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


May 062014

From the Big Screen:

“Veronica Mars” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Highlights:

There’s a flurry of impressive Blu-ray debuts this week:

“The Big Red One: The Reconstruction” (1980) is Samuel Fuller’s classic antiwar film that follows a quartet of U.S. soldiers from “The Big Red One” (the nickname of the 1st Infantry Division that Fuller himself served in, making the film semi-autobiographical) serving in a rifle squad from 1942-1945 as they push from North Africa to Sicily to D-Day to the liberation photo for The Big Red One: The ReconstructionI of France, the invasion of Germany and finally to a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. The story is told in a series of anecdotal vignettes as a core group of soldiers talk about life, love and war, fight off the Germans, and greet new squad recruits and mourn their passing. The film was heavily edited by the studio on its original release, but was restored and premiered at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Stars Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Bobby Di Cicco, Kelly Ward and Stephane Audran. The Blu-ray disc includes both the original theatrical version and the reconstruction but, infortunately, only the theatrical version is presented in 1080p and DTS-HD Master Audio. Still, a must buy. Extras include alternate scenes, “Anatomy of a Scene” before and after restoration comparisons, “The Real Glory: Reconstructing The Big One” featurette, “Profile: The Men Who Make the Movies: Samuel Fuller,” a War department film “The Fighting First,” commentary on the restoration version by film critic Richard Schickel. From Warner.

“Blazing Saddles 40th Anniversary Blu-ray” (1974) is one of the funniest and most outrageous comedies of all time. It stars Cleavon Little as an unlikely sheriff in the Wild photo for Blazing Saddles 40th Anniversary Blu-ray West town of Rock Ridge, Harvey Korman as the villain, Madeline Kahn as a Marlene Dietrich-style chanteuse, Gene Wilder as the wacko Waco Kid and director Mel Brooks as a dimwitted politico. Once the lunatic film gets started, logic is lost in a blizzard of gags, jokes, quips, puns and outrageous assaults upon good taste or any taste at all. Takes the No. 6 spot in the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Comedies. Also stars Slim Pickens, Alex Karras, John Hillerman and Dom DeLuise. Extras include a new featurette, “Blaze of Glory: Mel Brooks’ Wild, Wild West”; commentary by Brooks; “Back in the Saddle” cast/crew reunion documentary; “Black Bart” 1975 TV pilot inspired by the movie, starring Lou Gossett Jr. and Steve Landesberg; deleted scenes; theatrical trailer. From Warner.

“The Bridges of Madison County” (1995) is Clint Eastwood’s luscious filmic adaptation of Robert James Waller’s romantic novel set in 1965 about Robert Kincaid (Eastwood), a photographer and free spirit searching for the covered bridges of Madison County, Iowa, and Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep), an Italian-born farm wife waiting for the fulfillment of a girlhood dream, who meet and have an incredible four-day torrid love affair while her husband and children are off at the Illinois State Fair. Extras include “An Old-Fashioned Love Story: Making The Bridges of Madison County,” commentary by editor Joel Cox and cinematographer Jack N. Green, theatrical trailer. From Warner.

photo for Ace in the Hole Billy Wilder’s “Ace in the Hole” (1951) is one of the most scathing indictments of American culture ever produced by a Hollywood filmmaker. Kirk Douglas gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter who washes up in dead-end Albuquerque, happens upon the scoop of a lifetime — a treasure hunter is trapped in a mine collapse — and will do anything to keep getting the lurid headlines. Wilder’s follow-up to Sunset Boulevard is an even darker vision, a no-holds-barred expose of the American media’s appetite for sensation that has gotten only more relevant with time. Restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. From The Criterion Collection in a Dual Format Blu-ray/DVD release.

CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount has ported three of its most popular TV series to Blu-ray:

photo for I Love Lucy – Ultimate Season One BLU-RAY DEBUT “I Love Lucy – Ultimate Season One” (1951-52) features all the hilarious first episodes of the groundbreaking series starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Alongside such classics as the “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” episode selling Vitameatavegamin are never-before seen treats, including Lucy and Desi’s makeup and wardrobe tests where the off-screen couple are filmed together just days before full-scale production began. Also included is the pilot episode, re-mastered from its recently discovered original 35mm negative, radio broadcasts, on-set color home movies and backstage photos. Six-disc set, $129.99 … photo for The Andy Griffith Show – Season One BLU-RAY DEBUT “The Andy Griffith Show – Season One” (1960-61) includes all 32 episodes of the first season, restored in high definition, with original sponsor openings and closings. Starring Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts and Frances Bavier, the beloved series about small-town America includes rare special features, including color on-set home movies shot by Ron Howard’s father Rance, Edward R. Murrow’s insightful interview of Andy Griffith on “Person to Person” in 1957 and a new HD transfer of the “Return to Mayberry” television movie. Four-disc set, $129.99. … photo for The Honeymooners – Classic 39 Episodes BLU-RAY DEBUT “The Honeymooners – Classic 39 Episodes” (1955-56) features re-mastered full-length episodes of the iconic series, starring the one and only Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph. Special features include a never-before-released, hour-long musical “The Honeymooners: The Adoption” from 1966; a memorable 1984 “60 Minutes” profile of Jackie Gleason; both “The Honeymooners Anniversary Special” (1990) and “The Honeymooners 50th Anniversary Celebration” (2002); Jackie Gleason interviewing a Queens bus driver as guest host for Edward R. Murrow on “Person to Person”; original openings, closings and cast commercials. Five-disc set, $129.99.

Also this week: “China Beach: The Complete Season Three” (1989-90), a six-disc set with 22 uncut episodes of the TV series set during the Vietnam War in a part-EVAC hospital, part-USO entertainment center that was an outpost of craziness and compassion that mingled horror photo for China Beach: The Complete Season Three and laughter, heroism and sacrifice, as seen through the eyes of the women who served there. Season Three explored the most unlikely relationship between nurse Colleen McMurphy (Dana Delany) and “entrepreneur” K.C. Kolowski (Marg Helgenberger), both of whom are held hostage in the notorious tunnels in Vietnam; introduced Holly Pelegrini (Ricki Lake); took Dodger (Jeff Kober) home; and jumped back in “F.N.G.” to when new guys Dr. Richard (Robert Picardo) and McMurphy first arrive in the country. Guest stars included Ruby Dee, Vince Vaughn, Tom Sizemore, Thomas Haden Church, Don Cheadle and Helen Hunt. And don’t forget the great 60s rock music soundtrack! On DVD only, $29.95 from Time Life/StarVista Entertainment … In “Generation War” (2013 — Germany) a group of five young friends — eager to become heroes — gather together on the eve of Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Nothing could have prepared them for the extreme realities that await each and every one of them. As told through the eyes of young adults on the brink of adulthood in Nazi Germany, director Philipp Kadelbach and writer Stefan present a sweeping saga, aired as a photo for Generation War TV minseries in Germany. Produced over a period of eight years and filmed on over 150 sets across Germany, Lithuania and Latvia, the film is a stunning German epic drama spanning over five years beginning in Berlin in 1941 through the immediate aftermath of WWII in 1945. The lives of five young German friends are defined when they are forced to navigate the unconscionable moral compromises of life under Hitler. Among the quintet of young people are level-headed officer Wilhelm (Volker Bruch), who is full of patriotic fervor as he heads for the eastern front with his sensitive younger brother Friedhelm (Tom Schilling); Charlotte(Miriam Stein), a young nurse in love with Wilhelm who is serving in the Red Cross; Greta (Katherina Schuttler), an ambitious singer who longs to become another Marlene Dietrich; and Greta’s boyfriend Viktor (Ludwig Trepte), who faces a daily struggle for survival as a Jew in an increasingly oppressive regime. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc with a special 12-page booklet containing photos, an essay and more. From Music Box Films.

