-stained wretch Gable has no time for satin-and-furs Bennett until he realizes she’s the key to the locked retreats of the rich. As the mismatched pair starts to fractiously fall for each other, they end up on opposing sides of a murder scandal where one of them is being played for a sap.

PARNELL (1937) Gable and Loy team-up for this bio-pic of famed Irish nationalist freedom fighter Charles Stewart Parnell. Parnell’s tireless fight for Irish home rule, which carries him through persecution and prison, is imperiled when he falls hopelessly in love with the very married Katie O’Shea. Also stars Edna May Oliver, Edmund Gwenn, Billie Burke and Donald Crisp.

Monogram to the Rescue

THE MONOGRAM COWBOY COLLECTION: VOLUME EIGHT, STARRING THE ROUGH RIDERS AND JOHNNY MACK BROWN (1941-50) Before he saddled up with Nevada Jack (Johnny Mack Brown), Marshall Sandy Hopkins (Raymond Hatton) hit the trail as one-third of the legendary trio of lawmen dubbed ³The Rough Riders.² Along with Marshall Buck Roberts (Buck Jones) and Marshall Tim McCall (Tim McCoy), Sandy saved stagecoaches, took down rustlers, and investigated mysterious ghost towns ­ usually undercover! But fret not Johnny Mack fans ­ Sandy teams up with Nevada for a deuce, then Hatton and Brown have an outing as ŒTucson Smith¹ and ŒJohnny Bronton¹ before Johnny rides solo in a terrific trio of flicks. That’s 12 epic Westerns spread across 4 discs and include:

Arizona Bound (1941) The Rough Riders inaugural oater sees the trio take on lawless Mesa City.
The Gunman from Bodie (1941) The Rough Riders go undercover to smoke out a gang of rustlers.
Forbidden Trails (1941) The Rough Riders ride after to ex-cons gunning for Marshall Buck.
Below the Border (1942) The Rough Riders go up against a gang of blackmailing thieves.
Ghost Town Law (1942) The Rough Riders ride deep into ‘Old Dark House’ genre territory.
West of the Law (1942) The Rough Riders take on a formidable pair of badmen.
Law of the Valley (1944) Sandy Hopkins and Nevada Jack ride to rescue some ranchers who are being starved of water.
West of the Rio Grande (1944) Sandy Hopkins and Nevada Jack head undercover in order to secure an honest election for a town against a corrupt tyrant.
Silver Range (1946) Johnny Bronton and Tucson Smith take on a gang of smugglers.
Over the Border (1950) Johnny Mack Brown rides down some murderous stagecoach robbers.
Six Gun Mesa (1950) Johnny Mack Brown sets out to prove a framed ranch foreman innocent of murder.
West of Wyoming (1950) Johnny Mack Brown takes on a criminal gang posing as ranchers.

Meet George

THE JETSONS: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON (1987) The Jetsons are back in this 10-Episode, Complete Collection of their third and final season. George, his boy Elroy, daughter Judy, Jane his wife, as well as Astro, Rosie, Mr. Spacely (all voiced by the original cast) are back for a final go-round of funtastic future endeavors. The season starts off with a bang as George goes up against the mobsters of tomorrow thanks to Elroy, and gets arrested for his efforts. Elroy then accidentally evolves Astro into game show playing super-genius, while Judy triple moonlights outer space style to earn money for a new car. Other travails of tomorrow include George going invisible, the perils of modern dentistry, cybernetic Green Card marriages, man-eating houseplants, George clones and the terror of the annual father-daughter dance. It all comes to comedy climax as George ends up in charge of Spacely Sprockets! So strap on your rockets ­ it’s time to go back to the future of fun!

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

 Posted by on May 15, 2014 No Responses »
May 152014

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment salutes the golden age of Hollywood with a new wave of classic films on DVD from the Fox Cinema Archives collection. Beginning May 13, fans can relive Hollywood’s finest cinematic years with classic film titles spanning the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

The following 15 films will be available for purchase on DVD beginning May 13 through June 17.

