From the Big Screen:
“Bad Words,” “The Raid 2,” “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” “Le Week-End” and “Nymphomaniac Volume I & II.” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week’s Highlights:
There’s two terror-filled Blu-ray debuts this week, both from Shout! Factory:
“Lake Placid” (1999), starring Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendon Gleason and Betty White. The tongue-in-cheek horror film takes place in a tranquil New England lakefront that erupts into an action-packed den of destruction when visitors and residents alike get eaten by an unknown predator. An investigative team, armed with state-of-the-art equipment, high powered weaponry and a biting sense of sarcasm, are brought in to uncover and defeat Black Lake’s most ferocious resident: a prehistoric crocodile. One of the best films of the genre snaps with humor and sparkles with fun. Written by David E. Kelley (“Ally Mcbeal,” “Boston Legal”), directed by Steve Miner (“Halloween H20,” “Friday The 13th Part 2”), and co-starring White as the cantankerous Mrs. Bickerman. The other new Blu-ray is “Southern Comfort “ (1981), Walter Hill’s gut-wrenching tale of backwoods terror about nine National Guardsmen who enter the Louisiana swamp for routine training only to incite an all-out war with some angry Cajuns who know the territory like the backs of their hands. Stars Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Peter Coyote and Lewis Smith. The Criterion Collection has released DVD-only editions of two of its recent releases that first appeared in Dual Format Blu-ray/DVD versions only: Peter Weir’s “Picnic at Hanging Rock” (1975) and Howard Hawk’s “Red River” (1948).
From TV to DVD::
“Masterpiece Mystery!: Endeavour Series 2” (2014) is a two-disc set with four episodes with Shaun Evans returning to duty at Oxford City Police as Colin Dexter’s cerebral young Endeavour Morse, before his signature red Jaguar but with his deductive powers already running in high gear. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from PBS Distribution … “The Soul Man: Season One” (2012) is a two-disc set with 12 episodes of the TV Land series starring Cedric The Entertainer as Singer Boyce “The Voice” Ballentine, who gets the calling and moves his family to his hometown of St. Louis to become a preacher. From Shout! Factory … “Vicious” (2014) is a two-disc set with seven episodes of the sitcom that tells the story of partners Freddie (Ian McKellen) and Stuart (Derek Jacobi), who have lived together in a small central London flat for nearly 50 years. Constantly picking each other apart and holding on to petty slights for decades, Freddie and Stuart are always at each other’s throats, cracking snide remarks aimed at the other’s age, appearance and flaws. However, underneath their vicious, co-dependent fighting, they have a deep love for one another. Airs on PBS Sundays, June 29 – August 3. From PBS Distribution … “Walker, Texas Ranger: One Riot One Ranger” (1993) is the two-hour premiere episode that introduced Chuck Norris in his now iconic role as Cordell Walker, a contemporary Texas Ranger with an Old West attitude. When his partner is killed in a bank heist, Walker seeks vengeance on those responsible alongside new partner, James Trivette (Clarence Gilyard). Available exclusively at Walmart. From CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
In “Stage Fright” (2014), starring Minnie Driver, Meat Loaf, Allie MacDonald, Douglas Smith and Kent Nolan, a snobby musical theater camp is terrorized by a blood-thirsty killer who hates musical theater. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment’s Magnet Label … A washed-up actor, desperate and suicidal, moves into a haunted apartment building where supernatural creatures, ghost hunters, Taoist exorcists, and the souls of the undead are among his neighbors in “Rigor Mortis” (2013 — Hong Kong), starring Chin Siu-ho, Anthony Chan, Kara Hui and Hee Ching Paw. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA … After surviving a fall from a plane 3000-feet over the ocean, a former CIA operative turned government contractor re-infiltrates a dangerous North Mexican drug trafficking ring to find the man who threw him out of the plane — his best friend, in “Dead Drop” (2013), starring Luke Goss, Nestor Carbonell and Cole Hauser. From Lionsgate … A midlife crisis over his upcoming wedding sends 32-year-old unemployed stoner Warren Allman on the drug trip of a lifetime, and he becomes obsessed with Doomsday theories and decides to make a documentary on the subject while his fiance is busy planning their wedding in “Don Peyote” (2014), starring Dan Fogler, Josh Duhamel, Jay Baruchel, Anne Hathaway, Topher Grace, Annabella Sciorra and Wallace Shawn. From XLrator Media … Five years ago, a deer hunter vanished in the Alabama woods, leaving behind only a rifle, bloodstains and an enormous footprint from a species unknown to science. Now, the hunter’s son, his two best friends and a documentary film crew set out to learn the truth … and seek vengeance in “Hunting the Legend: The Search Continues for Sasquatch” (2014), starring Christopher Copeland, Hannah Wallace, Jeff Causey, Alex Ballew and Stan Copeland. From Image Entertainment … “Kid Cannabis” (2014), starring Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kenny Wormald, Ron Perlman and John C. McGinley, is the true story of Nate Norman, an Idaho teen dropout who builds a multimillion-dollar marijuana ring by partnering with his best friend and their pals to run drugs across the Canadian border. Bankrolled by a deadly-serious dope czar, Nate’s pursuit of the high life — complete with girls, guns, and vicious rival dealers — puts the ex-pizza boy in way over his head. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA … There’s five terror-ridden blasts from the past due this week from CAV Distributing: Troma’s “The Deviants” (1994), in which six blissfully reckless friends come together for a lost weekend wedding reunion of drinking, bowling, fighting, snorting, puking, screwing, writing bad novels, getting spanked by a psychotic preacher, hailing extraterrestrials and finally … learning that it takes more than a few days to achieve “total world domination”; Severin Films’ “The Baby” (1973), in which Anjanette Comer stars as an idealistic L.A. County social worker who investigates the case of Mrs. Wadsworth (Ruth Roman), her two buxom daughters and son “Baby”, a mentally-disabled man who sleeps in a crib, eats in a high-chair, crawls, bawls and wears diapers. But what secrets of unnatural attachment — and sexual obsession — are all of these women hiding?; Severin’s “Bloody Birthday” (1981), in which three babies are simultaneously born in the same hospital at the peak of a full solar eclipse. Ten years later, these adorable youngsters suddenly begin a kiddie killing spree of stranglings, shootings, stabbings, beatings and beyond. Stars K.C. Martel, Joe Penny, Michael Dudikoff, Susan Strasberg, Jose Ferrer, Julie Brown; Severin’s “Bloody Moon” (1981), in which pretty girls are killed at a language-school in Spain in a twisted slasher film loaded with incest, voyeurism and roller disco. Banned in England and now presented uncut and uncensored — including the complete “stone mill power saw” sequence; and Vinegar Syndrome’s “Runaway Nightmare” (1982) , in which two Death Valley worm farmers are kidnapped by an all-female cult of drug runners who, after making the men into their sex slaves, force them to assist in a plan to steal a suitcase full of platinum from the mafia. Fasten your seatbelts.
On the Indie Front:
When Katie Miner, a shy accountant at the local newspaper, begins anonymously penning the advice column “Dear Viola” (2014), she’s struck by a letter from a widower named Russ and, as they correspond, she begins to fall for “Mr. Lost Love.” But when he starts dating the new knockout in town on “Viola’s” advice, Katie must decided if it’s in her best interest to keep her identity and feelings a secret. Stars Kellie Martin, Sheila McCarthy, Jefferson Brown and Adamo Ruggiero. From Entertainment One.
For the Family:
“Wings: Sky Force Heroes” (2014), with the voices of Josh Duhamel , Rob Schneider, Tom Skerritt, Jesse McCartney, Hilary Duff, Dallas Lovato and Russell Peters, is a DOVE-approved family adventure follow up to the animated feature “Wings.” When Ace (Duhamel), a cocky young firefighter, defies his Colonel’s (Skerritt) orders and recklessly attempts a solo mission, it leads to disastrous consequences. Ace, along with Fred (Schneider), his trusty co-pilot, quits Sky Force and resigns himself to hauling coal for Mr. Steinway (Peters), until one day a fire breaks out in the mines. With the help of his friends Ace must overcome his fears and become the hero he was destined to be. Available exclusively at Walmart, $19.98 from Lionsgate … “French for Kids: On Va Jouer (Let’s Play)” (2014) On va chanter! (Let’s sing!) On va danser!(Let’s dance!) On va jouer! (Let’s play!) This new release in the “French for Kids” series introduces vocabulary related to the parts of the body, clothes, numbers, animals, and more. Join host Marie, Fritzi the mouse and a diverse group of playful peers who make learning French as easy as un, deux, trois. Sing-along and dance-along songs, world music rhythms, and an engaging combination of live-action, animation and colorful illustrated backgrounds immerse children in French and language learning fun. This DVD includes an easy-to-use translation guide for parents and teachers for first time learners of French. The DVD teaches French using the immersion teaching method recommended by language acquisition experts. $19.99 from Whistlefritz.
“How It All Began: Origins of Master Mantak Chia” (2013) is the definitive documentary about martial arts legend Grandmaster Mantak Chia. In the 1970s, when Yoga was practiced in basements and martial arts was found mainly in the movies, the spiritual healing of Taoist Internal Alchemy was not accessible to the Western world. This was the time Master Mantak Chia left Thailand and came to America with a dream to share Taoist Wisdom. This documentary shows how the Healing Tao System was established in the USA, from its early beginnings in downtown Chinatown, NYC. Included are interviews with Grandmaster Mantak Chia and his first Western students. From TDC Entertainment … “Watermark” (2014) is an award-winning documentary that brings together diverse stories from around the globe that explore our relationship with water: How we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. Shot in 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, “Watermark” transports viewers to massive floating abalone farms off China’s Fujian coast and the construction site of the biggest arch dam in the world — the Xiluodu, six times the size of the Hoover Dam; to the barren desert delta where the mighty Colorado River no longer reaches the ocean, and the water-intensive leather tanneries of Dhaka; follows scientists who drill ice cores two kilometers deep into the Greenland Ice Sheet; and explores the sublime, pristine watershed of Northern British Columbia. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Entertainment One.