From TV to DVD:

In “Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Series 12” (2011), Agatha Christie’s renowned Belgian detective solves the most challenging cases of the Art Deco era in these delightful adaptations starring David Suchet. Four feature-length mysteries boast all-star casts including Jessica photo for Agatha Christie's Poirot, Series 12 Chastain, Hugh Bonneville, Barbara Hershey, Toby Jones, Eileen Atkins, David Morrissey, Martin Shaw, Timothy West and Zoe Wanamaker. The mysteries, in their original U.K. broadcast order: “Three Act Tragedy” (After guests at successive dinner parties mysteriously drop dead, Poirot teams up with an old friend to find the killer); “Hallowe’en Party” (Crime novelist Ariadne Oliver calls Poirot to investigate the macabre murder of a young girl at a children’s costume party); “Murder on the Orient Express” (Poirot searches for a killer among the travelers aboard a snowbound train); “The Clocks” (Poirot journeys to Dover to solve a case involving an unidentified corpse and four timepieces all stopped at the same time). Formats: Two-disc DVD: $39.99, two-disc Blu-ray: $49.99 from Acorn Media … “Between Sisters” (2013), starring Vanessa Bell Calloway, Terri J. Vaughn, Denyce Lawton, KD Aubert and Denise Boutte, is an urban rom-com about a woman who wants to give her baby sister the best wedding present ever. So, when they discover that they have two long-lost sisters, the search is on to find them before the big day. But if they do, will they be able to forgive their estranged mother and come together. From Entertainment One … photo for Happy Days: The Fifth Season “Call Me Crazy: A Five Film” (2013) is a Lifetime anthology of five short films that explore the impact of mental illness on people’s lives and those around them. Each film highlights the powerful relationships built on hope and triumph while helping raise a new understanding of what happens when a loved one struggles. Stars Jennifer Hudson, Melissa Leo, Octavia Spencer, Sarah Hyland, Sofia Vassilieva, Brittany Snow, Ernie Hudson, Jason Ritter,Jean Smart, Lea Thompson, Melanie Griffith, Chelsea Handler. From Sony … “Doomsday Preppers: Season 3” (2013) is National Geographic’s highest-rated series, with new preppers, new drama, and incredible new ways to bug in or bug out. Explore the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Three-disc set with 14 episodes, $29.93 from National Geographic … “Eureka: Season Three” (2008-09) is a four-disc set with 18 episodes, $29.98 from Universal … “Happy Days: The photo for Laverne & Shirley - The Eighth and Final Fifth Season” (1977-78) is a four-disc set with 27 episodes of the nostalgic comedy set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that 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. From CBS/Paramount … “Laverne & Shirley – The Eighth and Final Season” (1982–83) is a three-disc set with all 22 episodes of the hugely popular comedy starring Penny Marshall as the tough talking, street smart Laverne De Fazio and Cindy Williams as bright-eyed Shirley Feeney. A pregnant Williams left the show two episodes into the season, and Marshall finished the last season with the aid of guest stars Carrie Fisher, James Belushi, Adam West, Vicki Lawrence and Louise Lasser. $42.99 From CBS/Paramount … “Little House on the Prairie – Season Two Deluxe Remastered Edition” (1975-76) is a five-disc set with all 22 remastered episodes from Season Two, complete and uncut in their original broadcast length. Based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s best-selling and much-loved book series, “The Little House on the Prairie” chronicles the dramatic, gripping adventures of a young pioneer family’s struggle to build a new life for themselves on the American frontier of the 1870s. DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray Disc, $38.99 from Lionsgate … photo for Republic of Doyle, Season 1 “Republic of Doyle, Season 1” (2010) is a fast-paced Canadian whodunit that makes it’s DVD debut in the states. The hit series — now in its fifth season — features a father and son sleuthing team based in the province of Newfoundland. For Jake Doyle, dodging bullets is a lot less dangerous than his personal life. Jake (Allan Hawco) and his ex-cop father, Malachy (Sean McGinley), run a Newfoundland detective agency. Their rugged seaside town never lacks for intriguing cases, from cheating spouses to bank heists, arson, and even murder. Father and son have completely different ways of handling things, and that turns up the heat on their suspects — not to mention their tight-knit Irish family. But the real fireworks stem from Jake’s roguish ways. Whether it’s an ex-wife he can’t shake (Rachel Wilson) or the hot new cop he works with (Krystin Pellerin), Jake Doyle just can’t stop breaking the rules. Three-disc set with 12 episodes. $39.99 from Acorn Media … “Rookie Blue: The Complete Fourth Season” (2013) is a four-disc set with eight episodes, $39.98 from Entertainment One … photo for Separate But Equal “Separate But Equal” (1991) stars Sidney Poitier, Burt Lancaster, Richard Kiley and Cleavon Little in a dramatization of the American court case that destroyed the legal validity of racial segregation. Based on the ground-breaking Brown vs. the Board of Education case in 1954, it follows a young Thurgood Marshall (Sidney Poitier), the lawyer who argued the racially-charged lawsuit before the Supreme Court. When the black students of Clarendon County, South Carolina, are denied their request for a single school bus, a bitter and courageous battle for justice and equality begins. Restored by transferring it from the original “on-set” camera negative and digitally removing dirt and scratches; the audio also was restored from the 35mm Magnetic Track. From CBS/Paramount.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Brownian Movement” (2011 — Netherlands), starring Sandra Huller and Dragan Bakema, a young doctor living in Brussels with her husband and their son leads a normal, harmonious life — except for the fact that she secretly maintains an apartment where she has sex with her patients, selecting them as if setting up a scientific experiment. When her husband finds out about this unusual situation, their relationship is put to the test. From First Run Features … “All in Good Time” (2013), starring Reece Ritchie, Amara Karan, Harish Patel, Meera photo for Brownian Movement Syal and Neet Mohan, is a comedy about a young married Indian couple living in an Indian community in Northern England who have difficulty consummating their marriage because of well-intentioned, yet meddling parents, nosy neighbors that know no boundaries and a community that thrives on gossip. From Lionsgate … In the sleepy community of Fossil Ridge, a cattle ranch is discovered to be a breeding ground for ferocious velociraptors, the blood-thirsty dinosaurs long-thought extinct. When the vicious beasts escape, the terrified townspeople must fight to survive the deadly, prehistoric killers hunting them down as prey in “The Dinosaur Experiment (aka Raptor Ranch)” (2013), starring Lorenzo Lamas, Donny Boaz, Declan Joyce, Lexy Hulme and Jana Mashonee. From Uncork’d Entertainment … In “7 Boxes” (2012 — Paraguay), Victor, a 17-year-old wheelbarrow delivery boy, is offered a chance to deliver seven boxes with unknown contents in exchange for a quick $100. But the easy job soon gets complicated: There’s something in those boxes that starts a high-speed wheelbarrow chase and Victor and his pursuers get caught in a crime they know nothing about. Stars Celso Franco, Victor Sosa and Lali Gonzalez. From Breaking Glass Pictures/Shoreline Entertainment … “Making the Rules” photo for Making the Rules(2014) is a romantic drama about a workaholic sous chef who accidently cuts her hand and is forced to spend the summer outside the kitchen, where things really heat up when she faces the temptation of a former flame. Stars Jaime Pressly, Robin Thicke, Tygh Runyan, Steve Agee, Joey Lauren Adams and Frances Conroy. From Lionsgate … A young couple moves to the woods to escape the pressures of city life and soon meet their reclusive artist neighbor, Mr. Jones, who doesn’t like to be disturbed and only comes out at night when he drags his strange, sinister sculptures deep into the woods. When their curiosity leads them too close for Mr. Jones’ comfort, he plunges the young couple into a nightmare world of mayhem, madness and mind-bending terror in “Mr. Jones” (2013), starring Jon Foster, Sarah Jones, Diane Neal and Mark Steger. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay … In 2045 A.D. a steadily shrinking icecap leaves several countries struggling for control of the town of Borealis and the last untapped oil, gas and mineral deposits on the planet. When the UN sends in corrupt officials, a former mixed martial arts fighter challenges a Russian group to save the town’s fate in “Survival Code” (2014), starring Ty Olsson, Patrick Gallagher, Terry Chen and Michelle Harrison. From Lionsgate … “Still Mine” (2013), starring James Cromwell and Genevieve Bujold, is a love story based on actual events. Determined to build a more suitable house for his wife Irene (Bujold), whose memory is failing, Craig photo for Survival Code Morrison (Cromwell) is met with resistance from an overzealous government inspector. Facing a possible jail sentence, and with Irene becoming increasingly ill, Craig races to finish the house. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Fox … Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and she’s about to unleash Hell in a killer thriller roller coaster ride of characters from transvestite prostitutes to lesbian zombies, stoned rappers, feral bushwhackers and the best hit girl this side of Hong Kong in b>”Bad Mouth” (2011), starring Anjie Roebuck, Mia Tegan, Nissa Robinson, Bobey Taleb and Jacob Brown. From Troma Entertainment … In “LA Maniac (aka The Los Angeles Ripper)” (2011), starring Celeste Marie Martinez and Craig J. McIntyre, a young woman moves to Los Angeles to stay with her dysfunctional aunt and her cousin Angel to pursue her singing career and become a star, but things get weird and scary when she gets involved in some risky party behavior and meets Angel’s drug dealing friend … all while a brutal serial killer is on the loose in the City of Angels. From Troma Entertainment.