May 13

Springtime in the Rockies (1942), 90 min.
Two Broadway dance partners rekindle their romance in a series of comic misunderstandings set in the Canadian Rockies. Betty Grable, John Payne, Carmen Miranda and Cesar Romero star in this 1942 classic.

chad-hannaChad Hanna (1940), 88 min.
Chad Hanna, a farm boy from upstate New York, joins a traveling circus in the 1840s. Along the way he falls for a bare-back rider and – in the end – saves the circus from financial ruin. Henry Fonda, Dorothy Lamoure and Linda Darnell star in this film.

May 20

Woman’s World (1954), 94 min.
The chairman of a large automobile maker is left to find a new second-in-command. Believing that an executive’s wife is crucial to his success, the chairman examines each of the men’s spouse relationships to learn about the candidates. Clifton Webb, June Allyson, Van Heflin and Lauren Bacall star in this 1954 classic.

The Bottom of the Bottle (1956), 88 min.
In this brother against brother story, a wealth attorney is tasked with helping his alcoholic brother, a recently-escaped fugitive, cross the Mexican border to rejoin his family. The Bottom of the Bottle stars Van Johnson, Joseph Cotton, Ruth Roman and Jack Carson.

Maryland (1940), 91 min.
Torn by grief of losing her husband in a horse accident, a bereaved widow sells her husband’s stable for fear her son will succumb to the same tragedy. When the son falls for his father’s horse trainer’s daughter, he defies his mother by entering the Maryland Cup. This 1940s film stars Walter Brennan, Fay Bainter, Brenda Joyce, John Payne and Charles Ruggles.

June 3

Blood and Steel (1959), 62 min.
Four U.S. Army Seabees are tasked with infiltrating and surveying a Japanese-occupied island in the Asian Pacific during World War II. Blood and Steel stars John Lupton, Ziva Rodann, Brett Halsey and James Edwards.

The Cisco Kid (1931), 61 min.
The Cisco Kid rides again! This time, he robs a bank to save pretty widow Sally Benton and her ranch. After developing a good relationship with Sally’s children, he risks life and limb in order to save her little one. Warner Baxter, Edmund Lowe, Conchita Montenegro and Nora Lane star in this western tale.

Hold That Co-Ed (1938), 79 min.
A sly Southern governor creates a winning state college football team in order to sway constituents to vote him into a higher office. John Barrymore, George Murphy, Marjorie Weaver and Joan Davis star in Hold That Co-ed.

Crack-Up (1936), 70 min.
When a test pilot betrays his country helping an undercover spy obtain blueprints of a secret aircraft, the conspirators’ plane crashes killing all aboard. Peter Lorre, Brian Donlevy, Helen Wood and Ralph Morgan star in Crack-Up.

June 10

The Cowboy and the Blonde (1941), 68 min.
A rodeo champ turned Western film star tries to tame a spoiled actress with a habit of throwing tantrums. The film stars Mary Beth Hughes, George Montgomery, Alan Mowbray and Robert Conway.

Here Comes Trouble (1936), 62 min.
Duke Donovan, a hapless ocean liner engineer, ends up unwittingly embroiled in a heist when a girl gives him a cigarette lighter containing jewels. Paul Kelly, Arline Judge, Mona Barrie and Gregory Ratoff star in this 1936 classic.

I Was an Adventuress (1940), 81 min.
A countess acts as bait for a con artist and his assistant as they travel across Europe. When she unexpectedly falls in love with their latest target and resigns from the team, the pair keeps re-appearing back in her life. Vera Zorina, Richard Greene, Erich von Stroheim and Peter Lorre star in this 1940 classic.

June 17

Everybody’s Baby (1939), 61 min.
The Jones Family has their hands full when a quack doctor arrives in town to discuss new theories of childrearing. Everybody’s Baby stars Jed Prouty, Shirley Deane, Spring Byington and Russell Gleason.

Girl Trouble (1942), 81 min.
A New York socialite rents her apartment to a visiting Venezuelan playboy in order to make ends meet. When she is mistaken for a servant, however, hilarities ensue as a business deal is arranged and they form a romance. Don Ameche, Joan Bennett, Billie Burke and Frank Craven star in this 1942 classic.

The Escape (1939), 58 min.
A former gangster is released from prison to find his life swept away and his sister engaged to a policeman. He returns to his criminal ways and soon comes to regret the choice when his baby daughter is placed in danger. Kane Richmond, Amanda Duff, Henry Armetta, Edward Norris and June Gale star in this 1939 classic.

 Posted by on May 15, 2014 No Responses »
May 132014

From the Big Screen:

“Her,” “I, Frankenstein” and “That Awkward Moment.” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Highlights:

“The Dave Clark Five and Beyond: Glad All Over”
(2013) This two-hour long documentary celebrates the 50th anniversary of the British invasion of America (The Dave Clark Five was the first English group to tour America, in May 1964, thus spearheading the invasion) and features newly filmed interviews with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Stevie Wonder, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Gene Simmons, Whoopi Goldberg, Dionne Warwick, 60s fashion icon Twiggy and Ian McKellen, all sharing their memories of how the music of the 60s and the cultural revolution of 1964 changed their photo for The Dave Clark Five and Beyond: Glad All Over lives. The Dave Clark Five was a joyous, hard-driving record-making machine with an incredible stomping beat driven by the signature drums of leader Dave Clark. The group recorded 24 albums with 30 charting singles from 1964 to 1970, when they disbanded because they wanted to go out at the peak of their powers. They achieved a record-breaking 15 consecutive Top-20 U.S. hit singles within a two-year period — more than any other group in the world except The Beatles. They appeared a record-breaking 18 times on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” with its weekly audience of 70 million viewers — more than any other rock, pop or R&B artist. They took the world by storm and helped change the rock scene. Clark wrote all the songs with lead singer Mike Smith and — unheard of for its time — he owned all the masters, produced the group’s records, and was one of the first to create music videos. He later studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio, acted in West End plays, wrote, produced and directed a spectacular multi-media “space-travaganza” in 1986 with Ian McKellen, Laurence Olivier and Freddie Mercury, and bought the rights to the ultimate 1960s British pop culture show “Ready Steady Go,” not to merchandise it but keep it intact for posterity. And, naturally, he wrote, produced and directed this documentary which, unfortunately, meanders a little too much through the group’s history with little background on the members themselves or their musical inspiration (though Clark cites Buddy Rich, Elvis and soul music for his inspirations). Still, an enlightening film. On DVD, Blu-ray from PBS Distribution. Note: Surprisingly, all the DC5 albums are out of print and going for phenomenal prices online.

“Stalingrad” (2013), starring Thomas Kretschmann, Petr Fedorov, Sergey Bondarchuk, Mariya Smolnikova, Yanina Studilina. An epic look at the battle that turned the tide of World War II, “Stalingrad” was the highest-grossing Russian film of all time and Russia’s official submission for Best Foreign-language Film to the 86th Academy Awards. The Battle of Stalingrad lasted five months from August 1942 to February 1943 and cost millions of lives on both sides photo for Stalingrad — the Soviets alone suffered a total of 1,129,619 casualties; it is estimated that anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 Soviet civilians died in Stalingrad and its suburbs during a single week of aerial bombing by the Germans. The defeat of the German army at Stalingrad and the Eastern front was fatal for the Nazi, slowing its momentum and tieing up resources that allowed the Allies to slowly but surely mount successful forays into German occupied Europe, culminating in the D-Day invasion. The film contrasts the grand scale of the famous battle with the intimate human drama among the Russian soldiers, the few remaining civilians and the German soldiers who invaded the city. A band of determined Russian soldiers fight to hold a strategic building in their devastated city against a ruthless German army, and in the process become deeply connected to a Russian woman who has been living there. The acting is, as to be expected, gallant and righteous; the battle scenes are realistic and gritty; and the special effects surprisingly good — an attack by flame engulfed Soviet soldiers that overruns a German encampment is spectacular. A powerful outing. On DVD and in a 3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray Combo from Sony.