On the Indie Front:

photo for Hot Guys With Guns“Hot Guys With Guns” (2013) is a comedy-action-thriller about an actor taking a night class for aspiring private detectives to help him win a part in a TV show who bumbles into a real life crime investigation with his ex-boyfriend. Stars Leon Acord, John Ainsworth and Dalila Ali Rajah. From Wolfe Video … “Truth” (2013), starring Sean Paul Lockhart, Rob Moretti and Blanche Baker, is a psychological thriller that exposes the hidden demons buried deep inside each and every one of us. After a chance encounter over the Internet, Caleb meets and falls head over heels for Jeremy, but soon the line between love and lies blur. Struggling to keep his past a secret, including his mentally ill mother, Caleb slowly succumbs to his darker side. From Canteen Outlaws.

For the Family:

“Explorer Koko” (2014) is the latest title in the popular Chuggington DVD series; this entry spotlights everyone’s best photo for Explorer Kok friend Koko in six episodes: “Explorer Koko,” “Runaway Koko,” “Fearless Wilson,” “Koko’s Game,” “Hodge’s Secret” and “Inspector Emery.” $14.98 from Anchor Bay … “Adventure Time: The Suitor” (2014) features 16 full-length episodes that highlight fan favorite characters from the Land of Ooo — including the titular episode “The Suitor,” which focuses on Princess Bubblegum. View the complete list of episodes. $19.82 from Cartoon Network/Warner … “Transformers Energon: The Complete Series” (2004) is a seven-disc set with all 51 episodes, 44.99 Shout! Factory … “DC Universe: Son of Batman” (2014) is an original animated movie that finds Batman learning he has a son, Damian, and together they form an uneasy alliance to try and thwart the criminal enterprise of Deathstroke and his army of ninja man-bats. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Warner.

Special Interest:

“Alexander Calder” (1988) is the definitive portrait of one of the pre-eminent artists of the 20th century, and the inventor photo for Suzanne Vega: Solitude Standing of an art form, the mobile. This acclaimed film shows Calder at work in his studio and never-before-seen archival films and photographs. It includes contemporary shooting of dozens of works, and features interviews with Arthur Miller, Ellsworth Kelly, I.M. Pei, Brendan Gill, Marla Prather, David Ross, Calder’s daughters and grandson, Sandy Rower, and others. From First Run Features … “Suzanne Vega: Solitude Standing” (2014): Filmed at the Rome Auditorium in July 2003. Suzanne Vega performs some of her greatest hits, alongside other more contemporary songs, at this intimate concert, which is interspersed with moving poetry readings translated on stage by singer/songwriter Valerio Piccolo. Released to coincide with Vega’s new studio album “Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles.” $14.95 from Wienerworld/MVD Entertainment … “The Story of the Jews With Simon photo for The Story of the Jews With Simon Schama Schama” (2013) is a five-part look at 3,000 years of Jewish history and the impact the Jews have made on the world. The five-hour series follows Schama — who has written and presented 50 documentaries on art, literature and history and is a contributing editor of the Financial Times — as he travels from Russia and the Ukraine to Egypt, Israel and Spain, exploring the imprint that Jewish culture has made on the world and the drama of suffering, resilience and rebirth that has gone with it. Two-disc DVD, $29.99 from PBS Distribution … “Desert Riders” (2011) is the story of some of the thousands of boys, as young as 2-years-old, who have been trafficked or sold by their parents and taken from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mauritania and Sudan to the Middle East to work as camel jockeys (Camel racing is one of the most popular sports in that part of the world). Sexually and physically abused, these young children were forced to live in horrendous conditions. Starved to avoid gaining weight, they worked long hours even when clearly underage and are now left mentally and physically stunted. When international pressure was brought to bear, many of the children were repatriated, only to find themselves strangers in their home countries. On DVD from Garden Thieves Pictures.