Another powerful film about World War II is “Overlord” (1975), arriving on Blu-ray this week from The Criterion Collection. Seamlessly interweaving archival war footage and a fictional narrative, this immersive account of life during wartime follows a 21-year-old man’s induction into the British army, his stint during basic training, and his preparation as an infantryman for the D-Day invasion at Normandy. Along the way he makes friends, falls in love, and has horrible dream-like premonitions of death. Directed by Stuart Cooper and shot by John Alcott (Stanley Kubrick’s longtime photo for Overlord cinematographer), the film is brings to life all the boredom, terror and isolation of war with jolting authenticity. Restored in a high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Stuart Cooper, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Stars Brian Stirner, Davyd Harries, Nicholas Ball, Julie Neesam and Sam Sewell. Extras include “Mining the Archive,” a 2007 video piece featuring archivists from London’s Imperial War Museum detailing the footage used in the film; “Capa Influences Cooper,” a 2007 photo essay featuring Cooper on photographer Robert Capa; “Cameramen at War,” the British Ministry of Information’s 1943 film tribute to newsreel and service film unit cameramen; “A Test of Violence,” Cooper’s 1969 short film about the Spanish artist Juan Genoves; “Germany Calling,” a 1941 Ministry of Information propaganda film, clips of which appear in “Overlord”; excerpts from the journals of two D-day soldiers, read by Stirner; more.

There’s two horror Blu-ray debuts this week from Scream Factory/Shout! Factory: “Evilspeak” (1981), starring Clint Howard, R.G. Armstrong, Joseph Cortese, Claude Earl Jones, Haywood Nelson, Don Stark, Charles Tyner, Lenny Montana and Richard Moll, about a social outcast military cadet who finds a way to summon demons and cast spells on his tormentors through his computer. Prior to its U.S. theatrical release, the distributor of the film requested that the graphic violence be cut to avoid an photo for Evilspeak BLU-RAY DEBUT “X” rating from the MPAA. The film has been completely restored from a newly discovered 35mm inter-positive source including all of its long rumored scenes of bloody carnage. In a new 1080p high definition transfer supervised and approved by director Eric Weston … and “Final Exam” (1981), about a psycho killer who shows up on a college campus to slash up pretty co-eds and dumb jocks. Stars Cecile Bagdadi, Joel S. Rice. In a new HD transfer from the original camera negative.

Olive Films has two classic 1940s hits on Blu-ray this week: “Flying Tigers “ (1942), starring John Wayne, John Carroll, Anna Lee, Paul Kelly and Mae Clarke in an actioner that follows a small and daring band of American mercenaries who soared into battle against Japan in defense of photo for Flying Tigers BLU-RAY DEBUT and DVD China’s freedom just prior to the invasion of Pearl Harbor. Remastered in high definition … and “Home of the Brave” (1948), directed by Mark Robson and starring Frank Lovejoy, Lloyd Bridges, Douglas Dick, James Edwards, Steve Brodie and Jeff Corey. The melodrama recounts the story of a young black soldier who suffered a nervous breakdown and developed psychosomatic paralysis; crippled by rage and trauma, his condition was induced by experiences encountered during a reconnaissance mission combined with a lifetime of racial discrimination. One of Hollywood’s first bold statements regarding the issue of race and the realities of war. Remastered in high definition.

From TV to DVD:

“Afterlife: Season One” (2005) is a two-disc set with six episodes of the series in which university lecturer Robert Bridge (Andrew Lincoln) becomes involved in a series of supernatural events surrounding medium Alison Mundy (Lesley Sharp). $24.98 from BBC Home Entertainment … “Eastbound & Down: The Complete Fourth and Final Season”photo for Eastbound & Down: The Complete Fourth Season and Final Season (2013) is a two-disc set with eight episodes. Life has thrown a lot of curve balls to washed-up former major-league pitching ace Kenny Powers. After a disgraceful return to his hometown, a failed attempt at coaching, a soul-searching season in Mexico, a successful return to the minor leagues and a not-so-successful attempt at single fatherhood, Kenny finally hung up his cap to become a full-time family man. But can he ever truly say goodbye to the fame and fortune afforded by his baseball career? DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray Disc: $39.98 from HBO … “Orange Is the New Black – Season One” (2013) contains photo for Perry Mason Movie Collection - Volume 2 all 13 episodes of the dark comedy about engaged Brooklynite Piper Chapman, whose wild past comes back to haunt her and results in her arrest and detention in a federal penitentiary, where she trades her comfortable New York life for an orange prison jumpsuit and finds unexpected conflict and camaraderie amidst an eccentric group of inmates. Four-disc DVD, $39.97; three-disc Blu-ray, $39.98 from Lionsgate … “Perry Mason Movie Collection – Volume 2” features six made-for-TV movies that originally aired between 1987-1989: “The Case of the Scandalous Scoundrel,” “The Case of the Avenging Ace,” “The Case of the Lady in the Lake,” “The Case of the Lethal Lesson,” “The Case of the Musical Murder” and “The Case of the All-Star Assassin.” $59.99 from CBS/Paramount.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Deadly Code” (2013 — Italy) stars Arnas Fedaravicius, Eleanor Tomlinson, Vilius Tumalavicus, John Malkovich and Peter Stormare in a drama based on a memoir about growing up as a member of the Urka community in the small republic of Transnistria. Grandfather Kuzya (Malkovich) is the leader of a Siberian criminal clan banished to live in the punishment town of Transnistria in 1985. There, he schools his grandson on the “honest criminal” code of their community, which must never be broken. From Lionsgate … In “Special ID” photo for Deadly Code (2013 — China), Donnie Yen takes on the role of “Dragon” Chen, a Hong Kong undercover police officer deep within the ranks of one of China’s most ruthless underworld gangs. When rivalries explode with the reappearance of an old enemy and a brutal murder, the Triads close ranks and unleash a series of executions — with Chen at the top of the list. Undercover and under attack, he has no choice but to rely on a new partner (Jing Tian) and his knowledge of the streets to get out alive. Also stars Collin Chou, Tian Jing, Hanyu Zhang. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA … “Daddy’s Little Girl” (2012), starring Billi Baker, Michael Thomson and Allira Jaques, is an Australian revenge thriller about a father who vows to make the culprit who brutally murdered his daughter on the beach suffer for his actions, even if that person is “part of the family.” With careful research into the history of torture, he prepares himself and his basement for a week of brutal tactics. From Breaking Glass Pictures … A dream comes true for two young drifters when they illegally take residence in the upscale Pacific Palisades home of a vacationing family. But things start to spiral out of control when the rightful owners unexpectedly return from overseas, leading to a violent, inevitable confrontation between two very different worlds in “Squatters” (2014), starring Gabriella Wilde, Thomas Dekker, Luke Grimes and Richard Dreyfuss. From Sony … When his beloved brother is brutally murdered, a shy, mild-mannered young man finds solace in Piggy, one of his brother’s long-time friends, who takes the grieving photo for Special ID brother under his wing and teaches him how to be a vigilante to seek revenge in “Piggy” (2012), starring Martin Compston, Paul Anderson, Josh Herdman, Ed Skrein and Louise Dylan. From Inception Media Group … In “The Zombinator” (2012), starring Patrick Kilpatrick, Joseph Aviel, Lucia Brizzi and Justin Brown, a fashion blogger documentary turns into a zombie horror nightmare when college students come face to face with the undead, created by a serum developed by an evil corporation. Their only hope for survival is a former soldier turned zombie killer. From Inception Media Group … “Compound Fracture” (2013) is a supernatural thriller about a broken family with a history of abuse and dementia that is forced to find a common ground to fight a greater supernatural threat. Stars Tyler Mane, Muse Watson and Derek Mears. From Level 33 Entertainment … A small, secluded island off the coast of Belize suddenly finds itself terrorized by a deadly predator from the planet’s distant past when deep-sea divers accidentally awaken an ancient evil that’s been hibernating for over 60,000 years — a rampaging behemoth of death and destruction not only at sea but also on land in “Poseidon Rex” (2013), starring Brian Krause, Anne McDaniels, Steven Helmkamp and Candice Nunes. From ITN Distribution.

On the Indie Front:

In “Forev” (2013), starring Noel Wells, Matt Mider and Amanda Bauer, Sophie and Pete are kind of friends, but mostly they’re just neighbors. On their way to pick up Pete’s sister Jess from her sorority house — a six hour drive through the desert — a joke about getting married escalates and before they know it, they’re engaged … and stranded in the middle of the desert. Things only get more problematic when Jess disappears with a bearded drifter. From Mance Media/Gravitas Ventures.