 Posted by on May 6, 2014 No Responses »
May 022014

Here’s the May titles for Sony’s manufacture-on-demand program:

MODERN ROMANCE (1981)modern-romance
Written, directed and starring Albert Brooks. A world-class neurotic, Robert Cole (Albert Brooks) just can’t stop thinking about Mary (Kathryn Harrold). Especially after he breaks up with her. Fanatically obsessed with the beautiful bank exec, he repeatedly wins her back – and then immediately loses her again by grilling her long-distance callers, harassing her business clients and dogging her every movement. But even as Robert and Mary head for another breakup, there’s still hope for them yet. Because when it comes to true love, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Solve the case with Marsha Hunt as “Mary Ryan, Detective.” Police detective Mary Ryan (Marsha Hunt) is going undercover to take down a gang of jewel thieves. While Mary poses as a prisoner, her cellmate Wilma (Victoria Horne) leads her to an employment agency that hires more than secretaries. Mary goes to work trying to catch the gang leader who is fencing the jewels, but a thief Mary put away (June Vincent) is on to her, which could lead to danger.

Starring Tim McCoy and Matthew Betz. Not knowing he has just been pardoned, Tim Benton (Tim McCoy) escapes from prison with his cellmate, Red Larkin (Matthew Betz), a dangerous killer. Disguised as the town’s lawman, Tim sets off for Silver City to take back money that’s rightfully his and hopefully clear his name. But Red has plans of his own and wants the money for himself.

Action-adventure starring Charles Starrett as the Durango Kid. The Durango Kid, a.k.a. Steve Martin (Charles Starrett), returns in another exciting adventure. Steve is sent to the town of Wild River to take care of a gang led by the ruthless Hawk (Clayton Moore). He infiltrates The Hawk’s gang looking to return stolen gold to Wild River. Also featuring Smiley Burnette.

KLONDIKE KATE (1943)klondike-kate
Starring Glenda Farrell, Ann Savage and Tom Neal. The town of Totem Pole, Alaska is a rough-and-tumble, dangerous town, and when Molly (Glenda Farrell) and her troupe of showgirls come along, the men get excited. Also coming into town is Kathleen (Ann Savage), looking to claim the local saloon and hotel, willed to her by her father and now managed by Jefferson Braddock (Tom Neal). But Jefferson has his own ideas on how to keep the saloon, and a rival saloon owner has plans to get back Molly’s showgirls, whom Jefferson hijacked in a crooked deal.

Delightful sequel to the hit comedy set in Africa. Xixo collides with the so-called civilized world in Africa again when he embarks on a search for his children, who are accidental stowaways on a poacher’s truck. He soon crosses paths with two very odd couples lost in the desert. Xixo, perplexed by their strange antics, nevertheless finds himself drawn into a crazy adventure with people who know how to make magic machines … but constantly need to be saved from the wilderness and from each other. Includes a special feature.

 Posted by on May 2, 2014 No Responses »
Apr 292014


THE WIND AND THE LION (1975) This is John Milius’ masterpiece of epic adventure as it should be seen outside of a theatre – in a sweeping, stunning high-definition Blu-ray. Sean Connery stars – and breaks free of Bond forever (well, Never Say Never…) as desert brigand chieftain Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli who kidnaps an American widow, Eden Pedecaris (Candice Bergen) in a bid to embarrass the Sultan of Morocco. In doing so, he arouses the ire and interest of an internationally ambitious Commander in Chief, Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Keith). Milius both scripts and directs, bending true-life fact to serve his storytelling craft and shapes history into a spirited screen legend. Adding to wonder to the film is Jerry Goldsmith’s lauded and lofty score. Also includes an audio commentary by writer-director Milius and a vintage making-of featurette. 16×9 widescreen.

MAVERICK: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON (1961-62) This 3-Disc, 13-episode collection closes out the original series run with Jack Kelly riding solo as Bart Maverick. When the series originally aired, these new episodes ran alternating weeks with re-runs featuring Garner’s Bret Maverick from series 1-3. Kelly’s Bart gets plenty of time to shine as this season pits the wily card sharp up against crooked senators, four-flushing bankers, glamorous grifters, wish-granting leprechauns, and Bonanza-spoofing ranchers. Guest stars include Marie Windsor, Sig Ruman, Reginald Owen, Kathleen Crowley and Jim Backus.

WITHOUT A TRACE: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON (2008-09) Senior agent Jack Malone (Anthony LaPaglia) is a tough, compassionate professional who, until recently, was the head of the special New York based FBI task force known as the Missing Persons Squad. Demoted after his renegade style got him into trouble one too many times, Jack still knows all too well that every second counts when someone vanishes, and begrudgingly adjusts to life with his new boss and the new head of the squad, Clark Medina (recurring guest star Steven Weber). Despite their best efforts, the team members are only human. As the agents work on varied and complicated cases, details about their personal lives continue to unfold. This season, Samantha Spade (Poppy Montgomery) deals with being a single mom and resourceful agent Elena Delgado (Roselyn Sanchez) recovers from a recent and unpleasant custody battle with her ex. Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Enrique Murciano and Eric Close also star. 6-Disc, 24-episode collection. 16×9 widescreen.

SEDUCED AND ABANDONED (2013) As all of Hollywood prepares to flock to France for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, “Seduced and Abandoned” takes a look back at the 2012 festival, when Academy Award-nominees Alec Baldwin and James Toback scrambled in search of financing for a proposed film project: a political-erotic Middle Eastern adventure inspired by Bernardo Bertolucci¹s classic “Last Tango in Paris.” Toback filmed the hilarious and revealing proceedings, and the result is “an entirely new genre” (The New Republic) and an “irresistibly provocative” (San Francisco Chronicle) film, featuring intimate encounters with A-list actors including Ryan Gosling and Jessica Chastain, and Hollywood heavyweights like Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. Set against the glamorous backdrop of one of cinema’s most prestigious festivals, the cinematic romp captures the tug-of-war between the eternal dream of creating pure art and the bracing reality of modern movie commerce.
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 April 29, 2014 No Responses »
Apr 292014

photo for Gloria “Gloria”, an exuberant celebration of life and love from Chilean writer-director Sebastian Lelio, is centered on fiftysomething Gloria, a free-spirited divorced mother of two grown children who now lives alone in Santiago and who spends her evenings at social dance clubs for singles. Her fragile, lonely happiness changes one night when she meets the quiet, yet virile Rodolfo, a wealthy former naval officer with whom she enters a whirlwind relationship. Their intense passion, to which Gloria gives her all, leaves her overjoyed and hopeful about life once again, until Rodolfo reveals he has yet to cut his ties to his divorced wife and two older daughters. Despite this setback, Gloria rediscovers her true inner strength and realizes that, even facing adversity, she can shine brighter than ever. An uplifting tale with a great turn by Paulina Garcia as Gloria. Well worth seeing. In Spanish with English subtitles. The Official Selection of Chile for the 86th Academy Awards. Extras: “Behind the Scenes: Musical Montage.” Vitals: Director: Sebastian Lelio. Stars: Paulina Garcaa, Sergio Hernandez, Diego Fontecilla. 2013 — Chile, CC, MPAA rating: R, 109 min., Comedy-Drama, Box office gross: $.247 million, Lionsgate. 3 stars

 Posted by on April 29, 2014 No Responses »
Apr 292014

photo for Labor Day “Labor Day,” based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Joyce Maynard, is a lilting melodrama about love, loneliness and second chances that takes place over a three-day Labor Day weekend in 1987. Gattlin Griffith plays 13-year-old Henry Wheeler, a reticent youngster growing up with his depressed and reclusive single mother Adele (Kate Winslet). On a back-to-school shopping trip, Henry and Adele encounter Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin), a man both intimidating and clearly in need of help, who convinces them to take him into their home to mend a wound; he soon reveals that he’s an escaped convict. During his stay, the three form a nuclear family of sorts, with Adele and Frank falling in love and Henry finding in Frank a long-lost father figure. But fate — and the police — intervene to end the reverie. Though packed with nice directorial flourishes and top-notch acting by Winslet, Brolin and Griffith, the film didn’t strike the right chord with audiences, and floundered at the box office. With that being said, it’s still a superb directing-acting vehicle and well worth seeing. Blu-ray extras: Commentary by director Jason Reitman, director of photography Eric Steelberg and first assistant director/co-producer Jason Blumenfeld; “End of Summer: Making Labor Day”; deleted scenes. Vitals: Director: Jason Reitman. Stars: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Tom Lipinski, Maika Monroe, Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek, J.K. Simmons, Brooke Smith. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 111 min., Drama, Box office gross: $13.362 million, Paramount. 3 stars

 Posted by on April 29, 2014 No Responses »
Apr 282014

From the Big Screen:

“Labor Day,” “Gloria,” “Devil’s Due” and “The Legend of Hercules.” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

This Week’s Highlights:

“The Strange Woman” (1946), directed by B-movie genius Edgar G. Ulmer, is a wicked piece of melodramatic period noir set in the early 19th century about a beautiful woman from a dysfunctional family who discovers that her good looks, charm and strong will allows her to get what she wants from men, and she stops at nothing to control the ones who cross her path. As photo for The Strange Woman portrayed by the deliciously lovely Hedy Lamarr, Jenny Hager is a bundle of contradictions: evil and heartless as well as giving and vulnerable. She chases after her older husband’s good-looking son (and a childhood friend), played by Louis Hayward, while giving to the poor and standing up for a downtrodden fallen woman despised by the community. In good old-fashioned melodramatic style, Jenny rises from poverty to wealth only to be undone by her heart. Lamarr’s work ranks right up there with the best by Bette Davis or Joan Crawford. Ulmer’s direction is sparse yet, at times, foreboding and wild, and the script, by Herb Meadow (who went on to write for “Have Gun – Will Travel” as well as many other TV shows), has a sly critique of sexism and capitalism bubbling below the surface. The great Douglas Sirk directed the opening sequence with Jenny as a young girl. Co-stars Gene Lockhart, George Sanders and Hillary Brooke. Restored in HD from original 35mm film elements from Film Chest Media Group.

“Il sorpasso” (1962) is the ultimate Italian road comedy, starring the unlikely pair of Vittorio Gassman and Jean-Louis Trintignant as, respectively, a waggish, free-wheeling bachelor and the bookish law student he takes on a madcap trip from Rome to rural Southern Italy. An unpredictable journey that careers from slapstick to tragedy, this film, directed by Dino Risi (the original “Scent of a Woman”), is a wildly entertaining commentary on the pleasures and consequences of the good life. A holy grail of commedia all’italiana, “Il sorpasso” is so fresh and exciting that one can easily see why it has long been adored in Italy. In a new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, in a Blu-ray/two-DVD Dual Format Edition from The Criterion Collection.

Debuting on Blu-ray this week is “Sophie’s Choice (Collector’s Edition)” (1982), directed by Alan J Pakula and starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol. Adapted from William Styron’s best-selling novel, this passionate tale of a writer’s love for a holocaust survivor is an exhilarating and compelling revelation. Meryl Streep received an photo for Sophie's Choice (Collector's Edition) BLU-RAY DEBUT Academy Award for her portrayal of Sophie Zawistowska in this penetrating drama set in post-World War II Brooklyn. Kevin Kline plays her all-consuming lover, Nathan. The story revolves around Sophie’s struggle as a Polish-Catholic immigrant in the United States who had survived a Nazi concentration camp. The lovers’ drama unfolds through the observations of a friend and would-be writer, Stingo (Peter MacNicol). As the trio grows closer, Stingo uncovers the hidden truths that they each harbor. It’s a devastating, heart-wrenching viewing experience. Extras include a new roundtable interview featuring Streep, Kline, Donald Laventhall (director Alan Pakula’s assistant during the film), Hanna Pakula (director Alan Pakula’s widow), Rose Styron (the widow of the novel’s author, William Styron) and moderator Boaty Boatwright (who was Pakula’s agent at the time of the film and is presently an agent at ICM). Available as a Blu-ray/DVD combo from Shout! Factory.