A picturesque cruising spot in the countryside of France sets the scene between desire and murder in “Stranger by the Lake” (2013 — France), starring Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou, Patrick d’Assumcao and Jerome Chappatte. Franck, a regular at the lake, meets the handsome Michel and soon falls in love with the mysterious stranger. When a body is discovered in the lake, Franck and Michel soon become primary suspects of the investigation. A unique, erotic thriller of seduction and sexual obsession that builds to an unforgettable and terrifying climax; described as a modern-day Hitchcockian suspenser. Winner of the Best Directing Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival and winner of the Queer Palm. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Strand Releasing.

For the Family:

“Arthur Makes a Movie” (2013) includes the title episode and three more adventures featuring eight-year-old Arthur — the world’s most famous aardvark– and his friends as they explore issues faced by real kids. $9.99 from PBS Kids … Based on Lara Jones’ hugely popular and award-winning “Poppy Cat” books (which have sold more than 2 million books to date), the photo for Poppy Cat: Birthday Treasures and Other Adventures animated series of the same name from the creators of “Olivia,” “Mr. Men” and “Little Miss” follows the adventures of Poppy, a capable and endearing ginger tabby, who’s also a dreamer and devoted friend to Zuzu, an energetic dog; Mo, an overly cautious mouse; Alma, the melodramatic, excitable rabbit; the knowledgeable owl and Egbert, the stout badger. Seen through the eyes of Poppy’s imaginative young owner, a little girl named Lara. “Poppy Cat: Birthday Treasures and Other Adventures” (2013) sells for $12.98 from Entertainment One … “Dinosaur Big City/Dinosaurs A to Z Double Feature” (2014) features 17 prehistoric adventures aimed at sparking an interest in science for children. $14.99 from PBS Kids … “Martha’s Superhero Adventures” (2014) includes six tales from the series based on the children’s book by Susan Meddaugh. Aimed at viewers between the ages of four and seven, the series follows the adventures of Martha, a loveable dog whose appetite for alphabet soup gives her the power of human speech. Using her speaking abilities, Martha gets jobs, foils bad guys, wins contests, photo for Marvel Knights: Wolverine Weapon X: Tomorrow Dies Today runs for office, and orders lots of pizza. $9.99 from PBS Kids … “Marvel Knights: Wolverine Weapon X: Tomorrow Dies Today” (2014) is the latest Marvel Animation animated comic book DVD highlights the brutal battle between Wolverine and the ruthless cyborg villain Deathlok the Demolisher as robots from the future embark on a Super hero killing spree. $14.97 from Shout! Factory … “Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales: Field of Screams” (2014) showcases 13 action-packed, sports-related escapades featuring Scooby-Doo and his mystery-solving pals, including a brand-new 22-minute adventure, “Scooby-Doo! Ghastly Goals!” In a two-disc DVD, $19.98 from Warner … There’s plenty of summer fun adventures with Strawberry Shortcake and her berry best pals Blueberry and Orange Blossom in “Strawberry Shortcake: Fun Under the Sun” (2014), $14.98 from Fox.

Special Interest:

“Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?” (2013) is a series of interviews featuring linguist, philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky done in hand-drawn animation. From Michel Gondry, the innovative director of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” comes this unlikely and unique intellectual feast, an animated documentary on the life and ideas of controversial MIT professor, philosopher, linguist, anti-war activist and political firebrand Noam Chomsky. Through complex, lively conversations with Chomsky and brilliant illustrations by Gondry photo for Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? himself that make Chomsky’s ideas more accessible, the filmmaker reveals the life and work of the father of modern linguistics while also exploring his groundbreaking theories on the emergence of language. The result is not only a dazzling, vital portrait of one of the foremost thinkers of our age, but also a beautifully animated work of art. From IFC Films … “God Loves Uganda” (2013) is a documentary that investigates the troubling influence of American evangelicals on human rights in Africa. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams explores the role of the American Evangelical movement in fueling Uganda’s terrifying turn towards biblical law and the proposed death penalty for homosexuality. Thanks to charismatic religious leaders and a well-financed campaign, these draconian new laws and the politicians that promote them are winning over the Ugandan public. But these dangerous policies and the money that fuels them aren’t photo for American Jesus coming from Africa; they’re being imported from some of America’s largest megachurches. From First Run Features … The documentary “Generation Iron” (2013) takes an honest and in-depth look at the professional sport of bodybuilding today, giving audiences front-row access to the lives of the top seven bodybuilders as they fight to bring home the coveted Mr. Olympia title. Narrated by Mickey Rourke. From Starz Digital Media … “American Jesus” (2013) is an exploration of Christianity in every faction of American life, from the bread line to the yoga studio, from the humble churches of snake handlers to the mega churches of the ex-urbs. Director Aram Garriga travels from his native Barcelona to the politically divided United States to chronicle the sometimes bizarre relationship between faith, materialism, politics and personal passions in this uniquely American tableaux. Populated by an array of religious and secular characters offering candid, often illuminating testimonials — from Christian pop culture and music specialists, secular analysts, Apocalyptic preachers, Prosperity Pastors to Christian bikers, cage fighters, surfers comedians and cowboys — this documentary is a vivid mosaic of personalities and conflicting points of view. From TDC Entertainment … Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009, there are only four American doctors left who photo for After Tilleropenly provide third-trimester abortions: Dr. LeRoy Carhart, Dr. Warren Hern, Dr. Susan Robinson and Dr. Shelley Sella. The documentary “After Tiller” (2013) paints a complex, compassionate portrait of these physicians who have become the new, No. 1 targets of the anti-abortion movement, yet continue to risk their lives every day to do work that they believe is profoundly important for their patients’ lives. The film weaves together revealing interviews with the doctors with intimate scenes from inside their clinics, where they counsel and care for patients at an important crossroads in their lives, and illuminates the experiences of women who seek later abortions and their reasons why. Formats: DVD. From Oscilloscope Laboratories … “One Direction: Reaching for the Stars Part 2: The Next Chapter” (2014) is an unofficial biography that goes behind the scenes on the group’s second world tour and dishes all the latest One D news and gossip … including the truth behind their romantic escapades. From Inception Media Group.

 Posted by on May 13, 2014 No Responses »
May 082014

photo for Director Wes Anderson transports viewers to another one of his unique, self-contained worlds that requires you to give yourself up totally to his story within a story within a story that recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless painting; a raging battle for an enormous family fortune; and a desperate chase on motorcycles, trains, sleds, and skis — all against the backdrop of a suddenly and dramatically changing continent. Extras: “Bill Murray Tours the Town”; “Kunstmuseum Zubrowka Lecture”; “The Society of the Crossed Keys”; “The Making of the Grand Budapest Hotel”: “Part 1 – The Story,” “Part 2 – The Society of the Crossed Keys,” “Part 3 – Creating The Hotel,” “Part 4 – Creating A World”; Mendl’s secret recipe; promotional featurettes: “Cast” and “Wes Anderson”; stills gallery; theatrical trailer. Vitals: Director: Wes Anderson. Stars: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Lea Seydoux, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: R, 100 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $51.548 million, Fox.

 Posted by on May 8, 2014 No Responses »
May 082014

photo for An existential science fiction film that journeys to the heart of what it means to be human, extraterrestrial — or something in between. A voluptuous woman of unknown origin (Scarlett Johansson) combs the highways in Scotland in search of isolated or forsaken men, luring a succession of lost souls into an otherworldly lair. They are seduced, stripped of their humanity, and never heard from again. Based on the novel by Michel Faber, “Under the Skin” examines human experience from the perspective of an unforgettable heroine who grows too comfortable in her borrowed skin, until she is abducted into humanity with devastating results. Extras: “Making of Under the Skin” featurette. Vitals: Director: Jonathan Glazer. Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan, Jessica Mance, Joe Szula, Krystof Hadek, Jeremy McWilliams. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: R, 107 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $1.531 million, Lionsgate.

 Posted by on May 8, 2014 No Responses »
May 072014


warner-archives-05-06-2014CHALLENGE OF THE GOBOTS: THE SERIES, VOLUME ONE (1985) They’re mighty robots and mighty vehicles are back at last! Cy-Kill! Leader-1! Cop-Tur! Turbo! Crasher! Scooter! The noble Guardian GoBots and the nefarious Renegade GoBots continue the war begun in The Battle for GoBotron (see Challenge of the GoBots: The Original Mini-Series) across time and space in their epic 60 episode series that comes to you factory fresh and newly remastered – from the original film elements! With Earth as their chosen staging ground, the Renegades deploy Earth’s worst such as the deranged Dr. Braxis (voiced by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Rene Auberjonois) in their quest to conquer Earth and GoBotron, so it’s a good thing the Guardians have Matt, Nick and AJ of UNECOM on their side! This 30-Episode, Three-Disc set collects the first half of the series and finds the amazing, metamorphosing cyborgs taking their fight to Ancient Rome, lost Atlantis and back to GoBotron in a series of adventures that will leave you shouting for “MOAR”!

Sweet Sixties Sinsations

THE BIGGEST BUNDLE OF THEM ALL (1968) Raquel Welch, Robert Wagner and Edward G. Robinson top a too-cool cast in this late Sixties, swinging caper comedy. When a crew of amateur, criminal ex-pats nab a retired Mafia overlord (neorealist auteur and actor Vittorio De Sica) they think they’ve hit the jackpot. Sadly, the former don’s credit is worse than theirs, so they join forces to pull off The Professor’s (Robinson, naturally) dream heist of a great train robbery. But the leader of the criminals (Wagner) has an acute Achilles Heel – he’s head over heels ga-ga about his real gone lady friend (Welch). Also stars Godfrey Cambridge. 16×9 Widescreen

MORE THAN A MIRACLE (1967) Omar Shariff is the Prince and Sophia Loren is the Peasant in this satiric, profane, earthy and sacred take on fairy tales that puts a bit of sin into Cinderella. Ill-tempered Prince Rodrigo is highly resistant to the idea of matrimony, contrary to the best efforts of his Queen Mother (A still-captivating Dolores del Rio). Fleeing her and her seven proposed princesses on horseback, Rodrigo, thanks to some magical intervention, encounters proud, stunning peasant girl, Isabella.
But the stars are crossed against the temperamental pair and it will take the combined magic of witches and monks, as well as some dishwashing skills deluxe, for Isabella to become the belle of the ball and the mistress of Rodrigo’s heart. Produced by Carlo Ponti. 16×9 Widescreen

LADY L (1966) Peter Ustinov directs Sophia Loren in this light-hearted look at sex from the far side of life. The titular Lady L – Lady Louise Lendale (Loren) – is an elegant, elderly Corsican, celebrating her 80th birthday in high style at a castle in Yorkshire while recounting her romantic misadventures and conquests in her rise from laundress to Lady to Sir Percy (Cecil Parker), her biographer. Among the lads she loves are Armand (Paul Newman), a thief and an anarchist, and Lord Lendale (David Niven), a suave aristocrat. Carlo Ponti produces and Ustinov appears as the princely target of Armand’s revolutionary ambitions. 16×9 Widescreen Welcome Back (In Print), Warner Bros.

THE SUNSHINE BOYS (1975) Classic screen adaptation of the Neil Simon favorite about a querulous pair of vaudevillians reuniting for a TV special. Herbert Ross directs the perfectly cast pair of Walter Matthau and George Burns, while Richard Benjamin, Lee Meredith, and Carol Arthur lend superb support.

PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (1981) Dennis Potter (The Singing Detective) pens this surreal, satirical song and dance number about a daydreaming music sheet salesman (Steve Martin), peddling musical flights of fancy during the Great Depression. Jessica Harper plays the spouse who doesn’t understand, Bernadette Peters plays the schoolteacher who offers succor.

ALICE ADAMS (1935) Booth Tarkinton’s (Penrod and Sam) Pulitzer prize-winning novel gets its second cinema adaptation courtesy of director George Stevens with leads Katherine Hepburn and Fred MacMurray. Hepburn’s performance as the desperate social climber Alice is a highlight in a storied career full of them.

SUMMER OF ’42 (1971) Tender, post Pearl Harbor coming of age tale about the “terrible trio” of Hermie, Oscy, and Benjie (Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser and Oliver Conant) spending a New England summer together while the nation goes to war. Hermie’s obsession, the seven years his senior, Dorothy (Jennifer O’Neill) takes surprising turn when her husband heads to war. Directed by Robert Mulligan.

 Posted by on May 7, 2014 No Responses »