“Dead Shadows” (2012 — France) is an interesting apocalyptic zombie flick that, while high on concept, gore and on-the-cheap special effects, lacks a strong story line and meanders from situation to situation in search of an ending. Given that, however, it’s still a fun ride if you cast aside any expectations of cohesiveness. Eleven years after a young man’s parents photo for Dead Shadowswere murdered on the same day the Halley comet was visible from Earth, a new comet lights up the Parisian sky, giving rise to Apocalyptic fears — and parties — throughout the city. Chris, on meds because of the anxieties caused by his parents’ unusual deaths, goes to one of the parties but, as the night goes on, the effects of the comet take their toll on the city’s denizens, first making them disoriented and then violent, and then transforming them into horrible creatures — zombies, mutants, alien monsters, human-alien hybrids. In a fight for survival, Chris escapes from his building with the help of some other tenants, only to find Paris devastated by the aftereffects of the comet — and an alien invasion. North American debut of the overseas cult hit. Stars Fabian Wolfrom, Blandine Marmigere, John Fallon and Rurik Salle. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Shout Factory!/Scream Factory.

The much buzzed-about “Escape From Tomorrow” (2013), shot guerilla-style at Disney World by writer-director Randy Moore, is a great idea in search of a film. The plot revolves around a middle-class family’s bizarre day at the theme park in Florida that slowly enters a Twilight Zone realm when the husband/father begins to hallucinate and loses his grip on reality. There’s little back story or information about this family aside from learning that the husband photo for Escape From Tomorrowhas just lost his job (which, of course, triggers the bad day), his wife is a bit of an overbearing shrew, and his kids are spoiled. The film starts off on a promising note, offering some surreal moments and vignettes, then gets bogged down in a series of stale, repetitive scenes as the husband abandons his wife and goes on an obsessive pursuit of a pair of sexy French teenage girls. There’s some digs at corporate America and their consumer-control tactics (but, for a better look at the way theme parks manipulate their visitors, one would be better served reading an academic critique such as Disneyland: A Degenerate Utopia) but, unfortunately, the film doesn’t follow through on this exploration nor on the consequences of American angst, and the hallucinatory segments, paranoid visions in the guise of princesses, happy theme park rides and fellow tourists, fall short of being as horrible as intended. Still, it’s worth viewing for the audacity of the production and some exciting visuals. Stars Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Jack Dalton, Danielle Safady and Annet Mahendru. Extras include an illuminating behind-the-scenes featurette. From Cinedigm.

“The Best Offer” (2014 — Italy), written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore (“Cinema Paradiso”) unfortunately wastes a great cast — Geoffrey Rush, Donald Sutherland, Jim Sturgess, Sylvia Hoeks — on an overworked art-swindling theme about an unscrupulous art dealer who gets involved in a scheme that backfires on him. When a mysterious heiress asks famed art appraiser and auctioneer Virgil Oldman (Rush) to evaluate her late parents’ collection — yet wishes to remain anonymous and only deals with him unseen from behind closed doors — it ignites a spark of curiosity in the normally austere Virgil that soon grows into an all-out obsession, leading him down a path of self-destruction. Disappointingly bland and slow given its pedigree. From IFC Films.

From TV to DVD:

“Dynasty: The Eighth Season, Volume One and Volume Two” (1987-88) contains all 22 episodes of the addictive, primetime soap opera that quickly became a 1980s hit. The second-to-last season again highlights the conflicts, passions, drives, and tensions of the Carringtons, the powerful, rich, and greedy Denver oil family that struggles to maintain its position of wealth and power in the world. The pop culture phenomenon features a legendary ensemble cast photo for Dynasty: Season 8, Vol. 1 & 2 including John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins and Jack Coleman. $69.98 for the two-volume set or $39.98 each 11-episode volume from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount … “Father Brown: The Complete Collection” (1974) is a four-disc set with all 13 episodes of the British series about Father Brown (Kenneth More), a wily clergyman-detective who, despite his absentminded air, always manages to confound criminals with his inescapable logic and keen understanding of the human condition in 1920s England. First complete collection of the hit, based on the well-loved stories of British writer G.K. Chesterton, that ran on PBS’s Mystery! in the mid 1970s. $59.99 from Acorn Media … Created by award-winning writers-producers Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll, the critically acclaimed television series “Hill Street Blues” became one of the most seminal drama series by virtue of its powerful writing, gritty realism, emotionally charged story lines and incredible ensemble cast, including Daniel J. Travanti, Veronica Hamel, Bruce Weitz and Betty Thomas, among other notables. Throughout its seven year run on network photo for Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series television, the series took viewers inside the heart of a racially torn, crime-ridden precinct of an urban metropolis. Each episode charts a day in the life on “The Hill,” balancing the characters’ personal lives with their professional ones. “Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series” (1981-97) is a 34-disc set with all 144 episodes, $199.99, with interviews with Steven Bochco, Dennis Franz, James B. Sikking, Bruce Weitz, Alan Rachins, Gregory Hoblit, Dennis Dugan, Jeffrey Lewis and more, as well as a commemorative 24-page book. From Shout! Factory … “Mr. Selfridge Season 2” (2014) is a three-disc set with 10 episodes of the Masterpiece series, in their original U.K. editions. Jeremy Piven returns for a sumptuous new season as the man who brought seductive shopping to early 20th century London. On DVD: $39.99 and Blu-ray Disc: $44.99 from PBS Distribution … “Star Trek: Enterprise – Season 4” (2004-05) is a six-disc Blu-ray set with all 22 episodes of the final season, photo for Star Trek: Enterprise - Season 4 BLU-RAY $130.00. Stars Scott Bakula, Jolene Blalock, Connor Trinneer, Dominic Keating, Linda Park, Anthony Montgomery and John Billingsley, and follows the adventures of the first Earth-built vessel capable of breaking the Warp 5 barrier. A special highlight to the collection is “In Conversation: Writing Star Trek Enterprise,” an exclusive, 90-minute writing staff reunion special. The compelling discussion includes series creator and executive producer Brannon Braga, along with Mike Sussman, Andre Bormanis, David Goodman, Chris Black, Phyllis Strong, and Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, all detailing some of the series’ most fascinating behind-the-scenes stories. Plus, fans will get special insight on the creation of the final episodes with a newly produced, four-part documentary “Before Her Time: Decommissioning Enterprise,” which includes more in-depth interviews with the cast and crew. From CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount … “You, Me & Them, Series 1” (2013) is a two-disc set with six episodes of the British sitcom that follows a couple (Anthony Head, Eve Myles) navigating their May-December romance … and the disapproval of her family and his deranged ex-wife (Lindsay Duncan). $39.99 from Acorn Media.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Bad Country” (2014), starring Matt Dillon, Willem Dafoe, Neal McDonough, Amy Smart and Tom Berenger, is a crime thriller about a Louisiana detective (Dafoe) who teams up with a contract killer-turned-informant (Dillon) to take down the most powerful criminal enterprise in the South.On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Sony … “Locker 13” (2014) is a five-segment short horror film anthology revolving around the tales unleashed by the nighttime janitor in an Old West theme park, who delves into the mysteries surrounding an photo for Gimme Shelter old locker: An aging boxer who is given an opportunity to become a real killing machine, a young man seeking membership in a secret society who experiences an initiation with deadly consequences, a would be suicide shaken to his core by a menacing member of a very special club, a hit man for hire playing a devious cat and mouse game with three women who have a score to settle, and a life-or-death decision made by the janitor himself. Stars Ricky Schroder, Jon Gries, Rick Hoffman, Tatyana Ali, Krista Allen, Jason Spisak, Bart Johnson and Jason Marsden. From ARC Entertainment … “Gimme Shelter” (2013), starring Vanessa Hudgens, James Earl Jones, Rosario Dawson and Brendan Fraser, is based on the true life stories of Several Sources Shelters founder Kathy DiFiore and some of the pregnant teen shelter residents; the tale follows the courageous Agnes “Apple” Bailey who fights against all odds to find the father she’s never known and create the family she never had. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate … In “Prince Killian and the Holy Grail” (2011 — Spain), a 12th-century knight-errant wanders the world to retrieve the Holy Grail from the clutches of an evil wizard, accompanied by his faithful friends Crispin and Goliath and the beautiful Viking photo for Bucksville Princess Sigrid of Thule. Stars Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Natasha Yarovenko, Manuel Martinez and Adrian Lamana. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Shout! Factory … When a struggling downtown artist finds his muse in sultry singer Fran, their daring romance spirals out of control into a dangerous game of obsession, deception and betrayal in “Dark Hearts” (2012), starring Kyle Schmid, Lucas Till and Sonja Kinski, from Vertical Entertainment … “Bucksville” (2011) is a thriller about a young man who struggles to leave a secret militia — started by his father and uncle — that takes the law into its own hands and executes criminals in the name of community service. Stars Thomas Stroppel, David Bodin, Ted Roone, Tom Berenger, Allen Nause and Alexander MacKenzie. From Monarch Home Entertainment … In order to compete with a drag queen for the love of a gay newbie, a young man enlists the help of his club friends to become a drag queen himself in “Lady Peacock” (2013), starring Alec W. Seymour, Joshua Cruz and KC Comeaux. From Breaking Glass Pictures/QC Cinema.

For the Family:

“SpongeBob, You’re Fired!” (2014) consists of 14 work-related adventures as SpongeBob loses his job at the Krusty Krab and tries new jobs such as working at The Chum Bucket with Plankton (gasp!), picketing with Squidward and even modeling in a commercial. $14.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount … In “Approved for Adoption” (2012), comic book artist Jung returns to Seoul for the first time since he was abandoned at the age of 5 at the end of the Korean War (and adopted by a Western family) in this mixed media memoir that combines animation intercut with snippets of Super-8 family footage and archival film. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from GKIDS/Cinedigm.

Special Interest:

“The Rise and Fall of The Clash” (2014) is an up-close and personal film about the juggernaut band The Clash, and their meteoric trajectory through rock ‘n’ roll history. Features previously unseen footage of the band at work and at play as well as interviews with the individual band members and with those who knew them well. The film tells the fascinating inside story of rivalries, treachery, betrayal and the internal band dynamics and managerial photo for The Rise and Fall of The Clash interference that ultimately led the band to self-destruct. Highlights include new interviews with Mick Jones, Terry Chimes, Vince White, Nick Sheppard, Pete Howard, Viv Albertine, Pearl Harbor, David Mingay and many more Clash friends and insiders, as well as archival interviews with Joe Strummer, Paul Simonon and Nicky “Topper” Headon, and rare performance and candid footage from the band’s final years. $14.98 from Shout! Factory … Set to air on PBS stations in Spring 2014, “Civil War: The Untold Story” (2014), narrated by Elizabeth McGovern, uses dramatic battle recreations, compelling archival imagery, 3-D maps and insightful interviews with top Civil War scholars to show why the West played such a vital part in the outcome of the war. Focusing on the often overlooked battles of Vicksburg, Shiloh, Atlanta and more, the series also explores the issue of slavery and the surprising roles that African-Americans played in the conflict. Two-disc set with all five episodes, $49.99 from Athena … In Karachi, Pakistan, a runaway boy’s life hangs on one critical question: where is home? In the streets where he’s made his life, or in a home for runaways run by humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi, often called the “Mother Teresa of Pakistan”, or with the rural family he fled from in the first place? “These Birds Walk” (2013 — Pakistan/USA) is a heart-wrenching and life-affirming look at the struggles of these wayward street children and the samaritans looking out for them. From Oscilloscope Laboratories.

 Posted by on April 28, 2014 No Responses »
Apr 282014

unacceptable-levelsOver 80,000 chemicals flow through our system of commerce, and many are going straight into our bodies. Even our unborn children are affected. Due to this constant exposure, we have approximately 200 synthetic industrial chemicals interacting with our body cells every single day. Until recently, modern science really didn’t understand what that could mean for all of us in the long run, but that is changing. Globally, disease rates are on the rise. Theories about the causes abound, yet the issues are complex and often muddied by the maneuvering of political and corporate interests. This documentary examines the results of the chemical revolution that began in the 1940s through the eyes of affable filmmaker Ed Brown, a father seeking to understand the world in which he and his wife are raising their children. Continue reading »

 Posted by on April 28, 2014 No Responses »
Apr 282014

Two stalwarts of Nordic Noir — the ongoing Swedish series “Wallander” and the hit television show “The Bridge” — will arrive on DVD on May 27 courtesy of MHz Home Entertainment as part of that company’s International Mystery Collection. Both “Wallandar” and “The Bridge” have been receiving international critical acclaim and have prompted British and American remakes.

Wallander (Season 3)

wallander3Krister Henriksson returns in a stunning performance as Detective Kurt Wallander from the best-selling crime series by Swedish author Henning Mankell. Wallander is Ystad’s veteran detective who’s finally learned to find respite from the job in the moments of grace that came from living on the beach with his dog, Jussi, or spending time with his granddaughter. He’s still on the outs at work, however: offbeat methods make him an irritant for management and his colleague, Martinsson, is angling for his position. But no one in the department has the uncanny sense of the criminal mind that he does. Whether it’s Cold War spies, pedophiles, human traffickers or kidnappers, Wallander knows when he’s being lied to and when the story hasn’t been fully told. Wallander is also trying to get a few things right with his daughter and fellow cop, Linda. He may have been an Continue reading »

 Posted by on April 28, 2014 No Responses »
Apr 232014

photo for Winter's Tale Set in a mythic New York City at the beginning of the 20th century, and spanning more than a 100 years, “Winter’s Tale” is a fantasy about miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil. Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) is a master thief, working for a demon posing as the gangster Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe). When Peter decides to leave Pearly’s gang, his mentor marks him for death and sends his gang after him. Rescued by his guardian angel, a mysterious white horse, Peter decides to commit one last crime before leaving the city. But he never expected to have his heart stolen by the beautiful Beverly Penn (Brown Findlay), whom he encounters while burglarizing her parent’s mansion. They immediately fall in love, but their love is doomed: She burns with a deadly form of consumption, and Peter has been marked for a much more violent death by his one-time mentor. Peter desperately tries to save his true love, across time, against the forces of darkness, even as Pearly does everything in his power to take him down — winner take all and loser be damned. Based on the acclaimed 1983 novel by Mark Helprin. Extras: “Winter’s Tale: A Timeless Love” featurette. Blu-ray adds “Characters of Good & Evil” featurette, additional scenes. Vitals: Director: Akiva Goldsman. Stars: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 118 min., Fantasy Drama, Box office gross: $12.591 million, Warner.

 Posted by on April 23, 2014 No Responses »
Apr 222014


Now on Blu-ray Disc!

HIT THE DECK (1955) Hallelujah in High Definition! One of the final bigscreen MGM musical extravaganzas, “Hit the Deck”hits all the right notes as three singing swabbees (Tony Martin, Vic Damone, Russ Tamblyn) fall for three very different femmes – a chanteuse, a chorus girl, an admiral’s daughter, a show girl and a show-stopper (Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds, Ann Miller) while on shore leave. Based on the Broadway musical of the same name, adapted from the play “Shore Leave,” “Hit the Deck” hits the cinema seas well-provisioned with a larder full of snappy Vincent Youmans tunes, including Miller’s alluring barefoot turn as The Lady from the Bayou, Martin’s heart-fluttering More Than You Know and the male leads’ rousing rendition of Hallelujah. Produced by Joe Pasternak, with choreography by the great Hermes Pan. Also stars Gene Raymond. 5.1 DTS Audio & 1080p HD. 19×9 Widescreen.

Know When to Hold ‘Em

BRET MAVERICK: THE COMPLETE SERIES (1981) James Garner returns to his signature role, the amiable and affable grifting gambler Bret Maverick, in this sequel series with a twist. Last seen bestowing a guest star blessing upon the brow of “Young Maverick” (1979), “Bret Maverick” sees the king of card sharks getting tied down and trying to play it respectable ­ … almost! After winning the Lazy Ace saloon in an all-star high stakes poker game, Bret decided to set down roots in the town of Sweetwater. Maverick partners up with upright ex-sheriff Tom Guthrie (Ed Bruce) to run the saloon while he plays a private table and tries his hand at ranching. But rogues will out, and Bret still schemes and stirs up trouble, despite Tom’s best efforts. “Bret Maverick” is a sure bet for sure-fire sly Western entertainment as only Garner can deliver.

Album Oriented Video

THE CARS: HEARTBEAT CITY (1984) Boston’s New Wave breakout sensation The Cars rode on the crest of the music video wave, crafting some of the seminal pieces of rock-vid during the dawn of the era. This music video “album,” inpired by the band’s 1984 chart-topper, contains songs from three of the band’s most successful discs including “You Might Think,” “Drive” and, of course, the title track “Heartbeat City.” Upping the ante on this sight and sound phantasmagoria is the behind the camera talent, Jeff Stein, Tim Pope, Timothy Hutton (yes, THAT Timothy Hutton) and Andy Warhol (yes, THAT Andy Warhol, with his last directorial work).

No Biz Like It

IRENE (1940) This Sixth Avenue Cinderella tale feature stage sensation Anna Neagle taking the title role in this film adaption of the record-breaking Broadway super sensation. Irene O’Dare is a homespun shop-girl sent to make an upholstery house call for the filthy rich and richly frivolous Mrs. Vincent (Billie Burke). While there she catches the interest of playboy-with-a-secret Don Marshall (Ray Milland) who helps shepherd her from shop to salon, and Irene is transformed, first into a fabulous fashion model, then into an even more fabulous mysterious foreign heiress. Also stars Roland Young, and features a dazzling Technicolor ball sequence that heralded the arrival of the “Alice Blue Gown.”

THE SMARTEST GIRL IN TOWN/SHE’S GOT EVERYTHING (1936, 1937) Before she was Maisie, Ann Sothern delighted in a series of romantic escapades, many of which co-starred Gene Raymond. Ann’s range – even in light fare – is on ample display in this Sothern/Raymond double feature as she swings as a cynical, hard-bitten model on the hunt for a golden hubby and then swoons as the sensible coffee heiress who inherits a pile of debt. Raymond, in both cases, is the answer to her problems, if she can only see that in time.

THE MAYOR OF 44TH STREET/RADIO STARS ON PARADE (1942,1945) This show-biz pairing offers up a look at the seldom seen stars of nightclub and airwave. “The Mayor of 44th Street” sees George Murphy starring as a show biz impressario trying to escape his shady past, while Richard Barthelmess, in his final screen appearance, plays the shady past. “Radio Stars on Parade” sees funnyman duo Wally Brown and Alan Carney accidentally inherit a talent agency and some talent (Frances Langford). Unfortunately, that talent is wanted … by the mob! Also stars Ralph Edwards and Skinnay Ennis, Don Wilson, and Sheldon Leonard.


BROADWAY BILL (1934) Frank Capra directs Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy in this tale of love and redemption earned through the auspices of a big-hearted longshot racehorse. Baxter plays a horse trainer who has traded in a track for the high life, but finds himself trapped by his domineering father-in-law. He takes it on the lam – with lovesick sister-in-law (Loy) trailing behind – to bet it all on a horse named Broadway Bill. Capra would remake the film with much of the same cast (including an excellent Clarence Muse) 16 years later with Bing Crosby as “Riding High.”

DETECTIVE STORY (1951) Top-notch ensemble noir depicts a day in the life of a detective squad from director William Wyler. Kirk Douglas leads a cast of a-list talent including Eleanor Parker, William Bendix, Cathy O’Donnell and a young Lee Grant.

ISLANDS IN THE STREAM (1977) George C. Scott stars in this Hemingway adaptation chronicling the affairs of an alienated sculptor in the Caribbean on the eve of World War II. Director Franklin J. Schaffner breaks the film up into four distinct parts, almost four distinct short features, before weaving this mutli-faceted portrait into a Nazi-defying climax. With David Hemmings, Claire Bloom, and Gilbert Roland.

FALLING IN LOVE (1984) Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro star in this adult romance that sees two strangers meet and fall in love. Out Christmas shopping, a graphic designer (Streep) and an architect (DeNiro), accidentally exchange gifts. From this random mix-up, first a friendship grows, then something deeper, leaving the pair to struggle with what their love will lead them to. Also stars Harvey Keitel, Jane Kaczmarek and Dianne Wiest.

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 April 22, 2014 No Responses »